The next morning, Helena awoke to find Angel gone. She got up and walked around the small suite of rooms until she came to the small kitchen and noticed a note propped up against the small coffee maker. Helena smiled as she saw the pot was half full of the dark liquid. Despite her British roots, Helena often preferred a strong cup of coffee to tea…especially in the morning.
Helena found a mug and filled it with coffee as she read the note, informing her that Angel had to go make some calls and make some last minute preparations. He told her to meet him back in the library by noon so they could go over any last minute details before they left for the airport.
Helena glanced up at the clock on the wall and she saw she still had three hours before she was to meet Angel. She grabbed her overnight bag and stepped into the bathroom to have a quick shower before dressing for their adventure as Angel had called it last night.
At 10:30, Helena was ready to go and growing a bit restless just sitting in Angel's apartment so she decided to see if she could explore the school a bit, maybe even find the library without getting too lost. Helena stepped out into the hall and looked around for a moment before she remembered the path they'd taken from the other building.
Helena was almost to the door of the underground tunnel when she saw a familiar figure a few feet ahead of her. She grinned slowly, she'd recognize that strut anywhere. Helena knew she was probably being very mean but right then, she didn't care, she was bored and decided to have some fun.
She stealthily stepped closer before she raised her voice and said, coldly, "Well, if it isn't William the Bloody."
Spike froze at the voice that called him by his long ago name. It was a voice he'd hoped to never hear again…a voice he was certain he wouldn't hear again once a few decades had passed, certain she had died at some point. Slowly, half convinced it was a trick or a hallucination, Spike turned around to see the woman who had spoken. She looked much the same as she had over a hundred years ago, except for the modern clothes. Spike took a step back, "That's not possible…" A thought occurred to him then, "unless Angelus turned you."
Helena chuckled to herself, "Oh William…little Willie…is that the only explanation you can think of? That's rather sad." Helena's small smile vanished then from her face as she asked, "Do you remember what I said I'd do to you if I ever caught you near Angelus again?"
Spike's eyes widened as he remembered her threat from so long ago, he held his hands up and panicked a bit, he knew he couldn't kill her, his new arrangement with Buffy and Angel that allowed him to stay at the Academy, as well as his soul, prohibited killing humans. He could defend himself if needed, but he couldn't kill. Aside from all that, Spike knew this woman was special to Angel, and while in the past that alone would've signed her death warrant, he wasn't the same vampire he'd been then and he knew if he hurt her in any way, even while defending himself, he'd be in a world of trouble with Angel and Buffy. "Hey, I remember but maybe you didn't get the memo, I'm reformed now. Angel and me, we're friends again. So…uh…there's no need to go killing anyone, got it?"
Helena took a step closer, not really scared of the vampire before her since she had bested him once before and that was without his soul holding him back, "Really? Friends? After what you tried to do back then?"
Spike just nodded, "Yeah…water under the bridge and all that, you know how it is right love?"
Helena's face was an impassive mask, "I'm not your love William. However, your luck seems to be holding up today. Angelus told me what transpired between the two of you over the century that I've been…away. There are more than enough instances that I could use as reasoning for killing you…but as I said, Angelus also explained the good you've managed to do and that you have a soul now. So chin up old man…I shan't be pulling out my stakes anytime soon." When Spike looked relieved at Helena's words, she stepped right up to him, her face only a few inches from his and her voice a low, deadly whisper, "But make no mistake William, you cross me or threaten Angel, and no amount of slayers in the world will save you. Understood?"
Spike looked her in the eyes, seeing the truth in her words and he nodded, "Understood."
Helena stepped back and smiled, friendly attitude in place, "Good. It's such fun when everyone is in agreement, isn't it? So, why don't you tell me what it is you do here?"
Spike tried to relax around the woman but there was something about her that made him tense. It wasn't often that a human could get the best of him, one that wasn't a slayer at any rate. He walked with the woman, Helena, through the tunnel to the main school building, keeping her within his sight at all times.
They talked about Spike's role at the school as one of the two vampires on staff that gave the new slayers experience fighting against vampires. He and Angel were teachers of sorts, helping with the training of the slayers. It wasn't something he'd ever thought he'd be doing but, he liked it, knowing he was doing good. The guilt his soul made him carry around over his past misdeeds, was eased somewhat by the work he did at the academy, training the next generation of slayers to keep the world safe.
Helena listened to William, she couldn't bring herself to call him Spike just yet, talk about his role in the school and she was surprised to hear him say he enjoyed it.
Before too long, they emerged from the tunnel into a hallway in the school. Helena looked around and smiled, the school may be in America, but the décor was decidedly British. It reminded Helena of the schools she'd had to search for artifacts back when she worked for Warehouse 12.
Helena turned to William, "So, I have about an hour until I have to meet Angel, where are you off to, William?"
Spike looked at Helena for a moment then said, "I won't tell you that until you start calling me Spike. I don't go by William anymore." Really only Drusilla and his mother had ever called him William. Even Angelus had tauntingly called him Willie for a bit before he too conceded to calling him Spike. There were too many emotional memories attached to his human name.
Helena could see the pain in the blonde vampire's eyes as a memory no doubt surfaced and reminded him of something painful attached to the name. She inclined her head in a conciliatory manner, "Very well, if I can learn to call Angelus Angel, I suppose I can get accustomed to Spike."
Spike nodded, happy that she had agreed so readily, "Thanks. Anyway I'm off to the gymnasium, got a class on hand to hand combat to teach the first years." Spike paused a moment before he said, "Wanna tag along? See what we do here and all that?"
Helena smiled, "I'd like that, is there a way to let Angel know where I'll be in case he comes looking for me?"
Spike rolled his eyes, even after all their progress towards becoming friends, it still irked him sometimes when beautiful women seemed to pick Angel over him. "Sure, I'll send the boy wonder to tell him once we get to class. Come on, it's this way."
Helena smiled as she followed him but after a few paces she had to ask, "The boy wonder? Who is that?"
Spike, assuming Angel had already told Helena about him simply said, "Connor. He's one of the two watchers that keeps an eye on the classes Angel and I teach, to make sure no one gets hurt…or dusted."
Helena nodded to herself, remembering what Angel had told her about Connor. She was interested in meeting the son of two vampires…Angel's son.
Angel was sitting in the small office he shared with Spike as he made the phone calls he needed to make. First to the airport to have the jet fueled up and ready to go, then to the pilot to make sure he and his co-pilot would be ready to go on time and file a flight plan. His final call was to Buffy to make sure she could cover his classes for a few days while he went off with Helena to London.
After his phone calls, Angel sat back in his chair and looked out the window, not really seeing the trees and the sky as he let himself get lost in thought about what he would have to do in London to gain access to the grave where he'd stashed Helena's artifact. It wasn't going to be easy, but it wasn't that hard either, provided that no one had disturbed his old room at Helena's place.
Helena followed Spike into a large gymnasium and took a moment to look around before she noticed a group of girls standing in the center of the room. They looked to be no older than 14 or 15 and had fairly uncertain looks on their faces.
She turned to the blond vampire, "These girls are…slayers? They're so young."
Spike nodded, keeping his voice low, "That's how it goes in this racket. The slayer calling likes them young…lulls the dumber vamps into a false sense of security. Don't let the petite ones fool you though, being a slayer gives them the strength, speed, agility, and skill to kill vampires and demons. You'll see when they start their lesson."
Spike walked over to the other side of the room where two people stood just watching the girls who were lined up like they were about to do karate drills. Helena studied the two people Spike was talking to and she noticed they looked roughly the same age. The guy had longish brown hair, the kind that fell past his ears but was still short enough to not have him mistaken for a woman. He stood straight and carried an air of competency and…just a touch of arrogance. Helena smiled, recognizing her friend Angel in some of his features, this was obviously Connor. Helena looked at him a moment longer before letting her gaze travel to the woman standing next to him. She was about his height with waist-length brown hair and a slim figure. She was petite in a way that, like Spike had mentioned, was likely to lull a predator into a false sense of security. She wondered who this woman was, since it was obvious she wasn't a slayer. Helena, after learning from Angel about slayers and that Buffy, Faith and Kennedy were slayers, was starting to recognize certain…attributes that seemed to be exclusive to slayers. Confidence that bordered on arrogance, maybe even a barely rippling muscle here and there as she had seen when Faith and Kennedy had moved to sit at the table last night. This girl didn't have any of that, though she looked like she could handle herself just fine.
Before Helena could speculate further, Spike was motioning for her to join them. As she walked towards them, another door behind the three opened and the woman turned to see who had come in and Helena saw her grin. Helena's eyes moved to the new person in the room and she had to fight hard to hide her surprise when she saw a woman wearing a dark red leather outfit, who had blue skin and the oddest looking blue eyes.
Once Helena was standing next to Spike, the blonde vampire smiled as he introduced her to the others, "Helena, this is Connor, Dawn and Illyria. Guys, this is Helena, she's an old friend of Angel."
Helena shook hands with Connor and Dawn but when she turned to the blue lady named Illyria, her hand was ignored as the woman turned to look at Dawn as if looking for permission or guidance. When Dawn just nodded, Illyria turned back to Helena and shook her hand.
Helena turned to Connor and smiled, "Connor, you're Angel's son, yes?"
Connor nodded, "Yeah…it's complicated."
"Not to worry dear boy, Angel told me all about it last night." Helena smiled warmly at the young man, "I'm just glad you found your way back to him. Family is…very important."
Connor smiled, Helena's accent was starting to turn him on…he'd always had a thing for older women. "Yeah…it is. How do you know my dad?"
Helena glanced quickly at Spike before she said, "That's a complicated story for another time. Suffice it to say, your dad has been a great friend to me for a long time."
Spike took that moment to step in, sensing Helena wasn't ready to tell any of them how she'd managed to live so long. "Speaking of Angel, Connor can you find him and let him know Helena is in the gym with us? He might come looking for her in a bit and this way he doesn't have to worry, alright?"
Connor turned to Dawn, "You got this for a bit?"
Dawn nodded, "Yeah Illyria will stay with me until you get back." Helena noticed the blue woman just nodded her acquiescence.
Connor nodded then excused himself from the group and left through the door Illyria had come in through. Helena turned to Dawn then, "So what is it that you and Illyria do at the academy?"
Dawn smiled, "I am one of the demonology teachers, teaching the slayers about the different species of demons that had been catalogued by all the past slayers. Illyria is one of the physical combat teachers. She teaches her own class here after Spike's class. Illyria teaches the older girls who can handle a…tougher opponent."
"I see, that's pretty helpful I would imagine. So if you're a demonology teacher, why are you here now?"
Dawn chuckled, "Well it's school policy that during the physical combat classes, at least two chaperones have to be present to ensure that neither the girls nor the instructors are killed. It's a safety issue."
Helena nodded, understanding the importance of the safety precautions. It made her feel better to know Angel wasn't in danger of being staked by a careless slayer in training.
Spike nodded, having grown tired of their chatter, "Right, well it's time to start the lesson. Helena you might want to stand here with Dawn and Big Blue while I put the girls through their paces." Spike grinned before walking towards the girls who were waiting patiently for their class to begin.
Since it was almost halfway through their school year, they were accustomed to Spike and his methods. They knew they couldn't actually stake him but they would each have a turn at one to one sparring with him before being paired off for sparring with each other while he critiqued their form and their skill.
Helena stood off to the side with Dawn and Illyria for the first part of the lesson and watched as each of the ten girls took her turn fighting the blond vampire. Each one ended up on her back, defeated. Helena grinned, suddenly eager to show these girls how it's done. She turned to Dawn, "Tell me, would it be alright if I took a turn with Wil- I mean Spike before the girls pair up?"
Dawn looked at Helena surprised she would ask that, the woman obviously wasn't a slayer so why would she volunteer to fight a vampire, even one as relatively tame as Spike? "Um…are you sure?"
Helena nodded, "Oh quite sure. I've dealt with Spike before and come out on top. I'd like to see if I'm still up to the task. Please?"
Dawn glanced over at Spike then nodded once, making a decision. "Okay, if Spike agrees to it, you can have a go at him." Dawn turned in Spike's direction and raised her voice, "Hey Spike! Come here."
Spike was giving the girls a moment to rest before pairing them off to spar so he turned and jogged over to Dawn and the other two women. "What's up Little Bit?"
Dawn automatically placed a hand on Illyria's arm to stop her from reacting…she hated Spike calling Dawn 'Little Bit' and whenever he did her first reaction was to hit him. Dawn didn't have time for that now so she stopped her girlfriend. "Helena wants to have a go at it with you. A sparring session, you up for it?"
Spike's first reaction was to turn it down, not fully trusting Helena to hold back despite the truce they'd come to earlier. Before he could find a way to say no without looking like he was scared or nervous, Helena spoke up, "Come on Spike. Let's show these girls what a real fight with a vampire looks like, no holding back, except no killing. Or are you still scared of little old me?"
That got Spike's attention and he knew now he couldn't say no without looking like a coward. Still, he did have an image to uphold so he grinned and tilted his head to the side, as if studying Helena, "Alright then. Let's see what you got, grannie."
Helena just grinned, "Grannie? Good one Willie…let's have at it."
Helena took off her jacket so she was just in her trousers and a t-shirt. She stepped onto the mat where the girls had just finished getting their butts kicked by Spike and grinned at the girls who were now huddled in a group, interested in seeing what would happen.
One of the girls, a blonde with green eyes, spoke up, "Are you a slayer?"
Helena took a moment to smile at the bold girl, "No darling, just an old friend."
Before any other girls could ask more questions Spike called them to attention and told them to be quiet and pay attention. He then turned to Helena and grinned, "Here we are then love, entertain us."
Helena just smiled before she got into her stance and they began to spar. Helena gave even better than she got, countering Spike's punches and kicks with deflection techniques before delivering her own blows while Spike was recovering from the movement. Spike did manage to get a few good hits in, but Helena was clearly the superior fighter, since Spike was relying mostly on his vampire strength and speed while Helena, being human, was relying more on her Kenpo technique and using Spike's momentum and strength against him.
After about 15 minutes of sparring, Helena felt it was time to wrap it up before she forgot herself and accidentally went too far. With an impressive leg sweep, Helena soon had Spike on his back and she straddled him, pinning his arms down and using her body weight to keep his lower half immobilized.
Helena grinned down at the obviously frustrated vampire, "game over William. Say the magic words and I'll let you up."
Spike growled up at Helena, knowing what she wanted to hear but not liking that he was the one who had to say it. He tried to dislodge the woman off of him with no luck. After a few moments of fruitless squirming, he finally gave up and looked up at the ceiling. Gritting his teeth and staring at a spot on the ceiling he said in a low voice, "you win, I'm your…bitch. Now let me up!"
Helena chuckled, she hadn't been expecting the part about being her bitch but she'd take it. All she wanted to hear was that she won. She slowly got up off of Spike, alert and ready in case he decided to be a bad sport and try to trip her or something. Luckily for Spike, he didn't try any of that but that was only because he happened to glance at the door and see Angel standing there with Connor. He knew from the look on Angel's face that if he tried for payback, he'd regret it.
So he simply waited until Helena was off of him before he stood up and turned to face his class. "And that's how it's done. Now, pair off and let me see if any of you were paying attention to Helena's moves or just enjoying seeing me get my arse kicked."
The girls quickly paired off and began sparring while Spike walked among them, observing. He wasn't ready yet to face Helena, Angel and the others after his defeat so he used his teaching to give himself some time for his ego to recover.
Helena walked over to Angel and Connor smiling. "Hello Angel. Have a good morning?"
Angel tried not to grin at Helena, he was conflicted over how to feel about Helena and Spike sparring. "Yeah. What was that with Spike?"
Helena glanced back briefly at Spike then back to Angel, "Oh that? It was nothing. I just wanted to see if my skills were rusty. Relax Angel, Spike and I worked out our issues and we've called a truce. It's all better now. This was just a friendly sparring match, like we used to back then, remember?"
Angel thought about that then nodded, remembering the few sparring sessions he'd had with Helena during their year together. She was the one who had taught him that he could fight a human without killing. He could defend himself without taking a life. In many ways, Helena had become more of a sire than Darla had been. Darla had made him a demon and taught him to revel in the evil and the kill. Helena had taught him he could be both demon and man. He could still fight other vampires, demons and even the occasional human without taking a human life. Long before Whistler had found him to bring him to Buffy, Helena had saved Angel's sanity and his soul and given him something to fight for, to believe in.
He lost his way a few times but, it was Helena's memory that had helped him find it again. "Okay, fair enough. Thank you for not killing him…Buffy kind of has a soft spot for him."
Helena nodded, "You do too if I recall correctly. Not to worry, as long as he plays nice, he's safe."
Angel chuckled, "Good to know. Well, the jet is ready, so what do you say we get going?"
Helena smiled, "Alright, just let me say goodbye to the others," She pointed at Spike, Dawn and Illyria, "and we can get going."
Angel nodded and watched her walk off to say her goodbyes.
Connor, who'd been silently watching the exchange turned to his father then, "She's um…she's not a threat to your soul is she? Like she's not going to try to give you that moment of perfect happiness and make you evil again, is she?"
Angel turned to his son, "Relax Connor. She's not like that, we're just friends. My soul is perfectly safe."
Connor relaxed and smiled, "Good. I like her, she has a good vibe. And she makes you smile which I like seeing. Just as long as you don't go losing your soul."
"Not to worry Connor. Angelus isn't getting out anytime soon."
Before they could continue their conversation, Helena walked back over to them and soon she and Angel were leaving the gym and heading to the main doors where the car was waiting for them to drive to the airport. Before the doors could open, Helena stopped, "Oh, before I forget, here." She handed him the ring so he could go out into the sunlight and not burn up.
Angel smiled as he slipped it on, flexing his fingers to get used to wearing the ring. "Okay, let's hope this still works."
Helena just shook her head, amused by Angel's cautiousness. Of course the ring still worked, it helped her find him, it would keep him safe from the sun.
Helena opened the door and stepped outside a few steps before she turned back to Angel and watched as he carefully extended his hand into the shaft of sunlight streaming onto the steps. He smiled as he noticed that his hand wasn't burning. Helena grinned, "I told you it would work. Now come on, we have a plane to catch darling." Helena held out a hand to Angel who took it with a smile.
They walked down the path towards the waiting car and Angel held the door open for Helena before following her into the car. Before too long they were on their way to the airport and the private hangar where the Academy's jet was waiting for them to board.
Buffy watched from an upstairs window as Angel held the door open for Helena and she felt…jealous almost. In all the time she and Angel had been together, they'd never been able to go out in the daylight, she'd never seen him look that happy…not when he still had his soul anyway. Before she could get lost in her conflicting thoughts, she felt two strong arms wrap around her waist and pull her back into a familiar body. Buffy closed her eyes and smiled as she leaned back into Faith.
Faith had long ago accepted there would always be something between Buffy and Angel…he was her first great love after all, so she knew better than to get jealous when Buffy started getting protective of Angel. She knew Buffy was hers and nothing would change that now, so when Buffy got like this she simply held her and reminded her that she wasn't alone. "Hey B, don't worry about Angel, he'll be fine."
Buffy sighed, "I know he will I just can't help but worry. I mean this Helena shows up out of the blue looking for Angelus and despite the fact that Angel knows and trusts her, I just get a weird vibe from her. I don't know, maybe I'm just being paranoid."
Faith lowered her head and placed a soft kiss on her girlfriend's neck, "Nah, not paranoid just cautious. That's not a bad thing B. But if it makes you feel any better, at least he has Gunn and Xander as backup."
Buffy smiled, remembering that the Watcher's Council had paid for Xander and Gunn to get their pilot's license so they could fly the school's jet. It helped to keep the school's true purpose hidden for them to have their own pilots, plus it was convenient, since both of them lived on campus along with the rest of the gang. "True, I just hope Angel doesn't try to ditch them in London."
Faith kept silent, knowing that if whatever Helena needed in London was such a secret that she couldn't even tell them what it was, she wasn't likely to want the guys around when they went to get it. Instead of words, she slowly backed Buffy up away from the window and towards her desk. "As much as I wish we were back in our room, the school day awaits and I have to teach a weapons class and you have Principal paperwork. Come on, I'm sure if it's worth worrying about, Gunn or Xander will contact us, okay?"
Buffy finally relented and nodded her head in agreement. She kissed Faith for several minutes before shooing her out of her office to teach her crossbow class while she sat down and got started on all the administrative paperwork that went with running a 'special' high school.
Helena stepped out of the car in the private hangar and looked at the small private plane that was sitting there, waiting for them. It was fairly impressive.
Angel stepped up next to Helena and, with a hand on the small of her back, he led her towards the door to the jet. Angel smiled when he saw Gunn and Xander standing near the door waiting for them. When he and Helena were close enough he said, "Guys, this is an old friend of mine, Helena Wells. Helena, these are two of my most trusted friends, Charles Gunn and Alexander Harris."
Gunn stepped forward and shook Helena's hand, "Please call me Gunn, no one calls me Charles…anymore." Gunn forced back the memory of Fred who'd only ever called him Charles…she was gone now and he tried not to think about how much it hurt to lose her…only to have her body invaded by a demon-god who for some reason was in love with Dawn Summers.
Helena grinned, "Very well, Gunn. And Alex?" She asked turning to the other man.
Xander grinned, "Um, no actually everyone just calls me Xander, ma'am." This woman made him nervous, she had a school teacher vibe that was making his inner teenage boy nervous.
Helena shook his hand, "A pleasure to meet you Xander but please don't call me ma'am. It's Helena. That goes for you too Gunn."
Both men nodded, agreeing to her request to be called by her name. Before too long, Gunn and Xander were in the cockpit preparing for take-off and Helena and Angel were buckled into their plush leather seats waiting to be given clearance to take off.
Angel glanced over at Helena, "Are you okay?"
Helena grinned, then noticed she was gripping the armrest, "Oh yes, I'm fine. Flying is still…new to me so it makes me nervous."
Angel nodded remembering the first few times he'd flown on a plane. He reached out and took Helena's hand, "Hang on and squeeze when you get nervous. Don't worry about hurting me."
Helena smiled her thanks and soon was squeezing his hand as hard as she could when she felt the plane scream down the runway before lifting into the air. Helena didn't relax until they leveled off and she heard Gunn's voice over the speaker saying they were at their cruising altitude and they could walk around if they needed to. Helena immediately ran for the lavatory and threw up.
Angel just sat there and waited for her to return. There were a few things they needed to discuss before they landed in London. He reclined the seat and leaned back, actually looking forward to seeing London again, especially since he didn't have any enemies left in London that would get in their way.
AN: Before I get letters, I know Spike seems out of character but after everything that went down in the final seasons of Buffy and Angel, Spike isn't the same guy we're used to. Also, in this version, Illyria is also a bit different and, a little more willing to defer to Dawn in certain things. I will be trying to make her more demon-god like in future chapters. Also, side note, before Xander got his pilot's license, Willow and the Coven in England restored the eye that Caleb gouged out. That's why I didn't mention it. Connor returned to Angel and Co after the big fight with the Black Thorn after realizing how close he came to losing his father.