He was almost clear. He had his girl in his arms and was prepared to leave the Hellmouth for good. Then he and Drusilla could go back to happily living their unlives, the way it had been before. But something made him look back, curiosity he'd wager. He wanted to see who was winning, the Slayer or his former poofter of sire.
Damn, he thought as he saw Angelus advancing on the felled and unarmed Slayer. "God, he's gonna kill her," he muttered. It wasn't his problem, he reckoned as he shrugged and continued on. He ventured only a few steps more, then paused, looking back again. For some reason, the thought of Angelus taking out the slayer really bothered him. He told himself it was because he'd wanted that honor for himself. That if it wasn't going to be him to do her, well, at least it sure as hell wasn't going to be that poof.
"Oh balls," he cursed.
His decision was made, but he wasn't happy with it. He found a safe and shady place to lay down Drusilla and turned back, returning just in time to hear Angelus taunting the Slayer.
"No weapons, no friends, what's left?" Angelus said, casually brandishing his sword.
God he's a real son of a bitch, Spike thought, rolling his eyes. He pumped himself up and stepped into the fray.
"Me," he said, shocking both parties.
Angelus turned a confused look his way and Spike took the opportunity to land a left hook to the older vampire's jaw. The blow sent Angelus reeling. Spike didn't allow him any time to recover before punching him again. He bent to retrieve the sword the other vampire dropped. He could finish this now, cut his head off, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But the wanker had already activated that stupid Acathla statue and it needed Angelus' blood to close. So Spike decided to play a new game - he called it kick the sire - and he played it all the way to the front of the statue.
He raised his sword to the bloodied vampire kneeling before him., "Time to say goodnight, peaches," he told him. But before Spike could bring the sword down, the Slayer interrupted.
"Spike, no!" she screamed.
His jaw tensed in irritation, his hands gripping the hilt of the sword, itching to plunge it into the heart of the son of a bitch that had been the bane of his existence for so long. Here he was with the golden opportunity to end the bastard, send him to hell where he belonged. It would be so easy, but he didn't do it, instead he lowered the sword and turned an angry glare toward the Slayer
"Bloody hell," he seethed, "I should've known you wouldn't be able to follow through and let the ponce die. But you know?" Spike paused dramatically. "I had a bit more faith in you. Thought you were tougher than that, but you're—"
"I need to be the one to do it," she interrupted. Spike's eyebrow cocked in surprise. "I have to be."
Brow furrowed, Spike looked the girl over with curiosity. He took a moment before nodding and handing the sword over to her. He took a step back and watched as the Slayer did her thing. He had to give her credit; she did have brass, this one.
Once it was done, with the vortex closed and Angelus dead, the Slayer just stood there, staring at the now dormant statue. She looked a bit stony herself.
Spike kept his mouth shut for a long moment. He was uncomfortable and hated not knowing what to do. Why should I do anything? I've done my part. The world's saved, Angelus is dead. Time to go.
"Well that was loads of fun 'n all, and I'd love to stick around, but I think it's time me and my lady be off so—" His words cut off as a wrenching pain shot through his entire being. It drew from him a blood-curdling howl and brought him to his knees.
The sound brought Buffy out of her torpor. She turned to see what had happen and saw Spike down on his knees, bent over in apparent agony, but the Slayer had no clue why.
"Spike?" she called, confused, and not just a little freaked out. She slowly crept toward him.
"Spike?" she repeated. "What's happening?"
Suddenly, the vampire went slack, slumped forward as if from exhaustion.
"Are you okay?"
He raised his head to look at her, and tears shone in his eyes. Something else was there as well, some sort of shift had occurred inside the vampire, of that, Buffy was certain.
"Where am I?" he asked, his usual cockney accent sounding much more refined. "Who are you? What's happened? What've you done to me?" He became more panicky with every question.
"Hey, take it easy." Buffy tried to coax him, putting up her hands in a non- threatening manner.
Spike got to his feet. "I must get out of here. Mother must be terribly worried I—" He stopped as his memories began to flood back into his mind. The parade of faces turned into corpses, tortured and killed by his own hand. He saw all the people who had made fun of his poetry, the man who had said he'd rather have a railroad spike shoved through his head rather than listen to it. And that's exactly what Spike had done.
"God," he muttered, horrified. He dropped back down to his knees, "Oh dear god, no!"
Buffy saw the horror on his face and she remembered the time when Angel had told her about his own ensoulment. How when the gypsy first cursed him, he had experienced a moment of amnesia before the memory of what he'd done since becoming a vampire hit him. But when it did, it was like a ton of bricks, the weight of the horrible atrocities he had committed crushing him. And that, she realized, was what was happening to Spike now.
Now that he had his soul.
Spike had his head in his hands, rocking back and forth whispering a horrified litany of "No, no, god, please no, what have I done?"
"Hey," Buffy tried to soothe as she dropped to her knees in front of him. She tried pulling down his hands from his face. "Hey, it's okay, it's going to be okay."
Finally, she got his hands away from his face and saw his already startling blue eyes made even brighter by the tears in them. Buffy put a hand on his cheek, putting on what she hoped was reassuring smile.
"It'll be okay," she said again.
Spike had been staring as though looking through her, and Buffy felt a wave of relief when his eyes finally seemed to focus. Yet when Spike realised who the girl in front of him was, his face crumpled. He touched her cheek.
"What did I do to you?" he murmured, but he was speaking to himself not Buffy. "You poor girl, I'm sorry" Spike squeezed his eyes shut, tears spilling down his face. "I'm so sorry," he sobbed as he bowed forward, his head going down to rest on Buffy's legs. "Can you forgive me? I know I don't deserve it, but I'm sorry, please, I'm so sorry."
"Shh..." Buffy cooed, rubbing his head in her lap. "It's okay. I forgive you."
How could she not? She had told herself for weeks over and over again that Angelus wasn't Angel. That the soulless creature was not the man she had loved.
So, going by that logic, the man repenting before her now was not the same as the one that had tormented her in the past.
Spike raised his head to her, a faint sliver of hope in his eyes. "Really?"
Buffy smiled at him and nodded. "Yes, really. I forgive you."
"Thank you," he whispered, squeezing her hand. "Oh thank you." He leaned forward and embraced her.
Buffy patted him on the back, a bit awkwardly. "It's nothing, really."
Spike pulled back from her, an earnest expression on his face. "Oh, but it is, you have no idea." He shook his head, becoming overwhelmed with tears.
"Hey there, it really is okay." Buffy tried to comfort him, but felt helpless. "Is there anything I can do?"
Spike moved his head back and forth; there was nothing she could do, but then a thought occurred to him and he looked at her intently. "Perhaps there is something..."
"Of course," Buffy agreed without a thought. "What do you need?"
"Kill me," he implored desperately. "Please, kill me."
Buffy's eyes widened in horror at the request, "No!" she exclaimed, "I am not going to kill you!"
Spike nodded. "I understand. Why should you do me any favours? Don't worry about it." With that the man pulled himself to his feet, and made for the garden, toward the deadly sunlight.
Buffy was stunned for a moment by his quick action, but she soon shook herself and, unfortunately for Spike, she was able to catch up to him before any damage was done. She tackled him to the ground, and knocked him out to keep him from trying something like that again. But this was only a temporary solution and the Slayer knew that she was going to have to find a long-term one to keep the vampire from hurting himself.
She searched the mansion and found a set of chains in one of the bedrooms, Drusilla's, she deduced from the menagerie of china dolls. The chains had been by the bed and Buffy thought it best not to think about what their purpose had been.
Buffy hauled the chains back to the still unconscious Spike and shackled him to the wall.
She breathed a sigh of relief at having one problem solved. Little did she know that Spike would be the least of her worries.
Buffy was just about to sit down and to try relax and come up with a plan for dealing with the vamp when an earth shattering cry rent the air. She ran toward the sound without hesitation.
The Slayer found the woman standing by the fountain, her back towards her, but Buffy recognized the old fashion dress and jet black hair.
"Drusilla?" she called out tentatively.
The woman turned slowly around, her eyes cast down on her palms.
"They're filthy," she whispered. "So much blood. I can't get it off." She held out her hands for Buffy to see. There was indeed blood there, but not from the crimes of her past. It was her own from having scrubbed them too hard, they were red and raw.
"Oh god," Buffy said, aghast. Drusilla, too, had gotten her soul back.
"Must, must get it off!" she fretted, turning back to the fountain. "Can't be dirty, it's bad to get dirty. Mummy will be so angry, 'cleanliness is next to godliness' she always says, only wicked girls allow their hands to be soiled. Must get clean, must wash away the blood." She was scrubbing furiously, picking up a stone and using it on her hands.
Buffy ran over and grabbed Drusilla's hands.
"It's enough!" she assured. "They're clean. It's okay."
Drusilla looked up into Buffy's face.
"I know you," she said. "I killed your friend, I did." She looked back to her hands. "Her blood is here, too. Do you see it?"
Buffy closed her eyes, weary. She wondered if there was another pair of chains around here somewhere or if she would just have to tie her to Spike. God, she was tired. She couldn't deal with this right now. She just wanted to sleep.
It hadn't even been an hour since she had sent the love of her life to hell. Doesn't a girl deserve a little rest after a thing like that?
Yes, she does, Buffy decided.
She looked at Drusilla with a contrite expression.
"I'm really sorry about this," she told the vampire before punching the confused woman, knocking her out. Buffy managed to catch her body before it fell and eased her gently to the ground.
The Slayer rubbed her hands over her face and rolled her shoulders. Okay, I'll just take a little nap. With as I hard as I hit her, she should be out for at least a couple hours. I can rest for about thirty minutes no problem.
Buffy hefted Drusilla up and took her into the room Spike was chained up in; it'd be easier to keep an eye on them in the same place. She got pillows and blankets from the bedrooms and placed one pillow under each of the vampires’ heads before covering them up. Then Buffy made herself a pallet on the floor and lay down and closed her eyes. When she opened them again a few hours later, the first thing she saw was Drusilla standing over Spike, a stake raised high in her hand