The Clockwork Vampire

by Spirit

'Tell me something, Pet,' said Spike, pulling out a tub of ice cream. 'If we're going back to Sunnyhell to fix my head, how're you gonna make sure Madam'll stay out of it?' It wasn't the first time Spike had asked the question, or at least something like it, so Angel couldn't claim he hadn't thought about it. Truthfully he'd done little else. Spike's poisoning had brought certain things into focus, not the least of which was Spike's decision to cap his fangs for good. Angel wasn't sure how that would work - he had more than enough experience with his own demon to know that giving up O positive wasn't easy. Or, for that matter, possible. He knew Spike had more control than Angel, but that didn't make it as simple as Spike seemed to think. The demon would fight, every minute of every day for the blood, and Spike didn't have a soul to war against the dark. He did have Angel which, to the older vampire's pleasure, seemed to be the basis of Spike's decision. He'd asked Spike again and again if he was sure he could do this and whilst he seemed a little insulted by the questioning, his answer was always the same. Eternity without Angel just wasn't worth it. Actually, what he'd said was, 'Dull as sodding dishwater without your arse, Pet.' But the gist was the same. 'You're brooding, Love,' said Spike, handing the vampire a spoon. Angel blinked and looked up at him. 'I wasn't.........' Spike raised an eyebrow at him. 'Well okay, maybe I was a little.' Angel shrugged. 'I was just thinking.' Spike snorted and sat on the edge of the bed. 'About what? A lack of butchers in the area?' 'No.' 'Then what?' Angel sat up, pressing a pillow against the headboard and wriggling against it. 'Just thinking about stuff.' Spike sucked down a glob of ice cream. 'The Slayer?' 'Which one?' Angel groaned at the very thought. Faith had recovered in hospital and was on the run once more, escaping quickly from her police escort. Both vampires knew that at some point they'd have to deal with her, and were steadfastly avoiding the subject at the moment. Spike had added that he was avoiding any 'silly bints with crossbows,' but other than that, the subject seemed to be closed. Angel wasn't entirely sure it was a good thing. Which left the other Slayer in question, the girl.........the woman Angel had once loved with all his soul. Unsure how much Spike had actually heard whilst he was ill, Angel hadn't mentioned her visit, uncertain how he would deal with Spike's questioning. He could have told him simply and honestly that he had made his choice known, stating to Buffy that he loved Spike. He'd known that there was no longer a choice, no longer any question who he belonged to, but saying it aloud had taken courage, and a strength of mind Angel didn't know he had. It would be so easy to slip back into that state of brooding around Buffy. Angel still felt guilty for the acts he'd committed as Angellus and not just because of the damage he had caused. The loss of his soul was something he was unprepared for, a moment of true happiness stealing away his humanity. And it was that which kept him penitent. Not the evil, but the assumption that happiness was also his due. It had broken him once; he would not be that na´ve again. And yet, he was happy. He had friends he trusted and who trusted him. Cordelia had referred to them all as family on several occasions and Angel was coming to believe it. He cared for the others, protecting them in ways which went long past the call of duty, but it wasn't the only contact he had. Spike had insisted on nights out, inviting the others along for his amusement. Beneath his cruel, (and all too often apt) comments, Spike had grown used to their company, claiming them, pronouncing them his. He was both adaptable and selfish, only doing things which benefitted him, but Angel knew that Spike's concept of self, or 'me and mine' covered the five of them, with Xander as an optional extra. Through Spike, Angel had learned how to have friends again, had relearned what it was to have family. He wasn't always good at it, and he frequently wished he understood the nuances which passed between them. But on the whole, Angel was devoted to his family, and was cared for in return. And when he didn't understand something, Spike was always ready to break it down to its simplest and usually crudest terms. In one year, he had come closer to the humanity he sought. Demons and curses aside, Angel was living a relatively normal life, his lover close and devoted, his friends supportive. And if it stayed this way for eternity, Angel wouldn't complain. He had what he wanted, no matter how disguised its form. He didn't think Buffy would understand that, no matter how he tried to explain it to her. She'd left knowing that Angel no longer loved her, and he guessed that was the only point she'd clung to. That Spike had effectively taken her place was hurtful, but less important. She had grown in his absence, taking on a new life, a new lover, something closer to normality than they'd ever had. And he guessed she was content with that, the difference compensating for a certain lack. There had always been passion between Angel and the Slayer - Romeo and Juliet with fangs - and he guessed that the new man didn't fire that spark. He couldn't help that, and no longer tortured himself with how to make her life better. But he still knew it was an easy state to fall back on. Going to Sunnydale, going to her turf would bring up those issues again, and knowing he was there to cure Spike, unrepentant killer and Angel's new lover, wouldn't exactly set Buffy's mind at ease. He had to......... 'Argh!' Spike grinned at him, the spoon dripping with the remnants of vanilla. 'Thought that might get your attention, Pet.' Angel scooped up the ice cream off his chest, ready to deliver another lecture on food stains in the bedding. Before he could so much as open his mouth, Spike knelt forward, suckling melted vanilla off his fingers. Chuckling, Angel leaned back against the pillows, watching as Spike's tongue swirled over every digit, licking it clean. There was a wicked expression in the blue eyes and Angel forced himself to lie still, anticipation building with every second. When he'd sucked every last drop away, the blond moved over him, his attention turned to the smudged morsels on Angel's chest. 'Umm, staining the sheets really doesn't bother you, does it?' Spike shook his head and reached for the tub, tossing the spoon onto the drawers. 'You're not prepared to even talk about it, are you?' Angel watched as Spike tilted the tub, spilling a good quantity across his now wobbling belly. He knew this wasn't really funny, knew that he really should stop Spike before he had to change the mattress for the third time in a row, but the man was so damnably exciting. And erotic as Hell. He watched as the vampire raised his head, slim fingers drawing patterns in the icy liquid. Angel swallowed hard, hoping that trembling didn't give his desire away too quickly. He was, after all, still trying to maintain some kind of calm, something that always melted away in the light of Spike's seduction. And despite all this effort, he knew that Spike didn't buy any of it. He breathed in, rarely used lungs functioning as his arousal grew. Spike knew exactly where to touch, and where not to touch him, the barest brush of his fingers causing Angel's control to slip. As he felt ice cream slip down his sides, drip onto the sheets, Angel felt all other concerns disappear. This was all that mattered - the feel of his lover, the smell of Spike's recently washed hair, and the all too consuming need that flushed his body. 'Will,' he said, arching up as Spike's fingers reached the matted dark hair. 'Please.' 'Please what?' Angel bit his lip, sharp teeth drawing blood. 'Touch me.' And again, he caught that infuriating grin, one that spoke of temptation and reward. A taste of what he might get if he was good. Or very, very bad. 'I am touching you, Pet.' Angel's blinked as Spike's fingers wandered away, sketching figure eights across his belly, deliberately avoiding the twitching erection that begged attention. Spike got up, moving further down the bed, taking the tub with him. As Angel watched, the vampire poured ice cream over his foot, coating each toe, making him shiver. Spike looked up at him. 'Now I'm not going to have toe-jam issues am I?' Angel shook his head slowly, unable to form a coherent sentence. He lay there spellbound, as Spike started licking his way round his foot, weaving in and out of each toe, ice cream disappearing down that talented mouth. When Spike reached the arch of his foot, he shook uncontrollably, unable to stand the tickling. Spike sat back, apparently waiting for Angel to stop laughing. 'You done?' 'Sorry,' smiled Angel, 'I.........didn't know I was ticklish there.' He cried out as Spike ran his fingernails along the sensitive skin, his foot kicking out. 'Stop it,' he managed, 'I can't.........' 'Control yourself?' asked Spike with a grin, 'We can't have that now, can we?' He parted Angel's legs, settling himself between the firm thighs. 'Let's try a bit higher up, then.' Angel shuddered as Spike slid his fingers up and down the inside of his thighs. He closed his eyes, waiting for the vampire to stroke his balls, moaning each time the hand moved away, down to his knee and back up. It was torture, but he could have endured it forever, a far more pleasant punishment than any he'd known before. How could this man reduce him to a bag of twitching sensations? Every time they reached the, even that wasn't right. Every time they were alone, he pledged to himself that he wouldn't lose control, that this time he'd make all the moves and get Spike where he wanted. The problem with that was that Spike had an uncanny knack of knowing what he wanted and always got there first. And by that time, Angel was far too satisfied to care. He could feel Spike watching him, gauging when he was at his limit, waiting for the exact moment when Angel was on the brink. As his fingers curled into fists, almost unable to take the pressure, cool fingers stretched to his balls, barely stroking the soft skin. He moaned, and wondered how the lightest touch could feel so all consuming, could make him ready to explode. As if he'd read Angel's thoughts, Spike's touch shifted to his thighs again and Angel moaned, missing the contact. He opened his eyes, feeling sweat build on his forehead, amazed that Spike was still grinning. 'There a problem, Love?' He was about to say no, but he guessed that Spike would pretend to take him at his word, teasing until Angel gave in. And he wanted.........he needed him now. 'Yeah, there's a problem.' Spike didn't move, his fingers still tracing shapes on Angel's thigh. 'Well?' Angel sat up, cock slapping against his belly. 'Turn over,' he managed, 'Now.' Spike chuckled and for a moment Angel wondered if he was going to refuse. But the vampire shifted, getting to his knees and spreading his legs a little. Noticing for the first time that his lover was equally as hard, Angel gathered what was left of his composure and curved his hands round the firm ass. He heard Spike growl and smiled to himself, pleased to discover he wasn't the only one on the brink. Lowering his head, Angel licked his way down Spike's back, the texture of the vampire's spine registering under his tongue. He could feel Spike wriggling, eager for something more, could smell the heat, the need that echoed between them. Slowly, tenderly, he reached the smooth curves of Spike's ass, his tongue flickering against the sensitive skin. 'Fuck me, that's good.' Angel grinned. 'It's very good.' Spike chuckled, and Angel nipped at a cheek, eliciting a warning growl. He kissed the fresh mark briefly, then lowered his mouth, his tongue pressing firmly against the opening. The growl subsided into a purr, and Angel pushed forward, sliding past the tight muscle, flexing his tongue from side to side. He grasped both hands to Spike's hips and started to pull back, but his lover pushed against him, sensations too strong to lose, even for a second. He grasped on the bed for the tub, pulling away briefly to grab a spoonful. He heard Spike start growling again, the noise only ceasing when he settled back behind him, mouth closing over the vampire's ass. He blew gently, pushing the icy liquid inside, feeling the deep shudder that flushed his lover. Angel flicked his tongue in and out, each time adding more ice cream, stretching and sliding his tongue until he couldn't hold on. Angel got to his knees and held his cock, rubbing it round the slippery opening, ice cream sliding out and covering his erection. He lay a hand on Spike's hip before pushing forward, gasping as he slid inside, feeling Spike pulse around him. Leaning forward, Angel slipped a hand beneath Spike's body and found his cock, coaxing it back to a full erection, easing his slippery fingers up and down its length. The younger vampire growled and Angel pulled back, his fingers slipping to the bottom of Spike's shaft. As he pushed forward, his fingers slid up, and both men groaned. It never seemed to matter who was on top, who was leading, who came first. None of that really entered into the equation. What pervaded through the physical, through the contact, was the bond, the knowledge and, more tangibly, the feeling that they belonged together. Nothing ever came close, no-one else managed to give them this connection and, whilst Angel knew in every waking moment that Spike was his, it never felt stronger than when they were making love. Every argument, every fight against an enemy, every moment they spent apart was compensated by this. Plus, it felt pretty good too. Angel growled as he grew nearer to his climax. He could feel it building, his balls tightening and promising to spill, the head tingling inside Spike. He could feel Spike rocking harder, sliding faster between his fingers, ready to come. With a loud series of moans, Angel throbbed hard, orgasm blinding him to all other thoughts but one. 'Mine.' Spike shuddered beneath him, his own climax within reach. Angel's fingers trembled, but Spike was so close it didn't matter, and within moments he'd coated the sheet with the white fluid. Angel heard him groan, falling silent as the last of his orgasm slipped away. 'Mine.' They fell forward, Angel sliding to one side before he crushed Spike. For a moment neither spoke, each content to lie still until they'd recovered, basking in physical satisfaction. Angel was the first to move, rolling on his side and reaching for Spike's neck. He met the blue eyes with an almost dreamy expression, as content as he ever felt, alone with the man he loved. Spike winked at him and he chuckled, wondering why he ever thought the Englishman was romantic. 'Stopped feeling broody now?' Angel nodded. 'Well that's all right then.' With another wink, Spike rolled over, before sitting up and looking at the messy white liquid on his arms. 'Bugger me, Pet. How come the bed's never clean?' Angel raised an eyebrow. 'Spike,' he said warningly. But the vampire was on a roll. 'It's not too much to ask is it? Just a clean bed and some of good stuff in the fridge.' He stood up and grabbed a towel, apparently intent on the bathroom. 'I'm gonna have a shower now, and when I get back, I want fresh sheets on that bed.' As Angel started to growl, Spike held his hand up and hmphed in disgust. 'And you complain at me for being untidy, Pet.' Whatever else he was going to say was lost, as Angel got to his feet, hurling the pillows at his lover, ready to chase. As Angel watched Spike run out of the room, he decided to stop by the kitchen and find that damned chocolate syrup - and then he'd show that obnoxious vampire what mess was. Sticky, messy and delicious. *

Why did Angel snore so loudly when he didn't need to breathe? Spike rolled onto his side, checking the clock yet again. He was convinced that the minute hand remained still just to spite him, and wondered if it would benefit from a big hammer. He'd certainly feel better, but the noise would wake the vampire beside him, and Angel slept peacefully all too rarely. Besides, Spike did actually want some time alone to think. To brood. Ick. He turned on his back and glared at the ceiling, trying to remember how he'd got himself into this mess. He'd sworn to Angel that he'd never feed on humans again. And he couldn't take it back. When he was first chipped, the demon had growled, fearing that it would be trapped within its prison, without access to the violence it desired. When he'd discovered that other demons were fair targets, Spike had revelled in fighting them, expunging all the anger onto the tunnel walkers. One had sought revenge by raping Angel and it had almost destroyed them both. For the first time, Spike felt guilty and had curbed his violent excesses. He had killed Cribb, but it taken far more to restore the balance between the vampires. They'd survived the loss of Drusilla, the re-emergence of Angellus, Faith's poison and everything the Powers that Fuck about had thrown at them. And he knew that with Angel, it wasn't going to end. The vampire felt enough guilt for the whole of the British Isles. With an option on Ireland as well. There was no way that Angel was going to retire, that the two of them would find some nice new patch where everyone deserved to be drained, and stay there for all eternity. No, the path Angel walked was a righteous one unfortunately, and you didn't get time outs for good behaviour. He was hardly likely to stand back and say, 'No, you go ahead Spike, you drain that person and I'll save this one so it all balances up.' For once, it really was in black and white: Stay with Angel and don't kill, or become his enemy. And Spike had chosen to stay. A loud snore disrupted his reverie and Spike looked at his lover. Even in sleep he could tell the difference between Angel and Angellus. There was the faintest hint of a smile on Angel's lips, one that spoke of contentment and security. The only time Angellus had worn a smile was when he'd won some great power struggle, and even then it was more of a smirk. The dark vampire was a light sleeper, ready to defend against those who would see him dust. Admittedly that didn't change whether he was good or evil, but at least when Angel's hand snuck around you, you knew that it wasn't going to twist in some painful grip. Trust, the most important ingredient of what they had. Trust, the thing that might get one of them killed. And since chipped up vampires were fairly expendable, Spike wasn't laying odds on surviving indefinitely. Oh fuck, he thought, I can't take this. He got out of bed and stomped to the kitchen, kicking out at the table and stubbing his toe. As he growled, Spike wondered if everything was going to get on his nerves tonight. When he opened the fridge and found it full of blood, but out of beer, he decided it was, and sat down for some major league sulking. His hand knocked against Doyle's coffee mug and he had to resist smashing the thing to bits. I'm too human. I'm too much like them now. So much for being William the Bloody. I'm not even William the slightly scary. Even the runt's not frightened any more. Bloody kid, wandering up from Slayer central and expecting to join in. And what did I do? I grumbled, but I said okay.........all for a good bit of ass. He paused, the curvature of said ass shaping itself in his head. Okay, so there is a good reason behind that. I dare anyone who's seen it to walk away. And, let's face it, I'd have to be a right bastard to leave now. A right mindless, evil son of a whore.........and I don't think I am anymore. He banged his head on the table, hoping sense would dawn. I'm just a sodding lapdog. Well looked after, well shagged, but I'm a lapdog. And the sad thing is, I'd rather be his pet than anyone else's master. Pathetic. Dru was right, I'm not demon enough for anyone. But I'm human enough for him. He caught the edge of a tapping sound on his left and held up his mug. Angel took it and sipped its bloody content. Spike watched the vampire sit down, a familiar frown across his brow. Forcing himself to forget all about the scariness of brooding, Spike tried to assume a 'couldn't give a shit' pose, and leaned back in his chair. It didn't seem to convince Angel. 'You're up.' 'That's fucking brilliant, mate. You could win prizes for that kind of observation.' Angel's expression didn't change and he stretched a hand out, covering Spike's own. 'If there's something wrong.........' 'I can come and tell you? Dear old agony Uncle Angel. Very sweet.' Angel rubbed his childe's fingers, and Spike growled as the vampire indulged him. 'I don't want to play guessing games all night. You're either going to tell me, or you're not.' 'I'm not.' ', you're coming to bed?' Spike blinked, wondering where the non-angsting form of his lover had sprung from. Maybe they'd cloned him? 'Spike?' 'Hmm?' 'Bed? Cause I'm tired, although.........' He grinned and Spike shivered in spite of himself. It had to be the ass. No way it was just the vampire's personality that made him horny. No way that Angel had that kind of control over him. He shook his head, whilst Angel shrugged and stood up. 'I'll be in bed then.' 'You said that.' 'I'm just saying it again.........just in case, you change your mind.........about anything.' The reassurance was within his grasp - Angel's love, his desire and companionship all there within that sentence. You'd be a fool to ignore it, he told himself. You'd be throwing a perfectly good (ass) chance away, because you're sulking. With a low growl, Spike got to his feet and walked round the table, grabbing a handful of the vampire's best asset. Angel grinned and kissed him before walking back into the bedroom. With a last thought to the choice he'd made, Spike set out to follow him. And fell to the floor, unconscious. * Wolfram and Hart had made a living out of dealing with the devil. They'd founded an entire firm from taking on cases other lawyers wouldn't believe in. A client who was neither a demon, nor in some way supernatural, was something they rarely came across. They had one somewhere, a rarity. And they'd had him framed. Literally. When Angel had taken away one of their best clients, they had taken the time to research the vampire, their original findings providing a view of a cold, collected killer. That he now possessed a soul was a minor concern. Let him do all the good he feels the need to do, as long as he doesn't interfere with us, had been the general feeling. And when he had interfered, they'd done more research, trying to find his flaws, trying to find the key to bringing him round of their point of view. Nothing had worked. Angel had flaws, but not ones that could be exploited through temptation and the promise of a better life. No, the damned vampire believed in redemption, something in exchange for the good he tried to do, and Wolfram and Hart could not provide that. So they'd gone back to studying him, trying to find that one thing he could be manipulated through. And eventually, they'd found it. Strangely enough, it brought them back on home ground. Dealing with selfish demons was the thing they did best. * Spike opened his eyes, blinking against the harsh light in the room. Everything felt wrong - as though he'd been drugged, and he didn't fit right in his skin. Okay, first think of the danger. He couldn't smell sunlight, but his nose wasn't kicking in, and he didn't like to take that many chances. Not against something that would definitely kill him. He risked a quick look round and, finding the lack of windows, tried to relax. He wasn't dead.........yet. 'Spike,' said an unfamiliar voice, 'It's good to finally meet you.' He looked up, wondering why he hadn't realised there were others in the room. He saw a man and a woman, suited and ready to kick legal ass. They didn't look scared of him although, (and he grudgingly admitted it to himself) he was tied to a chair and had been unconscious till just recently - hardly a threat. He wasn't holding any cards in this deal, and as much as that irked him, there were other considerations. Things he had to know. 'Where's Angel?' The man let out a chuckle, and Spike was hit with deja vu. Where had he felt this.........ugh, the Initiative. They'd looked at him like this, although he couldn't recall a reassuring laugh being employed. He racked his brain for some clue as to who they were and what they wanted with him, but although the answer danced on the edge of his memory, he couldn't quite reach it. Time for a simple approach. 'Who the fuck are you?' The man held his hand out. 'I'm Lindsey and this is Lilah.' 'What are you, twins? Pinky and Perky in a poxy suit?' Lindsey nodded and sat down on a perfectly appointed chair, apparently very comfortable and in control. Just let me have my teeth, you bastard, let me unleash the demon and we'll see how bloody comfortable you are. Oblivious to Spike's thoughts, Lindsay continued in that same unworried tone. 'We know all about you, Spike. May I call you Spike.........thank you. Well Spike, we know about the reconditioning you went through and with your very impressive history, we can see how frustrating this must be for you.' Too right, your neck could use a biting, mate. 'And we really want to help.' Spike snorted. 'Help me? Why would you fuckers help me?' The woman, (Lilah, he remembered) perched on the edge of the desk. Nice bit of skirt, he thought absently, good legs and all that. Bet she's bloody S and M woman, mistress of pain and domination. And him too. Can't see either of these two losing control. 'Our firm, Wolfram and Hart, has an interest in your partner.' 'My partner?' Oh fuck - the law firm. What do they want with Angel? 'Angel has on occasion.........interfered with certain situations,' said Lindsey. 'He's become something of a liability for us.' 'Killed some of your clients has he? Nice one, Angel.' 'He's killed, and he's influenced certain cases. Obviously Wolfram and Hart cannot allow this kind of obstruction to continue.' Spike shrugged. 'No skin off my back, mate. What've you got me for, blackmail?' Lindsay shook his head and Lilah picked up the conversation, the transition almost too smooth. 'The Slayer was briefly our employee, and since she failed, Wolfram and Hart would like to recoup her expenses.' 'You poisoned me.' 'She was sent to neutralise the threat.' She paused, before offering him a bright smile. On her, it didn't look so bright and Spike recognised the predatorial hunger. He couldn't afford to underestimate either of them. 'We're telling you certain things in confidence here. You won't mention them beyond this room.' 'And why's that?' 'You won't,' said Lindsay, 'it wouldn't be in your best interests. And we know how you protect them.' Spike wondered how much it would hurt to just rip the man's head off. You know, just a little pain and then thankful silence.........until he did her as well. 'So why am I here?' 'Quite simply, you're the key, Spike. You're important to Angel and we need your help.' 'How? Me asking him to stop annoying the nice lawyers?' His ears grated at the tinkling laugh, (Couldn't he sue against unwanted noise, or something?) She was almost worse than Lindsey. 'Actually, that's more or less what we had in mind.' 'You're kidding me.' 'No. We want you and Angel to leave LA, leave the state if possible. Disposing of the Slayer before you leave, of course.' Spike ran his tongue around his lip, a bizarre image of him and Angel grinning and skipping off into the sunset, doing what they were told. 'And why the fuck do you think I would do that? For kicks? Because you asked nicely?' The lawyers exchanged a glance and then gestured to the mirror. 'How do you think you got here, Spike? Do you think we kidnapped you? Took you from under Angel's nose?' Spike just glared at him. 'We've gone to a lot of trouble to make this happen, Spike. And we wouldn't do that if we weren't certain of the outcome.' 'Think I'm going to roll over like a good little dog, right, Pet?' He could feel the drugs beginning to wear off, but his senses weren't coming back entirely. Something was different, very different. 'How would you like to lose the chip, Spike?' 'What?' Lindsey grinned at him. 'The chip. How would like to be free again?' 'You've removed it?' Lilah shook her head and untied the ropes on Spike's chair. 'No, the chip is still in your body.' She guided him in front of the mirror. 'But then, you're not, are you?' For the first time in a century, Spike gasped in surprise. * 'Will?' Angel rocked the limp form of his lover in his arms. It had taken him a few minutes to realize Spike wasn't following him, and when he'd returned to the kitchen, he was ready to deliver a lecture on brooding, and the dangers inherent. When he'd found the outstretched body on the floor he'd thought Spike was messing about, waiting to pounce on him, ready to fuck him into the next century. But Spike hadn't moved in over five minutes, and Angel was worried. 'Come on, Will, wake up. Quit messing about.' Nothing. 'Wake up.' Nothing. Angel growled and shook the vampire. 'Would you just open you eyes! I'm not playing this game anymore!' Brilliant blue eyes flashed open and Angel pulled the naked vampire close to him, ignoring the tension in his lover's arms, relieved that Spike was all right. He buried his face in the crook of Spike's neck, waiting for the cocky remark about Angel's noncy worrying to echo in his ear. He was surprised to find the vampire shivering instead. 'Spike?' Angel pulled back, searching his lover's face for an answer, but Spike said nothing, eyes furtively looking around him. He ignored Angel completely, and the older vampire had to grab his chin to meet his gaze. 'What's going on? What's wrong, Spike?' Spike slowly looked up at him and Angel couldn't recognise the expression at all. He'd never seen Spike terrified before. 'I.........' began the blond vampire, trailing off as he looked at Angel. 'It's okay,' said Angel, wondering why this comforting felt so strange, 'I'm here.' 'I.........can't feel my heartbeat.' Angel squinted at the vampire, aware that his troubled expression was now mirrored. 'Who are you?' He watched as Spike pulled away from him and tried to get to his feet, touching everything in sight as though it might disappear at any moment. He seemed to remember Angel was there and turned to look at him, taking in the vampire's very naked frame. 'Holy Gods! Where do you think you're going to put THAT sonofabitch?' Angel blinked and grabbed the rug, pulling it round him. This was bad. In fact, this was very bad. 'Hello Megan.' 'Yeah,' said the girl wearing Spike's dead body. 'Mind telling me what's going on?' She paused as though something had occurred to her. 'And why the hell are you naked?' Worse than very bad. Family.