Counting The Ways - 4
Angel returned from a long
case, physically exhausted - which he needed - and emotionally so wrung out
that he could not bear to stop long enough to examine the pain. Connor trailed
behind him, his face full of barely concealed misery.
Lorne did not intercept Angel as promised; he was quietly asleep on the kitchen table and did not wake as Angel glanced despairingly at him. Angel made his way up the stairs. He curtly told Connor to shower and change and meet him later. The boy slunk away trapped by a lie he wished with all his heart he could recall, but did not yet have the adult skills to do so gracefully.
Spike stood up as Angel came in. He didn't even have time to register the thought, "Demon didn't tell 'im", before he was seized. Angel thrust him violently back into the wall. He clasped his face between strong hands; he turned him one way and the other; he stood back; he came closer. He crushed Spike to him in a hug so strong Spike felt bruises blossom on his back. Angel tried to speak, but his voice was choked. He pushed Spike back against the wall once more, hesitated, and then crushed his lips to Spike's in an urgent, possessive kiss. There was no love in it; it was driven by the blind terror of loss, by feelings that the loss had reawakened, and by relief so powerful he thought his body would shatter.
Spike began to respond to the kiss. He opened his mouth slightly to allow the possession; his hand came up to Angel's hair, but Angel pulled away.
Desolate, defences down, Spike groaned and begged disbelievingly, 'Don't, please, Angel…'
Angel turned back and crushed him again then said low but clear in his ear, 'I'm only going to lock the door.'
They said nothing more to each other. They had no need for words. Over one hundred years of shared history. Over one hundred years of an intimate blood connection kicked-in, and their bodies and minds worked on autopilot. Angel undressed Spike: that was his job. Spike watched Angel undress, held his clothes, examined his wounds, and bathed him slowly and with great care: these were his delights. They moved to the bed - a seamless transition. Bodies rolled; one became dominant, and the slow penetration began. The smooth column stretched, fangs descended, the soft skin was licked in preparation and then the piercing, the bleeding and the taking. Angel drank his childe into him once again. The sense of loss still overwhelmed him, and he wanted his most precious childe inside him, safe. He drank until Spike went limp, until the body under him held no life, not even the powerful unlife he had given it. He drank until his whole childe swilled around inside him, reanimating him, reawakening the connections and feelings he had allowed to become dormant. He drank until Spike was no more, until there was no separation, until they were demon, together, sharing the most intimate thing of all, one body. Then Angel sat up a little to feel the power of Spike within him. He closed his eyes the better to hear Spike in his mind, to taste Spike in his heart, to hear him in his bowels, and Spike's voice was strong within him; it sang of pain and need and longing and love. Angel heard the song of Spike's loneliness; he heard the chorus of his fear and despair; he heard the crashing crescendo of his rejection. When his childe was wholly known to him once more, he took his belt from the floor and twisted it around his upper arm. Tightened, the belt began to pressurise his blood. A small knife… a large cut to his wrist, and the blood spurted to the back of Spike's throat. Angel stroked the lifeless body, forcing the powerful jetting blood to run down into his childe's belly.
With his demon returning to him, soothed, healed, and understood, Spike reanimated. He opened his eyes to fasten them on amber. He opened his greedy fangs and mewed to be given more. His sire crushed him to a smooth throat and helped the weakened fangs to push on through to the other side. His belly started to swell; he could not tell if it was his blood or Angel's flowing into his mouth, and he realised it didn't matter. Blood was blood; he'd always known that. He did not need to be pushed away; he took his fill, and then let go, gracefully.
Angel lay on his back and stared at the ceiling that would never be the same ceiling for him again.
Spike lay panting and slightly overwhelmed alongside him. 'Yay for not destroying the bed then?'
Angel looked around his room, as if surprised by the devastation. 'I thought you were dead. Connor told me you were dead.'
'I know. I saw the incredible hulkette downstairs.'
'I didn't think I could feel that much pain again. It was like Connor, but worse.'
Angel looked down thoughtfully for a moment as if thinking his reply through before he answered. 'I never felt I deserved Connor. But I made you: you are mine in a way more fundamental than a human could ever understand. When he said he'd… when I went to your room….' Angel gave Spike a very direct look. 'I saw fear in a handful of dust.'
Spike, distracted by the memories that assailed him from Angel's deliberate use of that familiar, well-loved poem - the smell of Angelus' hair as he'd been drained for the first time, the feel of the slow revival, the warmth of his sire's passion against his cold limbs - answered quietly and with a hesitation in his voice. 'And that's good, is it?' His toes were still dead, yet his fingers tingled to the remembrance of Angel's blood. His balls ached and throbbed for release, and his penis swelled and surged with the blood. His neck throbbed with an intense agony, but he could not really feel attached to the pain. He was floating free of his undead body, hovering between the two sources of blood, neither wholly himself, nor wholly Angel.
Angel was quiet for a long time before he answered. His voice sounded equally as distracted as Spike's. 'I think it is. I've been cut off, unable to reach him, unable to ask for help. Then you came and I felt… angry. Another lost child, more evidence of my failure to bind to me what is mine. But when I thought you'd been… when he told me… I saw true loss then. I suppose I just need to appreciate what I have.'
'Family. You, Connor, Cordelia, Fred and Gunn…'
Angel turned his eyes to Spike and shook his head fractionally. 'I won't talk of him, Spike; don't slide him in like that. Wesley is dead to me. If I ever see him, I will kill him - soul or no soul. He took my baby from me… yes, I have Connor back… but I'll never hold his tiny body in my arms again, never smell his hair, freshly washed and soft against my face. I'll never see him learning to walk, teach him to read, share childhood with him. It's all gone, Spike; all taken from me by that man. And do you know the worst of it? I can't reach him now precisely because of that. So I lose Connor twice because of him. He was never my child; how can he be my son now?' Angel turned on his stomach to face away from Spike, and Spike could smell bitter, salty tears. He put his hand on Angel's back and trickled one finger lightly up and down the pale skin.
'You'll have his children, pet.'
Angel rubbed his eyes with the heel of one hand and turned to face Spike with a puzzled look on his face.
'You're unchanging, luv. Hell, in a few years he'll look more like your dad than your son anyway. An' with a little luck, the lad'll have kids of his own, and you'll be the youngest, fittest granddad there ever was. You'll have it all again, pet.' He had thought this would comfort Angel; it only seemed to depress him more.
'He won't be here then at this rate. I don't know how to talk to him, Spike. There's no shared history, no understanding, no love to get him to love me. I failed you so badly…' Spike looked as if he was about to interrupt this. '…yes, I did. I need to get it right this time. So, no rules for him, no discipline; it was all wrong; I was too domineering, and it just drove you away and made you hate me.'
Spike laughed and Angel sat up a little, angry at the reception of his heart-felt declaration. Spike turned his head once more, too lazy and too tired to do anything else. 'I'm here, ain't I, pet?'
'What's that got to… '
'Angel! Almost two hundred years! You managed to bind me to you for almost two hundred years! Sure, I kicked against every rule, resented every bit of discipline… but I'm here now. I never loathed you, sire; I've always needed you, always wanted you.' Angel gave him a slightly disbelieving look and saw from Spike's wry smile that he didn't need to mention the word 'pokers'.
'I shall have to punish him for this, I suppose.'
Spike sat up too. 'This ain't the time, luv. I know I just said all that 'bout the rules, but he don't need rules right now, I'm guessing. Connor needs you to try an' understand why he did it…'
'I'll never understand it, and don't call him that…' Angel's automatic response to Spike cut off abruptly. He suddenly realised that his childe had called his son by his proper name for the first time. He turned slightly, Spike moved an arm, and Angel lay in Spike's strong embrace, their mixed blood gradually stilling in their dead veins, the temporary animation of their bodies fading as a languid need to sleep began to overtake them.
Increasingly distracted by his throbbing balls, wanting to sleep, Spike put a tentative hand onto Angel's thigh. 'Are we gonna…'
Angel removed the hand. 'I can't.'
Spike propped himself up on his elbows. 'Fuck, Angel, come on, luv. Both naked, both… oh. Hey! What's going on?'
Angel ground out from gritted teeth, 'I just told you; I can't.'
Spike eyed Angel's flaccid cock with fascination. Totally soft, it lay curled against one hip, lifeless, dormant and…
'Hey! Don't flop it around like that!"'
'Jesus, luv, what's wrong?'
Angel put an arm over his face for privacy. 'I… you know… well, you don't… but the crying and the sleepless nights… then he went… then I found out about Wes… him… and I keep seeing Darla's c… err… Darla when I look at Connor now and... it just won't…' He gave a small, self-indulgent wail. 'It just fucking won't, Spike; so don't bother…'
Angel expected sympathy, or at the very least concern; snorts of suppressed laughter, therefore, made him uncover his eyes furiously. He opened his mouth to speak, but a soft knocking on the door silenced him. Giving Spike a livid, intent look, he called out, 'Yes, what is it?'
Angel rolled his eyes. 'Get into the bathroom.'
Spike nodded, grabbed his clothes and headed out of sight, as Angel opened the door a fraction, a towel held firmly around his waist.
'I have been waiting for you, father; why are you so long?'
'Go to your room, Connor. I need to… I'd like you to talk with me. Please.'
Connor nodded and went slowly back to his room. Angel dressed and, glancing approvingly at Spike doing the same thing, followed his son out.
Spike dozed in his room for a while, but thoughts of Angel distracted him. Flaccid. That was serious: serious for a bloke - devastating for a vampire - unheard of for the Scourge of Europe. Spike had known Angelus still able to get it up after a night of almost continuous orgasms. Flaccid. Bloody hell. If anything he had seen or heard convinced Spike that Angel needed Wesley back, it was this. He would not have gone so far as to say that the state of Angel's cock was directly linked to Wesley, but there was a connection. Maybe it was guilt, maybe just unhappiness, maybe repressed anger that needed to be expressed, whatever. Angel was floppy, and that was not going to be tolerated. After an hour or so of pondering and planning - well, five minutes of that and an hour or so of snoozing, Spike went back downstairs to Connor's room. The door was ajar, and the boy sat on the bed with his head sunk gloomily in his hands.
'Hey.' Spike spoke softly from the doorway.
Connor raised a tear-streaked face to Spike, mutinous anger radiated from him still. 'Don't come in here, demon.'
'K, pet, I won't. Just here okay though?'
'No. I want you to go away.'
'That ain't gonna happen, not from this door, not from Angel's life, and not from my own. Wishing don't make it true either.'
Connor stood and came to the door. 'You've made him hate me.'
'He don't hate you, luv, believe me; he don't hate you. An' I don't either. You ain't gonna kill Angel, so I've got no gripe with you.'
'Yeah, it's what I saw in you, but the green poof reads better than I do, an' he says you're not gonna hurt 'im.'
At the reference to Lorne, Connor bristled. 'You are a vampire, and you consort with filthy demons. I will not speak with you.'
'Hey!' Spike took a step towards him, menacingly, but still not crossing the disputed threshold. 'You need to grow up a bit, lad. Angel told me that that demon looked after you when you were a baby as if he were your bloody mum. I've known humans that would have buggered you before you were six months old and sold the fucking pictures on the Internet. So don't you come over all high and mighty righteous human with me, mate.'
Connor actually seemed to be thinking this over. His face creased up as he puzzled over the sudden uncertainty in his world. 'Why do you come here and tell me this? What do you want?'
'I need your help.'
Connor reared back slightly. 'My help? Me help you?'
'What do you mean?'
'Well, ask me in, and I'll tell you.'
Connor hesitated still but, eventually, stood back and let Spike enter. Spike straddled a chair and leant his arms on the back, waiting for Connor to sit once more on the bed.
'Angel's not happy.'
'Can father be happy?'
Spike laughed. Out of the mouths of babes… 'Happier than he is now, yes. He lost a friend, and he misses him.'
Spike nodded impressed. 'You're quick and smart; I like that.'
Connor could not suppress the grin of pleasure at this rare praise. 'What are you going to do?'
'I'm going to get Wesley back here.'
'Ah… you sort of gave me the plan, like.'
'I did? How?'
'By telling Angel 'bout staking me.'
'Oh.' Connor looked down embarrassed.
'Never no mind, pet; all's well that ends well, hey? Angel was… pleased to see me alive, and he's gonna be with Wesley, too.'
'Ah, I understand. You will tell father his friend is dead.'
'Got it in one, 'cept…'
Connor smiled. 'I'm going to have to tell him.'
'Spot on. See, no way Angel's gonna believe me… he can read me…' he saw Connor's intrigued face. 'It's blood see; he's got my blood; I've got his… it's like twins I guess, you just sense the other one. So, he knows I've already asked 'bout Wesley; he's gonna be suspicious. You don't know the fuc… the man, you've never met 'im; so if you find him and tell Angel, he'll have no reason to doubt it.'
'Except that I've already told him one lie exactly like that?'
Spike was furious and impressed in equal measure that Connor had seen the main flaw in his plan. Killing two birds with one stone was not as easy as it looked.
'Still better than me, mate.'
'So, how am I supposed to find this, Wesley, so I might tell father.'
Spike cheered up. 'That's the best part, luv. You go there to kill 'im!'
'No! Jees, father like son… not for real; that's what you tell Angel. You went to Wesley's to kill him cus you overheard Angel saying he wanted Wesley dead.'
'And when I get there, Wesley has already been killed?'
'Not killed... dead by 'is own hand.'
Connor leant forward, fascinated. 'How?' Caught up in his own narrative, Spike leant forward, too: their heads mere inches from each other.
'That's the best bit, see; he's gonna be hanging by his sheets from the ceiling fan; they'll be twisted; you'll have to lift 'im up to get 'im down, an' he'll be real heavy an' all. You'll struggle but, overwhelmed by guilt…'
'Why am I guilty? I was going there to kill him anyway.'
'Cus you're Angel's son… an' who's telling this bleedin' story? So, you get 'im down and take the grey silk sheets from around his neck…'
'How do you know they are grey and silk? Why not white and linen like mine.'
'Bloody hell, mister pedantic, white and linen then!' Spike kept the memories of the feel of that silk off his face as he continued. 'His face'll be all black, and his tongue'll be sticking out and bloated…'
'…will his eyes be open?'
'… yeah, and staring at you, almost following you around the room…'
'What are you two talking about?'
They reared back simultaneously but caught each other's expression and grinned. Angel caught the look between them, and his dead heart swelled slightly, and some of his pain went away for a moment. He looked from one to the other and repeated his question. 'What are you two talking about?'
Spike, the senior, took the responsibility for answering. 'You. What else?'
'Oh. Well, I've ordered some take-out, Connor. Come down, will you?'
'Hey, what 'bout me? I love a good curry; nice spicy take-away's just what I need.'
Angel stood back as Spike and Connor went past. Spike waited for Angel and gave him a cheeky look as he followed Connor down the stairs, nodding at the teenager. Angel pursed his lips but then smiled back at Spike, shaking his head slightly in disbelief.
After dinner, Angel went downstairs to do some training, and Spike slid his chair closer to Connor's.
'So, when should I go to Wesley's?'
Spike laughed. 'You don't actually have to go there, pet, remember? You just have to say you did.'
Connor looked down as if disappointed he was not really going to get to grips with a real hanging corpse. 'I'd forgotten. When should I tell him?'
'Well, you could go there tonight feasibly. Angel'll probably sleep tomorrow... so tell him when he wakes, hey? He'll be at his most vulnerable then, you know... sleepy and hungry. I always used to tell him shit and the like then, got me off the hook hundreds of times.'
Connor eyed Spike speculatively. 'You have known father for a long time.'
'Yep, on and off - mostly off.'
'And you knew… her?'
'Yeah, sorry 'bout what I said earlier, mate. Vampires are a bit of a law to themselves when it comes to sex an' the like.'
'Tell me about her. No one will speak of her.'
Oh, shit. 'She was incredibly beautiful.'
Connor's eyes sparkled. 'Was she kind?'
Spike swallowed slowly. 'She was to Angelus... sometimes.'
'Was she happy?'
This surprised Spike. 'Yes, she was. I never thought about it before, but she was. She loved her unlife, pet; never you worry 'bout that. She romped through eternity and revelled in what she was.'
'She was like you then.'
'I've never met a vampire like you before. Father… my other father told me all vampires were devil's spawn, and that they carried the devil's guilt on their faces, forever marked by his evil.'
'Oh. He sounds like a fun kind of guy.'
'My mother came back, didn't she… after she was staked?'
'Yeah, so I heard… brought back human, then done in again by Dru… but you really don't wanna go down that twisted little family saga.' Spike almost winced at his slip; he really didn't want to have to explain that Darla had been the lad's mother and his niece, as well as his father's mother and granddaughter… he wasn't too sure even he understood it all. He needn't have worried; Connor was distracted by some thought of his own.
'So, she could come back again?'
He looked up at Spike with a wistful expression on his face, and Spike recoiled. He hadn't even seen that one coming. 'Hey, no, luv. That ain't likely… and if she did, she'd be a bit dolally, I'd guess. Only so many times you can die, luv, 'fore it addles yer brain.' He saw another question coming, so quickly diverted the conversation. So, matter in hand? Tomorrow, when Angel wakes up… go to him and tell him the good news, yes? An' practice a bit 'forehand will ya? I always practice lying to Angel first; it's much more realistic that way.'
'Alright. What if he wants to go there to see the body?'
'Ah, well, body won't be there, trust me.' ( "Body's gonna deep in my body and relieving these bloody balls of mine." ) 'Tell 'im you called 911, and it's not there now.' Connor was beginning to look dubious about the complexities of this brilliant plan, so Spike decided it was time to make a swift exit.
He made his way jauntily back to Wesley's. He had just the slightest niggling doubt that he had forgotten some minor thing in all his devious planning, but he didn't let it worry him too much. He was juggling a lot of balls in the air... and wasn't that a nice image to roll around in his mind while he strolled towards a pair of those that were soft and warm.
He knocked and was let in. He looked around in wonder then shrugged his shoulders slightly and flung himself on the couch. 'Preferred it as it was, more homely.'
Wesley only smiled at this reaction to his frantic cleaning and sat alongside Spike on the couch. 'I didn't think you'd be back so quickly.'
Spike grinned. 'Miss me?'
'I'm only just recovering, Spike, and some things... well... So, do I take it, it didn't go well with Angel?'
'Don't be so pessimistic, Watcher. It went like clockwork, like a Swiss...'
'He'll see me?' Even Spike was touched by the look of eager relief on Wesley's face.
'Not yet, pet, but he will.'
Wesley got up, annoyed at his display of emotion. 'Just tell me, Spike, and stop playing games.'
Spike paused for a moment wondering whether, if he ever did that, he would just stop all together, but shook the thought off and followed Wesley into the kitchen. He ignored Wesley's cry of protest and hopped up onto the clean counter once again. 'I've set a plan in motion, watcher, that's all.' He saw Wesley's impatient expression and continued, rolling his eyes slightly. 'He's gonna be told you're dead. He'll be all...'
'That's your plan?' Wesley's voice rose embarrassingly in pitch, so he turned, calmed himself, and then turned back. 'That is your plan, Spike? You are going to tell him exactly what he wants to hear?'
'Oh don't be so melodramatic, watcher. I know the poof a lot better than you do, and he does not want you dead. If he wanted you dead, you'd be dead.'
Wesley could not deny that there was a certain truth to this claim. He remained unconvinced however. 'So what then?'
Spike smiled. 'Oh, that's the best part, mate; I get to go and weep at yer funeral.'
'Oh, bloody hell.' Wesley put the kettle on: it seemed the best thing to do. The whole plan seemed elaborate to the point of madness. 'Did you actually just tell Angel my version of what happened?'
Spike slid from the thought "Fuck, that's a good idea" to his mouth actually saying 'Course I did: what do you take me for, an idiot?' without the slightest flicker betraying him. He grinned and hopped down. 'Come on, we've gotta be going.'
'Where, why?' Wesley backed away in alarm; the briefest image of being placed alive in a coffin for effect flashed through his mind.
'Hotel. You've gotta be away from here 'case Angel comes to check up.'
'Don't sound so bloody grateful, will you?'
'When is he likely to get here?'
'Well, kid's...' Spike paused as if he'd suddenly noticed that his bootlaces were coming undone, bent to fasten them, so by the time he stood up once more he had covered his potential slip. 'He's being told tomorrow.'
Wesley, distracted by the ramifications of his death, did not notice Spike's reference to his new ally.
Packed, Wesley started to leave. 'So, where am I staying?'
'Dunno. You've got to book it now.'
'Well, duh! I mean... I could just get a job and... like... earn some money and... oh, just fucking book it, will you?'
They walked together to the hotel Wesley had selected. Wesley wanted the exercise and a chance to talk to Spike without the distraction of having to drive in downtown traffic.
He mulled over once more what he wanted to say, what he had practiced saying and then just said it. 'I am not going to...' God, it was more difficult to say out loud than he had anticipated. '...see you any more, Spike.'
'What ya going do then, pet, fall in a hole suddenly?'
'You know what I mean.'
'Say it then.'
'Sleep with you.'
'I don't remember sleeping.'
'Shut up, will you? Have sex then. There. Do you understand that?'
'Oh yeah, I understand that.'
Spike continued to walk complacently along, admiring cars, commenting on the LA nightlife, and exchanging knowing looks with the others of his ilk they occasionally passed.
Wesley knew he was being played, but he couldn't work out the rules and decided he had nothing to lose with being up front. 'So, you have nothing to say about that then?'
Spike pursed his lips, looked as if he were thinking deeply, and then said with a grin. 'Nope.'
'What did you want, watcher? An argument? Histrionics? Begging?'
'No, obviously not...' ("Yes, that would have been nice") 'I'm not that naive. But I had thought you might want an explanation of my decision.'
'Oh. Right. As if I couldn't work that out for meself.'
'You have no idea, Spike, why I...' Spike suddenly grabbed his arms and swung the human to face him. He peeled off his shirt collar a little and ran his fingers over the jagged scar. 'Don't. Please.'
Spike ignored the soft plea and pressed his thumb lightly to the wound. 'You've decided what's Angel's had better stay Angel's, hey? Have I got the gist of it?'
Wesley pulled away and walked on angrily: not only did his decision show him up to be a coward, it made him look as if he were admitting he had made an error in taking Connor.
Spike trailed behind, studying him carefully.
'Don't even suggest we try to keep anything from him, Spike. If you think I'm crawling around the hotel in a clandestine relationship with you under Angel's very nose, you've another think coming…
… And don't suggest we tell him either. Vampires may have deviant sex lives, but Angel has a soul now. He would not tolerate us... seeing each other... if he was... seeing you…
… And don't try to persuade me that he might actually enjoy the thought of his two... his... of us together. I won't be part of some sex-game between you and Angel…
… If I ever do come back to work at the Hyperion - which I'm by no means certain of with this ridiculous plan of yours - I would be a colleague of yours then, and any sort of sexual behaviour would be totally inappropriate…
… Even if Angel didn't mind and we kept it out of the office and at my apartment, it just wouldn't work. Every time I... every time you... I'd be thinking about you and Angel and... your body against his... and...
… Oh, God.'
'Are you ready to shut up and shag me yet?'
'Bloody hell, yes. Where is this damn hotel?'
'Don't care, in here.' Spike pulled Wesley as forcibly as he could into a filthy, dark alley. Wesley protested and tried to pull away, but Spike cupped him through his jeans and pressed his swollen balls up into his groin. Wesley doubled over at the unexpected urgency of his erection and allowed Spike to thrust him against a wall.
'I can't, Spike; I'm sorry; not here. It's just too...' Spike ate the feeble protest as he explored Wesley's mouth. He worked down Wesley's fly and released the solid shaft into the darkness; it stood proud from the confines of the jeans. He reached in once more and freed Wesley's balls, glancing down at the satisfactory sight the whole tackle made, naked in the alley. Before Wesley could protest more, Spike was on his knees.
A blowjob from a vampire pressed against a wall at the back of some squalid LA apartment block: Wesley could not remember a time when he had been more turned on. He knew he was coming, wanted to cum, and wanted it hard and fast and emotionless. The emotions could come later... but he'd foresworn this relationship... he could not... dared not... wanted to... needed to... he wanted to be inside Spike that night. When he spurted into Spike's eager mouth, Wesley was imagining a hotel bed and a supine vampire, and he knew he could not give up this new lover tonight.
Spike licked him clean, tucked him away and stood up. 'Come on then, can't be far now.'
Wesley stayed braced against the wall, his toes still tingling. 'You are incredible, do you know that?'
Spike actually gave him an almost shy smile. 'A compliment... an' I ain't even about to torture you to death.'
Wesley laughed, tipping his head back to the faint sky above the tall buildings. 'You're incredible, sexy, funny, annoying...'
Spike grinned. 'Hotel, mate, you can show me then, hey? I'm a little...' he took Wesley's hand and crushed it to his bulge '...anxious to get there!'