Heroes -- Revisited
Angel walked with heavy steps down the stairs to his apartment, moving on automation. He had
just finished taking Cordelia back to her own apartment. He hadn't wanted to leave her, but she
had forced him out with a growled "Go" half an hour before sunrise. He thought he heard her
say that Dennis would be there, but with the grief clouding his mind, he could have been hearing
His stride across the hardwood floor was slow. His legs felt like lead to him. All he wanted to do
was crawl into bed and wake up to find that Doyle's death was nothing more than a nightmare.
But he knew that would not happen.
Angel was halfway across the large room when he heard a chain rattling. Turning his head, he
saw Spike sitting up in the corner of the room, one knee bent with a forearm resting casually on
it. The blond's face was blood-spattered, but healed, as were his chest and torso. He met
Angel's eyes briefly before dropping them with submission.
"Damn, I forgot about you," Angel muttered to himself. He had forgotten that he'd left Spike in
the corner after using his childe as a punching bag two days prior. He really didn't want to have
Spike around, especially not while he was close to the end of his composure.
Picking up his pace slightly, Angel headed for the bedroom to retrieve the key ring off of his
dresser. When he turned to leave the room, his mind flashed to earlier that day, when Doyle was
telling him about how seeing Harry for five minutes made the half-demon hurt for days. The
dark-haired vampire clenched his teeth together and willed the sharp pain in his heart to leave.
After a moment, he walked back out of the bedroom towards Spike. His eyes lit on the place
where Doyle had stood and told him that he was a real hero. His steps faltered as the blue-eyed
Irishman's voice rang in his ears.
"Well if it's a fight they want, can't someone else give it to them?"
Angel's hand tightened around the key ring in his hand, the sharp metal digging into his skin. He
took a purposeful breath, his nostrils flaring with the action, then continued towards Spike.
"Arm," he grunted, crouching down beside the blond when he reached Spike's side.
Spike held out his wrist with the manacle on it and Angel inserted the key. With a click, the lock
opened and Spike let the chain fall to the ground with a loud clank. Angel's hand shot out and
cuffed him upside the head. "Don't scratch my floor," he growled. "Now get up."
Angel stood as Spike did, and the dark-haired vampire pocketed the keys after gesturing for his
childe to proceed him towards the grate in the floor. They right near the grate when Angel
stumbled and grabbed onto Spike's shoulder, his knees going weak when Doyle's voice floated
to him again.
"Tell you what -- you fight, and I'll keep score."
"Oh god, Doyle," Angel whispered, closing his eyes tightly against the onslaught of emotion he
was feeling. His hand tightened on Spike's shoulder and he clenched his jaw. It felt as though a
two-by-four had been slammed into his gut.
He sucked in a great, purposeful gulp of air and let it out shakily. When he reopened his eyes, he
found Spike looking at him questioningly. He let his human mask slip away and he snarled at
Spike, "Drop your eyes, boy, before I rip them out of their sockets."
Spike dropped his head and Angel shoved him forward roughly. The blond vampire tripped
down the steps in front of the grate, landing on his hands and knees. Angel growled and walked
down the two steps behind Spike, straddling the blond's lower legs and grabbing him by the back
of the hair. He started to yank Spike's head back, but Doyle's voice whispered in his ear one
"The good fight, yeah? You never know until you've been tested. I get that now."
Angel fell backwards onto his rear on the bottom step, pulling Spike up and back with him
because of the strong grip he had on his childe's peroxide hair. The younger vampire's arms
came to rest on both of Angel's legs in order to balance himself, and the action caused Angel to
warp his other arm around Spike's throat, pulling his childe back against him.
He was about to growl another warning-cum-threat in Spike's ear, but his words came out as a
choked sob. He squeezed his eyes shut, releasing the back of Spike's hair as another sob
wracked his body uncontrollably. Angel's free arm went around the younger vampire, pulling
the blond further back against him and he dropped his forehead down on Spike's shoulder as the
tears of grief forced themselves past Angel's barriers.
The dark-haired vampire rocked slightly forward and back on the step, hot tears coursing down
his cheeks as reality crashed down upon him once more. Doyle was dead. The half-demon
wasn't coming back to ask him for money, or to talk about Cordelia, or to prod him into not
holing himself up in his apartment to brood.
Doyle was gone. Forever.
"No, no, no, no, no," Angel cried, squeezing Spike tighter against him. "Not Doyle. Not yet. It
wasn't his time. I wasn't ready for him to go. Not yet..."
Angel didn't know how long he sat there crying. When he finally calmed down, he realized the
soft purring and gentle fingers brushing repeatedly over his hair in comfort were both actions of
his childe's. He didn't know why Spike was doing it, considering the younger vampire was
living a life of submission to him, but he wasn't going to reprimand the blond, or question it.
After a few minutes of silence as Angel regained his composure, the dark-haired vampire lifted
his head from Spike shoulder and placed a kiss on the nape of the younger man's neck. Angel
took a shaky breath and let go of Spike, then stood.
"Why don't you go get cleaned up before I take you down," Angel said roughly, indicating it was
more of a command than a suggestion.
Spike nodded and stood. He climbed out of the area and headed back towards the bathroom.
Angel watched him silently from where he stood, dried tear tracks on his cheeks.