Spike looked up from the base of the tower. “Someone’s up there.”
Apparently, vampiric vision wasn’t the only thing that could detect the intruder. “Spike, can you hear me?” Willow’s voice reverberated in his head.
“Yeah. Loud and clear.” The others looked confused. Obviously, this was a private message.
“Is there someone up there with Dawn?”
“Yeah,” he replied. “Can’t tell who.”
“Get up there,” she insisted. “Go now.”
“Yeah, but ...” Glory’s minions made a sea of resistance.
“Go!” He ran through their midst, and the sea parted. Up he ran, blessing the fact that he couldn’t be winded. Meanwhile, Buffy held the hell goddess at bay.
Dawn wasn’t alone at the tower’s pinnacle. “Spike!” she cried, and her attacker turned towards the vampire. Doc had returned.
“Don’t a fellow stay dead when you kill him?” Spike asked, slowly edging towards the demon.
“Look who’s talking.” The creature was calm and cool, his diminutive frame belying the danger he represented.
Spike came even closer. “Come on, Doc. Let’s you and me have a go.”
Doc seemed to consider the proposal, all the while fingering the blade of the knife. A few little cuts to the young woman, the ancient key, and the portal between dimensions would open. Doc was a loyal little minion. “I do have a prior appointment.”
Spike was cocky. “This won’t take long.”
“No.” The demon was unexpectedly behind the vampire, plunging his knife into the leather of Spike’s coat. “I shouldn’t imagine it will.”
Spike sucked back the pain. “You don’t come near the girl, Doc.”
That took the demon aback. “I don’t smell a soul anywhere on you.” His question was almost clinical. “Why do you even care?”
“I made a promise to a lady.”
Doc’s eyes flashed cold, as his tongue lashed impossibly along the length of the ramp. Time to Spike seemed to slow down, the tongue the speed of oozing treacle. He grabbed out at it, catching it in his
hands. Doc’s eyes bulged with shock as the vampire swung him around with the tongue, and tossed him from the tower. “My mum always said not to stand around with your mouth hangin’ open,” he called down towards the shattered body lying on the ground below. “You might let in the flies.”
Dawn was sobbing with relief as Spike undid her bonds. “He was going to cut me. He was going to use me to open that, that thing, and destroy the world. He ...” She collapsed against his chest.
“It’s okay, Nibblet. Spike’s here.” He wrapped his arms around her.
Buffy came rushing to the top of the tower. She dreaded what she’d find. Dawn was leaning against Spike. “Is she ...?”
“Just fainted, is all. Glory?”
“She’s an ex-goddess.” She ran towards the pair, wrapping her arms around her sister. “Dawnie, oh Dawnie. It’s over.”
The rickety tower bent in the breeze. “We’d better get down, Slayer. Don’t trust this meccano set.”
“Right.” She looked down at his hand, stained red where he’d felt the wound on his back. “Are you bleeding?”
“S’nothing. It’ll heal.”
Buffy put her shoulder under Dawn’s arm, while Spike took the other side. She looked into his eyes. “You saved the world.”
“I saved your sister. The world’s just a perk.”