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 9

Buffy walked into the library to find Giles tapping his pen impatiently and her friends looking up expectantly. She paused just inside the door when she felt a tingle, then relaxed when she saw Angel move away from the wall he’d been standing next to.

“Hi, guys. I’m sorry I’m late. Made a quick patrol first and it got a little complicated.”

“What happened?”

“Are you all right?”

“Why didn’t you ask me to go with you?” This last came from Angel and she could hear the hurt and anger in his voice.

“Or me,” Kendra added indignantly from the opposite side of the room. “You told me you weren’t going patrolling tonight.”

“I’m fine. It wasn’t a big deal, and now Spike has a few less minions for us to worry about.”

“William the Bloody has minions? How do you know they were his?” Giles’ sharp tone got her attention and she turned to see that her watcher was looking at her with more suspicion than her report warranted. She sighed mentally and resigned herself to the fact that she was going to have to tell Giles more than she wanted to about Spike and the future.

“Yes, he has minions. But not as many as he did before. He took over the Master’s. Now can we get on with this?” Her tone was somewhat sharper than she meant it to be, but the look on her watcher’s face was reminding her too much of his attempt to kill Spike while she was fighting the First.

“Very well,” Giles said, somewhat taken back by her tone. He still hadn’t become accustomed to the idea that he was dealing with a fully adult slayer with years of experience and it grated on him when she spoke to him as an equal.

“So, Buffster, what’s the what?” Xanders cheery and oblivious question broke the tension and Buffy walked to the center of the room and leaned against the table.

“Okay, I know this is going to sound...weird...even for the Hellmouth. But,” she took a deep breath, “I’m not the Buffy you guys know. I mean, I am that Buffy, but I’m her 7 years from now. Wil-somebody did a spell and put me back here into my sixteen year old body, but with all my memories intact.”

She waited to see if anyone wanted to say anything, but Xander and Willow were just staring at her with their mouths agape. Kendra was wearing her serious face and Angel was staring at her through narrowed eyes.

“I – we waited to tell you because we don’t know if I’ve been sent back to my past, or to an alternate dimension from mine. At first I was worried about doing anything to change what I know is going to happen, because there’s no way to know what effect that would have on my world. But then I decided that if I can prevent some of the horrible things that I know are going to happen to...to people I care about, then I need to do it. There is absolutely no way I can stand by and watch things...things that I know how to stop.

“So, I’m telling you all about me so that when I say or do something you think is weird or wrong, you’ll know I have a reason.”

She turned and smiled at her two best friends.

“I still love you guys as much as ever, but I’ve got to tell you, pretending to care about the things I cared about when I was sixteen is getting to be...let’s just say I’ll be taking frequent breaks from being my teenage self. Please don’t take it personally, or think I don’t love you.”

“So,” Willow ventured, “we’re all still friends in your time? We stuck together?”

Buffy hesitated just long enough for Willow to begin a small frown, then said honestly, “We’ve had our ups and downs, but, yeah, we’re still all good friends. Friends who have been through a lot together.”

The red headed girl and dark haired boy visible relaxed back into their chairs.

“Well that’s good then. Nice to know none of us get eaten or otherwise made dead.”

Only Giles noticed Buffy’s slight flinch and he frowned again, adding that to his mental notes of things to quiz her about.

“And what about me?” Angel’s quiet voice came from the edge of the group. “Am I still around in your time?”

Buffy met his eyes and cringed a little at the pain she knew she was going to cause him.

“In the still undead sense? Yes. You are very much around. Just not around Sunnydale...of course, nobody’s actually around Sun--never mind .”

She smiled at him and said sadly, “Things don’t...didn’t work out between us and you left me. Left Sunnydale. Went to LA and started a detective agency. Now you’re the CEO of a big, formerly evil, law firm.”

“That’s in your time. If things can be changed, then that doesn’t need to happen. I could stay here, with you.”

“No, Angel,” she said softly, with as much compassion as she could put into her voice, “you really can’t.”

She held his eyes long enough to let him see the affection she still had for him, and to see the complete lack of anything else he was used to seeing from her.

“Are you going to tell me why?” he asked somewhat angrily. “I think I have a right to know.”

“Yeah, Buff, are you going to tell us so we’re all ‘see-the-future’ people? Can you tell us what next week’s winning lottery numbers are?”

Buffy laughed lightly at Xander’s eagerness and started to answer him when she felt a familiar thrill go down her spine and she glanced around quickly. When she didn’t see any sign of the other vampire in her life, she continued as though she had no idea he might be listening.

“I think the safest thing to do, guys, is for me to tell you what I know you SHOULDN’T do, and if it’s necessary, I’ll tell you why. Actually, at this time, the only person who needs to not do something she did in my time is me.” She gave everyone an apologetic smile and added, “And I am definitely NOT telling you what that was. Just know that I won’t be doing it this time around.”

“Can you tell me if I get better at magic? Can you tell me that, Buffy?” Willow’s open and eager face waited eagerly for what Buffy had to say. The Slayer moved closer to her friend and patted her hand gently.

“You are capable of becoming a very powerful witch, Will. But I want you to promise me that you will let Giles guide you and be very careful about the spells you try. Will you do that for me?”

Her friend looked at her in bewilderment and said with disappointment, “Of course I will, Buffy. I would never do any spells that could hurt anyone.” She paused and looked at Buffy’s unsmiling face. “Would I? Oh my god, I would! I did, didn’t I? Oh, I’m so sorry! What did I do? I didn’t mean to...I—“

Buffy quickly stopped her friend’s apologetic babbling with a comforting hug.

“It’s all right, Will. You haven’t done anything wrong in this time. And, believe me, you helped to save the world with your magic more than once in mine.

“I did?” she perked up immediately. “What did I do? Who did I help? Did I help you?”

Buffy laughed at the red head’s eagerness and said reassuringly, “I’ll tell you what you did one of these days. But not just yet.”

“Any chance I was part of this world-savege, Buffy?”

Xander looked hopeful, but not at all sure of the answer, as he waited to hear about his future self.

“Oh, Xan, you know I wouldn’t be able to face...the things I have to face, without all my friends supporting me. Of course you were part of it. And, actually, you saved the world all by yourself, one time.”

The dark-eyed boy beamed and sent a triumphant sneer at Angel before settling back in his chair. When Buffy saw the look, she approached him and said carefully, “But there is one thing I’d like you to think about.”

He looked at her quizzically and waited.

“Try not to be so judgmental about...people. And, give me a little credit for making good choices, huh?”

“I take it we’re talking about people of the male persuasion,” he asked with a wry smile. “Men I didn’t think were good enough for my Buffster?”

“Yeah, kinda like that,” she agreed with a smile.

(No sense telling him I was referring to another vampire, just yet.)

The boy gave Angel an apologetic shrug and slouched down in his chair.

“What about me, Buffy?” Angel inquired as he stalked closer to her. “Where do I fit into all this world saving that you seem to have done. Do I get to help you defeat the evil that would try to destroy it? Or do you stop letting me help you when you stop lo—“

(Guess this isn’t a good time to tell him he IS one of the would-be world enders.)

“I thought we’d talk...privately...about that, Angel. I do have something to tell you. Something very important, but not right now.”

Once again the old vampire was circling her and sniffing.

“Why do I smell him on you again?” he growled. “What the hell is going on. If you need help killing him—“

She didn’t even try to pretend she didn’t know who he was talking about.

“There will be no killing of Spike,” Buffy said quietly and saw Angel’s eyes flash amber while everyone else in the room gaped at her.

“And why would that be, Buffy?” came her watcher’s calm voice as he asked what everyone was thinking.

Buffy sighed, not having planned to tell anyone about Spike until she’d decided what to tell him about his future. However, with everyone staring at her expectantly and with the blond vamp hiding behind her in the stacks listening, she mentally shrugged and decided to tell everyone at once and deal with the fall out.

“No one touches Spike, because in my time, he helps me save the world a couple of times – and the final time he...” she had to stop as a lump unexpectedly appeared in her throat, “he sacrifices himself to do it.”

Louder than any of the comments from the shocked humans in the room, or the roar from the unbelieving vampire, was the sound of books falling, a body hitting the floor, and a furious, “No bloody, fuckin’ way!”

Buffy moved to the entrance to the corridor from which the noise was emanating and looked in amusement at the sight of Spike sprawled on the floor, fuming and covered with the books he’d knocked down when he punched the shelves.

He glared at her furiously and growled, “You just said that because you knew I was listenin’, didn’t you? Ha, bloody ha, Slayer. It was a riot.”

She walked in and knelt down in front of him, gently removing the books covering his legs. He shook the rest of them off and sat up, putting his face that much closer to hers.

“Tell me you were kiddin’, pet. Please tell me you were kiddin’,” he begged pitifully.

“Sorry, Big Bad. I didn’t mean to let it out quite like that, but I can’t have anybody trying to stake you when I’m not around. Just in case we need some world saving again...”

He stood up and shook himself, settling his leather coat around his body and trying to regain some dignity. Buffy cocked her head at him and said softly, “Since you’re here, you might as well meet the gang. But don’t expect them to like you right aw-“

“Don’t WANT them to like me,” he grumbled, obediently following her out of the stacks and into the frightened and hostile faces waiting for them.

Xander and Willow drew together and tried to hide behind Giles who was holding a large cross and frowning at the close proximity between his Slayer and the vampire renowned for killing her kind.

Kendra’s face was a study in confusion. Clearly the blond man behind Buffy was a powerful vampire, and just as clearly, the other slayer was unafraid to turn her back on him.

While everyone stared at the notorious vampire standing right behind Buffy, his eyes were fixed on only one set of amber orbs glaring at him.

“Angelus,” he snarled.

“Spike,” the other vampire hissed.

The tension in the room was palpable as the two master vampires faced each other. Buffy remained in front of Spike, the hard look on her face making it very clear that she was serious about his not being harmed by anyone.

“Buffy,” Angel growled, “I don’t know what he’s told you, but you can’t trust him. He has no soul. And you heard his reaction when you said he saved the world for you. He’s pure evil, and should be put down like a mad dog.”

“You plannin’ to take over Dru’s care, then, are you?” Spike asked mildly. “Cause she needs it even more right now than she has in the past.”

Oblivious to the humans in the room, Angel stalked toward his grandchilde.

“Why did you come here? Why bring her here?”

“Thought the Hellmouth would help her heal, but it’s not workin’. She needs more.”

His eyes bored into the furious older vampire’s, daring him to pretend he didn’t know what his childe needed to recover.

“If you’ll leave after, I’ll do it,” Angel said, never taking his eyes from Spike’s. “But if you don’t leave, I’ll kill both of you.”

Buffy stepped forward and put a hand on Angel’s chest as she turned toward the surprised blond vampire.

“Spike, I told you I wouldn’t let you do that ritual. I’m not going to let you kill Angel any more than I’m going to let him kill you.”

Still meeting the other vampire’s eyes, Spike answered her coldly, “Not your decision to make, pet. But he’s not takin’ about a ritual. He’s talkin’ about volunteerin’. Isn’t that right, Peaches?”

The humans in the room all looked confused for a moment, until the watcher said with dawning recognition, “Sire’s blood. She needs sire’s blood to recover her strength.”

Buffy looked rapidly back forth between the two staring vampires. It was obvious that they had reached an agreement when Spike dropped his eyes and turned away with a shrug.

“Alright, then. You give her what she needs, and I’ll take her away and never come back.”

He ignored the way Buffy’s mouth tightened when he said he wouldn’t be back.

(No way am I letting this chit of a Slayer interfere with restoring my dark princess. She can make all the sad eyes she wants at me. I’m gonna take my Dru and leave and never give her another thought. Don’t care how good a kisser she is, or how good her blood tastes. When Dru recovers, I’m outa here. For good.)

“Sounds like a plan!” Xander said into the heavy silence. “Deadboy does a little donating and the evil twosome leave town, never to be seen again. I like it.”

“I don’t like it,” came from the normally quiet dark slayer. “For what reason would we allow a powerful vampiress to recover her strength when she could be easily slain now?”

She whirled on Buffy and said angrily, “If you won’t do the job for which you were chosen and rid the world of these two, I will do it for you.”

“Kendra,” Buffy tried to speak in a conciliatory manner. “You don’t want to go up against Dru. Please believe me. And I won’t let you stake Spike. I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”

“I don’t understand a Slayer that protects vampires,” the other girl shook her head. “An’ you’re protecting two of them. You should be ashamed.”

Before Buffy could continue the argument, the other Slayer whirled and left the library, muttering to herself about traitors and sharpened stakes. Buffy sighed and added finding Kendra before she found Dru to her list of things to do.

“Let’s do it,” Angel said to Spike, picking his jacket up off a chair. He and Spike moved toward the door, stopping when Buffy ran after them and grabbed his arm.

“Wait! You’re just going to go with him like that? I thought you told me he couldn’t be trusted?”

“He wouldn’t do anything to harm Drusilla. I’ll be fine, Buffy.” His eyes were warm as he basked in the obvious worry she felt for him. He told himself that just because she was older, it didn’t mean she couldn’t fall back in love with him. She hadn’t indicated that she had anyone in her life at the time she was sent back.

“I’m going with you,” she said stubbornly. “I don’t trust any of you not to mess this up.”

“Buffy,” Angel tried to reason with her. “It’s a very simple thing I’ll be doing, but not one you probably want to watch. It’s a vampire sire/childe...issue.”

“Let her come, Peaches. It’s high time the chit learned a thing or two about you and yours.”

“Shut up, Spike,” he snarled. “I don’t want her watching. She’s only sixteen...” his voice trailed off as he remembered what he’d just learned about this Buffy’s true age.

“She’s a big girl now,” the cocky blond said with a sideways look at the blushing Slayer. “She’ll be alright.”

“I want to go on record as saying this is a really, really bad idea,” the bigger vamp said, giving in and heading for the door.

“Duly noted,” Spike replied with a wink at Buffy. He gestured for her to precede him through the door and her watcher and friends stared in shock as she strode out between two master vampires looking for all the world like it happened every day.

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