Disclaimer: The characters herein are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant enemy. They are being used for entertainment purposes out of love and admiration, and not for the sake of profit. No copyright infringement is intended.
For all her previous years of experience, she thought that she’d learned to keep a better hold on her weapons.
Her excuse, however, as she felt the hammer fly out of her grasp and tangle into chains hanging from the tier above her head, was that nothing she had fought previously had the strength of a hell god. That beneath well-styled curly hair and mini-dresses and Prada shoes lay the strength of three slayers, at the very least. And the Dagon sphere had only done so much to weaken her. So really, she thought, no one could blame her for losing her weapon when on the receiving end of Glory’s punch.
‘But,’ her mind quipped as she attempted unsuccessfully to dart around Glory and recover her weapon, ‘her status has nothing to do with your current lack of improvisational skills.’
And it was true. Everything she’d done in the past – patrols, training, Apocalypse-averting – had shown that Buffy Summers was easily able to improvise to get the job done, even in the tightest of situations. And yet she and Glory remained at a stand-still; while neither was landing any deciding blows, Buffy was unable to slip past the hell god and regain the upper hand.
But she was also burning up Glory’s valuable time. And that had to count for something.
//Spike. Can you hear me?//
The voice, while sounding like something he would expect to hear on an older radio, or on the other end of a telephone line, was still clear in his mind; and in a brief moment of insanity, he considered that the source was the tiny engine near where the group had barricaded themselves.
“Yeh,” he murmured. “Loud and clear.”
He could feel the whelp’s eyes on him like he’d lost his mind. Maybe he had. He hadn’t had much of a stellar history with vampires who’d heard voices. Drusilla hadn’t been the picture of perfect mental health, after all.
//There’s someone up there with Dawn.//
He knew. He’d sensed it, just before Red’s voice reverberated in his mind. And although he didn’t know who was atop the tower with Dawn, he was certain it wasn’t Buffy. Which meant that the nibblet was still in danger.
He knew. He just didn’t think Willow did, as well.
“Yeh,” he replied, aware of the increasingly confused looks he was receiving. “Can’t tell who.”
//Get up there.//
‘Yeh,’ he thought. ‘An’ this sodding chip will suddenly decide that barreling through a mob of angry brick-wielding pulsers is for the greater good an’ let me pass.’
//Go.// Her voice became more insistent. //Now. GO.//
Pushing himself to his feet, Spike charged towards the crowd, bracing himself for the inevitable migraine, when he felt the surge of energy mere milliseconds before the crowd parted, allowing him safe passage up the ramps of the tower.
‘Nice one, Red,’ he mused as he continued to spiral his way up the tower.
He didn’t get very far.
In fact, he didn’t know exactly how high up he was. Spike’s progress skidded to a halt when he came across Buffy in an effective stalemate with Glory. His quick eyes darted around and he was immediately presented with three facts.
The Slayer was weaponless.
He couldn’t get to Dawn, not with Glory blocking his path.
But Buffy could.
“Buffy!” he yelled, lunging forward to grab Glory’s hair, landing a few punches as the hell god turned around in surprise. “Go help Dawn!”
Buffy hesitated, watching as Glory recovered and threw a punch directly into Spike’s gut. He felt something tear, and his nostrils flared at the scent of his own blood. He winced, slid a protective arm across his bleeding stomach, and yelled again. “GO!”
The sound of Buffy’s ascending footsteps echoed around him, and Spike threw another punch at Glory before she could follow.
“Don’ think so, sweetheart,” he growled. “Your fight’s with me now.”
Glory grunted in exasperation and grabbed the vampire by the lapels of his duster, sending him flying over her head and across the deck, crashing into the tangle of chains holding the hammer, causing it to plummet to the ground.
“Brilliant,” he groaned, but quickly shot out an arm in a desperate attempt to stop a pursuing Glory from climbing further up the tower. His hand managed to find purchase in the fabric of her ritual robe, and holding on with all his might, Spike released his grip on the chain, the both of them descending to the ground below.
‘Someone’s with Dawn.’
She could sense it, the closer she came to the peak of the shaky tower. And she knew now why Spike had been so insistent on her leaving. Dawn was still in trouble. It was possible for Glory to go through the ritual without letting the Key’s blood herself.
The thought made Buffy shudder, even as she ran. She’d missed it. She was so convinced that the ritual required Glory to let Dawn’s blood that she’d blinded herself to the possibility that someone else could do it for her.
This someone else looked so unlike any demon she’d ever faced that she briefly wondered if her demon sensor had been knocked out of alignment, courtesy of Glory.
“Who are you?” she asked, her body poised for a fight. He turned to face her, and she took a slow step forward. ‘Distract him,’ she thought. ‘Keep him away from Dawn.’
“On second thought,” she added, taking a quicker, more confident step forward, “I really don’t care. All I care about is that you’re about to do something evil with my little sister. And that really doesn’t fly in my book.”
The strange man-thing standing before her grinned, tightening his grip on the knife at his side. “The Slayer,” he mused, and something in his eyes twinkled. “This is a treat. Certainly a night to remember. Not only do I get to help Her Magnificence Glory, but I get to do it in front of the Slayer.”
Buffy gritted her teeth and clenched her fists together tightly. “Stay away from my sister,” she warned.
The demon raised the knife point to his lips and tapped the tip against them thoughtfully as he closed the distance between them. His mouth quirked into a smile, and he replied, “I’m afraid I can’t do that. Tonight’s a very important night.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Buffy countered. “I’ve heard the story, and I’m really not all that interested in converting to the Cult of Saint Crazy. Maybe you should try again next year.”
She didn’t know what happened. All she knew was the presence of the man behind her, the bite of the knife slicing through the sensitive flesh at her side, Dawn’s screams that she was unable to answer.
“That’s too bad,” he said softly, tangling his fingers into her hair. “I didn’t really plan on you being around next year.” And with those words, he smashed her head into one of the metal beams, dropping her as she slumped unconscious onto the ramp.
Both vampire and hell god scrambled to their feet soon after their rough impact on the concrete below. Spike’s eyes darted around in a vain attempt to locate the fallen weapon; without it, he wasn’t sure he had a chance in hell at even touching the beast before him. Not when her violent attention was so focused on him.
‘Don’ have to kill her,’ his mind quipped as his wounded stomach made itself known again. ‘Jus’ have to distract her for a while. Wonder jus’ how much of a beatin’ I can take.’
Glory’s lips quirked into a knowing grin, swiping at the blood around her nose with a less-than-delicate crooked knuckle. “You lost your hammer, sweetheart,” she taunted. “What’re you gonna hit me with now?”
In retrospect, Spike figured he should be more thankful for small favors. Either that, or the usually useless band of humans that the slayer insisted on keeping around her. For no sooner had the words left Glory’s lips than a wrecking ball crashed through the wall next to him, smashing into Glory and sending her flying back a good distance away from him.
“Well,” he replied, raising an eyebrow. “Tha’s a pretty good start.”
She wasn’t down for the count, but the whelp had unknowingly bought Spike all the time he needed. Wandering eyes found the hammer, and he jogged over to it, wrapping his fingers around the handle.
And groaned. He’d forgotten the damn thing was too heavy for him to lift.
“Could use a li’l help here, Red,” he called, frustrated. “Need to pick this bloody thing up.”
The tingling in his arms came as a surprise. He hadn’t really thought the witch would hear him, but as the sensation subsided as quickly as it appeared, he tried lifting the hammer again.
It was lighter than air.
Grinning, Spike swung the hammer to rest on his shoulder, stalking towards the hell god currently struggling to get back on her feet.
“Here, kitty,” he coaxed, closing the distance between them. With every step, blood dripped out of his open, forgotten wound.
Her feet finding solid purchase on the ground beneath her, Glory pushed her curls out of her face and dusted off her robe. Her gaze locked with Spike’s as he approached her, and she readied herself for another round.
Spike hefted the hammer back into his arms and swung, injury momentarily forgotten, taking an almost perverse pleasure in the feel of it connecting with Glory’s jaw. She stumbled back, but held strong; Spike smirked as he realized that she still thought she could beat him.
Not bloody likely.
A second blow, and another, and another, slowly backing Glory away from the tower. With every strike, blood covered the hammer, and somewhere in the back of his mind he realized that not all of it was hers. He was almost disappointed that the hell god was going down so easily.
‘Almost,’ he thought wryly as he prepared for another strike.
He twisted too much at the waist at the next blow, and cried out in pain as the hammer once again made contact with Glory’s face. Shifting the hammer to one hand, he snaked the other down to cover his wound, a misguided attempt to keep his remaining blood inside his body. His neglect had taken its toll, and he was hurting.
“You’re immortal,” Glory tried, gasping to regain her breath. “You should understand my pain.”
Spike shrugged a shoulder, wincing as the action pulled at the injury. “Maybe,” he replied. “But all things considered, I’d rather cause it.”
“You can’t kill me.”
Spike brought his hand back up to the hammer, wrapping a blood-covered palm around the hilt. “I can have fun trying,” he noted, and swung an uppercut to Glory’s jaw.
She was down. Glory was down, and that was all that mattered. Moving as quickly as he could, he straddled Glory and cast the hammer aside, landing blow after blow with his fists. When he felt the protest from his injury, he sat back, assessing the damage he’d caused. He watched as the hell god’s face shifted to that of her human host.
Spike growled in frustration. He wasn’t certain that he could hurt Ben, and he wasn’t entirely keen on trying. Not when he was injured. Not when he could hear Dawn’s screams from the top of the tower and could smell Buffy’s blood, even from such a distance. Not when he caught sight of the Slayer’s Watcher walking towards him, intention burning in his eyes.
Pushing himself to his feet, Spike ran to the tower and forced himself to begin a quick ascent. His wound protested, but he gritted his teeth and continued. Work through the hurt now, take the time to heal later. Later, when this was over and both his girls were safe at home.
When he was nearly at the pinnacle, he realized that the only blood that assaulted his senses was that of Buffy, with barely traces of his own. He had no idea when, but his own injury had already begun to heal, enough that the pain was a bit less with each step he took.
Rallying, Spike rushed to the top tier, scanning the scene before him. An unconscious, bleeding slayer at his feet. Dawn still a bound captive, the faint scent of her blood hanging in the air surrounding him. And a demon he’d taken for dead.
“Doesn’ a fella stay dead when you kill ‘m?
Doc spun around and grinned, rocking on the balls of his feet. “You’re too late, you know,” he stated knowingly. “The ritual is already underway. Her Magnificence is going to win.”
“Ref’s already called that one, mate,” he replied. “Look’s like the match went to the vampire.”
Fury began to burn in Doc’s normally-dancing eyes. “You cannot beat Glorificius,” he countered, as light flashed in the behind him and the sky began to tear. “The ritual has already started.”
In three quick steps, Spike had Doc’s head clamped tightly between tensed palms. “Then ‘m just gonna have to stop it,” he observed, before snapping the demon’s neck and pushing the body off the side of the tower.
Dawn’s call drew his attention away from the fledgling portal gaining strength to further rip through the sky. Quiet tears ran down her cheeks, but she – so much like her sister – made every attempt to keep from breaking, only the slightest of trembles noticeable in her voice.
“It’s too late,” she said, and twisted at her ties. “Let me down. I have to jump. I have to stop it.”
“Can’t do that, Nibblet,” he replied, crouching near the unconscious slayer. “Made a promise to your big sis. Don’ want her to be mad at me for breakin’ it.”
Spike’s brow furrowed in concern as he ran a chill hand down the side of her face before clasping her shoulder to shake gently, as though simply rousing her from sleep. He didn’t know how long she’d been out, but the scent of her blood was no longer as overpowering to him as it once was; the wound at her side was healing. She would be fine, whenever she woke up.
Letting a crooked finger run lightly over her lips, Spike allowed a resigned smile to tug at his.
He would miss her.
Wrapping one arm around her torso, he snaked his hand under her top and pushed it up enough to reveal her healing wound. Uncaring of the automatic reflex of his emerging fangs, Spike ran his tongue up the trail of blood clinging to her side before settling at the source and beginning to drink. When he tasted his first mouthful of her most coveted blood, it was all Spike could do to hold back a pleasured moan. Finally overcome after the first few pulls, he allowed his fangs to graze the length of her injury before setting back to his task in earnest.
He drank from her for ages of stolen time, while around him the portal continued to expand and flow.
His ears perked momentarily at the sound of Dawn’s horrified, outraged screams, but he dismissed them just as quickly, instead focusing the entirety of his attention on Buffy’s heartbeat.
Her heartbeat, and the faint sound of her own moan as she struggled to regain consciousness. She wasn’t entirely there yet, but she soon would be.
He was running out of time.
Spike drew away and ran his hand down the length of her hair. As he felt the muscles in his face shift back to his human persona, he briefly tangled the soft ends in his fingers. “’m sorry, pet,” he whispered, and forced himself to his feet.
Dawn’s eyes were filled with anger, and she glared at him as he approached.
“What did you do to her?” she screamed, struggling in a vain attempt to hurt him. “What did you do to Buffy?”
“Did what had to be done,” he murmured, making quick work of her bonds. “’m not gonna apologize.”
And he would not. There simply wasn't enough time.
Although aware of her own injuries from the ritual, Spike all but dragged the girl over to the recovering slayer, holding her arms tightly, and forcing her to look into his eyes. He was met with nothing but seething resentment, and he felt a twinge of guilt run through his system.
“Listen to me, Bit,” he said, his voice low and commanding. “Big sis is gonna be fine, yeh? But it’s up to you to get her back down to her Watcher an’ the rest. Tell her I figured it out. An’ tell her I kept my promise.” He let go of her arms and drew away, quirking his lips into an ironic grin. “’m gonna save the world, Bit.”
Before she could reply, before she could even think of the words, Spike turned and ran across the platform, leaping from the tower into the growing storm below.
A/N: Please bear with me! All will be explained in due course. Although I've seen many fics regarding an alternate S6 timeline, I don't recall ever seeing one where Spike closes the portal rather than Buffy/Dawn. I found the idea fascinating, and hope you all will ride this one out with me.
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