Pairing: S/Cecily, S/Drusilla, S/Harmony, S/Buffy, S/Xander.
Warning: Spoilers for, well, pretty much the entire seven seasons of Buffy, and the fifth season of Angel. Unbetaed, so point out mistakes and I'll fix them.
Rated: PG-13. Take the necessary precautions: practice responsible reading.
Archival: "Big Maypole Fish Thing", anyone else just ask and ye shall recieve.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of the Buffy or Angel cast/crew/characters/plotlines/etc.
Dedicated to: Darkhavens (happy belated birthday!) for commenting on Tokens "and there's just that tiny worry that they're still riding the canon train and Spike is due to receive a certain amulet and then... uhoh." And thus a plotbunny was born.
Author's Notes: Sequel to Tokens of Affection . Most of my references are either from memory or else I'm bluffing.
William never had trouble falling in love.
Even when he was ten years old, he knew he loved Cecily, and even when he was ten years old, she was surrounded by boys she preferred over him. The first time he realized he loved her was when he accepted a pretty blue and gray pebble that Frederick told him was a gift from Cecily. The first time he hurt for her was when Frederick turned around and told everyone that William had stolen the pebble from him, and all of the boys joined together to beat William for taking the pebble.
Years later when he received an invitation to a party at the Wormwoods, he knew it was time to confess his love to Cecily. When Fredrick stole the parchment from his hands while the ink was still wet, he didn't know that Cecily would make him hurt more dearly than he ever had before.
As it turns out, physical pain was no match for emotional distress. He found this out the first time they met, when the discomfort of his flesh tearing under her teeth turned out to be nothing in comparison to the agony that Cecily's dismissal had caused.
During the weeks, months, years after that night, his dark temptress taught him how pain and love could twist together until it was impossible to separate the two. She gave him the most wonderful gift, power to change his fate and take revenge on those who'd wronged him. She gave him the chance to find out that Fredrick didn't look nearly so condescending with his fingers broken and his tongue cut out, that Cecily was more than willing to beg, after he'd cut off all her hair and blinded her. That it was almost worth never seeing the sun again, to wake up in Drusilla's arms seventy-five years later and know that everyone who ever looked down their nose at him were dead and gone and dust, and he'd survived.
The only times he rued becoming hers was on the nights when he could hear Angelus and Dru in the other room, her cries of passion like a knife stabbing into him.
Spike lay in bed, Harm curled up asleep next to him. It didn't matter how many times he yelled at her or tried to kill her, somehow they always winded up back together again. They both hated being alone and nobody else could stand them, so they would naturally gravitate towards each other.
It was almost ironic in a way. Harmony was as throughly enamored of him as he had always been of Drusilla. He didn't return the feelings, but she was a way to pass the time. Her ditziness drove him insane sometimes, but every so often he'd catch an evil little smirk on her shiny lips, and he realized most of it was all an act, carefully performed to press his buttons. It usually worked.
They were so wrong for each other they were almost right. He was a master vampire with two Slayers under his belt, while she was barely out of the ground and had the biggest unicorn collection in the state. He was well used to pain as foreplay, whereas she thought that any position other than missionary was kinky. They were as on-again off-again as Ross and Rachel with a sex -drive that put rabbits to shame, even if Harm still had issues about using chains.
Still, he couldn't help wanting more. Wanting someone who would challenge him without manipulating him, love him without trying to change him. He didn't know exactly what he was looking for, but he hoped he would recognize it when he saw it.
It bloody well figures. Their relationship was a complete Shakespeare tragedy, complete with the love springing from hate. Even after they'd stopped touching and holding each other, he still loved her. He knew he always would. She had given him too much for him to turn his back on her.
The very first time he met her, she'd given him a challenge. A goal to strive towards. She gave him a new point of view when he was forced to make a truce with her. The longer he stayed in Sunnydale, the closer their lives entwined. She sparked the obsessive nature in him, unwittingly distracting him long enough for the Initiative to capture him. However reluctantly at first, she'd given him shelter and food, and eventually she even gave him a purpose. She used him and abused him, constantly giving him wounds and bruises. It didn't matter how much she had hurt him in the past, or that they'd both moved on to other significant others, he'd never been able to refuse anything she ever gave him.
The amulet felt heavy in his hand, responsibility and destiny condensed into a tacky piece of jewelry. His soul felt heavy too, weighed down with Xander's pleas for him not to do this, not to risk wearing magical accessories without knowing exactly the price he'll have to pay to wield its power. But Buffy had already sent Angel away, and Spike knew in his heart that he had to do this. He didn't know what he was trying to prove, or who he was trying to prove it to, but he knew he had to wear the amulet.
And as sunlight and fire curled around and inside him, as the pain ravaged and purified his body, it felt as if he could finally let go of Buffy.
He had never really understood time, how people could measure it like flour. He'd never had a good grasp of time, often getting whipped as a child for being tardy to classes. Some days that he'd spent with Dru had seemed like they lasted forever, while decades had gone by in the blink of an eye. He hadn't really worried about comprehending time; as a vampire he had eternity, and after burning to a crisp in the heart of Sunnydale, he thought he'd reached the end of his time and had been shipped off to hell.
Then again, being surrounded by Angel and his minions might just be some crazy Power's idea of a hell made just for him.
He heard someone talking, but he couldn't concentrate on the words. His skin was still tingling from the heat and pain, his head was foggy and aching, and his eyes felt raw and sore. But he wasn't ash on the floor, which is more than what he thought he'd be.
Angel's voice cut through his thoughts, and he turned to face him. Bloody poofter. If he hadn't run off like a good puppy, he would've been the one wearing the amulet to close the hellmouth, and he'd be in hell now while Spike spent the day curled up somewhere quiet in Xander's arms.
The thought of Xander made Spike gasp, quickly reaching up to his ear to make sure the small diamond stud was still there. It was, and he rotated it in his ear as he sighed in relief. Relief that got cut short when one of Angel's minions tackled him... or tried to. "What the hell?"
"That was unexpected." Gunn said, sprawled on the floor after having passed though Spike like smoke. He got back to his feet and went back to standing beside Fred and Wesley. "Where'd he come from?"
Wesley picked up the amulet, and Spike tuned out of the conversation. If this wasn't hell, if he'd really gotten the chance to come back, then he had to find Xander. But Sunnydale had been crumbling around him last time he saw it, and he had no idea how much time had passed, or where Xander was now.
Angel mentioned Buffy, and Spike whirled around to face him. "Are they..." he asked, his voice thick with sudden dread. What if Xander hadn't made it after all?
"Buffy's okay." Angel assured him, sounding almost sensitive to Spike's worry.
"Sod Buffy!" Spike exclaimed, and for the first time he felt the time he'd been gone. It had seemed like only moments ago that he had decided to let her go for once and for all, but now he felt at peace with the decision and it didn't hurt anymore. "Is Xander okay?"
"Xander?" Angel said, confused. "I thought you were with Buffy." Lorne and the humans in the room silenced, their complete attention on the drama taking place.
"Is he all right? Where is he?" Spike demanded.
"He's fine, and in Africa last I heard. Why do you care about Xander?" Angel paused, and then his eyes widened in shock. "You care about Xander." he said in disbelief. Spike didn't break eye contact, confirming his suspicions. "You've been sleeping with him."
"I love him." Spike corrected.
That was the last straw. "Oh my god!" Harmony shrieked. Everyone turned to look at her, but she only had eyes for Spike. "You... and the Slayer? I know you had that twisted obsession with her, but you two actually..." she made a sound of disgust in her throat. "And then you dumped her for Xander? God, what are you, some kind of masochistic freak? Are you going to jump Willow next? I heard that she's gay now, but then if you've been sleeping with Xander, that makes you gay now too, which is a perfectly fine deathstyle choice, but Xander?" She 'yecch'ed again and stormed out of the office.
Everyone looked at Spike. "This is like a soap opera." Fred whispered to Wesley.
"I need to find him." Spike murmured.
The desperation in his voice struck a chord within Angel, and he said "I'll call our Africa headquarters - they're probably keeping tabs on him - and send one of the jets to bring him here."
"Thank you." Spike said. He still didn't know what the whole 'ghost' thing was about, but as long as Xander was with him, everything would be fine.
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