Chapter 23

AN: It took me two years to finish the fic. I appreciate all the feedback and those who have continued to encourage and love this fic. I have really enjoyed writing it!

MarieC (MarieP, Marie72)

Previously: "So..." Angel thumbed through the text, "Tennyson it is tonight. What do you think?" Angel looked at Spike and dropped the book. His heart almost started to beat: Spike's eyes were open.

"Oh ghods, Spike?" Angel stood over his Childe. Spike's eyes blinked a few times, but he stare straight up. He made no other movements. Angel panted in exhilaration. He tripped as he made his way towards the phone. His shaky hand tried to dial the extension to Myrna, Spike's nurse, but in his current state, he could not remember the number. He dropped the receiver and ran into the hallway. "Myrna! Cordelia! Come quick!" He shouted as his voice cracked. He turned and rushed back to Spike's side. He knelt by the bed, afraid to touch his Childe. He did not want to mess anything up. Cordelia burst through the door with a worried look on her face while Myrna followed behind her tying the belt to her sleeping robe.

"Angel?" Cordelia asked as her heart raced as she saw Angel by Spike's side. "What's wrong?"

"What is wrong with William?" Myrna asked in a worried voice as well. Before Angel answered, Giles, Wesley, and Gunn came into the room as well.

Angel looked at his friends with tears his eyes. His lower lip trembled. "His eyes are open." Cordelia gasped as she placed her hand over her mouth and inched slowly towards the vampires. Myrna walked over to the other side of the bed. She smiled in relief when she saw Spike's eyes were open.

"William?" She waited for a time, but there was no response.

"He won't answer me. What's wrong?" Angel asked.

"There may be nothing wrong, Angel. Let us not push too much. Sometimes people in a coma can have their eyes open. It is too soon to tell." She said sympathetically as she walked over to the phone. She dialed. "Dr. Walker, please." She paused. "Yes, Dr. Walker. Sorry to disturb you at this hour...Spike's eyes are open...yes...very well...thank you." She turned to the group. "Dr. Walker will be here within the half hour. He asked not to over stimulate him until he arrives. Okay, Angel?" Myrna gave a nice warm smile as she patted Angel's shoulder and helped him up. She led the nervous vampire to the couch and sat down with him and held his hand.

Dr. Walker arrived in twenty minutes. He held a medical bag in his hand. "Angel." He nodded to the dark vampire who rushed back to Spike's side when the doctor walked in. He greeted the nurse as well.

He stood over Spike. "Hello, Spike, I am Dr. Walker." He said as he shined a light in Spike's eyes. His pupils reacted and Spike closed his eyes briefly. The doctor grabbed a sharp object from his bag and touched the blond vampire's hands and then his feet. He watched as they reacted to the pain. Spike's toes curled and he moved his feet away from the sharp point. "Good. Good." Dr. Walker said. Cordelia stood by Angel's side and held his hand. Dr. Walker touched a button on the side of the bed and the head of Spike's bed moved up. Eventually, he was in more of a sitting position.

"Hello, Spike." Dr. Walker tried again. Suddenly Angel's heart jumped as it seemed Spike heard the voice. His head shakily turned to the doctor. He still had no expression on his face. "Hello, Spike." The doctor spoke slowly. "We are all happy to see you." Spike continued to blink. "Do you understand what I am saying?" No response yet from Spike. He pointed to the other side of the bed. "Do you know Angel?" He kept pointing to the dark vampire who had pulled a chair up to sit right next to the bed.

Spike turned his head slowly towards the dark vampire.

"Hi, Will." Tears fell from Angel's eyes. "I missed you, Little One." He paused as his heart wrenched at the blank expression on his Childe's face. Angel began to panic as he realized that Spike did not recognize him. "Childe? It's me, Sire. Angelus. Don't you remember, William? You're my Most Favored, Precious." He grabbed his hand. "Will...please..." He practically begged as he looked down. After some time, he felt his hand was squeezed. He looked up and saw the most beautiful sight: Spike was smiling at him. "Oh, Ghods! Will!" Angel said as he kissed his Childe's hand. He wanted to embrace him, but did not make any sudden moves. He saw as a tear escaped Spike's eyes. He reached up and gently wiped it away. "Everything is okay." He saw Spike nod his head and close his eyes briefly..

"I missed you so much, Will." Angel said as he stroked his Childe's cheek.

Dr. Walker spoke again. "Can you look at me, Spike?" He was pleased to see the blond vampire respond. "Can you squeeze my hands?" He smiled as Spike gripped his hands. "Good. Lift your arms for me, please, and then your legs." He was slow and shaky, but everyone was relieved to see that Spike had control over his movements. Angel breathed a sigh of relief that Spike was not paralyzed.

"I love you, Will." Angel said to him. The smile faded from his face as he watched Spike open his mouth to speak, and a panicked look traversed his face. "Spike?" He heard Spike moan. Angel turned to the doctor. "What's going on?"

Dr. Walker turned to an obviously distressed vampire. "Spike. Do you understand what I am saying to you? Nod yes." He saw Spike frantically nod. "Is Angel your Sire?" Again, Spike nodded. "Have you seen me before?" Spike hesitated and shook his head no. "Are you a vampire?" Spike nodded yes. "Are you in any pain?" He shook his head no. "Can you tell me your name?"

Spike's eyes widened as he tried to speak. Nothing came out. A few tears escaped as he turned to his Sire. "It's okay, baby." Angel tried to reassure him. "Why don't you rest right now. Okay?" Spike yawned. "I'll be right back. Cordelia will sit you." He waited until the Seer took his place and then he motioned for Myrna and Dr. Walker. He took them into the hall, hopefully out of earshot of the blond vampire.

"What's going on?" Angel asked as his eyes burned yellow.

"Angel, I am pleased to see that Spike suffered no paralysis and that his comprehension is intact."


"I did warn you that he may suffer damage to any number of systems in his brain. It appears that his speech center has been affected."

"What does that mean?" His eyes watered. "He'll never speak again?"

"With intensive speech therapy, I hope he can make a recovery."

"You hope?" Angel growled. "That's not good enough."

"Nothing is 100, Angel. I can arrange for physical therapy to build his strength back up; as well as a speech therapist. Don't give up. Even if we can regain some of his speech, that would be a victory. If Spike pulled through the surgery, don't count him out." He reached his hand out and shook Angel's hand. "I will return later today to reassess him." He walked back in the room and collected his bag and left.

"I will see you later today as well, Angel." Myrna replied as she hugged the dark vampire. "He will be fine. William is strong." She smiled and went back to her room.

Angel slowly walked back to Spike's bedside. His friends were gathered around.

"Hey." He said to Spike. "I think we should let him rest, guys."

"Of course." Giles said as he squeezed Spike's hand. Wesley and Gunn waved and the three left the room.

Cordelia looked at her friend. "Thanks for saving me, Blondie Bear." She kissed his cheek and left.

"Hi, beautiful." Angel said to his Childe. His heart nearly broke as he saw the sadness that emanated from him. "The doctor said they'll start therapy and you should be speaking in no time." He hoped he covered the uncertainty of his statement well. He needed Spike to believe that he could do it. "Let's go to bed." He kissed Spike lightly on the lips and lifted him up. He could not believe how light he was. He placed him on their bed and pulled the younger vampire into his chest. For the first time in nearly six weeks, he was able to share the bed with his Childe. He turned the light off and sighed. To feel Spike again after all this time was incredible. He looked up and for the first time in over two hundred and fifty years, he thanked God for the return of his Beloved.

Three months later...

Angel stood in front of the microwave waiting for the blood to warm. He whistled an old Irish tune as he watched the mugs turn. He heard a ding and reached in and grabbed the porcelain mugs. One was black with an A and the other was red with a S. Cordelia had bought them at a novelty shop. Angel chuckled at the memory of how excited Spike was when she gave them the gifts. He walked out the back entrance onto the terrace. He smiled as he saw his Childe sitting on the stone bench staring at the moon. "Beautiful night, isn't it?"

Spike was startled a bit at his Sire's voice. He was so intent on the glorious sight that he did not even sense Angel. He nodded his head in thanks when Angel handed him the mug. He leaned into Angel's shoulder as the dark vampire placed his arm around him. They enjoyed the quiet as they fed and reveled in each other's presence. After some time, Angel turned to his Childe. "Why don't we go up." The two stood and Angel collected the mugs. They quickly placed them in the sink of the kitchen and ascended the grand staircase towards their suite. As they stood by their bed, they leaned in and captured each other in a passionate kiss. Angel slowly lifted Spike's shirt off and helped him out of his pants. He was mesmerized by the glorious naked body of the blond vampire. He had regained his weight and his strength over the last few months. He was more beautiful than ever. Angel quickly divested himself of his clothes and the two groaned as they embraced; their hard, straining cocks throbbing at the contact. Angel licked Spike's lips and eased his tongue in. Their kiss seemed endless.

"I love you, Spike..." Angel whispered as he lay them down in bed.

"L-l-love y-y-you too, S-s-sire..." Spike stuttered as he arched his neck as he felt Angel's fangs grace his neck. Angel nipped at his jugular which sent chills down Spike's spine. The dark vampire slowly kissed every spot as he crawled down the sculpted body. He rested his face in the nest of honey blond curls. He inhaled the musky scent of his Childe. He licked the underside of his erection. And in one swift move, swallowed Spike whole. The noises Spike made as Angel sucked aroused the dark vampire. He rubbed himself against the sheets as he continued to blow his Childe. "Oh, b-b-bloody h-h-hell!" Spike exclaimed. The blond vampire came swiftly, followed by Angel. Spike lay back panting and Angel joined his side. He lay his head on his Sire's chest and the two vampires sated, sighed contentedly. Spike was happy to be in Angel's arms. It is where he belonged. Sire and Childe. They could handle any adversity as long as they were together.

"Mine." Angel whispered.

"Y-y-yours." Spike responded quietly and smiled as they drifted to sleep.