rngrdead (rngrdead) wrote in bloodclaim,

Ghost in the Machine #6

Title: Ghost in the Machine

Author: josie_h

Pairing: Xander/Spike
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes later on - ie M/M
Summary: Post Black Thorn and final AtS - The PtBs screw with Spike yet again.
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Author’s Note: 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.
Previous parts here

Part 6

A rather disheveled Willow joined Xander at the computer a few minutes later. With the webcam only able to see what was in range, Spike could make out the ‘bed hair’ and hastily thrown on pink toweling dressing gown but missed the associated fluffy rabbit slippers. Regardless he felt a distinct sense of relief as Willow typed “Spike is that you?”

“Well it ain’t bloody Santa Clause is it!”

“But we thought you were dead… or dusted. Giles and the Watcher’s council said, well, that there were reports of a huge battle in LA and no survivors...”

“Couldn’t sort a piss up in a brewery that lot. But yeah, ‘nother big battle to the death ‘n the like… but yours truly… still here… well sort of here. Thing is I, that is we, Illyria ‘n I, sort of need a bit of a leg up in the ‘real’ department.”

“Illyria? She survived too? But how? And where are you now?”

“That’s just the thing innit. Here in as much as I’m in the computer. Harris’s computer for the moment, ‘n gotta say, boy might’ve come out, but ‘is tastes are still a might vanilla.”

Willow huffed a little and pursed her lips in frustration but caught Xander rolling his good eye and making an expression that shifted from slight annoyance to decidedly embarrassed, so continued, “OK, Mister I-can-spy-on-Xander guy – and don’t think I won’t find out how you got through our firewall… But where are you typing *from*?”

“Here you daft bint! Been floatin’ around in the bloody electrical ether for… well not really sure how long. Back to the ol’ can’t touch, feel or do bloody anything of note bar mess about with the virtual.”

“So… Let’s get this straight. You are *in* this computer, *in* the network?”

“Well obviously.”

“And you can talk to Xander…us directly.”

“To quote you Scoobies… Again with the obvious!”

“Well… How?”

“How ‘m I bloody well supposed to know! Just here is all.”

“So is Angel…?”

“No.” There was a pause before the next words came up, “Grandsire went out in a blaze of glory, as to be expected. Hero to the last, even signed away his Shanshu t’ do it.” Another pause then, “Wes ‘n Gunn bought it as well. Not sure about green jeans. Figure Lorne scarpered after it all went down, told Angel he would.”

“So what happened when you…?”

“Illyria did something when we were goin’ down for the last time. One minute I’m standin’ in front of her with a bloody great gapin’ hole in me side, and next thing I know I’m watchin’ my own dust settle and find that the Powers-that-screw-you have decided it ain’t my time – again. Only this time it’s not even as a ghostie… Illyria somehow pulled me with her so now just some random bit of energy able to affect a digital world, half of which I’d rather not really know about.”

Spike was aware of a distinct pause and saw a look of part disbelief and part befuddlement pass between Xander and Willow.

“Look…You two goin’ to help me be a real boy or whatever, or is this little chat just goin’ nowhere?”

“I’m just not sure how we can help Spike. I can contact Giles, perhaps he or Andrew could work out what’s going on.”

“No. No one but you, well you two, obviously. Best we keep it quiet for now, Wolfram and Hart Senior Partners would still have it in for Illyria ‘n I, I reckon, seemings as we took out their Black Thorn. Anyway, Watchers not really fans at the best of times. We start too much natterin’ and word’s sure to travel to the wrong places. Besides, Illyria ‘n her Fred memories seem to have come up with somethin’ just need someone on the real plane to kick it off so to speak.”

“Fred’s there too?”

“Just said ‘her memories’ not her. Far as I know Illyria got access to a lot of that when… well you probably know the rest. Real sweetheart Fred, sorely missed for what it’s worth.”

“Spike if she, Illyria, changed you both, then why can’t she shift you back?”

“Not sure, something to do about needin’ a whole lot more mojo than she can muster as we are now, not to mention she’s none to keen on being in this world. Figure she likes the power of her original state of affairs so wants that or out. For me it’s pretty much just that there’s no original form to go back to… though she reckons she has that licked. Kept on about shifting atoms or some such.”

“Is she there now Spike? You know, can I maybe talk to her?”

“Well that’s the thing see. She seems able to contact me but buggered if it works the other way around. Not that I’ve tried all that hard. Prefer me marbles (or whatever I’ve got to think with now) remain unscrambled, she’s a right pain in the proverbial when she does grace me with her presence. Anyway seems as though she wants me to do the contacting.”

Spike waited and watched the room, though was frustrated that he could not hear what was being said.

“So Wills, you really think it’s Spike?”

“Well do you?”

“It’s just so weird. I mean the guy goes out in a ball of flame then comes back then dusted again only to come back as what? Some kind of computer virus or something.”

“I don’t think he’s a virus, I think his essence is just kind of stuck in the internet somewhere, maybe as electromagnetic energy or something. Xan there’s so much we don’t know about transference of energies except that it doesn’t disappear, just changes into something else. Even the magic we use draws from the earth for its energy to act but this is amazing don’t you think? And poor Spike! Can you imagine just floating around like that? Thank goodness he found your computer to talk through.”

“Yeah well. Again with the weirdness."

“When did you say that message about your new series came in? That’s probably the indicator for the initial contact.” Willow noted Xander looking decidedly worried at that suggestion. It was not so much the message itself, but the other things Xander had been looking at on the evening of contact that had him blushing.

“It was only a couple of weeks ago.”

“But the LA battle was over a year ago. That means he’s been… Xan we have to help him!”

Xander stared first at Willow then back at the computer screen, “Okay with the agreeing to help, but…”

Before Xander had finished the thought, Willow was already typing again, “Spike, I’ll do some research from this end. It’s going to be… well tricky is probably the understatement of the year, but if you can get Illyria to pass on anything in the mean time that would be great. I’ll make sure Xan has the computer on about this time every day while I’m here that way you can be sure that one of us will be online.”

Willow began typing again and much to Spike’s relief there was a simple, “We’ll do what we can Spike. Just be here about this time each day and if you can, see if Illyria is able to give me something to work with. OK?”

“Knew I could count on you Red… thanks. And tell Harris I’ll be checking to see if he’s fixed me proboscis on that there carvin’ of his, yeah?”

Willow giggled a little, “No problem. Night Spike.”

“Night… Over and out or whatnot.”

The screen registered a logoff and Willow sat back looking somewhat worried.

“I really don’t know where to start… I mean, I didn’t want to say that to Spike but… it’s just…”

“Don’t know about you but I’m pretty done in. How about a Xander hot chocolate special and we work on it tomorrow? Well, after the festivities again I guess.”


After the logoff Spike felt a combination of slight relief that contact had been made, sadness that the conversation was over and intense loneliness. Somehow even the fact that he was remembered, and spoken to as though he was still *there*, *here*, reminded him of all the things that he really wasn’t, all the things he missed so dearly and not just the physical.

The being cared about was somehow the most hurtful feeling of all. The idea that he had friends who not only remembered him but who genuinely wanted to help. He tried to distract himself with a quick look into his investment profile, then jumped into an online game but finally sought solace in a melancholy read of some of Yates’poems, before seeking the solitude and nothingness of a server on downtime.



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