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How to Treat Your Lover

by Tami

Chapter 2

Step 1: Infatuation (Part 2)

Spike was startled awake by the very vivid dream. He could still remember the scent of the Tuscan air even in his dark, dank crypt. Why was he dreaming of the days when Angelus took over the Sire-claim? The dreams had started after he got back from L.A. That damned poof of a Grandsire bit a chunk out of his throat in a show of dominance that probably re-established the link between them. So now Angelus was haunting him. He was in his dreams of passion and need . . . of a time when he learned that pain could lead to erotic satisfaction as he spent sleepless nights in his Grandsire’s bed in Tuscany.

Spike sat up and shook his head to clear it. Not accounting for the time he slept, looking out of his crypt window, he gauged it to be close to dusk. Huh? Close to nightfall and he had a full day of sleep without interruption. Fancy that. Knowing how pesky the slayer was, he wondered how many times he’d get to sleep all day before she barged into his crypt and disturbed his routine.

Spike sighed when he thought back to when he made the agreement with Angel to come back here and watch over Buffy. He must have been out of his mind from blood loss to consent to this assignment. Yep, that had to be it. Angel drained him and he was dizzy from the act and agreed all-too-readily to watch after his ex-tumble for him. How come Angel couldn’t do his stalking on his own like the rest of the undead?

Not that Buffy wasn’t stalker-worthy. She was! He had stalked her at the Bronze when they first met. Back then, when he saw her dancing with her friends, he didn’t know if he wanted to kill her or shag her to death. Then he spent a whole bloody year dealing with her, having her bugger all his best-laid plans. He couldn’t wait to get out of Sunnydale after the Acathla thing was finished. Somehow in those months, she had worked herself into his system.

Then Drusilla had to go and break up with him, which led him to come back to the same godforsaken town. Did he have to be reminded just how much he hated Hellmouth towns? In his opinion, the damn thing should have been relocated to Los Angeles anyway. That whole damn city was overrun by the demonic and the socially disturbed.

Ironically, there was another Hellmouth in Cleveland, but when he and Drusilla first came to America, where did she want to go? Nowhere else, but where her daddy was. So they ended up here. After she had left him in South America, he returned to find not only Drusilla’s long-lost ‘daddy’ back, but he and the slayer had reprised their roles as Romeo and Juliet . . . again.

A person would think he learned his lesson, wouldn’t he? But no. He read a legend about the Gem of Amara, and just had to come back to find the bloody thing. Angelus was always scolding him for his damn soddin’ curiosity. His Grandsire warned him that it would get him into trouble one of these centuries. Who knew the ponce would be right? Come here, search for and find the Gem only to lose it to said Grandsire and get stuck babysitting Juliet, because Romeo is off playing Batman.

Angel was getting him back. That had to be it. Captain Forehead was paying him back for being trapped with him in a German submarine in 1943. Bloody hell! How was he supposed to know that a Virgin Blood Party didn’t entail actual virgins, or women for that matter?

Spike sighed. He wondered how many centuries it would take for Angel to forgive him for breaking his bloody moral streak by nearly eating the entire crew of that sub, with the help of two other vampires. First, he took care of Drusilla for a century with absolutely no thanks from either Angel or Dru, and now he’s babysitting little miss Stake-First-Ask-Questions-Later. Angel really owed him for this.

Spike stood up and put his duster on, fishing around in the pockets for a pack of cigarettes and his trusty lighter. He had had the Zippo ever since the 1940’s when he and Drusilla toured war-ravaged Europe, before he was captured at the Free Virgin Blood Party. There was a Demon Research Initiative gathering vampires for their Füehrer then, and it seemed like they were now in America. He didn’t know where they were housed in Sunnydale. Now, not only did he have to look after the Slayer, but watch his own back, as always. The thought made him grind his teeth in frustration as he left his crypt through the sewers. He had to go look for furnishings if he was staying here. Oh, the fun that Angel was missing by saving damsels in L.A.

**************************

Los Angeles, Angel’s Office

Angel sat at his desk with his feet propped up on the corner reading a book. He had to do something to get Spike off his mind. It was no use. He didn’t even remember what he was reading; all he saw were images of Spike with his natural honey-blonde locks. He sighed and tried to refocus on the book in front of him. The bleached blonde was going to be the death of him someday.

Staring blindly at the book on his lap was how Doyle found him when he walked in. The Brachen demon started pacing impatiently when he received no reaction from Angel.

“So, that’s it, then? That’s your exciting plan for this evening?” Doyle asked, waving his hand at the object on Angel’s lap, “A book?”

Angel smirked at Doyle. “I get enough excitement,” he said before returning to the pages he was mindlessly staring at.

“Yeah,” Doyle agreed, “of the evil-fighting variety, but how about a little off-duty fun?”

“Such as . . .?” Angel asked not even looking up from his book.

Doyle pushed Angel’s feet off the desk and sat down on the edge. When the vampire looked up at him in annoyance, Doyle ignored him and said, “Two beautiful words – Sports Bar!”

Angel gave him a look that clearly said, ‘you can’t be serious’, before he turned his chair around to put his feet back up on the opposite corner of the desk and resumed reading his book, ignoring the Brachen demon.

Doyle let out a petulant sigh. “Come on, Angel! You know, they have trivia games on the Internet now? You can challenge against drunks around the world. Anything, please! I just can’t sit around here while . . .”

Doyle’s tirade had trailed off and Angel looked up in surprise to see what had stopped him from going on about how great the L.A. nightlife was. He looked up just in time to see Cordelia walking into the office wearing a stunning black strapless sheath of a dress.

“While . . . I steal into the night with my incredibly-more-wealthy-than-you prince? Makes your little life seem a tad drab, doesn’t it?” Cordelia quipped.

The two men stood up and looked at Cordelia mystified.

“Yeah,” Doyle said slowly as he eyed Cordelia in that outfit. “Just because he has money, doesn’t mean that he can make you happy, princess.”

Cordelia smirked at Doyle. “I’ll have you know that Pierce has a lot more than money. He has a house in Montecito, he has a Mercedes CLK 320 and a place in the hills with a lap pool,” she said.

“Well, since you put it that way,” Doyle said cockily.

A knock sounded on the door in the outer office. Cordelia turned around to answer it. “Well, if I’m not here in the morning, you can just clear out my desk. I’ll be moving on up,” she cheerfully threw over her shoulder as she walked away from her co-workers.

Pierce entered the outer office, just as Cordelia was walking out of Angel’s inner office. Her dress stopped him in his tracks.

“Wow. You look amazing,” he said, taking in her attire.

Cordelia rewarded the man with a brilliant smile. “Do I?” she asked coyly, sneaking a glance back toward Angel’s office. They never said one word about how I looked. Nice to know there is at least one decent man in this world who can appreciate all the effort I put into looking this good. She had the feeling that her two co-workers would bungle her already perfect date by talking to him, so she rushed up to him and said, “Let’s go.”

Angel stepped out of his office just in time to catch Cordelia making a quick exit. “What’s your hurry? You didn’t even introduce us,” he said in mock hurt.

Cordelia put on a strained smile and turned around to face her co-workers, pointing to each in turn. “Angel, Doyle, Pierce,” she said hastily grabbing Pierce’s arm. “Bye!” I have to get out of here before Angel completely ruins my date!

Angel spoke up just as they were trying to leave. “You work, Pierce?”

Cordelia rolled her eyes. He’s going to ruin my chances. I just know he is. It’s what he does. I find this really great guy and they both have to chime in and ruin a perfectly good date!

Pierce turned to face Angel. “I trade – futures and options market,” he announced proudly.

Angel nodded. “Good. Good. So where are you going to dinner?”

Cordelia’s brows shot up. Who did he think he was? My father?

“Le Petite Renard,” Pierce told him, smiling at Cordelia.

Doyle knew of the place, “Ah, right. Nice spot,” he said, turning back to Angel, “Duck is dry.”

Angel turned back to Cordelia. “So, how late will you be?”

Cordelia’s jaw dropped a bit. Was he serious? “Don’t wait up,” she said as she led Pierce out of the office. “Don’t mind him,” she told her date before slamming the door on her way out.

Angel retreated to his back office with Doyle in tow. He closed the door behind Doyle and returned to his seat behind the desk and the book he had been trying to read in hopes of keeping his mind off of Spike.

Doyle sat on the couch and propped his arms on his lap. He looked thoughtfully at the closed door and then back at Angel who had returned to his previous occupation. “She’s not going to fall for my ample but unpretentious charms, is she?”

Angel gave up trying to read. Closing the book, he looked up at Doyle who was looking through his books. “Unless unpretentious means you don’t like to brag about your family’s old money.”

Doyle chose a book and flipped through the old pages. “Hey, the only money in my family is underneath the couch cushions. Not to mention the fact that half of them are demons. I’m sure if Cordy found out about that my chances would be worse than zero.”

The Brachen demon was stopped short when a picture of Buffy fell from between the pages of the book. He closed the book and reached down to retrieve the picture. “Wow,” he said with a low whistle. “She is something. Is this an old squeeze of yours?”

Angel looked up to see Doyle holding the image of his precious slayer. Just the thought of her brought a painful ache to his dead heart. The knowledge that she had moved on made the pain unbearable. It was the reason he had sent Spike back to Sunnydale to look after her. Spike was his link to what he could no longer have. In a way, he supposed doing that was a way to torture himself but he couldn’t completely abandon her. She was the first female that ever meant anything to him in nearly two centuries.

“Yeah.”

Doyle barely heard his boss answer, still admiring the girl in the picture. “Well, how does she feel about a man with an Irish accent?” he asked teasing Angel. His smile vanished when he looked over and saw the vampire’s shuttered features. “Buffy.”

Angel put the book down and folded his arms over his chest, more trying to relieve the painful pressure than anything. He swallowed the lump in his throat before answering, “Yeah.”

“I’m – I’m sorry . . .” Doyle tried to apologize when a vision hit him. He fell back onto the sofa in pain, cradling his throbbing head in his hands. Angel bolted out of his chair to help him. He sat beside Doyle and waited for the bulk of vision shudders racking the Brachen’s body.

“There is a young guy,” Doyle told Angel in a shaky voice.

“Where?” Angel asked anxiously.

“Vampires have a nest downtown,” Doyle said, looking at Angel, trying to refocus his eyesight from the blinding pain the visions left. “Poor kid’s gonna be the entrée.”

“Let’s go, then,” Angel said pulling him off the sofa. This job should be able to take his mind off Spike for a little while.

“Everybody’s got dinner plans but us,” Doyle said absently as he followed Angel out of the office.

**************************

Sunnydale, UC Sunnydale Campus

Spike snuck into the administrator’s office through the sewers and basement of the building. He quietly moved closer to a desk and sat down in front of the computer. Turning it on, he sat back and waited for the machine to boot up. Like Angel, he adapted with the times and the technology over the century. A vampire either adapted or he was dust. He had witnessed the age of the computer, even had stock in IBM and Microsoft since the 1980’s.

When the screen came up to the command prompt, he searched the computer files for an enrollment list. Finding that, he scrolled down the list of student names and their respective dorm housing assignments. When he reached Buffy’s name, he grinned.

“Hello, gorgeous,” he whispered to himself. He took note of the dormitory and room number she was in and grabbed a printed map that lay on the desk before he shut the computer down and left the same way he arrived.

In the dorm room she shared with Buffy, Willow was still moping over Oz leaving her. She had refused the company of her friends in lieu of the company of sad music and her own thoughts. Oz had been her world since she was a junior in high school. How was she supposed to go on with her life now that he was gone? A knock on the door brought her out of her reverie.

“Come in,” Willow called out.

When Spike walked through the door, Willow was immediately startled and shot up off the bed. “Spike! Wh-what do you want? Uh, a spell? I can do another love spell for you.”

Willow moved to run past him, but he grabbed her shoulders and blocked her escape.

“Willow, ironically, I’m not here to hurt you and I don’t want a spell,” Spike said trying to break through her small hysteria. Angel should have called ahead or something and told Giles what he was there for. But then, what would be the fun in that if they all knew, right? No, Angel had to make his job harder by keeping everyone in the dark. There was so much of Angelus in Angel that his Sire either refused to acknowledge or acted on an unconscious level that it would probably make Angel brood even more when he realized it.

“So what do you want then?” Willow asked puzzled.

Spike released Willow and walked over to sit on the end of her bed. He fished around in his coat pockets for his cigarettes and lighter. “Mind if I smoke in here?”

Willow’s brows shot up. Spike asked me if I cared if he smoked in here. Since when did Spike care what other people thought? Wasn’t he the vampire that did what he pleased regardless? Here was William the Bloody sitting on her bed, asking what she thought before he did something. Oz didn’t do that before he left. He just decided what was best for both of them and took off without a word.

“Uh, Red?” Spike asked when he didn’t receive an answer. “Do you mind if I smoke in here or not?”

Willow was pulled out of her thoughts when he asked the question again. “I don’t mind, but Buffy might. How would I explain the smell of smoke in the room when she gets back?”

“Oh right,” Spike nodded in agreement. “My bad,” he said as he put the lighter and cigarettes back in his pocket.

**************************

Outside Willow’s Dorm

Graham, Forrest and Riley were hiding in the bushes, staring at a temperature sensor. They had been hunting hostile sub-terrestrials, or HST’s, all night. They ran into Buffy earlier. That hadn’t been fun for Riley. Having to explain why he was out about at midnight wasn’t his idea of a way to get closer to her.

“I’m getting an image . . . signature’s locked,” Graham reported.

Riley looked down at the sensor screen. “What have we got?”

“Humans of the freshman variety,” Graham reported. “98.6, 98.6 . . . Bingo! We’ve got a cold one.”

“Thermal output clocking in at exactly . . . room temperature. Vampire. Call in a standard triangle flanking maneuver,” Forrest ordered.

“We’re going in,” Riley said, picking up his walkie-talkie. “I need a lockdown on grid 6, over?”

**************************

Inside Willow’s Dorm

“I’m 126, not a fledgling anymore. So there I was in the ponce’s apartment waiting to confront him, and he comes swaggering down there and pulls the Sire whammy on me. Next thing I know, I’m agreeing to watch after the bloody Slayer for him like some soddin’ mindless minion,” Spike sighed.

Just then, the lights went out and the emergency lights kicked on. Riley, Graham and Forrest ran into the dormitory wearing night vision goggles. They raced up the stairs and when they arrived at the second floor landing, students scrambled out of their way. The small team carefully slunk down the hallway until they reached Willow’s room. On a silent count of three, they bust the door down and Willow stood by her bed, half-scared of the intruders in full riot gear. She was even more terrified when one of the men pointed a tranquilizer gun at her.

“No, hold your fire!” Riley’s order came out in a mumble due to the facemask he was wearing, effectively disguising his voice.

Spike chose that moment to rush the men that were blocking his exit. He slammed Graham into a wall. He then turned around to see Willow cowering in a corner of her room. He gave her a sincere and apologetic look before disappearing around the corner and down the hallway.

Two of the men caught up to Spike and grabbed him. He struggled to break free, but was eventually contained.

“Bag it and tag it. We’re gone,” Forrest ordered. He looked over at Riley, “Sir, the civilian, she could have been turned.”

“Leave her,” Riley said.

“But, sir, we can’t neglect quarantine!” Forrest objected.

“I said --”

Riley started to dress down his comrade when Spike broke free. Grabbing a fire extinguisher off the wall, he rammed it into Graham. Forrest went to shoot the blonde vampire, but the shot was blocked when Spike held the canister up in defense. Soon the whole hall was filled with CO2 gas. Under cover of the fog, Willow tried to crawl away from the commandos.

Forrest saw her through the haze. “Stop her!”

An unknown commando grabbed Willow and held her prisoner against him. “She’s contained.”

“Contain this!” Buffy growled furiously.

The commando who was holding Willow snapped around and was blinded, as his night vision goggles were overloaded when Buffy shot off a flare gun. The flare bounced around the hall.

“Aah! Ow! I think I’m blind! What the hell was that?” were the various exclamations in the hall as students and soldiers struggled to escape the flare’s movement.

With the flare lighting up the hallway in an emergency red color, the commandos tore their goggles off. Buffy used the distraction to help Willow.

“Back into the room, Will. Cast a warding spell quick!” Buffy said ushering her best friend into the room then quickly grabbing the door and pulling it back into place.

Buffy breathed a sigh of relief to collect herself now that her friend was unharmed. She turned and started to fight the commandos, pummeling their riot gear-protected bodies to burn off some of her anger at the situation.

She didn’t take notice of the man she was fighting, because of his disguise and he didn’t recognize her due to the immediate blindness brought on by the flare. The combination, all in all, made it a fair, no holds barred fight. Riley grabbed Buffy and slammed her into a wall. Spike saw his chance to escape and took it knowing Buffy could hold her own against the guy she was fighting. Besides he didn’t think she’d appreciate his help in the least.

Buffy picked herself up off the floor just in time to dodge a kick and then a punch. She reciprocated and landed a punch. Cornering the man, she landed a few dozen punches in succession on his stomach. Riley shook his head to try and clear it and returned with a punch to the face effectively sending her back away from him.

Spike ran down the hall and nearly made it to the window before a commando stopped his progress. Grabbing the man by his fatigues he jerked the guy toward him, and, using all his strength pushed the guy through the window breaking the glass. He pulled the commando back into the building and slammed his fist into the guy’s face, effectively knocking him out. Spike looked around to see Buffy holding her own against a commando before he jumped out the window himself.

Buffy was so busy concentrating on her current opponent she hadn’t noticed that Spike was even there let alone that he had left her to fight by herself. Riley threw her against a wall. She rose to her feet, grabbed a folding chair nearby and slammed him in the face with it before following it with a roundhouse kick, flipping him over onto the floor. Riley got to his knees and shook his head to clear it of the dizziness he felt from the assault Buffy delivered. When it was clear enough to think straight, he realized she was stronger than a normal girl. Something was wrong here.

“Abort!” Riley yelled the order as he stood up. He stared at Buffy through the mask as if she were something foreign while he backed out of the hall with his men.

**************************

Los Angeles, Angel’s Office

The moment the three co-workers stepped into the office, Doyle shut himself in Cordelia’s office for a little privacy to try and process the last couple of days. The Brachen demon was nearly made into mincemeat by his ex-wife’s now-ex-fiancé’s family. He had talked to her a little after the whole ordeal and now not only were they no longer married and able to use that to turn to each other in comfort they each had their own demons to deal with, figuratively speaking.

After a little drunken Internet trivia, he stood up, turned the computer screen off and lay down on the sofa. Angel and Cordelia watched his movement from the louvered windows of Angel’s office.

“So, he spoke to her?” Cordelia asked still watching Doyle.

“Yeah,” Angel said solemnly. He had heard Doyle’s end of the conversation and he felt bad for the half-demon. Now that they were really divorced, Harry had asked for some time for herself so that she could reorganize her life.

“Didn’t go too well, huh?” Cordelia asked. She never knew Doyle had so many depths before tonight. She had just thought he was another leeching man like Xander Harris.

“I think she just needs some time,” Angel replied.

“He’s still really hung up on her, isn’t he?” Cordelia asked.

“Hmm – more than he knew, probably, yeah.” Angel said as he watched Doyle get settled.

Cordelia turned to look at Angel. “Well, someone has to go out there and cheer him up,” she said gesturing toward the office window.

Angel looked over at Cordelia for a moment. Feeling it may be his duty as a man, he finally stood up to go talk to Doyle when Cordelia held up her hand to stop him.

“Oh please! Someone with a heartbeat,” she told him sardonically.

Angel followed her to the doorway between the offices and leaned against the jamb as she went to talk to Doyle. Cordelia sat down next to Doyle and put on a brilliant smile.

“Hi, Doyle,” she said cheerfully. “Are you going to become loser-pining guy, like, full-time now? Because, you know, we already have one of those around the office.”

“Hey!” Angel and Doyle echoed each other as they each gave Cordelia dirty looks.

“Well,” Cordelia said in an exasperated tone, “he can get away with it. He’s tall and – and just look at the way clothes hang on him,” she pointed out and then turned back to Doyle, “but you . . .”

“Okay, I think you’ve cheered us up enough,” Angel said, waving her off.

Cordelia rolled her eyes at Angel and then turned back to Doyle. “You can’t live in the past. You got to move on. Let it go. Forget it. Tomorrow is another day.” She moved away so Doyle could sit up. “Did I mention letting it go?”

“Twice,” he assured her as he sat back.

Cordelia sat next to him and sighed, “You’ll get through this, Doyle. Nice guys don’t always finish last.”

Doyle looked at her strangely. “You think I’m a nice guy?”

Cordelia gave him a chastising look. “I think it, I say it. That’s my way.”

“Thanks,” Doyle said actually feeling better.

“Feeling better?” Cordelia asked concerned.

“Yeah, actually I do,” Doyle replied.

“Yeah?” Cordelia smiled and mentally patted herself on the back for her accomplishment.

Suddenly Doyle doubled over with pain. He held his head to cushion the pain zinging through it. Cordelia jumped off the sofa in shocked surprise. She looked over at Angel not knowing what to do and pointed at Doyle.

“That was not my fault,” she said adamantly.

“He’s having a vision,” Angel told her as he pushed away from the doorway and moved to get Doyle a stiff drink and some aspirin. He stood beside Doyle waiting for the vision to pass.

“At this hour?” Cordelia scoffed.

Doyle looked up at Angel. “Oh,” he groaned taking the glass from his boss.

“What?” Angel inquired. “What did you see?”

Doyle looked at Angel trying to refocus his eyesight and inhaled a huge gulp of air.

**************************

Sunnydale, UC Sunnydale Campus

A student walked through the trees on the campus. He paused when he heard a branch crack nearby. After a moment he resumed walking. Feeling a presence behind him, he turned around and came face to face with Buffy.

“Looking for me?” Buffy asked with a smile.

“Holy – what do you want?” the man asked surprised.

Buffy punched him in the nose. The pain startled him a bit before his facial features shifted.

“Uhh! Hey!” the vampire cried indignantly.

“Well, well . . . look who’s home?” Buffy quipped.

“A slayer!” the vampire spat. “Why don’t you just go back where you came from? Things were great before you showed up.”

Buffy shrugged and then punched him again. She kicked his leg out from under him, dropping him to the ground. He rose to his knees and punched her in the stomach with a backhanded fist. She retaliated with a backhanded punch to the face and knocked him to the ground again. As he struggled to rise again, she grabbed him from behind and staked him.

“And they say one person can’t make a difference,” she told him just as he exploded into dust.

Angel watched the fight from his cover of foliage. When she walked past him to her dorm room, he shrank back into the shadows. It still hurt his undead heart to see her. Every time he was near her, his whole chest felt like it was being pressed. It didn’t help that he had chosen to leave her for both their sakes. He still felt it was the right decision, leaving her after her graduation and a year of torturing themselves with a love that could never again be consummated, lest it bring forth sorrow and pain in the form of Angelus.

Angel sighed to relieve the pressure. He slunk further into the shadows and scented the air. Spike didn’t say where he was staying in Sunnydale, but he’d find his childe soon enough. He wondered if the blonde was rehashing old memories, or if he was the only one of the two that was being tortured by images of things that happened two lifetimes ago.

Blindly walking through the Sunnydale cemeteries, Angel subconsciously followed his childe’s scent to Restfield cemetery. It was the same cemetery that he and Buffy frequented on their many patrols in the past. It was also close to the residential district but not close enough that the houses disturbed the peaceful looking grounds.

Spike’s scent swarmed around one particular crypt at the back of the cemetery. Just as Angel stepped up to the door, the panel swung open and Spike stared at his Sire in shock. The older vampire just stood there and stared back, taking in his childe’s tall, lean form.

“Are you going to let me in, Spike?” Angel asked softly.

Spike stared a few moments more before Angel’s question sank in. The blonde nodded and stepped aside, letting his elder enter the crypt. His Sire was here in Sunnydale? Why would Angel be here where he could torture himself being so close to Buffy?

“What brings you to Sunnyhell, Angel?” Spike asked as he went to the fridge to retrieve some blood.

“Doyle had a vision that Buffy was in trouble,” Angel answered quietly.

His eyes traveled around the crypt, taking in his childe’s sparse living conditions. It was an empty chamber housing only the essentials that would be of importance to Spike: TV, chair, microwave, and refrigerator. Angel wondered if the younger vampire missed the lavish lifestyle they both had once lived as two-fourths of the Scourge of Europe. Angel moved to and leaned against one of the three sarcophaguses in the room. Images from his dreams crept into his mind as he watched Spike move deftly around the crypt.

“Do you ever miss it?” Angel asked in a louder voice than he’d used thus far.

“Miss what, mate?” Spike asked as he heated two mugs of blood.

“The way we used to live,” Angel clarified as his eyes skimmed the crypt one more time. “Do you ever miss it?”

“Sometimes,” Spike replied as he watched the turntable move through the window of the microwave. “I don’t miss the mobs that hunted us or the noble people’s behavior. But other things, like the thrill of the hunt through the night, the rush of pleasure in a good kill. That first taste of blood from the first meal.” I miss your company, Angelus. I miss the connection we shared.

The answer didn’t surprise Angel in the least. After all, he had cultivated those same responses in Spike. He had taught his childe to enjoy everything to its fullest extent; to want, to take, to have with no regrets in doing so.

Slayers are taught that the demon commits atrocities with no remorse because it has no conscience. That’s a lie. It’s a lie every slayer has to believe to execute their sacred duty. In some respects, it is the truth with fledgling vampires and minions who are either like newborn babies, too young to understand what they do until they are taught by their Sires to do otherwise. Minions are just lackeys or servants, never trained for anything else.

Childer, though; childer are made by master vampires out of obsession or a need to possess. They are taught to care about how they acclimate to the world around them. Okay, so Penn was a disaster, Angel could admit that now. No good was accomplished when he decided to turn Penn. Lawson was a necessity, a means to an end. Once he had turned the young officer to get the German submarine fixed, he had kicked the man off the sub along with Spike. Drusilla was his greatest obsession and his greatest sin ever committed. Then there was Spike.

Spike was Drusilla’s childe by right. He was her companion for a century. Angel knew the younger vampire cared for his insane girl, loved her, and took care of her. He gave props to the man for staying by her side for so long. Drusilla had never really used her power as Sire over Spike. She wasn’t sensible enough for it. Angel knew the moment he met Spike that she would have never disciplined the boy, that’s why Angel had taken over her Sire-Claim.

Watching Spike now as the blonde handed him a mug of warmed blood Angel was glad he had. Who knows what shape Spike would be in today if he had let Drusilla keep the claim she had. But then again, maybe it was a good thing that Dru, as insane as she was, turned Spike first and not Angelus. Spike had a level head on his shoulders; he held his own and could take care of himself.

“Why so quiet, Peaches?” Spike asked, quirking a scarred brow.

“Just been reflecting on the past lately,” Angel replied before taking a drink.

“Same here,” Spike admitted, but then, not wanting to dwell on it, he changed the subject. “What dire vision brings you back to good ol’ Sunnyhell?”

Angel ignored the question and asked, “Is there anything new or strange going on in Sunnydale?”

Spike lit a cigarette and regarded him for a moment before answering. “The Initiative. They’re around town somewhere.”

“The Initiative? What is that?” Angel watched him.

“College kids pretending to be commandos or vice versa. Remember that submarine you found me on during the War? It’s the Americanized version of that Demon Research Initiative the Third Reich was using to gather vampires and use them for their Füehrer's cause,” Spike explained.

“Oh, wonderful. Just what this country needs: a bunch of kids playing army and hunting us down.” Angel was less than thrilled. “Look, Spike. I need a place to sleep for the day, are you going to be accommodating?”

Spike gave an exasperated sigh. Just because he was dreaming about his Sire, didn’t mean he had to be best pals with the ponce. He ground his teeth as he thought of the possible scenarios that could happen if he told Angel to go find a new hideout. Finally with another sigh of resignation, he answered, “Yeah, there’s a king-size bed downstairs. It oughta be big enough for your overgrown body.” He smirked when he received a scowl before leading the way to the lower level of his crypt.

Spike couldn’t believe he had just agreed to share a bed with his Sire again. Granted Angel didn’t demand it with consequences like Angelus would, but the steel edge in the dark vampire’s voice was present even after a century. What other choice did he have than to share the bed? At least that’s how Spike saw it in his mind. He was dreaming of Angelus and here the souled up version was requesting shelter. The renewal of the Sire-Claim was throwing his game off. That was it. Yeah … that was the reason.

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