Forgive, Forget, Forsake, Forfeit

by Rebecca
R.E.M. - Recalled Emotional Memories 6

"Just *what* is going on in that thick head of yours?" "Cordy I-" "No, forget it. I do *not* want to know." "It-" "*Why* Angel? Can you explain this to me in a completely non-icky vampire way?" The leggy brunette folded her arms across her chest. The dark-haired vampire had reluctantly made the decision to inform his coworkers of his current 'guest'. Spike was currently rifling through his bookcase in the hopes of finding some reading material containing lots of sex, violence and pictures. As it was, his friends were taking the news in a predictable fashion. At first Wesley didn't understand what all the fuss was about, until Cordelia kindly informed the ex-Watcher of Spike's 'William the Bloody' moniker. He was currently trying to suffuse blood in his pale cheeks by downing as much of Cordelia's foully brewed coffee as possible. And as predicted, he was getting the verbal once-over by his would-be secretary. "*Well*?" Angel was asked sternly. "Don't you have anything to say for yourself? "Oh, I thought you were going to interrupt me again," the vampire replied. If Cordelia's look could kill Wesley'd be running for the dustbuster. His friend's angry expression dissolved into worry. "I just don't want to see you get hurt, that's all." Angel opened his mouth to reply but she held up a silencing hand. "I know it seems like he's helping out the old gang and all, I know that you can handle him... but I don't want to see you injured, physically or emotionally, okay?" She thought back to the last time Spike had graced LA's finest with his presence and sniffled, not only for the pain he had caused Angel, but in the memory of their Irish companion who had still been with them at the time. Angel was not only touched by her concern, but also remembered their mutual friend and was still saddened at his death. Words being somehow unable to console his secretary, he simply held his arms out and let her seek what little comfort there was to be had in his embrace. "Just be careful," he heard her whisper. "I'll never forgive you if you let him torture you again." Angel chuckled softly and pressed a kiss to her hair. "I'll be careful; I promise." + + + + + Bored, bored, bored. Spike sighed as he flopped back on Angel's small sofa, dirty boots on the upholstery. The brooding one had disappeared a while ago, presumably to tell his pet humans his one-time favourite bloodthirsty childe was having a little stay-over, killing time before he had to get back to Sunnydale. With precious little entertainment available in his sire's apartment, Spike decided he'd like to see the vacuous little cheerleader explode, and the wanky ex-Watcher stutter incoherently. Considerably cheered up by this thought, he began to climb the stairs, wanting an element of surprise that the elevator just couldn't offer. It had been difficult to get out of the silence. But eventually, some (recent) common ground had been found. Demons. Fighting them, killing them, getting the crap beaten out of by them... you name it, they talked about it. It was as if this one topic was the only thing that kept any communication between them alive. Spike was afraid that once the talking stopped... there would be nothing. Nothing keeping him here. Nothing keeping him sane. Nothing keeping unliving. It somehow seemed a more frightening concept than having Angelus missing, presumed dead for a century. At least he could mask the innermost thoughts he entertained about his sire still loving him to the bitter end with disdain and hatred. But what if Angel -- who was as close as he was ever going to get to his true sire -- didn't really want him around anymore? If he didn't, this truth would come out when they stopped talking. The minute they ceased the almost polite 'shop talk' and baiting.. that was when the truth would eventually rear its ugly head. Spike didn't have a good track record with the surfacing of true feelings. Spike didn't *like* the surfacing of true feelings. If there was one thing Angelus had impressed on him (apart from always guarding his perimeter) it was to never let *anyone* -- enemy or friend -- know your weaknesses. If he found out now that the only reason Angel had patched him up in Sunnydale, and then here, and let him stay was out of the soul's desire to keep a watch over the demon's transgressions... if it was revealed that the dark haired vampire was just keeping an eye on his wayward childe for some divine payback for the universe, the karmic circle, redemption and all that rubbish... ... if he found out Angel didn't *really* care... ...point him in the direction of the nearest broom handle. A wretched excuse for a vampire such as himself didn't deserve the honour of being dusted by a stake. On second thought, maybe he didn't want to face his sire's colleagues just yet... they'd probably know about his little implant problem about now, and the blond didn't really feel like deflecting barbs from people he wouldn't have even bothered killing last year. Spike slowly backed down the stairs, opting to delay the inevitable. He sighed and went back to perusing the books. One particular volume stood out, both from the shelf and his memory. A book of collected verse by the Irish bard Amergin. Spike crinkled his brow. This.. this was very familiar... he took it from the shelf and opened it almost reverently. The blond managed a hollow chuckle at the title page. A slight watery brown mark marred its otherwise good condition. Yes, he *had* gotten quite the thrashing for spilling his sire's good whiskey over this most prized book... Spike flicked through the pages slowly, allowing himself to become submerged in memory. Nights of listening to Angelus' deep timbre reciting passages from memory.. or reading longer works out from this very book... nights when there was no irksome blond vampiress demanding acknowledgment, nor a dark-haired one playing for attention in her own childlike way. But something wasn't quite right... there was a memory buried in the blond's mind. He closed his eyes, running idle hands over the thick cover, trying to recall the instance from his brain. His eyes snapped open as he remembered. ~~~~~ 1898 "Bloody hell, Dru, would you stop the caterwauling and help me *look*!" Spike growled, tearing pillows off the sofa and hurling them at cabinets in frustration. It had been once week since Drusilla had collapsed in a sobbing heap in the living room of their home of the moment, refusing to get up. Spike had tried everything to calm the vampiress, but to no avail. She hadn't eaten in days, except for meagre morsels he'd been able to force down her throat. Spike was becoming more and more frantic. The same few thoughts kept circling around his head.. Angelus... Angelus would know what to do... Angelus would know how to fix her... Angelus would know how to make it better... Spike had been content to be the strong one until a minion of Darla's had turned up on their doorstep with the news that not only had their sire disappeared, but she was leaving for America. The vampire's world came crashing down. Enraged, he vented his terrible anger on the stricken population of Zagreb. Not known for his mercy at the best of times, Spike was a demon gone mad with grief. He could attribute Drusilla's despair to something now, and her pain combined with his own made him unstoppable. Upon returning from the blood-soaked streets, Spike had wanted to find and touch the last thing he knew his sire had held... something he knew the older vampire was fond of. The first thing that sprung to mind had been Amergin's verses. Not finding it immediately in the bookshelf or Angelus' bedroom, Spike once again became uncontrollable, tearing at carpet, yanking drawers out and pushing bookshelves over. "Spike?" a small voice asked. The vampire overturned a table and spun around, panting with exertion. Drusilla had stopped crying for the first time in seven days. Spike's anger-distorted features crumbled and he crouched beside the vampiress. "Yes, ducks?" "He's gone... Miss Edith tells me he's grown wings and flown away..." Tears from red-rimmed eyes began rolling down her cheeks once again. "Sshh, not to worry, pet..." Spike pulled her into his lap, rocking back and forth soothingly. "I'm here to look after you," He knew that he wouldn't let anything happen to Dru. Spike would make Angelus proud -- wherever he was. Besides, if nothing else, she was a reminder of their sire's presence. The older vampire rocked his sibling into a fitful sleep in his lap, amid the ruins of the room. Spike's head snapped up. For a second, he'd felt a familiar presence, but his grief was too overpowering. For it was then and there that he was finally able to let his own tears fall; for the first and last time. + + + "This book..." Spike mused, turning it over in his hands. "...went missing just... just after *he* did..." Now that was an ugly thought. The blond vampire didn't like where these ideas were leading him. If the book disappeared jus over a century ago only to be found in Angel's basement apartment... "That means..." He came back to retrieve it. *After* the curse. The book dropped from Spike's hands. "Son of a bitch." End