by Saber ShadowKitten
My Childe 22

The Romani did an excellent job with this vengeance curse. I always thought that the guilt I felt for all the killing done with my own hands was bad; but it's nothing compared to the utter agony of finding my soulmate and not being able to be with her. Now that is vengeance.

Buffy has returned downstairs to find me rocking my still-crying boy in my arms. My Childe's tears are now ones of release; soft, quiet sobs from a boy that has finally told me what happened to him. Post-traumatic tears, similar to the ones that I cried years ago after the First drove me to the brink. Buffy held me the night that I broke down and told her what they did, soothing me with her words of comfort, just like I'm doing with my beautiful, hurting Childe.

She walks over to us with concern written on her face, and she kneels down beside us. I meet her eyes and I can see her heart aching for my boy clearly reflecting in those exquisite hazel orbs. That's just one of the billion things I love about her -- she cares so deeply.

Then she drops her eyes to press a kiss to the back of Spike's head and wraps her arms around the both of us. Tears well up in my eyes at her loving gesture. It's not fair.

We stay like that, the three of us, for a long time. My Childe's crying slowly stops, and he unclenches his fingers from around the front of my shirt. Taking this as a sign, I say quietly, "Why don't we move to the couch?"

Buffy stands first, and then I release Spike and he gets to his feet. "I'm going to go and, uh, get cleaned up," he tells us, wiping at his eyes with the palm of his hand.

"Okay," I say, and I watch as he walks back towards the bedroom, then hear the bathroom door close. I take a purposeful breath and let it out slowly before I get to my own feet.

"Is he alright?" Buffy asks me, worry in her voice.

"He will be," I reply. I look away from the entry to the bedroom and at her, and my heart melts. Without stopping myself for once, I initiate taking her in my arms. Her strength and caring and love soothe my wounded soul.

I love her so much. It's not fair.

"What are we going to do? About the Initiative, I mean," Buffy says, being the strong one and pulling away before it becomes too hard to do so.

We walk over to the couch and sit down on opposite ends. She curls her legs up, which makes her look like a cute little girl rather than the mature young woman she is. Ignoring my desire to slide over and cuddle with her, I ask, "You said that you haven't seen any of them in Sunnydale?"

"It's an Initiative-free zone," she replies. "Willy's keeping tabs on that for me. Well, I actually think it's more for himself, because he doesn't want to lose any more customers."

"Sounds like him," I say. I glance towards the bedroom doorway. The windchime hanging over it stirs slightly when the heat comes on. I like to keep the temperature at a normal setting as if a human was living here, rather than a dead guy and his equally dead Childe.

"Tell me the truth, Buffy." I return my eyes to her. "If I sent Spike back to Sunnydale with you, would he be safe?"

"Yes," Buffy answers without hesitation. "I'd die before I let anything happen to him."

God, I love this woman.

"I think the Initiative was probably following me and just happened to get lucky in identifying Spike. While I was waiting for you to get here, I had Cordy and Doyle start researching them using whatever information I knew from what you told me. With time, we should be able to make sure they don't come after Spike again, but I need to know he's safe..."

"Angel," Buffy says. "I'll take care of him for you. I promise."

"Thank you," I tell her.

"I'm going to call Giles," she says, rising to her feet. "Let him know that I'm bringing Spike back with me and to stock up with blood and stuff."

I nod and watch as she heads towards the bedroom. Spike comes out of the bathroom while she's on the phone, and he comes over to the couch and sits stiffly beside me. I reach over and cover his hand with mine, squeezing it briefly, then let go. My sweet Childe visibly relaxes and slouches down on the couch until his head is resting on the back, his hands folded on his stomach.

"What's going on?" he asks, gesturing with his bandaged chin towards the bedroom.

"I'm sending you to Sunnydale with Buffy," I reply.

I see his nostrils flare slightly and he purses his lips, causing his cheekbones to be more defined. He blinks rapidly, then closes his eyes completely. "Oh," he says, his voice strained. "Right."

I know, my beautiful boy, I don't want you to go, either.

"As soon as she's off the phone, you should pack anything you want to take with you," I tell him. "You two will have to leave right away to ensure that you beat the sun."

He nods, and I can see that he's grinding his teeth together. A hole is forming in my heart and my demon is raging against the control I keep on him. He doesn't want Spike to go, either. He wants to keep the boy here under his protection. But I know my beautiful Will cannot stay, not if I want to put a halt to the Initiative searching for him all together.

It's a really odd feeling to have a demon residing in my body with me. He's what's keeping me alive as it were. Vampires can be classified as possessor demons, which are demons that have to reside in another form in order to function. That's why there can be vampire dogs or horses or fish or even bats. Since humans are the "higher life-form" on this planet, the demons prefer to use them as hosts.

I am an anomaly. Two separate beings residing within the same skin. The demon is an independent creature, but he happily used my mind and my creativity to devise sick games and torture upon the human populous. Once my soul was forced back into my body, I had to fight it for control and live with the memories of the things he did with my own two hands. Granted, I am not the epitome of sainthood everyone paints me to be, but some of the things my demon did were just...indescribable.

But this situation with Spike is different. The man who sits beside me is really the demon that inhabits the once William Lords. When I get hurt emotionally, my demon laughs in the back of my mind. When my Childe gets hurt emotionally, it's the demon that's hurting.

I've learned over the time since I created Spike that his demon would probably be classified as a lesser one in the underworld. He's too passionate to be otherwise, ruled more by emotions than logic, which means he's an anomaly, too. Demons do have emotions, but they tend to be on the seven deadly sins end of the spectrum.

I was the one to teach Spike how to be a powerful, cruel, vicious vampire -- or rather, my demon was. He's been with me for so long, I tend to lump us both together, even though we're separate entities. It also gets too confusing to try an explain it to others, and I think that Buffy is the only one who really understands.

I love Spike very much, as a father does a child, and that love comes from the memories created when my demon was in control of my body. I also love Buffy as a soulmate, as well as Cordelia, Doyle and Willow in the platonic friendship sense. My demon, however, only loves two creatures -- himself...

...And my beautiful boy.

I can feel his love for Spike practically radiating from him within the body we share. The hurting boy sitting beside me on the couch means absolutely everything to him. He was the one who made me stop Buffy from staking Spike when he returned to Sunnydale for that love spell. I truly believe that before my soul was in control again, my demon would have died for Spike.

I'd bet if my demon were free right now, he'd cut a swath through the Initiative so wide they'd never recover. Of course, then he'd probably beat Spike for acting like he has been and a little more for teaming up with Buffy way back when; but it would be a beating out of love.

God, does that sound twisted. Angelus, the poster-boy for child abuse.

"It's all set," Buffy says as she joins us in the living room. She takes her spot again on the other end of the couch, and I see her lay her hand on my sweet boy's thigh. "Since I live at the dorm and Mom's at work all day, Giles said Spike could stay with him. He's sun-proofing as we speak."

"Sounds good,"I say. "I guess we'd better get you packed up, Spike."

"Yeah," Spike says, standing abruptly. "Don't want to stay here longer than I bloody have to."

As my unhappy Childe stalks out of the living room, I sigh. I know he doesn't want to leave, and I don't want him to leave, but I have no choice, not if I want to make sure that he's safe.

Buffy reaches across the expanse between us and captures my hand. "You okay?" she asks me.

"I'll live," I reply, giving her a wry smile. She shakes her head at me, her own beautiful lips curling up. What I wouldn't give to taste those lips...

"I'd better go help him," I say, knowing that if I didn't move I'd give into the temptation to pounce on her and kiss her senseless.

Curses suck.