Secrets and Lies
Buffy blinked. "Excuse me?"
Wesley suddenly looked uncomfortable. "Connor,
perhaps you should wait in the kitchen, or go downstairs and
watch the girls train."
If she needed a confirmation there was something
Wesley didn't want her to know, here it was. "Perhaps
Connor could explain what he meant by Angel being his father."
Connor looked at her, his gaze weighing and
judging. "He is. You're the girlfriend who sent him to
hell, aren't you?"
"Connor, that's enough." Wesley's
voice was sharp. "We're here to deal with Angelus, not
scratch open old wounds."
"We're dealing with a rather powerful
menace here," Buffy said. "I've got a pack of potential
slayers living in my home with more on the way. I've got an
ancient evil trying to kill me and my friends and frankly,
it's been a battle recently just to stay alive. Now you want
my help to put Angel's soul back -- which you helped remove
for some insane reason -- and you don't want to tell me about
this kid you've brought into my home who claims to be Angel's
She stalked over to stand just in front of
where he sat. "You want help, Wesley? I want answers.
Who is he?"
She half-expected him to wiggle about it,
give her all the reasons she didn't need to know and how she
should trust and listen to him. Buffy found herself growing
angry, remembering his interference and insufferableness while
he'd been in Sunnydale. Then Wesley had been very much a believer
in "the Slayer is a tool of the Council and subject to
its whims"; had he changed at all.
When Wesley looked up at her, he suddenly
appeared much older, experience weighing heavily on his face.
"He is Angel's son. We still don't understand how or
why, but there was a prophecy."
"There's always a prophecy,"
Anya said with a sigh.
"And before you ask, his mother was Darla."
"Okay, this is too weird. Darla's dead;
I saw Angel dust her."
"She was brought back by a firm who had
a vested interest in seeing Angel lose his soul. They hoped
she could do it."
"These are the evil lawyers who wanted
Angel to vamp her, but he wouldn't so they brought in Drusilla?"
Buffy looked toward Spike. "When did
you hear this?"
He looked guilty...and just a bit sheepish.
"Dru told me when she was in Sunnydale."
"And you didn't tell me?"
The guilty look dissipated rapidly. "We
weren't exactly talking at the moment, luv."
Looking a bit annoyed, Wesley continued. "She
managed to convince Angel to sleep with her. We don't know
the details as Angel hid the encounter from us. In fact, we
didn't learn of the liaison until she appeared in our offices,
Somehow, Buffy felt the need to sit down.
"And she was a vampire."
Wesley nodded. "She staked herself so
Connor could be born."
"Didn't believe the she-bitch had it
in her," Spike muttered.
"Darla did it for the love of her child.
His soul affected her during the pregnancy. It was a tremendous
act of self-sacrifice."
Buffy said nothing, staring at Wesley and
stealing looks toward Connor. Angel's son. By Darla. Willow
had taken her hand and she clutched it tightly, trying to
make sense of this. He'd left her so she could have a normal
life and now he had a son?
The couch cushions creaked as Spike sat down
and slipped an arm around her waist. He was very tactile,
she was coming to realize. It shouldn't surprise her; when
Willow's spell made them believe they were madly in love with
each other, he'd constantly touched her, even if it was only
to hold her hand. Now that touch was a lifeline to cling to.
"That explains how he was born," Spike said, asking
the question she didn't feel capable of at this moment. "It
doesn't explain why he's a teenager."
Another pause. Clearly there was something
else Wesley didn't want to share. "There was a prophecy
that I interpreted to mean Angel would kill his son,"
he said at last, his voice tight. "I tried to prevent
that by taking the child away. Unfortunately, the woman whose
help I counted on betrayed me and Connor was taken to Quor-toth
where he was raised until his return here -- aged eighteen."
"Quor-toth's a rather nasty place."
Anya looked at Connor speculatively. "I imagine, being
the child of two vampires, you're probably blessed with their
strength and healing. It's how you survived, isn't it?"
"What do you know of Quor-toth?"
Anya shrugged. "Ex-vengeance demon. Eleven-hundred
years old. I've seen a lot."
"Weren't we talking about the Angel problem?"
Willow put in. "Shouldn't we concentrate on that?"
They were discussing the Angel problem, Buffy
thought sadly. They just weren't discussing the one Wesley
had intended. "You said you have Angel's soul in this
It felt good to see Wesley wince at her use
of the language, something to break through the numbness that
was seeping through her. She could feel Willow's hand in hers,
feel Spike's arm around her waist as he sat close to her,
but she wasn't feeling anything inside.
"A Muo-ping," he corrected. "The
problem is that it's gone missing. Cordelia attempted a spell
to bring Angel's soul back and it didn't work. Unfortunately,
he escaped before we realized that."
"Wait a minute." Willow suddenly
sat up straighter. "Cordelia -- Miss I-Don't-Know-How-To-Wave-Burning-Sage-Right
-- tried to do a spell to restore Angel's soul...and you let
her? Don't you know how dangerous that is? I've done the Ritual
of Restoration and believe me, it's no picnic being possessed
by some entity from beyond that suddenly had me speaking Latin
like I was born to it. Hell, Cordelia knows how scary it was;
she was there!"
"Cordelia had a vision that told her
what to do, and we weren't using the Ritual of Restoration."
Wesley's voice was a bit defensive.
"Okay, I understand about the visions
and the headaches and all...she's told me about them in excruciating
detail, but why would you think that someone who's never done
magic before could suddenly do what had to be a difficult
and dangerous spell."
"What spell did you use?" Anya drew
closer, professional interest in her voice.
"The skull of a soul-eater. I chanted
the words Cordelia transcribed from her vision and Angel was
engulfed in light emanating from the skull. We thought the
spell had been successful, but it was an act. While the rest
of us had gone to hunt for the Beast, Angelus tricked Cordelia
into releasing him. Only then was his true nature revealed."
Something in all of this didn't sound right,
but Buffy couldn't quite put her finger on it. "What
makes you certain he's on the way to Sunnydale?"
"The fact he killed the shaman who extracted
his soul and the last time I saw him, he said he needed to
pay some 'old friends' a visit." Wesley looked toward
Willow. "Since you're the only living person who's actually
done a restoration, I imagine he wants to make certain you
can't do another one."
"Okay, so we do the spell tomorrow,"
Willow said. "I'd suggest we do it tonight, but I haven't
read over it in several years and I don't have all the supplies.
Anya knows where I can get an orb, though."
Her words brought a smile to Wesley's face.
"Excellent. If you need any help with the preparations..."
The conversation wandered the into specifics
of the spell and what would be needed. As they talked, Buffy
leaned into Spike, letting her head rest on his shoulder.
His arm tightened around her waist, drawing her closer. At
this moment, all she wanted to do was curl into his arms and
shut everything else out.
Angel was out there somewhere. Part of her
wished Wesley didn't think he was coming here, hadn't felt
the need to tell er. Then she wouldn't have known, wouldn't
have had to worry about what they were going to do if the
spell didn't work. Now that she knew, there was no turning
back. She knew what Angelus was capable of and knew he couldn't
be left to run free.
Spike kissed the top of her head and she closed
her eyes. He knew what Angelus was like as well, even better
than she did. Buffy didn't like to think about it, but she
knew Spike could probably tell her tales of their days together
that would make her blood curdle.
"I know it's an imposition, but I was
hoping you would be able to put us up tonight. I realize your
conditions are crowded, but it might be better than going
out to seek accommodations."
Buffy sighed. Great. "Of course. We'll
just have to find someplace to put you."
"There's room in the basement,"
Anya suggested. "Besides, now that Spike is moving into
your room, we could move Andrew down there as well. That would
help keep him out of everyone's way."
Joint looks of disapproval from Wesley and
Conner, but more worrisome was the sudden tension she felt
in Spike. That, however, could not be dealt with here. "Something
To his credit, Wesley shook his head. "Nothing.
The basement would be fine."
Good boy. "Let's get you settled, then."
She rose from the couch and headed for the back of the house,
not even acknowledging the look on Connor's face. The sooner
the spell was done, the sooner he'd be out of her house.
The potentials weren't actually doing a work
out, but listening to stories from Xander of the Scoobies'
glory days in high school. Most looked sleepy and didn't seem
that distressed when the session broke up. The news that Andrew
was moving to the basement, on the other hand, was greeted
with great enthusiasm.
It took only a few minutes to get the other
cots set up and the men situated. Buffy noticed Spike grab
a change of clothes for the morning, but leave everything
else. Before he could move too far, she called out, "Let
me help you."
Not waiting for him to speak, she grabbed
the pile of books he'd accumulated from around the house.
Settling them in her arms, she lifted her eyebrows as if to
ask, "well?" He took the hint and gathered up the
rest of his small collection of clothes and personal items,
a bit of a smirk on his face as he followed her to the stairs.
"We'll talk in the morning?" Wesley
asked as she ascended.
"We get moving pretty early," she
warned. "You can catch me then."
The house settled much quicker this time,
almost no notice paid to Buffy and Spike's journey upstairs.
"I'll have to clear out a drawer," she told him,
depositing the books on one of the bedside tables. "You
can just put those on the chair for now."
Once he'd done as she'd asked, he was at her
side again, his eyes searching her face. "Are you alright,
Buffy?" he asked, one hand reaching out to stroke her
"I'm fine, she assured him. "I mean,
it's just another day at the office, isn't it? Angel loses
his soul and Wesley comes to ask for help..."
She broke off, realizing he wasn't buying
any of it. "It hurts," she admitted.
He slid his arms around her and drew her head
down to his chest. "I'm here, pet," he whispered.
And he was. That was the great irony. The
one person who knew how much this could hurt and she'd only
just opened her heart to him, believing she'd moved on from
her old love and was ready to accept a new one.
There was a knock at the door, interrupting
anything else Spike might have to say. "Who is it?"
"Anya. Are you two decent?"
With a sigh, Buffy stepped away from Spike
and told Anya to come in. "I'll make this quick,"
Anya said, "but there's something wrong with what Wesley
"What particular problem did you have
in mind?" Spike asked, settling on the mattress.
"Well, yes, the numerous difficulties
with the story he told and the fact that its clear to even
a casual observer that he wasn't telling us everything, thought
whether that's because he actually wanted to conceal something
or it was a misguided effort to protect Buffy from something
terrible Angel's done..."
Buffy's head hurt. Wearily, she sat down next
to Spike. "What was it you wanted to tell us, Anya?"
"Oh. Well, it has to do with the spell
Cordelia got a vision about. It couldn't have worked. You
can use the bones of a soul eater to do two things: either
steal a soul or restore a soul that particular soul eater
"Maybe Cordelia didn't know that,"
"Maybe, but Wesley said she had a vision
which included the incantation Wesley was supposed to use.
I spoke with Willow since she's the only one who communicates
with Cordelia and Willow said the visions are supposedly from
the Powers That Be, which are a force for good. Those visions
are sent to help Angel in this mission thingy he has."
"Okay." Maybe it was the pounding
in her head, but Buffy couldn't see why this was important.
"If Cordelia's visions are supposed to
help Angel, why did she get one for a spell that wouldn't
do any good? In fact, it did harm because it helped Angelus
The headache was suddenly forgotten. "Are
you suggesting she didn't get the vision from the Powers?"
"Either that or she lied for some unknown
reason. Whichever it is, it wouldn't hurt to find out."
"No, it wouldn't. Let's deal with it
in the morning. Right now, get some sleep."
Anya nodded and headed for the door. As she
opened it, Buffy said, "Good catch. Thanks."
"I have such a headache," Buffy
told Spike once Anya had departed and slid off the bed to
head for the bathroom and the aspirin. When she returned,
Spike had turned off all the lights save the lamp on his side
of the bed and was already under the covers. Wearily, she
sat on the edge of the mattress, wondering if she'd have enough
energy to even pull her clothes off.
Spike's hands reached out and began to knead
her shoulders with deep, strong strokes. Buffy didn't protest,
relaxing beneath his hands. "If you take your clothes
off," he whispered in her ear, "I can make you feel
That was enough to get her undressed and under
the covers. It was luxurious to lie there and let his hands
work their magic. "Mmmm. I should let you do this more
Spike slid his hands along her spine, easing
tired muscles. "Just want to take care of my girl."
She liked being taken care of. A girl could
definitely get used to this. Dim lights, the moon outside
shining through the branches of the trees at the back of the
house. She could just close her eyes and let her mind...
Buffy's eyes popped open and she struggled
to sit up. "He's out there," she said. "I can
Something flickered across Spike's face, but
she wasn't certain if it was a shadow or something else. "You're
She slid off the bed and grabbed her robe.
"It's this...I feel a certain 'something' when he's around.
I was relaxing, let my mind go...and there he was."
Robe wrapped around her, she headed for the
window. Shadows shifted and moved, but she wasn't certain
if any of them might actually be a human form. Maybe it was
just her imagination.
"Was it Angel or Angelus?" Spike
joined her at the window. "Could you tell if he was souled
"No." He was doing his best to hide
it, but Buffy could see a touch of jealousy flickering in
Spike's eyes. "I can't tell the difference. All I can
tell is that it's him. It's an unique signature."
She laid a hand on his chest. "You have
one, too. It's similar to what I feel when a random vamp is
nearby, but there's something different that tells me it's
you. I've been able to pick you out of a crowd for years."
He smiled a little at that. "You're not
thinking of going down and facing him, are you?"
Buffy had been thinking exactly that and she
knew he knew it. "It'd be just what he'd want, wouldn't
it? Go down there with no thought or preparation, a target
for whatever he's got up his sleeve."
She stepped closer. "We'll deal with
him tomorrow. Try the spell and take it from there. For now...
It was so easy to kiss him, to let the fears
and worries wash away, even easier to let him coax her back
to the bed. No sooner was she there, though, than she scrambled
out again, back to the window. Didn't want to waken to a dusty
lover, so the drapes had to be firmly closed.
As she pulled the drapes shut, Buffy happened
to glance down into the backyard once more. There was someone
out there, watching. Then, with a flash of moonlight on skin
and a shifting of shadows, he was gone.
She hurried back to the bed and the safety
of Spike's arms.
Continued in Chapter Five