Took Hold 15
They sat and talked for the rest of the night, then slept the day away. Spike had reached the frightening conclusion that the drama and damage of the evening might actually have made him closer to the Scoobies. Truthfully, the vampire had been through much worse in his hundred plus years—the chip being the worst--and he knew all about bad experiences paving the way for the good.
Accidentally recounting the ordeal to Angel had been draining. The older vampire had just woken up and was heating blood when Xander and Spike collided in the hall just outside the kitchen.
“Sorry, Spike. You okay?” Xander miserably looked into the vampire’s eyes, his posture radiating guilt and sorrow.
“S’alright, whelp. Just remember: No means no.” Spike was willing to forgive, but forgetting was another matter altogether. He shuffled into the kitchen and noticed his sire. Unfortunately, he hadn’t seen Angel standing there. The younger vampire was looking better today, the marks of the previous night all but gone, but had been hoping to avoid his sire for another couple of hours.
“Okay, I deserve that. Again. I’m sorry for attacking you last night. “ He stared at the linoleum as he said it. “I’m not crazy rapist guy—it’s not going to happen again.”
“*What*?” Angel growled as his face morphed.
Xander whirled around and looked from one vampire to the other in abject humiliation.
“Don’t worry about it, Peaches.” Spike’s voice lowered an octave. “It’s between the boy and me.” The blonde approached the human, invading his space as he talked, “We’re gonna have a little talk later, just you and me. All I have to say right now is that you’re damned lucky I’ve got this piece of plastic in my head or you’d have a might worse than a cut forehead, whelp.”
He pinned Xander to the floor with his eyes, then looked him over menacingly. It felt good to really assert himself to the human who had put him through so much in the past month. He turned away, grabbing Angel’s blood out of the microwave and a mug off the counter. Then he sauntered out of the room whistling.
Flabbergasted, Angel looked from the empty doorway to Xander as he changed back to his human face. He grabbed more blood from the freezer and plopped it into the microwave. As he pressed buttons, the vampire calmly said, “Be careful, Xander.”
“I know and I won’t hurt Spike again. He’s helpless and I took advantage--” The fidgeting human looked ready to flog himself. He honestly didn’t know how he’d get over what he did to the vampire.
Angel met his eyes, the warning in them lethally clear. “Spike’s not the one I’d be worrying about.” The microwave beeped and Angel retrieved his blood and left the room.
found out except for Giles, as planned.
Riley now regarded the human like a bug in a microscope: repulsed and
morbidly intrigued at the same time.
“Does this mean he’s gay?” They shared the couch, and he concentrated intently.
“Don’t know, Bit.” He sighed heavily, trying to make her stay still.
“Does it mean you’re gay?” She grabbed a paper towel to blot.
“No, Bit--this is never gonna go on straight if you keep moving about. Stay still, pet!”
“I guess it wouldn’t, since vampires don’t have the same views on that stuff, right?”
He squeezed her hand tighter, trying to get her to shut up. “You sayin’ vampires can’t be picky? Alright, this hand’s done. Blow.”
She looked at the fresh black enamel coating her fingertips and squealed. “You paint nails better than a girl!”
The vampire just took her other hand and started painting. The line of questioning continued until he brought his car over for her to play with.
Everyone gave him wide berth, and he took full advantage of their hospitality. Buffy stayed away while he taught Dawn all the ways of getting into his locked vehicle, then watched as she demonstrated her prowess at starting it without a key. The Clash blared in the background from her boom box, and he let himself relax.
“What are you teaching my baby sister?” she griped at him, hands balled up on her hips.
“You want her to be defenseless, Slayer? Leave her open to be attacked by some wanker? Demons aren’t the only ones who can do damage, you know.” He blinked innocently, playing it to the hilt.
She’d backed off, knowing where this was going. “Okay, fine, I’ll help you train her, but I go on the record as saying I don’t like it one bit. And ew! Dawn! Black nail polish is so over!”
The group was assembled in the dining room, tense and fidgety.
“Well, this is a regular party, isn’t it?” Spike sauntered in, trying not to show how on edge he was. His complicated relationship with the whelp had gotten more tangled. Posturing aside, the night before had left him feeling bitter, used, vulnerable, sullied, and rejected at the same time. He sat between the Slayer and the Poof, across from the Bit. Riley glowered at Angel, and Xander studied the tablecloth.
“That look you’re giving my Sire is making people wonder, Captain Cardboard,” Spike whispered across the table.
“Coming from a guy wearing eyeliner, I’ll take that as a compliment,” Riley pointed out.
“You *are* kind of staring...” muttered Xander.
Riley turned his full attention on the human, obviously trying to figure him out. “Does anyone else want to lock Xander in a room and do experiments on him?” he whispered audibly.
Giles made a confused face and Xander shut up.
The witches lit candles and handed a sprig of white sage to each member.
“It d-dispels negative
“Can I have two?” Buffy asked, looking around at the glares between the men.
She gave Buffy the rose-colored one, and smiled as she said, “For lasting tenderness, so the battles you fight are always fought from the heart and the love you share radiates warmth.” Buffy put it on, glanced at Riley, and grinned.
Spike was handed a deep purple bracelet. “For healing, so you can open your heart to let relationships thrive and you can forgive those who’ve wronged you.” He cleared his throat, not knowing how to act. The Slayer’s peace offering had floored him, and he was feeling too raw to adjust to the witch’s kindness. Slipping it on, he nodded to her solemnly.
A white and silver one went to Angel. “For direction, so you find the life’s fulfillment that you seek and not feel guilty for getting it.” The older vampire blinked at her, uncomfortable by the gift, and slipped the braided string over his wrist.
Xander looked up at her and accepted the orange circlet. “For self-esteem, so that you learn to treasure yourself and your actions always reflect the beautiful person you are.” He started crying at the gentleness as he put it on.
Giles put on the red
bracelet. “For love, so you find someone who loves you as much as we do.” He got
that smiley-shocked look on his face that he made when he was truly surprised.
The Scoobies had spent countless hours worrying about his status as a bachelor.
Dawn was all eyes as
Riley looked bored, but he accepted the yellow braid. “For an open mind, so you can adjust to the changes happening around you and keep succeeding by being flexible.” //Hmmm, tactful// the vampire thought as he watched Soldier Boy purse his lips and put on the bracelet.
Red held up her wrist to show the blue bracelet she wore. “For caution, so I take careful steps on my path to knowledge in my chosen faith.”
Willow went back around, setting small slips of paper and pencils in front of them as she spoke, “Write down a *positive* personal goal, fold it, and put it in the candle’s flame. We offer these to the Goddess and ask for the means and courage to make it so.”
Spike thought a moment and scribbled his answer quickly, before he could change his mind. He shoved it into the flickering flame and concentrated on what he’d written. He’d made the same wish over a month ago in the dump. “Family.”
Xander’s shame knew no
bounds. Buffy had bled and
He carefully penned his wish, knowing he was cheating by jotting down two. He recalled how sweet the vampire had been when he had been helpless in the dump and fresh pang of self-loathing kicked in. He singed the edges of the folded paper before letting it become engulfed, and he put all the energy he could muster into visualizing his goal. “Family. Forgiveness.”
BLISS TOOK HOLD 16