Learning To Share - Chapter 19
It was a very despondent Angel
Investigations agency in my apartment the rest of the day. The others didn't
know where to look or where to put themselves, but clearly didn’t want to leave
me on my own. I couldn't even sit with Spike any more. He had deteriorated considerably
when we got home. He was…translucent. The mark had spread over his entire body
and seemed…insubstantial. When you looked straight at him he seemed fainter
somehow than when you looked off to one side. It terrified me.
I sit on the couch in despair, the others wander around trying to make small talk, trying to cheer me up with banal reassurances that everything will be alright. We are all incredibly relieved to hear the whir of the elevator. Expecting only Giles, I am pleased to see he has brought powerful assistance. Willow and her friend. Lara, Laura? I can't remember.
Giles immediately asks to see Spike and I take him in. As with Wesley earlier, I hover. He dismisses me, rapidly and asks me to send Wesley in. I sit back down on the couch, straining my vampire hearing to catch what they are saying. But I don't really need to hear their words, I hear enough in their tones. In total despair, I lie my head down on the arm of the couch and cover my eyes with my hand.
I feel her presence before I feel her tiny hand on my leg. I look up to find the girl…what is her name?...Tara, to find Tara sitting next to me. I look into her eyes and I find myself looking into the soul of an ancient and very powerful being. It is like looking into the womb of the earth. I feel recent. And that hasn't happened since I met the First. She is beautiful. Her face like a Renaissance painting. Why did no one tell me of this creature before? Do they not see her power? I am humbled before it.
Before I can speak, Wesley and Giles come back in from their conference in the bedroom.
'I don’t believe this has anything to do with spectral influences, Angel.' Giles tries not to catch my eye and looks at Willow. 'I think perhaps we do need your help after all. Angel, Willow and Tara can perform a spell over Spike's body that will allow us to see any evidence of magic or demon influence. Besides his, that is. If there is any magic, we should be able to see what form it has taken. It's the best we can do, I'm afraid.'
Whilst they make their preparations, I stand forlornly looking down at Spike. He seems to be almost blending into the bedclothes. All his vitality, all his energy, gone.
When all is ready they hold hands and start an ancient, ritual chant. It only takes a few minutes before it starts to work. The others stand looking perplexed and fascinated at the result. I am shocked and sickened. Over the whole of Spike's body appear tiny glowing granules, as though he had just returned from rolling in phosphorescent sand. It's the dust. It's the magic dust I sprinkled on him. That's what has caused this. I have done this to my Childe.
The ritual is not yet finished. Both girls seem to be in a trance now. Both seeing things far away, unworldly. Suddenly the air seems to electrify and they both stagger slightly. Eventually they drop hands and open their eyes. Willow looks at me accusingly.
'You shouldn't have meddled with such powerful magic, Angel!'
Wesley and Giles turn on me as one, 'What does she mean, Angel?' I try to explain. I try to give explanations I'm not sure I have myself. I can't tell them the whole truth. That's still too personal. So I tell them how I wanted him to be able to mix more in the human world, now he has his chip. I look pleadingly at Wesley and Cordelia, they knew what he was like when he first arrived. No one could have lived with him like that.
It's Tara who rescues me. She takes my hand and looking at the others, speaks in her quiet, hesitant voice, 'This is all wasting time, isn't it? What is done, is done. We have to undo it now.' She turns to me, tightening her grip on my hand. 'Angel. He is still there. Some part of him is still there and whatever is happening to that part, it is draining him here.'
I sink to my knees. She falls with me and catching my face in her hands she says with quiet authority, 'You can get him, Angel. You can go there, too.'
'Absolutely NOT. I forbid Angel to even attempt such a dangerous and foolish thing. It would be incredibly foolhardy.' Wesley looks to Cordelia for support. But I'm already heading towards my desk where I hid the box of magic.
'There's hardly any left,' I groan, as Tara comes to stand by my side. She gives a shy grin.
'It will be enough. It has two witches helping it along this time.'
It's as if we are the only two in the room. I feel myself falling into her eyes. I feel things I never thought to feel again with anyone but Spike. I can feel a tightening in my belly, my balls are tingling and I know I am hard. I don't want this to happen. It's unexpected. Wrong. But she replaces her hand on my arm and smiles at me and I realise it's not her affecting me like this, but what she is projecting to me. She is acting like a mirror for my own desire for Spike. She whispers so quietly that even I have to strain to catch her words. 'Remember that feeling, Angel. It's all there is. In the end, love is all there is. It will help to bring you back.'
I say quietly to her, 'I want to come back here though. Not when he came back. I want…I want this Spike, Tara. Not that one. I'm…' can I admit this to this strange girl?…'I'm afraid.'
She places something in my hand. 'Take this with you. It will help to bind you to this place and to this time. Remember, Angel. Love is all there is.' I look down and find she has placed Spike's belt in my hand. The one so recently binding him to me in quite a different way. I look down into her eyes and see a flash of humour. Good God, I think this girl even understands that. I can't help a glance over at Willow who is helping Wesley light a ring of candles around the bed. No wonder she loves this girl.
I sit on the bed and pull the now, nearly invisible Spike into my arms. I strap the belt around both our hands and fasten it tight as if that thin band of leather can hold us together through eternity. When the last of the candles flickers in the gloom of the bedroom, I take a last look at my companions. Cordelia gives me a brave smile, Wesley looks serious and important. I give him the briefest of nods and he shakes the small box over me.
Oh. He never mentioned it was Sunnydale. He never mentioned the cemetery. He never mentioned this bench. I've sat on this cold, damp bench hundreds of times with Buffy, on patrol. Never sat here human before though. Because, although in my head I am still me, I'm in a human body. It's looks like my body, only human. Doesn't feel like my body though. I still feel like me. I feel only a tenuous control over this body. No relation to it. Weird. No wonder Spike was a bit shook up when he came back. This place is…odd. He's talked a bit about what happened here. Sometimes in the quiet hours of the night when we are spent from biting and sucking, kissing and penetrating, when all we want to do is lie in the dark holding each other, then I've managed to coax some of the story out of him. I've heard other bits when he's been having dark, disturbing dreams and he cries out in the night. I know he had a Childe. I know I was here, too and that he saw me dusted. Beyond that it's only fragments.
But it's beginning to make sense. I am in a human body. Spike has a Childe. Spike sees me dusted. Oh…damn. I have the nastiest feeling that I am about to become Spike-prey. I have an even nastier feeling that I'm going to become his Childe. That, to be honest, does not bear thinking about. Spike, my Sire? Me, obeying Spike? That would be in another lifetime, NOT this. Damn, this is that other lifetime. Bugger. Should have left him to dissolve. God, it all seemed quite clear back in LA…two minutes ago! Kind of brave and mystical. Now I haven't got the least idea what I'm supposed to do, now I'm here. Should I stake Spike on sight to free my Spike? Could I stake Spike on sight…I'm in a human body and incredibly weak compared to him. Should I try to bring him back with me? Then there might be two Spikes in LA.
Interesting. No, put that thought away. Bad Angel.
And how far into this journey of his is he? How long has he been here, what has he managed to learn? If I bring him back or stake him too early, will Spike have changed as effectively as he has?
And to bloody top it all I've got a cold backside now.
I don’t have any more time to think about my situation because I suddenly feel two soft, cold lips on my neck and the first prick of familiar fangs descending through my skin. Can he really be that silent? He never seemed so to me, before I was human. I spring up to find him writhing in agony, swearing on the ground. What am I supposed to do? What is going to get us both back to LA, back to our time, together?
Because I have just realized the delicious irony.
No wonder Spike learnt his lesson so well when he was here. No wonder the magic had seemed so powerful. I didn't just have control over the intent. It seems that, after all, I had control over the means too. Because I am here and I can teach Spike exactly the lesson I want him to learn. I made the first Spike, as Angelus wanted him, now I have the gift to make the Spike who came to me in LA, as I want him, too.
So I won't try to return with him too early. I won't try to stake him. I'm going to teach him a few lessons about being a Sire. Oh, and am I going to enjoy this? Well, to coin a popular Sunnydale phrase…
Powerful magic indeed.