Spike stopped the bike suddenly, and he sniffed the air. A growl emanated from deep within his chest.
Behind him, Andrew quivered at the terrifying sound. “W-what?” he asked.
“I can smell Buffy’s blood,” Spike snarled. With a supernatural ease, he swung the bike around, and he took off towards the source of the scent. It only took Spike and Andrew a few minutes to find Buffy.
The Slayer lay on the sidewalk in a puddle of blood. She had a gash across the side of her neck exposing her jugular to the air. Another wound across her stomach went deep enough that Spike and Andrew could see Buffy’s innards. Two more across her legs cut down to the bone.
The Slayer was dying.
Spike was off the bike and to Buffy’s side in a heartbeat while Andrew went to throw up in a nearby garbage can. Sure, he’d seen Warren kill Katrina. He himself had killed Jonathon, but neither death had been as bloody as the Slayer’s. Andrew could hear the vampire’s sobs over his retching, and he knew things were bad.
Buffy opened her eyes, and she gave Spike a weak smile. “Spike,” she whispered through pale lips. “Somehow I knew you’d be here to see me off one last time.” She raised a pale, blood covered hand to Spike’s face.
Spike glanced around. “Why the soddin’ hell are you out here alone?”
“They kicked me out,” Buffy whispered. “All of them decided they’d do better with Faith as their leader. Probably the only unanimous Scooby vote ever.”
Spike growled. He pulled Buffy into his arms as carefully as he could. He could hear her heart faltering. If she didn’t get some blood soon, she’d die. She might anyway from the size of the pool of blood on the ground. “We’ll get you to a hospital. Fix you right up, good as new.”
“Ubers got me,” Buffy continued. She cringed in pain when Spike carefully rose to his feet. She looked up into his beloved face. “Promise me that you won’t let them bring me back again, no matter how much you hate my dying.”
“You’re not going anywhere for them to bring you back from,” Spike snarled. He turned to walk towards the hospital.
“Promise me, Spike.” Buffy moaned as a misstep jostled her.
Spike’s jaw tightened. He hated having to make that kind of promise, because it went without saying that he’d never put her through the torture of being ripped out of Heaven again. He had no plans on losing Buffy again though.
Tears filled Buffy’s eyes. Even in her pain and wooziness she could see the determination and love on Spike’s face. “I love you, Spike.”
Spike looked down into Buffy’s face, and he whispered, “No, you don’t, but thanks for saying it.”
Buffy weakly smacked at Spike. “Promise?”
“Yeah, Slayer, I promise, but you’re not going anywhere except to the hospital.”
“Thank you.” Now that Buffy was content that she had her promise from the only true friend she had in the world, she allowed herself to fall away into the darkness that pulled at her. The last thing she heard before she died was Spike’s howl of pain.
Andrew cringed when Spike let out a wail of pain and anger. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he was pretty certain Buffy had just died. There was no other explanation for why Spike had fallen to the ground and was now howling while rocking Buffy back and forth in his arms.
Spike felt his heart and his soul shatter under the pain. Nothing mattered in the world anymore. Buffy was gone again. His Slayer was dead for a third time. The noise of his sorrow echoed through the almost empty town, scaring those few residents who had decided to wait it out.
Andrew stood off to the side, not wanting to incur Spike’s wrath. This was just so wrong. Buffy was the Slayer. She had survived the Mayor and Warren. She wasn’t supposed to die like this. She was meant to go down in a blaze of glory with her ’vampyre’ lover next to her. He took another step back when the vampire struggled to his feet again.
“Go tell those fuckin’, buggerin’ arseholes that I hope they are bloody happy!” Spike hurled the insults out like they tasted disgusting on his tongue. He set off towards Restfield cemetery. He would let the boy think he was going to his crypt while he snuck away to someplace where the Scoobies couldn’t disturb him while he prepared the Slayer. There was only one way he knew to insure that she wouldn’t be resurrected again.
“Yeah, sure.” Andrew nodded. He turned, and he ran towards Revello Drive as fast as he could. He didn’t want to be caught by the Ubervamps too. He wanted to be in and out of the Summers’ house as soon as possible. He feared for his life if he stayed with them. They were worse than Warren. He shuddered at the thought.
Right then, Andrew Wells grew up.
Spike looked down into Buffy’s pale, peaceful face. He started to hum while he walked. Soon, he was singing softly under his breath. “I died, so many years ago, but you can make me feel like it isn’t so….”
Andrew burst into the Revello Drive house. He gasped for air as he fell back against the door he had just slammed shut. After a few seconds, he caught his breath, and he bound up the stairs to where he was being allowed to keep his things. Andrew grabbed a spare duffel bag, and he shoved his clothes inside.
“What’s up, kiddo?” Faith said. “Where’s bleach boy?”
Andrew looked up at the Slayer. “He’s not here.”
“I get that.” Faith arched an eyebrow. “So, what’s the what? You guys find out anything at the monk place?”
Andrew shrugged and went back to packing. He wasn’t about to tell them a damn thing before he was ready to leave. It was their fault Buffy was dead.
“I’ve never seen him so quiet,” Dawn said on the way by them to downstairs. “What did you do, Faith?”
Faith shook her head. She watched with apprehension as the nerd continued to grab and pull at his things. There was something definitely wrong here. When Andrew was done, she followed him downstairs to the living room. She was startled when he turned to her.
“Congratulations, Faith. You’re the Slayer.”
Xander chuckled. “We already knew that.”
Andrew turned to the one-eyed Scooby. “No, she’s THE Slayer. The only one now. Congratulations to you all. You’re now no better than me.”
“I think you need to explain that statement,” Giles announced.
Andrew just shook his head. “I don’t have to do anything for you lot.” He had learned a lot about Buffy’s life through eavesdropping and being Jonathan’s friend. “Long live the Slayer. She survived the Master, the Mayor, and Warren, but in the end it was her friends that did her in. I doubt she can do another Gandalf though.”
“Are you saying Buffy is dead?” Willow asked slowly.
Andrew tapped his nose. “Ding, ding, the witch is right.” He pointed at Willow. “And gee whiz, if you all can do that to someone that helps and protects you? What chance does a vampire or an ex-evil mastermind have?”
“Buffy’s dead?” Xander asked, stunned.
“Yup.” Andrew turned to go, but then he stopped to face the crowd of shocked people. “Spike says he hopes -- and let’s see if I can get this right – that those fuckin’, buggerin’ arseholes are happy. Are you? You look like it. That was sarcasm, in case you didn’t know. I am capable, really.”
Dawn sat down heavily on a chair. “What did we do?”
“Sent your sister out to die. Personally, I’ll take my chances with the First, his Bringers, Caleb, and the Ubers. At least I KNOW they’re backstabbing killers.” Andrew turned around, and he banged his way out of the house making sure to slam the door hard when he went. He had no idea where Spike was. Despite the vampire’s act of going towards Restfield, Andrew knew he wasn’t that stupid. That would be the first place the Scoobies would try to look.
“You’re a hard vampire to find,” Andrew blurted out when Spike opened the hotel room door.
Spike growled. “You weren’t supposed to be able to find me.”
“Sure wasn’t going to stay with that bunch of Warren wannabes.” Andrew pushed by Spike. “I stopped off at that boutique downtown. I figured you’d want something nice to dress her in.” He showed a shopping bag full of clothes to the vampire.
Spike looked out the door to check if anyone was following Andrew. He extended his senses to discover nothing and nobody were out in the darkness. He closed the door, and he locked it. “Well, let’s see what you have, kid.”
Andrew handed the shopping bag to Spike. “I’ll just go in the bathroom while you dress her.”
Spike waved his hand. Looking at the clothes, he had to admit Andrew had good taste in women’s clothes. Spike suspected the boy was a bit of a crossdresser. He quickly chose a white sleeveless summer dress with a scooped neckline that would have fallen just below Buffy’s knees. Spike quickly dressed the Slayer in the dress, and he laid her back down on the bed.
Before Andrew had shown up, Spike had washed Buffy in the shower. He removed all the blood from her body and washed her hair with a small bottle of shampoo. All he needed to do was brush her hair for her to be ready.
“You can come out now, kid.” Spike knocked on the bathroom door. “I need to go start on the pyre. You keep an eye on the Slayer.”
“Yeah, I can do that,” Andrew said coming out of the bathroom.
The Next Night…
A tingle of family and a loud knock announced a visitor that Spike wasn’t ready to deal with.
“I know you’re in there, Spike.” Angel’s voice announced through the door. He had tracked his grandchilde to the hotel through scent alone. Not only was Spike’s scent here, but Buffy’s was too. “Let me in. I found Buffy’s blood. Where is she?”
Spike waved Andrew away from the door. “I’ll get it.” He opened the door, and in a dead voice, he said, “You can stake me later, poofter. First, I need to make sure that those idiots can’t bring her back again.”
“Step aside,” Angel barked. He pushed past Spike, and he went to Buffy’s side. He noticed that the body was clean, the dress was new, and her hair was combed. She even had a thin layer of makeup on her face. Someone, probably Spike, had taken great care to make her presentable. Angel grimaced at the gaping neck wound that was clean, but clearly visible. “What happened?”
“The Watcher sent me and the kid here out of town, and while we were gone they kicked Buffy to the curb.” Spike’s voice held no inflections, and the chuckle he gave had no mirth. “Sunnyhell is riddled with Ubervamps, Bringers, an insane woman-hatin’ preacher man, and the First Evil. Those – I don’t even have a word bad enough for them, wankers is too good for them – sent her out alone.”
“We found her when we got back to town in a puddle of blood,” Andrew said. He glanced at Spike. He knew the bleached blond vampire was only holding on by a thread. “She got Spike to promise not to let the Scoobies resurrect her again.”
Angel touched Buffy’s hair. “A pyre?” Resurrections were harder with no body, but he knew from experience that they were possible.
Spike nodded, but it was Andrew who voiced the words. “Yeah, Spike made one last night.”
“Words will have to be said.” Angel finally looked at Spike. “They brought Darla back, and we know how dead she was. I’ll take care of that.”
“See that you do.” Spike nodded. “I doubt she can survive bein’ pulled from Heaven again. Hell, I doubt I can survive her bein’ pulled from Heaven again. Damn near broke us both last time.”
Angel narrowed his eyes. “Where the hell did you get it, William?”
Anger flared in Spike’s eyes, but it quickly died. Instead of answering he shrugged. “How are we gonna fight the First without Buffy? We discovered that the preacher is protectin’ something. Probably something only a Slayer can use, and we’re in short supply of those now.”
“She was in on the mutiny, I’m sure,” Spike replied. He slumped in one of the hotel chairs.
Angel tilted his head. Oh boy! He knew that look all too well on Spike. “You love her! You went and fell in love with her.”
“No, you idiot,” Angel snarled. “Buffy. You love Buffy.”
Spike closed his eyes. “More than life itself. Got a bloody soul to be what she deserved.”
Angel plunged his hand into his pocket to grip the necklace he was going to give Buffy to fight with. The one he had planned on wearing to help her. The one he now wondered if he was the best candidate to wear.
“So, it’s two souled vamps and an ex-evil mastermind against a horde of Ubervamps, huh?” Andrew muttered. “We’re gonna die.”
“Probably would have anyway,” Spike said with shrug. “Maybe I won’t have to worry about greetin’ the sun in the morning.” He grabbed his jacket. “Let’s get this show on the road.”
Angel nodded. He watched with trepidation while Spike crossed the room to pick up Buffy’s body. He had a feeling that this time the younger vampire had no desire to make it out of the battle alive. It was as if all the fight had left Spike.