A.N. : Just so you know I stopped watching halfway through the first run of season six, so I didn't know that I was echoing Joss' thought process on Spike's redemption until the re-runs showed up on FX. On my honor as a writer I did not, repeat I DID NOT rip-off this idea...
P.S. (I don't really think you are what I said you are Stephen and George. Spike made me put that in!)
"Wyndham- Angel investigations. How may I direct your call?"
"Cordy? It's me. Please don't hang up. I beg of you, girl, don't hang up."
After several stunned seconds, Cordelia found her voice again.
"Yeah. I gotta ask..."
"Why are you calling here? I never expected to hear from you again. I mean, you weren't at the funeral. I thought maybe..."
"Couldn't bear to be there. I did try to go poof. A hundred times at least. Never made it. I kept hearin' her voice tellin' me how disappointed in me she was. Plus I had... a friend by my side, makin' sure I stuck around."
"Well... I'm glad you didn't do anything... poofish. I've been hearing good things about you."
"Have you now."
"Yeah. I do keep in touch with the gang. Haven't heard from anyone since Buffy died, though. All Wes would say is that he had a good time at Giles back a couple weeks ago."
"An' may you never find out how good." Spike mumbled.
"Nothing, luv. Look, this call had a point to it when I rang you up..."
"Oh. Sorry about that." she chuckled softly. "Cravings for a voice from home had me all giddy. I'll go get..."
"Hang on! I don't want Angel. I... I called to talk t'you. I need a... a favor of sorts. One only you can do."
"Are you okay, Spike? If I didn't know better I'd swear you were cr..."
"I am not! Don't even think it."
"Apologies again. So, what can I do for you?"
"You are his connection to the PTBs', right? I want... I'd really like it if you'd be my intercessor. I have to talk to 'em, but... I'm kinda worried they'd leave me fit for the broom an' dustpan as soon as look at me. If someone they trust, someone who works for 'em, vouched for me an' said my piece, they'd listen. Please say ya will."
"It depends. What would I be intercessing about?"
"I can't go to them with just that, Spike! 'Yes, sir. Why am I standing here before the greatest powers in the universe as a mouthpiece for the undead? It's personal.' Yeah. That'll go over big."
"I can't... Ya wouldn't believe me if I... "
Cordelia heard Spike pull the receiver away from his mouth and give vent to a low, dangerous growl before he came back on the line. "Alright, but if you laugh..."
The hurt and emotion he was trying to suppress came over the phone so clear and strong that the last thing Cordy wanted to do was laugh.
"I won't. Just tell me."
"I... found someone. This is the big it, Cordy; beyond minds that click, beyond the physical stuff. We need each other, want each other... I've never been this way. It's like I'm totally lost... an' I don't give a damn. The chip burned itself out, see, an' I'm still workin' on my famous temper... if I were to hurt this person... I'd walk straight into the light a'day without a second thought."
"Wow. I've never heard you talk like this. You must be in deep."
"Past my eyes an' sinkin fast. Help me, Cordelia. Please say you'll stand with me... when I ask the Powers for my soul back."
Stunned once again, Cordelia lapsed into silence for another few moments. "Cordy? You there?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah. I'm here. Just considering the implications of broody-boy having a bleach-blond little brother. Of course I'll be there for you. Can't think of a better reason to be an intercessor. Meet me here at the office... two nights from tonight. Try to stay hopeful, okay? I'm gonna do everything I can."
"Thanks, Cordy. You don't know what this means..."
"Sure, I do. If someone saw the softer side of Spike and you two groove non-functional heart wise, who am I to stand in the path of true love? See you in two nights, around midnight."
"Okay. One other thing. Angel... he wouldn't... it might be better not to tell him 'till it's done."
"I am so all over that. Total agreement. Night, Spike."
"Thanks again. Night."
Spike rang off, feeling slightly guilty that he hadn't corrected Cordelia on the state of his love's heart, but if the interview with the Powers didn't clue her in, he wasn't about to.
Cordelia hung up the phone with a bright smile, and ran out of the office into the main part of the lobby.
"Wesley! Wes? Where are you? I need a printed copy of the Rite of Petition..."
TWO NIGHTS LATER: THE ANTEROOM TO THE PTB AUDIENCE CHAMBER
"Are you sure you're ready for this? According to Angel it's pure agony for the body and pure torture for the mind."
"It's worth it. Anything is."
After another moment of skeptical assessment, Cordelia held the printed copy out to him and they began alternately reading the rite of petition.
"Universal rulers, guidance for the lost, hope of those from whom all has been stolen; hear my plea." he began, reading haltingly, working to pronounce each word perfectly.
"Door to forever will be, vigilant gatekeeper and guardian of must never be, open the portal to your servant so that I may come before you and seek your wisdom in the name of the one I represent this night." Cordelia continued, struggling to keep negative thoughts and doubts out of her head. Despite her instinct telling her she could trust Spike, she had seen the Powers die before and was reluctant to be the cause of any more trouble coming their way.
"Strength beyond strength, mind beyond mind, time out of all time; hear my words. See my thoughts. Know my heart. I, William of Manchester, petitioner, attend thee."
"I, Cordelia Chase, intercessor, attend thee."
"So... now what?"
"You're asking me? I'm just their "writhe in pain for way too obscure visions" girl. I never got a membership card. I don't even know the secret handshake."
"S'alright. Ya knew how to find the clubhouse and ya had the password. That's what counts."
"You made a funny."
"Yeah." he replied giving her a mock scowl. "I make funnies all the time, now. My love's evil influence, I think."
"You were reading pretty well. A lot better than you used to. I'm impressed."
"Yeh, well, so is my sweetie. Says I could be readin' high school stuff pretty soon. We're goin' out book lookin' soon as I get back home. I'm kinda lookin forward to it, ya know? There's a lotta stuff I missed. Always thought I'd enjoy classic stuff. Faulkner, Vonnegut, Melville; ones like that."
"Really? I would have thought, Stephen King. Anne Rice maybe..."
"You kidding, luv? If I hadn't changed my ways, I'd go turn that pouf King an' show him what a vampire really is. Rice got closer, but she's still so far off the mark she might as well 'ave been writin' about warm puppies and fluffy pink clouds. I do kinda like those... what is it... Space Battle books. The movies were a bit a'alright, but they left me wonderin' what was next, ya know? So what does he do? Go back to the beginnin'. Silly git."
"Space... you mean 'Star Wars' ?"
"Yeah, them! What I've been able t'get through of 'em has been really great. Puts the pictures in my head just like watchin' the films."
" 'Star Wars'. Boy, if you aren't a shock a minute lately. So tell me more about this wonderful whoever you fell so hard for." Cordy asked, sliding down to sit on the floor.
"I suppose." he mused, joining her. "First thing is... I wasn't gonna tell you this. Wasn't sure how you'd react. This one isn't a vamp, like you were thinkin' the other night. It's a human. That's why when the chip shorted... I knew I had to do this. Had to be sure I'd never do harm. Between this an' the anger management course I'm sufferin' through... we should be aces. I hope."
Though she raised an eyebrow at the mention of anger management, Cordy spared Spike another repeat of verbal incredulity.
"Human. Wow. You've lost a lot in your life to have to face losing someone you feel this much for. How will you... handle it?"
"Follow right behind an' hope I did enough good to balance out the past so I can be with... I'll walk into the sun, piss off the current slayer... whatever. I don't know. I just know... I won't want to be here any longer."
"Amazing. I sure hope whoever you're doing this for is worth it."
"Oh, yeah. Worth everythin' I am an' everythin' I can give, he is." Spike whispered so softly that he was certain Cordelia hadn't heard, even in the echoing, high-ceilinged room where they waited.
When the portal swirled open a short while later, both rose to their feet, but while Cordy moved to step through, Spike hung back.
"Well? C'mon. This is your petition."
"I know. I just..."
"Don't let these guys intimidate you. They're going to read your heart the way it is now, not the way it was. If you've really changed as much as I think you have... you'll be fine."
"Well... Right." he announced, straightening his back and walking through the portal, immediately dropping to his knees and bowing his head as Cordelia had instructed.
/Cordelia Chase, intercessor for the vampire known as William the Bloody, also known as Spike. Rise and speak his petition. We will consider.\\\
"My most humble and grateful thanks, honored ones. The petition is as follows: For the benefit and safety of one he greatly loves, the petitioner requests the restoration of his eternal soul."
/Yes. We see this love. It shines from him. Quite unusual for one of his kind, but also quite beautiful. You need not kneel again, intercessor, but there must be no discussion between yourself and the petitioner. We will return shortly with our judgment.\\\
Cordelia did as she'd been told, hoping Spike would be able to maintain his patient and respectful attitude until the Powers made their decision. He pleasantly surprised her by doing so.
Though it seemed far longer to the pair kneeling and standing by the entrance, the Powers were back in less than thirty minutes.
/ Rise, William the Bloody, come and stand before us. We would render our judgment on your petition.\\\
As Spike rose to his feet, Cordelia quietly slid her hand into his, gave it a quick squeeze and released it. /We have examined your heart and are pleased. The darkness has receded from you and the grip of your demon is not nearly as great. You are no longer William the Bloody, and this also pleases us. Your motivations for asking this of us are altruistic and purely in the interest of another. This is much more than we expected of you. If you continue to walk this path, your wish to one day become one with the light will almost certainly be granted. We cannot offer a guarantee, but we hold much hope for your future. Now to our judgment. To our tremendous disappointment, all the positive changes you have made do not alter what is. We find that we cannot grant your petition, much as it would have been our delight to do so.\\\
Spike dropped back onto his knees hard, then bent forward, his face to the cold floor, sorrow ripping through him as it hadn't since the night of Buffys' death. Tears streaked down his ivory skin and he didn't bother to try and silence the sobs that began to wrack his body.
"God... what was it all for? Why did you ever let me find this if I can't soddin' keep it! What use is anythin' if I end up hurtin'... I ... I can't believe... You... deceivin'..."
/This display of genuine emotion is another hopeful step in your walk to the light, William, and it gratifies us to see it, but will you not let us complete our judgment?\\\
"What more is there t'say, right? Ya said I can't have it back..."
/ Incorrect. Our judgment was that we could not grant your petition. Even we are not able to restore something which you already possess.\\\
Stunned, now, himself, it took a while before the words he was hearing finally got through to Spike. He stood, stumbling a little and faced his judges.
"Wha'? How... it can't be. That's impossible."
/You know well the curse Angelus carries. What you do not know is that it is not a curse, precisely. It was merely an alteration of an affliction carried by all of your kind. For Angel, a moment of true bliss and his soul is banished. For you, a moment of genuine sacrifice and surrender, a genuine opening of yourself to another was what was required for yours to be returned. It was your bonding in sexual and emotional union with Rupert Giles that earned you the gift of your soul.\\\
Luckily Spike looked up at that moment and was just in time to catch Cordelia as she dropped to the floor in a dead faint. /Is your intercessor ill?\\\
"Nah. I told her I was in love... but not with who. I think it kinda... surprised her. She'll be alright."
/We see this. She wakes. Intercessor. We are pleased you are well. We have a message for you. Your courage has served you and those you protect very well. You have gladdened us immensely. It is shown to us that your path and the petitioners are destined to cross in the future at a critical time for your world. All we can reveal at this point is that you must not lose touch as you have since the death of Slayer. All of you who have known and cared for Buffy Summers will be needed. The work has already been set in motion. Do not allow it to be subverted. This is the word of the oracle. Petitioner. We would present an additional gift to both you and your intercessor. Present your hands.\\\
Warily, Cordelia and Spike held their hands out. A moment later tiny silver stick-pins appeared in their palms. /Intercessor. One of these is for you. The other you will present to the one you know as Wesley Windham Pryce. You will simply place it in his hand. You will not interfere with what follows. Petitioner. Yours are to be given to Alexander Harris and your Khean-nar-Viroque. Is all clearly explained?"
"It is." Cordelia murmured as she stood again, with Spikes help.
"It is." Spike echoed, steadying Cordy by one elbow.
/Then all is as it should be. Go in peace. Go with the blessing of the light.\\\
The portal appeared behind them again and, this time, Spike led the way out to the anteroom and back to the street. Once there, Spike began to walk back to the office, but Cordelia halted him.
"I'd say they were joking, but the PTBs' don't know from funny. What is this about Giles?"
"It's true, alright? He's my Khean-nar-Viroque. It means 'shard of my soul'. Everything I told ya on the phone an' in there... it was all about him. We're in love... we're lovers. It goes so much deeper than a word or two could ever express, though. Cordy... what can I say? You don't know what you've done for me an' Rupert. Thanks'll never be enough."
"You did it. That's what they said."
"Yeah, but you got me here. I'm not sure I woulda believed it unless I heard it like this an' I had to be sure... Screw broody-boy. You're my hero, luv."
Spike drew her into an easy embrace. After a moment spent beating down her instinctual reaction, Cordy hugged him back.
"It's almost two. You need to get back to your car. You'll barely make it back to Sunnydale by morning."
"True. Shall we go?"
"I'm really happy for you and Giles. At least I will be when I get over the confusion and shock. Why they want that other pin to go to Xander I don't know. Well. Ours is not to question, ours is just to survive the excruciating headaches and run in front of dangerous thingies from hell praying they miss with whatever they're trying to kill us with."
"Yeah. About the kid. In case he calls ya anytime soon, there are things ya should know. We'll talk on the way back..."
Cordy hugged Spike once more before watching him drive away, then rushed back upstairs.
"Wesley! Wesley, get out here! Now, mister!"
"I was just heading home, Cordy. What's so important?"
"That weekend party at Giles place a while back? That Monday you came back walking like you had tent poles down the legs of your jeans? You said you'd been working out too hard. Exactly what kind of workout are we talking about?"
Wesley's eyes opened wide and he immediately stuck his nose deeply into the tome he was studying and walked away.
"Why don't you go on home, Cordelia..."
"Oh. Oh my God. He wasn't lying. You did... did you?"
Suddenly, she had Wesley's undivided attention.
"He who? He who, Cordelia? Who have you been talking to..."
"You sound like an owl having an asthma attack. Tell you what. I'll give you my story, if I get yours first."
Wesley studied her closely for a long moment, then nodded toward the office.
"We do have an understanding that certain aspects of this tale never go beyond you and I and the walls of the office. Agreed?"
"Fine, but don't blame me if Angel finds out another way."
"What are you saying?"
"Uh-uh. I want to hear every detail of this wild weekend you four had. Then... I'll tell you my little adventure story."
/Why did you not tell the seer the entire truth? All she has endured on our behalf would seem to demand it.\\\
/It would, but this is not to be told yet. Her time of testing must come first. At this moment she is not ready to face his return. And neither is he.\\\
/Is he still unwilling to be called? He is a vital component of what is to come. She accepted her calling. Why will he not do as much?\\\
/Soon. The day is not yet to offer them their new paths. The road often goes unsought until the journey begins. Very soon, they will both be traveling, and then... who can know? Even our eyes are not always clear.\\\
/And if he fails and she cannot sustain them both?\\\
/We will see...\\\
NEXT: If That's Destiny On The Phone, I'm Not Home!