Pairing: Spike / Connor / Lester, Becker / Angel
Word Count: 3,686
Summary: Spike isn’t happy when Angel shows up.
Series: #7 in the Spike at the ARC series- full list here
First, a bit of background for anyone who doesn’t know Angel/Buffy. Angel, when he was first turned, was a ruthless, vicious vampire who took pleasure in torturing and killing anyone who got too close. Then, one day, he killed a Gypsy girl and in revenge, her tribe cursed him. They gave him back his soul and therefore his conscience, guilt and regret for everything he’d done. The curse had a catch, though; if he experienced one moment of pure happiness, he’d lose his soul again and turn back into that vicious killer. Unfortunately this happened after he had sex with Buffy and got his ‘moment of true happiness’. His soul was later restored using magic.
For the purposes of this fic, I’m pretending that, in restoring his soul, they took away the get-out clause and he can’t lose it again.
Connor watched as the little creature they had just released scampered off after the first one, vanishing into the shadowy undergrowth. It was satisfying to see them put back where they belonged, unlike so many who were stuck in the menagerie at the ARC.
“Time to go.”
He looked around as Abby spoke, nodding and following her back to the anomaly site. Mark and Dev, his and Abby’s Special Forces chaperones for the trip, had already gone, carrying the heavy wire cages back up the hill.
He was almost there when heard the sound behind him. He turned a split second before someone raced out of the trees and jumped him, knocking him down. They rolled a few times down the hillside until they came to a stop and Connor found himself pinned to the ground. Connor fought to get free but the man who had attacked him was strong and he couldn’t shake him. He couldn’t even call out for help, the arm to his throat crushing his vocal chords.
Suddenly he heard the sound of footsteps and then his assailant was knocked away from him. Scrambling back to his feet and backing away, coughing, he turned to see a man with dark hair, wearing a long black coat crouched nearby. There was a fresh wound on his left temple, which explained why he had released Connor so abruptly. Whilst he was still, Connor took in the sight before him. The man was battered and bruised, his shirt shredded down one side of his chest and a piece of cloth tied around a wound on his upper thigh. The look in his eyes was what scared Connor the most; he’d seen it before in the eyes of wounded creatures, the look that said they would attack in a heartbeat if anyone came too close.
Quite what Connor had been expecting to see, he wasn’t sure, but certainly not this man. The fact that another human was here at all surprised him. Unless he was one of Helen’s lackeys. Obviously the others had the same thought, weapons out, ready to shoot if necessary.
“Who are you?” Lt Andrews demanded, keeping his weapon trained on the stranger. “How did you get here?”
The stranger’s eyes narrowed as he looked around at them and then he pounced again, ignoring the guns. This time, Connor caught sight of his face altering as he did so.
“He’s a vampire!”
The stranger turned on him at his shout, heading his way again, and Connor picked up a branch from the ground and angled the broken, jagged end at the vampire’s chest.
“Back off! I’ll stake you if I have to.”
The man stopped. Andrews moved in a little closer, as did Dev, guns still drawn although they were treating him with more caution than before. Making sure they kept a safe distance from him, remembering how fast Spike could move when he wanted to.
“How did you get here? Is anyone else here with you?”
Something in the man’s demeanour changed then and the look in his eyes softened, turning to something closer to relief as he shook his head. “Just me. You’re the first people I’ve seen in… I don’t know how long I’ve been here. You mind putting the guns away?” Seeing the look on the soldiers’ faces, he sighed. “Guess not.”
Abby, however, wasn’t watching the stranger. She was staring out into the undergrowth. Every now and then they heard creatures calling to one another, faint animal noises that were too far away to worry about. Now, Abby looked concerned as she stood still, listening.
“Guys, I think there’s something coming.”
Leaving Dev to guard the stranger, Mark and Connor both joined her. She was right; there was definitely something moving and it was bigger than the two creatures they had released minutes earlier. As the noises began getting closer, Lt Andrews began snapping orders. He wanted everyone back through the anomaly before anything bigger headed for them; he’d seen the wounds on the stranger and no way had they been done by the little herbivorous creatures.
“Let’s move, people.”
The moment they were back on home ground, Connor sealed the anomaly and they all heaved a sigh of relief.
“What do we do with him?” Dev asked his lieutenant, indicating to the man he still had under guard.
“Take him back with us,” Mark said. “Lester will want to talk to him.”
When they stepped through the anomaly Becker and Luke were waiting, alerted by Mark that they were bringing a prisoner. As soon as Dev brought him through, their guns were trained on the stranger. He didn’t look particularly concerned, probably as the guns wouldn’t kill him, Connor thought. They’d hurt like hell, but not kill him. In fact, he hadn’t reacted to much of anything since Connor had threatened to stake him.
Lester had accompanied the team, stating that he wished to get out of the office more and experience what the team did, and now he stood off to one side with Spike.
“Spike? Oh great; like my day couldn’t get any worse!”
Lester turned to the blonde vampire standing next to him and frowned. “You know him?”
Spike looked around at the soldiers, and more importantly their guns, and his eyes lit up.
“If I say no, will you shoot him?”
The dark haired vampire growled at him. “Spike!”
Lester just gave him an irritated look and Spike sighed. “Worth a try,” he said. “Fine- I know him. His name’s Angel.”
As the guns were put away at Lester’s instruction, everyone piled back into the vehicles to return to the ARC. Once they arrived, Angel was summoned to Lester’s office. Spike had stomped away as soon as they got back, heading for Connor’s office and slamming the door. Connor had tried to stop him but had earned himself a glare, deciding to give the vampire a few minutes to cool off before going to talk to him. Instead, he followed Angel and Lester to Lester’s office.
“So, if Spike knows you, I presume that you come from his world, but both times that anomaly has opened in the same place. You ended up 35 million years into the past,” Lester said, skipping the pleasantries and sitting down behind his desk. “How did you get there? Did you go through a different anomaly?”
Angel frowned. “What’s an anomaly?”
“Like the shiny thing we brought you back here through,” Connor supplied helpfully, taking a seat.
Angel shook his head. “No, it wasn’t one of those. It was a witch.” He sighed. “God, I hate witches.”
Angel heard the words and felt the pull of the spell. She told him it would send him into the hell dimensions but something went wrong. Maybe it was the fact that he had a soul that disrupted the magic; whatever it was, he was grateful. Well he had been until he realised that instead of hell, he’d landed in the middle of the wilderness with a dinosaur about to treat him as a midnight snack.
Maybe the witch had sent him to the right place after all. That world had become his own personal hell; spending his days trying to find somewhere that could shelter him from the daylight and protect him from becoming lunch, and the nights trying to find something to eat that didn’t have longer fangs than he did.
“What date is it?” he asked suddenly.
“January sixteenth,” Lester told him.
For a moment, Angel was silent. “It was November fifteenth, the last time I looked. I was in that place for two months. Wait, you said 35 million years into the past. If it was, then how did you get there?” he asked Connor.
“Through the anomaly,” Connor told him.
“So a portal opened and you just went wandering through?” Angel asked incredulously.
“It’s kind of what we do,” Connor told him. “It’s not the first time we’ve been thought one.”
“I’ve seen portals before but never one like that before.”
“You won’t have,” Connor told him. “The place you know as home is some kind of parallel dimension. We checked when Spike first got here and where you came from just doesn’t exist here.”
Angel took this news with unexpected calmness. Maybe his time stuck in the past had already brought on his acceptance that he wouldn’t be going home again. Lester asked him more questions but it seemed that Spike’s reluctant vouch for him was enough. The vampire still didn’t look especially happy to see Angel but he had reassured them that Angel was “like a soddin’ saint these days” and therefore unlikely to hurt them.
“Perhaps you’d like to get cleaned up?” Lester offered. “I can arrange some clothing for you, provided you don’t mind borrowing for a while. At least until we can get you something more suitable.”
Angel looked down at his torn and bloodied clothes; his wounds had already begun to heal but it would be nice to get clean again. He nodded gratefully. “That’d be good. Thanks.”
“It’s always the same. I’m doin’ fine and then Mr. Look-at-me-I’m-so-tortured appears …” Spike mumbled. “Bloody Angel, always turning up where he’s not sodding well wanted! We should have pushed his arse back through that anomaly!”
Lester listened to Spike’s rant and frowned. “You know he wouldn’t have survived much longer if we’d left him where he was.”
They had both gone to find Spike as soon as Angel was been led off toward the showers by Becker, and they found him pacing in Connor’s office, muttering to himself. Some of his references to Angel were rather colourful and anatomically impossible, Lester had pointed out to him as they walked into the room. Spike had stopped in mid sentence and scowled at them both before starting again, this time directing his rant at them when Lester had mentioned his idea of allowing Angel to remain at the ARC.
“And that’s my problem, how, exactly?”
“It’s just like it always is; he turns up and takes over,” Spike continued. “Then its ‘goodbye Spike, Angel’s here now and he’s just so bleedin’ perfect’.”
Connor glanced at Lester, seeing that his lover was just as confused. Did Spike really think that they would cast him aside, just like that? No, he realised, he didn’t, but they could both see how much Angel got to him and Connor could sympathise. How many years had he spent in school or university being the clever kid, useful as long as someone wanted help with their work but knowing that as soon as anyone cooler came along, he would be forgotten. From the little Spike had told him of his past, Angel was always the one in charge, the self-appointed leader, and Spike was just expected to follow him.
“He’s never going to take your place here, if that’s what you’re worried about,” Lester told him.
“James is right,” Connor agreed, giving Spike’s hand a squeeze. “This is your home now; you were here first.”
Spike looked a bit happier at that thought. “Yeah, I was. That means I’ve got seniority, right? He’s got to do what I tell him. Neat!”
“Good to see that you’re being so mature about this,” Lester observed, smiling. His expression turned serious. “If it means that much to you, I won’t extend the invitation for him to remain here. You mean more to me- to us- than he does.”
As Connor nodded in agreement, Spike stared at them both in wonder as though not really believing that they would choose him over Angel. He sighed.
“Nah, its fine. Let him stay,” he said.
As temporary lodgings for Angel, he had been given a bed in the bunk room that the on call team sometimes used. These were nothing more than two four-bed dormitories but Angel seemed happy with it.
“Believe me, after where I’ve been sleeping for the past month and a half, this place is like the Hilton,” he told Lester.
Lester had also used the company expenses account for some more suitable clothing for him, rather than the borrowed items he had been wearing, and it gave Angel a feeling that at least part of his life was returning to normal. He still couldn’t go home or erase the past months from his memory, but this was a start.
They had given him the entire room to himself for a bit of privacy, but Spike didn’t care about that. He wandered in the following evening and dropped down onto the bunk opposite to where Angel was quietly reading.
“What do you want?”
Spike just shrugged his shoulders. “Can’t a bloke just come in for a chat?”
“We don’t chat, Spike.”
Angel tried to ignore him in the expectation that he would go away but when he looked around, the bleached-blonde fly in his ointment was still there, boots up on the bed.
“So what did you do to the witch?” he asked. Angel frowned and Spike smirked. “Must have pissed her off somehow for her to hit you with magic that powerful.”
Angel didn’t reply, merely gave him a look that quite clearly said ‘bugger off, I don’t want to talk about this’. Not that Spike paid any attention to it.
Spike’s smirk widened. “That means it’s personal. What’d you do, shag her and forget to call? No, can’t do that because of that pesky curse, can you? Must have turned her down in the first place since you couldn’t, you know.”
Angel put down his novel and folded his arms across his chest defensively. “I could have!”
“How? Have you forgotten that whole ‘shagging equals soulless’ thing?”
“No,” Angel told him, sounding smug. “Let’s just say that the spell is now permanent, no matter what I do.”
Spike laughed. “So, you’ve been making the most of it, eh? The witch was one of ‘em, I presume.” Angel looked slightly embarrassed- which made Spike even more determined to hang around and take the piss- but didn’t answer. Instead, he smiled in such a way that made Spike suspicious.
“So, what’s the deal with the geeky kid?” he asked.
“What do you mean?”
Angel sat down, imitating Spike’s slouch on the bed. “Never took him for your type. Bit young for you, isn’t he?”
Spike glared. “He’s older than he looks. Besides, I’ve got two words for you- Buffy Summers,” he retorted. “She was- what? -15 when you started mooning about after her?”
“I do not moon.”
“Do too. Been doing it since you got here too, making puppy-eyes at Becker,” Spike pointed out. “I’ll admit the man does look good in body armour, though.”
Angel began to nod at that but stopped himself, turning the conversation back to Spike. “So, the kid?” he needled. “People talk around here; I’ve heard all kinds of things regarding you, Lester and Connor.”
“Have you now?”
“So, how much of it is true? Chatter says that you’re screwing both of them. That true, Spike? One of them not enough for you- it takes both?”
Jumping to his feet, Spike got himself into Angel’s personal space, hand clenched into a fist. “You leave Connor and James out of this or I swear I’ll-”
“You’ll what?” Angel folded his arms across his chest, studying Spike. “Don’t think I’ve ever seen you get so protective before. You’ll be telling me next that it’s true love,” he added with a laugh, the amusement fading as he watched Spike’s reactions. “You do love them, don’t you?”
Spike’s eyes narrowed. “None of your damn business.”
“Oh, so you can stick your nose in to my personal life, but I can’t do the same?”
Spike frowned. “Just don’t talk about them like that. Why the bloody hell did you have to show up here, anyway?”
“Not my fault, remember,” Angel pointed out. “Besides, I didn’t ask you to come in here, did I, Spikey?”
“Don’t call me that! Pillock,” Spike muttered.
There was a knock on the door and both vampires turned. “What?” they snapped simultaneously.
The door pushed open slowly and Connor cautiously poked his head around it, looking between the pair of them. Realising that he’d shouted at Connor, Spike waved him in, apologising, whilst Angel watched in amusement. He glared but the dark haired vampire just laughed.
“I could hear you arguing from out in the corridor,” Connor told them. “Is everything okay?”
Spike nodded. “Just catching up.”
“Well, the others are ready to head to the pub- Becker sent me to find you.” Connor looked up at Angel. “You’re welcome to join us, if you’d like.”
Spike watched the brief flash of interest as Becker’s name was mentioned, quickly quashed as Angel realised he was being observed. He frowned at Spike, but before he could speak, Connor took Spike’s hand and pulled the vampire to the door.
“Come on- let’s leave Angel to get ready.” He turned to their guest. “We’ll wait for you in the lobby.”
Angel met them outside ten minutes later to walk to the pub. As he approached, Spike chuckled.
“Looks like someone’s on the pull.” Connor eyed Angel sceptically but Spike nodded. “Look at him, all spiffed up and billowy-coaty.”
Lester sighed. Not again; they were worse than children.
Angel just smiled sweetly at Spike. “As opposed to looking like a Sid Vicious wannabe? You know it’s been nearly 40 years; punk is dead.”
Spike snorted scornfully. “Like I’m gonna take fashion advice from someone with that gelled-up poofy, nancy-boy hair!”
Angel looked pointedly at Connor, then at Lester, and back to Spike with a huge grin on his face.
“Welcome to the poofy, nancy-boy tribe, Spike.”
An hour later, Angel and Becker sat close together at one of the small tables, deep in discussion about the latest James Bond film. Occasionally, one of them would go to the bar for more drinks but that was the only time they left each others’ side. From the look of it, Spike’s prediction had been spot on and it appeared that Becker wasn’t objecting to being pulled.
At the next table, six people watched them, intrigued.
“For someone who had such a problem with vampires when Spike first arrived,” Abby observed, “he seems to be getting awfully cosy.”
“He does know that Angel is a vampire, doesn’t he?” Danny wondered.
Spike leaned forward to get a better look at the proceedings. “Oh, this should be good.”
Abby smacked him on the arm. “Maybe we should tell him. Connor?”
Connor frowned. “Why me?”
“He’s your friend.”
“So? He’s your friend too. Besides, Danny’s better at stuff like that than me.”
“I’ll do it,” Spike offered and was immediately shot down. “’Never let me have any fun,” he grumbled.
Connor relented. “Fine, I’ll go.”
When he saw Becker heading for the bar a few minutes later, he got up and followed.
Becker returned from the bar looking rather embarrassed and sat back down next to Angel. Glancing up, he saw that the others were all watching him, all averting their gazes quickly when he caught their eyes.
“What’s going on?” Angel asked suspiciously.
Becker shook his head. “Nothing.”
He really didn’t want to get into that discussion, not here. He couldn’t believe that the team had all been sitting there, discussing his love life, or potential love life! And Connor telling him that Angel was a vampire… Did they really think he was that stupid? Of course he knew that Angel was a vampire; how could he not know?
Once he really thought about it, he could understand where Connor’s concern had come from although he still wished the whole conversation hadn’t happened. When Spike had first arrived at the ARC with Connor, he hadn’t been too comfortable with the idea of the vampire being there. He remembered his reaction when he had seen the bite marks on Connor’s neck, how he had been ready to kill Spike for hurting him even though Connor had insisted that he’d agreed to it.
Now he’d had the chance to get used to Spike, and what he was, he felt differently. The fact that Angel was a vampire didn’t really bother him.
“So why are they staring at us?” Angel persisted.
Becker looked up just in time to see Abby and Danny both shooting surreptitious glances their way. He glared.
He couldn’t even fault Connor’s assumption that he would take up Angel’s advances, if he made any. If he was being honest with himself, he had been waiting for Angel to do just that all night. What bothered him was that it was his colleagues making those assumptions.
It took them a while, but eventually the others grew tired of watching them. He found Angel to be good company, the pair of them discovering a shared fondness for James Bond films and Robert Ludlum novels, and Angel’s demon-hunting stories fascinated Becker almost as much as his dinosaur-hunting escapades did Angel. When it came time to leave, Becker walked back to the ARC with them all, Lester taking Connor and Spike home and leaving him alone with Angel.
Okay, this was awkward, he thought as they both fell silent.
“I guess I should be heading home,” he said reluctantly, turning to head for his car. He was almost to the door before he heard Angel move. In the moment it had taken him to turn, Angel was right behind him.
“You could stay a while longer.”
He smiled but shook his head, and a dismayed look passed across Angel’s features.
“If you don’t want to, that’s fine. I just thought-”
“No! That’s not what I meant,” Becker told him hurriedly. He took a step closer to Angel. “It’s just that if this is heading where I think it is, maybe we’d be better off at my place,” he said with a pointed glance up at one of the numerous security cameras dotted about the ARC.
Angel nodded, the smile returning. “Let’s go.”
To be continued…