BONDING


By Patricia R.D.









PROLOGUE

Angel, Spike and Kathleen watched carefully through the heavy living room curtains how Buffy left the house with her two watchers. It wasn't until they couldn't see Giles's old car that they sat on the sofa and looked at each other, then at Joyce Summers, standing up next to them. The same thought was in everyone's mind: What do we do now? Joyce was the first one to break the silence.

"Would you like some coffee?"





*****

"Now, this is fun," Spike said as he sat in Buffy's bed and looked around. "We are canned in here until sundown, with nothing to do."

Angel looked at him. "Nobody forced you to come, Spike. You could be at the mansion right now if you hadn't insisted to tag along."

"Look who's talking, Mr. I-need-to-go-no-matter-it's-almost-noon-so-I-can-give-my-girlfriend-a-demon's-heart-so-she'll-get-better-even-if-my-daughter-could-have-done-it-since-she-can-walk-into-the-sun-without-getting-toast!" Good things vampires didn't need to breathe, because Spike had said all that without a pause. Angel groaned and sat next to him. Kathleen entered the room and laughed at the sight of the two vampires.

"Don't be that way, Daddy, Honey," she told them. "I'm sure there's plenty we can do together while we wait for Buffy."

"Like what?" Spike asked. "Talk?"

"Now that you mention it, maybe it would be good if the three of us sat down and talk a little bit. When was the last time we did it?"

"I have to say never, Little Bit," his father said.

"Then it's settled. I'll go ask Mrs. Summers if she has any tea. This is going to be so much fun!"

"Yep," Spike said as he watched her beloved leave the room. "This is gonna be a ride."

*****



"So, let me get this straight," Spike said as she sipped some tea. "You were a deadhead?"

"Yeah. Love the Dead," Kathleen answered.

"And you let your daughter hang with that kind of people?"

"Do you think she ever listened to me? She's as headstrong as her mother."

"And I'll take that as a compliment," Kathleen said. "What about you, Spike? Memorable concerts?"

"I was at Woodstock once," the blonde vampire answered. "I remember feeding on a Flower Person and spending the next six hours watching my hand move. And I still have the pictures we took at that Marilyn Manson concert, mate."

"You guys went to see Marilyn Manson?"

"After I lost my soul. I thought there would be real blood, but it was Much Ado About Nothing there."

"All hat and no Cattle," Spike said. "Would you like to see the pictures, Luv?" He gave her a small notebook he always kept inside his duster.

"What's that?" Angel asked.

"A kind of a scrapbook I've been working in for the last two years. I have the pictures here." Spike showed them the page. "As you can see, Kats, we even went backstage. Here we are with the Manson himself. Your Dear Old Dad is missing from the next pics, what a coincidence! Manson's girlfriend is, too!"

"Shut up, Spike."

"Okay. Lets see something else." He passed the pages quickly. "Now, here's something you won't find anywhere else: a couple of hand-made portraits of your Daddy and his 'family'. See? This bald sod is the Master, the babe with the blond mane and cute nose is Darla, the brunette with the doll is Dru, the one with the badass face is Luke, the redhead is Charles, and the tall, thin dark guy with the beautiful face is yours truly."

"You look great with black hair," Kathleen said. "Who's the woman with the big moustache?"

"That would be me," Angel said with a glare.

"You did look like a woman with that long hair, mate." Spike told him.

"I think we've seen enough mementos for today." Still, Angel was touched that his childe had kept all those reminders of their times together. Kathleen held his hand and smiled at him. Spike put his own hand above theirs. They chuckled.

"See? Now we're bonding." Kathleen stared at Spike's hands. "Your polish is chipping. Want me to give you a manicure?"

"Now?"

"Why not? Its not like you're going anywhere today, Hon. I'll get some water and then I'll do Daddy's hands, too."

"You're not touching my hands with that black nail polish."

"I don't have black nail polish. But I think I saw Midnight Blue in my purse."

Before Angel could protest, he found himself beside Spike, his digits in a bowl with warm water. Kathleen spent the next hour shaping and buffing and painting their nails. Angel only allowed her to use clear polish on his.

"So, Angel," Spike said later, while they waited for their nails to dry. "Kats and I... we've been talking."

"About what?"

"Well, you know. What are we going to do next now that were a twosome and... You tell him, Pet."

"We are considering moving to LA."

"LA?"

"Yeah. Cuz last time I was there I noticed all these people that seemed lost and confused, and in constant danger because of your 'friends' and other things. And I think they could use a little bit of help. And the city isn't that far, two hours driving, and we could still see each other and..." Kathleen trailed off.

"And when are you leaving?"

"After the ascension." Spike answered. Angel nodded. "Good. I... Is the door closed?"

"Yes."

"Okay. You know, Buffy and I had been talking about selling the mansion and getting a smaller place."

"Really? As in moving in together?"

"Yes. After graduation. She could go to college nearby and we would see each other a whole lot more... I guess those plans are on hold for now."

"I'm sure she'll forget the whole Faith thing soon, mate. After all, we risked our asses coming here to help her."

Nobody talked after that. They were all remembering what had happened: After the Ashood attack, Spike had told Giles about a brunette girl in leather he had seen in the area. After suspecting of Faith, the former Watcher, with help from the two vampires, Buffy and Kathleen, had conceived the plan the revealed Faith as a traitor. All good, except for the part where Buffy couldn't believe Angel had felt nothing kissing Faith. They had talked though, and Angel had let her know she was the only woman he loved. And Spike was right: They had risked themselves, first by fighting the demon and ripping his heart out, and then by coming to her house in the daylight, first in Spike's DeSoto and then under a blanket. Still, Angel had his doubts.

"I wish I could believe you, Spike."

"Then do it, Pops." Kathleen said.

Angel smiled. "Believe," he said softly. "I still don't know about the mansion. I mean, it's either selling that or the building I own close to the Bronze."

"Building," Spike and Kathleen said at the same time. "We could use the mansion for parties and other things. Besides, we'll be visiting and we don't want to loose our bedroom."

"I'll talk with Buffy, then. If she still wants to talk to me."

"Winner and still champion of the pessimist competition," Spike shook his head. "I still can't believe you're the old sod's girl, Kats. You don't brood at all and smile all the time."

"You should see Daddy's smile in the morning, after a visit from his favorite slayer."

"Hey! A little respect for your old man here."

"I do respect you. I haven't even mentioned the noises."

"What noises?"

"You know, the chain noises. We either have a ghost in the mansion, or someone's getting a little kinky."

"That's selfish, Angel. You cant keep all the chains for yourself. My Baby and I have needs, too."

"Which I don't want to hear about. Thank you very much. Can we change the subject, please?"

Knock, knock.

"Yes?"

"It's Mrs. Summers. I wanted to know if I could get you anything else."

"Were okay, Mrs. Summers. Thanks anyway."

"You guys call me if you need anything."

"She's afraid of us," Spike said after he was sure Buffy's Mom was out of earshot.

"I wonder why is that?" said Angel.

"You know what I'd like? A party," Kathleen said.

"Buffy's prom is in two weeks," Spike volunteered. "Why don't we have an after-prom bash at the mansion?"

"I'm not a party-guy."

"Come on, Dad. It's your girlfriend's last school dance. I'll take care of everything. Come on..."

Kathleen put on that pouty mouth that Angel had never been able to resist. "Alright. We'll have a party."

"Where?" Everyone looked up. Buffy was standing in the doorway, smiling.

"We're having a post-prom reunion at the mansion," said Kathleen.

Buffy entered the room and sat at Angel's legs. "I like it."

"That means you forgive me?" Angel asked her.

"Maybe."

"Did you catch the killer?" Spike said.

"Yes. It was the lunch lady. She tried to poison everyone with rat poison," Buffy replied.

"Sick."

"But she's behind bars when she belongs and all this talk about food has let me starving. Can we go pick a pizza after dusk?" Buffy asked.

"No garlic," Angel said. She kissed his lips. "Deal. I... are you wearing nail polish?"

"Clear," Angel said, making a face at his daughter.

"That's what you did while I was out?" Buffy said.

"Little bit of this, little bit of that," Kathleen said. "Most of all, we did some quality time bonding."



THE END

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