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You Can Never Go Home Again

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Spike woke with a start from another frustrating dream. Sitting up, he ran his hands over his face, disturbed to find that he was actually trembling. Glancing down, he saw that another part of him was trembling, too.

Cursing under his breath, Spike dragged himself from the bed and stomped across the room to the bathroom and an ice cold shower.

Which never really worked, of course, because he didn't have any hot blood to cool down, but the psychology of the action helped.

Returning to his bedroom thirty minutes later, naked and glistening with water, he found Drusilla awake and propped on a huge pile of pillows, reading.

"Spike, I want to be from Mars," she whined without looking up from the book.

Where the Hell had she gotten a copy of 'Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus'? "I don't think that applies to vampires, pet." Opening the closet, he blindly pulled out a pair of black jeans and a red shirt, and began to dress.

"I don't want to be all lovey; I want to make war, rend and tear and bite and eat..."

"I get the picture, Dru. You can do anything you want."

"No I can't," she replied petulantly. "You won't let me kill anymore."

Spike sighed, really not wanting to renew their old argument over his pact with the Slayer. "Let's go see what's in the fridge."

Drusilla flung the book across the room and reached onto her night stand for one of her several hundred well-read romance novels. "I'm going to read about a real man." Rolling away from him, she buried her nose in the book, the cover of which portrayed a buxom blonde busting from her bodice and a half naked man with muscles only steroids could produce.

Sighing, Spike stomped out of the bedroom and nearly tripped over Sunshine Model Number Four. The dog yipped and scampered away, his newest toy, a Kermit the Frog puppet, dangling from his mouth, already chewed up and nasty.

At least this one had managed to survive more than two weeks. Drusilla seemed actually to be feeding and taking care of him. Spike was surprised she hadn't snacked on the dog with all her whining about not being allowed to kill.

Following Sunshine to the kitchen, Spike wasn't surprised to find the dog sitting patiently by her bowl, the puppet between his legs, both eyes dangling by threads and one arm missing.

As he fed him, Spike realized why the dog was still alive. He'd become so bloody domesticated, HE was the one feeding Sunshine and taking him for walkies.

Groaning at the turns his unlife had taken, Spike fixed himself a mug of microwaved blood and sat to watch Sunshine eat.

After breakfast and taking the dog for a turn around the garden--making a mental note to get a minion to clean up the dog poop--Spike headed for the main room of the mansion. Since moving in, he'd made numerous changes.

Psychedelic art covered the walls, a very serious stereo system and surround sound 48" television filled one wall, blocking out the boarded up windows. The couch no longer faced the fireplace, but faced the television, the way it should, and there were doilies all over the place, thanks to Drusilla. His prize sat in the corner, unfortunately covered by more of those inane books.

Scowling, Spike swept nearly forty paperbacks off his Dukes of Hazzard pinball game. Forty rooms in this fucking mansion and Drusilla had to use the main room for her library of sappy tales of heaving bosoms and damsels in distress.

He should never have told her about the used bookstore that stayed open till midnight. Unfortunately, she failed to grasp the concept that if you traded books in, you got credit for new books. No, she just kept the old and continued to spend his hard-earned--well, stolen--money on new ones.

So, every surface in the place seemed to be covered with dog-eared paper back novels. And, they weren't even good 'who-dunnits' or slasher books.

Maybe Drusilla was right about there being differences even in vampire males and females.

Before Spike could plug in the pinball machine to play a relaxing game, the front door opened. No one ever came to visit and the minions knew they better bloody well knock. Turning, Spike came face to face with the last person he wanted to see.

"Angel."

"Spike." Angel gave him a wary look and Spike scowled back.

"What are you doing here, peaches?"

"I came across some artifacts that I wanted Giles to see."

"Don't trust FedEx?"

"...No."

"No Watcher here, mate," Spike said snidely, pointedly looking around the room.

"I saw him already. Buffy mentioned that you and Dru had moved in here..."

Spike didn't try to hide the sarcasm in his voice. "So, you're doing the paternal thing and checking up on us? How sweet."

Angel scowled back. "I just wanted to make sure that you're staying out of trouble, living up to your end of the bargain."

"Some bargain; it seems more like blackmail, pure and simple." Spike's body tensed, his eyes narrowing, and Angel's followed suit.

"My Angel."

Both males turned to face Drusilla who stood in the doorway wearing a nearly sheer scarlet nightgown.

"Dru, go put on some clothes," Spike ordered roughly.

Drusilla just smiled and wafted into the room. "Don't be silly. Angel's seen it all before, haven't you my sweet, sweet daddy."

Angel shifted uncomfortably and Spike glared even more. "How are you, Dru?"

"I'm being good. Not killing, not shredding, not tearing."

"Good, good." Angel sidled away as Drusilla drifted towards him.

Pouting, she turned her attention to Spike and wrapped her arms around his neck, looking back over her shoulder at Angel. "I've missed you, Angel."

"I'm sure Spike's been taking good care of you."

"Oh yes." She licked her lips lasciviously, then nuzzled Spike's neck before sliding around behind him and wandering across the room.

"Um...interesting new decor."

Spike ignored Angel's attempt at starting a conversation. "So, you came, you saw, you can leave now."

"Where does all the anger come from, Spike?"

Glaring furiously at his sire, Spike turned and plugged in the pinball game. Pulling the lever, he sent a ball flying up the track. Behind him, Angel sighed softly and moved to lean against the wall next to the machine, watching Spike play.

"I can't believe it's all from what the demon did to you two years ago."

The ball slipped between the flippers. "Fuck." Shooting Angel a furious look, he sent another ball flying.

"We were friends once, Will."

"Don't call me that."

"You were always Will, to me. Sometime after I...left, you took on the appellation the media gave you in the 1870s. Why?"

"Piss off."

"Do you really hate me because I have a soul?"

Spike banged his hands hard against the buttons, bouncing the ball off several bumpers, as he tried to ignore Angel.

"Or is it because I left you."

"I cheered when you left us. I fucking cheered," Spike ground out.

"So, the hatred comes from the demon's return."

"Why do you insist we have this little heart to heart now, Angel?" Spike sarcastically stretched out the name.

"I never stopped feeling responsible for you, for Drusilla. Of all the vampires I turned, you two and Penn were my only childer. The rest were just minions."

"Should I feel privileged?" Sarcasm dripped from Spike's voice and he spared a quick glare at Angel before returning his concentration to his game.

"You blame me for the demon taking Dru from you."

"There you go again, making the distinction. I hate to tell you this peaches, but you're only a hair's breadth from that demon you despise so much. It's still in there, churning to get out, screaming for blood. But, it's gone mad held back by your sickeningly sweet soul for a hundred years. We all saw that very well two years ago."

"You hated me then, hated the demon as much as the souled..."

"I hated you because you weren't the Angelus I remembered, the Angelus I..." Spike cursed under his breath and lost his second ball. Kicking the machine, he glared at Angel, then stomped towards the French doors. He could hear his sire follow him, but flopped down on a stone bench next to the fountain. Angel pulled up a chair across from him.

"All I remember was that I was evil," Angel said softly. "Was I that different?"

Spike gave him an incredulous look. "I don't get it."

"When I examine my memories, all I see is the evil overlaying every action. I wove across Europe leaving a trail of death behind me. I took pleasure in causing pain, from...torture. I wasn't content with just killing, I had to play with my victims, like a cat with a mouse. Look at what I did to you. I stole your youth, your future, everything you might have been because I fancied you. And...Drusilla...what I did to her is unforgivable."

Shaking his head, Spike tried to make Angel see the past the way he did. "I never blamed you for turning me. I...embraced it, becoming a vampire. I reveled in it. My nights were full of joy."

"That joy was evil."

"We had good times, Angelus, and not all of them were from killing and torturing. Remember the nights spent reading to each other before the fire, or attending the theatre, moving through the ton discussing politics, horses and the season's incomparables? There was so much to enjoy, to experience. With you, I saw the world."

"I remember some of that, but everything is colored. I can't help it. I feel guilty for it all, for...existing."

Spike snorted and glanced up at the stars for a moment, before returning his gaze to Angel. "When you, the demon, came back two years ago, I was thrilled. I thought everything would go back to the way it had been. All I saw was that you had come back to me. I didn't think of..."

"Dru," Angel finished.

"But it wasn't just Dru. I watched you, watched you create vampires without thought, rant and rave about the Slayer, plot to destroy the world. You were nothing like the cruel and calculating, but still fun to be with Angelus from the century before. You were...just evil."

"You think the demon was insane?"

"It was obvious you were bloody insane...and, unlike Dru most of the time, your insanity was dangerous."

Angel nodded slowly and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Buffy told me that you helped her as much to save the world as get Dru back."

"YOU were the one to show me what this world had to offer. That you wanted to send it to Hell proved to me that you were off your rocker."

"Spike, it wasn't me," Angel replied painfully.

"Uh huh. So what are you doing here then?"

"I told you. I feel responsible..."

Spike cut him off with a sharp wave of his hand and a loud snort. "I don't buy that. If it was the demon who created me and you're not the demon, why do YOU feel responsible? I think you remember more than just the evil old days. I think you're lonely and Dru and I mean something more to you than just the past. You tried the human route, loving the Slayer, playing her sidekick, being research boy. It didn't work. You're not a fucking human, soul or not. You're more like us, than you are like them."

As Angel stared at him, Spike rose to his feet and walked back into the mansion, feeling much better. He didn't know if Angel would believe him or not and he didn't really care. Spike firmly believed it to be true.

Drusilla glided over to him, wrapping her arms around his waist, whispering into his ear. "I see into your heart, Spike."

"And what do you see?"

"Angel. You dream of him, of the past. The two of you, the three of us. We were one entity. Angel the brains, I the spirit, you the heart." She placed a delicate kiss over his heart and looked up into his wide eyes, smiling. "You love him still."

"Not him," Spike choked out. "Not the demon from two years ago...but..."

"I know. It's hard...to look at him and see our lover, but he no longer sees us the same way. He'll never be ours again. Only in dreams," she added perceptively.

"I've...been dreaming of him." He gave her a sheepish look and she smiled gently.

"I know. I don't mind." Pulling away from, Drusilla turned to walk towards the kitchen, then glanced over her shoulder and gave him a coy grin. "But, no more dreams of the little red witch or I shall have to spank you."

"One dream, three months ago, and I know it was from eating bad Mexican," Spike protested, grinning back. As Drusilla disappeared down the hall, Spike heard a noise behind him, and turned to see Angel glancing at a romance novel from a pile on the end table.

"The Dastardly Duke?"

"Who'd have thunk it. Our Dru, a romantic girly girl at heart."

"I thought perhaps they were yours." Angel's lip twitched.

Spike gaped. "Was that a joke? I thought you were all broody."

"You try living with Cordelia." He set the book back down and his tone turned serious. "You've given me a lot to think about, Will."

"Spike."

Snorting softly, Angel continued, "I feel guilty for creating you but...I don't really regret it. I know, that doesn't make much sense."

"It makes perfect sense," Spike answered softly.

"I don't know why I came here tonight."

"I'm glad you did."

Angel nodded slowly and a small smile played at the corners of his lips. "You look good as a blond. I don't think I ever told you that."

"And you finally got rid of that idiotic mustache. Always tickled my nose..." Realizing what he'd said, Spike looked quickly away, crossing his arms over his chest defensively.

"I remember one evening waking up and finding your head pillowed on my chest, your arm wrapped around me and I thought...I thought that if I died at that moment, my final death, I would be happy. It's not a bad memory," Angel conceded.

Spike looked up, swallowing hard against the emotion welling up in him. "All those memories were happy for me. I died in your arms the first time. I wanted to do the same the final time. I never dreamed...I would lose you like this."

"You and Drusilla personify my guilt, my shame. What do I personify for you, Will?"

"My life," Spike answered without hesitation. "Eternity... love."

"I didn't love you, Will. I couldn't. I didn't know how." Angel looked away as if he was ashamed and Spike took a step forward.

"It didn't matter. It never mattered. I loved you enough for the both of us. I loved you. You gave me Dru and I loved her. Over the years, I came to resent you, to even hate you at times, but I never stopped loving you. I never stopped."

Angel gave him a sharp look as the truth finally dawned. "And that's why you hated me so much two years ago. Not because I stole Dru and humiliated you, but because I wasn't the person you loved."

"Now you're stretching," Spike scoffed.

"I don't think so." Angel took a step towards Spike and carefully reached out, laying one hand on the younger vampire's shoulder. "Of all the things I regret, I regret those four months, two years ago the most. And not only for what I did to Buffy and all the humans I had befriended...but, for what I did to you." His hand went up and brushed across the scar in Spike's eyebrow. "You got this fighting me as I turned you. In the hundred years we were together, I never raised my hand in true anger to you. You were my equal as much my child."

"And the first thing that you did when you returned was declare that we weren't equals. You're right, I hated you for not being my Angelus, as much as I hated you for taking Dru." Spike's hand captured his sire's and moved them both to Angel's chest, then he stepped back, pulling away. "It's true, you can never go home again, never go back."

"And, there is no future, Spike."

Acknowledging the use of his nickname with a nod of his head, Spike attempted to lighten the mood. "Don't want the Slayer to catch wind of your being a back door boy?"

Angel threw him an incredulous look, then chuckled softly. "You've changed, yet you haven't, my boy."

"Ditto, pop. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out."

"You'll say goodbye to Drusilla?" Angel moved towards the door and Spike followed him, stuffing his hands into his pockets.

"Nah, I'm still hoping that someday she'll forget you."

At the door Angel turned, the humor again gone from his face. "We're going to leave it like this?"

"There's nothing to leave. I said way more than I meant to-- bloody babble mouth disease I caught from Red." He flashed Angel a quick, evil grin. "It'll give you something to think of, peaches. We were fucking great in the sack."

Rolling his eyes, Angel opened the door and disappeared into the night.

Slowly Spike closed the door and leaned against it. For some reason, he felt relieved, like a great weight had lifted. He had kept so much to himself for one hundred years. One hundred years without the male who had meant so much to him for that same amount of time.

Nothing would come of it. He and Angel would never be what they had been and that was probably a good thing. He, too, was different. But, getting it out, really felt good.

Maybe now, the dreams would stop and he could get on with his unlife, his princess at his side.

Drusilla ran into the room as if the hounds of Hell were on her heels. "Spike!" She flung herself into his arms, shivering.

"What is it, luv?" He rubbed her back soothingly.

"Sunshine," she whined pathetically.

"Did you kill him?" Spike sighed.

"No...he..." If a vampire could blush, she would have, as she whispered delicately, "he was trying to have relations with my leg."

Spike rolled his eyes. "Great, just great." Detaching Drusilla, he headed for the kitchen. Maybe there was an all night vet in town. He knew he should have gotten the rotten thing fixed when Drusilla brought it home.

End