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Angel stewed.

It wasn't like brooding at all, he had discovered. Brooding didn't have any smoldering anger. When brooding you didn't fondle a sword. When brooding, your friends didn't back slowly away from you.

What few friends he had left, that is.

This new office that Spike had found was nice—a step down from Wolfram and Hart, but since he and Spike had blown the office to a million pieces and slaughtered the senior partners, Angel didn't think there would be any going back.

Spike came sauntering into the lobby, grinning. Since the lobby was Angel's domain, he thought it was hardly fair that his old enemy and new boss was allowed to saunter her.

"What?" asked Angel sharply. He wasn't good at sauntering anyway.

"It's Lindsey—"

"No, no, when I say what, I don't meant tell me what's going on. I mean, tell me why you're sauntering in here and looking at me instead of solving it yourself. You're the Champion, not me!"


"I'm not the boss!" Growled Angel.

Spike swaggered past Angel. "Hey,where's Illyria? She's usually more charming than you, anyway. Morefun."

"She's hunting for Lindsey, who ran off AGAIN."

Spike sighed, sitting down. "Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey. I am getting sick of the ponce. You used to do this job for money?"

"We'll need money, otherwise we'll have to resort to stealing to pay the bills—not that you'd have a problem with that, huh?"said Angel bitterly.

Spike shrugged. "Seems wrong, charging for saving a life."

Angel sighed, staring at the other vampire. "Oh, we're ethical now, are we?"

"Ethics have nothing to do with it. It's I suppose you don't care about that, eh? We'll all have to get day jobs, I imagine. Make ends meet."

Angel shook his head, glancing around. "This is insane," he muttered. "You, lecturing us on right and wrong."

Spike shrugged. "Unique, that's the word you're looking for. Now—?" He glanced to Angel, quizzical. Angel had let out a gasp of breath, a pained gasp, and Spike knew what it meant instantly."Vision?"

Angel squeezed his eyes shut, clutching his head. "Yes," he said shortly, trying to make sense of what he'd just seen. His eyes popped open. "It's Buffy, and she's here."

"In LA?" asked Spike.

"Downstairs,"replied Angel, already jumping up and running for the door. Spike reached it at the same moment, grabbing his shoulder, and they froze in the doorway, struggling to push the other out of the way.

"She's in trouble!" growled Angel, finally breaking the stalemate. Spike pushed through with a sudden burst of strength, running flatout for the stairs. He dove forward, diving down the stairs to land at the bottom with a crash and roll to his feet. Angel jumped feetfirst, landing where Spike had landed.

Spike was already up and moving towards the door. Outside they could hear the sounds of a struggle.

Spike kicked the door open, slamming it into Buffy's back and knocking her down. Angel leapt through the open door, slamming into the demon Buffy had been fighting.

Spike followed him, and between the two of them they managed to wale the demon to the ground. They were panting hard, and just about finished, when Gunn, who'd been upstairs resting, stumbled down the stairs, holding a crossbow. He was bandaged about ten ways from Sunday, but still had enough energy left to look very menacing.

For short periods of time.

"Oh," he said, disappointed, lowering his crossbowand leaning against the wall behind him.He glanced to Buffy, who was dusting herself off.

"What's going on?" she asked, surprised.

Angel and Spike exchanged a short glance. "Thought you were in trouble," said Spike.

"Well, I was," she said. "But...Spike? You're not dead, huh?"

"Uh, yeah. Got better," he said, sniffing almost haughtily. He glanced at Angel, and grinned smugly. "Got a little surprise for you."

Buffy pressed a hand to her forehead. "Right, sure." She sighed heavily, clearly perturbed with Spike's reappearance.

"What are you doing?" asked Angel.

"Mentally going over the different ways I'm going to kick Andrew's butt. I knew he was hiding something from me. I hear there was an Apocalypse here."

Spike glanced to Angel. "We handled it."

"Right, you handled it." Buffy seemed resigned to Spike's presence, without too much histrionics. This was not the reaction either vampire had expected.

"Are you all right?" asked Angel.

"Well, how am I supposed to take this!" asked Buffy angrily, her green eyes flashing. "Spike's alive, and nobody bothered to tell me? He's been here, helping you? What few parts of my life made sense, don't."

Spike cleared his throat. "Was that why you came here? Because of the Apocalypse?" he asked.

"I came because I heard that Angel broke it off with Wolfram and Hart," said Buffy, after a short silence. She crossed her arms, looking at Angel. "If you're back on our side, we'd like you to help us open an LA branch of Watchers."

Spike cleared his throat, crossing his arms. "Watchers?" he asked, his voice low.

Angel fidgeted, seeing where this was going. "Buffy, that may not be the best idea..." he muttered.

Buffy rolled her eyes. "This city is just steeped in evil—we need to fight it."

"This city is my responsibility," said Spike. Buffy raised an eyebrow, glancing to Angel. "If you want to move Watchers in, then we're going to have to get a few ground rules set up, right here and right now."

"Your city?" asked Buffy. "Excuse me? Maybe you didn't get the memo about Angel being the Champion of good and all that stuff. I think that gives him a little more pull than you in deciding what we're going to do, don't you? I mean, you're his sidekick, right?"

Spike flashed a grin. "Oh, yeah." He spread his arms. "I'd like you to meet the Champion. The. Singular. And my seer, I think you know him." He pointed at Angel, who shook his head and sighed.

"What?" said Buffy, confused.

"I'm the Vision Side-Kick guy," said Angel.

Buffy frowned. "That's—what about the prophecies?"

"Prophecies? Hm. Oh, you mean the ones about the vampire with the soul!" said Angel sarcastically, pointing at Spike, who grinned. "And, oh, yeah—he gets to be human again someday!"

Buffy frowned. "Oh."

Spike grinned.

"And why didn't you call me, tell me you were alive?"

Spike grinned at her."Don't kid a kidder, love."

Buffy shook her head. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Just what I said. Now, you came here on business?"

Buffy scowled. "I brought the whole crew.Or what passes for the whole crew these days."

Angel sighed. "Well, we don't work out of a hotel any more, so I can't invite them all to stay with us."

Buffy glanced from him to Spike. "I thought you were the side-kick?"

"I'm the side-kick who owns the building."

"Yeah, his digs," said Spike. "Anything else we should know?"

Buffy sighed. "Don't think you're getting off that easily," she warned the two vampires.

Spike grinned. "Well, that's one of the advantages of having a side-kick-slash-whipping-boy. I do get off that easy. Er... I might want to rephrase that."

"Please," begged Angel.