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* * * *
Chapter Six
A New Breed of Hell

* * * *

Buffy stared at the girl. “That can’t be right.”

Fred blinked a few times, stunned by Buffy’s resolution. “Well, I guess it may not be the answer we’re looking for, but I’m pretty sure—”

“No!” Buffy insisted. “That’s not it. Spike wouldn’t be doing this.”

“Buffy,” Angel began, “why don’t you just listen to what Fred’s found out? It may explain everything.”

“It explains nothing,” she maintained stubbornly. “Spike wouldn’t do this. This has to be something evil.”

“How can you be so sure?” Xander asked.

“Because I know him!”

Hadn’t she said it a million times? This wasn’t Spike, it couldn’t be Spike, no way was it Spike – weren’t they listening? Was she even listening to herself?

“Buffy, I think you should hear what Fred has to say,” Wesley recommended softly.

Buffy stared at him but shut her mouth, silently assenting. Fred glanced at Wesley uncertainly before setting her eyes on the text.

“According to this account, the souls of demons and other unholy creatures aren’t always sent to hell. In Spike’s case, he was a vampire with a human soul. As a vampire his soul was damned, but by regaining his soul he became ambiguous.”

“Are you saying Spike’s soul’s just floating around?” Xander asked.

“Well, no. It’s not in this dimension; it doesn’t even exist in time. It’s just out there in some kind of limbo.”

“How are you sure that’s what happened to Spike?” Dawn asked curiously.

Fred shrugged. “I’m not a hundred percent sure, but it adds up. Researching demonic souls seemed like a good idea since there’s no documentation on vampire souls, except for, well, Angel.”

“So this is Spike’s soul?” Angel asked. “Why is he showing up in the mirrors? Why is it that only Buffy can see him?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he’s trying to make contact.”

“If Spike’s soul was trying to reach me from the beyond I don’t think he’d try to kill me in my sleep,” Buffy replied.

“That’s just it,” Fred announced excitedly, like they were finally getting to the crux of the matter. “He can’t go to heaven or hell, so he’s left in this disoriented state. He probably doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

“Spike is saying things to me – specific things. If he was all soul crazy then how could he know all that?”

“I didn’t say he was crazy.”

“Listen,” said Wes. “I’m no expert on the afterlife, but from what I’ve read, death is a confusing experience and until one’s soul has settled in its final destination there’s no understanding of it.”

“Do you remember what it was like?” Dawn asked Buffy gently. “You know, after.

“Um…” Buffy’s brow wrinkled as she tried to remember. The only thing she could recall clearly was the feeling of being ripped away from something perfect, and the confusion that had brought about. She couldn’t remember what it felt like after she’d died. “No.”

There was an uncomfortable silence in the room as everyone silently acknowledged Buffy’s death. It was something the usual occupants at the Hyperion never talked about around Angel, and none of Buffy’s friends wanted to remind her of what she had lost or tempt her with the peaceful memory.

“Ooh!” Dawn exclaimed excitedly, and Buffy couldn’t almost see the light bulb illuminating over her sister’s head. “What about the amulet? Do you think that could have done something to his soul?”

Buffy’s eyes widened. How could she have forgotten about the amulet?

“My soul. It’s really there...”

Could it really be his soul? Or worse, could it be whatever was left of Spike without his soul? Did he even exist anymore, aside from a painful memory?

“Here’s an idea,” said Xander, putting his hands up in the air and putting a stop to the loud speculation that had followed Dawn’s comment. “You can talk to him, right?” he asked Buffy. “When you go to sleep, he can talk to you?” She didn’t respond verbally, but the answer was clear. “Then why don’t you ask him?”

“I tried that,” said Buffy. “But he kept telling me that he was in hell. If his soul’s in limbo then why would he say he’s in hell?”

Fred winced slightly. “If the experience is anything like it’s described in this text, then he probably thinks he’s in hell.”

“Then how do we get Spike’s soul out? Is there a way we can help him move on?”

“That’s just it, Buffy,” Wes began. “As a vampire he was damned, but by regaining his soul he was given a second chance.”

“Then which is it? Heaven or hell?”

“Neither, that’s why he’s in this state. And we can’t move his soul out of limbo.”

“So that’s it? Spike suffers forever and he brings me along for the ride?”

“Is there a way we could block any contact he has with Buffy?” Angel asked.

Buffy turned to him in shock. “What?”

“You don’t want him harassing you forever, do you?”

“No, but I don’t want him to suffer alone. We have to get him out.”

“Hey, can we put his soul in a jar?” Fred asked Wesley. “Like we did with Angel’s?”

“Angel’s soul was in the ether,” said Willow. “I can’t call a soul from purgatory, or limbo, or… whatever the hell this is.”

Xander looked thoroughly confused. “You put Angel’s soul in a jar?”

“There is another solution,” said Wesley, ignoring Xander. “The specific account in the text Fred is using describes the experiences of demons from the Goran Clan.”

“The what?” Angel replied.

“Goran demons,” Fred replied, a small smile forming on her face as she realized what Wes was getting at. “That’s how they know what it’s like between death and the afterlife. They’ve been there, but they returned to tell the tale.”

“Returned?” said Dawn.

“They were resurrected,” Angel replied, his eyes going wide.

“And we know of one vampire who’s been brought back from death…” Wesley pointed out.

Buffy stood from her seat on the floor, her eyes set on Wes. “You want to bring Spike back?”

“It’s the only way I can think of to pull his soul out of this limbo state,” Wes replied.

“There were sacrifices, Wes,” Angel reminded him in a disappointed voice.

Vampires,” Wesley retaliated. “This is a solution.”

“Hold on,” said Buffy, still having difficulty taking in the thought of Spike coming back. “You want to resurrect Spike?”

“Not only that, Buffy, but he’d be human,” Angel told her, obviously still against the idea. He returned his attention to Wes, “We don’t even know how the ritual works. They’re were monks involved, and a blood sacrifice… dark magicks that we don’t want to get into. We’d need a powerful shaman.”

“How ‘bout a powerful witch?” Dawn suggested, looking at Willow.

“What? You want me to bring Spike back? And human to boot? I don’t think I could do that.”

“Not that I’m too hip on the idea either, Will, but you did just ignite the power of the Slayer in all the Potentials in the world. I don’t think there’s anything you couldn’t do after that,” said Xander.

“She what?” said Wesley, his eyes going wide. “All the Potentials?”

“So, what are you saying? Are we actually going to do it?”

Buffy looked around the room hopefully, her heart beating rapidly in her chest. If Spike came back, then this “haunting” would end. If Spike came back, then she wouldn’t have to miss him anymore, and most importantly, she’d have a second chance.

Angel heaved a heavy sigh and glared at Wes in frustration. His voice was barely more than a growl when he spoke.

“We’ll look into it.”







Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the WB and UPN Networks, and etc. Veronica Mars
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Unrequited -  est. May 26, 2005.