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The Darkling Plain - Episode 8

Chapter 5

Spike woke with a grin and sprung out of bed. He'd suddenly decided to make breakfast in bed for them both. Angel was still dozing and only turned over into Spike's cool spot and spread his limbs some more. Spike trotted to the fridge and opened it, rubbing his hands. He frowned and crouched down. He turned and looked back to Angel. 'Where the fuck did all our food go?'

Angel blinked, then sat up rubbing his hair. 'Huh?'

'I'm starving- in case you didn't notice, Sam doesn't do food at his parties. All the better to enjoy the liquid protein, I guess.'

Angel pulled on his discarded boxer shorts and padded over to join Spike. He reached around him for a bottle of water. 'I got rid of it. This is all I want.' He swallowed a handful of pills from a selection of tubs on the counter, changed into some training gear, and then headed toward his exercise room

Spike listened to the now familiar Bach and pounding with a faraway look in his eyes. He looked at the bed but didn't feel like more sleep. He looked out at the sunshine and suddenly felt more trapped than he had for a very long time.

Angel worked out for two hours. When he emerged, he was sweating heavily, and he helped himself to another bottle of water. He poured some over his face, and then sipped the rest. Spike came out from the living room where he'd been reading and said softly, 'You've gotta eat, Angel.'

Angel raised an eyebrow. 'Changed your tune, maybe?'

Spike gave him a look, and Angel immediately apologised. They smiled at each other. Angel came closer. 'We're okay now?'

Spike smacked him softly and nodded, saying cheerfully, 'Yeah, Pet, totally peachy,' but as soon as Angel had gone down to work, he called Sam.



'Feeling a smidgen poorly?'

'Fuck off…. Ow.'

'Put J on. I need someone to talk to.'

There was a pause, and then Sam said curtly, 'He's not here.'

'Didn't he stay over?'

'He wasn't at the party, Spike! He didn't want to… come.'


'What do you want, Lover? I'm hurting here.'

'It was a nice try, Sam.'

'Is Angel feeling better?'

'Hmm. How long will it take you to get here?'



'Okay. Give me… a couple of hours. Shit, you should see my hair.'

When Sam arrived in the apartment, he stood and watched Spike for a while with a fond smile on his face. Spike had put on some crashingly loud music and was dancing by himself and singing. He looked totally stoned, and Sam felt a sympathy headache beginning just looking at him.

He went up and caught Spike's arm, and they danced theatrically for a while, until Spike's fingers tightened and he was pulled closer. Spike's eyes focused for a moment, and then he pressed Sam urgently against one of the pillars and kissed him, moaning, grinding them together.

'Let me fuck you, Sam. Let me roll in your shit and eat you.'

Sam felt Spike's hot passion, felt need more desperate than he'd ever felt radiating off the vampire. He opened his mouth and took Spike in, meeting tongue with tongue, turning them, pressing him back against the wood, pinning him hard, and taking some of this need into his body to feed on.

Spike cried out with delight and grasped his wrist, pulling him toward the bed. He shoved Sam down and crawled over him. 'I'm going to tear into you, Sam, rip you apart.'

Sam felt hands on his zipper, and then he sat up. 'Spike….'

'Fucking zipper!'

'Spike! Stop. Oh, my God! I'm having a crisis!' Sam slapped Spike's hands away and extricated himself from the bed. 'I can't do this.'

'What? What! Is there something fucking wrong with me suddenly? Why is everyone…?'

'It's not you. It's Angel.'

'Angel? You… want Angel?'

'Spike. Get real. No, it's that Angel is…. Angel's human now, Spike. He can't compete. It's not fair.'

'Fair! Fair! Oh, yeah, like I'm understanding this.'

Sam began to pace around the bed, turning sharply at each end and glaring at Spike. 'See, this is just as it is, Baby- I'm not… normal. I'm hard, all the time, just like you. I think sex, breathe sex- I am sex. And that's not… normal. I know that. See, when Angel was a vampire, I thought: "Fuck it, if he can't keep Spike, then that's a bonus for me." See? But now? I like Angel, and I won't do this to him.'

'You are cruising for the biggest bloody….'

'Let me finish. I like Angel, but I like you more. I love you. And I can only have you when you have Angel. You and Angel are a package, and if you do this thing with me now, you'll lose Angel.'

'Don't be a prick.'

'Don't you get it? If we do this, I'll be better than him. I can do things for you, Spike, that'll make your fucking dead heart beat. But even if that doesn't happen, even if you don't want me more than him, he'll find out - he'll know - and then I lose you that way. However you look at it, I lose you.'

Spike crawled off the bed and cried angrily, 'What the hell am I supposed to do? I NEED something!'

'Then, I'm sorry, but you're gonna have to find that something with Angel.'

Spike bit his lip, and his face crumpled. Sam pulled him into his arms. 'It's so bloody awful, Sam. I'm walking on glass, not knowing what to say or do, and my feet are bleeding at every step, but then I'd cut them off and bleed to death for him if he asked me.'

'I know, Baby. Shhh. It's very early days. Give him time to adjust.'

'He's adjusting away from me.'

'Then keep up with him. You're the one with superhuman powers. How much do you love him?'

Spike pulled away and gave him a look.

Sam nodded. 'There you go.'

Spike smiled faintly. 'I'll go back to dancing by myself then….' He rubbed his hand slowly around his crotch sadly.

Sam licked his lips and refused to let his eyes travel down. 'Why not call Angel on some spurious excuse and surprise him with that?'

Spike pouted.

'Oh, NO! HERE, use my cell phone.'

Spike tried the lowered eyes routine.

'Fucking CRISIS! I'll dial!'

Spike slowly slid his zipper down.

'I'm a saint; I almost see the light. Bye….'

Sam walked toward the elevator, but he dragged his feet like a condemned man to the gallows. Suddenly, he felt something leap enthusiastically on his back and then dance him around for a moment. 'You win. Wanker. No fucking. Wanna do something tonight though- something fun: movie?'

Sam grinned. 'Fun, I'll do. Let's surprise J and get the broody bastard out of his slump.'

Spike blew him a kiss and picked up his phone, dialling Angel's office number.

'It's me.'

'What's wrong?'

'Nothing! Can't I call you at work?'

'Well, you're approximately fifty feet from me, so you could kinda… come down?'

'Nah. No fun. Why don't you… come up?'

'I've got a… meeting.'

'Oh. Can't you miss it?'

'It's an induction.'

'Angel! No! Don't get baptised! My dick will burn when I….'

'A gym, Spike. I'm joining a local gym.'

'Oh. Why? Kinda got thousands of fucking dollars worth of kit up here.'

'I know, but this one specialises in martial arts- it's a fight club. I can work out with the guys.'

Spike held the receiver away from his ear, staring at it thoughtfully for a while, not sure he'd actually heard correctly.


Spike sighed and put it back. 'I'll see you later then.'

'What's wrong?'

'Nothing. I told you: nothing. Honest, Luv. Tell me all about it when you get home?'

Spike put the receiver carefully down on the cradle, wondering why Angel had overlooked someone who would have been very willing to take him through some fight training.

Once more, a few days passed relatively uneventfully- mainly because they saw very little of each other: Angel either working out in his own room or at the new gym.

When they went to bed, Angel was happy to take Spike: quickly, coming in short spurts into his body. He wouldn't let Spike take him again, however, and always showered carefully after they'd had sex, until his body returning to the bed smelt almost medicinal.

Yet again, it was a very small thing that sparked the next great conflagration- a tiny, almost insignificant object that Spike found when he rummaged in Angel's pocket, looking for the car keys.

He hadn't recognised what it was for a moment, and had cast it aside on the bed. It was only when he sat on it accidentally to pull his boots on that he felt it crackle beneath him. He pulled it out, and then it hit him what it was. He turned it over in his hand and actually saw his hand shaking. Something huge and hard and scary rose up in his throat. His chest became tight, and he stood up with a huge, roaring breath. Everything went dark- black, red. Everything was loud, and the sound of breaking hurt his ears.

When the storm was over, he was standing in the wreck of their apartment, not a piece of furniture left unscathed.

Angel had a good day for once. He'd managed to keep all evil, destructive thoughts about his new life at bay, and had been cheerful and positive about things. He'd been to the gym; he'd been complimented for his fighting technique- a very good day.

Humming tunelessly, he rode up in the elevator, teasing Droc with his foot.

The doors slid open, and he was so deep in his own thoughts, that he took two paces before he saw the devastation. He cried out and shouted for Spike in a desperate panic.

Stumbling over the remains of one broken, beautiful chair, he suddenly saw Spike sitting on the remains of the bed, holding something lightly in his hands.

He tripped over some more wreckage and fell to his knees in front of the pale figure, crying out at the injuries to his hands. 'How many of them were there? Spike! What were they?'

Spike pouted and held out a small object on his palm.

Angel looked down and jerked his head back.

Spike gave him the condom. 'Guess you'll be wanting this back. I sure as hell don't need it.'

He got up and went out.

Angel tried to stop him, but couldn't make it over the wreckage fast enough.

Spike got as far as the street before a huge, overwhelming need to kill Angel rushed over him. He wanted to vent his fury upon him, tear his heart out and eat it so they'd never be separated again. It wasn't that Angel was sleeping around behind his back; it wasn't that Angel was having casual sex and taking away the edge when he was with him; it was that the condom so effectively showed Spike just how separated they now were. Angel had the power of life and death in his sperm, and that fact was like a gulf between them.

He tore up the stairs and crashed back into the apartment. Angel was sitting with his back to a wall, his head buried under his arms, his whole body shaking.

Spike skidded to a halt. His uncontrollable need to kill switched abruptly to a need to protect- from him: like a switch… kill… protect. He was out of control, and he knew it. He knelt in front of the crying figure and punched at him with soft, distressed punches. 'Who was it for, Angel? Was this for Wesley?'

Angel looked up, his face a mask of total misery. 'They laughed at me, Spike.'

Spike shook his shoulders. 'Who was it for?'

Angel hit him away and struggled to his feet. 'NO ONE! Fucking no one! That's the point! At the gym… a guy had some hot date… asked me if I had one of these damn things on me! I said no… and before I could stop it….' Angel's face crumpled, and he turned away, going angrily over the mess to the counter. He leant on it and tried to shake off Spike's hand when he felt it on his shoulder.

'Tell me, Angel.'

'Before I could stop myself, I said I'd never used one.'


'They laughed, Spike. They stood around me and laughed.'

'And then you killed them?'

'No, then I pretended to laugh, too, and when someone gave me one, I thanked him and put it in my pocket. I pretended that it was funny, and I let them win.'

Spike put his head down onto the counter and began to whisper softly to himself, 'Fuck, fuck, fuck.'

Angel rested his hand lightly on Spike's back, and licked his lips nervously. 'Spike.'

'Fuck, fuck, fuck.'

'Yeah, I got that, but…. Spike, I don't think I can do this anymore….'

'Fuck, fuck, fuc…. What?'

Angel licked his lips again as Spike lifted his head.

'You can't do this! You're leaving me…?'

Angel's eyes widened, and he tried to deny this so fast and so vehemently that he stuttered and couldn't get the words out. Spike went to the fridge and fetched him some water. When he'd taken a swallow, Angel said distinctly, 'I can't do this human thing anymore.'

Spike jerked his head back, and at his look, Angel said quickly, 'It's not just this, tonight. Well, partially, but I've been thinking about it since… since at first. I can't do it. I don't want to do it. I never did.'

'Angel. You've got no choice.'

Angel put the bottle very carefully down on the counter and said, without taking his eyes off it, 'Well, now, we both know that's not entirely true.'


'Don't dismiss the idea before….'


'Spike! You did this to me! You fix it!'

Spike took his shoulders and shook Angel until his head rattled. 'Angelus! You want me to make you back into Angelus?'

'It might be different this time…. I mean, you did it for Lilah and kept….'

'NO! That wasn't me. That was God- or someone who occasionally thought he was. I don't have a fucking scoobie how to do that for you! NO!'

'Maybe Angelus would be grateful.'

'He fucked Sam to death and ripped my head off, if you remember….'

'Well, there was that.'


Angel's face crumpled, and he pouted. 'I just can't do this anymore.'

Spike took a deep breath and then grinned as cheekily as he could manage, given that he was facing the detritus of his beautiful apartment. 'Hey… Luv… how's about we take a little trial run with this then?' He eased the condom out of Angel's grip. 'You never know when you might need to know how to use one- some manly laughing git tries to slip you one in the gym, maybe?'

The side of Angel's mouth quirked up.

'Maybe Fred'll come in one day and beg to carry your babies?'

Angel pouted again.

Spike chuckled. 'So, wanna have some fun? Really play human?'

He tore the packet open with his teeth and extracted the contents. Holding it softly between his lips, he murmured, 'Put it on.'

Angel glanced at the bed, torn between going along with the fun and using the destroyed bed as an excuse not to.

Spike shook his head. 'Here.' He pulled Angel close, passed the rubber over with his mouth, and then turned, releasing his zipper. He let his jeans fall to the floor and braced against the counter, spreading his legs. 'Wanna fuck me, Mate?'

Angel groaned, released his cock and swiftly, as if he'd been doing it for years, sheathed his shaft in the soft rubber.

He pressed against Spike. 'You broke things again.'

Spike arched back to entice him in. 'Yeah. Punish me?'

'Oh, yessss.' Angel pushed in, hard. Spike cried out and put one hand behind to rub up and down Angel's pants, snagging the soft material and pulling him closer.

Angel closed his eyes to enjoy the sensation of being in Spike, but after a few thrusts, stilled. Spike turned his head and gave him a questioning look. Angel swore, pulled out, and ripped off the condom, throwing it to the floor to join the destruction it had caused. He grabbed Spike by his hair and rode back into him, gasping at the increased sensation.

Spike snarled, 'Fuck me. Harder.'

Angel lifted Spike's leg and thumped into him, sweat soaking into his shirt, running down his forehead, his panting ragged.

For the first time since they'd had to live this strange, new life, Spike ejaculated before Angel. With a high-pitched scream of pure release, he shot thick spills of sperm against the counter, working himself frantically to milk the last drops.

Groaning in pleasure at being able to bring Spike off, Angel finally emptied deep into the slim body, shaking with the intensity of the orgasm. As soon as Angel had finished, Spike's hand shot around and held him. 'Don't pull out yet.'

Angel nodded and rested his head on Spike's back, his heart beating wildly for both of them.

'You… came.'

Spike nodded and murmured seductively, 'I know. You're… good.'

Angel smiled, wiping the sweat on his forehead into Spike's shirt with a small chuckle.

'No more talk of turning?'

Angel sighed. 'I hate that we argue like this all the time.'

'I'm sorry. This was me, yeah? All my fault.'

'So, you're going to pay for everything…?'

'Jesus- mercenary bastard. Okay, on one condition….'

'Ah. I'm dreading asking this, but- and that is?'

'That we choose all the new things together. Like real people.'

Angel slipped out and turned Spike, leaning against him. 'We are real people, Baby.'

'Well, okay then. Let's go shopping.'

Angel kissed him on the forehead. 'Shower and change first.'


'Oh, shit. Not my clothes… please!'

Spike gave him his most endearing smile. 'Sorry.'

Angel tipped his head to one side. 'Do you really love me so much that that insignificant soggy thing could have made you do all this?'

Spike contorted his face and nodded.

Hesitantly, Angel put his lips to Spike's. For a short time, they kissed as they had in the days before this physical separation, as they had when they shared the same blood, the same passions. They only stopped when Spike tasted blood and drew away, his eyes dilating. He'd split Angel's lip with the power of his kiss. Like an automaton, he leant forward to suck the bleeding flesh into his mouth, but Angel frowned and pressed his fingers to it, moving away to the bathroom. 'Fuck, now it'll look like I've got a cold sore.'

Spike jogged to catch him up and slapped his backside. 'See? You should practice safe sex, maybe.'

He gave Angel an irritating, patronising look and preceded him to the shower, trying not to think about the small well of blood on Angel's lip.

Spike enjoyed the shopping spree, but as soon as they were done, and Angel said he was going to the gym, Spike made a call on his cell phone.




'Can I come over?'

'Err… well, it's not particularly convenient….'


'Can't this wait until the morning?'


Wesley sighed. 'All right.'

Spike hammered on the door, and when Wesley opened it, he strode in. He stopped up short when he saw Lilah sitting demurely on the couch. Wesley straightened his glasses. 'Lilah got here a few moments before you. Isn't that odd?'

Spike wasn't particularly interested, but it suited his purposes to have her there anyway. He poured a drink for himself and then sprawled on the couch next to Lilah. 'I want you to find out where Drusilla is.'

Wesley stopped pouring the two drinks he'd been fixing and turned with a neutral expression on his face.

'I need to know where she is.'

'You're thinking of bringing Drusilla here?'

Spike jerked his head back and gave Wesley his stupid-prat look. 'Hardly. I just want to know that she's not here. I need to know where she is and where she goes.'

Wesley tipped his head a little to one side and studied Spike thoughtfully. Spike ignored him and turned to Lilah. He looked her up and down. 'I've been a crap sire, haven't I?'

Lilah shrugged. 'I didn't expect hugs and presents on my birthday, Spike.'

'I wasn't thinking about presents. I was thinking that you've never been shown the power of a sire over his childe….'

Wesley came closer and perched on the arm of the couch behind Lilah. She glanced briefly behind and then turned back to Spike. Spike licked his lips and said quietly, 'If you ever do anything that you know I wouldn't like, Lilah, I'll kill you so slowly you'll wish I'd left you to die, smoking your last desperately sad cigarettes through your tracheotomy hole.'

At exactly the same time, Wesley and Lilah murmured, 'What's wrong, Spike?'

Spike gave them an outraged stare and then got up, beginning to pace.

Suddenly, he went toward the door and wrenched it open. Before he could leave, Wesley was at his side. He grabbed Spike's arm. 'Angel asked you to turn him, didn't he?'

Spike jerked away and strode to the window, leaning his forehead on it. 'I don't know how to help him, Wes. I'm the blind man in the land of the sighted: he needs to fit into your world, not mine.'

He felt a hand on his back. 'You know you can't do what he asked, don't you?'

Spike only nodded without turning around, but he heard the faint sigh of relief from the human.

'He seems to have taken it so well, Spike…. I had no idea things had got to this state. I'm sorry- I've been too preoccupied with…. Anyway, I think it's time I did something to help….'

Spike turned and perched on the sill, lighting a cigarette. He squinted at Wesley through the smoke. 'Find out where Drusilla is. I wouldn't put it past Angel to summon her. He'd never get turned by someone out of the blood; so, without Dru or me or….' He glanced at Lilah for a moment and then frowned. 'Why are you here?'

She looked at Wesley and said carefully, 'Shanshu. It's been a lot to take in.'

'Oh, yeah. Fucking hell, that was a lifetime ago.' He rubbed his face with his free hand wearily. 'Someone take me out and shoot me.'

Wesley chuckled. 'You'd only bounce back with an irritatingly impressive wound to boast about.'

Spike smiled weakly and went toward the door. Wesley said softly, 'Don't worry. I'll think of something to anchor him to this human life, Spike.'

As he strode across the agency, he made a small gesture at Sam and Jordan, and they joined him in the elevator. Sam gave him a sideward glance, and Spike chuckled. 'Don't worry, I'm not gonna try and fuck you.'

Jordan looked between them. 'Something I should know here?'

Looking at Sam, Spike said softly, 'He told me to concentrate on Angel, and he was right.'

Jordan gave Sam a penetrating look and then said even more softly, 'That was a good thing you did, Sam.'

Sam blushed and shrugged, and they walked happily in the apartment. The other two stood still in amazement and looked around at all the new things, and Spike said casually, 'We had a fire. Didn't I tell you?'

Sam nodded. 'Clever these fire things… take all the furniture out but not mark the floors.'

Jordan pursed his lips. 'Or the walls.'

'Fuck off. Go and light a fire; it's bloody freezing in here.'

He made some snacks and joined them in front of the flames. Sam leant back against the couch and kicked off his shoes. 'So, what's with?'

Spike lit a cigarette and stared at them both. 'Angel's finding it hard to… fit in.'

They nodded, not particularly surprised to hear this.

'He's very… vulnerable…. I'm afraid for him.'

Sam's eyes widened. 'You're afraid he's gonna get bullied?'

Spike gritted his teeth. 'No. I'm afraid he's gonna get shagged.'

Sam looked at Jordan for support, and then said, 'Huh?'

'One day, he's gonna try too hard to fit in with the wrong person- some guy, some bint. Jeez, you KNOW what bloody women are like: beat you up, call you degrading and beneath them, and then fuck you like an animal until you pop.'

Sam chuckled. 'I'm going straight- I'm missing something. So… I think you're probably right, especially looking like Angel does, but what can we do, Babe?'

Spike smiled sweetly. 'I want it to be you.'

Sam choked on the grape he'd been rolling around his mouth and swallowed it whole, coughing. 'You want….'

'No.' It was said very quietly, but Jordan's small interjection was none the less telling for that.

The other two looked at him, and he added, 'Not Sam.'

Spike hung his head for a moment. 'I'm desperate, J. He'll be taken away from me. I know it. He'll meet someone, and it'll be all new and different - from me - and that newness will fool him into thinking that it's love. This way, he can find out that it's all the same, but I'll be in control, and he'll still be mine.'

'Not Sam.'

'Why not?'

'Err… I am still here guys.'

'Shut up, Sam. He's not doing it. It's not fair that you ask him. He's too…. He's not doing it.'

'Please… I don't know who else to….'

'I'll do it.'

Spike jerked his head back and stared at the demon. 'You? I'm… grateful, Luv, but I think Angel is wary of you. He'd never go for it….'

'He won't know it's me, will he? I do anonymous fuck real well, Babe, remember?'

They had a moment of total clarity, and then Spike smiled and said shyly, 'Not so bloody anonymous, Pet- I've not been able to shake you since. Do you mean this?'

Jordan nodded. 'And I can kinda do guy or… bint….'

Spike and Sam gave each other a glance, and Sam chuckled. 'Okay. Better be… guy.'

Jordan grinned and picked a look at random. Spike winced. 'Few years younger, maybe?'

Sam ran his fingers through the new hair. 'No. Blond. Definitely needs to be blond- track record there…. And shorter. Blond and short.'

'Hey! Prick. Okay, blue eyes then. Yeah.'

'Fabulous cheekbones.'

Jordan groaned. 'Why don't I just do Spike?'

Sam was pretending to measure him up and said in a sly voice, 'I'm thinking Angel wouldn't be too hung up on the guy thing… how about….'

Just as Jordan was in the middle of changing to a female body, Spike shouted in outrage, so he stuck: halfway there, halfway not. They started at him, and Sam put a hand over his mouth. 'I'm not sure that I'm not attracted to that, and that is just… sick.'

Jordan smiled and stood up, preening slightly. Spike chuckled. 'F-cup? Oh, fuck, that's better.'

Sam stood up too and ran his eyes up and down the figure. 'Huge erection.'

Spike rose as well and laughed in outrage. 'Stupid hair- longer. That's it, Goldilocks.'

Jordan turned in the low light from the fire and pranced as if on a catwalk across the floor toward the training room. Unable to follow him for laughing, the other two whistled and made obscene suggestions from the back row.

Suddenly, the elevator doors slid open, and mind in neutral, Angel stepped out. He saw the figure and screamed: a high-pitched, girlie scream that he was to regret for many days, and was to be reminded of for many days more than that.

Jordan swallowed and changed into his usual look, and the other two sobered quickly. They slid past Angel, giving him small apologetic looks, and just before the doors closed, Spike said quickly, 'Wait. I'll ride down with you.'

In the privacy of the elevator, he turned to them and studied their expressions. 'Shit idea then?'

They nodded, relieved. Jordan put a hand on his arm. 'There's one sure way of making certain he doesn't get… bullied. Go out with him, Spike- like real people.'

This so closely echoed things he'd said to Angel, that it struck Spike as being pretty good advice. He sighed and kissed them both lightly. 'Still, I'd love to have seen what he'd have done with all those bits and pieces.'

Jordan chuckled. 'You should have seen where the arsehole was. Night, Babe.'

Spike rode up alone, feeling much more sanguine about things. When he got into the apartment, Angel was taking a shower, so he went to lean in the doorway, watching him. Angel turned, and Spike twitched up an eyebrow. 'You're too thin now, Angel.'

Angel looked pleased.

Spike frowned. 'Shouldn't you be ranting and raving that I dared to criticise you?'

Angel chuckled. 'You are SO not human, Spike. You can NEVER be too thin.'

'I'll order something in, and we'll have it by the fire? Kinda nice- just us, nothing dire happening.'

Angel turned off the water and grabbed a towel, rubbing his hair. 'Actually, I'm going out tonight.'

Spike grinned. 'That's more like it! Great, I'll change.'

Angel hunched his shoulders and began to rummage nervously in the closet. 'It's kinda just the guys, ya know?'

'Okay…. I'm going to brush over the fairly obvious implication that I'm not a guy and ask… so?'

'We're not… bringing people. Just us guys from the gym, and besides, it'll be all muscles, weights, supplements- it won't interest you.'

Spike decided to brush over the even more obvious implication that he wasn't human, either.

He watched Angel getting ready, trying to decide if it would take him an hour just to get ready to go out with 'the guys'.

He conceded he'd have showered. The rest - the obsessive laying out of clothes, the hair styling, the teeth cleaning - irritated him beyond endurance.

It irritated him to the extent that when he began to follow Angel, he was already in a bad mood. That Angel had absolutely no idea that he was being followed, only made his mood worse- so close, but his presence stirred not one chord in Angel's human body.

He followed Angel as he went into a bar, waited for a moment, then entered too.

Angel was standing by a table, being greeted by a number of men… and their girlfriends. There was an odd number- one extra girl, and Angel was directed to the empty space next to her.

She slid up a little and put out her hand, clearly introducing herself.

Angel smiled shyly and slid in next to her.

Spike did the same- next to Angel.

He smiled at everyone cheerfully, leaned over and kissed Angel, opened mouthed, and then said brightly, 'Hi. I'm Angel's boyfriend, Blondie-bear. Nice to meet you all.'

Then he leant back and lit a cigarette.

The End of Episode 8

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