From the Fires of Hell (5/14/06)
word count - 1698
G (one little mildly “bad” word)
Beta’d (and titled) by the busy Always_jbj
Situation – After the final battle with the Senior Partners’ army of demons, Angel and Spike have been sucked into a hell dimension where they are constantly battling against demons. Illyria can only bring one vampire back with her and needs someone pure of heart for the second one. All she has told Buffy is that Angel needs to be rescued from the consequences of the battle and that her help is needed to do it. This was meant to be part of a longer fic that just wasn’t happening
From the Fires of Hell
Buffy burst through the portal, her hand still clenched in that of the exotic blue creature wearing Fred Burkle’s face and body. She swayed back and forth for a second, adjusting to the dim light and foul air of the hell dimension to which Illyria had insisted Buffy accompany her. Only Willow’s insistence that the creature which had presented itself in front of the new Council was, indeed, a powerful being wearing the body of the young scientist with whom the witch had struck up a long-distance friendship had allowed Buffy to trust Illyria enough for the Slayer to agree to help rescue Angel from the dimension into which he’d been sent at the conclusion of the battle in Los Angeles.
Although Buffy was still angry that the vampire hadn’t come to her for assistance when he decided to take on the Senior Partners and their demon army, she’d reluctantly agreed to accompany the insistent demi-god on her mission to pluck Angel from the hell dimension in which he’d been languishing while Illyria hunted down the Slayer she’d been sent to find.
“Yuck! Explain to me again why you couldn’t just come here and rescue him yourself?” Buffy spit the foul air out of her mouth and tried to take shallower breaths. She glanced around apprehensively at the thick mist surrounding the room-sized open space in which they had landed. Although it was impossible to see through the foul-smelling fog, she could hear the occasional scream or roar in the distance.
“This has already been explained,” Illyria replied in an impatient voice. “Only someone pure of heart can take a demon from this place – and myself, of course.”
“So, if you can do it, why do you need me? Why did I have to come all the way from Italy to rescue Angel?”
“My pet is here also. I ne- I want him to come back. Someone had to rescue the other half-breed.” Illyria flipped her hand at Angel dismissively.
“Your pet? I’m standing here coughing my lungs out so that you can bring a pet back with you?” Buffy’s eyes narrowed and she stepped threateningly towards the unfazed old god.
“I understood my pet has some importance to you also. Is that not correct?” She cocked her head at Buffy curiously and pointed over the Slayer’s shoulder.
Buffy turned, noticing for the first time that there were two vampires waiting to be rescued. Her eyes flew past Angel to fasten on the second rescuee – who was smiling at her warmly.
“H’lo, love. Knew you wouldn’t leave us here. I told the broody one you’d come for me—“
“Spike?” The shocked and saddened look on her face was beginning to register on him as she reached out a hand and poked him lightly in the chest. “You…you’re alive?” Tears welled in her eyes and she moved closer, sliding both hands up his chest to touch his face tentatively. “You’re alive,” she repeated in a whisper.
“Bloody hell, Buffy. You didn’t know?” His hands went to her upper arms, rubbing them with a gentle comforting motion.
“How would I know?” She raised tear-filled eyes to his, wonder, hope and a burgeoning anger shining out. “You didn’t tell me. No one told me.”
“You really didn’t know?” He’d been so sure Andrew wouldn’t be able to keep his mouth shut, the idea that she still believed him to be dead had never occurred to him. Disbelief, regret and disappointment fought for dominance in his voice, disappointment winning out as he dropped his hands. “You aren’t here for me, then, are you?” His voice grew colder as he backed away from her. “You’re here to rescue Peaches. My mistake.” He turned away so that neither of them could see his crumbling face, thereby missing the confusion in Buffy’s eyes as she reached an unnoticed hand towards his back. He also missed the dawning anger as she turned to glare at a suddenly nervous-looking Angel.
As badly as Spike wanted to pretend that he hadn’t seen her, that she wasn’t really there to save his grandsire, he couldn’t miss the rage in her voice as she hurled accusations at the other vampire. Turning around in spite of himself, he saw her shaking with fury as she confronted Angel.
“You KNEW? You knew? All this time, you let me go on grieving? You let me go on thinking he was dead? You couldn’t make one phone call?” The rage faded as quickly as it had arisen, giving way to sorrow as she stared mournfully at the vampire whom she had thought loved her. “How could you do that to me, Angel?” Her voice had dropped to a harsh whisper, the pain in it palpable. “You knew how I felt – you knew how much I missed him, how badly I was hurting. How could you—“
Her whispered tirade was interrupted by a black-clad projectile flying past her to crash into Angel, knocking the larger vampire to the ground.
“You bloody Mick bastard! You told me she was fine! Told me I should leave her alone. ‘Let her get on with her life,’ you said. ‘She doesn’t need you,’ you said. ‘She never mentions you. She’s happy now’.”
Spike’s words were punctuated by punches as hard as the weakened vampire could make them and he kept it up until he realized that Angel was not attempting to fight back and Buffy had stepped in to lay a restraining hand on his arm.
“Let it go, Spike. We have to worry about getting you both out of here now. I didn’t come prepared to take two vampires back with me.”
The Slayer in her took over as she gave the souled vampires her first good look and saw how wasted and weak they both were. Both were sporting unhealed wounds, and she could see now that Spike was favoring his left leg. Angel’s right arm hung uselessly at his side.
“What happened to you two?” she asked sternly. “How long have you been here?”
Angel just shook his head as Spike shrugged and answered for them both, “Don’t really know, pet. Time is kind of…bent…in here. And it’s not like there’s day or night so we could keep track of the days.”
“Why are you so thin?” she demanded, taking in the way the skin was stretched so tightly over his bones. A quick glance at Angel showed the much larger, heavier vampire to be equally wasted in appearance.
“There’s nothing for us to eat here, Buffy,” Angel risked commenting, pausing to see if she would even listen to him before continuing quietly, “Demon blood isn’t really food. It fills our stomachs, but it doesn’t provide any nutrition. We’re starving.”
As he spoke, his eyes fastened on her neck and they briefly flashed amber as he focused on the pulse he could see pounding there. Illyria narrowed her eyes at him just before a snarling Spike stepped in front of the Slayer.
“Don’t even THINK about it, Angelus!” he almost roared. “I’ll rip your bloody head off if I see even a hint of fang around her.”
Shaking her head at the protective vampire, who could clearly barely stand up himself, Buffy pulled him back and said wryly, “I appreciate your concern, Spike, but I think I can handle this.” She glared at the former love of her life until he dropped his eyes in shame, then shrugged and said, “Okay, then. Let’s concentrate on getting you two out of here and then we’ll do something about feeding you.”
Buffy looked at the blue god who had transported her into the hell dimension and waited for instructions. For several minutes, Illyria looked back and forth between the two vampires and the small woman now holding Spike’s hand tightly before nodding.
“Now I understand why he told me to get you. It was not for that one.” She gestured towards a frowning Angel. “It was because he knew you would save him – my pet.”
“Spike is NOT your pet!” Buffy’s growl would have done credit to a demon as she protectively stepped closer to him. She put her arm around the man she had never expected to see again. “He is my…my…” She looked at the expectant vampire and her gaze softened. “What are you, Spike?”
“Jus’ the ‘my’ part works for me, Slayer. I’m yours. Always have been. Always will be.”
Satisfied, Buffy turned back to the frowning god. “Spike is mine. I’ll take him out of here. You can take Angel with you.”
“I am a god,” Illyria said haughtily, and seemingly apropos of nothing.
“And I am the Slayer,” Buffy answered, never dropping her eyes.
“You defeated Glorificus?” Illyria’s question was more to herself than to Buffy, although the Slayer nodded anyway.
“Give it up, Blue,” Spikes amused voice broke into Illyria’s musing. “This pet was just with you until he could get back to his rightful owner. I’m not lost anymore.”
The god’s rigid body relaxed and for just a second, Fred’s sweet tones were apparent as she nodded. “No,” she said softly. “You’re not lost anymore, Spike.”
Immediately, she returned to her normal cold persona and grabbed Angel’s hand in hers. She held out her other arm to Buffy and as soon as they had linked hands and she was sure Spike was firmly attached to Buffy’s other hand, she took a breath and the foul-smelling dimension disappeared.
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