A while back, lynnenne gave me a prompt. What would have happened in After The Fall if Spike had turned Angel when he was dying?
I couldn’t figure out how to write it by myself, but lynnenne was kind enough to tag it with me. This is the first part. A second one will be forthcoming in a few days. Lynne writes Angel(us) and Illyria. I write Spike and Connor.
Title: After The Fangs (part 1)
Pairing: Spike/Angelus, Spike/Angel
Setting: Starts With dialogue from After The Fall, veers off canon before W&H’s forces intervene and save Angel.
Feedback would be lovely.
And thank you L <333
There’s blood on the floor, pooling at Angel’s side. Bright red. Even from where he stands a few feet away, Spike could swear he can feel the warmth of it. Angel’s warm blood, Angel’s human blood, rushing out of him with every one of his heartbeats – like life is rushing out of him with every breath.
“So now what? We watch him die?”
Connor’s voice is high-pitched, full of a fear Spike had never heard in him before. They’ve fought a few nasty things, side by side, and the kid has never shown any hesitation, never been afraid. But now, he is afraid. Now, he is the kid Spike calls him. Of course he is. What else could he be, when his father is dying?
Connor’s eyes are flying from one of them to the other, looking for the solution that is staring him in the face. He doesn’t want to see it, and it’s not hard to figure out why. “Gotta be another way—” he starts again, and Spike interrupts with a quiet, “Yeah.”
His eyes are on Angel when he shifts to his game face, and he’s not sure if he imagines the way Angel relaxes a little, not sure it means anything at all. But he knows Angel thought of it, at the very same second Spike did. He knows how the old bastard thinks. And much too often, they think the same way, even if Spike is loath to admit it.
“There absolutely is,” he finishes, looking back at the kid and bracing himself for that fight.
Now that the option is in front of him, golden eyes and ridged brow, Connor can’t pretend it doesn’t exist anymore. But he still shakes his head in denial. “No. No. He'll be—”
They have no time to lose anymore, so Spike doesn’t wait for him to finish. He knows what Angel will be if Spike sires him. He knows it better than anyone who never woke up with a new set of fangs could ever know. He’ll be alive. He’ll be here. And who cares what he calls himself then?
“Kid, I've fought alongside Angelus. Not a bad place to be as long as you watch your back. Nothing's going to happen to you, I'll make sure of it.” His gaze flickers to Angel on those words. That promise is for him just as much as it is for Connor. “And then Wesley can figure out how—”
Connor has big hands, for such a small frame. Hands of a fighter. Now they grab Spike’s coat, twist in the leather, draw him close so he can look in Spike’s eyes as he says, words as cool as death, as precise as the point of a knife drawing red arabesques on pale skin, “He'd rather die.”
Spike likes the kid. He really does. Liked him before he even figured out why he felt like family – and still liked him after. If they had time, he’d talk him into seeing things his way. But they don’t have time; it’s ticking away to the beat of Angel’s slowing heart. His hands close over Connor’s, tight, and tighter still, until Connor has to let go. Spike pushes him away, hard enough that Connor stumbles back, trips, falls on his ass. While he’s still sputtering, Spike approaches Angel. He kneels at his side. Blood is all he can smell – and human or not, Angel’s blood still smells the same; still makes him hard.
“Is he right?” he asks, hissing through his fangs. “Would you rather die than have me turn you? Make your choice, Angel. And make it fast.”
Angel has wanted to die ever since he heard about that stupid prophecy. The first thing he thought, when Wesley first told him about it, was, Finally. Finally a chance to rest, lay down his head and have all of this be over. Someday.
But today, all of Los Angeles is in hell. Connor is in hell for a second time. All because Angel took a stand. Today isn't that day.
Angel reaches up to clutch at Spike's shoulder. Meets golden eyes with his own.
"Do it," he gasps, and Spike draws him in.
Angel is close enough to death’s doors that Spike wouldn’t need to bite and take the last of his blood. He’ll never get another chance at this, though. He’s tasted Angel’s blood often enough – Angelus’ – but never hot, never like this, with Angel’s pulse on his lips and his last breath on Spike’s neck. Spike remembers dying; he remembers how cold he felt, how alone as the darkness wrapped itself around him. He holds Angel tight.
Bringing his own wrist to his mouth, he gets ready to bite, but he freezes when he feels cold steel rest at the crook of his neck. The sword nicks him when he turns his head to look at Connor. There are tears in the kid’s eyes, but his voice is steady when he says, “If it goes as badly as I think it will, I will kill you just a second after I kill him. Just so we’re clear.”
Spike wants to say that if it does go that badly, Angelus will probably kill one of them first, if not both, but before he can say a word the kid gives what is, ultimately, his permission and blessing – not that Spike needed either. The sword slides, precisely, opening Spike’s skin enough for blood to flow, then retreats. Spike shifts Angel’s body, presses his face to the cut, and in the complete silence that follow he listens to the soft click of Angel’s throat as he swallows.
All these years as a vamp, and Spike has never done this. Never wanted to. He had to care for – and dispose of – enough of Dru’s newly turned pets to ever want to make one of his own. This is different, though. Angel – Angelus – is already family.
Spike doesn’t look at him, when it’s done. Just picks him up and god, he weighs nothing; was it the soul that made him so solid?
He looks at Wesley, nods once. “You know what to do?”
“Soul spell,” the ghost nods back. “I’ll get on it.” And with that, he disappears.
Connor’s eyes are gray when Spike looks at him. Dull and weary.
“I’ll take him back to my place,” Spike says. “You—”
“No you’re not.” At Connor’s thunderous expression, Spike amends his words. “Not yet. Find Gunn. Whatever he had planned, it can’t be good.”
Connor shakes his head and points at the three Slayers that are still trying to decide whether to slay or not. “They can do it. It’s their job.”
Spike grits his teeth. “Then find Illyria. Or go on a ride on the bloody dragon. But give us a few hours, all right? You don’t need to be there when he wakes up. Angel wouldn’t want you to be there.”
After much too long, Connor finally offers a stiff nod. As he takes Angel home, Spike wonders how long it’ll take him to rise in this strange world with no night or day.
When he first woke in an Irish grave, the loudest sounds Angelus heard were the heartbeats of the living. Muffled by six feet of earth, the rhythm called to him: blood, fresh and pumping. By the time he was finished, the village was steeped so far in it that even the humans who found the bodies could smell it. Too many dead to bury, so they torched the place to the ground.
This time, the only blood he can smell is the scent of family. And the first sound he hears is the rattle of chains. When he tries to sit up, the manacles tug him back down.
He turns his head towards the solitary figure in the dark, still gripping his sword. Gives him his most charming smile.
"Ready for games already, Spikey?" He rattles the chains around his wrists, his ankles. "I didn't know you'd be this happy to see me."
Angelus’ lips are still red with Spike’s blood, like they’re smeared with lipstick – like he’s just fed to satiety. Spike doesn’t know whether he wants to lick those lips clean or backhand that smile off the bastard’s face. Better get on with the program, then, and demonstrate there has been a shift of power.
Resting the blade of the sword on his shoulder, he approaches the bed with slow, measured steps that don’t make a sound on the thick carpet.
“Happy isn’t exactly the word I’d use,” he says as he stands to the side, looking down at Angelus. “And I’ve got no interest in games. Just answer me this one question. Last time you were around, you tried to plunge the world into hell. Now that you are in hell, what are you going to do?”
His hand clenches on the hilt. It’s not a warning, but if Angelus interprets it as such, that’s fine with Spike.
Angelus purses his lips, stares at the ceiling in a mockery of thoughtfulness. He hasn't really had time to consider the options, but he knows instantly that there are two things he wants.
One: Turn Connor into a vampire.
"Everything I can to piss off Wolfram & Hart." He kicks at the chain around his ankle. "Unlike Angel, I'm nobody's puppet."
They wanted him dark? He's only too happy to give them what they've been asking for.
Spike believes Angelus without a sliver of hesitation. If there’s one thing Angelus never could stand, it was to do what others demanded of him. He and Darla had quite a few fights about that, enough so that Spike knows better than to try the ‘I’m your sire so you’ll do as I say’ route. Besides, he’d feel absolutely ridiculous uttering something like that to Angelus, of all people.
But as much as he believes him, he’s also certain that’s not all Angelus wants.
“I’m sure you’ll get to do plenty of that,” he says, putting down the sword well out of reach of the bed. “But not quite yet. I’m not getting tired of seeing you chained to my bed.”
He flashes a smirk at Angelus at that and slides out of his duster.
Angelus smirks back at him and wriggles against the bed. "Aw, did you miss your daddy, William? I'm touched."
For as many times as they've had sex involving chains, they've never done it this way before. He doesn't like not being able to use his hands. Spike's body fits so well in them, and there are so many things he wants to do to it.
But when Spike's mouth crashes down onto his, he remembers that he hasn't had a good tumble since before the world got sent to hell. And then he forgets about everything except the narrow hips grinding into his dick and the blood on his tongue.
The taunt stays at the back of Spike’s mind as he presses against Angelus, cock to cock and fangs to fangs. He missed him, yes, more so than he’d admit to anyone, himself included. Missed him for close to a century. Missed him in Sunnydale, still, when he didn’t recognize the twisted version of the man he had once called sire. But after Sunnydale – after the soul – Spike stopped missing him; Angel was there. He wonders how long it’ll be before he starts missing Angel.
They could come like this, both of them; but what would be the fun in that?
Angelus tries to sit up when Spike pulls back, and growls when he remembers he can’t. Spike’s smirk, this time, lingers like the taste of old, powerful blood.
“Touched, are you?” he drawls as he undresses. “Not as much as you’re about to be. Always wondered what it’d be like to fuck you. Here’s my chance now that I am the daddy.”
Angelus barks out a laugh at that - even he can appreciate the irony. But Spike's mouth is back on his again, and then his teeth are ripping through the tatters of his bloody clothes, and the feeling of smooth skin against his is enough to make him forget about taunting.
The boy always did have lovely skin. Especially when it was marked.
He turns his head, lets his fangs drop. Sinks his teeth into Spike's shoulder and savors the taste of family blood.
Spike thinks of pulling back - he was going to hold his blood like a promise, a reward to be offered for good behavior, but the teeth in his shoulder, the mouth sucking hungrily on his blood do strange things to his cock, and stranger ones yet to his mind.
Angelus is a newly turned vamp, with the hunger for blood that comes with that first awakening, but he doesn't need to be taught how to shift to his game face, how to bite, how to feed. So why is Spike feeling so protective of him suddenly, why does he cup the back of Angelus' head like he would a child's and struggle to bite back a quiet, "That's it, just like that."
His free hand slides between them, brushing along both their cocks, gathering precome at the tips before he travels lower still, past heavy balls and soft, secret flesh that always was the boundary he couldn't cross. Not with Angelus.
"Gonna fuck you so good," he whispers, circling wet fingertips against puckered skin. "Make you want it as much as you want blood."
It's not like Spike hasn't fucked him before. And it was good, better than he expected. But at the time, he thought it was the soul that made him want to roll over for Spike, be generous, magnanimous, be fucking nice.
Now, he thinks it must be because Spike's mouth is so fucking talented. Because he's pressing wet lips against him and tonguing him open, and Angelus is levering himself off the bed with a noise like he hasn't heard himself make since Darla.
"Christ," and he doesn't care that he's spreading his legs wider, just as long as he can get more.
Spike’s chuckle is a dirty thing, pressed to the underside of Angelus’ balls. “No one here by that name. You wanna try again? Can call me sire if you really want to.”
He presses his tongue back in, deeper still, before Angel can laugh.
"Fucker," is what Angelus calls him instead, on another sharp intake of breath. All Spike does is laugh, vibrations tremoring through his balls and making his cock ache.
Somewhere along the decades they've spent insulting each other, Spike learned how to give as good as he got. Angel isn't sure when that happened, but he kind of admires it.
Not that he'd ever tell the boy that.
"C'mon, William." Angelus moves, a squirm that is absolutely not waggling his ass. "On with the show. I wanna get off some time this decade."
Spike slides up, settles between Angelus’ spread thighs – and not because the bastard told him to, mind. He wants to get off, too. Preferably before the kid decides he’s waited long enough and comes to find them.
“You keep calling me William,” he says, harsh words as he fists his cock in a palm slick with spit and lines up with Angelus’ entrance. “Makes me wonder, did you want this back then too?”
One snap of his hips and Angelus howls. Spike’s cock presses, pushes halfway in before he has to pull back and do it again. Every time – not that he’s been inside that body all that often – the tightness is almost enough to undo him right from the start. He grits his teeth, shifts to his game face to get just the edge he needs, and thrusts harder yet.
It always amazes him that Spike can keep talking at moments like this, when the only sound Angelus can make is "nnnnnnnngh." He's not sure what the noise means. He'll let Spike interpret it however he likes.
Spike pulls out, thrusts in harder, and Angelus thrashes against the chains. The bedposts squeal in protest, but they're iron. They won't break.
No matter. He'll pay Spike back for it later.
He has a second to wonder, now that he's newly turned, whether his strength is diminished at all. But the thought lasts as long as it takes for Spike to find his rhythm, start fucking him fast and smooth. Then his brain is back to grunting and vowel sounds.
Spike grunts with each thrust, nails digging into Angelus’ hips as he just barely hangs on. Angelus is so fucking tight… and it’s been so fucking long… Not that Spike’s ladies aren’t willing and all, but he doesn’t want to play favorites. So the last time was back in the real world, after Rome. And the time before that, after the Deeper Well. Always when Angel felt like shit. Spike doesn’t want to think of what that means.
There’s a moment when he regrets chaining Angelus’ ankles, too. What he wouldn’t give right now to fold that big body in two, legs up and that much more leverage for Spike… Or roll him over to his hands and knees, make him moan and shake and—
Hang on. Already doing that. All right, then.
Curling one hand around Angelus’ cock, Spike starts jerking him off in time to his thrusts, uneven motions that nonetheless get the job done. He’s always prided himself on making Angel come before he did, but this time he doesn’t even try. Another subtle way – too subtle, maybe – to point out that the dynamics have shifted between them. Angelus won’t care, or he’ll say he doesn’t, but some things are ingrained inside them, transmitted through blood on a dying tongue.
With a cry, he pushes in, one last time, hard and deep, and stays there as his cock pulses his pleasure away. His hand is tighter on Angelus’ cock, too tight and unmoving. Only after he slips out and lays along Angelus’ body does he start moving his hand again. Slowly. And with the most elusive of touches.
"You are so going to pay for this, boy," Angelus hisses between his fangs. Spike merely chuckles; he knows he will, and that's all part of the game. For now, he's content to torture and tease.
Angelus prefers to be on the other end of it, but it's not like he doesn't appreciate the artistry. Spike's fingers are really quite talented. Almost as much so as his mouth.
A little more pressure, a little firmer stroke, and he's thrusting up through that tight grip, straining at pleasure that's juuuuust out of reach.
“Remember that time Darla took Dru shopping in Paris?” Spike says idly, his grip loosening again so that Angelus growls in frustration. “You tied me up to that bed. Fucked me for hours. Played with my cock ‘til it hurt. And wouldn’t let me come even when I was begging so loud the neighbors heard.”
They heard, they knocked on the door to make sure everything was okay, and Angelus had himself a little snack before returning to his games. When he finally let Spike come, the pain of it was almost as great as the pleasure – and Spike loved every second of it, of course.
Angelus is glaring, a threat in his glowing eyes, and it’s probably not begging words that are rising to his lips. Spike smirks at him.
“Aren’t you glad I’m not a complete bastard like you?”
His fingers tighten again, his pace picks up, fast, long strokes that touch every inch of silky, steely skin, and as he leans into Angelus’ neck, just before he sinks his fangs in, he says, “Come for me.”
That smooth dark voice in his ear, full of secrets and sins, shouldn't get him off as hard as it does. But it always has, and Angelus hates him for it even now, even as he's coming so hard his fangs are digging puncture wounds into his lips.
Christ, it's been a long time. And no one else knows how to take him apart like Spike does.
Annoying little shit.
His stomach is a mess, his clothes are in tatters, there's blood on his face and neck and he just blew his top off because Spike told him to.
It's probably a bad sign that he really can't seem to care.
Spike leaves Angelus’ neck to lap at his torn lips instead. He doesn’t quite kiss the bastard, sitting up instead to survey his work. Blood, come, tattered clothes and chains… it feels like the old days. Except this is not then and (some of) Spike’s priorities have changed. Still, taunting Angelus will never get old.
“You make such a pretty sight, like this.” He draws swirls in the sticky come on Angelus’ belly. “Well fucked and with my spunk leaking out of your ass… The kid will be here soon. Should I make you presentable or leave him to see how I took such good care of you?”
"Spike." Angelus spits the word out, like a foul taste. "I swear, if you let anybody see me in this mess, I will rip out your intestines and strangle you with them."
"Don't breath, lackbrain."
"Then I'll strangle Connor and your harem and that stupid telepathic fish you call a friend and leave you walking around with a gaping hole in your gut." He yanks at the chains, hard as he can. "Now get me the fuck out of these things!"
Spike doesn’t worry for a second about the chains. He’s had them made – magicked – for Illyria. Not that he’s had a chance to try them on her, or thinks he ever will now, but he trusts they’ll hold. He does worry about the threat, though; Angelus won’t always be chained, and the bastard has a long memory.
He clucks his tongue as he stands. “Now, now. You’re too old for temper tantrums.” He finishes ripping Angelus’ shirt and pants off and wipes most of the come away with the rags before sauntering to the bathroom. “I’ll clean you up, but you’re not getting out of these chains yet. Not until you give me a reason to trust you.”
He comes back to the bed with a wet washcloth in one hand, a towel in the other, and a question at the back of his mind – is there even anything Angelus could say to make Spike really trust him? If Wesley doesn’t figure out that soul thing fast, Spike will have to unchain Angelus, and then what?
Angelus has never made a promise to Spike that he hasn't broken. Sex as enticement, Drusilla as prize and punishment, promises of protection to Spike's friends that ended in bleeding bodies and dust on the wind.
But all through the centuries, there's one thing he's never done to Spike, no matter how many times he threatened or thought about it. Or should have.
"If you unchain me, I won't kill you," Angelus says. "And you know it."
“It’s not me I’m worried about.”
Spike’s voice is flat, level with simple truth. If he was ever scared that Angelus would kill him, that fear faded in a dusty mine back in the old country, long ago. Angelus could have killed him. He had good reason to. He didn’t, and he won’t.
“Who, then?” Angelus asks, mockery edging his words like silver. “Connor? You think he can’t protect himself?”
Mulling over his answer, Spike runs the washcloth over Angelus’ neck, his chin, his belly, folds the fabric over and even gentler still along his cock, balls and ass, retracing the same path with the towel. Angelus’ cock twitches in interest, but they probably don’t have time for another round.
“I promised I’d keep him safe,” he says at last, because it’s a lot better than saying, If I unchain you he’ll probably try to kill you at some point, and I don’t want to have to hurt him any more than I want to see him hurt.
"Aw, how sweet," Angelus sing-songs. "All these years, and you're still looking after my toys. Thanks for keeping Buffy warm for me, by the way. Can't wait to look her up once I get us out of hell."
Spike glares daggers at him, but the reaction is much less animated than he was hoping for.
"Well if you're not going to untie me, at least throw a blanket over me. You don't want the kid getting a good look at this." He nods toward his dick, moves his hips until it wags back and forth. "Pretty sure he shares your daddy kink."
A flash of… something burns hot-white through Spike. The game is old, and the memory still fresh even though Spike never played it with Angel. He tried, once, and Angel kicked him out of his bed and out of his penthouse; Spike didn’t get it at the time, but now that he knows about Connor, he thinks he does.
The boy’s a pretty thing. He looks a hell of a lot like his mother. The last thing Spike wants is for Angelus to go down that road.
He gets dressed, and without a word of explanation he leaves the room to go find clothes that will fit Angelus. With all the refugees that passed through the mansion, they’ve got a decent stock.
He can hear Angelus call out and curse his name as he searches through piles of discarded clothing. It’s a small consolation for his taunts.
When he comes back, it’s with a pair of black jeans and a Hawaiian shirt with the gaudiest print he could find. The shirt will be for later; for now, he only unshackles Angelus’ feet.
“Try to kick me,” he says, “and I swear to god I’ll put you in drag. Then we'll see if he has a mommy kink too.”
Angelus laughs, loud and genuine. "No, that's you, too. Remember, Willie?"
Spike grabs Angelus's calf and twists, viciously. He feels the cartilage in his knee snap. Progress, then; taunts about Spike's mother always did hit the mark.
Sadly, the boy has remembered a few of his sire's lessons over the years. And one of them is to always unmanacle one leg at a time. Otherwise, Angelus would have wrapped both legs around Spike's torso and thrown him across the room by now.
There’s a moment, when Angelus lays on the bed, decent, re-shackled, and still grinning despite the pain of his busted knee, when Spike stops and wonders: what the hell did he think he was doing, bringing Angelus back?
Sure, they could use his muscle – and his brain – to try and get out of hell.
There’s also that whole part where Angel was dying and that didn’t really help Spike think clearly.
The kid’s rising fear added to the mix didn’t make for smart planning either.
(And the fact that Spike will never admit, not to anyone, not even to himself: he has missed his sire; Angel, Angelus, either one and both.)
But his reasoning or lack thereof notwithstanding, there’s this one detail he should have thought of. He may be Angelus’ sire now, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing as far as keeping him in line.
And then the moment ends. Connor pushes the door open. Good boy has Illyria in tow, and she has that look on her pretty blue face that Spike has learned to recognize over the past weeks. She’s itching for a fight, a demonstration that she’s still a god, fallen or not. Spike grins and twirls the key to the shackles around his finger. Things are looking up.
"Charles Gunn tried to sacrifice me on an altar." The very idea, that a lowly vampire would deign to even touch Illyria, let alone treat her as a goat or sheep - she cannot contain her anger. She stalks the room from one end to the other, smashing objects that obstruct her path. Her tentacles itch inside her human shell.
"He took advantage of my weakness. We must escape this dimension where I have no control over my form."
She stalks over to the vampire Angelus, where he is chained to a bed. Illyria grasps the manacles, pulls, and they snap. "You. Vampire. You must release me from this hell." She grabs Angelus around the neck and lifts, until his feet are dangling above the ground. "Tell me how to escape or I will snap you in two."
She hurls him across the room. He lands hard against the wall with a crunching noise that Illyria finds strangely satisfying.
If seconds ago Spike was starting to worry, now he’s grinning. This promises to be a nice show – as long as Connor doesn’t try to interfere.
“Here, now, kid,” he says in a hushed tone, grabbing Connor’s arm and holding him back when he looks like he’s going to step in Illyria’s way. “Let these two have a little chat.”
Sometimes, when Connor’s agitated, Spike could swear his eyes glow golden, like they would if he was a vampire. When it happens, Spike always sees Darla in front of him.
“A chat? She’s going to demolish him!”
Connor tries to tug his arm free but Spike doesn’t let go and draws him to the back of the room.
“You think Angelus can’t defend himself?”
The words are both a reminder for Connor – how easily he forgot… – and a taunt for Angelus as he pushes himself back to his feet. Spike wishes he had some popcorn.
"Nice to see you, too, Illyria." Angelus hauls himself to his feet, feeling strangely vulnerable with no shirt or shoes. No matter, he's fought this way before, when Wolfram & Hart forced Angel to fight in that ring. Only this time, he won't be so stupid as to refuse to kill his opponent.
Not that he can kill Illyria, but it won't hurt to test her defenses in this strange new universe.
"So, your ex-boyfriend tried to sacrifice you to the mighty Wolfram & Hart." He circles around her until he's in the center of the room. "Wow, talk about your bad breakups. Did he give Freddikins a kiss before dying?"
The punch to his face has him flying towards the opposite wall. He can feel the plaster crunching under his back when he hits.
"Stings, huh, Lyrie?" He licks the blood off his split lips. "That all your boyfriends love Fred but can't stand the sight of you."
He leaps to his feet, lands three solid punches to Illyria's face and torso. She doesn't even flinch.
Instead, she picks him up, lifts him over her head and impales him on the bedpost.
"You task me, vampire. Like a mayfly flitting about my ears in summer. The dragon is my only worthy opponent in this dimension."
She turns towards Connor. "Where is the dragon?"
The kid doesn’t even realize Illyria is talking to him, too busy that he is blinking at a bleeding and groggy Angelus, then stepping forward to help him off the bedpost. Good thing the bed is all metal, Spike thinks as he goes to help – and to make sure Angelus doesn’t grab himself a snack once he’s sitting on the bed again, a hand pressed to his chest, his eyes narrowed as he looks at Connor.
“First aid kit,” Spike says briskly, pushing Connor toward the bathroom. “Under the sink.”
“I am still waiting for an answer,” Illyria glowers. “Where is the dragon?”
“Think for a minute, love,” Spike says, turning back to her with both hands held out in a placating gesture. “If the dragon is your only worthy opponent, it’s also your best ally to get out of hell. Yes?”
Illyria tilts her head in bemusement. "It is a mute beast. Incapable of rational thought. If it knew of a way to escape from this dimension it would have done so already."
"Yeah, but it's strong and it can fly. Qualities we might need once we work out a plan to get out of here."
Illyria considers this. She raises her chin. "I will not vent my rage on the Cordelia. For now." A healthy beast of burden will indeed be useful once they develop a plan to put into action.
Connor finds the first aid kit easily enough. He stops after pulling it out and looks at himself in the mirror above the sink. The worry he sees there matches what he feels, and he tries as much as he can to school his features. Worry is a weakness. The vampire in the other room who wears his father’s face like a mask preys on weaknesses.
It was a lot easier the last time they met. Then, Connor’s guilt and anger toward Angel still washed out everything else Connor felt, and he was all too happy to see an enemy – someone to kill – in Angelus.
But now… now he sees his father. The man he’s learned to know, and respect, and love. And even if he knows Angelus could and would rip out his throat in a second, he still worries about seeing him bloodied and hurt.
Glowering at his reflection, he shakes his head and returns to the room. Without a word, he hands the kit to Spike and retreats to the back of the room – away from Angelus, though he never takes his eyes off him.
"Need blood," Angelus gasps between coughs. Spike is ripping up bandages and taping them to his chest, and Angelus knows the act won't fool him. Spike knows exactly how much blood Angel has lost, down to the milliliter.
"Connor," he gasps, exaggerating his pain. "Bring me some blood, son. Please."
Angel hasn’t called him ‘son’ since the mall. That’s how Connor knows Angelus is toying with him. It doesn’t make it any easier to ignore Angelus’ cough, how pale he looks – how hurt. Especially with that quiet, ‘please’.
“Where—” he starts, already pushing away from the wall, but Spike throws one look at him that stops him in his tracks.
“He’ll get his dinner when I say he does,” Spike says, looking at Angelus again. With less than gentle movements, he makes him turn sideways to tape up his back, too. “Doing what he says isn’t part of your job description, kiddo.”
Connor bites his lips. He wants to protest he’s not a kid, but he’s acting like one, isn’t he? He needs to wake up, and fast – before Angelus does something that Angel will regret forever.
“I grow tired of these mundanities,” Illyria declares, her tone that of a commander scolding unruly recruits. “If the vampire knows not how to escape hell, then who will know?”
Spike is done. When he stands and looks at Illyria, there’s a strangely vulnerable expression on his features.
“I want to check in with Wesley,” he says carefully. “But maybe it’s better if you stay behind, huh? Rest a bit?”
Fred never took much place, but as she stands straighter Illyria seems to take up half the room. “I will come,” she intones, and there’s nothing Spike can say to change her mind.
The convertible feels awfully small with all four of them in it, and Connor, as he drives, is painfully aware that Angelus is just behind him.
Connor's neck is inches away from his teeth. Angelus licks his lips, staring at the vein throbbing there. Connor can't even see him in the rearview mirror. It's the perfect opportunity.
Or it would be, if Illyria weren't sitting right next to him.
Time enough to bite, but not enough to do any serious damage, or turn the kid. He can wait. And it'll be more fun if he gets to taunt the boys for a while.
"I'm hungry," he complains, putting on his best pout. He can do a pretty good imitation of Spike when he wants to, right down to the seductive purr. "When are we gonna eat, sire?"
Spike half turns in his seat and rolls his eyes at Angelus.
"Meekness really doesn't suit you," he says flatly. "And it'll take a lot more than that for me to lower my guard if that's what you're thinking."
"He did lose blood," Connor says, sotto voce, his mouth twisting like he doesn't like saying it at all.
"Not that much," Spike replies. "And he fed when he woke up. Don't worry about him. That's my job."
So is worrying about Connor but that goes without saying.
"Aw, c'mon, Spike." Angelus leans forward enough to rest his arms on the back of the front seat. "Just a little nibble. I'll even share some with you. Whady'a say, buddy?"
Spike ignores him and looks out the window. Angelus leans in close, murmurs in Spike's ear, loud enough for Connor to hear: "I'll let you fuck me again."
The car swerves, but Connor's reflexes are fast enough to get it back on the street before they hit the side of a building. Angelus sits back in his seat and laughs.
From the corner of his eye, Spike can see Connor grind his teeth. Hell, he can practically hear his jaw creaking. He doesn't ask, though. Just drives, and keeps to himself why his smell is a jumbled tangle of confusion.
He will ask, or punch Spike's face, Spike is sure of it, but not with Angelus nearby.
It's not soon enough that the silent ride finally ends as they get to what once was a fine building and is now little more than ruins.
Angelus leads them to the medical bay, which is where he's spent most of his time up to now. Patching himself up after every fight, magicking himself so nobody would figure out he was merely human. He's more than happy to be rid of that mortal coil. He might even thank Spike for it, later.
After he pays him back for earlier.
"Knock, knock, Wes," he shouts to the room in general. "Your dead girlfriend's here to visit you."
He can feel Illyria's discomfort when Wesley shimmers into shape. She takes a step back, and Angelus smirks.
Spike could kill for a cigarette. He’d give out his soul for one.
And come to think of it, it’d make everything a lot easier.
“Illyria, love,” he says on the most idle tone he can manage. “Do me a favor? Punch Angelus in the face. Just the once. And feel free to do it again if he calls you by anything other than your proper name again.”
"I do not commit violence on your whim," Illyria intones, fixing Spike with an icy glare. But she punches Angel in the face anyway. He ducks, and the blow glances off the side of his head. It still makes his ears ring.
"Spike speaks the truth." Illyria lifts her chin and looks down her nose. "You will show me the proper respect."
Angelus ignores her. Turns to Wes and asks, "So, Wes. Spirit guide, buddy, pal-o-mine. I know you've been busy researching a cure for my soul sickness, but how about we skip that part? Let's get straight to the bit where I demolish Wolfram & Hart and get us out of this hellhole."
The bout of violence seems to have calmed Illyria’s nerves, and she’s firmly herself when she stands at the back of the room, as far from Wesley as she can. In return, he does his best not to look in her direction. From what Spike gathered over the past months, Wesley hasn’t been a Watcher in a while. The expression of his face, however, is one Spike knows well from seeing it many times on Giles’, and before he says a word Spike knows it won’t be good.
“I haven’t had much success on either front,” he says, pointing to an open book on the floor, a little singed by fire but still readable. “You know… or Angel knew that my employers won’t let me access any information about dimension hopping and portals. As for souls…” He shrugs, the movement very stiff in that suit. “No actual book of the sort has ever been written.” Wryly, he adds, “I guess we’ll need to wait until Miss Rosenberg pens one.”
Which doesn’t help a bit, seeing how Willow isn’t trapped with them. They’ve got precious few powerful allies – and even fewer that are mentally stable. If only…
Spike’s eyes widen as inspiration strikes. “Hang on a moment,” he says before rushing back out of the room.
He’s out of the building before it dawns on him he shouldn’t have left Angelus’ and Connor alone. Illyria should be able to contain him if he tries anything stupid – hopefully. He almost changes his mind, but decides he can’t afford not to. He needs a clear head to call out to Betta George. Hopefully he is within hearing distance...
After only a few seconds, Spike grins. Finally things are looking up.
Connor moves towards the door, watching it close behind Spike. "What was all that about?"
Angelus sidles up to him. "He's under a lot of stress. New dad, you know. Lots to worry about. Late-night feedings, cleaning me up after I spill blood on myself." His smile broadens into a lop-sided smirk. "Not to mention taking care of my... other needs."
Connor sidesteps away from Angelus, uncomfortably aware that, of the other two people in the room, one’s a ghost and the other’s hair is flickering back and forth between blue and chestnut; that can’t possibly be good. None of it is.
If Angelus attacked now, Connor thinks he could defend himself – but only up to a point. His best defense, he figures, is an offense; verbal for now, maybe more if needed.
“It’s not just your needs that got taken care of, is it?” he asks, trying to match Angelus’ smirk. “’Cause I can smell him on you, and seems to me he enjoyed himself. Now I see why he didn’t want me to be there when you woke up.”
And it has to be better than, You’re gay? Since when have you been gay? Since when has *Spike* been gay? Is *Angel* gay too?, even if that’s what Connor really wants to say.
Angelus cackles. "You were a lot more comfortable talking about sex back when you were screwing Cordelia." Connor's face darkens, his lips set in a thin line, and oh, that's much better. "Spike has mommy issues, too, you know? To go with his daddy issues. No wonder you two hit it off so well."
He takes a step closer. "Don't worry, baby," he whispers. "You'll always be my favorite boy. It'll be our little secret."
Then he strikes like a snake at Connor's throat.
It all goes so fast, Connor can smell his own blood before he even knows what the hell happened. Reflexes ingrained in him for longer than he cares to remember kick in and his hands rise, grab, push. He might as well be pushing at the pyramid of Gisa for all the effect he’s having.
There are only two thoughts running through his mind. The first is, where the fuck is Spike? The second, if Angelus kills him, Angel is never going to forgive himself.
As abruptly as Angelus’ mouth closed on his throat, it’s gone. Panting, Connor takes a step back and presses a hand to his throat.
“My pet is fond of this child,” Illyria says, on the same tone she might use to say she’s bored.
Her hand is at Angelus’ throat as she holds him up a foot in the air. He growls at her; Connor’s skin is still caught in his teeth.
The door opens and a grinning Spike strolls in. "All right, people! Things are looking... up."
Angelus plants his feet on Illyria, one on either shoulder. He crouches down and then springboards off her, spinning in the air the way he did with Hamilton the night of the big battle. It works just as well as it did then, and he lands steady on both feet.
But he doesn't have Hamilton's power coursing through him, and Illyria has a grip on him as soon as he lands. She breaks one arm, crushes a kneecap, and flings him across the room. There's a whoosing sound in his ears, and then his head is landing against concrete.
Then everything goes kind of gray.
If Spike says he’s sorry one more time, Connor is going to deck him in the teeth. And nevermind that lllyria will undoubtedly disapprove.
“So what do we tell him?” he asks, cutting Spike before he can say more than ‘I’m so—'.
At the other end of the room, Angelus is still passed out. Spike just checked again that he wasn’t faking.
“Connor has a point,” Wesley chimes in. “He’ll hardly be amenable to finding your friend if he knows we need him to contact Willow.”
“Then we lie,” Spike says with a shrug.
His eyes keep coming back to Connor’s throat. It stopped bleeding a while ago, but it’ll scar.
“Here’s the story. George comes from a different dimension. He can contact his people and get them to tell us how to dimension-hop like he did. We don’t even need to mention—”
He stops short when Angelus groans and approaches him until he’s looming over him. Connor doesn’t think he’s ever seen that much anger on Spike’s face.
The first thing he sees when he opens his eyes is Spike's fist in his face. Once, twice, three times, until he reaches up to grab Spike's wrist.
"Touch Connor again, and I will kill you," Spike snarls.
"Aw, c'mon, Spike." Angelus hauls himself to his feet. "My son and I were having a moment. It was moving. It made me wanna bite him."
"I'll fucking pull out your fangs if--"
"Yeah, yeah, save it. I knew I couldn't hurt him. Just toying with the puppy. You know how it goes."
Spike lets go of his arm, takes a step back. Maybe it wasn't the brightest move, tipping his hand like that. But he's learning all of Illyria's defenses, and Connor's too. And soon enough, he'll figure out how to worm past them.
Spike is beginning to reconsider his plan. He really doesn’t like the way Angelus says ‘my son’. It’s a struggle not to kick him and point out that he’s not the kid’s father – and thank god for that.
“Maybe we should just chain him up and go take up Gunn’s castle without him,” he says, still looking at Angelus but addressing the motley team behind him. “Last thing we need is for this bastard to betray us in the middle of that fight.”
"We're storming a castle?" Angel's eyes light up, and it's only partly an act. Taking on Gunn and his crew really does sound like fun.
It's eerie that he's starting to think of "fun" as part of his raison d'etre. Having Spike as a sire is obviously a bad influence.
Dozens of fights are swirling to the surface of Spike’s memory when he sees he piqued Angelus’ interest. They had some sweet ones, back in the day. And other than Angel and a certain blonde he’s not thinking of, there isn’t anyone else Spike would rather have at his side in a fight. Except maybe Connor, but Spike worries too much about keeping him safe to enjoy fighting next to him.
He looks at the kid – he’s not bleeding anymore, but he’s much too pale. And then there’s that thing neither of them has mentioned so far: his girlfriend fried herself just hours ago. Is he really in any shape to fight?
He looks at Illyria – she took care of Angelus, but now her eyes are brown. Fred isn’t far, and going after Gunn isn’t going to help with that.
He looks at Wesley – ghost. Right.
Turning back to Angelus, he hold his hand out to help him up.
“Give me one reason,” he says coldly. “Just one. And you’re dust.”
"C'mon, Spike." Angelus gives him a mock punch on the shoulder. "You know I always watch your back."
There's a softening around Spike's eyes, and Angelus knows he's won him over. For now.
He claps his hands together. "So. What's the mission? Kill Gunn, feed him to Illyria?"
Spike fills Angelus in, sticking to the lie he prepared. It’s only half a lie – George really is from somewhere else, after all. And he can contact people out of hell – or at least he said he could when Spike made brief contact with him.
“And we’re not killing Gunn,” he says at the end, because Angelus would enjoy that too much, and Angel would feel guilty about it forever.
Angelus rolls his eyes. "Christ, when did you become such a Debbie Downer?"
But mentally, he's already lining up his chess pieces. "Never had to rescue a telepathic fish before," he muses. But he has been inside Gunn's lair, and he knows how the man (vampire) thinks. "Spike, I need you to find those Slayers that Gunn kept locked up in that holding cell. We'll need their muscle, and I'm sure they'll want to wreak a little vengeance."
He turns to Wes. "Get me a map of the area around Gunn's hideout. Building plans, too, if you can find them." Wes frowns, but promptly vanishes.
Illyria is his A-bomb, so to speak. But like uranium, she's unstable around the wrong elements. He'll hold her in reserve, like any good weapon of mass destruction.
When Wes shimmers back into form, he has a map floating magically in front of him. Angelus grabs it, lays it flat across the gurney and starts assigning positions to Connor and Spike.
In the corner of the room, Illyria is on the floor, sitting cross-legged, facing the wall. Spike isn’t sure what she’s doing. He’s not sure he wants to know, either. Wesley went away to do ghostly things, and Spike sent Connor out to track those Slayers. Angelus wanted Spike to go – “You’ll be faster,” he said – but Spike put his foot down on that. He’s not leaving Angelus’ side again, not if he can help it. And unlike what Angelus seems to believe, he’s not the one calling the shots.
“I still think we should have a diversion,” he says, looking at the map Angelus is still studying like it’s a sacred text. “Those Slayers could work well for that.”
Angelus folds his arms. "Gunn's gang really isn't that big. Between us and the Slayers, we could probably take them all out in hand-to-hand combat. Why do we need a diversion?"
He rolls back on his heels and waits to hear Spike's answer.
Why indeed. Because Spike wants to have something to do with the plan so Angelus doesn’t start thinking he’s in charge? He can’t say that aloud, can he? Not without enduring ridicule. He scowls at Angelus, like it’ll give his words more weight.
“Because it’s a rescue mission, not a ‘let’s annihilate Gunn’s gang’ party. We don’t need to take them all out. We just need to get George out of there.”
Angelus chuckles. It could go either way, really. His team is small, and Gunn could have rounded up some extra muscle in the past few days. Plus, there's no point in taking unnecessary risks - which is a lesson Spike has, apparently, learned at last.
"Okay. Gunn's too smart to fall for a diversion," he concedes. "But the lunkheads working for him aren't. What do you have in mind?"
Spike points at the map, making it up a he goes. It never works too well for him when he puts too much thought into his plans anyway.
“Two Slayers here, the last one and the kid there. They make enough of a ruckus, Gunn’s goons rush out, we’ve got a clear path.”
Angelus gives him a knowing smile.
“Yes,” Spike says before Angelus can ask. “I am trying to keep him away from you.”
"Geez, one little love nibble and you go all possessive on me." Angelus shakes his head in mock sympathy. "You're fighting a losing battle on that front, Willy. Connor's always gonna be daddy's boy, just like Drusilla was daddy's girl. Remember?"
It’s the hardest thing he’s done in quite a while – burning to ashes comes to mind – but he grins.
“Yes she was. Your girl, through and through. And Connor’s daddy’s boy all right.”
He gets right into Angelus’ face, grins wider still.
“But you’re not the boy’s daddy. Angel is. And I’ll keep the lad nice and safe for him.”
"Aw. It's so cute how you wanna protect your sire's pets."
Spike's jaw hardens, in a look that he's seen countless times over the years. It always means the same thing: Spike is hurting over someone he -
Angelus doesn't know - can't figure out - how he never saw it before.
"Holy shit." His arms fall to his sides in shock. Involuntarily, he takes a step back. "You love him. All this time I thought it was Connor but - "
How does that souled fuck manage to inspire so much goddamn loyalty?
"You have feelings. For Angel."
Spike snorts, then laughs aloud.
“Don’t be ridiculous! I do not! Are you off your bleedin’ rocker?”
But Angelus keeps staring at him, and Spike’s laugh fades until he has to clear his throat and look away.
Bad enough that Angel could never see it; that Angelus does – Angelus, who could never see why William would have done anything for him - only adds insult to injury.
He's always known, of course. About the combination of hatred and hero worship Spike regarded him with. He fed the hatred and denigrated the hero worship because - well, because tormenting souls is what Angelus does. Even when said souls are no longer in residence.
Now that they are...
"Poor little lost boy," he smirks. "It's so sad that everyone you love just - doesn't love you back. I mean, Angel, he's all about his human son and his human friends. All you have to offer is a mirror image of himself, and he fucking hates himself."
He takes a tentative step towards Spike. "Now, me, on the other hand. I happen to like myself, very much. And I liked you too, Will. Back in the day." Another step, and his voice drops to a honeyed murmur. "Just think of it. The two of us, ruling this place with no conscience, no remorse. And Connor?" He sucks in a low whistle. "What a vampire he'd make, right? Baddest motherfucker to ever walk, and he'd be ours. We'd be a family again."
Spike draws in a slow breath, and with Angelus as close to him as he is, that’s a mistake. One breath, and all Spike can smell again is them. He smells good on Angel.
Even when it’s not Angel.
But oh, the picture he’s painting is as vivid as any of his drawings ever were. As enticing.
Yes, Connor would make a scary vampire – scary even by his parents’ standards – but a family… Spike has wanted that for so long, looked for it in so many places… He's been trying to do all the right things, and what’s his family, today? A fallen god who’s losing her mind? A ghost? A kid that is and always will be Angel’s first and foremost? And Angel… Angel who never looks at Spike without some kind of annoyance (disappointment) coloring his eyes…
It’s gold Angelus is offering; Spike closes his eyes so he won’t be blinded.
“Think about it,” Angelus whispers. He cups the back of Spike’s head in his hand and draws him closer to whisper in his ear. “Think about it, Will. You, me, the kid. Nothing to stop us.”
Spike shouldn’t want this, he knows it. But oh, how he does...
“Not here,” he breathes shakily. “Tired of hell. We get out of here and then—”
And then the door opens.
“Found them!” Connor calls out.
Spike jerks back. When he opens his eyes, Angelus' gaze is too uncomfortable and he has to look away.
The Slayers are chattering noisily behind Connor, tossing around ideas about how to invade Gunn's lair. Angelus wants to growl at them. So close, he had Spike right where he wanted him.
Well, then. More time for seduction after they've rescued the fish.
"So, Spike. Why don't you bring the girls up to date on your plan?"
While Spike goes over the plan, Connor watches him. Watches Angelus. And wonders what he missed. Something happened, that’s a given. Why else would Spike avoid looking at both Angelus and Connor? Why would he look so distracted even as they prepare for something so important?
On the way out, they drop by the armory – or what’s left of it. Connor feels a pang; the last time he was there, he was with his father, but he didn’t know that.
With Angelus busy picking a weapon at one end of the room, Connor draws Spike to the other end and speaks as quietly as he knows how.
“What did he say to you?”
Spike blinks rather than looking him in the eyes, then looks down at Connor’s neck. “Nothing,” he says unconvincingly.
“I know how he is,” Connor hisses. “I know how he lies, don’t let him—”
“And you think I don’t know him?” Spike cuts in. “You think I don’t know he lies? Let me tell you something, kiddo. He’s never as dangerous as when he tells the truth. Ain’t that right?”
That last bit is directed at Angelus, now standing just two feet away from them. Connor takes half step back.
"Truth is the most dangerous weapon there is." Angelus smiles, slow and sticky. Molasses and spider webs. Whispers, "There are truths I know about you, son. But we'll save those for later."
He shoulders his sword. Looks towards Illyria, who's been studying them like microbes under glass. "Your holiness. Care to lead your troops into battle?"
Illyria raises her chin in that oh-so-imperious way. Marches out the door, and they follow her to Gunn's lair.
- second offering for the day