Author:  Meltha

Rating:  I'd go with R on this one for some odd reason…

Feedback:  Yes, thank you. Melpomenethalia@aol.com

Spoilers:  For Angel season five's "Conviction"

Distribution: Fanfiction.net and the Bunny Warren.  If you're interested, please let me know.

Summary:  Angel reacts to the return of Spike.

Author's Note:  The title?  Is appropriate for more than one reason.  I don't believe I did this…

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Hell Froze Over

"Evacuate the entire floor," Angel growled out, his eyes fixed on the form of Spike that had just emerged from the amulet.  The blond man had collapsed to the floor, apparently insensible, following the end of his screaming. "Now."

"Okay," Harmony said immediately and half-ran from the room, her heels clicking a staccato tempo across the polished floor.  Angel looked angry, and she wasn't that stupid.

"I quite agree," Wesley said firmly.  "We've no idea what's going on.  I shall make certain the only ones who remain are…"

"Me and him.  That's it.  You're out too," Angel shot quickly over his shoulder.

"Angel, man, I don't think that's too smart," Gunn reasoned.  "This dude is dangerous, right, Wes?"

"Indubitably," Wes said, nodding.  "My studies at the Watchers' Institute cite him as being one of the worst, most violent, most formidable vampires to exist in the last five centuries.  You really shouldn't confront him alone, Angel."

Angel took in the shuddering form on the floor, then turned to fully face his co-workers, a glint in his eyes.  "What part of 'now' did you have trouble comprehending?"

"Just a moment," Wesley said, taken aback.  "You have no authority over me at this firm.  You are not my boss."

"No, but this is a family matter," he said in a tone neither Gunn nor Wes had heard since the Darla incident… an incident they couldn't really remember the end of at the moment, not that it was important, they both thought in a strangely automatic tandem.  "Take the day off.  This isn't your concern."

"Okay.  You wanna become Mr. Risky again, I say fine by me.  I'm outta here," Gunn said, a challenge in his eyes as he disappeared through the door.  "You coming, Wes, or you plannin' on arguin' with tall, dark, and damn-near psychotic in there?  Cuz I ain't moppin' up what's left of you afterwards."

 "This is foolish," Wesley snapped,  "but, if you insist on handling this sort of thing alone, then it's your business, Angel.  Call if you need us.  We shant be far."

A few moments later, the door of Angel's office slammed firmly shut, leaving him alone with the trembling, Spike-shaped puddle on the floor.  Three firm steps to the back wall and Angel's coat hung across the lens of the security camera he knew was hidden behind a seam in the paneling.  Tiny, metallic snaps echoed through the room as he systematically went around it, destroying each of the listening bugs that he was perfectly aware were planted in half a dozen places.  A final crunching of metal and the tracking device that Wolfram and Hart had covertly sewn into the collar of his shirt lay on the carpeting, no more than a pile of rough glitter. 

The leather duster against the floor of the office made it look as though Spike was a very large, hapless bat who had wandered into the building, and, unable to find his way out again, had lain down to die.  Aside from the spasms that occasionally wracked his body, no sign of life betrayed him.  Angel glided towards the form, kneeling down beside it, then carefully grasping the head in his hands, lifting it gently from the carpet, looking at the features intently, studying them, noting that the skin was freezing cold.

Then Angel slugged him in the nose for all he was worth, earning a very loud yowl for his trouble.

"You aren't Spike," he shouted at the form.  "Spike is dead!  He was obliterated when Sunnydale collapsed.  You're something the Senior Partners sent to drive me crazy."

A low laugh came from the blond man sprawled on the carpet, echoing oddly in the mostly empty room.

"I won't argue with you about how well that plan would have worked, but it's obvious that the one here who isn't real is you, mate," he coughed, wiping the blood from his nose, still shivering.  "I'm dead, I'm in hell, and I'm stuck here with some fake you.  Only explanation."

Angel stared into the eyes of the other man for a long moment, squinting slightly. 

"You aren't dead," he said slowly.

Spike tilted his head, considering the situation.  "I'm beginning to think I'm not… well, no more so than for the last hundred and twenty-odd years, at any rate.  Last thing I remember is an odd burning sensation and seeing the ceiling collapsing.  What the hell happened?"

Angel was standing stock still about a yard from him, an unreadable expression on his face.  Slowly, a tear formed in the corner of the taller man's eye, running silently down his cheek.

"No," Spike whispered in horror.  "No.  No, she can't be dead."

The dark-haired man shook his head slightly to clear it, and then realized what Spike meant.

"Buffy's okay, Spike.  She's alive and well."

The still-bleeding vampire let out a sigh of relief.  "Niblet?  Xander?  Anya?  Faith? Watcher?  Red?  Rest of the girls?"

"Anya died, and so did a few of the new Slayers, but most of them got out okay," Angel said in a flat voice, and the tear remained unwiped, glistening in the light.

"Sorry to hear about demon-girl.  Liked her I did.  Deserved better than that," Spike said, sitting up wearily against the desk.  "Bloody hell, it's cold in here.  What are you still crying for?"

"You aren't dead," Angel responded automatically, the single thought wedged in his head.

"Sorry to disappoint you so badly with my continued existence that you slip into a sobbing spree," he scoffed. 

"You aren't dead," Angel repeated again.

"Um, yeah, we covered that," Spike said, speaking slowly.  "I'll just get out of your hair… what the blue blazes did you do to that mop, by the way?  I know we don't have reflections, Angel, but even you've got to know that looks stupid."

Angel continued to stare at Spike, and it was at this point that a matching tear fell from his other eye.

"You aren't dead," he said again, with a hitch in his voice.

Spike looked at the strange picture his grandsire made.  "No," he said, without a trace of cynicism.  "No, I'm not."

"You're shivering," Angel realized suddenly.  He quickly went to the couch and pulled a blanket from behind it, one he had stashed there should he ever need to sleep in the office.  Strong arms wrapped around Spike's body, swathing him in the woven wool, pulling it tightly around him.  He found himself being gently lifted from the floor and seated on top of Angel's desk, looking into the deep, autumn brown eyes that were still brimming with unshed tears.  Not only the blanket, but also the arms remained around him.

"You feeling alright?" Spike asked with a bit of surprise.

"What?" Angel said, breaking out of his reverie.  "Oh.  Yeah.  Yeah, I'm fine."

"Good," Spike said, his eyebrow raised.  "Good, glad to hear that."

The arms, Spike noticed with growing amazement, were still there.  Angel, meanwhile, was having a very loud internal conversation with himself.  When he had heard of Spike's demise, no one had seen his reaction.  Buffy told him about it on the phone, never once thinking that the final death of the wisecracking English vampire would have any effect at all on him.  He was glad he had been alone at the time.  After the click of the receiver, an unearthly howling had filled the empty Hyperion until he was so hoarse that his throat bled.  He hadn't expected that reaction from himself.  Spike was the thorn in his side, the epitome of everything that grated on him.  He was evil.  He was unconscionable.  He was ruthless.  He was unwavering.  He was loyal.  He was passionate.  He was beautiful.  He was family.

In that moment, Angel had realized he was perfect:  not perfect in the halo and wings way, but perfect as he was.  And now, he had thought, he was dead.

"But not anymore," Angel said softly.  "Not anymore."

"Not anymore what?" Spike asked, his lip curling into a frown.  "You get a bump to the head recently?"

"Shut up," he said without any anger.  His eyes closed slightly as he looked at the younger vampire so close to him.  "So beautiful…"

Spike's eyes opened very wide for a moment.  Angel hadn't looked at him that way in more than a century, not since that night in Romany, long after Darla and Drusilla had fallen asleep upstairs -- that night with the wine and the soft clopping of horse hoofs from the cobbled street outside and the taste of dark, cream-filled chocolates fed to each other before the blazing fire in the hearth. 

"Angel?"  he asked carefully.

"I made you bleed," the other man said quietly, drawing one hand up to the chiseled face of his lover from so long ago, his fingertip lightly touching the red stain on his lips. 

"Don't," Spike said suddenly, trembling from another reason besides the cold as he pulled back as far as he could.  "Don't do this to me.  Not if you don't mean it."

"Who said I don't?" Angel asked with a smile as he played teasingly with the other man's lips, running his finger over them lightly before closing the distance between them and sealing the mouth against his own, moving achingly slowly, licking the last remnants of blood away and nearly fainting dead away at the taste that he hadn't had on his tongue since years started in eighteen.  Spike had stayed motionless at first, but at length he responded, surrendering, pressing himself closer to the massive chest in front of him.  A pair of low groans broke the silence, harmonizing in perfect accord.

Even when neither one of the participants needs to breath, a kiss must eventually end.  Spike lurched backward suddenly, almost as though he had been burned, glaring at Angel.

"What kind of mind game are you playing here, pet?" he asked bitterly.  "Your soul…"

"Is right where it's supposed to be, just like yours," he answered, drawing a heart languidly across the smaller man's chest.  "And it's not going to leave any time soon."

"Right then," Spike said, hiding his hurt at the rejection that had slipped so easily from the vampire's lips.  "I'll be going."

"No, you won't," Angel said commandingly.  "I thought you were dead.  I'm not about to lose you again."

"Yeah, well, I thought you were dead for about a century, so now you know how it feels a bit," Spike countered.  "I'm not about to stick around and torture myself by being near you.  Not after this.  I couldn't stand it."

Angel's face scrunched in confusion, then the obvious conclusion dawned across his mind, and he began to laugh.  It started as a small giggle, but quickly grew into a voluminous belly laugh that had the older vampire shaking so hard that he actually let go of his prize to clasp his hands to his stomach in near pain.

It wasn't until he realized that Spike was halfway across the room that he abruptly stopped laughing and grabbed the leather sleeve as it shot past him, spinning the blue eyes to meet his, suspiciously moist blue eyes that he could tell in an instant had misunderstood the reason for his mirth.

"No, Will," he said apologetically.  "No, I wasn't laughing at you.  No, it wasn't a game.  It's just… you're so completely wrong, Will."

An eyebrow rose at the use of the name he hadn't heard in so long.  "What wrong?  If you're happy, the soul leaves."

"Not going to happen," Angel said, pulling Spike closer to him, enfolding his slighter body with his own as he rested his large hands on his grandchilde's shoulders, insistently pushing the leather from lean, well-muscled shoulders.  "You're still so cold.  Let me warm you."

Spike bit his lip and shook his head.  "No, pet.  Much as I'd like this to happen, I'm not going to go through this again.  I'm not going to make love to someone who doesn't love me.  If I can't make you happy enough to lose the soul, if it's not perfect for you, then I'd rather not torture myself."

"Oh, my sweet, sweet William," Angel breathed out as he nuzzled the hand that rested on his chest.  "No.  Part of the deal I made with Wolfram and Hart was that my soul be anchored to me permanently.  Now I know that it worked.  If it hadn't, Angelus would have returned the moment I knew you were alive."

Spike blinked at him in shock.  "You… just that would have been enough for you to lose it?"

"Yes," he said honestly.  "Just finding out that I could see your face again."  A grin slowly curled his lips.  "Of course, I'd really like to see a lot more than your face at the moment, Will."

Spike's duster finally slid free of his arms.  He felt cool hands pulling at the fabric of his T-shirt, and a smile lit his face.

"Same here," he purred, loosening the buttons of Angel's shirt and kissing each inch of skin he revealed.  "Say, Angel?"

"Hmm?" replied the other man, who was currently running his hands up the newly bared back of his lover.

"You're sure I'm not dead?" he asked, giving a mock-concerned look.

"Oh, I'd say all systems are responding, so yeah, I'm sure," he declared with a smirk.  "Why?"

"Cause this sure looks like heaven to me," he said trailing a hand along the back of Angel's neck. "Except for the hair."

Angel rolled his eyes.  "Shut up, Spike."

"Make me."

And, for the next six hours, that's precisely what Angel did.