|Primary Characters:||Pretty much everyone, but as always especially Angel.|
|Description:||Angel mysteriously blacks out and his friends have to save him. Willow and Jenny cast a spell to get his soul back, but that’s not all it takes. Doyle’s called upon to make a small sacrifice of a personal nature.|
Though Will’s absence shouldn’t have made any difference, this slaying seemed different, harder somehow. And yet the demon wasn’t all that strong or more evil than any other. Angel had killed dozen like him, hundreds most likely, since he’d begun his penance.
The talons of the beast raked Angel’s chest, but he continued the fight. Pain, after all, was nothing. Blood loss, of course, was a different matter, and when they returned to the house Jenny insisted that he feed off her to regain his strength. He didn’t want to, but he knew that her vampire blood would restore him better than any mortal’s.
While he was licking the last trace of her blood off his lips, she was busy bandaging him, just like she’d done for Sean a moment ago. The vampire boy was already in bed, waiting for his lovers to join him. Jenny’s eyes were fixed on Angel’s perfect chest, and wasn’t paying attention to his facial expression. She was totally unprepared for the sudden change that went over him. There was a shudder, then nothing. His limp body slumped down and began sliding to the floor.
Using her vampire strength, Jenny brought him to the bed and placed him next to his childe.
No reply, and Jenny realized that her younger lover was unconscious as well. Something was wrong. Her witch’s senses were on the alert, even if her vampire senses could detect no threat. Holding her hands over each of the men, she probed the ether around them. Yes. A bad spell was in effect, and a strong one at that. Far worse, she recognized the signature, as it were. The gypsies.
So they hadn’t given up. Though they had been her own people, she was filled with a blind rage towards them. She wanted to seek them out and destroy them. Sean hadn’t even been present the night Angelus had killed their most beloved daughter. But their revenge had struck the poor boy anyway.
Besides, she had been one of their daughters too, but apparently her life hadn’t been important enough. Now those two men on the bed were her family, just like Will and Joyce. For a moment, Jenny contemplated contacting Will on his email address. A vampire could always enter any building at will, even an internet cafe. But was it fair to drag the English vampire away from his honeymoon? It might be an unusually long one, but vampires had a different perspective on time. Eternity was theirs.
How romantic. If they hadn’t been condemned to an eternity of guilt. All except Joyce. The Slayer’s mother had never taken the life of a mortal. Jenny herself had only killed two, and if she allowed herself to remember, she knew that both men had intended to rape what they took for a helpless woman. Perhaps their deaths didn’t weigh so heavily on her mind. But there was enough guilt to go around for everyone.
No. She couldn’t run to Will and Joyce for help. If she couldn’t handle this on her own, she could always ask Willow. The young mortal witch would always have a soft spot in her heart for Angel, Jenny knew that, and though she found it hard to resent anyone for such a thing, she also didn’t exactly relish the knowledge. Willow was young, pretty and alive. Though Jenny didn’t like to ask, she suspected that Angel still had feelings for the redhead. On the other hand, Willow was a good friend and she had a natural talent for many things, including witchcraft.
First she would assess the nature of the spell, and research the possible counterspells available. But she wouldn’t let the gypsies stop her. If no counterspell existed, she would create one. No one hurt her lovers, as long as she was alive. A vampire in love was a fearsome opponent.
After making sure that though Angel and Sean were deeply asleep, they were still alive, Jenny went to get her witch’s paraphernalia. She also brought her techno-pagan gear. A laptop was an invaluable tool for witch and techno-pagan alike, not to mention a modern vampire.
It was well past dawn when Jenny looked up from the table, stretched and rose. Who would have thought vampires suffered from stiff necks? But a little pain and discomfort couldn’t keep her from her purpose. Now she knew more about the spell. Not enough, but close. She didn’t yet hold the cure, but she knew what the condition was.
Deep sleep, coma even. The soul was separated from the body. This was highly dangerous, because if the demon who once possessed the vampire body didn’t seize this opportunity, some other evil spirit might.
But now Jenny had woven a clever little spell she’d made while she was still alive, to protect the sleeping bodies. No other souls could make their way inside. If she failed to restore Angel’s and Sean’s souls, their bodies would die. But she knew her lovers well enough to know that they would much prefer that, to being possessed by evil demons.
7.30. Willow and her guys would be up and about by now. If she wanted to call the other witch and enlist her help, now was the time. Doyle wasn’t a student but both Willow and Oz would disappear to their lectures within minutes unless – Yes. She would call. Pooled together their respective strength would be enough to hold the combined power of the gypsies at bay.
She could hear the phone ringing. Doyle could go and get Willow but if she’d already left they’d lose time and – It was Oz who picked up.
“Hello, Oz, it’s me. Jenny.”
“Oh, hello. Anything wrong?”
“Yes. Is Willow there?”
There was a slight pause, then Oz’ reply came.
“She’ll be right here. Willow – it’s for you. Jenny.”
Willow put the finishing touches on her make-up and ran to the phone.
“The gypsies. Angel and Sean have fallen under some kind of spell. They’re both deeply unconscious. But it’s worse than that. Their souls have been separated from their bodies and if we can’t get them back – Willow, they’ll die.”
“I’ll be right over.”
There was a click on the other end of the line. It was ridiculous, but Jenny already felt better.
“I have to go and help Jenny. The gypsies have attacked Angel again. And Sean too. They’re unconscious and their souls have -“
Before Willow had time to finish the sentence, an alarming change came over Doyle. He began to sway on his feet, and his eyes rolled back into his head. For a second Oz thought that his friend would keel over and black out. He took a step forward to break the fall, but Doyle was back before Oz reached his side.
Though they both knew about the Irishman’s visionary powers, neither one of them had seen the powers at work. Oz thought it reminded him of Willow casting a spell.
By now, Willow was back beside her lover, and looked him over.
“What happened? Was it a vision?”
“Yes. You’ll have to hurry. I don’t think you have much time. If their souls are gone for long, there will be no way of returning them. And the demons are drawing close, hoping to enter again. They can’t get in and they’re angry. Their anger might draw other evil. I think I’ll come along.”
“Then I’m going too.”
Willow made no comment. She had always taken it for granted that Oz would go wherever she went. Though her boyfriend didn’t have any powers, she relied on him to lend her strength and support. Seeing his face was always reassuring.
Half an hour later they were approaching the vampires’ house. The place looked just the same. It was hard to imagine that the gypsies revenge had reached all this way. Those thick walls seemed immune to any attack, but Willow knew how draining on Jenny’s strength the maintaining of protective spells could be.
Magic wasn’t quite as – magic as it seemed in fairy tales. There was always a price to pay. But the good news was that the gypsies were bound by the same laws. The only drawback was that while Jenny and Willow were only two, there were plenty of gypsies.
Doyle studied Willow with interest. Would she feel the gathering of evil in the air? Or was she too intent on helping the man – or rather vampire – she used to love? Doyle wasn’t jealous – not much, and besides, Angel was a good friend. He would do what little he could to lend a hand.
“That’s what I’m asking you.”
Willow’s eyes became vacant for a while as her witch’s powers strained outward to search the area.
“Nothing definite. And Jenny would be warning me if there was something wrong. Come on. We’re wasting time.”
Inside the house Jenny was waiting, impatiently. Her gypsy’s temperament was always mercurial, but today her nerves were more on edge than normally.
“There you are. This way. They’re in the bedroom.”
Oz and Doyle exchanged looks. If there would be evidence of chains and whips – But this was no time for squeamishness. Besides, for obvious reasons, Oz was no stranger to chains.
Willow was already following Jenny inside. The men hurried after them.
It could have been worse. Sean was wearing a t-shirt with his shorts and Angel was still wearing his trousers, though nothing on top. The bandage reassured both men that whatever Jenny had been up to when the spell had struck, had had nothing to do with sex, and Angel didn’t seem to be badly injured. Physically. Who knew what damage this could be doing to his mind? He still hadn’t been very forthcoming about his experiences in hell. If something like that should occur –
Doyle and Oz stayed in the background, knowing that their help would be needed later, but at the moment the witches would work better unhindered by others.
“What do you suggest? Have you found out what type of spell it is?”
Now the witches’ conversation turned to professional terms that were at best hard to make out. Oz didn’t really want to know. Some of those spells made his skin crawl. At times he even thought he saw dark shapes materializing in the corners. He’d never dared to ask Willow if that was just his imagination or if there really was some kind of presence. Knowing might be worse than being kept guessing.
The day passed and turned into evening. At times, the men retreated to the kitchen and brought a tray of dinner for Willow. Jenny kept working through the hours of what was her normal sleeping time. She could manage without feeding for days if necessary, and right now her mind recoiled from the thought of blood.
Finally, when Oz was dozing off on the couch, and Doyle was seriously considering making himself comfortable in the armchair, Jenny turned her dark eyes in their direction.
“I think we’ve made a breakthrough.”
“You’ve made a counterspell?”
“Almost. If I’m right about this – Willow?”
“Are you too tired or can we begin?”
“I’ll be ok. Let’s do it.”
Doyle knew this was their cue. As always when casting a spell, the witches needed to draw on some other source of strength than their own. Unless the spell was a very minor one, it always drained the caster.
“Oz, wake up. It’s time.”
“What? Oh. Ok. I’m ready.”
He almost looked cute the way he blinked his eyes. Not fully awake. Doyle was reminded of a little boy about to go to sleep. If he had to share his woman with another guy, this wasn’t a bad choice.
They gathered around the bed. As he approached, Doyle recalled that Jenny had said nothing about the nature of the spell. Then again, she had more important things on her mind than instructing him in the arcane arts.
When they had locked hands, the witches began to chant the spell.
Sean was walking on a road. The road looked familiar and if he only had time to collect his thoughts, he recognized his surroundings. The man walking by his side – No, not a man. As if reading his mind, the person beside him turned towards him, dazzling him with that smile. Yes, he knew where he was.
He and his lover, Angelus, of the angelic face, were on their way to Donegal. They were on their way to another feast of mortal blood. The sliver of moon in the sky revealed a far less fearsome expression than usual. Though Sean had learned to love Angelus’ vampire face almost as much as his human face, there was no denying the angelic features were more pleasing to the eye.
No one was travelling the same road this night. They were all alone. Nothing to feed on. But feeding didn’t seem to be on his lover’s mind. Now Angelus grabbed Sean and pulled him close. As quickly as he did everything else, the vampire dragged the boy into the shrubbery by the side of the road. Sean giggled expectantly. Since the first night, when Angelus had made him a vampire, but also taught him all the wondrous things two men could do to please each other, Sean had learned to enjoy these sudden moods that would come over his lover.
Angelus let his hand trail down Sean’s face, across his neck and underneath the shirt. Too quick for the eye to follow, Angelus had whipped off the shirt and flung it to the grass at their feet. A shiver of anticipation went over Sean. What would his lover do to him? Pleasure or pain? But there really was no difference. Both sensations blurred together in the boy’s mind. A sharp pain interrupted his musings. Angelus’ nails had left a trail of dark vampire blood on Sean’s chest.
Sean’s head arched back as he felt his lover’s face nuzzle his bleeding chest, licking off the blood, flickering over the now erect nipples.
Afterwards, they lay together on the hard ground, like a pair of human lovers, Angelus’ strong arms around Sean. The boy’s fair head was resting on his lover’s shoulder. It was amazing how gentle those hands could be when their owner chose to. Regretfully, Sean rememebered that it was time they sought shelter from the cruel sun that would break through the clouds in less than an hour.
He ran into the yard to the pump. Though many of the other boys would taunt him for his vanity, he didn’t want to meet his lover still smelling of – Smelling like a stable hand. Though he was seething with impatience to find his way into the woods at the edge of town to meet his love, he took time to disentangle his shoulder-length hair.
She always said he had hair as lovely as any girl’s. It was nothing he would admit to, but he took pride in his appearance. If only it hadn’t brought him to this house, and the men who frequented it. But tonight was not for brooding on what could not be changed. Tonight was for love and other sweet pleasures.
Finally finished, he slipped on his Sunday shirt and cast one last look on his boots. They would do. Without a second glance over his shoulder, he ran towards the wood. She would be waiting, as always. Her family couldn’t keep her inside the circle of the wagons around the fire.
The rom were strict with their daughters, but this family wasn’t wholly of travellers’ blood. Her father was as Irish as any other man in the town and the mother – her hair was as dark as a raven’s wing, just like the daughter. Who could say what blood flowed through their veins? He didn’t know, and didn’t care. His love could be Jewish or Moorish for all he cared.
Since the beginning of time there had never been such a love and never would be. The fire in their hearts would warm them forever and one day he would have saved enough to marry his girl. He would find another trade, one that didn’t shame him in the eyes of other men and they would raise a family and –
But he wasn’t looking where he was going and the appearance of a small rock on the path made him lose his footing and slip and fall. Checked by this near mishap, he slowed down slightly. She would wait.
The path led straight into the woods, but soon the trees thinned out again and he found the small clearing where they would meet. Wasn’t that her shadow falling across the emerald green of the grass? Yes. He would know her everywhere.
She always used his second name. Not the one those men would call after him. Her lips caressed his name just as they would his mouth in a second. In the space of a heartbeat, he closed the distance between them and pulled her into his arms. Lydia. Lydia. If he didn’t marry her soon, his heart would surely break and – But this night was different and when his hands made their way underneath her blouse, she slipped out of his grip. Surely it was not time for the curse? He was sure –
“Lydia? What’s amiss?”
“Kieran, I need to have a word with you. Let us sit.”
Without question, he obeyed. His lady’s will was his command. Gracefully, the beautiful young man sank to the ground. His love joined him, but stayed just out of reach. If her father was being difficult they wouldn’t wait any longer. They would flee together. Perhaps if they made their way to England –
“Do you love me? Really, truly love me? More than any other?”
“You know I do. My heart is yours. Those others, they mean nothing. Once I have the money we need, we will be married.”
“It’s a little late for that. Kieran – I am with child.”
A child. His child. A son, or a daughter. In his mind the image of an infant with black hair hovered for a second. Their love had borne fruit.
“I didn’t think I could be more happy than I was already, but you have made my heart overflow. We’ll get married this very Sunday and -“
“Hush. You know it isn’t that easy. I must think this over. How soon do you think you’ll have enough for the passage to England?”
He wanted to say, let’s go, now, tonight. Let’s begone before the sun colors the sky red. We will find the means somehow. He would work on the way to the coast – But he knew better than to brush aside Lydia’s concerns. She was in many ways so much more mature than he.
A month. It might as well have been a year or a decade. How long before she began to show? If he – He had heard tales of a lovely, evil lady who consorted with a man who was half demon. They lived in in a manor house outside of town. It was said that young handsome men could make plenty of gold working for the lady and her master.
For the moment, he chose to ignore what the rumors said the young men had to do to earn the gold, or – even worse – the fact that none of them ever were seen again. Though he knew Lydia didn’t want him to do what he did, what else was there for him? His pride would not allow him to cast himself on her father’s mercy and beg for the daughter’s hand, with nothing to offer her.
“Don’t worry about it, my love. I’ll find a way. Somehow – I will find the money.”
They spoke no more of such matters that night. What little time they had before Lydia had to be back in bed, lest her mother spy her absence, they needed to make good use of. The knowledge of the small life growing inside Lydia made him hold back, until her reassurances and his own passion drove him to abandon caution.
The spell was reaching its culmination, Doyle could sense it. He’d witnessed this too many times not to be able to tell. Soon they would know if Jenny’s and Willow’s powers were a match for the gypsies.
Now Jenny looked up, but did not let go of Willow’s hand or Doyle’s. The hiss that issued from her lips was very different from her normal voice.
“Now it’s your turn.”
Was she looking at him or Oz? Or both? And what did she expect them to do that they were not doing already?
“You need to restore their lifeforce. Hurry. I can’t do it.”
Suddenly, Doyle had a bad feeling about the whole thing. Not bad as in evil. But whatever it was, he sensed it would be unpleasant.
“Alright. How do I do that?”
“Place your lips against theirs. Both of you. Quickly now. I’m losing my hold.”
Placing his lips against – another man’s? Wait a minute. As in kissing? She couldn’t be serious.
“Are you saying I have to – we have to kiss them?”
No. No way. There was a limit to what you’d do even for your best friend. And this was it.
“Why can’t you ladies do it?”
Now Willow’s eyes opened and she shot Doyle an impatient look. No mercy to be expected, apparently.
“Sorry. We have to hold the spell. Don’t be silly. It won’t kill you. I swear it’s perfectly safe. Go on.”
Her sweet girlish voice was different too, more harsh and commanding. With a sinking feeling, Doyle knew she was right. She couldn’t move about and still hold the spell . If she failed, they might all be in danger, not to mention that Angel and Sean would be lost for good.
“Fine. I’ll do it.”
Uncertainly he turned to face Oz. Would the werewolf boy be up to it? Oh, what the heck. In for a penny, in for a pound.
“You don’t have to. If I can kiss one guy, I can kiss two.”
For a second, Oz was strongly tempted to accept Doyle’s offer. But what kind of friend would he be if he turned his back on his friends when they needed him the most? Besides, how could he expect Doyle to do what he himself dreaded?
“No. That’s ok. Which one do -“
Jenny’s dark eyes shot fire at them and they knew they were running out of time.
“I’ll do Angel.”
Wincing at his own choice of words, Doyle hurried to obey the witch’s orders. Closing his eyes, he let his lips approach Angel’s. Jenny hadn’t specified, but surely a French kiss wouldn’t be necessary? Or would it?
“Do it properly.”
The last traces of hope vanished. With grim resolve, Doyle tried to pretend that he was kissing Willow. It didn’t quite work, but as he slid his tongue inside Angel’s lips, searching for the vampire’s tongue, he forced down his qualms. How long could this take? In any case, surely a good friend was worth the sacrifice.
Oz applied himself to fulfilling his obligation with a total lack of enthusiasm. Sean wasn’t a bad looking guy. In fact, Oz knew that Willow found the boy quite attractive. But in this case that hardly helped. Hearing Jenny’s admonition, Oz knew what he had to do, and with eyes closed, he timidly brought his face closer.
Not quite as bad as he had expected. When could he stop? He was contemplating asking Willow’s permission to break off the treatment, when he was startled to feel the young man stirring beneath him and unable to force down his own reaction, he pulled back.
To his relief, it seemed to be over. He heard his lover’s voice, sounding back to normal.
“That’s ok, Oz. You can stop now. He’s alright. They both are.”
Hurriedly, as much out of genuine concern for his lover, as to avoid facing Sean, he turned and pulled Willow into his arms. She was always exhausted after something like this. Would it be ok to kiss her to try and wipe out the memory of Sean’s lips? But Oz knew he shouldn’t make such a fuss. Was a kiss really such a big deal?
Doyle too, wanted to offer his support to the lovely redheaded girl who was his love, but he was concerned about his friend. He wanted to see Angel come back to himself. And he wasn’t disappointed.
Angel’s lips began to move, forming a name. Jenny? No. Doyle was about to step back to avoid the outburst he knew would follow. Big mistake, whispering some other girl’s name –
He was just in time. Despite being worn out by the spell-casting, Jenny rushed over to Angel.
“Lydia? No, darling. Sorry to disappoint you. That was just Doyle.”
On hearing his name mentioned, Doyle winced again. If Angel thought Jenny had brought him back, why not let him go on believing that? Was it really necessary to spell out who had just kissed him? At times women could be so cruel.
Doyle looked pleadingly at Willow, who was happy to oblige.
“Angel, you and Sean were under a spell. Jenny and I just lifted it, but someone had to restore your life force. And since Jenny and I were kind of busy -“
“Oh. I see. Thanks, buddy. You know I was always wondering how it would be -“
Doyle felt his face heat up. Had Angel really said what he thought he had said?
“Just kidding. Of course I haven’t.”
“You should have seen your face.”
Suddenly it dawned on Doyle that Angel was trying to relieve some of the embarrassment, and possibly – Jenny’s reaction made that likely – stall a little.
And looking at Jenny, everyone present could sense as well as see that the gypsy was getting ready to throw a fit. Doyle was familiar with this type of reaction. His cousin Caitlin and aunt Maureen both reacted that way to extreme fatigue. Perhaps he and Oz should try to get Willow out of here, and leave the awkward explanations to the other threesome.
It had suddenly dawned on Jenny that practically every person in the room had at the very least kissed her lover.
“While we’re on the subject of – wondering, I’d like to know how you rate Doyle here. On a scale from one to ten, how does he rate? As a kisser, I mean. Go on, I’m sure we’d all love to know.”
Angel looked up at Jenny. What had he done to deserve this? At the moment, his mind was a blank and he felt as if something very strange had just happened to him. Not being kissed by his best friend. Something else, far more momentous. If he could just focus he might be able to capture the memory as it was slipping out of reach. Something about Lydia and the child – Or a child anyway. Not a childe. A real, living child. But Jenny’s voice didn’t leave him any choice. He had to face her and try to placate her.
“Please don’t make me do this. What happened?”
“You know what happened. Doyle just kissed you. Just like everyone else in this room has at one time or other, except for Oz. At least I’m assuming he hasn’t kissed you. Yet. So come on, enlighten me. From one to ten.”
“Jenny, is this really necessary?”
“Yes, I think it is. Where do you rate me – or Willow – or Sean – or -“
It wasn’t fair. Jenny knew about all the people in his past. She usually never made an issue out it. Didn’t she know he loved her the best?
“Alright. Jenny, you’re a 20.”
An angry snort greeted this feeble attempt at flattery.
“As you must know, 20 isn’t anywhere on a scale from one to ten. Right, Willow?”
Willow was unhappily staring at her feet, holding on to Oz’ and Doyle’s hands. Why hadn’t they been quick enough to make their escape? All she wanted was to curl up in bed, her lovers close to her, and rest after draining her strength casting the spell.
“Yes. You’re right. But please let Angel rest now.”
The dark look from her former teacher silenced Willow. She was tempted to say: Sorry, ms Callender.
“You heard her. And while we’re talking about Willow, how do you rate her?”
“Fine. You’re both 10. Can we stop this now? And please explain to me what’s been going on. Apart from the kissing.”
“In a minute. Ok, what about Will? Or Sean? Or Doyle.”
“Jenny, please -“
“10 for Sean.”
Hoping the worst was over, Angel stared pleadingly at his lover. But she wasn’t done yet.
“Alright. That leaves Buffy.”
The Slayer’s name seemed to leave a foul taste in Jenny’s mouth.
Cursing inwardly, Angel tried to think of something. Buffy wasn’t around, fortunately. What if he played it safe and rated her lower than Jenny? He knew neither of the men, with the exception of Will, who wasn’t around either, would be offended. But he knew Jenny would pick up on any pretense. And knowing his passionate lover, he was hoping that soon her tantrum would have played itself out.
“I see. Alright. Let’s play some more. What’s your worst kiss ever?”
A chill went down Angel’s cold spine. No. He definitely didn’t want to remember. It was enough, more than enough that he’d been humiliated in front of his friends. This reminded him of one of the worst moments with Drusilla.
“Jenny, don’t do this. I’m begging you.”
The pain in his voice tore at Willow’s heart and she wanted to plead with Jenny on his behalf. How could Jenny do this to Angel? She took a step forward to put a hand on Jenny’s shoulder. But the gypsy was oblivious to the others in the room. Only she and the beautiful vampire on the bed existed.
Jenny’s eyes bored into him and against his will, Angel heard himself reply.
“It was in hell.”
Willow’s eyes widened in horror and she couldn’t stop the question from bursting across her lips.
“Was it – the Devil?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. Or maybe it was one of the higher demons.”
He could still remember the pain of those fangs tearing his lips to shreds, and how the barbed tongue forced its way into his throat.
Though that was all he said, the atmosphere in the room changed and Jenny sank down on the bed beside her lover. After a moment, she reached out and put her arms around him. Holding him close for a while, she whispered an apology in his ear. Then she let go and turned to Sean.
Desperate to think of something to lighten the mood, Willow had a sudden inspiration.
“You know what would be neat? We could have a kissing contest some night.”
Her timing was terrible. With the possible exception of Oz, who always found Willow’s ideas fantastic, and – surprisingly, Sean, the others turned to face her, stunned into silence.
“Ok. Maybe it was a bad idea, but I really thought -“
Her voice trailed off. But she had already caught Sean’s wistful look. If Oz and Doyle would let her – and of course Jenny and Angel – she would definitely kiss Sean one day. She could tell it would make the vampire boy happy, and Willow wanted everyone to be happy.
“I really think it’s time we all went home and went to bed. It’s been a long day.”
No one tried to stop the mortals as they got up to leave. At last Jenny remembered her manners.
“Thanks for your help. Sorry about – my temper. We’ll talk later.”
There were murmurs of gratitude from both male vampires. Angel was grateful to Willow for trying to get him off the hook with Jenny, but for the moment he felt it was best to have any potential rival far away. Jenny’s jealousy pleased him, but right now he’d rather just know what had gone wrong, or nearly so.
When the door had closed behind the mortals, all vampires decided to remain in bed. But sleep was the furthest thing from their minds. Sean wanted to know what had happened just as much as Angel did.
“Jenny, what did happen? We were in danger, weren’t we?”
“Yes. The gypsies -“
“Did I lose my soul again?”
The panic in Angel’s voice tore at Jenny and she hated herself for the way she’d treated her lover. After all, he was the victim, not her. Not this time.
“Yes, but not the same way as before. You were lying here unconscious, while your soul was – somewhere else. Do you know?”
“I – I had a vision of my past, but right before I was awakened – right before Doyle kissed me, I felt that I was here. I mean in the present. But not in this house.”
It was so hard to remember. Something about a child – Yes, it was coming back to him. Could this really be true?
“I think I saw something – Something I didn’t know. Jenny, you know what I told you about my past?”
A look of pain passed across Angel’s face.
“Oh. What about it?”
“Not all the – tricks – were men. Or only men. Some were couples or even women. I think one of them must have conceived.”
“You had a child after all?”
“Yes. I have descendants in Ireland. And in other places. Maybe here in the United States.”
To Jenny’s astonishment, Sean made a small noise as if –
“I just found out something too. First I remembered – one of the first nights we spent together. I mean, one of the first nights with Angelus. But after that – I have some relatives too. Not descendants. You know you were my first woman, Jenny. But my oldest brother wasn’t at home anymore, when I – was made a vampire. Angelus and I couldn’t find him and kill him. He was in America. We didn’t know where he was, but he must have married and had children. I saw some people who must be his descendants.”
They couldn’t read Jenny’s espression. What would her reaction be? It was clear that their stories had moved her far more than they’d expected.
“What? Oh. There’s something I haven’t told either one of you. I’ve never told anyone. When I was 16 I became pregnant. It doesn’t matter who the father was. He wasn’t around anymore. My father beat me so I nearly lost the baby, but I didn’t. Then they made me give her up for adoption.”
“You have a daughter?”
“Not anymore. But she’s out there somewhere. Maybe -“
“You want to go and find her?”
“No. She’d be safer without me. Except – I’d really love to know if she’s like me. And if she is – don’t you think she might need training?”
Not waiting for a reply, Jenny answered herself.
“No. It’s better if she never discovers her powers, if she has any. The guy – her father – certainly wouldn’t have had any. He was a bit like -“
Angel’s voice was gentle as he smoothed the hair out of her face. He could see that Sean was patting her shoulder reassuringly.
But something made her go on.
“A bit like Xander.”
Angel didn’t know what to say. Whatever he’d expected, it wasn’t this. At least this meant he wasn’t the only one who had occasionally suffered from poor taste in men.
“We’ll talk about it in the morning. You need your rest. After saving our lives – Thank you. I’ll never forget this. Let’s sleep now, a chuisle mo chroí. “
“Alright. What does that mean?”
Angel gently got Jenny to stretch out between him and Sean.
“My darling, my love, my treasure.”
“You sure have a way with words. And who were you talking about – me or Sean?”
Sean didn’t seem to be offended. He just smiled and moved closer.
“Naturally he means you, a ghrá mo chroí, love of my heart.”
“Go on, go to sleep now, céadsearc.”
“Alright, ves’ tacha. You’re not the only ones with an exotic language. That was romany for beloved. And that goes for both of you.”
After that, no one said anything.
It was around 9 in the evening and Will and Joyce were walking around the West End. The crowds on their way to the theater, or to restaurants and bars, kept jostling them, but Will held his arm protectively around his bride’s shoulders. They wouldn’t be separated. Joyce held on just as tightly. Her handsome husband might not be young, but he looked it, and she had already seen some of those British girls staring at him appreciatively. If they thought they could get close to her Will, they were in for a surprise.
Suddenly she caught a strange reaction in Will. He was staring intensely at a young man they passed. The young man wasn’t all that handsome in Joyce’s eyes, but she didn’t know much about Will’s taste.
“What about that guy? Will -“
“Oh, sorry, love.”
“We haven’t been married more than a couple of months and you’re already beginning to stare at others. What was so special about that guy?”
“It’s not like you think, honestly, pet. Don’t ask me how I know, because I couldn’t tell you, but he’s a descendant of mine.”
“You never told me you had any kids.”
“None that I knew of, darling. But you know how it is.”
Reading his wife’s look, Will tried to think of something to appease her temper. Joyce was no gypsy and her tantrums were nothing like Jenny’s or Drusilla’s on a bad day, but still – Besides, she was being unfair. He would never look at another woman. Or man. This was his one true love and they would be together for eternity.
“There. There. Don’t fret. At least only half of my – friends were in a position to get pregnant.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”
“Alright, how about this?”
And ignoring the staring crowds, Will pulled his wife into his arms and kissed her for so long knew the onlookers would be wondering if they didn’t need to come up for air. One advantage of being a vampire. 100% kissing, 0% breathing.
Joyce allowed herself to be distracted. She knew that people would be staring, envying her. And her keen vampire hearing had already picked up the whispers. Several of those mortal girls thought they were rock stars or movie stars. Let them stare and wonder. No one else could play with Will. He only belonged to her now.
Despite focusing his attention on his wife, Will couldn’t help wondering how this miracle had happened. Which one of his numerous girlfriends had conceived and escaped his and Angelus’ carnage?
He would never know, but the girl had died in childbirth and had thus been gone when Spike and Angelus came looking for her. No one had known about the child the girl’s landlady had taken to the freemasons’ home for foundlings. The boy had taken after his father, William the Bloody, in more ways than one.
No vampire, but a fighter from the day he was born, the child had survived to adulthood, and from his mid-teens had been wreaking havoc in the hearts of the neighborhood girls. At the time of his death, William’s son had fathered no fewer than 5 children who had survived to grow up and in turn leave offspring.
England was full of descendants of William the Bloody, but Will and his wife would never know that. Had he known, Will would have been pleased, but he would never have felt the urge to seek out any of his kin. Will had all he wanted right in the double bed in their spacious suite at the hotel they were staying. Joyce was all he needed.
Maybe they wouldn’t return to the United States. There were too many reminders of Spike and Drusilla. Britain in this day and age was very different from the poverty and misery he remembered since his mortal days, and if they ever tired of it, there was always the European continent or Asia – or – The world was theirs. And they had time on their hands.