Title: Readjustment 8b/15
Rating: this one is fairly close to G.
Summary: Sequel to Reassembling. Principal Wood's arrival wrecks more havoc than anyone could imagine
Beta read by the wonderful incandragon
Reassembling can be found at: http://spanderfiles.com/arvs/texanfan/reassembling.html
Previous chapters at: http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=texanfan&keyword=Readjustment&filter=all
Spike kept checking the news coming out of California, just in case. He didn’t trust the Scoobies to inform him of potential problems, so when he heard about the darkness enveloping LA he congratulated himself on his foresight. As usual, the local news agencies hadn’t a clue. The only important information they provided was that the phenomenon affected only the LA area. For all the unpleasantness of their last several encounters, Spike found himself worried about Angel.
One Google search later he called the number for Angel Investigations. “Angel Investigations, Wesley speaking.” The watcher sounded hurried and nervous. Not a good sign.
“Hello Percy, care to tell me what the hell is going on over there?” Spike couldn’t resist tweaking the watcher just a bit.
Wesley’s voice turned annoyed, better than nervous, and Spike suspected that in seconds he’d be listening to a dial tone. “Who is this?”
“Spike. Just let me talk to Angel for a second.” Spike switched to as placating a tone as he could manage. He needed information out of them, after all.
The annoyance level rose several notches. “We are quite busy just now, and have no time for your games, Spike.” A dial tone rang in his ear.
Failing to get answers out of the crew at ground zero, he called up his next best source of information.
“Rupert, what the hell is going on in LA?” Spike demanded.
“Ah yes, I thought you might be calling.” Rupert knew him at least that well, which mollified Spike somewhat. “I take it you’ve already contacted Angel’s people.”
“Wouldn’t give me the time of day,” he said with venom.
“Yes, well I didn’t have much better luck,” Rupert confessed. “They believe that since we don‘t have a slayer to lend to the cause we are irrelevant.”
“Angel told you that?” Spike asked, sure the shock was evident in his voice. He didn‘t think Peaches had that much gall.
“It wasn’t phrased in those exact words, but the meaning was clear. Also, I wasn‘t put through to Angel,” Rupert said and the bitterness came through loud and clear.
“Join the club,” Spike said by way of consolation.
“I, well, I did suggest that they contact you.” Rupert sounded reluctant to make such an admission. “They declined.”
“Well, that explains the playing games comment Junior Watcher Boy handed me.”
Rupert sounded amused at the appellation and Spike relished making him feel better. The uptight bastards had no business discounting the help the Sunnydale crew offered. Probably just felt threatened.
“Possibly it’s for the best that you aren’t going. Xander was extremely concerned you might feel obliged to go.”
Just when things were feeling familiar and friendly, Rupert had to bring up Xander’s lack of trust. “I’m not going to go snacking on the cheerleader! You can tell him --”
“Spike, do shut up!” Rupert snapped. “Xander was much more concerned about Angel’s propensity for killing members of his vampiric family. He fears that Angel will, and I quote, “get stake happy” with you. After Darla and Penn I must say it’s a valid concern.”
Spike chuckled. Xander still had his back, even if it didn’t need covering. “Tell him not to worry, Rupert. Angel would never have killed Darla if she hadn’t made it a choice between her and Buffy. As for Penn, well, let’s just say he was a better student under Angelus than I was. I would have to be about to kill one of his humans for him to get “stake happy” with me. He has too much guilt over me and Dru.”
“Still, I’m just as glad you’re not going.” Spike could swear he heard relief lacing Rupert’s voice. “I have no doubt that Xander would insist on being there to watch out for you and it doesn’t sound like a situation I would recommend.”
Spike wasn’t too keen on Xander being in the danger zone himself, which brought him back around to his original question. “What situation is that, exactly?”
“Oh.” Rupert sounded positively startled. “Yes, we did get rather sidetracked. It seems there was a creature named the Beast, not Glorificus, I checked, who has begun the blotting out of the sun. At the moment, it is only affecting Los Angeles, but after further questioning I was told it is supposed to blanket the Earth.”
“Right,” Spike declared. “That tears it, I’m coming home.”
“To be perfectly honest with you, Spike, if the area of darkness expands significantly I would be very grateful for your presence,” Rupert said, completely earnest. “I can only imagine how eternal night would affect the Hellmouth, but I can’t imagine it would be good. Keep your cell on. If it starts moving I’ll wire you an airline ticket myself. Angel’s people seemed to think they had a means of combating this Beast. I say we let them flounder for a day or two and they might not be quite so adverse to our help.”
Spike had to smile. He liked the way Rupert thought. “I won’t wait very long. That eternal night thing is bound to attract every vampire in the state.”
“Yes,” Rupert agreed. “Patrol has been very dull the last two nights. It seems the energy of the Hellmouth can’t compete with 24 hour mobility.”
“Any vampire who hasn’t figured out how to move about during daylight doesn’t deserve to survive,” Spike asserted, pleased to have their old dynamic back.
“Just so,” Rupert said dryly.
Spike knew he was risking the conversation devolving again, but he had to know the answer to one, very important, question. “You really believe I’m out here bathing in the blood of the innocent, don’t you?”
Rupert cleared his throat, clearly uncomfortable with the subject change. “Given how long you had the chip restraining you, and your previous history, it would be very remarkable if you were not.”
Spike wanted to give a sharp retort, but felt too empty for one. He could feed on pig’s blood from now until the end of time. The watcher in Rupert wouldn’t believe him. “I see.”
“However,” Rupert continued, his voice gaining strength. “I have long realized that you are a singularly remarkable vampire. If you tell me you have not been doing so, I will believe you.”
Spike swallowed hard before he could speak. “I haven’t killed a single innocent person.”
“Then I believe you,” Rupert said with conviction.
Spike told himself he wasn’t going to get choked up like some poncy git over something so simple as being believed. That belief, on the other hand, did push him into full disclosure. “I have eaten the better part of a minor drug trafficking ring here.”
Rupert had the nerve to chuckle at him. “I sincerely doubt I’ll be losing any sleep over that. But is that wise? Such people are tenacious and dangerous.”
Spike waved away the concern. “Small operation. I’ve already eaten the big man.”
“I must say, it is a rather satisfying solution,” Rupert confided. “But I think I will refrain from telling Xander. He’d only worry needlessly.”
“It was something Angel did, when he was first cursed. He’d eat murderers and such. Figured if he could do that with the soul, it wasn’t out of line for me.” Spike didn’t like the questioning note that had slipped into his voice but couldn’t seem to make it go away either.
“You’ll get no argument from me, Spike.” Spike was reminded that Rupert was ever the practical man. And Rupert genuinely cared for him. Spike wasn’t sure he’d ever truly known that before. “Just be careful.”
There was a quiet pause in the conversation, and Spike thought it was probably time to end the call before he started acting like a nancy boy. But it seemed a propitious time to make his invitation. “I’ve got a nice apartment here in New York, plenty of room if all of you would like to come here for the holidays.” Spike tried for nonchalant and feared he came out tentative.
There was a brief pause and Spike feared the response. “I hesitate to give you an answer before we know what is going to happen with this Beast situation.”
“Well, of course,” Spike snapped back as if the Watcher had made an idiotic comment. “Can’t celebrate Christmas in the middle of an apocalypse, besides, I’d already be there, hardly any point in all of us trooping back to New York.”
“As you say,” Rupert said and Spike would lay good money he was smiling. “I’ll keep you apprised of the situation.”
“See that you do,” Spike said, feeling stronger. “And give my love to the others.”
“I will,. Goodbye, Spike.”
Spike hung up, then just sat, contemplating the strange conversation for a moment. He flipped through the news channels and fired up the laptop to check the web. He wanted to find out as much as possible about this situation in Los Angeles.