tennyo_elf: (SadSpuffy)
[personal profile] tennyo_elf
Title: Originally Normal
Beta: Science, Puddin, and TJBW (lots of credit goes to these three, they did a wonderful job editing this story)
Rating: FRT
Genre: Season 7 AU
Summary: It's been a year since season 6 and things are going OK for Buffy. That is until things start going wrong and someone finally comes back into her life.
_________________________

The office was cramped and stuffy; overflowing bookshelves lined the walls. The man behind the desk wore a pressed suit and leaned forward with a serious expression.

“Why do you want to work here, Miss Summers?”

Buffy sat straight up and spoke proudly. “I want to be part of the community. I want to make a difference. I think the best place to do that is here, with the Mayor.”
_____

Elated at the fact she had gotten a new job that would lead her to the career of her choice, Buffy felt like singing again, even without a spell. Coming home to a happy-looking Dawn and Willow only added to the list of recently good things.

“Hey, guys. What’s going on?” Buffy asked with a serene smile.

Dawn practically jumped up and down in her excitement. “I passed all my summer classes”

“Hey! That’s great!”

Willow stood next to Dawn, looking as proud as a mother. “She’s a smart kitten. Soon she’ll be able to fly from the nest …if a cat had wings.” Willow fidgeted over her lackluster analogy, then continued on. “We were just discussing college options. I think Dawn could get into UCLA!”

Dawn made a sound that Buffy thought was an attempt at imitating a whale. “Wouldn’t that be so cool Buffy?”

Buffy tried not to look saddened or disappointed. She should be happy for Dawn, but she wanted her sister close by. “What about UC Sunnydale? I went there; it’s a good school. There’s nothing wrong with it. No wrongness there.”

Dawn folded her arms and rolled her eyes. “Yeah, just the Initiative made their home under it once.”

“Not anymore. They’re all gone.” Buffy’s matter of fact voice was riddled with fake cheer. She really wanted Dawn to stay.

“I’ll think about it.”

Willow awkwardly smiled before speaking up. “I was just talking to Dawn about helping her with some college applications at my place. That okay, Buffy?”

“Please, Buffy!”

Buffy put her hands in her back pockets, trying to remain calm and collected. “Sure.”

Dawn raised her arms in excitement before quickly hugging Buffy and then letting go. “Yay! I’ll go get my stuff from my room!” Before Buffy or Willow could say anything else, Dawn flew up the stairs.

As Willow watched her disappear, she turned to Buffy. The red head’s uneasy smile let Buffy know that Willow knew what was on her mind.

“It’ll be hard with her not around, I know. It sucks to be alone.”

Buffy relaxed her shoulders and smiled softly at Willow. “I’ll be okay. I have you guys … and Spike’s here, too. So I’ll manage.”

Willow shifted her eyes before focusing them back on Buffy. “About Spike. Buffy … are you …” Willow looked down, cutting herself off as she began to fidget.

“You were kind of iffy about him when he first came back. Is that what this is about?”

Willow looked surprised. “Oh, no. No, Buffy. That was about me back then. I … well, when he first came back I felt guilty, because I’m your best friend yet I wasn’t as mad at him as I thought I would be. Or should have been.”

“What do you mean?”

“He did something awful to you. And I did some awful to you too but you forgave me.”

“Hey, what’s done is done.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Willow was silent for a moment. She shifted her weight from one leg to another and bit her lip. After a moment more deliberation, she spoke. “What I wanted to say, or ask ... Xander is going crazy right now about getting his life in order, looking for ways to turn Anya back into a human and then finding her. When you love someone so much, it’s kind of scary and …”

“You don’t want me to get hurt?”

“Yeah, exactly!”

“What about you? How are you and Aura doing?”

“We’re doing great! She’s helping me in ways I never thought possible. I’m … I feel like I’m finally the Willow I want to be. I’m the person Miss Calendar wanted me to be. I don’t rely on magic so much, and I can do the most amazing things with Aura. Today we’re launching our website that focuses on magic based healing. And that question wasn’t really about me, was it?”

Buffy smiled before shaking her head once. “Nope.”

Dawn came down the stairs, her heavy feet making it sound like a storm was approaching.

“Okay! I’m all ready!”

Willow hugged Buffy and walked over to Dawn near the front door. “Bye, Buffy!”

“Smell you later, Buffy!”

“Hey!” Before Buffy could retort, both Dawn and Willow were gone. They raced into the daylight, looking radiantly happy. Buffy watched them with a silly grin on her face. She thought about the future making its way closer with each moment that passed and felt things could only get better from here on out.
_____

“Oh, so you don’t think I still got it?” Buffy was panting, circling Spike inside his apartment, glaring at him with a predatory expression. They were both wearing exercise clothing and gleamed with the sweat of their workout.

“Just saying sweetheart, you look a little like an overcooked lobster. Been eating too many Ho Hos at work?” Spike was panting as well, trying to keep his arms raised to block an attack.

“What about you? You think I look like an overcooked lobster? You would blend in with a McDonald’s sign.”

“Is that supposed to hurt my little, itty, bitty feelings, love?”

They continued to circle each other.

“I’m still stronger than you Spikey.”

“I got a hundred plus years’ worth of experience. That’s a bit more than you. I think I’ll win this little bout.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Buffy lunged at Spike, but he smoothly ducked her punch. She twirled around and tried to backhand him but he caught her wrist. They were entangled now, and Spike wrapped his other arm around her waist. Buffy wasn’t about to give in. She twisted around to face him, their bodies pressed against each other. She used her other arm to snake her way under his arm, to the soft spot near his ribs and gave him a hard pinch.

“Oi!” he yelled as he released her. Spike looked clearly affronted. “No fair.”

“All’s fair in love and war.” Buffy smiled and, just as she’d done with Mens’tis, she wrapped her leg around Spike’s and broke his balance. They both fell to the soft carpeted floor with Buffy securely on top.

Spike lost his grin and his serious expression locked Buffy into place. “And what is this Buffy?”

Buffy couldn’t answer. Her smile gently faded. They’d been having too much fun for a sparring session. Normally they both loved a good workout; it helped them stay in demon fighting form since both were human. But now the mood had changed. Buffy could feel all of Spike; she felt the rapid beating of his heart, the heavy rise and fall of his chest, and his smooth skin that burned to the touch. He was everywhere, and Buffy didn’t want to move. She knew she wanted him everywhere. She couldn’t stand the thought of leaving the comfort he seemed to invoke in her with his mere presence.

Leaning down, she kissed him. It was gentle, soft and sweet, but she didn’t linger. She broke the kiss and looked at him. She willed herself to show him, to speak to him silently, to let her actions reveal what she had locked away in her heart. She wanted him to understand her feelings, even if she didn’t understand them fully herself. She turned her whisper into a caress, “I win.”

Spike didn’t say anything. He simply stared at her. But his stare was full of life, full of energy; his love, his loyalty, his passion. He slowly wrapped one arm around Buffy, and his other hand went to the back of her neck. He pulled her down for another kiss.

This kiss was heavy and wet, releasing the longing they’d both repressed for so long. Spike rolled over, taking Buffy with him, keeping her close, making sure they both felt the heartbeat of the other. And the kiss didn’t stop.
_____

A few very joyful days later, Buffy grumpily made her way home during her lunch break from her new job at the Mayor’s office. With the threat of an apocalypse still on the horizon, she knew she needed to keep her cell phone with her at all times. So of course she’d forgotten it.

Not too long ago Willow had contacted Los Angeles and found out that Faith was free from prison. Faith was reported to be making her way to Sunnydale but had yet to show. The dire threat that Or’Divi caused wasn’t something everyone was ignoring, but things had calmed down to the point that Buffy sometimes thought the demon had given up. Though she wasn’t the Slayer anymore, Buffy wanted to end this, even if the demon was just lying low for now. She was ready for one last apocalypse before Faith really did take over as Slayer, before Buffy could really move on to Mayor-in-training and sometimes demon hunter.

Buffy opened the door to her house and stepped inside, ready to search for her cell phone when the scene before her stopped her in her tracks. Everyone except Spike was in her living room, standing close together, all with severely anxious expressions. They all turned to look at her as she cautiously entered the room.

“What’s going on?”

Giles took off his glasses and stepped forward. “Buffy, I don’t know how to say this but …”

Xander cut in. “Spike’s pulling a Leeroy Jenkins.”

“A Leeroy Whokins?”

With a heavy sigh, Xander explained. “It’s when someone goes charging into a dangerous situation, alone. Usually yelling ‘Leeroy Jenkins!’”

A slight panic took over Buffy’s heart as it began to beat fast. When she spoke her voice was terrifyingly sharp. “Spike’s done what? What going on, what happened?”

Willow, looking resigned, scooted next to Buffy’s side. “Spike found out about Or’Divi. He tried calling you, but you didn’t answer so he called me. He was frantic, I couldn’t understand him. But he … he left to go after Or’Divi … alone.”

Buffy’s chest swiftly filled with intense worry and anger. “Alone? He is crazy? No, don’t answer that, of course he is. Why didn’t he wait for you?”

Willow swallowed her worry. “He said there wasn’t time.”

Dawn’s panicked voice chimed in. “We were just about to come get you, Buffy.”

“No, you should have gone after him and smacked him silly for pulling a stunt like this. Did he mention where he was going?”

“I think the Hellmouth.” Willow’s voice sounded small. Buffy knew that Willow could read her like a book. Right now Buffy was almost numb with fury and anxiety.

“You think?”

“He wasn’t really clear.”

Buffy deliberated for less than a blink of her eye. “There’s no time to second guess it now. When did he leave?”

“About thirty minutes ago.” Giles stood apart from the group, near the door, ready to move on Buffy’s order.

“Then we’re running thirty minutes behind. Grab weapons and let’s head out.”
_____

The Hellmouth felt hot and smelled of rancid, burning flesh. Steam floated up from cracks in the brown walls. Buffy had never been down this far before and hoped she never would again. Buffy could see the unease in her friend’s faces. They didn’t want to be here. Their instinct to run was powerful. Whatever was down here wasn’t peaceful nor was it something to underestimate.

As they continued along, the walls changed. Instead of solid rock, large holes appeared, but the cavern was too dark to discern where they led to. Buffy saw Willow stop and look around at each hole, chanting something under her breath.

“Wills?”

“I know, Buffy!” Willow voice was full of dread.

“What do you know, Willow?” Giles asked, gently.

“That demon you killed months ago, Buffy, that snaky guy? He was enlarging the Hellmouth. And that emotions demon was increasing the power of the Hellmouth using our emotions … and the guy who did all that mind control? Feeding, he was feeding the Hellmouth!”

“Whatever for?” Giles’ brows furrowed.

“Or’Divi wants to swallow the Earth using the Hellmouth!”

“You mean Hell on Earth?” Xander’s voice rose in pitch as he spoke.

Willow nodded stiffly. “Uh huh.”

Buffy just exhaled strongly from her nose and tilted her head. “Wonderful.” Her deadpan tone didn’t reflect the word. She turned sharply and continued on.

They hadn’t walked very far before the light from their flashlights and from the cracks in the walls dimmed considerably. They were almost completely surrounded by the dark but continued on. Magic and fear lay heavily on the air. After a few more steps of darkness, they made out a glimmer of light. It barely illuminated an ancient door. As they got closer, they could hear voices, one of which was Spike’s.

“I told you, I’m pure. I have exactly what you need to finish your soddin’ spell. Just use me already.”

The crackling, rasping voice that answered almost chilled Buffy to her core. “How do I know this? Does thy tongue speak truth? Are you a pure saint? Never stole? Never lied? Never killed?”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m pure. I’m as pure as a one of those frilly little angels on Christmas in church. Those, ah, holy churches.”

“If I use thy body and if thy body is not pure, it would ruin the divine plan.”

“Trust me.”

“You die, one way or another!”

Buffy forgot everything in that moment. She didn’t care if she was being reckless. She charged through the ancient door just in time to see the old vampire grab Spike and stick a long, ornate dagger through his stomach.

Buffy’s eyes grew wide. “Spike!”

Paying no attention if her friends had followed her into the room or not, Buffy went straight for Spike, whose blood was dripping to the floor. Each drop that hit the floor echoed in Buffy’s ear. The demon that’d stabbed Spike tossed him to the ground and stood in front of Buffy, stopping her from reaching her lover.

“Out of my way, gramps.”

The demon before her was ugly. His skin was wrinkled and a hollow grey; his eyes were black and piercing. The creature’s crooked teeth rivaled the Masters’. He wore velvet robes that gave him an air of royalty. “You cannot interfere here; you no longer have the power.”

“Oh, I have the power alright. I have the power to kick your sorry butt back to wherever wrinkly demons like you come from.”

“I come from here. You cannot send me back here.”

“You are Or’Divi.” Giles’ awed voice startled Buffy.

The demon did not look away from Buffy as he answered. “Tis true. I am.”

“The first vampire, you’re one of the old ones. A legendary figure in books older than the oldest books, it’s truly amazing that you survived for so long.”

Or’Divi’s hint of a smile disgusted Buffy.

Spike remained on the ground but was slowly crawling to a pentagram that had been etched onto the dusty rock surface of the floor. He was trying to complete the ritual, using his blood, his impure human blood. He was going to try to use his life to save the world. And he needed time.

Buffy didn’t hesitate and furiously lunged at Or’Divi with her fist, aiming for his head. But when her fist met the flesh of his cheek the force did not register. He showed no anger or pain. He simply backhanded her and sent her flying into her friends.

Willow stepped forward in a rush and chanted a spell so quick that Buffy wasn’t even sure she heard it. Or’Divi’s black beady eyes widened just before he was pinned to the wall. Xander helped Buffy stand while Willow continued chanting, keeping Or’Divi immobile.

Buffy looked at Xander, then to Giles before settling her eyes on Dawn. They all nodded and grabbed the weapons that they’d brought with them. They surged forward towards Or’Divi just as Spike placed his bloodied hand on the pentagram.

Buffy forced her eyes away from Spike and focused on the demon that’d been terrorizing her for months. She furiously tried staking him. Her arm lifted up and slammed down continuously, trying to peck away at her final challenge. Or’Divi calmly stared at her in haughty amusement.

Giles, Xander, and Dawn tried to assist Buffy, each with a different weapon. Giles was hacking away using a scimitar, but each time the exotic sword met the old vampire’s skin it would simply bounce away. Xander’s axe broke after his second try at beheading him. Dawn’s dagger folded like a plastic knife in hot soup on her first attempt.

The demon, who was forced to remain still during their attack by Willow's spell, just laughed at them. “You cannot kill me.”

Giles stopped his attack, too exhausted to continue. Slowly Xander and Dawn did the same. The skin of the vampire was too strong to penetrate. Willow was beginning to sound winded.

Buffy continued on in desperation. “You won’t stop me. You won’t put holes in my life. You won’t take over my heart. You won’t control my mind! You won’t! I’m Buffy, Slayer comma not anymore. I’m just Buffy, and I’m going to end you!”

“It consumed you. The life of the Slayer. You cannot win without your powers!”

“Cannot? Can, too! Just watch me!”

At that moment Willow’s chant halted, and Or’Divi was free. He pushed aside Buffy like an irksome bug and stormed towards Spike’s still form. Buffy began to breathe heavily. Her mind would not allow her to think Spike was dead. She had to kill this demon to get to Spike, to save Spike. To save the world.

Buffy quickly turned to her exhausted friends. “I need fire, quick!”

Xander fumbled through his pockets but was unable to find anything. Willow dropped to her knees, unable to chant any more spells while Giles quickly grabbed her arm to steady her.

Dawn looked around the room and found a lonely torch hanging from the wall. She ran to it and yanked it from the wall.

“Here Buffy!” Dawn tossed the torch to Buffy, who caught it smoothly.

She ran towards Or’Divi who had yet to reach Spike. Just as the old demon turned, Buffy lunged at him with the torch. The velvet folds of his robes quickly caught fire. Buffy hastily moved away and watched as Or’Divi flailed about. He tripped backwards onto the pentagram encased in flames; the light from the fire turning white and florescent.

The room began to shake uncontrollably. The vibrations caused the loose rocks to break free from the ceiling and walls. Without a word, Xander grabbed one of Spike’s arms, trying to pull him up. A moment later Giles rushed over and grabbed Spike’s other arm.

Willow looked around in confusion. “Who did it? Spike or Or’Divi? Who was the catalyst?”

“Does it matter? Come on, we need to get out of here. The Hellmouth doesn’t seem too happy right now.” Buffy’s loud voice stirred Willow into action. They struggled to get out of the Hellmouth before it was too late, but they moved slowly, weighed down by Spike’s unconscious body.

Buffy wouldn’t think about that. She was going to get everyone out of here alive. She had survived too many of these apocalypses for this one to cost her everything. She felt a welcomed burst of cool, fresh air as they neared the doors of the school, and relief washed over her. The group labored through the entrance and moved into the parking lot, just as a large section of the building crumbled into the ground.

Xander and Giles fell to the grass, dropping Spike. Buffy rushed to his side. Spike moved his head and opened his eyes slightly. He was barely holding on. She grabbed one of his hands with one of her own, and the other cupped his check. Tears pooled in her eyes. Buffy hardly heard as Xander made a call to 911.

“Spike. Hold on. You have to be OK. You can’t leave me now.”

“B-Buffy.” His voice was weak. Buffy couldn’t hold it in, not after hearing him, and one by one her tears began to fall.

Everything had been falling into place, everything had been good. Buffy was finally understanding her life and what it meant to be normal. For her, normal would never be normal. She was just Buffy and Spike was just Spike. Her life was just her life. And she wanted to share that life with Spike. Her original plan, her original desire for normalcy, was just a fantasy, and the one person to help her every step of the way could not die now. This wasn’t how their story ended.

Pleadingly Buffy looked at Spike, making sure that he could see and hear her, and said, “I love you.”
_______
epilogue...

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