Kitty Alex (ex_kitty_al) wrote in bloodclaim,
Kitty Alex


Title: Innocence
Series: If I Were Souled
Rating: R
Author: kitty_alex
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairings: Spike/Xander
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot. I bend to Joss Whedon's will and try my best not to murder his characters.
Series Summary: Spike has settled into Sunnydale and has found a place for himself with Xander. Only problem is the Anointed One has unknowingly created a major road block for them.
Chapter Summary: The Judge is together and the Scoobies need to kill him.
Warnings: AU and a bit angsty this chapter
Notes: I'd like to thank kimalis for helping me out with Spike's slang and bringing detail to me jumbled mind. Then I'd like to thank Buffyworld for episode guides.
Previous Chapters: You can find previous chapters here

Opening Credits

The hospital monitors beeped steadily showing that Xander was in good condition. He had only been out for a couple of hours, but that was enough to scare Will. He had not left his side even when the nurse said that visiting hours were over. He held tightly to Xander’s hand blaming himself for even taking Xander to go check on Spike. Everything had told him it was a bad idea, but when Xander gave him those puppy dog eyes, he couldn’t refuse. He should have stopped them, let Buffy go instead.

“Xander, I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.”

“I must be dying. You’re using contraction. Go back to the other way, it’s sexy and proper.”

“You are not dying. You merely have a concussion.”

“Oh, goody. Tell the nurses I’m going home. I want to sleep in my own bed and that I have school tomorrow.”

“I think I am going to tell the nurses you had a turn for the worse, you want to go to school.”

“I just want to see how Buffy is doing.”

“We can call her, you know.”

“Was she mad when you told her about Angelus?”

“Told her what about Angelus?” Will asked generally confused.

“You know what! Will, you didn’t tell her. How could you not tell her? You’re supposed to be the good one. Can’t you just keep your mind on what important? You always think about me. She’s the slayer for God’s sake! Her life is a thousand times more important than mine.”

A sharp growl escaped Will’s lips, “You listen here, your life. There is only one of you. There will always be a slayer; there will always be someone to replace Buffy. We know Kendra is waiting in Jamaica for her chance. There will be no one to replace Xander Harris if you die. There is no one else like you. I have been around, I know. Before you start placing value on your life, take that into consideration.”

“You don’t know what my life is worth. What am I? I’m a straight D sometimes C student, I’m not strong like Buffy, I’m not fast like Buffy, and a few other things that-” Xander lowered his voice. “That could probably land me in the mental ward for life. There’s vampire and hyena parts mixed in with my normal parts, that’s enough to have them lock me up.”

“I have never met someone with hyena and vampire parts,” Will said without keeping his voice down. “And furthermore, if you trained properly like I beseech you every night and had a more positive attitude, it might do you a bit more good than you have come to believe. And another thing, your visions are special. Xander Harris, special all around. Maybe you are a vampire because when you look in the mirror you cannot even see yourself.”

“You do not lecture me, Will. I don’t care if there’s a sign coming out my ass that states I’m more important than the slayer, Buffy is my friend. I would die for her and you best remember that. If you were really as good as you said you were, then you’d look past your feelings for me and do what was best for the greater good.”

Will grabbed his jacket which was hanging on the back of the chair he was sitting in. He pulled it on and made for the door. He stopped in the doorway and looked back at Xander.

“I wish I could make you see. I wish I could make you see everything you are, but maybe that is what makes you even more special, that you are too humble to see it.”

“Will, I-”

“No, this is- I’m not what I thought I was. Maybe, I was never good. All those years- Xander, I won’t bother you again. Giles will be here in the morning to take you to school, the doctors should’ve released you by then.”

“Will, no. You’re good. I was just mad and was being stupid. Please.”

“If I was good, I would’ve killed Spike and Drusilla by now. They’d be ash and everything would be right with the world.”

“You’d be ash too though. You’re connected to him.”

“I’ve lived through a century and more, Xander. Don’t you think I’ve out stayed my welcome? Anyway, it’s almost time for the sun to rise and I want to find a proper crypt to rest in.”

Xander opened his mouth to try and beg Will to stay again, but he was gone before he could find his voice. Xander looked around the room and then at his hand. There was a slight bruise on it from Will’s overly concerned grip. Why had Xander said those things to him? All Will did was love him, but Xander had to reach in and pick at the scab over the wound of what Angelus had said to him at the warehouse. He had just been so angry that Will didn’t warn Buffy, he hadn’t even thought about what he said before it left his mouth. The Harris gene for saying exactly the wrong thing exactly when it mattered most struck again. He crossed his arms across his chest. If he was cursed with stupid visions, why couldn’t they warn him when his genes were going to kick in? Unless they canceled each other out. Xander lay contemplating the possibility a bit before falling into a fitful sleep filled with nothing but hurtful images of Will.

Xander followed closely behind Giles as they entered the library. Cordelia, Jenny, and Willow were sitting at the table listening to Jesse. Jesse noticed them enter and stopped in the middle of his recount about what happened at the bus station to rush to his injured friend’s side.

“How’d you get hurt? I thought Will and you stayed home.”

“We had a change of plans. Has Buffy checked in?”

“No, we haven’t heard from her. What about you?”

“Have you seen Will?”

“Not since he called me,” Giles said. “He didn’t go into detail about how you sustained your head injury.”

“We went for a walk, just to clear the air. We were jumped by a few minions, then we were brought back to Spike’s warehouse to become little piles of ash after the Judge burned us alive, but I had an injury so Will took me to the hospital. Then he went out to play clean up, but I haven’t seen him since.”

“The Judge was reassembled?” Jenny asked surprised.

“Yeah, the battleship is fully functional.”

“What are we waiting around for then? I could go for some ass kicking,” Jesse said.

“It would more be like them kicking your ass than the other way around,” Cordelia said to Jesse.

Xander sighed. He wasn’t in the mood for all the secrets or the revealing of them for that matter. He wanted to go to class, crawl into a textbook, and maybe get tossed back in time so he could live in any age but this. Maybe before Will turned, then he could have warned him. Will would have never turned, Xander would have never fallen in love with him, and Will would be dust in the ground so he wouldn’t be complaining about how he should be dead all the time. If only it was that easy.

“Will and me nearly died. That Judge guy is bad news. I can still see-” Xander stopped himself, he didn’t tell anyone but Will about seeing him get burned alive. “I can still see that minion getting burned alive. It was horrible and looked painful. We need a plan before we go fight him.”

“But, Buffy could be in trouble now,” Willow said. “How can you be so heartless?”

“I’m not being heartless. Just- I don’t want to lose any of you guys. There’s only one of you. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my Jesse-shaped or Willow-shaped friend. I love Buffy, I do. But, I don’t want to lose you in the process.”

“She’s the slayer, Xander,” Jenny said. “She’s the ultimate force of good. If she dies, who will protect the world?”

“Kendra, then whoever is after Kendra, then whoever is after her. Who replaces Willow when she dies? Who replaces Jesse when he dies? No one. There’d be a hole. Buffy’s a big girl. I’m sure she can survive until we come up with a plan.”

“A plan for what?” Buffy asked coming into the library.

“A plan to rescue you from the evil Judge without getting burned ourselves.”

“The Judge is active, great. Have you seen um, Angel? We uh, last night we, um, lost track of each other. I was wondering if you saw him or if he checked in.”

“Buffy, about Angel. He’s-”

“If you know anything about Angel, please tell me, Xander. That dream really shook me up and if anything happened, it’d feel like my fault for not doing something to prevent it.”

Xander bit his tongue, “He’s not here. I don’t think he checked in either. I’m sure he’s home safely by now.”

“Xander,” Giles addressed him. “Now that we are all here, what can you tell us about the Judge?”

“Well, he is only able to burn by touching right now, but I think he will get stronger. Will was able to kick him back by just hitting his chest plate. Oh, also, the demon was big, blue, and extremely ugly. He kind of looked like my Uncle Rory’s last wife.”

“I will research to see if there are any weak points.”

“What about what Xander said at the party?” Jesse asked.

“Until we are one hundred percent sure, we should research. Plus, we don’t know if Xander’s visions are exactly reliable. They could be just dreams.”

“I’ll just come by after school then and research. Then later we can go looking for your missing significant others.”

Xander gave him a small smile, “Thanks, Jesse.”

“Hey, what are friends for?”

Spike rolled through the cemetery, he had left just when the sun went down. He couldn’t stand being indoors with them. Making up for lost time shouldn’t involve buggering Dru sideways on his bed while he watched, stuck in his chair. He didn’t like to watch, he didn’t like Angelus with Dru. He didn’t like the whole damn situation.

“Fuck. Can’t a vamp get some peace? No, his twin just has to roll through his cemetery,” a familiar voice said behind Spike.

Will walked past Spike and pulled himself on top of the nearest head stone. He dug through his pockets until he produced a pack of Vantage cigarettes and a lighter. He offered the pack to Spike; he took one and grabbed the lighter from Will. Will took a cigarette out and let it dangle from his mouth as he waited for Spike to light up.

“When did you start smoking?”

Spike tossed the lighter back to Will. Will caught it and proceeded to light his own cigarette. He took a drag and blew the smoke out his nose.

“Today. Just felt like the thing to do.”

“Shouldn’t all good vamps be going home to their beddies and humans right now?”

Will raised two choice fingers up for Spike to see. Spike feigned shock.

“Wheel away, I ain’t in the mood.”

“Bloody hell, Will. What bug crawled up your arse?”

“I’m not good. You heard what Angelus said, even Xander said it. There’s more evil than good in me. I’ve just been fooling myself thinking I was good.”

“If wishes were horses.”

“What are you going on about?”

“You only wish you were evil. You have a bit of evil envy going on, I think.”

“Says the vampire that was smashed to bits with an organ.”

“But, I survived. What about you? Moping around, going on about how evil you are when you save the world almost every day of the bloody week. It’s sickening is what it is.”

“I am not moping. I might feel a bit sorry for myself-”

“A bit? There might as well be a rain cloud over you.”

“Now listen here, I am not moping. I’m accepting my fate. I moved into a nice crypt, I even almost ate a person a few hours ago.”

“You almost ate a person?”

“Yes, there was this robbery and the person was shot. I-”

“You stopped the bloody robbery then called the police after you did the whole Superman thing, then you didn’t even taste the person’s blood. You just thought about it.”

Will took a drag of his cigarette, clearly upset at how right Spike was about how the events had laid out.

“Why are you so persistent on setting me down the path of righteousness? I thought I was I was a bloody embarrassment.”

“Yeah, but you’re my bloody embarrassment. Evil, it just isn’t who you are. You might come from evil, you might have the William the Bloody half, hell, I might even be harbouring part of the soul, but that’s always how it was. Don’t know it any other way. It’s been like this since we were first turned. Will, you’re good. No matter how much it disgusts me, you’ll always throw your lot in with the good guys. Me, I’m evil. I’ll do what it takes to survive then double cross whoever helps. It’s just who we are.”

“If you’re so evil, why are you rolling through cemeteries instead of celebrating the end of the world?”

“Don’t really want the world to end, not entirely. I wanted to win Dru back so badly, then she began having visions of where the pieces were. I would have ripped through the entire world myself if it meant I could stop listening to how great William and Angelus were.”

Will stubbed out his cigarette against the headstone and pushed himself off.

“Sorry then. I never meant for it to be a competition between us. If it helps, I do not even want Dru.”

“It doesn’t, but thanks.”

“Well, if the world does not end, maybe I shall see you around.”

“Don’t count on it. I’m not up for these moral pep talks. It already feels like I need a long shower.”

Will chuckled, “I think I prefer us like this.”

“I guess. Leave me alone, I can take care of myself.”

“They still are not feeding you properly. Do you want to feed from me?”

“It’s good you’re feeling better, Will, but I rather be left to my misery.”

“Suit yourself, but try to get some human blood in you, even if you have to stop at-”

“That place is filled with drugged up meth heads, I ain’t going to do something stupid like that. I rather have an unwilling victim.”

“Always the evil twin. If you wish to have any blood bags, send a minion over. Preferably one that will not try to kill me or report back to Angelus.”

“Always the good twin. Must be good not to be in Hell anymore and finally having a body of your own.”

“Yes, the poodles there were particularly vicious and not to brag, but it feels good to be able to walk on my own. You will undoubtedly be able to walk again soon as well.”

“What was it like?”

“What was Hell like?” Spike gave him a small nod. “Like this. You could barely tell, there were not any flames or anything like that, was not any brimstone, it was more like being in darkness, well, my Hell was like that anyway, there are millions of Hell dimensions. You do not see them, you are only vaguely aware of them. You become really aware of them after the poodle jumps up, rips out your heart and eats it while you watch. You think ‘Out of all the Hells out there, why did I get this one?’ It is a real eye opener. I wonder if we will be in the same Hell this time around.”

“That’s very disturbing.”

“If it was not, I would wonder what all the fuss was about going to Hell. I think I have worried Xander enough for one lifetime, I think I shall head home.”

“It doesn’t bother you? Thinking about Hell and all that.”

Will’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion, “Why should it? It is in the past, we must move forward if we are to get anywhere, easier said than done, but still, poodles are nothing to get upset about. Have fun with the Judge.”

Spike watched as Will headed off. William Pratt had always been an odd man, especially from the memories Spike had about him. In his last few days of life, the man had been weak and broken, but free of the past, the strong, odd man was coming to the surface quickly. Spike swore to himself, he shouldn’t be envious of his other half, but he was. Will had friends, love, and fuck, he even had family. What did Spike have? He had Angelus and Dru and they were family but neither of them truly loved him. Spike wheeled himself deeper into the cemetery along the cement path and wondered if either of them would even miss him if he never came back.

The library was quiet while they researched. No one was making any progress. Jesse was laying on the library counter thumbing through the pile of that Giles had given him. Giles, Cordelia, Jenny, and Willow were sitting at the table looking through books. A very forlorn Xander was sitting on the steps. He had been pretending to read for three hours now. When he saw Giles look up at him from the corner of his eye, he would flip the page. He wanted to go out and find Will, but he was stuck researching even though none of it seemed to do any good. It was all the same information; no weapons forged by man could kill him and all that other bullshit that practically spelled out how he couldn’t be killed by anything. The phone rang shocking Jesse and making him fall off the counter. Willow rolled her eyes then got up to pick it up.

“Hey, Buffy,” Willow said. “No, Angel hasn’t checked in yet. I’m sure he’s okay though. He doesn’t know that the Judge is assembled and is still looking. Maybe go back to his place and see if he’s there.”

“About Angelus,” Xander said.

“Xander, I’m on the phone with Buffy,” Willow shushed him. “No, that was just Xander trying to talk to me while I’m on the phone with you. He wanted to say hi. I’m sure Angel isn’t dead, stop worrying. I know I don’t know for a fact, but Angel is an old vampire, he’s probably survived worse. Okay, I’ll call if he shows up. Bye, Buffy.”

“So, no Angel?” Jesse, who had been standing there and eavesdropping, asked.

“He just vanished after the other night,” Willow said. “Buffy is going frantic trying to find him.”

Xander opened his mouth to tell them about Angel really being Angelus, but Giles spoke instead.

“I’m sure he’s fine. He’s disappeared like this before. He comes and goes as he pleases.”

“Buffy is just extra wigged. She dreamed of Drusilla dusting Angel. I think that’s pretty wig worthy.”

“But guys, Angelus is-”

“Can’t you show a little support?” Willow said frowning. “You don’t see us going around calling Will, William the Bloody. No, we use his post-soul name. I think you should at least give Angel the same respect. I don’t care if you and Will don’t like him, we have to support Buffy.”

“Will was so right. Whatever Buffy says is the truth, we do whatever Buffy says, why? She’s the exact same age as us. How much more can she know? As opposed to the older very much more experienced vampire who happened to actually live with this family most of his life.”

“You can’t trust Will!”

“And why not?”

“Because his soul is merged with the demon, the two will never be rid of each other. They’ll always be connected. So, the demon will always have pull over Will, while Angel’s soul is complete control and reigns over the demon, controlling it instead of merging with it.”

“And Angel told you this?” Xander asked quietly.


“Why can’t you see what I see?” He yelled at her almost bursting into tears.

He rushed from the library bumping into a solid body. He tried to apologize without looking up. He wanted to go home as quickly as possible.

“It is good to see that you are feeling better,” a bright English accent said.

“Will!” Xander exclaimed throwing his arms around him. “It’s good to see you. I thought you were never coming back after the way I behaved.”

“No, I behaved poorly. I could not shake the fact that I might be relatively evil.”

“Will,” Xander said with a chuckle. “If you think you might be evil and you are worried enough about evil to admit that you might be evil and try to do what you think is best so you don’t harm anyone, that pretty much means you’re not evil.”

“Oh, good. I was really missing that confused sensation you always made my head feel.”

Xander patted Will’s head sympathetically, “I do that to a lot of people, I’m sorry.”

“I rather like it. Life is never dull with you around. Like now, how many vampires can say their boyfriend nearly tackled them down while he escaped some type of ultimate doom located in the library?”

“There wasn’t any ultimate doom. Just Willow telling me you were evil and shouldn’t be trusted.”

“Oh,” Will said with a frown. “Bugger them then, I guess.”

“What does ‘bugger’ mean? You say it a lot.”

“It is just a vulgar phrase that has duel meanings depending on how you use it. Like you know, how you Americans use the word ‘shit’ for everything even when you are not talking about shitting.”

“Then, um… bugger them, you’re good.”

Will groaned, “Please leave the English slang to me. You can cover all the American slang.”

“Then we’ll be a slangy pair,” Xander said with a grin.

“The puns, not something I missed.”

Xander grabbed hand, “I missed your proper speech and your accent. It’s sexy. Your voice runs right through me.”

Will raised his scarred eyebrow, “Hinting at something?”

“A big something,” Xander grinned and let his eyes wander down. “Maybe you’re a tiny bit evil?”

“A tiny bit? Well, I think I can handle a tiny bit.”

Will technically had never had make-up sex before. Dru and him never had a fight that led to sex. It was more like ‘fight, torture, leave Will tied up, and then go play with Miss Edith until the nasty childe learned his lesson.’ And with Angelus, it had been just the torture. Also, if Will was going to think on technical terms, having sex was against the law for both of them. Will placed a kiss on Xander’s shoulder blade and couldn’t help but chuckle.

“What?” Xander asked smiling. “Did I say something funny?”

“No, what we just did was very much against the law for both of us.”

“How so?”

“Three counts of necrophilia, then five counts of under aged sex, and whatever the fuck you did with your tongue and my balls, that had to be illegal in at least half the Southern states.”

Xander blushed wildly, “What did you think I did while you were away? Watch cartoons?” Will raised any eyebrow at him. “Okay, so I watched cartoons and porn, but they were both fun.”

“Well, we had our fun. Time to go see your friends.”

“I take it back. You’re evil, completely evil. You’re like Darth Vader evil.”

Will purred contently, “And I have my own Death Star, then I kill the rebel force and take Xan Solo for my very own sex slave.”

“You so did not pair Han Solo with Darth Vader.”

“I ‘so’ did. Now get dressed or we can possibly role play a bit and live out a few of my fantasies.”

Xander slid out of bed looking for his clothes, “No thank you, I rather keep my view of Star Wars untarnished.”

“I am evil, remember. One day, I shall tarnish your views of Star Wars until all you can think of is Han Solo dry-”

“Complete that sentence and I will stake you.”

“That a promise?” Will asked hopping out of bed.

“Seriously, why are you so raunchy? And don’t give me that ‘I’m a Victorian not a priest’ crap.”

“Oh, just because we did not broadcast our scandals to the world does not mean we did not have them. We cheated, lied, and gambled with the best of them. Take a man and move him forward or back in his timeline and he is still a man. Just because we did not go on Jerry Springer to tell the world that we were having our brother’s baby did not mean it did not happen.”

“So you had your brother’s baby?” Xander teased.

“Shut up. You are entirely not funny.”

“You have too short a temper,” Xander chided. “You should really work on that. You never make any sense when you lose your temper. It’s like your brain and mouth stop communicating for awhile. I guess that’s why when you bumped into a vampire, instead of apologizing like a good human, you basically told him to fuck off.”

Will rolled his eyes and pulled his shirt over his head, “Whatever would I do without you to point out my flaws and where I went wrong with my life.”

“Oh, I’m just happy to help.”

Xander sighed as Will dragged him through the school toward the library. It was creepy being in school so late at night. None of the lights were on and the shadows played oddly on the lockers. Xander expected a monster to pop out at him any minute, then he remembered that he was with a vampire.

“Jesse, how can you be dating Cordelia?” Xander heard from down the hall.

“I was never in the ‘I hate Cordelia Chase’ club like you and Xander were. You should be happy for me. I finally have my dream girl.”

“Dream girl? She’s stuck up and bitchy! Completely bitchy. She shouldn’t be your dream girl!”

“And what Willow? I should go for the girl next door type? I know that since Xander went with Spike, you’ve kind of shifted gears and went to me. I really didn’t want to hurt you but-”

“Jesse, just shut up. I mean, just really shut up.”

Xander and Will approached just in time to see Willow harshly slap Jesse across the face. He winced and took it. He closed his eyes and tried to gain his composure.

“Willow, you don’t really love me. Not like that, okay? We’re friends, really good friends. We get along great and you’re confusing those feelings for romantic ones.”

“I should know what I feel, Jesse. These are my own feelings; I should know what they are.”

“But, you don’t. The only two guys you’ve really known are me and Xander. I want to be with Cordelia. We might have a weird relationship, but it works.”

“I support you, Jesse,” Xander said. “Even if I still really don’t like her, I support you.”

Both Willow and Jesse turned to look at Xander. Jesse seemed relieved while Willow just seemed pissed.

“How can you say that? This is Cordelia Chase.”

“And it’s Jesse’s life. If he wants to make out with Cordelia Chase, that’s fine. He supported me when I wanted to make out with Spike, so I mean, it’s the least I can do. Isn’t that what best friends are for?”

“I think the making out with Spike, well, um, me turned out rather well,” Will interjected.

“I guess I’ll have to back down then,” Willow said sadly.

“Soooo,” Xander said quickly changing the subject. “Find anything about the Judge? Also, what’s up with the lights being out?”

“I don’t know about the lights,” Jesse said. “But, same with the Judge. You know how no weapon forged can kill him and how it took a whole army to- Hey! I think I have an idea!”

“Jesse coming up with a plan? That’s great! It’s good to see that you all aren’t just dead weight.”

“Angel!” Willow explained happily, turning around to face the approaching vampire. “Buffy was so worried about you!”

Will growled and moved in front of the group of teenagers, blocking them from Angelus. He vamped out and continued to growl, warning him to stay back.

“William, you really going to act like that? I raised you. Molded you into what you are today. I took you in as my own childe and took over Dru’s duties as sire; doesn’t that mean anything to you?”

“Yeah, a sharp pain in my arse. Get out of here, Angelus. The children are under my protection.”

“You really think you could take me?”

A smile played against Will’s lips, “I know I could take you.”

“Wait,” Jesse said confused. “How can he be Angelus? He’s all soul having.”

“Well, back in the 1900’s, Will was a very bad vampire and Angelus was all with the soul having-” Xander tried to explain seeing as Will was busy with his stare down.

“We know, then he got his soul back,” Willow demanded.

Xander tilted his head and bit his lip, “About that, um, not so much got it back as he kind of pretended he got it back.”

Willow gasped, “But, Angel, you said you loved Buffy!”

“Here’s a lesson for you,” Angelus said taking a few steps forward. “When a guy says he loves you, nine times out of ten, he’s just trying to get into your pants."

Will growled preparing to attack Angelus. Jenny pushed Xander out of the way; he didn’t even notice her come up behind him. She had messed up. When her uncle had found about William the Bloody being in town, he had torn her apart and demanded her right her wrong for the good of the family. Her misjudgment of Angelus would not deter her from carrying out the mission set upon her by her people, which was to punish those who killed the honored family. She pulled a small vial out of her purse and threw it at Will who didn’t notice her either because of his full attention on Angelus. The vial broke and the contents spilled over his hand. Will shrieked in pain and instinctively moved away.

“What the bloody hell is your problem? You missed Angelus by meters!”

“Get away from them, my uncle told me about you. You might say you’re good, but I know your soul is tainted by the demon. You won’t get these children on my watch.”

“Are you some kind of loon?” Will said nursing his injured hand. “Xander, tell her. Tell her I’m good.”

“Miss Calendar, Will has been nothing but help to us.”

“William the Bloody slaughtered the honored family without mercy and escaped before vengeance could be sought. It is my duty to make sure William the Bloody is cursed along with Angelus.”

Will’s eye welled up and he looked hurt. He didn’t notice Angelus come up behind him and grab him. He struggled, but Angelus had caught him off guard and had a firm hold on him.

“Take your revenge,” Angelus dared her. “Go on; separate his soul from the demon. Do it, come on. It’ll be prefect. Won’t it, Will? Then you’d have the same curse as I had, then all I’d have to do is return the favor you paid me all those years ago.”

Jenny seemed confused. She looked at the struggling Will and back at the children she was supposed to be protecting. William the Bloody needed to pay for his crimes and her uncle knew best. But, Angelus wanted her to separate the soul and demon, so could her uncle’s planned revenge really be a good idea?

“What do you hope to accomplish, Angelus? This is insane, even for you,” Will said still trying to fight him off.

“Well, I was hoping to kidnap you, kill Buffy’s friends, then write a letter for her using their blood. It seems like it would get my message across, don’t you?”

“I think finger paint would work just as well.”

Angelus turned and Buffy was standing a few feet away from him. Xander always envied her ability to show up without notice. He wished he had that ability; it would help when there was only one slice of pizza left.

“Everyone knows that’s just not as fun.”

“So it’s true then, you never had your soul.”

“Yeah, it is and you were fun, sweetheart. The best slayer I ever had the pleasure of playing with.”

“Just let Will go.”

“No, Jenny promised to help the demon be free of the soul and I plan to hold her to it.”

“Speaking for me and the demon,” Will said slamming his head back into Angelus’, Angelus kept his grip, but Will easily knocked him off. “We like the arrangement just how it is. So, no ripping or tearing, we both really don’t like the mojo. No offense,” he added to Jenny.

Angelus held his nose, blood dripping from it, “You were always a stubborn childe.”

“You were the one that taught me everything I know.”

Angelus grinned at him and left. Xander was the first to move; he rushed over to Will and looked at his burned hand. It was healing already and nothing seemed to be scarring. Xander sighed with relief and looked angrily at Jenny.

“What were you thinking?”

“My uncle-”

Will interrupted her, “William the Bloody is still in me and I might still be him, but my punishment is my own to give. Out of all the judges in the world, we judge ourselves the harshest. Maybe you think I am getting off easy, but you are not God. Your punishment is not divine; therefore Hell holds a place for you and your people. Curse me if you wish, but you shall have to face your own judge one day. Will you like what you see when you get there?”

Jenny bit her lip, “I’m sor-”

“Do not apologize to me. Jesse you said you had a plan for the Judge.”

“Yeah, but I’ll need Cordelia and wheels with a lot of space.”

“Oz has a van,” Willow said helpfully.

“Good, go through with your plan. We are grasping at straws here.”

“Will, what are you going to do?” Xander asked him.

“I just need to be alone for awhile. I promise I will be there for when you kill the Judge.”



“Whatever you are going to do, just be careful when you do it.”

Will waved over his shoulder and left. Xander sighed; no one ever said dating one of the world’s most infamous vampires would be easy. Of course, no one had ever said it would be this hard either. Buffy seemed to be agreeing with him silently as if she was reading his mind. Her eyes seemed vacant, yet her face determined. It would take more than Angelus to stop her. Xander forced a smile and put a hand on her shoulder. She moved away from him and he let her. She just wanted to be alone, he couldn’t blame her.

“Good old Will gave you a bloody nose!” Spike said with a laugh.

“I hope you know all the damage he did will come out of your hide,” Angelus growled at him.

“Oh no, hide me. The vamp that couldn’t beat up my poof of an other half is coming to get me. Maybe you’re going to dress me in leather pants and a silk shirt and make me look like a great big soddin’ poof too.”

“Do you actually have a dictionary or do you just make up your own words?”

Spike dug through his pockets and found a cigarette, “Don’t spur my creativity.”

“You wouldn’t know creativity if it bit you on your British ass. There is no art or poetry in your kills. Killing should be about ripping about someone’s heart literally and giving it back to them.”

Spike lit his cigarette, “Well the only good thing that rhymes with heart is fart and any poem that includes the word fart just isn’t art in my book. Besides, it’s not how you take a life that’s art. Poetry isn’t just about the words, it’s about the movements. They have to bold and innovative. Your crap is just stale. I bet your plan is just to stalk the bint a bit, fuck her again, then kill her.”

“You’ve obviously never destroyed a human’s soul before. It’s so fulfilling.”

“It must bug you that you never broke William’s,” Spike said blowing smoke out through his mouth.

“What did you say?”

“You heard me.”

“You are not going to be able to sit for a week when I’m finished beating you.”

Angelus laughed hard at his own lame joke. Spike rolled his eyes and wondered if he was always this mental.

Oz pulled his van in front of the military base. He had been surprised when Willow had called him asking him for a ride. He thought it would be just the two of them, but wasn’t surprised when Jesse and Cordelia piled in after her. Willow never seemed really interested in him; he was just a means to an end. Willow trying to find someone outside her social group to hang onto and he happened to have a crush on her, so he was willing to let her clamp on.

“We’ll be back shortly, so just remember, when you see the window open, grab the ladder.”

“Okay,” Oz said.

He didn’t really get what was going on, but he was sure breaking into a military base was illegal. He wasn’t one to judge though, so he sat back and looked out the windshield. He couldn’t help but feel Willow’s gaze on him. It was always so hard for him to retain his cool when she was around. She made his heart speed up and his hands clammy. He knew there was something special about her.

“They sure are taking awhile,” Willow said trying to lessen the silence.

“Yep. Breaking into a military base, that seems like fun”

“Oh it is fun, then after this, we’re going to go put C4 on railroad tracks instead of pennies.”

“I could get into that.”

“Look, can I kiss you?”

“What? Why?”

“Well, Jesse and Cordelia are a couple, then Jesse said I only liked him because I didn’t have any other experience with guys, so I kind of wanted to see if he was right.”

Oz put his hands on the steering wheel; so she didn’t like him like that. He was just an experiment.

“I like you, I like you a lot. Then when I think about you, time does that weird thing where everyone is moving in slow motion and all I can think about is kissing you.” Willow smiled. “But, I’m not going to kiss you.”

“But you said you liked me.”

“I do, but who in their right mind would let themselves get used like that? When you kiss me, I want it to be for all the right reasons, but this is for all the wrong reasons.”

“But how will I know when I’m kissing you for all the right reasons?”

“When you want to kiss me because you want to kiss me. Look, the window’s open, it’s time to play our part. Let’s just forget this ever happened. We’re still cool, right?”

Willow nodded her head, “Yep, frozen even. You know, because that’s beyond cool.”

Oz laughed and got out of the car. Willow was someone worth waiting for.

Will blew smoke out of his nose as he was perched on top of the tombstone. He found himself smoking a lot more now. It helped him relieve the hidden tension he had been harboring.

“Got a smoke for me?”

Will reached into his pocket and threw the pack of cigarettes at Spike without looking at him.

“Not off with Angelus?”

“Most places in this town don’t have wheelchair access.”

“Someone should call someone, how do they expect you to get around?”

“I told them that, no one listens.”

“Fucking pair we make. We’re the outcasts of the outcasts.”

“What makes you say a thing like that?”

“Well, we’re different, aren’t we? We’ll never fit in with demons because we aren’t exactly all demon and we’ll never fit in with humans because we don’t exactly have a complete and whole soul.”

“Hey, don’t go throwing around the s-word.”

Will snorted, “Sorry. So what’s his royal poofiness up to?”

“You’re like me but without the bleached hair. It’s creepy, I demand you stop.”

Will rolled his eyes, “I am ever so sorry, is this better for you?”

“As a matter of fact it is. You’ve got your little act, I’ve got mine. Roles to play and all that rot. Also, if you have to know, Angelus in all his leather glory went to kill that one gypsy bloke.”

“Brilliant,” Will held up his still healing hand. “Look what his bitch of a niece did to my hand. All because I am William the Bloody. It does not matter that I happen to have a soul in me; there is a demon in there too. God forbid there is a demon, because that makes me extra bad and everyone else saints.”

“Look, mate. I’m only telling you this because I don’t want you turning evil and replacing me, so here it goes, you ain’t evil. You act to do good. You don’t consciously go out and do evil. So forget the rubbish those prats are feeding you. Soul is fused in there nice and tight, nothing you can do except let the Judge burn it out.”

“I do not exactly trust him. And thanks, even though your words are shallow and you are only looking after your own interests, they helped.”

“Don’t mention it and really risking sounding cliché, I really mean don’t mention it, ever.”

“We have been hanging around those bloody Scoobies for too long.”

“Oh, speaking of them. They were at our place. They’re planning on killing the Judge at the mall, you might want to go down there and do your hero thing.”


“Because that’s what you do, isn’t it?”

“No, I mean why are you really helping me?”

Spike picked at some non-existent lint on his jeans, “Because up until recently, you were just a voice in my head. Someone I could talk to and blame for things, now you’re out of my head and it’s a bit lonely in there.”

“We really are bloody off our rockers if we miss the voices in our head more than having the voice standing right here.”

“You think it’s coincidence I always come out here when you’re moping?”

“You think it is coincidence that I always pick wheel chair accessible cemeteries?”

“Bloody pair we are indeed. Go save the fucking day before we do something weird like develop an actual liking for each other.”

Will slid off the tombstone and crushed his cigarette with his foot.

“Well this could not get anymore awkward.”

“We could hug and Alice could come out with cookies for us.”

Will rolled his eyes, “Yeah, I retract my last statement. I will see you around.”

Spike watched Will run off into the direction of the mall. If Dru could like them both equally, Spike would have played on Will’s insecurities leading him down the path of true vampire-ness. It would have been, for lack of a better word, nice. Will really was like a brother, but Dru was his dark princess. He wouldn’t share her with anyone.

Will arrived just in time to see Xander, Jesse, and Oz pulling a large wooden box from the van. They were struggling with it, so Will took it and was able to carry it with one hand.

“Well, at least it was you,” Jesse said. “If it was Buffy, I would be questioning my manliness at the moment.”

“Well, just because the slayer’s demon makes her stronger than most does not make you any less manly.”

“The slayer’s demon?”

Will nodded absent-mindedly as if it was tidbit everyone should know and inspected the box.

“What is in the box? Seems a bit light to be an entire army.”

“It’s a rocket launcher with an honest-to-goodness rocket!” Xander said excitedly. “It’s every teenage boy’s dream to fire a rocket.”

“You do it nightly,” Will said ignoring Xander’s blush.

“Buffy is waiting inside,” Jesse said. “We should get inside before you give me more graphic images of my best friend.”

Will smiled, “Well, I am partially evil.”

Will carried the crate into the mall with Xander, Oz, and Jesse closely behind him. He could see Buffy was already there. They set up in the middle by the concessions stand. Jesse took out a crow bar and quickly opened the box. The doors opened and Angelus, Drusilla, the Judge, and a few dozen minions stepped through. At Angelus’ instruction the doors were locked and the humans were trapped inside. Will felt his skin tingle; he was going to get to kill some minions. He hadn’t staked anything in awhile and all the pent up frustration wasn’t something a pack of cigarettes was going to kill. The plan was set; Jesse and Buffy would worry about the Judge while everyone else would take out the minions. Will flung himself into battle, happily indulging in his inner vampire. It felt good to have a release, punch some skulls in. He was so caught up in his game; he barely noticed everyone screaming. He also didn’t notice Judge and Buffy exchanging remarks or the people scrambling past him, trying to escape the madness that was happening in the room. He was too caught in his own head to even notice the rocket fire and everyone jump to take cover until he felt Xander tackle him to the ground. Parts of the Judge sprayed everywhere and Xander looked at Will with a small glare.

“What’s your problem?” Xander snapped at him.

“I was venting.”

“Do that at home with your punching bag. Are you looking to get yourself killed?”

“It is hard to explain. It is complicated.”

“Complicated? Trigonometry is complicated. You’re a ten car pile up and train wreck. Does it really bother you that much that you aren’t this entire force of good? That you’re just as flawed as the rest of us.”

Will’s eyes turned yellow, “Do not even attempt to get inside my mind, Xander.”

“I just want to understand you. You say you love me, but you keep me standing at the edge.”

“I just worry that this really isn’t me and I really am a monster. It’s an act, what I remember from my old life. It’s me trying to be human, but I’m not human. If Angelus can lose his soul, why can’t I?”

“Because you’re not Angelus, you’re Will. Buffy isn’t here attacking you; she has gone to fight Angelus.”

“She won’t kill him.”

“I know, but it’s a start.”

When Will had seen that Xander had gotten home safely, he rushed back into the night. His brown, leather jacket reminding him of a cape some superhero would wear. Xander watched him go and made his way into the house. He went up to his room, calling out that he wasn’t hungry to his mom. He shut and locked the door to his room. He slumped on his bed and stared at the ceiling. He knew Will was confused and suffering, but did that mean Xander had to suffer too? He knew the question wasn’t fair to Will, but he couldn’t help it. Xander had allowed himself to love Will and now he was gone too. Xander hugged his pillow tightly and drifted off to sleep hoping everything would get better soon.

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