And it's home to him as well. Our very own vampire with a soul. A bitter chuckle escapes my throat. Now how could I forget that? After all - He's the reason I'm here.
I glance up at the tall, wooden doors of the hotel, seeing the porch lamp flicker for a moment, and then return to it's steady yellow glow. Changed the digs, Angelus? Well - suppose you had to, seeing as your last office appears to have been burnt to a crisp. Turning into a nasty habit there, mate . . .
Wonder how that happened, I idly question myself as I search for a smoke. Plucking the packet from my pocket, alongside my trusty Zippo, I light up, inhaling that heady taste of tobacco that I require more than oxygen. Leaning back against the wall, I take another drag.
I'm sure it makes quite a picture, the handsome lookin' bloke, smoking under the faint beam of light, staring up into the inky blue heavens. Very poetic, I know. Never say I wasn't one for a bit of creativity.
Don't know why I'm waiting out here, though. I could go in at any time - I don't need an invitation, that's for bloody sure. But if I do waltz in, then I'm sure to lose my bottle. Out here. . .I don't know. Out here - it's his territory. His patch, and anyone lurking in the local vicinity is his to deal with. And that's one thing I'll always be, whether I want to, or not.
And if he doesn't show, then that's his fault, isn't it? But if he does, then *he* has to deal with me. Not that I'm much of a threat to his little gang of detectives anyway. But he'll show, like the good little White Hat that he is, or at least claims to be.
So for now I think I'll wait.
Doesn't take long.
He swiftly strides out, duster doing the flapping hero-thing, trailing out like some sort of soddin' great big dress in the breeze. My own coat doesn't do that. No - Mine does that sexy villain thing where it flares a bit whilst I'm making my devilish escape.
Nothing at all like the Great Poof, do you hear me?
Anyway, he's about to run off into the night, so I figure I'd better announce my presence. Like he doesn't already know I'm here . .
"Nice night for slaughtering the innocent, don't you think?"
Oh yeah. That got his attention. I think he was hoping to ignore me, but now, watching his shoulders tense, and his jaw clench as he turns around, I know I've got his undivided attention focused on me. That's what I wanted, wasn't it? But seeing the impatience in those darkened eyes makes me reconsider.
He strolls over towards me, slowly. A shard of glass is casually crushed beneath his heel, and I wonder if this is what I really want. But it's too late for second thoughts now. I've never been one for the carefully constructed Master Plan. Wears my patience thin. You think too much about one thing and you'll never get it done - killing Slayers, retrieving lost loves. . .Pah.
I take the fag out of my mouth, exhaling a ring of smoke in the direction of my Sire's face, and I'm ready.
"What now, Spike?" he asks with all the impatience of a harassed father.
And that's what he sees himself as, isn't it? Someone to put me in my place when I start to become a little too disruptive for his liking. Throw me over his knee and give me a good hiding. Not a real threat, just a temporary burden.
"I came to talk."
He stops a few feet away from me, head shaking in disbelief.
He's so full of it. His little pals think he's some sort of damned saint. Never judges, always trying to atone for his past crimes. Bollocks. I know Angelus, and I know that Angel carries more of his essence than he'd like to. Either way, they both like to think that they know me, inside and out. But they don't. I mean, even I don't know myself that well
And it's all ego. 'Yes', the bloke thinks, 'I know Spike all right. Just trying to bait me. The poor bastard has to get his jollies somehow. Well I s'pose I'd better humour him. . .' And in a way, he's right, I'll give him that. Yeah - the lack of quality violence has watered down my social diary, but I'm not here for that. For once, I want to talk to him. Because as much as I hate him, I love him more. But his inflated little ego's not going to get that, now is it?
"I don't have time for this, boy," he warns. And he's about to continue, but I've already heard enough.
"I'm not your boy, Angel!" I launch myself at him, roughly throwing him against the hard stone of the wall. He's so surprised that he doesn't have the time to react, and so I keep him pinned there, the two of our faces barely touching, hands digging into the cold brickwork. I find myself panting for unneeded breath.
I hate it when he calls me that. Boy. I'm not a fucking child! Over a hundred years on this planet, and he still treats me like a kid. And soul, or no soul, I've always been 'Boy' to him.
Looking into his wide mahogany-hued orbs I can remember the first time he called me that. And I wish I'd been smart enough to have kept my mouth shut and let the bastard drain me dry.
It was November. I remember that 'cos of the fireworks. I was outside, standing on the bank of the Thames, watching the rockets shoot into the sky and explode in a mass of colour and sound. Always did like the fireworks. Ear-splitting beauty, if you're standing close enough to 'em. And I was. Every November fifth they'd have a bloody huge celebration all over the
Our illustrious river has been, and always will be, a cesspool of dirty grey crap. Of course, in the 1800's it was a whole lot worse than it is now. Full of rubbish, and a whole *heap* of shit. Remember that toilets were a bit of a luxury back then. Most people'd do it straight out of their bedroom window, and the gutters would take it down into the river. And God did it smell. . .
So no - I didn't go there for the unique aroma. I went there because of the view, and the lack of people. But on this night, I had company. No prizes for guessing who.
Two people, or what I considered to be people, were walking along the bank, quietly speaking to each other. A man and a woman, I could make out from the distance, but I couldn't hear their words. As they drew closer, I could hear the occasional whispered sentence - "He's perfect my darling," said the delicate brunette, whom I later found out to be named Drusilla. And the man with her, he pointed and smiled slightly. A smile that both welcomed me, and chilled me to the bone.
And they were so beautiful together. He with his tall, magnificent frame, a seductive Irish lilt to his voice, and those divinely handsome features. Seeing him, I thought, as many had done before me, that he had the face of an angel. But unlike them, I had the feeling it was that of a fallen angel. And as for her. . .I know it's sappy romantic crap, but as soon as I saw that dark Goddess before me, I knew that I'd love her for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately for me, of course, that was only about ten minutes.
And they were coming closer.
I wasn't scared. Death himself was coming to greet me, and I was prepared to welcome him with open arms. No - I didn't have a death wish, and I'd fight them if I had to, but somehow I knew they were coming for me. So I patiently waited for them, hands dug deep in my pockets to preserve warmth, taking the odd half-arsed glance at the display. But nothing could compare to this new display of intoxicating evil that was heading my way. And it gave me a strong, morbid sense of comfort.
I continued to watch, waiting for the Grim Reaper to swing his scythe, and watch my soul happily float off away into the ether.
And in a manner of speaking, that's exactly what happened.
"Boy," greeted Angelus, strolling up to me with a predatory smile on his features. Yep. His first word addressed to me, and already he'd managed to piss me off.
Dru followed behind him, quietly humming. I cold see she was carefully cradling something between her arms. It looked like a baby, but it was so still. No movement at all, yet she was cooing at the infant with a look of a maternal Persephone.
"My *name* is William," I coolly informed him.
His grin only broadened. "Aye, I know. Made quite a name for yourself, haven't ye, lad?"
"I suppose," I shrugged nonchalantly. I wasn't about to announce my murdering reputation to a potential copper, even though I knew that he was as likely to be on Her Majesty's Service, as I was to be Her Majesty. "What's it to you?"
"Well supposin' I were to be offering you something *William*," he mockingly emphasised my name, and already I found myself preferring to be called 'Boy'. He stepped closer. I could smell his perfume. A rich mixture of exotic spices, the tang of blood upon worn leather and something I could never put my finger on. It was uniquely Angelus, and it still is.
I kept my voice low, dangerous-like. "And what would that be, mate?" Of course he wasn't my friend, but I somehow knew that my casualness wouldn't fail to irk him. I was right. His eyebrow almost imperceptibly twitched in annoyance, but he quickly regained control of his emotions.
"Eternity, boy," his cold fingers reached out to caress my cheek. I didn't flinch.
Dru's hand stole out to wrap around Angelus' torso, her head leaning against his velvet-clad shoulder. And in that instant, seeing her emerald eyes, full of hope, I knew what I wanted.
"Will you come and join our family, William?"
Another rocket launched into the atmosphere, and filled the cloudless night with golden stars.
How could I resist?
We stand like that for a few minutes, memories still whirling around my head, before I let him go. I stumble backwards, regaining my thoughts. This is no good. He doesn't understand. He doesn't realise that I came back here for *him*. That I'm sick of Sunnyhell and it's permanent case of Slayer-itis. That maybe I just want things to regain some semblance of normalcy.
Like how it used to be.
Dru will never come back to me, I know that - *man* do I know that, and so the eternally tormented Angel is my last resort. And we're both lumbered with our own personal conscience - be it physical or emotional. What a bleedin' hilarious irony.
You'll excuse me if I don't laugh.
His gaze drops, and as he dusts himself off he begins to speak, but again, I cut him off.
"I'm not your boy, Angel," I tell him as I begin to run. "Never just a boy."
I run through the city, tearing through deserted alleyways, carefully avoiding a few stray cats on the route back to my hotel room. I'm no great animal lover, but I know that if I even make one of the little sods yowl then I'll be the one bent over in pain. Stupid commandos and their stupid Initiative. . .Of course I'm bloody-well bitter!
I stop for a second, a shadow caught in my peripheral vision. Tall, and broad, and heading towards me.
We were out on the hunt. Don't remember exactly when - around the mid 1890's, I think, but bloody hell. . . Who's keeping track? It wasn't a special night, no tender caresses, no making love under the stars (like I'd want a handful of grass wedged up my arse for a week). Just a night like this, maybe a little muggier - we *were* in Glasgow, after all - not really known for
Only this time, I wasn't the cat and some bonny Scottish lass the mouse, I got to play the Hunted, and Angelus was the Hunter. That was the way he always liked it, and his pleasure was increased tenfold by my own discomfort. And they call *me* perverse. . .
But on that cold, dreary night, I decided I'd had enough. I was pretty tired of playing second fiddle to the ever-adored Angelic One. Far as I remember - I'm not a bad looking bloke - so I thought I'd drop the archaic game of 'Bonding With One's Sire' and seduce a bit of skirt and then rip her throat out before the next morning. And it was working out just fine 'til he found
Let's make things crystal here, shall we? A horny, possessive Angel is not someone you want to piss off. Unfortunately for me, it's become a rather constant habit. Only that time I knew I was in the shit before he'd got the bedroom door fully open.
Hence the running.
Not an easy thing to do when you're still trying to put your trousers on, whilst simultaneously forcing your left foot into your right shoe. Sod it, I thought as I threw it behind me. I can steal another pair.
I took a risk and stole a backwards glance. He hadn't caught up. Maybe he'd sleep it off and forget about it by the next evening. Oh yeah - and maybe I'd magickally turn into a bat and get out of the whole blasted situation that way. Too late. Before I could turn my gaze back to the path I'd ran smack-dab into my Sire.
That about summed it up.
I'd forgotten how fast he was, not to mention how fucking strong! Hercules eat your bloody heart out. . .
The first blow was unexpected and sent me reeling to the muddy ground. Naturally, I had to land in the one puddle the size of Loch Ness.
"Angelus. I -"
I never got to finish off that sentence as a giant paw of a hand struck my jaw.
"You will listen to me, boy, and you will be bloody quiet whist you're at it, y'hear me?"
It wasn't a question.
I nodded dumbly.
"You may not be a mindless fledge, m'boy, but you are mine and you will do *my* bidding. We were hunting together," and he crouched so that his nose was inches away from my mud-streaked features. "And I will not have ye disobey me." A firm grip on my chin re-emphasised his point, and I tried to pull away, only to land flat on my back. Thank the Devil no-one else was
William the Bloody lying in a wet heap in the middle of a puddle, clothes half off, and Angelus laughing his Gaelic arse off. The Initiative had nothing on this kind of humiliation.
I couldn't be bothered to get back up, so I lay there until his chuckles subsided and he forced me back to my bare feet.
God I felt stupid.
And then he leant over to kiss me and the shoe I still had a tight hold on slipped from my grasp onto the cobbled street. And suddenly it wasn't important anymore. Nothing was. Nothing ever could be as I stood there with my lips pressed to the Angel's.
But of course the moment had to be ruined as he pulled away, spat on a delicately embroidered hanky and wiped the mud from my cheek. Even back then he was a big fairy underneath.
"C'mon my boy. It's time we clean you up."
And already he was halfway down the street, the scrap of cloth still clutched between my fingers as I watched him walk away.
I stare at the shadow again. My eyes must be playing tricks on me because I could've sworn that was him. But a second glance reveals just another mortal man striding through the alleyway. How could I ever mistake this walking entrée for *him*? You'll know when Angelus enters the room. It's like all the sound goes down, just for a moment, so imperceptible that you almost
But you should see him when he really makes an entrance. . .
I shake my head. No time to be thinking of this now. The sun's not far from making an appearance and my hotel's only minutes away. I carry on running, even though I know he's stopped following me. Just maybe, if I run hard enough, I can escape the memories.
I woke up and glimpsed the last remainders of sunlight escaping from a crack in my window. Sunset. The beginning of my day. But it wasn't much of a day, it hadn't been for the past few weeks. Instead of just jumping out from under the sheets and getting dressed, like I was used to, I had to wait for Dru to come and dress me. And oh no - the humiliation didn't end there. Worse
Anyway, I digress.
It was another 'normal' night for our newly reunited family. Dru always loved that description - a family. Seemed to give her something to hold on to, some small shred of sanity in her terminally addled mind. But it was a farce. Even my Wicked Plum didn't know what her role was - mother, daughter, sister, lover. . .She was all of that to the both of us. Pity Angelus was
So yet again, I had to wait for her.
I hate waiting, especially when there's nothing else to do but wonder when you'll be able to feel the covers beneath your feet again. It's not easy - existing just to experience one moment. But when there's no other choice, you relish the fact that at least you've got *something* worth living for.
But my patience was rewarded, and as I lay with my head resting on my hand, she entered. And she looked. . .perfect. Hair falling in an sable cascade around her face, green eyes shining, singing of the secrets the stars had whispered to her. Her blood red bodice clung to every curve. I even loved the draping, ebony skirt for hell's sake!
And I wanted her more than ever.
"You should see the sky, darling," she greeted me, placing a delicate kiss on my brow. "It's filled with such beauty. Hearts and diamonds. . ." She trailed off, gazing towards the boarded up window. "It makes the angels sing."
And as if on cue, our own Angel entered the room. In a swirl of leather, he was by her side, and I felt the bile begin to rise in my throat.
"What are they singing about, Dru?" he asked, walking his fingers up her cleavage.
"Why do you need to know?" I counter. "Needing guidance from the good guys? I must say, Angelus, you've really been having problems in your decision making recently - kill the Slayer, or have her kick your arse? You always seem to be going for Option B."
Instead of an equally cutting retort, he ignored me, and continued his ministrations.
"Dru. I think you need to teach your boy some manners. He needs to learn to respect his betters." I heard the hidden promise of violence in his tones, but it wasn't that which prompted my pained expression.
'Your boy'. I was never *her* boy. Before the soul I was always his, as much as I loathed it, and even after he still referred to me as that. But right then. . .I was totally abandoned. He'd publicly disowned me with those two words. And what really made me want to stake myself was the fact that I was upset over it. No - Scrap that - I was fucking well devastated, and he adored
It just couldn't be.
"Shhh." Drusilla pressed her fingers to his lips. "Play nice for Mummy, or else there will be no story. And if there's no story - then there will be no screams."
Oh - there were screams all right.
I spent the next week doing just that.
I wake up in a tangle of sweaty limbs, violently jolted from the bed. I really hate thinking about the last couple of years. Altogether, they've not been a portion of my unlife worth mentioning. I'd rather skip back a century
Padding across the dusty floor I make my way to the supposed 'en suite bathroom' which consists of half a rusting toilet seat and a dripping tap. I catch a few of the stray drops and splash them on my face. I need something proper to wake me up though. Half a bottle of whisky should do the trick.
Slumped back on the bed now, I reach for the handily placed bottle on the floor and take a hefty swig.
I take another few gulps.
No it's not. It's only making things worse. Because right now I could've sworn I'm seeing Angel lurking in the shadows. Actually, the whole place is full of shadows, so it seems that he's lurking in the shadows' shadows. Bloody hell - a couple of swigs of cheap as shit liquor and I'm already half-plastered. . .
And then he steps out.
Fuck. This is a whole lot worse than being pissed. He's actually here. Reality's a lot harder to deal with without the right amount of alcoholic aid. And I haven't had nearly enough yet.
"Getting drunk before the night's even begun?" he questions me.
I throw up my hands in defeat. "So slap me on the wrist and you can be on your merry way." I'm too tired for this, Angel. I made a mistake in coming here, and I'm giving you a chance to leave it at that. Just. . .leave me alone.
Seems like he's hearing my thoughts as he's shaking his head.
"It doesn't work that way, Spike. Why did you come here?"
I blatantly ignore the real question.
"It's the only place I could afford." I put the bottle down with a satisfying 'clink'. "Now sod off and leave me alone."
He steps closer. I look up into his face and I can see *him*. The familiar aroma seems to flood the room. . .cinnamon and ginger, orange essence, and of course blood. . .
"Why are you here?" He's so close now that he's practically on top of me. This isn't good. Because now I know that the only two things that he can do to me is to kiss or kill. I really hope it's the latter. So I decide to answer truthfully.
"I wanted to see you." And the hardest part of all to admit. "I missed you." I barely whisper the sentence, but it sounds so loud in the small room. Only when I open my eyes do I realise that I had shut them, not wanting to see the look on his face. And before I lose my nerve completely, I add loudly: "And I came to tell you that I'm not just a boy."
His gaze is still fixed on me, expression impassive. Shouldn't really be a surprise, should it? Oh look - I made a funny. . .
"No," he says with the utmost seriousness. A hand slowly makes it's way towards my face, and he presses his forehead to my own. "You're not just a boy..."
"You're *my* boy."
And then the gentlest of kisses is placed upon my lips, and I'm too shell-shocked to respond. And before I get the chance to say anything, he's gone, a small scrap of white card left on the bed, with an address on the front, and a simple message on the back.