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As It Was, So Shall It Be - Chapter 7

The exquisitely rare and incredibly ancient demonology book that Wesley unwrapped the following Thursday night made Angel almost groan in pleasure at his childe. Spike had chosen the perfect present, wrapped it with care, and handed it to Angel to give, claiming in a disdainful tone that, 'The Big Bad does not give poofy presents.' So, Angel took all the credit, all the thanks, and got the embarrassed hug from an almost tearful Wesley. The whole incident got them over the utter shock, incomprehension, and fear that their appearance at the party together had caused.

Angel had meant to tell them. All week he'd been watching for the right moment to say, 'Oh, by the way, Spike's coming to the party with me Thursday.' All week he'd been trying out variations of that general theme in his head, but because he couldn't quite decide on the right tone, had never actually said the words out loud.

The appearance, therefore, of William the Bloody added an unplanned for thrill to Wesley's Birthday.

Everyone noticed, however, that the vampires were strangely subdued and seemed unwilling to look at each other or give each other any attention. Even Angel appeared more flat than usual, if that were possible. Obviously, no one present at the party had been privy to the conversation they'd had before leaving.

Spike had arrived just after dark. Angel had been waiting for him… since Sunday, really. So the first hour or so had been taken up with what was rapidly becoming their usual "I haven't seen you for almost a week" polite conversation, tea, and toast… not! This time Angel was not training, so Spike tracked him down to one of the top, empty bedrooms where he was watching Fred demonstrate an effective weapon she'd invented: a kind of armour piercing sabot which worked much as that on a Challenger Tank… aim and get the fuck out of the way. Fortunately for some of the more shaky walls of the old hotel, Fred had replaced the sabots with rubber alternatives whilst she was ironing out the teething problems. It was very gloomy in the room as the light bulb had long since gone the way of all sabot targets, but Fred saw Spike standing in the doorway and grinned at him. She nodded towards Angel who was still crouched over the weapon. 'He's been pretending not to be excited all day, but I know he has been, cus it's like when I thought I'd get the formula right to open up a portal to come home: real excited an' all, but then it never worked, and I'd get all sad and weepy and… and now he's giving me a face a bit like that, so I'm gonna go and leave you.' As she brushed past Spike, she gave him a shy smile, then a tiny peck on the cheek, blushed, giggled at her boldness, and ran lightly down the stairs.

Spike raised one eyebrow at Angel, 'Told ya! She approves, she.…'

His words were cut off as Angel pressed him back against the wall and arched his body into him, pressing their hard, insistent erections together. Angel braced his hands either side of Spike's head and leant in to kiss him. He kept his eyes open, watching Spike intently, and Spike brought his hands up to the back of Angel's head and deepened the kiss.

Finally, Angel pulled away and opened his mouth to speak, but Spike laid a finger on his lips, silencing him. 'You, Angel, now. I want you, now.'

He pushed Angel into the wall forcing him against the rough plaster. Angel spread his arms out, and Spike came up behind him and stood against his backside. Angel thrust back slightly, and Spike groaned. He didn't attempt to undress Angel yet, just rocked and rubbed his erection against the tight, hard cheeks for a while. The anticipation was exquisite. Spike's cock was a prominent, hard bulge. Angel could feel the tip rubbing into him. His own cock tented against the soft material of his pants, and he pressed himself into the wall, delighting in the feel of rough texture on his tight, sensitive cockhead.

Eventually Angel felt Spike's hand slide around his waist and under his loose shirt. They rubbed over his hard belly for a while, sliding up to tweak and play with his nipples, sliding down to tease and stimulate his cock. Spike slowly undid Angel's button, slid down his zip with agonising slowness, and slipped both hands inside the open front to press cool palms into the soft nest of curls.

They both groaned when Angel's cock sprung free of the restricting clothing. It stood proud against his belly, solid and unwavering, the tip still encased by its protective foreskin. Spike eased the cockhead free and hissed when one tiny bead of clear fluid sparkled as it emerged from the enticing slit. He continued to rub his cock against Angel's backside as he rubbed his thumb over the top of Angel's cock. Angel hung his head down and groaned. He stretched his arms around behind Spike and pulled him even closer. They stood together watching Spike's hands giving pleasure. He had Angel's erection in a tight fist and worked it slowly, but with considerable pressure, just as he liked to work his own. He could feel every ridge and vein; it was like stroking a piece of Silver Birch, incredibly cool, smooth, and hard. He moved one hand down to Angel's balls and cupped them, stretching the soft sac up and teasing one finger over the stretched skin. The flow of precum lubricating Spike's fist increased as he tickled and played with Angel with his other hand. Angel took one hand off Spike's waist and put it down to still the hand. 'Don't, Spike. I'm going to cum if you do that. It's too soon.'

Spike nodded against Angel's back and reluctantly let the sac drop. He gradually slowed his working of Angel's cock until he just had his hand clamped firmly around the base, decisively preventing the threatened explosion.

With his free hand he started to release his own aching shaft. Angel began to climb out of his pants, but Spike hissed at him to stop. 'No, I want you like that.' Angel acquiesced and allowed himself to be thrust once more into the wall. Spike only eased Angel's pants down a small fraction at the back just enough to give himself access to the place his whole body yearned towards.

Spike collected some more of Angel's precum onto his hand and added it to his own, his cock now slick and glistening. Like Angel, he was solid and desperate for release, his balls aching and hard from the restraint he'd practiced all week. He ground the ball of his thumb against Angel's tight, puckered hole for a while, until it slipped easily in. He pulled it out and pressed the tip of his cock to the same spot, watching avidly as Angel opened up for him, as Angel stretched to accommodate him. It was a sight he'd never tire of. Angel's ass was like a tight rubber ring encompassing him, squeezing him, giving him so much pleasure he almost came on the spot. He slowed down his penetration and waited until the impending flood had passed.

When he was in control once more, he tightened his grip on Angel's cock and continued his gradual, exquisite journey. He felt his foreskin being concertinaed down Angel's passage, he felt the ridge of his cockhead rubbing against the walls and, finally, he felt his wiry dark curls brush up against Angel's perfect ass cheeks. He was in as far as he could go. Angel had about eight inches of cock buried deep in him. Spike released the penis he had in a tight fist and wrapped both arms around Angel's waist just moving imperceptibly against him, causing the merest fraction of an inch of movement in the slick channel.

Angel took his shaft in his hands and started to play with it. When Spike saw this he knew neither of them would last long, and he wanted that relief now.

He pushed the small of Angel's back, forcing him to bend over slightly. It felt so good he pushed some more. Finally, Angel was almost bent double, crushed against the wall. Spike kicked Angels' feet apart, and Angel grasped hold of his ankles in both hands as Spike started to ride him with hard, fast, and urgent thrusts into the open vampire body.

He hit Angel's spot with a ferocity and frequency that made the contorted vampire hiss with pleasure. Spike reached around and took Angel's cock for him and worked that as he worked Angel's hole. Spike's orgasm started in his own hole; bizarrely he felt his own arse throb and twitch with pleasure at the feel of Angel's tight passage. All Spike's nerve endings started to scream; a rush of undead blood tore through his body; a flood of cold seed gathered deep in the root of his cock then, on one deep thrust, his sac contacted hard against Angel's ass, and his sperm was propelled with ballistic force up the shaft and out into Angel with sharp hard pulses of release. Angel felt every squirt of the cold fluid as it hit the sensitive walls of his rectum. He cried out in pleasure and felt an equal delight as his cum shot out and splattered on the old wood floor.

Spike lost himself entirely in the orgasm. He rode its waves of pleasure for a long time. His cock continued to send pulses of cum into Angel long after he thought he was spent. The tip of his cock felt alive and hot. He could feel his own cool fluid washing gently around his shaft, lubricating it even further. It felt so good he continued to slide it in and out, just reaching the exit point, just able to see the ridge of his cockhead before thrusting back in. His cum started to leak out of Angel at every thrust. The pale, opaque fluid trickled down Angel's perineum to run lightly over his balls. Spike heard a groan of pleasure at the erotic sensation.

Spike didn't know if it was this groan from Angel, or the feel of Angel's channel awash with his cum, but something made Spike's sac throb once more and, unbelievably, he felt a second orgasm surfing in on the tail-end of his first. He keened a high note of pleasure and increased the speed and power of his penetration. They were so well lubricated now, Spike felt as if he was thrusting into a deep ocean pool. Who needed poofy lube anyway? As he started to cum for the second time, Spike dug his nails into Angel's back and, starting at the hairline, ran a trail of deep, bloody gouges down his back to his cheeks. Each welt flushed red then bled lightly. The smell drove Spike wild. He bent over to lick the precious fluid and, in doing so, was restricted in his movements against Angel's ass. He had to stop deep thrusting and be content with rapid, short jerking. It was even better - the quick jerking movement caused the impending orgasm to break free, and it tore into him almost as fierce as his first. He went rigid against Angel's strong back, as the heaving waves of pleasure washed through him, and then left him spent and hung out to dry.

Angel's knees seemed to buckle, and they collapsed in an ungainly heap on the floor, Spike leaving Angel's channel with an audible plop. For some reason, this made Spike laugh, and he chuckled to himself for a while before saying quietly, 'This is a good reason for me not coming to live in LA, huh?'

Angel propped himself up a bit on his elbows, surveyed the half mast clothing and spilt cum despondently, and said, puzzled, 'What do you mean?'

'Well, guess if we lived together all the time, we wouldn't have these explosive meetings to look forward to.'

'Oh, no. Guess not. Maybe we could have periods of abstinence when we really wanted each other but didn't do it, so we could do this.'

'Oh yeah, poof. Like that's gonna happen. Not in your… oh, Angel! You are joking… oh bloody hell, I wondered when you'd get around to "Spike behaves himself at the party" talk.'

'Look, Spike, they don't even know you are coming yet.' Angel had the grace to look sheepish. 'I thought we could try not to….'

'What? Look at each other?'

Angel glanced at Spike, expecting to see that pained, hurt look he'd seen when he had denied him to Buffy. It wasn't there. He saw an amused smirk and one raised eyebrow. His relief was palpable.

'You'll never be able to do it, Angel. You'll be desperate to shag me within the first five minutes; you'll be staring at me in that poofy, broody way of yours.'

'I do not stare in a poofy or broody way. I consider and weigh up options.'

'Whatever.' Spike slid up Angel's body and started kissing around his face, keeping up a light tweaking and playing with Angel's nipples, his hands roving under the expensive, silk shirt. 'You really think we can go there, be together for hours, and come over as just casual acquaintances?'

'Of course we can, we're vampires, Spike. Incredibly old, powerful demons. I think we can cope with controlling ourselves at one party.'

'Okay, luv. You command and I obey… hey! Was that a snort of derision, Angelus? Come on poof. Bath… change… party?'

It did not escape Angel's notice that this was the first time Spike had suggested they bathe together. He didn't comment on it, but it pleased him more than he thought possible. They attempted to get decent and made their way to Angel's room. Angel saw the parcel lying on the bed. 'So, what did you buy Wes?'

'Hands off. You'll have to wait and see.'

'Was there any change left?'

Spike was busy unpacking some clothes from his bag and kept his face averted. 'Nah.'

'Did you have enough then? Let me know if.…'

'It's okay, Angel. I'm going to this damn party as well, least I can do is to contribute an' all that….'

Angel was genuinely touched and went to stand behind Spike, wrapping him up in a tight embrace. 'Hey, come on poof… I'm trying to undress here.'

'Hmm, I know.'

'Oh. Oh… yeah….'

Angel slowly undid Spike's damp jeans. He peeled them off the slim hips and let them fall to the ground. 'Bend over the bed.'

Spike huffed as he bent over. 'Is this gonna be the pre not-allowed-to-shag shag, then?'

'Just shut up and save that mouth for screaming.'

'Oh yeah, who's gonna make me do that then?'

Angel pulled out a couple of jars from the drawer, kicked Spike legs apart, and stood back a bit to admire the view. He felt his penis swell in anticipation of entering that most desired body.

Spike turned his head to grin at Angel over his shoulder. 'Like what you see?'

Angel slowly undid his pants as Spike watched. He let his swelling erection answer for him. Spike chuckled. 'Come on then; make the most of me; it'll have to last you all evening.'

Angel started to smear the lotion around his cock, standing in full view of Spike, sliding his hands seductively up and down his hard shaft. 'I said less talking and more screaming.'

'Well, give me something to scream about then.'

Angel did. Within a few minutes he was working Spike so hard that Spike's legs almost buckled beneath him. Angel was ferocious in his pounding, perhaps trying to drain himself so he would be able to handle the evening's abstinence. Spike was thrust repeatedly into the bed, his whole body crushed into the mattress. Then Angel pulled him up again and made him stand braced against the edge, but he couldn't hold the position: Angel pounded into him too hard. Finally, Angel flung Spike on to his back, heaved his legs in the air and pressed them back over his head. This time when he entered, there was nowhere for Spike to move away to; he was completely open to Angel, bend double and spread wide. That's when Angel was rewarded with his first muffled Spike-scream. He increased his pounding, his hands gripping the backs of Spike's thighs in a vice-like grip. He thrashed from side to side, revelling in the power and force he could use on this invulnerable, male body. He saw Spike's hand fly to his own cock, watched as Spike pulled the foreskin back to reveal the blood-red tip. It made a stark contrast to the paleness of his belly. Angel looked directly into Spike's dilated blue eyes. 'Yeah… work yourself for me, Spike.'

Spike groaned, tightened his fist on his cock, and his reply hissed out from between clenched teeth, 'Watch closely, pet… give you something to think about tonight, hey?'

Despite the imminent orgasm threatening to overwhelm him, Angel smiled. 'Picture this then Spike… give you something to think about, too.' Angel bent down and, batting Spike's hands away, took the weeping cock into his mouth, as he continued deep thrusting into Spike's slippery entrance. Spike let out a long, deep scream of pure lust and sexual fulfilment. He was being pounded, sucked, and brought to an exquisite third orgasm that night. He let it flow over him, felt his powerful spurt of sperm shoot into Angel's waiting mouth, felt his passage begin to twitch and throb in anticipation of Angel's imminent release. He knew it was close now, knew it was almost upon him when Angel let Spike's penis out of his mouth, jerked back rigid against him, and looked down to where they were joined with a deep reverential 'Yeah.'

It took several minutes for Angel to release all his seed into Spike. He stood fixed against the smooth cheeks, his belly hard, his own backside clamped tight, every muscle participating in the powerful release of the body fluids. Spike just lay there and watched the erotic sight. Angel was totally lost to his orgasm: his eyes screwed shut, his face expressing the agony and ecstasy of the powerful explosion.

When he was done, Angel almost collapsed onto Spike. His knees buckled, and he fell on the bed alongside him.

Spike groaned as he lowered his legs. Angel grinned, turned to look at him, and said teasingly, 'Poof.'

Spike only shrugged and laughed. 'Still a bad-ass demon, Angel, and don't you forget it.'

'Good-ass demon, from where I've just been.'

'Oh, yeah, sure-ass demon then, from that point of view.'

They kissed lightly until Spike pulled away and nodded over his shoulder. 'Bath?'

They peeled off what remained of their clothing, and Angel ran a deep, hot bath for both of them. They climbed in, Spike sitting facing Angel again. They both played back the scenario from the previous weekend and laughed quietly. Spike placed one foot provocatively on Angel's face… the move that had precipitated their previous fight, but Angel only shook it off, laughing. 'We're going to be late, Spike, don't do that, please?'

Spike just shrugged. 'Your loss, Angel, that bathroom wall's just begging for you.'

'You are, you mean.'

They both looked down at Spike's totally spent, totally flaccid cock, and laughed again.

'So, Spike….' Angel now had a serious tone in his voice, and Spike became wary. 'What are you going to wear tonight?'

Spike exploded into peels of laughter. 'Oh, Angel, that's got to be the most poofy thing you've ever said to me; you've out-poofed yourself, mate.'

Angel looked defensive. 'What? I only asked.' There was a long pause. 'So… what?'

Spike rubbed his foot over Angel's belly in a friendly way. 'What do you want me to wear?' Angel looked pleased. This was the response he'd hoped for and didn't hesitate in his reply. 'The brown shirt and slightly baggy jeans you had on when we went for ice cream with Fred last weekend.'

Spike kept the incredulous look on his face but nodded. 'If you want, Angel.'

So that's what he wore. He felt self-conscious as he put the clothes on. No matter what he wore, no one in Sunnydale ever commented on it, so he'd stopped expecting anyone to take any interest. That Angel not only noticed, but also liked him wearing different things, touched him more that he could say. Again, he had the distinct impression that Angel was thinking about him a lot these days. This made him feel in his dead heart like blood made his body feel: full, satisfied, happy, vital, and almost alive. He put a selection of his eclectic jewellery on, a chain around his neck, several rings, and a clearly new and extremely expensive wrist chain, and turned to find Angel watching him. He was wearing a dark aubergine Armani shirt and soft black pants.

They were beautiful, exotic creatures of the night, and they both knew it. Spike shook his head in despair, picked up the parcel, handed it to Angel, and said, 'Ready?'

Angel nodded.

Spike took a step towards him. 'So, no looking?'

Angel shook his head.

'No talking?'

Another shake.

'No shagging, I take it.'

An emphatic shake.

'Surreptitious touching?'

Apparently not.

'Snogging then?'

A shake and a smile.

'How's about wanking?'

Angel just bundled Spike out of the door and downstairs towards the car.

They managed well for the first hour. The humans' shock at seeing Spike there took some of the pressure off them. Angel was so busy defending himself, he didn't have time to notice where Spike was, or what he was doing.

Cordelia was the most vociferous in her attacks. She was the only one present who had held Angel's broken, destroyed body. She was the only one who had felt his pain and seen his bewilderment that his own childe had tortured him so. She was the only one who still bore the scars inflicted by that same childe, albeit indirectly.

Wesley only knew of William the Bloody's reputation and found it hard to reconcile the unpleasant expectation with the exotic reality.

Gunn was interested in anyone who knew Angel and probed Spike for juicy details of the souled one's habits… something Spike was only too happy to oblige him in. Fred sat happily watching them both, hugging herself occasionally in the knowledge that Angel was clearly happy… at least, back at the hotel he had been… he didn't look so happy now.

The catalyst that blew apart their good intentions had been the unexpected arrival of Giles. He'd come half on business and half because it was a fellow Englishman's Birthday.

Spike had heard the voice, frozen slightly as he stood at the drinks' cabinet then sidled swiftly and silently to the table. The rare, expensive, exquisite book on demonology was seen no more that night.

None of this was lost on Angel who was trying so hard not to look at Spike that he'd actually been staring at him intently most of the time. He stared openly when Spike returned from hiding the stolen book.

Spike caught his eye and looked defiantly back at him. The look clearly said, 'I'm a fucking demon, Angel; what do you expect?'

Their rules were totally forgotten now; Angel followed Spike's every movement. He didn't let up and put an increasing amount of emotional pressure on the disingenuous thief. Spike tried to continue his usual party activity of drinking as much as possible in the shortest amount of time, but Angel's stare was beginning to get to him. Angel wanted to make him feel uncomfortable, but staring at Spike in disbelief and anger, Angel suddenly felt a jolt of something else run through his whole body like an electric charge. It was a novel experience for something that was so profoundly dead.

He sat back a bit, thought about it, and realised, with a frisson of excitement, that it was pure, unadulterated lust. He looked again at Spike and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Spike had felt it too. Strangers at a party could not have felt more pure, unambiguous desire for each other.

Angel wanted that body; he needed it more than anything. He wanted to feel its hard muscle under his hands. He wanted to be alone with Spike, to hear the voice and words he used when it was just them. He wanted to taste Spike, to smother him, and take him into his own body. His ears started to buzz, human voices faded into the background. It was as if a spotlight had been shone on Spike. He glowed; he was illuminated.

Angel got up and walked as if in a trance. Spike came towards him. They met half way in the middle of the room. Spike put a hand out and caught lightly at Angel's sleeve. Angel did not shake it off but allowed himself to be led to one corner. They stood close, but not touching. Spike hung his head down staring at his boots. 'Fucking hell, Angel, what was that?'

Angel shook his head. 'I don't know… but you felt it? It was like….'

'Yeah… I felt it. Incredible. So much for the abstinence thing then. So much for the incredibly old demon theory of self-control.'


'Let's leave here, Angel. Come on.'

Angel groaned. 'We can't… I can't, anyway. I'm in the doghouse enough with them as it is. We've only just got here.'

'Please, Angel, I'm gonna burst if I can't….'

'Shag me?' Angel smiled at his use of Spike's favourite term.

Spike smiled, too. 'No, I was gonna say, kiss you, Angel. Shagging comes later. I want to kiss you.'

Now the words were spoken, the thought implanted in both their minds. In his mind's eye, Angel could see Spike's lips move towards his. This image was so vivid, he licked his own lips, and felt his mouth water. He groaned again and stepped back. 'Kitchen?'

Spike nodded, turned to grab an empty glass as if he needed ice, and went into the deserted kitchen. Angel piled in close behind him, and they almost knocked teeth out in their urgency to taste each other's mouths. Angel crushed Spike against the counter, kicked open his legs grinding their erections together. Spike put his arms up and entwined them behind Angel's neck. They lost themselves to the kiss, until they heard Cordelia's voice from the living room coming towards them. They pulled apart but Spike suddenly said, 'Fuck, stop.'

Angel winced as his hair was snagged on Spike's wrist chain. 'Fuck, just pull it free, Spike.'

Spike did and a small chunk of Angel's hair was torn out.

Cordelia breezed into the room and stopped in the doorway, her jaw dropping. She saw Spike, his arm raised, and Angel bent over as if in pain. She didn't hesitate; she snatched up a heavy, cast-iron skillet and slammed it with all her considerable strength into Spike's face.

Utterly pollaxed, Spike hit the floor with a sickening crunch, his cheekbone smashed, and his skull spit open.

'Angel, are you okay? What did he do?' Angel didn't know whether to laugh or scream. He sort of hiccupped a bit as the others came rushing in to see what the commotion was.

'Bloody hell,' was the general consensus of opinion.

Angel lifted Spike and took him into the living room. Fred fetched ice to place on his face, and Cordelia kept repeating 'What?' to their furious looks.

Spike started to stir; he had a huge, swollen black eye, and his cheekbone was still split open and raw looking.

Everyone but Angel took a step back. William the Bloody was not known for his restraint. He struggled to sit up, holding the side of his face gingerly.

He looked at Cordelia, looked at Angel, looked again at Cordelia, and started to laugh.

'Good one, bint. Nice to see you again, too.'

Cordelia looked at him in wonder. 'You were attacking Angel.'

'No, pet. I wasn't. We were… just talking… about old times. He is my sire, after all.'

'Oh God. I'm sorry, Angel. I thought….'

'Apologise to Spike, Cordelia. He's the one bleeding.'

'Oh, yeah… eew, apologise not… he's a….'

'Don't worry 'bout it, luv. I was owed it. How's the belly these days? Fetch me a large drink and call it quits, hey?'

Cordelia twitched her mouth, tried a look of righteous anger, but smiled, and went off with Fred to get everyone the drink she'd been intending to get before the Spike incident.

Angel sat down next to Spike on the couch.

'How's the hair, poof?'

'How's the face, Spike?'

'Painful. Guess I'm not such a pretty boy now.'

'You'll do. I've shagged worse looking things.'

'Oh… nice, Angel… nice…. Who've you been mixing with lately? So, you think you're gonna get a shag tonight, do you?'

'In about twenty minutes; we're leaving.'

'Thought you said you couldn't.'

'That was before you got badly injured and needed to be taken home.'

'Ahh, I forgot that. Badly injured then… won't be up to much when we get back… will need some major TLC.'

'That's what I'm planning.'

'Let me have a drink first, 'k? I need it.'

'Okay, then you can retrieve Giles' book from where you've hidden it, and return it when you get back next week. Oh, and you can give me back my $400.'

'Can't, mate. It's what caught in your poofy locks. Look.' Spike held out his wrist where the chain dangled and caught in the low lighting of the room.

As if in a trance, Angel took hold of the strong, thin wrist, and turned it around in his hands, admiring the bone structure and the thin veins just visible….

'The chain, Angel. You're supposed to be admiring me new chain.'

'Mine, technically.'

Spike looked directly at Angel. 'You could say that about the whole package, luv. It's all yours, now.'

Angel closed his eyes slightly to keep the feeling he had at this declaration inside where it was safe and just his… as Spike was. His. Angel knew that Spike had meant a great deal more than the belonging that went with the sire / childe relationship. The urge to plant his lips on Spike's overwhelmed Angel once more, but he resisted, made suitable apologies, and walked slowly back to the car with Spike.

They were both subdued on the trip home. Despite the urges they had been resisting all evening, the reality of being once more alone was not quite what they had thought it would be, but then Spike was holding the side of his face in pain, and was clearly not up to energetic vampire sex.

Spike realised as well as Angel the enormity of what he had said. He'd given himself up to his sire again, allowed the ownership, told Angel he belonged to him. He hadn't said that lightly… he'd meant it. As he'd come to on the sofa, he'd seen the scene from Cordelia's point of view, seen how she could have thought he was hurting Angel, and had suddenly realised that he was pleased she'd done it. Hurting Angel was definitely bad news, and Spike knew with utter certainty that he would do anything in his power to stop that happening.

Angel glanced at Spike every so often as he drove. He looked pale, even for him, the swollen black eye and cheekbone looking extremely painful. 'You okay?'

''Course, Angel, I'm a friggin' vampire, remember?'

Spike did not tell Angel that he actually felt nauseous and had the mother of all headaches, something he was not accustomed to, other than when he got his fangectomy reminders. This was like a small jolt from the chip, but it was continuous and debilitating. He'd felt like this after parties before though, so tried to pretend it was just a hangover and that he'd had a bloody good time getting it. It didn't help. To his utter embarrassment he had to get Angel to stop the car in a side street whilst he threw up violently behind some boxes. Angel stood alongside him with a worried look on his face. Spike attempted a reassuring smile when he'd finished and leant on the car.

'Jesus, haven't done that for a long time!'

'What's wrong, Spike?'

'Dunno, mate. Got a splitting headache; feel like shit.' Angel heard the lie in Spike's voice, and knew that Spike knew exactly what it was.

'This can't be just because Cordelia hit you, Spike. You've had worse than this and walked away.' He came close and stood between Spike's legs, leaning into him a bit and, gradually, pulled Spike's head onto his shoulder, rubbing his hands lightly over the temples as if that could help. 'Tell me, Spike, please.'

He heard a muffled comment and lifted Spike's face up. 'It's the chip, Angel.' Angel thought he could almost see Spike's lids flutter in pain as he spoke. 'When she hit me… it must have jogged the chip or something… it's firing off all the time, and it's getting worse.'

Angel took a step back in disbelief. He didn't even want to think about Spike's chip most of the time; it was something he couldn't control, something he was totally ignorant about, but something inside his childe. This news was the most unwelcome thing he could have heard.

Spike slumped back into the passenger seat, and Angel drove swiftly home. When they got back, Spike went slowly and painfully up the stairs to bed. He managed to remove his duster, couldn't manage his boots, so just curled up on his side of Angel's bed. Angel followed him up and stood hesitantly in the door way, then came over and sat at the end of the bed. He undid Spike's boots and pulled them off, then moved up to ease his jeans and shirt off. Spike watched him through half closed eyes. Angel tried a smile, but they both knew it was a fake.

'Do you want me to stay?'

Angel had never felt so helpless and useless… this technological pain defeated him, but he heard the softest 'Yeah' from Spike, so shed his clothing and slipped into the bed alongside him. He pulled Spike into his arms but could have wept in despair when he pulled gently away and curled himself into a tight, protective ball. Spike couldn't help it; his whole skin felt sensitive as if the pain in his head was brining dead nerves back to life all over his body. He knew Angel was not asleep and felt his pain like another source of agony. He had come to like giving Angel pleasure, causing him so much pain now was deeply disturbing.

Angel turned to face Spike's back and put a hand on his shoulder lightly, rubbing it up and down in an attempt at human consolation.

'Please don't, Angel.' Spike was in so much pain; even his stoic forbearance could not keep it wholly out of his voice.

'I don't know what to do, Spike. What can I do? Do you want to feed?'

It was the wrong thing to say, Spike thought 'blood', thought 'oh fuck', thought 'I'm not gonna make it,' as he stumbled towards the bathroom. Again, Angel could only watch helplessly as Spike vomited long and violently into the toilet bowl.

Angel helped him back to bed, but being so useless made him too restless to sleep. He threw on a robe and began to pace around the bed, worrying at one split nail on his thumb. Every so often he glanced anxiously at Spike.

Eventually, Spike could stand it no longer. 'Angel, please… just leave me, hey? It'll be better soon, just a bang to me head, 'k?'

It wasn't. When Angel came in to check on Spike in the early hours of the morning, he actually staggered slightly from shock.

He let out a groan of distress, for Spike was sitting up in the bed with his head in his hands and he was… crying. William the Bloody was crying over pain. For the first time that night, Angel had an indication of what Spike was going through. As he sat helplessly beside him, he could feel deep jolts running through Spike's body, as if the brain chip were spreading its influence to other organs. Spike was rocking slightly and keening to himself, seemingly totally oblivious to Angel's presence. Angel wondered how much more pain his childe could take. It had clearly continued to worsen all night. Angel couldn't help the thought cross his mind, "How much pain do I let him suffer? What if it doesn't stop?" Could he? Could he stake Spike? Angel pictured doing it. Tried to picture what he would do immediately after. Would he go back to his unlife, as oblivious to Spike as he had been before Willow's spell?

He knew the answer to this was... no. He'd been switched on. Spike had come back into his life and completed a circuit that allowed him to almost come alive again. He'd found love, fun, humour, desire, and a sexual contentment that made him feel calm and strong.

So, Angel knew for certain what he'd do directly after staking Spike. His friends would never even know. He'd do them both somewhere quiet, and nothing would remain to tell his colleagues of their sad end. With any luck they'd think he'd just gone off with Spike somewhere. Better they thought him a deserter, than that they knew how it had ended for him.

There was nothing he could do. Nothing. He sat by Spike as the distressing moaning got worse. He held him as he retched weakly, nothing remaining in his stomach to bring up. Towards dawn he had to block his ears, as Spike's crying had turned to screaming. It was like listening to torture. It took Angel back to days he'd rather forget. It was the sound a child made when you tortured it, the sound its mother made when she was forced to watch… but still he couldn't do it. He went down to the office waiting for the others to arrive, needing their consolation and support. They all called in sick with post-party hangovers, Fred staying with Cordelia for the day. Angel was left to face his agony alone. He could hear Spike even in the office. He could hear him down in the training room. The whole hotel reverberated to the sound of his screaming.

At lunchtime, Angel climbed the stairs to his room, his heart heavy but his mind made up. He went into the bedroom and packed a bag with a few clothes for both of them, starting to create the illusion he wanted. He tried to ignore the thing screaming on the bed. He reached into the back of the closet and chose one of his stakes. He picked Spike up in his arms, cradling him as he thrashed in agony and tried to break free.

He carried the screaming vampire up the stairs to the top of the hotel. He had meant to go into one of the completely deserted rooms, but hesitated outside the one they'd been in only a few hours before… they'd made love in only a few hours before. He took Spike in and placed him carefully against the wall. He almost thought he could see the cum stains on the floor from their explosive orgasms, but it was dark in the room, the broken light bulb mocking him from the ceiling.

Angel decided to stash the bag of clothes behind a stack of old mattresses that he knew the others would never investigate. He cursed as he tripped over something hard, sharp, and painful on the floor. His curse was muffled by a loud bang that drowned out even Spike's screaming. A flash of light blinded him; he heard a thud, and the screaming cut off suddenly and sickeningly.

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