The vampire being called winced as Cordelia’s voice hit a new pitch and rang through the office. With a suffering sigh, he pushed himself out of the chair and headed over to see what she wanted.
“Did you need something, Cordy?” Angel asked, staring down at her.
She thrust the phone in her hand at him. “Here. It’s your idiot, bleach-fried GrandChilde,” she snapped.
Confused, Angel took the phone and brought it up, blinking at the barrage of cursing on the other end. That was definitely Spike. He listened for a moment, trying to place the voice he could hear in the background.
“I know you’re there,” Spike snarled.
“What do you want?” Angel finally asked, resisting the urge to hang the phone up.
“You’re needed in Sunnydale,” the blond said shortly.
“Buffy-” Angel began, nearly crushing the phone.
“Slayer’s fine,” Spike said darkly. “Not everything is about her. Now get your ass here!”
At the dial tone, Angel pulled the phone away and stared at it until Cordy noisily cleared her throat.
“What was that about? Buffy in trouble again?” the aspiring actress asked archly.
“No, not Buffy,” Angel said absently, hanging the receiver up. “Spike just said I’m needed in Sunnydale.”
“And you trust him?”
“No,” the vampire admitted. “But there’s something going on.”
“Fine,” she nodded. “I’ll call Wes and we’ll meet you in an hour.”
“Huh?” he blinked at her.
“You’re not going to Sunnydale alone,” she said, pointing at him. “You and her Blondness will start up your doomed romance thing and bad things will start to happen.”
“That’s not going to happen,” Angel protested.
Cordy just gave him a look and dialled the phone. Shaking his head, Angel gave in. There was no use arguing with her.
“Well, looks like Xander finally moved up in the world,” Cordy snarked, a strange look in her eyes. “Which apartment?”
“306,” Angel said, following her up the stairs.
Cordy knocked on the door impatiently, tapping her foot as she waited for someone to open it. “About time,” she snapped when it swung inward.
“You had to bring her?” Spike groaned, looking past the ex-Cheerleader to his Grandsire.
“Do you think I really had a choice?” Angel countered.
Spike smirked. “I won’t comment. Come in.”
“You live here?” Cordy asked as she brushed past him.
“Yep, better than a crypt any day,” Spike grinned. “And it’s got lots of perks.”
“Perks?” Wes asked as he walked in.
“Yeah, perks,” Spike leered, nodding to where Xander had just exited the bathroom, clothed only in a pair of jeans, love bites and the towel he was using to dry his hair.
“Spike,” Angel said warningly, looking between the blond vampire and the human.
“Wot?” Spike blinked at him innocently.
“Don’t bother, Blondie,” Xander laughed as he walked over. “You can’t do innocent.”
“Xander,” Angel began.
“Can it, Deadboy,” the human said, raising a hand to halt anything the vampire had to say. “Yes, I know what Spike is, I know what he’s like and I know what I’m doing. Does that cover everything?”
“Does Buffy know?”
“No, and she doesn’t need to,” Xander replied. “We’ll tell her in our own time.”
“Ashamed?” sneered the older vampire.
Spike growled but Cordelia beat him to the punch, literally. Angel rubbed his jaw and stared at Cordy in shock.
“That was uncalled for,” she snapped. “And coming from me that says a lot. Now apologize.”
“Cordy-” he started.
“No, Angel, you’re acting like a spoiled brat, I should know,” she smirked. “I doubt this is why they called us down. Now say you’re sorry and focus!”
The vampire sighed. “She’s right. I apologize.”
Xander shrugged. “Thank you, but we’re used to it.”
“Why did you call us down?” Wes asked, finally stepping forward.
Xander shot him a grateful look. “There have been a lot of problems in town.”
“Buffy can’t handle it?” Angel asked, sounding concerned.
“Not this,” Spike answered. “She’s good for killing, but this is more a management issue.”
“Huh?” Cordy asked, looking at them strangely.
“With Wilkins dead these past few years and all the shit from the Initiative, there’s no set power structure in town,” Xander explained. “A lot of the lesser and weaker clans are suffering.”
“And with the damn chip in my head I can’t take control,” Spike added.
“And you want what?” Wes asked.
“They want me to step into position,” Angel stated bluntly.
“You’re the best choice,” Xander said with a wry grin.
“And I’d just leave everything I’m doing in LA?”
“No,” Xander shook his head. “If we do it right we can set it up for us to take care of business here while you deal with LA.”
“Ah, you would act as his proxies,” Wes nodded. “That’s actually brilliant.”
“Was my pet’s idea,” Spike said, pulling Xander against him.
“Not in front of the single people!” Cordy yelped.
“Well, we could add you in,” Spike said with a leer.
“And I get told to focus,” Angel sighed under his breath. “I’m not certain I’m the right person-”
“Who then?” Xander asked. “There’s no one else. I can’t because I’m human; Spike can’t because of the chip, which leaves only you.”
“Xander,” the older vampire began.
“We actually looked for a way to disable the chip first,” the human said, “before we thought about asking you to step up. But the scientist in charge of it took off with the info just before the base fell.”
“You would trust an unchipped Spike to be in charge of the Hellmouth?” Angel gaped.
“I know his motives,” Xander replied coldly. “I know what he will do and why. Which means, yes, I’d trust him before I’d trust you and you’re unstable soul.”
“Xander,” Cordy began then shook her head. “This is messed up. Xander and Spike are right, and I can’t believe I agree with them, someone needs to balls up and take command and you’re the best bet, Angel. And with them here you won’t be doing most of the work anyway. You’ll be a figurehead.”
Xander nodded. “Yep.”
“It is for the best,” Wes added quietly.
“Damn,” Angel swore softly, looking at them all. “Fine. We’ll let the major players in town know that i’m taking over as Master of the Hellmouth.”
“That’s settled then,” Spike said, clapping his hands together. “They’re waiting over on 7th.”