D I V I N E I N T E R V E N T I O N
Life was unfair, so they said.
And so was undeath apparently; at least Spike’s was turning out to be. Whether he chose to be good or evil, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference; he certainly didn’t get to rest in peace. If it wasn’t a master vampire with a nefarious plan or a slayer with a scheme to thwart the said master vampire with the nefarious plan, they’d all stopped at Spike’s door at sometime or other demanding his help. Although even Spike would admit that a visit from a proper, bone-fide angel, and not just a grumpy vampire named after one, was a first for his long and varied career.
Problem was, Castiel, for the angel was he, wanted him to get off his arse to help save the world again – just because another pair of stupid berks had kicked the whole thing off once more. Someone – someone who wasn’t Spike – really needed to make existence a little less prone to ending at the drop of a hat. Any old evil mastermind could find a couple of poor gits to manipulate into starting Armageddon or say, assemble the dismembered parts of a humanity hating demon killing machine just to please his paramour, but although Spike was always up for a good fight, stopping the destruction of everything once a week was starting to get a bit repetitive. Besides, he didn’t do encores, being barbequed once for love and honour and to save the world for his girl was quite enough for him.
“Doesn’t sound like my problem,” Spike groused as he put his feet up on the ottoman and got comfy in his armchair; his favourite soap was on in a minute and he wasn’t going anywhere whatever the divine interruption. He’d done his bit and he was reaping his just rewards in a decent spot of telly. “The blokes that started it can fix it.”
“It is what God has commanded,” Castiel pressed, drawing himself up to his full height, which without the wings wouldn’t be terribly impressive, what with the flappy coat and the wayward tie he was sporting, but the wings, well, they did give the ensemble a bit of divine credibility, especially when their shadows slid menacingly up the wall.
But Spike had been around for awhile and he’d seen enough of the world to be a little bit jaded about such displays, he’d even been a bit scary himself once upon a time, back before the soul had turned him into a soppy, fangless puppy. Impressive as the display was, it wasn’t going to get Spike jumping out of his comfy chair any time soonish. “Then god can command someone else. I’m a bit busy.”
“I do not have the time to persuade you. You must remember you are not my only charge.” Castiel was serious. He didn’t look like he knew how to be anything else. “This war will be fought on many fronts. I have other battles.”
That was the trouble with this hero business was there was always someone in need of saving. If it wasn’t a hellmouth belching out its evil every Tuesday, it was yet another apocalypse threatening the world. Spike had been there, done that and got the bloody and ripped T-Shirt.
“Right. So you keep saying,” Spike glanced at his clock and switched on his TV. “What do you want me to do about it? I’m retired. There’s an army of slayers now to do that sort of thing.”
“They also have their role to play, ridding the earth of demonkind. However, God has chosen you to take on this task.”
That caused Spike’s eyebrow to twitch, but he tried not to show it. “Has he now?” God must think he was some kind of poodle. Roll over. Play dead. Stop the soddin’ apocalypse. Again. Maybe he was jaded, maybe he’d seen one too many apocalypses, but the thought of yet another just didn’t get him moving anymore.
“You lack faith.” Castiel pointed out as if it wasn’t obvious. He added with a heavy sigh, “The earth is full of non-believers.”
He didn’t believe this. “I’m a sodding vampire. Bit past that whole Sunday School thing.”
“I am aware of what you are.”
Spike picked up the TV remote and flicked it over to the right channel. “Then you’ll be aware I’m a right bastard. Now piss off, I’m watching the telly.”
The picture on the screen turned to a static whiteout. In hope, despite knowing it was futile, Spike jabbed the buttons on the remote again. The angel had buggered up every channel, including the God Channel, funnily enough. Each and every one was turned in to blizzard TV.
Spike humphed and tossed the useless remote aside.
“You are not just any vampire. You are a vampire with a soul.” Castiel proclaimed.
“Really? Then you’re in luck. There’s another one of those. I’m sure the big ponce will be glad to help you out, he likes stuff like that. He’s even called Angel. You’d like him.”
“Please listen. Your destined task will not be to bring the apocalypse to its conclusion. That task belongs to others. Your job is to wait–”
“Is that all? You should have said, ‘cause that I can do,” Spike brightened, although he was split between annoyance at being passed over and pitying the poor buggers who’d drawn the short straw. “Perhaps I like this plan after all.”
Castiel let out another sigh, but this one was long and weary as if he was tired of argument. “I meant that you are to wait until Lucifer has selected his vessel. If Lucifer walks this earth, people will need leaders. Experienced leaders like you.”
Spike snorted. As if humans were likely to follow him anywhere. At least with minions he could rip the heads off a couple of useless ones to keep the rest in line. Humans tended to argue back and he couldn’t exactly cow them into submission with random violence anymore. People preferred committees and the other crap Angel was good at. There were others way more suited that sort of thing; people who might even buy what the angel was selling. “You’re the one with the ear of the almighty, you do it,” he suggested.
Castiel twitched at that and for a moment Spike could see the angel’s conviction crumble; a shadow in his eyes that revealed a truth that made a lot more sense than God picking a bloody vampire to rally the troops of the righteous.
Spike raised a questioning eyebrow, hoping that Castiel would reveal a bit more of this most interesting revelation.
“I cannot,” Castiel caved. His shoulders slumped and that pesky doubt lingering behind the angel’s soulful eyes became full on disappointment. Even the mighty shadowy wings seemed to droop around him, bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders and its fate. “God is… elsewhere,” he said without conviction before adding sadly, “I am… looking.”
“So all this ‘destiny’ rot is a load of old bollocks?”
Castiel looked sheepish and lowered his eyes. “Perhaps. Although I have found now that most will not listen.”
“Yeah, humans have a habit of that.” Spike felt an unwelcome twinge of sympathy. Somewhere deep inside him was a not-so-secret squidgy place he’d rather not admit to that had a soft spot for kittens, a certain slayer’s teenage sisters and now, apparently, angels charged with getting atheists to stop his damn apocalypse. Damn it, at heart he’d known he’d end up agreeing to whatever Castiel wanted the minute the angel had appeared in his apartment, he’d just wanted the white hats to work a bit for his service for a change, but now God help him, or not as the case appeared to be, he was feeling guilty about the sad faces of droopy angels. He might as well just hand in his balls with his fangs.
It was at times like this that Spike missed being evil. He didn’t regret his choice to turn to the light side for a moment, but the days when he could just flip a couple of fingers at a daft plan and not give a toss were long gone. Somehow greeting an angel’s heartfelt call to arms with some rude gesticulation now felt annoyingly wrong, even though he knew perfectly well that he would regret having anything to do with Castiel’s bright ideas of world saving; especially if it meant him doing all the work while the angel that saw through his ‘sod off’ spent the time plucking at his harp somewhere high above, but bugger it if he wasn’t going to give in and make the angel an offer.
“Why don’t we leave the leadering of the masses to the big ponce and I’ll help you look for your God fellow?” It seemed like a pretty good deal. If God even existed; he could be anywhere – on the beach in the Caribbean if he had any sense – and Spike could do as he liked under the pretence of ‘looking’, knowing that he was doing the heavenly host a favour to the bargain.
“That task could be most dangerous.” But Castiel looked up hopefully at the suggestion.
Spike bounced to his feet, forgetting the telly at the suggestion of doing some proper damage in God’s name. “I don’t mind a good rumble. Let’s get out there.”
“Then your aid in the search would be most welcome.”
Thinking that the bar down the road would be a fine place to look first, Spike rubbed his hands together in anticipation. “Right then. So where do we start?”
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