AN: Hi everyone. This story has been playing on my mind for a while now and I really wanted to try and write it. I hope you like and would love feedback.
Summary: After Buffy sacrifices herself to save Dawn, she expects to receive her reward; Death. However, when she wakes up 100 years in the future, she realises her slayer duties are far from over and there's only one man still alive to help her find her way home.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Life after Death
By Secret Slayer
Someone, or something, is touching her face.
There's something very wrong here.
Bolting upright, Buffy instantly panics when she finds herself in an unrecognisable room. It's almost too dark to see and the smell is enough to make her gag. The small space is fairly empty, with a decrepit dining table sitting wonkily in the far corner with two chairs that have never matched. There's a bare bulb swinging precariously in the centre of the low ceiling. She glances down at herself and pulls back the brown, threadbare blanket that's been placed over her legs. Cautiously, she stands, cursing when she bumps her head on the inhumanly low roof.
"Oh no, no, no, no!" shrieks a woman.
Buffy's eyes widen at the tiny creature that scurries towards her. Its little gnarled hands push hard at the tops of Buffy's thighs, the highest point it can reach, knocking her back down onto the bed.
"Hey! Back off!" Buffy snaps.
The miniature demon tries to the wrap the blanket around Buffy's legs again, despite the slayer swatting its hands away like an annoying fly. The demon woman starts to mumble something and suddenly Buffy finds she is unable to move. Her entire body has frozen stiff in mid swatting position.
"What the –"
A wrinkly finger presses against the slayer's lips to silence her. Buffy's nose, still able to move, scrunches in disgust at the scabby, red finger so close to her face. The little woman is a dark, blood red all over with deep crevices in the skin. Whether they are wrinkles caused from centuries of living or just a physical trait of this particular demon, Buffy is unsure. Her eyes are black and lifeless and she has a head of wild white hair.
"Shush child," she scolds, "Noise will get you killed."
"Only one thing getting killed around here lady," Buffy retorts ominously, scowling at the woman.
The woman glares back and grabs a walking stick that's been innocently leaning against the small make shift bed Buffy is on. In one quick and painful blow, the little lady jumps and smacks the top of Buffy's head.
"Ow!" Buffy shrieks, unable to rub the sore spot on her head.
"Shhh," the demon snaps again, losing her patience.
The woman snaps her fingers together and a warm sensation floods over Buffy, her muscles relaxing and moving again.
"Where am I?" Buffy asks, studying the demon with narrowed eyes. "How did I get here?"
The woman stops mid pace and purses her lips, "Poor, poor human child. All alone and lost."
The demon sighs and hobbles over to a small stove, where she retrieves something freshly brewed. The little cup fits snugly in the palm of Buffy's hand and she struggles to hold it without breaking it. Buffy looks at the pink concoction inside and warily sniffs it, smiling at the pleasant smell of strawberries. Suddenly overwhelmed with thirst, Buffy takes a sip and a wonderful calm feeling radiates through her.
"Thank you," Buffy says genuinely. "But please, tell me where I am? Where's my sister? My friends?"
"Not here child," the demon answers sorrowfully. "You won't find any human here."
"Where is here?" she asks, taking a final sip of her drink.
"The question child is not where, but when."
"I don't understand," Buffy insists, "One minute I'm fighting Glory and then I'm on top of a big tower and I – I jump... I died. I'm supposed to die. Death is my gift," Buffy voice starts to crack with emotion and a single tear rolls down her cheek, "Am I in hell?"
"Oh no, no, no," the woman soothes. "You are in Sunnydale - exactly where you fell."
"Again, I'm with the not understanding," Buffy says, wiping the back of her hand over her cheek to remove the tear.
"You fell here exactly one hundred years ago," the demon explains, "Time is a peculiar thing. It loops round and round and round and for many cycles it will repeat the exact same loop. But sometimes," she leans closer to Buffy to whisper, as though she's about to reveal a forbidden secret, "Sometimes, they change things."
"The Powers That Be," the woman clarifies. "And they want you to change something."
Buffy frowns so hard her head begins to hurt.
"What do they want me to change? How do you know this?"
"I am Rhudita," she announces formally. Buffy wonders if that's her name or some sort of title in a demon language. "And it is my duty, to guide those thrown through time to the right path. You have been sent here to change what is. The world is a dark, evil place, swarming with unmentionable monsters. Humans are an endangered species, either forced underground or enslaved by the rich and powerful. It is not a world that was meant to be. It is your mission to save it."
A cold, unsettling feeling builds in the pit of Buffy's stomach and she self consciously holds herself around the middle.
"How can I change what's already happened?"
"When you have found the answer, you will be sent back, given a second chance to bring peace to the world," Rhudita explains.
Buffy contemplates this news for a while. She was alone, one hundred years into the future, which meant her friends and her sister would all be dead. Except...
"I need to find Angel," Buffy suddenly exclaims, standing so fast, she forgets the low ceiling again. "Stupid ceiling," she grumbles, rubbing the sore spot on her head.
"Dead," the woman simply states. "Given the gift of human life - a reward for his redemption. Died a human death at the age of seventy six."
Buffy's hand is on the petite door handle when she freezes to the spot, this time caused by shock and not magic. All air seems to escape her lungs and her knees buckle beneath her. She falls so hard; the tiny house trembles from the impact.
And then a small and unlikely ray of hope shines in the darkness of her situation.
"What about Spike? William the Bloody?" Buffy asks.
The black, lifeless eyes of the demon woman seem to momentarily brighten at the suggestion from the slayer and a small smile twitches at her thin and broken lips. Rhudita suddenly lifts her hand to eye level and in a snap, clicks her fingers and vanishes in a puff of glittery smoke.
And then everything vanishes. The shabby little house disintegrates in front of Buffy's eyes. The warmth from the tiny, crackling fire evaporates and Buffy finds herself somewhere entirely different.
"Oh great," Buffy grumbles, standing in an alley way.
She whirls around at the unmistakable British accent.
"Spike?" she asks cautiously.
The alley way is dark, too dark for her to see all the way down and he's hiding somewhere in the shadows. There's the unmistakable and gag worthy smell of rotting vegetables and a light drizzle is already soaking her to the bone. She takes a shaky step forward and jumps when his face is suddenly illuminated by his lighter and then cigarette.
"Never thought I'd say this," she sighs, "But boy am I pleased to see you!"
A horrible feeling settles over her when he simply looks at her, not moving from his position leaning against the brick alley way wall. She feels vulnerable in that moment, realising this was not the same Spike she knew. This one was older with a lifetime of experiences she would have no idea about. Was he evil again? Did he still have a chip?
"Spike?" she asks softly, not daring to move towards him.
"You're not Buffy," he says nonchalantly, "Almost had me going for a minute, thinking my Slayer was back from the dead to heal the break in this unbeating heart. So what's a demon like you come to torture old Spikey for this time?"
There's an odd tone to his voice that she doesn't recognise. He sounds... exhausted.
"Spike it's me," she insists, "It's..."
He lunges out of the dark too fast for her to react and his hand is around her throat, pushing her up against the brick wall, leaving her feet dangling from the ground. He's stronger than before. Buffy feels like a normal, non-slayer woman in the grasp of a very angry vampire and her hands claw frantically at his.
"Spike!" she chokes, "I can't breathe!"
His eyes flash gold and his demon surfaces. Buffy's eyes widen with horror and she tries to kick him in the ribs, but he's faster than before too, and swerves away easily, still pinning her against the wall. Menacingly, he leans in, fangs bared, and Buffy gulps, preparing herself for Spike's one good day.
But he stops just millimetres from her neck, his head pulling back and his demon facade slipping away. His grip loosens and she tumbles to the floor like a rag doll.
"Buffy?" he asks tenderly, "Is that really you pet?"
"Well duh!" Buffy snaps, her voice hoarse from the vampire's attack.
She can see the intensity, the hope, in his blue eyes as he studies her, his expression close to awe.
"I jumped through time," she explains shortly, getting to her feet.
"Through time?" Spike repeats, frowning in thought. "From –"
He was about to ask "from when?", but Buffy's fist connecting with his nose stops him. He flies back and slumps to the floor, a steady stream of blood running down his nose.
"Ow bloody hell!" he growls, pinching the bridge of his nose. "What was that for?!"
"You almost killed me!" she yells back. "You're lucky you're not dust."
She crosses her arms across her chest and taps her foot with irritation. A dark chuckle bubbles out of the vampire's mouth, stilling Buffy's foot.
"Why are you laughing?" she asks.
"Poor little Bitchy Buffy has been sent to future town," he continues to chuckle, getting to his feet. The look he gives her makes her blood run cold, "You're not ready for this world luv. Toddle on back and visit Big Bad when you're a few years older."
He turns to walk away and Buffy's momentarily stunned by the cold tone to his voice. It's been a long time since Spike has seemed even remotely threatening, especially since his admission of love for her. She regains herself, frustrated with the blonde vampire and charges after him. She grabs his sleeve and whirls him around.
"What the hell does that mean?" Buffy's voice is dripping with anger, her eyes locked on the vampire, "And I am not Bitchy Buffy."
Spike straightens his duster and lights a new cigarette. He takes a long drag and leans back against the brick wall, staring up at the thin sliver of cloudy sky above. A sad emotion seems to pass over him and he squeezes his eyes shut in an effort to recompose himself. His jaw clenches and his face hardens, he turns to look at Buffy.
"I'm guessing from the punch in the nose you're what... From the year 2000? 2001?" he looks at her, raising his eyebrow expectantly.
She squirms slightly under his knowing gaze, disturbed by his accuracy, "2001. How could you know that from a punch?"
"Because you stopped punching me like that after I got my soul," he replies matter-of-factly.
Buffy's jaw drops, "You have a soul?! When? Why?"
He smiles sadly, ducking his head demurely, remembering.
"Why does a man do what he mustn't? For her. To be hers," he recites, his voice is thick with emotion. He shakes his head as though to clear the memory and looks back up at her, "But I'm not yours. Not yet - and I don't much fancy playing a game of Kick-the-Spike." He smirks cockily and leans back on the heels of his boots, hooking his thumbs through the loops of his black jeans. "Not that you'd do any real damage. I've come a long way since those days."
"You got your soul back for me?" Buffy says her voice barely above a whisper.
"I did," he replies.
There's a long moment of silence as Buffy lets the information sink in. Finally, Spike sighs heavily, slumping his shoulders in defeat.
"I'll help you go home," he says. "But you've gotta promise not to punch me and play nice. This isn't Kansas anymore Dorothy. You live in my world now."
"OK," she agrees. "Where are we anyway?"
Spike smirks, "Welcome to London, luv. Home sweet home."
The walk to Spike's apartment is silent and awkward. They keep to the shadows to keep Buffy hidden and she's exposed to very little of what the future world looks like, only catching brief glimpses of deserted and litter filled streets. Eventually, they arrive at a tall, non-descript block of flats, highlighted by a full moon. The windows are boarded and no lights can be seen. Spike instinctively grabs Buffy's hand, knowing she won't be able to see once they enter. The hurt he feels when she pulls her hand away touches deep in his soul, but he reminds himself that this Buffy hasn't fallen in love with him yet – hasn't become his lover, friend or soul mate.
"You can't see in here," he says with a blank tone, "Stop being a bloody baby and hold my hand."
He holds out his hand to her again and she rolls her eyes, taking his hand reluctantly. They enter and as Spike had said, its pitch black once they close the door behind them. She trips once, but Spike holds her up. They seem to be walking for ages and questions start to form in Buffy's head that she's desperate to know answers for.
"So we still work together in the future?" Buffy asks.
"Something like that," the vampire mumbles, leading her up a flight of stairs.
"What did you mean when you said you're not mine yet?"
Spike considers telling her everything. How they had become unhealthy lovers. How he had won his soul and saved the world. How he had died for her. How they had reunited and rekindled their friendship, eventually having the loving relationship he had always dreamed of. Until she had died. He didn't want to think about that part.
"I don't think that's important right now luv," he says as they come to a stop.
She can hear his hand fumbling across the wall and finally there's a sound of a creaky door opening and he leads her inside. He flips a light on and a cluttered room of weapons, books and antique furniture appears before her eyes in the dim glow of the dying light bulb overhead.
Spike lets her hand go and shrugs his duster off, purposefully knocking a simple silver picture frame over as he goes. Buffy frowns at the action, wondering what he's hiding.
"Spike, I wanna know what you meant," she pushes, closing the door behind her.
He wanders over to a dirty old fridge that leans at an angle in the far corner of the room. He opens it and the light inside flickers. With one hand, he pulls out a jar of blood and with the other; an unlabelled bottle of something that Buffy has no doubt is alcohol. He kicks the fridge door shut behind him and saunters over to a ratty old chair, flopping back on it and putting his feet up on a highly polished coffee table.
"Want some?" he offers her the unlabelled bottle.
She scrunches her nose up, "A world of no."
He shrugs indifferently and takes a gulp of blood and then alcohol.
"Spike, stop being all avoid-y," she scolds.
"Look Slayer," he says edgily, "You've been sent forward to fix the world and all that rot, right?"
"Right. Everything I tell you could change the course of the future. I've probably already shared too much," he says the last words lowly – regretfully.
"Fine," Buffy huffs.
An awkward silence falls again and clearly Spike isn't in the mood for talking. Buffy decides to take a look around, starting with the fallen picture frame. He's positioned so his back is facing her, but as her fingers ghost over the frame, she suddenly finds his hand wrapped around her wrist.
"Don't touch that," he growls, but then his voice softens, "It's for your own good, pet. And mine."
Buffy pulls her hand away from his grip, glancing between the chair and him.
"When did you get so fast?" she asks, eyeing him suspiciously. "And strong? And what happened to your chip?"
He tightens his lips in an obvious restraint to stop himself from telling her. She sighs with exasperation.
"I'm going to bed," she moans. "You do have a bed, right?"
Spike nods and points toward a door at the other end of the room. It's fallen off its hinges and sits askew in the frame. Buffy looks at it doubtfully, but heads over to it anyway. She puts her hand on the doorknob and pushes it gently to open it, but the entire thing collapses and crumbles to the floor in a cloud of dust. She coughs, waving her hand in front of her face to clear the air. She walks through the door frame and quickly returns.
"I'm not sleeping in there," she states. "There's rat poop."
"I don't have another bed luv," Spike informs her. "And it's too dangerous to take you to where I live. It's a strictly no human zone. You'll lose your pretty head before you can even reach for Mr Pointy."
"You don't live here?" she asks confused.
"Pfft, 'course I don't," Spike scoffs, "We – I mean – I used to live here, but now.." he struggles for an explanation. "I just moved on is all. I only come back when I need something."
"OK," Buffy says hesitantly.
"You can have the good old comfy chair," Spike finally offers. "I've slept in worse places than a rat infested bed."
He leaves her to make herself comfortable, heading for the bedroom he had tried to avoid for nearly fifty years.
"Spike?" Buffy calls after him. He stops, but doesn't turn to her.
"Thanks, ya know, for helping me."
Spike smiles tenderly. Something about the tone of her voice reminding him of the woman she has yet to become. He refuses to turn back to her, not wanting her to see the pain on his face and he waves a dismissive hand in an attempt of a nonchalant acknowledgment of her words.
But even as he disappears into the darkness of the bedroom, Buffy sees the remains of a broken man.