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Appointment With Eternity

By Saber ShadowKitten


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Part Three

"Damn, Spike, your record's as long as my arm." Angel whistled and scrolled down the criminal profiles screen at the computer on the desk. "Murder, arson, theft, racketeering...jaywalking??"

"How was I suppose to know you don't cross the street in front of the Council's headquarters?" Spike said.

"I think the signs would have been an indication," Angel said wryly.

"Since when have I bothered to read the directions?"

Angel shook his head. "It says here you escaped from Zwenstig. Well, considering you're standing right next to me, I'd say that was true. Impressive, Spike. Not too many have escaped from there."

"Hey, it's me," Spike replied.

"How you ever managed to stay alive this long is beyond me," Angel said. He leaned back in his chair and yelled, "Rigby!"

"What do you want with that bloody stick?" Spike asked.

"You bellowed, oh great wise one?" Rigby said, entering the room.

"Rigby, cut the sarcasm and give me a hand," Angel told the Andinite. "I need you to jack me up so I can get into the Council's mainframe..."


"Again?" Spike looked at his sire incredulously. "Again, Saint Angel?"

"Spike, stuff it," Angel said. "Rigby, work your magic, pal."

"The things I do for you..." Rigby pulled a chair over to the wall console above the niche and removed the panel. His jointed, metallic fingers allowed him to nimbly switch around a few wires, then he pulled a silver disk out of his pocket and shoved it into a hole in the circuitry. For a second, Spike pondered how someone managed to make the many-pocketed cargo pants small enough to fit around the short, stick-like body of the Andinite, or the black tee-shirt.

"Try now," Rigby said.

Angel's fingers flew over the touchpad, his eyes scanning the holographic screen hovering above his desk. Spike turned and watched over his sire's shoulder, unbelieving what he was witnessing. When the Council of Planets' main index appeared on the screen, Spike realized that he was wrong in thinking his sire was the same as he once was.

"Rig, do you remember Senator Talmin's wife's maiden name?" Angel asked, his fingers hovering over the keys as the screen asked him for a password. "It's his month in the rotation."

"Ooklana," Rigby answered.

"Thanks," Angel said, typing in the word. The screen changed and Angel shook his head. "That fool never changes his password. I bet that the Council's mainframe gets hacked into more during his rotation... You'd think they'd learn already."

"That would indicate that the Council was smart," Rigby pointed out. "And we both know what a crock that is."

"True," Angel replied. "Ah, here we go. The infamous Spike." He hit several keys. "Who is now officially spacedust."

"Just like that?" Spike said, amazed.

"Just like that," Angel said.

"Your property there isn't too bright, is he?" Rigby asked.

Spike turned to glare at the Andinite when Angel said, "He never was very intelligent."

"Hey!" Spike said. "Right here, you know."

"We know," Angel said.

"And we're hoping you depart very soon," Rigby added.

"Unhook me," Angel instructed Rigby, logging out of the Council's mainframe. He glanced up at Spike. "You're a free vamp, Spike. Try not to fuck up."

"So, what did you just do?" Spike asked, frowning at the Andinite as he changed the wires back to their original positions.

"The wires?" Angel asked. Spike nodded. "Shifted the electricity from the core to boost the power of the frequency in order to cut through space to the main planet. We are going warp four, remember?"

"Ah," Spike said, not having a clue what his sire was talking about, but not wanting to let on. "Right."

"Moron," Rigby muttered.

"Can I destroy him?" Spike asked Angel, gesturing to the Andinite.

"Nah, I'm saving that joy for a special day," Angel replied, grinning wolfishly at his childe. "I have a bottle of Chianti saved up just for the occasion."

"You are a laugh a minute, sir," Rigby said. "And you are exactly three minutes late for your first class."

"Rigby!" Angel exclaimed, bolting up from his chair and rushing into the bedroom. His muffled voice could still be heard from the other room. "What the hell do I let you hang around for?"

"My dashing good looks," Rigby called back.

Spike leaned back against the desk and watched with a questioning lift of his brow as the Andinite put books into a bag, then walked over to the door and stood by it. Angel came rushing out of the room, wearing a deep red v-neck shirt instead of the black one. He grabbed the bag from Rigby and slung it over his head, the strap resting crosswise on his chest. "Thanks, Rig."

"Later, sir," Rigby said, stepping back as the door slid open.

Angel took a step out into the hallway, turned around and looked back at Spike. "Well, are you coming or do you want to spend the day with Rigby?"

Spike was out the door in a second.

Angel walked at a fast clip down the corridors of the Luna Nocturne towards the lifts, his longer stride causing Spike to practically have to jog to keep up with him. However, he wasn't about to slow down. There was a five-minute-late rule he'd created when he first started teaching, stating that if anyone was over five minutes late, they shouldn't bother to come at all. Then, to set a good example, he told them if he was more than five minutes late, they could all leave with credit for the class. He knew he students were ready to bolt out the door the instant the second hand reached double-zero.

He hit the down button when they reached the lift doors, then gave it a second, impatient jab. "It's not going to come any faster," Spike pointed out. "And so what if you're late. You're the bloody teacher."

"That's why I can't be late," Angel told him. The lift doors opened and he ushered his childe inside, then hit the button for deck four. His suite, along with most of the other crew quarters, was located on deck two of the large starship. "It's a teacher thing."

"Right." Spike looked around curiously at the interior of the lift. "You know, last time I was in one of these things, it wasn't near this nice."

"You probably got taken to the brig in the cargo lift," Angel said. "And for some reason, those lifts always smell like moldy cheese."

"I thought sour milk, but you're right," Spike said. The lift doors opened and he followed his sire down another uniform, beige, carpeted corridor and right into a small auditorium filled to capacity. He paused in the doorway as Angel continued to the front of the room.

"Greetings, all," Angel said, his voice carrying over the din of the students' talking. He glanced up at the clock on the wall as he dropped his bag on the table in the front of the auditorium. "Looks like you're stuck here for the hour."

A collective groan rose in the room, to which Angel held up his hand to quiet them. "Before we start today, I have a guest I'd like to introduce." He gestured for Spike to come into the classroom. "Class, this is my old friend, Spike. Spike, this is my Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century History class."

Spike tried not to laugh at the course subject, as he sauntered into the room and gave the class of teens a half-hearted salute. The multi-raced class started whispering to each other and staring at him like he was an exhibit of some sort. He had the urge to moon them, but figured Angel would skin his hide if he did that. Perhaps another time.

"Sir," a student said, raising her hand.

"Yes, Wanina?" Angel said.

"I don't mean to be rude or nothing, but how old is your old friend?" Wanina, a dark-skinned human, asked. "Like regular old or you old?"

"Spike is about forty years younger than I am," he answered Wanina.

Spike flashed the students a wicked grin. "And much better looking," he added. He was happy to note a few of the students swooning appropriately. Close to twelve hundred years old and still got it, he thought boastfully. Then again, his good looks were what always seemed to get him into trouble. Angel may have cleared his Council of Planets record, but there were still bounties on his pretty little head, including one for indecent exposure to a noble and another for prostitution. He was such a bad, bad man.

"Since Spike thinks so highly of himself," Angel said sarcastically. "Do you have any questions for him-"

"Are you married?"

"Seeing anyone?"

"Date outside your species?"

"Gotten arrested?"

"Killed anyone?"

"Know any good stories about the teacher we can blackmail him with?"

"-about history," Angel finished, talking over the students. He shook his head at their previous questions and perched at the edge of the table. Several students raised their hands. "Qinka."

"Can we ask any history question, or does it have to be about the eighteenth or nineteenth century?" Qinka, a spider-like Archaniean, asked.

Angel glanced at Spike and the blond vampire shrugged. "Any history question," he answered. "Sarah?"

"Were you in the Lightning War?" Sarah, a blond human, asked, referring to the last war the Council of Planets was officially involved in, during the twenty-sixth century.

"Yes," Spike replied, hopping up onto the table next to his sire. He began to swing his legs in an unconscious manner. "I was a NCO, a non-commissioned officer, on Icthori. Led a bunch of kids no older than you around the jungles at night until I almost got my leg blown off. The war was over before I fully healed."

Angel glanced at him with an uplifted brow and he gave the dark-haired vampire a half-grin. He may be an old reprobate, but he did do some good and decent things. He'd lived too long not to be affected by what he still referred to as "humanity." Then again, he'd spent the fifty years following the Lightning War on U'ulark as what could be loosely termed a Lothario, so he wasn't all that noble.

"Pieatro?" Angel called on another student.

"What was your favorite century?"

Spike thought for a moment. "I'm not sure, they sort of all blend together after awhile," he answered honestly. "I guess I'd have to pick three of them. The nineteenth, early twentieth and the twenty-eighth."

"Why?" another student asked. Angel was also quite interested in hearing the answer, although he suspected the second one had to do with Drusilla.

"A man, a woman and another woman," Spike said, with a waggle of his brows. The class tittered and he waited a moment before explaining further. "I'll go last one first. In 2708, I won a Jenuvian playing Cnark'i. As you've probably learned, slavery is still a big thing on certain planets. I don't recommend it. It's all work and no fun, and shock-collars bloody chafe like a bugger."

"Spike, these are still kids," Angel whispered. "Watch your language."

"You were a slave?" another student asked with incredulity.

"Er, a couple, thirty, hundred times or so," Spike said. He chuckled at the astonished gasps he received. "Believe me, it was not something I enjoyed. Well, maybe once or twice, like when I was bought by a Mlina male who liked to-"

Angel cleared his throat loudly and glared at his childe. Spike shot him a sheepish grin. "Right. Slavery is bad. Very, very bad. I learned my lesson...s-s-s."

The blond vampire returned his gaze to the interested students, then went back to his story. "The Jenuvian I won I ended up being worse than I am, so I married her and we spent close to seventy years making as much trouble as we could on as many planets as we could hitch rides to. Then we got caught up in a skirmish on Y'lanxar and Gemma was killed saving a family from a bunch of soddin' soldiers who wanted to slaughter them."

Spike pressed his lips together as the memories flitted through his mind. Sometimes he was too much of an emotional git. Even though almost two hundred years had passed since her death, he still got weepy when he thought of Gemma. Then again, he still got all teary-eyed when he thought of Dru or Angelus, before he'd known the poof was still among the walking. When he was certain he had control, he continued.

"Moving backwards about eight hundred years prior to that to the early twentieth century, there was another woman," Spike said, a slow smile crossing his lips. "She was completely out of her mind, and I was completely in love with her. Just like with Gemma, Dru an' me tore around Earth together until a mob hurt her in the 1990's. Then we went to this little hole in the ground called Sunnydale to help her heal, and everything went to hell. But before that, boy did we make that world burn."

Mention of Sunnydale brought up memories of first love to Angel. A smile spread across his own face and, when Spike looked at him, he knew the blond vampire was remembering a certain tiny Slayer that turned both their worlds upside down.

"Then there was this bloke with long, brown hair and a ridiculous mustache and chin-fuzz from the nineteenth century who started this whole mess I call my immortal life," Spike said, his smile taking on a wicked twist.

"Hey, you had long, brown hair, too," Angel said, folding his arms across his chest. "But you never could grow any facial hair."

"Sod off," Spike told him with a teasing note to his voice. He returned his eyes to the class and gestured to Angel. "If you hadn't guessed, your esteemed teacher is the man I was talking about. This ponce was my best friend -- although he was a lot less nice back then -- was my own teacher, and was my lo-"

"Spike," Angel warned.

"-vely trouble-making companion," Spike finished. "Plus, he introduced me to Drusilla, which makes him a swell guy in my book."

The breathy way he said "swell guy" made Angel itch to smack his childe across the back of the head. He'd forgotten how much Spike enjoyed making mischief. Then again, he should have known by the record in the criminal profiles that Spike was anything but a saint. Although, he couldn't talk. He and Rigby had gotten into a lot of trouble, too, during their star-hopping days. Of course, he was smart enough not to get caught, unlike a certain unruly childe of his. But Spike wouldn't be Spike if he wasn't doing something wrong.

"I was back on Earth a couple years ago, visiting the old stomping grounds," Spike said. "Aside from the fact that everything smells so bloody pure, it hasn't changed much in a thousand years. If you ever want to really see history, take a trip there."

"Are there any other questions?" Angel asked. "Lliana?"

"Yeah, have you met anyone important, like that would be in the history books?"

"Well, I flashed Queen Hwe'ippnra of Danyuine once..."

Part Four

Spike was let loose.

On a Council of Planets starship.

With a clean record.

He was in troublemaker heaven.

Spike rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation. Angel had classes every hour until 1500 hours -- all Council starships were on military time -- and had told him he could explore if he wanted to. His sire had also told him a bunch of other stuff, but he stopped listening after he'd heard the word "free."

His first stop would be at a bar. Every large ship had one somewhere, legal or not. Granted, he didn't have any money, or anything else for that matter because the R'aalthn 'police' took it all, but that never stopped him in the past. And so what if it was only 1000 hours? He'd just have to have juice in his drink.

Before he tuned his sire out, he had heard Angel's suite number and the promise that he would take Spike to see his hopper later that night. It was only somewhat strange to be awake during what conceivably was the day. But in the interior of the starship, there were no windows. Plus, even if there were, at warp four, any type of sunlight wouldn't come through them.

Twenty wandering minutes later, Spike found what he was searching for and had conned the bartender out of a drink. He was already flirting shamelessly with a pretty little human who had just come off duty. If he played his cards right, his wait for Angel to finish for the day would take on a horizontal nature.


Angel was almost afraid to ponder what his childe was doing. He had two more classes to go before his day was over, his youngest students and his oldest students. Seeing the vast age differences back-to-back always made him smile. Today, however, he would be too busy waiting for his wrist communicator to go off to even register the students were there.

He wondered if he should ask Rigby to find and keep an eye on Spike, but that could be considered cruel and unusual both of them. The Andinite was his closest friend, almost a brother to him, but at times Rigby could make a saint want to choke himself. How Angel managed to live with him for the past six centuries was beyond anyone, including the dark-haired vampire.

With a sigh, Angel checked the clock on the wall again. Only two more hours to go, he thought. Two more.


Spike whistled tunelessly as he sauntered down the corridor, sliding his vest back on, his hair damp from the shower. Pretty Little Miss Off Duty was sleeping in satisfactory bliss in her bed. A nice, sturdy bed that withstood the very nice activities that took place on it for the past few hours.

He nodded a greeting to someone exiting the lift, then stepped inside and pushed a button at random. According to the clock in the suite he'd just left, he still had a couple hours to kill before his sire was finished for the day. Plenty of time for him to wreak some havoc on the Council starship.

The lift doors opened on deck six and he stepped out into yet another uniform corridor. The Council really needed to get a decorator, he thought as he headed up the hall. He picked a door and pressed the touchpad outside of it, and the door slip open to reveal a vast room painted entirely black with yellow grid-lines. Even the floor was black and yellow, hiding the actual size of the room and making him a little nauseous.

Spike let the door slide closed and frowned at it. He was turning to leave when he saw a computer console set into the small side wall. Stepping closer, he read the screen and smiled broadly.

"A holodeck," he said to himself, poking at the touchkeys with no real knowledge as to how to work it. He'd heard of the Council's starship holodecks, but he'd never been in one before -- they normally didn't allow prisoners the luxury of using one.

"Let's see here, gimme a menu or something," Spike muttered, his eyes skimming the information on the screen. Considering it was well into the thirtieth century, he wasn't completely computer illiterate, but he preferred to con others into getting the information he wanted. His good looks were his asset, not his superior intellect.

"Ah, here we go." He read down the list that appeared on the screen until he found Angel's name. He knew it was his sire and not someone else named Angel because one of the choices read "Angel-Buffy."

Closing his eyes, he pointed to one at random. Reopening them, he read his choice. "'Angel-Carmela.' Carmela, huh?" He selected that name and turned to the door when the screen read told him to proceed. "This should be interesting," he said somewhat sarcastically. The door slid open when he pressed the touchkey, and his jaw dropped open an instant later.

The black and yellow room had disappeared. In its place was a large bedroom with burgundy walls and black draperies. Candles were set around the room, providing light to create a gothic, yet intimate ambiance. They went quite well with the whips, chains and other sex toys he saw scattered everywhere.

"You dog," Spike said in amazement. "Getting kinky in your old age."

"Hello," a voice purred from the shadowy corner of the room. "You're not Angelus."

"Er, no," Spike said. "I'm a...mate of his."

"Friends." The voice slowly got a body as a leather-clad woman walked seductively into the candlelight. "I like friends."

Spike swallowed heavily at the sight of the gorgeous woman holding a switch in her hand. "Carmela?" he guessed.

"Uh-huh," Carmela cooed. "And who might you be?"

Her eyes roved down his body and Spike felt as though she were not only stripping his clothes off, but his skin, too. "Spike," he answered.

"Nice," she purred, rubbing the switch on the side of her leg. Her black eyes met his and he could see her wicked intentions in them. "It'll be fun to make you cry."

Spike considered himself to be a man's man. He may be a pretty boy who used his looks and considerable charm to get himself into and out of trouble, but he was tough as nails. He wouldn't have survived past the twenty-second century if he wasn't. And, as a man's man, he'd rarely been scared.

Carmela scared him spitless.

"That's okay, luv," Spike said quickly. "I can cry just fine without help. Bye."

The door swished closed behind him and he shook his head. "Angelus, I did not need to know that about your sick tastes."

He returned to the computer screen, intent on finding something normal to pull up. His sire had about twenty different holodeck programs to choose from, including the Buffy one and Carmela the Dominatrix. His eyes skimmed the list until they lit on one simply labeled "Angel-home." Deciding that sounded relatively safe, he selected it and waited until the computer prompted him to enter.

The room had transformed once again. It was smaller and he could see two doorways leading out to possibly other rooms. It was set up as a library or a study, still in dark colors, this time hunter green and burgundy. Two old-fashioned, green-leather chairs sat at slight angles in front of a pleasant fire built in a large fireplace, a small, round wooden table between them.

Bookshelves lined a few of the walls, while the others were decorated with paintings. Other antique furnishings sat here and there in the room, dressed with lace doilies, vases of flowers or crystal decanters and glasses. What looked to be a plush, white, bear-skin rug was spread out in front of the fireplace, far enough away from the hearth not to catch a spark, and close enough to the matching chairs so someone sitting in one could rub their feet over the soft fur.

Spike stepped further into the room and the door swished shut behind him. He glanced back and saw a dimly glowing keypad next to the entry, which had transformed into an old wooden door, rather than the modern sliding beige one he knew it to be. Looking closer at the keypad, he saw a lock button which would prevent others from barging into the holodeck while it was occupied. That was a definite plus, he thought, remembering Carmela and her boudoir of pain.

"Angelus, you would not bloody believe what I-"

Spike whirled around at the voice and footsteps ringing out on the hardwood floor behind him. The person speaking froze as well, staring at him, a brilliant blue feather in his hand. Dark, longish hair was tied back with a deep red ribbon at the nape of the person's neck, and he was dressed in tan breeches of old and a loose poets shirt tucked into the waistband. His feet were encased in calf-high boots, scuffed and dirty from constant wear.

"Oh, er, hello," the British-accented person greeted warily. Blue eyes studied Spike with an intensity that made the peroxide-blond vampire feel like he was the most important person in the universe. But it was the strong, chiseled features -- features that he was intimately knowledgeable of -- that threw Spike for a loop.

He was looking at himself, circa the 1800's.

"Can I help you, mate?"

Spike shook his head slightly, trying to snap out of his stupor. "Sorry," he apologized, not knowing what else to say. "I was, er, looking for Angel."

"He went out for a bit, is there something I can help you with?" The hologram him twirled the feather stem between long, pale fingers. "Cor, where are my manners? I'm William, and you are...?"

"Spike," Spike answered. This was too bloody weird, he thought. He was having a conversation with himself. He should have taken Carmela up on her offer.

"Interesting name," William said.

"Yeah, it's grand," Spike said. It was time for him to run far away and drown himself in a bottle of Hiewam Opptyn. "Well, since the poof ain't here, I guess I'll be leaving."

"You can wait, if you'd like," William told him. He gestured towards the chairs with one hand, the other bringing the feather up and running the tip along his own neck. "I don't mind."

"I bet you don't," Spike muttered under his non-existent breath. The way William was looking at him made him think of things that would be too disgusting to put into words. How could one have sex with himself? Then again, he now knew how he looked to those he was wanting to seduce, and it sent a little perverse thrill of pleasure through him.

"Can I offer you a drink while we wait, Spike?" William asked.

He's looking at my neck!, Spike thought, watching as William tilted his head in a way that would have had Spike in his arms in a second if it wasn't, well, himself. He wondered why was it that he recognized himself, but William didn't recognize that he was, for all intent and purposes, Spike? Perhaps the hologram wasn't programmed to recognize mirror images, or perhaps the hologram didn't know what he looked like. He'd have to pick someone's brain about how holodecks worked, but right now, he had to leave before he was bent over the chair begging to be taken like some sick pervert.

"No, that's okay," Spike answered, his voice remarkably steady despite the combination of disgust and lust churning inside him. "I'll try and catch him later."

"I'll tell him you stopped by," William said, a slight smile turning up the corner of his lips.

"You do that," Spike said. He turned and jabbed at the touchpad. "Bye."

"Goodnight, Spike," Williams said.

Spike practically bolted out into the hallway, the door sliding shut behind him once he was clear. He had felt William's eyes burning a hole in the back of him, making him think of hot, sweaty nights and cool kisses. He banged his forehead on the opposite wall several times. "Sick," bang, "sick," bang, "sick," bang, "sick," bang, "bloody fucking sick," bang.

"You're going to put a hole in the bulkhead if you keep that up, and I don't feel like being sucked into space today."

Spike turned and saw Rigby standing several feet away. He could swear that the Andinite was smirking, despite the fact that his mouth was a permanent, non-changing slit on his metallic, stick-like head. The golden eyes studied the blond vampire with definite amusement, of that Spike was certain. "Shut up, Rigby."

"Doesn't work on me, moron," Rigby said. "You're not my friend, or my enemy. In fact, you're not even a blip in my memory banks."

"Bugger off," Spike growled. He stalked over to the computer console and poked at the touchkeys until the screen was cleared.

"Problems with the holodeck?" Rigby asked.

"Didn't you hear me say to bugger off?"

Rigby chuckled, a noise which sounded remarkably like a chipmunk's chattering. "I take it that was a yes."

"Don't you have someone else you can annoy?" Spike said, exasperated.

"Tweedle-dum asked me to make sure you weren't getting into any trouble," Rigby said.

"The ponce doesn't trust me, eh?"

"I think his specific words were 'Spike is an idiot, make sure he doesn't promote that idiocy.'"

"Wanker." Spike sighed and glanced around the corridor, trying to remember where the pub was located on the starship. "I need a drink. Since you're my babysitter, you can take me to your liquor."

"Only because you asked so nicely," Rigby said sarcastically. He gestured towards the lifts. "That-a-way, my darling."

"First Carmela, then myself, now Rigby the stickboy," Spike muttered, following behind the Andinite. "I'd better make it two drinks."

Part Five

"Let's see if I got this right," Spike said, setting his drink down on the table. "Angel had a memory scan and the holodeck computers were able to create real life images from that."

"Right," Rigby said.

"And the holodeck computers are learning computers, so they remember what happened each time the holodeck was in use." Spike leaned back on his chair and tapped his fingers on his knee. "Plus, the computers make is so each of the holographic people have 'outside' lives that continue, even when the program isn't in use."

"Still going strong," Rigby commented.

Spike gave him a look. "And the holograms are tangible because of the amount of energy put into them. Which means Carmela the Whipping-girl could actually cause pain. But could she kill?"

"No," Rigby replied. "The holodecks are programed with a safety mechanism that won't allow anyone to become too severely injured. You can turn that safety off, but rarely anyone does. The computers monitor vital stats and call the infirmary if the user is too hurt to move."

Spike frowned. "How does it work on vampires then?"

"Image signatures," Rigby said. "And X-Rays. It's a little too complicated for you to understand."

"You are a real wanker, you know that?" Spike said. He picked up his drink and took a long sip of the thick Opptyn. The Hiewan drink was so thick and strong, it could be used as to patch holes in space. It was currently patching the holes in Spike's nervous system from the two holodeck encounters.

"How did I know I'd find you here?" Angel looped his bag over the back of a chair, then sat down and signaled the bartender.

"Because you have a vastly superior intellect that allows you to easily solve complex conundrums, sir," Rigby answered.

"Wha' 'e said," Spike added, gesturing to the Andinite with his drink.

"You two are full of it," Angel said. The bartender came over and set the dark-haired vampire's drink on the table. Angel picked up the deep gold liquid and took a sip, then cocked his head slightly as he looked at Spike. "So, what did you do all day?"

"This, that and a lot of the other," Spike answered with a devilish grin. "I especially enjoyed the other."

"I'm not going to have to worry about there being a body found somewhere, am I?" Angel asked.

"Not unless she died from too much pleasure." The grin on Spike's face grew. "Now that would be a good way to go. Shagged to death. Has such a nice ring to it, don't you think? I could probably cause that if I wanted to."

"They'd more than likely die under the weight of your ego," Angel told him.

Spike cupped his crotch in a crude manner. "Thanks for the compliment, mate."

Rigby made a sound that could pass as a snort of derision. Angel just shook his head and took another sip of his drink.


Angel ran his hand lovingly down the side of his hopper. The J-5200 Jenuvian spacecraft, named Lightning's Lady, looked arrowhead or a shark's tooth from above, with a long cylinder-shaped cockpit attached to the side. The extremely modified craft, or hopper as all smuggling crafts were called, held all the amenities necessary to live for long periods of time in deep space with extra room leftover to hide a rhinoceros from Earth if need be.

The dark-haired vampire had smuggled everything from political refugees to liquor to information that was too sensitive to be communicated by means other than in person. For five hundred years, he and Rigby had spent their lives among the stars, never staying on one planet -- or even in one solar system -- for long. They'd sneaked onto the heavily guarded world of Greenso'ong, they'd escaped from the Council of Planets' police patrol, and squeaked by death time and time again when they'd had little hope of survival.

He missed it.

Not that he'd give up teaching or his comfortable quarters on the Luna Nocturne. Five centuries was a long time to be without a home, which the Council's starship was to him now, as well as a long time of not being around others. He remembered it had taken him a couple years to get used to socializing again. Rigby, too, which was one of the reasons why they shared the suite. It had been just the two of them, minus a few lovers here and there, for close to half of his immortal existence.

He almost didn't have Rigby, either. The Andinite had hidden aboard his craft when he'd stopped on Corlinan to pick up supplies, and had popped out of a cabinet when they were out of the solar system. Rigby had been running from the Andinite police because he had spoken his mind, rather than following the polite rules of the Andinite society. Angel had intended to drop him off at the next planet they came to, but unexpected things happened, and the dark-haired vampire ended up needing Rigby's help. That had been their first co-smuggling operation, and they'd been together ever since.

"Well, what do you think of her?" Angel asked, ducking under the hopper and examining the craft as he came up on the other side. "Isn't she a beauty?"

Spike was standing in front of it with his arms crossed, a suitably bored expression on his face. "She's a looker."

Angel flicked him off, then continue his perusal of the hopper's exterior. "You wouldn't know a fine piece of machinery if it shot you in the ass."

"Angel, look at me," Spike said, spreading his arms out. "Do I look like I give a hoot about flying?"

"I guess you'd only care if a ship had a bed," Angel replied dryly.

"Doesn't have to be a bed," Spike said, a grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Any flat surface would do."

"You are incorrigible."


Angel laughed, the rich sound filling the hanger. He hadn't realized how much he'd missed his childe until just that moment. Spike had always been self-centered, arrogant, cocky and way too aware of his sexual prowess, and it was wonderful to find the peroxide-blond was still all those things. "Come on, lover boy, let me show you where your old man lived for five hundred years."

The hopper was kind of neat, Spike thought, as he poked around in the various cabins. Angel had shown him several compartments that he never would have known were there unless pointed out. There were a few fold-down bunks which looked like they would be comfortable enough for a good day's worth of sex, as long as one didn't want to be too aggressive. Considering he'd spent most of his unlife "on his back," as a corruption of the old saying went, his mind always observed areas in terms of shaggability, and his sire's spacecraft had enough areas to keep things from getting too boring.

"Maybe when we hit Kilon, I'll take you out for a spin," Angel said, looking quite at home in the pilot's seat, where Spike had found him after his explorations. "She could use a good workout."

"You talk as though this crate was a woman," Spike commented, perching on the edge of the Rigby-sized co-pilot's seat.

"She is," Angel told him. "She runs hot and cold, never wants to do what I want her to do, but when you caress the controls and she purrs..."

"You are sick," Spike said. "First Carmela the Mistress of Screams, now your bloody ship. I fear you."

Angel arched a brow. "Carmela?"

"Hey, it's your bloody holodeck program," Spike said.

"Ah." Angel smiled mysteriously, a dark, unfocused look coming into his brown eyes. "Carmela."

The name tumbled from his sire's lips with a buttery softness that spoke of illicit affairs and exquisite pleasure. "And they think I'm the sexual deviant," Spike muttered. Those dark eyes focused on Spike and the younger vampire felt like he was melting from the flames within them. He shifted on the edge of the seat and folded his arms across his chest in a protective manner. "What?"

The mysterious smile deepened and a slight bit of gold glittered behind the brown irises. "Just thinking of home," Angel replied in a voice like liquid heat.

"Oh." Spike's less-than-intelligent response was due to the fact that he was seconds away from throwing himself at his sire, despite the cramped quarters. It didn't help that the moment Angel had practically purred the word "home," he immediately conjured up the holodeck image of what was labeled 'Angel-home.'

Angel watched Spike, drinking in the subtle changes in the younger man, as the atmosphere in the small cabin became heady with suggested intimacy -- a tensing of the muscles in Spike's crossed arms, a tick in his cheek, the bob of his Adam's apple as he swallowed, the slight flare of his nostrils as he purposely inhaled, the rise of his chest at the same time because of this. Silence filled the area, but it was a silence that screamed.

Then the klaxon alarm went off in the hanger and the moment was gone.

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