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Protective Custody – 5

Neither vampire slept much that night. Neither wanted to. They both revelled in the unique sensation of sharing a bed together. Angelus had never stayed with his childe after their vigourous sessions. Angel wished he could have his last one hundred and thirty years back again. He'd have stayed in a lot of beds with this creature.

Late into the night, Angel sensed that Spike had something on his mind. He didn't rush him, letting him take his time in the telling. Eventually, Spike moved his mouth from where he had been burying it into Angel's soft, dark hair to say, 'Are the bint's visions always accurate?'

This surprised Angel. He hadn't expected Spike to revert back to the reason for his stay in Los Angeles. He turned in Spike's arms and lay facing him, noting his troubled expression. 'Have been so far, why?'

Spike didn't answer, but let Angel work it out for himself.

Angel sat up and looked at him with an expression of growing horror. 'No! This has averted it.'

Spike pulled him back into his embrace. 'Who knows, luv. Maybe it'll cause it.'

'What do you mean?'

'Well, three days ago, staking me was not exactly what she had planned. Don’t care what you thought, Angel… she was not going to do that. Rather the other way around, if you get my meaning. But now, given my… change of allegiance, so to speak, maybe she will. Just a thought.'

'Well, as I'm never going to let you out of here, that's not going to happen, is it?'

'Been thinking 'bout that, too.'

'Oh.' Angel's voice was small, and Spike heard the underlying sadness.

'Look, pet. You're in a kind of dangerous profession, aren't you? I mean, I'm all for this protective custody shit….' Spike snuggled closer to Angel and kissed him lightly on the ear. 'But, seriously, I don’t fancy having you not return to me one day and being stuck here like a friggin' freak show. Can't see your humans looking after me for too long. Have to stake meself, and that's just embarrassing… trust me, tried that once… don't recommend it. So…?'

'It's easy to revoke. I'll do it first thing tomorrow.' He rolled over in Spike's arms again and looked at him. 'Will you stay?'

''Til it gets dark, I guess.' But the smile on his face belied his words. Angel sighed and, this time, turned Spike so he could fold him against his body. He kissed the blond hair lightly, was half debating suggesting some more interesting activities, when he saw that Spike had fallen asleep, his face resting on Angel's arm.

Did Angel fear for his soul at that moment? He certainly felt that he could not be much happier. Did he feel guilty for allowing himself this happiness when he should only suffer? Of course he did. Did he decide to send Spike away and return to his self-imposed celibacy? Of course he did not. He could use manipulative logic on himself just as effectively as Spike could. By the time the sun came up in the morning, Angel had convinced himself that he would fight better, be stronger, and more focused with Spike by his side, in his bed, and in his ass, than he would if all those places were empty.

By the time Spike woke, Angel was gone, but when he strolled downstairs later that day, he saw the door to the hotel standing metaphorically open. He looked at Angel and saw him smile with a slight nod. Spike raised his eyebrows, and they both knew he was teasing Angel. Would he go, or would he stay? Had it all been just a trick to win his freedom? He sensed Angel was not taking his joke very well, so he went into the office and perched on his desk. 'Sun's out, so I can't leave anyway.'

'Not funny, Spike.'

'Not meant to be. Maybe I've fooled you, Angelus. Maybe I still hate you.'

'Yeah, that "Angel, Angel, harder, harder," wasn't convincing at all last night, Spike.'

Spike's eyes actually started to dilate, just listening to Angel's quite accurate mimicry of his passion. 'Fuck, Angel. You can't say that and not come back to bed with me for the day.'

'Thought you were about to leave.' Angel scratched his head and pretended to look in his in-tray.

'If you don't come back to bed now and let me shag you, I'll do it here. And I don't need to turn around to know your three fucking stooges are watching us.'

Angel's eyes suddenly took on a furtive, interested look. 'Hmm, you'll do me, will you?'

'Yep, wanna see if it's as good as you remember?'

'Yeah. Go on up. I'll make an excuse and be up in a minute.'

Spike laughed. 'You'd better do something with that, mate, cus in my book, that's up now!'

'Jesus, Spike. You're supposed to be helping me work harder and focus, if you remember.'

Spike sauntered out with a parting comment over his shoulder, 'Bring the friggin' in-tray with you then, if you want.'

Angel was a terrible liar, and they all knew something was up when he sheepishly slinked upstairs a few minutes after Spike. Their speculation covered most of the possibilities except the truth. That had not yet occurred to any of them.

Spike knew that having the humans downstairs distracted Angel. He knew he couldn’t relax enough to let go. He tried to undress him, but found him resistant and stiff. He tried soft endearments: low, erotic images. He even tried obscenities but nothing helped. He was getting desperate himself, urgent for release so, finally, he grabbed Angel's wrist and dragged him out of the door and along the corridor.

Angel suddenly realised where they were going. He almost pushed Spike in his haste to get there. They shut the door and knew they could not be overheard.

Suddenly the game had taken on a whole new level of excitement. They had fought each other for hours in this room, their sexual tension almost tangible in the air. Now they knew the outcome of their sparring would be very different.

Spike was so excited that he would get to combine his two favourite pastimes – well, maybe if he got to have a fag afterwards, his three favourite – that he almost tried to convince Angel to forgo the fighting and just get on with the fucking.

Almost, but not quite. He suddenly realised how erotic it was having Angel laying weapons on him teasingly, playing with his body with light hits and slaps. Spike responded, catching Angel across his backside with the flat blade of a sword. Angel laughed but stopped, impressed, as Spike’s next slice opened the buttons on his shirt. Spike grinned at him, sliced again, and Angel’s belt fell to the floor. Spike moved gracefully behind Angel, and the next slice opened up the back of his shirt from collar to waist, and it slid off his shoulders. Not a mark had been placed on Angel’s skin. As Spike turned to replace the sword, Angel flattened himself on his childe and ripped off Spike’s shirt. No finesse, just a desperate need to feel his naked skin. Spike gave a mock girlie scream of rape and wriggled away. They both found it hard to fight when they were laughing so much. Spike turned his slow circling of Angel into an erotic striptease; he opened each button on his jeans with agonising slowness. Angel sank to his knees like a supplicant, begging for this beautiful, enticing body. When Spike was fully undressed - unlacing his boots laboriously had not added to his erotic display, but Angel had waited patiently as he struggled, fallen on his back, cursed, and eventually kicked them off into a corner - Angel fell forwards onto his hands and knees, but Spike’s soft words surprised him, ‘Over here.’

Spike was leaning nonchalantly on the pommel horse.

Angel rose and came over, slowly shedding his pants. He let them drop to the floor and stepped out of them, never losing Spike’s eye contact.

They were naked, sweating, and aroused. Spike pushed Angel, so he was pressed into the horse, his chest against the soft leather. Angel took the handles and flexed his arms; Spike pressed against him.

‘Just how good are you, Angel?’

Angel turned, grinned at him and gracefully raised himself off the ground until his arms were locked, then he lifted and spread his legs until they lay one on each end of the horse. It was Spike’s turn to be impressed. But he was not distracted for long; Angel’s hole was now perfectly aligned in front of Spike’s mouth. He opened his lips against it, circling it, and blew lightly.

Angel groaned, and Spike sensed he couldn’t hold like that forever.

‘Lower yourself down.’ He put his hands onto Angel’s hips and guided him down until Angel was impaled once more on his hard, sweat-slick cock.

Spike had no idea Angel was so strong or so flexible, but he didn’t want him to collapse half way through, and couldn’t get a very good angle for thrusting. He made Angel put one leg on the ground, leaving the other stretched up over the horse. This was perfect. Spike rammed in hard, feeling Angel’s cock impacting with the solidly packed horse. Angel groaned.

‘Hard enough for you, luv?’


So, Spike became frantic. They let their demons out to play. He surged into Angel as if he were trying to batter down the very gates of hell. Blood spurted from Angel, and they felt their true faces emerge. Angel started to howl with a pure vampire resonance that set up an answering call in Spike. He’d never felt such a build up of pressure. He thought his cock might emerge through Angel’s belly, thought it might enter Angel’s own cock and shoot his cum through Angel’s own opening slit.

They actually heard Angel’s cum hitting the side of the pommel horse, such was the violence with which it was propelled into the leather. Spike pushed Angel’s leg just a bit higher, went a little deeper, and he reached his own release. As he started to swell in Angel’s ass, he felt Angel pull his wrist around and bite savagely into it. Spike howled out a frantic ‘Yes’ and came in great heaving waves of bliss.

He soaked Angel from the inside. He felt his cum dripping out even as he continued to pump more in. Only when he felt dry and empty did he stop. Angel started to ease his leg down, but Spike stopped him, fell to his knees, and replaced cock with tongue. Angel hissed and looked down; he could just see Spike’s face between his legs as he worked. Incredibly, it aroused him again, and as the soft, cool tongue bathed him, he brought himself to a light, quick orgasm, his seed this time bubbling out over his clenched fist.

When Spike had licked and played with Angel’s hole for a while, he allowed Angel to ease his leg down. They laughed as Angel theatrically limped over to the stack of mats and sat down. Spike stayed leaning on the pommel horse then, with a grin, he lifted himself up, waited until Angel was looking, and gracefully tipped over into a perfect handstand.

Angel gave a soft clap. ‘Naked gymnastics... only you, Spike.’

Showing off now, Spike lifted one hand and balanced in an impressive one-handed handstand. Every muscle in his whipcord body stood stark under his pale skin.

Angel wandered back over. Spike thought Angel was going to continue his very proper admiration of his childe's skill when Angel suddenly tickled him under his supporting arm. Spike’s elbow bowed, and he collapsed in a painful and ungainly heap on the floor.

He aimed a kick at Angel who caught his foot and stood rubbing it against his soft penis thoughtfully. ‘Look, Spike.’ Angel nodded towards the window. ‘It’s dark.’

‘Yeah, noticed a while ago.’

‘So... what are you going to do?’

Spike stood up and started to put the weapons away. ‘Do you trust me, Angel?’

‘Hell, no.’

‘Probably wise.’

Angel’s next words were spoken very quietly, almost as if he feared their impact if spoken aloud. ‘But I love you.’

Spike turned, unsure what he had heard.

Angel repeated his assertion, this time not letting his gaze drop from Spike’s. ‘I love you.’

Spike came towards him and placed his hand on Angel’s cheek. ‘How’s that gonna work then with the old "self-flag" and "I can’t be happy" thing. I thought the whole point of shagging a demon was that you couldn't love it… not like you can a human. Can't love demons, can you?’

‘I’m not sure I have the option here, Spike. I just do.’

‘That’s better than trust.’

He started to turn away, but Angel grabbed his arm.

‘Err... what about you?’

‘Oh... don’t know yet, got a little unfinished business to take care of. Can’t decide 'til then.’ But he softened his words by kissing Angel long and passionately, pushing him back into the wall, lifting his leg to brush it over Angel’s groin.

‘Just love me and try to trust me, ‘k?’

‘It’s hard, Spike.’

‘No, it’s soft for once, and that’s good, Angel. You’re making good progress. Now, I’m gonna shower and....’ He looked ruefully at his ripped clothes. ‘Can I borrow some stuff?’

Angel nodded slowly, thinking he was not letting his feeling show. Spike knew exactly what Angel was thinking and feeling and was not unmoved by the intensity of the emotion he felt from his Sire.

Spike had a pretty good idea of the reception he would get where he was going, but he knocked anyway and waited patiently for the screaming to begin.

He was not disappointed.

‘Eww... Spike.. .how did you get out! Did Angel let you out? And what are you doing here? I do not associate with vampires, well, alright, I do... in a totally not associate way....’

‘Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Please.’

‘Hey! Don’t you come....’

‘Cordelia, invite me in, please.’

‘I am SO not going to do that.’

‘For Angel’s sake?’

‘Can’t get round me like that.’

‘I can’t friggin’ hurt you, alright! I couldn’t even pluck one of those bloody eyebrows of yours.’

‘What wrong with my....’

Spike gave up with the reasoning and tried a tactic he had found to be quite successful recently.

‘Hey! Stop banging your head against my wall, eww, blood! Come in; stop making that mess!’

Cordelia sat nervously on the couch; Spike sat in the chair opposite her.

‘Don’t bleed on my couch, and don’t you work any magic on me.’

‘What are you bloody talking about?’

‘We’ve all seen it with Angel; he’s been all....’ Cordelia rolled her eyes theatrically and simpered a bit, ‘Since you got here. We think you’ve gone ‘poof’ on him.’

Cordelia had merely meant to describe the action of casting magic dust on someone, but Spike, for some reason, found this hilariously funny and repeated, ‘Yeah, gone poof on him’ a few times to himself.

‘So, Blondie, what are you here for?’

‘I want to go over that vision thingy of yours again, cus it sucks, big time.’

‘Oh, God. Look, I told you everything I know already. You. Buffy. Stake. Dust.’

‘Yeah, know that, but I want to... oh, I don’t know, there’s got to be something I’m missing.’ He put his head down onto his hands and just sat there despondently.

Cordelia looked at him for a moment then said brightly, ‘Want a drink?’

Spike was surprised and charmed by this unexpected offer.

‘Ta, luv. Err....’

‘Do NOT say blood.’

‘Wasn’t gonna. Tea?’

Cordelia got up and went into her kitchen; Spike followed and hopped up onto the counter to continue the talk about the vision.

‘Try to take me through it again. Where were we for a start.’


‘My crypt? Buffy’s house? The cemetery? Where?’

‘Oh. Here, the hotel.’

‘The hotel.’

‘Yes, is that bad?’

‘Well, it’s not bloody good, is it? I’d never been to the friggin’ place until a certain vampire kidnapped me and dragged me here. But she did the dirty here, hey?’

‘So... if Angel had left you in Sunnydale, it couldn’t have come true?’


‘Oh... and in his bed too!’


‘Oh, yeah, did I forget to mention that? It was in his bed.’

‘I was in Angel’s bed with Buffy? Demon Buffy.’

‘Yeah, weird, isn’t it?’

‘Are you sure this wasn’t just one of your wet dreams or something?’

‘Eww... gross, Spike.’

Spike took the proffered drink, sipping the hot liquid thoughtfully. ‘So, tell me again. It was definitely me.’

Questioned carefully like this, Cordelia began to doubt the voracity of her own vision. ‘Well, not you like you really are, but yes, it was you.’

‘What do you bloody mean; you keep saying that... explain.’

‘Well, you were all....’ Cordelia broke off, clearly embarrassed. ‘You were gorgeous: all cheekbones, and glowy, and your eyes were like sapphires - incredibly blue. And you were dressed head to foot in leather; you were not real: too gorgeous. I mean, drop dead gorgeous. Literally.’ She flushed.

‘Err... and hey! Am gorgeous, thank you very much!’

‘Fancy yourself or what!’

‘So, it was me....’

‘Exaggerated, but, yes, you.’

Spike frowned and furrowed his brow for a while. He was beginning to have an idea. He took a stab in the dark with his next question, praying he was right.

‘Okay, think about the demon. The one inside Buffy. Cordelia, this is really important, did you recognise it?’

‘Well... duh... it was a Cranos. Angel had fought and killed a nest of them only the week before.’

To her complete horror, Spike leapt off the counter and kissed her. ‘You are bleedin’ beautiful, pet. When I’m bored with shaggin’ Angel, I’m gonna come looking for you.’ With that, he ran out.

Cordelia was left holding her tea and wondering if, after all, acting would give her a quieter, more normal life-style.

Spike had another call to make, and he knew he’d be no more welcome there than he had been at Cordelia’s.

He was right; Wesley was not pleased to see him and utterly refused to let him in, whatever tactic he employed.

Spike was not in the least deterred. ‘Come for a drink with me then. Public place an’ all.’

Wesley could see no harm in this and was intrigued by Spike’s motives. They went to a quiet bar and Wesley bought two beers.

‘Like the new look, Spike.’

‘Yeah well, other stuff got... messy.’

‘So, to what do I owe the pleasure of this...?'

‘You’re being fucked with, mate; that’s what this is about.’

‘I beg your pardon.’

‘The Power Rangers. They’ve been sending the bint false visions.’

‘That’s not possible... or credible really.’


‘How do you know this, Spike?’

‘Worked it out for myself.’


‘Hey, don’t bleeding, ahh, me! I’m not stupid; I’m a lot older than you, and I know about stuff. Look, Cordelia had a vision, right? Buffy staking me. Well... kind of funny then that it was in a place Angel knows best... his bedroom. And even more funny that the demon in Buffy was a demon he had in his mind from fighting it the week before and....’ Spike started to play with his beer mat, balancing it up on end and flicking it around; he was clearly embarrassed now. ‘And I was like - it was as if - oh, fuck it; she saw me through Angel’s eyes, too. Watcher, the whole thing was from Angel’s perspective, as if someone, or something, put a friggin’ hand into Angel’s brain and dragged out enough bits and pieces to put a vision together. Fuck, am I making any sense here?’

Wesley did not look up, but seemed to be studying the small house that Spike had made with the mats. He said thoughtfully, ‘Did Cordelia tell you what happened after the demon staked you?’

Spike look puzzled. ‘No, I kinda wanted to see you, so I left in a hurry.’

‘After the Buffy demon staked you, Cordelia had a complete breakdown, hysterics, everything. It took us ages to calm her, and all she could say was that it was the feelings she felt from the vision. As if....’

‘See! That’s what the... that’s what Angel might feel if I got staked.’ Spike looked down shyly. ‘I am his childe, after all.’

Wesley studied the lowered blond head for a moment and smiled to himself. ‘Of course, Spike. You’re his... childe.’

More cheerful now, Spike looked up. ‘So, what you gonna do about this then?’


‘Well, yeah. You’re the boss an’ all: Mr Brains. I’m just a pretty boy that Angel adores!’

‘Yes, well. I really don’t need to know any more about your relationship with Angel, thank you Spike. I suppose we should try to make contact with the Powers and confirm this. It’s all rather worrying.’

Spike put on his mature, thoughtful look; he hadn’t used it for a while, and it was due for an airing. ‘’K, mate. How?’

‘Frankly, I have no idea. Another beer?’

Quite a few beers later and neither of them had progressed much with a plan to speak to the Powers. But they had become a great deal better acquainted with each other. Both being English helped. They had a good chat about just how hideous America was, how they both missed England, hated the weather, loathed the smallness of everything, nothing ever on TV, nothing open, rip-off-Britain, and weren’t they both lucky to be in America! Then they talked about demons. Then they talked about Angel. Bizarrely, they discovered that they agreed on most things they discussed, especially Angel. Wesley clearly adored him, and Spike was happy to spare the small part of Angel that Wesley needed, as he knew he had all the rest. Spike’s effect on Angel had not gone unnoticed, and Wesley was generous in praising Spike for his work. As they’d both had far too many beers by now, Spike decided to give Wesley just an inkling as to how he had achieved this miracle. Neither could decide later if it had been Spike’s interesting, but graphic descriptions of Angel’s abilities with a pommel horse that had ruined a promising evening, or whether the beer had just been bad. Either way, Wesley had to be carried home over Spike's shoulder and, as he had forgotten how to walk by the time they got home, had to invite Spike in.

Spike seemed to remember discussing something important with Wesley and decided he’d better stay the night so they could continue in the morning, so they both fell asleep, fully dressed, on the bed and didn’t wake 'til late the next day.

Spike woke first. He was sour, clammy, evil, smelly, feeling sorry for himself, and needing a cigarette... and had his face in Wesley's very prominent erection.

He closed his eyes and hoped for better things if he tried waking in a few minutes. It didn't work. His face stayed on the erection; the erection stayed in his face. It was almost a challenge. Spike was not a saint… he hadn't even got to the finals of the sainthood competition; fuck, he hadn't even entered the friggin' contest. He was needed now to look after Angel, and that meant he had keep in shape, practice, be ready when needed, so he just really ought to.…

Wesley’s cock came free quite easily. He didn’t even stir, his breathing deep and even. Spike screwed up his face, trying to pretend he was in a moral dilemma, but as he had no morals, that was difficult. He tried to think what Angel would want him to do and decided, quite logically, that Angel would want him to be good to Wesley. He tested Wesley's cock and decided to give it the option. One lick, and if it subsided, he'd leave it alone. If it stayed erect? Well, then it wasn't his fault if he continued. He studied it, trying to decide the best place to lick. He could lick across the blood-red tip. He could lick up the underside, following the path of that thick, ropy vein. He could lick under the foreskin. So many options. He sat cross-legged next to his new pet and put his chin thoughtfully on his hand. He'd never seen a human cock before and was quite impressed with this one's dimensions. He tipped his head on one side and looked at Wesley's sleeping face. What was wrong with this Investigations Agency? Not one of them seemed able to take care of themselves. Spike grinned to himself; he had a feeling that the hood took care of himself quite well. Maybe he'd ask him one day.

This procrastinating was not getting him anywhere.

He had an important job to do for Angel, and he just needed to get on with it. He lay back down with his face inches from the hard penis. He put his tongue out tentatively and tested the feel of it. Felt good. Felt hot. He slipped his hands into Wesley's jeans and fondled his balls for a moment. Wesley groaned in his sleep and turned over, effectively trapping Spike's hand under him. He pulled his hand cautiously free but succeeded in scraping the soft, sensitive tip of Wesley's cock over the edges of the open zip. Wesley came to with a wince of pain; Spike howled and tipped off the bed holding his head.

'Bloody fuck. I'm never shagging humans again.'

'What! My God. What are you… oh, my head. And oh! Why am I…? What were you…? Spike!'

'Shut up! Fucking shut up! I'm dying here. My head!'

'My head!'

They both sat holding their offending body parts. Wesley was too disoriented by the whole experience of waking up with Spike, to work out just what he thought had been happening. He thought that for a second he had felt Spike's hand under him, cupping him, but he wasn't sure. He didn't want to think about it too much, because he had been woken from a dream where Spike was doing considerably more than that to him: doing something that involved a piece of stained gymnastic equipment, and as that was too disturbing for him even to examine, he thought he'd better not think about anything at all.


Thank God for being English. They reverted to the easiest way to ignore any unwanted emotions by the simple expediency of drinking tea.

Wesley cast the occasional accusatory glance at Spike; Spike looked nonchalantly around the room, clearly completely innocent.

Finally, Wesley plucked up the courage to enquire why and how Spike was in his home.

Spike frowned. 'You invited me, and you're gonna sort out those fucking Powers for me; don't you remember?'

'Err, no and no. I cannot quite bring myself to believe I invited you in, and I most certainly have no idea how to… oh, wait a minute… the host.'

'The what?'

'Lorne. He sort of has a link to The Powers without actually having to see them. We could go there, and he could read your aura.'

'I haven't written one.'

'Aura, Spike. Your unseen energy.'

'Oh. How's he do that then?'

'Well, in most cases you would have to sing for him but, in this case, as it's not you directly involved, he may just be able to see things on you.'

'Hope I showered recently then! Speaking of which, can I borrow yours, mate?'

'My shower?'

'Yeah, and some clothes.'

'My clothes? What's wrong with the bizarre ensemble of Angel's stuff you're wearing now?'

Spike turned around and presented his back to Wesley. 'You sicked up all over it.'

'Oh heavens… I'm so… really… quite unforgivable.…'

'Don't worry, pet; shower, fresh clothes, maybe a spot of brekkies, and I'll be fine.'

So, Wesley had the dubious pleasure of coping with the worst hangover he had had since university whilst trying to cook bacon, eggs, and fried bread for Spike. Spike - who was now singing in his shower. Spike - who was naked in his shower. Wesley groaned. He couldn’t decide whether it was the sight of the egg yokes wobbling in the greasy pan, the thought of eating the eggs when they'd stopped wobbling, or the thought of naked Spike that made him start to heave, but he didn't stop to prioritise them on his rush for the bathroom.

He burst in on Spike, had only a moment to try and apologise for the intrusion, before bringing up the rest of the secondhand beer: the few pints that had not already enjoyed an airing over Spike.

He lay collapsed against the bowl of the toilet, his head spinning, feeling worse than before the retching. He felt strong arms picking him up and carrying him. He felt his stale clothes being peeled off and cool sheets being tucked in around him. He felt quiet and safe and….

'Oh God… eww… Wesley, Spike… get a room why don't you? And Spike…! Naked! Please! So, this is why you didn't come to work, Wes! And Angel's going frantic over you, Spike… and.…'

Spike grabbed her arm and propelled her out of the door. He didn't know whether to grin at the excellent timing of her arrival, or frown at the thought that Angel might also misinterpret this little scene, and ended up with a sort of goofy pout somewhere between these two. He grabbed the clean jeans Wes had laid out for him and hopped into them, as Cordelia stood with her hands on her hips pointedly glaring at him.

'It's not what you think, bint.'

'You don't know what I'm thinking.'

'You're thinking I came here last night, went 'poof' with my magic wand on and in Wesley.'

'Oh. Well. What were you doing with him then, Blondie? Bending over him naked in the bed!'

'I was in the… why am I explaining this to you? Look, I have a much more pressing problem than Wesley's hangover; I need to talk to the Powers and no one seems to know how the fuck I'm gonna do it.'

'Well, why didn't you say? I can take you.'


'Duh… vision girl here!'

'No, Cordelia, I can't allow it.' Wesley wrapped in a blanket and looking more than a little green, came out and perched precariously on the arm of his couch.

'Shut up, Watcher. She wants to take me, so that's good.'

'You shouldn’t mess with things you don't understand, Spike. I spent many years studying this sort of power… no!' He had seen Spike's slow, enticing grin. 'I'm not accompanying you… no… I'm too… and it's too… and Cordelia can't.…'

So they all ended up going together to see the elusive Powers that Be. Wesley covered well, but both Spike and Cordelia sensed that he was really quite excited to be on such a mission. Cordelia just wanted to see the pain in the asses who gave her such excruciating visions, and Spike… well Spike had a few, slightly more colourful things to say to these holier-than-thou fuckers.

Unfortunately, the Powers refused to appear, or speak to him, saying, quite rightly, that he was unclean. Spike took this amiss, as he had only just showered, but he had to be content with his words being relayed by the humans, and them translating the words of the Powers, which he could not hear.

It was a tiresome and bizarre process, and no one really came away with a very clear idea of what had been happening. They all repaired back to Cordelia's apartment to work it out.

'I still don't see why you had to be got away from Buffy. If she’s quite alright, as they confirmed, why take you away? It’s not like she’s not used to vampires. Horizontal.' Cordelia was sitting cross-legged on the couch next to Wesley. They were both facing Spike who was sitting in the armchair.

'They confirmed there was nothing wrong with her at all then?' Spike found it infuriating that he had not actually heard any of the conversation, as he had been the main subject under discussion.

Wesley started rubbing his glasses on his shirt… a nervous habit Spike recognised from Giles. 'Yes, they implied that. But, do you know, I think that this has all been more a case of not getting you away from something, but getting you towards something.'


'Well, they weren't clear - it was all mixed up with an awful lot of mumbo jumbo - but I got one thought quite clearly from them.'

'What's that then, Watcher… don't hold back with your old theories. I told you last night, never hold back on me.'

Wesley blushed a deep shade of red, wished he could counter this implication and make a witty, intelligent retort, but had again that feeling of Spike's hand on his balls. He wasn’t too sure, given how drunk he had been, that they had not done a great deal more than that. He wished he could remember. He felt fairly sure he would have enjoyed it. 'They said Angel was in their care; that they were looking after him.'

'I got that, too. What was the phrase they used, Wes? They said he was like, under house arrest, or something?'

Wes looked at Cordelia, puzzled. 'Oh… you mean protective custody. They said they had Angel in protective custody, and that they had done something to ensure he would be happy. Spike… what's so funny? Spike?'

Spike couldn’t help it. All Angel's angst, all his worry about being too happy, about losing his soul, about not giving himself the relief he so desperately needed… and those two prissy gits in spandex were desperately trying to get the broody pillock to just DO IT! They had actually had to engineer him being brought to LA to help Angel get some relief. It was all too much for Spike. He felt tears of laughter running down his face and realised, to his acute embarrassment, that they were also tears of relief. Because it seemed he was part of the official deal. And being official meant he wasn’t about to have his heart ripped in two and trampled on again. Being official meant he was allowed to love Angel... he was free to love Angel.

If vampires could fly, Spike came as close to it as he had ever done on the trip back to the hotel. He felt power surge through him. He wanted to shout his delight to the dark, starlit night. He wanted to stop people in the street and force them to see how fucking brilliant unlife was. He was part of the deal. Angel was in the Powers' protective custody. They cared for him; they were looking out for him and had made him bring his childe to LA to save himself. Spike gave a rueful grin to himself at the thought of just how desperate the Powers must have been to have seen him as the best option for Angel.

He almost started to run as he saw the hotel come into sight. He bounded up the steps, calling out to Angel. He almost bit his tongue in two as he hit an invisible barrier that bounced him back into the street. He got to his feet, thought there must be some mistake, and tried again.

This could not be happening. He was shut out from what he had thought was now his home.

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