Spike laid awake snuggled up against his dark goddess and listened as the little princess tried to quietly leave the room. He knew she was up to something when the night before she’d been a bit too enthusiastic, it was like she was trying to wear them both out. Too bad for her it would take more than what she had to knock him senseless. Now he just needed to decide what to do about it, if he should do anything at all. He’d stayed awake because he thought the saucy minx might try to dust them both in the early hours, that happened sometimes with the willful ones, but it just sounded like she wanted to go a bit walk about.
When she’d come back the day before she’d smelled of the wolf and the librarian and heavy drink, so maybe she was just worried and wanted to check in with her old life. By now she was acquainted enough with his darling Dru and her ideas about what was proper to know that getting out without an escort wouldn’t be easy. Not without a distraction at least.
Oh what a headache in the making. He loved his sire but she was always doing things like this to him. She pouted and pleaded for pets but she was never the one having to take care of them and two teens were far more work than just a silly bird. The blonde was bound up tight and it didn’t sound like Cordelia was going anywhere near her, so this wasn’t an escape attempt or if it was it was a rather cold blooded one. So she would be back, probably after whatever visit was so important to her. The only question left was if he wanted to interrupt the bint and tie her up for later or just let her have some headway and see what happened next.
Both options had some good and bad mixed in. If he tied her up then she wouldn’t be leaving the house without Dru saying she could, plus. However, if he didn’t tie her up just right then Dru would be mad at him for not treating the tart the way her scattered mind thought he should. Given some of the contradictory things she was already putting the cheerleader through that was a very real possibility. On the other hand if he let her go and she wasn’t back before Dru woke he would have to deal with that tantrum and maybe be punished himself until she came back. But, if she left and came back that would show Dru that the “training” was working and might make her happy.
Deciding he was too tired to move he decided to just let her go and see what happened. Either way it was going to be interesting.
Cordelia managed to sneak out of the house without Drusilla catching her, a feat she thought was pretty darn praise worthy. She was in her corvette with the top down enjoying the early morning haze of the day on her way to Giles apartment. The sun was only just peeking out and the day was just beginning, it was peaceful.
Yesterday she had made a few tentative steps to repairing her relationship with Giles. Today she was going to try and go a bit farther, she was surprised by how much she had come to miss him and their talks. She knew she’d messed up, that if she’d told Giles about Angelus when she’d first come out of the spell then he could have been better prepared. Ms. Calendar might still be alive, Buffy might still be in town, everything might be different. This was her fault and she acknowledged that but if no one else could get Giles to even answer the door then it was up to her to try and drag him out of his funk. Even if he didn’t want her to.
When she’d seen him again for the first time since everything she had nearly broken down in tears. He’d looked beyond rough, he was a shadow of his true self. Giles was a strong, articulate, fussy British man of honor. The man in his apartment right now was a drunken, angry, slob. He was a wounded animal. She knew that feeling, that slow drag down until rock bottom started to feel like home. She didn’t want that for him, he didn’t deserve it.
She hadn’t intended to ask him to start up their meetings again, she’d figured that her being in his face all the time wouldn’t exactly be the best way for him to heal. Seeing him, and smelling him, had been enough to change her mind. She might not be his favorite person right now, but what he needed more than anything was a reminder of who he was.
Maybe if he could find his lecture rhythm with her again he might be able to get his groove back, then he could distance himself from her and the others could take over. Oz made it sound like the others had at least tried to reach out, even if he hadn’t been answering. Who knows, maybe by the time they were done Buffy would even be back in town; it wasn’t like the girl could disappear forever.
Walking up to the door she braced herself for any blow back she might get, she promised herself that she wouldn’t get angry no matter what he said. He had a right to be angry, she had ruined his life.
The man who eventually opened the door after far too much knocking was a cross between the Giles of before and the one she’d met for the first time yesterday. He’d showered so he no longer reeked of bourbon and his clothes looked cleaner, at least she couldn’t spot any obvious stains on any of it. It was more casual than the tweed and suits she was used to seeing him in but it was a respectable if dated jeans and sweater combo. He didn’t shave so his stubble was still in full force and he was missing his shoes but she was calling it progress.
“Morning Giles.” Holding out the coffee she’d stopped to get him she was glad he was sober enough for it to be a wake up coffee and not something else he might take offense to. Not that his being offended would have stopped her, but still it was nice to start out on a more even note.
“Good morning.” He stepped back and gestured for her to come inside, never voicing an invitation became a habit after a while.
“Do you need a bit longer to get going or do you want to dive right in?” She would go with his flow whatever that was for him. If he still needed time she would sit here and chat or just stay silent and let him get there his own way. If he just wanted to get it over with so he could push her out the door she would do the nice thing and try to hold in her questions so he could get through it faster.
“I believe I am prepared, we can begin once we’re comfortable.” He waved her towards the couch and he took the chair off to the side of it. This was a more casual and comfortable set up than the lectures in the library and she wasn’t sure what to make of it. It was like he was trying to make her comfortable, but why would he bother? Maybe it was just his English-ness rearing up and making him be polite?
Folding her feet under her she did her best to touch as little as possible while she settled herself down. This was his space and she had even less right to be here than most, but she couldn’t stop her eyes from darting around taking in everything that he chose to own. There were the books she expected and the various little nick-nacks that older people always seemed to collect over the years. All in all it was very normal at first glance. A second glance showed that all the books were ancient and the titles were all about the occult and there were random bladed weapons placed strategically throughout the space so there would always be something in reach.
“Now before we begin I want to explain something to you that has quite a large bearing on our time together.” He looked slightly uncomfortable, but since he wasn’t wearing his glasses he had nothing to occupy his hands with. He looked nervous.
This was it, the backlash. Cordelia took a slow deep breath and dropped her eyes to her lap nodding for him to continue. She repeated her promise to herself that whatever he had to say to her about her behaviour she would accept it.
“While Angelus’ life is fairly well documented, what with his exploits being very grandiose and gossip fodder for generations both with Darla and on his own, Angel is another matter entirely. In fact until he appeared here in the past few years no one even knew he and Angelus were one in the same. The curse was whispered about here and there but no one truly believed it. When it was first proposed the Council tried their hand at replicating it and failed miserably each time. When no one could get the magic to work again it was circulated that the rumour was in fact just that. While it was noticed that the Scourge of Europe had in fact separated and both Darla and Angelus had disappeared from the public eye it was simply assumed that they had both been recalled by the Master to serve him. While Angelus was well known for not being overly respectful of the hierarchy Darla was and between her being his sire and her own sire being the Master of their line it was believed that Angelus had been brought to heel.”
“What?” She wasn’t sure what he was trying to tell her. Why wasn’t he yelling or worse softly telling her all the ways he was disappointed in her?
“While I had many stories of Angelus to share I have few for Angel other than the ones that took place here in recent years and the ones I do have aren’t documented. I had decided after meeting the man and doing my own research to just take the rumours as fact until proven false. It was the best way to handle such a polarizing figure.” When he was done talking he got up to pace to the kitchen and she could hear the clanking of cups against saucers. He was making tea.
She tried to wrap her mind around what just happened. Giles had been given the golden opportunity to lay into her and he hadn’t. In fact he seemed to be apologizing to her for not being better able to lecture her about Angel. Shaking her head she decided to let it go, it wasn’t her place to tell Giles how to handle his obvious anger. If he wanted to ignore it for now then she would too. She had promised herself she would follow his lead after all, she had just assumed his lead would involve more screaming and head shaking.
When he sat back down, his tea balanced on the arm of his chair, she gave him a small smile, the publicly accepted sign of easy forgiveness and an invite to proceed.
“So just tell me what you do know then.” She didn’t want to force him to talk about Angel or Angelus but she was sure that it would do him some good to find the dividing line between the two. Buffy would be bringing him back at some point and the slayer would not tolerate her watcher refusing to toe the party line of forgive and forget she was sure to push for. She aggressively refused to think about her own place once the tiny blonde returned or what it would feel like to see him and watch him look right through her like he used to.
“I believe I mentioned before that Angelus was cursed around the last part of the nineteenth century, around 1898 or so. That was when he began to fade from the public eye and his legend began to recede so it’s our best guess for when the curse was first enacted. Ms. Calendar told me a bit about how his curse came about and that was very enlightening.” His voice broke over her name and they both sat in silence for a time, thinking.
“It would seem that Darla brought Angelus a present in the form of a gypse virgin girl, no one is sure why she did this if it was a special occasion or just a whim she chose to follow. Some have speculated she may have been a “birthday” gift, but that is neither here nor there. Once the two of them had finally killed her after hours of torment they took her body back to the gypsy camp Darla had taken her from and left her body for her people to find. When she was discovered and the extent of the horrors visited upon her were truly known her family was furious and wanted vengeance. Using their magic they cursed Angelus with a soul to forever feel the guilt and pain for his victims that his demon had denied him.”
“Why didn’t they just kill him?” It had really bothered her when she first learned about everything the curse entrailed. Why did they curse him knowing it could be broken at some point, a guardian watching over the situation or not, and just leave it that way. Didn’t they care that they were basically just pushing the problems down the line for a future generation to deal with.
“They wanted him to suffer as his victims did. He did not deliver a quick death to their daughter so they would not deliver one to him. I believe that they thought he would end his own existence not long after, but they were wrong. I suppose they underestimated his survival instinct.” Giles was trying to be impartial over there but she could hear the anger in his voice. He was probably thinking along the same lines she was and cursing the people of the past. Only he was probably cursing Angel too.
“So where did they get the soul?” It wasn’t like souls were just hanging around everywhere, right? That would be creepy if they were and what soul would volunteer to be an eternal stick poking an already cranky bear. That didn’t seem fair really, the soul hadn’t done anything to deserve being stuck like that. Had it?
“I beg your pardon?”
“Whose soul is it? Is it his? Is it a random soul? How did they know that the soul they picked would feel guilty? I mean I’ve met a few humans around here that have so-called souls and they don’t feel an ounce of guilt for the sick crap they do.” There were a lot of if’s and flashing error signs with this whole curse business. Sometimes people really did make things more complicated than they had to be.
Giles sat back with his eyes closed and she began to fear that she’d broken him or something. That or maybe he was falling asleep, maybe he was really drunk but good at hiding it until the urge to sleep hit. She’d seen people like that at nearly every party.
“You know it has never occurred to me to ask that before. I’m not sure.”
“Oh, okay. Well then, what happened next?” She was fully prepared for him to shut the conversation down and ask her to leave or maybe just stop talking altogether. He did neither and she was shocked to feel how pleased she was by that. Maybe their relationship wasn’t so far gone after all?
“Well, no one is truly sure. Like I said before the curse was never confirmed before his time here in Sunnydale. It is documented that Darla and in turn Spike and Drusilla all took to hunting and killing gypsies for a time, something they had shown no interest in in the past, but there was never any mention of Angelus being with them on these hunts. It’s widely believed now that they were trying to get the curse reversed. After that Angelus isn’t spotted again until the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. The four of them are spotted for a short time enjoying the carnage and while the main focus of that time period was then William the Bloody killing his first slayer it was also noted that this was the final time the four of them were ever spotted together. No one is truly sure what led to their separation but I would speculate that Angel tried to return to the life he had known before and failed. Barely over a year later he was spotted again in America near Ellis Island, he immigrated here and left Europe behind completely. To my knowledge he’s never been back.” It made sense, if the soul was supposed to make him feel guilty about the bad things he’d done then getting away from the place he’d done them should have been his first step. Instead it was his tenth or something, so like a man.
“So Angel didn’t go straight to being a broody dark crusader type?” She couldn’t really imagine him any other way.
“No. In fact he followed the same type of progression as a recovering addict. Small progress forward with occasional back sliding and depression until he stabilized and began to rebuild himself into the man we knew here in Sunnydale.”
“Did anything else catch your interest about his past?” He’d said that there wasn’t much so she was almost sure that there wouldn’t be much else to say but when he smiled she knew she was wrong. Whatever caused him to smile like that was definitely a story she needed to hear.
“Yes actually. When I was checking my sources I came across a rather humorous tale regarding Angel in Chicago in the 1920’s.”
“What happened there?” Oh the roaring twenties, it always looked so glamorous in pictures and the idea of Angel being a part of it made her heart skip a beat. He would look so handsome in the style of the era.
“It involved a flapper girl, a speeding car, and a puppy.”
“Oh this I have to hear.”
Buffy snuggled deeper into the covers of her bed, the bed she shared with Angel, and sighed. Coming to L.A to escape from everything in Sunnydale had been great at the beginning, but now Angel kept talking about when they were going back. She didn’t know why he wanted to, the only thing waiting for them there was anger and pain. Sure they had each other again now and would be able to face anything, but they had kind of flaked and she could just see Giles eyes of disappointment from here.
When Angel had come back to himself and embraced her, his mind so muddled and his eyes so confused all she wanted to do was get him away from Cordelia before she could ruin things again. She knew that it was really Angelus that had chosen the brunette over her but she didn’t want to take that chance so when she suggested that they take some time to get back to rights again away from everything he had agreed. Or at least he hadn’t fought her on it. The first few days were rough with Angel’s memories of his time without his soul coming back slowly bit by bit almost like he was reliving each day as it came. She tried to help him but he wouldn’t talk to her, he wouldn’t talk at all, he would just sit there and scowl.
She knew he had to be kicking himself for ruining their relationship like that, but she’d done her best to help him understand that those things were all in the past now. They could be together again, just like they were before. She might not know everything he’d done without his soul, he had been avoiding her since he knew she would notice and stop him, but she was sure none of it was his fault. Angelus had done those things, not her Angel.
Everything would be fine, but he wouldn’t touch her. Not even a kiss. Okay she understood that he was scared now that his curse could be broken again, she was his bliss after all, but come on. After everything Angelus had put them both through they deserved a little comfort. Sitting up, her eyes searched the apartment until she found him sitting in a corner nearly invisible in the shadows. He was back to hardcore brood mode. So not of the fun.
Maybe he was right, maybe they should go back to Sunnydale.
Angel sat in the corner of the little apartment he was sharing with Buffy and watched her sleep. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do now, he finally remembered everything he’d done when his curse broke and the memories only confused him more. He knew Angelus, he knew every aspect of him and what happened just didn’t make sense. He had been happy. Content even, and that didn’t seem possible. What he felt with Cordelia was something he had never felt before, not even with Darla. Darla had been his sire, his teacher, his lover, his everything for a time. She showed him things that blew the top off his head and molded him into something beyond what he’d been as Liam, but she never made him happy.
Of course she didn’t. Darla was all about taking while my vixen did nothing but give.
Angelus was always there in the back of his mind but over time his voice had gotten quieter and quieter but now he was back in full force. His whispers were now shouts for him to do the things he wanted to do. All morning while Buffy slept he’d tempted him to feed on her, he reasoned that she wouldn’t even try to stop him until it was too late. He pulled up memory after memory of what it was like to have warm slayers blood pouring down his throat and filling his veins. He could feel his fangs itching with the need to feel it again, so he sat as still as possible and tried to resist.
Oh don’t resist! Give in to your nature and be a VAMPIRE.
Buffy kept telling him that all was forgiven, that it wasn’t his fault that the things that Angelus had done had nothing to do with him. She was wrong. Angelus may have done those things, most of which Buffy didn’t even know about, but he could feel them. He could taste them. He craved them. Because the truth was he was a vampire and deep down under it all he wanted what Angelus had simply taken. He wanted that life.
Well who wouldn’t? My vixen is one of a kind. If you drain the slayer we can walk out of here and go straight to Sunnydale and back into her arms. With a quick stop over to see the kids of course. Dru misses her daddy something fierce when I’m away.
Angelus wanted Drusilla to force him out, if anyone could do it she could. All she had to do was listen to the stars or look into her cards and see what it would take. Not that she would even have to put in that much effort if the key to the lock on his monsters cage was bliss than everyone would know the way out.
Cordelia Chase was someone that he’d overlooked for the most part while he was in Sunnydale. She’d been a temptation he couldn’t afford to indulge in while he was trying to earn the Slayers trust. He still remembered how she used to press herself against him “for comfort” every time something scary would happen. Or how she used to tease him into laughter when she found him alone. If he thought she was a temptation before with just those memories now she was nothing short of the best seduction.
If he closed his eyes he could see every inch of her tanned skin in exquisite detail. The way she arches her back when she’s begging for more. The sound of her moans when she’s almost reached her climax. The feel of her-
Back to reality soul boy, Cordelia is mine and you get stuck with this one. Good luck swimming through the tidal wave of tears.
Opening his eyes he looked towards Buffy tangled in the rumpled sheets of the bed and wondered if she realised yet that he never shared it with her. He hadn’t slept since they left Sunnydale and he was pretty sure he wouldn’t sleep until they crossed back over the town line. Leaving like they had didn’t feel right. They needed to go back.