Title: A Wooded Future
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: The hellmouth has its way with Xander, this time it involves Chlorophyll, Spike and a bunch of other world beings that the Scoobies are not quite used to.
Spoilers: Sometime in early season five – or possibly late six BtVS.
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.
Twenty years on from Spike’s first year as nymph… autumn…
They were both miserable. As usual Harry was jovial and dismissive of their loss of leaves. These days Spike’s pale green tresses were usually thicker and longer than Xander’s substantial crop. He had even forgone the jacket as his crop of leaves increased with each passing year and were irritated by the wearing of clothes. But that was not the current issue - both nymphs had suffered the autumn shedding and were now bald…
After a final survey of their dear mother tree, they leaned against her hand in hand and sank into her utterly exhausted and ready to rest. A single feeding frond extended from her ladyship down the throat of her dear nymph but the unique nature of her vampire nymph saw Xander’s nipple extend yet again, accepted by the cool mouth and swallowed until it fed his stomach direct. In a loving embrace, the two fell into a deep comatose state.
Spring came early, it was hot and dry but the cemetery watered in the evening from a tank at the base of the ablutions block.
As her buds began to form and burst forth the two stirred.
The last few years Spike, like Xander, knew to crawl out as soon as they were able, and blindly make their way up their ladyship to a branch and lie in the sun for the day. Spikes’ eyelashes were also now replaced by fronds in need of budding, and his entire being would be covered in green by late spring.
The two lay in the bright warmth of the sun and sighed as they felt buds bursting forth their blossom, each little pop a sign that all was well.
It was always an odd time as the two nymph’s eyes were ringed by tiny florets rather than the usual fronds and both their nether regions sported a thick coat of tiny blooms and very emerald green members.
It was also a joyous time as the excitement of spring permeated everything. And their passion for each other was played out nightly
Harry and Michael were up to their usual shenanigans, interrupting squirrels mid coitus, sitting in birds nests just to see what the rightful residents would do, and trying to sneak up on their favorite nymph couple to painfully pluck a bloom or two.
Spike and Xander now tended their tree together and under their ministrations she flourished beyond measure. Spike still rejoiced in the sun, Xander never missing the little sigh as his partner stepped into a beautiful morning. In fact Spike’s leaves were now much darker than that of his full nymph compatriot as he was inclined to ‘bake’, stretched out on one of the lady’s upper branches in the afternoons whenever possible.
Until a year or two ago Spike had taken blood only once a month or so when Angel visited, and then it was only for comfort. He still had his bite but his system all now completely shifted.
Angel seemed to have reconciled his Childe’s status but was obviously increasingly sad as the years passed and Spike slid further into his role as nymph. The last time the dark vampire had visited, just before the two slept for winter, Angel had a book of poems under his arm.
“Just thought I should get in some practice. You know, so you can pick your favorites and let me know how dreadful a reader I am.”
The tone of the statement was so bereft and Angel looked so sad that had Spike simply taken the vampire’s hand and led him to the Mother Tree. Xander joined then as they sat in the safe haven of her roots and Angel began to read but handed the book to Spike midway as his voice hitched and tears began to flow. Spike had started to read the next stanza of Yeats but abandoned it in preference to throwing the text to the ground and taking his Sire in a autumn colored, leafy embrace.
The older vampire sobbed into the chest of his one time relative, now changed and Spike waited for Angel to calm before asking lovingly, “C’mon y’ ol’ bugger… what’s happened?”
“Wes… Car crash… they said… and I couldn’t do anything! It was instant apparently… truck and red light and… and [hic] I’ll lose you too but I don’t know when, and I’m terrified… William… this time together has been so [hic]… wonderful. Not like before… but I just… I know it will happen but… please tell me if she is ill… I need to say goodbye… please let me have that before your planting… please Will?!”
The use of his original name and the obvious distress of his GrandSire left Spike with little option. He simply promised then held the vampire tightly until the tears subsided. There was no point in offering his neck any more, the fluid that flowed through his system was now water and chlorophyll and laced with carbon dioxide and nutrients from the mother tree. Angel understood and so simply held on desperately. At some level Spike still felt like family.
The nymphs had had their own tragedy late summer as one of the trees was hit by lightening and her nymph – a pretty boy named James - barely escaped in time for his planting as the tree cracked in two and was incinerated from the inside out. They watched with morbid fascination as his form changed and feet locked onto the earth and extended, then were amazed as his arms extended and magnolia flowers emerged, swiftly replaced by numerous leaves. The gardeners who came to remove the damaged tree were flabergasted that they had not noticed the magnolia before and puzzled by the number of relatively fresh petals on the ground.
Angel approached the mother tree three weeks after spring had started. It had been over three months. He worried that he might be too early, but found the two nymphs hand in hand walking toward him adorned with so many blooms they both looked like walking flower arrangements. Both had small leaves developing from the same buds and winding in lines around lithe bodies. He was so relieved to see them. They were beautiful. He was feeling quite emotional as he walked across the moonlit lawn toward the mother tree, but Harry and Michael had seen him coming and decided to cheer the sad vampire up… by flying low and mussing his hair, then rising out of reach and giggling.
Consequently by the time Angel arrived at the tree he was not only distracted but also a little annoyed.
Spike simply grinned as did his old friend, “No accountin’ for Harry mate… Good to see ya.”
The manner was so easy and familiar that Angel instantly relaxed.
“So whatcha readin’ for us today… and please tell me it’s not another bloody Irish lament! You really are a sorry lot… give us a good pub ditty any day!”
Angel moved forward and took the former vampire in a warm hug, “Only you Will… only you!” before slapping Spike on the back and giving Xander a quick embrace.
The three settled under the tree and Angel began to read. This time, to Spike’s surprise, it was a collection of poems by Henry Lawson, an Australian author. It was the perfect mix of colonial humor and irreverence, whilst others were reflective, serious poems.
Spike and Xander leaned against her, their fond gaze not lost on the reader. Angel relaxed back. He was no longer so alone. It was the first time he had felt this happy for months.