Author: Faded Nights PM
When a magical amulet whisks her off to another dimension, Buffy doesn't expect she'll meet an avatar of the Powers that Be-and she certainly can't see any reason why he should look like Angel and insist on putting her through so many tests. B/ARated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Buffy S. & Angel - Chapters: 43 - Words: 96,252 - Reviews: 157 - Favs: 31 - Follows: 59 - Updated: 05-15-13 - Published: 08-04-11 - id: 7251564
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Maybe she shouldn't have said anything. She definitely shouldn't have dumped the info on him the way she had. And really, she'd been a vampire with a soul in some Nightmare universe thing. There was no reason for a prophecy from the real world to have anything to do with that, right?
Right. And she would tell Spike that once he stopped laughing and got up off the floor. It didn't look like it was going to happen any time soon.
Shaking her head, Buffy slipped into her room and changed out of the hospital gown, feeling a lot more comfortable once she was fully dressed. How impervious was this immortality thing going to make her? So far, it'd just made her feel more vulnerable.
"Are you done?" she asked, unimpressed, when she re-emerged and found him righting himself.
A snicker. "Can't picture you as a vamp, love." He paused, apparently trying for a moment, and then shook his head. "Well, I can, but it's scary."
"Hey! I had a soul."
"And how did that work out for you?" he asked, looking amused. Nice to know he was taking this seriously.
"We do not have time for this," she said.
Spike sobered more quickly than she'd thought possible, considering. "Maybe it's better if that prophecy isn't a thing anymore," he said.
"Assuming it's not, how so?" she asked, crossing to the window to resume her study of the city. L.A. Weird how it didn't feel much like home. Who would've thought she'd miss Sunnydale?
"Only reason either of us would want to be human is for you, pet."
The words were soft enough that she wondered, for a moment, if she was even meant to have heard them. She took in a deep breath, pressing her lips together and squeezing her eyes shut to try and control the prickling at the edges. Right. Vampires, immortal. -Ish. Buffy, immortal. Maybe without the –ish.
"Neither of us really knows what Angel wants."
"I saw you two holding hands in that cave," he said dryly. "What he wants is pretty apparent to everyone but you, I'd say."
She frowned at him, crossing her arms and trying to look unimpressed, even with her mind stuck back on her and Angel kissing. "He's got someone," she reminded him. Or maybe she needed to hear herself say it as a reminder. Not that that should be the reminder she needed for why they couldn't be together.
She had learned that lesson, right?
"Uh huh," Spike said, sounding unconvinced. "You had a vision about Angelus, not even an hour ago, remember? And he's already sleeping with Nina, so whatever brings him about is probably not her."
Buffy's brow scrunched at the unexpected revelation. "Oh."
'Oh? Nice involuntary response there,' she scolded herself. Of course Angel and his girlfriend were—
"Oh, my god," she said quietly.
"Someone's just realised she's jealous."
"I'm not," she shot back, way too quickly. She was. She was jealous. Damn.
Spike was grinning at her. "You are."
The tiny, little ant-people on the sidewalk outside were fascinating. Very, very fascinating. So much more fascinating than this conversation, which had gone from something she didn't want to think too hard about to something she wanted to think about even less. Emotions. Emotions were way too messy.
Spike touched her shoulder. "Hey," he said. Again, sober and sombre. Nice that he had so much control when hers had apparently been lost somewhere. Maybe it had stayed under Sunnydale. "I'm here for you, okay? With you. I'm not going anywhere."
She stared at her toes, feeling her heart speeding up, not able to muster a response to the sentiment. She knew he meant it, and that somehow made it even harder to take.
Forever. Forever was a long time.
She closed her eyes again, a tear—quickly wiped away—squeezing its way out. She took a deep breath.
"I don't want to do this forever, Spike," she whispered, willing her bottom lip to stop shaking so she sounded a little less pitiful. "I can't do this forever." Her eyes stung, and the wobble in her voice was still there, and she knew that if she started crying now, she wasn't going to stop.
"Let's just take it one day at a time, okay?" Spike said, his hand tightening on her shoulder. She nodded, but immediately started shaking her head.
"I can't. I can't," she mumbled, eyes squeezed shut. A sob escaped her throat, and she clamped a hand over her mouth, biting down on a finger and inhaling sharply through her nose. Calm down. Calm down.
The pressure of Spike's hand left her shoulder and Buffy opened her eyes. She met, then quickly averted her gaze from, his look of concern. Stress. Just stress. She would get over it.
"Not the end of the world, right?" she asked, dropping her hand. "I mean, hey, I've got 'til the end of the world to get used to it." Her hands clenched into fists. This was hardly the worst thing that had ever happened to her. It was just fresh, because it was recent. Hard to deal with, because she should have known something else was going on. Especially after Fake Angel told her that her memories of the Powers' dimension were lacking.
Spike didn't reply, just continued watching her with a worried look in his eye, and a compassionate set to his features. He seemed a lot taller than usual, too, but maybe that was just because she felt like she wanted to crawl into a hole until she'd really had time to think.
"What if there was—"
"Don't, pet," he interrupted, shaking his head. "I know what you're going to say, and don't. The Powers are too full of themselves to bother worrying about whether or not you like what they did. You never had a say, and you couldn't have done anything differently. It's not your fault, okay?"
There had to have been something, if she could just figure it out. If she could figure it out, maybe she could reverse what they'd done. And, sure, the avatar had said they couldn't undo it, but why should she take his lies at face value?
"Okay?" Spike prodded.
She nodded, lips pressed together.
"Say it," he said. "'Cause your eyes are telling me you don't believe it."
"Okay," she mumbled, swiping at one watery eye. She took a long breath in, exhaling with a teary-eyed smile. "Thanks, Spike," she said, and hugged him. He held her until she forced her arms to stop clutching at his shoulders and moved away.
"It's not that bad, you know."
She raised her eyebrows at him. "What?"
"Immortality. Has its upsides. The rapid healing. The not aging."
"I already have the first one, and they never said anything about not aging," she pointed out, heading for her room. She hadn't really been crying, but the desire to wash the tear residue off her cheeks was there anyway. She needed to be fresh faced to stare down all of the evil people in the building.
Spike, who'd started following her, stopped. His expression froze, comically, as though someone had hit a switch to shut him down. When he'd recovered, he said, "They want you to fight for them, pet. Aging'd seriously get in the way of that."
"Maybe the minions of hell will die laughing seeing two-hundred year old, myopic me rolling toward them in my super-futuristic wheelchair. Ooh! Maybe it will fly!"
"That's not going to happen."
"I'm just saying, we don't have any details, and we—I—need to be ready for anything." A glance in the bathroom mirror showed pink eyes and a desperate need to touch up her mascara, but otherwise she didn't look too much like she'd almost had a breakdown.
"You still have your reflection, and you can still go out in the sun. I think you're winning."
"Side effects yet to be determined, I bet," Buffy replied. "More clinical trials needed." She turned on the tap, looking at Spike while she waited for the water temperature to adjust, one finger held under the flow. He stood leaning against the doorframe, attention apparently elsewhere. "What?"
"Elevator," he said. "Angel's—"
"Buffy, we need to talk!" Angel shouted. He sounded irritated—a lot more than he had been when he'd left the penthouse.
She shared an amused look with Spike. Apparently the meeting had been about more than profit margins.