Spike and The Harris Boy

by
Skargasm  and  TheLadyMerlin



Prologue

Xander entered his dingy, damp basement apartment to find his vampire room-mate sulking on the couch.

“Hey Spike, what’s up?”

“Your dad says the rent s’overdue.”

“Ah shit, I’m sorry. He didn’t do anything did he?”

“Not really. The usual crap but we’ve only got until the end of the week and then we’re out on the street.”

“Just great, fanfuckintastic timing.” At Spike’s enquiring look he adds, “I lost my job tonight.”

“Already gave you what I had. Kinda job challenged here.”

“I know. What are we gonna do?”

“I dunno…I. Wait, maybe. Nah he’d never go for it. But family ‘n all.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Angel has that Investigation Agency he runs, right?” At Xander’s nod he continued. “So, I bet he could use another office. Nothing big or fancy and there’d be plenty of work here on the hellmouth.”

“That’s…”

“Fuckin’ brilliant is what it is.” Spike was practically bouncing with excitement.

Xander allowed the vampire’s enthusiasm to sweep him up as well. “We could get an office that has an apartment too and maybe a small training room like Buffy. You promised to teach me more stuff. We fight demons all the time anyway, now we can actually get paid for it. And if we get really stuck I bet that Buffy and Willow would help out. ” He paused to consider if this could really work. “But do you really think he’ll go for it. I mean, we’re not exactly his best friends.”

“True but he’s always going on about vampire orders and family and all that rot. Can’t let me starve, ‘m family after all. And you, well with the amount of shagging we do you’re family too.”

“Gee, thanks. You’re so romantic.”

“Poor baby, let me make it better,” he leered.

“Later, we need to get working on this, we only have till the end of the week and I really don’t wanna have to live in a box. Sunnydale isn’t the safest place to be homeless.”

“True but you know I’d protect you,” Spike replied sidling closer.

“Spike. Just call, okay?”

“You’re no fun at all Harris. Gimme the phone.”

~*~



Spike walked into the new office of Sunnydale AI via the stairs with a spring in his step. It was opening day and he and Xander had been waiting for this all week. He remembered the plans he and Xander made, both desperate to move out of the dank basement apartment. They got along well enough although they argued from time to time but what couple doesn’t and besides the make up sex was fantastic. Angel of course didn’t go for the idea at first. Apparently, the cheerleader had some kind of vision thing though and he caved. Spike didn’t know the details and didn’t really care. He and Xander got what they wanted. Out of the basement and into a new place, that although small, was so much nicer.

They found an inexpensive building about a block from the Magic Box so the referral business should be good. It had a small office on the ground floor with two rooms in the back, one for storage and one for training. Located on the second floor was their new apartment that came fully furnished. Yep, things were definitely looking up. A new lick of paint, some office furniture and they were ready to open.

He smiled when he spotted Xander sweeping the floor while humming to himself.

“Hey Xan. We ready?”

“Yep, this is gonna be so great,” he replied putting away the dustpan and broom. “Together?”

Spike nodded his agreement and they headed to the door and turned the closed sign to open.

They each grabbed a coffee and sat at their shiny new desks to wait for their very first customer. And they waited. And waited. Several hours and several coffees later, they were still waiting.

“Is the phone on?” Spike asked frustration evident in his tone.

“Yes brain-trust, the phone is turned on and before you ask, the door is unlocked.”

“Oh.”

“Sorry. I just thought… I dunno what I thought really.”

“S’okay. You’ll see. It’s just ‘cause no one’s heard of us yet. ”

Xander's eyes lit up with excitement. “We need to advertise. We can print up some flyers and get some cards done. I bet Giles would hand some out and we could put the flyers up all over town and-”

Suddenly the phone rang interrupting Xander mid-babble and causing both of them to lunge for it at the same time. Spike gave a triumphant smirk, before saying, “AI Sunnydale, what’s your problem?”

Xander huffed at losing the race for the phone then leaned forward to listen in on the call without much success. He sat back down at his desk with a pout and pretended to read a comic he had tucked in his drawer.

“Yeah. No. Yeah. Right. When? Uh huh. Later.”

Giving up on the disinterested act Xander looked at Spike expectantly. “That sounded like Angel. Do they need us on a case?”

The big grin on Spike’s face was almost answer enough. “Yep, Cordy had one of those visions about some Glurgg demons. I got the details.”

“Let’s go then.”

“Not till later tonight, I wrote it all down.” He handed the paper in his hand to Xander. “See.”

“Right, so what do we do until then? I don’t think I could drink any more coffee.”

“You wanna train for a while? We can leave the door open. Phone rings or someone comes in we’ll hear it.”

“Okay. Hey, can you teach me that cool move that we saw in Kill Bill last night?”

“I’ve got all sorts of moves I’d love to teach you.”

~*~

The sound of the bell above the front door brought both sweaty boys into the office from the training room.

“Dawnie, you came.” Xander exclaimed rushing over to greet her at the door.

“Hey guys! Course I came. Told you I would. This is ...wow. It looks great.” Dawn replied while looking around the outer office area.

“You wanna see the rest?” Spike asked.

Dawn nodded and they spent the afternoon touring, chatting, reading magazines and listening to music. There were even some half-hearted attempts to do Dawn's homework. As night fell they headed out to take care of the Glurgg demons, dropping Dawn off at her house on the way. The fight wasn't especially difficult now that Xander had some actual training and the demons were quickly despatched. Spike and Xander stood looking at the puddles on the ground, covered in goo.

“What the fuck is this stuff?” Xander asked unable to keep the whine out of his voice.

“Demon Pus,” Spike replied heading for home leaving a smelly trail on the ground behind him.

Xander jogged a few steps to catch up. His trainers squelching unpleasantly with each step. “Pus?”

“Yeah. Ugly bastards are ninety percent pus.”

“And you didn't think to mention this sooner?” Xander asked, his voice cracking as it rose in disbelief.

“Didn't remember did I. Too late now anyway. Better come off my duster.” Spike said vigorously flicking his arms in an effort to free them of the sticky substance.

“Just great Spike. Thanks a lot.” he sped up his pace passing the vampire and giving him a hard glare only to suddenly stop short.“Spike?”

Unable to avoid a collision, Spike walked in to the back of Xander almost tumbling them both to the ground.“What now?”

“Are we getting paid for this? We didn't actually have a client.”

Spike stood very still looking at Xander for several seconds before he burst into a flurry of motion. “Fuckin' hell. I didn't do all this for free.”

“So does that mean we get to send a bill to Angel?” Xander asked, jumping up and down lightly on his toes and a big grin on his face.


Spike stopped his animated pacing and grinned back. “Damned straight we do.”





The Case of the Ascending Angel



Part One

"I can't believe we haven't had more cases - Sunnydale is full of weird stuff going on. I mean, just last week, Giles lost a delivery at the Magic Box in mysterious circumstances."

"Xander - "

"I think it might have something to do with Buffy - she's taking our cases and doing stuff for free. I think we should be asking her for more referrals."

"XANDER!"

"Huh - what?"

"Pet - it's hardly complimentary that I'm down here giving you a rather spectacular blow job even if I do say so myself and you're talkin' 'bout work!" Scowling, Spike looked up at Xander.

"Errrr - yeah, it IS truly spectacular honey, it's just - well aren't you frustrated?"

"Well I am now - looks like I ain't getting a shag til we've talked." Making no secret of his dissatisfaction, Spike slithered up the bed to lie next to Xander, automatically reaching for his cigarettes as he tugged the sheets up to his waist.

"Spike, no! We agreed - no smoking in the flat!"

"Humph, fine!! Right, what are ya on about Pet?"

"Well, apart from the vision cases we've got from Cordelia, they're hardly banging down the door are they? And have you noticed that all the cases Cordelia is sending us involve nasty, messy demons? We've spent more money on detergent taking care of her Sunnydale visions than in the last three years hanging out with Buffy!"

"Xander, focus!! You're right - we haven't had a lot of cases. I dunno - maybe we need to look at where we're advertising. Want me to beat Willie up again?"

"No, no - I think he's motivated enough from last time. And can I just say, very handy that Willie has demon in his family going back aways cos otherwise? You would have the mother of all headaches based on what you did. I didn't even know people's ankles could turn that way and not snap, and as for what you did with his ear - whoa!"

"It's a talent, luv, Angelus taught me well! This one time, Angelus, Dru and I spent a weekend with this family! I could tell you some stuff that would just turn your stomach, pet – those were the days!"

"Ugh with an additional eww! I hate it when you start reminiscing about the good old days with Angelus and Drusilla."

"I lived with the Harrises for God knows how long - don't see why I can't talk about my family. And I put up with you talking to the Cheerleader all the time"

"That's different! Cordelia calls us with work for a start, and hey, playing on the male side now - tends to mean I'm not going to be interested even if she does have nice boobs. And it's different - you're a vampire – you've already told me that vampires are interested in anything that walks!"

"You're not walking and I'm very interested in you!" Spike turned and leered hopefully at Xander.

"Oh yeah?" Suitably distracted, Xander found himself smiling at the look on Spike's face – hopeful and lustful at the same time.

"Yeah...."

"Less talk, more spectacular blow job!"

"That's more like it!"



"Monseigneur, all of the planets are in alignment. The portents have all come to pass, and the relevant signs are all there. Now is the time. We merely await your order to perform the first part of the ritual."

"Bastien, are you sure?"

"Very sure. We have checked and double checked."

"Then yes. It is time to release the demon."


Closing and locking the door of the hotel, Angel walked slowly down to his apartment. It had been a long, boring day with very little in the way of cases which was good because no painful visions for Cordelia; bad because it meant no money in the A.I coffers. Yawning, he headed straight to the fridge and grabbed a package of blood. Looked like otter for dinner tonight - Cordelia had taken to ordering him some exotic types of blood. He refused to say anything to her about it, but he was enjoying the surprise of what type he had today. Filling his 'I'm the Boss because She Says So' mug, he stood by the microwave and waited for that all important ting. Another yawn cracked his jaw and he stretched, enjoying the feeling of his spine realigning. It was a good job he didn't have a date with Cordelia that evening - he would be a complete wash out and she always insisted on 110% of his attention when they did go out.

He was trying to think of where to take her next - the ballet was out as it bored her rigid and he didn't think he could stand another night listening to her snore right in his ear. Actually, not true - there were some nights he was perfectly happy for her to snore right in his ear. With a smug smile, and an internal correction - never perfectly happy - Angel grabbed the mug from the microwave and sat down at the table. Life was good, life was very good. Even his irritating childe was proving helpful - being able to palm off the Sunnydale demons to Spike and Xander meant he could avoid those awkward meetings with Buffy and her soldier boy. He couldn't stand Riley and not just because of what he and his damned Initiative had done to Spike. The boy was so earnest he set Angel's teeth on edge and there was no way he even wanted to think about what Angelus would do if he ever got his hands on him. Riley was just Angelus's type - he would just love to twist and mould that earnestness into something evil....

Taking a big gulp, he stopped to consider how it tasted. Otter was ..... interesting. Another sip and he wondered if Cordelia would give him the name of her supplier because it was really good. Leaning back on his chair, he took a longer draught, enjoying the spicy taste on his tongue. This was -

"ARGH!" A sharp pain in his chest like he'd been stabbed by lightning and Angel lurched to his feet. God, what the hell was this? Maybe the otter had been spiked or something because the pain was excruciating, building and building until he could barely stay on his feet. It felt just like the last time he had lost his soul and Angelus had been released but that just wasn't possible - it made no sense at all.

Angel fell down, the mug smashing to the ground beside him and splattering otter blood all over the kitchen floor and his trousers. Clutching at his chest, he struggled to his hands and knees before another wave of pain sent him back to the floor. Biting back screams of pain, Angel began to crawl towards the living room, desperately trying to reach the phone. This couldn't be happening - there was no rhyme or reason for it, it just couldn't be happening. He needed to warn people - needed to talk to Cordelia and get her to leave L.A; he needed to talk to Spike because after Cordelia, Spike and his lover were the next 'possessions' that HE coveted. Tears streamed down his face as the pain mushroomed and he realised that he wasn't going to make it to the phone - he wasn't going to be able to warn any of them. They were all going to be in danger and there was nothing he could do about it.

"CORDY!!!!"


"Spike, it's Cordelia."

"Hey Cheerleader! Xan and I were talkin' 'bout you the other night. How come all the stuff you send us is so bloody messy?"

"Spike, this is serious. It's about Angel."

"Oh don't tell me - he's run out of that flippin' hair gel he uses and needs advice as to whether super-glue will keep his hair standing over his mono-brow?"

"Angel lost his soul." All sense of humour disappearing, Spike sat up straight on his chair.

"WHAT?!!"

"I - look, it's not too clear, the visions never are. But what is clear is that Angel's soul has gone walkies. Wes thinks it's to do with a French prophecy, something about an ascension. One of the requirements is a formerly souled vampire - ringing any bells in the bleached emptiness that is your head?"

"You seem mighty calm about this love - thought you and Peaches were a bit closer than this."

"You don't want to know how I'm feeling right now, Spike, so don't push me. The reason for calling you is that we think Angelus is heading to Sunnydale."

"Why the hell would he be coming here? Sorry but that makes no sense luv. I woulda thought the first person he'd be headed for was you, sorry if that scares ya."

"Oh believe me, I know what he wants with me. I've heard from the leather-wearing one and he made it perfectly clear what he wants to do with me once he's sorted out a few things. I have absolutely no intention of making that possible so my location will remain a mystery to all."

"Shit, love, I'm sorry. What makes you think he's coming this way?"

"Two reasons - he mentioned something about rounding up his childe and his consort - I assume from that he means you and Xander, although we're gonna be having a chat about this consorty thing Mister!"

"Boy's not my consort." Spike's voice was sharp, the subject not something he wanted to get into. "What was the second thing?"

"This French prophecy? It involves the Hellmouth."

"When doesn't it?!" Spike sighed. "Okay, I'll get a message to the rest of 'em. How long til he's expected to hit the welcome sign?"

"We're not sure. He called me from a cell - not something we expected since Angel can barely turn a cell phone on let alone use a hands-free while driving. Why?"

"No reason - just wanted to get a rough idea of when he might hit town. Look, I better get hold of Giles and them lot - you make sure you stay safe, yeah? Boy's attached to ya - would rather nothin' happened to you."

"Oh I intend to be around to make sure that soul is shoved so far up Angel's ass he can taste it. And I want in on when we find out who's done this. Nobody messes with my boyfriend, especially when I've put in so much work to get him up to scratch. I didn't get this demon upgrade for nothing."

"'right, Pet. I'll get Rupes to give Percy a call, get their heads together and figure out this prophecy shit."

"Okay Spike. Keep me informed - please."

"Will do luv." Putting the phone down, Spike sat in a state of shock. Angelus was free and heading for the Hellmouth - Xander and he knew better than to complain about how quiet things were and this just proved it. Spike couldn't help but hope it was a more sane version of his Sire than the one who had escaped following Angel getting his leg over with the Slayer. That Angelus had more than one screw loose and Spike did not relish the thought of meeting him again - no doubt, there would be retribution for Spike teaming up with the Slayer in the first place, and there was the matter of a few hits with an axe he might have to pay for as well. But first off, he needed to get Xander glued to his side and warn Giles and the girls - things were about to get scarily interesting in Sunnydale.





Part Two

Xander was walking back from the print shop with a box of new fliers for Sunnydale AI. The day was bright and the sun was shining and he briefly considered stopping at the ice cream shop for a large scoop of cold, creamy vanilla ice cream topped with warm, gooey rich fudge. He didn't want Spike to worry though. The vampire could be so totally overprotective but, of course, he'd never admit it. If something should even look at Xander the wrong way, Spike would viscously kill it and stomp on the remains with his boots, and he would proudly deny any feelings of concern or worry the entire time. It gave Xander a warm sappy feeling with a side order of queasy. Demon guts are never pretty. Maybe he'd give that ice cream a miss after all. But a small cone wouldn't hurt. It was small and best of all it was portable, so compromise. Compromise was good, wasn't it?

A quick stop to buy a large chocolate cone and Xander was again on his way back to the office. A big smile on his face and happily licking away at the drops of sweet goodness that tried to slide down the cone as the ice cream melted in the hot, late afternoon sun. He was just going by the alley that nestled between the book store and the film rental place when he heard a hissing sound followed by a cloud of smoke. Peering into the alley, Xander tried to see if he needed to call the fire department. Still unable to see for sure, he took a few tentative steps into the alleyway.

“Where there's smoke, there's smoke bombs?” he asked looking down at the small cylinder near his feet. He suddenly felt something strike the back of his head and saw the dirty, littered alley rushing up to meet him as he collapsed and blackness descended.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike paced impatiently across the hard wood floor of the Sunnydale AI office waiting for Xander to return or the sun to set. He didn't particularly care which came first. He'd placed a call to the watcher and they'd coordinated their efforts to locate and warn everyone who might be a potential target for Angelus. They'd managed to find everyone. Everyone except Xander. Spike kept trying to reason with himself. The sun was out so he would’ve been safe enough, and Xander had only run round to the printers to pick up the new fliers. An errand that should have taken half an hour. Tops. If Angeuls had anything at all to do with this...Spike didn't know what he was gonna do. He'd managed to pass some time on the phone with Wes and Giles trying to decipher the prophecy. Seems whoever these idiots were they decided they needed to sacrifice Angelus and scatter his ashes into the hellmouth. Only then would their god be appeased and grant them access to the eternal plane. Sounded like a load of bollocks to Spike but then most prophecies usually sounded kinda far-fetched.

He started when the phone rang, and he darted over to lift the receiver. “Sunnydale AI.”

“William, my boy.” The voice sounded happy yet tinged with a touch of madness which ignited feelings of dread and apprehension.

“Angelus,” Spike replied trying to keep his tone neutral.

“Have you missed me childe?”

Spike didn't want to take the chance of making Angelus angry when he didn't know where Xander was so even though he wanted to rant in frustration and tell the bastard to fuck off, he didn't quite dare, instead he simply said, “Yes.”

“Yes... What?”

“Yes, sire.” Spike sighed. He was starting to wish he hadn't bothered getting out of bed today.

“You seem quiet. What's bothering ya lad? Lose something?”

Spike closed his eyes against the world. Wanting nothing more than to have Xander walk through the door with his goofy grin and an incredible story for why he was so late getting back. He knew better though and fear for Xander made him want to tear Angelus apart. “Do you...if you.”

“Don't worry he's fine and he'll stay that way as long as you do exactly what I tell you.”

“What the hell do you want?” Spike said barely keeping a lid on his anger. Angelus was so very good at taunting and verbal torment, and Spike was finding it increasingly difficult to keep his temper in check.

“I would rather discuss the details in person.”

Yeah right, like Spike would willingly walk into a trap. “I'm not -”

“Certainly William. That's fine I'll just give your boy my best.”

“WAIT! Wait!” Spike shouted before regaining control. “Where?”

“The mansion and I don't have to tell you to come alone, do I? I mean, I wouldn't want anything bad to happen like...oh I don't know. Alexander might fall and break something. He can be terribly clumsy.”

“No! No.” Please, don't hurt him, he kept chanting over and over in his head. Out loud he said, “I'll be alone. Don't-”

“You're not trying to tell me what to do are you?”

“'Course not. Wouldn't do that.”

“Didn't think so William. See you soon boy.”


~*~*~*~*~


Xander woke to a throbbing headache and the uncomfortable familiar feeling of being gagged, blindfolded, and tied up. He wasn't sure what that said about him. What kind of person is intimately familiar with the feeling of being tied up. Xander shook his head at the total fucked up strange life he led but stopped when it sent the throbbing in his head up a notch or two. His throat felt dry and sore, and he tried to swallow around whatever was shoved in his mouth. It felt and tasted like someone had shoved dirty socks in there. He groaned when he wiggled his toes and realised his socks were missing. Found them or at least one. Great.

He was lying on his side and the arm pinned under his body felt numb like he'd been lying on it for a while. The soft surface he was lying on suggested he was on a bed and dressed apart from his missing shoes and his socks. He carefully rolled over not wanting to tumble to the floor and unable to break his own fall. He hissed behind the gag as the blood rushed back into his arm and prickly, painful feeling slowly returned. He wished Spike was there. He would've rubbed it for him, but it could be worse he supposed.

“Awake I see,” said a scarily familiar voice.

Shit Xan! Will you never learn. Don't say - er think things like that. His mind raced trying to figure out how Angel could've lost his soul. Again. If- no. When he got out of this he was gonna make sure Angel's soul got shoved so far up his brooding ass, he would never lose it again. Ever. He wondered if Angelus had grabbed anyone else as he listened to the vampire’s footsteps while he moved about the room.

“As much as I prefer keeping you in here and out of the way, we gotta move you to the other room. William is going to want proof that you're not harmed.” Xander heart leapt at the name and hoped Spike wasn't in any danger. He listened as Angelus continued, “had to bash it into his thick head sometimes but he did manage to learn a few things from his old sire.”

Xander tensed when he felt cool a hand slide under his back and another under his legs behind the knees and he was lifted easily off the bed. Any thoughts of gentle handling went right out of his head as he was then slung over a shoulder, the blood rushing to his head and an arm clamped around his legs at the calves tight enough to bruise.

Thankfully they only went a short distance before he found himself dropped on what felt like a couch. He bounced a few times and had a scare thinking he was going to tip over the edge and land on the floor before he managed to regain his balance and lay panting on his back with his arms pinned painfully underneath him.

“Oops! Did I drop you. Sorry about that,” Angelus laughed not sounding sorry at all. Xander wanted to slap the bastard when he felt a hand smack his cheek playfully.

“Get him set up over there. My dear childe will be here soon and I want everything to be ready for his arrival.”

The calm, over-bright tone scared Xander more than any threats could have, and he flinched when he felt hands grabbing his arms and pulling him upright. The hands quickly removed the coarse rope binding his hands while other hands kept a firm grip on his upper arms. He felt movement near his feet and he winced as full circulation returned in a rush when the ropes fell away. Tugged up on his feet, his legs promptly started to buckle, and he was roughly caught under the arms and dragged across the floor. He hurriedly tried to get his bare feet back under himself as they scraped painfully across the stone flooring. He'd finally regained his balance when he was spun and pinned against a wall. Rough hands raised his arms over his head, and he felt cold metal wrap round his wrists followed by a click that seemed to echo in the quiet of the room. The sound had such a finality to it and Xander's heart sunk as a feeling a foreboding crept over him. He tried to remember that Spike was out there somewhere and he would be working with the others to find him.

He squinted into the light as the blindfold along with a few strands of his hair were suddenly ripped away. As his eyes adjusted he saw the smiling face of his worst nightmare - Angelus in all his crazy leather wearing glory. Xander tried to move back as a large hand ran roughly over his body and grabbed at his crotch.

“Not bad. If only I had a little more time we could get better acquainted,” Angelus said with false sadness and a small shake of his head. “William will be arriving soon though and I have a few things to do before he gets here. Oh, don't look so sad,” he said as Xander stared daggers of anger at the smug, smiling face. “We'll have plenty of time for fun and games after I show my childe the error of his ways. Then we can all have a nice time together.”

Leaning forward Angelus removed the gag and before Xander could even think about taking a much-needed breath, he found his mouth taken in a rough brutal kiss. Xander's heart was pounding and he was beginning to see flashes of light dancing in front of his eyes when his mouth was finally released and he gasped taking in huge gulps of air. Mocking laughter echoed in his ears and his head spun as he looked up to watch Angelus swagger out of the room.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike sat on the floor, his legs drawn up with his arms wrapped around them and his forehead resting on his knees.  He felt like he was holding himself together by sheer force of will and the slightest lack of concentration would send him flying apart. He felt like this was all his fault. Not that he had anything to do with freeing Angelus but if it wasn't for him, Xander wouldn't be stuck in the mansion going through who knows what. He'd called the watcher's flat as soon as he'd gotten off the phone. Giles was going to pick up  the girls and he promised to arrive as soon as he could. It couldn't be fast enough for Spike. Every minute was another minute Xander had to spend with his screwy sire. He almost laughed when he realised that applied to both Dru and Angelus. The whole fucking family was off their nut. No wonder other vampires thought he was odd with the family he had. If he hurt Xander in any way Spike would ...what? Stake him? How would he explain that to Cordelia? Spike's head spun and his stomach churned with worry and guilt. He shouldn't worry about what anyone else thought. If his sire dared touch what was his then he should kill him without a second thought. So why the hell was he still sat here waiting for the others to arrive so they could form a plan to save both of them. He didn't understand it any more than he understood the tears that slowly leaked from his eyes leaving a wet patch on the knees of his jeans. The sound of the door opening and the concerned voices of Buffy and Willow brought him to his feet. He turned away and scrubbed a hand across his eyes and face, wiping away any remaining wetness.

“Spike. Have you heard anything else,” Giles asked as he entered the office behind the girls.

“No. Only the one call but it was enough. I've got my instructions and he knows I'll come to him. Got no choice do I?” If anyone noticed Spike's voice was a little rougher than normal, they didn't say anything and he was grateful for it. He normally enjoyed baiting and verbally sparring with the slayer but that was definitely not something he needed right now.

Taking seats around the office, they discussed various options and tried to come up with the best plan of getting Xander back safely, and Angel's soul back where it belonged. Then they could figure out how to deal with whoever thought freeing Angelus was a good idea. An hour and several plans later, they decided on a simple straightforward plan.

“Are you sure about this Spike?” Buffy asked.

“Yeah,” Spike answered with a nod and a sigh. “Angelus is expecting me. Don't know what he'd do if I didn't show. Don't wanna find out either.”

“I know but I'm not sure how long it will take to find all the ingredients we need to preform the restoration spell,” Willow said with concern.

“Don't matter as long as ya get the job done, yeah? I'll keep him busy while Buffy gets Xan outta there. He won't do anything I won't heal from.” Spike hoped that was true but wasn't sure. His sire was bound to be angry after Spike's betrayal the last time he was around but Spike was willing to risk it. No way was he gonna risk leaving Xan alone with an insane Angelus for any length of time. Spike lifted a sword but thinking better of it, he set it back down. Seeing the curious look Buffy gave him he said, “wouldn't do any good. Wanna make him think I'm happy being there.”

She nodded and gave him a small smile. “We'll get him back Spike. I promise.”

Grabbing his duster and wrapping the familiar leather around his body, he followed the others out the door. He looked up at the stars as he and Buffy walked towards the Crawford Street mansion and he said quietly, “I'm coming Xan. Hang on.”