Spike downed another shot of whiskey and closed his eyes, waiting to feel the effect. His absurdly strong vampire constitution meant he would run out of money long before he got really drunk, but maybe he could at least numb the pain a little.
He flexed his muscles, feeling them out, wincing as they spasmed in response. That hellbitch sure had done a number on him. He could still feel a few ribs that weren’t quite in the right spot, and his arms felt like murder after hanging from the ceiling for so long.
But hadn’t it been worth it? When Buffy came back to his crypt afterward. He’d thought she was the bot at first, but then she kissed him, soft and feather-light, and all he could do was stare at her in wonder, one of the rare moments when he was utterly speechless.
Oh, he certainly wouldn’t blow it up to be any big thing. She only meant it as a thank you, a reward at best. “Thanks for letting Glory beat you to a bloody pulp.” “Good job on not getting my sister killed.” There was no way he’d ever have a real chance with her. Only when she was unconscious, isn’t that what she said?
Spike caught a glimpse of blonde hair in front of him, amidst the wriggling bodies on the dance floor. He felt silly going after her, but he hadn’t seen her since his crypt and he just wanted to –
She didn’t seem to hear him. He tried to squeeze through the crowd to get closer.
“Buff–” He cut himself off as he realized his mistake. The vibe from this girl was definitely vampire. “Sorry,” he said, as she started to turn around. “Thought you were someone… else. Oh, God.” He had to stop himself from retching as Buffy turned to him with a sly grin.
“Hello, lover,” she said, sliding her hands along the lapels of his leather coat and wrapping her arms around his neck. With her body pressed against his, he could feel her empty chest where a heart should be beating.
His entire world seemed to flip inside out. She couldn’t be dead. She couldn’t be this. Pale and cold and reeking of death. Buffy pouted when Spike didn’t return her affections.
“What’s the matter, Spikey? Aren’t you happy to see me?” She traced one finger along his jawline.
Spike pushed her away, fighting back tears. “How did this happen?”
She tilted her head quizzically. “How did what happen?”
“You – you’re a – a –”
“A vampire? Um, duh.”
“How?” Spike was glad he didn’t need oxygen, because at this moment, if he’d had to breathe, he’d be hyperventilating.
Buffy narrowed her eyes. “You know how, Spike,” she replied, her tone edged with annoyance. When his brow furrowed in confusion, she gripped his arm forcefully and jerked him toward her. “If this is a game, it’s not funny. Don’t act like you don’t remember turning me.”
She might as well have kicked him in the head, for all the stars he saw in front of him. Then she did kick him, sending him flying straight through the brick wall of the Bronze and out into the street.
The combination of slayer powers and enhanced vampire abilities had made her unbelievably strong. Spike groaned in pain. It was impossible. How could he have turned Buffy and not remembered it? The chip wouldn’t even have let him bite her.
Yet here she was, standing before him, vamped out and mad as hell.
“If I’d known you were gonna be a prick about it, I’d have staked you the minute I woke up,” she snapped, yanking him up by his collar, then slamming him into a pile of wooden crates. He tensed as the crates splintered under his weight, but thankfully, none of the pieces came near his heart.
“You did this to me!” Buffy leapt on top of him and smashed her fist into his face. “You were the one who wanted me! And now you won’t even admit you sired me? You asshole!” She hit him twice more before he managed to throw her off and pull himself out of the rubble. She came at him again, kicking him in the chest with her spiky high-heeled boot, which sent him sailing down the alley and into the side of a building. The bricks cracked and crumbled behind his back.
He staggered to his feet, scooping up one of the loose bricks and hurling it as hard as he could at Buffy’s head. It glanced off her temple, but she didn’t even blink as it hit her. Spike bent down and picked up a second brick, throwing with perfect aim as she stalked toward him. Before he even saw her move, she’d caught the brick and was pressing it against his throat, pushing his back up against the wall.
“Don’t. Do. That.” Her lips pulled back in a snarl that revealed her fangs.
“Buffy,” he croaked.
“Yes, lover?” Her voice was silk, but it concealed a razor edge. She pressed against him seductively, one leather-clad thigh thrust between his legs, even as she crushed his throat. Spike hated the fact that he was attracted to her like this, but he drew on every last ounce of his strength and channeled all of his emotion into pushing off the wall and knocking her to the ground. With his body flush against hers, he leaned over and whispered in her ear.
“Go to hell.”
He grabbed her head and twisted, snapping her neck and pulling her head right off, collapsing onto the ground as she turned to dust beneath him.
At least, that was the plan.
In fact, he never got past the grabbing stage, because she was stronger than he was, and faster, too, and her hands were on his wrists before he even managed to twist. Her fingers crushed his joints until he released his grip, his hands hanging limply. She flung him over her head by his arms, and he smacked down on the pavement, his bones rattling with the impact. She was on him like a wild animal, kicking, punching, pounding him into the ground, scratching her nails down his chest and tearing his shirt to ribbons.
His vision started to darken, spots fading in and out, connecting into larger patches of black. He lay still and let the merciful darkness swallow him up.
When he awoke, she was gone, and he was alone in the alley.
As the gravity of the situation hit him, tears began streaming down his face, mixing with blood. Buffy was dead. His darling, precious girl, who’d been so full of life, was now a vampire.
And she clearly didn’t like him much.
Spike hissed in pain when he tried to move, testing his limbs for their cooperation. It took him three tries before he could get to his knees without immediately crumpling back to the ground. Why hadn’t she finished him off, staked him when he was unconscious? Must have been some residual attachment that kept her from killing her sire.
Sire. Bloody hell. This couldn’t be happening. Maybe she’d just said it to be cruel. She must know that this was the last thing he wanted.
He had to get to the magic shop. Even if the Scoobies hated him, they still needed to be warned. They’d invite Buffy into their homes, completely unawares. What if she’d gotten to them already? His heart wrenched as he thought of Dawn, drained dry by her beloved sister, the same sister who’d sworn to protect her.
With renewed determination, he picked himself up slowly, managing to get to his feet and stumbling toward the Magic Box. He had to warn her friends. If they were still alive.