Hi all! I've got an older story to post today - I started it on this comm a few years ago, and then finally finished it for Seasonal Spuffy this year. But since it was born here, I figure that I should post the whole thing here too. :)A Chiming of BellsBy Barb CCharacters: Buffy/SpikeRating: PG-13Summary: Ever wondered what happened to that Harrier demon that Willow zapped in Necessary Evils? Well, until today, Spike never had, either...Notes: The first half of this story was written for Noel_of_Spike 2010. It was completed for the 2013 fall round of Seasonal_Spuffy. It takes place in the Barbverse (a post-Gift AU) circa 2004, and employs certain elements of comics canon, but is in no way comics-compliant.Right, so: fag-end of the year. A lone string of lights blinking mournfully in the early-morning darkness. Brittle, denuded Christmas trees scattered along the curb of Revello Drive. And there was an angel in the garage.Well, not an angel, not exactly. The harps-and-halos variety, if they existed, tended to avoid places like Sunnydale. But a Harrier demon came close enough – high-level minion of the Powers, customarily dispatched to deal with beasties as far above a vampire’s weight class as they themselves were. And not in the garage, not completely. A tattered fan of pinions thrust out from beneath the half-lowered garage door, scattering lances of heavenly light across the driveway.Spike sat in the DeSoto for a moment longer, cheeks sucked in, fingers tapping a baffled tattoo on the steering wheel. It had been a long night, but not that long. At last he rubbed his jaw, muttered “Well, bugger,” got out of the car, and raced the morning sun to the front door. Keeping an eye on the garage. Just in case.Buffy was in the kitchen feeding Billy his breakfast, or making the attempt, at any rate - their son was of an age where his enthusiasm as a trencherman considerably outstripped his skill. “It’s only going to be there for a few days,” Buffy said the moment he walked in. She set Billy's bowl down on the kitchen island and folded her arms defensively beneath her breasts. “You can park your gas-guzzling monster on the street for that long.”"Da Da Da Da!" Billy agreed, beating a lively tattoo on the edge of the island with his spoon. Spike rescued the utensil and maneuvered a spoonful of soft-boiled egg and pig’s blood into the general vicinity of his son’s mouth. “Here, mate, brekky goes inside, not all over your Mum and Dad.” He wiped the gory smears of blood from Billy's cheeks with the hem of his t-shirt. “Don’t suppose I get to ask why it’s there at all?”Buffy gave him a good-luck-with-that look. Spike forbore to ask whether it applied to his question or his attempts at toddler-feeding. "I think it’s the one Willow blasted a few years ago," she said. "I feel kind of responsible, since we were the ones it was talking to when she went all Han-shot-first." The Slayer tipped her chin up, her mouth set in the determined line that meant he could jaw at her all day and she wouldn't budge an inch. “I have a demon in my bedroom. Why not an angel in the garage?”And there wasn’t much he could say to that.****It had been a being of light, once. Even now, the glare when he opened the side door of the garage was worse than the rising sun. In motion (and Harriers were always in motion) , it was a thing of heartbreaking beauty. A whirlwind of eyes, a rush of wings, a clash of blades, a shining in the air, he'd described it once, in a more poetic mood. Now, brought to unnatural rest amongst a clutter of paint cans and rusty gardening spades, it was grotesque, an awkward amalgamation of parts never meant to be so joined. The Harrier blinked its myriad eyes and mantled in its corner, drawing its multitude of wings in around itself, for all the world like a broken-winged pigeon some tender-hearted kid had brought home in a shoebox. CREATURE OF DARKNESS, it said. WE MEET AGAIN."Oi, inside voice! It's a thrill for me, too." Spike squinted into the colorless blaze, tears running down his cheeks. As his eyes adjusted, he could make out the blackened scar at the juncture of its uppermost pair of wings, half-veiled by feathers of spun glass and razor blades. The plumes were fractured and crazed, their diamond clarity dimmed. "Looks like Red did quite a number on you." The creature's pinions twitched, shivered. HER POWER WAS DRAWN FROM THE FIRST OF ALL EVILS. SUCH WOUNDS HEAL SLOWLY. It turned the gaze of half a dozen eyes upon him, surveying him from head to foot. YOU HAVE CHANGED.Spike leaned back against the tool bench, arms folded and head cocked. He'd ditched the bleached-blond look a couple of years ago, but he had an idea that the Harrier was oblivious to such superficialities. "Might have done. What's that to you?"YOU ARE MORTAL NOW. YOU AND THE SLAYER HAVE SPAWNED. AND YET YOU REMAIN A VAMPIRE."You're an observant chap, but that still begs the question of why you're talking up the space where my car could be leaving oil spots. ""Its pals wouldn't take it with them," Buffy's voice came from behind him. She had Billy balanced on one hip; the boy regarded the Harrier with wide eyes, mouth shaping a wondering O. "When we closed the Hellmouth, and they all got sucked back into Heaven Twenty-Six-A, or wherever? Apparently Clarence here doesn't qualify any longer."The Harrier shifted restlessly. I CANNOT RETURN IN THIS STATE. WHILE MY WOUND REMAINS, I AM... TAINTED. IMPURE. He couldn't help it; Spike let loose a bark of laughter. "Where've I heard that one before?" I AM NOT UNAWARE OF THE IRONY. It sounded faintly peevish. I HAVE TRAVELED FAR IN SEARCH OF HEALING. It whisked a stray wing out of Billy's curious reach. AND MY JOURNEY ENDS WHERE IT BEGAN. IT SEEMS MY ONLY HOPE LIES HERE, WHERE ONCE THE HELLMOUTH LAY. I SEEK THE SEED OF WONDER.Spike raised a skeptical eyebrow. "The what of who now?"Their guest glanced at the Slayer with about a third of its eyes. Buffy made an encouraging noise, and the Harrier heaved something like a sigh, its brilliant plumage bristling like porcupine quills. THE FIRST EVIL CHOSE THIS HELLMOUTH FOR A REASON. AS DID GLORIFICUS, AND MANY OTHERS BEFORE THEM. IT WAS THE FIRST GATEWAY INTO THIS WORLD. THE DOOR YOUR SISTER WAS MADE TO OPEN - OR CLOSE. AND THOUGH THAT DOOR BE SEALED, GREAT POWER YET LIES UPON ITS THRESHOLD.Bloody well figured. Every magical McGuffin since the beginning of time seemed to be stashed in Sunnydale somewhere. "Yeah, well, you won't find it lying about in this garage. So if you don't mind - "The Slayer's hands might be occupied with a squirming toddler, but she lost no time kicking him in the shins. "Stop being a pill, Spike. So this Seed of Wonder thingummy can heal you and you can go home, right?" The Harrier didn't precisely have a head to nod, but it inclined... something. "Then I'll drop Billy off with Anya and we'll get going. Um... what's your name, anyway?"The Harrier drew itself up. MY APPELLATION IN YOUR TONGUE MIGHT BEST BE RENDERED 'A CHIMING OF BELLS AND A CLASHING OF CYMBALS.'Buffy pursed her lips. "I think we'll stick with Clarence."
Great fun -- thanks! I love all the allusions: Nelson's lions, Clarence, Harriers, and so on. I still have a problem with "spitting image," a mishearing of the original "spit and image." It's less bothersome than, say, "another 'thing' coming," the mishearing of "another think coming," but that's due to my education during the later Devonian Period. P.S. About the angels in the book of Revelations, remember that one of the multiple pairs of wings were covering their (ahem!) feet? Not in the original! The translators decided that "feet" was a dandy replacement for "manly bits." Yup. Gender inequality even there.
Well, in this case, "spitting image" is also a reference to a British TV show, so I'm afraid it's got to be that particular spelling. *g* And yep, I've heard about the business with the feet!
I enjoyed this a lot! Thank you!
Glad you liked it!
Excellent having an additional story - wish other writers would go back and work with some of the earlier works. Enjoyed this very much and it's a great way to go back and bring closure for this character. Now I will have to go back and do another reading of the original story. All the best to you for the coming year and thank you for all the wonderful Buffyverse stories.
Thanks for reading!
Loved reading this again. A great story. Clarence definitely needs to come back and visit. :D