Firstly my apologies, my original version had no disclaimer and no summary. Also thanks to the person who pointed out an error. This has now been rectified. Umm...yes, it is the first time I've posted a story. How did you guess??

Disclaimer: Not mine. Joss's and ME's. Hope they don't mind me playing with them. I'll give them all back at the end.

Summary: Some memories are sweet others can be killers, as Spike is finding out. No need to tell Angel this, he already knows.

Chapter 1

Remember Me

Roused to consciousness by the screaming pain in his arms, soaked in the stench of his own blood and looking at the stumps where his hands should be had been...shocking. But, in the end, nothing that couldn't be fixed by Filthdamned & Tart, as Spike affectionately liked to think of Eve and the rest of her merry crew.

No, it wasn't that which sent him reeling with horror and spiralling into darkness.

Since his soul he'd had to admit that there was a lingering sense of regret at no longer being able to revel in havoc and mayhem. When you came right down to it, it had been bloody entertaining. Yeah, bloody in the literal sense of the word. He was no Angelus. He hadn't been in it for the artistry of torturing and breaking people. All he'd wanted was a bit of fun.

Now he'd been forced to face the cost of that sort of fun. And discovered it was more than he could afford to pay.

Sure, the girl and her family were not his victims but, so what? Many others were.

Just because evil was a by-product rather than his intention, it didn't necessarily make him less evil. Hell, at least Angelus had the grace to recognise his victims as people and had given them his full attention. You have to know a person before you can truly break them. It is indeed an art.

Spike's brand of casual cruelty celebrated his exuberant joy in the act, rather than satisfaction in the reactions of those who suffered at his hands. He negated their very existence by treating them as so much flotsam and jetsam.

These thoughts were new and unnatural to him. They spun around his head as he tried to drop into a healing sleep. When he did sleep it was far from restful. Old memories were dredged up and for the first time his victims became people instead of merely food and playthings. The careless glee he had found in such violence sickened him and this horror was compounded because bloody violence still thrilled him. It was seductive. He needed it. Yeah, lets go out and kill something!

How does a good soul come to terms with that?

The nurses would find blood soaking through the sheets as he unconsciously tore at his bandages and clawed into his wounds. The fragile knitting of bones fractured as he tried to remove his own hands.

"You need to sleep, Spike." Angel said and for once there was no edge in his voice.

"Sleep? They haunt me, you know? It's not sleep. It's a night out of hell...retribution. They tell me she was right, if I don't have hands I can never touch anyone again."

"Do you remember how it used to be, Angelus? Cutting off hands? Fountains of blood showering on to your face, so warm and sweet. So much fun. We deserve damnation. Hero? Redemption? Shanshu? Maybe you. Maybe you've managed to earn it. But me? Never. They tell me I deserve to suffer and they're right, I do." His voice was a tired whisper of its normal mocking, ironic tone.

"Yes. You do."

Angel was determined not to feel pity. He and Spike were the same and Spike deserved no more pity than he gave himself. Then he sighed because pity wasn't about what others deserved it was about what he was able to give. Looking at this man, with his hollowed out face, haunted eyes and a body with barely the strength to raise itself from the pillow, Angel found it within him to feel compassion even for this 'thing' he loathed.

"We'll find a way to help you, Spike."

Spike gave a lift of an eyebrow, some attempt at normality, "Help me? You going soft in your old age, Peaches?"

Sometimes Angel could almost admire the younger vampire's bravado. But on the whole it just irritated the hell out of him.

***

"He's not healing." Angel told them during their morning meeting.

"He needs blood and he needs sleep, that's all." Wesley replied.

"He's getting blood and then losing it all. He hurts himself in his sleep." Fred chipped in.

"So it's sleeping that's the problem, that's when he starts tearing shreds out of himself." Gunn assessed.

"I hope you're not suggesting we remove anyone's sleep, Sweetcheeks." Lorne shuddered dramatically.

"Oh man, no. I'm with you there...really am. I meant what happens when he sleeps. Why does he do it?"

"The girl thought Spike was the man who tortured her. She was so broken."

Broken beyond hope of repair, Angel privately thought, but Andrew had effectively taken the matter out of his hands. Authorised by Buffy herself. And there was a track he wasn't yet prepared to travel.

"Anyway, the accusation brought back old memories and cast them in a different light. He'd never really considered his victims before. He didn't know them, had no attachment to them, so they didn't count. From what he says, when he sleeps he's seeing everything from their point of view. On top of the shock of having his hands cut off and being so weak physically, it's too much for him."

"So it's not actually the sleep that's the problem, is it?" Wesley asked.

Fred immediately caught on.

"No. No, it's the memories." She said slowly. "Which means that if we..."

"Removed the memories." Wesley continued.

"Then he should sleep like a little old baby." Fred finished triumphantly and shared a smile with Wesley.

"Remove his memories? Are you sure?" Angel frowned.

"Obviously this would be short term memory removal, you understand. Once he's recovered physically he'll be better able to fight mentally."

"Uh...so what...you just select the memories you want to remove?" Angel asked.

"No. It's really not a selective procedure and his memories of hunting and killing go so far back we would be removing most of his life anyway. No, I think it would be for the best if we wiped them completely."

"You can do that?"

"I don't see why not, there are any number of methods we could use."

Angel considered the proposal. Part of him wanted to protest, 'Why should he have a break? I've spent a hundred years living with this torment, when did anyone ever give me a damned break?'

Instead he just nodded.

"Ok. Do it. I'll leave it up to you and Fred to decide the best way."

"Uh...Angel?" Fred said hesitantly. Angel raised his brows.

"He'll need to be cared for, you know, whilst he's healing."

"The place he's in..."

"Is fine when he's himself, all souled and memory having. But how does a vampire with no memory behave? He might try to do something in his confusion. He needs someone who is strong enough to handle him."

"He's so weak anyone could handle him." Angel protested.

"Yes, that's true but he's going to recover his strength before he recovers his memories. I mean that is the point, isn't it?"

Angle could see exactly where this was leading and was determined to cut off that train of thought pretty damn quick.

"He is not staying with me."

***

Later that day another bed was installed in Angel's apartment and Spike was wheeled in, under Fred and Wesley's supervision. Angel sighed really, really loudly but they didn't appear to hear. He sulked whilst Spike pouted.

"You should have consulted me, I do have a view on this you know and my view is I'm not bloody staying with him!"

"Yes, quite." Agreed Wesley. "You should be allowed to do what you want."

"Too right." Spike replied, confusion written all over his face at having the ex-watcher on side.

"So please, feel free to walk away if our arrangements are not to your liking."

Angel smirked as the blonde vampire struggled to support his weight on his elbows. And failed.

"You know, Percy? You're a complete wanker." Spike complained as he flopped gracelessly back down.

Angel and Wesley lifted him on to the bed.

"If it makes you feel any better, I really don't want you here. It depresses me just thinking about it." Angel told him.

"Really? You're not just saying that?"

"Oh, go away, Spike."

"Would if I could, Braintrust."

"Will you two please cut it out? This is for your own good, Spike. And Angel if you could stop sulking, it is most unbecoming in a man...vampire of your years."

"You realise he'll probably murder me in my sleep?"

"Spike!" Wesley felt as though he was dealing with a couple of bickering brats.

Angel took the opportunity to lean over the blonde and whisper softly.

"Murder you in your sleep? Where's the fun in that? No. I'd wait until you were wide awake and weak and helpless as a kitten and then I'd..."

"Watcher! Make him stop!"

"Angel! Will you please refrain from teasing him."

"You're gonna be alright, Spike." Fred said in her soothing drawl. "We're all gonna look after you. And you know Angel wouldn't hurt you."

"Yeah. Right."

"You're family. I know families, you may spit and claw like two cats a in sack but there's always an undercurrent, there's always love."

"Hey! No love here!" Angel protested and then a shadow crossed his face as he realised what he'd said.

Huh. Out of the mouths of babes and idiots...certainly no love here.

Andrew had made it clear that Buffy thought he was untrustworthy, possibly even evil, Cordelia may have loved him but she was dead to the world, Darla was gone, Dru wanted her daddy, Penn was dust, Spike made fun of him...oh and tried to kill him and Connor hated him...oh and tried to kill him.

No, these thoughts were just too painful. He forced his mind blank.

Spike missed the brooding expression and just rolled his eyes at Angel's indignant response.

"Doesn't work quite that way with vampire families, luv. Does it, Granddad?"

Thoughts of Penn, Darla and Drusilla hung heavy in the air between them.

Wesley cleared his throat and tried to smooth the awkward moment.

"They were evil and Angel had no choice. You're a good man, Spike."

He found to his surprise that he actually believed his own words. This strange vampire had put Fred's life before his own eternal damnation and that counted for just about everything in his book.

Contrary as ever, Spike wanted to protest, tell them he was bad to the core. Take cover in old, well-used posturing but what was the point? He couldn't fool himself, he couldn't fool them and to be truthful he wasn't sure if even wanted to. He didn't know what he was anymore. He fought the good fight that used to be Angel's before he sold out. He had a seer and helped the helpless. He'd saved the world and been called a hero. But he didn't feel like one. A bad man trying to do good was the best he could say of himself.

He realised that he did need respite from the continuous circles of his thoughts. They'd carved grooves so deep it was impossible for him to think of anything else and like a scratched record he was always jumping back to the same point and replaying the same old track. Some good, solid sleep, then he'd be able to think clearly about all this crap.

"So. How does this mojo work then?"

Wesley had just started to discuss it with Angel and he turned to include him as well.

"As I was saying, there are a number of ways to do this. We decided against the more common 'tabula rasa' crystal method as it can be unpredictable..."

"Tell me about it. Bloody witches." Spike snarked.

"Yes...well." Wesley smoothed over Spike's outburst, not knowing the source of it and not wanting to get side tracked.

"Anyway, we have chosen a word based spell. We set it up and a word will take the memories away, when we decide its finished then we dismantle the spell. The advantage of this is that if the memories start to seep back before you're ready we won't have to start the spell again. We just say the word and it will give you another period of trouble free rest."

"So the memories return naturally? How long will he have before they return?" Angel asked.

"With a normal human ten days to a fortnight. A vampire? Considerably shorter I would guess, given your general immunities and accelerated rates of recovery."

"OK. And what can we expect when the spell takes effect?"

"Well, the memory wipe will be complete. He'll be equivalent to a newborn baby and will learn in much the same fashion. However, his ability to learn will be greatly enhanced as his muscles, motor skills and co- ordination are already fully developed. Then gradually his memories will return"

"A newborn baby! I don't bloody think..."

"Spike. Do you want to be able to rest or not?" Angel asked.

"Oh frigging hell...just do whatever you have to." Spike laid back and for the first time in 126 years felt curiously powerless, as though it was out of his hands, not his responsibility. It was unexpectedly comforting.

He closed his eyes and waited.