Thanks to gillo who offered to look this over for me before it went up, and as always, improved it greatly. This was my Seasonal Spuffy entry for Fall 2012
“Are you okay?” Buffy pulled her aching body up by clinging to a near-by tree. She frowned at Spike, who was staggering toward her, dragging a bloody sword behind him. He looked like he might have gotten the worst of it when he took off after the demon that had knocked her down.
“’m fine. How about you?” He checked her over for damage, frowning his concern at the blood on her cheek.
“I’m okay. I’m pretty tough for an old lady.” She rolled her aching shoulders and smiled as she limped up to him, doing her own assessment of his battered body. She relaxed when she could see nothing potentially fatal.
“Hey! I’ve got 130 years on you. Don’t see me limping, do you?”
He rested an admiring, if worried, look on his wife of over forty years. Her hair was white now and there were deep crows feet at the corners of her eyes, but her body still appeared to be that of a much younger woman. Only he knew what the years of fighting evil had cost that body in invisible damage.
“Um, Spike?” Dawn’s voice interrupted their post-fight conversation. “Actually, you are limping. And so is Buffy. You guys need to get back to the base and get taken care of.”
“Nothing a little slayer healing can’t handle, Bit. We’ll both be fine by tomorrow. Ready to follow those creatures right through that portal...”
“We’ve got several squads of slayers all lined up and ready to go. You’ve done enough. Go home. You’re tired. I’m tired. Let’s leave the clean up to the young ones.”
“Are you implying we’re getting too old to do our jobs?” Identical angry glares settled on the head of the Watcher’s Council.
“I’m not implying, I’m telling you! We’re all too old for this. It just happens that my job usually doesn’t mean I have to go out and throw my body into fights against demons twice my size. Yours does! We’re done here. Let’s go home. We’ve got transportation waiting.” She gestured down the hill behind them.
“What do you think, love? Go home to lick our wounds, or stay and fight some more?”
“I’ll lick your wounds if you’ll lick mine,” Buffy purred, ignoring the way Dawn was rolling her eyes. She gave a guilty start when she realized her daughter had come up behind them, car keys in hand.
“Can I just say ‘ewww’? I’m pretty sure no one else my age has parents who are so embarrassingly obvious about their love life. Assuming any of them still have love lives at their—your—age.”
“Your parents are going to have a love life until our last breaths,” Buffy said indignantly. “And you should be glad of it. It keeps us young and healthy.”
“I am glad,” Joy said, putting her arms around her parents. “Even if it did mean that Bill and I had to learn at a very young age to always knock before we came into your room, and to make noises before going down to the basement, and clear out throats before we entered the library, and—”
“All right, all right,” Spike said, his smile belying the grumble in his voice. “We get the picture. You were scarred forever by the sight of your parents showing how much they love each other.”
“I’m just saying,” Joy replied. “There’s a reason why your grandchildren only come to see you when there’s going to be a crowd around....” Her grin took the sting from her words, and Buffy’s unhappy, “The kids don’t want to be around us....?” died off in a snort.
“You’re just jealous,” she sniffed. “’Cause you’re married to an ordinary man and I’m married to an extra-ordinary one!”
While they spoke, Joy had been shepherded them to the vehicle she’d used to come to the battlefield. In spite of Buffy’s words about Joy’s husband being an “ordinary man”, the entire Pratt clan was involved in what Spike referred to as “the family biz”. Both Joy and Bill had grown up to be watchers, with Bill showing a real knack for running the financial side of things for the Council. Joy’s husband was also a watcher, one with some experience with modern weapons and military training. And two of Spike and Buffy’s five grandchildren were slayers. The jury was still out on the youngest one, but she seemed, to her doting grandfather, to be an “appropriately bloodthirsty little bint.”
Dawn watched them get into the car with Joy, sighing as each obviously tried to hide his or her pained grimaces from the other.
“Still can’t get them to retire, huh?” Faith’s voice came from Dawn’s left ear, and she turned around to smile at the other “old” slayer.
“You’ve got lots of room to talk,” she said, pointing to the broken sword Faith was holding.
“Ah, but I just came out for the special occasion,” Faith said. “And now I’m going to go back to my old hubby and let him pamper me until I feel better. You know as well as I do that those two would have gone right back out there if it wasn’t going well.”
“I know.” Dawn said with a sigh. “But you try telling them they’re getting too old.”
“No thanks. I like my body parts just where they are... attached to me.” Faith grinned and gave Dawn a hug before walking down the hill to where Xander was waiting for her. The car Joy was driving stopped beside them briefly so that Buffy and Spike could say their good-byes, then it moved smoothly away, taking them back to the old hotel that had been commandeered as a headquarters.
“We’re getting old, love,” Spike said, his hand absently stroking her bare back as he spoke. “Think we need to admit it.”
Buffy murmured appreciatively at his touch, before his words sank in. She sat up and stared at him in dismay.
“Are you saying I’m too old?” She glanced down at her bare body, taking note of the scars and the ravages of having lived well into her seventies as an active slayer. “Don’t you want me anymore?”
“Don’t be daft, woman,” he said, pulling her down beside him. “Think I just proved that isn’t true, didn’t I? Give us a little bit and I can probably prove it again...” He nuzzled her neck as she stretched out on top of him. “I’m just saying, we have to accept what’s happening, and decide what we want to do about it.”
Buffy frowned against his chest. “What can we do about it? We’re just going to keep getting older and older until someday...” She raised her head. “You’re saying we’ve outlived our expiration dates, aren’t you?”
He nodded. “Both of us. Several times over. When that demon knocked you out today, I thought he’d killed you. I was half-hoping he’d take me down too so I wouldn’t have to live without you.”
“But he didn’t. You beat him. And when you came back, I was on my feet waiting for you.”
“I did. And you were. Most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen was your brassed-off expression when I came back.”
“I thought he might have killed you,” she said. “And I was so mad at you for going after him....”
They clung together for several minutes, silently reliving the fear they’d felt that afternoon.
“Maybe...” Buffy’s voice was timid and soft as she spoke into his bare chest. “Maybe we should do like Dawn and Joy want us to and retire. Be like Faith, just tell other, younger slayers where to go and who to fight. We could do that... I think... couldn’t we?”
“I’m sure we could, love. Lord knows they’ve been nagging us about it long enough.”
She sat up, smiling down at him. “Okay, then. That’s what we’ll do. I’ll tell Dawn tomorrow. We’re officially retired... unless something really, really big and evil comes up. Then we’re back on the clock.”
“Goes without sayin’,” he agreed, pulling her back down against him. “Now, what are we going to do with all our free time... hmmmmmm?”
The text message from Joy, now the head of the Council of Watchers and Slayers, was short and to the point, interrupting Spike and Buffy in the middle of their stay in the Caribbean. Without conversation, Buffy began to pack their bags while Spike got on the phone to make plane reservations. The bellboys watched in amazement as the two quite elderly guests carried their own bags through the lobby and tossed them into the trunk of the cab.
They repeated the process at the airport, in too much of a hurry to make any attempt to hide their waning, but still much more than normal, strength. Even at supersonic speeds, there was no way to speed up the flight across the Atlantic; all they could do was hold hands and try to pretend they weren’t expecting to hear that someone had died.
Joy met them at the airport, hustling them into the waiting limo and joining them in the back.
“So, what’s up?” Buffy was short and to the point.
“It’s Gill,” Joy said. “She’s been captured. She’s being held hostage.” Joy’s voice managed not to tremble as she talked about her youngest child, who had, indeed, turned out to be a slayer. One who often reminded those old enough to have seen Buffy in her prime of her famous grandmother.
The sound Spike made sounded remarkably like the snarl of an enraged vampire and both women stared at him wordlessly. He shrugged and asked, “Alright, she’s a hostage. What’s got her? And what are the terms?”
Joy bit her lip. “She’s being held by a gang of vampires that just showed up recently and started harassing our slayers.”
Joy nodded. “They would fight, but they hardly ever stayed in the fight long enough to be killed. They’d just keep the girls busy for a while, then leave through a portal of some sort. It... it was like they were looking for something.”
“And were they?”
Her daughter exhaled and dropped her head on the back of the seat. She shut her eyes briefly, the dark circles under them showing how little rest she’d had since Gill’s capture. “Apparently they were. As soon as they heard one of the girls call Gillie by name, they surrounded her, threw a net over her and took off. The other girls chased them and staked a few, but they couldn’t catch them all before they got Gill through the portal. The ransom note came the next morning.”
“And what are they looking for as ransom?” Spike’s voice was still sounding more like a growl than an aging human’s rasp. Joy opened her eyes and stared at her father and mother with devastated eyes.
“You. Or Mom. They weren’t very specific, just said if one of you comes to meet them, alone, they’ll let Gillie go.”
“Do you believe them?” Buffy question was short and to the point.
“I don’t know.” Joy shook her head, delaying the rest of her answer until they were out of the car and walking toward her office. “They seem very focused on getting one of you to go to them. Like I said, they didn’t really fight any of the other slayers long enough to kill anyone, so....” She shook her head again. “I just don’t know. All I know is they want one of you.”
“Oh, that’s not a problem,” Spike said. “They’re gonna get me...”
“They’re going to get us,” Buffy said, glaring at him. “More of us than they really want.”
“I can’t ask you to do this,” Joy said, giving in to tears. “I can’t send my parents out to trade for my daughter. I can’t make that kind of decision.”
“You’re not askin’, we’re telling you. Tell them they’re goin’ to get their wish. You work out the details – we’ll need to see Gill released before we go anywhere with them.”
The entire contingent of slayers and watchers currently in residence turned out to watch the legendary Buffy Summers and her husband, the equally legendary former-vampire-turned-human-slayer William Pratt, leave to meet the vampires holding their granddaughter. If anyone thought it ridiculous that these two smaller-than-average elderly people were heading off to meet with a delegation of demons, they didn’t say so. With final hugs for their children and grandchildren (and a kiss for the only great-grandchild, still in his mother’s arms), they put their swords across their backs, patted their stake-packed pockets, and strode toward the portal shimmering several hundred yards away.
They paused as they neared the opening, peering into the scene on the other side. As they’d expected, the other side of the portal, although there was nothing unusual about the landscape, presented a hellish scene, with vampires and minor demons baring their teeth in anticipation.
“Oi! Bloodsuckers! Where’s my granddaughter?” If anyone thought such bravado incongruous coming from a somewhat stooped old man, it didn’t show as the waiting vamps began to howl.
“Right here.” From a spot to the side of the portal opening, a vampire whose distorted features made it plain that he was very, very old, stepped into view, holding Gill, bound hand and feet, under his arm. The girl’s anguished face caused them both to step forward, but her voice, thin but firm, came to them before they could get too close.
“Don’t do it! Let them have me. Don’t do it, Nana! Grandpa! They want to kill you!”
“And they’ll get their chance,” Spike said with feigned nonchalance. “Soon as they put your unharmed and alive body on this side of that poncy magical barrier they’re hidin’ behind.”
“Which one of you is coming?” The vampire licked his lips. “Not that I care, but I really wished for this one’s Nana.”
“Be careful what you wish for,” Buffy said, moving into position beside Spike.
“Send Gill over and I’ll be right there.”
“Need some assurances that you won’t take off with her,” the old vampire said. “I’m going to send some of my people through to see that you don’t cheat.”
“Yeah, yeah, send your minions. What is it about you wankers when you get old, that turns you into cowards? Hiding’ behind your get instead of fightin’ your own battles.” The old vampire snarled, but remained where he was. He gestured and several eager vamps came through, laughing and joking as they surrounded the white-haired slayers, throwing Gill at their feet. Buffy immediately stooped to free her hands and feet. She handed Gill a stake, saying, “Just fight your way out and go find your mother. Don’t hang around.”
“Don’t argue.” As Buffy spoke, she pivoted and ran her stake through the chest of a female vampire that thought she was sneaking up on the old woman bending over the released slayer. Gill leapt to her feet and joined what was now a small melee, with her grandparents fighting back to back and decimating the inexperienced minions that had been sent through the portal with her.
As she put her fighting skills to work, it was obvious to her grinning grandfather that she had inherited more than just her California-girl looks and physique from her grandmother. However, she soon had nothing left to do but watch. In no time, there was nothing but dust left, although on the other side of the portal more vampires were trying to talk themselves into coming through as their leader snarled encouragement at them.
“Wow.” Gill looked around at the dusty ground in wonder. “No wonder the ugly one said he only wanted one of you.”
Buffy and Spike exchanged looks. Both were breathing hard, but with a light in their eyes that hadn’t been there since their retirement twelve years ago. Spike straightened up and stretched his arms over his head.
“What do you think, love? Keep wasting away in Margaritaville, or go down fightin’?”
“Do you need to ask?”
Gill stared as her grandparents exchanged grins. Their expressions softened as Buffy said, “I love you, William Pratt.”
“Love you too, Buffy. Always have, always will.”
As one, they turned to face the open portal, taking their swords off their backs. Spike was, as always, on Buffy’s left. They were already charging through the portal before Gill realized what they were doing. Her frightened scream went unheeded as her grandparents gave matching whoops and jumped into the midst of the snarling vampires.
Buffy’s cry, “the old fart is mine!” was the last thing Gill heard as the portal winked shut behind them.
My second offering is a much longer fic and will go up in chunks as I finish polishing them. It is still a wip, so will end on the community here with either a link to my journal, or with the completed chapters on free for all day if it’s ready by then.