Chapter Ten - Down into Darkness
Some mistakes are hard to reverse, and that was what had happened for Spike. The blonde was furious, tired and frightened all at the same time. Things had been so good for a while - 'friendships' with old 'enemies', someone who really loved him and a chance to atone. His arrival had changed so many thing - Darla and Drusilla were dust; Jesse was alive; Willow was learning to control her magics early; Xander dating Buffy, thus making Angel jealous; Giles was mellower; and sweet Joyce Summers was coping with the fact that her daughter was a slayer.
Because of him, things in this world was better…
But who was to say there wasn't going to be that dreaded a butterfly effect that would make things much worse? Whistler had said that the walls of reality were weakening because of him and things had to be changed. There was only one problem: what was he supposed to do about it?
Sighing, the young vampire turned slayer sat down upon the closest tombstone. Out of Sunnydale's sixteen cemeteries, this one was quietest, lacking in everything from the sound of the wind to the supernatural baddies that go bump in the night.
"Okay…" Spike sad aloud to himself. "Not a good sign…"
"It never is"
The blonde whirled around to come face (although the person behind him was at least two feet shorter) face with an annoyingly familiar face. Short dark hair covered the boy's head like a mop and the vampire aura around him seemed almost comical along with the size of his perpetual body.
"Ahhhhh… the Annoying One"
The boy glared at him. "Crake jokes all you like slayer, but the Master wishes to meet with you. He was willing to wait, but word of your argument with the other slayer has made him impatient. Will you come?"
Spike raised an eyebrow and concealed a frown at the same time. This was unexpected. He remembered being told that the Anointed One had lead Buffy to the Master in his own reality, but something was wrong. The confrontation with the Master wasn't for another two weeks.
"What's in it for me?" Spike quipped. "A chance for some happy-go-lucky all-you-can-stake marathon?"
Anointed One shudder. "So the rumors are true…"
"That the air-headed slayer has tainted you with her tactless mannerisms"
"Bite you tongue small fry!"
The boy smirked.
"Very well. But you haven't answered my question yet vampire turned slayer. Will you come with me to meet the Master?"
Shit! He opened his mouth way too early. By this time half of the undead population of good ol' Sunnyhell probably knew about his outburst conversation with Angel and Willow. That would also mean that the Master now knew he had once been a vampire.
Thankfully the repulsive old codger didn't know he apart of his order…
But the question was a valid one. Whether he should he follow the little blighter or dust him on the spot was a hard decision to make. It would be easy to stake the annoying twerp, but then what killing the Master? The prophecy stating that the Master would kill the slayer still stood, meaning that either he or Buffy had to die. As much as he hated Buffy in this world, she still owned a small part of his heart no matter what reality he was in.
And then the though of backup came to mind. When Buffy had died her first time, she had the whelp to revive her. Could he do the same? Die in this world and be revived, thus awaken another male slayer if it was possible? Maybe he could get a warning to Willow…
Although he was nowhere near selfless, deciding that another sacrifice might just be needed to save his friends, Spike took fate into his hands. Looking into the dark eyes vampire-boy before him, he gave the brat his best 'devil-may-care' smirk.
"Sure brat. Lead the way"
A loud resounding smack echoed throughout the Sunnydale High library. Buffy Summers reeled back, a hand reaching up to gingerly touch the stinging red blotch that now stained her right cheek. Eyes were wide with shock; Xander, Giles, Jesse and Angel not believing what they just saw.
Two feet away from the blonde female slayer was Willow, the redhead's hand still extended. The Wicca glared, but at the same time was shocked at her own audacity to do such a thing. But it was for a good reason - no one insults Spike around her an gets away with it.
"Do you really think I wanted to tell you - you of all people Buffy?" the witch growled. "I trust Spike because he had the courage to tell me and the others the truth"
"You mean you actually trust a guy who was once a vampire?" the slayer gapped, her nose crinkling with disgust.
"We trust Angel don't we? He might have a soul, but he's still a vampire. Spike has a soul and he's no longer a vampire. I won't stand back and let you badmouth my boyfriend you hussy!"
During the whole thing, Xander and Jesse were looking at their best friend in shock. And it seemed that sweet timid little Willow had grown a backbone. All the time she had spent around Spike had been slowly raising her confidence level. Sure there had been the secrets, but those were unimportant. She had know since the moment he had spoken to her class the day they had met that he was a good person, will to sacrifice almost anything for those that he loved. She had particularly been drawn to his tormented vibrant blue eyes - they had been her windows to his soul.
Buffy, although outraged by what she had just been told and what had just happened, was still in a semi state of shock herself. No human had ever had the audacity to hit her, let alone call her a hussy. To her, evil was evil and that was that.
"If you want it that way, then we'll just - "
The slayer was cut off from challenging the redhead when the witch suddenly let out a wail of pain, clutching her head as she bowed over and collapsed to her knees.
Buffy was pushed roughly aside as Xander and Jesse rushed help their oldest friend. Willow had tears of agony rolling down her cheeks as black veins began to surface on her ashen skin, her bright eyes turning black.
"Oh goddess! He was right - Whistler was right!" she sobbed, clawing at her temples.
"Whistler?" Angel asked, also moving forward. "What did Whistler tell you?"
The witch whimpered, the blackness easing off and vanishing. She looked up at him, panting heavily.
"Back when we first met you. Spike and I were attacked by a pair of demons. After Spike had done away with them, Whistler showed up and told him that his being here was causing the virtual walls of the realities to crumble. He confessed everything to me afterwards, since I wasn't about to let him get away without spilling the beans"
"So you know why he's here in the first place?"
"Yes. Spike was sent here from a future alternate reality timeline. In his first reality, he was born in the 1800's, and sired by Drusilla in 1880. As your grandchilde, he became the second most greatly feared vampire in the world. He originally came to Sunnydale as of next year, but it isn't until we've all graduated that he ends up staying. Although it disgusts me even to think about it, he also revealed that he had loved the Buffy from that reality, and it was because of her that he sought out his soul. As to why he's here, well he died there saving the world by closing the Hellmouth indefinitely - totally Sunnydale into a gigantic crater. The Powers that Be deemed him worthy of a second and sent him here to us as the first male slayer"
Giles clicked his tongue. "Well that does explain why he was so jumpy when I first him. I had assumed it was because he had just lost his mother and killed his vampire in the same night"
"But that doesn't explain what just happened to Willow" Xander complained, helping the red haired girl to her feet.
"Actually, it does. We've just been told that Spike's presence here in this reality is causing the others to crack. Whatever just happened was most likely a bloodletting - a bleed across time and space. So I can assume that what happened to Willow was something that happened in another reality"
Buffy grimaced, backing away from Willow and her sharp brown eyes.
"She felt evil to me"
Angel nodded. "I felt it too. I do remember hearing you guys saying things about you having to learn to control your powers. Do you know why?"
Willow winced, looking at Jesse and then down at the floor.
"Yes. Apparently my counterpart had a bad drug like addiction to her magics. When he lover was murdered, she was consumed by her grief and hatred. In a crusade for revenge, she nearly fired the world to a cinder…"
"Geeze!" Jesse gasped. "I had no idea you were that powerful!"
"Jesse… you know Warren Mears?"
"Yeah. He in our grade. Why?"
"Alternate Willow kinda flayed him alive…"
The taller boy blanched before his face turned a nasty shade of pea soup green.
"Ewe!" Buffy shrieked, throwing herself into Xander's arms. "You aren't going go like that here are you?"
Willow glared at her. "If something should happen to Spike, I don't know what might happen"
The library telephone suddenly began ringing, capturing the attentions of all those present. Giles muttered a few curses as he made his way into the back office to answer the infernal thing. As the Watcher took the call, the room became deathly quite.
Buffy shivered in the silence, her head throbbing as she stumbled for a chair. She was barely aware of the Xander and Angel's shocked shouts as she crumpled to the ground unconscious.
While she could see it all happening from an out of body perspective, the blonde slayer knew instantly that this was a Slayer Dream. The Sunnydale High library shimmered around her till it became an ethereal glowing field.
The blonde turned, her eyes scanning the surround the source of what just spoke her name.
"Hunh? Who's there?"
"I am here"
Buffy gasped in shock, stumbling away from the most beautiful woman she had ever seen appear out of nowhere directly in front of her.
"W-who are you?"
The woman smiled, her hair itself seemingly made out of light. "Am many thing, but I am also half of nothing. I'm known by very few and you feel should special that I am giving you audience"
She would have retorted in the regular fashion, but the woman was right - she did feel special. Just being in her celestial presence seemed to warm the slayer's soul to her core, causing her whole body to hum with power.
"I am," the woman continued. "Known as the First Joy"
"The First Joy? As in the First Evil, the First Joy?"
"Yes. I see that you already know of my darker half. I have come to request your aid in most dire of circumstances. I have made a slight mistake in giving gifts to those who have done good. William is in danger of returning to a place that he doesn't not want to go - you must help him"
"William?" Buffy asked, confused. Then recognition struck. "You mean Spike? What's going to happen?"
The First Joy smiled sadly.
"I have changed things in order to make this world a better place. Its rare that either I or my brother are allowed to have direct interference with any of the vast realities that we oversee. Due to this mistake, I must show you something that I am sure that you will not like"
The slayer nodded cautiously and stepped forward, allowing the First Joy to reach out and place both of her hands over the teenager's eyes.
Visions assaulted Buffy, showing her things that turned her stomach. She saw and felt everything through the eyes of a boy she had come to hate - Spike. The visions were of the present and a possible future. Spike was going to face the Master - face the evil within the Hellmouth to keep his friends safe. But he would not be able to stop the Master and the ancient vampire would have his fun by once again transforming the blonde back into a vampire. With evil magics, his memories would be stripped of him and from then on he would lead the vampires of every reality into the ultimate destruction of it all. It would be in the seconds before it ended that he'd remember, and then he'd die with everlasting guilt - guilt for having more pain after promising to never do it again.
He would have also killed her and Willow in the process…
Buffy wrenched herself away from the First Joy, tears streaming down her cheeks. She could still feel who much Spike cared for her - not just the alternate Buffy, but for her. He saw her as the annoying little sister he never wanted, but couldn't live without. No one had ever thought about her like that before.
The First Joy smiled. "I see you have made a choice"
"Yes. I'll help!"
"Good, but you must hurry. William is only nearing the entrance to the Hellmouth. If you are fast, you might be able to save him in time. Now go"
The light around the slayer burst, blinding the girl's poor green orbs. And as the wind picked up, she left herself returning to her body like Dorothy retuning from Oz and everything went black.
Xander was frantic with worry as he knelt next to her girlfriend's inert form. She had blackout only five minutes ago and no amount of shacking would wake her up.
He and others looked down as they watched the blonde slayers lips move and harsh whisper pass through.
"Help who?" Giles insisted, crouching down next to the brunette.
"Spike… must help Spike…"
Now it was Willow's turn to become frantic. "What about Spike? What did you see?"
"Gone… he's gone to… face the Master…"
And it was Angel that voiced the last of it.
Well there you are! After having dawdled for so long, I'm almost finished writing this story! I know you all like, but this is actually what I had originally planed to do. Anyway, I'm not sure if it'll end next chapter or the chapter after that. We'll just have to wait and see I guess. Later!