Edges of My Mind
Los Angeles, Hyperion Hotel
Angel lay on his back beside Spike and stared at the ceiling. He debated whether to wait for Spike to wake up and tell him what had happened or to call Buffy and get her side of the situation. The very thought of dialing her number brought back a painful ache in his gut that he thought had long been buried. They were living separate lives now. He no longer held any sway in hers. In fact, the last time he had seen her was after Willow had brought her back. That was a meeting he did not want to ever repeat again.
Angel sat up and moved to a chair by the bed, falling heavily into it. He had cleaned Spike of both Buffy and Riley’s scent; but the odor was still strong in his nostrils. It made him feel like showering himself. He knew very little of what went on in Sunnydale, only gossip from Cordelia when she would call Willow for help with the computer.
He’d only met Riley once two years ago and after the soldier had used a tazer on him in greeting he immediately didn’t like him. He had told Buffy as much. From what Angel understood, though, Riley had been out of the picture for a while now. So, why had he returned to Sunnydale and attacked Spike? His childe could be insolent and impetuous, but nothing to warrant this kind of abuse.
Oh, come on Angel, you don’t remember trying to beat him into submission when he was a fledgling? Angelus whispered in his mind.
That was different. I was trying to discipline him so that he would survive, Angel answered back.
Yes, but it was so gratifying wasn’t it? All that blood streaming down that beautifully sculpted body, like a Greek statue he is, eh, Angel?
He couldn’t deny that. Spike did have a beautiful body that was chiseled and an angular face with high cheekbones that went on forever.
And he looks great with the dripping blood; don’t forget about the blood, Angelus chuckled.
Oh, shut up, Angel growled back, I’m not like that anymore.
Is that so? Then what’s this image I see of you ripping Riley’s head clean off his shoulders for what he’s done to my boy? Angelus asked.
A momentary lapse of reason? First instinct? I don’t know, Angel said.
You really are a ponce, you know that? And here, I thought Spike was just saying that to piss me off, Angelus surmised.
Are you through? Angel growled.
That depends. Are you going to let a human get away with the rape and battery of my childe? Angelus asked.
I have to find out what happened first and then I will deal with it, Angel said.
A punishment by severe cuddling? Ooooh, scary! Angelus taunted.
Do you have a suggestion? Angel asked.
Eviscerating that corn-fed farm boy and whipping him with his own intestines doesn’t sound too bad, Angelus answered seriously.
Angel shook his head to clear it. Damn Angelus.
Spike stirred on the bed attracting Angel’s attention. He looked up to see sleep-blurred blue eyes watching him with an unreadable expression. Angel leaned closer to the bed and waited while Spike became more aware of his surroundings.
“Hey, how are you?” Angel’s voice came out gravelly.
Spike blinked and then blinked again. Angel was still in front him. When he had opened his eyes, he thought he was dreaming like when his mind had taken a trip down memory lane to see Drusilla. He vaguely remembered the drive from Sunnydale and now, here he was and Angel was beside him. He groaned when he shifted and the muscles in his body protested. “Sore as bloody hell.”
The corners of Angel’s mouth quirked up at Spike’s answer. Well, whatever had happened hadn’t outwardly changed his childe’s devil-may-care attitude. “Do you want to tell me what happened? Why did you come here?”
“Dru sent me here or, at least, I think it was Dru,” Spike said, his brow furrowed as if he were thinking too hard. It was the same expression Angel had when he brooded heavily.
“Dru? Dru’s in Sunnydale?” Angel asked curiously. The last he had seen of his insane girl was a year ago when he had set her and Darla on fire.
“No, I don’t remember where she went. She was in my head. She told me to come here,” Spike replied.
Angel scratched his head. Spike wasn’t making sense or if he was, the story was coming out in fragments. He sighed inwardly. He could get through this. He just had to find out what Spike remembered and go from there, right?
“Spike? What is the last thing you remember at all?” Angel enunciated every word so that the blonde understood the question.
“My crypt was burned out because Buffy and Riley had bombed it. It had destroyed everything but Dru’s bed. Remember that four post bed she had?” At Angel’s nod, Spike continued. “I wanted to take it with me when I left Sunnydale but the damn thing is huge and even dismantled I didn’t have room in the Desoto nor the energy to do anything with it. Anyway, while I was looking over the damage to my home, Riley showed up. We argued about Buffy. I remember trying to deflect his fists, but the chip fired and nearly blinded me. Next thing I know, I’m standing in the house we had in Yorkshire and Drusilla was there with you, but you were Angelus. That’s when Dru told me to go to you.”
“You don’t remember anything else?” Angel asked.
“About which part: the house or the crypt?”
“About what happened in the crypt,” Angel clarified.
“Buffy had come in, wanted me to . . . and then Riley showed up. She took his side over me and they bombed my crypt after I left.” Spike said.
“Spike, if you want me to help you, you have to be straight with me. What the hell has been going on up there?” Angel said as he massaged his temples. This was giving him a mild headache. It didn’t seem like he was getting anywhere. Spike was talking in nonsensical phrases and it was driving him crazy.
Spike heard the exasperation in Angel’s voice. He sat up carefully and leaned against the pillows. “What do you want to know, mate? How far back do you want to go? Tonight? This year? Last year? Three years ago?”
Angel rubbed his hand over his face. “Okay, I know that you were helping Buffy last year and developed some sort of fascination with her and that you continued to help her when Willow brought her back. But, why did she and Riley bomb your crypt?”
“It wasn’t a fascination Angel. I loved – love – her. I don’t know exactly when I started to love her. I kept having these dreams last year about kissing her and making love to her, that’s when I realized it. I tried to deny it and fought against it. But you know what’s like to be around her.”
Angel remembered what it was like to be around Buffy. It was sweet agony to be in her light. It was a torture on his senses. “Yes, I know.”
Spike nodded and went on. “When Willow brought her back she was angry and broken. Those first few weeks she was back she would come to me. She’d tell me all the things she couldn’t tell her friends. Most of it was her feelings on being alive again. She’s different Angel. She’s not like she used to be. She’s harsher now. Two months ago, I found out the chip no longer worked on her. She was human and alive, but I guess with Red’s spell, it did something and the chip didn’t recognize her as human.
“The night I tested it out, we fought and quite literally brought the house down around us. Then, she was kissing me and impaling herself on my cock. The next morning, she left threatening to stake me if her Scooby gang ever found out, but she kept coming back.
“She’s been having money trouble, working in a fast food joint out on the highway. So, I went into a deal with a Glognok named Maurice selling Svolte eggs on the black market. I was gonna keep enough to tie me over and give the rest to her. She wasn’t supposed to find out where the money came from. Tonight, she showed up in my crypt out of the blue. I haven’t seen her for weeks. Of course, the time before she was literally invisible. So, she’s there in my crypt asking if I love her and want her and asking me to make love to her. After that, Riley showed up and saw her with me. He asked about the eggs. He searched the place and found them in the lower part of my crypt. Buffy turned on me. It wasn’t like last year when she told me I was beneath her. I tried to help her Angel. I . . . she used me and I let her because I thought that I could help her and she threw it back at me when her soldier boy came back toting a wife.
“When she sided with him, I knew and I left. When I came back, I found out they had destroyed my crypt. Everything’s gone: mementos I had kept over the years, everything, except Dru’s bed.” Spike looked at his Sire in anguish. “I want to get Dru’s bed out of there.”
Angel gave a slight nod in acknowledgement which made Spike sigh in relief. The dark vampire didn’t speak. What could he say? He was still mentally sorting all that his childe had told him. Spike loved Buffy and tried to help her, without a soul? Spike and Buffy were sleeping together? Buffy had used him . . . why? Riley showed up with a wife and saw Buffy in bed with Spike? Buffy and Riley destroyed Spike’s home? Riley still went after his childe and assaulted him?
Of all the things Spike had told him, 2 of them kept bouncing around in Angel’s mind: Buffy used Spike and Riley had beat and raped him. Well, okay, 3 . . . Buffy and Riley teamed up and demolished Spike’s crypt. Can you believe a word he says? Angel’s inner voice asked. His boy may be a killer and took advantage of situations to get what he wanted, but he had never lied about who he was and what he was about.
“Sire?” Spike’s voice broke through Angel’s thought. It had been a hundred years since the blonde had called him that. It always came out in a voice that sounded so much like William. Well, not always, that one time on Parent-Teacher Night at Buffy’s school it came out every bit as angry as Spike was at the time. Tonight, though, it was back to sounding like William.
Angel moved over to the edge of the bed and took a mug of blood off the cup warmer. He helped Spike to sit up and moved to recline against the headboard, letting the blonde lay back against him. He held the mug up in front of the other vampire. “Here, drink this.”
Spike leaned closer to the mug and sniffed at it. “Cow mixed with your blood?” When Angel acknowledged the inquiry, the younger vampire tipped the bottom of the mug up as his Sire held it and swallowed. While his childe drank from one cup, Angel reached over and set another mug of blood on the warmer.
Angel watched his boy drink and reflected on what Spike had told him about Drusilla guiding him in a dream. Or was it a hallucination? Of all his childer, Spike and Drusilla were the closest to each other. They never questioned Penn’s absence from the family except once in the early days of his banishment. He wondered if either of them felt it when Penn dusted. Normally, only Sires felt their childer. It was a keen sense similar to watching their childe’s life flash before their eyes and then a gut-wrenching feeling like something being ripped away from them when he or she was dusted. He didn’t know what it felt like to Spike and Drusilla. He wondered if they even remembered Penn.
Spike pushed the empty mug away. “Would you stop? I can hear the Wheels O’ Brood turn in your head.”
Angel smirked. His boy wasn’t one for tact. He set the empty mug on the nightstand on the other side of the bed. “Still hungry?”
“Yeah,” Spike said.
Angel reached for a second mug. As he went about getting a third one ready if it was needed, he asked Spike, “Do you know why Riley returned to the crypt after you found it destroyed?”
“That git’s had it in for me since the beginning. Before he left last year, he’d threatened to stake me if I touched Buffy.” He stopped and glanced at Angel. “I don’t know what happened after the chip fired. I remember tousling with him and then I blacked out.”
“Spike, you’re in bad shape. I’m trying to figure out how you got this way,” Angel said. He changed the focus a bit and asked, “What has been happening with Buffy then?”
“I already told you Angel. We stumbled into a relationship of sorts,” Spike said, agitated. He had thought that he’d get satisfaction in telling Angel about his sexual relationship with Buffy as a way of showing him up for all those times he had been taunted by Angelus with Drusilla. But now, all it left was a bitter taste in his mouth.
“Can you hold the cup on your own?” Angel asked. He had something to see to. Something that he felt needed his attention immediately.
“Yeah, I can hold a cup on my own, give it here,” Spike growled. He grabbed the cup roughly, sloshing the crimson liquid on his hand. Spike leaned closer and licked the blood away before taking a sip from the mug.
Angel nodded acknowledging that Spike would be fine on his own for a few minutes. He climbed out of the bed. He walked out of his bedroom and shut the French doors that divided the room from the adjoining sitting room. Walking over to the wing-backed chair, he picked up the phone and dialed a number he swore he would never use again.
“Summers residence, Willow speaking,” a voice chirped over the line.
“Willow? Hi. This is Angel. Is Buffy home?” he asked calmly.
“Oh, hey! Yeah, she just walked in, just a sec,” Willow said. There were muffled noises and the faraway voice of Willow alerting Buffy to his call.
“Hello?” Buffy soft voice came over the connection.
Oh, God! Why did I call her? Angel thought. His chest hurt as per usual when he was near Buffy or even hearing her voice. There was a small bit of the teenage girl he had fallen in love with peeking through the maturity in her voice. He didn’t know if he could talk to her now. His own throat had become dry surprisingly quick when he heard her voice. She used my boy and abused him. He’s mine! Angelus reminded him.
“Angel?” Buffy breathed his name over the line.
What to say to her? Angel pondered. Tell the little bitch what you think of her fucking my boy to suit her own means, Angelus suggested. “Buffy? Spike’s here.”
“Oh? I wondered where he disappeared to after the trouble he’s caused,” Buffy said.
Trouble what trouble? “What trouble?” Angel asked.
“Let’s see, where to start? Tonight? He had a stash of demon eggs in his crypt. Riley was here and he found them. It was so like Spike to have them. Then they hatched and we had to destroy them by using a grenade. Riley left after that.”
I went into a deal with a Glognok named Maurice selling Svolte eggs on the black market. I was gonna keep enough to tie me over and give the rest to her. She wasn’t supposed to find out where the money came from. Spike’s words echoed in his mind. Angel noticed that she wasn’t taking any responsibility for her part in the matter.
“Spike says Riley caught the two of you together.” That came out in a croak didn’t it?
“He did? Why would he say something like that?” She asked.
Buffy sounded innocent, but Angel knew better. She didn’t expect him to believe that line did she? He was a vampire, damn it. He had picked up her scent all over his childe. He could even smell her dried cum on his boy’s genitals when he had cleaned the blonde up. The more he thought about it, the angrier he became. He didn’t know if he was more upset that Spike and Buffy were sleeping together or that she was using him for her own personal needs that had nothing to do with fighting demons.
“Buffy. You’re an adult. The least you could do is tell the truth. What are you doing up there?” Angel hissed.
“Where do you get off demanding that I tell you anything? You no longer have a say in my life anymore, Angel. You gave that up when you left me,” Buffy said angrily.
“Look, what you do with your soldier boyfriend is your business. What you do with Spike is my business. He’s my family and I want to know why the hell I can smell your scent all over his body. What the hell have you been doing in up there? Why did Riley go after him?” Angel asked through gritted teeth.
There was silence on the other end. For a moment Angel thought Buffy would hang up on him. “Spike and I . . . we’ve been involved,” said in a small voice reminiscent of the girl she used to be.
“Involved? That’s obvious from the smell of him. Just how ‘involved’ were you?” Angel asked.
“You don’t know what it’s been like for me these past few months since I’ve been back, Angel. Spike was here. He was around. He was the only one I could talk to about where I was that seemed to understand,” Buffy said tearfully.
“How involved were you, Buffy?” Angel repeated.
“Physically and sexually. He . . . I took out most of my frustration on him,” Buffy was trying to explain.
Angel rubbed a hand down his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Buffy, his Buffy, had just admitted to him that she was sexually involved with Spike. He knew he had been busy with the hell that Wolfram and Hart had made of his life, but where did he miss the train concerning his ex-girlfriend/mate fucking his childe?
He remembered how distant she was when they had met after she was brought back. He could even understand her confiding in Spike. But from what his childe had told him, he assumed that the word ‘physically’ and the phrase ‘taking most of my frustrations out on him’ didn’t just include fucking him into the next century.
“Buffy, I’m going to ask this once, and I want a straight answer from you,” Angel intoned. When he received silence, he took it as his cue to continue. “Did you do more than sleep with Spike?”
“What do you mean? Did I beat him up? Yeah, he was fun to spar with. He gets on my nerves at times. It drives me crazy so I beat him up a bit,” Buffy said.
“Why didn’t you just stake him if he drives you insane?” Angel asked.
“Angel, he’s a big boy and can take care of himself. He’s annoyed us enough times over the years,” Buffy replied.
That wasn’t what Angel was seeing when he looked at Spike now. Spike’s injuries didn’t come from a simple sparring session. It was an outright beating and he had been used. A simple sparring session, even one in which Spike described when he had tested the chip out on Buffy would not have left the strong scent that was now permeating his rooms.
“I know he can take care of himself. I taught him that. What I don’t get is how you would use someone for your own purposes. That isn’t like you, Buffy.” Angel said.
“I’ve changed. I’m not like I used to be. Death can do that to a person,” she replied.
“Yes, but death is not a good enough reason for how you treated Spike. From what I could get out of him, he has helped you and tried to help you through this ordeal and you fucked him, used him and then let Riley have him,” Angel growled.
“He’s only helped when it’s been beneficial to him, Angel. And what I do in my personal life is no longer your concern anymore. How Spike and I are with each other has nothing to do with you. And I never let Riley have him. I don’t know where you came up with that far-fetched idea!” Buffy was shouting into the phone with her rising anger.
“I’ll tell you where I got that far-fetched idea: there are multiple scents coming off of Spike that can only have come from sex. So, I guess after you were done fucking his body to work out your problems, Riley took over where you left off. From what I could get out of Spike, he returned to a burnt out home which you and your toy soldier destroyed and Finn showed up and beat him up. The chip fired when Spike tried to defend himself and Riley raped him!” Angel’s face had shifted into his demon while he was talking.
“He’s just a soulless demon, Angel. Besides Riley wouldn’t --” Buffy started to say.
“I’m going to find a way to get that chip removed so that Spike can at least defend himself,” Angel announced.
“NO! You can’t! He’ll kill again! If you get the chip removed I’ll have to stake him!” Buffy cried.
“Spike has more humanity and control over his demon than Angelus ever did. I won’t have him living with me and be defenseless against human scum like Riley Finn. As for your tin soldier, I’ll make him pay for the offense he has committed against my clan by going after Spike. He better pray it takes me a while to find him,” Angel growled and then punched the button that ended the call.
Sunnydale, Summers’ Residence
Buffy heard the dial tone and stared at the phone as her body went completely numb. Angel had sounded so much like Angelus. He knew about her and Spike. Spike had told him about their – whatever it was that they had. Angel was going to have Spike’s chip removed. He was going to go after Riley. Oh, God. I have to stop him before he has a chance to do any of it! With that thought, she hung up the phone, slamming it down on the base harder than necessary.
“Willow!?” Buffy called as she rushed to get her purse, jacket and keys.
“What is it, Buffy?” her friend asked.
“I need you to watch Dawn for me. I have to go somewhere, but I’ll be back in a few days. It shouldn’t take me any longer than that. God, I have to stop him before he does anything,” Buffy babbled.
“Yeah, sure, whatever you need, Buffy. But, what is going on? Who’s going to do what?” Willow inquired.
“I can’t talk right now. I have to hurry. But, I’ll tell you everything when I get back,” Buffy said. She gave the redhead a quick hug and hurried out the door, slamming it shut behind her. Willow stared at the door in confusion.