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The Longest Distance Between Two Points - Chapter 8


To Spike it could have been one hour, one day, one lifetime that he lay huddled in that dumpster wrapped like a rat in the shredded paper. He had entered a place where there was only pain and pain and more pain. Pain, as he had never known before. Pain. Pain in his legs and ankles that made him cry and start breathing just to try and pant out his pain, but the breathing caused him to enter a world of agony as his cracked sternum stretched from his little used lungs. So he stopped breathing and tried to endure the waves of agony. Pain from his spine, which made his nerve endings shriek and scream in protest and pain from his neck that made him fear for his sanity. He tried to put himself in a better place, tried to concentrate on why he was here: Angel. But even the memory of Angel, spread out and open for him in the moonlight..…something he always tried to remember when he was sad or lonely..…even that memory couldn't make him hard now. He wasn't even sure, having displaced his entire pelvis, quite where his balls and cock were. All he could feel was a universe of pain that nothing in his previous unlife had prepared him for.

Mercifully, Spike was unconscious for some of the time. The rest of the time he just tried to be. Time became meaningless for him, so when the lid was finally opened and Angel's face appeared, he had no idea if Cordelia's promise of one hour had been fulfilled or not.

Fortunately for Spike, the first movement as Angel tried to lift him out of his hiding place, rendered him unconscious. So Angel was able to lift and carry him swiftly to the car. He laid him on the back seat and started driving as fast as he could with such a badly injured passenger.

Cordelia had tried to prepare Angel, had tried to tell him how badly injured Spike was. But nothing, nothing could have prepared him for what he had found.

So Angel didn't go straight home, as he had initially planned, but made a stop first. Spike came to as he slowed the car and turned off the engine. Angel heard a swift, sharp, heart-rending intake of unnecessary breath as Spike returned to the agony that was his body.

'Are we there yet?'

Angel turned around and took Spike's hand, one of the few places he could see that was still recognizable. Even that slight movement caused Spike to cry out. Angel remembered times when he had subjected William to excruciating torture and he had not let one sound escape his lips. This cry, more than the sight of Spike, gave Angel his first real indication of just how much pain Spike was in.

'I'm going to be a few minutes, Spike. I'll be back as soon as I can.'

'Where are we?' A slight frown creased Spike's brow.

'The hospital. I'm getting blood. Human blood.'

'Uh huh. You can't do that, luv. You'll hate me when this is over if you do that. You can't steal blood from a hospital.'

'I'm not going to steal it, I'm going to borrow it, now shut up and let me deal with my own conscience.' But he was wasting his breath. Those few words had exhausted Spike and he had slipped back into a merciful semi-coma.

Angel did his deal, called in favours, made promises and left the hospital with over fifty pints of blood, which he carried laboriously to the car and stacked in the boot. Within an hour he had Spike in his bed, stripped and covered temporarily in a clean sheet.

He went up one floor to the rooms he'd allocated to Cordelia and Wesley. He'd dosed her up on painkillers, refusing to allow her to go to the hospital yet. No one was going anywhere without him. She'd cope. She was safe at least. He reissued his instructions that they stay put, lock the doors and stay alert. He left her, fairly happy that they were safe for a few nights at least. He had no more time for either of them now.

He went downstairs and returned to his Childe who lay in the bed as near to death as a vampire could get from such injuries.

He didn't know where to start. He had a very long night ahead of him.

He'd seen vampires recover from terrible injuries. He'd seen Drucilla recover from the massive injuries she had suffered before she came to Sunnydale. And he knew only too well what had enabled her to do that. He knew Spike had already recovered from paralysing injuries without the Sire blood Drucilla had been given. But he had never seen injuries like these on Spike. He couldn't get the pieces of Spike's clothing out of the wounds. He couldn't stop the blood oozing out from his smashed body and soaking into the bed. He decided to leave everything else and start the healing process. He made his preparations, assembled all his supplies and attempted gently to wake Spike. He came to reluctantly, but Angel could tell that Spike was hardly there, that he was slipping away from him, quite unable to cope with the pain.

'Spike, listen to me. I'm going to feed you.'

'The human blood?' Spike actually managed a spark of lucid interest.

'No, my blood, little one. The human stuff is for me.' Spike's eyes widened in eager anticipation. Sire's blood. He hadn't tasted it for over one hundred years, but he'd lived with the memory of that taste in his mouth.

Angel took off his clothes and sat next to Spike on the bed. He smiled down at him. 'Where do you want it from?' He was relieved to see Spike attempt a faint laugh. For the first time since the shock of seeing him in that dumpster, Angel started to have faith in Spike's recovery.

'How's about I bite your cock and just suck hard.'

'Um. Better save that until you can enjoy the outcome, Childe. Here.' Angel bit deeply into his wrist and opened up his artery. A strong, pulsing flood came out. He pulled Spike as gently as he could into his lap, propped himself comfortably against the headboard and just let him drink. Angel calculated that in his present condition, Spike could drink about a pint every hour and a half. So every two hours he pulled gently away and drank a few pints of the blood he'd acquired from the hospital. Hours passed in this intense, intimate, circle of blood. Spike drank and drank and drank. He couldn't get enough of this liquid. It wasn't just blood, it was addictive like a drug and it made him feel safe and the pain started to fade.

Sometimes they slept, curled into each other's bodies. Before he fell into one deep sleep, Angel ran his hands over Spike's body, noting the surface healing and feeling the bones.

'Like what you feel?'

'Hush, you're supposed to be asleep, healing.'


'I said hush. What?'

Spike's voice was low and filled with anxiety. 'Is my dick still there? I can't feel it at all.'

Angel bent down to nuzzle into Spike's groin, trying to reassure him, trying to make him believe in his own healing ability. 'Umm, still here. Still beautiful, still working. Can you feel this?' When he didn't get a response, Angel looked up anxiously and smiled to himself when he saw that Spike had fallen asleep, his mouth slightly open as if breathing.

They stayed there the whole of the next day and long into the following night, Angel filtering blood through his demon body and passing it onto Spike. When his wrist became too painful he opened up the other and was pleased to see that when he shifted Spike to the other side, he hardly complained at all. And so they continued. In the middle of the second night, Spike felt as if he were drunk, he was suffused with Sire's blood, he felt dizzy with power and lust, confused and unsatisfied. But still they fed. By the end of that night he felt well enough to try his feeding option on Angel. Angel, pleased to see this much recovery, allowed him to for a while. He helped Spike move his blond head down to his groin. He let Spike bite into his cock and let him suck a little blood, until the ecstasy of having his Childe once again on his cock, treated Spike to another Sire fluid.

As Spike sucked deeply and swallowed this potent mixture of Sire cum and Sire blood he felt a level of pleasure that seemed to make his heart sing. He heard a deep resonating hum and realised it was coming from him. He struggled up to Angel's face and kissed him deeply and for a few minutes they swapped blood flavours, swirling the human and vampire bloods between their tongues and lips. But Angel still had a few pints left from his supplies on the table; he pulled away from Spike, drank them down in one last orgy of drinking and tried to pull Spike to his neck for his feed.

But by now, Spike was feeling a great deal better and felt very much like carrying on with the more enjoyable aspects of having his naked Sire in bed with him. Angel suddenly had a hard time keeping Spike's mind on feeding. As he felt Spike's mouth on his neck he also felt Spike's hand creeping down to fondle his balls. As Spike fondled Angel's balls he slipped one finger towards Angel's entrance. Angel grasped Spike's wrist and pulled his hand back up. In the end, he had to hold Spike's hands behind his back with one hand, as he fed Spike a final few pints. At last Angel was satisfied. Spike had taken as much blood as he needed, so he tried to finish the undressing process he'd started earlier. Most of the skin wounds had healed so he was able to peel away the remaining few scraps, turning Spike gently onto his stomach, digging some fragments out of the deeper compression wounds in his spine.

'Fucking glad that bitch was anal about cleanliness.' Angel heard, but didn't understand this mumbled comment from his Childe.

'Who, and what?'

'My duster. Left it in the car. Still good. Better 'n me I expect. Angel?'

'What? Stop talking, Spike, this is difficult enough as it is.'

'Is it still there?'

'No, of course not.'

'Oh fucking shit, please Angel, tell me it's still there.'

'It's only a coat, Spike, stop being a baby.'

'Not my fucking coat, you pillock, my dick. Is my dick still there, I can't bear to look, feel for me, please?'

'You've asked me this already and I checked it all out for you. It was there and it was working. You fell asleep!'

'Oh, sorry. But check it again. Please, turn me over and check it again. It's important.'

'Err…think I know that! Okay, hold on then.' Angel turned him over carefully and moved down to do as Spike had asked. He pulled Spike's foreskin back gently, hearing with pleasure a hiss of delight from his Childe. It gave him even more pleasure to feel Spike's cock twitching and coming to life in his hand. He bent down and licked across the exposed, red tip.

'Angel, is it working okay?'

Angel was too busy licking to reply and gave only a low, satisfied grunt.

'Prop me up a bit, I want to watch.' Angel lifted Spike a little until he was sitting up against some pillows. They were quiet for a while, Spike watching Angel enjoy his cock.

'Want to take it for a test drive then, mate?'

Angel looked up at his Childe. He certainly looked better, but he wasn’t sure about pushing anything tonight.

'Come on, luv, it'll make me feel better, make me heal faster I shouldn’t wonder.' Angel couldn’t help but admire the way Spike kept a straight face as he uttered this manipulative lie.

'Alright, but YOU will not move. YOU will stay still. I'll do everything…agreed?'

'Fine by me peaches, you just carry on and minister to me!'

Angel started with Spike's thighs, licking slowly along the inside of each. He was pleased to see Spike's cock swelling satisfactorily against his stomach. He very carefully moved Spike's legs apart slightly, watching his reactions for any sign of pain. Spike looked unconcerned by the movement, so he continued. He slid between Spike's raised legs and lightly brushed his finger around on Spike's soft balls. Spike hissed and grabbed the sheet, arching slightly off the bed.

'Spike!' Angel growled warningly. 'I said don't move.'

'Well, stop making me move then!'

'Have a little self control.'

'Fuck you.'

'Later, promise.'

He decided to speed things up to make Spike go back to sleep, so took his Childe’s soft balls into his mouth, swirling them around, playing them with his tongue.

'Oh God! Angel, I CAN'T stay still!'

Angel released Spike's balls and took the delicate tip of the cock in his mouth instead. But before he plunged down onto Spike's entire cock, he glanced up at his Childe's face. Spike was in more pain now than he was admitting. Angel caught him grinding his teeth, his eyes tightly screwed shut and his fists clenched in pain. Angel sat up and tapped him gently on the leg.

'Hey, little liar you…come on, I have a better idea than this.'

'Angel! You are such a wanker. Bring me off, I really need to cum now!'

'You will…wait here.'

Angel sprang off the bed and Spike groaned.

'Be patient, little one.'

In five minutes Angel returned with a smile on his face. Spike had passed the time trying to list all the swear words he could remember and put them into alphabetical order. He intended to use them on Angel later that night if he didn't get some relief.

'Come on, we're going next door.'


'For a bath.'

'No way!'

'It's exactly what you need, Spike. You will heal much faster and feel so much better, trust me.'

Angel sat Spike up and carefully lowered his legs to the floor. Spike tried to stand up, but screamed in pain and fell back to the bed, clutching for Angel's arm.

'Oh God, Angel, how can it still hurt so much?'

Angel didn't reply, but picked Spike up cradling him in his arms.

Spike put his head on Angel's shoulder with a huff of annoyance. 'Now this is just fucking embarrassing. Now I'm a poof too.'

'And wanting me to suck your cock didn't make you one already?'

'That was different. That was Childe’s privilege.'

'Well, think of this as the, 'buddy, buddy', system. Wounded soldiers and stuff.'

'Oh yeah. Go for that then, mate!'

When Angel carried Spike into the bathroom he was pleased to hear Spike's appreciative, low murmur of approval. He'd lit candles around the rim of the bath; their soft, diffused light relaxed Spike and made him pliant in Angel's arms.

He laid his Childe in the water.

'Oh jees! Angel…HOT!'

Angel laughed as he slipped in behind Spike. 'That's how it's supposed to be. Believe me, Spike, this is fantastic when you are stiff and sore.'

For a long while they just lay there together in silence. A deep sense of contentment had seeped into both of them. Spike broke the silence first. Trailing his hand through the water he asked the question Angel had feared, for he knew he had no answer to it.

'What are we going to do about Darla and Drucilla?'

Angel was absentmindedly trailing the fingers of one hand up and down Spike's belly. He paused for a moment before replying. 'I honestly don’t know. What do you think?'

Spike was pleased that Angel consulted him and didn't hesitate with his reply. 'I think you should do what you should have done in the first place.'

Angel was surprised at the conviction in his tone. 'What’s that?'

'Get Buffy.'

‘Hum, not my favourite person at the moment. I haven’t forgotten how she tricked you into coming here.’

‘Angel, she did it for the best - she did it for you! I’ve been thinking about it, luv. She made sure that I hated you before she told me you’d died. It was my fault. Guess I’d been lying to myself for so long, I just got good at lying to everyone else.’

They lay again in silence for a while, both going through in their minds various scenarios of Buffy and Darla. Occasionally Angel stirred himself enough to run out some of the cooling water and replace it with fresh, scalding hot water from the tap. They both seemed to come to an unspoken agreement not to talk about Darla any more that night.

'Come on, let's get you washed.'

'Eh! I'm not a baby and I'm not having any hideous, poofy-smelling stuff smeared all over me!'

Angel only laughed and placing his mouth directly over Spike's ear, whispered as though someone was listening, 'not like, let’s say…Buffy's stuff then?'

'Oh. How did you know?'

'I could smell it, Spike…you smelt like her.'

'Oh God. How embarrassing.'

'Oh, I don’t know, I rather liked it…' he trailed off and taking Spike's hand, slipped it between them where his erection was swelling and pulsing in the warm water. Angel's other hand moved down from Spike's belly to his groin, teasing and playing with Spike's cock.

'Umm. I really am well enough for you to finish that now, Angel.'

'See, I told you that a bath was the solution. It's my one indulgence in this job.'

Spike spluttered, removed his hand from Angel's balls and held Angel's wrist so he could not continue the interesting game he had started with his cock. 'Only indulgence! Yeah! That and your bloody penis-extension Impala, your fucking huge hotel, your frigging wardrobe full of designer shit, your five hundred dollar hair cut and the oh-so-fuckable employees you keep around you. Totally minimalist lifestyle you have here, mate. Almost monkish really.’

Angel slapped him on the cock, but he knew his Childe would only enjoy that so he slapped him fairly hard on his head too.

'Oi! Badly wounded vampire here!'

'Rapidly healing, obnoxious vampire. And employees?'


'You said employees. Plural. I'll give you Cordelia is attractive…'


'Alright, gorgeous…'


'Spike. No! Alright, fuckable, but you said employees.'

'You telling me, mate, you wouldn’t give old Wes a little helping hand…if he asked for it?'

'I'm not having this conversation with you.' Angel picked up the soap and started rubbing it gently into the dried, matted blood on the back of Spike’s head. He noted with great relief that Spike’s skull seemed quite hard and intact.

'Pretending not to answer me then, hey? Well, I’ll just ask Angelus instead then, shall I? Hey, Angelus…you there?' Spike half swiveled in the bath and theatrically knocked on Angel's belly, making him laugh. 'Hey! Angelus, wake up you prick, it's me…your favourite Childe, William. So, Angelus, what do you reckon to Wesley?'

'Stop it Spike…look you've opened up that wound on your rib. Stop it!'

Spike only put his ear to Angel's chest, as if listening to something. 'Yeah, thought so, pet, that's what I think too. You'd have rubbed your hands over him, wouldn't you, Angelus. Angel here reckons he's not fucking drooling over that tight little English ass, but we know better, don't we, hey luv?'

Angel finally had to clamp his hand over Spike's mouth and force him to turn around again. He pulled him close against his chest, his hand gradually loosening as he felt Spike go quiet. He put his hand back on Spike's belly, rubbing it around, moving it up and over his nipples, grazing them with his nail.

'Do you miss him?'

Spike knew who Angel was talking about and didn’t see any reason not to be honest with him. 'Sometimes.'


'When I want to do demon stuff. When I want to hunt and torture and bleed. Then I miss him. He was a good companion.'

Angel topped up the hot water once again, much to Spike's horror, and they lay thinking about the past and the future. Spike's next question took Angel by surprise.

'Is he really trapped inside you, Angel? I don't like to think of him like that.'

'No, it's not like that at all. Darla doesn't know everything, my love. She likes to give the impression she does though.'

Spike was so entranced by the fact his Sire had just called him, 'my love' that he nearly missed Angel's next words.

'Did you know she can't even read?'

'What! No!'

'It's true; she couldn’t when the Master turned her and she never bothered to learn. It's one of the reasons she resented you so much. You were an educated man and she resented that I chose you to be my new companion.'

'Err…less of the 'were', mate.'

'Past tense deliberate, Spike…I don't notice you doing much self-improvement these days.'

'There's more than one way to be educated.' Spike slid his hand between them again, fondling Angel's balls, smiling to himself at Angel's sharp intake of breath. 'But you must be wrong about her, I remember her reading my poems and laughing at them.'

'No, she just looked as though she was reading them. She laughed at what were, to her, only meaningless scribbles on the page that reminded her just how superior you were.'

'Bloody hell, Angelus, why didn’t you tell me?'

Angel ignored Spike's slip with his name and only opened his legs a little more to allow Spike's 'educated' finger more access. 'She's my Sire, Spike, I respect her.'

Angel lay back against the bath, enjoying the feel of Spike's finger probing against his hole, rubbing his sac, teasing his foreskin back, but he knew Spike had had enough water and wanted him out of the bath and back in the bed, resting. He decided on the quickest way to persuade him to get out.

'I think I promised something earlier…' he slid his hand down from Spike's nipples to his cock. Spike's hand stopped its movements below him. 'Feeling like a little relief now, hey?' No response from Spike at all. Angel took this as encouragement to continue. He started to squeeze the tip of Spike's cock. He expected to feel it getting hard in his fingers; he was surprised when it stayed soft and unresponsive. 'Spike…are you okay?' Again, there was no response from Spike. Angel shifted slightly in the bath so he could see Spike's face. Spike had fallen asleep, his head resting on Angel’s chest. When he saw this, Angel felt something he had not thought to ever feel again. He felt something he had not experienced since seeing a young, blond girl sitting in the sun with a lollypop. He felt an overwhelming sense of love and protectiveness towards someone else.

He knew that he would never stop loving Buffy, but he had the sense to realise that he could not stay with her. Most of his memories of his time with Buffy were memories of silences and longing and lust for physical fulfillment he could never have from her. She was a teenage girl; he was a two hundred and fifty year old vampire. What had they to talk about? She knew nothing about the world, he knew too much. He loved her, but she could never be a lifetime companion for him. But now he had his Childe with him again. The one he had selected, stalked, groomed, and turned to be that very companion. But as ever, Spike surprised him. He had never had such a challenging, entrancing, annoying, promising lover in his arms before. He had never felt so needed before by anyone.

Angel climbed out of the bath and lifted his exhausted Childe onto a large, soft towel. He carried him gently into the bedroom and lying him on the floor, quickly changed all the bedding, putting fresh, clean sheets and blankets on to replace the bloodied, foul ones. When he was satisfied all was ready he lifted Spike naked into the clean bed and gently tucked the blankets around him, trying to keep in the warmth he had created with the bath. He sat back to study Spike. He was now in a deep, healing sleep and Angel was satisfied. Spike would recover. Spike would recover from the injuries he sustained rescuing Cordelia, someone he didn't really know and didn't care about. Spike would recover from the injuries he got because of him, because of his weakness and guilt. As Angel looked at the dark rings of pain and exhaustion around his Childe's eyes he berated himself yet again for his obsession with Darla. But he knew now that his main reason for not being able to kill her was gone; he no longer needed her to remind him of Will. He no longer needed to be reminded of that long-lost vampire he had loved, because he now had Spike. He had not been sure before, but now he was.

Spike had forgiven him. Spike did not hate him. If he was very, very careful, he could have Spike with him, as it should have been from the beginning.

Spike slept the whole day away. Angel took Cordelia to the hospital and got her arm set whilst Wesley sat watching him. Then Angel took them, one at a time, to their apartments to collect enough stuff to see them through the next few days.

Angel Investigations was under siege and they were consolidating their forces at the hotel. Spike could not yet be moved; there was nothing else they could do.

When Angel took over from Wesley later that night, Spike was still asleep. Angel opened up the shutters to let some fresh air in. As he did so, the moonlight streaked into the room, its icy touch illuminating the pale vampire in the bed. Spike’s face was quite without its usual animation and wariness. His hair, usually slicked back and hard looking, had dried naturally from his bath and was now soft and fluffy against the pillow.

Angel’s heart seemed to turn over at the sight. He was transported back over a hundred years to that fateful night when he had made his declaration to his Childe that he loved him and wanted him. This is how he had seen Spike, illuminated by the moonlight, sitting in the window seat. Angel slipped quietly into bed and pulled Spike gently into his arms. For the first time since he had betrayed his Childe, Angel allowed himself to think about that night. Spike was here now; it was fitting.

Angel would never tell Spike that he had not been particularly drunk that night, although sometimes he suspected that Spike knew this anyway.

The argument with Darla had been about William in the first place. Angelus had told Darla he was going to claim his Childe. He argued that William was a year old and knew nothing useful; that he could hardly fend for himself and that he needed teaching. Darla may have been illiterate, but she was far from stupid. She knew exactly what Angelus intended teaching William, she had heard him cry William’s name in his sleep more than once. She had heard him cry, ‘Will’ in a strangled voice as he had been pumping her with his cold seed. Understandably this had angered her. She had reiterated her threat to stake William if Angelus tried to claim him. So Angelus had gone on a three-day drinking binge to try and wash away his love for his Childe.

Perhaps if Darla had taken him in on his return that night he would never have sought William out as he did. But she had not; she had turned him away. And the three days of drinking had achieved nothing more than successfully hardening his resolve to claim his Childe. It had given him the courage to do what he should have done at the beginning. So he had found William and he had told him that he wanted to be his Sire.

To his astonishment he had found in William a wound-up toy that had jammed: one kiss and Angelus unleashed a passion in his Childe he had never expected. He had been overwhelmed by William’s confidence as he had responded to the kiss. So he had allowed his Childe to take over, he had allowed him to explore his body. He was transported by delight to find that William loved him and wanted him and needed him as much as he needed William.

Although he found it hard to remember the rest of that time without despair and hatred for his weakness, Angel had never once regretted that decision to seek William out and tell him the truth.

And now, looking down at his peacefully sleeping Childe, he was glad that he had chosen well for his companion. Angel bent to kiss Spike's hair. He half wished Spike would wake and keep him company, the feel of Spike's skin and the smell of Spike's hair had made Angel's cock swell and throb. He wanted to take it in his own hand and work it gently to thoughts of Spike, but he didn't want to risk waking him. He shifted slightly in the bed so he could sleep spooned around Spike's body and consoled himself with the thought that each day Spike would wake more healed and more ready for him

However, the next day when Spike woke it was not long before Angel wished him asleep again. He was still too ill to get up, but too well to be an invalid. He was bored, restless, tetchy, frustrated, rude and extremely tiresome. Angel tried carrying up a small portable TV for him, but Spike utterly refused to watch it as it was only black and white. He didn't pay for colour to bleeding well watch black and white! Angel tried books, but noticed they hadn't even been moved from the place he'd put them – magazines kept Spike entertained for the time it took him to read the cover.

Angel tried staying and talking, but they had only argued. Spike wanted sex, Angel had refused saying Spike wasn't well enough and that had seen off the books, the shredded pages littering the room like confetti.

Wesley offered to teach Spike to play chess, discovered after five minutes that Spike could checkmate him in less than ten moves every game and left, rather abashed.

Cordelia was more successful; she brought chocolates and did Spike’s nails for him. She chose a slightly different shade of gray for each one and this had amused him for almost half an hour. Whilst they were drying, she asked him to read some lines with her. He snorted with derision at the idea, but it was perhaps an indication of just how bored he was that when she returned with the books, he agreed. He looked at the title of the play and gave an imperceptible shrug. Spike sometimes felt that the whole of his unlife was determined to drag him back into a past he wanted to forget.

Cordelia began with a loud strident voice, reading the lines of the character she was playing.

'Jess, luv. This is supposed to be subtle!'

'And what do you know about it, Blondie? Did I ask your opinion? All you've got to do is read the other part.'

'This is, 'The Doll's House', pet. You are supposed to be a nineteenth century woman. So, besides the fact I actually lived in the nineteenth century and I saw this play when it was first produced…other than that, I don't know shit.'

Cordelia was outraged and impressed in equal measure. 'You went to see ‘The Doll's House’? You?'

'Yeah well, Miss bloody Edith had to see it, didn't she.'

As Cordelia didn’t know who Miss Edith was, his sarcasm was entirely lost on her. ‘I’m Nora, I’m supposed to be free, brave, strong and uncompromising! My director said so.’

‘Well, yeah pet, but she was also socially irresponsible, naive, self-destructive and destructive of others. You’ve got to be subtle with this one. He should have told you that too.’

Cordelia looked incredulously at Spike. You could almost hear the wheels of her brain churning as she processed this information. She found it difficult to reconcile these words coming out of the mouth of what she had always taken to be ‘that crazy vampire, Spike’. She was beginning to see another side to Spike and it surprised and attracted her in equal measure. As with most humans she could only imagine lifetimes in terms of the short span of hers. How could she possibly imagine the knowledge you would acquire over the lifetimes that Spike had lived?

Spike gave a tiny, evil grin. He was enjoying himself. First Wesley, now Cordelia. How dare Angel imply he was not educated now!

They continued with the reading. As much as she hated to do it, Cordelia had to admit that Spike was very good. He was a natural mimic, could do accents and emotion and had really good timing. As she thought she had all of these qualities too, she was not afraid to give praise where praise was due.

'Hey, Blondie, you could be an actor, you know?'

'Good idea, pet. I'll have it put in my contract that I only do night or indoor work, shall I?'

'You could always play a vampire. That'd be really cool. Imagine if you were at the audition and actually went into 'grrr' face!'

'Just my luck they'd still say, 'don't call us'.'

Cordelia could tell that Spike was in pain again now, his brief flash of good humour had dissipated and he let the book drop from his hand. She felt incredibly guilty about how injured he was and seeing him still in so much pain upset her more than she cared to admit. But it was lunchtime and as Angel came in to feed his Childe, she just gave Spike a tiny pat on his hand and left.

Angel fed Spike from his own blood again; glad to be able to shut Spike's mouth by placing it around his wrist, glad to be able to enjoy the feel of his Childe without the sound of his Childe. He had not enjoyed arguing with Spike, had been as desperate for sex as Spike was, but felt it his duty to be responsible and mature about it. He did not feel responsible or mature when holding Spike’s naked body in his arms. He wanted to plunge his face into Spike’s scent, he wanted to ravage Spike’s mouth with his own, he wanted to fill Spike’s body with his cold seed, he wanted to obliterate himself with his Childe’s essence. But he couldn’t. Yet. He had to restrain. So he was glad not to have to discuss any of this with Spike, yet again. He was glad to just feed him and go.

Angel's salvation from his irritating patient came from an unlikely source that afternoon. Just as they were finishing feeding, Lestat made an appearance. Exhausted from sleeping in the kitchen all morning, he'd decided to manipulate his way back into the bed he'd been so rudely ejected from over the last few days. He sauntered into the bedroom and leapt onto the end of the bed with an air far too grand for what was, after all, merely a fledgling vampire kitten. In training.

Angel was about to remove him, when Spike unexpectedly told him to leave him be. Angel didn't like to tell Spike that he'd been thinking less of Spike's welfare than of his cat's and reluctantly left the two together.

It became very quiet for the rest of the afternoon. The three colleagues worked in the office, each of them occasionally glancing in the direction of Angel's bedroom from where, all morning, one or other of them had been summoned to the lord and master upstairs. After three hours of suspense, Angel could take no more and bounded, two stairs at a time, to the upper floor.

He flew into the bedroom and regarded the scene that greeted him with horror.

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