She could hear muffled thumps outside; the labored breathing of drag-and-drop going on outdoors. It pulled her from the bed; it couldn't be good. Dreamy, tired - too much training and too much stress made her hard to rouse - she forced herself to the window, shivering in her jammies. Might be coming on for spring, but it was still cold, even inside. Nobody in here tonight, the sleeping bags cleared out, yet she stumbled inexplicably, trying to avoid what wasn't there.
Now she heard the hard crunch of earth, the slither of soil down the length of a shovel. Bad. Something very, very bad. Good news could never make that noise, out in the darkness. Only bad. Her heart pounded in her ears, loud and fast, her hands folded tight around the curtains. Whatever it was, she didn't want to see. You need to know, she thought, and raised her eyes slowly to the window.
In the darkness, she almost didn't see them. The bodies. Then, one by one, they grew distinct, gathering shape as her eyes picked them out in the dim glow from the moon. A leg here, an arm there, fingers open in supplication. Two, three, seven, twelve. Anonymous corpses, just piled and flung on the lawn like so much trash. Her throat was tight, but there weren't any tears. She didn't have any left for herself, much less anyone else.
The moon peeked out from a shadowed cloud, and she saw the hat. Vi's stupid hat, lying like a flare on the dead grass, and just beyond it, Vi's surprised face, white and still. Oh, god, the girls. All the girls. Buffy bit back a scream, forced herself to count, one, two, three… Yeah. All of them. And to the side, the shovel rested in a grave. The first of many, apparently. Buffy turned to run, thoughts racing; Giles, Xander, Spike, Willow, oh god, she had to find –
His voice stopped her. "They're down here too, love."
It was like she was swimming in honey; took forever to turn, couldn't process what she was seeing. Spike, dressed again in black, but shiny. Took a minute for her to realize what covered him, head to toe. Red film on his hair, his face, his grinning mouth. He reached beside him into the hole he'd dug, pulled out Willow's head, Xander's arm. "Watcher's down there, too, but he's on bottom." He laughed, a low, nasty sound. "You'll just have to take my word on that one."
She gasped, heart hammering away, her thoughts a jumble of guilt and grief and ohmygodDawn, where's Dawn? Watched that evil smirk crawl across his face as he reached behind him for her sister, still on the ground. "Saved the best for last, though," he said. Her sister's neck was thick with clotted blood, and oh! She's moved, she wasn't dead, not dead yet, she could still save Dawnie, couldn't she? Ran hell-for-leather down the stairs, out the door and she was late, too late, because he was feeding her. Dawn. His chest slit open to Dawn's cherry lips and there was swallowing, she was gulping down the blood, while his arms clutched her to his body. He looked up to see Buffy's startled face, smiled that come-hither smile and dropped his soon-to-be-a-kick-ass fledgling to the ground. "Don't worry, love," he murmured, "that's the only thing I made her suck. I saved the rest for you."
She could only stare; death all around her. They're all dead. She could see a wisp of Willow's hair sticking crazily up beside the shovel, and behind Spike, her sister's life was flickering out. She just stood, eyes dry but hollow, staring at him. This can't be happening, she thought.
She realized with a start that he was waiting for something, for her to say something. Oh, god, waiting for quips, for banter? While everybody she loves lies still and bloody around her? Her lips parted in the barest whisper. "Why? God, Spike, why would you do this?" Her voice was thin and small, but it still broke, and his smile dimmed, just for a moment. Then he lunged for her. Lightning-fast, he had her, his arms like iron around her, but she wasn't fighting back. Too shell-shocked, too much to comprehend.
He bent his head to hers, laid kisses along her ear, his breath making her skin crawl. "It's what you wanted, right?" he asked. "Remember? Told you, Buffy, I'm your slave."
Everywhere his body touched hers, she was marked with gore. He laughed and pressed his mouth to hers, still slick-wet with her sister's blood, and for a minute Buffy thought she would vomit; her belly jerking helplessly against him.
He traced a finger down her face, leaving a mark like war paint on her bloodless cheek. Laughed again, lower. "Knew you wanted the dark. Knew you craved it, you lying little bitch. Made me crazy, made me go to the ends of the fucking earth before you'd admit it." He nuzzled her, licking the blood-trail from her skin. "Now I know. Now you're mine."
Her face twisted, and she was panting from fear and grief. She'd trusted him, leaned on him, oh god, she'd loved him. Heard her own voice, chanting "No, no, no, no..." while his free hand stroked her hair, matting it with blood. Whose? Xander's? Willow's?
His voice was low, seductive. "Don't fret, love. You won't miss them. Not once you're like me." He closed his eyes, smiling next to her skin. "It'll be perfect, sweet. Just me and you and lil' sis. We'll be a family." He opened his eyes, staring deeply into hers. "Don't worry, I'll make it quick." His teeth scraped her throat, pinpricks turning to needles of pain, and she panicked, twisting uselessly against him, shrieking and screaming, and knowing somehow that he'd killed all the neighbors, no cops would be coming, nobody left alive to save her, and all she could see were Willow's staring eyes fixed on her from the grave.
Her panicked cries didn't stop him, just made him hold her tighter, bite her harder, teeth grinding, crotch grinding, body stifling hers, until her screams subsided to senseless whimpers, and in the end to silence. The last thing she felt before she slipped from consciousness was the odd sensation of his skin hot against hers.
Spike was lost in rapture; he'd forgotten how good it tasted, how good it felt; Slayer blood sluicing down his throat, warm and salty and full of power. Felt like he could kick all kinds of ass. Back, he was back, he was himself again, wimpy soul be damned. And then he laughed, blood spray covering her shoulder. Guess he would be damned, at that. He kissed Buffy again, softly, parting her lips with his tongue, and then opened his wrist to her. "There now, love," he whispered. "That's a good girl, drink it all."
And then she died, and he smiled.
Picked up her corpse, and then Dawn's, and carried them into the bedroom. Carefully washed the blood from their bodies, changed their clothes. No close, confining grave for them. They'd wake in their own beds, in their own house, his girls. Tomorrow night he and Buffy would make love over and over and over, on the graves of those wankers she called friends, and then the three of them would leave this pissant town for good. All he'd ever wanted, really – to have his girl with him, give her what she needed, what she wanted. To give her what she deserved. Taken a trip through hell, but he'd finally found out what that was.
Whistling, he went to bury the dead.
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