A/N: Apologies for the delay in this chapter but RL is getting in the way of everything at the moment! Italics denotes song lyrics.
CHAPTER 2 - Everything About You
Los Angeles. Night. The rain fell relentlessly, saturating the four bedraggled people who stood at one end of a dirty alleyway. At the other end a large demon army, including a flying dragon, was rapidly approaching.
Mortally wounded, Charles Gunn, the last surviving human member of Angel's team, still managed to quip about their seriously outnumbered chances. "Okay…you take the 30,000 on the left..." he declared sardonically.
The blue skinned ex-God, Illyria, looked at him dispassionately. "You're fading," she stated matter-of-factly. "You'll last ten minutes at best."
His fate sealed, Gunn forced himself to straighten, a determined expression appearing on his face. "Then let's make them memorable," he announced grimly.
Nearby, an ensouled bleached blond vampire stood and watched the army draw closer. Blood mingled with the rain and ran down the side of his face as he flicked a glance at Angel. "In terms of a plan?" he queried, relishing the fight ahead even though he knew that chances of surviving were slim to none.
Angel kept his eyes on the demons ahead. "We fight," he declared firmly.
Spike fought the urge to roll his eyes. Trust Peaches to state the obvious. "Bit more specific?" he requested, dryly.
Angel grasped his sword tighter as he prepared to go to battle. "Well, personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon," he told the other vampire lightly. Then, the army almost upon them, he raised his weapon and ordered harshly, "Let's go to work!"
Charging into the fray, he was closely followed by Spike, Illyria and the badly wounded Gunn. Weapons swinging and fists flying, they all embarked on the fight of their lives.
Dawn yawned widely and ran a hand through her uncombed hair as she walked into the kitchen. Sitting down at the table, she yawned again then gave Xander a grateful smile as he placed a steaming mug of coffee down in front of her.
"How's Buffy?" he asked, settling himself down opposite her at the table.
"Still sleeping," the brunette replied tiredly as she thought back over the last few hours.
The shock of hearing her sing was surpassed only by the shock of hearing the way she broke down afterwards. Rushing to comfort her sister, it had hit her to what extent Buffy had actually missed Spike. She'd known that her sister had strong feelings for the vampire but the magnitude of them had been more than even she'd imagined.
Guiding Buffy to her bed, she'd hugged her tight and made soothing noises until her sister had finally fallen into an exhausted sleep. Catching a couple of hours sleep herself, she'd then gotten up and closed the curtains against the rising sun then left to room.
Now, as she sat with Xander and Andrew, she decided to ask the question that had been pushed to the back of her mind ever since she'd heard Buffy sing.
"So," she began, fixing Xander with a faintly accusing glare. "Do you think Sweet's back in town?"
Spike swung his sword deftly decapitating the demon that had been about to take a bite out of Angel.
"Thanks," the brunette called as he pushed the body off him and stood up. Raising his head, his eyes widened and he pointed over Spike's shoulder and yelled, "Look out!"
The blond turned just in time to see an axe come flying through the air towards him. Next thing he knew, he was shoved aside with enough force to knock him over. Looking up, he was more than a little shocked to see the last person on earth he ever expected standing there, the axe now firmly gripped in her hand.
"Getting slow in your old age, Blondie," she goaded as she walked over and held out a hand to help him up. "Or maybe it's coming back from the dead that does that to you?"
The vampire grasped her hand and hauled himself up then cast a quick glance around the mêlée noticing for the first time that hundreds of young women had now joined the fray.
The odds on winning had suddenly vastly improved, but even so, tension now gripped his frame as one thought thrust itself to the fore…
"She's not here, so stop standing there like a vamp caught in the headlights and get your ass out there and fight…or do you want to die again?" Faith snapped with a frown as she raised the axe then turned away and headed back into the fracas.
Feeling both relieved and disappointed that Buffy wasn't there, Spike determinedly pushed the confusing feelings aside and took the dark-haired Slayer's advice. With a new vigour, he let out a mighty roar and charged back into battle.
Andrew listened to Xander and Dawn as they talked about Buffy and squirmed uncomfortably in his seat. They both didn't seem to be that surprised at her feelings…the singing, yes…but her feelings for Spike, no.
Frankly, he'd been stunned.
The promise he'd given to the bleached vampire weighed heavily on his conscience and he shifted in his chair again, this time also letting out a long sigh.
"You do know that if you need to leave the table, Andrew, you're old enough now that you don't have to ask, right?" Xander queried with a touch of irritation.
"Sorry," the fair-haired man replied sheepishly. "It's just…" He paused, then opened his mouth to continue before shutting it again and looking pained.
"For goodness sake, just spit it out, Andrew," Dawn ordered in exasperation.
Andrew looked even more pained. "I-I don't know that I should. It'd be like Frodo betraying the confidence of Gandalf the White!"
Dawn rolled her eyes, used to Andrew's way of expressing himself through movies. Annoying as hell. "Andrew," she began warningly.
"Spike's-back-and-in-L.A.- helping-out-Angel," he suddenly blurted out, unable to keep the information in any longer.
A stunned silence met his declaration as both Xander and Dawn stared at him in utter disbelief.
A small noise from the doorway caught their attention and they all looked up to see a white faced Buffy standing there, staring at Andrew in shock. Moving slowly, she entered the room and took a seat at the table, her eyes never leaving his face the entire time.
Taking in a deep breath, she continued to hold the trainee Watcher's gaze before quietly demanding, "Okay, tell me everything."
Spike eased his battered body against the brick wall of the alleyway and let out a long groan. God, he ached. What he wouldn't give for a smoke right about now.
The battle was over at last. It had been a long, hard fight but Wolfram and Hart were out of business…for now at least. The price had been high, though…too bloody high.
Bodies were strewn everywhere. They'd lost Gunn and Illyria, not to mention at least a third of the Slayers…the scent of their rich blood permeating the air and making his mouth water at the mere thought of its potency. He felt like he hadn't eaten in days.
A movement to the side caught his eye and he turned his head to see a bedraggled Angel limping slowly towards him. Cuts and bruises littered his face and arms and his clothing was ripped. "You look as bad as I feel," he commented dryly as the other vampire joined him.
"I must look like hell then," Angel replied with a grimace as he leaned back against the wall next to Spike. "Gunn and Illyria didn't make it," he added quietly after a couple of moments.
"Yeah, I know," Spike replied, just as softly. "Blue took a broadsword for me. Bit of a shock, that."
"Yeah, well, she always did have a soft spot for her Pet," the brunette replied with a wry smile.
"Bollocks," the blond retorted half-heartedly as he moved his body slightly to try and find a more comfortable position. A palpable shift in the air had him stiffen suddenly and he tilted his head slightly to the side trying to get a grasp on what it was that had the hairs on the back of his neck stand to attention. "Do you feel that?" he asked in a low voice.
Upon receiving no answer, he turned to look at the brunette at his side and felt a flash of concern to see him bent over double, holding his stomach. "Angel?" he asked, pushing himself away from the wall and over to the other vampire. Reaching out, he placed a hand on the larger man's back then suddenly froze in shock.
It couldn't be true. The prophecy was rubbish…a lie. And yet, his very own senses were confirming the truth of it. Heartbeat. Body heat. In a blink of an eye the Shanshu prophecy had apparently come true.
Angel was alive.
The enormity of what that entailed suddenly hit him like a freight train, causing him to remove his hand and take a couple of involuntary steps backwards.
Angel groaned and straightened up, turning to look at Spike with a mixture of shock and a tinge of remorse. "Spike…I don't know how…" The former vampire shook his head dazedly. "I thought I signed it away," he muttered, disbelief colouring his tone as he tried to make sense of what had just happened to him.
Spike remained silent, just staring at his one-time grandsire and trying to control the overwhelming surge of envy that suddenly flowed through his body. He'd thought that after the whole Mountain Dew debacle, he'd got the petty rivalry out of his system, especially since he'd beaten him, but apparently he was wrong. Once again, Angel had won and this time he'd claimed the grand prize. A prize that Spike hadn't even been sure he'd really wanted until Angel had got it instead…but now he knew.
"Congratulations," he finally said, his tone flat. "Looks like you've got everything you ever wanted."
Angel frowned slightly and shook his head. "But I don't understand how it happened," he insisted.
Spike felt the air shift again and struggled to keep his continually growing emotions at bay. "What's so hard to understand, Peaches?" he snapped in irritation. "Your little prophecy came true and now you're back among the living. I would have thought it'd be an easy enough concept to grasp…even for you."
Angel's eyes narrowed at the blond's tone, his own ire rising fast. "What's your problem, Spike? Ticked off because I'm human…or that I'm going to be able to be with Buffy now?"
The sound of his love's name on the other man's lips was enough to snap the tenuous control he had over his raging emotions causing him to take an involuntary step forward. Desperately hiding the hurt that seemed to be residing in every pore of his body, he summoned what he hoped was a cold smile and proceeded to tell Angel exactly what he thought of him.
"I…hate the real sunny weather,
And I, hate stakes and holy water too;
And I don't like a thing about this city, no, no,
And I, I, I hate your stupid hair too!
And I, hate everything about you!
Everything about you!"
He turned away to walk off then spun back suddenly as he continued,
"I, don't like a thing about your Mother,
And I, hate your Daddy's guts too.
I, don't like a thing about your Sire,
And I, I, I think your Childe is overrated too!"
His lip curled back in scathing dislike as he spat out,
"And I get sick when I'm around…
I can't stand to be around,
And I hate everything about you!
Everything about you,
Everything about you,
Everything about you!"
His stance relaxed suddenly as he adopted an amused smirk.
"Some say I've got a bad attitude,
But that don't change the way I feel about you.
And if you think this thought might bring me down,
Look again 'cause I ain't wearing no frown!"
Two steps took him back in front of Angel, his smile widening evilly.
"One thing that I did to your lady,
I put her on the bed and she didn't even say maybe.
I know, you know, everybody knows,
The way it comes, the way its gonna go.
You think it's sad,
And that's too bad,
'Cause I'm havin' a ball hatin'
Everything about you!"
All of a sudden, the uncontrollable urge that had held Spike in its grip disappeared and he broke off abruptly. Blinking a couple of times, his face betrayed his confusion over what had just happened as he tried to make sense of what had occurred. Had he just been singing? Where the hell had that come from?
Seeing the same confusion mirrored in Angel's face, Spike decided that it was time to go. Last thing he needed from the ex-vampire right now, was an interrogation. He'd just leave and worry about getting to the bottom of his little musical interlude later. Turning away, he then came to a halt as a hand wrapped around his arm, stopping his retreat.
"Just what the hell was that, Spike?" Angel exclaimed in obvious anger. "You don't just break into song then walk away like nothing happened."
Channelling all the hurt, anger, pain and jealousy that surged through his body, Spike spun around with a savage growl and shook off Angel's hand with a barely restrained violence that shocked even him. Unable to stop himself, he reached out then grabbed hold of the brunette's jacket lapels and shoved him back hard against the wall.
"Look, why don't you just leave me the hell alone, Liam?" he warned the man grimly. "What I do doesn't concern you anymore. You've got what you wanted now piss off and go live your short little life with your precious Slayer before I decide not to play nice anymore and change you back just for the hell of it."
It was an empty threat but he knew it'd done its job when he heard Angel's new heartbeat begin to race. Letting his demon come forward, he leaned in then ran his tongue up his old grandsire's neck before pulling back with a fangy grin that he had trouble keeping in place.
"Better run…boy," he told Angel on a growl before releasing his hold then turning the man and shoving him away, ignoring the flash of pain that shot through his battered body at the violent movement.
"What the hell is going on here?" Faith demanded suddenly, startling the two men who had been oblivious to her approach.
Spike growled low in his throat then, with a swirl of black leather, he turned abruptly and ran off into the night.
Angel watched the blond go with conflicting emotions. He dearly wanted to go after him but knew that without his own vampiric powers it would be useless. Spike would be long gone. A hand touched his arm and he looked down to see Faith standing next to him with a puzzled look on her face.
"What was that all about?" she asked, quizzically.
Angel sighed. "I'm human and Spike didn't take the news well," he outlined briefly, still trying to figure out why the vampire had broken into song. Faith obviously hadn't heard that and he wasn't about to mention it especially since it was probably just another of his former grandchilde's quirk's.
"You're what? How did that happen?" the dark Slayer queried in stunned surprise.
"Long story involving a prophecy, redemption and an ensouled vampire," he replied with a shrug. "Spike's upset because it's not him."
"I'll bet," Faith commented, thoughtfully. "And what's he doing back among the unliving anyway? Last I knew he fried."
"That is also a long story," the brunet answered on another sigh.
"Yeah, well, better get yourself ready to spill everything, Champ, because as soon as I'm finished here, I've got to phone in my report and you and Spike are top of the list," Faith informed him dryly.
Angel silently nodded his understanding and Faith walked away, leaving him alone. Tiredness washed over him suddenly and he felt as if the weight of the world were on his shoulders. The aches and pains that he'd ignored during his altercation with Spike made themselves known again with an intensity that almost took his recently acquired breath away. Turning around, he headed in the direction that Faith had taken determined to get his wounds tended to and then getting some much needed sleep. He'd have plenty of time to worry about what he was going to say to Buffy tomorrow.
Marco exited LAX airport with the keys to his rental vehicle in his right hand. Turning to one of the three men by his side, he casually tossed the keys to him and ordered him to go and find their car.
He hated travelling outside of Italy and wanted nothing more than to get home as soon as possible. He anticipated finding his prey in two, possibly three, nights and being back by the end of the week. It was only one vampire after all, hardly anything to challenge him and his men.
The car drew up and they all got in then drove to a seedy looking motel and booked in. He told his men to get some sleep in preparation of beginning the hunt the following night.
William the Bloody would be dust in days.
END CHAPTER 2
A/N: The song used in this chapter was "Everything About You" by Ugly Kid Joe. Some of the lyrics have been altered to fit the story.