Author: spikes_heart and liliaeth in their first ever joint effort
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Pairing: Angel/Nina, Gunn/Anne, sort of S/B, with hints of A/B
Setting: One year post NFA
Disclaimer: If they were ours, would we be writing fanfic?
Feedback: Yes, please!
Archive: Ask us, nicely.
Warning: Not a B/A fic
A/N: Spoilers for the entire run of BtVS and AtS - our take on what happened after the lights went out
Beta'd by: A sneak appearance by Willa!
Summary: Before the Powers that Be withdrew from the playing fields, they made one last move with their favorite pawns - leaving Angel to clean up their mess.
Like Alice popping through the looking-glass, Buffy found herself in a whole new world. One moment she was indoors, listening to Giles, Willow, Angel and some other people she couldn’t name. Unable to speak or move. In the blink of an eye, she stood in what appeared to be an outside garden, nothing more than rest-age for the birds. The thought of being pooped on by pigeons humiliated her beyond belief.
Behind the marble surface of her eyes, Buffy found she could see a bit more than what lay right in front of her if she concentrated. It tended to give her a headache and was more trouble than it was worth
Mystical vision sucked as a superpower.
She heard him before she saw him. The little boy… Will? Hard to remember everything when she couldn’t remember what day or year it was.
The boy stumbled about, shrieking with glee as he circled around her, the sound of his voice fading in and out. Why didn’t he come closer? Had he ever been closer? Buffy wished she could get things straight in her mind.
Was Spike… no, Will… no, Spike, damn it. Was Spike out here alone? Too little to be left alone. He should have someone to hug and kiss; keep him safe. You kept little ones safe, right? Like Dawn. Only not so little anymore Dawn. But still, she should be loved. Did she even know her sister was missing? Did she care?
Buffy’s lip ached with the need to wibble. The questions swirled around and around in her head. Why was she still a statue? How long had she been missing? Was anyone trying to help free her? Wait… Giles and Willow were there, but how long ago was that? Yesterday? Three months ago?
“William! No, baby. Don’t climb over that fence. You’ll hurt yourself!”
Who the hell was that? Okay, so the little boy wasn’t alone. His mother was just out of her line of sight. As was most everything. She missed her mother. Mom? Mommy?
She heard the boy grunt in frustration as he obviously tried to get past whatever fence his mother had mentioned. She swung into view as she scooped the boy into her arms. His mother looked familiar… oh! Angel’s… Angel’s new girl? Wife? Aargh! If Buffy could tear at her own hair, she would. Work, brain! Work!
“Down, mama! Go down.” Will/Spike struggled in his mother’s arms and cried: “Down, down, down,” until the woman obviously gave in. This time he must have managed to climb over the fence, or pull it out of the ground because Buffy actually felt a warm, tingly sensation on her legs. He must be hugging her again.
Figures, Spike. You never could keep your grubby paws off of me.
The longer Will held onto her legs, the more they tingled. It felt like hot little ants crawling up and down her skin. Almost… just like holding Spike’s hand in the Hellmouth. Just before they burst into flame. Would her legs catch fire? And the baby… would he be safe?
Was this what Spike used to feel when he touched her? The difference in temperature between them? Skin texture so unlike the other? The pleasure of warmth leeching into his skin from hers?
Buffy almost cried when she felt Will back off. God, how she missed the contact. Feeling his warm, little hands. Feeling anything. At this point, she’d sell her soul to be able to dance, or chow down on something chocolatey. To kiss. Oh, please… to be kissed and loved. It’d been so long.
She spotted Will playing in the grass not too far away. Come back, little guy. Come sit by my feet and hold me. Make me feel something!. Buffy would have jumped for joy if she could, as he got up, toddled over and hugged her again. “Tiss ou,” he said, before something wet and warm covered her big toe. “More tiss!” as he did it again.
“Yucky, Will! Dirty! No kissing the statue.”
As the woman dragged William away, Buffy had a vision flash of black leather. She could see Spike in front of her, as clear as if she’d gone back in time; could hear him as he told her to leave – refuting her last moment declaration of love. After so much lapsed time, she could feel his true meaning behind his words. Get out, love. Be safe. I love you, too.
Buffy could feel his fear for her as the walls crumbled around them. Most of all, she could feel the warmth of his love wrap around her to keep her safe as she made her escape, leaving him behind to dust.
So much feeling behind his final words. Oh, if only he could have left with her. If they’d have had the time post-apocalypse that she was sure they’d have. After all, Spike never left her. Not for long. She’d never been able to ditch him even when she wanted him to leave. And she knew she’d never really wanted him to. Not after those first few “I’m gonna bleed you dry and dance on your drained corpse” moments.
No matter how you looked at it, her life was complicated. Nobody alive would classify her love-life as simple or sane. Her ex-first love was a vampire with an occasionally detachable soul. Seemed he’d finally managed to move on enough to propose to another woman – who wasn’t her. Not that Buffy still wanted him, but it wasn’t fair. She couldn’t move on. She couldn’t even freaking move. Couldn’t blink her eyes, couldn’t move her pinky finger… and for as long as she could remember, her nose itched.
Damn that Immortal! He really should have just killed her outright. This kind of prolonged torture was Angelus’ style – remember what he did to Drusilla the Wacky before he turned her – unless he learned it from the Immortal? Maybe he was an Immortal groupie and picked the wrong woman to eat. Pissed the guy off enough to hold an eons long grudge. Not like he hadn’t done it before with the Gypsies, and look at how well that worked for him.
Huh! Who knew it would hurt to try and roll your eyes when you’re statufied?
To make matters worse, her last lover was a vampire who’d gained his soul for her, died for her, came back and fried for his grandsire, who he’d taken great pains to tell everyone who’d listen that he’d hated. And what did the cosmos do? Did they let the poor guy rest? No, of course not. They brought him back as a human baby to be raised by the same hated grandsire turned father. If there was anyone the powers seemed to pick on more than her, it was Spike.
Maybe she’d just gone mad. It would probably be a blessing if she had. And what would have happened if Xander had never resuscitated her when she’d drowned at the Master’s hands? Someone else would have saved the day, and Willow wouldn’t have been strong or stupid enough to bring her back yet. Did statues die? Would she ever die again? Maybe someone needed to drop a house on her, like in the Wizard of Oz. Would she shatter and croak? Or would all of her little pieces have a life of their own? Gah! Too scary to even think about. Live Buffy pebbles spread out in this very same garden.
It was quiet in the garden, now. The sun’d gone down, and the door must’ve been closed, and yet she still heard babybabble in her head. It warmed her heart, not being totally alone inside her marble shell for the first time in forever.
Night, Spike. Or William. Better make that both of you to be safe and cover all my bases.
The peace and warmth of a well cared for baby settling down to sleep soothed Buffy’s spirit, making her rethink her previously fatalistic outlook. She wasn’t alone anymore. That was something new. And Spike or William being the vampire she’d known was a puzzle to figure out.
Who knows, maybe tomorrow she’d get lucky and Angel or Giles… or someone else entirely would find a way to get her out of this stone prison.
Make her a free Buffy again.
Free to walk, talk shop for shoes… and most importantly, go after the Immortal like a bat out of hell. She’d rip the bastard apart, one perfect digit at a time.
Even if it took her forever, the bastard was going down, and she was just the Slayer to do it.