"What is the purpose of this again?" Xander asked, looking down at the sixteen crossed and
clasped hands in the center of the circle. They had re-gathered in the basement, drank more and
were intoxicated to the point just below the slurring of speech range. Spike stayed as far away
from Angel as he could get, keeping a wary eye on his sire. So far, the dark-haired vampire had
done nothing but smirk at him. That was a bad sign.
"Teamwork,"Willow stated. "Now, the object is to get untangled without letting go of the hands
that you hold. Ready?"
"I think I need another drink," Cordelia stated. "This is so dumb."
"So are you, but I still do what you say," Angel commented from beside her. He dropped his
mouth open and fake-gasped at her when she glared. "Did I say that?"
"You definitely don't need any more to drink," Cordelia told him. "You're beginning to sound
"Aye, missy. That would be a bad thing," Angel said with an exaggerated Irish accent.
"Buffy, are you sure I can't stake him?" Cordelia asked the blond Slayer across the slightly
swaying circle of friends.
"Positive," Buffy replied. "He sucks a mean pussy." Angel snorted and the others turned to her
in shock. "What? It's true. If you don't believe me, let him suck yours."
Willow blushed scarlet, Anya looked interested -- which caused Xander to sputter incoherently -
and Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Sure, feed his ego, why don't you," Cordelia said.
"Feed me anytime you'd like, Buffy," Angel added, waggling his eyebrows.
"Do you want that with or without salt?" Buffy replied, with a wink.
Angel looked directly at Spike and smirked. "Definitely with," he answered, then licked his
chops like a lion after a good kill. Spike dropped his gaze and shifted on his feet. He was
definitely going to get it.
"Um, can we start now," Willow asked, her voice higher-pitched than normal. "Please?"
"Deadboy is not going to eat you out!" Xander finally got out. Anya looked at him and arched a
single brow. "Well, he's not!"
"I'll try and remember that," Anya said dryly.
"Good," Xander said with a firm nod of his head. He looked around at the others. "Ok, now that
that's settled, we can start."
"Huh, an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder," Oz said suddenly. The werewolf was looking off in
the distance when everyone turned their stares on him. He blinked and shrugged. "It's better
than a keepsemfromfloppin'."
"Otis Titsling," Spike said. "I have that soundtrack around here somewhere."
"I saw it," Oz said. "That's why the song's in my head."
"What are you talking about?" Willow asked.
"Sorry," Oz apologized. "I'll show you after the game."
"Whoever's hands I'm holding are getting clammy, can we start already?" Cordelia whined.
An hour later, eight bodies lay in a heap on the floor, giggling like mad and still holding hands.
They had managed to get untangled, but had lost their collective balances. Like dominos, when
one fell to the ground, the rest followed suit.
"I think that's enough games," Buffy gasped.
"But I have this neat one-"
"NO!" came the chorused response.
Spike frowned at his stereo, which was near his feet. He lifted his leg and poked at the buttons
with his dual-sock-clad toe. He had come very close to wearing his chicken slippers when he and
Buffy had re-dressed. Instead, he'd let her wear them, along with a pair of his sweats and green
T-shirt. She looked adorable. He wanted to shag her again.
And now for a taste of things to come
Spike shot up to a sitting position the exact same time Angel did. Oz sat partway up and cocked
his head to one side. Spike hadn't known that this soundtrack was in the player. His hand shot
out quickly and hit the single play button at the same time he heard the low snarl from behind
him. His face rippled into its vampiric ridges and he smoothly rolled up onto his haunches,
golden eyes meeting golden across the fallen circle of friends.
"Um, guys?" Buffy said, looking between the two vampires. "What's going on?"
"Oz, what's wrong?" Willow asked.
"Don't you hear it?" Oz replied. He sat up completely and looked at the speakers.
"Hear what?" Xander asked, as he and the others sat up.
Spike pulled his T-shirt over his head at the same time Angel removed his shirt. Both of their lips
were curled back, and a low growling sound played just under the drum beats.
"Oh shit," Cordelia swore. "Everyone back, now." She quickly got up and hurried to the other
side of the furniture that had been pushed over by the bar to clear a spot to play Willow's game.
Oz stood just as rapidly, grabbed Willow and practically dragged her over to where Cordelia was
standing. He pushed her behind one of the couches, then moved so he was in front of her on the
Xander exchanged a look with Anya, and the two of them quickly joined Cordelia and Willow.
"Buffy, get over here now," Cordelia snapped, her eyes on the two vampires.
Buffy looked at Cordelia in surprise at her tone, but stood and hurried over to them. "Do you
know something we don't?"
"They're going to fight," Cordelia replied. "I've seen this happen once before. Me, Angel, Kate
and Doyle went to this club and suddenly Angel does this," she waved at the two, "with about
twenty other vampires in the place."
"Why?" Anya asked.
"Listen," Oz said. His eyes were slightly darker than normal and his nostrils were flaring. "It's
calling to them."
"I don't hear anything," Xander said.
"Me either," Buffy said.
"Not me," Willow added.
"Angel told me later that this soundtrack was made by a vampire specifically to instigate the
fight. They lose their sense of self and become animalistic to the extreme," Cordelia commented.
"Do you know anything else?" Buffy asked.
Angel lifted his hand and cut his skin with the side of his thumbnail on his left pectoral muscle.
Spike mimicked his action. The two of them were balanced on their toes, leaning slightly towards
one another, the drums still pounding through the speakers.
"Angel explained it to me afterwards," Cordelia answered. "That symbol he just made reads
'Order of Aurelius, Childe of Darla, Named Angelus.'"
"What about Spike?" Buffy asked.
"'Order of Aurelius, Childe of Angelus, Named William'...Oh my," Cordelia replied. "See that
little asterisk-like mark? That means favorite childe. Angel told me that very few vampires allow
their favorite childer to mark themselves in that manner. It's a real big honor or something."
"So they're just going to fight until one of them cries uncle?" Willow asked.
"They'll fight until one of them dominates the other," Cordelia said.
"How will we know when that happens?" Xander said.
Cordelia looked at Xander. "When one of them starts screwing the other."
Xander's eyes bulged and his gaze shot back to the two vampires. "Why aren't we stopping
them? I don't want to see that!" He moved around the other side of the couch to go towards the
stereo and suddenly found himself shoved back by Oz. The werewolf's lips were curled back in
a similar manner to the vampire's.
"Back off," Oz said in a deadly, low tone. Xander scrambled back behind the couch and stared at
Oz. Oz met his gaze steadily, then turned and began pacing in front of the couch, his head
jerking towards the speakers every-so-often.
"Cordelia, you said Angel did this before," Willow said. "Does that mean...um..."
"He was the dominant," Cordelia answered. "It was the most vicious, savage, erotic fight I'd ever
The five behind the couch all turned their eyes to the two vampires. They watched as Spike's
hand shot out and hit the number five on the track selection. The low sounds of Control filled
the room, the electronic instruments building in speed as the song began. Suddenly, the main
beat began and the two vampires launched themselves at each other.
They hit with the smack of skin, tangling together as they hit the floor. Like animals, they rolled
and clawed, threw and bit each other. Their continual snarls and savage cries filtered over the
pulsating music coming from the speakers. Oz had dropped to his own haunches, leaning
forward on the knuckles of one hand, watching with hard intensity.
The entire open area of the floor was used as Angel and Spike fought. Several times one would
have the other pinned, only for that other to escape at the last second. The carpeting was
splattered with blood, turning the beige fibers ruby-colored. The air visibly shimmered with
electricity and heat, the scent of pure maleness hit those watching, causing them to tremble with
They watched in voyeuristic fascination as Angel pinned Spike face-first to the floor and sank his
fangs into the nape of the younger vampire's neck. They saw Spike's jeans ripped from his
backside and Angel shoving down his own pants to his thighs, his canines still in Spike's neck.
Claws sank into the skin around the blond's hips as Angel yanked them upwards. The older
vampire shoved Spike's legs apart with his knee. The sound Spike made was almost like an
animal howling as he was forcefully taken. The five winced, but continued to watch. Oz, however, clawed at the floor with his
fingernails, making an different sort of animalistic cry -- one of a victorious nature.
Angel stopped suddenly, his snarl of completion echoing over the stereo. Then, he abruptly
pulled out and released Spike's nape, flipped the younger vampire over and smashed his lips to
his childe's. The music ended abruptly and the room descended into a thick silence, as Oz cut
off at the same time.
They watched as Angel slowly raised his head, breaking away from Spike's mouth, and gazed
down at the younger vampire. Then he bent down and licked the symbol on his childe's
pectoral. He spoke two words, his voice harsh and guttural, and they cut through the silence like
a knife. "My boy."
"Yes," Spike stated, his voice equally as low and raw.
Angel's head shot up and Spike turned his sideways, their twin golden pairs of eyes pinning her
down. "What? I sneezed," Cordelia said. "It's not my fault you need to vacuum."
Spike winced when Buffy dabbed at a particularly nasty cut across his stomach. The arm around
his shoulder tightened a moment, then relaxed, as the vampire beside him received the same
treatment from Cordelia. They were perched on the coffee table, which was still pushed to one
side of the room, and the music had been changed to a light rock radio station in order to dispel
the intense atmosphere in the basement.
"Do you think we'll see Oz and Willow again tonight...er, this morning?" Buffy asked.
"Doubt it," Angel answered. "If Oz heard even a tenth of what we did, Willow won't be able to
walk, let alone come out of that bedroom."
Shortly after Cordelia had sneezed, the group heard a squeak, then saw a flash of red as Willow
as whisked up the stairs by Oz. It had taken Angel and Spike a few minutes longer to regain their
senses and slide back into their human masks. Spike had been embarrassed by what the others
had witnessed, however, Angel was anything but. He was acting both proud and possessive, and
his arm had yet to be removed from around Spike's shoulder. He wouldn't even let Spike get
another pair of trousers. The ones he'd changed into Buffy had fetched for him.
"What did you hear?" Xander asked. He and Anya were seated on the stools in front of the bar, a
drink in each of their hands. "And why did Oz hear it, but not us?"
"Werewolf side-effect perhaps," Angel said with a shrug. He took a sip of the drink in his hand.
"As for what we heard, it's hard to explain. The closest thing I can compare it to is subliminal
messages that affects our demons, causing us to compete."
"If you knew this would happen, Spike, why was that music in the CD player?" Anya asked.
"I didn't know I'd left it in there," Spike answered quietly. He was studiously avoiding meeting
anyone's eyes, still feeling acutely embarrassed not only for being fucked in front of them, but
for willingly admitting to Angel's claiming him by saying yes to his sire's proprietary words.
A secret part of him, however, was ecstatic by the claim. It meant that he was still Angel's
favorite childe, even though his sire had his soul. When Angelus had returned to the fold a few
years back, he had hoped that they could go back to the way things were between him and his
sire and Drusilla. It had soon become apparent that wasn't to be the case due to Angelus'
obsession with Buffy and his injury. It had hurt that his sire hadn't wanted him, almost as much
as his purposely taking Drusilla away.
In the past, Angelus had a sire's right to have Drusilla any time he wanted to, but he had
encouraged Spike and Drusilla to be together. When he'd returned after losing his soul, he'd
intentionally pulled them apart and they had not reconciled since, leaving him adrift and alone for
the first time in centuries. It had been a blessing, rather than a curse, that he'd been forced into
helping Buffy and company; for he then had a specific place in the world again.
And now that Angel had reestablished he still claimed Spike, he was no longer alone.
"Why was it in there to begin with?" Buffy asked, curiously. She wrinkled her nose at the smell
of iodine as she cleaned his wounds.
"I was listening to it before we fought that Navron or whatever the bloody hell it was called,"
"If there's no other vampires around, it jacks you up," Angel explained.
"So that's why we had at least fifty pieces of dead demon to dispose of," Xander said. "And
here I thought the munchkin just had PMS."
"There you go," Cordelia announced, patting Angel on the thigh. "All fixed. Don't say I never
did anything for you."
"You do things for me all the time, Cord," Angel said with a lewd wink.
"Buffy, you're ex-boyfriend is a pervert," Cordelia stated.
"So I'm learning," Buffy said. "And I think it's all your fault."
"My fault?" Cordelia scoffed.
"Yes, your fault," Buffy said. "He was Mr. Brooder before he left, now he's Mr. Crude, just like
you are when you don't shave your mustache."
Cordelia's mouth dropped open, and Xander and Anya tittered. "Mustache?!" the brunette
Buffy stood with the first aid stuff, dropped a kiss on Spike's bowed head and headed for the
stairs. "Don't worry, Cordelia. It matches your mono-brow."
"Mono-brow?!" Cordelia shrieked. She stood and went after Buffy, who tore up the stairs,
laughing. "You are so dead!"
"To go back on topic," Anya said after the two women had left. "What does that little fight
between you two mean?"
"It means that I go back to screwing Cordelia in LA, Spike goes back to screwing Buffy with his
socks on, but he's mine," Angel stated with a little growl on the last word. His arm tightened
around Spike's shoulder again. "And he always will be."
They were making fun of his tattoo.
It was only a matter of time before the others would actually notice it on the crazy Slaying
Retreat. Hell, he'd taken his shirt off more in one night in front of anyone than he had in the past
two years. He'd also had more sex than he'd had in the past two years, as well, but that was a
different story entirely.
Spike sighed and covered his eyes with his arm, trying to ignore Buffy's fingers tracing each of
the flowers on his abdomen and side. He was laying on the floor, uncaring of the blood-stained
carpeting, with Buffy laying perpendicular to him on her stomach. Cordelia and Angel were on
one of the replaced couches, his sire massaging the former cheerleader's feet. Anya and Xander
were curled up together on the second couch, the ex-demoness nestled in the crook of her
boyfriend's shoulder. Willow and Oz still hadn't reappeared, though no one expected them to
"Tell me more about this Flower," Anya prompted. "I still don't understand."
"Flower is the name of the skunk," Xander replied. "It's sort of a joke."
"He's the sweetest character in the movie," Buffy said. "He's all bashful and has a great big blue
eyes." Her fingers danced over the cartoon skunk sniffing one of the white flowers in the small
bunch that he was sitting in. A trail of them led around Spike's side onto his back, where a blue
dragonfly sat on the very last one.
"And this cartoon is good?" Anya asked.
"Spike cried," Buffy replied with a grin.
"Shut up," Spike muttered.
"Don't worry, my boy, I cried, too," Angel admitted.
"Yeah, but you cry at everything, nancyboy," Spike said.
"I think it's an adorable tattoo," Buffy said.
"Swell," he said sarcastically.
"Don't worry," Xander said in an evil voice. "We won't tell anyone about the tattoo...Bambi."
Spike growled, but didn't move. Buffy giggled, then pressed a kiss over the tattoo before she
turned on his side before she laid her head on his stomach. Her hair brushed softly against his
skin, tickling him slightly.
The room fell into a comfortable silence, the long night and alcohol catching up with everyone.
"Same rooms?" Xander asked quietly, as he and Anya stood.
"Yeah, mate," Spike answered.
"Night guys...or rather, good day," Xander said. Then he and Anya went upstairs.
"Hey Cordelia," Buffy said a few minutes later. "Are you having sex with Angel?"
"Not at this very minute," Cordelia replied.
Spike lifted his arm and looked over at Cordelia and Angel, then down at the blond using him as
a pillow. "Does it matter, pet?" he asked Buffy.
Buffy turned her head and met his eyes. She sighed. "Just don't give him a happy, ok?"
"Lia's too much of a bitch for that to ever happen," Angel teased. Cordelia kicked him with her
"I hate to say this, but Xander had a good idea," Buffy said around a yawn. She rolled up to her
feet and offered a hand up to Spike. Cordelia and Angel rose, as well.
Spike led the way up to the second floor, then led them to the door at the end of the short hall
beyond the other bedrooms. "That's the only room left free," he said to the two brunettes.
"There's twin beds in there, so as long as you don't mind sharing..."
Angel smirked, the overnight bags he'd picked up in the foyer in his hands. "I think we'll
He gave his sire a half-smile in return. "Right, then," he said. He waited until Cordelia and Angel
entered the bedroom and closed the door behind them before he turned to head back to his own
And promptly ran into Buffy.
"Um, hey," Buffy said, meeting his eyes, then looking away. "Do you think...maybe..."
"Yeah," Spike said softly.
The smile she bestowed upon him made his heart beat in his chest.
Spike woke up with a massive headache and a warm body curled up against him. The first one
made him grimace, the second one made him smile. He glanced down at the blond head
pillowed on his chest and allowed himself a sigh of contentment. He was a wuss. An utter and
complete nancyboy who was as soft as an old teddy bear.
Buffy stirred and groaned. "Owie." He stroked her shoulder lightly and she lifted her head. "Hi.
Or not hi if your head hurts as much as mine."
"I'll live," he told her with a smirk.
"Ha, ha," she said dryly. She put her head back down for a second, then lifted it and looked at
him again. "This is ok, right?"
Spike frowned. "Is what ok?"
"This -- you, me, bed," Buffy said. She looked upwards. "Bed-hair."
"I should be asking you that," he replied.
"Cor, what do you want me to say, Slayer?" Spike said. "That I've dreamed about you waking
up beside me? That I think you're a bloody sexy little chit even with bed-hair? That I want to
shag you until your headache goes away and then every day for the rest of your life? That I-"
"Alright, alright, you made your point," Buffy interrupted. She grinned mischievously. "What if
I'm just using you because of Angel and Cordelia?"
Spike spread his arms wide. "Use me all you want, luv. I'll suffer."
She snorted, then crawled out of the bed with a groan. "Shower and then coffee? Or coffee and
then shower?" she asked herself, as she wandered into the bathroom, shutting the door behind
"No, mate, you're not too pathetic." Spike sighed again, got up and headed downstairs. He
found the kitchen full of hung-over, coffee drinkers in various stages of dress, Cordelia being
perfectly made-up and Xander looking like he slept in his clothing. "Evening, people."
Four out of the six flicked him off. Willow and Oz were too busy blushing and exchanging looks
Spike poured himself some coffee and took the empty seat next to his sire. Everyone sipped
their drinks in silence until Buffy entered the room. "What is this, a meeting of Hang-overs
"Buffy, you are too perky for this early in the evening," Xander said. He looked her over from
head-to-toe. "Did you get laid?"
"Xander!" Buffy gasped, turning bright red.
"I take it that's a big ol' honkin' yep," Xander said. He turned his gaze to Spike. "You better
take care, shorty. I'm bigger than you." Spike rolled his eyes in response.
"Well, um, did everyone have fun?" Willow asked after Buffy sat down.
"Willow, you're definition of fun is way different than anyone remotely normal," Cordelia said.
"Oh," Willow said. "Uh, then did everyone learn something at least? Better team cohesion? No
more dirty laundry to air?"
"I learned more about Bambi over here then I ever wanted to know," Xander said.
"Buffy has a tattoo on her butt that she won't tell anyone about," Willow added.
"Angel owns Spike's ass," Anya said. Spike glared at her and she shrugged. "It's the truth."
"Werewolves have better hearing than I expected," Oz said. "Among other things." Willow
blushed again and ducked her head.
"I learned Spike had to be the oldest living virgin on the face of the earth," Cordelia said.
"And he has sex with his socks on," Angel added with a devilish smirk.
"Anyone else feel like kicking me while I'm down?" Spike asked.
Buffy held up her foot. "These are Spike's chicken slippers." Everyone chuckled save for the
vampire being laughed at.
"Right. Well, I learned that these Slaying Retreats should-"
"Ahem," Buffy cleared her throat, Oz glared at him and Angel kicked him in the shin.
"-be held here every bloody year," Spike concluded with dramatic sigh.
"Really?" Willow said excitedly. "That's so cool. We could make a weekend of it instead of just
an overnight. And there's this one thing I wanted to try from the book on how to put together
retreats like this..."
Angel stood. "Well, let us know when," he said, interrupting her. "Cord and I should be heading
back. If we leave Kate and Doyle alone too long, they tend to...redecorate."
"And that's not in the good way," Cordelia added, standing. "Last time, there was a pair of feet
hanging from the ceiling fan. Feet! That demon so needed to see a pedicurist."
Angel gave everyone a baleful look. "Are you sure you guys don't want her to stay?"
Spike followed the two out after everyone said their goodbyes. Cordelia got into the car as Angel
put their bags in the trunk. "So, er...right," the blond vampire said, shifting from foot to foot as
he watched his sire.
Before he closed the trunk, Angel pulled his childe into a quick, hard embrace. "Behave yourself.
Watch your back. I don't want to spend eternity alone."
"You too, Angel," Spike said seriously. "Don't get too happy."
Angel chuckled and pressed a light kiss on his lips. "I love you, my boy. Take care of Buffy.
She's the greatest woman this world will ever know."
"I will," he replied. He stepped back as Angel walked around the side car and got in. He lifted
his hand in a mock salute and stood there until the taillights disappeared around a corner. Then
he sighed, "Love you, too, mate. Love you, too."
"Spike! Where's the marshmallows?!"
"I think we're out, luv!" Spike yelled. He took the clean glasses out of the dumb-waiter and set
them on the bar. Once done, he padded across the basement in his duck slippers -- companions
to the chickens, which he'd given to Buffy -- and ran his finger along their CDs on the rack
mounted to the wall.
"They're gonna be here any minute," Buffy said, hurrying down the stairs with bowls of chips
and a plate of cut up vegetables in her hand. "Can you please give me a hand?"
"Calm down, Slayer," Spike told her. "It's not like they haven't been here before."
"Yeah, but this year I'm the hostess," Buffy said. "I don't want anything to go wrong and god I
just jinxed myself." She set the dishes down on the coffee table and rushed back to the stairs.
"Come on, Spike. Get your undead sexy ass moving and help your woman."
"I'll be right up, pet," he told her. Chuckling at her nervousness at their first combined Slaying
Retreat since she'd moved in with him, he skimmed over the titles, choosing and discarding
several. His hand paused over a certain soundtrack, then he ran his finger along the case before
taking it out of the rack. With a grin, he stuck it in the changer and programed it for singular play
on track one and five.
"Coming, luv!" Spike called, looking at the CD case. His grin grew as he set it down. "This year,
Angel, you're mine."
"I said I was coming, Slayer! Bloody hell, you'd think that I did anything she said... well, I do,
but that's not the point..."