Ten Years After

Chapter 6

They walked in the Parisian night to nearby public gardens, there were other people strolling in the night air, but not enough to prevent private conversation, and they attracted little attention but for one or two admiring glances from, Dawn was glad to notice, about equal numbers of men and women.

“And you,” Spike said as they entered the gardens, “ten years, long time – my little Bit’s all grown up.” ‘Was there a hint of query in his voice?’ Dawn wondered, but he kept on “So – boyfriends, lovers?”

“Enough of them.” Dawn answered. “No-one at the moment though. My heart’s still intact and in one piece, it’s just been slightly bruised on a couple of occasions! How ‘bout you? Ten years, long time – girlfriends? Lovers?” she finished, grinning.

“Enough of them!” Spike laughed. “Was just asking – I mean the Council might want their researchers to live like nuns – I don’t know! Wanted to be careful not to say anything to … em … to …”

“Upset my sensibilities, shock my virgin mind, and sully my innocent psyche, etcetera etcetera?” Dawn suggested, grinning. “Well, much though my sister tried, I think my innocent, virgin sensibilities were fairly well non-existent by the time we got to Rome, and the virginity itself didn’t last much past my eighteenth birthday. Don’t think you could say much to shock me these days – not that you ever did! Buffy still looks pained if I say fuck, but can’t see it bothering you!”

“No,” he said, “I’m a pretty quick learner sometimes. My little bit is a grown up bit, I’ll cope with that!” He stopped, spun towards her and held her by both shoulders at arms’ length. “And turned into the stunner I always said you would, as well. Good job I wasn’t around when you started dating – I’d have wanted written guarantees that they were going to keep their hands to them selves, prowled around like a Victorian Father if I knew you were out without a chaperone, quite possibly talked Buffy into having you fitted with a chastity belt! With an alarm on it!”

Dawn blushed at the compliment; glad that it was dark, but knowing Spike could see the blush and would wonder why, if she was so unshockable, she blushed so easily still.

They sat on a bench, and Dawn said “Now give, Spike. There are so many things I don’t know, or don’t understand. Giles said that the amulet thing delivered you up to Wolfram and Hart – actually he also said that it was probably a shock to them, they’d have been expecting Angel to wear it and be delivered gift-wrapped, not you! Bet you threw a bit of a spanner in their works! But I don’t really understand why you didn’t let us know you were alive – well, as alive as usual. I mean me – I was still being a bit Bloody Awful Teenagerish I know, but Buffy….”

“Wasn’t that easy pet! When I found myself in the Wolfram and Hart building I couldn’t have picked a phone up to ring anyone – or a pen to write a note – I was a bloody ghost! Insubstantial, can’t pick things up! And I couldn’t leave the damned place – could only get so far away and ‘Stop! No further!’ Took a while to adjust to not being totally and terminally dead – but stuck in that bloody place – like being in a hell dimension it was! And being stuck with Angel for what looked like it could be eternity. Wasn’t much point in letting you guys know I was still in this dimension when I might as well not be!”

“I never really understood why Angel was at Wolfram and Hart anyway – nobody told me much then, and when Giles did talk about it afterwards he just said that it seemed as if Angel had planned to destroy it from within from the beginning.” Dawn commented.

“Nah – I don’t think that was really in his mind – even if he believes it himself now - not that I was there when they first moved in, but they bribed him – him, the Great White Hope – they just knew what button to push, and he gave in like anyone else would. Was a pretty big button mind, although he didn’t exactly take me into his confidence at the time. I think he was probably well over Buffy you know – people only thought he was still brooding about her, but he was totally in love with Cordelia, and they offered him the best medical help of any sort to try and pull her out of her coma. But I think maybe Connor was the ...”

“Cordelia? Angel? Coma?” Dawn interrupted. “I mean I knew she was working for him, but in love with Cordelia? She was a bitch! I remember her being really horrible to Buffy. And coma? What happened? No-one ever told me anything!”

“Mmm … not really sure exactly what happened – it was some demon thing before I got there, and no-one liked to talk about it much – but everyone seemed really sad about her, so I’m guessing she’d mellowed a bit. Angel used to go and sit and brood over her for hours when he thought no one was around to notice. Think he only decided to screw up Wolfram and Hart after Cordy died and there was no need for all the medical research. Although if you ask me they probably weren’t working that hard on her recovery – I mean if she’d recovered Angel could have just taken all his team and walked out. Except for the Connor thing and they’d already done that so …”

“I heard from Willow sometime that Cordelia had died, but I can’t say I was bothered – I though she’d probably crashed a sports car whilst posing around in Hollywood, or been hit on the head by falling scenery, or something. I mean, so much not one of my favourite people that I would have been much more upset if Willow had told me her cat had died. I didn’t realise she’d been ‘demoned’ and died in the line of duty sort of thing – poor Cordelia. And hey – who is this guy Connor….that rings a bell…wait a minute; Andrew said Angel had a son ….Connor….Angel’s son? They fixed it so that Angel had a son? How?” Dawn asked.

“Not quite like that – he’d had the son before, some demon with a long-term plan arranged things so’s Darla and him had this baby – but it’s not something he’s entirely chatty about – you know Angel – chatty is not his style, so I guess they did the usual thing but some mojo meant totally unnatural pregnancy! And all sorts of things had gone wrong – kid went off the rails tried to kill people, and Wolfram and Hart offered to take the kid and put him into a new family with a whole new set of memories as if he’d been there for ever and ...” Spike trailed off.

“Whoa! Been there, done that! I didn’t realise it happens all the time – that is one scary thought! I mean some of my friends may not be who they think they are either – Spike – you are telling me we are all living in some kind of science-fiction B movie! I’m having enough trouble coping with me!”

“Now hang on, don’t get upset – don’t think it’s all that common, pet. I mean I’ve only come across you, and you’re special! And you know – move in weird and unnatural circles you get to know about weird and unnatural things – um – digging myself into a hole here aren’t I?”

Spike paused and fidgeted with his hands, which is when it occurred to Dawn that he didn’t have a cigarette in them to play with. “Anyway didn’t work too well in the end – kid ended up with both sets of memories after a while. Turned up in the end to help his real Dad – still there as far as I know. You and him should get together sometime – you’ve got things in common! Mind he’s a bit inclined to brood – gets it from his father,” he ended, with a wry grin.

“So is he a vampire?” Dawn asked, somewhat distracted by the thought of Connor. “And how come Angel never mentioned him when he was in Sunnydale – was Connor with Darla – and so who looked after him when Darla was dusted?”

“It’s a long story – don’t really know all of it, but Connor is human, well not a vampire anyway, and he hadn’t even been conceived when Angel lived in Sunnydale. Yeah I know that doesn’t make any sense – I reckon he was conceived about two years before he was a teenager, and three or four years after his mother, who’d already been dead for about three hundred years anyway, was turned into a pile of dust. Told you some major demon type thing was involved!

“Far as I can tell Wolfram and Hart had Darla brought back from her dust for some reason, and the lad was stolen as a baby and taken to a demon dimension where he grew up to come back only months after he’d been taken. Bloody sneaky, the demon that organized that one. Never have found out exactly what it was that happened next, but it had something to do with Cordelia ending up in a coma. No-one in LA ever seemed able to tell me about it – probably all forgot as part of the deal Angel made, and Peaches is never going to tell me himself – whatever it was, don’t think it could have shown him in a very good light.”

“Hey, and I think I’ve got problems!” Dawn said, and then added “although I don’t think I want to talk about me just now – you seem to have been doing far more interesting things, I mean didn’t you just say a minute ago that you’d been a ghost?”

“Yeah – not all it’s cracked up to be, haunting! At least haunting Wolfram and Hart wasn’t, after I got over the idea that ‘I aten’t dead’, and I didn’t have to open doors to get from room to room, it wasn’t such great fun.” Spike answered, wryly.

“Hey – you read Terry Pratchett – neat!” Dawn cut in.

“Hey - you read Terry Pratchett as well – neat!” Spike laughed. “Bet I read them before you did, Bit!”

“Well … maybe. Anyway – how come you not only aten’t dead, but you aten’t a ghost either?”

“Fred sorted it for me – was frightened I was just going to fade away, then Fred got me back into solidity. She was a lovely girl, Fred.” Spike answered.

“Fred – lovely girl? Fred was a lovely girl? Who was Fred, and what happened to her?” Dawn asked, feeling slightly jealous of this unknown female.

“’Course, you never met her,” Spike said. “She was a scientist. Really nice girl who loved Mexican food, and, eventually, Wesley. And she’s … dead.”

‘Sometimes,’ Dawn thought, ‘it is probably not good to ask how or why someone is … dead.’ Out loud she said “Well I’m glad you’re solid. Actually I’m pretty glad that you survived the whole Wolfram and Hart thing, because Council records say that there was a big battle, with smiting and even a dragon and an Ancient God-King and things. But they are a bit short on detail, just that Angel and you were involved, and won, and must have been the good guys because you winning stuffed Wolfram and Hart totally. That’s all we got. How did you beat an Ancient God-King?”

“Beat her? She was on our side!” Spike started, but was interrupted by Dawn.

“Her? I thought the records said ‘God-King’, shouldn’t that be ‘him’?”

“Guess properly it should be ‘it’” Spike answered, slowly, as if he was looking back to a picture in his mind. “But Illyria ended up with poor Fred’s body, ‘s a long story, and not Illyria’s doing, no point in blaming her – because how could we think of Fred’s body being anything but a ‘her’?

“Illyria ended up stuck in a body that couldn’t do what she’d always been able to do, in a dimension that she couldn’t control, or take over. She was lost really. Someone that should have been all-powerful caught like a bird in a cage.”

‘Probably a good job she didn’t know where to find a Key,’ Dawn thought to herself.

“OK, so come on, why was there a big battle? How come you won it - apart from the fact that you’re a hero?” she asked out loud.

“No, love, sorry to disappoint you, but old Spike is no hero. Was once, ‘cos I felt it was the right thing to do, thought my time had come and I needed to atone and all that, but that was it for being a hero. No, this one was Angel’s battle, and I could’ve backed out, but that would’ve been being a coward, and I’m not that either!” Spike said, somewhat wryly. “You lot could get on with your lives fine without me. Only Buffy’d wanted me around anyway, and she was coping fine, the rest, yourself mainly excepted, always preferred my space to my presence anyway. Dru didn’t need me, and Angel was the only ‘family’ I’d got left. Why not go out in a blaze of glory together? But it wasn’t heroics, it just seemed a good idea at the time – didn’t have anything else planned!”

“So you did a big battle scene out of boredom? Sure you weren’t drunk? Me – I’d have read a good book, or had a holiday. But seeing that it’s you I’ll accept that you got yourself involved in, if not The Apocalypse, a local Apocalypse of the Week, just you and Angel and a God-King disguised as a scientist lady.”

“Hey, Apocalypse of the Year at least!” Spike interjected, raising an eyebrow.

“Okay, of the Year,” Dawn acknowledged. “Anyway, why on earth were the guys from Wolfram and Hart so pissed at Angel, and how come you beat them? I mean, I know I wanted to talk to you about me – but your life is much more interesting!”

“There was more than just the three of us. Wes and Gunn were there too, ‘least to start with. Angel decided that the best way to try and do as much damage to his employers as possible was to take out basically the Board of Directors – Black Thorn something or other they called themselves. So we all set off together to try and kill as many as possible at the same time. Did pretty well, except Wes was killed by his one and Illyria had to finish the job for him. Right upset she was – Wes’d loved Fred, and he’d been good with Illyria, so she was really pissed off about it.”

Spike grimaced and drew in a deep breath. “Angel had told us to meet up with him in an alley. We all got there, except Wes, and Gunn was pretty badly hurt. Then we realised the Wolfram and Hart top brass’d found us and set the hounds of Hell with all their friends and relations on us. Helluva scrap. Gunn didn’t make it. Connor arrived just after the fun started – typical son – Angel had told him to get out of town an’ make himself scarce. Just like you at Sunnydale, innit?

“Where was I? Oh yeah, all the things of your nightmares, the bad guys from every childhood book you ever read, even a soddin’ dragon, they were all there. Poured out of a portal and came down on us – I can still see ‘em. Me and Angel just went chargin’ in there, like fights in the old times, Connor just behind, but we’d not have lasted long.

“Only, every one that Illyria hit she seemed to get brighter, bluer, till she was bloody glowing. Heard her yell something about power, and that she would show the bastards for killing Wes, ‘pursue them even unto their own dimension’ – and she just walked through this horde, killing bloody everything that got near her. Getting brighter all the time she was, like a blue sun – and she just walked up into the air still killing things ‘till she stood right in the portal, and she looked at this dragon that was still hovering trying to fry me and Angel and said – ‘Bow puny lizard’ or something like that. It stopped in its tracks – which was when Angel chopped its soddin’ head off – then she stalked in through the portal and it just snapped shut behind her. Was one helluva a bloody sight, never forget it.”

Spike had closed his eyes during the telling of this tale, and Dawn, who wanted to ask lots more questions like ‘Blue?’ and ‘Gunn?’ decided that this wasn’t the time and stayed silent.

“Never thought I’d see anything like it”, he said after a minute or so. “Guess she got the power she needed from their dimension, staged a take-over or something – but she never sent us so much as a soddin’ postcard since, so we’ll never know! Like to think of her kicking the asses of all the so-called Senior Partners! Doing it still looking like Fred, as well. Didn’t take her long – the Wolfram and Hart building in LA turned into a pile of rubble. Hear some of the other branches survived, but whoever was top man or woman in them suddenly found they’d no higher authority to answer to, and could just get on with screwing the public like lawyers are supposed to!

“Anyway, me and Angel and Connor just stood in that alley and gawped. Must’ve been minutes but it felt like days. Then Connor said we’d better get out before the cops eventually turned up, and he picked up Gunn, and me and Angel followed him like a pair of bloody sheep. We’d not expected to have any afterwards to deal with, but there we were again – still standing. Wonder why sometimes.” He paused. “But not often – or I’d end up off my bleeding trolley!” he said suddenly with a change of tone. He reached over to Dawn and pulled her up to her feet.

After that they walked for a while, talking about ‘things to see in Paris’, books, and TV programmes, and avoiding anything else by unspoken mutual agreement. Spike eventually walked Dawn back to L’Hotel du Vieux Saule, and told her that at first he’d only intended to meet up with her for an hour or two, but he’d had the best evening for ages. He knew that Dawn had something on her mind, but it was too late now to talk about it, and so if she could put up with his company, how about shopping tomorrow? If she was still the Queen of The Mall that was?

Dawn wanted to know how he was going to cope with day-time shopping, and Spike explained that one of the best things about Paris was the Metro – go anywhere by tunnel! The twenty-four hour city concept meant it was easier to shop at night – but these days even Paris had indoor malls that opened directly from Metro stations, so no problem shopping by day either. He’d meet her mid-morning for coffee – and after giving her the address of the relevant coffee shop, kissed her lightly on both cheeks (trés Francaise!) and strode away into the night.


  • Chapter 7

  • The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.