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Dead Men Walking - 9

Angelus eventually rolled onto his back with a satisfied grunt. Spike lowered his legs and kept quiet. He cast anxious glances at the still open door. He did not now want Angel at all. He could not have said whether he feared Angel seeing what he had done with Angelus or seeing the despair he knew to be in his eyes.

Angelus swung his legs off the bed, stood up, and renewed his exploration of the room. He looked in the closet and gave a low, appreciative whistle. He began pulling out shirts and jeans. 'This is strange cloth, William, but I admire the colours.' He laid some of the items on the chair, clearly intending to use them later. He sat back down on the bed and placed his hand idly on Spike's thigh. 'I am hungry, childe. Bring me something to eat... something small, perhaps. An urchin would be acceptable, but not one with lice; that is unpleasant.' He smiled at Spike. 'If you are good...and you have been very, very good tonight... you may play with it for a while. I should like to watch that.'

Spike's immediate thought was that he'd rather play with his Gameboy but, obviously, he didn't say this out loud. Angelus saw his face though. 'What is wrong with ye now? I weary of your womanish ways tonight, William!'

Spike quickly saw the perfect opportunity to escape and started to move away from Angelus' exploring hand. Angelus seemed to understand his intent and tightened his grip imperceptibly. 'Summon a minion instead. I have need of you here.'

Spike pursed his lips. He had a feeling this was not going to go down well. 'There are no minions here, sire. Angel doesn't go in for them.'

Surprisingly, Angelus did not seem too perturbed. 'Ah, well, they are troublesome and a burden. A servant then, fetch a servant; it will do as well.'

'Err... sorry, no servants either.'

'No servants?'

Spike shook his head.

'Come, we will go together. ' Angelus took Spike's hand and dragged him off the bed. He snatched up the clothes he had selected earlier, and pulled Spike after him down the stairs. He thrust him towards the office. 'Fetch your britches. Hurry up.' Still unable to escape, Spike did as he was told, and dressed.

When he emerged from the office, Spike felt a small layer of his sanity peel away. Angelus stood there in Angel's soft grey pants and loose, silk shirt. He had put on the skin and thus become Angel. He grabbed Spike by the arm and dragged him towards the front door.

'Aye, a wee, wriggly infant, Spike... shall we share one together? I'll let you choose, top or....'

His words were cut off when he hit the barrier. 'What is this? May I not leave this place? William, this is your home... invite me to leave!'

Spike backed nervously away. 'I don't live here, sire. I have my own place now... so I can't.'

Angelus seemed to forget the barrier and turned to Spike. 'You do not live with me... with the other one? And why might that be, might I enquire?'

'Oh, I have minions of me own and... oh, servants... yeah, and urchins twice a day... it's great. It's just a bleedin' peachy life.'

Spike suddenly had a brainwave. 'Hey...I've got some blood-of-urchin here, mate. Err... sorry... sire.' He backed slowly towards the kitchen.

"Where the fuck are you, Angel?" Spike's desperate thought produced no useful response.

When they reached the kitchen, Angelus leant against the table and watched, bemused, as Spike took a pint of his medicinal blood from the fridge. He came over and studied the microwave as it heated the food. He took the offered mug with a confused expression. 'They serve blood on tap in this place, like ale?'

Spike couldn't help a smile at his expression. 'Not exactly... try it though.' Angelus took a sip. Spike groaned as if in pain. It was Angel's expression of wonder and pleasure looking back at him.

'This is rare, childe, and strong. I have not tasted its like before.' He laid a hand on Spike's cheek. 'You have done well, William. I am pleased with thee.'

The thumb started to rub along Spike's cheekbone, and he leant into the caress. Unbidden and unwanted, tears sprung to his eyes, and he tried desperately to blink them away.

'What is this? Will, why crying?'

Spike shook his head, unable to explain. Angelus slipped his hand behind Spike's head and eased him closer. He pulled Spike toward his mouth, and Spike thought he was going to kiss him, but at the last minute, Angelus turned his head and took a large mouthful of the blood. Only then did he turn and pulling Spike once more, placed their lips together.

Spike opened his mouth, and the potent blood flowed between them. Angelus' tongue slid in with the hot delight. It licked the blood over the walls of Spike's mouth and pushed the fluid down his throat. When he felt Spike swallow, Angelus did it again. Mouthful by erotic mouthful, Angelus fed his childe.

When the mug was empty, he pulled away and grinned down at Spike. 'I see ye have recovered nicely.' Angelus slid his hand once again inside Spike's jeans, cupping his erection in his large hand.

Blood ran down Spike's chin and dripped onto his shirt. Angelus slipped a second hand in and leant back, groaning.

Spike looked up at Angelus' ecstatic face and saw Angel standing in the doorway. Spike had not known his brain could work so fast. He actually heard all his thoughts as one intense blast in his head: shock at Angel's bloodied, broken hands; anger at his absence; pain at his presence; dismay at his expression, and worst of all - worse than all this - realisation that what he wanted most in the world, what he had missed and longed for for over one hundred years was right there, standing in that doorway, bloodied, tear-streaked and... leaving.

Angel stared at the bloodied vampires, looked at Angelus' hands buried deep inside Spike's pants, saw the blood that he had bought for Spike being shared between them... and spun on his heel and left.

He heard a cry 'Angel!' but, in his despair, mistook anguish for a taunt. He returned to his training room and flung himself at the wall. He pummelled it and kicked it, until an icy calm descended over him, and he sank to the floor, replaying the scene in his mind. As he pictured Spike's face and Angelus' eager hands, Spike's voice rang, tormenting him, "Angel, watch me... Angel, watch me... watch me... watch me."

The blood revived Angelus' appetite for his childe. He pushed Spike against the counter and ground his erection into Spike's. Spike was almost ashamed of his reaction, feeling in a strange way that his cock betrayed him. Angelus fumbled with the zip, worked it out, and freed Spike. He stood back a little, admiring the glistening shaft. 'Hold yourself, William.'

Spike shook his head. 'Angelus, I can't do this....'

Angelus didn't raise his voice. He even smiled. He looked directly at Spike and almost whispered just the one word. 'Now.'

Spike hesitated, and it was the last thing he remembered doing before he woke up on Angel's bed with blood sticking him to the sheet. Angelus punched him unconscious. Trapped against the counter with nowhere to turn from the blows, Angelus used Spike as he would a punching bag nearly two hundred years in his future and just one hour earlier. Spike's knees crumpled. He hit the floor hard and did not feel Angelus' strong arms picking him up, or Angelus carrying him carefully up the stairs - nor the first of the many buggerings he was still to receive that night.

Spike came to slowly; he couldn't see any point hurrying it at all.

'William!' The cheerful voice greeted him from the bathroom. Angelus appeared, rubbing his wet hair with a towel. 'I like this new world, William. I'm thinking I may stay here. I have discovered water that runs hot from fountains inside... is it not a wonder?'

He knelt on the bed and pushed Spike's cheeks apart roughly.

'Do you see how you upset me, my love? I do not like to be like this with you all the time... will you no learn?' Insincerity was obvious in the gleeful way he spoke. 'Now, look how you are torn, little one. Let me clean you.' He pressed the wet towel to Spike's bleeding, leaking entrance and held it there for a moment. Spike buried his face in his arms and felt cuts and swellings pressed painfully. It didn't take long for Angelus to replace the towel with his tongue. He kept Spike's cheeks forced wide, licking and probing the damaged flesh. Inevitably, Spike felt something harder being pressed against him. He let a tiny groan of dismay escape and instantly regretted it when Angelus stilled against him.

'Turn over.'

Spike did as he was bid and lay on his back, utterly defeated.

Angelus tipped his head on one side. 'You do not want me? Truly, you do not want me... this has not been a game, has it?'

Spike shook his head, fearful to speak and precipitate another beating.

Angelus shook his head, too. 'I am confused, William.'

Spike risked a hesitant reply. 'I've changed, Angelus... I don't want this kind of....'

Angelus looked up with a small glint in his eyes and said casually, 'Oh... it is not that I am confused about.'

Spike stopped and said puzzled, 'Err... what...?'

Angelus grinned and laughed in glee. 'I'm just puzzled how you can still be so stupid' and he thrust once again into Spike, forcing his erect penis into him with one hand and holding his wrists tightly in the other. 'Not want me...' he punctuated each word with a painful thrust then stilled and forced Spike to look at him.

'Not want me! How dare you admit you do not want me? You are nothing more than a hole I made for my convenience, William. You exist through me. You exist to obey me. Do you understand me?'

He slammed in at this final demand, and Spike nodded through his pain and humiliation. 'Look at me, William. I want to see your face as I take you. That's right, my love, try to smile for me. It is a rare honour to have your sire's attentions so, is it not?'

Spike nodded again.

Angelus did not last long this time, and there was very little ejaculation. He jerked against Spike's raised thighs then sighed and pulled out. 'I feel relaxed now childe and weary... it has been a wonder of a night. Come close, and let me hold you, for the nights are as dark here as they ever were. This is a grim house, William, and I do not like to think of you living here.'

Angelus wrapped his arms tightly around Spike and began to nibble his ear in a playful way. Spike stared stonily ahead into the deepening gloom.

This was it. This was what it meant. Soulless. This demon was like ice on a pond... it appeared solid - it might even hold you up and feel solid - but, ultimately, it was just a clever veneer. It could crack open, and all the depth of water below that it could have stolen for its icy possession was quite lost to it. It was just ice... cold, thin, and yet... oh... so seductive.

Eventually, Spike looked down at the bare arms enfolding him. In his mind, it didn't take much to add a soul and, for a little while, Spike could pretend he was held by Angel's strong arms. The self-deception lasted only until the next time Angelus' hand crept down to open him up again.

It was a long night, and when Spike smelt the coming dawn, he realised, with a profound sense of sadness, that he flew no more. There was no light. The moth had dipped too low, too close to the flame, and he admitted for the first time that he was truly dead. What Buffy had been unable to do with her fists and her words, Angelus had done with silence. He had taken Spike repeatedly throughout the night in total silence, withholding even that veneer of his humanity. Spike had been fucked by a dead thing all night and had been extinguished himself in the process.

Angelus and Spike came down stairs together after lunch the following day. Angel had passed the morning training, working himself into an exhausted, sweating frenzy. He leant against the reception counter still wearing his old sweat pants, trying once more to reach Wesley, or one of the others on the telephone. He turned to watch the descending vampires, sure in his own mind what they had been enjoying all night and most of the day. Angelus gave Angel a casual, careless glance of recognition and nodded at Spike. 'Ye can have him now. He is a sad disappointment to me this morning, and I am sick of his presence. He cries like a woman and wearies me. You may have him for now… but I shall require him tonight to share my rest.'

Angelus wandered over to the kitchen, but didn't go in. He leant nonchalantly in the doorway, watching Angel. Spike stood in the lobby, seeming unable to decide where to go or what to do. He saw Angel, but did not acknowledge his presence. Angel came slowly towards him. He stood close with his back to the prurient gaze of his other self. He laid a hand on Spike's arm and gave it a tiny shake.


Spike looked at him but didn't respond. Angel thought this not surprising, given he seemed quite… gone. He heard the word "soulless" cross his mind but dismissed it quickly. It was not something he wanted to think about. He shook Spike's arm again then moved his hand to Spike's face and turned it gently side-to-side, noting the bruises and the one or two obvious bite marks. Angel jerked his head back a little, fury raging in his body.

'Now, it is all made clear to me.' Angelus' voice drifted over to them from his position in the door. 'You are the one responsible for this sad state of affairs with my childe. You baby him and make him weak.'

Angel turned slowly and looked at him. Angelus twitched his eyebrow up in a mocking salute, but then grunted in pain, as Angel slammed him back into the wall with all his weight and power. He punched Angelus in the stomach, and the soulless demon doubled up in pain. Angel hit him again, and he reeled back into the kitchen, trapped. Angelus expected Angel to follow up on this surprise attack, but he turned instead to Spike and pulled him over by his arm to look at Angelus.

'Why didn't you defend yourself Spike? Look at him… he's nothing.'

Spike shook his head and tried to turn away. He was dead… how could he answer? Angel was not easily put off, though. He stood behind Spike and spoke urgently in his ear. 'You are better than him, Spike. You can take him. You just have to have confidence… believe in me and in yourself, Spike. Please, Spike!' He wrapped his arms around him and continued in a low urgent voice. 'I was him, remember? I know him… and I know you, and I'm telling you, you can take him.'

Angelus climbed slowly to his feet, grinning at them evilly.

'You incite William to attack me? Are you stupid as well as weak? I will kill him. I would have killed him many months ago had it not been for that enticing body. Hey, William? You excite me, do you not? Better than any woman, but just as easy.'

Spike could actually feel anger radiating from Angel, but maybe it just felt so to him, given he was so profoundly dead.

Angel nuzzled into Spike's neck in desperation. 'Spike, come on… wake up... come back to me….'

Angelus did not miss Angel's intimate touch, and a cold, devious look flickered across his face. He pulled out a chair and sat down with an air of something entirely in control of the situation. 'I do not know why you attempt to win him over in that manner. William does not like your attentions. Do you William? He was quite vocal and interesting about your unpleasant and unwelcome advances on him. He does not like you. Aye William, you despise….'

'No.' The word was spoken so quietly that even Angel, who still had his arms wrapped tightly around Spike and his chin resting on his shoulder, only just heard it. Angelus cocked his head to one side.

'Do you speak?'

Spike cleared his throat, tried to find some voice from deep within his dead body, and repeated, 'No.'

Angelus stood up and folded his arms in a challenging manner. 'No what?'

'No… you will not speak of Angel. You won't speak of Angel and me. You don't know anything about us, and you are lying. I.…' Angel could not believe it, but Spike put his arms back, and embraced him as well.

Angelus took a step towards them. Angel saw his opportunity. 'Spike, stand up for yourself. Trust me!'

He felt Spike tense, sensed his fear and confusion, but slowly stepped back leaving him standing on his own. Angelus grinned in triumph and came right up to Spike, almost standing on his boots, intimidating him with his huge presence.

'Go upstairs now, William… I feel in need of ye again, and I think you need… oof.' For something that didn't breathe, Angelus gave a fair impression of a gasp of pain. Spike's fist had thumped into Angelus' belly with all the pent up rage and self-loathing of his miserable night. Angelus doubled over, and Spike brought his knee up into his face. Angelus was not down for long. He charged Spike and propelled him out into the lobby, and they crashed to the floor in a tangle of flying limbs and punches. Angel stood in agony, watching. He could not bear to see Spike hurt, but knew he needed this fight to find his way home. He gritted his teeth, determined not to help.

Angelus was strong. He was William's elder and better, but he was not Spike's. Spike had been fighting and surviving and mastering his life for a very long time, and it did not take long for him to realise that this feared, respected demon was not as invulnerable as he had believed.

When he hit Angelus, Angelus stayed down for a surprisingly long time. When he spun and caught him in a flying scissor kick, Angelus sprawled on the floor with a deep grunt.

Spike threw a quick look at Angel and felt something in his dead heart stir once more. Angel was grinning at him with a look of intense pride. Spike gave a small grin, too, and went back into the attack. Rather than allow Spike another punch, Angelus feinted to the left and, when Spike lost his balance slightly, propelled him with irresistible force towards the wall. Spike did resist, and they ended up crashing down the stairs into Angel's training room. Spike renewed his attack with a ferocity borne of pure hatred. He punched, kicked, and bit. He ignored all his own pain and put to one side the breaking and the bleeding and the fear. With every punch, he felt a spark flare within him. With every kick, he felt a small part of himself come back to life, and he did not question the exact nature of this living. It was hot; it was vital, and it made his blood surge in his body. It was good enough. Angelus began to tire of the beating. He cast a glance at Angel who was sitting on the stack of training mats, to see if he would intervene. Angel only raised an eyebrow at him and smirked. Angelus' slight distraction at this aggravating look was his downfall. He slipped on the slick, sweaty, bloodied floor, and Spike was on him, punching him until Angelus' face resembled his own. Only when Angelus lay still, did Spike stop. He sank his forehead for a brief moment onto Angelus' then stood up shakily. He looked down at the prone figure then limped slowly over to Angel and flung himself down, exhausted.

Angelus did not stay unconscious for long. In a little while, he sat up, cursing. He cast an evil look towards the others, but did not appear to want to risk another confrontation. He slunk away up the stairs, cursing them in broken Gaelic.

'You did it.' Angel's voice was full of pride and not a little wonder. He had urged Spike to this, but had not really been convinced of his superiority. Spike nodded. He eased his shirt off his shoulder inspecting one particularly nasty bite.

'Here, let me.' Angel slid over the mat until they were sitting side-by-side. He ran his fingers over Spike's wound then bit deeply into his own wrist. When the blood came, he dribbled it over the bite, trying to ignore Spike's look of wonder. Angel's bare chest rubbed against Spike's arm. He could feel the heat from Spike's body, stirred by the fighting. He could smell the intense smell of fresh, musky sweat. He could also smell the unmistakable aroma of his own spent cum. Angelus' cum… his… not his. Anger welled in him once more. He pulled away slightly and hung his head. 'Do you still want him?'

He heard a hiss of anger, and Spike pulled away. 'What the fuck do you think, Angel? What the bleeding fuck do you think? Look at me….' He caught Angel's face in an irresistible grip. 'Look at me!'

Spike's head bowed for a moment under Angel's intense scrutiny, but then he raised his face, and his look was one of pure agony. 'Where were you Angel? Why didn't you come for me?'

Angel tried to speak but could not find the words he wanted. He put his hands over Spike's and tired to press them into his face. 'I saw you with him… he was so perfect… so pure. I'm so… I… in the shower. You hate me… You've always loved him.…'

Spike only closed his eyes in pain, 'Where were you…?'

Angel's quiet words slipped into the gap between them. 'I'm here now.'

Spike opened his eyes. He hesitated. Angel hesitated. They both moved forward at the same time, and their lips met in a chaste, light kiss. Angel pulled away and looked at Spike in surprise. He put a finger to his lips, feeling where Spike's had just been. Spike watched the hand for a moment, but then reached up and removed it. He replaced it with his lips once more, but this time they were open and eager. Angel responded. He pushed Spike onto his back, and sweat slid between their bare chests. Angel opened his mouth to Spike's kiss, and urgent tongues told of passion and need. Angel put his hands under Spike's head and lifted him up; Spike wrapped his tightly around Angel, and they were lost. The intensity of the kiss overwhelmed them both. Not sex, not the stabbing need that had driven them both for hundreds of years, but the need to feel and taste and touch and be human for a while. Neither of them had ever kissed like this before. They were not distracted by the solid erections pressing between them. Neither wanted anything more than this intimate sharing.

Spike explored Angel's mouth as if he were exploring his own identity - as if in that sweet warmth he could rationalise what he was. Angel's tongue sought an end to loneliness. They pulled apart, stunned at the intensity they could feel in each other, but came crashing back into the kiss again. They paused to regain some element of self-control, nuzzling into sweaty, enticing necks, but lost it swiftly when their lips met once more. Angel reared up more on Spike to try and climb deeper into his mouth. Spike pushed him off, and they rolled over, mouths still locked together. Spike now on top, they had to explore each other's mouths again to seek the subtle differences of position. Their tongues found new delight… their lips swelling to the need again.

They could not have said who started the low moaning first. Like a soft, erotic purr, they felt their bodies singing to each other. The moans only sent them into a new frenzy. The kiss was not enough - one bit slightly, the other responded, and their mouths were filled with blood. The blood mixed in their mouths, washing over their tongues.

At last, Angel heard a sound he had despaired of ever hearing. A whispered, 'Angel, Angel, Angel,' slipped unconsciously from Spike's lips. Entirely lost in the kissing, biting, sucking, and swallowing, Spike's heart had reacted of its own accord. Angel pushed Spike slightly away and regarded him in wonder. Stilled, they both realised they were panting. Angel stopped, but then with a slight laugh, started again. He smiled at Spike. 'I like the sound; think I'll pant more often.'

It was exactly the right thing to say for once. Spike heard the implicit offer of friendship and the promise of more, should he accept it. He smiled, too, and put his head down onto Angel's broad, smooth chest.

'I'm sorry, Angel… I should have thought. I should have… I… he is not. You are not… bugger it! This is so confusing.'

'I know. You think you're confused. Try being me, Spike!'

'Yeah, I guess. You weren't the one being fucked over by him all night, though, were you?'

They both looked at each other and burst into laughter. Angel gave mock nod of wise consideration. 'Now that would be an interesting thing to behold.'

'Don't you dare.'

Angel folded his arms under his head and regarded Spike carefully. Caught out, Spike looked shyly down and started playing absently with one of Angel's nipples. Angel hissed quietly at the erotic sensation.

'Why do you say that, Spike?'

'Well… bizarro Angel… weird even for us.'

'That's not what you meant, though, is it Spike?'

'Dunno what you mean.'

'Err… Spike.…'

'Spike looked up from the soft, brown areola he had been stroking, with a questioning look.

Angel stated the obvious. 'I've just kissed you.'

Spike's swollen lips twitched in their own affirmation of this. 'Yeah, I kinda noticed, luv.'

'So, you can rest assured that I do want to be friends now.'

Spike laughed at the reminder of his earlier objective. 'I guess.'

'So, can't you trust me enough to let me in? Let go a little, Spike. You won't be hurt here.'

Spike looked intently at him. 'Easy for you to say, Angel.'

Angel gave a slight sigh. 'It's not, Spike; it's not easy at all. I've been... All right, I'll go first, shall I: in this mutual 'I'm scared to say what I feel' session?'

Spike smiled openly now. 'Yeah, you go first; then I can deny everything and leave you looking like a pillock.'

That earned Spike another long, passionate kiss. Angel crushed him down to his lips, moaning. He lifted his legs and wrapped them tightly around Spike's back. Their kisses, this time, were less exploratory and far more knowledgeable: both tongues finding exactly where they wanted to be and what they wanted to taste. Eventually, Angel rolled them once more, so he was on top and broke away to look at Spike.

'I want to say this, Spike. I want to tell you how I feel so there are no misunderstandings between us, but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to last….' He cast an anxious look down at his tenting sweat pants.

'Well, fucking just say it then, Angel, cus I've been waiting a hundred and thirty years to hear it.'

'You don't know what I'm going to….'

'Angel…!' but they were both laughing now.

'Okay, okay. Spike, listen. When you came here I was….' His words were cut off when they both heard a scream of high-pitched human terror.


Angel leapt up and only half heard Spike's anguished rejoinder, 'Giles!'

They flew together up the stairs and into the lobby. Giles lay on the floor near the front door, bleeding from a deep wound in his neck, but they could both hear his heartbeat. Angelus was pressing Wesley into the wall, his mouth intimately wrapped around the soft, human throat.

With a roar of distress, Angel launched himself on Angelus. Weakened from his earlier fight, Angelus did not risk Angel's wrath and ran, laughing, up the stairs to the upper floors of the hotel. Spike fell to his knees alongside Giles. He cradled his head carefully in his lap and turned anguished eyes to Angel. 'Wesley?'

Angel was helping Wesley to the couch and only nodded grimly at Spike. He did not hear Spike's low angry words to the unconscious Giles, 'You're too early… too early, you fools.'

Wesley seemed dazed. He looked vacant and did not respond to Angel's nervous, anxious touch.

Spike kept glancing between Angel and Giles. He rubbed Giles' cheek lightly, trying to bring him around. 'Come on, watcher, it was only a little bite.' Eventually Giles began to stir, but his gaze was as unfocused as Wesley's. The vampires looked at each other, united at last by care for these human friends.

'We've got to keep them safe, Spike!'

'Yeah, I know, pet….' Spike suddenly looked to the open door. 'Hey!' He pulled Giles up by his arms and flung him at the opening. Giles bounced back. Spike set his face, refusing to believe what he had just seen and pushed him again.

'Spike! Stop it! You'll hurt him!'

Spike gave him a withering look. 'Angel… outside! The barrier… Angelus won't be able to.…'

Angel caught on and nodded, impressed with his childe and berating himself for not thinking of it. He picked Wesley up and tried to place him outside. The barrier held.

'What the fucking hell have you two done, you fuckwits?' Spike shouted at both watchers furiously. 'It's all going bleedin' wrong. Two days… you said two days and now this! Bloody hell.'

Suddenly, he stopped and turned slowly. Angel was looking at him with an expression of complete disgust. 'It was you. I was… he was… Angelus was right… you've caused this?'

Spike set his face to the inevitable onslaught, but he had no need, for they both heard a sing-song voice eerily echoing around the empty hotel.

'Fee fie foe fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.'

Angel looked up, confusion clear on his face. He knew the labyrinthine nature of his hotel and wasn't sure now where the sound came from. He ignored the brewing argument, the recriminations, and the blame, realising the desperate situation they were in.

'We have to hide them, Spike.'

'Angel… it's Angelus! He'll smell them… you know he will.'

'Secure them, then. Somewhere we can protect them.'

'The office… one door and good line of sight. It's the perfect defensive position.'

Angel looked at Spike, pleased… remembered he was probably the cause of it all and frowned. 'Help me.'

Together they herded the almost insensible humans into the office. Spike was worried about Giles. Placed carefully on the couch, he seemed almost catatonic. Spike feared Angelus had drained him fatally. He propped him up with some cushions and started to leave, until Angel's sharp voice stopped him. 'Hey! Where are you going?'

'Tea, pet. Giles needs tea now if ever he did!'

Angel smiled despite the gravity of the situation and held his hand out to Spike. Spike came towards him gratefully and allowed himself to be imprisoned in a hard, possessive embrace. 'Later, Spike, we can argue later, hey? I will know what all this is about… but later.'

Spike cast an anxious glance to see how Giles was taking his defection to these stronger, colder arms, but Giles only started vacantly into space, his glasses askew, and his jaw slack. Spike frowned and turned Angel's head to see. 'He's not good, luv. He needs help.'

'I know, Spike, I know. So does Wes.' Spike saw that Angel had not understood his meaning.

'We can't hole up with them here, Angel. We can't wait another three… I mean, they need help now. We have to go find him!'

'No!' Angel pulled away from the embrace, but still kept hold of Spike's hand.


'I'm not leaving them.'

'So… what? We just wait here while they die of blood loss? Angel, Giles isn't young; his heart's probably a bit dicky.'

Spike cast Giles another anxious look. 'Why don't you bleedin' speak?'

Angel let Spike's hand drop and went to the door, looking thoughtfully up to the top floors. 'We know he's upstairs, at least. If he were down here we'd both sense him, right?'

Spike nodded with a determined look. 'Fucking right I would… he's my sire, remember?'

'Err… he actually is me, Spike!'

'Oh. Yeah. So… we go?'

'I go.'

'No! No, no, no, no, and nothing you can say or do will make me stay. I'm not leaving you again, Angel, not now.'

The unspoken "not now I have you at last" was heard by both of them.

'We can lock the office door and leave 'em safe. He won't get in.'

Angel grabbed Spike by the shoulders and shook him slightly. 'Spike, I haven't told you how I feel yet. I'm not going to let you off that excruciatingly embarrassing scene so easily, and we are going to have that talk about meddling with unseen forces, and… there's one more thing, now what was it?' Angel smiled and pulled Spike into an intensely emotional kiss that left them both highly charged and unsatisfied. 'So, I will come back, Spike.'

Spike pursed his lips in defeat and nodded. He stationed himself in the open office doorway. Nothing would get past him. Angel ran up the stairs and disappeared into the gloom of the upper floors.

Spike stared resolutely ahead of him, on guard. There was no way Angelus was getting past him to the humans. This was true, in a way… for Angelus had no need to get past him. He was already in the office, sitting contentedly behind the desk, waiting his opportunity to have some fun. Spike didn't even have time to wonder why he had not sensed his presence, for he was knocked instantly unconscious by Angelus' first blow with a heavy metal drawer.


Angel roamed the upper floors for over an hour before he admitted in disgust that he could not sense Angelus at all. The hotel was a maze of passageways and stairs; Angelus could be anywhere. He stopped and lowered his head, thinking deeply. What would he have done when he was Angelus? He thought hard.

Suddenly, his head jerked back in shock and fear. He tore back through the hotel, flung himself down the stairs and saw, at the same time, his weapon cabinet broken open and Spike lying on one of the couches. He flung himself to Spike's side, and realised, with a relief so profound it threatened to unhinge him, that Spike was only unconscious and starting to come around even now. He helped him to sit up. Spike put a hand to his head. 'He was already ….'

'I know, Spike… it's what I'd have done, somehow. He must have doubled back... but why didn't we sense...?' Suddenly, they both looked at each other. Spike stood up on wobbly legs.

'No.' His voice was so quiet, it gave truth to all their fears.

They walked together towards the office.

Wesley was still on the couch. So, it was a little unfortunate that his head was on the desk.

Giles was still in one piece, only that piece stretched from one side of the room to the other. He had peeled as easily as Spike once joked that he would.

Spike didn't find it so funny this time.

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