Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel. This story is not for profit. "Daylight" is Alison Krauss and Union Station, from the album New Favorite. Usually, this is where I'd say something witty about not suing me or whatnot, but I'm out of clever things to say at the moment…
Summary: When the Powers that Be decide to "reward" a vampire with a soul, Buffy finds herself forced to realize that maybe things aren't what she always thought they were… (Spike/Buffy)
Spoilers: This picks up directly after "Not Fade Away," so everything on both shows is fair game here.
Author's Note: First off, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not one for character "bashing." Writing negative portrayals of a character simply because I don't like them isn't my style, seeing as it tends to lead to bad characterization and weak plots. However, in this fic I do make several of what I feel to be justified points concerning the negative aspects of Angel's character. While I respect that everyone has their own opinion and will certainly listen to your point of view should you feel the need to write me an email about how Buffy and Angel have the truest love ever, and I'm just a deluded psycho who's been blinded by the shininess of Spike's hair, I'd prefer not to. So, if you're a rabid B/A shipper (which if you're at most of the sites where I post you're probably not, but I just want to cover my bases), or even just such a big fan of Angel that you feel he can do no wrong, I suggest navigating your browser away from this page.
Also, you may notice some similarities to my earlier fic "After the End Has Come and Gone." The two stories aren't identical by any means, but I deal with some of the same issues in this fic as I did in that one. "After the End…" was the first Buffy fic I began, and there were several key episodes I had not seen when I started it. I feel that as my knowledge of the show and the characters expanded, that fic sort of fell apart. I had a few things planned that I wanted to do with it, but by then end it was such a mess that I just concluded and was done with it. Now I feel like I can better accomplish what I really meant to do with that story, and I'm attempting to try again from a different angle here. So yes, some minor things are the same, but it will in no means be the same story. It follows a different plot, and my approach to many of these issues will be different.
I'd also like to thank Niamh for the opportunity to share rants and plot bunnies with her. wink I don't think I ever would've had my thoughts sorted out enough to write this fic otherwise.
Feedback and Archiving: Feedback is the best invention since Domino's cheesy bread. (I love that stuff…) Leaving it makes me a happy little author who wants to write even more. Also, I allow archiving, but if you've never archived any of my stuff before, ask before hand. If you already have me on your site, then go ahead and add anything else you want.
By: Addie Logan
Daylight falls Shade is dark When I was just knee high Life is short In my mind I miss the forest shade that took me there Daylight falls
And I'm lost in the big parade
Hold my hand darling
I'm afraid of the daylight
Cool and languid for life or long
Safe in shadow, it's never as dark as the daylight
As the daylight
My momma told me never try to be
Someone that I am not
Yet over time I had forgot
A wandering child, so lost at play
He's found himself, but he can't find his way
In the daylight, oh the daylight
Oh daylight, oh daylight
And there's no turning back the time
Fragrant meadows and rocks to climb
In that daylight
There's a corner I need to turn
Lessons left is a lesson learned
In the daylight
In the daylight
The promise I made can never leave the dark so dear
Safe and soothing yet I fear
As I recall and I reflect
I see it's safer to connect to the daylight
Oh the daylight
Oh daylight, oh daylight
And I'm lost in the big parade
Hold my hand darling, I'm afraid
Of the daylight, of the day ...
Shade is dark
When I was just knee high
Life is short
In my mind
I miss the forest shade that took me there
"Let's go to work."
Spike stood as straight as he could, Angel's answer to his question about a plan barely registering as Spike prepared to fight what he suspected would be his last battle.
He wasn't afraid to dust. He'd been prepared for it in the final battle on the Hellmouth, and in a lot of ways, he still felt like that should've been his end. Everything since then hadn't felt like much of anything real anyway.
Spike took a deep breath, ignoring the fact that he didn't need it and the mixture of blood and rain on his face that made the act difficult. This was the end, and he was ready for it.
"So you need a little help with that dragon, or were you planning on going at it alone?"
Spike turned at the sound of the all-too-familiar voice. As he saw Buffy step from the shadows, leaning casually on the hilt of a sword, his emotions shifted from surprise to elation to fear. He wasn't planning on making it out of this, and he didn't want the same ending for her. He opened his mouth to speak, to urge her to sit this one out, but Angel spoke first.
"Buffy? Why are you here? This isn't…"
"If you finish that sentence with 'your fight,' I swear I'm staking you. And I'm here because one of Giles's seers said you had some trouble brewing in good ol' LA."
"And you just decided to rush down here on your own and take on the armies of Hell?"
Buffy rolled her eyes. It was a gesture Spike had seen her do a thousand times, but this time he noticed something different. She had a calm self-assuredness to her, one that she'd grasped for in the past but had never quite achieved. He realized that some time in the past year—away from him—she'd grown up.
"Not alone," Buffy informed Angel. "I called in the cavalry."
It was then that Spike noticed the demons weren't advancing on them at quite the speed they had been before. Many of them had begun to scatter, some turning around to face an opponent behind them.
"Brought my army," Buffy said. "Think it might come in handy?"
"Will it ever," Gunn replied. He winced, clutching his stomach wound.
"You," Buffy said, pointing to Illyria, "take him back out this alley here. There's a few healers not far. They can help him."
Illyria stared at the Slayer for a moment. "I wish to remain here and do violence."
"That's great. Help him first. I'm sure there will be plenty of violence left for you when you get back."
Illyria looked back at the smaller band of demons not distracted by the Slayers that had regrouped and were starting to advance on them again. She then surprised Spike by doing as Buffy had said, helping Gunn down towards where Buffy had indicated there would be someone to help him. Angel gaped as Buffy came to stand between the two vampires, her sword now raised.
"What?" Buffy asked at Angel's wary expression.
"She's a hellgod. She normally doesn't so what people say like that."
"Yeah, well, a hellgod's nothing I haven't dealt with before," Buffy replied. "Hi, Spike. Remind me to kick your ass when all this is over." With that, Buffy leapt into battle.
Angel and Spike shared a brief glance before joining her.
As it grew dark only moments after the sun had begun to rise, Angel frowned, his trademark brooding becoming almost palpable. Spike leaned against the wall of the alley they'd ducked into to protect themselves from those few moments of sunlight. "What's the matter this time, Peaches? Y'know, despite the fact that you entered into an unholy pact that has brought Hell down on our heads?" Spike wiped blood from his forehead, keeping it from running down into his eyes. "Were you hoping to burst into flames?"
"The last time the sun darkened like this, things got really ugly, really fast," Angel replied.
"Well, things are already ugly. And it's just Willow working a little mojo so we're not stuck out in the daylight. As long as she doesn't get all veiny we should be fine. Well, aside from the fact that those hoards of demons still want to kill us."
"Would you stop that? Don't you think I know I screwed up this time? One of my best friends is dead. I don't need your snide comments to remind me what I've unleashed."
Spike blinked. "Not like you to admit when you're wrong."
"Yeah, well, the mess outside this alley is sort of rubbing it in my face." Angel stared down at the small river of watery blood running in front of him. "I should've listened to Cordelia. She got a reprieve from death to warn me, and I didn't listen. I thought I did, but…"
"Yeah, well, coulda, shoulda, woulda, mate. It's dark again now, and we have a battle to fight."
Angel nodded, raising his sword again.
Three dark days passed before the battle was over. Spike stood, surveying the carnage. The demons had been defeated, but Slayers had fallen as well. It was all a bloody mess.
In the one hundred and twenty four years that he'd been a vampire, Spike had never seen anything quite like this. It had gone beyond any fight he'd ever fought, more than he should've been able to handle with just fists and fangs.
He was still surprised he hadn't ended up as nothing more than dust washing into a gutter.
"You know, I really didn't appreciate having to find out you weren't dead from some psychic predicting doom in Los Angeles."
Spike didn't look at Buffy as she walked up beside him. "Things have been complicated."
"Yeah, I bet. You know, I thought maybe you were different than all the others, but then you go and abandon me the first chance you get, too. I should've known all that stuff you said before about me being 'the one' didn't really mean anything."
"Buffy, it meant…" Spike sighed. "This really isn't the time. There's…well, there's bodies everywhere for starters."
"Willow and some of the other witches are taking care of the demon bodies."
"And the girls?"
"The Slayers are being identified so their bodies can be sent home." Spike heard her draw in a shuddering breath. "You were planning on dying here, weren't you."
"Would've if you hadn't showed up. No way we could've taken all of them on by ourselves and lived to tell about it."
"You were going to die, and you weren't going to say good-bye?"
Part of Spike wanted to turn around, grab Buffy and beg her to forgive him. Another part of him didn't want to go there again, was too tired to start over with her in something that he knew could only end badly. It was the second part that won out. "We said our good-byes, Buffy."
Buffy was keenly aware of the fact that he hadn't looked at her once since she'd walked up. "Spike, I'm not saying that you should've come back to me in a relationship sort of sense. I'm not even saying you had to be where I was. If you wanted to stay in LA and help Angel, fine. But I thought you were gone. As in permanently. I mourned you, and you were here the whole time, doing perfectly fine. You could've at least had the decency to let me know that someone I care about wasn't dead."
"Yeah, mourning your way right into the arms of the Immortal from what I've heard."
For a moment, Buffy was speechless. Finally, she snapped, "That is not the issue—or any of your business."
"I almost sought you out. I was incorporeal for a while, but as soon as I was solid again, I was going to find you. But what could I say after how we ended things? How could I top an exit like that?"
"How could you…? Dammit, Spike, you showing up on my doorstep and saying 'hi' would've topped that exit! God, you can be so dense sometimes, you know that? Just seeing you, looking at you and knowing you were real—that would've topped any exit." Buffy laughed humorlessly. "You're all the same. You, Angel, even Riley. All about the big gestures. Never thinking about how those left behind will deal with the fallout of your grand fucking exits."
"Don't compare me to them…"
"Then don't act like them! And it wasn't just me, Spike. Other people missed you, too."
"Yeah, like who? None of your bloody Scoobies ever gave a damn about me."
"Dawn did. Do you have any idea how many tears she's cried for you? How guilty she feels for not patching things up with you before you 'died?' Or how about just what losing someone else she loved did to her?"
Spike looked at her for the first time then. "Buffy, I didn't…"
"No, you didn't. I have a mess to help clean up." Buffy turned, ignoring Spike as he called out her name. But when she heard the thump of a body hitting the pavement, she turned. Spike was lying in a heap.
Buffy ran over to him, shaking him. "Spike! Come on, wake up. You're not all dusty, so I know you're not any deader…" Buffy tried to pull him to his feet, only to have him slump against her. She reached up to steady him, her hand grazing over his chest.
Suddenly, Buffy froze. She moved her hand back down slowly, stopping over his heart. Her eyes widened as her suspicion was confirmed.
It was beating.
How's this one so far? Leave me a review and let me know if it's worth continuing.