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 19

Chapter Notes: Since neither Buffy nor I have any desire to relive the boring parts of her junior year of high school; particularly in light of her having been able to short circuit many of the minor crises that came up, I’m not planning to dwell on the rest of Season II. I’ll be summing it up quickly and then I’m going to jump ahead to Season III and Spike’s return. Lame, I know, but I don’t want to spend the time coming up with plot lines for every season . I apologize for the lack of imagination on my part, but it’s a story about Spike and Buffy and their relationship after she is sent back, rather than a rewrite of all seven seasons of the show.

As the year went on, Buffy was able to endure the now trivial-seeming events of high school by spending more time with Giles and Jenny and less time in school activities. Even Angel, now that he had apparently accepted her true status, sometimes treated her as an equal rather than as something precious to be protected at all costs. And when he didn’t, when he became overbearing and tried to make decisions for her, she was quick to remind him that she’d been doing fine without him for years and that she did not appreciate his attempts to run her life.

After a particularly virulent dressing down by the Slayer when all he’d tried to do was suggest that he be the one to enter the Master’s old lair and check on the Anointed One, he decided to use it as an opportunity to soften her attitude toward him.

He hung his head dejectedly and as he apologized for usurping her responsibilities, he asked hesitantly, “Buffy, are you sure you aren’t angry at me for decisions I made in your timeline? Because, I’ve really been trying hard here, but it seems like nothing I can do pleases you.” He fixed her with sad, brown, puppy dog eyes and inwardly rejoiced when she immediately apologized and touched his hand warmly.

“Oh my god, Angel. You are so right. I’m taking it out on you that in my time you decided I was better off without you and left without even asking me if I agreed. I guess I’m still a little pissed about that.” She shook her head at herself and added, “I am so sorry! I’ve been resenting you for something you haven’t done yet.”

Her anxious eyes looked into his with affection and concern as she moved closer. He smiled to himself as he took note that she had really been upset at losing him.

(She probably still loves me. She’s just afraid to admit it. Afraid that I’ll do the same thing to her again. All I have to do is convince her that I will never leave her, and she’ll let down her defenses.)

“And, I probably won’t, Buffy,” he said with sincerity. “Since we don’t have that kind of relationship now, there’s no reason for me to leave. I can stay here and help you.”

He beamed at her with delight and she struggled to smile back at him as the possible repercussions of his staying in Sunnydale played out in her head.

“Un, yeah. I guess that’s true…You’ll be all here and I’ll be here and we’ll both be here and…that’ll be just…great.”

(Oh yeah. That’ll be great! I’ll be trying to seduce Spike, and Angel will be hovering around trying to protect me from him. And when the Initiative comes along, I’ll have two vampires to protect. Assuming they haven’t killed each other by then. Gah!)

Outwardly, she tried to be as upbeat as possible about the thought of Angel hanging around Sunnydale for the next several years, but inside she was moaning at the impending train wreck she could see coming.

Vowing to encourage Angel to think about moving to LA as soon as graduation was over, she pushed the worry to the back of her mind and tried to concentrate on what to do about the Anointed One’s continued existence.

(Damn Spike! Why didn’t he get rid of that little brat before he left? Oh yeah, that’s right. He was busy trying to figure out why I had the hots for him. Way to go, Buffy. Now I’ve got to do something about him.)

Telling Angel she’d see him later for patrol, she headed for her house on Revello Drive. She and her mother had formed the habit of sharing a cup of hot chocolate every evening either before or after Buffy’s patrol, depending on how late a start she got. They hadn’t discussed at all Buffy’s willingness to spend time with her mother, and she hoped that Joyce was attributing it to the more mature Buffy wanting to spend more time around adults. When Joyce put down her cup and said, “So, when do you plan to tell me what happens to me?” she realized that her mother was too smart for that scenario.

“Wha---what?” she stalled for time, not at all willing or ready to have a conversation about her mother’s tumor and consequent death.

“Buffy, as much as I love you; and as much as I enjoy our little talks every night, I know this togetherness is no more typical for a twenty-something woman than it is for a teenager. There is a reason you want to spend so much time with me, and I think I have a right to know what it is.”

Buffy looked at her mother and couldn’t prevent the tears from forming in her eyes.

“Mom, I’m not trying to hide anything from you. I just know it’s too early to try to do anything about it and I don’t want you living with the burden of knowing…”

“Knowing when I’m going to die?” her mother asked quietly.

“You’re NOT going to die! Not this time! I won’t let you!”

Joyce raised her eyebrows. “I’ve learned quite a bit in the past few months about your powers and your calling, but I don’t recall miracle working among them.”

“It won’t take a miracle. You just need to get it taken care of sooner. Earlier surgery means less surgery. And less surgery means less chance of …problems after.”

“And earlier meaning…”

“Not for another couple of years. Then you’re going in for a CAT scan every six months if I have to break into the hospital and do it myself.”

Her mother studied Buffy’s resolute face for several minutes, then relaxed and said, “Okay, Buffy. I won’t mention it again for awhile. If you promise not to walk around here treating me like something fragile. Deal?”

She smiled at her mother through watery eyes. “Ok, deal.”

“All right then. Go do your patrol. And for heaven’s sake, go do something fun afterwards! I’ll be fine. I’m perfectly capable of putting myself to bed when I think it’s time to do so.”

“Okay, Mom. More slaying, less mom-watching. For a little while, at least.”

She gave her mother a quick peck on the cheek and collecting her stakes, walked out into the quiet night.

During their nightly talks over hot chocolate, Buffy had opened up to her mother about her life as the Slayer much more than she had the first time. She talked to her mother about her blind adoration of Angel, her conviction that he was the love of her life, her devastation when he left for LA, and her attempt to have a normal life with Riley. She left out her mother’s death, the arrival of a half-grown kid sister who was really a ball of mystical energy, and, for obvious reasons, her own death and resurrection.

“And where does the attractive blond vampire fit into this picture?” her mother had asked.

“Pretty much wherever he could,” Buffy admitted with a small sigh. Without going into details, Buffy explained as best she could about her rocky relationship with Spike. She explained that he had fallen in love with her while she was involved with Riley and that it had taken a long time for her to accept the truth of his devotion. And even longer for her to admit to herself that he was important to her. She didn’t say so, but her mother could definitely tell that her daughter was very much in love with the good-looking vampire.

When Buffy explained that Spike had obtained a soul for her, and that he’d let that soul incinerate him from the inside out in order to save the world, she couldn’t stop the tears. Joyce patted her hand sympathetically until Buffy was able to stop crying and tried to think of how she wanted to ask her next question.

“Buffy, why do you think you’re here? Why do you think you were sent back by these…Powers That Be? Is that the correct term for them?”

“It’s not what Spike calls them,” she answered with a wry smile, “but it’s what they are, I guess.” She thought for a minute, then said, “I think I was sent back to fix things. Things that maybe weren’t meant to happen. Maybe Kendra was meant to die when she did. So there was nothing I could do about that.

“But there are things coming that I CAN fix. I can, maybe, help Faith before she goes all evil on us. I can stop the Initiative before Adam escapes. I can hide Dawn from Glory—“ she paused at her mother’s puzzled frown. “Oops, sorry, Mom. TMI. You’ll get it later.” She stopped again, “Now where was I? Oh yeah. I know what Glory’s alter ego is like; I know what the troll hammer can do to her, so I should be able to stop her before I…

“and if I do, then I won’t have to be brought back and I won’t be so…broken…when Spike and I…and there won’t be any imbalance, so no First Evil, so no barbequed Spike, and Buffy lives happily ever after!”

She finished her recitation triumphantly and looked at her mother with great pride only to see Joyce shaking her head sadly.

“Oh, Buffy, if only life were that simple. And, you do realize I didn’t understand a word you said?”

The blond Slayer laughed with embarrassment. “Yeah, Mom. I know. I just got a little carried away. That’s one reason why I’m not telling anybody everything I know about the coming years. I don’t really know what exactly is going to happen, because everything’s already different now. I just know that if the things I DO know about begin to happen, I’ll have a better chance of avoiding the mistakes I made last time.”

In a beautiful stucco home behind a tall wall, Drusilla danced around the atrium in the moonlight. Spike sprawled in a chair, watching her spin and smiling indulgently. Although he and his dark princess had settled back into a comfortable companionship, liberally spiced with mayhem and violent sex, something felt off to him.

Although Dru had always been as fond of blood as the next vamp, and had a thing for children that made Spike uncomfortable if he was honest about it, she had never been overly violent. In fact, until recently, she had enjoyed his murmured endearments and tender kisses when they were making love. Now, she never missed an opportunity to score his marble skin with her sharp nails, or to rip his skin with her teeth. And she wanted him to do the same.

When she begged him to hurt her “like daddy would”, it made him so angry he had no trouble granting her wish. He would shake her while she laughed hysterically and talked about sunshine and golden dollies floating around him.

She would snarl and growl at him when he tried to calm her down, only giving in to his whispered pleading for love when he got angry and pinned her to the bed snarling and snapping at her face. Then she would coo at him that he was her ‘bad doggy” and her “naughty Spike” and spread her legs for him.

Lately, she’d taken to wandering out in the night without him, coming back just before dawn to express surprise that he had been searching the bars and back alleys for her all night.

“But Sweet William, you were lost in your thoughts of sunshine and dollies. I could see her floating all around you. She wants my Spike, the dolly does. She has my daddy and now she wants my Spike. But she won’t have them. They’re mine to play with.”

He knew she was talking about the Slayer; that she’d seen or sensed something, but he continued to ignore her, pretending he didn’t know what she was talking about. Only his guilt about his one night with the Slayer kept him from beating her when she came back smelling of other demons and smiling to herself.

(Love’s bitch, indeed) he grumbled to himself. (The Slayer sure had that right. I’m a complete wanker when it comes to the women I love. Woman! The woman I love!)

Shaking himself, he stood up abruptly and grabbed Dru’s arm, whirling her around in a manic dance before suggesting they go out and try to find someone good to eat. Nodding her head and clapping her hands, his dark princess led him to the gate and out into the warm South American night.


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