Hi, guys! So excited for this today!
Title: Fighting for a New Day
Summary: This is as close to happily ever after as they’re going to get. But that’s okay, because she always liked the monsters in the fairytales just a little bit better. [NFA romance]
Warning: brief mention of Buffy/Angel, excessive fluff, etc.
A/N: Okay, so maybe it has been done to death. *grin* But I couldn’t help it, NFA is just eating my brains. Plus, fluff! This ‘ship doesn’t have nearly enough fluff sometimes. My seasonal_spuffy entries are for crackers4jenn, who told me to get my butt in gear and write some Spuffy asap! Here you go everyone…
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She expects it to be just another apocalypse. Routine, same-old drill, in-and-out, simple. She expects a massacre, and she expects her side to be doing the slaughtering for once. She expects a lot of things as she drops into L.A from the Council helicopter that is flying low so as to avoid the giant dragon sweeping across the sky. But she doesn’t expect him. Doesn’t even think to think of him as she begins to fight, but as she and her girls go on the offensive, she feels a slip in her step that has nothing at all to do with the dark-haired vampire currently gutting that fucking dragon. She only has a moment to wonder at it before she’s being thrust at a horned demon that breathes fire and all she can think is Com’n big-boy. Let’s dance.
Her fists meet their targets with fatal precision from the start, bone cracking against bone and a symphony of screams answering her blows. She is as finely-tuned an instrument as she has always been, better even, for the months that she has had resting in the Roman sun. Her legs carry her thin frame tirelessly, and her muscles stretch and ripple as she kills one, two, three, ten demons in a row. She smiles savagely as monster after monster falls, and she thinks, Yes. This is where I belong. This is what I do. Then she catches sight of a tiny girl with red hair who mirrors her actions move for move, and she corrects herself, No. This is what we do.
Having the other slayers there, a small army of seventy-three trained and lethal killing-machines, is not only comforting–it’s invigorating. Their energy feeds her, seeps into her blood so that she can constantly feel their heartbeats, their pulsing blood, their primal urge to kill kill kill. There will be no casualties tonight, she vows grimly, and she can see that the other girls agree. This is their first test, their first apocalypse as a sisterhood, and their coming-out party is a thing to behold. Out of the corner of her eye, she tracks the movements and progress of her friends. Faith and Kennedy are, as expected, doing fine in the melee, protecting the sacred circle Willow needs to complete the spell that will bind (temporarily) the portal of hell Wolfram and Hart has opened. Giles and Xander are observing from the rooftops somewhere, directing squadrons of slayers as they melt into the melee and systematically decimate the newest forces of Hell unleashed. Dawn is healing Angel’s friend Gunn in a dirty alleyway south of the battle, and she prays fervently that they will both be okay. And Angel, Angel is doing what he’s always done. He fights and fights well, and looks out for her as she looks out for him. She knows things have not changed, and accepts that now, but he is in her heart as he has always been.
Only he’s not alone there. Her lips tighten once and her blows become more vicious. The other who has shared her heart died for the cause she is fighting for right now, and his sacrifice will not be in vain. When she fights, she sees him next to her, a ghost of wicked smiles and knowing eyes, and she keeps living because he told her to, once.
When she first sees him, its just after she’s split a nasty-looking demon in half, glinting blade slashing across putrid flesh as guts splatter around her in a dizzying cyclone. It’s raining so hard that she can barely differentiate between human and monster, which would be dangerous if the only other humans here didn’t have reflexes to rival her own. There are elbows and knees and horns and scales, and the only thing she knows is she must destroy, she must fight, she must kill. But as soon as that demon falls apart, its halves falling with a squelching thump, all thought are erased from her mind.
He stands there, sword in hand, his blood obscenely crimson against the white-blonde of his hair. They lock eyes for a second, and her smile is as bright as a thousand disbelieving suns, while his is one of answering wonder. Then a winged creature with razor-sharp talons rakes a claw across his back, and he swears. She blinks, and the battle is on again, legs and arms and bodies twisting and turning in timelessly orchestrated movements. Her fingers wrap around his arm, and the contact, that jolt she has missed for so long, shocks her system for a moment. Then his hands are cupping her elbows and he’s picking her up, throwing her up and over in the air as her legs wrap around the creature’s neck, twisting with sick efficiency.
When she lands, he catches her and holds her close, and doesn’t let go.
There’s a battle raging on all around them, blood pinkening the water pooling at their feet, metal clanging against metal and shouts ringing out in increasing urgency. This is all horribly innappropriate, but if the two of them together have ever been anything at all, it’s innappropriate, and his lips graze hers as a demon dies behind them.
He’s cold and her bloody hands with the torn knuckles fist in his jacket as he holds her closer, leeching out any warmth she may have. She’s old and wet, too, but her cheeks are hot and her blood is simmering, and she’s forgotten what it was like with him. How raw and passionate it could be. In the few weeks before the battle with the First, their lovemaking had been tender, slow, searching. But as she grips his lapels, as she holds him close and tugs him down, rolling on top of him so one of her slayers can dive over them to kill a demon who had been lurking behind them, it’s anything but slow. Anything but tender. She devours his mouth fiercely, desperately and he responds in kind, no words needed for the unspoken communication of I want you, missed you, need you.
Then he heaves her off of him and kicks the sword that had been flying in their direction out of the way.
They stare at each other a moment more, one of his swollen shut, while the other stares out at her in awe. For her part, she is thrown completely off-balance and she cannot believe she just made-out with her returned-from-Hell vampire ex-boytoy thing in the middle of a battle!
She scoops up her axe and begins to go to work again, and her re-entrance into the fray cuts the numbers considerably. Yet even as the monsters fall, more keep rising in their place, and she is starting to get frustrated. There are too many, coming too fast. There is no reprieve, and while her girls may be good, they are by no means as fresh as they had been when they’d first dropped. She can feel the ebb and flow of blood in her veins, and knows something must be done.
Her eyes catch sight of Willow on a rooftop nearby, chanting frantically as a white light permeates the sky from her hands. The portal that is above them cracks the sky wide open, but the demons are no closer to it than they were before. There must be more power, but it is apparent that the hordes of monsters attacking Willow’s circle are disrupting her powers.
She turns to him, catches his sleeve as he takes out another demon. He follows her gaze to the rooftop that is quickly being swarmed with more creatures than even Faith and Kennedy can handle. She meets his gaze then breaks into a run, the cold presence of him just as comforting than she remembers. It’s just like old times in this moment, working together, relying on him to have her back. He is there for her, cutting down demon after demon in their path. An overwhelming emotion swells within her as they run, as his hands catch hers and as they fight in tandem. She has forgotten what it was like to have someone so completely reliable, so thoroughly ready to do his job and help her do hers. She has forgotten waht it was like to have him with her in battle, a warrior like her, and now, a champion, too.
With a roar, he catches her waist and they leap over a mass of demons, tucking and rolling into an alleyway. He scans the side of the building for something to scale, and settles on the piping. She goes first, and she laughs, almost, because he still finds time to be stupidly gallant even in life or death situations. And this is life or death, just like all the other times, except the only difference is, she’s tired of death always winning. Tonight it’s life they’re fighting for, and her feet find sure footing on the pipe as they begin to climb.
There are creatures falling like the rain that is still pounding down on them, but her hold never slips, and on the occasion that his does, he grabs hold of her ankle, she stops, and he is steady once more. It is a remarkably quick journey for all the hindrances that come their way, but that’s how they work–speedy, efficient, getting the job done. Her axe swings out to catch against some unlucky demon’s throat and she grins a the satisfyingshrrrrk! of its throat being cut. This is what it’s all about, the hunter killing the prey.
She looks down and shares an almost feral smile with him, and its just another thing she’s discovering they’ve always shared, this hunger for the kill. It should scare her, once upon a time, it did, but not anymore. Now she knows who she is, and what her body can do. Now she’s going to take what she wants instead of watching it being taken away from her.
She remembers fire and earth falling, and she remembers how he told her she didn’t really feel the way she was so desperately trying to tell him she felt. She remembers the regret, the helplessness, the sorrow and grief. And she vows that as soon as that big horned bastard on the roof is dispatched, she’s going to grab her ex-lover by the collar and tell him exactly what’s on her mind. She’s waited long enough, she’s always been waiting, and there’s never any time like an Apocalypse to tell someone how you feel, she reasons.
So distracted is she that it almost escapes her notice that they’ve reached the top of the building. She shakes her had furiously. Time enough for introspection later, now there’s a job to do. She leaps over the side of the roop and delivers a flying kick to the demon’s knees, watching as it stumbles. Her eyes follow the demons massive legs, up to its barrell-chest, up to its great horned head, up and up and up.
“Oh, shit,” she breathes, and then he’s is behind her, throwing her down as the demon brings down a hand and knocks waves of Slayers and one blonde vampire with a soul down to the ground. The fight that follows is messy and bloody, but somehow they manage to get the demon far enough from Willow’s inner circle that the other Slayers can focus on the various assorted minions doing their best to swarm the roof. It’s just her and him against the beast, and they lock gazes for a moment before she nods sharply, moving in at the same exact time as he. He is climbing the demon’s gnarled back, swinging like its some sort of bucking bronco, and she stifles a pervasive giggle as she ducks and then advances, parrying a blow and swinging her axe as it sings through the air.
Her blade strikes the steel of his sword, and the screech of metal scraping against metal is music to her ears as the demon staggers, roars, and falls. She swears and rolls, dancing on light toes as she spins out of the way. He stays locked onto the demon’s back, his bloodied hands gripping the thick neck and twisting violently, just to make sure.
She looks at him and she is about to say he’s done a good job, or maybe she’s about to finally punch him for never telling her he was back, or maybe, just maybe, she’s about to kiss him again. The uncertainty of which to do first, because she knows as sure as hell that she’s going to do all three, is dispelled when a flash of white sends them all to the ground. Her body creaks almost painfully at the shock of impact, and she sees stars for a second.
When she raises her head, the streets are empty.
The spell Willow was working on worked, she thinks numbly. It works and the portal to hell has been closed. For now. The battle is done, for now. It’s done. She lets out a sigh and doesn’t quite get up. Adrenaline is still coursing through her system, and she can’t figure out why she’s so disappointed that this apocalypse is already over. The hardest part of this battle is over.
His hand wraps around her wrist and he lets her up. She looks at him and now that there isn’t chaos swirling all around, she finally lets the meaning of him being here sink deep into her skin.
Maybe the hardest part isn’t done, yet.
She can’t think of anything to do, so she does what she’s dreamt of doing ever since he died last summer. She drops her axe to her side, strides close enough to touch the cold leather of his duster, and she says firmly, “I don’t say things I don’t mean.”
There is rain and blood dripping thickly from his nose as he smiles, touches her kiss-swollen lips. “I can see that. Always got to have the last word, don’t you, pet?”
She grabs his jacket as he stumbles, winding her arms around his shoulders as she keeps him standing. “Yep,” she agrees. “But you love me.”
He just looks at her, eyes as familiar and dear as she has remembered. “Yeah,” he says. “I s’ppose I do.”
She cocks her head and cradles his badly-bruised jaw, gently lingering on his split lip. “Well, I love you, too,” she says seriously. She meant it when she said it all those months ago, means it now, wouldn’t say a thing like that lightly, and doen’t he know that of her by now?
He look at the battleground around them, at Angel tending to Gunn, at a group of Slayers supporting a suspicious Illiriah, at Willow and Kennedy embracing, at Dawn helping Giles walk. Then he looks down at her and he seems to be saying, Shouldn’t you be with the ones you love?, and her eyes are saying back, I am.
And he whispers, “Yeah. I s’ppose you do.”
Meeting in battle is what they do, she muses as she walks with him to their friends. Fighting against each other, fighting against what they were, and then fighting for each other, fighting for what they were. Fighting for that chance of something more, always just out of their reach. And even though it’s not a sunrise they walk into, even though he’s not a prince and she’s sure as hell not a princess, it’s something almost innocent when they join hands and look to a new day.
For many, many more apocalypses to come.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/66923.html