Hope there's some interest in Will's fate... I can guarantee the next chapter is almost completed, so the wait won't be too long.
June - 2019
Will is still 15 years old
This follows directly after the previous chapter, in which Will finds some of the answers he’s been looking for, and possibly says a naughty word or two.
Please, as always, read and comment! Buffy!Muse seems to have awakened, having bothered to complete two previous WIPs in rather short notice. With any luck, she’ll continue on with Will’s story.
Feedback is always welcomed.
Goddess bless Willa, my first and foremost mentor, gillo, for once again becoming my favorite demanding beta, celesteavonne for being the most marvelous sounding board and secondary beta, and just_sue for her guidance and love.
To read Beloved from the beginning, go to my Live Journal Here or to simply_beloved: chapter 1.
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Beloved - Chapter 33 – Spike: Up Close and Very Personal
Will ran from his room, blindly pushing past his father and not looking back at his mother as he bolted down the stairs. Of course they were listening in. Couldn’t trust him enough to go through a damned box.
They didn’t get it, any of them. They didn’t see the images that constantly replayed against his closed eyelids. The ones those fucking watchers had shown him. Even with all of Lorne’s help and understanding, those images stained his very soul.
Aunt Dawn and Buffy kept saying that Spike ‘wasn’t that bad… that he’d changed,’ but in a way that told the truth all too clearly – he’d been a monster. If he hadn’t been, they wouldn’t be so half-assed with all their qualifiers.
How does one change that much from an evil, soulless monster to a man accepted by society… to be loved by anyone?
And if the journal was from after Spike was souled, how could it show how one year made up for over a century without? Mom and Dad weren’t much on religious church-going. In truth, Will had been a little frightened about asking the views of a werewolf and a vampire.
He’d only gone to a religious service once, with his school. The preacher had spewed forth a hell and damnation sermon, and it had been all Will could do not to turn tail and run from the church. He kept picturing Spike and thinking of the demon he had inside. He’d never told his Dad that some of his worst nightmares revolved around his soul ending up in hell.
Will laughed, bitterly. The priest would probably crap himself if he knew how many different hell dimensions there were… or that demons weren’t scary things made up to force believers into line, but something real and dangerous – that would eat you if you turned down the wrong alley at night.
He pushed through the double doors of the large dining room, ran through the kitchen and down the stairs to the basement, pausing when he passed his mother’s cage. Most months he’d spend several hours sitting across from the cage when his mom occupied it. It seemed to calm her down when he was there, as if she hurt less when she smelled his presence. Every now and again he’d bring his guitar and strum melodies – music really did calm the savage beast.
Will rested his head against the cool steel of the bars, wondering if his dad ever sat vigil… keeping his mom company. They never talked about her demon side – always talked around it. Just like they rarely mentioned the blood in the fridge next to the crackers… or the chains in the box next to the cage.
They also never mentioned the mouthfuls of blood Will slurped straight from the Tupperware container several times a day, not wanting to see the discomfort in his mom’s eyes if he dared to warm it in the microwave.
For a family with so many demons in it, they sure didn’t talk about them much.
Will shrugged. He couldn’t help it if he wasn’t normal, either.
He forced himself away from the cage, realizing he was just procrastinating. As anxious as he was to read the journal, and for all the bravado he’d displayed in his room, there was no small amount of trepidation about its contents, as well.
Walking further into the basement, Will felt drawn to the room. The one he’d always been told to stay away from; that contained the God King Illyria’s sarcophagus. “It was dangerous,” his father said, and that was supposed to be that, but Will felt oddly safe in its presence.
“Looks like it’s you and me, your majesty,” he said, slowly dropping to the floor and folding his legs beneath him. Will shivered slightly. The room was cold… almost ice cold, which, compared to the usual L.A. heat, felt nice.
Just as he turned his attention to the journal, he felt it… a slight warmth by his side. Sure enough, Buffy had followed him.
“I’m going to read this, you know, and you can’t stop me,” Will said, mulishly. He refused to look at her and opened it, half expecting lightning to crash from the sky and smite him where he sat. Ignoring Buffy, he set his eyes to the task, though it took him a few moments to realize he was holding the journal upside-down. “Not cool, Will,” he murmured, half expecting Buffy to butt in.
She remained silent.
First page: the word Mama, written in old-fashioned lettering, stared at him from the middle of the page.
Second page: the name Thomas
Will flipped through the pages, one after another, finding nothing but names – one per page – until he came to descriptions, instead, and locations. He stopped at: Little girl in the coal bin.
Will fiercely flipped back to the beginning, staring at the word Mama; scrubbing angrily at the tears threatening to spill from his eyes.
“What. Did. He. Do?” he bit out through clenched teeth.
“He… he was trying to save her, Will.” Buffy’s first words were spoken so softly he barely made them out. “He told me that she was dying, and he thought he could save her.”
“And what happened to her?” Will asked, fearing that he already knew the answer. “Afterwards. Did they murder people together?”
“She never got that far. Spike was forced to stake her before she could…”
“So he killed his own mother twice, then?” Will interrupted, eyes wide with horror.
“Her demon… her demon was cruel and vicious, and even as newly vamped as he was, Spike knew there was nothing left of his mother in that vampire. He really was unique – something I never gave him any credit for.”
Will thought for a moment, then asked: “So why didn’t he make someone stake him before he killed people? Wouldn’t that be the right thing to do once you got turned?
Chewing on her nails, Buffy tried to come up with an answer. “He always said being turned saved him, Will. From being a nobody.”
“Better a nobody than a murderer,” he whispered.
“To a human, yes, but to a vampire,” she continued, “… and regardless of what else he was, he was still a vampire. And getting turned wasn’t his fault.”
“He was a murderer.”
She didn’t deny it.
“And this,” he said, shaking the journal under her nose. “This is what you had a relationship with?”
“Will, I was in love with the man inside both vampires, not the monster.”
“What man?” He wanted to throw the journal away. It wasn’t helping in the slightest.
“You know I was very young, and only involved with your father because he had a soul… and Spike… it’s hard to explain Spike,” she said, now unable to look him in the eyes.
Will flipped through the journal again, avoiding contact with her, as well, and stared at the last page. It held a single name:
He looked at her, one eyebrow cocked, waiting for an answer.
Buffy closed her eyes and shivered slightly.
If she dared to say “it’s complicated,” then damn it all, he was getting out of here.
As she hesitated, the sarcophagus began to hum and vibrate, startling them both.
“Oh crap,” she had time to murmur, before things went black.
When Will became aware of his surroundings, he was standing in the middle of a room surrounded by men and women in old-fashioned outfits. He tried ducking out of the way of a butler carrying a tray of hors d’oeuvres; the man walked right through him. Slightly unnerved, he looked around for Buffy, easily spotting her modern-day jeans and tank top amidst all the frills and lace.
“What’s going on?” he asked, moving to the edge of the room. Having people walk through you was totally uncool.
“Looks like a party, or, you know, the ghost of parties past,” Buffy replied. “Seems like Illyria has something to show us.”
Will looked around for something that might seem familiar, trying to make sense out of this vision when he gasped.
“Oh god,” he said, swallowing hard. “Look over there… on the chair.”
Buffy craned her head to see through the crowd of ghost people and saw what had unsettled Will so.
“Buffy… that’s… that’s me! I was a freakin’ nerd!”
She took in the sight of the slight young man, awkwardly trying to write something while everyone milled around… totally ignoring him. His gold-rimmed glasses had slipped down on his nose, threatening to fall off. His curly hair – the color of Will’s hair – flopped down his forehead and she watched as he brushed the errant curl back in place absentmindedly.
“He’s not a… nerd,” she offered. “He’s probably just shy.”
“Nerd!” Will insisted, watching as his previous self got up to talk with some obnoxiously gesturing man. When the man snatched the papers out of William’s hand, it was all Will could do to restrain himself from going to William’s aid. It would have been useless, of course. Obviously this was just a show of past events, and couldn’t be changed.
“Such a liar,” Buffy murmured. “Always been bad, my ass!”
Pointing at a pretty woman with her brunette hair piled high on her head talking to William, Will smiled. “Maybe I – he –whoever – wasn’t totally hopeless. She’s hot!”
Buffy felt a brief stab of jealousy, which was ridiculous, considering this bimbo died over a hundred years ago. Or did she? Something about her face made Buffy take a second look. She seemed awfully familiar, but she just couldn’t place where she’d seen her before.
Will and Buffy watched as William walked stiffly out of the room, then out of the house, fighting the tears that threatened to fall.
One disorienting moment later, they found themselves in a stable, surrounded by bales of hay. William showed up seconds later, sitting down on a bale and angrily ripping his papers to pieces, still crying.
“Oh crap!” Will could scarcely breathe. A dark, beautiful woman approached William, talking and weaving her hands in the air. Will shuddered – he knew her!
“Drusilla!” Buffy hissed, confirming Will’s fears. They watched, together, how William backed away from her until he was cornered. With one hand on his chest, the other tilted his neck and her face morphed before she sunk her teeth deeply and drained the life from William Pratt.
Once again, the scenery faded. This time they were out in the open, Chinese peasants running this way and that in terror, buildings on fire, bombs going off all around them.
“Look,” cried Buffy, pointing to their left. “There’s William again.”
Will spotted his ponytailed former self heading through a pair of lacquered doors, into a large, ancient-looking building – a monastery – and they followed swiftly on his heels. Within moments, he was attacked by a young, lithe, Chinese girl – obviously a Slayer – wearing a tunic and pants, wielding a long blade.
The fight was fast-paced and choppy, nowhere near Spike’s eloquent fighting style. There were dirty feints, punches, kicks… she even managed to slice into his eyebrow, sending blood spattering on the floor.
Will put his hand to his own scarred brow. This was why that old bastard cut him, he realized. This was the one scar that William/Spike kept for the rest of his unlife.
Buffy looked on, fascinated. This had to be how he developed his improvisational fighting skills. He didn’t have the century’s plus worth of knowledge he’d had when they met, yet still managed to survive.
A gasp tore from Will’s throat when it looked like the Slayer had gotten the better of William, until an explosion startled them all, giving him an opportunity to turn the tables and pull the Slayer up against his chest. He made quick work of draining her, then dropped her body to the floor, licking at the blood on his fingers.
Drusilla appeared once again, this time garbed in an oriental jacket and long, flowing skirt. They watched as William stuck his bloody finger into her mouth, her ecstasy at the taste, and their passionate grappling – first against the wall, and then the floor.
The disorientation was shorter this time, and the scene quickly morphed into a moving subway train, with Spike – no doubt about the incarnation – fighting what appeared to be yet another Slayer… wearing Spike’s – no, Nikki’s – duster.
Buffy noted his moves were smoother, more practiced, and yet still dirty and unexpected. He managed to end up pinned underneath the Slayer’s legs, her hands grasping his hair in a death grip and his dusting was imminent… until the lights went out. When they came back on, Spike had reversed their positions, and, taking Nikki’s head in his hands, twisted viciously.
Buffy watched, sick to her stomach as Spike stripped the duster from the dead woman and slid his arms into the sleeves. It was a move she’d seen him make countless times but never connected it directly to the Slayer’s death. She shuddered violently.
“Are you okay?” Will asked, concerned. “I know how upsetting this must be for you, as much as the last Slayer he – I – killed.”
“I’ll be fine,” Buffy murmured. “He told me… but seeing it firsthand makes it so much worse.”
“It’s not your fault, Will. It wasn’t you who did this,” Buffy insisted.
There wasn’t time to answer. Will held his stomach, fighting off the by now familiar nausea. The quick scene-hopping was wreaking havoc on his system. Buffy’s, too, from the look of things.
They found themselves in an alley. Will saw Buffy smile as she watched herself fight and stake a vampire.
“We’re in Sunnydale, where I used to live,” she whispered as if not to disturb her former self. “We’re in back of The Bronze – a teen hangout.”
Past Buffy looked up and saw Spike walk out into the light, clapping his hands. “This is where he first threatened to kill me,” she said, fondly.
“And this makes you smile?” Will asked, incredulous.
“Not dead now, am I?”
Still night, they were now standing on a grassy field. Spike was standing on a small hill, talking to himself, when, out of nowhere, he was downed by Tasers and dragged away by men in black combat fatigues.
“The Initiative,” Buffy said. “They stuck a behavior modification chip in Spike’s head which kept him from killing any living thing.”
“That’s good, right?”
“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
“Giles’ place,” Buffy explained of the busy kitchen they now found themselves in.
“One and the same, only much younger.”
They watched as Past Buffy opened the door to a blanket-covered Spike, smoke wafting from his huddled form.
“He came to us for help after escaping the Initiative. He gambled that “the white hats” which is what he called us, wouldn’t kill a harmless being asking for help.”
“You kept him tied to a chair?”
Buffy had the good graces to blush. “And chained in the bathtub. We weren’t very nice to Spike, but in our defense, he had tried to kill us all multiple times.”
And found himself standing on a porch, staring down at Past Buffy, whose head was in her hands, and she was crying.
“What’s wrong?” he asked his own Buffy. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you cry.”
“M-my Mom was sick, and I was scared. She had to go to the hospital, and there wasn’t anything I could do to make things better.”
There was nothing they could do now, but watch as Spike angrily strode into the backyard with a shotgun and paused in front of the porch.
Will stared intently at his past self, watching as his expression changed from one of intense hatred to surprise, curiosity, and finally caring. It was as if the entire range of emotions played through the vampire’s face as he took in the crying Slayer on the steps.
“Why was he so angry at you that he’d brought a shotgun?”
“You know, I don’t even think I registered that gun at the time,” Buffy murmured. “I’d pretty much humiliated him earlier that evening, and he’d probably had enough… he was willing to risk the chip firing to end things once and for all.”
“So why didn’t he shoot you?” Will asked, perplexed. “Instead he’s sitting and patting your back… sort of weirdly.”
Buffy smiled. “I guess he felt bad for me. He’d never seen me cry, either. I do remember thinking how strange it all was.”
Spike was bound with his hands behind his back and being held by two scabby demons in an expensive looking apartment. An irate, blonde woman was screaming at him, then, belted him across the face and sent him crashing into a far wall.
“Oh God!” Buffy exclaimed.
“We once fought an actual God – Glorificus. She was looking for the Key to get back to her home dimension and Spike knew about it. I only saw the aftermath of the torture he withstood without breaking.”
“The Key was sent to me to protect… in the form of my little sister. Your Aunt Dawn.”
Glory went about her sadistic business, pulling Spike around by his torn lip, throwing him on a large, circular bed, straddling his still-bound form and digging her finger deep into his chest.
“This is one seriously creepy bitch,” Will whispered as Spike silently screamed.
“You don’t know the half of it. She beat me to a pulp a time or two.”
Will looked at her disbelievingly.
“Cross my heart.”
When they looked back, Spike was hanging by his wrists from chains attached to a hook in the ceiling. He’d obviously said something to anger the God, and she kicked him hard enough to break his chains and send him flying into the same wall he’d hit earlier. He managed to stand and pull apart the doors to an elevator, and…
They found themselves staring at a tower built haphazardly out of lumber. Will watched as the color leeched out of Buffy’s face.
“Okay, now you’re scaring me,” he murmured. “What’s going on?”
“My second death.”
“What do you mean, second death?”
Buffy couldn’t form the words to answer him, nor take her eyes off the tower. She could see the people on top… flinched as Spike fell and hit the ground, and stared at her past self running from level to level until she reached the top. A quick flick of her hand and that bastard, Doc, hit the ground… too late. The spreading portal from Dawn’s dripping feet. Her very own swan-dive into the portal. The reactions to her dead body lying on rubble.
Will paled at that last image. Watching Buffy die was like a knife in his heart. “But how…?”
“My… friends brought me back,” Buffy whimpered as this all played out in living color before her eyes. “But that’s a story for another time.”
“Oh! Look over in the shade,” he said, pointing to a spot not far from her prone body. “Spike… he looks gutted, crying like his heart is broken.”
“And I didn’t believe he had any feelings at all.” Buffy’s words were a mere whisper, but Will heard, watching as she cried for the long-gone vampire.
“We’re home,” Buffy said, as the familiar staircase and living room took form around them. “At least, my old home. The porch you saw earlier is off the kitchen.”
Spike stormed into the house, yelling up the stairs, eyes filled with fear and worry… then anger at a teenaged Dawn… and lastly awe, as the girl stepped aside to let a very much alive Buffy walk down the stairs.
Buffy shook her head in amazement. “He tried to take such good care of me,” she said, noting the careful way he took Past Buffy’s hands in his… examining the damage from digging herself out of her grave. The look on his face broke her heart as her friends barged into her home, crowding her with their loudness and enthusiasm, pushing Spike out of the way.
“Nobody gave Spike a second thought in your group, did they?” Will asked, realizing Spike only stayed around for Buffy… for love of Buffy.
As soon as Spike walked out the door of Buffy’s house, they found themselves in an alley, watching as Spike landed blow after blow on Buffy, who seemed shocked at first, before returning the favor.
“Geeze Louise, you guys really went at each other, didn’t you?” Will asked, watching the almost choreographed battle between the two blondes. “I thought Spike couldn’t harm any living thing because of that chip in his head.”
“I really wish this wasn’t part of the Memory Lane retrospective of the Buffy and Spike saga,” Buffy sighed. “Starting here, it gets ugly… the ‘complicated’ part of it all.”
They followed the fighting pair into the abandoned house where the fighting continued, parts of the house falling down around them. Past Buffy jumped on Spike, wrapping her legs around his waist, forcing him against the wall where…
“Oh my god!” Will squeaked. “Are they doing what I think they’re doing?”
“Not one of my shining moments, Will. I’m sorry you had to see this.”
Spike staggered away from the wall, still supporting Past Buffy, still doing their thing, when they crashed through the floor and…
Wound up in a crypt, outfitted with a television, and pillar candles on every conceivable flat surface.
Buffy’s breath hitched, causing Will to look at her in concern.
“I can’t believe I miss this place,” she murmured. “Then again, I miss the whole, damned town.”
“You’ve been here before, then?”
“Way more than I should admit to,” she replied.
“Looks like nobody’s home.”
“We need to check out Spike’s bedroom.” Buffy nervously chewed her bottom lip.
No sooner said than they found themselves Spike’s bedroom. Spike was in the middle of his bed, belly down, half covered by a sheet, doing what for all the world looked like pushups.
“Why in the world…” Will began, only to be interrupted by the last person he expected to see… Xander! A two-eyed Xander… climbing down the ladder to stand next to them,
In response to something he said, Spike increased his movements on the bed before sitting up.
Buffy turned scarlet and coughed discreetly, causing Will to look at her, waiting for an explanation.
“Uhm… I had a brief bout of invisibility thanks to a trio of nerds, and I felt a sense of freedom about doing what I wanted without anyone seeing me… judging me.”
“So you did Spike?”
“You were doing Spike with that man in the same room?”
“I know he’s not your favorite person, Will… I understand that wholeheartedly, I do. But Xander was my friend, and he was trying to save my life. Being invisible was turning me into pudding!”
Spike stood up, tossing his sheet off and poured himself a drink. He knocked it back and slammed the glass down on a table, grabbing a hold of invisible Past Buffy’s arms.
“Why is he holding you?” Will asked, staring at the space where Past Buffy should be. “Didn’t he get enough of you earlier?”
Through her embarrassment, Buffy said, “He was actually annoyed with me. He said, “If he couldn’t have all of me, he’d rather…”.”
“Oh god!” This time it was Will’s turn to blush. “You’re not playing fair,” he said, turning away from Spike’s reactions to invisible Past Buffy’s attentions.
“Ya know… that’s just what he said,” Buffy agreed.
They reappeared in an alley. This time Spike and Past Buffy were pushing and punching each other, both yelling at the other.
“Now what?” asked Will, exasperated. “Seems as if all you did was fight and…”
“Don’t finish that sentence, buster. Trust me, Spike was sorry he ever got those words out of his mouth.”
“You think I’ll just stand here and let you beat on me like you did to Spike?”
Buffy looked taken aback. “I hope not,” she demurred, chastened. “I don’t ever want to be that Buffy again. It wasn’t a good time for me… what with coming back from the dead and all.”
“Looks like it wasn’t a good time for Spike, either.” Will watched as Past Buffy straddled and beat on the vampire until he dropped his game face; his human face swelling and bruising. Past Buffy stood up and walked into a nearby police station, never looking back – never seeing Spike reach for her uselessly.
“I was such a bitch,” she whispered, hiding her head in her hands and avoiding Will’s gaze.
“No!” Buffy gasped when they materialized in her old bathroom.
“Don’t tell me it gets worse?”
“Remember I said ugly? I should have said hideous.”
Past Buffy was wearing a grey bathrobe, and holding her hand on her lower back, wincing in pain as she prepared to take a bath. She was joined by Spike and for several moments, they did nothing but talk.
Dread pooled in Will’s stomach as Spike got close to Past Buffy, hands on her hips, then pushing the robe from her shoulders, all the while Buffy trying to move away.
“No,” he whispered, echoing Buffy’s earlier declaration. “Are you demented, Illyria?” he shouted. “There’s no reason for me to see this.”
No quick flash this time… the scene in front of him continued. Struggling against Spike, Past Buffy grabbed the shower curtain and fell, tearing it partially from its rings. Spike followed her to the floor, all the while talking, insisting. The sight of Past Buffy trying to crawl away made him want to hurl, and Will didn’t know how long he’d be able to control himself.
In the end, Past Buffy managed to shove Spike away from her, pulling her robe closed around her body. Spike, himself, looked sick to his stomach. It was obvious Spike’d lost control, but Buffy was right, the whole scene was outright despicable.
“There’s so much more to all this than what you saw, Will,” Buffy tried to explain. “There’s no real time now, with us likely to be transported somewhere else quickly, but I promise, we’ll talk about this later. In full, if you want. Just know it’s not all Spike’s fault. He was wrong to try and force me, but it’s not as black and white as it looked.”
Sure enough, the scene changed again, and they almost lost their footing as they found themselves on sand, in front of a large cave. Spike strode in, a look of determination on his face. Buffy and Will followed him inside and were startled by the appearance of an immense demon, stony appearance, glowing blue eyes, and sharp, pointy wings.
“Where are we now?” Will asked. “And what’s going on?”
“It’s gotta be someplace in Africa. This has to be where Spike earned his soul back,” Buffy murmured. “He said there were trials, but he’d never give details.”
“We’re about to get details in living color,” Will said, as a large man banged his wrists together and his hands burst into flames. The fight was brutal, but in the end, Spike defeated old fire-fists, slightly worse for wear with burns over a large portion of his torso.
Will had had enough. He felt each blow to Spike’s as if he, himself were hit. This battle for Spike’s soul was almost more intimate than the sex he’d seen earlier. “Tell me when it’s over,” he begged. “I can’t stand this anymore.”
Buffy, however, couldn’t take her eyes off Spike. The vigor with which he went after his opponent reminded her of what Angel had once said… that “Once he starts something he doesn't stop until everything in his path is dead.”
Thank god that in this instance, he was right.
By the time large, scarab-looking beetles began their climb up Spike’s body, Buffy was squirming, herself. They were gross, and certainly going into places they were never meant to go. “How in the world did he survive this?” she murmured.
Eventually, Spike must have faced his last challenge, because the stony demon was back. He pulled his battered body up to a kneel, and the demon placed a widespread hand on his chest. An immense white light infused Spike’s body as his head tilted back in yet another silent scream and…
The cave had turned into a basement. It took Buffy a few moments to realize where they were, but the sight of Past Buffy fighting some decaying spirits made it clear to her… the high school basement.
Will watched intently as Past Buffy somersaulted over her ghouls, wrenched open a door… and found Spike with a head of unruly, two-toned curls.
“What happened to him?” Will asked, noting that something was off in his behavior, as well. “He doesn’t look all there.”
“He’s not, not really,” Buffy replied. “Getting his soul wasn’t an easy experience for him. It was too much to take in the beginning, realizing all the evil he did over the course of his unlife. Spike was seriously unhinged.”
And another basement took form around them, this time Buffy’s own. Spike was chained to the wall, straining at his bonds, yelling at Past Buffy.
Will was surprised. “What’s with the bondage?”
“We found out Spike was being controlled by the First Evil, and being forced to kill again,” Buffy said softly. “It wasn’t his fault, but he tried to goad me into killing him so it wouldn’t happen again.”
“And you didn’t? Wasn’t he dangerous?”
“Of course he was, but he’d changed so much over the years, we felt - I - felt I owed it to Spike to try and free him from the First.”
This time Spike was lying on a cot, hands still chained, his pillow stained with blood. Past Buffy was standing next to him.
Before Buffy could say a word, the scene changed again. A huge, cavernous hall, littered with mummified bodies of unrecognizable species and rubble. In the center of which, Spike was lying on a gurney and Past Buffy was talking with a uniformed soldier.
“We’re in the Initiative’s underground bunker,” said Will’s Buffy. “Remember that behavior modification chip I told you about?” she asked Will. “It had begun to malfunction, firing all the time with no reason, and it was killing Spike.”
“So you went to the Army?”
“These soldiers were part of the Initiative that chipped him in the first place. They gave me a choice – to either remove the chip totally, or replace it with a new one.”
“Then he got a new chip and went back to live in your basement? Did that stop the First from controlling him?”
“I told them to remove it,” Buffy murmured softly. “Spike had earned the right to make his own choices without his brain getting fried for a simple misstep. I trusted him with my life – with the lives of everyone around me.”
Buffy found herself and Will in her basement once more. She could honestly say she was getting homesick after all these years away.
Spike was standing by his cot; Past Buffy was walking down the basement stairs. She touched his face, tenderly cupping his cheek, then handed him some gaudy-looking necklace.
“And the reason for the bad jewelry is…?” Will asked, watching as Spike let it twirl from his hand.
“Your Dad brought that lovely piece from Wolfram and Hart… said it had to be worn by someone stronger than human, souled, and a champion.. He had planned to wear it, but I sent him back to Los Angeles. I gave it to my champion… Spike.”
“No more problems with the First controlling him?”
“Nope, we managed to work through it, eventually. It almost cost me my Watcher, and Spike his life, but in the end, it all worked out.
With a dizzying swirl, they found themselves at the edge of a terrifying crevasse from which hideous fanged creatures swarmed. “This is the Hellmouth – where the battle with the First went down,” she explained. “This is when Aunt Willow shared the power of my Slayer scythe and made all the potentials into full-blown Slayers.”
“And those ancient-looking, bald demons were all killed by you and the new Slayers?”
“Hah!” Buffy snorted. “We were barely holding our own against those Uber-vamps… the Turok-han.. See over there? One of ‘em ran me straight through with a sword.”
“Well, you obviously survived,” Will noted wryly. “So how in the hell did you defeat these guys?”
“Remember the amulet I gave to Spike? He wore it and for awhile, it did nothing, but suddenly it activated, pinning him in place… right over there,” she said, pointing to a spot near the carved stairs.
Will watched as it began to glow, and then rays of golden light flashed out, dusting the demons it came in contact with. He watched as Past Buffy ran up to him, entwined her hand with his. Their hands were enveloped in golden flames, but not burning. It was a stunning sight, but Will knew there was a price coming.
Sure enough, Spike dropped Past Buffy’s hand, shook his head and pointed the way to the stairs as the cavern began to collapse. She ducked the falling debris and made it up the stairs, obviously to safety.
His last view of Spike was of the flame turning his body to ash as everything came down upon them.
With a thump, Will found himself seated in the basement - his basement, Buffy beside him. She looked totally exhausted, which was rather impressive for a non-corporeal being. “Are you okay?” he asked, concerned for his long-time companion.
Buffy looked at him with tears in her eyes. “The question is, are you okay? I’ve lived through this before, though I’ll admit it’s so not easier the second time around. You’ve been hit with a lot of Spike’s and my history in one lump. It has to be overwhelming.”
Will nodded, thoughtful. “I have to agree with you,” he said, picking at a seam in his jeans. “You and Spike? Way complicated.”