My world is planned around you,
It had to be, this romance of ours;
And, long before I found you,
Your name and mine had been written in the stars.
-Made for Each Other, Xavier Cugat
Part I: Written in the Stars
Spike was lazing in his crypt, telling himself that staring at the ceiling and stewing about his recent misfortunes didn’t count as brooding and didn’t make him anything like his poof of a grandsire, when he felt a tingle at the back of his neck.
He sat up, looking toward the door.
Speaking of Peaches…
The door burst open and there Angel was, with a smaller, cloaked form behind him.
“What the hell do you want?” Spike asked without any real venom in his voice.
Sometimes it seemed like there was no longer a point.
“I need your help,” Angel told him. There was desperation in the older vampire’s face.
Spike sneered and made a show of flopping back down. He closed his eyes. “Got no reason to help you.”
“Spike,” Angel started, only to stop when the cloaked being – vampire, and female, Spike could tell by scent – stepped forward and reached for Spike.
He dropped into game face and snarled at her, letting her feel his power as a master vampire.
She giggled, then cooed at him in a familiar voice, “So pretty, so strong. Just like Mummy said.”
Spike looked to Angel. Angel looked away.
Standing, Spike drew the smaller vampire close and pushed back her hood, revealing pale skin, scarlet hair, and green eyes that sparkled with wicked intelligence.
“Red?” Spike asked.
“Spike,” she returned, leaning forward to nuzzle his neck. He let her, automatically wrapping an arm around her waist. She was wearing a silky green shirt with a black vest, and black leather pants. Boots gave her some added height, allowing her to more easily reach Spike’s throat.
“The hell did you do, Peaches? And can I be there when you tell the Slayer?”
Willow was licking his jugular, then, getting bolder, she nipped at it, getting a taste of Spike’s powerful blood. He growled at her, sliding his arm up to put his hand over her mouth. “Be a good girl.”
She smiled against his fingers. “If I’m bad, will you punish me?”
Spike felt his lips part in surprise, before he laughed. “Bloody hell. If I’d known you were going to be so cheeky, Red, I’d have turned you years ago.”
“This isn’t funny, Spike!” Angel burst, moving further into the crypt. He sat on Spike’s bed and put his head in his hands.
“Maybe not for you, but it’s damn well hilarious for me,” Spike countered. “Let me guess – you got yourself a bird up in L.A., and Angelus came out to play.”
“It wasn’t me,” Angel said dully. “It was Drusilla.”
That got Spike’s attention.
And Willow’s too.
“Mummy?” the redhead looked up, a spark of hope in her eyes. “Is Mummy coming back? Granddaddy’s no fun.”
“I know he’s not, pet,” Spike said soothingly before replacing his hand over Willow’s mouth when she tried to bite him again. They were playing an unspoken game. Every time he let her go, she resumed burying her face in his neck, which he allowed until she got nippy.
“What about Dru?” he addressed to Angel.
Angel sighed. “Willow was supposed to be coming to L.A. to help us with a spell. When she didn’t arrive in time, I went out looking for her. I don’t know how Dru got her, but by the time I found the both of them…”
Spike raised an eyebrow. “Dru say anything?”
It wasn’t Angel, but Willow who answered. “The stars whispered to Mummy that her Dark Prince was in danger. His crown was broken and his castle is burning. He needed a new princess to rescue him. And my hair like blood marked me as the one,” Willow smiled proudly.
Spike blinked, wondering if Willow was half barmy because Dru had sired her.
“I’m your special Red Princess,” she told him, standing on her tiptoes to kiss him almost sweetly.
“That you are,” Spike replied, not sure what to make of all this, but not ready to complain.
“Oh sod off.”
Just to piss off Peaches, Spike pulled Red into another kiss, plunging his tongue into her mouth and pulling her tighter against his side. He could feel her breasts pressed against his chest. She started to writhe against him, moaning and whimpering.
Suddenly Spike found himself flying through the air. He crashed into the wall of the crypt, opening his eyes to see Angel standing over him, fully vamped out. He slid into his own game face, snarling. Grabbing Angel’s ankles, he dragged the bigger vampire down, and then they rolled, trading punches.
“Stop!” a feminine voice echoed off the stone.
Angel was flung away from Spike, rising until he was pressed against the ceiling. The stone above him cracked, the pressure of whatever invisible force that held him still pushing. Spike could hear one of Angel’s ribs break.
He turned his head to see that Willow was the source of the power that had ripped Angel away. Her eyes had turned a deep inky black, veins stood out in her skin, and she was in vamp face, her demon ridges making her look feline and beautiful. It was clear now that she was Drusilla’s childe.
“Bad puppy,” she said to Angel in that impossibly magnified voice. “You shouldn’t be mean to Mummy’s Spike.”
Spike smirked and got to his feet, coming up behind Willow to wrap his arms around her. He let his fingers graze along her hipbone, filled with masculine satisfaction when she sighed and shifted against him. “Beautiful,” he whispered into her ear.
She smiled a feral smile.
“While Peaches is out of the way, why don’t you tell me how you came to be here, and like this, hmm?”
Willow leaned back against his chest, her eyes fluttering closed. Spike readily took her weight, helping her to stand. That spell must be taking a lot out of her. “Mummy found me in the dark and made me shine. She was teaching me all of her magic, and how to be a good princess, but then Granddaddy came and ruined all our fun.” Willow frowned. “Bored now.”
Her eyes turned amber-green again as she released her hold on her spell, and Angel fell from the ceiling to land on the floor in a heap. He groaned, rubbing his head. “Drusilla made her promise to find you and stay with you, and she’s surprisingly adamant about following Dru’s wishes. She escaped from me five times and almost ate Cordy before I agreed to bring her to see you.”
An odd grimace twisted Spike’s lips, halfway between a frown and a smirk. The thought of Willow eating that loudmouthed brunette he’d seen around from time to time was enough to bring a smile to any bloke’s face, but the mentions of Drusilla, after everything she’d put him through, soured the humor.
“Why’d Dru want you with me, Red?” he asked Willow, doubting that Angel would know or care.
“The stars told Mummy about nasty men reaching their fingers inside you,” Willow turned in his arms to face him, tracing two fingers across his forehead.
Well bloody hell.
Had Dru turned Willow to protect him?
He didn’t know whether he hated her or loved her for that. She’d decided he wasn’t vamp enough for her a while ago. Maybe now she thought he couldn’t even take care of himself, so she made a childe to do it for him.
On the other hand, this had to mean that some part of her still cared.
He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. There was no use trying to figure it out. Drusilla only ever made complete sense to Drusilla.
He kissed Willow again, considering his position. It was true that having a vamp around who could actually hunt and hurt humans would be more than helpful. And if the Slayer and her friends ever got any funny ideas about him, the thought of springing Red on them as his bodyguard was downright delicious. And she needed him. He assumed Dru’d buggered off for parts unknown after Angel caught her with Red, and she wasn’t any good for the practicalities of being a sire. And Peaches? Spike snorted. If he let Peaches step in to teach Red how to be the Big Bad, she’d spend the rest of her days helping little old ladies across the street and drinking pig blood through a sippy straw.
“How come I haven’t heard any flap about Red being missing from the Slayer? Seems like she should have been beating down the bloody door to demand I help, or turn out my pockets in case I was the one who’d snatched her.”
Angel looked decidedly shifty.
“You wanker!” Spike declared with glee. “You haven’t told them!”
Angel pulled himself to his feet once more. “I didn’t want to worry them until I knew there was something to worry about. And then after I found her… well, I didn’t want Buffy to do anything rash. I tried to tame her, to get her to accept me as her sire with Drusilla gone, and I… I had Wesley try to restore her soul. I made her send emails to Buffy saying that she was staying on in L.A. to help me with something.”
Spike looked down into Willow’s green eyes. “And yet you’re right here where you wanted to be, no soul in sight.”
Willow smiled enigmatically.
“She did something. We don’t know what. Wesley has tried to summon her soul twice, but he can’t get it to bind to her body. She keeps the soul only for as long as Wes can keep up his concentration. Then it’s gone. The last time… the last time, she asked us not to try again.”
Impressed, Spike gently stroked his – yes, his – Red’s ridges, admiring the beauty of her demonic face. “Well aren’t you something special,” he murmured.
She preened under his attention. “Special enough to have a taste?” she asked, emerald eyes pleading.
Spike tilted his head and sucked in his cheeks, considering for a long moment. Then he relented, raising his wrist and laying it across Red’s lips. “Only a taste,” he reminded her as she latched on, suckling at his veins like a babe at the breast.
“What are you doing?” Angel demanded.
“What’s it look like? I’m going to make her mine, like Dru wanted.” Spike met Angel’s eyes. “Isn’t this why you brought her here?”
Grudgingly, Angel nodded. “I can’t be what she needs. There’s too much going on in L.A. for me to watch her all the time, and after what she tried to do to Cordy, I don’t trust her alone with anyone who isn’t strong enough to fight her off.”
“I was just playing,” Red protested. A spot of Spike’s blood dribbled past her lips. Her tongue shot out to catch it, and then she was drinking from him again, the steady pull and lapping of her tongue sending a flare of arousal down Spike’s spine.
Spike smirked at her. Vicious little poppet. He was already half in love with his new protégé. Dru had chosen well. But then, when it came to choosing who to turn, Dru had surprisingly good taste. After all, she’d chosen Spike.
“I couldn’t just stake her,” Angel continued lowly. “It’s Willow. And she’s one of ours.”
One of theirs. Spike snorted. “Not like you’ve ever cared about the bonds of family before.”
Angel shrugged. “Believe what you want.”
Spike busied himself with pulling his wrist away from Willow’s mouth. “That’s enough, luv. A master’s blood is heady stuff.” She protested the loss, her lips redder now than her lipstick had made them. Her eyes were already glassy.
“Spike,” she breathed his name huskily. A trickle of his blood ran down her chin. Spike licked it away, drawing a whimper from Willow. Angel groaned, like seeing them together caused him more pain than his rapidly healing broken rib.
“What are you going to tell the Slayer?” Spike asked. “Would love to see how you’re going to get out of this one. You’ll be lucky if she doesn’t chain you in the Watcher’s bloody bathtub this time.”
Angel blinked. “The bathtub?” He shook his head. “Never mind, there’s no time.” Reaching into his coat pocket, he pulled out a thick envelope. “I’m going to tell Buffy the truth. But only after you take Willow and get out of Sunnydale. I don’t want Willow staked, and I don’t want Buffy to have to confront her. Not for a while anyway.” Angel held out the envelope. “I opened a bank account for the two of you. All the papers and the debit cards are in here. Get Willow out of Buffy’s reach.”
And Buffy out of Willow’s, Spike silently finished that sentence. New vamps often killed their loved ones. If Red saw the Slayer or the Watcher or the moron and decided to make them into snacks, well, Spike had seen her display of power. Even against the Slayer, Spike was willing to bet on Willow, purely because the Slayer would hesitate before dusting her best friend.
There was no hesitation in his Red Princess.
Spike eyed the proffered envelope. “And if I don’t want your money?”
“Then take it for Willow.”
Still, Spike stared.
Angel sighed, scrubbing a hand over his face. “Look, I’ve been a bad sire. I know! I know that, okay? But… I can do this. This is the one thing I can do for you.”
For several long minutes, none of them moved. Even Willow, as irreverent as she was, knew better than to disturb the sanctity of the moment.
Spike took the envelope.
Angel sighed again, and this time it was with relief. “You know how to contact me. If you need anything, let me know. And if… if Willow gets to a point where she wants to come back, wants to see everyone again, tell me and I’ll talk to Buffy.”
Spike looked down at the little vampire tucked into his side. She’d started to giggle to herself. His blood had gone straight to her head.
What was there to keep him in Sunnydale? The Slayer? Her friends? He snorted. With Willow to help him, he wouldn’t need to rely on them for blood and money. And besides, they could always come back once Red had outgrown the reckless stupidity of the newly turned. Ah, he remembered his first nights…
“What do you say, Red? Want to come away with me?”
“Of course,” she answered in the voice of a child. “Mummy made me just for you. And she made you for me. She saw us in each other’s eyes.”
Spike’s brows shot up, but he smiled and said indulgently, “Of course she did, luv.”
It didn’t take much time for Spike to pack up his few belongings. He’d taken to traveling light ever since he and Dru were chased out of Prague, and all Willow had was a small bag of clothes Angel had bought for her, and a doll Drusilla had given her. Spike considered asking whether she wanted to retrieve anything from her human life, but dismissed the idea when he realized that they’d have trouble getting anyone to invite them into her parent’s house since the couple was out of town, and Willow’s college roommate was Buffy herself. It was too risky.
So they stuffed Spike’s things in the same bag as Willow’s and then they let Angel give them a lift to an all-night car rental place. Angel had gone all white knight when Spike had started giving Red a lesson in carjacking.
Looking at Willow, Spike mouthed, Granddaddy’s no fun.
She nodded, covering her answering grin with one dainty white hand.
Oblivious to the mockery, Angel led them into the car rental office and stayed with them as Spike filled out the rental form for a black SUV with tinted windows. Angel had provided them with fake passports and driver’s licenses to go with their new bank account. They were William and Katie Conner. Spike rolled his eyes, and wondered whether they were supposed to be siblings or married.
“Willow!” Angel said sharply, making Spike look up.
The red haired vampire immediately assumed a pose of perfect innocence. If Spike’s preternatural senses didn’t tell him better, he’d think she was still the sweet human girl she’d always been.
“What was she doing?” Spike asked as he finished the rental form and scrawled a fake signature across the bottom.
“She wasn’t moving yet, but I know her faces. She was thinking about attacking the clerk.”
“Why not let her?”
“Spike – ”
“Oh come off it. Don’t act like you think I’m going to keep her from killing once we’re out of here. I’m going to teach her to be the best killer there is, and have her bring me my dinner gift wrapped.”
Angel looked pained. “I know.”
Spike blinked. “So long as we’re clear.”
“Just… not in Sunnydale, alright? Not in Buffy’s territory. Don’t make this any harder.”
Spike immediately decided that the next time he needed revenge on Angel (he was sure there would be a next time – there always was) he would take Red on a killing spree through the hellmouth.
But not tonight.
“Fine, you poof.”
Spike got the keys to the SUV and they went out and transferred their bags into it without incident. In minutes, Willow was buckled into the front passenger seat and playing with the stereo system, her doll clutched in one hand.
“Don’t tell me where you’re going,” Angel said to Spike through the driver’s side window. “I don’t want to have to lie to them when I say I don’t know.”
“Hadn’t planned on telling you anyway.” Spike started to roll up the window. Angel grabbed the glass, looking first into Spike’s eyes, and then across him to Willow.
“Let me know when you’re safe. I’ll wait two days before I go to Buffy. That enough time?”
“Plenty,” Spike said with finality, this time managing to get the window all the way up.
He stepped on the gas, and they were on their way, making sure to hit the ‘Sunnydale’ sign on the way out of town.