Ack! It’s my day! I”m posting this in parts. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, this is the only part to be beta’d. The other parts will come later today. (I’m looking at maybe two more parts.)
Title: Full Circle
Rating: PG for now
Setting: Early Season 3 and then it goes wildly AU after that
Summary: What would have happened if Buffy met with Spike instead of Lilly in “Anne?” Where would it have taken them?
Author’s Note: This is most definitely an off cannon piece. I’m going to try to keep the characterization in cannon, but in the end I have to go where Buffy and Spike take me. Many thanks to ladypeyton. I couldn’t do this without you!
Disclaimers: Spike, Buffy and the Buffyverse are not my creations. They are the glorious brain children of Joss Whedon. Any liberties I take with the characters and the ‘verse are ‘cause he’s indulgent towards his fans. Some of the diner dialogue is directly from the original episode, “Anne.” The general concept of Drusilla leaving Spike for a chaos demon isn’t mine either. That’s from “Fool for Love,” Season 5. I didn’t write or create either! Please don’t say I did.
Los Angeles, September
The street is deserted. A chill wind whips down the street, kicking up abandoned newspapers and discarded leaves. It plucks at the girl’s blonde hair, styled neatly into two braids.
I can kick you around, too, it seems to say to her. You’re nothing. You belong nowhere, to no one. Come away with me. I’ll make sure you really disappear. It’s what you want, right?
The girl mostly ignores the wind. She pulls her coat tighter around her neck, but that is the extent of her acknowledgement . She just wants to be left alone. Nothing else. For two years she fought the fight and protected the world. Three years, and where has it gotten her? Here on her way to a lousy job, in a grimy diner, owned by an even grimier man, waiting on slovenly customers, far from home, distanced from her friends, her mother, everything familiar. No, she just wants to be left alone, needs the solitude of her new life. At least that’s what she tells herself night after night in the dimness of her dreary apartment.
The bell over the door of the diner tinkles as she opens the door and crosses the threshold. The smell from the frier and the muted sound of grease sizzling on the oversized griddle assault her immediately. A few customers grace the diner – one elderly man at the counter, dully stirring his coffee and mumbling to himself; another man in the shadows of a booth towards the back – nothing too exciting.
Anne nods generally in the other waitress’s direction. “Hey,” she mumbles as she removes her coat and ties an apron about her waist. “Not too busy, huh?”
“Same old, same old.”
Anne smiles sadly and picks up a napkin holder to fill it. The bell on the door tinkles again as two men walk in. They’re typical of the clientele here – rough men in flannel and denim with baseball caps. They take a table in the middle of the diner. Anne grimaces. It’s her station. The other waitress notices.
“I can take them if you want. You don’t look so good.”
Anne shakes herself, the grimace remaining in place, “Nah, I’ll be all right. I’ve got ‘em.” Grabbing her pad and a pen, she walks to the men. Her day has begun.
Meanwhile, the man in the shadowy booth watches her, takes a drag on his cigarette.
Goes by Anne now, does she? Well, isn’t that just special? What’s her game? Must be somethin’ brewin’ for her to be here and not back with the bleedin’ Scoobies. As he exhales, the smoke wreathes his head, grey against over-processed blonde. Yeah, need to find out what’s brewin’ and how I can be a part of it. Things been amight dull lately. Dru… bollocks! Not going to think of her? Crazy bint…
He continues to watch the girl, Anne. He’ll just wait for the right moment to step back into her life and make it a nightmare. Then he’ll kill her. Yeah… that would be good… Slayer blood… it’s been too long…
He continues to watch her through the morning. He was rocked to his bones when she didn’t give those two roughnecks – ruffians his mother would have called them – the set down they deserved.
Curious, he thinks. No snappy comment? Not even a patented look? Huh. He orders more coffee, biding his time until he can leave the diner and follow her.
A couple is kanoodling in the corner of a booth. Anne sees that they’re very young. She sighs and determines not to hold her breath for a big tip.
“You guys ready?” she asks.
The boy, gazing into his girlfriend’s eyes, replies, “Yeah. I think we’re good. Um… “He looks up and reads her name tag, “Anne.”
“What’ll you have?”
“Well, okay… What can we get with this?”
He reaches into his pockets and pulls out a handful of change. Dumping it on the table, he looks up at Anne expectantly. The rattle of the coins hitting the Formica seems to linger in Anne’s head. She shakes herself briefly.
“Can we get cake?” This from the girl in the booth to her boyfriend.
“Don’t be stupid,” he replies. “We gotta eat healthy. We can’t have cake.” To Anne he asks, “Can we get pie?”
Anne writes the order. “We’ve got peach pie. I can’t guarantee there’s a peach in it.”
The two start a conversation about money and tattoos. Anne mentally shakes her head and smiles wistfully as they proudly display their forearms. The each have a tattoo of half a heart with a ribbon across it. Their names are on the ribbon – “Lily” on his half, “Rickie” on hers.
Anne smiles weakly and comments that it’s “nice” and “permanent.” Rickie smiles broadly at Lily and replies, “Yeah, forever. I mean that’s the whole point.”
As the couple gaze lovingly at each other, Anne looks down sadly. When she looks up again, Lily catches her eye. A moment of recognition flares. Anne panics inside. This was a girl she saved last year. Did she save her just for this? To be squirreled away in the corner of some dingy diner booth, scraping together change for a lousy piece of pie? Is this what she was meant to save her for? Really?
“Hey, don’t I know you?”
Anne startles and murmurs … something. She’s got to get out of here. Now. She excuses herself to get their pie. They can’t realize who she is. She just wants to be left alone. She hurries to the counter.
Something in her gait pulls the man’s gaze again from his shadowy booth. He watches in surprise as she says something to the other waitress, pulls off her apron, grabs her coat and heads out again. He waits a few minutes then heads after her, leaving a few dollars on the table for his coffee. Not nearly enough to cover the cups he drank, but enough to make it look like he didn’t just run out on the bill. Wouldn’t do to have some loud blousy waitress runnin’ after him, drawin’ attention. He opens the door and steps out onto the street.
He doesn’t see her immediately, an anonymous shape hurrying along the street among a few other anonymous shapes, but then something in her stride, the way she stiffens as other people approach to beg, even just to pass by, alerts him. Then there’s her scent with that note of power that rises above all the other odors and stenches wafting from the street. He knows that scent and follows like a blood hound. The comparison in his mind strikes him as funny. He smirks as he lights a cigarette, the snick of his lighter punctuating his thought. The hunt has begun.
Anne hurries along the street, shoulders hunched around her ears, her coat collar pulled up high around her throat. It won’t do to be noticed. She’s not ready to be noticed. Then she hears it – the measured tread of thick soled boots hitting the pavement behind her. It’s steady, assured, strong. Her instincts alert her to the danger. She knows she’s being stalked, hunted. Inwardly she sighs. She just wants to be left alone; to simply live her life and try to move on, but whatever is behind her won’t let her. Wearily she turns, no grace in the movement, no snappy comeback on her lips, she turns and waits, eyes at the pavement. A black boot steps into her line of vision. It’s joined by its mate. The hem of a black leather duster swirls around the ankles. Resigned. She looks up.
“Spike.” Disdain drips from the word. Disdain and a touch of weariness that’s evident to the name’s owner.
“That’s right, Slayer. Tracked you down. Come to give you your due.” He smirks and eyes her from head to toe and back again. “My, my, my, somebody’s come down in the world.”
“Go away, Spike.” She turns to walk away. She doesn’t want to fight. She doesn’t want to kill – anything. That part of her life is over.
“’Go away, Spike?’” he mimics. “What’s wrong with the Slayer, then, hey? Got something brewin’? Somethin’ you just think is badder than me?” He clamps a hand down on her shoulder to turn her back towards him. “Slayer, ain’t nothin’ worse than me for you, right now. I’m the Big Bad and don’t you …”
She spins around and stabs a finger in his face, pinning her sentences to the air. “Nothing worse than you? You? Spike? Please! You don’t know anything! I killed Angel because of you. I took the heat for the mess your lover left in Sunnydale. Me. Not you. Certainly not that crazy chick you hang out with. Me. All me!
“And what did I get from it, huh? Nothing but a world of bad! That’s what. My mother threw me out. I’m probably still wanted on a murder charge and I’m expelled from school. Now I’m trying to make a real life for myself just so I can eat and have a place to sleep that’s not filled with 10 other people. And you want me to keep on the watch for your kind? Please. You’re so not the worst of my problems right now, Spike.”
With each finger stab, he leans back ever so slightly. At the end of her diatribe, his ice blue eyes narrow. He flicks his cigarette aside and steps in until they’re just touching chest to chest. She has to crane her neck back to maintain her glare into his eyes. Without effort, he grabs the lapels of her coat and lifts her from the pavement. “Maybe not the worst, luv, but I’m the problem right in front of you.” And like she was nothing more than a balled up piece of fabric, he swings her and pins her against the wall of a boarded up shop. “Time for a little payback, Slayer.”
She struggles to break free. She knew this dance once, but the months away from training have taken their toll. Her body protests as she asks it to perform the way it used to. She’s as helpless as she’s believed herself to be. Panic surges and flares as she dangles from his hands. He sees it and is oddly disappointed.
“Just like the others then, eh, Slayer? Come up against a real challenge, a real threat to your so-called powers and you … what? Crumple like a paper bag?,” he taunts. Quicker than she can blink, he transforms from his human mask into his demon. His yellow eyes gleam into hers. “But you’ll taste just as sweet.” He bares his fangs with a growl and bends his head to her throat.
Something snaps in her. Instinct takes over and without thought she finds herself free. He’s on the ground, at her feet, slightly dazed.
“No. I’m not like the others, Spike. I’ll never be like them. You can’t make me. Nobody can make me,” she declares. With a final kick to the head, she knocks him out and disappears into the night. When he comes around a minute or so later, she’s gone.
He sits up gingerly and tests out his aches. The bruises are already starting to heal. He looks around. Nobody is around. Nobody’s witnessed his humiliation. Good. But humiliation it was. She just left him there on the street. Didn’t even have the decency to stake him in battle. Only one thing for it, then. Track the chit down and end it, once and for all.
Philadelphia, March the following year
She’s going by Liz now. It’s a new city on the other side of the country. The city of Brotherly Love they call it. She has yet to see evidence of that, still, she can’t complain. Demon activity is really low here. It’s almost like they can’t compete with the South Philly machismo, the tight knit neighborhoods. She will say that for this city. They do take care of their own. Suits her just fine. Less killing she has to do.
She swings through City Hall courtyard on her way to her job. The stench of stale urine wafts through the courtyard from the various corners. Trash overflows from a bin placed near one of the gateways. Papers gather in the corners, swirling in the wind funneled by the arches, holding little paper meetings.
She’s been here a month now. Her hair is no longer blonde, or at least not as blonde as it was before. The roots show darker, but she’s cut her hair shorter, so it doesn’t matter so much, doesn’t look so dramatic to someone who doesn’t know her. For a while, she kept an eye out over her shoulder, looking for him, for anyone from home, really, but it seemed they stopped looking.
The only people that follow her now are people handing out flyers for new stores, or sales, or clubs. Or they’re derelicts looking for a handout.
She’s still in the courtyard when she senses something lurking in the shadows, by the entrance to the subway. A vampire, a strong one. Her senses tell her that much. But it’s noon here in the world above and she’s safe for now. Mentally she makes a note of the spot though. It won’t hurt to come back after work and check it out, make sure nothing’s nesting here. She stalks into the light, the aura of defeat from L.A. gone from her posture. Over the last few months, she’s come to realize that no matter how much she wants to, she can’t just give up the slaying, as much as she’s come to hate it. It’s a part of her as much as her eye color. So she slays when she has to, when it’s necessary. A nest makes it necessary.
In the shadows, he lurks and marks her progress. The hunter has drawn his bead. Soon he’ll make contact again. This time he’ll kill her, just like he did the others. Then he can move on, he’s sure of it.
It’s night now – well after 10:00. He’s located the café on 18th Street where she works. Waiting tables again, he notes. At least she’s consistent. Makes it easier to track her. He takes a seat at an outdoor table so he can smoke while he waits. He leans back and pretends to study the menu card, just biding his time.
She rolls her eyes as she sees the man sitting there sprawled in the chair, the card hiding his face. Figures she’d get a customer just before closing. Exasperated, she walks to the table, bearing her pad and pen like weapons.
“Hi, what’ll it be? Kitchen’s closing in 5 minutes,” she states.
He smirks and lowers the card. “Now is that anyway to greet a customer, Slayer?”
She gapes as his chiseled cheekbones are revealed above the card. “Spike? What the hell are you doing here?” she demands.
“Thought that’d be obvious, Slayer. Come to kill you. Remember that? Killin’? Slayin’? ‘S What we evil types do, kill your kind. You try to slay my kind. How’s that workin’ out for you then? Do much slayin’ around here?”
She crosses her arms and stands hip jutting out, weight on one foot. “Why would you care?”
“Don’t really,” he replies, putting the card on the table. “Just wonderin’ is all.” He stands. “So… you want me to kill you here, then?”
“What?” She stands straight. “No! I don’t want anything to do with you, Spike. I don’t want anything to do with slaying or… or… anything like that. I want to be left alone.”
Spike quirks his scarred eyebrow. “Yeah, so you said back in L.A. But that can’t be right, yeah? You have a callin’, a destiny. ‘Out of each generation blah blah blah…’”
“Yeah, yeah… I know the spiel, Spike. Not like I haven’t spent the last two years living it, you know. I just… I’m done with it. I can’t keep on killing. I don’t want to. It’s … too much…I do what I have to, but… it’s too much…” Her voice breaks on the last word.
“Too much? Slayer! It’s what you were born for.” He’s confused now. The other slayers weren’t conflicted about their calling like this. They accepted it, understood it: just as they understood that when it was their turn to die, he was the instrument. Why wasn’t Buffy like that? Why didn’t she understand?
“Born for it? Born to put my friends in danger? My mother? Born to kill the man I…” She swipes at her eyes. “Damn it! Spike, just go away. Please? Just go back to Drusilla and leave me alone. Please.” She turns away, ready to rush inside and into the ladies room so she can get a grip again. Why did he have to show up here? Why did he have to make her remember?
“Ah. See… well… I can’t. Me and Dru… well… we’ve split.”
“Sooooo… you’re the reason.”
She spins and stares at him sitting in his chair, mouth open, eyes wide. “I’m the what for the huh?”
Spike hunches forward in the chair, rubs the back of his neck and looks sheepish. “You’re the reason we split. Dru … she… well… she said … stuff. I caught her with a chaos demon and … yeah… “
“’Stuff’… Dru said ‘stuff’ and you broke up and now you’re chasing after me because Dru’s makin’ it with a… chaos demon?”
“Well… yeah. Yeah!” Spike surges to his feet. “Yeah! Said she could see you all around me, laughin’. That I tasted like bleedin’ ashes. And that I couldn’t push you away. Said I was covered with you. Figured it was ‘cause I didn’t kill you and partnered with you to protect her. So, the way I figure it, you and me got some unfinished business, Slayer.”
“Your crazy girlfriend hooks up with a carnal demon…”
“Chaos demon! Slimey, antlered thing…”
“…and somehow it’s my fault because you didn’t kill me back in Sunnydale when I was trying to save the world, and for some insane reason saved your crazy girlfriend in the process? I don’t think so, Spike.”
He bristles and steps towards her. “That’s it, Slayer. That’s it exactly! I can’t push you away ‘cause I need to kill you. That’s my destiny. So act on yours and let’s get on with it already!” He crouches into a fighting stance and waits.
Liz looks at him and something inside her crumples. For all of her cross-country navel gazing about her destiny, this is not what she wants. Not really. She left this behind, in Sunnydale. She just wants to live her life. She just wants to be normal, not the Slayer. She sighs and turns away.
“I don’t want to, Spike.”
Her voice sounds small, lost, not like her voice at all. He straightens uncertainly.
“You don’t want…? What has wanting to do with it, Slayer. You’ve got a… calling… you… ah…” His voice dies away. He’s at a loss as to what to say.
“I don’t want to be the Slayer anymore, Spike. Can’t you see that? I don’t want to be … me… I don’t want my life… that life… Can you understand that? Can you?” She starts to cry, shoulders hunched to her ears.
“Can you change that for me, Spike? Can you? I don’t think so, but if you can… if you know of a way…” She turns to face him, autumn eyes turned up to his, brimming with tears, anguish clear to anyone with eyes to see. “If you know a way to change my life, then… Crap…” She turns away and hastily swipes at her eyes, brushing away the unwanted tears.
Dumbfounded, he looks back at her. In all of his existence, he has ever been a fool for a crying woman. This night is no different. Gently he takes her into his arms and offers her comfort.
“Shhhh… Slayer… shhh… it’s all right. You just let it out… shhh…” He strokes her hair as she sobs in his arms.
“Please, Spike,” she sobs, “Please. Help me not be … me… please…”
Her pleading breaks his heart. It’s been over a century, but he remembers the pain of living, the despair. He murmurs soft comfort to her, over and over. They stand in the light from the café, the night sounds of the city slowly quieting around them.
Slowly, her sobbing ends. He continues to hold her. She looks up, a little embarrassed, but comforted in spite of it. She opens her mouth to thank him, her eyes dewy, slightly swollen from the crying.
He doesn’t know what possesses him. It’s like he’s moving through a fog and the clearest thing in the fog are her eyes, her lips. He closes the distance and kisses her, tastes her tears on her lips. They’re salty and a little sweet, but that could be her lips, the berries she had for dessert. He’s not sure.
At first he means only to offer more solace, comfort, but then the kiss changes, deepens. Passion flares for an instant, but so searing, he’s burnt with it.
Suddenly, the contact is gone. He’s sitting on the pavement with no clear idea on how he got there, watching her run down 18th Street, tossing away her pad, tearing off her apron. He shakes his head and starts to get to his feet. Someone has come out of the café. They offer a hand up. He vamps out and surges to his feet. The good Samaritan screams and runs back inside. Spike doesn’t pursue. He’s too confused. What the hell just happened? He bleedin’ kissed her? And she ran away? Again? Left him lyin’ on the pavement? Again? What the…? And he just let her? Forget the Slayer, what was wrong with him?
Okay… More later!
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/150658.html