Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
Character/Pairing: Spike/Buffy, Angel
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike: Hearts and Nekid Colour: Green
Warning(s): Future Fic, AU, Character Deaths
Word Count: 2,016
Date Written: 22 September 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
He laid on the ground, struggling not to lose consciousness. He had to get back up. He had to get back into the fray. He had to save his one remaining family member, his partner, the very guy who had made his existence a living Hell for half the time he’d been in existence, and the very one who would never admit he needed him. Angel screamed again. It sounded like the giant, green Demons were literally ripping him apart. Spike didn’t doubt it; his own arm was seared with red-hot pain and barely hanging onto his shoulder.
They were outnumbered by stronger, more fierce, and way bigger Demons than they were. They needed help, but none was coming. At one time, he would have gladly ran away, but he knew that wasn’t the answer. Plus, if he left, Angel would surely be killed, and that was something, Spike was surprised to find, he no longer wanted. They were the last of their family after all.
Blood throbbed in Spike’s brain. Gradually he became aware that that wasn’t the only thing throbbing. He could hear a human heartbeat. The heart was pounding out a rhythm that he knew well but had not heard in over a century. That heart was no ordinary human heart. It belonged to a Slayer, and not just any Slayer at that. He hadn’t heard Buffy’s heart pound in so long, but he would recognize the sound anywhere, even on his deathbed, which this patch of soggy ground was likely to be.
It would be if he stayed there. He didn’t think he had the strength left in him to move. Death would almost be welcomed now. But Angel was screaming again. Angel needed him, and he had made a promise. He had promised Buffy he would watch over them all, and he had, every single one of them. He’d travelled to England at the drop of a hat whenever Giles or Red had needed him. He’d cared for Dawn up until the day he’d lowered her into the ground, and he was still watching over Xander’s kids although both their parents had been gone for a long time now.
Angel and he were the last ones remaining. They were the last not only of their Vampire family but of the family that had come after, the one who had really been family, the one who had taught them what love and family actually meant. He owed it to Buffy. He owed it to all those he had loved and lost to get Angel through this, to get himself through it, so that there would be someone left to continue the good fight. He couldn’t just give up.
Yet he couldn’t move. He listened to that heartbeat. He remembered her face, so beautiful and sweet that its mere memory brought tears to his closed, bleeding eyes. She had never let anything keep her down. The one time she had willingly died had been to save her sister. She was the one who had taught him to never stop fighting the good fight, to never stop protecting the underdog or defending the weak.
He could hear her voice in his head now, almost laughing. ”The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Hell, taking down one of these buggers would take out the equivalent of half a city block, but there were no cities, streets, or sidewalks out here. The mountainous terrain seemed endless, and every one of these critters seemed as big as a mountain themselves.
He heard a sickening sound and heard Angel scream again. His arm would regrow just as Spike’s would heal itself. “SPIKE! DON’T YOU DARE LEAVE ME HERE!”
Spike’s black lips, dotted red with his own blood, twisted into a smirk. There was no humor in his expression; it was just a dark sign of irony. No one would ever believe that Angel was screaming at him to save him, but there was no one left in their world to hear them or to care even if they did. He never would have thought the Great Poof would plead for him to stay, but things had changed a lot between them . . . and he couldn’t leave him, no matter how much he might want to. At one time, he would have been glad to watch Angel be ripped limb from limb, but he no longer anticipated his death with eagerness. If he lost Angel, after all, he’d be the only one left.
And besides, he owed Buffy. He’d promised her he’d watch over them all, even the Poof. He tried to snarl, but his throat was too raw and aching, deep slashes having been torn into it, to make a sound. He could still hear her heartbeat, and it was music. It was more than music. It was a call to arms. It was a call to keep his word to her, to show that he still loved her, that he always would, and that he was, after all, the better man. He was the one that was going to be saving Angel; he was the one for whom the other Vampire was even now bellowing.
“SPIKE! I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME!”
“Yeah, yeah, keep your damn pants on.” He’d found his voice. He’d remembered his reason to continue; he still heard her heartbeat in his ears even now. He rolled and pushed himself up on his hands and knees. He watched the three Demons literally tossing Angel around between them like a ball.
One of them caught him and paused. “Me hungry, brothers,” he said, his voice booming off the side of the surrounding mountains. Only his rumbling stomach was louder than the thunder of his own voice. “How ‘bout we stop playing? We can play with the other one later. Eat this one now.”
“NO!” Spike sprang into action. He leaped across the space he’d been thrown, a good half a mile, snatched his and Angel’s swords up from the rocky ground, and launched himself at the one he currently held his grandsire. He moved in more speed than he had since his Sunnydale days, since long before he’d found himself a ghost. He moved so fast he could barely think beyond the simple fact that he had to stop this beasts.
Luckily Angel had carried an enchanted blade, one that could drive through anything no matter how thick or coarse the substance. He used his own to simply inflict pain while he struck Angel’s sword into the Demon’s neck as far as it would go. His own hand ended up inside the beast’s throat, but Spike barely had time to shudder before a giant hand knocked him off of the Demon. It fell backwards, toppling over, dead, while Spike hit the ground hard.
The Demons were hollering about their brother now. They were screaming and stomping, starting a literal avalanche from the mountains, but Spike could barely hear them or the tumbling rocks. What he did hear was that same beautiful heartbeat throbbing in his ears, pushing him on, giving him strength and clarity and the will to keep fighting . . . He leapt onto the dead Demon, then sprang off of him onto the nearest of his brothers. He repeated the same maneuver he had earlier, slicing the beast’s head off before moving to the third and finally falling beside Angel.
He hit his feet, stumbled, but caught himself. He dropped the swords. The Demons were done for at last, but he had to get Angel to freedom. He grabbed him up, grimacing at the sight of the hole in his shoulder where his right arm had once been attached. Thank God he’d moved when he had . . . No, he thought, God had never really helped him. He’d never really been there for him, and he certainly wasn’t a creature of God’s no matter how hard his mother, hundreds of years ago, had tried to make him believe he was.
Thank Buffy, he corrected himself. Thank Buffy for somehow reaching beyond her grave to inspire him yet again. Thank Buffy for loving him so much that she still affected him after all these years, that he was still willing to do what was right not simply because it was right but because he knew it was what she would want, and what she would do herself if she was there. Scooping Angel up into his arms, Spike leapt over the first boulders and onto the corpse of one of the Demons.
They’d heard there was evil Leprechauns up in these mountains, vile beasts that kept preying on the local villages. It was why they had come here. But it was no Leprechauns in these green mountains. It was the last of the Ogres of old, a species they had finally managed to make extinct. A species he had made instinct.
“Don’t,” Angel managed to speak between clenched, grimacing fangs, “gloat.”
“Oh, shut up. I saved your ass just now.”
To his surprise, Angel inclined his dark, bleeding head in a nod. “You did, and I’m -- “ His pale face contorted with pain as a boulder rammed the body on which they were standing. Spike barely kept his balance, but he did and continued to hold Angel while the rocks rolled all around them. “I’m sorry,” he said.
That really did grab Spike with surprise. His eyebrows shot up, and he looked at him both inquisitively and disbelievingly. “What?”
“I’m sorry,” Angel repeated again, “for fussing at you all these years, making fun of the fact you got your soul.” Spike realized that the Poof thought it was his soul that had given him the strength and courage to save him; he wasn’t about to correct him although he knew it wasn’t his soul but his remaining and undying love for the woman who had changed them both forever. “I guess . . . “ He grimaced with pain again. “Truth was . . . I was jealous.”
“You?” Spike gaped down at him. “The Great Angel was jealous of little, ole me?”
“Oh, shut up,” Angel growled. His eyes had slid shut against the pain, so he didn’t see Spike smile. “You did what I never would’ve thought to do,” he explained after a moment. “You went after your soul, and you’re right: I had to be cursed with mine.”
“You’re right too,” he admitted softly. “You had yours a lot longer than I had mine.”
“But you fought for yours. You almost sacrificed yourself to gain yours.” Spike smiled again. “You certainly weren’t just cursed with the thing.”
“No,” he agreed, “I wasn’t. But we can talk about this later. Let’s get you to the Witches and get you healed up.”
Angel made a face, but he didn’t argue. He kept his mouth and eyes closed as Spike hopped down from the Ogre’s green, slimy corpse and began to pick his way through the boulders. They were in luck that Willow’s coven was only a day’s travel away. He’d have him there in no time, and they would be able to heal him a lot faster than Angel’s body would heal itself even with the Vampire’s natural, speedy healing ability.
At the edge of the valley, Spike paused and looked back. He could barely see the giant Demons now for all the boulders between them, but he remembered what had happened. He knew what had almost happened, and he knew who had saved them both, reaching past time and death to inspire him and give him the strength and courage he’d needed and would have sorely lacked otherwise with the sound of a heartbeat.
He smiled through the tears welling in his eyes. He remembered laying with her many a night as she’d slept, just listening to the sound of her valiant heart beating. It had been the most beautiful music in the world. It still was just as she would always be his inspiration, his reason for fighting, and the amazing, brave woman he would always, always love. Thank Buffy, he thought again and carried Angel to safety.