orchidluv (orchidluv) wrote in bloodclaim,

NTS Book 2, Ch. 12/?

Nothing the Same, Book 2
Chapter: 12/?
Pairing: Spike/Xander
Rating: PG13 - NC-17 Individual chapters will carry specific warnings.
Feedback & concrit: yes, please
Disclaimer: don't own them, never will, just playing with them
Spoilers: Anything from Season 1 on. 
Summary: sequel to Nothing the Same. 
Previous parts here

Chapter 12

Considering the town was situated smack on top of a Hellmouth, you’d think that Sunnydale would be featured a bit more prominently in California history, Xander thought grumpily as he flipped through the textbook, looking for any mention of Sunnydale. California history was proving to be by far his dullest class, primarily because Mr. Newman had clearly been drafted into teaching the class and had no interest whatsoever in the subject material. Which pretty much made him the dullest teacher on the planet, at least in that particular class; for all Xander knew, he might be a whiz in his regular botany classes. Not being interested in botany, Xander had never had Mr. Newman as a teacher before so he couldn’t say.

He closed the book and pushed it away from him, glancing hopefully across the table. “Are you sure we can’t fool around, just a little?”

Spike shot him an amused look. “Not unless you want wolf-boy over there to go absolutely nuts tryin’ to join in,” he said patiently. “Now, personally, I’m always up for a three-way, but I’m not sure you’re ready for that, luv.”

Xander looked over at wolf-Oz, who was prowling restlessly and occasionally throwing himself at the bars of the cage in what had to be frustration. “I know, I just didn’t think this would be so boring with you here.” For something to do, he strolled over to look into the book cage, then jumped as Oz threw himself at the bars again. He hastily stepped back from the cage, then returned to the table with a sigh and peered over Spike’s shoulder at the book he was reading, frowning at the oddly shaped letters. Whatever language it was, it sure wasn’t English so he couldn’t even annoy Spike by reading over his shoulder.

“I feel bad for him,” he commented idly. “I wish there was some way we could release him into the wild every month so he could chase rabbits and stuff.”

Spike didn’t look up from his book, not even when Xander put his arms around him and nuzzled into his neck teasingly. “Don’t fancy getting a call from Canada to come pick up your stray mutt.”


“No way. Utah, maybe, but there’s no way he’d make it to Canada.”

“There’s a thought. Point him in the direction of Las Vegas. Lots of useless humans to munch on there.”

“Please tell me you’re not speaking from personal experience.”

Spike gave him a wicked look and Xander put his hands over his ears. “Never mind, just pretend I didn’t ask,” he said hastily.

Everything had been going remarkably smoothly lately. There had been very little happening on the demonic side of things, other than a new vampire in town that Spike was a bit worried about, but he hadn’t actually done anything yet. Spike was having the vampire watched but so far it looked like he was just setting up a place to live in a house in the nicer part of town. When he heard that, Spike had made some disgusted remarks about Trick going soft, living like a human. Given that, at the time, Spike had been ensconced on the couch with Xander watching tv, Xander still thought he was completely justified in finding the comments entertaining.

He smiled, remembering Spike’s reaction to Xander laughing at him and telling him that the vampire formerly known as William the Bloody was just a big old house-vamp now himself. The words were barely out of his mouth before Spike had him pinned to the floor and was demonstrating just how evil he still was. When Xander could breathe again, he’d suggested they continue the discussion in the bed and Spike had refused, saying William the Bloody didn’t stop ravishing mouthy captives so they could be more comfortable.

The rug burn he’d gotten that night had been totally worth it.

School was settling into normal class routines and Xander had people to talk to in every one of his classes. Buffy and he weren’t exactly hanging out buddies, but she was making an effort to be friendly, even asking him about where he’d learned to fight. Apparently she’d seen him do something while fighting the zombies that had impressed her, although Xander wasn’t sure exactly what it was. He really wasn’t interested in analyzing fighting styles, or the name and origin of any particular move, he just wanted to know enough to stay alive. He told her that Spike was training him and Buffy actually asked questions and seemed interested. It was the longest pleasant conversation they’d had since… well, pretty much ever. Figures, she would be interested in fighting. Occupational hazard, he supposed.

Willow and he… they were still tiptoeing through the minefield of their former friendship. Things had improved a little between them but it was more like a cease-fire than any kind of reconciliation. Willow no longer stared at him resentfully when he was talking to other people and in general, they both pretty much tried to act like they were just casual acquaintances who had no history whenever they were thrown together by class or research at the library or whatever. They both still avoided each other when they could but Xander was genuinely pleased to see her walking through the halls and talking to people other than Oz and Buffy. For a long time, they had seemed to be her only friends. And ok, that was really a pot criticizing the kettle, and all that, considering his own loner status last year, but he’d been worried about the way she’d been clinging to Buffy as her only friend. She was spending a lot of time with Amy Madison this year.

Seeing Willow and Amy walking through the halls, heads together, whispering and giggling, Xander had even wondered fleetingly if they were flirting with each other. He’d abandoned the ridiculous idea almost immediately - just because he was in a gay relationship didn’t mean everyone he knew was suddenly gay. Next thing, he’d been assuming that Larry was flirting with him, or that Giles and Snyder were doing it. The thought of Snyder with an eager Giles responding to a come-hither look was so off-putting - ok, let’s face it, so downright stomach turning - that Xander had vowed he was never going to speculate on anyone’s love life ever again. Snyder, yeesh! If his brain kept throwing images like that at him, he’d never have sex again.


He had been volunteered for Oz-watch tonight when Willow and Buffy had both told Giles they were busy and couldn’t do it. When he’d asked Oz about it, Oz told him that he preferred to have someone on watch on wolf nights to make sure nothing went wrong. Oz said that he didn’t ever want to wake up in the woods again, wondering what he’d done as the wolf, and Xander could understand and sympathize. Oz had adjusted really well to his wolf side, but he still worried about things going wrong. Spending a night sitting up in the library keeping watch seemed a small thing to do to reassure Oz.

Spike, on the other hand, had strongly disapproved, not liking the idea of Xander sitting alone in the school library with only a flimsy cage door between himself and a werewolf that Spike knew Xander wouldn’t want to kill. He grumbled about the Watcher being responsible for keeping an eye on wolf-boy, not a bunch of teenagers. Xander had just pointed out that Giles always took one of the three nights, but wasn’t up to staying up three nights in a row, especially when the full moon came during the middle of the week, like this one.

Spike had insisted on sitting Oz watch with Xander, which had sounded like a lot more fun when the vampire had proposed the idea than it had turned out to be. Not that Spike had given Xander a choice about it; he’d just announced that, if Xander was going to be sitting with the wolf, he was staying with Xander, end of debate. Unfortunately, Spike had inspected the cage suspiciously and immediately afterwards had told Xander firmly, and in so many words, that rutting around on the tables in front of the werewolf was a very bad idea. Apparently, Spike thought the cage wasn’t strong enough to hold Oz if he ever got really angry or excited. Xander had tried to convince Spike that they could make out safely in front of Oz, but Spike had pointed out that werewolves were easily capable of smelling pheromones and very drawn to sexual energy and he knew that Xander would claim it had killed the mood if Spike had to stop fooling around in order to kill Oz. That had pretty much ended the discussion.

So here he was, reduced to reading boring history homework, stuck sitting with a vampire who refused to even play footsie with him in front of the werewolf. Spike’s reputation for being evil was hitting a serious low, in Xander’s opinion.


“Hey, luv. Wake up.”

Xander stirred drowsily then settled down again as he felt Spike running his hand through Xander’s hair. “Mmmm, don’t stop,” he mumbled.

“Gotta wake up, pet.”

Lifting his head blearily from Spike’s thigh, Xander blinked as he looked around the dark room. “What time is it?”

“Almost 6.”

Xander groaned and dropped his head down again. Spike chuckled. “Need you to wake up, luv. Time for me to head out of here before the sun’s up.”

“Right, I’m up.”

“Looks a lot like you’re still asleep. Can stay, if you want me to.”

“No, I’m good. You should get home so you can sleep.” Xander reluctantly pushed himself upright, groaning as stiff muscles protested a night spent on the library table. “Next time, we bring an air mattress. Give me two minutes in the bathroom and I’ll be awake.” Peering through the darkness at the cage, he asked: “Is Oz ok?”

“Mutt fell asleep ‘bout an hour ago. Not too impressive as weres go.”

Xander yawned, beginning to shuffle sleepily out of the library towards the bathroom. “He’s young, I’m sure he’ll be up to your standards when he’s older.”

Splashing cold water on his face helped a little, but Xander wished he could take a shower. Heading back to the library, he considered skipping school that day, but he wanted to finish the project he was working on in shop. He was making a picture frame for Buffy as a peace offering. He’d thought about carving a batch of stakes for her but his imagination had immediately pictured her staking Spike with a stake he’d carved and he’d abandoned that idea with a shudder. He had enough nightmares without adding that one to the mix. Since half the jocks in wood shop were working on picture frames, it had amused him to start one of his own. If the inlaying he was trying to do came out well, he was going to make several of them and give them out as gifts at Christmas.

“I’m awake now, Spike.”

“Want me to stay with you until the Watcher gets his arse here?”

“No, it’s ok. Thanks for doing this with me.”

Spike slid into his duster. “Tell the Watcher you’re not doin’ this again unless he reinforces the door on the bloody cage.”

“I will.” Spike was over-protective, not paranoid. If he thought the cage wasn’t strong enough to hold, it probably wasn’t. Giving Spike a quick kiss, he asked: “See you after school?”

“Turnin’ into bloody Ozzie & Harriet.”


Spike groaned. “Ignorant wanker.”

Xander grinned at him. “Wouldn’t need to be a wanker if you weren’t scared of a little bitty werewolf.”


“You’re the one who ruined all my plans for last night,” Xander reminded him. “Gonna have to make it up to me tonight.”

“Make it up to you right now,” Spike threatened and Xander retreated around the table, laughing. “Git.”

“Love you, too, Spike.”

Spike left, still muttering threats about what he planned to do to Xander that evening and Xander hoped that the vampire intended to follow through on his threats. He peeked in on Oz, but the wolf was still curled up asleep. Oz generally slept through the morning transition back to human. Was the wolf aware of the pending change the way Oz was? Wondering if it would be rude to ask, Xander moved away from the cage, walking restlessly around the library looking for something to do as he resisted the temptation to settle back down and fall asleep again.


“Good morning, Xander. How did everything go last night?”

“All quiet on the wolf front,” Xander reported, looking up from the demonology text he was leafing through for no better reason than it had cool pictures. Giles was entering the library, newspaper tucked under one arm and a cup of tea in his hand. Willow followed him in carrying a pink box.

“I brought donuts,” Willow said brightly, showing off the box. “Is Oz awake yet?”

“Present and awake,” Oz answered for himself from behind Xander. He was just finishing buttoning up his shirt as he walked over to stand beside Willow.

“Hey, Oz! I brought donuts to make up for leaving you alone last night.”

“Not a problem.” Oz kissed her lightly. “But donuts are good.”

Xander wondered if Willow had been drinking coffee that morning. She was almost bouncing with excitement, her eyes sparkling and she couldn’t seem to stop smiling. Oz noticed it to. “Good night, I take it?”

“Great night. I got all of my errands done and it’s like this big load off my mind. Not that I didn’t miss you…” her fingers twined with Oz’s and he smiled at her indulgently, reaching a black-nailed hand up to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear.

Feeling like an intruder, Xander cleared his throat. “Can anyone have a donut or are they all for Oz?”

“Oh,” Willow jumped. “Of course, donuts for all.” She set the box down and they all reached for a donut. “Where did Giles go? I got a jelly-filled one for him.” Willow looked around and saw that Giles had already retreated to his office. “I guess we were a little too couple-y for him.”

“Not at all,” Giles said. “Certainly not enough to make me forgo a jelly donut. Have you seen Buffy this morning?”

“Nope, but I’m sure she’s fine, just running a little bit late. I’ll take notes for her if she’s late for first period.”

“Willow, is everything all right?”

Xander was beginning to wonder that himself. This was more than just over-caffeinated Willow, if he didn’t know better, he’d almost swear she was high on something. Which was impossible. Willow was totally anti-drug, she rarely even took aspirin.

“Everything’s fine. Peachy, in fact. A fruit-filled morning.”

Giles shook his head. “I think I would suggest a bit less caffeine when you’ve been up late.”

“I like you giddy,” Oz contributed.

“You all should probably head for your classes,” Giles nodded at the clock. “Willow, if you could ask Buffy to stop by during a free period to discuss tonight’s patrol.”

“Will do.”

They left Giles to go to class, Xander snagging another donut on the way out. “See you guys later,” he said, “thanks for the donuts, Willow.”

They parted, heading for different classes and Xander yawned, thinking that if he was going to do Oz watch again, he would need to take up coffee drinking himself.


As the day wore on, Xander was sure something was going on. Buffy and Willow were in full-on girl mode, heads together, whispering as they walked between classes. Willow still had that glow of happiness about her and it was beginning to seriously freak Xander out. She looked like the stereotype of someone who’d had sex last night. He really hated the idea that she might be cheating on Oz but he knew for a fact that she and Oz hadn’t done anything last night. Not together anyway. Oz didn’t seem worried and Xander wasn’t about to say anything, not when he didn’t have anything more than suspicion to go on. Who knows, maybe Buffy had gotten lucky with her new guy last night and Willow was just in match-maker heaven. She hadn’t exactly been subtle about pushing Buffy at that Scott guy.

Deciding once again that other people’s love lives were something he didn’t want to know about, Xander gathered his books for his study period with Giles.

“Xander, are you absolutely sure Oz was secure all last night?” Giles looked worried when Xander arrived at the library and his voice was anxious as he greeted Xander.

“Absolutely. Spike kept watch when I was sleeping.”

“Is there any possibility that Spike fell asleep on watch?”

Xander looked at him in disbelief. “Spike? No. He woke me up before he left, so Oz was guarded the entire time. Why?”

“A student was killed last night. The newspaper reports that he was horribly mauled.”

“It wasn’t Oz.” Xander was positive. Spike would never have fallen asleep because he had been there last night to protect Xander, not Oz. “Who died?”

“Oh, a..a student named Jeff Walken. Oz apparently knew him.”

The name didn’t ring a bell with Xander and he focused on Oz. “Did you tell Oz it couldn’t have been him?”

“I suggest you tell him yourself, if you don’t mind missing our study session today. Despite my reassurances, he was worried, which is understandable.”

“I’m on it. See you, Giles.” Xander gathered up his book and went in search of Oz.


It took him awhile to track Oz down but Xander finally found him in one of the small music rooms behind the auditorium. Oz was holding his guitar but his hands were still on the strings. He was staring blindly at the blank walls, lost in thought and Xander hesitated for a long minute before tapping on the door. He didn’t wait for Oz to respond, just stepped inside and closed the door behind him.

“Hey, Oz. Are you ok?”

Oz shrugged. “Not really.”

Xander came right to the point. “You didn’t get out last night.”

“Pretty much knew that, but thanks.” Oz glanced at him briefly. “I knew Jeff. We were in jazz band together last year.”

“Oh.” Sitting down beside Oz on the table, Xander didn’t know what to say. “I’m sorry.” After a pause, he asked: “Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not much to say. I really hate this town sometimes.”

“Right there with you, man.”

They sat together in silence for a long time, remembering lost friends.


It was full dark and they had almost reached the mansion when Spike stopped abruptly, one arm thrown out to bar Xander’s passage.

Xander had been filling Spike in on their efforts to figure out what had killed two people connected with the school. First Jeff, then the school counselor, Mr. Platt, had been found mauled to death in his office towards the end of the day. Spike had been very unhappy at the idea of a killer stalking the school during daylight hours when he couldn’t protect Xander. Whatever it was that was killing people, it obviously could move around during the day as well as the night, and was inconspicuous enough to kill someone in their office at the school without being seen.

At Spike’s sudden stop and warning gesture, Xander froze obediently, the words dying in his throat, knowing Spike had sensed something. Xander couldn’t hear anything but the normal quiet suburban sounds during the long tense silence that followed, as Spike stood a half a step in front of him, scanning the area around them with all of his senses.

“Somethin’s been here,” he said finally, his voice quiet. “Think they’re gone now, but best be careful.”

Suiting action to words, he pulled a knife out of his boot and handed it to Xander. With Spike in the lead, they slipped into the mansion, entering silently through the already open door.

Some kind of struggle had taken place inside the mansion. The training mats that covered the floor were knocked out of place and the rack of axes and crossbows had been smashed, although none of the weapons seemed to be missing. Spike grabbed two axes from the mess and handed one to Xander, automatically sliding the knife Xander returned to him back into his boot.

A quick search of the mansion turned up nothing. The struggle had apparently been confined to the main room and the rest of the mansion was deserted. As they made their way back to the living room, Xander asked: “What do you think happened?”

“Dunno, luv.” Spike was still tensely alert, not relaxing his guard at all, despite the seeming quiet.

“Do you suppose it could just be ordinary burglars? The house does kind of look empty from the street. Maybe they got ticked off that there was nothing to steal.” Xander didn’t want to even suggest it could be whatever had killed Jeff Walken and Mr. Platt. They had so little information to go on, just that whatever it was, it was stronger than human, probably had claws, and had killed both during the day and the night. Willow had hacked into the morgue computer and confirmed that both bodies had been similarly mauled and there were no obvious signs of bite marks. They simply didn’t have enough information to narrow it down to anything in particular.

Spike shook his head, his eyes sweeping the room restlessly. “If this was just vandalism, they would have used the weapons to destroy the walls and furniture. Probably pissed on the floor as well. Nothing’s missing and nothing’s really damaged, this was something else.”

Spike crouched down by the weapons rack, his slender fingers sifting through the debris. Xander watched, puzzled, as Spike occasionally picked up a piece of broken wood and sniffed it, his expression turning first shocked, then grim.

He stood abruptly, dropping the last piece he’d smelled. “Need to get you back home, luv.”


Spike hustled him out the door and pulled him along the street until Xander was practically running to keep up. “Spike?” he asked again.

“Promise I’ll explain later, Xander. Right now, there’s something I have to take care of. Won’t lie to you, luv, it could get dangerous. Need you to stay inside the factory tonight.” Spike stopped for a moment and turned to face him. “Xander, promise me you won’t leave the factory until morning.” His eyes were frighteningly intense. “I’ll be back before dawn, if possible and I’ll explain then.”

“Can’t I help?” Xander wasn’t sure he wanted to get involved in whatever had Spike so on edge, but he had to offer.

Spike’s quick head shake put an end to that idea. “Need you to be safe, luv. And you wouldn’t be able to keep up with me. I’ve got to find the thing that was at the mansion tonight.”

“Is it the thing we’ve been hunting? What aren’t you telling me?”

“Later. Do you promise?”

“All right,” Xander agreed reluctantly.

Spike began walking quickly again, still obviously watching for danger. Spike was always alert to his surroundings but this was different. This was red-alert-this-is-no-drill combat readiness and Xander’s own unease grew to near panic levels.

Arriving back at the apartment, Spike left Xander in the kitchen and told him to wait. Taking the seldom used back entrance into the factory, he returned almost immediately with Jose following hesitantly behind him. Xander was astonished at the sight of the other vampire. None of the vampires of Spike’s Court had ever been allowed in the apartment before.

“Jose’s going to sit with you ‘til I come back. If I’m not back before dawn…” he held up a hand to forestall Xander’s automatic protest. “I’ll try to be back, but if I’m not, Jose is going to stay here in the apartment until I do get back.”

The fear that had been growing steadily in Xander was now almost choking him. “What’s going on Spike?” he asked sharply. “Tell me, or I’m going with you.”

Spike was across the room in one stride, his arms going around Xander tightly. “It’ll be all right, luv.”

“I’m serious, Spike. Talk to me or I’ll just imagine worse things than could possibly be really happening.”

Spike sighed, holding him and Xander knew that Spike could feel his heart pounding and feel the slight tremors that shook his body, as he clung to Spike.

Pushing back slightly, Spike looked steadily at him. “Two people were at the mansion recently, Buffy and Angelus.”

Xander stared at him, shaking his head dazedly. “That’s not possible. Is it?”

“Dunno how, but they were there.”

“But…” Xander shot a quick look at Jose, not sure how much the other vampire should be hearing. “Willow did the spell, it shouldn’t be that big a deal, right?”

“Hell dimensions are tricky, Xander. Time moves differently. He could have been there for years, even centuries. All we know is that him and the Slayer appear to have gotten into a fight. That doesn’t say good things about the state he’s in. No dust, so she didn’t win.”

“She was at school today.” Xander said, thinking quickly. “The school has basement access, could Angel be what’s been killing people? I’m pretty sure Buffy knew both of them. Jeff was a friend of that Scott guy she’s been dating and I think she’s been seeing the school counselor.”

Spike nodded. “Anythin’s possible. Dunno what any of this means. But if it’s Angelus, I’m not risking him getting his hands on you again.”

Xander agreed with that. Oh boy, did he agree with that. For one moment, all he could feel was Angelus’ weight pinning him down, cruel hands twisted painfully in his hair, the sadistic voice purring threats in his ear.

“Xander! Not going to happen, luv. Give you my word.” Spike’s gentle shake brought him back to the present and Xander nodded. Spike’s voice in his ear erased the last hint of Angelus’ as he whispered, “Love you, Xander.”

“Love you, Spike. Be careful.”

Spike nodded, kissing him hard, then turned to face Jose, who was discretely staring at the far wall. Pinning him with a cold glare, Spike growled: “Don’t leave him alone for a second and nothing comes in here until I’m back. If he has so much as a scratch when I return, you will beg me to stake you before I’m done.”

“If he has a scratch, it will be because I am already dust, Master Spike.” Jose’s voice was calm and Spike nodded, accepting the pledge. He looked at Xander for a long moment, then was gone out the door in a swirl of black leather.

Xander and Jose looked at each other. “So, tv or poker?” Xander offered, knowing he wasn’t going to be able to sleep until Spike got back.


Spike went back to the mansion, for lack of a better place to start. It wasn’t like he was a bloodhound who could follow a cold trail by smell alone. Standing in the main room, he stretched out his senses to their limits, inhaling deeply, mouth open, tasting the scents that came to him. Disregarding the familiar smells of himself and Xander, he concentrated of the faint traces of the Slayer and his Sire.

There was a hint of the coppery tang of blood still present, Slayer blood. A couple of the splinters of wood from the broken rack had traces of blood, which meant that the Slayer was most likely the body that had smashed into the weapons rack, propelled by demonic strength. Some of the scattered training mats bore marks resembling charcoal dust, which carried a faint reek of brimstone.

Angelus’ trunk, still tucked away in the back of the bedroom closet, had been hurriedly rifled through. The souvenirs his Sire had somehow managed to keep over the centuries were tossed everywhere: some of Darla’s silk underwear; an old doll Drusilla once cherished, its lace-edged dress faded with age; a pair of reading glasses Spike had thought he’d lost before he left England for the first time, plus dozens of things Spike didn’t recognize. He sorted through the mess, straightening things and tucking them back inside the trunk with nostalgic fingers. He hadn’t gone through Angelus’ things after his Sire vanished into the portal, his own feelings about his Sire had still been too convoluted to process and Spike had opted for not dealing, as Xander would say. Now, he was astonished to learn that Angelus had kept mementos of his family. Through all the years he’d abandoned them, Angelus had still clung to these reminders of the past he denied. He couldn’t tell whether anything was missing but it was the Slayer’s scent overlaying the items, not Angelus’, meaning the Slayer had been the one tearing through the trunk searching for something.

Closing the lid firmly on the bittersweet knowledge that his Sire had still cared about them, Spike rose to his feet and considered what he knew. Angelus had returned from the hell dimension, how and why wasn’t important right now. The Slayer either knew he had returned or had stumbled over him and the two had fought. There was no trace of ash, so it was unlikely the Slayer had dusted Angelus. Nor was there enough blood to assume Angelus had killed the Slayer, especially since she’d been seen out and about today.

If Angelus had won the fight, it would be likely he would still be here. Angelus was territorial, like all vampires, and this had been his home. He would have been determined to re-claim it from the interlopers using his property. That meant the Slayer most likely came out on top.

Since Angelus’ dust wasn’t littering the mansion, the Slayer had once more not been able to bring herself to kill him. It was obvious someone was using the mansion, so she wouldn’t have dared leave Angelus here. The scent left by the two was older than a few hours, they must have fought sometime during the previous night. Slayer hadn’t told anyone of his return at school - probably because no one else was going to be dancing at the return of the vampire that caused them all so much pain and misery. That meant she’d stashed Angelus somewhere to hide him from her friends.

Where would a Slayer hide her vampire lover?


Turned out, it hadn’t been that difficult to find him. Ruling out the Slayer’s home, that pretty much left Sunnydale’s cemeteries: filled to the brim with convenient crypts for hiding vampires in. A determined vampire hunting with his sense of smell wide open could cover a lot of ground in a hurry.

In the end, it was sound rather than scent that gave Angelus’ hiding spot away.

Spike studied the thing secured to the wall of the crypt by a set of manacles and a heavy length of chain. Angelus was growling and snarling and struggling futilely against the manacles that restrained him. The sounds were those of a wild dog, not a vampire and there was no glimmer of intelligence in the dark eyes. What puzzled Spike was that Angelus was in human face. For a vampire this out of control, he should have lost the ability to control his demonic features as well.

Given that Angelus was restrained for the moment, Spike had time to think about what he was going to do. He perched on the crypt’s sarcophagus and lit a cigarette, inhaling deeply and letting the familiar warmth of the nicotine relax him after the tense hours of hunting.

“Question is,” he said finally, more to himself than to the creature in front of him. “What exactly are you? My Sire; the off-his-trolley version of Angelus you were last spring; or the souled poof who abandoned his family, breaking Dru’s heart? Or are you somethin’ else entirely?” He took another long drag, hoping to settle his churning thoughts. “More to the point, what am I going to do with you?”




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