Never Send A Psychotic
To Do A Lunatic's Job


by Saber ShadowKitten




Part Six





David Nabbitt's limo was going to arrive at six a.m. to take everyone to the airport. From there, they were going to fly on David Nabbitt's private, sun-proofed plane to New York, and then on to England, landing in Heathrow at around midnight, local time.

That was the plan, anyway.

Gunn leaned against the registration counter, watching the circus with an amused smile on his face. It was already half-past six in the morning and the Ghostbusters were still running around the hotel like headless chickens. Near the front doors, a pile of luggage sat waiting for their owners to get on the road. It didn't look like that'd be any time soon.

It was loud in the lobby with everyone speaking at once. Cordelia was pointedly ignoring that Xander kid as she chatted overly brightly with the redhead. Xander, for his part, was being equally as obnoxious while speaking with that furry dude. Wesley and the old guy, Giles, were at it again, bickering like they were on a rerun of The Odd Couple. Angel looked like he was about to eat everyone. Lilah was trying to sneak by the group without being seen, with Drusilla exaggeratedly tiptoeing behind her.

Gunn was on the attorney in a second, grasping her by the back of the neck and pulling her to a quick halt. He cleared his throat loudly. "AHEM! Yo, Angel!" The lobby quieted, and Gunn sent up a mental prayer of thanks before addressing tall, dark, and undead. "Look who decided to pay us a visit."

Lilah gave Angel an uncomfortable smile. "Good morning, Angel."

"Lilah," Angel greeted tonelessly.

"What do you want me to do with her?" Gunn asked.

"Stick her in the limo," Angel directed. He gave Lilah a smirk. "She's coming with us."

"What?" Lilah tried to shake Gunn off. "I am not going anywhere with you."

"Think happy thoughts," Drusilla said. "Or you won't be able to fly."

"Angel," Giles said, frowning at the vampire. "We are on a- a mission of some importance--"

"One that Lilah knows all about, don't you?" Angel's brow arched, daring her to lie.

Lilah ground her teeth together, but answered haughtily, "It's my job to know."

"I thought your job was to scrape the shit off Lindsey's shoes," Cordelia said sweetly.

"Gunn," Angel nodded towards the door.

"C'mon, sweetheart," Gunn said, forcing Lilah towards the exit. "I know you've ridden in limos before, but have you ever been in the trunk?"

Drusilla stepped between them and the door. She wagged her finger at Gunn. "Bad boy. You cannot take my Lilah away."

"Angel, your crazy daughter is blockin' the door," Gunn said.

"Dru, move," Angel ordered.

"But, Angel...," Drusilla began, then gasped, staring wide-eyed in the direction of the stairs to the second floor.

Gunn looked over his shoulder with a frown. That blond vampire -- Spike, Gunn thought his name was -- was standing at the top of the stairs. Big whoop.

Spike sat on the brass handrail in the center of the stairs, put his arms out for balance, and promptly slid down it. He landed on his feet at the bottom. Gunn was slightly impressed. It was pretty tricky to pull that off.

"Spike, I've told you not to do that," Giles chastised as the blond joined the group.

"Have not," Spike said. "You told me not to run down the stairs, not slide down 'em."

"I stand corrected," Giles said dryly.

"Spike?"

Spike looked in Gunn's direction, surprise etched on his face. "Dru?"

Gunn had a feeling there was something about to happen, and he moved out of the way, pulling Lilah with him. It was the correct thing to do. Spike rushed over to Drusilla, picked her up by the waist, and spun her in a circle. She was laughing, he was laughing, Gunn was going to hurl from the sweetness of it.

Gunn immediately felt Lilah tense under his grip. The threat of being kidnapped or locked in a truck didn't get to her, but a sickening reunion scene did? And did she just growl?

"The air swirls in confusion," Drusilla said with awe as Spike set her on her feet. She looked at the area above his head. "Such pretty colors, twisting and twining like snakes in the grass."

Spike looked at the stone column to his left and smirked. "Jealous, pet?"

Drusilla put her hand on Spike's chest, her eyes narrowing in anger. "Your heart belongs to the Slayer."

Giles was beside the two vampires in an instant. "I think it was time we were underway," he said, taking Spike by the arm.

Drusilla stared at her hand over Spike's heart. "Screams and pain. The little lamb sent to the butcher. The Tin Man made from scratch. But he always had a heart -- the Slayer's heart. Pumping and beating and it hurts very much." Her eyes snapped up and she stared right at Spike. "You were awake when they cut you and peeled your skin off like a grape."

Gunn had no clue what the looney meant, but obviously the people from Sunnydale did, and it was bad. Willow gasped in horror and the wolf snarled. Xander vamped and was prevented from attacking Drusilla by the Watcher dude grabbing his arm. The Watcher also looked like he was going to be sick, and Spike was... yelling at the stone column.

Gunn shook his head. He hooked up with the strangest people. Somehow it was all Angel's fault, too.

"Of course I didn't bloody tell you!" Spike was ranting. "Do you think I want to remember what they did?"

If the stone column responded vocally, Gunn was leaving and never coming back.

Drusilla started to laugh, and Xander went wild. The wolf shot out of nowhere, snagging Xander around the waist and hauling him away from the vampiress before he could pummel her. Giles stumbled when the wolf darted past him, but he was caught before he fell by Wesley. The redhead was attempting to calm Spike down. Lilah tried to squirm out of Gunn's hold with the distraction, but he yanked her back against him.

"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!" Angel suddenly roared in his 'I'm going to rip out everyone's spleens any second now' voice.

"I'll answer that," Cordelia spoke up in the abrupt silence. "The world is going to end in less than a week, and we're still going to be standing here in the lobby reenacting a scene from One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest."

"Cordelia's right," the wolf said, releasing Xander. "We can discuss things on the plane. Xander, take Spike to the limo. Giles, Willow, and I will get the bags."

Damn, Gunn thought as he watched the others followed the wolf's directions. Never underestimate short guys. "What about the lawyer?" Gunn asked, turning to Angel for instruction.

"She's still coming with. Put her in the limo," Angel sighed.

"May I come, Angel?" Drusilla said.

Angel looked heavenward and mouthed something that looked like: "You really hate me, don't you?" The taller vampire sighed again and nodded. "Yes, Dru, you can come, too, as long as you promise to listen to me."

Drusilla scampered to her sire and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you, Daddy," she said demurely. Then she danced up to Gunn and Lilah and smiled. It was a very non-innocent one, and it was directed at the lawyer.

Gunn shook his head and pushed Lilah towards the door. Vampires and attorneys, he thought. Which one was the soulless monster in that relationship?

*****

Spike watched Giles's hands with a frown on his face. "I can buckle my own belt, you know," he said.

"I know," Giles said, tightening the seat belt around Spike's waist. "Just humor me."

"Are you going to buckle me in, too?" Buffy asked from the seat beside Spike.

Spike leered at her. "I'll buckle you in."

"I bet you will."

"There," Giles said. He gave Spike a stern look. "Don't leave your seat unless you ask me first, understand?"

"Yes, Dad," Spike agreed with a roll of his eyes. Buffy giggled.

Giles stepped into the aisle, pulled a backpack out of the overhead compartment, and passed it to the blond vampire. "You should have plenty to do--"

"Rupert," Spike said with exasperation. "Stop being a nanny. I've been in a plane before."

"Right." Giles gave him a half-smile and went to take his own seat.

"When was the last time you were in a plane?" Buffy asked.

"When I was at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, back in '84," Spike said with a wink. "They have a lovely aircraft exhibit."

She chuckled. "Thought so."

He stowed the backpack under the seat in front of him, then reached over to buckle her seat belt. He could hear the engines warming up and he wished there were windows. Then again, if there were windows, a pile of ash would be taking its first plane ride, rather than him.

David Nabbitt's private jet reminded Spike of a posh living room rather than an airplane. There were tables, couches, bookshelves, telephones, a fax machine, a television and VCR, even a bar. The interior was gold and white, the carpeting was soft, and the seats were leather. Two rows of six pairs of regular plane seats lined the rear half of the jet. The galley and the restroom were in the front, by the pilot's cabin. Except for the one on the door, all the windows had been blacked-out, fitted with special covers that blocked any light from entering the plane.

Spike had chosen to sit in the last seat on the right side of the jet, with the Slayer beside him. He didn't want to be bothered by the others, especially Drusilla. She'd brought up things that he'd wanted to forget about forever. Things that he didn't even share with Buffy -- and he told her everything.

The blond vampire looked down at his hand and wiggled his fingers. They looked so real. No one would ever guess they were metal, not bone. He squeezed his wrist and on up his arm, feeling the titanium beneath the skin and muscle.

Giles and his other friends didn't think Spike understood what had happened to him, but he knew. He had been conscious for a large portion of what those scientists did to him. He'd heard them talking about him like he was a thing, not a living creature... as living as a vampire could be. He'd screamed when they'd taken Buffy away.

Spike pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around his legs. His chest expanded and relaxed with each breath the robotic lungs forced him to take. He rested his chin on his upraised knees and closed his eyes. If he concentrated, he could hear Buffy's heart beating. He liked hearing it. It reminded him that he wasn't alone. He was afraid of being alone. The scientists came back for him when he was alone.

"I think Angel cut his hair," Buffy said out of the blue.

Spike opened his eyes, turned his head, and rested his cheek on his knee. "You think?"

"Yeah," she nodded. "You noticed, too. I saw you staring at him in the limo like he was a piece of French chocolate."

"Was not."

"Were, too," Buffy grinned. "You think he looks yummaliscious."

"I think he looks like Betty Boop," Spike corrected.

"You get hard for Betty Boop?" she teased.

Spike scowled. "Sod off."

Buffy leaned over and looked up the aisle. "And here I thought you hated Betty."

"Nah," Spike said. "T'was simply a mask to cover the jealousy and hurt I felt from the ponce choosing you over me." He grinned at her dumbfounded look. "I called in to 'Ask Dr. Mercator' once, and that's what she told me."

"Ah," she nodded. "That makes more sense."

"Thanks a lot, Slayer," he said sarcastically.

Buffy shrugged. "We both know that you're not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. Not anymore, at least." She leaned closer to him and lowered her voice. "There's also been talk about you being...," she pointed her finger at her temple and moved it in a small circle.

Spike sighed. "I probably am," he admitted. "In fact, it's more than bloody likely."

"Well, don't worry," Buffy said. "I still love you, even if you are a gibbering looney."

He gave her a tender smile. "I know."

The jet's engines grew louder and the plane started to move. Spike closed his eyes again and squeezed his legs tighter to his chest. He started to hum. He was not going to admit it out loud, but he was scared. Really scared. Scared that he was too heavy and the plane would break open and he'd plummet to the ground and he didn't have a parachute and he'd crash through the earth and come out the other side and be cast adrift in outer space and Buffy couldn't live in outer space because she needed to breathe and he'd be alone...

"Hey, hey, hey," a familiar male voice cooed. Arms closed around Spike's shoulders and knees, and he heard a soft purr under his humming. "It's okay, sire. It's okay."

Xander's concerned dark gaze met Spike's when he opened his eyes. Spike couldn't feel the plane moving anymore, but he could still hear the engines clearly. He swallowed and whispered, "Are we in the air?"

The younger vampire nodded. "Did you know that airplanes are one of the safest forms of travel?" he began. "It doesn't seem like it, because when they do... er, the news covers accidents -- not that we're going to have an accident! David Nabbitt doesn't buy cheap stuff. And, uh, anyway, the media doesn't cover the millions of car accidents a day because then no one would drive, and then the traffic report people would be out of a job..."

Spike laughed and leaned into Xander's partial embrace. "You're a good childe, Xander."

"Really?"

Spike lifted his head and looked the boy in the eyes. "Yes, really. I'm proud of you."

Xander's smile was bashful, but huge. He was practically lit up from the inside. "Um, do- do you want something to, um, eat?" he stammered.

"No, I'm fine," Spike said. Xander's eyes darkened in concern again and the blond half-smiled. "Planes are the safest form of travel," he repeated.

"Yep," Xander gave him a quick squeeze, stood, and wandered back to the front of the plane.

Spike went to watch him go... and fell headlong into his own sire's amber gaze. Angel stared at him over the tops of the seats from across the jet. A burning sensation started in Spike's toes and slowly engulfed his body from the heady stare.

Angel looked away first, his attention drawn by someone else, and Spike slumped in his seat. Across the aisle, Buffy snickered. The blond vampire scowled at her. "What?"

"You don't have a hard on for Betty, huh?" she said.

"Bite me, Buffy."

Buffy's eyes twinkled devilishly. "Nah. I think Angel would enjoy biting you more."

*****

Angel knew he wasn't being told everything, and it was pissing him off.

Oh, they told him why Oz was half-wolfed and how Xander became a vampire. But every time he tried to steer the conversation to Spike, they'd change the subject. The only thing Angel knew was that Spike had delineated himself Xander's sire, he lived with Giles, and something had happened to him at the laboratory Buffy had died in -- and that he'd learned from Drusilla.

Why was information being held back?, Angel wondered, watching Xander and Spike together. What made the four from Sunnydale jump every time Spike said or did something? Why were they so protective of him? What had caused Spike to hum so loudly it had drowned out the jet's engines, until Xander had gone to him?

Frustrated, Angel dragged a hand over his newly shorn hair. It was currently flat against his head -- he had packed his hairgel before he'd gotten it cut -- which meant he probably looked like a moron. Cordelia hadn't said anything, but he'd seen the looks she'd given him. Wesley's upraised brow when he'd first seen Angel hadn't helped, either.

Xander stood up, catching Angel's attention. He stared across the plane at Spike, taking in the changes in his appearance -- the longish blond hair, the easy smile, the green rugby shirt. And that laugh. It made Angel want to be the cause of it.

Xander crossed in front of Angel, blocking his view for a second. Angel wanted to shove the boy out of the way. He didn't move, though -- couldn't. He'd been swept into a sea of aquamarine, and the only thing he could think was: he didn't remember Spike's eyes being so blue.

"Angel, tell those women to get out of the bathroom, or I'm going to 'Mile High' them right off this plane!"

Cordelia's angry tone pulled Angel out of the depths of Spike's eyes and back into the plane. He frowned at her, and she gestured towards the restroom. "Some of us humans do have to use the facilities now and again," she sniped.

With a put upon sigh, Angel went and banged on the restroom door. "Drusilla, Lilah, get out here!"

There was a bang and a giggle, followed by a flush. The door opened, revealing the two mussed women. Angel wondered if Cordelia would throw him out of the plane, if he asked nicely enough. "Lilah, you can call Lindsey now," he said, heading back to his seat. "Tell him to tell Darla I brought Dru with, and also have him tell her if I find Wes or Gunn chopped into pieces when I get home, I'm going to cut off her head with a butter knife."

Angel ran his hand through his hair for the hundredth time, ignoring Lilah's pithy remark. His gaze slid to the back of the plane. He could just see the top of Spike's bent head, and wondered what the blond was doing. Not that Angel was interested in Spike. He was... intrigued. No one would tell him anything, or even let him near Spike, and that made Angel itch to do just that.

"Okay, we have rooms," Willow announced from her seat at one of the tables. A laptop computer was open in front of her, connected to an airline Internet modem. "Six of them. Oz and I. Giles, you're with Xander. Spike in his own room, of course, because of Bu--" her eyes shot to Angel "--bbles, his, um, teddy bear."

Angel watched Willow fidget nervously and his curiosity peaked. Bubbles, huh? Lying wench.

"I, uh, f-figured Lilah a-and Drusilla," Willow stammered. "And Cordelia and Angel, you both in your own rooms."

Angel nodded. He would have shared with Wesley, but his co-worker had received a call from his wife just as they were leaving that morning to tell him that her water broke. Gunn had been left in charge of the agency, which meant that Angel only had Cordelia to keep him from rampaging. Luckily, after ten years of practice, she was pretty good at stopping him from gutting everyone in sight.

Laughter floated from the back of the cabin and Angel felt a low down tickle. He vowed that, sometime during the long flight, he was going to make it back there to talk with his childe. And if anyone tried to stop him, they'd quickly find out how unpleasant he could be.



Part Seven





Gosh, poor Angel, Willow thought, glancing at the large vampire slumped in his seat. He looked so... pouty. She knew he wanted to know more about Spike, but the boys were being poopy-heads and wouldn't tell him anything. She didn't really understand why, either. Okay, yes, they hadn't seen, or even spoken with, Angel for years, but it was Angel. One of the good guys. And he was Spike's sire, to boot.

Well, Spike's sire like Spike was Xander's sire, Willow qualified. Kind of like a foster sire. Or a Vice President sire, who took over the duties of sire when the real sire was disposed. The redhead briefly looked over at Drusilla, who was 'making snow' by tearing up a magazine. Oh yeah, Drusilla was most definitely disposed.

That was another point in the 'Telling Angel' column: Drusilla. He dealt with the crazy vampiress on a daily basis, if what Cordelia had said was true. It was funny; seeing Drusilla at the hotel had been a surprise, but not one that caused any sort of response. At the time, Willow and her friends had been focused on Spike's reaction and Xander's over-reaction to the vampiress's words to care. Then, later, Cordelia had given them the low-down on Drusilla, basically categorizing Drusilla as the demented pet poodle that Angel kept a tight leash on, so no worries.

Willow tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and returned to her computer solitaire game. Correlation with Drusilla or not, she had promised Oz she wouldn't talk about Spike to anyone, even if she didn't agree with the decision. Oz was her mate, and sometimes she had to bow to his wishes. It was a wolf thing. Plus, he was really good at the art of persuasion.

Blushing, Willow moved the red Jack over the black Queen. Angel sighed, in a way that seemed overly dramatic to her. An 'I want to get my way and I'll sigh like this until I do' sigh. A pouting child's sigh. Spike sighed like that when Giles refused to let him watch Psycho Women In Prison IX for the eight-hundredth time. Spike sighed like that when he was told he couldn't go outside to play in the middle of the afternoon, too.

So maybe she did sort of understand why the guys didn't want to tell Angel about Spike. They were just being the over-protective cavemen she knew and loved. Spike was... special, and they didn't want him ridiculed or pitied or taken advantage of. They were also afraid that word of Spike's enhancements could reach the wrong ears and lead to him being locked up and tested again, or forced to do things he didn't want to do. It was his choice that he acted as the Slayer. Giles would be happy to let the touched vampire putter around the house, knitting potholders, if that's what he wanted.

Still... Willow's eyes drifted back to Sullen Angel. Spike wasn't very quiet when he 'spoke' with Buffy. It would make more sense if Angel was prepared before he stumbled into Spike having a 'conversation' with the deceased one-time love of the older vampire's life. She wouldn't even think about Spike's other quirks or the whole super-strength thing, although he had that pretty much under control.

Perhaps she should talk to Oz again and urge him to see reason. At the very least, she'd get to join the Mile High Club.

*****

The vampires were forced to stay on the plane during the short layover in New York, much to Xander's consternation. He didn't want to babysit Spike. He wanted to get out, stretch his legs, scare some children. He wanted a hot pretzel. He wanted to buy a ticket for the next plane back to California. How he was going to survive twelve more hours cooped up with Cordelia Chase was beyond him.

Xander knew he shouldn't let her get to him, but it felt like he was back in grade school all over again. With one look, she reduced him to a skinny, pre-pubescent, pimply loser, who wore garage sale clothing and wasn't good at anything. After a single put-down, he became defensive and felt as small as a bug that she carelessly squashed under her two-inch heel.

He wanted to yell at her, to ask her where the hell she got off. Yes, he was the idiot who got himself vamped. He also had a soul, and it hurt when his idiocy was thrown back into his face.

"Not that the Ice Princess cares," he muttered as he paced the cabin aisle. This was ridiculous, he thought. He was twenty-nine years old. He had that whole vampire seductive aura-thing going for him. He no longer dressed like he was standing in a paint factory when it exploded -- although Anya had liked the way he dressed before he was turned, which proved love really was blind.

Somehow, Xander was going to have to settle whatever this was between himself and Cordelia. They'd be working together for at least the next week, maybe longer, and there was enough tension between the Sunnydale and L.A. groups without adding their juvenile squabbling. Now, he was just going to have to--

Xander saw white stars when something connected with the back of his neck. Then his eyes rolled up and everything went black.

*****

Angel hoisted the unconscious brunette over his shoulder and headed for the restroom. He didn't have much time. Vampires were notoriously thick-headed, and the others would be back soon.

Xander's head hit the wall with a thunk when Angel lowered him onto the toilet seat. After making sure all of the boy's limbs were in the restroom, the older vampire closed the door, then pushed a galley cart in front of it. The cart wouldn't do much to stop Xander from escaping, but it would buy Angel enough time to speak with Spike unhampered by the babysitter.

Angel started to the back of the plane, purpose in his measured steps. He passed Drusilla, who was curled up in a seat, sleeping peacefully. Lilah had gotten off the plane with the others, and Angel wondered if she would return. He actually hoped she would, because she could keep Dru occupied while he was busy playing Hero. Lilah might be of some help, too, since it was her contact that had started the ball rolling.

Angel focused on his goal: a dishwater-blond vampire with headphones over his ears and an open magazine on his lap. A green-painted fingernail tapped a rhythm on the edge of the magazine, another one ran along the page as Spike read. The green rugby shirt still threw Angel, and... was Spike wearing blue jeans?

Spike looked up when Angel stopped at the end of his row, and the breath that Angel supposedly didn't have was stolen away at the bright, non-cynical smile the blond gave him. "Angel, greetings and salutations," Spike said, removing his headphones. He glanced at the empty seat to his left. "Slayer, move your arse and let the poofter sit."

Angel frowned at Spike, at the empty seat, then at Spike again. "What?"

"Sit down, Angel," Spike said, marking his spot in the magazine with a postcard and sticking it in the pocket on the seat in front of him. He turned partially in his seat, as far as the buckled seatbelt would let him, and pulled a knee up to his chest, smile still in place. "So, you ponce, long time, no see. What have you been doing -- besides Dru?"

Angel was taken aback by... well, everything. Spike's smile, Spike's affability, Spike's casual reference to Drusilla. Befuddled, Angel grabbed the last one and ran with it. "You don't care that I've slept with Drusilla?"

Spike looked beyond Angel at the seat across the aisle and snickered. Angel glanced over and saw nothing. His frown returned. Was he missing something?

"To answer your question: it doesn't bother me. It's been over between Dru and me now for, what...?" Spike looked past Angel again, a furrow of thought crinkling his brow. "Twelve years? Thirteen?" He shrugged. "It's been awhile. Don't get me wrong, though, if she danced up to me all naked-like and suggested a tumble, I'd bloody well shag her into unconsciousness. However, it doesn't bother me that you're shagging her into unconsciousness, too." He grinned slyly. "But I think that bitchy-looking brunette might protest a bit."

"Lilah Morgan," Angel supplied, glancing up the aisle as the galley cart rattled outside the restroom door. "I'm not sure which one has the other wrapped around their little finger."

Spike mock-gasped. "My, my, what naughty language, pet."

Huh?, Angel thought, staring at Spike in bewilderment. The blond vampire was, once more, looking past Angel at the seat across the aisle. Angel glanced over again and still saw an empty seat. Spike started to laugh, even though nothing was said. Huh?

"Spike, what are you laughing at?" Angel asked in bafflement.

Spike rolled his eyes. "Cor, Angel, can't you take a bleedin' joke?"

"Huh?"

"Or did your ex's language fry your synapses?" Spike went on. He nodded towards the empty seat. "She's turned into quite the little potty-mouth, hasn't she?"

"Okay, time-out," Angel held his hands in a T-formation. "Who are you talking about? Which 'she'?"

"Buffy, who else?" Spike stared at him in confusion. "Are you feeling all right, mate? You're acting a bit odd."

"Me?" Angel returned Spike look with an incredulous one of his own.

Spike looked across the aisle again for a moment, then nodded. "I think you're right, Slayer, but we can't get off the plane. Rupert said I can't take off my seatbelt without asking him first, and he's not here. Angel can go by himself, though." The blond looked at Angel. "Why don't you? The fresh air might do you some good."

Huh?

"Oh, and do you think you could get us a couple Cokes?" Spike said. "Regular for me and Diet for Buffy. Rupe will pay you back. Ta, luv."

Angel, his mouth hanging open slightly, nodded, stood, and walked up the aisle towards the galley. When he reached the cart blocking the restroom door, he pushed it out of the way, opened the door, and met Xander's angry glare. "Satisfied?" the younger brunette sneered, his arms crossed over his chest as he leaned against the restroom sink.

Angel glanced back down the aisle, shook his head to clear his fuzzy brain, then returned his focus to Xander. "What's wrong with him?"

"Nothing's wrong with him," Xander stated.

The older vampire gave him a skeptical look. "Right. And I look good in a tutu."

"I've never seen you in a tutu, so I wouldn't know," Xander said. "Now, can you move?"

"No." Angel filled the doorway, his expression becoming hard. "Not until--"

"AAAHHHH!"

Angel jerked towards the terrified scream coming from the back of the plane, then stumbled as Xander shoved past him. The younger man practically flew down the aisle, passing a startled Drusilla, who had jumped to her feet and was staring wide-eyed towards Spike. Angel rushed after Xander and reached the back just as Xander raised his arm, a rolled up magazine in his hand.

Smack! Xander hit the top of the seat in front Spike. The younger brunette looked at the magazine, then at Spike, who had both knees pulled to his chest, his eyes barely visible over the tops of them. "I got it, Spike," Xander said calmly.

"No more spider?" Spike asked in a tiny voice.

"No more spider," Xander said. He showed Spike the squashed arachnid on the rolled magazine. "See?"

"Oi! I was reading that magazine!" Spike exclaimed, putting his feet back on the floor.

Xander arched a brow in question. "Do you want it back?"

Spike shuddered. "No, I don't want the soddin' thing back. It has spider guts on it, and Buffy's afraid of spiders." He looked at the empty seat beside him. "I don't understand you, ducks. You fight demons that cause me to wet my knickers, and you're afraid of a little bug."

Drusilla slid into the row in front of Spike and knelt on the seat, facing him. "Teeny-tiny specks of lights frolicking around your head. Who is Peter Pan without his Tinkerbell? Apart, they are sad, but together they can fly." She laughed and turned to Angel. "He was given strength, but they had to take something away. Balance, said the Dodo to the Mouse. Everything must have balance, or the world will come crumbling down."

"Slag off, Slayer. I like Dru just the way she is," Spike said proudly. "Fruity as a nutcake, and just as sweet."

"Xander," Angel said softly, grabbing Xander by the arm and dragging him partially up the aisle. "I am going to ask this once, and I expect the truth or I'll throw you off this plane into the sun. Who is Spike talking to?" His face darkened when he saw the smirk appear on Xander's. "And I don't mean Dru."

The smirk vanished, and Xander studied Angel for a long moment before replying. "He's speaking to Buffy," the younger vampire answered quietly. "Spike can 'see' her."

Angel was stunned. "Are you serious?"

Xander nodded. "But don't encourage him or pretend that you can see or hear her, too. Giles says it's part of his PTSS and that we should just ignore 'Buffy.' The G-ster is working on getting Spike to realize that Buffy is dead, but so far, no luck." He sent a fond glance over his shoulder at the dishwater-blond vampire. "Spike can be such a stubborn jackass when he wants to be."

"Now that sounds like the Spike I know," Angel muttered.

"Hey, do me a favor," Xander said. "Don't let the others know I told you. I like my arms on my body, thank you very much."

Angel nodded absently, his gaze drifting back to Spike. The blond vampire was chatting amicably with Drusilla, waving multi-colored bottles of nail-polish in her direction. Another insane childe, Angel thought, depressed. For some reason, he'd much rather have Spike hating him than being mentally unstable.

Unhappily, the dark-haired vampire sank down into his seat, leaving Xander to deal with Spike and Drusilla. It was time, once again, for a serious brood.





Part Eight





Lilah's sculpted brow arched in interest as she picked up on the not-too-subtle attention Angel was giving Drusilla's ex-lover, Spike. The hulking one continuously looked to the back of the plane. Angel's face was a blank mask, except for the tiny lines on his forehead and around his mouth, something no one would notice unless they'd spent a decade studying the dark-haired vampire. Lilah was such a person.

The attorney hadn't been too sure of herself when she returned to the plane in New York. She'd had the opportunity to leave her 'kidnappers' during the stopover at JFK, and had been third in line at the counter to purchase a ticket back to California when she'd abruptly changed her mind. Going to England with her lover would be a nice mini-vacation, she'd thought. No Lindsey and his fanged-bimbo to deal with, no pressing clients of indeterminable species, no secretaries giving her the evil eye. She'd be able to relax, play, and keep an eye on her nemesis, Angel, at the same time.

It seemed like her decision to continue on to England was going to pay off. Angel's interest in Spike went beyond casual, possibly beyond familial, as well, if the smouldering glances she'd caught earlier were any indication. Lilah looked back at Spike. She could see why Angel would be attracted: pale, striking features, all angles and sharp lines, a heart-stopping smile -- if he as good at sex as he was sex-y, it was no wonder Drusilla had stayed with him for over a century.

Lilah knew little about Spike, however, beyond the fact that he was Drusilla's childe and ex-lover, and bits and pieces of their past relationship. She knew nothing about the vampire himself, other than he was the missing member of the Scourge of Europe. More specifically, she didn't know what his ties were to Angel, or if it was possible to exploit those ties.

Lilah smiled and extracted her cell phone from her purse. Perhaps Spike was the key to bringing Angel down. Darla had failed, Drusilla had failed, but maybe... just maybe...

"Gregory, it's Lilah," Lilah said softly into the phone when she'd connected. "I need all the information you can find on a vampire who goes by the name of Spike..."

*****

Cordelia Chase was... perturbed. Yes, that was a good word. Perturbed. Not quite annoyed, not quite icked, but perturbed.

And Xander Harris was the perturb-ee.

Cordelia glanced through her lashes at the short-haired brunette causally sprawled on the jet's couch, his long legs stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankles, his large hands folded on his flat stomach, his dark eyes closed and his handsome features relaxed in sleep.

Ack! No! Not handsome! Ugly! Sneering! Boyish... no, no, no! It was... Xander. First class dork, first rate loser. And he was a vampire! Vampires were near the top of her 'I Don't Think So' list, especially after Matt. Xander, himself, topped the 'Never Again' list.

So why had butterflies taken flight in her stomach from the moment she'd seen him?

All right, the years had turned the boy into a Man, with a capital M. He was ripped -- the ribbed A-line tee he wore told her the only six-pack that former construction worker'd had was the one outlined by the tight shirt. He no longer dressed like a clown, but he didn't wear all black like Angel, either.

He was also the first person she'd loved who'd torn her heart from her chest, shredded it to pieces, and then almost killed her through impaling. And that was before he became a vampire.

Nope, Xander Harris was number one on her new 'What, Are You Insane?!' list. She wasn't going to give him the time of day... or night. It didn't matter how fine he looked, or how confident he seemed, or how his humor made her smile, or how intensely he was staring at her right now...

Cordelia blinked, dropped her gaze, then did something she hadn't done in over a decade.

She blushed.

*****

A tantalizing scent in the re-circulated cabin air woke Oz, and he cracked open his eyes. From his position on the couch beside Willow, his head in her lap, it was easy to see the erection in Xander's jeans as he lounged on the couch across from the half-wolf. Raising his head slightly, Oz saw a flushed Cordelia studiously reading a fashion magazine, her thighs pressed firmly together.

Oz chuckled softly and lay his head back on his mate's lap. It seemed as though the puppy had found himself a bitch... in both meanings of the word.

*****

Angel was Not Happy. Oz had come up to him mid-flight and had basically told him off. The vampire had been informed that Spike had Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and that Angel was to leave him alone under penalty of being eaten 'alive.' Angel was Not Happy.

*****

"Daddy isn't happy," Drusilla confided, watching as her Spike painted her nails just like he used to.

"That's a good thing, ducks," Spike said, his head bent over her hand, which was laying on the armrest between them. "Happy Angel means the return of Psychotic Angelus."

"He cannot lose that nasty soul."

Spike's eyes shot up. "What?"

Drusilla shook her head. "It's buried deep, like bones in the dirt. Angel doesn't believe in redemption anymore. The ghosts in his head are silent. They no longer whisper to him, like they do to us, keeping their secrets all to themselves."

Spike pursed his lips, and Drusilla wanted to kiss him. Lemon lips. Lemon in her tea. Mummy used to suck on lemons. "That's what I want to know," Spike said. "If he still wants to wear tights, why doesn't he just go to the bloody ballet? Why fight for the white hats at all?"

"It is what he knows." The vampiress wiggled her half-painted nails. "And it is most bothersome to Darla."

"Hmm," Spike responded thoughtfully. He returned to running the nail-brush over her nails.

Sparkly silver, Drusilla thought. Pretty, pretty.

"Is everything all right back here?"

Drusilla looked up and smiled at the Watcher. He took care of her Spike, like Angel took care of her. Sugar plum faeries danced in Spike's head and the Watcher made certain none escaped.

"How much longer do I have to be on this soddin' plane, Giles?" Spike whined. "My arse is going to be permanently glued to this bleedin' seat."

"Two hours," Giles replied. "Then we still have the motor trip to Oxford. Willow has made accommodations for us at the Moat House."

Spike's eyes widened in excitement. "Does it have a real moat? With crocagators or vampire-eating sharks?"

"I'm sorry, Spike," Giles shook his head. "I doubt they have a moat."

"What about the sharks? Maybe they're kept in the pool," Spike suggested.

"No sharks, either," Giles said. "I'm afraid the Moat House is only a standard inn."

Spike pouted and looked up at the Watcher from under his lashes. "Can I pretend there are sharks, so I can rescue Buffy from them?" He addressed the seat in front of him. "Do I look like a damsel in distress?" He scowled and brushed his hair back, leaving a streak of silver nailpolish across his face. "I told you I needed a haircut."

"Spike, you have varnish on your face," Giles said, taking out a handkerchief. Before he could give it to the blond, Spike had smeared the polish across his nose and a portion of his cheek with the back of his hand.

Spike was sparkly, Drusilla thought with a giggle. Sparkly Spike matched her nails. He'd make a good accessory, like Cordelia had taught her.

"I suppose you don't have the varnish remover with you," Giles said. Spike shook his head and tried to scrub the nail polish off again, only to succeed in getting more on him. Giles sighed and tucked his handkerchief away. "Never mind. We'll clean you up later. Carry on."

"Dru," Spike said worriedly as Giles returned to his seat. "How do I look?"

"Like a Faerie Prince," Drusilla cooed, cupping his silver-streaked cheeks. "It only takes one kiss to wake the Princess, and then the village can rejoice."

"Are you the Princess?" Spike asked, smiling devilishly.

Drusilla shook her dark head. "The Wizards chopped the Princess into pieces, but the Prince still holds her heart."

"Then who am I supposed to snog with, Dru?" Spike said with a frown.

Drusilla laughed lightly. "Silly Spike. There's no such thing as Happily Ever After. Only sweet kisses in the rain."

"Right... that made no sense," Spike said. He abruptly grinned, leaned forward, and kissed her nose. "Have I told you that I missed you?"

"Yes," Drusilla said with a coy smile. "But you may tell me again."



Continued