A Tale of Sacrifice

by Sandy S.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Through Chosen.

Summary: As I've just discovered the Sandlot, I visited Tiramasu's Mr. Gordo site and read some of the wonderful stories there. As a result, I decided I wanted to write a ficlet about what happened to Mr. Gordo at the end of BtVS. I didn't want him to get swallowed by the Hellmouth. L *sniff* Mr. Gordo POV. Deepest apologies if this story concept has already been written.

Dedication: This story is especially for Asia, who kindly beta-read for me! Thanks, dear, for helping me work out the kinks! :o) You're amazing!

* * *

~ the day before the big battle ~

The vampire called Spike entered Buffy's room, and I peered down at him from the top shelf of my domain.

As the only pig there, I was the ruler of this kingdom, no matter what anyone said. It was Buffy's private, safe realm, and no one ever dare violate it or else. . . well, I couldn't really do much but have good intentions, being a stuffed pig and all.

I knew Spike was a vampire because of the way Buffy talked to me about him each night when she held me tight.

I'd heard a variety of different things about the vampire. Over the years, Buffy had often cursed his name or cried over things that he had done to make her care.

No doubt about it, she had strong feelings for him.

Anyway, he rushed into Buffy's bedroom with an urgent look on his face that said he was searching for her.

She wasn't there.

I could have told him that if he ever bothered to notice me.

Of course, he hadn't really been in Buffy's room but once or twice when he was stealing her unmentionables or her pictures. And then, he'd been kind of rushed and in a flurry, eyes darting about like Dawn's when she used to make off with Buffy's diary.

Again, I got off the subject. Sorry. I'll try to stay focused. Things just happened so fast over the last few days that I'm having trouble remembering them in an organized way. After all, I am just a pig.

Are you still listening?

Good.

Anyway, Spike spied the unzipped bag on Buffy's bed. Some of her clothes poked out the top. He smiled softly at her jumbled packing and examined the contents without the craftiness of the past.

Instead, he merely straightened her bag so that everything fit properly and so there was more room inside. In that moment, he elevated five or six troughs in my esteem.

After he finished, he glanced around the room, taking in all of Buffy's belongings. With a smirk, he took in her faded posters, her childhood dresser with all its trinket boxes and half-bent photos jammed in various crevices, her open closet door with all her clothing askew, and her shelves littered with awards and souvenirs.

"Ah, Buffy," he breathed to himself with his hands on the edge of his jeans pockets. "I do love you."

His eyes passed over me for an instant, and before my little pig mind could fathom it, he fastened his attention on me.

"What have we here?" He plucked me off the shelf, and with my sensitive pig nose, I smelled the faintest traces of smoke and nicotine on him. "Come here, pig."

As he gazed at me with a serious expression, somehow I knew my little pink ears were about to be filled with something very important.

Plunking down on the bed with me in his lap, Spike studied my worn fur. I felt slightly embarrassed about my appearance until he addressed me, "She loves you a lot, I bet."

I was so shocked because he was speaking directly to me that I couldn't even let out a squeak in reply.

"Well, pig, you have to promise me one thing," he said solemnly.

He paused for a moment as if waiting for an answer from me, but as I said, I was too surprised to react with anything but dumbfounded silence.

So, he continued, "I have a mighty bad feeling about what's to come in the next day or so. And if things get really bad and somehow Buffy loses some people she's right fond of, you better take good care of her for me."

When he finished his brief speech, I swore I saw his eyes getting misty, but before I could be certain, he patted me on the head and stuffed me deep into Buffy's travel bag. The last thing I heard was the sound of his footsteps descending the stairs.

* * *

~ on the road ~

Wedged between Buffy's nightgown and makeup kit, I stayed buried in the bag for a long time. Voices came and went. The bag was moved a couple of times by humans and then by moving vehicle. However, no one had released me.

Just when I was wondering if I was forgotten, Buffy unzipped the bag.

In a way, after what Spike had said to me, I had been expecting her.

But she wasn't rummaging through her belongings for me. She was hunting something else. . . her makeup.

The sorrow in her voice was evident despite her attempts to hide it, and the sound tugged at my heart. She was addressing her sister, "Dawn, I must look like. . ."

"Like someone punched you in the face and gave you two black eyes?" Dawn's voice poured over me. I liked Dawn ever since she took me to the sandbox when she was five and built me my own castle.

"Yeah," Buffy whispered, setting the bag beside her on the seat.

"Don't worry; we all look a little crappy. I think it's the sand from the desert blowing through our hair as we glamorously make the drive to L.A. in a big yellow school bus." She paused and then more seriously added, "That, and the whole apocalyptic battle with the ultimate evil that made us lose two of our best friends, all of our belongings, and our only home."

I realized the sound I was hearing was from the thrum of giant tires against the tar on the highway, and the whoosh of the wind was from the bus windows that had been jammed down for cooling. (I'd been on school buses when Buffy brought me to elementary school with her.)

Buffy was uncharacteristically quiet following Dawn's pronouncement.

Several minutes later, Buffy's hand appeared in the bag again, and I prayed to be released from the suffocation. My prayers were answered when her hand brushed over my tatty plush.

Sniffling, she pulled me out. I noticed two things right away: that Dawn had fallen asleep on her shoulder and that Buffy had been crying.

A look of confusion was painted across Buffy's face. "I didn't put you in here, Mr. Gordo." She presented me with a watery smile and hugged me close, so tight I wouldn't have been able to breathe if I were alive.

Just as quickly as she had pulled me to her, she held me back, examining me with curiosity. This time when she brought me close, she held me to her face and pressed her nose against my plush. She did something she had never done before when nuzzling me.

She inhaled deeply.

Then, she giggled lightly. "Spike, you're still looking out for me," she murmured, pulling me firmly against her once more.

The next thing I knew, I felt the shockwaves of the sobs that wracked her body as she strove to contain them.

Even though the others on the bus didn't perceive her display of profound sadness, Dawn did, slowly waking as her sister's shaking body disturbed her dreams.

"Buffy? What's wrong?" Dawn smoothed her sister's hair off her shoulders. "I-I mean, I know what's wrong. Do you want to talk about it?"

Buffy took a moment to control her emotions before she brought me to her lap as Spike had the previous day. I saw her slip her hand into Dawn's and squeeze gently.

She cleared her throat as if she was trying to force herself to face the truth.

Buffy often confessed her deepest thoughts and feelings to me. Therefore, I knew experience that for Buffy to say something out loud made it more real to her. Sometimes the truth scared her.

"Dawn," she began finally, "Spike died saving the world."

My ears pricked forward. Spike *died*. . . while saving the world? I thought about that for a moment and decided that I wasn't stunned. . .not after my last conversation with him.

"I know that, Buffy," Dawn returned, but she wasn't patronizing, just sad in her resignation.

"And I told him something before. . . before he. . ." She couldn't finish the sentence.

Dawn targeted the most important thing, "What did you tell him?"

Buffy's face was awash with fresh tears. Some of them fell warm against my fur. When the tears dissipated a bit, she managed, "I told him that I loved him."

Dawn's face remained neutral. "Did you?"

The intonation of her question didn't make sense to me. Was Dawn asking Buffy if she actually did tell Spike she loved him or was she asking if Buffy actually loved him? I strained my ears to get the response.

"I did."

That didn't answer my question at all, and my little pig temper was bungling my ability to concentrate. Pigs don't handle their own emotional upheaval very well.

Dawn waited for more. So did I.

Buffy broke down again, tears raining down her streaked cheeks like rushing rivers. Dawn pulled her sister's head to her shoulder and rocked her back and forth.

Still shaking and crying, Buffy found words again, "And I did. . .do love him. . . even though I didn't realize it until the last minute. I always seem to figure out my feelings way too late. And you know what?"

"What?" Dawn asked the question at the same time as I thought it.

"He didn't believe me. He told me that what I said wasn't true and sent me away. Told me to leave. He died not believing how I feel about him."

Wow. No wonder she was distraught. I could barely comprehend the weight of such a conversation even though I knew from experience that Buffy's a complex girl. After all, I am her pig.

Dawn struggled to form a response, but then, she found the right words, "Buffy, how much did. . . does Spike love you?"

"With his whole being. H-he told me that he'd never been certain of anything except me," Buffy said without wavering.

"Yeah. How well does he know you?"

I wished I could frown. I would have. I couldn't fathom where Dawn was going with her questions.

"V-very well." Buffy's body was still. Her brain was working as hard as mine.

However, Dawn was confident. "Then, he also knows that you would do anything for the people you love. You would sacrifice your life trying to save them. You did it before. . . to save me from having to throw myself into that portal. If he had accepted your words as true, what would you have done?"

Buffy lifted her head from Dawn's shoulder and stared her sister in the eye. Then, her face crumpled as she realized the truth. "Oh my g. . ."

If I had eaten any slop, I would have thrown it all up on Buffy's lap. Some pig I was with my emotions getting the best of me.

Dawn resumed consoling her older sister. "You would have stayed, right? You would have died with him, trying to save him, too."

Buffy's tears came with anger, and she said a few words that I couldn't repeat in polite company. "Why did he have to know me so well?"

"He just did, Buffy. He loved you enough to tell you what you needed to hear to get you out of there and keep you alive," Dawn soothed. "And he didn't want me to lose you either. He told me so."

"He did?"

"Yep," Dawn confirmed, " He told me on the way to the school. He said that he would do everything he could possibly do to make sure I didn't lose my big sis again." Then, it was her turn to lose control.

"And you're not going to lose me. Spike made sure of it," Buffy reassured her younger sibling.

I watched as Buffy drew from her inner strength and held Dawn, squashing me in between them. I didn't mind. That's what I was there for.

* * *

~ the present ~

So you see, that's what happened to Spike. He died sacrificing himself for her. . . he gave her the world. The details of exactly what he did aren't of importance. There's no need for you to ask her any more questions.

I'm her pig, her emotional protector, and I say she's been through enough. I know you wanted her to write down everything that happened, but I think that you have enough information from what I've gathered through my keen observations.

A loud snore filled my little pink ears, and I looked up from the bed where I perched by Buffy's unmoving head. She didn't snore, but the big man, Mr. Giles, did. He'd fallen asleep with his head on the small table next to Buffy's bed while I told my tale.

I sighed. Now I'd have to tell him all over again when he woke up. Spike would want me to do just that.

The end.