To Shanshu in L.A. II - Revisited

by Saber ShadowKitten
Revisited 21

Angel was perched just outside of Cordelia's kitchen, listening to her move around. Wesley sat at Cordelia's dining room table, books and papers not destroyed by the bomb spread out in front of him.

"Here's something," Wesley said.

"What is it?" Angel asked.

"The beast of Amalfy, a razor-toothed, six-eyed harbinger of death," Wesley read. He frowned and leaned closer to the book. "No, wait, that's due to arise in 2003 in Reseda."

"I would have guessed Tarzana," Angel commented dryly.

"Better cross-reference that," Wesley murmured as he continued to work.

Cordelia exited the kitchen with a plate holding a sandwich and a glass of milk in her hand. She set it down in front of Wesley, then went back into the kitchen.

Wesley sighed and looked over at Angel. "I'm sorry. I don't know what they raised in that box. I'll keep looking."

"You've been looking for two days. You need to relax and charge the brain cells," Cordelia said as she came back out of the kitchen. She pointed to the sandwich on the table. "Here. Eat."

Wesley stared at the sandwich. Cordelia turned to Angel and handed him a container of blood. "You too."

Angel looked at her warily.

"Don't be embarrassed," Cordelia scolded the vampire. "We're family."

Angel took the blood from her and exchanged a confused glance with Wesley. Cordelia looked back and forth between the two men, a scowl forming on her face. "What?" she said testily.

"It's just I...," Wesley began, shifting uncomfortably in his chair. "I'm not used to..."

"He's not used to the new you," Angel finished for him.

Cordelia's expression turned sad. She walked to the other side of the table and sat down across from Wesley. "I know what's out there now," she began. "We have a lot of evil to fight, a lot of people to help."

She gestured to Wesley. "I just hope skin and bones here can figure out what those lawyers raised sometime before the prophecy kicks in and," she looked at Angel, "you croak... and that was the old me, wasn't it?"

Angel gave her a half-smile. "I like them both."

Cordelia beamed at him, and his smile grew wider. It was good to see her looking so well after what had happened. Angel had been afraid that she'd never recover from her demon-induced visionary nightmare. But here she was two days later, chipper and cheerful and providing Angel with a temporary home and office.

"Ah... oops."

Angel looked to Wesley and saw a blush staining the man's cheeks. His coworker ran his finger along the words he was reading in the book in front of him, then gave Angel a embarrassed glance.

"I may have made a tiny mistake," Wesley confessed. "The word Shanshu that I said meant you were going to die? Actually, I think it means that you are going to live."

"Okay, as tiny mistakes go, that's not one!" Cordelia exclaimed.

Wesley looked affronted. "Shanshu has roots in so many different languages," he said, a bit snippily. "The most ancient source is the Proto-Bantu and they consider life and death the same thing. Part of a cycle."

Angel put the container of blood down, stood, took a step towards Wesley, then stopped. Butterflies filled his stomach. Angel suddenly knew that whatever Wesley was going to say was going to be huge.

"Only, a thing that's not alive never dies," Wesley continued. He looked back down at the book, his finger marking a specific passage. "It's- it's saying... that you get to live until you die." The dark-haired man turned to Angel with an awed expression on his face. "It's saying... it's saying you become human."

"That's the prophecy?" Cordelia gasped.

Wesley looked down at the scroll that held the Prophecies of Aberjian and read, "The vampire with a soul, once he fulfills his destiny, will Shanshu. Become human." His voice became reverent. "It's his reward."

"Wow," Cordelia said. "Angel human."

The information was slow to sink into Angel's brain. Human. He'd get to be human again. More than for just a single day that only he remembered.

Unconsciously, Angel turned his head and his gaze focused on the blond vampire lying on Cordelia's couch.

The heavy curtains over the large picture window protected Spike from the sun. One bandaged arm was thrown over his eyes and the other bandaged arm rested on his stomach. The whiteness of the bandages and the bright blue of the leg braces on his legs stood out in stark relief against the black t-shirt and sweats Angel had dressed his childe in earlier that morning.

No matter what Angel did or said, Spike was not leaving his life. The dark-haired vampire had tried allowing the younger man go free, had tortured him, had ordered him to away, and Spike was still there. And when Spike's death was eminent, and would thus free Angel from his childe once and for all, Angel had acted on instinct and saved him.

But what would happen if Angel became human?

Angel already knew the answer to that: nothing.

It was the man, not the demon, who was Spike's Master.

Angel took a purposeful breath and let it out slowly. Human, huh? "That'd be nice."

"Wait. What's that thing about him having to fulfill his destiny first?" Cordelia asked.

"Well, it's saying that it won't happen tomorrow or the next day," Wesley replied. "He has to survive the coming darkness, the apocalyptic battles, a few plagues, and some... uh," he glanced at the pad of notes sitting on the dining room table, "...several, not that many, fiends that will be unleashed."

"So don't break out the champagne just yet," Angel surmised with a dry smile.

"Yeah, break out the champagne, Pinocchio," Cordelia countered. "This is a big deal!"

"I guess it is," Angel acquiesced, his smile becoming genuine. He picked up the container of blood and headed into the living room.

Cordelia's voice floating after him. "Typical. I hook up with the only person in history who ever came to L.A. to get older."

Angel chuckled, but was quiet by the time he reached the couch. He crouched and studied the lower portion of Spike's face. The blond's lips were compressed in a thin line, and Angel worried that his boy was in pain.

"Spike," Angel said softly. "Are you awake?"

"Yeah," Spike replied. He lifted his arm from over his eyes and looked at Angel. "What's up, mate?"

"I have some blood for you," Angel said, raising the container so Spike could see it.

"Not hungry."

"Hungry or not, you know you need to feed." Angel stood, set the container of blood on the end-table beside the couch, and prepared to help Spike.

"Why didn't you just let me die?" Spike grumbled as Angel assisted him in sitting up.

"I can ask Cordelia or Wesley to stake you if you want," Angel said. He sat down on the couch where Spike's head and upper body had been laying, then carefully lifted Spike and settled the blond sideways on his lap. "I know both of them would jump at the chance."

Spike said nothing in response. His eyes were closed and his jaw was clenched tightly. Angel frowned in concern. "Are you okay?" the older man asked.

"My hands hurt." Spike let out a wild laugh. "I don't have hands anymore and they hurt like fucking hell. Try and figure that one out."

"I'm sorry," Angel said.

Spike opened his eyes and looked at his Sire. "What for?"

"For cutting your hands off with the scythe," Angel replied.

"Don't be sorry," Spike told him. "No hands are better than no life."

"But you just said--"

Spike's snort interrupted him. "I was just whining, moron. You're not too bright, are you? How you managed to master me..."

Angel scowled and Spike chuckled. The dark-haired vampire carefully uncapped the container of blood, picked it up and brought it to his childe's lips. "Just shut up and drink."

Spike's eyes reflected a mixture of humor and pain as he did as told. He lifted his arm and used his bandaged stump to hold the bottom of the container to control the speed of his drinking. At Angel's insistence, the blond finished the entire thing.

"More than likely, by early next week you should be able to walk again," Angel said as he set the empty container aside. "I'll get those knee braces that have those metal bendable joints for you. I'll want you to wear them for at least a month, just to be sure your knees are completely healed."

"Good," Spike said with a sigh. He leaned back on the arm of the couch. "I didn't know how the bloody hell I was going to use the crutches."

"I'm sorry."

"Will you quit apologizing," Spike growled at Angel. "If you want to make up for things, just promise that you'll stay away from me when you're wielding sharp objects."

"I can do that," Angel said.

"Okay then." The blond closed his eyes and shifted so he was leaning against Angel.

Angel brought his arm around his childe's shoulder in a partial embrace. His looked towards the dining room, where he could hear Wesley and Cordelia still working to translate more of the Prophecies of Aberjian.

"Oh fuck," Spike suddenly said.

"What's wrong?" Angel asked quickly, his voice tinged with worry.

Spike opened his eyes and looked at Angel in panic. "How the bloody hell am I going to toss off?"

Angel burst out laughing, pulled his boy closer, and let his worries drift away. Cordelia and Wesley peeked at him from the dining room, shook their heads, then disappeared again. With a sigh, Angel settled down and thought about the events of the past several days.

He'd come so close to losing the very people he'd told himself he didn't need. Cordelia, Wesley, and Spike were almost permanently taken from him. The very thought of any of them not being around scared him deeply. They were his family, his friends, his companions, the people he loved and who loved him in return...

"...It tells of a vampire with a soul who is loved by both the darkness and the light..."

Angel's eyes flew open. A vampire with a soul who was loved by both the darkness and the light. Cordelia, Wesley... and Spike!

Spike, a creature of darkness. Spike, who wanted Angel to need him. Spike, the one he'd saved without thinking. Spike, someone in his life that he... needed.

"Stop wigglin', Angel, I'm trying to sleep," Spike mumbled, nestling his cheek against Angel's shoulder.

"Spike, I need you," Angel said quietly. Then, he repeated himself in a firmer voice. "I need you."

Spike lifted his head and stared at Angel in shock. "You..." The blond swallowed and blinked rapidly. He cleared his throat and finished gruffly, "Of course you do. I could've told you that."


"Huh?" Spike frowned.

"I could have told you that, Master," Angel said, a smile tugging at one corner of his mouth.

"Right." Spike suddenly gave him a coquettish grin and batted his eyelashes, which were wet with unshed tears. "Can I fuck you, Master?"

Angel opened his mouth to answer, but Cordelia's yell from the other room cut him off.

"If you two have sex in this house, Spike will be missing more than just his hands!"