Archived at: http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=rngrdead
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes.
Summary: Exquisite statue… admirer… magic… and everything changes.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
Wild stories were apparently being told all through the town of the angel of mercy answering to prayers for help, to the point where the local priest had even called the Vatican to ask for advice.
They were rather disparaging and Father Andreus struggled with the rather offhanded response.
The reports *he had* of the angel were so specific and rescues did seem incredulous, then came other stories of elderly folk, the sick, and distressed also seeing the angel in the previous months! The priest finally gave in to popular opinion and held a service of thanks. All who had been visited, had prayed for help, and if it was collective hysteria or urban mythology, who cared. His church was full, and the people apparently safe and appreciative.
Xander went to the service at Maria’s insistence – and despite his lack of Catholic background, was genuinely moved. It was all in Latin but his command of Italian now gave him at least an inkling and the man accompanying him was the focus for the thanks.
As he listened to the testimonies, it was not just he, but also Spike that moved uncomfortably. There were countless acts of heroism and kindness over the previous months, culminating in the miraculous rescues and consequent church service.
Spike’s wings were concealed under a large seafarer’s coat, and further disguised with a glamour, but the angel was beginning to cry as the congregation stood to line up for communion.
“Please luv… we need to go.”
“Xan we really do… my wings…” Xander could see the edges of large wings beginning to emerge.
“Oh *heck* sorry!”
“No… I‘m sorry pet just… nowadays when they all pray and sing and… No control… ‘m just a minion for the whoever… doin’ my bit. But can’t do this… can’t hold on when they all do this!” Tears began to stream down the angel’s face, “With the prayin’ and such… s’ not for me anyway, and me… just tryin’ ta do the right thing… didn’t do it for the thanks! Let’s go pet… please… let’s just go.”
As others in their row stood to file up and take communion, the two made their way quietly out the side door nearest them, and as the service continued the two men retreated to their home high up the hill.
Illias’ birthday was that evening and Xander still had a role to play in that, but for now (after checking for any possible observers), he spread a rug in their tiny courtyard and pulled his angel into the walled garden. He stripped them both then pulled his extremely upset partner down to lie in the sun.
“Why Xan? Why all this?… All I did was answer the call… that’s all! Anyone would have… You would have if you could hear it… just that the bloody Powers touched me… and I don’t mind… I really don’t, but then all this!! And the praying and the whole bleedin’ angel the savior thing. I’m a bloody ex-vampire, ex-ghost, ex-human with a murder record a century long and poetry career that probably killed someone of boredom before that! And then nothing and now they think I’m some sort of divine superhero… Well I’m not! I’ve got no control over it Xan… It’s what I *have* to do… It’s like breathing when you’re alive – there is a need and you do that’s all! And all these people… do they understand that there comes a time when I *can’t* save them? When all I can do is ease their way? Do they understand that?! And what then – their own particular faith is again questioned? Couldn’t save Anya, or some of the girls, couldn’t save your eye… or Charlie… or Grandsire… Bloody hell couldn’t even save meself! Awww Pet! I just…”
Xander didn’t fail to note three feathers falling from his friend’s wings as upset led to tears of frustration and grief borne of his new role as well as that of old.
Xander lay on his back and did the only thing he could think of, he pulled the smaller man across his chest, welcoming the huge hitches as the proud man, the angel, gave in to the hug and to desperate tears. Without comment Xander began stroking the powerful wings and running his fingers rhythmically through silky hair until the angel relaxed and despite the occasional residual hiccupped cry, fell into a quiet slumber in the late afternoon sun.
As the sun fell behind the building in the late afternoon and the temperature dropped, Spike stirred and Xander woke from his light sleep. The two rose in rather a daze then wandered inside to fall onto their bed and tug a cover over to snooze in a side by side embrace for another hour or so, before Xander rose to lead his sleepy loved one to a warm shower.
It was as though Spike was in a trance, he followed Xander into the bathroom, his slack wings dragging slightly on the floor, then stood compliant as he was lovingly sponged down, had his hair washed and his wings squirted with fresh warm water.
Afterwards they were again lying on their bed, but this time Xander recognized the desperate fatigue for what it truly was. Each rescue, each kind act sapped the life force of his darling. The angel did not eat to Xander’s knowledge – at least he had never seen him eat anything but hadn’t questioned it until now… and began to wonder. There were certainly no fangs so blood was probably now off the menu, and his dear love seemed not to crave for anything but contact and comfort, and yet even as a vampire he had sought out human food.
Xander left his half asleep companion to find the kitchen and cocoa and sugar and milk, and returned to the bedroom with a brew worthy of Joyce Summers. It brought on not thanks but another flood of tears. Xander all but threw down the mug on the side table before pulling his dearest into his arms in a tight hug as sobs wracked the lovely form.
“I’m sorry honey… I’m *so* sorry… I just thought it would… Ahhh geez I have no idea… But please sweetheart, you’re so tired and I… here… just let’s just lie here, together OK?”
The angel did as asked and after many minutes lifted his tear streaked face to a worried human one.
“I… um… sorry… ‘s just…”
“Shhhh, c’mon… shhhh” He stroked the defined cheek bones and began to caress the wings again, “I don’t know how to help? Can I help? What can I do Spike… Will? What can I do?”
“Oh Pet… just be here… just be here and the hot chocolate... [hic] Thanks… she was a gracious Mum to us all Pet… even a sodding vampire! Best hot chocolate in the world and a true lady to boot.” More tears ensued but this time muffled in his lover’s chest. “I’m OK… really. You can [hic] let go, I’m OK.”
“No you’re not and you know it as well as I do, and I’m not going to let you go until you feel you can drink that,” Xander pointed to the cup, “Or tell me something I can do *to help* you because an exhausted or expired angel – no good to anyone!” Xander lifted the cup of sweet chocolate drink and offered it to Spike as though he were a tiny infant. Gentle sips eventually turned into long drafts as the angel's cool pale hands covered the calloused and tanned ones of his carpenter friend holding the cup.
It was as though a switch hand been flicked. The instant the warm liquid was finished, Spike fell into unconsciousness. There was little Xander could do but lie him on his bed… now definitely *their* bed… and cover the amazing form with a large down filled throw before he headed for Illias’ birthday (well and his minor role).
He still had the job of keeping the man occupied for an hour or so. He knocked on the door of the tidy cottage close to the water with a request that Illias come up to his house to advise on the possible fruit and vege patch in his small backyard. Illias, priding himself on the cornucopia of produce during the year from his own was thrilled, after the rather lengthy – but necessary – church service.
Illias took no notice of the closed bedroom door and occupied an hour was ease as Xander genuinely became excited by the prospect of producing his own ‘fruit and vege’! What also engaged the younger man was, as always, the fisherman’s quiet manner and fatherly advice.
Illias' wife rang and invited the boy and ‘some young English friend’ to dinner. Xander’s Italian was not perfect but vastly improved and Illias a little deaf so the volume on the phone rather high. He blanched a little but prepared to make an apology when a rather bleary eyed but clothed angel stepped into the lounge where the two men were sitting. His wings were, again, concealed by a glamour, but Xander worried. All these things came with a cost to his dear love.
Spike offered his hand to Illias who was *sure* he had seen the man before, but as soon as they touched, the thought was gone. “Afternoon gents. Xan here tells me you’re quite the town elder.”
The older fisherman felt oddly moved by the touch, tried to access memories again but in the end simply smiled and began in very halting English. Spike was quicker, switching smoothly to perfect Italian, “Oh my apologies! How rude! Asleep thanks to the host and all that.” The blinding smile and apologetic tone in his own tongue put the old man at ease and he smiled as he referred to Xander.
“He’s a good boy. I am hoping he will stay in the town… He is a very good boy.” He patted Xander on the cheek affectionately. “But I *must* insist … my wife wants you both at our family dinner… and I know… I *know* … it is an…”
Spike answered for both of them in Illias’ native tongue, “No inconvenience, I am sure Xander is always welcome and I thank you for your kind invitation.”
The three arrived with perfect timing. Illias’ wife welcomed them at the door, and as the guest of honor entered the house, close to sixty guests sang “Happy Birthday”. Xander and Spike simply stood back as the other guests gave tribute to one of the town’s most popular grandfathers.
Illias was rather overwhelmed by the whole event and joined his friends inside as Xander and Spike stood in the front doorway. Eventually they were ushered in upon insistence by all Xander’s work colleagues and Spike looked on with a strange sense of pride as Xander’s gift was revealed. Backs were slapped and Illias accepted numerous other gifts. Davina noted the two picking up their coats and winked at Xander but said nothing. The rest of the crowd was drinking heavily so he then tugged his companion out the back door.
Illias would eventually learn that Xander’s gift had been delivered earlier in the day, a perfectly restored table from his grandmother’s home – the original rustic maintained but almost drawn into the realm of art as the hours of sanding transformed functional table made of local wood into gloriously polished and lacquered furniture.
The two ‘outsiders’ were standing side by side in the meticulously maintained garden at the back of Illias' house, and other than Davina, all revelers were happily quite oblivious of the angel & the human's status as a ‘couple’.
Xander took a risk and reached out to hold hands with his beloved before looking up to the perfectly clear evening sky and rising moon. “Just look sweetheart … look at those stars… that’s you… *so* beautiful…” Spike quietly whispered, “The moon is on its way pet, can we head home? Please?!” Their surreptitious exit went unnoticed by guests.
A short time later, they stood in an embrace in the dark end of their own back year and admired the stars again. Spike looked around shook off his jacket and his significant wings emerged. Xander kissed Spike soundly then led him up to bed. As they settled for the night the human took a deep breath and began to pray as he stroked the long blonde locks of his lover.
He prayed that he might somehow help his angel, that the brave and noble angel might find solace and rest with him, and that they might be together for all time.
The last time he had made a genuine plea and sent a prayer there were definitely… consequences. The Powers heard and responded.
Xander was instantly standing in a white marble room with impossibly high ceilings. He seemed not to be able to move from his place as two beings approached him.