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**Gasps** Only one week since we posted the previous chapter, and liliaeth and I have yet another new (albeit smallish) chapter for your reading pleasure. It was heartwarming to see such wonderful comments – now… tell all your friends! Please follow the Warning Alert System.

2015 – Late January

Green Alert
This follows right on the heels of the previous chapter. Mama goes to reclaim her missing cub. And remember that telling thing? *grins*

Please, as always, read and comment! Buffy!Muse seems to be sticking around for a bit – so we’re taking full advantage.

Feedback is always welcomed.

Goddess bless willa_writes - my first and foremost mentor, gillo, who proves that a little time off doesn’t dull a sharp mind, and just_sue, who believes in me, especially when I don’t.

To read Beloved from the beginning, go Here or to simply_beloved: chapter 1.

Full sized banner by liliaeth beneath the cut.

Beloved – Chapter 29 – Where There’s a Will…

As Andrew waved to his customer and closed the register drawer, an idea occurred to him. If young Will liked that sort of tale… he could tell him about the greatest champion of all times – the one nearest and dearest to his own heart. Even now… when he’d long since distanced himself from his old life.

“You know,” he said, sitting down close to Will this time, “Hellboy always reminded me of a friend of mine; someone I actually had the honor of working with in real life.”

Pleased when the boy didn’t scuttle away, Andrew pulled out his favorite storytelling accessory – a faux-Meerschaum pipe. He always felt more distinguished holding the thing… even when his every attempt at smoking a real one led to choking and tears. He fiddled with a small container, pouring its contents into the pipe’s bowl, took a breath… and blew.

The expression on Will’s face was priceless, as bubbles foamed over the top of the pipe and dripped onto the table, narrowly missing the comic he’d been reading. Score! The icebreaker breaketh… well, the ice!

“Ya see, Will… Hellboy was born a demon, and summoned into the world to do Evil, but he was rescued by a nice guy; raised to do Good, instead. Turns out he liked the way it made him feel and continues to do battle on the side of right to this day.”

Andrew patted his well-padded belly; the satisfaction of turning another fan on to the fantabulousness of pen-and-ink creations warmed his soul.

“Seems I’ve got time to begin another little tale whilst we wait for our lunch, kiddo. You game?” he asked.

Will nodded, slowly, putting aside the comic.

“Once upon a time, to a little town that called itself Sunnydale, came a Vampyre of legendary evil, known to friend and foe alike by the by the chilling name of… Spike.”

The boy shuddered; his hands blindly reaching for his necklace.

“Aha! It seems you might have heard of the brave and glorious one, have you? Fear not, young padawan,” Andrew soothed, “for this story has a tragic yet heroic ending. Listen to the tale of the poet-cum-vampire turned hero…” He paused then, clasping his hands to his heart with a beatific smile.

“All for the sake of love.”


Nina drove like a madwoman, desperate to get to her son… and quickly. She’d insisted that Angel return home, pocketing the address from Dr. Brzz’ic before her husband could hare off and possibly behead an innocent bystander. Will’s disappearance from a place where his safety should have been assured had made the vampire too furious to reason with.

She parked the car in the lot of a shabby little storefront. Cardboard cutouts and posters of all things geeky plastered the windows, making it impossible to see inside. Nina glanced once more at the paper clutched tightly in her hand and up at the sign. It read: Sanctum Sanctorum, in large blue-red-gold letters lined in black.

Sanctum Sanctorum

Dear god, let Will be safe, was uppermost in her mind.

Taking a deep breath, Nina pushed the door open; the tinkling of the overhead bell announcing her entrance.

Huh, she thought, her predatory senses alert; her brain working overtime to assess the lie of the land, it’s certainly larger on the inside… and not quite as shabby.

There were several customers in the store, browsing through the rows of comics and magazines; two teenagers giggling over some well-endowed heroine; a middle-aged man comparing the merits of several sculptures – also scantily clad. Even with a quick glance of her artist’s eye, Nina knew some of those women would never be capable of standing upright, much less fighting crime.

And then she saw him.

Towards the back of the shop, at one of the low, round tables, surrounded by a morass of pizza boxes and upturned paper cups, sat William, listening attentively to a chubby little man she’d pegged as the storeowner. Not only was her boy all right, he was downright smiling!

Nina couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen a smile on the child’s usually grim visage.

In-between bites of pizza, the man – who looked as childlike as his audience – gesticulated wildly, all the while making the weirdest faces.

“…and that’s how the vampire champion willingly sacrificed his life for a second time; giving his all in support of his Sire as they battled the demon hordes from Hell. Together, these mighty warriors saved all of humanity.”

Nina gasped in shock as the words reached her. This absurd little man was telling Will the story of his life before he’d been reborn. How in the world…?


Will turned around, pushing up from his seat and headed quickly in her direction.

Forgetting everything but the fact that her boy was alive and safe, she swiftly pulled him in for a hug.

He stiffened in her arms; the smile vanished… and Nina’s motherly heart broke in two. How could he be so at ease with a stranger and still uncomfortable with her?

**ahem** The shopkeeper cleared his throat, causing Nina to turn from her son. “Mrs. Dowell, I presume?” He walked towards her, offering his hand.

Nina nodded, tentatively returning his handshake. Her momentary distraction allowed Will the opening to scoot out of her embrace.

“You must be the counselor’s friend… A-andrew?” She faltered, half-watching Will out of the corner of her eye. “Thank you for looking out for my son. I hope he wasn’t any trouble.”

“At your service, madam,” he said, sketching a deep bow. “Young Will was the perfect guest. No trouble at all. The lad and I did share a pizza… extra cheese and sausages. I hope it didn’t spoil your dinner plans.”

“You mean he ate?” Nina was shocked.

“Like he was starving!” Andrew nodded enthusiastically. “Three slices and all the cold water I could pour. For some reason, he wouldn’t touch my Mountain Dew.”

“You actually got him to eat?” Nina repeated. “My William?”

“Well, yeah… it’s not like I’m carrying stock in Williams, here,” he cracked, apparently trying to be funny. “All I did was get him interested in the tale of an old pal of mine… who’d done great deeds. Someone who’d died a hero’s death. The lad just packed it away.”

Nina raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Someone you knew?” How could this little nebbish have been involved in an apocalyptic battle between slayers and demons and come out of it unscathed? She couldn’t help giving him the once-over and laughing. Maybe he was just repeating stories he’d heard bits and pieces of.

“It’s true!” Andrew insisted, as he drew himself to his full height; puffing out his chest. “I – we – battled the forces of evil together when I lived in Sunnydale… when there was a Sunnydale.”

Thinking about it made her brain ache, and she had much more important issues to deal with than this little puffin of a man. If push came to shove, Nina could always send her husband after him. She nodded, conceding the point for the moment.

“Well, thank you again for being so kind to Will,” she said, anxious to get home. Nina was sure Angel was going batty in their absence. “Do you have a business card in case… ?” She left the question hanging, not exactly sure why she asked for the card in the first place.

“No problemo, Mrs… Dowell, right?”

“Dowell, Nina Dowell,” she confirmed, putting the card in her purse. “Now, it’s time to go home, Will. Our car’s right outside. Are you ready?”

As her son nodded in agreement and headed for the door, the shopkeeper came running towards him, waving something in his hand.

“Wait! Wait, young padawan,” he called out, thrusting a comic at Will. “Don’t forget Hellboy – he’s a present from me to you.”

Will shrank back, waving it away, but the shopkeeper took the comic and placed it in the boy’s hand, waiting until he finally accepted with a small nod.

“Good, good. Just remember what we talked about – like with Hellboy… it’s not what you are, but what you do as you make your way in the world.”

Nina shook her head. Comic book geeks – they never change. “Come on, Will… I’m sure dad’s a nervous wreck waiting for us to get home.” With a gentle hand on his shoulder, they started towards the door.

William turned back as the smiling man held the door for them.

“Thank you,” he whispered, getting into the car and buckling himself in as Nina started the car.

It wasn’t until they pulled into the garage some time later that Nina realized what had happened, and slammed on the brakes in shock.




( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 11th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
Andrew, of all people, getting through to Will. However it was done, thank goodness he's had a little breakthrough!
Apr. 11th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
He needed the break, poor dear. What an awful lot for a ten year old to have gone through. *smiles*
Apr. 11th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
For some reason, he wouldn’t touch my Mountain Dew.

A touch of genius!

This has polished up beautifully. Lovely to see you've got your writing head on again. More, please!
Apr. 11th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
*grins* I so couldn't resist the Dew! Just sorta fits when talking about our boy, yeah? Glad you liked the final version. *smooches*
Apr. 11th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
Very nicely done - and with bubbles too.
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Gotta have the bubbles! *giggles* Glad you enjoyed.
Apr. 12th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
Good for Andrew.
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Andrew does make a nice surprise guest in small doses.
Apr. 12th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
Oh my dear, this is lovely. You know how I feel about Andrew, and I was laughing so hard with the bubble pipe and with the Mountain Dew part. So tender, your depiction of Will and the doddering, child-like Andrew who loved his Spike so.

Can't wait till more. You're wonderful.
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
**blush** <--- You made me! So thrilled you liked our surprise guest. More to come, eventually.
Apr. 12th, 2008 10:45 am (UTC)
I can see Andrew getting through to him, he is someone who is the total opposite of anyone Will has ever known.
He loves Spike, and would take Will in with open arms, even if he didnt' know Will was Spike reincarnated. He has gotten Will intrested in something other than his grief, an outlet.
Know it was a good idea Angel did not show up their, Andrew's head would have rolled, as protective as Angel is right know. And I doubt he would have let Will go with Angel. Nina is someone he doesn't know and is non menacing.
I will love to see Andrew's reaction when he finds out who Will is. Though I don't know who he will reference Will to this time.
I have one question is Will ten or eleven ? Andrew was a good source for Will to learn who he was, it showed the positive of who Spike was. The consveration that Will and Angel will have over this will be intresting. I don't know if Angel will let Will back their, once he knows it's Andrew. Angel will be giving him the third degree even without Nina asking him. I take it from the story know Will will figure out his "Buffy" is the Buffy from Andrew's story, and that they were once in love. And that Buffy still loves him that way even to go into a second life for both of them. Though I take it will be months if not years before Illyria and Buffy wake up again. What Will's reaction be when he finds out Spike and Buffy were once lovers, the bad of the relationship I know he will take hard. I would have loved to have seen more interaction of the young Buffy and him. At this point with Buffy being stone for so long. She would have taken any chance to be in the flesh again, even if she would have been de-aged back to a child. In fact I think she won't have minded it at all, she would have been back with Dawn and Will. She would have looked at it as a second chance to be a girl with him again. And have a more normal life. To grow up with him, and then have a chance of love again as a teenager and adult. Oh what Dawn would have thought, to have their roles reversed.
But I take it Buffy won't have that kind of interaction again with Will. Will might also find out why Illyria protects him, both for thinking of him as her pet. And for the part of Fred that is in her for thinking of Spike/Will as a friend.
Apr. 12th, 2008 10:48 am (UTC)
Oh to add to my long post, sorry.
Will an adult Spike and Will ever be able to talk, even if it's just in Will's mind ?
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
You bring up many, many interesting thoughts, hon. Thanks for all the effort you've put forth. We'll just have to see which get answered as the rest of the story unfolds.

As for Will, he's nearing his 11th birthday. What a crappy year the poor thing has had.
Apr. 16th, 2008 10:05 am (UTC)
Your Welcome, :)
I can give you all the thoughts you need.
Apr. 13th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC)
Oh wow, this chapter was PERFECT! Andrew is just priceless, and Nina as the doting/worried mother was written to perfection. I especially loved that Will was captivated by the story, and I'm so glad that he's slowly beginning to make some progess. Well done!
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:34 am (UTC)
We certainly did put the poor darling through the wringer, didn't we? Hopefully this is the start of some better times. Glad you enjoyed!
Apr. 14th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
I can just imagine what Nina and Angel have been going through. I just know that I was be freaking out if my child just disappeared where he should have been fine and safe. I can't believe that still ended up with Andrew. And Andrew unknowingly told him the story of his life. And little Will actually spoke. awe..
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:36 am (UTC)
And he was polite, too! *grins* Nothing like parenthood to drive one out of one's mind. *grins* So glad you're sticking with us.
Apr. 15th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)
Never underestimate the power of a geek. Hopefully Andrew's breakthrough will help Will start to heal. Looking forward to more.
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:41 am (UTC)
Will's been about as far down as he can go. Only way left for him is up (we hope).

No geeks were underestimated in the writing of this fic. *grins*
Apr. 15th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
Andrew is perfect for young Will I do hope he gets more opportunities to bond with the boy - if only to ply him with comics and pizza. He's one of the few people in his life who isn't hiding a stack of secrets from the child. More please.
Apr. 16th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Not sure how much Will and Andrew'll share page time, but I've learned never to say never. Our characters have a way of stealing the reigns and doing their own thing.

More to come... as soon as we can. *smooches*
Apr. 23rd, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
You know, I was sure I left a comment on the previous part, which I definitely have read - something to do with this being about the first time I've not minded Andrew. However, I can't see it there.

Anyway, rest assured I enjoyed it very much, and this chapter. It's great to see this story back and to see little Will slowly recovering. I feel so sorry for Nina and Angel. I hope they get their son back soon.
Jul. 4th, 2008 04:56 am (UTC)
Hey Deb! Finally pulling myself up to answer comments. As always, I'm glad you're still reading and enjoying... and very pleased Andrew hasn't made you hurl for a change.

Slowly but surely Will is getting his act together. There's another chapter posted after this one... and then... I do believe we'll see the boy again. *smooches*
Jul. 5th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)
Hi, love. Very nice to see you. I hope you're doing okay?

Also, I saw you'd posted another chapter and hope to read it this weekend.
Jul. 16th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
Andrew is the most unlikely hero. Ever. He accidentally stumbled on just the right tale of redemption and derring do. It was just perfect for giving Will a bit of hope and comfort.

Nina completely missing the "thanks you" in all her panic and jumbled emotion was wonderful. It seems they may have finally turned a corner.
Jul. 17th, 2008 08:07 am (UTC)
Let's face it... Spike will always be Andrew's #1 hero. We were so glad to use the power of his love for good. *grins* And poor mama Nina. She's been stressed forever. No wonder she missed her boy's first words - until they struck home.
Sep. 2nd, 2008 04:10 am (UTC)
::Loves Andrew::
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )