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Chapter 10

When they got back, Spike chucked the axe onto one of the couches in the lobby, circling his shoulders, groaning faintly. 'Feels like I've not slept for bloody months- prob'ly cus I've not! Mind if I bunk down in an empty room? Just for the night, like; I'll be on me way tomorrow.'

Angel hesitated, and Spike gritted his teeth. 'Okay, Spike. Bugger off….'

'No.' Angel put his hand on Spike's arm then snatched it off. 'I didn't mean you couldn't have a room… it's only… what she said….'

'What? 'Bout me killin' you? Oh, lighten up, Poof. If I'd wanted to do that, I'd have stuck you while you lay unconscious beside me for two days- 'cept your bloody heart was missing so, I'd 'ave prob'ly been wastin' me time!'

This confused Angel on so many levels he was too slow to ask Spike where he meant to go the following day, before the blond vampire had jogged up and out of sight toward the bedrooms.

He followed more slowly, a sense of post-trauma-exhaustion setting in.

He eased off his clothes, foregoing a shower and climbed into bed. It had all been too much to take in- the whole day. He didn't trust Lilah, but then she sometimes told the complete truth if it suited her ends to precipitate some course of action from him. The sense of being Wolfram and Hart's puppet once more incensed Angel, and he turned restlessly in the bed. Spike didn't help: his damn presence, his damn ripped jeans with that small, intriguing tear….

Angel sat up, the thought that had been eluding him all day now bright and clear. The jeans had been at Billy's apartment. He snatched up his phone and punched in some numbers. A sleepy voice replied, 'Angel'

'Wes, did you tell Spike Billy's address?'

'I didn't know Billy's a….'

Angel slammed the phone down and another nagging thought focused: Spike had known Lilah's name. He had asked, as if he'd not known, but then he'd written Lilah Morgan. He knew. Spike knew about Billy. The only question was, just how much did he know?

Before Angel had moved a muscle, before he'd risen furious from the bed to challenge Spike, he heard a moan from the next room.

His mind still revolving around Billy, he heard pain and fear in that small sound. It was only as he stood to the side of Spike's bed that he heard the moan for what it was: a moan of desire. Spike was lying on his belly, dressed once more in the faded jeans. Very slowly, his hips were rising and lowering as if to some intense, invisible fucking. He moaned again, this time a low, pleased 'Yeah' escaped his lips.

Angel turned to leave, grief taking away his desire to confront Spike.

Spike gasped and jerked awake. His arms stiffened; he pushed himself away from the bed and stared in horror at the sheet beneath him. Suddenly, he cried, 'NO! Fuck off!' with a huge shudder, as if something disgusted him.

Spike whirled onto his back, then jerked up. 'Angel!'

Angel was so distracted by the thought that Spike had apparently said fuck off to someone else, not him, that he couldn't form coherent speech. He mumbled something about bad dreams.

Spike's eyes travelled down Angel's naked body, and Angel snatched up a pillow, holding it in an embarrassed fashion to his front.

Spike slid off the bed, never taking his gaze from Angel. 'Get out.'

'Spike. Do you have Billy's memories?'

Spike hands scrunched into fists, and he pressed his back to the wall. 'Get out.'

'Tell me!'

'No! You have no right to fuck with my mind as well!'


'No! Satisfied? No.'

'You knew where he lived! You fetched those jeans from his apartment.'

Spike's eyes flickered to his legs. There was the merest hesitation then he said softly, 'Wesley told me where he lived. I needed some clothes; I kinda reasoned they might fit me.'

Angel let his shoulders droop as if this satisfied him. He even said contritely, 'Okay. Of course. I didn't think of that. I just miss him, ya know?'

Spike pursed his lips. 'He prob'ly misses you- wherever he's gone like.'

'You don't believe in heaven; you never did.'

'Are you seriously gonna discuss metaphysics with me with a pillow clutched to yer dick?'

'No. I mean….' Angel turned to leave, suddenly snatched up a sheet and covered his backside as well then strode out of the room.

When he got back, he sank into the bed, his mind deeply troubled.

The next morning, Angel jogged down the stairs to find Wesley already in the office, reading his morning paper.

Angel leant on the counter. 'Are we safe?'

Wesley nodded, his face darkening. 'I made a mistake, Angel. I apologise; it won't happen again. I've had the entire place swept with state-of-the-art de-bugging equipment. We're clean.'

'I think Billy's memories are inside Spike somehow.'


'You're not surprised?'

'I'm rather surprised you're surprised.'


'Well, he was changed into - merged with - Spike. He wasn't obliterated from the face of the earth. His personality - memories - must have gone somewhere. I was rather expecting this. What does Spike say?'

'He's denying it.'

'Oh. Why?'

Angel pouted and found something fascinating under one nail. 'I'm not sure. I think the memories might not be conscious thoughts….'

'You mean they are suppressed somehow?'

'He's repressing them- when he's awake, when he's concentrating. Things I say seem to… hurt… him sometimes.'

'Yes. That would make sense. You're jogging the memories - jogging Billy, if you like - and he's finding it harder and harder to suppress him. Where did you two go yesterday, by the way?'


'Oh. And?'

'She says Spike's here to kill me.'

Wesley stood up, pushing his chair back, and at the same time, Giles came in balancing a tray of coffee and doughnuts. 'Good morning!'

Wesley glanced at Giles and repeated Angel's claim. Giles lay the breakfast on the counter and frowned at Angel. 'I don't think that's all that likely, do you?'

'You tried to kill him; strange things happen.'

Giles did not miss the note of bitterness in Angel's voice, but replied calmly enough, 'Tried to test him, Angel. I was testing him. What else did she say?'

'That it would drive him mad, and he'd become their pawn.'

Giles cursed softly. 'This can't be good.'

Wesley nodded grimly. 'That's not all; Billy's memories are in Spike- so Angel thinks, anyway.'

Angel suddenly looked less gloomy. 'Maybe that's good? Maybe the part of Billy that's inside Spike will stop him… doing anything.'

'Or precipitate it somehow?' Giles took a bite of doughnut. 'Spike hasn't killed you yet- despite lots of opportunity over the decades. Now he's souled and batting for the other team- so to speak. Or not so to speak; I've often wondered about him: nails, hair, those cheekbones….'

Wesley sighed deeply. 'We're back to the same question: should we try to bring Billy's memories forward, or should we keep them suppressed…?

Giles swallowed and said cheerfully. 'What did you do before in this situation?'

Wesley chuckled. 'Angel did exactly what he wanted to do, disregarding any advice from me.'


Giles gave Wesley a small, private smile. 'Where is Spike now?'

Angel, still rankling from Wesley's previous comment, said sourly, 'Upstairs.'

'Nope. 'Ere.'

Three sets of eyes swivelled to the stairs as Spike jumped the last few into the lobby. He rubbed his hands together. 'What's for brekkies? I'm bloody famished.'

As he passed to head to the kitchen, he scowled at Angel. Angel waited until he was out of earshot and murmured to neither human in particular, 'He's doing a good job of repressing positive memories of me.'

Wesley made a point of straightening something on one of the desks. 'I would think some memories would be more difficult to repress than others.' He returned Angel's glare with an innocent look and added, 'Dying- that sort of thing.'

Angel narrowed his eyes, seemed to think better of challenging him, and stomped off to follow Spike into the kitchen.

Wesley returned unconcerned to his paper. Giles let out a long, slow breath. You walk on thin ice sometimes, do you know that?'

Wesley chuckled. 'It's our little game, Rupert. As I said, I'm here to give advice and guidance, but Angel spends the entire time doing exactly what he wants to do. Sometimes he tries to rationalise it to me; sometimes he just informs me; sometimes - and these are the ones I enjoy the most - I don't find out until everything's bloody arse over tit. So, I find my entertainment where I can, and teasing Angel is the most amusing diversion I've discovered in a very long time. A phrase to do with candy and babies springs to mind, though. I don't suppose one of those ghastly polystyrene cups has tea in it, by any chance?'

Angel wandered into the kitchen, the talk with Wesley disturbing him as they always seemed to these days. Spike was sitting at the table, apparently absorbed in a newspaper.

Angel went to the fridge and, keeping his back to Spike, began to heat some blood.

He took it to the table and sat down. After a few moments, when it was clear that Spike had no intention of making conversation, Angel sighed and pulled the sports' section out of the discarded pile. Spike, he noticed with a sly look, was reading the arts' review, and something in their respective choices niggled Angel. He had the absurd desire to point out that being interested in hockey was as valid a lifestyle choice as being interested in literature, but realised, with a frown, that no one was making judgement upon him anyway.

He rustled his paper and began to read, determined not to be the one to speak first.

When Angel noticed that Spike had been staring at the same review for fifteen minutes, however, he ignored the niggling thought that he'd been watching Spike all that time instead of reading and asked, 'So, what are you going to do now?'

Spike jumped slightly- an indication of just how far away his thoughts had been.

He didn't reply at first but then said, in a genuinely puzzled tone, 'Buggered if I know.'

Expecting a snide remark, Angel was slightly wrong-footed by this, and he straightened in his chair, watching Spike openly.

Spike dug in his pockets for some cigarettes, lighting one. When it was lit to his satisfaction, he ventured, 'I might go back to England with Giles.'

'With Giles?' Angel cursed inwardly and asked the question that more naturally followed from that declaration. 'England?'

Spike chuckled, as if he'd understood the slip well enough, but only said, 'Yeah.'

Angel went back to his article then casually asked, 'Why?'

'I'd have thought that was bloody obvious.'

'Indulge me.'

Spike stared at him incredulously. 'The Bitch? Can't play 'er little games if I'm not 'ere, can I?'

Angel snapped his head up. 'You're going away so you won't kill me?'

Spike blinked slowly. 'Not sure I'd put it quite that way, but essentially? Yeah.'

'Oh.' Angel frowned, not sure whether this pleased or annoyed him. 'She's playing us, Spike. What if they want you away from here for some reason? Maybe she's double-bluffing.'

Spike tipped his head to one side a little, regarding him frankly. 'Jeez, Mate, I thought a session with a giant troll an' a bleedin' hell God were fraught. Bitch's got them beat hands down.'

'She's dangerous. You never know where you are with her- I never know.'

Spike nodded. 'So, maybe she wants me to leave….'

Angel shrugged. 'She could be trying to split us up? I mean, as souled vampires: blood.'

Spike gave a small smile at Angel's obvious confusion. 'So, how do we decide?'

Angel chuckled. 'I usually do what I want to do and take the risk.'

Spike suddenly grinned, the look illuminating his face. 'Too bloody cold in England anyway.'

Angel smiled and looked away. 'Good? I mean, you need to stay until things are clearer.'

Spike didn't reply, but disconcertingly for Angel, he smoked slowly, watching him read. Angel felt his hands grow clumsy under the scrutiny; he stumbled over words in his head. Just before he said something to break the intense gaze, Spike asked, 'Do you know where she is?'

The tense, tight air around them shifted and settled slightly, fracturing in the process, leaving a faint mosaic between them. Angel couldn't decide whether the cracking was good or bad: whether it broke something that held them apart, or provided small conduits for pain that would inevitably grow into larger fissures.

He answered simply, 'No, she wouldn't tell me.' Suddenly, he swallowed and repeated in a strained voice, 'She wouldn't tell me.'

He buried himself back in his paper until Spike asked equally softly, 'Do you have her number?'

Angel sat back in his chair and clenched his jaw. 'What do you want from her?'

The challenge was obvious in the tone of his voice. Despite this, Spike put his head into his hands, pushing his fingers through the blond strands. In a tired voice, he said, 'I don't know. I don't know where to go or what to do, an' I don't know what I'd say to her. I just thought it would make things a bit easier for 'er, like, knowing I didn't… die.'

Angel felt a stab of self-hatred that confused him, and he didn't reply for a moment.

Spike pushed his chair back angrily. 'Right then. Know where I bloody stand. I'll be….'

Angel caught at his hand as he passed and stood to bar his way. 'No. I didn't mean…. I'll give you the number, and you can call from my room- it's private there.'

Spike pursed his lips and kept Angel's gaze.

Angel frowned. 'What?'

Spike lowered his eyes slowly. 'You're still holding my hand.'

At this, Angel predictably let it drop and stood back, running his fingers through his hair.

He went out to the offices and wrote down the number, handing it to Spike. Without looking at it, Spike said evenly, 'Why didn't you use this to trace her?'

Angel held his gaze. 'I didn't feel that I should have to do that.'

Spike sighed. 'Your bloody pride will kill you one day, Angel. Bend a little. Be willing to grovel maybe?'

'Anyone I have to grovel to isn't worth the having, Spike, But then I think you know that; you've never grovelled to anyone.'

Spike raised his eyebrow, as if surprised at this, then turned away and jogged up the stairs out of sight.

Angel had the profoundly disturbing thought that something fundamentally important about his relationship with Spike had just been explored in that small exchange, but distracted as he was by the thought of the voices now connecting upstairs, it slipped away from him before he had time to seize and imprison it.

For the next few hours, Angel hovered in the lobby, getting in the way despite only the two Englishmen being present. Wesley eventually said, watching another long glance upstairs, 'If you're so keen to know, go up and listen at the door.'

Angel flushed at the unpleasant idea, but before he could retort, Spike appeared at the top of the stairs. He walked down slowly, lighting a cigarette. Angel slid into his office and busied himself at his desk, listening intently to hear if one of the humans asked him how it went. He was more than a little surprised - shocked - to see Spike come in and throw himself onto the couch.

Spike pouted and studied a nail. 'She's off vampires then it seems.'

'She won't see you?'



Angel moved his blotter slightly. 'She needs….'

'So much for saving the bleedin', soddin' world!' Spike flung up and ran from the room. He hesitated in the lobby, his face a mask of misery, clearly trying to decide where to go, and then stomped toward the basement.

Angel hesitated for a moment then went after him.

'Stop following me.'

'Then slow down, and I'll walk with you.'

'I thought misery finds its own company, or some such shit.'

'I've never heard you clichéd, Spike. Things must be bad.'

'I can do cliché; I've been known to cliché once or twice. Jeez! That Bitch does it to me every time!'

He slowed down his furious pacing through the sewers and let Angel catch him up.

Angel cast him a small glance. 'Wanna go for a drink?'

'At ten in the morn…. What am I sayin'? Yeah, why not. But….'

'I'm buying.'

Spike slid into a booth, and good as his word, Angel went to the bar. He returned with an excellent bottle of malt and two glasses. Spike twisted the bottle around appreciatively, and Angel poured two generous measures. Before Spike could take a swallow, Angel put a hand on his arm. 'We should drink to something.'

Spike pouted and rubbed his eyes wearily. 'I'm not the best person to ask at the moment.'

Angel frowned, finding his reactions to Spike confusing- finding Spike confusing.

He ventured softly, 'There must be something you're happy about? Grateful for?'

Spike shrugged. 'Giles, I guess: coming back for me. That was unexpected.'

Angel nodded and was about to make the toast when Spike added, 'And whoever sent you that address. I'm thinking that was good, too. Didn't like… floating.'

'To friends then?'

Spike gave him a penetrating look and repeated softly, 'Friends?' Suddenly he flashed Angel a more characteristic grin. 'That'll be a first for us then.'

Angel chuckled. 'Yeah, we've been many things to each other….'

'Never friends though.'


Spike picked up his glass. 'So, to you and me.' He pinged it to Angel's. 'Friends.'

Angel drank deeply and put the empty glass on the table. 'Seeing that we're… friends - jeez - now, can I say something?'

Spike narrowed his eyes suspiciously. 'What. You're gonna criticise me, aren't you?'

Angel looked hurt then smiled to soften his words. 'No. I was just going to tell you that the rent on the apartment is all paid up for six months. I was trying to discover who was paying it- found a file.'

Spike refilled their glasses. 'You sayin' I could stay there?'

'Everyone needs somewhere to stay, even vampires with a soul.'

Spike chuckled. ''Specially vamps with a soul. Lost the old bite-and-take solution to finding accommodation.'

'Also….' Angel took a small breath then seemed to give up the attempt.

Spike tapped the table. 'What?'

'Jeez, Spike, I keep expecting you to bite my freakin' head off and storm out! This you is something of a… revelation!'

Spike looked outraged and then immediately swapped it to an amused, laconic grin.

Angel took another small breath. 'I was going to say that if you want something to do? I mean, I'm not trying to imply….'

'Angel, Luv, just say it maybe?'

'You could come and work with me- just until you decide what to do. And I'll pay you. I pay myself, I think. It's weird; Wesley does it. I don't understand how it all works really.' There was a long pause, and Angel took another long swallow, with a slightly angry jerk of his hand. 'I'll take that as a no then.'

Spike jumped, 'No. I mean, I was just thinking. 'Bout what that bitch said.'


'That's the one. What if it's an accident? Maybe we're fighting side-by-side, surrounded and going down, and then I suddenly fire a shot at someone attacking you and miss. Hit you, like. Just thinking.'

'So… you're saying… yes?'

'Oh, yeah, course.' He lit a cigarette and leant back, smirking at Angel.

Angel leant back, too. 'And you've saved my life already.'


'In that scenario… I was being attacked.'

Spike waved a hand dismissively. 'You're my employer now. Gotta keep me paycheques coming in.'

Angel shook his head. 'Work with me, Spike. With. Colleagues.'

Spike smiled shyly. 'Friends.'

Angel raised an eyebrow and poured them both another drink.

Spike took a sip. 'I'm liking this new job.'

'It has its moments.'

'So, what do you do exactly? I mean, I've not seen much evidence of doing very much, really.'

'I've been distracted recently. I saved you.'

Spike made a wry face. 'I'm not even sure I am back half the time, let alone the whys and wherefores.'

'It'll do us both good to focus on something. I'm….' He twisted slightly in his seat. 'Scratchy.'

Spike stretched. 'I could sure do with something very… substantial.' He frowned at Angel's expression. 'Like a cracking good fight, Mate! What did you think I meant?'

Angel quirked up an eyebrow. 'Nothing. So… fight?'

'What… you and… me?'

'You, me, against… them?'

Spike swivelled his head around slowly, following Angel's small indication. He huffed. 'Bloody vamps out drinking beer in the day! What's the bloody demon world coming to these days? How come they've not spotted us?'

'They're fledglings. They wouldn't have the skill to recognise us yet.'

'Oh. Huh. Cool. You gonna call them out or something heroic?'

Angel rose lazily then seized Spike around the neck. 'No, I'm gonna use you as bait.'

He marched Spike over in a headlock and bent down to the five men drinking noisily in the corner. 'Hey, good to see friends. Wanna share the pretty boy? Basement, now.'

He strode off, keeping Spike held tightly under his arm. As soon as they were out of sight on the stairs, he freed him and punched him lightly, grinning. 'They won't be able to resist. Come on.'

He jogged down into the basement, and Spike followed more slowly, rubbing his neck. 'Next time you get to be bait.'

'They wouldn't want to share me as much, I'm thinking. Shh.'

The five (slightly drunken) vampires came equally noisily down the stairs, two of them already in demon face. They stared at Angel and Spike as they crowded to the bottom. 'Who gets first bite?'

Angel pouted then cast an amused glance at Spike. 'He does.'

Spike laughed, changed, and ploughed into the group, taking three of them out before they'd had a chance to change.

Angel took the other two, and they stood together in the suddenly, very quiet darkness.

'Huh. Are we gettin' better or should I be embarrassed for me own kind?'

'They were befuddled.'

'They were downright easy. Don't you feel a bit… guilty?'

'For killing them?'

'Well, yeah, I mean… they were enjoying their beers, an' all. Seems… cruel. Okay. I'm gonna forget I said that. I suggest you do the same, Mate.' He shook his shoulders and jogged back up the stairs angrily.

Angel followed Spike into the sewers and trailed a little way behind. After a few minutes, he cursed. Spike glanced behind. 'What?'

'Nothing. A rat. I gave it a little push and sent it home to its mommy.'

'Very funny, Poof.'

As they crossed the lobby, Angel suddenly cried out and ran toward the counter, snatching up the small houseplant that Wesley had introduced to help the living outnumber the dead. He gave Wesley an almost tearful, accusatory look and said in a shaky voice, 'You haven't watered it! Murderer! All it wanted was to enjoy its little tub of dirt and….' He trailed off, a sly glance cast toward Spike. Spike shook out his shoulders, gave him a two-fingered response and stomped into the kitchen.

Gleefully, Angel followed.

Giles glanced over at Wesley. 'And that was Angel?'

Wesley didn't reply; he was staring in the direction of the kitchen with a thoughtful look.

Angel slid into a chair and picked up his newspaper, discarded earlier. Spike pushed off the counter where he was leaning and sat down, too.


Angel looked up, his amused expression turning serious. 'What for?'

'I've not thought 'bout 'er since we got to the bar.' He leant back and lit a cigarette. Angel leant back as well and folded his arms across his chest.

'Before you move into the apartment, have Wes do a sweep of it for bugs- the kind you don't have to feel sorry for.'

'Poof. Okay.' He folded his arms behind his head and watched Angel reading.

This time, Angel didn't feel awkward under the scrutiny. He wanted to look up, to catch Spike's eye, but he savoured the small anticipation of this pleasure and didn't actually allow himself to have it.

Eventually, Spike said conversationally, 'They were too easy.'

Angel glanced up at that. 'Be glad when they are.'

'Nah- 's no fun unless you're about to die. I need the adrenalin rush. 'S what keeps me alive- keeps me better than them.'

'I prefer controlled artistry.'

'I remember.'

'Do you?'

Spike took a long drag of his cigarette and squinted at Angel through the smoke, which he blew slowly between them. 'Despite what I sometimes avow, Angel, I remember everything.'

Angel pressed his palms onto the table, spreading his fingers and responded carefully, 'Do you remember it differently now you have a soul?'

Spike made a small sound of surprise. 'Huh. I wasn't expecting that. No- and yes. Not remember, but interpret, maybe. Yeah… 's like a language I only got the gist of before- now I speak it fluently.'

Angel relaxed his shoulders and tipped his head to one side a little. 'Is this the longest conversation we've ever shared?'

Spike smiled shyly. 'We used to talk well enough, I seem to remember.'

Angel swallowed, not sure he'd actually heard it right: Spike's first, voluntary reference to their past relationship that wasn't spat out on vitriol and pain.

Suddenly, Angel grinned. 'So, do you still need that adrenalin rush?'

'Err… I have no idea how to respond to that.'

Angel rose slowly. 'Think you can take me?'

Spike rose, too. 'Taking that in the manly, warrior-like way it was prob'ly intended- yeah. I do.'

Angel groaned softly with pleasure. 'Catch me first; why don't you?' Then he was gone.

'Hey!' Spike stomped out to the lobby. 'Where'd he go?'


'Well, duh!'

Wesley looked around, theatrically puzzled. 'Are you two playing hide and seek nicely together?' He ignored a faint snort from behind and kept his expression concerned and helpful.

'Okay, fuck you.' Spike looked up. 'How big is this place?'

'Sixty-odd rooms. I've never even been in the South Wing. Huge. Why?'

'Damn. Does he have any favourite places?'

'Bed always seems rather popular.'

Spike rolled his eyes as if seeking patience from a higher place then strode to the weapons' cabinet. He looked them over but then cursed and just tipped his head back, eyes closed.

Giles came to stand alongside Wesley. 'Tell me he's not trying to actually smell Angel…. After the blood drinking thing, it really is their most unpleasant trait. I always used to feel he was staring at me in a particularly prurient fashion after I'd….'


'Where do you think Angel is?'

Wesley thought for a moment then smiled. 'He'll be watching somewhere. He'll follow Spike. He'd never let himself be hunted.'

Giles studied the other man's expression for a moment then said deceptively casually, 'Are we going to let this thing happen between them?'

Wesley broke his personal reverie and glanced at him. 'I take it you aren't referring to the game? Right, no. In that case, as I told you, ultimately, Angel will do exactly what he wants to do, regardless of what anyone else says.'

'I get the distinct impression he wants… this.'

Wesley, watching Spike, replied softly, 'He's wanted this for over one-hundred years.'

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