HELP

Buffy AU Fanfiction

Set after Buffy – the vampire slayer, during the fifth season of "Angel" (at the end of episode 2 "Just rewards") leading into AU

Summary: When Spike asks Fred for help, an unknown power decides to give him a break. But to what price? And who else is playing that game?

Disclaimer: Someone else invented "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel", I'm a fan and sometimes I like to imagine things were different. First story I'm actually sharing, please be kind.

"I know what's down there—where it's trying to take me—and it's not the place heroes go. Not by a bloody long shot. It's the other one. Full of fire and torment. And it's happening. And I'm terrified."

Fred's heart went out to the handsome vampire spirit in her office. Even before he faced her and asked: "Help me?"

In this moment she could see clearly that he was a soul in distress. How could she deny him her help? Wasn't helping the helpless the motto of their group when they started?

She was still reeling from the emotional onslaught, when a glow started to form right behind the phantom. Her eyes widened as a strange humming sound filled the air. Spike turned to look and took a step back. "What...?"

What had started as a light glow was swelling and pulsing. A humanoid figure formed, seemingly consisting of nothing but light. Flowing garments, standing there and opening the arms as if about to embrace someone. A voice more melodious as anything Fred could remember having heard before said softly: "You asked for help – and here I am. Will you let me help?"

Mesmerized, Spike stepped into the light and it engulfed him. "Spike!", Fred's scream was piercing. The light flared blindingly. It coated him, sank into him and vanished. Fred blinked a few times. The light was gone. Standing in her lab was a strange woman, holding Spike in a tender embrace.

It took the blond vampire only a few seconds to wake from his stupor. He freed himself from the arms holding him and snarled: "What just happened? YOU!", his finger jabbed the newcomer, "you hypnotized me. What did you do to me?"

Brown eyes looked into his. "I...I don't understand. I'm still here." Confusion swirled all around her and Fred used that moment to step up to them. "Okay. Let's just sort this out." Her scientific interest aroused by the unusual occurrence.

She quickly examined the strange woman. Red locks framing a face that seemed just a little bit too perfect to be human, busty chest, dressed in a white gown that flowed around her and ended just before touching the floor, bare feet. 'If she'd be a regular woman I would probably be jealous of her beauty. Always wished I'd fill out more.' Fred thought before cautiously reaching for the figure, but her fingers glided right through, a buzz ran from the fingertips up to her elbow before she withdrew her hand.

Then she reached for Spike and was surprised when her fingers brushed solid material. He felt her touch and their eyes met. "Let me get my scanners. I have to read you again."

"Hey" Spike bellowed as Fred hurried down the stairs, "I thought we would sort out who the bloody hell she is, first."

"Are you not interested, what happened to you? What changed? Why can I touch you, now? And why can you touch her when I can't? I need data. This is exciting."

The vampire frowned and took his time to study the red-haired appearance in front of him. Right now, she seemed to be lost in thought, more than just a bit confused and contemplating her fate. Her eyes seemed hollow and he didn't want to look at them too long. "I'm sorry, I failed you.", she murmured without looking at him, and even though her voice broke, a hint of the melody it possessed came through. Her outline grew fainter and suddenly he was afraid she would vanish, like he had during the last days, and he packed her by the arm. "Don't be so cryptic, love. Who are you? And what did you do?"

Her answer sounded like: "I am fallen." and he couldn't help but shake her a bit at that. Then she finally looked at him and the vacant expression on her face was gone. "Fallon.* (*speak: FAL-len) That is my name. I was trying to help you but I've failed, I shouldn't be here, any longer. This was not supposed to happen."

She looked at him with a sadness too vast for tears. "Whatever am I going to do?"

"First off, I suggest dropping the dramatics, love.", Spike said forcefully. In his opinion the sooner she snapped out of it and started making sense the better. Being nice seldom helped under those circumstances. He wouldn't let those large soulful eyes get to him. "Then we see what science queen, here, can find out about the situation.", he nodded at Fred who came back up to her office with the scanner she had used on him before.

"Maybe I can save you a bit of time", Fallon replied, "and tell you what I know while Miss Burkle runs the tests." She didn't wait for them to answer. "I was sent here to restore Spike's body, but seeing as I screwed up, I think he might have gotten a more solid form, which would be the reason you can touch him", she paused and sighed, "but it won't last. I can already feel the energy leaving him. It's happening slowly but the process will be reversed." "That's interesting.", the keen scientist remarked while scanning Spike, "I get a few rather unusual readings here. It's even harder to describe his condition now. I mean, he was unique before and now it just got stranger. His physical body is unlike anything I studied before." She glanced at the other woman and asked: "What will happen when the energy leaves his form?"

"He will probably just revert to the way he was before.", the red-haired woman sighed again and started pacing around. "I am so utterly useless. They should have send somebody else. Nothing I did ever worked out the way it should have. Why did I think this would be different? Probably just didn't have anyone else volunteering..."

"Are you sure?", Fred asked concerned and Spike was relieved when the rant was interrupted, "he won't just vanish completely? Will he?"

"What? No." Fallon stopped short. She looked shocked. "He is still bound to that amulet.", That being said she resumed pacing the room but suddenly halted, "The amulet. That's what blocked me. I can feel it now. But not without intervention, it couldn't have.", looking thoughtful she eventually added: "I should pray."

"What?" Spike disbelievingly threw in. "You are crazy. When has praying ever helped?"

"Well how do you know it hasn't helped, you git?", the young woman replied hotly, "And if you were the servant of a higher power and stuck on a different plane of existence, it might just be the only way to ensure communication – so, get bend." The way her face had flushed during that little speech and how she petulantly crossed her arms in front of her, she didn't look like a transcendent something from another dimension to him. She looked more like a child. A bratty, frightened child.

He decided to take pity in her, just this once: "Didn't mean to drive you into a huff, love. I just never saw anything useful coming out of it. If you want to see change, you gotta act."

Fred chose that moment to get a few words in: " Could we come back to the facts? I still have to get your readings.", she nodded at Fallon, "and it wouldn't hurt to keep both of you under close supervision. We should try anything to make sure Spike's condition will stabilize."

"I don't want anyone to keep taps on me.", Spike protested, "If I have a body right now, I should be out and enjoying whatever time I have."

"He still is a vampire, right?", Fred inquired. "I mean the results of the scan are a bit scrambled." "I didn't even manage to give him his body back, so why are you even asking if I could have extracted his demon?" the originator of the recent developments sulked. The pretty scientist sighed. "It's just that I haven't had any time to think about ways to help him. Then you show up and everything changes. The results I got from his scan earlier were unusual but similar enough to a ghost that I had an idea what I was dealing with – not a good idea but something to work on. I don't even know where to begin now. It's only about half an hour after sunrise so you won't be able to leave the building during the next twelve hours anyway. I suggest I start testing our newcomer and then we'll all attend the morning meeting."

It was Spike's turn to pace. He used the whole lab, picking up things and toying with them before he put them back. It felt good to be able to hold something again. Everything in him screamed to get out of the lab and have something to drink but he couldn't make a break for it. The two women were trying to help but the wait almost killed him.

Glancing up at the office, he fought down the urge to sigh, clenching his teeth.

Fred was marveling over the similarities between Fallon's results and the first readings she got on Spike. Even without comparing them directly she was sure they were almost the same but the woman seemed to be more in control of herself: even able to lift small objects. But the scientist would ponder the implications after a few hours of research. She was sure there had to be texts about similar phenomenons.

"Alright. We are done for now... there is still some time before the meeting starts. 8 o'clock. Maybe you could let me look through some stuff and prepare? I'd meet you at the conference room at the 32nd floor."

Those words sounded like music in the vampire's ears. He sped up the stairs to them. "Right. Thanks. We'll get out of your hair.", he took the phantom woman by the hand and started to tug her downstairs.

"Yes. See you later.", the befuddled woman added, letting herself be dragged towards the door. Spike pushed it open violently. As soon as they were both outside he grabbed the red-head by the throat and lifted her up. He would have loved to slam her against the wall but she would probably just disappear into it. Gritting his teeth he watched her hanging in his grip. She looked more surprised than anything else barely even struggled.

Maybe that was the reason he decided to lower her back to the ground. Most of his anger dissipated and his features softened when he asked her: "Why? What is the reason for bringing me back?"

"You're angry.", she remarked, "And I understand why you are. But we didn't bring you back. I was just trying to restore your body. I guess my goddess knows more about your future and she wanted to intervene but I didn't ask a lot of questions. I'm sorry.", she looked pleadingly at him, "I'm really sorry. I only wanted to help."

"Right.", he turned away from her, leaning his head against the wall. "I want to get a drink. You can come with if you want."

Fallon slipped one of her hands in his and gently stroked his arm with the other. "I promised to keep an eye on you.", she said softly. "But maybe we should find you some blood before anything else? I think they have some kind of canteen around." He felt himself being gently led towards the elevator.

The amulet lies in the middle of a magic circle. Sparkling. Candles flare around it and suddenly go out. Everything is dark.