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Never Alone by Lilachigh
Chp 5 When in Rome
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NEVER ALONE by Lilachigh

Chapter 5 - When in Rome

A certain vampire has a big decision to make.

Even at 3 a.m. in Rome, it isn’t usually quiet. There are always people around, drunk or sober, laughing or arguing. There is always traffic humming along somewhere. Rome never sleeps. Which made it even odder that when a hot whirling wind descended on part of the city, no one noticed, not even when into the dark night a man appeared, tight blonde curls covering his head, lurching out of the whirlwind, crashing to the ground.

He struggled to his feet as the wind vanished, looking bewildered. ‘What the bloody hell - ’

“Don’t swear, William. You’re in Rome.”

Spike gazed round wildly but there was no one there. “Who the hell are you? Where the hell are you? Come out and fight, you wanker. I’ll kill you!”

“William! William! Is this the thanks we get for bringing you back from the dead?”

Spike closed his eyes and tried to remember. Sunnydale, Apocalypse, Hellmouth, a sodding amulet, burning, - Buffy!

“Buffy! Is she all right? Did she escape? And Niblet?“ Spike mouthed a silent prayer to a God he’d long ago forsaken.

“Yes, both are well. The one they called Anya did not survive. An acquaintance of yours, I believe. But Miss Summers is fine. She’s here.“

“What?’“Spike’s mind whirled. Anya dead! Fucking hell! And Buffy here! He glanced round wildly but there was no one in sight. He’d visited Rome many, many years before with Dru. He knew roughly where he was - Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain. Yes, there it was.

“She’s here in Rome. She’s the reason why you’re here - well, one of the reasons. She believed in you. Believed you would survive in some fashion. She sent you - well, let’s say, we had a communication from her to you. And so we decided to let you survive. But now you have a choice to make, William.”

All Spike could think was that Buffy was alive and close by. “Can I see her?”

“You can see her, but at present she can’t see you. At the moment you’re in ghostly form. The jury is still out up here about whether you should ever get your fully corporeal body back.”

Spike swore, but under his breath. That was the trouble with these ‘up here’ guys. Powers that you never saw, could never contact. They could twist you round, change your bloody life, even your death, in a blink, but did they ever ask you what you sodding wanted to do. Did they hell!

“So what’s this choice thingy about then?”

“Why don’t you visit Miss Summers first, then decide.”

Spike found himself suddenly standing on a balcony of an old, very ornate building. “Bleedin’ hell, you’re making me dizzy,“ he snapped.

The balcony was obviously outside a bedroom. Sheer white curtains floated in the breeze and he could smell her scent - oh god, he could smell her. He felt he was walking forwards but couldn’t feel his feet touching the floor. There was a bed, canopied in the same sheer white and his girl lying there asleep, her hand curled round that stupid stuffed pig of hers.

He smiled grimly. So his parcel had reached her. Clem and the other demons had come through for him. Trembling, he reached out, but his hand made no contact on her skin. Hell, couldn’t they have just let him touch her once more! Was that too much to ask?

“She can’t hear me, can she?” he said quietly.

“No.“ The voice saw no need to whisper. “She can’t hear you or see you, William.”

Spike stared at the curve of her shoulder, the tousled blonde curls on the white lace pillow. He moved round the bed and stood gazing down at the face he loved beyond death.

“She looks well. Far better than the last time I saw her, what with the fighting and killing and all.”

“She is well. Physically she’s as strong as she ever was. Miss Summers and her sister are busy with their new lives here in Italy.“

“Does she...does she ever think about me, talk about me?“

“She thinks about you a great deal. She believes that some day, some way, she will see you again.”

Spike felt his hands clench into fists. He wished there was someone he could hit. It would make him feel so much better. “Then why don’t you let her!”

“That is all part of the choice you have to make. Miss Summers is, if not happy, contented. She is safe; her sister and friends are all safe. You can choose to be human again, here, tonight, and what happens between the two of you, well, will happen.“

Spike felt his nerves tingle and he reached out a hand that couldn’t feel the soft, satiny skin. “Then yes, I choose that.”

“But – “ the voice went on relentlessly as if he hadn’t spoken, “you have older loyalties, William, an older ‘relative’ shall we say. Miss Summers doesn’t need you. Others do.”

With another blink Spike found himself back, sitting on the edge of the Trevi Fountain.
“You mean that poofter Liam, don’t you?” he said wearily.

“Angel, Angelus, Liam - he has many names. He was even Miss Summers’ lover at one time, of course.”

Spike stared down at the water in the fountain. “And is he in danger? - I hope!”

“The world is in great danger, William. He will try and stand against it but he needs - he needs you to succeed. But you still have the choice. Miss Summers or Angel. It is up to you. No pressure. We don’t mind either way.”

Spike closed his eyes and rammed his fingers into the pockets of his duster. It was odd that he could feel the leather, but not the paving stones beneath his feet. There wasn’t really any choice, of course. Okay, Angel was ‘family’ and although they’d loathed each other for years, family was family at the end of the day.

And the end of the day seemed to be happening a lot recently. Well, he’d saved the sodding world once this year - perhaps the second time would be easier!

But it wasn’t even that. If Angel died and Buffy ever found out Spike could have helped prevent that, what would that do to their - what was it - relationship, friendship, love? Whatever it was, it wouldn’t survive that.

She’d said that she loved him, but he didn’t believe her. There was always Angel.
“What was this communication she sent you?” he asked, trying to put off the moment when he had to choose.

“It was, we felt, a statement of belief. The actual items were lists to do with a wedding, apparently between the two of you when you were living under a spell cast by the witch Willow.”

Spike smiled. He could remember those bloody lists. Flowers and bridesmaids and seating plans. He could also remember how happy he‘d been, how warm he’d felt holding her in his arms that day, He couldn’t believe she’d kept those lists. Where on earth had she put them? He thought she’d lost everything when the Hellmouth collapsed. She only had what he’d sent her in that parcel - right, the pig! They must have been inside the pig! And if she’d kept them hidden all those years, then perhaps she did feel something for him, could it be love -

“There is no more time for thought, William. You have to decide now.”

Bloody Powers, always caught you on the hop. Always gave you choices that weren’t really there. Sometimes you had to play their game with them and of one thing Spike was quite sure - when it came to playing poker, he was better than any Powers could ever be.

“So, if I choose to help Liam save the sodding world, will I remember any of this?” he asked.


“Oh great. Well, okay, I’ll do a deal with you. I’ll go and tag along with Liam and his band of misfits and try and help with whatever Apocalypse is on its way, but only if you’ll let me have one minute of humanity, right here and now.”

There was a long silence. Spike stared down at the water in the fountain, waiting, hands clenched at his side.

“Agreed. One minute then you must go.”

Spike heard the wind roar round him again, but now he could feel the heat of it against his face, feel it tugging at his hair, taste it. He could smell the Italian night - lemons, garlic, petrol fumes, drains! - knew that he was alive again. And Buffy was so close and she would never know.

He turned his back on the fountain and with one swift movement he threw the coin he’d found in his duster pocket over his shoulder.

As the wind charged back to carry him away once more, he heard the plop of it hitting the water in the fountain. “I want to come back to Rome one day, back to Buffy,“ he shouted.

And he smiled as his last thought was of the legend that said - if you have a wish, you must say it out loud as you throw a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi fountain in Rome. Only then will it be granted.

To be continued
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