Spike absently blinked out the window of the Wolfram & Hart jet, and sighed to himself. His stomach was constantly doing acrobatics, and his heart (speaking figuratively, of course) was hammering in his chest. In a few short hours, he’d be confronting Buffy. He’d see her for the first time in months. And old reflexes were already trying to present themselves. He had a desire to rehearse what he planned to say.
Angel, on the other hand, seemed maddeningly calm, lounging on the couch- like seat that took up half the other side of the plane from his Childe. It was enough to seriously piss Spike off. But the younger vampire couldn’t afford to let his emotions run away with him on this. If he blew up at Angel, especially for no real reason, he would blow an entire day of getting on his Sire’s good side. And he wouldn’t have the time to do it again before they’d be meeting Buffy. So he had to be congenial. Or, at least, not obnoxious.
But it wasn’t easy.
He decided to turn his thoughts from Buffy for the moment. After all, meeting her and acting like a nervous wreck would not go over well. Spike calmed himself slowly, taking a few deep, unnecessary breaths. His attention then turned to his Sire. While an occasionally annoying subject, at least it wasn’t one that would send his thoughts into some kind of emotional tailspin. Besides, he had a few things he wanted to sort out. Namely, why he was wanting to be so freaking NICE to the older vampire lately. And why it had felt so good when Angel had shown concern for him the previous night.
Unobtrusively, he watched Angel as the older vampire focused his attentions on a piece of scrap paper he’d found. Spike tilted his head curiously, but couldn’t clearly see what his Sire was doing. So… he decided to ask. “Peaches,” he said quietly. “What’re you up to over there?”
“Don’t call me ‘Peaches’,” Angel muttered automatically, then blinked, his Childe’s question registering. “Drawing….. Well, sketching, anyway.”
Spike was instantly intrigued. He had never really been able to draw anything well, though he did have a gift for sculpture, even though no one KNEW that. But he appreciated art. Especially his Sire’s art. It didn’t take a budding Picasso to see how well Angel drew. “Sketching what?”
Angel sighed, then turned the page around to show Spike a sketched picture of what appeared to be a large wolf, sitting up behind a big cat. The two animals were quiet obviously at odds, looking at each other mistrustfully, but, at the same time, the two seemed to fit together. As if it would be perfectly normal to find them in the same place. The flowing lines of the cat’s body identified it as a panther, though Angel hadn’t gotten around to coloring it yet. He shrugged. “The image kind of….. popped into my head a few minutes ago.”
Spike blinked at the paper curiously. “Teeth look a bit long….. They supposed to hang out of the mouths like that?”
Angel chuckled and nodded. “That’s how it was in my mental image.” He turned the paper back around, playing with the fur length on the wolf. “Black and white. Yin and Yang, I guess….. White wolf, black panther….. I need a pen or something to color him in, though.”
Spike fished through his pocket, and tossed a pen over to Angel. “There you go, mate. Make ‘im look good.”
Angel raised an eyebrow, picking up the pen. “Some reason you’re suddenly carrying pens around?” The tone was teasing, but not overly so.
Spike smirked. “I occasionally take notes on things. Other than that….. no.”
Angel just raised an eyebrow and leveled his gaze at Spike, who almost instantly fidgeted, and turned to look out his window. Angel hid a smile behind his paper, and went back to sketching without another word.
Almost the instant Angel looked away, Spike looked back at him, watching him draw again. Truth was, he’d picked up his old poetry habit again. Even had a tiny notebook in his inner jacket pocket for just that reason….. But he’d never tell Angel that. He could almost feel the teasing that would surely result from THAT little revelation. It was one thing for him to tease Angel about his art, if he ever decided to do so….. But it was another thing entirely for him to BE teased about his poetry. He knew it sucked. Had no delusions on the matter anymore. But still, being teased about it would bring up those memories that were still, a century after the fact, incredibly painful. However, his fingers were suddenly itching to write.
The picture Angel was drawing, of the white wolf and black panther, had given him a bit of momentary inspiration. A poem was floating through his head, even as he cursed himself for giving Angel his favorite pen. But he had others….. But he couldn’t, could he? The poem in his head had no ending. It went to a point, then froze. Which was a shame, because it flowed better than anything he’d ever written before. With the exception of a few things about Buffy that he’d never gotten up the courage to show to her, that is. Things that were still in his little notebook. Things he might finally get the chance to give her, once they met in France.
Still, the words swirled through his head, circling and binding together the image of that white wolf, and the black panther. He looked at Angel, then yawned quietly, surprising himself. And he was even more surprised to see that Angel was nodding off as well, his little piece of paper laying in his lap, showing that he’d finished coloring the panther before he dozed off.
Spike stared at the image, and yawned again. He shrugged to himself. Some days he was just more tired than others. This was one of those days, apparently. He pulled his legs up onto the little couch area and laid over onto his side, stretching out and closing his eyes. The moment his eyes closed, the image of the wolf and panther returned….. as did the poem.
“Darkness and light,
Not different as they seem.
Bound as one in the night,
Dangerous, vicious things.
Black claws and white fangs,
Blue eyes and gold,
Flashing, crashing, ripping things,
Follow the dance, so old.
Creeping through the darkest night,
Stalking, hunting, set to kill.
Side by side, yet all alone,
White fangs, black claws, red blood spilled.
Kill to eat, is what they must,
But forced to stop, they stand still.
Left or right, or straight ahead,
Before them lies a dangerous hill.
Separate as night and day,
Pain and rage, anger and fear,
Bound together, forced to stay,
On the path before them still.
Blending in shadows,
Lurking in light,
Both sides locked,
In the same fight.
White fur, black fur, clash together,
A compromise must be reached,
Lest the warriors destroy each other,
Rather than the enemy they both seek.
White fangs, black claws,
Red blood spilled.
Fighting for the ages,
On Armageddon’s hill.
This must stop,
It can’t go on.
For one is not enough.
Dark and light,
Can they find a way,
To make it right?”
With the poem and picture still swirling in his head, Spike drifted off to sleep, wondering what the outcome of the poem would be. What the fight would lead to, and where they would be in the end. And, with both vampires unconscious, dead to the world, neither was aware of the odd sound of someone chanting in Latin….. followed by the plane’s sudden, and rapid decent. A decent that would undoubtedly end….. in a crash.
* * * * * * * *
Spike later woke up with a pounding headache, and the inescapable feeling that something was fundamentally wrong with him. He moaned, reluctant to open his eyes, because he just KNEW he was going to see something he wouldn’t like.
And he was right.
When he finally forced himself to look around, curiosity getting the better of apprehension, he froze. He was bathed in the sounds and scents….. and SIGHTS of what could only be described as a Jungle. A real one, not the urban jungle that he’d come to be so familiar with.
And, to make matters worse….. he was up in a tree. A very, VERY high tree. He swallowed and grabbed onto the branch he was draped over, digging his claws into the- Wait. Claws?