Nice to Meet You,
By Saber Shadowkitten
"This is all your bloody fault."
"My fault?!" Angel growled at Spike. "How the hell can this be my fault, Mr. Let's-Open-The-Box-That-Clearly-Says-'Do-Not-Open'?!"
"If you hadn't come back, I wouldn't have had to go out with you," Spike growled right back. "But nooo, Mr. I-Love-The-Slayer, So-I'm-Going-To-Rip-Her-Heart-Out had to come back to Sunnyhell."
"What does Buffy have to do with you opening the box?"
"Everything!" Spike yelled. "You left her, I got stuck watching her back because of it, you came back, she doesn't want to see you, I get stuck helping you instead of her, and now we're SIX INCHES TALL!"
"Actually, I'm six inches tall," Angel smirked. "You're half-an-inch shorter."
"Sod off," Spike said, glaring up at his sire.
The night was not going well for the two vampires. Angel had returned to Sunnydale in search of a relic that he needed to aid him in his fight against a certain demon in Los Angeles. Since Buffy had not wanted to see him, Spike had been unanimously elected to go help his sire. Of course, the only voter had been the Slayer, but the blond vampire had an annoying tendency to want to avoid seeing her unhappy.
The two former enemies had been working together for over a year, fighting the forces of darkness that seemed to converge on Sunnydale. At first, Spike had been reluctant to let himself really get involved, other than making sure Buffy didn't die; but after awhile, he'd immersed himself more and more in her life and her friends lives until he became an honorary member of the 'Slayerettes.' A semi-evil member, but a member none-the-less. And he'd been ridiculously happy ever since.
Until tonight, when he'd been forced to go help the one vampire that set his canines on edge and made him want to break his self-imposed 'no killing the good guys' policy. He'd dealt with Angel several times over the past year, but it was always through Cordelia and always for a short period of time. He was glad the Slayer had finally moved on with her life after his sire had crushed her heart, but it still pained her to see him and dredge up the old 'what might have been' syndrome. He knew the feeling.
Angel wasn't too happy about working with Spike, either. He hated the fact that his childe was closer to Buffy than he'd ever been. Though it was only in a friendship capacity, like he shared with Cordelia, it still irked him to no end. Spike was the one to hold her when she cried, to see her smile, to watch her fight, to be there for her. He had been accepted by Buffy's friends even though he didn't have a soul, only a conscience and a hefty dose of blackmail over him.
The past year had been hard on Angel. He'd moved to a new city, fought for people's souls on a nightly basis, put up with an annoying guardian demon named Doyle, put up with an equally annoying young woman named Cordelia, and missed Buffy with every fiber of his undead being. To top it all off, when he'd learned that it was Spike who had taken his place watching Buffy's back, he couldn't help the feeling of relief that had washed over him. He knew that his childe would protect Buffy with his life, because that was the type of man he was, demon or not.
However, Spike was still impatient and aggravating and had the attention span of a five-year-old. When he had seen the box, his first impulse was to open it, despite the warnings easily visible. Angel had tried to stop him, but stopping Spike from doing something was like telling that same five-year-old no -- he'd pout and whine and would be exceedingly irritating until a yes was given, or he'd do it anyway.
Spike did it anyway, and now they were six inches tall.
Well, six inches and five and a half inches, respectively. Spike had always been on the short side.
"Instead of arguing over whose fault it is," Angel said, forcing himself to calm down. "Let's try to figure out how to get back to normal."
"I know whose fault it is -- yours," Spike stated. Angel glared at him. "But I'm all for the getting back to normal part."
The both looked up...and up...and up to where the box was sitting on a stone pedestal that jutted out of the mausoleum wall. Then they looked at each other. "Where's Alice when you need her?" Angel said.
"I was wondering where the white rabbit was, myself," Spike replied. He returned his gaze to the wall before them. "I suppose we could climb the bloody thing."
"But what good will it do once we get up there?" Angel said.
"There's bound to be some sort of instructions on the soddin' box," the blond vampire answered.
"You mean, for when morons like you open it?" Angel asked wryly.
"Angel, go fuck yourself," Spike replied. "Oh wait, that's all you can do, isn't it?"
The ensouled vampire closed his eyes and counted to ten. Then he kept them closed and counted to another ten. When he opened them again, he saw that Spike was making his way up the wall, using the cracks in the rocks as hand and footholds. "You do realize that once you're up there, you have to come back down?"
"No shit, Sherlock," Spike said, still moving upwards.
With a sigh, Angel began to climb the wall as well.
Luckily, their vampiric strength had stayed with them despite their being shrunk to the size of Smurfs. They rapidly maneuvered from crack to crack, ascending the sheer face of the tomb until they reached the pedestal. Once there, the box looked to be the size of a log cabin with its roof half-off.
The wooden box resembled a small chest, with rusty metal handles and hinges. Words had been carved into the dark cedar, worn with age and weathering. The lid was raised, from when Spike had opened it, and the red glow that had shot from within to encompass both vampires had disappeared.
There were several languages on the box, and Angel was able to translate a smattering of the words. Mostly the ones that read 'Do Not Open.'
"This looks like a couple of names," Angel pointed out, tracing the letters with his fingers. "Glooskap, maybe? And possibly Summer."
"The Queen of the Elves of Light?" Spike said, frowning. "I thought Glooskap had a moosehide, not a box."
Angel looked at Spike in surprise. "You recognize these names?"
"You weren't the only one who liked to read, Angelus," Spike replied.
"Yeah, but I could sit still for more than ten minutes," Angel said. "You couldn't."
"You know, it's a long way down from here," Spike told Angel, taking a threatening step closer to his sire. "And I always wondered if you were the type of Angel that could fly."
Angel looked cooly at his childe. "Are you threatening me?"
"As the Slayer would say -- duh," Spike replied, rolling his eyes.
Angel tried not to laugh, he really did, but it happened anyway. Here they were, together the most vicious vampires in the past two centuries, six inches tall and standing on a pedestal next to the box that had shrunk them, acting like juveniles. It reminded him of the old days.
"What are you laughing at?" Spike asked, narrowing his eyes.
"You...me...us," Angel said, gesturing around them. "Look at us. I feel like one of the Wee Folks."
"You look like a faerie, too," Spike said with a smirk.
"I think you're losing your touch, Spike. That was pathetic," Angel said. "Maybe your brain shrunk to nothing when the light hit us."
"You're just a regular old comedian tonight," the blond vampire scowled. He started to examine the box once again. "I don't think this is going to tell us anything."
"At least untranslated," Angel said, returning to the problem at hand. That was how it used to be between them. They'd work on something together -- usually a plan of violence and death - take a break to fight and cajole one another, then go right back to work without difficulty. "I hate to say this, but I think we're stuck like this for now."
Spike grumbled an agreement, then dug out his cigarettes and lighter before sitting down. He leaned against the box and lit up. Angel joined him a moment later and the two sat in companionable silence until the cigarette was burned down to the filter.
"Now what?" Spike asked, stubbing the cigarette out on the stone beside him.
"We have a choice," Angel replied, having thought about it during the silence. "We can either stay here until someone comes looking for us..."
"And neither of us told anyone where we were going," Spike said.
"...Or we can go to whoever's house is the closest for help," Angel finished, ignoring the interruption.
"Well, you can probably guess my answer," the blond said, standing. He grinned down at Angel. "I've never been able to sit still for more than ten minutes, anyway."
"At this rate, it's going to take weeks to get there," Spike complained as they plodded through the grass. Each blade was like a tree to the vampires and they had to force their way through the green fibers.
"How far do you think it is to Buffy's?" Angel asked, having deduced that hers was the closest house to the cemetery they were in.
"About a quarter kilometer, give or take," he replied.
"Eighth of a mile," Angel sighed. "Our stride is roughly two inches, and there are 5,280 feet in a mile, which makes it..." He did a quick calculation in his head. "Roughly 660 feet to Buffy's house. Multiply that by twelve and you have..."
"A bloody headache," Spike growled. "Now shut up and keep walking, you git."
They walked in silence as Angel kept doing calculations in his head. He had gotten good at it the year after he'd gotten out of hell. What better way to get rid of an erection than math?
"Seven hours," Angel said a few minutes later.
"What?" Spike asked, glancing over his shoulder at his sire.
"As the crow flies, it should take us about seven hours to get to Buffy's," he replied.
"The sun will be up in less than two," Spike informed him.
"So it'll take a little longer then," Angel shrugged.
Spike ground his teeth together. "What do we do for shelter, Oh Great Mathematician?"
"Rocks, maybe," Angel said. "Hole in something, I don't know. We'll stop when we find somewhere."
"Before or after the sun turns us into mini piles of ash?"
A half hour before dawn, they managed to find shelter in an old knocked-over twelve-inch flower pot. Pushing as much dirt out as they could, the two vampires crawled over the sod and into the recesses of the faded ceramic. Tired, cranky and hungry, neither one was too jovial in sharing such close quarters.
"It's not like we haven't done this before, Spike," Angel sighed, trying to get comfortable on the dirt. Spike was not helping matters. The blond kept elbowing or kicking him as he continued to toss and turn in order to find his own comfortable position.
"First of all, it's been over a hundred bloody years," Spike said, flipping onto his back. "Second, we were both too pissed to see straight to get us home and third, we were shagging like a couple of sex-starved nutters back then. So shut your hole and let me alone."
Angel managed to wait for five seconds of Spike's moving around before he growled, "Hold still."
"Bugger off," Spike replied.
In response, Angel turned on his side, grabbed Spike around the waist and forcibly pulled the younger vampire against him. "Stop. Moving. And. Go. To. Sleep," he ground out.
"Let go of me, you pillock!" Spike snarled.
"No," Angel growled, tightening his hold.
"I'm going to hurt you," he stated.
"Do it later," Angel told Spike. "Right now -- SLEEP."
"Shut up, Spike."
Angel closed his eyes and started counting backwards from one hundred. By the time he reached forty-three, Spike was asleep. Relaxing his hold, the dark-haired vampire sighed, turned onto his back, then let himself follow into peaceful oblivion.
Angel woke up to the feeling of someone pressed up against him. Opening his eyes into slits, he was surprised to find Spike curled up against him, his blond head resting on his chest, one arm thrown across his waist and his leg half over Angel's left one. Memories flooded him of evenings when he'd woken up in this exact position, usually after a previous night full of sex, and for once, he did not feel an ounce of remorse or guilt in association with those thoughts. He kept still, just allowing his mind to wander back in time, as Spike continued to sleep.
He did have fun with the blond man beside him, nights of teaching and playing and enjoying immortal life. Sometimes he'd share Spike with Darla, other times he'd keep his childe to himself. He'd been known as Will back then, with shoulder-length dark hair and flashing blue eyes that were still young and naive.
For decades, it was the two of them toying with the mortal world. Sure, he'd had others he'd created that he enjoyed, but none of them had managed to catch his attention as much as Will. Whether it was because of his beauty, his wit or his mind, Angel never knew, and for some reason, he never cared to figure it out. He'd been content to have a companion who was as close to his equal as anyone could ever get.
Then a young woman, whose purity combined with her visions, had captured Angel's eye. For months, he worked on destroying her mind. Finally, he'd turned her and began spending his time cultivated her psychic talent, all the while teaching her to be as vicious as he.
He remembered that, somewhere along the line, Will had become Spike. The memories of those years, however, seemed to be more centered around Drusilla. He frowned, trying to discern why that was so, but Spike stirred against him, breaking into his thoughts.
Angel feigned sleep. He wanted to give Spike a chance to move without embarrassment, but he was also curious as to how the blond would react.
Spike slowly became aware of the world around him as he awoke. First thing in the evening was an extremely vulnerable time for him, when he was at his most unaware. Even in sleep, his defenses were ready to kick in at the slightest threat, but those minutes between unconsciousness and wakefulness was when he was especially susceptible.
It took him a few moments to register the fact that he was curled against someone and even longer for him to realize the person was his sire. He froze, trying to discern whether Angel was awake or not. When he didn't move, Spike relaxed and allowed himself to doze a little longer. It had been a long time since he'd been this comfortable.
Eventually, he sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He looked out into the early twilight, then crawled over Angel and out of the flowerpot. After he'd smoked a cigarette, his brain started to function once again, and he felt semi-peeved at his unconscious behavior. He'd promised himself long ago not to be in that position again, not after all the hurt he'd gone through.
Pushing his thoughts aside, he grabbed a handful of potting soil and lobbed it at the still figure of Angel. "Hey poofwad, rise and shine."
"I am not going to emph-," Spike was cut off abruptly when Angel clamped a hand over his mouth.
"Shut up," Angel hissed. "You'll scare it away."
Spike yanked Angel's hand away from his mouth, then hissed back, "I'm not going to eat a fly for dinner!"
"Blood is blood," Angel said, holding the toothpick he'd found like a spear.
"Yeah, but flies eat shit and other disgusting stuff," Spike said.
"Then starve," he replied, circling around where the bug had landed.
The fly was roughly the size of a large Schnauzer to the six-inch duo. It was sitting on the side of a blade of grass, not moving. Angel thought one of its wings were torn, preventing it from flying. He saw Spike make a face, then flank the insect, moving opposite him in a well-practiced move from times long past.
They struck as one, Spike darting forward to bash the fly in its hard, multi-faceted eyes as Angel leapt from behind and drove the make-shift spear behind what conceivably was the fly's neck. It shuddered and tried to take off, but Angel held fast, and a loud, high-pitched whine filled the air.
Spike had to jump out of the way when the fly starting spiting something. One unlucky shot hit his hand, and he growled in pain as the acidic residue burned his skin. He thrust his hand in the dirt, using it as an abrasive to remove the slimy substance.
Eventually, the noise stopped and the fly was still. Angel glanced over at Spike, noticing his grimace of pain. "You ok?"
"I'm ducky," Spike growled at him.
Angel sighed, then picked up the fly by the toothpick like a shish-ka-bob. He walked over and handed it to Spike, offering his childe first blood, just like he used to do when they hunted together.
"This is bloody ridiculous," Spike grumbled, taking the fly and searching for a soft spot on its body.
"What did you think we were going to do, bite people's ankles?" Angel asked mockingly.
Spike scowled at the dark-haired vampire, then morphed and sunk his fangs into the bug. He wanted to be childish and drain it, but refrained himself from doing so -- barely.
Angel waited patiently, wondering if he was going to have to hunt again, when Spike withdrew and held out the insect. He almost didn't take it, because he was too fascinated with the smear of blood around his childe's mouth. Memories slammed into him, along with physical reactions to those memories.
He remembered the nights Spike would be particularly violent to their victim, drenching himself in their blood as he tore out their intestines or ripped their throats out with his fangs. Then, right there in the alley or wherever the victim had been taken, Angel would lick him clean before he'd take Spike hard and fast, the younger vampire spilling himself onto the rough street under him from Angel's hand.
Angel knew he should feel guilty about those times, but at that moment, all he felt was intense desire. Gritting his teeth together, he took the fly and turned away from Spike.
Spike let his human mask descend over his features and arched a brow in Angel's direction when his sire turned away from him. Wiping his mouth absently on the back of his sleeve, he silently chuckled at the thought that the dark-haired vampire didn't want him to watch him feed. They'd hunted together for close to a hundred years, so it wasn't as if he hadn't seen it before.
"How much further do you think?" he asked, as Angel finished and dropped the fly to the ground, then pulled the toothpick free.
"A couple hours, give or take," Angel replied. He turned and gestured in the direction they were to head. "We should be to the street, soon. It'll be easier traveling, but we won't have the cover."
"Then let's be off," Spike said. "The sooner we get there, the sooner I can get the taste of fly out of my mouth."
"I hate you."
"What else is new?" Angel commented, looking first one way, then the other up the long street they had to cross.
"This time I mean it," Spike said. Angel rolled his eyes as the blond continued. "If it wasn't for you, I could be at the dorm watching the Simpson's marathon, which started ten minutes ago."
"The Simpson's?" Angel asked, smirking at him.
"Bugger off," he scowled. "At least I do things other than mope around like a friggin' lost puppy."
"And here I thought I was closer to a full grown dog," Angel said. "Shall we? Or would you rather stand here and whine a little longer?"
"I'd rather stick my hand down your throat and rip your voice-box out," Spike told him.
"You can do that later," he replied. "Right now, we're crossing the street."
Angel started to cross in a light jog, keeping his eyes peeled for cars coming in either direction. He heard Spike swear and then the echoing of footfalls as the blond caught up to him. They were three-quarters of the way across when an automobile turned the corner on the same side of the street they were on.
"Uh, Gel-head, we're about to be roadkill," Spike said, his eyes darting around, looking for safety.
"I see it," Angel replied, cursing under his non-existent breath. He judged the distance between where they were and the curb, then glanced at the car bearing down on them at a rapid rate. They couldn't make it. His arm shot out and he stopped Spike. "Freeze. Wait until we see where the tire is, then get out of the way."
"Bloody hell," Spike cursed, watching as the car came closer and closer. "I hate you."
"NOW!" Angel yelled, sprinting to his left out of the path of the tire. The car had to be going only twenty miles per hour, but it was as fast as an airplane to the six inch vampire. The wind from the vehicle hit him full force, sending him flying forwards. He hit the pavement hard and skid several inches -- which seemed like feet for him - scraping his palms and knees under the pants he was wearing.
He pushed himself to his feet, wincing as the material of his pants rubbed against the abrasions. Turning, he saw Spike stalking towards him, holding his arm and cursing up a blue streak.
"Angel, you stupid motherfucking goddamned arsehole!" Spike yelled. "I am going to break every single fucking bone in your body, then bathe you in holy water until all your fucking skin falls off!"
"What's wrong?" Angel said, ignoring his childe's tantrum and focusing on his arm.
"It's bloody dislocated, that's what's wrong, you fucking pillock!" Spike snarled. "Why couldn't you just stay out of my fucking unlife!"
Angel reached out to fix it, but Spike flinched away. "Do you want it to stay like that or not?" he asked, grabbing the blond tightly on the shoulder.
"Ow!" Spike yelled. "That fucking hurts!"
"Hold still," Angel told him, positioning his hands. With a hard wrench, he popped the joint back in its socket to Spike's growling and cursing. "There, you big baby."
"Fuck off!" he spat, then stormed away.
Angel sighed and rubbed his forehead, wondering if it was still pueracide even if Spike wasn't his childe by birth.
Spike and Angel exchanged glances, then looked back up at the doorbell. They had made the remainder of the trek to the Summers' residence in silence, each in their own thoughts about getting back to normal so they could escape each other.
"I can make it," Spike said confidently, eyeing the window frame.
"Ok," Angel said, knowing that the younger vampire would do so easily. He was always the risk-taker of the duo, having too much energy to not do extreme things such as climbing walls or stealing Miss Edith.
"Scootch down," Spike instructed. When Angel did, he climbed up on his sire's shoulders, then pulled himself up onto the low window ledge. He examined the frame where it met the glass pane once more, then began to rapidly ascend it, finding invisible toe and finger-holds. When he was slightly above the doorbell, he carefully maneuvered around the edge of the frame to the molding. Balancing on the toes of his one foot and holding onto the non-existent cracks with his fingers, he brought his left leg back and kicked the bell.
Angel stood in front of the door, prepared to run inside the moment it opened, as he kept a slightly-worried eye on Spike. Which was why he didn't see the cat until it dashed onto the porch and pounced on him. He let out a scram of pain as sharp claws rasped against him, tearing into his clothes and leaving shallow grooves along his skin. He'd lost the toothpick when the car had blown him over, and was basically defenseless against the animal that seemed to be as big as a house.
"ANGELUS!" Spike yelled when he saw the cat attack. Despite his own safety, the younger vampire immediately threw himself off the wall, twisting in the air as he fell towards the feline. He landed right on the cat's back, the three feet having felt like three miles when he connected.
The cat let out a screech and his head came around to bite at the small figure clinging to his fur. Spike scrambled up the ridged back and out of reach of the cat's teeth. The animal spun in circles, trying to throw him off, hissing loudly. He suddenly sat down and raised his back leg to scratch the tiny vampire off.
Spike buried his head into the thick fur, curling his knees up under him, making as small a target as possible. The first swipe of the claws almost sent him tumbling to the ground, but he tightened his hold. He wanted to give Angel time to get to safety.
Angel was pressed against the door when it opened, and he fell backwards onto the hardwood floor. Joyce was standing there, although he mostly saw her pants and shoes, and he forced himself to his feet. He lurched over to her as she began to tell the cat to shoo, her voice sounding like thunder.
Spike's felt like his back was raw and bleeding. His leather duster protected him from the cats nails ripping him open, but the repeated scratching still dug into his skin. One lucky swipe had cut into the back of his neck, the oils from the claws seeping into the wound, sending flames of pain through his system.
Joyce suddenly let out a yell as Angel dug his fingernails into her skin exposed by her shoe. He jumped back out of the way when she shook her foot, then waved his arms in the air and screamed when she looked down. "JOYCE! JOYCE! DOWN HERE! JOYCE!"
"Oh my god," Joyce gasped when she saw the little person waving his arms in the air. She crouched down, ready to bolt if it attacked, then gasped again when she recognized who it was. "Angel?"
"Yeah, it's me!" he continued to yell. "Get Spike!"
"Angel, I can't hear you," Joyce said. "The cat is making too much...oh god. Is Buffy with you?" She went forward on her knees and grabbed the cat around the middle, yanking it into the house. It hissed and clawed at her, but she held fast as she peered outside, hoping not to see her daughter's small mauled body.
Spike felt himself suddenly being lifted and the clawing stop. Raising his head, he found himself surrounded by pink. He quickly deduced that someone was holding the cat, and he used that opportunity to get off the animal. He pushed to his feet and launched himself towards the flash of hardwood floor he saw.
Angel flinched when Spike hit the floor, his body making a hard slap against the wood. Dashing to his side, he bent over the unconscious blond and checked for serious injuries. "Spike, wake up," he said, his hand coming away bloody when he ran it over the back of Spike's neck.
Joyce looked down and saw the six inch Angel kneeling over Spike. "Is Buffy with you?" she asked again, still holding the cat tightly.
Angel looked up at the booming voice and shook his head no. He gestured to himself and Spike, indicating it was just them as he yelled the same. She must have understood, because she threw the cat out the door and went to close it. Angel stood and dragged Spike away from the entry so she could.
"Great, now what?" Joyce asked herself. "Ok, deep breath. Angel and Spike are the size of the Borrowers. Spike looks injured. First, I should get them off the floor so I don't step on them. Then I'll call Buffy and if I can't reach her, Rupert."
Angel heard Joyce speaking, but he was too busy trying to wake Spike to listen to her. The blond let out a low moan what seemed like an eternity later.
"That was fun," Spike muttered, as he came back to consciousness. He pried his eyes open and saw Angel staring worriedly down at him. He gave his sire a lopsided grin, ignoring the pain thrumming in his body. "Hi poopsy. Miss me?"
Angel didn't know whether to kiss Spike or throttle him. "About as much as being soulless," he replied. "Why did you do that?"
"Why wouldn't I?" he said, then groaned as he sat up with Angel's help. "Bloody 'ell, I 'urt like a dry buggerin'."
A bright green folder appeared on the ground beside them, startling both vampires. Their moans of pain echoed each other from the sudden movement. Angel looked up at Joyce, who was holding one end of the folder, and nodded in understanding. "Everyone onto the folder," he said, helping Spike to his feet.
"You know what I could use right now?" Spike said as he half-walked, was half-dragged onto the green surface. "A nice hippie. LSD-laced blood would make this hell much nicer."
"I'll order out," Angel joked dryly. The folder was carefully raised after he and Spike sat down and they were carried towards the kitchen.
"'Why don't you come with me, little girl, on a magic carpet ride,'" Spike sang off-key to himself. He shuddered as a bolt of pain lanced through him. "Fuck."
"Almost there," Angel told him, checking his own injuries. The scratches were shallow and barely bleeding. With rest and some blood, he'd be healed in no time. Glancing at the back of Spike's neck, he was worried that it would take a lot more than that for his childe.
The folder was gently set down on the island counter-top in the kitchen. Joyce took the first aid kit off the top of the refrigerator and put it on the counter as well. "I don't know if this will help," she said, opening the box.
Angel stood and went over to the kit, the side of it waist-high to him. He glanced at the large objects inside and scratched his head, wondering how he was going to use them. "Do you think you can wait to get bandaged up?" he asked Spike.
"I don't mind bleeding to death," Spike replied sarcastically, pressing his hand to the back of his neck.
Joyce, meanwhile, dialed Buffy's dorm room number and waited for her daughter to answer. "Hello?" Buffy said upon answering the phone.
"Mom, what's up?" Buffy asked.
"There's a...small problem," Joyce replied, glancing at the two vampires. "Very small."