Dark Guardian

Summary: Spike has a secret guardian.

Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine, as they remain the property of their owners and/or creators.

Rating: PG-13, for violence and themes.

Time Frame: Post-fourth season BTVS, during the summer. Spoilers for first five seasons of BTVS and first two seasons of Angel through the fifth episodes of seasons five and two, respectively (this is your spoiler warning, folks).

Archiving: Be my guest, but e-mail me (eilandesq@aol.com) to let me know. . .I like to know where stuff I write ends up and I might want to see what else you've got.

Dedication: To Amanda ,otherwise known as Cantinera, on the occasion of her birthday.



DARK GUARDIAN


He walks alone, the bag containing blood and those cigarettes he loves so much cradled in his arms like a baby. Fool. Anyone could come by and take him while his hands are full. Indeed, there seems to be a certain someone trying to do just that. . .a demon, long of tusk and warty of face. I slip up behind him and give his arm a good yank, pulling him back into the bushes with a moderately loud thump.

Spike whirls around and sees nothing. He calls out, "I better not see any of you wanker demons trying to sneak up on me, or you'll have Spike to answer to." The demon lying on his back next to me looks peeved, then his eyes widen in fear as he recognizes me. I wag my finger with an amused expression on my face and he is silent. Spike glares off in our general direction, but sees nothing, and wanders off mumbling to himself.

The demon stares up at me in terror and mumbles, "I didn't know you were around. . ."

I smile and reply, "If you did, it would mean that I am slipping, and you're not foolish enough to think that, are you?" The demon shakes his head emphatically, and I continue, "Miss Edith thinks I should let you go. . .to warn the others that anyone who hurts a hair on Spike's head will have the world come down on their heads. . .so go, but don't mention my name. . .I don't want to spoil the surprise."

The demon nods and bolts. I smile coldly at his receding back then slip back into the shadows, moving up closer to Spike. He seems restless. . .every so often he looks back, but I am ready for him, and he sees nothing. Grumbling again, he slips into the crypt that he has taken as his own and slams the door.

I sit down with my back to a tombstone and wait to see if he comes back out. . .he usually doesn't, once he's come back with his supplies, but one can't be too careful. . .that demon will spread the word, with the appropriate amount of cringing, and Spike should be left alone after a few more days of watching on my part. . .then I will leave him again.

I feel a pang, though we have been apart for much of the last two years. . .Spike was the one constant in my unlife, long after my Angel had been lost, long after Darla lost interest in her progeny. Even before my misfortune in Prague, Spike always watched out for me. . .protected me from myself when Miss Edith and the other voices in my head threatened to make me do something foolish. Looking back, the accident that put him in that chair for months was the beginning of the end for us. . .he hated being dependent on me. . .then my Angel came back to us. . .and that doomed us.

My Angel always had a delicious talent for cruelty; after all, if he didn't I wouldn't be sitting here now. . .but he rarely focused it on Spike in the old days. Spike is hard and nasty and vicious in his own right, and I always had a feeling that Angel feared that when pressed too far Spike might turn on him, sire or not. This time, Angel came back to us and found Spike almost completely helpless. . .the temptation was just too much for him. Angel never so much as bruised him during the few months we were all together two years back, but his words cut at Spike like poisoned razors, and looking back on it I can see the anger that was building up in my love. . .not that I could have done anything about it.

Spike was my passion. . .but Angel was an obsession to me. . .even while he was cursed with that soul, I found it hard to say no to him. When he came back to us in all of his dark glory, I was blinded by joy and refused to see the problems that Spike's discerning eyes saw all too clearly. Angel had always been prone to obsession (there's that word again), but never before had he fixed his wandering eye on a Slayer as his victim. He passed up more than one opportunity to kill her, and while Spike snarled at him, even I was starting to doubt his judgment. . .but I said nothing, as I did nothing to correct Spike's assumptions that he was taking liberties with me. Angel enjoyed taunting Spike with that. . .but he was far too busy obsessing over his damned Slayer to think about sharing his affections with anyone else. . .even me.

Acathla was the final straw, of course. . .I should have known Spike wouldn't want the world destroyed, his generosity in assembling the Judge for me aside. He loves his little pleasures too much. . .but I never would have dreamed he would go to the Slayer for help. . .in the moment when I realized what had happened, I genuinely wanted to kill him. Not for betraying Angel. . .I knew his reasons for doing that. . .but to crawl to our worst enemy and beg for help. . .I may never completely forgive him for that.

When I woke up in the car, as we sped away from the scene of the disaster, I could see him watching me. I was silent, even as we boarded the freighter bound for Rio, and while he carefully prepared our hiding place for the trip. He left himself completely vulnerable to me during that trip: I could have killed him in an instant. . .but, no. . .that would have been letting him off too easily.

When we arrived, he was more devoted to me than ever, showering me with gifts and attending to my every whim. I was tempted to let it go. . .things were, on the surface, the way they were before I was hurt. But every time I looked at him, I saw her face, and his sickening betrayal of me with her. . .and I just couldn't take it any more. I took the most disgusting demon I could find and made sure he saw me with it. . .the look on his face was memorable, even by the standards of all of the years I spent with both Spike and Angel. I delivered the crowning blow by calmly suggesting that we could still be friends, and he left me, broken.

I spent the next few months in a frenzied attempt to enjoy myself without him, leaving a trail of bodies that had the locals shivering in their beds, but failing to really get past him. . .then one day, he was back. He swept down on me like a thunderbolt and dragged me off to a lair he had prepared with some of the most interesting devices. . .oh, he inflicted pain on me that I had not felt since before Angel turned me, and I was captured again. . .surely this Spike was not the Slayer's lapdog. At length, I cried out in rapture, and Spike released me to fall shivering into his arms. . .ah, things were back to normal with us.

The next six months were lovely. . .we traveled widely, wreaking havoc wherever we went, spending glorious weeks in places we had never ventured before in our century together. . .but as much as I was enjoying myself, it was clear that something was bothering Spike. At length, I was moved to ask him about it, and he was blunt: "Dru, we need to kill that Slayer."

I felt a pang of dread at these words. . .I had not told Spike this, but I had been gaining an increased sense of clarity over the past year. . .I still don't know why. It might have been the infusion of power from the ritual using Angel's blood, or the many shocks that followed, but for the first time since before I was turned, my thoughts are mostly my own. I can still hear the voices, but they whisper softly, even Miss Edith. This new sense of perspective has allowed me to consider with more wisdom what those voices tell me. . .and the most emphatic thing they have whispered to me is that if I face this Slayer, I will die. I wasn't surprised. . .this Slayer is the darling of fortune, and it would do any creature of the night with any sense good to avoid her at all costs until she meets the inevitable doom that befalls all Slayers. I tried to tell Spike this without betraying my secret, but he was furious and would have none of it. He began planning his trip back to Sunnydale, where the legendary Gem of Amara was allegedly hidden, and I knew that unless I ended it with him, I would have to follow him. . .and be doomed.

Once again, I sought out the most disgusting paramour possible and flaunted it in front of Spike. This time, the look on his face was rage, and he stormed away without another word to me. I sighed sadly and arranged to follow him, using spies to inform me of his activities. . .perhaps I could pick up the pieces.

It went as badly as I thought, though he escaped with his life. Clearly, he was more distraught at my betrayal than he let on, considering the pathetic creature he took up with in Sunnydale. . .I thought of hunting her down, then decided against it: his choice of her was its own punishment. I shadowed him while he was in Los Angeles, and was appalled at the risks he took for that silly ring that the Slayer had taken away from him. . .better that Angel destroyed it: it seemed to be a beacon of doom to the vampires foolish enough to rely on its powers.

While Spike licked his wounds, I took the chance to see what my Angel was doing. . .he had his soul back, more's the pity, and he was occupied with saving a few of the multitudes of lost souls in the huge city. . .on the surface, it seemed trivial, but the voices whispered portents of great significance, involving Angel, that half-demon, and that foolish girl who was with that dark-haired boy that Valentine's Day when that odd spell took hold of me. I shrugged and decided not to interfere. . .like the Slayer, my Angel has been receiving a certain degree of luck regarding his survival, and I have learned it is folly to willfully seek out confrontations with such beings.

Reluctantly, I followed Spike back to Sunnydale, only to see him captured by a group of human soldiers. I considered rescuing him, but they were heavily armed and a frontal assault would have been futile. I narrowly escaped capture myself when I came face to face with one of the soldiers, but a touch of my powers kept him from summoning help long enough for me to flee. . .this place had become even more dangerous to our kind.

I still had contacts there, and the whole unpleasant story came back to me in time. . .Spike had been crippled: unable to hunt, or fight, and forced to depend on his worst enemy once again. . . this time for his very survival. I was disgusted, but I knew he was resourceful. . .perhaps he would find a way out of his predicament, then flee that accursed place once and for all.

It didn't happen. The soldiers were killed or driven off, but Spike remained a cripple. He could defend himself against demons, but they had all turned on him, and his life expectancy was short at best, since his damned Slayer protector didn't really care if he was torn to shreds by a horde of angry demons. I debated with myself for long days before I ventured back, and I have been his shadow for three nights now, while keeping an eye out for the Slayer.

I will be leaving soon. . .but I am leaving with the gnawing pain of a new realization about Spike: something he does not yet know about himself. He has nursed his hatred of the Slayer for over two years now, seeing her as the agent of his downfall, and he believes he will not be happy again until she is dead. Hidden within all of that rage is the truth that the voices have whispered to me in my dreams.

He loves her.

I wailed when I realized this: I tore at my hair and cursed the wicked spirits that cause the foolish to fall for the worst possible sorts. . .first my dark Angel, now Spike. . .the pain of it is unbearable. He is doomed, of course. The spirit that dwells within this Slayer will never be captured by darkness, tempted though it might be. His love for her will mean his death. . .and mine, for in spite of my fears I will come to avenge him. . .to avenge myself against her for all of the pain she has caused me, though the voices will whisper of the uselessness of my actions.

I blink, and a single tear trickles down my cheek as I continue my vigil. Though I know it will ultimately be futile, I wait. . .for I must.



As always, comments are welcomed and desired.