Rebound Ch. 11bybadgirl298©
Willow put the small fuzzy animal on the pillow facing Spike. In a moment, she would let her alarm go off to wake the sleeping vampire. She was still in her flannel nightgown. He had carried her upstairs last night and she had fallen asleep with this arms around her. The only thing that clouded her feeling of contentment was thinking of Angel. Guilt over enjoying herself with Spike.
Spike was falling in love with her. Angel was falling in love with her. She was falling for both of them. Her feelings were impossibly entangled, she wished there were someway she could sort them out. She had never intended her little bet with Spike to escalate into a full-blown vampire love triangle.
Willow’s alarm went off, noisy and shrill. Spike’s eyes snapped open and he turned his head. He let out a blood curdling scream and jumped out of bed, but he fell to the floor because his ankle was twisted in the sheets. “Bloody Hell!” He spotted Willow. “Run for your life, Red! I bet he brought his green buddies with him.”
When, he couldn’t get away, he shifted into demon face and growled at the fluffy troublemaker. He looked closer at the fuzzy character. “It’s Gizmo.” He picked it up. “Oh, he’s not real.” His voice held equal parts relief and disappointment. Spike noticed Willow’s barely concealed grin. “Tryin’ to scare me, pet?”
“No. Yes. Only a little. Xander gave him to me after we saw the movie. I slept with the little guy for months afterwards, he’s been in my closet shelf ever since. I couldn’t bear to throw him away. . .I just. . .wanted you to have him.” She smiled at him impishly as he struggled to his feet. “I do appreciate your heroic effort to save me from my stuffed animal. Were you going to bite him?”
He crossed his arms. “That’s not funny, pet. I was half asleep, having a nightmare about those nasty green blokes. Then, I wake up to find that bloody thing on the pillow next to me.” He wouldn’t look at her. “And I thought the way I woke up yesterday was frightening. ” He tried to look upset with her, but he was absurdly pleased that she was gifting him with a treasured childhood toy.
“Tell me, Spike, how can you be afraid of a gremlin. . .when you’ve k-killed people and caused so much trouble?” She shuddered a little, it was hard for her to see him as the ferocious vampire he once was with the gentle Spike she’d gotten to know.
“Well, I was the one causing all of it, wasn’t I?” He said, defensively. Then he seemed to shake a little. “Besides, they’re so green, and scaly and . . . little.” He held his hand at knee level.
“You’re scared of small things?”
“You wouldn’t ask me that if you heard the stories Angelus told me about the little people in Ireland. Vicious. Besides, what would you be scared of if you were immortal?” He pointed out. “Little things that slip past your notice. Creepy crawlies that you don’t see until it’s too late.”
“Angelus used to tell you stories?” She sat Indian-style on the end of the bed.
“Oh, that’s the one thing that catches your interest? Him? You want to know more about my bleedin’ sire?” He pouted as he sat down on the floor to look up at her.
“No. I want to know about what kind of stories you heard.” She replied diplomatically.
“Are you handling me, luv?”
“Are you still stalling?”
He paused a moment to think about which stories to tell her about. The fairies? The banshee? The brownies? The leprechauns? “He told us stories that would chill you to the bone.” Spike looked around. Willow had duct-taped heavy blankets to the curtains for him, and the lighting was soft now, even at ten in the morning of a sunny California day. Willow gathered herself closer and leaned forward intently, as he began to speak. “Brownies are troublesome little folk . . .”
Willow watched as he spun tale after tale. He shifted his head and shoulders with the motion of the characters and even managed to effect a version of the brogue she had heard Angel using the other night. She was surprised to learn that he was a very talented story-teller. “I don’t think he could have told them any better. You’re really good at that.” She looked at him intently. “I can’t believe he really sat around telling you stories.”
“We were his children, Red. Besides, he probably took some sadistic pleasure in frightening the monsters that frighten people.” He gave a half smile. “Sometimes, like when he was telling us stories, he wasn’t so unbearable.”
Willow was perplexed. She had never heard Spike speak about Angel or Angelus in this way before. She knew from Giles’ texts that there was certain bond between a vampire and their maker. But, somehow she had never connected that to Spike and Angel. Of course, reflecting on what she knew of Drusilla, Spike’s true sire, she supposed that she wasn’t quite capable of playing the mentor role for him. And Angelus appeared to be the “Alpha” vampire, so to speak, who else would he look to? She motioned for him to sit next to her on the bed. “What was he like the rest of the time?”
“Don’t ask me that, pet.” He looked at her with haunted eyes and gripped her hand. “You don’t need nightmares, too.”
“You can trust me, Spike.” She shifted so they could face each other. “I have met Angelus. I know what he was like with humans. I always tried to imagine what he was like with other demons.”
Spike closed his eyes to call up the past, again. “Sometimes, he was a real charming bloke. He’d tell us stories, lead hunts, even bring home dinner. Other times, he . . .didn’t.”
She remained silent, encouraging him with her eyes to continue. “Darla was never the one who got hurt. He bended to her every whim. And when she upset him, he had only one place to get his frustrations out.” Spike tilted his head to the side. “He wasn’t like most demons. He didn’t blow up all at once. When he got mad, he got real quiet. And you knew it was coming. You could feel the tension. I would sit downstairs, silence all around me. And then you would hear it. The screaming.
“I forced myself to listen. If she couldn’t escape it, neither could I. He was older, stronger. Meaner. And if I challenged him, got in his face, he would make it that much worse for her. I would sit, listening to her screaming, and I promised myself. . .someday. . . I would be stronger. I would find a way to prove I was his equal. Then I could stop him from hurting her.”
“When he finished, I would go to her. Tried to bring her presents to erase the new images in her mind.” He shook his head. “She would just gaze back at me. So empty. Empty because she couldn’t appease the anger Darla caused. Couldn’t be what he needed. She used to tell me that she would never be enough. That it was her fault.
“But what really got to me in the end, was when she started to like it. Because those were the only times that he paid attention to her. That was right before the bloody bastard went off and got himself a soul. And now, instead of paying for what he did, there he sits like a bleeding knight in shining armor. Wanting people to feel sorry for him.” Spike bit his lip. He wasn’t sure if he should have told her this, could she handle these twisted memories?
Willow wondered if she would have been better off not knowing what he had just told her. But, knowing what she did, there was one last thing she had to ask. “Did he ever hurt you like that?”
“Not like that. We fought of course, he busted me up a few times. But nothing like what he did to her. He didn’t have to.” Spike met her eyes for the first time. “After I gave up trying to please him, all he had to do was hurt Dru. That was worse than anything else he could have done.”
“When Angel lost his soul. . .why did you let him back in your life?”
“Could you turn your father away?”
Willow sat on her front doorstep. Angel would be arriving soon. She held the doll Spike had given her. Willow had named the doll, Red, which had pleased Spike. Her mind was still swirling with the images Spike had put into her mind. She wasn’t all that sure that she could face Angel tonight. Sometimes, she had bad dreams about Angelus. Spike’s memories would only add to her nocturnal nightmares. The worst one was when he held her by the throat in the hallway of her highschool. She usually woke up screaming, hands clutching the phantom fang marks in her neck, trying desperately to stem the flow of her lifeblood.
Spike stood behind her, his hands smoothing her hair. He had been overly cheerful today, trying to distract her. . . until the sun had set. Then, he had followed her around. Silent. Watching her prepare for her evening with Angel, but making no comment. She knew that he wanted her to stay with him. She also knew that she couldn’t stay here tonight. Willow needed to talk to Angel, to gain his perspective. Maybe that would provide the missing piece to the puzzle. Help her make some sort of livable solution to her predicament.
Angel pulled into the driveway of Willow’s home. In the darkness, he saw a shadowed female figure, sitting on the steps. Clutching a doll. Over her, stood Spike, illuminated by the faint glow of the porch light. He stroked the woman’s hair. Angel’s hands gripped the steering wheel, resisting the urge to turn the car around and go back home. He steeled himself as he switched off the ignition. This confrontation was inevitable. He slowly walked towards the stoop, pulling the sunglasses from his eyes. “Drusilla.” Willow. They clattered to the ground, both lens cracking.
Willow looked up at Angel, disconcerted by his expression and his use of the other woman’s name. Spike moved to place himself between Angel and Willow. “You could at least get her name right, Angelus.”
“ Souled or soulless you’re still the same bastard.”
Willow touched Spike’s arm. He looked down at her. “You don’t have to go with him, luv. You can walk back in that house and I’ll keep you safe.”
“Angel isn’t going to hurt me tonight, Spike”
“No, he’ll wait until you fall in love him before he does that.” He kissed her temple and backed away.
Willow stood up and Angel slipped his arm through hers, still shaken. He managed to escort her to the car and open the door for her. They drove away, leaving Spike standing on the doorstep. He cradled Red protectively in his arms.
Willow shifted her legs uncomfortably in the car. Angel had still not spoken to her. He seemed lost in his own thoughts. “You thought I was Drusilla?”
“Yes,” he admitted. She noticed they were driving in the direction of his hotel room. “We need to talk about a few things.”
“I agree.” Willow wanted some answers from him. They drove the rest of the way in silence.
Angel indicated one of the overstuffed chairs and Willow sunk into it. The vampire sat across from her in the chair’s twin. “I’m worried about you, Willow. There are some things you need to know about Spike. But first, I have to tell you about William, the man he was before he was turned.” She sat back in her chair, content to let him tell this story in his own way for now.
She noticed that he had momentarily stopped treating her in a loverlike way, he was once more the Angel she had always known. Distant. Troubled. He seemed reluctant to begin.
“Spike told me that Drusilla sired him. That she wanted a companion.” She prompted.
“That’s true. She sired him. But he became my. . .Angelus’ responsibility. He wasn’t the headstrong, irreverent vampire that you currently know.”
“He told me that he had wanted to be a poet.”
“William.” He leaned forward in his chair. “At first, Angelus thought Drusilla had not chosen wisely. He and Darla had contemplated staking the fledgling. William was a pathetic vampire at first. Despondent, grieving for some human woman who had rejected him. Drusilla had found him in an alleyway, crying. Darla and Angelus thought he was just her toy, a plaything to be kept for a while and then discarded.” He explained this further when he saw her confusion. “Vampires pick a human to be a childe very carefully. They must look for a sign. You see, any human can be made into a minion. But, it takes a certain type of person to become a childe. The stress of being immortal is more than most humans can stand.”
“And Spike didn’t possess this sign?”
“Maybe it wasn’t as visible, or as potent. But Drusilla was able to see what lay beneath that weak exterior of his. And Angelus became William’s true sire, because Drusilla was not up to the task. At first, William seemed to have little taste for killing. He would starve himself for days before he was forced to find food. The months went by though and he grew stronger. Angelus taught him well.” Angel cleared his throat. “He instructed Spike to play with his victims, gain enjoyment from their deaths. Soon, Spike became his prized pupil. The two would often hunt together.
“That changed when Spike began to desire Drusilla. That closeness ended and jealousy replaced it. He began openly challenging Angelus. He tried to craft a new image for himself as ‘Spike’. Making up for the indignities he had suffered as a human while trying to cover his inadequacies as a vampire. He was obsessed with making a name for himself. Killing wantonly. Stalking slayers. But you probably knew this part.”
Willow was curious. “Something you said earlier. . .how does a vampire know a mortal’s aptitude to be a demon?”
“It’s a scent, Willow. A particular fragrance that only some humans possess.” He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry. “You have that smell.” Willow was aghast, unable to verbalize any reaction to the knowledge. Suddenly, she was once again in the factory, Spike’s captive. “That smell . . .your neck . . .I haven’t had a woman in weeks.” Hadn’t Spike admitted that he’d had his eye on her since that very night?
“I’ve seen the way that you two act around each other, Willow. I know that you think he’s harmless now. That Spike’s fun and spontaneous. But he’s a demon.”
She sighed. “Angel, I know he’s a demon-“
”You don’t understand. Think about his situation, Willow. What two things did Spike love most? Killing. But the chip took away that pleasure. And Drusilla. She’s gone as well but he can do something about that. He searched for a replacement and he thinks he has found one in you.”
“No, Spike doesn’t want to replace Drusilla. He wants to get on with his life.“
”Please listen to me.” He took her hand. “I saw you sitting there playing with a doll. He gave it to you, didn’t he?”
“Yes. But, he’s only bought gifts for one woman and she liked-“
”No, Willow. Not originally. That little trend started long after I was soulled and she was left alone with Spike. She became his doll, a toy that he could control.”
“Wait just a second. Angelus did terrible things to her, drove her to madness-“
”Yes, Angelus helped to push her into lunacy, but Spike has helped to keep her there. He wanted her to be passive and needy.” He was about to go on when he felt her eyes on him. “What is it? Why are you looking at me that way?”
“He told me.”
“He told you what?” He asked with trepidation.
“ The torture. You didn’t stop once she was crazy. You didn’t stop once you turned her.” Her eyes held a glint of accusation.
“I? I didn’t do any of those things, Willow. Angelus did.” He looked betrayed.
“Oh, Angel! I didn’t mean ‘you’! I meant Angelus.” She took a deep breath. She started to ask what had been on her mind all day. But she couldn’t seem to form the words when he looked so upset.
“What is it?” He asked gently.
“As Angelus, could you love?”
“Could I love?”
“I am sure that Spike loves. As a vampire. Did you?”
“No.” He confessed. “I needed. I obsessed. But that’s what vampires feel. And that’s how Spike feels about you. He wants to possess you. It makes him feel good to be needed, to take care of a weakened creature.”
“And I’m weak? That’s why he wants me? So he can turn me into some insane child that he-“
”No, you are not weak. Not yet. But if you stay with him, you will be. Can’t you see it, darling? He’s pushing you into her demented role in his life. There have been hints of it, haven’t there? He’s offered you his protection, hasn’t he? His assistance? Spike will squirm his way into your affections by helping you. Then, once he’s found all your vulnerabilities, he’ll hold you captive by them.” Willow could think of nothing to say to defend Spike. He had offered to protect her on numerous occasions. Been her caretaker. Images of him assailed her. Cooking for her, helping her with her school work, and offering her comfort. Innocuous. But not seen in the light that Angel had placed them. She was staggered by it. She had grown to want him in her life in a very short time. How long would it be before she needed him? Couldn’t survive without him?
Angel could see his words hitting home with her. “He is charming and handsome, darling. But don’t let that distract you from the truth. I know that you don’t want to believe that makes a difference, because he has a chip. He won’t have that thing in his head forever. Once it’s out, how long do you think it will be before he starts killing again? How long would it take him to turn you, make you his mate for eternity?”
Willow shivered. Unbidden, came the image of him crouching over her on her dorm bed. His fangs grazing her throat. She could hear his words in her mind. “I’ll give you a choice. Now, I’m going to kill you. No choice in that. But, I can let you stay dead. Or. I can bring you back -- to be like me.” She wondered how she could have ever forgotten that.
Then her thoughts drifted back to this morning, and Spike’s face as he had spoken about Angelus. Even Angel said that when Spike was first sired, he was not a natural killer. She thought about what Spike had said about proving himself so he could protect Dru. Angel saw the doubt in her face. “People can change.” She whispered.
“Spike isn’t a person, Willow.”
“And neither are you. ”
“But I am capable of remorse, I have a soul. I can love.” He protested. Her eyes shone fiercely. “You seem so certain Spike can do these things. Why? Because you think he loved Drusilla?”
“No. Because I know he loved you.”
“Willow, what type of creature could love Angelus?”
“One capable of forgiving the creature who had destroyed his first true love.”
Angel put the cup of coffee on the table beside Willow’s chair. She gave him an unsteady smile. “What do you say we get out of here? I meant for us to have fun tonight, not discuss the intricacies of vampirism.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Angel.” Why did she always end up apologizing to him? “I’ve ruined your plans for the night, haven’t I?”
“Nonsense.” He replied, graciously. “Vampires always know where the late- night action is.”
“Would you answer one more question for me?” He nodded and braced himself. “Would you give me the back story on the dust buster comment?” She smiled mischievously.
“NO.” It was apparent that was all he would say on that subject. “Are you hungry?”
“Are we going to Denny’s?”
“Nope, we’re going to this neat little place called Swenson’s, and then I thought we’d go to the drive-in.”
“Yes. Double feature. We’ll make it in plenty of time to see the second show.”
Riley put his arm around Buffy as they headed into her house. “Tired?” He asked sympathetically.
“No. I’m actually kind of keyed up.”
“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but Grease is playing at the Drive-in.”
“Sounds . . .icky.” She flashed him a smile. “I’ll get a shower, and then we’ll go.” He kissed her, quickly, and sat down to wait for her to get ready.
Anya sprayed herself with the peach body splash one more time before she walked back into the living room. She hoped she’d put on enough, Xander looked disgusted about something. “What’s the matter?”