All About Spike

Chapter: 1  2  3  4

Journeys Part Three: Revelations (Draft)
By Mary

Sequel to Journeys Part Two: Awakenings; part of Journeys Series

Chapter Four

Lorne noticed him as soon as he came in. Of course, the white blond hair was like a beacon, attracting attention, but it was more than that. It was the way he moved, gliding through the crowd, which seemed to part effortlessly for him, like a lean and sleek cat, powerful and silent. Eyes followed him. Mostly female eyes, sensing danger and rampant sexuality. But male eyes followed him, too, with a mixture of hostility, envy, and fear. It would be a mistake to mess with him, and even here, where most of the patrons could be dangerous to know, everyone could sense it.

He made his way to the bar, leaning against it with deceptive casualness as he ordered a beer. His eyes, intensely blue in a face sculptors dreamt of, surveyed the crowd, and after he paid for his drink, he moved to a small table near a side exit.

Lorne hadn’t seen him before, and he wondered if he was new in town, or just new to Caritas. Whichever it was, Lorne hoped he didn’t plan to cause any trouble.

~*~

It was a demon pub, but even so, Spike held himself apart, and kept his back to the wall, keeping his eyes peeled for trouble. Out of long habit, he’d surveyed the room for all exits as soon as he came in. He wouldn’t turn down a fight. In fact, he’d welcome one, but experience had taught him that it was best to know the nearest escape route if things went wrong. That kind of care had saved his hide more times than he liked to count.

He’d only been seated for a few minutes when a female Kalima-Pe-Tref demon approached him. His eyes ran over her. The females were supposed to be amazing sexual partners. And if you could get past the blue tinged skin and the overpowering scent of vanilla, he supposed she was attractive. So why wasn’t he interested? It didn’t matter. He wasn’t, and he eyed her dismissively before she could get too blatant. No need to let her embarrass herself. She took the hint and changed direction.

He’d hardly been to a pub since the Slayer’s death, he realized. Funny that. He hadn’t really thought about it. Been too busy, he supposed. Things to kill. The bit to look after. And since the Slayer’s return...

He hadn’t had much to drink either. That had certainly been a change. When he and Dru had split up, he’d gone on a months long bender. He’d used alcohol to dull a lot of things in the past. For some reason, Buffy’s death hadn’t brought that crutch into play. First, there had been that whole unexplained coma like state the Watcher had described to him, and after that he’d been tied up with spending time with Dawn. Wouldn’t do to be stumbling around drunk when he was supposed to be watching out for his girl, would it?

He had stopped in at the Bronze a few times. It didn’t pay in the summer, without the local frat boys around to beat at pool and graciously accept money from. But once the fall semester started, he made it a point to stop by once or twice a week. He’d have a couple of beers, win enough money to keep him from having to nick all his cigarettes, and keep his ears open for any interesting gossip. There were a couple of frat boys who were always there, seemingly anxious to give up their fathers’ hard earned cash. One guy, Zero, was always good for at least a couple of tenners, often double that. Sure hope the wanker doesn’t graduate anytime soon, he thought.

Spike cast his eyes over the wide variety of demons present. He recognized most of the types, but one or two were unfamiliar. The green guy with the horns and the red eyes dressed like a pimp – hadn’t come across that species before, and the one in the corner, dressed in a white gown – gorgeous, human looking, except for those slowly blinking reptilian eyes – he wasn’t sure what she was either. L.A. was much bigger than Sunnydale, of course. Even without the Hellmouth, it was bound to have demon species he was unfamiliar with.

Vampire hearing could be a bitch sometimes in pubs, but for the most part, he’d learned to filter out the worst of the noise and babble, and pick up on the more interesting bits.

The couple at the next table were arguing. She’d been shagging his brother. Yeah, that was bright. Keep it in the family. Stupid bint. The two vertically over endowed Hofacre demons at the bar were hoping to pick up some extra cash doing some contract killing – other demons, humans – it didn’t matter to them. The four at a table in the middle of the room were waiting for the entertainment to start. Karaoke. Bloody hell. Could anything be worse? Apparently the owner of the pub had some special powers – reading auras or some such while people sang. Spike let it all wash over him. Nothing that seemed to merit further interest on his part. Since he didn’t know anyone in L.A. he thought he needed to watch out for, even the Hofacre demons’ plans didn’t arouse any concern.

Thankfully, the paid entertainment was to go before the amateur. A rather beautiful female took the stage, her name, Larilyn Evenstar, booming over the microphones. Oh yeah, there’s a real name. He wondered what kind of demon she was. She had a very pleasant alto voice, though, and Spike listened to a few numbers before his restlessness started to kick in.

He could go a night without looking for trouble. Just relax, let his grandsire take care of his own territory. Spike gave a small snort of amusement. He’d been out the other night, enjoying himself with a half dozen fledglings, taking his time as he dusted them, letting them get in some good licks. He’d sensed him sometime during the fight, but he hadn’t allowed his eyes to seek him out to confirm the feeling until he’d dusted the last one. Turning, he’d met Angelus’ stunned eyes. The souled one had stared at him in shock, at his beaten and bloodied face, at the piles of dust around him. From the expression in his eyes, Spike knew he’d been a witness to the fight from the very beginning. The wanker had seen him take out the first few vamps in a matter of seconds, freeing the three teenage girls from the evil clutches of their captors. He’d seen him telling them to scamper on home to their mums, and let him have a go at the big, bad vampires. Oh yeah, the poof had seen it all – the shock on his face was priceless.

He hadn’t spoken to him. He’d merely lit a crumpled cigarette and moved off into the night.

It was the only encounter the two had had since the night he’d arrived.

Forcing himself to stay seated, Spike tried to relax. He took a swallow of his still half full beer. It seemed to have grown stale. Sighing, he set it aside and left by the side exit.

~*~

Spike paused in the alley, senses alert. Somewhere, very near...

He lit a cigarette, and waited.

She swayed toward him out of the darkest shadows, her eyes glowing.

“There you are, my dashing knight. I felt your presence, knew my boy was near.”

“Drusilla.” His voice was calm. Took a bit of an effort, that.

Her hands flowed over his shoulders as she circled him.

“Hello, my precious darling, my beautiful, wicked boy. Mummy’s missed you.”

“Yeah? ‘ve missed you, too, pet,” he admitted. It was true. He always felt her absence. One of several little holes in his life, but Dru’s was one of the biggest.

His sire. His creator.

He took a long drag on his cigarette, then tossed it away as she moved closer to him, and his hands circled her waist with familiarity. Dru leaned in and licked his neck, her tongue lapping at her marks. Spike felt a jolt of arousal. It was the most sensual caresses a vampire could give another, even more so if the one doing the licking was the one who’d made the marks.

“What’s my boy doing here? In my lovely Angel’s city, my daddy’s town?”

Her lips were moving along his jaw as she spoke, and he felt his hands beginning to move caressingly up her sides, his thumbs brushing against the lower curves of her breasts. Touching her was almost instinctual.

“Nothing much.”

For some reason, he was reluctant to tell her anything about himself, or even admit he was staying with Angelus.

“Were you looking for me? Are you ready to come home?” Her hands glided over his chest, slipping down to his groin, where she caressed him intimately. “Mummy can hunt. My boy won’t go hungry ever again.”

She kissed him, but he pulled away before the kiss could deepen, and stilled her caressing hands, as memories of the dream he’d had of her a few weeks ago returned, making him a little wary of her. Perfectly natural for a bloke to feel a bit edgy when he’d dreamt of not being able to pull his dangly bits out of someone. Dream like that would tend to make most fellas a little uncomfortable – demon or human – and might send some into a right panic.

Dru’s eyes lowered in her well rehearsed mimicry of shyness, and she looked up at him from under her lashes with that little girl look in her eyes, smiling at him innocently. It played oddly with the hands that were still attempting to slide into his pants.

“Mummy can be very naughty for her wicked, wanton boy.”

“I remember,” his voice rumbled.

She lifted a hand and used it to slice a nail across his cheek, drawing blood. Flirtatiously, she leaned up to lick it away, her body rubbing against his in exceedingly pleasant ways. Almost instantly she jerked away from him, spitting, and her dark eyes flashed with fury and betrayal.

“You’ve been drinking from that nasty Slayer,” she accused, bitterly. “Her blood runs all through you. Whooshing and swooshing through your veins.” She began to rock, and her voice had taken on the familiar singsong quality. “ If I drank from you now, my Spike, all I’d taste is her. She’s got you all locked up, but she lets you keep the key. She trusts you with it. You could take it and set yourself free. But you won’t. You won’t put her back in the ground where she belongs.”

Spike frowned at Dru’s words. She was usually spot on when she went off on one of her tangents, but she was way off the mark this time. The Slayer had made it pretty bleedin’ clear she didn’t trust him with the key at all.

His mind reached for hers, but she quickly rejected him, pushing his probing mind away. The rejection sent pain searing through him. She was his bleedin’ sire, for fuck’s sake. And she was pushing him away. Again.

Even in that brief moment, though, he was shocked by the jumbled mess he found. She had deteriorated badly, even since he’d last seen her in Sunnydale. Her madness had deepened, and he could barely recognize anything in her thoughts.

“I told you before that even I can’t help you now. When I felt you tonight, I thought my boy had come back to me.” She sounded as though she was about to cry, sadness, and betrayal in her voice. “But you aren’t even in there. You’re just a shell, my love, with slayer blood, slayer blood, pounding in your veins. You’ve contaminated yourself with her, Spike. I can never be a part of you again. Can never be your mummy, or hunt for you, or live with you. Not while she lives.”

She leaned close to him again, her eyes burning into his, and despite the mess of her mind, she sounded perfectly lucid. “Kill her, Spike. Kill her and come back to me. Leave her alive, and I’ll never be able to see my Spike again.” Her eyes were sad now, too, and achingly lonely. “Because you won’t be there.”

Moments later, she had melted back into the shadows.

Gone.

~*~

He’d slipped out a side exit of Caritas as soon as he’d seen the distinctive blond hair. He would have loved to have forced a confrontation, would have taken pleasure in destroying the vampire once and for all. For no other reason than that he existed, and had been present on that infamous night.

But now was not the time.

He’d always believed that slow and steady really did ultimately win the race, and tonight, as it had so often in the past, his care and patience had been rewarded.

The vampire hadn’t presented many problems for him before, but he remained a part of the equation, and he had learned well that ignoring even the smallest part of an equation could lead to unacceptable results.

Even failure.

He’d been wondering what the blond was doing here, in L.A. He knew he was the sworn protector of the key. Not so very long ago he’d seemed to be taking that responsibility very seriously. A certain amount of glee danced through his veins. Perhaps the slayer had pushed him out of her life, and he would no longer have to account for him in his plans. It was always so satisfying to see others act with rash emotion, and help to clear his way as they did so. He wondered...

He’d sensed the other presence in the alley before the vampire came out the same side door he himself had used less than half an hour earlier. The dark and deliciously mad mind had held his interest, and had kept him lingering in the alley rather than making his way back to his rooms. He’d watched as the beautiful dark vampiress had confronted the blond. He’d listened in on their conversation.

He sighed in disappointment. It seemed he could not afford to discount the vampire yet after all. But it really didn’t matter. The blond didn’t worry him overmuch.

REMEMBER: Doc acknowledges that spike was instrumental in saving the world the last time by delaying the cutting of dawn just enough.

The vampiress, now. She was intriguing. All kinds of possibilities went through his mind. His sire. And his (OFFSPRING, BLOOD CHILD, WHATEVER WORD I’M GOING TO USE FOR ‘CHILDE’). Insane, too. Deeply insane, and further, blessed with the gift of the sight.

How very, very interesting.

Perhaps, just perhaps, she could be of help. Perhaps she could turn the blond’s presence into an asset rather than an annoyance. And the other, her sire…Another pathway to explore, another avenue of possibilities.

He sighed with satisfaction. Patience, he reminded himself once again, really is a virtue. It was always so rewarding to be proven correct once again.

The corners of his mouth turned up in a perfect little bow.

~*~

“How long are you planning on staying, Spike?”

Spike lit a cigarette, and inhaled casually. ”Got a convention coming? Need the room?”

Angel gritted his teeth. “I’m just asking.” He could be civil. He could. He’d been practicing.

“Dunno. A few more weeks, maybe. That a problem?”

“You’re always a problem, Spike.”

“Yeah.” His chin lifted. “Always made it a point to work hard at that.”

“Hard work pays off.”

“Thanks.”

Spike headed toward the stairs. When he’d gotten back to the hotel, it was near dawn, and he’d planned to go straight up to his room as usual. Aside from that chance meeting on a street corner the other night, he and Angelus had been very successful at avoiding each other so far on this visit, and he sure as hell wasn’t in the mood for a confrontation with Drusilla’s sire right now. Not after the brief but, as always, memorable meeting with his sire in a deserted alley. But tall, dark, and brooding had been laying in wait for him. Stay cool, stay cool, he told himself. He could be civil. He could, damn it. He’d been/ practicing.

“Buffy called.” Angel’s words fell into the room like lead weights.

Spike felt himself freeze, then deliberately tried to relax his body.

“Yeah?”

“It was a couple of days ago.”

Spike turned back to his grandsire, his weight balanced lightly on the balls of his feet, poised for whatever was to come, and waited.

“I haven’t seen you to tell you,” he explained, but they both knew Angel knew where to find him. Hyperion Hotel. Fifth floor. Room 533. “She’s looking for you.”

“What’d ya tell her?”

“Said I hadn’t seen you,” Angel confessed, and Spike’s face registered his surprise. “You claimed Sanctuary. That usually involves some degree of secrecy. Of privacy,” he amended.

“Thanks, mate.”

“I’m not your mate.”

“No,” Spike agreed. He never had been. Not really.

“Why’d you come here, Spike? Why here?”

For a second, Spike was tempted to tell him, but he controlled the impulse. “Needed a place to stay. Quiet. Where I’d be left alone; where my habits wouldn’t be questioned, or eyebrows raised over blood deliveries. Your place fit the bill.”

“I don’t want you here.”

“No. I don’t suppose you do.” He paused, and his lips curled in a half-hearted smirk. “Chin up, Angelus. I’ll be gone soon enough. I told you I’d stay out of your way, and I have.”

That was true. Angel hadn’t even glimpsed Spike in the hotel since he’d appeared in the lobby that first night, but he was always extremely aware of the other vampire’s presence. This close to him, the call of his grand(OFFSPRING, BLOOD CHILD, WHATEVER WORD I’M GOING TO USE FOR ‘CHILDE’)’s blood was almost constant.

Aurelius.

“I don’t like lying to her.”

“S’not the first time, though, is it?”

Angel’s brows drew together. “Stay out of it, boy. You don’t know the first thing about Buffy and me.”

Spike gave a disbelieving snort. “Are you daft? I know everything ‘bout you two.”

“You couldn’t possibly. And even what you know you could never understand.”

“Why’s that, mate?” Spike sneered. “Think I can’t understand love without a soul?”



would Spike be so quick to use the word love when talking about Buffy and Angel??





Angel wanted to scream out “Yes!” but he realized he couldn’t. He could never say that Spike didn’t understand love. Not and mean it. Love was what Spike understood more than anything else.

“No, I don’t think that,” he admitted. “But sacrifice; doing what’s right; giving up something, someone, even though it kills you – that you can never understand.”

“Making decisions for her, treating her like she’s incapable of making them for herself, like she’s some china doll instead of a strong woman, a warrior. Leaving her alone, leaving her when she needed you. Not being there for her when her mother was ill, her sister in danger. Not being there to fight beside her and try to keep her from ... keep her from…” Spike swallowed, forcing himself to continue. “Can I understand any of that? Or do I need a soul to see that you’re so wrapped up in yourself you couldn’t even see that you were breaking her?”

“You sonofabitch. You have no idea, no –” Angel wanted to kill him. Tear his head from his shoulders and watch him crumble to dust. He reigned himself in. He couldn’t give in to the blackness; the darkness. He couldn’t. Far too many mistakes had already been made in the recent past.

“When Willow came to tell me that Buffy had died, she mentioned that you had been helping them out. I don’t know why you were, what your motives were, but I don’t want you hanging out in her life.”

Spike felt an unreasoned fury rise in him at hearing Angelus speak so calmly of the Slayer’s death. He could barely think about it without wanting to die. The need to hurt Angelus, to cause him even a small amount of pain rose in him, pushing away good sense.

“I’m already there.”

“No. You’re not.” Angel stated it as if it were an undeniable fact.

“You –” Spike broke off, shaking his head at Angelus’ capacity for self delusion. “Why else do you think she’s calling you, asking about me? I’m a part of her life.”

“You can’t be. She can’t think she can count on you?”

“I’m counting on you, to protect her.”

He’d failed her. Failed. She couldn’t count on him. Spike forced the guilt and despair away, and concentrated on his anger.

“You claim I don’t know anything about you and B-the Slayer. Well, you really don’t know anything at all about her and me. Not. A. Thing. You weren’t there. Haven’t been there. So don’t presume to think you do.”

“I don’t want you in her life.”

“I’m already there,” he said again. “And I won’t leave. Won’t. Can’t. Dawn – she’s a part of me. Always will be. That girl saved my life, and I swore to protect her with mine. Gave my word. Nothing will change that. And, even you, Angelus, cannot make me break it.”

Angel’s shock showed. Dawn had saved his life? When? And what… “Gave your word to who?” he demanded.

“To the Sla-yer,” he said, dragging the word out. “Who else?”

He’d given his word. What…? Why…? Had Buffy asked him to protect Dawn? What the hell was going on? He’d been wondering about the whole situation since Willow had told him Spike was helping them, but his curiosity was growing into a demanding need to know.

“You. Are. A. Killer.” Angel said furiously. “You cannot be trusted. Ever.

“You’ve never known a thing about me,” Spike said, and he realized as he said it how completely true it was. And how much it hurt. All the years he’d striven for Angelus’ approval, his acceptance, and, aside from a few stolen moments in a twenty year span, the older vampire had never even seen him.

“I can make your life miserable, Spike.”

“More miserable than you’ve made it in the past? And how’re you gonna do that, Angelus? Kill me? Beat me? Rape me? Too late, mate. Been there, done that.”

Angel’s eyes sparked with golden lights.

“Watch it, boy,” he warned. “You’ve never been able to take me, and I’m willing to bet you still can’t.”

“Don’t call me that!” Spike ground out, livid. “I’m not your sodding ‘boy’. I never was.”

Angel’s eyes glinted. “Oh, yes you were, Will. You were mine.”

Spike squeezed his eyes shut. Trust Angelus to bring up the past in a way that would always put him in the seat of power. “It was more than a hundred years ago, Angelus.”

“Doesn’t change what’s mine.”



Work on this transition in Spike's thoughts a bit more…



“Yeah, mate, it does.” His shoulders slumped a little and with an effort he squared them. He knew he must sound as unutterably weary as he felt. Sometimes he wondered if he’d ever sleep again. “You left us.”

“I had a soul, Spike.”

“You left us. All of us. You were ours, and you left us.”

“I had to learn how to deal with it.” How could Spike sound like that? Angel wondered. Abandoned. It made something twist painfully inside him.

Spike’s fury rose again. “Yeah, while I dealt with Dru and Darla. Have you got any bleedin’ idea what that was like? Darla already hated my guts. It was easy for her to blame me. Easier still to take it out on me for months, years. She always was a vicious, sadistic bitch. And Dru spent years and years and goddamn fucking years cryin’ for her sire. She needed you. Couldn’t understand how her own sire could leave her. You know how she can be. How difficult. Do you have any idea what that was fucking like, you sonofabitch? How many times I had to stop her from dusting herself?”

“I couldn’t keep killing.” Angel’s voice had risen, and he was almost shouting now, defending himself. “And Darla knew. She was my sire, and she couldn’t accept. She’d never have let me... You don’t understand what it’s like. To live like we did, and then to be given a soul. To have a conscience.”

“No.” Spike stared at him. “You’re right. I can’t understand. I don’t. You know what else I don’t understand, Angelus?”

The two vampires stared at each other. Hatred, pain, misery, anger, love. So many emotions swirled in their eyes, all mixed up and confused. All they both knew for sure was that, right now, at this moment, they were hurting.

“I don’t understand how, in all these years, you’ve never let your bloody conscience bother you for what you did to Dru. Not only has your soul never brought you to feel regret for driving her mad and turning her, but it’s never even made you try to help her, see that she’s taken care of. And on top of all that, you fucking used her. Last year. All soul having Angel used her to kill your sodding lawyers for you. And then you tried to kill her. What would it matter, anyway? She was just a soulless demon, a killer, wasn’t she? A thing, not worthy of your fucking concern. And apparently, you couldn’t think of another way to use her at the time. Now what kind of conscience, what kind of soul would do that? Huh, mate? What bloody kind of soul is it that does that?”

Angel swallowed, his eyes locked on Spike’s.  They could hear the clock ticking at the front desk.

Angel didn’t answer. He went into his office and shut the door. The soft click as it closed floated across the lobby to Spike.

~*~

Sonofabitch. That fucking sonofabitch. I hate him. Hate him.

Spike wanted to break things, crush things, kill things. He wanted to rip Angelus apart. Slowly, painstakingly. Feed him, piece by piece, to whatever would actually eat his reviled flesh.

He hated that fucking sonofabitch.

~*~

Sonofabitch. That fucking sonofabitch. I hate him. Hate him.

Angel wanted to break things, crush things, kill things. He wanted to rip Spike apart. Slowly, painstakingly. Feed him, piece by piece, to whatever would actually eat his reviled flesh.

He hated that fucking sonofabitch.

~*~

Why? Why do I let him tear me apart like this? Why do I care?

Spike slammed his fist into the wall viciously. Plaster dust swirled around his head. He wanted to kick in the walls, tear them down, destroy everything around him. He indulged the urge, swinging a booted foot into the wall, increasing the amount of dust in the air.

Why, why, why?

Anger, defeat. His shoulders slumped and he lowered his head.

And why do I still fucking love him?

~*~

Why? Why do I let him tear me apart like this? Why do I care?

Angel slammed his fist into the wall viciously. Plaster dust swirled around his head. He wanted to kick in the walls, tear them down, destroy everything around him. He resisted the urge. For now.

Why, why, why?

Anger, defeat. His shoulders slumped and he lowered his head.

And why do I still fucking love him?

~*~

Spike threw himself onto the bed. He reached over to the nightstand for his cigarettes and lit one, inhaling deeply. Sometimes he wondered vaguely if he wished the cancer sticks could actually kill him. He picked up the ashtray that sat there and brought it with him as he lay back, settling it onto his stomach. He could care less if he burned holes in the bedspread, or burned down the whole bloody building, for that matter. Angelus’ predilection for living in some heaping pile of bricks reminded him of Dracula’s mansions and castles.

Wankers.

Wouldn’t do to send the place up in flames while he was layin’ all comfy in his bed on the top floor though, would it?

He hadn’t wanted a confrontation with Angelus. Hadn’t sought it. Had tried to avoid it. Been pretty successful, too, until tonight.

It had been bad enough just seeing Dru. Any meeting with his sire tended to send him into a tailspin of conflicting emotions. After running into her, tonight was probably the worst night Angelus could have picked to speak to him. He was so angry at the man who had acted as, and had been, his de facto sire, so furious with his self righteous, soulful posturing, that he just wanted to...

Well, he guessed he’d already been over that in his mind. In lovely, gory detail.

Couldn’t do anything about it anyway. The Slayer would certainly never forgive that. Killing Angelus. His lips twisted. Oh yeah. That’d go over well.

He could dream about it, though, couldn’t he? Damned pleasant it was, too.

~*~

bloodbred

bloodborn



Angel sat back in his desk chair, nursing his bleeding knuckles.

Damn Spike.

Why did his de facto (OFFSPRING, BLOOD CHILD, WHATEVER WORD I’M GOING TO USE FOR ‘CHILDE’) always have the ability to make him lose control like that?

Because he matters to you.

No.

Because you care about him.

No.

Because he’s yours .Your family. Your blood.

No.

Because you love him.

No. No. No.

Damn it all to hell.

Angel opened the bottom drawer of his desk and pulled out a bottle of Irish whiskey. He filled a shot glass, and downed it, then poured another.

For most of the last one hundred years, Angel had struggled to forget Darla, Dru, Spike. His family. To forget that life. The creature he had been.

Angelus.

Of course, the events of the last year had certainly reminded him forcibly of Darla and everything they had been to each other. Everything they had done together. But Darla was easier. Darla had made him. Thinking of Darla didn’t eat him up with guilt.

Drusilla and Spike were another story. The more difficult part of the story. The part he tried never to think of. They were the part of his past, that when it rose up to haunt him, he tried desperately to block out.

For 120 years it had been just him and Darla. Oh, occasionally they had hooked up with someone else for a year or two. And Darla always had to make those annoying little trips home to her sire, her precious Master. But it hadn’t been until he’d become obsessed with Dru sometime around 1860 that he and his sire had allowed anyone else to become a real part of their lives. And when Spike joined them twenty years later, it had been perfect. The four of them.

Family.

Dru. So beautiful. So wild. So devoted to him. So willing to do anything to please him. So insane because of him. So needful. So endlessly needful.

Better, yes, that she had chosen Spike to bring into the family. Her own creation who would love her and be eternally devoted to her, unlike her sire, who was growing weary, not so much of her, but of her constant, clinging need of him.

Spike. So wayward, so willful. His restless, reckless, beautiful boy. Not his, really, but he’d felt an almost overpowering possessiveness toward him and had usually considered him his own. Spike always had to be the wildest, the most vicious. It hadn’t been that way at first. When he was first turned, he’d been a quiet, but still somewhat witty, companion with a thirst to learn, and fit in. But his loving devotion to Dru and even the loyalty and caring he showed for Angelus and Darla had revolted Darla, who had had nothing but contempt for the youngest member of their group. She’d ridiculed and reviled everything he said and did, any and every emotion he showed. And he had joined right in. He and Darla had belittled every tender gesture Spike made to Dru. They’d told him that love was not a demon’s way. He would never belong, they insisted, could never be a part of them, a true vampire, a demon, with love and devotion in his heart. And they’d spent months, years, trying to beat that love out of him.

They never had.

More than anything, Dru had wanted them to be a family. The four of them. And because she wanted it so badly, Spike had wanted her to have it. He had stayed with them, had tried to change himself to fit in. Because he loved Dru. He’d have been so much better off if he’d taken Dru away as soon as he was old enough to care for them both. Far away. From him and from Darla. But he’d stayed. He’d put up with their abuse and their ridicule, and he’d shaped and fashioned himself into what they wanted him to be. Cold, cruel and calculating. A true demon. They’d tried so hard to crush the gentleness out of him, to kill the love. They’d never been able to do that. But they’d certainly succeeded in warping him.

And Spike had eventually succeeded, for the most part, in hiding his tender impulses away. They still came through often enough that there was no doubt they still existed, but Spike worked hard to bury them, to conceal them. And both he and Darla knew he was doing it.

He’d always known that demons could love. Always. But he’d denied it and lied about it and pretended it wasn’t so.

Because Angelus couldn’t love.

Couldn’t love? Or wouldn’t?

Wouldn’t allow it? Or wouldn’t admit it?

After the gypsies had cursed him, and he’d left the others, he’d started to see things differently. Perhaps it was because of the soul. He’d never really been sure. But within weeks, days almost, of leaving them, he’d known he had to return. After two years he’d been desperate to rejoin them. He’d been willing to do almost anything just to be with them again. Aurelius. Family. He’d felt like he was dying without them. All of them. He’d wanted them so much. All three of them. He’d needed them. Their absence had left a gaping, raw wound in him, an unbearable pain.

So he’d found them. It hadn’t been hard. Their blood called to him. And he’d tried to make it work. He’d killed again. Drained the blood of humans, relishing it, and hating himself for relishing it. But Darla hadn’t been fooled. She’d seen what he was doing, the types of men he had been killing. Thieves, murderers, rapists.

All the things Angelus had been.

And it would never be enough for Darla. She had gloried in the killing of innocents, of children, of virgins, of the most pure beings they were able to find. Angelus had gloried in it, too. They had been the perfect pair, he and Darla. She had made him, and they were made for each other.

Spike and Dru had been different. For Spike, it had always been the brawl. He craved the fight, the challenge. Thrived on it. His kills were always the strongest, most vicious opponents he could find. And Dru had merely stood aside with a smile, clasping her hands in excitement as her dark knight did battle for her.

Darla had looked on Spike with contempt.

The way she looked on him when he tried to join up with them again in China. He’d been back with them for only a very short time when he knew he couldn’t stay. Darla would never allow it. She would have killed him for his inability to kill innocents.

When he’d left them that last time, he had known. Known how much he loved them – all three of them. Darla, Dru. Spike. His family. His blood.

God, he’d missed them so much. He’d needed them all. His heartless and beautiful sire, his mad and beautiful Drusilla, and his willful and beautiful boy. He’d ached to kill with them, to be buried in their bodies, cock and fangs, to share existence with them, to be vampires together. Their blood bonds had been so strong. To tear himself away from that had been a desperate agony, the loss unspeakably destructive.

Aurelius. Sometimes the word had pounded so hard in his brain he’d been unable to sleep for days, weeks.

Aside from the few times he’d tried to straighten himself up, he’d been, for almost a century, a useless drunk, wandering in the gutters. Just like he’d been in life, he thought sometimes. He’d been a worthless man, and he’d become a worthless monster. He’d raged at the inconvenience of having a soul and a conscience. Hated how they made him feel. He was torn between regretting his kills, and regretting his inability to return to his killing ways.

And every single one of those days, he’d missed his family. His blood screamed for theirs.

Then Whistler, and Buffy, a purpose, a chance at redemption.

We help the helpless.

Spike’s taunting words tonight were haunting him.

In many ways, Dru would never be helpless. She was vicious, a demon, a killer. There was nothing good or pure in her. But in many ways, she was the most helpless creature he had ever known.

And he had made her that way.

He’d used her, abused her in every way he could. And he’d taken delight in it. With Darla goading him on, the more vicious he could be with Dru, the more heartless, the better. Dru had come to love it, to take satisfaction in the abuse and cruelty, and he had garnered more favor with his own sire for each new torture he could devise, mental or physical.

She’d shared affection with Spike, but her (OFFSPRING, BLOOD CHILD, WHATEVER WORD I’M GOING TO USE FOR ‘CHILDE’)’s protectiveness would always come in second to her sire’s abuse.

And then he’d abandoned her. He’d left her with Darla and Spike, true. But he’d known he was her world, her universe. Her sire. He’d known his leaving would destroy her. He’d still gone.

Dru was a demon. She had no soul.

Was that a reason not to help her? Or an excuse?

We help the helpless.

Was she his responsibility?

We help the helpless.

He’d made her, created her. He’d shaped and fashioned her.

We help the helpless.

He’d used her and tried to kill her without a qualm.

All soul having Angel.

Now what kind of conscience, what kind of soul would do that? Huh, mate? What bloody kind of soul is it that does that?”

Yeah, mate, he asked himself. What bloody kind of a soul is it that does that?

He set aside the shot glass, and picked up a full sized tumbler. He filled it.

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