Title: Bleedin’ Hearts and Flowers . (1/?)
Pairing: D/C and assorted others later on.
Timeline: End of ‘The Gift’ onwards.
Rating: R for violence, character deaths and (sigh) Spike’s mouth.
Synopsis: Buffy dies and so do the rest of the Scoobs and most of the LA crew in the showdown with Glory. Spike and Dawn are the only ones left. Inspired by a challenge I picked up last year and then promptly lost the site and never found again so if this sounds familiar then can you let me know where you read the challenge so I can send it to them? Thanks.
A/N: This is my first ever fanfic. I wrote it and never posted it anywhere. Recently picked it up again and found a way to incorporate Connor (and you guys know how much I like to do that!). So, I have five chaps completed, but this was written before I had daily access to a pc so the last three eps are still in longhand on bits of paper. It may take a while to transfer them to the screen but I will get there. For the purposes of this fic, there is no Fred. The guys never went to Pylea.
Spike took his eyes from the road ahead to glance briefly in the rearview mirror at Dawn huddled on the back seat beneath his black duster. His eyes narrowed as he focused on the girl's body searching for the rise and fall of her breathing. For a brief second he panicked and turned the wheel to swing the car to the side of the road, then she gave a gentle sigh and he send a brief thank you to whatever misguided deity was watching over them. He was in a constant state of apprehension that whilst he concentrated on putting as many miles between them and Sunnydale as possible, the girl would give up and slip away to join the Slayer and her followers on the other side. He switched his gaze back to the highway and gripped the wheel as a fresh wave of pain broke over him at the thought of the events of the previous night.
They had all known as they had prepared for to rescue Dawn from Glory's clutches that they were, in all likelihood, going to their deaths. Buffy had thrown everything she had at the hell god and still it hadn't been enough. The Scoobs sat in the magic shop waiting for the Slayer to give the word to march into battle, they had all turned as the shop door had swung open and Angel, Cordelia and Wesley had strode in. A stunned silence had spread as they walked forward to stand before Buffy and Giles, typically Cordelia hade been the first to break the charged silence. "Jeez Buffy, Custer's last stand much?”
Buffy frowned and turned to Giles, he looked puzzled and said, ” I assure you this has nothing to do with me. I've had no contact with Angel in months."
Buffy looked quizzically back to Angel and raised her eyebrows; he stared back at the pale, drawn face he loved so well. "Cordy. She knew."
Buffy looked back at her former friend, "Cordelia? How?”
The tall brunette gave the smaller girl a self-mocking smile, "Vision girl remember? I saw you." She glanced around her. "All of you. I know what you're going up against, you need us with you if you stand any chance of getting Dawn out of there alive." Her eyes slid away for a moment and then she stared resolutely back at Buffy, her face hard, " I saw it all and like it or not we are this town's only hope."
The Slayer watched the emotions play across Cordy's face and suddenly the girl that Cordelia had been in high school was gone forever in Buffy's eyes and the other girl's true nature shone out for the first time. No longer vain and shallow, but brave and true a fellow warrior on the side of light. She stepped forward and the girls shared a tight embrace, Buffy turned away and walked into Angel's arms. For a brief blissful moment she allowed herself to lean into his strength and then she looked up and smiled, "I'm so glad you came."
His arms tightened briefly and then fell away as she turned to welcome Wesley. The ex-watcher and Slayer regarded each other warily for a moment and Buffy saw that the Englishman had changed as much as Cordelia. He seemed to have snapped into focus somehow and now stood before her finally fulfilling the promise of the man she had always suspected had been beneath his surface. His face, like Cordy's, looked older and more knowing and he held his body confidently, secure in his role as defender of right at Angel's side. "Good to see you Wes."
He flashed a brief smile and held out his hand in invitation, "You too Buffy." She looked at his outstretched hand for a moment and then walked past it to embrace him as she had the others.
They spent their last few minutes filling in the L.A. crew on Glory and Dawn's identity and renewing the ties that had loosened during the last two years. All too soon it was time to leave and they grimly picked up their weapons and watched as Willow approached the damaged Tara and gently coaxed her into leading them to Glory. Spike blinked furiously to clear his vision as tears welled up again, he had spent the best part of two centuries causing death and destruction wherever he had gone but even he had never seen anything like the horror that was unleashed upon Buffy and her friends that night.
Willow, sweet brave Willow, had been the first to die. As she had tried to work her spell to weaken Glory and restore Tara's mind the god had thrown her onto the scaffolding tower, which had been erected for the ritual. As she had crashed into the tower a protruding beam had impaled her, pushing through her spine, ribs and lungs. She had been dead before her last scream died away. Numb with shock the gang could only watch as Glory backhanded Tara tearing her head from her body as easily as she would tear as piece of paper into two. The head had rolled to a stop at Anya's feet; her eyes staring mindlessly up a look of bewildered incomprehension forever frozen on her face. Finally they moved, leaping into battle screaming their horror, tears of pain and grief threatening to blind them.
Spike had led Anya and Wesley in an assault on the tower roaring mindlessly as he cut down demon after demon. He remembered catching a brief glimpse of Angel and Xander fighting back to back, working seamlessly together as though they had been allies all their lives. The sounds of Buffy and Glory's battle rang out as they sought to eradicate each other once and for all, and all around were the screams of the dying suffering horrible agonies in their last moments on earth.
Cordelia and Giles were next to fall. They were overwhelmed by hordes of Glory's minions and had gone down beneath the silver flash of axes and swords fighting to protect each other until the end. Angel witnessed their deaths and he howled in pain and grief as Cordelia died. Xander turned his head to see the cause of Angel's horror and a crossbow bolt buried itself beneath his ear. He pitched forward onto his face and lay there shuddering as the last of his life drained away; it was then that Angel released Angelus. His face morphed as the demon was released and he leapt forward killing remorselessly anything that crossed his path he tore into Giles and Cordelia's killers from behind and soon all that was left was a heap of grotesquely mutilated bodies. He sank down beside Cordelia for a moment and gathered her into his arms, her face had been nearly bisected, and her chest ripped brutally open revealing her internal organs. Angel kissed her ruined face lightly and then laid her gently down next to Giles. The watcher's body had been cut in two and his eyes stared upwards with an expression of absolute horror.
With a last look at his friends Angel turned away and sprinted for the tower where he could hear Spike’s furious shouts, as he drew level with them Anya turned. Her eyes widened as she saw he was alone and she frantically began to search the surrounding area for Xander, when she saw his body she released a scream that was agonizing in its pain and intensity. She froze in place until Angel seized her and flung her bodily the steps to where Wesley and the blonde vampire were at last beginning to have an effect on the demons between them and Dawn. Brown robed figures were arrayed on the sides of the scaffolding looking like nightmarish Christmas decorations as their internal organs and various fluids hung or dripped down. They began to be aware of Dawn's screams from high above and the young girl's frenzied cries finally pierced Anya's shock and she moved forward with the men, screaming Xander's name like battle cry.
They lost Wesley as they neared the top, a demon came from nowhere as they prepared for the final assault to reach Dawn and tackled him, flinging them both from the tower to crash to the ground some seventy feet below. Anya copied the demon's actions a few seconds later in a brave attempt to save Dawn from the small figure standing in front of her drawing a knife across her stomach. The young woman threw herself past Angel and Spike as they dispatched the last of Glory's followers and running headlong along the narrow walkway had crashed into the elderly man from behind carrying them both down to where Wes and his killer lay broken below.
Angel and Spike moved forward together and swiftly untied the stricken girl catching her in their arms and moving her away from the sacrificial platform. Their eyes met in horror as a bright flash from below announced the opening of the portal and they realized there was only one way to close it. Blood. Spike tightened his hold on Dawn and hissed, "I won't let you take her Angelus. You'll have to kill me first.”
Angel wordlessly shook his head and stared down at the girl sobbing into his chest. Although Buffy had explained her true nature and the magic the monks had worked to place her in the Slayers protection he still had trouble believing it. It was real to him. He carried memories within of the past five years that couldn't be anything but real they were so clear. He mindlessly stroked her long brown hair that she used to make him brush by the hour in the days when he was first accepted by Buffy's family and friends after his return from Hell. In some ways she had taken the place of his own sister, Kathy, killed over two centuries ago by his own hand. He shook his head again; he couldn't send another loved one to their death no matter what the consequences. He looked back at Spike, "She’s safe. She stays with us."
Spike met his level gaze and after a brief pause nodded. "Okay. We have to bleedin' move." They fought for balance as the tower shook beneath them, "Now!”
They turned to the opening behind them and then Buffy was there sobbing as she gathered her sister into her arms. She had finally beaten Glory down and the hell-god had sunk back into her host body gambling that Buffy could not bring herself to kill the helpless, severely wounded Ben. She was right, Buffy stepped back and stared down at the critically injured man, before she could speak a lone Knight of Byzantium had sprang forward from the shadows and pierced Ben's heart, ramming the sword home until the steel could be heard to scrape on the ground beneath. She watched as the Knight pulled his sword free with some effort and swung to severe the head from the dead body, the warrior finally looked up and Buffy saw tears of emotion stream down his face, " The Beast is dead." She nodded and he continued, "I am the last of my brotherhood on this continent. I will leave the Key to your protection and go to my brothers overseas. If you need us your Council will know how to contact us."
Buffy stepped forward until she was staring directly into his eyes, " I never needed you before and I won't need you again. Your order is the reason my sister was taken and the reason at least two of my friends died here tonight. Now you have the nerve to tell me that after all you have done to find my sister and kill her you will let me keep her whilst you run back to your stupid Knights of the Round Table and wait for your next crusade?"
She slammed a hand into his chest and he flew backwards into the air crashing to the floor some twenty feet away, she stalked after him and jerked him furiously to his feet,
"You will leave and you won't ever come back. You will tell whoever runs your twisted operation that if any of you ever come near me or any of my people again I will cut you down until you are no more. I don't care whether there's a hundred, a thousand or a hundred thousand of you; you will all die."
Her head jerked up as the sound of the portal being ripped open exploded above her with a cry she thrust the man away and ran for the tower. As she ran the she saw the bodies of her friends all around her; Xander, Cordy, Wes, Anya and her grief rose in her, almost crippling in it's force. She threw herself at the tower and her relief as she saw Dawn alive finally released her emotions and the tears came slowly at first and then gut-wrenchingly unstoppable. She finally released Dawn and pushed her into Spike's arms; smoothing her sister's hair away from her face she smiled through her tears, "Dawnie I have to go." She placed a finger on her sister's lips to silence her protest " I have to. I can't let you die if there is any way I can save you."
She leaned forward and brushed her lips lightly over Dawn's cheek. Buffy switched her gaze to Angel's and all the love she felt for him blazed from her searing his soul with its heat, she smiled and then drew back her arm and hit him with everything she had. Spike gasped as Angel fell and Buffy said, "He would never have let me go, if you love me you have to."
He met her grim gaze and felt his dead heart break; he stared back at her and lifted his hand to trail one cold finger down her face. "Go Slayer"
Buffy closed her eyes briefly and turned her head to press a light kiss into the vampire's palm, " Take care of her Spike, no matter what; don't let anyone hurt her".
With a last look at Dawn she turned and sprinted to the end of the platform diving gracefully into the blinding white light of the portal. Spike held Dawn to him as her sister, and his love, disappeared from sight and then flinched as Angel reared to his feet. He looked wildly around him and then realized what Buffy had done. "Spike she's yours now, you have to be her family." Before the younger vampire could stop him he ran after Buffy and threw himself over the edge desperate to end the pain of Buffy's sacrifice, Spike laid Dawn down and ran after Angel staring disbelievingly after his grandsire.
Angel fell through the portal reaching Buffy who was held in the center, he flung his arms wide and held onto her writhing body as the life was seared out of it, the heat of the dimensional doorway overcame him and his body was engulfed in prenatural fire as Buffy with her last ounce of life breathed his name. The portal vanished and they plunged to earth engulfed in an inferno, together at last in death. As their bodies hit the floor Angel's form exploded in a cloud of ash, Buffy's burnt fiercely for another few seconds and then she too collapsed into cinders.
Spike drew his hand tiredly over his face and swallowed yet more tears as he saw Buffy's lovely face in his mind's eye once more. He had carried Dawn down and had walked slowly through the carnage below unwilling to believe he and Dawn were the only survivors. Finally he left, still carrying the silent girl, and ignoring the sirens that were screaming all over town had reached Revello Drive as the first rays of morning sunlight streaked across the sky.
No matter what he tried he failed to reach Dawn and finally he had stripped her as impersonally as a doctor and bathed and treated her abused body. When he finished he dressed her in the warmest pajamas he could find and laid her down in her room, he left her staring at the ceiling and walked downstairs to think. His first move had to be to get Dawn out of town, the bodies of the Scoobs were sure to be discovered if they hadn't been already and once they had been identified their association to Buffy would become known and there would be people wanting answers. There was also the question of any survivors of Glory's followers, if there were in fact any. With the destruction of their god who knew what revenge they might try to take if they learned that Dawn had survived. No, they had no choice but to leave as soon as night fell.
Spike spent the whole of that day packing everything that he thought Dawn could need refusing to dwell on the deaths of Buffy and her friends, he even steeled himself to enter Buffy's room and managed to find the silver cross Angel had given her, fortunately in it's box, the stake given to her by the slayer Kendra which had been christened 'Mr. Pointy' as keepsakes. As he left he caught sight of the many photos scattered over the mirror and pin board of the Slayer and her friends and had removed them quickly shoving them into his pockets and as an afterthought tucking Buffy's stupid stuffed pig under his arm.
Next was Joyce's room, from there he took a stack of photo albums and large framed picture of the three summers women grouped together at the beach. He also conducted a frenzied search for Joyce's address book, which he found neatly put away with other personal papers in a box at the back of the wardrobe. He took the whole box and stacked it by the front door with the steadily growing pile of possessions ready to be moved to the car as soon as night fell. Dawn had a father somewhere and he needed to be told what had happened. Spike reasoned that even if he hadn't come to his daughters when their mother had died surely he would come when he knew his youngest child was now completely alone in the world.
As soon as the last light of the sun had faded from the sky Spike moved. He had decided to take Joyce's old car instead of his own, as it was much larger and he needed all the room he could get. He drove it right up onto the lawn and as quickly as he could had crammed the boxes and bags he had packed during the day into every available space and then had hastily laid Dawn on the back seat blankets and all with his coat over the top as an extra layer of warmth. He took a last look at the house and then climbed into the driver's seat and drove away without looking back. On his way out of town he had stopped at both the magic shop and Giles' apartment taking whatever books and papers he could find that made any reference at all to Dawn or the Key, satisfied he had done everything possible to cover his tracks he put his foot down and drove as fast as he could out of town.
The lights of Los Angeles rose before him on the horizon and he felt some of the tension of the past day ebb. They were nearly there, soon he would have the time to regroup and consider his options. Their options. After all, and against all probability, he was a family man now.