Buffy learns of the battle in Los Angeles, among other things kept secret from her. The gang must reunite and join Angel and Spike in the fight against the Senior Partners. Buffy and Spike rekindle the fire they once had, but what they don't know is that there is something or someone hidden from them that threatens to tear them apart.
Winner of Best Post-Series Finale Fic at the SunnyD Awards
Nominated at the SunnyD Awards
Love's Last Glimpse Awards
The Lost In Spike Awards!
And the Spuffy Awards!!
Categories: General Fics Characters:
Sexual Situations, Violence
1. Heart of Glass by theslayer19
2. Lighting The Beacons by theslayer19
3. Awakenings by theslayer19
4. Where The Streets Have No Name by theslayer19
5. The Calm Before The Storm by theslayer19
6. Love is a Battlefield by theslayer19
7. I Forgot to Remember to Forget by theslayer19
8. Dragon? What dragon? by theslayer19
9. Just Breathe by theslayer19
10. Here Comes The Sun by theslayer19
11. All About Eve by theslayer19
12. Nothing As It Seems by theslayer19
13. A Woman Scorned by theslayer19
14. Don't Leave Me Now by theslayer19
15. Landslide by theslayer19
16. Eyes That Lie by theslayer19
17. Dreamers by theslayer19
18. Out Of Touch by theslayer19
19. Hell Revisited by theslayer19
20. ..And The Fun Just Keeps On Leaving by theslayer19
21. Where Do We Go From Here? by theslayer19
Heart of Glass by theslayer19
Disclaimer: Characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Orginal characters and plot are owned by the author.
Rome. May 19th.
The phone rang at least four times before Dawn picked it up. Buffy could hear her younger sister's muffled voice from the living room. Buffy was still in bed. It was almost 5 a.m., and she had no intention of getting up. Even though her slayer duties have pretty much ceased, she still could not escape from her usual schedule of staying up late, and waking at...whenever. After leaving Sunnydale, she and Dawn traveled a little, ending up in Italy. Although she felt like she can have a life long holiday, Buffy knew that evil doesn't sleep so neither can she. Giles told her about some girls that needed her help in Rome. Not girls, slayers. They were already pretty strong, they just needed decent combat training. She hasn't taken them out patrolling in a while. Hell, she hadn't even gone herself in like a week. There was little to no vamp action here in Rome and Buffy was enjoying every minute of it. The girls she's training were far from you're average teens. Yet you can never tell by looking at them. Most of them were barely sixteen. Buffy couldn't believe she was about that age when she started her journey. Now, here she is, not the one and only anymore, in her adorable apartment in Rome with Dawn and … Andrew. Andrew, temporarily. After his place got burned down by the Immortal's dragon minions, he moved in. He is quite the helper now.
Having him around does make it hard to date, though. Buffy did meet a guy, but after about five minutes, she was completely turned off. He called himself The Immortal. She laughed every time she called him that. Couldn't he think of a not so obvious name? He made plays for Buffy but she blew him off. There were a few nights he persuaded her to get out of the house and have a little fun, so she did. Although, she swore she'd never do it again, he couldn't keep his hands to himself. If it were up to Buffy, he'd be The Immortal walking around without arms. It occurred to her that it may even be him calling. She rarely got calls this early. Xander called a few times in the wee hours just to tell her about his Nubian Goddess he met in Africa, or some cool new food he discovered. She recalled Willow calling a few times to ask for more weapons Kennedy. Other than that, everyone knew that calling this early was only reserved for emergencies.
"Buongiorno!... uh no, this is Dawn, her sister... yea... oh... um..."
Buffy can hear the shaky tone of her sister's voice. These old buildings had a cool echoey quality to them. Her flat was stone and concrete but she would still hear through the walls. Dawn snoring sometimes, or Andrew crying out in his sleep from some dream. She found it soothing, just to know she wasn't alone yet not sharing her space with an army. After sharing her house with a billion Slayers the year before, she was content on having her two roomies.
Buffy lifted her head at the sound of her door opening. Dawn stood at the entrance with the cordless phone in hand. Her complexion was pale, which was unusual for Dawn. She had opened up here in Rome. She spent hours walking around the Villa Borghese with her new beau Antoine. She was even doing well in school, learning Italian, making friends, and it made Buffy gleam. All she ever wanted for Dawn was a normal life. After all they went through in Sunnydale, she deserved a lifetime of pure bliss. Dawn grew up. She blossomed here. It was weird seeing her usual sun kissed cheeks ashen in front of Buffy's eyes.
"Dawn... what is...?" Before Buffy could finish, Dawn was handing her the phone, motioning for her to take it.
Buffy hesitated, then grabbed it, shooting Dawn an irritated look. There was the sound of slight breathing on the other end. Then she could swear she heard the faint sounds of music. Was it Heart of Glass by Blondie?
"Hey Sunshine. Sorry to call ya this early in the A.M. an' all, but there's a bit of a prob here in the golden state of Californ I.A and I thought..."
Buffy recalled meeting Lorne when she came for one of her Angel visits. He was always very nice to her and always made her laugh She hung out with him a few times with Angel and thought he was a good member of Angel's team.
"It's me sugar beets. Listen, about why I'm calling. Seems our old pal Angel has gotten himself into quite a Vlasic... and well, I think you may want to sit. Are you sitting?"
Buffy looked down at her bed. She felt like she wasn't even laying in it, like she was floating. A wave of dizziness came over her, then the nausea. What has Angel gotten himself into now?
"Actually Lorne, I'm still in bed, what is it?" she asked anxiously.
"Right. Okay, Angel decided to take down the Legion of Doom and well, I think he's biting off more than he can chew which is saying a lot cus, have you seen those fangs of his?" Lorne giggled nervously.
"Anyway, with help from yours truly... Moi... Spike, Gunn, Wes, and a new blue member of our Justice League, we're about to start a war I don't think we can finish. Capeish?"
Buffy turned her head to Dawn with a look of shock in her eyes. Spike?
What the hell was Lorne talking about? She thought he had clearly lost his mind. Maybe he was drunk, maybe he was...
"Buff? Are you there?"
Buffy choked on the words she tried to get out. "Lorne..."
Lorne's voice went from nervous to outright shaky. "Buffy, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean for all this to come out the way it did... I..."
Buffy felt hot, she threw the covers off of her and sat up in bed. She glanced back at Dawn who was standing next to her bed, obviously confused.
"Lorne, please explain this again to me. What is Angel doing and why did you say Spike
Dawn's eyes bulged. "Spike?"
Buffy waved at her hand at Dawn to shut her up and held the phone close to her ear so she didn't miss a word.
"Okay princess, I guess I gotta be the one, although I really wish I wasn't." Lorne stammered.
"Lorne." Buffy said in a soft tone but with a hint of annoyance.
"Well here it goes," Lorne continued. "Spike came back all Aladdin like, poofing out of the amulet he wore when he... and then he was ghostly but like Casper. Anyway, someone delivered a package to Wolfram and Hart which Harmony gave to him and then, woosh, he was corporeal again! So now he's been helping us out with things, fighting the big bads, getting on Angel's nerves and well, who doesn't
get on Angel's nerves these days? " Lorne cleared his throat as if to cover a nervous giggle.
Buffy didn't look up at all. She stared at the floor, listening closely, afraid she would miss a word. She felt Dawn staring at her but she just couldn't focus on anything but this conversation. She almost thought she was dreaming.
Lorne continued. "He's about to fight the big fight in L.A. Ya know, the one I'm trying to tell you about. I don't have the details on when this apocalypse is premiering, but we've got front row seats and we'd really love for you to make an appearance. With your gals, of course."
Buffy's mind reeled. Spike, the amulet, ghost, apocalypse?
She jumped out of bed nearly knocking Dawn over. She walked over to the window and stared outside at the rising sun.
Lorne continued. "The sooner the better, Wonder Woman, just sayin."
"Lorne, are you telling me that Spike is alive?" Buffy asked, completely ignoring all the other details Lorne just gave her.
"Well, in a sense, I mean he is still highly allergic to the sun and all but yea, he's here in L.A., being a hero. I'm not sure how long they will last. I don't think they have much time left. This Black Thorn gang are really high profile and if ya ask me, I think we're all a bunch of crazy straws, but Angel's plan is convincing. We can't just sit around and wait. We have to do something. Well, that's Angel talk. I'd rather go to the Kitty Klub and have a fuzzy cocktail myself, but... on the level Buffy, their hero clock is ticking fast... ya know what I mean?"
Buffy understood exactly what he meant. She was going to L.A.
Lighting The Beacons by theslayer19
Giles thumbed through an old text he found in one of the libraries in London. The air was moist and cold. He couldn't sleep and morning was approaching. The small dim lamp next to his comfy chair flickered. He shook it a little to see if there was a short. It seemed fine, so he continued reading. His flat was so quiet. Not a noise to be heard. It was so relaxing, pleasing.
Why couldn't he sleep then?
At that thought, the phone rang. It seemed louder than ever, disrupting the serenity he was closing in on. He exhaled as he rose from his chair. As he neared the phone perched on the entry table, he grunted.
"Giles here," he said with a hint of annoyance, but polite as any respectable British man should be.
"Giles, It's Buffy."
Giles heard the urgency in her voice. He hated that urgency. It reminded him of... Sunnydale. "Buffy, is everything okay? Dawn?" He felt frantic. He was glad his heart was strong or else he'd probably have a heart attack.
"Yea, Dawn is fine. Giles, listen. I need to go to L.A. We all need to go to L.A. There's this big...well... smack down about to start and I need to be there, I need to help Angel and Sp...Spike."
Spike? What in the bloody hell was she rambling on about?
"Buffy," Giles said calmly, "You need to slow down. What is this smack...down...you refer to? I haven't heard anything from the coven," he asked, embarrassed for repeating her slang.
"It's this Black Thorn, what ever they are, and it seems bad. Angel is taking them down. Spike is there, helping him. I can explain later. First I need you to do something for me."
Giles listened intently. Black Thorn? He didn't even think they were real but he understood that when Buffy said jump, they all better ask, 'how high?' He would fight along side her to the death and she knew it. She instructed him to track down Willow and Kennedy, Xander, Faith, and if he would get the London gang together and meet her in L.A. That was a good number, he thought. He's been training these new slayers for nearly a year. He felt they were ready for their first real battle.
Returning to London, without the burden of the council down his throat made it easier to gather the girls and train them as he saw fit. Andrew would come and stay with him every now and again to help out. Andrew really wanted to learn how to be a watcher. The idea made Giles chuckle, but it was far better to put that boy to work than have him play xbox all day. The easiest way to spot the slayers was to check out the local schools and see which girls seemed 'stronger'. Of course, he felt like a weirdo hanging around schools eying young girls. Giles figured he would have to round them up quick, as to not seem like a complete pervert.
After Giles hung up the phone he opened the drawer on the table the phone rested on. He pulled out his black organizer address book. Of course Giles still used such things as this. These electronic devices were way to tricky for him. He preferred ink and paper. It made more sense to him. As he thumbed though he found Willow's number and quickly dialed. It rang twice, then he heard her familiar voice on the other end. Sleepy, but it was her.
Willow and Kennedy spent most of the year in Brazil. They were tracking down slayers and quite successfully. Kennedy ran her training school and it was going well while Willow kept in close communication to the coven in London by way of the internet. Their relationship grew stronger as they spent everyday together. Kennedy still brings up their last battle to the young slayers, and explains how Willow, the Goddess with the white hair performed the winning victorious spell. Willow was always humble about her magic. After her dark days, she felt it was a bad omen to gloat about her power. But that didn't mean she can't let Kennedy do it. Now, she stared at a sleeping Kennedy while she stood in the bedroom with phone in hand.
"Sure Giles, We'll be there. I...uh...Kennedy is sleeping, I'll wake her in a bit and we'll pack. Giles, how will we get all these slayers together in L.A.?"
"I will send message to all trainers. We can summon enough of them to spread the word and we have enough money left from the council's accounts to cover it."
Willow knew these girls were still wet behind the ears when it came to real fighting, but this is what they were training them for, right? Can't back down now. "Of Course Giles, consider it done. Well, I guess I'll see you back in California. Weird huh, going back there?"
"Weird, yes it is. I'm going to give Faith a call. She's the closest to L.A. so she'll be the first one there, and Willow, we need Xander."
Xander pulled the covers over his head, ignoring his cellphone ringing the Dukes Of Hazard theme song repeatedly. Finally he reached over to his night stand and flipped the phone on.
"This better be good" he joked, sleepily.
"Xander, It's Wil. Are you asleep?"
"Well, what do you think?"
He sounded annoyed, yet glad to hear Willow, his best friend. Issa stirred next to him. His newly found girlfriend. He'd been in Africa tracking down slayers. He didn't have much luck. It seems Xander just didn't have that watcher quality that Giles had. He did meet Issa though. He was walking around Watamu, where he made camp in a lovely resort courtesy of Giles' wonderful watcher connections, when he saw her. She was sitting on the beach reading a magazine. Simple, yes, but Xander couldn't keep his eyes off of her. She was tall and slim. She wore a red and yellow sarong that barely covered her radiant dark skin. She was a beauty. Of course Xander made a few lame attempts at getting her attention. It wasn't until she watched him fumble with a beach umbrella, tripping over it and bending it in half that she noticed him. He looked up at her embarrassed. She offered to share her umbrella with him, then that was how it began. They talked for hours.
He jokingly asked her, because of his track record, "Okay, just to make things clear. Are you a demon, Hell-God, insect, mummy, vampire... well I guess you couldn't be a vampire since your in the sun... unless you're a reverse vampire..."
She laughed and cut him off. "Witch."
It turned out Issa was powerful witch, studying under this coven here in Africa. He meant to ask Willow about them. He guessed now may not be the best time.
"Sorry Xan, listen I have to give you the latest. Are you ready for this?"
Faith slammed on the breaks of her Mustang as Robin's body jerked in the passenger seat. She was slightly buzzed and he couldn't believe he let her drive them home from the club in her intoxicated condition. Laughing, Faith pulled a cigarette out of her pack of Marlboro's and flicked her Zippo lighter. As she exhaled, Robin coughed and waved the smoke from his face.
"I am so going to make you give that up ya know."
Faith smirked then blew smoke in his face again. "Okay, Principal Wood. Wanna send me to detention or would ya rather spank me with a paddle?"
"Oh, don't tempt me!" He smirked.
She threw her cigarette out the car window and reached into the glove compartment. She pulled out a piece of gum and shoved into her mouth. "See, now I'll be minty fresh."
Faith pulled him close to her and pressed her lips to his, hard and passionate. She kissed him as she grabbed the back of his head. He reached behind her and slowly ran his hands under her shirt. Just as he reached the back of her bra, her phone rang.
"Damn timing" Faith turned her head to the back seat and grabbed her purse. "Where the hell is my damn...oh here it is. Yea? Who ever this is, this better be good cus I'm about to get lai..."
"My apologies Faith, I'll be brief."
"Giles? What's up? Do you know what time it is here in Cleveland?"
"Faith, listen, I don't have time for... Buffy needs you in Los Angeles. We're all going. It seems Angel has gotten himself into a bit of a mess and she needs us to..."
Faith looked at Robin. His expression changed from lust to worry as hers did. "Yea, Rupie, we'll be there. Let me guess, Since I'm the closest, I'll be the first one there, huh?"
"Yes, Faith. I'm afraid you'll have to get there as soon as you can. Let Angel and Spike know that..."
"Hold up! Spike?" Faith saw the look in Robin's eyes change. Did he really still hate the poor bastard?
"Yes, it seems he's alive and with Angel. They are in over their heads it appears. Bloody stupid if you ask me but we must go. You need to leave soon."
Faith agreed then hung up the phone. This was a real downer. She was just getting used to her time here in Ohio. Training all the newbies with help from Rhona and Vi, having great sex with Robin. Now she has to gather the troops and go to Hell A.
"Well, it could be worse. At least we're not going back to Sunnydale."
Awakenings by theslayer19
Thanks to Lorne she knew exactly where to go. It wasn't going to be easy getting everyone there but as long as Buffy got there, she can hold off the baddies until her entire army arrived. What an army it was. There were at least thirty or so slayers in London alone. Between Cleveland, Africa, and Brazil, she'd have quite the advantage.
Buffy couldn't believe this was happening. Spike's alive, big fight in L.A. Thoughts of the last Sunnydale battle lingered in her mind. It pained her to think of those times. Losing people she was close to was unbearable. She remembered holding Spike's hand during his last moment with her. She thought of Faith yelling for her to go, and Spike telling her the same. What if she just grabbed him and pulled him with her? These are thoughts that went through her head all the time. Thoughts of ways she could have saved Spike. She remembered what he told her right when she came back from the grave. He told her how every night he saved her..in all different ways, in his mind.
She understood that a lot more clearly now.
After getting off the phone with Giles, Buffy dashed passed Dawn, only to be stopped suddenly in her tracks. Dawn grabbed Buffy's arm and peered hard at her.
"Buffy, I'm going, right? I mean, you have to let me."
Buffy felt really guilty for not filling Dawn in. After she hung up the phone with Lorne she immediately called Giles. Dawn, the whole time just stood there listening. What was she going to do, lead her sister into yet another dangerous fight? Then again, Dawn had really proven herself back in Sunnydale yet Buffy just couldn't feel comfortable repeatedly putting her in danger. This past year has been so perfect for Dawn. She finally had a chance at living a normal life in a normal school not of the hellmouthy variety. She met a cute guy. They seemed adorable together and now she will what, whisk her away to L.A. to fight in a battle that she wasn't even sure was about? All of this seemed to much to comprehend right now. Always having to make these life altering decisions for Dawn was tiring.
"Dawnie. I don't know what exactly this battle is about. I don't even know who these Black Thorn thingamabobs are! I can't risk..."
"No, don't even say risk! That's what we do Buffy! You can't leave me out of this, I can help! I can..." Tears ran down Dawn's face.
Buffy frowned then turned towards the window again. The sun was up and the birds were singing. Just a normal day. Was this even happening? Am I really going to leave my sister here in Rome while I fought along side Angel and... Spike? Oh God... Spike. Why didn't he tell me he was back? Was he mad at me? Why would he be mad at me? She faced Dawn again, who was giving her a confused look.
" Buffy, tell me... is Spike alive?"
I don't know, is he?
"L... Lorne said he's been in Los Angeles this whole time. I can't figure out why Spike didn't tell me he was alive."
"But Buffy, isn't Angel in that bad lawyer firm dealio? Should we even trust anyone he's associated with? Remember what Andrew said about his trip there?"
At that moment, Dawn and Buffy's eyes widened and they both raced out of Buffy's room into the living room where Andrew was sleeping. Dawn pulled the blanket off of him, to wake him. Andrew shot up, half dazed with his hair mussed up, eyes half closed. Dawn stared at him hard.
"Wha what? Are there assassin Kouhuns in here?"
Dawn rocked her head back in confusion, then she had a look of 'oh I got it.' She shook it off, then threw her hands to her hips. "Andrew. When you were in L.A. did you see anything or anyone unusual? Like say a certain platinum vampire... calls himself Spike?"
Andrew swallowed hard as his eyes widened. He knew he was in big trouble with the Summers girls now. He swore to Spike he wouldn't tell. They'll understand. Right?
"Listen. He told me that if I told you he would clobber me, or bite me or something bad like that and he used words like bloody and bugger and it sounded scary. Either way, he'd kill me." Andrew whined.
Buffy bit hard on her lower lip. She was furious. All this time this twerp knew Spike was in L.A. and he never said a thing, not even a hint. Andrew swallowed hard again when Buffy moved closer to him.
"Listen Andrew. I want to know exactly what he ASKED you NOT to tell me." She clenched his arm hard which caused Andrew to let out a whimper.
"He was embarrassed. He thought you wouldn't think of him as the great hero because he came back. I told him that it was nonsense and th-that he was like Gandalf the White...and... him burning up is just like fighting the Balrog and..." Andrew gave a sheepish smile in hopes they understood the comparison.
Buffy let go of his arm and looked down at the floor. She couldn't blame Andrew. She was sure Spike scared him into lying to her. But why? Why go to the extreme as to threaten Andrew to keep his 'back to life' premier a secret?
Andrew continued, "And when he and Angel were here I just had to, ya know, get rid of them or else the Immortal would have killed me too."
Buffy turned to Dawn who looked just as confused as she felt.
They were here?
"Wait, when were they here?" Buffy was even more angry now.
Andrew looked over at Dawn who tapped her fingers to her hips waiting for the answer. "Well, a few weeks ago..."
Buffy grabbed his arm again. Andrew let out an "OWIEE!" as she tightened her grip.
"Andrew spill it!"
He looked like he was about to vomit. Sweat began to bead on his forehead. She let go of his arm. He quickly rubbed it, trying to soothe out the pain. So, he would have to tell her everything. About how Spike and Angel were here on some mission and they kept coming here looking for her, but The Immortal swore to make Andrew a corpse if he told Buffy. Andrew was forced make up some dribble about Buffy and The Immortal so that Spike and Angel would leave and not come back, thinking Buffy moved on. The Immortal was so infatuated with Buffy, but she wouldn't give him the time of day, except for the night she went dancing with him, which Andrew knew she wasn't ever going to again. The Immortal annoyed Buffy. He was a womanizing pig in her eyes. That made him fight for her affections even harder. He knew that if Angel and Spike found Buffy, it would distract her and there would no hope for him. He told all of this unbelievably to Andrew. Now Andrew was about to get his ass kicked. Damned if ya do, damned if ya don't.
Buffy and Dawn listened to Andrew's story. Buffy fumed at the thought of the Immortal doing this. She hated him even more now but she knew that this all had to wait. More important tasks were waiting. She had to get to L.A.
"Andrew, I'm going to L.A. I need you to stay here with Dawn"
Dawn shot an angry look at Buffy, then back at Andrew who looked relieved that he was still in one piece.
Andrew rose from the sofa, almost tripping over his slippers. "But Buffy, Angel and that Wolfram place, it's not good and... I don't think you should..."
Buffy ignored Andrew. "Dawn, I need you here. If anyone calls, you have to instruct them to meet me in L.A. Please understand."
Dawn rolled her eyes in a 'whatever' sort of way. "That's what cellphones are for Buffy! We can call people from the airport and we can all..."
"No!" Buffy shouted. It startled Dawn, and she moved back a bit. "Dawnie," her voice now softer, "I need you here. Please. You guys can come when I get a handle on what this battle is about, okay? Once I see what kind of fight we're in for, I'll call you. I promise!"
"Battle?" Andrew interrupted.
"Something about Black Thorn, some mega fight, I don't know all the details, but I got a call from Lorne, he needs my help."
Andrew swallowed hard. "I like Lorne. He's like a cool disco demon."
Buffy shook her head. "Okay, whatever Andrew. The both of you, keep your phones charged."
Dawn, still annoyed, looked down at her shoes and nodded apprehensively. Buffy smiled and leaned in to kiss her forehead. This was the right thing to do. Dawn needed to be safe.