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Spike scowled at the large man who’d nearly run him down. “Watch where yer walkin’, mate!” he snarled, brushing off his duster like it had been contaminated. Stupid humans; just because some of them had turned out to be - not so bad - didn’t mean he didn’t want to drain most of them. If it weren’t for the little bit of silicon and wire in his head, that fat block would be dinner.

“Spike!” The Slayer’s voice shouted angrily behind him. For one horrible moment, he thought she’d become psychic and heard that thought. But when he turned, she just had her normal I-hate-you-so-much scowl on. “You’re supposed to be patrolling with me!”

“Why?” Spike scowled right back. He’d patrolled with her two days ago in exchange for some blood and smokes; he wasn’t quite out of supplies yet.

“Giles said you were due to come by again! C’mon, I want to get this over with quick tonight! I have a date with Riley.”

“Didn’t make no deal, pet,” Spike said happily, turning his back on her and continuing on his way back to his crypt. “No blood, no help; you know the drill.”

“But you come by every third night!” Buffy grumbled, hurrying to catch up with him. “Everyone knows that! How come you’re not coming by tonight, when I need to finish up fast?”

Spike scowled yet again. He hadn’t realized he’d become so predictable - good thing he’d decided to try living on a little less blood than usual. He was already thinner than he’d ever been and constantly hungry, but the Scoobies had no idea how much blood he needed and he didn’t need their horror at the amount to cause them to try and stake him - again. He hated being dependent on them while they looked for any excuse to kill him; that was the reason he was
forcing himself to cut back even further than he already was. If he could get down to two bags of pigs’ blood and one pack of cigs a day, he could pretty much support himself. He got enough with gambling and pool hustling to purchase that much.

It wasn’t easy. Hunger made him fidgety, made him want to chain-smoke. When he tried cutting down on the cigarettes, he became ravenous. He snickered. Yep, it was a vicious cycle, it was.

“What are you laughing at?” Buffy demanded. She’d been explaining just how wonderful her date was supposed to be, and how Spike had to help her so she could meet Riley on time. She didn’t appreciate the laughter.

Spike just heaved a sigh. He hadn’t been listening. “Look, Slayer. You go to your Watcher’s and fetch me some blood, yeah? You meet me at that cemetery on West Street in fifteen minutes, with the blood and some cash, and I’ll patrol with ya. Otherwise, nothin-doin.”

“Why should I play delivery-person for you?” Buffy protested, glaring at him.

Spike rolled his eyes. “C’mon, Slayer, you can’t have it both ways. You want me to patrol so much, you oughta be glad to fetch me a bit of blood. Ain’t goin’ after it meself. Sick and tired of your nosy Watcher, I am.” The last time he’d gone by Giles’, he’d been questioned for three hours about Angelus’ relationship with Drusilla - not exactly something he wanted to think about - so that Giles could update some musty file in the Council’s archives.

“Giles isn’t nosy,”  Buffy said snippily, “He just has to know these things. How else am I going to get the information I need to stake you guys?”

“And that just makes me feel wonderful ‘bout givin’ it to you,” Spike muttered, shoving his hands deep into the pockets of his duster.

“Don’t be snotty,” Buffy snickered at him, “what else are you good for? Fighting and some old information nobody but the Watchers really cares about. Other than that, you’re useless.”

“Oh, ta,” Spike said, “just for that, you can forget about patrol!” He turned in a swirl of leather, and went stalking off into the nearest alley.

“Spike! Come on, don’t be such a baby!” Buffy called after him. “I’ll get your stuff, okay? See you at the cemetery!”

Spike kept walking, not looking back to see if she had left. “Bloody useless... bloody right.” He already knew he’d show up like she wanted. He needed that blood. Willy wouldn’t even consider selling him any after the last time the Slayer beat him up for it, and the other places to buy blood in Sunnydale were a lot more expensive. If it wasn’t for the bloody soddin’ chip in his head... ah, who was he tryin’ to fool? He’d already learned that the humans were more than just
‘happy meals on legs’ like he used to fool himself. He felt like he was a bleedin’ fledge again, worried over hurting his victims or leaving their families in mourning. He remembered pleading with Angelus to just let him drink a little from three or four humans instead of draining one completely.

“And didn’t that get me a lovely beatin’?” he muttered, leaving the alley and walking slowly toward the cemetery. He could be there in two minutes if he really wanted to, but he rather fancied making the Slayer sweat a little. Still, he couldn’t be too late, or she’d leave with his dosh. Maybe he could get there first, find a nice crypt to perch on top of, and watch her until she started getting impatient. Yeah, that would work.

He stopped in mid-step, something tickling the very edges of his enhanced senses. He looked around slowly, and saw a vampire watching him from the shadows at the far end of the street.  Just standing there, watching, not making any moves in his direction.

He lifted his head slightly, scenting the air. Minion, definitely - a Master’s minion, not the usual pathetic things they dusted every night. Not a scent he really recognized, though his nose told him that he’d met this minion’s Master somewhere before. Interesting - wonder if the Slayer
knew there was a new Master in town? Minion was probably sent to look out for other Masters... well, he wasn’t much of a threat, but hopefully, they didn’t know that. He snarled at the vampire, showing a gleam of white fangs, and it faded respectfully into the darkness.

Spike continued on his way, wondering if he should tell the Slayer about this, or if he could get some money out of Giles for ‘information’ first?

 


*

 


In the street behind him, the minion flipped open a cell phone and dialed a familiar number.

“Yes?”

“I’ve located him.”

“Good! Still in Sunnydale?”

“Yes, Master.”

“Condition?”

“Thin, sir, but healthy enough to sense me.”

“And did he know who you belong to?”

“I don’t think so, Master.”

“Excellent. Your High Master will be pleased. Keep watching, but don’t let him see you.  They’ll be finding out soon, and all hell will be breaking loose. Hourly reports.”

“Yes, sir.”

The connection cut off.

 

 

*

 



Spike lay sprawled across the crypt’s roof, dangling one arm over the edge as he rested his chin on the other arm. Damn, but he was hungry! What was taking the Slayer so long? Probably decided to change her shoes - it could be days before she showed up if that was the case.

He was just about to give up and wander back to his own crypt when he saw Buffy come flying down the road, Xander and Willow hard on her heels. They stopped at the corner and immediately started arguing.

“He’s not here! I told you we were taking too long!”

“Hey, Buff, it’s not our fault! It took Giles forever to explain what was going on!”

“And we’re not as fast as you, you know that!” Willow was still gasping for breath.

“Yeah, yeah. So, we’ve got to find him. Wonderful. Okay, if you were Spike, where would you be?”

Spike stared, eyes going sharp and wary. They were this upset over his not being there? Great.  On the Hellmouth, that could only mean bad news. Probably needed him for bloody cannon fodder again. Well, he might as well ‘show up’ and find out what was going on before he was caught clueless in the middle. That had happened far too often for him to want it happening again.

He crawled to the far side of the crypt and leapt easily to the ground. He dusted off his clothes and then strolled casually around the stone edifice, interrupting the fight over going to the Bronze or Willy’s first. “Oi, Slayer! Where’s me dosh?”

“Spike! Where were you?! We’ve got major trouble; stop worrying about your precious blood!  We have to go to Giles’, now!”

“Oh, no, Blondie!” Spike growled. “Told ya I was sick of your damn wanker of a Watcher. Just tell me what’s goin’ on.”

“We don’t know exactly,” Willow said, her soft voice a relief from the Slayer’s strident tones, even if she was babbling. “Cordelia came in a few minutes ago, with Wesley - you remember him, right? - and they said there was something wrong with Angel, and it was really bad and they needed to talk to you. That’s really all we know so far.”

Spike stared at her, trying desperately to hide his worry. “Somethin’ wrong with Peaches? What the hell they wanna talk to me for? Can’t do much to help the bloody poof.”

“They said they needed you, and Giles said to get you,” Buffy growled, “so you’re coming whether you want to or not.”

“What, you gonna drag me there?” Spike already knew he was going, but saw no need to let them know he still cared - why he had no idea - about what happened to his Sire. GrandSire.  Had to remember that; GrandSire.

“If I have to, I will! This is Angel we’re talking about!” Buffy appeared to be torn between acting concerned and haughty. Spike thought she just looked constipated.

“Thought you was over him,” he pushed, more than ready to take out some stress on her. “What about poor ol’ Soldier Boy?”

“Don’t you involve Riley in this! This is about helping someone that I ...used to care about!  Angel and I are ...friends!”

That was news to Spike; it was apparently news to Xander and Willow, too, with the way they were blinking.

“Um, Buffy, the last time Angel was here all you two did was fight...” Willow said uncertainly.

“Yeah, and when you went to LA...”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Buffy said, tossing her blond head. “Angel and I still care about each other. All couples argue, you know."

“But you’re dating Riley?” Willow was beginning to frown.

“Yeah - but Angel’s my soul mate,” Buffy said, her voice going soft and wistful. Her eyes widened, gleaming with gentle tears, and her bottom lip trembled slightly. She looked very much like the heroine in a tragic romance movie.

Spike swallowed down the snicker that tried to escape, settling for rolling his eyes instead. He wasn’t in any hurry to have the Slayer beat the stuffing out of him.

Beside him, Xander grinned, matching the eye roll. He and Spike were slowly - very slowly, true, but still - becoming not-quite-enemies, maybe-even-friends. He found Buffy’s little performance about as meaningful as the vampire did.

“That’s so romantic,” Willow breathed, completely taken in. “I don’t know how you can stand it.”

“Not real sure how we stand it,” Spike murmured, making Xander snicker. Buffy and Willow stared at them suspiciously, and both males gave them their best innocent looks.

“Don’t even start,” Buffy ordered. “Come on, we’ve got to go to Giles’. We’ve already been gone longer than we were supposed to, because someone wasn’t where he said he’d be. We have to find out what’s wrong with Angel, so we can fix it.” She reached out and grabbed a handful of Spike’s lapel, and started dragging him in the direction they had come from.

“Oi, Slayer, watch the coat!” Spike protested as he was yanked away into the night.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“You were certainly gone a long time,” Giles remarked as they entered his apartment, looking a bit testy.

“Sorry, Giles. We had to find the blond menace; he wasn’t where he said he would be.”

“Oh, nice,” Spike said in a falsely polite voice, “so kind of you to blame me, I dunno how I’ll ever live up to your lovely words. Makes me feel warm all over, it d...”  His words were cut off by Buffy backhanding him, and he retreated, glowering, to sit on the stairs.

As usual, no one called the Slayer on the bit of needless violence. Why should they, when he was just the dead thing that they used as a walking, talking weapon? They were always telling him he wasn’t a real person, didn’t deserve to be treated like one. Spike spent a minute sulking over that, then realized the Watcher had been talking to him and he hadn’t been paying attention.

“Huh?”

Giles resisted rolling his eyes. “I said, have you ever heard of a vampire clan called the Natria?”

Spike frowned. That name did sound vaguely familiar. “Heard of ‘em, couple of times. Like all that mystical shite, and keep to themselves. Keep human pets and don’t feed off the general pop like ever’body else. What about ‘em?”

“It seems that they sent some ‘emissaries’ to visit Angel, with an invitation to add the remains of the Aurelius clan as a sub-clan to theirs. Angel is apparently the de facto leader after the deaths of the Master and Darla; even if the few remaining Master vampires from your clan are scattered all over the world. It makes good political sense - if vampires were political, of course - for a smaller clan like the Natria to add the strength of the remaining Aurelius vampires to their own.  A similar merging of clans is reported to have happened in Greece in 17...”

Spike felt his eyes starting to glaze over. Just like Giles, to start telling him something important and then go off on some boring tangent. He wondered if it was worth the shock from the chip to kick him and get him back on track. Probably not, the chip was starting to shock him harder and harder, sometimes even when he wasn’t hurting - or thinking about hurting - a human. Not that anyone believed him when he told the Scoobies, but it was happening.

Before he had to resort to kicking the man’s shin and earning himself a three-day headache, a door opened and two vaguely familiar people came in.

“Oh, good, you’ve got him!” The man said. Must be that ex-Watcher Angel had hanging around him; sounded as British and uptight as Giles. “Does he know who they were? Can he tell us where Angel is?”

“I - er, haven’t gotten that far,” Giles said, not admitting that he’d gotten off the subject. He turned back to Spike. “After Angel told the Natria emissaries ‘no’ and sent them away, two Masters showed up to visit him, a male and a female. He seemed very surprised to see them.”

“Yeah, for a minute he was almost happy, then he looked all guilty and horrified,” Cordelia put in.

“Yes, well, he seemed to know them very well,” Wesley interrupted. “They had some sort of book with them that they were urging him to read; he sent us home and took them down into his apartment. When we came back yesterday evening...”

“He was all Angelus-y,” Cordelia finished.

The room was silent.

“Angelus-y?” Buffy asked in a tiny voice. “Oh, no. Oh, no!  How did you get away? Did he say he was coming here?”

“He wasn’t very interested in us,” Cordelia actually sounded miffed, “he was going over maps and stuff with those other two and talking about somebody named Debbie, or something like that.”

Spike sat up sharply, but no one was paying attention to him right now.

“He seemed, actually, to be a much milder form of Angelus. He was talking about gathering his ‘Childer’, and he seemed content to just let us leave,” Wesley said, continuing the story. “We waited outside for a bit, and saw him leave with those two and a couple of minions. We spent today trying to track them down, but we’ve had no luck. So we came here, to see if you know who they were or who ‘Debbie’ is.” He turned to look at Spike.

The blond vampire was studying the many silver rings on his hands, not looking up. “Debbie’s Deborah. Deborah the Enchantress, fourth Childe of Angelus. Rupert, you got any blood for me? Slayer was supposed ta bring me some...”

“In the kitchen, and don’t change the subject. Deborah is recorded in the Watcher’s Journals, but her Sire is unknown. How do you know she belongs to Angelus?”

Spike set his jaw and scowled. “Hungry, not saying anything else.” He had to buy some time to think, and he was hungry.

I’ll make you say something else!” Buffy shouted, jumping up and stalking toward him.

“What on earth are you so upset about?” Wesley’s astonished question stopped her in her tracks.  “Just give him a cup of blood.”

“I’ll get it,” Xander volunteered, and vanished into the kitchen.

“There, now you’re gonna get fed, so spill!” Buffy demanded.

Spike snarled at her. “Not ‘til I got food in my hands. Been lied to by you lot before.”

Wesley and Cordelia blinked at each other. Angel had been upset when he found out about Spike’s chip; they knew he was worried but would never admit it. When he’d been told the Scoobies were giving him blood in exchange for help and information, he’d been relieved, certain they would ‘take good care of him.’ They wondered what he would think if he was here now, and saw Spike so thin, with a freshly split lip, being threatened by the Slayer and refusing to talk until he had been given something to eat, because they had apparently not kept up their end of deals before.

They had a feeling he wouldn’t be all that happy - so they decided to keep the information to themselves.

Buffy stalked back and forth, glaring at Spike, until Xander returned with a large mug and held it out to the vampire.

“Ta, mate,” Spike said, giving the boy a half-smile, and promptly drained it. He kept the mug, looking down into it like he was contemplating licking it clean. “Now, what did ya wanna know?”

“How do you know that Deborah is Angelus’ Childe?”

“Come to visit ‘em in eighteen... eighty-somethin’. Maybe a bit earlier than that. Called ‘em Sire. They was all happy to see each other. Even Darla was happy ta see ‘er. Wasn’t much made that bint happy. Angelus tol’ me an’ Dru she was his fourth Childe. Hadn’t neither of us ever seen ‘er before.”

Wesley nodded, accepting the story. “Do you know where she might be now?”

Spike shrugged. He didn’t see any harm in telling them about Deborah or any of Angelus’ Childer. Not everything, of course, but the basics. Not like these humans could hurt them, and there was no love lost between he and them, anyway. “Used ta hang about in Paris. Heard, though, that she shifted to San Fran in the fifties. Dunno if she’s still there.”

“Why do they call her ‘the Enchantress’? Is she really pretty?” Xander wanted to know.

“Pretty enough,” Spike said, remembering the tiny girl with dark red hair and big green eyes.  “Looks a bit like Red, there,” he pointed to Willow, “but s’not why they called ‘er that.  Remember that bloke came here a while back, callin’ hisself Dracula? That bit ‘e did with the eyes, and all?”

“Thrall,” Giles said.

“Yeah, that. That’s Deb’s cuppa; she’s right good at it. Can make the Pope chase nuns around if she wants ta. Made a man dance like a chicken for Dru when she was visitin’.”

“Who? You?” Buffy asked nastily.

Spike glared again. “Said a man, didn’t I? You lot always goin’ on ‘bout me not bein’ a man.  Was some high-class uppity-up that called Dru inferior for bein’ off ‘er nut like she is. Deb liked Dru, called ‘er ‘baby sister.’”

“What did she think about you?” Xander asked, completely wrapped up in the story.

“Not much,” Spike admitted lightly, like it didn’t still hurt to remember. “Couldn’t thrall me, so didn’t have much use for me.”

“You’re resistant to thrall?” Wesley looked as fascinated as the whelp.

Spike decided not to answer. They didn’t need to know this much about him in order to find out where Angel had gotten his huge self off to. “Don’t matter, mate. Thought you was worried about the Broody One.”

“Oh, yes, of course. So he may be in San Francisco? Cordelia, would you call Gunn and ask him if he has contacts there?”

“Sure thing, Wes.” She got up and went to the phone.

Wesley turned his attention back to Spike. “So - about the other two. Do you have any idea who they might be?”

“‘Course I do. Bert Smith and his wife Sal. How’m I supposed to know?! Don’ even know what they looked like, ya dumb...”

“Spike!” Buffy said sharply, kicking his leg with an audible thump. “I need to take some stress out, and I’ll be more than happy to take it out on you!”

Before Spike could respond, Wesley was. “I thought he couldn’t fight humans?” he asked, eyes wide.

“He can’t, don’t worry,” Buffy assured him, still glaring at the vampire, who was scowling right back.

“Then... I don’t understand, how can you work out stress with him?”

“I said ‘on’, not ‘with’,” Buffy replied, tossing her head. “He makes a great punching bag.”

She didn’t notice how horrified Wesley looked, or the odd expression on Cordelia’s face. Even Giles, Willow and Xander looked uncomfortable, like they were just realizing something bad they’d never noticed before.

Spike growled again, pulling attention back to him. “Can we just get on with it? Don’t plan on spendin’ all night with you lot; got telly to watch.”

“Er, right. Let’s see - the man was tall, with dark hair and I’m fairly certain his eyes were grey.  Weren’t they, Cordelia? He was quite well-dressed.”

“And gorgeous,”  the former cheerleader put in with a snicker, “I think Angel called him ‘Gabriel.’ The woman wasn’t much, she was only wearing jeans.”

“She was tall,” Wesley said, giving her a reproving look, “almost as tall as the man. She looked very self-confident, I remember that. She had blue eyes and very long blond hair...”

“...done up in a braid,” Spike said softly, and the mug clinked as it rolled down the stairs, dropped from numb fingers.

“You know her? The man called her Lucy.”

“Lucinda. Gabriel and Lucinda.” Spike’s eyes were distant, his expression hard and empty.  “Penn the Engraver, First Childe of Angelus, and Lucinda the Searcher. Second Childe. I’m surprised you two are alive after being in the same room as them.”

 


*

 


“Report.”

“He is at the Watcher’s apartment. Two of the humans from LA are there. They appear to be questioning him.”

“We thought as much. All of them are there?”

“There is the Watcher, the Red Witch, the Slayer and the young man. I haven’t seen the other witch or the Slayer’s sister.”

“Very well. Let us know when they leave, and who goes where. Anything else to report?”

“The Slayer strikes him.”

There was cold silence on the line for a moment, then a hissed, “What?!”

“She struck him. His mouth was bleeding. She kicked him. I can see them all through the window. She threatened to strike him again, but the Watcher from LA stopped her.”

“That man will be allowed to live. Keep watching.”

The line went dead again.

 

 

Chapter Text

“So - I’m guessing that means they’re dangerous?”

“You could say that,” Spike said softly, remembering the times Penn and Lucinda had visited Angelus. He barely controlled a shudder. Penn wasn’t so bad, as far as tormenting him had gone, but Lucinda...

“Did they have any use for you?” Buffy smirked at him.

“Didn’t have a lot of time to spend studyin’ Dru’s Childer,” Spike said calmly, keeping to the lies he’d told. “Came ta see Angelus, didn’t they? Not nobody else.”

“So - why would they be looking for Deborah?” Wesley asked, trying to get back on the subject.

Spike shrugged. “Angelus liked havin’ ‘is Childer all together. Made ‘em in sets, ‘e did. Picked ‘em to fit together. Quality-wise, ya know? Said they ‘covered each others’ weaknesses with their strengths’ or some such rot.”

“How many Childer did he have? Just the four, I hope?”

“Six. Penn and Lucinda, then Daniel and Deborah, an’ Tomas and Drusilla. Most of ‘em went off ta try bein’ on their own for a while, but ‘e was always gonna get ‘em back together someday.  Talked about it a bit when ‘e came back last time, ‘fore ‘e decided be more fun ta send the world ta Hell.”

“So, you think he’s going to try and find them all? To bring them together?”

“Prolly,” Spike muttered, stretching out his legs. “Hey, Rupert, more blood?”

“What about you?” Giles asked, ignoring the question. “Is he going to come after you?”

“Wot for?” Spike snarled, trying to hide any hurt that might flicker through his eyes. “Never been much interested in ‘is GrandChilder.”

“GrandChilder...?” Wesley looked surprised. “I’m sure I’ve heard Angel refer to you as his Childe. I know I’ve heard him say he’s your Sire.”

“Dru’s me real Sire,” Spike said quickly, having already come up with this answer. “‘E just means ‘e trained me. Dru didn’t have the brains for it, did she? Kept gettin’ the ones she turned dusted. Fussed ‘bout all ‘er Childer dyin’, so when she made me, Angelus trained me so he wouldn’t have ta put up with ‘er whinin’. That’s all.”

He wasn’t going to tell them the truth - was never going to tell anyone, if he could help it, that Angelus had turned him after Drusilla had tried and been unable to, and had gone pouting to her ‘Daddy.’ Would never tell them how Angelus had called him ‘my extra Childe’ or how the other - wanted - Childer had teased and tormented him. How Angelus had laughed at the marks they left on him, when he would have ripped anyone who had hurt them limb from limb. How he’d punished them when they hurt each other but couldn’t be bothered when they turned their torture on his youngest; his unwanted, useless Seventh Childe.

Wasn’t like anyone else was going to tell them differently, either. He doubted any of Angel’s sane Childer would even remember him; Dru might, but her ramblings about a ‘dark prince’ would probably go unnoticed.

And there was no way Angelus would be coming for him. Ever. The old Angelus had never had much time for him, beyond training him and occasionally taking him to bed when there was no one ‘better’ around; the recently returned, insane version had despised him. Wasn’t even good enough to be a fuck toy for that Angelus. Spent a little time using him to brush up on his torture techniques, but that was all. Couldn’t even be bothered to feed him. If it hadn’t been for Drusilla occasionally remembering him, he’d have starved to death.

Speaking of starving...

Spike leaned over and scooped up his mug, ignoring the two Watchers, who were avidly discussing everything they’d heard about Angelus’ Childer. Willow, Buffy and Xander were listening with dazed expressions. Cordelia was filing her nails while chattering to someone on the phone. No one paid attention as he went into the kitchen and heated himself another mug of blood. A look through the ice box showed him several reserve bags; he managed to get four of the frozen blocks into his inside duster pockets. Giles wouldn’t miss them for a while. With the blood he’d already been promised - and what he was drinking now damn well didn’t count! - he’d be set for nearly four days.

Four days, four beautiful days without having to see the Slayer or listen to Giles go on and on and on...

...bliss...

He jerked around suddenly, glaring at the open window. Something - something or someone - was watching. He could feel it. The light breeze brought the scent of that minion he’d seen earlier to his nose, and he frowned. Was the idiot following him around? Why? By now he should have told his master about him and gotten orders to keep looking for others. Why was he still hanging around?

He turned to the fridge and took out the four bags of fresh blood that was his usual payment.  There was some cash on the counter, the usual skimpy amount they gave him. Deciding that was probably his, he tucked it in his jeans’ pocket and put the blood in a bag. Wandering back into the living room, he found the humans doing the exact same things as before. He walked straight out the door without anyone noticing.

 


*

 


The minion outside saw him leaving.

By the time Spike reached the bushes he’d been hiding in, only the lingering scent was there. He snorted angrily and headed back for his crypt, keeping his senses wide open in case he was followed again.

He didn’t hear, see, or smell anything, and there was no warning that another vampire was near.  Still, instinct made him take the long way, with as many twists and turns as possible, before he went into the cemetery he currently called home. Even then, he lurked about in the shadows for nearly an hour before sliding into his crypt.

A quick tug had a heavy stone urn braced against the door - it wouldn’t stop a strong minion, or the Slayer, for that matter - but he’d have an early warning if someone did come crashing in.  Satisfied for now, he hid the frozen blood bags in the sarcophagus, tucking three of the fresh ones under them so they’d stay cold as long as possible. Pigs’ blood was bad enough, spoiled pigs’ blood was something he didn’t even want to think about.

He closed the lid and replaced the skimpy blanket that lay on it for camouflage. He had slept there for a few uncomfortable days, but last week, Clem had brought him a mattress. Spike had set it up down below, with some nice thick blankets he’d nicked, one from each of the Scoobies as his patrolling with them had taken them into their houses. He’d even gotten a pillow from Giles’ seldom-used guest bedroom, tossing it out the window to retrieve from the bushes later. It was a lot nicer - warmer and softer - than sleeping on the cold, carved stone.

The only other furnishings in his ‘home’, traded from Clem for kittens, were the battered easy chair and the equally battered old telly on its ugly metal stand. A single rug lay on the floor, hiding the trapdoor down into his basement. He wanted to keep that room a secret for as long as possible; so long as no one kicked the rug aside - and it was positioned innocently between the chair and the telly - no one would ever know the trapdoor, the basement, the bed, and the emergency exit into the tunnels existed. Angelus had managed to teach him the value of a contingency plan, if little else.

He shrugged out of his duster, opened the trapdoor, and tossed the coat down onto the bed. If anything did happen before he retreated to sleep the day away, the precious leather coat ought to be safe. He could retrieve it later.

He flipped on the telly, hit it a few times and swore at the antenna until he had a half-decent picture, then sprawled out with the fourth fresh bag of blood, piercing it with his fangs and sipping the cool blood slowly as he watched a ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ marathon. Once he finished the blood, there was a half-bottle of Jacl Daniels waiting for his attentions.

Unlife could be worse... he supposed.

 

 

*

 

 

Two days later, Spike was curled up in the little nest of blankets on his old mattress, dreaming of being a child and chasing butterflies through a meadow with his sister. He could almost feel the warmth of the sun bathing his skin.

He was less than happy when he heard the door of the crypt slam open and Buffy shouting his name.

Good thing he had the trapdoor closed - since it opened by swinging down, it was simple to smooth the rug in place, then swing the heavy piece back. He was ninety-nine percent sure Buffy wouldn’t find him.

He didn’t bother getting up, just lay in comfort and listening to the Slayer ranting above him. He heard the cooler reply of Giles’ voice, and wondered why the Watcher was in his lair. Oh, well, probably some new apocalypse. It could wait until sundown. He wasn’t getting up and running around under that damn flimsy blanket.

A crash made him jump. Bloody hell, if that Slayer broke into his sarcophagus and ruined his blood stash, then headache or no headache, he was gonna break her little pig nose.

Another crash, followed by the Slayer’s smug tones, brought him bolt upright. Damn, that sounded like his telly getting smashed! Rage clawed at his throat and he nearly howled. It was bad enough that they starved him and a little chit of a girl used him for her own personal punching bag - did they have to take away one of the few pleasures he had left?!

The thought of gutting her slowly sent a flash of white-hot pain through his head. He managed to bite down on the pillow and keep from screaming out, but it wasn’t easy.

By the time the pain settled - it took longer and longer - the crypt was quiet again. He got to his feet, shaking badly, and nearly crawled up the ladder. It took him several tries before he managed to get the trap door open, and the light rug felt almost too heavy for him to move.

His television was in pieces.

Spike nearly whimpered. Just an old black and white set, that barely managed to pick up three channels, and yet the Slayer had to smash it like a vengeful child. How was he supposed to watch Passions now? Xander and Giles both refused to let him turn their tellies on, forget about sitting there and actually watching a show. What right did that spoiled little girl have to ruin one of his most prized possessions?

And how pitiful was it that a broken-down set like that was a prize possession? It was sickening, how low he’d sunk.

There was a piece of folded paper on his sarcophagus. The ragged blanket had been thrown on the floor and one of the smaller urns was holding the note in place.

Spike,

Where are you? You’re supposed to be here! You better not be out causing trouble!

Come to Giles’ as soon as you get this!

Buffy

Spike snarled and wadded the paper up, throwing it across the crypt. Damn humans thought they owned him! He wasn’t going to go running over there like a good little boy - especially not with his telly lying in bits on the stone floor! He had blood for two more days and he wasn’t going near one of those gits until it was gone!

He kicked aside some of the shattered innards of his television, then snatched up his remaining blood and dropped back down through the trapdoor. He replaced the rug and flopped down on the bed. His head was aching after the chip fired - hell, little shocks of pain were still echoing from the bloody bit of electronics! He had no doubt the thing was going to blow his head up before it was all over.

Since there was nothing he could do about it, though, he was going back to sleep.

 


*

 


He woke up long after dark, his head still throbbing and his mouth dry as sandpaper.

And he was starving.

He stumbled out of bed and through the darkness to the corner where his last four bags of blood had found a new home. Ripping one open with his fangs, he gulped the cold, thick blood down as quickly as he could. Shuddering, he flung the bag into the cardboard box that doubled as a disposable trash can, and went back to sit on the bed.

He had two choices for tonight - go out and find some demon to beat up, maybe steal a little pocket money from, or go back to sleep and try to conserve the little bit of energy that pigs blood had just given him.

There was no way, like he’d said earlier, that he was going to trot obediently over to the Watcher’s place.

‘Course, if he went out looking for demons, with his luck, he’d run straight into the Slayer.  Maybe he should just rest - it wasn’t like the world was going to end if he spent the night wallowing in misery and depression. Kinda appealed to him, in fact.

The crypt door slammed open again, and the Slayer bellowed, “Spike!”

Shit.

“Spike, you worthless waste of space! Are you here?! You’d better be here!”

“Buff, that’s not exactly the best way to get him to cooperate,” Xander’s voice tried to placate her.

“And he’s probably mad that you broke his television,” Willow added.

“T-that wasn’t n-nice,” Tara’s shy voice echoed.

“Oh, please! Why would I be nice to that undead creep? If I was, he’d probably start stalking me again!”

Spike shuddered. That had been temporary insanity; no way was he going to ever think he liked the Slayer again. Still didn’t know what had come over him - maybe it was one to many blows to the head. That was Angelus’ idea of foreplay, after all. He was probably conditioned. Couple of slaps, and he was ready to go. He snickered at the idea, then clapped a hand over his mouth.

Luckily, Buffy was yelling too loudly for her sensitive Slayer hearing to pick up the sound. “I left him a note and I know he’s read it; it’s gone! I’m going to kick him from here to Tuesday!  Wesley and Giles are waiting for him!”

“After the last time they wanted to ask him questions, he probably won’t cooperate at all,” Xander said. “We didn’t even notice when he left, you know?”

“So?”

“Oh, come on, Buffy! Anyone would get mad if you ignored them like that. It’s not gonna kill us to be nice to Spike - at least long enough to get Angel souled again. Much as I hate Deadboy, I hate him worse unsouled. He’s really nasty and mean, remember? If he’s got four of his kids with him now, who knows what’s gonna happen? Wesley said he was making ‘let’s go to Sunnydale’ noises.”

“I know,” Buffy said, whining a little, “but come on! It’s so much easier to punch Spike until he talks!”

“I would modify my actions, Slayer, if I were you,” a vaguely familiar voice entered the conversation, causing the humans above his head to yelp.

“Who are you?” Buffy demanded.

Spike already knew, and he was on his feet, shrugging into his duster and heading for his emergency exit.

“I am Penn the Engraver, little girl. I am the First Childe of Angelus, High Master of the Aurelius clan. I have come for my Brother. Where is he?”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“You have a brother here? Is it that Daniel? Giles said you haven’t found him yet? That’s too bad but there are no Masters in Sunnydale named Daniel so we’re really sorry but maybe you should go look somewhere else!” Willow was frightened, and frightened Willow meant babbling Willow.

Spike was carefully shifting the slab of rock that covered his escape, moving so slowly and cautiously that there was no sound at all. He tried to pretend to himself that he wasn’t concerned about why Penn was here, that he could care less about the possibility of Daniel being in Sunnydale, as well, but he didn’t quite manage it.

Maybe it was time to get the hell out of Dodge?

‘Cause there was no way he wanted to face either of those two. Penn wasn’t too bad - if you didn’t mind being fucked dry, over and over and over until you literally couldn’t stand up - but Daniel could give that sadist Lucinda a run for her money. He remembered the time his ‘Brother’ had tied him down and used one of Angelus’ cigars to make a pattern of little round burns that covered his entire body. Spike had held out for hours before he’d started whimpering, and Daniel had patted him for that.

Bunch of crazy, messed-up lunatics.

“I am not here for Daniel. Daniel is with us already. I am here...”

“What?!” Buffy cut him off with a shriek. “Last night there was only you and Lucy and Debbie and Nutcase! When did he show up?!”

Spike got the opening wide enough to slip through - he retrieved his blood bags, just in case, and stood ready to bolt. Just needed to know how the land lay, that was the only reason he was still eavesdropping. Had nothing to do with jealousy.

Must be nice, though, to belong again. Penn had always adored his family - if you didn’t count Spike - so he must be one happy camper now. ‘Course, Spike had never belonged in the first place; so what did he know?

“You will not refer to my family with such familiar names, nor with derogatory terms,” Penn’s voice growled. “Now tell me where my Brother is.”

“Um... which one is left?” Xander hissed at Willow.

“T-Tomas isn’t here, either,” Willow’s voice squeaked. “We don’t know a-anything about him.”

“Have pity - are all you children so stupid?” Penn sounded almost as if he were amused. “I am speaking of William. My youngest Brother. Where is he?”

At those words, Spike ran.

 


*

 


An hour later, he was still running.

Well, if you could call leaning over a counter in a rundown demon bar and trying to wheedle a Efirts demon out of a supply of blood ‘running’. He’d already managed gas for his DeSoto, and he’d nicked a cooler off someone’s back porch. If he could just get the blood to fill it, he’d be safe as houses - and as far away as the skimpy amount of money in his pocket could get him.

“C’mon, luv,” he wheedled, giving the large, blue, female demon at the bar his absolute best ‘puppy eyes’. “Owe me a lil’ favor, don’t ya? Didn’t I take care of those gits for you? Ones that were smashin’ up your pretty place? Promise, I’ll send ya some dosh back soon’s I get some.”

The demon made a warbling sound and looked thoughtful - he hoped. Since she resembled a large mass of blue Jell-O, it wasn’t easy to tell.

“Hey, Spike,” a familiar voice spoke behind him.

“Clem, how’s it?” he asked, not turning around.

“Okay. Who’s that guy driving off in your car?”

“What?!” Spike yelped, running for the door just in time to see the DeSoto’s taillights vanish around the corner. “Bloody, fuckin’ hell!  What next?!” Leaving the cooler, he ran in the direction the car had gone. He could still hear his baby’s distinctive engine, and he followed the sound out of the seedier parts of town, until he realized just where it was going.

He did an abrupt about-face, and ran back the way he came.

If his car was being parked in front of Angel’s mansion, there was no way he was trying to get it back. Poor thing screamed ‘bait’!

What he didn’t understand was why it was bait? Why was Penn looking for him? Why was someone following him close enough to be able to grab his car the one time he left it vulnerable?

Well, when in doubt, the Watcher usually had the answers. Hopefully, though, he could get them on his own terms.

 


*

 

Even if his own terms meant perching rather uncomfortably in a tree outside the Watcher’s - open, thankfully! - dining room window.

A sweep of the area had ensured no one was watching him; whoever had been following him must have been the one to run off in his precious car. Now, with all his vampire senses on red alert, he could not only hear every word being spoken inside the house, but he’d know in an instant if someone approached.

Not that he really needed his enhanced hearing to tell what was going on inside.

Buffy was bellowing, that was what was going on inside.

“I swear, Giles, it was Angel’s kid! His first one, Perry or whatever his name is! He’s in town, how could we not know that?! He could have killed Willow and Xander and Tara if I hadn’t been there to scare him off!”

“Actually, he just sorta left,” Xander said quietly to Wesley.

“He said he wanted ‘William’. That means Spike, right?” Willow piped up. “I mean, he showed up at Spike’s crypt and all. And he called Spike his ‘Brother’. I thought he was more like his vampire-uncle? I mean, didn’t Spike say Drusilla was his Sire?”

“Did he?” an amused voice asked from the doorway.

Outside, Spike had to bite back a yelp as he nearly fell out of the tree. How the hell had they gotten there without him seeing them?! He knew no one had come through the yard or down the streets! He sniffed the air and found a lingering scent of magic.

What was Angel doing using portals?! Even if Drusilla was back with him, she didn’t have the brain power, the focus to work that kind of magic! Had he picked up a mage somewhere?

“Angel!” Buffy shouted. Spike saw her start to dive toward the dark vampire, then remember and stop abruptly, windmilling her arms to keep from falling on her face. He muffled a snicker against his sleeve. Damn, it was a lot funnier watching them than being around them. Maybe he should have thought of this sooner!

“Did he what?” Giles asked, catching Buffy’s arm and urging her further away from the door.  The other humans took their cue from him, and shuffled back from the three vampires standing there.

“What, you’re not going to invite us in? How rude. Did my William really tell you that Drusilla was his Sire?”

Spike growled softly. Where did the Poof get off calling him ‘my William’? Hadn’t had a claim on him in over a century.

“Several of the Watcher’s Journals list Drusilla as Spike’s Sire,” Giles said slowly, not really answering the question. Spike recognized the start of one of his ‘fishing for information’ sessions and, for the first time ever, smiled about it.

If Giles was going to get info, Spike was going to hear it, too. First time tonight that something had gone right for him.

“Then your information is incorrect,” Angel - Angelus - said smoothly. “Do you know where my William is, Watcher?”

Giles didn’t answer again. “Who are these people... er, vampires?” He asked, gesturing toward the two shadowy figures behind Angelus. “Are these your Childer?”

Angelus glared at him, but motioned for the two to step forward. On his right was a slim girl who looked barely nineteen. Her waist-length, curly hair was dark red, her eyes brilliantly green.  She had softly formed, pretty features, a scattering of freckles across her nose, and the top of her head came about to Angel’s chin. She was dressed in a floor-length dark brown skirt and a brief, vest-style white top.

“My Daughter, Deborah,” Angelus said proudly, touching her shoulder gently. “Deborah the Enchantress, I believe, is the name you call her. And I’m quite sure you know Drusilla.”

Spike pulled in an unsteady breath at the smaller, shorter figure that appeared to Angelus’ right.  It was his Drusilla, his princess who he had protected for so long, only to have her break his heart in the end - yet it wasn’t her, either. Her dark eyes held no maniacal gleam, and a real, sane smile graced her lovely face. She was wearing old-fashioned clothes, like usual, but with less frills.

She looked straight across the room at Xander. “Hello, kitten!” she purred. “Have you hidden my Dark Prince away, then?”

Xander blinked, then ducked behind Buffy. “Nope, haven’t seen him, sorry!”

Drusilla laughed. “Still such a silly boy. I won’t hurt you.”

“You’ll forgive us if we don’t believe that,” Giles said stiffly. “You seem - er, different, Drusilla.”

Her smile broadened. “I’ve been mended, mostly. I’m still quite fond of my tea parties.” Her dark eyes drifted toward the window, and Spike pulled in another unnecessary breath. It was like she was looking right at him, and knowing his Princess, she knew he was there even if she couldn’t see him. Probably be a good idea to make tracks, but dammit! He needed to know what was going on!

He’d just have to wait and see if Drusilla gave him away. Maybe - maybe - she still cared enough about him to let him get enough information to keep him safe. She should remember what her precious ‘Daddy’ used to do to him. She’d sat and watched often enough. Maybe if this new sanity held out, she’d remember all the things Spike used to do for her, and help him out a bit.

He could only hope.

Deborah stepped closer to the door, her wide green eyes fixed on Giles. “You’re a clever man, aren’t you?” she asked, her voice very young and breathless with awe. “I do so admire clever men. Are you sure you don’t know where our Little One is?”

Spike started banging his forehead against the tree. Not that pathetic pansy nickname - he’d never live it down if the Scoobies found out what they used to call him!

“He should be in his crypt,” Giles replied blankly, his own eyes fixed on Deborah. Spike realized that the arrogant Watcher had been thralled - and easily. He snickered. Probably thought it couldn’t happen to him, and hadn’t taken any precautions against it. Stupid arse. At least he wasn’t questioning the ‘Little One’ bit.

“Why do you let our William live in that terrible hole?” Deborah continued, her voice still soft and sweet. All of the humans were staring at her, even the witches, looking completely fascinated. Well, she hadn’t earned the title ‘Enchantress’ for nothing.

“He chose it,” Buffy said sharply. Apparently she was a little less under Deb’s thrall than the rest.

“It’s horrible, why would he do that?”

“None of us wanted him with us,” was Giles’ solemn reply.

“Oh, ta, Watcher,” Spike whispered. “Way to make me sound like a stray dog.”

Actually, they would probably have had more sympathy for a dog.

“When my Sire spoke with you, you did not tell him our William was living in a cemetery,” Deborah continued with her gentle interrogation.

Outside, Spike frowned. Angel had asked about him? Why hadn’t they ever told him that?

“I didn’t see any point in doing so,” Giles stated - unwittingly answering both their questions.

Deborah frowned, but went on. “And why is he so thin?”

“Thin?” Giles sounded puzzled.

“Yes, thin. Much too thin.”

“I hadn’t noticed,” was the murmured reply.

“He is thinner. You don’t give him enough blood,” Xander spoke up, brown eyes pulling away from Deborah to look at Giles.

“How much blood do you give him?” Deborah demanded, an edge of steel coming into her voice.

“Six or eight bags. Whatever... is in the ...icebox.” Giles was beginning to waver. He must be subconsciously fighting the thrall.

Deborah apparently thought so; her voice got even sharper. “Six bags for one day? He should have more than that - those bags are not even a pint!”

“No... every... third day,” Giles managed. “And ...twenty dollars. He wanted more... but we all decided that...”

“That what?!”  Angelus roared, completely shattering Deborah’s spell, but he didn’t appear to care. “That you’d keep him poor and hungry and chain him to you even more than he already is?! You’ve been starving him! You assured me he was well-fed and taken care of!”

“He hasn’t complained!” Giles shot back, shaking his head a little and glaring at Deborah.

“He’s always asking for more to eat,” Xander said, apparently not caring if he got Giles into more trouble, which surprised Spike. He would have thought the Whelp would be on the Watcher’s side.

“Shut up, Xander!” Buffy said sharply, apparently thinking the same thing. “You’re not making this any better!”

“B-but he’s right,” Tara nearly whispered, almost overcome with shyness but determined to say her part. “S-spike always asks for blood as s-soon as he g-gets here; t-that’s something that h-hungry people d-do.” She faded back into silence as Buffy and Giles glared at her, looking like she’d like to find her own hiding place behind the couch.

Spike smiled as he looked at her. Always did like that bird - he’d have to do something nice for her, sometime, when he stopped being so pathetic and could do something. For the whelp, too, he supposed, and who ever dreamed he’d have a thought like that about Xander Harris?

“Why do you care about Spike anyway?” Buffy shouted. “Last time you were Angelus, all you wanted was me.”

“And to send the world to Hell,” Xander added helpfully.

“I’m not interested in sending the world anywhere this time,” Angelus assured him, his angry expression suddenly tinged with amusement.

“That doesn’t explain why you’re so worried about Spike!” Buffy was still glaring at him, her hands fisted on her hips. “This is all a plot to get close to me, isn’t it?! You’re going to start stalking me again!”

“Sorry to break it to you, little girl,” Angelus purred, not looking the least bit sorry. “But I’m not interested in you this time around. I came back sane for once.”

Spike nearly fell out of the tree - again - and had to grab a branch to keep his balance. He watched avidly as the Slayer turned bright red and began sputtering. Damn, forget his telly - this was better than Passions any day!

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“What’s that supposed to mean?!” Buffy finally screeched, making Spike wish he had earmuffs on. Bint’s voice could make dogs howl.

Angelus didn’t bother to answer. He turned his glare back on Giles. “Where is William?” he asked again, but with a deadly edge to his voice that made all the humans shudder.

“If he’s not in his crypt, then I don’t know,” Giles said firmly, lifting his chin. “It’s not like we have a leash on him.”

“Only ‘cause there ain’t one that long,” Spike scoffed quietly. He knew that if there had been room - like a nice, damp, dark basement to chain him in - that Giles would still have him locked up where he could ‘keep an eye on him.’

Soddin’ Watcher, always hated him. Prolly knew exactly how much he needed to feed to stay healthy. Powers only knew he’d done enough ‘tests’ on him. Wonder if Angel would act all snotty if he found out about those?

Well, it didn’t matter. He wasn’t getting close enough to talk to him. He didn’t know why his Sire was pretending to want him, but he wasn’t going to stick around to find out. Rupert the Wanker would probably make some stupid deal with him, ‘help find Spike and you go away’.

So he’d best get while the gettin’ was good.

He shifted slightly, preparing to jump down.

“Daddy,” Dru’s voice sounded immediately, “your little birdie is going to fly away.”

Oh, bloody hell.

“What?” Angelus asked, sounding puzzled.

“Your pretty little bird, Daddy, that’s been sitting in the tree and listening to us sing.”

Spike looked up to see her pointing straight at him.

He knew that the light in the room would prevent even Angel’s vampire-enhanced eyes from seeing him, but apparently the Poof figured out what Drusilla was talking about.

“William! Don’t run from me - come here!” Angelus disappeared from the doorway; Spike could hear him thundering down the stairs. Drusilla and Deborah followed right after him.

“Yeah, sure, I’ll stay right here!” Spike whispered sarcastically, jumping down and taking off as quickly as his legs would carry him. “Think I’m a total moron?”

He heard Angel - Angelus - whoever the hell it was - bellowing behind him; knew the Elder Vampire would easily pick up his scent and track him down. He needed to go somewhere crowded, lose himself and his scent trail in dozens of others.

The Bronze would do. Tonight was Friday, it would be packed with teenagers. They’d be hard pressed to find him there.

He was right - when he arrived at the club, there was such a crowd that he had to shove and elbow his way inside, gritting his teeth against the small shocks of pain the chip gave him.

Not hurting them,’ he thought, over and over, trying to convince himself and therefore convince that little bit of electronics. He needed his wits about him if he was going to get clear of Sunnydale tonight; a raging headache wasn’t going to help matters. It worked a little - the pain dulled enough that he was able to make a few twisting laps around the room - thoroughly mingling his scent with the humans’ - and then go to the back exit.

A quick once-over of the alley told him there were no vampires around; he slid out the door, took two steps to the left, and jumped straight up, landing on the fire escape. Within seconds, he was on the roof, where the strong wind would quickly remove his scent. He moved from building to building, checking carefully to make sure there were no Minions or family members lurking around in the alleys before he jumped over their heads. It hadn’t escaped his attention that he hadn’t sensed any of his so-called family, even Drusilla.

Normally, if ‘Family’ was near, his senses would scream the fact at him while they were still a mile away, and if he concentrated long enough on his Blood-Bonds, he’d know exactly where they were, even if it was halfway around the world. But it had been so long - so very long - since he’d had any of their blood that their Bonds were practically nil. Even Dru’s, which rather surprised him.

So he lost what could have been a valuable early warning system - but Blood-Bonds worked both ways.

That meant his family wasn’t going to be able to sense him, either.

Wouldn’t know he was in the room unless he walked up behind them, since the ‘vampire-near!’ twinge only worked for non-Family members. The Blood-Bond was supposed to take care of sensing them, but if it was gone -

Then he had a definite advantage - if he could spot them with his other senses before they saw him.

So - he’d just have to go somewhere they wouldn’t expect.

And there was no better place to hide than in someone’s own back yard.

He’d just take himself to LA.

Let the Ponce and his precious Childer search all over SunnyHell for him. He knew there were places to buy bagged blood in Los Angeles - lots more than here - and, as much as he didn’t want to do it, he also knew ways to earn the money to buy himself some food.

There were always those little hidden clubs in LA, where people lurked who would think he was pretty, and who would give him cash for a few minutes of his time. He hated it, but anything was better than being back under Angelus’ thumb. And with all his Childer with him - he hadn’t heard about Tomas, but no doubt that nancy-boy would be showing up soon enough - there was no way, ever, on earth, that Spike was going back.

He’d take a walk in the sunlight first.

 


*

 


It didn’t take him long to get to LA - one thumb hooked in a belt loop, the other held out in the universal ‘I-need-a-ride’ gesture, and he was in a car with some chubby bloke named Dave who stuttered when he tried to find out what - if anything - Spike would do for money.

He didn’t have much pride left after Sunnydale, so he ended up with enough cash for a cheap motel room and a quick stop at a discount clothing store. Needed to change his look a bit, just enough to throw any possible searchers off without spending too much money.

Not that he really expected anyone to come looking for him. It was the excuse that Angelus needed, some reason to hang about the HellMouth - pretending to look for a wayward Childe was perfect. Probably was plotting to get his precious Slayer, though what he saw in that whiny, temperamental brat was beyond him.

“Should be safe,” he muttered, throwing himself down on the creaky old bed, “shouldn’t have to worry. Couple days, couple clubs, get enough dosh to go to some other state. Hell, some other country might be a good idea.” Not South America; that was Dru’s stomping grounds and he had no desire to meet up with his Princess later. She’d torn his heart out one too many times; he didn’t have anything left to give her. Besides, he found her new sanity unsettling. He didn’t know how to deal with a sane Drusilla.

Maybe somewhere in Europe - one of those lil’ bohemian countries. Brush up on his poetry and blend in with the intellectual crowd. No one would ever look for him there.

He snickered, and fell asleep with a smile on his face.

 


*

 


Wherever he was, it was cold.

He wasn’t supposed to feel the cold anymore, but he shivered anyway, wrapping his arms tightly around himself and rubbing his hands against the bare skin of his upper arms. He seemed to have lost his duster somewhere - and his shoes, too - leaving him in only jeans and a thin tee-shirt.

He looked around, trying to figure out where the hell he was, but there was just - just empty nothingness, everywhere.

He was alone.

He hated being alone.

It was one of the reasons he put up with those damn Scoobies - he couldn’t stand being constantly by himself.

He felt vulnerable, too, standing here barefoot and without his precious coat.

He didn’t like it.

“William.” A soft voice spoke, and he turned sharply, to see Angelus standing about ten feet away, smiling at him gently.

He’d never smiled at him like that before.

Spike opened his mouth to say something sarcastic, but the sense of being defenseless and alone just overcame him, and he was horrified when a whispered, wistful “Sire?” came out of his mouth instead.

“William,” Angelus said again, holding out a strong hand. “Precious Childe - come to me.”

Spike shook his head, determined to stay away, even though he knew his eyes were huge and he looked like a complete pansy. He was too unsettled to worry about that right now.

“William, you’re cold. Come, let me warm you.”

Helpless against that softly commanding tone, he took a hesitant step toward his Sire. Angelus didn’t seem to move, but he was suddenly right in front of him.

“That’s my Little One - come. You don’t like being alone, do you? Come back to me. You belong with me.”

Spike shuffled closer, mesmerized by the soothing voice. He was so cold...

Angelus wrapped his arms around him, pulling him close to that strong, protective body.  Warmth seemed to flood over him, and he sighed, cuddling closer, resting his head on a broad shoulder and yawning sleepily.

“That’s it,” his Sire crooned, “you see? You belong with me, to me.” One big hand settled possessively on his hip, the other stroked his back gently. Fingers drifted through his hair and he turned his head to see who it was, since the last time he’d seen his Sire, Angelus only had the two hands.

Penn smiled at him, one hand still smoothing his brittle hair. “There you are, William. We’ve missed you.”

Spike blinked, finding himself sitting on a couch in an old-fashioned room - beautiful furniture, dark paneling, a roaring fire in the fireplace. Just the type of room Angelus used to favor, so long ago. His Sire was still cuddling him close, Penn was sitting pressed against Spike on the other side, and all the rest of his Sire’s Childer were gathered around, sitting in chairs or on the floor - all of them gazing at him with loving eyes.

This is wrong!’  a little voice in his head whispered.

“It’s not wrong,” Angelus rumbled, tightening his arms. “This is how it’s supposed to be, William. Tell me where you are.”

“Sire?” he asked, confused.

“Where are you, Little One?” Deborah echoed the question, leaning closer.

“Not here?” he asked, his eyebrows drawing together.

“Not yet,” Angelus whispered, his voice seductive, “but soon. Just tell me, tell us, where you are, my William - and then we can all be together.”

He opened his mouth, and all seven of them leaned closer still, eyes eager and expectant.

“Angel?! What’s going on?” A familiarly strident voice broke into the room.

“What on earth are you doing?” An equally familiar, stuffy English accent added.

Spike had just enough time to see Angelus’ eyes darken with rage, then the room and his family swirled into chaos and vanished.

 


*

 


He sat up sharply, panting for breath that he didn’t need. He stared around the frowsy little motel room, his eyes wide -

- then he started swearing.

Damn Deborah and her tricks! He might be resistant to thrall, but her dream-spells were another matter; no one could fight those off. She’d played with his mind before and he’d wanted to kill her for it - if Angelus wouldn’t have shredded him alive.

He owed her for this one, though - he hated feeling like a helpless, weak, little arse of a fledgling.

Well, at least now he knew what she was up to; he could get his mental barriers in place. If she tried it again, he’d know it was a dream - he was just glad that she and his Sire had been interrupted before he blurted out exactly where he was. He had to have money before he could run again.

He’d have to compliment the Slayer on her atrocious manners, always slamming into places without knocking. Nasty of her, but worked out nice for him this time. Broke Deb’s concentration and ruined her lil’ spell. Poor baby, she was prolly mad enough to bite through steel - and if he concentrated hard enough, he was sure he’d be able to hear Angelus’ bellowing.

He snickered.

A glance at the window told him it was evening; that dream had taken up most of the day. He got out of bed and took a quick shower, scrubbing the gel out of his hair and letting it dry into the curls that he usually hated. He ran the sink full of hot water and dropped one of his last blood bags in, preferring it to be at least warm. He picked up a blue t-shirt that he’d bought, looked at it thoughtfully, then four quick tears left him with a sleeveless, low-necked tank top long enough to cover his starvation-prominent ribs but short enough to show off his washboard abs. Had to play up the good points, after all, if he was going to eat tomorrow. Only had the one bag of blood left after this one was gone.

He put on some eyeliner - fun doin’ that with no reflection - and studied his chipped black nails for a moment before leaving them as they were. No point in going overboard.

Now - to find a nice, nasty, little club and do one of the few things he was still good for.

He hid his duster in an air vent, changed into the shredded tank top, and left the room.

 


*

 


Three nights later, and he was only a job or two away from having enough money to get out of here. He’d go North; it was cold up there and they knew he hated the cold. If they were really looking for him - and he couldn’t figure out what that dream was for if they weren’t - then he had to get out as soon as he could. Angelus might have some Minions lurking around the city somewhere; it would only take one who was a little brighter than usual to see through his small attempt at a disguise.

He’d had more dreams every day, but as soon as his Sire appeared, he just flipped him the bird and woke up. A century running around with Drusilla had taught him some stellar mental controls; there was no way Deb was going to get through while he knew she was trying. He was still puzzled as to why they were trying... maybe to put on a good show for the Slayer? Sounded a little thin, but beyond that, he was clueless.

But they didn’t want him. They couldn’t. Two weeks or so wasn’t going to change a hundred and fifty years. And if they were after a convenient little fuck-toy or someone to play ‘torture- the-victim’ with, they could damn well find one somewhere else. Let them turn the Scoobies and play with them.

‘Cept not Tara and Dawn. He’d gut them all if they touched his girls. And maybe Xander - kid wasn’t too bad, when he could keep his mouth shut.

Ah, well, Buffy’d look out for them. Long as she wasn’t distracted by some big Neanderthal man, she took good care of her friends.

He shook the thoughts out of his head. He was in this shabby little club to dance, not to worry about people who’d probably forgotten he existed. ‘Darkness’ was a club that catered to the mild-bondage crowd, and he’d had no lack of offers. Chain necklace and all the rings helped.  Duster probably would, too, but he wouldn’t risk having to take it off and some shit picking it up and walking away.

So he made do with natural talents and the tricks his dear loving ‘family’ had taught him, swaying seductively to the thumping, throbbing music, arms above his head and wrists crossed in a clear signal of what he was offering. Worked like a charm so far; he’d had all the takers he could handle and spent two hours of every morning scrubbing himself in the little motel shower once his night was done.

Filthy humans, he’d prolly never feel clean again.

Well, at least the guy who’d made arrangements with him last night looked clean; he just hoped he was wrong in suspecting that the man was really into the heavy stuff. Was a human, so he wouldn’t be able to get away if he needed to. Chip had fired half the day yesterday, and he was tired and sore and his head throbbed in beat with the song playing. But he’d been offered double what he’d been asking, to make sure he was ‘available’ when the man got away from some snobby late-hour job.

If it worked out, he could start headin’ North tomorrow.

A grubby hand reached out for him, a man he suspected of being half G’rathz demon, and he dodged away expertly. Wasn’t about to get mixed up in that; they liked to nibble on their partners. In a flesh-eating, not blood-sucking, kind of way. He danced smoothly through the crowd, avoiding any other grasping hands, managing to keep a small circle of space around him.  Kept him safe from free pawing, and drew the eye of potential customers at the same time.

Bloody hell, he hated this. One more job - just this one last job - and he wasn’t having sex again for a decade!

He kept on the move, occasionally letting his eyes drift over the crowd, trying to spot his customer. ‘Bout time for the man to show, he had said ten o’clock. If he wasn’t here in ten minutes, he’d just have to find himself someone else. Spike wanted out of here.

A sudden, half-familiar tingle shot up his spine.

One that he’d never expected to feel here.

One that meant Family.

Before he could react, strong arms closed around him, and Angelus’ voice purred in his ear.

“Hello, Little One...”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Spike froze.

He was so completely terrified that he thought his heart was going to start beating.

“You’ve led me a merry chase,” the rich voice - definitely Angelus’, with its long-lost hint of an Irish accent - was still purring. Big hands slid over his exposed stomach, then up his shirt to trace his prominent ribs.

“William - look what they’ve done to you. You’re so thin...” Cool lips brushed against his throat and he finally snapped out of his frozen stupor.

He jerked away from those oddly protective arms and stared at Angelus, who gazed back at him with warm, hungry amber eyes. For the first time in a long time, Spike didn’t bother with threats or insults. His own eyes flicked over the crowd behind his Sire, easily picking out Penn, Lucinda, and Daniel. They had modern clothes and haircuts, but he’d know their faces anywhere. They were burned into his memory.

Another tingle blazed up his vertebrae, and he turned sharply, to see Dru making her way through the crowd. Damn it all, if she was here, Deborah and Tomas probably were, too. He was massively outnumbered.

...not that it had ever stopped him before.

“William, lad, don’t even try it,” Angelus rumbled, apparently reading his mind.

Spike snorted. Like he’d ever listened to his Sire before! He dodged the big hand that grabbed for him, darting away through the crowd. He didn’t know how they had tracked him down, and with all of them here he probably didn’t have a chance of escaping, but bloody hell!  He’d never been one to sit passively by while others took control of him and he damn well wasn’t going to start now!

He ducked into the shadows under one of the open staircases that led up to the club’s balcony, snatching a skull cap off an oblivious patron who was in the middle of a heated kiss. He yanked the black knit down over his glaringly white hair.

That might throw them off for, oh, ten seconds.

Good thing he wasn’t wearing his duster, after all. There was no way they would miss that - and no way he would have left it behind, either.

He slid behind a concrete pillar, sharp blue eyes tracking Angelus as the older vampire shoved his way through the crowd. He found Daniel, then Lucinda, with Drusilla hanging on to the blond woman’s hand. Yes, and Deborah was here, too, lurking near the main entrance.

Oh, shite.

Where was Penn?

Where was Tomas?

Oh, double shite! There went that tingle again!

Spike threw himself to the side, just missing being grabbed by Tomas.

The tall, lean vampire stared solemnly at him, pushing dark hair back from black eyes. “William - you will come with us,” he said firmly.

“Well,” Spike drawled, his eyes darting around for an escape, “if it ain’t Tomas the Ruddy Bookworm. Surprised they got ya outta the library. Musta hid all the porn.” Tomas was smart, and fast, but he had a short temper; if Spike could get him angry enough, he’d just start lunging at him. Easy to get away, then.

To his surprise, Tomas just smiled at him. “That’s not going to work, Little One. You’re coming home with us. It’s where you belong.”

“Sure it is,” Spike snarked, “and don’t call me that.”

“Why not?” Tomas stepped closer. “You’re our youngest one, aren’t you? Our Sire’s last Childe? That makes you our baby.”

Spike gaped at him for a moment, struck speechless.

“Baby?!” he finally managed, outraged. “‘M a bloody Master, mate - you and Dru can be Daddy’s little suck-ups! Let her be your damn baby! Just go away and leave me outta your fucked up lives!”

“We can’t do that, William. There are too many things that you need to know. Too many things we never taught you. And you’re ours - we want you, Little One. So stop running away from us.”

“Not likely,” Spike spat, “remember the kinda things you used ta ‘teach’ me. Not innerested in you breakin’ my fingers one at a time and tellin’ me you’re teachin’ me how ta slow torture a victim.”

Tomas’ eyes went dark and sad. “Little One - I’ll never do anything like that to you again.  Please, believe me.”

Not likely,” Spike repeated. He’d been retreating all this time, with Tomas doggedly following.  “Be a bloody fool if I believed you.”

“Then I suppose we’ll just have to show you,” another voice murmured, and arms closed around him again.

Not Angelus.

Penn.

“Shite!” Spike immediately began to struggle, wonder why he hadn’t sensed Penn at all. Prolly ‘cause Tomas was still making his nerve ends tingle.

Malnourished he might be, his strength low from existing on starvation rations, but Penn was still hard pressed to keep hold of him. The older vampire was vastly relieved when Angelus appeared in front of them.

“Good job,” he praised Penn and Tomas, then turned his attention to Spike. “William - Little One, stop fighting.”

“Won’t,” Spike snarled, slamming the heel of his boot against Penn’s shin. The older vampire yelped.

Angelus frowned. “William, stop hurting your Brother. He’s not hurting you.”

“Not yet. An’ ‘e bloody well’s not my brother, either!” Spike said hotly, still twisting hard in an attempt to get free.

“Laddie, you’re going to hurt yourself,” Angelus replied, noticing that Penn’s tight grip, while necessary, was raising bruises on Spike’s pale arms.

“Better me than you!”

“I am not going to...” Angelus paused, then sighed, knowing his reassurances were being ignored. “William. If you’ll just come with us, you’ll see that...”

“Not. Going. Any. Where. With. You.” Spike rolled his eyes. “Came here for a reason, didn’t I?  Feel a mite peckish. Go away an’ let me get my dinner.”

Angelus frowned. “I thought you couldn’t feed off humans?”

“Can’t.” Spike’s blue eyes glittered with malice. “Gotta buy bagged.”

“You have no money,” Penn said slowly, “Are you... stealing from the people here?”

Spike was concentrating on getting his right hand free. Just one hand, that’s all he needed... “What? and have ‘em beat the hell outta me if they catch me? Not bloody likely, mate.”

“I don’t understand.” Angelus’ voice was low and wary. His other Childer, all gathered by now, were frowning.

Spike didn’t notice - or care. “Use your bleedin’ brain, Peaches! Why risk stealin’ when I can earn dinner in about ten minutes?”

Angelus’ face was set now, his eyes turning gold. “How?”

Spike looked up at the single, clipped word. Caution told him to shut the hell up, but anger, as usual, kept his mouth going. “How ya think, Peaches?  Ought ta know what kinda club this is.  Need me ta draw ya a piccie?”

He did shut up when Angelus’ hand shot out and wrapped around his throat. Not tightly, not hurting, but forcing him to look straight into the furious demon’s eyes. “Never again.”

“So what, I starve?” Spike managed to get the words out despite the fingers around his neck.  “Chip can’t be got out, mate, already tried.”

“We’ll take care of you now, William.” Angelus’ voice was suddenly soothing. His free hand pulled the knit cap from Spike’s head and tossed it on the floor. He leaned closer, turning his Childe’s head to the side and gently scenting his throat. “Our Little One.”

Spike twisted desperately. “Don’t! ‘M not your fuckin’ Little One! Get away from me!”

“I won’t keep arguing with you, Childe,” his Sire purred. “If you won’t stop fighting, I’ll have to take you out of this disgusting hovel another way.”

Lips brushed his throat.

“No!”

Teeth touched his skin.

“No! Angel!”

Fangs.

Spike whimpered.

The others watched as Angelus gently drained his Childe until Spike went limp in Penn’s embrace. Then their Sire eased him out of his First Childe’s arms and into his own. He wasn’t unconscious - his sapphire eyes were open, but dazed.

“Never again,” Angelus told his other Childer, holding Spike close. His youngest’s blond head settled into the crook of his neck and Angelus gave a soft sigh of pleasure. “No one ever touches him again,” he repeated, his voice pitched so low only they could hear it. “Only us. Only family.”

“Yes, Sire,” Penn spoke for all of them.

“...n’t...you...either...” Spike murmured, too weak to struggle but never too weak to talk.

Angelus grinned. “Don’t worry, my Little One - nothing that you won’t like.”

Spike snorted faintly.

“Excuse me,” a voice interrupted, “but I believe I  have an appointment with that particular blond?”

The vampires turned as one, seven pairs of amber-flecked eyes settling on a tall, slim man in an impeccable suit. He was perfectly groomed, from his neat grey hair to his shiny black shoes. He would have looked ridiculously out of place in the tawdry club - if it wasn’t for the gleam of hunger in his eyes.

“I think you’re mistaken,” Penn said calmly, shifting to stand in front of Angelus and Spike.

“I am certain I am not - we agreed, last night, that he’d be mine for the evening.”

“His is ours,” Angelus rumbled dangerously, “he is mine. Find yourself different company.”

“I’m afraid that is unacceptable. I’ve been looking forward to that delicious boy all day,” the man said, sniffing haughtily. He made a small gesture, and three hulking bodyguards moved from the shadows to flank him.

All of Angelus’ family - except Spike, who was fighting sleep - scented the air cautiously, then began to smile.

All four of them were pure human.

“Penn,” Angelus purred, “why don’t you and Daniel take care of this gentleman? Show him what happens to someone foolish enough to try and take what isn’t theirs.” He shifted Spike carefully, gathering him up into his arms and cradling him against his chest. “Come to the hotel when you’re through playing.”

“Yes, Sire. Thank you,” Penn replied, his voice rich and smooth - and deadly. He and Daniel moved to block the three bodyguards when they would have intercepted Angelus, leaving their Sire to walk freely from the club, carrying his prize. Lucinda and Deborah followed, each with an arm through one of Tomas’, while Drusilla lagged along behind them, gazing wistfully over her shoulder at the bloody mayhem.

“Daddy...”

“You can play some other time, Princess,” Angelus laughed back, “for now, let’s get our boy home.”

“All right...” she pouted, and followed them into the night.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Spike woke up naked, and chained to the bed.

About what he had expected - except that it was just a single light chain, attached to a beautiful, slender silver cuff around his left ankle. Before, Angelus had always had him weighed down with thick iron chains so heavy he could barely move.

He sat up slowly, wincing as the chip gave him his usual evening reminder that it was still there.

He had no idea where he was - the polished walls and cut-stone floor were unfamiliar, as was the huge, lavishly comfortable bed. He was almost being swallowed up by the fat pillows and thick, silk-lined comforters. He could feel the warmth of an electric blanket, too, and was rather tempted to just burrow back down and sleep until he woke up somewhere else.

He was too hungry to do it, though.

A quick look around the room told him there was no blood waiting for him when he woke. He grumbled, crawling out of the warm bed and hunting for the end of the chain to see how it was fastened. Should have known his Sire was lying - gonna take care of him now, his arse. Locked in a bedroom to starve again. Hoped Drusilla remembered him this time.

At least he wasn’t stuck in a wheelchair.

For a moment, he thought the chain was fastened to the bedstead, and gleeful thoughts of demolishing it and escaping out the window danced through his head. Then he discovered that the chain was only wrapped through the carved wooden posts. It was actually fastened to an iron ring, set deep in the stone floor.

Bloody flamin’ hell.

Just his luck, Dru and Deb had set up some cute lil’ spells on it, too, and he’d turn into a beetle or somethin’ if he tried to get away.

A further search of the room - at least the chain was long enough that he could reach all of it, including the very posh bathroom - found no food, none of his clothes, and nothing to use as a weapon.

What he did find was clear evidence - clothes, books, personal items - that this was Angelus’ bedroom.

He was in so much trouble.

He sat down on the floor next to the bed, wincing as the cold stone hit his bare backside, and tried to think of what to do. If he got back on the bed, he could go to sleep - or he could hide behind the door with a pillow and see if you could whack another vampire to death.

Sleep was probably the better idea. He just wished he wasn’t so hungry.

“I thought you’d be awake,” a voice purred, and he jumped up, startled. He hadn’t heard the door open, but Angelus was standing just inside the room, gazing at him. “Are you hungry?”

Spike shrugged, trying to act casual, like he wasn’t standing bare-butt naked in front of his Sire, and like his Sire wasn’t staring at him like he was going to pounce. “Could eat.”

“Good.” Angelus closed the door firmly and stalked toward him.

Spike blinked, and started backing away.

“William...” Angelus crooned, “you can’t run from me. I’m not going to hurt you.”

“Says you.”

His Sire just grinned, and started unbuttoning his shirt.

Spike stared. What was the bloody Poof doing?! He’d asked if he was hungry, not horny!  ‘Course, it had never mattered if he was interested in doing it before, why would it start mattering now? Angelus reached for him, and he jumped back, stumbling against the bed.  Strong hands wrapped around his arms before he could fall, and then there was the sudden scent of blood in the air.

And not just any blood.

Sire’s blood.

Spike stared at the cut Angelus had casually made across his chest, his mouth watering. He swallowed, and shifted his stare to his Sire’s face, eyes wide.

“You’re malnourished, Little One. Even human blood wouldn’t help you much right now.  Come, feed.” He pulled his Childe against him and Spike couldn’t resist any longer. He dove forward and licked up the blood that had started trailing down his Sire’s impressive chest, then fastened his mouth over the oozing cut and drank.

Angelus shuddered with pleasure and folded his arms around him, his hands wandering over his back. “That’s it, William. Drink. Remember who your Sire is.”

Spike whimpered, feeling his long-dormant Blood-Bond with the Elder Vampire slamming open, so intense and sudden that it was painful. He didn’t stop swallowing, though - every drop of Angelus’ blood was like liquid heat, flowing into his body, soothing aches and pains that he hadn’t even realized were there.

“You’ll feed from me every day, Little One, and from Penn if I’m not here,” Angelus said softly, maneuvering him around until he could lay them both down on the bed. “I want you strong, healthy.”

Spike hummed in complete agreement, willing to concede anything at the moment. He had been hungry for so long, and he’d never been allowed to drink this much from his Sire before. He didn’t even care that Angelus’ hands had started exploring him, sliding over the hunger-lean planes of his chest, down his stomach, spreading his thighs and caressing his genitals. He was getting turned on, anyway; Sire’s blood was a potent aphrodisiac, on top of its healing qualities.

By the time Spike had swallowed the equivalent of two bags of blood, there were slick fingers inside him and Angelus was humming happily against his hair, rubbing his cheek against the messy curls.

This was new - the Poof had never bothered to prepare him before. It had always been all about Angelus’ pleasure; there was no lube unless he was in the mood for its slick sensation, and no preparation because he liked his partners to feel tight. Spike had always felt that the fact that he’d been turned as an innocent lil’ virgin ought to have left him tight enough, but he never mentioned it to Angelus.

He preferred his skin to stay on his body.

“Is that all you want?” Angelus asked when he pulled back and started licking the wound closed.

“Full,” Spike said shortly. He was used to no more than a bag - maybe a bag and a half - at a time. Even a vampire’s stomach shrank after a while; he felt pleasantly stuffed.

“Are you?” Angelus sat back a little and looked hard into his eyes. Apparently satisfied, his gaze drifted down his Childe’s body until it settled on his stomach.

As thin as he was, even with his still-defined muscles, having a full tummy made a little pooch show up on his usually flat torso. Angelus grinned.

Spike looked down to see what was so fascinating, and scowled.

“Cute,” Angelus laughed, leaning down and nuzzling the bump.

“Wanker!” Spike grumbled, highly embarrassed.

“Oh, not right now, I’m not,” the bigger vampire purred, reaching down and spreading his Childe’s legs wider. “No, not right now.”

Even as aroused as he was, the motion made Spike automatically start struggling. “Leave me be!” he protested weakly, pushing at the sturdy form hovering above him.

“William,” Angelus’ hand curved around his Childe’s shaft, stroking him slowly, even as his other hand pushed up a knee, opening his youngest to his avid gaze. “You don’t need to fight me. You want this,” and his fingers gently squeezed the obvious proof.

Too right, he did, but he wasn’t about to admit it! “Just feedin’, mate, that’s all. You know ‘ow it is,” he scowled.

“Sire,” Angelus corrected him softly, snagging a pillow and lifting his Childe easily, placing it under his hips.

“Huh?” Spike was confused.

“I’m your Sire,” that deep voice rumbled, even as the head of Angelus’ cock pressed against his opening. “Not ‘mate’ and not ‘Peaches’ and not ‘Poof.’ Sire.”

“How ‘bout ‘Ponce’?” Spike asked brokenly, trying not to howl as his Sire pushed inside. He immediately felt so full, so connected - bloody humans didn’t have anything on his Sire; no one could compare to his Sire, and wasn’t he just becoming a perfect lil’ nancy-boy again?

Angelus laughed, the sound vibrating inside Spike and making him whimper. “Say ‘Sire,’ William - tell me who I am to you.”

“Won’t,” Spike said petulantly, though he found it impossible to keep himself from lifting his hips as Angelus began to thrust. The big hands had started wandering over him again, stroking his skin and playing with his nipples until they were hard little peaks. Angelus’ mouth wandered over his face, brushing his forehead, his nose, seeming to test the length of his trembling eyelashes before settling over his own lips. He was rapidly becoming a puddle of confused goo - usually his Sire would be holding his wrists above his head - if they weren’t tied to the bedposts - and would have his fangs buried in his throat, draining him until he passed out.

He’d never bothered to try and make Spike feel good while he took him - even though Spike had usually enjoyed it, anyway, providing it wasn’t a ruthless punishment-fuck following up a brutal beating - and besides, this was a bit beyond just ‘good.’

This was bloody brilliant!

Clever tongue in his mouth, fingers plucking at his chest, huge cock pounding against his prostate -

- and then it all stopped.

“...angel?” he whimpered, staring up at the Elder vampire, who had pulled completely back and was smirking at him.

“Say ‘Sire’.”

“No!” He squirmed desperately, trying to get closer.

“Call me ‘Sire’, William,” Angelus crooned, brushing the head of his shaft teasingly against his Childe’s entrance.

“W-won’t... please, Peaches...” He tried to grab at Angelus; he was so close to climax and his demon was wailing at the sudden separation when it had been enjoying the closeness of its father.

Angelus caught his hands easily, and his smirk grew more pronounced. “Little One... just say it.  Just say that one sweet word...” he reached between his Childe’s legs and stroked a thumb over his balls, then slid a finger inside the slick, open channel.

“Oh... hell...” Spike moaned, writhing beneath him, not even considering trying to get away.  Leaving was the last thing on his addled mind.

“Sweet little William...” the rich voice purred, and Angelus set the very tips of his fangs against his Childe’s beautiful throat.

That did it.

“Sire... Sire, Sire, SireSireSire... please, Sire, now, pleaseplease... Sire...” Spike started chanting, unable to resist the touch of those ivory fangs.

Angelus gave a growl of triumph and slammed back into him, cock and fangs impaling his Childe at the exact same time.

A scream got caught in Spike’s throat and nearly strangled him - he held off from climaxing by sheer will power.

He didn’t have permission to come yet, and he didn’t want to make his Sire angry.

No matter how good this felt, he wasn’t going to forget that it was Angelus who was doing it.

His Sire surprised him all over again when he only took a small sip of his blood, yet left his fangs buried deep in his throat as he pounded into him. He bit back the cries that wanted to escape him, but he couldn’t stop himself from arching to meet the thrusts, pushing his hips against Angelus in an instinctive attempt to pull him even deeper.

The sharp fangs slid out of his flesh, and a cool tongue lapped at the wound. “Come for me, now,” his Sire whispered, and his body obeyed, clamping down tight on the hard shaft inside him as he painted their stomachs with cool liquid. He subsided into hazy bliss, even though Angelus gave a pleased growl and continued to pound him against the soft bed.

 


*

 

 


It was quite awhile later before they both lay quiet, the room heavy with the scents of blood and sex, curled together in the middle of the huge bed.

Angelus held his Childe close, both arms wrapped around him. “That was fun,” he purred, pleasantly sated.

“Whatever you say, Peaches,” Spike muttered, shifting around against his Sire’s firm body until he was comfortable. And if comfortable meant his head on a broad shoulder and one thigh slung over Angelus’ hips - well, he’d be furious with himself tomorrow, but he didn’t care right now.

The hard body next to him thrummed with a soft chuckle. “I’ll have you calling me ‘Sire’ continually, soon enough.”

“S’wot you think.”

A large hand slid down his back to cup his arse, stroking and kneading one cheek like his Sire was petting a cat. “Yes, that’s what I think. I’m going to prove to you that you can trust me now, William - I don’t care if it takes me another century.”

“Prolly will,” Spike snorted, before drifting off into sleep.

He nearly missed the whispered reply.

“So be it, then, Childe. So be it.”

 

 


*

 

 


“He fed?”

“Yes.”

“How much?”

“Only a little. It will take time.”

“I know. How did he react? Are you sure you’re not pushing him too quickly?”

“Perhaps I am, but it was needed. I had to connect to him again.”

Spike scowled slightly, wondering who the hell was talking and keeping him from sleeping.

“What happens next?”

“We will try the book, though I do not have great faith in it working. He has powerful mental shields.”

“We all know that, now. What do we do if it doesn’t work?”

“We continue as I have begun. It will just take much longer.”

“Do we have that sort of time?”

“What else can we do?”

“Shut up,” Spike suggested, burying his face into a pillow and sighing with satisfaction when the room went quiet.

Someone chuckled, and he felt a kiss dropped on his bare shoulder.

After that, he didn’t remember anything.