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The Longest Distance Between Two Points - Chapter 6


It had been Cordelia's idea originally. When Angel had left for Sunnydale the situation was fairly dire. Darla was causing havoc with anyone associated with Angel and Angel Investigations. Ex-clients were turning up dead, future clients understandably scared off. The night of Buffy’s party, Darla had actually telephoned Cordelia in person and suggested that she and Drucilla call around for some coffee later. Cordelia had frantically called Angel and asked him to come home.

But only a day later and she was beginning to wonder why she had bothered. Angel seemed entirely unable to deal rationally with Darla…in other words, he refused to seek her out and stake her. When he had arrived a few hours after her urgent call, even she had to admit he was not the Dark Avenger she remembered only that morning. He looked awful. His usual attempts at gentleness and humour with her: gone. He was clearly only just holding it all together. Perhaps if she had known what had gone on in his mind on the journey to allow him to appear even this rational, she would have been impressed rather than dismayed.

Angel gave the impression to everyone that he was quiet, calm and serious. No one had any idea of the pain and confusion permanently tearing him apart. The essential duality of his nature: demon and soul had him so torn up inside that he often thought hell had been a respite from his life. He knew to the second when his purported hatred of Spike had been challenged by desperate memories of William. The first time Darla had come to him and on him in the night, half waking to her ghostly presence, he had heard from his mouth those fateful words, 'I love you,' and had known that they were still for William, not for her. So he welcomed those drugged dreams that took away his ability to think and plan and work. He welcomed the moment he came into her unreal body because he could feel William's tight body there instead. And then, out of the blue, as if it were fate the invitation to the party had arrived. As he held it in his hand he thought of Sunnydale. As he thought of Sunnydale, he thought of William and he remembered William's body, felt William under his hands and smelt once again William's powerful Childe scent.

So he'd gone. And although he'd told Spike in the coffee shop that he'd come back to see him, that was not really true. He'd come back to see William. Thus, the confident, gorgeous, cocky creature that had sauntered into the party with the perfect Birthday present had shocked him and confused him. This was not the hesitant, admiring Will-Childe he'd remembered. At first it had been a bitter blow. He felt as if William had died. So Angel had watched this new Spike carefully all night. He had seen his relationship with Buffy, their sparring and their respect for each other. He had seen how Joyce accepted him and how Dawn loved him. He had seen how comfortable Spike now seemed with himself, how self-contained he was and it did not made him easy. For one thing, Spike smelt exactly like Buffy, her soap, her shampoo and that was particularly confusing. By the time Angel had made his half-heard confession in that stupid game, he knew his feelings for William had been transferred to Spike. But he was entirely unsure of how Spike felt about him. He had been encouraged by Spike's emotional reaction to the song and later to Angel's confession. He been positively excited when Spike agreed to have coffee with him and Angel had sat drinking the coffee thinking about Spike's arousal and Spike's body. He had made his tentative offer to Spike to come back to his hotel, fairly sure that Spike would agree.

Cordelia's call had nearly destroyed him. Darla! Darla was threatening the humans he had abandoned so he could indulge himself with his Childe. He was selfish, weak and didn't deserve the pleasure he had nearly been given.

So when he had pressed Spike up against Buffy's house and had felt Spike's erection pressing into his belly it had made him sick with despair. When he saw the desire in Spike's face, he could have wept from the bitter irony of it all. Even as he was saying the words to Spike that he knew would tear Spike apart, in his mind he was biting Spike's neck and drawing his precious blood into his body. As he looked at Spike's distraught face, one part of him was tasting Spike's mouth and running his hands under Spike's shirt to feel the skin on his back. Added to all this confusion, he had suffered the pain of seeing Buffy again and knowing that in her heart she had moved on. All of this took away his normal restraint so he had used Spike like he used his training punch ball: as something to take the pain away, if only for a minute. As he drove back to LA he knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he had lost his last chance with Spike. Even he had to admit he had fucked-up pretty badly tonight.

When he got to LA he found he still could not face staking Darla. Having now lost Spike she was his only link to his memories of William. Although she came no more to him in the quiet hours of the night, although he no longer came in her ghostly presence whilst thinking of William, he needed to know she was out there somewhere, keeping the possibility of William alive.

So Cordelia had been in despair. She could not understand Angel’s unwillingness to stake Darla. So she'd called Buffy. She was a slayer, after all. But on application, Giles had refused to let Buffy go. He rightly pointed out that Angel had 'issues' with Darla and that if Buffy got between them, however well intentioned that intervention might be, it would destroy their relationship forever. Cordelia insisted Angel needed help and the solution had come from an unlikely source. Dawn, overhearing some of the conversation from her spy perch on the stairs, had shouted out, 'ask Spike.'

A hush had descended on the oh-so-clever adults. Buffy, annoyed that Dawn had been listening yet again to Slayer business said rather too sharply, 'that's ridiculous Dawn and WHAT are you doing there!'

Dawn came into the room. 'It's not ridiculous. Spike hates Darla, he'd stake her if he could.'

'And how do you know this?'

'Well, Spike told me. He's always talking about Darla and stuff.'

'And just when have you been having long conversations with Spike, about anything?'

'Err…Buffy, I think we need to focus here.' Giles gave Buffy a brief frown to stop her arguing with Dawn. 'Dawn, why does Spike hate Darla, did he say?'

Delighted to be asked to participate by Giles, Dawn promptly sat down and told them most of the content of her conversations with Spike and how he hated Darla. Of course, she only had the watered down version of the, 'Spike hates Darla', story. Somehow, Spike had been able to convey the extent of his hatred whilst leaving out any mention of incestuous sex or torture. He had left Dawn with the impression that Darla had read his diary without permission and borrowed his stuff, two very good reasons, as far as she was concerned, for hating anyone.

Buffy was not entirely convinced by this information. 'But Spike hates Angel too, why would he want to help him?' This question put rather a damper on the emerging plan.

Strangely, it was Joyce who solved this problem and who came up with the details of the final plan. Coming in with a tray of tea for them she casually said, 'tell Spike, Darla killed Angel. However much he hated him, he'd have to do something about that!' When they all looked unconvinced at her she said with a smile at Buffy, 'trust me, it's a child / parent thing.'

Floored by this unassailable logic, that's the plan they decided on. They would tell Spike that Angel had been staked by Darla's hand, he'd go to LA and stake Darla.

Only Dawn raised the very reasonable objection that Spike didn't actually hate Angel, that he loved him and that telling him Angel was dead was mean, but she was only fourteen, what did she know? They laughed, dismissed her and continued with the plan.

But although in public Buffy saw it as her duty to dismiss anything her baby sister said, in private she mulled over Dawn's assertion that Spike loved Angel. Her own observation of them at her party had proved that they certainly had a complex relationship, far more complex than the simple emotion, 'hate', might describe. That's why, on her next patrol with Spike, she'd questioned him about his feelings for Angel. And that's how, hurting from Angel's attack, Spike had lashed out with his tongue, unintentionally reassuring Buffy that he did indeed hate Angel and that news of his death would be welcome.

So the ridiculous plan was set in motion. No one worked through the logic of it at all, no one wanted to dwell on the fact that the plan had a critical flaw…it relied on Spike and Spike's reaction to his Sire's death. Spike's emotions, even they had to admit, were not usually the best basis for a plan. But did they really think such a plan would actually work? What if it did and Angel found out that Spike had killed his Sire…the one he didn't seem to want killed! What would Angel do to Spike then? And then to them, given they had lied to Spike and sent him.

But nevertheless, they were pleased the next day to find Spike missing and his car gone. Buffy telephoned Cordelia, told her to keep Angel out of the way on other cases for a few days and sat back to await developments.

The irony was not lost on Spike as he drove towards LA that the last time he had done this he had spent the whole journey wishing Angel dead and planning his delicious torture.

News of Angel's death had not been one of those revelatory experiences where he suddenly thought, 'oh God, I loved him really.' Because Spike knew very well he loved Angel, you didn't get to his level of hatred without a very solid base of love to build upon. The only reason he was able to hate Angel so passionately was because he loved him so profoundly. Every single thing that Angel did or didn't do, said or didn't say, affected Spike deeply and he knew this was entirely due to his overwhelming love for his Sire.

So his first thoughts had just been unbearably sad. When he heard the words coming from Giles' lips he had seen the whole edifice upon which he had planned his future crumbling down around him. His unlife had always been inextricably bound up with Angel's, like individual threads in a skein of silk they ran a parallel course, never seeming to cross, but unable to separate. But Giles' simple words had shattered this certainty for Spike. He felt like any children do who lose a parent, scared, alone and very, very unsure of his place in the world.

Yes, he had left his crypt and yes, he went to LA, but he never had any intention of finding or staking Darla. He had lied to Dawn and Buffy and everyone else about his feelings for Darla just as effectively as he lied about Angel. His feelings for Darla had undergone a huge change since they had both lost Angelus the fist time in China. So finding Darla never crossed his mind as he drove sadly to LA. He went there only to be in Angel's home and be close to Angel for the last time. Perhaps he could to talk to Cordelia and Wesley, if they would talk to him, about how Angel died and what he had said and done in his last days. Spike wanted to know if Angel had spoken of him. Spike wanted to know if Angel forgave him before he died. Spike wanted to know if Angel had loved him at all in those last few days. He knew he was unlikely to find out any of this from the pet humans. They probably wouldn't talk to him about intimate Angel stuff; they hated him and probably blamed him partially for Angel's death. Perhaps if he hadn't tortured Angel he would still be alive. Logic was never Spike's best point and he was depressed and scared, so it wasn’t even working as well as usual.

He found Angel's new address from the bartender he'd gotten Marcus' contact from. Spike was impressed with the hotel. He was glad Angel had let Angelus choose something he wanted for once. It was so Angelus. This thought only served to make Spike even more scared and depressed. He actually felt a kind of sick flutter in his stomach when he thought about Angel not ever having the opportunity to choose anything again. It all seemed such a waste, all those years, all that wisdom, all that experience: just gone. It was so sad, so unfair. Unfair for Angel and even more unfair for those who knew him. Spike knew that Angel would be sadly missed by everyone who had known him in his last 'Angel' years.

He stopped a moment and had a strange flashback to the Magic Shop and to Giles and Buffy telling him the news.

Now, that was funny.

He frowned and fished out a cigarette, smoking was essential to thinking. Buffy had just told him that Angel was dead, but Buffy was dry-eyed, calm and very in control of herself. He'd seen her more upset over a split end. For the first time since Spike heard the news he climbed high enough out of his shock, fear and depression to question the truth of what he had been told. He looked up at the windows of the hotel, no sign of life at all. He tried the door and was surprised to find it open. He went into the lobby, explored the offices, went up the stairs and looked in the bedrooms.

It didn't take him long to find the only room that looked occupied. Just. It wasn't his level of occupation, but someone very neat clearly slept here. He went in cautiously. The Slayer and The Watcher lying to him was not good, but he had no idea just what they were lying about or why, so he took things very, very carefully.

He didn't switch on the light, but slid silently like a shadow around the wall, the only illumination in the room coming from a faint chink of streetlight though the shutter. There was very little furniture in the room, a chair, a chest of drawers and a large, low bed…holy shit! Something in the bed moved. Spike went towards it, again, very cautiously. It was dark in the room, but he was pretty sure that was not Angel. He got to the edge of the bed and put his hand out to pull back the black, silk sheet that was pulled up over the object.

'Ow! Bloody hell, help, fucking shit, get off me…ow, my eye! Get off!' Something vicious, sharp, and incredibly strong had flown at his face. He felt a large gash to his scalp, the blood running freely into one eye, the other was half closed, having been caught in the attack. He sank onto the bed with his face in his hands for a brief moment and then backed up against the headboard warily. He had not seen his attacker and had no idea where it was now. He slowly and very cautiously slipped out of his duster. It was the only thing he had on him that might protect him from another attack. He crouched there in the dark. He realized he was panting, so he stopped. No breathing at all, just intense listening. Shit, this demon was good. He hadn't sensed it had been there, hadn't seen it during the attack and now could not locate it at all. In the intense silence of the room, every sound in the hotel was magnified. Spike could hear the water pipes groaning and the floorboards creaking. Okay, that was not good. Floorboards creaking. Spike mentally shook himself and reminded himself he was still the Big Bad, he was still over a hundred years old, fuck it, he was still a bleeding vampire, he was not scared of being in the dark with one unknown vicious demon somewhere in the room and another…bleeding hell…just outside the door!

He neatly slipped off the bed and behind the door with his duster held in front of him. If the other one came in to help its mate he would rush it and hope to crush it under him. Not much of a plan, but then he hadn't come here expecting to fight for his 'life' and he had other rather more pressing things on his mind…things like Angel's death, things like very non-lying humans lying to him. So he forgave himself for his shit plan and tensed as the door swung open.

He launched himself at the object, expecting it to be small like the thing that had attacked him. He was brought up abruptly by the solidity of the thing he had collided with and knocked over.

'Fuck,' was all it said. So he said it too.




Angel, totally naked, was lying under him, his hair was wet and he had a towel in his hand. He raised one eyebrow at Spike.

'I said to look me up when there was some evidence of maturity. Is this supposed to be a joke? And what the hell has happened to you?'

Spike pulled his duster free of its entanglement with Angel and sat back looking at him.

'Giles told me last night that you were dead. I came because I thought you were dead. And something attacked me. There's a fucking demon in your room Angel and I haven't killed it yet.' As he said the words, Spike skittered back onto the bed, his back to the wall again. Angel laughed.

'Okay…not understanding any of this. I have no idea why Giles did that, but I assure you, I will find out. And I think you've just met, Lestat.'

'Lestat? Don't tell me this is one of your fucking alternative dimension things, Angel.'

'Not that Lestat. My Lestat. My vampire kitten.'

'Vampire kitten?'

'Well, obviously he's not really a vampire, but don't tell him that. He thinks he's my fledging and is in vampire training. I found him in the sewers; someone had flushed him I guess, so I brought him home. Cordy said I should turn him…just as a joke of course…then we discovered I didn't have to. He's more vicious than most vampires I've ever met. Outdo Angelus, any day.'

Angel saw Spike's face. Horror, derision and suspicion flickered across his face in quick succession. Angel just shrugged with a small smile.

'Where is the fucking thing now? Look what it did to me, Angel. It's taken a bleeding eight inch gash out of my head and punctured one eye!'

Angel came over and sat on the bed alongside him. He seemed totally unembarrassed that he was still completely naked. 'He's probably under the bed. You frightened him, he's not used to strange vampires coming into my room at night.' If Angel could blush he would have. He suddenly remembered Darla cuming in his room quite a number of times recently and this made him think of the very vampire he had here now cuming very noisily in his imagination, in this room.

'Angel, do something with it. It's dangerous. Look at me!'

'Baby. You have a tiny scratch on that eye and a small claw hole on your head. I'll get some antiseptic.'

Spike watched Angel's retreating back. More specifically, he watched Angel's retreating backside. He had forgotten just how perfect Angel was. He was sleek, heavy and smooth. Every muscle rippled as he walked, each cheek just moving slightly up and down. Spike took a very deep, unnecessary breath.

'Vampire's don't need antiseptic, Luv.'

Angel turned and smiled slightly. 'You've never been scratched by Lestat before. He has a little heap of decomposing rat's entrails to dip his claws into before an attack. He read it in the vampire kitten training manual.'

Spike wanted to laugh, but he also wanted Angel to concentrate, so he didn't. 'That's not what I meant.' He let the words hang in the air. Angel looked at him. Spike held his gaze. Angel came slowly back to the bed, his semi-erect penis swinging as he walked. Spike willed his eyes not to look down. He didn't want to make Angel self-conscious.

Angel knelt on the edge of the bed and regarded Spike with an intense look. Then he put his hands out and pulled Spike's face to his. Pushing him down slightly, Angel placed his lips over the wound on Spike's head. A soft, strong tongue lapped at the blood that was still trickling down. Long licks trailed up from Spike's closed eye to his hair.

Like a mother cat, Angel licked Spike's wounds clean. After one hundred years of estrangement these two powerful vampires reunited over blood and over those Sire / Childe bonds that they had sought to deny. The taste of Spike’s blood and the feel of Angel’s tongue joined them more effectively than any human expression of love could have done.

Angel felt his dead heart coming back to life with the feel of Spike under his hands and the taste of Spike’s blood in his mouth. Spike may not be his William any more, but blood was blood. This was William’s blood trickling into his mouth and down his throat. He was William’s Sire again. He knelt closer, unable to prevent his ardent licks turning into soft kisses. When he had kissed Spike's hair and Spike's eyes he lifted Spike's face and plunged his mouth down to soft lips. His hands slid around to the back of Spike's hair and he rubbed his hands up and down over the short blond hairs at the nape of Spike's neck.

Spike knelt up too and in that position felt Angel's cock, urgent against his jeans. He crushed Angel's mouth harder to his. He was just about to open his mouth and take Angel into him, to taste Angel, to be Angel if he could, when he distinctly heard a hiss about six inches from his face. He yelped and pulled away from the kiss. 'He's here. Angel, he's watching us!'

Angel just looked at Spike's face and started laughing. He flopped onto his back on the bed and lifted a tiny Siamese kitten off the headboard where it was clinging with its fur all up on end and its claws out. He placed it gently onto his naked chest. Spike backed warily away till he was at the farthest extent of the bed.

Angel picked the kitten up, kissed it and placed it back on his chest. He saw Spike's reaction to this and just shrugged.

'Told you I was lonely.'

'Err…Angel, I don't think it's wise to mention being lonely when you are naked, have a stonkin' erection and are kissing an animal. You are not Angelus any more you know.'

Angel only laughed and kissed the kitten again, looking challengingly over it at Spike. 'You'll hurt his feelings, Spike. He's very sensitive.'

'You are sick, Mate. Master vampires do not have kittens.'

'Fledgling vampire kittens in training they do.'

'Stop it! You're driving me bleeding insane. I wish you had been bloody staked now.'

'I told you in Sunnydale, I'm lonely, Spike.'

'Actually Angel, you didn't.'

Angel pushed the kitten off his chest and made a small den for it back under the sheet where it had been happily snoozing until startled awake by a strange, silent, blond vampire. He sat up against the headboard and look questioningly at Spike.

'I did. In the coffee shop. I told you I was lonely and asked you to come back with me. You turned me down, I seem to remember.'

Spike came back up the bed warily, watching the small lump next to Angel. 'No, Angel, you told me you regretted not having me all these years. You did not extend any offer for me to be with you now.'

'The word self-absorption springs to mind here, Spike.'

'That's two words, with a hyphen.'

'Thank you, William. So, you can work that out, but not work out that me coming to Sunnydale and coming to Buffy's party and telling you I regretted the past, was all my way of asking you to come back with me…' Angel paused, what he had just said sounded pretty stupid even to him.

Spike just gave him an, 'I told you so look' and moved up to sit next to Angel against the headboard on the other side to the killer kitten.

They sat there for a while in silence, but it was a comfortable silence for once. Neither felt particularly like breaking it. Angel was thinking about his exposed erection, Spike was just looking at it. Angel then started to think about Spike looking at it, so Spike got to watch it getting bigger. So for a while neither of them had any need to speak. Eventually Angel turned to Spike and looked at the wound on his head for a moment before saying quietly, 'I was scared to say it outright, Spike. I needed to know you would say 'yes' before I asked you. I could not bear it if you said 'no'.'

Spike gave him a shy grin and Angel's stomach flipped over. It was William's grin. 'I know, Pet. I knew what you meant really, but I couldn’t say I would come until you actually asked me. I didn't want to jump to conclusions again, not after…' he couldn't say it, but they both knew he was thinking of that awful moment in the school when Angelus had lied to him and rejected him.

'So, if I asked you, would you say 'yes'?'

Spike made the buzzing noise of a contestant getting a question wrong in a television quiz. 'You'll have to ask me first. Then you'll find out.'

They both smiled.

'Impasse then.'

'Mexican stand-off.'

'That's what I said.'

Spike pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them and laid his chin thoughtfully down. 'God, I'm drained.'

Neither spoke for a long while. The distant sounds of traffic and the familiar sounds of the hotel were the only noises in the room. Spike was so quiet with his head resting on his arms that Angel was afraid he had fallen asleep. He wanted Spike awake and he wanted him concentrating on him. He took a deep, very unnecessary breath and took a step, the outcome of which, he felt would dictate the course of the rest of his life.

'Fancy coming to my hotel for a drink then?'

To Spike the question seemed to come out of nowhere. He twisted his head to look at him. There was no doubt in his mind what Angel had said. Angel had just asked him to stay. Spike didn't lift his head, but he grinned at Angel. 'Does the killer kitten have to be part of the offer?'

Angel didn’t reply but pulled Spike over to him, shifting so he could reach Spike's lips with his own. He licked across Spike's closed mouth, demanding entry. This time Spike opened his mouth immediately and was rewarded by Angel's tongue pushing against his own, probing the soft walls, tasting him. Spike felt an erotic charge in his balls that started to swell his cock. He moved his hands down to try and undo his jeans. Angel's hand joined his and together they freed him.

'Angel…' Angel would not let Spike talk for kissing him, ravishing his mouth with deep, urgent kisses. 'Angel…!'


'Lose the cat…please, I feel like he's taking notes under there!'

'He probably is, but okay.'

Angel swept his hand under the sheet, caught up the furious kitten who promptly gouged him deeply down one forearm and took it towards the door.

'Stay there; I'll put him into his basket in the kitchen. Ow. Quit it!'

'Oh, this I've got to watch…!' Spike was referring to the fact that Angel was by now bleeding down his arm, all over the hand he was trying to hold the kitten in and across the bridge of his nose where he had foolishly tried to kiss the evil fur ball again. He went two steps at a time down the sweeping staircase, his cock bobbing hard and proud against his stomach. Spike leant over the banister at the top laughing at him, his cock sticking through, tiny drops of cold, glistening precum dripping to the floor below.

The kitten was writhing and spitting furiously at Angel the whole way down, this did enough damage to the patient vampire, but nothing like the damage it did when a sudden, piercing scream rang out from the dark of the office. The kitten tried to go back up the stairs over Angel, using him as a convenient launch pad with which to get excellent purchase for his claws. Six deep gouges appeared over Angel's chest. He was oblivious to all of this damage because he was paralyzed by the sight of Cordelia, hand over her mouth, staring at him from her desk. The situation was not helped by Spike suddenly appearing at his side, having heard the scream.

'What's wrong, mate…what's happening?'

So Cordelia was faced with the sight of her employer, naked, erect, engorged and bloodied and Spike, clothed, but with his erection sticking out of the front of his jeans, also bloodied and standing side by side looking at her.

She probably took the only option open to her and fainted, slipping heavily out of her chair and banging her head on the desk as she went down. Angel was at her side almost before she hit the floor.

'Get a wet towel, Spike.' Spike swiftly brought one from the kitchen and Angel laid it against the bump on her head.

'Shall I fetch you some clothes, Luv?' Spike was busy trying to make himself decent.

'Oh God, Spike. This is awful. What am I going to tell her? Yes, get anything, it's all in the closet upstairs.'

Spike chose some sweats and by the time he was back downstairs, Cordelia was coming around. Angel hastily got dressed and together they laid her gently on the couch. Spike wiped some of Angel's blood from his face with the wet towel and they looked ruefully at each other for a moment. Spike wasn’t sure how Angel was going to deal with this, so he decided to help by giving him a little grin. 'Tell her she dreamt it. She'll be so embarrassed at the thought of dreaming about you naked with a stonker she'll never mention it again.'

'So, she's going to believe she dreamt of you and me and then, hey…we are both here! Good plan, Spike.'

Spike shrugged. 'Just tell her the truth then. You are entitled to do what you like in your own home, aren't you? You are a vampire…tell her how it is with vampires.'

'And just how is that then, Blondie?' They both turned to find an irate looking Cordelia glaring at them, holding her head and trying to sit up. 'Angel, your sweatshirt is on back-to-front and there is blood seeping through it. Spike, if you so much as come one step closer to me I'll press this on that large sensitive…thing of yours I've just had the misfortune to see.' She fished in her pocket and came out with large wooden cross.

Spike turned to Angel, raised his eyebrow suggestively and mouthed silently to him, 'large!' Then turning back to Cordelia, looked pointedly at the cross. 'And you carry one of those all the time do you? You really inspire trust in your employees, Angel!'

'This is not for Angel. It is for Angelus, or you, or Darla, or Drucilla, or any of the other sick members of your family and hey! How come you aren't out staking Darla, that's what we got you here for!'

Angel froze in the process of turning his sweater around and dropped it slowly to the floor. 'What did you just say?'

Cordelia, perhaps realising what she had let slip, held her head and groaned. When she saw that was having no effect on Angel, she went into the attack instead. 'So, just what was going on here tonight then? Sleeping with Darla not enough for you, Angel? Had to have all your family then, even the male ones? I'm thinking, eeew, Angel!'

Her distraction tactic worked to perfection because Spike turned to Angel with a blank, closed off look on his face. 'Sleeping with Darla.'

He repeated it, more to himself perhaps than for Angel's benefit. 'Sleeping with Darla.'

He backed off a few steps then turned slowly and started walking back up the stairs. When he reached half way, he turned and cast a look at the two of them in the lobby and ran the rest of the way. Angel gave Cordelia a furious look to which she responded with an equally expressive one, which clearly implied that if he chose to have a deviant lifestyle, such incidents were entirely his own fault.

Angel bounded up the stairs after Spike, expecting to find him in the bedroom. There was no sign of him. Angel searched each bedroom methodically, some he had never even been in. He was surprised that he could not sense his Childe and berated himself for the estrangement this clearly indicated. In the end it took him over an hour to find Spike. He had returned quietly to Angel's bedroom and was sitting on the bed waiting for him, he had been doing some quiet thinking and had not wanted Angel interrupting. He looked up when Angel came in, studying his face.

'That's what you meant in the coffee shop, isn't it? About reassessing your life. She's come back…don't Angel…' Spike held his hand up to stop Angel talking. '…don't tell me…I know. For once, I know. You remembered, didn’t you? When she comes to you…'

'CAME to me.' Angel managed to slip that vital fact in before Spike flew at him, clamping his hand over his mouth, pushing him back into the wall.

'…I said, don't talk. You came back for me, didn't you Angel cus she came here and made you think of me. It's what you promised me, isn't it? That every time you kissed her, you'd be kissing me, that every time you came in her, you'd be coming in me.'

Angel had been told not to speak, but that didn’t stop him nodding his head vigorously against Spike's hand. It didn’t stop him slipping his tongue out and licking tiny circles around Spike's palm.

'Bloody hell, Angel. You've finally come through for me, haven't you? All my waiting, all my loving you…'

Angel's eyebrows shot up in surprise at this.

'Oh yeah, you pillock, I've always loved you; only, I needed to hate you more. It gets kinda tiring loving one-sidedly for over a century. What's that?' Spike released his hand from Angel's mouth to enable him finally to say something.

'It wasn’t one-sidedly.'

'Hum. Yeah, well, like you said, I love too much and you need to spread it around.' Angel laughed.

'I did not say that at all and anyway, what I said was a pile of crap. You confused me, Spike. I didn't expect to see you so…together, so coping. I think I expected to find you like William, needing me so much, worrying me so much with that need. I'm sorry, Spike.'

Spike gave a faint grin. 'For what? For lying to me at Buffy's, or for destroying my whole life for over a hundred years?'


'You'd better believe it!'

Spike pulled Angel away from the wall and led him firmly over to the bed. 'So, how good are you at apologies that will make up for one hundred years of neglect?'

'How good are you at taking apologies that could never make up for a hundred years of neglect?'

'Try me.'

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