Innocence Found – Chapter 3 – Calling All Angels
“I live on the Hellmouth; these things happen. I live on the Hellmouth; these things happen,” Giles muttered to himself. Buffy’s transformation wasn’t shockingly unexpected, in light of what happened with Spike… but he had hoped she would be spared.
Well, standing in the doorway, staring at the two children wasn’t going to accomplish anything. Best to start with the child who knew him.
“William, can you tell me what happened?” There! Cool, calm – the very model of an authority figure guaranteed to keep things under control.
Both children began to sob in earnest.
Giles flinched. “There now, children,” he fumbled. “It’s all right. No need to be frightened.” He knew that he would never again ponder whether his life was complete without children. He’d barely opened his eyes and he was already overwhelmed.
What did Buffy do yesterday to calm the boy? Ah yes. He sat down on the end of the bed and opened his arms in invitation. Instantly, he found himself cuddling two very soggy children… one of whom was almost wearing nothing more than a tank top.
When the crying stopped, Giles disengaged himself from their grip, but remained on the bed, figuring to keep their height differences to a minimum. Hopefully, talking with the boy would go better this time.
“William, I’m sorry if I frightened you before. You do remember me from yesterday, yes?”
The boy nodded, wiping his teary eyes with the back of his hand. “Yes, sir. Miss Buffy said your name was Mr. Giles.”
“That’s right, son. You can just call me Giles; no need to be so formal.” Taking a deep breath, Giles prepared for the difficult part of the conversation. “Now, I need to talk to you about the little girl. Do you know who she is?”
The girl reached over and tugged at his shirtsleeve. “Mister, I’m sitting right here. My name is Buffy Anne Summers. My mom’s name is Joyce and my dad’s name is Hank.” She raised her little chin in a very familiar gesture, the stubborn set to her jaw was something he’d seen plenty of for the past six years. “Why am I wearing this funny shirt and where’s my mommy?”
Giles was saved from having to come up with some kind of plausible lie when William spoke up. “You told me yesterday that we were on a secret adventure and that Mr. Giles would help to find my mum. Maybe he can help you find your mum, as well.”
“I don’t ‘member you.” Buffy pouted. After scratching at the back of her neck, she reached over and pushed the little boy away from her. “And you make me feel itchy.”
Not put off in the slightest, William sat up and poked Buffy in the shoulder. “Well, yesterday you were a big lady, and today you’re little, like me. Maybe your brains shrunk and you can’t remember everything you did.”
“You’re a mean poopy-head.”
“And you’re scared.” William cocked his head, recognizing his own feelings reflected in hers. “S’okay, Buffy. Yesterday I was scared, too… an’ you made me feel better.” He picked up one of her hands, hoping she wouldn’t push him again. “I can help you not be scared, if you let me.”
“I am so not scared,” the little girl insisted, even as her eyes began to fill again.
William reached over and wiped the tears from her face with the corner of the duvet.
Giles just stood back, intrigued. This little piece of toffee would become William the Bloody? For some reason, he’d always thought William would have been one of those little bullies who tore the wings off of butterflies and drowned kittens.
Spike certainly was a mass of contradictions. Giles remembered the vampire’s devotion to a weakened Drusilla, and he’d been responsible for Giles’ own rescue from Angelus. He’d even been informed of the vampire’s attachment to Dawn last summer, when Buffy was gone. Spike’s self-proclaimed affection for the Slayer, however, was a major source of annoyance and amusement for everyone – it was thought to be nothing more than vampire-obsession.
Having seen the interplay between the children, the Watcher had to concede that he just might have been wrong in his assessment of Spike, and would have to talk with him when he returned to form.
Obviously not paying attention, he startled when he felt a tug on his shirtsleeves.
“Mister… Willum said you would make us some breakfast. We’re hungry.”
“Yes. What a lovely idea,” Giles agreed. Something he could readily make that would focus the children for a period of time… while he called for backup. Surely Tara or Willow had some spare time during the day. And Xander? He was barely more than a large child, himself… perfect for entertaining the children during the evening hours.
Giles was about to turn for the door when Buffy crawled down from the bed – feet first, flashing her naked bottom as her adult-sized tank slithered off. Right, then. First things first. “William, do you know where Buffy put those extra clothes she brought yesterday?”
The boy found the shopping bag and dragged it over to the bed, dumping the contents for inspection.
Buffy was adamant in voicing her displeasure. “Nuh uh.” She wrinkled her nose with disgust. “No way I’m wearing boy underwear.”
Amazing, he thought. Fashion conscious at five. She must have given Joyce holy hell during her pre-adolescence. Well, the only way to get through this was with patience, and he’d had plenty of practice with that.
“I know the outfit is not what you’re used to,” Giles said, “but until we can go shopping, it will have to do. It is far better than running around naked, don’t you think?” He knew the moment the words were out of his mouth they were a mistake.
Sure enough, with a twinkle in her eye and a quick glimpse over to William, one very naked Buffy Anne Summers streaked out of the room. Sensing the boy was about to follow, Giles scooped him into his arms, having a terrifying vision of William following Buffy out the front door, into the bright sunshine. Buffy would eventually get over her embarrassment, but William would not be able to recover from bursting into ash.
Moments later, Giles heard Buffy clomping back up the stairs.
“It’s no fun if you don’t try and catch me, Mister.” She might have been talking to Giles, but she was staring at William, disappointed that he hadn’t followed her, and letting him know that in no uncertain terms.
“Get dressed, please, Buffy,” Giles said kindly but firmly, pointing at the pile of clothes.
Grudgingly, Buffy pulled on a pair of the detested boy’s briefs, socks, a red and white striped t-shirt and the red overalls. Little sock-covered toes wiggled as she looked around for shoes, not finding any.
“All right, children. Let’s go downstairs and get something to eat for breakfast.” Giles watched the two blondes head downstairs, suddenly aware that they could be taken for fraternal twins, or cousins. One human – possibly still Slayer, and one vampire – what would become of them if their situations were not reversed… and soon?
Breakfast was a calm affair; eggs and dry cereal, milk, blood, orange juice and tea all consumed quietly.
While Buffy and Spike finished their meal, Giles managed to get Tara on the phone, and she agreed to come over within the next half hour. He’d hesitated to tell her why, only that it was important.
Opening the door at her knock, both were jarred by the loud bang of something heavy falling in the livingroom, followed by two sets of giggles.
“Babysitting, Mr. Giles?” Tara eyebrow rose in amusement, wondering what mischief the children had gotten up to, knowing that if she heard laughter, they weren’t hurt. “Why didn’t you just tell me over the phone?”
“Er, um… my cousin just dropped them off unexpectedly this morning,” Giles hedged, not quite willing to scare the poor girl off yet. “when I was just barely awake. Obviously I was not in my right mind when I agreed to take them.”
Tara walked into the livingroom, and noted the downed bookcase, it’s contents scattered all over the floor. One look at the two imps, one look back, and they settled quietly on the floor, waiting to hear their punishment. Both were highly relieved when the woman burst out into raucous laughter.
“Oh, this is just too much,” she gasped, clutching her stomach to try and control her glee. “Even for a Hellmouth. How did you expect me to sit for these two without telling me one of them was… you know” she whispered. “Opening the curtains would have been disastrous.”
“H-how d-did you know?” Giles stuttered.
“For one thing, I have eyes. Just looking at them you can see the adults they’ll become.” Tara said, delicately, trying not to hurt the man’s feelings. “I can also see their auras, Mr. Giles. I’d recognize them anywhere.”
“Oh. Well that saves me from having to explain just how two little ones can bring down a hardwood bookcase without getting crushed underneath it.
Tara relaxed, relieved that she wasn’t needed for anything out of the ordinary. Glancing at her watch, she figured herself in for an uneventful afternoon until the relief shift arrived.
Six hours later she was staring out the window, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Xander and Willow. As soon as they were spotted halfway down the walk, Tara called out her goodbyes and grabbed her bag, not waiting for replies. She doubted anyone would hear her, anyway.
“Xander, listen!” Willow concentrated on the noise she heard as they approached Giles’ apartment. “It sounds like a sword fight – all clangy metal and screaming.”
Xander’s level of apprehension rose when Tara came running out of the door; barely making out the words ‘help’ and ‘Spike’ and ‘Buffy.’ Grabbing Willow’s hand and reaching for his stake, they ran into the apartment.
Giles was sitting in the middle of his livingroom floor, trying to sort his books into piles of salvageable and destroyed. The din was coming from the kitchen. Inasmuch as the Watcher was unharmed and apparently unperturbed by the racket, Xander pocketed his stake and crept into the kitchen to see what was going on, followed by an anxious Willow.
The brunet stared at a little girl, banging merrily away on some overturned pots with a metal spoon. A little boy was hunting through the cabinets for more things to bang on.
“Oh, how adorable!!! Willow squeaked, ignoring the ear-splitting sound levels. She ran into the living room, sinking to the floor next to the beleaguered man. “Giles… who are they?
Time for show and tell, he thought. “Buffy, Spike… come in here at once,” Giles shouted, hoping he would be heard and acknowledged.
Xander followed the kids into the room, his mouth hanging open in shock. “Nah… you’re joshing us, right G-man? No way these kids can be…” Looking closely, he began to see that they were, indeed, who they were pronounced to be. “Well, I’ll be hornswaggled. Is that widdle Spikey?”
William stood stiffly, glaring up at the older man, very unhappy with his tone of voice. It made him feel worse than he had during the incident with Buffy yesterday. “What did you call me?”
This was just too much fun to pass up. Xander chucked the boy under the chin. “I called you widdle Spikey. It’s your name, isn’t it?”
With a growl, William shed his human mask; yellow eyes burned into Xander and hatred poured out of the little vampire. “My name is William. You’re nothing but a big bully and I won’t let you make sport of me.”
Xander fell back in shock, not expecting the boy to go into gameface.
Willow sat on the floor, watching her best friend dig himself deeper and deeper, but keeping a close eye on Spike. If he decided to go for Xander’s throat, she’d be able to separate them with a wave of her hands.
The Watcher was pretty sure the little boy was gaining control of his demon, able to bring about the transformation at will. It was obvious intense emotion brought the demon closer to the surface, which only made sense.
Annoyed that playtime had come to a halt, and that William was being upset by the mean man, Buffy walked over to Xander and pushed him down on the floor, hard. “Go pick on someone your own size, buster!”
Oh man – that was embarrassing. Xander Harris was just this side of pissing his pants thanks to a half-pint vampire, and he’d just been knocked on his ass by a mini-Slayer. An uncharitable thought crossed his mind – nothing had changed.
However, he figured his best course of action was an apology. Fighting with children was so not cool, anyway. “All right, all right, I give. No more making fun of the shorter people.” He extended his right hand as a peace offering, which both children warily shook.
William sat down on the floor, refusing to look at anyone. He really didn’t like being made fun of. Still angry, he touched his face – noticing the ridges and the fangs. “Why does my face feel funny?” He looked at Buffy. For some reason he thought she would know.
Sure enough, she looked into his face, and then ran her fingers gently over his brow and mouth. Shaking her head gravely at the conclusion she had drawn, she said, “You’re a bampire.”
“I am not!”
“Vampires aren’t real.”
Willow knelt down in front of the little boy, waiting for him to acknowledge her. “Yes, William, vampires are real, and you are a vampire. A little boy vampire. Very tough and manly.”
He thought about it for a minute, then cocked his head. “M’tough and scary?”
Xander shook his head in affirmation.
“Then I want to be called Spike from now on. William is for nancyboys.”
“C’mon, you scary bampire. Let’s go back in the kitchen and make more music. I’m bored.” Buffy dragged Spike back in by the arm and soon the two started banging the pots and pans around again.
When they were out of earshot, Xander’s curiosity got the better of him. “So, where’s your fountain of youth, Giles… and how come we have the munchkin brigade?”
“Demon blood, most likely.” Giles sighed. “Apparently they were fighting something tall and black and hairy and it exploded all over them. Spike woke up transformed yesterday, and Buffy transformed this morning.”
“Oooh… research party!” Willow was thrilled. Transmographication on this order might give her insight on how to de-rat Amy. “Just one question, Giles. Why was Tara in such a hurry to leave here? She was very… um… flustered.”
“Think, Willow.” Giles looked up from his piles of books. “Being cooped up in the house with two preternatural creatures that have no real outlet for their overabundant stores of energy thanks to the daylight – and five year olds, to boot. They would have tried the patience of a saint. Frankly, after dinner, I’m counting on you and Xander to take them shopping for some additional clothing and taking them out for a run in the park to get them out of my hair.” He raked a rueful hand across his scalp. “What there is left of it after today, that is.”
The trip to WalMart was uneventful, mainly because Xander stayed in the car with Spike, and Willow kept Buffy firmly belted into the shopping cart. Half an hour later they were the proud owners of several new outfits for each child, sneakers for Buffy… and specifically several packages of dainty cotton undies with flowery prints. Also the essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, soap, shampoo and creamrinse. Keeping Buffy’s long hair tangle free was no easy task.
By the time the car pulled into the parking lot, both children were practically vibrating in their seats. Willow gave them firm instructions. No climbing over the park’s fencing, no running out of sight and of course, being extra careful of any other children that might still be in the park.
Spike and Buffy whooped, and entered into a rousing game of tag, with their ‘protectors’ in full pursuit. It wasn’t long before first Xander, and then Willow admitted defeat and sat out on the benches, sweating and panting hard.
“Look, Spike,” Buffy shouted from across the park. “We beated the old folks.”
The little vampire stared at the exhausted adults for a moment, before slipping into gameface and tearing across the park at breakneck speed, Buffy in hot pursuit.
Xander had a sour expression on his face. “Is it just me, Will?” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. “Doesn’t it give you the wiggins to see a vampire chasing after Buffy with his drippy fangs out, no matter how small and cute? I mean, remember the Annointed One?”
“Get off it, bucko.” Willow smacked him on the shoulder. “You’ve never liked Spike… even though it’s a given that you have reasons. So do I, but that little one doesn’t look like he would harm a fly. And his fangs aren’t drippy. I’m sure he did that so he could see better in the dark, that’s all. Buffy’s totally safe.”
The elder Scoobies sat and watched as the little ones ran wild. Up and down the slide, balancing on the teeter totters, and in general just running their new sneakers into the ground in laps around the park.
Spike suddenly veered off, heading straight for the monkeybars. He reached the top in seconds, balancing on the uppermost rung, daring Buffy to climb up and catch him. She just stood her ground, daring him to jump back down.
Stalemate – neither child giving in. Suddenly, Spike began to sway in an alarming manner. The little blonde instinctively knew she wasn’t big enough to catch him, or fast enough to get up there before he fell. “Hold on,” she screamed, running for the bench.
Xander had heard her distress, however, and was already heading for the monkeybars. He was mere seconds too late, and saw it close up as Spike lost his balance and fell backwards, striking his head on the top bar as he fell heavily to the ground.
“Shit!” Xander panicked. He knew you weren’t supposed to move an accident victim, for fear of unsettling broken bones and other internal injuries, but that was for humans. When he noticed a small pool of blood forming under the boy’s head, he made up his mind, sliding his arms under Spike’s knees and neck, heading for the car, followed by Willow, who carried a sobbing Buffy.
Willow drove as quickly as she dared, hurrying to get them back to Giles for whatever medical assistance you could offer a vampire. At the very least he’d have blood in the fridge. Ten minutes later, Xander was sprinting from the car with Spike in his arms.
Buffy kicked the door in, not giving Xander time to knock or see if it was unlocked… yelling, “Fix him, fix him!” at Giles the moment she saw him.
“Oh dear Lord, Xander. What happened?” Giles cleared his couch immediately, grabbing a towel to put under the boy’s head.
Buffy spoke up, pushing her way to the head of the couch. “We was running and Spike climbed on the monkeybars and stood on the top bar and he wouldn’t come down and he started to shake and he fell.”
The breathless little girl pulled at Giles’ arm, almost wrenching his shoulder from the socket. “Please, mister… make him wake up. Bampires are s’posed to get better real fast.”
“Vampires, Buffy. They’re called vampires,” he said, absently. “and I’ll do the best I can. I promise.” The Watcher brought over a bowl of warm water and antiseptic cream, and examined the lump on the back of Spike’s head. He found a knot the size of a walnut, which had already stopped bleeding.
He gently cleansed the area, removing as much blood as possible from Spike’s hair, leaving it with a faint pinkish tint. Not a sound, movement or breath from the boy. He was deeply unconscious.
“Well then, I believe I’ve done all I can do at the moment.” Giles tried to reconcile the little corpse with the child who’d been driving him insane earlier in the day, and failed, miserably. “Spike’s going to have to pull through on his own. The best news I can give you is as long as you see him, he’s got a chance. Vampires heal better than anything, with the exception of Slayers.”
He carried the boy carefully upstairs to the guestroom, taking a new pair of pajamas from Willow and undressing and redressing Spike – taking the opportunity to check his body for other injuries.
“I can always try a healing spell on Spike, ya’know… if he doesn’t come out of it soon.” Willow’s eyes were sparkling with excitement over the possibility.
“Absolutely not, Willow. There’s already something mystical wrapped around Spike and Buffy. The last thing we need is your magic intertwined with the unknown.” Grateful that the redhead had spoken up before actually attempting the spell on her own, Giles attempted to keep his temper under control.
“There is one more avenue of action open to us, and I’ll only use it if Spike hasn’t awoken by morning.” Giles took a deep breath before he continued. “And that will be to call Angel… part of Spike’s bloodline.”