A/N: The story takes place immediately after the events of "Souls, secrets and lessons" (not counting the epilogue). Some events may not match actual timeline corresponding to 2008, such as music, TV, technology, so don't stake me for that. =)
Key: Italics refer to thoughts, quotes, lyrics of songs and in some cases, memories. Bold refers to emphasis.
Spike and Angel belong to Joss Whedon.
It was almost 9 am and Angel was getting ready to go to the agency. He wasn't too thrilled that Spike had his key to the office, in fact, he wasn't happy that the younger vampire was nesting there until he could find a place to stay. Spike showing up in London two days before was unsettling, specially since according to him, he was back because of Scarlett.
Angel had protested against Spike getting his key to the office, but the redhead insisted Spike needed a place to stay. So after the elder vampire gave his key to Spike, Angel asked Scarlett to make a copy of it so he could enter the office without having to rely on Spike opening the door. Of course Angel would demand that key back once Captain Peroxide found his own place to stay, or leave London altogether. Angel was hoping for the latter.
He picked up the newspaper before he entered the office. Nothing strange so far in the news. He walked to his desk and glanced at the closed door and sighed heavily. Should probably wake him up before a potential client comes in. Wouldn't want him walking out of that room and right into the office and making us look unprofessional, he thought.
Without knocking, he opened the door, "Wake up, Spike, this isn't a hotel, time to-", he stopped when he saw a very much startled Scarlett sitting up and hug the sheets that covered her all, save for her shoulders, just as a very sleepy Spike was protesting at Angel's demands, "sod off, you ape," he muttered.
"What's going on here?" Angel asked, throwing a patronizing look at her. Spike sat up, "what does it bloody look like, mate?" he replied clearly amused.
"Get out of here!" Scarlett snapped at the older vampire while gesturing with her hand. Angel gave her a scolding stare, "get out so I can get dressed," she added matter-of-factly. Angel closed the door behind him. And this is exactly why I didn't want him around. He surely knows how to disrupt the order of things.
Scarlett, still sitting on the bed, started getting dressed while Spike merely watched her and caressed her still naked back. He had to stop when she finally put her top on. She seemed upset and Spike wondered why. Before he could ask her what was wrong, Angel spoke through the door, "just because we are letting you crash here, it doesn't mean you can stay in there during office hours, so you too get dressed and get out."
Spike frowned, "son of a bitch! I wanted to sleep some more, I'm kinda exhausted", he said with a smug when Scarlett turned around to look at him. She let out a soft chuckle, "sorry," she added sheepishly, then she got up and left the room. Spike sighed, got up and slowly got dressed. When he got out of the room, he saw the other two vampires in the small room that served as a kitchen. Both of them had their arms crossed and it was clear they were arguing, but in a low voice. As soon as Angel spotted Spike, he stormed out of the kitchen, followed by Scarlett, who was rolling her eyes.
"Ground rules, Spike, I don't want you loitering around. I don't want you watching TV in there during office hours, nor taking naps," Angel said, clearly annoyed.
"Except for the three hours we close in the afternoon," Scarlett added, but she was actually addressing Angel and not Spike. Angel shot her a look in return.
"Sir, yes, sir!" Spike mocked Angel, who threw a menacing stare at the blond vampire. "So what on bloody hell do I do then?" Spike asked.
"I don't know, go out for a walk," Angel said, a sarcastic smile on his face.
"Easy for you, you ponce, you have that nifty shiny," Spike pointed at Angel's rings, "I don't have one of those," he finished.
"That's why I suggested it," Angel grinned.
"Ok, children, why don't we stop with the kindergarden act," Scarlett interrupted, "Spike, could you help out with some research for a case?" she asked.
"Like he could, he'll probably slow us down," Angel protested before Spike could give an answer.
"Or he could go and rest in your place, since his presence is bothering you," Scarlett suggested.
"Ok, fine, he can stay here," Angel hastily replied.
"Sure, pet, just give me the Cliff notes on the case," Spike smiled at her; to Angel, he said, "I don't want your sodding place, mate."
"I'll go check that lead on the Silverstone case," she said, but soon changed her mind, "actually, you should go check that, Angel. Yeah, leaving the two of you here while I'm gone... I don't want to find the office trashed."
"Fine by me," Angel picked up the case file and left.
Spike sat on a couch and Scarlett handed him some books. While she was explaining the case, Spike couldn't help staring at her, "how on bloody Earth do you put up with that sod, luv?" he interrupted. She shrugged, "we get along," she replied.
"I don't know, doesn't look like. I saw you two arguing, and I wager it was about me," he said while going through one of the books, occasionally glancing at her.
"People argue, it's normal. Specially when they are family," she replied casually, her eyes not leaving the book she was researching.
Spike frowned, slightly aback, "family? You've known him for, what, six months? And you consider him family?"
"Uh-huh, I don't know how to explain it, but he feels like family to me, felt it the very moment we all three were talking in the bar," she said while looking at Spike, "I guess it has something to do with him being my sire and all," she concluded.
Spike looked down, returning to the book. He felt somewhat out of place. Something about what Scarlett said didn't sit well with him, he wasn't sure why. He felt a pinch of jealousy, he didn't like that she and Angel became so close. He was positive Angel wasn't into her, nor was she, and is not like Spike was in love with her either, he knew that. He liked her a lot, he definitely enjoyed spending time with her, specially intimate time, but he wasn't in love with her, he indeed had feelings for her, he felt madly attracted to her, but it was not love, at least not yet. Which made it all more confusing and complicated.
When he decided to come back to England he wasn't expecting anything to happen right away. Is not like he was complaining, not at all, but she showing up last night and getting all physical surely took Spike by surprise, considering that some hours before she had been somewhat hostile to him. He wanted to bring that subject up since last night they barely talked at all, -save for the dirty talk during sex- but he could tell she was trying to sort this case.
"Bingo!," Scarlett interrupted Spike's thoughts, "this is our boy," she showed him the image, "Grun'lar demon, it eats kidneys. The fucker left a dozen mutilated bodies the last four days," she kept reading, "it has to be decapitated, limbs have to be chopped too and all parts need to be buried separately. Ok, no problem there," she concluded.
"Sounds like fun," Spike smiled at her, "so when do we hunt this bastard? Can't wait for some action," he added while cracking his knuckles. Scarlett stared at the clock on the wall, "well, that's gonna be hard, for once, it's day. Also, someone needs to be in here in case we get clients. So our Grun'lar buddy will have to wait till nightfall for its dismembering," she explained.
"Right, forgot sunlight is still harmful for this bloke," Spike said, somewhat hopeful. She set the book down, "you'll have to be patient. I can arrange that, but it'll have to be in the weekend. We have to go to Devon and it's a couple of hours drive, can't leave Angel alone here. Don't worry, the car has necro-tempered glass."
"Is it the Viper?" Spike asked, a grin spreading on his face. Scarlett nodded, but when he asked if he could drive it and she said no, his grin faded away and a pout took its place. "I wager you let Captain Forehead drive it," he muttered, and Scarlett chuckled, "no, he can't drive my Viper either," she concluded.
"Thank you, pet," he said, truly meaning it. "No problem, sooner or later we were gonna get you sunlight protection. Guess the sooner the better," she replied.
During the next hours, Spike looked around the office, inspecting every detail, looking at case files and books. He was feeling peckish, "mind if I snatch one of your blood bags, pet?" he asked. "Go for it," she answered, not taking her eyes off the papers she was reading. Spike grabbed a glass and poured some blood in it, "got many clients?" he asked while sitting on the couch right next to her.
She tilted her head back, "not a lot, but we scored some cases, low threat cases, where the clients had money and paid well," she explained. "I thought you weren't doing this for the money," he asked. Scarlett shrugged, "is not the reason I do it, but certain cases require rare and expensive ingredients and, well, Angel needs the profits, and we mostly balance those low threat cases with the high threat ones."
"Meaning?" Spike asked. "Meaning that we use the money we gain from the low threat cases to cost the expenses of the high threat ones, specially, if the client is not very wealthy and the job requires rare and expensive stuff," she explained. "Besides, we need to get a certain amount of income, not to just pay the rent and expenses, but to start considering an assistant," she finished.
"What, you don't like being Angel's secretary?" he mocked. "First, I'm not his secretary, I'm his partner, and second, we need someone watching the fort and attending clients while he and I are out investigating during business hours, which currently we cannot do, we have to take turns. And it sucks," she answered. "Speaking of, what are you planning to do? You gonna stay with us or this is a vacation trip?" she asked while looking at the papers again, purposely avoiding eye contact.
Spike wasn't ready to answer that, not just yet. A talk was in order at some point regarding his reasons to stay, but this was not the place nor the time for it. He knew it would be a rather long talk and he surely didn't want to be interrupted by some client, or by Angel for that matter. And if luck would have it, his grandsire walked in and immediately threw a disapproving glare at Spike.
"Any luck?," Scarlett asked. Angel nodded, "yeah, I got a description of the vampire that attacked Mrs Silverstone, apparently he hangs in that closed bar we spotted, which of course we cannot get in without us getting seriously dusted," he explained.
"Someone is scared," Spike taunted Angel, sing-songly.
"I'm not scared, you idiot, that hole is full of demons and vampires. Lots of them, and heavily armed, and they don't really like us," he pointed at Scarlett and himself, "they are fully prepared in case we barge in," Angel finished.
"So we wait the fucker out, we tail him and then I dust him," Scarlett said grinning.
"Exactly," agreed Angel. "What about you? The mutilation case, any info on what we are dealing with?" he asked her. She nodded and handed him the case file with the notes she added earlier. "Good, we'll work on it later", Angel said while looking at the clock, it was 1 pm. "I'll be back at four," he finished.
"Me too," replied Scarlett. Spike waited for Angel to leave before asking, "you're leaving too, pet?" She nodded, "I need to take a nap," she replied. "Isn't that your nap room?" Spike pointed at the room where they spent the night, a subtle smile on his face. "Yes, it is, but I really need a nap and a shower, and I doubt you'll let me sleep," she countered before walking out and locking the door.
Spike took a quick shower before heading to the bed, he was amazed at how they managed to fuck so wildly in such small bed. He pressed his nose against the pillow and took a deep whiff, her scent was still fresh, incredibly strong; he picked traces of her sweat as well, he soaked in it and fell asleep.
He was dreaming of what happened the previous night, when the most irritating sound woke him up. "Spike! Get up and get dressed, I told you to not take naps in here," Angel was almost shouting. Spike was furious, he got up in one swift move and stood up to Angel, "I don't like the tone, mate, I wasn't gonna get out there naked," Spike spoke in a low and menacing tone. Angel turned around and left, shutting the door behind, not that he was intimated by the blond vampire, but because it was disturbing that Spike was naked and aroused.
While Spike was getting dressed, Angel was pacing back and forth, cursing under his breath, "stupid English," he punched his desk, just as Scarlett was walking in, "uhm, someone's angry," she teased. Angel had an exasperated look, "you think?" he replied sarcastically, "I told him not to use that room during office hours, yet he did. And if that wasn't bad enough, he was naked!" he added. Scarlett smirked and raised an eyebrow, "naked?" she asked clearly interested. Angel sighed heavily, "we need to have a talk about all that's happening, I'm worried about you. Tonight during dinner or after the hockey game," he finished.
Scarlett frowned, "worried about what?" she asked, but Angel didn't reply because Spike was coming out of the room. "Welcome back, pet," he greeted her with a charming smile, and Angel rolled his eyes. "I'm going to check if everything is still normal with the McKenzie case," the elder vampire said, "I cannot stay here for another minute, the air is too thick," he finished while glaring at Spike, who lifted his middle and forefinger as soon as Angel wasn't looking, "up yours, ponce," he muttered.
"Oookay, that was awkward," Scarlett said while typing on the laptop. Spike stood behind her, leaned over her and casually rested his chin on her shoulder, reading what she was typing, "what is it?" he asked. She turned her face just barely, taking a brief look at his lips, then making eye contact, and then quickly back to the screen, "it's a list of all demon species we found so far and how to kill them, vanquish them and burial rituals, if required," she replied. She got up and poured some bourbon in a glass, "want one?" she asked. "God, yes," was Spike's reply.
He was feeling hot, her scent slowly awakening his inner demon, he was lusting after her badly, and knowing he could do nothing about it for the time being was driving him insane. "So... what are the plans for tonight, pet?" he asked while going through a book. "As soon as the sun sets, we're going to track down that Grun'lar demon, hopefully we find it and bag it fast," she said idly. "And after that?" Spike asked, smiling to himself. "After that, Angel and I are having dinner and watching a hockey game," she replied.
Spike swallowed hard, "dinner? Since when Angel has anything other than pig's blood?" he asked, clearly upset. "Since he realized that it's stupid to only eat what nourishes you, besides, families eat together. And we never miss a hockey game," she explained.
A few hours later, Angel returned. "What took you so long?" Scarlett asked in a low voice, he gave her a look that pretty much read 'you really need to ask?', and she merely sighed, "fine, be that way," she muttered. "Sun is down, we should probably start the search," Spike added, and Angel raised an eyebrow, "we? You're not coming with us," he protested.
Scarlett stormed out of the room and came back with an axe and a sword, "yes, he's coming," she said while handing the axe to Spike and the sword to Angel, "we don't know how strong this demon is. The more, the merrier," she finished.
The air was filled with uncomfortable silence during the trip to the latest crime scene. Angel was more broody than usual, his hands gripping the wheel tight, his eyes fixed on the road. Scarlett broke the silence, "pull over there," she signaled to an alley.
The trio scanned the area, picking traces of the demon's scent. "It gets stronger in that direction," Spike said while walking north, slowly picking up his pace; the other two chasing behind. They ran six blocks until they finally found the spot where the trail ended and after a couple of hours waiting and searching nearby, their demon showed up. Big, gray and with two massive tusks coming out of its mouth. Spike put his game face on and swung his axe at it, but the demon anticipated the blow and kicked Spike in his stomach, who went flying against a wall. Both Scarlett and Angel, also in game face, attacked at unison, and Spike jumped in once more and took the opportunity to deal a mighty blow at one of the demon's legs. It let an angry growl.
Angel ducked just as the demon was about to strike his face with one big fist, and Scarlett saw an opening and struck it on the chest with her sword, once again, the demon growled in pain and anger. Spike swung again and severed its head. "Well, now that was fun!" he said, clearly still reeled for the battle. Scarlett severed its limbs, "I'll go get the car," she said, and Angel tossed her the keys, and as soon as she caught them, she dashed away.
Not ten minutes later she parked next to the two other vampires, tossed the keys back to Angel, who opened the trunk and grabbed some big plastics bags. They placed the torso, limbs and head into separate bags and put them in the trunk. "So, where do we bury it?" Spike asked. "The cemetery," she replied while sitting on the passenger seat.
After they finished burying the remains of the demon, they returned to the office. Angel picked up some books, "come by in an hour, I wanna take a shower first," he told Scarlett and left. Spike raised an eyebrow, "look at the drama queen," he muttered. Scarlett shook her head in amusement, "my god, you two are like children. There's blood in the fridge, and if you go out don't forget to lock the door," she said.
"You leaving?" he asked and Scarlett nodded, "gotta buy some stuff. Good night, Spike," she kissed his cheek and left. Spike decided he was gonna spend most of the night at the bar, drinking and smoking. Maybe, if he was lucky, he would run into some demon or vampires and have a good brawl. He was itching for a good fight.