The arena was full. Every seat was sold out. Aside from a few general tournament fans, the hordes of Whedonites collected en masse to witness the semi-final event of Spike versus River Tam. The competitors entered. Some fanboys cheered; others cried while pulling out hair and ripping their shirts in the pure ecstasy of the moment.
River appeared and skirted across the outside wall, frightened, but darting her eyes up and around at the crowd. A loud roar of cheering erupted from the spectators as Spike strolled in, cigarette hanging from his lips. The two walked towards each other, for what appeared to be a frozen moment—the onlookers suddenly silent—until they were standing about thirty feet apart from one another.
“You’re a monster,” River said as she glared at the man with spikey bleached hair. He wore black pants and a black t-shirt, covered by a long black trench coat that just missed the ground.
“Hello to you too, my pet,” Spike replied as he looked across to River, his lips twisted slightly to the right in a faint but growing smirk.
“I’m not your pet. I’ve already killed monsters in this tournament. You’re no different,” she said.
Spike’s grin dissipated. “Hey! I’ve a soul, now!” He shouted, beating at his chest. “Not all vampires have one, ya know? I fight for the good guys. I’m part of the team.”
“I’m not part of your team.”
“Well, I’d bloody well hope not! We’ve got enough wackos running around, what with Xander and all.”
“I need to fight you now. I don’t like fighting,” she shook her head slightly, “but I need to get back to my ship. I need to get back to my brother and Mal.”
“You’re a bit blinkered is what you are, pet. Monster this, and fight that. I don’t fight the likes of you anymore,” He looked down, face grim. “That’s in my past, love.”
Just then, there was a loud rumbling in the sky. River and Spike looked up and noticed an object falling fast. The item slammed into the dirt in the center of the arena—point first—sticking out for all to see what it was: a stake.
“Bloody…” before Spike could finish his sentence, River was off, running toward the stake. Spike took off less than a second later. River dove for the stake and Spike reached her just as her hands were about to grasp it. He slammed his foot into her face, knocking her onto her back. The crowd roared.
Spike grabbed the stake, turned his back to River, and hurled it across the arena. River pushed off of the ground with the palms of her hands behind her head, launching herself into the air. As Spike turned, River’s right leg connected with his nose, spilling blood onto the ground. Spike wiped the blood off his face as it shifted into a vicious feature. He snarled, shaking his head, revealing his fangs—offering River her first glimpse of his weapon of choice.
“If that’s how you want to play, pet,” Spike rushed River. She swung and he dodged, shifting his weight to the right and slamming his fist into her stomach. Spike grabbed her by the hair, head-butted her and kicked her in the chest with powerful force. The impact sent River soaring back through the air, but she used her momentum to turn it into a flip and landed on her feet, facing Spike. Without hesitation, she ran at him, and with accelerated motion, she punched his face multiple times, causing him to stumble back in the direction of the stake. Before he could regain his footing, River continued the melee attack. With each punch and kick, Spike’s body was closer and closer to the edge of the arena. When they were just feet away, she grabbed his head with both hands, lifted herself off of the ground, kneed him in the face, and flipped over his body. She landed, one knee kneeling, lifted the stake and threw.
Spike turned just as the stake penetrated his skin and went into his heart.
“Well…I’ll be,” he said as he looked down at the cylindrical piece of wood protruding from his chest.
“I’m sorry. I could tell you were different from the rest. But I need to get out of here. ”
“Good thing I’m wearing this amulet, love. Maybe I’ll be back,” he smiled as his body disintegrated and crumpled to the ground in a pile of dust.
River inched her way over to where Spike had just been, reached down and picked up a handful of dusty remains. She tilted her head to the left and spoke.
In the stands, thousands of female Spike worshippers hung their heads low, dropping their “Team Spike” posters and stomping on them with sheer anger. All the while, the nerdy River Tam lovers shrieked with joy for River would enter the final stage of the tournament.
-Written by Max Pfeffer (All characters are property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions)