Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.
Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.
Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.
Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.
People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.
Last Note re: Angel timeline: Again, Angel’s timeline is a bit skewed. Consider the Angel team in Pylea at the beginning on this story, despite the fact that it’s about a month early in the year for that adventure according to ATS’ production.
WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.
Ch 1 – The Guilt Afterward
Spike sat in the upstairs hallway of the Summers’ home… Dawn’s home. He was outside of the Half-Pint’s bedroom door, back against the wall and listening for the slightest signs of distress from within. His butt was half-numb and half-aching with the desire for him to get up and move around, but he found himself rooted to the carpeting. His ribs ached with icy fire as they continued to knit themselves together using the pig’s blood that Xander had retrieved and placed in the refrigerator downstairs earlier. There was a pint left for the morning before the vampire himself had to turn in to rest.
Xander was back at the apartment he shared with Anya. He hadn’t protested when Spike told him that he’d be staying with Dawn overnight. He’d just nodded his head without comment and left the house, looking exhausted and swollen-eyed and still in a bit of a shock over what they’d lost. It was
Buffy was even now decaying away in the ground. They’d gathered around her hidden grave protected by thorns and brambles and
Spike wiped his eyes of the tears that threatened to fall. There was no more time for grief; now was the time for Dawn, not himself. Besides, Buffy wouldn’t want his heartache… she’d even now be berating him if she were here in spirit. Telling him that she’d done what she needed to do to protect her sister, and he should stop acting like a pansy and get to keeping his promise to take over guarding her. Or so he told himself harshly; it helped to stop up the feelings of failure that threatened to overpower him at any moment. Buffy had jumped because he had failed. His mind drifted back to early yesterday morning.
‘I blew it’, he’d thought with anger as his feet left the platform.
The stupid Glory-dwarf was standing right there and all he’d had to do was dash forward and push the punter right off the pier jutting from the shaky tower. Instead he’d acted as he always did… full of bravado and without a lick of sense. ‘Get the hell away from her’, he’d yelled.
Or something like that; the point being that he’d given the little goblin all the time in the world to act. She’d cast an incantation that had floated Spike up off of the walkway and over empty space with the unyielding ground far below and had dropped him, leaving the Little Bit to be victimized unstopped. And because of that, because of his big, stupid mouth, Dawn had been sliced open and the ritual started. Because of him, Buffy had to throw her life away.
Coming back to the here and now, he thought: Maybe she would have died soon anyway, being what she was. But maybe she’d have lived to have kids of her own. She had us… there was no reason she couldn’t have lived far beyond the usual Slayer expiration date. If only a certain vampire to remain nameless hadn’t fucked up so badly….
Dawn’s door surprised him by opening and he glanced at the occupant staring out at him with haunted eyes. She gave him the smallest of smiles and started down the hallway. When Spike went to stand up, she’d put her hand out, motioning him to remain where he was.
“I just have to go to the bathroom,” she whispered. “It’s just part of my routine this time of night,” she shrugged before continuing down the hallway.
After Dawn had made her way into the room down the hall and clicked the door shut,
Spike met her concerned eyes, but he waved her back into the room and its night stand light softly pooling beyond. “She’s just going to the restroom,” he said quietly.
At least one of my mortals is getting some sleep, he thought before his mind turned back to Xander. He didn’t need to be human himself to realize that Xan probably needed somebody too, and it should have been him. But he’d promised Buffy… Dawn had to be his life now. Surely Xan would realize that and approve even if it made their new relationship a bit of a try.
In the bathroom, Dawn flushed and stood up to look into the mirror. Her eyes met her counterpart in the glass and she could see dark circles. There was an emptiness there that scared her a little. She hadn’t realized how badly she looked and she thought of Spike in the hallway, watching her, probably listening even now as she turned on the sink to wash her hands and face. It was awkward with the broken finger taped up and she tried her hardest to keep the bandaging dry. At least it was only dully aching now, instead of the sharp throbbing it had been doing for most of the previous day. She thought of Buffy and her mom and bit her lower lip to keep from sobbing. She didn’t want to worry Spike anymore than he already was. In the bathroom cabinet behind the sink’s mirror she pulled out a bottle of sleeping tablets and swallowed two with a
As she placed the bottle back in the cabinet, she eyed the razor there. It was just a Bic disposable that Buffy probably used in the tub to shave her legs and under her arms. It wasn’t particularly dangerous since the blades were designed to not cut a woman while she shaved… that was even one of its selling points in the commercials.
Dawn reached out to the razor and felt its cheap plastic handle in her hand. Her eyes stared, fascinated, at the thin edge of the metal blade as the bathroom light glinted off of it. She remembered the night of her mother’s funeral when she’d sliced her arm using a knife. She’d needed to prove to herself that she was human, that she wasn’t the stupid Key that Glory wanted- just some ‘thing’ that needed the Slayer to guard over.
It turned out that both were true. Dawn pulled up the sleeve of the sleeping shirt she was dressed in. It was pink and white with a Ms. Piggy smiling broadly. On the back, in pink lettering were the words, ‘Who wants a prince when my frog is all I need?’
With the sleeve out of the way, she could see the thin white line that the wound had left behind afterward. Her eyes returned to the razor for several seconds before, disturbed, she returned it to the cabinet. She shut the door on it and turned off the water from the sink.
Shaking a little, she left the bathroom and upon returning, bent down to kiss Spike on the forehead.
“Thanks for staying, Spike,” she whispered before re-entering her room where she tossed and turned with nightmares involving her sister telling her she’d gotten her killed and images of razors against skin.
It was also a restless night over at Xander’s apartment.
Anya had given up on sleep earlier and had sat in a hot tub of water at around two o’clock, but now, at four-thirty she was in deep slumber. In her nightmares, she was back outside of the Magic Box and Glory’s hand was pressing so hard into her face. Her teeth were cracking under the strain and she could feel Glory’s fingers wriggling in her brain.
Her own nerveless fingers were clutching at her pillow and a steady stream of ‘no’ and ‘stop’ were slurred from her sleeping form. Tears wetted her pillow but she was far too exhausted to wake.
Xander had finally fallen asleep at a . Now he, or at least his body, was pacing in the guest bathroom. When eyes glanced at the reflected image in the mirror they shined with a golden hue that Xan would not have recognized as his own shade.
Hyena-Xander was wound up tight with worry and dread over the coming confrontation. She’d lost control of herself during the fight with Glory’s minions, she knew that. It was worrying, but not nearly as bad as the human was making it out to be. Spike just grabbed a hold of her (of Xan) at the wrong time that was all. She would have snapped out of her battle fugue on her own once the immediate threat to the vampire posed by the entranced Glory victims had passed. And besides, what she’d done was to keep his stupid body in one piece, too. Human-Xander was just being a whiner.
Still, her new mate was smart. He’d known immediately something was wrong with her counterpart. It was just the more pressing issue of Dawn’s rescue that kept things from coming to a head right then and there. It was only a matter of time… days maybe, before Spike asked Xander about what had happened on the battlefield. And though she might be able to hold his tongue, even without Commando’s help, it didn’t seem to have a point. Xander was going to spill everything to the vampire about her presence and she couldn’t be sure how Spike would react. She needed to seduce the vampire to her viewpoint, that she was good for both of them. That the human and she were better together than the boy would be on his own, at least until such time as she could remove the human from their shared mindspace, just as she had Commando. The important thing was to show the vampire what she could do for him… both in the bedroom and in leading the Scooby Gang.
Spike was strong and capable and she’d wanted him to be her mate since she’d arrived, but he seemed infatuated with her weaker counterpart, probably because he was more of an Alpha male than Xander was. Well, there was no reason an Alpha Male and an Alpha Female couldn’t work together, never mind the gender she currently inhabited. But she’d have to play this seductively until she was sure that she had Spike around her finger. She didn’t know what would happen if
She could only hope that killing off the usually cooperative Commando wasn’t going to come back and bite her in her own ass now.
Steam rose up in the decently-sized, white tiled bathroom. On the floor near the tub sat two small bottles of scotch. One was empty. The other was a quarter of the way down from where it had been only an hour before.
In the hot water, Giles soaked, quite drunk. One of his legs was propped up on the porcelain side of the bath tub, keeping his ankle cast from getting wet. A cold rag was pressed over his eyes and a glass of long ago melted ice and a small amount of liquor was held tightly in one hand.
His mind, fogged as it was, was working on what he was going to report to the Council. Obviously, Buffy’s death was not to be relayed to them under any circumstances. He could only hope that
He would need to speak to the others, of course. Get their recollections down on paper so that he could go about constructing a narrative that would make sense regarding the battle with Glory and her defeat. Not to mention the Key’s ‘destruction’ in the aftermath. Giles knew Quentin very well. If the Council found out that Dawn was still the Key, even if not active currently, he would have a team come in and take her away from them. She’d end up at the Council or, more likely, one of their hidden safe-houses. She’d be completely cut off from the outside world, including all of them, and be reduced to a test rat. He wouldn’t allow that to happen even over his dead body. That wasn’t why Buffy sacrificed herself and he would do all in his power and beyond to see to it that Dawn remained shielded from anyone who would wish to exploit or study her.
He stretched forward, a tricky business with the cast, and pulled the plug on his bath. Only when the tub was nearly empty did he finish the last sips of his watered down drink and struggle out of the tub to dry off.
Later, as he lay his head down in the guest room (it was too difficult going up and down the stairs with the cast and crutches) and saw the time was five-fifteen, he started to think about Dawn’s financial upkeep and the destruction of the Magic Box. One of the first things that the new, repaired (hopefully) Buffybot would need to do is learn to forge Buffy’s signature. They were going to need that Council stipend he’d demanded in order to retain Joyce’s house for Dawn.
Giles passed out shortly after these thoughts, dreaming of his Slayer winning against Glory. Dreaming of himself saving her. And dreaming of his sacrificing Dawn in Buffy’s place, and her hatred and anger in the face of finding out what he’d done.
Earlier that night, Detective Stein had driven his car near the Summers’ residence and slowed down, but hadn’t stopped. He’d had lots on his mind, not least of which were the new facts that he’d learned about his world. Carole was much more prepared, just through growing up in Sunnydale, than he in accepting and accommodating these things into her worldview. She was so much more adaptable than he was and now he had to continue trying to be a detective with the knowledge that there were things out there that had nothing to do with human crime.
He’d stepped on the accelerator and headed, again, for the site of the ‘funnel cloud’. There were several bodies found by his fellow officers at the site of the new construction on Sixth and Iris and he’d inherited the cases from the second shift. Not that it was considered a crime scene, as it appeared they’d been killed by falling debris, but it was unusual since many of the victims were being confined in Sunnydale General’s sixth floor mental ward very recently. And there was a crime scene there involving two nurses and a security guard, all stabbed to death.
“I’ll have to talk to Mr. Giles about that,” he realized. “He can probably explain why those people died.”
He thought about the young lady he’d investigated more than once. About how brave she must have been to face things like that Spike character. What must it have been like for her to constantly fight off such monsters and not be able to tell anyone or go to the authorities for help? If only they’d come to him before things happened the way they did, maybe he could have found a way to help them. Maybe she wouldn’t have had to die.
Rick was determined to help them now. He’d been a detective in Sunnydale for nearly four years and it was only now that he felt like he could truly make a difference. Helping this ‘Scooby-Doo Club’ or whatever they called themselves would help him feel more connected to what was going on around him and maybe with his help and city government connections and resources he could make sure that none of the other young men and women died. He’d have to talk to Carole, too. He knew she’d want to help as soon as possible with whatever they needed, but he didn’t want her putting herself in danger. He didn’t think he could survive it if she went out and got herself killed the way that Buffy Summers had.
When he reached the site, he found city workers busily taking down the hazard that had been thrown together on the site. A huge and hastily constructed tower of swaying metal and wood that didn’t look like it could stand for long if left to itself. Ambulances were still on site with attendants zipping up the last few bodies to be removed. As he approached, a uniformed man with a rifle slung checked his credentials. The Sunnydale Army Base had been called to dispatch troops in order to keep the peace and encourage the citizenry to remain indoors during the clean up operations. The Mayor had already ordered that the entire city was to be placed under a curfew at nightfall for the next three nights to ensure there’d be no looting or vandalism. He was also going to issue a release to the local morning news team asking businesses to remain closed today and tomorrow and for people to stay off the streets as much as possible.
As he stopped his car and before exiting it to join the throng of official activity, he pulled in a deep breath. He wondered how he could go on functioning side by side with his colleagues and bosses when only he knew what had really happened and what he’d find happening in the future. He let out his breath in a long sigh and went to work.
End Chapter 1