Almost Heaven


Buffy sat on the couch, her eyes following the words of her book, but her mind didn't register. She peeked over her book and looked at the other two people in the living room. Willow was studiously searching the internet for any mention of the prophecy; Dawn was pretending to read an upside down book, and playing a hand held video game behind the cover it gave. Giles wasn't even in the room. He instead sat at the table, hunched over his notebook. Buffy wondered briefly if he was avoiding her, but she decided that she didn't care. She was pissed at him; she didn't care if he avoided her forever.

"I think I should go slaying," Buffy announced.

Willow looked at her dubiously. "The sun is still up."

"I— knew that." Buffy groaned and admitted, "I don't want to read more."

Dawn looked up when a bit of movement caught her eye. "Spike, what are you up to?"

William paused, a deer caught in the headlights. "I, um, I need to shower," he said softly.

Dawn looked at him coolly and asked. "Vampires don't sweat, or have any other human traits, so why would you need a shower?"

William glanced at Buffy. Her eyes were wide, her mouth opened and closed. It hurt that Buffy was so ashamed of him, but he'd keep the secret if it made her happy. He'd do anything to keep her happy.

"I went slaying with your sister last night. Dust and other demon… ick got on me, so shower… now… right." William nodded once. "I'll just go…do that."

"Yeah, fine, I'll pretend to buy that," Dawn answered in a venom laced tone. She didn't understand how Buffy could be with him after what he tried to do to her.

William looked away as though he could read her thoughts. "Right." He clenched his jaw.

A brick flew through the window, taking down the curtains. William jumped out of the way of the sunlight, hissing at the singed flesh of his arm.

"Bloody hell!" he cried.

Buffy jumped for the door and chased after the six-foot-two green and purple, furry demon.

Dawn moved to the door and watched Buffy grab the demon's tail and trip him.

"The demon looks like something Disney and Pixar would cook up," Dawn said and looked up at Giles, who was at her side.

"Hmm, I know this demon. Harmless…as far as demons go, that is."

Buffy pulled the struggling demon into the house. "Settle the hell down, dumb ass," she snapped, kicking him swiftly in the ribs. The demon wailed and doubled its efforts and Buffy twisted its arm behind its back until there was an audible pop.

"Buffy, what on earth… you shouldn't torture it!" Willow reprimanded.

"Shut it, Will. I'm the one who has to deal with this crap, I'll do it anyway I want to."

William hesitantly put his hand on her shoulder. "Buffy, it's okay."

Buffy swung on him, yelling, "No! It isn't okay. Nothing is okay!"

She pushed him aside and ran into the kitchen, angry tears in her eyes.

Dawn watched the scene incredulously. "What caused that?" She glared at William as though it was his fault.

William went to go after her, but Willow stopped him.

"I want to talk to you, William, okay?"

"Wh- but Buffy."

"She needs a minute. You can go after. Please?"

While Giles chained up the whining demon and Dawn checked out the window William followed Willow upstairs.

She pulled him into Dawn's room and closed the door. "You slept with Buffy."

William baulked. "I- um…."

"It's okay, she told me. And... I kinda maybe thought I might have heard something last night. What I want to know is…do you love her?"

"Yes," William said without hesitation and with utmost certainty.

"That's what I thought." Willow sat on the bed. "Buffy…Buffy is a strong woman, except where her heart is concerned. She's been hurt too much, and always by the men in her life. Her dad, Giles, Xander, Angel, Riley…you."

William bit the inside of his cheeks. "I would happily die for that."

"Hey, I'm not judging. I don't know what kind of relationship you two had before, but I know it was violent. I did consider going 'evil Willow' on you at first, but if Buffy forgives you, there's probably a reason. Besides, I did kinda try to kill her, so again with the not so much judgy-ness."

"Is that all you wanted to tell me?"

"No, I want to help you. Buffy told me that she hurt you this morning, and though I don't know details, I'm sure you're at least a bit upset and discouraged. Don't be. You can break through her walls. You just need to stick with it."

"Why are you telling me this?" William asked cautiously.

Willow smiled. "I want her happy, and not being with you is making her miserable. I know Xander, Giles, and possibly Dawn will be against Buffy being with you, and I know that that will keep her from doing it; unless you and I work together to convince her that her happiness comes first."

"So you're giving me your blessings?"

"Kinda what I just said… wasn't it? Did I ramble without adding in the blessings part?"

"No, you did, I just can't believe that anyone is on my side."

"More like on Buffy's side, but I guess you too."

William nodded. "Can I go talk to her now?"

She waved her hand. "Go, I release you."

"Thank you." William smiled and jogged down the stairs. Dawn stopped him before her could reach the kitchen.

"Spike, there was a note on the brick. Xander's kidnapped!"

William shrugged her hand off. "Why do I care?"

"The note says that he'll be tortured until he's saved," Dawn ground out between clenched teeth.

"Good." William took a step towards the kitchen, but faltered. Xander may be a despicable human, but he was Buffy's friend, and he didn't want her to go chasing after him alone. He sighed and turned back to Dawn.

"Give me the note."

"You're going to help?"

He grabbed the piece of paper. "Yes." He scanned the words. "It doesn't give a location. How are we supposed to find Mr. Harris?"

"Willow can do a spell maybe. We need to save him, Spike." Dawn fidgeted, nervous for the safety of her friend.

"Or we could ask the demon." He looked at Giles, who was struggling with the big, furry beast in the living room.

"I don't think it speaks English," Dawn said as though William was an idiot.

"Yeah, but I understand him."

"You do?"

William shrugged. "I guess I know a lot of demon languages."

"What's he saying now?"

"That his arm hurts more with his hands chained behind him. Mostly he's just crying. I feel sorry for him."

William moved to the demon in long strides. Giles baulked as he took the chains off of the demon .

"He'll get away, you fool!" Giles cried.

William ignored the indignant Watcher and instead helped the frightened demon sit on the couch.

"Hey, better now? You don't have to be afraid; the slayer is in the other room."

Giles watched as a stream of grunts and growls emitted from the demon and William nodded and helped snap its arm back in place.

"You… you understand it?"

"Yeah, his name is Sid, and he doesn't like you very much, by the way."

"Oh dear, a demon doesn't like me, how in the world will I live with myself," he said dryly.

"Sid, who told you to deliver this note?" More grunts. "A human male and a vampire female? Sid, do you know anything about what's going on?"

Giles listened to the grunts and waited for William to translate. "What's it saying, blast it," Giles asked after a minute.

"He can't tell us, he says he's afraid."

Buffy entered the room, Dawn by her side. "Fine, I'll just have to make it more afraid of me than anything else." She moved towards the demon, a predatorial glint in her eye.

The demon whined and flinched.

"Think it'll tell me after I break its legs?"

William jumped to his feet, putting himself between Buffy and Sid. "Don't you take another step," he ordered.

"What!? Now you're protecting demons?"

"He's harmless. He's big, but he can't fight."

"Good, maybe it'll wise up and tell me what I want faster."

"No. I won't let you torture him."

Giles barked, "See, Buffy? He's not for you, he's a hazard. We need to find Xander, we don't have time to discuss demon rights."

William glared at the older man. "We all know what you think about demon rights. I'll talk to him, but I won't let him be tortured."

Buffy stood defiantly in front of William, but he didn't stand down. She growled and walked over to a big armchair, dropped down onto it.

"All right, Mr. Demon Whisperer, get it to talk."

William crouched in front of Sid. "Hey, mate, you have to help me here. We need to know where our… comrade is. The people who paid you to do this, do you know who they are, or where they are?"

The demon sigh and grumbled to William quietly.

"Thank you. Um… one more thing, Sid, do you know anything about The Master?"

"What," Buffy cried, standing up quickly. "The Master? As in the vampire who killed me? That Master?"

Sid nodded.

"Shit," she seethed. "Where is he?"

William straightened out. "He and his consorts, as well as Mr. Harris, are at an abandoned warehouse close to the south woods.

"So he has Xander? Danm, this is a trap. Shit, I have to go get him. Shit, shit, shit. I'm going to freaking die."

Giles shook his head. "No, that can't happen now."

"The prophecy said something about my past, right? So this can very well be my death battle. Fate coming back to bite me."

"We'll think of something."

"He killed me once, what's going to stop him this time?"

William spoke softly, "I won't let it happen."

Buffy looked at him sadly. "Maybe, if you were Spike, I'd believe that you could do that, but you aren't good enough a fighter."

"I will not let this happen," he said firmly.

"Okay. Let's suit up," Buffy turned to Giles. "You and Willow stay here with Dawnie. If this is a trap, I want you all safe."

"No," Dawn said, "you'll need help. You can't be alone if it's a trap."

"I won't be alone, William will be there." She smiled a little. "You heard him; he won't let anything happen to me." Buffy mentally prepared herself for a battle to the death. To her death.

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