You can find it all from the beginning Here.
Cross posted to spuffyness and my regular journal.
Innocence Found – Chapter 8 – Avenging Angels
The bed was covered with a plastic tablecloth. It had seen far too much blood already and two children, blood and ice cream do not make for neatness.
Buffy sat across from Spike, drizzling warm blood over his bowl of ice cream. Because his dominant hand was incapacitated, she fed him the gloppy concoction spoonful by messy spoonful, being careful not to mix her own bowl with his.
Like a proud pair of doting parents, Giles and Tara watched the scene unfolding before them. Though well pleased, they had to admit this was the most surreal thing either of them had ever seen.
“Gods, Giles. I’ve never seen either one of them so happy. And while I always felt that Spike was a little different from other vampires,” Tara said quietly, “I never thought he would be such a sweet, unassuming little boy.”
“I had my own theories of William the Bloody being an incorrigible ruffian, made worse by becoming a vampire. Tara, this child is practically genteel. Although I suppose it makes sense. In Victorian England, children were brought up to be miniature adults; absolute mirrors of their parents. His manners are impeccable for a child his age – at least when he’s dealing with his elders.”
Giggles from the bed, Giles and Tara took one more look. Spike was opening his mouth like a baby bird, waiting for Buffy to shovel in spoonfuls of that god-awful mixture of blood and ice cream. Sometimes all of it made its way into his mouth. More giggles bubbled forth when it didn’t. Oh well, that’s what washcloths and soap were made for.
Leaving the children to their own devices, the adults made their way down the stairs to the couch. As they sat on opposite ends of the couch, Giles shook his head in amazement. He was going to have to keep a careful record of this little adventure. Hopefully Spike would be willing to talk with him once it was over. Perhaps if he offered the vampire an allotment of blood... he’d just have to hope Spike would cooperate.
“I can only imagine what his life… unlife must have been like when he was turned – what must have happened to him to turn him into a cold-blooded killer.” Tara looked visibly upset, and Giles suspected she was remembering her struggles with her own family. “Imagine a sensitive young man with his only companions an insane seer and a pair of psychopathic bullies.”
Giles rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know how those blasted fools at the Council considered their vampiric profiles complete. With Angelus and Darla as ‘parents,’ the only way for William to survive was to become as bloodthirsty and dangerous as they were.”
“S-so all those times we thought Spike was faking being nice; when Xander would say he was just trying to get into Buffy’s… um… good graces; he really was trying to help?”
“He came to us after he’d first been chipped – when his hunger made him desperate – and asked for help over two years ago, not knowing if he’d receive a stake through the heart for his troubles. And I never looked past the demon I chained up in my tub.”
“Remember when Spike popped me in the nose? To prove I wasn’t a demon? He’d been a demon for over a hundred and twenty years and didn’t even hit me hard enough for my nose to bleed.”
Giles removed his glasses, cleaning them with the edges of his untucked shirt. “And the time Ethan turned me into a Fyarl… Spike helped, albeit after demanding cash.” His brow creased as he remembered what followed. “Blast… when he had that tracer from the Initiative lodged in his shoulder… I demanded that he repay me before removing it. I suppose I was being rather petty about it. After all, I wouldn’t ask for any reimbursement from anyone else in need of help.”
“So what we’re both saying in a roundabout way,” Tara paused, smiling, so softly and sweetly that the elder man couldn’t help but feel warmed, “is that we feel really bad about treating a vampire – this vampire – like the rest of his species, when he was trying to be more than just a demon.”
“That would be the crux of the matter, indeed,” Giles agreed. “The question becomes: what can we do about it now? It’s rather easy to treat little Spike well… just looking at him makes you want to protect him. What do we do when he’s back to… well, as normal as Spike ever was?”
Tara cocked her head. “I think the more important question is how can we protect him until he gets back to normal? I have to undo whatever spell it is that Willow’s cast, and we have to keep him away from Xander… or diffuse Xander’s anger.”
“Do you know which spell she cast?”
“N-no. I’ll have to talk to her… find out what she used and if she’d changed it in any way from the original. I don’t want to make it worse. There’s just too much magick surrounding Spike as it is.”
As he pondered their predicament, Giles came to a conclusion. They were going to have to face both Willow and Xander and have a mini-intervention to put everyone on the same page.
He nodded in decision. “Well, we can’t keep Spike all wrapped up in cotton batting on the closet shelf until he changes back. It could be weeks, or God forbid, permanent. We must get that spell reversed as quickly as possible. He certainly doesn’t need to be hurt anymore, the poor child.”
“Would you mind going over to the house and making sure they both show up for… erm… a Scooby meeting? Perhaps we can keep them both calm until the last possible moment.”
Tara agreed, and left, hoping to find both Willow and Xander at Buffy’s home.
Giles went upstairs, first stopping in the bathroom for a basin of warm soapy water and a couple of washcloths. When he walked into the guestroom he was very pleased.
Blood, juice and ice cream had been consumed and the empty bowls and mugs were arranged neatly on the tablecloth, as were two docile children. They were, however, a very sticky mess. Two faces and three hands were covered with the remains of their snack, and their clothing was a complete disaster. Giles did bless the fact that their WalMart shopping spree had yielded enough clothing for a quick change.
When the dishes and mugs were in the sink, and the children once again playing calmly in the bedroom, Giles closeted himself in his own room and, with not a little trepidation, dialed Angel’s number.
“Hello? Is that – yes. Sorry to have to disturb you, Angel… but we’ve had a little incident I need to discuss. It seems that Willow has taken into her head that Spike is a threat to everyone now that the chip is gone, and bespelled him. An anti-violence spell of some sort. Unfortunately, it’s not very discriminating in what constitutes violence, much like that blasted chip.”
Angel’s growling reverberated through the receiver, making Giles’ hand tingle. “What happened to the boy, Giles? Spit it out already.”
“During a spirited game of ‘destroy as many of Giles’ nice furnishings as possible,’ Buffy knocked over and shattered a lamp. Spike went to push her out of the way of the shards, and apparently the spell kicked in, keeping them separated and breaking his left wrist.” He hastened to add, “He’s fine, Angel. I set the bones and splinted the wrist. Tara is with me. She’s left Willow over this incident.”
Complete and utter silence.
“A-Angel, did you hear me? I said, Spike is fine. The boy’s in good spirits and Buffy is keeping him occupied.”
Giles could have sworn he heard the man mumble “Fucking humans.”
“I promise you, Angel… the children are both fine. They are safe. We are going to have an intervention of sorts this evening, to diffuse the Willow situation and hopefully get the spell removed. And to make sure that Xander doesn’t do anything rash, considering I am sure he now knows about the chip, as well.”
“Don’t let them down, Giles.” Was all the Watcher heard before the receiver slammed down on the other end.
Tara returned to the house around four in the afternoon, with a promise that Xander and Willow would arrive at seven. That left plenty of time for a little play with the kiddies and a good, solid dinner to fortify them all for the upcoming confrontation.
The door opened promptly at seven. “So, G-man… what’s the big ugly you need our help with?” Xander waltzed in, full of bravado… as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Willow followed silently, close behind.
“Would you have a seat, please?” Giles was determined to keep this meeting civil. He’d known these children so long they were as much family to him as Buffy. It didn’t mean he was blind to their shortcomings.
“I have to assume we all know about Spike’s condition, and that some of you are less than comfortable about it.”
Xander snorted. “Yeah, no use beating around the bush, is there? Will told me about demon boy being fanged again, and that she took steps to protect her friends. Usage of magic? Not so good… but I can’t fault her for wanting to keep everyone safe.”
“I-I was just worried, Giles. We don’t have a clue as to when he’ll revert to the Big Bad!” Willow had resorted to whining her justifications for her actions. “And I didn’t hurt him, honest. It was a simple spell… non-invasive. It just used a minor chant and an article of clothing. I wouldn’t hurt a little boy on purpose. You know I wouldn’t.”
There was a pounding on the door before anyone could respond to Willow’s declarations.
“Are you expecting anyone, Giles?” Tara asked, as she went to open the door.
Giles sighed. “Everyone we know is already here. Be careful to stay out of reach of the barrier in case it’s a vampire.”
It was – one who had complete access to the house. The Angel who showed up at Giles’ front door was not the same man that had left the day before. Stone faced, there was no hint of the compassionate grandpa cuddling his childe. This was an avenging angel, out for blood.
Tara quickly stepped away from the door, allowing the vampire entrance.
“Where are the children?” he growled, not bothering with civilities. Those in his good graces knew who they were, anyway.
Before anybody could answer, Buffy appeared at the top of the steps. “Mister Grandpa Angel! He said it was you! Come and see Spike’s broked arm!”
Willow’s eyes widened at the mention of the little vampire’s injury. Obviously he had tried to hurt somebody, and if that were the case, why was Buffy still allowed to be in his presence?
Angel, vamped out; yellow eyes flashing and fangs bared, reached the little girl preternaturally quickly and scooped her into his arms. “Buffy, this is very important. You go into your room, close the door, and no matter what you hear, make sure you and William stay inside. Do you understand?”
With no fear showing on her face at all, the little girl threw her arms around the vampire’s neck and whispered, “We’ll be good, Mister Grandpa Angel.”
He pressed a quick kiss to her temple, put her down and shooed her into the guestroom, waiting until the door clicked shut before heading towards the stairs.
The door opened barely a second later; a little head popping out to ask, “Can I go to the bathroom if I have to?”
“Only if you have to, little one. Now get back inside.” Angel turned and stalked down the stairs, not waiting for the click of the door this time.
By the time he reached the bottom step, he’d shaken off his gameface, once more glowering at everybody with angry brown eyes. He was immediately confronted by Giles.
“Come now, Angel. Was that really necessary? You could have scared the dear child to death.”
“Tell me, Giles… did Buffy look scared to you? She’s pretty swift on the uptake for a five year old, and I’m sure she can tell her friends from her enemies. Let me guess…” Angel turned swiftly and walked over to the couch, staring directly at Xander. “She didn’t take too kindly to you, did she?”
It gave Angel just a touch of satisfaction to see the wince on Xander’s face as his barb hit the mark. The kid had been bigoted and closed-minded since they first met. “Always knew Buffy had innate taste. You have to like a girl with good taste in men.”
“Yeah. That’s why she’s no longer going out with you,” the younger man mulishly retorted.
Angel ignored the remark, his attention already focused on the little redhead.
“Willow… I’m crushed.” Clutching his hand to his chest, the vampire wore a look of distress. “I thought we were friends. I mean, after our little discussion in the kitchen earlier, I was sure you understood how harmless the boy is. How could you set more magicks in place around a vampire already drenched in it? ”
Okay, she knew people – Tara – would disapprove. It’s why she had done the spell in secret, after all. But it was such a simple spell, Willow thought, trying to justify it to herself. Only meant to be defensive. Angel had no right to talk down to her like she were a little child. Hadn’t Giles’ dressing down been more than enough?
Her anger fueled a little false bravado. “Look, Angel. I’m sorry he got hurt. But if he hadn’t’ve tried to hurt someone, nothing would have happened.”
“You’re so sure you did the right thing,” Angel fumed. “Do you have any idea just how Spike’s wrist broke?”
“I-I’m sure he tried to hurt someone… it’s the only way the spell would have kicked in,” Willow insisted.
Tara’s anger had reached it’s limits. She strode past Angel and smacked her lover across the face. “I don’t believe you, Willow! You still don’t understand. There are things beyond your control. Things that should remain beyond your control.
“Spike did nothing wrong. In fact, he was trying to save Buffy from cutting herself on pieces of a broken lamp. Thanks to you,” she cried, “he couldn’t get close enough to push her out of the way. It was your spell that broke his wrist, Willow. You caused that little boy so much pain because you were afraid.”
Gently moving Tara aside, Angel continued his own verbal attack on the redhead. “You know, I’ve killed people for even looking at my family the wrong way. Of course, I didn’t have a soul then,” he sneered. “You should know I’ve got one now – you’re the one responsible for giving it to me the second time around. But I’m thinking it could stand a little tarnishing in defense of my boy. If I ever catch you pointing your magicks in a harmful way towards Spike again, I’ll personally take you out… redemption be damned.”
Xander was incensed at the vampire’s treatment of his best friend. “Who the fuck do you think you are, Deadboy? Willow was thinking of her friends, and the rest of the population… that’s all. When not-so-fangless is back to normal, he’ll be terrorizing the populace again, chowing down on necks like Ozzy Osbourne!”
“Who do I think I am, you snot-nosed little bastard? I am Angelus of Aurelius, Childe of Darla, Sire of Drusilla and Grandsire of William. Together Spike and I comprise half of the Scourge of Europe.” Angel folded his arms across his chest and smirked as his eyes flashed with flecks of gold. “Care to continue pissing me off, boy?”
“Angel!” Giles was worried this had gone too far, and the vampire would lose control. He worried that the children would bolt downstairs at any moment, and he was terrified that Willow, or even Tara would lose control and zap him. The macho pissing contest between the two men held the promise of major violence.
The vampire turned and winked, and Giles relaxed fractionally.
Turning to Xander, he hoped to calm him down. “Xander… I understand you’re more than uncomfortable about the situation with Spike. Frankly, so was I when Angel told me he’d removed the chip. Sadly, my reaction wasn’t much different from yours.
“But I’ve watched the boy for nearly three days straight, under all different circumstances. He’s never slipped into game face in anger, or in pain – and believe me, the boy was certainly suffering from the consequences of Willow’s spell. Accelerated vampire healing or not, a broken wrist is most painful.
“He’s sweet and thoughtful and a delight to be around… very much the antithesis of the grown up Spike we’ve all come to know. Perhaps if we tried treating him more humanely, his softer nature would reassert itself – now that he no longer has to fight us.”
“Yeah, and when things don’t go his way,” Xander insisted, “Buffy’ll have to kill another vampire she’s gotten familiar with. Thank god she’s not in love with this one. She really hasn’t been the same since Angelus made the scene with his after pillow talk.”
What is with these people and their freaking assumptions? Not that Angel hasn’t trod down that very path before, especially concerning Spike… but this is just too much for him to bear. Grabbing Xander by the scruff of the neck, he hauled the younger man up the stairs – deeply enjoying the fear pouring off the young man.
Angel opened the door to the guestroom, shoving Xander inside. "There's your vicious un-chipped killer."
Xander’s mouth fell agape at what he saw. On the bed, the children were sleeping face to face, cuddled up tight. Spike’s injured arm was thrown around Buffy’s waist. Before he could utter a single word, Angel dragged him back out of the room and closed the door.
“Why do you have to look for trouble, Harris?” Angel snapped as he closed the door quietly behind him and shoved the younger man towards the stairs. “For the next however long it is, Spike’s more than harmless. As for when he’s back to normal – like I told Willow the other day – we can cross that bridge when we get to it.”
“And until then, I’ll be sleeping with my cross, thank you,” Xander sniped. “For a long, long time,”
As the voices on the other side of the door faded as the men walked down the stairs, Spike and Buffy finally relaxed fully into sleep, secure in the knowledge that Angel would keep them safe.