Disclaimer: Don't own, etc., etc. Joss Whedon rules supreme and retains pretty much everything. Only written for personal enjoyment and because this plot bunny just wouldn't die, even after some serious staking…

NB thanks for the positive reviews I've received from readers for The Scroll of Niamh, the first in my The Blood Will Tell series. This is story #2. For the sake of American/Non-English readers, please be aware that I am a British authoress, and though I have tried to use American English terminology, there are differences. For example, in America, there is only "curb" but in England, I step off the kerb but curb my desire for more chocolate, which is why those two words are spelled differently.

Summary: Sequel to The Scroll of Niamh. Wesley's common sense takes great pleasure in pointing out how bad an idea it is in allowing a punk vampire to be your roommate, because a soul has no bearing on a creature's ability to be relentlessly obnoxious…Rating T – M, consists of Three Chapters. Occurs literally on the same day after Spike is made corporeal again.


Chapter One – The Vampire Not In My Living Room

It was nearly midnight again, and Wesley cursed softly as the elevator did it's silent Star Trek whooshing thing towards his floor; his eyes were sore from a near-15 hour day of poring over ancient mystical texts (often written in something nasty like blood) and trying to classify peculiar objects. His left temple had that faint tingling tightness that warned his brain was trying to decide whether to hit him with one of the – mercifully – infrequent but brutal migraines Wesley occasionally suffered. He was going straight to –

Wesley stopped his forward motion abruptly and was then forced to hitch forward again sharpish as the elevator doors nearly closed on his ass. A familiar figure was seated on the floor beside the door to Wesley's apartment. Bleached head tilted back against real silk wallpaper, Spike had one long leg stretched out straight in front of him, and he seemed to be contemplating the top of his scruffy black boot. The other leg was drawn up towards his chest. His right hand lay limply on the thigh of his stretched out leg with the heavy silver bracelet catching the ceiling lights, but his left wrist was resting on the kneecap of his raised leg, supporting the fingers from which dangled a cigarette.

Wesley just managed to suppress a girlishly high-pitched squeak of horror – a vampire the other residents might just tolerate, but a smoker? Wesley could almost see the Eviction Notice hurtling towards him at lethal velocity. "Spike, what are you doing!"

"Well, I was just so impressed with this décor I decided to sit here and admire it for four hours." You could have sliced steel with Spike's tone as he shot Wesley a look of disgust and drew up his other leg, pushing himself to his feet and making Wesley cringe as his leather duster-clad back scraped rather than slid up the delicate and exorbitantly expensive wallpaper.

"Keep your voice down and for God's sake put out that cigarette! Do you realise what will happen if anyone catches you smoking in here!" Wesley managed to admirably hiss the sentence venomously despite it containing only two "s's" as he fumbled frantically for his door key and prayed to every deity he knew, plus some he invented on the spot, that nobody came down the corridor.

"Hello? Vampire!" Spike rolled his eyes. "You telling me that having a mass-murdering serial-killing creature-of-the-night move in won't upset your neighbours, but me lighting up a smoke will have them ready to lynch us?"

"Yes. That's exactly what I'm telling you – worse, they'll evict me, and if I lose this apartment, trust me, what Matthias Pavayne and Dana Parvati did to you will be as nothing compared to the vengeance I will inflict!" sweating, Wesley finally managed to fling open his apartment door and practically leaped inside, dropping his briefcase as he demanded, "What were you thinking?"

Spike gave him a long look, then wordlessly clenched his (unencumbered-by-cigarette) right fist, raised his arm, and made a thumping motion towards Wesley. The air in the doorway actually rippled visibly, like water where a child has just thrown a pebble in, and Spike's fist bounced harmlessly off the invisible 'wall'. The blond vampire raised his scarred eyebrow and contemplated Wesley sardonically.

"…" Wesley gathered himself. "But you could come in before…"

Spike shrugged, "Must be because I'm corporeal again. Now I'm solid – and chipless – I can bite again, so I'm a threat…not that I would of course." He added hastily and with not very convincing 'sincerity'.

"Of course," Wesley nodded to himself; the power that prevented vampires from entering homes uninvited must have been able to register that Spike as a ghost – insubstantial and therefore unable to touch anything – was no threat, just as when Angel realised Detective Kate Lockley was going to commit suicide, he was able to run into her apartment and save her, even though she had never invited him in. Whereas in chipless corporeal form once more - therefore capable of biting - Spike had been automatically excluded from the apartment, as Wesley had never invited him in.

"Look mate, this hallway isn't getting any prettier…Course, I could always wait until some of your fellow residents come back?" Spike blew a perfect smoke ring and smiled sweetly.

"Get inside!" Wesley's hands twitched with the desire to place themselves round Spike's throat and squeeze.

Promptly stepping over the threshold, Spike theatrically worked a probably non-existent crick out of his neck and drew in a deep lungful of mostly unnecessary air. As the undead, vampires didn't need air to breathe in the same way that their hearts didn't beat and their other internal organs had no need to function since they didn't absorb vitamins intestinally, urinate, defecate, produce ova or sperm, etc. However, the human species' ability to speak utilised the movement of air over the vocal chords, meaning a vampire that didn't breathe couldn't talk, so vampires tended to automatically draw air in and out of their lungs without thinking about it.

"Right, don't wait up!" Spike said cheerfully barely a second later and half-turned as if to go back out.

"You're leaving?" Wesley's jaw dropped – the blond vampire had just waited four hours to get in and was running out after four seconds?

Spike did that irritating raised-eyebrow-lip-twist expression that indicated the other person clearly had the IQ of a mollusc. "Yeah, got no choice, mate. See during my four hour communion with the décor it became apparent that my being corporeal again has also retained the disadvantages as well as the advantages…"

Wesley looked blank.

"…in short, my stomach reckons my throat's been cut. No need for you to wait up while I go and find somebo - something – to eat. Ta-ta."

With an affected swirl of his black duster (he had to have practised that move a lot) Spike was gone and leaving Wesley staring at the inside of his own apartment door. As his inner common sense folded its arms, tapped its foot and prepared to launch into a full-on lecture, Wesley wearily gave in without a fight. One of these days he was going to learn not to be a sucker for every sob story going.

Assuming he survived long enough, reminded his innate pessimism.

Continued in Chapter two…

© 2005 C. D. Stewart