Well, I’m back. I’ve had a bit of a rough time, moving , finding out that my new home had a bug problem, going through all sorts of exterminating, dealing with ex-household stuff, etc – but finally, here’s the next chapter. I hope I didn’t do too badly.
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover Angel the Series
Warnings: Violence, Slash, Rating R, Spangel, Eventual Spander, Souled!Vamp!Xander, Hive’Verse!, Crossovers, Supernatural, Gunn/Sam, Ghost!Wesley/Illyria, Post Series, Ensemble Cast, Angst, Hurt/Comfort,
SUMMARY: Xander's life changes forever when he tries to help a deranged Slayer...
To read Chapter 1, click here http://fangstress.livejournal.com/10764.h
To read Chapter 2, click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/11426.h
To read Chapter 3, click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/11695.h
To read Chapter 4, click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/12097.h
To read Chapter 5, click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/12826.h
To read Chapter 6, click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/13435.h
To read Chapter 7, click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/13968.h
To read Chapter 8, click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/14954.h
To read Chapter 9, click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/15237.h
To read Chapter 10, click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/15478.h
To read Chapter 11: click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/16296.h
To read Chapter 12: click here:http://fangstress.livejournal.com/16594.html
Looking around amidst all the clutter, Xander almost missed the sad slight figure, huddled over a desk piled high with paper and books.
It was Spike, and he was muttering something softly and urgently to himself; writing furiously on a sheet of paper with a raggedly feathered quill pen. His emaciated frame trembled as if he were freezing, though the room was very warm, though Spike was tightly wrapped up in a heavy, scarlet, velvet robe, with black wool trousers peeking through the folds. His boots were same ones Xander remembered, and lace frothed at the frayed cuffs of the robe, which made his wrists look terribly fragile.
That get-up should have made Spike look dashing and maybe even romantic, Xander thought, but Spike seemed so broken and lost. He was paler than he'd ever been, and his sunken eyes burned too brightly as if he was feverish. Which was an impossibility, anyway—vampires didn’t get sick. Xander listened as Angel questioned Spike quietly-- had he fed? Obviously not often.
"Quit your fussing, 'Gelus." Spike said to the walls, to the air. "I’ve been endeavoring to finish my chapbook. Very important it is, utmost importance-- lives hang in the balance—worlds---”
"The M'ke'jhisian-Geodetic texts? You translated them?" Angel asked, coming closer to peer over Spike's shoulder, but not touching him.
Spike, snarling, spun his chair around to face Angel, but then dropped his head into his hands, and rocking, began to keen softly. “Deep, deep under. I can feel the buzzing, the buzzing bees, and the bees in their armor so busy with their stinging, stinging bitches!"
"Spike." Angel shot Xander a worried glance, then refocused on Spike, trying again. "Vision, Spike? Or flashback? Or is it a dream?"
Spike took a shuddering breath. “Dreams." He huffed. “I think." But he seemed to be calming, focusing.
"Spike," Angel said. "You with us? I brought someone I think you'd like to see."
Spike's long, curly, honey colored hair draggled into his face, and he pushed it back with a shaking hand. "Don't want to. 'S my fault." He turned back to his desk, picking up the pen, hunching over the desk.
"No-- no, Spike--" Angel slowly approached the trembling vampire. “It’s Xander-- and he's here, and it's not your fault."
"All my fault-- all my--" Spike's writing became...violent, the scratch of the pen ripping holes into the paper becoming audible.
Xander felt almost as if his hair was standing on end. The surge of adrenaline at Spike’s words sent something ominously thrumming though him, all too familiar.
“Oh, God.” Xander sagged in his chair, burying his face in his hands. “Not again. Not again.”
“Xander?” Angel asked, voiced tinged with concern. “Xander, are you okay?”
Xander couldn’t answer. If he did, he’d start ranting. He didn’t think that he should do that around Spike, he’d just started making sense. On the other hand, maybe not.
Spike had just made a semi-lucid pronouncement about a prophecy of a coming war, which of course, sounded dire and apocalyptic-ey; and of course, there was the bright-spanking-new and-all-pervading awareness of both his sire and Spike—underneath everything as if the pure essence of the other Vampires had seeped into his mind, into his sluggishly moving bloodstream; winding its way around and through his nerve endings… between everything that was happening to him, he felt as if he was simultaneously drifting and tethered to one point in the stormy ether that buffeted him mercilessly.
“It’s a lot to take in.” Angel’s quiet voice … and something else—resonated through the link… reassured him, anchored him; and Xander looked up and over at the older Vampire. He felt better—steady.
“So.” Xander quipped, trying to mask his unease, “Of course, there’s another Apocalypse. Should have expected that.”
“I’d hoped…” Angel began, running his hands through his hair. He sighed. “I never knew…”
“We’re not all gonna turn human at the end of it, either, right? “ Xander said, dryly.
Angel and Spike both stared at Xander in shock.
“What?” Xander said. “Heard about the whole Shansu debacle at Slayer Central.” He frowned. “Though of course, without the ‘Spike’s alive’ bit.” He swallowed, trying not to let the bitterness seep out into the already tense atmosphere of the room. He shifted in his seat. “So, who is this war with, anyway?”
“Guess I’ll answer that. ‘M the one with the brain-splitting Visions, me, “Spike said, resignedly.
Angel pursed his lips, and looked uncomfortable. He glanced unhappily at Spike.
Spike closed his eyes and took a deep breath, as if he needed to steel himself before he began. Xander didn’t miss the shudder that went through the too-thin frame, quickly suppressed.
“You remember when Angel was running Wolfram and Hart?” Spike asked.
“I was working with Angel, then.”
“Buffy said... you burned up on the Hellmouth.” Xander snapped. “You’ve been around all this time, and you never told me?” He swung around to glare at Angel. “And you—why—“
Spike drew back, obviously uncomfortable. “I-I couldn’t, Harris, “he said softly. “ At first, I couldn’t even leave—I was incorporeal--a fucking ghost.”
“The amulet I wore on the Hellmouth—“Spike trembled minutely. “---spit me out in the middle of Wolfram and Hart. And then I couldn’t leave—couldn’t leave LA, and Pavane, the crazy bugger, was coming for me and he was takin’ me to Hell and I could feel myself…”
“Slippin’…. slipping away…”
“Spike.” Angel was out of his chair and next to Spike, almost instantaneously. He crouched in front of Spike, not touching, speaking softly. “We’re here. You’re safe.”
“--sodding elevator to Hell...” Spike whispered, staring into space, jaw slack; he looked absolutely haunted. He went rigid, and fine tremors wracked his thin frame. His hands clenched random papers on his desk, crumpling them, and he moaned, “I saw it— where it was, what it was like—“
“Spike, listen to me, you’re alright, “Angel murmured, taking Spike’s face in his hands, forcing him to meet his gaze. “Spike, stay with me.”
Spike wrenched away from Angel, folding into himself, covering his head with his arms, as if to protect himself from a blow. Long strands of honey colored hair veiled his face; it only made him look even more fragile.
“Spike.” Angel tried again, quietly.
Xander could have kicked himself. He’d known that Spike wasn’t stable, he’d seen it. But his own grip on his temper… his anger slipped out, got away from him—he just couldn’t help it. He’d felt so betrayed—and –oh, God. It was coming through the link, wasn’t it? Could that have made Spike worse? Had that rage come pouring through the link? Taking a breath, Xander slowly got a handle on it, damping it down. Focusing on Spike, he began to try think calm and safety at the distressed Vampire. He could almost picture what that feeling would look like… blue, pale, soft, clouds…surrounding himself, Angel and Spike, wrapping them all up in cotton.
Angel stiffened, and turned to give Xander a shrewd look, which quickly turned into one of approval.
So maybe Xander had done something right. He relaxed a bit, as Spike’s trembling ceased and life returned to his eyes. Angel searched Spike’s face intently, obviously worried. Spike slumped, wrung out, but gave Angel an exhausted nod. Then he continued, as Angel stepped away.
“The reason the Visions came to me was because of this Prophecy, see?” Spike said voice gravelly. “We were attacked at Wolfram and Hart.”
“Go figure.” Xander smirked.
“Hush.” Spike admonished. “Somebody came after Wes, and I got in the way. Nearly got me brains blown out the back of me skull. Was in a coma.”
Xander frowned. He looked at Angel, wondering why all of a sudden he looked--and dammit, Felt--so guilty, so sad…
“‘Gelus. Stop it.” Spike snapped.
Angel grimaced. “Sorry.”
“Wasn’t all your fault.”
“Some. Not all. Did what you had to.”
“What happened, Spike?” Xander blurted, exasperated. The he remembered, and tried to smother his impatience. Patience, Grasshopper… blue, clouds, safe, safe….
“ The Princess; Cordelia, “ Spike amended, “—got it into her head to stack the Cosmic Deck in favor of the bloody Powers that Be, since she got promoted to work on their team—couldn’t be around to keep Angel on the straight and narrow anymore…”
“Cordy’s a Higher Power, now?” Xander asked.
“Yeah,” Spike answered. “—apparently she got a heads up about a prophecy—that involved three vamps with souls—from the same line. The same family.”
“I didn’t believe it, at first.” Angel interjected. “I was absolutely not going to make another childe, and I knew Spike wasn’t either. So we were both puzzled.”
“Then we found out about a coming war—“
“And – this—this is unprecedented. “
“War between demons and humans.”
“What?” Xander asked. “Not new. Been there; got the t-shirt.”
“Err, not like this.” Angel said.
“This is a war we have to win—and this time, we fight on the side of the demons and non-Humans. “
“Are you kidding? Are you shitting me?”
“Xan—“ Angel tried.
Spike just looked sad. “It’s about Balance. This time our so-called human heroes are on the wrong side.”
“You mean we’re going to have to fight against Buffy. Don’t you. DON’T YOU.”
“Xander—“Angel said, “there’s a lot you don’t know about what’s been going on with the Council. Buffy—“
“We have souls.” Xander spat. “We’re the good guys, Angel! We don’t--”
Agony, as if a thousand burning needles clawed into Xander’s brain, and he fell to the floor. Abruptly the pain stopped, as his head smacked the corner of the coffee table. Angel was staggering to his feet, grimly reaching out for Spike, who lay prone on the floor, writhing, eyes rolled back to show the whites
Spike screamed, and it was the most heartbreaking thing Xander had ever heard in his life.
This was the link, feeding back; Xander realized…this was what it was like every time Spike had a vision, like the one he was having right now.
To be continued, next week.