In Wake of the Curse
It was just before sunrise when Spike woke up. He noticed right away that Angel wasn't in the bed; he extended his senses and sighed when he realised that he wasn't even in the apartment any longer. Not wanting to disturb his lovers, he slid out of bed and padded naked to the kitchen. He was just sitting down with a mug of heated pig's blood when he spied the paper on the table. He picked it up and began to read.
My dearest William,
Or should I say Williams? This is very confusing, and I extend my sympathies to Xander. I can't imagine how he copes with the two of you every day. Not that it would be a hardship having two of you, just confusing, and maybe I should start over?
I had to leave this morning before the sun came up; I have responsibilities in L.A. and I had to go back. I would have awakened you - all three of you, but you looked so peaceful, so serene. I couldn't bring myself to disturb any of you.
Buffy has asked me to head up the second line of defence - in case this thing gets past her and the rest of you, I'll be there to try and stop it. I know it's a foolish idea; if two slayers, a bunch of potential slayers, two master vampires, a warlock, two witches and a watcher can't stop this, what chance do I have? None, but who am I to argue with Buffy?
Spike, Will, what happened between us, it was more than I ever expected. I have missed you, terribly. I know that doesn't make up for everything that you have been through, but it's true. If I had the chance to do it over again, I never would have left you. I do love you. Both of you; you are both my childer, my William, my sweet boy.
As for Xander, I have to say that I am impressed by him. He has come a long way from the boy I first met, and I am proud to call him family. You have chosen well, Will. Xander is a fine man, and will be a great addition to our family.
If we all survive this, and I have every confidence that we will, I hope you will come to L.A. to visit with me; I'd like to introduce you to my son - even though he hates me. Maybe if he sees that I have people who love me - you do love me, right? - then he might think he could love me too, one day.
I have to admit that I am jealous of you. You have been given a rare and precious gift, my boy, unconditional love. I wandered for decades, lost in my own grief and pain before I rejoined the world once more. The guilt I felt over my actions was a constant source of pain and I had no one to share it with, no one to help me adjust. You have had your soul for only a short while and you seem to have come to grips with it so easily; I envy you your support, your friends and family. Hold on to them, Will, for they are precious.
I wish you only the best in life, and I hope you will take me up on my offer to come to L.A. I would love to see you all again. If there is anything I can ever do, anything, please don't hesitate to ask. I owe Xander the biggest debt of gratitude - a debt I will never be able to repay, but I will try to. Please, all of you, be careful when you go up against The First. I don't want to lose you, not when I've just found you again.
Will, there is something you should know. When I came here, I brought with me an amulet, I don't know what it does, but I was told that it would be an asset to the fight. It can only be worn by a champion - a souled being, who is stronger than a human. I thought it would be me. Buffy said that she wanted you to have it. That you had earned the right to be a champion. To be her champion.
I don't know if this helps you, but she chose you - not me - to be at her side for the end of the world. You have proven yourself worthy, and for what it's worth, she thinks of you as a friend. Buffy doesn't consider just anyone a friend. Go see her today, Will. Get the amulet, wear it with pride; you've earned it.
Spike folded the letter and got up and put it in his duster pocket. If it all went bad, he wanted these words to go with him. Angel had said he loved him, said he was worthy, called him a champion. It was more than he had ever hoped for when getting his soul back. So, he didn't get the girl, so what? He got more than that. He got Xander, he got his sire back, he got an interesting bed partner in the form of his double, and he got to save the world - be a champion - not bad for a former evil, soulless bloodsucker. Not bad for a soft-hearted former poet, either.
Spike went back to the bedroom and stood in the doorway. He watched his mate and his double sleeping entwined together in the bed and smiled. He was surprised at the lack of jealousy he felt toward the other vamp. The fact that Xander was still his, still loved him, made all the difference. And he knew that the other Spike would fight just as hard as he would to keep Xander safe. It was good for Xander, having them both here, and that was enough to make Spike accept him.
Shaking off his morose thoughts, Spike slipped back into bed and spooned against the warm back of his mate. Xander stirred briefly, reaching behind him with one arm to pull Spike closer before falling back into a deep, restful sleep. Spike sighed in contentment and let himself drift off as well.
When he woke later, he was lying on his back with Xander sprawled across his chest and the other Spike was absent. He listened closely and determined that the other him was in the kitchen, it sounded like he was cooking.
Xander shifted in his sleep and rubbed the lower half of his body enticingly against the vampire. Spike reflexively bucked his hips up against him and groaned softly. Xander wriggled closer and thrust against him again.
Spike knew that Xander was still asleep, he was merely reacting to his close proximity. He wished he were awake; he wanted him. Then again, he always wanted him these days. He thought about all the wasted years they could have been together and kicked himself mentally. When Angel had offered him up at the high school, he should have taken him then, but he'd been too wrapped up in Dru.
"And look how well that turned out." He muttered softly. Then there was the kidnapping; he had thought about turning Red, but never even considered Xander. After the chip, he had been forced to live with Xander, and through careful observation, learned a lot about him. How brave and loyal he was, how he always thought about others before himself. At the time, Spike had ridiculed these traits, thinking it would be the young man's undoing.
Now though, now he could look back and see that Xander had always been more than a mere acquaintance; they had a weird sort of non-friendship thing going on. They traded barbs and insults, laughed at each other's jokes. When Spike had been at his lowest - wearing Xander's clothes - the boy had tried to cheer him up as though they were friends. Then he saved his unlife by dragging him out of the wreckage. They should have been friends, but Spike's vampire nature rebelled against it, and Xander was too insecure at the time. He saw any male as a threat to his status in the group. Then again, if he hadn't been under that spell, things probably would have turned out differently.
It had to be like this, though; he knew that. If Xander hadn't been cursed, he never would have learned about the spell on him, he never would have found his own power, and he never would have fallen in love with a damaged vampire - which ultimately led to falling in love with him. For Spike's part, he needed to go through what he had, too. If he hadn't been chipped, he never would have gotten to know these humans who stood up to evil on a nightly basis. He would never have fallen in love with Buffy, never gotten his soul back, and never had to be rescued from the basement of the high school by the man who was slowly coming awake in his arms. All in all, things worked out fine.
Xander lifted his head and placed a soft sweet kiss on Spike's lips before snuggling back down on his chest.
"Morning, Spike. Where's Spike and Angel?"
"Angel's gone back to L.A., pet. He had to go before the sun came up. Spike's in the kitchen making brekkies."
"Hmm, so we're all alone?"
Xander accompanied that question with a small roll of his hips. Spike groaned and shifted underneath him so that Xander was settled between his thighs.
"That we are, love; any idea on what we should do to pass the time?"
"I can think of one or two things we could do."
Xander began rubbing against his mate and Spike brought his legs up and wrapped them around Xander's back. Their cocks brushed together and both men moaned.
"Just like that, love. Keep going."
Xander continued to rub their erections together as he thrust and writhed against his mate. He bared his throat in invitation, wanting to feel Spike's fangs in him, drawing on his blood, connecting them in the most primal of ways.
"You too, love. Please."
Spike brought Xander's lips to his throat as he turned his head enough to reach his mate's neck as well. Xander clamped his blunt human teeth onto Spike's flesh and bit deeply even as he felt Spike's fangs penetrate him. He tasted blood in his mouth and sucked hard. Spike bucked and writhed beneath him as he quickened the pace of his rutting. Xander released the vampire's throat as he threw his head back and screamed with the force of his orgasm. Spike thrust twice more and then he too came with a howl.
The sound of clapping brought both men out of their post-orgasmic haze, and as one they turned to look at the doorway where the darker-haired Spike was leaning against the open door, slowly fisting his cock and looking at them appreciatively.
"Bloody good show you put on."
He leered at them and stalked toward the bed.
"But I'm left somewhat ... unsatisfied. Think you could do something about that?"
"What did you have in mind?"
Xander looked at his flaccid penis and hoped that Spike didn't want to be fucked; he wasn't sure he could manage just yet.
"Hmm, thought perhaps I'd like to bury myself in that pretty arse of yours. If you've no objection to that?"
He quirked his scarred eyebrow at Xander and then chuckled at how fast he rolled over and spread himself.
"Want me, love?"
It was the blonde's turn to watch as his double leaned in and claimed their mate's lips in a possessive kiss. He reached into the drawer and pulled out the lube, passing it over to the dark-haired vampire and then propping himself up against the headboard to enjoy the show.
Neither the dark-haired vampire nor the human minded the audience. In fact it was kind of hot, knowing they were being watched. As Spike stretched Xander he watched his double take himself in hand and start stroking his renewed erection.
Spike knew that he was a narcissist; that wasn't news to him, but he'd never thought that watching himself could be so erotic. He was even entertaining thoughts of fucking, and being fucked by his souled doppelganger. Not something he would normally consider. He'd only been willingly topped by Angelus and Xander. He hadn't thought he'd ever want that with anyone else, but the remembrance of how his double had rimmed him, the self confidence in his technique - knowing he was doing everything exactly the right way - was making him wonder what it would feel like to be taken by him, to take him in return. He knew he could make the other vampire scream from pleasure.
He locked eyes with his double as he slid into the warm body of their mate. Hooking Xander's feet over his shoulders, he set a relentless pace, driving into Xander again and again. Xander cried out as he felt Spike's cock ram into his prostate. He felt his orgasm building and bared his throat to his dark-haired mate. He felt the sharp ivory points tear into him and he screamed out in ecstasy.
Spike tore his mouth away from Xander as he howled out his climax. He turned his head in time to see the blonde stiffen and then spill his seed over his own fist. He licked the blood from his lips and then lowered Xander's legs before collapsing on top of him.
"I don't think I can move." Xander muttered weakly.
The brunette vampire chuckled and kissed him before rolling off to the side of him.
"Well, I was coming in here to tell you I made pancakes, but if you're too tired to eat them..."
Xander was up and out of bed before Spike finished speaking. He pulled on his boxers and then looked at his lovers, who were both still naked and lounging in the bed.
The blonde smiled and got up; he pulled on his jeans and then tossed the brunette his pants as well.
"Alright, love. We'll feed you, but then we have to go to the slayer's. Turns out she's got a prezzie for me."
Xander and the dark-haired Spike exchanged looks of confusion but followed the blonde out of the bedroom.
They were all gathered in Buffy's living room; Spike had the amulet tucked safely away in his duster while he watched his mate and his former lover having a heated conversation across the room.
"Well, Xan? What do you think?"
"That depends. Are you in any way... kidding?"
"You don't think it's a good idea?"
Buffy tilted her head in question and Faith took the opportunity to cut in.
"It's pretty radical, B."
Giles stood up from his place by the window and approached the small group.
"It's a lot more than that. Buffy, what you said, it-it flies in the face of everything we've ever-every generation has ever done in the fight against evil. I think it's bloody brilliant."
Buffy beamed at her mentor and former watcher.
"You mean that?"
"If you want my opinion."
Giles returned the smile.
"I really do."
Xander shook his head and took a deep breath.
"Whoa, hey. Not to poop on the party here, but I'm the guy that's gonna have to pull this thing off."
"It is beaucoup d'mojo."
Faith again. Xander nodded and looked over at his mates before continuing.
"This goes beyond anything I've ever done. It's a total loss of control, and not in a nice, wholesome, my boyfriend knows how to wield a flogger, kinda way."
Xander looked over at Dawn and ducked his head in embarrassment. He heard his lovers snickering and silently vowed to get even.
"I wouldn't ask if I didn't think you could do it. Xander. I know you have the power; you brought Spike back from dust. You can do this."
"I had help. I had Willow and Tara."
"I'll help you, Xander. So will Willow."
Xander - as well as everyone else - looked over to where Willow was trying to blend into the background.
"I-I'm not sure that I'm stable enough."
"You can do this, Willow."
Dawn's eyes widened and she looked at Xander.
"Oh! Flogger, I get it now."
"Dawn needs to do a research thing."
Buffy was in full-on panic mode. Xander shook his head fondly. Sure, let the kid stay and fight The First Evil, but anything to do with sex and Buffy didn't know what to do. Giles, it seemed, was no better.
"Yes, you do."
"That's cool. Watcher junior to the library."
Giles went off with Dawn and Buffy and the two vampires approached their mate and wrapped him in their arms.
"Hmmm, wholesome and flogger. Not two things I'd ever put in the same sentence. How about you mate?"
"Nope, we must be doing something wrong. Think we'll have time to remedy that later tonight?"
"We'll make time. Won't we Xan-pet?"
Two pairs of crystal blue eyes looked up at him in anticipation. Xander swallowed and cleared his throat.
It still came out as a squeak. The brunette Spike threw his arm around Xander's shoulders and led him toward the doorway.
"Come on, love. We'll go assemble the cannon-fodder."
"Um, Spike? Let's not call them that, okay?"
Xander ducked out from under Spike's arm and walked out. Spike shrugged his shoulders and put his arm over the blonde vampire's shoulders and together they followed him.
After rounding up all the S.I.T's, Xander and the Spikes were sitting around in the living room, the vamps a little miffed that they weren't going to get any alone time with Xander anytime soon. Buffy had decided, and Xander had agreed, that it would be safer for everyone to stick together. Therefore, they were spending the night at Casa de Summers.
Xander had sent Andrew downstairs to bring up a bottle of the whiskey that he knew Spike had stashed down there, and his mates were currently enjoying the intoxication; soon they would be enjoying the unconsciousness, once the alcohol kicked in.
Willow and Tara were sitting on the stairs, Tara was calming Willow, telling her that she would be fine, that this wasn't a misuse of her power, but a necessary glitch in her recovery, and that she would be right there with her, every step of the way.
Dawn was curled up in the corner chair with a large dusty tome. She looked like she was really getting into her junior watcher title. Xander wasn't surprised; she needed to fit in somewhere - feel like she was contributing something to the effort - and with all these potential slayers around, fighting was pretty much covered.
Giles, Andrew, and Amanda - one of the S.I.T's - were sitting around the table in the kitchen. Xander decided to join them. He kissed his mates and then left them to their disgruntled drinking session.
A while later, they were still there. Xander and Giles were bent over a map, Xander trying to explain the situation to the older man.
"Xander? I'm-I'm-I'm all turned around. You're here?"
Xander pointed to an area on the map.
"By the pillar, yeah. I'm protecting this area."
"That puts me over by the door. Demons around the perimeter- Right! I open the door."
Andrew reads aloud from a book on his lap
"You go through the door and are confronted by Trogdor the Burninator."
"Oh, bugger it. Fight. "
Giles rolled the dice before taking a sip from his glass.
"Adios to 5 hit points. Trogdor has badly wounded you."
Andrew smirked at the older man.
"Well, wait a minute. What about my... "
Giles put on his glasses and then continued
"... bag of illusions?"
Andrew scoffed at him.
"Illusions against a Burninator? Silly, silly British man."
Amanda cut in.
"I invoke a time flux on Trogdor."
Andrew looked at Amanda like she had just said Janeway was sexier than Seven of Nine.
"Step down, girlfriend, you can't just..."
"Ninth level sorcerer, and I carry the emerald chalice. Trogdor is frozen in time. Deal with it."
Xander laughed and looked at Andrew, taking in the sight of his red cloak and wondering if he was ever this much of a geek.
"Smackdown on Red Riding Hood. This could get ugly."
Giles spluttered and put down his glass.
"Could it possibly get uglier? I used to be a highly respected watcher, and now I'm a wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily. I just wish I could sleep."
Amanda turned and rolled her eyes at him.
"What kind of person could sleep on a night like this?"
Xander looked into the living room where the two vampires were curled up together on the couch and smiled softly.
"Only the crazy ones."
They took a school bus to Sunnydale High. Xander wasn't asking where they got it from; he really didn't care. It was the possible beginning of the end of the world. What was a little grand theft auto? He climbed down the steps and took a deep breath of hellmouth tainted air. He wasn't sure if it was just him, or if everyone could now smell the evil that emanated from the school. He'd ask about it later - if there was a later to ask about it.
They all followed Robin into the school. Xander was actually shocked that the man was still there, seeing as how he had been dissed by his girl, threatened by Xander and his lovers, and had Buffy push him aside as if he were nothing. But then again, he himself was still there, and he'd been in that position at one time too. Sometimes, having a sense of duty really sucked.
"Welcome to Sunnydale High. There's no running in the halls, no yelling, no gum chewing. Apart from that, there's only one rule."
Robin stopped walking, and turned to look at the crowd.
"If they move, kill them."
Spike snickered softly and rolled his eyes. Buffy shot him a look and addressed the potentials.
"OK, potentials, in the basement. Follow Faith and Spike."
At their confused looks she amended.
"The blonde one."
Xander clapped his hands together and faked a cheery grin. Truth was, he was terrified. And having one of his mates out of his sight was not helping matters. He was grateful for the cool hand that rested reassuringly on the back of his neck.
"If you have to go to the bathroom, it's to your left. If you don't have to go to the bathroom, picture what you're about to face. Better to go now."
"Xander, my office is straight through there."
Robin pointed the way and Xander nodded. Willow and Tara gave him an understanding smile before heading in the direction that Robin had pointed.
"We'll start setting up."
"Thanks Wills, Tara."
Robin cleared his throat to get everyone's attention.
"Okay, civilians. The vampires get upstairs, we have three areas they could get through to another building and then down into the sewers. Down the hall in the atrium, the north hall there, and the primary target, through the lounge straight to the science building. Now odds are, most of them will head there."
"Teams of two then. I suggest Spike and I take the lounge."
"Sounds good to me, Watcher."
Buffy looked torn but then finally gave Dawn a gentle shove towards Xander.
"Dawn, I want you with Xander."
Dawn made to protest, but Buffy cut her off.
"I can't do this if I don't know you're safe."
"Okay. But I do this under protest."
Buffy smiled and hugged Dawn tightly.
"Besides, it's not like we won't get to fight. After the spell, we'll head to the atrium."
Xander grinned at Dawn whose eyes lit up at the chance to fight. She was all Summers, that girl was.
"So that leaves me and the dungeon master in the north hall?"
Robin looked less than impressed at being teamed up with Andrew. Andrew looked like he was ready to take on the world - or die trying. Xander had admit he was beginning to respect the guy.
"We will defend it with our very lives."
Xander nodded his approval and Spike snorted. He looked at Andrew and then motioned toward the principal.
"And don't be afraid to use him as a human shield. Least he'd be useful for once."
Andrew looked at Spike in shock, and then smiled as he saw the glint of humour in the vampire's eyes. He got serious again and spoke up, breaking up the tense atmosphere in the hallway.
"I just want to say how proud I am to die for this very special cause with you guys. There's some, um-there's people I'd like to thank, both good and evil. Um, a shout out to my brother Tucker, who gave me the inspiration to summon demons and also..."
"No one cares, let's go."
Robin grabbed Andrew by the elbow and led him down the hall towards their post. Dawn headed for the office and Giles discreetly turned away to offer Xander and Spike a moment of privacy. The vampire wasted no time in drawing Xander into his arms and kissing him possessively.
"Don't you die on me."
"You neither. Spike, I... "
"Don't, love. Anything you say will just sound like goodbye."
Xander nodded and pulled the vampire into his arms again.
"I love you."
"And I you. Forever, Xander. No matter what. If something happens to me, you and Spike go to Angel. If neither me nor him make it out of this, you go to my sire, love. Promise me."
"Okay, I promise. But only because I know you'll make it. Both of you, you have to."
"Better get going. Else the slayer'll be up here to kick you in the arse."
Xander and Spike exchanged a soft smile and turned away from each other. Spike stomped past Giles on the way to the lounge.
"Get yer arse in gear, Watcher. The world ain't gonna save itself."
Giles chose to ignore the rough sound of the vampire's voice and after a smile to Xander, followed behind him.
"Well, if you're its last hope, the world is definitely doomed."
Xander walked to the office, hoping against all hope that he was able to pull this off. He opened the door and saw that Tara and Willow had gotten everything set up and were currently sitting on the floor in the lotus position. He cleared his throat and raised an eyebrow in inquiry when Tara opened her eyes.
"It's relaxing. It helps you focus."
"Hmm, maybe I should try it?"
Willow giggled and gave Xander a pointed look.
"I don't think you're flexible enough, Xander."
"That's not what Spike tells me."
Xander clapped his hand over his mouth as he realised what he just said. Willow and Tara both laughed and got to their feet.
"Can we pretend I didn't just say that?"
"Never heard a thing, Xander."
"Thanks Tara. Willow?"
"Nope. I'm planning to use this as blackmail material."
The two lifelong friends shared a smile and then they all got to work.
Spike stood back and watched as Buffy, Faith and the others each cut their hands and let their blood flow onto the seal. This was something he remembered all too well. The seal opened and a staircase was formed. With one last thought and yes, he admitted, a prayer, for Xander's safety, he followed them down into the ground.
Spike took the amulet from his pocket and hung it around his neck. He waited. When nothing happened, he shook it, then he held it up to his face and scowled.
"Not to be a buzzkill, love, but my fabulous accessory isn't exactly tingling with power."
Buffy looked from the amulet to the vampire wearing it and with a look of determination answered.
"I'm not worried."
Spike looked around and saw the millions upon millions of Turok Hans in the large cave system below them and gave Buffy an incredulous look. Deciding to play along, he smirked at her and offered up his own unique brand of humour.
"I'm getting zero juice here, and I look like Elizabeth Taylor."
Faith snorted and shook her head.
"Cheer up, Liz. Xander's big spell doesn't work, it won't matter what you wear."
Buffy looked down at the seething mass of Uber vamps and repeated her earlier statement.
"I'm not worried."
She looked back at the young girls behind her and repeated it again. More to assure herself than them.
"I'm not worried."
"Really? 'Cause I'm flashing back to Xander's whole bathroom speech."
Rona. Spike didn't like that one. She was too cynical.
"I'm not worried...as long as Xander can work his spell before they see us."
Too late, as the Turok Han looked up and saw them. Buffy's eyes widened and she whispered under her breath.
"Oh God; Xander, hurry."
The Turok Han rushed toward them, their fierce battle cries echoing off the cave walls. Spike stood ready, Buffy and Faith at either side of him. Behind them the potentials were in battle stance - looking more sure of themselves than they felt.
In the office upstairs, Xander was holding the scythe in front of him, his hair blowing out behind him and his eyes black with power. Willow and Tara were holding hands behind him - each of them with one hand on his shoulder, feeding him their power. Dawn was standing guard at the door, a sword firmly clenched in her hand.
A ripple of energy swept through the cavern; the potentials could all feel it and they stood just a little straighter.
"I can feel it."
"These guys are dust."
Buffy sighed in relief just as the first of the vampires reached them.
Xander collapsed to the floor - Willow and Tara were quick to flank him and get him back on his feet. Dawn rushed toward them but stopped short at what she saw.
"Xander? Oh my God, Xander. Your eyes."
Tara looked at Xander's face and smiled.
"I have. Hurry, get this to Buffy."
Xander thrust the scythe toward the two witches and they ran out of the room. Dawn watched Xander with a frown on her face.
"Are you going to be okay?"
"I'm fine Dawnie. In fact, I've never felt better."
Dawn looked into his glowing blue eyes and grinned.
"You're going to have to see about coloured contacts after this. Come on, we have to guard the atrium."
The vampires were everywhere; for every one they killed, there were more just waiting for their turn to come at them. Willow came rushing down the stairs - the scythe held firmly in her grip.
Buffy caught the scythe and began dusting the Uber vamps left and right. Willow went back up the stairs to Tara as the slayers engaged the enemy with renewed vigour.
"B! They're getting past us!"
"That's what the others are for! Keep fighting!"
Turok Han flooded the hallways; Willow and Tara were still too close to the seal and started fighting. Out in the hallway, Giles and the dark-haired Spike stood back to back, their swords slicing through anything that got close.
Dawn and Xander were engaged in battle as well. Xander didn't even have to raise his weapon; he incinerated the vampires with a few words. Dawn stared in awe and then quickly decapitated one of the few who actually got close enough for her to reach.
In another hallway, Andrew and Robin weren't doing so well. The Uber vamps outnumbered them and were stronger than they were. As one got too close to Andrew, Robin tripped over his sword and fell into its arms. The vampire broke his neck and tossed him to the floor.
The blonde vampire was in the midst of the battle when he felt something change. He looked down at the amulet and then called out.
"Buffy! Whatever this thing does, I think it's..."
"Keep the line together! Drive them to the edge! We can't let them do..."
Buffy looked down to see that a Turok Han had stabbed her with a sword from behind, piercing her abdomen. She stumbled forward and collapsed to the ground, face-first. Faith noticed that Buffy was down and ran to her side. Buffy leaned up on her elbow and passed Faith the scythe.
"Hold the line."
"Count on it, B. I'll make you proud."
Faith jumped back into the fray as Buffy grunted in pain.
The First appeared - as Buffy - in front of the downed slayer and pouted at her.
"Oh no... ow! Mommy, this mortal wound is all... itchy. You pulled a nice trick. You came pretty close to smacking me down. What more do you want?"
"I want you... "
Buffy spit out between clenched teeth as she dragged herself up off the ground.
"...to get out of my face."
Buffy caught the scythe as Faith tossed it back to her and instantly used it to take out several of the Uber vamps. All around her, the new slayers were fighting, taking out the Turok Han.
A bright blue light shot up from the amulet, knocking a hole in the ceiling, going up through the floor of the hallway near Xander and Dawn, up through the ceiling and through to the open sky. The light turned a warm orange colour.
Spike looked from the glowing amulet to the slayer and his eyes went wide as he realised what was going to happen.
"Xander, what is that?"
"I don't know, Dawnie... Shit! Spike!"
Xander grabbed Dawn by the hand and ran toward the seal. He encountered Willow and Tara near the door and handed Dawn off to them.
"Get her out of here. Now!"
As Willow and Tara ran, pulling Dawn behind them, Xander ran down the stairs and into the seal. He saw the carnage, and frantically looked around him to make sure that Buffy and Spike were okay. He saw that Buffy was favouring her side but otherwise looked fine, then he saw Spike.
Xander whispered in awe. He was never more grateful for having been cursed than he was at that moment. Spike was bathed in sunlight, and if it weren't for the ring, he would surely be on fire.
Xander watched in awe as the Turok Han began disintegrating before his eyes. He saw Buffy trying to get to Spike, and he realised that he'd just been standing there. He started running toward Spike, dodging the clouds of dust as he went. The ground began to tremble and Faith looked around - eyes wide in realisation.
She yelled and the new slayers began filing out of the cave; Faith looked back at Buffy, worry written clearly on her face.
"Get them out; I'll be right behind you."
Buffy turned back to Spike just as Xander reached them.
"I can feel it."
Spike looked at Xander in awe. Buffy and Xander exchanged worried looks.
"What, Spike? What can you feel?"
"My soul. It's really there; it kinda stings. Xander? What happened to your eyes?"
"I'll tell you later."
As the potentials ran through the hallway, they passed a battered and bloody Andrew who was stumbling toward them. Faith grabbed him and carried him toward the exit. As they passed Giles and the dark-haired Spike, the vampire called out to them.
Kennedy stopped and answered him.
"He's in the seal, with Buffy and the other you. I don't think the vampire can leave."
Spike growled and took off, leaving Giles to follow after the girls.
Outside, Dawn was standing beside the bus waving her arms and yelling.
"Over here! Hurry, get on the bus!"
Faith made sure everyone got on the bus and then looked behind her for Buffy. Finally, she knew they couldn't wait any longer. She climbed the steps and boarded the bus. Giles gave her a sad, knowing look, and then pulled the bus away from the curb.
Spike was glowing. He knew without a doubt that without the ring he would be on fire; he could feel the heat from the light even with the protection the gem offered. The funny thing was, he knew that even if he didn't have it, he would still be doing this. This was his destiny; he was meant to save the world.
"Go on then, you need to go. Both of you."
"It's okay, slayer. This is the way it has to be."
Buffy blinked the tears from her eyes and took Spike's hand in hers.
"You remember when you asked me if I ever loved you?"
"I did. I do now."
"I know, love. As a friend."
"As a friend. Is it enough?"
"More than. Time to go, Buffy. Take care of the lil' bit for me, okay?"
Buffy turned to look at Xander.
"You're not coming with me, are you?"
"No. My place is here."
"I love you, Xander."
"You too, Buff. Go."
Buffy nodded and ran up the stairs, she passed the dark-haired Spike on his way down and smiled. She should have known he was just as stubborn as the blonde.
Spike scowled at Xander and pulled him close.
"You bloody thick-headed git. You could have gotten out."
"I could have. Too late now. I won't leave you."
"And I won't leave either of you."
A new voice joined the conversation. The other two men looked over to see the dark-haired Spike walking toward them even as the cave ceiling fell down around them.
"What took you so long? I thought you'd never get here?"
"Would have been here sooner, but the seal was almost buried. Had to dig my way in."
Spike looked closer at his mate and frowned.
"What the hell happened to your eyes?"
Xander threw his head back and laughed.
Xander shrugged his shoulders.
"Something more. Doesn't matter. Come here."
Xander held his mates to him tightly and spoke softly. A soft blue light emanated from him covering the three men in a protective bubble as the latest tremor brought the entire cave down around them.
Outside, Buffy ran from rooftop to rooftop, finally getting close enough to jump onto the top of the bus. Dawn sat at the back looking out the window as the town collapsed behind them. A lone tear rolled down her face as she thought of Xander and Spike.
Andrew was sitting beside Faith mumbling about how sorry he was, how it should have been him that died and not Robin. Faith just shook her head and held his hand.
Giles finally stopped the bus on the outskirts of town. They all got out and looked back at the crater that used to be Sunnydale. Giles looked around with confusion and asked no one in particular.
"I don't understand. Who did this?"
Buffy smiled as the Sunnydale sign fell into the hole.
"It was Spike."
Just then Anya appeared out of nowhere and took off her necklace. She held it out to Giles and smiled at him.
"I was scared. I wanted to do this sooner, but I was afraid I would lose you. Would you... I want you to break it. Even if you don't want me right now, I'll prove myself to you."
Giles blinked, smiled and took the chain before smashing it beneath his heel.
"Welcome back, Anya. I have missed you."
Anya smiled and Giles folded her into his arms.
In the centre of the crater, the earth trembled, a soft blue bubble of light burst free and the three men inside of it looked up to the sky and smiled. Xander lowered the shield and they looked around them. Off in the distance there was a figure walking toward them. As it got closer, Xander squinted to make out the form of a woman dressed in an impeccably tailored suit.
"Yeah. And you would be?"
"Lilah Morgan. I believe that..."
She reached out and snagged the amulet from around Spike's neck.
"... belongs to my firm. But, I'm here to make you an offer. Sort of a thank you for a job well done."
"Not that I'm not interested, but where the hell did you come from, and why are you dead?"
"Funny you should ask. My employer would like to thank you for ending world peace by offering you the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram and Hart."
Xander looked at his lovers who merely shrugged their shoulders. He turned back to the woman and asked.
"Um, world peace? I didn't end world peace. I closed a hellmouth."
"Not now, that thing with Cordelia. Her spawn would have brought about world peace; you took care of that. My bosses want to reward you. So, will you come back to L.A.? We could discuss this further?"
Xander shrugged his shoulders and turned to his vampires.
"What do you guys think?"
"Why not. We can drop in on Peaches while we're there."
"Up to you, love; where you go, I go."
Xander turned back to Lilah and grinned.
"Sure. Why not?"
Lilah smiled the smile of the truly evil and turned away.
"Gentlemen, if you'll follow me?"
The trio followed Lilah as she walked off into the distance.
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