Part 17: Hangover

" Joyce?” Spike croaked. Her scent was everywhere. The taste of human blood was in his mouth and his belly was full; he could feel the healing deep inside. A crawling panic started in his belly that he hadn’t felt since Prague. “Joyce?”

“Nope,” a familiar voice said dryly.

Spike opened his eyes and sat up; for his trouble he got a shooting pain through his head and a mocking smirk from the overgrown bastard lounging smugly against the wall. “What the bloody hell are you doing here?”

“Giles asked me to drop by. How’s the head?”

“Fuckin’ painful.” Spike ran his tongue over his teeth and recognized the bitter taste under the lingering sweetness. “Was it your bright idea to drug me?”

He shrugged. “My first choice was to stake you, but Giles felt obligated since you saved the lady.”

Spike winced as another bolt of pain made his head ring like Bow Bells. “I owe you one,” he mumbled. He was surprised when Angelus didn’t so much as widen his smile.

“So, you have anywhere to go?”

Spike blinked. “Yeah. Got a place. Give me a minute and I’ll be off to it.” Unfortunately his head was still pounding like a bastard and things got a bit swirly when he stood up. When grandpa moved towards him, he warned him off with a look.

“Don’t think the white hats knew you had a place,” he said casually. “She had to keep them from dumping you in a random crypt.”

“Wondered how I ended up here.” Kept his tone even, he was bloody good at poker, with people who didn’t know him.

Which left Angelus right out. “I wouldn’t take it too personally; I bet she’s kind to all kinds of strays.”

Spike ignored that. He picked up the t-shirt he found draped over the bottom of the bed and put it on. He wondered for a moment where his coat was, but was damned if he’d ask.

He went out to the living room, ignoring the hulking great shadow at his heels. Joyce smiled tentatively at him. She looked tired: no makeup and her soft curls were going in all directions; she probably hadn’t had much sleep.

“You’re up.”

He meant to be hard, cool, dismissive…but the genuine concern in her eyes turned him to mush. “Yeah, luv.”

“You look better, but are you sure you’re O.K.?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Don’t have to worry about me. Gonna go home now.”

“Alright, if you’re sure.” She looked a tiny bit relieved. Good, he told himself dismissing the pang.

Angelus piped up. “I’ll give you a lift.”

At the door, Spike took hold of her hand and kissed it, once. “Thanks luv.”

She smiled uncertainly at him. “You’re welcome.” He let go, closing his fist on her lingering touch, and turned to his shadow.

“C’mon gramps, let’s go.”

It surprised hell out of him when Angelus made good on his offer to drive him home. He was less pleased when he insisted on seeing him to the door, and beyond.

Spike stood seething while his uninvited visitor stood in the main room, looking around with a critical eye. “Not bad. How long have you had this place?”

“Couple months. Thanks for the ride. You can leave now.”

“Naw. I’ll stick around.” He wandered off in the direction of the kitchen.

Bastard. Knew that in his condition he couldn’t toss him out. Spike collapsed into the broken-backed lounger and closed his eyes. He could hear Angelus poking about, the fridge door slamming.

“Head’s up!”

Spike opened his eyes just in time to catch the packet of pig’s blood Angelus tossed at him. He glared as the other vampire sat down on the couch and put his feet up on the coffee table. He had one of Spike’s beers in his fist. He opened it and raised it to his reluctant host. “Drink up William.”

“Cheers,” Spike said drily. He raised the blood bag and bit into it. Cold, nasty pig juice but when he’d downed it he felt better. Now if Angelus would just bloody leave…

Angelus didn’t look like leaving any time soon; he’d got hold of the remote and was flicking through the channels while he sucked down the last of his beer. “You should get cable,” he commented.

Spike got up and went to the kitchen. He got two bottles and dropped one beside his guest on the way back to his chair.


“Yeah. Drink up and tell me what all this is about.” Spike stared into Angelus’ dark gaze and discovered that more than a hundred years and being cursed with a soul hadn’t made him any more readable. “If you were gonna stake me you’d have done it before we got here. Gonna warn me off again?”

Angel shrugged. “Do I need to?”

Spike started picking at his chipped nail polish. “Soon as the Master’s done, I’m out of here. You don’t need to worry.”

“Glad to hear it.”

“Right, that’s settled: you can go now.”

“I don’t know, thought we could hang out.”

“Bugger that, I’m off to bed. Lock the door when you leave.”

Spike felt Angelus’ eyes on his back as he walked into the bedroom and shut the door firmly behind him. He shucked off his boots and lay down on the bed and waited for him to leave.


Posted 30 March 2004

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