His Tender Mercies by Enigmaticblue

ReviewsRating: PG-13

Summary: A response to Helga Von Nutwimple's Vamp-in-the-Box Challenge. Wolfram & Hart make a slight error, and bring Drusilla back instead of Darla at the end of Ats S1. Drusilla heads straight to Sunnydale and Spike, and in the process throws a monkey wrench into Buffy's thinking. Oh, and Riley left after "Restless."

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Chapters 4 & 5

Chapter 4: Return to Innocence

"I'm just saying, Angel. There's no place to put Drusilla."

Both Wesley and Cordelia had been trying to make Angel see reason for the last two hours. Now they were approaching Sunnydale, and the big vampire showed no signs of being swayed. "Listen to Wes," Cordy urged. "He's speaking sense. For once."

"I beg your pardon!" Wesley said, highly offended. "I always make sense, while you on the other hand-"

"Children, please," Angel said wearily. "Look, I know we'll have to get creative, but I'm not leaving Dru with Spike. And besides, she's my responsibility."

Cordelia and Wesley exchanged looks. Angel had been extra-broody since Buffy had called earlier that day, although this time it hadn't been the Slayer's fault. Instead, Angel had been working himself up over what he was certain Spike was going to do to Drusilla once he got her alone.

Angel seemed to be feeling that it was his responsibility to save her from the same fate he'd previously doomed her to. Neither of his associates were convinced that Drusilla was in need of saving. As Wesley had remarked to Cordelia earlier, "Angel is simply reacting to the guilt he feels over torturing and turning her so many years ago. It's a perfectly natural reaction."

Natural or not, however, it didn't create any more room in Cordy's apartment, which was AI's current headquarters since the office had been blown up.

"Well, she can't stay with me, Angel," Cordelia said firmly. "I don't have any more space, and I don't have time to look after crazy ex-vampires. It wasn't in the job contract."

"She's one of the helpless we're supposed to be helping," Angel protested.

Cordelia glared at the back of his head. "She's not a paying client, which is the only kind I would let live in my place. And don't you think Dennis would completely freak her out?"

Angel thought about that for a minute. "Maybe, but if we explained-"

"No." Cordelia's tone was firm, with no wiggle room. Even Wesley knew better than to argue with her when she was like that.

Angel glanced at Wesley, who was sitting in the passenger seat by virtue of his longer legs. "Wes, maybe-"

"No," Wesley replied immediately. "I have a very small flat, Angel, and I am not prepared to look after someone with Drusilla's needs."

Angel was prepared to beg. He did not want to leave Drusilla in Sunnydale within Spike's reach. "I could stay too."

Wesley was not ready to give up that much of his privacy. Actually, he wasn't prepared to give up any of his privacy. He liked living alone. He enjoyed his co-workers, and he spent a great deal of time with them, but he regarded his flat as a retreat. "No, Angel," Wesley replied. "I have to say I'm with Cordelia. I don't blame you for wanting to make certain that Drusilla is okay, but we haven't any place to put her."

Angel frowned, not having expected this kind of resistance from his friends. "Just for a few days," he said, even more persuasively. "I'll start looking for a new place as soon as we get back to L.A."

Wesley heaved a deeply put-upon sigh. "If we find it necessary to remove Drusilla from Sunnydale, then she can stay at my apartment. But honestly, Angel, I don't have room for the two of you either."

There was a small sound in the back seat from Cordy that some might have interpreted as a coughed, "Wuss," but Wesley decided to ignore it.

"Thanks, Wes," Angel replied sincerely. "I really appreciate it."

Wesley stifled a moan, knowing that whether he liked it or not, he'd just gotten stuck ex-vampire-sitting.

~~~~~

After talking with Angel, Buffy had plans to go out with Willow, just the two of them because Tara had to work. Once again the Slayer found herself talking about Spike's strange relationship with Drusilla. Willow was a much more sympathetic listener than Giles had been. "Wow, Buffy. That's-crazy."

"I know," Buffy said, having just gotten done explaining the scene she'd witnessed the previous night, unbeknownst to Spike. "It's just, he's so attentive, Willow. And he's nice to Mom too."

Willow frowned thoughtfully. "Well, he was nice to me too, sorta, that night he was going to kill me." At the Slayer's raised eyebrow, she quickly explained, "He did try to make me feel better about Oz leaving. In a really weird way."

Buffy sighed. "It's annoying, because I had this idea of Spike as the annoying bleached menace, and he still is, but-"

"Now you see him as sensitive-boyfriend too," Willow finished.

"Pretty much," Buffy replied glumly. "I liked Spike's box. It was comfortable...for me."

"Boxes are never comfortable," Willow said, speaking from past experience. "But you called Angel? And he's coming?"

"Yeah," Buffy said, looking around. "Do you have a watch on, Will?"

Willow looked at her watch. "It's a little after seven."

Buffy yelped. "Oh, crap. I'd better get back to the house and let Spike know Angel's on his way." The Slayer made a face. "He's going to be pissed."

Willow shrugged. "It's not like you can control whether or not Angel's coming."

"I don't think Spike's going to see it that way, though," Buffy replied.

~~~~~

Spike had stopped at the crypt only briefly to collect a few personal belongings, including some clothing and all his cash. Then, he'd taken Drusilla to the Sunnydale Inn by the highway. It was the cheapest motel in town, and seemed like the best option since they couldn't very well stay at his place. Not if he was going to turn her. Not if Angel was on his way into town.

Once he turned Drusilla, things would be fine, but right now all he could think about was what would happen if he couldn't do it.

If he didn't turn her. That option had crossed his mind.

There were places in South America that would be safe, where he could find a way to rent a cheap villa and hire a girl to look after Dru and do the shopping and such. All that required money, however, and money wasn't something that was quite as easy to get his hands on now that he had the chip in his head.

So he had to turn Dru. There wasn't any other choice.

Spike knew he was trying to convince himself.

She was sitting on the single bed, regarding him with a kind of watchfulness he found unsettling. Drusilla, sane, was more formidable than he'd ever dared imagine. "Look, Dru-"

"You want me to join you," she said softly, and there was a sadness in her voice that frightened him, even though the Big Bad wasn't supposed to be scared of anything or anyone.

Spike blinked, and then came to sit next to her on the bed. "You'd be free of the guilt, Dru. We could go off together again, just us. The whole world could be ours, or even one small corner. I'd settle for that with you."

"But that isn't your destiny, William," Drusilla replied. "It isn't me you love anymore."

Spike wanted to pass it off as madness, except that she didn't sound crazy. In fact, she sounded completely normal, and he found himself near tears. Over the last 48 hours of having her by his side, Spike had allowed himself to dream of what a future with Drusilla might look like. It would be just like the last couple years had never happened. They could rebuild from the ruins of what Angelus had left to them.

And as hard as Spike fought against the knowledge, he knew that Drusilla was right. He did still love her, but not as he once had. "I'd stay with you forever, luv," he whispered. "I could make you mine."

There were tears welling up in Drusilla's eyes, and Spike suddenly knew that the time for turning her had long passed. Her innocence tore at his undead heart. He loved this woman in all her incarnations-she had saved him from a life of mediocrity.

Drusilla had given him a purpose and a mission, had given him life when she'd killed him. How could he repay her by killing her now, when to do so would destroy all she'd regained?

"Would you damn me as well, my Spike?" she asked quietly. "I remember-remember their bodies. He killed them all and then he came after me. I loved them."

She had loved them when she was crazy and evil too, Spike remembered. "I know you did, pet."

"I didn't want this, my Spike," she said. "I wanted to die, to join Mummy and the rest. I didn't want to wet my hands with blood."

Spike took her hands in his. "Don't know much 'bout that sort of thing, luv. 'm not a philosopher. Wasn't even a very good poet, but it wasn't your fault. Place the blame at Angelus' door, where it belongs." He smiled slyly. "Wanker could probably use another load of guilt anyway."

Drusilla matched his smile with one of her own. "He is overwhelmed by the weight of it all," she agreed. Her fingers traced his cheekbone. "I can see it now," she murmured. "You'll save them all, my love. They do not see your vision or your imagination."

"You're the only one who ever did," Spike replied, closing his eyes as he relinquished all dreams for the future with Drusilla. He couldn't turn her; if not because he loved her, then because he refused to be as great of a bastard as his grandsire.

Drusilla drew him to her, and she found that her mind was clear as it hadn't been in centuries. What the obsessive hatred of one vampire had done, the love of another vampire had undone. It had a curious symmetry. With Spike's head on her breast, she murmured words of love, of hope. She told him his future, what she had seen of it, careful not to give too much away.

She called him her brave knight and promised that the future was always brighter than the present. Spike found himself in the arms of his Sire, her embrace and words everything he might have dreamt of, everything he had ever wanted.

And Spike knew it was all slipping through his fingers.

~~~~~

Buffy returned to an empty house. It was apparent that her mom hadn't gotten back from the gallery yet, and Angel wasn't due for another couple hours. When she searched the house, the Slayer found Spike and Drusilla gone, the spare room bed made, and no sign they'd been there at all.

Buffy pursed her lips, certain that this was not a good thing. Although, since Drusilla was human, Spike couldn't hurt her. Angel wasn't going to be happy, however, and Giles was supposed to meet her here very shortly to talk with the ex-vampire. Buffy had no idea how she was supposed to find Spike and his girlfriend while waiting for her Watcher and another vampire.

As if on cue, the doorbell rang, and Buffy opened the door to find Giles standing there. "Buffy," he greeted her, coming in after her silent welcome. "Did you and Willow have a pleasant afternoon?"

"It was good," Buffy replied. "I think we might have a problem, though."

Giles pulled off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Let me guess. Spike and Drusilla aren't here." He sighed. "I'm not sure you should have left them here by themselves."

"I'm thinking that myself right about now," Buffy snapped back. "But that doesn't do us a whole lot of good. Besides, how was I to know they'd take off? Spike seemed pretty intent on staying put last night."

Giles decided it wasn't worth it to argue the point. His Slayer was right in that it didn't do them any good to argue about it. "You're right. Where would they have gone?"

"How am I supposed to know?" Buffy asked. "Best guess? Probably his crypt. I don't know where else Spike would go unless he decided to skip town."

From what Buffy had told him, Giles highly doubted that Spike would leave town with Drusilla in tow, no matter how devoted he was. Without help, the vampire would find it most difficult to care for the now-human woman. "The crypt is most likely our best choice," Giles said. "When do you anticipate Angel arriving?"

Buffy thought for a minute, quickly doing the math in her head. "I don't know. If Angel drives, it's going to be at least another hour. Of course, if he had someone else to do the driving, they could be here any minute."

Slayer and Watcher regarded one another for a minute in silence before Giles went to sit down on the sofa. "I imagine Spike can take care of himself for a while then," he stated. "We can try to find the both of them when Angel arrives."

~~~~~

They didn't have to wait long, as Angel had, indeed, asked Wesley to drive the first leg of the journey while the sun was still in the sky. After it was safe, he'd emerged from his blanket and taken the wheel himself.

By the time Angel reached the Summers' front door, he'd worked himself into a state, imagining all the things Spike could have done to Dru in the time since Buffy had called him. He was in such a tizzy that when Buffy opened the door at his knock that he demanded, "Where are they?"

"Hello to you too, Angel," Buffy replied sarcastically. "And it's so nice to see you."

Angel scowled, thinking that the Slayer really wasn't taking this seriously. "Where are Spike and Dru, Buffy? It's important."

The Slayer rolled her eyes. "Of course it's important, Angel. It always is. They're not here." She looked past the vampire to see Cordelia and Wesley standing on her porch. She was so irritated at Angel right now that she was almost happy to see her ex-Watcher and ex-nemesis. "Hey guys."

"Hey, Buffy," Cordelia replied, brushing past Angel to enter the house. "I'm sorry, but Angel's been workinghimself up ever since we left L.A."

"I think I can take care of Spike, Angel," Buffy said, sounding disgusted. "I mean, it's not as if I haven't been dealing with him for years now."

Wesley cleared his throat. "I believe Angel fears that Spike may find a way to turn Drusilla."

"He has a chip," Giles said. "It won't allow him to hurt humans."

"There are other ways," Angel replied impatiently. "I know if I-" He broke that sentence off, knowing that it could easily get him into trouble. "We need to find them."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "They're probably at Spike's crypt," she said. "Come on."

~~~~~

They weren't at Spike's crypt. There were a few signs of hasty packing, but nothing conclusive. Buffy heard Angel growl deep in his throat. The Slayer had suggested that just she and Angel go, but the others had insisted on tagging along-Giles probably because he wanted to talk with Drusilla when they found her. Buffy had no idea what the others' motives were, but both Wesley and Cordelia seemed well in-tune with the drill.

Buffy had to wonder what the heck had happened to change the two of them so drastically, because she really was liking them a lot more than their boss at this point.

"Angel, why would it be such a big deal if Spike did leave town with Drusilla?" Buffy asked, feeling a little twinge. It wasn't that she would miss Spike if he left town, precisely. It was that he made things more interesting.

Who else could she beat up for information, anyway?

Angel was pacing restlessly. "Buffy, you don't know Spike like I do. He'll turn Dru, and then you'll have to worry about both of them."

The Slayer was torn as to how much she'd have to worry. On the one hand, Angel was correct. Spike and Dru together were a formidable team. At the same time, however, Spike would still be chipped, and he, at least, could be trusted not to go after her mother and friends. Not like some vampires she could name.

"Okay, turning Drusilla, bad," Buffy agreed. "But what if he just got lost? Angel, just because you're feeling guilty doesn't make Drusilla your responsibility."

"That's what we've been telling him all day," Cordelia broke in. "Look, Angel, I'm sure Buffy has things under control. She's the Slayer. Can we go home now?"

Angel ignored all of them, stepping out of the crypt to sniff at the night air. His eyes narrowed. "They went this way."

Buffy and the others watched him lope off, and both she and Cordelia wrinkled their noses in disgust. "Was it just me, or was that gross?" Cordelia asked.

"No, that was gross," Buffy agreed. The two women exchanged looks of female solidarity. The Slayer sighed. "We'd better follow. If Angel finds Spike, he'll probably stake first and ask questions later."

Only Wesley heard Giles mutter under his breath as they followed. "And yet I fail to see why that would be a bad thing."

 

 

Chapter 5: The Longest Word

He was sleeping. Drusilla cradled him as she would a child. Before it all, before Angelus and his games, before the visions, she had dreamed of this. Dreamed of having a husband and children, babies to suckle and nurture and bring up.

Drusilla had, above all things, been a good girl.

Then had come the visions, frightening glimpses of the future that had marked her as evil. She hadn't understood, had believed that God was punishing her for some unknown sin, and yet no amount of praying or fasting or confessing had caused them to go away.

Looking back, Drusilla could see the past with clear eyes. Her visions had not been evil. No, she had seen true evil, and it wore the face of an angel.

Drusilla glanced down at Spike, feeling a pang of true remorse. William had been such an innocent-as pure in his own way as she herself had been. Yet she and Angel had been unable to completely irradicate the sweetness of William. Her boy had always loved with such a passion, as he still did, though he didn't know it yet.

She glanced up at the door, waiting. Angel would be coming soon, and though Drusilla felt the clawing sense of fear at her heart, she sensed that the demon was held tightly in check by the soul.

Drusilla wasn't certain that it would make a difference.

She could not stay here. It would not be right, and would only serve as a distraction for Spike. Dru could see his path stretched out before him; he would be a Champion, as he was always meant to be.

It would be her penance-to leave him when she would like nothing better than to stay. Spike would try to convince her to come with him, of course. He'd plead and tell her that they could find happiness elsewhere, and that was true enough, but it wouldn't be right.

And Drusilla was intent upon doing what was right. Even if the fear threatened her mind again. She frowned. "Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman."

Spike stirred in her arms, his eyes blinking open slowly. "Dru?" He muttered. "Bloody hell, you shouldn't have let me sleep."

"You needed it," Drusilla replied. "You've been busy taking care of me."

"I don't mind, luv," he replied, sitting up slowly. "Feel like a pansy, fallin' asleep on you like that, though."

Dru touched his cheek. "Angel is coming."

Spike shook his head. "Doesn't matter, pet. He won't find us here."

"He's coming," she repeated. "And he's not happy with you."

Spike smirked. "Peaches never is." There was a pause, and Spike saw something in her face that worried him. "Dru? What's wrong?"

"I'm leaving, my Spike," she said softly. When he opened his mouth to protest, Dru silenced him with gentle fingers. "I must."

Spike shook his head. "We could leave, Dru. I'd take care of you. We'll go to South America again, or Mexico." The vampire knew he'd already lost the battle, even through his protests. Dru knew her own mind-even when she'd been crazy-and he could tell that she was set on leaving. It felt as though she was ripping out his heart all over again. "You're not goin' with Angel!"

Drusilla shook her head quickly. "No, not with Angel. I cannot bear to look at him just now." Her eyes bore into his, and Spike didn't think she looked quite sane. "You must stay, Spike. It's important."

"Nothin's more important than you are, pet!"

"That's not true," she replied. "Listen. There are two things you must know."

"Dru-"

"We don't have much time," she told him. "Now shush." Spike shut his mouth. "The Slayer's mum is ill. You must help her see it. She won't listen to me."

Spike frowned. "Not like she'd listen to me, either," he muttered.

"Try," Drusilla said, a touch of wry humor in her tone. For a moment the madness receded again, and she was merely a woman speaking to a rather exasperating man. "The second thing is the Slayer's sister."

"Slayer doesn't have a sister," Spike objected.

Drusilla shrugged. "Not yet, but she's the Key to the whole thing. You have to protect her, Spike, just like you protected Mummy."

"Dammit, Dru," Spike said, grabbing her by the shoulders. "You don't have to go! Or I'll go with you. 's 'bout time I left Sunnyhell anyway."

Drusilla shook her head, in a panic. "No, you mustn't. You mustn't leave. I won't have more blood on my hands, Spike. I won't!"

"I'll stay," Spike promised, pulling her close. "If it's that soddin' important, I'll stay. But 'm doin' it for you, not the bloody Slayer."

Her head shot up. "They're here."

And then the door flew open.

~~~~~

It was chaos for the first few moments. At the first sight of Angel, Drusilla lost much of her hard-won equilibrium. She started doing that squealing thing she did when she got upset, when Spike was the only one who could calm her down.

Of course, Spike couldn't do anything of the sort with Angel doing his best to snap his head off with his bare hands. "Angel!" Buffy called, trying to pull him off Spike. "Stop it! Drusilla is fine-except for the screeching, which I think is your fault."

With the Slayer's help, Spike managed to kick Angel off him with a well-placed boot. Angel huffed, doubling over in pain. Buffy winced in sympathy, remembering another time when she'd used the same tactic. Of course, remembering Angelus squelched much of her sympathy.

"Nice to see you too, Peaches," Spike growled, pushing past the others to get to Drusilla, whom he pulled into his arms. "Ssh, luv. It's alright."

Drusilla buried her head in Spike's chest so she wouldn't have to look at the vampire. Although she did remember that this was Angel, and not Angelus-and although she understood the difference-the very sight of him tore at her mind. Everything he had done to her came rushing back, and she could suddenly see the bodies of her loved ones laid out before her.

"Make him leave, Slayer," Spike growled. "He's upsettin' Dru."

Angel strained forward, recovered from Spike's kick, fighting against Buffy's hold. "You're going to turn her!"

"And be like you?" Spike asked incredulously-nevermind that it had been his plan. "She was nearly sane before you came in like the bloody Stormtroopers. Chip might stop me from hurtin' humans, but it won't keep me from kickin' your ass."

Spike made no move towards the bigger vampire, however, having his hands full trying to placate Drusilla. "Angel, outside," Buffy ordered, before things could get anymore heated than they already were. "You're obviously upsetting her."

"I'm not!" Angel protested.

Drusilla started shouting, "Snake in the grass! Snake in the grass!"

Angel froze, remembering that she had said the exact same thing as he and Darla had sex amidst the bodies of dead nuns, right in front of the tormented girl. Right before Angel turned her. "If you hurt her-" he threatened Spike.

"What, like you did?" Spike snarked back. "Get lost, Peaches. Dru's mine now. I think she's made that clear enough."

When Angel finally left the room, Drusilla calmed down slightly. At least she wasn't making quite as much noise, and Buffy breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, boy, that was fun," she muttered.

"I had things under control," Spike said angrily. "Why'd you have to call the Great Poof in?"

"Drusilla was brought back by an evil law firm," Cordelia said, tyring to reconcile the Spike standing in front of her with the Spike who had tortured Angel with hot pokers. It wasn't working too well. "Angel thought they might come after her."

"And of course with you lot runnin' down here that's not a dead-giveaway as to where she's at," Spike said sarcastically. "How you ever managed to save the world is beyond me," he muttered.

Wesley and Giles both issued twin sighs. "I agree that it was not a good idea for Angel to come rushing in here, Spike," Giles said, not believing he was agreeing with the vampire. "However, I don't think it's wise for Drusilla to remain in Sunnydale. Should the lawyers come after her, you will not be able to protect her. They are human."

Spike scowled. "Bloody hell, do you think I don't know that?" His grip around Drusilla tightened. "She can't go back with Angel. I won't let him drive her batty again." He ran a tender hand through her hair. "She was doin' so well."

"It wouldn't be Angel she'd return with, Spike," Wesley said. "I, uh, already offered Angel the use of my flat. Just for Drusilla," he added. "Angel has never been there, so he does not have an invitation."

Panic flared in Spike's eyes. He knew he was fighting a losing battle. Spike knew that Drusilla-once Angel left and she was okay again-would insist that she leave for whatever damnfool reason. It was a done deal.

He'd never been one for giving up, though.

"Why does she have to go at all?" he demanded. "She could stay here. I can take care of her!"

Buffy looked over at Giles, communicating with only her eyes. Her Watcher, knowing her as he did, nodded, pulling Wesley and Cordelia out of the hotel room, and closing the door behind him. "Spike, you know that's not possible."

Spike stared down at the woman in his arms. "She's mine!" The protest sounded weak even to his own ears, and the vampire knew that he'd lost. He released Drusilla, sitting her down on the bed and pulling Buffy to one side. The ex-vampire seemed to be completely unaware of her surroundings, having retreated into herself. "Bein' with Angel will kill her," he hissed. "You saw her when he came in. Dru was perfectly fine before."

"I know, Spike," Buffy said, deciding to take his word for it. "But she can't stay here. You can't take care of her now. You can't give her what she needs."

Spike snarled wordlessly. "Who says I can't?" he finally managed. "I took care of her for a hundred bloody years. After the Great Poof left us!" He started pacing. "Dru wept for weeks, wantin' to know where 'Daddy' was at. Well, if he had such a wonderful soul, why didn't he stay? Why didn't he help her?"

"I don't know, Spike," Buffy replied, her tone almost gentle. She could see how worked up the vampire was and had a funny feeling that it was mostly because he knew he'd have to give Drusilla up. "What if the lawyers do come after her?"

"I dunno," he said helplessly, the fight draining out of him. "I'd protect her."

"How, Spike?" Buffy asked, her tone still gentle. "With your dust?"

"If I had to!" he shot back.

Buffy took a step closer to him. "She can't stay here."

"Do you think I don't know that?" Spike demanded. "Do you really think-" He turned his back on the Slayer, facing Drusilla, murmuring under his breath. "She was goin' to love me again."

The Slayer did have some idea of how Spike was planning on accomplishing that goal, but she couldn't find it in her heart to hate him for it. If she put herself in his shoes-and yes, Buffy did know how weird that sounded, even in her own head-she'd probably have done the same thing.

Why he didn't turn her was the big question.

"Why didn't you turn her, Spike?"

"She's an innocent," Spike said, as though the answer was obvious. "Just look at her, Slayer. How could I hurt her when she's like this? Dru didn't want to be a vamp again. Made me promise-" Spike broke off, not wanting to tell the Slayer what Drusilla had made him promise.

And, of course, now that he'd promised, Spike would see it through. He always kept his promise to his girl.

"Drusilla can stay at our house for a couple days until we can take her to L.A.," Buffy said. "Wes and the rest of them will take care of her. They know things about this law firm that we don't."

Spike turned to face her. "Look after her, Buffy."

He was gone in the next moment, although Buffy could hear him threatening Wesley with death and/or dismemberment if anything happened to Drusilla while under his care.

Giles came through the door just after Spike left. "Buffy? Is everything okay?"

"Drusilla's going to stay at my house for a couple days," Buffy said. "Mom and I can look after her until we can get her to L.A."

Giles had a surprised expression on his face. "And Spike?"

"He agreed," Buffy replied evenly. "I don't think it's a good idea for Angel to travel with Drusilla, though, and it would be better to give her some time to calm down."

Wesley, who had entered the hotel room behind Giles, sighed, realizing that he was in for a few days-or more-of baby-sitting. "I can come back with Angel's car," he offered. "By that time we should have a better idea of how Wolfram & Hart are reacting to her escape anyway."

"I think that's an excellent idea," Giles agreed. "Are you certain you can handle her?"

Wesley shrugged. "I suppose we shall soon see, won't we?"

~~~~~

Angel stayed in his slumped position against the outside wall of the hotel, even after Spike came storming out. The younger vampire had spared a venemous look for his grandsire before disappearing into the shadows.

Wesley and Giles had gone inside, and while Angel wanted to follow, he had a feeling that Buffy would only kick him out again. Especially if Drusilla started up her screeching. Angel had forgotten how irritating Dru could be once she got going.

"She was scared of me," he muttered to Cordelia who had stayed loyally by his side.

Cordy rolled her eyes, long used to His Broodiness. "Well, duh, Angel. You killed her entire family and then used mind games to torture her until she went insane. You do the math."

"She wanted Spike!" Angel said, sounding very put-out. "Spike's much more evil than I am."

Cordelia eyed him, wondering if she should say what she was thinking. It wasn't often that she exercised her tact, but it did exist. Finally deciding that there was no point in holding back, she pointed out, "He might be more evil than Angel, but I don't think Spike could compete with Angelus."

Angel growled a little in the back of his throat. "But Angelus is gone."

"And you still wear his face, Angel, whether you like it or not," Cordelia replied, although not without compassion. "Drusilla sees you and she's seeing her worst nightmare." She patted his shoulder comfortingly. "Maybe it'll get better."

"I don't see how," Angel muttered. "Not if she starts screaming at the sight of me."

The young woman couldn't help but agree, but she decided it would be better just to keep her mouth shut on this one. She stifled a sigh. Cordelia had the feeling that they were going to be putting up with an extra-gloomy Angel for the next few days.

Or weeks.

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