Warnings: CHARACTER DEATH (multiple), implied sex for everybody, possibly some naughty words
A/N: I got bit by a plot bunny reading amejisuto's "Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me". Great story, if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for? Since I'm on vacation and it's been awhile since I gave girlpire her "Five Things", I thought I'd combine laziness with love. Feedback slavered over as soon as I get home...
Summary: Five ways the Scoobies didn't get turned...crossposted to rarebtvs
Six Degrees of Separation
Spike watched from the shadows, eyes trained cannily on a little snip of a girl. Dark hair, dark eyes, enough imperious presence to put even Darla in her place. What a lovely little bit she was, and how sweetly her blood sang out to him. Might even put a bit of color in his princess's cheeks to have such a fine new toy to play with, and so Spike watched. Waiting for her to leave behind the soppy girls and dancing fops that cantered around her like ponies on a leash. What a lovely Childe she'd make, dolled up and dangerous as mercury. He slid through the press of bodies, cool and calm. She was leaving, million dollar smile flashing, graceful hands drawing animated pictures out of air and light.
He came up behind her, wending his arms around her waist. She started, and that beautiful thick scent of fear hit his nostrils. Fear and annoyance in equal measure and wasn't she the brave one, than? Taller and riper than that silly Slayer bint, her lushness filled his angles perfectly.
"Ready, my sweet?" he asked her casually, pressing his cheek into her silky hair.
"To be your meal? As if," she snorted, stamping her foot down hard on his toes. Too bad for her he'd worn the steel toes tonight.
"Not a meal, lovely," he reassured her, fingers tracing up her curves to find and tease an already tight nipple. "You're more than a mouthful, but I've something a bit finer in mind for you."
He shifted, the planes of his face lengthening and transforming from man to monster. His fangs glided through her soft perfumed skin and she shook in his arms. Her musky arousal joined the bouquet of scents and he smiled around the flesh in his mouth. A lovely Childe, and a lovely toy for him...
She staggered a bit, knocking a few frat boys to one side. She played a convincing drunk, a sweet looking girl with just a few too many in her system. The perfect prey for some lucky young thing with a yen for an easy conquest. Sad really that so many fell for it, she thought acidly. She'd always known men were stupid, but that the came to her so easily, ripe fruit dropping from a well-shaken tree, well it definitely lowered her opinion of humanity.
"Miss, are you oh-Cordy?" The smaller, deceptively smaller, girl stared at her in astonishment.
"Buffy, hi!" Cordy giggled a little bit, face lighting up in an unfeigned show of enthusiasm. "Long time, huh?"
"Uh yeah, what with you disappearing two years ago and all, it's been awhile." Buffy's astonishment carried over into her voice. The longest lived Slayer and she was just standing there, no weapons, no guile. How the fuck did she make it this long? Well, it didn't matter because Queen C would remedy that and give her Sire something to brag about. Spike had been a fledge when he bagged his first Slayer, and his first Childe would follow in his footsteps.
"Lishen," Cordy smiled again, slurring her words. "I wanta catsh up. Walk me home?"
Buffy nodded gravely, her hazel eyes instantly full of concern. She linked arms with the brunette and steered her around the noisy rambunctious crowd. Cordy leaned on her, partly to reaffirm her drunk act and partly to drink in the luscious smell of Slayer. Buffy really was beautiful, once you got past the whole "Chosen One" creepiness. Maybe...Was it even possible?
Cordelia loved her Sire. He chose her, recognized her specialness and took her away from all the drama and trauma of living. He taught her, trained her, transformed her body and her mind. But damn if she didn't want to do him one better. He killed a Slayer, but she was going to turn one. He'd probably be fucking pissed, but that only made it more fun. The things that man could with a bullwhip...Cordy shivered imperceptibly at the thought of Spike whipping her bloody and fucking her until she screamed. Good thing she was going to have a sexy Slayer-Childe to comfort her after.
"You don't want to d-do this," Willow squeaked, inching along the brick wall.
"But I think I do," the blonde smiled at her. "Now, you should probably stop talking and just sit still. Smashing you into little best friend bits will be difficult enough without all this moving."
Willow shrieked as the sledgehammer descended and waited for the pain. She waited...and waited. It took a full moment for her to realize that nothing was happening. No pain, no blood, no Oh My God I'm Dying. Wait, why wasn't she dying?
"You know," came a familiar voice, "I'm still not sure how this was ever supposed to fool anybody. I mean, I am definitely not that perky."
Buffy stood over the sparking sizzling remains of the Buffy-bot, sledgehammer in hand. The satisfied smile she wore contrasted with the cool determination in her eyes. Dead eyes, Willow thought. Buffy's dead and I really wished she'd stayed dead.
"Hey, Wills," Buffy said softly. "I'm guessing you musta missed me. But seriously, a robo-replica? Obviously a poor solution to loneliness."
"I did-do miss you," Willow replied, quickly correcting herself. Buffy was dead and this disgusting abomination was merely a demon all comfy cozy in a Buffy suit. "I miss you every day. But you're gone and someone had to hold the Hellmouth."
"Aww, that's cute," Buffy grinned. "But, I'm kinda irreplaceable, you know? So what happened here?"
Willow glared at the simulacrum of her best friend. Stupid vampire, pretending to care. She knew darn good and well that this faux Buffy was only working out the best way to suck her dry.
"If you have to know," Willow sighed,"I screwed up some new programming. I only meant to tweak her skills a bit and I kinda got her friend/foe wires crossed. I could've fixed it, though!"
"I know," Buffy said as she knelt down in front of the dejected redhead. "You're the best, Wills. Kinda why I'm here, actually. We need you. Well, I need you."
Willow wrinkled her nose, looking adorably bewildered. "You need me? Oh ick, is this like the time my vampire-self 'needed' me, because I mean gay now, but still..."
Buffy giggled, looking so much like her alive self that Willow had to work hard to remember this wasn't really Buffy.
"Hey, I won't kick you out of bed for eating crackers, but not exactly what I meant," Buffy snickered. "Spike and Cordy have this idea for...well, it's complicated and I don't really care all that much. The point is they need someone powerful to do whatever."
"Well, I can't help you if I'm dead," Willow protested. "So how's about we lay off the killing and I'll make with the helping?"
Buffy shook her head adamantly, sending golden hair swirling. "Sorry Wills, but this requires you undead. But it'll be all right. I'm gonna sire you and we'll be together forever. Hey, what could compare to having eternity with your best friend?"
"Oh, I don't know," Willow grimaced, standing up. "How about breathing? Having a heart beat? Maybe...awk!"
Willow's break for freedom was cut short by a supernaturally fast vamped Slayer. Buffy's fingers closed around Willow's throat as the blonde made a regretful sound low in her throat.
"Growing old is overrated, Wills," Buffy whispered. "Just chill. Soon, there'll be no more pain, no more worries. We'll have a great eternity. You'll see."
The blood began to trickle down her neck and Willow's vision went hazy. As her heartbeat slowed, and the last thumps resonated in her ears, Willow groaned. Xander had warned her about patrolling with that dumb robot, and she just knew she was in for a massive I told you so.
It was only fair, she reasoned. She'd been a good girl. Spike had even told her so. It had taken them so long to get all that boring planny stuff out of the way, but she'd done her part. Done her part and more, judging by the happy expressions on the face of her Sire and the others. So now, it was playtime.
Xander didn't seem happy, but that's because he didn't know her secret. The other Willow, evil Willow, bad vampire Willow, had told her the best secret years ago. Of course, she supposed she couldn't think of the other Willow that way anymore. She was the evil bad vampire Willow now. She didn't feel bad, though. She didn't dress up like a skank queen. As if Queen C would allow any of her family to be seen in something so trashy.
No, Willow reasoned, she wasn't bad evil Willow. Just plain old vampire Willow, which was probably why Xander didn't look so happy. Back to that secret again. Wow, who knew babble existed after death?
"Something the matter, luv?" Spike's tongue teased at her ear, and she giggled softly. Spike knew all her tickly spots and he loved to torment her. He seemed to just love her, period. He called her his delectable strawberry. He had names for all of them. Dru, his wicked plum. Cordy was his princess, and Buffy was his Goldilocks. He boasted proudly of his family, his little harem.
She wondered how he'd feel about another man invading his domain. He'd given her the okay, but she still wondered. Sharing the love wasn't exactly something Spike did well, after all. The time he'd caught her, Buffy, and Drusilla...didn't bear remembering or repeating.
"I've got a secret," she crooned, reaching up to run her fingers through his hair. "The bad Willow told me a secret and now I have to tell Xanny."
"Xanny," the man in question snorted. "Now I know you're evil for sure. Only a hellspawn could come up with that stupid nickname."
"It's not stupid," Willow protested. "It's cute. A cute nickname for a cute boy."
Xander snorted again, running his hands through his hair. "Not exactly a boy here anymore, Wills. Kinda grew up and grew old while you guys were off doing the "Lifestyles of the Not So Living"."
She stared at him. He didn't look old. He looked delicious. Age had streamlined him, made his muscles firm and cheeks hollow. Experience had given him a wicked dangerous look that just begged to be kept and cherished.
"Yeah," Xander said, brightening up. "I'm old, way old. Much too old to be all undead, right? So how about we just let the nice Xander out of the cage and forget this ever happened."
Willow pondered this, tapping a finger to her chin. She turned to Spike, eyes filled with questions. Maybe Xander was too old. Maybe Spike wouldn't let her have him.
"Not to worry, Strawberry," Spike reassured her, reaching out to cuddle her close. "He's only thirtysomething. Still young enough for my best girl."
Willow clapped, delighted laughter ringing out and echoing through the cold dungeon. Xander wasn't too old. Spike said so and Spike was the head of the family, so it must be true.
"Xan-der," she sang out teasingly. "Xanny, my sweet sweet Xanny, I've got a se-cret!"
Xander watched her, brown eyes filled with...something? Regret, maybe or sorrow. There wasn't any fear here, that was a fact. Just a certain heavy smell that she couldn't place. Not quite fear, not quite sorrow, not quite acceptance, but something complicated and beautiful.
She stepped into his cage and opened her arms. He walked into them willingly, enfolding her in his embrace and lifting her up. She squealed just as she had when they were younger and alive. This was her Xander, her best friend and she loved him. That was her secret, the one that evil Willow had told her. Loving Xander was the best secret in the world and she couldn't wait to share it with him.
He set her down gently and pulled back a fraction, staring down into her eyes. She lifted a finger to outline the curve of his jaw. So handsome, just like he always had been. She just stared at him, waiting for the right moment.
"If it has to be anybody, Wills," he rasped out, "I'm glad it's you."
That was it, and she changed. Xander thought her face, her true demon face, looked both stunningly alien and frighteningly familiar. That was his Willow under those ridges and golden eyes. He'd missed her, missed them all. Surrendering himself to her, he smiled happily at that thought that at last he was finally coming home.
"Fascinating," Giles said quietly, polishing his glasses. "So after all of that, you've tracked me down to...what? Turn me into a vampire?"
"Something like that," Xander grinned. "If you want it, G-Man. I mean, if you don't, it's no big."
Giles smiled affectionately at the man standing before him. Xander dead was not that much different than Xander alive. Certainly, there were changes. He seemed more comfortable in his own skin. In fact, as Giles looked around at the assembled group, they all seemed comfortable.
Buffy sat wrapped in Drusilla's arms, blonde hair spilling and mingling with Drusilla's dark locks as they whispered to each other. Xander had told them that Buffy's Slayer visions had...transformed after her turning. The two seers spent much of their time together, listening to voices only the could hear.
Spike leaned next to Cordelia, both of them petting Willow affectionately. The young witch had become...simple wasn't the word, though Giles couldn't think of a better one. Childlike, perhaps, but that word too was inaccurate. Xander simply said that Willow was the baby of the family, despite the fact that she had sired him. If Willow was the baby, Spike and Cordelia were clearly the parents of this motley bunch. Loving and tender, yet perfectly happy to discipline the slightest infraction if Xander's tales were accurate.
Xander was beloved of everyone, as always the heart of the group. Giles could see it in the casual touches and easy acceptance that had not been a part of Xander's mortal life. Here, in this collection of demons, Xander stood on solid ground. Ground that he clearly wanted his old mentor to join him on.
"I'm afraid," Giles coughed lightly as he stood, "that I shall have to decline."
"Once a watcher, always a watcher, eh?" Spike smirked at him and Giles nodded.
"As you say, Spike. I am curious, though. To what purpose is all of this?" Giles directed his question to Spike, inclining his head to indicate the assembly.
"Wanted a family," Spike told him," at first. But, 's more than that now, innit? Wanted to stop off and gather you before we headed back to the States. Thought that one more addition might just do the trick. S'pose we'll just have to hope this is enough."
Giles stared at Spike in irritation. "Yes, Spike. Thank you for that complete lack of enlightenment."
Cordelia huffed, and walked over to stand in front of him. She still looked like the same girl he'd known all those years ago in Sunnydale, but her eyes were ancient and cruel. Giles fingered the cross in his hands, taking some small comfort from its presence. It wouldn't stop her, but nonetheless it comforted him.
"Look, Spike wants Angelus back. I'm still not clear on why. I remember Angelus and he wasn't exactly a boatload of fun. But, Spike insists that we need Angelus to take his place as the Master of the Order. So, presto! Insta-family and hopefully we can make Angel happy enough to send his soul packing. Again," Cordelia smiled seductively.
"And you believe that my, er, joining the family will aid in this quest," Giles mused. "An interesting, if bizarre, assertion. What if you fail to break the curse? Angel has shown little hesitation or remorse in killing members of his own line."
"That's where my talented little girls come in," Spike told him proudly. "Dru an' Buffy got the visions, and my sweet strawberry has the mojo. Between them, and with a little help from the rest of us, we should be able to nick it 'fore he knows it's gone. 'M hoping it won't come to that. Be a lot less traumatic if we can just make the sorry git crack a smile."
"Ah," Giles nodded thoughtfully. "I'd wish you the best, but..."
"We understand, Giles," Xander smiled at him sadly. "Guess we'll be on our way. Buffster, want to come and say good-bye?"
Buffy unfolded herself from Drusilla's arms and strolled over to her former Watcher. Her carefree face filled his vision and he couldn't find it in him to regret her death. It had brought her the peace she craved and that pleased him enormously.
"I love you, Giles," she told him seriously. "Just...we can't have you chasing after us or warning Angel. Xander made us promise not to hurt you, so we won't. But..."
He met her eyes, and fell into their depths. She whispered to him, singing him a lullaby of contentment and pleasure. He lost himself inside her, following the sound of that sweet voice.
The family filed out, one by one. Finally, Buffy released him and placed a regretful kiss on his forehead. With one last soothing murmur, she too walked away. Giles was no longer their family, and they could only help their own. She hoped Angelus wouldn't be too hard to find. It would be nice to see him again, to feel him in her blood as she did the others.
She linked hands with Drusilla, and traced the path they had taken to get here. Angelus to Drusilla, Drusilla to Spike, Spike to Cordelia, Cordelia to Buffy, Buffy to Willow, Willow to Xander and it all looped back around to Angelus. Six degrees of separation, and she could only laugh as Drusilla promised her they'd be separate no more.
"A family again," Buffy agreed, placing a kiss on the dark seer's lips. The others echoed her cry, leaving behind the last bit of their mortal lives, lost in dreams of children who fought bravely, happy and alive.