A/N: I apologize for the long wait, and am sad to say that all of my reasons are from the same old bag of excuses. If there are any of you still reading this, please review and let me know you still care!
Warnings/Spoilers: Some hinting at 3x22, mild neglect of a child, cursing, talk of torture and the killing of both animals and humans.
As Buffy shut the door on the house, she couldn't help but notice how quiet it was. And not like the peaceful form of quiet that she'd grown mildly accustomed too, but the dead of the night quiet when it was full of traitorous secrets and heavy burdens on weakening shoulders. With a rueful sigh, Buffy shrugged her stained jacket off and slung it on the table. After a moments hesitation, thinking of what Tara or Willow would think when they woke and saw bloodied clothing, Buffy picked the jacket up once more and headed towards the kitchen, with the intention of going to the basement to at least put the jacket into the washing machine (though the likelihood of the jacket ever being clean again was minimal).
As she walked into the Kitchen and turned on the light, her slayer senses- or maybe just her "you're being watched" senses- tingled and she whipped around, only to see her sister standing in the doorway of the kitchen. Sleep in her eyes, but looking remarkably awake for someone who'd travelled to Vegas and back in the time space of a day.
Dawn eyed Buffy shrewdly for a moment, taking in her battle ridden appearance and her blood stained clothes. Buffy eyed her sister back, tossing her jacket on the kitchen Island turning to get herself a glass and fill it with water from the tap. She started at the water briefly before emptying the glass back into the sink and placing the glass on the counter.
"It's late," She said mildly, still not turning back to face Dawn, whose eyes had never left Buffy.
Dawn shrugged, before realizing that Buffy couldn't see her. "You look like shit." She stated, matter-of-factly. Buffy gave a sort of laugh from the sink and turned so that she could see her sister. "You're one to talk."
Dawn shrugged again, now that it could be fully appreciated. "Tara didn't tell you anything, did she?"
"No," Buffy said. "She didn't. Are you going to, or am I just going to have to jump to conclusions myself?"
"I overheard Angel complaining about what you said. Your plan to go to Vegas and hunt for Spike, but I don't think you should. It wouldn't be what he wanted."
"I don't care what Spike wants! Faith will torture him. Just like-" Buffy took a deep breath, not wanting to say anything that she would ultimately end up regretting again. "Look, it was clearly a mistake to throw the two of you out. I was angry, and I didn't think the two of you would translate it literally, since you both tend to bounce back from those things. That being said, you are my responsibility, and neither of you should have been in Vegas to begin with! It's my job to take care of you-"
"How can you take care of me if you're in a different state?" Dawn demanded shrilly. "You know that I'm right, the best thing for any of us to do is for us to stay here. She's only doing this to draw us out, to draw you out! She hates you, Buffy."
"She does not." Buffy spat, breathing heavily, her eyes narrowed. Reluctant as she was to admit it, Dawn did have a point. She couldn't protect her if she was chasing down insane people. And it sure as hell wouldn't have been what Spike wanted. Not that that's ever stopped you before... "Fine, let's say I do decide to stay here and let Faith come to us, that does not change the fact that things are going to be different around here. For starters, I revoked Spike's invitation-"
"You what?" Dawn shrieked, her eyes popping out. "Why would you do that? Didn't you just say that you'd lost your temper and didn't think we would take you seriously? I can't believe you lied to me!"
"Dawn, don't be ridiculous-"
"Liar!" Dawn shouted once more, and Buffy could hear other inhabitants finally beginning to stir from all the noise Buffy and Dawn were making.
"I did not lie to you!" Buffy yelled, although she dropped her volume considerably. Dawn, however, appeared to do the opposite, her voice growing shriller as her indignation mounted. "You did too! You said that it was a mistake to throw us out, but if that was true then you wouldn't have deivinted Spike!"
"Will you stop freaking out about everything? It's not like you wont see him, god knows the two of you are attached at the hip-"
"I don't get whats wrong with the two of you!" Dawn yelled, her voice breaking now. "Why can't the two of you admit that you still love each other and stop beating around the fucking bush!"
Dawn spun and stormed out of the kitchen leaving Buffy to face Tara, Willow and Angel, all three of whom had been woken by the argument.
Angel looked extremely put off while both Willow and Tara looked torn between amusement and concern. Buffy, for her part, was stunned, blinking at rapid intervals settled on being confused before brushing the words off. Willow, having decided on being concerned, instantly ran up and gave Buffy a hug while a bemused smile played on Tara's lips.
"Are you okay?" Willow asked anxiously. "Right, stupid question, don't answer that. How was patrol, it looks like it was bad, do you need someone to go with you from now on, I'm sure Angel could go with you-"
"Yeah, I'd love to help out-"
"-I think Buffy can handle slaying just fine all on her own." Tara said, effectively cutting Angel off. Buffy threw her a thankful look as Angel and Willow looked put out.
"Don't worry, Will, it's nothing I can't handle." Buffy assured her.
"And the fights with your sister?"
Buffy sent Angel a look, her earlier irritation with him not yet forgotten.
"Dawn will come around." Tara said, once again coming to Buffy's rescue. Angel looked ready to argue further but was prevented by doing so as Fred stumbled into the kitchen.
"What time is it?" She asked, rubbing her eyes tiredly.
Angel gave her a soft smile, while Willow stammered out the time. "Uh- it's almost six." Fred looked kind of crestfallen, and Angel began to guide her back to where she was sleeping, giving Buffy a look that promised further discussion. Tara straightened her back and said in too-loud voice "Who wants pancakes?" Buffy gladly turned her attention onto Tara, and Angel slunk out of the room.
Samantha felt sure that the pale blue carpet was going to crumble entirely and plummet her into the hell. Despite her overall lightheadedness she'd been unable to stop pacing since they'd arrived at whatever size house Faith had deemed both neccesary and appropriate. The heavy wooden doors were closed tight, and the room itself was virtually silent but that didn't leave Sam's imagination from running wild. She could only imagine what was going on behind the closed doors, the whimpered sounds escaping through gagged lips, desperate eyelids wanting to drag closed to sleep only to be brought back to reality with another wave of pain.
The silence made Samantha shiver again. It had been nearly a day, and once Faith had walked into that room, she hadn't come out. Neither had the man or the vampire.
She wondered what her father would say about the fact that she was practically aiding and abetting a murderer. Or a torturer, or whatever. Either way it was bad. It was morally wrong and against everything she'd been taught ever. And yet she still couldn't bring herself to pull her cellphone out of her pocket and dial nine-one-one.
Did that make her evil? Did that make her worse then Faith? Did it make her worse then the people her father sentenced to life in prison? Committing a crime was one thing, it meant that you were ballsy and despite Sam's "wild child" reputation she had never done anything like this. She'd never helped a shady character kidnap and traumatize people. She'd never tricked the police over something as big as attempted murder. Little stuff maybe, like parties with illegal substances, her fake ID, but murder? Sam didn't play around with murder. She'd been surrounded her whole life by the consequences of murder. Her father put the bastards in jail and her mother supported the survivors. She knew right from wrong. And she knew that there was a whole world of grey in between the two, and she knew that regardless of how you looked at it, Sam was aiding and abetting a murderer. She was sitting by while people suffered, powered by fascination and fear- a mindless sheep.
And she knew it was wrong. She chanted it like a mantra in her head. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. And then the scariest thought of all would cross her mind- not that the authorities might find out, or her family. But the fact that she actually might be enjoying it. The fact that she might actually be having fun on this morally corrupt adventure.
Sam closed her eyes and chanted the mantra in her head again. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. But all the while, her feet didn't leave the path of the well-worn carpet and her hand didn't inch towards her phone.
He came to in various groggy intervals. Everything looked murky, like fresh written ink that had smudged.
He never bothered to open his eyes further, and his hearing was all fuzzy (which he also didn't bother investigating) and he was vaguely aware that someone was trying to get his attention, but his dreams were so much better then this unclear strech of space. Unless this was the dream and the blonde and the brunette were real. Which he thinks highly unlikely, since he gets the sense that he gets royally fucked a lot and that he kind of deserves to be.
This time, the unclear murky grog land was a bit more uncloaked. Still bleedin' muffled, but with sounds that might be pain, or anger, or bitterness, or maybe a throat clogged with tears of someone too tough too cry (been there, done that, didn't last long, went back to being true to 'imself) or maybe possibly just hate and love all tangled together into one big ball of mush and grey space and time and sodding bloody bollocks in hell he's done this dance before. And he's fairly certain he didn't get a new dance partner for it, and now he's thinking of the blonde girl (and she smells so sweet and she's so familiar but for he life him he can't place her, and he thinks inexplicably of wanting to kiss her and kill her and tangle his hand in his locks because she makes him feel things- not that he knows what he feels) and he's fairly certain he's gained the attention of someone because righteousness joins the room along with self-hate and before he can get roped into another dangerous fiasco of caring about humans and their problems (and when exactly did he become an outsider to the human race?) he lets himself slip from the murky world back into the place of dreams? - unless that's too cliche, even for him-
He walks across the soft grass, the light dew feeling nice and cool on his bare feet. The pale, not quite sunlight, drifting overhead. He picks up a goblet of something, a drink he can't place, but it tastes good and fresh, stains his lips slightly red with awareness and life.
He looks around for the two girls, the blonde and the brunette since they're always around somewhere (the brunette trailing lightly behind the blonde, but with a fierceness that let you know she had a mind of her own) and he's not disappointed. The two of them are sitting by a river bank, the blonde dipping one of her feet ever so slightly into the water, while the brunette sat further away from it, her eyes regarding the water with suspicion and anger. He approached them softly, not wanting to disrupt them in their seemingly peaceful activities.
However, they seemed to sense him (as per usual) at around the same time, and both looked up with an air of relief.
"I wasn't sure you were coming," The blonde said with a slight pout, rising slower then the brunette did, who regarded him with an air of trepidation.
"Of course I was coming, pet," He replied, not entirely sure where he pulled the nickname from. The blonde seem unsure what to make of the nickname and looked at him strangely.
"Do you know where you are?" She asked him, her voice laced with caution. She asked him this question every time, he always responded with a shrug while the brunette always got irritated. This time was no different.
"Like he actually knows!" She hissed. "Like he actually knows where that crazy psycho bitch dragged him after Vegas."
"Dawn-" The blonde began to half-heartedly lecture but the brunette - Dawn, it seemed- ignored her and plowed on.
"You always make everything all about you! Spike and I have feelings too!" Dawn said, gesturing around her as if this Spike character was near her.
He glanced around him as if expecting to see someone coming over top of the hills, but no one came. He turned back around again and the blonde and Dawn were eyeing him funny. Dawn with a heavy sense of fear. "What kind of name is Spike?" He scoffed, laughing lightly though the other two turned ashen.
"You're Spike..." The blonde said slowly. Dawn closed her eyes, tears rolling down her cheeks, and suddenly he knew that everything was wrong. He'd brought all the emotions with him. "Don't you remember?" She asked gently, hazel eyes wide with concern.
"Buffy, don't you get it?" Dawn choked out, her breath staggering. "She- she took him! She took him and she stole him away from us, he doesn't remember!"
The blonde- Buffy (and that name, those names it was all clicking, if he could just stay here he could make sense of it all) gave him the most wounded look, and suddenly he knew, he was Spike and she was his and he was hers and Dawn needed him-
"I think he's finally coming around," a voice said above him, not really anxious but not really apathetic either.
"Hopefully your friend won't mess around with dangerous magic anymore," a male voice said, from somewhere to the left of him.
He opened his eyes and waited for the room to come into focus. High ceilings, curtains drawn tightly shut, fluorescent light beaming down upon him, a pale, busty, brown-eyed, brown haired girl looming over him. Looking impatient. Her red lips curved into a smirk as the mouth moved.
"Beginning to thing you'd never wake up, Spikey."
He can feel his brow knit in confusion. Spikey? Was he some kind of dog? He didn't feel like a dog. A quick assessment of his body told him that he wasn't a dog. And what was that strange smell? And why could he hear breathing, sense his surroundings?
He looked directing into the eyes of the girl and breathed deeply, her scent was intoxicating. He sat up suddenly, his lips bared into a snarl, the girl took a sudden step back, her eyes wide with alarm.
"What the fuck?" She spat, eyeing him strangely.
He didn't answer snarling and leaping at her, she took a step back further, he looked down, noticing the restraints. He bit his lip in rage and felt the tangy metallic substance fill his mouth. He swallowed it thoughtlessly, obediently. More. He thought, but a different kind, a fresher kind.
He could sense the human behind him, and the weakened witch behind the door, but he could also sense something better. A warrior, strong a powerful like him, with doe eyes, caught of her guard. A new dance partner at last.
Buffy went into her bedroom, and closed the door. At Willow's insistence (and alright, maybe she's also doing it to avoid Angel) she'd gone upstairs for a nap. She contemplated actually complying with what her friend wanted, but for some reason the past was replaying in her head again and she wanted to relive it. Turning to lock her door, she grabbed a stake and climbed out the window, reminded of her teenagers years.
When her feet hit the ground, she took off running for their cemetery.
When she got near it, she slowed so that she could appreciate the feeling of walking through the black iron wrought gates, hearing past snatches of their conversations and their squabbles. As she neared graves she could hear fight noises and puns, sarcastic retorts and yes, if she listened close enough she could hear the breaths that had escaped in between their kisses.
Of course, everything was different now, and sure enough there were screams of panic and terror and tears and could she actually hear the pattering of blood?
Shaking her head to expel what she considered the darker periods of their relationship, she headed towards his crypt, her feet sure of the path that she had walked several times before.
Hesitating at the door, unsure of if she was actually ready to re-live the moments that had occurred between her and Spike, Buffy took a deep breath for courage and slowly opened the door.
Everything was the same, only different. The TV wasn't playing, and the chair had particles of dust on it. There were still numerous bottles of alcohol laying about, but they had an air of loneliness about them, instead of an air of camaraderie and friendship like they'd once had.
Descending the steps to the lower level was like a particularly punch to the stomach, completely winding her off her ability to speech and making her tear up. The furniture wasn't broken. The furniture wasn't broken, and that's what had her crying? What had she expected, him to sleep on the floor since the bed was demolished? Signs of his rage over their arguments. But there was nothing. The furniture was intact.
And somehow, it was that little detail that made her collapse onto his non-broken bed and sob herself to sleep.
Buffy looked around her, she seemed to be in some sort of meadow. There was a river bank near her, with crystal clear water. Getting the sense that she was supposed to wait for something (or someone). Buffy sat along side the river, occasionally dipping in her foot to play with the water. As she sat around waiting Buffy started to consider things. Could this be a slayer dream? Technically, she had fallen asleep...
Buffy turned suddenly, detecting a presence behind her. Seeing that (for the second time today) it was only Dawn, Buffy relaxed slightly, before scrunching her face in confusion.
"Dawn, what are you doing here?"
"I don't know, I guess I fell asleep reading. But I figured this was your dream, since you have the ability to travel through dreams, or whatever."
"That could have been either my dream or Faith's." Buffy muttered defensively.
"Either way, still a slayer thing." Dawn pointed out, settling down where she stood, giving the water a distrustful look.
"Well, I don't know why we're here." Buffy said, a slight pout on her lips. "Though, I guess it does seem kind of familiar..."
"See," Dawn said, triumphant. "Slayer thing."
Buffy frowned, ignoring her little sister, slipping her foot into the water again. The truth was, that this meadow did seem vaguely familiar. It wasn't that strange desert place that she dreamt about every few months, but it did have a strange feeling to it. Sighing, Buffy felt something tingle at the base of her spine. The type of tingle that usually translated to vampire.
Turning, Buffy saw that it was Spike and smiled, somehow she just knew that this was the person she'd been waiting to see. (and he didn't recoil when he saw her which was also nice)
"I wasn't sure you were coming." She told him, unable to keep herself from slipping it to a bit of a pout. Through her perphial vision she could see Dawn already standing, looking wary of what was occurring.
"Of course I was coming, pet." Spike responded and Buffy can't stop a confused look from crossing her features. He hasn't called her a nickname in quite a while. At least not without that angry, bitter tone.
Shooting a fleeting look at Dawn who looked just as confused and perhaps a touch more angry, Buffy appraised Spike, trying to keep her tone neutral. "Do you know where you are?"
Spike shrugged and before Buffy could question him further Dawn exploded behind her. "Like he actually knows!" She yelled, stepping a bit closer to Buffy but still being mindful of the water. "Like he actually knows where that crazy psycho bitch dragged him after Vegas."
"Dawn-" Buffy started with the intent of calming Dawn down, but Dawn ignored her and continued her rant.
"You always make everything about you! Spike and I have feelings too!"
Buffy opened her mouth to retort, but her response was frozen as she watched Spike look around him, as if searching for another person. Buffy scrunched her face with worry and confusion and shot Dawn another glance. Dawn was ashen.
"What kind of name is Spike?" Spike asked, chuckling lightly to himself.
Buffy felt dread and fear swirl together in her gut, making her feel as heavy as lead. "You're Spike…." she said slowly, not taking her eyes off of him for a second. "Don't you remember?"
"Buffy don't you get it?" Dawn choked out, her voice laden with tears. "She-she took him! She took him and she stole him away from us, he doesn't remember!"
Buffy took a second to fully register what Dawn was saying, but before it even really clicked Buffy knew her little sister was right. Of course Dawn was right, because it made the most sense. Faith would take Spike and twist him around make him hers, tear him away from Buffy just so that Faith could be broken. How was Faith to know that Spike didn't love Buffy anymore? How was Faith to know that she was tearing apart a good man? And it was all because Buffy loved him.
Her face crumpled and Buffy tried hard not to succumb to tears. Once again, this was all her fault. The blame lay entirely on her shoulders. She couldn't take it anymore, she needed him, he so clearly needed her and Dawn needed both of them. She shot him a pleading look and as she did so she could swear those blue eyes came alive with depth and understanding and love-
Buffy woke with a jolt on Spike's bed, alone.
Samantha jumped when Faith flew the door open, dragging David through the door behind her, slamming it shut when they were both through.
"Did I just hear snarling?" She asked in alarm but Faith ignored her, dragging David over to the couch and pulling him up onto it.
"And that," David panted, giving Sam a dirty look. "Is why you don't tamper with forces you can neither comprehend or control."
"Excuse me?" Sam said, taking a step towards David but her path was blocked by Faith.
"Your spell did something. Something bad."
"My spell? I don't know what any of that stuff even means," Sam cried, naturally growing defensive. "You're the one who gave me that stupid necklace to begin with!"
"What kind of necklace?" David asked sharply.
Faith turned to him, her eyes narrowed with suspicion. "Why?"
"It activated my dormant powers. And I think it was a reddish-purple with a silver chain. Kinda gaudy."
Faith threw Sam a mutinous look, but David jumped in before Faith could get angry, trying to situate himself into a more comfortable position.
"And I don't assume either of you bothered to research this necklace more carefully?" Neither one answered and David sighed. "Is the necklace still in either of your possession?"
Faith gave a stiff nod, walking over to her duffle bag and retrieving the necklace. She passed the necklace to David who scrutinized it in silence for a few minutes before heaving a large sigh.
"It's impossible to determine anything about the necklace, other then the fact that yes, it is rather gaudy." David looked up to find neither of the two girls amused. "We'll have to go to L.A., I have a-"
"No fucking way. The whole sunny state of California is off limits."
"…I have contacts there, that will be able to provide us research as to what this necklace means. He's a professor at UCLA, and has stumbled across pockets of energy that seem to open portals. He's completely reliable. But, before we go there, we need to handle our vampire situation. I would recommend a pointy wooden stick, but if you are indeed the slayer," He gestured to Faith as he spoke. "Then you already know that and have decided on another course of action. One that possibly included turning him savage."
"Savage?" Samantha repeated, her voice a higher pitch then she intended.
"I did not intend to turn him savage, though I guess all things considered, it's a good plan. I've just got to make him crave a different slayer."
"There is only one-"
"Look, David, I got it, you've been around long enough to see some pretty freaky things and you're smart enough to start questioning the world you live in. But everything you've dealt with has been through a book. I've lived and I've seen and I am one of two slayers. Once he smells her blood, he'll start to remember, and then he won't want me anymore."
"And what will he remember?" Samantha asked, but Faith didn't respond.
"We'll go to L.A. But we're going to need pretty extensive coverage, identity replacements, scent disguises, the whole nine yards." For the first time, Faith looked Samantha over carefully. "Will you be able to hand using that much power at once? With a distinct possibility that you will also have to use magic in other scenarios?"
Sam wanted to close her tired eyes, maybe that would help her get a clear head around what she was being asked to do. Further aiding and abetting. But she seemed unable to tear her eyes away from Faith's determined ones. She was struck again by her earlier thought, that she would do anything for Faith to have that look on her face. She reminded her so much of-
"I'll need something more potent then the heart of a single deer."
Faith eyed her again, slowly and carefully. "How sure are you?" Faith asked, her voice soft but serious.
Samantha straightened her back. "Did you mean what you said in that Cafe? That by having access to these powers I would be able to get what I truly desired?"
Faith confirmed, nodding her head once.
"Then yes. I'm willing to do whatever it takes."
Faith tilted her head softly to the side, seeing Samantha in a whole new light. "Well, then we better go kill some humans."
A/N 2: The reason why Spike dreams of Buffy and Dawn and converses with them and yet this is the only time they remember is because I figured Spike would dream about them (they are the most important people to him) but they wouldn't be aware. Slayers can share a connection through their dreams (Slayer Dreams, Graduation Day) so I figured that Buffy could be brought into Spike's dream under the guise of a "Slayer Dream" and since it regards Dawn as well, hitch Dawn along for the ride.
A/N 3: Regarding the whole Deer Heart and Human Heart, for some of the darker magic spells Willow killed a deer and got some of it's blood as an ingredient in a dark magic spell. They way I see it is that a heart would provide more magical energy since it is the organ that blood is pumped through. Both animal's and humans have been used as sacrifices before and since a human death would be viewed as more cruel, I decided that a human heart would give Sam more access to the energy provided by dark magic.
Also, I'm curious, does anyone think of Sam as a Mary Sue? And if so, constructive criticism please?
Now: Please review and I hope you liked it!