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Chapter 14

Angel was the first to reach the bedroom, but the humans weren't that far behind him. They found Spike huddled against the wall, his face buried deep under folded, protective arms. Angel skidded down onto his knees and lifted Spike's face. He winced when he saw the terror-filled eyes and the streaks of tears.

'Am I dead?'

Angel glanced back at his friends, not sure how to respond to this, the affirmative seeming a little harsh. He murmured something soothing, but it was ignored, tears spilling out over the sharp cheekbones. 'I couldn't stop him. He was so strong, and he took me away from you.'

'It's okay. I'm here now. What did that Bitch do to you?'

The blue eyes widened with horror. 'She shot us! Oh, God, Angel. She shot you, and it hit me. It hurt so much. I thought I was going to die. Didn't I die?'

Suddenly, Giles knelt at Angel's side and put a hand very firmly on the broad shoulder. He murmured, 'Billy' in a welcoming voice. His efforts at calming the situation were rather destroyed when Angel reared away and shouted, 'Billy! No!'

Billy looked up, and more tears ran down his cheeks. He repeated plaintively, 'Am I dead?'

'I'm going to kill her.'

Wesley took hold of Angel's arm to prevent him, but then seemed to think better of this. He nodded at the helpless man. 'We'll take care of him. You go, only… don't do anything you'll regret, Angel. You walk a very difficult path.' He looked up and held Angel's dark gaze. 'I don't tell you this very often, but you're my…. I… like you. Don't disappoint me, please.'

Angel swallowed and nodded, patting Wesley's hand. He turned and glanced at the huddled figure, his face creased in misery, and he left before he lost the thin veneer of control he'd maintained until then. Wesley looked over at the other two. 'Guess what I'm going to suggest?'

Giles beamed and rose, offering his hand to Billy. 'Tea, of course.'

Billy smiled weakly. 'Guess this isn't hell then.'

Wesley laughed. 'Well, no. America, not a decent kettle in sight, but not hell.'

Angel returned within the hour looking dangerous.

He stood with his head down for a moment, then shook his shoulders slightly and looked up. 'She's not there. She's out of town.'

'Damn.' Giles glanced at the kitchen. 'He's in there with Wesley. He's rather calmer than when you saw him.'

'Does he know?'

'What? That he's in Spike's dead body? Apparently not. Well, he's not mentioned it, and you would think that he would. Would he be able to tell? Perhaps he's too shocked to be thinking straight.'

Angel clenched his jaw. 'I know the feeling.'

With a clench of his jaw, he went into the kitchen. Billy looked up with Spike's face, said, 'Hello,' and Angel turned around and walked out again. He took a few much-needed human breaths then turned and went back in. 'Billy.'

Billy swallowed. 'They won't tell me anything. What's happening, Angel?'

'You were shot. You've come back.'

'Oh. I thought….'

'Where's Spike?'


Angel felt like killing something. An almost uncontrollable wash of red need flooded into his brain, but he replied calmly enough, 'Is he in there with you, Billy? Do you sense him at all?'


Angel turned so quickly he collided with the doorframe, pushed it away for its audacity, and ran up the stairs out of sight.

He leant on his door, his eyes tightly closed, focusing. When he opened them, Spike would be back with him. He began to rehearse what he'd say: talk coming easily in his head now. So much to say… so much left unsaid…. So much offered to him, which he had now had the courage to take.

He opened his eyes, stared at the bed, and actually felt a stab of sharp grief at its mocking emptiness.

There was a soft knock, and after a minute, he released the door, allowing Wesley to enter.

'What are you going to do with him, Angel?'

'Nothing. I don't want anything to do with him.'

'I didn't mean that, really. I meant in general terms. He's here now. We are largely responsible for that, I think. We need to decide what to do with him.'

'I've told you….'

'He must stay here. That much is clear.'


'Angel! He's in shock. He's disoriented. He's afraid. Good God, man. Put yourself in his position!'

Angel nodded wearily.

'He's very tired. I think we should all sleep on this. It's very… unfortunate.'

Angel gave him a bitter look. 'You should be pleased; you never liked Spike.'

Wesley tipped his head back and regarded the vampire for a moment then said deliberately, 'I sometimes wonder why I do like you, Angel; you can be so very, very stupid sometimes.'

He turned on his heel and left. After a minute, clearly sent, Billy appeared, hovering in the doorway. 'I don't feel very well.'

'You're….' Angel couldn't say it. As much as he wanted to annihilate all life, bring the world down in a blazing glory of blood, he felt a residual affection for this man and could not tell him so bluntly that he was dead. He beckoned him in and sat him on the bed. He took a small breath and said as gently as his great inner turmoil could allow, 'You're sharing Spike's body for a while, Billy. We'll sort this out. Wesley and Giles will.'

Billy swallowed, and Angel sighed as he realised the man hadn't made the connection. He took the man's hand - biting so hard at his lip at the feel of Spike's skin that he made it bleed - and laid it over the place where beating and living was absent.

When the realisation hit, Angel pulled him into a tight hug and held him as the shock worked through him. Spike's body shook in his arms. Spike's hair brushed his face, but Angel knew that however much he started talking now, Spike would not hear the things he wanted to tell him.

Eventually, worn out with his resurrection, Billy curled up on Angel's bed fully dressed and fell into a restless sleep.

Angel sat down in one of the armchairs. He tipped his head back and began to work through all the reasons why he should suffer- why he needed to suffer. It was a centuries long, sorry story of others' pain and suffering: children torn from their mothers; lovers separated; the old and frail preyed upon for sport. When he'd worked himself into a suitable mood of penitence, he gave himself his punishment: he thought about losing Spike again and how much he deserved this pain. With a cry, however, he flung himself up, cursing fate and life in general, smashing his fist into the wall again and again until it bled.

Then something smashed into him, breaking a rib. He grunted and swung around. A fist smashed into his mouth, splitting his lip, blood running down into his mouth. He straightened and caught his attacker. 'Spike! Fucking hell! Spike?'

Spike swung at him again, but Angel deflected this blow. As he recovered from the effort of trying to hurt Angel, Spike cried out, 'You were fucking him!'

Angel grabbed his arm again, but Spike shook him off. Angel held his hands up in surrender and cried desperately, 'Spike!'

Spike gave him a bitter, hate-filled look. 'You were fucking him, too. I thought you wanted just….' He hung his head and shook it, muttering to himself, then lifted it and said distinctly, 'You just want this body. You wanted it when I called myself William; you wanted it when I was called Billy; and you want it now. What's inside doesn't interest you. I knew that. I KNEW IT! 'S why I've never given in! Until now! I thought this was different. I thought YOU were different.' Caught off-guard this time, Angel fell to his knees when Spike hit him. 'You were fucking him, too!'

Spike spun around and ran toward the stairs; Angel tried to catch him in a flying tackle, but Spike anticipated this, leapt out of his reach, missed his footing on the top stair and tumbled over and over until he reached the bottom, lying still, one arm bent at an odd angle under his body.

Angel reached his side in a few leaps and lifted the blond head into his lap. He was so angry he wanted to rip the bleeding head off its neck, but he ran his fingers through the blood-matted hair, instead. He whispered Spike's name, and eventually, the blue eyes opened and focused on him. He opened his mouth to say the things that he wanted to say but snapped it shut and helped the figure sit up. At the other's confusion, he said neutrally, 'You fell down the stairs.'

'I don't under….'

'You're just tired, Billy. Come back upstairs with me now.'

Billy allowed Angel to help him up. When he tried to speak, Angel distracted him by talking about neutral subjects. If he was desperate for the human part to fall asleep again, he didn't let this need show in his tone or actions. When the man was asleep though, he sat alongside him, staring at him intently all night, waiting for the blue eyes to open with another's consciousness.

Wesley looked up from his paper as the two vampires descended. He looked at Angel's dark expression and then said as cheerfully as he could to the other, 'Billy!'

Angel nodded for Billy to go into the kitchen and then gestured toward his office.

Wesley shut the door after him and leant on it. 'Well?'

'Spike came back when Billy was asleep.'

'Angel! That's very good! You must be… did you try and keep him here? What did you do?'

'I hit him.'


'He was… angry.'

'Because you didn't stop Lilah?'

'No. Billy's memories have come back. Whatever she did to him brought Billy's memories back.'

'I don't know enough about the background to all this to advise you, Angel.'

Angel rose. 'I need answers, not advice. Watch him. Don't let him leave. I'm going to try and see Lilah.'

Wesley nodded, distracted. He was staring toward the kitchen. Angel gave his shoulder a squeeze as he passed, and Wesley shook himself slightly.

When Angel returned to the hotel, he found Giles standing by the counter. Angel got the strange impression that he'd been there for some time, waiting for him. He held a hand out and said brightly, 'Angel!'

'What's wrong? Where's Billy?'

'Ah, yes, well, that's what I want to explain before you….'

Angel came very close, and Giles tried to take a step back but was hampered by the counter. 'Tell me.'

'Spike's back, but….' He watched Angel storm up the stairs and, with a curse, jogged after him as quickly as he could.

Angel swore at the empty rooms that met him. He whirled on the human. 'Where is he?'

'I'm trying to explain. Angel! Calm down…. He's… hiding.'


'He said he wanted to play hide and seek…. Wesley had an idea that as he came back through Billy's sleep last time, perhaps we could precipitate that sleeping state and bring him back artificially. So, he gave Billy some sleeping tablets.'

'Giles! Faster!'

'Well, I had the same idea, and without consulting…. I gave him some, too.'

'A few damn pills aren't going to affect Spike!'

'Wesley hedged his bets and gave him some more. So did I. Then Spike found the packet.'

'Fucking hell!'

'But look on the bright side: it worked! He came back… but then he ran off singing and telling us to count to a hundred. Wesley's looking for him.'

'Stoned. Jesus.' Angel sensed the air then took off down the hallway, Giles following as best he could.

It only took Angel a few minutes to find Spike; not only could he scent him, he could hear him: singing quietly to himself.

He pushed open a door to a top floor bedroom and went in cautiously. Spike was sitting with his head under his arms, crooning in a sing-song voice, 'You can't see me; you can't see me.'

Angel smiled, despite his confusion, anger and grief, and went to squat beside him. 'Hello, Spike.'

Spike looked up, pouting. 'Cheat.'

'You've won. Come downstairs with me. I need to talk to you.'

Spike climbed to his feet, swayed and sat back down again.

Angel sighed and lifted him back to his feet, steadying him then took his arm and led him past Giles to the door. Spike gave Giles a sad look. 'He cheated.'

Giles smiled, and Angel nodded toward the empty hallway. 'Find Wes, and tell him I've found Spike. Then give us some space.' Giles backed off and went the opposite way along the hallway.

Angel led Spike back to his bedroom and then sat him carefully on the edge of the bed. He closed his eyes, sent a small prayer of thanks to the universe that he'd been given this opportunity, then opened his eyes and began to speak. 'You're right: I was… with Billy. I mean, I did… Billy. But, jeez, Spike, you say you have his memories- use them! It wasn't like this! It wasn't what we've had since you came here! He suspected I was thinking of you the whole time. Well, now you know- I was! Spike… Spike… listen to me. I wanted him because he reminded me of you. I missed YOU. Please, Spike, don't do this to yourself.'

Spike roused from his deep, attentive reverie and said wonderingly, 'You've got twenty-eight shades of highlight in your hair. Twenty-eight! You are so beautiful.'

Angel leant forward slightly, incredulous. 'Spike! Did you hear anything I just said?'

'I love you.'

Instead of giving in to the despair he felt, Angel leant his forehead on Spike's and said softly, 'Then maybe I'll keep you stoned and mine forever.'

Spike smiled and ran a finger over Angel's lips. 'I've always been yours.'

Angel felt tears prick his eyes and blinked them away. When he opened them again, Spike's finger had slipped lower. He lifted his face away and asked sternly, 'What are you doing?'

Spike giggled, his fingers utterly unable to co-ordinate opening Angel's buttons.

Angel held him off. 'No. Not with you like this.'

Spike pouted.

Angel suddenly swept him up and tucked him into a tight spoon in the bed, pulling the covers over them both. 'Sleep. Sleep it off, but please… remember?'

There was a soft, hurt mumble in reply. 'You don't love me.'

Angel held the slim form in his arms and whispered back, 'There are more ways than one to show love, Spike. Please, remember….'

Angel woke to find a pair of blue eyes fixed unwaveringly on him. He groaned softly and brushed a stray lock of hair out of Billy's eyes. Billy gave him a confused frown and then vomited on him: mouthfuls of sick splashing on Angel, then the sheets, then the floor, as Angel tried to direct the flow away.

Cursing - and not only at the fact he was coated in sick - Angel half-carried Billy into the shower and turned it on over them both. He stripped his clothes off and then stripped the unfortunate figure, who stood helpless and shivering, both hands to his temples as if they were splitting apart. 'What happened?'

'You hit your head again.'

Angel began to soap the stench away from them, kicking the soiled clothes out of the stall, washing the other thoroughly. When he was halfway down, washing around the flat belly, he paused. The semi-hard cock wavered in front of him, not quite aroused enough to escape the safe cocoon of its foreskin, but enough to peek from it, a flushed hole visible through the loose tip. He looked up to find Billy watching him. He wondered how he could soften utter disinterest. It was Spike's body. It was Spike's cock seeking him out. It was Spike's foreskin beginning to recede as the head emerged, flushed and shining. Without Spike inside to tease and tempt him, however, it was like looking at a photograph: something he'd wank over if bored and lonely, but not something he wanted to commit himself to for a long, and slightly frightening eternity.

He stood and smiled down. 'Let's go see if the others have found anything out.'

Billy pursed his lips and gave Angel a slightly bitter look. 'He's got you now, hasn't he?'

Angel didn't see any point denying it and nodded.

'But he's not here now….'

Angel glanced away and repeated his desire to go and see the humans.

'Maybe he'll never come back….'

Angel stepped over the clothes, made to take a towel off the rail, but tore the entire fixture from the wall. He stared at it, cast it away and went stiffly to the bedroom.

Billy was sitting with Wesley and Giles when Angel appeared an hour or so later. He didn't look up and busied himself with his mug of tea.

Wesley looked, though, and said softly, 'I'm sorry, Angel. It seemed like a good idea when I thought of it.'

Angel brushed his arm lightly as he passed. 'It was. Don't sweat it. I'm going to see if I can find Lilah.'

'Lilah Morgan?'

Angel glanced at Billy. 'Yeah. She's causing this somehow.'

'I want to come, too.'

Angel ignored him and said to the humans, 'You know what to do?'

Giles nodded but looked behind Angel and coughed warningly. Angel spun around and caught at Billy's shirt before he could walk out. 'No.'

Billy hit his arm away. 'Fuck off. Do you know what? I think it's time to go home. I'm not having bad dreams. I'm okay; so, I'm going home.'

'You're fucking dead!'

Billy paled, and Wesley and Giles murmured at Angel's harsh tone. Angel scrunched his face up and said more gently, 'That's not your body, Billy. You can't… take it.'

'FUCK OFF! He came into MY body! He took MY life! I'm redressing the bloody balance!'

'No. You're NOT.' Angel grabbed his arm and manhandled him toward the stairs. Billy struggled, paused, and then hit Angel hard as the realisation that he could struggle effectively occurred him.

Angel winced and wiped his nose, staring thoughtfully at the blood. 'Don't make me do this.'


Angel knocked him unconscious, slung him over his shoulder, and jogged up the stairs.

He sat alongside the slumped body for a while before he chained it up, but then he slid the key into his pocket and left.

Lilah was re-applying lipstick in her rear view mirror. She outlined the top lip carefully, smiled at her reflection, and then did the same to the bottom. When she was happy, she twisted in her seat to find a tissue and jumped so badly her heart jolted with pain. Angel smiled. 'Hi. Don't.'

Lilah took her hand off the door and sat back in the seat, trying to look in control.

'What did you do to him?'

'What you failed to do.'

Angel pursed his lips. 'Twenty questions? Good. I like games.'

'I restored his memory.'

'Not that. The slipping. How are you doing it?' There was a pause, and when Angel saw her startled expression, he swore softly. 'It's not you doing it.'

Lilah didn't even bother to bluff. She touched a finger lightly to her hair and said, clearly pleased, 'Having a little problem down below, Angel? Coitus interuptus?'

Angel sat back, too, and smiled. 'Yeah. But I'm thinking of a neat way to solve that. What d'ya say?'

A nervous tic jumped in her cheek. Angel's smile grew at the obvious vulnerability. He changed tack suddenly and said softly, 'What's it all been about, Lilah?'

Lilah swallowed nervously and seemed about to refuse to reply when Angel added, 'Consider it your get-out-of-jail-free card. Tell me the truth, and I won't take you out of this car, take you to a quiet place, and show you exactly what I've been missing. And, Lilah, you have no idea how long it would take your body to heal after I'd used it for a day or two. So, the truth, and you walk out of here- the emphasis there on the still being able to walk. What do you say?'

'We needed you distracted while we worked on another project. I was told to keep you out of the way. I…. When I found Billy, I kinda went with the flow…. I never knew anymore than you did.'

Angel leant forward. 'The shooting? Telling us he'd kill me?'

'What can I say? I'm a lawyer; I lie.'

She hissed in her breath raggedly as Angel's fist tightened about her throat. 'Tell me you aren't causing these personality shifts.' She shook her head. He tightened his grip just enough to make the interior of the car grey out, then slowly and surely mashed the palm of his hand over her mouth, smearing the lipstick like blood over her face. He licked up her cheek and then kissed her with a small chuckle. 'Damn. I was almost hoping you wouldn't talk. Another time, Lilah; I'd like to get to know you from the inside.'

She closed her eyes to the sight of her face in the mirror, and when she opened them, he was gone.

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