♥ 4 ♥
Spike came silently down the stairs into the Hyperion lobby. He
could feel his Sire in the kitchen, but the sight of Cordelia, obviously eavesdropping, captured
his attention. Intrigued, he crept up behind her making just enough noise so that she wouldn't
be unaware of his approach.
She turned to look over her shoulder and beamed proudly at him, all
in black except for the charcoal gray shirt. He had left his duster in Angel's room and had his
pack of cigarettes in his front pocket. Cordelia raised a finger in the universal sign of silence,
and they turned their attention back to the kitchen in time to hear Wesley say,
". . . that doesn't
mean that I think Spike is, by any stretch of the imagination, harmless."
Spike felt an evil
glee rise in his undead heart at the thought that "Weasely" didn't think he was harmless; maybe
he wasn't such a prat after all. Besides, any one who annoyed the Scoobies couldn't be all bad.
Cordelia rolled her eyes expressively at Spike's pleasure. She clearly didn't want Spike to
believe she concurred with Wesley's opinion. Spike stuck his tongue out at her, but couldn't
help noticing the words "fiendishly inventive and resourceful" floating out of the kitchen.
He was beginning to like this Wesley more and more. Angel's reply though, first had Spike
feeling proud enough to burst --his Sire thought he should never be under estimated-- and then both
Spike and Cordelia were struggling to hold their surprise in at the unexpected sound of Angel
being hesitantly critical of the Slayer.
Cordelia immediately adopted Buffy's mannerisms, tossing
her hair in annoyance and scowling in a devastating parody of an angry and offended Slayer, then
she shifted to the mooning expression that everyone had come to know and dread as Buffy's
tragic-and-ill-fated-love look; a look that Spike privately thought reminded him more of
indigestion than emotional anguish. In retaliation, Spike assumed his best imitation of Angel in
a classic brooding-and-tragic pose. The pantomimes were something that only someone who had
survived Buffy and Angel's mutual obsession could appreciate, but they were beginning to amuse
themselves, and each other, a bit too much for secrecy's sake.
In an effort to remain silent and
not spoil their unsuspected surveillance, they both looked away from each other, having long
since lost track of what Angel and Wesley were saying. By the time they had gotten themselves
back in hand, they had missed much of the remaining conversation, but they heard Angel say,
"I'll clean up my messes where Spike is concerned. . . . And you can take that in every sense of
Once again, Spike found himself feeling unaccustomed warmth in his chest. Angel had just implied
he was in the wrong and to a human, at that. The soul had some good points apparently; Angelus
had never admitted being in the wrong, not even to Darla or the Master. It was one thing to know
that Angel had a soul and was all angst-ridden about the killing in his past, but it was quite
another for Spike to hear evidence that some of his Sire's guilt revolved around him.
retreated to her desk as it became obvious that the heart-to-heart between Wesley and Angel had
come to a conclusion; her work had clearly been accomplished. She made little shooing motions at
Spike in the general direction of the kitchen, and after leering and amiably flashing his fangs
at her, he went to find some breakfast.
Spike swept into the kitchen and unconcernedly settled into his chair from the previous night.
He noticed Angel noticing his clothes and thought, with more amusement than heat, "Bloody pouf."
With a self-satisfied smile, he nodded somewhat formally at Wesley.
"You must be Wesley. How's tricks, mate?"
Wesley, taken aback by Spike's casual, unthreatening address, sat silent for a
moment then slightly stammered,
"Spike . . . I am . . . quite well, thank you." Casting about for something
innocuous to add, he seized on the politeness that had been bred into him. "You slept well, I
Spike favored Wesley with a smile that was only slightly predatory.
"Your concern moves me, Wes. I did, indeed, sleep well. Thought a lot about me in bed,
Spike licked his lips, slower than absolutely necessary, as if savoring the remnants of some
and inhaled to taste Wesley's reaction. He could scent the rising blood as the human's blush
began to build, mixed with a heady combination of wariness, embarrassment and a hint of arousal.
Spike played with the idea that perhaps Wesley had actually thought about him in bed, and his
grin widened at the possibilities for a bit of harmless torment where the ex-Watcher's
possibly-subliminal desires were concerned.
Angel fought against the temptation to intervene on
Wesley's behalf. Likely neither participant would appreciate his interference nor (since Angel
too could scent Wesley's reaction) would this be something that Wes could avoid dealing with if
Spike became any sort of regular fixture in Angel's unlife. Angel made busywork by warming blood
for his and Spike's breakfast.
Concluding that the worst reaction (other than blushing as he already had) would be to protest
too much, Wesley smiled and nodded his head towards Spike as if ceding him a hit. Rising to his
feet, he replied in a calm, even voice,
"Welcome to the Hyperion, Spike. If nothing else this
should prove to be . . . interesting. Should you feel up to it, and have the time, I have some
questions about your chip and how its behavior modification algorithms seem to work. I have a
few theories we could explore that might be mutually advantageous."
Spike internally bristled at
the mention of his chip but suppressed it long enough to remember the obvious distaste the human
had expressed about it earlier. Completely nonchalantly, Spike answered. "Ta, mate. I suppose I
could answer a few questions, since you're all scholarly. Sometime."
Wesley nodded at this
tentative acceptance, smiled briefly at Angel and left the kitchen.
Angel sat across from Spike and handed him a mug of warmed blood.
Opting to ignore the somewhat amazing interaction he had just observed, he took a good look at
his childe. It was not just the new, clean clothes. Spike looked better than he had on his
arrival: less drawn, less bruised.
"So, what now, Spike? Where to?" Angel had meant to make
meaningless conversation but instead had said aloud what he most wanted to know. Spike took in
how his Sire seemed to flinch back from the words after they were spoken, as if they had escaped
on their own accord. It made him perversely glad that he was not the only one in this
conversation who was in less than perfect control.
"Told you, Angel, not sure what I want . . . but at
least I'm here. How 'bout you tellin' me what you want?" Spike purposely phrased his request so
that Angel would have to consider just what Spike risked by coming to his Sire in this manner.
He was glad on some level that Angel had a conscience, but that would not keep him from
exploiting that fact to his own advantage. A guilty Angel might well be a more forthcoming Angel.
Angel knew Spike was manipulating him, but he also knew that coming to his ensouled Sire was
probably the hardest thing Spike had, had to do since adjusting to spending large quantities of
time in the Scoobies' company and not trying to kill them. He took and released a deep breath
then took a risk.
"I want you to stay here, at least until you're healthy. I want you to talk to me. I want you to
let Wesley see what he can discover about that chip. I want. . . ." Angel paused to see how Spike was
reacting, but Spike's face was giving nothing away. "I know you don't see me as your Sire; I'm
not exactly --then again you're not exactly William the Bloody either-- but I remember, Spike . . .
and sometimes I ache for someone who remembers, too."
Angel let his eyes fall to where his hands took
turns rubbing one another; suddenly glad, in the resultant silence that he no longer needed to
breathe. Spike cleared his throat then fell silent again. Angel tried to take the absence of
immediate violence as a positive sign but was reluctant to look up in case meeting Spike's eyes
caused the predator in him to attack.
On Spike's side of the silence, there was furious rebuilding of emotional dams until he reached
a point where he felt he could speak in an unbroken fashion.
He tried, marginally successfully, to go for a droll delivery,
"Well. I did ask, dinn' I, Peaches? Full of surprises, you are."
He pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger,
sighed as if a great weight had been removed from him and returned his attention to the cooling
blood in the mug before him. Once it had been drained, he sat up decisively.
"Look at me." When
Angel met his eyes he spoke slowly and clearly. "I'm angry. I'm tired. I'm damn well scared, but
most of all, I'm . . ." The pause seemed to go on forever, leaving Angel with the sensation that he
was holding his breath when he simply wanted, more than anything, for Spike to continue.
"I'm disconnected, Angel. You're the closest thing to a connection I've got. Now maybe it doesn't
matter whether you're my enemy or . . . something else, but we need --I need-- to suss it out.
'S like you say, 'someone who remembers'."
Angel let out the breath he hadn't known he was actually
holding and prepared for Spike's defenses to slam back into place. To his bafflement --would he
never understand this childe?-- Spike started to tense but then let go as if the effort were just
too much trouble.
"We've over half a millennium between us, Will. I'm sure we can work it out."
Spike rose sharply at Angel's use of his given name, but Angel seemed puzzled at his
sudden movement, unaware the old name had slipped out.
"Fix yourself some more to eat. You still
need to put on some more weight, get stronger, heal." Spike circled around Angel, still seated at
the table, and proceeded to warm more blood in his now-favorite mug: smiling as he watched the
words rotate past the window in the microwave door.
"I'm strong enough, Ducks. Feel like breakin' summat, right now."
Angel tilted his head, considering.
"How about if you try to break me, then? Kill or be killed doesn't leave much room for
experiments on style improvement, and humans . . ." Angel trailed off significantly.
Spike chuckled in agreement. "Slayer never notices that I can spar with her, chipped, and not
get zapped. Thinks it's 'cause I don't intend to hurt her or some bollocks. I just know she's
the Slayer and that, if I fight below a certain level, can't really hurt her. It's good for a
stretch and works on fine control, but if all you've got to spar with are humans, it's a wonder
you're not getting your arse kicked on a regular basis."
Angel grinned sheepishly, "Why do you think Wesley dug up the research on healing and human blood?
It was taking me too long to recover and he said. . . ."
Spike interrupted. "Right, I get it now. He got you to feed human again 'cause your injuries
were going to get one of them killed some night. Yon Wesley knows where your guilt button is, hey?
Gotta hand it to those Watcher gits. They may believe in the occasional vampire tale, but the
Machiavellian rot, they teach that in spades." Spike finished his blood and rinsed the mug out
in the sink. At Angel's amused look, he defended, "Hate the smell of blood gone bad, don't I?
'Sides I like this mug; it fits me. So, where do you work out in this drafty, old pile?"
Spike followed Angel down to his basement training room and threw himself down on one of the mats,
lounging on one side, supported on one elbow. Angel sank to his knees and sat back on his heels
in a manner common to the martial arts. Spike played with one of the threads that quilted the mat,
which Angel knew was more nervously than idly inspired.
"We don't have to spar, Spike, unless you really want to. We can do whatever you would like."
Spike's head remained mostly lowered to the floor, but his eyes raised and assessed Angel's
He came to the conclusion that Angel was trying to be as unthreatening as possible, which had
the opposite effect from the one, in all likelihood, intended. Spike quashed his instinctive
defense and looked back down at the mat but spoke,
"Was a time when being like you --like my
Sire-- was the best compliment I could receive. Now I think too much, an' in my head a voice says,
'brooding like the soulful one,' and it rankles. Don't have a soul, do I? Just this sodding bit
of wire and ceramic. Doesn't seem to matter though." Spike sat up, agitated and crossed his legs
in a half lotus. "I feel like Arthur bloody Dent! They've gone and introduced me to the food, and
even if it soddin' well asks me to eat it, me appetite's gone right off."
Angel flinched at the anguish in Spike's cerulean eyes.
"I know. I spent decades hiding from
them, alone and wretched, because I couldn't stand to see them, couldn't stand to interact with
their world. It's easier to ignore the call of the blood when they're faceless."
Angel laughed mirthlessly at the look of shock on Spike's face.
"Did you think the soul killed the hunger, Boy?"
He shook his head at Spike's apparent naiveté. "I thought I taught you better than to see things
at face value. Just because it looks like I don't hunger, like I don't rise to the hunt . . . that
doesn't necessarily make it so. I'm still a vampire, Spike. No matter what I may or may not do
about it. The soul makes it easier to be merciful than cruel: easier to be good than evil if
you will, but never think that I am not capable of all the evil that a human soul can contain.
I'm just not remorseless any more, and it is amazing how much difference that one little thing
makes. I feel the need, after the Scourge's illustrious career, to do something . . . better . . .
with my immortality."
Spike was astounded by this revelation. He and Angel had never discussed the
effects of the soul before. In fact, Spike was coming to realize that all he really knew about
it came from his own assumptions, influenced by the vague theorizing of Watcher and the Scoobies.
"Well, if that's all a soul does, then maybe this gimcrack is closer than I thought." Spike
commented reflectively. "Does your ex-Watcher know about this?"
Angel turned his head to one side, as if avoiding something. "I imagine he has a better grasp
than Giles does, but they don't ask, and I don't tell them. I think their personal views on the
soul and the demon are, of necessity, more comforting than the truth would be, and they have
enough trouble trusting me as it is --especially after actually meeting Angelus."
Spike made a scoffing sound.
"Too right that, Ducks. He's barking mad without that soul now,
inn' 'e?" Spike shuddered, remembering his time trapped in a wheelchair and in Angelus' company.
Angel watched Spike disappear inside himself, lost to the memories of Angelus' last appearance
in his life. A wave of profound sorrow crashed through him, and he reached out to comfort his
childe; rubbing his right hand on Spike's left shoulder in a soothing gesture. Angel shifted
forward until he was sitting cross-legged, knee-to-knee with Spike, never losing contact or
stopping the slow motion of his thumb and fingers. As Spike came back to the present from the
brutal memories, he found himself looking directly into Angel's compassionate eyes.
"I'd say I was sorry, Spike, but we both know that, that was neither the Sire that made you, nor
me, doing those things to you. Just extra added incentive for me to guard the soul, without it . . .
well, as you say, barking mad."
Spike shook his head minutely. "If I didn't believe that, wouldn't be here, would I? I'm
suicidal, not stupid." For a moment, the import of Spike's words escaped both of them, and
then as unshed tears of anger at his revelation glistened in Spike's eyes, Angel felt the despair
behind Spike's admission pierce him like an icicle through the heart. Without thinking of
consequences, he ran his hand up Spike's neck until his fingers cupped the base of his skull, and
his thumb tucked into the groove behind Spike's ear then pulled him forward into an impulsive
Spike, on his part, was thrown suddenly from deepest humiliation to utter shock at Angel's
reaction. He didn't even try to resist the overpowering kiss: his lips effortlessly parted
under the knowing assault of Angel's lips and tongue. If he had, had any doubt as to whether
Angel remembered his life as Angelus, that kiss effectively stilled them. Angel took possession
of Spike's mouth as if he owned it (as if it were as familiar as an oft-traveled road, which to
Angelus of course it was) but this was Angel.
Yet Angel knew.
Slowly, Spike became aware of subtle differences. The hand held him tight enough to control his
movement but caressed him rather than caused him pain. Angel's tongue was knowledgeable but used
that knowledge to coax response, rather than rip it from him. Spike felt his hands reach out to
cling to Angel's broad shoulders for stability as he instinctively responded, his tongue twining
round the one in his mouth, aching to follow it to its root.
Angel moaned as he felt Spike responding to him. Angelus would have punished any such attempt at
self-determination. In his view a childe was there to receive, not initiate. Ever. Angel, though,
was thrilled at the sensations Spike's eagerness aroused in him. He relaxed his grip, slowed his
movements, delved less deeply and was soon rewarded by Spike tentatively following his retreat
and daring a quick foray into his Sire's mouth. Angel made a pleased vibration deep in his chest,
and Spike, encouraged by the sound of his pleasure, warily took control of the kiss.
If Angel's initial action had shocked Spike then this turn of events left him flabbergasted. For
the first time, he was tasting and mapping his Sire's mouth and reactions: after years of being
a vessel for this vampire, he was at last exploring as he desired, and he found that he desired
this very much.
By the end of the kiss, both men had somehow risen to their knees and were pressed together,
thighs and torsos; they had melded into a give-and-take rhythm that was both like and unlike any
relationship either had ever had. Stunned by the sheer sensory overload of it, Spike melted down
to sit on the floor, and Angel allowed him to retreat then followed him down.
Now that they were no longer intermeshed, neither vampire seemed to know what to say or do. It
was beyond any formality established between them. Finally, Angel, used to the dominant role,
"Was that alright?" he gently inquired.
Spike, still dazed by the upset of the norms, answered honestly. "More than alright, luv.
Bloody brilliant, innit?" He ran his fingers, disbelievingly, over his swollen lips. "What the
bleedin' hell was all that?" He looked at Angel expectantly.
Angel was aware that he was grinning like a loon, but Spike's anticipatory gaze, after what he
was hoping was a rhetorical question, sobered his outlook immediately. "You mean besides
brilliant?" Angel kidded, postponing an answer. "It just seemed like the thing to do." His hand
had slid down Spike's chest as they parted and rested on his lean, muscular thigh. Angel became
aware that he was gently squeezing and releasing the muscles under his hand when Spike glanced
down and then very slowly, carefully backed away until he was just out of Angel's reach.
Spike had thought that nothing could be more awful than the disconnected feeling he'd been
floundering in since he found out that he couldn't hurt humans or feed, but the sudden resurgence
of emotion caused by Angel's kiss panicked him beyond belief. He had been literally on fire and
been less frantic than he felt right now. The only thing that kept him from fleeing into the
night was, Angel looked more than a bit shaken by the whole experience himself, though he
was also trying to hide it.
"Of course," Spike thought, "at least I've gotten laid in recent
memory. Last time Peaches had more than a good snog, Angelus had to come out and ruin it." He
admitted --at least when he was being truthful with himself-- that he had come to Angel knowing
something like this might happen, maybe even hoping that it would happen. After a century or so,
the allure of eternity fades into something hollower and less seductive. Spike had always
theorized that it was why vampire society became constructed on such rigid caste and clan lines.
The bloodline kept one connected even over miles and generations: if your Sire was dusted then
your Grandsire or another older vampire stepped in to take their place. It gave continuity to an
otherwise fluid, and theoretically endless, existence.
Spike had always hated and loathed the
Master, who was the oldest of their bloodline, but he had known, if he had the need and the
humility to ask, that he had a sort of home within his court. Buffy had put paid to that; good
on her. Angel had staked his Sire; more good on him. As far as Spike was concerned he was better
off dead than dependant on either of those two. However, the result of those final deaths was
irrefutable: Spike's blood ties now began and ended in Angel's veins. With the exception of
Drusilla, estranged from them both and never a candidate for any sort of mentor, they were all
the other had in the way of bloodline: they were each other's only vampiric family.
Angel had been silently watching his childe think, trying not to reach out and grab hold of him,
trying to come up with an explanation for what had ignited from their kiss. He feared the
fragility of their renewed relationship; cognizant that the wrong words could easily destroy the
progress that a day had wrought. Suddenly, a memory drifted up from the chasm of their shared
past: an evening spent by the fireplace reading aloud to a healing fledgling-William, injured in
some ill-judged but heart-felt attempt to please his Sire. Angel stared at the ruminative vampire
until Spike felt the weight of his regard and met his eyes, then solemnly quoted:
"And our veins beat together; and our lips
With other eloquence than words, eclipse
The soul that burns between them, and the wells
Which boil under our being's inmost cells . . ."
Spike smiled in recognition, wistful and touched by the sentiment. Angelus was ever in love with
the sound of his own voice and read aloud on many occasions in the old days; fortunately for
Spike, he, as an enraptured fledge, had loved the sound also and reveled in the beauty of poetry
better than he had ever had talent to write. Those quiet times were just the sort of memories
that had been haunting his dreams of late: dreams that had driven him to Angel's side. If he were
given to believing in signs, this would surely qualify.
"Shelley, luv? That's bringing out the big guns, innit?"
Angel nodded, acknowledging Spike's point.
"I was afraid my words would be too clumsy," he offered.
Spike pursed his lips, considering, and then answered Shelley with Shelley.
"So, you're saying 'the eloquent blood told an ineffable tale,' then mate? I suppose I
could make peace with that."
He smiled tentatively.
Angel allowed his smile to become warmer but still made no move towards his childe, expecting
qualifications to follow.
Spike rose and paced in a small circle, still outside of Angel's immediate reach; Angel remained
on the floor, letting Spike have the position of lesser vulnerability. He tried to maintain the
appearance of relaxation, but the uncertainty of the moment and his unaccustomed position at his
childe's feet made it difficult, if not impossible, to pull off.
"We're far beyond the lore, you and I," Spike observed, while sending a penetrating look at Angel.
Seeing him nodding his agreement, Spike continued. "I won't be dominated by you, not after
almost one hundred years. You're my Sire, but you're not: I'm your childe . . ." Spike trailed off
as if unsure.
Angel completed the sentence firmly. ". . . But you've been on your own for almost a century. You're
your own vampire. You may be my childe, but you're not a child."
Spike gratefully nodded his agreement of Angel's assessment. "Tha's it in spades. I want
something . . . new. You think we can do that?"
Angel paused, and for a moment Spike feared he had gone too far, but then he saw a gleam of hope
enter Angel's eyes and smile.
"I think we can try, Spike. Old habits die hard, but we have the
time to get over them." He shrugged eloquently and extended his hand. Spike stepped forward and
grasped it, pulling him to his feet. Angel raised his hands to Spike's shoulders then kissed both
cheeks in the European fashion and let Spike return the gesture.
Warily he leaned into Spike's
lips, stopping millimeters away and letting Spike complete the distance. This kiss was chaste
compared to the last one, sealing a bargain rather than stirring the embers of passion, but both
felt their blood heat and their cocks harden, nonetheless. They stood, almost touching, and
looked into each other's eyes for a long time: not moving, not breathing, just being in each
other's presence, then Spike stepped away, shedding the emotions of the moment visibly and
donning his cocky attitude like a shield.
"How about a go round? That is, if you're not too old and out of shape for it," he taunted,
scarred eyebrow raised in mock challenge.
Knowing that Spike needed some relief from the turmoil they had just won through, Angel laughed
"You still think you can beat the old man, don't you? Well, you're welcome to try.
In fact, take the first swing."
For some time afterwards, the sounds of blows and bodies falling echoed through the Hyperion,
interspersed with cries of pain and triumph, and if Spike found that Angel still won when it came
to strength and stamina then Angel found that Spike all too often surprised him in speed and
adaptability. Bruised and bloodied, they had, by vampiric standards, a smashing good time.
Angel's quote--P.B. Shelley, "Epipsychidion" (566-569)
Spike's quote--P.B. Shelley, "Alastor" (168)
♦ 4 ♦