Chapter 3

Angelus ran through the rooms in a blur, looking desperately for an escape. There was no way he wanted to stick around after the Lindsey and Fred incidents.

Not being able to lie to or maim anyone…this had to be someone's twisted idea of a cruel joke! Well, either a cruel joke or justice. In any case, he had absolutely no intention of letting anyone else catch up and humiliate him.

A window. Straight ahead. Angelus's face lit up with a grin. Freedom!

And once I'm out of this hell hotel, I'm going to get as far away from this inferno city as I can…He needed to find a way to remove the hex. That was just all there was to it. And he did happen to know a few certain magic-dealers and shamans who might be able to help…all he had to do was word it right.

And hope they didn't ask too many questions.

Can't hurt people, can't even talk right…this is almost as bad as being trapped inside of Angel!

There, too, Angelus was powerless to act on his whims. Still conscious, still fully aware…if there was anything that could truly be said to frighten him, it was the thought of being imprisoned inside his alter ego again. It was a fate by far worse than death.

Without bothering to even slow his pace, Angelus sprang into the window…and ricocheted off an invisible barrier in a shower of glass. He flew back full force and put a generous dent in the wall of the little bedroom he was now occupying.

Angelus leapt to his feet cursing, shards of bloody glass dropping from his clothes. I can't even leave the hotel? What kind of cruel and unusual punishment is this? His eyes settled on his bloody hands, and he frowned. Blood on his hands was no fun when it was his own. The cuts stung only a little, just enough to annoy him.

But he was left with no more time to ponder, as at that very instant the door flew open and Spike pranced in, grinning like a schoolboy who had just been asked on a date by the prettiest girl in town.

" You! Go away! I don't want to see you right now! " Angelus growled, mustering up his most dangerous, evil tone. His eyebrows furrowed and he drew his lips back into a snarl, revealing his gleaming fangs.

" That right, mate? " Spike laughed. He positioned himself right in front of the doorway. " What are you trying to do? Scare me away because you can't tell a lie or get all rough-like with me? "

" Yes! " Angelus snorted indignantly, " I was hoping to bluff you…get out of the doorway."

Spike smirked. " Oh, and why should I? "

Angelus backed away slowly, retreating to the most distant corner of the room. He knew Spike well enough to know the other vampire wasn't going to cooperate. Still...he had to answer the question. Even if it killed him.

" Because I don't want to have to sit here and tell the truth about every l…l…" Angelus gave up trying to get the word out "…thing you ask! "

" Any other reason? " Spike purred.

Angelus made a face. " I don't want the others to catch up with me. Willow's going to put my soul back."

Spike was unmoved. " And why should I care about that? "

" It would be nice. " Angelus tried lamely. He was running out of truthful reasons other than the fact he didn't want to be everyone's laughing stock and re-souled to boot. This was his worse nightmare. And there was no escape in sight.

Spike crossed his arms, totally enjoying. " Well, I'm not nice now, am I? "

Angelus snarled. " No! You certainly aren't! What can I say to make you go away? "

Spike put a hand to his chin, as if mulling it over. " Hmm…nothing." He rubbed his hands together, " But enough with the small talk, Big Bad." He laughed when he said the words 'Big Bad', " Let's get down to the raw facts. What do you hate most of all? "

Angelus lost no time," This curse! It's fair! It's what I deserve! It's….horrible from my perspective. How would you like to be under this spell? "

Spike shook his head. " This isn't about me, Peaches. It's about you. Tell me, what do you think of the fact that I've killed two slayers so far while you bagged a big fat zero? "

" Hey! I was playing it safe! " Angelus's eyes flashed with fury, " I like to tell myself you just got lucky. The truth is, I don't even know for sure what went on. I wasn't there. I wish I had been, though." Angelus could not stop the next few words, " I'm jealous. I wish I could've killed Buffy. Or turned her."

" Really? " Spike's smile lit up the room, " And why didn't you kill Buffy, exactly? "

Angelus's growl was positively feral. " That redheaded witch restored my soul before I could! And Buffy was besting me anyway, towards the end. Angel took over. I told him to kill Buffy but Angel's no fun. He never listens to me. And he really does love her."

Angelus clamped his hands over his mouth. Ok, what is with more information slipping by? The curse only caused him to answer the question truthfully, it didn't force him to say anything else even remotely relevant.

Spike's smirk evaporated. If he has been under a truth spell, he would've said--'So do I!' But instead, all he did was frown.

Angelus laughed. " Oh, did I touch a nerve? "

" Not as in the same way I'm going to…" Spike's sentence was cut off when Lindsey burst through the door, stake in hand.

Spike tore it away from him in a hurry. " Hello, who are you? "

It only took Lindsey a second to figure out what Spike was. " I…I'm just an old friend of Angelus's. Look, instead of bothering with the formalities, why don't we just have fun with him? "

" Sounds good to me." The new voice belonged to Buffy. She was followed in by Cordelia, Connor, and Willow.

" No! It doesn't sound good to me! " Angelus whined, causing everyone to snicker.

" So, it's true then." Buffy grinned, " The big bad Angelus tamed by a spell."

" I hate this spell." Angelus muttered darkly. By now, his face had returned to normal, and he had given up all hope of trying to scare them away or escape. All he could do was brace himself. He knew what was coming.

" You would." Willow giggled.

Buffy glanced around the room and smiled. " What say we have a little fun with him before Willow does the soul thing? "

" Yes! " They all agreed.

" No!" Angelus pleaded, " You wouldn't be this brave without this curse! " His statement was duly ignored.

" I'll go first." Buffy purred, sitting down on the little bed and looking straight at him, " Tell me…does Angel love me? "

Angelus bit his tongue, trying to deny her the inevitable answer.

He could not. Right on cue, his mouth flew open and the words spilled out, " Of course Angel loves you! That's why I want to kill you! " He turned his hateful glare to Cordy, " Angel loves you, too, so I want to kill you too! " He pointed to Lindsey, " And you…you just make me mad. I don't like you. But I don't blame you for hating Angel, the wimp."

Lindsey only grinned; leaning back into the wall right next to Spike. " I do my best."

Angelus couldn't resist. " I enjoyed cutting off your hand, by the way."

Lindsey gave him a poisonous look. " Hey!"

" You just love asking me personal questions, don't you! " Angelus snapped, addressing the whole group, " Why don't you all go out and kill demons…you do a very b…good job. Leave me alone."

" But that's no fun." Buffy scolded.

Then Angelus thought of something mean to say that actually happened to be true. Never taking his eyes off of Buffy, he said, " So, Buff. Why couldn't you save Miss Calendar? I mean, you're always saving the day…why couldn't you save her? "

Buffy made a face. He's playing rough, fine. Two can play at this game… " Why couldn't you kill me? " She threw back, knowing that, unlike her, he would have to reply.

It was Angelus's turn to make a face. " Like I was telling that…British…vampire over there…" he jabbed a finger at Spike, " I got my soul back too soon! That, plus the fact that you were doing a very good job of holding your own. You really surprised me when you flipped that sword up into my chin. Of course, I shouldn't have been holding it that way…" Angelus shut up.

" Hey, I've got one." Connor injected, " My mother…did she really hate me like you said? Did she kill herself because of me? "

Angelus slapped a hand to his face. " Much as it sickens me, no--Darla didn't really hate you--she loved you. She told Angel you were the one good thing they ever did together. She staked herself in order to save you, not because she was disgusted with you. Though I'm disgusted with you."

" You're breaking my heart." Connor fibbed.

" Why did you kill my fish? " Willow demanded, her voice soft and innocent.

Angelus grinned. " That was fun. I knew it'd get to you."

Cordelia turned and headed out of the room. " I guess I'd better find everyone else." She said over her shoulder.

Hardly anyone noticed her departure anyway.

Angelus was much more interesting.

Spike laughed. " Playing with Willow now, are we? Did you know she turned evil, flayed a guy, and almost destroyed world recently? "

Angelus's eyes widened. " No, I…Willow flayed a guy?! " He looked at Willow in a new light, " I never would have thought Willow would be the type to…do something like that." He winked at her. " What do you know? Willow's got a dark side. Stay away from me. "

Willow looked embarrassed. " Yeah, well, actually I…hey! Let's not make this about me. You're the one with the truth-telling."

Angelus frowned. " Unfortunately."

Willow grinned. " You afraid of me? "

" Definitely." Angelus muttered. He was about to say more, then stopped. He was already bored with this game. But without the power to harm them, well…what could he do?

And It didn't look like they'd be leaving until they had their fun. How could he get by them all to get away?

The answer was simple: he couldn't. And with no escape…

Wesley, Fred, Gunn, and Lorne came spilling in just then; choking the already-congested small room. Now they were all practically shoulder-to-shoulder…talk about a tight squeeze.

" Hello, what is this? " Angelus growled, " Does everyone enjoy tormenting me? It's crowded in here! "

Nobody could argue with that.

Spike was sandwiched between Willow and Lindsey in one of the most uncomfortable positions known to man or beast. Wesley could barely breath. Willow was starting to think she was going to have to do a spell to make the room larger or something. Fred, Gunn, and Lorne had to push by and try to crowd on the bed next to Buffy.

Angelus pressed tightly into his corner like a wild animal put on display at the zoo. He couldn't remember a time he'd been more humiliated.

" So, can't hurt anyone, can you? Tell me, how do you feel about that? " Wesley giggled.

Angelus grimaced. " I HATE it! I hate it and you all know it! If I could hurt people, I would be fighting past you and trying to escape because there are too many of you! "

After a moment of snickering had passed, Fred asked, " Does Angel care about us? "

Angelus muttered darkly. " It depends on what you mean by 'us'. Lindsey and Spike, no. Everyone else, yes."

" Aw, how sweet." Willow purred.

Angelus slammed his head back against the wall. " I don't like doing this! Please, just do the spell and trap me inside of Angel again. This is one of the worst things that's ever happened to me. I'd rather be Angel! If there's any good left at all in any of you…and I know there is…don't do this anymore! " The others grinned, and Angelus sighed. " Of course, by saying that, it's a safe wager I just made you want to do it all the more. After all, you all figure I deserve it, and I do."

" Bingo." Buffy laughed.

" Truer words were never spoken." Wesley teased.

Angelus snarled at that. " You all just love this! As long as you don't have to tell the truth…"

" They say the truth will set you free." Fred added helpfully.

" Or get you into loads of trouble." Angelus moaned, " Make you all a deal: you just quit asking me all these questions I don't want to answer and…"

" Now why would we want to do that? " Gunn pointed out.

Angelus wrinkled his nose. " You wouldn't, but…"

" Should we even be listening to you at all right now? " Buffy probed.

" No." Angelus confessed, " I'll I'm going to do is whine and carry on and try to get you to leave me alone."

" Can you actually make us a fair deal? " Lorne wondered.

Once again, Angelus shook his head. " Of course I can't make you a fair deal! Look at the position I'm in…I can't do much of anything right now!"

Gunn smiled. " We rest our case."

The group asked Angelus a whole host of private and personal questions, to which he had to admit he was wrong about this or that or how someone else had gotten the best of him. But the session was short-lived, as everyone knew they really needed to get Angel back and stop the whole rain-of-fire and blot-out-the-sun deals as soon as possible.

So it was with a bit of regret…and much relief on Angelus's part…when Willow at last performed the spell that would restore Angel's soul.

Angelus's eyes lit up with a golden light as the last of the rite was complete.

Buffy smiled. " Angel? "

Angel shook his head a bit, trying to clear his mind. He looked at Buffy and smiled pleasantly. He opened his mouth to speak. " I'm not Angel. I'm still Angelus."

Buffy's eyes widened and she drew back quickly, looking to Willow.

The red-headed witch shrugged. " Everything was working perfectly, I…I don't know what could've went wrong…"

Angel looked horrified by his onslaught of words.

" Buffy, I…the spell w…." He could barely get the 'w' out, " the spell didn't work." Pleadingly, he locked eyes with her. Then, in the softest, most tender tone, he said, " I hate you." It did not sound at all like he hated her.

Everyone just stared, on the brink of laughter.

At that instant, Fred knew what had happened. " Willow's spell! " She piped suddenly, smiling, " It worked perfectly, but…Angelus's curse…where he couldn't tell a lie? Maybe Willow's magic somehow reversed it. Now Angel can't tell the truth!"

Wesley shook his head, " I hate to think what that would mean about the no-hurting charm…"

Angel looked slapped a hand to his face. " I can't hurt anyone! People, it's alright to get close to me! " Though Angel could not tell the truth about anything, he could still shake his head. He was shaking it as he spoke.

Willow's expression was priceless. " Um…okay." She said, trying her hardest not to laugh, " Hang in there, Angel. I'll see what I can do."

" Don't do that." Angel blurted, " I like this, and it's not a curse. I lie all the time! In fact, I have never spoken the truth about anything. I want to kill everyone."

All at once, everyone slapped a hand to their face.

" Sure you do." Fred laughed, " And my name's Harriet Tubman."

" It is! " Angel fibbed. He was feeling very depressed.

Watching from upstairs, Coredelia slapped a hand to her face and muttered, " Oh boy."

Would this day ever end?