Also Comes in Strange
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Title: Different Now
Author: Tania
Summary: When times get desperate, so do heroes.
Note: Written for Estepheia who requested Spike/Angel/Ethan with an Oriental theme.

Spike’s never been to Japan before. He’s not sure if the geisha is just playing her part or really interested in him. He’s sure he doesn’t like the sake. He’s not even going to contemplate the sushi, there couldn’t possibly be enough blood left to make it worth the effort. Angel seems to agree, seeing as how he hasn’t touched a thing the girl has set before them.

The human’s different. Ethan devours everything he can reach. Deep-fried salmon and cream cheese rolls, California rolls practically smothered in wasabi, some sort of roe wrapped in seaweed and more of that sickly smelling rice. The entire place is an assault to a vampire’s senses, but Ethan doesn’t seem to notice. He keeps shoving food in his mouth, sometimes reaching out for the sake, sometimes for the tea that steams in front of him.

"Can’t thank you enough," he mumbles as more rice enters his flat mouth. "Wouldn’t have lasted another day in that place," he adds.

"Wouldn’t be too grateful just yet, mate." Spike can’t watch him eat any more. He turns to Angel and wonders what he’s thinking. Has been thinking ever since they pulled this human out of a bunker in the middle of nowhere three days earlier. He’s sure there was a plan but it seems to have escaped him somewhere between Nevada and Wyoming. Hard to keep any thoughts when you never stop moving. The fights are only a little fewer and far between now, wavering but showing no sign of stopping.

Angel stares a little longer, eyes moving slowly like he’s taking the man in, sizing up his thin frame because he’s sure he’s more powerful than he lets on. Time doesn’t diminish magic like this one holds, if anything it gives him more time to hone his skills. Only the government would put a man like this in solitary confinement, give him years to practice, worship his god, plan his vengeance. Bad for them, may work in their favor. At least that’s what he hopes.

Spike’s not so sure. He’s had enough of the water dripping on pebbles behind them. He’s ready to leave, time to put Angel’s theory to work. He’ll either give them a few days rest, or they’ll break him in two, however they see fit. Spike likes the thought. Time was he would have gone through with it too, but he thinks maybe they’ve seen enough death for now. The idea is to put an end to the fight, not give them an excuse to kill, he imagines they’ll coax him a little more gently than they would have had they met face to face in Sunnydale. But then they do a lot of things differently now, his very being here is proof of that.

Meetings in Japanese restaurants, feeding former enemies, silently wondering what kinks one must engage to make him cooperate. Yep. Everything’s different now.