See you Next Lifetime by Pari
Chapter Two by Pari
Present day (AU) Sunnydale


“I gather from the looks on your faces, well by the look on Dawn’s face at least, that you didn’t find Rack’s coven,” Wesley Wyndam-Pryce said as he wheeled his chair from behind the computer terminal where he had been doing research on a recent anomaly that he thought was some sort of portal opening and then closing. He looked at Nina and then Spike who both had the same exact stoned face as they entered the warehouse and head to the back to their sleeping quarters. They had found the warehouse two years before infested with Vampires and human seeking sanctuary, allowing the vamps to feed on them a little and in exchange they got protected from other baddies on the outside. Nina and Spike had cleaned house and then it became their base of operations..

“Oh no we found it but they’d already left.” Dawn said a bit disappointed.

“What’s the matter pet didn’t get to kill any baddies?” He teased though secretly it scared and sadden him to see that Dawn, who in his eyes was just a child, was growing up to be just as cold as Nina.

“Naw, I dusted a few suckheads in the cemetery, but honestly they’re no real challenge, too easy to kill.” He looked at her curiously waiting for her explanation. “I mean come on they could be walking, trip and fall on something wooden and poof, their dust. Witches are challenging.”

“And you know that based on what?” The voice of a young woman intervened and Dawn turned to greet their resident weapons expert Tara Maclay.

“I read books.” Dawn replied and gained a sweet laugh from Tara who walked up to her and handed her a silver-plated shotgun. “Butter.” Dawn said with a smile as she inspected the gun.

“So now we’re encouraging our young to take up arms?” Wes addressed Tara who only shrugged and then hopped on a nearby counter top.

“She wanted a signature piece, she said and I quote, ‘If Nina gets her own special gun I want one too.’”

“Oh well then that’s a good reason. Wes said snidely as both Tara and Dawn rolled their eyes at him.

“So what special gadgets you got up here?” Dawn asked still giving the gun a once over.

“I burrowed out the barrel more and rigged it to shoot everything, from bullets, to stakes, even holy water.”

“It’s a freakin water gun too, you know I’m in love with you right?” Dawn joked throwing Tara a wink.

“Sorry darlin I’m strictly dickly.” Tara replied and she threw a wink back and Dawn laughed outright.

“Not to mention crude, ill mannered, and a bit disrespectful.” Wes said as he frowned at the older girl standing before him. He had never really taken to Tara, who had come to them five years back seeking help finding her father and brother who she suspected had been taken by a gang of vampires. When they had found them Tara had to stake them both and after that she found a new family with Nina, Spike, Wes and Dawn. Wes thought her to be immature and completely lacking manners, and it annoyed him that she knew it and didn’t seem to care.

“Bite me Mr. Cripple.” Tara said to his comment. “Keep yapping and I won’t be installing those new tires with the gold rims onto your wheelchair for Christmas.” She finished with a sugary sweet smile, knowing that she struck a sore spot whenever she joked about his crippled state, which for her had become a defense mechanism when dealing with Wes. He’d hit too close to home with something he’d say to her and she’d crack about him being a cripple and that would get him so pissed he wouldn’t talk to her for days, which she didn’t mind at all. Afterwards she always felt horrible for exploiting him that way, especially after Dawn had told her how Wes lost the use of his legs. How they saved him from a pack of demons, but that they hadn’t gotten there in time to save His wife Cordelia, or their unborn child, which the demons had cut out of her to use in a sacrifice ritual. They had broken Wesley’s spine so he’d have to watch helplessly. Tara really felt for him but thought he could be a major asshole most the time, so whenever she’d think about apologizing to him he’d do or say something to get her upset again, it had be come a vicious between them.

Wes was about to reply curtly when a sudden flash of light silenced and stilled him, Tara, and Dawn who all watched wide eyes at the spot on the wall where the light had come from.

“What the hell was that?” Dawn asked as Wes hastily wheel back to the computer terminal and began typing like a madman.

“I think that’s the anomaly I’ve been tracking for a couple of days now, and it seems to have changed position.” He said as he struck the enter key to print out the results of his tests. He moved to the printer and yanked up the paper and read. “And I was right, it is a portal.”

“Wait, a portal as in a doorway?” Tara asked as she hopped from the countertop and moved back from the wall.

“Yes, exactly.”

~~~~

Ten minutes before:

They entered their room and Spike instantly went about unzipping the leather vest-like bodice Nina wore, which housed a breastplate, courtesy of Tara. He removed the bodice and tossed it on the floor and then grabbed the hem of the shirt she wore, pulling it up and over her head. He stared at her and sighed heavily before moving off into their bathroom, after a few seconds he returned to find her in the same spot, as he expected her to be. He dropped to his knees in front of her, his face before her belly. Gripping her hips he turned her a bit and leaned in and licked the bloody wound in her side until it was clean, he then opened the first aid kit he had grabbed from under the sink and began patching her up.

“I wish you’d end the patrol when you get hurt, it’s dangerous.” He spoke never taking his eyes from his task.

“It’s nothing.” She replied never taking her eyes from the wall she had focused on upon entering the room.

“Nina, blood its what sets vampires and many nasty demons off you know that, so you were an inviting morsel tonight, and that put us all in danger, it put Dawn in danger.” He added the last part knowing that would get to her. She put up a great show of not caring when around others but he knew her best, better than she knew herself, and so he knew that She loved Dawn and that she felt an overwhelming need to keep her safe.

“Maybe we shouldn’t let her go with us anymore.” Nina said as a small twinge of fear crept over her at the thought of Dawn getting hurt.

“Yeah and you know she’ll just sneak out anyway, this way she’s with us and we can keep a better eye on her. Sides, Dawn’s a tough kid and a damn fine fighter, I just meant that we shouldn’t go putting her in unnecessary danger, so next time you get stabbed we come home, ok?” She didn’t reply and he knew that was her way of agreeing and so he didn’t push the issue further. He finished wrapping the wound and then inspected his handiwork. “How does it feel?”

“I’ve had worse.” She said and he closed his eyes and clenched his jaws and fists to the images that flooded his mind of her ‘worse’, and the night of their meeting came back to him, as did the near crippling feeling to keep her safe and reassure her that life and love doesn’t have to be ugly, evil and painful. He had spent nearly sixty years re-enforcing that fact to her. Angelus had killed her, not physically but mentally and emotionally and it had taken eight years before she trusted him, before which she’d scurry away from him in fear whenever he was near, but she never ran away from him and that had always boggled him. She took to his sleeping habits so when he slept she slept, then gradually she would sit with him and have conversations, mostly questions about vampires. But total trust didn’t come until the day they were both called, her as the slayer and he as her champion, that very night they christened their new status and relationship by making love. And now their relationship had complete trust, devotion, and unconditional, possessive, passionate love. They both felt that they were each half of a whole, and sometimes that’s how they moved and thought, in unison.

“I know you’ve had worse,” Spike finally spoke as she stood staring down at her, he then cupped her face and forced her to look at him. “But never again. You know why?”

“Because I’ve got you watching my back.” She replied with a bashful smile, which he matched with a smile of his own.

“That’s right,” He said before lowering his mouth to capture her lips in a kiss, which didn’t have time to deepen when a sudden flash of light gained their attention. Both pulled their guns, Spike from his hip holster and Nina from her thigh holsters, as they left their room and head back out to the front of the warehouse.

~~~~

“Ok whatever it is it’s trying to open the door to our side,” Wes yelled out over the roaring noise of the small portal opening.

“Well close it,” Dawn yelled back.

“And lock it.” Tara added as she and Dawn stood beside Wes, both holding guns aimed at the portal, which began to grow larger and larger.

“I can’t whoever’s opening it has got a lot of power on their end.” Wes replied and they all watched in awe as the portal flashed a blinding light and then everything quieted as the light settled into a shimmering blue cascade of energy.

“What the hell is that?” Nina asked as she and Spike entered the room, both moving in opposite direction, setting up a parameter around the portal, making sure whatever may come out wasn’t able to get past them.

“Oh just a portal.” Dawn answered which caused Nina to shoot questioning eyes to Wes.

“I don’t know where its from, nor who opened it or why.” As soon as he had finished his sentence a shadowed figure emerged within the portal. Dawn cocked her gun as they all aimed at the figure, as it got closer.

“Let’s see what it is before you all get trigger happy.” Wes suggested.

“Sure, why don’t you roll out there and greet it then.” Tara said. At that moment the portal wavered and Nina was the first to let her bullets fly, followed by Spike, Tara and then Dawn. They all stood stunned as they watched the bullets freeze in the air in front of a red haired girl with white eyes, who stood before them with her hand raised, when she lowered her hand all the bullets they had fired fell to the ground accompanied by clanking noises. The red head then blinked her eyes, which turned a hazel green, and then she smiled and spoke.

“Hi guys.” She said waving her hand slightly. She looked at the faces about the room and was very happy to see they were all familiar, and when she saw the most familiar of them all her smile faded to a look of shock. “Tara?”


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