Written for: kallysten
Requirements: Set during/after AtS 5, hurt/comfort, no angsty ending
Spoilers through current episodes of "Angel"
Summary: Spike attempts to move on after Fred’s metamorphosis into Illyria
When It’s Time
Entering Angel’s office, head lowered, shoulders slumped, Spike was the very picture of defeat. Hands in his duster pockets, he walked over to the necro-tempered glass picture windows and stared straight ahead, saying nothing to the elder vampire no more than five feet to his right. Fred’s death had hurt them both badly.
Neither vampire seemed willing to break the silence; quietly watching the sunset.
“What do you want from me, Spike?” The words were spoken so softly it took preternatural hearing to catch them. “I’m in no mood for company right now.”
“It’s time, mate.”
“Time for what?” Angel asked irritably. “Spit it out. Cryptic makes me feel like smashing something.”
“It’s time for me to leave. Fred’s gone, Gunn’s outta here and Wes is sniffin’ after this Illyria bint.” He sighed. “I - I’ve called Buffy. She wants to see me. I’m leaving in an hour.”
No sound. No movement. No sign of having heard a single word, save for the infinitesimal tightening of the broad shoulders.
“It’s all a muddle, Angel,” the younger vampire tried again. “Dunno what Evil, Inc. is apt to throw at us next. F’there’s anything Fred’s taught me, it’s not to waste the time you have.”
“I suppose you think she’s going to welcome you with open arms, Spike? That you’ll have that fairytale ending she and I didn’t?” Angel snarled. “You want my permission to go? Sure, take the fucking jet. You want my blessing? Go fuck yourself, and tell Buffy to fuck herself too, while you’re at it. She doesn’t trust me, you can’t stand me – and I don’t need either of you.”
Stunned by the vehemence behind his dismissal, Spike turned swiftly and silently headed towards the double doors. His hand resting on the doorknob, he turned once more to stare at the stiff back of his erstwhile Sire.
“Angel, m’not going with any expectations. The Slayer wasn’t upset to hear from me. She knew I was back ‘cause the pup couldn’t keep his gob shut. Was just giving me the space to make up my own mind as to how to handle things.
“We fought together for most of three years and I bloody well died in front of her eyes, mate. Guess I’ve been too scared to act on it good and proper before, but I need to see her. She wants to see me again.”
“Are you still talking? Why are you still here? Get the hell out of my office, Spike,” Angel snarled. “What are you waiting for? Do you want me to open a vein for you? You do what you always do – chase after my leftovers. You’ve taken it all and I’ve got nothing left. Just… go.”
“I don’t want anything from you… Sire,” the rattled vampire said, using the honorific mindlessly. “Just wanted to say a proper goodbye – in case…”
When it became obvious that Angel’s silence and back were all Spike was going to get in answer to his plea, he nicked a full sized bottle of JD from the bar and headed for the corporate hangar, letting the door slam behind him.
He never saw Angel sag against his desk, shoulders shaking in an effort to contain his sobs of regret.
The flight to Rome allowed the very nervous blond to get pleasantly buzzed, even in the space of another Wolfram & Hart ‘quickie’ trip. Touchdown at the private airstrip was uneventful, Spike noting with no small measure of relief that the terminal had been designed to allow a vampire to deplane safely in broad daylight.
His alcohol-induced glow lasted all of two seconds, until he spotted a familiar swirl of blonde hair and short skirt, running full tilt at him. All doubts that he had made the wrong decision to call her vanished as she crashed into his open arms, hugging him tightly enough to crack ribs if he’d been human. Genuine delight was reflected in her hazel eyes when she gazed into the vampire’s face.
“I’ve known you were back for weeks, thanks to Andrew – and by the way, Mister – we are so going to talk about you being all incommunicado-vamp later. Anyway, speaking on the phone made it seem surreal, ‘cause that made the second phone conversation we’ve ever had and, well, it’s just…”
Spike threw his head back and laughed out loud, startling Buffy with the first genuine belly laugh she’d ever heard from him.
“Oh, luv, you’ve got to stop and catch your breath. M’here, and we have time. As much time as we both need to sort this.”
One month later…
“It’s time, luv.”
“Yeah, I suppose it is, Spike,” she said. “I’ve always known your visit wasn’t going to be forever, but it’s been good for us, I think. Have you been happy? I mean, was this whatever we’ve had been good for you?”
“Couldn’t have asked for more, pet. And bloody well expected far less.”
They’d spent the last four weeks being nigh on inseparable. They’d talked, and laughed and made love until the sun rose. They’d spent time with Dawn, and Andrew and even paid a visit to Giles, shocking the poor man out of his wits by arriving at three in the morning.
They spoke of Angel, with no rancor. Tales of first loves – same loves, and present feelings, and possible futures. And of his need to go back and watch over a vampire integral to both their lives.
He left with promises both spoken and unspoken. They’d see each other again. When it was time.
Back at Wolfram & Hart, Spike felt decidedly uneasy. Nobody spoke to him as he walked to the elevators, which was not unusual – but the uneasy glances and sidestepping as they pointedly avoided him, those were a bit odd.
Harmony tried to talk him out of seeing Angel, first saying he wasn’t in the office. When pressed, she reluctantly admitted that maybe it wasn’t the best of times to walk in, unannounced.
Waving her off with barely a glance in her direction, Spike strode into the office, determined to straighten things out with the older vampire. What he saw broke his heart.
Slumped on the floor by the window, dressed in the same clothes he was wearing when Spike left, was the emaciated figure of his Sire.
“Christ, Angelus,” he whispered, clearly shaken. “What the fuck did you do?”
“Go away, Spike. I know you’re not here,” Angel croaked, as if his voice hadn’t been used in quite some time. “You’re off in Rome, fucking Buffy.”
“I’m here, pet. Just stepped off the plane and came right here, first thing.” Getting no response from Angel, Spike went to the desk, and buzzed for Harmony.
“Harm, you’ve got to have blood delivered to Angel right away. Make it otter, or human, preferably. Why the fuck hasn’t he been feeding?”
“Now you’re concerned, you Slayer-loving freak!” she growled into the receiver. “You’ve been gone a whole damned month, without a single phone call. He hasn’t moved from that spot since you walked out of here. He refuses to feed, and… and when I try to bring him warm blood, he either leaves it until it congeals, or he knocks it away – and might I just add ‘ewwwww’. You know how gross it is to have to clean up after him? I’m his assistant, not his maid.”
“Shut the fuck up, Harm. Bitch at me later, when Angel’s doin’ better. Right now get that damned blood in here,” he snarled, and smashed the receiver back into the cradle.
Settling himself down on the floor next to the inanimate vampire, Spike tried to get Angel to look at him. Lifting his chin so’s they’d see eye to eye.
“Angel, pet – you need to snap out of this. Look at me – talk to me. How can I fix things to make them better?”
Haunted brown eyes finally met and held Spike’s worried gaze. “Find my boy, ghost Spike. Find him and tell him I’m sorry,” he whispered. “He can even bring Buffy back with him,” he said, brightening.
"I lied to him before, you know,” he said, his voice gaining strength as he continued. “I told him I didn’t need him, or Buffy. It’s not true. I’ve already lost Doyle and Cordelia, Fred is essentially dead, and Gunn and Wes seem to have their own agendas. I can’t…”
A knock at the door brought Harmony into the office, carrying an insulated carrier filled with containers of warmed blood. “Here ya go, Spike – hope you have more luck with Bossy than I’ve had.”
“Bloody impeccable timing as always, you daft bint,” Spike sighed, hoping Angel would continue to speak once Harmony left the office.
As he turned his back on the other vampire to retrieve a couple of containers of warm blood, he was tackled from behind.
Straddling the blond’s hips, Angel ran his hands over Spike’s chest, almost reverently. “You’re really here,” he gasped, surprise coloring his voice. “I was sure...”
“Well, yeah – s’what I’ve been sayin’. Been thinking ‘bout me, Peaches?” Bucking the older vampire off his prone form, Spike rose and brought three containers of blood over to the fallen man’s side.
“We’ve lots to talk about, pet, but nothin’ that won’t wait until you’ve topped off. Seems the ‘starving children in Africa look is passé these days.” Opening the first container, he gave it a delicate sniff. “Must say, m’not comfortable with the easy access Wolfram & Hart has to this much human blood, but it’s here – best not to waste what’s already been spilled.” He handed it over to Angel. “Bottoms up, mate. This one, and at least one more,” he said as he downed the contents of the third container, himself.
Draining his second helping and requesting a third, Angel slowly came back to himself, letting his guard down for the first time in a month.
“Why are you here, Spike? Did Buffy send you packing?” he asked, cringing as if he were afraid of the answer.
“Gonna tell you some things, Angel, and most likely you won’t be pleased. Too bad, innit, ‘cause you need to understand I’m here for one reason only. I want to be here.”
He stood and began to pace, unable to sit still and talk at the same time.
“Buffy and I sorted things between us. Yes, there is an us, but it’s not exactly exclusive. Spent nearly as much time together in bed as out of it, and played visit the Scoobies that were around.
“And you should have seen old Rupes. We like to gave him a heart attack showing up in the middle of the night. Turns out our girl never told anyone I was back, save for Dawn.” He smiled fondly. “Respected me enough to wait until I was ready for that lot to know. An’ Andrew just needed to spill it to her – kept quiet with everyone else. S’a first for me… people respectin’ my feelings. Kinda like it.”
Confusion marring his expression, Angel asked, “Our girl?”
“Ya caught that, did you? Good on you for finally listenin’ to me. Right, then – let me explain.
“We talked, mate. About you. And me. And you and me. Seems our little Buffy’s all growed up now. Found some of those Watcher books Rupert used to keep hidden. Seems we’re rather infamous for other things ‘sides blood and mayhem, you’n me.”
“I still don’t understand, Spike. If she’s so accepting, why aren’t you still with her?”
“Simple, pet. We love each other, she loves us both. Don’t think any of us are in love at the moment.”
“Did you just say you love me?”
“Came back, didn’t I? You think I would have left Buffy’s side for anything less? Slayer’n I aren’t done yet, but it was time. Time for me to come home, and time for her to let me. ‘Sides,” he said, winking at the stunned vampire on the floor, “there’s plenty o’me to go around, and these days Buffy’s all for sharing.”
“Are you out of your mind? Buffy would skin us alive… dead… whatever. She’d never go for it,” Angel said, incredulous.
Handing over a pink envelope, the younger vampire said, “Read this, you git.”
Knowing how you dote on every word that comes out of Spike’s mouth, I decided this letter was the best way to handle things.
Kiss him already, you idiot. See you soon.
P.S. It’s not you I don’t trust… it’s you at Wolfram and Hart. Get out while you still can.”
Before the letter hit the ground, Angel grabbed two fistfuls of Spike’s black t-shirt and had pulled him into a demanding kiss.
Sometime later, Spike pulled back, looking into his Sire’s expectant gaze. “About fucking time, you poof!” and kissed him back.