Length: >100,000 words
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine. Only the plot, one demon and the veil are.
Setting: Right after 'Dead Things'
Summary: The night after, all he wants is talk.
The night after, there’s nothing she wants less than talking.
And suddenly they find themselves in another dimension; one that Buffy can’t leave. There’s only one way to get her out. A way with consequences.
Behind Blue Eyes
(Title from a song by The Who)
He comes to with a stab of pain. It takes him a while to figure out where the pain comes from, until he understands - their connection is severed. They’ve been ripped out of each other’s souls.
Only then, when the realization settles in his heart, his eyes and brain catch up. Not only their souls are severed, their hands aren’t linked anymore either. In fact, Buffy is about ten feet away from him. When his eyes find her, for a split second his heart sings, but then it freezes in fright.
She’s caught in the tight grip of the Mala’hla; the soddin’ thing apparently wasn’t dead after all. Her arms are both twisted behind her back, the demon’s one gigantic hand holding her wrists like a clamp and constantly pulling them further up. The other red arm is wrapped around her, the hand clenching her neck so tightly that she can barely breathe, pressing her head against its chest in the process to keep it from butting against him. Her feet are dangling in the air, kicking wildly against its legs, but the Mala’hla doesn’t even seem to notice.
Spike tries to get to her, but can’t; he’s being held, too. When he sees by whom he feels an onslaught of panic surging through him, because that’s what seals his inability to come to her aid - the human boys, again.
He knows he didn’t recover enough from their last beating, and even if he did, it’s pointless. He’s so much stronger than they are, but there still isn’t a damn thing he can do against them. Even if, with a Herculean effort, he could break free and withstand the chip induced migraine, he would never be able to recover fast enough to break her free as well before they would be on him again.
He tries nevertheless, of course. Wriggling free from Andrew’s hands which are holding his arm on the one side is easy and doesn’t even set off the chip. His now free fist shoots against Warren, who holds him on the other side, and lands at his temple with a satisfying crunching sound, sending Warren straight to the floor. The chip fires mercilessly now and seething pain flashes through Spike’s head, but he still stumbles forward with a roar, attacking the Mala’hla instantly with a hard kick against its legs, trying to kick its feet out under them to get the demon staggering and letting go of Buffy; unfortunately it doesn’t work one bit. The kick lacks its usual strength, and the deomon stands unfazed, steadfast like a pillar. Instead Spike goes down when something hits him hard at the back of his head, and in turning he sees that it’s been the little one, Jonathan, with something that looks like a huge bone.
He leaps to his feet the next second and grabs the bone, wrestling it from Jonathan’s hands, ignoring the warning stings from his chip as well as he can. From the corner of his eye he sees Warren rushing toward him and, in one fluent move, throws the bone between his legs. Warren stumbles, but it’s too late. Something hits Spike again, and this time he knows it is not something that he can grab and throw back.
Magic that traps him, holds him in place, unable to move his feet or hands even an inch. His eyes leap to Buffy like he wanted his feet to, latching onto her gaze in desperation, burning into it.
For a second he thinks their souls are connecting again, but then he realizes it’s just the connection they’ve always had. He sees her futile struggle against the stoically standing demon, sees anxiety rising in her eyes and just knows it’s on his behalf; knows it’s because he’s so bloody vulnerable against the humans and because she’s so bloody helpless in the demon’s irony grip He knows how much she hates being helpless and yet, it’s not helplessness letting her eyes stay rooted on his.
She wants this, this bond between them.
He hears commotion behind him and knows she sees what’s happening there; sees the fear in her amplify and knows she’s scared for him like he is for her.
And all they have is their eyes connecting them.
And suddenly he knows - she sees him.
This is the last conscious thought before his world goes black.
She sees him fighting to get to her, to save her, again. Sees him taking on the pain of his chip, because it seems to be their only chance, sees him attacking and losing and attacking again, and she hates this, being damned to do nothing.
She isn’t really doing nothing, though. She never stops kicking the Gandhi thing, wriggling in its grip to squirm free eventually but to no avail. The huge claws haven’t moved an inch, and the beast hasn’t so much as grunted at her attempt to hurt it.
At least he can fight, she thinks. Until he can’t; she knows it the second the magic hits him, sees the tensing in his neck and knows he knows, too. His eyes instantly dart to hers, find them and lock, tying them together. An almost forgotten image flits through her mind all of a sudden. His eyes riveted to hers just like now, the same fear widening them. The fear for the woman he loves. Only it wasn’t her then. It was the dark haired vampire she held against her chest like the demon holds her now, and for an insane second she wonders if he remembers just now, too. Then it’s gone, as suddenly as it assaulted her, and all she sees is him, conveying every little thing he feels, feels for her, with his eyes. She doesn’t let them go, holds on to them through it all, even when she notices Warren struggle to his feet behind the vampire, grabbing a two-by-four that is lying on a heap in the driveway of his house and clocking Spike with it. Spike sags to the ground, out cold for the moment, their connection cut by his closing eyelids, and Buffy is stunned that it almost hurts her physically, almost feels like a knife twisting in her gut.
She holds her breath and waits for the scream inside her to burst out; the scream that sits under her skull, pushing against it and against her eyes, pressing liquid behind them, ready to spill.
She doesn’t scream. Instead her expression shifts, from fear-mingled anger to cold hate. She never once in her life hated someone, not really. Not the demons she has to fight, their existence forcing her to lead a life she never wanted. Not Angelus, when he killed the woman Giles loved only to hurt her. Not Spike, when his only goal in the world seemed to be to annoy her to death. Not even Glory, although she came pretty close. She might’ve been pissed as hell, but she never hated them. It was what demons, and, well, hell gods were there for. Not that she deemed them innocent, but it was kind of their purpose to do evil, after all.
These three idiots? Not so much. They decided to become evil.
She focuses on Warren, rightly guessing him to be the head of the trio she once thought to be ridiculous. She won’t make that mistake again.
She silently watches them bustling around, Warren giving orders and Jonathan and Andrew obeying without protesting too much; but she thinks she detects a sliver of doubt in Jonathan’s eyes as he briefly stops to scrutinize their leader.
Warren still holds the two-by-four that rendered Spike unconscious, ready to strike again, but the vampire’s still lying passed out on the ground. At Warren’s command the other boys turn Spike a little to get access to his hands and bind them together, the whole time arguing about the right way to do it properly.
As soon as the vampire is tied up, Warren kicks him in the butt, unfazed by the sharp intake from the Slayer’s direction. Only the blond boy’s eyes flicker to her and he shrinks back a little at the sight of her.
Buffy decides it’s time to stall. Maybe she can catch the demon holding her by surprise, once she’s engaged in a conversation. She has no clue how to get free and save them both, but at least the thing behind her back makes no attempt to kill her. Yet.
“So, Warren,” she says nonchalantly, though her voice is barely concealing the coldness she feels inside.
Three heads turn toward her with three different expressions. Warren’s sporting a gleeful arrogance, Andrew jumps from giddy to awe to concerned and back. Jonathan only reluctantly meets her eyes, and when he does, he almost seems ashamed.
“I guess you’re very proud of yourself and your little gang. You caught us.”
“Actually,” Warren replies, stepping closer, gesturing to his friends to bind her, too, “I’m a little disappointed. I mean, can it really be that easy to catch the ‘great Slayer’,” he waves his hand ominously in front of his face, “and her pet vampire?”
“Yeah, well, it won’t be for long,” Buffy promises confidently, even though right at that moment both boys are fiddling with binding her to a lamp post. At least the Mahatma thing leaves her be for now. “Catching us by surprise is one thing. Keeping us though, that’s another story. Plus, you know that human law applies on holding someone hostage, right?”
She addresses Warren, but from the corner of her eyes she watches Jonathan squirm at her words. He’s not stupid, she knows that. It’s about time to wake him up.
“Good thing that we never meant to keep you, right?”
Buffy scoffs at him. “You won’t get away with murder. There are people who know about your involvement with us. They will –“
“Oh,” he interrupts, and his eyes scurry to the bushes behind her. “You mean your own little gang? Yeah, they won’t be a problem either.”
Her breath catches at the implication of his words. She turns her head and watches closely, and her blood runs cold when she glimpses a foot with a red sneaker.
Buffy snarls and tries once more to break free, but it’s futile. She stills, fuming. “What have you done to her?”
Warren can’t hide the grin any longer. “Oh, not much. She got very compliant when our big friend here held the boy and threatened him. Spared us the time to find another orb of G’hol.”
“Xander…” She strains her eyes and sees the silhouette of someone lying a few steps away from her sister. Then she turns back to Warren.
“You would’ve opened the gate for us anyway? Why?” She furrows her brows. “Why not just leave us there?”
His eyes sparkle with anger for a second. “How could we have left you in there when you already escaped once? It shouldn’t even be possible, but alas, here you are again. Your friends knew where you were, obviously, and your vampire,” he nods toward Spike, “seems to have found a way to save you. Pity that he will be the one to rid the world of you now.” A slow grin settles on his face once more when he sees her eyes grow wide.
“What do you mean?” She tries hard to make her voice sound as confident as before, but she can’t prevent the small waver slipping in.
To her surprise, and visibly also to Warren’s, Jonathan steps beside him and grabs his arm. “Yeah, Warren, what does that mean? Rid the world of her? You want to kill her?”
“Oh, no. Don’t worry, Johnathan. We can’t do that. Human law applies for murder, right?”
She sees relief flooding the small boy’s face as he nods. But she knows better. Warren’s not done yet.
“That’s why we’ll let him do it for us.”
There’s the glee again, gleaming in his eyes when he walks over to Spike.
The double shout echoes through the night. Jonathan rushes after Warren, grabs his arm again and tries to spin him around. “You can’t do that! You can’t actually kill someone!”
Every hint of joy is gone from Warren’s face when he hisses at his renegade accomplice. “We already discussed that, Jonathan, when we…”
He trails off when he becomes aware of laughter.
It’s Buffy, laughing like she didn’t laugh for ages. Not since her resurrection for sure, probably much longer. Tears of laughter are running down her face and she gasps for air.
Warren draws himself up in front of her. “What’s there to laugh at?”
Buffy tries to speak, but another fit of laughter rolls through her. “That…that’s your plan?” A giggle. “You want,” another giggle, “you want Spike to kill me?”
“Is there a problem?”
He’s eerily calm in the face of her amusement.
“No problem at all,” she still grins. “Except that he won’t do it.”
“Hm. We’ll see.” He seems unimpressed, and that finally stops her. There’s something she must have missed, she’s suddenly sure of it.
She watches him with a feeling of unease, sees him walking toward Spike again and kicking him roughly in the side. “Hey!”
Nothing. Spike remains dead to the world.
“HEY!” Another kick to the ribs, much harder; Buffy thinks she hears a bone cracking.
And then there’s a reaction. Spike moans and stirs.
“Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey,” he hears someone purring. Spike’s eyes snap open, and it takes just a moment to remember. He catches Buffy’s glance, glad to see she’s still standing, if still trapped.
“You alright, Slayer?”
She nods, but seems wary. Apprehensive, even. And the next second he gets an idea why that is.
“Oh, yes, she is alright. Ripe for the taking, I’d say.”
Spike growls low in his chest and slowly turns toward the owner of the voice, just in time to see Warren wave his hand dismissively toward him.
“Relax and take your mind out of the gutter,” he all but giggles, “that’s not what I meant. Maybe I should clarify - Ripe for the killing.”
Spike is alarmed by the giddiness coming off of the boy in waves, especially since both he and Buffy still are his captives, worse than before, as he now realizes when he tries to brace on his hands and finds them tied together.
He braces on his elbows instead and briefly thinks about ignoring the idiot. Maybe this would be smart, if even the Slayer holds back with snippy comments, but then again - he’s not willing to give their captors the satisfaction of being intimidated. Plus, he couldn’t have kept his mouth shut anyway.
Despite his hands bound, he slowly rises to his feet, raises his chin and stares into Warren’s eyes, his self-confident posture alone challenge enough. “I’d like to see you try.”
He sees the two boys noticeably back away; Warren just snickers, though. “Yeah, I bet.” And at Spikes raised eyebrow clarifies, “That’s why it’ll not be me doing the honor.”
Spike narrows his eyes; he has the uncanny feeling that he missed out on something important. Something tells him that it’s not the Mala’hla demon Warren intends to do the killing. Another one, maybe, hidden somewhere in the shadows behind the bushes? He somehow doubts it.
And then he gets it. His eyes widen in disbelief, but a brief glance at the Slayer confirms his suspicion.
He turns back to Warren and snorts derisively. “You’re off your rocker if you think you can make me, you prat!”
The next words die in his throat though as he notices the cheerful gleam in Warren’s eyes. Trepidation begins to creep through his veins; the boy clearly knows something he doesn’t, and Spike has grudgingly to acknowledge that the three of them are quite capable in what they have specialized in.
“You think?” Warren grins and turns to Jonathan. “Jonathan, be a dear and do what you have to, swing your bone or whatever,” Andrew bursts into laughter at that, “to keep him here, will you?”
Spike sees Jonathan scowling, but reluctantly he does as he is ordered. Warren nods, obviously pleased to see that he still has power over the smaller boy. As soon as Jonathan is done and Spike is once more hit with the magic that roots him to the spot, Warren steps closer and cuts the bonds tying his hands together. Then he hastily backs away, all too well remembering the last time the vampire didn’t care about the headache it earned him beating the boys.
“So, here’s the deal. We need to get rid of the Slayer, but of course, we’re no murderers.” He chuckles before going on. “You, however, you’re a vampire; we don’t care about if you live or not. So we thought,” Spike sees Jonathan open his mouth on the verge of speaking up, but Warren’s faster. “We thought,” he repeats, glaring at his accomplice, “we’ll let you go.” He pauses for emphasis. “After you killed the Slayer, of course. What do you say?”
Spike searches for Buffy’s eyes and is stunned by the fear he detects there. Does she really think he’d do that? He tilts his head a fraction, his eyes widening, trying to assure her with everything he can lay in his expression. Of course I won’t, luv.
“No.” He says, his eyes never leaving hers.
“Okay,” a much too cheery voice whispers closely behind him, and the next thing he’s aware of is a flash of pain exploding in his thigh. He lets out a grunt and looks down; the tip of an arrow is protruding from it, decorated with his blood. When he looks up again he meets Buffy’s eyes, sees the pain in them, and he knows that was what she was afraid of.
“Ooh, what is that at your leg? Let’s see…” Warren grabs the arrow tip and begins to pull; slowly, jerkily. Spike grits his teeth, but can’t prevent another grunt from escaping. When the arrow is out, after a time that seems like an eternity, he gasps for air.
Then he sees a knife in Warren’s hand, glistening competitive with his eyes; but not for long, because the next second the blade is already sinking into his chest, slowly, mercilessly, down to the handle.
“Having second thoughts yet?”
This time, a high pitched laughter begins to bubble up in Spike, which earns him a disapproving look from his tormentor.
“You’re even barmier than I thought, you twit. You think you can torture me into submission? Yeah, well, think again, mate. Others have tried that, and let me tell you, what they did was masterful compared to your work, you bloody amateur.”
Warren seems irritated for all of a second. Then he pulls the knife out, not without twisting it in the wound, of course.
“Is that so?” He looks thoughtful for a moment, tilts his head aside and lets his eyes wander to Buffy. “Well, maybe the right motivation will do the trick.”
Shit. That wasn’t what he intended to accomplish. Spike clenches his fists, but he’s powerless. With a sinking feeling he watches as Warren walks over to the Slayer and raises his knife.
He wants to ball his hands to fists, but they are paralyzed; wants to scream, no, but he doesn’t; there’s no use. Instead his eyes get cold, fill with hatred that he hasn’t felt for someone else but himself; not for a long time, and never for a human.
The boy cuts into Buffy cheek; a shallow cut, just enough to draw blood.
She remains silent, undaunted by what Warren does. Her eyes are riveted to Spike. It’s okay, they tell him, I’ve had it worse.
Warren comes back and holds the blade under Spike’s nose.
“Hmmm? Doesn’t that smell good? Come on, be a good little vampire and get her. Isn’t that like third base for vampires, to kill a slayer?” he taunts. He’s not aware, of course, that Spike could smell the blood just fine from the distance. But it’s been a long time since this slayer’s blood fueled his wish to kill her.
For a moment, Warren seems to be a little disappointed by the lack of reaction. Then he shrugs.
“No temptation to you? Oh well. We have another ace up our sleeves.” He snips his fingers in the direction of his companions. “Jonathan. Do the spell.”
Another spell. Spike feels his stomach lurching. He doesn’t scare easy, but magic is the thing that always gets to him. He knows there are spells that can force him to do what he doesn’t want to; Willows will-be-done disaster isn’t forgotten.
Suspiciously he eyes the small boy, watches him murmuring something he doesn’t catch. And then he feels it.
The feeling is not bad. Just terribly familiar. He’s vamping out, and he has no control over it whatsoever. He looks at Buffy, fear-stricken.
“Spike,” she says, her voice reassuring, convinced of the truth she’s telling. “That doesn’t change a thing. You’ve been with me and fought with me many times in game face. You won’t do me any harm. I know that.”
He nods, but then he feels something else. Something shifts, deep in his chest, at the place where the demon in Africa touched him when he gave the vampire his soul back. Panic rises in him that he might lose it, that they’d steal his soul from him. His legs give way despite the magic paralysis, and he falls to his knees, his eyes glued to hers, as if she were his lifeline; and she is, deep down he knows that.
“Buffy,” he croaks, “they’re taking it away.”
He sees her tensing, sees horror widen her eyes; he knows what he’s talking about. But she recovers fast.
“No,” She shakes her head. “No, it’s still there. Spike, trust me. It’s still there,” she says, her voice urging him to believe her. “I can see it.”
He swallows and nods, but doesn’t let go from her eyes. And then he feels a coldness soaking his body, prickling, stinging; it seeps right to the center of his body, of his being, and he knows she must be right. They don’t steal it from him. They lock it in within him with their magic. He feels it slipping from his grasp, even though he knows it’s still there. He just can’t reach it. He feels a growl rising in his throat, and that, too, is out of his control.
“Spike! You didn’t want to kill me long before the soul. Remember that. I know you won’t hurt me.” Her voice is calm, soothing, and he knows she’s right.
That’s when he realizes, it’s much worse. Because he knows she’s right, but he doesn’t quite remember why. Why was that again that he never killed her, even when he could finally hurt her?
And then he doesn’t care about it any longer. All he smells is her blood, slayer blood, and he sees her, bound, helpless. He briefly wonders about the lack of fear in the scent of her blood, but that’s just a fleeting thought because all he cares for is the overwhelming need to kill her, drink her dry.
She sees the change. Sees the panic, the horror he feels at the thought that he might end up killing her, slowly fade away. That’s when she knows they must have done something else. It can’t be just the soul; somehow they must have found a way to reign the side of him in that sets him apart from other vampires. His humanity.
“What have you done to him?” she whispers.
“We freed him,” Warren calmly states. “No pesky conscience and unwanted feelings and stuff. For now he’s the vampire he should’ve always been.” He grins maliciously, and she wonders if he thought about the fact that vampires tend to kill not only slayers, but also stupid boys; until she remembers that they know now that Spike can’t.
“Oh, and you don’t have to worry about us; he can’t hurt us, you know?” he confirms her thoughts. When he hears a moan coming from where Xander and Dawn are tied up, he adds, “Oh, come on. Look at the bright side! He can’t hurt your friends either. Everything’s fine, right?”
She turns away from him, disgusted to the bone, and turns her attention to Spike.
Her insides tie into knots at the sight of him. He still kneels at the same place, the spell to keep him there not yet broken; his eyes are gleaming yellow and he is in game face. She has seen him countless times in game face, but this time, something is different. And then she gets it.
He is nothing more than a wild animal. He doesn’t want to kill her for any other reason than to satisfy the urge to hunt and kill. She has never seen him like that, because he never was.
For the first time she feels real fear. For a moment she’s sure he’ll kill her; and when they lift the spell then and he understands what he has done, he won’t be able to live with it. Tears prickle in her eyes. She’s not scared of dying; she knows what’s awaiting her, and not too long ago she wanted it more than anything. But she doesn’t want to leave Dawn again. What hurts most of all, though, is the thought of him, having to live through the pain of having killed her.
She doesn’t want that for him
“Spike,” she says, and she isn’t even aware she does until she hears it, her voice so tender again, like in his crypt a week ago.
He looks up at that, looks at her, and for a second she thinks that his eyes are blue. But the next moment they are back to yellow, his face the same feral mask as before. She sees him standing, his muscles straining to move, hears a growl from deep within him.
She hears Jonathan murmuring again, and then Spike pounces.