Title: Second Changes

Author: Princess Joyce

Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy. If I did, she and Spike would have had a happy ending!

Rating: It will get up to an M rating, but not right away…

Summary: Takes place as Spike, er, dies at the end of the Buffy series. So, in this story, Spike does not come back as a ghost to haunt Angel, but is given a second chance to be with Buffy. Want to know more? Read on…

A/N: THIS HAS NOT BEEN BETA'D. I'm hoping that posting this will attract one…

Second Chances

Prologue

"I love you."

The pain that her softly spoken words inflicted hurt even worse than the burning pain that was enveloping him from the inside out.

His eyes met hers and his physical pain seemed to vanish as he felt his love for her increase ten-fold, though he would not have thought that possible.

Spike loved her. He knew it and so did she. But he was no fool.

"No you don't. But it's nice to hear," he smiled then clenched his teeth against another wave of burning pain.

Buffy did not deny his statement, though her large, expressive hazel eyes told him that she wanted to. Then again, he was in the process of dying a painful death, so it could have just been wishful thinking on his part.

Seconds later she was gone, but had left him inspired. This was all for her after all. It always had been.

A couple of centuries as a soulless vampire had allowed him plenty of time to pile up the innocent bodies. He had murdered countless, and thought nothing of it. Yet even now, with his shiny new soul he had a hard time feeling guilty about them. Vampires kill. It's just what they do, and no way was he going to apologize for it!

His soulless self had caused the world a lot of grief, but if he owed the world anything he would pay it through Buffy and Buffy alone. His death today might save the world, but it was her he was really dying to save. Would that be enough to land him in a heavenly dimension? He was about to find out…

Spike eyes closed on Earth for the last time. He braced himself for the flames of hell, at the same time clinging to a slight hope that it would be heaven's gates that would welcome him. When his eyes finally opened he was amazed to find himself seated in front of a desk in a cozy office. The desk was bare. No pictures and no name plate.

Along the wall to his right stood a heavy oak door that was shut tight. In the background he could hear the faint strains of light elevator music. This really wasn't his idea of hell or heaven. He didn't feel frightened or anxious. In fact, he could not remember the last time he felt so calm.

Under the calm was a painful sadness. He missed Buffy already.

His gaze turned toward a large window at the other end of the room hoping to distract himself. Early morning sunlight shined through the thin curtains, beckoning him like a long lost friend from his childhood.

After a quick glance at the still-shut door, Spike cautiously got to his feet and walked toward the window. Hesitantly he lifted a pale hand and dipped it into the stream of light.

Nothing

No painful burning, but there was also no pleasant warmth his distant human memories remembered.

He snatched his hand back a bit unnerved. He would have preferred painful burning to this empty nothingness.

Spike had just returned to his seat when the door finally opened. A harassed looking brunette woman slipped through the door shutting it quickly behind her.

She gave him a strained smile and held out a hand for him to shake.

"My name is Alice, and I'll be your death counselor today." She said brightly, grasping his hand in a firm shake.

Alice looked down at a clipboard counting down a list.

"I apologize for the wait Mr…uh the Bloody?" Her left eyebrow rose inquiringly.

"Call me Spike," he said, keeping his face as neutral as possible.

He had no idea what was going on, but he didn't want anyone else to know that.

She smiled a bright, fake smile and nodded.

"Yes, I've been getting a lot of those kinds of names today. I confess, I don't normally handle demon deaths, but with the overwhelming amount today they pulled me off of old-age deaths," she informed him as if it made all the sense in the world.

"Right, so what now?" He asked watching, as she seemed to pull a thick file out of thin air.

"Uh, let me get out my check list…" She said sitting behind the desk and rummaging through papers.

"Ah, here we go! Number one, inform client of deceased status," she looked up at him cautiously.

"You are dead. Not undead, not kind of dead. Dead, as in 'you will never again walk the face of the Earth' dead."

Spike sighed and leaned back in his chair crossing his arms.

"Yeah, I got that."

She smiled.

"Good, you have no idea how many people freak out when they hear that. Usually I have to help them go through the whole five stages thing… You know, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You jumped right to number five, good for you!"

Spike mockingly raised a triumphant fist in the air.

"Go me."

"Now, let me just glance through your file…" There must have been more than a thousand pages in his 'file' but she managed to scan the whole thing in under a minute.

Alice was no longer smiling when she finished.

"Wow. I've heard of gray demon cases before, but damn!"

Spike blinked in confusion.

"Gray?"

"As in not black or white. You have shown vast amounts of both evil cruelty and loving compassion. Even as a soulless vampire you showed an unusual amount of emotion and feeling…" she trailed off looking at him like he was a specimen on display in a lab.

Spike shifted uncomfortably.

Alice stood and walked toward the window, gazing thoughtfully into the bright sunlight.

Finally she turned back to him, determination settling over her features.

"I have never done this before, but I'm going to give you somewhat of a second chance…"

"What do you mean? I get to live again?" He asked, astonished.

"Sort of. I am going to allow you to re-live your life. Starting with the day you met Buffy Summers…"

"No way! I refuse to suffer through all that pain again," he protested, but stopped when she sent him an annoyed look.

"Then don't. Make better choices that don't lead to pain," she said, huffily. After all, she was giving him a chance that most people would kill for.

"You mean I can change things? I don't have to relive my same choices?"

"That's the whole point. Okay, listen closely because I'm only going to say this once. I am sending you back to your body on the night you meet Buffy. You will not have your soul; however you will have all of your memories. Do the right thing and you won't end up suffering an eternity of torment," Alice snapped her fingers and a long legal contract appeared out of thin air.

"Here are the terms and conditions. You want a second chance, you sign. Keep in mind, you could go either way. Your soul will not be there to ground you. Only your love for Buffy can keep put you on the right path, and you can guarantee that she will not be on your side to begin with."

Spike mulled things over in his head. Would he cause her more pain doing this? Would they all be better off if he just left things the way they were and faced what he deserved?

"Is your love for her strong enough for this? Because if it isn't you'll only make things worse," Alice warned even as she conjured an ink pen and handed it over with the contract.

After those words, Spike had no choice. To not attempt it would be to admit the he did not believe his love strong enough. And that just was not true. His only doubts in all of this were causing Buffy more pain. And that was just because he loved her so much.

Taking the pen he scanned the document, but even if he took the time to read it there was no way he would make any sense of the legal jargon.

"Can I have a copy of this?" he asked, pen hovering over the signature line.

Alice shook her head.

"This is not the kind of thing we can have loose on Earth… I will forward a copy to the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram and Hart. They are a prestigious law firm that deal with clientele that have a supernatural leaning. Contact them, and they will allow you to look over the contract with one of their lawyers to … translate…" she smiled.

Spike sighed and signed the thing. He was getting a second chance. It wouldn't do to get caught up in details.

"Are there any rules? Can I reveal everything I know?" he asked, suddenly.

Alice shook her head.

"There is nothing you can do that will void the contract. However, it is probably in your best interest to keep this and other 'future' happenings to yourself."

Spike nodded and handed the signed contract back to her.

"Ready?"

End Prologue

A/N: Short, but it is just the set-up. This promises to be a pretty long story. I've already written the first chapter: School Hard. The first chapter or 2 will be very similar to what happens on the show. So, it will become an alternate Season 2 of Buffy. If you would like to accept the challenge of being a beta for this story please e-mail me at jycrenee(at)Comcast(dot) net.