EPILOGUE: Home Again
CHAPTER RATING: T
CHAPTER PAIRING: Giles/Drusilla, Buffy/?
TIMELINE/SPOILERS: AU after AtS "Not Fade Away"
DISCLAIMERS: All BtVS characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions. I'm just fixing their mistakes!
CHAPTER CREDITS: n/a
CHAPTER NOTES: I've left some threads still dangling because I will be doing a sequel to this story. Time to up the rating! I want to thank all of you for following this story all these months. I hope it was an enjoyable trip! Special thanks to ginar369, cavemenftw, fatefox, PeaceHeather, pfeifferpack, spuffy luvr, and sweetprincipale, whose comments, messages, and discussions helped inspire me to take some risks with these characters.
He could taste the other vampire's ashes from the gasp of breath he took at that last moment. That acrid flavor, coupled with adrenaline and the blows he took to his face and torso, forced him on his hands and knees. He coughed up blood as if he were drowning on it—which might not be too far from the truth. The haze in the building was disorienting, but he made out both Dawn and Willow standing to either side of him. They looked to be in shock.
He was definitely battered, but not nearly broken enough to forget that the scent of the Slayer's blood was what drew him there in the first place. It overwhelmed him now, and his eyes, still in their demon form, spotted her slumped against the opposite wall in a pool of it.
"I killed him," Dawn's hoarse voice broke the silence. "I...didn't mean to...I just..." Her body shuddered, but stayed rooted in one place. That is, until she took in the full tableau before her, and her eyes settled on Tara.
The vampire did the same as he gathered himself together. The good witch paused, not sure what to do until she watched the young girl crumple to the floor, fainting. When Tara took her leave of the dying Slayer, that's when he pounced.
Giles woke with a start at the ring-ring of the phone. The sound was so jarring, having not heard it in a while, that he fumbled with the receiver. "Yes, hello," he replied breathlessly.
"Well, it's about time!" the deeply American voice on the other end scolded. "We could be in the middle of another apocalypse!"
Giles grumbled. "Then I imagine you'd be quite silly to spend precious time trying to ring me across the pond."
He heard a sigh in response.
His fingers massaged his forehead. "I'm sorry, Polina. It's been...challenging...here as of late."
By that, he meant Drusilla. But, he noticed now that she was missing from the bed.
What he didn't realize was that she was still collapsed on the floor. Only, instead of being a blubbering mess, she was calm and collected. A sense of lucidity had washed over her a few minutes ago, reminding her of a long-forgotten time. A time before Angelus.
She understood now that it wasn't loss she was feeling. It was power. The power that came from being the eldest of the Aurelian line.
Everything was blurry for her right now, and his eyes were nearly bruised shut. That didn't matter. They sensed each other from the start. Neither knew what the other's reaction would be this time, but surrounded by remnants and reminders of death, neither let their worries stop them.
"Am I dead?" Buffy asked as he moved close to her, hoping beyond hope that he wasn't a mirage.
"No, I am," Spike replied with his usual snark.
She let out a painful laugh, and he clutched her desperately, burying his face in her neck, her hair. Every ounce of energy she had left, she put into returning the embrace—until their mouths met, and they were tasting the metallic tang of blood from each others' battle wounds.
"If I had known..."
Spike tried to shush her, knowing what she was about to say. "They lied to us both, luv." He ran his torn hands over her hair and skin, memorizing her touch again.
"I couldn't bear it. I can't bear it. Not one more moment away from you." Her kisses were more frantic now.
He gripped her shoulders, maneuvering her gently so that he could inspect her injury. The bandages were soaked through, allowing the blood to stain her top. "Gotta get you outta here, pet."
With Tara attending Dawn and Willow (who was still in some sort of stasis), Spike was on his own. But this was nothing new. He knew how to care for his women. Buffy would make it, even if he had to move Heaven, Earth, and Bloody Hell. Isn't that what he told her back in Sunnydale?
She called him her Champion. This time, he wouldn't stop proving it to her.