Trying to get back into it by posting the small backlog of All in the Family.
With luck, as I near the last chapter in store, I'll be able to continue on
with the tale with the half-written chapter left in limbo for so long.
Please forgive the delay. Hopefully there's still some interest. As always,
feel free to comment and encourage. It won't hurt, for sure.
Buffy, Spike, Xander and Anya strolled down the hallway of Stevenson Hall.
Xander was the one to break the silence.
“Why does he have to come?” he asked, jabbing his hand at Spike.
“Xander, Spike is going to be my husband. I want him included.”
“I agree with Xander, here,” Spike said unexpectedly. “Seems like a lot of work for people who aren’t us.”
Slightly exasperated, Buffy turned towards her vampire. “Spike, these are my friends. Besides,” she added, “it’s kinda my job.”
“For now,” he said, patting her hand.
“What? You want me to stop working?” she asked, as she opened the door to her room. Everyone followed her in, save for Spike, who remained outside, still running his mouth.
“Let’s see… do I want you to give up killing all my friends? Yeah, I’ve given it some thought.”
Ignoring him for the moment, Buffy noticed something on their carpet. “This is burned!”
“D’Hoffryn!” Anya snarled. “The bastard. He opened a portal here.”
Holding up one of Buffy’s skirts – (an orange number with a fuzzy trim) – Spike said, “Wear this to the rehearsal dinner and the whole thing’s off.”
“Shut up, honey.”
Anya snorted inelegantly. “D’Hoffryn. He made me a demon 1120 years ago.”
“Why would he attack Willow?” Buffy asked.
“I don’t believe he did.”
Surrounded by numerous demons of various species, Willow tried to tamp down her panic.
“You have much anger and pain,” the demon who had transported her here stated. “Your magic is strong, but your pain – it’s like a scream that pierces dimensional walls. We heard your call.”
For a moment, Willow was actually pleased that someone had understood the enormity of what she was feeling. Then, reality came crashing back.
“I-I’m sorry. I’ll try for quiet rage. Bye!” She turned to leave but found herself face-to-face with yet more demons.
“Come back, young one,” the demon insisted in a voice she couldn’t refuse. “Our intention is not to quash your potential – quite the contrary.”
Willow turned back, scared and confused.
Walking through the cemetery, Anya continued to fill the gang in on D’Hoffryn. “I’d been dumped, I was miserable, doing a few vengeance spells – boils on the penis – nothing fancy.”
“Please, skip ahead,” Xander said, looking positively green.
“D’Hoffryn got wind of me; he offered to elevate me.”
“Meaning?” Buffy asked.
“He made me a demon.”
“Oh god,” Buffy gasped. “Willow! But you can summon the guy from this crypt, right? You can make him stop… Oh my god, wouldn’t this be a perfect place for pictures?” Buffy asked, running her hands over the crypt’s ivy-covered sides.
“I’m not posing for chuff all,” Spike grumped.
“Hey… Demon!” Xander pointed out one coming their way.
Buffy walked up to said demon, attitude at the fore. “Okay, listen – now we’re gonna do this without ruining the foliage.”
A fight ensued; Buffy tossing him aside just as another demon appeared. She quickly realized they were just gonna keep coming, thanks to Xander’s presence, and called out, “Let’s go!”
They raced into the ivy-covered crypt, barricading the door as best they could. Anya ran to the far side, knelt down and drew a circle around herself in the dirt.
“Blessed be, the name of D’Hoffryn,” she chanted. “Let this space be now a gateway to the world of Arashma’haar, where demons are spawned.”
“The pain and suffering you brought upon those you love is inspiring,” D’Hoffryn praised. “You are ready to join us here in Arashma’haar.”
“Pain? What pain?” Willow was confused.
Spike bellowed at the sight of a demon breaking through the window and strangling his beloved. “Buffy!”
“Not doing well here,” Xander muttered.
“We come in supplication,” Anya continued her chanting. “We bend as the reed… in the flow of the, uh. No, wait… we-we come in the flow of the, ugh!” Taking a deep breath, she finished with, “Blessed be, the name of D’Hoffryn.”
Buffy managed to jerk herself free from her demon and ran to Spike’s side. He and Xander had propped a stone sepulcher against the doorway to keep the other demons out.
“They’re strong,” Spike warned, “and I can’t fight. If they get in, I don’t know if I can protect you.”
“You think you need to protect me?”
“Oh, not with the girl-power bit!” Spike growled his displeasure.
Overpowering their defenses, the demons busted their way into the crypt. Spike and Xander managed nothing more than getting their collective asses kicked as Buffy headed into the fray. Anya picked on the demon attacking her boyfriend, and was promptly tossed aside for her troubles.
D’Hoffryn slashed a dimensional rift open, wide enough to allow Willow to see her friends being set upon by demons.
“Oh god,” she cried. “But I didn’t mean to!”
“But you did,” D’Hoffryn insisted. “This is the result of your power. You will make a fine vengeance demon.”
“No, please! You have to help them!” Willow was besides herself with fear for her friends.
“It is not my concern. You are my interest in this matter.”
“Really, no offense intended… I mean, you’ve been super nice and everything, but… I don’t want to be a demon. I just wanna go back and help my friends.”
“That is your answer?” D’Hoffryn queried.
With great menace, D’Hoffryn said, “I’m sorry to hear that.” But before Willow could flinch, he added casually, “Oh well. Here is my talisman.” He held it up for Willow to take. “You change your mind, give us a chant.” And with a wave of his hand, Willow felt herself vanish from Arashma’haar.
She appeared at the crypt just in time to see yet another demon burst onto the scene. It knocked Spike flat on his back.
Buffy pummeled the demons in her way and rushed over to Spike’s side.
“Oh, Spike… Are you okay?”
“Slayer…” Any further words were smothered by kisses.
The display snapped Willow out of her torpor and she began to chant, “Let the healing power begin. Let my will be safe again. As these words of peace are spoken, let this harmful spell be broken.”
With a crash of thunder and several flashes of lightning, the remaining demons vanished.
“Oh, ugh!” Buffy cried, pulling away from Spike in disgust.
“Oh, bloody hell,” Spike retorted at the same time.
They both leapt to their feet, putting as much distance between themselves as possible.
“Spike lips! Lips of Spike!” Buffy gulped, clearly horrified. Then proceeded to toss her cookies right on the crypt’s floor.
“What the fuck, Slayer,” Spike yelled. “Is this gonna be your new way of slaying demons? ’Cause I gotta tell you, the stench is somewhat disgusting.”
Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, Buffy turned and met Willow’s eye.
The redhead smiled sheepishly and waved. “Hi, guys!”
Willow piled chocolate chip cookies onto the plate Anya was holding.
“How long are you going to keep making these?” Anya asked in annoyance.
“Oh, until I don’t feel so horribly guilty. I figure about a million chips from now. Also, I have to detail Giles’ car.” Taking the plate, she walked over to Xander and Giles.
Holding up a clock for Giles to read, Xander asked, “Time?”
“A-ha! Five past two. Clear as day,” Giles said with satisfaction.
“Look, cookies,” Willow interrupted. “A very not-evil thing I did. Oatmeal?”
Removing his glasses, Giles took a cookie and scowled. “Yes, very funny – they’re chocolate chip. I can see them. I still need my glasses, though. You could have been more specific and given me 20/20.”
Willow smiled and walked over to Buffy and Spike (who was once more tied to a chair).
“Eat a cookie, ease my pain?”
Buffy grabbed one, taking a large bite. “Mmm – better?”
“Well, baking lifts about 30% of my guilt, but only 7% of my inner turmoil. Guess that’ll just take a while.”
“It’ll happen,” Buffy soothed.
“Don’t I get a cookie?” Spike asked, petulantly.
“No.” Buffy was apparently not in a generous mood.
“Well, I gotta have something,” Spike pushed. “I still have Buffy-taste in my mouth.”
“You’re a pig, Spike.”
“Yeah… well at least I’m not the one who wanted, ‘Wind Beneath my Wings’ for the first dance.”
Giles, Anya and Xander turned to stare at Buffy with incredulity.
“That was the spell,” Buffy insisted, blushing, as she walked to the kitchen.
Willow scowled at Spike and shoved a cookie into his mouth. She then followed Buffy into the kitchen.
“Did I mention about the sorry part?”
“We may be into a forgetting spell later,” Buffy said. Astonishment crossed her face as she continued, “I loved him. We were betrothed.” Her face crumpled into a moue of unhappiness.
“Well, at-at least you were getting along.”
“But we weren’t. I mean, it wasn’t even nice. And the bad-boy thing… over it! Okay, I totally get it. I’d be really happy to be in a nice relationship with a decent, reliable… Oh my god! Riley thinks I’m engaged!”
Buffy stammered, “He-he-he saw me! What the hell am I going to say?!”
As she walked down Sunnydale’s main street, side-by-side with Riley, Buffy laughed. “You thought I was serious?”
“Well, no… um… you weren’t serious?”
“Oh, god, please. Like I’d marry a guy named Spike?”
“Maybe,” Riley mused. “We haven’t known each other that long.”
“No, it’s just… I saw that fear in your eyes when you caught me looking at wedding dresses, and I had to give you a hard time.”
“I did not have fear in my eyes,” Riley insisted with a manly huff.
“Yes, you did. You were looking at me like I was a cartoon ball and chain.”
“So, you decided to tell me you’re getting married.”
“So, you’re insane.”
“But you’re still single?” Riley asked, clearly trying to lock in all the facts.
“Okay, then,” he said. “Just another little piece of the Buffy puzzle.”
“You really have a lot to learn about women, Riley,” Buffy laughed nervously.
Reaching up, Riley took hold of the back of her head. Every nerve told her a kiss was imminent. “You’re gonna teach me,” he teased, turning and walking away.
Buffy stood alone, staring after him, and doubled over once more to decorate the ground with puke.
“There has got to be something wrong with me,” she muttered under her smelly breath.