Disclaimer: I don’t own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Vampire Hunter D. Buffy belongs to Whedon, and Vampire Hunter D and related characters belong to Hideyuki Kikuchi and UrbanVision. No money made.
A/N: This is the fifth in a Vampire Hunter D/Buffy crossover that I started. Old Friends
Tara stood by the neck of the cyborg horse, patting it gently, as she stared into the dead garden beyond the outer walls of the castle. D—the half-vampire who had found her when she had awoken in the arms of a vampire she now knew to be named Michael—strode forth very deliberately, without an ounce of fear or trepidation in his steps. Of course, she had seen it time and again in the short while she had been awake in this world—the world of post-nuclear war-vampire ruled Earth in 12,090 AD. The pair of them—trio if you included the lively personality of D’s possessed Left Hand—had rode through village after village, and every time it was a mixture of awe and anxiety on the villagers’ faces when the beautiful man rode by. But D never wavered. He was always the same, stoic being who spoke in a strong, but monotone voice, and he had yet to be defeated by any of the monsters they had encountered in their travels. Tara wished she knew his secret.
“Are you sure of this?” D asked just as Tara caught up with him in the center of the courtyard.
Tara cast her gaze all about, her heart saddened by the brown and brittle flowers that surrounded them. She bit lightly at her lip and nodded.
“I knew it as soon as I heard the name. It all made sense. This is what Willow called her capital.”
Her Willow Tree, no matter how corrupt or evil she had become, had left her clues. Little things here and there to lead Tara to her. The last had been left in the coffin Tara’s body had formerly occupied at Stonehenge. A black leather duster and holo-disc, on which Willow had spoken of “her capital.”
“What makes you so sure, sweetheart?” D’s gruff-voiced Left Hand asked.
“I c-called her my Amazon. Because she was so strong and beautiful,” Tara explained in a voice that was almost a whisper.
But D heard, as he heard a million other things that Tara didn’t. He acknowledged this statement with a small glance over his ebony-armored shoulder. His black fedora was pulled low over his eyes, casting a shadow on them, but Tara knew what he wanted. He wanted her to elaborate.
“The capital city of the Amazons was Themiscyra. As soon as I heard the villagers, and you, speak of the old Castle Themiscyra, I knew that’s where she wanted me to go to next.”
D nodded, his raven locks barely moving with the motion. He turned his eyes back to the castle.
“The vampire lord who lived here died long ago,” Left Hand said. “Rumor was that the villagers were responsible, but I think they might have had some help.”
Tara moved so that she now stood side by side with D. “What do you mean?”
“The Noble was considered a traitor, so the Sacred Ancestor punished him,” D continued.
Tara would never get use to that term—noble
—being used by the vampires. They had grown so high and mighty that they had considered themselves royalty, above everyone else, especially humans. She sighed and noticed that D had unsheathed his long, silver blade. With a whoosh
of his cape, he took off at a run, at a pace which Tara could never match. But that did not keep her from trying. She followed the sound of his boots on stone as he rushed inside the enormous, crumbling castle, and continued to do so until she arrived in the dungeon. D had already been there for several moments, standing so that he faced the very back wall.
The smells of suffering still lingered in this place, with the iron-strong smell of blood being the most prominent. Tara lifted a sleeve of her yellow dress to her nose, careful to keep it covered as she approached where D stood.
“A vampire, but not your average one,” Left Hand said just as Tara saw what the half-blood vampire was staring at.
“Spike!” she said.
The vampire’s blond hair was fading back to its original color, and he had a burn mark in the rough cotton tunic he wore. He all but hung from the shackles that had him locked to the wall, and his face was downturned, as if he had not realized that there were two people standing less than three feet from him.
“He’s got a soul,” D said, as if this was nothing out of the ordinary.
But that news made Tara’s eyes widen. After all, the only vampire she had ever heard of having a soul was Angel. Willow had told her all about him. The Spike she had known while she had been alive was a monster, losing his hatefulness ever so slowly only because of his love for Buffy. Was it true? Could he have gone so far as to obtain a soul? Just for Buffy?
“Spike…” Tara said softly.
“This is William the Bloody?” D asked.
Tara nodded as Spike’s head lolled upward. He blinked at them, scoffing after a moment.
“Lost my marbles again, I did,” he said. Then, with a sigh and a shake of a head, he added, “Another torture the witch has conjured. She gets crueler all the time.”
“The Witch? Do you mean Willow?” Tara asked.
Spike laughed. “You bloody well know I do!”
Tara turned to D. “We can’t just leave him here. I think… I think Willow wanted me to find him. He’s another clue.”
“You mean you want to drag a crazy vampire around with us? Seriously?” Left Hand asked.
D, of course, said nothing. Tara shook her head.
“He’s not that
“Butterflies, butterflies. I had ‘em in my stomach, once, but she’s gone and killed them all,” Spike said, a saddening chuckle accompanying his words.
“Okay. Maybe he is crazy. But also, maybe we could help him. And he could help us. You said he has a soul? Can you be sure?”
D nodded. “I can smell it on him.”
“Then let’s take him.”
“You’re out of your mind, lady,” Left Hand scoffed.
“Please! He’s the only way we can learn more about Willow!”
This was followed by a long period of silence in which Tara simply stared up at D, pleading with her eyes. Finally, the dhampire sheathed his weapon. He cross the short distance in a couple of steps and ripped the chains holding Spike from the wall. Spike toppled forward, with Tara just narrowly being able to catch him.
“Let’s get him out of here,” D said, putting one of Spike’s arms about his shoulders.
Spikes head lolled again, and he groaned. Looking up at Tara, his eyes seemed to clear, like he was suddenly aware of everything that was going on.
“Tara?” he asked.
That crazy edge to his voice was gone, and he sounded like the cocky vampire Tara knew him to be again.
“She said you would come. I stopped believing her centuries ago.”
Tara’s heart broke. What had Willow done to him? He grew silent after that, and D and Tara dragged him out to the horse.#
They travelled aimlessly for days, and they had to acquire a second horse. Tara had spent these days—covering Spike completely for the daylight hours—trying her best to come up with a way to bring back his sanity a little more quickly. But she only had a certain number of spells memorized, and the magicks that D knew were nothing near what she required. Finally, though, one night as they made camp, it was Left Hand who had the idea.
They sat Spike upright, and D gathered the items that Left Hand needed to draw power—some from all four elements. The possessed appendage called the spell The Big Four, and Tara could only hope that it would help Spike. Once all samples of the elements were gathered, and consumed, D placed his Left Hand upon Spike’s forehead. Tara counted five whole seconds before a bright flash of blinding white light appeared from Left Hand. A force of wind followed, and it knocked both Tara and Spike off their seats. Tara was the first to recover, launching herself back to her feet.
“Did it work?” she asked.
D shook his head, and all eyes were upon Spike. He wasn’t moving, and Tara was worried that Left Hand had only hurt him further. Finally, though, the vampire groaned, shoving the heel of his hand to his forehead.
“Bloody hell, was that necessary?” he said, sitting up. “I mean, really?”
“Spike?” Tara asked, inching nearer to him.
He blinked a couple of times before looking up at her. “Tara?”
She nodded. He laughed.
“You know, I thought ol’ Will was just as crazy as I was, talking about how you were coming back and all that. But I guess she wasn’t.”
Tara helped the vampire to his feet, a wide grin spreading across her face. “You’re not crazy anymore?”
“I’m not?” he stopped and seemed to ponder that for a moment. “Huh. I guess I’m not. Thanks, doc. Don’t know what was in that spell you hit me with, but it was just what was ordered.”
“And you really have a soul?” Tara asked.
Spike nodded, knocking at his chest like someone might knock on a door.
“For several, several, several centuries now.”
D stood. “What do you know about The Witch?”
Spike arched a brow at him. “Who’s this, then?”
“This is D.”
“D? You mean Drac’s little pride and joy? Yeah, I remember you. Caused quite a ruckus in the ranks when you went rogue.”
Tara whirled to D. “You’re Dracula’s son
D ignored her. “Answer the question, Spike.”
“Gladly. Where would you like me to begin?”
Spike took a seat close to the fire they had built, and Tara soon followed suit.
“What happened to her? Why is Willow like this?”
“The magic. The same as it was when you were alive, pet. Or, before you took the world’s longest nap, as it were. She had to use too dark of magic for too long. It started right after she made a bunch of slayers. Then, the bloody idiots went and allied themselves with vampires right when the OSBs attacked.”
Tara’s brow furrowed. “OSBs?”
“Outer Space Beings. Their power rivaled that of the Nobility. They almost destroyed the world,” Left Hand answered.
“Who said that?” Spike asked.
“D’s Left Hand. It’s possessed by a demon… spirit… something. It has its own mind,” Tara explained.
Spike cracked up, even slapping his knee. “For real?”
D nodded, and Spike roared with laughter again.
“How do you ever get some alone time with that thing? I mean, a man’s got urges. Surely you can’t indulge them with a separate little man living in your hand. You know, unless you’re into that sort of thing.”
“On subject, Spike!” Tara demanded.
After all, she really wasn’t in the mood to see D fight it out with the vampire.
“Oh, yeah, right. Where was I? Oh, yeah. So they sent me and Angel to make a deal with the vampires to fight off the OSBs. The deal was supposed to end right after they were defeated… but it didn’t. There were those who liked the idea of the team-up a little too much. In the end, the slayers were hunted down. And Angel went down fighting with them.”
“Was this before or after the war?”
“You mean the big one? After. The slayers were greatly outnumbered. They’d lost too many in World War III. And the alliance gave away every secret they had. Dracula had no trouble rallying his personal troops to kill them all.”
“And Willow? How does she fit in?”
Spike sighed. “Poor Red. You see, she’d started noticing things. About herself. She was healing faster—even faster than Buffy. She’d stopped aging. The magic was infused with her now. When all the slayers—with a good helping of Wiccans too—were dead, the vampires didn’t want to kill her. So they gave her a choice—die or work with us. Willow thought she could help bring them down from the inside. Sort of a James Bond Mission Impossible type of thing.”
Now Spike frowned, and Tara mimicked the move.
“But it didn’t work.”
He nodded. Tara sighed. “And you? How did you end up in the dungeon tortured to insanity?”
“She asked for me. When I gave the new vampire regime the big ol’ middle finger, I became hunted. So she asked for me, to use for her own purposes. As for what those were, I don’t know.”
“I think this was it,” D said.
Tara gazed up at the dhampire. “What do you mean?”
“She wanted us to know what happened. She wanted to arm you with the knowledge of the past in the only way she knew how. With him. Otherwise, he’d have been dead long ago.”
Spike shook his head. “As much as I’d like to argue, Mr. Tall and Dark here might have a point.”
Tara hung her head. “But… I d-don’t even know where she is now.”
“Because she’s not ready for you to come for her yet. But I think that time’s getting closer, toots,” Left Hand said.
“Wish I could help more,” Spike said.
Tara smiled at him. “You could. You could stay with us while we continue looking for her. She said, in the first hologram I saw of her, that she wanted to be saved. Will you help me do that?”
Spike kicked at a clump of dirt on the ground. “Not like I’ve got anything else to do, pet. Sure.”
Tara muttered her thanks and stood, facing D. She shrugged. “I don’t know what to do now.”
“We wait. Get some sleep,” D said, motioning to the tent behind him.
“Wait for what?”
“Her next clue.”
Tara felt ill, but nodded. She crawled into the tent, leaving Spike alone with D. In retrospect, she knew that might not be the smartest idea… but right now, all she wanted was rest. After all, facing off with her Willow Tree was the last thing in the world she wanted… but it was also the most important thing she would ever have to do.