Rating: NC-17 overall
Warnings: None-updated as necessary
A/N: Some of this is taken from the AtS Episode "In the Dark" and BtVS episodes "The Gift", "Bargaining", and "Wrecked", although this isn't an episode re-write. I've modified the dialogue to fit my own ends, and hopefully erased some of schizo tendencies of the last few seasons. Good Lord, were the writers in desperate need of meds or what? Thanks to cafedemonde for her kind rec over on darker_spike ...it totally made my day!
Previous Parts Here
One hundred and forty-eight, Spike thought morosely as he watched the clock flip from 11:59 to 12:00. One hundred and bleedin’ forty-eight days since the Slayer…since Buffy, he corrected himself, took her swan dive into oblivion. One hundred and forty-eight days since he’d become the Scooby’s house vamp, Dawn minder, and patrol buddy.
He sat on his bed in the basement, wondering how his unlife had come to this. He remembered mocking Angel, with the phrase “I was once a badass vampire, but love and a pesky curse de-fanged me”. Yeah, wasn’t so funny now that he was the former bad ass. It had been fun, once, to spit out ugly truths and watch the light die in their eyes. Now, he was running his undead arse ragged trying to make sure none of them lost their light.
Not just Dawn, either. He worked the hardest for her, comforting her when her sugarplum visions turned sour and ugly, making sure she ate well and studied hard. Hell, he even brokered a deal with the witches to take her places in the daytime. It had been hard, watching her bounce away into the light, going where he couldn’t protect her. But he knew the witches would die before she came to any harm and so he stayed in the shadows.
‘S how he found out about Red’s stupid plan. Smart little girl wasn’t smart enough to hide from his little eavesdropper. Dawn overheard Red talking to her bird about the urn of Osiris. She’d asked Spike what an urn of Osiris was, artlessly prattling on about maybe Willow would demonstrate it for her to go along with her lessons. He’d held himself back, wanting to shake her teeth out of her head. Wasn’t Dawn’s fault the witches were cracked, after all.
He’d try to break them than, furious that they would even consider it. Xander and Dawn stood there, shell-shocked, listening as Willow explained that Buffy was in Hell and they had to rescue her. Oh, he’d done some damage that night.
“You actually thought that Buffy would go to Hell,” he screamed, taking vicious delight in watching Red quiver as she huddled in her girl’s arms. “ Heroes don’t go to Hell, you stupid cow! Buffy’s in heaven with her Mum, getting’ her just reward.”
“B-but, the portal was s-supposed to lead t-to a h-hell dimension,” Glinda stammered, trying valiantly to defend Willow.
Spike admired her for that bit of bravery, for it wasn’t in her nature to be brave. Love, he knew, made you do stupid things. Like promise to care for a bunch of mortal children you were supposed to want to kill or keep two dozy witches from dragging their super-friend outta heaven. Love’s bitch to the end, and seems like the shy blonde was right there with him.
“Do you lot ever listen when Rupes talks? The Key breaks down dimensional walls, all of’em. He told you that, right before…before,” he continued firmly. “So what if Glory was aiming her saggy arse at Hell? Glory’s irrelevant here. All the walls were broken, and when Buffy…she went to heaven. And now you want to yank her out of paradise?”
“Are you sure,” Dawn whispered. “Are you sure Buffy’s in heaven?”
He spun away from his prey, gathering the small girl close. “Yeah, Bit. Your sis was a hero, righteous and all that. How many times did she save the world? That kinda thing gets rewarded, not punished.”
“H-how can you be sure,” Xander asked him shakily, those brown eyes boring holes into him.
“ ‘Cause I bloody well am,” Spike snapped harshly. He softened as he explained, “I know it seems like the world doesn’t make sense…”
“You got that right,” Willow interrupted bitterly. “There’s no sense in Buffy being dead, not when we could…”
“But,” he cut her off icily, “there’s always rules, no matter how crazy the system. Demons know this. Angel knows that atonement’s only part of the deal. He’s a demon, and demons don’t go to heaven. But, Buffy? She was pure, yeah? Chosen and fighting for puppies and kiddies everywhere. She sacrificed herself and that kind of sacrifice means heaven. It’s in the rules.”
“But you don’t know that,” Willow protested. “What if she’s suffering somewhere?”
“Yeah, what if,” Spike snarled. “Did you bother to find out, or you just guessing?”
Willow looked down at the floor, and Spike felt a cruel smile shift the planes of his face.
“Didn’t think so,” he crowed softly. “Feelin’ bad and you thought you’d make it easier on yourself. Like when the wolf left, yeah? Poor little lost girl, all alone and tryin’ to make it all better. Well, guess what? It ain’t about you, Red. You leave Buffy right where she is, ‘less you can prove she’s somewhere besides Heaven.”
That had been that. Tara had agreed with him, wonder of wonders. Willow would have to prove that Buffy wasn’t in heaven before she’d get any help from Glinda. The redhead had cried oceans, but Tara stood firm. No spell to raise the dead and it was now one hundred and forty-eight days since Buffy had died.
The soft cries from upstairs pulled Spike from his reverie. Another nightmare, and he bounded up the stairs. Taking them two at a time, he reached Dawn’s door and stopped. The Niblet was quiet, her even breathing comforting him. No more nightmares for her, and that was a good thing. Maybe she was finally getting on with her life.
Another unintelligible moan, and if it wasn’t his girl, then it had to be…Spike moved silently down the hall. Yep, apparently Xander was having himself a doozie of a dream. Pushing open the door, Spike peered through the gloom and saw Xander, curled into a ball and whimpering.
Should he or shouldn’t he? Harris probably wouldn’t thank him for it. Maybe for stopping the nightmare, but not for the good cuddle it would most likely take to drive his demons away. It was funny, really, how one demon could keep the others at bay. It worked patrolling the Hellmouth and it worked here in this dark house. He sighed, resigned to being the official Scooby guardian and nightmare soother.
Climbing into bed, he stroked the crisp dark hair soothing and murmured. Spouting soothing nonsense words about affection and protection while the other man gradually unwound. Xander stopped mewling and lay still, his head tucked beneath Spike’s chin. Spike smiled sardonically, wondering if Xander would remember this in the morning. The Slayer’s White Knight sleeping safe as houses in the arms of William the Bloody, and the irony of that, of this whole situation, set Spike to chuckling.
“And just what,” he asked the sleeping man, “am I supposed to do now? Chasing bad dreams for the Slayer’s chums, it’s sodding unreal.”
There was no response and he hadn’t really expected any. Carefully, so as not to wake Xander, Spike shimmied off the bed. Going downstairs, he grabbed his duster and hit the door running. Now that baddies inside their heads had been taken care of, it was time to do some damage to the real ones running around outside their door.