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 24

Once their clothes were back in place, and Buffy had taken another look out of the manhole, they were on their way through the sewers to the house on Revello Drive. A quick dash from the manhole near the Summers’ house to the sheltered front porch, and the two were back inside, safe from the rapidly rising sun.

When Joyce came downstairs for breakfast, she found Spike and Buffy in the kitchen. Buffy had the first aid kit out and was cleaning the wounds left from Spike’s battle with Angel. One eye was swollen partly shut, but his vampire healing had already kicked in and most of what Buffy was doing was as much to make her feel useful as it was to help him.

At her mother’s questioning look, Buffy began to stammer something about “demons” and “vampires”, but Spike just looked at Joyce and said calmly, “Had a bit of a disagreement with the Poof. Think he’s got it sorted out now.”

Joyce nodded, noticing the relaxed and happy expression on her daughter’s face. While Buffy had not had anything to really cause her any trouble since they restored Angel’s soul, she had gone through the long, boring days with a look of wistful longing on her face and a lingering trace of sadness in her voice no matter what she was doing. That look of sadness and longing was gone now, and her mother rejoiced to see her daughter happy again.

The fact that several months ago she hadn’t known that vampires and demons even existed, let alone that her daughter was born to protect the world from them, didn’t stop her from being grateful to the vampire whose arrival had given Buffy some measure of happiness. Although Buffy had not told her mother everything that had happened to her and the people around her, she’d said enough that Joyce knew how rare happiness was in her daughter’s life and if an undead, soulless creature was what it took to provide it, then he had her complete blessing.

She left for work, fighting back the automatic “Mom” comments about behaving themselves while she was gone. As hard as it was to give up her hopes and aspirations for her young daughter, she’d talked with Buffy enough to be very aware that the young woman wearing her teen-aged daughter’s body was a full adult and not likely to concern herself with meeting her mother’s expectations of proper behavior. Instead, Joyce sighed for lost innocence and told them to “have fun and be careful” as she let herself out the door.

******************************************



Somewhere and somewhen else:



Giles glared at Willow with an expression that could only be called thunderous.

“What do you mean, you only wanted her to be happy? Where is she?”

“I, um, I don’t exactly know…” the powerful witch swallowed hard and suddenly felt very young again as Buffy’s former Watcher demanded she tell him what had happened to his surrogate daughter.

Willow had awakened that morning, content to know that she’d improved Buffy’s outlook on life, only to find an empty bed when she went into the Slayer’s room. After searching the entire house and grounds without finding a trace of the Slayer or even a note, she had begun to get an uncomfortable feeling in her stomach.

She put off telling anyone her suspicions as long as she could, but by dinner time when no one had seen or heard from Buffy all day, Willow was forced to conclude there might have been a problem with her spell. Steeling herself for what she knew would be a very unpleasant encounter, she knocked on the door to Giles’ office and entered timidly.

When she saw Dawn glaring at her from the couch, she almost turned and ran out. One look at Willow’s frightened face and the former key whirled on the older man to demand, “Look at her! Don’t tell me she didn’t do anything! I can see it in her face.”

Giles sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose as he removed his glasses.

“Willow, is there any chance you know where Buffy has gone? Or that you had anything to do with it?”

His patient question brought her mumbled response of, “I only wanted her to be happy again,” thereby eliciting the display of temper.

“I knew it!” Dawn threw up her hands and began to pace the room on her long legs. “Where did you send her?”

“I…I didn’t send her anywhere. I just did a little spell that was supposed to make her feel like she did when she was sixteen. Before Angel lost his soul, before her mom died, before she died and…”

“And before you yanked her out of heaven,” Dawn snarled.

“She was happy then. I just thought if she could recapture that feeling, she’d be able to go on with her life and stop mourning for Spike. I don’t know what could possibly have gone wrong. I swear!”

Giles could see from the tears in Willow’s eyes that she was sincere and he tried to control his temper.

“All right, Willow. I believe you didn’t intend to send her anywhere – but clearly that has happened. I’m going to consult the coven and see if they have any ideas how we can locate her.”

It was several months later that Giles, Willow and, at her own insistence, Dawn, were gathered in a large room with several of the seers from the coven that worked with the Council of Watchers. They were holding one of Buffy’s sweaters, hoping to be able to trace its owner.

Silence settled over the room as the smell of incense and wax candles pervaded the air. The small group of seers closed their eyes and concentrated on following the faint path of Buffy’s essence. They communed with each other silently, occasionally nodding or shaking their heads, and once twitching in surprise. Just when Dawn felt she would explode with impatience, the lead seer opened her eyes and slumped with a sigh of relief.

Not giving them time to recover at all, Dawn immediately demanded, “Well? Did you find her? Where is she? How do we get her back?”

Shaking her head at the girl’s impatience, the lead seer addressed Giles to report, “She has been sent to another dimension that is several years behind this one. However, we’re not sure how the portal was opened. No one here has that kind of power. Only the PTB can manipulate dimensional time portals like that.”

“So I didn’t do it?” The relief in Willow’s voice was palpable.

“We don’t believe so. It would appear that the Powers That Be used your spell as a catalyst to open the portal and send the Slayer back to her early days in Sunnydale. To what purpose, we can only speculate.”

Willow exhaled and leaned back in her chair, sighing with relief.

“So, she’s happy, then? Is it before or after Spike came to Sunnydale. Has Angel lost his soul yet?”

“It appears that William the Bloody is indeed in Sunnydale, although he does not appear to be trying to kill her.”

The older woman flushed and quickly moved on.

“As for Angelus, it seems he lost his soul only briefly and now has it back again. Albeit, he does not appear to be in a very good mood at this time.”

“So…that’s it then?” Dawn’s voice trembled. “Buffy’s gone? We can’t get her back?”

The gentle witches looked at her with sympathy.

“It does appear that is the case. If it is any comfort, she seems quite happy now.”

All three seers blushed and cleared their throats simultaneously. When she saw Dawn’s devastation, the older one offered, “You are the key, you know. If anyone would be able to move between dimensions, it would be you. We can work on that for you and see if we can find a way to harness your power and direct it.”

Dawn nodded her head and looked at them pleadingly. “Yes, please. Even if I can just see her…”

“We will work on that.”

Nodding at the profuse thanks offered by Giles and Willow, the three powerful witches took their leave. Buffy’s remaining family and her best friend went back upstairs and sat in the living room, each lost in his or her thoughts.

***********************

Spike came to his senses gradually. At first all he was aware of was that he was alive and seemed to be in more or less one piece. Which was something of a miracle in and of itself, as the last thing he remembered was being swarmed by too many demons to count as Angel and the dragon flew into the side of a building and exploded into flames.

He recalled Illyria standing in front of Gunn’s lifeless body and tossing demons away with both hands. Although the numbers facing her were as large as those attacking Spike, she appeared to be doing her time-warping thing and slowing them down so that she could pick them off one at a time.

(Good on Blue. I hope she took a thousand of those blighters with her before she went down.)

The aching vampire tentatively tried to sit up, only to find himself groaning and dropping back on the peculiar surface beneath him. He would have sworn he was lying on a cloud, if it weren’t for the fact that it was semi-solid and he wasn’t falling through it.

(Maybe I’m a ghost again? Ghosts can sit on clouds, can’t they? Bloody hell, can’t I just be dusted and get it over with for once? What do the soddin’ PTB want from me now?)

No sooner had that thought crossed his mind, then two very strange-looking people appeared and stood over him.

“This is he? This is the one we’ve gone to all this trouble for?”

“Yes, there is no mistake. This is the One. And we’re not going to all this trouble just for him. You know that.”

“Yes, yes. Quite right. Different dimensions, different outcomes, reward the Slayer, I’ve got it. I still say he doesn’t look like much.”

“Hey! Standin’…er…lyin’ right here, wankers!” Spike struggled to his feet and faced the shocked brother and sister defiantly. They recoiled when the dirty, smoke and blood covered vampire approached them.

“And what’d you two say about the Slayer? Where is she? She’s alright, isn’t she?”

The two oddly dressed beings looked at each other and then back at him.

“She’s all right. We’ll let you see her shortly. But first we need to explain a few things…”


*****************************

After Joyce left, Spike and Buffy remained in the kitchen. She tried to ignore the way they obviously felt uncomfortable with each other, and busied herself putting away the first aid supplies. She avoided looking at the vampire; suddenly unsure of herself and wondering why he’d come back so soon.

She was running out of busy-work to keep her occupied when she sensed his presence behind her. He slipped a cool muscular arm around her waist and pulled her back against his chest, nuzzling her neck as he did so.

“Havin’ second thoughts, luv? Wishin’ you’d left me in that crypt for the day while you suss out how you feel about havin’ me back?”

She turned in his embrace and reached up to fasten her lips on his in an extended kiss that promised things he wasn’t sure he wanted. When she finally broke it off, she pulled away slightly and gave him a small smile.

“No second thoughts. I’m just wondering why you’re back so soon and how long you’re going to stay this time.”

“I’m back because…I…bloody hell!” He released her and turned away growling in frustration. “Dru kicked me out for a Chaos demon and I came back here because I knew I could. I knew you’d want me.”

“So you’re here, not because you want me, but because you know I want you. You needed some ego stroking?”

Even as she said the words and felt the hurt and anger building, the parallels to her own life with Spike continued to work their way into her consciousness.

(This has to be somebody trying to teach me something. It isn’t even subtle, for God’s sake. Do they think I’m stupid?)

Buffy looked up at the ceiling and shocked them both by yelling, “All right, already! I get it! You don’t have to hit me over the head!”

When the vampire stared at her in complete bewilderment, she blushed and looked at the floor, mumbling to herself.

“What the bleedin’ hell was that all about, Slayer? Who were you talkin’ to?”

“I don’t know,” she mumbled. “But it needed to be said.”

Spike shoved his hands in the pockets of his coat and kicked the side of the counter.

“Look, Slayer. I’m sorry if this isn’t what you thought or what you wanted. I jus’ thought…If you don’t want me here, say so and I’ll leave.”

His stomach clenched as he watched her stricken face and he found himself moving closer to her even as he told himself he didn’t care if he hurt her. She was just a warm body to use until Dru was willing to take him back.

“You…you want to leave already?”

“Didn’t say that, pet. I said if you don’t want me here. If me being here is gonna cause you pain…don’t want to hurt you, luv. Never want to hurt you. I jus’ don’t know if I can be what you want…what you deserve.”

To his dismay, instead of making her feel better, his words caused tears to spring into her eyes and he growled and shook his head.

“Bloody hell, woman. You see? Only been her a little while and I’m already makin’ you cry again. What did I say?”

“Nothing,” she shook her head, laughing and crying at the same time. “You didn’t do anything except to remind me that at your unsoulled, evil worst you’re a better person than I am.”

“You are completely daft. You’re startin’ to make Dru look like a poster girl for sanity.” He put his arms around her and planted a kiss on her forehead. “See if any of this sounds familiar. You – Chosen One, saves the world, keeps it safe for puppies and…whatever. Me – evil vampire, kills and eats innocent people. I don’t know what the hell this thing is between us, but it hasn’t changed who or what I am.”

“Not yet,” she sniffled, her words muffled by his leather coat.

“Oh yeah, I almost forgot. You know me.” He growled into her hair, the vibrations sending shivers all through her body. She slid her hands around his back, under the soft leather and tee shirt onto his cool skin. When she had pushed the tee shirt up as far as she could, she fastened her mouth on one nipple and worried it with her teeth and tongue.

The vamplre groaned and ran his hands down over her ass, pulling her into his rapidly hardening cock.

“Ah, now, that’s cheatin’, luv. We were having a serious conversation here and you’re tryin’ to distract me.”

“Is it working?” She moved her mouth to his other nipple and pulled it into her mouth to suck on it before dropping soft kisses down over his rib cage and into the little hollow beside his hip bone.

“Oh, yeah. It’s workin’” he growled, picking her up and heading unerringly for the stairs. When he reached the top of the stairs, a giggling Slayer nibbling on his neck the whole time, he was just able to grind out, “which one?” before following her pointing finger into her bedroom and falling onto the bed with her. While Buffy writhed beneath him, he shoved the stuffed animals off the bed with one arm and began tugging at her clothes with the other.

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