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His Slayer, Again

Author: ShyBob
Show: BtVS
Rating: NC-17
Category: Futurefic, Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Crossover (Time Machine)
Warnings: het, BDSM, character death
Characters: Buffy, Dawn, Spike
Pairing: Buffy/Spike (rom), Dawn/Spike (friends)
Summary: Spike goes back in time to prevent Buffy's death. BtVS/ Time Machine crossover
Sequel to: His Slayer
Author Notes: Inspired by Saber Shadowkitten and Brighid.
Story Notes: Spoilers for everything through BtVS 6 and AtS 3. Minor BDSM (less than the show).
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all associated characters are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, United Paramount Network, and Fox Television. This work is not for profit, and no ownership of aforementioned copyrighted material implied, nor any infringement intended.


*     *     *

PROLOGUE

The cold chilled Spike to the bone, seeping through a black leather duster that had seen better decades. He was in New York City, on a particularly dark Tuesday night. In January.  *Never thought livin' in Sunnyhell would spoil a bloke.*  And it was true. The Hellmouth had actually been good to Spike. But only after it claimed his soul-mate for the third time.

The sole reason Spike had continued his existence at all was that the new Slayer needed him. Giles said it had never happened in recorded history, a Slayer being called after her 18th birthday. But it sure as hell happened in Sunnydale. Dawn had been called, not after her sister's death--that summoning had already been used on Kendra--but after Faith's. Giles and Willow figured it had to be some sort of connection with the Slayer blood that flowed through Dawn's veins because of Buffy. Not only had the new Slayer been made human using a small bit of Buffy's life energy and memories, but she had blood bonded with Buffy after a nearly disastrous confrontation with a angry hell-goddess. The Watcher figured that had jinxed it for the formerly green and glowy Key.

So, in the ultimate cosmic jest, a girl who shouldn't have even been alive was protecting the world from vampires, demons and the forces of darkness. Spike smiled a little. He loved irony. Over a century of murder and mayhem in the company of an insane lover had given him a truly rare appreciation for it, as well as the macabre. But the smile was wiped off his face when he remembered the source of the irony was a young woman he had sworn to protect.

He would never have left her side in balmy 71 degree Sunnydale, had Giles not sent him on a mission 'of enormous importance, to secure a magical artifact that could well change the balance of power between Good and Evil.'  *Rah, bloody rah. It's always down to the soddin' wire, fate hanging by a bleedin' thread. That's just how it is.*  Spike was loathe to leave his little dark haired Slayer; it had turned into a shouting match with Giles before he agreed.

So here he was, in below-freezing weather, lacking a proper hat, scarf, and mittens, searching for a homeless man that knew the location of some bauble that would help the forces of Good beat back the forces of Darkness. Again.  *Don't even know if it's worth the bloody effort anymore.*  Spike shook his head in disgust. He'd told Buffy differently, years ago, but he didn't know if he wanted to save a world where the most beautiful and precious things were the first to be destroyed.  *Must be that soul gettin' uppity again.*

Spike realized he was never this morose when Dawn was around. The Nibblet was always good for a joke, or a hug, or a foodfight. The last of which, in Casa de Summers, meant cleaning up empty bags of blood, squashed curly fries, and skeletal remains of spicy buffalo wings.

The vampire's attention was suddenly directed outward, away from his thoughts of home. Movement in an alley, the flash of a familiar face, provoked him to jog towards a gap between two buildings up ahead. *Is that Faith's old Watcher?*  "Wesley! Wait up, mate!"


*     *     *

CHAPTER 1

Spike entered the poorly lit alley a half-dozen paces behind the man. "Oi, Watcher!"

The man turned around. "Yes?"

Spike felt disappointed. It wasn't Wesley, after all. The similar profile, the outdated clothes... "You're with the Watcher's Council, then?"

"No, no. I just... watch. People. There's nothing else to do, you know. At least watching people you can remember what it was like, when you were alive."

The other's choice of words brought Spike's attention to a razor-sharp focus. "What do you mean, mate?" Spike took a moment to give the fellow a proper once-over. The clothes were wrong, too stuffy for even Giles' council buddies. And the man looked...thin. Not underweight, thought he didn't look like he could weigh more than Spike, but worn. Tired to the point of being used up. And empty, as though there was nothing left worth living for. Spike knew that look. He'd caused it, sometimes, in the 'bad old days.' This is what he must have looked like after he lost Buffy. Worse, even. This fellow appeared past the point of despair. Just...there.

"Just that when you've lost all that's important, the center of your existence, nothing else really matters."

"Too bloody right," agreed the vampire. Spike recognized something in the other. A loss so profound it screamed out silently, with every action and word. "You loved her, and she was taken from you by the bloody Powers That Be, with no concern to whether the world would be able to continue without her."

"Yes, yes, that's it precisely." The other man's voice approached something resembling normal inflection. "But it doesn't matter. All the times you try to save her, she always dies again."

Spike's soul ached in agreement. He tried to reach out to the other. "I know, mate. Every night, in your dreams. A dozen different ways to save her, things you never thought of at the time that let you save her before you wake up to this nightmare."

"No." The other leaned against a wall, tired. "I mean, every time I go back, she dies a different way. It doesn't matter."

"Wait." Spike felt hope rise up inside, more that he'd dared in a long time. "What do you mean, go back?"

The other man smiled, but his suffering twisted it into something grotesque. "Let me show you."


*     *     *

"What's this, then?" Spike was looking at the contraption in front of him with a little disdain. He had thought the bloke might have been a sorcerer, or maybe have a necklace like demon-girl used to. The machine Spike saw was not what he expected.  *What a piece of junk!*

"This is my temporal displacement vehicle." The man sounded nearly proud. "But it didn't save her."
"It's a time machine, then?. I was expecting somethin' a bit more DeLorean, and a little less H.G. Wells."

The man smiled tiredly. "Yes, Herbert did always have a tendency to embellish."

Spike met his eyes, struggling not to hope, but failing. "What do you want for it?"

"You don't understand; you can't save her. This is worthless."

Spike's eyes turned golden. "WHAT do you WANT?"

The dark-haired man took half a step back in surprise, then steadied himself.  "Nothing. I want nothing. See for yourself, it's worth nothing."

"Show me how it works."


*     *     *

Spike grilled the fellow until he felt he understood the controls completely, and had a rudimentary understanding of the physics of the craft. He sat in the control chair, looking down at the scientist. Who was still talking.

"Now remember, the flux capacitance crystal is your source of power. Without it, you're stuck sometime forever."

"Yeah, mate. I won't leave home without it. That's it, then?"

The other man nodded, then started to speak again. Knowing the other would just try to further dissuade him, Spike started to pull the lever back.

"You don't understand." The inventor tried one last time to appeal to Spike. "You can't change fate!"

Spike grinned. "Personally, I prefer 'there is no fate but which we make.' Ta." The crystal-topped lever slid smoothly towards Spike.

The man watched as Spike, surrounded by a sphere of energy, faded from sight. "He just doesn't understand."


*     *     *

CHAPTER 2

Spike had carefully questioned the inventor as to the nature of the 'displacement bubble' or whatever its technical name was. It blocked, for all practical purposes, everything except visible wavelengths of light. None of the ultraviolet rays that were Spike's bane would be able to reach him, so long as he was inside the bubble.  *As long as I arrive at night, it'll be just peachy.*

Spike's only other concern was when to go. He knew the moment of Buffy's death: it was seared into his brain forever. But the demon had stabbed her days before she finally died. Spike hadn't been there, but from Xander he knew about what time that was. Spike figured better safe than sorry, so he gave himself a week. A week to get to Sunnydale, save his soul-mate, and make all right with the world again.
He watched the scene unfold, or rather refold, outside his transparent little bubble. The sun moved the wrong way across the sky. People walked backwards, spitting coffee into styrofoam cups. Spike's personal favorite was the bird droppings launching off the pavement to hit a pigeon in the ass. Faster and faster, day preceded night, while the date on the control panel rolled backwards.


*     *     *

Spike stepped down from the time machine in an earlier Manhattan. He felt good; he was hopeful as he had not been for a long time. It was a little more than a week until Buffy's fight at the Junkyard.  Until she was/would be fatally wounded.  Spike's first concern was getting 'his' time machine out of the alley. He found a pay phone. After the third try, he got through to a moving company that was open at this time of night. Spike gave the location, and promised the driver an extra fifty if he made it there in fifteen minutes.

Spike considered his options. He'd need the machine to return to the 'corrected' future; he couldn't stay here in this time with his earlier self. The machine could go into storage, and a couple hundred dollars spent on a decent storage facility ought to ensure the machine would still be there when he got back to New York. It would only be a week, after all.
He could get money for the move and a rental car by drawing it from Dawn's college account, which he knew existed in this time. He was a co-holder on the account with Buffy, a fact that had surprised him to no end when he found out. He was touched that she would entrust care of Nibblet's educational future to him. Besides, he would replace the money as soon as he got back.

*Got a week to get there and fix things. It'll be plenty of time.*  Spike lit a cigarette and stared down the street, waiting for the moving truck.


*     *     *

*Gotta give it to the krauts, their cars are bleedin' marvels.*  Of course, they weren't the American classics of massive weight and big block displacement that Spike was most fond of, but a little luxury went a long way towards helping a man forget that. Spike circled the rented Mercedes.  The freshly-waxed, glossy black CLK 500 had called to him from the moment he saw it.  He needed a car to get to Sunnyhell, and this fit the bill.  And the ultra-dark tint meant the windows didn't have to be painted over to make it vampire-friendly.


*     *     *

Goodland, Kansas passed by outside the window at 120 miles an hour.  *Feels like I'm going home.  But it ain't home. It's the past.*  Spike hadn't done a great deal of introspection since embarking on his self-appointed mission to change history. He was more concerned about getting there in time and saving Buffy. But the plan was as firmed-up as it could be until he got to Sunnydale, and driving long distances along always gave him a chance for a little soul-searching.
*Mebbe I should get her a gift?  No, she can't know that I'm not the one from this time.  Can't let her know.  Just save her, get back, and she'll be there waitin' when I get back to my own time.*

Thinking about all the ramifications made Spike's head hurt, so he tried not to. He focused on the plan, and the only thought past that was that Buffy would be there when he got back to the future. Spike hummed along with the radio. The only station he could get was much lighter that his preference, but some sacrifices had to be made on any quest. Besides, the upbeat song struck a chord within him. *You bet, I'll do everything that I can. Gonna save Buffy!*


*     *     *

Spike's last stop before Sunnydale had been Baker. There hadn't been much to see when he rolled into town after dark. He gassed up the Mercedes, then looked for a place to stop. He'd been napping in the parking lot next to 'the world's tallest thermometer' when he heard the screams. He was out of the car and headed towards the source of the screams before his mind was fully awake. He rounded the trailer of a dark green rig and saw a large, scruffy man pushing a small woman towards the truck's cab.

"Please, no." She was crying. She tried to dodge around the man, but he caught her by the wrist.
"Don't worry, missy. It won't be that bad."

"Wrong, mate. It's goin' to be bloody awful."

The large man looked over at Spike, who was approaching rapidly. "Get out of here, you fairy. This ain't none of your business."

The woman looked at Spike. "Please, help me!"

The man spared a glance at her, then slapped her with his free hand, hard. Her head snapped sideways, and she fell to her knees.

"Shouldn't 'ave done that, you tosser." Spike covered the last of the distance between them, and just as the would-be rapist looked towards him again, Spike's boot caught the man in the knee. He went down with a shout, inadvertently letting go of the woman. She scrambled back.

The man staggered up to his feet, facing Spike. "You're going to pay for that, you bleached freak."

Spike looked past the man, at the woman getting to her feet. "Run," he said.

The other man lunged towards Spike and swung a fist at him. Spike ducked back, just out of range. The other fellow pulled a knife from a sheath at the back of his belt. "Now I'm gonna' cut you."

"Thanks for the warnin' mate." Spike turned his body so the thrust of the knife missed his duster by a fraction of an inch. He caught the knife hand at the wrist. Turned the arm over slightly. And broke the man's elbow with a forearm strike. "Run!" Spike shouted at the woman. This time she obeyed.

Spike's opponent looked like he might pass out from the pain. It might have been better if he had. "Now, you bloody bastard, it's my turn." Spike tore into the man's neck with a ferocity that splattered blood up the side of the trailer ten feet away.

*     *     *

Spike got into his rented Mercedes and sped off before anyone could come out of the restaurant to see the body. Spike wiped his face off with a tissue from the glove compartment. He didn't mind having his soul, so long as the chip was gone and he could kill those that needed killing, whatever their species.  *Nice to have a spot of violence to take the edge off. Besides, I was feeling a mite peckish.*


*     *     *

CHAPTER 3

Spike arrived in Sunnydale just as the sun came over the hills. He drove to the mansion on Crawford Street. The place was still abandoned, as if potential buyers and demons alike could sense the supernatural vibes of all that had happened there. Spike figured it was the least likely spot for anyone to bump into him in the next few days.
The black Mercedes sat in the garage at the rear of the mansion. The garage door was still smashed, but the interior was shaded. The contents of the trunk were transferred inside in only a couple of trips. Spike had bought everything he'd needed in between New York and Las Vegas. He didn't plan on waltzing about town and chance messing with the way things were supposed to be. Except for saving Buffy. Three days. An eternity to stay cooped up inside, but well worth the reward. Three days of living off bagged blood from an ice chest. Three days of no fighting.  *Bloody hell, I'll go wonky.*

*     *     *

*Shit shit shit!* Spike jogged through the Junkyard towards the site of Buffy's impending battle.  The building where the sorcerer Brannok and his demon were waiting.  Spike was late. He had gotten into the Mercedes this evening, ready to drive off and kill the bad guys, only to find the car wouldn't start. The reason was under the hood. In a nest of twigs and wire insulation. The pack rat had looked at him before scampering out through the broken garage door.  *Bloody rodents. I'll kill 'em all.*
Spike had run to the Junkyard. Run. Halfway across town. With an axe in his hand.  *No cabs to hail in this soddin' town, and no one'll stop for bleedin' hitchhikers anymore.*  Spike did not reflect on the fact that his axe may have had something to do with it.

'Jimmy's Auto Recycling' the sign proclaimed, but Jimmy'd been eaten by one of the Master's crew shortly after Buffy moved to Sunnydale.  Now it was simply called the Junkyard.  Spike entered the only building on the property, snuck up the stairs, and eased through the doorway until he saw the objects of his search. Two figures, one human and the other a large, purple demon, stood at the far end of the room. Near them was a table with a leather briefcase sitting on top.

Last year the sorcerer had killed the crew of a Russian freighter to get an artifact, the Cross of Saint Timothy, to help him raise an army of demons.  Spike's earlier self had returned to Sunnydale to prevent it.  Then Buffy and Faith had died.

*The soddin' cross from the Russians must be in the case.*  Spike vamped out as he walked towards the pair, axe in one hand. "You bloody bastards, I'll kill you both."
The large purple demon looked at Spike and growled. The sorcerer Brannok sneered at Spike. "So, the Slayer's pet vampire is here. I'm surprised the slut let you out of her bedroom."

Spike palmed the vial he carried in his pocket. He had discovered the formula not long after Buffy and Faith had died at the hands of Brannok's demon. He mixed it in case he ran into another of its ilk, never guessing he would use the mixture on the very demon that had killed his soul-mate.  *But not this time, you pillock.*
Spike threw the vial to smash at the demon's feet. A cloud of orange vapor rose to surround the creature. It ceased growling and froze in place.

Brannok's face was a study in confusion and rage. "How did you...?"

Spike smiled grimly as he raised his axe. "Did my homework, mate."

Buffy and Faith bounded into the room, followed by Xander.  Buffy looked at the vampire in surprise.  "Spike? I thought you were watching Dawn!"

*Bloody hell! Not now!*  "Slayer! Stay back! I've got to get him before the paralysis wears off. Spike turned back towards the demon. And cringed.
Brannok had pulled the Cross of St. Timothy from the leather briefcase on the table, and moved closer to Spike. He now thrust the artifact at the vampire's face.  Spike took a step back. The demon began to move. "Buffy, get out!"
The demon stepped forward slowly as the paralysis wore off. With near-normal speed it embraced Spike in a bear hug, its teeth reaching for his neck. Spike could feel the thing's claws start to tear through his duster.
Then Spike and the demon flew sideways, as the human cannonball that was Buffy bowled them all into the wall. They fell in a twisted pile of limbs. Buffy ended up wrestling with the demon, while Spike was on the bottom of the pile struggling to get free.

Spike squirmed, pushed at the demon and then reached around its neck from his position on the floor next to it. He almost had a headlock when Buffy let go of the demon's clawed arm so she could punch with her right hand.

"No!" Spike saw the scene in slow motion. Just before Buffy struck the demon, it caught her under the ribs with its freed talon. The single curved claw followed the bottom of Buffy's lowest rib, opening a huge gash. Spike snapped the demon's neck, but too late. Too late to stop it from gutting Buffy with its poisoned claw.

Buffy fell to the floor, and rolled to her back. Spike was next to her in an instant, cradling her to him. "No! Not again!" Her blood covered the front of her blouse, and dripped to the floor. She looked up at him, eyes shining.

"Spike?"
"Yeah, baby?"

"I...I don't think I'm going to make it."
"Shhh, Buffy. Just lie quiet."

"Spike?" Her voice was unsteady.

"Yeah?"

"I love you." The last came out in a gasp.

"I know, Buffy. I love you too." But she was silent. Her eyes started to glaze over.
Spike was dimly aware of the sound of fighting going on. It was a few minutes before someone tapped him on the shoulder. Spike realized Xander had been calling his name.  The vampire looked over as Xander knelt next to him.  Beyond him, Faith stood over the body of the sorcerer, bloody knife in hand.

"Spike, we gotta' go. We have to get her to the hospital." Xander was pale at the sight of so much of Buffy's blood.
"It's too late. I'm too bloody late!" Spike's game face came to the surface for a moment before he suppressed it.

Faith turned to the men kneeling next to the fallen Slayer.  "Come on, Spike. Let's go."

"No," Spike said quietly. His demeanor had changed.  Faith and Xander both looked at him. He looked...spooky. They knew vampires, and they knew Spike. This wasn't right. He was too calm. Xander looked at Faith. She met his eyes briefly.
Spike stood with Buffy's body in his arms, and turned to Faith. "Here. You take her to the hospital. I've got something I need to do."

Faith looked skeptical. "Take her," the vampire growled.  Then, more quietly, "Please."

Faith gently took Buffy's body from the vampire. Spike leaned forward, and gently, very gently, kissed Buffy on the lips. Then turned and strode out the door.  Xander stood and stared. "I can't believe him-"
"Xander." Faith was all business. "Truck. Now."


*     *     *

*No no no! It's all bloody wrong! I had it worked out!*  The vampire started back towards the mansion on foot. The vampire was angry, but tightly controlled. He knew this was just temporary. It could be fixed.  *Back to soddin' New York.*

*     *     *

CHAPTER 4

On the drive back to New York Spike had time to determine everything that went wrong.  *Cut the whole bleedin' operation too close. One week just wasn't enough. A little more time, next go 'round. And I won't wait 'til the last minute to kill the wanker. I'll do it earlier. That'll fix the problem.*
Spike fed from the remainder of the blood bags he had brought in the cooler. He stopped to sleep only when the roads were closed due to snow or accidents. Four hours outside Denver. All night just past East St. Louis. A couple of hours outside Harrisburg. The miles ran together; all that mattered was reaching New York City and his time machine.  *Next time I'll bloody well fly.*

And he did. He gave himself two weeks leeway this time. With the rent on the time machine's storage space paid up for two months ahead, just in case, Spike set out again. He left New York well after sunset, yet arrived in L.A., rented a car, and was on the road to Sunnydale well before midnight.  *Gotta love the red-eye, and flyin' against the time zones.*

The mansion was out. Spike knew his earlier time traveling self would be there for the three days before the incident. Spike thought his best bet now was a sleazy motel, and NOT the one used by Faith whenever she came to town. As Spike was determined to kill Brannok and his demon before the night in the Junkyard when Buffy would show up, there was also the problem of locating the sorcerer.

Spike figured that the sorcerer and his demon would arrive sometime in the next few days. Spike knew that Brannok and at least one of his demons had been in New York City at this time, killing the Russians to get the Cross of St. Timothy. Spike was not sure where Brannok had been before he went to New York, but figured the Junkyard was a safe bet.

*     *     *

Spike stood outside the Junkyard.  *I hate this bloody place.*  Spike had witnessed Buffy die here--twice--and he was determined not to let it happen again.
Spike finished his search of the building, and was reasonably pleased. There were signs of recent human habitation. That would almost certainly be the wizard. Spike knew that the bastard would be there in a few days, so all he had to do was wait. But Spike figured that this time, he'd hedge his bets.


*     *     *

*Shouldn't have come here.*  Spike reflected as he approached his old crypt.  *Should've gone to the army depot at the edge of town that Harris talked about.*  However, as long as he wasn't spotted by one of the Scoobies, Spike would be okay.
Down the ladder, past the remains of charred eggshells and a ruined bed. Spike reached up into the large rusted pipe above head level. When he stood on his tiptoes he could feel it. Not quite large enough to hide a person, the disused sewer pipe was still a useful hiding place for objects. Spike pulled out a waterproof sack very carefully.

He had to hand it to Xander. The bloke had gotten a bad rap from the Scoobies and associates for being useless, but Spike knew better. Once, during the summer that Buffy was in Heaven, Xander and Spike had gotten plastered. And swapped stories. Xander was left with the distinct impression that it was a good thing Spike was on their side nowadays. And Spike was duly impressed that not only had Xander shagged Faith, killed reanimated bullies, and stopped the school from being blown up (temporarily) all in one night, but had gone back the next day to get the bomb. Xander had hidden the deactivated bomb in Restfield Cemetery, in the grave of one Sam Hodgkins, empty due to rising and staking.
After Spike and Xander sobered up the next day, Spike didn't say a word about the bomb. Two nights later he had dug up the grave and moved the contents into the empty pipe in his crypt. He was rather surprised it hadn't gone off with all the bedroom-destroying unpleasantness that had occurred when Mr. and Mrs. Captain Cardboard showed up two years ago.
Spike sat in the dirt of his former basement, back against the wall and the bag full of explosives at his side. He looked at the charred remains of his bed. He thought back over the last year. It had been many months since Buffy died. They had been happy together this time. Spike with his shiny new soul, helping the gang; Buffy (eventually) accepting that she needed him, and even loved him. Things had been going well; Spike had actually been living in the house, sharing Buffy's bed. It had been wonderful, but sitting here in the dark took his mind back to an earlier time, more than a year ago, to when Buffy needed him but could not admit her love for him.


*     *     *

EARLIER:

"Spike." Her voice carried through the cavern under the crypt.

"Slayer." He stood in the area that used to house her shrine.

"I thought you were going to meet me for patrol."

The vampire grinned.  "And here we are."

"You're an asshole sometimes, Spike. You just love making me beg for help."

Spike closed the distance between them. "Oh, yeah, baby. I love it when you beg." He raised one eyebrow for emphasis.
Buffy blushed and looked at the ground. "That's not what I meant."

Spike walked around her, ending up behind her with his mouth close to her ear. "But it's what you like. To beg." He ran his hand over her ass covered by skin tight, pink leather pants. He couldn't stand them, and she knew it. They reminded him of the whole Dracula ordeal. How she'd drunk from another vampire. He knew she'd worn them to provoke him.  *Right-o, then. She asked for it.*  He smacked her lightly through the leather.

"Spike!"

"You want me angry, Slayer? You want to be punished?"

Buffy bit her lip.  *Oh God, he knows. He always knows what I want him to do to me.*  She nodded her head ever so slightly.

Spike's jaw dropped open slightly.  *Good thing she can't see me; wouldn't do for her to see a bloke so surprised.*  He recovered quickly. "Fine, Slayer. It's time for you to be punished for your bitchiness." He pushed her forwards, towards the bed.

Buffy stopped at the foot of the bed. She had a moment of reservation.  *Well, it can't be worse than a building falling on us.*  Her body's needs overwhelmed any further warnings from Cautious Buffy.

"Strip." As Buffy began to disrobe, Spike turned and began rummaging through his trunk.  *Pistol, no. Candles, hmmm. No. Later, maybe. Massage oil? No. Ah hah! Handcuffs.*  He turned with a smile, and saw a completely naked Slayer standing next to his bed. An unneeded breath caught in his chest.  *She's a bloody vision. Does she know what she does to me?*

He walked up behind her. He put a fingertip on her shoulder, and traced it over to her neck, down her spine to the very top of the furrow between her cheeks. Buffy squirmed. He smacked her gently on the swell of the left cheek. "Get on the bed, on your hands and knees. You've been naughty, luv."

Buffy crawled up onto the bed, on her hands and knees. Spike walked up to the side of the bed and latched one of the cuffs to her left wrist. "Move forward, put your hands on the headboard." Buffy did so. Spike threaded the other cuff through the large steel bracket on the headboard. He'd installed it on a whim, never anticipating Buffy would actually let him use it. He latched her other wrist firmly inside the handcuff.  *Not too tight, mate. Don't wanna bruise her.*

Spike walked back to the foot of the bed and began to disrobe. The sight of Buffy, kneeling with her hands gripping the headboard, sped up the process considerably. Naked, he crawled onto the bed behind her. "Have you been bad, Slayer? Thinking of other vampires besides me? How you let them feed from you?"

Buffy nodded. She didn't trust herself to speak. The anticipation was killing her. She felt cool fingers fun up the inside of her thigh, then trace her pink inner lips. When a finger slipped inside, she moaned. The light slap that followed was so quick that the sensation merged into that of the finger dipping into her wetness. "Oh God."

"No, pet, he can't save you." Spike looked at Buffy on the bed in front of him. He could just make out her breasts swaying gently underneath her. He slipped another finger inside of Buffy. Her wet heat engulfed his finger. He could feel her clamping her inner muscles down on his finger, and enjoyed the sensation. He pulled it out, and spanked her lightly again on the cheek.

Buffy was ready to scream from frustration. If he didn't do something, now, that satisfied her she would go crazy. "Spike, please." She barely recognized her voice when she heard it.

"All you had to do was beg, pet." He moved up behind her. He positioned himself at her opening, his hands grasping the firmness of her hips. Spike was as ready as Buffy.  *Don't know how much longer I could've waited.*  He entered her smoothly from behind. He felt her clamp down on him, enhancing the experience for both of them.

"Oooh. More. Please." Buffy felt him withdraw part way. As Spike thrust in again she pushed back. Their bodies smacked together. In and out, in and out. Faster, faster. Buffy knew that only her lover's superhuman speed and strength let him keep up the pace she set. She angled her hips so that on every penetration, Spike struck her G-spot. She rushed towards release.

"Buffy. Oh. You're so hot and wet, baby. Oh, yeah. Squeeze harder. Oh." Spike felt ready to explode. He reached forward with both hands, tracing up her smooth flanks, forward and down to capture her bouncing breasts. Her stiffened nipples dragged across his fingers. He pinched her nipples lightly. Their bodies continued to slap together.

Buffy was on the brink. She felt him tweaking her nipples. "Huuuh. Spike. Harder. Pinch harder. Now!" The sensations from her breasts combined with one last, hard, well-timed thrust by Spike sent her over the edge. He followed a split second later, and she could feel his cool release flood her deep inside. Buffy smiled.  *Oh yeah!*

Spike rested his weight on top of Buffy's back. "Now, luv, what--" Spike's question was cut short by the sound of tortured metal from the headboard. The bolt heads popped off as the Slayer pulled hard on the bracket holding her handcuffs to the headboard. The bracket flew off and landed somewhere in the darkness. He felt Buffy turn over beneath him.

Buffy looked up at Spike with a grin. "You've been a naughty vampire, chaining up the Slayer and having your way with her. You must be punished. She slipped her still-handcuffed wrists over the back of Spike's head, forcing him down on her.  *Oh, yes.*

Spike didn't know what would kill him first. The chain from the cuffs pressing into the back of his neck, Buffy's heels thrusting into his back, or the way she ground her clit into his face. And he didn't care.


*     *     *

CHAPTER 5

Spike woke up sitting on the floor of the cave. He could sense it was daylight in the world above. He looked over at the ruins of his bed.  *God, I miss her.*  He immediately squashed the rising sense of sadness that threatened to overwhelm him. *I'll save her this time, and it'll be right as rain when I get back.*  He headed towards the storm drain tunnels that would take him nearly anywhere he wanted to go.

*     *     *

It took the better part of the day to follow the tunnels from the old crypt back to his motel. Spike waited until dusk until he climbed out and went into his room. He only had to get a few things from the room before he got into his car to head to the Junkyard.


*     *     *

Spike waited at Jimmy's Auto Recycling for the evil wizard to return. He had reset the timer on the dynamite for one minute. Spike wished for a remote, anything so he wouldn't have to be in the building when Brannok and his demon showed up. But he didn't trust anything else he could rig up to be reliable. The 'present' in the duffel bag, along with a cooler of bagged blood, made up his stakeout supplies.
He sat and tried to wait patiently in the upstairs office. Which was not an easy thing for a hyperactive vampire.  *Shoulda brought a Discman or a deck of cards.*  He settled for chain smoking and thinking of how he would show Buffy he loved her when he got back to the future when this was all over. Spike was so engrossed in his inner world of wonder that he almost missed the creak of the stairs that indicated someone had arrived. Almost.

So when a very large, purple, clawy demon Spike hated more than any thing else on the planet walked into the room followed by Brannok, the demon-summoning wizard, Spike was prepared. He reached into his partially-open duffel bag and pushed a button. He zipped it shut before the sorcerer was in a position to see the contents that blinked from 01:00 down to 00:59 and kept going lower.

"The Slayer's tame vampire. How droll. Have you been kicked out of your happy home for some reason? Not living and breathing enough for the Good Guys?"

Spike smirked. "Not quite like that, you ponce. Just here to settle accounts."

"How decent of you. Well, you are in my lodgings, so I suppose we can kill you and call it even." Brannok called a command to the demon, which stepped towards Spike.
The vampire turned and dove out the window. He rolled when he hit the ground, and came up on his feet and looked up at the sorcerer standing in the broken window.

Brannok shouted down at him. "Vampire, come back and play! I promise to keep you alive until you can watch me kill the Slayer."

Spike grinned at the sorcerer. "I don't think you'll be much of anything besides meat paste, you pillock." Then Spike threw himself face down on the ground. The building above him spouted fire and debris.  *That'll teach the bastard to threaten Buffy!*

Spike got to his feet to survey the smoldering wreckage. The top floor of the building was mostly gone, and what remained had collapsed onto the ground floor. It was a miracle no large pieces had landed on him. Then Spike paused as he felt a stirring inside himself. It tugged at his soul-covered demon from across town. He recognized it from years ago.  *The Hellmouth! Bloody hell, it's open again!*


*     *     *

"Buffy, it's Xander."

"Ummm?" Buffy answered the phone groggily, still not fully awake from her nap.

"Buffy, you know the sensors I installed in the basement of the high school when my crew rebuilt it?"

Buffy was instantly awake. She felt a knot start to form in her stomach as she anticipated Xander's next words. "The Hellmouth's open?"

"Looks like. You want to call Wills and G-man then mosey here?"

"Yeah, okay. You call Faith. I'll be there in ten."


*     *     *

In the end, Jenny Calendar saved them. Giles used a Gypsy binding curse she had once taught him, combined in a hodge-podge incantation with an exorcism spell translated from a 14th century church manuscript found by occult researchers in an Albanian monastery. The Hellmouth was resealed, and the world was saved. Again. But at a terrible cost.

Spike watched from an alley down the street. His earlier self carried Buffy's body from the ruins of the high school. He walked slowly, an injury from razor-sharp claws on his left thigh slowing him. The blood matting his hair from the slash on the left side of his head did not slow him, so he ignored it. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore. His slayer was dead. Again. Spike watched his other self hold the blonde Slayer, and knew they would not be able to revive her.

Xander knelt next to Faith's body. "I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I was such a jerk to you when you came back; that I didn't believe you sooner. I'm sorry I never told you that... I loved you."  Xander broke down and cried, cradling the broken body of the dark Slayer to his chest.

Giles looked around at the gigantic corpses of the demons that had died trying to get out of the school and into Sunnydale. So much death. He was almost numb, not from the carnage, but from the demise of one small, blonde woman.


*     *     *

Two days later, three somber individuals sat inside the Magic Box. Giles closed the book and looked up at Dawn and Xander. "It appears that the explosion at Jimmy's Auto Recycling triggered the Hellmouth's opening."

"What?" Xander's face was a mask of disbelief. "But it was across town!"

Giles cleaned his glasses before responding. "Yes, well, it appears that the artifact Spike warned us about, the Cross of St. Timothy, was linked to the Hellmouth. The energy of the explosion destroying the Cross while it was in town, actually triggered the opening of the Hellmouth."

"But who'd blow up the junkyard?" Dawn's voice was raw with tears cried over the last day and a half.

"I'm sorry, Dawn, but I haven't the foggiest." Giles sounded perplexed.
*It can't be,* Xander thought.  *Not even Spike would be crazy enough to use a bomb.*  Besides, the vampire had been with at least one of the Scoobies all the time for days before the explosion.  *I hope he gets over this soon. He hasn't sobered up since Buffy died. And Faith. Oh, god. Faith. Someone ought to tell the guys in L.A.*

It would be another three days until the evening funeral. But before that time Dawn would discover she was the new Chosen One, and Spike and Xander would have a rather intense talk about their lost loves. And time-traveling Spike from their future would try to change things again.


*     *     *

The vampire in question was already most of the way across the country. Through the black spray paint covering almost all the windshield, Spike watched the road. The roar of the engine under the yellow hood of the canary-yellow Charger was his only companion on the drive back to New York. The demon who'd lovingly restored the 440 cubic inch engine and installed the tuned exhaust wouldn't be needing it anymore, and it appealed to Spike like nothing had since the DeSoto.

Spike tapped on the steering wheel to the beat of a Ramones song in his head, as the radio didn't work.  *Next time, I'll save her. It'll be different next time.*  But it wasn't. Nor the two times after that.


*     *     *

CHAPTER 6

It was near dawn. The not-black of the night sky over the city had turned dark blue, and the faintest hint of pink was visible in the east. A woman approached the man who sat on the sidewalk in the dirty snow of a cold New York morning. The man appeared emotionally broken: knees pulled up to his chest, head cradled in both hands, a periodic sniffle. The woman walked up to the bleached blonde, stopping well within polite distance, and looked down at him.

"Spike."

*Who the fuck is it now?*  The vampire didn't bother to look up. "Go 'way."

"Spike!"

"Sod off!" The choked reply carried some anger this time. The vampire's forehead and hands still rested on his knees.

"William the Bloody, get your scrawny British ass up off the ground before I stake you myself, so you don't have to wait for sunrise!"

"Cheerleader?" Spike looked up, confusion on his face. "But...I thought you were..."

"Gone to a higher realm? Yeah, it was freaking wonderful. I got kicked out and sent back down here to help you all. And as if I'm not busy enough in L.A., I get a vision that you need me to come save your ass."

"Go away." Spike's voice was firm and clear this time.

"No. Look. I was sent here to make you understand. You still have a job. We need you. You help balance the cosmic scales. You're a great warrior, and we need all the help we can get."

"Doesn't matter. She's dead." Spike sounded bitter, and he knew it.

Cordelia looked down her nose at him, turning off the charm, sliding into Total Bitch Mode. "Buffy's dead, and she's not coming back. It isn't fair and it sucks. I get that. You say you don't care if the world doesn't make it. Fine. You say it doesn't matter that the Slayer needs you. Fine. But if you tell me that you don't care about the young woman in Sunnydale that still needs you, I'll know you're full of shit. When I was up there, I saw what went on down here, Spike. I keep an eye on all of you. Especially those that used to be evil."

Spike looked at her, questions in his eyes.

"And yes, I saw how things were between you and Dawn after Buffy's death. It's okay, Spike. You can move on."

"Not again! Every time I think I've finally got things where the soddin' world ain't gonna play kick the Spike again, here it comes! So excuse the bloody hell out of me if I don't say 'Certainly, I'll continue on with my unlife, thank you ever so much!'"

"Did you know I loved Doyle?"

Spike had to think a moment. "The mic you was with when I came for the Gem of Amara?"

"Yes. He sacrificed himself to do what he thought was right. He was a hero, but I hated him for the longest time because he left me. But now I get it. He fought the good fight, no matter what the cost. Like I'm doing now. Like you can still do."

The vampire said nothing, just looked at the ground.

"Spike, Dawn needs you. And if you have the slightest interest in doing what's right, instead of moping about and feeling sorry for yourself, you'll get the hell back to Sunnydale where you're needed."

Spike looked up and smiled at the cheerleader's choice of words. He stood, stretched. Gave Cordelia a once-over that would have made her blush before she was changed. "Okay, ducks, you're right. Just try not to make a habit of it."

Cordelia looked at him. "Well?"

Spike looked at her shrewdly. "I did come to New York to pick up a trinket for the Watcher. 'Fight the forces of evil, defend the defenseless' you know."

Cordelia sighed. "Fine, Spike. I help you get the amulet and you'll go back now?"

"Vampire's honor." Spike pulled the crystal for the time machine out of his pocket and looked at it. "And can you get rid of this? Don't want anyone else goin' back and muckin' up the works."

"Sure Spike." Cordelia smiled. "Let's go." The two warriors for the forces of Good walked off into the pre-dawn streets of the city.


*     *     *

EPILOGUE

"So, Spike, what do you want to do in honor of Buffy's birthday?"

Spike looked at Dawn, examining her, trying to see something in her eyes. "I figured we could go out to visit her grave after dark. Just for a little. Then rent some movies. Why? What'd you have in mind, Dawn?"

She looked at him. He seemed...different since he came back from New York. More focused, maybe. The tiniest bit more considerate. And he called her by her name all the time now. Not Nibblet, or Platelet, or any of the half dozen other terms as he had for all the time she had known him. "That sounds great, Spike. Anything you want to do is fine."

"Great then, it's a date."

Dawn choked and almost shot Vanilla Coke out of her nose. It was official. Spike was different. She managed to stop coughing and wiped her mouth with her arm.

Spike looked concerned. "Unless you don't--"

She looked at him, considering. "No, Spike, I'd love to." Then she smiled at him.  And Spike smiled back at his Slayer.

FIN



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