Author: Kamp West

Disclaimer: Characters do not belong to me but to their respective owners. However, if I could write an episode for this series, I doubt that it would ever be televised.

Title: What's Best

Status: Complete. Four chapters. (1 of 4)

Pairing: Spike/Angel with Angel/Buffy references

Summary: Angel reacts to Spike's presence in Sunnydale.

Warnings: Homosexual, heterosexual relationships. Strong language. Sexual references. Brooding. Abuse. Angst. Oh, and Buffy bashing.

Author's Note the First: This story takes place after the Initiative story arc and somewhere in the middle of the Glory story. Though, I suppose I wrote this after that episode where Spike is captured and tortured by Glorificus. Anyway, I always wondered why Angel was never introduced into this storyline. After all, they are blood, aren't they? And Angel had already been making appearances in Buffy the Vampire Slayer despite having had his own series (and being humiliated by Buffy for actually caring; yeah, I remember that Angel meets Riley episode). So, I always wondered.

Author's Note the Second: Another story written awhile back, one that I actually finished. Oh, and words in double parentheses, i.e. ((these words)), are meant as the current character's personal thoughts. One more thing: chapters are divided up by location – one long chapter may be followed by one short chapter.

Location: The Magic Box, Sunnydale, California

"Can you please stop that, Angel? You're making me dizzy."

Angel stopped pacing and looked up. "Sorry Cordy. I'm just kinda nervous. I… We haven't been here for awhile and I'm not entirely sure that we're… that I'm still welcome."

Cordelia sighed. "Who cares if they don't want you? You're not here for them. You're here for…" Angel looked down and resumed his pacing. Cordelia shook her head. "Anyway, are you sure this is the right place? I mean it's so tacky. Even for the quote unquote Scooby Gang."

Angel stopped and took out a piece of paper. "Yeah. It's the Magic Box. I still can't believe that Giles decided to buy this place."

"Yeah. I know what you mean. With the mortality rate of Sunnydale store owners, you'd think he'd be dead by now…" Cordelia looked up when Angel stopped again. "Oops. You don't think that I jinxed him, do you?"

"No. It's just… Did you hear that?" Angel asked before the door opened and Willow walked in. Her hair was a mess, her clothes torn, but she still smiled and gave Cordelia a hug when she noticed her..

"Hey Cordy. It's good to see you."

Cordelia smiled, then realized that Angel had disappeared into the shadows again. She shook her head, then noticed the blonde behind the redhead.

"Hi. I'm T-Tara." The blonde then reached out and shook hands with her. Willow smiled brightly before reclaiming Tara's hand. Cordelia tilted her head and looked at them before her eyes widened in surprise. "Oh. You two are -"

"Well, if it isn't Deadboy come to crash the party."

Cordelia turned angrily toward Xander but stopped when she saw him. His clothes were torn in various places and he had scratches on his face. Then Cordelia sighed in relief. He wasn't hurt too badly. "Hey, Xander. Wow. I see your taste in clothes has finally improved."

Willow smiled as Xander. ((He didn't look all that bad actually. If you ignored the torn and bruised look, he was rather attractive. Not that I would be looking.)) She turned and smiled at Tara, then resumed watching the ex-couple.

"Cordy… What are you -"

"Hey. He's mine and you can't have him," responded Anya as she stepped through the door.

Cordelia looked up with a raised eyebrow. "Possessive much? First off, who are you? Second, eww. Like I would want him back."

Xander stepped between the girls before a fight could break out. "Cordy, this is Anya. Anya, this is Cordelia. I believe you two know each other, though not through me. Or maybe it was because of me. Anyway… Cordy, it's good to see you. What are you doing in the 'Dale?"

Cordelia smiled. "Well, me and Angel are here because of -"


Cordelia raised an eyebrow at Angel, then turned toward the door as Buffy and a young brunette ((the newest Scooby?)) walked in. Buffy seemed distracted but the other girl smiled as she looked at Cordelia. "Wait a minute. There are four new members of the Scooby gang?"

Buffy shook her head absently as Giles brushed past her on his way inside. He stopped when he saw Angel. She, on the other hand, remained where she was and placed a hand on the other girl's shoulder. "No. This is Dawn. She's my… Angel?"

Cordelia lifted a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. "She's your angel?"

Angel stood up and walked toward her. "Buffy, you look terrible. What happened?"

Buffy stood still for a moment, before pushing Dawn towards Giles. Dawn gave her a look but continued toward the counter and leaned on it, her eyes carefully trained on her sister. Buffy stared as Angel approached but immediately moved away when he reached out to touch her. "Umm. I'm all right. Just another fight on the Hellmouth. No big."

Angel looked at her, worry crossing his features, before dropping his arm. "Are you sure? I know we haven't talked very much but if you need help, I'm always here."

"Look, Angel. I though we agreed not to do this?"

"Do what?"

Buffy sighed and walked past him. Then she turned to face him. "Why are you here, Angel? Has something else gone wrong? Because that is all that I need right now."

"I though you said that you could take care of it."

Buffy narrowed her eyes at him. "I am taking care of it. But what are you doing here? You could have just called."

Cordelia smirked as Angel flinched from Buffy's gaze. "Actually, I'm not here for you. I have some business in Sunnydale and was told that I could some… information here."

"Business… What kind of business?" Cordelia smiled.((That definitely caught her off guard.))

"Bloody hell!" The door crashed open as Spike walked in. He turned around and kicked the door shut. "Bloody bint. Stupid cow. Skanky ex-god with a lopsided…" Spike trailed off as he turned and saw Angel. He raised a scarred eyebrow before holding his right arm against his chest.

Angel took a moment to look at him. He was bruised and far too thin. He hadn't been feeding enough, which considering the circumstances…

"Spike. I…" Angel trailed off as he forgot what he had planned to say.

"Peaches. What are you doing here?" Spike's confusion almost made Angel smile despite his current situation. Almost that is, until Angel noticed the dark outlines of Spike's eyes. ((A recent beating?)) Angel shook his head. That wasn't his concern. He came here for one thing, then he promised that he'd leave. Angel looked away from Spike's face, but then his demon noticed something else. In a confrontation, Spike stood in a ready position with feet shoulder length apart and arms at his side. That was the one thing Angelus had not taught him. But right now, Spike seemed to be favoring his left leg and was holding his…

"What happened to your arm?"

"What?" Spike looked down, readjusted the position of his arms, and then looked back up. "It'll heal."

"Yeah, Angel," interrupted Buffy. "It'll heal. He's a vampire. Bruises tend to heal. So why are you here?" Buffy glared at Angel, not even sparing Spike a glance. Spike, on the other hand, scowled at her before pulling his arm against his chest again.

"Buffy!" Cordelia said, completely shocked at her harsh tone.((After all, Spike had been fighting for the Scoobies, hadn't he? He'd gotten hurt protecting -))

"Buffy," interrupted Angel, "How can you just say that? He was hurt helping you. He didn't have to but he did. In fact, he remained loyal to you even after the -"

"Loyal? Loyal? You think Spike is loyal after all the times he betrayed us? Look, Angel. I don't have to stand here listening to this crap. I have a fight to win. And Spike will heal." Then Buffy turned and walked away. Angel stood there for a moment unsure of what to do next.

Spike leaned against the closed door, a confused expression on his face. ((Why would the pouf care if I was being treated right? Why's he here in SunnyHell anyway?)) Movement in his peripheral vision caught his attention. He turned toward it and was surprised to see Angel at his side. He looked at him, confused but trying to hide it. "Peaches, what -"

Angel took him gently by his uninjured arm and led him to a chair. "Look, Spike. Just… just let me fix this."

Spike sighed and closed his eyes as he sat in the given seat. "You can't fix everything, you know."

Angel dropped his gaze and pushed Spike's duster off of his shoulders." I know. But just let me do this." Spike sat quietly as Angel looked over the bruises on his no longer hidden arm. He shook his head and quickly reset the bone, snapping it into place. Spike cringed, unable to hold back a whimper. When Angel didn't move away, he opened his eyes.

When Spike finally looked at him, Angel smiled in apology. Still holding his childe's gaze, Angel reached out and touched his bruised cheek. Spike didn't move and he took that as a good sign. Then he bent forward and kissed him.

Spike closed his eyes at the sensation, then almost immediately pulled away." Just… just finish my arm."

Angel lowered his eyes and pulled away from Spike. He finished setting the bone but didn't get up. Spike looked down at him. His hand reached out to touch Angel's shoulder, then dropped to his side without making contact. He got up and, avoiding everyone's eyes, picked up his duster and walked out.

Angel remained in the same position as the door slammed shut. A few minutes later, he heard the door open and close again, this time, with less force. He did not stand up.

End Chapter the First

Like fresh meat loves salt, an author is bland unless a reviewer is willing to add flavor.

One chapter down, three more to go: Spike's temporary escape from Angel and the Scooby Gang.

Kamp West