1. Chapter 1 by Ashlee
“This is it?” Buffy asked in a bored tone, idly checking her fingernails. “This is the big mission?”
“Have something better to be doing, princess?” Spike asked, looking down the hallway, seeing the people filing into the basement.
“Actually, yeah,” she replied, turning to face him.
“Let me guess,” he said with an amused smile. “Me.”
“Pft, you wish!” Buffy said, rolling her eyes with a smile on her face.
Spike stood behind her, his hand idly caressing her hip as he looked out from the awning they were standing beneath. “It’s almost sundown.”
“It’s about time,” she said, turning to see a much younger Buffy cockily walk into the basement, hearing her talking to her supposed friend.
“That guy was a ponce,” Spike muttered, leaning against the wall. “If it’d been up to me, he would’ve been left for road-kill somewhere.”
“He was a good guy,” Buffy said quietly, listening to Ford. “Just didn’t have the best decision making skills.”
“He tried to have you killed, love,” he said, looking at her with a disbelieving expression.
“And how many times did you try and kill me before turning over a new leaf?”
* * * * *
“I remember this time going by a lot faster last time,” Buffy said, resting her head against Spike’s chest with a yawn.
“Yeh, well, your memory’s not what it used to be, baby,” he teased, smiling when Buffy hit him in the chest. “And the fact that your life was being threatened-”
“As if I was ever worried that I couldn’t take you!” she exclaimed, whirling around to face him.
“You know you wanted it,” he whispered, lightly grasping her hips, drawing her closer to him.
“Well… when you put it that way,” she said in a seductive tone before smashing her fist into his nose.
“Ow! Bloody hell!”
Seeing him glare at her as he stemmed the blood flow, Buffy pouted as she tried not to smile. “Aww, poor baby,” she said, leaning toward him and pressing a kiss to his nose. “You know you love it… It’s like foreplay to you.”
Spike couldn’t help the slight chuckle before his attention was drawn to the arrival of the vampires. “Showtime,” he said, drawing Buffy further into the shadows, knowing that ridding the world of these particular vamps was not the reason they were there.
“You think we’ll be able to do this?” she asked, stepping forward when the last vampire walked through the door.
“What? Shut a door?”
“No, you bleached moron, even you’re able to do that,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I mean the big part of the plan.”
“From what I remember… shouldn’t be too hard to sell the product.” Buffy glared at him, seeing his eyes widen in response. “What?”
Rolling her eyes again, she turned toward the door.
“Good idea. Now you let everyone out, or your girlfriend fits in an ashtray.”
“It's gonna be alright, baby. Let them go!”
“I hated when you called her ‘baby’,” Buffy said, narrowing her eyes on the man she loved. “Maybe I should just go in there and stake her right now. It would do everyone a world of good.”
“Buffy,” Spike said in a warning tone.
“What?” she asked, turning to face him with an innocent expression as the naive people began to run out the door. “It’s not like you’d ever miss her,” she added with a pout, pausing after a moment and grabbing him by the collar of his duster. “You better not ever miss her.”
Spike smiled, enjoying the rare moment of jealousy that his mate was having before pressing a quick kiss to her lips. “You know the answer to that one, love.”
“Damn skippy,” she replied in a sulking tone that made him smile.
Hearing the commotion inside, both tried to get a better look. “Here’s the part where we rewrite history,” Spike said quietly.
“Thanks, dear, but I’m not exactly unfamiliar with this part of the drill. I lived it, too, remember? And I was the one who was actually living.”
Spike glowered at her seconds before Buffy came racing out of the room, swinging the door shut behind her. Managing to get his foot in the door, he gave the other Spike just enough time to get out, leaving Buffy to firmly lock the other vampires into the basement.
Spike managed to catch his vampire look-alike, holding his arm out and clothes-lining the other man, dropping him to the ground. “Well… that was just… sad. I’m embarrassed that I fell for something like that.”
“Literally,” Buffy said with a snort, seeing Spike give her a reproachful look.
“I don’t see you doing any better.”
“Oh yeah? Buffy!”
Watching the other woman turn around, Buffy approached as the girl’s mouth dropped open in shock.
“What the fuck?” she asked, her mouth opening wide as she stared at her mirror image.
“Language,” she said, shaking a finger at her. “Better watch that.” Side-stepping the young woman when she attempted to punch her, Buffy ducked the next punch, sweeping her legs out from under her. “Let’s get something straight, blondie. I’m not going to hurt you, but I’m not going to let you try and hurt me, so stand up, act… well, a little older than your age, and listen up.”
“What are you?”
“I’m you,” Buffy said gently, looking the other girl in the eyes. “Just… a little older.”
“H-how much older?” she asked warily.
“What do you want?”
“I’m… I’m kind of a messenger for the Powers That Be. I’m from a different dimension and I’ve already lived the life that you’re living now. I’m here to try and stop some things from occurring that you should never have to live through and help you on a path to get to your destiny even faster.”
“And I’m supposed to believe you, why?”
“Because you just do. I can’t explain it since the big boss didn’t exactly tell me, but you know you can trust me.”
“Are you a vampire?” she asked, narrowing her eyes slightly, obviously not pleased with the idea that she might have to essentially stake herself.
“No,” Buffy said, taking a small step forward, holding her hand out to the other girl. “I still have a pulse. Go ahead – you won’t trust me until you check.”
The other girl hesitantly checked for a pulse, taking a step back a moment later. “What do you want?”
“To right some very wrong wrongs,” Spike said, bravely turning his back on his vampire doppelganger as he walked toward them. The younger Buffy immediately went into fighting stance, seeing two of her mortal enemies in front of her.
“Down, She-Ra,” Buffy said, holding a hand up to the young girl. “This is all part of the big Powers assignment.”
“And what’s that?”
“To get you to shag this fella a few years earlier than scheduled,” Spike said with a smirk, seeing his Buffy whirl around to face him with flashing eyes.
“God, you’d think after two hundred years, you’d learn how to not be such a disgusting pig.”
“You love me for it,” he said with a smile.
“Yeah, well, it would be nice if the soul had come with that bonus.”
“I got the soul for you!”
“I know! You remind me daily!”
“Wait a minute! Soul?” the other Spike asked, his eyes wide with shock.
“It’s not a big deal,” Buffy said with a dismissive wave of her hand, her eyes widening when she saw her Spike look at her indignantly. “Oh… I mean… it is a big deal, a very big deal, but not one that you have to stress about.”
“Wait a minute! I’m supposed to get thrusty with this guy?” the younger Buffy asked, looking between the two look-alikes as if they were insane.
“For the next few centuries,” the older Spike said, smirking at his Buffy.
“You’re telling me that I have to spend the next two hundred years with this guy?” the younger Buffy asked, standing there in shock.
“I know,” Buffy said, taking a deep breath as she approached the stunned girl. “Not a very appealing option right now.”
“Hey!” both Spikes yelled simultaneously.
Buffy cowered slightly, offering them each a sheepish smile. “Sorry… but… look at the both of you,” she said, gesturing in between them. “You’re not exactly battling it out for Man of the Year. Or… Vamp of the Year I guess would be the honor,” she added with a smile.
“Excuse me!” Buffy cried, looking around her in disbelief.
“I’m sorry,” the older Buffy said, turning to face her again. “But, I mean honestly, why else would we be here? It’s not like we made the trip for our health.”
“How are you even here?” she asked, staring between the two vampires, directing her question at Buffy. “I know you’re not a vampire…”
“Spike claimed me,” she said, walking over to her Spike and taking his hand in hers. “That claim, because I was human, means that as long as he’s alive, I’m alive.”
“When? And… did you say he had a soul?” she asked, feeling lightheaded.
“About six years from now,” Buffy said quietly. “And yes… he won the soul for me.”
“Now wait just a bleeding minute-”
“Pipe down, junior,” Spike said, turning to the younger vampire with a glare. “I was you, remember? I knew what I was getting into, so don’t throw a tantrum.”
“It’s not like I’m asking you to hit the sheets with him right away,” Buffy said, wrapping an arm around the shivering young girl. “This can be taken at a very slow pace… We’re just here to set the wheels in motion.”
“I get to spend the next two centuries with her?” the other Spike asked, an evil leer on his lips as he looked Buffy up and down.
“Watch it, mate,” Spike said, his voice taking on a possessive quality as he stared at his mirror image.
“No… this… this can’t be right. I mean… I can’t be with him! Angel’s the one I’m meant to be with. He’s the one I love,” the younger Buffy insisted, causing the older version of herself to roll her eyes.
“God, was I ever this naïve?” she asked, seeing Spike smirking at her before narrowing her eyes on him. “You open your mouth to answer and you’ll have a broken nose,” she said in warning.
“Wouldn’t be the first time, love,” he said, chuckling when he saw the teenager’s shocked expression. “She gets a little rough during foreplay,” he said, taking a step back as his Buffy slapped him on the chest.
“Oh God,” the younger girl said, a nauseated look on her face. “No,” she said after a moment, shaking her head. “Just because this happened to you doesn’t mean the same thing will happen here. I mean… he’s Spike!”
“Not too fond of you either, Slayer.”
“We can stop the wheels before they get put into motion. Spike can take Drusilla far far away or…”
“Or what?” he asked challengingly, the younger couple forgetting about the elder Slayer and vampire watching the display.
“Or I can just stake you right now,” she said, whipping a stake out of the waistband of her pants.
“Hold it!” Buffy said, stepping between them. “I think we all just need to calm down. First of all, Dru won’t be in the picture in a few months.”
“What the bloody-”
“She dumps you because you already have feelings for her,” Buffy interrupted, turning a look on the other vampire to let him know that she wasn’t kidding.
“So what if Dru dumps his sorry ass,” the younger girl said, crossing her arms over her chest. “I have Angel-”
“Nice to know you were brainwashed with the poofter from the beginning.”
“Shut up, Spike,” Buffy said, not bothering to make eye contact with him.
“Just find it amusing, is all.”
“What happens to Angel?” the young girl asked nervously.
“You get over him,” Buffy said as gently as she could, knowing that she would have to be a little more brutal in her explanation to make the plan effective. “I’ve lived your life. I know exactly how you feel about Angel right now, and trust me – the tortured puppy-love bit… well… it’s already getting old, isn’t it?” she asked, raising an eyebrow, remembering a particularly memorable conversation she’d had with the vampire that night.
“I love you. I don't know if I trust you.”
“Maybe you shouldn't do either.”
“Maybe I'm the one who should decide!”
“Take it from me – you and Angel will do much better good away from each other.”
“Thank God, she finally sees the light,” Spike said, looking up at the sky.
“Better good? That doesn’t even make any kind of sense,” young Buffy said, running a hand through her hair.
“It will,” Buffy said, looking between the vampire and Slayer before looking at her mate. “Just know… that this,” she said, gesturing between herself and Spike. “This thing is inevitable. What we’re trying to do is take away a lot of pain that doesn’t have to be there. If you listen to us… you can right a lot of wrongs before they even happen.” Turning to look at Spike, he shrugged, giving her a tender smile as he lovingly caressed her cheek.
“Out of our hands now, love.”
Looking back at the dazed couple, still shooting glances at each other and the ground, Buffy smiled, snuggling closer to her Spike. “Just… don’t kill each other and you can be happy. I know you feel like you shouldn’t believe us, but the Powers sent us here for a reason. There’s not much that we can do to convince you, but please know that we love each other very much… and you will, too. Whether you take our advice or not.”
“Do us all a favor and listen to the lady. Take it and be happy.”
Risking another glance at each other, the young Slayer swallowed nervously. The knowledge that she was destined to live centuries with this man both terrified and excited her. She knew that she was a warrior for the Powers – they were in her corner - but… did it have to be something so bizarre?
Looking in the direction of the other couple, her eyes widened when she saw that they were no longer standing there. Meeting Spike’s gaze, each of them turned in a full circle, not seeing any signs of their mirror images.
The quiet seemed to descend around them as their eyes met, leaving the vampire and Slayer alone to stare at each other. Each knew exactly what would eventually occur between them, knowing that it was obviously inevitable if their future counterparts were any indication. Their voices blended as they stared at each other in shock. “Oh hell.”