"You have to take him." Giles kept his voice cold as he spoke to the vampire, but couldn't help a little desperation leaking out. "He's driving me up the proverbial wall, Angel, it's unbearable. He won't do as he's told, he's got music blaring at all hours, nothing on heaven or earth will make him keep quiet – "

A small smile appeared on Angel's lips and he chuckled. "Some things never change."

There was a faint snort from the corner of the room, where Spike was once again rifling through Giles' records. After his initial fury at Giles calling Angel, and his ongoing fury while Angel was on his way and Spike was realising he couldn't punch him, the bleached vamp had decided this was a perfect opportunity to show how much he didn't need his sire – even if the chips were currently so far down they were nearing the centre of the earth. And of course, he had to find another way to annoy Angel – it was his unholy mission, after all.

He was ignoring him.

Giles would never have believed Spike capable of it, but he hadn't spoken a word since Angel had arrived. He was wandering around Giles' living room, fiddling with his LPs and sipping blood, doing absolutely nothing... and contriving to make it clear just how unimportant he thought Angel was. He wasn't even looking at Angel. Angel was pretending Spike's disregard didn't bother him.

Spike snorted again. Angel's knuckles went white around his glass of scotch.

"If he's annoying you that much, why don't you throw him out?"

Giles saw thin white lines appear round Spike's eyes. That slight evidence of hurt made him angry. "Some of us, Angel, don't believe in abandoning people who can't look after themselves without help."

"I – " Angel hesitated, then focussed on the main problem. "Make him get a job. He'd be out of the house, at least."

There came the loudest snort yet. No doubt Spike's unending desire to talk was getting the better of him.

"What job could Spike possibly do?"

"I don't know!" Angel said in exasperation. "Have him run away and join the Navy!"

"The Navy?" Giles said, without disapproval. "Rum, sodomy and the lash."

"Three of my favourite things!" Giles wasn't sure how much of Spike's glee was at the idea of being a sailor, and how much was due to Angel's glare.


"Wot?" Spike said belligerently.

"You are not joining the Navy."

"You're the one who suggested it."

"Well I've changed my mind. You're not going to be pegboy on some ship – "

"Oho! Who said anything about being pegboy? I'm tougher 'n' stronger than any human, I'd be puttin' the up sails, not sitting on something getting my arse stretched. Anyway, if I did want to go get fucked by a bunch of sailors you couldn't stop me."

Giles actually saw Angelus rise in the gold eyes and bunching of shoulders. Spike flinched ever so slightly. At that, the bigger vampire managed to regain control, though anger still swirled around him like a thundercloud. "You're right," he said. His voice was quiet, but some indefinable demonic element made Spike and Giles shiver. "I can't stop you any more."

He sat a little longer and made awkward small talk, hunched in a corner of Giles' sofa. But before long he decided he had to go again, to apologise to Buffy. Angel stood by the door, and just as Giles was about to breathe a sigh of relief he said, "Spike. I want a word."

Spike stood with a sulky pout, swaggering overly slowly to Angel's side. "Wot?"

Angel spoke quietly, but Giles strained his ears and managed to hear; vampires sometimes underestimated human senses.

"I'm serious, Spike. Don't run off. And don't go doing something stupid, like joining the Navy."

"I won't. Giles wouldn't like it. Believe me, if I did something he didn't want, he'd really let me know about it."

Angel's teeth clenched. Giles would have been willing to bet they'd lengthened a bit, too. He very carefully didn't smirk. Spike was smirking enough for both of them.

"I bet," Angel gritted.

Spike smiled beatifically and moved to lean back against Giles' sofa – then jumped up with a hiss at the pressure against his arse.

Angel's eyes widened. He looked from Spike, to Giles, then back to Spike – and then slammed out with a growl.

The middle-aged watcher looked at the evil vampire; and the two of them shared a moment of perfect understanding and shared amusement, expressed in their identical small, wicked, complicit smiles.

Card Sharp

"And I asked the Watcher for blood – I told him, I mean, said I deserved it. I do the work, don't I? An' he said he wasn't paying me for lounging around the Magic Shop trading insults with Harris. I'm not trading bleedin' insults with Harris! He keeps bugging me, it's not my fault!"

Clem nodded and offered him the bag of Cheetos, then sat back with a sigh as Spike kept pacing.

"And I need cash. I don't even have money for fags at the moment, never mind whiskey – only alcohol I've got in the crypt is some crap bottle of plonk!" He kicked out at Clem's end table. Clem winced but didn't say anything.

"It's not like I don't have skills. Just not marketable skills, is all. All I can do is fight, and not humans any more – well, and play poker – "

He froze, the light of one of his great plans coming into his blue eyes. Spike began to grin. "Hey, poker! And pool, too. I'll start hustlin'. Plenty of dumb high school boys I can con into taking me on, and they've all got more money than sense round here."

The next night Spike arrived with bruises and a limp.

Clem tactfully put on a slasher movie in which the villain killed everyone, and didn't ask what had happened.

Doublemeat Palace Worker

The first job Spike had ever applied for had been surprisingly easy to get. The manager at the Doublemeat Palace – cheerful smile ingrained on her face by years of "thank you for visiting the Doublemeat Palace" – hadn't even blinked when he'd said he could only work night shifts. Perhaps she was used to Sunnydale's vibrant night life.

The training video was... odd, and all the gore made him hungry. Still, it could have been worse. The uniform couldn't, but Spike reminded himself of wearing the whelp's short trousers a few years ago
and put it on.

Asking when Buffy was working didn't go well – she spat that her life wasn't any of his business, he wasn't part of it, and ran out. Spike swallowed, jaw ticing, and thought she seemed to work most Thursdays. She'd be there.

She already needed him for her real work; the Scoobies relied on him for help with the Slaying. This way he'd be part of her human work too. Part of her life. She'd have to look at him in the light, instead of riding him then stowing him away in the dark until she was ready.

He arrived early for the first time since Angelus had been beating him for lateness, and peaked around the door. Everything was... orange. The fluorescent light was horrible – some deep part of Spike snarled at the light, wanted to withdraw into shadows where it was powerful – but he told himself sternly to get a grip, and walked into the kitchen.

The smell hit him with an almost audible smack. Rancid meat and grease and sweaty human and –

Spike turned and ran for his life.

He'd die for love – he had died for love. But working in the fast food industry?

No way.


When soldier boy and the Slayer blew up Spike's crypt, he didn't just lose whatever dark, damaged part of Buffy she was willing to share. There were things he'd kept with him a hundred years. One of Mother's knick-knacks – a little ceramic shepherdess with an insipid smile. A bright ribbon from one of Darla's more elaborate, trailing blond hairstyles. A worn, treasured picture of himself asleep Angelus had drawn in Florence, kept more for the lingering scent of his sire, the trace of affection, than the rare image of his own face. The first Yardbirds LP he'd ever bought, and one of Dru's dolls.

There was another old piece of paper kept with this flotsam of an existence; the memory of what he had been. Though Spike would have snorted in disdain if anyone had found it, that evidence of a damaged dream still had power over him.

Dear Mr Pratt,

We are sorry to say we will not be publishing your manuscript, Poems Of A Romantic Nature...


No one was all that bothered when Harmony announced she was leaving for the Paris branch. She was cheerful, and Spike was rather miffed to lose a woman who was defenceless against his charms and made a habit of wearing dresses with a lot of cleavage – but wow, was she annoying.

They became bothered in very short order.

Harmony's first replacement was named Penny. She turned up everywhere – private meetings, Angel's bathroom, Nina's cage – she was worse than Eve. She turned out to be evil. Everyone greeted the blood on Angel's decapitating axe with relief.

Her second replacement was Ms Sharp. She came to work in rigid grey suits and horn-rimmed glasses. She thought it was unprofessional to call anyone by their first name and insisted on calling her boss "Mr Angel". Spike loved her.

"Your governess fantasies are not the point," Angel muttered irritably, and fired her.

The third replacement was a vampire named Dick – and the name was entirely appropriate. He was obnoxious and sarcastic and he always knew how to pick at your insecurities. Gunn was left flushed, with clenched fists, after he demanded Dick give Angel a memo and was asked about his street thug past. When Lorne cheerfully greeted Dick as "my gorgeous little honeybee" he was met with an acid stare and asked what use shallow entertainment was to a real hero. When Fred had her sanity publically questioned, Spike lost his temper.

"Look, mate, there's only room for one sarcastic, annoying bloke around here and that's me. And there's never room for anyone bein' mean to Fred! So why don't you piss off and we'll find a new secretary." Spike was holding a very large sword he'd liberated from Angel's office. The time for subtlety had passed – well, he didn't really do subtlety.

"And who'll do that job?" Dick sneered. "You?"

"Don't really feature bein' a secretary for the big man, no. We'll – "

He was interrupted by a gale of sarcastic laughter. "Sure you don't. Come on, Spike. We both know you'd just love to be getting Angel's blood for him, being at his beck and call... wait, you already are at his beck and call! Just praying he'll notice you, aren't you? Shame he's got so much more important things to do than his fuck-up of a kid."

Spike killed him with his big sword. Then he made a plan.

The next day was not greeted with a smile by Angel. Dick had made some nasty – and perceptive – comments about Angel's decision to join the firm, but he'd been furious to discover what Spike had done. It was getting hard to find a secretary.

When he got into his office, Wesley, Lorne, Fred and Gunn were waiting. "What sort of secretary's being inflicted on me this time?" he hissed, sitting down at his desk with a thump. "Does he have horns, or is it an embezzler, or – "

"The bleached one is taking care of it, Angelhair," Lorne said with a slightly wicked smile. Angel groaned.

"SPIKE!" he bellowed. "What the hell have you..."

"Yes, sir?"

"Done?" he finished weakly.

Spike was standing there in a tight brown suit, looking as innocent as he had a century before. He hadn't gelled his hair and it was fuzzed in little curls. He was holding a clipboard. Angel wondered if the stress and irritation had finally sent him round the bend.

"What is this?"

Spike blinked guileless blue eyes. "I'm just your secretary. Here to take your orders and bring you food." He looked down at his clipboard again, exposing the pale line of his neck.

Angel squeaked.

Everyone looked at him, including Spike – who after a brief smirk had gone back to looking at him with big eyes. "Uh... guys, why don't you come back later."

The guys left, swapping grins.

"What can I do for you, sir?"

That last word had Angel adjusting himself. He smiled and said, "I think you need to take a memo. Come sit here and I'll tell you what to write."

Spike's smile grew, and he strolled across the room and sat himself smugly on Angel's thigh.

Unfortunately, Spike didn't keep the job long. It turned out that having Spike call Angel 'sir' led to very little work being done. And they'd lost clients, who'd been shocked when they'd entered the CEO's office during Angel's blood break to discover Spike sprawled on his back on the desk, Angel's teeth fastened in his throat and cock pumping inside his hole. He'd tried to get up, being a polite secretary, but Angel's hands had closed over his wrists and their lips met in a bloody kiss.

Soon after that, Spike's name appeared on the Wolfram and Hart personnel files, though he'd never be stupid enough to sign a contract.

Name: William the Bloody, aka Spike.
Position: Angel's equal.
Duties: keeping Angel on his toes; helping 'relieve his tension'; fighting the forces of evil.
Possibilities for promotion: Unclear. He's a champion. We will, however, have to reward him if he continues with his sterling work in making our CEO perfectly happy.