Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

"So here you are then." It was a bloody stupid thing to say – the big lug was standing not ten feet away from the grave and he stank of souled brooding – but Spike couldn't be arsed to try and dig up something sharp and witty right now. Not with Joyce dead – not just dead, gone. Gone for good and all. No more motherly chats and tiny marshmallows. No more banishing the memories of what had happened when he had turned the woman who'd given birth to him. No more hope that Joyce's fondness for him would somehow show Buffy that the vamp for her was fighting by her side every night.

What the hell was Angel doing here anyway?

"Yeah, I'm here. So are you." Angel sounded irritated – why, Spike had no idea. He was the one whose mourning was being intruded upon. Angel and Joyce had never been close. Maybe that's what bothered the Brooding Wonder – that Buffy's mum preferred a soulless demon to her daughter's precious poof. She had sense, Joyce did. Sense and taste and compassion and a wicked sense of humour – at least once you'd spiked her cocoa with a shot of whiskey. Sometimes that humour even reminded him a bit of… but no, those days were gone. The irritating reminder of what he'd lost was standing right before him, wasn't he? So too was he a reminder of the Summers woman Spike wanted and couldn't have… and why.

Spike lit a cigarette. "Come into town to console the fair maiden, make cow eyes at each other, then it's back to Hell-A to play the brooding hero, and leave the rest of us to deal with her mooning and sighing over her one true love."

Of course, Angel had no clue. He looked more witless and flummoxed than before. It became him. Went nicely with the excess of hair gel. Then he opened his ridiculous gob. "Since when do you spend enough time with Buffy to notice what she thinks about anything? And for your information…"

Did Spike have to listen to this? He already knew what his idiot of a sire was going to say and he rattled off the key points. "She wants you here. You're just bein' her friend. You were right fond o' Joyce…" He all but spat the words. "Spare me the excuses and the lies. You didn't give a tinker's dam about Joyce, and as for Buffy… You couldn't care less about friendship." Should have stopped there, but his tongue outran his brain. "You just want to make sure she doesn't move on. If you can't, she can't, no matter that there might be someone…" Finally, the brakes were applied, but it was too late. He could see realization dawning in Angel's eyes. Bugger!

"You're in love with Buffy." Of all the times for Angel not to be a shite-stupid bastard… Spike barked out a laugh that failed miserably as denial.

There was silence now and they looked everywhere but at each other. Fuck only knew what Angel was thinking, but he was pretty sure it was nothing like what was going on in Spike's head. The hatred he felt, the envy that boiled in his gut, the…

No! It wasn't love, it had never been love. Not for Angelus and for sure not for sodding, worthless Angel. It was just that once upon a time there'd been – well, the shagging had been a bit of all right, that was all. When the women weren't in the way…

A second later, he found himself pulled into Angel's arms and he fought for a moment but then… All bloody right. He gave in. Couldn't help himself. It wasn't like kissing Angelus, but it was… It was something. He needed the comfort and he needed to feel something that wasn't longing for someone you couldn't have and a part of him enjoyed being able to share something with Angel that the object of his longing wanted more than anything. He was a soulless demon, for all that there was a chip in his brain, turning it to mush.

The kiss ended. "Sunrise…soon." Angel was panting, for all he didn't need to breathe. That caught Spike short.

It was a weapon, right? He could walk away, leave the bastard wanting, get a bit of his own back? Starting to do just that, he caved in a few yards away. "My crypt," he said softly, knowing Angel would hear. He did. And he followed.

Many months later, Spike would look for Angel in Buffy's eyes. But he was gone.

The End.