Author's note:

I still don't own BTVS.

This is very short chapter and dedicated to Ginar369. Happy Birthday, dear.

Chapter 16

It was almost time for Spike to leave The Olde Country. He was quite looking forward to the travelling as he hadn't been on the road for a long time. Before he settled in Sunny D he had never stayed too long in any place. He and Dru had moved from country to country and state to state. Since then he had briefly settled in Los Angeles before ending up back in the motherland. Spike was both sad and relieved to be leaving. He wondered how he had ever thought he would be able to stay around when Buffy and Angel had their baby. Perhaps when he had eased his broken heart a little with some distance and time, he might be able to face up to it. His heart felt a lot lighter with the knowledge that he and Buffy had finally managed to get some closure. He was thankful she didn't ask him if they could be friends though. That would have been asking too much. Giles had asked Spike if he would visit Uncle Sam first. He would be starting with New York and he was to make weekly reports to the Watcher on the goings on and his honest opinion of the operations. Spike had been on tolerably well with the Watcher in the last few months and nobody was more surprised than he. They found they had more in common than a shared nationality and penchant for expensive whiskey. They had some similar interest in music and literature for example. Spike had been wary at the beginning fearing the man was acting out of pity and he couldn't bear the idea of Giles feeling sorry for him. There was probably too much history there for them ever to be good friends, although the relationship they had forged through mutual respect made Spike wonder if they could have been, if things had been different.

Spike went over to see Giles as he had been asked by the man if he could call over to make sure everything was in order. Giles had an office in his apartment and the two men gathered in there to make the last minute preparations. The Watcher handed Spike a list of all the accommodation he had organised as well as the itinerary. He wouldn't be staying more than two weeks in any place and the job should involve a couple of months. Spike had no idea what he was going to do when he was finished, although he hoped that after a couple of weeks he might have a better idea of his future.

"Some brandy?" Giles asked interrupting his thoughts.

"I wouldn't say no," Spike replied.

Giles got two glasses from the drinks cabinet and poured them both a decent measure.

Spike raised his glass. "Cheers."

"Have you sorted out your apartment?"

"One of the baby slayers was looking for a place to rent and I agreed to let her sub-let it from me. I agreed to a lease for a year and I don't want to lose the deposit."

"That worked out well, then," Giles commented.

Spike simply grunted in response. The bint had better not wreck the apartment and leave him ending up losing his deposit.

Giles' brow was furrowed. "You're not having second thoughts about this trip, are you?"

Spike shook his head vigorously. "I need to do this. I need to get away."

He needed some time and space in order to move on. He didn't know what the hell he was going to move on to but surely it had to be better than the half-life he was living at the moment.

Spike checked his watch as he left Giles' apartment. It was only nine pm. He had been thinking a lot over the last couple of days and decided he needed to have it out with Angel. He wanted to settle his demons. Speaking with Buffy had given him a sense of peace and with all the anger directed at Angel needed to be brought out into the open too. He had spent too much time seething quietly, chewing his tongue and wishing various acts of vengeance on him. Angel didn't live very far from where the Watcher lived and it took Spike all of five minutes to get there. He stood at the door for a moment, frowning as he briefly questioned his wisdom in doing this. There was no bell so Spike banged hard on the door and waited for the wanker to open the door. Angel opened the door and started when he saw who was there.

"Spike," he said, warily.

Spike spoke quietly, but looked Angel right in the eye. "I think we need to have a conversation."

Angel raised an eyebrow.

"Just to talk," Spike continued. "The urge to smash your face doesn't have much appeal when you can't fight back. You know me, Peaches. I always love a challenge."

Angel's face darkened at his words. He seemed to be deliberating the wisdom of letting Spike in or not.

"I think you owe this at least," Spike pointed out.

"Come in, Spike," Angel said, finally.

Spike walked into the house and looked at the surroundings as he did so. It was too flashy for his taste, but it was type of furnishings a ponce like Angel would like. Even so there didn't appear to be many homely touches. It reminded Spike of his own apartment; it was a place to sleep in but it was never a home like his place with Buffy had been.

"What do you want, Spike?" Angel asked when they had entered the living room.

"I spent a long time wanting to give you a pasting, you know." Spike flexed his fingers and felt satisfaction at Angel's wince. "Don't worry, I meant it when I said there was no point in hurting you. I might accidently kill you.

"Look, Spike," Angel began. "I know you're angry and you have every right to be."

"Bloody right, I do. I thought Dru was the love of my life until I met Buffy. I thought she felt the same but no you were that for her."

"You might notice that even though you dumped her, she has no interest in being with me."

"Oh –rubbish," Spike sneered. "Like you're going to give up trying to get her. I know you and I know her. It won't be long and I don't intend to stick around."

"If you're feeling so superior, then shouldn't you just agree to forgive her and take her back?"

Spike bristled at that and clenched his fist. "I'm leaving before I do actually punch you," he snarled. He walked out the door, slamming it behind him.

The following evening Spike sat in Dawn's living room with his arms around her. He smelt her shampoo and he took a deep sniff determined to commit it to memory, not knowing when he would get a chance to see her again. The kids had said goodbye before they went to bed and Michael was working late, so it was just the two of them. Her lip was trembling and her eyes were shining with tears.

"Promise me if you need anything you'll call," he asked.

She nodded, not managing any words. He could see she was trying hard not to cry.

"I'm going to miss you, Bit," he said.

She couldn't hold back the tears any longer and she started to sob. His heart ached; he hated it when she cried.

He patted her back. "Don't cry, please. I will be back again soon and I promise I'll keep in touch."

She wiped her eyes with her hand. "You better or I'll come after you with a stake."

He snorted. "I always said you were a bitty Buffy."

"Hey, she's the short one." She punched his arm.

His lips turned up into a satisfied smirk. "It's called poetic license, pet. Besides, you just hit me. That's always been the Slayer's prerogative."

The snark was helping with the ache in his chest and he found that any thoughts of Buffy didn't turn him into a brooding ponce.

"Buffy said she talked with you the other night."

He nodded, "We said our goodbyes and wished each other well."

Dawn's eyebrows went into the back of her head. "Really?" she asked.

"I was as surprised as you, pet. We managed to have a civilised conversation."

Dawn smiled. "Maybe you shouldn't leave?" she joked. "I think it's a sign of the apocalypse."

He laughed and the fact that he could laugh at the situation was a sign he had come a long way.

To be continued…