How to Treat Your
Chapter 49-B: Step 3 – Estrangement (Part 16)
Outside the Hyperion
Angel strode down the front walk, lost in thought, confused and angry. Just as he rounded the corner to the street, a stake pierced his left shoulder. He looked up to see Justine with a crossbow as she fired another stake. Angel rolled out of the way as it whizzed by.
With a growl of pain, he yanked the stake out of his shoulder just as four of Holtz’s men converged on him at once. He dodged and parried, landing devastating blows of his own, knocking them to the ground in a matter of seconds. He turned to leave, but Justine punched him in the face.
“Don’t run off now. The fun’s just startin’,” Justine taunted.
Angel didn’t have time for this. He had to find Sahjahn and avenge what happened to Spike. As Justine lunged with a stake, Angel deftly disarmed her and slammed her hard against a wall. He held the bloody point of the stake he had pulled from his shoulder to her throat. Suddenly, all the spiteful remarks were replaced with the sweet smell of fear.
“I’m not your boyfriend,” he said menacingly. “Find somebody else to smack you around.” He grabbed her by her jacket and tossed her aside. She fell on her side, her head cracking on the sidewalk. She lifted her hands over her head, sure there was going to be another attack but when she dared to look up all she saw was Angel’s departing back. She scrambled to her feet and ran.
Just then Fred and Gunn came out of the hotel. Gunn tugged on Fred’s arm.
“It does matter. It has to matter,” she was saying.
“Fred, he’s not thinkin’ about --” Gunn started to explain when he saw the unconscious men on the ground. “What the hell?”
Fred saw Justine running for a car and yanking the door open. “Justine. She’s leaving her people --”
“—In Wesley’s car,” Gunn finished. A look passed between them and they ran for their own vehicle to follow her and investigate.
Los Angeles, Sahjahn’s Underground Chamber
Justine stood alone in the chamber. She circled the table, seeming lost. She sat down in a chair and stared into space. The metallic grind of the iron door sliding open caused her to turn around and see Gunn and Fred enter the room behind her.
“Where’s Wes?” Gunn demanded.
“He’s not coming back,” Justine said, lost in her own world.
“What?” Gunn asked confused.
“It was all lies. Every bit of it,” Justine said. “All he wanted was to punish Angel. He never cared about anything else.”
“I’m talking about Wesley,” Gunn clarified. “His car’s parked up top here; you obviously took it from him. Where is he?”
Justine looked away. Gunn stepped closer and Fred followed. “We just want to hear his side.”
“His side?” Justine sounded bemused. “His side’s kind of funny: he sacrificed everything he believed in to save that demon.”
“By helping Holtz and betraying Angel?” Gunn inquired sardonically. “I’d like to hear it from the horse’s mouth.”
“Your friend’s innocent,” Justine said simply.
“Is he alive?” Fred asked anxiously. “Where is he? Will you please just tell us?”
“Heaven . . . Hell . . .” Justine replied disinterestedly, “I slit his throat.”
Fred suddenly slapped her hard across the face. Justine instinctively swung back at Fred. Gunn caught the punch and threw her tumbling over the chair. Justine rolled and attacked Gunn. She swung a fist and connected. When she punched him again, Gunn slammed her to the ground.
“Stay down!” he ordered.
She seemed to think it over. “Um, no.”
Justine lunged at Gunn. He countered with a punch. She hit back. He returned the punch hard in the face and she crumpled to the ground. Fred moved to stand next to him and stared down at Justine. Justine pulled the hair out of her face and glared up at them. She was now sporting a bloody nose as well as a busted lip.
“I trusted the wrong man,” Justine muttered.
Gunn stepped closer, grabbed Justine by her jacket and jerked her to her feet. “You’re taking us to him. And he better be alive.”
“You call that a fight?”
Fred, Gunn and Justine looked toward the gate and saw Sahjahn blocking the exit.
“Let me show you how we used to do it.” He stepped into the room, commenting, “So, my home, uninvited guests, this can’t end well.”
“This is the guy, right?” Gunn inquired. Fred nodded.
Recognizing Justine, Sahjahn said, “Hi, honey. I remember you. You’re one of Holtz’s groupies. You tried to cut off my head.” With that he backhanded Justine hard, sending her flying into a wall by the entrance where she crumpled to the floor. Sahjahn then turned to Gunn and Fred. “Can’t tell you how much I missed doing that.”
As Sahjahn stalked towards them, Fred fumbled in her pocket for her cell phone. Across the chamber, Justine slowly came back to consciousness. Gunn and Fred backed up around the table as she tried to dial the phone.
“I also missed gravity, friction and smashing things to pieces,” Sahjahn said casually. He grabbed a chair, shattered it against the table and held the leg of it threateningly. Fred fumbled with the phone and accidentally dropped it. She didn’t have time to pick it up for fear that Sahjahn would attack. “Let’s start with your skulls.”
Angel stepped into the chamber behind the demon. “Or yours.”
Sahjahn turned and saw Angel stride closer, past Justine who was still on the floor. Seeing her chance, she rushed out of the room.
“Angel,” Sahjahn said in false pleasantry. “I’m guessing I have you to thank for the whole mortal coil thing.”
“Yeah. Tell you what, you tell me what you gave to Holtz that poisoned Spike and deliberately slowed his regenerative abilities and how to fix it – we’ll call it even.”
“Don’t think so, buddy. Holtz and I made a deal. Personally, I wanted you dead. But, I’ll take your childe in permanent stasis as a consolation prize.”
“You’re going to tell me one way or the other,” Angel threatened.
“There is no cure.”
“Nope. He has to find his own way out.”
“So what are you lying about?” Fred demanded.
“Oh, well, I don’t like to brag but . . .” Sahjahn fixed his eyes on her. “Read any good prophecies lately.”
“You wrote the prophecies?” Gunn asked.
“More like a rewrite,” Sahjahn clarified.
“The champion will fall from grace,” Fred recited.
“Yeah, I flitted back and forth in time, polished some prophecies. Flitted in a manly way, just so we’re clear,” Sahjahn replied. “You’re not really my enemy. You’re in my home and I’m going to kick you ass, but you were never really the point.”
“Holtz?” Angel said.
“Holtz has been after you and Darla for years. So I brought him forward two hundred years, because Wolfram & Hart brought her back. She was supposed to give birth to your child, a human child. But then you let her die as a human. So then, I helped Holtz seek revenge on you with Spike. I just gave him something extra to make the sting hurt a little deeper.”
“So you planted the false prophecy that Spike would somehow harm Angel and Wesley believed it,” Fred filled in.
“I gave Holtz some holy water – well, mystically enhanced holy water. He was supposed to shoot you with it. But he shot your demon spawn instead. He’ll pull out of it eventually, in a few years. Or some really powerful blood helps him along,” Sahjahn said cryptically.
Angel had heard enough. He growled as his facial bones shifted into that of his demon and charged Sahjahn. The demon was ready though, and countered Angel, swinging the chair leg at him. He caught Angel across the neck with the blow. Gunn rushed at Sahjahn with a swing that connected. It bought Angel a moment to recover. Sahjahn grabbed Gunn by the throat and threw him across the table.
Angel and Sahjahn traded blows as Fred picked up one of the braziers and hurled the hot coals in Sahjahn’s face. He howled in pain, glaring at her. He tried to punch her, but it was deflected by Angel as the dark vampire hit him hard from the side. Angel pushed Fred out of the way as he threw another punch at Sahjahn. When he tried to kick him, Sahjahn grabbed Angel’s leg and launched him across the chamber. Gunn finally got up and tried to grab the demon, but got kicked in the head and crumpled to the ground.
Angel staggered to his feet in obvious pain. Sahjahn grabbed a stake-size piece of broken chair and stalked toward the vampire. Suddenly, Justine rushed in, carrying a Resikhian urn. Sahjahn glanced at her and then back at Angel as Fred crawled over to check on Gunn. Justine opened the urn and a stream of liquid floated out and over to Sahjahn, swirling around him.
“No, no . . . don’t do that!” Sahjahn objected. He tried to stake Angel but the piece of wood fell from his hand as he was sucked back into the urn. Justine replaced its lid.
Gunn and Fred helped Angel even though both men are beat to hell. Angel looked over at Justine with the urn in her hands.
“Holtz left it,” she explained.
“Thanks,” Angel said simply.
Justine set the urn down. She was emotionally and physically exhausted.
“What about Wesley?” Fred asked.
“The park next to his place . . . that’s where I . . . left him,” Justine said softly.
The Park Opposite Wesley’s Apartment
Angel, Gunn and Fred searched the area, calling Wesley’s name. Angel stood near the shrubs where Wesley had lain for hours. Gunn and Fred were a few feet away in either direction.
Fred walked towards Angel. “Maybe she was lying?”
“No, he was here,” Angel replied.
“How can you --?” Fred started to ask when Angel looked at her. She remembered his senses were acute. “—Right, the blood.”
Gunn came up to them with a glance towards the eastern sky. “We should get going. Sun’s coming up.
Angel stared into the distance, wrestling with his emotions over the last few days. He didn’t know why he bothered to care whether Wesley lived or died. The former watcher certainly hadn’t cared about Spike. Wesley had been a friend and he betrayed him. Whatever Justine’s issue with him, it didn’t matter. Wesley would pay for what happened to Spike. He just had to find him first.
“. . . He can’t be dead,” Angel said to himself more than to his companions.
“We’ll keep looking,” Fred assured him. “Lorne’s been calling hospitals all night.”
Gunn glanced towards the east again and saw the sky turning yellow. “We need to get you indoors, man. We’ll find him. You need to get back and take care of Spike.”
“Nothing short of a miracle can help Spike,” Angel commented, lost in thought.
Los Angeles, Hyperion Hotel
Angel trudged up the stairs. He entered his suite, closed the door behind him and leaned against it. His head fell back to rest against the panel. He was at a loss for what to do. Sahjahn was stuck in a jar. Justine was God-knows-where – not that it mattered – and Wesley was still missing.
Angel looked at the closed doors to his bedroom. Spike lay comatose just beyond. His childe. His mate. He promised to protect Spike and he had failed. His boy lay motionless, slowly healing from an unknown poison. He did manage to get two bags of human blood down Spike’s throat. Past experience taught him that coming from the brink of death took Sire’s blood or Slayer’s blood. Faith was still in prison and Angel didn’t think that Buffy would be accommodating to an evil vampire. She and Spike barely tolerated each other. Besides, the vampire had to be alert enough to bite down and swallow fluids to drink from her or his Sire for that matter.
Angel sighed as he walked into the bedroom and sat beside the bed. He was lost in thought, watching over Spike when Lorne came into the room.
“I, uh, cleaned the Pentagram as best I could. The dried blood . . . well, it’s starting to be a look down there,” Lorne informed him.
“Thanks,” Angel replied offhandedly.
“You know me, like to keep busy. I’d crochet a new pillar if I could afford the yarn,” Lorne said in an attempt to lighten the mood.
“It’s not right,” Angel said out loud.
“Figure of speech,” Lorne explained. “I’m aware you can’t crochet a pillar. And I know that’s not what you meant.”
“All I could think of was getting my hands on Sahjahn and finding a way to bring Spike back. Fred and Gunn tried to keep
me from . . .” Angel trailed off as Spike mumbled something unintelligible in his sleep.
“Going too far?” Lorne provided.
“I nearly got them killed.”
“Yeah you did. Glad it didn’t work out that way,” Lorne said gratefully.
“Do you think Wes is . . .?” Angel started to ponder.
“I don’t know. I hope for the best. Angel, there’s a bigger picture here. It wasn’t a coincidence that Wesley handed Spike over to Holtz or that Holtz made a deal with Sahjahn to bring him here. I don’t think you realize how deep Wesley’s resentment of Spike goes. Something happened between them and Wesley has been biding his time waiting for the perfect moment. Then, he found the prophecy and it all fell into place for him. He was meeting Holtz behind your back.”
Angel looked up at Lorne. Wesley had planned this from the beginning? He’d spent all this time planning revenge on something that happened . . . how long ago? What happened? How long ago was it? Did Wesley always despise Spike – enough to do this?
Angel’s phone rang on the bedside table. When it looked like Angel would ignore it, Lorne picked it up and answered.
“Angel’s phone, this is Lorne speak—Hey Fred. They did? And --? Okay, where?” Lorne found a slip of paper and wrote an address on it. “He’s right here. I’ll tell him. Thanks.”
Lorne shut the phone and handed it back to Angel. He heard the conversation. “They found Wesley.”
“Yeah. At St. Patricia’s. He’s in pretty bad shape, but he’s alive. Maybe you should pay him a visit,” Lorne suggested as he held out the slip of paper. “I’ll stay and watch over Spike until you get back.”
Angel took the paper uncertainly and, with a kiss to Spike’s brow, walked out, leaving Lorne to sit with Spike.
Los Angeles, St. Patricia’s Hospital
Gunn and Fred stood outside Wesley’s room as Angel strode down the hall toward them.
“It’s good you came, man,” Gunn said in greeting.
“Still no change in Spike’s condition?” Fred asked.
“No,” Angel glanced toward Wesley’s closed door. “Did he ask for me?”
“No. He can’t speak yet. Trachea’s all messed up. He lost a lot of blood. It’s just good you came,” Gunn said, trying to sound optimistic. Though, by the look on Angel’s face, he could tell Angel still hadn’t started to forgive Wesley.
“He’s not completely out of the woods yet. You being here can only help,” Fred added.
Angel looked at the door again, unsure of whether to go in or not. “Can I see him?”
“I’m sure he’d like that,” Fred said with a small smile.
Gunn and Fred stayed behind as Angel stepped into Wesley’s room and closed the door.
Wesley lay in bed as still as Spike was back at the hotel. If the monitors hadn’t displayed his active vitals, it would have been easy to believe he was dead. His ravaged neck was bandaged. There were tubes and IVs hooked into his arm.
When Angel stepped closer to the bed, Wesley slowly opened his eyes and looked at him. There was no sign of fear in his eyes, just a calm acceptance of what was to come.
“Hey Wes . . .” Angel said softly. He looked at the floor, gathering his thoughts, deciding the best way to say what he needed to say. “I just . . . I want you to know I understand why you did it. I know about the prophecy. What I don’t understand is why you thought Spike was a threat. He’s done nothing but help us in the last few years.”
When Wesley just stared up at him, Angel moved closer and picked up a pillow. To an outsider it looked as if he were caring for his friend by propping a pillow behind Wesley to make him more comfortable. At the last minute, his intentions became clear when he put the pillow over Wesley’s face, smothering him.
Outside in the waiting room, Fred leaned her head on Gunn’s shoulder. Gunn squeezed her hand reassuringly. They sat, waiting patiently, while Angel visited with Wesley. They hoped he was making peace with the former watcher over what happened to Spike.
Suddenly, there were beeping sounds and a small group of nurses and orderlies rushed down the hall passed Gunn and Fred. They burst into Wesley’s room, a doctor followed close behind. Gunn and Fred exchanged puzzled looks and then ran after the medical staff.
Angel pressed all his weight on the pillow, ignoring Wesley’s attempts to fight for air.
“Angel!” Fred cried in shock. She looked over to see the monitors beeping. The pulse rate spiked. The oxygen level dropped.
Gunn and two big male orderlies tried to pull Angel off Wesley.
“Stop it!” Fred screamed and burst into tears. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Angel was trying to kill Wesley. It wasn’t that Wesley didn’t deserve a reprimand, but he didn’t deserve to die either.
Angel shrugged off the men, determined to end Wesley’s existence. Gunn and the orderlies finally managed to pry him loose and dragged him away kicking and flailing.
“You’re the reason Spike’s laying near death! You’re the one that tipped Holtz off! You nearly killed my mate!” Angel screamed. He tossed an orderly aside and launched himself at the bed again. Another orderly rushed in to help the others drag Angel towards the door.
“I’ll never forgive you, you bastard! Never! I’LL KILL YOU!”
Gunn and the orderlies dragged Angel out of the room as Fred screamed and cried. Angel tried to break free of his captors, managing to toss a couple of them off and barreled towards Wesley’s room again only to have reinforcements show up in the form of security guards.
“You better pray Spike doesn’t die from what you did or you’re a dead man! YOU HEAR ME, PRYCE?! DEAD! DEAD!”
Angel growled and threw two of the guards hard against the wall. When the others drew their batons on him, Angel held his hands up in surrender and stalked away. Gunn and Fred watched him leave with shock still written on their faces. They’d never seen Angel so angry before, at least not with anyone he cared about. Gunn pulled Fred into his arms and held her shaking form, torn between following Angel and staying until Wesley was stabilized.
Los Angeles, Hyperion Hotel
It had taken five hospital security guards to persuade him to leave. When he got back to the hotel, he told Lorne a truncated version of what happened at the hospital, only saying that he talked to Wesley. Then he rushed up the stairs to his suite.
His pace slowed when he entered the bedroom. Spike laid still, the wound in his chest looked a little better than before. Somehow he had to find a way to get the younger vampire to ingest Sire’s blood. Angel slowly moved around the bed and sat next to Spike. He shifted to his demon and opened his wrist with a fang and pressed it to Spike’s mouth, silently hoping Spike would instinctively swallow the rich blood.
“We found Wesley. He’s at the hospital. I nearly killed him . . . tried to smother him with a pillow. Gunn, the orderlies and security guards stopped me. He had no right to go after you the way he did. What did you do, Spike? What could you have done to make Wesley target you, use you to betray me?” Angel thought aloud. Spike still hadn’t woken up, but at least he was feeling tiny pulls on his wrist. Spike was swallowing. That was the most vital sign he’d seen since the younger vampire passed out on him.
Angel closed his eyes and felt himself drift. Spike was using all his strength to focus on healing and before Angel realized it, he had slipped inside Spike’s mind. At first, all he saw was a dark red fog of pain. It made him want to curl in on himself. Pushing through that, Angel came across the last memory Spike had: Seeing Angel hover over him with unnoticed tears as he said how sorry he was for not being there to stop Holtz. There was stronger pulls on his wrist now. Angel hit a wall then. There was an obstacle in his way, a memory he couldn’t see. Deciding to come back to the wall later, Angel moved on through the bittersweet memories of their lovemaking. The poet Spike tried so hard to hide had romanticized their intimate moments, made them more flowery than what they actually were. A feeling of pride was like a twinge of pain in Angel’s chest. He continued to push through Cordelia’s bout with coma before she woke up half demon and the Christmas holiday they spent together until he came across the memory Spike had of Wesley. It involved Wesley’s treatment of Fred when he was under the influence of Billy’s blood:
“I think we both know why I’m here. A lovely little bird told me about what happened. That you were somehow infected by demon blood and went a little homicidal,” Spike said.
Wesley looked at Spike’s feet. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt her or frighten her.”
“It happens to the best of us. The demon takes over and that rush of power is intoxicating,” Spike said.
“Yes, quite,” Wesley agreed.
The blonde vampire stepped closer to the threshold. Wesley leaned against the doorjamb, looking anywhere but at Spike.
“No one knows I’m in town. Well, maybe Angel can feel my presence. But, you’re not going to tell them I was even here, Wesley,” Spike stated.
The former watcher looked up at him confused by the veiled threat. He gasped when Spike reached out and fisted his shirt, yanking him out into the hallway.
“I may understand what the demon can do. But, you went after Fred and that I will never forgive you for. You will go back into work and you will see her every day. I hope whatever happened between you haunts you for the rest of your life, mate. Every time you see her, remember what you did to her. Because the next time it happens, I won’t think twice about draining you dry.”
Spike had protected Fred that day. He told her to do anything she had to in order to survive. Then he showed up in L.A. and threatened Wesley without Angel being the wiser. Wesley had been harboring a grudge this whole time. Part of his actions made sense now. It didn’t absolve Wesley of any wrongdoing however, and Angel didn’t feel guilty for trying to smother him.
“That’s what this all has been about? Wesley’s still pissed that you defended Fred?” Angel asked out loud. He looked to see that Spike’s wound was healing. Just a little more blood ought to do it.
Angel turned his focus back to Spike’s mind and that wall. He chipped away at it until he saw something – something that floored him. He never would have believed it if anyone had told him. But there it was in Spike’s memory bank, hidden on the off chance that Angel managed to break through the barrier. There was no turning back. He couldn’t unsee it if he tried.
Buffy and Spike were in Spike’s four-post bed in the mansion. They were moving rhythmically with Spike on top as Buffy moaned in pleasure.
Then the scene changed . . .
Buffy snapped, “Do you think Angel feels anything for you?”
Spike jerked around. “What are you on about?”
“Well, you’ve been around him a lot the last couple of years. You even managed to distract him from mourning me when I was dead. I just wondered if you thought he had any actual feeling for you. Has he said anything to you? ’Cause, we both know that I’m the one he really loved,” Buffy said snidely.
“What goes on between me and Angel is none of your concern, Slayer. What makes you so special anyway?” Spike asked gruffly, picking his jeans up off the floor by the bed and putting them on, secretly pocketing the underwear she had discarded on the floor.
“I gave him my virginity. We’re soulmates,” Buffy said.
Spike looked up from fastening his pants and raised a brow. “You’re virginity?” he mumbled around the cigarette. He gave a dry laugh at that, exhaling puffs of smoke. “Do you have any idea how many girls Angel took their virginity from, even before he became a vampire?”
Buffy bit her lip, stifling a whine. “But I was special. He gave me a ring.”
“To get you into bed,” Spike laughed. “Let’s not forget: you were an innocent seventeen-year-old just begging for it. I’m sure you were quite the conquest. You were probably the first lay he’d had in a century.”
Angry, Buffy got up and yanked her clothes on. “I really don’t know why I do this, any of it. You’re not special . . . to either of us. You’re just convenient!”
“I’m convenient?” Spike scoffed. “Oh please, Slayer, he’s mated to me. Need I remind you that it was you who came looking for me? You’re the one that comes to me, crawls into my bed. Angel should have told me that the only thing better than killing a Slayer would be fucking one.”
“What?!” Buffy outraged. He ducked the pillow she threw at him. “Is that what this is about for you, doing a slayer?”
“What else would it be, luv?” He pulled the cigarette out of his mouth to blow the smoke out properly. “Your charming demeanor? I wouldn’t be throwing stones or pillows, honey. You seem to be quite the groupie. Wonder what my mate did to tickle your fancy for fucking us? He is quite the thorough lover,” Spike smirked.
“Shut up,” Buffy said disgusted with him and herself.
“Just saying . . . vampires get you hot. Tell me, is it the stamina or the fact that we can stay hard for as long as you need it?”
“A vampire got me hot. One, but he’s gone,” Buffy said, trying not to cry.
Angel shook his head to clear it. A plethora of emotions flitted across his face: shock, sadness, confusion . . . Spike and Buffy had slept together? Every time he mentioned one to the other, they both acted like they hated each other. So, why did they end up together? How did they end up together?
“Why did you sleep with her?” Angel asked his voice void of emotion as he removed his wrist from Spike’s mouth. The younger vampire was coming around now. Angel licked the wound in his wrist closed and settled his forearms on his lap. He couldn’t look at Spike now that he knew the secret that the blonde had been keeping from him. “When did it start? How long as it been going on?”
Spike opened his eyes and looked at Angel, momentarily confused by the questions. His muzzled brain acknowledged that Angel was speaking and sounds were coming out. With a little more concentration he understood “How long has it been going on?”
“How long has what been going on?” Spike asked perplexed.
“How long have you been fucking Buffy?” Angel bit out as calmly as he could manage.
“How did you --?”
“Answer. The. Question. Spike,” Angel enunciated.
“A few months,” Spike replied. “It didn’t mean anything. I was pissed at you. I haven’t been with her since I came back down here. It’s not like we’re in a long distance relationship.”
Angel mentally calculated ‘a few months’. “You were with her around the time we went to the ballet?”
“A bit before I think,” Spike said. His mind was in a haze of pain to say anything else but the truth. Not that he could remember the exact day and time Buffy had first come to him. It was clear, though, that Angel had used the opportunity of his recovery to slip inside his mind and see things that he never wanted his mate to know.
Angel continued to stare at his folded hands, afraid to look at Spike. Here he was worried about Wesley’s betrayal of him in handing Spike over to Holtz when he should have been paying attention to his own mate. How had he missed it? Wasn’t that equivalent to the Ninth Circle of Hell, reserved for people who betray those closest to them?
“I gave myself to you completely. Doesn’t that mean anything?!”
“We were possessed, Angel!” Spike countered his voice hoarse with the effort to hold up his own part of the rising argument.
Angel finally looked at the vampire glaring at him from the bed. He would find it funny that they rarely got along for any length of time, if he weren’t so hurt and angry at his mate for sleeping with someone who Spike himself considered to be the enemy. It still boggled his mind how Spike and Buffy, of all people, ended up in bed together. There were moments in Colorado that he was so sure he felt more than lust and century-old familiarity from Spike. Before today, he was sure it was something more with Spike. But now . . . at this moment . . .?
“I still remember everything. I don’t know about you, but I don’t regret it!” Angel’s voice was harsh and rose in volume. “If I did, I would have knocked you out when I was coherent again!” Angel stood up with a growl and paced the floor at the end of the bed.
Spike watched him as he moved to sit up. Lying down wasn’t the best way to face someone you’re arguing with. It gave the other person more of an advantage.
“What did you want me to do Angel? You sent me back to Buffy, to help her! After I had laid myself out to you, offered all I was, gave you everything I had. But still, Buffy came back and I got sent away. It was me you were supposed to need by your side for eternity,” Spike stressed. The healing wound in his chest hurt like hell from the strain of making his case, but he refused to succumb to the pain. “So, I helped her. She was drowning, Angel. She needed something to give her a connection and I was it. It was cheap and nasty, but it was what she needed to bring her back, to make her feel!”
Angel threw his hands in the air, frustrated, “So your solution was to fuck her because you thought I didn’t need you? You think I enjoy being separated from you? Do you think I relished the idea that I had to give you up when she came back? You’re mine beyond dust. I haven’t been with anyone since I let you go to look after her. Yet, you gave your body to someone else. Do I have anything left that’s a part of you, aside from your scorn?”
“You have everything, Angel! But Buffy is always more important than either of us, isn’t she?” Spike challenged. “Doesn’t soddin’ matter what either of us needs, does it? We’re only vampires, but she’s the true slayer.” Spike’s eyes blazed with anger. “She’s not that pure, my dear Sire. So, go on, bloody well get out of here! I know just how to fix this disaster of a relationship: I am getting out of both of your lives. I’ve had enough.” He jabbed a finger at Angel, “You can look after the bloody bint. I’m fed up with picking up your emotional mess.”
Seconds after that last comment left Spike’s lips, Angel leapt on the bed, his hands clutching Spike’s arms as he forced the blonde vampire to look at him. “My emotional mess? Do you think I still have feelings for her? Are you that fucking blind? Every emotion I have is invested in you, damn it. I gave you everything. I wanted you to have it all. I tried to keep you safe. I let you back into my life. I let you be a part of my work, shared my friends, my home, my bed and my body. And you think this is about her? It was about payback!”
Angel released Spike with a growl and stood up again, pacing the floor as he spoke more to himself than Spike. “Even after all we’ve been through, you’re just as selfish and impetuous as you always were. I may be selfish when it comes to you . . . or Drusilla. But I don’t care about Buffy. Not like you think I do. She’s the only free, active Slayer keeping the world from going to Hell. That’s as far as my interest lies with her anymore.”
“Oh, yeah, I come first, do I?” Spike sneered. “Then as soon as Buffy’s back, you send me away. We were in this very bed when I made it clear that I wanted to be with you here in L.A. with a team that accepted me. But no! You sent me back to Sunnyhell to look after the bloody Slayer! You’re lucky I only fucked her and didn’t kill her!”
When Angel turned and looked at him, there was a dead silence. A pin could have dropped and the echo be heard as they stared at each other. Angel’s expression looked as
if Spike’s words had delivered a final crushing blow. His eyes were vacant as he looked at the vampire to whom he was mated for the rest of his life. When he spoke, it was a near whisper void of emotion. “I’ve tried everything I can to show you how I feel about you. I don’t know what else to do Spike. If this is what you want: to hurt me, to make me pay for my decisions. Fine. I won’t beg or plead. I’ll do what you want. Once you’re well enough to make it on your own, you can leave and I’ll stay out of your life.”
Spike stared in shock as Angel turned and walked away. Angel’s hand was on the knob of the outer door leading to the hallway when he spoke again. He didn’t look at Spike. He couldn’t see anything past the haze of despair and the shattered remnants of the relationship he had with the one person who knew him better than anyone, just as he knew Spike better than anyone. This wasn’t just a break while they took time away from each other to cool down. This was more permanent.
“You know where I am if . . .” Angel felt his throat close up and had to swallow the lump that threatened to choke him. “See you around, Will.”
Angel walked out on a stunned Spike, closing the door quietly behind him.