Exit – Chapter 3

Chapter 2

Spike yawned quietly, settling in the luxurious leather of Angel’s private limo’s back seat, purring softly to himself. Amused, Angel blinked at him from the other seat, several small suitcases littering the floor between them as the limo took off for the airport some time just before sunrise the next day. “Comfy?”, the older vampire asked, a slightly teasing tone once again present in his voice.

Spike chuckled softly. “S’less lumpy than your couch, Peaches. Hell, s’about ten times as comfortable. Why didn’t you just tell me to go sleep in the car?”

Angel rolled his eyes and settled back himself, absently looking out the window. “I was being hospitable. Don’t get used to it.”

Spike smirked, then broke it with another soft yawn, leaning back and closing his eyes, leaving his sire to his window watching.

The morning had actually been rather uneventful, considering the huge change that Angel’s leaving for PTB only knew how long should’ve caused. But the old Angel Investigations crew seemed almost expectant of this turn of events. It had surprised Angel. But not Spike. He’d known, just from all the haunting he’d done recently, just how well Angel’s ‘pack’ could handle things on their own. They even encouraged him, with kind words, and even a hug from Fred, and all seemed certain that this vacation would be just what Angel needed. Though Wesley had pulled Angel aside and queried him on the sense of going with SPIKE, of all people, on this ‘vacation’. The older vampire needed to relax, and Spike didn’t exactly breed the kind of calm, soothing atmosphere that Angel would usually look for on a vacation.

Hell, the last time he’d taken a vacation, it had been to a MONESTARY. What does that tell you?

But, to Spike’s surprise (and more than a little pleasure), Angel had waved away Wesley’s attempt to dissuade him, telling the former Watcher that if it weren’t for Spike, Angel wouldn’t be going anywhere. And probably would’ve run himself into the ground within the week. Wesley had conceded, but with more than a little apprehension. He still saw Spike as an unstable element. And, hell, he WAS. But maybe that was just what Angel needed right now. Someone who wasn’t so focused on keeping to the “gray area”, and still knew that there is indeed a LINE there. One that they were teetering on the edge of far too often for the younger vampire’s liking. And, despite Spike’s other, less redeeming characteristics. Angel respected him for that. It was one of the few things they did see eye to eye on.

So now, they were in a limo that Angel very rarely made any use of, heading for the airport where the Wolfram & Hart private jet would whisk them away to see the woman they both still loved.. And who didn’t even have a clue they were coming. Or even that one of them was alive. Or, rather, undead. But still.

“Have any idea what you’re going to say to her?”, Angel suddenly asked Spike, but his voice was the barest whisper. And for a moment, he was unsure if his Childe had heard him. Until Spike answered.

“Was thinkin’ of ‘hey, luv’, actually,” Spike murmured, his own voice very quiet, his eyes not even opening to regard his Sire as he spoke. “She always told me never to call ‘er that. N’I figure that, if I get her pissed at me in the first few seconds, she’ll really believe it’s me.”

To Angel’s surprise, he laughed quietly at that. “Sounds like you, too.”

There was an awkward silence for a few minutes after that, but this time, it was Spike that broke it.

“What ’bout you? What’re you gonna say to her?”

Angel sighed. “God. I don’t even know where to start, actually. I half expect a slap to the face. But, then, I expected that when I first brought her the amulet.”

Spike snorted, but kept his eyes closed. “Didn’t look like a slap from where I was standin’.”

Angel blinked, and started to ask Spike exactly WHERE he had been “standin'”, but changed his mind and simply sighed instead. “I know.”

Spike didn’t have a response to that, and so the two vampires lapsed into a less than companionable silence, Angel staring out the window, and Spike staring at the insides of his eyelids. After a few minutes, Angel bent down to root through his bags. which, except for one small bag of Spike’s, were all they had with them.

“Clothes horse,” Spike murmured suddenly.

Angel blinked, the words catching his attention more than anything else, and looked at his Childe. “What?”

“Buffy always said you were a clotheshorse. ‘Ad more clothes in your closets than her and Cordy put together, she told me once,” Spike mumbled. “Most of your stuff is out of date, but you can’t bring yourself to toss ’em away and get new stuff, no matter how much money’s at your disposal.”

Angel made a face. “She called me that to my face exactly once. I made her promise never to do it again. I am NOT a clotheshorse. I just like keeping things that are attached to memories. That’s all.”

Spike snorted softly, and graced his Sire with the momentary appearance of one blue eye peering at him from beneath a sleepy lid. “So that’s. what? Everythin’ you’ve ever owned?” He smirked, and closed the eye again. “Do me a favor and define ‘clothes horse’, for me, would you, mate?”

Angel growled softly and glared at the indifferent vampire across the car, then went back to rooting through his bags. “It isn’t like I brought all of it WITH me, you know. Just some choice items. a few shirts Buffy always told me she liked.”

“The red velvet one?”

Angel blinked again, then sighed. “I don’t think I want to know how you know about that.”

Spike snickered quietly and stretched. “She told me. Told me lots of things.” He opened his eyes and regarded his Sire with a curious expression. “How’d you get her to promise to stop callin’ you a clothes horse?”

Now it was Angel’s turn to smirk. “It won’t work to keep Harmony from calling you ‘Blondie Bear’, if that’s what you’re wondering about.”

Spike groaned and thumped his head back against his seat. “Just. don’t mention that. I’m VERY bloody close to being able to ignore when she does it. Don’t draw my attention to it.” He blinked at Angel again. “But I really am curious. How?”

Angel smiled a bit at the memory. “The only time she did it to my face, we were alone in the mansion, and she had been looking through my closet for something to wear over her shirt, because she was cold, and I couldn’t for the life of me get the damned fire going that night. She came out of the bedroom, wearing that shirt you just mentioned, actually, and came over to me, sidled up against my side, and gave me that cute little grin of hers. You know the one.”

Spike smiled a little, himself, his eyes closing again. “Yeah. Didn’t see it much, but when I did. Buggerin’ adorable.”

Angel nodded. “That’s the one. So she gave me that little grin, then poked me in the side and said ‘You know you’re the biggest clothes horse in the world, right?'” Angel chuckled. “I gave her a look, then informed her never to call me that again. She asked why, so I said ‘You’ll regret it”.”

Spike chuckled and opened one eye again. “Let me guess. She said it again. Maybe a little cheekier, that time?”

Angel nodded again and smiled a little more, his eyes taking on a slightly glazed over look, as if he was peering at his own memories. “Yeah. So. I used that famous vampire speed to completely catch her off guard, hold her with one arm wrapped around her, and proceeded to tickle her senseless with the other hand until she promised never to call me that again. And she never did.”

Spike blinked, then laughed. “Good call. I would’ve loved to see THAT.”

Angel kept smiling for a few seconds, as the rest of the memory played out in his mind, then he sighed again and nodded, leaning back in the seat and letting his eyes refocus. “You probably would’ve tried to ‘rescue’ her, though,” Angel said teasingly, the memory having put him into a more congenial mood.

Spike smirked. “Would’ve been easy, too.” He yawned again, and once more closed his eyes. “You were always easy to pounce, if your focus was elsewhere.”

Angel rolled his eyes, then relaxed back into the seat, going back to looking out the window at the passing buildings. “I won’t even dignify that with a response.”

Spike just smiled, keeping his eyes closed, and let himself relax a bit more fully. Truth was. he’d already known that story. Buffy had told him in one of her rare, unguarded moments. He didn’t even remember when, or why the subject had come up. But he’d hoped that dropping the phrase ‘clothes horse’ on Angel out of no where would do exactly what it did. Trigger a memory that made the older vampire relax. And a relaxed Angel was an easier Angel to get along with.

Now all he had to do was keep playing the same game, until Angel started to see. whatever it was that Spike kept feeling that he needed to see. How much he’d changed, or something. Something big. Something. Life altering.

He just really had no idea what it was.

Chapter 4