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Water flowing underground
same as it ever was
Chapter 1 - Soul Sensations 
5th-May-2005 03:29 pm
knitting sketch
I finally squeezed Chapter 1 of Soul Searching out of my damaged psyche, with a little help from my Muse who finally took pity on me and returned, albeit in a somewhat damaged condition. bogwitch gave it her usual thorough inspection before pronouncing it fit for human consumption. It's up at Blondie Bear, and CDS but fanfic is down at the mo', so here it is behind the cut.




Chapter 1 – Soul Sensations.


Spike seems to have lost something – but what? And, more importantly, why?

Thanks: to Bogwitch who did her usual thorough beta on this and didn’t let me get away with the writing I inflicted on her in the sloppy first draft.
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The entrance lobby of the Hyperion bustled with activity and at first glance, it looked to be in total chaos. People hurried in from the street carrying toolboxes, cooking utensils, armfuls of bedding, and camping cots. The stuffy air smelt of dust, sweat and blood and was laden with soft cries of pain as the injured called urgently for assistance.

In the midst of this, Buffy moved through the room with calm efficiency, directing the first-aiders and indicating where supplies should go. As more bloodstained slayers were ferried in through the front doors she allocated places in adjoining rooms according to the severity of their injuries. Illyria followed her progress, observing from a distance as she checked each new arrival. Twice she stepped into Buffy’s path and received an icy glare, to which she responded with a slight, quizzical tilt of her head.

"Will you back off?" Buffy snapped.

"I wish to observe," replied Illyria.

"Well do it somewhere else – like Texas."

Illyria ignored her, instead looking over her head towards the doors as Angel and Spike appeared, carrying Gunn between them on a wooden board. They moved slowly, taking care not to jolt their injured comrade.

Buffy took one swift look at Gunn, and pulled her cell phone out of her jacket pocket, flicking it open with a snap. She punched a number into the keypad. "We need the Crash Team," she said briskly. She glanced at Spike and tears welled behind her eyes. "Hyperion Hotel, 4121 Wilshire Boulevard." Without waiting to hear further questions, she closed the phone and bent her head to a wounded girl at her feet.

Illyria switched her attention to the two vampires, though her eyes remained fixed on Buffy. They were nursing injuries of their own. Spike’s duster was in tatters; the charred remains hanging from his shoulders like paper streamers. His black T-shirt was stained and gashed and his face was a mass of purple and black. Several deep gouges on his forehead showed the beginnings of healing but the dried blood on his eyes and cheeks bore witness to the savagery of the demons who had felled him.

Angel’s injuries were less visible, but he moved stiffly with a pronounced limp on his left side. He shifted the weight of the board onto his right hip, wincing with each painful step.

"What were you playing at?" he hissed.

"Told you, she started it," snarled Spike.

"Not that!" Angel spat in response. Illyria noted that as he spoke, his eyes flicked over to where Buffy was still crouched beside the young girl. She was tight-lipped, her tear-streaked face bleak and closed.

Illyria stepped closer as Angel lowered his voice to a whisper. "You’re tearing her apart, Spike. I know we agreed to move on, but what you just did is too much. Even for you."

Angel gestured with his head at a vacant spot on the ground and he and Spike carefully lowered each end of the makeshift stretcher to the floor. Spike squinted at Angel through blood-caked lashes. "What’re you on about? That dragon venom’s affected your brain, Grandpa’."

"It’s not me that’s affected! This is the woman you said you loved. If this is an example of the way you treated her when . . . "

"Loved? The Slayer! Me?" Spike’s yell cut Angel off.

All activity in the room ceased as people turned their attention to the two vampires standing face to face, noses almost touching. Illyria’s swift, noiseless glide away from them went unnoticed in the hushed stillness that followed Spike’s outburst. She observed him from a distance, waiting for the storm she knew was gathering in his mind, to thunder its presence.

Gunn’s low groan, and an accompanying growl from Spike’s stomach, broke the silence. "Look’s like Chuck’s done for," Spike muttered, glancing down. His stomach gave another rumble. "And I’m feeling mighty peckish."

Buffy slowly got to her feet, glared at Spike, and crossed the room towards the entrance, as the distant sounds of sirens heralding the arrival of ambulances grew louder.

Angel tensed in alarm as he saw ridges beginning to appear on Spike’s forehead, but before he could move, Spike backed rapidly away from Gunn, colliding into Buffy in his haste to put distance between himself and the injured man.

Buffy pushed him aside, her grazed knuckles leaving droplets of blood on the shoulder of his duster. "Better keep out of my way, Spike. I'm not gonna take this much longer."

Illyria focussed on Spike. She could feel his confusion, reading it in swirling patterns of colour, pulsing round his body like a light show accompanying a symphony orchestra. She reached out and touched his mind with hers, probing it to reveal his thoughts and feelings.

Spike closed his eyes, the wave of emotion rippling across his stomach, leaving the muscles tight with tension. His nostrils flared at the familiar scent, Buffy’s scent: sweat and blood mingled with the sweeter, lighter perfume of Jasmine.

That smell.

Unbidden images flashed through his mind with the instantaneous hardening of his penis; Buffy, naked and moaning with pleasure beneath him; a tiled floor; a torn bathrobe; hands aflame. With the images came an aching sense of loss and desolation, washing over him in painful waves. He swallowed hard and opened his eyes, struggling for a quick rejoinder to Buffy’s words that never came. Instead, he found himself staring into Illyria’s glacial eyes, hearing her speak, though her lips never moved.

"The price you willingly paid is high, vampire." Illyria’s voice echoed in his head.

Spike blinked with surprise. And suddenly, she was gone, resuming her place in the centre of the room, motionless and silent once more.

Angel, too, was watching as the warring emotions danced across Spike’s face. Horror, pain, desire, need, and guilt, in quick succession. He grasped Buffy’s arm as she moved past him. "Buffy . . ."

She jerked away from his grasp. “Not now, Angel,” she said stonily. "There’s more important things I have to do."

"You are coming back?" Angel frowned, lowering his voice. "There’s something wrong with Spike." He gestured at the blond vampire who swung his head from Angel to Buffy, frantically searching their faces for reassurance.

Buffy snorted. "You just figure that out?"

"This is serious." Angel glanced again at Spike who was inching further away from Gunn. "I think a demon took a chunk out of him."

"He’ll have to wait his turn," Buffy replied coldly, avoiding Angel’s eyes.

She swung the doors open, revealing the Crash Team. They moved swiftly into the room, carrying drip stands, IV bags, coolers, and medical bags.

"There’s your patient." Buffy gestured at Gunn. "There’s a room out back all ready." She pushed the doors wide open, and left without a backward glance.

Angel gave Gunn's hand a reasurring pat as the medics carried him away, then hobbled painfully to where Spike sat slumped against the reception desk with his knees drawn up, his head resting on them underneath folded arms. He placed a hand on Spike’s shoulder.

"Spike. What happened?" he asked softly.

The younger vampire mumbled something unintelligible and shrugged Angel’s hand off.

Angel lowered himself carefully to the floor, rested his head back against the front panel of the desk and sighed wearily. They sat together in silence, watching as the room gradually emptied, leaving Illyria standing alone in the same spot from which she’d watched Buffy leave the hotel.

"You’re a bastard!” Spike’s voice shattered the stillness. “A manipulative, self-centred, prancing, do-gooding, Nancy Boy . . ." The tirade came to a sudden halt.

"Feel better now?" Angel asked, studying Spike’s face for clues.

"No," Spike pouted. "I’m not done yet." His face creased with a sudden spasm of pain. "God, I’m hungry. All this fresh on-tap human blood sloshing around, you’d think I could have just one little sip." He inhaled deeply, then tensed his jaw and stared at his Grandsire. "Angel, what’s wrong with me?"

Angel regarded him for a long time before answering. Something in Spike’s storm-grey eyes warned him to tread carefully.

"That’s what I’d like to know," he replied finally. "Are you sure you haven’t taken Andrew’s advice too much to heart? Moving on’s one thing. But I’m seeing denial here. You loved her Spike. You got your soul back for her."

Spike’s shoulders slumped even lower as he let his head fall back into his hands. "But I don’t remember."

"You don’t remember . . .?" began Angel.

"Hang on!" Spike’s head snapped up. "Soul? Don’t be bloody stupid. I haven’t got a soul." He pulled himself onto his feet and strode angrily away, stopping beside Illyria who remained still and quiet. "You're the soulful one. I’m as soulless as the Ice Queen here."

Angel hauled himself up, slowly levering himself upright with the aid of the counter top. He limped painfully towards Spike. "As if I haven’t enough to worry about, I now have an amnesiac second-in-command on my hands," he thought despondently.

"No soul? Then how do you account for not being able to drink human blood?" he asked.

Spike’s response was instantaneous. "The chip."

"And why are you here helping me?" Angel raised his eyebrows.

"Because . . ." Spike stopped, narrowing his eyes. "That a trick question?"

Angel changed tack. "If you never loved her, why did you help Buffy in Sunnydale all that time?"

Spike didn’t answer. Instead, he began pacing the room, his face contorted with the effort of trying to recall the events of the past five years.

Angel was unsure how far to push Spike but he pressed on. "And why did you stay with Dawn after Buffy died?"

Spike ceased pacing. "Nibblet," he breathed. A painful vice clutched his chest as more images crowded into his mind; the feel of Dawn’s arms as she clung to him on the back of a motorcycle; her standing in the doorway of his crypt; "If you wanted to hurt Buffy -- congratulations. It worked."

Angel noticed Spike’s unease but continued his attack. "And why did you stay to die at the Hellmouth when Buffy told you . . ."

Spike’s fist slammed into Angel’s jaw, sending him reeling backwards into Illyria. "That’s enough," he snarled. "No more mind games. I . . . She," he struggled for control. "There. Is. No. Soul. Couldn’t love the Slayer. Right. Wrong. All wrong." Spike backed away from Angel and faced the wall, running his hands along the torn wallpaper and mumbling softly to himself.

The entrance door opened quietly and Buffy stepped inside; Lorne stood grim-faced behind her. Illyria was still contemplating the spot Buffy had vacated earlier. A flash of acknowledgement passed between her and Lorne and she shifted the focus of her attention from Spike to Angel.

"This Slayer is the One," an icy voice said softly in his ear. "And so it begins. It was not a demon that removed part of your comrade,” she said. He gave it freely to help another."

Angel caught the slight motion of Illyria’s hand in front of his eyes before the light from the room faded. The ground slipped away from under him and he felt the vertigo he’d experienced on the dragon’s back. He tried to shake his head in an attempt to clear it, but his muscles wouldn’t co-operate and he felt himself leaving his body and floating in the darkness.

Previous chapters
Comments 
5th-May-2005 03:15 pm (UTC)
Whee!

And my Buffy's yapping again, despite the birching. You might get something to look at very soon.
5th-May-2005 03:27 pm (UTC)
I added a few bits in to this chapter that provide the link into the next one. At the rate we're going, I'll have that one up before we ever go to France.

Revised date for take-off is next Thursday, but I'll believe that when it happens. I suspect we'll get this year's cruise in from August to October.

And, apparently, the instructions from Ma for her funeral are that it's to be her three children only. She's cutting the in-laws, the grandchildren and great-grnadchild out right up to (and beyond) the end. Selfish woman. Funerals aren't for the dead, they're for the living. MWNN isn't too fussed, but the other two will be.
5th-May-2005 03:34 pm (UTC)
Funerals aren't for the dead, they're for the living.

Exactly.

That'll be a quiet service! How strange.

I suspect we'll get this year's cruise in from August to October.

At least you'll be around for the great ticket announment.
5th-May-2005 03:21 pm (UTC)
Interesting beginning -- what's up with Spike? When will the next chapter go up? ;-)
5th-May-2005 03:33 pm (UTC)
You're a chapter behind, H. The Prologue went up while you were away.

Chapter 2? Depends when we take off for France - see above reply to Boggy.

Cass is up for chapter 3.
5th-May-2005 03:36 pm (UTC)
Ah, I was just about to ask where the prologue was - off to read :)
5th-May-2005 03:44 pm (UTC)
Don't suppose you have a word document of "Family" in its entirity do you? I know it is long but I want to refresh my memory and thought I'd take it to rehearsal tonight to skim through. Easier to print one doc than lots of smaller ones!
5th-May-2005 04:18 pm (UTC)
I don't, sorry. If I did it would be a very big file. It's somewhere around 50,000 words, I think. Almost as big as Against the Odds.Mind you, it didn't take as long to write. Perhaps there's somewhing to be said for writing fiction after all.

If you want to re-read the bits that are really important for the themes of this one, start from around chapter 13.
5th-May-2005 04:27 pm (UTC)
That's okay. I decided to copy and paste it all into one word document - can't print it properly off the web as it cuts the edge off. 112 pages - just so you know :)
5th-May-2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
(((Hugs)))

And nice start with the fic.
5th-May-2005 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks L. Much appreciated.

You taking a break from the booths?

nice start with the fic.

< big grin > Did you manage to catch the Prologue
5th-May-2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
Just getting something to eat before the long final stretch.

I hadn't, but I will.
5th-May-2005 05:05 pm (UTC)
Very enjoyable first chapter. Amnesia is my bullet-proof kink so I'm definitely looking forward to more of this.

Sorry to hear about the m-in-l.
5th-May-2005 05:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Kathy.

Maybe I should channel some of the emotions that have been flying round Chez Hesadevil for the past couple of weeks/decades into the writing?
6th-May-2005 04:38 am (UTC)
This was a nice surprise and another chapter before you go! I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I was a little puzzled at first because it has been a while since I read Family but you brought me back in, well before I started feeling lost.

I like the way you lead up to showing us Spike's real predicament. A hint here, a hint there.

I'll be going on a cruise myself in about 5 weeks. I hope I get to see another chapter before I go but if not it will be something to look forward to when I get back.
6th-May-2005 05:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I wasn't happy with this chapter, whereas The Prologue wrote itself. But I decided not to tinker and move on to the next one.

Ooohh - cruise? Where? Why? When < headslap >You just told me when. Keep a log and pictures, lots and lots of pictures to show us. I'm going to have a go at posting mine by email this year, using the laptop and bluetooth mobile - apart from the pics. Somehow the thought of the mobile phone bill puts me off uploading stuff to the web.

6th-May-2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
I'm going on the Slayercruise with Amber Benson, Andy Hallet, James Leary, Iyari Limon, Robia LaMorte, Camden Toy, Jonathan Woodard, and Clare Kramer. 7 days floating from Ft. Lauderdale and visiting Nassau, St. Thomas, Tortola and Half Moon Cay.

We're hoping to get a digital camera but everyone will have to wait until I get back for the report itself.

So far I only know of two other people that are going but I'm hoping I'll meet others that I know online. If not, I'll just meet new people to continue being friends with online.
7th-May-2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
Jealous now. All those lovely people and a boat.
6th-May-2005 06:05 pm (UTC)
Probably doing this a bit backwards, as I must go back and catch up on the story before this, but just read the Prologue and now Chapter 1 of this story - and you've got me well and truly hooked. Very enjoyable. Loved Illyria in this, standing still but observing all the time, and poor Buffy - putting herself out there and then having to shut down again because Spike's not himself. Can't wait for the next chapters.
Very sorry to hear about the things going on with your family ::hugs::
7th-May-2005 10:33 pm (UTC)
Probably doing this a bit backwards

Hee! - if the first two episodes haven't confused you, the next chapter will. You have to have read the earlier story to make sense of anything that happens from now on. Hope that doesn't put you off. it's nice to have friendly faces on-board.
8th-May-2005 12:53 pm (UTC)
Oh no, I've been looking for something to get my teeth into! :)
8th-May-2005 01:46 pm (UTC)
Not literally, I hope?

*protects Family by stuffing into steel filing cabinet*

Seems my muse has returned in MWNN's absence (he nags more but he's waaay prettier) and chapter 2 is now finished and posted.
9th-Mar-2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
Very intriguing.
I thought I knew all post-NFA set-ups, but, obviously, you devised something new...
9th-Mar-2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
I thought I knew all post-NFA set-ups

And it seems so long ago that I did set it up. It's taken me twice as long to write as the prequel, Family: Blood Calls to Blood.
9th-Mar-2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
You might find it easier to follow on gen_storyteller because it's tagged and I corrected errors in the formatting that appeared in the orginal postings.

Soul Searching
9th-Mar-2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for pointing in that direction but I like reading it here. After the first chapters Soul Searching is already associated with black background with stylised stars in my mind.
9th-Mar-2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
It switches to hesadevilspike at some point when I stopped posting it here. But there are stylised stars on a black background - and Spike on those chapters.
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