Disclaimer: Joss owns everything. . . Like Bill Gates.

A/N: The story as a whole is more Buffy based, but the first part (couple of chapters) is mostly recapping the end of the Angel series, so if any of you don't know what's going on, feel free to send a PM.

Ignorance is Bliss

Chapter 1: Battle's End, Journey's Begin

The blood was thick in the air, and it filled Spike's senses, pushing him over the edge as he moved about, slamming the heads of minor demons into brick and pushing the hissing, clawing creatures back. But it always came down to the blood. The killer in him was excited, and he doubted he would have been able to drop his gameface if he'd wanted to. It gave him no pleasure, though, not the part of him that hurt, the part of him that felt, because he knew that through the thick haze of sticky demon essence, he could taste human life floating in red clouds.

Gunn's was the thickest but more came from a homeless man who had innocently stumbled upon the horrid battle. His grandsire's scent was heavy as well. Hell, if he concentrated enough, he could even pick up Wesley's blood, cold and dry, on Illyria's blue tipped fingers.

Spike thought he had never felt so alive and dead before. He had been in big battles, died, went poof in the pretty light, but he hadn't been so wired in the past. And why did the molecules move so fast? Why? Because he had been given time to think, and he had taken it. He knew the truth about himself. He knew the truth about her, and that fact alone did not frustrate him as much as he'd thought it would. No, it invigorated him.

"Watch your back!" Angel growled from behind the other vampire, taking out an ugly seven-foot monster that had been hovering an ax over Spike's head seconds earlier.

Spike blinked—he was amazed that Angel had been willing to lose his ground to save him. He smirked.

"Thanks, Peaches."

Angel deserved something more sincere, but what he had done to save his grandchilde hadn't really helped the group. They were both going to die soon, taken away in clouds of dust. That was how they'd planned the night, after all. Intermission was over, and it was time for the final act. The demons seemed to slow time, surrounding the vampires fighting back to back.

Three.

Illyria was half a block away, a huge distance in the crowd of flesh hungry creatures. She was a storm, but the mountains were blocking her path.

Two.

There was no one else to aid them. Every human that had been at their aid was gone, and Lorne was god-knows-where. There was no hope, only anger and hate as the enemy moved closer.

One.

Footsteps. One-two, one-two—then many, and there they were, an army of death's finest dancers. They were slayers, at least twenty strong, armed with metal and wood and fire. The girls stopped at the alleyway's entrance, taking out a few stray demons that had the misfortune to wander toward the street. All standing stopped to stare at them. The slayers parted their numbers, anda figure walked between them, cloaked in black. The hood slid off.

"Red," Spike sighed, recognizing the witch immediately.

Somehow the sight of a familiar face had distracted him from seeing the woman walking to her side. It was Buffy, still has beautiful as he remembered with crossed arms and a stance that made every creature before her take a step back. Everyone knew The Slayer.

"Buffy!" Angel called.

Her eyes found Angel's, and suddenly they were as soft as wet clay. Spike was lost in the moment between the two former lovers, but he shook his head, snapping out of her spell. There was the truth about her.

Buffy broke contact, looking back at the masses of demons. "Sorry to rain on your parade, boys, but it looks like you're going home alone tonight."

Spike half expected one of the larger demons to shout out a clichéd line about picking his teeth with her bones, but instead the ugly group kept their eyes on the females before them.

"Show them," Buffy said.

Willow nodded, raising both arms, a white glow radiating from her skin and hair. She spoke a word that seemed more like a sound, and a wall of light filled the space before her. The sheet of light was covered in glowing silver marks, words that Spike couldn't make out. A red stain blotched the bottom corner of the wall.

The demons' eyes were scanning it as quickly as one might read the Sunday comics. They lowered their claws and weapons as one. Then, strangely enough, they turned their backs and walked back from wince they came. They lined up in front of a tiny pinprick hole that was quickly growing into a portal. Without a growl or groan, the demons were gone.

"Bloody hell, Poofer! Why didn't we think of that?" Spike exclaimed.

Angel didn't look back at his grandchilde, but lowered his eyes on Buffy. "What have you done?" he asked quietly, accusation in his voice.

"I believe that's what we call saving your asses." Buffy glanced past Angel to Spike. Her mouth hung open in an unvoiced greeting. "Who's the smurf?" she asked.

"I am the God-King Illyria," said the being that was once Fred.

"I can explain later," Angel interrupted. He walked forward, ignoring the cautious glances the younger slayers were sending his way.

Buffy looked over her shoulder. "Stand down," she ordered. "We won't be needed after all."

The girls released sighs and some even dared to roll their eyes. They faded into the foreground, mixing and chatting about a shoe sale that they had spotted on their way down.

"What just happened?" Spike asked, a thousand other questions on his mind. Why was she here? Why didn't she say hello to him? Did she know he was alive? The pig's blood in his veins boiled at the sight of the beloved vampire slayer.

"Spike," Buffy let out a shallow breath that washed away the questions. "It's good to see you alive. Andrew mentioned. . ."

"Glad to know I was missed, love, but I asked a question."

"What did you do?" Angel hissed. His glare was torn, angry in the middle and gentle around the sides. Spike knew the other vampire was itching for the chance just to touch her again. "Please, tell me that was not a contract Willow just displayed. Did you make a deal with Wolfram and Hart?"

"I didn't," she snapped.

Willow stepped up. "It was the Immortal. He did it as a going away present. He made a deal to sleep for a couple hundred years in exchange for the withdrawals of . . . troops."

"How perfectly perfect of him." Spike turned, eyeing Illyria. The blue creature was standing, head cocked, beside him, her piercing eyes on the women before her.

"You are strong," she stated, dully.

Buffy ignored her for the most part, looking up at Angel. "You know, a thanks would be nice."

"The contract's probably part of some evil scheme," he replied. A smile graced his face. "But, thanks for showing."

Spike rolled his eyes, swinging a hand dramatically between Buffy and Angel. Buffy's eyes darted to him, and instantly the sexual tension heightened amongst the group. Spike withdrew, leaving her with a questioning frown. "I'm going to find Gunn's body," he announced.

He walked toward the end of the alley where he had last seen his friend. He could feel stares burning a hole in his back, but he ignored them, stopping at an overturn dumpster. He stooped behind it. It wasn't much of a treasure hunt, but there he was, lying across a pile of garbage bags, lifeless. There was not enough blood in the body to feed a vampiric rat, and he looked as if he had taken a couple good swings before striking out. Spike slid down so that the others couldn't see him and let his eyes wander over the remains of Charlie-boy.

"Couldn't sign the paper fast enough, could he? Couldn't save you and the bookworm."

Spike glanced over the side of the hunk of metal, eyes trained on Buffy and Angel. They were still standing two feet from one another, but the bond between them showed as clearly as a needle looping string through their skins. There was Truth again, stabbing him in the eye. The Truth about her wasn't about her at all, it was about him. Spike's demon loved Buffy as much as he had, but the Spark,

Burn,

Pain,

Wasn't the same. It was false, electric light, not fire. The demon still wanted it, the man did too, but he had a soul now. And the man was able to say no.

Spike brushed off what remained of his replaced jacket and stood to full height. There was a door in front of him (literally and figuratively). It probably led to a shop. It most likely had a tiny lock that a creature such as himself could break without making much of a sound. No one would notice him gone. And that was the way he wanted it.