Spike came back to find Angel snoring. Sighing, he put the drawing stuff away and sat down next to his Sire's bed. He managed to be almost still for a while, but eventually he couldn't stand it any more.
He paced. Dresser, bed, bathroom door, bed, dresser, bed, bathroom door. His hand went automatically for a pack of cigarettes that wasn't there anymore. Shaking his head, realizing he had to do something, Spike made his circuit twice more before heading out the door and over to Sarah's room.
The girl was awake, sketching something, when he strutted in. That was a little odd, seeing as how she was used to being up late, sleeping in. Then again, she'd been up earlier, when he'd come in to tell her Angel was all right. She'd seemed disturbed, but after hearing all the shouting while the rest of them ran around trying to save first Wes and then Angel . . . Well, if he hadn't know what was going on, he'd have been disturbed too.
"Hey, Sparky. Hope you're better company than the Amazing Snoring Ponce, over in the other room."
Snorting, the girl put aside her picture quickly, quick enough to make Spike wonder what she was drawing that she didn't want him to see. Usually, she like to show him her work, mostly sketches of the people she knew, these days mostly the nurses, him, Rupert, one of Wes, and a couple other Slayers.
"Well, if he's snoring and still better company than me, I'll . . . pout." Smiling at him, she pulled the remote off her nightstand and turned down the TV. "So? You wanna play cards? Or we could watch TV, but . . . Passions isn't on for a while yet."
Spike hid a grin at that, ignoring her smirk. "Nah, maybe the cards. I could teach you more ways to cheat at poker."
"Great, grab the deck! I am so going to clean out Angela and Rebecca when I go back to school!"
"Not nice to fleece your friends, Little Bit," Spike gave her his best impression of Old Rupes' stern look. It made her crack up every time and it was nice to hear the laughter.
"No, uh, not really friends. Kinda bitter enemies, if I get to have those before I've even hit eighteen."
Spike paused, deck of cards in his hands splayed out for shuffling. "You know, if there's one thing I learned, it's not to make enemies out of your allies. So, uh . . . don't go makin' deal with demon-human hybrid things, ya know?"
Sarah blinked at him and Spike shook his head.
"I mean, you can not like 'em all you want, but if you make 'em your enemies you'll lose out later when they don't trust you. Uh, just trust me that they mean the same thing, okay?"
Snorting again, Sarah nodded. "Right. Making deals with demon-human hybrid things means losing trust down the line." She gave him a look that told him she thought he'd lost it again.
"Just trust me. Not so good with the advice and all." Shuffling the cards, Spike changed the topic before she could ask how the two related. "Besides, I'd rather see the looks on Rupes' and Wes' faces when you fleece them."
Sarah giggled, shaking her head. "I don't think I'd get much past them, but I'll try! How..how is Wes? I heard some yelling from over there and . . ."
"Uh, I'm sure he's fine. He's probably sleeping, if Rupert had his way with him, er," Spike smirked and looked at his cards to hide the expression.
"They're so cute, dancing around each other. Reminds me of this movie I saw once."
Looking up at that, Spike almost missed Sarah's tell of tabbing her chin when she had a good hand. "What ya mean?" He kept his voice neutral and was surprised when Sarah laughed at him.
"Oh, as if you don't see it! Just cause I'm young doesn't mean I'm blind, ya know. Well, not anymore," she added ruefully, throwing another two pretzels on the ante pile. "At least, I hope it's two sided, but I saw how Giles looked at him. Haven't seen enough of Wes to know, but . . ."
She winked at Spike, who only laughed and laid down his full house.
"Bugger. So, are you going to tell me how you did that?" she asked, making him laugh all over again. God, that felt good.
"How ya feelin'?" He asked after the next hand was dealt, glancing at the dark half-circles under her eyes. They were bad, as if she had too black eyes.
"Tired," she replied with a shrug. "Had a nightmare, a real bad one."
"And no one was here," Spike finished for her, reaching out to pat her hand awkwardly. "Uh, well with-with Wes and then Angel," he began, only to have her wave his words away.
"Hey, dying outweighs bad dreams. Always. So? You gonna raise or call? Get it over with. The suspense is killing me!"
Giles hadn't been home all morning and was tired as hell, but that didn't absolve him of his responsibilities. He had expected many things when he got to the office. Deathly silence was not one of them.
Andrew nearly pounced on him the moment he walked through the doors, the boy nearly panicked.
"Thank god! You're here! I tried your house and your cell, and I even tried at the halfway house, but nobody was answering there and then all the Watchers were panicking and there were calls coming in everywhere and god, you can never leave here again!"
"What's wrong? What's happened?" Giles felt his own panic beginning to rise and firmly squashed it. Whatever had happened, now was certainly not the time to let himself be overwhelmed. He kept walking, Andrew falling into step beside him, handing over a sheaf of papers Giles didn't bother to look through.
"The Slayers. Last night . . . and some are on the night shift, but it didn't matter. I've never seen anything like it. They were all talking about burning and how there was hardly any time left and how 'The Heroes blood had to burn' and--"
At those words, Giles held up a hand to silence the young man, who complied immediately. He stopped in front of his office door, turning to Andrew.
"First, I need you to calm down. The crisis may be over now, but I can't know if you don't tell me exactly what happened.
"Okay, okay. Uh, it hit Margie first. Or, she was the first one who was awake. We don't know about the ones that were sleeping. She just collapsed and started seizing. Then the others started dropping like flies and . . . well, George came and woke me up. They were everywhere, Giles, just jerking and . . . it . . . we think it hit the ones who were awake the hardest. Anyone who was sleeping is just tired this morning, but the others . . . they're unconscious."
"No! Just, deep, deep sleep. The doctor said they'd be all right, that they just really needed to rest. The others are dead tired and there were similar reports from all the nearest communities. It was the vision, only . . . it hit the ones that were awake too! They all kept saying that 'The Heroes blood had to burn', and there wasn't much time!"
"Angel," Giles sighed, removing his glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose. "Uh, last-last night, Wesley was, er, accidentally infected with the, uh, the-the dragon's toxin--"
"--oh, god! I'm so sorry!" Andrew laid a hand on his arm and it took Giles a moment to realize that the young man thought Wes was dead.
"Uh, no. No. He's, uh, he's all right. Still-still weak, but . . . it seems that whatever, ah, whatever changes there were to his blood it someone fought off the toxin and, uh, well Angel began to-to dust and Wesley . . . Wesley's blood was the answer." Giles was fighting with the remembered fear, telling himself that Wes was fine and . . . Angel was fine and there was no need to be still worrying.
"Oh . . . I don't get it. How does that have anything to do with . . . with the visions?" Andrew shook his head, shrugging.
"Wesley . . . Wesley had a similar fever dream, I think, though I haven't had the chance to really talk to him about it. He, uh, he's been having the same dreams, with 'The Heroes blood must burn' and his blood . . . well, it seems that Angel is hero referred to."
"So. . . the girls should be fine now? No more dreams? Crisis averted, game over?"
"Well, uh, I don't-don't think it's as simple as all that," Giles replied, nodding that they should continue this discussion in his office. He somehow felt more . . . in control once safely ensconced behind his desk.
"So? Why are you still worrying? If it's all over . . ."
"Well, I don't believe it is." Giles sighed, reaching for his pencil to fiddle with as he spoke and then remembering his last talk with Andrew and deciding against it. "The Slayers had visions about healing him. About Angel. Many of them had the same vision, over and over." Giles shook his head at the enormity of it. To send so much, so many warnings . . . it had to be important.
"The PTB obviously don't won't their 'Champion' dead yet. Moreover, the dreams . . . the mixing of the blood in them . . . I now believe much of it was about Wesley, his resurrection, which . . . likely means that the Powers haven't yet finished with him either. Or," Giles gave a bitter snort, "Perhaps he was just their means to reviving Angel, a pawn to keep their 'Champion' going. I don't know. Either way . . . if-if the Powers aren't done with him . . ."
"Something big's gonna go down."
Wes looked up when he heard Spike enter the room. The vampire stopped to stare and shake his head and Wes just shrugged, looking down at the books laid out around him.
"I wasn't tired," he said with a sigh, marking his place in the book he'd been reading and laying it aside. "How's Angel?"
"Sleeping," Spike said with a shrug, pulling the chair a bit away from the bed and slouching into it. "He's . . . weak, but getting' better."
Somehow, Wes was quite sure Spike didn't like referring to the man as 'weak'. "Well, as long as he's getting better. He's going to be fine, Spike. Now."
"Thanks," Spike met his eyes and Wes knew he wasn't just thanking him for the reassurance. Why the vampire felt he needed to be thanked for helping a friend, Wesley had no idea, but he nodded anyway, too weary to ask.
The truth was that he found that he couldn't sleep. His mind was full of racing thoughts and refused to quiet. Even research hadn't helped for once. His condition was similar to others, but there was obviously nothing exactly like it. Beyond that, the answers to his other questions weren't the kind one could find in books.
He'd been sorting out what he needed to say to Angel, what he needed to discuss with the man. Their was so much to fix between them it was hard to know where to start, but he knew he had to, knew he couldn't let it sit or be brushed aside. He'd lost so many people, both of them had and he didn't want to lose the friendship he and Angel had shared. That was, in fact, the last thing he wanted.
There was Giles too. It seemed the man didn't actually leave his mind these days and Wes found that disturbing as much as . . . nice. His little, er, fantasy in the shower had been intense, the imagines so real and vivid, complete with smells and . . . his heightened senses might well have pushed his imagination up a notch or two as well.
Cutting off those thoughts, because he certainly didn't want to find himself hardening with Spike not feet away and he knew that was where they were leading, Wes motioned to the books.
"I was looking into my new . . . ah, my new state of being, I suppose. Seeing if I could find any hints as to . . . well, I'm not wholly human any longer."
"It's not like you're suddenly some ancient evil now either," Spike countered with a shrug.
"Of course I'm not. Why would you--" he stopped when he realized that Spike was referring to Illyria, in a way, and to . . . Fred. "Right. Well, ah, I don't enjoy not knowing."
"'Course ya don't. Who would? Still, you're not going to fade into nothing if you don't find out right now. No need not to get your rest while you can. Unless something's keepin' you awake?" The vampire sat back in his chair, crossing his arms and raising his eyebrow in inquiry.
"Uh, just-just thoughts. There's . . . a lot to think about now. The world ended, or was supposed to have. There's so many people gone and I . . . I died. That's not something one every gets to say . . . usually."