It was nice to know that years of living in this new world hadn't taken the edge off his boy. At least with a dagger in his hand he felt a little less naked, and he was glad that Xander was handling some more serious firepower if it came down to it.
He'd been thrilled when he'd discovered how vulnerable vampires in this world were to holy water and crosses. At the very least Xander would be able to protect himself, and maybe he'd get the chance to unpretty-up Angelus' face.
That was the kind of thing he would walk through Hell to do. Make that git just that much less pretty and annoying. Because even though Xander had never owned up to it, Spike knew the boy had a bit of a crush on Angel that had never gone away. The snark was just a cover for a raging case of boy-love.
And there was no way in any world that Spike was going to let his Xander be won over by that poof.
"What is going on here?" Jean-Claude demanded, his power rushing through the room.
"We were just having a bit of a party," Angelus said. "We sent you all kinds of invitations." He flicked his fingers toward the dead woman on the floor. "We were getting worried when you didn't show up on time." He strolled over to the bar, leaning against the counter with careless grace, a nearly boyish grin shaping his lips.
Spike kept himself in front of Xander. He didn't trust that grin, didn't trust anything that he saw in this alternate version of his grandsire.
The vampires of this dimension might or might not have souls, but Spike recognized someone twisted like Angelus in any reality. And there was no way he would let that monster near Xander, professional demon magnet.
"Keep close to me," he whispered out of the side of his mouth.
"No doy," Xander replied. Spike had to hide a smile. It was good that his boy wasn't panicking or falling apart. It was proof that those slaying instincts never completely went away.
"Why are you on my lands uninvited?" There was a dangerous bite to Jean-Claude's French accent.
Angelus gave an amused smile, his dark eyes gleaming viciously. "Since when do I need an invitation to visit with an old friend?"
Spike recognized that particular brand of Angelus douchery and it never turned out well. Angelus had a real gift for pushing people's buttons and sending them into a murderous rage. He just never seemed to know when he was supposed to use it or not.
Angelus was not the vamp to be sent in for reasons of diplomacy. He was the one used to sow discord amongst the natives before the big attack took place. So his being here in St. Louis was not a good sign at all.
Jean-Claude seemed to think Angelus was up to no good as well, if the utter stillness of his face meant anything. "I might have welcomed your visit, Liam, if you had sent word before your arrival. But to attack one of my properties, that shows a lack of respect."
A sneer shaped Angelus' expression. "You always were one that enjoyed diplomacy
over substance." He shook his head. "It shows weakness on your part."
Spike barely kept from wincing. Angelus had always prided himself on his communication skills and had thought of himself as a misunderstood artist, the world failing to see his genius. Really, he'd always been a thug, and time had never changed that. He'd also been a brutal rapist.
Angelus gestured to Drusilla and like some horror movie magic trick, she dropped whatever bit of glamour she'd been holding.
The smell came first--blood, tears, and terror--then came the child herself. A beautiful blond girl with shattered green eyes and a mass of bruises around the orbit of her right eye. There might even have been a fractured cheekbone in there.
"Buffy," Xander whispered. Spike had to catch his arm to keep him from barreling across the room to where she huddled on the floor at Angelus' feet. She shivered in a thin white shift dress that didn't bother to hide the bloodstains or the hand shaped bruises that climbed up her arms and legs.
It wasn't Buffy, but it was easy to see how the girl could have been mistaken for a teenaged Buffy Summers. She was tiny and blond and exactly Angelus' type.
Spike had always thought the PTB had a sense of humor to choose Buffy as the Champion they sent to deal with Angel. Dark haired Drusilla had been the exception to Angelus' taste in plaything, while Buffy had more fit the mold Angelus had set after he tortured and killed his pretty blond sister.
To Angel, the PTBs had gifted a Slayer that embodied all the girls he'd raped and murdered before. She was strong enough to take him on, but weak enough to fall to his charms, a temptation too strong for him to resist. He hadn't even tried.
"Liam, what are you doing? The girl is most obviously underage. You have savaged my club. What madness is this?" Jean-Claude was attempting to reason with Angelus; Spike could have told him it would never work. "The police will come for you."
Angelus laughed, a cruel sound. "Look at you, bowing down to mortal laws. Do you have any idea how weak it makes you?"
"Non," Jean-Claude disagreed, "it has made me stronger. The laws protect the humans, but we are protected as well. We may own property and run businesses and we do not have to fear that we will be burned out of our homes with no recourse. What does your savagery win you? Nothing."
Angelus made a moue with his lips. He pressed his hand against his chest. "You wound me, though I think your words have touched me deep down inside." He smirked. "Maybe we shall stay in this city of yours and enjoy the benefits of human society. They will give us rights and laws to follow, and I will give them beautiful art. Like this one when I finish it." He nudged the human girl with the toe of his boot.
"Oh, hell no," Xander whispered fiercely. Spike held on to Xander's wrist, refusing to let go until he could be sure Xander wasn't about to try and go one man army on Angelus. It wouldn't end well.