Exposition Part 2
“So, where was I?” Spike questioned as he sat back down in the armchair, cup of tea in hand.
Buffy huffed impatiently. “Spike the friendly ghost?”
“Righto,” he sipped his tea and set the cup down on the table. “So I came back from the dead as a ghost. That lasted a few weeks and then I got turned corporeal again –”
“That’s not really important, Buffy.”
“Spike, don’t you think I should decide whether it’s important or not?”
He paused. “I got brought back by a man called Lindsay McDonald.”
“Who’s he and why did he bring you back?”
“He was a lawyer and I don’t know.”
Buffy eyed him. “Spike.”
“It’s the truth.” He shrugged. “I told you it wasn’t important. Anyway, blah blah big battle blah blah bollocky blah. Then for a while – there was nothing. I mean, not nothing just not a lot. Patrolled as normal but no apocalypse, at least not ones I knew about.”
She leaned forward. “But who were you with?”
“Yeah, were you back with the gang? Willow? Xander? Giles?”
“Oh, no. No. They’d all gone their separate ways.”
Buffy was surprised. “They’d split up.”
“Yeah. No hard feelings, an amicable thing. All just needed to go off and find themselves or whatever. I made my impromptu resurrection know to them…eventually…but we certainly didn’t have a reunion party or any such thing.”
“So, you were alone?”
“Yeah. Near enough. Visited Dawn every now and then, just to check up on her. She wasn’t too fond of me for a long while but we worked it out.”
She tilted her head. “Why?”
“You know why.”
Buffy swallowed. “I told her that wasn’t your fault.”
“But it was,” Spike replied then sighed, rubbing his forehead. “So, one night on a routine patrol I was approached by a woman.”
“Is this a story I want to hear?”
He rolled his eyes. “She was government. Told me they were starting up a branch to keep the vampires in check. And she wanted me to be the poster boy for vampire redemption. You can imagine how many ways I told her to shove it.”
“Why you, why not –”
“The chip. The chip in my head. They were interested in it. They wanted to put a chip in every vampires head, effectively castrating them. Didn’t seem to matter that I didn’t have it anymore.”Before she had a chance to say any more he continued. “Anyway, they did. They made a chip and stuffed one in every vampire they could find on the register.”
“Yeah, to keep track of vampires. Like a census.” Spike took another sip of tea and turned to gaze out of the screen door. “It worked for a while, too. Vamps couldn’t bite anyone. Didn’t stop vigilantes staking ’em though. But it didn’t take for long. That’s when H.U came in. They rallied for vampires; they wanted to help them not to just contain them. They went to court stating that the chips were a breach of Vampire Rights.”
“Vampire Rights,” Buffy spluttered. “That’s…still a weird concept for me.”
Spike smiled lopsidedly. “Me too. But I like it. Anyway, they won the case and it changed everything. Suddenly vampires had rights. The chips came out and instead they worked at developing vampire’s consciences.”
Buffy shook her head. “Vampire’s don’t have consciences.”
“You have a soul.”
“I had a conscience before then, Buffy. I just didn’t listen to it. I felt a lot of things you claim a vampire can’t feel because they don’t have souls. Love, for one thing.”
She drew in a breath. “In the visions the Shadowmen gave me I saw people strapped to beds. And…I think there was blood. What was that?”
Spike looked down at the piece of paper. “My guess would be that was when we were developing the blood substitute. A few vampires had adverse reaction to some of the earlier samples, but they were all volunteers. Hell, I guinea pigged for it too.”
“So, who started H.U?”
“Just people. People and vampires. Like a lot of great things it had humble routes,” he shrugged. “They were looking for more workers and I got asked. And I said yes.”
Buffy eyed him. “Very sought after.”
He grinned. “Can you blame them?” the grin wilted. “Not everyone liked the idea of vampires having rights, though. There was rioting. Murder. Assassination attempts on me and the others. And then there was Giles.”
“Giles?” she sat up straighter.
“Yeah, Giles,” Spike looked weary suddenly as he drank his tea. “He was against us. He didn’t think vampires should have rights. ‘That way leads to the darkness overcoming us all…’ were his exact words, if I recall.”
Buffy shifted in her seat.
He looked at her. “You agree. I knew you would. Its okay, Buffy, it’s not in you to trust vampires. I know that.”
“No. I’m just picky with the vampires I trust.”
He smiled a little. “Yeah. Anyway, Giles made a lot of big speeches in Sunnydale Square so that’s another thing to tick off your list of visions. He rallied a lot of support. Nearly managed to bring H.U. down. He’s a bit of celebrity amongst humans and a figure of fear amongst vampires and other demons.”
Buffy looked down. “So, that’s why people kept laughing when I wanted them to call him.”
“I can’t talk about Giles anymore,” she looked up and locked eyes with him. “But I…Spike…where’s Angel?”
Buffy winced when Spike looked like she’d punched him in the gut. She’d noticed he’d been carefully avoiding bringing up the subject with her but she had to know. If Angel was dead too, she had to know.
He stood and scooped up his car keys and for a moment she thought he was going to leave. “He’s in custody.”
“Custody? He’s in prison!” Buffy stood up quickly, relief that Angel was still alive washing
through her and mixing with the worry. “Why?”
“Because he wouldn’t stop fighting.” Spike refused to meet her eyes.
Buffy’s lips parted. “He’s in jail for slaying vampires?”
He nodded slowly. “After the laws came into effect killing vampires constituted murder but Angel didn’t care. He still went patrolling every night. They branded him a serial killer and he’s serving two life sentences in an H.U prison.”
“I’ve got clearance,” he started for the door, pulling a blanket off the couch as he went. “I’ll take you to him.”
+ + +
Buffy followed Spike down the long white corridor, watching the material of his T-shirt sliding against his shoulder blades. A guard walked in front of the vampire, escorting them. The sound of their combined footfalls was loud against the emptiness of the place.
The doors to the cells were all made of heavy duty steel and there were no windows just small compartments that unlatched when necessary. This meant Buffy couldn’t see into any of the cells and for that she was glad. She didn’t want to know. She just didn’t.
She was already feeling enough dread as it was. Angel. Angel was locked up and she didn’t know how long he’d been there either. It was all so strange and so frightening because she knew if she lost her case that it could be her fate as well. Two supposed champions of the light thrown in jail for doing what they’d thought was right. Buffy still wasn’t sure how Spike could have gone along with this and why he hadn’t tried to get Angel out of jail.
So many unanswered questions again.
They suddenly came to a stop outside of one of the cell doors and Buffy’s heartbeat felt like it increased tenfold. Spike nodded to the guard and he left, going back the way he came. The vampire turned to her, face worried and again she was struck by how he seemed to have aged.
“Buffy…” he breathed softly. “I just want you to prepare…he’s not the same Angel you knew…”
She spoke evenly, “Spike, open the door.”
He nodded and took out a credit card sized key-card and swiped it through the door. Buffy waited and then nearly crapped herself when a loud buzzing noise blasted through the corridor. Spike sighed and placed his hand on a panel by the door. It scanned his fingerprints and then beeped. The door unlocked. Buffy’s breath seemed to disappear.
He pushed the door open and stood aside for her.
Buffy took a shuddering breath and stepped into the doorway of the small cell. Her eyes fell on the figured sitting slouched on the bed reading a newspaper. All she could see of him was his legs, his bare feet and his hands.
Angel made a sound of annoyance. “Just leave it on the…”
His hands suddenly tightened on the paper and after a moment he lowered it, looking at her with shocked brown eyes. Buffy’s expression mirrored his albeit for a different reason. Because Angel had aged, he’d aged in thirty years almost as if…
As if he was human.
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