If The Moon Should Crumble


by Saber ShadowKitten
PG-13 Version

Part Four



Angel rubbed his temples for a moment before returning his gaze to the cage door. He had less than five minutes to decide whether to lock Spike in or not. The briefing on the new case was scheduled for six precisely and he had to be there. His eyes moved to the half-covered sleeping vampire in the corner of the cage.

Spike slept a lot -- close to twenty out of the twenty-four hours in the day. He would wake several times throughout the day and night to feed or play or wander around the apartment. Angel suspected the reason he slept so much was because he barely fed enough to keep a mosquito alive.

Two weeks had passed since he'd brought Spike home. Doyle had continued to put appointments off or only take cases he, Cordelia and Kate could handle to allow Angel more time with his childe. It wasn't until that morning, when Doyle had dropped off his mail, that Angel knew he had to return to work. After being friends with the half-demon for seven years, he'd learned to read the subtle body language and tone of voice that indicated the opposite of what Doyle had told him about the new case. They were going to need his help, even though Doyle said it was nothing they couldn't handle -- hence his internal debate over the cage door.

The third day Spike had been in his apartment, the younger vampire had ventured out of the cage and explored. Angel had cautiously followed him with his eyes, then physically when he went into the bathroom. He had laughed silently when his childe had climbed into the Jacuzzi and peered into the jets set in the tub. Then he'd had to startle Spike, causing him to growl at Angel, when he'd had to snatch the bar of soap away because Spike had tried to eat it.

It had been Cordelia who came up with the way to feed Spike. She had come downstairs to get his signature on a delivery and had a twenty-ounce bottle of Diet Coke with her. The small top of the plastic bottle would allow Spike to put his entire mouth over it, thus reducing the amount spilled. Plus, it could be washed and reused. It worked like a dream. The only trouble Angel had was to get Spike to finish even one full bottle.

Sighing, Angel rolled his head in a circle, trying to relieve the tension in his neck. He clapped his knees with his hands, then stood. "I'm going to trust you, Spike," he said to the sleeping vampire. "Try not to destroy anything while I'm gone."

Before he could change his mind, Angel quickly left the apartment, locking the door behind him. He took the steps two at a time, then strode down the hallway to the office. Cordelia, Kate and Doyle were seated around the small conference table, files and papers for the new case spread in front of them, along with cups of freshly brewed coffee. Angel poured himself some into a chipped mug, then took his seat. "So, what have we got?"

*****

Angel's bones hurt. He loved a good fight, but sometimes those good fights turned bad, like the one he and the others had encountered that night. The only positive thing that came out of the various injuries caused was they could stamp the case 'closed.' It also wasn't a bad thing that a multitude of vampires had been staked.

Unlocking the door, he entered the apartment and shut the door behind him, making sure to relock it. After twelve hours of extremely hard work, he wanted to sleep undisturbed for at least the next six in order to heal and gear up for the following night. However, when he turned around, his eyes immediately went to the cage -- and found it empty.

"Spike?" Angel called, venturing further into the apartment. He shed his coat and tossed it on the back of the couch. "Spike, where are you?"

Over the past two weeks, the younger vampire had learned his name and had learned that the beep of the microwave meant he was going to get fed, proving Pavlov's theories and causing Angel to brood over that fact. Normally, when Angel called Spike's name, his childe would come over to him and rub his face against the dark-haired vampire's leg. That was also slightly upsetting to Angel. The animalistic tendencies, including growling instead of speaking, playing like a cat or dog, and walking on his knuckles and feet instead of upright, were still very much prevalent. He didn't even know if Spike really understood him when he spoke or if Pavlov's training was at work again.

"Spike?" Angel called again, his eyes traveling over the room. "Come on out, Spike."

Movement on his bed caught his attention. "Spike?" He walked towards the alcove as the mound of covers shifted. Suddenly, Spike's dark head appeared from beneath the blankets.

Angel stopped abruptly, the expression of happiness on Spike's face hitting him right in the heart. The no-longer-blond vampire's blue eyes were wide with joy and a bright smile played across his lips. It was the first time Spike had ever smiled.

Spike whined slightly, emerging fully from under the covers and snapping Angel out of his stunned emotional stupor. "Hi," Angel said softly, continuing over to the bed. He stopped at the edge and Spike nuzzled his face against Angel's chest. The older vampire brought his hand up and ran it over Spike's hair, causing his childe to purr.

Angel sat down on the bed, somewhat unhappy over the sound emanating from Spike. The younger vampire wormed his head and shoulders under Angel's arm and turned so he was laying partially on Angel's lap, still purring. He lifted a hand and batted lightly at Angel's chin, causing the dark-haired vampire to look down at him. The happy smile returned and Angel couldn't help but answer it with a small smile of his own.

"Hey there," Angel said. He began running his fingers up and down the middle of Spike's clothed chest. Clothes that were bought by Kate the first week and actually fit the slim vampire. "You do realize you sound ridiculous, don't you?"

Spike's answer was to purr louder. Chuckling softly, Angel flopped back on the bed, one arm moving to cover his eyes, the other hand still brushing back and forth over Spike's chest. "What am I going to do with you, huh?" Angel asked. "Aside from teaching you how to walk again, which we're going to start tomorrow. Maybe all the work will make you more hungry. If you don't start feeding more, you're going to waste away to nothing."

The purring had tapered off and Angel raised his head to peer down at his childe. Spike had fallen asleep again, but a small, happy smile remained on his face. Angel had no trouble deciding that Spike had the right idea. He toed off his shoes, sat up to pull his shirt over his head and toss it to the floor, then maneuvered himself and Spike into a better position on the bed. Spike woke up briefly, only to curl up into a ball beside Angel before falling instantly back to sleep. Angel wasted no time in joining him in slumber.

*****

It took Angel several moments to realize what was happening when he woke up, and then a few more to become disgusted with himself. Spike was humping his leg, or more precisely, his upper thigh. That in and of itself wasn't such a terrible thing. What was terrible was that Angel was enjoying it. One of Spike's knees was up over him, rubbing against his crotch with each movement of Spike's hips. It felt so very good.

He was a sick, sick vampire.

Angel lowered his arm and put his hand on Spike's back, both wanting and not wanting the former-blond to stop. "Spike." His voice was more of a moan than a firm entreaty to halt the vampire, who had sped up his thrusts with the touch of Angel's hand to his back. Spike's knee was now rubbing rapidly over his crotch and it felt so very, very good. It had been an extremely long time since he'd been with anyone due to lack of interest and how busy he was with the agency.

Spike snarled and suddenly bit Angel, his blunt teeth piercing his sire's skin, as he drove his pelvis against Angel's leg. "Fuck!" Angel gasped, the somewhat violent, vampiric action causing him to unintentionally climax. He felt a sticky wetness in his pands and a second wet spot on his thigh where Spike's fluid leaked through his own pants and through Angel's.

After a few moments of gathering his wits, Angel lifted his head to look down at Spike. The short-haired vampire had a pleased expression on his face and Angel felt a content sigh brush against his bare skin. The arm thrown across his chest tightened slightly, then relaxed, as Spike fell back to sleep.

Angel raised his hands and pressed both heels of his palms against his eyes. He couldn't believe what had just happened. He couldn't believe he allowed it to happen. He couldn't believe how much he enjoyed it.

He was a sick, sick, sick vampire.

The phone rang, or rather the papers on his desk rang. Spike was startled awake by the trilling noise and he rolled up quickly to his knees, his head cocked. Angel climbed around him out of the bed and walked over towards the desk, the front of his pants sticking to him in an uncomfortable manner. He heard a quiet thump and briefly looked over his shoulder to see Spike following him on his knuckles and feet.

The phone rang for the third time as Angel began to shift through the piles of paper in search of it. Spike stopped at the corner of the desk and rose up a bit on his feet, his hands pressed atop the flat surface of the edge, in order to see better.

Again, the phone rang, and one of Spike's hands shot out and slapped down on a pile of papers. Angel smirked and playfully smacked his hand lightly on top of Spike's, as the other picked up the found cellular.

He almost forgot to say hello when Spike laughed. The younger vampire pulled his hand from beneath Angel's and slapped it on top of his, then looked at his sire expectantly.

"Hello? Angel?"

Angel blinked at the voice in his ear, pulling him out of his awe over the happy, childish sound Spike made. "Hello, Rupert," he greeted, slipping his hand out from beneath Spike's and quickly putting it on top of his childe's, continuing the game.

Spike laughed again, yanked his hand out and promptly fell backwards onto his butt, as he lost his balance. He squeaked when he hit the floor, then looked up at Angel with wide, astonished eyes, as if saying "who did that?" Angel snorted.

"Pardon?" Giles asked over the line.

"Sorry, Rupert," Angel said, remembering he was on the phone. "I'm playing with Spike."

"Ah," Giles said. "Are you having any progress?"

Spike scrambled onto his feet again and hoisted himself back up, using the desk as a prop. Angel leaned back to look at the position of his childe's legs, while Spike smacked his hand down atop of Angel's again. His legs were bowed, his raised heels almost touching as he stood on the balls of his feet, his weight mostly on the palm of his one hand.

"Yes and no," Angel replied to Giles' question. He put his hand on Spike's. "The soda bottles I told you about work great, but he barely drinks all the blood from them. There's twenty ounces in a British pint, so Spike would have to finish about five of them to equal that of what he'd get from draining a human...oh, sorry."

"That's quite alright," Giles said. "I understand what you, er, mean."

Spike pulled his hand free and slapped it down upon Angel's, laughing once again. Angel shook his head, a large smile crossing his face, and continued the game. "As you can probably hear, he's laughing," Angel said into the phone. "I left him alone last night for the first time since we found him, and nothing was destroyed while I was gone. I'm going to try to re-teach him to walk upright, starting today."

"It sounds as though you have everything in hand." Giles paused and Angel could hear papers shifting over the line. "Ah, here it is. Angel, I found some information regarding..."

Angel and Giles spoke for several more minutes. Spike stopped playing mid-way through the conversation and had dropped back to the floor to head for the bathroom. Angel tracked him with his eyes until he disappeared from sight, then kept one ear out for him. He concluded the conversation with well wishes for Giles, Xander and Anya, then disconnected and dropped the phone back onto the desk.

"Spike, what are you doing?" Angel called out as he headed for the bathroom. He pulled a fresh pair of pants for himself and a new shirt and pants for Spike on his way. He came to a halt in the doorway and chuckled when he saw his spiked-haired childe in the tub, his butt in the air, as he looked into one of the jet holes.

Angel dropped the clean clothing on the sink, walked over to the tub and turned on the faucet. Spike jumped as the water hit his sock-clad feet and legs, spinning rapidly on his knees to face the running water. Angel stuck his hand under the water to adjust the temperature and splashed Spike when he leaned closer to the stream.

Spike reared back on his knees and wiped his hands over his face several times, making snorting noises. Blue eyes looked up at Angel from over pale fingers and the dark-haired vampire smiled at him. A bright smile was given in return, causing happiness to fill Angel's soul. His voice was slightly choked when he asked, "How about we take a bath, Spike?"

Spike tilted his head, dropped his hands into the small pool of water at his sides and splashed slightly. They'd taken several baths over the past two weeks, so Angel knew what to expect. More water seemed to end up outside of the large tub than staying in it, but he didn't mind. All that he cared about was that Spike got clean and had a little fun while doing it.

An hour and a sopping floor later, Angel led a redressed Spike back to the living room. He dumped their soiled clothing into the laundry bag and pulled a shirt on over his head, tucking it into his pants. Spike had climbed back up onto his bed by the time he was through and was sound asleep again.

Angel decided to give him about an hour, then he was going to start with the walking lessons. With that goal in mind, he went over to his desk and sat down, intent on going through some of the stuff on it before the piles of paper took over completely.



Part Five



"That's it, Spike," Angel said in encouragement. "Now another."

Angel stood facing Spike, his childe's hands in his, slowly walking backwards one step at a time across the hard floor. Spike stood upright in front of him, his knees bent slightly outwards. He continuously shifted his gaze from his feet to Angel's eyes with every step he took. Angel had left Spike barefooted as usual, to give him more traction, and they were slowly, but surely, progressing across the apartment.

The session was their twenty-eighth in two weeks. Angel worked with him twice a day. The first few days had been spent trying to get his childe to stay on his feet. After that was accomplished and Spike actually began walking, Angel increased the length of distance across the apartment with each day.

Spike raised his foot like a child would, higher than necessary, then put it down heavily in front of him. His hands tightened around his sire's, using Angel as a support as he shifted his weight forward. "Very good," Angel said. "Now, the other foot."

They were almost to the door when something amazing happened. Spike dragged his foot forward, his shoulders slumped and his head downcast. "Only a few more steps," Angel prompted, taking another step backwards. He tugged slightly on Spike's hands, but the younger vampire refused to budge. "Spike-"

"No."

Angel's eyes shot to Spike at the short word that came from his mouth. He sounded like a sullen child, but that didn't matter. He said something. "Spike, did you just tell me no?"

Spike raised his head and frowned at him. He pulled his hands from Angel's and dropped down to the floor. He met his sire's eyes again. "No more. Tired."

Angel's jaw dropped, as Spike turned and headed back across the apartment on his knuckles and feet. The younger vampire went into the cage and burrowed into the shredded mattress, which had been added to with an old, worn blanket Angel had given to him, also ripped up. He closed his mouth, but it immediately fell open again, as he tried to fathom what just occurred.

*****

"He talked to me!" Angel exclaimed upon entering the office.

Cordelia looked up from the paperwork she was filing at his sudden appearance. "Who did?"

"Spike!" Angel said, grabbing her up in a large hug.

"Oof," she gasped. "Angel, you're crushing me."

"Sorry." Angel grinned at her in a way that indicated he was anything but. "He talked!"

"Uh, should I come back?" Kate asked, exiting from another office.

Angel dropped Cordelia and rushed at Kate, scooping her up in an equally enthusiastic hug. Kate squeaked. "Angel!"

"Wha's goin' on?" Doyle asked around a mouthful of food, coming out of his own office. Angel waggled his eyebrows over the top of Kate's head at him. The half-demon backed up as Angel set Kate on her feet and stalked towards him. "Angel, I-ikes!" Doyle exclaimed, as he, too, was grabbed up in a powerful hug. Angel took it one step further and spun his friend around in a circle, then planted a big kiss on Doyle's forehead.

"What the fouck was that for?" Doyle said, rubbing at his forehead when Angel set him back down.

"Spike talked to me!"

"Nice grammar," Kate said, sharing an amused grin with Cordelia over Doyle's predicament.

Angel's smile did not falter at the teasing. "I don't care if I say he speaked to me, he just did it!"

"What did the Golden Childe say?" Cordelia asked, perching herself on the edge of her desk.

"'No,'" Angel replied. The three friends looked at each other, then laughed. "Hey. He also said 'no more, tired.'"

"What were you doing to him?" Kate inquired.

"You weren't getten' on with the-" Doyle finished his sentence with a rude hand-gesture.

"Doyle," Angel said with exasperation. "I was giving him walking lessons."

"Right, if you say so," Doyle said. Angel leaned out and smacked the half-demon upside the head. "Hey! I just got me a haircut."

"So, does this mean you can ask him what happened?" Cordelia said.

Angel's expression turned thoughtful. "I guess it does. I don't know if I want to ask right away, though. This is the first time he's spoke since we brought him home and probably the first time in three years. I wouldn't want to make him shut up again."

"A bit of advoice for ya then," Doyle said. "Don't say anytin'. Any words that spout from your mouth tend ta scare the livin' dayloights out of people."

"Doyle, eat me," Angel said.

Doyle made a face and responded in a mimic of Cordelia's voice. "Eew much?"

*****

Angel stared at Spike. Spike stared back at Angel. The younger vampire lifted his hand from the floor and scratched behind his ear, then put it back down. He shifted on his feet, his weight moving from one set of knuckles to the other.

"Can you at least tell me if you're understanding a single word I'm saying?" Angel asked with a sigh from his normal perch at the edge of the coffee table. He had been trying to convince his childe to talk to him again for the past four days. So far, he'd had no luck. Spike seemed to be acting exactly as he did before he'd spoken -- childlike and somewhat animalistic.

He was almost convinced that what he'd heard had been his imagination. Maybe if he forced Spike to work longer with their walking lessons...

"Yeah."

Angel blinked in shock, not really prepared for the fact that Spike would actually answer him. The word was short and stiff, and the younger vampire dropped his gaze to the floor, one of his hands brushing a piece of fuzz back and forth. Talking, he thought, his mind grasping at things to ask. Keep Spike talking. "Uh, are you hungry?"

"No," Spike replied.

That was two! Angel tried to hide the smile that crossed his lips, but he couldn't. Spike had answered him! As Cordelia would say, this was so of the good. He felt like jumping up and dancing the jig, even though he had no clue how to dance the jig, he'd still dance it. He had to control himself before he did something ridiculous or would scare Spike.

"You sure?" he asked. "You've barely fed today or any other day..."

"No," Spike said more firmly, raising his head to look at Angel. Then he leaned forward and rubbed his cheek on his sire's knee.

Angel ran his hand over his childe's slowly growing hair, then slid his fingers down Spike's cheek and under his chin, tilting it up. His serious dark eyes met Spike's blue ones. "Since I know you understand me, I want you to know how glad I am that you're alive," he said softly. He leaned forward a pressed a kiss to Spike's forehead. "So very glad."

"Yeah?" Spike said, his voice hopeful and soft.

"Yeah," Angel agreed.

Part Six



Spike slowly began to change as the days passed. He started to walk on his own, moving between the furnishings on shaky legs when Angel was around to praise him. His demeanor was that of a toddler, cheerful and innocent playfulness one moment, stubborn and pouting the next, especially when Angel tried to get him to feed more. Angel had also given Spike the choice to share his bed. Some days he did, others he didn't, choosing instead to burrow in his nest of ripped bedding.

Of course, Angel wasn't sure which he disliked more, the days Spike didn't share his bed or the days he did; for he always seemed to wake up exceedingly horny with the younger vampire curled around him. Or rubbing up against his leg. He was a pervert. A 252-year-old, perverted vampire. So what if those words were synonymous? It still didn't change the fact that he was a sick vampire.

Which was why he was sitting on a bench in a park with someone who had bleached hair, blue eyes and lean body. Too bad his mouth was warm rather than cool. However, that didn't stop him from leaning his head back, closing his eyes and pretending it was a certain childe of his that he was becoming more attracted to with each passing day.

Sick old man, he thought derisively. Then he groaned silently. A few moments later, he fixed himself, tipped the young man and watched under hooded lids as the boy walked away. Angel sat there a little while longer, listening to the sounds of the night city around him before rising to his feet and headed back home.

When he arrived at the building, he saw that the lights were on in the agency and wondered if there was anything going on. He hadn't gotten a page, so he knew there wasn't an emergency. Heading inside, he picked up a flyer that had been shoved under the main door, skimmed it, wadded it up and tossed it in the trash as he entered the office.

"Angel, about time you showed up," Kate said, shoving a file at him as she passed by him. "Cordelia's got someone on hold on all lines, Doyle is up to his Irish eyeballs in garbage and I have to get to the house in the next twenty minutes."

"Why didn't you page me?" Angel asked, flipping through the file she'd given him, as he moved towards his office.

"And interrupt your blow job? No thanks," Kate replied, snatching up the receiver on another phone in the main part of the office and hitting a button. "Thanks for holding. Now, what can we do for you?"

Angel stared at her, dumbfounded. How did she...?

"Back already, Angel?" Cordelia said, coming out of the back room with a box in her hands. "You're quite the quickie tonight."

His jaw dropped. "Wh-What?"

"Cord! I need ya!" Doyle shouted from somewhere in the back.

Cordelia set her box down and headed the way she came. "Coming!"

"Angel, phone," Kate snapped at him, pointing to Cordelia's desk.

"Right," Angel said, shaking his head. When would he ever learn nothing was a secret?

Five hours and one sore ear later, Angel headed down to his apartment. He wondered if they had put out their own flyer, what with all the phone calls the office had received that night. Business had never been so good and in the next few weeks they would all be extremely busy. Visions of new spytech equipment danced in his head, as he unlocked his door.

He could hear music playing and smirked. Once he'd shown Spike how to use the stereo, the younger vampire had it on most of the time. "Spike, I'm home," Angel said, shutting the door behind him. His hand froze on the lock when he heard crying just under the music. Turning quickly, his eyes searched for the source and found Spike curled up in the corner of his bed, weeping.

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon
Is the only light you see

"What's wrong?" he asked, rapidly crossing the room. He let his coat drop to the floor before he sat down on the bed. Reaching over, he laid his hand on Spike's shoulder. "Spike, what is it?"

Spike moved abruptly, scrambling into his lap. He wrapped his legs around Angel's waist and his arms around his sire's neck. He pressed his face into Angel's shoulder, his cries turning into sobs. Angel held him tightly, whispering comforting words, wondering what was wrong. Spike had never cried in all the time he'd been there.

No I won't be afraid
Oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand
Stand by me

Then he spotted the framed picture on the bed where Spike had been laying. It was the one he'd taken from his old apartment, the photo of Buffy on her twenty-first birthday. He'd forgotten he'd even taken it. Someone must have brought it down while he was out.

"Make," gasp, "it," gasp, "stop." Spike words came out with great difficulty, his entire body shaking with his sobs. "Don't want...," gasp, "to," gasp, "'member."

"Remember what, Spike?" Angel asked softly.

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountain should
Crumble to the sea

"I-," gasp, "I-," gasp, "I," gasp, "k-k-k," gasp, "killed," gasp, "'er."

I won't cry, I won't cry
No, I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand
Stand by me

Angel felt like someone stabbed him in the gut. His arms tightened around Spike's shaking body. "What do you mean, you killed her?"

"I-," gasp, "I-I-I," gasp, "loved 'er." Spike's sobs, if possible, got even harder. "Stopit," gasp, "stopit," gasp, "stopit," gasp, "stopit."

"Oh God, Spike," Angel murmured, rocking his childe slightly. He rested his cheek on Spike's hair, as the younger vampire clung to him and cried. "It's okay. Shh. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. No matter what, I'm not leaving."

So darlin' darlin'
Stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Oh stand now
Stand by me
Stand by me

Spike spoke haltingly against Angel's chest awhile later, the older vampire having shifted them both so Angel was leaning against the headboard, Spike curled on his lap. One large hand gently stroked Spike's arm in comfort, the other lightly hugging him around the waist.

"Roof," Spike said, his face etched in pain. "Walking on roof. Told her..." He hicced. "Told her loved her..."

When he didn't continue, Angel said softly, "Then what?"

"She-she-she-she-." The tears started flowing again, affecting his speech. "Fall, trip, wires-s-s," hic, "I-I went catch 'er, 'elp 'er," hic, "an-an-and-" Spike inhaled sharply and finished with a stifled sob. "I s-snapped 'er neck. Accid-d-d-dent."

"Sweet Jesus," Angel murmured, squeezing his eyes shut in pain.

"Loved 'er, killed 'er," Spike cried brokenly. "Me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me..."

Angel felt like his heart was being ripped from his chest, both for the senseless way Buffy died and for Spike. He knew what guilt felt like, but, except for Jenny Calendar, he never killed someone he even considered a friend. Yet, Spike had killed the person he loved because of a random accident and a mistaken helping hand. The suicide attempt was far from surprising now that he had this information.

The crying taped off and he waited for several moments to ensure that Spike was truly asleep. Then he carefully shifted his sleeping childe onto the bed and brushed a kiss across his cheek. "I'm so sorry, Spike. I wish I could make it better," he whispered. "I'd take away the pain if I could."

*****

Willow was his fairy godmother.

Angel had started calling everyone, despite the early hour, as soon as he felt he could speak without crying. He'd started with Cordelia, who promised to tell Doyle and Kate, then he contacted Giles and broke the news to him. Both of them decided it would be better if Joyce never knew what really happened that night. After Giles said he'd inform Xander and Anya about the events surrounding Buffy's death, Angel called Willow.

And Willow said she could take that single memory away from Spike. Selective permanent amnesia. The night Buffy died would be erased from Spike's mind forever. Angel would have kissed her if she was standing in the room with him, rather than talking with him over the phone.

Angel would bring Spike to her store, where she also lived in the apartment above it, to perform the spell. He was tempted to ask her to erase some of his memories, as well, but he did not. Those memories were part of his penance for the wrongs his hands had committed, whereas Buffy's death had been an innocent accident. The younger vampire would never heal with the memory of what happened that night.

Spike never woke, his emotional exhaustion causing him to stay asleep despite Angel's carrying him to the car, the ride over to Willow's and carrying him again into her apartment. The redheaded witch hugged Angel tightly after he set Spike down where she told him to, sharing with him both thankfulness that they knew what happened to Buffy, and grief over her senseless death.

The spell itself was pretty simple. Willow had the date, had knowledge of the events of that day, and had all the magickal ingredients she would need. She warned Angel that anything else that had occurred on that day would be erased from Spike's memory, as well. He told her to proceed, knowing that Spike would never remember telling Buffy that he loved her, either; but the type of grief that would come from that fact would dissipate with time. The powerful Wicca completed the spell within an hour and Spike remained asleep throughout it.

*****

"Hey, how are you doing?" Angel asked quietly, sitting beside Spike on the bed. The younger vampire had just woken up after what seemed like forever to the nerve-wracked Angel. His fingers were mentally crossed for the spell to have worked.

Spike looked up at Angel for a moment, then scooted over so he could lay his head in his sire's lap. Angel gently ran his fingers repeatedly over Spike's hair. He gave Angel a small smile, which turned into a frown after a moment. "I cried," he said, as if puzzled by that fact.

"Yes, you did," Angel confirmed.

"Why?"

The confusion evident in Spike's voice sent a wave of hope through Angel. He answered in a way that would cinch whether the spell worked or not. "Buffy."

"Oh," Spike said. His brow furrowed. "What 'bout 'er?"

"You were just missing her, that's all," Angel replied. "Sometimes I really miss her, too, and I cry."

"Where did she go?" Spike asked, raising his hands to play with the buttons on Angel's shirt.

"She died a long time ago," Angel answered softly.

Spike's next question was one that epitomized his current childlike mentality and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Willow's spell was successful. "Can she come over an' play wit' me when she comes 'ome?"

"I'm sorry, Spike, but she's not coming back," Angel told him. "But I'd be happy to play with you."

"Can we go for walk?" Spike asked with enthusiasm, sitting up and bouncing on the bed.

Angel chuckled, tenderness, relief and love for Willow and his childe flowing through his heart. "I think we can do that. Go get your harness while I get your socks and shoes."

"'K," Spike said happily, scrambling off the bed and rushing on his knuckles and feet towards the cage.

Ten minutes later, Angel sat on a bench in a different park, one hand holding the retractable leash that was attached to the ring on the back of the climbers/rescuers harness Spike wore, watching as the younger vampire chased the pigeons. Angel had learned the first time he'd taken his childe out of the apartment how easy it was for the vampire with a toddler-like mind to wander away and cause his sire to become frantic with worry. Hence, the harness.

Spike stopped romping suddenly and Angel wondered what was up. An encouraging smile crossed his lips when his childe stood upright and walked on two unsteady legs over to him, cupping something in his hands, a look of intense concentration on his features. "What have you got there?" Angel asked.

Spike sat down beside him and leaned close, holding his hands in front of Angel. "It's a Buffyfly," he whispered, slowly uncupping his hands.

The most beautiful monarch butterfly Angel had ever seen sat on Spike's palm, its wings opening and closing in an unhurried rhythm. The tips of its wings were outlined in black, spreading downwards towards its body in a web-like pattern. Burnished gold, yellow, and a hint of blue filled in the areas between the black.

Angel had the uncanny feeling that Spike wasn't wrong in calling the monarch a "Buffyfly." He felt as though she was whispering in his mind, asking him to love Spike as she did, telling him that she loved him, too, and that she missed them.

After a few minutes, the monarch flew off, and the two vampires watched until it disappeared in the darkness. Spike rested his cheek against Angel's shoulder and sighed. "Bye-bye, Buffyfly."

"Goodbye, Buffy," Angel added quietly. "I'll take care of him for you."



Part Seven



Angel was knocked back out into the hallway, a skinny, flop-haired vampire pinning him to the ground, when he attempted to enter his apartment after work. Bright blue eyes twinkled playfully, belying the curled back lips and the growl emanating from the vampire. Angel held back his laughter and tried to put a scared expression on his face.

"Oh no, the mean dog got me," he said in a fake-frightened voice. "Whatever shall I do?"

Spike's snarl twitched into a smile for a moment, before he frowned and growled louder. Angel slowly moved hands. "I know what I shall do," he said dramatically. "I shall utilize my secret defense weapon against mean dogs!"

Angel struck, his fingers suddenly dancing over Spike's ribs. Spike yelped in surprised ticklishness, then scrambled off of him and bounded on his knuckles and feet back into the apartment. Angel quickly rose and chased after him, continuing the game, which ended when Spike rolled onto his back for an animal-like belly-rub.

"You are silly, you know that?" Angel asked Spike, sitting beside the prone vampire on the floor.

"Yeah," Spike replied, grinning goofily at him. "I's a silly little git."

"Yes, you are," he agreed. He looked over toward the refrigerator, but had no ambition to move. "Did you feed?"

"Uh-huh," Spike answered. He smacked his lips. "Yummy."

"Are you ever going to grow up?" Angel asked, an amused smirk on his lips.

"Nope," Spike told him, with a firm shake of his head. Then he sang, "'I don't want to grow up, I's a Toys 'R Us kid.'"

"I never should have bought that television," Angel grumbled good-naturedly. Spike grinned at him in response.

Almost a year had passed since Angel found Spike in his old apartment, living as an animal and feeding from rats. The former peroxide-blond vampire had mentally changed over the period of time he'd been with Angel, growing from animalistic to toddler-like to alternating between early school-age childishness and late-teenaged male. The youthful innocence, however, always stayed and was prevalent in the way he spoke and his unjaded view of the world.

Somehow, the demon inside of him had become repressed to the point of non-existence. Spike had no bloodlust, no desire to hunt humans or kill for the fun of it. His control over his human mask seemed to be an unconscious and unwavering action. The few times he had gotten extremely angry had not changed his features, nor did they change the one time Angel came home early from work and found him at the crux of his climax as he masturbated in bed. Angel had left the apartment shortly after he'd witnessed that in a desperate search to find his paid relief.

Spike could walk without problems on two feet, but used all 'four' at times, usually when he was tired or was playing. He no longer needed the harness, knowing not to wander away from his sire when they went out together without telling Angel where he was going. At times, he acted as a stubborn adolescent, refusing to do something Angel wished and sulking when he didn't get his way.

It was the times that he curled up beside his sire on the couch, watching the television the older vampire had been conned into buying, that Angel enjoyed the most. For it was during those quiet hours that Angel slowly fell in love with the unique, vampire man-child who had returned to his life unexpectedly.

"There's a show on the tavee on the British Isles in a little bit," Spike said, climbing to his feet and walking over to the couch. "Do you wanna watch wit' me?"

"Love to," Angel replied, standing as well. He headed into the kitchen to heat himself some blood and heard the television click on behind him. When he turned around, he expected to see Spike sitting on the couch, flipping channels. Instead, the younger vampire was over by the desk, lightly touching the framed photograph of Buffy on the corner with the smattering of other framed photos.

The microwave beeped and he took the heated container out and set it on the counter, then walked over to Spike. His childe had an expression on his face that Angel couldn't define, as his finger traced over Buffy's smiling features.

"I miss 'er," Spike said quietly. "Sometimes I 'ave this dream that we're playing and she yells at me, but I's can tell she don't mean it." He inhaled purposely and sighed. "I 'member I never told 'er I loved 'er."

"She knew," Angel told him.

"Do you think she loved me back?" he asked, a hint of curiosity underlined with something else in his voice.

"I'm sure of it," Angel replied, remembering the monarch butterfly. "You're hard not to love."

"Do you?" Spike said. He turned his head and looked up at his sire, his blue eyes questioning. "Do you love me like she loved me?"

"Yes," Angel answered without hesitation.

"I don't want you to go away wit' me never tellin' you I love you, like 'er." Spike bit his lower lip, waiting for a response.

Angel studied Spike, wondering if the younger vampire meant what he had interpreted. "Are you telling me you love me like you loved Buffy?" he asked. Spike barely nodded, his eyes dropping in shyness. "Are you sure?"

"Yeah," Spike replied, rubbing at an invisible spot on the desk with his thumb. "Do you want to...," he hesitated, then continued, "to do that stuff I saw on the tavee wit' me?"

"What stuff?" Angel asked, not wanting to make a mistake that could hurt their current relationship.

Spike turned and walked over to the coffee table. He picked up the remote and changed the channels, then pointed at the television. "This stuff."

Angel walked over and stopped beside him. There was definitely no way Spike could mistake what the two men on the late-night, adult station were doing. He swallowed heavily, a certain portion of his anatomy enthusiastically saying yes to Spike's question. The rest of him, however, was going to be more cautious in answering. "I would, but only if you wanted to," he replied.

"I want you to make love wit' me, Angel," Spike said, an adult's certainty in his voice. His eyes left the television and met Angel's dark gaze. "Please?"

Angel took the remote from him, shut off the television, and set it on the coffee table. Then he took Spike's hand and led him over to the bed. He faced the younger vampire and saw that Spike's eyes had darkened to a deep blue. Angel raised his other hand and cupped the side of Spike's cheek. "I love you," he said quietly, then bent and pressed his lips to Spike's.

He felt Spike start, jumping slightly with the contact, then he started to kiss Angel back. His mouth was soft and cool, and he tasted of blood and the chocolate-chip cookies Kate had given them. When Spike's tongue tentatively brushed against his, Angel inhaled sharply in reaction, his body tightening with desire.

Spike removed his hand from Angel's and began to unbutton his sire's shirt. Angel slid his now free hand up under Spike's shirt and ran it around his waist, lightly caressing the bare skin of his lower back. Spike shivered, and the kiss between the two men became more passionate, as Spike touched Angel's bared chest.

A few seconds or hours later, Angel broke away from Spike's mouth. "Undress," he instructed, his voice husky and desire-laden. He shed his own shirt, letting it fall to the ground. The rest of his clothes followed, joining with Spike's on the hard floor, leaving two naked and very aroused males standing face-to-face.

His eyes traveled down Spike's whipcord thin body, outlining the muscles that were there. The younger vampire's eyes burned into his skin at the same time with the same heavy-lidded examination. Angel let him look as long as he wanted, not moving until he reached out for the older vampire.

They ended up entangled on the bed. Hands gently stroked and caressed and rubbed. Lips tasted, tongues licked, blunt teeth nipped at cool skin that became heated with arousal and want. Shyness and uncertainty gave way to boldness and determination.

Both of them reached completion swiftly; Spike from years of no intimate contact, Angel from the younger man's clumsy and virgin-like, innocent touches. They continued to kiss and hold each other afterwards, despite the sticky residue of semen on their skin. Spike lay atop of Angel with Angel's arms wrapped tightly around the other vampire.

It was Spike who broke the warm, sensual, post-intimate silence. He nuzzled Angel's neck, lightly kissing the cooling skin, and sighed in contentment. "I love you, Angel," he said softly.

"I love you, too, Spike," Angel replied tenderly.

"Swear?"

Angel smiled at the childish tone. "I swear."

"Even if the moon should crumble?"

"Even then," Angel answered.

"Good," Spike said. He shifted slightly, then raised his head, his eyes wide. "We're missin' the tavee show!"

Angel chuckled. "Well, then we'd better move over to the couch, shouldn't we?"

"Yeah," Spike replied, squirming out of Angel's arms and getting out of the bed. Angel watched as he crossed the room on his knuckles and bare feet, his naked rear wiggling. He climbed onto the couch and grabbed the remote to turn on the television, then looked over at Angel. "Let's go, it's on!"

Angel shook his head an stood, pulling the comforter off the bed before joining Spike on the couch. The younger man snuggled up against him and he wrapped the cover around them both. Then Angel dropped a kiss on the top of the Spike's head and happily sat watching television every night with the part-man, part-child for the remainder of his life.

End

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