Disclaimer: The work contained within is merely my playtime with the characters created by Joss Whedon and I in no way own any of them, or anything like that. Unfortunately. It sucks. But I'll just continue my plot to kidnap and clone James Marsters for myself.
Rated NC-17. Just in case.

In Medio Ignis

Figments Of My Nightmare

The hands gripping her let go as she struggled in earnest, somehow realising that it was a losing battle against the Slayer. Buffy grunted as she pushed herself up from the floor and looked around the area she'd landed in, a dirt floor room, like a tiny graveyard basement. The door she'd fallen through was gone and she scowled as she realised she'd have to find another way out.

Her temper was flaring now, and she wasn't afraid, just pissed. Normally she'd be panicking at least a little, especially at the loss of both her friends and her paramour, but mostly she just wanted to burn this house to the ground. What the hell was going on here?

She looked around for her basket of weapons, finding it gone. Huh. That was inconvenient. Guess she'd have to use her fists and rely on the stake that she had hidden away in the waistband of the costume she wore. Put enough force behind it and a stake would usually work in all cases. Even if she wasn't sure what was going on. Ghosts? Ghouls? Poltergeist? Magic?

Spike would know. Usually. He'd seen most things. Or Giles. He had all the smarts. Buffy just had the fists, even if Spike spent a good deal of time telling her she was perfectly intelligent. But she'd stick to punch first, ask questions later.

Her eyes widened as she spotted the small hole that gleamed against the darkness of everything else in the room. It appeared to be the only way out. Which was good, because she was getting antsy about the others' safety and knew the best thing to do was to find the main party room.

Goddamit, why couldn't she have one Halloween without this shit? Next year, it was bed and The Great Pumpkin, and no one, not even doe eyed best friends, was going to dissuade her from a nice, quiet Halloween.

A scream echoed through the house, and she recognised it as Willow. Panic flared in the depths of her chest, worry for her friend increasing, and before she knew it, another hand was popping out of the ground to grab at her ankle. Suddenly they were sprouting like daisies and Buffy growled in frustration, looking up as a chuckle came from the shadows.

A student emerged, clearly dead, his neck twisted grotesquely to the side. He smiled at her, his blue lips pulling back over his teeth in a mockery of expression. 'Listen to them scream. They cry. They're scared. But they'll die. Because you can't save them.'

Buffy glared at him, pulling against the hands holding her in place.

'Your greatest fear is failure. You'll let them all die, because you aren't fast enough, aren't good enough.'

'Okay, shut up?' Buffy spat. The student looked shocked, which was mildly disturbing on his dead face. 'In case you hadn't noticed, I'm the Slayer, you dork, and I'm not scared. I'm pissed.'

The dead student blinked, looking confused for a moment, like an actor that had forgotten his lines. And then he disappeared. The hands around her ankles disappeared too, and she tilted her chin down in determination. Running for the hole she'd spotted, she threw herself through it, sliding into blinding darkness, unsure of where it was leading.

Bright light assaulted her senses and she blinked, looking around and scrambling to her feet, stake drawn and prepared.

The first person she spotted was Oz, curled into a corner, his hands over his head and shaking like a leaf. He was whispering over and over to himself. 'Oz?' She asked, but before he could respond, a screeching came from behind her, and she turned to see Willow run into the room, trying to protect herself from an unknown assailant.

'Get them off me! Get them off!' The redhead was sobbing hard, and Oz immediately jumped to his feet, his own crisis forgotten in the face of his weeping girlfriend. He grabbed her arms, steadying her as she collapsed into his arms. 'C-couldn't… get them… off. F-f-fireflies. T-too many! And they flew… in my mouth...And my eyes… and I… couldn't breath and…'

'It's okay. We're okay.' Oz soothed, pulling Willow in tight and looking over to Buffy. But she wasn't paying attention. Xander had appeared from somewhere and was mumbling about them being jerks and his opinion not being wanted. Buffy glared at him, and he looked back.

'What is wrong with you?' She asked, but his answer went forgotten as her eyes slid past him.

Spike was laying on the floor, curled into himself, his entire form shaking with silent sobs. She rushed to his side, kneeling before him, and placing a hand on his shoulder.

'Spike?' She whispered. 'You okay?'

He shook her hand off and she heard his voice quietly. 'It's not real. She's gone. Left me alone. Always alone. Wasn't fast enough. Couldn't stop it. She's gone.'

'Spike, who's gone? I'm right here.' Buffy said with a frown, pulling at his arm. He pushed her away.

'No, she's dead. Saw it. Dead. Oh god, what did I do?'

'You didn't do anything. It's the house.' She said, and Willow looked over, her eyes full of worry. Oz chewed his cheek thoughtfully.

'The house separated us.' He mused.

'But we got away.' Willow clarified.

'No. It brought us here. Because we got so scared.' Well, I didn't. I just got angry. Her eyes were still trained on Spike. 'Spike, what did you see?' She gripped his shoulder and put some strength behind it, pulling him round to face her. His eyes went wide when they landed on her face and he bolted upright.

'Buffy?' He asked, reaching out to touch her face. 'You're...you're not dead?' His voice was cracked and she'd never seen him so torn up. Not a mark on him, but he seemed broken. She shook her head and suddenly found herself with an armful of ex-vampire as he threw his arms around her. 'God, I thought I'd lost you.'

'Spike...not that it isn't really sweet, but...we need to figure out what's going on here.' Buffy eased him off and he looked sheepish for a moment, which looked kinda funny on him. 'What did you see?' She asked again.

He looked down. 'You died. In front of me. Wasn't quick enough.'

'That's not going to happen.' She pulled him to his feet. 'We need to figure out why the house brought us here.'

Xander cleared his throat, gesturing to the symbol painted on the floor just beyond the two blondes. 'I saw them painting that. They were copying it out of...' He looked around and located the book. 'That book.'

Willow moved to the book, Oz close behind her and Buffy took Spike's hand, keeping him at her side. 'I think this is Gaelic.' The redhead commented.

'Can you translate?'

Suddenly the attic was filled with a loud banging and noises emanated from the walls, scratching coming from the doors. The few random party-goers huddling in the room whimpered, still locked in their own nightmares.


'Will. Give me something.'

'Okay. Um um um, the icon's called the Mark of Gachnar. I think this is a summoning spell for something called…' Willow hesitated for a moment.

'Gachnar?' Xander supplied and Willow nodded.

'Yes! Somehow the beginning of the spell was accidentally triggered. Gachnar's trying to manifest itself. To come into being.'

'How?' Buffy asked.

Willow scanned the page of the book. 'It feeds on… fear.'

'Our fears are manifesting. We're feeding it. We have to stop.' The Slayer surmised. She had no problem doing that, and Spike stiffened beside her. She knew he had perfect control at that moment, no longer letting his fear control him now he knew it wasn't real. It was like a balance came over him, like she could feel it inside. Spike was a naturally emotional creature, but his ability to ignore all that for even just a moment was astounding.

Xander wasn't so good at it. 'Well if we close our eyes and say it's all just a dream, it'll stab us to death. These things are real.'

'It's feeding on us…if we can get everyone out…' Spike suggested, and in the blink of an eye all the doors slammed shut and bolted themselves.

'Great plan! Let's go!' Spike levelled Xander with a glare, and then moved to the door, putting his strength behind him as he pulled on the locked door. The wood splintered and cracked, then gave a loud grating noise. Buffy frowned, and moved forward to warn him, just as the door flew open and revealed a tall figure with a chainsaw.

Xander screamed loudly, and very much like a girl.

Giles stepped forward, lowering his weapon and turning it off. Behind him, Anya stood, dressed as a giant bunny.

Buffy definitely wasn't scared now. In fact, it was all she could do not to burst out laughing. Spike had a smirk on his face as he took in the appearance of the watcher and former demon.

'Giles? Look, it's Giles!' Xander pointed out, then looked down at the weapon the librarian held. 'With a chainsaw.'

'Xander.' Anya breathed in relief as she ran to her boyfriend.

'Glad you could make it.' The boy smiled at her.

'The walls closed up behind us.' Giles said, looking to Buffy. He moved across the room and took the book from Willow, frowning at he studied the contents. 'Gachnar, of course. It's presence infects the reality of the house, but it hasn't achieved full manifestation. We can't allow it to come into being.'

'But if it did, we could fight…' Spike said slowly, his eyes sliding to Buffy's.

'This is Gachnar.' Giles held up the book, showing a picture of a grotesque creature with horns and bulging muscles, a scrawling Gaelic description underneath the picture. It looked massive and foreboding, and not something that Buffy was in a rush to engage in battle with. Spike shrugged. He liked a challenge. Buffy's thoughts flashed back to the Fyarl demons and she scowled, pinching his arm hard through his suit jacket. He glared at her, rubbing his arm.

'Okay, let's shut it down.' Buffy said.

'Whatever we're doing, let's do it fast?' Xander suggested, as Anya clung to him.

Giles held up a hand as he read through the book. 'I have it. The summoning spell for Gachnar can be shut down in one of two ways. Destroying the Mark of Gachnar-'

Buffy stomped over to the painted symbol on the floor and promptly smashed her fist through it, pulling up a splintered floorboard and effectively destroying the mark.

'… is not one of them and will, in fact, immediately bring forth the Fear Demon, itself.' Her watcher glared at her and Buffy's eyes widened. The floor began to shake beneath them, and an eerie light shone through the floor. A noise louder and deeper than thunder piercing their hearing, and Willow pointed at the symbol.


The fear demon came up through the shaking floor, flexing it's muscles as it finally came into existence, clawed hands reaching out, red eyes glowing fearsomely.

Buffy looked down at the four inch tall demon, a small smile pulling at the corners of her mouth. The rest of the group gathered round, looks of amusement on their faces. 'This...is Gachnar?' The Slayer asked, surprise in her tone. She can feel Spike beside her, silently shaking with mirth.

'Big overture, little show.' Xander commented.

Gachnar shook his tiny fist and roared (squeaked) up at them. 'I am the Dark Lord of nightmares, the bringer of terror. Tremble before me! Fear me!'

'He's so cute!' Willow said

Xander bent down a little. 'Who's a little fear demon? C'mon, who's a lit-tle fear demon?'

'Don't taunt the fear demon.' Giles admonished. Xander drew back, a little fearful.

'Why? Can he hurt me?'

'No, it's just… tacky. Be that as it may, Buffy, when it comes to slaying...' He trailed off and Buffy tilted her head to the side.

'Size doesn't matter?' She quipped, earning a full on snigger from Spike.

Gachnar looked up at her, one hand on his hip as he shook a finger at her. 'You're going to get everyone killed you know.'

'Yeah, yeah.' Buffy lifted her foot.

Easiest slay, ever.

'You okay?'

The question was like a knife between them, and Spike looked up from his spot on the sofa, remote control held loosely in one hand as Buffy looked over at him. She was wearing nothing but a towel, and was running a hand through her wet hair as she watched him carefully. That little tick in his jaw, the one that indicated a certain mood, wasn't present, so she didn't fear the question she posed to him, nor did she worry about the answer. She just wanted him to know she was okay and that whatever was bugging him was okay to talk about. He wasn't normally this quiet, especially not after a fight.

If you could call stomping on a cockroach sized demon a fight.

Spike clenched his jaw and nodded, turning the tv off and placing the remote on the table. 'I'm fine. Why'd you ask?' Her eyes swept over his face and the rapidly healing broken nose he'd sustained at the haunted house. A slight blackening under his eyes was still visible and she flinched a little at the reminder of when she'd found him, so distraught and broken on the floor, thinking she was dead. How would he cope? I'm not going to live forever. Slayer equals short expiration date.

'I just...the house was pretty...freaky.' She moved to sit next to him. 'You seemed pretty shaken up back there.'

'Thought you were dead. Seemed really real.' He shrugged. 'Anyone would react the same to seeing someone they love die.'

'I don't think so.' Buffy said quietly, reaching over and placing a hand on his. 'You blamed yourself.'

'Well...yeah. You've met me right? Glutton for punishment.' Spike grinned, but Buffy could see the sharp pain in his eyes. He was resorting to humour to cover it, but she knew him a little better than that now.

'No, Spike...it wasn't your fault. It's not a case of being quick enough, or smart enough...' She sighed, slipping her fingers through his. 'I'm the Slayer. I'm not gonna live forever. You know this right?'

His eyes widened. God no. Please don't...not now...don't be having a death wish Buffy...please. He shook his head slowly. 'Buffy...you're not gonna die anytime soon. Not if I can help it.'

Because if he dies, he becomes what he used to be. And another Slayer will take him down. She shook the thoughts away; hating the nagging doubt that tore at her. His humanity was tied to hers. If she died, he became a true vampire again, living forever without her. Would he go back to who he used to be? He'd come so far, it hardly seemed fair. But she wouldn't be able to help if she was dead. But then again, she could live a long time; age, get grey and wrinkly...then he wouldn't want her any more. Spike might think she was immortal because they were tied, but until she hit fifty and still looked the same, she wouldn't believe it.

'You don't know that Spike. I may be the Slayer but I'm human as well. Maybe a little less fragile than others but...'

'Buffy, please.' Spike screwed his eyes shut against her words. 'I don't want to talk about this. Death is not a favourite subject of mine okay?'

She was stunned a little at the agonising pain in his tone. Then she remembered...Spike had lost everyone he had ever dared to love. No wonder this terrified him so much. Her mouth set into a thin line as she released his hand and raised her fingers to his hair. 'You know, as much as this brown root thing looks dashing, I think I preferred the fully bleached look. What do you say we run out to the store and get something to put that punk look back firmly where it belongs?'

There was a beat of silence as Spike acknowledged the subject change. He opened his eyes and looked up, blue eyes meeting hazel as some of the pain ebbed away. 'Sounds like an idea, pet.' He said, smiling softly at her. She stood, moving to grab her coat, but his hand caught hers again as he pulled her down for a kiss. She yelped and lost her footing as his arms encircled her waist, moving her so she was laying against him flush on the sofa.

'Or we could go in a bit?' Buffy smiled, kissing him deeply, threading her fingers through his hair. He smiled wickedly, cradling her face with one hand.

'I love you.' He whispered reverently as he pulled away, his voice breathy. She pulled him back down.

Sometimes actions were louder than words.

To Be Continued...

This chapter is a little short but I wanted to end it there because next chapter will be moving onto Beer Bad. Although not the Beer Bad you know...mwahahahahaha. I shall try not to leave it too long before updating :)