tamibrandt (tamibrandt) wrote,

How to Treat Your Lover (A(us)/S, Buffy) NC-17 60-B/?

Title: How to Treat Your Lover (Book 4)
By Tami (tabrandt @ hotmail.com)
Disclaimer: The characters from ATS / BTVS are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox studios. This story is not meant to infringe upon anyone's rights, only to entertain.
BETA: Myself, Morgan
Rating: NC-17
Pairing – M/M, Angelus/Spike, Angel/Spike
Timeline – ATS Season 4/BTVS Season 7-AU
Summary - With both Angel and Cordelia still missing, Fred and Gunn try to keep Angel Investigations running while they search for their friends. Ironically, the man everyone believes betrayed Angel is the one who finally comes to Angel's rescue. Then, as suddenly as she had vanished, Cordelia inexplicably reappears with no recollection of her life or her friends. Unbeknownst to the team, things aren’t always what they appear. Even as Cordelia regains her memory, she harbors a secret that will change their lives forever. Finally, Spike returns from his sojourn abroad with his gift to Angel that leaves him mentally unstable. Meanwhile, in Sunnydale, Dawn starts her sophomore year at the new Sunnydale High School with a mysterious new principal that may shake things up. Oh, and there's an apocalypse a'comin' on two fronts.
Feedback – It would be appreciated. My plot bunny has been lagging lately.
Author's Note - This story came to me after watching how Buffy treated Spike in SMASHED - AS YOU WERE (BTVS, Season 6). I wondered how Angel would truly feel, if he really knew how Buffy mistreated Spike. Yes, Spike is the Big Bad, and he and Angel normally don't see eye-to-eye, but they are family nonetheless
Word Count: 10,475 overall

How to Treat Your Lover Soundtrack (Feel free to suggest a song/scene)

( Book 1 )
( Book 2 )
( Book 3 )

( Previous Chapters for Book 4 )

**************************



Chapter 60-B: Step 4 – Reconciliation (Part 10)



After Angelus and Spike exchanged a heated look, it was a blur. One minute they were in a demon bar sharing a drink, the next they were checked into the Royal Viking Motel. Spike had his arms and legs wrapped around his Sire as they attacked each other with mouths full of fangs. Angelus pushed Spike’s back against the door as he blindly used the room key to open the door. Spike tightened his hold on Angelus as he used one hand to reach down and twist the knob. They nearly fell onto the floor when the door opened, losing the support at Spike’s back. They were still attached at the mouth when Angelus carried him inside and shut the door with a kick of his foot.

Angelus fell onto the bed with Spike. He tried to stand up, but Spike refused to release him completely. The strong, supple thighs had let him go, but Spike’s arms still imprisoned him. Angelus reached up and pushed Spike’s arms away from him then stood up and impatiently pulled off Spike’s coat and shirts. Spike grabbed him, dragging him down for a kiss before going to work at relieving Angelus of his coat and shirt. Once they were both stripped down to the waist, Spike pounced on him again, wrapping his arms and legs around his Sire.

Angelus broke the kiss and his lips moved to Spike’s neck, fangs grazing the pale flesh just enough to break the skin, but not bite into him. Spike nuzzled against Angelus’ neck and bit down, causing the dark vampire to growl in annoyance. Angelus grabbed him under the arms, tossing him onto the bed again. Spike bounced up in a seated position and reached for the fly of Angelus’ jeans, kissing, licking, and nipping any bare skin he could reach as he unfastened Angelus’ jeans. Pulling the flaps of material away, he traced a path down Angelus’ stomach, to the erect and bobbing shaft awaiting his attention, which he gave eagerly, running his tongue over the crown and shaft, causing Angelus’ head to fall back and growl rumbled deep in his chest.

“Watch the teeth, boyo,” Angelus warned when he felt a fang skim lightly along the length of his shaft. Spike let his demon recede to human visage and continued his ministrations.

Angelus returned to his human face by the time he pushed Spike away and knelt on the floor in front of Spike. Spike lay back and watched coyly through his heavy eyelashes as Angelus proceeded to divest him of his black jeans.

Where Spike had used his hands and tongue to pleasure his Sire, the elder vampire produced a small knife from out of nowhere, and Spike was too immersed in a deep fog of lust to care what dark design his Sire had in mind.

Spike closed his eyes and stilled as Angelus inflicted shallow cuts all over his stomach and chest. Angelus watched the blood well up in each incision he made then bent to ravenously lick it up. Each time the skin healed to a red mark, Angelus made another shallow cut and repeated the long, intent gaze, then the hungry consumption. It wasn't physical hunger that drove Angelus, tasting Spike’s blood, to him, was like getting a glimpse of home.

Time slowed and blurred for Spike. He had no idea how long it was before Angelus grew bored of cutting into his skin – wanting more. He opened his eyes to see Angelus toss the knife, now clean of blood, onto the bed. Then his lust-glazed gaze traveled to his Sire’s blood-stained mouth, and he licked his own lips reflexively.

Angelus crawled between his long legs and, with a gentleness uncharacteristic of the elder vampire, pushed his erection inside Spike's ass, causing the blonde vampire to growl and pant unnecessarily as the wide shaft stretched his tight hole. Spike had almost forgotten what it was like to have sex with Angelus. Knowing that this bit of tenderness was a rare display of affection, Spike savored the moment before the demon took control.

As if on cue, Angelus snarled and seized Spike’s mouth in a bruising kiss, his hips thrusting sharply, driving his cock deep into his lover's bowels, causing Spike to howl in pain at the sudden tearing of his anal cavity. Angelus didn’t give him time to adjust. His thrusts were hard and unrelenting. Spike clawed frantically at Angelus’ back and arms, trying to steel himself against the force of his Sire’s lunges. Spike snarled, instinctively trying to wriggle out from under his Sire’s greater bulk only to have Angelus clamp a powerful hand on his sharp hip, and inexorably drag him back into place. Spike growled savagely, his fangs dropping as he tried to fight back against Angelus' sexual aggression only to have his Sire’s demon snarl an admonishment before going in for the attack, burying his fangs deeply into Spike’s neck. Spike howled raggedly as Angelus fairly burrowed his fangs into the thick vein, drinking deeply of the crimson fluid he craved from this source, above all others. Spike’s fingernails rent deep trenches in Angelus’ back, driving him mad with the scent of his Sire's blood, so near, yet impossible to reach. When he felt Angelus drinking, swallowing great gulps, and drinking more, Spike relented and gave in to his demonic lust, cock erupting against Angelus' belly and screaming in release. It was impossible for him to deny Angelus’ mating claim, he would later try to rationalize his behavior.

Sexually spent, Spike blacked out.

**************************


Los Angeles, Hyperion Hotel Lobby

Fred lit white candles as Lorne read off the incantation.

“Violence restrained, demons disarmed. For mortals within these walls, no harm. Protection and safety this charm doth endow to make this shelter a sanctuary now,” Lorne recited the words while doing his best imitation of Mickey Mouse from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Everyone looked around, waiting for something to happen.

“That’s it?” Gunn asked sadly. To him it seemed like a lot of hoopla with little effect.

“Well, if we followed the recipe,” Lorne said as he scanned the instructions again and looked around the perimeter of the lobby confused. “There should be cake. A demon violence-free zone, cake.”

“I don’t know, Lorne. It doesn’t feel like anything’s different,” Fred said skeptically.

“I think we’ve pretty much concluded magic never works the way it’s supposed to. I mean, I would have –” Gunn was saying.

Lorne sneaked up behind Gunn swinging a candlestick at him, but a force field stopped him, tossing him backward against the reception desk.

Fred gave a surprised squeak of “Charles!” just as the spell kicked in.

When Gunn turned around at the sound of his name, Lorne laughed nervously, “See? It works. Oh, it also smarts like the dickens.” He leaned against the desk, grimacing in pain.

"You tried to brain me with that candlestick," Gunn accused his green comrade in arms.

Wesley finally emerged from the basement. Taking in the scene, he dryly observed, “Sanctuary spell’s working, I gather?”

“Yeah, like a charm!” Lorne said giving him a thumb’s up. “Literally.”

“Good,” Wesley nodded. “It’ll make this easier.”

Gunn faced him. “Make what easier?”

“Where’s Cordelia?” Wesley asked. “And Spike?”

“Cordelia’s upstairs, asleep. She still feels weak,” Fred told him. “Spike went out to distract Angelus . . . or so he said.”

“Make what easier?” Gunn repeated.

Wesley shrugged into his coat and loaded himself down with weapons. “We’re going to bring in Angelus, alive.”

“I thought you said ‘capturing him wasn’t an option’,” Gunn reiterated.

Wesley shrugged. “Changed my mind. If we get rid of Angelus, then what? We still have a Beast we don’t know how to kill. We know it’s working for something much worse, but we don’t know what it is. We’re caught in the middle of maelstrom, and we can’t get out without our champion. We’re going to save Angel, and I know who we need to help us do it.”

**************************


Stockton, California, Northern California Women’s Correctional Facility, Day

Faith walked down a corridor of prison bars into a visiting room where other prisoners sat on one side of a wall of glass and visitors sat on the other, talking to each other. Faith sat in an empty chair wondering why the hell her lawyer suddenly wanted to see her. She was shocked to temporary immobility when she saw Wesley on the other side of the glass.

Slowly she picked up the receiver and said, “They told me my lawyer was here to see me. Are you my lawyer now, Wes?”

“Hello, Faith,” Wesley greeted. “How are you?”

“Still alive,” she replied, still staring at him in disbelief. “Never thought I’d live long enough to see you paying me a visit.”

“A lot’s happened,” Wesley said.

“Whatever it is suits you. I mean, you’re looking,” Faith looked him up and down appreciatively. It’d been a long time since she’d been laid and the scruffy beard look on Wesley was working on her neglected libido, “good.”

Wesley rolled his eyes. Between Angelus’s admiration of him and now Faith’s, the compliments were getting embarrassing. “Do you know what’s going on in L.A.?”

Faith shrugged. “Seen the news, sure. Never-ending night, rain of fire. Team Angel must really have their hands full.”

“You don’t know the half of it,” Wesley admitted tiredly.

Faith leaned forward. She could see the bloodshot eyes and dark circles now that the shock of seeing him sitting in front of her, after what she had done to him, wore off. “But you’re here to fill in the blanks for me. Why?”

“We need you,” Wesley stated.

“Well, uh, I hate to wet the paper for you, Wes, but I’m kinda unavailable right now,” Faith said sarcastically. “Maybe you want to check back in a few decades when my parole comes up.”

“You need to know –” Wesley started to say.

“It’s Armageddon again,” Faith finished. “I dig. The last thing you need is me in the mix. Besides, Angel’ll pull come shining through in the end like he always does.”

“Angel’s gone, Faith.” Wesley stared directly in her eyes. “Angelus is back.”

Faith stared at Wesley with obvious trepidation. After a few minutes of utter silence, she tonelessly advised him, “Step back from the glass.”

Faith slowly hung up the phone. Wesley looked quizzically at her then got the idea and rose so abruptly he knocked over his chair in the action. Faith stood up, stepped back, then took a short rush at the barrier, jumping headfirst through the glass. She tumbled to the floor in a shower of glass shards, rolled to her feet and looked around, ready to fight off the security guards. Disabling two of the guards, she grabbed Wesley by his coat and plunged through the outside window, freefalling from the fourth story window. She managed to turn, catlike, in midair so that she took the brunt of the landing when they hit the roof of a car, smashing it in and busting out the windows.

Jumping to the ground, Faith looked at him. “You okay?”

“Five by five,” Wesley replied, using her favorite saying. Faith nodded and they ran for Wesley’s Jeep, which was parked on the far side of the parking lot.

Once they were on the road, Wesley drove to L.A., which was like driving into a huge black tunnel, minus the mountain. One minute there was bright sunshine and the next, darkness, and ever since permanent midnight descended, there was looting all over the city. There was a time when Wesley would think looting was a crime that had to be stopped, but circumstances called for a person to ignore their own morals and loot a shopping center for suitable clothing for a newly-freed murderer.

Once he procured new clothes for her, Faith got into the back of the Jeep, changing out of her prison garb, as Wesley drove them both back to the Hyperion while filling her in on the team's recent misadventure.

“So, Spike is out there looking to slow down Angelus? Ever think they might just team up together?” Faith asked.

“Spike has a soul now,” Wesley told her as he kept his eyes on the road. It was too dark to see much of anything, even if he considered sneaking a peek at her in the rearview mirror.

“A soul? Like Angel?” Faith asked skeptically.

“Not really. Spike’s is permanent. It isn’t a curse. He had to go through trials and received it,” Wesley replied.

“Okay,” Faith drawled as she pulled the shirt over her head. “Right. And, what, Cordelia spent her last summer as –”

“A divine being,” Wesley finished.

“Uh-huh,” Faith acknowledged. She climbed into the front passenger seat. “Can I just ask – what the hell are you people doing?”

Wesley spared her a sidelong glance. “Leading complicated lives, obviously.”

“Unleashing Angelus to help you stop this demon who put the lights out is just . . .” Faith trailed off.

“Inspired?" Wesley suggested.

"Desperate," Faith corrected.

"That's what inspired us."

"So you create a demon to fight a demon -- because there aren't enough demons?"

“The Beast,” Wesley informed her. “The demon who put out the lights – is called the Beast.”

Faith shook her head. “Gas to the flame’s all I’m saying.” She glanced at the side mirror to see if anyone was following them.

Noticing her vigil, Wesley said, “I wouldn’t worry about the police coming after you. Not yet. With everything that’s happening, an escaped convict won’t even register on their radar.”

Faith stared out the open window. “I’m not going to kill him, Wesley. Angelus.” She shook her head at the thought of all the things he’d told her so far. “I don’t care what you thought you sprung me for. Angel’s the only one in my life who’s never given up on me. There’s no way I’m giving up on –”

“I know,” Wesley cut in and looked at her for a minute before going back to the road. “That’s why it had to be you. I’m just wondering if you’re up to it.” Suddenly, he stopped the car.”

“If I’m –?” Faith started to ask in confusion.

“You have no idea what it’s like out there. It’s a vampire/demon free-for-all, all the time. Maybe you’re a little rusty.”

Faith nodded. She could admit it. “Maybe I am.”

“Maybe we should find out,” Wesley said ominously.

“What did you have in –” Faith was cut off when a vampire reached in through the open passenger window to grab Faith by the hair and pull her out of the car. Wesley opened his car door into a vampire, knocking him to the ground. The vampire got up, but Wesley knocked him down again. It got up a second time, ready to attack, but Wesley stopped him.

“Ah.” Wesley pointed over his shoulder to Faith. “She’s the one you want.”

The vampire looked over to see Faith fighting off a couple of vampires at once.

“Slayer,” the vampire hissed in panic and ran the opposite direction.

Faith continued to fight off the vampires until Wesley tossed her a stake. She used the sharpened wood to dust the vampires with ease.

“I thought you could use a little release. Does it feel natural?” Wesley asked.

Faith shrugged as if it was no big deal. “It’s like riding a biker.”

**************************


Los Angeles, Hyperion Hotel Lobby

Gunn was loading his crossbow, a look of determination on his face. Fred and Lorne were at the reception desk. Cordelia was still in her room.

“Oh, relax, Gunn. The spell’s working. I still have the slight migraine to prove it,” Lorne said as he held an icepack to his throbbing head.

“Yeah, maybe so, but if Angelus shows up, I wanna be ready,” Gunn said as he examined his weapon, cocked, and loaded it so that he was ready to do some damage.

Wesley and Faith walked in through the front doors on the tail end of Gunn’s comment.

“We are . . . now,” Wesley said, drawing everyone’s attention.

Faith looked around the humungous hotel. It was a step up and a long way from the building Angel used to live and work out of. “Suh-weet crib.”

“Everyone, this is Faith, the vampire Slayer,” Wesley announced.

Fred came around the reception desk. “Hello, Faith, I’m –”

“Fred. Yeah, Wes kinda gave me the skinny on you,” Faith said.

“Oh,” Fred said quietly, a little put off by Faith’s bluntness.

Cordelia made an appearance, walking down the stairs into the lobby. “Faith?” She glared at Wesley. “What the hell is she doing here?”

Faith waved at her with a smirk. “Nice to see you too, Cor.”

“She’s here to help,” Wesley said.

“Oh, gee, that’s great,” Cordelia snapped sarcastically, the venom becoming more potent as she went on. “Oh, wait a sec. Wasn’t she convicted for murder and sent to a state correctional facility for like, a gazillion years? Has it been a gazillion?”

Faith smirked. It was nice to know she still had a lasting impression. “Murder two, twenty-five to life, for the record.”

“So now you brought psycho Slayer out of retirement to kill Angelus?” Cordelia asked incredulously.

Faith walked up to her. “Cordelia, you have every right to feel that way about me. You have no reason to trust me, but I don’t have loads of time, so why don’t we save it until after this is over. Cool?” She didn’t wait for an answer as she clapped her hands to get everyone’s attention. “Okay, let’s get down to it. Spike has a head start on me in locating Angelus, I’m assuming, so we’re going to keep this hunting party tight.” Her sights set on the vampire hunter. “Gunn, right?”

“Yeah,” Gunn acknowledged.

“Love the name. I hear you’re a good fighter,” Faith said flirtatiously, causing Fred to bristle at her tone.

“I hold my own,” Gunn stated.

“Yeah, that's just a good thing going to waste. You’re with me and Wes,” Faith said. “Arm yourself however you like, but I want you to carry the tranq gun. If I can’t take him down, I want you to be ready to take the shot, yeah?” Gunn nodded and she turned her attention to the others. “In case anyone has any other ideas, this is a salvage mission, not search and destroy, okay?” She turned to Wesley. “Take me to your weapons.”

**************************


Los Angeles, Royal Viking Motel

Spike woke up with a groan. He rubbed a hand down his face and blinked until the darkened room came into focus. He reached out with his senses, but couldn’t detect Angelus anywhere.

“Bugger,” Spike swore.

His Sire had taken off while he was out cold. Remembering how he got there, and in this deplorable condition, he reached up and felt his neck. Fresh scars. That bastard nearly ripped me to shreds in that claiming. Spike got up, showered the blood off himself, and dressed. Taking one look at the blood on the sheets, most of it his, he quickly scribbled a note on the complimentary motel pad then left the room.

**************************


A Street in Los Angeles

A young woman fled in terror from two vampires that were chasing her down a trash-littered street. Angelus stepped out of a dark alley as if appearing from nowhere, put his arm around her in a seemingly comforting gesture.

“Help me,” she pleaded.

“It’s all right, doll. I got you,” Angelus soothed.

“I don’t know how to thank you,” she said as he walked her along the sidewalk.

Angelus turned to her, his vampire visage fully emerged. “I do. Scream for me!” She screamed, loudly, and he was moving in to take a bite out of her neck when he overheard three other vampires talking a block away.

“The Slayer? Are you sure?” the first vampire asked.

“I just got word. She’s in town,” the second vampire confirmed.

Angelus smiled at the thought of Buffy being in town. He owed her so much. Absently he released his captive, who ran away, still screaming, and went to a phone booth. He dialed Buffy’s number.

“Hi, Dawn? Yeah, it’s me,” he said conversationally. “Is your sister home? She is.” He hung up without so much as a goodbye and grimaced. “It’s the other one.”

**************************


A Street in Los Angeles

Faith, Gunn and Wesley walked down the street, searching for Angelus.

“So, vampire Slayers,” Gunn began casually, “I’ve heard about you. Always thought you were a myth, though. There was a never a Slayer in my neighborhood.”

They came up to a chain link fence and went through a hole in the bottom.

“Eyes and ears peeled,” Faith said. “Watch the periph. Nobody make a move until I –”

Spike jumped out of an alley and Gunn drew his weapon, ready to pull the trigger, but stopped when he saw who it was.

“What the hell, Spike? I almost dusted you!” Gunn hissed.

“Good thing you didn’t, Charlie-boy,” Spike said. “I heard footsteps, didn’t realize it was you.” He noticed Faith then, her crossbow pointed at his chest. “Hello, luv. See you got an invite to the party. Did you get early release for good behavior, pet?”

“I heard you were all soulful now,” Faith remarked. "Wanna hit me up with a little Curtis Mayfield?"

“Yeah,” Spike drawled, glaring at Wesley and Gunn. Gunn shrugged. "Not really my style."

“Always have to be like Angel?” Faith teased humorlessly.

“No,” Spike scoffed. “I’m nothing like Angel.”

“Also heard you were distracting Angelus. Did you find him?” Faith asked.

“Oh, yeah, we found each other. Couldn’t keep him distracted for long though,” Spike admitted. “He's got stamina, took off. Probably got a few hours head start on me.”

“Well, come on, then,” Faith said, gesturing down the street with a nod of her head.

**************************


Los Angeles, Warehouse District

Faith, Gunn, Wesley and Spike walked out of a warehouse door, onto its roof.

“Do you know where we’re going?” Wesley asked.

“Angelus is close. I can feel him,” Spike assured him.

“I’m sure something will turn up . . .” Faith trailed off as a huge object caught her attention. When she stopped talking suddenly, the boys followed her gaze. There was a sign hanging from the side of the building that read: ‘WELCOME FAITH’.

“So much for the element of surprise,” Wesley observed. “We’ll have to come at him from different angles.”

Faith looked at Spike, and he nodded. “You take low. I’ll hit him high.” With that, she climbed up on the second tier of the roof while he darted through an emergency door and down the stairs.

Wesley and Gunn were left standing outside. A vampire came out of nowhere and punched Wesley.

“Pretty ballsy, mister, creeping around my buddy Angelus.” Wesley swung at him. “Come on, pretty boy,” the vampire taunted.

A second vampire knocked the tranquilizer gun out of Gunn’s hands and stomped on it when he moved to pick it up. When Gunn looked up at the vampire, the creature sneered and backhanded Gunn, which caused Gunn’s head to snap back. Gunn slowly tilted his head forward, thumbed blood from the corner of his mouth, and smiled grimly at the vampire.

"Let's try that again," he invited.

**************************


Los Angeles, Warehouse

Faith jumped from the roof, through the broken skylights, into the warehouse.

“Hey, Faith,” Angelus’s voice casually greeted from somewhere in the building. “Nice to see you again. Mmm. You’re looking choice as ever. Isn’t she, Spike?” There was no answer. “I know you’re in here, William. You can’t hide from me. I can feel you through the claim I put on you. Angel was so selfish not to let me do it before now.” Spike remained silent, refusing to be baited, so Angelus addressed Faith again, “That’s right. We’ve never really met, have we, Faith?”

“So, what are you waiting for? Come out and gimme a kiss,” Faith suggested as she made her way through the stacked crates.

“No, no, no,” Angelus rebuked. “You come to me. That’s it. Getting warmer. Warmer . . . warmer. You’re smoking hot.”

Faith reached the main loading dock and turned around to find Angelus standing immediately behind her.

Angelus smirked. “But then again, you probably knew that. Honey, I brought a guest home for dinner.” Faith turned to discover the Beast standing on the other side of her. Angelus crossed his arms and chuckled. “Let’s eat.”

“What is this, Angelus?” the Beast asked unimpressed.

“This is a Slayer. Say ‘hi’ to the nice Beast, Faith,” Angelus said.

“You dare to bring a Slayer here?” the Beast asked.

“Hey, I’m doing you a favor, Stonehenge.” Angelus walked up to Faith. “She’s here to seriously mess up you and your boss’ plans. So, question is, what do you do, hot shot? What do you do?”

Faith fired her crossbow at the Beast, but his tough skin deflected it. She dropped the weapon and punched him, but he grabbed her by the throat.

“Smile, Faith. I thought you’d enjoy a threesome,” Angelus teased.

Faith punched Angelus then the Beast, wrestling free of his grip. “Sure.”

“Ooh,” Angelus chuckled as he held his nose.

“Let’s get it on,” Faith said.

“Tough words,” Angelus sneered, then addressed the Beast, “Watch yourself, big guy. The girl’s on fire.’

Faith punched the Beast everywhere she could think of, but to no avail. He punched her once, sending her sailing through air, ten feet backward, where she crashed into the side of a crate.

Angelus winced. “That’s going to sting in the morning.”

Faith climbed out of the crate, got to her feet, and charged at the Beast. They exchanged a flurry of blows before the Beast began to get the upper hand in the fight. Faith was bleeding, and her reflexes were slowing down. He kicked her to the ground then stepped on her as she tried to get up.

“Come on, Faithy! You’re not even trying,” Angelus loudly encouraged.

The Beast grabbed Faith, lifting her so that she faced his savage countenance. She glared at him for a moment before spitting blood in his face. He lifted her high over his head then body slammed her into the floor.

“Angelus!” Spike snarled, weaving his way through the stacks of pallets and crates just as the Beast kicked Faith, sending her sliding across the room. “End it now, you sadistic fuck!”

“He’s not my pet, Spike. He doesn't take his orders from me,” Angelus excused himself from responsibility. Spike strode up to his Sire then slugged him in the face without a moment's hesitation. Angelus rubbed his throbbing jaw and sighed. “Fine! Somebody should break this up.”

Faith was a few feet away, gasping in pain and trying to crawl away from the Beast.

This is all you are?” the Beast asked her with obvious disdain. “I had heard the Slayer possessed great strength, but there’s no real power here. My master’s power is beyond all limits, beyond your petty imagining. You are weak. You are nothing. You could not even defeat me.”

Angelus strolled over to stand at the Beast's side. “Ain’t that the truth. I mean, look at this guy, hmm? Pretty much the only thing that could do damage to that thick, stony hide . . . is himself. Or, maybe, I don’t know,” Angelus pulled out the twin-tined knife Cordelia used to kill Lilah, the one the Beast had carved out of one of his own bones in tribute to his master. “A piece of himself!” Angelus stabbed the Beast in the back with the knife.

The Beast struggled in vain to reach the knife to pull it out, knocking Angelus to the ground in the process. It roared in agony as the wound began to glow a lurid yellow color. The glow became brighter and stronger, consuming the Beast, and a bolt of brilliance shot up from its body toward the sky.

“I knew it! I knew it!” Angelus congratulated himself.

**************************


Los Angeles, Outside the Warehouse

Wesley and Gunn stopped fighting when the burst of light shot out from the building. They looked up to the sky and watched as the darkness that shrouded the sun dissipated when the light seemed to slam into it. Suddenly, the vampires that Wesley and Gunn were fighting, snarled in surprised pain, burning and crumbling to dust before their eyes.

“Faith,” Wesley said simply.

“She did it,” Gunn grinned.

**************************


Los Angeles, Inside the Warehouse

The Beast’s body crumbled to bits in front of Faith, who still sat on the floor, weak and beaten.

Angelus looked out of the dirty windows and saw the sun return to its former brilliance. He rolled his eyes at Spike. “Aw, shit! You mean killing the Beast really does bring back the sun? I thought that was Angel’s retarded fantasy.” Angelus got to his feet. “Oh well, what’re you going to do? Take the bad with the good I always say.”

“You do not!” Spike countered.

“I just wanted Beastie boy to soften you up,” Angelus leered at Faith. “I like my meat nice and tender." Faith struggled to get to her feet, swinging a heavy hook and chain on a hoist toward Angelus, but it swung past him as he and Spike ducked aside in opposite directions. “Ooh, swing and a miss slugger. Sorry, but –” The hook and chain broke through a dirty window to allow sunlight into the room. Faith sat up in the sunlight as Spike and Angelus ran for cover. “God! Okay. Well, I got to give you props.” He glared at Faith and Spike glared at him. “Nice move, really. I guess we’ll have to take a rain check on that whole eviscerating you thing. It’s just you and me now, Faithy.” He winked at her and walked away.

From the shadows, Spike quietly asked, “Are you okay?”

“I’ll live,” Faith groaned painfully.

Spike remained in the shadows, watching over her.

**************************


Los Angeles, Hyperion Hotel Courtyard

Fred and Lorne were in the garden, staring at the blue sky as if they'd never imagined such a color, when Wesley and Gunn came back.

“Ooh-oo,” Gunn smiled. “Check it out. We got sun!”

“Ding dong, the Beast is dead,” Lorne sing-songed.

“I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in all my life,” Fred smiled then looked around. “Where are the others?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s hear the war stories,” Lorne encouraged. “How’d you bring down that monster?”

“It wasn’t us. Not Wes and me, anyway. We —”

“She must have fought it. Faith,” Wesley cut in. “Where’s Cordelia? She should know about this too.”

“She’s up in her room,” Fred told him.

“Hey, what about Angelus?” Lorne asked.

Gunn still had a grin on his face, staring up at the sky. “Well, if that girl can take out the Beast, my money says she’ll have Angelus hog-tied and back here by dinner time.”

**************************


Hyperion Hotel, Cordelia’s Suite

Cordelia stared out the window with a glower on her face. This was not how she had planned. Someone managed to kill the Beast and release the sun, and she had a good idea about who that person was. She was far from happy with this turn of events because it meant having to adapt her strategy. She reached over and pulled open the drawer to her nightstand. Inside, Angel’s soul glowed like a beacon of hope within the Muo-Ping jar.
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