Chapter 14

Spike was slouched in the corner of the couch. Dawn was lying against him with her head his lap. He played with her hair and rattled off poetry to her. Buffy and Angel were off in his office discussing some form of battle strategy, Dawn was sure. They never actually just talked anymore, not like they did before he left Sunnydale. It was early evening and Dawn was bored out of her mind. They'd been locked in this hotel for a week. She wanted to go somewhere.

"Spike, can we go back to that club you took me the one night?" She asked.

"Actually that sounds like a good idea. I'm about to go bonkers sitting here. Go get dressed, Niblet." He smacked her on the ass as she got up. She shrieked playfully and ran up the stairs. After a few seconds he followed her. Dawn was getting naked there was no way he was not going to watch.

Dawn was half way dressed, and Spike half way undressed, when they heard a crash downstairs. Dawn quickly jerked her tank top over her head. Spike buttoned his pants and they rushed out of the room. Angel and Buffy were already down in the lobby. Buffy was tossing weapons to Angel. The lobby doors lay in ruin around the entrance and the lobby itself was flooded with a handful of demons. Spike leapt over the stair railing and landed in a crouch in the lobby below. He picked up a staff from somewhere and twirled it in his hands.

"Stay up there!" Buffy screamed up at Dawn. She watched from the second floor for a few minutes. They were holding their own but Dawn was the only one that saw the tall blond woman walk in. Dawn knew who she was immediately. She could feel it. Every nerve ending in her skin screamed at her to run. The fear chilled her to the bone and she couldn't move. This woman was going to kill her. She was going to drain her blood, separate her into little pieces and absorb her power and Dawn knew there was nothing she could do about it.

Dawn swallowed hard. She couldn't breathe. The woman's eyes were the same color as the whiskey Spike drank and Dawn was drowning in them. The blond woman wafted up the stairs. She floated. She didn't walk. Dawn backed up a step at a time. She closed her eyes when she felt her back against the wall. She didn't want to see her death coming.

"Stay the fuck away from my Dawn!" Spike growled as he leapt at the blond. He had come from nowhere it seemed. He tackled her and broke the spell she seemed to have over Dawn. Dawn screamed. Spike tossed her a flail. Dawn caught it. The blond sorceress batted Spike away like he was a gnat. He smacked against the stair railing. It gave a shudder and Dawn heard it crack. She didn't have time to worry. The blond was coming toward her again. Dawn whirled the flail in front of her. She hadn't studied weapons enough to know what to do with one if it wasn't a stake. After nearly hitting herself in the head, she tossed the flail to the side. She held out a hand and said "faruss". Nothing happened.

The sorceress laughed. "Little girl, poor, poor little girl. You can't fight me. I'm stronger, more powerful. Come now. I'll make it as painless as possible." The woman's voice was hypnotic.

"Don't listen to her, Niblet." Spike groaned as he pushed himself to his feet. He growled and rushed the woman again. She tossed him over the stair railing with a whispered word.

"Spike!" Dawn screamed as she watched him go over the railing. She turned back toward the blond. "You hurt my boyfriend."

The blond laughed. "He's a vampire, he can't die from a fall."

"That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, bitch." Dawn held her hand up and uttered a word. A gout of flame shot toward the sorceress. It was absorbed into a shield and the woman was completely unharmed. She smiled knowingly.

"There is nothing you can do to hurt me. You might as well come with me." The woman said.

"Sorry, Summers women aren't that easy." Buffy said as she launched a side kick at the woman. She stumbled back when the kick impacted the shield. Luckily, this sorceress' shield didn't pack the electrifying punch Dawn's did.

Angel was running up the stairs with Spike right behind him. All the demons below were dead. Buffy charged the woman again while Dawn threw flame at her. It worked. The shield could only take one attack at a time and it instinctively protected against the greatest threat, the fire. Buffy wailed on the woman. The sorceress knocked her back with one word. Buffy slumped against the wall. She shook her head but it took a few seconds for her to get to her feet.

Angel swung back with his sword, bringing it down at an angle that would decapitate the woman. The impact of the sword against the shield shook Angel all the way to his bones.

"Dawn, needing some help here!" Angel said. He ducked just in time to avoid the fire Dawn shot at the woman. It was the only thing that seemed to make her drop the shield but Dawn was getting tired fast. The powers drained on her even more then magic it seemed since the power came from within her and not from a spell.

As soon as the shield dropped Angel stepped close enough to impale the woman. She faltered but threw Angel in the same direction she'd thrown Buffy. She straightened up, shield in place, sword still sticking out of her stomach. Blood was blossoming bright on her torso. The woman looked down, surprised. She took a deep breath and removed the sword with a wince. "Well, bully for you. You hurt me, but you also gave me a weapon. Thanks." She said with a smile. She started advancing toward Dawn again. Dawn took a deep breath.

"Buffy, last one. Make it count." She said. It was supposed to be a yell, but she didn't have the strength. She closed her eyes, trying to focus, gather her power. It was new spell, she could feel it in her bones and she wasn't sure what it would do but she knew it was her most powerful one and she knew it would take everything she had left. She snapped her eyes open. The woman was only a few feet from her. Dawn held her hand up and screamed at the top of her lungs "Elecron!" Blue lightening shot from her fingertips and hit the woman's shield. It traveled along it and there was a pop and a bright flash. Buffy was ready. The axe she'd thrown when Dawn's spell started flew through the air, its target straight and true. Dawn dropped to the ground. The axe blade sliced through the woman's neck and stuck in the wall behind Dawn.

The sorceress' head balanced on her neck for a few seconds before toppling to the ground. The body followed it in quick order. The last thing Dawn saw before everything went black was a pool of blood creeping toward her. Her last thought was to get away and then the world caved in.


Dawn woke up hours later dressed in cozy baby blue pajamas. Spike was half asleep next to her but he bolted into wakefulness as soon as she stirred. She smiled at him. She felt like as weak as a kitten.

"You're okay," She said.

Spike smiled and leaned forward. He took her hand in his and kissed it. "Nothing that won't heal." He whispered.

"Everyone else?"

"Right as rain. How are you feeling?" He asked.

"Tired, weak." She said with a slight smile.

Spike nodded. "Pretty powerful bit of something you did, Niblet. Might wipe you out for awhile."

"Don't wanna sleep anymore though. Is everyone awake?" She asked.

Spike nodded. "Yeah, Buffy was talking about ordering Chinese earlier. You hungry?"

"Yeah, I wanna go downstairs and eat and see with my own eyes that everyone is okay." Dawn said. She sat up and started to stand. Spike swept her up in his arms and smiled at her with that cocky little grin she loved so much.

"You scared me you know. That bit where you gave up at the first. I thought I was going to lose you and it was the scariest thing I've ever faced. Don't do that to me again, Niblet. I can't take." Spike said.

"I love you," She said.

Downstairs Buffy and Angel were actually laughing. They weren't talking shop or demons or fighting strategies. They were having what looked like a tickle war. Dawn giggled. It was nice to see her sister like that.

Buffy was still laughing when Dawn and Spike reached the foot of the stairs. She smiled at Dawn. "Feeling better?"

"Still weak as a baby but better, and hungry. Chinese with little baby corn?" Dawn asked.

"Okay, I'll call. Pick what you want." Buffy said.

Dawn sat in the corner of the couch. Spike sat on the floor at her feet, entertaining them with chopsticks and funny stories. Buffy sat beside her and Angel was snuggled up with Buffy. He even pitched in and added to Spike's stories from time to time. Dawn paused in her eating and just took stock of the scene around her. They were all laughing and joking and acting like a real family. She thought she'd lost this when Mom died. It never occurred to her that she would find it again with Spike. Maybe the first fourteen years of her life had been made by a bunch monks in a monastery. She realized now it didn't matter. Her life was real now. Her sister couldn't be more of sister if she'd known her from day one. She couldn't love Spike anymore if she'd never been a key. The memories she was making now were real.

Spike stood up and fumbled a packet of cigarettes out of his pocket. "Be right back going to smoke."

Dawn grabbed his hand and tugged him down for a kiss. "That's a nasty addiction." She said.

Spike grinned wickedly at her. "Yeah, but you're my sweetest addiction."