The Big Bad

By Hush
Under My Skin 4

Part Six

A white haired, ice eyed demon moved with wraith-like stealth, slipping through the darkest of LA's shadows. He moved without sound and or the slightest misspent motion that might betray his presence.

Spike eyed his quarry with deliberation, watching as Angel wove a path through the mortal crowd. During his last trip to LA pursuing the Ring of Amara, things between Spike and Angel had been left unfinished. This time, Spike had returned for one reason and one reason alone: to settle accounts once and for all. It was a time of reckoning.

Spike followed Angel into the Korean quarter, puzzling over the way the older vampire moved. Something about it didn't sit well with the blonde. Something was very, very wrong. Angel's bearing and stride lacked his customary grace and control. He reminded Spike more of a big lolling pup than the vampire who had terrified the whole of Europe.

The swarmy mass of humanity -- pushers, pimps, peddlers, and prostitutes -- pulsed about the immortals, leaving them untouched. Angel chose a place to lurk near a busy street corner and Spike did the same, puzzling the whole time over a great many things.

What was Angel doing here? Hunting demons? Continuing his personal quest to save humanity? And why hadn't Angel sensed his childe's presence? Angelus should have known Spike was near. Or at the very least that he was being watched. It was another incongruity, which Spike logged away for future consideration.

"Soddin' pouf," Spike muttered, annoyed at having to stand still, unable to twitch, pace, or smoke. The blonde hated waiting the way Angelus loved lurking. Never had two beings been so dissimilar.

Fortunately for the blonde, the wait wasn't too long. Angel located what he was looking for and moved out of the shadows toward an Asian whore in her late teens. Spike's eyes narrowed and he moved forward, suspicion and confusion at war on his face.

Suddenly, inexplicably, Angel leapt toward the whore with a jocular little cry, puffing out his chest and positioning his hands on his hips like a big floppy fag. Spike's jaw hit the ground. What the fuck?!

The girl eyed Angelus, trying to decide whether the vampire was a harmless loon or a dangerous wacko. As with many others before her, she fell for Angel's deceptively pretty face and allowed herself to be drawn in closer.

Spike snorted, nearly shifting to game face. "Stupid cow. They never learn." He shifted, high on anticipation, nearly drooling for a vicarious kill he could no longer make himself because of the chip. Unable to stop, Spike lit up a cigarette. He had to have something to do with his hands.

"Hello," Angel boomed.

"How can I help you, John?" the tart asked in broken English. Angel visibly winced and his chest deflated. Spike scrutinized his sire's body language, trying to figure out what was up. Was Angelus going to kill the bint or what? The conflicting signals the blonde was receiving were confusing the hell out of him.

Spike's eyes damn near buggered out of his skull as Angelus stammered and Angelus sputtered. Angelus, Scourge of Europe, stuck out his butt like a rent boy asking for the old heave-ho up the ass, pointing and gesticulating toward his tight rear as he asked, "Err, how much for spanking?"

Spike's involuntary hoot was lost in the whore's reply, "We fuck - hundred dollars. Blow Joe - fifty." She sauntered up to Angel annd gave him the once over. "For you, ninety," she said, running her hand over Angel's chest.

Angel yanked away as if the whore had cooties. "No-no-no," he insisted, frantically waving his hands about. "Um...spanking...beat butt?" He pointed at his ass again.

In spite of his resolve to remain hidden, Spike exploded. "You soddin' POUF!" he exclaimed, unable to contain his tongue any longer.

Angel and the whore froze. Spike doubled over in a fit of hysterical, overwhelming laughter. He had never seen anything funnier in all his years. "Well color me pink," he gasped, "An' paint me a' monkey's arse."

Angel spun, eyes turning to pancakes as he spotted the source of the laughter. "Spike!" he squeaked.

William the Bloody wheezed and held his sides, laughing so hard it hurt. "Surprised to see me, ducks?" he asked, barely keeping hold of his cigarette butt with his supple lips. Inconspicuously, Spike raised one finger to under his eye and dragged away tears.

"Yeah!" Angel exclaimed. "You're supposed to be in Sunnydale!" Meanwhile, the prostitute continued to look from Spike to Angel, clearly baffled.

"Well, I'm not," Spike retorted, starting to get a handle on his mirth. Things weren't going down like he'd envisioned at all. He hadn't planned on revealing his presence to Angelus until he whacked the big ox with a tire iron or baseball bat, preferably over the back of the head.

"Who's he?" the whore demanded.

"Spike," Angel squeaked again, as if it were obvious and self-explanatory. Spike's sire wore a fearful, humiliated expression that the blonde had never witnessed the like of before on Angel's face. It was beautiful.

"The one and only," he confirmed. Spike grabbed control and his laughter stopped. He stepped out of the shadows, away from the building, and flung away his cigarette, looking Angel over. "Well, well, if me old sire isn't a flogged fag! Sod a dog!" Spike exhaled a stream of smoke directly into Angel's face. "An' here I thought Willow was just ripping the piss outta me."

Angel's jaw dropped. Thrilled, so full of energy that his cock was buzzin', Spike grinned and chuckled, unable to believe his good luck. Catching Angel in a compromising situation was better than anything he could have hoped for. The Slayer would shit bricks when she heard.

"What are you doing here?" Angel asked weakly. Then the dark haired vampire performed a double take. "W-w-willow what?!" he squawked. "Willow?! What did heeee-shhheee say?!"

Spike performed a little victory dance right there on the sidewalk, wishing that he had brought his music to thrash too. Too good! It was the best victory the blonde had gotten since he killed Slayer #2 and he intended to savor every nuance of the triumph.

Spike walked right up to Angel and got in his face, poking the bigger man in the chest with his finger. "Willow told me all about you and your spanking fetish, you soddin' trotter. Gotta admit, didn't believe her at first." He waggled his eyebrows. "Thought the little minx was yankin' my chain!"

"What?" Angel mouthed like an imbecile. He was stunned. Spike snorted, sputtered, and sniggered. He *so* had the upper hand!

"Willow 'fessed up to your little secret, my paddled petunia," he explained with exaggerated ridicule. "About'' how she beats your lily white arse. Gotta say, it doesn't surprise me at all, at least, not about you, you giant POUF. Now Willow..."

Spike trailed off, momentarily taken aback as he looked at things from a new angle. He performed a mental double take. Oi! What the fuck?! Willow hadn't been giving him a hard time! She and Angel really were... Spike's girl and Spike's sire were...

The blonde saw red just as Angelus burst out, "What about Willow?!" Angel's outrage deepened his voice from an indeterminate squeak to a boom.

Spike had to swallow his wounded pride for the sake of saving face. He'd deal with Willow later. "That's one filly wearin' the show halter an' kickin' up her heels outta the ring," he informed his sire casually. "Let's just say that until a few days ago, that the little vestal vixen sure had me fooled."

Spike emphasized the taunt with the most lewd expression he could muster, implying that anything and everything went once Willow lifted her skirt. Inside he fumed, furious and humiliated that the little redhead had put one over on him. She had tricked him into believing she was kidding! The bitch!

"You and Willow!" Angel sputtered, buying into Spike's deception completely. There wasn't the slightest hint of skepticism in his eyes, and it should have been another hint to the blonde that something was well and truly WRONG. Should have, but wasn't. More fool him.

Spike kept going full steam ahead, perpetuating his ruse. "You could say that little vixen rides me hard and puts me away wet. Quite the sex kitten she is... But wait!" He smacked his forehead with the heel of his hand. "You wouldn't know that or your marbles would be runnin' all over the bloody sidewalk!" He smirked and strutted, thrusting his hips, and crowing with delight.

Aghast, Angel just stood there. Then it happened.

Angel changed. He transformed before Spike's very eyes from soulful pouf to remorseless demon. It was like watching a scorpion crawl out of a butterfly cocoon. Spike shivered. Oh. Fuck.

Angelus snickered. From the first laugh, Spike fell silent, shocked. He recognized the laugh. His sire: Angelus. The brazen bastard was free.

"You're really a piece of work, Spike." Angel raised his hands, flapping his arms with the enthusiasm of a child pretending to fly. "Flappin' an' a flouncin' like a big ol' peacock... You think I give a fuck if you're shaggin' that witch?"

Spike froze. Fuck. Angelus. Angel had lost his soul. Again. Suddenly, everything and nothing made sense. "Shut your gob!" the blonde snapped automatically. He had nothing coherent to say. Oh. Fuck.

"Why, because it kills you that I'm not jealous?" Angelus taunted. "Here you are burning to rub my face in it that you've got a leg up on that dozy mare. Tell me, Spike, who am I supposed to be jealous of... Willow or YOU?"

Spike had no ready answer. He stood there, stunned, and stared. Fuck. Angelus.

The mouthy bastard kept right on going, "I hear that you've been fixed." Angelus stepped right up to Spike, getting into his face and nailed Spike's temple with a hard jab. "Little chip in your head - modifying your behavior."

Spike hissed, flinching away from that insulting finger. "Sod off," he growled. "I can still kick your arse." And he could, he could, he could. He could fight demons.

Fuck. Angelus.

Angelus sniggered. "My arse, my arse, my arse, it's always about my magnificent arse, isn't it, Spike?" Angelus wiggled the arse in question, doing a little dance. He moved expressively, shuffling his long limbs about with flowing freedom.

And Spike damned his lack of self-control, quick wit, easy answers, and preparation. He wasn't ready and he was caught off-guard. He. Stood. There. And. Watched.

Watched the dancing demon perform a magnificent version of the butt-wiggle mamba with an equally magnificent behind. Angelus was free and freedom, without pretences, inhibitions, or sanity. He was darkness and beauty and terrifying to behold. He was Spike's sire and the blonde despised and adored Angelus with every fiber of his being.

Spike didn't know what to do.

"Know what?" Angelus crowed, loud enough to be heard up and down the street. "I think you're here makin' a bunch of noise about my 'lily white arse' because I'm number one on your Shag List and it just fuckin' drives you nuts that you're not getting my cock up your ass. I am at the top of your Shag List, aren't I, Spike?"

Angelus smirked.

Spike exploded.

Part 7

"SOD OFF!" Spike flew at Angelus. His limbs were a blur as he rained down a hail of punches and kicks on his sire. Both vampires were airborne, moving in the same direction, Angelus laughing and Spike seething with humiliation and rage over the older vampire's verbal victory.

The whore ran. Spike barely noticed her departure as he charged Angelus, tackling him around the waist. They flew straight back into the alley, disrupting a row of trashcans and social debris. Bums reeking of booze scattered like leaves.

Angelus had pushed him so far that Spike had lost his focus. Most of his blows were blocked with ease and Angelus only took one real hit to the ribcage before he hurdled Spike back several yards. "Know what, Spike?" Angelus sneered. "You're so insecure in your own masculinity that you have to be vocally homophobic!"

"Shut your gob!" Spike shouted, throwing himself at his sire again. It was bad form. Spike knew he was making a disastrous tactical error but he couldn't restrain himself. He punched, kicked, spun, hit... But nothing got through. He was being played like a pawn.

"You can't bring yourself to admit that you're still lusting after your old sire..." Angelus' husky voice continued. Spike felt the dark timbre reaching straight into his gut like a claw. He lost some of what Angelus was saying, focusing on quality over content.

Two words cause his attention. "...Abandoned you..."

Anger made his vision swim. It pissed Spike off royally that the arrogant prick *dared* assume anything like that. Angelus' insufferable arrogance set the blonde's teeth on edge. Spike HATED the great sod for stealing Drusilla. There was no sire lustage involved!

Spike roared his rage and swung straight at his sire's face. Angelus sidestepped and grabbed Spike's arm, using the force of his own blow to propel him into a wall. Angelus pinned his childe there, one arm behind his back. Spike struggled fiercely to escape but the other man had the physical advantage in size and strength.

"I hate you, you effin' poof," Spike hissed. He wasn't homophobic or gay! He mouthed off just to give the old trotter a hard time! It was easier to insult Angel than to speak civilly to him and risk...

Risk what?

"I hate you," Spike repeated adamantly.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Angelus chanted, "Heard it all before." Grunting, Angelus pinned Spike against the cement wall, pressing his lap right up against the blonde's ass. The bulge in his sire's pants was almost obscene in its proportions and a strangled gurgle escaped Spike.

Oh Fuck. Not this. Not after so long. Not again. Crystalline blue eyes closed and Spike's mind filled with sanguine tiers of pure lust as he sank deeper through layer after layer, losing himself. It was wrong and he knew it and it had to stop.

But there they were humping like harp seals in a filthy, stinking alley. Angelus had that sculpted wall of muscle he called a chest right against his back and their thighs were form fitting. Clothes were the only barrier between their bodies, and keeping Angelus from thrusting his big cock up Spike's ass.

The protrusion was right up against Spike's rear, pressing lengthwise between his ass cheeks. The blonde's own cock had long since swelled to an aching, uncomfortable bugle in his jeans. Spike longed to whip out his instrument and blow it hard, , but trapped as he was, the only protest he could make was an angry growl.

Contrary to his expectations, Angelus responded with tenderness. "Remember this, Spike?" his sire murmured, nuzzling the crook of Spike's face with his mouth. Spike averted his face, inadvertently exposing his throat. Revulsion vied with lust as he felt his sire's lips and tongue on the shell of his ear and along the smooth flesh of his throat.

Oh fuck, that tongue. It was cool and raspy...erotic. Spike wanted to feel that tongue in his mouth and swirling about the head of his cock. He wanted, and needed, and shuddered. Repulsed. Revolted. Repelled. And Oh Fuck. Suckling and kissing...more than just licking... Spike hated himself, hated Angelus, and hated being so helpless that he couldn't resist the seduction taking place.

He was weak.

Must_get_free... Spike bucked once, pouring all of his strength into a single attempt at escape. He propelled Angelus into the air but the bigger man managed to keep his hold on Spike's waist. Instead of breaking away, all Spike managed to do was give Angelus a right nice taste of the old heave ho.

(Crotch + Cock) ---> Ass == Frustrated Vampire

"GRRRRR ARGH!" A snarl of annoyance escaped Spike as Angelus broke into a heavy purr, rubbing harder against his childe's ass. A high-pitched whine of frustration and annoyance escaped the blonde as his sire's hands took ample liberties with his body.

Fuck Fuck Fuck! He had turned the hairy assed bastard on more! And the Little Big Bad didn't fit in Spike's pants anymore! Another mistake or miscalculation and he'd wind up on his knees, face in the pavement, ass in the air, and Angel's cock buried up his arse!

The wrestling vampires swayed to and fro, about to go over at any moment but their entangled limbs managed to find a precarious balance. Still fighting, Spike twisted to face Angelus. He opened his mouth intending to bite only to have his sire's mouth smother his own. "Mmmph!" Spike protested as the Angelus' huge, beefy hands cupped his ass cheeks.

"Don't fight me, Spike," Angelus whispered. He nipped Spike's upper lip and then let the bit of flesh go. Spike felt his world slipping away as Angelus alternated nipping between his upper and lower lips. The bites were painful... Painfully arousing.

Slowly, it was creeping into his bleached blonde head that Angelus wasn't hurting him. His sire had mocked him and roughed him up... All of tender first steps of seduction and none of the brutal abuse Spike had come to associate with the Later Day Post-Soul Bastard.

Hope surged in his heart and Spike tightened his hold on the lapels of Angelus' jacket. He had his sire back! The sire of old: affectionate, mocking, and powerfully seductive. But sane. And so fucking beautiful that Spike wanted to sink to his knees before his Dark God.

Eagerly, he opened his lips, allowing Angelus to plunder his mouth. Their tongues met and mated, reacquainting themselves like lost lovers. In a few minutes, Spike knew that he'd be bent over a car hood or some other convenient surface, opening more than his lips to his sire.

A distant part of his sanity yelled, "Stop! You stupid pillock!" But Spike wasn't listening.

Angelus teased, establishing a tempo. He lapped, flirted, and retreated again, playing until Spike was weak and trembling. The blonde growled low in his throat, issuing a warning and Angelus only laughed. "Or do fight," the older vampire purred. "I don't care. Either way is good."

Angelus tightened his grip on Spike's ass, digging his fingertips painfully into the black jeans. He had one cheek in either palm and seemed content to knead like a lazy cat. Spike opened blue eyes to glare fiercely at his tormentor. Was this a new game? Why wasn't Angelus moving things along to their natural conclusion?

Staring straight into those chocolate brown eyes, Spike could find no hint of humanity. No soul. None at all. "You've lost your fuckin' marbles again," Spike said. Trying to take back even a shred of control, the blonde glared and diverted the subject. "All right. Who the hell did you fuck this time?"

Angelus chuckled. His grin was vicious and wicked. "You," he hissed. "I fucked you in my mind and the fantasy was better than Bunny was in the flesh."

Flustered, Spike started, and then flushed. The mocking words cut more than they should have and this time Spike could detect the rampant insanity. "I hate you," he sputtered. It came off as petulant and whiney. Spike was a child mouthing off to his parent and both vampires knew it. It was obvious in the thoughtful regard Angelus gave him while deciding upon an appropriate punishment.

Spike waited on needles, praying that it involved something having to do with him on his knees...

Angelus drew it out. The wait, the anticipation... Pure torture. "You know, Spike," he finally drawled in a provocative whisper. It was pure honey and Spike found himself trapped as surely as any fly. His cock twitched with spastic expectation.

"What?" the blonde managed. He swallowed, mouth dry, hands clenching in anticipation. His gaze was glued to his sire's mouth as if he'd be able to read the words before he heard them.

"I can tolerate a lot of things from my children," Angelus continued. "But betrayal isn't one of them. And I owe you big time for that crowbar."

Spike heard the words through cotton. He felt his eyes widen and saw his sire take the swing but he didn't manage do escape the haze fast enough. Bugger! Stupid motherfucker--!!

Spike's face snapped to the side. Another followed, and then another, until he lost count. He wasn't given enough time between hard, head-cracking blows to recover his wits. At some point, Angelus relented just enough to send Spike crashing to the floor.

Spike refused to go out without a fight. Choking on blood, the blonde immediately staggered to his feet. For whatever reason, Angelus allowed him the moment of recovery. Maybe he wanted to play with his prey...

"You bleeding pillock," Spike hissed, recovering with a roundhouse kick that hit Angelus' knee. It buckled, sending the larger vampire down. "I came here to tell you to keep your bloody paws off of my woman."

"And as for your 'lily white'," Spike roared. "You've let yourself go, lard arse." All of the blonde's mental facilities and common sense had returned and not a moment too late. Angelus dropped to the ground and Spike fisted his face, following through with through with a round kick to the side of his head.

Angelus shot up with a groin shot that Spike only partially blocked. "Rrrfff..." With a drawn hiss of pain, the blonde kneeled over, clutching his jewels. Oh Fuck. Oh Fuck that hurt!

Grabbing hold, Angelus slammed his knee repeatedly into Spike's gut. Ribs snapped and he felt one puncture a lung. The blonde's brief rally was over and he never even saw the double fisted blow coming before it hit him in the back.

With a sickening crunch, Spike felt and heard his spine crack, and he knew he had lost. At least two vertebrae broke under the blow and the blonde crumpled like a rag doll. Tears and fear shone in his eyes and he squeezed them shut. Oh God, please, not this. Not the bleeding chair again...

Angelus grabbed hold of Spike's shirt and hauled his childe off the ground. The dark haired vampire assailed him with a few more lazy clobbers before he tossed Spike casually onto the ground. Trash. He had been discarded.

Spike landed on his back, causing the broken bones to shift around his tender spinal cord. Pure pain shot through his back as he tried to roll away. Tears welled in his eyes. Unable to stand, all he could do was stare up at Angelus with blue eyes full of defiance. "Sod off," he managed, coughing up blood.

Those final words of rebellion sparked fury in Angelus' eyes. The older vampire wanted a complete and total victory. He wanted Spike broken and bleeding, in spirit and body. Spike's ever-defiant spirit refused to submit. He never had given in and he never would, even in death. He had been bred to rebellion.

With a sort of mixed misery and resignation, Spike watched while Angelus broke a wooden crate into pieces and selected a stake. The whole train of bizarre events hurt and confused the blonde but a part of him was positive that this was entirely for show. Angelus wouldn't stake him... Would he? Not like this...

Spike felt detached. It was a sad show on the telly, and he and Angelus were only actors. With a mixture of hurt, disbelief, and betrayal clouding his eyes, Spike stared up as Angelus approached, holding the jagged piece of wood. His sire knelt and straddled his chest, moving with deliberation and glee.

Angelus loomed over Spike, blocking out his view of the world and filling his field of vision. Angel's face would be the last thing Spike ever saw and the blonde understood with a fresh burst of pain that this too was deliberate. He was being made to watch his own death.

A whimper escaped Spike as the weapon point touched the taut skin of his pale chest just over his heart. His eyes continued to scream defiance but his heart shouted denial. It was real! Angelus intended to commit the one act betrayal that even the souled poufter had never attempted.

It was the ultimate betrayal.

Part 8

To Spike's annoyance, Angelus went on like a yappy talk show host instead of just getting the dirty deed done. "You're soft, Spike. You've lost your edge and everyone sees it except you. Dru knew. Why else do you think she dropped you for me faster than a piece of rottin' trash?"

Ouch. That hurt but not nearly as much as the self-recrimination Spike was subjecting himself to. He'd been a damn idiot, falling for Angelus' act, allowing misplaced hopes, and a few quick gropes to seduce him. Spike understood now why Willow had regarded Angelus with such terror...and that she'd been trying to protect him. There had been no betrayal but the one Spike imagined.

To top it off, Angelus just wouldn't shut his trap. "You make me sick," the other vampire continued. "You're an embarrassment to my line. The William I sired would have taken his own life before he let himself become the whimpering, sniveling ass wipe that you've turned into. But you haven't done it so I'm going to do it for you." He hefted the stake.

Spike's expression never changed. His emotions were caught in a freeze frame and nothing was breaking them free. This wasn't real. It couldn't be. His gut twisted on a spaghetti fork at the hateful denunciation. He'd striven for win the slightest display of pride or approval from Angelus. The closest he'd ever come had been the night he'd killed his first Slayer. And that had been Angel NOT Angelus, offering up a slight smile and sincere congratulations.

Angelus had given him decades of crap, always withholding affection and approval. His sire had give Spike NOTHING and now...THIS. Spike refused to believe that it could end like this. They'd been through too much together, passion and obsession, love and hatred, for Angelus to kill him in cold blood.

An abrupt question ripped Spike from his reverie, catching his attention. "You came here expecting to go another round with Angel, didn't you?" Angelus demanded.

"What?" Spike gasped, swallowing more blood in order to croak the word out. Angel == Angelus. What the hell was the difference beyond an iota of sanity and a pair of leather pants?! It was only just starting to dawn on him that differences existed and were significant.

"My prissy soul," Angelus continued. It was weird to listen to the wanker talk about himself in the third person. "You and he trade a few punches and insults, sneak a few gropes between blows, and it ends with both of you bruised but not much worse for wear. Neither of you dies, cause that ends the affair."

Spike blinked, shocked out of his freeze frame completely. "What the hell are you talkin' about, you bloody pillock?" the blonde demanded. What affair?! Angelus had lost his ever-freakin' marbles!

"I'm talkin' about you and your damnable infatuation with my prissy soul!" Even more of Angelus' thinly spread sanity slipped away as he raged. "Pisses me off to no end. I've spent the last two years forced to watch the two of you flirt and frolic like bosom bottom buddies."

The words struck a deeper chord in Spike, one of truth. He performed a mental double take. Well, yeah. In a way, he had come here expecting to just go another few rounds with Angel, another battle in their unending war. And if Angelus wanted to nitpick, then Spike had come to LA looking for Soulboy and not Psychoboy.

"What? You thought it was me, Will, your beloved sire? Hate to break this to you, but you would have been a pile of dust on the ground ages ago if it weren't for Angel."

Fuck, didn't the motherfucker's batteries ever rundown? "You're crazy," Spike muttered, glancing once again at the stake poised over his heart. Understanding dawned. This was it. The end. It would end here in a dark alley just like it had started. Full circle.

"Maybe a tad," Angelus conceded. He flipped the stake with a causal toss and caught it, taunting. "You came here today expecting to play with Angel. But you didn't count on me."

Dread and searing pain flooded Spike, well beyond anything physical. A few short hours before Spike had held a stake to his own heart and contemplated suicide but... Not like this. Tears glittered in his eyes. 'Please sire...' If he begged, would it make a difference?

But no, Spike could see that Angelus was set on this course. The stake rose for the final blow. "Oh, and one last thing..." Angelus added and Spike shuddered. Shut the fuck up and get it over with already!

"I know with certainty that Willow-witch-bitch didn't shag you," Angelus finished. The sound of Willow's name on Angelus' lips tore out his whimpering heart. Why? Why couldn't just one lover belong only to Spike? Why did he have to share every last one with his sire?

"Been shaggin' her box and arse," Spike lisped weakly. In his dreams... Blood fluid trickled from the corner of his mouth. He eyes flinched and it hurt. What did Angelus know that Spike didn't? How long had Spike agonized over his sire's mysterious hold over Willow? Was this to be the final degradation? Being told but unable to do anything about it? Frustration and helplessness left him feeling impotent.

Angelus cleared his throat and spat full in his face. The gob hit him in the eye and slid down his cheek, leaving a wet, slimy trail. Humiliated, Spike gagged and turned his face aside. Angelus wasn't content with his death. He wanted Spike broken down to his spirit, completely emasculated... And the real kicker was that he was succeeding...

"Willow didn't fuck you because she wouldn't... couldn't... without my permission. I have too much on her," Angelus sneered. With a final twist of the knife, he hissed, "She may have been passing time with you but she'd never have shagged you. Not *ever* without my permission. I give all your women a good seein' to cause I have the knackers."

Fury seized Spike but it was empty. The last remnants of his heart were shattered. "I hate you," he hissed but the blonde didn't even have that in him anymore. He was hollow. Willow had never been Spike's... Not in any way that was real.

Angelus smirked, evil, nasty, a face full of teeth. "You know, I still owe you one for that stunt with the crowbar. So I guess your lily white arse is about to meet the great wooden shaft. See you in hell, boy-o."

He swung the stake, plunging it toward Spike's heart. The blonde squeezed his eyes shut so he wouldn't have to know the precise moment it was over. A tear trickled from under his closed eyelids.

The blow never came.

Well, fuck.

Gurgling sounds and the clatter of wood to the ground brought Spike's startled eyes open. Angelus had doubled over on top on him, clutching his chest. "I have a soul," he gasped, "I will not take an innocent life." The voice had a decidedly feminine pitch.

Spike felt his undead heart jumpstart. The Poufter! "Spike is about as innocent as the devil himself," Angelus croaked, in a full, throaty male voice. Mentally, Spike dubbed him "Demon Guy". "Let me kill him," Demon Guy pleaded with The Poufer. "He's a pain in the ass for everyone."

"I like him," The Poufer's girly voice exclaimed. "He's cute, almost adorable, in a Spike'o'licious kind of way." Spike felt his eyes bulge. Oh????????????? "Spike'o'licious" now, was it? In spite of everything, a tiny grin touched his lips.

"Spike'o'licious?" Angelus grumbled, "Fuck. Chew him up and blow him, why don't you?"

"That's your job!" the soul replied with sassy impertinence. "I'm not the Great POOF!" A bark of laughter escaped Spike, causing his broken ribs to expand and contract like a xylophone.

"Bloody hell!" Spike hissed, clutching his side, fighting gales of laughter. "Ow ow ow!" He had never heard anything as funny as Angelus arguing with himself. He hoped--no *needed*---the dynamic duo shut up. Soon. The dual demon/soul comedy team was just killing him!

Growling, Angelus changed to game face and doubled over to the pavement, no longer crouching over Spike. The blonde watched with mixed bafflement and barely contained hilarity as his sire's demon battled with his sire's soul for dominance. Game face on, game face off. On and off, on and off... The facial morphing served as a physical manifestation of the internal struggle occurring.

It would have been fucking hilarious if Spike had been able to move. As it was, he choked back laughter and wondered why it was that every single member of his close family seemed to have gone nuts. "Yer a bloody loon!" Spike exclaimed, in case Angelus had any doubts.

Apparently, he didn't. "No shit!" the dark haired vampire bellowed. "Tell me something I don't know!" Abruptly, Angelus' entire body convulsed.

His eyes turned gold. Not tawny game-faced demonic gold but soul gold. They were the color of polished coins. Beautiful. Spike felt his lips part but the moment passed so fast he would later question what he'd seen. Angelus' eyes returned to their deep chocolate color and he fell silent and still. Spike watched warily, waiting.

"Spike, are you OK?" asked.

"Fine and dandy," Spike snapped. For a bloke who'd just gotten the crap beat out of him! The blonde jerked and scooted away as one of his sire's hands extended toward him. "Don't touch me!" he snarled, dragging himself along the sidewalk with his arms rather than endure Angel's touch.

"I'm sorry," Angel apologized. (Yes, definitely Soulboy this time.) He followed Spike wearing an expression of sincere contrition that turned Spike's gut. "He just slipped out!" Angel babbled. "It was an accident! You caught me off-guard and I've been having trouble keeping him under control!" He reached for Spike again.

"DON'T TOUCH ME!" Spike roared, torn between terror and revulsion. He didn't care that he was bleeding all over the pavement and that his lower legs were almost useless. He could not stand to have Angel touch him.

Stricken, Angel froze, a long, guilty expression marring his homely countenance. "I really am sorry," Angel finished weakly.

"I can see that," Spike replied dourly. "Bloody sorry and sad. You're so wretchedly pathetic that I'd ask the Slayer to off you if I thought she'd comply." Miserable excuse for a vampire that he was... The sick bastard had developed a worst case of schizophrenia than Drusilla. Even at her worst, Dru had never held complete conversations with herself!

Spike dragged himself to the wall, still using his arms. He kept going on sheer willpower. The blonde knew his spine was damaged and only the searing pain burning like wildfire through his entire back and legs gave him any hope of avoiding going back into a wheelchair.

"Are you going to be OK?" Angel asked.

"Oh, fine!!!!" Spike's reply was rife with sarcasm.

"I can't just leave you here," Angel explained. The Great Pouf waved his hands about uselessly. "Especially, considering...morning, sunlight, POOF!" He mocked an explosion.

Spike gritted his teeth. "I'll be fine. Go away."

"But the sun will come up and..."

"Angel, if you come near me right now, I'll retch on both of us." It was the complete and total truth. Panting, Spike settled against the cinder block wall to rest. Oi, but unlife sucked right then.

"Oh." Angel stood, shoved his hands into the pockets of his billowy black coat, and gazed down at Spike with pathetic puppy dog eyes. Spike's desire to barf increased. "Spike, why did you come to LA?" Angel finally asked. "Was it about Willow..." Long pause. "Or me?"

Spike glared up at his sire with iced blue eyes. This time, he wasn't going to lose track of what was important. "Willow is mine," he snarled. "My property. Hands off. Maybe you and her were spankin' friends before but those days are done. Read my lips, KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF'A HER OR I'LL RIP YOUR BLOODY HEART OUT."

"Don't threaten me, you candy-ass," Angel sassed. "You're the one lying on the ground." He stuck his hands on his hips and jutted out his chest like a big sissy girl.

Motherfuckingbastard!!! "Bite me!" Spike shouted.

"Gladly! Pull down your pants!" Comically, Angel changed to game face. Spike once again found himself at a loss. Too much crazy shit had happened in too short a time. He didn't know what to say--or better--what he should avoid saying to avoid another bout with Angelus.

Spike wasn't a coward but he wasn't stupid either. It was the soul glaring at him now out of those deep brown eyes but it could as easily be the demon again. He'd had more than enough for one night. The blonde looked away first, fussing with his clothes in a weak attempt to save face. Fuck oh Fuck, his back HURT!

"You tell *Willow* that I'm going to turn her over my knee and beat her bare ass raw the next time she decides to share about my purported spanking fetishes," Angel informed him. He clenched his fists. "In fact, I'm going to do it anyway for this time."

Spike shot to his feet. To his amazement, his back and legs held. ""You stay away from her or I'll kill you," he snarled. "She's mine an' you'll keep clear if you know what's good for you!" He was a kitten hissing in the face of a Doberman, but Willow was all he had left worth fighting for. Dignity and pride were shattered.

In disgust, Angel threw up his hands. "I'm not talking to you anymore," the gesture clearly said. The dark haired vampire swiveled on his heel and turned to march off, disappearing into the shadows of the City of Angels.

"Crazy bastard!" Spike shouted after his departing sire. Then he set about the long, slow, and painful task of dragging his wretched hide back to the Thunderbird.