Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This is more of a companion piece to Eyes than a follow-up. Angel's point of view throughout the main story. Many small scenes all along the same line. Specific EOAM timeline reference notes are included to give you an idea of when each scene takes place, but you may want to have EOAM open in another window to re-familiarize yourself with the referenced events.
He Should Dust (companion to the season 2 canon-AU "Eyes of a Man")
(EoaM chapter 3 – after Spike and Angel's first SD confrontation)
He should dust him. He really should just dust him. That was Angel's first thought after he'd composed himself enough to think at all after the crushing news Spike had delivered to him that night. Dru, his Dru, his beloved childe, was gone. And William had let it happen. He was worthless, and evil (and not even good at being that), and he'd let her die. Well, he probably hadn't let Dru die. The boy had loved her, despite the way Angelus had tried to beat it out of him. But still . . . There was good reason to dust the little upstart. Spike was trouble. He was the Slayer of Slayers, and Angel should get rid of him before he found out about Buffy. In his present state of mind who knew what would happen. Except . . . this was his grandchilde and, worse, he had made the boy into what he was. William had been a strange one, he recalled. Not like other vampires even when he was newly turned. He needed to feed, even wanted to feed, but he lacked that innate cruelty most vampires came by so naturally. Oh, he loved violence, but he wasn't sadistic, didn't like torture or rape, was unfailing loyal to his sire, gentle even. Even as a fledgling Spike had never been a mindless monster. And his words about Drusilla hit home. Spike hadn't let Dru die – Angel had. Despondent, he shook his head and sank onto the bed. He could give Spike a free pass, he supposed, just this once. For Dru's sake. Besides, Spike was just as likely to leave town as not. He got bored easily, Spike did. So Angel decided to wait it out. If the boy was still in town in a few days . . . well, he'd deal with it then.
(EoaM chapter 5 – after Spike follows Angel and Buffy on patrol)
He should dust him, Angel thought as he strode into his basement apartment after dropping Buffy off at her home. He could have sworn he sensed Spike's presence during their patrol tonight. Dammit. The last thing he needed was Spike lurking around town, especially with the Feast of St. Vigeous coming up. Buffy was already distracted with Parent Teacher Night and the pressure the new principal was putting on her. They couldn't afford any surprises. There was no way to know which side Spike would take, especially if the Master's pet made him an offer. Except, Spike had never been much for authority figures (as Angel well knew). He wasn't likely to take up with a child like the Anointed One. Spike might take the brat's head off for even daring to suggest it. For that possibility alone Angel decided he might let Spike live. He'd already been in town almost a week without causing any trouble. And clearly he knew about Buffy, but he'd yet to make a move. If Angel knew anything about Spike it was that the boy had no patience. He'd meant what he said to Buffy and her friends: Spike wasn't much for plans, too easily bored; if he'd meant to kill Buffy odds were she'd be dead. So Angel decided to let it go . . . for now.
(EoaM chapter 6 – After Spike observes the St. Vigeous fight)
He should dust him, Angel thought darkly as he stalked through the night to find his annoying excuse for a grandchilde's lair. Bothersome, meddling, confounding grandchilde. What had he been thinking, leaving that note on Buffy's stoop? What if her mother had seen it? She'd have had a fit. And what was the Slayer of Slayers doing warning the current slayer about an ambush? He could only assume Spike had known about it because the Anointed One had approached him with an offer – or a demand, more likely. At least he could safely assume Spike didn't intend to kill Buffy. Unless he was saving her for himself? Didn't want anyone else to knock her off first? But, no, that wasn't like Spike at all, not the Spike Angel remembered. And, well, people changed, even vamps, but not like this. Still, when he'd felt the boy watching them tonight as they fought . . . lurking just at the edge of his sensory range. . . Damn annoying parasite. Probably got off on it too. Spike always had loved a good brawl. He was just begging for a dusting. Except that Spike might have saved Buffy's life tonight, impossible as that sounded. Loathe as Angel was to admit it he owed the boy one (probably more than one). He supposed he'd let him hang around. It wasn't as though he had anywhere else to go now – anyone to go to. But if Spike was staying in town there were going to have to be some ground rules. Angel took a left . . . he had to make a stop at the butchers before he followed his nose to his grandchilde's nest.
(EoaM chapter 8 – after overhearing Buffy tell Willowthat she's seen Spike around town)
He should dust him, the obsessive little leech. On his way somewhere? Right. He should have known Spike would be intrigued by her. Would follow her. He'd been lurking about on the Night of St. Vigeous, hadn't he? And he was still in town. Of course it was because of Buffy. He should definitely dust him before Spike got any weird ideas. Except that he hadn't exactly done anything wrong, had he? And Angel had sort of given the younger vamp a free pass, so long as he didn't feed and didn't cause trouble. His soul niggled uncomfortably at the thought of breaking his word, even to Spike. He cursed it bitterly. Fine, so he wouldn't dust the blond annoyance, but a little warning might be in order – a reminder of the boy's place. Yes, the soul didn't so much as squirm at that. A warning it was then. He almost reconsidered his decision in the face of Spike's flippant attitude and blatant disregard for his authority. But then Spike had gone and thrown Dru back into the mix. Guilt was a powerful motivator; he had almost a century of experience with that. Fine, he'd let the little pain be . . . until Spike gave him a good excuse to do otherwise.
(EoaM chapter 12 – after arguing with Buffy about Spike, yet again, and being threatened by her)
He should dust him, the twerp. He was still lurking about town and clearly Buffy knew it and wasn't going to do anything about it. He couldn't understand that at all. Spike was a menace, a master vampire of the worst kind; he was practically stalking her. Stalking the Slayer. The Slayer of Slayers was stalking this slayer and she didn't care. More than that – she was protecting the little hoodlum. Clearly she wasn't being objective about this. He wasn't eating people right now? Yeah, key words being right now. And Angel had made him bag it, really. Well, he'd told him to bag it and Spike had. He hadn't even complained much, which was a little strange. And he'd kept his word, near as Angel could tell. Which wasn't something Angelus hadn't taught him, that was for certain. The only promises Angelus ever kept were the painful ones. Spike wasn't behaving as Angel would have expected at all. And neither was Buffy, for that matter. Which was all the more reason Angel should just dust the annoying pain in his ass. Really, he'd be doing the world a favor. He'd be doing Buffy a favor, even if she couldn't see it just now. Except that if he did it Buffy might never speak to him again and, non-existent as their relationship was at the moment, he still had hope for something better. But . . . She'd threatened him tonight. Actually threatened him – over Spike. He'd gotten to her somehow, Angel knew it. And nothing he said could convince Buffy of it. Which was all the more reason to dust him and he couldn't. Maybe Buffy would forgive him if he ignored her command, but maybe she wouldn't. He couldn't live with that . . . so Spike got to annoy another day.
(EoaM chapter 14 – after learning that Spike took out the Anointed One and his minions)
He should dust him, annoying blond pest. Just on general principle. Angel knew Spike had been patrolling with Buffy – well, walking with Buffy while she patrolled. And she didn't seem to mind. She talked to him even, in a way she never had with Angel. He knew, because he'd been waiting for her outside of Shady Rest one night and had seen them together – heard her with the creep. He didn't know what Spike's game was, but he knew he didn't like the feeling he got seeing the two of them together. It wasn't right, the slayer sharing her day with the killer of her kind as if they were old friends. Except . . . Spike had taken out the Anointed One and what was left of the Aurelian minions, and he'd been smart enough to leave the weakest behind to cancel the contract against Buffy with the Order of Taraka. He'd saved her life – again. Angel didn't understand it, didn't like it, but he couldn't ignore it either. Whatever his motives, Spike was apparently on Buffy's side. At least for now. So Angel couldn't dust him, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to keep a close eye on the other vamp. A very close eye. And it didn't mean he was going to stop trying to convince Buffy to dust him. Because so long as he wasn't the one holding the stake his conscience was clear . . . souls had such convenient little loopholes.
(EoaM chapter 16 – after Buffy refuses the cladagh ring on her birthday)
He should dust him. He really should. And he wanted to, God, he wanted to. He could smell the boy all over Buffy. Well, not all over. They hadn't slept together, he didn't even think they'd kissed, but they were spending a lot of time together. They had to be because that distinctive Spike smell –something beyond the smoke/whiskey/leather/blood cocktail that even humans could smell, something that was just Spike– had seeped into her very pores. He should dust him. Boy was asking for it. She'd refused the cladagh ring. Even after he'd told her what it meant. Which meant that it was over between them, really over, and he couldn't help but think that Spike had something to do with it. Their relationship had been just fine before the bleached pest had taken up residence. Alright, maybe that wasn't strictly true. He'd had doubts. But that was all they had been. Doubts. And they were very valid doubts. It wasn't right, a slayer spending so much time with a vampire. He shouldn't let himself want her. He didn't deserve her. But then Spike had come to town, and Buffy seemed to have no issue spending time with him, even if he was a vampire. One without a soul. And if she was going to spend her time with a vampire one way or the other it should be Angel. At least he had his soul. And why was Spike spending time with Buffy anyway? He'd had plenty of opportunity to kill her. And now he was actually helping her. Angel had seen them patrolling together several times in the last few months. There had been a brief period where he'd thought the younger master might have skipped town, but then he'd shown up again like a bad penny. He should dust him once and for all. He didn't know why he hadn't yet. Except . . . Spike hadn't done anything evil since he'd come to town. He'd been bagging it, he'd saved Buffy from the Anointed One, he was actively helping her. And while some part of Angel wanted to dust him all the more for the way Spike was insinuating himself into Buffy's life, he couldn't justify it. Not now. Buffy would never forgive him . . . and maybe he wouldn't either.
(EoaM chapter 17 after Buffy and Spike's falling out over Spike's past)
He should dust him. Spike was a nuisance and a menace. A vicious killer with no soul and the attention span of a four year old. He loved mayhem and destruction and brawling. It was Angel's responsibility to do it, really. He'd had a hand in creating that monster – both literally, in his turning, and figuratively, in his shaping after. Except . . . Spike was family, obnoxious and dangerous as he was, and there was still that little twinge in his soul every time he thought about ending the boy. He couldn't kill Spike for being what Angelus had made him. Besides, there was a very good chance it wouldn't be an issue much longer. Angel had heard Buffy confront Spike about his colorful history. He was glad the watcher had finally done his research. He'd wanted to say something to the man for some time, but couldn't think of any way to reveal Spike's sordid past without also exposing his own. He'd thought maybe Spike would leave town after being faced with Buffy's accusations – he'd certainly sulked in his crypt long enough. And he allowed himself to hope. Maybe once Spike was gone things would settle back to the way they'd been. Maybe Buffy would be his again. He should dust him . . . but with any luck, soon Spike wouldn't be his problem anymore.
(EoaM chapter18 when Buffy and Spike reconcile and Spike explains about his past)
He should dust him, he thought, as he watched the bleached blond join Buffy for patrol once more. He should dust him because he was a worthless fool who wasn't worthy to breathe the same air as Buffy (even if he didn't need to) let alone walk beside her with his head held high. He deserved dust for even daring to think that he had the right to be in her presence. He was foul, evil, and he tainted her with his very existence. Angel had seen him touch her, finger to her delicate little chin. Angel's borrowed blood near-boiled in anger. He should dust him. Clearly he had no intentions to leave town, and Buffy wasn't ever going to get around to doing her duty and ending him. So Angel would do it for her and surely she would understand, now that she knew the truth. She might not be able to do it herself, but she had to know that Spike deserved dusting. Except . . . she didn't seem to think so. No, Buffy listened to Spike's reasons and, even if she didn't like them, she accepted them. She accepted him. Because Buffy trusted him and he was fighting the good fight now. Angel felt some of his anger deflate, even if the jealous ache didn't. Who was he to say that Spike couldn't be good even though he had a demon? Hadn't he always known that Spike's man was just as strong as the demon? Maybe stronger? It certainly seemed that way of late. And maybe part of that was the soul. Maybe it was false hope, because if Spike could be redeemed maybe Angelus had actually done something— well, not good, but perhaps not entirely bad either. . . and so he let Spike live once again.
(EoaM chapter19 – after Buffy and Angel and possessed by ghosts at Sunnydale High)
He should dust him. The two-faced, tale-carrying, innocence-robbing bastard! The truth? He'd told Buffy the truth? What truth? He could only imagine the things Spike had told Buffy about his time with Angelus. The very thought made him sick. What had it done to Buffy who was still an innocent in so many ways? And Spike had taken that from her. He should dust him for that. Except that Spike had saved Buffy tonight – from him. Angel couldn't believe that he'd nearly shot her. Or that Spike had intervened. He hadn't really noticed at the time, being possessed and all, but later when he'd put the pieces together in his head he almost hadn't been able to believe it. Spike had saved Buffy. He supposed it shouldn't be so surprising now. This was at least the third time the blond menace had saved Buffy's life. The third time. And he was helping her every night. He was her friend, something Angel had never managed to become. And, loathe as Angel was to admit it, Buffy needed him. What was more: she wanted him (as she'd made abundantly clear on multiple occasions, including tonight). She trusted Spike and that hurt in ways Angel couldn't even begin to describe. But he couldn't dust him for that and he couldn't dust him in spite of it . . . not unless he did something new to warrant it.
(EoaM chapter21 – after Buffy offers Spike a chance, and in the months after)
He should dust him. He was a soulless killer and he'd breezed into town and stolen Angel's girl without so much as an apology. It wasn't right, the Slayer and the Slayer of Slayers in a romantic relationship. Spike shouldn't even want it. He wanted to shake the boy and demand to know what had happened to his devotion to Dru. Except that he knew better than to question Spike's love for his sire. Whatever else he might think of Spike, the boy loved more fiercely than anyone he'd ever known. Dru was gone, what right did Angel have to throw her in Spike's face? Especially when Angel had abandoned her decades before, soul and all. Still, it didn't make it any easier to see Buffy and Spike together. Each day they grew closer and Angel knew, even if Buffy did not yet, that it was only a matter of time before she gave her heart to Spike altogether. It was wrong. It wasn't fair. Why should a vampire with no soul have what Angel had been promised? Clearly the Powers That Be had made some sort of mistake. He should dust him and set them all back on the right path. But he couldn't, because Buffy loved him and Angel still loved Buffy – he couldn't hurt her like that. And he knew that Spike's love was real. Knew that it would be enough to keep him on the side of light throughout Buffy's life and probably even longer. That was the way Spike loved. With everything that he was. Knew too that Spike was what Buffy needed. Spike could protect her without making her feel weak. Work alongside the slayer, take care of the girl. Spike would make her happy. And Angel wasn't so sure that he could. So he guessed he wouldn't dust Spike after all . . . maybe he'd never really meant to.
(EoaM chapter21 – as Angel is preparing to leave Sunnydale for good)
241 days of watching them proved to Angel that he'd been right on all counts. They were in love, his love and his grandchilde, and she was happy. And he couldn't get in the way of that. But he couldn't stay around and watch it either. When he told her he was going she smiled sadly, but she didn't try to stop him. The Slayer had found her champion and it wasn't him. Maybe it was time he found his own battles to fight.
A/N: I actually wrote this piece while I was writing EOAM. It's a little different, and there are a lot of very confusing "he" references, which are sometimes referring to Angel and other times Spike. Sorry. Tried it a couple different ways and this is what felt best to me. Hope you enjoyed it. - reenas-as