Chapter Twenty One: Surprised Silence
Summary: Life continues on. Spike gets a shock
Spike watched his boy with a fond smile as the young man poked his tongue out in concentration. Doyle had been working Xander hard with school work, enlisting the aid of Cordelia who it turned out wasn’t as much of an airhead as Spike originally thought. Together the two of them kept on the boy’s case, urging him to learn more and faster. So far they had caught him up to the point where he was now studying for his SATs. Thankfully the normal pressure that accompanied the test was absent and Xander wasn’t aware of what he was studying for. Still, the boy did all the work Doyle put before him, soaking up the knowledge as it was presented.
“Hey pet,” he murmured, sitting down beside his boy. “Having fun?”
Somehow Spike managed to keep his face straight as Xander shot him an evil look before turning back to his work. Grinning inwardly, he nudged the boy until he looked up again, ignoring the angry look the boy shot him.
“You didn’t answer me,” he pouted.
Xander shook his head and pushed Spike away, trying to ignore the vampire. Grinning outwardly now, Spike reached over and pulled Xander’s workbook over. He read over the words on the paper, startled to the familiar writing in print.
Your name I speak aloud
Your scent I breathe each day
Your face I see in cloud
And this I need to say
Now to you I promise
My heart forever more
All I ask is this
Never close the door.
He dropped the booklet, his fingers numb. When Xander touched his arm Spike barely reacted, his mind replaying the words, remembering the feel of pen and paper.
“Spike?” Doyle’s voice broke through and he turned dazed blue eyes on the seer, noting the panicked look on Xander’s face.
“Where did you find this?” he asked hoarsely.
“What? The poem?” Spike nodded. “It was in a small book of poems I found a few years ago in a used bookstore.”
“What was the name of the author?”
“William Bradshaw, I believe,” Doyle said slowly. “Why?”
The vampire laughed bitterly, dropping his head into his hands. He ignored Doyle and Xander, desperately trying to reign in his feelings.
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Xander raced away from Doyle and Spike, running as fast as he could in search of Angel. His vampire’s reaction to the poem worried him and he hoped the older vampire could help figure out what happened.
“Xander, what’s wrong?” Angel asked as he nearly fell into the office. The boy tugged on the vampire, urging the man to follow him. They moved quickly through the hotel to where Spike sat unnaturally still with Doyle standing over him. “Spike? What happened?”
“William Bradshaw,” the blonde whispered.
Angel flinched and Xander glanced between him and Spike, noticing both looked a little peaked. He met Doyle’s eyes, his own worry reflected back at him.
“Angel, who’s William Bradshaw?” Doyle asked for both of them.
“We were in London, Darla, Dru and I,” Angel started softly. “Dru had slipped off somewhere while Darla stalked some socialite and I watched. We found her about an hour later in a barn with a newly turned vampire in her lap.”
“Do you mean-?” Doyle stopped, trying to find the words.
“William was a sweet natured young man, soft spoken and well mannered. He wanted to be a poet despite his family’s wishes but he lacked the truly creative spark,” the vampire paused. “William didn’t last long, not with the cruelty that Darla and I heaped on him. One day he took off, was gone for about a week. When he returned, the soft-spoken man was gone and in his place was a gutter rat.”
“William died and Spike was born,” the blonde finished.
“How did your poems get published?” Doyle asked.
“I don’t know,” Spike looked up. “I thought I had killed everyone who read them since they all mocked me.”
“All but Cecily,” Angel objected.
“You don’t think she published them, do you?” Spike snorted. “I was beneath her.”
“It’s the only explanation that I can think off,” the older vampire shrugged.
“You still got that book?” Spike asked Doyle.
“Yeah, hold on.”
Xander sat beside Spike and leaned into the blonde, giving silent comfort. The vampire gave him a small smile and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, pulling him closer as they waited for Doyle to return.
Spike took the book and opened it to the dedication page and read quietly. “Published posthumously for William Bradshaw. May death grant him the love that life could not. Cecily Adams.”
Chapter Twenty Two: Sad Shadows
Summary: Spike tells Xander a story
“Hey, pet.” Xander looked over as his vampire settled next to him. “What ya doing?”
Thinking, Xander wrote.
“‘Bout what?” Spike asked curiously.
“What about him?” he asked, wrapping an arm around Xander’s shoulders.
I was wondering why he always looks so sad, Xander scrawled.
“Hmm, that,” Spike nodded.
You know why, don’t you?
“Yeah, I know,” Spike answered. “I take it you want to know too?”
Xander nodded. Please.
“Okay then,” said Spike, wiggling to get comfortable. “Way back when, Dru, Angel and I along with Angel’s Sire Darla, were called the Scourge of Europe. We basically went wherever we felt like and killed whoever we felt like. Until one day things changed. Angel, or Angelus as he was known by, had found some sweet young girl and eaten her. Normally, that wouldn’t have been a problem, except she was a gypsy princess, a favoured daughter.”
That doesn’t sound good.
“No, it wasn’t. Her whole clan got very upset; there was a hue and cry from the whole encampment. They decided that killing him wasn’t punishment enough, so instead they cursed him. They gave him a soul. He tried to stick around, but I think the soul was driving him crazy, and it didn’t help that Darla was a bitch who just made it worse. So Angel took off,” he said softly, eyes distant as he remembered.
Xander nudged him. The soul’s why he’s sad?
“Near as I can tell, the soul made him feel remorse for every single kill,” Spike replied. “He’s been trying to make up for that ever since.”
But that was a long time ago, he must have repaid all his sins by now?
“I’d agree, but I’ve heard about what happened in Sunnydale,” Spike said. “Seems he was helping a Slayer, but she went against a vampire called the Master and died. He didn’t help her since the Master is of our line.”
Xander stared at his whiteboard for a moment. That is sad. But he shouldn’t dwell on it. Life goes on and he has Doyle and us now.
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Angel looked up as Xander stopped before his desk, the boy’s knuckles white around his board. He watched as the young man quickly wrote something out before handing the board over with a firm look.
We love you. Doyle loves you. Soul or no soul, you’re our family and we want you to be happy.
“It’s not that easy, Xander,” Angel began. “Sit and I’ll explain it.”
Xander quickly sank into a chair and stared at the vampire, waiting for the explanation.
“I take it Spike told you about the curse.” Xander nodded. “There’s something Spike doesn’t know about it though. There’s a clause on the curse that can make me lose my soul.”
Reaching out Xander snagged his board. Clause?
“Yes, a happiness clause. If I have a moment of perfect happiness I lose my soul,” the vampire explained.
What qualifies as a moment of perfect happiness?
“I don’t know,” Angel admitted. “That’s why I never let myself get too close to anyone.”
That’s why you keep pushing all of us away, especially Doyle.
You’re an idiot.
“Hey! I am not an idiot,” Angel protested.
Have you tried to find a way around the curse? Find some solution instead of hurting your husband.
“Okay, that’s enough,” the vampire snapped. “I’ve looked, there’s no loophole on the curse. And what happens between Doyle and I is personal and none of your business.”
“While I agree on that last part,” Doyle said from the doorway. “I totally disagree on the first.”
“Save it Angel,” the half-demon shook his head. “Xander’s right, you are an idiot. I found out about the clause on your curse from a vision a long time ago. And when the Elders joined us they took it away.”
“They did?” Angel was shocked.
“The clause was for you to find a moment of perfect happiness and it was to be with someone you loved,” Doyle told him.
“So I would have lost it during our bonding night,” Angel finished. Doyle nodded. “They didn’t tell me?”
Doyle shrugged. “They have a sick sense of humour,” he said before turning to look at Xander. “Thank you, but next time, stay out of it. I’ll handcuff him and remove the idiot’s head from his ass on my own.”
Xander smiled. I don’t like seeing either of you sad, he explained.
“That’s nice,” Doyle leaned down to hug him. “Now, don’t you still have homework to do?”
Pouting, Xander stood and left the room, leaving the married couple to kiss and make up.
Chapter Twenty Three: A Silent Halloween
Summary: Halloween Comes Once A Year
“We should go out somewhere for Halloween,” Spike said suddenly, breaking the comfortable silence.
“Go where?” Doyle asked, putting his book down.
“Dunno, but I bet we could find a party some place,” shrugged Spike.
“There’s a formal dress ball happening,” Angel offered. “We could go to that.”
“How formal?” Cordelia asked. “I don’t have really formal clothes.”
“I have a better idea,” Spike said, sitting up. “What plays every Halloween?”
“Thriller?” Doyle guessed.
“No, though that would be fun to dress up as,” mused the blonde. “I mean corsets and fishnets, over-the-top make-up and men in drag.”
“No, no, nonononono,” Angel moaned, shaking his head violently. “No!”
“What?” Cordy asked, looking between to the two vampires bewildered. ” It doesn’t sound so bad.”
“See, she doesn’t know it, and I can guarantee that Xander doesn’t,” the blonde pointed out. “It’s something everyone should experience once in their lives.”
“What are you talking about?” Doyle asked finally.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Spike grinned.
The seer’s eyes widened in shock and he joined his husband in shaking his head in denial. “No, please no. I’ll never get the songs out of my head.”
“Come on, it’ll be fun,” Spike cajoled.
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Xander teetered down the stairs, unsteady on the heels Spike had insisted on dressing him in. Looking down he made a face at his outfit, wondering why he’d let his vampire talk him into this. The corset just managed to cover his nipples and the tiny underwear kept creeping up his butt. The stockings were the strangest feeling piece of clothing he had ever worn and the high heels hurt his feet. The make-up Cordy had liberally applied made his face itch and the hairspray in his hair made his head feel odd. Overall, he was uncomfortable, but he would do just about anything to see Spike grin like he was now.
“Damn, pet, you look good in that,” the blonde vampire said, somehow managing to still look graceful as he stalked circles around the young man. “We’re so going to be a hit tonight.”
A few moments later Cordy glided down the stairs, looking spectacular in her costume. Her long, dark hair had been pinned up under a short red wig. She wore a gold jacket over a black sequin laden outfit finished by bright red tap shoes. She grinned at Spike when he whistled and did a little spin for their viewing pleasure.
Doyle came down the stairs after her, dressed in a black leather jacket decorated with snaps and buckles, a black torn t-shirt, black jeans and black boots. His hair was gelled and messed up and a fake sax hung off his neck. Angel followed behind his husband, dressed conservatively in a tux with a white flower on one lapel. Spike snorted at his outfit and yelled up for Dru to come down. The vampiress walked down, looking fairly normal in a maid’s outfit, her hair a bushy mess around her head.
“We ready?” Spike asked, looking around at them. They all nodded. “Let’s go then.”
“I have a question,” Doyle spoke up as they headed toward the car.
“What’s that?” Spike said, turning to look at him.
“Where did you get the clothes?”
“Bangkok,” the blonde replied.
“Better question,” Cordelia interrupted. “Why did you get the clothes?”
“You never know when corsets and stockings are going to be needed.”
Chapter Twenty Four: A Different Shade of Silence
Summary: A different point of view
There was something that Hella found absolutely perfect about her home. She wasn’t sure if it was the large expanse of territory that she controlled, the hotel and the surrounding areas belonged solely to her. It could have been the heaps of hiding spots all around, nooks and crannies in the hotel itself and the myriad of alleys around it. Or possibly it was the group of humans to cater to her every whim. Why it was perfect didn’t matter, only that it was.
Purring happily, she flapped her wings and leapt into the air, circling around the lobby idly, letting the slight breeze flowing through aid her flight. She loved her home and she loved her main human, though he did take a lot of nurturing to get to the right point. She had put so much training into the silent boy, making sure he knew the proper way to adore her magnificence. Thankfully, he was a quick learner, and he was older. The thought of trying to teach a human toddler proper etiquette was enough to scare the evil out of her.
With a sigh she came down for a landing, plopping lightly on one of the couches. Everyone was out, gone to some event that made them dress up in funny attire, though her human and his bright-topped mate had both looked wonderful in their clothing. Still, with everyone gone, she was lonely and bored. There was nothing fun to do without someone to play with. Hella curled up in the corner of the couch and fanned a wing out over her body, making sure to cover her head. If she couldn’t play, she’d do the next best thing, sleep.
She drifted in sleep, dreaming of bright colours and vivid screams until the sound of the door opening woke her up. Moving her wing a bit, she cracked one eye and watched as the unfamiliar figure crept into lobby. Using a bit of the magic she had been left, she made herself unnoticeable and watched the dark clad figure move around the lobby and into the office. From there she followed him up the stairs, barely containing a furious hiss when he rudely walked into her human’s room and poked around through the private items.
The stranger checked the hotel over quickly and then headed back down the stairs. Feeling more than a little ticked off, Hella leapt into the air and spread her wings, letting them catch the slight breeze. The air carried her over to the doors and she landed softly in front of them, canceling the spell to make her invisible. The stranger yelled as she appeared and stumbled back, tripping down the few stairs and falling to the floor, knocking his head on the marble. Checking him over, she noticed there was no blood or signs of serious injuries, so she curled up beside his head and waited for the humans to get home. They would do something about the interloper in her domain.
Chapter Twenty Five: Fighting Silence
Summary: The Mysterious Invader is Revealed
Spike pushed open the doors and ushered his boy in, trying not to laugh at the disgruntled look on Angel’s face. Everyone had laughed at his prudish costume. Still, the blonde was well aware that they had been the best dressed there, their costumes perfect and every hair in its place. They received looks of envy the whole night. Most of the looks at been at his boy and Cordelia, who both shone brilliantly.
His satisfaction with the night ended as they walked into the lobby and noticed the darkly dressed body lying still on the floor. Hella’s position by his head stated her involvement in the intruder’s state of unconsciousness, but didn’t explain how or why he was in the building to begin with. Spike flashed into his demonic guise and rolled the insensate man over, snarling down into the lax face.
“Back off, Spike,” Angel said in a deadly quiet voice. Spike moved back, sliding back into his human face. “Doyle, get some water so we can wake our uninvited guest up.”
The seer hurried off and returned quickly with a glass of water, splashing it over the prone man’s face. A low moan sounded and then green-grey eyes fluttered open as their owner looked around hazily. Realization and fear dawned in the startled gaze and their guest scrambled away from them.
“Who are you?” Angel asked. “And what are you doing in our home?”
The man glanced around, looking for a route of escape until Dru darted forward, startling a squeak out of him. “I’m sorry. My name is Wesley. I got lost and stopped in. I was just looking for a telephone. And then that cat thing attacked me.”
Spike raised an eyebrow at the distinctly British accent coming from the man. “You got lost a long way from home, mate.”
“A very long way,” Angel agreed. “And Hella wouldn’t have attacked you for no reason. She’s protective, not aggressive. So what did you do to upset her?”
“N-n-nothing,” he stuttered. “I didn’t do anything.”
The scent of fear filled the air and Spike turned a questioning look on his GrandSire. Angel nodded and Spike sprung forward to grab their invader. The man struggled until Spike tightened his hold, briefly cutting off the man’s air supply.
“Why don’t you tell us the truth now,” Angel suggested, strolling forward. “Who are you and why are you here?”
The man looked between all of them, before finally submitting and answering the questions. “My name is Wesley Wyndham-Price,” he said quietly. “I work for the Watcher’s Council. They sent me to ascertain if you were a threat to us.”
Spike shook his head. “Hella wouldn’t have attacked you if you broke in. She would have just run you out. What did you do?”
“We’ve heard about the boy,” he gasped as Spike tightened his arms again. “We needed something of his to scry him properly.”
The blonde vampire growled and sent the Watcher stumbling forward with a harsh push. Wesley fell to the ground with a grunt and stilled, waiting to be attacked. When no attack came, he carefully turned over to look at the people standing over him, all glaring down at him except for the young, dark haired young man who huddled into the blonde’s arms with an expression of fear.
“Can I kill him now?” Dru asked, bouncing up to her Sire. “Please, Daddy?”
“No, Dru,” Angel said patiently.
“Are you calling the cops?” Cordy asked, sneering down at the frightened man.
“No, the Watcher’s Council would easily get him out of jail,” he shrugged.
“What are we going to do with him then,” Spike snarled.
“We’re going to hold him, and question him until we get all the answers we need,” the older vampire said with a nasty smile. “And then we’ll send him back.”
“Your soul’s still attached, right?” Spike asked, carefully pushing Xander behind him.
“Yes,” sighed Angel. “But no one hurts my family. Let’s get him down stairs and start the tor – I mean, questions.”
“Goody,” Dru crowed. “We get to play games.”