Also Comes in Strange
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Still Ensouled By Tania

Part II - Breakfast

After several moments Spike was calm enough to break the hungry kiss he had shared with his sire. Not wanting to let go completely, he rested his forehead against Angel's chest, welcoming the rhythmic swaying as Angel rocked him gently. "I'm here." The larger vampire whispered into Spike's ear. "I'm here."

"I know. You're here." Came Spike's reply. "Promise me you're real. Angel, promise me."

"I promise." Angel felt his chest moisten as his childe’s tears trailed across it. He held Spike's still trembling body close to his, acutely aware of Buffy's incredulous gaze. He did not speak. He had no words to describe his relationship with Spike. No way to convey to her what they shared. No way to make her understand the need they shared. All he could do was give her a look to meet her own and hope she found answers in his tear-filled eyes.  Buffy gave him a small smile, unsure of her own meaning, the feelings too fresh to discern. Only when she heard footsteps in the hall did she become aware of the awkwardness that surrounded the trio.

Willow had been awakened by Spike's screaming, just as the sunlight began to flood her room. Afraid he was in the throws of an episode she had grabbed her fuzzy robe from the hook on the door and hurried to his room. She stopped cold in her tracks as she saw Angel and Spike standing in the room with nothing but one pair of boxers between their bodies.

"Ouch!" Willow screamed as Buffy reached out and pinched her arm. She instinctively pinched Buffy back. "What the heckadoodle did you do that for?"

"I was kind of hoping we were sharing a dream." Buffy whispered.

"Well I can see why. What is going on in here?" Willow asked as she looked at the two vampires still holding each other in the center of the room. "I heard Spike screaming, so I thought... Well, I don't know what I thought, but you can bet this wasn't it."

"I have no idea." Buffy said.

"Um, Angel." Willow said quietly.

"Hi, Willow." Angel said without moving.

"Hi, Angel." Willow replied, unable to think of anything better. "Oh, have you had breakfast? We have some blood in the fridge."

"That sounds great, Willow. Make sure you warm some up for Spike too. I'll be down in a second."

"No!" Spike yelled. He quickly broke from Angel's embrace and looked into his eyes. "You can't leave. Angel, you can't leave."

"I'm not going anywhere without you, don't worry." Angel said as he stroked Spike's tangled hair with his hand. He turned to the two women. "We'll be down in a minute, okay."

Buffy nodded and she and Willow went downstairs.

*****

Willow placed two mugs full of pig's blood into the microwave and threw a paper towel over the top of them before closing the door. She then turned to Buffy, who was sitting at the counter on a stool.

"I know." The Slayer said in response to Willow's look. "It's just too weird. Angel said he needed to find Spike, that he came to LA when he got back from Africa. Then when I told him Spike was here he just freaked. He couldn't make it up the stairs fast enough. Then after I stepped out of the room Spike spazzed and thought Angel was whatever has been messing with him. Willow you should have seen them. As soon of Spike calmed down they couldn't let go of each other."

"Well, they're scared. Angel looks like hell, literally. It's just natural that they'd..."

"Willow, they kissed." Buffy interrupted. "Right there in front of me. They kissed." She tilted her head to the side; her eyes brimmed with tears.

"Okay, that's not natural." Willow said. "I mean, not that there's anything wrong with two men... Oh god. Buffy, I'm sorry." Just then the microwave beeped. Willow took out the mugs and set them on the counter to cool.

"I just had no idea. That night in the chapel, Spike said Angel should have told him, but I just thought he was talking about before, you know when Angel got his soul. It never occurred to me that Spike would go there first." Buffy wiped the wetness from the corner of her eyes and tried to calm herself.

"You're a little jealous aren't you?"

"No, I'm not." Buffy stopped. "Well, maybe a little. I mean why would Spike go to see Angel?"

"Because, I'm his Sire." Came the answer from the hallway.

Angel stepped through the archway to the kitchen making room for Spike to join him. The two vampires grabbed the warm mugs of blood from the counter and sat down to drink. The four of them sat in silence for a moment, until Willow stood to make some tea for Buffy and herself. Once they all had warm beverages they returned to their quiet vigil. No one sure how to begin.

"Angel?" A shrieking voice screamed as footsteps were heard plundering down the staircase. "Angel!" The voice yelled again.

Angel rose to meet Dawn's hug as she came running at him. "Hello, Dawn." The vampire said to the teenager.

"I saw your car out front. I'm so excited that you're here. By the way, did you know that you look like crap?" Dawn released Angel from her bear hug and took a step back.

"You're kidding?" Angel said touching his head. "Is it my hair? Quick get me a mirror. Oh that's right, Vampire." Angel pointed at himself, then gave Dawn a soft squeeze on the shoulder. "I'll be fine. Really."

"Great, so why are you here?"

"I just wanted to make sure everyone was all right." Angel cast a meaningful glance at his childe. "I was worried."

"So, Angel." Buffy interjected. "Are you going to tell us what did this to you or make us guess?" Angel took a sip of his drink and tried to find the appropriate words. "Okay, Spike did he tell you?" The other vampire remained equally silent, but gave a small shake of his head. "Great."

"I just wasn't sure where to start." Angel began.  He motioned to Spike. "When you left, Cordelia didn't remember any of us. Nothing about where she'd been, or us."

"All of us?" Willow asked.

"Right. I mean nothing. Not Sunnydale or family, or me."

"But you love Cordelia." Spike whispered. "She had to remember you, or it wasn't worth it. What I did. It wasn't..." His cerulean eyes began to fill with tears at the thought.

"Wait. Spike." Buffy moved closer to the weeping vampire and held him fast. "If you brought Cordelia back it was worth it. You did what no one else could."

"Spike she knows now, but it's just different." Angel said, trying to comfort him.

"But you love her!" Spike yelled as he stood. "You love her!"

"This just keeps getting weirder." Willow said to Dawn.

Angel stood up as well and took a hold of Spike's arm. "She doesn't want me. Spike, listen to me. She said she saw my past, she saw Angelus. She can't be with me. She told me she couldn't love me anymore." Angel was now the one crying.

"She will though. Don’t you see? She will want you back, and you’ll leave and go to her. You love her, not William." Spike's face looked on the verge of changing. His anger nearly bringing out the demon within him. "She will want you back, just like you wanted her!" He yelled.

"No she won’t!" Angel yelled back. "She’ll never come back to me. Not now. Not ever."

"Yes she will. You can't stop that kind of love twice in a lifetime!" Spike said with a knowing look to Buffy. "You can't!"

"Damn it, Spike, listen!" Angel said as he grasped both of Spike's arms. "I saw her! I saw her with him." Angel slid down the wall, releasing his childe’s arms as he fell to the ground sobbing.

"You saw her with who, Angel?" Buffy asked.

"Don’t make me say it. I don't want to think it." Angel cried. "Oh god, don't make me think it."

Spike suddenly understood. There was only one type of pain he had ever seen Angel suffer so acutely. The pain of watching a childe take away the woman he loved. He had seen the same look in Angel's eyes more than a hundred years earlier. He had seen it the first time Drusilla had come to him in the night instead of Angel.

"It was Connor, wasn't it?" Spike asked gently. He crouched down and wrapped his arms around the collapsed form of his Sire.

"Don’t make me say it, Spike. Please, I just don't want to say it." Angel whispered into Spike's shoulder.

"Angel, you still haven't told us what beat the hell out of you." Buffy said quietly. "If it's still out there we need to fight it. We need to kill it."

"We can't. It nearly killed me. For all I know Gunn and Wesley are already dead. It said I couldn't protect them." Angel closed his eyes against the memory of the beast.

"Then why did you leave LA?" Dawn asked.

"I had to get away. I had to find Spike. To make sure something was still as it should be." Angel uncovered his face and looked at his friends. "I can't fight it myself. I need help."

"There’s a lot of that going around." Willow said.

"Yeah, whatever we’ve been battling here has the same M.O." Buffy stated. "Bigger than us, root of all evil kind of thing."

"Then we need to work together. We need to find out what is doing this. Chances are if we’ve got apocalypse number seven on the way it's connected." Angel said as he stood up, taking Spike with him. "First we need to get back to LA, unless what’s going on here is in attack mode as well."

"Not yet, but I'm thinking we shouldn’t completely divide camps that much. What if that's what it wants? For me to go running off to LA while it makes a home on the hellmouth." Buffy said.

"Good point. We need another option. I can't just take all your power back to LA and leave you here single-handed." Angel stated. "There’s got to be another way."

"Faith." Spike said.

"What?" Buffy asked.

"Faith." Spike repeated.

"We have plenty of faith," Dawn said, "unfortunately, blind faith doesn't kill monsters."

"He means Faith Faith, Dawn." Buffy said.

"Oh," Dawn said with a nod of her head, "I knew that."

"But how do we get her out of jail?" Willow asked.

"I don't know, but we have to. Angel's right, we need more help. We need all the help." Buffy said.

"Okay, so that's the first thing we do." Angel said. "I'll go back to LA and get Faith out, whatever it takes."

"I'm going too." Spike said, grabbing Angel's arm in a possessive gesture.

"I was hoping you would." Angel said as he kissed Spike on top of his head.

"You're right this is getting weird." Dawn said in a hushed voice to Willow.

"You have no idea." Willow answered.

"What do you mean, did I miss something?"

"Let’s just say it's a good thing you're a heavy sleeper." Willow said with a smile.

"Willow?" Angel asked.

"Sorry Angel."

"No, don't worry about that." Angel said with a dismissive gesture. "I need you to start calling LA. I'll give you my office numbers, and everyone’s cell phones. I need you to find out if they are okay. I can't do it."

"No, totally. You need to rest." Willow smiled. "I'll get right on it."

"And I'll bring some more blood up to you and Spike." Dawn said. "I don't mind."

"Dawn." Buffy said in a warning tone. "I'll bring some up in a bit. You two rest. I have a feeling you're going to need it."

"Thanks. I appreciate it." Angel gave a quick nod to all of them and headed out of the kitchen for the stairs. Spike was close on his heels as the vampires made their way upstairs.

******
Part Three



People were so Happy Angel remembered how to drive Andale.
Copyright 2002 - Tania
Violators will be beaten to death with a shovel
(A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend)