All the Stops: Transfiguration Ch. 6bybadgirl298©
Angel stared down in horror at the still girl in his bed. Dawn’s luxurious hair was spread out, her face was snow white. She was really dead. And he had changed her into a demon. This hadn’t happened in a very long time. Too long, the demonic voice in his head whispered. Angel felt like he was going to be sick. He heard someone knock on the door. “Go away!”
“You’re going to bloody well open up or I’m going to knock the door down and beat you with it.” Spike bit out from the other side of the wooden structure.
Angel composed himself for a minute. He didn’t want to show any weakness to his grandchilde. Spike was a master at exploiting the weaknesses of others.“Come in.” He said opening the door, his voice dripping with disdain.
The blue eyed demon had eyes only for Dawn. “You did it.” Spike said hollowly, eyes fixed on the small girl in his sire’s bed. “She’s gone.”
“Yes, I did it.” Angel affirmed. “I just hope she’s happy.”
They both knew he was talking about Buffy. The younger vampire shook of his own melancholy. “She’ll be happy to know that nibblet will have a long unlife. That’s all that matters.” Spike turned his attention to Dawn once more. “Huh.” He mused. “She looks a bit like Drusilla. All black and white.” Dawn’s face and hair did reflect a stark contrast. “Though she doesn’t play with dolls.”
Angel’s left eye twitched with repressed anxiety. “Yet another innocent I took to the dark side. I wonder if she’ll grow to hate me as much as Dru did.”
“The dark side?” Spike scoffed. “You sound like sodding Darth Vader.”
“Is that a demon?”
“Never mind. Point is, you didn’t take anything she didn’t want taken. The bit and I thought this all out. I’m not going to let her regret this. You’ll see.”
“What do you have to do with this?” Angel asked.
“I’m going to be her sire.” Spike explained as is if he were talking to a very stupid person. Well, in his book, Angel was deeply stupid. “She needs someone to teach her how to be a vampire and that’s what I intend to do. Me and the nibblet, together for always.” He had become adjusted to the idea of Dawn as a vampire. He was actually looking forward to it now. She would be his compatriot, his creation. He would never be alone again.
“You. . .and Dawn?” Angel said condescendingly. “I don’t think so. She’s my childe. Mine.” He could feel Angelus grumbling within him, eager for the chance to assert his dominance.
“Don’t be ridiculous. She can’t learn to be a proper vampire from you, Your Poofiness.” Spike folded his arms across his chest. “What would you teach her? Guilt 101?”
“She isn’t going to be a proper vampire. She’s going to have a soul.” Angel nodded. “She’ll have to learn how to straddle both worlds like I have. A foot in the demon plane, a foot in the human one. I am the only one who can guide her.”
“You just love to hear yourself talk, don’t you?” Spike snorted. “She’s a vampire. Not a human. She never was human. I’m going to see to it that she doesn’t end up as a boring drudge like you.”
Angel was about to argue the point, or perhaps slam his fist in Spike’s face when Dawn stirred on the bed. “She shouldn’t be waking up this soon.” He said worriedly.
Spike shrugged. “She’s The Key, that probably makes her stronger than a human.” Both vampires stepped closer to the bed eagerly. ***********
“This isn’t working, Giles.”
“I know.” He sat down with a sigh, a clump of smoldering herbs in his hands. He crushed it into a nearby ashtray to stop the flames. They were both more than a little tired from their efforts.
Willow picked up the Orb of Thessulah. “Do you think its broken?”
“No, I don’t think so.” He thought about how to express what he could sense coherently. “The spell doesn’t FEEL right.”
“I know what you mean.” Giles was speaking in terms of energy. The two of them together were creating a field of magickal force which was powerful yet amorphous. But it just fizzled. Whenever they tried to make it conform to the mandates of the spell, it resisted and drifted away. As a result, they were in a highly charged room, the energy almost crackled in the air. “What are we doing wrong?”
“I’m not certain.” He took off his glasses. “Think back to the first time you performed this, is anything different now?” He tucked the right tip in his lips absently
“What ‘uh-oh’?” Giles had spent enough time on the Hellmouth to discover that ‘uh-oh’s produced death and disaster with alarming regularity. “What’s wrong?”
“The last time, there may have been a teensy difference.” Willow said, minimizing the situation.
“I may have been a bit. . .well, a little–“
”Willow! For God’s sake, just tell me.”
“Possessed.” She said, shrugging. “But only a little bit.”
Giles was livid. “Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner? Like say, oh I don’t know. . .three years ago!?”
“Because I knew you’d get mad at me. And I was right.”
“I’m not mad at you!” He snapped. She rose one perfectly sculpted red brow. “Alright. Perhaps I am a little cross with you.” He took a deep breath, trying to be patient with her. “But there is no such thing as a little possessed! You’re either possessed or you are not.”
“Well, I guess you should know.” Willow clamped her hands over her mouth. “Sorry!” She said, from behind her fingers.
“Point taken.” Giles said dryly. He was over his initial anger. He wasn’t even upset with her, not really. He just didn’t want her to put herself at such risk. Especially so casually. Willow never stopped to consider the possible repercussions of her actions, especially when it came to magick. She reminded him of the young man he used to be and he desperately wanted to dissuade her from that path in life.
“If it’s any consolation, it wasn’t a demon. I think I was possessed by the spirit of the gypsy who performed the original spell. ”
That did improve his humor. Somewhat. “Alright then. A spirit possession is not nearly as serious. Did you call her somehow? Subconsciously perhaps?”
Willow looked thoughtful. “I might have. I was very focused on performing the ritual, but my thoughts drifted back to the first time it was performed. I remember wondering what it must have been like for the gypsy.”
Giles nodded. “That could be it. Let’s try again. This time, I want you to focus on the first ritual.”
They once again assembled their supplies. Giles replaced his glasses and picked up his book. He began to say the verses in Latin while Willow implored the spirt world for access to Dawn’s soul. ***********
“Dawn, are you alright?”
“Open your eyes, little bit.”
Dawn licked her lips, her mouth felt dry as if she hadn’t had a drink in ages. She blinked her eyes open, two concerned vampires swam into her line of vision. The light was harsh and she squinted a little a she sat up in bed. She was forced to steady herself against the headboard. “Do I have something on my face or what?” She asked, trying to force some humor into the situation.
“No.” Spike said quietly. “Do you feel alright?”
“Considering the sitch?” He nodded. “Yeah, I’m okay.” Her expression grew serious. “Did it work? Am I a vamp?”
Angel winced at his contradictory emotions. “I suppose so.” The demon inside, howled in triumph, eager to greet his newest childe.
Spike grinned before he vamped out.“Show me your face, bit. Let’s have a look at my girl.”
Dawn scrunched her face up, trying to make the demon come to the fore. But it didn’t. She twisted her features again. Then, stopped. “Ow. That just made my cheeks hurt. What’s going on?”
Angel cupped her chin in his hands and looked into her eyes, as if he were a doctor dealing with a perplexing patient. “Usually, the demon is eager to appear.”
Spike honed his senses, searching for her with all of his vampiric faculties. He could smell her blood. It was no longer human. “Smell her.” He said to Angel who took a whiff as well. “ She has our essence.” She smelled of Angel. She even smelled like himself. Because Angel and himself were so closely related, their scents were almost the same. In fact, she smelled like their kind. All members of the Order of Aurelius had traces of the same blood in their veins.
Angel’s head turned to the side, much like a dog who has heard a far off sound. “I hear a heartbeat.”
Spike could feel it too. It reverberated in his ears in an unmistakably steady rhythm. “It didn’t work.” He stared at Angel accusingly.
“What?” Dawn asked, a tear sliding down her face. “No! It had to work.”
“This doesn’t make sense. I can smell my blood in her veins but she’s still alive.”
Just then, Dawn made an agonized sound. Her head fell back as she was slammed up against the headboard by some invisible force. Her eyes flew open, their blue depths became an eerie green as the demon finally asserted itself. Her whole demeanor changed. Her innocent face took on a knowing smirk as she gazed at the other vampires. Slowly, her visage morphed into the familiar ridges that marked her as a demon.
Spike whooped in triumph. Her ‘lumpies’ as Buffy put it were not so pronounced because she was new and she was female but she was definitely a vampire. “You’re beautiful, little bit.”
Angel looked away, revolted by his own actions. Inside, Angelus celebrated. And urged him to taste his new childe, show her her place.
Then, Dawn gasped in surprise. They both looked up to see the vampire’s eyes widen with shock as a stream of what looked like lightening spread over Dawn’s body. It was white and green, obviously pure energy. The most powerful force either of them had ever seen. The demonic presence disappeared, the energy surge had completely obliterated all trace. It left Dawn gasping Her eyes were completely white, save for the green lightning that shimmered across the surface.
“The Key.” Spike whispered, reverently. He was truly awed by its presence.
Dawn’s eyes snapped shut. She shook her head as though to clear it. When she opened them once more, they were their usual shade of blue. “What was that?!” ***********
“What’s wrong with you?” Willow shouted as she furiously shook the little globe. “Bad ball! Bad!”
“Willow, I hardly think chastising the Orb of Thessulah is going to work.”
The redhead replaced the crystal sphere in the velvet container. “I was making a joke, Giles.” She looked at him earnestly. “Ha. Ha. I thought it might relieve some of our frustration.”
“Oh. Yes.” He tried to smile. “Funny.”
She waived her hand. “Stop. You might strain your smiley muscle.” Willow sat down on the table top close to him. “Seriously though, we have to figure out what’s going wrong. There’s a seriously wigged Slayer upstairs and an undead girl. I promised Buffy I could give her a soul and I’m not letting her down.” She clasped her hands together. “Of course that depends on whether or not I can figure out what’s going on here. I’ve produced many wrong results in the spells I’ve performed but I’ve never had NO result.”
“If it helps, I don’t understand it either.” Giles commiserated. He was trying to ignore the fact that her thigh was pressed against his own. It’s the magick in the air, he told himself. It was only natural to be hyper aware.“We’ve tried half a dozen times. I’ve gone through four sage plants. I made sure that my Latin was flawless. It should have worked.”
“Maybe we should switch? I’ll read out loud while you reason with those wacky limbo spirits.”
“I can’t, Willow. I’m not as advanced as you are, magickally speaking. That spell could prove dangerous to me or to you, or to everyone if I lost control of it.”
“You wouldn’t.” She assured him. Giles was all about control. Discipline was could be his middle name.
“I might.” His shoulders slumped.
“But Giles, you’ve been battling evil professionally for years. With all of your knowledge, me as a back-up, and our combined power, this spell wouldn’t be that big of a deal for you.”
He looked at her uncomfortably.“It’s not the spell that worries me, Willow. You’ve never seen the way I act under the influence of magick. It’s one thing to help you do a casting, the energy only flows through you then.”
“You’re afraid of what would happen if you let it get a hold on you again.” She said, watching him carefully.
“That kind of power is heady, Willow. It creates a need in you for more. And when I channel those kind of forces. . .well, people die.”
“So, you’re addicted. . .?” Willow was searching for the right analogy. “As if magick we’re a drug.
“It is. And believe me, I was addicted to it. I could very well get to that state once more. It’s a fine line, Willow. One that you’ll have to draw for yourself.” His fingers went of their one will to cup her cheek. “You have the ability to be a powerful witch. A force of good.” He stroked her skin with his thumb. “More powerful than any I’ve ever seen but you must use your gift wisely.” He drew his hand away. “And I’m afraid I’m not the one you should model your behavior after.”
“That was one incident, Giles. One. And it happened a long time ago. Give yourself some credit, you’re not the same person. You’re not Ripper.”
It was a great deal more than one incident. Giles met her eyes, his demeanor changing slightly. He became dangerous somehow, but in a way that was pleasant. A way that made her pulse jump. His accent changed too. It became more pronounced, less precise. “Are you so sure about that?”
Willow blinked, wigged by his sudden shift. “Don’t do that! It makes me thing you have multiple personalities or something, Giles.”
He gave a half smile, once more the studious Watcher. “Ethan used to tell me that too.”
“Ethan’s magick is dark isn’t it?”
“Yes.” Giles agreed. “And now that you’ve mingled energies, a little bit of yours is too.”
Willow looked away. It might have been that way before, Giles. Instead she said. “I know but I can handle it.”
“You must be so careful, Willow. Black magick is tantalizing. It will draw you in, make you crave it.”
“Ethan said the same thing. He implied that it ,uh, produced an incredible high. That it was better than uh. . .”
“Making love?” He offered. She nodded. “Yes, well, he might have had ulterior motives for saying that.”
“Er, perhaps, enticing you to. . .he’s rather. . .”
“Giles?” She prompted.
Oh, sod it all. “It’s a line, Willow. He may have been talking you into his bed. He always uses sorcery to woo women.” And men too.
She rolled her eyes. “Still gay.”
“More’s the pity.” Giles said under his breath.
“I said Tara’s very pretty.” He said banally. “But enough of that. We have work to do.” He couldn’t stop a yawn. He was tired from the expenditure of so much energy. “Want to have another go at it?”
“Sure. Spell me.” She held her hand out for the bones.
Giles did so. “I just pray that it works this time. Buffy’s suffered so much loss lately.”
“I know.” Willow could feel tears stinging her eyes.
“I shouldn’t have brought that up. I’m sorry.” He hastily brushed a tear away that landed against her nose. For some reason, he couldn’t stop himself from touching her. The urge was there all the time but he had always managed to clamp down on it. It must be the magick, it was creating a bond between them.
“But what if Dawn stays like this? What if we never get her back?”
Giles took her hand in his own, twisting to face her. “Shhhh. We’ll get her back, I promise.”
She squeezed his hand, enjoying its warmth and the way it swallowed up her own. “You think so?”
“Absolutely.” He forced himself to put on a brave face. He really wasn’t sure. But he couldn’t stand to see her cry.
“Okay.” She took a shuddering gasp of air. “I’m alright now.” She wiped away her stray tears and began to breathe more easily. “So, maybe we need to vary my part of the spell. Or maybe we could try some lighter candles? Spirits like shimmery candles. I may have a silver one upstairs. Or maybe–“
“Or maybe you need some help?” A voice called. Ethan’s angled face appeared as he opened the door and peeked in.
“Get out of here, Ethan.” Giles said, he released Willow’s hand as if it was burning him. Then, he scooted away as if she hadn’t practically been in his lap before the other man showed up. And Ethan had seen it all, the other man gave him a mock reproachful look. He mentally groaned. Good show, Giles. Nothing like getting caught with your hand hovering over the cookie jar.
“What’s wrong, Ripper? Isn’t that why you brought me here? For my prowess?”
“Magickal prowess.” Giles clarified. “And I’ve had enough of the thinly veiled sexual innuendos.”
“Don’t worry. They’re not aimed at you. Your virtue is safe. And I don’t think Willow minds. Do you?” He said cheerfully, giving the young witch a thrice over. “You look radiant, my dear.”
She flushed under his scrutiny. “Leftover magick. Good for the skin.” She mumbled, eyes stuck on the floor. “Giles, he has a point.”
“You’re enjoying his sexual harassment of you?” Giles looked baffled and slightly queasy.
“Uh, no.” She cleared her throat. “The needing him part. For the spell.”
“What’s wrong? Can’t he get it up?” Ethan asked, a wicked smile on his face. He loved to bait Ripper.
“Get it up?!” Giles’ face was murderous. He hadn’t missed the not so subtle sexual jibe or the deliberate one about his magickal abilities.
“What? I was talking about raising your. . .magickal force.”
He gritted his teeth. “I’m not a despot of gutter magick like you, I know. But I do know my way around unsavory wizardry. Willow and I raised plenty of energy on our own.“
Ethan held his hands out palms up as if he were testing for wayward raindrops. “Yes, I can feel it. But it spent itself prematurely, eh?” He nodded meaningfully at Willow. “Left you unsatisfied?” She reddened. “ So, I suppose stamina is the real issue.”
Willow was afraid Giles was going to reach out and throttle Ethan. Actually, she was considering helping him. But this was not the time. “Okay. I’ve had enough of you two. You sound like children. We don’t have a time for one upmanship.”
“You’re right.” Giles said, but he was glowering at Ethan. Willow thought that if he possessed the ability to make humans combust, she’d be seeing a pile of ashes where the sorcerer stood.
“Yes, Willow’s right.” Ethan agreed, appearing shamefaced. “We’re being ridiculous. Arguing like two children.” He walked to Willow and pulled her hand in his own. “Forgive me?”
“Of course.” She said as she pulled her hand away. She didn’t want to admit it, but she was a bit flattered by his attentions. Just a little bit. As much as she loved Tara she still missed flirting with men. Yes, there was something to be said for the opposite sex. “We should get started.”
Ethan picked up the tome Giles had been reading from. “Are you certain you are up to casting this once more? You look a little knackered.” He said solicitously.
“Oh, I’m fine. Nothing that some food and some sleep won’t cure. But you’ll be supplying most of the magick.” Willow pointed out.
“That’s fine by me. I have more than enough to go around, dear girl.”
“And you certainly like to spread it.” Giles muttered. He hated this. Hated being sidelined. Hated being near Ethan again. And really hated watching him pursue Willow. “I’ll just be over here.” He said, walking to a chair in the corner of the room. neither one of them even looked up, they were engrossed in arranging the spell’s ingredients.
Ethan should know better, Giles thought. Willow was a child. A beautiful, thoughtful, intelligent, charming wom. . .child. Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. Bloody hell. He needed a drink. ***********
“So, let me get this straight.” Dawn said. She was standing now. Her strength was rapidly returning. “I’m not a vampire and now I smell.”