Warzone - Revisited

by Saber ShadowKitten
Revisited 18

Angel stood on the rooftop of his building and looked out at the bright lights of the nighttime city. The night was peaceful, quiet, and completely at odds with his tumultuous thoughts. Cordelia would say he was in brood-mode again, but she would be wrong.

Tonight, Angel wasn't thinking about the past, he was thinking about the present and the future.

He was thinking about Spike.

Since returning from Sunnydale, Angel had avoided going to his apartment except, once, to quickly sneak through to get to the tunnels. Spike was undoubtably getting antsy from being cooped up alone for so long, maybe even enough for him to try and walk with his broken knees. But, Angel wasn't going to go down there until he made a decision as to what to do with his childe.

Spike didn't know it, but he had thrown a large wrench into the relationship between them. Added to what happened with Rebecca, Spike's wishes for Angel to need him had changed what was, at first, a simple way for Angel to control his violence and bloodlust. With three little words -- "Need me, Angel" -- Spike had pierced through Angel's rationalizations in keeping the blond around.

Angel didn't need Spike. Worse, Spike was actually a huge detriment to Angel's quest for atonement.

The dark-haired vampire brought a hand up and rubbed his weary eyes. In the past week, he'd hit Buffy; almost destroyed what small amount of relationship that remained between them; learned Spike was afraid of his soulless self; learned that Spike wanted to be needed by the man Angel was now; had Buffy pick him over Riley, even if it was only temporary; made peace with her; found some children playing vampire hunters; and watched as a boy named Gunn found the strength to stake his sister, whom the young man had loved over everything.

All Angel really wanted to do was curl up and sleep for a week. Instead, he was on the roof, contemplating his choices in regards to Spike.

Angel chuckled hollowly. He couldn't believe how well he'd convinced himself that he used his dominance over Spike to control his demon. Rebecca's idiocy had proved that the demon inside him despised Spike and wanted nothing to do with him. It was Angel, himself, the souled man within the vampire body, that abused and violated Spike.

That fact weighed a hundred times heavier on Angel's conscience than any of the torture his demon self had performed on Spike.

It couldn't go on for any longer. Angel needed to remove his childe from his life before any remote chance he had for redemption was lost to him forever.

The dark-haired vampire took a purposeful breath, let it out slowly, then headed for the stairs. In the pocket of his coat was a stake, and he fingered it with a guilt-heavy heart.

The lift came to a halt without a sound, and Angel pushed open the grate. He heard soft cursing coming from the kitchen and a frown creased his brow. Silently, he sneaked towards the kitchen, his hand gripping the stake in his pocket.

"Ow... fuck, not again."

Angel recognized the voice and relaxed. He paused at the entryway to the kitchen and, partially hidden behind a support column, he watched as Spike blotted at his blood-stained grey shirt with a dishtowel. It should have shocked the older vampire that Spike was out of bed under his own power, but it didn't. Angel was more surprised that Spike had waited this long before attempting to walk with his busted knees.

The dark-haired man surreptitiously watched as Spike tossed the dishtowel in the sink, picked up a green mug that was sitting on top of the microwave, clasped it between his lips, and used a pair of aluminum crutches to slowly hobble to the table. The younger vampire's muscles in his arms bulged as he rested almost all of his weight on his hands, which were clenched around the handles of the crutches.

Spike set the mug down, then seated himself on the edge of a kitchen chair with his brace-clad legs stretched out in front of him. Angel couldn't help the scowl of disgust that crossed his face as Spike grabbed an oreo cookie from the bag on the table, dunked it in the mug of blood, and ate it.

Angel cleared his throat before he entered the kitchen, minimally pleased when Spike jumped in his seat.

"Bloody hell, you pillock, you startled me," Spike said with a glare.

"Where'd you get the crutches?" Angel asked in lieu of an apology or a greeting.

"Had them delivered from a hospital supply store," Spike replied, dunking another cookie in his mug of blood. "How was your trip?"

"Fine." Angel rounded the table and came up behind Spike. His palm began to sweat, making his hand itch from the wood of the stake. "How well can you get around on those things?"

Spike shrugged. "Well enough. I got sick of sitting on my arse in bed. You really ought to think about getting a telly, mate."

"Maybe." Angel removed the stake from his pocket and raised it.

"Bugger," Spike grumbled as his cookie dropped into the mug. He stuck his fingers into the thick liquid to try and get the cookie back.

Angel's arm was trembling wildly. I have to do this, he thought. There's no other choice.

Spike turned his head slightly, and the dark-haired vampire could see his childe biting on his lower lip as he concentrated.

Gunn staked his sister. Buffy was able to skewer her first true love with a sword. Darla, Angel's Sire and one-time close companion, was staked by his own hand. Spike meant nothing in comparison to any of those nearly impossible sacrifices, and staking him should be as simple as staking any other vampire on the street.

Angel thrust the stake down...

...and back into his pocket.

"Boy, you have an hour to clear out of here,"Angel said in a hard tone. He walked over to the sink, gripped the edge tightly and forced himself to stare at the brick wall. "I am ordering you to stay away from this building, not to go near Cordelia or Wesley, and not to kill anyone when you feed once your knees heal."

A thick tension filled the room, and the silence stretched on uncomfortably until Spike asked in a rough voice, "Why?"

"Because I'm the Master, and I want you gone," Angel ground out between clenched teeth. He was not going to turn. He was not going to look at Spike. He didn't want to see any of the emotions that were expressed on Spike's face and in his blue eyes.

Angel closed his eyes tightly and repeated his reply with a harsh edge, "Because I am the Master, boy, and I. Want. You. Gone."

The dark-haired vampire winced when he heard the softly uttered, "Yes, Master."

The tips of the crutches squeaked on the floor. Angel didn't move until he was certain Spike had reached the bedroom. Then, he quickly fled the apartment and the vampire he couldn't stake.

Angel stood on the rooftop of his building and looked out at the bright lights of the nighttime city. The night was peaceful, quiet, and completely at odds with his tumultuous thoughts. Cordelia would say he was in brood-mode again.

She would be right.