Working Out the Issues

Working Out the Issues


Chapter 2:

This room is really blue. The walls are blue, the carpet's blue, the furniture is blue, hell even the desk is blue. It's all... blue.

There are two people in the room. One is a homely looking woman. She's wearing what I can only call a muumuu in bright floral print. She has brown hair which is up in a bun and she's wearing big owl like glasses.

She's looking at me with a pleased expression. Spike, who's sitting in a chair not to far from the woman's is looking very shocked. He didn't think I was coming. Hell I can't blame him I didn't even think I was coming, but here I am.

"Well you must be Angel. I've seen that delightful Wolfram and Hart commercial you did. May I say... you're not good in front of the camera. And apparently you're far from punctual. William here thought you weren't coming at all." She says to me in a condescending tone.

Where exactly does she get off? Not only is she putting me down for that commercial, which I didn't want to do in the first place, but she's also calling Spike William. Only I call him William... or at least that's how it was.

Part of me is angry and then part of me is guilty for feeling angry. Guilty for thinking I want Spike to mean something to me and guilty for feeling bad that he's not.

"Yeah... um, loads of paperwork." I say taking a seat next to Spike.

"I imagine there would be, what with running a major corporation such as Wolfram and Hart. Very prestigious. Although you'll excuse me if I seem a little put off. I handle good peaceful demons not the kind your firm represents. Of course, William here was told me that you don't deal with those demons anymore. That you're a good vampire. I had heard of you, from other demons. Imagine my surprise to find out you were running Wolfram and Hart." She says and I look over at Spike who's avoiding me.

"I was surprised myself." I mutter.

"Well, let's not dwell on that. We're here for William's sake. Now let's go over what we've talked about. William here has been kind enough to tell me his life story... in complete detail with nothing left out. I felt it necessary to bring in someone from his past. Mainly you because... well let's face it a lot of problems stem from your involvement." She says going over her notes. If my jaw twitches it's only because she's so damn arrogant. It's not because I angry with myself for being a bad Sire.

"Problems?" I say in a terse voice.

"Yeah apparently I've got 'parental issues." Spike says using air quotes.

"Parental issues?" I say.

"Well I didn't quite phrase it like that. More along the lines of trust issues. He doesn't trust anyone anymore." The doctor explains to me as if I'm a four-year-old.

"Well yeah that's because they're all out to get me." Spike says in a vehement tone.

"He's also very paranoid. As you can see he's just a bundle of issues and problems. A therapist's wet dream really." She says.

"Yeah I've been telling him that ever since I met him." I say. "Oh piss off. Didn't you hear what she said? It's all your fault. It's cause you weren't a good daddy."

He says the last word in a too sweet tone. "I'm not going to apologize for something I did in my past. It's in the past." I say. "We aren't here to hear you apologize. We're here to see why you weren't a good Sire." This doctor is very annoying. She's getting on my nerves. If I wasn't evil...

"I WAS a good Sire." I say.

"Oh yeah when you were around you were the best... as long as I didn't look at you funny."

"Penn didn't have a problem with it. Dru didn't have a problem with it." I say suddenly realizing I'm defending someone I'm supposed to hate.

"They were insane." He says to me matter of fact. I glare at him because that's all I can do. I certainly can't defend Angelus's actions and I can't really apologize for them where Spike is concerned.

"Well now, we're talking. That's good. What concerns me the most is why you felt you had to do all those things you did as William's Sire. Why are you so shut off and boarded?" She asks me.

"I thought you were psychoanalyzing Spike, not me."

"Well in a sense we really can't psychoanalyze one without the other. He's a part of you Angel, an extension if you will. To understand his nature I must first understand yours." She says and she doesn't really expect me to buy all this crap. Spike seems to be eating it up with a silver spoon.

"He's my GRANDCHILDE! He's not me real Childe." I say though that's a lie.

I may not have turned Spike, but I WAS his Sire. "I may not know much about vampire relationships, but I'm pretty sure that you were... a surrogate Sire. William certainly thinks you were. He refers to you as Sire." She says and Spike winces.

Oh what's that WILLIAM didn't want me to know that you're still a Childe deep down.

"Was that necessary?" He asks.

"Yes if it helps the process. Now as I was saying, why are you the way you are." She says addressing me.

Huh, I don't know. Why was I such an asshole back then? I certainly never thought about it. Never brooded on it. Never gave it a thought. I just was a... monster. I was a monster because that's what I was.

"I didn't have a soul. I couldn't love or feel stuff. That's why I was the way I was." I say giving her the answer I've given everyone at one point or another.

"But that's a lie isn't. Certainly felt something when you were torturing the hell out of me... among other things." Spike says to me.

"That... I mean..."

What do I mean? What am I going to say to him? Yes I guess it was some sort of twisted demon affection, but that's all. Does he want that? Well I certainly can't give it to him.

"Angel, it's okay that you don't have an answer for your behavior. We're here to help you figure out why exactly it is that you acted as you did to William."

"Stop calling him that." I mutter.

"Excuse me?" She asks as if she didn't hear me.

"I said stop calling him that. That... name... just don't say it anymore." I say.

"Does it remind you of something. A bad time perhaps... or maybe even a good one?" She asks.

"I just don't like hearing that name." I say.

"Come on now, Angel. There most be a reason as to why that name bothers you so much."

"It just does okay. It brings back all the memories from the past that I'd rather leave buried. This all brings up too many memories from the past. What's wrong with the way things are?" I say and I get up to pace.

I run my fingers through my hair, which I always try to avoid, but I can't help it. All this is making me a little uneasy. I don't like to think about all the things I did with Spike because that would just mean more stuff to brood over.

"Perhaps we should come back to that later. It seems you aren't quite ready to understand your problems. Why don't you tell him what's on your mind... Spike." She says looking at Spike.

"I... I don't even want him to be here. You're the nosy bint who seems to think it will help." Spike says as he folds his arms over his chest.

"It would be most helpful if you told Angel how you feel about him." She's coaxing him and he seems to be lapping that up as well. Always wants attention, yup that's Spike. He's got to be in the center of everything kicking and screaming.

"Why don't you say it as though he wasn't here. Maybe that would help." She says to him. Well I could not be here just so easily, but my secretary threatened to keep me signing papers for the rest of forever.

"O-okay. Um... well I guess I'd tell him about... you know when he left... I'd tell him about how hard it was for me and Dru to live with the Bitch and how I always hated him for that." Spike says fidgeting in his chair.

Well what the hell did he expect me to do? Did he really think I'd stay after getting my soul? I couldn't even look at him let alone stay there for him.

"Wasn't all bad times. I mean most of the time I liked what was happening, but... it was just wrong of him to leave."

"Oh, what I was supposed to stay and watch you kill all those people." I say sarcastically.

"Well I only did it because it's what you taught me!"

"Right, so you would have just given up killing people just so 'daddy' could stay with you. I doubt that."

"You never gave me a choice. You never told me what was happening. 'Oh I guess that makes you one of us', well it bloody well did, didn't it? Except at that time you weren't one of us. Could have at least told me what was going on. All you said was 'Oh don't worry about it Sweet William. I'm back now. Everything's gonna be fine'. Load of shit is what that was. You could have just told me."

"What was I supposed to tell you! I thought it was going to be all right. I was sick of going around eating rats and feeling guilty. I thought if I just got back to the family I'd be fine. I was wrong. Big whoop!"

"Oh the Great and Mighty Angel was wrong. That's a first... not. You were always wrong only now at least you're man enough to admit it."

"What do you want me to say? That I was a bad Sire? That I was a piece of shit? I'm not apologizing to a soulless... I mean, I'm not apologizing to you!" I say the good doctor is just writing everything down absorbing the knowledge of our past.

It seems like all Spike and I do is argue about stupid things. I just don't know what he wants from me and I don't know that I could give it to him.

"Why? You go around apologizing to everyone else. Oh boo hoo feel sorry for me because I'm a lousy wanker. Isn't that where your mighty superhero act comes from?" He says to me.

"I save people because it's the right thing to do. You save people for all the wrong reasons." I say.

"Why, because I'm not trying to get the brass ring?"

"That's all you're after. That's all you're ever after. Maybe it's not the chance to be human but it sure is for some time of reward."

"Buffy's long gone. There I said her name. She's all the way across the freaking ocean. She can't see anything I'm doing at yet you still think it's all about her. I am my own person... um vampire you know. I do things without ulterior motives some times."

"No, Spike you always have ulterior motives." I say.

"Are you even listening to a bleeding word I'm saying?"

"You do, whether it's because of Buffy or something else... you don't do things to make you happy because you're too hung up on pleasing others." I say. Spike looks at me with a confused expression. Yeah the truth can be confusing sometimes, Spike. Deal with it.

"Well, Angel now that we know why Spike does things... why do you. What motivates your actions?" I look up to see Dr. Johnston looking at me expectantly.

What does she mean what are my motives. I just told her. I do it because it's the right thing to do. There's no other reason then that.

"Is it penance? Self-flagellation? Do you enjoy being so empty?" She says.

Okay I really want to rip her head off. I just... I know what she's trying to do. She's messing with my head. There's nothing wrong about why I fight. I'm not the selfish one, Spike is.

"I do it because it's the right thing to do. It's... I fight the good fight because it's what I'm supposed to do."

"But what do you get out of it? Does it make you feel better about yourself? Does it give you any joy? Does it make other people like you? It's human nature to want to please others, Angel. Pleasing others pleases yourself." She says.

"I save people. I've saved the world." I say a little petulantly.

"Almost had it sucked into hell once too." Spike mutters.

"I was EVIL when I did that."

"No, Angel you just weren't restrained." He says to me.

I hope I looked shocked because I am shocked. The little bastard didn't just say that to me. I'm a good... I'm good with my soul and when I don't have it is when I go off the deep end and he has the nerve to tell me that that... that Angelus is me. Angelus is not me.

"I am not Angelus. I'm Angel. There's a difference."

"Where Angel? Ever think that the reason you spent all those years drinking rats and brooding was because you knew deep down in your soul that it was you." Spike says.

"You have no idea what I went through. You don't know why I was the way I was when I got my soul back."

"And I'm not trying to. I'm trying to figure out why you were how you were when you didn't have it. If Angelus can't tell me then I might as well see if the soul can." Spike says. He really just wants to know why I treated him so badly. The thing is... I don't know. I really don't know why.

"I can't help you with that Spike. I just did it. That's just how I was taught." I say.

"Exactly!" the doctor yells almost at the top of her lungs.

"It's conditioning. It's the way you were brought up. You are just repeating your father's mistakes."

"I AM NOTHING LIKE MY FATHER!" I yell at her and maybe I was talking too loud.

Maybe I should have been a bit less adamant or angry. They're looking at me with big eyes and surprised looks.

"He has daddy issues." Spike says quietly.

Sarah Johnston just shakes her head and writes something down.

"I DO NOT have father issues." I say and okay that's a lie. Even I know that one is a lie because I did have issues with my father. Darla was right. He's defeat over me is lasting a lifetime, several in fact. That doesn't mean I have to let Spike state it to the world.

"Of course you do Angel. Even I knew about that. May not have been told much, but at least I knew that. Sire issues too. You're more screwed up then I am when you really think about it." Spike says.

"I am not screwed up. I'm just fine. You're the one that's making a big deal about it. You're the one who's got problems." I say.

"But as I've said before, Spike is an extension of you. Most children are extensions of their parents. You shape them and mould them and teach them your own values. They take their cues from you despite their rebellious nature. Kids are their own person, but their minds are shaped by what the parents do. It's the same way with Spike and you. Now lets talk about the sexual relationship." She says as though she were talking about apples and oranges. Where the hell did that come from?


"The sex. The fact that you've had a more intimate relationship with Spike besides the Sire/Childe thing." Dr. Johnston says.

"Um, doc, that's kind all part of it." Spike says and if I didn't know any better I'd say that he was embarrassed.

"No sex is different, despite still being a part of the Sire/Childe relationship. From the stories you've told me some times it just wasn't about 'performing a duty'." She says.

"I don't wanna talk about this." I say because wow it's been a while since I thought about sex with Spike.

It's been awhile since I've thought about sex with anyone. Sex with Spike though... that was different. He's really the only guy I've ever... done that with. There was Penn, but he was... it just wasn't the same.

"He's such the prude nowadays. Used to be a bit of a tart. Sex with whatever was handy. Now he can't cause he's all cursed and broody." Spike says.

"I just don't think that that's really something we showed talk about." I say.

"But it is a part of the deal. You two had an intimate relationship that didn't have to do with the Sire/Childe one. Do you like having sex with Spike?"

"Well that's kind of personal..."

"Did you?" She asks again.

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I say yes and Spike starts to gloat about how he's Mister Sex God like he used to back in the old days. Little shit could get on my last nerve with that. Just because he gave a good blow-job... no not going to think about that.

Of course if I say no then he's going to be upset, which I really shouldn't care about, but he's looking at me expectantly. I never lied to Spike about the sex. My mouth would run on and on after. It was the bad side-effect to sex with Spike.

It was ALWAYS mind-blowing. Whether it was a blow-job or a hand-job or a full on fuck it was always good. And maybe my saying that went to his head a bit... gave him an ego when it comes to sex. He certainly does like to act like he's the King when it comes to it.

"Yes I liked having sex with Spike, so what." I say really fast so that I don't have to think about what I'm saying.

Spike doesn't smirk. He just nods his head in a very un-Spikelike way. Hmm, I wonder why that is.

"I think what we have here is communication problems. Spike seems to think that the sex part was the only thing you were good at." The Doctor says to me.

Okay so yeah we were pretty good at that. When it came right down to it we were always good at that. Of course sex isn't a cure-all like Spike says. It certainly isn't now. Maybe if I were Angelus it would be. It definitely isn't now.


"Yeah so?" Spike chips in as if he doesn't see the problem with two people only connecting on a sexual level... oh.

"It's not H-E-A-L-T-H-Y." She says slowly and sounds out every word of healthy. It really isn't healthy.

"I've got a solution. Why doesn't Spike just stay away from me. Or better yet he could leave California." I say.

"Angel when the dust clears and all is said and done you two will still be here. Not only are you vampires... your family." She says to me.

"Well what do you want me to say. There's too much... shit there for everything to turn out all hunky dory." I say and Spike's eyes widen. The doctor sighs.

"That's what we're trying to work through. There's issues there that you need to deal with. I can only guide you as to what those are. First, you don't communicate. Second, when you do communicate I see a pattern of sex, maybe not now, but certainly in the past. Third, neither of you are happy or even close to normal. There's a relationship here whether you want to acknowledge it or not. I suggest that you think about what that means." She says to me and Spike. He's looking down at his hands.

"Now, it is far past the time of a regular session, but I'm going to let that pass. What I really is to spend more time with you two so I'm going to ask you to come back next session, Angel." She says to me. I'm about to object, but she waves a finger at me.

"Listen, it's hard for people to admit that they have problems, but we all do. It's even harder to ask for help. I think deep down you two want to work things out because things feel too unresolved. It's all about closure. So I'm not asking I'm saying, Angel. If not for Spike's sake then for your own. I'd also like it if you two went out some where... public and tried to talk. It might do you a lot of good. This session is over." She says waving her hand at us. Spike says goodbye and walks out of the door. I follow him.

"You actually believe this." I ask him.

"What's not to believe. It makes sense to me." He says.

"You actually think that going to a therapist is going to makes you feel better about yourself?"

"No, but its going to help. Look Angel I'm not like you and I pray to whatever that I'm not because... well the nancy boy hair gel alone... that's not the point though. The point is that I know I'm screwed up. At least I'm vamp enough to admit it." Spike says flashing me a toothy grin.

"Yeah well normal creatures of the night don't go around talking to therapists." I mumble.

"I'm not exactly normal. And neither are you. It's one or the other Angel. Either you're a terrible blood-sucking vampire or you're a hair gel superhero. Can't have it both ways cause then it's just excuses." Spike says and he really is into all the psychobabble.

"This is crazy Spike. This whole thing is crazy. I'm not... I don't wanna discuss my past." I say.

"Well I want to discuss mine and you just happen to be IN my past. Didn't think she was going to bring up the sex thing though... not so early anyway. She was always saying that every time I talked about you, you were either beating the shit out of me or fucking me. She may have a point." Spike says.

"What exactly did you tell her?" I ask because I wasn't ready for an assault like that and I want to be prepared... if there's a next time. I'm not saying there will be. It's just... good to be prepared.

"A lot... mostly the bad stuff. Especially when I was mad. I told her some of the... good times."

"Good times?" I ask because I was under the impression he thought that were all bad times.

"Yeah you know... St. Petersburg, Rome, that bit in France. Basically all the times Dru and Darla were out of the picture." He says. I didn't know he considered those good times. It was mostly sex, but apparently everything with me and Spike is either sex or fighting. It was... peaceful from what I could remember.

"Oh, those good times."

"It wasn't ALL bad Angel. There were some things that were... less bad. I'm not saying you were a bad Sire. Just... textbook, especially around Darla." He says to me. I was a textbook Sire? How could I be when they barely even had textbooks back then.

"That wasn't me Spike. I can't be him." I say.

"Well that's the difference between you and me, isn't it. I don't make distinctions on the soul and the vampire me. To tell you the truth... it was all me. Some part of it. I was never cut out for the blood and mayhem of it all. I enjoyed it as much as the next vampire only cause it didn't matter. Humans didn't matter. It was all about power. Sometimes power doesn't corrupt Angel... some times it just gets old." He says to me.

We stand there for a few minutes because what he just say shakes the very foundation of what I believe so readily in. The soul and the demon... they're separate, but for Spike they're the same.

What if they're the same for me? Do I really want to know?

"See you at Mulligan's. Probably tomorrow. Some time around seven. They serve some pretty good appetizers. None as good as that onion blossom thing, but pretty good." He says with a smile on his face.

"I don't..."

"Ask Wes, he'll tell you. I gotta go. Stuff to do. You know." He says and with that he's out of the office leaving me to stand there like a doof.

Chapter 3

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