Author's Note, which applies to this entire piece: All characters, quotes, plot points, references, etc. that are borrowed from source material belong to their original owners. The story as a whole is entirely my own, and just for the enjoyment of Buffyverse fans. Please excuse any author's liberties taken with source material. All of this is written for the fun and love of it.
This is dedicated to sweetprincipale, who penned the first fanfic I'd ever read and inspired me to write some of my own. If you haven't yet, go check out some of those amazing stories! (The "Uncontrollable" series is a personal favorite.)
"In the beginning, before the time of man, great beings walked the earth. Untold power emanated from all quarters — the seeds of what would come to be known as good and evil. But the shadows stretched and became darkness, and the malevolent among us grew stronger. The Earth became a demon realm. Those of us who had the will to resist left this place, but we remained ever-watchful."
Spike didn't know how long he had been there. It seemed like he was floating in nothingness. He had a vague recollection of the pain of being seared inside-out, but it was a distant memory, one that he only used as a marker for the last time he was still occupying a body. Instead, he held onto the vision of Buffy, all of her beaming with the sunlight the amulet created, and those words he'd been waiting years to hear. He didn't think it likely she actually loved him, and even if she had he wasn't going to let her leave with that kind of burden, the guilt of letting a person she loved die. Girl got enough sodding guilt from her so-called friends. Maybe telling her she didn't mean it had convinced her, let her move on once she got the hell out of Sunnydale.
Something about that idea, and the fact that she'd gotten out safely, had brought him peace. He didn't know if he was in heaven or purgatory; truthfully, he was just shocked he hadn't ended up in a nasty hell dimension. It did feel a bit like she'd described heaven—warm and all that—but he was also on loop, a constant cycle between Buffy telling him she loved him and getting "Blitzkrieg Bop" stuck in his head.
Suddenly, he was interrupted—something he wasn't expecting. A girl appeared before him, pretty, tanned, young, with short brown hair. He felt like he should know her from somewhere, but with a hundred plus years of pretty girls to remember he was having trouble placing it. The girl snapped her fingers, shooting him an aggravated expression.
"Hello? Talking here."
"Oh, God, do I have to start all over? I'm Cordelia. Hi."
Right. That'd be the one. "No offense, pet, but why're you here?"
"Why else?" She crossed her arms over her chest. "The freakin' Powers That Be wanted me to offer you a deal."
"Oh, for fuck's sake... Aren't the Powers That Bitch done messin' about with me? I've already died twice, you'd think they'd let me rest in peace at some point. Or if they're going to keep on, at least be upfront about it and send me to a proper hell dimension."
"Would you shut up? God, Angel was not kidding about the you constantly running your mouth thing." Cordelia kept talking though Spike had tried interrupting again. "So 'cause you're the Champion and everything, the Powers are willing to let you hang out in heaven as a reward. But they're pissed at Buffy."
"What?" Spike laughed. "It not enough that she came back from the dead twice to do what needs doing?"
"They're not happy that she screwed up the whole Chosen One order whatever. It's not her fault mouth-to-mouth worked after The Master, but they weren't happy Willow did her Wicked Witch of Sunnydale act and brought her back again, and then making all those girls slayers? One way or another, they want things back under control."
"Their control, you mean." Spike tensed, feeling, for the first time in a long time, like he had a body again, not that he could move it. He didn't like the direction this was heading in, not at all. The girl had been through enough, and she didn't need any more help from more people screwing things up for her. "What's the deal? That they told you about?"
"Well, you can stay here, or you can return and prevent things from getting royally crappy like they did."
"And if I stay here? What are they gonna do to her?"
"Well, it'll take more power and stuff and a lot more is gonna change, but they'll make it so she never came back in the first place, that The Master just killed her. Which, trust me, if it's anything like what Xander's demon girlfriend showed me, has seriously horrendous consequences for just about everything. Unless, I guess, Faith stops being a skank-oid long enough to fix it, but..." Cordelia shrugged.
"So if sit on my ass up here in the clouds, Buffy dies at sixteen?"
"You got it."
That would mean—he never would've met her. He and Dru probably would've still be painting the streets red, without the great poof losing his soul and getting in the way. Lil' Bit never would've been born, very least not as a Summers woman...
"Bloody hell. Fine. What, they want me to go back and convince Red to do some kind of anti-slayer reversal spell? I'm sure her annoying bint of a girlfriend'll be real keen on that..."
"No. Before that. Buffy coming back the second time is what got everything all wonky to begin with. The First Evil comes back and everything goes to hell. Well, more to hell than usual. No, you need to make sure that she doesn't die a second time... Or if she does, that Willow won't bring her back."
"Oh, no trouble there at all," Spike grumbled. He suddenly felt the weight of his duster on his shoulders, like pieces of his existence coming back to him bit by bit. "Can I at least get a better idea of what I'm walking into, exactly?"
"Well, you'll have the soul instead of the chip, and your memories, I think." Coredlia's eyes clouded over white. She lifted a hand in Spike's direction, white light shining off of it. This time, her voice came echoed, several voices speaking through one visage. "Fix it, or we will."