Duty Or Destiny - (21) Catching Up - Part 2
Chapter Summary: Marie deals with the news of Dalton's death. Clem and Marie let Buffy and Spike know what is being said around Sunnydale. The Scoobies get an unexpected visit from the "Powers That Be" that puts a wrench in the works. The full text of the prophecy involved is revealed at the end of the chapter.
Disclaimer and Distribution notes are listed on the Index page of this story.'Single' quote marks surround thoughts in this story. "Regular" quotes are around spoken words.
(Summers' Living Room)
Marie held her head in her hands and wept silently. Clem wrapped his arm around Marie from one side and Buffy comforted the woman from the other side. The rest of the Scoobies weren't sure exactly how to react. Although they felt bad that Marie lost a friend, they didn't really know Dalton.
"We've had some reports in from some of the folks watching the factory," Clem continued to comfort his friend while he imparted the news they came with. "It seems that most of the vampires that were following you are now openly following Angelus."
Spike sighed. He'd hoped to have made some progress with them, but it seemed that they were only following their leader's orders to keep from being dusted. "I guess out little blood drive wasn't as successful as we'd hoped." He shared a sad glance with Buffy.
"There are a few, but they're staying hidden as much as possible," Clem continued. "He seemed to go on quite a rampage when he came back to the factory about a week ago. We heard that he looked mad and scared all at the same time."
"That must have been after he fought with the Slayer," Buffy jumped into the conversation. "He tucked his tail between his legs and ran as soon as she popped up."
Clem looked at Buffy confused. If she was the Slayer, why was she talking about herself as if in third person.
Spike noticed the questioning look on Clem's face, "Long story, mate. I'll tell you later."
Clem nodded. "Some of my clan, and others, picked up on a large amount of activity at the factory earlier. It seems that Angelus is moving somewhere, but he hadn't told his minions either. At least he didn't say anything where we could pick up on it from."
"Makes sense," Spike nodded while he talked, "He wouldn't want to stay too long in a place I was more familiar with than he was. He'll want to move somewhere more to his liking."
"Why kill Dalton?" Marie interrupted with a harsh sob. Although she heard the conversation going on around her, she pretty much ignored it. The only thing she could focus on was the current pain in her heart. "He'd never hurt a fly. What threat could he have been to Angelus?" She looked up at Spike who sat in a chair diagonally across from the couch she sat on.
"Angelus never needed an excuse to kill anyone. He is a sadistic prat, plain and simple."
Giles cleared his throat, "Be that as it may, Spike, Dalton was a threat to Angelus." He sat back in his chair before he continued, "Dalton was the only one that Angelus knew to have knowledge of the spell that was cast. It is likely that he made the assumption that if Dalton was gone, we could not find a way to reverse it."
"I've told you lot before, I'm not interested in shoving a bloody soul back in to the wanker," Spike growled, "If I can get my hands on him, he's dust in the wind."
Buffy stretched her free hand across the distance to close over Spike's. "We have to keep all of our options open, Spike. If we can get his soul reinstated, if we aren't able to kill him right away, we could save a lot of lives."
Spike grumbled something under his breath that no one could hear.
"He may have still been a jerk at times with his soul, but he did help us on occasion."
"I'm here now. You don't need him lapping around your heels, pet," Spike countered. "If his soul was able to go on walkabout this time, what is to prevent it from drifting away again? Can we really take that chance?"
"There are some that say you don't have a choice," An unknown male voice entered into the previously private conversation.
Spike and Buffy both jumped up from their seats to face the intruder in the Summers' living room. The Scoobies all reached for whatever weapon or item that was nearby to defend themselves with. Even the mild mannered Clem sat up and was ready to defend his friend Marie.
"How did you get in here?" Buffy screeched. She was worried that somehow their protections had failed.
"Calm down, Slayer. I'm not here to hurt anyone," The ugly dressed little man said. "I come from the Powers That Be, a bit earlier than we originally intended, but I have a message for you."
"I don't care who sent you," Spike grabbed the front of the man's tacky styled shirt as he spoke, "You came through uninvited, and that makes me a right bit cranky. So, you'd better deliver your message and get out before I forget that there are ladies present that prevent me from having your guts for garters."
"Usually it takes me a little longer to get under someone's skin enough to irritate them. You guys sure are quick on the trigger."
"Our protections are very specific, and it would not do to have them so easily tripped." Giles hoped an explanation of the guy's presence was quickly forthcoming before Spike ripped the man to shreds.
"You can't keep a messenger from the Powers that Be out of anywhere. I'm not a demon for one thing." The Messenger turned his head to face Spike. "My name is Whistler, and you in particular don't want to piss off the guys upstairs. We're already trying to figure out what the heck happened with you to make you come into the fold."
Spike's eyes narrowed but he sensed no untruths in what Whistler said. "I found my home," was all Spike offered up as an explanation to the PTB representative.
"Hmm," Whistler pondered that statement for a moment. "We'll see just how far you are willing to go to protect the others you care about instead of your own life." He shook his head to clear out whatever future vision had been imparted to him.
Spike lowered Whistler down to set his feet on the ground again. "So, why can't we just kill the bastard?" It was bad enough that he'd grown enough of a conscience to keep him on a more redemptive path. He didn't like knowing that some other higher being now wanted to tell him that he couldn't kill his git of a Sire, who truly deserved to die.
"Angel has his own destiny for the Powers That Be, even if it seems like that course is on a bit of a detour at the moment." Whistler sighed. "I can't tell you anything about that, but I can say that you will need an ensouling spell or curse and the Orb of Thesulah to help complete it."
"Just how would we go about acquiring these things?" Joyce spoke for the first time since she'd returned home from the gallery with Buffy.
"I can't tell you that," Whistler answered.
Strangely enough it was Xander's exclamation that was the loudest. "What?!? You expect us to do your dirty work, and you won't even tell us where to find the things at?" He didn't think that he'd ever like Spike, but they had been getting along much better the last couple days. It was nice to have another guy in the group. Even though Spike was older than everyone, he'd caught himself chuckling at some of Spike's more colorful remarks and insults that he thought no one else heard. Maybe they would be able to find at least some common ground. They both hated Angel with a passion. It was a start.
"Don't kill the Messenger." Whistler started backing up towards the door when Buffy advanced on his position with a stake in full view. "They tell me what I can say. Besides that is a lot more information than you had before I got here."
"Maybe the businessman at the Magic Box could help us find some of it. He was quite helpful to me with the books that I needed about vampires and demons. Perhaps he will remember me if I go back to ask him about it."
"That is a good idea, Joyce. It's a place to start at least." Giles smiled at the other adult in the group. Spike might be older than all of them, but sometimes he acted more like a child than the teenagers with his antics and tantrums. He welcomed the more mature outlook on human life that he shared with Joyce.
"Any other bombs you want to drop on us, buddy, before you twitter away back to those that sent you?" Buffy sighed.
Whistler waved his hand at one of the closed books on the living room table. The pages rapidly flipped forward until they stopped fluttering halfway through the tome. "You'll need this as well." He pointed at the book. "Without it, we're all doomed."
"Prophecy?" Spike looked at Giles for confirmation that the open book was the one he thought it was.
Giles sighed and nodded. "Prophecy."
"Ugh. Prophecies and Buffy are definitely unmixy."
With the Scoobies occupied with the book, Whistler took the opportunity to disappear.
"Ow!" Clem exclaimed. When Whistler left the pressure change popped his large floppy-eared drums. "Hey guys, he left."
"Everyone double and triple up in the bedrooms. That is who you will go out hunting with as well. No one goes out alone anymore."
A chorus of "Yes, Master Angelus," was heard from every corner of the room.
Drusilla danced about the main open area. Her hands caressed the walls and furniture as she moved about. She stopped in front of one wall with an evil grin on her face. "Here. Here is where he should go."
"Where who should go?" Angelus wrapped his arms around Drusilla's waist and bent to lower his head on her shoulder.
"You'll know when you see it my Angel. It will sing to you, like the seraphim who fell to Hell."
'Just great. Another riddle.' Angelus inwardly rolled his eyes. It was going to be a long night.
"It's a mixture of Latin and French for sure. There might be another language in it too, but I'm not sure." Giles adjusted his glasses as he checked out the page further.
"That counts me out." Buffy quickly piped in. "Unless it involved cows touching, I'm afraid I'll never be able to figure it out."
Willow chuckled at Buffy's comment. She remembered their disastrous French lesson in the Bronze the night that Buffy met Spike. "Buffy and French definitely do not go well together." She continued to snicker.
"I think I remember something about that Red. Though I was quickly distracted by just how well she danced instead."
Xander shared in the laugh with Willow and Spike. He too remembered that night.
"I think that is actually two different forms of Latin, from two different eras. The flourishes of the script are like something I saw in the Oxford archives once upon a time."
"Oxford? You broke into one of the most revered institutions?" Giles was appalled that the vampire would attempt to desecrate something in such a sacred place to a scholar.
"I never said I broke into the place, Watcher." Spike loved to tease Giles from time to time. He knew that Giles kept notes about the little tidbits Spike let slip about his life. He wondered how long it would be before Rupert found out his true origins.
The two Brits sat down side by side and copied the text from the tome. They found it worked before for them to start off independently on any inscription or encryption. They would then share their thoughts and findings, comparing each translation. More often than not several key areas were identical between their copies. Then, they would work through the differences, reasons behind the differences, and find what they believed was a true translation.
There were times when Spike and Giles' translations were completely different. Heated arguments usually ensued then about who's ideas were the "wiser" or more "correct" translations. The rest of the Scoobies learned quickly not to step into those arguments.
Occasionally Willow would interject her thoughts, as she secretly copied the same inscriptions herself, but usually she didn't say anything. Her curious and intellectual nature just wanted to try to solve the puzzles that were being presented to them.
Marie and Clem left the Summers' house with the promise that they would keep their eyes and ears open for the Scoobies. They also promised to try to get more blood to the minions loyal to Spike who were hiding and biding their time.
After much arguing back and forth, three days later the translation of the text Whistler pointed out to them was finally complete. It was indeed a prophecy of some sort. Spike, Buffy and Giles were already pretty sure what several parts of the prophecy meant, but there were a number of points that seemed impossible if they were deciphering them right.
The agreed upon translation of the prophecy was copied and hung above the mantle in the Summers' living room. Several other copies were kept amongst the Scoobies, but they'd framed the one in the living room to protect it.
The soul of vengeance will be lost.
The heart of light will pay the cost.
Innocence shattered, peace denied,
Old lovers rejoined, another left behind.
The One must recover to stop the other,
Forgetting the past to accept another.
Passion and pain, lost and found,
Brings them both from lonely to bound.
The beast of stone wilt be the key,
For Hell itself to open and conquer.
Mortal enemies must join and not flee,
Mingling their lives to form another,
To save the world from being plundered.
A Master of darkness and the Chosen of Light,
By joining together will win the fight.
The blood of life within the womb,
Wilt halt the beast from bursting in gloom
. For in this Child the blood of dark and light will flow.
From the binding of each other, the spark of life will grow.
What seemed to be of Heaven will now head for Hell
Back to the place where it rightfully will dwell.
Love will be lost, and love will be gained
But only the truest of love shall remain.
What must be will wither and perish
Unless they learn to love and to cherish
The dark is not always what it seems to be
It hides a bright light that only a few will see
So open your eyes and clear your mind
And you just might succeed in saving mankind
(To Be Continued)