Cross posted in sickchicks and my regular journal.
Hell Is In the Details – Chapter 21 – For Ever and a Day
Angel, we are now prepared to pass judgment based on the wishes of Spike, of the Order of Slayers. You have become a liability to the cause you were charged with fighting for.
To redress this issue, we will remove your soul!
By binding your soul to your demon, you have grown complacent and fat on the excesses available to you through Wolfram & Hart. You have developed an exaggerated sense of self worth and propriety.
You have lost sight of your mission and failed to maintain contact with the lowest elements of society. You no longer care.
We will remove your soul and its binding magicks, and return it via the original Calderash malediction. Until such time as the soul regains the lessons it’s lost and learns what humanity has to offer, it will remain unbound.
From this moment on, you are cast out from your position at Wolfram & Hart. The Senior Partners have been informed of our judgment against you and access to their resources has been terminated.
Your colleagues have already turned from your side. You will continue to aid the helpless alone, as you once were. We suggest you keep to the path set out before you. The consequences for straying are… severe.
You, Angel of Aurelius, will transport with us to our realm until such time as your soul is newly ensconced in your body.
Our business in this realm is concluded.
With a loud earthshaking rumble, the Tribunal sank back into the earth from which it has arisen, the ground returning to its previous state, while Angel simply… vanished.
Willow was the first to break the silence. “Oh Goddess! Did you see that? I mean, look around – not a pebble out of place. And Angel went poof! Well, not *poof* poof, but they’re really going to remove his soul and curse him again. And, hey! Sorta feeling proprietary here. I mean, I’ve already re-souled him twice, and…”
“That’s my Will.” Xander laid a comforting hand on her shoulder. “When surprised – babble. Nice to see that some things don’t change. However,” he said, turning to Spike, “some do. I gotta say that you and Buffy make a mockery of the term ‘the second coming’.”
“If we don’t want to try for another bout of ‘Who’s the Phoenix’,” said Lorne, pointing towards the lightening sky, “I think we need to head back to my place.”
Looking around like a mother hen searching for her chicks, the green-skinned demon realized someone was missing. “Has anyone seen Wesley since this little confab began? I was sure he’d be here.”
Giles looked distinctly uncomfortable. He didn’t know Gunn or Lorne well, and the prospect of telling them about their friend unsettled him.
“Lorne, is it?” he asked, tapping the Anagogic demon on the shoulder. “I’ve been in touch with Wesley by phone. Quite frankly, he was too embarrassed by missing the signs of Angel’s deterioration, as it were, to face you all. Especially you, Spike.”
Removing his glasses in a time-worn gesture, Giles pinched the bridge of his nose in an attempt to stave off a headache.
“In point of fact, Wesley is the reason we’re here, at all. It was he who found out the lengths the Tribunal would go to in meting out their brand of justice. That they would put you on trial first. And while the world knows I am not your staunchest supporter, I felt I ‘owed you one,’ to borrow a phrase from the children, for my inappropriate actions last year.”
“Oi, Victoria!” Spike’s eyes glittered in the moonlight; hard to tell with amusement or annoyance. “I’d say tryin’ to have me murdered in cold blood was more than inappropriate. But for this - tonight? I’d say we were bloody well even, mate. An’ thanks for coercin’ the kiddies into helping.”
Giles looked momentarily puzzled at Spike’s salutation, before remembering the reference. “Yes, good. Make fun of the silly Watcher who cracked one joke this year. And for your edification, nobody had to be coerced into speaking up for you. Seems as though coming back from the dead after saving the world carries bonus points with it
Gunn, Harmony and Lorne took the lead, talking amongst themselves as they walked back towards Lorne’s place. Buffy kept to the rear of the group, allowing Spike the rarest of things – interaction with the Scoobies as an equal participant.
She watched Spike come to life as Dawn smacked the vampire on the shoulder, then hugged him – making all those little sister faces Buffy had come to recognize over the years; Spike smiled indulgently as Willow nattered on, hands waving about in emphasis of some point or another, but the sight that would stay with her forever was Xander and Spike both trying to lure Giles into a discussion about whether some mutant monster movie had based its demons on actual species.
Except for missing her mom, Buffy’s family was complete. Weird, and not entirely human – but complete.