Time Vortex by JackOfSpikes
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Ending One - Buffy vs. Dracula

A/N: Bits of dialogue taken from the episode Buffy Vs. Dracula

Spike watched as the vortex opened. It was his chance. His one chance to change the world. Should he go back? Did he dare? He’d always said magic had consequences, and this would be no exception. Hell, it would change the world, might possibly make it a better place, but there was risk. What if going back saved her, but made things worse? Would she want to live if someone else died?

Perhaps the most haunting thought and the real reason for his hesitation was simple. What if he went back and nothing changed? Could he watch her die again? Could he watch her take the jump, save the world, and hold everything together again? Would he want to live through another resurrection, more beatings, and the abuse they would heap on each other?

Then again, what if it worked? What if he saved the girl? Spared her the pain and allowed her to live her normal life. There would be no resurrection to trigger the First, no reason for her to be depressed, to turn to him for understanding, for comfort, for love. He could lose everything that they had.

But Buffy would be happy.

He hesitated. Was it worth it? There was no guarantee of a happy ending. No promises of sunshine and roses. Just a chance to do something about the past, a chance he had no right to take.

He shouldn't even be here. Ironically it really was his day off.

But he couldn't say no when they called; another damsel in distress, a sacrifice to open a time portal. A window into the past, he wasn't even sure when.

He was too late, like always. Lately it seemed to be his manta. The portal was open, the sacrifice dead. He quickly took out the demons in charge.

He swore the portal was taunting him. Shimmery and shining, promising an entrance to the past, a chance to make things right, a chance to make everything better.

Hell, when had he ever done the smart thing?

Spike jumped and the world began to change.

~*~*~

He concentrated hard on Buffy, Sunnydale, and Dawn. Anything he could think of to get him where he wanted to be. He wasn't quite sure how the whole 'time travel' thing worked, but he hoped that if he thought about it hard enough, he would end up in the right place at the right time.

He felt his body drop suddenly. His legs stiff and strained, as if he had taken a giant leap, landing hard on an ungiving surface. He had his ass kicked into the concrete to many times not to know what that felt like.

Blinking rapidly, he looked around. Well, that wasn't quite what I expected, he thought. I was thinking bright lights and maybe a nauseous feeling or two. To find himself standing in a dimly lit room, a burning cigarette in his hand, was a bit disconcerting. A shuffle of movement behind him had him turning quickly.

"So, you're saying I should check out mansions, that sort of thing?"

"Huh?" he asked dumbfounded. Captain Cardboard. What the hell? I didn't think about Cardboard when I jumped. He looked around further, his eyes adjusting to the dim lights after the explosion of colors from the portal. His crypt. He was in his old crypt.

Neat.

"You said I wouldn't catch him napping in a crypt. So, mansions and stuff?" the ex-soldier asked impatiently.

Slowly he caught onto the words and their meaning. "No. I'm saying is...you're out of your depth on this one, boy." He turned away, he could still hear his response to the uptight soldier years ago, but couldn't bring himself to tell him to go home to snog the slayer.

"You've helped Buffy before, so she has a problem with killing you now that you're helpless," Finn paused, letting his words sink in. "I don't."

Spike rolled his eyes before turning around. "Look, I get that you're upset, but you don't know what you're dealing with. This is Buffy's territory and she'll know what to do when the time comes. Just let her do what she does best."

He didn't know if he still had his chip, although he could feel his soul clamoring about inside. He wasn't about to face off against the overgrown Boy Scout not knowing if he could defend himself. He had lost a bit of face the first time around having to back down, no sense making an ass of himself a second time.

"Yeah, well I'm not just gonna stand around waiting to see what happens," the man huffed as he stormed out the door.

Spike shook his head as he called out, the same as he had years back, "You're never gonna find him."

He thought for a moment about the past, about his choices and made some quick decisions. "Not before I do anyway," he added quietly.

***

He let himself into the castle just after dusk. He had trailed Xander's scent. The smell of Doritos and failure left an aroma no vampire could miss. Scanning the hallway for occupants and traps, he followed the whelps trail.

He slowed when he got close to a turn in the corridor. He could hear the beating of a nervous heart and soft ranting coming from around the corner. The boy was continuously telling himself how wonderful his 'master' was and how great things would be after he had made the slayer his own.

The blond vamp snorted. Bloody great moron. Now, how to get rid of him without letting Drac know he was here? An evil grin spread across his face. No. It couldn't work...could it? Even the whelp wasn't that stupid. Oh, who was he kidding? Of course he was that stupid.

Straightening, he adopted his best bad boy swagger and strutted around the corner to face the boy. "Oi, Whelp! Drac needs you to do something for him."

Xander jumped, giving a very un-manly squeal as he spun to face the blonde, "Wha-how did you get in here?"

"The front door, idiot. Vamp's don't need invites to other vamp's homes. You'd think you lot would learn something by now," he said, shaking his head in feigned disappointment.

"T-the Master wanted something?"

"Yeah, he wants you to go keep an eye on the Scoobies. Doesn't want them interrupting his plans."

"Okay…wait. How do I know you're telling the truth?" he asked suspiciously.

The vampire raised three fingers in the air as he said solemnly, "Scouts honor. Better hurry. Don't want to make Drac mad."

Xander looked unconvinced. "You aren't a boy scout!"

"Well, no, mate. But I did eat one once, so that makes me one by default. Sort of an honorary member, yeah?"

"Oh. Okay."

Spike watched the boy rush from the building as if the hounds of hell were on his tail. "Idiot."

He started to turn and make his way down the hall when a scratching on the door beside him. He pressed an ear to the door, but the only sounds coming from inside was the scratching. He opened the door cautiously, peeking inside before he stepped. Looking down, he could see a deep hole where the floor should be and three nude figures lying on a mattress placed on the ground below.

He watched in amusement as the three women writhed about in an effort to entice him into joining them. "Sorry, ladies. I got a date of a different kind tonight." Giving the sisters one last lingering glace, he closed the door and made his way down the hall.

He could see the lights burning brightly ahead and hear the murmur of voices. Her scent was strong now. He paused just outside the threshold to the large chamber. The scent of blood was thick here; this was Drac's dining chamber for sure.

He could hear the other vamp's words as he tried to convince the slayer that she belonged in the darkness, that the darkness was in her. He had believed that once upon a time himself, but his eyes were wide open now. She belonged in the light, to be bathed in it, even if he only got to watch from afar.

Spike couldn't help but smirk when he heard the slayers words.

"Wow. That was gross."

"You are resisting." The blond vamp could hear the frustration in Dracula's voice.

Now that was a familiar feeling when dealing with the slayer, he thought in amusement. Stepping through the doorway, he adopted a lazy drawl. "Yeah, she tends to do that a lot."

"Villiam."

"Spike."

"Slayer. Drac." He nodded to each in turn, grinning at the surprise in his girls face. No, can't think like that. Not my girl...yet.

"Vhat are you doing here? I didn't realize you vere in Sunnydale," the old vampire asked guardedly.

Spike shrugged. "Oh, I just came to collect on the eleven pounds you owe me."

Drac's eyes widened in disbelief. "Vell, as you can see, I'm very busy at the moment."

"Oh, not a problem," the blond assured. Striding to the long table in the center of the room, he sat down majestically, propping one arm on the table. "I can wait."

The slayer and the Dark Prince exchanged confused looks, the slayer shrugging when she could tell the black haired vamp was as confused as she was.

"Very vell. But do not get in my vay," Drac said haughtily.

Spike snorted. "Absolutely not. I'll just sit and wait until you two are finished."

Drac nodded, satisfied that the other vamp would stay out of the way and turned back to the slayer. "Now, vhere vere ve?"

His head snapped back from an unexpected punch.

"Right about here, and you should really get that lisp looked at," the slayer quipped. "They have surgery for that these days. Dentists, speech therapists. It's all part of the wonderful world of technology, which I can see you're sorely behind on."

The seated vampire snickered. "It's an accent, pet. Not a lisp."

"Whatever. You say tomato. I say impediment."

"Come here. Come to me," the famous vampire urged in a voice that was fraught with annoyance.

"You know, I really think the thrall has gone out of our relationship. But I want to thank you for opening up my eyes a little."

Dracula eyed her in disbelief. "What is this?"

"My true nature. You want a taste?" she asked punching him in the face again, causing him to stagger back.

"That's it, pet. Hit him again!" The blond laughed when Drac's gaze landed on him, his eyes narrowed in anger.

"I told you to stay out of it," the dark vamp growled.

"Still sitting right here, didn't move an inch. I never said I wouldn't cheer her on, though, did I?" Spike smiled in contentment.

The angry vamp growled, lunging at the slayer. Spinning away, she avoided his attack. On they went, punching and dodging, with the chipped vamp offering commentary along the way. "Go for his left, slayer. He's always been weak on the left. Bugger, I should have brought popcorn. Where's Harris with the snacks when you need him?"

When her opponent disappeared in a cloud of smoke, Spike called out, "Use your senses, luv. Feel him. You know, I'd make a damn fine Scoobies, what with all the cheering on and such."

Buffy closed her eyes, allowing her slayer scenes to guide her. Spike tossed her the stake that was lying on the table and she took off at a dead run, leaping onto the stairs just as Drac was materializing on the ledge above. His shock was evident on his face.

"How do you like my darkness, now?" she asked.

The vampire growled as he fell from his perch, his dust coating the stairs as he disintegrated. The clapping startled her for a moment, her attention so focused on the fallen vamp.

"Nice work, luv. Top notch," the blond said rising from his chair.

Buffy relaxed her stance a bit, descending the stairs gracefully. "Spike, what exactly are you doing here again?"

"Came to collect on an old debt, didn't you hear?" He tried projecting an innocent air.

She crossed her arms and tapped her foot impatiently. "Yeah I heard, and yet here I am, still all with the disbelieving."

"Would you believe that there was nothing good on the telly and I was bored?"

The slayer arched a delicately shaped brow. "Sadly enough....yeah, I kinda would."

"Well then while you're in a believing mood, let me add that I've been doing some thinking and I'd like to help out more. The whole thing with Adam has had me doing some soul searching, if you'll pardon the pun, about what I'm gonna do with the rest of my unlife." He moved to the table, hopping up to sit casually.

"What? Like a mid-unlife crisis?" The slayers eyes narrowed suspiciously.

The vampire grinned teasingly. "Yeah, I'm trying to decide what I wanna be when I grow up."

"What is this, some kind of game?"

"No game, slayer. I'm for real," he replied earnestly, staring into her eyes, and showing her just how serious he was.

"And you think I'm gonna trust you? Just like that?"

The vampire shook his head negatively. "Nope, trust takes time and time's something that I have plenty of. I can wait."

"You're serious?" She still couldn't seem to wrap her mind around his sudden change in attitude.

"Very. But let’s not go announcing it just yet. I can imagine how the Whelp and Captain Cardboard will take the news." He waited for a moment, seeing the look on her face as she imagined giving that bit of news to the Scoobies and their reactions. "Rupert," he said, breaking into her thoughts. "He came to me a while back. Wanted to know if I wanted to help out, serve a higher purpose. I laughed back then, but I've never forgotten about it. Was just to wound up and busy being pissed about being neutered to give it a chance. Anyway, we could tell him, see how it works out before breaking it to the rest of the gang."

"I'll talk to Giles; see what he thinks about all this. I'm not promising anything," she stressed.

"Totally understandable." He could hear the calvary coming down the hall at a rapid pace. He wasn't surprised to see Riley enter the room first and rush to his honey's side. The vamp stomped back the jealous feeling inside, knowing the solider would be leaving soon. He could only hope that his working with Buffy would drive the boy away sooner rather than later.

"Buffy! You okay?" her boyfriend asked, checking her over for injuries.

Buffy forced a grin, embarrassed that the infamous vamp had been able to thrall her. "Yeah. Chock full of free will."

"Spike," the ex-comando all but growled. "What are you doing here?"

"Came to get my money the bloody ponce owed me."

"I-it's okay. He kinda of...helped," she assured Riley, placing a gentle hand on his arm.

Riley turned away, determined to ignore the vampire and the voices in his head screaming that it wasn't nearly as innocent as the blond vamp made it sound.

"And Dracula?" Giles asked.

Buffy grinned, twirling her stake. "Eurotrashed."

Xander came barreling in to the room, the hostility flowing from him in waves. "Where is he?? Where's the creep that turned me into his spider-eating man-bitch?" he demanded.

"He's gone."

"Dammit!" he cried in frustration. "You know what? I'm sick of this crap. I'm sick of being the guy who eats insects and gets the funny syphilis. As of this moment, it's over. I'm finished being everybody's butt-monkey!

Buffy tried hiding her smirk but failed when she heard the amused snort from the vampire behind her. "Check. No more butt-monkey."

Spike listened to the banter as the slayer and gang moved to head out the door, laughing out loud when the slayer doubled back to stake the poofy vamp once again before flipping her golden hair and bouncing toward the entrance.

She hesitated in the doorway, checking to make sure the boys were out of earshot. "So you want to stop by Giles' sometime and talk about the...helping?" she asked uncertainly.

"Sure, pet," he said softly, watching her rush to catch up.

He felt the air shift around him and glanced to the side to see the dust reforming. "You still owe me eleven pounds, ya know?" he smirked as the dust fell back down with a gentle plop. "Ponce," he snorted, shaking his head as he left the building.

Tonight was only the beginning, but at least it was start. He wanted to take his time. To earn his place in her life, instead of being a sounding board because she didn't want to piss her real friends off. Didn’t want to be her dirty secret.

Tonight had been a positive start, and with the knowledge of what was to come, he was sure he could change things. He would make them all a better, brighter future.

Now he just had to find a way to find out if he still had his chip...

End Scenario One

Ending Two - Into The Forest

A/N: Thanks to Tam for the beta

Spike watched as the vortex opened. It was his chance. His one chance to change the world. Should he go back? Did he dare? He’d always said magic had consequences, and this would be no exception. Hell, it would change the world, might possibly make it a better place, but there was risk. What if going back saved her, but made things worse? Would she want to live if someone else died?

Perhaps the most haunting thought and the real reason for his hesitation was simple. What if he went back and nothing changed? Could he watch her die again? Could he watch her take the jump, save the world, and hold everything together again? Would he want to live through another resurrection, more beatings, and the abuse they would heap on each other?

Then again, what if it worked? What if he saved the girl? Spared her the pain and allowed her to live her normal life. There would be no resurrection to trigger the First, no reason for her to be depressed, to turn to him for understanding, for comfort, for love. He could lose everything that they had.

But Buffy would be happy.

He hesitated. Was it worth it? There was no guarantee of a happy ending. No promises of sunshine and roses. Just a chance to do something about the past, a chance he had no right to take.

He shouldn't even be here. Ironically it really was his day off.

But he couldn't say no when they called; another damsel in distress, a sacrifice to open a time portal. A window into the past, he wasn't even sure when.

He was too late, like always. Lately it seemed to be his manta. The portal was open, the sacrifice dead. He quickly took out the demons in charge.

He swore the portal was taunting him. Shimmery and shining, promising an entrance to the past, a chance to make things right, a chance to make everything better.

Hell, when had he ever done the smart thing?

Spike jumped and the world began to change.

~*~*~

Spike felt the jar of connection as he landed. Now he just had to work out where and when he had landed. A quick glance told him the where at least. He was standing by his tree in front of his slayer’s home. Dropping the finished cigarette he suddenly found himself holding and grounding it out with his heel, he looked around for sudden inspiration.

As if by divine intervention, the front door opened and Spike watched, unseen, as Riley quietly exited the house.

As the ex-soldier moved away, Spike stepped out from behind the tree and watched him go. ‘Bloody buggerin’ Hell’, he knew exactly where the moron was going. He had his answer; he knew exactly when he was. Now he just had to work out what he was going to do about it.

Possibilities flashed through his mind. Latching onto the one that seemed to offer the best solution to his problems, Spike took off towards his destination at full speed. Time was of the essence.

Taking a moment’s pause to breath in their long remembered scents, Spike lifted tear filled eyes to the two women in the doorway. “Do you see me, Glinda?”

Tara’s swift intake of breath was the only indication Willow had to the enormity of the situation.

“Your soul; I can see your soul. It’s beautiful,” she whispered in awe.

Willow’s eyes widened in shock. Terror seeped into her thoughts.

“It’s not like his, Red. My demon asked for it. I fought for it and it’s permanent,” he quickly assured her. He could smell her fear and that was the last thing he wanted. He needed her to act; he didn’t have time for long explanations. Turning back to include Tara, he made his request. “I need to be able to convince Rupert. I have to get him to trust me enough to let me show him something. It’s urgent and I don’t have much time. I promise to tell you both the whole thing tomorrow. Can you take a really good look Glinda, just to let Red know that there’s no magic attached to it, that it’s really mine?”

Tara agreed with a nod. Allowing her eyes to shift slightly out of focus, she allowed the vision to come. Red swirls of light indicated that there was some residual magic around, but as it wasn’t attached to his aura she suspected it had something to do with the explanation they would get the next day. Closing her eyes to return her vision to normal, Tara gave her opinion. “I-it’s definitely his. No magic c-connected to it at a-all.”

Turning pleading eyes to the redhead, Spike asked her to call Giles.

~*~*~

“I’m going to need a full explanation, Spike, and there is no guarantee that it will gain you any more trust than you have now,” Giles announced as he pointed the vampire in the direction of his car.

“I know, watcher,” Spike replied.

Giles was momentarily stunned by the depth of sad acceptance in the voice of the blond.

“But we need to move if we wanna get there in time,” Spike stated firmly. He knew he had to give Giles more information, especially about where they were going, but getting them on the move was the important first step.

As they got into the little red BMW, Spike told the watcher to head towards the warehouse district. Once they were on their way, Spike felt urged to speak.

“You know what a vamp flop house is, Rupert?”

~*~*~

“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry, Rupert. I didn’t know who else to turn to,” Spike offered tentatively as they re-entered the watcher’s apartment. Truth be told he was a little concerned that the bloke hadn’t said a word since he’d seen Finn getting sucked by the vamp whore.

This time it had all been different, Spike mused. Giles had left as silently as he had arrived. The ex-soldier hadn’t even known they were there. He just hoped that by changing things, Buffy would have an easier time of it.

“That bloody pillock! What the hell is he thinking,” Giles exploded furiously, not really expecting an answer to the question he had asked rhetorically.

“He was thinking that Buffy doesn’t need him. He can’t cope with the fact that she physically stronger and that she won’t allow herself to show her emotional weaknesses. He wants to be the most important thing in her life and can’t stand that the bloody slayer mission is. He’s jealous of her power and her calling. He hates that he’s basically just one more human she has to protect. He wants to be her hero, not the other way around. And he’s convinced himself that those bloody whores need him and Buffy doesn’t,” Spike spat out in disgust. Time had not lessened his hatred of the overgrown boy-scout.

“Does he care nothing for what she’s going through at the moment? She has enough on her plate without this too!” Giles voiced his thoughts, furious.

Spike closed his eyes in pain as the knowledge of just exactly what it was his slayer was facing flashed through his mind. He acknowledged the fact that he couldn’t do this on his own. There was just too much to take into consideration. He had to tell the watcher.

“Mate? You have no idea.”

Four hours later, standing next to the burning body of a dead intern, a shell shocked watcher joined a vampire in tears as they wept in relief for their slayer.

~*~*~

When Buffy entered the Magic Box, she was surprised to find the scoobies in what looked to be a pretty deep conversation with Giles and…Spike? Their serious expressions did not bode well for the Slayer. “What’s up?”

The quick exchange of glances caused her inner alarms to peel loudly.

“Buffy…we need to talk.”

Ushering the now highly suspicious slayer into the back room, Giles fought the desire to avoid this conversation at all cost, A small part of him lamented the fact that Spike had absolutely refused to be the one to tell her the truth. Bloody coward had been happy enough to do it the first time around!

Buffy sat silently as Giles told her about vampire whorehouses and Riley. She listened, numb, as he told her about possible addictions and risks; risks that could threaten her family, her friends. Her mind seemed to stall from the information overload that she was receiving.

Taking in the concerned gaze of her watcher, Buffy felt compelled to assure him that she was alright.

“I just need a little time to work out what I’m gonna do.”

As Giles left her to her thoughts, Buffy took the time to really think about her relationship with the ex-commando. Honestly. And, for the first time, she did just that.

It didn’t take her long to realise that being honest with yourself sucked beyond measure. She was forced to admit that she’d clung so desperately to Riley because the alternative freaked her out. Originally, she’d settled for him because he was stable. Her Buffy side had been so busy pretending to be a normal girl that it sort of ignored the whole slayer side that so did not want to settle for ‘relaxing’. Okay, maybe the Buffy side didn’t want to settle for ‘relaxing’ either.

She’d never forgiven him completely for the whole Faith thing. She couldn’t help believing that if he didn’t know her well enough to notice the difference between a big ho and her, then how could he say he loved her? She’d known it was Giles when he went all demon-y just by looking in his eyes.

Then there was the patronising behaviour; the trying to tell her how to do her job, like she didn’t have boatload more experience than he did. Two even. Sheesh, he’d even left her feeling like she should apologize or something just because she didn’t need him to protect her. If she were honest with herself, she’d have to admit that his clinginess was just as smothering as his body during sex. And what was up with that? Did he only like know one position?

No, if the truth were told, the real reason she had continued the relationship after the Faith debacle was because her friends liked him, Xander especially. What did this mean? Well, basically it meant that if Xander liked him so much, Xander could date him!

With her decision made, Buffy felt the tension that Riley thoughts tended to bring slide from her shoulders. When she realised that this meant that she would have to break up with the ex-commando, a little of the tension returned. That is, until she decided to let her slayer side take care of it, because that whole vamp whore thing was seriously pissing her slayer side off.

~*~*~

When Riley arrived at the Magic Box a few hours later, he was unprepared for the cold reception he received. Willow and Tara looked up at him, nodded slightly, then returned their attention to the books they had been reading on his arrival. Anya ignored him and Xander barely even acknowledged his presence.

“Um…where’s Buffy?” he asked cautiously.

“Training room,” Anya replied, not even bothering to look at him as she spoke.

Shaking his head in confusion at their odd behavior, Riley made his way through the shop to the door at the rear, giving one final look back at the non-responsive scoobies before entering the Slayer’s inner sanctum.

As Riley quietly let himself into the training room, he heard Giles speaking.

“Now let out your senses until you have locked on to Spike.”

Looking on, Riley saw Buffy, blindfolded and standing in the centre of the room. Spike stood just behind her and Giles was sitting at a small table with his eyes focused on his slayer.

Before he could say a word to make his presence known, Buffy responded to Giles.

“Got him.”

“Now, I want you to concentrate and tell us everything your senses tell you,” Giles instructed her, not once acknowledging the ex-commando that had entered the room.

“Power,” Buffy said decisively. Clearly concentrating, she offered more as she felt it. “Okay, I’m also getting an impression of age. You are like totally old, blood breath.”

Spike chuckled lightly in response.

Riley frowned, not liking the playful tone that Buffy had used when talking to the vampire.

“I can tell he’s a master. But it’s different from the other masters I’ve met. I mean, the Slayer alarm isn’t going all alarm-y.” Buffy said thoughtfully.

“How ‘bout now, pet?” Spike asked, shifting into his demonic guise.

“Whoa! Power boost! Did you just bring out the bumpies?”

“There’s a difference between the true face and the human face, you say?” Giles asked, intrigued. He knew that his slayer had instigated this exercise for her own reasons, but he hadn’t expected it to be so informative.

“Oh yeah, huge even. But seriously guys, why is it that Spike doesn’t set off my slayer alarm, ‘cause it’s still not with the alarm giving, and usually even Angel sets it off.” Buffy asked, removing her blindfold.

“Perhaps it is because Spike’s demon has made the fundamental choice of changing sides and his nature. Obviously your slayer side recognises that. A choice, I might add, that Angel’s demon has never made,” Giles offered.

Buffy snorted in a very unladylike fashion. “Somehow I can’t picture Angelus ever making that choice.” Turning to Spike and completely ignoring Riley, she grinned. “So…wanna spar?”

Spike smirked and arched an eyebrow. “Think you can take me, Slayer?”

“Please, my mom and her axe can take you,” Buffy teased as she slowly circled him.

“I seem to remember getting the better of you a few times, luv,” Spike parried as he matched her moves.

“Buffy, you don’t have to waste time with him anymore, I’m here,” Riley called out, really not liking the obvious comradery of the two blondes.

“Yeah, but I wanted an actual workout, Riley. It doesn’t help me any to have to keep pulling my punches,” Buffy replied chirpily.

Riley stormed over to her, furious that she would emasculate him publicly. Grabbing her arm to stop her moving and face him, he failed to consider her expression as he started to berate her. “I’ve told you not to pull your punches. I can take it. Just because I don’t have superpowers anymore doesn’t mean I can’t take a punch.”

“You NEVER had superpowers, Riley. You had steroids with attitude,” she snarled as she effortlessly pulled her arm from his grip. “And right now, the last thing you want me to do is hit you. What you really need to do is pack your stuff and leave my town. There is nothing left for you here…well, there won’t be after I burn down the vamp whore house,” she clarified with a hard glare.

Wide, panic stricken eyes darted around the room as Riley struggled to find a response. “It’s not what you think!” he cried.

“What? It’s not you being so ignorant that you didn’t take into consideration that accidents happen and you were putting me, my family, and my friends in danger? It’s not you cheating on me? It’s not you acting up because I’m not some damsel in distress, that you’re not the big hero, that I don’t need your protection? Stop me when I’m getting close to what it’s not,” she snarled. Months of pent up frustrations were bubbling to the surface.

“The army wants me back,” Riley burst in on her. “If you can’t make a commitment to me, I’m leaving at midnight.”

Buffy blinked her eyes, her expression blank. “You want a commitment? Okay, here’s a commitment for you. You come back to my town and I will be committed to kicking your ass right out again.” Smiling brightly as only a true valley girl can, Buffy asked, “Happy?”

Turning her back on him, Buffy dismissed her ex-boyfriend.

End Scenario Two

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ending Three - Not So Crushed

A/N: Thanks to Tam for the beta.

Spike watched as the vortex opened. It was his chance, his one chance to change the world. Should he go back, could he dare? He always said magic had consequences and this would be no exception. Hell, it would change the world. Possibly make is a better place, but there was risk. What if going back saved her, but made things worse? Would she want to live if someone else died?

Perhaps the most haunting thought and the real reason of his hesitation was simple: What if he went back and nothing changed. Could he watch her die again? Could he watch her take the jump, save the world and hold everything together again. Would he want to live through another resurrection, more beatings and the abuse they would heap on each other?

What if it worked? What if he saved the girl? Spared her the pain and allowed her to live her normal life. There would be no resurrection to trigger the First, no reason for her to be depressed, to turn to him for understanding, for comfort, for love. He could lose everything that they had.

But Buffy would be happy.

He hesitated. Was it worth it? There was no guarantee of a happy ending. No promises of sunshine and roses. Just a chance to do something about the past, a chance he had no right to take.

He shouldn't even be here. Ironically it really was his day off.

But he couldn't say no when they called; another damsel in distress, a sacrifice to open a time portal. A window into the past, he wasn't even sure when.

He was to late, like always. He seemed to be his manta. The portal was open, the sacrifice dead. He quickly took out the demons in charge.

He swore the portal was taunting him. Shimmery and shining, promising an entrance to the past, a chance to make things right, a chance to make everything better.

Hell, when had he ever done the smart thing?

Spike jumped and the world began to change.

~*~

Buffy rattled the chains as Spike suddenly stiffened midspeech before he shook himself violently. He stared at her for a few seconds, and then he whirled, throwing a stake at the unsuspecting Harmony that was sneaking up behind him. In the background, Buffy could hear Drusilla screaming.

"Where's my Spike gone? You've made him go away, replaced with a nasty spark. Just like Daddy, you are. You mock me with its light." Dru pulled against her bindings until her skin was bleeding.

"'m not like the poofter, Dru," Spike snarled. "It's mine. I fought for it and shaggin' the Slayer won't make me lose it and turn back into an evil git."

He approached the Slayer cautiously. He knew from the last time she was quite brassed off at this point and he hoped to break it to her gently that chip was gone. "Dru told me that she revamped Darla." Spike put his hand up when Buffy started to speak. "Yeah, I know. Angelus dusted her before our first visit to Sunnyhell, but let me tell you; she's back. Nothing good can come of this, Slayer. She has to be eliminated."

Buffy studied Spike during his speech to her. Something was different about him, but she couldn't quite place her finger on it. Just like Daddy you are. Drusilla's words drifted through her mind. Buffy never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed, but it was like a switch was thrown in her head. She gasped, but mentally shook her head in denial.

"That's all well and good, Spike, but what about my mom and Dawn? You know that creature is after the Key." Buffy was testing a theory she had suddenly come up with. A theory that said the Spike standing in front of her knew more about what was going on then was humanly or vampirically possible, even for a seer like Dru.

"Your mum needs more than the doctors in Sunnydale can give her, luv." Spike muttered. "They'll tell her she's okay and she's not. I think we should take her with us to L.A. for a second opinion. The Nibblet goes with us, that goes without saying."

"The Scoobies?"

"Hmm, they might come in handy to distract Angelus." Spike stepped closer to Buffy. "Can I unchain you without having my nose broken, luv?"

Buffy pretended to scowl at the blond vampire while she rattled the chains. He smirked at her in a way that he should be slapped for. She was surprised at how gentle he was as he unlocked her hands. Buffy felt electric jolts shoot up her arm from where he rubbed her wrists and visions of Willow's botched engagement spell crossed her mind. She stared up into his eyes and there hidden behind the snark and the demon, Buffy could see the spark that Dru was still humming and singing about.

"So this loving thing from before wasn't just bullshit?" Buffy demanded. She practically smirked when Spike shyly shook his head negatively.

"I admit the chains weren't too smart, but I'm not known for my brains, luv. I follow my blood, and it don't always circulate to my head."

"I'm sure it does, Spikey, just not the one with your brain inside." Buffy couldn't believe she just threw a sexual innuendo out to Spike. "Now about our trip to L.A....

~~~~~~~~~

"Deadboy sure likes 'em big, don't he?" Xander asked. He looked up at the hotel that served as Angel Investigations headquarters. Xander and Giles decided to accompany Spike to Angel's hotel while the female Scoobies got Joyce checked in at the hospital.

"Well, you know Angelus ... talks big, but rarely backs it up," Spike drawled. He waved his hand at the building. "This makes him look like the big man, but his actions tell us otherwise."

"You really hate him, don't you?" Giles asked. He had seen the hate in the blond vampire's eyes whenever Angel was mentioned. Spike usually just rolled his eyes and threw out cruel comments at the mention of his grandsire's name, but in the past few hours that had seem to change from a mild dislike to a full out, gut-wrenching hatred.

"His actions will someday get the Slayer killed, Rupes," Spike snarled. "He's a liability, but while he's still the Powers champion there's nothing we can do about it."

"Well, what kind of fun do you think the three sole male Scoobies can have with Deadboy and his crew?" Xander rubbed his hands together. Until a few hours before, he had hated Spike almost as much as he hated Angel, but the blond vampire had herded Anya and himself into the back of the Desoto for the trip to L.A. The trip was soon filled with the two males throwing half snarky insults at each other while the girls giggled. And while, Xander didn't totally like Spike, he realized he didn't hate him as much as before.

"Well, the really fun things would get me staked faster than demon girl can do her dance to capitalism," Spike snarked. "But what would really chafe Angelus' willy would be us bein' friendly."

End Scenario Three

Ending Four - The Body

A/N: Beta'd by Tam

Spike watched as the vortex opened. It was his chance. His one chance to change the world. Should he go back? Did he dare? He’d always said magic had consequences, and this would be no exception. Hell, it would change the world, might possibly make it a better place, but there was risk. What if going back saved her, but made things worse? Would she want to live if someone else died?

Perhaps the most haunting thought and the real reason for his hesitation was simple. What if he went back and nothing changed? Could he watch her die again? Could he watch her take the jump, save the world, and hold everything together again? Would he want to live through another resurrection, more beatings, and the abuse they would heap on each other?

Then again, what if it worked? What if he saved the girl? Spared her the pain and allowed her to live her normal life. There would be no resurrection to trigger the First, no reason for her to be depressed, to turn to him for understanding, for comfort, for love. He could lose everything that they had.

But Buffy would be happy.

He hesitated. Was it worth it? There was no guarantee of a happy ending. No promises of sunshine and roses. Just a chance to do something about the past, a chance he had no right to take.

He shouldn't even be here. Ironically it really was his day off.

But he couldn't say no when they called; another damsel in distress, a sacrifice to open a time portal. A window into the past, he wasn't even sure when.

He was too late, like always. Lately it seemed to be his manta. The portal was open, the sacrifice dead. He quickly took out the demons in charge.

He swore the portal was taunting him. Shimmery and shining, promising an entrance to the past, a chance to make things right, a chance to make everything better.

Hell, when had he ever done the smart thing?

Spike jumped and the world began to change.

~*~*~

His first thought was that it was so bright he must have jumped into the noonday sun, but the light began to fade and since he wasn't turning to ash, he tried to calm his nerves. His eyes adjusted slowly and the shapes and outlines of his surrounds started to become clear.

A kitchen. Not just any kitchen. The Summers' kitchen. It was mid-afternoon or maybe earlier, he couldn't be sure. The jump through the portal had his senses thrown off.

Spike walked slowly through the doorway to the dining room, listening for signs of life. There. He heard the soft footfalls on the stairs, the gentle wisp of a hand floating along the banister. Inhaling deeply, he could just catch the faint scent of perfume as it drifted down from above.

Joyce.

His eyes filled with tears as he thought of the woman he had become so close to in such a short time. Her support, caring, and hot chocolate had been elemental in holding him together more than once. When he had just felt like giving up and walking into the sunlight, she had soothed him in a way no one had since his own mother.

When she finished her descent, he could see her shadow around the corner. He wanted to call out to her, to alert her to his presence so he didn't alarm her but couldn't seem to get the words passed his lips.

Awe. He was in awe. If this was all he got, to come back here to see her once last time would be worth it. To talk to her, to see her smile, hear her laughter, he would die happy.

"Buffy? Is that you?" she called out.

His eyes closed as he heard her voice for the first time in far too long. It was sweeter sound than any he had ever heard.

"It's just me, Joyce," he struggled to answer, his words coming out rough and strained as the emotions were threatening to overwhelm him.

"Oh, Spike. I wasn't expecting you this time of day. You haven't been around much," she admonished gently.

He could smell the sickness surrounding her. The scent of dried blood that still lingered in her hair despite many washings. "Yeah, well, with you not feeling well, the slayers been around quite a bit. I didn't want to upset her off by showing up. She's still a might ticked off at me," he finished quietly.

The elder Summers' nodded slightly. "Yes, it's probably better if she doesn't find out that I invited you back in after the dis-invite spell. It might get us both in trouble," she teased.

The blonde's mind raced with the new knowledge. Dis-invite. Re-invite. Joyce sick. Oh, no. It would be soon, too soon. "Why don't you have a seat Joyce? I'll have a go at making you some hot chocolate. I've watched you do it so many times, I should be able to manage."

She looked distressed for a moment, "Oh, well I was feeling a bit tired. I was just coming down to rest on the couch. I wanted to wait down here for Dawn so she could tell me about her day. I feel like I've spent so much time in bed lately that I'm missing out on so much."

Couch. Afternoon. Dear God, no. Not yet. He watched as she swayed on her feet for a moment before he grabbed her arm, steadying her. She gasped as he swept her up in his arms before striding to the couch and laying her gently on the cushions. The frantic vamp ignored her questioning look as he dashed from the room to the kitchen.

Grabbing the phone, he quickly dialed 911, rushing back to the living room once he had hung up. He growled when he saw Joyce trying to sit up and she gave up and settled back on the armrest.

"Spike? What's going on?" she asked bewilderedly.

The blonde stopped his pacing and turned to look at the frightened woman. He expression softened, looking her in the eye he spoke, his desperation showing through his words, "I know I haven't given you much reason to show me trust in lately, but you've still given it to me. I just need you to have faith in me just one more time, Joyce. Please," he added beseechingly.

He heard the sirens and he moved to let them in, glad of the large porch that kept the midday sun from scorching him where he stood. He explained quickly to the paramedics.

Dizziness. Aneurism. Hospital.

He ignored their questioning looks and inquiries as to how he could possibly know that and insisted they take her to the hospital right away, even taking a menacing step in their direction when they weren't moving fast enough.

He watched helplessly as they placed her onto the stretcher, standing in the doorway they loaded her into the ambulance, shaking his head sadly when they asked if he was accompanying them to the hospital.

As they drove away, he still stood in the doorway, his eyes glued to the vehicle as it rounded the corner at the end of the block. He closed his eyes, listening to the sound of the siren getting fainter, and did something he hadn't done in over a century.

He prayed.

***

Spike sat on the couch dejectedly. He had tried to leave so many times in the last several hours, only to stop in the kitchen doorway unable to take that final step from the home. So he would pace and brood, but would end up sitting down on the couch once more. The place that was supposed to be Joyce's death bed. Where she would breathe her last breath.

But he had changed it.

Or, at least he hoped he did. There was still no news, and the sun was getting high in the sky. Soon he would be able to leave without rushing to the sewers. He debated going to the hospital, knowing his arrival would surely lead to a quick staking, but he couldn't make himself leave until he heard the news about Joyce.

The sound of the front door opening had him jumping to his feet. He felt her before he saw her, wondering if this was the end for him. He had just come back, it seemed too soon to go, but he wouldn't fight her. He stood in the center of the room; his head bowed waiting for her to find him.

Then she was there, in the doorway and he could smell the salt of her tears. Oh, God. No! I was too late. He refused to raise his head, didn't want to see the pain in her eyes from losing her mother, the stake as it entered his body, or the anger in her face as she turned him to dust.

"You're still here," she said, and for once he couldn't read her tone. Had no idea what she was thinking or feeling.

He tried to keep quiet, didn't want to argue with her, just wanted the weariness to end. He had tried so hard to fix things for her, for all of them, but he had failed. His traitorous mouth could stand the silence no more, "Sorry, slayer. I was gonna leave...didn't mean to...I'm sorry."

He felt her move, her slayer reflexes swift and sure as she rushed him. He refused to move, refused to fight, refused to look at her as he left this world for a second time. He preferred to imagine the look on her face as he dusted in the Hellmouth. Her final words ringing in his ears. That's the way he wanted to go out.

Strong arms wrapped around him, squeezing him tight. He fought to breathe before remembering he didn't actually need to and forced himself to relax. "Buffy...Slayer...I don't understand. Joyce...is she?"

She sobbed into his duster, and he hesitantly wrapped is arms around her. He never could stand to see her cry.

"She's stable. The doctors said she's gonna be fine," she told him through the tears. Buffy raised her head to look him in the eye. "They said it was close, that if you hadn't called-"

"Yeah, about that, how did you know it was me?"

She snorted before moving out of his embrace. "The paramedics. They said a male...blonde...British...kinda threatening. It wasn't too hard to figure out."

"Oh," he said lamely. His body was finally unwinding. Joyce was okay. The slayer didn't appear to be ready to stake him at the moment. Maybe it would be okay after all.

She backed away toward the threshold, looking tearstained and frazzled and he couldn't tear his eyes away from her. "Look, I have to get back to the hospital. I want to be there when she wakes up."

"Oh, yeah sure," he mumbled, suddenly finding the carpeting immensely interesting.

"Maybe you could...later on, if you wanted-" she paused before continuing on quickly. "I think she would like it if you stopped by. To say thank you."

His head jerked up to stare at her uncertainly. "Uh, sure. If that's okay with you."

"Yes, it's very okay, and then later maybe you two could explain to me how you were here in the house to dial for an ambulance," she teased.

He grinned sheepishly. "Maybe we should wait until your mum's all better before the questioning starts. We wouldn't want to cause her any stress," he added.

"Somehow, I don't think giving the two of you time to get your stories straight is the way to go," she laughed at his hurt expression. "Well, I better go. Dawn's at the hospital, probably driving Giles crazy by now. I just wanted to say...you know...thank you."

"You're welcome, Slayer," he replied softly.

Her movements were a blur as she whirled back into the room before exiting quickly, the front door slamming behind her. He stood frozen to the spot as he brought his hand up to his lips.

He wondered if he imagined it all. If his worried mind had conjured up the little scene to ease his fears. No. There it was. The faint heat left behind. The taste of her lips on his. Her kiss had been most unexpected; especially since he was sure he was in for a quick dusting and a lackluster moment to mark his passing into the bowels of a Hoover vacuum. But instead, he had received a kiss and a whispered 'thank you' as she rushed from the room, blushing profusely.

He could do this. He could make things better. He would make things better.

He began to pace, counting the minutes until he could make his way to the hospital to see his favorite girls. He found himself staring at door where she had made her exit and whispered softly, "You're welcome, luv."

End Scenario Four

Ending Five - The Gift

A/N: Thanks to Lisa for beta this part for me!

Spike watched as the vortex opened. It was his chance. His one chance to change the world. Should he go back? Did he dare? He’d always said magic had consequences, and this would be no exception. Hell, it would change the world, might possibly make it a better place, but there was risk. What if going back saved her, but made things worse? Would she want to live if someone else died?

Perhaps the most haunting thought and the real reason for his hesitation was simple. What if he went back and nothing changed? Could he watch her die again? Could he watch her take the jump, save the world, and hold everything together again? Would he want to live through another resurrection, more beatings, and the abuse they would heap on each other?

Then again, what if it worked? What if he saved the girl? Spared her the pain and allowed her to live her normal life. There would be no resurrection to trigger the First, no reason for her to be depressed, to turn to him for understanding, for comfort, for love. He could lose everything that they had.

But Buffy would be happy.

He hesitated. Was it worth it? There was no guarantee of a happy ending. No promises of sunshine and roses. Just a chance to do something about the past, a chance he had no right to take.

He shouldn't even be here. Ironically it really was his day off.

But he couldn't say no when they called; another damsel in distress, a sacrifice to open a time portal. A window into the past, he wasn't even sure when.

He was too late, like always. Lately it seemed to be his manta. The portal was open, the sacrifice dead. He quickly took out the demons in charge.

He swore the portal was taunting him. Shimmery and shining, promising an entrance to the past, a chance to make things right, a chance to make everything better.

Hell, when had he ever done the smart thing?

Spike jumped and the world began to change.

~*~*~

(Los Angeles 2090)

It was strange, all flashy lights and pretty colors. It was making him rather nauseous, which was hard for a vampire. Time seemed to stretch out before him, it may have only been seconds that he was falling; but it felt like eons. Thoughts flew through his mind. Where would he land, what could he do?

Knowing his luck he would land years after he could be effective. Gaining him time, but only years filled with loneliness and frustration. Having to live a life he didn’t want a second time around, without Buffy, Angel or anyone familiar at his side. Of course it could be the flip side. He could land hundreds of years before anyone he knew would be alive. Wouldn’t it be ironic if he had to watch himself be sired? He could stop it of course, but doom the world with his actions. That really wasn’t a choice.

But if he was lucky, really lucky - the portal the demons were opening was directed towards Buffy.

The world which existed today was strange and discordant. He worked with the Watcher’s Council to maintain some sort of balance, some semblance of order within the world. Yet, it was a foreign place, satisfactory to neither demon nor man.

Demon kind hated Buffy and regarded her to have orchestrated the greatest genocide in history. There simply had been too many slayers. The watchers had an army and they went forth and conquered. Species after species fell to the girls and extinction of several types of demons became reality. Eventually even the benign had fallen to the uninformed girls; even Clem.

The Council surged with their new power, but over the years a growing climate of fear began to escalate. Desperation began to sit in as they realized that as their slayers fell, no more were called. Genocide became practice because they knew one day there would be no slayers left. It was a race to the finish. Could they kill them all before their power-base was gone? The decades proved that they could not drive demons out of the dimension, but the populations were so decimated they might never recover.

The dominant species of demon was now the hybrid vampire. Even those were few and far between. Fledges hadn’t survived the onslaught of desperate girls. The Masters who went underground survived but it wasn’t much.

Now Spike worked for them freelance. The last girl had passed. The council had knowledge but no ability to carry out its desires. Just a freelance souled vampire, who helped save the innocent but refused the wholesale slaughter.

No one was happy, but perhaps he could change that. If he could only save the girl; everything would change.

The world began to solidify; the colors receding. He landed hard with a thump. Dazed he looked up to see Doc cutting Dawn. As the blood dripped down and the portal opened he realized he only had a few seconds to act. Thoughts and memories flashed through his mind. He couldn’t let Buffy jump. If she died, he would lose her. If she was brought back, they would the First and the slayers. He would have traveled back for nothing. Another lifetime of pain and suffering; a life of loneliness. He would rather dust.

Could he sacrifice his bit? The only person to love him unconditionally? Could he let her die to save the world?

His memories grew frantic as the seconds counted down in his mind. What had Buffy said? ‘It’s always about the blood’

His eyes grew wide. Could he do it? Would it work?

He looked around. He could see this realities Spike on the ground. He saw Buffy frantically climbing up towards Dawn.

His time to act was now.

He jumped up and rushed over to his girl, engulfing her once again in his arms. Tears formed in his eyes as he held the girl who had died such a long time ago.

She looked confused. What was happening, how could Spike be here holding her and be down on the ground?

“Tell em I traveled back for both of you. I can’t let my girls die. Live, because one of us needs to.”

Before she could question him, he bit her neck and began to drink. The power of her blood and her fear filled him with a buzzing sensation. He saw Buffy horrified and running towards them. He stopped just short of draining her dry and pushed her towards Buffy. “She needs a transfusion, luv, but she’ll live. Remember I love you always. And don’t dust the past me for this – would kinda defeat the purpose of this whole trip.”

Spike turned and ran down the platform, jumping into the air as he prayed he had enough of Dawn’s blood to be able to close the portal.

As he fell and the portal began to retract a single thought emerged as his last. ‘Yes, it was all worth it. I finally saved the girl.’

End Scenario Five

Note: At least 2 of the authors plan on continuing their stories further at this time, the others may or may not be continued.

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