Somewhere in the Atlantic 1943
Several responses ran through Spike's head at his grandsire's question (none of them pleasant), but he settled for a tight lipped nod of acknowledgement as he looked the older vampire up and down. He hadn't changed much aside from a haircut and new clothes, all black of course. His grandsire lowered his head and gave Spike a knowing smirk, folding his arms and returning the up and down look.
"You're a Nazi?"
Spike frowned before he realized the swastika had caught Angelus' eye, and shook his head.
"No, I just ate one. What are you doing here?"
Angelus chuckled and looked around the tiny compartment.
"Same thing as you, obviously. We were captured. I take it you're the one responsible for getting us out then?"
"Yeah." Spike noticed the other vampires all staring at them, watching the conversation with interest. "If I'd known you were along for the ride I would have left you locked up."
Angelus pressed a hand to his chest, right where his un-beating heart lay.
"Spike. You wound me. After all the time we spent together? We're family."
"You are?" Penn asked, stepping forward and giving Angelus an annoyed look.
"Depends on your definition of family, doesn't it?" Spike answered, ignoring what he suspected was his grandsire's latest travelling companion. "Where's grandma?"
"Ran off to her precious Master." A dark look passed over Angelus' face but he brushed it off quickly, cocky smirk falling back into place. "He got himself into a bit of a predicament."
"This is all very interesting to you I'm sure," Nostroyev interrupted, "but I for one would rather focus on how soon we can finish off the cowards hiding from us."
"Can't you see we're having a reunion here?" Angelus turned to Nostroyev. "It's not like you have anywhere important to be… what was your name again?"
Typical. Spike heaved a sigh at his grandsire's obvious goading of the brute. As if the prospect of getting out of here in one piece hadn't been difficult enough before finding out who else was on board.
"I am Nostroyev." The large vampire stepped up to Angelus until he was only a foot away, slapping the axe in his hand the entire time. "Scourge of Siberia. I was Rasputin's lover. You dare disrespect me, Angelus?"
The first of many pissing contests to come, no doubt. Spike backed up to lean against a wall and observe the showdown. If he remembered Angelus right, the vamp wouldn't allow an opportunity to assert his authority pass by. Nostroyev was about to learn that the hard way.
"Scourge of Europe trumps you." Angelus grabbed the axe out of Nostroyev's hands and rammed the handle into his heart, turning the larger vamp to dust in seconds.
The others all looked on, The Prince of Lies cocking his head in mild curiosity while Penn started grinning like an idiot. Angelus spun the axe in the air once and caught it before tossing it off to the side.
"He was taking up too much room for such cramped quarters."
Spike rolled his eyes while Penn started to laugh.
"What do you say we go hunt down the rest of the filth and have a little more fun?" the eager vamp said, practically bouncing in place. The Prince of Lies wheezed his approval, thin lips curling up into a smile that looked more like a grimace.
They all turned to stare at Spike who kicked off the wall to stand at full height in front of them.
"What was that?" Angelus asked, taking two steps towards Spike, not quite threatening… yet.
"We shouldn't kill them. Not right now anyway."
Now came the hard part. Spike had to play this right so he didn't end up like Notroyev. He had a little more leeway as far as his grandsire was concerned considering their history, but it wouldn't count for much if he pushed his luck. Annoyingly, he was going to have to be civil for a while.
"And why not? Spike? Enlighten me on why we should spare the men who locked us in here like animals."
"Because of where we are, Gramps. Look around. We're in a bit of a tight spot right now."
Angelus glanced around the tiny interior and seemed to pause to listen.
"A submarine. Not riding on the surface either."
"No, we're not."
Angelus sighed and Spike was relieved that at least so far things were going well. The Prince of Lies hunched over a little more and cocked his head like a dog trying to listen extra hard for something.
"We're underwater?" he asked in a nasal voice. He hissed and scrunched his face up in distaste. Angelus and Spike gave him baffled expressions before choosing to ignore the old geezer.
"Fine, we're underwater. I don't see why that means they should live."
"Well, for starters, they aren't the ones responsible for locking us up. Not all of them anyway. Check their uniforms. Some of them are Americans."
Angelus frowned as he absorbed the information.
"They captured the sub." He laughed and started to pace as he worked it out. "They took the sub to aid in the war and it just so happens to be the one we're being transported on. That's how you got out." He pointed to Spike. "They had no clue what was in those crates. You started making a ruckus, broke free, and the slaughter began. They have terrible luck."
"Fact is, unless you've joined the navy sometime in the past forty odd years, we're stuck down here. Now we could swim, but who knows how far we are from land or how far down we are? Personally, I don't fancy it."
"The Prince of Lies does not swim," the raspy voice behind them added.
"You think they're just going to oblige us and steer us home?" Penn interrupted them, striding up next to Angelus and giving Spike a glare. "I don't think they're going to feel quite so charitable."
"In case you've forgotten, we're vampires." Spike gave the new boy a withering glance, wondering what the hell he saw in Angelus that had him trailing after the git like an obedient puppy. "Vamps that killed their crew no less. Not to mention their Captain."
Angelus raised an eyebrow at that as Spike carried on.
"Now even without our obvious advantages and means of threatening them into complying, they have another incentive. Air. They need it to breathe. We can do without. How long do you suppose they can last down here before they need to surface? Sooner or later, they're going to want to take control again. It'll be easier for everyone if we let them do just that, but keep them in line of course."
"Spike has a point."
Penn stared at Angelus in disbelief.
"You can't seriously be agreeing to spare those—"
"You should know me well enough to tell when I'm joking, Penn." Angelus gave the vamp a glare. "You know I don't pass up a free meal but we are in a bit of a pickle right now. We allow them to take us closer to shore, surface, then kill them. Got it? Until then, we spare only who they need to operate this tub and wait to do the rest."
That bought some time, but Spike knew he'd have another battle on his hands later if he wanted to avoid a bloodbath with the survivors. He could, of course, just leave them to it. But he'd let his rage take over and slaughtered people who were, more or less, innocent. They'd had no clue what was on board and hadn't been part of his capture, yet they'd paid for it with their lives all the same. Spike grudgingly acknowledged that he owed them.
At least Angelus agreed with him for now, which was a surprise in itself, but Spike had to admit, however bitterly, that his grandsire wasn't nearly as dumb as he looked. Penn could be a problem; the hate in his eyes every time he shot a glare in Spike's direction made that crystal clear. However, he seemed to fall in line when Angelus bossed him around, so hopefully he wouldn't cause too much trouble.
As for the old geezer… he seemed willing enough to go along with their plans for now. Generally, he seemed more curious than irritated by the situation, and at least he wasn't pulling rank on them.
"Right then, I'll go free the little sardines." Spike started to head for the door when a hand landed heavily on his shoulder and stopped him.
"Now hang on, Spike. I'm not going to let you have all the fun, and we both know I'm a master of threatening people. Besides, we have lots to catch up on."
Spike grimaced and tapped his tongue against his teeth in irritation. He shrugged Angelus' hand off his shoulder, leading the way forward. Penn attempted to follow him but was held back.
"You stay here. Look around and see if you can find anything interesting. Keep the Prince there company."
"Penn. Spike and I need to discuss old times. It wouldn't interest you."
Spike turned and couldn't help but smirk at the glower the other vamp was giving him. He remembered the warning tone now clear in Angelus' voice; the one that had usually been directed at him. Penn snarled but soon looked away, pretending to be unfazed.
"You're right. It wouldn't interest me. I just can't believe you'd trust Junior with keeping them in line."
It was Spike's turn to growl as Penn grinned back at him. Angelus grabbed Spike's coat and pulled him forward.
"Come on. You two children can measure up later, all right?"
Spike yanked free of his grandsire's grip and walked on by himself, quickly putting space between them and the other vampires. When they got to the compartment leading to where the men were trapped, he stopped and faced Angelus.
"Who's the pillock, and what's his bloody problem?"
Angelus found a place to sit and relaxed, looking at Spike with some amusement as he clasped his hands in front of him.
"Ah yes, Penn. He's family from long ago. I hadn't seen him in years, but we bumped into each other recently and decided to travel together for a while. Darla's gone, and I rather enjoy a bit of male company for a change."
Spike ignored the suggestive look Angelus was giving him. His grandsire was clearly enjoying every minute of this little adventure now he had a chance to taunt the younger vamp again. Instead, Spike struggled to pinpoint what it was about the name that struck a chord with him, when finally he remembered.
"He's the one. That vamp you and Darla turned back before you even knew Dru. Your protégé."
Penn had been mentioned only once that Spike could remember. A somewhat offhand comment Angelus had made about him. It had stuck in Spike's memory only because Angelus had been comparing them as his pupils. Spike was found wanting of course, which suited him just fine.
"Still as attentive as ever. He's picked up quite a few of my tricks. It's how we ran into each other, actually. He's been perfecting my technique. He wanted to know what I'd been up to. I decided to bring him along. Isolation isn't good for anyone. Is it, Spike?"
"No. Don't suppose it is."
"So, pray tell. Who have you been spending your time with these last decades, hmm?"
"No one in particular. I drift."
Angelus was fishing, and Spike was damned if he was going to share. He knew better than to think the sod cared about him beyond his own interests. It was bad enough he'd seen Spike suffer after Dru dusted without revealing to the great forehead any more of what he'd been going through.
"Drift. Well, we've all been there I suppose. Did a little of it myself when Darla ran off. I had no interest in helping Batface, least of all after how we last parted ways. I honestly didn't think I'd run into you again, Spike. Figured you'd do your best to keep our paths from crossing… if you weren't already dead."
"Would have. Didn't have a choice in the matter."
Angelus grinned and Spike sighed, glancing at the door beyond which the men were no doubt cowering. Knowing Angelus would keep pushing, Spike tried to divert his attention to a different topic.
"So, what trouble is Batface in anyway?"
Angelus tapped his fingers against the instruments next to him and glanced at the roof as he answered.
"Got himself stuck underground after an earthquake. He was trying to open up a Hellmouth somewhere in California. He failed."
Spike raised an eyebrow at that and couldn't help a smile. Angelus watched him, his own mouth curled in amusement until soon they were both chuckling as they imagined the Master on his grand quest to raise Hell on Earth, only to get buried in the process. Spike snickered and shook his head.
"Serves him right. And Darla's down in the dirt with him then?"
Angelus nodded and shrugged.
"Well, didn't think she'd ever get tired of travelling to stew in a hole."
"She's loyal. Don't understand it to be honest, but she'll overlook a lot to do as he asks."
"But you won't do the same for her?"
"I'm not some pet on a leash." Angelus scowled and stood again, moving across the room to block the open door behind him. "I don't need to sit at the feet of the one who made me and answer their every beck and call. Maybe it makes me the odd one out after all. Even you cowed to Dru's whims."
Spike tensed and slipped his mask back on, the one that hid his emotions. Angelus saw the change and seemed to study Spike more intently.
"Did you grieve, Spike? Something changed in you, I know that much. Dragged your limp arse out of there and saved your hide from the Master's boys, but did I get any thanks? No. Instead you lay there like a lump for days until you up and disappeared without so much as a by your leave."
"I had no reason to stay."
"You stuck around for her and her alone then? To tell the truth, I'm not surprised. But we were all you had left in the world and you just up and vanished. I was sure you'd have dusted. You weren't—right."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means I know she did something, Spike. I saw you when you had those nightmares and she was the only one to calm you. I saw how she eased your mind, removed any trace of hesitation or refusal with one of her looks. She had you in thrall!"
"What of it?!"
Spike lost his cool. He didn't have any answers for Angelus about what Dru had done, and he wasn't going to share one minute of his life between the time he'd cut them loose and now with the older vampire.
"What does it matter to you? She died. I lived on. Yeah, I nearly dusted when I lost her, but I pulled through, and I'm still here. We're not friends. We're not 'family', not really… so back off. All I want is to get off this bloody submarine and go my own way, all right? Now can we get cracking on that or do you want to keep pushing for some pointless heart-to-heart? Neither one of 'em beats, and they sure as hell don't bleed for the other one."
Angelus stared at Spike who realized that at some point, he'd fisted his hands at his sides and was shaking ever so slightly. With some effort, he calmed himself and unclenched his fists, turning away from the older vamp to face the door. He squeezed his eyes shut and cursed his temper. A few seconds passed before Angelus broke the uncomfortable silence.
"Best get that door open before the other two come looking for us. Can't spend eternity down here now can we?"
The thought of the two of them locked in a metal tube somewhere deep beneath the ocean for eternity was almost funny. As if they'd manage even five minutes.
"I'd swim for it first."
"Not if I beat you to it."
Instead of retorting with another insult, Spike focused on the task at hand. They could have thrown jibes at each other all day otherwise.
Spike slammed a fist against the door in front of him, the sound of it reverberating through the room. That would get the crew's attention fairly quickly. It would take more than that to convince them to open up though. He was no expert in Morse code by any means but he knew enough to rap out a simple S.O.S.
He repeated the rhythm a few times before backing away to a far corner. He shared a glance with Angelus who took up a position closer to the door. At least one of them had seen Spike, not his human face, but there was a good chance he'd be recognized all the same. They didn't want the men within slamming the door before they could persuade them otherwise.
It took a while. Angelus and Spike waited. More than likely they were arguing about whether or not it was wise to open the door. It wasn't really, but they didn't have much choice. It was doubtful they'd believe the S.O.S. was sincere, but you never knew. Either way, it was risk facing the monsters or wait to suffocate to death.
When the door eventually did open, it was the same crewmember standing there that had tried to save his Captain. He stared straight at Angelus, a gun raised and pointing at the vampire's chest.
"Who are you? Are you one of those things?"
"Easy, kid. I'm not here to hurt you."
"Yeah, you're not interested in hurting anybody. All the dead bodies in here say differently."
Not all the dead bodies, Spike thought, watching the boy carefully. His hand was steady despite the fear Spike sensed coming from him. Angelus grinned, holding his hands out in an attempt to calm the crew down.
"Slight misunderstanding. Last we were aware, this was a German sub. You caught us at a bad time."
"A bad time." The man's eyes moved glanced from the blood on the walls to the dead bodies on the floor again. "That's one hell of a way of putting it."
"What's done is done, but it doesn't change our current situation. You boys need air, and we want out of here. Now, what do you say we work together? You can take this thing home like you planned, and we'll leave, no more harm done."
"Why should we help you? You're monsters. I'm supposed to believe… whatever the hell you are?" The gun jerked a little in his hand as he started to lose his cool, the tension finally getting to him.
Angelus dropped his gaze to the weapon. His eyes flicked towards Spike who was already moving. By the time the kid, noticed, Spike had pulled him forward into the room, one hand around his throat warningly, while the other pinned the hand with the gun. Spike squeezed the bloke's wrist until he was forced to drop the weapon. The rest of the crew barely had time to react, but when they did more guns were drawn and pointing at the vampires.
"I wouldn't do that," Angelus warned them, stooping to pick up the discarded weapon and squeeze the barrel, bending the metal and making it useless before tossing it down again. "Spike has a firm hold on who I'm assuming is in command now your Captain is gone. Well, he was in command at least. Now, we won't kill him, not if you comply with our wishes. I meant everything I said. You get this thing running, drop us off on your way home and you all get to live. So, do we have an agreement or do I have to make myself clearer?"
"How do we know—" The kid Spike was holding tried to speak again but started coughing and choking. Spike gave another warning squeeze to his throat before loosening his grip and allowing the guy to talk. "How do we know you won't just kill us anyway, once you don't need us anymore?"
Angelus held a finger up to indicate the boy had made a fair point.
"Ah, see that's where you're confused. Fact is we don't need you, not really. Unlike you, we could swim out of here if we had to, but it's not a pleasant prospect. So you see, we could kill every last one of you right now, and it wouldn't put us at risk. We'd just prefer to make our journey less of a hassle. You're lucky we're even giving you this chance to begin with."
The men seemed to be debating the truth of Angelus' words, glancing back and forth to one another and giving confused and frightened looks to the one Spike was still restraining.
"What's it going to be, mate?" Spike asked the kid, his voice low but not threatening.
"I'm not your mate." He struggled for a minute before finally taking a deep breath and relaxing, his eyes fixed on his men. "Fine. Promise to let us live and we'll help you." He directed his words to Angelus who dipped his head in acknowledgement.
"You have my word. Now tell your men to put their guns down."
"Lower your weapons."
They hesitated, and he repeated the order. Finally, the men grudgingly did as asked. The older vamp turned his gaze to Spike again. "Let him go."
Spike released the boy, who jerked away from him, spinning to face Spike and rubbing at his throat with one hand. He frowned and dropped his eyes to Spike's clothes before they rose to his face again.
Spike tilted his head and waited for the outburst he knew was coming.
"You killed the Captain!"
"Yeah, I did. One of the ones who got between me and the Krauts that had me locked in a crate. It's done. You wanna make an issue of it and go back on the deal or are you gonna worry about the men still alive?"
"What are you?"
"A vampire. Satisfied?"
The kid was shaking with anger but he kept his cool. Spike admired his restraint. No matter what grudge he bore against them, it seemed like the lives of his crew were worth more to him than foolhardy revenge. Good. That should keep things reasonably smooth until the time came for the vamps to disembark.
"Not the word I'd use."
Spike grinned at that. Before any more trouble could start, Angelus intervened.
"I'm sure you have a lot of work to get to. Spike and I have to go inform the others of our arrangement."
"Fine. Spinelli," the kid looked to one of his men, "take Heinrich up to the galley. Then do a full systems check. You got five minutes. Start with the batteries. I want juice as soon as possible."
The crewman, Spinelli, nodded and vanished back into the compartment they'd gathered in before leading out a German prisoner. Spike and Angelus glared at the Nazi, who stumbled over his feet when he saw them standing there, eyes trained on him.
"Was machst du? Sie warden uns töten. Sie wissen nicht, was Sie zu tun haben. Diese Monster—"
"Yeah, yeah, they're monsters, we figured that much out. Move it," Spinelli said, pushing the German forward against his protests. Angelus and Spike watched them go.
"O'Shea… you're at the helm—"
"Not to interrupt you, but it'd be nice if we knew what to call you, Commander," Angelus interrupted, smirking at the title he'd given the kid. He was rewarded with a stony stare before he got an answer.
"Well, Lawson. I can see you're going to be very busy for the next few hours. Organize your men, get the engine working, and we'll keep an eye on proceedings. If you need anything, let us know. We're not against giving you a hand considering you're probably short of them."
The vampire's eyes drifted to the bodies again and he left Lawson with a teasing smile before gesturing for Spike to lead the way back to the others. Spike scoffed and pushed his way past the older vampire. He had little patience for his grandsire's taunting of the people they were relying on to get them to shore.
"Come on you old git," Spike said. "Best make sure your boy's not throwing a tantrum over being ignored."