Chapter 8 - Let's A-Go!

Buffy heard her exhausted John Doe slide to the ground behind her as she left the alley. A pleased smile was on her swollen lips.

Well, well. Now she felt much better. As she straightened her skirt, she felt something wet under her hand. Damn.

Sometimes she wished that there wasn't so much body fluid involved in sex. It was a lot like eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - you always ended up all sticky, and often with various spots and stains as well.

Then again if sex was a neat activity, it probably wouldn't be half as fun.

As Buffy passed by the café again, she grabbed a couple of napkins, licked at them, and begun trying to remove the spots as she walked away. She passed the table where John Doe's friends were still sitting, acting as if they hadn’t been interested in the alley action. As she looked at them, they stared back at her with a combination of fear and excitement.

“Hey, what are you looking at?” Buffy's eyes narrowed, and she threw the paper towel in the approximate direction of the waste basket next to the entrance, ” I hope you don’t have any ideas about me being an all you can eat smorgasbord just because I fucked one of you".

Without any warning, Buffy lunged, then shoved the table the two men were sitting at, sending mugs and table cloth flying through the air, while they stumbled up from their chairs in a state of shock. As she left the chaos on the sidewalk behind her and crossed the street, Buffy felt a rage growing inside of her.

God, it was a miracle that she wasn't completely traumatized when it came to men, all things considered. Before today she had slept with four guys - one turned evil afterwards and killed a bunch of people, one dumped her after the first night, one went to vampire hookers, and one tried to rape her. Great. Just great. She couldn't believe that one of them actually was staying in her house. What the hell was she thinking? He tried to rape her! He...

She closed her eyes for a second, and she was back on the bathroom floor, struggling against his rough grip, looking up at the man who claimed that he loved her. This time, when she remembered it, it was different. Buffy didn’t feel sad or broken, she was more embarrassed that he had been able to wrestle her down and dominate her.

She had been a weak, sobbing girl that had let herself be conquered. Her, the Slayer, weak. It was disgusting.

As she walked down the street, caught up in her own thoughts, her eyes fell on something shiny in the window of a small antique shop. Buffy remembered she had been there with Giles a few times. The store didn’t exactly have a magic theme, but there were still on occasion a few items ­ urns, amulets and other trinkets, that were of interest. But what caught her eye wasn’t something magical, but something sharp and deadly, and she just had to have it. She didn’t even bother to check if the store was open, and she smashed the window and reached out for the weapon.

Twenty minutes later, after three failed attempts to hail a cab, Buffy realized that she probably shouldn’t use the hand holding the sword to hail them. It was a shame that the sword bearing minority were being discriminated against by cab drivers.

A few minutes later, after she hid the sword behind her back, a cab finally stopped, and Buffy got in. Being ignored by the previous, asshole cab drivers had made her mood even worse now.

“Where to, Miss?”, the driver asked with a chipper voice, which faded as he found himself eye-to-eye with the tip of a sword.

“Revello Drive. 1630.” The soulless Slayer leaned back into the seat, caressing the cool finish on the blade. She lifted her chin and smiled a sinister smile, “And hurry up, I’ve got things to do.”

* * * * *
“Hey Spike”, Anya said, addressing the vampire lying in the back seat, “Can you really read under that blanket?”

“Uhuh”, was the muffled response, “Sorta. Umf! But it would be easier if your driving was smoother.”


"You're speeding!" he complained, "The last thing we want right now is to get pulled over by the police. It would look suspiciously like you're hauling a dead body under this blanket, which of course, you are, just one that would explode into flames if found. It seems like... Bugger!!”

“If I’ve gotten this right, umf!" Spike felt one of the wheels thump against the curb, "we have til sunset to save their souls.”

“Save their souls, sounds kind of religious ”, Anya said tensely. She looked out the window and saw with growing alarm that the sun was sinking down behind the silhouettes of reddish suburban roofs.

“Ok, so we go to the house," she jabbered, trying to convince herself, "We find the vessel that sucks scoobie souls, and break it. No biggie!”

“Then we are a full team," she went on, "and we can stop the bad guy from using your soul to suck away the souls of everybody else. Totally do-able.”

“Right, Spike?”, she asked him anxiously.

He was concentrating on the text in front of him, and didn't answer.

“Right, Spike?!”, she repeated louder.

"What?" he twisted his head under the blanket, “Oh... yeah, we’ll save the soddin' world.”

Then his eyes turned back to the text. “Buffy will," he said quietly.

There was a loud clang against the side of the car, most likely made by a trash can that wasn't quick enough to get out of the way. It made Spike twitch a little bit.

"Bloody hell! Be careful!, he growled.

“So, how do we kill him?” Anya asked, ignoring his tone.

“It’s…” He looked closer, almost touching the page with his nose, “He’s mystically connected to the vessel. We break it before it can change back to it’s original form and the Koz'sha will be thrown back to his original dimension once and for all. Probably already sucked that one dry of souls the wanker will starve to death.”

“The vessel…” he paused, trying to make sense of the text, “It will only stay in it's false form until sunset.”

Anya looked out the side window once more, and saw that the sky was being painted light orange now by the setting sun. The streets were still filled with people that were trying to finish their errands before the stores closed.

Without any warning, the car halted with screeching tires, throwing Spike forward into the back of the front seat, then back again. After a few "umfs" and "ughs", he found himself laying on the floor, luckily still wrapped in the blanket. Shaken, not stirred.

“Anya," he shouted, trying to crawl back into the seat without exposing himself to last of the direct sunlight, "Oi. you stupid bint now what are you doin’?”

He didn't get an answer.

The vampire heard her leaving the car instead. Then through the open door, he could hear her quick steps as she was crossed the street. Next a distant whining and a shout, and then the high-pitched noises were heard. The sounds suddenly became muffled, even though he could tell they were coming closer.

The inarticulate sounds suddenly filled the car, and as Spike peeked out from the cover of the blanket, he saw what they were coming from.

Dawn! He felt a rush of intense relief. Bit, was ok. She really was ok.

“Hold her!" Anya commanded, and he did as she wanted, making sure that he kept his arms and hands out of the sunlight as he reached for Dawn.

Anya ran around the car, slammed the door shut, and instantly the car was moving again. He heard what was most likely the child-proof lock being engaged. It was confirmed when, the struggling and screaming teenager managed to yank loose one arm, and tried unsuccessfully to open the door presumably in an attempt to escape.

Spike was still feeling high from the notion of Dawn’s presence, though rather confused, “Anya, what’s goin’ on? Why does it seem we are kidnappin’ Dawn?”

“Dawn was walking around in hospital clothes, carrying this.” Spike felt something heavy hit his covered self, and he recognized the feel of a crossbow.

Of course... Dawn was also affected. Why didn’t they think of that?

“Listen now, Dawnie”, Anya's attempt at a soothing voice sounded condescending, “You have gone completely insane, but that’s ok, aunty Anya will make you normal again.”

“You crazy demon bitch! Leave me alone!”, Dawn screamed and struggled to get out of Spike’s grip.

“It’s ok pet”, Spike said, making a futile attempt to reassure her.

Dawn suddenly recognized his voice. “Spike, is that you!?” Dawn shouted, “What the hell are you doing here? Are you on her side!?”

“Not on anyone’s side," Spike was rather sure that he wasn’t making a big impression, "It’s just… You've gone wonky, just like the other two...”

“ Liar, it's you that's wonky. You are sick! Both of you! Is this some kind of evil demon/vampire plan to take over the world?” She was struggling, frantic, breathing hard through clenched teeth, then she gasped, “Are you gonna use me to open some creepy dimension or something? That’s it, isn’t it?”

“I really can’t believe," Anya sighed, "that they don’t put mute buttons on people under 20.”

Dawn continued to screech nasty epithets.

* * * * *

Buffy wasn't happy. She'd forgotten that the house was all bloody and trashed, and she sighed with frustration as she walked into the hallway.

The tiny blonde poked with the sword at the stained hallway rug. Perhaps Willow could do a spell? Why had they never thought of that before? It would, after all, prove much cheaper than replacing and fixing everything every time mayhem and all his cousins came to visit.

The Slayers eyes went cold. Despite all the blood already on the floor, there was still someone standing that shouldn't be. Her breathing became deep and slow, and Buffy savored the weight of the sword in her hand. It felt like power, and she liked it.

It wasn't like she'd killed a boyfriend before, she reasoned with her self. Ok, one, but who's counting?

A sound coming from behind the basement door interrupted Buffy's self reflection. She hadn't noticed until now, but there was a chest of drawers in front of it.

Ok, somebody, that wasn't her, had locked somebody else in. What's up with that?

The Slayer tried not to make any sound as she approached the basement, knowing all to well that if Spike was the one down there, he would be well aware of her presence. Quickly, she pushed the chest away, and yanked the door open.

Before Buffy could initiate her attack, Xander came tumbling out, knocking her to the floor.

"Xander, what's going on?" Buffy threw him off, and got to her feet, "Why are you tackling me?"

"Buffy?" He seemed surprised to see her, but his expression quickly changed into rage, "You almost killed Dawn, you slayer bitch!"

"Hey!" Buffy waved the sword in the air, clearly upset, "Who are you calling slayer bitch?! That's Faith's title, you know!"

Then she remembered her mission.

"Where's Spike?!" she demanded.

"Spike?!" Xander took a deep, disturbed breath, "I should have known - you're in this together!"

"With Spike? As if!" She was now yelling at the top of her lungs, "And into what?"

Xander's chest was heaving, "Well, I don't know! but I know it's something! You beat your sister up, and then Spike is here and gets with that slutty ex-fiancee of mine!"

"You have completely lost it, sidekick boy!"

"Hey...! Watch it!"

"Ooh, what are you gonna do? Kill me with your amazing super power of mediocrity?" Buffy leaned against the sword with a scornful smile, "Rob us of your indispensable services as comic relief? How will we ever be able to fight evil again?"

With a angry roar, Xander grabbed a big vase from a nearby table and lunged towards her.

"Oh no, he's coming at me with The Vase of Death!", Buffy taunted, "Duck and cover!"

The girl stepped aside, and pushed him to the floor. In a split second, he found the tip of the sword pinned against his throat.

"Recap." Buffy smiled savagely, "I'm the slayer, and you suck."

"Buffy!" Came from the front door.

The Slayer knew that voice all too well.

Without moving the sword away from Xander's throat, she turned to the hallway.

"Oh, look, if it isn't the dynamic duo?" She clenched her teeth and looked past Anya, straight at Spike, "The mass murdering vengeance demon and the rapist. Figures you two would team up."

Show time.

Buffy lifted the sword and started to walk slowly towards Spike. Their eyes met in silence, and Spike knew the sword was ment for him. Buffy wanted to kill him.

If she could, she would kill him.

"Go, find the vessel," he addressed Anya without taking his eyes off Buffy. From the corner of his eye, he saw his demon partner leave his side and run towards the kitchen.

Buffy came closer lifting her sword into a striking position.

"Are you afraid of me?", The Slayer asked with a cold smile. Then she laughed, tilting her head to the side.

"You know," she said, "you once told me all about about slayers. You said we have a death wish, remember? You asked me to dance, I told you never with you, you were beneath me and then you came to my house with a gun but you couldn’t do it. That's typical interaction between the two of us, don't you think?"

Spike was trying hard NOT to think not to feel and definitely not see what was in her eyes. Once again Buffy was holding his heart in an iron grip, and every second he kept looking at her, meeting her gaze, it became tighter. Spike couldn't look away. It was like looking at a burning car wreck. He was hypnotized, frozen like a deer in headlights, just standing there, waiting for the end.

She hated him, and he deserved it. Spike knew better then any one that he was a bad man.

"You have one of those death wishes too," Buffy continued, while they slowly turned, dancing a deadly dance around each other, "You've had it ever since you became new and improved. You came here yesterday because you want me to take you out of your misery, isn't that right? Deep inside you do. You're like a horse with a broken leg. You're in pain, and there's no way out."

Spike saw her tense for attack.

"Buffy will make it all better."

"You undead bastard!" Xander suddenly came flying to the air, knocking Spike to the ground. His fist came smashing down several times into Spike's face with surprising force before Spike caught his hand.

In the sudden silence, Spike heard the smashing sounds from Anya's quest.

"Get out of my way, Xander!" Buffy shoved him away from Spike, and raised her sword once more with the expression of pure hatred in her face.

Every thing seemed to slow down to this one second. This was one of those classic life changing moments. Those few, but memorable moments when you made that really crucial split second decision. Stay and watch the plane leave or make that dash to the gate to tell the woman of your dreams that you love her? Steal the dropped wallet or alert its owner? Die for your sins or live?

They say that right before you die your life flash before your eyes. Spike had always wondered about that, about how someone could squeeze a life's worth of experiences into a split second, but now he understood. It wasn't like a videotape on fast-forward, more of instant emotional summary that surged through the guts, the heart, the soul. It reverberated through him, through his very essence. Cecily, Drusilla, dying, death, killing, Angel, blood, London, Prague, Sunnydale, Buffy, love, soul, the sword. The sword coming down at him...

And then... Spike made that decision. He rolled to the side, leaving the sword to crash down into the floor without touching his dead flesh, or impaling his non-beating heart in its course.

Spike remembered. He remembered the look in her eyes just the day before. Buffy had told him that she wasn't going to stake him. Dying is easy, she'd said. It's living that's the challenge.

And now Spike knew. He didn't want to go to hell today.

The sword burrowed into the wooden floor beneath them with a loud thump, and then there was a silence, broken only by Buffy's rapid breathing.

It was like everything froze, and time had stopped.

Buffy's eyes met Spikes

"Buffy", he whispered, "I'm gonna make it all right."

Suddenly there was a strange buzzing sound, and Buffy instinctively threw herself to the side, pulling the sword with her. The arrow hit the wall behind Buffy and all Spike could do was stare down the hallway.

"Were you even gonna visit me at the hospital?" Dawn shouted through clenched teeth, "or were you just gonna beat me up and leave me to die?" She had managed to free herself from the rope that Anya had tied her to the car seat with, and Dawn was definitely not in a good mood.

Anya peeked out from the kitchen, silently wishing that there had been some sort of girl scouts in her childhood days. She could have used some of the things they learned, cause seriously, she had to admit her knots sucked. The two thousand year old demon reasoned to herself, as she got back to her frenzied smashing, that there hadn't been any electricity or a structured society either, so selling cookies and learning camping essentials was probably to much to ask.

"Dawnie", Buffy reprimanded her sister, lifting the sword in front of her, "Can't you see I'm busy?"

"Dawn! Thank God, You're ok!" Xander's voice cut through the room.

"Well, yeah," Dawn loaded another arrow, "No thanks to her!" Pulling the bow string into place she continued "I guess it all makes sense -it's not like I'm REALLY your sister anyway, so why would you care?"

Spike was quickly on his feet, shouting "Dawn, don't!"

As he ran towards her, the vampire felt a sharp pain in his upper body Spike looked down and saw a shiny, blood-stained sword blade sticking out of his chest. Pain surged through his body and made him fall limp to his knees. Spike turned slightly and caught the sight of Buffy struggling in Xander's grip. If Harris had he not interfered with the slayer's aim, Spike would no doubt be dust.

The vampire fought to stay conscious. Inch by inch, Spike managed to pull the sword from his body. He gurgled up blood, then fell on weak arms, panting from the shock and the pain. Through the pain Spike felt a pair of arms pulling at him, he looked up and saw Anya's concerned eyes.

Spike found himself up against the living room wall, with Anya supporting him. Their three friends became louder but thankfully the voices moved on to the kitchen. The yelling was then joined by the sound of porcelain, china and other kitchen stuff being smashed.

"You look bad Spike" commented Anya

"I'll live", he told Anya, "Find the vessel - we're running out of time."

"I know", Anya looked around in the room, "but I have no idea what to look for. It could be pretty much anyt..."

One might expect that the arrival of an evil being would be announced by a big shining light, a loud thunder, or at least some kind of trumpet-blowing guy in a corny outfit, but no, not with this one. The soul eater was suddenly just standing there in front of Anya and Spike. And to their embarrassment, the appearance made both the demon and the vampire jump.

Strangely enough it seemed in real life, monsters tended to be scarier in daylight and in well-lit settings than in the dark boiler rooms or foggy graveyards of the movies.

The evil creature's black clothing fluttered around him like a wounded crow would fighting for its life. The monster radiated darkness, pure, undiluted darkness, death and anguish and misery, all rolled up into one box. It was was partly transparent, and appeared a dark, creepy shadow, floating in mid-air.

Corporeal enemies were the easy ones - just reach for an axe, slice and dice, done. The not so solid, like this thing appeared to be, were always the tricky ones. Usually there was a need for some sneaky, possibly magical, solution, to fight this type of demon, and since Spike was damn sure that there weren't any packages in the Summer's fridge labeled "sneaky magical solution", he knew they were all in trouble. In fact, if they didn't find the vessel they were totally screwed.

Spike still panting from pain, just stared at the present threat realizing with growing horror that for once he had absolutely no idea what to do.

Wasn' t he the Big Bad? The vampire had killed and torn apart everything that got in his way for so long. Bloody hell! But now he was bleeding like stuck pig, leaning against the wall, and looking at his nemesis with what he was sure looked like fear in his eyes. It wasn't the selfish fear, something he only experienced from time to time, it was the fear that after everything, he would be used as the tool to hurt and kill. People were in danger, and he didn't know what to do.

It wasn't like he hadn't faced danger and apocalypse before, but this was different.

Being soulless made it easy for you to be quite care-free. Sure, Spike had feared for his own life a few times. The thought of Buffy and/or Dawn being in trouble had never failed to fill the vampire with horror. Now there were all these soddin' complex bursts of empathic feelings that clouded his mind, and strangely made him dizzy and nauseous. Or perhaps that was just the open wound through his torso.

Anya, who had been squatting next to Spike, quickly stood up, trying her best to keep her poker face.

"Ehm..." she wiped the blood of her hand and stretched it out towards the dark being, "I don't know if we've met. I'm Anyanka, you've probably heard of me."

The being didn't react.

"Oookay," she let her hand fall back to her side, "So, what's new in the demon community?"

Spike tried hard not to get distracted by the pain.

"Anya" he whispered with a strained voice, "Go, find it."

Anya nodded, and turned to make a dash for the stairs.

"No", the being said.

Anya felt a burning sensation in her arm, as she was yanked backwards like a rag doll. The vengeance demon looked over her shoulder, and saw that a black limb was holding her in a tight grip. The thing had materialized his fingers to reach out for her, and now Anya was stuck. She struggled to get free, but it wasn't about to let her go.

"You will not interfere," the darkness ordered.

Anya noticed that it's lip area didn't move. It was more like the evil thing's words echoed through their minds in some kind of telepathic manner. The other arm started to transform. Parts of the left side of it's body seemed to be changing step-by-step into a some what of a solid, in the process the creatures fingers grew sharper and sharper, forming X-men's Wolverine-like claw. Anya stared in terror at the being, while with increasing frenzy she tried to escape it's grip.

"I will see that you will not succeed in your quest, An-yan-ka", he continued, aiming for her gut with the claws.

Spike's fist struck the semi-solid being, and it had quite an interesting effect, like punching a bathtub full of gum. Spike and the being tumbled to the floor.

As soon as they hit the floor, the Koz’sha quickly returned to it's original non corporeal state, and Spike found himself pass through his enemy, momentarily being surrounded by darkness. Spike got to his feet as soon as vampirely possible, and watched the thing in front of him, trying to anticipate it's next move. The din from the kitchen created by the other three in the house had still not stopped, and the scoobies were obviously too busy to take any notice of what was going on in the living room.

To Spike's surprise, the darkness didn't lash out at him, it just stood there, looking at him, which bothered Spike. The Vampire's instinct told him something strange was happening.

A glowing green ball of light was growing in the palm of the being's "hand". Spike arched his brow, feeling his muscles grow tense.

"Vampire you are a great specimen, and you'll serve me well", the Koz’sha lifted his hand. Spike threw a fist at him, but it went right through the being's body, and he almost lost his balance.

Spike backed away, although he knew all too well there was nowhere to go.

"Would you like to be rewarded for your services?", the Koz’sha reached out towards Spike, "Oh, wait, you'll be dead, so there's probably no point."

As the being's palm touched Spike's chest right over his unbeating heart. A flash of emerald light shone around Spike's body. Within seconds the vampire's body started to convulse, and he let out sharp gasps, as the pain increased they quickly became a scream.

"Don't worry", the Koz’sha said calmly, "It'll soon be over."

Anya stumbled, feeling an invisible wave crashing through her. She glanced out the window and saw a couple of pedestrians outside wobbling then falling to the ground.

It was already happening.

Anya looked over to Spike she saw an expression of unspeakable pain on his face, his body hanging limp in the beings grip.

"Spike!", she shouted, and started for him.

"Find it, Anya," he managed some how to get the words out before he passed out.

Anya stared around her, scanning the living room for suspect items. "Shit!" Except for just the other day, she hadn't been been in Buffy's house for quite some time. She wasn't sure what to look for. What was different? Was there something new?

Anya managed to duck a frying pan that had come flying from the kitchen. Anya glanced at the fighting trio, and was glad that Xander was still alive...

...Oh yeah, and Dawn and Buffy too.

The last rays of sun were spiking through the trees outside, she looked back to the dying vampire, and Anya started to panic. She had never been good under pressure. Vengeance was, after all, best served slow and cold.

Hurry now, No time! What was new? Had she seen that flower pot before? Shit, she didn't know! Was that a new painting? Had she seen that... What the hell? She stared at the item on the other side of the room.

Buffy wouldn't possibly...?

Suddenly Anya felt like she was in one of those cartoon scenes the type where big signs and blinking arrows pointed at an object, signaling the message.

"Vessel. Smash to save the day."

The vengeance demon slipped passed the black being, Anya felt like she was moving in slow motion as she reached for the object. The Koz’sha seeing what she was attempting, reached out after her, but she dodged him, grabbed the object, and threw it down in front of her. The Picachu lamp crashed to the floor. There came a loud, pain-filled howl from the Koz’sha, he stumbled, and dropped Spike's lifeless body.

Anya saw movement in the corner of her eye, as she turned the shards of the lamp were turning into black feathers. The dark lines scrambled around, twitching in a coordinated movement, but finally fell to the floor in a pile of dead, dry sticks. In the background, Koz’sha screamed like a manic opera singer. In a matter of seconds the dark creature started to distort, then was sucked into an invisible wormhole, folding into himself, and then, with a loud whoosh he was gone.

In the kitchen Buffy screamed "You little brat!" raising the sword, "I'll teach you what happens when you disrespect your older sister!"

"Bitch!" Xander hollered, ready the kitchen knife that he was holding to stab into Buffy's chest.

Abruptly, as by a flip of the remote, they all froze.

After a moment of confusion, they looked at each other with terror.

"Oh my god!", Xander gasped, dropping the knife, and backing up until he hit the wall behind him.

Dawn looked up at Buffy without finding words, and Buffy met her eyes with a panicked expression on her face.

"I'm sorry, I..." Buffy stuttered, "I didn't want to... I didn't mean to..."

Suddenly something in the living room caught the Slayer's eye, and she turned.

Spike lie there on the floor his entire body covered in blood and his skin was no longer the usual pale vampire tone. It was almost translucent white, with an ashy nuance around the mark on his chest. The vampire's body seemed lifeless.

"Come on, Spike," Anya sat on her knees next to him leaning over his prone body. She shook his shoulders "this is nothing!"

Buffy was breathing hard, and she felt dizzy. The images in her head were spinning as she slowly made her way into the living room, finally standing next to him. The Slayer looked down at the seemingly dead vampire, blinking a few times, trying to make sense of it all.

"Anya", she said with a hoarse voice, "He'll be okay, won't he? I mean, if he's not dust, he'll be ok, right?"

Anya considered lying, and hesitated, then looked at Buffy.

"It's not that easy. Not with magic," her shoulders dropped a little as she spoke, "Physical wounds are pretty much a dust/no dust thing, but magic is tricky. The truth is that these kind of things can progress. He could drop dead tomorrow for all I know. The wound from the blade will heal ok, but..."

Buffy stared down at the sword that she still clenched in her hand. After she froze for a moment it dropped to the floor. Buffy slowly backed away with an empty look in her eyes.

"Buffy...?" Anya looked at her with concern.

Turning then she ran as fast as she could up the stairs. With fumbling fingers she managed to open the bathroom door and lock it behind her. As if in a trance, the turned on the shower and stepped into it. Her stained clothing fell to the wet shower floor, and Buffy started frantically scrubbing the blood from her hands, while staring at the white tile on the bathroom wall, trying not to think.

A few seconds later, she felt her hands starting to shake, and the sponge fell down to the wet floor with a small splat.

It had caught up with her.

Leave feedback

Chapter 7 < > Chapter 9