The Clockwork Vampire


by Spirit


Spike slugged back the whisky, sitting on the office desk as he listened to Angel in the next room.
They'd rescued the waste of space that night, and Angel had spent the next few hours talking to
the boy, trying to persuade him to do the right thing. Course, Angel was using his bloody human
methods, and Spike was non too impressed with the results. He could remember Angellus getting
his own way. Could remember it all too clearly and he wondered why Angel didn't employ the
same methods.

'Penny for them?'

He looked up and saw Wesley holding out a cup of coffee. Spike gestured to his whiskey and
shook his head.

'Angel will get him to change his mind,' said Wesley.

'About testifying?'

Wesley nodded.

'I have faith in Angel. If anyone can convince him.........' he broke off, looking at the office door.
Then he looked back at Spike. 'You're listening in, aren't you?'

The vampire grinned.

'Yeah, and he isn't using his sweet tongue on that little sod.'

Wesley raised his eyebrows.

'And a good thing too.'

'Angel still in there?' asked Doyle, lying down on the sofa. He was covered by Wesley's coat, his
face finally breaking free of the vision's painful hold. Wesley smiled and passed the coffee to the
Irishman.

'I'm afraid young Mr Marquez is proving to be something of a handful.'

'Well he'd better get him to testify,' said Doyle. 'My head's still ringing now. I don't want that kid
walking around and getting attacked again. This head definitely wasn't designed for more than
one vision a day.'

Spike shifted on the desk, listening as Angel explained how he wasn't going to be there next time.
Spike snorted to himself - next time Angel wouldn't be there.........yeah, right. Once his big
powerful sire had made his mind up about something he didn't quit until he'd seen it through. It
wasn't of the better things he'd learned from him. He'd give it five more minutes, then Spike was
going to go in and sort out the brat himself. There were far more interesting things they could be
doing at this hour than babysitting a kid who wouldn't make a stand either way.

Spike thought he hated that more than anything. He'd always known what he was fighting for -
his own personal survival and that of those he cared for. That had always been clear to him, and
any decisions he'd made had been based on this fact. Marquez seemed to be trying out the same
thing, but he didn't believe either way, and that was one of the reasons that Angel couldn't get
through to him. Give him to me for five minutes, thought Spike, I'll show the little fucker which
side his bread is buttered.

'Spike?'

He turned and looked at Wesley. 

Since the Englishman had come out and admitted to the world that he wanted to be with Doyle,
there was an air of relaxed triumph about the man. Spike had watched out for that distinct smell,
but so far, no go - Doyle and Wesley hadn't progressed that far down the line yet. There was
sexual tension in the air, most of it usually coming from Xander, but above that, was the distinct
musky smell that the mutt and Weasly were emitting. He wondered if they were hanging on for a
rainy day, or if they needed some pointers.

Better make your own entertainment, he grinned to himself.

'So,' said Spike, 'How come you two haven't been having sex?'

Wesley blushed and turned away, hurriedly busying himself with finding the files for the case.
Doyle shook his head and pulled the coat back up, closing his eyes and ignoring the vampire.

Spike didn't like being ignored.

'Oy, come on,' said the vampire. 'Tell your uncle Spike.'

'None of your business,' said Wesley, trying to assume an air of superiority. 

'Nothing else happening around here,' said Spike, 'Least you can do is entertain me.'

Wesley stared at him and tapped the desk Spike was sitting on.

'What do you want? A full demonstration on here?'

Spike grinned and rocked his hips on the wood.

'Why not, Pet? Worked for me and Peaches.'

Wesley took his hand off quickly and wiped it on his pants.

'You really are quite.........'

'Addictive?' said Spike, leaning back and shooting the dirtiest look he could at the ex-watcher.

'Without common decency,' said Wesley, 'Though why I'm expecting any of that from you is
quite beyond me.'

'I can be decent,' said Spike, sitting back up, 'Just don't see the bloody point.'

'The point is that decent people do not ask whether or not you've had sex every five minutes.'

Spike winked at Wesley.

'Every five minutes? Well I know vampire have quick recovery times, but every five
minutes.........no wonder the mutt can't walk.'

Wesley rolled his eyes and moved to Angel's door.

'I'm just going to give Angel this. I don't expect you to annoy Doyle whilst I'm gone.'

Spike shrugged.

'What am I going to do? Nuzzle him to death?'

He looked at the snoozing half demon.

'Actually, that's not a bad.........'

'Spike,' said Angel, opening the door and squashing Wesley in the process. 'Can I have a word?'

'Sure,' said Spike, hopping off the table. 'I'll leave Weasly to shag Doyle on the desk.'

Angel looked confused for a second, then pulled the door back from Wesley. As the blond
vampire walked into the office, he pinched Wesley cheerfully on the ass and brushed past his
lover. Ignoring the stirring Spike always caused, Angel closed the door behind them both.

Marquez sat sulkily in Angel's 'client-chair'. From what Spike had heard, Angel's protestations
that he had to do his duty, that if he didn't testify he was going to die, had all gone unheard. This
was a kid who looked out for number one and said the rest of the world could go to Hell. Now
where had Spike heard that before?

As it was, Angel was having far less effect on the boy than he'd hoped. The Powers that Fuck
about obviously had some purpose for the lad though, and if Angel had brought in Spike, then
the vampire knew things were getting pretty desperate.

'Marquez,' said Angel, 'You remember Spike?'

The boy nodded.

'Sure, you're the guy who ripped that ugly guy's arms off.'

Spike grinned, happy to find someone who appreciated his work.

'Like the tactic?' he asked .

Marquez looked at him, confused.

Spike leaned forward.

'Cause I'd be more than happy to demonstrate how I did it again, Pet.'

The boy shuddered, Spike's reasonable tone never changing as he described in detail what he'd do
to anyone who didn't play the game. Where Angel's threats had shown another way, Spike
merely concentrated on what would happen if he didn't testify - how long it takes someone to
sever every limb and how easily he could disappear from his world with no friends left to look
out for him. It was essentially the same thing that Angel had said, only without the comforting
words.

'So what would happen if I do testify?' said Marquez, 'They'd still kill me.'

Angel shook his head.

'They need you,' said Angel, 'The prosecutors need you too much to let anyone get to you. After
it's all over, you'll be free.'

'Yeah, right,' said Marquez, spinning his chair away from these two men.

Spike spun him back.

'Look at it this way, Pet. You got to make a stand some time in your life. Best do it whilst I'm in
your court.'

'Is that a threat?' asked Marquez.

Spike looked up at Angel, who shrugged. He turned back to the boy.

'Yeah, it's a threat.'

Angel leaned down.

'Don't you want to do the right thing, just once?'

Marquez felt the intensity between these two men. He doubted he was going to get out of the
room any other way. There was no one else he could turn to now, and whilst the idea of doing
the right thing was way off base, he had no doubt that Spike would get him if he fouled up.

'Okay,' he nodded, 'I'm game.'


*


'You're grumpy,' said Spike.

Angel slammed the door on the microwave shut and raised his eyes briefly to Spike.

'I'm not grumpy.'

'Bollocks, you aren't,' said Spike amiably. 'We won the bloody case, remember.'

Angel nodded, not meeting his childe's eyes.

'So why are you acting like we lost the war?'

Angel looked at Spike, seeing genuine confusion in his childe's eyes. They had seen so much
together, made allowances and decided what was truly important, but had either of them really
changed? Had Spike become less of a predator just because his teeth were capped? Did Angel
honestly believe that given the opportunity, Spike wouldn't kill again?

There had been the issue with Rebecca, a time when Spike had had the opportunity to kill, and
hadn't. But Angel understood his reasoning for that, none of which had come from valuing a
human life. What had happened was simple - Spike had chosen his love for Angel over his need
for the kill. He hadn't changed at all, thought Angel sadly, if I wasn't here, if he had his bite, he'd
kill them all.

No questions asked.

'Pet?' asked Spike, laying a hand on Angel's arm, 'You're looking unnaturally broody. Gonna
spill?'

Angel sighed and raised his eyes to those of his childe. He loved him, but he didn't trust him, not
completely. And he'd never know if he could unless they took that chip away. And if he took that
risk.........there was a chance he'd have to........have to.........

'Angel?'

'Would you kill again?' said Angel quickly, before he lost the willpower to say it.

'What?' asked Spike, pulling away from the vampire and retrieving his blood from the microwave.

'If we could cure you, get that chip taken out,' said Angel, 'Would you kill again?'

Spike put both mugs down on the table and sat down carefully, keeping his eye on Angel. He's
been thinking about this a lot, thought the vampire, it's why he keeps looking at me like that.

'I'm a vampire, Pet,' he said slowly, 'It's supposed to be what we do.'

Angel nodded and picked up his drink.

'So you would, then.'

Spike sipped the blood. It was warm and it sated his need for the moment, but it didn't have the
thrill behind it, the power and pleasure that came from the kill. They could survive on it, even feel
fat and happy on it, but there were no addictive highs from drinking pig's blood. 

And Angel knew that.

Of the two of them, Angel had made the choice to live without killing, or at least, without killing
for pleasure. Spike still did so, choosing his demonic victims for their satisfactory deaths. He had
chosen the strong and powerful, taking each life as he had once fed on humans, taking pleasure
from that last look, from the knowledge that Spike was not only better, but more powerful than
they. It was a substitute of sorts.

He could live that way, taking his natural violent streak and breaking it against LA's resident
demons. It was his concession to Angel's do-good instinct. He was an animal, and enjoyed the
rights of that animal. That his character had passed to his demon state almost untouched was a
mystery that he never cared to solve. He loved with passion and his unbeating heart, but he didn't
know what Angel wanted to hear.

'I didn't kill that actress tart,' said Spike. 'And I could have done.'

'I know,' said Angel, staring at his mug. 'Why didn't you?'

'Because of you,' said Spike simply.

Angel looked at him then.

'I'm the reason you won't kill.'

Spike stared at him a moment before running his fingers over Angel's hand.

'You're the reason I live,' he said softly.

Angel shook his head.

'But you don't live,' he said sadly, 'Do you?'

He stood up and moved to the bedroom.

'And that's my responsibility.'

Spike got up, shaking his head.

'Bollocks, Pet.' He stepped closer to the vampire. 'Dru made me, not you.'

Angel nodded.

'And I made her. You're my.........'

'Problem?' said Spike, a snarl barely audible in his voice. Angel caught it though. 'Is that what you
were gonna say? I'm your problem?'

Angel moved to stroke the side of his childe's face.

'I love you, and you know that.'

Spike nodded.

'Yeah, and you know the feelings mutual.'

He reached for the vampire and felt Angel stiff, resistant.

'What's brought all this on, Pet? Cause I wasn't painting roses for the brat?'

Angel shook his head.

'Because he didn't matter to you.'

Spike stepped back, his hand falling away from Angel.

'I can't change what I am,' he said, scratching along his lip with his thumbnail. 'I'm not the one
with the bloody soul.'

Angel stared at him.

'You think He would love you the way I do?'

'No,' said Spike, 'Angellus hated that I'd become your pet. And that's all I bloody am, isn't it?'

'You're not that,' said Angel.

'No, I see,' said Spike, backing out, picking up his coat. 'I'm less than that. Angellus was right,
wasn't he? I'm all you can fuckin' have.'

He slammed the door shut as he went out the basement, leaving Angel alone in the apartment.
The vampire closed his eyes as he thought about what he had to do. He couldn't let his childe kill,
but he didn't want him just to stay just because he was caged. He had to reverse what the
Initiative had done and give Spike back his freedom. Then he'd know.

Then he'd know for certain.

But Spike was wrong about one thing.

In the coming darkness, Angel opened his eyes.

'You're all I ever want.'


*


Spike stood in the basement for a moment whilst he pulled himself together. He wasn't entirely
sure how it had come to this. Why in Hell had he walked out on the only man he gave a shit
about? Had this been brewing for a while? Could he have avoided it?

Did he want back in?

He snorted to himself at that last part. Of course he wanted back in, and not just because Angel
was the only vampire who'd support him. It was more than that. He loved the bastard after all.
Both of them - they'd taken time, let down defences and finally, gratefully, succumbed to an
overwhelming passion.

It would be easy to stand here in the dark and just accept that, that he and Angel were just
creatures of habit, returning to one another as the sole survivors of a battle in which they had a
small part. It would be easy, but untrue. Spike had returned to Angel because he was home,
because he was the only place left that Spike could feel secure, but that wasn't why he'd stayed.
He'd come because of Angellus, stayed because of Angel.

Everything else was wallpaper.

Wonderful dark wallpaper where he and Angel carved out desire and need in every moment.
They lived, loved and moved within this twilight world they'd created, coming into contact with
creatures of day. And he had, Spike admitted to himself here in the basement, he had changed.
They both had. For the most part, Angel was no longer the lonely brooder he had once been.
Sure, he had his moments, and hey, wasn't today a prime example of that? But Angel knew love
again, unrestricted and requited, no terms and conditions on its getting.

Or was there?

In the last few weeks, since the time Doyle and Cordelia had split up, since Angellus had come,
Spike had been getting the feeling that Angel was distracted. He'd thought originally it was
because Angellus still held some appeal for Spike, but they'd gone past that, or so he thought.
Angel knew it was the souled up, grieving, warrior of bloody virtue that his childe wanted, and so
did Angellus now. He'd been able to admit he loved him in word, something he did so rarely that
its very presence was a landmark.

But Angel had mentioned the possibility of a chipless Spike once or twice now, and the younger
vampire wondered why. With the chip, he was unable to hurt the humans Angel swore to protect
- surely the state Angel wanted him in. was he so caught up in redemption that he wanted it for
more than just himself? On the day of judgement, did he want Spike next to him, redeemed and
pure once more? And that was a laugh, wasn't it, because human Will had never been any kind of
angel.

If he was right, and Spike guessed that he was, Angel wanted to take away the inhibitor chip and
give him back his freedom. But this wasn't access all areas, Angel wanted him to be free from the
Initiative, free to choose, but the path Angel wanted him to take wasn't that of a vampire. He
wanted him to go against decades of vampire lore and protect the creatures who would be his
food.

Could he do it?

More importantly, did he want to do it?

Spike took his cigarettes out and started walking out of the dark basement.

It came down to a really simple choice, Spike thought as he lit up, breathing in a good lungful of
smoke. Go back to his vampire ways, or move forward with Angel, swearing off a la carte human
for all eternity. Was life with the pouf good enough to compensate for that?

Was the kill thrilling enough to make up for the loss of his love?

'Hey, Blondie.'

Spike growled and turned, annoyed that he hadn't sensed anybody about before. Annoyed that
he hadn't been paying enough attention. In the corner of the car park, walking toward him was a
girl, slight, but with an air of hidden strength about her.

'And what do you want, little girl? Selling girl scout cookies?'

She grinned at him and Spike felt slightly uncomfortable in spite of himself.

'You're Spike, right?'

He shrugged nonchalantly, his entire body tensing against his will. There was something just a bit
too confident about this one - an air of brutality and of knowing. He could feel the power coming
off her, knowing it, remembering how it could feel to be the one in charge all the time. Spike
didn't like it coming off anyone else.

'Yeah, I'm Spike, what about it?'

She grinned again, wolf-like, and he registered his body was on the point of fleeing. But why?
She wasn't the bloody Slayer, and that was the last, (and only) time this kind of instinct had
kicked in. He wasn't so long lived by ignoring these feelings, but he was damned if he didn't find
out why.

'I just wanted to make sure I had the right guy.'

She gave him an appraising look, taking in his lean frame and a wiry strength that matched her
own. Spike was used to such scrutiny, but it had always been to his advantage. 

Now he was not so sure.

'Look Pet,' he said, 'We going to play guessing games all night, or are you going to tell me what's
going on before I rip your throat out?'

She laughed then, actually laughed and Spike felt his vampiric features settle on his face.
Disquieting to say the least.

'Well Spike,' she said, moving forward, her hands still tucked behind her back like a naughty
schoolgirl, 'I don't think you'll be doing anything to me. Heard you're kind of.........incapable
lately.'

Spike growled.

'Watch it Precious, you're beginning to get on my wick.'

'You wish,' she said, edging slightly closer. 'I think that's something I'd rather enjoy.'

She showed no fear, and Spike, determined not to step away, was worried about the fear he could
smell. Nothing scared him, nothing. But this one was.........different.

'Who are you?' he asked as she got really close.

She smiled again and started to pull her hands round.

'An old friend,' she said, hurling a stake at him.

Spike dodged it easily and spun around, seeing where it had gone. In the time it took him to turn
back to her, she had launched a dart from a crossbow at him. It sank deep in his shoulder and
Spike groaned at the immediate pain.

'Ow!' he yelled, 'That wasn't very bloody friendly.'

But she was already walking off, a swing in her step and the crossbow slung casually over her
shoulder.

'Tell Angel, Faith says hi,' she said as she walked away.

'Faith?' he said, surprised at the whisper in his voice.

'Yeah,' said Faith, turning back just in time to watch the vampire collapse. 'He'll know what to do.
He's been here before.'

Spike closed his eyes as he watched her heels click out of the building. Something was wrong,
something was very wrong and he didn't know what. He couldn't even move now and the heat
coming from his shoulder was spreading.

He needed.........he needed what he always needed, what he would always need.

'Angel,' he groaned, willing his lover close as the pain took his strength.


< Bonded in blood and in dark, we walk the night as one >


*



'Angel?' Angel sat up quickly from the desk, wondering when he'd fallen asleep. He looked around quickly, seeing Cordelia standing above him, concern in her face. 'You okay? Cause you look kind of.........very.........dead.' She rolled her eyes and tried to think of a way of rephrasing that sentence. 'Which is okay for you, I suppose. Where's your joined-at-the-hip twin?' Angel sat back and rubbed his eyes. He did feel tired, after having spent most of the night trying to work out how to deal with the Initiative and free Spike. He'd wanted to go to bed, but it felt strange sleeping in it alone, and, since Spike showed no signs of turning up, he'd come back to the office, grabbed a book and tried to read. He hadn't managed to read more than a sentence without his mind straying back to his errant lover. Eventually, worn out, he'd slept, to be woken up by Cordelia, Spike still missing. 'I'm fine, Cordelia,' said Angel. 'Spike's.........out.' She smiled and moved to the mugs by the percolator. 'You two had a fight, huh?' 'We didn't fight,' said Angel automatically. He sighed. 'When Doyle told you he was, er.........' 'Gay,' she said easily. 'Yeah?' Angel swallowed, unusually grateful for her bluntness. 'Did you feel that you didn't know him anymore?' She stared at him a minute, confused. 'Spike's really straight? He's got a girlfriend?' 'What? No, no! That's not what I meant.' She poured out the coffee and brought it over to the desk. 'Then I don't get it, what do you mean?' Angel accepted the mug and sipped at it. Either Cordelia was getting better at this or someone else had made the coffee. 'I meant,' he tried to say casually, 'That when you found out Doyle wasn't what you thought, did you feel everything about him was different?' She sipped at her drink and tapped her fingers along the desk. 'What's going on, Angel? You and Spike never fight, not really, anyway.' He looked at her then, wondering when she'd become so grown-up, a step beyond the prom Queen he'd first known. Life in LA had hardened her more than losing her father's fortune had managed. She'd gone through a lot, and he hadn't heard her moan about any of it, not in a genuine way, at least. Sure, she bitched about his relationship with Spike, and kept dropping not so subtle hints that she could really use a raise, but the girl had experienced parts of life that no one really should, and she was still here, still fighting. Cordelia was a survivor. Like him. 'I've been thinking about taking Spike back to Sunnydale.' 'Why?' Angel sipped at the coffee again. Damn, this stuff tasted good. 'To get that chip out of his head.' She raised her eyebrows at him. 'So he can kill again?' 'So he can make his own choices.' 'Oh really,' said Cordelia, 'And what about us? Do we just get to choose to die when you let your lover loose?' 'If he tried to kill, I'll stake him myself,' said Angel, hiding every trace of the fear in his voice. 'When? After he drains me dry?' Angel looked at her and saw the real fear in her face. If they feared Angellus because of his cruelty, they were scared of Spike because of his violence. What right did he have to release a monster on the world? And there lay the problem - Angel didn't think Spike was a monster. 'I'm sorry,' he said, 'I shouldn't have mentioned it.' 'Oh? So you were just going to do it and let us all find out afterwards?' 'No,' said Angel. He looked up at her. 'I'd never let anything hurt any of you.' 'But you want to let Spike's bitey side out,' said Cordelia, 'That doesn't exactly fill me with confidence, Angel.' 'Do you think he's changed?' She paused a minute at the gravity of Angel's voice. People often mistook her tactlessness for a lack of compassion, and they'd be surprised to know she cared. She just didn't wear her heart on her sleeve like some big vampire types she could mention. He was serious about asking her opinion, and Angel obviously wasn't going to turn Spike loose because he was bored, or because it would add a whole new dimension to their sex life. She nodded. 'Yeah, I think he's changed - a bit, anyway.' 'How? Cordelia took a deep breath. 'Well, I don't think we'd be on the first lunch menu. If he doesn't like us exactly, I think he does consider us his.........' 'Family?' asked Angel, looking for confirmation. 'Well I was going to say possessions,' said Cordelia, 'But if it makes you feel any better, go for it.' 'You think he'd kill?' She drank the last of the coffee and met Angel's intense gaze. 'I think he'd want to,' she said. Angel nodded and went to leave the office. 'But Angel?' He paused by the door. 'What?' She took another deep breath. 'I don't think he would.' Angel's shoulder's sagged, a tenseness slipping away that he hadn't realised he had. 'Thanks Cordelia.' * 'We're looking for Spike?' Xander followed Wesley down to the basement car park, feeling slightly strange about the way everyone had started to worry about the blond vampire. Angel he could understand, but the big dark brooding one hadn't been the only one upset that Spike was missing. Was Spike really that well liked around here? 'Shake a leg, Xander,' said Wesley getting Angel's car keys out. 'We want to find him before tomorrow.' 'What happens tomorrow?' asked Xander. Wesley paused and turned around. 'I just meant.........get a move on.' 'Oh,' said the boy, following the Englishman out of the door. 'You could have just said that.' Wesley looked back at him a moment before shaking his head. Sometimes he didn't understand how Xander had failed to be Vampire food. The boy must have some guardian Angel, or at the very least, a charmed life. 'So.........how come we're looking for him. He's only been gone a day and last I knew, Spike's a big boy, can take care of himself.' 'Spike's a,' Wesley paused a moment, then got the word out, 'He's a friend, and Angel's worried about him.' 'He's your buddy? Said Xander incredulously. Wesley whirled on him. 'And what is so wrong with that?' Xander just looked at him. 'Aside from the fact that he's a vampire and you're a watcher, you mean?' Wesley set his jaw. 'I'm no longer a watcher, and for all intents and purposes, Spike is no longer a vampire.' 'Heard.........That.........wanker' Wesley turned at the faint voice. 'Spike?' Xander stepped closer to the Englishman. 'You're getting all nervy on me, aren't you?' 'Shut up,' snapped Wesley. He walked round the side of Angel's car. 'Oh God.' Xander tried to get closer, but Wesley turned back to him. 'Get Angel, quickly.' 'What is it?' 'Just go!' Xander blinked at this unexpected aggression, turned on his heel and ran back inside to find the vampire. Wesley didn't even notice him go, he was too busy removing his jacket and wrapping it round the prone body on the floor. Spike was clammy, hot to the touch and Wesley didn't like that at all. If he'd been down here since he left Angel alone last night.........oh God. 'Spike?' The blond vampire twitched in his arms, but he didn't open his eyes. 'Spike? It's Wesley. Can you tell me what happened?' Spike ran his tongue over his teeth, trying to moisten his mouth. 'Faith says.........hi.' A cold hand of dread gripping his heart, Wesley tore open Spike's shirt where the dart still remained. The skin around it was purpling, veins which had long since failed to pump living blood round his body were busy carrying the rare poison into all Spike's systems. 'Oh Lord,' said Wesley. 'Bad, huh?' asked Spike slowly. Resisting the urge to stroke the fevered forehead, Wesley wrenched the dart from Spike's shoulder. The vampire let out an ungodly scream and blacked out. He feels so light, the demon-hunter thought, he's so strong, but he doesn't weigh all that much. Angel came charging out of the doorway and over to them both. 'Will?' he said before Wesley could say anything. 'Will?' 'Angel,' said Wesley carefully, 'I think he's been poisoned.' Angel picked the vampire out of Wesley's arms and started carrying him inside. 'Who did this?' he asked coldly and Wesley chilled at the tone. 'He wasn't really conscious, but,' he paused as he thought through the implications, 'He mentioned Faith.' Angel didn't break his stride, but Wesley saw him flinch at the girl's name. 'I thought she was in a coma?' Wesley nodded, struggling to keep up Angel's pace. 'I'll phone Mr Giles. See what I can find out.' Angel lay Spike gently down on the bed, his gaze never straying from Spike's sweat covered face. He sat on the bed a moment, stroking his hand down the side of his lover's face. Wesley felt like an intruder, but he had to ask. 'Angel, I realise that this may not be a very good time, but if this is the same poison she used on you.........?' 'Then I need a Slayer's blood to cure him,' said Angel. He closed his eyes a second as the irony came to him. 'He can't even bite.' Wesley hung his head. 'I'm sorry Angel. I'll leave you two alone.' Angel shook his head and turned around. 'No!' 'No?' asked Wesley, not following. Angel pulled the covers up over his lover. 'I need you, all of you to make this right. Phone Giles, find out what you can. Get everyone else looking for another cure.' 'Okay,' nodded Wesley. 'What are you going to do?' Angel kissed Spike's forehead gently and walked to the door. 'I'm going to get my boy a drink.'

Continued

1