Are You Now or Have You Ever Been -- Revisited
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Delta Airlines Flight 1128 non-stop to New Orleans will
now begin boarding. At this time, children flying alone and passengers in need of assistance may
"That's us," Angel said, rising from his seat in the busy LAX terminal. "Children flying alone."
"How very droll," Spike said sardonically as he stood and followed Angel towards the boarding
Angel bypassed the throng of people waiting to board and, ignoring the impatient boarders'
glares, he went right up to the boarding attendant. "Passenger in need of assistance," he told the
young uniformed woman as he handed her a single ticket.
"And what type of assistance will you be needing?" she asked politely as she scanned the
barcode on the ticket.
"Seat-belt fastening and he has a carry-on bag," Angel replied.
"Very well, sir," the boarding attendant said, passing the ticket to a flight attendant standing at the
entrance to the boarding ramp. Angel stepped out of the way of the next passenger and handed
Spike's overnight bag to the waiting flight attendant.
Angel turned to Spike, who was staring sullenly at the dirty blue carpeting, bandaged hands
hidden beneath the long sleeves of his time-beaten duster. Written on one of the bandages was
the name and address of the woman Spike was supposed to meet in New Orleans and he had a
boot full of cash to pay her for her services.
If all went right, in a few days Spike would have hands again.
Angel reached out and smoothed Spike's lapel. "If you don't come back, I'll understand," he
quietly told his childe. He didn't add that he'd miss Spike if the blond choose not to return,
despite Spike's behavior in the past two weeks. Behavior that had made Angel want to thrash his
boy, but because they were still living with Cordelia, he couldn't.
It had started with a few soft snickers and had grown from there. Angel had just finished
confessing to Cordelia and Wesley that he'd killed an innocent when Spike had started laughing.
The blond had thought what had happened was hilarious, and Angel had wanted nothing more
than to beat his boy until the laughter became screams of pain.
The presence of Cordelia and Wesley, though, had prevented Angel from punishing his childe.
The two vampires were, technically, guests of Cordelia, and Angel highly doubted that she would
appreciate him dragging Spike off to the bedroom for some serious disciplining.
The younger vampire had relished in what Angel had done, and, as the days passed, he taunted
his sire unmercifully. His temerity had grown until Angel had been a hairbreadth away from
raping the boy on Cordelia's dining room table.
The dark-haired vampire hadn't given into temptation, however, as much as he'd wanted to.
Instead, the demons on the street had gotten the brunt of his anger at Spike.
There was an old saying that blessings came in threes, and Angel found out first hand how nice it
was to prove that proverb correct. In the span of twenty-four hours, he'd found a new home at
an abandoned hotel he'd once lived in; he'd discovered the satchel full of money that he'd
stashed back in 1952 still in its hiding place; and he'd received a message from a Voodun
Priestess about helping Spike.
Angel had booked Spike's flight within fifteen minutes of receiving the message.
"I might not come back even if you ordered me to," Spike grumbled in reply to Angel quiet
Angel heaved a sigh, releasing the lapel of Spike's duster. Again, why did he care if his impudent
boy vanished from his life?
Spike glanced up at Angel from under his lashes, his lips pursed in annoyance. "Are you going
to move, you nonce? Or are we going to stand here so you can embarrass me further?"
"Watch it, boy," Angel growled. "I may not have punished you while we were at Cordelia's, but
I have no compunction with taking you over my knee and spanking your insolent ass in this
airport full of strangers."
"Yeah, yeah." Spike shrugged the warning off. "Can I go now?"
Angel stepped to the side and Spike stalked passed him without a word. The older vampire
watched his childe disappear into the boarding ramp, the flight attendant trailing silently behind
As Angel turned to go, an odd combination of relief and dread swept over him -- relief that
Spike was gone and dread that Spike was gone... permanently.