AN: Written for the Good_Evil challenge for May, this is a Good Lorne ficlet.

A Push in the Right Directon

The green Empath demon frowned with concern as he walked past his boss's office and heard the souled vampire humming a Barry Manilow tune. Lorne tried not to pry when he was around his friends, but he couldn't miss the aura of smug satisfaction surrounding Angel as he settled into his big leather chair after having sent a very dejected Spike from the room.

With a sigh of resignation, Lorne set off down the hall, following the trail of gloom left by the newly-corporeal vampire. He followed the unusually snarkless man as Spike's feet took him inevitably to the person everyone went to for comfort – the thin, hyper-active woman in the white lab coat. The only one on the staff who actually seemed to care about Spike and his future. As Lorne entered the lab, he saw Fred giving Spike a platonic hug and murmuring platitudes in his ear. He wasn't sure, but he thought he saw a trace of a tear on Spike's cheek before they noticed Lorne's presence and Spike leaped to his feet in embarrassment.

Ever the southern lady, Fred struggled for an explanation for their behavior that wouldn't spoil the lonely vampire's image as the unfeeling bane of Angel's existence.

"Lorne! Hi! Spike was just thanking me for what I did to try to make him corporeal – even though we all know I had nothing to do with it."

"Relax, lean, blond and gorgeous," Lorne said kindly to the clearly mortified Spike. "I'm not here to bust your big bad bubble. I just want to hear you sing a bit before I stick my nose in where it probably doesn't belong."

"Sing? You want me to sing again? I did that already, remember? The great poof wouldn't believe I was me and that I wasn't up to something until you gave him the all clear."

"I know. I know. But this time I want to hear a different kind of song. I don't want to hear your imitation of Joey Ramone, I want to hear something else. A love song."

"Oh no!" Spike reared back and looked at the demon with wide eyes. "I don't do Manilow. That's your broody boss's thing –not mine. I'm a punk rocker all the way."

Lorne held up his hand in surrender. "All right. How about a little Clash, then? Can you do 'Should I stay or should I go?'" He cocked his head and met Spike's suspicious gaze innocently.

"Yeah, alright. I can do that I guess; but I still don't see—"

"Just sing, Spike," Fred said softly. "Lorne usually knows what he's doing."

Looking somewhat uncomfortable, and glancing at Fred who was smiling her encouragement at him, he jumped into the song's chorus with, "Girl you got to let me know – should I stay or should I go. This indecision's killin' me. – you know you got to set me free…la la la… should I stay or should I go now…" His voice trailed off and he shrugged with embarrassment.

"Guess I don't know the words as well as I used to."

"It's okay. That was enough," Lorne said with sigh, nodding to himself. "I heard what I needed to hear."

"Which was?"

"That you should have been on a plane to Rome ten minutes after you became solid," Lorne said firmly. "You're not doing yourself any good staying here and letting Angel fill you full of doubts. And you're not doing her any favors either."

Spike stared at the demon's serious face for a full minute before turning away and saying roughly, "You don' know anything about us. Her."

"I know that when she was here just after the near-apocalypse – right after you did your Joan of Arc imitation – she was grieving as hard as anyone I've ever seen. Grieving for a man she thought was gone forever."

"I can't believe Buffy sang for you," Spike said, the faintest trace of hope creeping into his voice.

"She didn't need to. The grief was rolling off her in waves. Oh," he waved his hand around, "I'm sure she put up a good front for everyone – all her friends and those new slayers. Told them the same thing she told Angelcakes – how proud of you she was; how happy that you had turned out to be the champion she knew you could be. But her heart was broken. I couldn't have missed that if I'd been blind and drunk instead of just listening through a half inch of frosted glass… " he explained unrepentantly. "I don't think I would have been able to handle it if she'd felt like singing – which, to be sure, she didn't. If I had felt that much pain in a song, they would have had to carry me to my room. As it was, it was all I could do to hide what I knew."

"Did you tell the great Poof?" Spike asked shrewdly.

"No. He saw it, I think. She must have let her guard down with him at some point. That's why he—" The Empath demon stopped, loyalty to his boss and friend at war with his desire to help two very unhappy people.

"That's why Angel is telling you to leave her be," Fred said firmly. "I love him for rescuing me, but he can be a real poophead sometimes."

Spike looked at Lorne for confirmation and when the demon nodded sadly, he stood up straighter.

"You really think she wants to see me?" he asked quietly.

"I know she does. She might be keeping up that front for her sister and her friends, but I can guarantee you that finding you at her door would be the best present you could give her. And yourself. You saved the world, fella. You deserve a reward."

"Don't know as how the Slayer would care for hearing herself referred to as a 'reward'," Spike grinned.

"Well then, we won't tell her," Lorne smiled back at him before adding softly, "Go get your girl, Spike. She's waiting for you."

The End

AN: Written for Good_Evil's artathon and Seductivembrace's great banner. Takes place during "Smile Time"

Astronauts! Cavemen!

"Astronauts!"

"Cavemen!"

"Idiot!"

"Bleedin' poofter!"

"Are they fighting again?"

"Well, they're arguing. I don't know how much fighting two puppets can actually…"

Whatever Wesley was going to say was lost as two large, fabric covered dolls came barreling through the open door of Angel's office, snarling and snapping. Tufts of stuffing began to float through the air as the two puppet vampires rolled around on the carpet, oblivious to the astonished humans. When an arm that had been wrenched off one of the puppets flew up and hit Wes in the head, he sighed and gestured for Gunn to step forward.

"I suppose we had best separate them before they can turn themselves into—"

He stopped, waiting until Gunn was in place before grabbing a pair of stubby, cloth-covered legs. As Gunn pulled on the equally stubby legs he'd caught, the two men moved away from each other, dragging the snarling puppets with them. Only when both puppets had stopped struggling, did they cautiously relax their holds.

Gunn bent over and picked up the detached arm.

"Okay, which one of you undead toys does this belong to?"

"'m not a toy!"

"You look like a toy to me. What do you think, Wes? A toy for you and one for me?"

"WE ARE NOT TOYS!" Angel's angry roar was muffled by the stuffing still stuck to his cloth fangs.

"Right then," Gunn said. "You're just idiots."

"I'm still your boss, I'd like to point out." Angel did his best to growl in a menacing fashion.

"A – you can't point, cause you have stubby little fingers and the arm they're attached to is right here in my hand. And, B – you're a three-foot tall puppet. I don't answer to dolls."

Gunn tossed the arm in Angel's direction, began to walk away and said over his shoulder, "I'll send Harmony in to sew that back on."

Wes stood, hands on hips, staring at the two disheveled and grumbling puppets.

"I have work to do. Is it safe to leave you two alone?"

His only response was muttering and grumbling as the two puppets tried to replace some of the stuffing now littering the hallway.

"What is it, Blondie-be— Eek! Spike? What happened to you? And what is … Boss? Is that you?"

"Stop gawking and get a needle and thread," Angel growled, waving his detached arm around. "You need to sew me… us… back together." He threw a tooth marked cloth ear at Spike. "Here, I think you lost this."

"Sew?" Harmony blinked in confusion. "I don't know how to sew."

Spike tried to roll his eyes. "Well, get Fred, then. We'll be in Angel's office."

He pushed himself to his feet, clutching his ear and as much of the stuffing as he could hold in his fat little hands. Angel quickly snatched up as much as he could carry, then ordered Harmony to gather the rest of the cotton batting that was left on the carpet. With a sigh, she walked around scooping up the little pieces of fluffy stuffing.

When she entered the office, both puppets were struggling to clamber up onto the couch – Spike with more success, due to still have both his arms mostly attached. With a sigh, Harmony picked Angel up and carefully placed him at the opposite end from where Spike rested in panting triumph.

"Oooo, you're so squishy! Are you squishy too, Blondie Bear?"

Before Spike could sputter a refusal, Harmony had picked him up and was cuddling him against her ample bosom. Squeezing him and giggling as he burrowed into her chest, growling softly, she paraded around the room with her prize.

"I love this! You are too cute. Both of you. I could just take you both home and—"

"Harmony! Put Spike down and go get Fred!" Angel roared – as best he could with cotton lungs and tongue. "And don't tell anyone why – just go."

"Sheesh, Boss. Being a puppet hasn't done much for your disposition." With a pout, she deposited Spike back on the couch where he pretended to be unhappy about having spent so much time pressed into her chest.

She sashayed her way out of the room, returning within a few minutes with Fred and a sewing kit in tow. Fred, having been briefed by Wes on the condition of the vampires, managed to seem matter-of-fact as she sat down and pulled out a darning needle and heavy thread.

"Okay, then," she said with a perky smile. "Which one wants to be mended first?"

Spike waved a puffy hand. "Oh, be all means, reattach the poofter's body parts first. Most of the stuffing is his, too. There's no way I'm that fat."

Fred sat down between the two puppets and pulled Angel into her lap.

"Hey! A little respect!"

"What? I have to have you where I get the right angle on this. Now hold still."

In no time, she had skillfully sewn Angel's arm back on, carefully replacing the missing stuffing before she did so. She moved him around on her lap, completely oblivious to where she was placing his face as she examined him for other rips and tears. When she found one, she would quickly stitch the rip up, and then turn him over again, looking for more. When she finally pronounced him whole, he scrambled off her lap and retreated to his desk, hauling himself up into his chair and sitting there, stubby legs sticking out in front of him and an embarrassed frown on his face.

Unlike Angel, Spike was more than willing to jump into Fred's lap. He cuddled next to her waiting to see what positions she would have to put him into in order to repair the damage done by his grandsire. To his great disappointment, she only sat him up so that she could reach his ear.

"Shouldn't you have to, I don't know, put my head in your lap or something?"

"It's your ear, Spike" she replied, quickly sewing the ear back on and determining that he had very few other serious injuries. She repaired the rips in his arms and one on his back, then went to place him back on the floor.

"Hey! Wait. You don't know if you got 'em all," he protested, trying and failing to cling to her with his soft puffy hands. "For all you know, the big poof bit me on my bum."

"I doubt that, Spike," Fred said with a tolerant smile, at the same time that Angel growled, "I did not bite you on the ass!"

"You won't know till you look, will you?" Spike wheedled, giving a thread-filled smile when Fred sighed and turned him over her knees to check out his well-padded ass. He wriggled happily as she ran her hand lightly over his butt, then yelped when she smacked it hard. Before he could follow up with a lewd comment about the spanking, he found himself deposited on the floor.

With a cheery wave, Fred collected her sewing materials and walked out of the office, assuring them that Wesley was working very hard to find out what the spell was so that he could fix it.

Spike glanced down at himself and said with a pout, "She didn't fix this little rip in my crotch. I… hey! Is that a toothmark? Did you bite me on my dick, you pervert?"

"You don't have a dick right now, idiot," Angel said with a sigh.

"Well, if I did have one, you'd have bitten it!"

"If you did have one, I wouldn't have bitten you there."

"You wouldn't?" Spike sounded almost disappointed, but didn't follow up his question. Instead, he tried to pull out the waistband of the jeans sewn onto his body so that he could peer down at himself. "Are you sure we don't have…"

"I'm sure."

"Why are you sure?" he asked, still tugging on his waistband.

"Because I looked, all right?"

"Maybe you were wrong. Or maybe it's just you that doesn't have one…"

"Oh for—" Angel hopped off the chair and walked over, yanking Spike's pants out. "See? No dick. Nothing. Nada."

"I think I see something," Spike said peering down into his pants. "See? Right there. There's something…"

"What? Where?" Angel leaned forward to get a better look, just as Lorne pushed open the door to the office and barged in.

"Hey ho, puppet people, I… oh, my bad. Sorry!" He turned to leave, pausing when the two puppets began to sputter explanations and denials. "Hey, hey, scrumptious and scrumptiouser. No need to explain to me. You boys just go right back to what you were doing. My errand can wait. Enjoy!" He waved and left the room, closing the door tightly behind him.

"Wonderful. This is all your fault, you jackass. If you hadn't been so worried about—"

"Wasn't me grabbing another bloke's pants and yanking them down, grandpa," Spike interrupted, waving his puffy hand around. "I think we all know who's at fault here."

"I wasn't the one worried about missing something you can't use right now anyway."

"You were worried. You said you already checked."

"I wasn't worried, I was just… gathering information."

"Bollocks!"

"Shut up, Spike."

"Make me."

Angel growled, then thought better of it, remembering how cavalierly Fred had handled him when she put him back together.

"Just go over there and stay quiet, will you? I'm sure Wes will have this figured out pretty soon."

With as much of a pout as his little face could manage, Spike retreated to the couch and sat there, occasionally pulling out his pants and peeking down just in case he'd missed something the first ten times he checked.

"Can't even have a decent wank while I'm waiting," he mumbled after his latest hopeful look see.

"Do you ever think about anything else?" Angel sighed, pushing himself away from the desk, resigned to not being able to hold a pen or hit the computer keys with his overstuffed fingers.

"Think about cavemen and how tough they were…"

"Astronauts are much tougher – and smarter. Smarter always wins."

"Smarter gets beat up."

"Smarter plus tougher equals winner, Spike. Admit it."

"Nothing tougher than something that has to fight for its existence every day."

"I'm not having this argument again. You're wrong. Now shut up and go back to trying to play with yourself."

"Nothing to play with," Spike muttered in an aggrieved tone. "Just because you had to brass off a puppet-making sorcerer."

There was silence for several peaceful minutes while Angel leaned back in his chair with his eyes shut and Spike sprawled on the couch humming to himself.

"Cavemen," he whispered.

"Astronauts." Angel mumbled.

"Cavemen."

"Astronauts."

The End

AN: Written for a Taming the Muse prompt, this features Spike and Wesley on a non-canon adventure in Japan.

Good Times

"Tell me again what we're looking for?" Spike stared around at the passing countryside. Even in the dark, he could see the green of the rice paddies on either side of the dusty lane. "And why we're looking for it out here in the middle of nowhere?"

"We're seeking a statue of a god... wearing a shawl and a hat. Red ones, if I recall."

"A statue wearing clothes? You needed my muscle for that?"

"Someone has to carry it. And we are in a foreign country. Angel told me you speak Japanese. That you once killed a Japanese slayer?"

"She was Chinese! And I didn't speak her language either. That's why you brought me? Because the bloody poof is losing his memory in his old age?"

"Well, that and there's a possibility that the statue was taken by a ...*cough*rogueslayer*cough*"

"A what?" Spike glared at Wesley. "I'm not killing a slayer. Get yourself another vampire, Oxford. This one's retired."

"No one wants you to kill her, Spike. We just need to convince her that she's working for the wrong side. The statue should to go back to the village it belongs to."

"A demon village."

"They hired us. That makes them clients. They want their Jizō back and we have been appointed to see that it happens."

"Please tell me I misunderstood what you just said..."

"If you heard anything but the name of a Japanese deity, you have not been paying attention."

"Alright. So, we're to rescue this Jizzy god, that belongs to a village of demons, and he's being guarded by some slayerette. Why? I mean, why is she keeping it?"

"She seems to think – mistakenly so – that the demon village has no right to a statue of a diety whose job it is to protect small children."

"Seems reasonable to me." Spike stuck his hands in his pockets and stopped walking. "Why do we want to help them get it back?"

"Did you not hear the part where they are paying us? These are our clients. We don't ask them 'why', we just do the job and collect the fee."

"None of which actually goes to me," Spike grumbled as he started walking again.

"Unless you have given up stealing Angel's blood from his refrigerator, some of it goes directly into your ungrateful stomach."

"Now what the hell do I do?" Spike snarled, clinging for all he was worth to the extremely angry girl cursing at him in Japanese. The slayer was young and not well-trained, but even so, it had taken him a good fifteen minutes to find a way to immobilize her without actually hurting her badly. Not having been hampered by any such restrictions, the slayer had gouged a piece out of his leg with her stake and blacked one eye with a wild, but powerful punch.

"Just hang on to her while I try to explain..." Wesley was thumbing through a book of common Japanese phrases. "Ummm... gomennasai?"

The girl just rolled her eyes at him and renewed her struggles to free herself from the vampire that for some reason had not yet bitten her, but was surely going to any second.

"Uh... we come in peace? No, that won't do. We don't want to harm you. We just need to take the statue back to its rightful owners. Wa..." he studied the book again. "Wakarimasuka?"

"Baka," she snapped, trying to free an arm and reach her stake lying just out of reach.

"Did she just call me a name?"

"Think she just called you 'stupid'" Spike said, unable to hide a grin.

"Right then. Enough of this." Wesley put down the phrase book and pulled out a pistol, pointing it at the girl whose eyes went wide with fear. She froze and quit struggling against Spike, who cautiously let her go and stepped away.

"Stupid bint has William the Bloody at her throat and she's afraid of a starter pistol!" He shook his head in disgust. "I should just bite her on general principle."

"Just grab the statue and let's go."

Spike scooped up the stone statue, grateful that it was only a couple of feet tall, and hoisted it to his shoulder.

"Sayonara, slayer," he said with a cheerful wave. "Better luck next time."

The villagers who owned the statue were very grateful to have it back, and Spike and Wesley left town with their "doomo arigatoo"s ringing in their ears. Spike waved back and yelled, "dooitashimashite," to the waving demon children.

"I thought you couldn't speak Japanese," Wesley grumbled. "You might have saved us a lot of trouble with that slayer if you had just explained it to her."

Spike just shook his head. "Told you, I don't speak it. Just enough phrases to get by." His gaze turned wistful. "Been a long time since I got to fight a Slayer. Made me miss... I might have to take a couple of weeks off when we get back. Think it's time to let somebody know I'm back..."

The End

AN: Written for a Nekid_Spike challenge - These were my three things: Wesley, Mirror, Convent … and, of course, Spike. Another non-canon adventure.

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall…

"Huh! Would you look at that?"

"At what? And would you please be quiet! This is intended to be a secret mission. That would require that the occupants not know we are here."

"But it's a mirror!" Spike pulled the framed glass off the wall and held it up in front of himself. He stared around the room, noting a few other anomalies in what should have been a fairly Spartan setting.

"Yes. I am fully aware of what a mirror is. Although why it would interest someone who cannot see himself in it, I have no idea."

"What's a mirror doing in a building full of nuns? Women who, if I remember correctly, aren't supposed to care how they look?"

"I fail to see why that—oh, shit!"

"Is that Watcher-speak for 'the vampire noticed before I did that we might be in a spot of trouble'?"

"You know you are incredibly annoying when you are proved correct about something."

"I'm incredibly annoying even when I'm wrong." Spike grinned. "It's a gift."

"I'm sure it is," Wesley agreed in a whisper, waving Spike to silence. "It really doesn't change our mission. We still need to locate the Book of Books and get it back to Angel."

"Yeah, but now we know that these aren't real nuns guarding it. We can have a whole lot more fun if we get caught."

Wesley studied the smiling vampire. "So, had they then been real nuns, you wouldn't have harmed them?"

"Nope. That was always Angelus' thing. Dumb Mick that he was –he couldn't resist debauching a building full of nuns. Me? I prefer my women willing and experienced. That's what the Church of England does for you, I guess."

"I doubt the Church of England is responsible for your taste in women – although I am sure there are some grateful Catholic nuns somewhere out there."

"Well, they aren't in here – look in this wardrobe."

Peering over Spike's shoulder, Wesley could see that the closet held, in addition to the expected black habits, several sequined cocktail dresses and matching shoes with stiletto heels.

"Not what you'd expect to find in a nun's closet is it, Oxford?"

Spike moved to the small dresser and began rooting through the drawers, pulling out the occasional scrap of lace and admiring it, before dropping it back in the drawer and continuing to look for the book.

"The dresses and shoes – no; the book, however, possibly. We've been assuming that the thief hid it somewhere in the convent and left it here, but perhaps…" He knelt down and began carefully searching through the heavily perfumed clothing. "Keep a watch while I look through here. It is possible that all the other members of the convent are legitimate and that we have stumbled onto the very room we need."

"Thanks to yours truly and his eye for detail…"

Wesley's voice came from within the deep closet, as he pushed aside very un-nun-like shoes and clothing. He eventually came to an ancient looking leather box, carefully concealed by the long black habits so rarely worn by nuns in this modern age.

"I believe I may have found something," he whispered.

"Well, let's get it out, then. I hear footsteps comin' this way – and they don't sound very—"

The door flew open with a crash and standing in the entrance was a very angry Mother Superior.

"Who are you? And what are doing in Sister Teresa's room?"

"My apologies," Wesley said smoothly, sliding the box behind him and edging out into the room. "A friend of ours has misplaced an important item and we had information that it might be here. It didn't seem wise to disturb the tranquility of your establishment to retrieve it if we could do so unobtrusively."

"It seemed wiser to break and enter?" The Mother Superior's lips twitched with a hint of amusement. She stepped closer to the wardrobe and raised one eyebrow. "Sister Teresa appears to have an interesting selection of civilian clothing…"

"We…uh… that is I…" Wesley realized that the woman had yet to notice the immobile vampire blending in with the stone wall. "I do not believe that your Sister Teresa is what she appears."

"So it seems…" The formidable old nun pushed Wesley out of the way and peered into the wardrobe. She picked up one of a pair of four-inch stiletto heels in bright red and brushed a sequin off the toe. She turned and gave Wesley a stern glare. "However, Sister Teresa's possible inappropriate activities outside this convent do not make her a thief or a possessor of stolen property."

"This does," Wesley said simply, holding out the box and opening the lid.

The woman drew back with a hiss as a malevolent stream of smoke emerged and raced around the room. Lying in the box, now visible, was the Book of Books.

"What is this evil thing?" She waved her rosary at the smoke still wafting around the room, in the process spotting Spike. She immediately held her cross out toward him.

"Vampire!"

"Nun!"

She narrowed her eyes, then glanced at Wesley.

"You brought a vampire into my convent?" Her lowering brow did not bode well for the cowed ex-watcher.

"He…he's here for a reason," he stuttered, moving toward the door with the box under his arm and gesturing for Spike to follow.

"Which is?" Completely unfooled by Wesley's attempt to get closer to the exit, she stepped in front of him, still keeping her crucifix pointed at Spike.

Before he could answer, Wesley was knocked to the floor as the owner of the room burst into it, tearing off her nun's habit . The demon, no longer making an attempt to resemble poor missing Sister Teresa, reached for the box containing the book. She batted away the Mother Superior's rosary and cross, snarling, "If those would bother me, do you think I could have stayed here all this time?"

She reached again for the box that Wesley was attempting to shield with his body, picking up the man as though he was a child and baring pointed teeth in his face.

"Do you really want to know what these feel like?" she growled, expecting him to drop the box.

"Bit like mine do, I expect." Spike brought the mirror down on the demon's head, allowing Wesley to break free and move the Mother Superior to the open doorway. Spike grappled with the stunned demon, burying his own fangs in its neck. He let go almost immediately and began spitting sickly green blood onto the floor.

"Bloody hell, that's disgusting!" he growled, opting instead to twist the demon's head until he heard a satisfying crack. He dropped the body and watched with satisfaction as it began to dissolve into a foul smelling puddle.

"That's why he's here," Wesley said shortly. "We'll just be going now. My apologies for the inconvenience."

"Inconvenience?" She gestured at the disgusting mess on the floor. "Who's going to clean this up? And where is Sister Teresa?"

"I suspect," Wesley said as he shoved Spike out the door ahead of him, "that Sister Teresa is busy explaining to St. Peter why her choice of clothing should not impact her well-deserved reward. Assuming that those things do belong to your Sister Teresa and not to the demon who has obviously been impersonating her for some time."

Spike nodded to the broken mirror. "If that's new to the room, then I would say Sister Teresa now sings with the heavenly choir. That ugly bugger probably needed the mirror to double check the glamour every day."

As Spike and Wesley left the room with their prize, Mother Superior could hear them talking.

"So, the nun was saved by a vampire. Surely a first."

"Not a first," Spike responded quietly. "But it's been a while…"

The End

Written for the Twelve Months of BtVS; 7/27/05: This is my Angel fic in which he muses about everyone he knows... and inadvertently shows just how NOT that far away Angelus is...

The Devil Inside

Spike

I can't believe the Powers sent him back. Bad enough he gets to go out a hero, making Buffy think he was the one who deserved her cookies; but now he's back. And in MY office. This place of evil that I'm going to turn against itself.

It's not enough I have to learn how to run an evil law firm without corrupting myself and my…employees? Friends? These humans that I work with. Yes, I like that one—it certainly seems to fit better. They don't know me well enough to be friends now. Not anymore. So just like that, four years are gone and my team is reduced to being just the humans that I work with – no, these humans who work with me. That's better. THEY work with ME. After all, I'm the one the Senior Partners invited in here; they don't understand what's happening here. Not the way I do. They can't tell the difference between the puppet and the strings like I can. They're just tagalongs now, hangers-on. Like Spike.

He beat me. He has never beaten me, not once in the 120 some-odd years since Dru drained his worthless body and brought him into our family. Spike does NOT beat me. At anything. Until he comes back from being a ghost, and suddenly I'm flat on my back, defeated. By HIM. And all for a "soddin' cup of Mountain Dew."

Beats me and then doesn't dust me. Doesn't take the prize he's been itching after for years, and all because he "doesn't want to bloody hear it". Meaning he thinks Buffy would be mad at him. Meaning he thinks he's going to see her, and for long enough that it will matter if she gets mad at him. When did Will get to be so arrogant? Check that. He's always been arrogant. And cocky. But confident? What makes him so confident that she wouldn't just stake him immediately?

Would she stake him for dusting me? Of course she would! She might have—through some misplaced sense of loyalty to him—might have some…feelings…for him, but I'm her true love. Her soul mate. Her first and only real love. That's still true.

Isn't it?

This thing she has – had, HAD – with Spike was just…proximity. And gratitude. Okay, maybe some lust in there. He is a pretty boy. God knows I've succumbed to the lust he can create just by….Whoa! Not going there. That was evil Angelus. Not Angel. Never Angel.

Wesley

This "we're all a team" thing is getting out of hand. Damn human employees thinking they can tell me what I can and can't do with my law firm. Who does that miserable ex-Watcher think he is? Questioning my decisions. Marching around as though he has some sort of pull with me—like he deserves some sort of input. He's lucky I didn't go ahead and kill him for what he did with Conner. Really shouldn't be pushing me on this. Damn Limey doesn't know when to back off. I wonder what a Watcher tastes like…..

Gunn

For a street kid who never finished high school, he sure took to those lawyer upgrades in a hurry. And how the hell did HE become the one who can talk to the big cat? I'M the big cheese here. I'm the CEO. Strutting around here in those fancy suits, spouting legalese and telling me which contracts I have to fulfill and which ones I can skip. You'd think he was making the decisions for the firm. And what's up with hanging out with Spike…?

Fred

Sweet little Fred. She'll never turn on me. I'm her "handsome man", her knight in shining armor, her…wonder why she keeps getting involved with other men? First Gunn, now Wesley. For all her brains the girl clearly has no taste. She should be falling all over me…

Lorne

At least there's one other demon on the payroll, although he's maybe not the most masculine one I've ever seen. Still, demon. Better than all these wimpy humans. And he never argues with me. Lorne's a good guy—even likes to hear me sing "Mandy." I wonder why he doesn't tell me what he sees anymore when he catches me singing? Must be because it's always the same thing. I'm the champion for the Powers That Be, only vampire with a soul…strike that. The FIRST vampire to have a soul. Damn Spike! Where was I? Oh yeah. Buffy's one true love, defender of the weak, leader of men, blah, blah, blah. That's probably it. He's seen it so many times he's getting bored. That's why he's spending so much time with Wesley and Gunn….

Scoobies

Just as glad the Scoobies all left for England after the last apocalypse. They really get on my nerves. Always have.

Xander, with his stupid jokes and demon girlfriends. Calling me "deadboy" all the time. Hiding behind Buffy for protection when he can tell I've had it with him. Like I didn't know he wanted her for himself. Stupid jealous boy. I should have made him a minion when I had the chance. Angelus would've given him a whole new perspective on what it means to be low man on the totem pole….

Willow. Now she would have been a childe worth having! Except for the powerful witch thing… who would have guessed she was going to be that strong? Should have, I guess, when she was able to put my soul back from her hospital bed. I can't believe she almost ended the world. What a mate she would make… for Angelus. Not for me of course. I don't have those thoughts anymore….

Giles the ex-Watcher. I wonder what kind of vampire Ripper would make? Give me a run for my money, I'd bet. I wonder if the grudge he's holding about that gypsy woman would carry over? Not like it was my fault. Stupid bitch wanted to re-curse me. Wanted to put my soul back. Not that I didn't- don't want it. I want my soul. Of course I do. It makes me special. Well, more special…

Buffy

Ah, Buffy. The last of the Chosen Ones. Now there are the Chosen hundreds. Kinda takes the gleam off. Much as I hate to see her with the Immortal – oily son of a bitch – I'm glad she's gotten over that little obsession with Spike. Can't believe she cried over his miserable self when she thought he was gone.

Still does think he's gone, I guess. I'm sure she would have at least called me to ask about him if that wimpy little Watcher wannabe had told her he was here. Not that she would have wanted to see him; but that's just Buffy. Always taking care of her…friends. She'd want to know how he was, just because she'd feel responsible. That's all it would be – just duty.

All that "he's in my heart" stuff was just because I wasn't around to help her see how wrong it would be. She doesn't – didn't – love him. She couldn't. She loves me. Me. Her one true love. Her soul mate. I'm her cookie-eater. He was just…convenient.

I'll give her a couple of years to finish baking, and then I'll pop in on her and tell her I've found a way to anchor my soul. If I have by then, well, good enough. And if not? Angelus can turn her and we can still be together forever. Yeah, that's a plan. Wait for me, Buff. I'm coming back to you

End

Another written for Taming the Muse, the prompt was "chattel" Spike and Angel are having this adventure.

There May Be Complications

"You want me to pretend to be what? You're out of your bloody mind – what little there is of it."

Angel sighed and rolled his eyes. "It isn't going to kill you. It's not like I'm really going to sell you or anything like that. I just need to have something to offer to get me into the venue."

"Why not take Percy? He'd clean up all right. Or Harm - she'd probably get off on wearing one of those—"

"It has to be someone who won't... who could... Look, it would just be best if it was you. Okay?"

"No. Not 'okay'. Not even on the same pitch with 'okay'. I'm not going into a gathering of demons and vamps pretending to be your chattel. Get over it!"

Angel dangled the keys to the Viper in front of Spike's pouting face. "I could make it worth your while..."

Spike drew himself up to his full height, "Do you really think I'm that easy?"

"I want to go on record as saying this is a really bad idea," Spike grumbled, fidgeting with the chains between his wrists. "I don't see why we couldn't just go in fists and fangs flying and rescue the girl."

Angel yanked on the chain attached to the collar around Spike's neck. "A," he hissed, "We don't know who has her or where she is yet. And B – you moron – slaves aren't supposed to be growling and arguing with their owners, so shut the hell up."

"Yank that chain like that again, and I'll feed it to you," Spike snarled under his breath, even as he pretended to be cringing away from Angel's raised fist.

Angel shifted into game face and snarled convincingly, "Need I remind you, William, of what a bad idea it is to piss off Angelus?"

"Oh ho, so that's how we're playing it then?" Spike subsided and followed behind Angel as he greeted various demons and vampires. They both heard the rippled whisper going through the crowd. "Angelus. Angelus is back, and he's got William the Bloody on a leash."

They circled the large room, quickly identifying their client's half-demon daughter, standing on a carpeted platform wearing little more than the chain around her neck. Although her pointed ears, softly furred back and short tail indicated her demon heritage, the tears on her face were pure human as she cringed away from the hands reaching to touch her. Angel stopped a short distance away and urged Spike up onto the other small platform placed there for sellers to display their wares.

In no time, a curious group had grown around them, most only eager to see the two famous members of the Scourge of Europe but a few seemed genuinely interested in Spike. Every time he started to snarl at a hand feeling his bicep, or running up a muscular thigh, Angel yanked on the collar. Spike was a few yanks away from throwing the entire charade down the drain when he caught a glimpse of their intended rescuee and the fear on her face.

Ducking his head and turning it so that only she could see, he gave her wink, smiling briefly as he saw her eyes widen in understanding. He bit back a snarl when he felt a rough hand on his bare ass, silently cursing Angel for his insistence that Spike be dressed – or not dressed – to show off his obvious assets. He almost choked when he realized who that hand belonged to.

"Stand up straight, boy," Angel said. "Let them see why I allowed Dru to make you."

Vowing to make Angel pay for this job for the rest of his unlife, Spike smothered his urge to bite the hand urging him upright and stood up straight. He couldn't help standing even straighter when he heard the appreciative murmurs from the crowd that had gathered. He allowed his eyes to roam insolently over the gathered customers, letting them pause briefly when an expensively dressed vampire licked her lips and smiled at him. He arched an eyebrow at her, then continued his perusal of their audience.

After satisfying their curiosity, most of the demons eventually wandered away to watch a pit fight on the far side of the big warehouse. The only ones left near Spike and Angel were mostly female and mostly vampires; only one very human looking, if very large, demon remained studying Spike with a critical eye. He gestured to Angel, carrying on a whispered conversation, then they shook hands and he walked away after giving Spike one last lingering glance.

"What the bloody hell was that all about?" Spike growled softly.

"Nothing you need to worry about," Angel said, giving Spike a smack on his bare ass. "Let's go to work."

Taking advantage of the now mostly empty space around them, Angel engaged the handler holding the pretty demon's chain in conversation while Spike slipped out of the unlocked chains he'd been wearing and quickly helped the girl down from her platform. While Angel broke her captor's neck and yanked the chain away from his lifeless hand, Spike whispered reassuringly to her and began to lead her behind the curtained backdrop. As soon as they were out of sight, they hustled her toward the exit, bursting out just ahead of the outraged shouts from the sale's managers.

They threw themselves and their kidnap victim into the back of the black van in which Wesley and Gunn had roared up, falling to the floor in a heap as it accelerated away. Spike grabbed his leather coat, which he'd made sure to put into the van before he'd stripped down to his "costume", then realized that the shivering girl with them was as nearly naked as he was.

"Here you go, luv," he said, handing her the coat. " 's bit chilly in here for somebody with warm blood."

She gave him a grateful smile, pulling the coat around her and trying not to look at his body as he settled back against the wall of the van. Spike smirked at her blush and laughed when Angel rolled his eyes.

"Job well done, then, yeah?" he said with satisfaction. "Client rescued, and no harm done. Good thing nobody wanted to buy yours truly, innit?"

"Uh, Spike, about that..."

The End