Blood Money -- Revisited

by Saber ShadowKitten
Revisited II 11








Angel stopped before the doors that led to the courtyard of the Hyperion Hotel. Someone was there, behind him. Someone unsurprising. Someone he'd been waiting for.

Boone.

Anticipation rippled beneath Angel's skin. The adrenaline that had built at the 'Embarrass Lindsay and Lilah' charity benefit hadn't had an outlet. It had coiled like a snake inside of the vampire, waiting to strike.

Angel had returned to the hotel after the benefit with the intent of releasing the excess energy by beating his childe. A voice in his head had told him to wait, that a better fight would be coming. So instead of a beating, Angel had smothered his surprised little boy in kisses until he'd called out Angel's name, arching his lean body into Angel's gentle touch.

The dark-haired vampire heard the whisper of a leather coat brushing against pant-legs. The air shifted, and the spicy scent of excitement reached his nose. He could feel eyes boring into his back, and he licked his lips. "I thought you'd be halfway to Brazil by now," he said.

"No, you didn't."

Angel wiped the deadly smile from his face before turning around. "No, I didn't," he agreed.

Boone stood opposite him, in front of the frosted doors that led to the pool. The smile on the tall blue demon's face matched the one Angel had forced away. Boone held up the carpetbag, the one stolen from the charity, then threw it to the lobby floor. It opened, spilling the bundles of cash and jewelry that rightfully belonged to Anne onto Parque tile.

"How much did it come to?" Angel inquired dispassionately.

"With jewelry, north of two and a half million, I'd say," Boone answered.

"That's a lot to lay on the line."

"Yeah," Boone said, his smile growing. "But I gotta know."

Metal coils slid around Boone's palms, and he clenched his hands into fists. Angel looked steadily at the demon, not blinking. The adrenaline pumped through Angel's veins, igniting the short fuse of his self-control. He knew this would be a fight worth having, a fight between equals. And only one of them would walk away.

Boone made the first move, launching himself with a demon's strength from the stairs towards Angel. Angel leapt into action, meeting Boone in the center of the lobby, their bodies colliding like two freight trains. The impact jarred them both, but neither of them gave an inch as the fight got underway.

Eighty years ago, Angel had fought Boone and had barely survived. But that was then, when he was still plagued by his soul and the guilt he felt over decades of death and destruction. Now, Angel wasn't burdened by anything, and it showed.

Angel swept his leg low, catching Boone across the ankles, knocking him off balance. Boone caught himself on the round green couch and used it as a prop to double kick the brunette vampire in the face. Angel dropped back with the kick, absorbing it, and rolled into a backwards somersault and up to his feet. Boone was right there in his face, coiled fist flying at his jaw. Angel threw up his arm to block the punch, grabbed hold of Boone's wrist, turned into the demon, and threw him to the floor.

Boone immediately scissored his legs, entangling them with the vampire's. Angel fell like a cut tree onto the black and white tiled floor, cursing himself for his clumsiness. He flipped over, and pushed up on his hands and feet, only to be jolted by a double-fist slammed against the back of his neck. Angel kicked upwards, and he heard a hiss as his bootheel connected with the Boone family jewels.

Then there was a snarl, a shocked: "What the--", and the sound of a large body hitting the ground.

Angel was on his feet in a second, spun around, and blinked in surprise. Spike had tackled Boone, and was currently straddling the flabbergasted blue demon. The half-clad blond vampire was game-faced and snarling like crazy, struggling to free himself from Boone's iron grip on his thin wrists. Spike smacked his ridged forehead against Boone's nose, but the larger demon did not let go.

For the briefest instant, something squished in Angel's chest, but the feeling was quickly replaced by annoyance at Spike for interrupting. Angel stalked over to the two, grabbed Spike by the nape of the neck, and hauled the blond off of Boone. The older vampire tossed Spike like a ragdoll to the red carpeted stairs and glared angrily at him.

"Did it look like I needed your help?" Angel growled at him.

Spike's yellow eyes were wide and he looked, to Angel, like a kicked puppy. "Y-Yes," he answered tentatively.

"Well, I don't," Angel told him. "And if you don't get your ass back up those stairs, you're going to wish I fisted you dry."

Spike's nostrils flared and he pressed his lips firmly together as he stared up at Angel for another moment. Angel took a menacing step towards him, and Spike scrambled to his feet and up the stairs.

The dark-haired vampire turned to Boone, who was watching curiously from his perch on the round couch. A trickle of red blood ran from a cut over his ear, but other than that he looked like he'd just stepped out of a 'Demons Of The Wild West' magazine. Fresh as a daisy. Strong as an ox.

"My boy," Angel said by way of explanation.

"Protective little guy," Boone commented as he stood. "It'll be a shame to kill him."

Angel's eyes narrowed at the threat. "You leave him alone," he said evenly.

"No can do," Boone said. "The moment I win, the kid will be on a vengeance kick. I'll have to kill him."

Everything inside Angel went dead calm. Boone might have had a chance, but he just sealed his own fate. No one, but no one, threatened to harm even one bleached strand on his childe's head and lived.

Angel shed his coat, letting it fall to the floor in a heap, the weapons hidden in the pockets clunking on the tile. His face shifted, the demon ridges arching his brow, his eyes becoming a burning gold, his jagged fangs emphasizing the predator within him. "Let's do this," he said in a low, rumbling voice.

The coils reappeared around Boone's hands, and he nodded politely at Angel. "Yes, let's."

Grunts and curses accompanied the concerto of flesh hitting flesh, cartilage cracking, and bones breaking. Angel reveled in each hit he delivered and received, the brutal blows fueling his enmity. Before Boone had threatened Angel's childe, he had simply been a banal adversary, someone for Angel to pit his skills against: a challenge. The threat to Spike had changed that.

Blood spattered the pristine white tiles of the lobby floor and the charity money that had fallen out of the carpetbag. The round couch had been violently shoved aside, leaving black scuff marks and a smattering of change in its wake. Several potted trees had been upturned, scattering dirt and leaves. Chips of stone from a fist-hole in the decorative support column littered the ground. A corner was broken from the marble registration counter, the jagged edge coated with blood and bits of blue shirt material.

One coil on Boone's hand had been ripped clean off, the other broken into a sharp spear of otherwordly metal. Angel gurgled as Boone grabbed him by the throat and the metal pierced his neck. Straddling the blue demon on the floor, much the same way Spike had pinned him, Angel gripped Boone's other hand, which held a broken branch from a potted tree. The vampire struggled to reach his boot, fighting against the black spots dancing in front of his eyes.

The dark-haired vampire's fingers touched the hem of his trousers, and he tugged at the material. He clamped his thighs firmer against Boone as the demon tried to buck him off. Angel's fingertips grazed the pommel of the knife he kept in his boot. The hand around his neck tightened, the broken coil of metal digging deeper into his neck, and blood welled in his throat.

Angel choked and coughed, spitting blood in Boone's face. Boone's struggles against Angel faltered for the barest of instances, but it was enough. Angel's hand closed around the handle of the knife, pulled it free from his boot, and he jammed the blade into Boone's temple. Angel watched as a flash of surprise lit Boone's features before the other demon went completely slack, dead.

The vampire slid off of Boone and onto the floor, his face pressed against the scattered charity money as he spit up more blood. Pain radiated from Angel's entire being, and the dancing black spots grew larger and larger until they covered his vision completely and he slipped into unconsciousness.

*****

Angel felt gentle fingers combing through his hair as he returned to consciousness. For a moment, he wondered what happened, then his body reminded him in screamingly painful detail about the fight with Boone. Everything that could hurt, did, even his eyebrows and the creases in his elbows.

He opened his eyes into small slits and found Spike directly in front of him. The blond was sitting beside the bed, his arm on the comforter and his chin resting on the back of his wrist. His other arm was up by Angel's head, and it was his long fingers that were cording through Angel's hair. Blue eyes watched the older vampire closely, and relief flashed through them when he saw Angel was awake.

"I thought I told you to stay upstairs," Angel murmured hoarsely, recognizing that he was in his bedroom.

"So punish me," Spike responded quietly, not stopping his petting.

Angel started to move and immediately changed his mind. "Maybe later," he said with a groan.

"Yeah," Spike said. "Later."

The dark-haired vampire laid unmoving on his side, with his eyes shut, and willed the pain away. He wanted to get that money to Anne, before she became jaded against the few people who still cared about helping others. Jaded like him.

"Who was that guy?" Spike eventually asked, breaking the stillness in the room.

"An old acquaintance," Angel said. He opened his eyes again and met Spike's surprisingly guileless gaze. "I'm surprised you tried to help me."

Spike lowered his lashes, and Angel would swear there was a blush staining his boy's high cheeks. "Yeah, well, no one gets to beat your arse, but me," the blond said defensively.

Angel smiled dryly. "You're doing a terrific job."

Spike lifted his chin and scowled at Angel. "Just you wait," he said. "As soon as you don't look like you've gone ten rounds with... well, that git downstairs, I'll give you a bloody good kicking."

"Hmm-mm," Angel agreed non-committally. He carefully reached out to run his finger along Spike's pink-tinged cheekbone. "We'll see, Spike. We'll see."





End