Working Out the Issues

Working Out the Issues



*******

Chapter 1:

Spike's being very well behaved... I'm a little scared. Okay I'm a lot scared. Spike is by no means well behaved. He doesn't know the meaning of the word... behave that is.

It's like he can't be. He's got this little tiny switch that's always turned on to annoy. I always thought it was just his mission in unlife. He was sent here to annoy me. I guess it might be part of my penance.

But instead of acting like his normal annoying self he's been... polite, kind courteous and almost goes out of his way to do things for others. He's been... helpful. I guess the weird for Spike behavior started some times after that cup disaster.

Lots of things were said when that happened. Lots of bad history was drudged up. Stuff I would pay anything to get rid of and out of my mind. He had a point. I do look at him and see all the lives he's taken, everything that he's become, and I know it's because of me.

He's also right about the not knowing him part. I never knew him... not really. Never took the time to ask if what was happening to him was something he wanted. I just pushed him into it and he accepted with the eagerness of a fledge high on his first kill. For most minions that's all it ever is. The kill, the feed. It's all that matter, but Spike was never a minion. He was a Childe.

He still had little human quirks I would see every once in awhile and would only punish him for. Human weaknesses must be taken away, Willy. Good vampires don't write poetry, Willy. Never ending taunting until he either stopped or hid whichever quirk I was punishing him for.

I'll admit I didn't know him, but I'm pretty sure I know him now and behaving isn't in his nature. It's too much like submitting for him. He hates submitting, but there he is politely talking to Harmony about some sort of work he's doing for Wesley on the side.

Yes I know Wesley's been giving him stuff to do, but it's not violent stuff. Translating and fetching that's about it. It must have been fetching this time because he's holding a brown paper bag in his left hand.

I don't know exactly where he's living nowadays. Now that he's corporeal I see him around the office every once in awhile and whenever we pass each other it's 'Hello, Angel, how's your day going?' No Poof, no Peaches, no mean and insulting name that I'd have to growl 'Spike!' at him. Just a hello and a polite question.

It's disconcerting because I'm just waiting for him to launch some surprise attack for giving Buffy the amulet or for the whole cup business or for just looking at him funny. I always wondered if Spike might have been bi-polar before Dru turned him.

"Harmony, any messages." I ask when I walk over to his desk.

I ask this every morning and then we go over everything that's supposed to happen everyday. Woo Hoo!... not.

"Nope, Bossy. Not a single one." She says utterly too cheery for this early in the morning.

"Any mail?"

"Nope nothing."

"Any meetings?"

"Nope you're all clear for the day." She says and I see something in her eyes. Something that says she's withholding something from me, but I'm too uninterested to care.

"All right I'll be in my office." I say and I know I should say hi to Spike who's standing there probably expecting a hi, but I'm still on edge here. So I walk into my office and he follows me. Yes, let the annoying Spike behavior begin. It's good to know that some things stay the same.

"What?" I ask because he's pacing up and down my office with this anxious look on his face. "I... it's... nothing." He says flouncing down into one of the chairs in my office.

He throws his leg over the arm and slouches down. He's got this preoccupied expression on his face like he wants to say something, but can't find the words.

"So... if it's nothing are you going to go?" I ask.

"Why it's not like you've got tons of paper work to file." And although this is true, he still needs to leave. It's distracting to have him here. I just want to stare at a wall for a few mindless hours.

"It doesn't matter Spike. I'm trying to think." I say.

"Win a trophy in long distance brood is more like it."

"Spike, I'm busy here. I run a business. I don't have time for your antics." I say.

"Well make time." I sigh. Well at least he's not being eerily nice.

"Spike go annoy someone else. You're not a ghost anymore. You can leave L.A leave the United States, leave the Western Hemisphere." I say.

"I knew I shouldn't have come to you. She confused me is what she's done. Talked all this medical mumbo jumbo and tinkered around with my head." He says standing up from his seat to pace around some more.

"What are you talking about?" I ask.

"Dr. Sarah Johnston. Stupid bint convinced me that if I just asked nicely... no you know what things will never be right between us Angel. No matter how hard either of us try."

"You were trying to make things right between us?" I ask.

"Well...Yeah! I was acting like a bloody poof. Saying hello and asking how your day was going." Spike says.

"You know just asking me how things are going isn't going to improve anything."

"Well at least I was trying. It takes two to tango Angelus."

"I'm not even discussing this with you Spike. You're right. We can't ever be friends. There's too much history there so why don't we just cut our loses and pretend the other doesn't exist." I say fully expecting him to leave.

It'll save me the trouble of looking over my shoulder. He turns to look at me. His anger is clearly written all over his face. He balls up his fists and then storms out of my office. Of course I barely have any time to offer thanks to the Powers before he storms back in.

"Okay I've made too much progress to let your thick head get in the way. Besides if I show up alone she's going to psychoanalyze me some more." He says.

"What the hell are you talking about?" I say utterly confused. I have no idea what he's talking about.

"Me, I'm seeing a therapist." He says.

"What?" I say. I think I didn't hear him right. He didn't just say that he's...

"I'm seeing a therapist. Sarah Johnston. Fred told me about her. Apparently she talks to all the demons about their problems. Anyway I've been seeing the stupid chit for about two months now and she said that we 'have to get to the root of the problem' whatever the bloody hell that means." He says and he's sat back done in the chair. He's taken a sudden interest in my pencils.

I'm not exactly sure how to react to this information. Spike... seeing a therapist. I have to laugh.

So I do... almost to the point of hysteria really and he's looking at me through slits and his jaw is twitching and I can't help it. It's just too funny.

"So... after all these years of kicking your ass you finally listen to me." I say after I calm down a bit. He's glaring at me with his arms folded across his chest looking very upset.

"Oh you think you're so funny. Sitting there in your big leather chair looming over everyone else. Do I have to remind you who kicked whose ass? I'm the one that ended up getting to that bloody cup so I think that means you're the one who got your ass kicked." He says.

"So, why are you telling me this. Other then the fact that it makes for a funny anecdote."

"Because apparently getting to the root of the problem means hauling you poofy over-hair gelled ass into my therapy sessions." He says and suddenly everything isn't as funny as it used to be.

"What do you mean?"

"Well Miss Psychoanalyze the shit out of everything seems to think there are unresolved issues between us that need to be resolved in order for me to lead a productive unlife." He says.

"Wait so you're asking me to go with you to your therapy session so we can... what hash out or differences and history." I say. It takes him a long time to answer this. He seems to be trying to pick his words carefully.

"Well, yeah that's the gist of it."

"Well then the answer is no."

"Why the bloody hell not!" He says jumping up and kicking the chair into my desk. I remain calm.

"Because, Spike, for me our history and our differences are just fine buried in the past. I don't need to go re-hashing them because everything's fine buried where it is. If we go and start talking about it... just look I'm not going to do it end of story."

"Fine." He says and I wait a few minutes after he leaves before I thank the Powers that he's gone. Now I can go back and brood.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I'm in a meeting, but I clearly remember Harmony telling me there weren't any meetings today. She let in whatever demon clan had a problem with whatever demon clan and while she did it there was a glare on her face. Well okay it wasn't really a glare, but it was the best glare Harmony can pull off. I think she's taking lessons from Spike. She hands me my files and is utterly too cheery to me... almost in a sarcastic way.

She smiled at me as she handed me one of the files I'm currently looking through, which is a whole lot considering she told me there wasn't anything to do today. I could see through the smile though. Harmony is not a subtle creature. As soon as she thought I was looking away she rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue.

So it's been back to back meetings not to mention tons of paperwork and Harmony acting pissy. Add that to Spike's weird display this morning and it's making for another crappy day here at Wolfram and Hart. I guess I really should learn not to expect much better.

The meeting is dragging on and on and I don't think I've heard a word they've all said. When they ask a question or want to know something about whatever it is they're having problems with I just give them the customary answer.

'Yes that's right whatever it takes'. Probably not the best idea, but at this point I don't care. They must sense something is off because they end the meeting early... or at least I think it's early. I don't really know. I shake their hands and try to look as pleasant as possible. They simply walk out of the office without another word.

I go back to my mountain of paperwork and look at the clock on my desk. 3:30 and it's nowhere near time to call it a day. Just out of weird fascination I wonder where Spike is and if he's in his little therapy session.

Fred walks into the office. She looks a bit startled to see me there. She's holding some files and is looking around the office as if there's something for her in here.

"Oh, hi Angel. I didn't know you were here." She says to me smiling shyly.

"Well it is kind of my office." I say. She does that thing where she hits herself on the head and rolls her eyes.

"Duh, Angel's office where else is Angel going to be. Not that I think you just hang around your office all day. I mean I'm sure as CEO you do a lot of important things in this office, I just didn't mean to imply that you only spend time in here... I'm going to shut up now." She says and I don't think I've heard her do that in awhile.

"It's okay Fred. Was there something you wanted?" I ask trying to remain pleasant even though I'm interested as to why she's here and why she thought I wouldn't be.

"Oh it's nothing. It can... wait." She says looking at the mountain of paperwork on my desk.

"Yeah... unless it's important." I say knowing that my hand is already going to be cramped from all the signing.

"Oh, well, it's not really THAT important. I thought you were going to be out. I'll be back later." She says as she heads out of my office.

"Fred! Wait. Is there... is something going on that I don't know about?" I ask wondering why she's so jumpy.

"What? No, of course not Angel. I just thought... well maybe you had something to do today at this moment, but I guess you don't." She says trying to leave again.

"Something like what?" I ask interested as to what they all know that I don't.

"Well... I... I don't... I mean..." She says.

"Does this have anything to do with Spike and his little... confession this morning?" I ask.

"Confession? I don't..."

"Fred I know you got him the therapist. He came in here asking me to go with him to one of his sessions... today."

"Oh well that's... not good." She says her face lighting up one minute and then frowning the next.

"I'm not going." I say in a firm voice.

"Oh! Oh... Well I guess that's your choice, Angel." She says looking a bit sad.

"What is it now?" I say.

"Oh, well I just thought that you'd want to do everything to help Spike. I mean if you're scared that Sarah's gonna mess with your brain you don't have to be. She's very professional. Told me a few things about myself I didn't even..."

"Wait you've been to see here?" I ask with a bit of incredulity in my voice.

"Well yeah. I've been with Spike. Sarah told him that it would be very productive to ask the people closest to him to come. Since all of the 'Scoobies' are away he asked me. Wesley's been to one as well. I think he took Gunn to two. They really bond those too. Anyway he's taken Harmony to one as well. They're starting to build a relationship... not the nooner kind, but a solid friendship. I guess he felt bad for the way he treated her." Fred says and I'm trying to absorb all the knowledge.

They've all gone. All of them. They've all supported him. Suddenly I feel a little guilty even though I really shouldn't because this is Spike, but they're all trying to make him part of the group. He probably is considered part of the group considering they've all taken an interest in his life. More then I have that's for sure.

"So... you've all gone." I say not really knowing what else to say.

"Yup. It's really not that bad, Angel. I mean she doesn't jump on you or anything. I thought she was going to make me lie down and look at inkblots. Not one ink blot. I mean if that's why you don't want to go then you shouldn't..."

"Has everyone gone INSANE! This is Spike we're talking about here. This is a hundred years of bad memories and even worse history. Anyone consider that maybe that stuff should be left buried rather then dissected?" I say and I know I'm yelling at her, but it's so insane. All of this is insane. She looks a bit perplexed that I'm yelling at her.

"Oh, well, um... that's nice Angel." She says trying to placate me.

She's backing away even faster then before and is out the door before I can apologize. I sigh in frustration. I wish this day would end.

"Here's your blood, bossy. Made especially for you. It's pig." Harmony says to me when she walks into the office. She's holding more paperwork and I groan.

"More papers to sign?" I ask.

"Yup, all for you. I guess I was wrong when I said you had nothing." She says, but she doesn't look like she's sympathetic towards me.

"Yeah well just... pile it on." I say with a sigh in my voice.

"You know... there's a way to make it go away." Harmony says and I look up at her with an interested face.

"What?"

"Go to the therapy session." She says with a smile on her face.

Great even my secretary is against me. My secretary. I pay her for crying out loud.

"No, no, no, no, no! You're supposed to be on my side!" I say and it's a little childish sounding, but she is.

"Sorry, bossy, but that's the way it goes. You're being mean and really I don't know why blon... Spike wants you there, but he does and well... he's my friend and I'm going to do what I can to help him. Even if it means stacking thousands of papers on your desk and going against you." Harmony says and this is really low. This is the lowest Spike's ever gone. This is utterly low. This it pits of hell low.

"Harmony, if all this is busy work..."

"Oh it's not busy work. It's work work, but I can make it go away really fast. Oh and don't threaten me Angel, I've got people working with me." She says and whoa that was way more menacing then I give her credit for.

"You're seriously going to blackmail me into going to this thing?" I ask and she just nods her head.

"I won't be bullied into going to Spike's therapy session. That's just... crazy!"

"Fine have it your way. I'll be coming in here with more paperwork soon. Better not let it pile up." Harmony says walking out of my office.

More paperwork. I've got a small mountain already sitting on my desk not to mention the papers on the side of my desk. And there will be more. Undoubtedly till my eyes fall out from reading over the tiny print. Usually I wouldn't read it, but Gunn is elusive as of right now.

He reads it and tells me what to sign. But he's not here. And neither is Wesley or Fred and Harmony will certainly be of no help. So I'm stuck for an infinite amount of hours signing papers until my eyes bleed and my hand falls off. Of course there's a simple way to solve this. Of course that way is crazy and it means I'm giving in, but...

"Harmony!" I scream. She comes in looking utterly too pleased with herself.

"Here you go boss. Suite 513 in the Caremore building. Your JPS navigation system is already tuned to go there. Have a nice time." She says smiling at me.

I really hate this job.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It takes thirty minutes to get to the... Caremore building. It's impressive. Not as overbearing or big as the Wolfram and Hart offices, but nice all the same. It stands straight up and has Caremore written in big letters across the top. It's still and green and the underground parking garage is totally sheltered from sunlight, which makes me a little edgy. What if this place is like totally demonic?

Of course I don't think Fred would send Spike to a place like that, but it's creepy to think about. I walk over to the elevator and press the five. It dings and the doors close. It takes about thirty seconds before the doors open again and I walk out into the big hallway.

I walk down looking around a bit for signs of demonic activity. Just to be on the safe side. It seems safe. Just like a normal office building. Quiet and everything. I walk to Suite 513 and go inside. The secretary is sitting in front of the door. The room is big enough that I can tell it's a waiting area. There's only one door in the office. Must be the therapy area or something. I look back at the secretary. She looks like she's actually working. I'd like one of those.

"Hello how may I help you?" She asks in a polite tone. She's typing and I think she's listening to someone talk because she's got those headset thingies.

"Um... I'm here to see Sarah Johnston." I say.

"She's still in with her three o'clock, Sir. If you just sit and have a seat she'll be done soon. Your name?" She asks as she types away on the computer. Not once has she looked at the screen or at the keys.

"Um... actually I'm here to see... well it's a funny thing because a... well friend isn't the right word to use, more like pain in my ass... anyway he said to come here and go to his therapy session with him." I say and maybe that was too much information.

She just stares at me with big brown eyes as she types away.

"Oh, you mean Mr. Spike. Well he said someone might come. I had given up hope that you would. Their hour is almost up. Anyway just go inside. I'm sure they're waiting for you." She says going back to her work.

She starts to actually look at the screen. Okay well I guess I better go in before they come out and I'm just standing here like an idiot. Shouldn't be that bad. Well here goes nothing.

Chapter 2

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