Prologue to Life/I Know You by Slaymesoftly

ReviewsRating: NC-17

Summary: A response to a challenge at the Bloodshedverse where Buffy is returned to her season II body with all her post Season VII memories. She is there due to a spell Willow performs to try to help Buffy get over mourning for Spike.

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Chapter 16

While Buffy waited for Angel to regain his senses, a stake handy just in case the spell didn’t work as they’d hoped, Willow and Jenny made their way back out of the factory just in time to see Xander aim a crossbow at Spike and pull the trigger.

“Xander, no!” Willow screamed. Not quickly enough to prevent the bolt from leaving the bow, but enough for Spike to turn and take the missile in his shoulder rather than the back that Xander was aiming for. When he went down, snarling in pain, he lost his grip on Drusilla and she rolled out of his hands and landed on her feet. She looked from the bolt in Spike’s shoulder to the wide-eyed boy holding the crossbow and leaped at him, fangs and claws bared.

With a groan, Spike pushed himself to his feet and grabbed her around the waist before she could do any more damage than rake her nails down Xander’s arm. Using his one good arm, he wrestled the angry vampire around so that she was facing him and told her, “No, Dru. I promised we’d leave without killin’ anybody.”

“But my sweet Spike, he was trying to kill you. And after you were such a bad puppy and helped the Slayer. He deserves to be eaten.”

“No doubt he does, pet. But I made a promise, and I plan to keep it. Now, help me to the car like a good girl.”

Casting a look of lingering hunger and rage at Xander, the easily distracted vampire allowed Spike to lean on her while steering her toward his old Desoto. The humans stood and watched in amazement as the blond vampire crawled painfully into the driver’s seat and started the car. As he began to pull out of the parking lot, the door of the factory opened and Buffy stepped out, followed closely by a shaken Angel.

The big black car stopped beside the slayer for just long enough for her to see the crossbow bolt sticking out from his shoulder and to catch the expression of disgust and disappointment on his face. He looked into her wide, tear-filled eyes just long enough for her to register the pain under the anger, then shook his head and floored the big V8 to shoot out of the parking lot in a spray of gravel.

Buffy stalked toward the small group of humans arguing among themselves with much yelling and waving of arms and froze them all with a “Which one of you did that?” in her best Slayer voice.

Even her Watcher was afraid to move as her now dry and very cold eyes went from person to person. When she got to Xander, he tried very hard to hide the crossbow, but she snatched it from his hand and broke it over her knee.

“I might have known! Damn! I SHOULD have known. You’ve never been willing to…” She stopped to take a deep breath, and threw her hands up in the air. “Stay away from me, Xander. I mean really, really away from me.”

She walked back over to Angel, peering into his eyes to make sure there was no trace of Angelus before she left.

‘We’re going to talk about those marks, Buffy. I haven’t forgotten them.” His eyes bored into hers, the anger still lurking in their depths but now competing with the pain that came with knowing she was serious when she told him they weren’t together in her future.

“We will, Angel. I promise. I’ll explain as much as I can. But not tonight. Tonight I need to be alone.” She turned and without saying anything to her Watcher or friends, she disappeared into the night, seeking something to kill and some privacy.

He nodded and started walking toward the apprehensive group watching him. He watched as Xander moved unobtrusively behind Giles at his approach and he knew it was going to take a while before Buffy’s friends accepted and trusted him again.

(And, they would be right not to), he mused. (Now that we know how easily the soul can be jarred loose.)

He paused in front of the Watcher and looked the man in the eye.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I had no idea that would happen. We need to find a way to anchor my soul.”

Giles nodded, and gestured at his car. “Yes, I believe that might be the first order of business now that Spike and Drusilla have left Sunnydale.”

“They left?”

“Yes, it appears that Buffy and Spike had an arrangement – a new arrangement – that he would assist her in restoring your soul and she would allow him to take Drusilla away from here…without harming anyone,” he added, casting a hard look at an unrepentant Xander.

“You saw that crazy bitch! She was going to kill me!”

“I also saw you shoot her llover, and saw him save you from her in spite of his wound. It would appear that William the Bloody is a…vampire…of his word.”

Angel nodded and agreed with a sigh, “If Spike promises to do something, he doesn’t quit until he has done it. I suppose that would hold true if he promised not to do something also.”

“He is certainly not your average vampire,” the Watcher said, wondering how much Angel knew about Buffy’s future with his grandchilde.

“Never has been,” Angel agreed without further explanation.

The small group of humans and the re-soulled vampire squeezed themselves into the Watcher’s aging car and headed back into the residential part of Sunnydale.

After he dropped Willow and Xander off at their homes, he let Angel out near his apartment and headed for his apartment complex, pulling tiredly into the parking lot with a sigh.

He got out and opened the door for Jenny, marveling that it had been only slightly more than twenty-four hours since Angelus had appeared and sent them all into crisis mode. None of them had slept since Buffy notified them of his condition, and they were all exhausted.

Within an hour, they were all sleeping soundly, with the exception of Angel, who was lying on his bed and reflecting on his brief time as Angelus.

(I wonder what I did in Buffy’s time that made her so determined to get my soul back – and why she was able to get Spike to agree with it? He had no reason to care if I was eating half of Sunnydale.)

He shook his head at his own sense of denial, knowing good and well that Spike’s reason had everything to do with getting his “dark princess” back and nothing to do with concerns about what Angelus might have done to the human population of Sunnydale.

Thinking about Spike and Buffy reminded him of the tiny mark on Buffy’s throat that had felt just like a claim, albeit not a strong enough claim for him to identify the vampire who made it.

(I suppose it’s possible it was a random vamp that happened to get a little taste before she staked him. But why would a vamp bent on dinner bother to take the time to try to claim her?)

He added that to the list of things he wanted Buffy to explain to him when she was willing to talk again. He was slightly puzzled by her obvious unhappiness and desire to be alone, but attributed it to the trauma of having someone she loved turn into a monster before her eyes. He frowned, remembering what she’d implied about her lack of virginity when Angelus was taunting her with rape.

(Maybe she was thinking about her older self. No doubt by the time she got into her 20’s, she had a boyfriend or two. She couldn’t have meant this Buffy. I would know if she’d done anything like that. She’s never even gone out with anyone but me, and I’ve never tried to touch her.)

The only other one not sleeping the sleep of the righteous and exhausted was the Slayer herself. She prowled Sunnydale’s cemeteries, catching up with all the fledglings that had emerged while she was home with her mother and Spike. By the time she had dusted her tenth vampire, and pummeled a belligerent grackle demon into a mewling lump of flesh, she was feeling enough in control of her anger that she thought she might be able to be around Xander without wanting to throttle him.

She cringed, remembering not only the obviously painful wound on Spike’s shoulder, but the hurt in his eyes at the apparent betrayal of their agreement.

(At least in this time, I didn’t do it myself. He knows what Xander is like – no wait, this Spike doesn’t know. He’ll think he was shot on my orders.)

Anger at her friend flared again as she worried about what effect the suspected betrayal might have on Spike’s willingness to come back to Sunnydale. She was already worried that the short amount of time they’d had together, and the quickness with which they’d resoulled Angel, might have changed things so much that Drusilla wouldn’t leave him for the chaos demon she’d taken up with in her time.

Telling herself she could do nothing but wait and see what happened in this Buffy’s future, she turned her feet toward home, hoping for a couple of hours of sleep before she had to go to school and pretend to be a sixteen-year-old high school student again.


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