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Wesley stretched to put some books back onto a high shelf, and found hands over his eyes, a hard, slim body pressing to his, and a soft English voice, on tobacco-scented breath, in his ear. 'Guess who…'
It was so pathetic, so endearing, that he laughed, despite the anger that had consumed him all morning. 'You bugger.'
He turned and pushed the grinning vampire away, settling back at his desk.
Spike perched on the edge and regarded him for a moment, before saying, 'Thanks, by the way.'
'What? For trying to intervene between you and Angel? That's an experience I'll treasure in my fond-memories-of-my-life-with-vampires album.'
'Plonker. For saying no, Wes. Thank you for saying no.' Spike stood up rather rapidly and went to the window. 'Why did you say no, by the way?'
Wesley smiled privately at the underlying self-doubt in Spike's tone and rose, joining him.
'Lots of reasons-not least of which being my undying passion for one Winifred Burkle.'
Spike nodded, suddenly contrite at forgetting this- this topic of many poker session conversations. 'How's that going then?'
'Oh! Extremely well. I managed to bark and glower at her at the same time the other day. I'm sure she got the underlying sentiment though.'
'Oh. Not good then.'
'She's consoling herself, no doubt, in the arms of Poxy as we speak.'
Spike poked him gently in the ribs. 'I've told you, Wes, one word from you and he's dead- slow like. An' if you're real nice to me, I'll take pictures as we go on.'
Wesley shivered. 'I still find your sense of humour very… taxing, Spike, but thank you for the offer. I'll keep the torture of Poxy my secret fantasy though, if you don't mind.'
'Suit yerself. So….'
Wesley cast his eyes over. 'I hate it when you do that. There's always this sinking feeling in my pit of my stomach that says: Here we go again- another Spike idea.'
'Wanker! Do you never tire of the sound of your own bloody voice?'
Wesley looked away quickly and didn't need to point out that he often had no one else to listen to.
Spike lit a cigarette. 'Yeah, well-timely then… what you doing tonight?'
'Oh, I had dinner planned with… nothing, why?' He frowned suddenly and went over to the computer. 'Angel's not working tonight…. I don't think it's wise if I come….'
'He wants you to come. I want you to come.'
Wesley straightened slowly. He'd felt something wash - strong and unfamiliar - down his spine. He thought about it for a moment, realised what it was and said carefully, 'I'm fairly sure that that is a very bad idea.'
'I don't see why I have to see my friends in secret.'
'No. This isn't your idea. Don't try to pretend it is. This is his idea for some reason.'
Spike came over and sat on the desk once more, putting his feet into Wesley's chair and spinning it to and fro. 'He's trying to help.'
'That's thoughtful of him.' Realising that this sounded bitter and ironic, he added, 'Honestly. I think it's good you are trying to work this out together. And the emphasis there is together, Spike. I don't want to be a prop to your failing relationship.'
He saw Spike's eyes rise to his and, for a fraction of a second, saw some truth that the vampire habitually veiled behind his deflective exterior. He winced. 'I'm sorry. I didn't mean that at all. Adjusting. You're both adjusting, not failing.'
'So, you'll come?'
Wesley gave Spike a pained look. 'Oh, playing on my guilt now. That's low.'
'Yeah. That's me: sneaky. Please, Wes. He's making an effort, and I want to show him I can, too. It'll be okay. He'll probably get bored and go out or something.'
'Deep joy. Maybe he'll mind-wipe me afterwards. One can only hope.'
Spike smiled and hopped off the desk. 'Good. And then we'll discuss the real reason you turned me down.' He swaggered to the door, waving to Wesley over his retreating shoulder.
He went down the hallway, hesitated outside Angel's door, but pushed it open and went in. Angel was making a call and he faltered slightly in some odd, demonic language, but recovered and concluded the conversation.
'That sounded boring.'
Angel hesitated. 'I'm never too sure. I think I've ordered some rare books, but you never know….'
'So… what are you doing… now?'
'I thought you didn't like doing it here.'
Spike shrugged and inched closer. 'I don't. Needs must as the devil drives….'
'I thought so.'
Angel buzzed Harmony. 'Hold my calls, and I'm in a meeting.'
'Yeah,' said in a tone only an aggrieved female could muster was all he got back.
They rode up in the elevator, kissing. It was different. The languid time distortions were absent, and they pulled apart, both acutely aware of who they still were. Angel raised an eyebrow. 'It's nice to see you up during the day at least.' He groaned at his unintended pun, but Spike wouldn't let the slip rest: putting Angel's hand to him and moaning the word up until they both laughed.
The doors slid open, and they stepped out into the abandoned apartment. They began to kiss again, both feeling the pleasant hardness of the other, cocks rubbing together under fabric as their lips met.
Angel finally murmured into Spike's hair, 'I've no clothes left here. This needs to be something… clean.'
Spike grinned. 'I suggest you strip then.'
Angel glanced around, feeling intensely exposed in the large, over-lit room.
Spike leant against the back of the couch. 'Go on then. Make it good for me.'
Angel began to walk off toward the bathroom. 'Not my style.'
Spike grabbed his arm. 'Make it your style. You've had me strip enough times.'
Angel frowned, missing the very real anger in Spike's tone. 'I don't want to. Come to bed.' He began to unbutton his shirt, carefully, so as not to wrinkle the perfect lines, and heard the elevator doors hiss closed behind him.
Spike was lying on his thinking bed in the big house when his cellphone rang. He debated not answering it, but as he'd purposefully brought it with him, this struck him as childish, so he stabbed it on and said neutrally, 'Yeah.'
'So you should be.'
'Don't ever leave like that again.'
'What are you going to do, Angel? Hit me again?'
'Nooo… I won't strip for you- tonight.'
Spike sat up. 'Oh.'
'You choose the music….'
Spike suddenly flung himself flat. 'I asked Wesley over- like you said.'
'I'm not stripping for him!!'
'Calm, Angel… flowers… remember?'
'When he's gone….'
There was a pause, and Angel said in a low voice, 'Will you be picturing it the whole time he's there?'
Spike groaned. 'Oh, yeah….'
'Where are you?'
'In the house. Angel…?'
'We're not… failing, are we?'
'It's been two weeks!'
'Is that an answer?'
'Jesus. I'm two hundred and fifty years old, Spike. When we're - oh, maybe - a hundred years into this… ask me then.'
'I have to go now.'
'Is there ever anything else?'
'There's me, waiting here for you….'
They clicked off the phones, and Spike stretched, spread eagling on the huge bed. He'd have to decide what he wanted to do with the old house. It couldn't just be left; it needed maintenance.
A hundred years in…. He wasn't sure what there'd be left of him in a hundred years.
He pictured telling Angel what was wrong, hoping that by imagining this conversation, he would be able to hear it and, therefore, understand himself where the problem lay. He started by picturing them sitting by the pond together, drinking. He initiated the conversation- something easy: Angel?
That was a pretty safe reply- neutral. Angel-like.
I think there's something wrong- with me.
Not news, Spike.
He smiled. It was easy thinking like Angel sometimes. He concentrated harder. This was the part that he needed to hear.
Since we've started this, something's been… I'm not…. This isn't…. I want to….
Fuck it! Why was he so unable even to think these words?
He sank slightly deeper into the old mattress and tried some free-association. That sometimes worked. Empty his mind. Drift his thoughts over Angel, over the apartment, over the heat in the room and the sound of shutters banging slightly, like tapping. No, that was tapping. He sat up and listened. Tapping on the door, which he shouldn't be able to hear, but could.
He made his way down the long flight of stairs and opened it, staying in the shadows. He squinted at the boy standing nervously on the step. 'What the fuck…?'
'They said you lived here.'
'Well, I guess they're half-right then.'
'You rescued me.'
Spike pursed his lips. 'I think you said I was a fucking pervert and that I could take my….' He flicked his head around, a strange tap, tapping creeping into his consciousness once more.
'I'm sorry. I was kinda confused. The fucker bit me!'
Spike smiled. 'Bad taste creeps into every noble species.'
'Nothing. Why don't you go find an alley and sniff something for a while?'
'Can I come in?'
He stepped inside, nevertheless. 'Wow. Cool house. Is it yours?'
Spike was about to make a snarky reply when the tapping became more urgent. Distracted, he said sharply, 'Yes. What do you want?'
The boy turned. Spike revised his estimate of age. This close up, he could see the boy was no more than thirteen or fourteen.
'Shouldn't you be in school?'
The boy turned incredulous eyes on him. 'It's… August?'
'So… I was wondering….'
'This is gonna be good, isn't it?'
'I'm trying to buy this bike, see.'
Spike didn't comment, and the boy shifted uncomfortably onto another foot, his hands plunged into his pockets.
'That guy was gonna help me buy it.'
Spike, still distracted by the banging in his head, missed the clue and replied carelessly, 'And this is to do with me how?'
'Well, he didn't pay me. But I thought you might want to….'
Spike got it and stepped back. 'You've got to be fucking kidding?'
'It'll be good…. I'm really good….'
'You have no idea what you are doing- how little I want this.'
'But you do. If you think about it, you'll know that you do.' He stripped his T-shirt over his head and stood thin and vulnerable in the gloom of the vast hallway. 'I'd rather do it in a bed, but here's good, too.' He turned and braced himself against the wall.
'It'll stain the marble.' It hadn't been what Spike had planned to say, but a vision of the boy's blood running out of where he would bite and tear had poured into his mind. A vast, urgent bang sounded somewhere upstairs, but Spike ignored it now. He was more intent on the boy's skin, which seemed too flawless to leave alone. He made it less flawless, dragging his nails down the thin back. A welt of red bubbled, and thin trails of crimson fluid disappeared out of sight under the waistband.
The boy turned and looked at him over his shoulder. 'You can look, if you like.'
'What would I be looking for?'
'I'm in there?' He answered his own question by unzipping the jeans and lowering them off the pale, red-streaked backside. For some reason, the welts seemed to grow in size, and a river of red flooded down the warm, human skin. Spike could taste it, even though he had not put his tongue to it. It was salty and hot and made him whimper with need.
'What are you going to do to me?'
'I'm going to devour you.' He bit savagely, and he thrust into the pale, writhing body, and he felt as if he'd come home from a long journey. There was nothing the boy could do to stop him. He was all power, and strength flowed from his limbs. He thumped the boy into the wall, skewering him on his cock. Thump, thump-that maddening noise in his head. He needed for it to stop so he could come. He wanted to come, to flood this body with his seed as he was meant to do-as a man, as a predator, as a master of the universe-as a champion. Thump, thump, thump….
He woke up, sweat pouring down his face, the bed soaked with other fluids, and the shutter in the room swinging maddeningly to and fro, beating out an insistent wake-up call on the window. He stared wildly at it, wondering why, as there wasn't a breath of wind, it should be so agitated.
If his heart could pound, it would have. He laid his hand over it anyway. In his other, he clutched his cell phone like a lifeline.
He'd wanted to know what was wrong.
He realised there were times when the answers were worse than the not knowing.
Angel hung up from the call and went to the window to his favourite thinking place, too.
The question had come out of the blue: Are we failing?
How the fuck did he know? He didn't know what they were doing half the time, let alone if it was failing. He knew he wanted it. That was very, very certain. Even now, looking out over the city, his mind was half on Spike. He was always in his mind these days- pale, spread. Angel groaned slightly and adjusted his clothes. Years of virtual abstinence and now he had that waiting for him every day. He let his mind drift into a pleasant fantasy-one he'd begun that morning in a meeting, but had had to leave off when its affects had become too evident. Spike was chained, stretched, spread eagled on a rough stone wall. The wall hadn't been there this morning. He liked that addition. He could do creative. He'd come to rescue Spike. That thought made him thicken, and he adjusted his cock slightly so it could lie relatively unhindered down the top of one thigh. He liked the idea of rescuing Spike and did it frequently. Spike was always bleeding or broken or chained or imprisoned in some way. And he was always spread- wide, his cheeks opened so….
Angel frowned and broke his reverie. He wound the fantasy back a little and tried it again. Spike… chained… spread. As hard as he might, he could not actually see Spike's head, or his legs. He was just a…. Angel swallowed deeply, not really wanting to admit this, even to himself. Spike was always just a tight, enticing hole that he wanted to plunder and fill. He didn't even need Spike to speak or move. He just had to be there, open and ready. Desperately, he tried to picture Spike turning his head and speaking, but he had no idea what it was that Spike might say.
When had Spike become so silent? Spike had spent the last one hundred and fifty years being extremely vocal, but in two weeks, he'd managed to silence him.
Angel slammed his palm onto the window in frustration and anger.
Wesley walked into a sea of unhappiness when he arrived at the apartment. He'd not held very high hopes for the evening, expecting Angel's surliness and Spike's weird sense of humour at his expense, but what he had not expected was desperate politeness and the feeling that everyone was walking on glass.
He'd brought beer; this was fell upon eagerly by both vampires, and he had the distinct impression that they'd had quite a lot to drink already. Angel opened three and handed one to Spike first, saying in a strained voice, 'This is cool of Wes, isn't it?'
Spike didn't reply, but took a sip of his beer, so Angel repeated again almost desperately, 'Isn't it?'
Spike frowned. 'Yeah. It is.' He went to sit on the couch, and Angel stared at him for a moment then said in the same slightly urgent tone, 'Tell us what you did today, Spike.'
Both Wesley and Angel started at Spike's tone, and he repeated more casually, 'Why?'
Angel came closer. 'Because I'm interested.'
The words that's a first weren't actually said, but Angel heard them nonetheless.
Spike waved his hand in a non-committal way. Fucked the life out of a kid in my dreams, if you must know. 'The usual: slept.'
Angel winced and sat down in an armchair, leaving Wesley to perch unhappily on the other end of the couch to Spike. 'Well, this is nice.'
Both vampires nodded.
Wesley glanced at his watch. 'As much as I rue making this comment in the present company…. You didn't say whether we were eating… I'm kinda peckish….'
Spike shrugged. 'I'll order something in.'
Wesley looked surprised and turned to Angel. 'I thought you'd be taking the opportunity to cook every night. You used to love cooking.'
Angel opened his mouth to reply but seemed to shrink slightly as if Wesley words whipped him. Eventually, he mumbled, 'There never seems to be time.' He got up and went to the kitchen as if this somehow mitigated his neglect.
Wesley frowned and seemed to be wondering why there was no time, given Angel was immortal, then blushed as if an obvious reason occurred to him. 'Oh, well, yes.'
He tried another tack and said brightly, 'How about a game of poker? Spike?' He glanced over, but Spike was staring fixedly at Angel's backside. Wesley swallowed and felt that odd trickling sensation down his spine once more. He coughed softly, and when Spike jumped and tore his eyes away, the vampire had the grace to look slightly abashed. Wesley repeated his request. 'Poker?'
Spike nodded and got up to fetch the cards. They were alongside the kettle, and he had to negotiate around Angel to reach them. Angel seemed deep in thought, staring at the sink, but when Spike was close, he turned to him with an intense, questioning look. Spike faltered for a moment but held up the cards. 'Wanna play?'
Angel seemed to mistake the question at first but finally said softly, 'Why have we never played?'
'What is this, Spike? What do we have here?'
'This is probably not the time to ask that maybe?' He flicked his eyes to Wesley.
Angel bit his lip and said enigmatically, 'I'm sorry.'
Spike leant on the counter and stared out of the window. 'Something happened at work, didn't it?'
'No. It's just….'
Angel nodded, and they sat on the floor in front of the fire, playing and drinking and keeping to their own thoughts.
Spike didn't particularly want to keep to his thoughts for he didn't like them. He wasn't stupid. The meaning of the dream did not escape him for a minute. He finished the conversation that he'd been trying to have with Angel in his head: out by the pond, drinking. Details were important.
I think there's something wrong- with me.
Not news, Spike.
Angel never changed. It was almost endearing.
Since we've started this, some thing's been… I'm not…. This isn't…. I want to…. Angel, I'm not a fucking woman. If you want a sodding wife, go find a real one. I want you. I want to fuck and suck and pound you into submission. I want you to be mine. I want you spread and ready for me. I want to be what I once was.
He'd wanted to hear how it sounded, and now he had.
Speaking it out loud, however, was an entirely different matter.
He was working himself up to the idea of not actually telling Angel at all, of just… doing it: when they were in the throes, limbs mingling, flesh confused. Just go for it and see what happened. He'd planned to try after the promised strip. That seemed a likely place to start: Angel already out of character, compliant. It was a small step from Angel willing to strip, to Angel willing to be fucked. Significant - he'd admit that - but small. The trouble was, Angel seemed in a weird mood, too. He wondered if he'd had strange daydreams at work, or whether he was still pissed about the leaving incident. Angel didn't like to be abandoned when he was hard enough to dent concrete.
Angel's thoughts were no less confusing. It seemed like a dream: the whole of the last two weeks. He wasn't sure what he'd been doing, but he hadn't been doing it with Spike. He tried to recall a conversation, a shared moment, but it was like a mind-wipe inflicted on him for once. He suspected he was being too hard on himself - there was certain precedence for that - for they had talked sometimes, usually when he woke from sleep. Then he remembered him talking and Spike…. That thought spiralled him back to the belief that all he could think about the last two weeks was the sex. It consumed him. He was a convert to the altar of Spike's body. He thought about it all the time, pulled the memory of the taste of him into his mouth during the day, ran his hands over things, imagining them running over that perfect, smooth body. Inanimate objects. Smooth to the touch. Guilt washed over him again. He knew it was wrong, but he didn't know how to put it right. But he was having a relationship with Spike, for Christ's sake. How the hell was he supposed to make sense out of that?
Spike knew it was partially his fault, and this did nothing to help his pissy thoughts about the whole situation. That damn spell. He'd called Angel to come rescue him, and like a knight on his white charger, Angel had done just that. How was that for asserting your bloody masculinity? He gave Angel a sour glance from lowered lids and laid a card. He wouldn't be surprised if Angel got off on fantasies of being a sodding saviour. Well, he'd burnt up and saved the whole bleeding world, and he didn't need fucking rescuing!
A hideous thought that he'd had once or twice before over the last two weeks crept around his defences: Buffy. What if she came on a visit? What would she find? Her place - the small blond at Angel's side - already taken? He ground his teeth and took a long swig of his drink.
Angel glanced up at Spike, watching him take a long swallow of beer. He tried to see him dispassionately: Spike. Even if he concentrated with everything he had, he could not see him as… Spike. He couldn't take his eyes off the hands and the long, slim fingers. Those fingers had touched his body in ways he'd never allowed anyone to do; they'd given him more pleasure than his own. The lips drew him like a starving man to ripe fruit. He could taste them, running his tongue along his own lips and transferring the taste. He closed his eyes for a moment then opened them and let them rest on the place that obsessed him the most. Only a thin layer of worn, pale cotton prevented him seeing the flesh lying hard under the zipper. And still he did not speak! He begged him silently to say something, to break this obsession he had with the body. If he could hear Spike's voice, he could remember that this was Spike. Jeez. He was having a goddamned relationship with Spike!
to Chapter 4
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