I Got You Under My Skin -- Revisited

by Saber ShadowKitten
Revisited 11






Angel laid down on his bed and pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes. The lamp on the night-stand bathed him in soft lighting that chased away all but the shadows in his mind. In the kitchen, a box of brownie mix and a packet of eucalyptus powder sat waiting for him, courtesy of Wesley.

The dark-haired vampire chuckled mirthlessly, the sound harsh in the silent apartment. Wesley, he thought. Not Doyle, Wesley.

An ache filled his heart as his throat started to close up and his eyes began to burn. "God, you tasteless, drunk, half-Bracken moron. Why?" he asked the air, his voice choked up. "Why did you do it? It should have been me, you idiot..."

His voice became more tight and tear-filled with every word. "You were supposed to be here. You deserve to be here. Not me. God, why did you have to die?"

"Who?"

"Damn it, boy, not now," Angel growled, pressing his palms harder against his eyes. "Go back down to the tunnels."

"But-"

Angel sat up quickly and glared through his teary eyes at the blond vampire standing at the foot of the bed. "What's my name?" he asked in a hard tone.

Spike looked at him for a moment with an unreadable expression, then dropped his eyes. "Master," he replied with a tinge of bitterness.

"And what's yours?" Angel said with the same hardness.

"Boy," Spike answered.

"Don't forget it," the dark-haired vampire snapped. "Now leave."

Spike turned and walked stiffly out of the bedroom. Angel dropped back onto the pillow and squeezed his eyes shut, pulling on his control. He'd forgotten that by allowing the younger vampire freedom his privacy became more limited. He knew he could always lock Spike up again, but it had taken him months to break his boy, and he didn't want rebellion sparking just yet.

He heard Spike's almost silent footsteps on the hardwood floor and he ground his teeth together. "Boy, I thought I told you...," Angel trailed off when he opened his eyes and saw the blond holding out a mug towards him.

Angel looked at Spike's bent head and wondered what was going on in his Childe's mind. Instead of asking, though, he sat up and took the proffered mug. "Thanks."

Spike nodded once, but didn't raise his head. He turned to leave, but Angel stopped him. "Wait," he said. "Do you know how to cook?"

The younger vampire shrugged. "A little."

"Think you can make those brownies from the box in the kitchen?"

Spike looked up with a frown. "What're you making brownies for?"

"Ethros demon," Angel replied. The younger man's frown deepened and Angel sighed. "Just go make the brownies and add the packet of eucalyptus powder to the batter."

"Right," Spike said, then walked out of the bedroom again.

Angel sat unmoving for several long minutes, the sounds of Spike in the kitchen floating to him. He absently took a sip from the mug his boy gave him, then grimaced as the cold blood hit his palate. Setting it aside, he decided that a shower might clear his muddled, depressed mind.

Soon, the water was hot enough to make Angel's skin turn pink. He stood under the hard spray after washing his hair, his head down, the water cascading around his jaw to run to the floor. His hands were braced flat against the wall in front of him, and he let the steady stream beat down on the back of his head and neck.

His eyes were closed and he forced himself to let his tension run down the drain with the water. Spike's presence may have interrupted a short crying jag, but Angel's grief was plentiful that night.

He tried to push Doyle back into the little compartment Angel had put the Irishman into after his death, but the blue-eyed Cowardly Lion refused to go away again.

"Damn you, Doyle," Angel whispered, tears beginning to mingle with the shower water. He wished that he'd been able to talk to Cordelia more before her vision interrupted. She shared some of the pain and grief he did because she had known Doyle, too.

As cold as it sounded, however, his grief probably ran deeper than hers. She'd lost people -- friends -- before, so she had learned how to deal with the pain. But to Angel, Doyle was the first real friend he truly had, and the Irishman's death hurt in a way he'd never imagined. It felt as though a piece of him had died along with Doyle.

Angel had thought he was getting over Doyle's heroic departure from his life. He'd been wrong. Witness his Freudian slip earlier.

The dark-haired vampire slammed his hand forward, palm first, and almost knocked the single control faucet through the shower wall. The hot water cut off abruptly and Angel grabbed the towel. He jerkily dried himself, slapped the towel back over the shower door, stepped out of the tub and slid his boxers back on.

His steps were hard on the floor as he left the bathroom and returned to his bedroom. He yanked the covers back and almost completely off the bed before climbing in. He didn't bother to turn off the light, he only curled on his side and stared morosely at the brick wall ten inches from his face as his thoughts went around in circles.

Why did Doyle have to die? Why did Doyle have to be the hero? Why were the people he cared for always taken from him?

Angel didn't stop the cold tears that trickled from his eyes. He pressed his face into the pillow, his one arm firm across his stomach, hugging himself. He missed his friend. He missed the Irishman's bad humor, his horrible taste in clothing, his drinking, his yellow streak, his constant gambling, his loyalty, his big heart, his shyness around Cordelia, his hidden strength, his wanting to call Angel friend in return.

He felt the bed shift and then a hand running lightly over the back of his head. Instinctively, Angel turned towards the source of comfort, wrapping his arm around Spike's waist and pressing his wet face against the younger man's tee-shirt clad stomach. The tears came faster and harder as the emotions he'd suppressed by keeping the memories of Doyle boxed up in his heart came out.

He cried nonstop for a very long time until he had no more tears to cry. Then he continued to lay there as Spike's fingers combed through his hair, too tired to move or to reprimand the blond for touching him without permission. Maybe he'd rectify that later, but for the time being he was just going to stay still.

He drifted off to sleep listening to the soft sounds of solace coming from his boy.



End 1