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Bargaining – Revisited

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Summary: Things could potentially have gone quite differently at the resurrection ritual Willow conducted to bring Buffy back.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > GeneralGreywizardFR1312,0090152,5456 Aug 126 Aug 12Yes
Disclaimer: They all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME. Deal with it. I have.

Time Frame: Season Six (or Sux, depending on your opinion of it), episode one, "Bargaining.'

Spoilers: None intended, but if you don't know what happened up to this point, why are you reading this story?

Character Bashing: None, whatsoever.

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author's Note 1: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.

Author's Note 2: As usual, "word" indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

Author's Note 3: This bunny was inspired by reading atticus' story, 'Good Men Doing Something', which is also on this site.

Author's Note 4: This is story #6 for the 2012 August Fic-A-Day Challenge.

~~~

Restfield Cemetery
Buffy Summers grave

October 2, 2001


Tara, Willow, Xander, and Anya all stood in a semi-circle around Buffy's grave, holding candles, with Willow positioned at the foot of the grave.

At the stroke of midnight, they all dropped to their knees, with Willow carefully holding an Urn of Osiris in her arms. This was it – they were about to bring a dead woman back to life...

Tara and Xander exchanged nervous glances as Willow poured a small jar of blood into the urn, while marking her forehead and both cheeks with some of the blood and intoning, "Osiris, keeper of the gate, master of all fate, hear us."

Continuing with her mystical rite, the redheaded witch chanted, "Before time, and after. Before knowing and nothing. Accept our offering. Know our prayer," before then pouring the contents of the urn onto Buffy's grave.

Suddenly jerking backwards, Willow flung her arms out to her side, at which point deep, ugly gashes appeared on her forearms

As Xander unthinkingly moved to interrupt the ceremony, Tara stopped him and pulled him back, saying, "No! She t- she told me...she'd be tested. This is *supposed* to happen."

Ignoring the blood dripping from her arms, but wincing from the pain inflicted as rounded lumps under her skin suddenly appeared and began moving, Willow intoned, "Osiris! Here lies the warrior of the people. Let her cross over!"

"Osiris, let her cross over!" Willow repeated the incantation, before she suddenly screamed as the moving protrusions began moving up her neck and the witch curled over, fingers clutching at the grass.

Tara, Anya and Xander watched with pure horror as a snake slithered out of Willow's mouth and an orange light began swirling around her head.

"Osiris, release her!" Willow commanded again as she ignored the agony she was experiencing and the orange radiance began to grow even brighter.

But at that point, something went wrong. The orange light changed color, first becoming yellow, then green, then an angry-looking crimson. The light briefly began flaring like a supernova – before it abruptly vanished.

As the various Scooby Gang members (apart from Willow, who had collapsed onto the ground semi-unconscious) held up their hands to protect their eyes, they could make out several shapes growing more visible and substantial with each passing second.

"What the hell?" Xander murmured to himself as he got to his feet to position himself between the several solidifying shapes and the distaff members of the group. Harris instinctively pulled his axe from the back sheath he'd fashioned for himself, while Tara drew a stake as she moved to stand above her only partially conscious lover and Anya produced her own short sword.

A moment later, all three fully conscious Scoobies stared in disbelief at the quartet of figures who were standing in a semi-circle around them and staring at them with equal amounts of surprise.

A quartet composed of petite blonde-haired women, each of who wore the features of Buffy Anne Summers.

"Good Godfrey Cambridge. This definitely isn't what was supposed to happen," Xander Harris quite eloquently summarized the situation.

And then, of course, as if to relieve the tension, the Buffybot showed up, followed by two of the demon bikers called the Hellions. Their names were Mag and Flint – not that that really mattered much.

Because they were only the first Hellions to die, courtesy of the new arrivals. Within less than half an hour, the leader of the demon road pirates named Razor was dead – and most of his Hellions were nothing but stinking body parts scattered throughout the town, after the four Buffys indulged in a little (okay, maybe more than a little) stress release.

~/~/~

Summers residence
A few hours later


"Just so ya know, the Nibblet's already told me what 'appened tonight, lackbrain. But what I wanna know is, what the bloody hell did you effin' idiots think ya were doing?" Spike snarled as he turned to look at Xander, who was sitting at the kitchen table, staring at the glass of ice water sitting on the table in front of him as if it contained all the secrets of the universe.

"We were thinking that we were gonna rescue the soul of someone we all loved, someone who'd jumped through a interdimensional portal in order to save her sister's life," Xander quietly answered, without looking up. "A portal to what we thought was Hell itself, and where Buffy was trapped after dying for the cause.

"You might remember the thing who attempted to open that portal, Spike. She was a hellgod named Glory, who we all learned wanted nothing but to go back to her home sweet hell," the carpenter turned demon fighter continued speaking in that same low voice.

"We tried to get Buffy out of there the only way we could – that is, bringing her back to life," Harris went on, "and the reason we didn't say anything before now was because we didn't want to get Dawn's hopes up unnecessarily, if we found out it couldn't be done."

"Is that right? Well, I got a question for ya, mate. I'm not the Li'l Bit – so why did you keep *me* in the dark 'bout your little scheme?" Spike demanded.

Xander finally looked up from his glass of water. "Are you seriously telling me you could have kept it a secret from Dawnie, if you'd known? Come on, Spike. She's got you wrapped around her little finger nowadays, and you know it! One pout or whatever, and you'd have caved faster than an alcoholic at an all-night kegger. And by the way, don't think I never smelled that booze on your breath all throughout the summer, pal!"

"Right. Well, I, uh, guess that actually does make a bit of sense, when ya put it that way," the blond-haired vampire reluctantly admitted, after a moment's consideration. Then Spike smirked a little. "Still, the way I heard it? You lot came up with four Buffys earlier tonight. And that I gotta see..."

"Ah, hang on, Spike," Xander said as he stood up from the table and stepped into the other man's path to the living room, "I stayed out here to catch you as you came in, because I need to warn you about something.

"And that is – none of the Buffys upstairs are gonna be very happy to see you, at all," Harris said solemnly, "because all of them come from worlds where you were nothing but another would-be Big Bad."

"What the hell do you mean by that, Droopy Boy?" Spike half-snarled, greatly offended as he glared at the construction worker.

"I mean, we've got four different Buffys upstairs getting cleaned up with Ahn, Willow and Tara's help; and from what I heard the Buffys say after the Hellions were dealt with, as far as each and every one of them is concerned, you're got a long-overdue appointment with the interior of a Dustbuster," Xander explained.

"One Buffy's a vampire with a soul – but with no curse clause – who was turned by Angelus as soon as his curse was broken that night – and she remembers, quite distinctly, you and Drusilla helping her torture her dimension's versions of me, Will and Oz before she was re-ensouled by Ms. Calendar," Xander explained, holding up his index finger.

"There's another Buffy in there who ended up getting bitten one of the swim team members, and whatever version of the stuff Coach Marin was using in her world, it partially changed her into a fish monster, a la Namor the Submariner," Harris held up a second finger. "She doesn't have any good memories of you, either.

"Buffy Number Three got bit by Oz when he was doing the Teen Wolf thing, and yet again, zero warm and fuzzy memories of you there," Xander said as he held up a third finger, "and our fourth and final Buffy is one who got experimented on by Professor Maggie Walsh, so that she could be a proper bride for that crazy bitch's pride and joy – ADAM.

"Yep," Xander nodded with a bit of a wry smile, as he watched his vampiric teammate grow even paler as the implications of Harris' behavior began sinking in, "*that* Buffy very definitely does *not* have any good memories of you."

"So did any of them Buffys mention what 'appened to my arse in their worlds?" Spike wanted to know. Knowledge was power, and all that.

"Sure. I figured you'd want to know, so I asked what was the what where you were concerned. But do you really wanna know what they told me?"

"I asked, didn't I?" Spike said belligerently.

"Fine, then here it is. Vampire Buffy staked you, straight after she threw Drusilla out into the sunlight. Go-Fish Buffy said you left Sunnydale and never came back, after she destroyed that magic-y green gem of yours a couple years ago. Werewolf Buffy said she tracked you down and dusted you, not long after she found Willow's dead body down in that factory basement. And EVE – that's what the last Buffy said to call her, anyway – she got *real* creative after she killed ADAM and got her hands on you. Apparently, she tore off your arms and legs, yanked out all your insides apart from the heart, ripped out your tongue and then...she cemented you into the cave wall ADAM used to use as his headquarters.

"The worst part is that, apparently, you're still there – even more of a lunatic than Drusilla on her worst day ever by this point, but still alive. Well, what passes for life where someone like you is concerned, anyway," Xander shrugged slightly.

"I bet you're just enjoying the hell out of this situation, aren't you, Whelp?" Spike scowled as he turned and began pacing back and forth in the limited space of the kitchen. Even though he would never admit it to anyone (not even himself), Xander's story of what had happened to his counterparts in all four different realities had shaken Spike up quite a bit. Not once in the nearly two years he'd been forced to suffer thanks to the chip, had William the Bloody ever considered how his situation could have been worse – ever so much worse.

But he did now. "Betcha ya can't wait to see which one of them gets to stake me, hmm?" Spike wanted to know, staring Xander right in the eye.

"Listen up, Captain Peroxide, because I'm only ever gonna say this once. I'll freely admit that you and I have never, by any stretch of the imagination, ever been friends," Harris admitted as he watched the British vampire prowling the confines of the kitchen. "And I honestly can't conceive of any world where we ever would be, either.

"But I also haven't forgotten how you didn't crack and tell Glory who the Key was, back when she was torturing the shit out of you," Xander declared, looking Spike straight in the eye. "And there's also the fact you've helped out all summer, with the Slayage and with making sure Dawn stayed safe while the rest of us were patrolling Sunnydale's cemeteries.

"So, even though I can't believe I'm actually saying this," Harris exhaled loudly and shook his head, as though incredulous of his own actions, "I'm gonna make sure all those Buffys know how much you've helped out here in our world, and I'm actually gonna do my best to prevent any of them from dusting you.

"Just do me a favor – and *try* not to piss any of them off, okay?"

Spike shrugged nonchalantly, even though deep down...he was rather touched by Xander's pledge. "Not gonna make any promises I can't keep, Harris."

"Wonderful. Well, whatever – let's go introduce you to the ladies… If you hit on any of them, you're on your own."


FIN

The End

You have reached the end of "Bargaining – Revisited". This story is complete.

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