June 6, 2007
Today was just my lucky day, I thought, as I was running through the filthy alleys of Los Angeles, chasing one of the many demons that we had fought tonight. Here I was, in sunny California, and it had poured all night. It had just stopped not so long ago, the clouds one again making way for the clear sky. However, this didn’t change the fact that I was completely drenched, covered in dirt and dust and blood and demon goo, that I was dead tired and that Edward would surely have a fit, if he saw me now. Fortunately, he had to study for an exam and couldn’t come to LA with us, so there was no way that he could see me like this.
The call had come in last night that we Slayers all had to go to LA ASAP, because a certain vampire with a soul had decided to take on a really evil big bad and his demon army all by himself. I didn’t know the details of how this apocalypse had come about, but one thing was certain – to have even the slightest chance of winning this fight, all Slayers had to be mobilized and teleported to LA. They hadn’t expected us, neither Angel nor the demons or whoever was pulling the strings, and we had managed to use the surprise to sway the tide.
Angel and his ragtag group of humans and demons – barely a handful and one of them was badly wounded I had heard in the course of the night – would have lost for sure. The other side had demons I hadn’t even heard about in my studies and a real life dragon! Emmett, who had come along to fight with the rest of the Cullens, had been eager to fight the dragon (or maybe fly on him, I wasn’t so sure anymore), but Angel had claimed the dragon for himself and I had seen him kill it in person about two hours ago.
After a long and hard and bloody battle we had won. The demons were either dead or retreating and though there once again had been losses on our side, we can safely say that we had just averted another apocalypse. Yay us! Now we just had to round up some of the demons that had decided to run away and after that we would be free to go home. I couldn’t wait to have a long and relaxing bath, after I had taken a shower to wash all the goo off - preferably with Edward.
And rounding up the demons was what I was doing right now. Me and a couple of other Slayers had been fighting a group of demons, when one of them had suddenly decided to tuck his tail (literally speaking!) and make a run for it. With me being the first to notice him go away, I followed him, but damn, he was fast!
As I skidded around a corner, I was happy to see that the demon had run into a dead end. Gotcha! But we weren’t the only ones in this alley, as I quickly realized. Two more were there – another demon and a man fighting it. It was still pretty dark in the alley, so I couldn’t say for sure if I knew him or not, but he looked up, when he heard the growl of the other demon.
But this proved to be a fatal mistake, as the demon he had been fighting used this second of distraction and impaled the man with the pointy end of its very long tail. I gasped, as he clutched the wound with a shocked look on his face. This shocked look didn’t last long, however, as it was replaced with a snarl and just another second later the demon had been beheaded. Now it was the two of us and the demon I had been chasing. It was looking back and forth between us, and after a quick look had passed between the man and me, we both jumped forward. The demon never stood a chance.
“You alright, pet?” the man asked me, both of us looking down at the demon we had just killed.
I nodded, as I looked up at him, noticing immediately how terrible he looked. He face was pale, waxy almost, his blond hair tousled from the rain and the fight, and his clothes – all black – were partly torn. It was clearly obvious that he wasn’t alright, he was grimacing in pain and holding the spot right in the middle of his stomach where the demon’s tail and pierced him.
“Let me take a look,” I ordered, already bracing myself for the smell of blood that would surely assault me. While I would no longer faint at the smell of it, I was sure that I would still feel slightly ill, when there was a lot. And there really was a lot.
He took his hands away, both of them completely covered in blood. His face suddenly became even paler and he stumbled forward. I just managed to catch him and let him gently slide to the ground. The concrete was hard and damp, but we had no other choice at the moment. He groaned, as I pulled his black T-shirt up and I tried to keep a blank face, as I saw the wound. It was big, bleeding profusely and I was almost completely sure that important organs must have been damaged.
Even someone who wasn’t a doctor could see that this wound would be fatal.
“So, what’s the verdict, luv?”
He tried to sound nonchalant, but his face betrayed the pain he was really in. I looked into his eyes – which were a brilliant blue, I noticed absentmindedly – and I saw that he didn’t need me to tell him how bad his situation was.
So, only lowering my head, I said, “I’m sorry… I don’t think there’s anything I can do…” And there wasn’t, except for one thing, but I wouldn’t force this upon him. I didn’t want him to agree to something he might regret later.
However, instead of not doing anything at all, I took off the sweater I was wearing over a T-shirt, folded it quickly and pressed it to the wound. He hissed in pain, squeezing his eyes shut for a moment, and I flinched, murmuring again, “Sorry…”
“’s alright, pet,” he mumbled. “At least I’ll be with a beautiful girl when I die.” I felt myself blush at his comment and almost missed his even more quietly murmured, “Bloody Powers and their Shanshu… Just their idea of fun, I guess…”
“What do you mean?” I asked, trying to keep him with me by talking to him, though I didn’t know if it were better if he didn’t have to suffer long.
He barked out a laugh and immediately groaned in pain afterwards. “’S just, turning me into a real boy and then killing me off. Prob’ly needed to get rid of me so that their bloody champion Angel could be their only vampire with a soul…”
I didn’t understand a lot of his rambling. He wasn’t looking at me, but instead at the now blue sky above us. A stray ray of light fell directly on his face and for a moment, he looked almost peaceful, as he enjoyed the sun on his face with closed eyes. I thought that he had lost consciousness and was ready to let go of the wound, but then he suddenly continued to talk.
“Never thought I’d feel the sun on my face again,” he whispered and there was a small smile tugging at his lips. Then his eyes opened again and focused on me. “What’s your name, pet?”
“A fitting name.”
I almost laughed, thinking it hilarious that he might think that I was beautiful, looking as disheveled as I was at this moment.
“I don’t know you, so you weren’t in Sunnydale. You must be one the Slayers that the Scoobies found after the town collapsed. You’re a Slayer, aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” I said. “The Council found me last July.”
“Guess it came as a shock, huh?”
“A bit,” I admitted, careful not to mention that I had already been aware of the supernatural at that time. This would only lead to more questions and I didn’t want him to exert himself even more as he was already doing. Still, there was one thing I wanted, no, needed to know. Just in case. For later. When he had died. “What’s your name?”
He was smirking, as he replied, “The name’s Spike, luv. Or maybe William, now that I’m human.”
Suddenly, I froze. Spike. William. The Bloody.
Now everything made sense – his talking about becoming a real boy, about becoming human, about Sunnydale. That was the Spike who had destroyed the Hellmouth!
“You’re Spike!” I blurted out. “The Spike! I thought you were dead!”
“Long story…” he mumbled grinning, though his face was again growing tense. “To make it short. Amulet that destroyed the Hellmouth and killed me got to Wolfram and Hart, I got out of the amulet, was a ghost at first, but then became corporeal again. Still a vampire with a soul. Then, suddenly, I get turned human today. And now I’m dying…”
He trailed off, again turning his eyes towards the sky. Now I understood why he enjoyed the sunlight so much. And now I also understood why he cursed the Powers That Be. He had finally gotten another chance at life, and when I had seen him fight, it had seemed that he had been stronger than a normal human. Something like a male Slayer, maybe? And now, just hours, if not minutes after having given him this gift, they were taking his life away.
I felt angry tears in my eyes at the injustice of this. I remembered what Dawn had told me about him, how Spike had, out of his love for Buffy, changed sides, how he had fought the good fight and for his redemption. He didn’t deserve to die. He deserved to live.
And then, unbidden, I got an idea. I had pushed it aside earlier, but now the situation was completely different. I could save him. I could give him a future, not as a human, but a future nonetheless. If he agreed to it.
“Spike!” I hurriedly said. His eyes had fallen shut, so I shook him gently. They opened blearily. I was losing him. I didn’t have much time left. “Please listen… I think… I think I know a way to save you…”
He blinked, and answered in a slur. “What’cha talkin’ ‘bout, pet?”
“I know someone, who can save you. Just… there’s a catch. You’ll have to give up mortality… and become a vampire again.”
“Not int’rested in losin’ me soul again…”
Shaking my head, I told him, “I’m talking about another kind of vampire, not at all like were before. You won’t lose your soul, I swear. You’ll keep it and your humanity. And you’ll be stronger and faster and nearly indestructible. Not even the sun will hurt you anymore. The only real downside is that you’ll have to drink blood again.”
His eyes grew unfocused for a few seconds, until they briefly cleared again and he whispered, “Doesn’ sound too bad. Better ‘n dying.”
“So, you want this?”
Spike seemed to think for a moment, before he nodded once and said, “Call yer frien’.”
I nodded resolutely and squeezed his hand, as I turned to look over my head and called, “Carlisle!”
I didn’t know how big the chances were that he would hear me, but with any luck Alice had seen that I might need him and had sent him my way. I waited, seconds turned into an eternity, but then he was there, at the entrance of the alley. He looked worried.
“Are you hurt, Bella?” he asked, as he quickly crossed the distance between us.
“I’m okay… he needs your help.” I motioned to Spike, who was seemingly drifting in and out of awareness.
Carlisle took a look at his face and then turned his attention to my hands, which were still pressing the sweatshirt to the wound. “May I?”
I took the sweatshirt away and let Carlisle take a look at the wound. The expression on his face didn’t look promising, so when he turned to me I already knew what he was going to say. “I’m sorry, Bella… He’s beyond help. We can only try to make him more comfortable,” he said quietly, so that Spike wouldn’t hear him.
“No, he’s not,” I insisted. “There’s still a way.”
“Bella,” Carlisle sighed. “You know I can’t do it. It’s against the agreement with the Council. I can’t change all the people that are mortally wounded in the fight against the forces of darkness. I’m sorry.”
“This is different,” I said forcefully. “This man is Spike, the same Spike who saved the world, when the First tried to end it. He was returned from the dead or whatever he was and had decided to join Angel. Sometime during the fight last night the Powers turned him human and then he was wounded. I can’t let him die, not now.”
“Does he know what you want me to do?”
“Slayer’s told me,” Spike now said, though extremely quietly. “So, if yeh can save me, do it. ‘s long ‘s I keep my soul, I don’t care if I’m mortal or immortal… Been immortal for the las’ hundred years, after all.”
Carlisle looked back at me and then at Spike and finally nodded. “You’re right. This situation is different. When I’ve bitten him, we need Dawn to get him to Alaska. I’ll call Tanya and tell her that they’ll have a newborn guest. I’m sure they won’t mind some male company.”
“Thank you, Carlisle,” I breathed. Turning to Spike with an encouraging smile, I squeezed his hand and said, “Everything is going to be alright, I promise.”
“Thanks, pet… I hope I’ll see you again.”
“Bella, please go and find Dawn. It’s better that you’re not around, when I do it.”
“Okay…” I rose from the ground and took one good look at Spike, knowing that, when everything worked, I would first see him again in one year, at the earliest. “See you, Spike.”
And then I was running, looking for Dawn, but even in the distance I could hear Spike’s first scream, when the venom began to burn through his veins.
I only hoped that he would never regret having made this decision.