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Hell is in the Details

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Hell Is In the Details – Chapter 1 – A House Divided

Three weeks ago he’d brought Wolfram & Hart’s amulet to Buffy, intent on wearing it to help in battle.

Three weeks ago she’d taken it and given it to Spike, and sent him back to L.A. – to be second string if they failed to defeat the First Evil.

Two and a half weeks since he learned of Spike’s demise in the closing of the Hellmouth, and the survival of mostly everyone else.

One week since Buffy and the original Scoobies headed off to England for a fresh start and a new life… without him.

Two days since Spike reappeared in his office, duster and all, in a screaming swirl of black ash and lightning when the amulet fell out of an unmarked envelope addressed to him.

Two days marked by a fist smashing into Angel’s jaw as the blonde’s first act upon returning to this plane of existence.

Forty eight hours later, and Angel’s already had enough.

“What the fuck do you want out of me, Spike? I don’t want you here. I don’t want to have anything to do with you. And no way in fucking hell am I giving you Buffy’s address.” Of course, Angel didn’t have it to give, but he wasn’t going to admit that. “She’s well rid of you and your obsession. Why don’t you go out and play in the sunshine? You should be used to the burning by now.”

“You don’t have the teensiest bit of respect for me, you bastard!” Spike roared. “I’ve got a soul, same as you. I saved the bleedin’ world again at the cost of my unlife. It’s not my fault I’m back here. Given my druthers, I’d be at rest. Can certainly understand why the Slayer…”

“Not one more word out of your mouth, boy!” Angel body slammed Spike against the wall, wrapping his hands around the slim neck and cutting off his airway so he couldn’t draw enough breath to speak.

Breaking the elder vampire’s hold easily, Spike put some distance between them. He stood for a moment, panting in an attempt to re-open his airway and make speech possible.

“You keep your bloody paws off me, you tosser. M’not some damned fledge for you to Lord an’ Master over anymore. I’ve got as much right to be here as you, and can say any damned thing I’ve got a mind to.”

“You always thought you were worth something, didn’t you, boy? So full of yourself and your antics. I hate to break it to you, but you’re still the same useless piece of trash Drusilla left half-drained in that damned barn. You were made to be used. Darla and I used you, Dru used you and we all left you.

“As for Buffy? That little girl never wanted you. She used you like everyone else. Gave you that damned amulet because you were expendable and we didn’t know what it would do to the bearer. She sent me home to be safe and didn’t give a shit whether you lived or died. When she left here last week, she was relieved that you were gone.”

Angel paced around his desk, growing angrier by the second. Buffy’s voice in his head added fuel to his ire. ‘He’s in my heart, Angel.’ ‘He has a soul, Angel.’ ‘He’s changed, Angel. ‘He saved us all, Angel.’ ‘I miss him, Angel.’ Each statement felt like a blow to his body.

He strode over to Spike, grabbed the lapels of his duster and pulled him in close, shaking the smaller man like a rag doll. “You have no place here, Spike. No friends, nobody who can stand to be around you for more than five minutes, no family willing to claim you. Why.Are.You.Here?”

“You can’t pick your family, Sire,” Spike spat. “Oh wait – you can! Unliving proof right here.” A sharp twist of his torso and he broke free from Angel’s grasp once more. “I thought we might be able to work things out between us, being family and all. No amount of your bitching can change that.”

Angel stopped in his tracks. Archaic vampire lore had been Angelus’ forte, drummed into him by Darla and he hadn’t forgotten a single by-law. Could he…? No – it’s just not done. In vampiric circles it’s considered the final insult and beyond cruel to do it to childer.

Oh, but the lure of being free of Spike once and for all was too great. He couldn’t dust him outright. First of all, there was no longer any cause – Spike was ensouled, same as Angel, and he no longer killed humans. Second, if Buffy ever found out – well, Buffy never had to know Spike had returned, much less… This was the only way to go, he decided. The time to act was now.

Spike was distracted. Having heard nothing from Angel in the past few moments, he made the false assumption that their argument had run its course and turned his back on the elder vampire.

In that moment, Angel picked up the tranquilizer gun he always kept loaded in his desk drawer, and fired three darts into the unsuspecting blonde’s back.

Spike managed to turn around, a look of utter betrayal on his face, before his eyes rolled back in his head and his legs gave way. He crumpled to the carpet in a heap.

Angel moved swiftly and secured the younger vampire’s hands behind his back with a pair of handcuffs. He tied his ankles together with a length of rope, threading the loose end through the handcuffs. A sharp yank bent his legs at the knees, and the rope was looped around Spike’s waist several times, resulting in one hogtied vampire.

A quick call to the legal department, circumventing Gunn, resulted in the paperwork Angel requested being drawn up and brought to the office. A flick of the wrist with a hidden stake dusted the unsuspecting vampire lawyer/messenger – one more loose thread dealt with. A second call confirmed his plan could be set in motion.

Rolling his unconscious childe in one of the Persian rugs decorating his office suite, Angel conceded the loss of the rug as a fair sacrifice to the cause. Hoisting the roll onto his shoulder and pocketing the legal form, he took his private elevator down to the garage, stowing the rug in the trunk of his car.

Sitting in the car, stuck in the ever-present traffic that snarled Los Angeles streets, the vampire had time to think his actions through. What he was about to do was irrevocable. Spike would be cast out of the Order of Aurelius, and dust soon after. His name and history would pass into oblivion, eventually wiped from the memories of the demon population. William the Bloody would become a cipher – a non-entity.

With a sneer curling his lip, Angel made up his mind. He would do this, and forget Spike ever existed.

He pulled into the shaded delivery platform of Dante’s, an exclusive demons only bar in one of the rougher areas of L.A. This further ensured none of his friends would ever track him here, keeping his transaction private.

The manager of Dante’s, a S’lugith demon named Pret, met Angel at the door, sending out a bouncer to retrieve the rug from the truck.

“Just toss him into the back room, and lock the door. I’ll be in to deal with him shortly. Do not unroll him.”

He turned to Angel, hand out.

The vampire removed the document from his jacket pocket, handing it over the demon.

“Just so we’re perfectly clear here, Pret,” he said. “This is a legal document drawn up by the lawyers at Wolfram & Hart. This is legally binding here and in any other known universe and dimension. I relinquish Sire’s Rights to my get, one William the Bloody, currently known as Spike. For the agreed upon purchase price of one dollar, he is removed from the Order of Aurelius and henceforth will no longer be acknowledged as ours.”

“The souled vampire is now mine? To do with as I please?”

“You can dust him the moment I get back in my car. He’s no longer any concern of mine.”

Angel turned his back on the S’lugith and strode to his car.

He never once looked back.