All About Spike - Plain Version
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CHAPTER 20 - THE MONSTER AND THE PORTAL
Spike watched the growing portal and groaned internally. But he kept his face straight. "No problem, Niblet. I'll just pop in and close it."
He gave the teenager a quick hug and got up. The Slayer was watching him. Probably guarding her sister from the soulless monster. "Buffy," he nodded towards the portal.
She frowned slightly, then kissed her sister's forehead. "I'll be back in a minute, Dawnie. Then we'll get you to a hospital."
"What is it, Spike?" she asked as they walked away from the group. Her face was unreadable and she was carefully keeping her distance from him.
Spike was staring at the portal, gauging it as it grew. "I'm going to need more blood, Slayer." He glanced back at her nervously.
Buffy touched the still tender bite on her neck. "You just bit me a little while ago."
"Your time." He met her eyes. "I've been gone for days."
Her eyes widened. "You . . .?" She remembered the momentary flicker. "I didn't see you for a moment but I thought it was just a trick of the light."
"No." He shook his head. "I thought closing that other portal would be like it was with Glory only this time I'd take your place. I'd drink your blood; jump through and it would be me that was gone. This time you'd survive."
"Instead it was more like how it was with Peac . ." He corrected himself, remembering the grim-faced girl who had been forced to send her lover into hell to save the world. "How it was with Angel. Back when we first teamed up. His blood let him pull the sword out of Acathla, and his blood was needed to close the opening to the hell world. He went in, the opening closed and then, bingo, he shows up again like a bad penny."
"He was in hell, tortured for centuries."
Spike winced. "I lucked out. It was just some sort of weird world with glow-in-the-dark crawdads and lots of critters with fangs. I sort of fit right in. Not much was edible but, hey, no torture." He eyed the glowing portal uneasily. "I wonder what the Bit ordered up this time."
He sighed. "Like I said before, Buffy. If I'm going to close it, I need Dawn's blood. She opened it, her blood will close it."
"You can't take Dawn's. She's lost so much already."
"So have you, Buffy."
"I'm the Slayer, I'll heal."
He stared at her intently. Finally, "Go tell the Scooby club. I don't fancy them staking me when I bite you."
Of course, Harris couldnt stay put. He stormed over as soon as Buffy told them. "You'll kill her if you take any more." When Spike looked up at the still growing portal, the carpenter sputtered. "All right you damn blood sucker. If you need some, take mine."
Even through his bone deep weariness, Spike could appreciate the humor of the situation. "Sorry, Whelp. You can not imagine how truly I'd like to oblige. You are the original nummy treat. But I need the Key's blood. And Dawn and the Slayer are the only two that have it."
He turned towards Buffy and could have wept at her pale drawn face. "I'm so sorry, luv." She stared at him, her face unreadable. Only two days ago he had been a man and her eyes had glowed with love when she looked at him. Now she bowed her head and presented her neck to a demon.
"Close your eyes," he whispered. He shifted back into game face and bit deep into her neck. She whimpered, then clutched him tightly as he drank.
He could feel her life weakening. For an insane moment, the fledgling in him lusted to drain more, to clutch her to his chest, feed her his blood and own her through eternity. He struggled briefly with the monster he had become, then sighed and released her. She was unconscious. He licked the wound, letting the saliva halt the bleeding. She would live.
He looked up and saw Xander glaring down. The carpenter knelt and felt her fluttering pulse. "You almost killed her, you bastard."
"It wasn't enough blood. I can't close it Harris." Spike looked around frantically. Then he realized what he had to do. "Bloody hell." He turned towards the Whelp. "Harris, get Red. We are going to need her help."
Xander hesitated, reluctant to leave his friend with the soulless killer. Then he read the despair in the demon's face and got up. Within seconds Willow was bent over the Slayer.
Spike didn't give her a chance to speak. "I need more blood, Red. The portal needs the blood of the Key and if I take any more from Buffy, itll kill her." He gazed at Willow directly. "I'm going to need Dawn's blood." Willow gasped, and he continued. "You got to knock her out, Red. I can't stand to hurt her and the pain feels almost sexual to the victim. I can't do that to the Bit." The vampire looked at the Wicca desperately. "Please, Red. I don't know if I can do this."
He was suddenly reminded of Willow back in the days when he had first been chipped. Her face was filled with understanding and compassion and the quiet strength that had led them and held them together during the dark days of summer. "We can handle it Spike. But we have to tell Dawn. It's her choice."
They returned to Dawn and Willow explained. "Is Buffy alright? Is she hurt?"
"She'll live Niblet. But it's dangerous to take any more blood from her."
"Then take mine. It's my fault. I opened it."
The years seemed to fall away from her and he could see the strong Summers woman she would become. She took the hands of each of the Wiccas and fell into a quiet sleep. Spike refused to mark her neck, so he bit down into the already injured wrist and began to drain her blood.
He gagged several times, sickened by what he was doing. The monster in him reeled in wonder that he could feel shame at doing what vampires were designed to do. But this was his Niblet. He had sworn to protect her and instead was feeding off her.
He had enough. He wasn't sure how he knew, but it was enough. He licked the wound and heard a snort of contempt from Harris. He rose and stared at the carpenter. "Get them to a hospital."
He was strong now, his body humming from the Slayer's blood. Without a backward glance he strode over and threw himself into the fire of the portal.
* * *
After the blazing pain of the portal, the cold was almost a relief. Spike lay on the snow and slowly tried to recover.
He looked around, but there wasn't much to see. No hell fires, no demons with pitchforks, so far, so good. Although if there had been demons, he probably could have made friends and been back in the local equivalent of a pub. It's not like he had dropped into hell with a soul.
It was dark. Overhead were low clouds, blocking any sight of the sun, moon or stars. Below him and all around him was cold swirling snow. The wind whipped and stung. He wished he had brought his duster. Hell, he wished he had brought a fur coat or the pelt of Nanook of the North.
He wondered how long he would stay. If he was right, passing through the portal stopped the blood flow and killed humans and made unlife miserable (to put it mildly) for vampires. Ultimately, however, vampires reappeared back on earth. At least Peaches had and he had the last time. So if he stuck it out, he would probably end up back with Buffy. Happy ending.
Of course he didn't like that story of Angel being stuck in the hell dimension for centuries. Fortunately he wasn't in a hell dimension.
It was only later, when he had a lot of time to think that he remembered Dante's Divine Comedy had described the lowest level of hell as cold. It was a cold, isolated place where you couldn't even cry because the tears froze your eyes shut. And in the center, a monstrously huge Satan was frozen, gnawing on Judas and two other doomed sinners.
Of course he wasn't in hell, he was just stuck someplace cold. Maybe it was the North Pole of some planet or the giant snow dimension. Still, if he noticed some large bloke snacking on sinners, he'd head the other way.
He waited to return to Buffy. And waited.
* * *
Buffy had been drifting off by her sister's bed. Angel had found them a doctor who owed him a favor and wouldn't ask too many questions about vampire bites and gun shot wounds. Dawn's foot was set in a cast and both of them had received blood transfusions. It only took a few hours for Buffy to recover but it was two days before the doctor said that Dawn was in good enough shape to go home today. Xander was coming by to pick them up.
She looked up and saw Angel. She smiled.
"Is Dawn OK?"
The Slayer nodded and stepped outside the room so that they could talk without waking her sleeping sister.
"He hasn't returned. I waited for him until it was almost dawn, and stopped by tonight as well, but there's no sign of him. At least the portal is closed."
Buffy remembered the long months when she thought Angel was gone forever. She looked at him almost curiously. Their love had been so deep back then. Now, well, Spike was right, they weren't friends. Once the passion had died, she and Angel no longer had much in common. But she knew she could depend on him. Part of her would always care.
"Still pretty bad. She loved Gru."
"Does she know how much you care about her?"
He blinked, then smiled ruefully. "No. For her it's just friendship."
He looked down at the tiny blond. "And what are you going to do about Spike if he does come back? It was pretty obvious last time I saw him that he loves you."
She couldn't meet his eyes. "He was human. It was easy to love him back. But I don't know what to do now. He doesn't have a soul or a chip. But you saw him. He didn't even hesitate jumping into the portals, even when he thought it would kill him. If it wasn't for him, we'd all be dead."
"He always was good in a fight." Angel shook his head at the memory of the reckless young vampire he had known. "It was just difficult to get any peace when he was around. If there wasn't a mob coming after us, he would go out and stir one up."
"Look, Buffy." The vampire reached into his pocket and took out a small folded piece of paper. "I don't know if you want to use this, but. . ." He gave it to her and she unfolded it and began to read. She looked up at him with wide surprised eyes.
Continued in CHAPTER 21 - RETURN
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