Title: Prodigal Son

Summary: Darla enlists Spike to help kill the Slayer, but her long lost grandchilde has his own agenda.

Pairing: Spike/Angel, Spike/Buffy, Spike/Darla

Rated: NC-17

Word count: 11550

A/N: This was written for the seasonofship community on LJ. It is a rewrite of the episode Angel from S1.

Disclaimer: I don't own any rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Feedback: Please!

'Welcome to Sunnydale.'

Spike didn't slow down as he neared the sign proclaiming his arrival on the Hellmouth. Instead he pressed his foot down harder on the pedal and purposely slammed strait into the sign.

"Oops," he murmured dryly to himself, a slow grin pulling up his lips. He hit the brakes, coming to a jarring stop and swung open the door.

With vampiric grace Spike unfolded himself from the Desoto. He slowly made his way around to the front of the car and leaning against the hood, he pulled out a pack of cigarettes from the breast pocket of his duster. He popped a cigarette into his mouth and flicked back the top of his silver Zippo. He brought the flame to the tip of his cigarette and puffed on the filter until smoke filled his useless lungs. Slowly, he let a cloud of smoke billow from his mouth as he scanned the horizon before him.

Spike rolled his tongue over his teeth and sighed. "Yep," he muttered, "looks like Hell all right."

"Spike," Darla greeted as she opened the door to her great-granchilde, a wide smile stretching her mouth. Her eyes devoid of real warmth, she simpered, "You came. It's so nice to see you."

"'Ello, Darla," Spike returned, not bothering to return the false enthusiasm Darla was displaying.

"I wish I had known you were coming ahead of time," she reproved, "I would have saved you some." She gestured to the young man lying on the floor; his pale features testimony to the fact he had been completely drained.

"'S'all right," Spike said. "I stopped for a bite at a truck stop on m' way into town. Big fella," he patted his stomach, "should be enough to tide me over for awhile."

Darla smirked. "Please come in." She stepped away from the door to allow him entrance. "Make yourself at home."

Spike stepped over the threshold and looked around the room. "Nice set up you have 'ere," he commented, eyeing the posh furnishings.

"Yes, isn't it?" Darla tilted her head and took in the room. "The woman I fed on that lived here was in interior decorator."

"It shows," he remarked.

Darla sighed theatrically. "My, it certainly has been a long time, hasn't it?" she said. "When was the last time we saw each other?"

Spike jaw tensed as he recalled their last encounter.

"Oh, that's right," said Darla, her tone maudlin. "It was Prague, wasn't it?"

"Yeah," Spike replied tightly, "that was it."

"And how is our dear little Drusilla?" Darla inquired. "It was just terrible what those barbarians did to her. I always did hate Eastern Europe," she continued, giving a little shudder for effect. "Didn't she come with you?"

Spike cleared his throat. "'Fraid not," he told her coolly. "She wasn't up for the trip. But she did send her love."

"Oh," Darla remarked. "That's too bad. I was hoping we could have a family reunion," she spoke regretfully. "Angelus is here, you know – in Sunnydale that is," she added, looking directly at Spike, assessing his reaction to the news.

Spike sucked in his cheeks and pursed his lips. "That right?" he said. "Well, how do you like that, then? I'll have to make sure to catch up with m' good ol' sire while I'm here. But first..." He slapped his hands together, rubbing them in anticipation. "You said somethin' about having Slayer troubles."

Darla's mouth twitched. "You know, that's one of the things I always liked best about you William," she said, "you get right to the point."

"Yeah, well, just because I have all the time in the world, doesn't mean I wanna waste it," he replied. "So what's the deal with this Slayer then? And just why is it you need me to take care of her instead of doin' it yourself? I never woulda took you for the helpless sort, Darla," he mocked, his blue eyes watching her expression change.

"I am far from helpless," Darla replied, her eyes hard. "Believe me, I would love to put that sanctimonious bitch in her place. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed." She turned her head away, lips pinched with irritation.

"Not allowed?" Spike's brow furrowed. "Oh yeah, that's right," he said, lips curling as his brow smoothed out, "you take orders from that Maestro chap, don't you?" He chuckled, his amusement at Darla's predicament clear.

"Yes," Darla hissed, "I do as my Master wishes. Because, I know the kind of power he possesses," she continued, her tone becoming reverent, "and I want to be by his side when his power is restored and he takes what's rightfully his."

"And what might that be?" Spike asked, brow hitched.

One corner of Darla's mouth curved up in a slow smile. "The world."

"Oh, does that belong to him? I always did wonder," he returned with a smirk.

"He would have already risen had it not been for that bitch's meddling," Darla went on, ignoring Spike snide remark. "If she hadn't ruined the Harvest."

"So your Master's into farmin' now, is he?" Spike quipped.

Darla glared in response.

Spike rolled his eyes at her direness. "Well," he began, clucking his tongue, "if this girl really is as much of a pain in your Master's old wrinkly backside as you say, then why won't he let you take her out? What's he waitin' for?"

"He isn't," Darla haughtily informed him. "He's recruited real professionals to handle the girl: The Three."

Spike's eyebrows rose. "The Three, eh?" He sounded impressed. "She must really be trouble if he called in that lot." He blew out a breath as if bored. "Well, if your little Slayer problem was already taken care of, what the hell did you bother me for then?" he asked.

"I didn't know about The Three when I sent for you," Darla replied, her blonde head rose arrogantly. "I only found out about them today."

"So the job ain't done yet, then?" His eyes narrowed with curiosity.

"No, not yet," Darla told him. "But I don't think that Buffy will be a problem for much longer." She smiled, an almost dreamy expression on her face. "As soon as that bitch is dead he'll be free... and then he can come back to me."

"Come back?" Spike questioned. "You ain't talkin' about the Master." It was more an observation than a question.

"It's Angelus," she said stiffly, her dreamy expression erased. "She's keeping him from me."

"What? The Slayer's got 'im held hostage or somethin'?" His tone was derisive.

"In a way, yes," Darla replied, not at all amused.

"An' does that way happen to involve shackles and a cage? 'Cause that was the way I was talkin' about."

Darla pressed her lips together. "He's being held captive by his own emotions," she imparted scathingly. "That soul of his is a bigger nuisance than I ever knew. Filthy Gypsies," she cursed, turning her back on Spike in her irritation.

Spike started to laugh. "What? Are you tellin' me that Angelus has a thing for the Slayer? Oh, that is delicious."

Turning back to face him, Darla narrowed her eyes. "How dare you? You would be nothing had it not been for Angelus taking you under his wing. You would still be a sniveling idiot torturing people with your awful poetry, instead of acting like a real man," she spat.

All amusement disappeared from Spike's face. He ground his teeth together. In a flash he was in front of Darla, looming over her menacingly. "You watch your tongue, luv," he warned. "I'm no one's whipping boy any more. I'm my own man now, you hear? I didn't come here for a stroll down memory lane. I came here 'cause I've got a bitch to kill, an' that's all I care about. Got it?"

Darla's lips slowly stretched upward, aroused by Spike's threatening manner rather than intimidated. "Well, that's good to know," she approved. "You're focused. You'll have to be if you're going to go after the Slayer. And if you are, then you might want to hurry before The Three finds her first."

Spike pursed his lips. "Right," he said, his stance relaxing. "So why don't you tell me, got any ideas to where I might find the bint?"

Spike felt a tingling sensation all over his body the moment he entered the Bronze; Darla had told him he would have a good chance of finding the Slayer there. Spike's eyes scanned the crowd, drawn to the stairwell where Angel was lurking in the shadows, his own gaze fixed intently on something, someone. Spike followed Angel's stare. He would have known the blond sitting at the table chatting with a redhead was the Slayer even if his sire hadn't been making googly-eyes in her direction. Spike could feel the power emanating from her even across the room. It was palpable.

Spike tilted his head to the side. He pursed his lips, eyebrows rising as he gave her a silent appraisal. He couldn't fault Angel for having the hots for the girl; she was a hot little number all right.

But as nice as the girl was to look at, Spike felt his gaze once again pulled to his sire. The corners of Spike's mouth curved up seeing the longing in Angel's eyes. He felt vindicated in a way. Spike remembered all the times Angelus had derided him for how much he loved Drusilla. And now, here he was, pining after the Slayer. He shook his head. Hard to believe this was the same vampire that had been the Scourge of Europe. The man that had taught Spike the finer arts of torture, having sometimes used those methods on Spike, telling him he needed to feel the effects first hand to appreciate them fully.

Spike couldn't fathom this was the same man he had once feared, had admired. The man he had spent countless amounts of energy resenting and loathing – and occasionally, loving. He couldn't imagine having any of those feelings for Angel now. He was too pathetic.

Spike saw a movement out of the corner of his eye, and his focus was once again aimed at the Slayer. She was getting up from the table and bidding her friends goodnight. He shook off lingering thoughts about Angel and remembered his purpose in coming here. He watched the Slayer make her way to the back exit. He turned around and went out the front, going around the building to the alley just as Buffy was coming out the door.

Spike began to follow the Slayer, careful to stay down wind of the other vampire he knew was doing the same.

"Okay, I don't want to have to fight all three of you – unless I have to," he heard her say.

Spike smirked as the fighting ensued. He was tempted to stay back and watch and see how the Slayer fared on her own. He wanted to see if she was really as tough as everyone seemed to think. But then he figured if The Three did end up killing her, that would put a damper on his own plans. Plus he knew if he didn't step in, Angel was waiting just around the corner to do just that himself.

The idea of what Angel's face might look like when he saw Spike jump to the Slayer's aid was almost too much to resist in and of itself. So, chuckling silently to himself, Spike, the Slayer of Slayers, stepped up to save one's life.

One of the Three Stooges was just about to take a bite out of the girl when Spike grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. "Now, now," he chastised, "do you know what happens to pups that get a mite too frisky?" He kneed the vampire in the groin. "They end up neutered."

Buffy's eyes widened at the platinum haired stranger that had granted her a reprieve. She watched him fend off the vamps that attacked her, momentarily struck dumb. However she quickly regained her senses when she saw her rescuer get swiped in the ribs. She pushed her self off the fence she had been backed into and grabbed the vampire holding the pipe. She whipped him around and threw him at his cronies, sending them all crashing down like bowling pins.

She knew they wouldn't stay down long, so she took advantage of the small window she had and grabbed hold of the mystery man's hand. "Run!" she ordered him. She pulled him along with her and headed for her home.

"Come on! Get in!" Buffy yelled at the stranger, pushing him ahead of her into her house. She rushed in behind him and slammed the door on one of the vampire's hands. She struggled with the door before the vampire finally retracted his wedged arm. Once the door was closed Buffy quickly twisted the locks.

"I've heard they can't come in unless they're invited," Buffy said as she looked out the window for signs of the vampires lurking about, "but, I don't really care to test that theory right now."

"Oh, it's true," Spike remarked, and thank you so much for inviting me in, he added silently. He was tickled with the idea of him having an all-access pass to the home of the Slayer.

Buffy turned around to scrutinize her savior for the first time. She wanted to ask him questions, but when she got a look at the gash across his ribs, and the blood seeping through his shirt she figured the Q&A would have to wait.

"You should take off your jacket and shirt," she told him, pointing to his wound. Spike looked down at it – he'd hardly noticed. "I'll get some bandages."

"So," Spike ventured as he stood in the Slayer's kitchen, topless while she tended to his wounds, "you must have really gotten on someone's bad side if they sent The Three after you."

"The Three?" Buffy repeated. "That's who those guys were? You know them?" Her curiosity about the English guy went up a few more notches at his apparent knowledge of her attackers.

"Of them," Spike clarified. "They're bad business."

"Yeah, I got that impression," she muttered.

"So, you got any ideas about who sent 'em?" he asked, wondering how much she knew.

"Several, actually," she said, wiping the blood from his torso. "But, I'd put my money on it being the Master. I'm assuming since you knew The Three, you're probably familiar with who that is?" She glanced up briefly from her task.

"Heard the name."

"Speaking of names," Buffy segued as she finished bandaging Spike gash. "And I don't want you to take this the wrong way being as you pretty much saved my butt back there, but, just who the hell are you anyway?" She took a step back, waiting for his response.

Spike chuckled. So the girl wasn't as dumb as she appeared. "No worries, love," he said. "I don't take offence to your bein' suspicious. Your line of work, I 'spose you'd have to be. And, as for saving your backside, well that was my pleasure. I'd have hated to see anything bad happen to one as fine as yours." He gave her a cocky grin.

Buffy sucked in her cheeks, trying to ignore his lewd comment – and hoping she wasn't blushing because of it – and crossed her arms over her chest. "So you know who I am too, then? Well now, this is completely unfair. You have to tell me who you are."

"Most people nowadays call me Spike," he told her. "But me mum always called me William."

"William," Buffy slowly repeated. "Well, all right Billy Boy, so how about you tell me what you were doing in that alley?"

Spike shrugged. "Right place, right time?"

Buffy looked down at the bandage she'd just applied, then back up to his face, her eyebrows raised. "I'm thinking more like wrong place, wrong time."

Spike smirked. "I 'spose you've gotta point there."

"Okay, enough of being coy," Buffy said. "Why were you there?"

"I was on my way to see an old friend," he told her. "His place is near there. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure he's a mutual acquaintance."

"Really?" Buffy sounded dubious. "And just who might that be?"

"Fella goes by the name of Angel."

"Angel?" Buffy's eyes sparked with interest.

So, Angel's affections don't go unrequited, ain't that sweet?

"You know Angel?"

Spike let out a low chuckle. "Oh, yeah. I know him. Very well."

Buffy's brow pinched at the hint of suggestion in Spike's voice and in his expression. Was he implying that he and Angel were... She shook away the thought. Now was not the time to obsess about that kind of thing.

"So, what are you then," she asked Spike, redirecting the conversation into less trepid waters. "Some kind of rogue vampire hunter?"

Spike pursed his lips in consideration. "Well, I've been known to take out a vamp or two in my day – if they get in my way or piss me off enough," he responded carefully. "But, I wouldn't say they're my primary prey."

Buffy was just about to ask what his primary prey was when she heard the sound of the front door opening. Without a word she dashed out of the kitchen.

Spike listened as the Slayer floundered trying to coax her mother up to her room. She didn't sound like she was doing too well. He figured he should probably lend her a hand again. He quite fancied the idea of himself being the dashing white knight – rescuing the maiden fair. He snorted quietly at the thought before joining Buffy and her mom.

Her eyes widening with alarm at the sight of him in her house, Buffy's mom offered a simple, "Hello," making the word sound like a question. The woman was clearly suspicious of the strange man in her house alone with her teenage daughter.

"Hello," he returned, allowing his gaze to roam over the woman in a way that usually got the ladies a little warm under the petticoats.

The horrified look on the Slayer's face made the whole night worth it.

"Uh, mom, this is... Will," Buffy introduced, thinking her mother wouldn't take it as well if her daughter was spending time with someone called Spike. "Will, this is my mom, Joyce."

"Your mum?" Spike remarked with disbelief. "You've got to be jokin' me. I would've thought you two were sisters."

Buffy fought the urge to roll her eyes. Seriously? Is he really trying to pull that line? No way will mom ever fall for something like that, she's not an

Joyce giggled at the compliment. Buffy gaped at her mother's reaction.

"Oh, that's very kind of you," she said to Spike. "So, how do you know my daughter? You don't go to school with her." It wasn't a question.

"Er, no, I don't," Spike confirmed. "My high school days are long over."

"Well, it couldn't have been that long ago," Joyce contended. "What are you, 23, 24?"

"Somethin' like that," Spike replied.

"Sp – Will," Buffy interjected, "is a student at the community college. He's tutoring me in English."

"I'm a bit of an expert," he added with a wink.

Joyce giggled again. "Yes, I suppose you would be," she remarked. "Well, I'm afraid it's a bit late for studying," she added in a more 'mom' like tone.

"You're right," Spike agreed. "If you don't get a good nights sleep all the studyin' in the world ain't gonna do you a lick of good." He did his best impression of earnest scholar.

Joyce smiled. "Right. Well, it was a pleasure to meet you, Will," she said.

Spike smirked. "Oh, no. The pleasure was all mine."

"I'm going to head on up to bed now. Buffy?" Joyce prompted.

"I'm going to say goodnight and do the same thing," Buffy assured.

"All right," Joyce replied. She smiled at Spike again. "Goodnight, Will. Again, it was very nice to meet you."

"You too. Night."

Buffy waited for her mother to ascend the stairs and to hear the click of her bedroom door closing before reeling on Spike. "'Ain't gonna?'" She gaped at him. "You're supposed to be tutoring me in English and that's the way you talk?"

Spike shrugged. "Hey, you said it, not me."

Buffy finally let loose the eyeroll she'd been holding in. "By the way, don't you think you laid on the flattery stuff a bit too thick?"

Spike shrugged. "Don't know what you're talking about. Your mum's a good lookin' lady. I think I complemented her accordingly."

Buffy's eyes turned upward again. "Whatever," she muttered. She turned and opened the door as noisily as possible. "We better make a show of saying goodnight, then we can sneak up to my room."

Spike waggled his brows a little, a slight smirk playing on his lips.

Buffy sighed. "Or would you rather me put you out for real, so you can take your chances with The Three?"

"No, thanks," he replied. "I can't say that sounds like much fun." He put his hand over his injury to add emphasis.

Buffy bit the inside of her lip. "If I do let you stay the night here, you're not going to do something to make me regret that decision, are you? Or anything that requires me to break your hands, or some other body part?"

Spike held up his hands and wiggled his fingers. "Promise to keep these all to myself."

Buffy sucked in her cheeks, looking contemplative. She didn't think inviting a stranger up to her bedroom was the wisest decision – and there was something about this guy that had her Spidey sense tingling. But her only other choice was to send him out where three vampires might be lying in wait to get revenge on the person who ruined their plans to kill the Slayer. As the Slayer, the main objective was to keep people safe, not send them into dangerous situations. So, as she saw it, she didn't really have a choice.

"Okay," Buffy said after a moment. Then she turned to the door and hollered goodbye to no one.

And she thinks I lay it on thick? Spike thought watching the display.

After Buffy finished she turned to Spike and jerked her head toward the stairs, indicating he should follow her.

A sly smile spreading across his face, Spike, as quietly as possible, did as he was directed and followed the Slayer up to her bedroom.

"He spent the night?" Xander spluttered. "Are you crazy? You just slept with some strange guy you don't know?"

"I didn't sleep with him. He slept on the floor," Buffy stressed. "And, he's not a complete stranger, he said he was friends with Angel."

"Right, Angel," Xander said in a derisive tone. "The cryptic message guy that you know absolutely nothing about."

"You know, Buffy," Giles interjected, "and it comes as quite a shock to me saying this, but I believe that Xander may have a point."

"Thank you!" Xander exulted. "And also, hey!"

"You are the Slayer, Buffy," Giles went on, ignoring Xander's last remark. "And as such you must be on your guard at all times. You mustn't allow yourself to ever lay vulnerable."

"Yeah, that's right," Xander agreed. "Listen to Watcherman, there should be no laying of any kind."

Buffy looked at Willow and the girls shared an eye roll.

"It's also possible that this fellow could have been lying about his association with Angel," Giles pointed out. "And although Angel has proven helpful to us in the past, it's also true, we don't really know anything about him."

"Okay," Buffy said patiently. "I get your concerns here, and trust me, I had the same one's myself. But what was I suppose to do, throw him out on the street to take his chances? He was already hurt and The Three could've still been out there – or some other vamp the blood from his wound might've attracted. And besides all of that, if Spike wanted to harm me he could've while I was sleeping and he didn't."

"Wait," Xander said. "This guy's name is Spike? Spike? Spike is not the name of a good guy. Spike is an ex-con. A gang leader. Psycho killer."

"I suppose your right," Giles said to Buffy, again brushing aside Xander's comments. "And everything worked out all right. But, you should still find out whatever you can about this... Spike character. Since he claims to know Angel, that should be a good place to start."

"And I would love to start there," Buffy said. "But, in the brief encounters I've had with him, Angel has failed to slip in his address and phone number with the warnings of impending doom."

Giles cleared his throat. "Right, well, you said Spike told you he was on his way to visit with Angel when he stumbled upon you and The Three. So, you know he lives in that area."

Buffy nodded her head. "True," she granted. "But, what do you want me to do, just start knocking on doors at random?"

"You could ask around in local establishments," Giles suggested. "See if anyone knows where Angel lives."

"Okay," she sighed. "I can try that. But, first I think I'll just have Spike tell me where Angel lives when I get home."

"He's still there, at your house?" Xander wanted to know.

"Yeah, why?" Buffy said. "He was still asleep when I woke up this morning, so I didn't bother him. He's hurt. He needs rest. What's the big? It's not like he can do anything to hurt me while I'm not there."

"Spike," Buffy hissed after closing the door to her bedroom. She looked around the room and found no one. "Spike? Are you here?" she called out again, a bit louder. She checked the closet. Nothing.

Buffy saw her desk reflected in the mirror on the inside of the closet door. There was a piece of paper lying on top of the desk that hadn't been there before. Buffy whipped around and crossed to the desk. She snatched up the piece of paper and read:

Sorry I couldn't stick around any longer, Slayer, but I'd somewhere I needed to be, someone to see. But I want to thank you for your hospitality. And don't worry, I was able to keep myself entertained while you were gone. I did some interesting reading.

Spike.

Buffy's brow creased in a frown as she lowered the note. She was hoping Spike would still be around so he could answer her questions. Now she was going to have to do what Giles said and scour Angel's neighborhood looking for him.

Buffy was about to put the note back down where she had found it, when she noticed what it had been laying on: her diary. Which she knew had not been out like that when she left that morning.

Her eyes widened in horror, gore rising in rage as her fist closed around the piece of paper crumbling it, imagining it was Spike's skull.

Angel entered his apartment and slammed the door behind him. He was tired and irritated. He had spent the night outside of Buffy's home waiting for the man who had jumped to the Slayer's aid when the Three attacked. The man who felt so strangely familiar to Angel when he first saw him. But it had been too dark, and even with Angel's vampire night vision, he had been too far away to get a good look at the man. Then, of course, the chaos of the brawl had made it difficult to make anyone out too well. So, when Buffy and her savior ran, Angel followed. He had hoped to catch the man when he left Buffy's, but, he never came out of the house. Finally, when it got too close to sunrise for the vampire's comfort, Angel had retreated to the tunnels.

Angel hadn't gone home right away though. He had made a detour by Willie's to ask if there was any word about some kind of demon hunter in town; no one had.

Angel sighed, wearily rubbing his hands over his face. He was so frustrated and tired, he was off his game, so he didn't notice the other presence in the room until the familiar voice spoke:

"Hope you don't mind me lettin' m'self in." The sound racking over Angel's nerve endings like broken glass. He turned slowly to see his grandchilde sitting in a chair, a glass of blood in his hand. "Oh, and I got a bit thirsty waitin', so I made myself a drink. Didn't think you'd mind."

With a growl, Angel surged toward the other vampire. He grabbed him by the shirt and wrenched him to his feet; the glass of blood went flying out of Spike's hand shattered on the floor.

"So, maybe I was wrong about you not mindin', then," Spike remarked. "If it's that important to ya, I'll pay for the blood."

Angel slammed him up against the wall, so hard it nearly cracked. "What the hell are you doing here?" Angel seethed through clenched teeth.

Spike chuckled darkly. "Come now, Angelus. Is this anyway for you to greet family?"

Angel responded by slamming Spike into the wall again. He was just about to commence with giving his childe a beating when the realization clicked in his mind. The man that had helped Buffy, the one that had seemed so familiar, it had been Spike. Panic and rage boiled in Angel knowing that Spike had been in Buffy's house. The Slayer unknowing and unprotected from the grave danger the vampire posed.

If anything happened to Buffy, Angel would never forgive himself. He should have taken action, trusted his instincts and confronted the Slayer and her mysterious savior. But, he hadn't, out of fear of exposing himself to Buffy.

"What did you do to Buffy?" Angel demanded to know, giving Spike a hard shake.

A sly grin pulled across Spike's lips. "Sweet girl, that Slayer," he purred. "Not incredibly bright though. She invited me into her home no questions asked. Even let me stay the night."

Angel growled tightening his grip on Spike's shirt.

"Well, well, well," Spike chuckled. "You really 'ave got it bad for the bint, haven't you? Can't say I blame you. She's a ripe little plum." He curled his tongue behind his teeth, eyes hooded. "You should see what she wears to bed..."

"If you touched her– "

"Take easy, mate," Spike urged. "I didn't lay a hand on her – not that I didn't have the opportunity. I'm sure she wouldn't have objected."

"The only way Buffy would touch you, is with the pointy end of a stake," Angel rejoined.

"Oh, I wouldn't count on that," Spike taunted. He sighed "Can we stop talking about that silly girl now, eh? She's not why I came here. I came here for you." He raised his hand to Angel's face, tracing his jaw line with his index finger. "Come on, Angel," he murmured. "Ain't you missed me just a little?" Spike slipped one leg in between Angel's, rubbing it against his sire's crotch. "I've missed you," Spike whispered in Angel's ear.

Angel clenched his eyes shut, his jaw rigid as he fought against the sensation Spike's leg was inducing. "No," he gritted.

Spike chuckled. "Well, you mouth says no, but your..." He cupped Angel's budding bulge, squeezing. Angel growled losing control; it had been so long since anyone had touched him. He pressed himself harder into Spike's hand, grinding into it.

Angel brought his mouth crashing down on Spike's, hard. Their teeth clacked together and Spike's lip split. But, he didn't mind. He just zipped down Angel's fly and slid his hand inot the opening of Angel's jeans and wrapped his hand around his sire's throbbing cock. Spike knew he could break him. He was actually a little disappointed it had been so easy. Spike stroked Angel's shaft, rolling his thumb around his tip.

Angel let out a growl and pulled his mouth away from Spike's. He looked into his grandchilde's icy blue eyes and the pleased smile on his pretty mouth; this is what he had wanted. Spike had wanted him to lose control. Angel's jaw clenched. He took hold of Spike's hand, the one that was stroking him, and wrenched it away. Surprise flashed in Spike's eyes. But, Angel didn't see it for long. He twisted Spike's arm around his back, slamming his face into the wall. Spike let out a groan of pain.

Angel jerked Spike's jeans down over his hips, exposing his stone hard ass. Angel pushed his own pants down, freeing his erection. He parted Spike's cheeks with one hand, taking hold of himself with the other. He leaned into Spike's ear and whispered harshly, "Is this what you missed?" Before pushing himself up into Spike with a hard, deep thrust."Is this what you came here for, huh?"

Spike's fingernails curled into the wall, digging into the paint as Angel pounded into him relentlessly. He pushed back against Angel with equal force, clenching his ass cheeks around Angel's cock. Spike felt a slight ripping inside him. It filled him with exquisite pain

Yes, he thought, I have missed this.

Later the pair of vampires lay naked and silent in Angel's bed; Spike was tracing the winged tattoo on Angel's shoulder with his fingertips. The older vampire shrugged Spike's hand off and rolled out of the bed, wrapping a sheet around his lower half.

"I want you to leave," Angel said quietly, not turning to look at Spike.

Spike pouted, "Aw... you mean you don't care to have a cuddle, then?"

"I'm going to shower and scrub myself raw to rid myself of your touch," Angel responded, disgust and shame lacing his words. Spike rolled his eyes at Angel's melodramatics. "You'd better be gone when I get out. And if you have even a sliver of sense in that head of yours, you'll leave Sunnydale and never come back." He paused, then added, his voice even more fierce, "And stay away from Buffy."

Spike's jaw tensed with irritation. He tossed the blanket off his body and swung his legs over the bed. He grabbed his jeans and pulled them on. "All right, I'll leave," he said. He zipped up and added, "Didn't really fancy 'avin' a sleep over with you anyhow. As I recall, you have a habit of hoggin' the blankets. So, I'll be off, then. But, I've got unfinished business here in SunnyD so I'll be stickin' around for a while." He snatched up his shirt and pulled it over his head. "As for me the keepin' away from the Slayer...," He leaned over Angel's shoulder, his lips brushing his sire's ear as he whispered., "Make me, mate."

Angel clenched his fist. He spun around just in time to see his door slamming shut.

"What the hell did you do?" Darla demanded as she flung open the door of her apartment with a bang. Spike had gone back there after leaving Angel's. He was too tired after going at it with his sire to go out looking for any other place to stay.

"Evenin' to you too, pet," Spike replied. "Can I fix you one?" He held up the glass of whiskey he had just poured for himself.

"You traitor!" She spat at him. "I sent you out to kill the Slayer and instead you help her."

"Yeah, that's right," Spike rejoined. "You brought me here to kill her, not to watch her get killed by someone else. So..."

"But, you didn't kill her," she pointed out.

"No," he said. "But I've got a plan."

"I don't care about your plans," Darla raged. "I only care about the Slayer being dead. Which she would be right now if it wasn't for you. I swear I should put a stake through your heart just like I did the Three. "But," she added in a magnanimous tone, "since your family, I won't. But, I want you gone. Your services are no longer needed here." She flipped her hair, smiling triumphantly. "I have permission from my Master to execute a new plan. I don't need you to kill the Slayer, because Angel's going to do it himself."

Spike let out a bark of laughter. "Oh, that'll be the day," he said. "I'd put money on him killin' you –or himself– before he'd do anything to hurt the girl. He's too far gone on her."

Darla's eyes narrowed. "You've seen Angel?" she inquired her interest piqued at the allusion to Spike having had contact with Angel.

"Oh, yeah," Spike chuckled "I saw him. Quite a bit of him actually."

Darla crossed the room to Spike. She leaned in toward him and inhaled deeply through her nose. A slow smile curved her lips. "My, my, my, just what did my boys get up to?" she wondered aloud, her needless breathing becoming shallow. "His scent is all over you." Her voice took on a husky tone.

"Yeah, I know," Spike replied. "Which is why, as soon as I've finished m' drink, I'm gonna have myself a shower, so I can wash it off." So saying, he knocked back the remaining amber liquid in his glass and slammed it down on the table, ice tinkling inside of it. He made a move to leave, but Darla caught his arm.

"What's the hurry?" she purred. She slid her fingertips up his arm. "You know," she said as she began to circle behind him, "I just realized that I haven't given you a proper welcome since you arrived. I should do something about that."

Spike's brow rose. "And just what is it you have in mind, then?"

Darla put her hands on the sides of Spike's waist, curling her fingers in his shirt and tugging it out of his jeans. She slid her hands underneath his shirt and raked her nails along Spike's abs. She came back around to the front of him. Coming up on her tiptoes, she buried her face in the crook of Spike's neck, closing her eyes she took in the strong scent of Angel lingering there. She drank it in, wanting to drown in it. It had been so long, too long, since she felt this close to her favorite paramour. She brushed her lips against Spike's neck, and swore she could almost taste Angel.

Spike shivered as Darla's lips found his sweet spot. His eyes closed involuntarily and his head tilted back as Darla's tongue flicked over the two little scars from Drusilla's bite over a century ago. His jaw set. He had let Angel take the lead earlier and he felt like he had been dominated enough for one night. So, when Darla's fingers began working on his belt, Spike seized her hand. He took a hold of her shoulders and pushed her away from him.

Darla looked up at him curiously, her lips quivering as if unsure whether or not to smile. Spikegrabbed her by the back of the head, pulling her hair. He wrenched her head back and brought his mouth crashing down on hers, hard, much like Angel had kissed him earlier, shoving his tongue passed her lips and deep into her mouth.

When he pulled Darla away from him again, she was smirking up at him. "My William," she said in a breathy voice, "you certainly have come into you own, haven't you."

Darla let out a yip as Spike whirled her around and tossed her recklessly onto the bed. He finished what she had started, and undid his belt. He whipped it off and folded it over. He pushed the straps apart, the yanked them back together with a loud snap! Darla jumped, titillated. "Darla, love," Spike said as he wound his belt strap around his hands, lips stretching back in a wicked grin, "you ain't seen nothin' yet."

"I can't believe someone would actually do that. I mean, your diary!" Willow expressed her outrage and disbelief in Buffy's having her privacy violated for yet the hundredth time that night as she Buffy and Xander sat at a table in the Bronze.

"Well, I would hate to say I told you so," Xander chimed in, not sounding sorry at all, "but, just let this be a lesson to both of you about inviting strangers into your bedrooms."

"God!" Buffy cried. "What kind of a person does that?" She shook her head, lips pressing together in a grim line. "Man, I tell you, if I ever see that bleached blond ja–" Her words cut off when saw said bleached blond entering the Bronze. "There he is," she said, her body stiffening.

"That's Spike?" Willow asked. "Wow he's... Wow."

Xander gave her a look.

"And by 'wow' I mean, 'wow, he really does look like Billy Idol, and not 'wow' in any other sense of the word." She quickly stuck her straw in her mouth, so she wouldn't do anymore talking.

Buffy, her jaw tensing, pushed herself up from the table and strode purposefully toward Spike.

Spike smiled as he saw the petite blond storming toward him. "Ah, evenin', pet. I was hopin' to see you here."

Buffy, her eyes narrowed to slits, shoved her hand into Spike's chest and pushed him.

"Gee, people sure are awfully friendly in this town," Spike dryly quipped.

"How dare you?" Buffy raged. "Just who the hell do you think you are? What gave you the right? That was my private personal property. My inner most personal thoughts. It was not there for your amusement–" Buffy's words cut off as she noticed the slow smile spreading across Spike's mouth. She tensed even more. "You think this is funny? Some kind of joke?"

"Yeah," Spike replied. "Because it is a joke, love. I didn't really read your diary. I was hidin' in your wardrobe when your mum came in to tidy up the place. She's the one that moved the diary. I just couldn't takin' the piss."

Buffy's face twisted in disgust. "You did what?"

Spike rolled his eyes. "It's British for joking."

Buffy sighed in annoyance. "Yeah, well, you British guys need to get that you're in America now and learn the language."

Spike just smirked.

"You really didn't read my diary?" Buffy asked after a moment.

Spike made an "X" over the left side of his chest. "Cross m' heart and hope to die." It was a good thing he was already dead, because he did read Buffy's diary.

Buffy sighed. "You have a really twisted sense of humor you know that?"

Spike chuckled. "That I do."

Buffy didn't appear amused.

"Look," Spike began. "I'm sorry. It was a stupid prank. Why don't you let me make it up to you, huh?"

Buffy folded her arms over her chest. "And how do propose you're going to do that?"

Spike pursed his lips. "Well, why don't we start by you lettin' me by you a drink?"

Buffy bit her cheek, considering this. She was definitely still getting weird vibes from this guy; her hackles were raised. But, then there was something about him... Something in his eyes that made her say, "All right. You can buy me a drink. But," she hastened, "it doesn't mean that I've forgiven you. Not yet, anyway."

"Well," Spike replied, "I'll take what I can get."

"Um, did I miss something?" Xander wondered as he watched Buffy head to the bar with the guy she was supposed to be hating for reading her diary. "I thought she was going to pummel that guy. Was there pummeling? Did I somehow miss the pummeling?"

Willow shrugged. She was curious about what had changed Buffy's mind as well, but she wasn't as desperate to know as Xander. "Maybe he apologized?" she conjectured.

"Apologized?" Xander spluttered. "After what he did? I don't think a simple 'I'm sorry' would have sufficed for Buffy."

Willow frowned. She hated watching Xander get so jealous over Buffy knowing she could never make him react that way. She sighed, stirring her straw in her drink. She turned her head, not wanting to look at Xander watching Buffy so intently, and saw Angel enter the club. "Oh look," she said, "Angel's here."

Xander turned to where Willow was pointing. "Oh great," he grumbled. "Just what this night needs, the original man of mystery. That's just perfect."

Angel was not happy with the scene that greeted him upon his entrance into the Bronze: Buffy was sitting at the bar with Spike, having a drink. She was laughing. He'd never made her laugh. Spike was laughing too. Angel's fingers curled into fist and his jaw clenched. He was jealous. But, disturbingly, he couldn't quite figure out over whom.

Shaking off the thought he began to move through the crowd toward the Slayer and his childe.

Buffy straitened as she saw the man coming toward her. "Angel," she said, surprised. "Hey."

"Buffy," he returned neutrally. His jaw setting, he looked at Spike. "Spike," he bit, "I thought I told you to leave town."

"Yeah, you did," Spike confirmed. "And I told you I had had unfinished business and I'd be stickin' around to settle it. So, if you don't mind, we were havin' a private conversation." Spike turned away from Angel.

Seething, Angel grabbed Spike's arm and whirled him back around to face him. "I am not playing a game here, Spike. I mean it stay the hell away from her."

"Whoa, hey," Buffy cut in, jumping up from her stool. "What is going on? I thought you said you and Angel were friends," she said to Spike.

"We are not friends," Angel emphasized.

"Aren't we?" Spike retorted. "Coulda fooled me. You got awfully friendly last night."

Angel ground his teeth, eyes clenching shut in shame.

Buffy keenly took in Angel reaction to Spike's insinuation. By the look on his face it was more than just suggestion. "You two are...?" Buffy couldn't finish the question, she felt too embarrassed.

"We're not," Angel adamantly denied.

"But, you have been?" she reiterated. Again, Angel's expression said it all. "Oh, god," Buffy murmured, closing her eyes and wishing she could just disappear. She couldn't believe she had let herself get so infatuated with Angel, and he was...

"Oh, don't worry, love," Spike said as if reading her mind. Buffy slowly opened her eyes and looked at the blond man. "Peaches here isn't particular. He doesn't care what kind of parts the other person has, as long as he gets to be on top. Ain't that right, Angelus?"

Angel pressed his lips together in a grim line. "Shut up, Spike!" he warned. "Buffy, listen to me, you can't trust him. Whatever story he gave you is a lie. You don't know him."

"And I can trust you?" she countered. "Because I know you so well?"

Angel clenched his eyes shut. "Buffy, please," he pleaded, "you need to stay away from him."

"Why?" Buffy demanded, crossing her arms over her chest. "If he's really such bad news, tell me why. What makes him so dangerous?"

Spike pursed his lips, eyebrow waggling smugly. He clucked his tongue. "Go on, then," he goaded. "Tell her. Tell her why I'm so dangerous. Tell her who I really am, who you really are."

"What's he talking about?" Buffy asked, warning bells going off.

"Come on, Angel," Spike cajoled. "She's gonna find out eventually. Don't you think it'd be better coming from you."

Angel didn't say anything.

Spike sighed. "Oh, all right, then, I'll tell her."

"No," Angel chocked out. "I'll tell you." He looked Buffy in the eyes. "But, not here, not with all these people."

"Fine," Buffy agreed. "Let's go outside."

"What the hell?" Xander spluttered. "Now she's leaving with both of them. Where are they going?"

Willow shrugged. "It's probably Slayer business. Angel probably came here to warn her about something."

Xander shook his head. "No, I don't like it. Something's going on out there."

"Really, what do you think they're doing out there?"

Xander flicked her a bashful glance.

"Xander!" she shrieked. "They are not doing that. My god, what's the matter with you?" She swivelled around in her chair and hopped up, leaving Xander alone at the table with his dirty mind.

"Okay," Buffy said when the three of them were out in the alley, alone. "It's private here, so tell me, what's the big secret about you two?"

Angel looked down at his hands. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I want you to know that, before. I didn't mean to deceive you. I didn't think you would understand."

Buffy sighed becoming weary of all of this talking in circles. "Understand what?" she blurted. "What is it?"

"This," Angel whispered, slowly raising his head to reveal the rugged terrain of his face, his yellow glowing eyes and his maw full of sharp jagged fangs.

Buffy eyes went wide. She took a huge step back and gasped. "Oh my god. Y-you're a vampire." She looked at Spike, he hadn't put on his demon face. "Both of you?"

Spike winced. "'fraid so, pet," he confirmed. "Angel here's my sire."

"Sire," she repeated quietly, taking in the implications. She swallowed, instincts kicking in, she looked around her, searching for a weapon.

Angel turned his head away, unable to bear the horror in her eyes. It was what he'd been afraid of most. He shifted back into his human face, and looked back to her. Angel took a step toward her. "Buffy," he began.

Buffy backed away, putting her hand up to cut him off. "Stay away from me," she commanded. "What the hell was this? Some kind of game you two were playing. What, killing innocent people wasn't enough to get your kicks?"

"Buffy, no, please," Angel begged. He tried to come closure to her again.

"I said, stay away!" she yelled. "Don't you ever come near me again – either of you. I mean it." She looked them both in the eye one last time, showing them how serious she was, then whirled around and ran back into the Bronze.

Spike sighed, coming up behind Angel. "Sorry, mate," he said, clamping a hand down on Angel's shoulder. "But, honestly, how did you think she was going to react when she found out, eh? Trust me, this is for the best. You'll see."

Angel's nails were digging into his palms so hard he broke skin. He teeth gnashed together from clenching his jaw. His nostrils flared with the struggle to contain his rage. Suddenly he reeled on Spike. "Why the hell did you come here?" Angel seethed, getting in Spike's face."What's your end game, huh? Is it to mess with me or is it about Buffy?"

"Well, that's for me to know," Spike replied, "and you to– wait, no, it's just for me to know."

Clenching his jaw in anger, Angel jumped Spike, grabbing him by the collar of his jacket. "Why can't you just go away? Leave me alone. Go back to Drusilla, while you still have the chance." There was more than a hint of threat in Angel's voice.

Spike's jaw set. He thrust his arms up between Angel's and shoved the other vampire away. "Believe me, I would love nothing more than to be with Dru right now," he replied. "That just doesn't happen to be an option."

Angel scoffed, "Oh what, did she dump you again?"

Spike ground his teeth and grabbed Angel by the shirt. "No, for your information she didn't dump me. She's gone." He said the last part quietly, loosening his hold on Angel. Spike turned away from Angel as his eyes began to sting with tears.

"Gone?" Angel asked. "What do mean? She's..." He shook his head. "No. She can't be. I would know. I'd have felt it."

"I was there, mate, trust me. She's gone. Watched her body turn to dust m'self."

"How?" Angel was still trying to process the information. "When?"

"In Prague," Spike gritted out, his jaw tight with anger at the memory. "Darla. She sent for us, wanted us to meet up there. I didn't want to go; I thought me and Dru had been doin' fine on our own. But, she wanted to see mummy – begged me. I never could refuse her anything," he murmured, a slight, sad smile crossing his lips. He cleared his thought and recovered his mien of indignation. "Well, not long after we got there, we were welcomed by and angry mob; they had stakes and torches, holy water, the whole nine," he shook his head. "There were hundreds of 'em. I tried to protect her..."

"But she was killed," Angel concluded.

"No," Spike spat. "If she had been killed then it woulda been a mercy. She survived the raid, but, she was never the same after. She was so weak, always in so much pain. It was unbearable. She couldn't take it. She begged me–" Spike's voice cut off as he chocked on his tears. He swallowed them down. "Like I said, I never could refuse her. But, god I wanted to. I wanted to keep her forever. I begged her to hold on, told her I would find a way, find a cure – make her better. But, I couldn't. And I couldn't take watching her like that anymore. I couldn't go on bein' selfish," he scoffed, "amazingly enough." Even Angel smirked then. "I had to let her go. I had to..."

"You had to release her," Angel filled in. "You staked her."

A heavy silence filled the space around them. Spike ground his teeth together, trying to hold on to his composure. "You know what she wanted most in the world just before? She kept sayin' she wished mummy and daddy were there. She wanted her family to be together one last time." He kicked a chair; it broke into pieces as it went flying across the room, splinters of wood flying everywhere. "That cunt never even came to see if Dru was all right, never wrote to ask. She just ran away from that mob unscathed and never looked back. She just left me and Dru to fend for ourselves. She didn't even care! And we never even would have gone there if it wasn't for her! She abandoned us just like she did before. She's the one who destroyed our family. It's all her fault what those Gypsies did to you."

"I'm the one who killed that girl," Angel said, regret heavy in his voice. "Darla didn't take any part in that."

"No. All she did was put a bow on her and put her in your hands," Spike countered. "She knew – we all knew – messin' with Gypsies was dangerous business. But, she didn't care. She took the girl, anyway. And who ended up payin' the price? You did. And me an' Dru, we lost our family."

"So this is why you're here," Angel asked. "For Darla? For revenge?"

"I've been tryin' to let it go, move on," Spike said. "But when that letter came from Darla asking me – no summoning me, like her bloody lapdog – here to this hell hole to kill the Slayer, I was furious. How dare she? After all that happened. And," he laughed bitterly, "she was actually expectin' me to bring Dru along with me." He shook his head. "That bitch is a real piece of work you know that? She has to pay for what happened to Dru."

"You wanna kill her." It wasn't a question.

Spike looked at Angel sideways, challenging. "You gotta problem with that? You gonna try an' get in my way 'Cause, you know, she's got a real yen for your Slayer. She's convinced that once the girl's dead you'll come back to her, be another one of the Master's puppets."

"That would never happen." Angel was adamant.

"Ain't gotta tell me that," Spike replied. "But good luck gettin' it to penetrate your sire's thick skull. She actually thinks she can make you kill Buffy yourself. She ain't gonna stop til the girl's dead."

"And I'll do whatever I can to keep that from happening," Angel vowed. "But what about you? How do I know you won't try to come after Buffy yourself?"

"Look," Spike began, "I've got no beef with the girl. In fact, knowing what a pain in Darla's arse gives me a giggle. And, to tell you the truth, I kinda like the girl. I really do know what you see in her."

Angel looked at him sharply.

"Oh, don't worry," Spike said. "I'm not gonna make a play for her. As soon as I take care of Darla, I'm outta here. I swear."

"And you won't come back?"

One corner of Spike's mouth curved up. "Well now that, I can't promise."

Angel ground his teeth. "Fine. I won't stand in your way with Darla. Just make sure that Buffy doesn't get hurt."

Spike nodded.

"Now." Angel sighed. "Is there anything you need me to do?"

Spike watched from the balcony inside the Bronze as the Slayer held a crossbow to his sire; Buffy had taken the bait Darla had laid out for her, which is exactly what Spike had wanted. Because Buffy falling into Darla's trap, meant that bitch of a great=grandsire of Spike's would fall right into his.

The thought made Spike's lips curl back.

"So, was this part of your game?" Buffy was asking Angel. "Yours and Spike's. You attack my mother to get to me!"

"I didn't touch your mother," Angel denied. "I couldn't have if I wanted to. I haven't been invited into your home."

"Spike has," Buffy retorted. "Maybe he gave you an invitation to the party."

"It doesn't work that way," Angel informed. "Only a living resident can grant an invitation."

"Well, excuse me if I don't exactly take your word for it," Buffy "Besides, even if you didn't have anything to do with actually attacking my mother, you're still responsible. Spike said you were his sire, if that's true then you're the one who made him, so you're just as much to blame for what he did."

"I won't argue with you about that," Angel murmured. "I did make Spike. He's not the only one. I've made many vampires over the years. And you're right, everything – all the pain, all the death – that they've caused is my fault as much fault as their own. Maybe even more, because the all the people I changed were my victims too. Even Spike was my victim, even though I didn't actually bite him. My childe, Drusilla made Spike a vampire," he clarified. "But, I am the one that taught him everything he knows about doing evil. So, yes, I am to blame for the things he's done."

Spike had to stifle a scoff. Just like the bastard tryin' to take credit for my work, He thought, shaking his head, wanker.

"But," Angel continued, "I don't think that he attacked your mother."

"Why should I believe you?" Buffy huffed. "You're just trying to protect him!"

Angel scoffed. "Trust me, I'm not."

"Trust you?" Buffy echoed. "You keep saying that, telling me to trust you. But you've yet to give me a reason why I should. You're a vampire! How the hell am I supposed to trust you?"

Taking that as his cue, Angel went on to lament about his poor, tortured soul, the Gypsis had cursed him with so he could feel remorse over the atrocities he had committed.

The speech seemed to go on forever from Spike's point of view. He was so bored out of his skull, he actually considered scraping the plan to take out Darla, and stake Angel instead and put the pathetic sod out of everyone's misery.

Finally, Darla showed up.

Thank god, Spike thought. He was ready to take action, but held himself back and let Darla prattle on about lost love, to let her think she had the upper hand. He also enjoyed listening to the jabs the Slayer kept flinging at the vampire. The girl really did have spunk, he had to admit.

"You don't think I came alone, do you?" Spike listened to Darla taunt. He gripped the railing of the balcony, ready to make his move.

"I know I didn't," Buffy retorted, kicking up her crossbow.

Darla snickered, "Scary." She pulled two guns from behind her back and aimed them at the Slayer. "Scarier." Her fangs were displayed in a grotesque and smug smile as she squeezed the triggers on both guns. But, Darla's triumph was sort lived when instead of the blast of gunfire, was a hollow click that echoed in the acoustics of the empty night club. Darla scowled, pulling the trigger again. Click! Grinding her fangs together, Darla looked down at the guns and shook them, as if that would do any good. She tried two more times. Click! Click!

"What the hell?" She growled.

Spike smiled as he stepped up onto the railing of the balcony. It was showtime. He vaulted over the balcony and landed gracefully on his feet in between two stunned blonds, vampire and Slayer. Angel was unperturbed by Spike's sudden appearance.

" 'ello, Darla, love," Spike greeted with a wide smile. "Havin' a spot of trouble are we?" He put his hand into his jacket pocket. "That might be because you're missin' these." He slowly began letting the bullets he had emptied from her guns earlier. Darla had filled Spike in on all the details of her plan to kill the Slayer in her post-coital reverie. Exactly as Spike had wanted her to do.

"You!" Darla screeched, throwing down her now useless weapons with a loud thud. "You betrayed me. Again!" She narrowed her yellow eyes at him. "I knew I should've staked you when I had the chance." She sighed, smoothing down her plaid skirt as she walked to the edge of the pool table. The usual clack of her maryjanes was muted on the felt top. "Well," she hopped down off the table, "live and learn I suppose." She picked up a pool cue and snapped it in two over her knee. She tossed on of the pieces away and held the other like a weapon. "In my day we had a very specific way of dealing with traitors," she told Spike. "Too bad for you, I'm a traditional kind of girl." She charged him.

Spike swung his leg up. His foot hitting Darla in the gut; the impact made even harder by the velocity at which Darla was coming at him.

"I'm the traitor!" Spike wailed, as Darla doubled over. "How dare you say that to me? After the way you ran off in Prague, leavin' me and Dru to fend for ourselves, leavin' us for dead." He grabbed Darla by the hair and yanked her back. She yelped in pain. Spike leaned down close to her face. "And you have the audacity to talk to me about family loyalty?" He threw Darla back toward the pool table. She slammed into it causing the balls to shift and clack together.

"Eight-ball, corner pocket," Spike quipped. He sauntered over toward her, bending down on his way to pick up the half of the pool cue Darla had earlier discarded. He twirled it around his fingers like a baton. "You know the last thing that Drusilla wanted before she died?" he asked. He grabbed Darla around the neck and hauled her up, then smacked her flat down on the top of the pool table. "She wanted to be reunited with her mummy," he croaked. "And now, it's time for me to make my Black goddess' final wish come true." He reared back the broken cue. Darla's eyes widened. Just before the jagged piece of wood could penetrate her chest, she reached up and grabbed Spike by the lapel of his jacket, she pulled up her knees and shoved her feet hard into Spike's stomach. Then she flipped him over her head. Darla flipped to her feet just as Spike's body slammed down onto the pool table, replacing her.

"Well, my dear William," she panted from the adrenaline and excursion she just used, "it appears you still have a few things left to learn." She yanked the pool cue out of his hand. "Too bad you won't be around long enough to find them out." She lifted the cue with both hands, as she was bringing them down, she was stopped. Angel had grabbed her arms and yanked them behind her back. The broken pool cue clattered to the floor.

"Angel?" she murmured, that one word connoting the disbelief and betrayal she felt.

Spike bent his knees up, rocking back, then sprang to his feet. "I never was one to leave a party early," he said. "But, as for you Darla," he picked the broken cue up again, "I think it's time for your exit." Without further ado, he rammed the splinted point of the broken cue into Darla's heart. "Tell Dru I miss her," Spike whispered just before Darla's body disintegrated into dust.

Spike lurched forward, falling into Angel when there was suddenly no longer a body between them. Angel put his hands on his childe's shoulders to steady him.

Spike looked up into his Angel's eyes, a tear slipped from his own. It was finally over, he had avenged Drusilla.

Angel moved his hand to Spike's cheek, brushing away the single tear with the pad of his thumb. As his hand slipped down, his fingertips brushed Spike's lips.

Spike cleared his throat, looking away and taking a step back. He rubbed his hands over the front of his duster, wiping the bitch dust off.

"Well," he choked, then cleared his throat, "that's done then."

"Are you leaving now?" Angel wondered.

"Well, that is what you wanted isn't it?" Spike replied.

"Yeah, but– " Angel cut himself off. "Where will you go?" he asked instead.

Spike pursed his lips and shrugged. "Dunno. Wherever," he said. "Don't worry, I'll send you a postcard. All right, I won't."

Angel snickered. "Take care of yourself, Spike."

"I always do," Spike replied. Then he turned on his heels, whipping his duster behind him and strutted out of the Bronze into the night.

Buffy had been on the sidelines watching the hole thing go down. She was still reeling from what occurred. "You planned this?" she asked Angel, once she was able to form words.

"Spike did," Angel answered. "Darla's the reason he lost the woman he loved. She's also the one who attacked your mother." Angel looked down contritely. "I'm sorry about that by the way," he murmured.

Buffy squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head, trying to shake some sense into it. When she opened her eyes again she looked around. She had been so shocked by what had happened, she hadn't noticed Spike's departure. She looked to the exit, then to Angel. "I-I'll be back," Buffy told him before jogging out of the club.

"Hey!" Buffy shouted at the Spike shaped silhouette walking off into the darkness. "Where do you think you're going?"

Spike paused and slowly turned to the Slayer. He tilted his head slightly to the side and arched an eyebrow.

"You're a vampire," Buffy redundantly remarked.

"So's Angel," Spike rejoined. "What's your point?"

"Angel has a soul," Buffy countered. "You don't."

"True."

"I can be confident he won't go around killing innocent people," Buffy said. "I can't say the same about you. What's to keep you from hurting people?"

Spike didn't say anything. He just a shrugged.

"I shouldn't let you leave here alive," she said.

"That's probably true, too," Spike acknowledged.

Buffy held one of the arrows from her crossbow tight in her fist.

Spike looked down at the weapon and raised an eyebrow, almost in challenge. Buffy let the arrow fall to the ground.

"I should kick your ass at least," she told him. "You were just going to take off, weren't even going say goodbye?"

One corner of Spike's mouth slowly curved upward. In a flash, he was standing right in front of the Slayer, only inches between them. Before Buffy even finished letting out a gasp of surprise, Spike had grabbed her waist and brought his lips down on hers. Buffy put her hands against his chest, trying to push him away. But, she quickly gave it up, instead curling her fingers around his lapel and pulling him even closer to her.

The Slayer was left breathless as Spike ended the kiss. "Later, love," he murmured, his lips brushing hers as he spoke. "Pass that along to Angel for me, will you? Oh, and uh, give him my love."

It took a moment for Buffy's senses to recover enough for her to open her eyes. When she did she found Spike had already disappeared into the darkness. After another stint of reeling from what had just happened, she turned around and walked slowly back into the Bronze – to give Angel Spike's message.

Spike could clearly see the 'Now leaving Sunnydale' sign looming in the distance as he zoomed down the highway.

His normal lead foot eased slightly on the gas pedal as he got closer to the city limits.

His lips pursed thoughtfully as he cranked up the radio a song by The Clash was playing, one of his favorites. The question being wailed by Joe Strummer, the same one Spike was asking himself:

"Should I stay or should I go?"

The End.