Title: If I should die before we wake
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters or situations, or concepts, or anything, really.
Summary: After the events described in Deconstructing Hell, Spike, Andrew and Dana are menaced by a shadowy threat to Spike's life. You should read DH first.
Rating: T, because Spike is violent, rude, crude, and the bad guys are worse. Well, that's a lie. The bad guys are never worse than Spike. And violence.
Chapter 17: Endgame
"You can't do this!" squealed the 300-pound demon as Illyria held him upside down and started shaking him.
Spike poked him in his flabby gut. "How about you just draw us a pentagram, eh?"
"I mean, you can't!" moaned the heavily muscled thug, trying to reach over his shoulder at Illyria's feet. She kicked him in the head and continued shaking him.
"I don't care about physical impossibilities. I care about traveling instantly into another place. I know lots of people who can do that. Why not you?"
"I'm telling you, there's no spell that can do that!"
Spike sighed, stepping back. "Then I'm afraid I'm just going to have to let her kill you."
Illyria smashed the demon down into the ground, breaking its neck.
"Hey!" said Spike.
"What? You said you were going to have to let me kill him."
"It was a bluff! I thought I could get him to talk!"
"Well, he wasn't talking."
"He might have if you hadn't killed him!"
Illyria rolled her eyes. "Well, since you don't have a handy mental connection to me to let me know it's a bluff, why didn't you wink at me or something?"
Spike turned and began tearing through the shop, looking for something helpful.
"Agh! You know, sometimes I wish…" He trailed off, a vaguely threatened look on his face. "No. Never wish."
"Wish what?" asked a tiny voice from a dark corner.
Spike closed his eyes and put his fingertips on his temple. "You don't have to grant wishes. You don't have to. I changed the rules of the game, remember?"
"I don't have to, but I kind of want to." A mousey little girl edged out of the darkness. "I mean, for you. I hear a lot of wishes, but we don't answer them. Not any more."
"Not since I killed D'Hoffryn."
"Yeah. And, thanks."
"Some of your sisters didn't thank me."
"Still won't. And if you ever break a girl's heart and she makes a wish… they'll grant that one for sure. So I'd be careful with the hearts of others."
Spike glanced at Dana. "No wishing. It's a bad thing."
She nodded fervently. "Who're you?"
"I'm Denny. Justice demon. Former vengeance demon. Whole big thing with that. Yeah. Anyway… you want a wish?"
Spike sighed. "Actually… could you just transport us to America? All at once?"
"Well, I'd have to do you one at a time. And you have to say the magic word. Seriously."
Spike sighed. "I wish we were in America." He pointed at Dana. "Her first. And… wait, did I say where in America? The airport. The one right by Riley's military base—you have no idea where that is, do you?"
"Little town south of New York. Illryia?"
"Simply transport us to the side of the interdimensional key in human form known as Dawn Summers."
"Oh, that's easy!" The demon darted forward and grabbed Dana in a hug, and they vanished.
Boris lumbered forward, grinning. Dawn tried to crawl away from the others, wanting so badly to keep them safe. But he was close to her now, and she could hear him breathing, short, triumphant, hateful snorts.
Then there was a noise, an odd noise. One she'd heard before, when Anya was a vengeance demon.
She looked up, surprised and shocked. Dana stood there glowering at Boris, a smaller woman disappearing beside her.
"Boris. You're Boris?" asked Dana.
"Yes, I am. You're a Slayer? It's time for your kind to die."
She darted forward and punched him. The force of the blow picked him up off his feet and sent him crashing to the ground, skidding across the pavement, digging furrows into it with his hands as he tried to stop himself.
"No, it's time for your kind to die!" she corrected him.
"Oh," wheezed Andrew, from where Dawn had left him lying on the pavement. "That's what he meant, plan B."
"I am not so easy to defeat, little girl!" boomed Boris, climbing to his feet. "You cannot imagine the powers I possess!"
"I've got a really good imagination."
She charged forward, jumping up and hitting him with both feet, knocking him down again. As he fell this time he rolled up to his feet, charging her and managing to hit her. She tumbled through the air, but landed on her feet, staggering just a little before charging back in.
The demon teleported back in carrying Illyria, who was in full battle armor. "Now you will face the wrath of a goddess!" she bellowed, charging at Boris.
When he looked at her Dana charged, kicking him. As he fell Illyria slid into him, punching him in the ribs. As he rebounded from that, trying to catch his balance, Dana kicked him in the face again.
Each one was anticipating the other's moves perfectly. They moved like one, whirling around Boris and striking him repeatedly, the beats coming down with a relentless tempo.
Andrew crawled to his knees and checked on the Slayer beside him. "How're you doing?" he asked.
"Crappy," Lucy groaned. "The other Slayer was right behind us… where'd she… oh."
The other Slayer was returning with more soldiers, and one of them was a very beat-up Riley, who looked angry. "I've got my men using mystical ammunition now," he told Dawn, jogging up to them.
"Hold your fire. This guy's immune. Just give Dana and Illyria a chance."
He stared at the graceful pair attacking the man, who was still undaunted and was trying to get closer to the soldiers. "Wow."
Another blow sent Boris skidding across the pavement again. He came up with a snarl, a flash of hatred in his eyes. His features were twisted into a hateful grimace, and when he came up at them his arms moved so fast that Dawn could actually feel the wind generated from his blows across her face.
Illyria went flying across the pavement in one direction, and Dana tumbled the other direction. Neither one immediately got back up, although Illryia rolled over and looked up warily.
Then a hand descended on Dawn's shoulder, and Boris glanced back at her, his face lighting. "What are you doing here?" Dawn hissed.
Spike grinned, stepping forward. "You want a piece of me, blighter?"
He was ignoring Dawn, who struggled up to her feet. One leg had a shooting pain from the knee, but she managed to hobble forward and grab Spike's arm. "Don't do it!" she begged.
"Riley, get them out of here," ordered Spike, shaking Dawn off him. "Sorry, nibblet, but sometimes doing the right thing is all about sacrifice."
"No!" shrieked Dawn, trying to stop him. But Riley grabbed her from behind, dragging her back. She could see Lucy grabbing Andrew and doing the same to him out of the corner of her eye, but her focus was on Spike, who ambled closer to the advancing balance demon.
"You have singlehandedly offset the balance of the world," growled the demon.
"See, that's good," said Spike. "Cuz you call yourself a balance demon, but do you know what the truth is? You feed on evil. Worse than that, you feed on that cusp between good and evil, the struggle. I really could not possible explain to you in the short amount of time we have here how much I despise you."
Boris roared and charged Spike, who sidestepped, twirling around in a circle, his duster spinning out like a cape.
Illyria was back on her feet and approaching calmly. "You cannot defeat us. You are weakened, the very conflict that nourishes you being taken away by Spike. Even now, powerless, he fights on, destroying your balance further."
"It wasn't very balanced to begin with, you know," said Spike. "A world full of bad uglies and just one little girl to fight?"
Boris hesitated. "Actually, it was unbalanced back then. That's why we were usually fighting on the side of goodness."
Spike grinned, leaping up and kicking Boris in the face. Boris staggered back a few steps while Spike landed in a crouch.
"Since you've passed the mantle of priest on, you no longer possess the powers of Illyria," growled Boris, his eyes lighting up. "You are merely human, and vulnerable!"
"Actually… not really," said Spike, smiling. "Y'see, we've been talking about changing this over for a while. Because it's just not healthy. And Illyria was very insistent that I wouldn't be going into battle as a normal."
"And, what?" asked Boris, drawing back a fist to punch Spike. "You ignored her? Or did you go get revamped?"
Spike shrugged. "Naw. Neither. Try again."
Boris hesitated. "I'm really not getting it, here. What? You have some kind of advanced body armor? Magical talismans?"
"The two best gals in the world on my side," said Spike, just as Illyria and Dana attacked again. Dana attacked him with a flagpole as an impromptu spear, impaling him. Illyria's blow was with a sword that she'd found somewhere, a hacking blow to Boris' neck that actually managed to cut through the skin.
Boris made a gurgling noise.
"That was the plan?" asked Dana. "You distract him with your incredible vulnerableness and we hurt him a lot?" She pulled the flagpole out and impaled him again, from another angle. He sank to his knees.
Spike sighed, fiddling with his fingernails. "I chipped the paint!" he whined.
"I wish to do more violence," growled Illyria, successfully beheading Boris. "We'll find all his remaining minions while you explain what transpired to our allies.
"Oh, come on!" snapped Spike. "I don't even get any neat celebratory violence?"
"You don't have the power," said Dana, apologetically. "Now, if you want to take those new Watcher lessons Dawn was working on, where you don't get kidnapped and stuff, that would be great too."
"His power was in the conflict," repeated Dawn. "Okay, I can almost get that. So why was it easier if he stopped fighting? Wasn't there still conflict?"
"It wasn't the same," said Spike. "His power was always going to be stronger in those epic moments of battle. Moments when I was standing there being snarky? That's not the epic conflict he wanted."
"And that hurt him?"
Andrew applied the icepack to her head gently from behind, letting a warm hand rest on her shoulder reassuringly. "I don't think you're going to get it. It's a demon thing."
"And Spike gets it because he was a demon," said Lucy. She was applying her own icepack, down on the floor between the two hotel beds where she was lying down.
Andrew sighed. "Well, yes. And psychically linked to a demon. But who hasn't had one of those, these days?"
"Or at least a petty ex," muttered Dawn.
"She is not a petty ex—! Oh, you meant the other demon," said Spike, rubbing his face. "I have trouble keeping track. So, that's tricks."
"And you can't help with post Apocalypse slayage because you're a civilian?" asked Andrew, sympathetic already. "I hear you, man. I hear you."
Spike sighed. "I think I have to find some magic talismans or something. It utterly stinks not being part of that."
Dawn groaned. "If you find any, give me some, would you?"
"Can do," said Spike. "By the by, I've been keeping something from you lot."
"We know," sighed Dawn. "Oh, we know."
"No, I really don't think you know."
"Faith called us while all this was going on. Said Angel went nuts on them. So we know."
Spike scowled. "He went nuts?"
"Apparently whatever your vampire friends were doing made him mad, because he got into a fight with them. They said Harmony had to stop him from killing Faith."
"Yeah, I was afraid of that. Did he get away?"
"Yeah. You don't seem too surprised he's gone evil again."
"Oh, he hasn't gone evil again. I just have to get down there and save his butt, I guess."
"Worse than that. Self control. I'll be taking off as soon as my girls are back."
The door swung open, and Dana entered the room, sitting down beside him. "I was talking to Illyria. Did you know that you hold your emotions inside and don't let people close because all your life you've been hurt and wounded and you're trying not to be vulnerable?"
Illyria followed her into the room, hovering by the television. "We have decided we no longer hold with this thing you call tact. It wastes our time."
"Those are my girls," said Spike, turning to Dana. "It scares me pet, it truly does. It scares me how afraid I was when Boris hit you. It scares me every time you worm your way deeper into my heart. If you turned away from me it would shatter. It truly would. I don't even really like myself, love. I'm not a good man, or an attractive man."
She touched his face. "That's what you tell yourself, but you are. More than you realize."
He nodded, smiling. "Want to go save Angel?"
"Why not?" she asked, grinning.
A/N: Okay, it was an abrupt ending. Stinks, huh? Well, it'll be continued in my other Fic, A Child Shall Lead Them. Seriously.