A/N Yes, this is slash and this is a tad explicit, I guess, so consider yourself warned. It probably belongs more under "Angel" than "BtVS" but it's a spin-off. And the main character's Spike, so I feel justified. It's yet another POV piece (which I didn't want to write), and it went totally off-plan about half-way through (but I think this way works better). And… ah, just read the thing.

* * *

* * *

Sweet jesus fuck I don't know what I'm doing here…

Oh yes I do. The bastard gave me a soul. A fucking soul. And I am here, staring up at the hotel (hotel? I mean, for fuck sake, an office with a basement wasn't enough for him? God forbid the poof should live in only four rooms!) waiting for the coming dawn to force me inside and force them to let me stay. I'm here to tell the amazingly hairgelled one that he is no longer the only souled vampire. And ask for his help. I can't believe I'm doing this, I honestly can't, because I swore to myself that I did not need him and I never had and I would never run to daddy again. And here I am. Waiting to be forced inside.

I'd rather he came out here, all told, because there's two people in there and I'm betting one of them's Cordelia. Problem with that busty beauty being, she'll start screaming her head off and trying to stake me because she's conveniently forgotten about the chipping, if she ever got told. So, all told, I would rather not walk into the headquarters of an evil-demon-killing organisation, hold up my hands and say "Hi! Vampire! Lookin' for Angelus". Thanks, but no. That sounds like a good way to end my unlife. Second thoughts…

Ah, see, not going to end it because it's too damn pathetic. I'm going to show them that I can do this. I got used to the chip and by god I will get used to this.

Nah, I'll go in there acting like nothing's wrong, I'm still the Big Bad, and if they think it's not quite right – hell, he got chipped, didn't he?

All right. I can do this. No problem. Just walk in there. Ah, fuck it, hours left yet.

* * *

OK. Back. Somewhat sloshed. Not too much, 'cause I need some sense in me to deal with this, but I've got a bottle of vodka in my bag so I can pass out later on.

So in I wander and oh! Whoopsy! Looks like I've interrupted some lovely family meeting. And there are way too many people here… Hmm. A boy, a big black guy who looks like he could do some damage and a girl – brunette – somewhat jumpy… The screams, the yells, the scrambling for weapons – they do know I'm not a threat, right? Hmm. Oh. Got my game-face on. I concentrate on letting my face slide back to human, then I tip a wink to the chit – got to keep up appearances – followed by a nod to my sire. "Angelus", I say, playing it cool, nothing to see here, just catching up with an old pal. "A word?" I can stand here all day, looking at the grouping, nothing to worry about…

"Leave us!" he says, like the big boss-man he apparently is around here. They start to protest, and the way he reacts I'm guessing this is nothing new. "This is between me and him", he says, and he's practically growling. I shouldn't be scared of his magnificent poofiness, but… for fuck sake, he's bigger than me and older than me and he taught me to be evil, so I think maybe I'm allowed to be.

So the three of them are happily eavesdropping from outside by now, and he's pacing towards me and I know I had a speech prepared… "I heard what you did to her". No need for names between the two of us: pronouns will do. Her. I wonder who that could be… "Buffy?" He barely nods, seems pissed off that I had the audacity to ask, like she's the only woman in the world – and she may as well be for us. "Who told ya?" I smirk at him, like the question's to do with how infamous I am rather than trying to work out what, exactly, he's been told. "Xander," he says, and I know that I am screwed. The time I take to wonder what it took to get that pair speaking to each other, he uses to pounce. And before I know it, he's got me pinned.

It all feels so familiar.

His left hand is holding my wrists above my head and off to the side, his elbow pressing into the back of my head and holding my face to the floor, his right hand is roughly dragging down my torso and I know he's hard 'cause he's pressing it into my butt. I don't think he would do it, now, but his honour has been insulted… "I'm sorry I did it, all right?" And fuck me if the laugh doesn't sound just like Angelus. Oh wait. He will. "Remorse? Get yourself a soul or something?" he says, and I tell you now I am sick and tired of a soul being the be-all and end-all of emotion so I tell him: "I felt remorse before the fucking soul!"

He lets me go. 

I take my time getting up – let the wanker think he hurt me, I'm sure he won't mind another little twinge of guilt – and turn to face him. "The?" he says, voice rising and incredulous. I have to squash the sudden desire to lecture him on definite articles, because that just sounds like William and I may be newly soul-having but there's no way I'm going back to being that ponce. "Unfortunately, dear sire o' mine, you are no longer the only vampire in town with a shiny accessory." He's gaping at me like the uneducated Mick I know he was and it's so damn funny I think I'm going to choke, but then he starts on at me.

He doesn't believe me. It's not possible, surely. I can't have pissed off a clan of Romany because I can't hurt anyone right now. Willow can't have re-cast the spell because she was going cold turkey and then she went crazy (and here we have a little digression where the poof explains to me what has been happening in good old Sunnyhell since I left. And God help me if I don't start mourning for Tara. Remorse and guilt and all that aren't enough for me, no, I have to start in on fresh grief. But look at me, Da; I'm still not brooding). Oh you left, did you, then something must have happened while you were away. (Sometimes it's painful to watch the gears turning in his head. He's so slow… It amazes me that he had the brains to send Dru insane.) You got a soul. From somebody or something. And it's permanent.

I will not gloat over my grandsire just because I have the soul-contract that he wants. I will not gloat because I do not want this to be happening to me. I will not gloat because I now hate myself even more than I used to.

Of course I'll bloody well gloat!

* * *

He may be interested in what's happened to me, but it doesn't stop him having to get back to the meeting he was in when I crashed the party. Apparently it was some big thing to do with the boy, who is his son and threw him in the Pacific in a nice big coffin. I have to say I'm impressed. And it seems the poofter is no better as an actual father than as a vampiric one. I wonder if that makes Connor/Stephen my uncle?

I don't really understand what's going on here, and I don't really care, so I'm just going to sit here and maybe do some more drinking. Ah, lovely vodka, and it tastes like nothing at all but it gets me nicely drunk quicker than beer and whatnot – probably to do with the higher alcohol content. These things seem so much more interesting when somewhat schnockered. Drugs do the same thing. Six hours looking at my hand… but drugs are no good unless there's blood to carry them, and neither's alcohol really so stuff with lower content is good too because it gives me a little more liquid in my veins to actually carry the alcohol... Anyway. I'm sure the grand poof-wad has blood in the fridge so I'll just slip out and… see if I can find it. Huh. He might notice that I'm gone. He won't care. He'll just tie me up when I get back. Oh wait, that was Angelus. And Rupert, come to think of it. But not exactly the same way. He had me naked. Anyway, I was looking for blood because I really need to get drunk. I need to get drunk enough that he can't chuck me out.

* * *

"So."

"So." I can be just as monosyllabic as you can, dear 'gelus, though I suppose it makes me seem to be a brooder like you.

"A soul, eh?"

Hey, 'gelus is jealous! Heh. Homonymity. Yeah. Oh, he's staring at me again. Oh, he's not gonna try pulling that Sire crap with me, not right now, no thank you…

"Yeah, soul. Also vodka."

"Spike…" a little growl, almost, and I know he's not going to hurt me but it's hard-wired in my blood – can you hard-wire something in a liquid? That sounds wrong. But I don't know what he's so pissed off about so I don't see the need for him to be growling at me because I can't exactly answer him when I don't know what he's asking me, now, can I?

"What?" and oh shit my voice trembled and it was too loud and he's coming towards me and I'm too drunk and too hungry still to stand up to him right now, and the last time he looked at me like that he was walking out of Dru's room and I was stuck in that bloody wheel-chair, but then again the look he had earlier wasn't too far off it he was just angrier and why am I still blathering? How am I still blathering? How am I still… shit, I started breathing, now he knows I'm scared.

"Shit, why did I even come here?" and I sound so tired…

"Blood." OK, that's my line; I'm the one who acknowledges the demon.

"I came back to you in China, remember? Back to the family. Even with my soul, I came back" and I know he wants to say more but I will not let him.

"Because we were all you had! And that fucked up my first Slayer! You hanging around, spoiling the afterglow. You fucked up my entire unlife, you know that? And things were starting to go right and then you had to go get your rocks off. And you…" No. Stop. Don't go down that path. You don't care what he did, remember? "And ever since then it's just got worse, and worse, and worse until now I'm you! And won't that just give Dru a happy?" I will not cry. I will not cry. "Ah, fuck it. I'm outta here."

"Spike, you're too drunk. Stay here for the day." And the authority, predictably enough, has been joined by concern, because there were times way back when, and now I'm just the same as him, right down to the semi-emaciation. I was in the desert. He was in the ocean. Put the two together, and what do you get? Who cares? So I flip him two fingers and lie down on the floor. He's gonna move me. Put me in a bed. Because he's too soft for his own good. Is he still? He's lost the belly. Now I lay me down to sleep… Why don't prayers burn our lips? Maybe he knows. But if I ask him he'll look at me like I'm crazy, or maybe just like I'm drunk which I am but that's OK as long as he doesn't look at me like that's a failing on my part. I'm allowed, all right? It's the only way I sleep these days. Sleep. Good plan.

* * *

It's not fair. Vampires shouldn't get hangovers. Vampires shouldn't have to deal with moralising elders, either, but I suppose that's my particular curse. I'm so going to rub his nose in it for the rest of our unlives. Or until he finds a way to get it permanently attached. Still, mine was earned and his was thrust upon him. And they were all born with theirs. Does the kid have one, I wonder? 'Cause from what I worked out, he's the human-yet-super-strong-and-fast son of Darla and Angelus – which is screwed up beyond all measure – and I wouldn't have thought curses got passed on. Though she was human at the time of conception… No. It makes no sense. And while I'm curious, I don't really care.

Does this mean it's chucking-out time? He'll let me hang around until it gets dark, out of sheer sentimentality, and then I guess I'll be on my way… That's not why I came here. I came here to get him to tell me how to deal with this, but he's not going to listen to anything I have to tell him. He doesn't care about me. Looks like there's not much he does care about any more. The kid, maybe. Forgiveness is easy when it comes to that boy, because oh, the poor soul grew up in a hell dimension and then he was misled by the man he regarded as a father. Well, glory be! I died! And I was tortured and abandoned and I had a bloody good century with a lunatic, and then I was crippled and tortured all over again and lost the lunatic and got neutered and fell in love and now I have a soul and it hurts! It all hurts!

And I've turned into a pathetic whiny moron and I despise myself for it.

I miss my coat. It's easier to be brash when you've got leather to protect you, heavy on your shoulders and swirling around you as you move. It smells good. Leather and cigarettes and whiskey and blood cover up any lingering fear and insecurity. I really miss my coat. But then, look where I left it.

She probably destroyed it. I could get another one, but it wouldn't be the same. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I don't know. I don't understand half of this, and I really do need to hash it out with somebody, but then he managed all right by himself. If you call brooding for a century all right.

He's supposed to help me! Back in the old days, he's the one who taught me about being a vampire. Dru may have turned me but to all intents and purposes, he was my sire. And a sire looks after their childe.

But he's too busy with his own problems. I see that. I don't need him anyway. I just thought, maybe, it'd be OK, maybe he would give me a bit of a chance… nah. I'll move on. Go north, I think. Though days are longer there in the summer. Not that it matters. Mm. Yeah. Get a van and start driving. Keep away from the Hellmouth. I really can't face them just yet. I might send flowers or something; express my sympathy about the witch… She'd bin them. Dawn might not, but then again she'll be mad at me for leaving, and if she's found out what I did she'd probably jump up and down on them first. Well, so. I'll do it anyway.

I don't think he's here, actually. Or if he is, he's paying no attention to me. You know, the hotel's big enough that I could skulk around it for days without running into anybody. Hmm. Sounds like a plan to me.

* * *

Well, the skulking would work better if I didn't walk straight into Angel's brooding room. The only thing I can think is that somehow my hangover stopped me sensing him at all, because if I knew he was here when I walked in then that means something I'm not quite willing to admit.

"So you're awake, then?" he says. Well thank you, King of Stating-the-Obvious. I take my time and look around the room – a bed, a chair, some damn ugly wallpaper and a thick blanket keeping out the light. There's not much point to him brooding in the dark, since we can see just about as well as we can in the light, but I suppose it's more for the ambience. And he can hide from the mortals. Oh, they think he's such an innocent but he hasn't changed all that much. Sly bastard he was back then. And people don't change, not really. And sure, we adapt to circumstances, but the way we think, the way we really are underneath it all… I'm still the over-sensitive poet. I'm still pathetic. But I can still see through any façade any person cares to present, except when it comes to their feelings for me. It's kind of a useless skill if I can't use it to help myself.

"Why are you here?" he asks me, and I wish he'd start with the simple questions.

"Hey, you got a soul, I got a soul…" I can bluff him, really I can…

"We covered that. You know everything that's happened since you left. Why are you here? Really?" I hate that he can make me feel like William again. I hate that he makes me feel like a useless little fledge. I hate that I can't help but be honest when he talks to me with that certain note in his voice.

"You're my sire and I need your help because I don't know what the fuck to do." Eek. I sound pathetic. I am pathetic. I'm useless and pathetic. I'm weak and worthless and inadequate and pitiable and useless and pathetic.

"What do you want to do?" is his next question, and surprisingly enough I know the answer to that one.

"Hide in a corner somewhere until it all goes away". Whatever you say about me, you can't pretend I'm not honest.

"And yet you're here". He has an appraising look in his eye, as if he's trying to work out how much I've changed. "I think you're actually sincere." OK, that doesn't make sense. Sincere about hiding in a corner? Well, yeah.

"This corner OK, then?" And now he's confused. Great. Caveman has returned.

"If you wanted to hide, then why did you come back to California?"

"I'm conflicted." I tell him in my driest tone of voice. Unfortunately the word appears to do nothing for him. "I want to hide so I don't have to face what I've done, but I can't stand to be away from everybody. I'm a social animal, Angelus, and I hate being lonely." Pathetic.

"You think you can come back to the fold? We're not family any more." And ouch, but that hurt and I never ever want to tell him that he can still push my buttons. It stopped. He's not important any more.

"You went back to her, you bastard!" Um, seems like my mouth didn't quite get the message. "And what, you're just disowning me, is that it? Darla can come back and Dru can run around slaughtering and all you'll do is warn them off, but when I come to you for help – for help! – it's "fuck off and die already"? Some white hat you are! Souls are for saving, isn't that right? Isn't that why you helped the other Slayer? Leaving us to deal with Miss Bitch of Sunnydale, thanks ever so." It's true. It's all true. It is. And he looks pissed off again but he's consciously trying to stay calm – so we don't tear up the room, I guess.

"You don't talk about her like that." His voice is audibly controlled, but not in a scary way. Not the way it used to be, when we were really family. And Sunnydale-Angelus had nothing to do with control.

"You weren't there. You haven't seen what she's done. She was depressed, fine, but she hurt me again and again and again because she could. She's an out-and-out bitch. And I love her. And I hurt her right back but I'm thinking it probably hurt me more. Hence soul." I'm a little worried that my soul is forcing me to be honest with everybody, but it can't be. I'm just screwing with his head.

"Buffy is good and sweet and innocent." And you know what? I think he actually believes that. Wow. He's doing well deluding himself.

"Buffy used me as a sex-toy." And my god but the man's aroused.

What is it that's pinning me to the wall this time? Is it anger? He was supposed to be in control of that. Is it lust? He was supposed to be over that. Is it… It feels like guilt. Guilt holding my wrists in one hand. Guilt thrusting his hips into mine. Guilt closing his teeth around the nape of my neck.

I'm comfortable here. It's sick and twisted and totally wrong, but it's comfortable. I'm safe here, sandwiched between his larger frame and what may be the ugliest wallpaper I have seen in my entire existence. Unyielding comfort. Wall. Sire. Rock and a hard place. In a good way. He moves back two inches to tear off my shirt, and even that is too far, and an idle part of my brain notes that I don't actually have anything else to wear so I'll have to borrow something or walk around half-naked, and either works for me because at least I've got another pair of jeans. And that turns out to be a good thing because he just ripped the seat out of this pair. And then he growls in my ear and tells me not to move while he strips. That's OK by me, taking orders, because it's a whole lot easier than taking the lead. And my plans don't tend to work out all that well. So I'll stand here by the wall and not even bother to turn my head and watch him neatly folding his designer clothes, which looked good even though they were hanging off him. My clothes get ripped and his get folded, just because they cost ten times as much. Wanker probably paid for them and all.

He presses back into me and it just feels wrong, because he was never this thin when we were hunting together, but as soon as he bites into my shoulder it's right again, because it's him. And yeah, I should be fighting him off but I really can't be bothered. I want this. I want him. I'm trading on the memories and he's probably thinking of the last person I touched, but I didn't come here looking for flowers and romance. Him. That's why I came here. I may not have realised it at the time but that's why I'm here. For him. For him to be my sire just one more time.

Oh, there's a light-headed rush that comes from being drained when half your blood's already rushed to your cock, and as soon as my head rolls back he's pulling away, and saints above was that me? That was a whimper! But it's all right because as quickly as he's gone he's back again, and he slams into me and it's so fucking good. I guess he used my blood as lubricant and I'm glad of it, because the last time I was fucked was a few decades ago at least, and a dry run would be no fun. I may be something of a masochist, but… oh. Can't… oh. Fuck. Yeah. That… yeah. Gnnn.

* * *

We clean off with the scraps of my shirt; and while I'm removing my boots and skinning off the remnants of my jeans, he hurriedly dresses again. I go through my pockets for the traditional post-coital, and I plonk myself down on the floor. For some reason, while I'm lighting my fag, he sits down in front of me and says, "I tried to kill Wesley". And that just confuses me. Because I'm sure I know the name but it doesn't mean all that much to me. So I just nod at him and ingest some more smoke. Unfortunately he takes this as encouragement.

"He took my son. He took my son and gave him to my enemy. So I walked into the hospital and I held a pillow over his face." I would be more impressed with this if I wasn't internally bitching that he was never this protective of his vampiric childer, meaning me. Though as his technical grandchilde I suppose I don't count. But grandpa's supposed to dote, isn't he? I'm slightly curious though.

"Why was he in the hospital?" Good, that betrayed no concern at all, being as I don't really have any because my soul really hasn't done anything to change me. It hasn't. I don't miraculously care about people I've barely met.

"His throat was cut." A grudging admission.

"By?"

He stays silent, because he knows what I'm getting at. Shall we see how many points we can hammer home today?

"Why did he take the boy?" There had to be a reason. The good guys always have a reason. Sometimes it's a load of crap, but there's always a reason.

"He thought I was going to kill him." Him being? The boy, I assume, from the context and from the hypothetical anguish in his voice.

"And instead you tried to kill him and the boy tried to kill you." It's a triangle that's almost worthy of a soap. And yet nobody died. What a shame. What? I have a soul; I can still appreciate good storylines!

"Yes, but he was deceived." He meaning Connor. Well, yes, because your precious son couldn't possibly have jumped to conclusions all on his own. 

"He was deceived." He meaning Wesley, and I'm sure from that little flash of anger that he knows who I mean. But I think maybe I've pushed him far enough on this.

"So what happened to Cordelia?" I ask, and as soon as the words leave my mouth I know it was a bad idea, because he doesn't look happy at all.

"She disappeared the same night I did." Oh. That's not good. "Connor had nothing to do with it" he tells me in angry denial, and I admit I was thinking something along those lines; but really, it seemed fairly obvious. "Nobody's seen her since. And of course that means no more link to the Powers That Be." He sounds oddly dismissive of it. She was his friend, and despite the grief I can smell on him he's trying to pretend it's all about the good fight… No way. No way!

"You're in love with the chit!" Good grief! It's hard to believe but I know I'm right. What happened to eternity, eh, Angel? Did you stop loving her when I started? Or was it when she died? Did you give up on blondes after Darla came back? What?

Oh, I really want to know but he's not happy with me for telling the truth and he's angry with whatever took her away so I'm just going to sit here quietly and light another fag. Easier not to push him.

I always push, and push, and push to get some fucking attention. Some days, it's just not worth the energy. This is one of them.

* * *

Eventually, he stands up and walks away. I don't mind. I stay sitting in the room with the ugly wallpaper, and contemplate uncovering the window. Not that I will, but it's something to think about on the long days. Something effulgent, perhaps.

A few minutes later – long enough for me to ramble past sunlight and poetry and guilt and a few other things to leave me on whips – he comes back, carrying my other jeans and a black silk shirt that's probably his. And that means he's been through my pitiful collection of stuff, which isn't really a comfortable thought. Most of my souvenirs are still in the crypt, but there's a sizeable wad of writings that… well, I suppose he hasn't had time to read. He watches unselfconsciously as I pull on the jeans – nothing that he hasn't seen before, nothing he probably won't see again – and drape the shirt over my shoulders. It's as I'm lacing my boots that he shifts uncomfortably, clears his throat, and decides to speak.

"Where are you going once you leave here?" he asks. It's a fair question. It doesn't really imply that he wants me gone. It implies that he's interested in my future plans, that maybe he cares a little about what I do with myself. And I said he was delusional. Well, I don't see that it's any of his business so I'll keep on yanking at the laces because maybe they'll snap and that'll give me an excuse for… something. "Back to Sunnydale?" he tries again, and the only reason he asks that is so he can call down and give them enough warning that there'll be a stake or six waiting for me at the edge of town. But I shake my head at him all the same – it's still a little too soon to be going back to that place. "Where then?" he asks me. I wish I knew. But I don't, so I tighten the last knot and I stand to face him.

"Somewhere. Not California. It matters?" I want him to say yes. I want him to have been asking for selfish reasons. I want many things but only ever three people.

"Not really." He waits a further moment, turns vacantly and exits stage left. I scan the room one more time, and breath once, deliberately.

I'll see him again some day. Easier for now that I pack up and leave as the sun sets, run away from the people I love. Easier for now.

I'll be back on the Hellmouth before the year is out. And as for him: well, it's not like we won't live forever.