Title: Unfinished Business

Author: annapurna2 (aka, Night Owl Too)

Pairing: Spike/Buffy, Spike and Angel

Rating: M

Summary: What? You thought they showed us everything that happened during AtS Season 5? Well, maybe they did and maybe they didn't. Here's a little "what if" set some time after "The Girl in Question."

A/N: Set post-Chosen and during AtS Season 5, this story is actually a companion piece to a very short vignette I wrote called "Dear Departed," which can also be found on this site. It isn't necessary to read it first, but it does serve as a set-up for this story and explains something that would otherwise go unanswered.

It was also my offering for Summer of Spike Season 2, which is currently underway at the Live Journal community. The story is complete, with six chapters total, but I have to do a little editing to lower it from NC-17 to an M rating before I can post all the chapters here. Should have it done by tomorrow night at the latest, if not sooner. Also, the final chapter count may change, depending on how much I have to edit out.

In the meantime, hope you enjoy the opening chapters.


CHAPTER ONE

Angel was going to be right pissed off. Which, actually, didn't bother Spike at all. In fact, if he hadn't been so fond of the Viper himself, he might have totaled it intentionally, just to watch the big guy glower and grind his teeth as he ordered up yet another car for Spike's demon-fighting pleasure.

But that hadn't been part of the plan, and precious time was being lost while Spike regrouped.

Sodding Kraylok demons. How was a vamp supposed to know they would barricade the road with an 18-wheeler? Almost took off his bloody head when the car skidded beneath the refrigerated trailer.

Krayloks might be laughing now, but not for much longer. On the short trip up from the parking garage, he had reviewed his new plan. He'd breeze into Angel's office, demand another set of wheels, and be off again before the demon cartel could find a new location for its black market operation in human body parts. Then he'd wipe out the whole lot of 'em and still have time to down a few drinks at McClanahan's before turning in for the day.

He'd bloody loved that Viper.

The elevator pinged as the doors slid open, revealing the wide expanse of the Wolfram & Hart lobby in all its after-hours glory. In other words, deserted. But it was a good bet Angel would still be in his office, brooding over the latest "gray area" that filled the space between heroic do-gooding and corporate see-no-evil.

Though, come to think on it, there'd been considerably less brooding and a big increase in gray areas over the three days since he and Angel had returned from Rome.

Spike's response to the whole Italian disaster had been to throw himself – hook, line and new leather dusters – into fighting the good fight, eradicating demons at a head-spinning pace. Angel, on the other hand, had withdrawn, ignoring his former mission statement to "help the helpless" and instead turning all his attention to the business of running Wolfram & Hart. It was enough to make a souled vamp wonder.

Except when he had more important things to think about. Like grinding the head of a certain Kraylok ringleader beneath the heel of his unforgiving boot.

"Yo, Spike!"

The hail jerked him to a halt in mid-stride, and Spike swung around, his eyes searching out the source. He found it standing in the doorway of a nearby office – Gunn, looking more like the rough street-fighter he'd reportedly once been than the slick corporate attorney he'd paid so steep a price to become.

Motioning Spike over with a quick jerk of his head, Gunn disappeared into his office. Spike swallowed an impatient growl and altered his course, barreling through the open doorway at a fast clip.

"Look, whatever it is, can we make it quick? Got places to go and demons to skewer and the night's not gettin' any younger."

Instead of answering, Gunn closed the door and crossed the room, tossing something small and white onto the edge of his desk. Settling into his chair, he nodded at it. "It's a letter addressed to you care of Wolfram & Hart. Thought it might be important. I snagged it off of Harmony's desk when she wasn't looking. The girl seemed pretty set on delivering it personally, but I figured I'd do the honors." He paused, eyeing Spike with open amusement. "You can thank me later, Blondie Bear."

Paying no heed to the good-natured jibe, Spike frowned and cautiously approached the desk, staring suspiciously at the envelope. The way things had been going lately, it wouldn't surprise him a bit if the thing suddenly morphed into a flesh-eating Flaygon worm right before his very eyes. It would probably glom onto the nearest human head and then he'd have a bugger of a time getting it off without winding up with an oozing mass of half-digested Charlie on his hands. "Letter? Who sent it?"

Gunn shrugged. "Doesn't say. Guess you'll have to open it and find out."

Snorting, Spike shook his head and took a step backwards. "Not bloody likely, Charlie boy. No offense, but considering my track record with mysterious packages and unmarked envelopes, think I'll take a pass."

With a dismissive wave of his hand, he pivoted and strode toward the door. "Feel free to open it yourself, though," he tossed back over his shoulder. "If you don't mind winding up dead or worse. Or you could just chuck it in the circular file and tag along with me. We'll go Kraylok hunting and top off the evening gettin' blissfully snockered at McClanahan's."

"The postmark says it's from Rome."

Spike froze, hand halfway to the doorknob.

"If I remember right, you know one or two people there."

He somehow found his voice, though it wasn't as steady as he would have liked. "Know more than that, mate. Made quite a few new acquaintances while Angel and I were there."

"Any of them likely to write?"

Spike turned. Gunn was gazing at him with the best poker face he'd seen in a good two decades or so. "Depends," he allowed slowly, all the while fighting against a sudden wave of hope that burgeoned in his chest and threatened to jumpstart his heart. "Bird that runs the Italian branch took a bit of a fancy to me. Could be she—"

His throat closed abruptly, choking off the words. He stared straight ahead, jaw clenched tightly. He wouldn't give in to it. Not now. Not after he'd struggled so hard to let go.

Gunn scooped up a stack of files from his desk and walked over to him, liquid-brown eyes saying more than Spike wanted to hear. "The way I figure…either it's something really good or really bad. Seems like we don't get much of the in-between." Breaking eye contact, he glanced down at the folders he held in his hands. "I'm heading over to talk to Angel about some things. While I do that, why don't you find out who thinks you're worth the overseas postage?"

Seconds later, the door closed behind him. Spike was left frozen in the middle of the room, trapped under the weight of mingled hope and trepidation.


TBC in Part 2