The Clockwork Vampire


by Spirit



Angel moved silently into the warehouse, tensing as he sensed the other move along the far side.
God only knew what this place had once stored - it was broken off into musty smelling pens,
giving him plenty of places to hide behind...plenty of places for someone to be hiding.

He turned the corner and stopped as the edge of his vision blurred.

Someone was definitely moving there.

As quietly as he could, he edged forward, trying to see who he was sharing the dankness with.

And why is it always dank? Why can't I get involved, just once in somewhere classy and stylish?

He thought back to the eighties club he'd encountered shortly after he arrived in LA. That had a
style of sorts, and it had been warm and dry. And Spike-free, he reminded himself. And don't
forget the donkey demon.

Donkey demon?

He shook his head, unable to remember the real name of the thing that had killed all those lonely
people. Unwilling to make his position heard, he kept the sigh in - lonely people, he'd fit right in
there. All a bunch of misfits looking for someone. Of course, the someone in his case had turned
out to be a police woman, and she'd been convinced that Angel was the perpetrator until he'd
managed to catch the real thing...and passed it off as a human culprit.

And that was back when she actually liked me.

He edged forward, barely daring to look, in case whatever it was realised he was there and left.
Moving one foot in front of another slowly, he rounded one pen and found it empty. He caught
something moving at the edge of his vision and spun round. 

Someone was running on the far side.

Damn, he'd been seen.

He grunted and took off after them, gaining ground, leaping over the broken gates, coming closer.
He could almost see the outline, but it was dark, and whoever it was, they were smaller and
slightly more agile than him. Angel growled and picked up the pace, hoping the length of his
stride was going to be enough to catch them.

It barely occurred to him to question why they were running, why he was pursuing.

If he'd been asked, he'd probably have frowned, and then answered, 'instinct'. 

But no one asked, no one was there, and when Vanessa turned round and slammed the edge of
her walking stick into his gut, the howl the vampire let out was more of surprise than pain.

But there was no time to be shocked, because she was coming, and she was deadly.

And she was all out to kill Angel.


* 


The scream echoed through the warehouse.

Spike's hand dropped away from Lindsay's mouth and he stood up.

'What?'

The vampire ignored him and turned round, looking, for the first time since Lindsay had met him,
worried.

'What's the matter, Spike? Afraid someone else has a better torture style than you?'

Spike ignored him.

'Angel,' he murmured.

He ran toward the door, stopping suddenly as though he'd hit a wall.

Lindsay got to his knees and cradled his ribs.

'Angel's out there?'

Spike shook his head and tried to move forward. Again there was that wall and he heard the
grunts of battle grow louder. He howled and ran, falling to his knees before he could reach the
door.

'Get out of my head!'

The lawyer rubbed his nose, confused. He understood that Spike's inhibitor chip was hampered
by the presence of, er...the granddaughter's spirit, but what the hell was going on now? Spike was
hurling himself against the walls, toward Angel, but he wasn't getting anywhere. Almost as
though...

Oh, I get it.

...As though being possessed was working against him.

Spike growled and hit his skull, as though he was trying to dislodge the now unwelcome tenant.

'Get out of my head you stupid bint!'

#This was not the deal#

The vampire roared and slammed his fist against his skull.

'Look I'll torture him later, just let me go and help the poof!'

#No. I died because of him. He goes first, then we get Angel#

Lindsay struggled to his feet, a deep pain within his gut. Something inside was hurt and the
steady flow of blood from his mouth was definitely beginning to worry him. On the other hand,
he wasn't hitting himself, screaming because someone else was controlling his movement.

'Fuck off! Angel's in danger and he needs my bloody help, now get the hell out!'

#No! This means more! Angel can take care of himself. If we lose Lindsay now, I won't get
another chance!#

'What are you talking about, you silly cow? Just get out, get out and let me go!'

#He killed me! He deserves to die!#

'Granted, right, I'll do it, but not now!'

#Now#

'Spike!'

Spike shook his head and turned to see Lindsay standing, an arrogant look on his face.

'What?'

The lawyer gestured to the outside.

'She wants to kill me, let her do it herself.'

As Spike shook his head in confusion, the fog lifted and he stumbled back, the spirit flying across
the warehouse toward the young man. But he was already turning to go as it descended on
Lindsay, and as the man screamed at the intrusion, Spike was already out of the building and
heading towards Angel.

But he heard the noise behind him, heard the breaking of limbs, and smelt the blood.


*


Angel rolled to avoid the blow of her staff, but she was on him almost immediately.

How does she do it, he thought briefly as he dodged out of the way. She knows where I am
almost before I do. And she's damn strong. 

He leapt over the side of a pen and ran into the open space in the middle of the warehouse. She
was behind him of course, but whilst Angel was striking out and missing his mark, she was
hitting him with precise, deadly blows.

And that stick of hers had come dangerously near his heart more than once.

She thrust forward again and Angel felt the sharp edge pierce his gut again, groaning as the pain
hit him. How was he going to do this? How could he even hope to beat her?

She edged past him and came up on the other side, hitting him in the thigh before stepping back,
ready for another attack. Angel winced, but something about the style seemed familiar. He'd seen
it before, he was certain, but he couldn't remember when, or who.

Vanessa raised her walking stick and moved to stake him, shifting suddenly and thrusting out at
an unseen attacker. It caught within her attacker's belly, and Angel saw, with mixed horror and
relief, as Spike rolled to the floor, keeping hold of the weapon, growling at the pain.

Still, it wasn't as though they could relax yet.

Even without weapons, she was deadly, and Angel gave himself a moment to try and think where
he'd seen that style before. Monks, yeah, but where?

And he watched as she walked towards Spike, feet kicking lethally against the already lodged
weapon. As Angel got to his feet and moved toward her, she turned her head and thrust out a flat
hand, catching him beneath his rib. He winced, and then froze as she moved her head back to the
shifting creature on the floor.

Angel bit his lip as realisation dawned.

T-Rex.

Before she could hit Spike again, he leapt towards him and knocked the vampire out of the way,
rolling with him until they hit the side of a pen. He clasped a hand across his talkative lover's
mouth.

'Don't move,' he whispered.

Spike stilled almost instantly as they saw the woman looking around blankly for them. As her
back was turned, Angel grasped the walking stick and yanked it out of Spike's belly, squeezing
him tightly against the pain. I'm sorry, he wanted to whisper, but there wasn't time, and he wasn't
even sure if this would work.

Vanessa turned again, and he quickly got to his feet, clutching the walking stick to his chest. With
a barely perceptible nod to the younger vampire, Angel prayed that he was right. Spike grinned at
him and ran across the room, leaping over the pen and catching his foot on the jutting wood.
With a howl, he fell, Vanessa landing punches on him, not allowing him to regain the initiative.

If it hadn't been for the pointed stick that emerged in the middle of her chest, he might actually
have been in trouble. Vanessa slumped silently, perception finally dimmed.

Angel dropped the stick and bent down to Spike.

'Glad you dropped in.'

The younger vampire nodded.

'Yeah, well you know how it is, pet. I was in the neighbourhood.'

Angel half-smiled and brushed his hand across a fresh lump on Spike's head.

'Not playing nice with the other kids?'

'Yeah, that. Er, might have to have a word about that.'

Angel raised an eyebrow, wondering when he'd last seen Spike struggling for words. His sense of
relief seemed to be disappearing.

'What's going on?'

'Kiss me first?'

The dark vampire shook his head.

'Will? Tell me?'

Spike winced and sat up.

'You're going to get all broody.'

'Tell me what it is.'

The vampire withdrew his smokes and lit one up.

'Can I just spare you the details and say we ought to get our asses over there before we have two
dead people to deal with?'

Angel frowned in confusion. But he could hear it now, from the direction Spike had arrived, and
there was definitely another battle. He turned back to Spike.

'Lindsay?'

'Tall bloke? Cheesy lawyer type? Possessed by a certain dead relative right now?'

Angel sighed.

'This day just isn't getting better, is it?'

'Oh I don't know,' said Spike as he followed him out, 'I might see two gruesome deaths instead of
just one.'

'Enough, Spike.'

'Keep your hair on, pet. Let's just go and save the bloody day.'


*


Lindsay rolled on the floor, trying hard to gain the upper hand.

When he'd come out of Wolfram and Hart, walking on auto-pilot, ignorant of what was
happening to him, he had struggled and failed to control his body. He hadn't understood what
was going on, and didn't now how to fight it.

Now, as his body was driven into the walls, into anything that had an edge, he knew what he was
up against. Didn't mean he knew how to fight it, though.

'Look, I'm sorry!'

#I don't believe you#

'I am,' he screamed as his shoulder was wrenched from its socket, 'I wasn't trying to get you
killed!'

#So sorry - and yet I'm dead anyway. You didn't care#

'I don't know you!'

For a moment, he collapsed against a wall, panting as the presence in his head readied itself for a
fresh assault.

#I was nothing to you, just a means to an end. Guess what Lindsay, now you get to pay for that
ignorance#

He rolled against the edge of the door, his head taking several blows before the blood slipped
down towards his neck.

#How does it feel to be the victim, Lindsay?#

'I already know,' he moaned, 'I've always known.'

#Lemme guess. It's either be the victim or the bully#

He whimpered against the cold floor.

'I'm sorry, so sorry.'

#And I'm dead! And nothing you do can change that! Nothing#

His head slammed against the floor until he passed out. But his body was still active, the intruder
forcing it to sit upright and trying to work out how to break the remaining uninjured limb.

'Megan?'

Lindsay's head whirled round to see the vampires.

#You said you'd help me kill him#

Angel swallowed and touched his finger's to Spike's hand.

'Kill him?'

The younger vampire shook his head.

'Torture him...a lot. Little bastard deserved that, but I wasn't going to kill him.'

#You said...#

'Look, love, I kill him, Angel gets grumpy - that was never on the cards.'

His hand slowly closed around Angel's own as Lindsay's body got to its feet. He didn't dare look
at the older vampire's face.

#You lied to me. Thought we had a deal?#

'You kind of screwed on that yourself, pet. I'm hardly captain Trustworthy.'

#We're family#

She ran forward, broken limbs twisting, arms raised, ready to attack. 

'Your family's bloody dead! Go join them!'

And then he was blind. Everything was so bright suddenly, and he closed his eyes, Angel's
finger's linked in his own. When he opened them again, the light was gone and Lindsay's body
dropped, lying still on the floor. 

Angel stepped forward and knelt down, taking stock of the battered torso, feeling the faint pulse.

'He's still alive.'

Spike gestured for Angel to pass the phone.

'She gone?'

'I don't know. I don't think anything's controlling him now.'

He passed the phone over and Spike hit the emergency code in. As he talked to the operator, he
saw Angel checking all Lindsay's limbs, feeling the breaks, moving his shoulder back into the
joint. Silly sod had dared her, he thought as the woman talked him through the options. Note to
self - never let a bloodthirsty spirit get her hands on your mind.

Clicking the phone off, he bent to Angel's side. For a moment, he thought the dark vampire
wouldn't look at him, but Angel turned, dropped him a faint smile and held his arms out. Spike
sank into them gratefully, wondering why he wasn't getting his head ripped off for not being a
good guy.

'Is this because I didn't kick his ass back in the office?'

Spike nuzzled against the vampire's neck.

'Not really, pet. I was bored...and a bit pissed off.'

'With me?'

The blond grinned and kissed the side of Angel's neck.

'No, love, not with you. Megs suggested we could have a bit of fun with this shit, and she came
up with a way to bypass the chip.'

'Huh?'

Spike shrugged, feeling Angel's fingers curl into his neck, brushing against the hair that grew
there.

'Possession - she figured if the chip couldn't work out which mind was working, it couldn't kick
in.'

'Oh.'

Angel stroked up toward his scalp, fingers touching lightly, massaging his skin.

'Did it work?'

'Yeah, for a bit. She got some control too though, and I'm not bloody having that.'

Angel chuckled and pulled back.

'You think she's gone, gone?'

'Don't know.'

He shrugged.

'Guess if she was still here, Lindsay'd be toast right now.'

'You reckon that "go to your family" line did the trick?'

Spike shook his head,

'No idea, pet. Not really in the mood for analysing the whole deal.'

'Me either.'

Sirens echoed in the distance and Spike stood up, looking at the broken form of the lawyer.

'He'll live though. Tough little bugger to crack.'

Angel nodded and brushed the dust of his pants.

'Yeah - but somehow I don't see this experience persuading him that the greater good is...greater.'

'Maybe not.'

He shrugged again.

'Every bugger's got to have his place, though.'

As the sirens came closer, the vampires walked out of the warehouse, their own injuries starting
to ache.

'We going to tell Wesley?'

Angel shook his head.

'No - I don't think he needs to know about this. We can always make something up.'

Spike grinned.

'Yeah, pet. Can always tell him she went into the light.'

Angel reached out to draw the other vampire into his arms.

'Maybe she just had to find where she belonged.'

'We all do that, love.'

Angel rested his forehead against Spike's, sleepy eyes answering his own.

'As long as I'm with you...'

Spike grinned.

'Yeah, I know. You don't have to get soppy about it.'

They stayed still, relishing being alone once more, before the sirens shut off and broke the
moment. Spike reached in his jacket for a smoke and lit it up, walking home.

'Come on the, love. You can tell me why you buggered up the job and set the alarms off.'

'How d'you know it was me?'

Spike chuckled.

'Hey I was already on show, only some big poof whose too big for his boots could slip up like
that.'

'My boots are fine.'

'Sure they are. Shame about your pants.'

'My pants are fine too.'

'So are mine, but I look a whole lot better out of them.'

'Big head.'

'Come on home and I'll show you what else is big.'

'I've seen it.'

'Oh really?'

'Yeah, and it's not that big.'

'Bigger than yours.'

'Want to bet?'

'Yeah...biggest dick gets to choose what flavour ice cream we use.'

'Okay.'

'Strawberry.'

'You haven't won yet!'

'Doesn't matter, strawberry.'

They argued all the way home, quietly arriving in the apartment as the others complained that
they hadn't checked in. They waited until the mortals left the office and fell upon one another
hungrily. One deliciously messy shag later, the vampires collapsed on the bed, sated, sleeping,
and happy.

And coated in strawberry.

Episode 23

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