Ficlet: The Promise (1/1)

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Life has been hectic and I almost forgot my posting day. Here’s short ficlet before I toddle off to bed. I’ll (hopefully) post a slightly longer fic later this evening after I get home from work. Still need to finish up the last little bit.

Vacation is coming up, and I’m looking forward to enjoying seasonal_spuffy. In the meantime, many thanks to the excellent gillo , lutamira and fenchurche for making that possible.

Title: The Promise (1/1)
Author: annapurna_2
Timeline: Season 5 AU
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Post-apocalyptic
Summary: What if the final battle with Glory had a different outcome?

Spike watched in silence as five massive Krag’hor demons emerged from the abandoned building, dragging a struggling family of four out into the dark and almost-deserted street. The demons had sniffed them out, in a very literal sense, tracking them by smell to an upper floor of what had once been the Sunnydale Plaza Business Center.

A father, mother, teenage son and an older woman—grandmother, most likely—huddled together on the ground, where even now they were crying and pleading and making feeble attempts to bargain their way out of the inevitable.

The demons surrounding them laughed raucously, clearly amused by this, except for the head Krag’hor. He ignored them, turning away to let his crimson-eyed gaze fall squarely on Spike.

Even then, the vampire remained motionless, the very picture of bored indolence—arms crossed, leather-clad shoulder propped against rough brick, icy blue eyes conducting a lazy perusal of the scene. Seconds passed as the air around them grew thick with ragged sobs and a sharp tang of expectation.

Then, at Spike’s slow nod, the killing commenced.

He would watch from beginning to end, as expected of him, slouching with deliberate indifference against the cold, hard wall of a building that would soon be nothing but a burnt-out husk. One more torched remnant to join the countless other demolished shops, offices, restaurants and homes scattered throughout Sunnydale.

But when the Krag’hor attempted to prolong the process, to skip a quick dispatch and turn it into a lingering horror show of pain and mutilation, Spike abandoned his disinterested pose and pushed away from the wall, stopping them with a look. They snarled in grudging protest but, like flipping a light switch, the screams abruptly ended. The demons stomped off, looking for fresh mayhem as they left the bodies to rot where they lay.

Spike sighed but didn’t bother to call them back. Unless extreme torture was involved, Krag’hor demons had a notoriously short attention span. He would have a few vampire minions dispose of the bodies. Human blood was such a rare commodity these days that it didn’t have to be fresh. They’d be happy to take it any way they could get it, even cold and stale.

Striding past the still forms, Spike resumed his interrupted journey, heading for the outskirts of Sunnydale and the isolated three-story mansion he called home. He’d staked his claim to it early on, before any other demon with delusions of town dominance could do so. He’d held on to it ever since, taking out all challengers with swift and brutal efficiency.

It hadn’t been easy establishing a position of power and authority in this post-apocalyptic hell world. He’d carved it out with savage determination and more desperation than he could ever show.

It kept him alive. More to the point, it kept them alive. The witch, the whelp and the watcher. The other witch and the former demon, too. And the Bit. And the Slayer.

He kept them all alive, and they hated him for it.

Except for Anya, who understood why he did what he did. Who remained stubbornly and defiantly grateful despite the others’ scathing disapproval.

Except for Dawn, too, who blamed herself instead of him. Her blood. Her life in the balance. Her brief hesitation that gave him that extra split second he needed to keep her from jumping and closing Glory’s portal.

And then there was Buffy, who grew more silent and withdrawn with each passing month. She thought he didn’t know. How she lay in his arms every day but wandered the streets each night—slaying on the sly. Another Summers girl who hated herself. Living with the consequences of the promise she’d asked him to make. Looking the other way as he did whatever was needed to maintain control over their small corner of hell on Earth.

That brought him to another secret he wasn’t supposed to know. The one the others tried to keep from him. From her, too, since she persisted in trusting him. But with each fruitless attempt they made to reverse the apocalypse, it became harder to ignore them. To appear utterly oblivious as they searched with increasing boldness for the fabled spell that could turn back time. That could take them to the point where everything went wrong and make it right.

They had good cause to be wary of his motives. A part of him loved this world, with the Slayer in his bed and the Bit still alive and a town full of minions at his constant beck and call. Plus all-out demon brawls—fists and fangs and unfettered fury—any time he felt like it.

For him, this wasn’t hell. It was the other place…or as close to it as he would ever get.

But it was killing his Slayer.

So no more pretending. No more blind eye. He can’t stand by watching as she dies inside.

It had taken longer than expected, with a steeper price than he’d wanted to pay, but he had it now. A torn page from an ancient tome, neatly folded in the pocket of his leather duster. A one-way ticket to the past.

Emerging from the woods bordering his estate, Spike came to a halt, his gaze locking on a set of double doors that opened onto an expansive balcony. The curtains were drawn across them, illuminated by the warm glow of a bedside lamp inside the room. A small sliver of light escaped through a narrow gap.

She’d beaten him home. Was probably in bed, waiting for him.

Lighting a fag, Spike took a long drag on it, taking a moment to mourn a life that would no longer be. He’d give the Scoobies their way home, even knowing they wouldn’t thank him for it. Wouldn’t even remember, once the spell was done.

Didn’t matter though. He wasn’t doing it for them. He was doing it for her. Always for her. It was a silent vow he’d made to himself.

A new promise to keep.



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