Title: Misanthropy in Moscow
Author: Anna
Rating: PG-15ish
Pairing: Angelus/Spike
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Distribution: SU, Soulmates, Soulless, anyone who has archived mine before; anyone else, please ask first.
Feedback: Yes please!
Notes: Written in reply to a challenge: "A snow storm. Reconciliation." 1000 words or less. This is 997.
Summary: Angelus broods about Spike.

The snow lay thick over the city. Angelus felt the cold, despite his cold blood. The late autumn in Moscow was a time when even the undead piled logs on the fire and wrapped up in cashmere. The white glare dazzled his eyes unused to daylight. Sleep would not come today. He stood by the shaded window, his hair loose and dishevelled, his fine woollen robe trailing on the thick carpet behind. He knew he cut quite the forbidding figure. He felt like it. He glowered out at the glistening snow. This was no time for the world to look so pretty.

The streets were not for hunting this weather. Far better to go to supper and leave with guests who would never be seen again, and move on, in a few days, by train to Warsaw. From there they could travel south to Belgrade, then to Athens, and be in Cairo by Christmas. That was his plan. But now the boy, that young thing forever like a blister on the tip of his tongue, like a fingernail torn just below the skin line, the boy was missing.

He was usually a genial sort of fellow, thought Angelus to himself. Misanthropy was not in his nature, he enjoyed other people too much. Now the thought of company rankled, but he knew that if he wanted to eat he would have to go to supper tonight in the company of the usual wealthy Muskovites. He would have to endure the conversation of playwrights, novelists, painters, the usual supper fare of the liberal aristocracy. He shuddered at the thought. He imagined himself snapping, and killing every one if them while gorging himself on their insipid blood. He would need at least a dozen to feel full at all.

That boy could put him into such a rage. He had been gone for almost a week now, just gone. Vanished. Not a word to Dru, and certainly not to Darla. And none to him.

Angelus shook his head at the snow. The clouds moving in from the west echoed his mood, black and heavy, low over the rooftops. It looked like snow, but then, that was hardly new. He thought Moscow would be interesting, lively, glittering in the sumptuous world of the Tsars. It had turned out to be no different from any other city he had visited over the past century. Cairo, he thought, Cairo would be interesting.

Angelus sighed an uncharacteristic sigh. Instead of having the servants pack the trunks and heave them to the train station he had to stay here, in the cold, and wait for the boy. The thought of leaving without him had occurred, but he dismissed it, knowing, as he did so, that his reasons were merely excuses. He was simply not leaving without the boy.

He turned and looked at Darla's gentle form on the bed. Goosedown kept no heat in, but kept out the cold. He had thrown more wood onto the glowing fire, and now it crackled and spat with new yellow flame. It was not yet as hot as he should like, though. He considered another effort to sleep, but dismissed it. He thought of her small, beautiful body curled into his, but he knew it was not what he really wanted.

Perhaps he would find a scullery maid to kill before sunset.

He closed the door gently behind him, and made his way quietly down the stairs. He found the drawing room perfectly appointed, with coal in the coal scuttle and a blazing fire, the gas lamps burning low and hissing gently in the silence, but no scullery maid. Not a scent of one. Quite at a loss and almost aching with boredom, Angelus stood at the fire and watched the images in the flames.

One image. Damn him.

He felt the evening grow darker and heavier on the other side of the glass behind him, but he did not turn to look. He leaned a hand on the high mantelpiece and felt the fire's heat soak into his flesh. He closed his eyes and watched the light flicker through his eyelids.

He was in a state almost trancelike when he heard the movement in the main hallway. He paid little heed, so engrossed was he in feeling the heat. If some prey were to wander his way, he would take advantage. If not, well, all the more reason for a massacre at supper.

And so it was one of those rare occasions when Spike managed to surprise him.

"Looks like snow, eh?" Spike stomped dirty snow onto the expensive carpet. He cocked his head cheerfully. "Least I could run through the streets, though."

Angelus turned, his eyes glittering like obsidian. Spike threw his overcoat nonchalantly over the back of an armchair.

"You miss me then?" he said, his chin jutting forward in a way that infuriated Angelus. He took a brash step forward. "I think you did. I reckon that's why you're moping around in front of this fire looking at me all scary like that."

Angelus did not move a muscle, not a blink. A few more steps and Spike stood directly in front of him, his shirt open almost to the navel despite the cold.

"Storm's coming," said Spike. "Can't go out tonight. How will we entertain ourselves, hmm? Any ideas?" He licked his lips almost unthinkingly. Angelus watched the movement, entranced now with the real thing, not some phantom in the flames.

He growled when Spike moved closer still, their bodies mere inches away now.

Spike tilted his head.

"Yeah?" he said softly.

Angelus gritted his teeth.

"You left. Again," he said menacingly.

"I did," replied Spike.

"I made it clear. You don't leave." Threat grated in his throat like gravel.

"You did," said Spike, smiling. "But I left, and now I'm back. And what are you going to do about it, eh?"

There was nothing Angelus could do but succumb. There never was.