Alternate Normal Again, and not cheery. Read and you will see dead people.
Obstacles? Oh, yeah.
Thanks to cindergal for the encouragement.
“Angry, hurt and frustrated. ‘Name three things Spike feels when he’s around the Slayer.’”
He sat on the edge of his sarcophagus, taking another deep pull from his cigarette. “Not part of her life. I bloody well should tell her oh so righteous friends about us. Just go back over to her place and make the big announcement. ‘Me and Buffy have been banging like jackhammers. Thought you’d all like to know.’” He took another drag. “Soon as she’s better, gonna get right on it.” He snubbed the butt out on the marble.
She wasn’t well. He could see that, but he was too angry at her condescension to let it sink in. Her face was flushed and her forehead drenched with perspiration. She probably didn’t even realize what she’d said.
Willow had told him to make her drink the brew. But she hadn’t touched it.
“Idiot.” He grabbed his blanket and raised it over his head as he left. “Damned stupid idiot.”
It hit him as soon as he walked through the door to her house. Heady, strong. Blood, and a lot of it. He cursed himself as he followed the scent, running through the hallway, the kitchen, and down the stairs, barely registering that the back door was hanging open.
The blood was everywhere. Intoxicating. Disgusting. Because the source was her friends, barely recognizable. Xander. Red.
And oh god… “Niblet.” He leaned beside her ravaged body. “Dawn.” The masking tape still lay across her mouth. Her arms were tied behind her back, though the right had been pulled from its socket. He closed her staring eyes.
“Buffy.” He looked around the basement. He could hear her heartbeat. “Buffy!”
She was under the staircase, on the floor, leaning against the wall. He shook her, but she joggled like a rag doll. He picked her up, took one last look around, and carried her up the stairs.
He was at the end of Revello Drive, trying to balance the girl in his arms while keeping himself covered when he heard the screams coming from the direction of the house. Someone had found the bodies. He shifted Buffy onto his shoulder and ran towards the cemetery
He lay her on the floor of his crypt, cushioning her head with his rolled up duster. She was alive, seeming unhurt, but her forehead was hot. She was still unconsious.
What had happened, there in the basement? He’d left the demon chained to the post. Had it broken the links and set itself free? If so, who had bound the others? Warren and his friends? Why had they left Buffy untied? Had she escaped before she could save Willow, Xander and Dawn?
Obviously, she hadn’t taken the antidote. Again, he cursed his stupid, stupid pride.
He could go back to the house and see if the mug was still in her room. Bring it back and make her drink it. If she did, if she woke up to be herself again, how could he explain that her friends and the little sister she’d died to save were gone. How could he put her through that much pain?
What if she’d seen? What if she knew?
“Spike?” Her eyes were open and she was looking at him, trying to push herself up on her elbows.
“Shh. Lie back, love.”
“Why am I here?”
“I brought you. You aren’t well.”
“No!” She sat up, pushing his hand away. “Why am I here with you? You aren’t real. This place isn’t real. I was in the hospital. They were helping me. I killed the other delusions so I could stay in the real world. This is wrong. I want to go back.” She sank backwards onto the floor, her eyes open but unseeing.
She’d killed them. Tied them up and let the demon have them.
He sank back against the wall of the crypt. If he found the antidote and gave it to her, this is what she’d have to face. If he didn’t, she’d slip further and further away into that other world until she was gone forever.
She’d tied them up. Her fingerprints would be all over the duct tape.
He had to go back to the house.
Normally, locking her in the burnt-out lower chamber would have seen her break herself out in minutes. Even if she came back to herself while he was gone, he doubted she would have the strength or inclination to try to leave. He brushed her hair back from her forehead with his fingertip, and kissed her there gently.
Two images jockeyed in his mind. Buffy, lying helpless. And the face of his Little Bit.
Long before he reached the house, he saw the flashing lights of the police cars. He got close enough to see the yellow tape stretched across the door. No help to be found there.
He’d have to find the demon.
It was in the woods closest to the house. Wasn’t hard to track, with the scent of scoobie blood and the sight of trampled vegetation.
“Come and get me, you big, waxy buildup made flesh!” Spike stood his ground as the creature hurled towards him, releasing its remaining skewer from the sheath in its arm. He grabbed the demon and broke off the appendage before twisting its neck to a satisfying crack.
The creature was dead. He smashed in its face with a boot to the head anyway.
He had what he needed to cure Buffy. Willow had known what to do with it, but whatever book she’d used for the recipe was back at the house. He could ask Tara.
‘Please brew up a cure for the woman who murdered the love of your life.’ Right. That would go well.
He couldn’t ask Tara.
The slab he’d placed over the hole to the lower level was pushed aside. “Buffy?” he called.
She jumped at him out of the shadows, a stake in her hand. “I kill you, and I can go home!” she cried. Grabbing her forearms, he held her until she dropped the stake and slumped in his arms. He sat, cradling her body.
After a time she stirred once, moaned ‘Mommy’ and slipped away again.
Desperate, he took the demon’s skewer from his pocket. What did he do with the thing? Boil it? Is that what the witch had done? Stick her with it again and hope one time neutralized the other and didn’t make things worse?
He took it and forced it sideways into her mouth.
He sat holding her, her teeth occasionally grating against the rough edge of the stick in her mouth. Finally, her eyes fluttered open. “Spike?” she asked, spitting the skewer from her mouth, “What happened?” She pushed herself up. “And what the hell are you doing? We don’t cuddle anymore.”
“We never did.” He helped her to her feet. “The question is, how are you?”
“Me? I’m okay, I guess. Splitting headache. I had the wildest dream.”
As she swayed, he helped her to the edge of the sarcophagus. “Tell me.”
“I was in a hospital, and then I wasn’t. I was in the basement and… oh god, it was terrible. Dawn and my friends, this thing was ripping them apart, and I wasn’t doing anything. The blood…” She looked down at the stick and picked it up. Stared at it. “The demon.”
“It wasn’t a dream.” She turned towards the door. “Dawn.”
He grabbed her around the waist as she ran, screaming, trying to get outside. “Dawn!” She kicked at him, shifted and pushed at him. “Let me go!”
“You can’t help her.” He held her tight as he could as she struggled against him. “You can’t help any of them. And you can’t go back. The police are all over your house.”
“I have to go!!”
“No. You don’t.” He held her close as she stopped struggling. “It wasn’t your fault. You were sick. You would never have hurt them. Not you.”
“You were right about me,” she muttered against his shoulder. “I am dark. I am like you. I am a killer.”
“No, you’re not. I was wrong. But you can’t stay here. I’ll get you out of town. Out of the country. Rupert will help; we’ll call him.”
She slapped him across the cheek, hard. Then ran her own nails down her cheek, leaving trails of blood before he could stop her. “I’m evil.” She started laughing. “You were right.” She reached for his belt buckle and he pushed her away.
She slumped against him, alternating her tears with laughter. Looked up at him with wild eyes.
“It’ll be all right, Buffy. I’ll keep you safe.” He wanted her to need him. Not like this.
He’d looked after one mad woman he loved. He could do it again.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/274838.html