Remember Me - Chapter 9.
I know I must be…damaged. Ugly? Watcher keeps looking at me. Little sideward glances when he thinks I'm not looking. It's beginning to get me down.
I've been up all day now. He said nothing when he found Buffy in with me. She didn’t give him time to; she looked at me, smiled a sweet smile…and left. But I got up and that occupied him for a while, fussing over me.
But I'm okay. I've been up all day, I've had a shower, I've watched TV and I've been annoying. I feel fine…so why is he looking at me like that? Wish I had a mirror. Thought those guys with a razor had done a good job but I bet this is worse. Feels fine. When I run my hands over my face, it feels fine. I can see okay, so my eye's still there. So why is he looking at me like that? I can't stand it any longer.
'Giles! What? Tell me the worst. Come on Watcher, I'm a sodding demon, remember? Scars…good!'
I'm gonna fucking die if he says I'm ugly. Hell, I've traded on this face for over a hundred years.
'What? What on earth are you talking about, Spike?'
'My face! You keep fucking looking at my face. Tell me the worst, how ugly am I?'
'Oh! No! Good grief…that's not why…your face is just as unpleasant as before…it looks exactly the same to me…no it's not that…'
'The same? Two fucking bullets, point blank range, and you're telling me my face is just the same?'
'Spike. You are a Vampire: remember? Eternal: no change? And, I might add, a Vampire that has had a rather unusual medicine this last week…do I need to say more? So shut up about your face. Please. No, it's something else I have to tell you. To be honest, I'm rather sorry I didn’t tell you before you went on that disastrous mission. But better late than never I suppose, and I truly think this will help your full recovery…although as I said, strangely, that seems to have already happened. And you can stop pretending to snore, I'm getting to my point…eventually.'
He gets up and goes over to a drawer, takes out a piece of folded paper and comes to sit next to me on the couch.
'Now, you remember, don't you Watcher, our little chat about you fancying me…you DON'T, okay?
'Shut up, Spike. I've had four weeks of your sense of humour and, suffice to say, I'm quite immune to it now. No, this is about the baby. Remember? Daisy. Well, apparently the family on her mother's side was rather well-to-do. There was a substantial reward for her safe return. She was safely returned. So it's been paid. To you.'
He shows me a letter and points to a sum of money.
I look at the enormous number of zeros for a while.
'This is one of those funny foreign money things, isn't it? This is, like, where ten thousand of these,' and I point to the figure quoted in the letter, ' is worth one dollar. Right?'
'Well, actually, yes, it is foreign currency, Spike. Not to us though, I suppose. Daisy's mother is English. This is pounds, Sterling.'
'Yes, you are.'
I'm still in a sort of large-number-of-zeros-fug when Xander and Buffy arrive later that evening.
'Hey, deadboy. How's the mug then?'
'I don't know, you tell me.'
'Ugly as ever I'm thinking, what'd you think, Buff?'
'Oh, I don’t know, I think that face has kinda grown on me…oh, in a totally not, ON ME, way, oh God…shutting up now.'
'Well, when the Spike's face fan club has finished, do you think we could discuss the little matter of Spike's new found…'
'Thank you, Buffy, I was going to say…'
'Reverence for human life?'
'Shut up, Xander. This is important. Show them, Spike. Show them the letter.'
Wordlessly, I hand it over to the Slayer and they peer at it together. Then they look at me. I look at Giles, he's looking at his tea, so I look back at Xander.
'Fancy choosing a TV with me then, Mate?'
Watcher looks up frowning, 'Spike, I think you should invest this…you have a long time ahead of you…well, actually eternity…if we are all unlucky enough…and I suspect most of that will be unemployed, so…'
'Hey, like you then, Giles.' Tee hee, I love this kid sometimes.
'Seriously, and thank you, Xander, for that unhelpful comment, seriously though, Spike, you must think about property.'
'I am. A TV, a fridge, a computer…oh…and a car…a DVD player…and…'
'Property, Spike! A house or an apartment. You can't stay in a crypt all your unlife. Buy yourself a place to live!'
Uh huh. 'Could I afford a place in LA with this?'
'Easily in some areas, I would think.'
'Hey, fancy a flat hunting trip, Mate?'
That's it. One more week I've given it. Now I'm going to Sunnydale, I'm going to claim what is mine, what should have been mine two months ago if he hadn't had to go off on some new-age quest to find himself. He should have been here these last two months with me. I should have been with him. This has all been a waste: for nothing. Well no more. I'm going to get him, and nothing he can say will prevent me bringing him back here.
It's another long drive to Sunnydale, but hopefully this may be for the last time. I'll have no need to come here again, if this works.
I can see Giles in the kitchen through the window. No sign of Spike. Perhaps he's still in bed. I knock and wait patiently until the door is answered. I'm not so welcome here that I can just, walk in, like the others seem to.
'Oh. Hello, Angel. I didn't know you were coming. Did you tell me you were coming?'
My feelings for this man have changed so dramatically over the last few weeks that I feel genuinely…abashed in front of him. He's looked after Spike as well as I could have myself. I can't hate him anymore.
'I want to see Spike. Now.'
'Come in, but I'm sorry, Angel, he's not here. He's better, so he left.'
'He's better? He's left?' What? What does he mean? Where's he gone, why didn't he contact me? Oh, God. Have I been reading this all wrong? Was this stupid, finding himself, nothing more than an excuse not to stay with me? Does he really still hate me? God. Does he find my desire for him, disgusting? Worse. Did he find the tracer I put on him and does he hate me for it? Did he think I was trying to own him again? Did it bring back all those old, bad memories of my dominance over him?
'Where is he?'
'I'm not sure. He had some stuff to do. But I think he will be in touch. I am sorry, Angel. If you had phoned, I would have told you this then. Pity you drove all the way here.'
'Is he back in his crypt then?' I'm totally confused here. Why have you gone, and where are you, Spike?
'No, that's abandoned again, up for rent, as it were. Look, Angel, I really can't tell you anymore. Wait till he gets in contact, eh? Won't be long, I'm sure. Would you like to stay for a…err cup of tea?'
I don't. I leave and drive back to LA. On my own. My own company again. Something I am getting rather tired of.
It's late when I get back and make my way wearily down into the apartment.
He's been here. The air is full of…Spike. He's not here now, but he was. There's a small parcel on the table. I have rarely moved so quickly for anything. It's small, wrapped up in parcel tape. Bloody hell, Spike, is this supposed to be a joke? It's so tightly bound in tape I can't get into it. At least an inch thick of tape wrapped around and around. Very funny.
After trying a knife, my teeth, some scissors, I finally get it open by using one of my swords. He's going to get it for this.
I find a note and inside that, another tightly wrapped parcel.
I read the bold handwriting with a sense of…foreboding?…anticipation?…fear?
Angel…someone cared enough about me to give me one of these…it saved my life. Now you've got one. Don't ever lose it. I want to know where to find you…through eternity. Spike.
Inside the inner parcel, when I manage to slash it open with the sword, is a…tracer. It flashes in my hand. On and off. On and off. I feel once more, my hand lying on his chest, I feel his taut nipple under my palm and I think I will feel that connection for eternity. He knows. He knows what I did and why I did it, and he has given that care back to me.
There's another note attached to the tiny, flashing unit. It's just an address, in LA. Strange.
It's been a rush. Spending: even better than feeding. Almost. We've had a blast, Buffy, Xander and…me. Well, all right, Buffy's father's done all the real work, we've just hung around saying, 'Nah, don't like this one,' at suitable moments. Till we found this place. This one is just perfect. Expensive: but perfect. Entry phones, doorman, elevator, view. Perfect. He'll be here soon. Am I excited? Yes. I can honestly say that I am. Just a little excited. Not only to see the poof again – a bit longer than I thought it would take to see him too – not just that, I'm excited to see what he will think of the new…me. The rich me. Cus you have to admit, it's different. It's been weird, seeing how differently people treat you when you have the readies. Okay, so I'm not being called, Sir, all the time, but I have a few times and each one was good. I like it. Course the others creased up in gales of laughter every time the salesmen did it. Until they saw this place. Then they just stood, in awed respect.
This is fucking fantastic.
That's the elevator. This is what the waiting has all been for. This is why I wouldn't let him come to me in Sunnydale, when I needed him so much; wanted him more. This is why I stayed there with the Watcher, getting better on my own. I want to move on from being his needy, impetuous Childe. I want him to love me, but even more, I want him to respect me.
I can actually feel my dead heart beating.
I can't swallow.
Can I really be like this because Angel is coming?
Because Angel is ringing the bell?
Cus Angel is just the other side of this door?
I open it and…invite him in.
He comes in and stands oblivious to the apartment. He takes my face in his hands and turns it from side to side looking at every feature. He tilts it up to look under my jaw, down to look at my hair. His face is a study of worry and fear. Then relief.
'Still like what you see, Luv?'
He doesn’t reply, he just pulls me into his embrace, squeezing my face tightly against his cheek. I can feel intense emotion running like a vibrating chord through his strong body, I can smell the salt of unasked for tears and hear deep, unnecessary breathing.
'Hey, Pet. I'm not that ugly am I?'
He pushes me out to arms length making no attempt to wipe the tears on his face. My Sire, Angel, crying! For me? 'No. You're not. You are perfect. Not a mark…' he pulls me to him again, then, for the first time he looks around.
'All right, Spike. I've been patient. I've been…very patient. But what is this,' and he gestures around the apartment, 'what is this, all about then?'
'Oh, this.' I say nonchalantly. 'You were right. Apparently the Watcher did fancy me, he's set me up in this…as his…ow! Hey, just a joke, Mate. Jees, anal or what…ow! Angel! Okay, okay, it's mine. This is all mine.' And I just can't help but grin from ear to ear. 'Mine!'
I take his hand in both of mine and drag him from room to room, relating the story. He is suitably impressed.
'Let me get this right then, I have been saving lives for three years now and I've hardly ever, even been paid. But you…you find one baby…are forced by the chip to pick her up, and you get…all this?'
'Hey, I did a lot more than just pick her up. I had to hold her too! I earned this. And don't you forget it.'
But now the poof is looking real sad. He's looking at the huge picture windows which lead onto the balcony with the stunning views – oh yeah, I know that brochure by heart! He's gone back into his brood boy look, all hunched shoulders and clenched butt. And I know exactly what he is thinking the stupid pillock. Oh, Angel, Luv, you have just got to learn to trust me!
It was incredible. Not a mark. Not a scratch on that stunning face. I looked hard to see if I could see the least sign of what that…man, had done to him…but nothing. He was perfect. I wonder how, even Spike, could heal this quickly.
But even more incredible, was finding Spike…here. This place is incredible: beautiful. I have no idea now, where I fit in with Spike's plans. This is not what I expected when he wanted, 'space'. I thought he would come back, I thought he would need me, I thought he would want to be with me. I didn’t think he would want his own place, like this. Now, I'm not so sure where I fit in with this rich, self-contained, experienced, Spike. Independent, arrogant, rich Spike: and me. It's not how I'd imagined it.
I'm his Sire: I feel more like his apprentice.
I stand staring out at the view through his huge picture windows. This is so, Spike. Only Spike could think of buying a south-facing apartment with wall-to-wall picture windows.
'This isn't very practical, Spike. You'll have to have the blinds closed all day.'
'Oh yeah, I guess, if I was going to live here…only it's good for tenants. Makes it much easier to rent out, so the salesman said. And I guess he's right, cus it's rented from tomorrow.' He's grinning. The little…git, he knew what I was thinking. I clip him playfully across his head.
'You didn't really think I would waste an opportunity for a little easy-come-easy-go dosh, when I can rent this out and bunk for free with an old, free-and-easy demon I know? Now come on Angel, give me a little credit.'
I ask him how much he's getting for this place in rent. I actually stagger from shock at the amount. He just grins, and from behind slides his hands under my coat and strokes across my chest. We stand looking out over LA at night.
'What now, Spike?'
'What do you want?' he whispers in my ear.
'Ahh…your place then?'
'Hey! This is all clean and nice and new, I'm not fucking up this place an' having to clean it. Nah, let's go and fuck up your place.'
So, ever the romantic, Spike takes my hand and leads me to the door.
As we walk towards the elevator, I can't help but feel the symbolism of this moving from one place…to another. If he had stayed when he first came to LA…how long would it have lasted? How long before I staked him…he left me…we ended up hating each other? But now? Now, Spike is an entirely different creature from the broken, lost Vampire who came to me then.
Now, he is the demon I remember: the one I have been remembering, for twelve decades. But now, in twelve minutes he will be, not what I remember, but what I know and have.
I wonder what he is thinking.
So how is this supposed to go again? Cus I'm not sure I know what to do now. It was all going so well until he actually got here. I had it all pictured in my mind. Angel comes through the door, sees me, sees this place, falls at my feet, declares undying love to me, I made long, sweet love to him, we go to his place, he gets me lots of stuff, I don't spend any of my money, we live happily ever after: dead. You have to admit, it was a good plan. But it all went to fuck when I actually saw him. Cus I suddenly couldn't remember my part in the plan. What was I supposed to do after he declared undying love to me? Some thing about…shit. I don’t know how to do that, to…make love. How the fuck do I know how to do that? All I know about is stuff that ain't much to do with love. I know about pain, I know about humiliation and I know about rejection. Don't know nothing about acts of love. I know how you tear when they thrust in unwelcome, unprepared. I know the smell of blood and the feeling of violation. I know that sense of being ripped apart and…used. I know about humiliation. I know how to beg for release, to beg for mercy, to beg for it just to…stop. I know all that and I've been so far down that road I almost disappeared from humiliation so bad I couldn't face it, or myself. And the beautiful creature alongside me in this car is responsible for most of my knowledge about rejection. How was I supposed to feel…lying in those different beds, in different countries and through so many years, lying there seeing him with…them. Seeing him turn from me to…them: from my body to…theirs. So yeah! I know about rejection.
What I'm not so sure about is what I'm gonna do with all this fucking insight.
Guess I'll just have to go with what I know.
The atmosphere seems incredibly tense in the car. I don’t think either of us knows what the fuck is going to happen…or how. This is all I've dreamt of for a hundred fucking years but I'm so scared. I feel tension and arousal in every fiber of my being. The car is so fucking slow. Drive faster Angel. Let's get this on. I want to do this. NOW. I've waited so long, had so much pain, so much fucking pain.
Let's just get this over with.