Episode Three: The Keys of the Future by Pari

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Title: The Keys of the Future
Author: Parisian
Email: parisian@spikeluver.com
Rating: R (may change)
Archive: If you like, but le me now where, thanks.
Summary: Totally a Buffy/Spike fic (as are all my Buffy fics are) Dawn falls into danger (That’s surprising huh?) and Buffy, Spike, and crew along with Angel must come together to save her.


“Buffy!” Willow exclaimed as she ran to her friend who sat in a lounge chair in the waiting room at Sunnydale memorial Hospital. Spike sat beside her wanting to comfort yet not crowd her. As Willow, Xander, and Giles swiftly approached Spike attempted to stand and move out of their way, Buffy quickly grasped his hand. “Please stay,” She said in a near whisper she knew the others couldn’t hear but he would be able to. “I need you.” She said softly as the tears began flowing again. With a nod he sat back down again.

“What’s he doin…” Xander began causing Buffy to shoot him a dangerous glare.

“Not now Xander and if you start, I swear to God…” Buffy declared.

“He’s not starting,” Willow intervened seeing that Buffy was serious. She looked back at Xander giving him a warning stare, and Xander closed his mouth and took a step back.

“How’s Dawn, what happened?” Giles asked as he took the seat on the other side of Buffy.

“I don’t know, they rushed her in the back and no one has come out to tell us anything yet.” Buffy said as she leaned forward and rubbed her face in her hands. Giles reached over and rubbed her back.

“Well, I’ll go see if I can find something out.” Giles said and then stood and headed over to the nurse’s station. Willow took his spot in the chair.

“Oh sweetie are you ok?” Buffy raised her head to her friend and shook her head as her cries now bubbled from her. Willow instantly wrapped Buffy in her arms. “Oh, it’s going to be ok.” Willow spoke calmly, rocking Buffy as the others looked on helplessly.

“What…” Buffy sniffled struggling to get her words out.

“What, what?” Willow questioned.

“What…what if it’s like…like mom.” Buffy asked looking up at her friend with wide doe eyes, as Spike clenched his jaws and fists at the thought.

“No, Buffy this is not like what happened to your mom, it’s not.” Willow said reassuringly as she hugged Buffy to her again. At that moment Giles walked back over to them. “What did they say?” Willow asked.

“Nothing much, they’re still examining Dawn and running test.” Giles said removing his glasses and pinching his nose. “All we can really do now is wait.”

“I disagree, I think there’s something we can be doing.” Spike stated, causing everyone to look to him.

“Oh, and what do you suggest?” Giles asked.

“Lil Bit was fine, then all of a sudden she wasn’t. We need to find out more about her, where she comes from, what she really is. We need to find those monks who made her.”

“We know what she is…was she was a key that opened the doors to hell, remember Glory, Buffy dying?” Xander said sarcastically. Spike never even regarded him, never giving him a glance as he continued to speak.

“We all know what Glory wanted to use Dawn for, but what’s her real purpose. Dawn’s still the key, only thing that has changed is that Glory’s gone, but Dawn still is the key. What we need to do is find out what her purpose is. If we can do that, maybe we can find out what’s wrong with her, cause I can tell you now they don’t know.” Spike said nodding his head to the approaching physician and nurse. Buffy immediately stood as the doctor stopped in front of them.

“How is she, can I see her?” Buffy asked.

“Miss Summer’s Dawn’s in stable condition…she’s resting, but she hasn’t regained consciousness yet. We ran several test, and are running more as we speak, but the truth is we don’t know what happened to put her in this state, nor do we know how to help her.” The doctor said with a sad frown as Buffy, stoned faced, flopped back into her seat. “We just don’t know.”

“Ahh…thank you doctor, please let us know the second there’s any change.” Giles said.

“Of course.” The doctor said with a nod as he then walked off back in the direction in which he had come. Fresh tears now fell from Buffy’s face as she leaned over and buried her face into her hands. Willow continued to rub her back in a consoling manner.

“I’m going to go,” Spike began to stand and Buffy shot him a frightened, worried look. “I’ll be back.” He spoke directly to her. “I’m gonna go knock on some demonic doors and see what I can find out about the location of these monks who made Dawn. Then I’m going to bring them here so they can fix her, alright?” Buffy just eyed him, still unsure. “I’ll be right back and with news, I promise.” Spike reassured as she grasped her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing it softly before releasing it and turning to leave. Buffy watched him until he was far down the corridor and had disappeared around a corner, and her heart sank just a little more.

“Maybe we should be doing something to, Maybe Spike’s got the right idea. So I’m going to go back to the shop and do some research, dig up what I can. Xander you’re with me,” Xander immediately nodded in agreement. “Willow you stay with Buffy and call us if there’s any change.”

~~~~

“The time is almost upon us Razeal, we must get to the key.” The man behind the wheel of the car stated as he drove down the straight strip of road.

“We will we’re almost there. Don’t worry my friend we will get the weapon before the darkness befalls us all.” Razeal said as he looked out the window and read the sign ‘Welcome to Sunnydale.’

~~~~
He entered the bar barely moving out of the way before two Hakland demons came crashing by, hitting and biting one another. The room was so clouded with smoke a human would have found it difficult to breath let alone see where they were going.

“Spike!” A man in a far booth called out and waved to the vampire, with a nod of recognition Spike made his way to the table, taking a seat across from the man.

“Jake.” Spike said.

“Hey man where the hell have you been for the past couple of month. Damn I thought the slayer had finally took you out.” Jake said as he puff on his cigar.

“Did you find it?” Spike asked getting down to business.

“Yeah I found it and it nearly got me killed by a bunch of Priest. What’s in this book anyways?”

“That’s my concern. Where is it?”

“Where’s my money?” Jake asked as he blew a huge cloud of smoke in Spike’s face. Spike reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope and tossed it across the table. Jake took the envelope and leafed through it with a sappy smile plastered on his mouth. Jake then reached onto his lap and pulled up a book, leather bound with engraving covering the front, which Spike thought looked to be Latin. Jake tossed the book to Spike, who caught it and then stood to leave.

“Thanks.” Spike threw over his shoulder as he began to walk away.

“Anytime man.” Jake said but mostly to himself and he once again leafed through the envelope full of money.

~~~~

“How are you coming along?”

“Well, if you need to have a wart removed or grow your hair back, I’m your man.” Xander said as he slammed the book shut and pushed it across the table in frustration. “But if you want to know anything about a key as old as time that’s now a sixteen year-old girl, can’t help you.”

“Yes I too am having trouble in that department.” Giles stated as he closed the book he had been reading. Suddenly the bell on the door rung, announcing the blond vamp that came strolling in, he threw a book at Giles who caught it before it could smack him in the face. Giles looked it over his mouth dropping open and his eye enlarging with excitement. “How did you…”

“My concern, you just find out what’s wrong with Dawn, and how we can fix it.” Spike said already heading back out the door. “If you need me I’ll be at the hospital with Buffy.”

~~~~

“Hey Red, how is she? Has there been any word on the Bit?” Spike whispered as he handed Willow one of the cups of coffee he had gotten for her and Buffy. He then crouched beside a sleeping Buffy, curled up in one of the lounge chairs.

“The doctor’s haven’t found anything new, how bout you did you find anything?”

“Yeah, a book I think will be useful if the Watcher can translate it. I think he could probably use your help though.” Willow eyed Buffy warily not wanting to leave her. “It’s ok I’ll stay with her and if there’s any change I’ll phone.” Spike told her and she gave him a slight smile and then stood to head out for the Magic Box. “You think you could get Tara to look for a possible spell that maybe causing this or can cure it?” Spike asked causing Willow’s eye to grow wide.

“Oh God, Tara, I forgot to call her and let her know what was going on, and sure I know she’ll help she loves Dawn. Ok I’m gonna go, but call if there’s…”

“I will go and you call if you guys find anything.”

“Will do.” Willow said as she kissed Buffy’s cheek and then walked off. Buffy began to stir in her sleep, sitting upright, stretching and yawning all at once.

“Hey sleeping beauty.” Spike said as he took the seat beside her again.

“Mmmm…hey.” She said with a sleepy smile before reality slapped her in the face. “Dawn, is she,”

“No word yet Luv, but the other’s are working on a good lead as we speak.” Spike said as he reached out and pushed a stray hair out of her face.

“And did you have to kill anyone?” Buffy asked with a joking smile, which Spike returned.

“Not this time, but I can’t promise that I won’t have to before it’s all said and done. I’d do anything for her even kill.” Spike said as his eyes drifted down the hall they had taken Dawn.

“I know,” Buffy said as she reached out and grasped his hand. “Me too.” They silently stared at each other for a moment. “So what were you able to find out?”

“I asked around and heard talk of this book, some kind of holy bible filled with prophecies of a divine nature, and talk of a passage that read along the lines of a young girl that holds the key to the future. That this girl will someday have to face a great darkness that will descend upon the earth.”

“Sounds like Dawn.”

“That’s what I thought also, so I had a guy steal it for me and he told me it was guarded by Priests which is a lot like…”

“Monks.” Buffy finished arching her brow, and Spike nodded his head.

~~~~

“I’ve got it!” Giles exclaimed causing Xander to waken from his slumber, and Willow and Tara to look to him from their positions at Willow’s laptop. “It’s all here, all of it.”

“That’s great, now would you like to share with the class?” Xander said trying to stifle a yawn.

“This book tells of Dawn’s life before, well before she was Dawn, and…and before she was just energy that could be used to open hells. It seems that God himself created her or so the book claims. Her name was L' Arma.”

“Really?” Tara asked with burrowed brow.

“Yes why?”

“Nothing…well just that name, in Italian it means ‘the weapon’.” Giles face dropped at this revelation.

“Of course it all makes sense now, why hadn’t I seen it before.” Giles said standing still carrying the book. “Dawn isn’t a key she’s a weapon.”

“A weapon, what kind of weapon?’ Xander asked concerned.

“A good one, if my translations are right she is on the side of good, but like any weapon she could be used for evil if in the wrong hands.”

“Which is why she was sent to Buffy.” Tara stated. “To protect her, and keep her out of the wrong hands.” Giles nodded.

“But Glory said she was a key.” Xander interjected.

“Yes but that’s not her purpose, but her energy is so powerful that at the right time and place, it would be enough to open dimensions. Thus one may see her as a key.”

“So, what is she a weapon against?” Willow asked.

“A great darkness that is to befall the earth.”

“Vague much?” Willow added with a frown.

“It’s a rough translation mind you, but it speaks of a great darkness that is to befall the earth during the second millennium, a darkness so black and cold that it will infect any living thing it comes into contact with. And in its wake the earth will fall into chaos. Literally becoming a hell on earth.”

“Ok didn’t we just do this?” Xander asked.

“Not quiet, this time every one, thing on earth is destined to die.”

“Oh great, cause that’s so much better.” Xander said sarcastically.

“Everything and everyone you know will cease to exist for you, you will no longer care about any of it.”

“And what exactly will happen to Dawn?” Willow asked with worry. “I mean she doesn’t have to die in order to stop this?”

“Well, if she’s used as the weapon, no she won’t die, at least I don’t think she will and the world will not fall into chaos.” Giles stated. “I’m still a little lost on the translation, I’ll need more time to go through it. Hopefully it will tell us more on what we can expect and how to use Dawn to stop the darkness.”

“Well that’s good, right? Dawn won’t get hurt.” Tara said.

“Yes, well except that I’m sure there will be those who will try to kill her in order to prevent her from stopping the darkness.” Giles said glumly.

“Ok, show of hands, who’s surprised by this?” Xander asked in a sarcastic tone.

~~~~

“Yeah Giles I got it, thanks.” Spike spoke in to his cellular as he watched Buffy standing at the snack machine across the room, contemplating what she wanted. She finally decided on a Snickers bar and then made her way back to where he sat. “Well I’ll come by later and help you with the translation, I do know 23 different languages some things bound to click.” Buffy sat close to him unwrapping the candy bar, she offered Spike a piece which he smiled at but shook his head no. “Yeah I’ll call if there’s any change, and you do the same, Right.” With that Spike clicked the phone off and slipped it back into his pocket.

“Twenty-three languages, huh?” Buffy repeated as she picked at the chocolate.

“Yeah, after living nearly two hundred and fifty years and half of that in another world, well a man gets bored. Me when I’m bored I read, educate myself.”

“Nerd.” Buffy said with a smile, which Spike returned.

“Feeling better?”

“Considering all bad stuff that’s happening to me, again.” Buffy said with a tiring huff. “Yeah I do. And what about you, how are you holding up?”

“It’s hard, I’ve already watched…” Spike paused as his expression became hard and pained.

“Her die.” Buffy finished sadly. Spike nodded his head slowly as he looked down at the floor.

“I don’t think I could bear that again.”

“That’s why we’re not gonna let anything happen to her, right?” Buffy chimed lifting her chin a bit.

“That’s right, and Giles has found something from the book.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, it’s seems Dawn is some kind of weapon of goodness. He says there’s some kind of darkness that’s coming and only she can stop it.” Buffy gave a deep sigh to that. She laid her head on Spike’s shoulder.

“I’m so sick of this, why does it have to be so hard?”

“I don’t know luv,” Spike answered softly as she stroked her hair. “Maybe you’re just being tested by some higher power.”

“And when will it stop? I just don’t know how much more I can take.”

“We’ll get through we always do.”

“’We’ will?” Buffy repeated lifting her head a bit to stare up at the vampire.

“Yeah.” Buffy smiled at him and then laid her head back down.

“Why are you always around when I’m miserable?” Buffy asked causing Spike to smile broadly, as recollection struck him.

“Because, I’ll never leave you and…because I love you.” Spike said plainly and Buffy was stunned a little. It had been some time since she had heard him say that to her and even longer for him. She had honestly thought he had forgotten or maybe had moved on.

“I know,” She said as she snuggled closer to him, getting more comfortable. “I love you too.” She said in a near whisper, surprised at the fact she had finally told him. She held her breath awaiting his response. Spike held her a little tighter, and whispered in to her hair.

“I know, luv. I know.”

~~~~

Tara, Xander, and Willow entered the Magic Shop to find Giles asleep, with his head laid across the table. “Awww, he looks so peaceful.” Willow stated as they stood around staring at the older man.

“Yeah, even though he’s laying in a puddle of drool.” Xander added causing the women to giggle, which in turned woke Giles from his slumber. Giles’ head bolted up from table and he instantly began wiping the spit from his face.

“Morning sleepy head.” Tara said as she handed him the cup of coffee they had picked up for him. “We figured you had stay here all night, burning the midnight oil, so we got you a fresh cup of Joe.”

“And God bless you for it.” Giles mumbled as he sipped at the coffee.

“Now I feel so terrible having left you here to research by your self.” Willow said with a small frown.

“No, it’s ok. Since you don’t speak Arabic you would have been of little help.” Giles said with a forgiving smile.

“So, did you find anything?” Xander asked as he munched on a donut, from the box they had also brought.

“Yes a great deal actually. It seems that Dawn’s safety isn’t as…well safe as I stated earlier.”

“Oh no.” Tara sighed as she took the seat beside Xander and Willow took the one beside her. “So, what do we have to prepare for?”

“Nothing,” Giles replied and was met with confused faces. “That is, there’s nothing that any of ‘you’ can do. According to the text only the creators of the weapon can save her.”

“The monks?” Willow inquired.

“No, when they did the spell to make the weapon into a human, Dawn, they in essence changed her creators.” Giles tried explaining.

“Who, what, huh?” Xander said with a mouthful of donut.

“Well, we know they made Dawn from Buffy’s blood, but I’ve discovered it’s more complicated then that. It seems they had to use more then blood, it takes more then that to create a life, a human life.” Giles looked to the still confused faces, waiting for realization to click in them. “You need a female’s egg to be fertilized by a males sperm. You know the birds and the bees.” Giles stated point blankly, causing the other to say ‘Ohhhh’.

“Wait a minute, are you saying.” Willow began and Giles finished.

“That genetically Buffy’s Dawn’s mother, at least that’s my assumption, we won’t know for sure until we run tests, but I’m pretty positive I’m right. The spell that I found, that I believe the monks used to make Dawn, it’s detailed.”

“So, if Buffy’s Dawns mother then who’s her father?” Tara asked the question the others were also curious to know.

“As stated in the spell, he is as strong and the slayer as so he can protect Dawn in case Buffy failed. They describe him as being a champion warrior, the slayer’s champion, a demon with a heart full of love.”

“Angel.” Willow stated with a smirk as Giles nodded his head. “We have to tell Buffy. If all that you’ve told is true then this darkness is coming and soon, so we need to prepare, we need Angel here.”

“Yes, I agree you guys go inform Buffy and I’ll call Angel and explain things to him, though I have no idea what I’m going to say.

“Ok, I’m still lost here.” Xander said.

“That’s surprising.” Giles mumbled.

“Why did the Monks make Buffy and all of us believe that Dawn was her sister when she’s her daughter?”

“I’d guess it was because that would have been too hard to explain away. I mean they would have had to make Buffy a very young mother, and then get a father, as well as making all of us believe it as real. It would have been tricky to pull off, too involved.”

“And besides, Glory knew that Buffy had her key, if they had made it known that Dawn was her daughter, Glory would have taken Dawn first to use as leverage, and eventually Glory would have figured it out, it would have been too obvious.” Tara added, which Willow nodded in agreement with.

“Let’s go guys, I’m sure Buffy and Spike are anxious to hear if we’ve found anything.” Willow said, standing and the other’s followed suit.

“Yes and please give Buffy my love and tell her I’ll be over as soon as I make the call to Angel and finish going over the remaining text.” Giles announced. With a nodded Willow, Tara, and Xander headed out.


~~~~

“Whoa,” Buffy said as she just sat looking at the floor, stunned by what she had just been told. Spike still sat next to her, with a calm look of difference on his face. “I mean it’s…whoa.”

“Yeah that was our reaction too.” Tara said with supportive smile. “Are you ok?”

“Yeah.” Buffy said as she met her friend’s eyes. “But.”

“Big whoa.” Xander finished for her and she simply nodded her head.

“So, has anyone called Angel yet?” Spike broke in and all eyes turned to him.

“Yes, Giles is taking care of that, I’m sure Angel will come, right?” Willow said.

“Yeah he’ll be here, even if I have to go drag him here my self.” Spike stated with a serious face, which no one knew how to take, except Buffy who gave him a sweet smile.

“How’s Dawnie?” Tara interjected with concern.

“The same, they have no idea what’s wrong with her, how to fix it.” Buffy said glumly with a far off look in her eyes. “Maybe I should tell them that I’m really her mother, maybe that will help…”

“Not a good idea luv, with a new big bad coming to town for little bit, she’s safer with the identity she has, and so are you.”

“I agree with Spike.” Xander said and quickly added. “And I can’t believe I just said that.” Xander looked to Spike awaiting a reaction but Spike never even looked his way, but remained focused on Buffy.

“Yeah, maybe you guys are right.” Buffy said as she tried to stifle a yawn.

“Maybe you should go home for awhile, get some sleep.” Willow suggested.

“No I’m fine, besides I don’t want to leave Dawn alone. In case she wakes up.”

“Oh, Willow and I will stay with her.” Tara insisted.

“Yeah and after my shift at the site, I’ll come and relief them.” Xander added. “Go rest Buff, you’ll need your energy for what lies ahead.”

“What Giles has more on this darkness thingy?” Buffy asked.

“No, actually I meant having Angel and Spike in the same room.” Xander said with a smirk, which Buffy returned and still Spike made no reaction, which was beginning to annoy Xander some. “Ah, come on Spike that comment should have at least got a growl.”

“Sorry, But I’ve learned over many years not to worry about the little things.”

“So, you’ve learned to control your temper?’ Willow asked.

“No,” Spike said. “Just learned to redirect it.”

“That’s good….aoooh” Buffy said with a yawn.

“Ok, off you go, home.” Willow said as she stood and began pulling a reluctant Buffy to her feet. “Don’t worry we’ll call you if there’s any change. Spike,” Willow then turned to the vamp that now stood between her and Buffy. “You have your car right?”

“Yeah,” Spike said with a nod. “Down in the basement parking lot.”

“Good, you take Buffy home and make sure she gets at least seven hours sleep.” Spike nodded his head and then gently grasped Buffy’s arm, and she leaned into his touch.

“Fine, you win, but if there’s any change…”

“We’ll call you.” Tara reassured. “Sleep well.

“I doubt it.” Buffy mumbled as she and Spike walked off. The remaining three stared after them.

“It just isn’t fair.” Xander said, causing Willow and Tara to look at him.

“You’re not gonna start again with the, it’s not fair that Buffy keeps falling for the undead and she never even gave me a second thought are you, cause heard it a million times, kind of old.” Willow said with a playful frown. Xander chuckled a little at his friend but then his face grew serious.

“No, I mean it isn’t fair that bad stuff keeps happening to her, that’s all. And to know that she had found some kind of peace and…”

“We took it from her.” Willow finished as she laid her head against his shoulder.

“Yeah.”

~~~~

“Ready for bed?” Spike asked as Buffy emerged down the stairs from a hot bath he had ran for her. As soon as they had arrived at the Summer’s home, Spike had fixed Buffy something to eat and then ran her a bubble bath.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep.” She answered as she plopped down on the couch beside him, curling her feet beneath her.

“Won’t know ‘til you try.”

“Will you come with me?” Buffy questioned with her eyes as well as her mouth.

“I don’t think that would be a good idea Buffy.” Spike said as he looked down at his hands, wanting to avoid her eyes.

“Why not?” Buffy asked as she placed her hand firmly on his thigh.

“Cause you’re ‘needy’ Buffy right now, and as I recall, needy Buffy tends to make rational Buffy do things she usually regrets later.”

“But Needy Buffy doesn’t live here anymore more, she left when I got you back.” Buffy said with a smile, which Spike couldn’t help returning.

“Really?”

“Umhm, now there’s just the rational Buffy, with a little wanty Buffy.”

“Wanty Buffy?” Spike repeated with a chuckle.

“Yeah that part of me that always wants you.” She said with a seriousness that stunned Spike. “I’m not asking you to have sex with me, I would just sleep better if you laid with me and held me, at least until I fall asleep. Please.” She added, batting her lashes, which caused another chuckle in Spike.

“Fine, but just until you fall asleep.” He said to the petite blond that now stood over him, with her hand extended to him. He grasped her hand and allowed her to lead him upstairs to her bedroom. They entered the room and Spike paused at the door.

“What?” Buffy asked as she turned to see why he had stopped.

“This is the first time I’ve been invited in the room. It use to be I’d break in or barge in.”

“Break in?” Buffy repeated arching a brow.

“Yeah, I’d come in when no one was around and steal your pictures and lingerie.”

“You were doing that, God I thought I was going crazy and some panty monster was eating my undies.” Buffy said with a giggle. “Well, I’m not mad so you can come all the way in. I’m formally inviting you. So now you’re welcome even when I’m not here.” Spike smiled at that and then moved to the bed, pulling the covers back.

“Right then, hop in.” Spike said as he patted her pillow, and Buffy dove under the covers and then pulled them back more and patted the mattress.

“You too.”

“Yeah, but I think I should lay on top of the covers.” Spike said as he sat at the foot of the bed and began pulling off his boots.

“Oh come on Spike, I’m not going to attack you and take advantage of you.” Buffy said rolling her eyes.

“I’m not worried about you luv,” Spike said as he allowed his eyes to roam over her face. “It’s been nearly a hundred years since….I should sleep on top of the covers.”

“A hundred years since what?” Buffy asked and then realization struck her. “Since you’ve been with a woman. So I’m the…”

“Yeah you’re the last woman, don’t get a swollen head.” Spike said with a smirk as Buffy smiled brightly.

“Why?”

“Well, I was very busy with a revolution and all,” Spike said as he slid in, under the covers, with Buffy despite his earlier apprehensions. Buffy snuggled close to him, resting her head on his chest and her hand across his abdomen. “And for a while there, before I finally gave it up, I searched for a way to get back here.”

“So you were just too busy to be interested in girls.” Buffy stated.

“No, I was interested in one girl, but she wasn’t there.” Spike said and then leaned in and kissed her forehead. “Now go to sleep.” With a sigh Buffy closed her eye, and soon fell asleep. Spike too had closed his eyes and drifted off. The two fell into a deep slumber neither had experienced in ages. Several hours ticked by and still the two forms in the bed slept on, and neither was aware of the eyes that now watched.

“What the he….ahhhhhhhh!!!” The yell and then the loud crash caused both slayer and vampire to instantly awake in full defense mode.

“What was that?” Buffy asked as she and Spike both jumped from the bed and made their way down the stairs. They moved to the door, which Buffy swung open. “Angel.” Buffy said a little stunned even though she had expected his arrival would be swift. After a second she realized something was off, Angel was in full vamp mode. “Angel?” Once Buffy understand what had cause him to vamp out, and before she could say anything, Angel lounged at the door, only to be knocked back.

“Ahhhh, Buffy what the hell is going on?” Angel roared as he got up again. “Why the hell were you upstairs sleeping with Spike, and why am I uninvited again.”

“Ok I can explain.” Buffy stammered.

“Hello Angel.” Spike spoke, without a snide remark or a gloating smirk on his face, which unnerved Angel even more.

“I’d really like to hear that explanation, but could we do this inside?” Angel asked never taking his eyes off of Spike.

“Oh yeah, sorry come…wait, if I let you in you’re not going to attack Spike.”

“No I won’t attack Spike, I promise.” Angel assured.

“Oh I wasn’t asking you, I’m telling you, and if you try I will thoroughly kick your ass my self.” Buffy stated folding her arms across her chest, her words made Angel tear his eyes from Spike and lock on to hers. “Now, come in Angel.” Buffy said stepping back, closer to Spike and waving her hands to gesture him in. Angel wearily entered and followed Buffy and Spike into the living room.

~~~~

“Have you located the key yet Razeal?” The man asked as he entered the car with their food.

“Yes, I have a lock on it, and why do you insist on calling it the key, it’s a weapon.”

“Yeah but the monks called it a key.”

“That’s because over time they have forgotten that it is a weapon and what it’s used for. Luckily our people kept details accounts, and now we know what to look for, how to read the sighs for the up coming darkness. Our elders were fools to think that the monks would be of help in the up coming battle. They were foolish enough to allow a hell God to discover its powers, and then sent it to a mortal of all things, for protection. I just pray it still works.” Razeal said as he typed in further commands into the laptop he held. Sudden a light on the screen began to flash and a beeping sound could be heard in the car. “I think we have something. Yes, yes, come.” Razeal commanded as he pulled up directions from the flashing light. “We have to go to the Hospital, that’s where the weapon is. Quickly, I want to get it before Dawn arises.” The two demons sped off into the night.

~~~~

“Angel, say something.” Buffy said to the vamp that sat motionless in the chair, as she and Spike sat on the couch across from him.

“What would you like me to say Buffy? I mean I could tell from our meeting right after you came back, that there was something going on with you, but I really had no idea, cause if I had I’d have never let you leave things the way they were.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.” Buffy stated.

“Oh no, so having sex with Spike, that’s normal?” Angel asked a little angry and still hurt. Spike just sat silently and allowed Buffy to defend the matter.

“About as normal as having sex with you, except without all the grrr…arggg, and killing of my friends.’ Buffy hissed and Angel clenched his jaws and fists at the reference. “Look Angel I didn’t ask you here for tips on loving a vampire. You wouldn’t even be here at all if not for Dawn, and the fact that Giles thinks that we’re the only ones that can save her life.”

“You love him.” Angel asked having caught what she had said. “So is that why you told me you didn’t feel the same way about me anymore, and I couldn’t be in your life anymore?”

“Yes and no.” Buffy answered and got confused looks from both Spike and Angel. “Yes I do love Spike, but he’s not the reason I told you those things. I told you that because that’s the way I feel. Coming back changed me emotionally and I realized that I was still living in a schoolgirl’s fantasies. I’m not a schoolgirl.” Buffy said smiling a little at Spike, remembering him telling her that awhile back. “I’m a woman, a woman that’s not in love with you, and I haven’t been for a long time. I think even before you left. I was just clinging to something nice and familiar and comfortable. I don’t need that security blanket anymore.”

“I see, so now I’m a blanket.”

“You know what I mean. Angel I will always love you, as corny as it sounds, but I’m just not in love with you anymore, and I don’t think you’re in love with me either.” Angel looked down at that, for in his heart he knew she was right, but he hated the idea that it was Spike that was seemingly taking his place. They all jumped at the sound of the phone ringing.

“I’ll get it, luv.” Spike said as he stood and made his way into the dining room, wanting to give Angel and Buffy a moment alone, as he him self needed. He was sure he had heard what he had just heard. He remembered a time he would have laughed in Angel’s face at hearing such news, but now all he felt was loved, for the first time in over two hundred year. “Ello.”

“Spike, you and Buffy should get here now.” Willow’s panicked voice came over the phone.

“What is it, is it Little Bit?”

“No, not exactly, something’s happening here, there’s a black out, and a lot of magical energy floating around. I can feel it.”

“And you think what ever it is, it’s coming for Dawn?”

“I don’t know, but I’ll feel a hell of a lot better when you guys get here.”

“Alright, Buffy, Angel, and I will be there in fifteen minutes, go to Dawn’s room and move her if you have to. Tara’s still there right?”

“Yeah.”

“Get her to do a protection spell once you’re in Dawn’s room. Then hang tight, were on our way.”

“Ok, bye.”

Spike walked back into the living room where Angel and Buffy sat in silence. “We need to go, that was Will, she says there’s some major mojo going on at the hospital.” Buffy and Angel both jumped up.

“Dawn.” Buffy said as she raced up the stairs to change.

“Don’t worry we’ll get to her a keep her safe.” Angel called after her.

“We always have and always will.” Spike said to Angel and then the two fell in silence.

~~~~

“Have you pin pointed its exact location?”

“Wait, wait….Yes! This way.” Razeal. “You call ahead and make sure the plane is ready for take off, once we have the weapon we will need to get back home as soon as possible.”

~~~~

“Should we split up?” Angel asked as he, Buffy, and Spike burst through the emergency room doors.

“Yeah I think we’ll cover more ground, Angel you take that corridor and Spike and I will head down this one to where they took Dawn, and we’ll do a sweep on the way.”

“Ah, you and Spike, yeah ok then I’ll go this way then.” Angel said and then reluctantly walked off.

“I hope Dawn’s ok.” Buffy said as she rushed down the hallway towards where Dawn was taken when they brought her to the hospital.

“Little bit’s ok, no worries luv.” Spike spoke as he rushed beside her.

“Buffy! Spike!” Willow called out to the passing bodies. Buffy and Spike backtracked and reappeared at the door.

“Willow, Tara, thank God.” Buffy said as she moved to enter the room, but a force slammed her back into Spike, who stood behind her.

“Opps, sorry bout that.” Tara said. “Release. You can come in now.”

“Thanks.” Buffy said as she and Spike entered.

“Yes thank you.” One of the two men spoke as he entered the room. Everyone turned to face the unknown men.

“Who the hell are you?” Buffy asked.

“We’ve come for the weapon.” Razeal said.

“She’s not a weapon, and she’s not a key, she’s my da… my sister.”

“And you can’t have her.” Spike said in a near growl.

“We have no time for this, you don’t understand what’s coming. We need the weapon.” Razeal said.

“No, you don’t understand, you’re not taking my sister anywhere.” Buffy said and then moved to a fighting stance.

“Really?” Razeal said and then waved his hand. Buffy flew back across the room, and slammed against a far wall. Spike then took the defensive, but before he could move Razeal spoke. “Sia tranquillo.” (Rough Translation: ‘Be still’ in Italian)

“Ah, I can’t move.” Willow announced.

“Neither can I.” Tara affirmed. And then they looked to Spike, who they could tell was unable to move also.

“Hurry, get the weapon.” Razeal commanded, and his companion moved to the bed and scooped Dawn into his arms. “We really mean you no harm, this is for the better good, I assure you.” With that Razeal and company moved to leave.

“No!” Buffy yelled from her position against the far wall, which she seemed to be glued to. She watched helplessly as the two men disappeared out the door with Dawn. “No.” She repeated in a near whimper.

~~~~
Several minutes later:

“Tara is there as spell you can do?” Spike inquired.

“I’ve been trying but nothing seems to be working.” Then as if some higher power heard them, they all stumbled forward. “It must have worn off.” Tara said as she rubbed at her arms. Spike instantly moved to where Buffy still laid, and helped her up.

“You all right Luv?”

“No, we have to get Dawn back.” She said as she rushed out the door, but ran into Angel on her way.

“There you guys are, what happened?” Angel inquired only to be pushed roughly aside by Buffy and then Spike.

“They got Dawn!” Buffy announced as she dodged the chaos that now overtook the darken halls. “Where the hell were you?” She asked in near growl.

“I was checking the other corridors like you asked.” Angel stated in slight anger. Spike threw him a hiss and a growl as warning as he passed, and Angel, who was quite stunned, stopped speaking and just followed the others out.

“So what’s the plan?” Willow asked.

“I can’t do this again, not again.” Buffy mumbled to her self, but Spike and Angel could hear her clearly. She paced about the hospital parking lot, unsure of what to do next.

“A location spell.” Spike said and Buffy stopped paced and looked at him, as did everyone else.

“What?” Angel asked.

“Tara,” Spike spoke disregarding Angel. “Could you do a location spell?” Tara and Willow’s eyes lit up as a smile crept across their faces.

“Yeah, I can.” Tara stated. “But we need to get to the Magic Box.

“Ok, ok. So you two go with Angel and Spike and I will follow you, I want to make a quick stop home to get weapons.” Buffy said as Spike, Willow, and Tara nodded. Angel stood dumbfounded. “Angel?”

“Uh, yeah sounds like a plan.” Angel said as he, Willow, and Tara headed out.

~~~~

“Aren’t you going to ask?” She broke the silence as she stared out the window at the passing houses.

“Ask what, Luv?”

“Ask me if I’m ok.” She then turned to face him. “like everyone else.”

“No, I know you remember, I know you’re tougher then you look.” He said with a smirk, which she returned. “Be sides, we’re gonna get the bit back, and keep her safe.” He assured as he reached out and gently grasped her hand, giving it a firm squeeze.

“Like we always do.” Buffy responded with a sweet smile.

“That’s right.”

~~~~

“Have you got anything yet?” Buffy asked in a huff as she and Spike rushed into the Magic Box, where she found Giles, Tara, Willow, Xander, and Angel, all standing around a table that had a map unfolded across it. Tara held a crystal that dangled on a chain above the map.

“We were just about to start.” Willow announced. They all watched as the crystal wobbled and then dropped and stuck to the map.

“Whoa, that’s… far.” Xander spoke. “Are you sure it’s right?

“Yes, that’s where they’re going.” Tara said.

“And that’s where we’re going.” Spike stated.

“Cairo, Egypt here we come. Hold on Dawnie, we’re coming.” Buffy declared.

~~~~

“I have a friend I can book us on the next freight ship out.” Angel offered.

“Wait, a ship, won’t that take like…uhm forever.” Xander said sarcastically.

“Well, it’s not safe for Spike and I to travel on an airplane.” Angel explained.

“And that’s a problem because?” Xander asked causing Willow to smack him across his chest. “What?”

“Never mind him, Angel, if you could set that up it would be great.” Willow stated.

“But how long will it take for you guys to get there?” Tara asked.

“Uh…” At that moment Buffy and Spike burst through the door of the Magic shop.

“We’re back.” Buffy announced. “And we now have wheels, a jet.”

“A jet?” Angel repeated. “How did you get a jet?”

“Don’t ask me, it was Spike.” All eyes fell to Spike. “And he’s not telling and I’m not caring, for now.” She emphasized as she looked at him. He just gave her a sweet smile.

“He probably threatened to eat the pilot.” Xander quipped.

“Again, not caring.” Buffy said as she moved to the table.

“So, what’s the game plan?” Xander asked rubbing his hands together.

“Simple, Spike and I…uh and you too Angel.” Buffy added creating a pained look from Angel. “We get on the plane fly to Africa, kick some ass, and get Dawn back, simple.”

“Actually Buffy I think we should take the time…” Giles spoke only to be cut off by Buffy.

“We don’t have the time, Dawn doesn’t have the time.” Buffy declared in a panicked voice.

“Buffy, I understand you’re worried and you want to save your sister but you can’t go there without some sort of plan.” Giles continued.

“I have one, I just told you what it was.”

“Buffy, I think Giles has point.” Angel interjected.

“Look we’re wasting time chatting here, if you don’t want to go fine then stay, Spike you’re with me right.”

“You know better then to ask luv.” Buffy gave a silent sigh and a soft smile. Angel rolled his eyes.

“Surprise there, you always go off half cocked and you usually nearly get yourself killed as I recall.” Angel said with a glared.

“And yet I always come back.” Spike said glaring. “Like the slayer said, you don’t have to come, you can stay here if you like.”

“Well, I’m told Dawn’s ‘my’ daughter and I’m needed to save her, so I need to go.”

“So, let’s go already.” Buffy said rolling her eyes.

“Giles, I think you, Willow and Tara should stay here, find out more from the book. Xander you’re with us.” Xander nodded.

“Ok, and we’ll call you if…when we find something.” Willow said with a small smile.

“Just bring Dawnie home.” Tara added and Buffy gave her a quick hug.

“We will.”

“Ah, Buffy,” Giles called to her and she turned to give him a wary look. “Be safe.”

“I will,” she then turned back to Spike and Angel. “You guys ready? Let’s go.” Buffy headed out with Spike, Angel, and Xander close behind.

~~~~

“Aren’t they cozy?”

“Looks like.”

“So how long has that been going on?”

“You’re asking the wrong one, I just found out myself.”

“Well, don’t you find it…I don’t know a little strange?”

“Where as I found your relationship with her, normal.” Xander said sarcastically. “Believe me I’m not on the Buffy and Spike band wagon, but if I had to choose between him and you, I’ll take the one that won’t go homicidal after getting some booty, and then go off and kill my friends.”

“I’m sorry. How many times do I have to say it before you trust…”

“I will never trust you, you will never be my buddy, ok. So, get over it.” Xander said as he then turned on his side, trying to get comfortable. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna get some shut eye.” At that Angel sat quietly for a second, as he continued to watch the two forms sitting a few isle from where he and Xander sat.

“So, you think it’s gonna last?” Angel asked.

“Will you shut up already, and stop slayer hating.” Xander said over his shoulders. “Hey, I made a joke there, get it player hating, slayer hating…” Angel simply eyed him curiously. “Never mind, go to sleep or something.”

~~~~

“You know he’s watching us?” Spike asked as he leaned back in his chair, with Buffy snuggling close to him.

“Yeah, does it bother you?”

“Irritates me is a more accurate description.” Buffy giggled a little. “And you, does it bother you?” Buffy sat silently for a moment, thinking about the question.

“No.” She finally said.

“Really, not at all?”

“Nope.” She replied. “It’s hard to explain, but what Angel and I had was…it was what it was, but it’s been over for a long time now.”

“You ever miss it.”

“Well, some things, sometimes, but over all no. It was too intense and scary, and heartbreaking. Now that I look back on it, it was a miserable time. I did way too much crying.”

“So now is better?”

“Now is much better.” Buffy said with a sigh and a smile as she moved closer to Spike’s frame. “Still intense, but without the tears and major fears.” Spike smiled and then leaned down and placed a kiss on her forehead. “Only thing missing is…”

“Nibblet.” Spike finished and Buffy nodded with a sad far look on her face. “We’re gonna get her back, I promise.”

~~~~

“I have gotten the camels.”

“Good, we shall leave for the tombs at Dawn.” Razeal said as he read over ancient scrolls he always kept on his person. “How the weapon?”

“She’s still out.”

“You shouldn’t make it seem real, by referring to it as a person. It’s not a girl or some key, it’s a weapon.”

“And what will happen when we have completed our task, once we have no use for it?”

“If it survives, the Slayer can have it back, but the likelihood of it surviving is very slim.”

~~~~

“How did you manage all of this?” Buffy asked as she spun around the large living room of the villa, she, Spike, Xander, and Angel now stood in.

“I’ll tell you later,” Spike said as he moved to entering a closed door across the room. “You’ll sleep in here Angel. All the windows are covered with heavy black drapes, so you’ll be safe. Xander you’re room is the other door across the way” Spike pointed, and Xander followed his direction.

“And where will we sleep?” Buffy asked as she continued to take in the beauty of the room. Both Angel and Spike stopped and stared at her stunned by her question. She stopped, feeling the eyes now on her and turned to stare back. “What?”

“Ah, well there are two bedrooms upstairs, you take your pick and I’ll use the other.” Spike suggested.

“Yeah we could do that,” Buffy said as she took his hand and moved to the staircase, leaving Angel to look after them. “Or we could pick a room together and share.” They reached the top of the stairs and moved to the first door.

“I don’t think that would be a good idea luv.”

“Why not and please don’t say because Angel and Xander’s downstairs.”

“As long as you’ve known me, you should know by now that I really could care less about Angel, Xander or their feelings. I was thinking about you.”

“What about me?”

“Well, you should be focused, we both should, and if we share a bed…we could get a little distracted? Dawn needs us both level headed and at full strength, and...”

“And if we’re sharing a bed neither of us will get much sleep, and as I recall it usually takes me a couple of days to get the full use of my legs after…” Buffy said with a giggle as Spike chuckled.

“Yeah I remember.”

“You do?” Buffy asked surprised. “Even after nearly a century?”

“I remember every second that I was with you.” Spike said in a serious tone as he moved close, and leaned down to press his lips to hers. They both got lost in the feel of soft lips pressed firmly against each other. After a few second, Buffy parted her lips and allowed Spike entrance, which he happily accepted. With his tongue he explored every inch of her mouth before finally sucking on Buffy’s sweetly flavored tongue, which he mentally compared to the nectar of a honeysuckle flower. Buffy gripped at his arms, pulling him closer, deeper into the kiss.

“Mmmmmhhh.” Buffy moaned as her grip tightened. Her body ached for this it had been so long, too long. Spike began to pull back. “Mmmmm…..No.” Buffy said as their lips departed each other.

“Focused remember?” Spike said again.

“Right, we need to be focused, but I’m not too worried.”

“You’re not?” Spike asked arching a brow.

“Nope. According to Giles the guys who took Dawn aren’t baddies, and their not trying to purposely harm her, just using her to save the world. He says that when it’s all finished Dawn will be so weak and drain she could die, and that the only thing that can save her is the blood of her genetic creators, that being Angel and me. And we’re both here, but more importantly, you’re here with me, and I know you’ll protect her with your life. You always have.” Buffy said with a smile, which Spike returned.

“Damn right, and I always will.” Buffy moved in for another kiss, but Angel’s voice ended the moment.

“Spike, a messenger just dropped off a letter for you.” Angel called from the foyer.

“Good, I’ve been waiting for that.” Spike said as he moved down the stairs to where Angel stood holding out the letter. Buffy followed close behind him.

“What does it say?” Buffy asked as she leaned up and over, trying to get a better look.

“I called all over my contacts here, gave them the low down on what had happened and had them put look out about for Dawn.” Spike said. “They believe they’ve found her.”

“They did…well is she ok…where…” Buffy began to rant.

“I thought you weren’t too worried.” Spike said eyeing her.

“I’m not but you know I waned to call the others and let them know Dawn’s ok…she is ok…right.” Buffy asked nervously.

“It seems that she is, but she hasn’t regained consciousness yet, the uncle of one of my contact, Rasheed, is the doctor that was called in to care for the young girl, which from the description is Lil bit.”

“Thank God she’s ok.” Buffy said breathing a sigh of relief. “So where is this contact so he can take us to where they have Dawn.”

“Too scared, these guys that snatched Nibblet, seem to be into the magic’s, major warlocks, has everyone in this country scare of them, but we have detailed instruction on how to get to their hideout.”



“Good, so let’s go.” Buffy said as she moved to the door, leaving the two men to stare after her.

“Ah…Buffy, luv…Angel and I can’t go out now, not with our extra sensitive skin and all.”

“Oh right, sun’s still up.”

“Sides, you don’t know your way around, and it’s a big city, easy to get lost in.” Spike said. “We’ll head out at dusk.” Buffy nodded in agreement. “Why don’t you head on up and unpack, maybe lie down for a bit.” Spike suggested.

“Yeah I think I’ll do that, you coming up?”

“I’ll be up in a moment, just need to make a call first.” Buffy nodded and them started up the stairs leaving Spike and Angel alone. “Drink?” Spike offered as he now moved to the sitting area which housed an over stocked bar.

“Bit early in the day for me.” Angel said as he followed Spike’s trek into the room. Spike moved behind the bar to a small refrigerator, which he opened and pulled out what appeared to be a pitcher of blood.

“Suit yourself,” He said a he poured himself a glass, and then began gulping from it. Angel moved to the bar, picked up a glass and tapped it on the table. Spike obliged, filling the glass, which Angel then tilted to his head.

“So what’s your plan Spike?”

“Not my decision, Buffy should be the one planning this recon mission, it’s her sis…”

“Not what I’m asking here.” Angel said staring seriously at his nemesis.

“I could say it’s none of your business, Peaches.”

“Yeah and I could kill you.” Angel countered.

“You could try, but I should warn you after a century of fighting, I don’t enjoy it much anymore. Don’t care to drag it out like I use to.” Spike said as he pulled his 9.mm from his shoulder holster, and placed it on the bar, his finger still on the trigger, as he glared at Angel

“Oh so you’re into guns now, you’d shoot me?”

“Where you stand.”

“That’s what you’ll have to do then, cause I won’t let you hurt them.”

“You won’t…is that right now?” Spike said with a laugh. “So, ‘now’ you’re going to protect them? Where were you when the hell god was out to kill Dawn, her and a bunch of Knights, or when Buffy died saving us all, where the hell were you then?”

“I didn’t kn…”

“No, you didn’t know because she didn’t tell you,” Spike spoke as he pointed up towards the stairs. “She didn’t need you, cause she had me. She knew she could count on me, she knows that I will never leave her, never purposely cause her or Dawn harm, no matter what. That’s what’s got you so pissed, it nit? The fact that she doesn’t need you, nor want you, and because I’m the man in her life now.”

“You’re not a man, that’s what’s bothering me. You’re nothing but a demon, a demon without a..”



“Soul, ya da ya da, yeah I got the memo already. And what does it mean really, having a soul. I mean which is the better vamp, the one with a soul, who has his demon caged up, and is a do gooder because he’s full of guilt for all his past sins. Or the vamp without a soul, who has no real reason to do good at all, nor to help the slayer, but he does anyway. And for no reason, other then love. We all know what your demon is like when he’s out of his box, whose is really worse, yours Angelus or mine?” Spike then picked up his gun, and headed out of the room, and up the stairs, leaving Angel to think on the question.

~~~~

“Razeal, we have reports of a woman fitting the slayers description and two men arriving in Cairo, a few hours ago.”

“As expected, but I didn’t think she’d get here so soon. No matter.” Razeal said as he continued dressing in his ceremonial gown.

“Should I send the assassins?”

“Only if you want to send them to their deaths, they are no match for the slayer. No, we only have a few hours left before we must perform the ceremony. Take the child to the temple.” The man bowed before leaving Razeal to continue dressing.

~~~~

“Are you sure this is the right way?” Xander asked.

“Yes I’m sure, I know these streets quite well.” Spike answered as he now peered around a corner. “There’s a temple up head, that’s where my source said they rook Dawn.”

“Good,” Buffy who was peering around Spike spoke. “Then let’s go get her.”

“Not so fast love, unless you’re now ready to kill a human. You see those guys posted over the top and around the outside of the temple, they are called ‘assassins’ and with good cause. They protect the temple, with their lives.”

“So we find another way, there is another way in, right?” Buffy asked.

“Uhm..yeah…the catacombs beneath us.” Spike said, and Angel threw him a groan, from his place at the rear.

“What?” Xander asked wanting to know why they were making disgusted faces.

“You can stay here if you like Angel, and we’ll go save Dawn, we always do.” Spike shot back to Angel in a hiss.

“No, I’m going to after all Dawn is my…”

“Genetically maybe, but she’s still ‘my’ Lil’ Bit, always.” Spike said, with a dangerous glare in his guys.

“Ok guys, could you do this later, right now we need to get to Dawn. Now where are these catacombs?” Buffy said.

“This way, but Buffy I should warn…”

“Look Spike, all I want to do right now is save my sister, please.” Spikes took a deep sigh and nodded his head, and then lead them to the location of the catacombs.

~~~~
“Oh GOD!” Xander called out as he covered his nose and mouth, as they now moved further into the catacombs. Buffy too found herself gagging on the smell emanating form the catacombs. “What is that unholy smell?”

”It is kind of, foul.” Buffy stated through a cough.

”I tried to warn you luv,” Spike announced as he continued treading through foot deep murky water that lined the ground. “Well, this is where they use to bury their dead, so there’s that, and the fact that they now use the catacombs as their sewer systems.” Both Buffy and Xander stopped at hearing this, and then they both looked down at the watery goop that surrounded their boots.

“Great mother of Zeus.” Xander exclaimed.

“Ewwww.” Buffy said with a frown.

“Keep moving guys.” Angel commanded from the rear, and Both Buffy and Xander continued their trek but with disgusted faces.

Spike came upon an opening, which lead inside the temple. He looked through the vent, listening to make sure it was clear. He then moved the vent and moved inside. He then turned to help the others get in.

“This place is huge.” Xander stated as he stared up at the high ceiling.

“Yeah maybe we should slip up, cover more ground.” Buffy suggested. “Angel, you and Xander head that way, Spike and I’ll go this way. If you find her yell, we’ll come running.” They all nodded and headed out.

~~~~

“The weapon is in place.”

“Go, began lowering the top.” Razeal commanded.

~~~~

“Good lord.” Giles called out from his place on the stairs, causing Willow and Anya both to stare up at him in confusion.

“Giles, what’s wrong did you find something?” Willow asked.

“I finished the translation, it seems I was wrong about some things, pretty much everything.”

“Well is that good or bad?” Tara asked.

“Very bad….but mainly for my health.” Giles said as he removed his glasses and pinched his nose. Willow and Tara stared at him confused and then at each other.

~~~~

“She’s around here somewhere.” Spike said as he and Buffy carefully and swiftly moved through the grand halls. “I can almost feel her.”

“Yeah me too.” Buffy said. “I just wish we could pin point her location…find her before they can hurt…”

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” Buffy and Spike jumped as a scream pierced their ears.

“Dawn.” Buffy gasped with wide eyes. “DAWN!!” She now yelled as she bolted in the direction the scream came from, with Spike close behind her. They burst through some grand doors where they found Dawn, locked in some metal chamber, with the man that took her, standing over her chanting. Buffy stared in horror as she watched the blood seeping from the holes in the chamber that housed Dawn. She swiftly moved to get to her, as some Guards countered her and Spike. Suddenly the entire temple began to shake violently, throwing everyone to the floor. Spike instinctively moved to Buffy, covering her with his own body. After a few seconds the trembling stopped, and everyone stood warily.

“It is done.” Razeal stated with a bright smile.

“Dawn!” Buffy called as she once again hurried to her side.

“Lift the spikes.” Razeal commanded, and the top of the chamber began to lift from Dawn’s body. Buffy gasped at the sight she saw; Dawn’s body was covered in blood from where the spikes had pierced her skin.

“Dawn?” She sobbed softly as Dawn lay deadly still. “Oh God no, no…please no.” Buffy now moaned as she placed a hand over one of the gushing holes in a vain attempt to stop the bleeding. Spike, who stood over her shoulder watching helplessly, reached out and grasped Razeal by the throat, in full vamp mode.

“If it’s too late to save her, you’re a dead man.” Spike said to the now terrified man, who now alone since his helpers all ran away I fear.

“Spike! Help me, there’s so much blood, we have to apply pressure. We need Angel……ANGEL!!!!” Buffy screamed. Spike dropped Razeal and moved to Buffy’s side, he placed his hand over Buffy’s. Suddenly a Warm Bright light illuminated from Dawn’s body, beneath Buffy and Spike’s hands. At that moment, Xander and Angel rushed into the room. They stopped cold in their tracks as the watched the light surrounding Dawn, Buffy and Spike grow bigger. As suddenly as it begun, the light dispersed. Buffy and Spike looked to each other, and then to Dawn, who was no longer bloody, nor asleep.

“Buffy? Spike? What happened, where?”

“Don’t talk, we’ll explain everything later, come on let’s get you out of here.” Buffy said as she and Spike help Dawn to her feet, only to have her knees to buckle. Spike quickly swooped her up into his arms.

“I got you Nibblet.” Spike said as she rested her head on his shoulder. He leaned in and gently kissed the top of her head, then looked to Buffy who just smiled back at him.

“Ok what just happened?” Xander asked a bit confused.

“We saved Dawn.” Buffy said as she continued to look at Spike.

“But I thought, Angel…”

“Well it seems Giles’ translations was a little off.” Buffy said as she now looked to Angel, who gave her a sad smile and then simply shrugged his shoulders.

“So long as Dawn’s safe and in good hands.” Angel said as he looked to Spike, who in turn gave him a nod of his head.

“And you are so lucky that she is ok.” Buffy said as she glared at Razeal who now cowered behind the alter.

“We needed the weapon, don’t you understand another black plague was upon us, and only the weapon could stop the rats.” Razeal announced as everyone now stared at him in disbelieve.

“RATS?” Buffy, Spike, Dawn, Angel, and Xander all said in unison.

“You nearly kill my sister, to stop some rats?” Buffy asked still dumbfounded by what she heard.

“Yes it was the only way,” Razeal said. “It was why she was created.”

“To kill rats?” Dawn asked offended. Razeal simply nodded his head. After a few seconds of silence, Spike’s chuckle broke through. Everyone now stared at him.

“I’m sorry,” Spike said as he now out and out began laughing. “Rats.” Buffy then began giggling, as did Xander and Angel. Soon they all fell into fits of laughter, all except Dawn, who just sat and glared, and Razeal who now rushed from the room.

~~~~

“Rats?” Willow repeated still not believing what Giles was telling them. Giles simply nodded his head.

“And you don’t think that Angel is Dawn’s second creator, but that it’s Spike?” Tara added, and again Giles just nodded his head. “Wow.” Tara said with a smile that some turned into giggles, which Willow soon joined in on. Giles now looked to them.

“You two find humor in this, I really don’t think it’s funny.” Giles said as he folded his arms across his chest. “As I’m sure Buffy won’t either.”

“Sorry Giles,” Willow said through the giggles. “It’s just that…well…Rats?” Her and Tara then fell into a fit of laughter, as did Giles despite himself.

~~~~

“Hey you,” Buffy said as she walked out onto the terrace where Dawn stood looking out of the city. “Why the grumpy face? It’s not every day a young girl your age get to see a place like this, and Spike just told me were gonna stay a few more day, probably a week. He’s gonna show us the sites. Xander and Angel are going to fly back tonight.”

“That sounds great.” Dawn said with little enthusiasm.

“Thus your happy face.” Buffy said with a smirk. “Ok, what’s wrong?” Dawn just stood silently looking at her hands. “Are you wiggin over the fact that technically Spike and I are your parents…sort of? Cause if you’re worried…”

“No, that’s not it. I mean for some time now you and Spike have been my parental guides, at least that how I’ve thought of you, but I know that you are my sister still, who won’t pull any motherly power trips.” Dawn said causing Buffy to smile.

“So what’s the problem, why the long face?” Buffy asked just as Spike emerged at the door to the terrace.

“Well, You’re the vampire slayer, and Spike’s the big bad vampire, Scourge of Europe.”

“Not too proud of the anymore bit.” Spike said.

“I know, but it’s just that those are your titles, and in many places it strikes fear. Rats, I’m the slayer of rats.” Dawn finally said and Buffy giggled a little despite herself. “I’m glad you think it’s funny.” Dawn said rolling her eyes.

“I’m sorry Dawnie, but you should know that’s not what you are, you’re so much more then that. Look, you’re older then all of us, technically, and you’ve had Gods and Knights coming after your great powers, remember.” Buffy said which cause Dawn’s face to light up in a bright smile.

“Yeah I did, didn’t I?”

“Sides all that, you have many people who love you, and think you’re the most precious an important person in their lives, and they’d fight a hell god, Knights, and even go half way around to world to keep you safe.” Spike said, as both Buffy and Dawn stared at him with love and warmth in their eyes.”

“Yeah, I guess I am kind of special, huh?”

“Yup.” Buffy said wrapping her arms around her sister as Spike came up and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. The odd Family stood staring out at the lights of the city.

“So, can you guys take me to those Catacombs, they sound cool.” Dawn asked as they continued to look out.

“No!” Buffy quickly said.


FIN

(OK…On to the next episode: ‘The Chosen One’)


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