Burning Bright


by Anya
Sanctuary Series: Story Five





'And I thought the Hellmouth was dangerous!' Angel would have fanned himself were it not for the minor details that vampires didn't technically sweat. On a physical level, sure that was true, but when was the last time a vampire had faced the psychological pressure such as this? On one side was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Beautiful, blond, deadly and his former significant other, the Slayer had certain - expectations. The most significant was to somehow get Her Slayerness into a Sanctuary club. 'I liked Hell more. Far more peaceful. Less trauma. Certainly less potential loss of body parts.' He sighed silently, glancing down at the fierce frown that marred Buffy's pretty face. Sure, it seemed simple. Do as the Slayer wants. As far as Buffy could see, there was no problem. 'A-ha! So wrong, my dear little stake-happy sweetheart!' Angel mentally wagged a finger at her. 'If I kick down the doors, bypass two hefty looking bouncers and let you in, not only will ever vampire, witch, werewolf and other thing that goes bump in the day or night be after my hide, I'll have broken the law of sanctuary. And the next time I need an emergency roof over my head, or a quick bite, I'm oh so this side of royally screwed.' His choices were looking more and more unappealing the more he thought about it. If he didn't do as Buffy wanted, she'd stake him. If he DID do as Buffy wanted, the rest of the non-human world staked him. 'I should have stayed in LA.' "What are we waiting for? The maitre de?" Buffy growled, interrupting Angel mid-sigh. "We have got to get in there." 'A quarter. I could flip a quarter and have a glimpse of my immediate future. That being, who's gonna kill me. Her or them. Terrific.' Angel opened his mouth, but the tongue had no clue as to what it should wag out. "Uhh" Buffy's frown deepened, if that were possible, tilting her head up, her eyes sparkled with the killing fury of her destiny. "What aren't you telling me?" She demanded, Mr. Pointy tapping hard and furiously against her upper arm. "We need reservations, right?" Xander muttered, trying to stay tucked in the shadows and out of Buffy's sight. "Or, there are no vamps there? We're at the wrong place? Or, he's allergic to nightclubs, which is why he moved to the nightclub capital of the world." "Shuddup, Xander. You're not helping." Buffy didn't even flick a glance at him. Her biting words were enough of a warning. Unwavering eyes pinned into Angel. "We. Are. Going. In. There. Understand?" "Uhhh" Angel fumbled for an answer. Some days he regretted his unlife more than others. "Well, Buffy-." It was a question of faith. Or, more precisely, hope. Hope that her love for him was stronger than the itch to stake him. "Actually, no. We aren't." She froze. For a moment, Angel took that as a good sign, but then her eyes narrowed to mere slits, and he felt hell freeze over. 'Oooh, boy. Here it comes. Oblivion.' "Don't stake him, Buffy!" Angel's most unlikely defender threw himself at the Slayer. "You're angry, sure. But if you stake him, then you won't have someone to sob on my shoulder about and that would be a bad thing." Angel twisted a glare at Xander, only the nervous situation at hand preventing him from rolling his eyes. The boy, feeling Angel's attention on him, shrugged. "What? She's tough, strong, bright, beautiful - she doesn't need a townie like me around. I take what I can get, thank you very much." Atypical Xanderness, Angel realized. Always, his selfish obsession for Buffy manifested at the worst times. "We don't have time for this." He let the vampire in him out for a small growl. "Willow's in there, and there's no way, short of leveling the place, I can get you in there." Buffy nodded briskly. "It's a plan. I can work with it." "No you can't." Angel argued. "What do you think they'll do to Willow if you start storming the place?" She froze, her eyes flicking over towards the black enameled doors for a long moment, before sliding back to meet Angel's. "They'd kill her." She whispered, realizing now why Angel was holding back. "If they haven't already." Angel shook his head. "They haven't. They can't. She's a witch." Xander snorted, dusting off one sleeve. "Since when was that a guarantee to long life and prosperity. Sign me up for the next local coven if that's part of the deal." In two centuries, Angel had mastered many skills, but it had been only within the past two years he'd actually learned to suffer and not beat the shit out of little gnats like Xander that irritated him. Maybe it was because Buffy had a genuine fondness for Xander, or that Xander wouldn't survive the beating enough to be hit again. Whatever it was, it took every ounce of Angel's willpower not to shake the boy until his teeth rattled out. "Don't be stupid." He snarled. "A Sanctuary is a place of safety to all non-humans. There are rules, and if someone -" "Thing," Buffy interjected with her atypical human prejudice. "-something breaks those rules, then they're banned for eternity from any of the Sanctuaries. Ever. The most important rule is that there is no hunting or causing intentional harm to another on the premises.' Buffy shook her head. "Nice, but that doesn't stop me from getting in." "That's not the only rule, Buffy. Only non-humans get in. Only night creatures. No humans, no demon-hunters and no Slayers." Folding his arms across his chest, he tried to look authoritative. And, where the look worked on Cordelia or Xander, it failed on Buffy who had an inherent disregard for authority. "There'll be spells to strip you of your powers before you even step up to the door, Buffy. And they WILL kill you." "But you said-" Xander squawked. Angel did roll his eyes, this time. "Hello? Human!" He snapped, jerking his thumb towards Buffy. Buffy's eyes shot wide. "Oh my God." She gasped. "Angel!" "You finally get it." He sighed, feeling tension draining from him. "What has she done to you? You even SOUND like Cordelia now!" He blew a gust of breath out in defeat. "Or not." *~*~*~* Willow was on a terrific emotional high. Her soul was screaming in joy for the freedom, and her heart was doing a happy-dance. Clutching a glass of cranberry juice in soda water against her chest, she wove her way through the crowds, laughing and smiling in greeting to all the people she knew and the creatures she didn't know. The place was awesome. Simply and truly beautiful in the décor and style, the club used ambiance to create character and life to the entire club. Where there were elements of gothic themes in the pillars and heavy velvet curtains that covered windowless walls, Spike had gone to lengths to add soft touches of light, and clever usage of glass to brighten the interior. There was also a healthy amount of greenery bespeckling the sweeping columns that broke up the massive open spaces in the dance-area. But, the most astonishing thing of all, as far as Willow was concerned, and the most mesmerizing was in the way stars seemed to glitter off of the black velvet that covered the ceiling. Small pinpricks of light glittered and danced as she looked up, and she knew that in a drunken haze, those lights would feel like real stars in an open night sky. "Cool!" She sighed, contented with this new playground in her own back yard. "So, you like it, Pet?" Spike's cool voice broke into her reverie with open amusement just seconds before his hand slid to rest at the small of her back. "I did build it all for you, you know." Willow stepped backwards to lean against his torso, a giggle erupting from the back of her throat despite her attempt to stifle it. Green eyes dancing, she tilted her head back and gazed into Spike's pale blue eyes. "For me? Wow. No one's every built a club for me before!" It wasn't the air in the club, or the scent Spike gave off that explained the way Willow completely relaxed in his presence. All her inner-alarm bells were silent, her subconscious had no fears. If anything, right here, and right now she had implicit trust that she couldn't be any safer than being in Spike's arms. "So, now that I'm here now what?" Spike's dark eyebrow arched, the small smirk on his lips unnerving to anyone he called prey. "Now, pet?" One finger stroked along the column of her neck and then trailed down along her collarbone. "Enjoy yourself-while you can." Willow smiled coyly, turning swiftly so that she could hook one hand into his belt and lean against him, her breasts pressed against his chest. Standing up on tiptoe with a slow sensuous movement, she gently pressed a kiss against his fanged mouth and slid her glass into his hand. "Oh, I will, Spike. I'll have a grand old time in my own backyard and then I'll go home all safe and sound with nary a nibble on my neck." "What's to stop me from biting you after you leave?" Spike lifted his free hand to stroke a thumb under her chin, lifting her jaw to expose the neck. "There might be a price for this club, one that you have to pay, pet." Willow shrugged easily, a lazy smile on her lips. "You won't bite me. You've lured me out of my hole, exposed me to Buffy and them all, but you won't hurt me." Spike glared at her, refusing to react to the way she teased. So, the little chit had figured him out. "Don't get too cocky, pet. Vampires are always hungry." Willow shrugged. "Sure." She blew his statement off indifferently. "But, just as Vampires are always hungry, I'm always a witch. What would you do if your hunger suddenly went south, hmm?" Patting him on the cheek, she slipped out from under his arm, and merged with the crowd, leaving her one-time lover something far more dangerous to consider. Just because he had been playing a game with her, didn't mean she wasn't aware of it and playing one of her own. "Oh, pet." He sighed, blissfully happy with the score. "Now, this WILL be fun." Looking down at the red-tinged drink in his hand, he gave it a tentative sip, but shuddered at the sweetly tart taste. 'No salt to it. Watery. I think I need a pint of O+ to clear that taste out of my mouth.' Carelessly tossing the glass over his shoulder, he heard the glass shatter into the wall and smirked at an outraged shriek. Just because the club was a Sanctuary didn't mean it had to be utterly civilized. In fact, given the kind of games he wanted to play with Willow, civilization was the last thing on his mind. "I'm gonna get myself that witch." He hummed cheerfully, ignoring the odd looks of his staff and other vampires. Sliding past guests, Spike nodded cordially to some vampires he knew that were lounging on the soft red-leather sofas at the fringe of the dance-floor. Elegant glass and metal cocktail tables held their beverages, and even with a few meters between himself and the vamps, he knew the glasses contained exactly his favorite type of brew. It just had the fancy look of a mixed drink, right down to the lime twist and umbrella decorating the glass. 'I bet even the Slayer would accidentally knock that glass back before she realized what it was.' The bar was hopping, a deep crowd clustered around and the bartenders hustling to serve them all. The difference between this club and a human one was that the bartenders here didn't offer advice, just a snarl or growl. The perfect and appropriate behaviors to further the ambiance of Spike's little club. "Ahh," he sighed. "Death is so very good." "For some of you." Willow's bemused voice bantered at his elbow, her hand sliding into his easily. "Where's my drink?" "Back again?" Spike pulled her close, abandoning her hand to place an arm around her waist. Deliberately tugging her in front of him, he licked at her neck. "Can't get enough of me, Red?" Willow rolled her eyes, waving off a few of the community she knew who'd started in alarm. "Hardly. I just want my drink back." Deftly, she wove her fingers in a simple incantation, the sigil flowing free and successfully based on Spike's sudden choked cough. "Don't lick without permission, Spike." She teased, undoing the spell that had made her skin taste as horrid as Holy Water to the vampire. "Witch." Spike growled, immeasurably pleased at the games between them. "If I can't lick you, then you lick me." He ordered, his beast gleaming wickedly from his eyes. Willow smiled, setting her green eyes dancing. With one of his hands on her bottom, the skirt was inching precariously higher, and yet she didn't care. "Ask nicely." She purred, pressing herself against him. He made the most satisfying growl. "Now." Her fingers stroked down his chest, nearly tearing the shirt he was wearing into ribbons with the sharp action. Spike sucked in his breath. "Please." He recanted, conceding the round to her. His reward wasn't long in coming, warm lips touching cold and parting easily. If only the most holy poof could see his son now *~*~*~* Angel nearly thumped his head against the brick wall outside the club entrance. "What do you mean I have to wait?" He growled at the incredibly naïve and very young vampire standing belligerently in front of him. The whelp couldn't have been more than five years old. "You gotta wait, man. We're at max capacity, the boss said so." The whelp snarled. Okay, sure, the kid was six foot three and probably weighed in at just under 300lbs. Sure he was built like a brick shit-house, but damn it, was there no respect for age and power in the undead community anymore? "The boss said so?" Angel grumbled, hoping Buffy wasn't seeing this. It would be the last straw for that camel's back, and he knew it. Convincing her to let him infiltrate the club without her had been challenging enough. It just didn't pay to be a good guy, sometimes. Vampire-junior grunted sourly. "Yeah, the boss. You got a problem with that?" What were the odds? Angel pondered staring at the whelp. First, Spike was in San Francisco when he'd formerly been in Los Angeles. Just because they didn't have a healthy sire-childe relationship didn't mean Angel neglected to keep tabs on where Spike was at all times. So Spike was now in San Francisco and had moved here precisely twelve weeks ago, exactly from the time it was announced that the night-council had authorized the opening of another Sanctuary location in San Francisco. Chance? Not bloody likely. What were the odds indeed? "Let me tell you a little something about your Boss." Angel tossed the soul to the side and let his demon out for a romp. "William Longstreet, also known as Spike was sired by Angelus. Do you know of Angelus?" The whelp sneered. "No." Angel's hand whipped out and closed around the bouncer's throat squeezing tightly. "You do now." The bouncer's neck made a very satisfying "snap", and he fell beautifully. Angel looked around for any witnesses to his slight indiscretion and shrugged casually. Accidents happened all the time in San Fran, didn't they? How was a besouled vampire supposed to stop it if other vampires just vanished in a town that had the world's preeminent Slayer. "So, I can just go right in, right?" He asked the pile of dust at his feet. There was no answer forthcoming. "Great." Angel jerked the heavy door open and slunk inside embracing the sudden awareness of all other supernatural creatures surrounding him. This environment was far more comfortable, far more relaxing for an individual such as he was. There was no sensation of risk, the fear that he would again fall from grace wasn't to be found in this place. There were no human's to prey upon, beverages acceptable to his palate were free, and there was the subconscious encouragement to just chill. Relax. Enjoy. "Not in this lifetime." Angel growled, his face sinking into a dark brooding frown. First off, there was the décor. It was dark, erotic, seductive and far to damn inhuman for Angel's tastes. It shrieked sex, sin and other bad things that no self-respecting and repentative Catholic boy was ever supposed to see. 'This way lays the path of corruption.' Angel firmly told himself, ignoring the happy laughter of a young vampiress as she through her arms around an equally young werewolf in cheerful reunion. Absolutely no good could come of this place. Really. "Drink, sir?" The waitress slipped by, a pretty little demon wearing a rather conservative top with pants. She held out a loaded tray of various drinks, the blood-wines easily detectable from the non-bloody vintages. "We have O, A, AB and some rich demon varieties of blood available. All-you-can-drink for the grand opening, you know." 'See?' Angel growled silently as he sipped his drink a few minutes later. 'There was absolutely NOTHING good to come of this place.' On an upside, he had to also admit in his deepest, darkest corner of his mind, there was no Buffy staring at him and no Xander making his eyeteeth itch. Nothing was overtly tempting to send him straight back to hell. Just some witches, werewolves, demons and vampires all partying hearty, getting it on in corners or the dance-floor. 'That looks like fun.' Angel's subconscious pushed the thought out as he watched the dancing. 'I can't dance.' He consciously reminded himself. 'It's a bad thing.' Oh sure, those slower dances back at the Bronze with Buffy were doable. Especially since it was move one foot, shuffle the other. Move one foot, shuffle the other. Again and again in an endlessly repetitive cycle until a complete circle was made. Move one foot, shuffle the other. Dead easy. Especially for the corpse doing the dancing. His feet apparently didn't hear his mind. Another step towards the dance-floor was taken. Then a hesitant second step. A third. "Dahling. Dance with me!" A very tipsy ghoul slid his/her hand around Angel's neck and pulled him clear onto the floor, pressing it's body tight against his. It's squishy, moist and rather rubbery body that was. "I haven't seen you in here before!" Angel's dance partner drawled, apparently oblivious to the fact this was opening night or using the world's lamest pick-up line. Angel cringed as fetid breath reached his nose. 'No closer. Please no closer. I'm begging you' "Salchan!" Another squishy demon appeared at their side in indignant outrage. "How could you!" Arms, at least that's what Angel thought they were, waving violently sent splatters of the fleshy gloop spraying onto people. "You're always cheating on me! Always! Don't I mean anything to you?" Salchan's grip loosened on Angel, and he judiciously stepped backwards, right into the very furry and fussy body of a werewolf. "It can't get any worse." Angel muttered, hastily apologizing to the growling and incredibly large werewolf in front of him. "Nothing else could shock me at this point." "Hey you!" A pert voice screamed shrilly. "When you're done hugging the dog, I wanta talk to you." Angel's eyes flicked sideways to a four foot pixie with light gossamer wings and several leaves as garments. "Uh" "It's for an article in our weekly magazine 'The Undead'. You ARE on our subscription list, right?" The fairy continued. "Uh" Somehow, this was all Spike's fault. Angel wasn't sure of much else, right now, but that this entire scenario was all Spike's fault. 'I'm going to severely punish that childe.' "You AREN'T!" The fairy gasped, fanning her face with one wing. "Oh! Oh! Sic 'em Fido!" Hands on hips and looking imperious she gave the werewolf directly in front of Angel a commanding stare to match tone of voice. Fido, being the good werewolf that he was, dutifully growled in a low voice at the vampire. "I thought there was no threats of violence permitted in a sanctuary." Angel breathed nervously as he leaned backwards to avoid the muzzle that came closer. Pixie blinked. "Oh. Right." She giggled. "Down, Fido. No biting until we're outside." Fido, again a good werewolf, backed down immediately. "I'm just guessing here," Angel admitted, watching the werewolf with due caution, "But, is he yours?" The fairy fluttered closer, wrapping two tiny arms around the werewolf's neck. "Well, of course he is. See? He's even got a collar." Angel nodded. If ever he'd wished the oracles to roll back time, this was it. Because, if he had the chance, he'd go with Buffy's "storm the place" approach. It had to be more sane. *~*~*~* "Petcould we take this to the office?" Spike queried as Willow's hands slipped under his T-shirt for a quick tour of his chest. As fond as he was of open displays of lust, there were some things that should be kept private. Like a vampire's submission to a witch. He did have a reputation to protect. It was okay when it was Drusilla turning him into a slobbering sex-craved moron - Dru was a vampire and delightfully insane. There was no stigma attached to a public ravishment at the hands of his vampire lover. However, a human? Big, bad, railroad "Spike', killer of three Slayers, ex-Master of Sunnydale and only known Master vampire to survive an encounter with this generation's Slayer was turning into a giant wuss-boy for one small witch. It just wasn't right, he told himself. Get some backbone, mate. Be a vamp. Shove her hard against a wall, grrr at her and then drag her back to the office. Don't beg. No pleading. There was his way or Spike groaned in ecstatic agony as Willow's small teeth nicked gently at his throat, pulling at the pale skin before biting down. Cor, but the chit knew exactly how to turn a vamp to jelly, didn't she? "Please?" Spike begged, his hands clutching onto her for support. A soft sigh tore from her mouth, and she pulled away. Bright eyes glowing with open lust, she smiled coyly. "Do you really think that's smart?" Spike nodded feverishly. "Yes. I do. Very. So, could we get this show on?" Willow shook her head, red locks of hair flying gently from the action. Pursing her lips thoughtfully, she tilted her head to give him a mischievous little expression before saying "No." "No?" Shamefully, his voice squeaked. Five minutes of her tender loving ministrations and Spike had a small - no, nix that - a BIG problem needing immediate attention. "Aww ducks, it's been three flamin' months. Don't you think" Willow shrugged. "No." She cut him off. "Because I think Angel, over there, is likely to cause a scene at any time now once he escapes Talia and her puppy." "Angel?" "Dark haired, broody, angst-ridden, soulful vampire. You remember him?" Willow teased, pushing Spike's jaw until he looked somewhat over his shoulder at the dance-floor. "Looking a little like Alice-in-Wonderland." Eyes narrowed, widened and then narrowed into outraged slits. "Awwww BUGGER!" He growled, firmly pushing Willow from his arms and setting her discretely behind him. "Why here? Why now? Why me? What did I do so BAD in life to earn that Poof as a Sire?" "Railroad spikes?" Willow hazarded a guess, leaning around to peer at Spike's parental figure. "I'm just guessing here." Spike's lips quirked. "Hush. Or I'll drain you." Against his back, he felt Willow shrug and then move away. "Whatever." The little witch sing-songed. "I'm going to go talk with some friends. Go play with Angel. Before the elves over there send him further into la-la land." Spike's lips pursed together. 'How would Angel loosing the rest of his marbles be a bad thing?' He wondered absently. He already had the grand high title of ultimate poof. What marbles were left to loose? "Oh, bullocks. One fruitcake per family is enough. At the rate this is going, even Dru's gonna make an appearance to bugger my plans all up." Stomping one booted foot in a fit of temper, he grabbed a passing waiter and claimed three drinks, one after another and drained them. A childe needed fortification before facing the parent that stressed them the most, after all. "Wot?" He barked at the nervously hovering waiter, a witch who'd obviously not been overly exposed to vampires. "Don't yer have peoples to serve?" The waiter scampered off leaving Spike to his perusal of his Sire. Now, if Willow kept a low profile, maybe he could convince Daddy Dearest to bugger off. If she didn't keep a low profile, well hopefully she could convince Angel to bugger off. Either way there was a 50-50 shot of all Spike's aspirations and goals for tonight going up in smoke. Some nights sucked. And not the kind of suckage a vampire liked. "This is all the Slayer's fault." He muttered. "I just know that Blonde bimbo is involved. Hell, I bet she's in here somewhere. Is nothing sacred?" Not quite stomping, but placing the mental "feel" of a good stomp into his action, he strode purposefully through the crowds, jumping over the low rail dividing the upper floor from lower in the slight tiers between dance floor and serving area. The crowded gathering of various undead creatures kept all vampires unaware of another's approach. It was rather like being in a car accident. You didn't know you were going to get hit until you were hit. 'Analogy's oddly appropriate, now ain't it, Spikey.' The blond grumbled, wishing absently he could light a cigarette. 'So, who's gonna get hit?' Talia bounced on her feet, her little wings fluttering happily as Fido placed one massive paw on Angel's chest. Now, as cute as Talia was, and even Spike had to conceded she looked utterly adorable, she was the most sadistic little pixie in the history of the modern era. If not for the fact he'd met the chits parents, he'd have thought papa was the Hellmouth and mama was a major bitch maybe a Slayer or two of Spike's acquaintance. However, that was not the case. Mommy and Daddy were very nice respectable fair-folk. Unlike their bouncing baby sadist girl. "Talia?" Spike grit the warning out in a low voice. "You aren't considering mauling one of my guests, are you?" Because, if you WERE this is the guest I'd want you to maul RIGHT. He left the addendum unsaid. The pixie spun about, her little leave-like skirt panels swaying as if in a breeze. "Oh, it's the Master of Ceremonies." She trilled. "Look, Fido!" Fido's paw hit the ground and his head bobbed a greeting of some wolfy sort. For all Spike had trampled around with demons, witches and other ilk, he'd never quite gotten used to the weirdness of the entire demonic whole. "Great." He muttered, deliberately not looking at Angel. "Why don'cher go find a milkbone or something in the kitchen? I'm sure the cooks have something" Talia squealed, a shrill sound that halted all dance on the floor. Hands clapping together eagerly, she vaulted forward and onto her puppy-dog's back. Seconds later, the only adversary facing Spike was his dear departed Sire. "Soo" Angel was a little out of it. Blinking owlishly and with that definite look of someone who's just crawled off the spinning tea-cup ride at an amusement park, he was delightfully spacey. For just a moment, Spike toyed with the notion of summarily evicting him. However, the moment passed as did Daddy's mental time-warp. "Spike." Angel fixed his dark eyes on his child's smirking face. "Where's Willow?" Spike shrugged, pointing towards a cluster of witches on the far side of the club. "Probably with the other witches if she hasn't left yet." He answered. "Hocusing and pocusing up a storm-or a clear summer day. With witches, you never can tell what they're doing." "She's leaving, now." Angel bit out, walking right past Spike on a beeline path straight to the partying conclave of witches. "Buffy and Xander want" Spike's mouth formed an "O" and he relaxed the expression with a lick of his lips. "Don't count for peanuts in here." He argued to his Sire's back. "If you force Willow to do anything, you'll be banned from all Sanctuaries." Angel froze, one hand on the railing for the stairs. "How's that?" He growled, turning about slowly. Becoming outcast was a process. A petition had to be tendered to the Powers-That-Be who authorized the sanctuaries to start with. Forcing Willow to leave would be a quiet thing, a personal project that shouldn't even affect anyone else, so who would tender a petition? "You heard me." Spike moved to stand in front of his Sire. "Have a few drinks, Angelus. Go-not dance. I don't need physical damage to the club on opening night, so please don't do that thing you loosely call dancing. Unless some witch is going to spell you to do it right. Have fun not too much fun, please, just a little bit of fun. Think of me being here, and whatnot while you're having fun." He paused, doing the mental math on it. "Yeah, that should keep a good happy from happening." Angel's hand lashed out and wrapped around Spike's throat, choking off air and sound. "Don't." He ground out in a low hostile voice. "you EVER talk to me like that again." The threat wasn't even implied. It was pretty bald faced. "I am your Sire and you WILL be respectful." "Sure Dad." Spike wheezed. Angel dropped him. "Go get Willow." Angel folded arms across his chest. If Spike wouldn't cooperate, then a little bit of Angelus-type personality would fix the situation. "She and I are leaving before the Slayer chooses to break down the door." Spike's eyes brightened immensely. "She wouldn't!" He chortled. "It's plan B." Angel pointedly informed his child. Spike's face burst into a huge grin. "Really? Oh, Bloody Marvelous!" Clapping hands together, her rubbed them in glee. If Buffy broke down the door and came in all militant, there were over five hundred demons, witches and various other supernatural beasties that would tear her head off and ground her into the dust. The witches might even bind her spirit so that another Slayer couldn't be called. "Oh, it feels like the lottery! I wonder if I have time to sell tickeys to the boys?" Angel cuffed his ear. "Go. Get. Willow." The older vampire, Scourge of Europe, barked. "NOW!" "No." Spike sobered quickly. "Every night creature has the right to a club, and Willow chose to come here tonight. I gave her the invite, she accepted. There's nothing you can do about it." Angel bit back a curse, turning his head to look at the door. This was taking far too long. First the delay with the pixie from hell, her dog and now Spike was developing a social conscience. He paused on that thought, analyzing it for logical consistency and slowly turned his face back to stare at his child's unusually bright eyes. "You are up to something." The drawl in his voice was slow, sinuous and very sinister. "Something not in line with the Sanctuary precepts." Spike blinked. One hand raised to press against his chest in a mockery of innocence. "ME?" Angel nodded slowly, a dark smile twisting his mouth. "You, little boy." Just like Angelus, he tilted his head to the side and stared at his child thoughtfully. "And, just what would you be up to, Spike?" Spike closed his mouth and became very still at that point, earning a nod from his Sire. "I see." And Angel DID see. "Do you want to know what I see?" "All ears, mate." Spike mumbled. "Willow has been to Los Angeles several times. I think you bumped into her there and developed a fixation on her." Angel smiled slightly to see his child flinch. "I think you followed her to San Francisco and set this club up to lure her closer to you. You want her." Oh, he was good, Spike admitted. For all he was a dead-beat Dad, Angel sure knew his kids. But, he only had suspicions, not facts. "Wrong." Spike hissed. "I don't want her." Angel's eyes were heavy-lidded, lazy. "Then why would YOU be defending her right to stay?" "Awww hell." Spike felt like kicking something. "I'll even defend your right to stay if you'd keep outta my face!" He muttered. "This is my party, and all my guests can stay. So THERE." Angel grabbed Spike, throwing an arm about his child's shoulder. He'd never admit it to anyone, but playing 'Angelus' was really quite fun! "Now, now, Spikey. Tell Daddy all about it. Why'd you want the party? Because of Willow, of course. Why'd you set up a club here? To get Willow in here! What you gonna do to her? Ah, now there's the rub." "Nuthin." Spike grumbled. If the Poof didn't leave soon, there'd really be nothing. Besides, last Spike checked Willow was working her wicked ways on him, not vice-versa. "Spike you lie like a lumpy rug." Angel sighed. "I think I'll have a talk with Willow, now." Before his child could protest, Angel pushed him up the stairs and towards the cluster of witches, giving the gaggle of men and women his most charming debonair smile as they walked through them. "Look lively, Spike." He chastised his sullen child. Willow had to be around here somewhere. Buffy and Xander had waxed eloquent about how the young witch had been dressed, so all Angel had to do was find a redhead in club-wear have a quick word with her and then get out. As long as he didn't throw her over his shoulder or drag her kicking and screaming out, Spike couldn't complain. Then he'd have a long-overdue conversation with his young redheaded friend about her associations with the undead. As plans went, this one was superb. It had all the angles covered and he wouldn't get staked or made outcast. A flash of red caught his eyes, and he turned to follow it while keeping is grip firmly on his wayward child. "Willow?" He called out. Spike winced, catching sight of the girl near the windows. The poof was staring in the wrong direction, but that wouldn't last for too long. 'Wot else can go wrong, tonight?' He wondered bitterly, watching Willow smile and laugh with the three witches around her. "There she is!" Angel crowded Spike's thoughts. "Let's go have a chat, shall we?" They hadn't even taken a step towards the red head when the window behind the girl exploded inwards. Shrapnel shards of class cascaded through the room falling with far more deadly force than simple stone into a window warranted and the entire club seemed transfixed, suddenly moving only in fragmented moments.. Willow was pushed forward by the initial explosion, her fingers moving in a spell of protection before glass could cause any harm to herself and those around her. Eyes closed tightly in concentration for a moment, she opened them to find Spike's alarmed blue ones meters away, right beside Angel's horrified face. Both vampires gazed at her for one moment, and then past her through the window. Their expressions shifted fluidly going from mere concern to full alarm. The last piece of glass tinkled as it hit the ground, and Willow spun around to look up at whatever it was so transfixing the vampires. Her jaw dropped in stunned shock and the blood drained from her face as reality caught up with the flow of time just as a pale white hand seized Willow's shoulder "You can't have him!" Drusilla's shrill voice proclaimed. "Spike's MINE!" The End.

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