Standing uncomfortably with his hands in his duster pockets, Spike stood just in the doorway of the Angel Investigations office, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. Angel brushed past him and further into the building, silently taking in his childe's unique odor of leather, cigarettes and, if his nose was still working, the tiniest amount of beer. But he wasn't drunk.
Walking over to Cordelia's desk, the dark haired vampire concentrated on straightening up some fashion magazines, making sure they were perpendicular to the stationery and the corner of the desk. When he was sure they were correctly placed, Angel turned and leant against the piece of furniture, folding his arms across his broad chest.
One eyebrow raised slightly, the only movement on his otherwise stoic face in a single question.
Spike, for all the fidgeting, was still as alert as ever. He observed his sire's posture -- relaxed, but carefully guarded, and still ready at a moment's notice to grab the stake shoved idly in the pencil caddy and ram it through his chest if he so much as blinked funny. The peroxide blond chuckled softly. Some things never change.
Angel's eyebrow raised a bit higher at Spike's impromptu descent into merriment, but his childe dismissed his sire's expression with a wave of his hand. Spike looked through the cover of his lashes at Angel. Nothing had really changed in the week since he had seen his sire. Appearance-wise, that was. Then again, nothing had really changed since he'd first set eyes on Angelus in a rowdy pub in one of London's tougher neighborhoods way back in the 18th century.
Sure, the hair had gone shorter, clothes a little duller and the eyes a little more soul-filled, but on the whole, he was the same guy. Matter of fact, this Angel, the one standing right in front of him with annoyance slightly touching his features was closer to his Angelus than the actual Angelus that had been unwittingly released in Sunnyhell.
The Angelus that had killed Jenny Calendar, tried to suck the world into Hell and made Spike's unlife a fucking misery was *not* his sire. Being trapped for a century under the enormous guilt of a soul must have driven the demon in him mad. Once released, it set about dealing out some major payback.
Why it had chosen to ruin his relationship with Dru was anyone's guess. Maybe a punishment for actually spending the last hundred years killing and maiming like any good vampire when it couldn't... maybe it wanted to familiarize itself with something from its bloody past... maybe it was just so addled with jealousy and thoughts of revenge he was attacking the beings that gave him companionship when he was last a soulless creature, as well as the souled version's.
But this Angel... things had happened between the last time he saw his sire after turning up practically on his doorstep after Dru had dumped him and now... even between now and the time he had come to LA in search of the Gem of Amara and nearly had the older vampire tortured to death...
He seemed more comfortable.. possibly even a tiny bit less guilty. Spike couldn't quite pinpoint it, but it was something about his presence... it was as if in some way, he'd come to terms with his split nature -- the souled man and the soulless demon -- and accepted they were both an inescapable part of him. Not *completely* reconciled, of course, that was impossible, but coming close to an acceptance of the supernatural animal that once ran his life, and was now still with him, albeit not in obvious control.
Allowing the demon to become, in some tiny way, a part of him again, instead of an entirely separate entity.
*That* was his sire. Not a mad, uncontrollable beast that made Spike want to hit him with a tyre iron over and over again, but a passionate, controlled, powerful creature that made his knees slightly weak.
Like the creature that was leaning against the desk not three metres away staring at him with an intensity that belied the casual pose.
Spike's knees almost faltered.
The blond cursed faintly at his body for proving his point.
"Angel," the blond finally cleared his throat, breaking the verbal silence.
"Will." Angel replied, interested as to what the younger vampire had to say.
"Your pants are ringing." Angel jumped and thrust his hand into the pocket of his trousers for the cell phone that had started to ring, interrupting his wordless conversation with Spike. The blond snorted at his sire fumbling with modern technology. Give the man a phonograph and a wireless, not portable phones the size of a box of matches or coffee machines you needed doctorates both in Applied Sciences and Engineering to get drinkable coffee out of.
"Angel! I'm glad that you're up. Well, of course you'd be up, because it's night-time and you're not much of a day-demon anywa-"
"Cordelia," Angel stemmed her babble. "What's wrong?"
"Oh, that. I had a vision just as I was walking into my building. It's a good thing Wesley was walking me home because he caught me just before I kissed the pavement-"
"Abrupt much? Jeez..."
"Cordelia-" Angel blew a short burst of air between his lips in an exasperated fashion.
"I described what I saw to Wesley. And *he* said it's exactly what Giles described to him. It seems that that Tuscan demon-"
"Whatever, the one that the bleached wonder was sent here to get pages to defeat, followed him here to try and prevent it."
"But Spike got the pages and is fine."
"How do yo- nevermind, I don't want to know... well, the demon he met with is dead. Intestines torn out and arranged in a variety of interesting ways. I am not asking this Toska'ar guy to come and re-decorate the office."
Angel looked across at his childe who had an expression on his face that was a mixture between worry and curiosity at the older vampire's one-sided conversation.
"Where is it?"
"At a warehouse about five blocks away from you. Seems it was following the peroxide, fangy one-"
"It's not up to full strength yet," Angel murmured to himself. "It must've had to stop and replenish its energy before getting here."
"Why would it be heading to you? It's after- oh." Realization dawned for the former May Queen and she changed subjects almost tactfully. "Well, I'm sure you're not being tortured, and he's not giving you a happy so everything's cool. So, are you going to kill this thing?"
Angel looked at Spike again. The blond now had a completely worried expression and chewed his bottom lip anxiously.
The dark haired vampire collected his thoughts.
There was trouble brewing, and something was threatening his childe.
Just like old times, really.
"I'll be there in five minutes. Take it easy, I'll give you a call back when it's dead." Angel disconnected the phone and shoved it back in his pocket. He grabbed a long black coat from the rack and pulled his arms into it. Grabbing a large fighting axe that had been carelessly leant against the filing cabinet, the older man tossed it to Spike.
Angel disappeared into his basement before appearing a moment later with a large katana. "Come on." He said in a clipped voice, before opening the door and striding out. Spike looked at the weapon in his hands for a moment before running out, shutting the door behind him.
Spike caught up to his sire's long strides and fell into step just behind him. They walked the first block in silence before, without slowing, Angel half-turned to address his childe.
"Gotten yourself into trouble again, eh?"
The blond gave a crooked grin.
::The Ukraine, 1851:: "I swear Angelus, this time it isn't my fault!"
Angelus muttered a string of disbelieving obscenities in another language -- quite possibly Gaelic -- as he swung his right fist around to connect with that of a re-animated corpse. Its putrid jaw shattered. Dead eyes widened almost comically for a moment, before it continued to advance slowly on the dark haired vampire.
The jawless cadaver was soon joined by four zombie-brethren who flanked Angelus. He grimaced, slowly retreating backwards and pulled his slightly torn coat onto his shoulders again, where it had started falling off.
Angelus felt Spike's back press up against his own, being similarly forced into the same defensive position from the other side. The younger vampire was sporting a shallow gash on his forehead which trickled blood down his left temple, but otherwise was unharmed.
As a matter of fact, Spike was wearing a broad grin.
"Not yer fault.." the older vampire muttered. "No, y' only had t' seduce, fuck an' kill the favourite mortal o' th' demon Carreau the Merciless.."
Spike actually had the audacity to look hurt.
"Hey! How was I supposed to know Carreau was into young untouched boys wit' black hair? Dirty ol' bastard.." One of cadavers growled raggedly at the insult to its master and lunged early. Spike laughed and kicked his attacker in the stomach. While it was still stunned, the younger vampire crooked his knee and smashed the head of the creature down onto it with a sickening thud. Before the body even hit the ground, Spike was back with his fists up in a classic fighter's stance.
Angelus shook his head briefly.
There was trouble. Spike was in the centre of it and Angelus had to help him fight his way out.
Just like old times, really.
Letting his guard down for that one, brief moment he contemplated the situation was lazy, seeing as their enemies had decided to attack right at that moment. Angelus' head snapped back as one of his attackers landed a punch on his face. The older vampire put a finger up to his lips and wiped away a smear of blood.
"Getting careless in your old age eh, Angelus?" Spike crowed as he dispatched another corpse in an ever-increasingly spectacular manner, as if he were fighting in a ring for some cheering crowd. The scent of his blood sent Angelus' demon into over-drive and his face lost its handsome human planes.
"Lucky shot," the vampire growled at his assailant before throwing a punch that was so powerful, the creature's head actually burst open. "Luckier shot." Angelus muttered superiorly and wiped grey matter from his hands onto his ruined jacket. His childe whistled appreciatively whilst still fighting.
"Nice style old man," the younger vampire complimented as he tore the arm off his rotting opponent's body. "Keep that up an' you'll be almost as good as me." Spike laughed heartily as he used the detached limb as a club and beat its former host back into death.
"Didna no-one ever teach ye t' respect yer betters?" the older vampire growled as he repeatedly punched a cadaver.
"Sure they did. But none o' me betters are here right now..."
Angelus flashed an annoyed, yellow-eyed glare at his childe before going back to his foe. Spike laughed at his sire's anger. The younger vampire concentrated too much on laughing and not enough on his own enemy, thus leaving himself open for attack. The corpse landed a hard kick to Spike's knee, a somewhat weak spot for the supernatural being, causing him to concertina down onto the ground.
Spike groaned in pain and grabbed his wounded knee. A horrific smile crossed the face of the corpse as it bore down on him to finish the job. The garish grin was still on its putrid face when Angelus tore the heart out of its dead body and it dropped to the street, immobile. Spike rocked back and forth in pain, but still took in the fact that all of the zombie minions were dead. A hand appeared in front of his vision, attached to a body with an insufferable smirk.
"Nice style, boy. I especially liked th' part where y' didna get up as he was comin' t' kill ye." The younger vampire rolled his eyes as he was hauled up. He threw an arm around his sire's shoulders to steady himself and they began their slow trek back to the boarding house where they were staying.
"Tell y' what, Angelus," Spike said after five minutes of silence. "You don't tell anyone abou' this an' I won't tell anyone that you actually *helped* me seduce, shag an' kill Carreau's little mortal treat."
Angelus' chuckle echoed eerily down the street.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"What are you laughing at, y'ponce?" Spike grumbled angrily as he limped towards the Angel Investigations office using the blood and slime-encrusted axe as a makeshift walking stick. Angel gave his childe a sidelong glance and smirked.
"Yeah well, you think too much," after a moment's silence. "About what?"
"About how you wouldn't have been slashed with the Toska'ar's five inch claws if you hadn't gotten him so angry after calling him a limp-dicked panty sniffer who couldn't even get hard dipping his cock into concrete."
Spike's lacklustre response made Angel begin chuckling again. Which grew as the blond vampire's face showed more and more of his irritation. By the time Angel opened the office door, the dark haired vampire was laughing long and loud.
"Angelus, y'mind phasing it down to a dull roar?" Spike hissed. Angel studied his face, detecting the faintest stain of stolen blood on his cheeks. He acquiesced and ceased laughing, although couldn't quite wipe the grin off his face. The blond limped over the threshold cursing, among other things, pathetic Sunnydale losers, the karma of the universe, army pricks with science labs and foofy sires with penis-extension swords.
Spike's face twisted in genuine agony and didn't get further than a few steps away from Cordelia's desk before he began to fall. But before the obscenities could even form on his lips, Angel had one arm wrapped around Spike's waist, the other holding the blond vampire's arm around his neck. As smoothly as possible, Angel led his injured childe to the elevator. Spike stayed silent for the journey, whether he was sullen, in pain or exhausted, the older vampire couldn't quite tell. Most likely a mixture of all three.
Angel helped Spike over to his bed and sat him on the edge. The blond hissed as his sire poked at the gash.
"Looks like you need patching up again, Will."
Spike actually managed a small grin through gritted teeth. "Seems like only yesterday, doesn't it, nurse?"
"Strip off. I'll get some bandages." Angel ordered succinctly and headed for the bathroom. When he returned with antiseptic and gauze, he couldn't help but chuckle softly. Some things never change. Spike was lying on his bed, shirt and duster in a pile on the ground, one leg out of his jeans and fast asleep. The older vampire knew his childe slept like the dead -- literally and figuratively -- so he carefully finished stripping Spike off. He folded the clothes and placed them on his dresser and tucked the scuffed Docs under the bed.
Angel cleaned and bound Spike's injured leg, somewhat grateful the blond was asleep so he wouldn't have to hear the complaining. The dark haired vampire then gave Cordelia a quick call to inform her that the demon was dead, asking her to telephone Giles in the morning and inform him of the situation, Also, that since he was extremely tired, he asked that no-one disturb him during the day as he needed to sleep off a few bruises. There was no reason for her or Wesley to know about Spike, and he definitely didn't want either of them to barge in when the peroxide blond was sleeping in his bed.
Angel walked over to the bed and spent a long moment drinking in his childe's still form. The older vampire had always loved to watch Spike sleep -- he always looked so innocent, so incapable of any evil. Which was of course the demon's joy and the soul's heartbreak that he was. Angel could not stifle a yawn as he pulled the covers up over the peroxide blond. Dawn was fast-approaching. After considering his options of sleeping on the too-small-for-his-tall-frame-couch or the armchair with the lumpy stuffing, Angel chose to sleep in the bed.
He peeled off his dark grey crew neck pullover and toed off both shoes. Trading trousers for a pair of sweats from the drawer, and leaving on his white singlet, Angel climbed into bed next to Spike. The dark haired vampire tenderly brushed hair away from the blond's temple.
"Dream with me, Will," he murmured before sinking down onto the soft mattress on his back. Just as he was drifting off, however, the other occupant of the bed mumbled something unintelligible and rolled closer, throwing a careless arm around Angel's waist. With that act, he fell back into sleep instantly.
The one recurring thought that meandered through Angel's brain before sleep finally overtook was
*Just like old times.*