Cavemen Always Win
The kid's staring at me again.
I can feel it. His eyes on me with all the curiosity that a five year old can muster. They set up his big toy jungle, Wes and Charlie boy that is, and he had clapped and climbed for hours, all a little muted, but he had seemed happy. He seems to have lost interest in it right now in favor of staring at me.
I'm trying not to tear my eyeballs out. I'm on paperwork duty and, because Angel has been notably absent, there are mounds of it. They all need Angel's signature and since I'm the best forger of the bunch, it has been deemed my duty.
It's no so bad, though my hand is starting to cramp. I'd love to get out and kick demon ass, but no one's chancing it with the kid around. At least not yet. There'll come a time when we can't ignore it though.
"Play with me." He says holding out the teddy bear that Lorne gave him.
After watching a few of those movies with the dancing dino, he seems to think Lorne is him. Doesn't hurt that Big Green always has some kind of toy or chocolate. He's okay with him now, which works because Lorne is a pretty good baby sitter.
"Not right no, ducks." I say.
He frowns a bit. Flops to the ground and looks at me very seriously or, well, as seriously as someone who is five can look.
"Why?" He asks.
It's amazing the things that can stay the same over time.
"Because I'm bust. Doing very important things."
He pouts. Gets up and runs over to me on his little, slightly wobbly, legs. He tries to pull my chair to face him and I let him. He crawls up into my lap and climbs onto the table. Sits on all the papers and pouts, arms crossed across his chest.
"But I wanna play."
He's been with us a week now and most traces of that shy, polite little boy he was are pretty much gone. He plays, never runs around and he climbs things slowly, but he plays. He talks, most of the time in full sentences though some words are easier than others. They're a little hard to understand with the accent, but there's not misunderstanding.
The first time Fred took him to a park, she said he sat there unsure of what to do. It took prompting on her part to get him to do much of anything. He plays in the sandbox now. Gets dirty and always comes back with a wide grin on his face. He always asks me to go with him, but Fred takes him during the day.
"Tell you what, kid. You let me get this work done and I'll take you tot he park tonight."
His face lights up.
He gets down from the desk, jumps off the other side and starts to run around, laughing and cheering as he does so. I smile at him, watch as he goes a little crazy before he bumps into Lorne who came through the door. Falls to the ground still laughing.
"Hey, what's the deal?" Lorne asks.
"Sorry Lorne. Spike's gonna take me to the park." He says.
"Well that's great kiddo." Lorne says.
He gets up from the ground and starts to run around again. This time, I sense something wrong. His heart's beating too fast and I can hear his lungs constrict. My hearing picks up a wheeze.
"Lorne... grab him."
I go to say it again, but he's already wheezing hard, small hand clasping at his chest and he's breathing, but not by much.
"He has asthma." Fred says somberly.
"But you said the Docs checked him out." Gunn says.
"They did, but they don't usually test for asthma unless it's brought up. We were checking for sicknesses. Asthma wasn't on the agenda. Now that he's had an attack..."
"It makes sense with what Cordelia said. His parents... they wouldn't have known. It's entirely possible they kept him inside most of the time because of it." Wes says.
"This changes things." Gunn says.
"No it doesn't. He's sick, yea, but there are drugs, medications that can..."
Fred and the rest of us look up at the nurse's voice.
"Liam would like to see all of you now. He's demanding it in fact." She says with a bit of a smile on her face.
"Alright." Fred says.
We all crowd into the room. I stand at the very back and watch the others and mini Angel. He looks small against all the white cloth.
"Hey Liam." Fred says grasping his hand.
"I'm not sick." He says indignantly.
She smiles at him and pats him on the head.
"I know sweetie."
"So I can still go to the park with Spike tonight?" He says, voice hopeful.
Fred looks at all of us. I can see Gunn and Wes giving her stern no looks. I can tell Lorne wants to say yes, but he's worried too. I don't say anything.
"I'm sorry, sweetie, but you're just not well enough to do that tonight." She says.
His face falls a little.
"Can I have a lolly?" He asks.
"I don't think..."
"But I want one."
"You can't always get what you want, Liam." Wes says.
Liam's face scrunches up and he starts to cry. I think this is what's known as a temper tantrum. He starts to kick and scream and yell and Wes tries to placate him, but he keeps going. Keeps screaming.
"Liam, if you continue this then I will be forced to take away all of your toys."
This doesn't have the affect Wes was looking for. He cries more, screams louder.
"Oh bugger. Everyone out. Out!" I say.
"Spike I was..."
"I'll deal with this. You're obviously not getting through to the kid." I say.
Liam's cries aren't quite as loud at this point, but he's still sniffling. Wes looks at me a bit challengingly.
"If you're sure that you can handle him."
"I'm positive. Now, would you please leave so I can try and calm him down. I'm sure he'll be fine once he settles down."
They look doubtful, but leave anyway. I'm glad I don't have to make them leave. That wouldn't have been very pretty.
I look over at mini Angel who's staring at me with wide glassy eyes and I take in a breath. He's stopped crying, his sobs nothing more than the occasional sniffle.
"You done crying?"
"He was gonna take away my toys." He sniffles.
"He ain't gonna take 'em away. I'll make sure of that. Just... don't cry anymore, okay."
"Okay." He says and he nods.
"Good. Now... you still wanna go to the park?"
"Why don't you go out in the day?"
We managed to checkout the hospital. I know Wolfram and Hart like the back of my bloody hand. From there it was a quick trip up to the pent house for a jacket and we were off. I even took a safer care than any of the fast, shiny ones.
We drove around a bit. There are surprisingly few parks in LA and I couldn't go to any of them. It'd be the first place they'd check. So we drove a bit. Found one quite a bit a ways away with big fake dinosaurs he could climb on and slides and swings.
"I just can't."
"Don't you like the sun?"
He choose the swings. He had asked how they work before demanding I pus him. It what we settled on.
"I like it. It's warm."
"It is warm."
"Then why don't you like it?"
"I debate on whether to tell him or not. It's not something you just tell a five year old. I have no idea how he'd take it, but he's going to keep asking until he gets some kind of explanation.
"Because I'm a vampire." I say.
He frowns and looks down at his hands.
"Like Count von Count?"
It takes me a minute to figure that one out. I've sat down and watched a few of the movies with him. He likes the one with the big dinosaur guy the best, but he does watch one with a big yellow bird a lot. I seem to recall a vampire on the ones with the big yellow bird.
"Yeah, like him." I say.
"But you don't count?" He says.
"Not all vampires count."
"But he goes out in the sun."
"I'm a different kind of vampire."
He just accepts that. Doesn't ask anymore questions, but I don't want him telling the gang about me being a vampire. I'm already in enough trouble as it is.
"You can't tell anyone though." I say.
"Because it's a secret. Between us."
He dips his head back on the up swing. Smiles at me and pulls himself back up.
I don't know if he'll keep it a secret, but at least I know he'll try to.
I smile as he sluggishly gets off the swing and a pick him up before he gets too far on his legs.
"Fine. Let's go back."
Luckily the kid sleeps like the dead.
By the time we get back he's already passed out and I have to carry him up to the pent house. They're waiting for me there. Wes looks pissed, Charlie pissed as well, but not as much. Fred and Lorne just look concerned.
"Why don't you go put him down?" Wes says.
His voice is cool and, though I know I could take him, I don't argue. Just go and put down Liam in the bed and walk out to the living room again.
"Are you really this stupid? He could have had another attack."
"I was watching him. I think I would know better than anyone if he were going to have an attack."
"It's important that we keep him alive, Spike."
"Yeah, but it's also important that we don't treat him like he's made of glass. Ain't that what the Cheerleader said. This is the 21st century after all."
"Asthma is a serious thing."
"No, really, I could have never have guessed that." I say sarcastically.
He glares at me.
"Spike, you of all people have to know how important it is to keep that kid alive. This is Angel we're talking about here." Gunn says.
"You don't think I know that? The doctor says he's fine. That he just needs certain medications. Kids live with this all the time." I say.
"You can't act like you know what's best." Wesley says.
"Neither can you. None of us know what's best."
"Obviously some have a better idea then others." Wes mutters.
"You know what, you sit with him everyday. You play with him and feed him and help him get dressed and wake up with him when he's crying for his mum. It's so easy for you to say this now, but you've hardly had any interaction with the kid. And that goes for you too Charlie boy."
Gunn and Wes look at each other for a second, something passing between them. I can understand why they don't get close to mini Angel. Wesley's got his daddy issues and I heard Fred say something about Gunn having a younger sister he used to take care of that died.
It doesn't give them the right to question me though. I'm the one doing everything for the kid, with Fred and Lorne's help.
"You can't stand back and then decide you want to make decisions. Leave that up to the people that actually take care of him." I say.
They stiffen and straighten and I can see that Lorne and Fred want to say something, but I don't want them to. I just want them all to leave.
"Are we done here?" I ask.
"Spike, this is..."
"He's a kid Wesley. He's not Liam. He's not Angelus. He's most certainly not Angel. He's a kid and he just wants to play and have friends. And that's what I'm giving him. Now, I want you to leave."
They stare at me for a second before Wesley sighs and storms out of the pent house. They linger for a bit, Charlie leaving next and Lorne and Fred looking out of place. Fred leaves, but it's a near thing and Lorne just stays.
"You did the right thing." He says.
"He is a kid. He needs to be a kid. Wesley just doesn't get that."
"I could see that."
"Don't let him get to you. If you need me... I'll be in my apartment." He says.
After he leave I stand there for a few minutes. I don't know when watching over the kid got placed squarely on my shoulders, but it has and I have to live with it now.
He stands there with a bunny in his hand and he looks a little worried.
"I had a bad dream. Can you read me a story?"
It's back to work.
"Sure kid."Chapter 16
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