Aftershocks - Part Two
LadyStarlight - September 15, 2002

A/N: Many thanks to Spikes Pet for the wonderful beta help and the looking up of Latin words.

Day One

He turned over on the cold stone, half-waking when he scraped his leg against the slab. The painkillers Anya had given him warred with the alcohol for a brief second, before settling into an uneasy truce. His eyes moved, tracking the dream unfolding before him.

He watched from the shadows beyond the doorway, feeling sure she was tired from dancing all night. He hoped she wouldn't stake him -- that she was half-expecting his touch, waiting for his hands to land on her shoulders. He felt the shudder move through her body when he spoke into her ear, "I watched you dance all night. Dance with me now?"

He steered her gently into a dark alleyway, loving that she trusted his superior senses to watch for danger; she always did. He laid his duster around her shoulders, smoothly pinioning her hands at the small of her back. His body gently pressed hers into the wall of the building. The duster cushioned her from the rough bricks. He kissed her softly, then with more passion. His tongue leisurely explored her willing mouth.

He trailed kisses down her arched neck, finally returning to that little spot just behind and below her ear that always made her gasp and shudder against him. He smiled against her soft skin. His free hand stole under her short sweater. She groaned as he slipped her skimpy bra aside.

"Feel good?" he breathed into one exquisitely sensitive ear. Her only answer was an inarticulate moan. She tried to rock her hips against his but he kept her motionless. He took one erect nipple, then the other into his mouth. Her breath was coming in shallow pants as he took his time.

He could feel her body trembling against his and he knew she was just about to explode from frustration. He returned to her mouth, kissing her hard, as his wandering hand slid up her trembling thigh, hooking her leg over his forearm. He traced the edge of her panties slowly, teasingly, loving how she tried to move against him.

One finger, then two slid inside her welcoming warmth. He stole the moans from her mouth with his talented lips as his thumb gently caressed her in time with his strokes. His lips returned to her neck, feeling her pulse accelerate with her growing pleasure.

"Please, please!" Her voice was so soft only he could hear it. He increased the tempo, sensing her need. Her hips rocked against his hand as she exploded around him. He let her leg drop slowly down to the ground, keeping her upright against him. Her hands slid around his neck as he whispered words of love into her ear.

He walked her home, one arm around her shoulders. At her front door, he kissed her thoroughly and trailed a finger down her cheek. "Tomorrow?"


He sighed and dropped deeper into sleep.

Day Four

They were all there, waiting for him, he guessed. Tara had delivered the message about the burial. He'd been surprised that Willow'd let her out of her sight, but she looked well enough. He walked toward the casket, suppressing the tears by force of will. He wouldn't cry in front of them again, couldn't let them see how much he grieved.

He didn't listen to what Giles was saying; instead he kept looking at, then away from Dawn. She needed him now, and he'd sworn to protect her. The dirt and grass covering the grave startled him into staring openly at Willow. For the first time, he really saw her self-assurance and ease with magic, and his shoulders twitched with unease. She'd spoken in his head during the fight with Glory, but he had almost managed to forget that completely.

Hearing the tears clogging Dawn's throat, he pushed his thoughts on the proper use of magic aside. Dawn needed him and he'd sworn to Buffy that he would be there for her. He moved as quickly to her side as he could, feeling his failure with every halting step. She leaned against him and let the tears fall. He bowed his head protectively over hers, whispering soothing nonsense in her ear, until he heard heavy footsteps in the distance.

It took him a minute to pass her over to Giles, but he knew nobody else had bothered to bring any weapons with them. The axe felt right in his hands; the prospect of a nice little spot of violence brought a curious peace to his heart.


He limped back to his crypt, favoring his leg even more. Damned thing had managed to get in a lucky shot to his knee. The axe dragged on the grass, collecting no few flowers along the way. He stood it in its accustomed spot behind the door and dug out a bottle. He collapsed into his chair and swallowed the alcohol greedily, waiting for oblivion to drag him into its depths. His eyes closed as the bottle slid from his lax hand onto the floor.

He stood on the platform, wind swirling his duster around him, Doc's knife in his hand. He bounced gently on the balls of his feet, ready for anything, ignoring the wound in his stomach. When the tongue came at him, he was ready. His hand blurred down towards it, slicing off a good chunk. Doc screamed in agony, hands cradling the bloody stump of his tongue.

He stalked over to the screaming lump on the tower, drew back his foot and paused. "Can you fly, you wanker?" he asked before he kicked out.

He ran to Dawn and untied her. She flung her arms around him and buried her face in his chest, sobbing with fear and relief mixed together.

"Oh god, Spike. I was so scared. He had this huge knife and he was going to cut me..." He half-carried her over to the stairs, reasoning that if Glory'd wanted her out on the diving board, perhaps that was where the portal would open and she should be out of the way.

"Come on, Bit. Let's get down onto Terra Firma again, all right?" She held his hand in a death grip as they picked their way down the rickety stairs. They met Buffy halfway down. He stood back a bit as the sisters embraced, tears streaming from their eyes. They drew him into their group hug, shocking him. He couldn't believe that they would include him in this moment. He stood on the swaying platform, arms full of Summers women and rejoiced in their victory.

Day Forty-Five

"So, it's decided then?" Willow looked around at their faces.

"Yes, Will, we've all decided." Xander pulled something out from behind his back and handed it to her. She exclaimed at the craftsmanship that had gone into the small plaque, rubbing her fingers over the glossy surface and tracing the elaborately carved words that spelled out 'Boss of Us'.

Spike looked over their shoulders and suppressed a sniff. Dawn poked him in the side. "Play nice," she whispered. He rolled his eyes at her, then hung his head in mock shame, making sure she could see the smirk playing around his mouth.

"Well, O Fearless Leader, are we going out after those demons, or are we going to sit around here all night?" Dawn poked him in the side again. "What? Damnit, Bit, you're going to leave bruises. Now cut it out!"

"I've cast a spell that should make them light up, so they'll be easy to find." Willow fiddled with the plaque.

"Should? I'm detecting a note of 'maybe not' in there, pet." He rose to his feet and grabbed his axe. "What else could this spell possibly do? Because I haven't forgotten the 'I cast a paralysis spell on the nest' debacle of last week."

She mumbled something towards the tabletop.

He leaned towards her, cupping one hand around his ear. "What was that, pet? I don't think the rest of your gang heard you."

She raised her voice. "It's just possible that the spell might, I repeat, might, uh, make them not so much visible."

He sat back down on the stairs and rubbed a hand over his eyes.

"Well, that's just wonderful!" Anya pushed herself away from the table. "Not only are they 12 feet tall, super-strong and the only way to kill them is to cut their eyes out, now they might be invisible too?" She buried her face in Xander's shoulder, but not before everyone heard her say, "we should go home, Xander. Please, let's just go home?"

"Take her home, Harris. I'll go out and look for them. I can smell them."

Tara kept her eyes fastened on the top of Willow's head. "Um, I-I'll go with you, Spike. I c-can take the spell off if w-we find any."

"All right then. Dawn, you stay here with Willow. Try not to break anything." He winked at her outraged expression.

They walked around downtown for a while, before branching out to the residential neighborhoods. "I don't s-see any lights, d-do you?"

"Nope. Willow's not the Mighty-Wicca she'd like us to think, is she?"

Tara fiddled with the knife she'd brought with her, twirling it around in her hands. She glanced up and back at his face. "N-no. She's getting into some really heavy stuff. S-scary stuff."

"Ah. Thought she knew her limits, but - DUCK!"

Tara fell to the pavement and rolled onto her back. She pulled out a small bag of powder, while muttering the words to the counter-spell.

"Any time you're ready!" Spike looked like he was doing some bizarre ballet, until something cracked him across the face, splitting the skin on his cheek.

Tara quickly cast the powder into the air with a final shout of "Redintegro". She crouched on the dirty pavement, clutching the hilt of her knife in readiness. For what, she couldn't say. She watched as the huge demon evaded Spike with an ease that was spooky, even for a demon. Finally, he got in a lucky shot and it collapsed into a lifeless heap. He turned to her, wiping the blood out of his eyes.

"We're in trouble."

She nodded slowly as she got to her feet. "M-more research?" Her voice quavered a little more than she'd like, given that she kept telling herself she was a Fearless Scooby, especially on nights like this one.

"More research." He cupped her elbow in one hand, breathing deeply, trying to catch any traces of the scent of the demons, even as he hurried her back to the dubious safety of the Magic Box.

Day Sixty-Two

He kicked Doc savagely in the back, letting his arm swing out and around to intercept Doc's knife. He closed his hand on it and pulled, ignoring the pain as the sharp knife reopened the wounds the Knight's sword had caused. He flipped the knife up and into his left hand, reaching for Doc's gray hair with his now-bleeding right hand.

"Let's see how this knife works on you, asshole." With that, he swept the blade across Doc's throat, shoving him off the platform as he did so. Drops of blood fell to the ground below, mimicking their owner's descent.

He dropped the knife into a pocket of his duster and rushed to Dawn. He hadn't noticed the shallow cuts on her abdomen, being too caught up in the fight. Their eyes met in agonized understanding. Sounding more adult than a fifteen-year-old should ever sound, she said, "Cut the ropes. Let me go so the portal will close."

"No! I promised Buffy I'd protect you and I won't stop now!" He could still faintly hear the sounds of the combat below. He watched another drop of Dawn's blood collect at the end of one of the cuts, cudgeling his brain for a way out of this, any way at all. 'It's always blood.' His statement came back to haunt him now. 'The monks made her from me, from my blood.'

Everything snapped into place and he fumbled the knife out of his pocket and carefully sliced through the ropes holding her, then handed her the hilt as he carried her well back from the end of the causeway before setting her gently on her feet. "Cut yourself." She gaped at him, the knife threatening to slip from her hands and skewer her bare foot.

"Do it!" She raised the knife to her wrist, searching his eyes for reassurance. He nodded slightly and she drew the point across her wrist. Blood immediately welled up behind the glimmering steel. He grabbed for her wrist and dropped his mouth to it, gulping frantically. He brought his head up after a few heady draughts.

"Spike... I don't... what?"

"Just sit down, pet. Buffy'll be here soon." He took off his duster and draped it carefully around her thin shoulders. He pressed a quick kiss on the top of her drooping head and ran his hand gently over her hair before he turned and ran. The steel of the tower clattered under his boots, the wind keened in his sensitive ears until the borrowed blood thundered a counterpoint that blocked everything else out. He reached the end of the causeway and leapt into the whirling center of the light that opened beneath him.

Energy crackled around him, lashing throughout his body. He shrieked in pain, hands moving involuntarily to his heart. He could feel the blood slowing its headlong rush through long-dead veins. He threw his head back in triumph. Soon, soon the blood would stop flowing.

Day Eighty-Three

He dragged himself through the cemetery, moving on autopilot. He thought he'd rebroken his left leg, but really didn't want to sit down and actually figure it out. Vodka would take the edge off of the pain, enough to let him sleep at least.

He eased himself down the rough stairs, keeping his teeth clenched against the pain, and fumbled under the bed for his bottle. He brought the bottle to his lips and let the familiar burn carry him into sleep.

He stood on the platform, wind swirling his duster around him, Doc's knife in his hand. He bounced gently on the balls of his feet, ready for anything, ignoring the wound in his stomach. When the tongue came at him, he was ready. He threw the knife at Doc's chest as he leapt into the air. He landed on the limp tongue and looked in satisfaction at the lifeless body sprawled out before him.

He ran to Dawn's side and started untying the knots holding her there. Suddenly, there was another set of hands working on the knots. He looked over and smiled at Buffy.

Day One Hundred and Eight

He stood on the tower, watching Doc fall to the ground below, making sure he actually went. And stood not upon the order of his going, his mind supplied him in a bizarre counterpoint to the madness surrounding him. "Can always count on the Bard," he muttered as he turned back towards Dawn.

An eerie shrieking noise rose up behind him and he turned, ready to vanquish this new threat. He was hit hard from the side and he hit the causeway with an irritated grunt. Something landed hard on him before he could collect himself and turn over. He tried to push whatever was chattering in his ear away before it deafened him.

"Oi, now, gerrof!" He bucked upwards, feeling it slide off towards his left side. He rolled to his feet, searching the tower for whatever had hit him. His eyes widened in shock as he recognized the form hovering just above his reach.

"This can NOT be happening. Even for Sunnyhell, this is too weird; I'm channeling Dru or something." He shook his head and turned to go to Dawn.

The monkey swooped down in front of him and bared its teeth. One hand gestured to the phalanx of monkeys that rose up behind him. He swiveled slowly in place, trying to keep an eye on Dawn as well as these hairy freaks. He feinted right, then dove toward his left. The monkey in front of him screamed what his disbelieving ears took for an order and something landed squarely on his lower back

Leathery hands grabbed his ankles and wrists, turning him until he was face up. He threw his head back, desperately searching for some sign that Dawn was still there. He moaned quietly as he saw her slight form being pulled off the platform by two of the monkeys. They flew out until they were directly above the vortex of light, ignoring Dawn's struggles and screams for help. He bucked frantically, fighting his tormentors until he saw their hands open.

He closed his eyes in defeat, barely registering being moved through the air. When the hands let go, he almost welcomed the fall.

Day One Hundred and Twenty-Four

"Dawn, please!" He ran his hands through his already rumpled hair and banged his head against the back of the couch.

"I don't want to go!"

He looked over at Tara, pleading with his eyes for a voice of reason to get involved.

"Sweetie, it's a tradition. Not a very good one, or even understandable, and it's really kind of embarrassing....Willow, help me out here?"

Willow barely lifted her head from the stack of bills she was attempting to organize. "It's tradition, and if you don't go, everyone will make fun of you. Goodness knows they made fun of me enough."

Dawn rolled her eyes and sighed. "Fine. If it means this much to you all, I'll go." She grabbed her jacket and flounced out the door.

Spike echoed her sigh and levered himself off the couch. He swung his duster around his shoulders and turned to go out the door. He stopped at the hesitant voice from the hallway.

"Why d-don't you stay? I could make cocoa, and w-we could play cards or something."

He raised one eyebrow at her. "What? Stay here?"

She blushed but held firm. "Willow's going to be fiddling around with the bills all night, there's nothing good on TV..."

He held her eyes with his until she blushed again. "All right." He draped his duster over the newel post. "Might be fun to beat somebody else at poker."

Day One Hundred and Forty-Six

"That's it?"

"Take it or leave it girlie, there's lots other fish in your particular sea."

"Let me get this straight. All I have to do is shower with this shampoo & bath stuff, spray on some perfume and we're good to go? No...hurting, right?"

He smiled painfully. "No, no hurting."

"Al-all right." She looked doubtfully at the bag and back up at him. "Give me twenty minutes in the bathroom, okay?"

"Take as long as you need." He moved towards the door. "I'll be outside."

He watched the smoke from his cigarette curl up to the sky. His eyes were dark with shame as he whispered her name to the silent streets.

"I'm sorry, Buffy. I thought I'd finished with this...after the 'bot. I just want to forget for a while." He whirled at the sound of footsteps coming towards the door, drawing a sleeve across his eyes in an attempt to erase the angry tears. The young prostitute noted the glistening trails down both cheeks, but said nothing. She held out a thin hand and drew him back across the threshold.

He kissed her gently, before increasing the intensity. The scent of the various products he'd brought her filled his nostrils and tricked his heart into believing, just for a minute. He buried his hands in her hair and walked her back towards the bed.

He stripped off her clothes slowly, wanting to prolong this. Practiced hands and lips coaxed a real response out of her, until she was moaning and writhing underneath him. Oh my God, she is so...warm, he thought. It was so different from Drusilla, all warmth and caresses, he had to stop for a minute. He started a steady rhythm and let it wash the thoughts from his mind, so he could forget. Forget the daily arguments.

'Dawn, I know I can't make you go to school. I can't even make you study. But what happens if you don't go, do you remember?'

Forget the first time he saw that damned robot, after. 'Hi, Spike."

"Buffy, is that..." Tears poured down his face.

Willow's voice. "I reprogrammed her. We need..."

"I know." He brushed his hand over his face, trying to wipe the tears away. He turned his back on them and walked away, throwing the words over his shoulder. "Just, just keep it away from me, all right?"'

Grunt of pain from beneath him.

'She wouldn't have been breakable.' He ruthlessly pushed that thought out of his head and eased back a little. He was close now, so he increased the speed of his thrusting, keeping in mind the fragility factor. Blinded by the tears pouring from his eyes, he sought and found her mouth, plunging his tongue in again and again; one thought burned into his brain.

'Maybe now I can wipe the taste of Buffy from my mouth.'

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