A/N: Greetings Readers! Right off the bat, I want to give big thanks to Happyangstywriter, who came up with the title for me. I really recommend Angsty's stuff, so you should go check it out!
So, this is the last installment in my AU rewrite of the end of season 5, but don't worry, it's going to be a lot longer than my previous episodes. If you're new to the series, it starts at 'A Different Hole in the World', and continues on from there. I've gotten better at writing since that first one was posted, so you might want to start here with this first chapter to see if it's a series you want to get into. Since I'm ripping off the actual episodes fairly closely, all you really need to know is Spike gets Cordelia's visions and he and Angel are together.
This first part is based on The Girl in Question, which has to be my all-time favorite episode of Angel. I hope you like my take on it! I'm still working on later chapters, and have hardly anything done for Power Play and Not Fade Away, so I'll be posting fairly erratically. Especially given that I'm going to be putting serious hours in at work in the next few months. I'm hoping to be able to post every few days or so, but I can't promise anything.
But please, enjoy!
The Girl in Question - Part 1
Angel and Gunn came barreling into the ponce's office just as I was fighting one of the level bosses in my newest video game. I had been waiting in Angel's office for a good hour, sprawled out in my favorite chair with my feet on his desk and working my way toward this bloody pixilated fire demon. I was doing really well until those two wankers came in and disturbed my concentration. Not that I was really all that upset to see Angel at least. Especially when he bent down to kiss my temple on his way into the room, after making sure the coast was clear. Though his friends all knew about us now, Angel still wanted to keep our relationship private, from the Senior Partners, especially.
"This needs to be handled delicately," Gunn told Angel, waving a file folder at him. "Wait, why are we sending Spike, again?"
"What?" I asked, trying to figure out why they were talking about me while dodging a fuck-ton of fireballs. "Where are we sending Spike?"
Gunn seemed to ignore me, saying, "If we don't get the Capo's body back to his family in the next," he glanced at his watch, "twenty-six hours, we're facing a bloody gang war."
"Why the expiration date on a stiff?" I asked. "What? Is he going to get deader?"
"No," Gunn explained, "he stays dead. Unless his family gets the body back and can perform the rituals in time."
"Great," said Angel, dropping my feet from his desk and grabbing the game from my hands.
"Oi! You bloody fucking wanker!" I yelled, but not because I really meant it. Okay, maybe I meant it a little. I hadn't saved yet. Plus, insulting Angel keeps that head of his from getting too big.
Angel ignored me, instead asking Gunn, "Where did you say the Capo died?"
The lawyer opened the file and glanced at it, "Rome."
"Okay, Spike," he said. "You're going to Italy."
"But, pet," I complained, looking for some excuse not to be Angel's errand boy as well as his fuck toy, "I don't speak the language!" And I didn't want to be away from him if I didn't have to.
"Then we'll get you a book, hon," he replied snidely, answering the phone when it rang. "Yeah?"
"This is completely unfair, Angel," I shouted at him, wondering how he could even think about just sending me out of the country with no warning, and without him. "Bugger this! Do it yourself!" As Angel listened to whoever was on the other end of the phone, his face fell, lips tightening grimly. "What?" I asked as he hung up.
Looking up, he whispered, "It's Buffy."
"What about Buffy?" I asked him, my gut falling in desperate anticipation of the bad news. "She's not dead again is she, Ange?"
"No," he told me. "It's worse."
"What's worse than dead?" Gunn asked. That torture demon he'd spent time with in Wolfram and Hart's holding dimension mustn't have been very good at his job, or Gunn would already know one of the answers to his question.
Angel grabbed his jacket and circled the desk heading past me toward the door, saying, "The Immortal."
" No! Why did it have to be him?" Spike exclaimed, throwing his hands into the air and following me from the office.
"Okay, back up a step," said Gunn behind us. "Who's the Immortal?"
"My mortal enemy," I told him, stopping just before the doorway and turning around to face the two of them.
"Our mortal enemy," Spike corrected.
"What?" Gunn asked Spike. "You're sharing Angel's mortal enemies now?" Lowering his voice he continued, "Along with his bed?"
Spike and I both gave Gunn looks that told him how stupid he was being. Maybe it was just the way he found out, but Gunn had been having trouble wrapping his brain around how Spike and I felt about each other. Or he was uncomfortable with it and was taking it out on Spike.
"No, mate," my partner snarled. "He's the vilest evil hell ever spewed forth."
"You know," I pointed out. "This whole Capo thing sounds just like him."
"He whacks the Capo to lure you to Rome?" Spike asked. He moved to put his hand on my arm, but then stopped as he asked, "And where does Buffy come in?"
"He takes out a slayer and a vampire with a soul." I replied, trying not to be hurt by how he shied away from me at the mention of the girl. But of all the things that could really get between us, she was the most important.
"And starts a gang war to boot," Gunn shook his head. "Man this guy's good."
"Not if I can stop him in time." I left the office, saying as I passed, "Harmony, have the jet fueled and ready to go." When Spike cried out in pain and dropped to the ground, I grudgingly looked back.
"What? A vision? Now?" I asked him, exasperated and anxious to get on a plane and reach Buffy's side. Without Spike's interference if at all possible. It would just be better for everyone involved if I could leave him behind.
"Ow! Ow!" he yelled, grasping his head a little too dramatically. "It looks really bad, Angel." I sniffed the air, picking up no scent of the anguish that Spike usually feels along with a vision. And, I'd fed on him the night before, so I would have felt a tiny echo of his pain in my head if it was a real vision.
"What do you see, Spike?" asked Gunn, totally sucked in by his little performance. "Where are we needed?"
"Uh…" Spike stalled, noticing my skeptical look as he opened one eye and then shut it again tightly. "There's a little girl, being held hostage by all these…uh…cult members. They're going to sacrifice her!"
"Where, Spike?" Gunn asked. "Where is she?"
"Angel!" Spike cried, and I knew exactly what he was doing – trying to keep me away from Buffy, even if she was in danger. Just like I wanted to keep him away from her by leaving him here in LA. "You've got to search the tunnels! They've got her underground, near a park somewhere."
I pulled the jackass to his feet and turned his lies around on him, saying, "New plan. You stay here and look for this little girl. I'll go to Rome."
"But, Ange. This really felt like something you should be doing. That little girl needs you." He sighed like he was disappointed, "I'll go help Buffy by m'self."
I knew he cared about me, I knew it, but it looked like he was still obsessed with Buffy. He was pushing way too hard to go see her, to go save her, without me. "No, that little girl needs you," I insisted. "Buffy needs me."
"No!" He pushed me in irritation. "You can't go by yourself."
"Sorry, Spike. If we've got two cases and two champions, it looks like you can't come with me to Rome."
He growled a frustrated noise and barred my progress toward the exit. "Alright, fine! I lied! There wasn't any vision."
"I know!" Spike scoffed in disappointment and Gunn left, shaking his head. "I can tell when you're lying, jackass!"
"Well, I'm still comin' with, aren't I?"
"No!" I snapped. "Stay here, Spike. I can take care of this by myself."
He laughed harshly as he joined me in the elevator anyway. "Look, either you save Buffy and come up looking like a hero without me, or the Immortal kills you, which would be sad."
I scoffed. "The Immortal won't kill me." As the elevator doors closed, I added a sarcastic, "Hon."
"Not if I'm with you," he insisted, and I gave in. He could come with me, but there was no way I was leaving him and Buffy alone together. No freaking way.
Later in the plane, Spike said, "Just admit it, Angel. You think you're gonna swoop in and save Buffy. Maybe have her all to yourself again."
"I'm already seeing someone," I muttered.
"Hah! Like I don't know who you'd choose in a contest between me and Buffy."
"It's not that simple, Spike," I growled.
"Sure it is. If we save Buffy and she says to you 'Angel, you big strong hunk, I want you back', I'd lose every time. Don't deny it. It's the exact same choice I would make."
Damn it! That's what I was afraid of. We were going to find Buffy and he was going to leave me for her. Why wouldn't he just stay in LA like I told him to? "Argh!" I growled in frustration. "I don't know, okay? I don't know who I'd choose."
"Oh, that's right," he drawled, giving me an evil grin. "I'm the safer choice, aren't I? Because you don't really love me. That's Angel, choosing the fate of the world over love."
I wanted to strangle him and tell him that yes, I did really love him. I wanted to pound the words into his thick skull with a sledge hammer. But I didn't dare. Because I knew that as much as he liked being with me, as much as he liked having a place to belong, he didn't love me. He wouldn't say it, in any case.
I spat over at him, "This isn't about us, Spike."
"You and Buffy?"
"Me and you. This is about making sure Buffy stays alive. Oh, and picking up that demon body thingy." I looked over, catching his eye. "When this is all over and we get back home," assuming he would come home and not go traipsing around Europe with the love of my life, "then this can be about you and me, okay? Until then, partners?"
Spike sighed and muttered, "Just like old times."
Indeed, I thought, remembering those eighteen years or so we spent as part of a family. And now, so many years later, we were all that was left. I couldn't lose that again, the comfort of family. Not when it meant losing the man I loved as well. "Do you want a drink?"
"God, yes," he whispered.
"Wow," said Angel much later, when the tables were covered with wee liquor bottles, all empty. "You really can't get drunk off these things." He took one more swig before tossing the last empty bottle down. We were sitting on opposing sides of the plane, and I wondered if the space between us was because of the Wolfram and Hart pilots watching us from the cockpit or because I'd called him on his ambiguous feelings toward me. I'd thought he loved me, but he wouldn't admit it, the git. Not that I'd admitted my feelings for him, either.
"Not us, anyway," I agreed. "Vampire constitution. Not always a plus." I watched him shuffle through the bottles, looking for one that wasn't completely empty. "How'd you know?"
"'Cause I've drunk a bunch of these little things and I still don't like you."
"Oh, ha, ha," I replied, hoping he was being just as sarcastic. "I meant, how'd you know about Buffy?"
"From a source," he hedged.
"Ange, luv, what source?"
He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"Have you had someone spying on her?" I asked, taking his non-denial as proof that he had. Briefly I wondered why I hadn't thought of it, but I didn't let on that I was jealous. "Oh, Angel! Having your lackeys doing your stalking for you?"
"It's just...Buffy," he said dejectedly. "I wanted to make sure she was safe."
"How many guys have you got on her?"
"Just the one. Got knocked out and called me from the hospital."
"Well you should've had more!" I insisted.
He sighed, "Yeah."
We sat in silence for a few moments as I worried about Buffy. What evil things would the Immortal have planned for her once we got there? Did he even know I loved Buffy as much as Angel did? Maybe he wouldn't be expecting the both of us. Back in the old days, when Angelus and I ran together, the Immortal was one of the few willing to take us on. And now I was a lot older, a lot stronger. I prayed I was strong enough that Angel and I could defeat him. That the Immortal wouldn't be able to kill either of the people I loved.
The plane made a noise and Angel looked out the window, saying, "We'll be landing soon." He sighed. "Do you remember the last time we were in Italy?"
"Little beatnik joint in downtown Rome? All the people full of wine and reefer? As if it were yesterday…"
"Wait," he stopped me, "I wasn't in Italy in the fifties!"
"Oh, right. I s'pose you weren't, then." I thought back. When had Angel been in Italy? Had I been made yet? Oh. "1894?"
He nodded, "The room of pain." We both fell into silent reverie, remembering the last time we'd both come up against the Immortal. I almost smiled at the memories of he and I, working together to try to get back at the git, but stifled it when I caught Angel watching me. He wanted Buffy back, who cared what happened to me. Then why did he give me that slight smile before turning his eyes back out the window?
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