Forever and a Day by Lilachigh
The story so far: Reunited at New Year in London, Buffy and Spike have little time to enjoy their new found love. Together with Giles and Willow they are soon tackling a Plague Demon. Fed by a mist that turns adults into children, the Demon has been advancing across Europe for centuries and has now reached England. Buffy is infected by saved by Spike's blood. Although Willow's magic has protected her and Giles to a certain extent, Giles has become incredibly strong and is determined to kill Spike as he realises that the mist has made vampires invincible. They cannot die. But Buffy refuses to let her old Watcher near the man she loves. She too has become super strong but also, far more alarmingly, she no longer recognises danger when she sees it. Now she and Spike have reached Stonehenge and are waiting for the final battle with the Plague Demon.
Chp. 16 A New Adventure
A few miles from Stonehenge, a small sports car roared along the empty road, headlights slashing through the dark, sending the odd sheep in its way leaping to safety on the frost bitten grass of Salisbury Plain.
Rupert Giles was driving, his face a mask of cold concentration. The tracker device that he'd had inside his car, the same car that Buffy and Spike had driven away, had made them easy to follow. His mouth twisted in a smile that had not the slightest touch of humour in it. Modern technology! It was Kennedy who;d insisted that this was a new world since the last apocalypse. She wanted every Watcher to have all the latest gadgets to help them in their fight.
Giles had struggled to understand. He had the feeling that every time he touched one of these little toys, he broke it! But if Kennedy's gizmos helped him find Buffy, then he would never think a nasty thought about her again.
At his side, the bundle of car rugs and coats stirred and Willow's tousled red head appeared. "Have we found them?" she asked, gazing at the little screen Giles had propped on the dashboard in front of him.
The two yellow lights, one stationary, one moving, were getting closer and closer. "They're at Stonehenge," Giles replied briefly.
"Oh!" Willow pushed the rugs aside and sat up. "I've always wanted to go there. But hey, just for the Summer Solstice with the sun coming up at dawn and everyone singing and dancing and – "
"Buffy obviously feels that's where the Plague Demon is going to appear next. Perhaps that's where it's been heading all this time."
Willow nibbled at a rough edge of her thumbnail. "Giles, none of this makes any sort of sense, does it?"
He gave her a swift sideways glance. She was such a strange mixture. Sometimes because she was so deeply into the magical side of life, people forgot that Willow had a streak of commonsense and logic a mile wide.
"What would the Plague Demon want at Stonehenge? Ok, much mystical goodness, I'm sure, but it doesn't seem to need any help, if you know what I mean. It's all with the mist and the plague and changing adults into children and making vamps invincible and Slayers super strong. What else can it possibly need?"
"Does it have to need something?"
Willow gazed out of the window as the dark countryside flashed past. Giles was driving too fast, but she knew it was pointless asking him to slow down. She had an idea, well, more of a feeling than an idea, one that was hard to put into words. She struggled to clear her head: perhaps everything that had happened wasn't about what the demon needed; it was what those people that strayed into his path needed!
Didn't most adults yearn to be children once more? Free of all responsibilities and worries. Vampires wanted to be invincible, Slayers needed to be stronger. If she herself hadn't hidden behind the magical barrier she'd constructed, what would have been her greatest need that the demon mist granted? She had no way of knowing what would have happened to her. For instance, did she really want all this magical power? Had it ruined her life? Would the demon have sensed that and removed it from her? Well, she would never know now.
Suddenly, just as her phone rang, she pointed ahead – "Look!"
And to the right of the road as they raced down the slope and round a corner, she could see the night sky was stained with a faint red glow – the colour of fresh blood…
The wind coursing across Salisbury Plain was blowing harder now, bringing in icy cold air from the north. Buffy's hair was torn from its fastenings and blew round her head like a halo. Underneath the racing clouds, a faint crimson light was beginning to appear, thrown upwards from the great stones of Stonehenge.
"Hey, Plaguey Boy's nearly here! Come on!" Buffy was laughing, her hands flat against one of the huge stones that made up the vast circle. She could feel the intense heat growing, the tremble and rumble of something happening deep underground. The very air was glowing red now and she could taste smoke and something old and bitter in the air.
Spike vamped out and spun on his heels, leather coat flying. Which way would the bloody attack come? Where would it burst from the ground? Could they beat it? One thing was certain, his mate, his Slayer, his lover, seemed to have no doubts at all. And that worried him – no terrified him! - more than the arrival of the demon itself.
He could still feel her last kiss on his lips – and it tasted – wonderful, exciting and – strange. She was still Buffy, still his love, still the Slayer, but buried under all the romanticism of his William nature there was a small nugget of realism that had never gone away. Whether he liked it or not, the Slayer was changing – just as he was! There was no way he could deny it and no way he could tell what they would both become. The fabric of their lives was altering and his biggest fear was that it would tear and the shock of that would toss them apart for ever.
Buffy's eyes were sparkling in the starlight. Every inch of her body was tingling with the desire to fight, the knowledge that she was growing stronger with every passing second. Throughout her whole life, she'd struggled for just that – trained and exercised, fought and overcome all sorts of odds, knowing that she was still not strong enough, that one day she would meet something even stronger than her and that would be the day she died. But now -
Suddenly, in the middle of the circle, a huge section of turf glowed red and burst into small dancing flames. With a roar, the ground fell away and a smooth sided shaft appeared, full of angry crimson smoke.
"It's nearly here, Spike! Stay back." She edged forward, peering down, fists clenched, her face bathed with the light of a thousand hells. Raising her head at last, her eyes gleamed across the pit to where Spike stood, coat flying back in the hot wind, vamping out, joyfully ready to fight to the death with her. And in a flash, no more than a second, Buffy knew she was happy, totally, without any doubts. At this moment she needed nothing else to complete her life.
She took a deep breath, ready for the battle, preparing for war and victory!
And nothing appeared! No demon, no plague mist, nothing. The column of hot air blew away in the cold wind and the roiling red smoke vanished as if it had never been. Only the black, singed earth at her feet showed her that something had been there.
Spike vamped back to a very puzzled human face. "Where did it go?"
"Westwards." Giles' voice made them spin round. "Always westwards."
Buffy walked round to Spike's side. She didn't like the way her Watcher looked at her lover. She realised she never had. "I don't understand, Giles. Why won't it fight? Hey, is it scared of me? Well, so it should be. I defeated The First. Perhaps it knows that."
"Buffy!" It was Willow, panting up the slope from the road. "I don't think it even knows you're there! Kennedy just rang me. She's found out a lot about it in old manuscripts she discovered in some place in Cardiff – that's a town in Wales. She says it makes it fairly obvious, the demon hasn't come to England to settle. It's just passing through on its way to America! It heads for places that have some sort of mystical strength so it can feed and then travels on again."
Buffy pushed away the thought of why someone would have stored old documents about demons in Cardiff and concentrated on what Willow was saying. "You mean, the Devil's Punchbowl, Stonehenge, they're just – just - stops to take on gas!"
Willow nodded. "Kennedy reckons it will surface under Cardiff for another load of energy and then head out under the North Sea to the States."
Buffy shuddered. "We can't let it do that."
Giles stared down at the pit. "There's no way of stopping it. All we can do is alert the Slayers on the East Coast and hope we can come up with a plan before it reaches them. We've got our own problems to sort out."
Buffy stared at him in astonishment. "What the heck is more important than stopping this Plague Demon?"
Giles reached out a hand to her, but she ignored it. "Buffy, from what Kennedy says, Willow and I think that now the demon has passed through, the changes he made to us all will start to fade. The children will revert to adults, our strength will lessen and vampires will become – well, ordinary vampires again, if there is such a thing!"
"And you're happy about that? Oh don't lie to me, Giles! Jeez, I can see from your face that you think that's a great idea."
"Buffy – don't you want to go back to how things were?" Willow stared at her, confused.
"Buffy likes being stronger than everyone and Spike likes being invincible," Giles said, his voice suddenly cold.
The vampire grinned at him. "Well, if there's a choice between sodding well dying and staying alive, strangely enough, I choose staying alive every time. But perhaps I'm funny that way, Rupert!"
The Watcher waved an hand at him in irritation. "Well, luckily for us, Spike, you don't have a choice. The demon has gone on westwards. By my calculations, life should start returning to normal by tomorrow at the latest. So I would suggest you get under cover before the sun comes up!"
He turned to the small blonde girl standing opposite him, across the yawning pit at their feet. "Buffy – I know you wanted to kill this thing, but this obviously wasn't the right time and place. And if it was just you being super strong, then I might say it's a pity you have to revert to normal, but vampires whom we can't kill – no, I won't countenance a world where that's the way of life." There was a long silence, then he said wearily, "Well, right, come on, Willow. Let's drive down to Emsworth and see if any of the children have changed back yet. Buffy, I'll see you in London. And do be careful of my car!"
He turned away and headed towards the road. Willow hesitated to follow him. "He's right, Buff. I know it's making you freak out but honestly, this isn't where we get to kill the demon. Not everything is that neat and tidy in life, like a television show where the plot has to be finished by the end of the hour. We need to recover - revert to our normal selves. I'm sure Giles doesn't want to stay all Supermany what with the lifting great boulders and everything. He keeps forgetting and almost pulled the car door off its hinges when she set out to follow you! Yes, we need to sort out the huge mess the demon's left behind here, then fly across to the States and track it to its final lair, wherever that may be. Kennedy will probably come up with loads more info for us. You know how clever she is. We'll kill it in America. Hey, perhaps Robin and Faith can help."
She turned to follow Giles, then said, "I'll see you in London, okay?"
"We'll see you soon, Will. Oh, and thank Kennedy. She's been a big help."
Willow frowned. This cool, controlled, polite Buffy was yet another new person. And one she didn't much like. She threw an agonised glance at Spike, but he was staring down into the empty pit, like a cat whose mouse has refused to come out and play.
"OK. Bye, for now."
Buffy watched her friend stumble away across the grass, saw her get into the car next to Giles and watched as the headlights cut a circle through the dark as Giles turned and set off eastwards once more. She sensed Spike rather than heard him. Without looking she leant back against his chest as his arms closed round her and his chin nuzzled in the soft hair above her ear.
"So it's back to normal tomorrow, then, Slayer. Do you think that could include a nice soft bed, closed curtains and a bottle of champagne? I'll probably need a lot of loving tender care when I'm not invincible any more. You know, lots of massaging to get all the kinks out of my muscles! All this anti-climax is bad for me – I could do with a bit of proper climax for once!"
Buffy smiled at the wistful, hopeful tone of his voice and for a few minutes she let herself imagine them alone, free to do what they liked – and they usually liked a lot. They had had such a short time together since she discovered he was still alive. A few days, then the Plague Demon had arrived. She allowed herself memories of those days, then shut the thoughts carefully away inside her and said, "Giles and Willow are wrong."
Spike turned her in his arms and stared into the eyes that could see so deeply into his still fairly new soul. "Buffy….."
"Think about it, Spike! We fly home, back to our normal selves, then what? Hang around hoping it hasn't gone past us again? Watch whole sections of the States become child-ridden? Trust that we get infected again, because, hey, believe me, there's no way we're going to stop it otherwise."
"Giles – "
"Giles is just so thankful to learn that the effects wear off, that he can kill you and any other vampire, he's not thinking straight."
"So, what do we do?"
Buffy eased herself away from him. "We don't have to do anything." She walked round the pit and stared down into it. "I do!"
Spike gazed at her, his eyes widening as he realised what she was saying. "You're going after it! Now!"
She flung back her head, hands on hips, eyes begging for understanding. "Don't you see? Every minute that passes, I'm going to grow weaker and weaker, sliding back to my old self, which was never strong enough to beat it. Jeez, I couldn't have beaten the First without you sacrificing yourself! But Plague Boy leaves a wide trail – one I can follow while I'm strong. I have to go. Don't look at me like that - I'm sorry – I know we've only just found each other, but you could have a good life here, back home – "
Like some great cat, Spike leapt across the pit to her side. He tangled a hand in her hair and jerked her head back. His kiss wasn't tender or loving. It was brutal, possessive, angry, consuming. "Bloody hell, Slayer. You've said some stupid things to me in your time, but that last little pity ditty takes the biscuit. If you think for one moment that I'd let you go chasing Plaguey on your own, having all the fun without me, you must be a sandwich short of a picnic!"
Buffy struggled to get her breath, tears running down her cheeks. "We might never come back. We could both die."
Spike's laugh echoed off the towering grey stones that had stood for so many years, seen so much of man and vampire kind come and go. "So we could, but while we're waiting for that to happen, I suggest we both live, Slayer. Race you!"
And without a backward glance, he leapt into the pit. Buffy stood for a second, gazing up at the night sky, speckled with stars. Would she ever see it again? Did she care? No, if she was truthful all that mattered was the mission and joining her lover in a new adventure.
Taking a deep breath, she jumped and seconds later the ground shifted, the turf settled back and the stones continued their long wait. And somewhere underground, a Slayer and Vampire walked hand in hand towards the West.
The end of Part One.
So this part of Buffy and Spike"s adventures, Forever and a Day, has come to a conclusion. Part Two – Forever Means Forever - starts very soon but I thought you might all be getting somewhat weary and could do with a little rest. Meanwhile, don't forget to read Through Time to Me and watch out for the sequel to Cousin Arabella – called Three for a Secret – which will be posted shortly.
Oh and any comments you might have about this story will be gratefully received!