Just barely got it in, for you east-coasters. Thank you so much for reading and for your great comments. It’s wonderful encouragement.
“Send me back,” Spike yelled.
“Spike, we can’t,” Angel said. They were back at Angel’s old hotel, and the plan was to get some rest and regroup for the next fight. But Spike had been belligerent from the instant he’d appeared out of that portal and landed flat on his ass in the alley. “This thing with Wolfram and Hart isn’t over yet, and we need everyone here if we hope to get through tonight.”
Spike scoffed at him. “You think the three of us and the few old friends who lack a sense of self-preservation will have any kind of chance to get through this?”
“As much of a chance as we stood last night,” Angel said.
“Last night?” Spike asked. “Did you say we fought last night?”
Not again! Angel had already explained this to him. “What happened to you, Spike? Hit your head falling out of that wall? Yes. It was last night.”
“Like hell,” Spike said. “Been gone for longer than that.”
“One day, Spike.”
“Then you need to send me back right now.”
Angel shook his head. “Come on. You know what this means. You were the first one with your hand in the air to join this thing. Now isn’t the time to quit.”
“I’m not quitting,” Spike said. “There’s something else going on, and for whatever bloody reason, I’m a part of it.”
“You’ll just have to be part of it later. Right now we have to come up with another plan if we’re going to get anywhere with this tonight.”
After they managed to retrieve Spike, the lack of a plan had been his sole focus. Of course, it helped keep his mind off all the death around him. He couldn’t think about everyone he’d lost. Not yet. But now that Angel took the time to really look Spike over, he began to notice some things. Like the absence of cuts and bruises that the rest of them were marked with.
“Weren’t you bleeding?” he asked.
“Opened the bloody portal, didn’t I,” Spike sulked back at him.
They glared at each other.
“Told you I was gone longer than a day,” Spike muttered.
Different alley, different night. The rain wasn’t pouring down, but the blood was. It rained everywhere and Spike lifted his arm to wipe the gore from his face. This wasn’t going remotely well, and they were being driven back. The demons were bigger this time, and better prepared for their decimated forces. Spike tried to focus on the battle, but couldn’t help drifting back to Buffy, wondering how she felt when he’d disappeared and how much time had gone by for her, all alone.
The frustration gave him a surge of strength, and he whirled around, severing limbs from the creatures that attempted to attack him from behind.
They couldn’t win this. They needed an army. Too bad those were in short supply.
An army. Why did that thought nag at him? A legion of warriors, fighting evil for all they were worth. Yes, that was it! He looked frantically for Illyria, because he knew she’d help him. Blue had a soft spot for him.
She was at the corner, throwing a Fyarl demon into a dumpster. Bloody monster would like that! He ran to her and grasped her arm. “Come with me,” he shouted once he had her attention. She nodded and ran beside him. Good old Illyria. She probably would have made Angel ask nicely.
They found the other alley. It was nearly demolished. The demons had come back through the same portals as before, and had visited their destruction on the inanimate concrete and bricks before seeking out their real prey. Spike ignored the mess; he needed to find that spot.
“We are to help Angel,” Illyria told him.
“I know, love,” Spike said. “That’s just what I’m doing.”
He found the spot, but there was barely anything there resembling the wall that had stood the night before. He handed Illyria his sword. “You have to run me through,” he said.
She didn’t pause. The blade drove into him, and he doubled over from the pain. She pulled the blade out and he grasped at the wound with his hands, covering them with his blood. Illyria shoved him against the quaking wall and he looked up, meeting her gaze. As she nodded he placed his hands back and yelled, “I’m going back in!”
Reality shifted again as the wall collapsed under this final stress. Spike was gone, and so was his way back.
Buffy found him there again, in the sun amid the soft grass. She held him and told him how much she missed him. He kissed her. Everything was going to be all right.
“Buffy, please, you have to listen to me. It’s important.”
“Not again,” she groaned. “You keep telling me this story, and it’s crazy.”
“I don’t care if you think it’s crazy, you need to listen.”
She settled down beside him and tried her best to look interested. Really, she did. Spike had always been full of drama.
“So there are these girls,” he began.
“Yes, little slayers, you said.”
“No, not little slayers. Just slayers, like you. Lots of them.”
She smiled. “Where did they all come from?”
“You’ll figure it out,” he said. She hated it when he said that.
“So anyway, you won’t remember this. Trust me, you won’t, but one night you’ll remember—”
“In a dream, right?” she asked.
“Probably,” he said. “You were always big with the dreams.”
“And you’ll know that you have to go and help Angel.”
“Since when do you want me to help Angel?”
“Focus, love,” Spike said. “When it happens, you need to go. You have to.”
Buffy nodded, “Because I have to save the world?”
“Yes,” he said. “It’s your destiny.”
She laughed at that. “And all this time I thought my destiny was wrapped up in sitting here with you.”
Spike’s face fell. She didn’t understand exactly what had upset him, and she’d long since learned he wouldn’t share it with her. He finally looked up at her. “I love you,” he said.
Yes, he did. She knew it. It felt good to be loved.
Angel ran through the streets, looking for Illyria and Spike. He called for them, but his voice was drowned out by the shouts of the demons as they rushed in on him. If they were gone, this was over. This fight… he wouldn’t face the thought. They weren’t gone. They weren’t.
To the right he saw a flash of blue. Yes, it was Illyria. She ran to join him. “Where were you?” he asked.
“Spike had a plan,” she said.
“Care to share any of it?” This was crazy. There were doomed to be overrun any second and now they had a plan?
Illyria almost seemed to smirk, though he knew that was impossible, and she pointed behind him. Angel turned and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Slayers. Hundreds of slayers. Maybe even thousands. They were everywhere, mowing down every demon in their path. It was the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen.
A wide grin spread across his face, and he grasped his sword, renewed. He looked to Illyria. “Let’s do this!”
They ran into the fray to claim their share of the victory.
Spike lay back in the ocean of green, and tried not to miss Buffy. She was out there, fighting the good fight, just like she was meant to. As for him, one of these years they’d suss out how to get him back. It was all right; he could wait. He had nothing but time.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/226602.html