Previous chapters start here.
It's Got to be Perfect
Chapter Seventeen: I Don’t Wear Scarlet Well.
This chapter has a rating of ‘R’.
“He was just totally like Jet Li,” Andrew mused wistfully. “He’s still so cool, even though he’s not a Vampyre any more.”
“So? I still kicked his ass,” Warren said crossly. “Shut up about Spike.”
“You only kicked his ass because you’ve got the Orbs,” Jonathan pointed out. “When are we going to get our turns?”
“After the job,” Warren promised airily. “They give strength and invulnerability, but they don’t do anything for coordination, and neither of you two is exactly Daredevil.”
“I can too be co-ordinated,” Andrew sniffed.
“You couldn’t co-ordinate your shirt and pants,” Warren mocked. “You’ll get your go when we won’t miss out on a big score if you mess up, okay?”
“Make it soon, dude, I’m tired of waiting.”
Jonathan frowned. He was far from convinced that Warren would ever let the Orbs out of his hands. This really wasn’t fun any more. The big promises were turning to ashes again. Getting super-powers was cool, yeah, but fetching and carrying in the background while Warren played with super-powers wasn’t. A big heist was cool, as long as you didn’t get caught of course, but Warren starting a bar fight and stealing from the cash register wasn’t. It was just being a jerk. Not a super-villain, a criminal. Those people in the bar had got really hurt. Warren had broken somebody’s arm. He’d made an awful mess of Spike. Definitely not fun. Still, he shouldn’t have to put up with it much longer. As soon as this job was over he’d take his share of the money and run. Hopefully Andrew would have enough sense to do the same. Leave Warren to play his crazy games on his own.
“You were a long time, Buff, we were just about to call you. You’d better get changed right away if you’re gonna wear your Kevlar, and that’d probably be …” Xander’s voice died away as he noticed Buffy’s white face and staring eyes. “Buffy? What’s wrong? Is Spike okay?”
“No,” Buffy mumbled. “Not okay. Nothing’s okay.”
Dawn sprang up, her mouth dropping open and her eyes opening wide. “What’s happened to Spike?” she demanded. “He’s not – he couldn’t be …”
“He’s fine,” Buffy assured her hastily. “Well, not fine, he’s bruised, and sore, but he’ll be fine.”
“Jeez, Buffy, you scared me.” Dawn breathed a sigh of relief. “So, what’s wrong?”
“Me. I’m wrong.” Buffy sat down heavily on an armchair and put her head in her hands. “I don’t think he’ll ever speak to me again.”
“You had a fight?” Willow asked. “Not like it’s the first time.”
“Never like this. Oh God.” Buffy raised her tear-stained face from her hands and looked despairingly at her best friend. “I don’t think there’s any way back from this one. What I did …”
“What did you do, Buffy?” Tara demanded.
Buffy looked at her despairingly, glanced at Dawn, and then turned back to Tara. “A bad thing. I – I can’t talk about it right now. I’m going to go change and go fight Warren. Hitting people I can do. Yeah, I’m real good at hurting people. Loving people, not so much.” She stood up and fled upstairs.
“Hello, Glinda. Suppose you’d better come in.” Spike stood aside as she entered. “Come to offer me care and attention?”
“You look as if you need it.” Tara studied him. His nostrils were crusted with dried blood, there was a swelling over one brow, and she could tell from the way he was moving that he had injuries to his body. She’d seen him in a worse state often enough, and at least once the injuries had been inflicted by Buffy. “How much of it did she do?”
“None of it. Well, there’s this one cut on the back of my head, caught it on the tap. It’s a bit of a pig trying to do anything about it, place it is, would help if you could take a look at it for me.” Spike’s voice was level, his face almost devoid of expression, but there was an oddly defeated air about his eyes and his body language. His stereo was playing Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’. A CD, not the radio, and Tara wondered if there was anything significant about the track; it didn’t seem a terribly Spike choice of music, even post wish.
“I’d be glad to, hon. Sit down.” Tara examined the cut with an expert eye. “It’s stopped bleeding, but it might be best to put a little antiseptic on it. What happened, William?”
“How much did Buffy tell you?” Again almost no emotion in his voice.
“That she’d done a bad thing, and she didn’t think there was any way back from it. W-w-was it something to do with, umm, sex? She wouldn’t talk about it in front of Dawn, and that’s usually a sign.” Tara took a deep breath. “D-did Buffy s-sexually assault you?”
“A bloke’s not supposed to mind,” Spike replied obliquely. “Is he?” The tight control cracked and he looked up at Tara with tears beginning to well up in his eyes. “I feel dirty. Ashamed. Is there something wrong with me?” He choked back a sob.
Tara sat down beside him and held out her open arms. “No, sweetie, there’s nothing wrong with you,” she assured him, as he came into her embrace and she cuddled him to her. “What you’re feeling is natural. Forget about what you see on TV. It’s perfectly normal to be upset.” She held him for a minute, feeling him relax, and then he pulled away and sat up.
“It was my fault, I suppose. We were talking, and I made a couple of comments that were probably a bit suggestive, and she took them the wrong way,” he explained. He pulled some tissues from his pocket and dabbed his eyes, and then blew his nose.
“Comments like you make to me, you mean?” She smiled warmly at him.
“Yeah, pretty much.” He gave her a smile in return, although it didn’t really reach his eyes. He looked at the tissue. “Has my nose started bleeding again?”
Tara stared into his nostrils, brow furrowed with concentration. Spike’s mouth twitched. It twitched again, and a genuine smile began to creep across his face. The corners of his eyelids crinkled. “You know, love, you do look funny like that.”
“Says the man who is giving me a close up view of his nostrils,” Tara riposted.
Spike burst out laughing. “Tara, love, you’re a marvel. You can always make me feel better. No chance of you changing your mind about the gay thing?”
“Sorry, no way,” she smiled back. “Although if I did, yes, you’d be in with a chance.” She batted her eyelashes at him, and then turned serious once more. “Your nose isn’t bleeding. It looks much better now. Can you breathe easier?”
“Yeah, thanks. Dunno what I’d do without you, pet.”
“I didn’t do anything to clear your nose. I was going to, but you blowing it seems to have been all that was needed.” The track on the CD player had come to an end, the auto-changer had whirred, and another song was now playing, one unfamiliar to Tara. Some of the words caught her ear, ‘… from your father’s hand that always seemed like a fist reaching out to make you pay,’ and she began listening with one part of her mind while paying attention to Spike with another.
“Got to give credit to the attack of the weepies,” Spike nodded. “Sorry about all that, love. I thought I’d got over all that cry-baby stuff that I went through just after I turned human.”
“No need to feel bad about it. You were upset, and I don’t blame you.” The song on the stereo reached the chorus. ‘Oh, Lord, where did the feeling go? Oh, Lord, I’ve never felt so low.’ “Although,” Tara chided Spike gently, “I’m not sure that putting such sad music on was the right way to deal with things. It’s a beautiful song, and I want to hear it properly some time, but I don’t think it’s helping, and neither was Natalie Imbruglia.”
“Yeah, well, I sort of felt like ‘nothing’s fine, I’m torn, I am cold and I am shamed’. What, you think maybe I should have put on that ‘Gay Eskimo’ song? Or ‘Teenage Dirtbag’?”
“Maybe. Think you’re up to letting me have a look at your bruises now?”
“That’s the point at which everything went wrong with Buffy,” Spike told her. “Although, trust you a hell of a lot more than I trust her, and not just ‘cos of the gay thing.” He glanced at his watch. “Dunno. I sort of feel like I could do with a good fight, work the anger off that way. Most of the soreness has gone, y’know, pet. She did wish for me still to have vampire healing speed. If I set off now I could probably get to the amusement park in time to give her a hand with that Warren tosser.”
“You’d help her out after what she did to you?” Tara raised her eyebrows.
“Well, yeah. She’s the Nibblet’s sister, for a start, so she’s pretty much family. Like you. She might not be my favourite person any more, but letting her take on that creep by herself when he’s hyped up pretty much to Glory levels, well, not going to do that. Besides, I owe him some lumps.”
Spike pulled the Jaguar to a halt and swung the door open. The sound of Rammstein’s ‘Links 234’ blared out across the car park, and then was muffled as he climbed out and slammed the door shut.
He was late, he realised as he surveyed the area. An armoured truck lay on its side, the heavy rear door ripped from its hinges, and Buffy was fighting Warren near the vehicle. Willow and Xander stood watching, worried expressions on their faces. Jonathan and the other bloke were hanging back, avoiding Buffy, and keeping the wrecked truck between themselves and the two Scoobies.
Spike headed for Willow. “Any luck in getting rid of the spell?” he asked. He could tell the answer would be negative; Buffy was losing the fight.
Willow shook her head. “I can’t find any spell as such. He shows up as magical, but that’s all. I think he’s maybe got a sorta human version of the Gem of Amara, only with added strength. There’s nothing I can do to disrupt it.” She winced as Buffy took a punch to the head and was knocked backwards.
“I’d better help her out,” Spike muttered.
“Are you sure you’re up to it?” Xander looked anxiously back and forth between Spike and Buffy. He was scared for her, and knew she could use some help, but had seen Spike badly hurt only a few hours ago and didn’t want to see it again.
“Not like I’ve got a choice,” Spike told him. “Anyway, when it comes down to it, there’s death and glory and sod all else.”
Xander was holding a baseball bat; Spike held his hand out and the young construction worker passed over the weapon. “Kick some nerd ass,” he urged.
“Ta, mate.” Spike hefted the bat and took off towards Warren at a dead run.
“It’s Spike!” Andrew squealed as he saw the new arrival. “He is totally a superhero. Beaten and bloody, down for the count, but he picked himself up and was back to face the villain for the next issue.”
“What the fuck?” Warren snarled, turning to face the new opponent.
Buffy picked up a large chunk of rock, a piece of the rubble from a decorative archway that had been destroyed earlier in the battle, and smashed it down on Warren’s head. The rock shattered; Warren stumbled and almost went to his knees, but regained his feet in time to meet Spike’s attack. He blocked the first swing of the baseball bat and replied with a punch. Spike swayed aside and kicked out at the side of Warren’s knee. Once more he stumbled; Buffy saw what Spike was doing and backed him up by kicking the back of Warren’s other knee, sending him crashing to the ground. She was still holding half of the broken rock, and slammed it down viciously into his face. Spike struck with the baseball bat.
Warren laughed. “You can’t hurt me. I’ve got the power.” He scrabbled on the ground and grabbed one of the pieces of rock, swung it at Spike, and laughed again as the other man danced away lightly. He threw the rock hard at Spike and hit him a glancing blow. Spike staggered and dropped to one knee. Buffy kicked Warren in the face, again with no effect, and then leaped to join Spike.
“You okay?” she panted. “Thanks for coming. I mean, really thanks. I didn’t expect it.”
“Doesn’t mean we’re friends,” he said coldly, “but I promised to take care of the Nibblet, and keeping her sister alive is a part of that. What happened to the axe?”
Buffy winced as if he had slapped her. “He broke it,” she replied in tones as cold as his own. “Nothing I can do hurts him. How’s Willow coming on with the spell?” She stepped away to face Warren again; he had regained his feet and was approaching with another piece of rock in his hand.
“There isn’t a spell,” Spike told her. “She says it’s some sort of Gem of Amara for humans.”
“Bummer.” Buffy ducked under a wild swing and seized Warren’s arm. She flipped him over, planted a foot in his armpit, and wrenched hard on the arm. He broke free with sheer strength and sent her stumbling away.
“I’m getting tired of this,” Warren announced. He picked something up from the ground and rose to his feet clutching the head of the axe that had been broken early in the battle. “Time for you two to die.”
“Warren, no!” Jonathan cried. “No killing!”
“A bit late for that,” Warren chuckled. “Now, who’s gonna be first?” He advanced towards Spike.
“You mustn’t kill Spike,” Andrew wailed.
Warren swung the axe head at Spike, who easily dodged the blow, but Warren continued round through a hundred and eighty degrees and Buffy only just managed to avoid running into the axe blade.
“This has all gone too far,” Jonathan muttered. “Being a super-villain isn’t fun any more. People really get hurt. I never wanted this.”
“Nor me,” Andrew agreed, cringing as another slash from Warren sliced through Spike’s shirt and drew a line of blood across his chest. “We’ve got to stop it.”
“Smash his orbs!” Jonathan shouted.
“You little traitor!” Warren bellowed.
“Orbs?” Buffy repeated blankly. Her eyes narrowed as she studied Warren. The back of his jacket was bulging suspiciously; something was obviously concealed there.
“The pouch on his belt,” Andrew pointed out helpfully.
Warren drew back his arm and threw the axe blade at Jonathan. Spike leaped sideways and thrust out with the baseball bat, intercepting the throw. The blade bit deep into the wood and jerked the bat from his hands.
“Spike saved me!” Andrew cried excitedly. He didn’t know which of the two of them had been the target of the throw, but was prepared to assume it had been him; that was cooler.
Buffy pounced on Warren as he glared at Spike in frustrated fury. His jacket had ridden back as he threw, exposing the pouch, and she seized hold of it and ripped it from his belt. “No!” he cried in alarm. Buffy smiled triumphantly, slammed the pouch hard into the ground, and then stamped on it for good measure. There was a sound like a broken light bulb imploding and Warren jerked convulsively. “Bitch!” he yelled.
“Loser!” Buffy retorted. She slapped him across the face, with much less than her full Slayer strength; he reeled backwards and fell over to land on his ass. He scrambled up and scuttled away from her. His amused and confident air was gone, and now he just looked terrified.
“If you grab Groucho, Slayer, I’ll go and get hold of Chico and Harpo,” Spike offered.
“Thanks,” Buffy replied. “Spike – about what happened – I can’t tell you how sorry I am.”
“Save it for another time, Slayer,” Spike said, and turned away.
Warren was frantically stripping off his jacket. “This isn’t the end, bitch!” He was wearing a harness under the jacket and a device strapped to his back. Two silver tanks and a nozzle. He pulled a lead from the harness with a control switch on the end, thumbed the switch, and hot gasses spat from the nozzle. Warren rose into the air, escaping a frantic leap by the Slayer, and soared away into the distance.
“I don’t believe it,” Buffy gasped.
Spike scooped up a stone and cocked his arm for a throw, but the jet pack had already taken Warren out of range. “Sodding buggering damn!” he swore, throwing the stone down.
“Pretty much my sentiments,” Buffy agreed. She smiled at him, but the smile froze on her face at the cold stare she received in return. “Sorry,” she mumbled, and headed for Jonathan and Andrew.
Andrew pulled off his own jacket, revealing an identical jet pack.
“Why didn’t I get one of those?” Jonathan whined.
“We were going to leave you behind,” Andrew explained. “Warren hasn’t trusted you for a while now.” He unbuckled his harness and lowered the device to the ground even as Spike arrived at a run. “I’m so glad you’re all right, Spike,” he greeted him. “You saved my life. Thank you, thank you. Have I told you how cool you are?”
“Yeah, it’s okay,” Spike replied, rather taken aback. “Thanks for the tip-off about the Orb thingies, you two. You’ve got balls.”
“Unlike Warren.” Buffy walked up and joined Spike. She stared suspiciously at the two remaining members of the Trio. “So, you’re turning yourselves in?”
“Guess so,” Jonathan said nervously. “Look, Buffy, I’m really sorry about everything. It was all supposed to be just fun and I never meant for anyone to really get hurt.”
“You did the right thing in the end,” she conceded.
“There wasn’t anywhere for me to go,” Andrew said. “Not without Warren, and he was going to kill me. But I couldn’t let him kill Spike. I shall turn State’s Evidence and atone for my crimes.” He puffed out his chest. “I’m like Gollum. Well, not really, ‘cause he didn’t mean to fall into Orodruin with the One Ring. And I didn’t bite off anybody’s finger. More like Darth Vader, when he wouldn’t let the Emperor kill Luke.”
“We’re going to jail,” Jonathan said tremulously. “I’m scared.”
Andrew deflated as the implications of his grand gesture began to sink in. “So am I. Maybe we can share a cell.”
“They’ll probably make us share with Hell’s Angels,” Jonathan whined. “Or with guys from the Cripps or the Bloods.”
“Do they have computers in prison?” Andrew wondered, and then seized what might be his last chance to ask the vital question that was burning in his mind. “Spike – are you ‘William the Bloody’ on fanfic dot net?”
“So they think they’ve won,” Warren said to the robot. The lifeless, glassy, eyes that stared back at him were set in a face identical to his own. “Well, we’ll see about that. Warren Mears always has a back-up plan.” He shifted a cupboard and felt for a secret catch, and then raised a section of floorboard. “Nobody does that to me and gets away with it. It’s all her fault that Katrina left me in the first place, you know that?”
The robot sat silent and motionless. Its power was disconnected. Warren had learned from his disastrous experience with April the sex-bot, and now always made sure there was an ‘off’ switch.
“Magic was a bust, thanks to those two traitorous weasels,” Warren went on, fumbling in the secret compartment. “I don’t think science is the answer either, no offence, but the Slayer and that ex vampire would just rip you apart. She beat April, remember?” He lifted out a small leather case and put it on a desk. “So it’s back to old style technology, tried and tested. After all the hoops I had to jump through to get this thing it’s kind of satisfying to actually get to use it.” He opened the case and revealed a matt black automatic pistol.
“Sig-Sauer P-228,” he said reverently. “Swiss design. Precision engineering. Maybe I should have laid out the extra fifty bucks to get it in .40 calibre, but nine millimetre will do. Two ten shot magazines. I’ll just keep pumping bullets into them for as long as it takes. And then, my friend, you can walk into the police station, rip your way into the cells, and bash in the heads of those two little creeps. You shut yourself down, wipe your programs, and I’m home free. What, me rip off the door of the truck? Not me, officer, must have been the robot with my face. No, I didn’t make the robot. Why would I make a robot that looked like me and make it do a robbery, that would be pointless, and how could I make a robot? I’m just a College drop-out.” He slid home a magazine and worked the pistol’s slide to chamber a round. “Okay, it’s a dumb story, but this is Sunnydale. They’ll buy it. As long as all the witnesses are dead. Won’t they?”
The robot didn’t answer.
‘Okay, now I’m stalking him. This is so not good’. Buffy took a few steps forward, lost her nerve, and retreated back to the tree. ‘No, I’m not stalking. I’m waiting around trying to get up the nerve to apologise. To crawl. Do anything it freaking takes to get him to forgive me, to at least be friends again, because I can’t take the way he looked at me. It’s a whole different vibe.’
She leaned back against the tree and looked up at his window, three floors above her head. She couldn’t see him. Maybe he wasn’t even there. Except that he must be, because he’d slammed the phone down on her when she’d rung. Hadn’t even let her get two words out.
‘I thought I was in Hell the first weeks I was back from Heaven. What did I know? Okay, so in Heaven I was warm, and safe, and I knew that I was loved. Complete. Well, I came back to someone who loved me totally. Not so warm, yeah, but on the love side he was going for the Guinness record. Safe? I had someone who would die for me any time. Someone who would put himself between me and danger, no question. He lost a fight, got thrown off a tower, and he was all torn up with guilt for one hundred and forty seven days because he let me down. ‘Every night I save you’. God, what more did I want? I had everything, and I threw it all away because he didn’t have a heartbeat. Stupid, stupid, stupid Buffy. Hoist with my own petard, yeah, right.’
She’d looked up ‘petard’. An explosive device that they used in ancient times to blow open castle doors. If it went off too early it blew up the guys who were putting it in place, so they got sent flying up into the air. Yeah, she’d blown herself up sure enough. First with the wish, and then by what she’d done last night. Blown herself up and then blown up the pieces.
“Come on, Buffy,” she told herself aloud, walking towards the apartment once more. “You can do it. Walk in, go up in the elevator, walk to his door and ring the bell. If he won’t answer it then talk through the door. Tell him how sorry you are. Maybe it’ll work. No pain no gain.”
“Oh, there’s going to be a lot of pain, girly,” a sneering voice broke into her thoughts. “Definitely no gain.”
“Warren. Why aren’t you on your way to Mexico or wherever? You have some sort of death wish?” She turned around and saw him.
“Yeah, I’ve got a death wish, but for you, baby.” He was aiming a large black pistol straight at her.
She tensed to leap at him, but he pulled the trigger before she could move. Something hit her in the chest, hard, as hard as one of Glory’s punches. No Kevlar today. She was wearing a dress chosen because it was pretty, soft, feminine. Non-threatening. Non-protective. There was a moment of searing agony and then she fell to the ground.
She was out there. Lurking under a tree. He’d meant to do some more writing, or maybe some proper work, but he couldn’t concentrate knowing she was there. Instead he just read his feedback.
It gave him a nice warm glow. People actually liked his writing. Of course, fanfic didn’t have to rhyme, and it was High Fantasy so if he threw in words like ‘effulgent’ they regarded it as adding atmosphere. Here was one piece saying how much they liked his portrayal of the setting in The Copper Coronet. All he’d done was to think of it as if it was Willie’s Alibi Room. Pretty much the same ambience. Another one praising his handling of the fight scenes. Well, it’d be a bit strange if he couldn’t write a good fight by now, number he’d been in. Good to feel appreciated. Maybe he’d write some original stuff one day.
No use, he couldn’t even settle to read the reviews while he knew the Slayer was hanging around outside. She’d get up her courage eventually and be inside ringing on his bell, and then he’d have to decide what to do. Forgive her? Maybe. He’d forgiven Willow, after all. Of course the witch had kept her hands off his wedding tackle. If Buffy promised to do the same in future, could he trust her to keep her word? She’d seemed to realise that she’d been wrong, been full of apologies, and been upset herself. It would make things very difficult if he didn’t forgive her, as he had every intention of continuing to be as close as a brother to Dawn and a close friend of Tara, Xander and Anya, Willow, and Giles when he came over again.
Perhaps he should make a pre-emptive move. Go down and accuse her of lurking, ask her what she’s doing, five words or less. Of course she’d reply ‘Out for a walk … Spike’, and probably accuse him of having stupid hair. Even though his present hairstyle was her choice rather than his own, and so gave him a lovely opening for a return shot. Spike shook his head and grinned. Yeah, he’d have to forgive her. Bickering with her was just too much fun. As long as she kept her …
The noise wasn’t loud, not through the apartment’s double-glazed windows, but it was unmistakable. He was at the window before he even made a conscious decision to move.
Oh God, no!
Buffy was down on the ground. Hardly moving. That Warren git was advancing towards her with a big black automatic pistol in his hand. Spike’s lips drew back in a snarl.
God, he’s gonna kill her.
Warren looked up at the window, saw him, and fired three times. One shot missed the window completely. The other two punched through the toughened glass, leaving spider-webs of cracks around the holes, but went nowhere near Spike. He recoiled instinctively. Warren turned his attention back to the helpless girl on the ground and brought the gun down.
Fuck, why did I leave the shotgun in the crypt? Elevator too slow. Stairs too slow. I’d see it all again, do something different. Faster or more clever, you know?
He hit the glass with all his strength and burst through, leaping out, falling in a rain of glass shards, down three storeys and landing heavily on the grass. He let himself collapse as he landed, trying to minimise the impact like a parachutist, but an agonising pain still seared through his ankle and he knew he’d broken something. He came to his feet, but his leg gave way and he fell again, fortuitously as Warren fired at him at that moment and the fall made the shot miss. Spike rose again, ignoring the pain, and charged forward. Warren’s next shot didn’t miss. Or the next. He shot Spike twice in the stomach. Spike fell to his knees.
She couldn’t breathe. Buffy gasped for breath and nothing happened. She couldn’t breathe. So weak, so hard to move. She tilted her head to the side. Warren was standing within arm’s length of her, shooting again and again. She saw Spike hit, saw him fall.
A silent scream of rage and pain. She couldn’t let it happen. Spike had to live. She summoned up every iota of Slayer power, reached out her arm, seized Warren’s ankle and squeezed.
Warren screamed. Her grip was cracking the bone. He turned the gun downwards and fired twice. One bullet buried itself in the ground, the other struck her forearm and she couldn’t maintain her grasp. Warren pulled free, stepped away, pointed the gun at her head and pulled the trigger.
Nothing happened. The gun was empty, the slide locked back. Spike was getting to his feet once more with something gleaming in his hand. Warren turned to run, but he couldn’t put any weight on his ankle and he staggered to a halt. Frantically he ejected the empty magazine and fumbled a full one from his pocket.
“A wanker must always reach for his weapon,” Spike growled, coming forward with increasing speed. Warren slid home the new magazine. “I’ve already got mine.” Even as Warren released the catch, sending the slide forward to pick up another round, Spike lunged forward. He thrust a foot-long shard of broken glass into Warren’s throat and ripped it sideways. Blood sprayed. Warren spun round, dropped the gun, clutched a hand to his throat, and fell on his face. He pushed at the ground for a moment, trying to rise, and then went limp and lay still. Blood gushed out onto the grass, soaking into the ground, forming a puddle for a grisly moment. The flow turned into a trickle, and then stopped.
His hand was bleeding, sliced apart by the glass. His stomach was on fire, searing agony, pain beyond anything he’d ever felt from the chip or under Glory’s torture. None of it could be allowed to matter. Only Buffy mattered. The front of her dress was saturated in blood, and he saw a bubble form briefly. There was a bloody froth on her lips. ‘Sucking chest wound’. He didn’t know a lot about human injuries, other than how to cause them, but he’d picked up a bit from reading thrillers. This was bad. He tore at the cloth and pressed a pad over the wound.
Buffy’s lips moved. He recognised the shapes. ‘I love you’.
“Know you do, kitten,” he told her. “Love you too.”
‘No you don’t,’ Buffy mouthed. ‘But thanks for saying it.’
Spike didn’t waste time contradicting her. “Breathe, you hear me? Breathe. Been in this world without you once, not gonna go through it again.”
Buffy’s eyes shone. She tried to smile but couldn’t. She was trying to breathe but still couldn’t manage it. The light in her eyes seemed to dim.
“Re-inflate the lung,” Spike muttered. He took a deep breath, almost passing out from the pain, pressed his lips to hers, and blew, trying to force air into her lungs. He repeated the process. Buffy coughed, spitting out blood, and breathed out. She drew in a big gulp of air while Spike kept the pad pressed tight to the bullet wound.
“Ambulance,” Spike grunted. He felt for his cell phone. It wasn’t in his pocket. It was up in his apartment. He could hear it ringing in the distance; someone was calling him. He fumbled at Buffy’s clothes, searching for her phone, but couldn’t find it. Where was her purse? It was getting hard to see. Was it growing dark? It wasn’t even lunchtime yet.
“Spike,” Buffy gasped, fear in her eyes.
“Don’t try – to – talk,” he ordered. He was gasping for breath himself now, feeling weaker with every passing second.
“Spike, don’t die. Can’t – urrgh – live without you,” Buffy panted. “Love you.”
He could hear sirens approaching. Somebody must have called the cops. He prayed they’d called an ambulance as well. He was getting so weak now that he was finding it hard to maintain pressure on the pad. He couldn’t even draw enough breath to reply to Buffy. It was getting dark. ‘Must be a thunderstorm coming. Keep up the pressure. Hold on. Too dark to see. Think I’m knocking on Heaven’s door, not that I’ll get to Heaven. Hold …’
Spike passed out. He slumped limply on top of Buffy and they lay motionless in the bright Spring sunshine.
To be continued …
Lyrics quoted are from Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’, written by Phil Thornalley, Scott Cutler and Anne Previn; and from ‘Chance’, written and performed by Big Country.
The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.