Domain - Part One - Synopsis
to gain the position and prominence in demon society that she feels her
due, Darla persuades Angelus to curry favour from a visiting archduke.
Unfortunately for William, he's the vehicle for this petition. From the
outset, Angelus is uncomfortable with the idea of his new childe being
prostituted to this foreigner, but he puts his discomfort down to his
abhorrence with the idea of a man having sex with another man. On the
long journey north, however, he has to admit that his discomposure has
a more dangerous provenance. Love, however, cannot be tolerated. It's
a human emotion, a human weakness he cannot afford to admit. Only when
they are both near death does he allow William's capacity to embrace this
human emotion save them. From that moment on they become inseparable-lovers
and friends. One of these, Darla could have tolerated, but she cannot
bear to think of William being Angelus's friend and confidant. Clever
and manipulative, she contrives to leave Angelus alone with a half-dead
soldier; confident that Angelus's true nature will reassert itself. Sated
with pleasure in the dying man, Angelus cannot help but crow his victory
over the English usurper of his land. Discovering them together, William
takes off. When Angelus eventually finds him, he has reinvented himself:
Spike being born on the pain of betrayal. Although they stay together
as a family, although William maintains his new persona flawlessly, Angelus
cannot help but hope that time might force a crack in his mask. This hope
keeps him in love's thrall for many years, but eternity is a long time
to live on hope alone.
Domain now continues in:
Dweller in the Land of Death
‘If I were at all fanciful, I would say I’m having a Tippi Hedren moment.’
Wesley watched the circling dark shapes with some curiosity. ‘I had no
idea gulls—any birds come to that—flew at night.’
Angel didn’t look up from his book propped up on the wheel. ‘They’re not
real. They’re virtual gulls following me.’
Wesley turned his head to him and blinked. ‘Mindful of mixing my literary
references, that’s a remarkably Ahab-like comment.’
There was a splat on the windscreen—a very realistic one for a virtual
seagull. Angel lifted his eyebrow. ‘Just as well it wasn’t a whale.’
Wesley laughed dryly just as the rear door was wrenched open.
‘Oh! That’s bloody rich! I’m glad you can laugh, Watcher. I’ve been freezing
my buns off out there keeping watch on an empty bloody street!’
‘It’s eighty degrees! And you’re wearing two layers of leather!’
‘Yeah, well. It’s still boring as hell.’
Angel closed his book. ‘Hell was anything but boring.’
‘Oh… here we go again… it’s Big Red Porsche time: my gonads are bigger
than yours cus I’ve been to hell. Jesus, Mate, I survived The Trials—worse
than hell any day!’
‘And I put up with you! Hell was a pleasant vacation compared—.’
‘I’ll take watch, Angel, if you don’t mind. Anything not to have to listen
to you two bickering.’
‘We’re not—.’ They both shut up simultaneously, and Wesley chuckled softly
Angel started the car. ‘This is a waste of time. We’ve been set up.’
He pulled out of the deep shadow of the warehouse and drove slowly along
the dock under the arc lights.
Spike fiddled with some switches for a moment then cursed, sat forward
and pressed the buttons on Angel’s console to lower his window. He flung
himself back in his seat and lit a cigarette.
‘Not in the car.’
Spike gave Angel the finger and continued to smoke.
Wesley glanced at Angel, but Angel was good at not seeing his slightly
censorious sideward glances.
Angel reacted so fast the tyres left tread on the street. He assumed they’d
hit something—a child perhaps—but Spike only stubbed out his cigarette
and nodded at a lit window. ‘Offy. I need some beer.’ He climbed out nonchalantly
then after a moment’s hesitation turned back and said, ‘Don’t even think
about pushing off and leaving me, ponce.’ He lit another cigarette then
sauntered off in the direction of the alcohol.
Wesley watched in disbelief as Angel turned off the ignition.
‘Is there anything he could do that would actually piss you off enough
to do something about him? Have you given him some sort of get-out-of-jail-free
Angel thought for a moment then smiled bitterly. ‘I’ve thought about giving
him an Oscar once or twice.’
Wesley raised his eyebrows: Angel didn’t look as if he found it funny
Spike climbed back in and thoughtfully offered them both a swig from the
bottle of whisky he’d bought. ‘Bloody dive.’
When they didn’t move, he waved his hand imperiously. ‘Come on, then.
Favourite show’s on tonight.’
Angel put the car back into drive and glanced in the mirror—as if he could
see Spike. Spike was watching the mirror—as if Angel would see this.
Wesley, was frowning, polishing his glasses. ‘I’m convinced that that
dreadful little man, Prescott, was telling the truth. People usually do
when you threaten to bite them.’
‘So, where was the shipment?’
Wesley nodded. ‘Quite. Maybe he was set up, too.’
‘No one knows we have him.’
‘Who knows what people know these days?’
‘These people aren’t mystical, Wesley. It’s gunrunning: pure and simple.’
Spike leant forward and said with an almost unnoticeable slur to his words,
‘No reason gunrunners can’t be into all that mystical shit, too. I ran
guns into Ireland—they loved the whole demon angle.’
Once more, Angel glanced in the mirror. ‘You ran guns for the IRA?’
Spike grinned and shook his head. ‘The other
They both ignored a faint groan from Wesley.
Angel flashed his absence another look. This one decidedly less friendly.
Spike nodded happily. ‘God save our gracious Queen, Mate. Loved seeing
those Irish bastards going down.’ He took a long swig of whiskey. ‘Huh.
Bushmills. Now, that’s what I call a coincidence. Good Protty town that.’
‘Shut up, Spike.’ Angel gave Wesley a glance, and Wesley retorted,
‘Well, if you won’t shut him up….’
Spike leant forward again. ‘Angel likes me to talk, don’t you, Mate? Keeps
you on edge, wondering what I’m gonna say next. What shall I say next,
Pet? Got lots of interesting things I could tell ol’ Wes….’
Angel suddenly chuckled and said under his breath, ‘But then you’d have
to admit that you remember them.’
Spike hesitated for a moment then flung himself back against the seat
with a deep pull at the mouth of the bottle. Another few blocks on and
he said curtly, ‘Let me out here. I’ll walk.’ If he noticed the complete
absence of argument from either of his companions, he didn’t comment upon
Wesley relaxed slightly when they pulled back out into the street and
opened his window to pointedly waft at a few lingering cigarette and whisky
smells. ‘Why is he still hanging around, Angel? He’s alive again, so to
speak, and he can go anywhere he wants and do anything he wants. Not that
we can’t use the help. God, did I just call Spike help? Are we that desperate...?’
Although he had talked himself out of needing an answer to his original
question, Angel didn’t offer one anyway. Unconcerned, he peered curiously
at the dark, unwelcoming buildings that lined the street. ‘Where does
he go? Is he renting somewhere? I wonder what he does for money; we’re
not paying him. Are we paying him? I wonder if his soul precludes him
from stealing. Is it unethical to steal if you can’t work legitimately?
Interesting moral dilemma. Do you think he paid for that whisky?’
* * * * * * *
It did not take Angel long the next day to see that all was not well with
Spike. He came out of his office to return some signed letters to Harmony
to find the blond vampire morosely holding a cardboard cup from the cooler,
swirling it to the hissing accompaniment of dissolving pills. He seemed
oblivious to everything else but the painkillers and their slow dissolve,
until with a curse he tipped the cup to his mouth, apparently unable to
wait longer. The bits caught on his throat causing him to cough violently,
which made him stagger and hold his head, his pale colour changing to
a soft green hue. As Angel had
been at his desk for some hours and had spent the remainder of the night
trying to force more information out of their informant, he had even less
tolerance for Spike’s hangovers than usual. He handed the letters to Harmony
without looking at her and said curtly to Spike, ‘I want you back at the
Spike lifted bloodshot eyes. ‘I want you to bloody disappear up your own
bum—but we rarely get what we want in life.’
More annoyed by the snicker from his left than by Spike’s rejoinder, Angel
turned on his heel and went back to his office. Spike followed and sat
very slowly on the couch, leaning back and closing his eyes with some
care. Angel stood watching him for a while.
Angel started slightly and returned to his desk. ‘I’m busy, Spike; what
do you want?’
‘Well, seeing as I don’t have a sodding office of me own, I’m making free
with yours. Me casa su casa, an’ all that. So…?’
‘So, why do I have to go back to the bloody docks?’
‘Prescott claims he could have gotten the time of the shipment wrong,
but it is coming in.’
‘Oh, yeah, like I’ll trot right down there then.’ He slumped some more
and began to rub his temples. ‘Stop watching me.’
Angel flicked his eyes down to his papers and didn’t dignify the comment
with a reply. He then sensed that Spike was watching him and wanted to
make an equally barbed retort about this. Somehow, nothing he composed
in his head sounded quite right. Finally, he heard a soft, dismissive
snort of derision, and Spike rose. ‘Yeah.’
Angel lifted his head, angry enough to say without any rehearsal, ‘What
do you want, Spike? Wesley asks
me why you’re hanging around here, and do you know? I can’t answer him!
Why are you? Big world out there; go discover it.’
Spike stared at him for a moment and flushed, though such a pale blood
rush would only have been discernable to someone not relying on just one
sense to discover it. He nodded, a curt gesture of agreement. ‘Okay then.’
Angel frowned. ‘Okay what…?’
‘Okay, I’ll go.’
‘To the big world I apparently didn’t know was out there.’
Spike looked back over his shoulder at the big picture windows. ‘Never
did like this bloody city.’ With that, he walked out and did not look
* * * * * *
Angel consulted the scrap of paper as if he needed to read the address
again. He frowned at the gloomy set of stairs then jogged down them, hammering
on the door at the bottom.
He repressed a tiny smile and said into the thin door, ‘We need to talk.’
‘There is no we, in case you’d forgotten.’
‘Then let me in, and I’ll talk.’
Spike opened the door and leant in the doorway, preventing Angel’s entrance.
Angel glanced into the bleak apartment and noted the evident signs of
packing—if one old bag with a pair of trailing jeans constituted Spike’s
preparations to leave. He dragged his eyes back to Spike. ‘I’m not talking
in the hallway.’
Spike shrugged and moved to one side, turning his back on Angel and continuing
to fold a shirt, which he then stuffed unceremoniously into the bag.
‘We have an important job to do here, Spike.’ He braced himself for Spike’s
reply, having heard the derisive retort in his head all the way over.
To his surprise, Spike nodded. ‘Yep, you have.’
Angel was completely floored, all his carefully rehearsed rejoinders now
useless. Spike turned to him, and for one very rare moment actually caught
his eye. ‘I thought I was helping.’
Angel pouted for a moment and uncharacteristically said something to Spike
that was actually true. ‘You are.’ He surprised himself by adding, ‘So
I want you to stay.’
Spike contorted his expression for a while as if mulling this over as
he folded another T-shirt—an elaborate process that seemed out of proportion
to the value of the item. Then he stuffed that into the bag in a similar
haphazard fashion as he had the shirt. ‘Did Wesley send you?’
‘No, of course—! Okay, he said it would be a good idea, but he doesn’t
send me; I’m the CEO.’
Spike turned, and to Angel’s surprise, gave him a small, genuine smile.
Angel sighed. ‘Look, I admit it wasn’t my idea, but it is now—my
idea, that is. I agree with Wesley: we need you.’
‘What about what I need?’
‘Huh?’ Angel immediately regretted giving Spike any such opening and quickly
added, ‘This isn’t about us as individuals, Spike. This is much bigger
than you or me. There is no I.’
‘There is in not interested.’
Annoyed now, Angel moved to one of the few pieces of furniture in the
room and sat on the arm of an easy chair. ‘Stay.’
Spike looked down at his bag and then slowly around the apartment. ‘I
want to go now. It was time, but I couldn’t see it.’ He looked
down quickly as if afraid he might give the reason for this blindness
Angel rose. This wasn’t going how he’d expected, and he didn’t like the
sense of things slipping out of his control. ‘We have souls now.’
Spike lifted his head sharply and held Angel’s gaze for a moment. They
both seemed equally surprised at this strange comment that appeared to
have no relevance to what they’d been discussing. Spike articulated this
puzzlement for the two of them. ‘So?’
‘Things could be different….’ Desperate for something to do with his hands
while he gnawed over what he meant by things, Angel went to the
sink and poured some water into a chipped mug.
Spike appeared to find his use of language equally puzzling. ‘What are
you saying, Angel?’
Not even attempting to drink, Angel swirled the water around, watching
it as if it could somehow, like dregs in tea, predict the outcome of this
conversation. ‘There’s no need for us to be enemies any more.’
‘I wasn’t aware we were enemies. Bloody hell, did I miss a memo?’
Angel looked up. ‘Stop it.’
Spike looked away. ‘Souls have nothing to do with it.’
‘They have everything to do with it—and you know it.’
‘You used the word first.’
Spike closed his eyes. ‘I want to go, Angel. I’m tired of… it.’
Angel slammed the mug back onto the drainer, and the handle came off in
his hands. He flung it at Spike. ‘Go then! See if I care.’
Spike watched the dark figure sweep out, his neck craned round to track
his progress. His cheek stung where the handle had hit him, and he felt
a warm trickle, which he told himself was blood.
* * * * * * *
They returned to the warehouse, just the two of them, but without Spike
they felt unhappy in each other’s company for the first time in a very
long time. Neither of them had realised just how much they relied upon
the blond irritant to meld their relationship tighter. Tonight it was
fragmenting. Wesley seemed his most pompous and English; Angel was being
deliberately obtuse. He was chewing gum, too, a habit that so irritated
Wesley he was forced to shield the sight slightly with one hand. It was
just so… un-English. Angel popped a bubble then pulled a strand of gum
out as he had once, with horrified fascination, watched Buffy do. There
was nothing as much fun as winding Wesley up.
Angel lost control of the strand and struggled out of the car with gum
attaching his fingers to anything he touched. Wesley had already begun
to run stealthily toward the side of the warehouse they’d been watching.
Angel leapt up to a fire escape and climbed swiftly to the roof. The original
plan, now they were without Spike, had had to be modified. But as Angel
had not really believed they’d intercept a shipment, and as he had been
oddly distracted all day, he had not been too concerned about listening
to the details of the new plan. The roofing material was fragile and fallen through in places,
and although he often gave the impression that he could fly, he couldn’t.
He was heavy, and his progress across the roof was precarious. And then
he fell through. The flying impression then failed him entirely, and he
landed face down on oil-stained concrete, bouncing slightly as the tails
of his coat settled around him.
There was a shout, and a shot rang out. He heard Wesley’s voice and levered
up off the floor. Three men, clearly thinking him dead, had their backs
to him and were advancing on Wesley. Wesley nodded that he was okay, and
at this, one of the men turned to see what was behind them. He gave another
shout just as Angel’s fist connected with his nose, so the sound emerged
mushy and muffled. Angel heard another shout, just had time to register
that it was Wesley this time and that he was shouting a warning, when
exquisitely painful heat seared through his body. He glanced down in surprise
and saw what looked like a long skewer emerging from his chest. If it
had been wood, he would have turned to dust, for the spike had been thrust
accurately through his heart. As it was, he fell to his knees, puzzled
at the amount of pain. Through a blur of agony he saw Wesley, alone, facing
the two remaining men, and he could do nothing to help. He couldn’t even
summon his voice to cry out at the unfairness of such an easy job going
The blurring became a dense fog as his body took him into unconsciousness
to escape the pain. He thought he saw something descending through this
fog, slowly, like a falling dark star, but it could have been a precursor
of the stars that flicked across his vision as his forehead once more
connected with unforgiving concrete.
His dreams were always painful and confused, so it didn’t surprise Angel
that he got no respite even in unconsciousness. He was being questioned
about something for which he had no answers—or none that he wanted to
give, but the remorseless questioning went on. Finally, too confused to
separate dream from reality, he looked up at William and murmured, ‘You’ve
broken my heart.’
Spike blinked and said calmly, ‘He’s awake.’
Angel saw Wesley’s face loom out of his fog and tried to sit up. Spike
pressed him down with a small shake of his head. Angel had no intention
of trying it again anyway. The pain was still intense.
‘Angel?’ Angel acknowledged Wesley’s concerned voice but didn’t open his
eyes. ‘We need to pull that thing out of you. Spike….’ Strong hands held
him in what, in his confused state, seemed like an unnecessarily loving
embrace. The arms were so familiar Angel wanted to cry out, but he reckoned
he’d said enough that night that he would regret. He bit his lip on the
pain but passed out anyway and was spared embarrassing himself one way
or the other. He came around in the car, where he’d been laid on the rear
seat, but it was a mercifully short burst of consciousness.
When he next surfaced, he felt more rational. Rational enough to know
he was hurt—badly. He was lying on the couch in his apartment. When he
opened his eyes, he found Spike sitting next to him, spreading one cool
hand over his heart—well, he was holding a cloth over a wound, but Angel
wasn’t rational enough for semantics. Spike was watching Wesley, who was
talking rapidly on the telephone. No one had noticed that he was awake.
He coughed, and Spike flicked his eyes away from Wesley. Instinctively, he pressed harder on the wound,
whether to hold his patient down or because he felt he’d neglected his
duty, Angel couldn’t tell. Their eyes met over his naked torso, the smell
of his rich blood thickening the air between them. Angel licked very dry
lips and said hoarsely, ‘You didn’t go.’
‘Your powers of observation are bloody amazing, Mate.’
Angel attempted a smile, but coughed and spat up some blood instead. After
the slightest hesitation, Spike put his thumb to Angel’s mouth and wiped
up the dark trail. Angel craned his neck down to look at the wound and
wished he hadn’t. Spike adjusted the cloth. ‘You’ll live. Don’t worry.’
‘Who’s Wesley talking to?’
‘Some of the firm’s quacks.’
Angel’s eyes widened. ‘I’m not having one of those claw-toed freaks—.’
‘Don’t worry. I’m just humouring him—he was scared. You don’t need doctoring.’
Angel glanced down at the hand upon him. ‘Then what are you doing?’
Spike followed his gaze and seemed to be considering this. After a moment,
he said deceptively neutrally, ‘I’m humouring myself.’
Very slowly and carefully, as if trying not to startle something wild
and unsure, Angel moved his hand over Spike’s on the bloodstained cloth.
As if their earlier conversation in Spike’s apartment had never ceased,
he said quietly, ‘The souls change everything.’ When no response was forthcoming,
he added with a catch to his voice, ‘Yours is destroying your carefully
constructed façade.’ When this was still greeted by obstinate silence,
he moved his fingers upon Spike’s hand, a gesture that could have been
taken for stroking and said tightly, ‘The act is wearing thin… Will.’
That got a response. Spike stood up quickly, dropping the cloth. He stumbled
back but collided with Wesley, who was saying something neither of them
wanted to listen to. Unable to leave without appearing too obvious, or
perhaps just unable to leave, Spike folded his arms tightly across his
body, until he appeared to think a cigarette better defence and lit one
Angel had to give his attention to Wesley for a moment, reluctantly, but
he returned his gaze to Spike’s face almost immediately. Expecting to
see hatred or derision, even a carefully reconstructed mask of disinterest,
he was taken aback by the look of concentrated puzzlement on Spike’s face.
So intense was Spike’s study of him that Angel was sure the tense vampire
had not even noticed he was being studied in return. They could have fallen
into an impasse of confused, mutual inspection had not Wesley suddenly
said, ‘Blood,’ and looked at Spike expectantly. Spike blinked and seemed
to come back from a long way away. He looked so bewildered that Wesley
reiterated with a tetchy edge to his voice, ‘He needs blood.’
Spike nodded and bent to retrieve his coat. Angel was taken aback how
thin he looked. Then he was startled by the fact that he was noticing
Spike’s body. That made him wonder that he could think this when he was
feeling worse than actual death had made him feel. This lack of control
pissed him off enough to get angry, and as soon as the anger hit him he
knew he’d come full circle. Just like that, in that one instance of watching
a bare bicep stretch to pick up a coat, his obsession with William returned.
As he tried to surrender to unconsciousness, which now seemed safer than
being awake, he realised that it couldn’t have returned because it had
never really gone away. With the soft breath of the sound Will
in his head, Angel admitted that he had been watching and studying and
listening to and thinking about Spike every minute of every day since
he’d betrayed him for a tiny, hairy arsehole. He’d merely called this
obsession something else… anything but admitting what it was.
As unconsciousness accepted his offer of surrender and took him to a place
where all the painful questions were in his imagination, he strained to
hear the rustle of Spike’s clothes as they brushed against his cool, perfect
* * * * * * *
Angel’s mind the following day, as he lay slowly recovering in bed, was
consumed not by his own response to the strange incident on the couch,
but by Spike’s. He could not get the image of Spike, frozen with indecision
and staring at him, out of his mind. Was Spike having a similar epiphany
as he? They had discovered desperate desire for each other at the same
time; why not have it rekindled simultaneously as well? Was that what
he had seen in Spike’s expression? Desire? Understanding this seemed critical
to Angel as he lay hurt and bored and wanting to be where Spike was. Then
depression of spirits and self-doubt assailed him, and he cursed and punched
the pillow more viciously than it deserved (and he was fit to do). He
had seen nothing in Spike’s expression—he
was just having a severe reaction to having his heart eviscerated. For
that is what he’d pieced together from the little Wesley had been willing
to divulge. A hook, used on the docks to snag and drag the vast blocks
of ice they used to cool perishables, had been thrust into his body with
such force and accuracy that it had split his heart. When the vicious
device had been pulled out, it had taken ribs and fragments of heart with
it. It was no wonder he wasn’t thinking with his usual calm detachment
Angel tried to sit up but was so surprised by his body’s instant and unexpected
reaction to Spike strolling into his bedroom that he entirely lost the
moment and sort of hung, half-sitting, half-lying, sweating, blushing
and, most incredibly, stiffening. It had been a very long time since he’d
been sexually aroused by anything other than his memories. Once, his own
power had been his greatest aphrodisiac. Now, impotency flourished in
Angel drew his knees to his chest, desperate to touch himself—more desperate
for Spike to. Spike was staring out of the window at the bright city day.
Apropos of nothing, he murmured, ‘This is so wrong.’
Staring at Spike’s silhouette, hair alight as a bright ring of blond fire,
Angel thought this random comment the most profound thing he’d ever heard.
It was wrong: the world, them, the firm, LA, them, his wound, their
He began to wonder if he was delirious and put a hand to his forehead,
a gesture Spike apparently took for confusion, for he clarified, ‘Sunlight—for
us. It’s wrong. Best to be condemned to the dark, to remember what we
are—what we’ve done.’
‘Oh. You could close the blinds….’ Jesus! What a dumb fucking thing
to say! And now he could smell his own arousal, which was so
not of the good. Maybe he was light-headed from blood loss. He tried to
regroup and went for the familiar. ‘What do you want?’
‘It was a demon—last night. The one that skewered you.’
Angel felt an absurd sense of relief and was desperate to ask if it was
really, really big.
Spike smiled as if he had anticipated Angel’s egotism, so when Angel asked,
‘Did you get it?’ Spike replied with a fond quirk to his lips, ‘Nope—way
too big and too fast for me.’
The conversation then seemed to be over. In desperation to keep him there,
Angel asked, ‘Why didn’t you go?’ then blurted out quickly, lest this
was misunderstood, ‘I meant what I said—I need you here.’
Spike nodded thoughtfully. ‘You did last night; that was very… evident….’
Angel flushed. ‘I was hurt, Spike! Not thinking straight! It’s kinda hard
to freaking think when you’re missing ventricles. Don’t take anything
I said or… did… out of context.’
Spike tipped his head to one side in a gesture so familiar it broke what
was left of Angel’s heart and murmured, ‘I meant when you got skewered.
Angel… is there something you want to tell me?’
The moment opened up before them. Looking back on it later that day, Angel
tried to play out the version where he’d told Spike he still loved him
and wanted him desperately. Sometimes, it played beautifully, sometimes
not. It was immaterial though for he had not said that. He’d thought
about mocking laughter; he’d remembered derision and being scared, and
he’d said, ‘Don’t flatter yourself,’ which was as trite and meaningless
as it was hurtful. But he reckoned it had hurt him almost more than it
had hurt Spike, which gave him some masochistic consolation in the morass
of self-pity in which he wallowed for the rest of the day.
* * * * * * *
The next, however, he was in a conciliatory mood; well enough to be contrite,
generous enough to try and repair some of the damage he’d done to their
fragile working relationship. Seeing Spike descend upon them like an angel
of salvation had made him realise just how much they did need the irritating,
He was back at his desk (albeit not moving too quickly), and that alone
made him feel generous to the world—and Spike. When he saw him chatting
to (up?) Harmony, he buzzed and summoned him.
Spike grudgingly came as far as the door, his face a comic picture of
confused expressions. Angel sighed and leant back in his chair. ‘Look,
I’m sorry. I’d had my freaking heart ripped out, Spike….’
Spike flared up so quickly that Angel hardly saw him coming before he
was leaning into his face, hissing. ‘Stop it! We didn’t have hearts—yours
or mine—to be broken!’ He clenched his jaw and added desperately, ‘It
was nothing more than fucking!’
Angel opened his mouth, stunned, closed it, then said weakly, ‘I meant
last night… what I said… my heart ripped out on a hook….’
Spike pulled away. Angel stood up too quickly and staggered, catching
hold of the desk to prevent himself falling. Spike hesitated then cursed
softly and took his arm. ‘Go back to bed, Mate.’
Angel waited until his head stopped spinning and nodded, only setting
it off again. He stared at his fingers, white on the edge of the polished
wood and whispered, ‘I can’t go on like this.’
‘You’ll be all better in a day or two, Pet.’
Angel swivelled his head and stared at Spike.
Spike faltered. ‘Oh.’ He looked away.
Very slowly and very cautiously, Angel said, ‘At least fucking would be
Spike’s head snapped back, and their eyes locked. Angel felt as if he
were out on a fragile limb hanging precariously over a vast chasm of waiting
Spike swallowed. ‘You must be totally off your rocker if you’ve just suggested
what I think you suggested.’
The limb parted with a sharp crack, and Angel began to fall. He lowered
his head to his chest, the darkness of his humiliation overwhelming him…
until his gaze reached the top of one of Spike’s thighs. He stared fascinated
for a moment then lifted his head and shook off the descent with a smug
smile. ‘You were right, Will: You’ll never be able to hide it from me.’
Spike stepped back and folded his arms tightly across his torso with an
expression that clearly showed he not only understood this comment, he
wished he could fold his arms lower and to more advantage.
Angel got his balance and stepped forward.
With utter amazement and delight, he saw Spike reaching out to hug him…
no…. Oh, fuck… to catch him….
Angel fell into the darkness of a dead faint toward the floor, but he
sank with the total conviction that he had not actually been allowed to
* * * * * *
He came to in bed with a mug of blood held to his nose. Its rich smell
had woken him.
‘You don’t bloody eat enough.’
Angel focused on the familiar chewed cuticles and replied softly, ‘And
that from a well-known glutton….’
‘Yeah, well.’ Spike handed over the blood and stared at it morosely. ‘It
don’t give me the same pleasure these days, ya know?’
Angel did. But the wonder of it was that he only then got that Spike did
know this—that this slim man had long dark nights of the soul, too; that
Spike was the only one in the world who could know how he felt.
Everything he wanted from Spike seemed poised between them like a tiny,
fragile wild bird, waiting to take wing or die from neglect. Friend, lover,
companion…. He could have it all if he held out his hand and took it,
‘Spike….’ His tone betrayed which of these his body wanted to nurture
first—there could be no mistaking such low, husky need.
Spike stood up, clearly agitated. ‘You’ve gotta be bloody kidding! I’m
not going to… with you! Jesus! I don’t even like you!’
Angel darted out his hand, his fingers folding, for one longed-for instant,
over a perfect, hard erection. ‘Your body likes me.’ Spike wrenched
away with a force that would have broken steel bonds, the momentum carrying
him to the door. Before he could escape the room though, Angel added slyly,
‘There’s only one reason you wouldn’t want to fuck with me.’
The hook was in. Spike turned his head, curiosity his undoing, and Angel
reeled him in. ‘You don’t want to because it wouldn’t be just fucking:
it would mean more to you.’
Spike struggled in the trap that had so effectively been set for him.
Angel watched this internal battle and felt a surge of vindication. It
would mean more to Spike.
But Spike would never admit it He couldn’t—the act had been too
well perfected, the lines learnt by heart, the gestures now those of a
master illusionist. He was aroused; he could not admit it for what
it was; he had to dismiss it as something else—and so the trap snapped
shut. Spike lit a cigarette, slowly, taking his time. Then he sauntered
closer and blew smoke at Angel. ‘I’m not averse to some fucking around.
Why not? ‘S not like I’ve had a better offer recently.’
Saying it had been one thing, doing it proved to be something else entirely.
There was too much baggage between them; so much so that Angel’s real
plan, which had been to wear Spike down with the power of his tongue and
the force of his need until Spike admitted the same need, had no room
to develop. There were too many masks hiding the truth of Spike’s expressions,
too many roles played and perfected for William, the one Angel really
wanted, to emerge.
And it wasn’t as if Angel was his most persuasive or winning either; he
couldn’t move without wincing.
Added to all this was the fact they were both dressed and it was the middle
of the day.
Nevertheless, following through with his bravado, Spike came forward,
aggressively unbuttoning his jeans.
It bewildered Angel for a moment that a century of pain was about to end
now. There should be something special to mark the moment, some great
disturbance in the universe. He was about to deconstruct Spike and find
his William beneath.
It was all so clear in his mind, passion burned his belly, but then there
was a cock thrust in his mouth; Spike was arching with pleasure, and Angel…
just lost it—his self-control and the moment. He sucked and licked and
moaned, and there was no time to say anything to make the moment mean
more. There was no passionate declaration, no tearing apart of any of
Spike’s constructs. It was just fucking, and he needed it. This
was the cock he had fantasised over, dreamt of, missed until his own ached,
blamed and hated and feared over the long years since he’d last tasted
it. It bulged his cheeks, thrust into his throat and distracted his mind
from the pain, which had wracked his heart long before an ice hook ripped
it apart. He knew the dreams of endless questioning would now be over.
Spike grabbed his head and held him by the ears as he thrust, and whatever
else he was faking, he wasn’t faking this intense arousal. Angel ignored
the pain from his reforming ribs and turned onto his side, wanting to
slow things down, now drawing the erection languidly into his mouth then
releasing it, teasing, in and out, tasting the essence of male sex oozing
against his tongue. Before long though, Spike’s urgency overcame him;
he wanted more, wanted him. Kneeling, fumbling awkwardly to reach
inside Angel’s pants, he left his own cock standing pale and angry against
his dark shirt.
And when Spike’s mouth descended upon him, with no preparation whatever,
It was as quick as that.
His body convulsed more violently than it had when skewered on a hook.
He writhed to an orgasm that had been building for over a hundred years,
memories his foreplay. Spike swallowed some of the release but let the
rest shoot out onto the expensive suit, now concentrating on his own incipient
release, pulling his cock, eyes closed, intent on some private fantasy.
When he came, he kept his hand cupped over the squirting wetness as a
man alone might do to prevent unnecessary mess. It was clean and clinical,
and only the deep twitch of a muscle in his jaw gave away the pleasure
he was experiencing.
He finished and backed away from the bed, wiping his hand on the shirt
he pulled out to cover his softening penis.
Angel twitched up the sheet, feeling foolish lying exposed with his suit
There didn’t seem anything much to say, so neither attempted it.
Spike left, and Angel watched his retreating back, wondering if he’d unintentionally
found the one thing that would finally cause Spike to leave LA.
In some ways, at that moment, Angel almost wished he would. The thought
of meeting him after this was so excruciatingly embarrassing he felt separation,
even death, was preferable.
* * * * * * *
The next day though, he felt quite well. He’d woken with stiffness in
his shoulder and groin, both of which he was able to work off quite efficiently.
He rode with some wariness to his office; the sense of having bitten off
more than he could chew quite new to him. He relaxed when he saw that
the lobby was empty but kept a watchful eye on it whenever anyone made
Wesley seemed very pleased to see him up and about, and smiled as he laid
out a few papers on the desk. ‘You look very perky.’
Angel nodded and hoped his blush wasn’t visible to human eyes. ‘What’s
‘Shipping records. I’ve hacked into the records of the company that were
receiving the so-called animal feed shipments, and they coincide with
every date that bloody little man Prescott gave us.’
Angel glanced at the meaningless jottings. ‘If their operation is so slick
that we can’t intercept the weapons when they come in, we need to find
out how they are distributing them onwards to the local gangs and intercept
‘My thoughts exactly. And I think we ran across the buyer the other night.’
‘Demon? How do you know he—it—was a demon?’
Angel straightened his tie and said nonchalantly, ‘Spike mentioned it.’
‘Ah.’ Wesley suddenly leant forward and engaged Angel’s intercom. ‘Harmony,
locate Spike will you and have him join us.’
Angel could have killed him.
Wesley, oblivious of the invectives being silently heaped upon him, unwrapped
a toffee and sucked thoughtfully. ‘If we can get a reasonable description
from him, we can circulate it to our contacts. Ah, there you are.’
Angel couldn’t decide which was worse: looking at Spike or not looking
at him. He took the option that made him feel less defensive and looked.
To his deep discomfort, Spike was giving him a similar, quick glance.
They both looked away, but when Angel looked back, Spike did, too.
Wesley twisted in his seat and waved Spike to the one next to him. Spike
sat, reluctance obvious in his studied nonchalance. ‘Angel says you think
that his attacker was a demon. Can you describe it? Did you recognise
‘It was very big.’
Wesley gritted his teeth, annoyed. ‘That’s not a lot of help, Spike.’
Spike crossed one ankle over his thigh and appeared to find something
of interest on his boot, but when Angel allowed himself this to safely
study the bent head, Spike’s eyes lifted from under lowered lids. This
time, neither looked away for some time, until with puzzled expressions
they went back to whatever it was they had found to pretend interest in.
Angel forgave Wesley his earlier blunder, for he was now filling the embarrassing
gap nicely, chatting in a way only an up-tight Englishman who senses he
is missing something can. Angel risked another glance at Spike, and this
time there was no mistaking the look that greeted him. They were both
clearly thinking the same thing. Angel shifted in his seat and saw Spike
slowly lower his crossed leg to the floor and close his duster over his
lap. Despite the relief he’d given himself only half an hour ago, Angel
began to ache so badly it was like pain that needed anaesthetic, an itch
that, unsatisfied, could drive a man wild. His clothes were not cut for
erections; they were cut for elegance and the way they would drape on
his substantial frame. Erections were an intrusion, and given the current
situation, he could not say this one was welcome. He edged his chair closer
to the desk. Suddenly, Spike said, ‘Maybe I could do one of those artist
Wesley nodded. ‘Of course. Good idea. Can you draw?’
Spike raised his eyes to Angel. ‘No… but Angel can.’
Wesley rose. ‘Excellent. See what you can both come up with then.’
They hardly waited a decent amount of time for him to leave the office
before they both strode to the elevator, and, had he seen their expressions,
Wesley would have been pleased at their evident eagerness to explore what,
exactly, they could come up with.
Angel seized him in the elevator. Spike allowed himself to be seized.
Angel thrust one hand down the front of loose jeans, and with the other
cupped Spike’s neck to pull him into a kiss. Spike jerked his head away
at this and snarled, shoving Angel back against the wall. Angel felt a
painful jolt of disappointment, but it was tempered by the enormous bubble
of excitement deep in his gut. He desperately wanted to kiss Spike, but
as he had said, fucking was at least something. It appeared it would have
to be everything. He pushed his need for Spike’s reciprocation, his attention,
his friendship and his love, deep into the recesses of his mind and took
what was being offered. He pushed back, and he was bigger and stronger
and could push harder. Spike’s stagger coincided with the doors opening.
He fell out; Angel was on top of him, and they rolled, stripping and biting
and using hands like weapons. Blood heated between them and spilled from
bite marks, smearing sticky over their revealed bodies. Naked, other fluids
added to the musky, ripe smells as they writhed in sunlight. Finally,
Angel’s power won out, and he held Spike face down by the back of his
neck, panting with victory and arousal. When he took him, it was hard
to tell the act apart from rape. Only they knew that Spike’s desperate
cries were not denial or fury or that his writhing attempted no escape.
Angel rose over the imprisoned body and rode it mercilessly. If this was
to be just fucking then it would be just that: fucking. It would bruise
guts, tear internal walls and release them both through friction, blood
It would satisfy the demons inside them for want of satisfying something
Toward the end, Angel released Spike’s neck and spread his hands either
side of the blond head. Any remaining indication that this might have
been rape was immediately dispelled when Spike lifted his hips to receive
deeper penetration. Angel groaned and caught him around the chest, hugging
him close the closer he came to release. The thrusts were shorter and
harder now, as the effort to come took on a jerky rhythm of its own. The
unsatisfying nature of the fucking obsessed Angel: he wanted to nuzzle
into Spike’s sweaty neck and say something dumb. He wanted Spike to laugh
and wrap his arms around those embracing him. Working through this fantasy
in his mind, Angel began to stroke his thumb over Spike’s nipple then
teased it between thumb and finger. In his imagination, Spike lifted one
arm over his head and pulled him in close, whispering something that made
him swell inside the hot tightness embracing him. The fantasy alone was
enough to tip him over the edge, and he began to tremble as his cock jumped
and spurted into Spike. He could hear Spike’s delight, and revelled in
the sound of his voice—until his orgasm was over and reality returned.
‘Fuck you, you bastard. Fuck you. Fuck you!’ Angel realised that,
far from delight being in Spike’s cries, he was pinning the smaller vampire’s
arms to his side so tightly he could find no relief for himself. This
reality was so different from his fantasy that he fell back onto his heels,
his cock leaving the tight rectum with an audible, wet plop. Spike rolled
away to one side then punched him. It wasn’t very hard, but it was heartfelt.
Angel caught at the arm and held it, his gaze raking Spike’s face. ‘Is
this what you want? Is this all you freaking want, Spike? A sordid fuck
on the floor?’
Spike yanked his arm away. ‘I’ve had worse, Mate. Trust me, I know sordid,
and we’re not even close yet.’
He blinked as if he realised he’d said too much. Angel smiled maliciously.
‘Yet? What makes you think I’ll let this happen again?’
Spike laughed bitterly. ‘Yeah. I wasn’t the only one in that office not
thinking about bloody sketching.’
The idea of Spike thinking about fucking him aroused Angel on some fundamental
level, and for the first time it occurred to him that for Spike to maintain
such a consummate act of disdain all these years, he must have thought
about him almost constantly. His anger suddenly evaporated. Wasted years.
So many wasted fucking years of loneliness. And it was all going to waste
now, too. He stood up and stepped into his pants, fastening them as best
he could. Spike stood up, too, and grabbed his arm. ‘If you can’t take
the heat, you know what they say: don’t go into the sodding kitchen.’
Angel pulled his arm away. The gesture made Spike’s erect cock wobble.
It almost looked like a wave of distress. Angel closed his eyes and put
a hand to it. Once more, there was no refusal at all. It was warm and
hard and filled his fist, and he explored different holds, just standing
with his eyes closed next to Spike.
This warm intimacy could have finally been the start of something loving.
He could cup his other hand behind Spike’s neck and pull him close for
a long kiss. Spike’s smile would intrude between their lips—as it always
had done. Spike, who always found life funny, even the things that weren’t;
or perhaps expressing his emotions in humour, unable, as he was, to express
feelings so deep in any other way. Angel felt something trickle down his
cheek, a tickle so insistent it was impossible to ignore—but he did. He
didn’t want to draw attention to the fact he was crying. It didn’t seem
to go with the hand job somehow.
He stood closer and put his face over Spike’s shoulder. Only then, did
he risk opening his eyes, letting the tears run free. He increased his
work on the impossibly stiff cock, concentrating on the slurpy sound his
palm made as it cupped over the fleshy knob. He hoped Spike was concentrating
on it, too: his tears were private. Finally, Spike jerked in his fist,
and for the first time, he put a hand gently, lovingly on Angel’s body.
But he only needed a prop to stop himself from falling. Angel didn’t care.
He took the feeling of Spike’s hand on him into his heart, and as the
tears rolled down his face, he forced himself to find being Spike’s prop
enough to take the pain away.
Even as the last few drops of Spike’s sperm were milking into his hand,
Angel pulled away and went into the bathroom. He dashed his tears away
and covered his eyes for a moment. Only then did he realise that he’d
used the hand that was full of Spike’s come.
To Angel’s intense surprise, Spike was still there when he emerged from
the shower. He grabbed the towel tighter around his waist and stared openly
at the silent figure that, dressed only in jeans, was drinking some blood,
staring out of the window.
Without turning around, Spike said, ‘I thought we’d better do this picture
thing—case the watcher gets suspicious.’
It was about the lamest excuse he’d ever heard, but Angel didn’t feel
in the mood for examining it and picking it apart to make it fit his needs.
He pulled on some loose drawstring pants and a T-shirt and went to fetch
Engrossed in the not examining why Spike would come up with such a lame
excuse to stay, he did not see the careless mistake he’d made in agreeing
to sketch with Spike until it was too late. Very casually, he replaced
the book. ‘Let’s do this later. I’m… we…. I have work to do.’
Spike twisted his neck around with a suspicious look. ‘What…?’ He strode
over and grabbed the pad. Angel let him take it. It was too unseemly to
struggle. And he could not deny the tiny part of himself that wanted Spike
to see some indisputable evidence of his pain.
Page after page of the pad were filled with pictures of Spike—conjured
from Angel’s heart-worn memory.
Spike turned the pages, slowly at first, then with increasing pace, as
he seemed to want the discovery over, yet was unable to stop until he’d
seen them all. The latter ones had been done in Sunnydale, the very last
in LA. That one had Angel in as well. It was the one Spike lingered over
longer than he’d looked at all the rest. Angel was chained, hanging from
the ceiling, and Spike was standing behind him, his chin almost upon Angel’s
shoulder. It was a clever picture. When you looked at it one way, Spike
was taunting Angel, cruel in his vindictiveness. When you looked at it
another, they were fucking, and the expressions on their faces were extreme
from male pleasure, not pain or torment. Like the picture of a young woman,
which could be turned into an old hag just by concentrating on it, so
could this picture’s story be altered to suit the viewer’s perception.
Angel knew why Spike lingered over this picture. As soon as he’d drawn
it, he’d known that the obsessive study of his relationship with Spike,
worked through in charcoal and velum, was over. This picture defined it.
Agony or ecstasy, pain or pleasure, the sketch had succeeded in blurring
the lines that divided these extremes. It was all a matter of perspective.
Carefully, Angel took the book from Spike’s hands and replaced it on the
shelf. Spike still stared at his fingers as if something from the graphite
had marked them indelibly.
Angel studied the lowered head for a moment then said gently, ‘Do you
want to shower and stay for a while?’
Spike jerked his head up, his eyes flicking over to the steam emerging
from the small room. He hesitated then nodded.
Angel hesitated too then cautiously put out a hand to the back of Spike’s
neck—to hold? to pet? to bind them together forever? He didn’t get a chance
to find out which: Spike sidestepped with a scornful look, scooped up
his shirt and coat and strode to the elevator instead.
* * * * * * *
Very quickly it became clear to Angel that although just fucking
had made sense to them both as a concept, it wasn’t so easy to play out
in reality. Such a plan had never, perhaps, been designed for two people
who already knew each other so well—who had already shared a loving relationship.
Nor had it been designed for close working colleagues. They were sleeping
together; by default they were intimates; yet they were not allowing themselves
to play that intimacy to its natural conclusion. Nor, however, could they
just part and forget—as people fucking on a one-night stand might.
And it wasn’t just him suffering this confusion. It wasn’t just him talking
to Spike differently, reacting differently when Spike came into the room.
He noticed Spike doing it, too. At the weekly staff meeting, Spike actually
laughed genuinely at something Angel said—vampire humour that the others
had clearly not appreciated. It was a tiny thing, followed up by an amused
exchange of looks. But then their eyes had dropped, confusion reigning
once more, silencing them both for the remainder of the meeting.
It happened again later that evening. Deciding to drive through some of
the gang areas, looking for the weapons they were trying to track, Gunn,
Fred, Wesley and the vampires met in the garage to split the search between
them. Before the humans had begun to partner off, Spike and Angel chose
a car and climbed in together. It was only when the humans went quiet
that they realised how uncharacteristic this desire for each other’s company
must seem to their colleagues. Changing, however, would have been more
embarrassing, so Angel slid the car into drive and slowly pulled out of
the garage. He glanced in the mirror at the group. ‘That threw them.’
Spike snorted with quiet amusement.
Angel glanced at him, thinking how easily intimacy could grow between
two people, above and beyond the physical. It made him ache with the need
to do or say more. He glanced at Spike’s profile once more.
‘Watch the road.’
Angel sighed and dragged his eyes back. After a heavy pause, he said somewhat
morosely, ‘Why are you doing this?’
‘Stop the car!’
‘Stop the fucking car!’
‘I’m not going to—.’
Spike opened the door and began to climb out.
Angel swore colourfully and swerved to the side of the road, jerking to
a halt. ‘Jesus! You moron! All right! You freak! No talking…! Happy?’
He pulled back into the stream, considering putting child-locks on the
Spike lit a cigarette, and when it was burning to his satisfaction, he
said, ‘I hate you.’ He took a long drag. ‘That’s why, if you want to know.
I hate you, and I’m enjoying watching you suffer.’
Angel laughed and was still laughing even as he managed a more controlled
stop. Spike slammed out of the car, and Angel climbed out after him. He
tried to suppress his laughter, but it bubbled out. ‘Hate me?’
Suddenly, he sobered and said more distinctly, ‘It’s been a good act,
Spike. You’ve kept it up for over a century. I’m impressed, I really am.
But do you know what? I saw through it as soon as I got my soul. When
you got yours, I actually began to find it funny.’
Spike thrust his face forward aggressively. ‘You are such a complete piss-artist,
Angel. Yeah, I have got a bloody soul, and I know what that means. It
doesn’t turn you into a mind-reading fucking seer. It’s just a sodding
Angel looked down at his feet and scuffed a small pattern in the dust.
‘I didn’t mean that. It wasn’t until I was cursed with my soul that I
got how much I hurt you.’ He looked up. ‘I didn’t think it could be an
act—how could it be over something so… trivial. Then it was soul-time
for Angelus, and it wasn’t trivial at all—nothing was. Nothing I’d ever
done. And in not having you, I suddenly got how you must have felt… not
having me.’ He waved his hand, dismissive of the words he’d used, angry
that he couldn’t find better ones. ‘You know all this. You’ve always had
a soul of sorts, Will. Always.’
‘Don’t call me that.’
‘Why not? If it’s not an act, why should you care what I call you?’
‘Stop twisting me up, Angel! Stop playing with my sodding head! You’re
a dumb oaf that I hate! That’s all!’
Angel shook his head almost regretfully. ‘I’m not dumb, Will. I’ve outlived
everyone I’ve ever known—and not by clean living either. I’m not clever
like you, I know that, but I’ve got more street-smarts in my fucking pinkie
than you’ve got in your whole damn body.’
‘Oh, this is just peachy: it’s back to dick-measuring time again.’
‘You wear your heart on your sleeve. You may be clever, but you sacrifice
yourself for love. It’ll be your undoing.’
Spike stepped forward. ‘No! You are my undoing. You plague me! You took
my life; you took my bod—.’ He stopped suddenly, as if realising that
for a demon that supposedly didn’t give a shit, he was about to give far
too much away.
Suddenly Angel grabbed his arms and flattened him to the ground.
Caught totally unawares, utterly outraged, Spike brought his knee up into
Angel’s balls. Angel gasped but panted out, ‘Stay down.’
‘Red light. On your forehead.’
Spike blinked then said slowly, ‘And we are vampires? Bullets no kill?’
Angel frowned then said defensively, ‘Have you ever been shot in the head
by a high-velocity sniper’s rifle?’
Spike contorted his face with varieties of scorn. ‘Oh, bloody hell! I
don’t believe it! Big gonads time again! No, Wanker, I’ve not been shot
by a freaking sniper—okay?’ He struggled to get out from Angel’s grip,
but Angel held him down.
‘Even vampires can’t recover from the brain damage of a bullet to the
head!’ He shrugged and loosened his grip slightly. ‘On the other hand,
when you can’t tell the difference….’
Spike narrowed his eyes.
Angel smiled and fought with every ounce of self-control not to kiss Spike’s
nose. ‘Come on.’ He rolled off and in a low crouch ran for the shelter
of the building. Spike followed suit, followed himself by a very telling
trail of small dust explosions.
‘Bloody hell! Someone’s bloody shooting at us!’
Angel pulled him in, and they stood with backs flattened to the wall.
‘How did they know we’d be here?’
‘What do you mean?’ Spike leant around the corner for a look then flung
back as a bullet chipped the brickwork next to him. ‘You think this is
aimed at us? That they know us?’
Angel turned his head. ‘You think this was just an unlucky coincidence?’
‘Yeah. Sure. We didn’t know we’d be here—how could they? You were the
pillock that pulled over!’
Angel pursed his lips. ‘There were half a dozen M40A3s stolen from Quantico
last month. Wesley reckoned they were in the last shipment we tracked.’
‘Well, okay, I have no idea what you just said; it’s a very big
coincidence, but it’s just that—a coincidence.’
Still pursing his lips, Angel was staring at the car. ‘Fuck. It was bugged.’
‘There weren’t already here—they were following us.’
Spike digested this slowly. ‘Oh.’ Suddenly, he began to shrug off his
coat. ‘Bollocks to this!’ Unencumbered, he took off across the space that
separated them from the would-be assassin. Angel shouted after him then
gave chase. They both came to a halt by the car. No shots. It seemed incredible,
but their senses told them that the killer, whoever he was, was not going
to shoot them. Spike lifted his face to the building, scanning the windows.
Angel frowned, doing the same.
‘Why did he stop now? He’s got a clear line of sight….’
Spike looked equally puzzled. He jogged back to get his coat and then
followed Angel over to the main door of the building.
They broke in and located an office on the fourth floor with a smashed
lock. They entered cautiously, even though their senses told them there
was no danger of finding anyone. The only sign that something untoward
had occurred in the dingy room was an open window that looked down onto
the space where Angel had left the car.
Spike went to the window and leant on it. ‘Smells like a demon. Dunno
what sort. Could be vampire.’ He got no response and turned to find Angel
watching him through hooded lids. Spike rolled his eyes fractionally and
turned away once more. ‘Don’t even think it.’
Angel came closer. ‘Why not? All that adrenalin…. Don’t tell me you’re
Angel came up close, close enough to touch Spike if he’d wanted. ‘I make
Spike was silent for a moment then he replied neutrally, ‘Lots of things
make me hard. Don’t flatter yourself.’
Angel stepped closer so their clothes touched. ‘I
make you hard.’
Spike tried to move away, but Angel closed upon him, pinning him to the
window. ‘I make you hard.’
‘Yes! All right! You do!’ He banged Angel’s arm away and went to stand
by the desk, hunched, hands in pockets. ‘You do. Is that what you want
to hear? Don’t mean anything.’
‘You want me.’
Spike looked even more miserable if that were possible. ‘Yes. God help
me, but I do.’ He glanced around and almost groaned. ‘I want your body,
but that’s all.’
Angel began to unbutton his shirt. ‘You want to touch me.’
Spike closed his eyes, but his face betrayed intense alertness, as he
if were following the progress of the buttons in his imagination. Suddenly,
Angel thrust his shirt against Spike’s face, grinding it around. ‘Smell
me, Spike.’ Then he pulled it off and stared as Spike opened his eyes.
‘No.’ He brushed a finger over Spike’s cheekbone. ‘I want soft and gentle
this time. I want to kiss you.’
Spike brought his knee up, but Angel had anticipated this, and he just
stepped forward, forcing Spike to sit back on the edge of the desk. He
pinned him there, hands flat on the desk, arms rigid. ‘Kiss me.’
‘Fuck off, you ponce!’
Angel lifted one hand, imprisoned the back of Spike’s neck and forced
him into a kiss. It gave definition to the expression kiss of life. Wide-mouthed,
Angel tried to kiss the life back into their love. The kiss was like the
pull of the moon: an irresistible physical force upon Spike. Spike could
not have kept his mouth still if he’d been a statue, and before either
of them knew it, his thighs had parted to admit Angel, and his fingers
were deep in Angel’s hair, scrunching it like a cat kneading a cushion
Standing so tight between Spike’s legs, Angel could feel the jeans-clad
bulge against his own hardness, and for that moment it was as good as
Pulling back slightly, he hung his mouth over Spike’s and whispered against
the saliva-slick pinkness, ‘Accept what I have to offer, Spike—all of
it: together, lovers again….’
Spike lifted his face—accepting?—then replied distinctly, ‘Accept what
I’m willing to give or I’ll take that away, too.’
There was total impasse as the two powerful demons waited tensely for
the other to capitulate.
Angel was the one to finally close his eyes and nod. Then he stepped back
and picked his shirt off the floor. ‘Okay. You win. Let’s go.’
Spike hesitated, fiddling with a stapler. ‘I thought you wanted to….’
He let the implication hang in the air.
Angel shrugged. ‘So did I.’
Spike caught his arm. ‘So?’
Angel looked down at the hand. ‘I’m suddenly not in the mood.’
Spike hesitated then wound his arms sinuously around Angel’s neck and
kissed him, taking his mouth with a skill honed over many decades. ‘You
do make me hard, Angel. See? I’ll admit it. I want your body—can’t
help it. Love those sodding muscles. Christ, touch me. Yeah… like that…
Helpless as a child being offered a parent’s love, Angel groaned as his
body betrayed him.
Spike suddenly pulled away and laughed. ‘Poof. You’d fall for any old
There was an audible crack and Spike looked down, shocked, at a hand on
a broken wrist.
Angel shoved him back onto the desk, ripped the shirt off the smooth chest
then tore it free completely. ‘You want just fucking?’ He heaved Spike’s
hips into the air, yanking down his pants, finding him with angry fingers.
Spike gasped and arched, his body a pale bow over the scattered items
on the desk. Angel moved in, releasing his cock from his pants. ‘You were
right. We can go more sordid. We’ll fuck on this desk—then what?
Wanna be taken in the john?’ He rammed his fingers in deep, hard and fast,
finding a savage rhythm. ‘Tell you what….’ He swept the desk clear, heedless
of the breakages or the mess and pressed Spike down. ‘Let’s do it on the
copier next.’ He dragged Spike’s legs up to his shoulders and heaved his
ass closer. ‘You like my muscles? Try this one.’ He powered deep into
the slicked rectum, utterly immune to Spike’s pleasure or pain. He watched
the mixed expressions ripple across the mobile features then leant low
and held the blond head still with one hand so the smaller vampire could
not escape a stare that was as penetrating as cock. ‘You want to fuck?
Then that’s what we’ll do, Spike. And it will be like this every time:
I’ll get off, and you’ll lie beneath me being fucked, and it will mean
nothing to me. You mean nothing to me—a pretty fist, a hole
that begs to be filled. You’re just a cunt that doesn’t whine and want
to talk afterwards.’ He put his mouth to Spike’s ear. ‘Sometimes, I’m
not even sure I have a soul. But you? Oh, Will, yours burns so white and
noble and pure. Romance? There’s only one of us who wants that. So, guess
who’s gonna suffer the most, Spike. Not me.’ He finished off with a deep
shiver, digging his fingers into Spike’s shoulder until tiny red crescents
appeared. ‘Nice.’ Pulling out, shaking off like a man at a urinal, he
hitched his pants and tidied himself away. ‘Why don’t you walk back? Give
us both a break.’ He took the keys out and swung them cheerfully around
his finger as he sauntered out.
* * * * * *
He was a good actor, and he had no doubt he’d fooled Spike. He was almost
convinced that he’d fooled himself. And he probably would until the first
time he tried to close his eyes to sleep. Then he knew the truth would
burn. He wondered if Spike’s truths burnt him or whether, over time, the
acting became easier.
He had just eased behind the wheel of the car when the passenger opened,
Spike climbed in, and the door was slammed. ‘Ponce! I’m not gonna bloody
walk! This is the U-nited States!’ He glanced at Angel’s stormy profile.
‘Jesus—everything is so black and white with you! Fucking—loving. Why
do you have to be so bloody pedantic? Haven’t you ever met a total stranger,
fucked their brains out then gone your separate ways without a look back?
Fucking can be fun, Angel!’
‘You’re not a stranger. You’re anything but. I sometimes think I know
you better than I know me.’
‘Oh, where’s my sodding violin? You know jack-shit about me.’ However,
this last was said in a tone far less strident, less demanding of an exclamation
mark, and with a hint of genuine sadness adding poignancy that was absent
in some of his more colourful tirades.
Angel put the car into drive and turned back the way they had come. After
some suitable time had passed for them both to reflect on Spike’s assertion,
Angel murmured, ‘You okay?’
Spike was in the process of lighting a cigarette and waited until he’d
taken a first drag. ‘I’m not planning to ride a bike for a while.’
Angel glanced over at him. ‘You could have stopped me.’
‘Didn’t say I didn’t enjoy it.’
Angel felt himself stir. Spike liked having his cock inside him.
Spike was feeling that throb and stretch now. Worryingly, the arousal
spread from Angel’s cock to his arsehole, which began to ache, too. He
frowned as he drove through the night, his thoughts companions even more
annoying than Spike. Angelus had been more than willing to submit to his
childe. Angel was not. Emotionally, that was. Physically, he could not
now get the thought out of his mind. He glanced at Spike again more than
aware that only one of them had come in that brief explosive sex on the
desk. Spike was still hard… hard enough to…. His anus gave another anticipatory
spasm. It wasn’t going to happen though. Everything they had or were,
this fragile relationship, was based upon the fact that he was
superior in every way and Spike was a fuck up. He was CEO of the LA branch
of the most powerful law firm in the world. He was wealthy. He was successful.
He had cool clothes and serious vehicles. He had saved the world. Spike,
on the other hand, had only just become solid. Spike was destitute and
reliant entirely on him. Spike had accidentally saved the world
in his place because he had been generous enough to let
Buffy play it her way. There was
more inequality between them now than there had been when Spike was his
newly turned childe. Angel nodded brusquely, happy with this conclusion
and refusing to acknowledge the tiny voice in his head that whispered
that any inequality existed only in proportion to his own fragile ego.
Angel jumped. ‘What?’
Spike ground his cigarette out on the dash and lit another. ‘Thinking,
thinking, thinking. You bloody wear me out with all your thinking!’
‘Me! Jesus! You never shut down! I never knew what you were going to come
out with next. What is God? Where are our souls? Why do we get hard if
we’ve no pulse? Why don’t we need to piss? How come—?’
‘And you never had any answers for me, did you Sire?’
Despite the scornful tone in which the last word was said, Angel glanced
over and said sadly, ‘It’s been a long time since you called me that.’
‘It’s been a long time since it meant anything.’
‘But it did—mean something once?’
‘Sure. You murdered me—sired me.’
Angel didn’t rise to the deliberate provocation, his mind having moved
onto another tack. ‘Have you? Ever sired anyone?’
Spike hesitated, staring at his cigarette. ‘Once, ‘parantly.’
‘Apparently? You don’t—what? Remember?’
‘Nope. I was being made to do things—couldn’t remember them afterwards.
Didn’t want to.’
‘How do you—?’
‘Buffy told me.’
The familiar Buffy tension crept into the car with them, a third person,
invisible but every bit real.
‘Male or female?’
‘Childe…. Jesus, that sounds weird.’
‘Why don’t you want to tell me?’ He took another glance. ‘It was a man.’
Spike pouted. ‘So?’
Now Angel had badgered him to this point he wasn’t all that sure what
the so actually was. It had something to do with everything, but
he was a little confused what everything actually was between them—what
it had been for a hundred years. He steered the conversation onto safer
ground. ‘We’ll need to get the car de-bugged.’
Spike roused from some deep thought of his own and said off-hand, ‘Might
be useful to keep it on.’
‘Well, they don’t know that we’ve discovered it.’
Angel nodded. ‘Clever. I’ll have the others swept though.’
Spike chuckled. ‘That’s the first nice thing you’ve said to me since you
fucked me over in a school hallway.’
‘No, it’s not….’ Thinking hard and trying to find another example of when
he’d said something nice to Spike, Angel missed their exit and swore.
Spike snorted in amusement. ‘Told ya.’
Angel hesitated for a moment then said, staring resolutely ahead, ‘I think
I told you that I want to spend the rest of my life with you and that
I love you. Does that count?’
Once more, Spike laughed, but it was less sure than his other, bitter
Angel felt a surge of anger and gripped the wheel tighter. ‘Am I going
to be told why?’
‘Do you really need to be told why?’
Angel came to an exit and pulled the car so viciously onto the off-ramp
that Spike was flung against the door. ‘Yeah, I do, Spike. I really do.’
Spike looked uncomfortable. He gave a dismissive wave. ‘I’m not talking
‘bout this like… this.’
‘Trapped in a car where you can’t escape the truth?’
‘Stop being so bloody melodramatic, you great big queen.’
‘Tell me, Spike.’
‘Tell me, or I stop the car and we end this now.’
‘Oh, what? You’re gonna stake me? Yeah, I’ll believe that….’
‘No, I’ll dump you out and go back on my own—and I will deny you the next
time I see you. For the rest of eternity I will deny that I know you.’
He turned his head. ‘I don’t make idle threats. You know that. Tell me.’
Spike fiddled with his lighter, clicking it on and off. ‘Because I don’t
Spike lifted his head and stared out of his window. ‘I don’t trust you.
I wouldn’t survive the pain this time—not with this damn soul.’
Angel eased the car over to the side of the street, now quiet in the early
morning. He swivelled in his seat to face Spike. ‘It was a mistake.
It meant nothing. If I could go back and not do it, I would.
You cannot base a whole life philosophy on one tiny, meaningless incident.’
‘It was meaningless to you.’ The words were forced out, as if Spike’s
whole body had held the truth in so long that letting it go was as hard
as giving up life itself.
Angel lowered his head. ‘What a mess I’ve made of everything.’ He rubbed
his hand wearily over his face. ‘I have a soul now, Spike. Doesn’t that
mean anything for trust?’
Spike turned to look at him. ‘I don’t know. Does it? I seem to remember
you telling me—when you were ten inches up my arse—that you didn’t have
‘Yeah, well. Two can play dumb games. I lied.’
‘You’re very good at that.’
‘I’m not lying now.’
‘You weren’t lying back then, but you can’t control your nature—your urges.’
Angel laughed suddenly, the sound disturbing them both. ‘There haven’t
been any… urges… until you made your spectacular comeback. Urge-free zone
Spike almost cringed. ‘Don’t do this. I won’t go through this again.’
‘Things are different now! I’m not Angelus! Nothing could
make me hurt you now!’
Spike put his hands over his ears and dropped his chin to his chest. ‘Don’t.’
Angel pulled one hand away. ‘Let me prove you can trust me.’
‘You gonna get castrated?’
Angel inspected a nail then said slowly, ‘And would you really want that?’
Spike sighed. ‘No. Christ, I think I’m addicted to you. Otherwise I’d
get out of this bloody car and just bugger off.’
Angel hesitated for a moment then lifted his hand and stroked Spike’s
hair. ‘If you let me prove it, then all bets are off, Spike. I’ll do anything,
use any devious tactic: cheat, lie or steal if I have to—to get you back.’
Spike stared ahead for a moment then leant lightly against Angel’s
hand just for the time it took Angel to register the uncharacteristically
loving gesture. ‘Okay… have it your way—but nothing has changed. I still
hate you. I still don’t trust you. I’ll still just use you to get off
when I feel the urge.’
‘And I still think you are lying and that you are dying inside to love
me again. And I’ll make you admit it.’
Spike batted Angel’s hand away, seemingly tired of the caress or the arguing.
‘You can try.’
Angel laughed and patted the slim, hard thigh. ‘I intend to.’
Wesley and the others had arrived back at the firm many hours previous,
having had none of the distractions of the vampires—pleasurable or otherwise.
Angel immediately ordered a sweep of all the vehicles, but left instructions
for anything found to be left in place.
They discovered Wesley, the only one left in a darkened office, reading.
He looked up slightly myopically when they came in. ‘Bloody hell! What
happened to you two?’
They hadn’t given the torn state of their clothing much heed until then,
so Angel replied carefully, ‘We were attacked,’ glad that Wesley would
be unable to smell the more erotic truth.
Wesley stood up and came around their side of the desk. ‘Vampires?’
Spike leant forward and said importantly,
Wesley perched and took of his glasses to clean them, ignoring Spike and
speaking directly to Angel. ‘Did you know them?’
Angel sat on the arm of one of the easy chairs, suddenly feeling weary
and fairly sure it wasn’t anything to do with being shot at. ‘There was
only one, and he shot at us from some distance. Missed, fortunately.’
‘Ah. This can’t be a coincidence.’
They both ignored him, and Angel said, ‘Have any other weapons from the
Quantico raid turned up?’
Wesley paled. ‘You think those damn things are loose on the streets? I
was hoping they’d been sold to some anonymous third world country and
we’d never hear from them again.’
‘We heard from one tonight, Wes. And damn close.’
‘But how did—?’
‘Tracer on the car.’
Wesley rubbed his stubble thoughtfully. ‘We could use this.’
‘That’s what I said.’
Still ignoring Spike’s contributions, Wesley twisted around and pulled
his telephone closer. ‘Let me get some people down to the site for some
detailed forensics. What’s the address?’
Angel’s expression remained fixed. ‘I’m not sure. We were lost.’
‘Damn. Okay, I’ll have my team working on the weapons—see if any others
have turned up.’
Angel shook his head. ‘Go home, Wes. It’s practically morning.’
Wesley nodded, albeit reluctantly. Spike lit a cigarette and said casually,
‘I’ll walk out with you.’
Angel toed the ground and said even more casually, ‘I thought we were
going to… work on some… issues… compare notes.’
‘Nah.’ Spike grinned with his own humour. ‘You’re always so sure your
version of everything is right. What’s the point?’
‘Because I’m going to… convince you?’
Spike leant closer. ‘Kinda hard to do when I’m not here, bets off or not….’
With that, he nodded at Wesley and sauntered toward the elevator. Wesley
frowned with that nagging feeling he was missing something again and wished
goodnight to Angel.
* * * * * * *
It wasn’t until he got up to his apartment and he was calm enough to think
about anything else but hurting Spike (inventively and for a long time)
that Angel got it was now Sunday. Whereas he’d been planning to shower,
rest for a short time and return to work, he now faced the worst day of
the week. Alone, shut up like a freaking princess in a glass tower, he
would see no one and speak to no one for twenty-four hours—unless he made
the effort to go out and seek some companionship. Which he almost felt
bitter enough to do. He wondered idly if there were any soldiers in scarlet
pants in the city and, knowing LA, guessed there were.
He was weak and he was evil and he didn’t deserve to be loved anyway.
There was only one thing to do.
He stripped, pulled on a pair of sweatpants, went down through the empty
building to the training room and took his angst out on a punch bag for
a few hours until his self-hatred had been thoroughly sweated out.
Wiping his face and bare chest on a towel, he went slowly back up through
the still empty offices to his apartment.
He leant on the floor length glass of his living room, looking
out at the gradually rising sun. All over the city, people were waking
up with people. Perhaps they didn’t want to. Perhaps they longed to have
peace and quiet and that deep sense of self that could be lost in the
hurly burly of family living. Perhaps they would envy him, so alone—envy
his space and freedom. Envy all the time he had.
Suddenly, as if the building shuddered to a heave in the earth, Angel
felt an overwhelming sense of vertigo. He closed his eyes, but it wasn’t
the height he was falling into; it was the past. For a moment, it had
been the dream that he had dreamt in another lifetime. A dream of sunlight
and the sadness that came from knowing that Spike did not love him.
He swallowed hard and gritted his teeth against the self-pity that threatened
to swallow him from the inside.
He heard the elevator and started, clutching the towel to his chest with
an uncharacteristically anxious grip. The doors slid open to reveal Spike,
leaning on one wall, smoking. He could not help but see Angel’s changing
countenance—read the flicker of confusion. He shrugged. ‘I got bored.’
Angel laughed mirthlessly. ‘Should I be flattered that you find me slightly
less boring than being bored?’
Spike stepped out. ‘Nope. I find you so boring that by contrast
I’ll come to appreciate being alone in a dingy flat.’
This cheered Angel up immensely—so transparent was Spike’s lie. He chuckled.
Spike flung himself onto the couch. ‘What you got? Virgin?’
‘You wouldn’t touch it if I had.’
Spike ignored him. He was watching Angel thoughtlessly rub under his arms
with the towel. Angel laughed again and threw the sweaty towel at him
as he went to the refrigerator. He could not believe the change in his
mood in such a short space of time. Spike was here, and the trail of thought
and action that must have led to that being true made Angel’s whole body
sing with pleasure when he reflected on it. Spike must have been thinking
of him continually since he left—perhaps his body had betrayed him, too.
Thinking must have led to desire and then need, his image powerful
in Spike’s conscious mind. Had he thought about sleek muscle and how it
felt under his hand? Was he remembering a time when they had shared so
much more than their bodies? Was it that that had finally made him curse
and stomp around his apartment (Angel could actually see this happening
as clearly as if he’d been there to witness it) and give in to the need
to be here?
They would end up in bed—that was beyond doubt. But for now Angel was
experiencing a delicious sense of power and anticipation; his whole body
tingled with it. How long would he let Spike dangle, wanting that explosive,
sexual relief? It gave a whole new definition to the word foreplay, and
he chuckled as he handed Spike a mug of blood. He started to draw out
the agony of expectation…. ‘Seeing as you are here now, there’s something
I want you to do.’
Spike’s eyes flashed with a sparkle of lust he had no control over whatsoever.
Angel crowed inwardly but said maturely, as he fetched his sketchpad,
‘I’d like to do a drawing of you—with your soul this time.’
Spike’s confusion was obvious. Whether it was mingled with thwarted desire
and disappointment wasn’t quite so obvious. Angel told himself that it
was—it was his game, and he could play it to any rules he wanted.
Spike watched, incredulous, until Angel actually sat down on the other
end of the couch facing him, his legs drawn up and crossed. ‘You’ve gotta
be bloody kidding.’
‘I’m not sitting here, posing like a poof.’
‘I don’t want you to pose. I just want you to sit still.’
‘Why…?’ The pause was perfect. ‘Did you have something else in mind?’
Angel was well aware that Spike would not admit the sexual need that had
brought him here; he waited with some amusement to see how he would wriggle
out of this latest trap.
Spike swirled the blood around for a moment. ‘Haven’t you got enough bloody
pictures of me?’
Angel almost felt guilty it was so easy. ‘I want to see if the soul makes
Spike contorted his face, his prelude to something scathing, then seemed
to give up the effort. He gave a dismissive wave. ‘Do what you bloody
Angel bent to his task, well aware that he was still only wearing thin
sweatpants and that although he had dried the sweat on his chest, the
occasional residual drop still fell from his forehead to roll seductively
off sleek muscles that Spike had admitted to admiring. Spike, however,
was staring morosely into the mug, deep in his own thoughts. That wouldn’t
do…. ‘So, what do you want to do today? I thought about going to a museum…?’
Angel lifted his head innocently. ‘Today? Do? You and me?’
‘You’re a bloody riot, you are, Mate.’
Now, however, Angel had a whole fantasy Sunday-self—museums, culture,
living like a real man—in his head, and this new persona began to take
shape. ‘I need to get out of this place sometimes. It’s important, you
know, to stay real. Have hobbies.’
To his surprise, Spike didn’t reply in the flippant, annoyed way he had
been expecting. Instead, he looked slowly around the stark apartment,
unconsciously chewing his lip. ‘You need to get out of here full stop.’
Slightly disconcerted, Angel drew for some minutes before he asked tersely,
‘And that would be why?’
‘Because.’ Spike encompassed the whole building in one wave of his hand.
‘Heat rises, and so does whatever it is that’s being pumped out in this
damn edifice of evil. You’re sitting right at the top of it, Angel, sleeping
with it seeping into you. You’ve changed.’
Angel felt disproportionately annoyed by this comment. If he had changed
from some unspecified previous time, then the catalyst for that change
was sitting right opposite him making the accusation. Nevertheless, his
curiosity was piqued enough to ask, ‘How so?’
Spike frowned—usually a sign he was trying to appear mature—and said,
‘You’re allowing yourself to be used. That’s not like you.’
‘I’m minded to comment that you know jack-shit about me.’
Spike laughed dryly. ‘Touché.’
Angel was silent for a while, maliciously removing some of the beauty
in Spike’s cheekbones and making his eyes more closely set. When his equilibrium
returned he glanced up and asked, ‘If what you say is true, then why are
you here, too? No one is making you stay….’
Spike pouted with a slightly self-deprecating half-smile and murmured,
‘That’s a matter of opinion.’ More loudly, he added petulantly, ‘Come
on…. I’m bored. Let’s do something else….’
Angel was very well aware what Spike wanted to do: he’d smelt his arousal
for some time. However, he was much more interested in picking over Spike’s
murmured comment. ‘You think someone is forcing you to be here? You’re
corporeal now—free to go where you want.’
Spike put the empty mug on the floor and rummaged in a pocket for his
cigarettes. ‘I’m fine right where I am.’
‘In the house of evil.’
‘Yeah, in the house of evil.’ He paused then added in a fond tone, ‘’Sides,
you need someone around who knows from personal experience that the sun
don’t shine outta your backside.’
Angel felt so instantly and absurdly happy that he ripped the vandalised
picture of Spike off the pad and screwed it up. Spike, though, look panicked.
‘What? You can’t see the soul?’
So uncharacteristic was Angel sudden surge of happiness that he did a
very uncharacteristic thing, leaning forward and ruffling Spike’s hair.
‘I see it well enough, Childe.’
There was a moment when this intimate gesture could have gone either way—and
they both knew it. Spike was on the verge of jerking away like a defensive
animal kicked once too often. Then, need for something—reassurance? affection?
touch?—overcame this initial reflex, and he pushed into the caress. They
groaned at the same time, and as Angel was already half-naked and kneeling
over him, it was a very, very short step from a ruffle of hair to a frantic,
lip-crushing kiss, with hands gripping so hard over straining muscles
that they bruised where they touched. Spike pressed his face to Angel’s
neck and breathed in deeply. ‘Christ, you smell so good.’
Angel flushed at the thought that he had not showered and then flushed
some more at the thought of Spike relishing his musky male scent. He tipped
Spike’s neck back and kissed him, long and hard, no prisoners taken, until
they tasted blood between them and had to withdraw. Spike lifted up, Angel
shifted, and somehow they were on the floor, rolling, tables and chairs
victims of their furious lust. Angel found it hard to focus on one desire;
he wanted every pleasure all at the same time. Anatomically impossible
to do more than one, however, he did the easiest, pushing Spike’s head
down to his crotch and grinding the angular face against the soft, damp
cotton. Spike yanked the pants down so hard that Angel’s cock, caught
on the elastic, bounced free with a tautness that caused drops of clear
fluid to flick off. Thinking—hoping—that Spike would go straight for his
cock, Angel gasped in pleased surprise when urgent fingers fondled his
scrotum, pulling the skin until it was stretched and tight and revealing
its concealed delights. Hard spheres, exposed, were then teased and probed
with a hot tongue, causing Angel to arch his back and pull wildly at Spike’s
hair. Spike ignored him and sucked the balls into his mouth, keeping the
sac stretched so their sensitivity made the mouthing more torture than
delight. He was merciless, no pity offered, even as Angel begged—whether
for release or for more he wasn’t sure. Then a finger pressed hard against
his perineum and began to track inexorably downward.
After all this time, the sensation of being penetrated was so extreme
that Angel was about to fight Spike off when the insistent finger found
his nub of pleasure. And pressed. Simultaneously, Spike sucked both balls
into his mouth and released his hold on the loose sac. He sucked and pressed
and sucked and pressed, until with a scream, Angel’s balls shot their
load into his cock, and he emptied the lot over his belly and face as
he lay helpless to Spike’s power on the hard floor. Neither of them had
touched his cock throughout the whole experience, nor had Spike even undone
a button, but Angel lay prostrate on the floor, as quivering and as helpless
as the mess upon his stomach.
* * * * * * *
Spike rose lazily up the long, lean body, licking as he went, slowly extracting
his finger from its hot containment, trailing it back up Angel’s perineum
and into wiry hair.
Angel tried to remember the thoughts he had mulled over on the journey
back about dominance—their relative positions in the scheme of things.
Whatever his views then had been, they seemed fairly meaningless now—now
that his anus throbbed, as if with pride, at taking such a critical part
in his intense release. If a finger could achieve this level of
pleasure, Angel was very sure what he would soon be encouraging to follow
He lowered his eyes to look at Spike, and before the expression was whipped
off the familiar features, he saw that Spike was inordinately pleased
with himself. Angel nodded in recognition that, in this moment, he’d been
* * * * * * *
Eventually, Angel eased his pants up and climbed slightly shakily to his
feet. Spike rose too and eyed him warily. ‘I’ll be off then.’
Angel nodded and tried to look bored.
With amusement, he noted a bitter look flick across Spike’s face before
the blond vampire had time to hide it. He chuckled inwardly. Spike’s I-hate-you
act was definitely not at its best. He waited until Spike tried to push past him
then, in a rush of immense power, wrestled him to the bed, where they
fell in a tangle. He stopped Spike’s cursing with his mouth, sucking the
invectives out of him, thrusting his tongue in hard to take their place,
licking the places they’d touched, replacing bitterness with sweet saliva—and
Spike responded like an addict craving sugar. His mouth tasted erotically
salty from Angel’s fluids, and it opened wide, inviting Angel in. The
only sounds in the apartment then were wet ones: slapping and slurping
of careless, greedy kisses. Gradually, Angel began to undress Spike, button-by-button,
item-by-item, until he possessed his skin. It still wasn’t enough. He
wanted to be inside the hard body, enjoying Spike from within,
where he was hotter, wetter and tighter. He pushed the elastic of his
waistband below his cock, then lower, so his balls hung out, heavy and
swinging. There was a pause, and Angel filled it by learning Spike’s body,
stroking flank or belly or thigh. ‘How do you want it?’ His voice shocked
him with its husky arousal. Spike’s eyes dilated fractionally then, very
slowly and explicitly, he half-turned, propped up with one hand so he
could see every move that Angel made upon his body. Angel nodded and stood
at the side of the bed, pulling him closer. With an almost clinical concentration
that was in such contrast to the wildness preceding it, and all the more
carnal for that, he worked his erection into Spike’s body. Each inch caused
Spike’s neck to stretch back further, each inch his spine to bow. The
final inch eluded them until Angel pulled out fully and Spike lifted to
his hands and knees, offering his hole spread like a sacrifice. When Angel
slid back in they fit together as perfectly as a sword in its scabbard.
With wiry hair scratching stretched cheeks, Angel circled, feeling his
cock lengthen to the stimulus of being so entirely pleasured. Unconsciously,
he began to stroke the small of Spike’s back in similar circles, not allowing
himself the intense delight yet of pull or push.
Although this was nothing new to them, every time it happened, Angel was
in awe that Spike was willing to give him his body in this way. As he
stroked the bony spine and enjoyed the sight of Spike stretched tight
and pale around his thick, blood-flushed cock, it seemed incongruous to
him that Spike would do this, yet resist emotions that must give
rise to the desire for it. Angel had never given his body in this intimate,
almost feminine way to anyone else, and he could not imagine doing so.
He gave it thus to Spike because he loved him. Why was Spike willing to
do this incredible thing, open himself up so utterly to him, when he would
not open one chink of his heart?
Spike suddenly pushed off from his hands and leant back against Angel’s
broad chest. With a quiet sigh, he said gently, ‘Stop thinking so much.’
Angel wrapped his arms around Spike’s chest and rested his chin on the
bony shoulder. If either of them got the reversed similarity of the pose
in Angel’s final sketch, neither remarked upon it. Ambiguity shimmered
between them though and it caught on Angel’s vocal chords, making him
husky. ‘I can’t help it, Will. I want things as they once were between
Spike didn’t comment on the use of his given name, only replied, ‘It can’t
be. That’s… broken.’
‘Can’t. Don’t you get it, Luv?’ Still his tone was gentle, almost wistful.
‘That bitch knew exactly how to separate us. No histrionics, no ultimatums
or threats of violence, just your insatiable appetites and your total
inability to love anything more than your own dick.’
If it seemed odd to Angel to be having this conversation whilst that dick
twitched and ached for the off inside Spike’s hot rectum, nothing of this
thought was evident in the way he replied in an equally low tone, ‘I have
a soul now! I’ve changed.’
Spike lifted one hand over his shoulder and ran his fingers into Angel’s
hair. An observer of the scene might have confused this for a very loving
gesture. It confused Angel. ‘Maybe. Maybe you have. But, see, here’s the
rub: I have too. I’ve kinda had it with love over the last few years.
Love almost finished me off for good. I’m spoiled goods. Empty. I want
this,’ he clenched his backside, making Angel hiss in a very good
way, ‘cus I’m still a man, and I still crave your body, but there is nothing
more. You are fucking a corpse, Luv. Souled or not, love ain’t gonna blossom
in this barren soil.’
Angel heard the words, understood their literal intent, but he heard something
else, too. It wasn’t the time or the place though to examine the subtler
undertones of Spike’s confession; that would come later. Angel only knew
that in some strange way, he had just been given the hope he needed to
continue this seemingly hopeless cause. His body responded to the surge
of relief in his heart by surging, too: swelling and lengthening, twitching
and hardening. Spike clearly felt this too and groaned. Angel lowered
his arms to the hard abdomen and tightened his hold.
With swift jerks of his hips, Angel began to fuck Spike hard, giving him
what he’d so readily confessed to needing. They both needed it. He watched
over Spike’s shoulder as Spike added to his own pleasure, fondling heavy
balls, stretching and kneading them harder than any human man could withstand.
Unattended whilst the balls were played with, his cock stood erect, swaying
each time Angel rammed home. The one flushed eye pulsed with a steady
flow of tears, which made Angel’s mouth water to taste salt. He took his
hand off the flat abs and ran his palm over the sticky head. Slowly, with
great anticipation, he brought the wetness to the tip of his tongue and
Spike seized his fingers and brought them urgently to his lips.
Greedy, like a baby, he sucked them into his mouth, and the unexpectedly
erotic sensation brought on Angel’s orgasm. Sperm surged up his cock from
pulsing balls, shooting high into Spike’s body, negotiating his tight
coils then falling weakly back, soaking the still thrusting obstruction,
everything then loose and slurping and noisy as they continued to fuck.
Neither heard nor cared; the sensual sounds were drowned out by grunts
and curses and the slap, slap of flesh on flesh, as Angel’s chest slammed
against Spike’s rigid back.
Spike beat his cock as if frantic to come before the surging inside him
Finally, an arc of white leapt free. It rained down on Angel’s bed, followed
by another and another. Eventually, the arcs trailed off like a fading
stream of piss. One last spurt welled into his hand, and Angel, waiting
and equally greedy, seized it and fed from it as their fused bodies convulsed
with aftershocks of pleasure.
This one moment—come on his tongue, his cock twitching wet in Spike’s
body, Spike limp and spent in his arms—Angel knew could be enough. He
could swap a lonely and celibate eternity for this, if this was all he
could have. But then Spike leant back on the sweat-sticky chest and wrapped
his arms over Angel’s, murmuring, ‘Christ, I love… that,’ and Angel knew
that his previous thought was a lie: he wanted that unguarded confession
to expand and fill all his eternity. Sex, as good as it was between them,
only made him want the elusive but essential rest. He wanted Spike to
say that again, only this time he wanted him to finish as he had originally
* * * * * * *
They collapsed useless to the bed. They weren’t in bed together, just…
both on the bed and not going anywhere else for some time.
Naked, on his belly, stretched, pale and unembarrassed, Spike lay over
to one side, an arm trailing off onto the floor where he was following
the path of a tiny splash of sunlight, which, reflected off something
in the room, was dancing like an elf on the polished wooden floor. Angel
lay nearer the middle of the bed on a damp patch, which was drying and
sticking pleasantly to his back. If he didn’t mention that they were lying
side-by-side and naked in a bed together, he was hoping that Spike would
not notice. Arms folded behind his head, his body just as stretched and
decadent as Spike’s, cock and balls a strangely incongruous nest of ill-disciplined
dark shapes on the otherwise hard, flawless body, he felt a sense of peace
that rarely came to him. The only thing marring his happiness was the
thought that now any refuge he had found in this bed was entirely lost.
He would forever miss the presence of the one who had graced it so briefly
‘So… no trip to the museum then? No little educational excursion for Spike?’
Angel started then blushed faintly at the unexpected, low amused
tone, and Spike laughed knowingly. ‘Yeah. Like you weren’t planning to
do ‘xactly what we’ve just bin doing….’
Angel chuckled, surprised but somewhat pleased that his plan had been
so easily sussed. He slid a hand closer then closer still, and then laid
it on the small of Spike’s back. ‘We could do a museum—if you’d prefer.’
Spike did not reject the hand. Far from it: he wriggled slightly, making
it caress his sensitive skin. ‘I’m learning stuff just fine here, Poof.’
All went quiet for a while. Angel felt himself drift pleasantly then shook
himself awake, angry that he’d missed a minute of something that was so
soon to be withdrawn from him. Only when he realised that he’d been awake
for well over seventy-two hours, with some considerable physical exertion
in that time, did he forgive his need to sleep. He craned his neck to
see the clock on the nightstand then stretched to turn its face to him.
His movement woke Spike from a light sleep. He blinked for a moment as
if trying to get his bearings in the unfamiliar territory then said, more
to himself than Angel, ‘I can’t do this.’
Angel did not try to prevent him leaving—exactly. He just very slowly
and very precisely drew up the exquisitely soft merino wool blanket, which
lay scrunched and discarded at the foot of the bed. Spike twisted his
head over his shoulder and gave Angel a very direct look. ‘I’m not staying.
I’m not sleeping with you.’
Angel hitched the seductive blanket over his shoulder as he turned his
back to Spike. ‘Stay awake then.’ With a private grin, he allowed himself
to fall in into oblivion.
Inevitably, sometime during the day, their sleeping bodies came together
as eagerly as parts of their waking ones did. And fit just as well, too.
Angel woke from a deep and restful sleep to the forgotten sensation of
being embraced, consumed by another. Somehow, like a second blanket, Spike
lay draped across him, sprawled and loose-limbed, warm and pliant. Breathing
deeply, his breath tickled the short hairs on Angel’s neck.
There were many ways that it occurred to Angel he could wake Spike for
some more interesting activities, and each one made him smile in anticipation
of the reaction should he try it. Finally, moving one arm only, he brought
his wrist to his mouth, sloughed off his human features and bit, tearing
open an artery with the practice of three hundred predatory years. Grinning,
he laid the spurting wound over Spike’s open mouth.
Spike did not even wake before he changed, his demon emerging even in
sleep. He lifted his mouth, shark-like from below, and fastened onto the
meal. Angel watched him with the fascination of a mother watching her
newborn suckling: deep and abiding. He had forgotten this. Somehow, incredibly,
in the effort to be human, to walk and talk like a man, he had forgotten
this essential part of themselves—this part of Spike. With a grunt of
power he wrenched Spike from his wrist and plundered the blood-wet mouth
with his. Spike responded as eagerly to this savage kiss as he had to
the blood, and they began to roll with the sticky fluid smearing across
their bed-warm skin.
The sex then was totally uncontrolled, and afterwards, each would have
been hard pressed to say who did what to whom or how often. It was all
tangle of limbs and opportunity. Holes were used and abused, bodies battered,
souls forgotten. Blood flowed so freely that the next day, in the bright,
magical light, Angel found arcs of the dried substance across the walls
over ten feet away. He never could explain them or remember the exact
the moment when he and his childe had shed their fluids as freely as their
inhibitions. He just left them there, a reminder.
By the time they were finished—a state only admitted when both were limp
and sore and shrivelled—they were laughing. What held them apart as men,
what seemed to create nothing but competition and friction in their human
selves, was absent in their demons. Demons should have no need of talk
or bargains, no self-analysis, no tiptoeing around fragile history, no
regrets and no promises. It was intensely liberating, and before he knew
what he did, Angel licked Spike’s belly and said, like an intimate acquaintance,
Perhaps before he realised what he was doing, too, Spike yawned and nodded.
‘But who’s gonna carry me?’
Angel made to try; Spike fought him off, and like the centuries-old, uninhibited
demonic family that they were, they chased each other to the bathroom
before more sober human awareness in them returned.
It did return though. Blood-curdling embarrassment suddenly hit them both—for
the things they had just done to each other as well as for this intensely
vulnerable joint shower. Bodies entered, explored and known in sex were
one thing; standing shrivelled in a shower with soap stinging your eyes
was quite another. A desperate politeness overtook Angel, and he found
himself trying to play the generous host, offering Spike his products
in a desperate attempt not to have to think about the implications of
what they were doing. Spike looked as if he would rather be anywhere but
where he was: sharing a cosy shower stall with Angel and rubbing coconut
exfoliate on his cheeks.
The ill-thought-through shower could have broken for good something that
was tentatively mending. But then in earnest desperation, thoughtlessly,
Angel held up a loofah and offered it politely to Spike.
Spike’s eyebrows lifted, a smile quirked his lips, and suddenly he was
laughing. It shook his whole body, making water flick off in a second
fine shower. Angel watched him and realised that for the first time, he
was actually seeing Spike. Under this powerful stream of hot water, scrubbed
away perhaps on coconut and palm oil, the masks had peeled off. Spike
wasn’t angry or bitter. He wasn’t acting, and he didn’t appear to hate
him at all.
And on that sparkling laugh, Angel had something of a revelation—which
didn’t often happen in his shower. He suddenly got that he didn’t want
William back at all.
He wanted this one.
He wanted Spike.
So, regardless of ignoring Spike’s unspoken rules on how things would
be between them, Angel dropped the loofah and seized the back of Spike’s
neck. He pressed him to the wet tiles and opened his mouth upon him. He
kissed gently and lovingly, wide and wet and seeking deep into Spike’s
laughter-sweet mouth. And just in case Spike missed the difference between
this and what they had been doing for the last few hours on the bed, he
breathed, ‘I love you,’ into the hollow he explored. Giving Spike a small
shake, just to fix this declaration in his mind, he extracted his tongue
and stepped from under the water, selecting a towel. Without turning around,
he held another out for Spike, which was eventually taken. Wordlessly,
Angel padded to the kitchen to heat some blood. When he turned around,
Spike was sitting on the end of the bed, wearing nothing but his jeans,
examining some recent wounds with a distracted, thoughtful air.
‘Sundays could always be like this.’ Angel had not planned to say this
but was glad that he had.
Spike pouted and dabbed at some blood that was still seeping from a deep
bite. Suddenly, he lifted his head and said with some bitterness, ‘I’m
not stupid, Angel. Don’t bloody patronise me! Remember—you only spent
a hundred years missing me; I spent them missing you! Seems
like I got the worse deal. Missing you is something I wouldn’t wish on
my worst enemy.’
Angel strode over and yanked him to his feet. ‘It has all been
an act. You do love me!’
Spike wrenched his arm away, anger flaring so quickly between them again.
‘What does it matter? Truth or lies—it’s over!’
‘No! You missed me! You love me!’
For one moment, Angel thought that he had won, thought he saw total capitulation
in Spike’s eyes, and his mind leapt forward, anticipating the eternity
of love that would flow from this surrender. But then the anger dissolved,
and without it Spike’s eyes were uncharacteristically sad. He eased his
arm away from Angel’s grasp and walked slowly to the window. Leaning on
it, without turning his head to look at Angel, he asked plaintively, ‘Have
you ever been tempted to give up your soul for love?’
Memories of Darla’s unexpected, painful return flashed in Angel’s mind,
but as he walked up to stand behind Spike, he replied firmly and truthfully,
‘I have, did—well, in reverse, I guess. I gave up my nature, what I loved,
for love. I was a timber wolf, but I voluntarily became a lap dog—her
lap dog—wriggling for affection. Did I know what I was taking on? Not
really. How could I know this level of pain and regret?’ He gave Angel
a quick, fond glance. ‘I’d seen you go through it, but you were such a
broody bastard anyway…. I never got it. And I didn’t have time to get
it either! I didn’t have eighty years to indulge myself, skulking in alleyways.
I’d already been called to my great moment. I had a couple of days being
smelly in a basement before, there I was, saving the entire bloody world.
But do you know the beautiful irony?’ Angel got that this was a rhetorical
question and wisely stayed quiet. Besides, he was entranced with watching
Spike’s jawbone move, marvelling at the precise delineation of cheekbone
and muscle. ‘For all I got my soul, nothing really changed. I still did
all my bloody scenes half-naked and bleeding, only this time I was tormented
as well. All that… all this….’ He banged his temple and then his
heart with a closed fist. ‘All of it, I did for love. I destroyed myself
for love, and now there is nothing left.’ His voice had risen in pitch
as his confession flowed between them. ‘Leave me alone.’
Ignoring this plea, Angel stepped closer until it seemed the most natural
thing in the world to slide his arms around Spike’s waist. He was neither
rejected nor welcomed; Spike seemed absent somehow, lost and wandering
in his own sad musings. ‘Then it would all be for nothing. When you were
a demon, your nature drove you to evil. Your soul requires you
to love. You will always be at odds with this new nature of yours if you
‘You speak like a mystic, Angel, a saint. I’m just a man, doing the best
I can to survive a life that torments me at every turn.’ He pulled out
of Angel’s arms, ignored the fact he was naked from the waist up, grabbed
his coat and left.
* * * * * * *
Angel stayed at the window for a very long time. His mind was whirling
with Spike’s declaration, and for the first time, the words were beginning
to make sense. The bitter ones of the previous night now appeared in startling
clarity: what he had not understood then made perfect sense now, in the
echoes of that sad word torment. For the first time, Angel understood
that Spike had not been lightly let off the pain of his ensoulment. Far
from it—he was still right in the first agonies of that state, only no
one had seen it. Perhaps he didn’t even know it himself. Spike was different;
he always had been. Angel was reminded of a story Wesley had once told
him about two brothers who had returned from the Somme. One, suffering
severe post-traumatic stress, had been sent to a rudimentary psychiatric
hospital and had eventually recovered. The other, apparently unscathed,
had returned to their father’s farm and married soon after. On the forth
anniversary of his return, he’d hanged himself, a slow painful death in
an attic that had gone undiscovered until the smell betrayed his whereabouts.
He kicked and screamed, moped and sulked and suffered. Spike joked.
Who was the more hurt?
The two of them—survivors of their own terrible battles, witnesses of
unspeakable atrocities, perpetrators of disgusting acts—behaved so differently
yet, perhaps, suffered the same torments. Angel knew torment like an old
friend; he would not wish his suffering on anyone.
Although he felt he understood Spike better, he did not know how to use
this new clarity. He found himself agreeing with his childe—albeit for
very different reasons—that perhaps love was not what he needed
What Spike needed was a friend.
A wave of altruism swept over Angel as he considered renouncing the sex.
Sex was possibly the worse thing for Spike right now.
What would he have done had Doyle offered sex instead of
visions and friendship? Angel skipped quickly over that thought and went
back to mulling over a platonic relationship with Spike.
This philanthropy lasted for about a minute until Angel very satisfactorily
convinced himself that breaking off with Spike now would make it impossible
for them to be friends anyway. Indeed, the desire for the sex was possibly
the one thing they had in common, the one thing he could exploit to bring
them closer. Friendship. He nodded to agree with himself: the sex was
Having satisfactorily decided this, he returned to the bed to think about
the sex while he pondered the concept of friendship. To his knowledge,
Spike had never had a male friend. It was odd when you thought about it.
He liked men and enjoyed them. Angel blushed and rephrased this
in his mind as he released his cock from folds of towel: he liked men’s
company and enjoyed their friendship. Doyle, Gunn, Wesley….
He engendered loyalty in his friends. But Spike, to his recollection,
had no friends at all.
This was getting more complex than Angel had realised. He slowed his strokes
so some blood would remain in his brain for thinking.
How did friendship begin? With Doyle, it had been the shared mission.
But then this was true of Wesley, too. Yet even Angel was not so blind
as to miss an underlying thread of desire in Wesley’s friendship for him.
He stifled a groan as his cock thickened to the possibilities, summoning
remembrances of veiled glances and simmering need.
Gunn was different. Their friendship was one of mutual respect, of warriors.
That would appeal to Spike… mission, equality, respect. They sounded like
tag lines for a corny movie.
But there was one thing all his friendships had in common: trust. It was
the one thing that was missing in this relationship.
Could he ever get Spike to trust him?
His cock softened slightly, hearing the answer his ever self-loathing
He swore and sped up. He could be trusted! He’d saved the world. He’d
sacrificed his only son….
Angel softened completely and lay petting his cock for comfort as he thought
Angel rarely let the confusing thought escape, but he could not deny that
Spike and Connor had a lot in common. Both had been created from his body,
both had been loved beyond measure, both had been embittered and lost.
And Connor, despite the number of ways Angel manipulated the truth in
his head to comfort lonely nights, had never trusted him or been his friend.
If he could work out where it had gone so wrong with Connor, perhaps he
could learn how to make it work with Spike—this friendship thing.
And with the clarity of distance, the answer came to him. It was so absurdly
simple: he had tried too hard. He had tried too hard to make Connor love
him. Chasing desperately after the boy, he had only pushed him away the
more. He should have stayed still and silent. Connor would then have hungered
for what he was so able to provide.
Desperation had been his downfall. You had to go into this friendship
thing with no need for it.
Angel sat up and licked his lips nervously. The past spiralled around
and around, repeating itself. His desperation ate at him, still. He needed
Spike too much to make this work. And now Spike held all the cards. He
knew where Angel lived. He could play the game to his rules.
After some time of intense brooding, something occurred to Angel that
made him smile. Spike might hold the cards and invent the rules, but if
he wanted to play, he needed someone to play with.
Angel was still very much in the game.
His head was beginning to ache, so he went back to an activity that required
no thinking at all except conjuring the smell of hay and reliving the
feel of being stretched. He soon hardened and had the satisfactory feel
of his own thickness and length in his hand. Cautiously, he slid his other
hand beneath his arse and stroked gently over his hole. He had never done
this before; neither had he pushed a finger in and stroked around his
slick walls. But the recent sex with Spike had sensitised him, made places
ache that didn’t usually ache when he jerked off. He pouted, wondering
whether he really wanted to do this thing—mulling over the implications
for what he saw as his rugged masculinity. Then he shrugged and worked
the tip of one finger in, closing his eyes to the pleasure of memory.
Never having done this for himself, his only recollections were ones of
Spike. A poor substitute to that memory, his finger teased the tightness,
hooking and stretching. His other hand sped up, short pinching jerks of
the thick column between two fingers, enough to keep an orgasm simmering
just out of reach. His balls began to spasm, responding to the pressure
from behind, pleasure from inside. When he felt this, Angel changed his
grip to a firm one and finished things off. With one of his favourite
fantasies playing in his mind—Spike on his hands and knees, begging to
be entered—he splattered come over his bed and recently showered torso.
And the solution hit him with the same force as his orgasm.
He was still doing all the chasing, still desperate, when he should
be still and silent, cold and disinterested.
Spike should be chasing him.
On a final shudder, Angel cried out at the thought that Spike would should
be begging for him.
That he had gone from worrying about trust issues to planning to entrap
Spike with a complex bluff of disinterest didn’t affect his decision at
all. That Spike had only just confessed his hurt over Buffy’s inconsistencies
didn’t weaken his resolve either. Nor did it make him feel guilty. Recollection
of Buffy, juxtaposition of Buffy’s name with Spike’s (and the images that
conjured up of far more intimate positioning), usually sent him spinning
into a state of confusion, which he had only just begun to realise had
more to do with Spike than it ever had about Buffy.
So, although he wouldn’t go as far as to admit that his plan satisfied
some as yet unresolved issues about Spike and Buffy, it certainly cheered
him up enough allow a long, satisfying spill over his sheets, where the
come settled and dried with the other copious loads that had dried on
them over the previous few hours.
He chuckled evilly.
He was going to enjoy playing it cool with Spike.
* * * * * * *
Being an abject failure wasn’t one of the self-recriminations Angel often
berated himself with.
He did now.
He’d play it cool... later. This firm resolution was made the following
day as he licked his way up one hard thigh towards somewhere that would
be warmer and would respond more interestingly to his tongue.
They had met that morning in an elevator, Angel descending to the lab,
Spike doing nothing much. But whatever they’d been planning to do was
forgotten anyway on confused glances of mutual desire and unnecessary
touching as they were jostled and crushed together by the morning crowd.
Angel had calmly requested Spike’s presence upstairs; Spike had
calmly acquiesced, but they’d barely made it to the privacy of Angel’s
elevator before their need erupted, spoiling suits or jeans. Embarrassed,
but wryly amused as well, they stripped and continued their fun activities
nude. Then Angel had remarked, in a pause for Spike to smoke, that he
ought to bring some clothes over. Spike had nodded, apparently not fazed
by this oblique offer of further intimacy, and Angel had been left wondering
at the total lack of resolve he was showing faced with the inducement
of Spike’s body.
Clothes for freaks sake!
How did that little intimacy equate with cooling things off? Spike was
supposed to beg for him—not be invited to share his closet.
Angel had decided to punish Spike for not getting that he was being
given the cold shoulder by rimming him for half an hour—and hence the
slow progress now up the smooth thigh.
Spike began to squirm with pleasure as Angel’s tongue found its target.
He knelt up and held Spike’s legs open, pushing on the backs of his thighs.
With one finger, he played idly with the saliva-damp hole. Spike watched
him through narrowed eyes. ‘You missed your vocation, Mate. You’d go down
well in Her Majesty’s bloody prison service: you could do that all day—only
with a better excuse.’
There was a pause, and they both glanced down at their respective cocks,
which had suddenly jerked and risen. Angel swallowed and growled huskily,
pressing one finger in, ‘Nice thorough booty check, hey Spike?’
Spike groaned excitedly at the unexpected game. Sliding into his assigned
role, he shook his head aggressively. ‘Don’t, you fucker.’
Angel ignored him, as was intended, and leant harder on the legs, pushing
his finger deep and swirling it around the walls. ‘Tight ass like this
could be hiding anything. You got boof up here?’ He withdrew and pushed
two fingers back in. ‘You like that, bitch?’
‘Fuck – off!’
Angel laughed (his best evil-prison-guard chuckle). ‘You – love – it.’
But suddenly, it wasn’t a game anymore. It was just the two of them: Spike
denying, Angel needing him to admit to wanting him.
He stroked more gently and buried his face into the crook of Spike’s shoulder.
‘Tell me you want it. Please. Say you want it.’
Perhaps not getting that the game was over—or perhaps getting it only
too well—Spike replied incredulously, ‘Fuck off! Poof!’
‘Tell me.’ He crept his lips to Spike’s, and if Spike was in denial before,
the tender kiss Angel gave him must have floored him: no prison rectal
examination could ever have elicited a kiss like that. Angel begged again,
vibrating Spike’s lips with the essence of touch, ‘Tell me you want me.’
Spike closed his eyes and arched in time to Angel’s deep stroking. After
a moment he croaked, ‘I do. I want you well enough, Angel.’
Angel felt something trickle down his cheek and loathed his weakness.
‘Then tell me you love me, Spike. Please.’
Spike opened his eyes. They were very blue and very clear, like the ocean
seen from afar. ‘If I could love anyone, then I think I’d love you. There.
Is that what you wanted to hear?’
Angel’s slow blink and falling tears said it all.
Spike rolled his eyes and clasped him around the back of the neck. ‘When
did you become such a sad romantic? Huh? Just fuck me, Angel, and we’ll
be proper vampires for sodding once and find our love in blood and pain.’
* * * * * * *
They lay in companionable silence, sated, Spike smoking and Angel staring
at the wall. After a while and several puzzled glances, Spike asked, annoyed,
‘What the bloody hell are you staring at?’
Angel roused. ‘We need more drawers—for your clothes.’
Before Spike had thought it through as much as he usually planned everything
he said to Angel, he murmured, ‘You need a whole new place, Mate.’
Angel rolled over to stare at the sharp profile. ‘You said that before.’
Spike lifted his eyebrows and took a long drag on his cigarette. ‘I ‘ave
to tell you most things more than once. This place is bad for you.’ He
suddenly sat up. ‘Christ, Angel, open your eyes!’ He flung himself down
again. ‘’Sides, you can’t come and go as you want up here—have visitors
when you want.’
‘Visitors? You mean…. You’d… what? What are you saying here, Spike? You’d
stay more often if I had another place? Live with me, maybe?’ He sat up,
his heart almost reanimating.
Spike’s disgusted expression returned. ‘Jesus! Angel!’
Angel ignored the expression and said impetuously, ‘Tomorrow. New place.
‘I’m not bloody choosing shit! What do you think I am? A poof? The beach.’
He shrugged fractionally. ‘You could get a place by the beach.’
Angel’s mouth dropped open slightly, his brain not quite keeping up. ‘That’s…
The ocean? But that’s miles away….’
‘Angel, you have a bloody helicopter.’
‘Fly? To work? I don’t think you’re allowed to land on sand….’
‘Big estate then! Private helipad—like those stars that get married and
those gits fly over, filming ‘em.’
Angel started to panic. He’d envisioned a discreet, modest apartment that
‘I’m teasing.’ He chuckled evilly. ‘You should see your face.’
Angel grabbed his arm. ‘But you will come with me?’
Spike made a wry face. ‘Seems to me like I’ve been doing that quite nicely
Angel took this as a yes, seized a kiss then rolled onto his back, his
arms folded behind his head, planning his new place. Spike watched him
for a while, his eyes travelling slowly from the striking profile to the
dark tufts of hair exposed in the shallow hollows. He swore softly. ‘You
are such a sad case, Luv.’ He bent his head and began to nuzzle into the
dark, musky hair.
Angel only smiled in response until a few moments later when he asked,
amused, ‘Why do you do that?’
A muffled, ‘What?’ greeted this enquiry.
‘Call me love.’
Spike lifted his mouth. ‘It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a thing.
I once got called love by a hairy-arsed lorry driver from Sunderland,
and I can assure you, we were not intimately acquainted.’
‘But you don’t call anyone else that: Wesley… Fred… Gunn….’
Spike frowned. ‘Don’t be daft. I call everyone that.’
Angel shook his head. ‘I’ve been studying you.’
‘Watching you. No one else. Just me.’
Spike lay back down and lit a fresh cigarette, took his time contemplating
the smoke, then said decidedly, ‘That’s because it’s a derogatory term.’
Angel began to laugh. ‘Ah. Is that so?’
Spike rolled over, smiled pleasantly and stubbed his cigarette out in
Whenever Angel thought about the incident the previous night he winced
then chuckled then blushed, a distressing sequence of emotions that confused
him. He’d killed men for less. Spike he’d kissed, rolled and then fucked
He sighed and rolled his fountain pen around on his desk. He was lost.
He was an old dog allowing liberties from puppies he should bite. But
he didn’t feel old. Not feeling old for the first time in three hundred
years…. How weird was that? He
felt… horny all the time, awkward, insane. He sighed. He felt in love.
And they were going that day to choose a new apartment together. Angel
blushed again and pouted: he reckoned he was owed some slight twisting
of the truth….
He looked up at the sense of movement from the doorway but sighed when
he saw it was Wesley.
‘Sorry to disappoint!’
Angel made an apologetic grunt and went back to studying his pen and thinking
about Spike. Wesley laid some papers on the desk then sat with a similar
bundle on his lap. ‘We’re beginning to trace the weapons.’
Wesley looked up, frowning, as if he couldn’t quite make out what Angel
meant. As Angel had a similar expression on his face, neither spoke for
a moment. Wesley was the first to make the attempt and murmured, ‘Gun
shipments? Large demon with an ice hook?’
Angel waved his hand dismissively. ‘I knew that.’
Clearly not convinced, Wesley asked gently, ‘Is something wrong, Angel?
I only ask because you’ve been very… distracted… for the last few days.
Is it your heart?’
Angel nodded. ‘Yeah. My heart. Look, I’m meeting Spike in five; can this
Wesley held his gaze for a moment. ‘Of course.’
Feeling increasingly guilty, Angel made a vague attempt to heal any potential
rift. ‘I’ll look over all the paperwork tonight? Okay?’
Wesley nodded and stood up. ‘So, what are you and Spike up to?’
Angel repressed a silly smirk and, running the entire sentence over in
his mind in one quick flash to hear how it sounded, replied, ‘I’m thinking
of taking a new place—to live.’
Wesley’s reaction surprised him. The man looked intensely relieved, as
if Angel had suddenly declared that the mission was over and they were
all going to live in a quiet country house in England. ‘That is
Angel pouted, feeling contrary. ‘I have a great, free apartment here.’
Wesley gave him an odd, penetrating look. ‘If you think that anything
you get from Wolfram and Hart is free, then you are a great deal stupider
than I’d given you credit for.’
Annoyed that he seemed to be the only who had not seen some potential
harm in taking the—free—apartment offered him, Angel watched Wesley retreat
with one of the sets of papers. He picked his stack up and dropped them
into a drawer. Just as he was about to close it, something caught his
eye, and he extracted a photograph. Any other time, he would have enjoyed
looking at the blood that coated the prone form. This time, however, he
could not take his eyes off a mark on the man’s back. A picture. Why did
it look so familiar? As he stared at it, he heard laughter. His cock twitched
as if it had memory of its own. But preternatural memory let him down.
He had other more important things on his mind—Spike was late. Angel smiled
the kind of fond smile only someone totally lost to love could achieve,
let the photograph drop back into the drawer and went back to the fascinating
study of his fountain pen.
By the time Spike was an hour late, Angel was beyond anger. He felt as
if he’d been set up: the joke of life and love always on him. He didn’t
take teasing well—never had—and standing in his office pretending he wasn’t
hurt brought back all the times in his life when he’d lurked in shadows,
unable to be where the bright people were.
By the time Spike was two hours late, Angel was beginning to hate him.
Three hours and worry set in for the first time.
He let another hour pass then cursed, grabbed his jacket and headed toward
He met Wesley in the elevator, studying a street map. ‘Hello. How did
the house hunting go?’
Angel didn’t bother to reply, caught as he was between the painful emotions
of hate, anger and despair.
Wesley stayed in the elevator all the way to the bottom and stepped out
with him into the garage. Angel summoned enough interest to ask, ‘Going
Wesley nodded then corrected himself, ‘Well, Spike’s, if I can decipher
‘Hmm. I have a description of a demon I want to run past him, as he’s
the only one who’s had a good look at one. It crops up in a number of
the sightings I’ve been following.’
As Angel could hardly go there separately, for fear of meeting Wesley
when he got there, he grudgingly explained his errand, and they rode together.
Some of the scenarios Angel had conjured to explain Spike’s non-show he
did not want put to the test with the human in tow. Finding Spike in bed
with a soldier in crimson pants was one of his least favourites at the
* * * * * * *
Angel knocked then forced the door. Wesley followed him in.
A magazine lay on the floor. Other than that, the place was bare, only
a familiar buzz of a refrigerator intruding on the silence.
Wesley picked up the magazine, a lifetime’s habit of being tidy
overcoming him, as he exclaimed softly, ‘I don’t believe it, but I think
Spike has finally decided to leave.’ He put the magazine down softly on
top of the refrigerator then, seemingly as an afterthought, peered inside.
He grunted softly at the well-stocked blood.
Wesley jumped at the sudden sound of Angel’s voice and turned, surprised
at the venom in the response. Cautiously, but perhaps trying to hide any
hint of being patronising, he murmured, ‘I’ll see if I can find someone
Left alone, Angel waited with his head hung to see which emotion would
win in the war that was being raged inside his heart. He was putting his
money on hate at the moment, but he trying to be generous.
* * * * * * *
‘Well, it appears I was right.’
Angel didn’t turn his head, but Wesley continued unprompted, ‘Spike told
the chap in the flat upstairs that he was leaving.’
It was strange how hard saying one word could sometimes be. ‘Leaving?’
‘Hmm. And I’m pretty sure I know where he’s gone. When the chap asked
him if he was starting a new life, Spike apparently said no, he was resuming
one he’d thought he’d lost. It seems pretty clear to me: Spike’s gone
to find Buffy.’
Angel didn’t bother to contradict Wesley. He pushed past him toward the
Spike had found a much sweeter revenge than crimson pants could ever have
given him. That would have been closure. That would have led to some resolution
of what lay between them. This left him… nowhere: more dead than he already
A truly dead man in a world of death, he stumbled up the stairs, blinded
as much by the grief in his heart as by the tears in his eyes.
Angel studied the ways the days passed as obsessively as a child might
in anticipation of a birthday. He marvelled that they did pass, that time
moved on when he was unchanging: stuck in a place that he could not free
himself from. He felt disassociated from the simple events that went on
around him: meetings, cases, friends or strangers.
But then… Spike did not turn up at Buffy’s. Angel called one week after
he’d left and then at the end of the second week—not specifically asking
for Spike, of course, not saying “I’ve lost him; have you found him?”.
He asked in generalities: How was Rome? Anything new? Had she heard from
Spike had not gone to Buffy. That was Angel’s conclusion a fortnight into
Three weeks in and he began to believe the intent had been there—Spike
had intended to go to her—but he had not arrived.
For whatever reason.
Reasons Angel did not want to consider. Because by considering that he
would be considering the unthinkable: the extreme vulnerability of being
made of dust. There would be no way of knowing, no respite from this horror
he was feeling now, not even the death granted to humans.
By the fourth week, Angel began to think about the blood. Why? Why leave
blood in the refrigerator? It didn’t make any sense. A lifetime’s discipline
of hiding the habit could not be dropped so lightly. When you left a place,
you took all evidence of your blood-need with you. It wasn’t natural—for
them—to leave something like that behind.
But you might, if you weren’t moving out, so much as planning to be home
less… a partial move… perhaps to somewhere quite close… somewhere where
you might still need a place of your own… to someone you might
occasionally need space from….
To him, for example.
The start of week five saw Angel convinced that he was the old
life Spike had told his neighbour he was returning to.
But he didn’t rejoice. That was the worst conclusion of all.
For if Spike had been faced with the vast and difficult journey of the
fifteen minutes it took from his apartment to Wolfram and Hart, but he
had not made it….
Thoughts of it and where it now lay occupied Angel’s thoughts for the
rest of that week.
And then it was a month and a half without him, and it felt longer than
the century he’d spent in the same state: without him.
Weeks seven and eight passed in a blur. He stopped counting the hours,
stopped turning them into passing milestones—breakfast, coffee, lunch,
meetings—stopped arranging those into whole days he could dismiss as over,
so when Wesley said one day in the middle of a discussion about forthcoming
appraisals, ‘Do you know? Spike has been gone two whole months. I never
thought I’d say this, but I actually miss him,’ Angel lifted his head
and repeated, ‘Two months?’ and had known in his heart that Spike was
It was time to move on.
Love was illusory, and life went on. Darla, Buffy, Cordelia and now Spike.
Dead, undead, gone, returned, real, unreal… one by one, they had come
into then passed out of his life, yet he was still alone.
Life went on.
So, why couldn’t he push himself through the days? For, once he had stopped
counting them, he couldn’t complete them. Bed was the safest place to
be and, tired all the time, he stayed there, neither sleeping nor awake,
but hovering uneasily between the two, having conversations in his head
with Spike—all the things he would have, should have, sometimes had
said, but which were now locked forever in his thoughts.
Dressing was entirely beyond him—not physically; he could still button
and zip and tie. It was the decision he couldn’t make: what to wear. How
had he decided before? Such a brief and bitter smile fluttered his lips.
He’d chosen what would flatter; he’d chosen what Spike would notice.
The work didn’t interest him anymore—worse, he wanted bad things
to happen. He wanted people to suffer. Life was suffering.
Everything and everyone irritated him. Wesley, particularly, became a
focus for his wrath. He blamed the human for Spike’s absence and never
allowed himself to consider the unfairness of this. Wesley had not liked
Spike. Wesley had wanted Spike gone. Spike was gone. He knew his connection
of these events was unfair and illogical; nevertheless, he looked at Wesley
and saw the man who had effectively killed Spike. It didn’t help that
Wesley also reminded him of Spike. The accent was a given: when Wesley
cut his finger one day and said, ‘Bloody hell,’ it was not the blood that
had aroused Angel.
And he was aroused. Spike had done that, and it could not now be
undone. Years of dormant disinterest had been blown away by Spike’s hot,
tight body. Spike’s body was his addiction, and he suffered from its withdrawal.
And when he considered his alternatives, there was Wesley, literally hot
and smelling of stubble and frustration.
Angel lurked and watched him from the shadows, hate and lust, guilt and
grief warring within him.
So it was particularly ironic that Wesley turned one day, totally oblivious
of any of Angel’s dark musings, to say, ‘Did you hear that Spike was back?’
* * * * * * *
Harmony had seen him in a bar. He’d ignored her, which was why she’d taken
a few days to mention it, and when she had, it had been part of a bitter
attack on men in general and Spike in particular to a friend who worked
in the lab. The friend had been laughing at Harmony behind her back with
another colleague when Fred had overheard. She had not been fully aware
of Spike’s absence and had assumed he’d gone on holiday, or a road trip,
or was just taking a long sickie, the linear passing of days often muddled
for her anyway. She had therefore mentioned his return to Wesley without
any great aplomb, and that was very much the spirit in which he’d passed
the news onto Angel.
Angel’s reaction, therefore, puzzled everyone, and like fond parents watching
a beloved toddler smash its head repeatedly on the floor, they were initially
shocked and then distressed. He wasn’t literally smashing his head on
a literal floor, of course, but the intent of his wild anger was pretty
much the same: relieving emotion that he neither understood nor could
But, of course, Angel’s shock at hearing of Spike’s return had nothing
to do with his belief that he was dead. Hearing the news, Angel knew immediately
that he had never really believed this anyway. He had always thought
Spike had found the perfect time and method to exact his revenge. His
return now confirmed this. Spike was just the arsonist who stood in the
crowd to watch his handiwork. What was the point of inflicting such hurt
if you could not enjoy the watching of it?
So, it was these thoughts that were in Angel’s mind when he saw Spike
for the first time—just after the immediate and startling thought that
it was true: he was back. Then all the hurt and anger waded into his consciousness,
and before he knew what he did, he ran across the street, piled into Spike’s
smaller form and crashed him into a dumpster.
He pounded his head into the metal until a red patch appeared then, grasping
him by the lapels of his coat, he spat into his face, ‘I’ll fucking kill
Spike, almost insensible, mumbled something, and despite Angel’s previous
threat and almost uncontrollable fury, he did want to hear what
this was. He glanced around and then taking Spike by the arm, half-dragged
and half-carried him down the street until he came, conveniently, to a
small church and surrounding cemetery. He entered the grounds, found a
private spot and deposited Spike on the ground until he recovered from
having the back of his skull caved in.
The wound, being Spike, was mainly superficial. Within a few minutes,
he sat up, rubbing the back of his head and said with some bitterness,
‘You bloody bastard! Welcome to LA, Spike! How ya been? Long time no see.’
Angel heaved him to his feet. ‘You’ve got one chance to save your miserable
life. One word that I don’t like and I’ll twist your scrawny neck off.
One word. Talk.’
Spike lifted his eyebrows and glanced down at the hands around his neck.
He swallowed, and Angel felt the Adam’s apple shift uneasily. Spike then
licked his lips and said tentatively, ‘Hi?’ Angel’s hands tightened, and
a look of panic came into Spike’s eyes. ‘What do you want from me? Jesus,
Mate! I know it’s been a while, but you could ‘ave kept in touch, too!’
Angel stared into the blue eyes, and for the first time, he noticed that
Spike was… skeletal. He’d always been thin, but now the bones protruded
painfully in his face, his perfect cheekbones more like hangers, which
supported slack, grey skin. And… Angel lifted him bodily… he was so light!
He frowned again and asked, ‘Spike?’
Spike, clearly feeling that he’d passed whatever the test had been, gave
him a cheeky smile and wriggled out of his hold. He dug his hands into
his pockets and raised his eyebrows. ‘So, how have you been?’
Very carefully, Angel replied, ‘Fine. You?’
Spike shrugged and removed his hands, holding a pack of cigarettes and
a light. When one was lit to his satisfaction, he squinted up at Angel.
‘Where have you been?’
Spike seemed to hear no desperate confusion in the question, for he replied
cheerfully enough, ‘Here and there. Ya know. Spent the last few years
in Prague.’ He shrugged. ‘Not really my taste. Too many bloody old things,
but Dru loves it.’
‘Drusilla? You are—what are you saying, Spike? You’re with Drusilla?’
Spike seemed about to reply then he frowned and hung his head, deep in
thought. He looked up, and Angel saw an expression of pure panic on his
face. ‘Spike?’ He caught at his arm but in a totally different way to
the aggressive hold he’d given it before. ‘Spike?’
Spike seemed bewildered. ‘She… I was…. I mean, yeah, we’re… but that seems
wrong. Where’s Dru?’ He wrenched away from Angel’s hold. ‘She was hurt!
Where is she?’
‘Calm down.’ Calm down! Angel tried to take his own advice, glad
his utter bewilderment didn’t show as clearly as Spike’s did. ‘Look… I
have a place near here. Let’s walk.’
Spike nodded, seeming glad to have something practical to do. When he
moved, he winced and put his free hand to his head. ‘Why the freaky-psycho
‘I—. I mistook you for someone else.’
‘Bloody hell! I know it’s been…. What has it been?’
Angel replied carefully. ‘I’m not sure. You tell me.’
‘It was that sodding sub! You bleeding bastard. It took me bloody hours
to swim back, and the sun came up, so I had to swim under the soddin’
water! I should be the one smacking your brains in, dickhead. And
then you say you don’t even recognise your own pissing childe. Why—can
someone tell me why?—did I came back to this bloody country? So, what’s
your place like? Hey? What’s wrong, Mate?’
Angel had stopped and was leaning heavily on the railing that surrounded
the cemetery. ‘Nineteen forty? Are you trying to tell me that you’ve not
seen me since nineteen forty?’
Spike flicked his cigarette butt away into the dark. ‘Well, I’d say nineteen
forty three, but who’s counting?’
Angel licked his lips. ‘You’re lying.’
‘Er… nooo. I’m not.’
Angel put a hand out and touched Spike’s cheek. Spike immediately dodged
away and swore then added, ‘Poof,’ in a derisive tone. And it was back—that
expression that Spike had worn for a hundred years to hide his true feelings
for Angel. Angel saw this now as clearly as he saw the signs of starvation
and stress on Spike’s face. He’d seen that defensive look so many times
and had taken it for what it purported to be—hatred. Now he knew better.
If he had learnt nothing else from their strange relationship over these
last few weeks, he had learnt that the hatred was an act.
However, he did not point this out now. He needed to get Spike back to
the confines of Wolfram and Hart. With a small pout of guilt, he realised
that his confusion over Wesley had turned back to his usual need for the
man’s wisdom and friendship. ‘You look hungry.’
Spike considered this and nodded faintly. ‘Yeah.’
‘Come on, let’s go to my place.’
Spike gave him a look. ‘Bet you say that to all the girls.’
Spike seemed unwilling to pursue that cryptic comment and lit another
cigarette. Angel kept glancing at him obliquely. The wrists were as thin
as the rest of him, his fingers…. Angel caught at a hand. ‘Jesus. Your
nails!’ They were torn off, bloody pads a mockery of the more familiar
chewed look. Spike looked at his fingers, frowning. Angel touched one
tentatively. ‘How did this happen? When did this happen?’ The look of
bewildered panic returned to Spike’s face, and when he saw it, Angel felt
something flood his heart, washing away the last residual traces of the
hatred and anger he’d felt toward this man for the last eight weeks. He
rested his arm in a friendly way over Spike’s pathetically thin shoulders
and mock punched him. ‘Come on. We’ve got some catching up to do.’
Spike, still giving worried glances to his nail beds, allowed himself
to be steered along by the imposing presence at his side.
‘I’ve seen worse, but I’d say he’s not fed the whole time he’s been gone.’
Angel glanced sideward at Wesley and asked cautiously, thinking of a warm
wrist pressed to his starved, ocean-cold mouth, ‘When—have you seen worse?’
Wesley turned his face back to the window that separated them from the
hospital room. ‘At the council—in the old days. Some of those ghastly
torture sessions done in the name of experimentation and learning.’
Reassured, Angel resumed his study of the pale figure in the bed.
‘Whatever, he won’t thank you for this.’ Wesley tapped the hospital glass.
Angel shrank into himself, remembering the painful subduing of Spike when
he’d seen the place he was being led into. ‘I had to. I don’t know enough
about this yet. Has he actually come from the past? Is it a spell? Christ,
does he still have his soul?’
‘That’s hard to say. If he is under some kind of spell, thinking he is
in the past, then he might have but not… know that he does.’
Angel turned to him and asked, alarmed, ‘How could he not know?’
Wesley sighed. ‘Most people are not like you and Spike. Most people could
go their whole lives not giving their soul a single thought. After all,
wars are started by men with souls; bombs placed on buses; children abused
and murdered. Humans take these things very much on a take-it-or-leave-it
basis, because we have nothing to contrast having a soul with. Unlike
you two, of course.’
Angel turned his face once more to Spike, a feeling of helplessness welling
up in his throat. ‘We could weigh him!’
‘The soul—you can actually weigh it! It is real, and it can be
detected. When people die, at the moment of death, you can record a weight
Wesley hesitated then laid a gentle hand on his arm. ‘I think that phenomenon
would more likely be loss of bodily fluids, no? And besides, we don’t
know how much Spike weighed before, do we?’
I do. I remember his weight very well, his body sprawled on mine,
sated and warm from the friction of my body upon it. ‘No. I’m sorry.
This has gotten me freaked. You should have seen him when I mentioned
Wesley patted Angel’s arm then put his hands in his pocket. ‘So, he thinks
that he’s back just before he came to Sunnydale that first time?’
‘Who knows? Perhaps he actually is! Perhaps time has actually warped!’
‘Well, I’m afraid I’m of the Sherlock Holmes school of thought on most
mysteries: the simplest explanation is usually the right one. It’s far
more likely that this is some kind of brainwashing—and I must say, the
condition of his body would bear that out. We’re running some tests now.
We’ll be able to date him—as it were—in a few minutes.’
‘Hmm. If he’s our Spike, so to speak, he’ll have some very faint scarring on the
deep muscle where we reattached his arms. If it’s there now, we’ll have
our first fact to go on.’
As he was speaking, a man in a white coat came out of a side room and
handed him a piece of paper. Wesley glanced at it. ‘He’s our Spike. Bloody
hell! Angel!’ He jumped back as glass cascaded around them. Angel withdrew
his fist and stared at it as if it had punched the glass entirely of its
own volition. Perhaps it had: other parts of his body were responding
to Spike’s return in their own unique ways, too.
* * * * * * *
Angel could not concentrate on Wesley’s words. His thoughts were all with
Spike, still heavily drugged and being fed intravenously with human blood
in a (new) hospital room.
‘… abrasions… nails, of course… massive bruising… missing… tooth.’
‘He’s lost a tooth—a molar. It will grow back with the blood he’s being
given now—along with his nails—and musculature too, I suppose.’
‘What the hell happened to him, Wes?’
Wesley leant back and took off his glasses. ‘Some kind of severe physical
trauma. That’s all I can say. I think the nails were ripped off. The tooth
looks pulled. He’s a mass of scarring and bruises, as I’ve just said.
What did all this, I have no idea.’
‘Well, that might be easier to guess at….’
Angel lifted his eyes sharply to Wesley’s then said cautiously, ‘You think
this was to get at me in some way?’
‘Well, it would make sense. He was one of the team.’
‘Why him? Why not one of you—you are all more vulnerable than him.
Christ, Wesley, imagine what it would have taken to subdue him and….’
He could not continue. He knew exactly what kind of force was necessary
to subdue and torture Spike. He remembered it quite well.
‘Surely the more important question is, why let him go again? Why let
him go, believing as he does, that he’s ten years in the past? And why
bring him right back to you?’
Angel nodded gloomily. ‘What are we going to do?’
‘I don’t know what to say other than try to restore his memory by association.
There clearly are cracks in it already, if, as you say, he can’t remember
where Drusilla fits into all this. Perhaps more flaws in his false memory
will appear if he’s gently pushed.’
Angel rubbed his hands over his face and said bleakly, ‘And then what?
When he remembers what must have happened for him to….’ He got up and
went to the window, his back to Wesley. When his voice was steady, he
continued, ‘If he regains his memory, he may wish he hadn’t.’
Wesley stood and came to his side. ‘You were in hell. You survive those
Angel nodded. ‘But he’s not me. He’s never had my strength.’ He turned
at a small start of surprise from Wesley, and the human hunched his shoulders
After a moment of pregnant silence, he murmured, ‘I’d always thought him
the stronger of the two. He plays parts so adroitly and with such conviction
I’d say he could survive pretty much anything—even losing you.’
Angel stepped back. Wesley pouted. ‘I’m not as stupid as you seem to take
me for sometimes.’ He lifted his eyes and held Angel’s gaze.
‘How long have you known?’
‘Since I witnessed the exact nature and level of your pain these last
few weeks. But I knew for sure when I told you he was back. I’m sorry
I wasn’t more… tactful.’
‘It’s not what you think.’
‘You don’t know what I think.’
Angel nodded his concession to this but added firmly, ‘We’ve been rediscovering
our history: Sire, Childe; that’s all. It’s complex, and we needed
to explore it.’ He flinched, embarrassed at Wesley’s soft snort.
‘You’ve been exploring something—I’ll give you that. Anyway, this isn’t
getting us anywhere. We’ll ease up on the sedation and see how it goes.
That’s all we can do for now.’
Angel, deep in thought, suddenly lifted his head. ‘Get me one of the firm’s
* * * * * * *
Angel watched the slow recovery from the stupor that the drugs had cast
over Spike’s normally animated face. It was nothing like watching him
reanimate from death, which surprised him. But then Spike wasn’t dead—in
Angel’s heart, which is where he kept all thoughts of Spike.
Spike finally took a breath, long habits dying hard, and looked groggily
around. When he saw Angel sitting quietly to the side of the bed, he sat
up and swore. The curse made no sense, so he frowned and tried again,
articulation returning. ‘You sodding bastard: you hit me!’
‘Yes. I did. Then I had you sedated.’
For the first time, it seemed to occur to Spike that he was in a hospital
room. ‘What the…? Hey! You said come home with me, and then there was
this bloody Wolfram and Hart building! Wolfram and Hart, Angelus! I’m
not that dumb! Even I’ve heard of bloody Wolfram and Hart! Bad
news, even for The Big Bad!’ He began to climb out of bed. Angel came
swiftly to his side and held him in place, which wasn’t difficult: the
frailness of Spike’s body evident beneath the hospital gown.
‘Wait. Hear me out first.’ He sat on the edge of the bed and effectively
prevented any other course of action. When he saw that Spike was listening,
albeit with a surly I’m-not-listening-look, he said calmly, ‘You are on
your way to a little town called Sunnydale.’ Spike immediately looked
shifty. Angel nodded as if this confirmed something in his own mind. ‘You
have heard that there’s a new, young slayer there.’ The shifty look became
outright suspicion, and Angel continued swiftly, ‘But that’s not your
only motive for going to Sunnydale, is it Spike? You’ve heard that I’m
living there, too.’
Spike’s mouth opened a tiny fraction but no words seemed brave enough
to venture forth. Angel continued. ‘You also heard I have a soul.’
‘Whoa. Who told you all this?’
Angel ignored the confusion and continued. ‘You heard I have a soul, but
you don’t believe it. But you don’t… not believe it either. You keep thinking
of the last time we met—in the sub. Did he have a soul then? He wouldn’t
let me kill the crew… but he turned someone! But a soul…?’
‘You’re a riot, you are, Mate. This is total crap.’
‘So, you’ve decided to go to Sunnydale. Your fight with this slayer will
prove if I have a soul—one way or the other. You can’t stop asking yourself:
Will I welcome you or will I betray you?’
Spike’s eyes widened. ‘You bastard! You’ve got Dru! You’ve bloody taken
Dru, and she’s ratted me out! What did you do to her? You bastard!’ He
lashed out, but the blow was utterly ineffective, having little muscle
behind it. It was more effective with the other hand, in which he held
the lamp. Angel tipped off the end of the bed, and Spike was up and out
of the door before he could catch an ankle. He didn’t bother to run and
ruin the lines of his suit though: the hospital wing was sealed, and there
was nowhere for Spike to go.
He caught him trying to batter his way through a door and frog-marched
him back to the room. ‘I need for you to see something.’
‘You’ve got nothing I bloody want to see, Angelus! We settled that
a long time ago.’
Angel forced him to sitting on the edge of the bed, trying to ignore that
the hospital robe had now fallen open at the back, revealing tight buttocks
whose allure starvation had done nothing to lessen. He went to the door
and shut it gently then turned to a television and switched it on.
Spike gave a good impression of not being interested. Until he saw himself,
that was. Then he frowned and leant closer. ‘What the bloody hell…?’
Angel sat next to him. ‘This building is covered by CCTV cameras. This
was captured about five months ago.’
Angel pressed a button on the remote, and the scene jumped to the lobby.
‘This was taken a couple of months ago.’
Spike was oddly silent. Angel waited to see if he would comment, letting
the tape play on. It was nothing special. It was just a random moment
of Spike’s Wolfram and Hart life: in the lobby, chatting to Harmony. But
to Spike it was clearly traumatic, seeing himself, as he was, in a place
he did not ever remember being and talking to a person he had no memory
of knowing. But his only reaction was to lick his lips slowly and blink
as Angel flicked to yet another scene. ‘This was taken in the garage.’
Spike swallowed. ‘What are we doing?’
Angel smiled at a fond, sad memory, an expression Spike did not see. ‘Arguing
over which car we were going to take and who got to drive.’
‘Oh.’ Suddenly, Spike straightened slightly. ‘Okay, so what? I’ve lost
me memory for a few weeks. No biggie. Guess that’s why I’m in here, yeah?
Oh, and I was talking in me bloody sleep! That’s how you know I’m on me way to this
Sunnydale. And, speaking of which, it’s time I was on me way—nice
as it’s been.’
Angel put his hand on Spike’s arm. ‘It’s two thousand and five, Spike.
You’ve lost the last eight years.’ He pressed a button once more,
and the time code appeared on the bottom of the screen.
Spike’s reaction could have been written by a bad scriptwriter on a failing
soap. His eyes widened theatrically; he began to shake his head in denial,
and then he whispered, ‘No,’ in a staged voice. Then his reaction became
slightly less predicable for a soap, for his demon came to the fore. Sitting
in front of Angel, this time it didn’t matter that he didn’t have the
strength necessary to punch. He just swung around, hard and fast, and
once more Angel found himself sprawling off the bed to the floor. This
time, though, Spike did not run; he flung himself down upon the prone
figure, clawing, biting and fighting as if his life depended upon drawing
just one drop of blood from Angel’s body. They rolled but were then jammed
against the bed, which was bolted to the floor. In the confined space
the conflict was vicious until Angel levered on top of the smaller form
and overcame resistance with the advantage of weight. Spike glared then
spat, the tiny ball of drool trickling down Angel’s cheek. ‘I hate
Angel nudged his cheek against his shoulder and shook his head. ‘No. You
don’t. Eight years ago, I believed that. For a hundred years before that,
I believed it—because you made very sure I did. But I know better now. I know that
this is just an act.’
Spike’s face underwent a strange transformation, from all emotion being
revealed—however true or false it was—to absolutely none. Shifty, shutdown,
he studied Angel for a moment. Then his eyes flicked to the television
screen. He swallowed. ‘I—what?—told you that?’
Angel then saw a door open before him, saw the possibilities of what lay
beyond, and slid through, lying, ‘Yes, you told me.’ He shut out a tiny
voice, which was telling him that he was basing his whole future on an
edifice of untruth and added, ‘A while ago we… reconciled… admitted how
we felt about each other—made up. You told me how much I’d hurt you but
that you’d still loved me all this time.’
Spike’s face was a picture of outrage, disbelief, relief, fear and hope.
Angel added softly, his eyes averted, ‘We’re together now.’
Spike extricated from Angel’s hold and shuffled back to sit against the
wall of the tiny room. He folded his arms protectively over his chest.
‘Bloody hell.’ He looked as if he could kill something precious for a
cigarette but asked, ‘We—what? Live together?’
Hadn’t Spike once called him the master of lies? Angel lived up to the
name and nodded. ‘We have a place together. You love me.’
A flicker of suspicion crossed Spike’s face at this slightly unnecessary
addition, but it quickly passed when Angel smiled wryly, ‘Sometimes. When
I’m not pissing you off.’ He was the master of lies. Spike, he
could see, believed him—he had no reason not to, knowing, as he
surely did, that this was the underlying truth of all his lies.
They were at something of an impasse now. Spike twitched the hem of the
robe lower over his thighs and huffed. ‘You say all this, and it may be
true, it may not—I’m not saying—but this,’ he tapped his forehead, ‘tells
me something else. This tells me I hate you.’
Angel began to grin and tried to suppress it. He’d been right. Huge leaps
of faith sometimes carried you a very long way over very deep chasms.
Spike began to get angry at the silent grin and pushed to his feet.
Angel rose too and caught him in a grip that, in his weakened state, Spike
could not resist. He kissed him, hungry, wide-mouthed and insistent. When
he was done, he released the shaking figure, watching pale lips flush
from the bruising kiss. ‘I don’t just say it. Hey!’ He tightened
his grip on Spike’s thin arms and turned him to the bed. Spike appeared
utterly disgusted at his own weakness, but did not try to fight the assistance.
Angel lay him down and put a hand on his forehead. ‘Rest now. We can talk
more later.’ He could not resist it, so added, ‘We have all the time in
He turned to go. Just before he reached the door, a quiet voice from the
bed stopped him. ‘Angelus?’
Angel did not turn around.
‘Which did you do?’
He did not need the question explained. He’d been expecting it. ‘It’s
Angel now, and I betrayed you.’
Angel strode mindlessly through the darkened hallways of the agency. Mindless
because he could not afford to think. Up to the moment he’d kissed Spike,
he’d been able to tell himself that the ends justified the means—that
he was owed one lie after a lifetime of being lies’ victim. Up to the
kiss. The kiss, however, told him different. The kiss told him what he
really wanted. The kiss told him he didn’t want Spike tricked into loving
him at all.
He wanted the lie to be true.
But fuck it! He was owed this! One mistake, so many years ago,
had blighted two lives. Why shouldn’t he put it right now? A lie cancelling
out a terrible misunderstanding. They were both owed this. He swallowed
the lie and took it into his heart to make it the truth. They were owed,
and he was just collecting the debt.
He strode into Wesley’s office and ordered abruptly, ‘Rent a place by
tonight. Have all my personal things moved there. Make it look… occupied
by two: blood in the refrigerator, books—whatever it takes.’
Wesley’s eyebrows rose. Angel ignored them.
Wesley ignored being ignored. ‘And this helps him get his memory back
Angel turned to examine something on a shelf. ‘I told you: I’m not sure
that’s the best way to go with this. He’s suffered too much trauma.’
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
‘Nothing—other than… ah.’
Angel gave him a look. ‘Just do it.’
As he left, Wesley murmured, ‘Your wish is my command.’ As an afterthought,
he added to an empty, uncaring office, ‘When was it not?’
* * * * * * *
To Angel’s surprise, and slight chagrin, Spike was up and dressed and
looking far more his normal self the following day. Having planned to
visit the new apartment himself first, so he could at least give the appearance
of recognising it, Angel now saw that this was going to be difficult.
Spike was sick of being sick. Spike wanted to go home.
They met with some embarrassment. Angel knew the cause of his: the lies
hung heavy in his gut like bad blood. Spike’s nervous agitation and unwillingness
to catch his eye were equally understandable, given the circumstances.
Angel hesitated in the doorway. ‘Hi.’
Spike flicked him a brief look and murmured, ‘I so need to get out of
here.’ Angel nodded and led the way, his presence opening doors that were
kept locked to patients.
They rose up through the building, Spike watching everything with an intensity
that spoke of his efforts to remember. Angel kept glancing at him and
then asked softly, unsure what reply he wanted to hear, ‘Anything?’
Spike shook his head. ‘Nothing. It’s… it’s no more real than that bloody
telly thing you showed me.’
Angel kept his sigh of relief to himself, and they stepped out into the
lobby outside his office.
Harmony’s attempt to let Spike know that she wasn’t talking to him by
completely ignoring him was entirely lost on Spike, and her furious silence
followed them into Angel’s office. Spike whistled softly. ‘Bloody hell.
They pay you well for selling out.’
Spike hesitated at the tone of the response and said more cautiously,
‘You… working for the bad guys? I thought….’
‘You thought wrong. We’re working from the inside, to do Good on a global
scale.’ He winced inwardly at that inanity and wished he’d rehearsed this
better. Spike didn’t seem too bothered one way or the other. He was too
busy looking at the view and standing in the sunshine.
Angel came to stand beside him, drawn like a magnet to Spike’s taut body.
After a moment of relatively companionable silence, Spike coughed and
said, ‘So…. Us, huh?’
Angel nodded. ‘Yeah. Us.’
‘How did I come to make this great confession of adoration? Can’t see
me doing it somehow….’
‘Given that you’ve been lying so well for so long?’
Spike hesitated then replied, ‘Yeah. Given that. Can’t see me dropping
the hard-won front like a French whore dropping her knickers.’ He groaned.
‘Don’t tell me it was a dropping knickers kind of thing.’
Angel smiled. ‘I seem to remember clothes being shed, yeah.’
‘Oh. Bugger. So to speak.’ He rubbed his face wearily. ‘But why then—I
mean now? After all these years?’
Angel shrugged. ‘I don’t know.’ He had been going to say our souls,
but changed this at the last moment to, ‘My soul? Perhaps you just got
tired of all the pretence.’
This seemed to strike a chord with Spike for he nodded silently. Only
after he’d lit a cigarette did he say sadly, ‘I was tired of it by the
time you found me in Bath.’
Angel closed his eyes and felt his heart losing the battle with guilt.
What if he told Spike the truth now? Told him that he’d lied—that there
had been no confession. Fear and love kept him silent. When he opened
his eyes, Spike was watching him with an intensely thoughtful expression.
It was uncharacteristic, one more facet of the openness between them.
Spike started and wrapped his arms around his chest. ‘Nothing.’
Before, Angel would have let that go. Before, he’d have had no choice.
Now, however, he put his hand on Spike’s tense, thin arm. ‘Tell me.’
Spike licked his lips. ‘We’re… together…?’
Angel nodded. Spike winced, as if this confirmed something he didn’t want
to explore further. But as if a masochistic streak within him could not
be denied, he clarified carefully, ‘And we… live together?’
‘Yep. I told you.’
‘So, we….’ He gritted his teeth and made a crude gesture with a finger
and fist. ‘You know….’
Angel tipped his head to one side and studied Spike’s reaction, some great
wellspring of love swelling deep inside. ‘Yes, we have sex.’
‘Oh.’ Spike began to bite the edge of a nail. ‘It’s been a while.’
‘Not for me.’
Spike’s eyes widened and then without any warning, he hit him—his strength
clearly returning. ‘You bastard! You’ve had other men!’
Angel, reeling slightly, replied, aggrieved, ‘You! You complete moron!
You—in the real time that you don’t remember!’ He punched Spike back but
only a light touch to his shoulder.
Suddenly, a grin split Angel’s face. Spike wasn’t the only one who could
do uncharacteristic. ‘You’re jealous! You were jealous that I’d had someone
Spike immediately slipped into his scornful look and murmured, ‘Ponce,’
under his breath.
Everything in Angel ached to take Spike in his arms—this Spike who seemed
so… virginal, so vulnerable, ripe and ready to…. He groaned and glanced
at the door, desperate to get to a place where he could strip Spike down
then fill him up.
Spike’s weary ‘Can we go home?’ seemed just the cue he needed, and without
stopping to consider the logistics, he nodded for Spike to follow him.
It wasn’t until they reached the elevator that the prosaic necessities
of life returned. He suddenly said stiffly, ‘Wait for me here,’ turned
and went back down the hallway.
He rejoined Spike a few minutes later, this time with the key to the new
apartment in his pocket and the address in his head. Annoyed with himself,
slightly anxious that he was somehow going to give himself away, he was
curt to the point of silence in the car. He need not have worried about
making conversation, however, for Spike had become almost catatonic, staring
out of the window on his side. If he had not been thinking about Spike’s
body (and wondering about the colour of the walls in the apartment), Angel
might have pondered the reason for this silence.
The address Wesley had given Angel took them to the warehouse district.
Angel frowned at a partially obscured street sign. He wondered if he’d
misheard the direction. Then he recognised another of the firm’s cars,
parked outside a door very like the one Wesley had described. It appeared
Wesley had rented a… warehouse. This was either an evil side to his friend’s
personality Angel had never seen, or a mistake.
Nevertheless, he parked and climbed out with a small prayer.
Spike seemed preoccupied with thoughts of his own but roused enough to
frown and wrinkle his nose at the unprepossessing sight. ‘I don’t remember
this at all.’
Neither did Angel.
The key let them into a small space, which had clearly once been an office.
It was deserted now and smelt of rat piss and old newspaper. There was
an elevator cage but no stairs. Shrugging inwardly, Angel tried to look
bold as he stepped inside. Spike glanced at him as they began to descend.
‘I’ll take a stab and say I didn’t choose this.’
Angel shook his head with the innocence of truth. ‘No.’
When the elevator came to a halt, Angel stepped out, and all pretence
at appearing at home disappeared. He looked around in wonder and felt
guilt stab painfully at his heart. Wesley had taken his commission and
had, perhaps unconsciously, created a place that they could have
lived in—had their lives worked out differently. It spoke of innate quality,
of intellect and an appreciation of the finer things. Wood and leather,
books and antiques sat silently waiting for an ancient vampire and a quiet
Englishman who loved him. Angel could have wept at the futility of Wesley’s
passion; there was only one person he intended to share this with, and
it was not his long-time friend.
Then Spike stepped into the periphery of his vision, and Angel had a startling
realisation: the décor may not have said Spike, but it did say William.
He did not want to dwell on this Wesley/William confusion; it disturbed
him too much.
‘Did I…? Do I live here?’
Angel shook himself and addressed Spike’s wondering question with a silent
nod. He flicked his eyes to some
bottles. ‘Why don’t you make us a drink?’
With Spike occupied, he made a quick tour of the rest of the apartment—two
bedrooms, bathroom—and returned to find the fire lit and a glass of whisky
waiting. Spike was staring at the television—or more accurately, he was
peering behind its inch thick screen. He turned to Angel and indicated
it with his eyes. ‘What the bloody hell is that?’
Angel sank into one end of the ample, leather couch. ‘I told you: eight
years is a long time—still the same crap on though.’
Seemingly reluctant to leave the technological marvel, Spike hung around
it, running his fingers along its slim form. Angel didn’t want to have
to resort to something as trite as patting the couch, so he waited, expecting
Spike to join him. He was enjoying the view though, so wasn’t waiting
all that impatiently….
Spike drifted over to the kitchen area. ‘Do you still not eat?’
‘Come over here.’
Spike ignored him and opened a few cupboards. When he could drag that
out no longer, he glanced toward the hallway. ‘I’m kinda tired. I think
‘Spike. Come here.’
Spike lifted his eyes and said softly, ‘No.’
Angel frowned. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘What’s wrong? What’s right?’ He gave Angel’s bewildered
expression another glance then said contritely, ‘This is all wrong—for
me. It’s like… plunging into another bloke’s role in the middle of a movie.
Do you see what I’m saying?’
Angel didn’t and said as much.
Spike tried again. He came closer and perched on the arm of the couch
some distance from Angel. ‘I have no friggin’ idea what the script is
trying to say or what my motivation is. I’m thinking that we didn’t come
to this… understanding… easily? I’m guessing we met and there was a lot
of fighting and blood letting?’
Angel wasn’t too keen to get into the particulars of something that hadn’t
happened, so he just nodded, which could have meant pretty much anything.
‘So… here we are now, all cosy, cosy. An’ it’s just not right—for me.
I’m missing a stage. This—you, me and the firelight—isn’t… I can’t square
it in me head, Angel. I hate you.’
‘No, you don’t.’
‘Okay, I don’t. But I tell meself that, and that’s what I hear.
I don’t hear that I love you, that I’ve always loved you and always will,
cus where would that leave me?’
A heat rose up in Angel that was only partially sexual. He felt utterly
vindicated for the lies he’d told. The ends did justify the means,
and here was living proof of it. It made him feel uncharacteristically
magnanimous. ‘What do you want, Spike? We’ll do this anyway you
Spike’s eyebrows lifted. ‘Jesus. Times have changed. Are you sure I’ve
only lost eight years?’
At last, Angel felt comfortable patting the couch, and he did so, repeating,
‘What do you want?’
Spike sat down alongside him, twisted around, his elbow hooked over the
back and one leg drawn up. He tipped his head onto his arm, regarding
Angel. ‘Tell me about the lost time. I need to… catch up.’
Angel frowned. ‘You and me?’
Angel stared into his whisky. ‘Then we’ll lose another eight years in
the telling. I had something else in mind.’ He lifted his gaze, and his
meaning was more than clear.
Spike licked his lips. ‘It’s too soon.’
Angel suddenly lunged up from the couch, anger as much as frustration
propelling him to his feet. He began to pace, then went over and topped
up his drink.
‘Don’t get drunk, Mate.’
Angel stared down at his glass then up at Spike. ‘What?’
Spike looked edgy. ‘You get mean when you’re drunk.’
‘Angelus! For Christ’s sake, Spike, that was Angelus!’
Spike stood up, clearly agitated. ‘There you go! See? You are Angelus
to me! I don’t know this… Angel! How the hell am I supposed to know Angel?
Eight years—and you got a soul! Seems to me that my whole fucking
world has changed in these eight years, but you expect me to just… jump
back into friggin’ bed with you! You are a complete stranger!’
Angel kept his eyes fixed on his glass and said it because it would make
him feel better. ‘When did that ever stop you?’
Before he could retract it, Spike’s face was an inch from his, furious,
spitting. ‘One! I’ve had one fricking lover since you, ‘Gelus. One!’
Angel tried a martyred innocence, but it didn’t work. He nodded contritely.
Spike suddenly rubbed his face wearily and turned to lean on the mantle,
staring into the fire. After a moment, he said in a different tone entirely,
‘How many nights did we spend staring into fires, trying to work out what
we were going to do?’
Shaken by the power of the emotions that could lead him to make such a
cheap shot at Spike, Angel was unsettled even before he heard the question.
When he heard it, it plunged him back into memories and feelings he had
no emotional armour to deflect. He felt his jaw clenching, and his voice
caught as he replied, ‘I think it seemed longer than it was. We had such
a short time.’ He contorted his face to retain mastery over the pain and
added quietly, ‘I am so sorry, Will. If I could go back and change things,
I would. We’ve wasted so many years.’
Spike lifted his head and regarded the nothingness just in front of his
face. ‘Do you think we’d have been together all these decades if things
had been different?’
‘Sure. Don’t you?’
Spike shook his head. ‘Not a hope in hell. We were a disaster waiting
‘That’s not true!’
‘Yeah. It is.’ He turned and faced Angel. ‘I loved you too much. I was
always too human.’ He closed his eyes. ‘You didn’t break us up. I did.
It was meaningless. It meant nothing. But I made
it mean everything because… I loved you too much.’
Angel watched the amber liquid swirl in the crystal perfection of his
Spike blinked. ‘Loved then. Love now. Always will love.’
It was too much for Angel. He didn’t even get the irony that finally hearing
what he’d waited so long to hear he could not hear it. He made
an odd noise in the back of his throat then pushed past Spike and went
into the bedroom. He heard Spike say something outside the door, but it
was lost in the effort of controlling his emotions. Too much crying wasn’t
good for vampires, souled or not.
Eventually steady, eager to take Spike’s declaration of love to its natural,
pleasurable conclusion, he went back to the main room. It was empty. Only
then did Spike’s words form themselves into a coherent message in his
‘I’m hungry. I’m going out to find someone to eat.’
Not for the first time, Spike’s impressive ability to move swiftly and
purposefully over ground surprised Angel. However, his
purpose was even more urgent, his progress swifter.
He came across Spike a mile from the apartment in a scene that could have
been plucked from a trite vampire show on TV. Pale as an albino, bent
over a limp body, Spike’s face was distorted by his demon.
Angel heard great distress and saw blood, and it was a moment of pure
horror until he realised that both had come from Spike. He approached
cautiously but in time to help Spike lower a young woman to the ground.
Whether she had fainted or been knocked unconscious wasn’t clear. What
was more certain was that she had not been bitten. The blood was from
Spike’s own lip, which appeared to have been savaged, and blood on his
fangs gave truth to this suspicion. The cry, which had made Angel’s blood
colder than was natural for him, came again.
Spike began to shake and then turned agonised eyes to Angel. ‘Why can’t
I…? What’s happened to me, Angel? What is this terrible pain?’
Angel made a face, which he intended to be reassuring, pitying, understanding
and helpful. It wasn’t easy to get just right, and he ended up grimacing,
grinning then biting his lip until he felt blood there, too. ‘You’ve got
‘I have a soul!’ Angel could visibly see Spike’s agile mind leaping from
suspicion to certainty, from implication to conclusion, then he shoved
to his feet and began to run, as if the painful conclusion had been flee,
With a last check on the girl, Angel took flight behind him. Cursing his
luck and life in general, he was caught unprepared when Spike suddenly
halted and stood with his head down.
Angel skidded to a halt some feet away, but before he could decide what
was best to do, without turning around, Spike held out his hand. It was
shaking, but not for long; Angel took it in his warmer, surer one and
held on tight. ‘You fought for it, Spike. You wanted it. Try to focus
Spike tipped his head up to the sky, like a man who believed in God’s
pity, and howled. Angel pulled him in close, burying the agony against
his body, fairly sure that no comfort would be forthcoming from any universal
And that was when it hit him.
This was how it should have been.
If he could have written the script of their lives, this is how Spike’s
ensoulment would have gone. He held Spike tighter—there should have been
no lonely basement. He kissed deeply into his hair—he would have walked
Spike through the guilt, step by step.
Not for the first time, Angel realised he’d been given a second chance
in life. Some good distance from Buffy and all the confusions over that
intense jealousy, (more understanding perhaps of where the real jealousy
lay), he could give Spike’s incredible journey the recognition it deserved.
Very gently, he murmured, ‘Let’s go home.’
Spike was in no state to argue; he had begun to recite the litany of his
evil, a distraught monologue of the obscenities that had been his delight
for so many years. To any other listener, they would have been incoherent
ramblings. Not to Angel. They made perfect sense to him, sharing as he
had over two decades of that malevolence.
‘We took his boots—last longer than babies, though. Souls and soles.’
‘All predators will carry away the small and helpless first. Listen, Spike,
you wanted to change. I think you must be the only demon in recorded history
who wanted to stop being evil.’
‘Because of you? Because of what happened between us in this Sunnydale
Angel was caught wrong-footed by this insanity-cloaked clarity. ‘No… I
don’t think so…?’ Had it? Had Spike’s road to Damascus been mapped
by love for him? Before he could think it through, Spike began
again, his words twisting and turning like snakes in the air, his hands
mirroring the action with dry rasping sounds of anxiety.
They came to a more brightly lit part of the street. Angel glanced down
and saw the blood still on Spike’s face. Stigmata of their evil, it blossomed
from his torn lip. Frowning with concentration and pity, Angel stopped
them and with the cuff of his shirt dabbed at the bleeding, knowing Spike’s
eyes were upon him. ‘You made me a monster.’
Angel nodded. ‘Yeah. I did. But I was one, too. I try to forgive myself.’
With a tiny curse of frustration at the stain now on his shirt, he bent
to the welling blood and sucked it instead.
‘Fucking faggots. Take it home, yeah!’
He whirled around to find a young man staring at them disgustedly, three
companions in the process of turning around to see what the commotion
was. Backed up by their presence, the insult was repeated. ‘Faggots!’
Spike tipped his head to one side, wiping his eyes with his sleeve. ‘I
think my soul has just gone on holiday.’
Angel sighed. ‘You will suffer later if you rise to it.’
Spike gave him a glance of derision. ‘I think not.’
‘Being a souled demon is complex, Spike. I’ve lived with it for over a
century, and I know. Trust me on this.’
Spike suddenly strode forward and broke the young man’s nose with one
extremely controlled punch. Then he slipped into his demonic face and
hissed at the others. Watching them run, he shouted, ‘I’d eat you if I
wasn’t afraid stupidity was catching!’ He strode off in a random direction
with something akin to his cocky swagger. Angel followed behind, quietly
He was ready and prepared, therefore, for the next manifestation of Spike’s
angst. Talking rapidly (but making little sense), Spike seemed to be having
an intense conversation with someone at his side. Angel had often seen
very real, physical manifestations of his own guilt, so didn’t
interfere. He just wanted to get Spike home. Home. A place of lies, wrapping
Spike up in a web more complex than his new ensoulment ever could. Who
was the real evil? Who stalked Spike’s every step, making him what he
was? Angel ground his teeth and refused to continue this train of thought:
he wasn’t in the mood to pander to his guilt; he had enough to
do pandering to Spike’s. He stored away the pain of remembering that it
was he who had turned Spike, he who had given him his excessive love of
evil, and concentrated on gently steering Spike back to the apartment
without making it appear that he was interfering in any way with the direction
Spike wanted to go.
They were a few hundred yards from the corner, which would take them to
their new street, when Angel heard a subtle change in Spike’s wild speech.
He had reached his impressive age almost entirely due to his sixth sense
for such things—or perhaps because he listened to his sixth sense and
acted upon it. Spike was still addressing an invisible companion, but
Angel sensed that this was not entirely a fictional presence. He felt
an odd, cold trickle down his spine—not quite fear, but not far enough
from that rare emotion to be entirely dismissed. Spike was becoming more
agitated and had begun to rub his jaw—the side where the missing teeth
had only just grown back.
‘What’s wrong?’ Angel almost laughed with bitterness as he asked. What
was right in Spike’s life recently?
‘No. I won’t.’
‘What, Spike? What won’t you do?’ He glanced around once more, but could
still not see what he felt was there in the dark, watching them.
‘Won’t say it. Couldn’t make me then—can’t make me now.’
‘Cus I do.’ Suddenly, Spike looked up and howled, ‘NO! I won’t!’ Angel
snapped his neck up and for one startling moment thought he saw a vast
bird of prey. Then it dissolved into shadow and was gone.
If he had been alone, he would have pursued it, but he wasn’t alone. Spike
was watching the darkness above them with a silvery track of tears on
his cheek. ‘I won’t. You’ll never make me. Told him, can’t be made—just
something he needed to understand about me. And he did! He did! He understood,
and he loved me!’
Angel put his arm over Spike’s shoulder. ‘Hey… little one. Calm down.
Let’s go home.’
‘Where the heart is?’ Spike’s earnestness made Angel’s voice catch in
‘Yes.’ My heart is with you. He couldn’t tell whether it was cowardice
or kindness that made him unwilling to say this out loud to the confused,
* * * * * * *
When the fire was re-stoked, the apartment was surprisingly like home,
despite Angel’s parallel sense of dislocation. He didn’t have too much
time to think about it all; Spike took all of his attention. He sat him
on the couch, brought him a blanket and fussed as he had once fussed over
someone much smaller and a great deal more helpless. He didn’t consciously
allow the similarities between his child and his childe—that way madness
(and incest) lay—but the pleasant and unpleasant thoughts hovered close
enough to taste their confusions.
Spike was oblivious of the care Angel was taking. He seemed entranced
(and not in a good way) by the flames. What was homely and comforting
to Angel took on a whole different meaning in the almost demonic reflections
in Spike’s eyes. Angel wanted to distract him from thoughts of burning,
so rummaged for some music. There was his taste and Wesley’s, which were
surprisingly similar, but nothing that he knew Spike would appreciate.
Desperately, he tried to work out how to turn the television on, but it
totally defeated him. The only thing left was alcohol, and despite a nagging
feeling that he oughtn’t to give Spike anything that reduced inhibitions
in his current state, he poured them both a large whisky and brought them
to the couch.
He could not deny the unfortunate associations of the quiet sound of crackling,
the painful glint of perfect crystal and the aromatic smell of whisky.
Wherever Spike was, the combination of these three snapped him back to
the here and now. He looked up. ‘Angelus?’
Angel sat down next to him and very cautiously laid his arm over Spike’s
shoulders as he placed the glass in his hand. ‘Angel. It’s Angel now,
remember? I have a soul, too.’
‘Should I change my name then?’
‘You marked the change. What should I be now?’
Angel scratched his ear idly and took a small leap of faith. ‘Logic would
Spike stared then blinked. Slowly, a small smile crept around the strained
edges of his features. ‘Funny man.’
Angel let out a small breath of relief. ‘How are you feeling?’
‘How am I going to survive, Angel?’
Being a literal sort of person, Angel replied thankfully and seriously,
‘You can feed as I do: on animal blood from abattoirs.’
He was surprised and slightly alarmed when Spike began to laugh. He cursed
the decision to give him whisky. ‘What? What did I say?’
Spike shook his head and replied very fondly, ‘Nothing, Pet. Nothing at
all, but that declaration I apparently made is beginning to seem
Angel hesitated then put his hand on Spike’s head, idly stroking the silky
strands of hair. ‘I wasn’t there for you when you went through this last
Still smiling ruefully, Spike murmured, ‘How ever did I cope?’
Not hearing the irony, taking this literally, Angel replied sadly, ‘You
went kinda mad—for a while.’
Spike leant back against Angel’s hand, turning his head to the gentle
petting. ‘Why the bloody hell did I want a soul?’
Angel pondered his reply but decided truth was the best option. ‘For love.
You wanted to be… lovable.’ The hair slid off his fingers like fine silk,
reminding him of soft baby locks that he’d press to his cheek. Or was
it reminding him how he would twist and pull longer hair during lovemaking?
The confusion in his mind seemed not to reach his groin; there, there
was no misunderstanding in the hardening that strained his pants.
‘And did you? Love me?’
Angel felt that sense of helpless confusion again. ‘It wasn’t about me.
None of it was about me.’
Spike blinked and caught his wrist. ‘Then I think, even though I don’t
remember any of it, my memory is better than yours: it would always
have been about you.’
Angel, prevented from stroking, cupped Spike’s neck and pulled him closer
until their foreheads were touching. ‘All that matters is that I love
Spike seemed to be seeking deep within himself and then replied, ‘Perhaps
it’s not all pain. I think I understand what love could mean now.’
Angel closed his eyes for a moment then opened them. He stared, perplexed,
at his hand. When had it come to rest on the warmth of Spike’s inner thigh?
‘Then come to bed.’
* * * * * * *
Angel shifted, careful not to wake Spike. The fire had died, and he eased
a couple of logs onto the glowing embers. He wasn’t cold, but he liked
watching the play of light on Spike’s skin. He liked feeling the warmth
seeping into Spike’s coolness and smelling the musky odours that rose
from their tangled, damp bodies.
They had not even made it to the bed. The fire had witnessed their passion,
stoked slowly like those embers until it glowed with equal heat. It had
never been like that between them. Having no secrets left, Spike was open
and loving as he had never been before. Repressing his own secret, Angel
basked in this love and lapped at it, letting it support and sustain him.
He was loved. He had always been loved, and when he woke up tomorrow,
Spike would love him still. When he tried to sort one separate memory
of the preceding hours, however, he could not. Images were blended together
until all he could recall was skin; all he could taste was salt; and the
only sound in his memory was the silence of wordless wonder. And yet it
had not been the most explicit sex they had shared together. They’d done
far more in the distant and recent past, neither of which Spike could
remember. Then they’d split each other open and penetrated deep into the
essential core of the body. Then they’d bled and thrust and bled some
This time, though, Spike had needed coaxing, still unconvinced that they
could be lovers once more. And he’d found a willing partner for this gentle
coaxing. For the first time in his long existence, Angel had found himself
seducing a lover. It was an entirely new skill, and one that he had not
thought to seek within himself—until this new Spike. For he was new. Quite
new. He did not remember nine weeks earlier pounding Angel into a mattress
until the preternatural body had bled. Rather, his hand had trembled as
he’d unbuttoned Angel’s shirt. He did not remember drinking rich red blood
from one ball, split in a violent passion. Rather, he’d explored Angel’s
body with slow wonder and hesitant hands. Perhaps, Angel thought, as he
lay basking in the sexual healing of long, slow orgasms, this wasn’t a
new Spike but an old one. Perhaps, if he’d attempted a seduction of William
before he’d killed him, that passion would have been something akin to
this. The thought, however, dragged a more unwelcome one behind it: the
difference was in the soul. How would Spike’s guilt manifest now? What
strange forms might it take? It surprised him to realise that, feeding
preferences aside, he could not actually tell whether Spike had a soul
or not. It surprised him to finally admit what little difference there
was between the two creatures he knew so well.
He watched the flames a while longer, wondering how anyone could associate
such flickering beauty with damnation. From his own observation, hell
had borne little resemblance to any medieval imaginings. He smiled and
kissed into Spike’s neck: he could almost hear the derision if he mentioned
such a thing. Then the humour left him: Spike did not know he had been
in hell. Spike had been stripped of his life and his memories. It seemed
a rather common occurrence at Wolfram and Hart. How culpable was he
in this most recent theft of memory? He had not taken it, but then… he’d
done nothing to return it to Spike either.
He pulled Spike into a tighter hug, the circle of soft light surrounding
them, encasing them, protecting them with a power as great as that hidden
beneath Angel’s pale skin.
He was owed this.
Who could cast a first stone and accuse him?
* * * * * * *
As soon as he roused from sleep, Angel knew that Spike had already woken.
He did not open his eyes though; darkness was best for what he wanted
now. Slowly, with great deliberation, one-by-one, he focused his senses
upon the moment. This, he had been denied with Buffy. This, he would never
have desired with Darla. This, he had only dreamt of with Cordelia. With
Spike, it was his—this one moment when every part of his body was in tune
with a waking lover. He could feel Spike’s bony ankle pressing into his
calf, the slight rub of leg hair when he shifted. They shared warmth,
his warming Spike then radiating back, enhanced, to him. Their different
smells—his redolent of spices and sadness, Spike’s of cigarettes and sass—were
overlaid by a shared salty tang and the natural smell of male sweat. And
then there was the fit of curve and cave: Spike snuggled and curled, pressed
back against the welcoming hollow of his broader frame.
A sound like a whisper of love opened his eyes, the silence and peace
of his one pure moment gone. He smiled wryly, trying not to be too harsh
on himself for such self-indulgent whimsy. Fond delight was part of the
bargain, the debt that was owed—that and much more. He’d been denied love
for a century. He was owed.
The slight noise had come from Spike’s finger. He was following the path
of a tiny splash of firelight, which, reflected off something in the room,
was dancing like an elf on the polished wooden floor. His body tensed.
To Angel, so warm and languid beside him, it felt like pain, and with
a blush at remembered activity a few hours previous, he pushed his mouth
against Spike’s ear and murmured, ‘Sorry. Was I… too eager?’
Spike took a long time to reply. He seemed fascinated by the dancing light,
deep in thought. When he finally turned in his arms, although the thin
face was shadowed from the fire, Angel felt Spike was studying him intently.
He blushed again at the memory of things they had said and done, but Spike
suddenly said, ‘Tell me about the missing years.’
Angel hadn’t expected this. But as this was his first time waking in the
arms of a real lover, he had nothing to base expectations upon. He frowned.
‘You asked that before. You and me?’
Spike shook his head slowly, keeping Angel’s gaze. ‘No. Just you.’
‘I want to know everything about… you—what brought you to be working for
Wolfram and Hart.’
‘I was right: I don’t know you.’
‘You know me well enough.’
‘I thought I did.’
‘Well… it has been over sixty years.’
Angel frowned. ‘Since we last saw each other—on the sub?’
Spike scratched the side of his face idly. ‘Oh, that. Sure. So… tell me.’
Angel didn’t know where to begin, and every place he attempted it led
him to recap or add something so the tale would make sense. When he found
himself talking about Cordelia, for example—telling Spike how much she
had changed in LA—it occurred to him that Spike had no recollection of
who she was. He began to wind back to tell the tale of Sunnydale-Cordelia
but was surprised when Spike waved him on, clearly following the tale
without the need for these additions.
When he came to Connor though, he hesitated. The hesitation took on a
life of its own, until he stopped entirely.He’d never told anyone about
Connor and had never had any intention of doing so. But Spike wasn’t just
anyone—and not because he was still sticky from exploring inside Spike’s body. Spike wasn’t… of this world or this time. Spike
had no recollection of how things should
have been, so a confession of how they had ended up where they were didn’t
seem so bad. Angel was caught totally unprepared, therefore, by the strength
of Spike’s reaction to this part of his story. When he got to the first
time Connor had tried to kill him, Spike wrenched himself out of Angel’s
arms and climbed, naked, to his feet, pacing and gesticulating wildly.
‘Why didn’t you tell me this?’
‘I haven’t told any…. What do you mean?’ Angel pulled his knees up to
his chest, watching Spike rummage in his strewn clothes for a cigarette.
Spike found one and lit it by leaning down to the embers of the fire,
his body attractively and enticingly stretched and displayed.
Angel shook himself, returning reluctantly from the interesting fantasy
he’d been indulging, and realised that Spike was now standing over him,
cigarette between his fingers. ‘Huh?’ He blinked, mesmerised by the beauty
of the blue veins on the underside of Spike’s cock.
‘Where is he now?’
Angel pouted and looked down. This was trickier. Altering people’s memories
was not a subject he felt comfortable discussing just now. ‘He… changed.
But I don’t see him.’
Spike took a drag of his cigarette. All Angel could see was the movement
of his hand, but he felt he was being scrutinised minutely. ‘Why?’
‘Why don’t you want to see him if you say you loved him?’
Angel’s head snapped up. ‘I do love him. Don’t ever doubt that.’
‘So why abandon him?’
‘I didn’t. You don’t understand, Spike. Don’t meddle in this.’
‘Then make me understand.’
‘It’s none of your business.’
‘Is that so?’
Angel jumped to his feet, towering over Spike. ‘Yes. It is so. Now leave
‘Where is he?’
‘Fickle love again! Surprise, surprise.’
Angel felt his arm twitch to hit him but found words leaving his mouth
instead. ‘Another reality was created for him.’
Spike blinked, not backing away, not showing the least sign of doing so
either. ‘Another reality? For him or for you?’
Spike paled, a neat trick on his already pale skin. ‘Oh, bloody hell.
Welcome to the edifice of evil….’
‘Yes. Wolfram and Hart.’
‘Jesus Christ. They don’t know, do they? Wesley—and the others.’
‘No. They don’t know.’ Now it was done. Now he’d admitted just how far
he would go for his own selfish reasons. All the pretence that he was
owed Spike’s love crumbled to the delusion it was. He wasn’t owed one
Goddammed thing. He was selfish and evil, and he deserved to be lonely.
As if feeling compelled to point out his own faults, just in case anyone
missed them, he added, ‘His memory was wiped. He remembers nothing of…
us. He’s happy now.’
‘But, Christ, what about you?’
The cry was so intense, Angel took a step back. ‘Me?’
Spike recovered slightly and added in a more controlled voice, ‘It’s a
bloody heavy burden to carry on your own.’
Angel looked at him curiously. ‘Who was I to tell?’
Spike looked slightly wounded, took a hasty drag of his cigarette and
asked deceptively casually, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ He glanced up at
Angel’s face and added, a little more slyly, ‘If, as you say, we are…
Caught in his own web of deceit, Angel began to pace. Gruffly he replied,
‘Because I thought you would never trust me again. You have to admit,
we have… trust issues.’
‘You lied to keep us together?’
‘No! Well, yes. But a lie of omission.’
‘And—indulge me here, cus I’m really curious, Angel—just how far would
your lies go to keep me?’
Angel closed his eyes and considered this in the darkness of his head.
In that gloom, the answer blazed like fire. Without reopening them, he
said in a clear and controlled tone, ‘I would have the entire world distorted
to keep you this time.’ He opened his eyes and held Spike with his gaze
as easily as he could have held him with his physical strength. ‘I’ve
lived long enough without you. I - am - owed - this.’ He strode up to
Spike and grasped his shoulders, shaking him. ‘You’re owed this.’ Recollecting himself,
he ran his fingers through Spike’s still bed-mussed hair. ‘There are no
lies here, Spike. What you see is the entire truth of what we are.’
Spike let Angel play with his hair for a little while then nodded. ‘Yeah,
I think you’re right.’
If Spike was troubled by his abrupt discovery of a soul, from that point
on he hid it well. He fed from a bloodbag as if he’d been doing it for
years, and not the slightest disgust crossed his features at the taste.
Angel could not believe how relieved he was, or how proud he felt of Spike’s
strength. Only someone who had gone through an identical experience could
truly know just how conflicted Spike would be inside. And this time, Spike
did not have the benefit of a trial run with a chip—a dip into the waters
of respectability to cushion the shock.
In his most self-aware moment, however, Angel was actually a little disappointed
by Spike’s rapid recovery. Although he had never intended to stay home
and baby him, he would have liked to be asked to. It didn’t happen;
as he was dressing for the office, Spike hung in the doorway, watching
him thoughtfully, drinking tea. When Angel began to lace some highly polished
shoes, Spike said softly, ‘I’m gonna stay here today and rest.’
Angel glanced over and said magnanimously (whilst still feeling Spike
should be the one asking, not him offering), ‘Then I’ll stay.’
Spike waved his hand dismissively. ‘Oh, sure, then I’d be doing a lot
of lying around resting.’
‘I can be restful.’ He had a sudden vision of his cock sliding hot and
red into Spike’s backside and went back to his shoelaces.
‘Anyway, last thing I need is old corduroy-balls coming here, summoning
Angel looked peeved. ‘Wesley works for me. I’m the CEO.’
Spike didn’t reply. He came closer and crawled onto the bed behind Angel,
flopping down on his belly with an elaborate sigh. ‘I’m knackered.’
Angel twisted around, feeling guilty, remembering Spike’s injuries. ‘Just
sleep—sleep and feed.’
Spike nodded, the small, uncontrolled gesture of one already half-taken
Angel watched him for a while, his eyes grazing the taut body, his mind
recalling the feel of every inch, inside and out.
Spike was finally his. He was more profoundly his than he could ever have
been before the memory loss. Then, recollections of the betrayals of Sunnydale
and LA would forever have coloured their relationship—even if they had
been able to progress it beyond the mutual need for sex. Buffy, an ever-present
ghost, would then have haunted their bed.
Now, Spike was pure—his to mould and shape as he saw fit.
* * * * * * *
Halfway down the street, the fact that he was being a total pillock hit
him. He even heard the self-abuse in Spike’s dulcet tones. He had no real
reason to go into work. He had no real work. And in his bed, he had… Spike.
Naked Spike. Spike, warm and malleable… bending this way and that. Spike,
He didn’t get as far as using the word snuggly, but it sort of echoed
pleasantly in his mind as he negotiated a tricky turn in the street and
headed home. Home? As the thought crossed his mind, Angel knew that it
was true. Wesley had chosen better than he knew. Or had such a choice
for their home been a deliberate act of loving generosity on his part?
Angel was in the kind of mood where he thought favourably on everyone.
It was very novel.
He couldn’t help the ridiculous grin that made his face muscles ache as
he rode the short journey down in the elevator. Climbing back into a sleep-warm
bed with Spike seemed too good to be true.
When Angel slid noiselessly into the bedroom, his stealth was wasted:
the bed was empty.
There was nowhere else in the apartment to go.
Spike—still apparently sick and still apparently tired—was gone.
* * * * * * * *
He was all rage, long simmering under the surface, now brought to crawling
life on his skin and in his nostrils, smelling like hate. But there was
fear, too. Not usually an emotion to mellow the heart, but it did his.
How much could he hate Spike? How much would it destroy him in the process?
Seething with these very powerful feelings, he ignored the tiny, sad voice
calling to him from the corner of his brain where love huddled. “This
is not what it seems” was not what he wanted to hear. He knew very well
what this was, seems or not. Spike was gone. He was being played. His
love lay rejected with the sex-warm sheets he had desired to return to.
Once more, a seeming inevitability in this long life of his, he tracked
Spike. It wasn’t hard. Why was it never hard? Was he always led by his
heart rather than his preternatural tracking ability? Did his heart betray
him by constantly leading him back to Spike? Or not his heart, maybe.
Maybe that other compass of his desire led him to Spike as it had once
so unswervingly led him to Darla. It would have served him better, perhaps,
had it stayed fixed on her soft folds.
Spike’s trail led him up to the small, dingy office, but not towards the
door. This wasn’t particularly surprising, as even now the sun bathed
the sidewalk in mellow warmth that contrasted painfully the coldness of
Angel’s heart. No, the traitorous trail led out the back of the office
to a door, which Angel discovered led him into the remainder of the warehouse.
Another time and in another mood he might have stopped to wonder at the
arching vaulted roof, the almost gothic beauty of this evidence of a past
industrial life. Spike had. Spike had stopped and lifted his face to the
roof. This Angel could tell. What he had thought about it all, however,
he could not. But Angel wasn’t all that interested in what Spike thought
anymore. His childe had overtaken him as the master of lies, and there
were only so many lies he could hear in his many lifetimes.
The trail suddenly stopped, and Angel looked down at his feet to a grating.
It was cast aside, as if Spike was careless about being followed—or as
if he was so secure in his deceit that he could not imagine being followed.
But followed he was. Relentlessly. Angel dropped down through the grating
with a grace he thought he’d left in another existence. Perhaps his demon
Once in the sewer, he began to run. Whatever it was Spike was doing, whoever
it was he was betraying him with, Angel wanted to catch him at it. Why
miss any chance for pain?
Spike had not been in a particular hurry. He’d stopped and lit a cigarette,
its smoke even now tickling Angel’s nostrils, reminding him of the smell
of Spike’s hair and clothes, the sound of his voice, husky from smoking,
or sex, or trying to do both at the same time and then his laughter, always
his laughter. Had he been laughing at him all this time?
The trail ended at a rusty ladder, which led to a drain cover. More a
voyeur now than a hunter, Angel ignored this exit and picked the next
one to leave by. He wanted to see what Spike was doing, not prevent it
and give him the opportunity to lie once more.
He came out into gloom, which was good, and into a familiar smell: the
musty dryness of death. He was in a small mausoleum.
Striding over to the grill, which served as a door, he ducked out of sight
just in time. Standing in the gloom of an identical mausoleum twenty feet
away was Spike. Angel needn’t have bothered to hide, however: Spike’s
head was lowered; he was staring at the sunlight a foot from his feet
with the concentration of a man who would not see an enemy if he strode
right up to him and let loose the simmering hatred of a hundred years.
Although… Angel’s hatred now took an alarming jolt and turned to confusion.
They were in the cemetery where he’d taken Spike that first night of finding
This Angel had not expected.
This threw his anger entirely. Why had he not thought to come back
here and trace Spike’s last known movements? At some point, in some place
just before this, Spike had lost almost a decade of his life. Or had it
taken from him. Angel glanced away, unwanted heat rising to his face.
He knew exactly why he had not put the considerable resources of Wolfram
and Hart onto investigating Spike’s amnesia.
He wanted to call to the lonely figure, but something snagged his tongue
to stillness. Something in Spike’s stance confused Angel more than finding
him in this place. To Angel, some feet away, Spike appeared as a man on
the verge of something irreparable, some decision perhaps that would alter
all that was to come. Angel suddenly wasn’t sure he wanted to find out
what that something was.
Still not entirely rid of the aftertaste of his anger, Angel also wanted
to know why Spike waited until he was alone to come here. It was indicative
of a lack of trust that Angel found disturbing. This was not the vulnerable,
open, loving Spike of the previous night. This man, standing so rigid
and alone on the far side of the forlorn patch of grass that separated
them, was not the man he had kissed and held and made slow love to only
a few hours ago. He was a stranger, full of secrets, and Angel was afraid.
His fear did not lessen as time passed. It grew, for although the day
passed—the sun rose higher and the sounds of city life grew and waned
around them—still Spike did not move. Just as his hatred had been implacable
over the centuries, so was his rigid stance now during this unnaturally
long day. What could he be thinking, hour after hour, his arms wrapped
around his body, his eyes fixed so intently upon the ground?
Angel’s body ached to go to him, his heart bled to hold him and tease
out the cause of such evident pain. He did neither though. He watched
from the shadows, a habit he had learnt with another lover, but which
stood him in good stead now with this one who fascinated and infuriated
Before he could believe it, the sun left the cemetery, and Spike was off.
He ran like a creature unfettered by gravity, one whose sole purpose was
to pursue, whose soul purpose was destruction.
For the first time in the many times he’d hunted Spike—as his sire, his
lover, his enemy—Angel could not keep up. He could sense faint traces
of him, but the city was hot and crowded and filled with the scents of
Then suddenly, he rounded a corner, and Spike was there. They almost collided,
but the slim figure dropped out of sight. The ground appeared to swallow
him. Angel came to a halt, his coat billowing slightly with the rapid
deceleration of his flight. He blinked then saw a very prosaic sewer cover.
Having expected a crack in reality, he chuckled ruefully and realised
just how tense he’d been since he’d found the empty bed.
He wrapped his coat tails around himself and dropped through after Spike.
And lost him.
Whereas before the hunt had been difficult, now it was impossible. He
had dropped into a nightmare of dark tunnels and blood. Wherever they
were, it was not a place that recommended itself. Things had occurred
here that Angel did not want to conjure in his mind, although, of course,
he did—being a vampire, being demonic and thriving as he did, somewhere
in the corrupted core of his being, on other people’s pain.
Pushing all these thoughts to one side, he ran on through the dark, slimy
tunnels, ignoring the feeling that he should stop and investigate that
groan, or that thin scream, for he knew them for what they were: phantoms
of long past pain. All he could focus on was Spike. He was real, and he
needed to find him.
When he finally did, an hour or so later, he wished he’d turned aside
at those pathetic, ghostly sounds.
Once more, the slim figure was bent over a victim. Once more, there was
blood, but this time Angel was fairly sure the blood was not Spike’s.
The tiny girl’s neck was livid and moving with a sluggish crimson flow
as Spike gnawed. They appeared to have been at this particular dance for
some time, for fresh blood splattered the walls, overlaying flakes of
dried, rusty brown. Her legs were jerking as Angel had seen hung men’s
do—as in sex, that other painful dance. The image was so evocative he
could feel the death throes in his own body, as if he held the
tiny figure down and took her life. When Spike was done, he lifted his
face and slowly and deliberately licked around the bloodied mess. He closed
his eyes for a moment and then ran once more.
Angel had no run left in his legs. Had Spike drained him along with that
blood-warm child? Something was gone from him, but he was fairly sure
it was not blood.
Considering the misery that often orchestrated the tempo of his life,
Angel was surprised that even in his long time on this earth, he had not
felt pain like this. All was confusion. All his certainties of only a
few hours ago were gone. He would have said a rug had been pulled out
from under his feet if that analogy had not seemed so pathetic, that fall
from those few feet so inadequate to illustrate the plummet of all his
hopes. For, on reflection (something he did silently as he sat in the
office all the rest of that night and the following day), he now realised
that it was love that was gone. He no longer loved Spike. He didn’t trust
him, and in that utter lack of trust, he had ceased to love him.
Did Spike really have a soul? Or had his manipulative childe seen that
the appearance of a soul was required of him to stay in this cosy
new life? Angel tried desperately to cast his mind back to the moment
when he’d found Spike with that first victim in the alley. He’d seen misery
and pain on Spike’s face, hadn’t he? Or had he seen the face of a consummate
trickster and overlaid on the scene his fervent desire to have Spike still
souled. Had Spike even lost his memory, or was he playing some twisted
game all of his own, a game so devious that the games he had played over
a century ago seemed as innocent as those of a child in a playground?
Angel had lost his capacity for reasoned thought. He was in too deep.
There was no clarity this far down.
But as ever, he had no one to ask. There was no counsel for one such as
The only one who could help him, the only one who knew the truth, was
He didn’t anticipate getting much help there.
But Spike had been careless this day. He’d been so intent upon his game,
his deception, his evil (and all the other hateful things Angel
named the scene he had witnessed) that he had not realised he’d been followed.
A demon, but that whole time Angel had dogged his steps unheeded.
If he could slip once, he could slip again. One more slip, and Angel might
have the answers he sought.
He would live with the devil, fair of face and form, waiting for that
Then all would be known.
* * * * * *
This was not how it should have been: this first stopping on the way home
to shop for wine. Where was the anticipation of seeing him; where was
the love? In his heart was only bitterness and pain; so much so that even
if Spike had fallen on his knees, confessed and begged for help, Angel
did not think he could ever summon love for the blond vampire again.
It didn’t help that Spike greeted him with a shy smile and a touch upon
his arm that spoke only of love.
Had it actually been Spike he’d followed all day? Perhaps there were two
of him somehow? One who had been here, safe, loving him and his. One who
had…. Yet the apartment had been empty.
Angel started and tried to concentrate beyond the turmoil of his thoughts,
but he could not summon the rest of the sentence. ‘What?’
Spike frowned. ‘You’re in a bloody mood. What’s wrong?’
Angel shrugged and went to put the grocery bag on the counter. ‘Long day.’
‘Well, ‘xactly. Just what I was sayin’. Long day with nothing on the sodding
He came and leant against Angel’s back, wrapping his arms loosely around
the hard waist. ‘Wanna go out?’
Yeah, I do, Spike. Let’s go to some tunnels and murder some more children.
‘No. I’m tired.’
Spike straightened and regarded him thoughtfully. ‘Okay, Pet, I’ll open
that wine then, yeah?’
Angel nodded, but it was too much to keep up the pretence under such familiar
scrutiny. He knew he wasn’t that good an actor. Not with Spike. Who knew
him so well. Inside and out…. ‘I’m going for a shower.’
Spike pursed his lips. ‘Why am I thinking you wouldn’t accept the offer
of some company?’
Angel turned to him. ‘Maybe because I wouldn’t.’
He pushed off the counter and went into the bedroom, deliberately shutting
* * * * * *
It came upon him like a vast vomit of pain—the sob that broke from his
body as the water cascaded over him. He thought he had it all under his
habitual control. Sure, he was bitter and angry and tense, but he had
the upper hand. He knew. Knowledge was always power, and the power
was all his. So, if he was powerful, why were his knees folding without
his volition? Why was he down on the floor of the shower, heaving great
breaths of air that, unused, only increased his sense of powerlessness?
And then, under the flowing warmth, came something that was hard and strong,
as strong as he was perhaps, or stronger, for this one held on and did
not cry and shiver as he. It couldn’t be Spike—Spike was the betrayer.
Angel closed his eyes and let the one who held him be the one he wanted
him to be.
He did not rightly remember how they got to the bed, only that the strength
bearing him up did not lessen. It spread over him like a blanket of determined
power and spoke gently into his ear. ‘What’s wrong, Pet?’ When no reply
was forthcoming, there was a sad sigh then hands upon his body so gentle
that they belied the earlier strength. He wanted to cast them off: the
hands of this traitor. He even went so far as to wrap his fingers around
the strong wrist. But that small effort of defiance destroyed all other
intent, for on contact with the traitor’s skin, it seemed to Angel that
a kind of infection passed to him. It heated him and made him delirious,
and on top of the after-effects of painful crying, he was quite unable
to resist such loving kindness. He wanted it as a child in a fever wants
its mother, as a man under torture begs for God’s respite. And this need
found its own solution to the crisis in his soul. There must be
two Spikes: the demon he had witnessed tearing the life out of the girl
and this one he loved. For, lying under Spike’s loving ministrations—hot
kisses into a damp neck, gentle stroking over a heated brow—Angel had
to admit the fact that, of course, he still loved Spike as much as he
ever had. So, it was this Spike he loved, and the other one he
did not love existed somewhere… out there… away from this, which
was real now, and thus he reasoned away his last shred of sanity where
Spike was concerned and the last chance he had of turning away from the
path he was now upon.
He rolled them so he lay on Spike’s smaller form and stared intently into
the blue eyes, not seeking truths he did not want to know, but reassuring
himself that he was right to love this one so intently. He saw
nothing to say he should not love him, but knew in his heart that finding
it would not have altered his desire anyway. He was hopelessly lost, and
the one he had always relied upon to bring him home was now the one leading
him astray. Until he admitted that love now existed without trust, Angel
did not realise just how much he had trusted Spike. For all his
ludicrous plans and devious plots, for all the wild exaggerated nature,
for all the lies and play-acting and carefully perfected roles, Spike
had always had an essential, innate core of honesty. Knowledge of this
had, after all, kept Angel dangling upon the promise of renewed love for
more than ten decades.
‘I love you, Angel.’
Angel almost choked on the mirthless laughter that threatened to seep
out at the timing of this solemn remark.
After ten decades, he had exactly what he wanted.
* * * * * *
From that evening on it became easier and easier for Angel to split Spike
into two separate men: one he lived with and loved to distraction, and
one he didn’t know or trust. That latter one he studied as obsessively
as any watcher ever studied an immortal. To all intents and purposes life
went on as normal: he left for work; Spike stayed in bed and was there
when he returned. Under the surface, however, things were anything but
normal. As soon as he was out of sight, Angel would double back to the
vaulted warehouse and wait in the shadows until Spike made his inevitable
daily feeding run, which he did without fail. True, Angel never actually
saw him feed after that first time, but that was more through inability
to follow him as closely as he wanted rather, he was sure, than any restraint
on Spike’s part. Sometimes, in dark moments of the night, Angel asked
himself what he would do if he had incontrovertible evidence that Spike
was killing. He played scenarios in his mind, and every one, regardless
how much angst and shouting went on to start with, ended with them in
bed, finding forgiveness their own way. He sometimes wondered if his inability
to catch Spike at it was his body’s defence against learning a truth that
would put him in an impossible position. This way, he had his suspicions,
but he couldn’t act on them alone. He couldn’t stake Spike, as reason
told him he should, on suspicion alone.
When they were together, when he was with the Spike he had created for
his sanity, normality was hardly the word to describe their relationship
either. Angel loved this Spike, but that didn’t stop him working through
the bitterness and mistrust that hung around his passion like a crucifix,
burning him. Guilt at his own inability to do what was right made him
vicious. Sex was rough, loveless even. Conversation was desultory. And
making it worse was the knowledge that none of this was outwardly Spike’s
fault. If anything, Spike was more loving, more considerate, more attentive
then he had ever been in the hundred or so odd years Angel had known him.
He was almost… empathic, as if he understood some or all of Angel’s pain.
As this was not possible, the alternative gnawed at Angel’s gut: the consummate
trickster was worming his way inexorably into his affections.
On the fourth day of this exquisitely painful impasse, Spike declared
his intention to come into the office.
That changed things.
Suddenly, the two people Angel kept as distinct entities in his mind merged
and there was just one Spike—the one sitting next to him in the car, smoking
and fiddling with radio stations.
Angel’s feelings were as unstable as the frequencies flicked over with
such distain. Love, hate, love, hate, Spike, not Spike, Spike, not Spike.
It didn’t help that Spike was doing the empathy thing again, watching
him with knowing, thoughtful eyes. This, metaphorically, was the straw
that broke Angel’s very fragile back. It really pissed him off that he
was studied with calm detachment, as though he was the one at fault, as
though he was the one that needed… help….
Angel jerked back to reality as Spike grabbed the dash. He swallowed and
wished they had run into the back of the bus, which was now blaring
a horn at them. ‘Fuck!’
‘Slow down maybe?’
He whirled on Spike, but that only caused another near accident so he
pulled sharply into the curb, gripping the wheel as if he needed that
additional stability. ‘This is not a good idea.’
‘Damn right—I’ll drive.’
He hissed then clarified between gritted teeth. ‘You—coming to work.’
Spike laughed lightly as if the pain of an entire world was not in the
car with them. ‘Weren’t planning on doing much work, Mate.’
Spike shrugged. ‘Thought I’d… drop in on some friends—say hi.’
‘Friends?’ This bothered him on some level, but with his gut already tied
in enough knots to defeat Alexander, he didn’t stop to puzzle through
this latest concern. He pulled back into the flow of traffic.
Spike stubbed out his cigarette then immediately lit another. When he’d
taken a long drag of the fresh nicotine, he said in a quiet, serious voice,
‘You do know that I love you, don’t you? Whatever happens.’
Impressed with his coolness, given the circumstances, Angel replied, ‘And
what could that whatever be, I wonder?’
‘You don’t believe me.’
‘It’s not a question of my belief.’
‘What is it a question of, Angel? You were the one who said that I loved
you, after all.’
Angel turned his head slowly and blinked. ‘Yes. I did.’ He had. He’d made
up a confession of love that had never happened because he’d wanted
it to be so. Well, now he’d made up a whole Spike persona, because he
wanted that to be true, too. Perhaps bending reality to his will was becoming
a little too addictive.
* * * * * * *
They went their separate ways when they entered the building—Angel immediately
to Wesley’s office where he called down to security to have Spike’s movements
monitored. As an afterthought he added that Spike was not to leave the
building without his knowledge.
Wesley watched this call with a detachment that belied his curiosity.
Only a raised eyebrow gave any indication that he found Angel’s behaviour
odd. When the call was concluded, he asked, ‘Is the apartment to your
Angel turned and tried to bring himself back to the mundane realities
of his life. He nodded.
‘What’s wrong then?’
Angel actually saw himself telling Wesley. He was desperate to tell someone,
to share the burden of Spike’s betrayal, but he could not. He understood,
somewhere in his confused mind, that he was the only one who would see
mentally splitting Spike an acceptable solution to this dilemma. He didn’t
want to have to defend bringing a possibly soulless Spike, a feeding Spike,
into proximity with his friends. Not to Wesley and particularly not to
Wesley seemed to accept that he would get no reply to his personal question
and moved onto work matters. ‘We’ve had no joy with the car.’
‘The one that was bugged? We can’t trace the manufacturer or place of
purchase. No leads I’m afraid.’
He was slow coming to the idea, but when he reached it, he embraced it.
‘How big is the bug?’
‘Yes. It’s a simple enough question, isn’t it? Would it fit on the palm
of my hand or would I need a fucking sherpa to carry it?’
Wesley pursed his lips for a moment then replied evenly, ‘It’s about the
size of a postage stamp—first class.’
‘Can we copy it?’
The purse deepened. ‘Why would we want to do that?’ He recoiled at the
expression on Angel’s face and added very swiftly, ‘We have our own, Angel,
more sophisticated and… smaller… as size seems to be the issue here.’
Angel pictured what he intended to do with the bug and replied with the
first smile that had tested his face muscles for some days, ‘Yeah. Small
is of the good.’
* * * * * * *
It felt like a burning coal in his pants’ pocket as he strode down to
the canteen to find Spike. He fingered it, turning it over and over, until
he caught a woman eyeing him disgustedly and snatched his hand out. Still
it burnt, and he tried to ignore his tiny, better voice, which told him
this was the heat of guilt.
Spike was not there, and no one could recall seeing him.
More swiftly, Angel headed back up to his office to call security, but
found Spike, sitting at his desk… rummaging. He looked up when Angel came
in and didn’t seem all that happy to see him. He looked back down at a
drawer then closed it softly.
‘What are you doing?’
Spike shrugged. ‘Wasn’t allowed to go out. Funny old thing that.’
‘Yeah. Life’s full of surprises. I’m leaving; let’s go.’
‘Another busy day in the house of evil?’
Angel came up close—too close for Spike who leant back sharply, the leather
in the chair creaking slightly. ‘Don’t you fucking dare talk to me about
evil.’ Remembering who he was, Angel straightened. ‘We’re leaving.’
‘We? Are we suddenly joined at the hip?’
Angel didn’t bother to reply to the clearly rhetorical question and stood
back, waiting for Spike to go ahead of him. With a last glance around
the office, Spike slid back the chair, shrugged out his shoulders, plunged
his hands into his pockets and slouched out into the hallway. None of
these familiar gestures did much to relieve Angel’s mood—they were very
familiar and very much loved.
Loving Spike was wearing him out.
* * * * * * *
His intent growled around in his mind all evening like a hungry beast.
Just the thought of it made him so horny he could feel Spike under his
fingers even when they sat separately, watching the TV, pretending that
things were okay between them.
Spike seemed preoccupied and once or twice glanced at his watch as if
had important business elsewhere. Angel didn’t want to ask and be lied
to again, so the not knowing what this sudden impatience was stoked anger
under the lust, until he acknowledged he was in a very dangerous mood.
Finally able to contain himself no longer, he rose deceptively lazily
and poured them both a drink. When he’d handed one to Spike, he remained
standing behind the chair and slowly ran his fingers up through the short
hairs on the back of Spike’s head. Spike tensed; Angel caught him under
the chin and tilted his head back, kissing him awkwardly from above. Spike
twisted around in the chair, kneeling and kissing him back with a passion
that surprised Angel, given the unease that had simmered between them
since Spike’s betrayal. Even then, even in the depths of this intensely
loving kiss, Angel could not help but try to taste human blood on Spike’s
breath. He could not. It smelt of nicotine and whisky. Angel suddenly
got the impatience and the obsession with the time: Spike still needed
to feed and was waiting only for him to tumble into sleep to sate a lust
Angel could not or would not slake for him.
He would have some wait that night.
Angel heaved Spike out of the chair, knocking it over in the process.
They fell in an ungainly tangle on the couch, still kissing. By now, hands
had come into play. Spike, his hands tracking urgently down Angel’s torso,
pulled sharply away and hissed when he found the hardness in Angel’s pants.
With a disbelieving curse he fumbled with Angel’s zipper and then thrust
his hand into the solid warmth beneath—solidity that had clearly been
there for some time. The erection was too established to release through
the narrow opening. He tore the button on Angel’s waistband and carelessly
pulled him out over the metal teeth of the zipper. Angel arched in as
much pleasure as discomfort and then roughly shoved Spike’s head down,
unequivocal in his demands.
Spike didn’t demure, and it was with an almost supplicant eagerness that
he fell upon the thick redness of swollen flesh. If Angel had been thinking
straight, he’d have thought Spike was seeking forgiveness or approval
in the way he slobbered his tongue up the corded veins and then sucked
the bulbous head slowly in between his tight lips. As it was, the sense
of his cockhead sliding between Spike’s lips made him think of another
aperture he intended to slide into, and that thought led him to think
about his plan.
Even now, the tiny device he’d sequestered from the firm lay in his pocket
between them. With some effort he levered off the couch, lifting Spike
with him. Grabbing Spike and his falling pants, he strode to the bedroom
and pushed Spike onto his back on the bed. Through all this, Spike retained
his almost apologetic acquiescence. The sex had been very rough between
them for days, but Spike had always given as good as he got. Not now though.
Now he allowed himself to be stripped with no finesse, only lifting his
hips as his slim jeans were ripped from his body. He did not take his
eyes off the heavy column that lifted and bobbed between them as Angel
worked. Even when his own cock sprang free of its confinement, he only
blinked slowly then returned to watching Angel’s manhood with erotically
Angel knelt on the bed below Spike and pushed the pale legs up, spreading
them. This did receive a slight protest, such a blatant position usually
reserved for much later in the sex, when they were both in the throes
and heedless of dignity. Angel ignored the small grunt of objection and
wormed backwards so he could lie on his belly and plunge his face into
Spike’s spread ass. He slathered his tongue around, wetting the smooth
skin, biting into it hard enough to leave red welts, then without any
other warning, he wriggled a finger in through the tight hole that lay
dark and enticing on the pale spread. Spike winced and swore. Angel withdrew
but immediately plunged his tongue in through the slight ease. He slobbered
and mouthed for a few moments then thrust his finger back in, this time
reaching high and screwing it around, making Spike thrash and claw at
It was almost time.
The device was already out of Angel’s pocket, in his other hand, warming.
He pushed his mouth back against the hole and managed to insert his tongue
to the slick walls, licking them with as much relish as he had once licked
outside folds. Spike was arched and taut, his neck stretched, his eyes
closed with pleasure. It was then such a simple thing to transfer the
bug, and on the next insertion of his strong, probing fingers, push it
high into Spike’s rectum.
Spike hissed cursed something about Angel’s nails.
Guilt washed over him but quickly got kicked into touch by anger. He wouldn’t
have to do this if Spike wasn’t betraying him. Despite righteous
anger, Angel bathed the rim of the hole with cool saliva and kissed it
with as much need as he had earlier kissed Spike’s mouth. Need then rose
between them, once more. Spike’s cock, which he’d been pulling in a desultory
way as Angel licked, now jerked, and a well of glistening fluid seeped
out of the tip. Angel’s was heavy and hot, throbbing almost painfully
with the need to be sheathed. He rose to his knees, heaved Spike higher
and entered him with as little concern for foreplay as he’d shown with
his finger. Spike was more than ready though. He lifted his legs higher
and splayed them with a wanton need that made Angel grunt with surprise
and thrust hard down, pressing him into the mattress and grinding their
hard, wiry bushes together until all they could hear was rasping. Angel
paused for a moment, desperate to catch Spike’s eye, desperate to see
the loving emotion they’d shared that first night in the new apartment.
But he dared not. Although he knew it was only fanciful imagining, he
thought he could even now feel the hard metal tracking device tickling
the tip of his cock. He even ground a slow circle, sure he could feel
it graze and scratch (very pleasantly) as he moved. Spike didn’t help
by suddenly snaking out a hand and catching the back of Angel’s neck,
pulling him down for a long, deep kiss. Kissing Spike when he was deep
inside his body was a particular delight of Angel’s, and he almost blurted
out the entire cause of his misery as Spike’s tongue explored his soft
walls and ran teasingly over his teeth.
Fortunately, kissing thus made Angel ache even more for relief, and that
made him move. He pulled back, the whole nine inches of his length until
the lips of Spike’s anus just held him then pushed firmly back in, knowing
from the intensity of the kiss that Spike was enjoying the sensation as
much as he. He did it again, welcoming the familiar build-up of pressure
to orgasm. Nerves shut down all over his body as the ones around his genitals
flared to exquisite sensitivity. He was just cock and balls, and the muscles
of thigh and hips needed to thrust and pull and thrust and pull into the
long, hot tunnel that was Spike’s body.
The tunnel began to quiver, and Angel knew Spike was close. He pulled
his mouth away and looked down to watch Spike’s orgasm, his mouth watering
when he saw the amount of clear fluid flowing out before the thicker release.
He thrusts sped up. He pressed on Spike’s thighs and pistoned in and out
of him. Spike cried out, arched tighter, squeezed his arse tight and then
ejaculated a stream of sperm onto his taut chest and belly. The tight
squeezing and smell of come finished Angel off, and with a grateful grunt
he released deep into Spike with a jet of sperm as long as piss and with
an equal sense of relief.
He sat back on his heels to enjoy the aftershocks of his orgasm, thrusting
very gently into the wetness that was now Spike. He watched his cock,
red and wide, coated and shining and occasionally still jerking with small
releases. He wanted to lift Spike up to watch, too, but the emotional
distance between them had never seemed greater.
With a sigh, Angel slowly extracted his softening penis. And, with a frown
of dismay, watched the tracking device wash out after him on a stream
of spent come.
With a choked-off, almost hysterical giggle, he covered it with his knee.
Spike lifted his head, his eyes heavy and sated with pleasure. ‘What’s
Angel bit his lip. He was losing it; the emotional vice he’d squeezed
upon his feeling splitting apart. Spike narrowed his eyes and seemed about
to speak once more when Angel went for his throat.
It shocked them both. It was the ultimate intimacy between them, something
they’d not done despite all the other intimacies they had enjoyed recently.
Angel reasoned that given his memory loss, Spike was not to know this,
and he bit deep, closing his jaws so the flesh tore as he mouthed into
the sticky wetness beneath.
Spike’s fingers came up into Angel’s hair, running erotically through
the silky strands, and what had been done as a means to an entirely different
end became like sex between them once more. Angel shifted more comfortably
on Spike, feeling sperm sticky between their chests. Blood began to coat
the walls of his mouth and run down his throat. Spike suddenly lifted
his legs and entwined them over Angel’s back, and with almost no fumbling,
Angel entered him once more. Emotional involvement, long denied, now sparked
between them, carried on the abundance of warm fluids that soaked every
part of their joining. Spike buried his face into Angel’s hair and whispered
something that sounded like love. For the first time in many days, Angel
believed him, and with Spike’s blood on his tongue, he said it back, croaky
and out of practise, but heartfelt nonetheless.
He knew he could not drink much longer and still allow Spike an orgasm—stiffening
blood being essential to the enterprise, even for their magical bodies.
He didn’t want to do what he had to do now. The tracking device was hot
in his palm, but not in the same way Spike’s hot body caressed and welcomed
If he did not do it however, he would never know—how much truth there
really was to Spike’s soft whispers, breathed in the passion between them
and holding his heart in such a tight and endless grip.
With slippery fingers, he pressed the metal deep into the wound in the
blood-coated neck and then withdrew, holding the flap of skin in place
to heal over as he continued to fuck Spike. For that’s all it could be
now—fucking. Those all too brief exchanges of love had belonged to another
time when he’d not been betraying Spike. He was the betrayer once
more. He held Spike to him, sliding his arm around the smooth back and
lifting him to his chest, and with every eager thrust that brought them
both so much pleasure he drove a wedge between their hearts.
When Angel left for the office the following morning, he actually went
there. He went to security and collected the other half of the device:
the small screen showing a street map of LA. Spike was already on the
move, if the dot tracking inexorably across the lines was believable.
Angel believed it. He’d woken that morning to find a sleepy Spike draped
over him—sleepy and healed entirely. He’d stroked over the collarbone,
picturing what lay beneath, imagining a faint pulse replacing that which
Spike had lost.
Watching the dot of light now, Angel felt a strange calmness come over
him. What would be would be. It was out of his hands; this tiny piece
of technology had taken over, and he was as helpless in its grip as Spike.
The hunt was now very leisurely and done almost completely in a comfortable
car in the sunlight. Only when the pulse of light stopped at an office
block did Angel park and run into the sheltering lobby. There appeared
to be a variety of businesses in the building, but the tracer wasn’t accurate
enough to pinpoint which Spike was visiting, nor, of course, why.
An alarm bell suddenly ringing gave more of a clue. The receptionist took
what appeared to be a panicked phone call, and a security guard, responding
to some message on his radio, ran for the elevator. Going against the
flow of people running because of the alarm, Angel followed the man into
the elevator. When they began to move, he said conversationally, ‘I hope
there isn’t a fire. Wouldn’t want to get trapped in here.’
The guard glanced at him distractedly. ‘Nah—intruder.’
The man drew his gun as they approached the twentieth floor. Angel frowned
but didn’t intervene. He allowed the human to step out and run cautiously
down the hallway. He followed more leisurely. He saw people cowering behind
desks and one or two running for the elevator he had just exited. There
was a shout, a shot, and then he ran.
He crashed into an office.
The security guard was retching, a pool of vomit already at his feet.
The smell of sick would have overpowered Angel’s acute senses if the smell
of blood had not been stronger.
He put his hand on the man’s arm and removed the weapon from his hand.
‘Did you see what did this?’
The man looked up, his eyes haunted. ‘A man. I shot him, but he…’ He glanced
up, and Angel followed his gaze to a ceiling panel, punched out, revealing
darkness beyond. The man began to shake. ‘What…?’ Angel wasn’t sure what
he wanted to ask. What was it that could do such evil seemed a likely
guess. Of course, he’d seen people slaughtered like this before (he’d
done it himself many times), but with his hand on the shaking man’s arm,
Angel couldn’t help but see the carnage from the guard’s point of view.
It was shocking. Blood cascading down freshly torn throats would always
be shocking, but it also seemed utterly incongruous in this place of business,
cascading as it was down freshly laundered, designer suits.
He heard a commotion in the hallway and, unwilling to become involved
any more than he was, he went into an adjoining room and exited through
a side door onto another hallway. He jogged down the stairs, fingering
the tracking device in his pocket but not aware he was doing it. His mind
was racing with very different thoughts. He’d witnessed a level of violence
in that office that puzzled him. Profitless violence—for a vampire. Spike
had not fed from those men; he’d just slaughtered them—swiftly and surgically.
That was not feeding; that was… revenge. For the first time, it occurred
to Angel that something very different was going on to what he had at
first assumed. Instantly, his mind shot back to the scene he’d witnessed
in the tunnels. That had been very different—nothing surgical or swift.
But had he actually seen what he’d thought he’d seen? Hadn’t he followed
Spike with the express intention of catching him out doing something just
like that? It was as if he’d conjured the exact scene he’d wanted
to witness to prove that Spike could not be trusted. Angel hung his head
and forced the next thought past some considerable resistance. Had he
gone there and seen what he’d seen precisely because he didn’t
trust Spike, and he’d wanted to be validated in that lack of belief?
Thinking about it now, Angel recalled the tenderness with which Spike
held the girl cradled in his arms, more lover than killer. He saw once
more the gentle way he had licked around her face, more cleaning than
eating. He focused on the lifted face and saw not triumph and the taste
of blood but grief and a trail of tears.
Angel put a hand over his face and pressed thumbs against his eyes hard
enough to cause pinpricks of light in the darkness.
He had the terrible thought that even if Spike were proved innocent, his
distrust had destroyed them now anyway.
* * * * * * *
Sometimes Wesley’s perfected calmness pissed Angel off. He preferred the
raving-and-the-drinking-and-the-fucking-with-Lilah-Morgan Wesley. At least
then he’d been able to feel superior to him. This Wesley made him feel
like a naughty child caught doing something vaguely disgusting. ‘I’m glad
you told me—at last.’
Angel wasn’t, but he concealed this and nodded, trying to appear mature.
‘But I have no idea what he’s doing or why.’
Wesley pressed his buzzer and said into it, ‘Do you think you could bring
us a couple of cups of tea? Thank you.’
Angel frowned. ‘No one brings me drinks.’
‘One of the perks of being nice to people, I suppose.’
‘You’ve been very nice to Spike—to the extent you thought he was killing
again yet did nothing about it. You left him to go out on his own recognisance
and even allowed him to come here.’
Angel pulled a thread out of Wesley’s armchair, thinking of intestines.
‘I think I did the right thing.’
‘With the advantage of hindsight, maybe.’
Tired of Wesley’s lecturing when he’d wanted only sympathy and approval,
Angel snapped waspishly, ‘This is not the first time someone has betrayed
me. I misinterpreted their motives, too.’ He looked up directly into Wesley’s
dark blue eyes. They held their constancy, and Angel looked down again.
Wesley was not his enemy, and he did not have enough friends to risk losing
the ones he did. ‘I’m sorry. I was wrong.’ He ran his fingers distractedly
through his hair. ‘But you don’t know Spike. You don’t know how… distracting
he can be.’
There was a pause when Angel wished he could take this last back, given
the unfortunate associations with activities of the horizontal nature.
Wesley surprised him though by chuckling softly, ‘I know another vampire
with a soul, however, and he is remarkably distracting most of the time.’
Angel felt a stab of pleased excitement in his belly and smiled shyly.
He glanced up. Wesley added, ‘Now, shall we stop tiptoeing around like
schoolgirls at their first dance and decide what we’re going to do about
* * * * * * *
Angel came over from the window to look at what Wesley had discovered.
‘You still have the case notes I gave you on the gun-running case and
photos we took of a man we killed in the warehouse raid. We do have a
filing system, Angel, if you would care for me to explain it to you one
day.’ He leant back and glanced around Angel’s office. ‘You say he seemed
deliberately looking for something rather than just being his usual nosey
‘I don’t know. I was….’
Angel ground his teeth and folded his arms.
‘So, how does this help us?’ Angel could tell this was a rhetorical question
and let Wesley do the thing he did best: think. ‘Remind me again: what
did you think he was doing when you tailed him to the cemetery?’
Angel came over and perched on the edge of his desk. ‘I told you: I thought
he was trying to find how or where he’d lost his memory.’
‘Hmm. I wonder.’ He looked up. ‘Maybe these are one and the same thing—the
case and Spike’s memory loss.’
Connections clicked immediately in both their minds, but Angel still found
it hard to believe. ‘They took Spike to stop us investigating them?’
‘It seems more… personal… somehow—what they did to him.’
Wesley frowned. ‘Perhaps it was personal as well.’ He stroked the edge
of the desk for a moment ordering his thoughts. ‘The story you told me
about the shooter seemed odd at the time, but I couldn’t put my finger
on what puzzled me.’ He looked up. ‘You said he had you both in his sights
‘Exactly. What if he—it—recognised you.’
Angel pursed his lips. ‘That usually makes people want to kill me more.’
Wesley chuckled. ‘Well, there is that. But revenge, as they say, is best
served cold. What if he did recognise you but wanted to settle some score
with you later….’
‘In a more personal way.’
‘Yes. I know it’s a bit of a reach, but it fits the facts.’
‘We disrupt some profitable gunrunning business, and Spike was the payback.
But why would anyone think that hurting Spike would hurt me?’
‘That I can’t answer. This odd—goodness, what word can I use without risking
more of that delightful teeth grinding?—relationship you have only started
after he’d lost his memory, yes?’
Angel fidgeted. ‘It was… we were… in a way. A few days before.’
‘Oh. Well, it comes to the same thing: no one could have suspected he
meant anything particular to you.’
‘I’d be pissed, Wes, if someone did that to any of you.’ I’m
the only one allowed to strip your memories.
‘That’s nice to know.’ Wesley pushed the chair back and stood. ‘We’ve
found a connection between Spike and this bloody case, but I’m not sure
we’re any further forward in deciding what to do about it. Have you considered
just… talking to him?’
‘Of course.’ He hadn’t and didn’t much like the suggestion now.
‘Good. Just ask him what’s happening.’
What if I don’t like the answer?
‘You’ve got very little to lose, after all.’
* * * * * * *
Talking did not prove easy. Angel had never expected it to, so wasn’t
surprised when he found himself lying beside a sleeping Spike still not
having spoken a word about what was on his mind. Now he had told Wesley,
however, an imperative to do something was there that wasn’t there
before. He had a sneaking suspicion it was one of the reasons he had told
his friend. How much longer could he go on watching these terrible events
unfolding without doing something?
Afterwards, he told himself that he had been about to wake Spike and talk
to him. He had… a tiny movement towards the sharp shoulder blade….
It was immaterial. The telephone rang in the other room, and Angel climbed
out of bed away from Spike’s still sleeping form, and whatever he had
been about to do, was not done.
He picked up the phone, running his fingers through bed-rumpled hair.
‘Ah, good. I think we can cautiously say that we have something of a breakthrough.’
* * * * * * *
Wesley talked; Angel paced. They were the only ones in the building except
for night security, and the sense of being alone together late into the
night was a comforting familiarity for both of them.
‘Spike led us to the solution, really. One of the three men he killed
in that office has, or rather had, direct links to the feed shipment firm
we’ve been investigating. The other two were importers—just what they
were importing was never very clear. Frequent trips from Zagreb—.’
‘They were Croatians, hence the armament connection.’
Angel stopped pacing for a moment, but the thought, whatever it had been,
was lost. ‘Go on.’
‘So, we have one dead accountant from a non-descript, low-profile animal
feed importer and two dead gun-runners, one of whom served as Ante Gotovina’s
ADC in the Nineties. And what’s the connection between them?’
Angel was slightly lost, so he just made a non-descript noise.
‘This.’ He held out a piece of paper, and Angel swung around to see it
Wesley tutted and took it back. ‘It’s supposed to be an eagle. I copied
‘A tattoo! It was on the back of the man we killed in the warehouse.’
‘And on the three bodies we found after Spike’s latest jaunt. It’s the
link, Angel. What?’
‘I don’t know. I’ve seen it somewhere before, but I don’t remember where.’
‘Pity. Anyway, once I had this linking them all, I had something to work
on. From then on, it was relatively simple. Does the name Black
Eagle mean anything to you?’
Angel shook his head but said conversationally, ‘Except for the law firm,
of course.’ He looked up sharply. ‘You’re kidding.’
Wesley lifted an eyebrow. ‘What’s good enough for Wolf, Ram and Hart….’
‘Black Eagle is the connection? That’s impossible.’
Angel couldn’t think of a single reason, except for some innate belief
that a city could only support one evil law firm. ‘What do we know about
‘Well, I’ve poked about a bit, and they appear to be perfectly legitimate,
but then Wolfram and Hart does—to those not in the know.’
‘I want to speak with their CEO. Set up an appointment.’
‘That’s not going to be easy. He’s a bit of an enigma. I couldn’t even
find a name let alone a bio. Shadowy and elusive rather comes to mind.’
Angel gave a short laugh. ‘I invented shadowy and elusive.’
Although he had not known it, this is what he needed. He’d been out of
the fight too long, too wound up with Spike to see what he’d been missing.
He felt as if he’d been in a story where the real plot had been happening
around him, but, too obsessed with his own little romance, he’d missed
He slid back into the darkness and timed the car as it passed. It was
exactly the same time as it had been the previous evening. Whoever the
invisible CEO of the Black Eagle law firm was, he was predicable. Fortunately
for Angel, the man was a workaholic, leaving only after dark. Angel was
in his element.
Time, however, was not on his side. Ideally, he would extend this surveillance
until he was sure, until his plan was foolproof, but he did not have the
time. Spike had not left the apartment yesterday, but it was only a matter
of time before he would once more be a vengeful pinprick of light, moving
further and further away toward a place Angel could not follow. As soon
as the car left the underground carpark and pulled into the side street,
Angel sprung to a ladder and tore up to the rooftops. He shadowed the
car, as he leapt from roof to roof. He had spotted one moment when he
could make his move, and if the same thing happened again this night,
then he would be ready.
The car turned off the main street towards a flyover, slowing as if its
occupant were assessing the human trade that congregated in the shelter
of the overhead road. Angel waited, hovering like the great black bird
he was hunting. The car stopped; the door opened to beckon a young boy
closer, and Angel descended, his coat opening like wings, his face already
in its fearsome form. He pushed the boy to one side and slid into the
back seat, slamming the door behind him. He turned his demonic face to
the occupant and snarled. ‘Don’t—.’
‘Hello, Angelus. I wondered when you’d show up. Nice move, by the way.’
Angel rippled back into human form without noticing. His eyes travelled
over the man sitting next to him. The uniform had been replaced by an
expensive suit, but other than that, he had not changed at all—as was
only to be expected, for, like Angel, he was unchanging. He laughed.
‘Forgotten your manners, Angelus?’
Angel hissed. ‘I don’t kowtow to royalty, you fucker. I didn’t then, and
I sure as hell don’t now.’
The Arch Duke looked disappointed. ‘I meant a simple hello, but seeing
as you mention it….’ He laughed again, his eyes twinkling. ‘I jest. Please,
call me Frederick.’ He leant forward and tapped the glass dividing him
from the driver, and the car began to move.
Angel glanced around the rear of the car, assessing danger, then folded
his coat tails more elegantly and gave the outward appearance of relaxing.
‘You were expecting me?’
‘I was expecting you weeks ago. Fortunately you became… how shall we say?
Angel held himself in check by sheer force of will and said deceptively
‘That is a truly horrible name. I prefer William.’
Hearing Spike’s name in this demon’s mouth made a true calm descend upon
Angel. It was a killing calm that portended death. ‘You took him.’
‘To distract me.’
Frederick crossed his legs elegantly. ‘Don’t flatter yourself, Angelus.
You aren’t that much of a threat to me. Your evident distraction was entirely
He fiddled with his cuff for a moment, his lips pursed. ‘When you broke
‘There was no goddamned contract!’
‘There was a gentleman’s agreement, non?’
‘Non. I mean… I wasn’t going to let you have him. I changed my mind. Don’t
tell me you held a fucking grudge all these years.’
‘My God, your arrogance! I didn’t give you thought… after the first twenty
years or so.’
The demon turned cold eyes to Angel. ‘Because I followed you one day.
I intended to have a gentlemanly chat about your interference in my business—after
I’d put a few bullets in that dense Irish brain of yours. And then… there
he was. Still by your side over a hundred years later.’ His face clouded
over. ‘I’ve had thousands of… lovers… since that night in England. Thousands
of anonymous bodies. Some I fucked and left; some I ate, but you—.’ His
face contorted then smoothed. ‘You, with your bog-Irish manners and your
self-aggrandisement, your pathetic attempts to understand the gifts you’ve
been given—you’ve had over a hundred years with him.’
Angel watched the striking face, a sense of incredulity creeping over
him. Spike had been taken and tortured for a mistake? For simple, dumb
He shook himself slightly. ‘Why take his memory?’
The Duke waved his hand imperiously. ‘It’s mere semantics, but actually
he lost his memory. He couldn’t resist in the end, so he just…
went away. It was rather poignant.’
‘You fucker. Resist what? What did you want from him?’ He paled. ‘Don’t
‘Calm yourself, vampire. I did not need to torture him to take my pleasure
with him. Jesus, this is the twenty first century; this is the age of
drugs—and I was owed.’ He caught Angel’s fist in his as if it were a tiny
bird fluttering toward him. ‘Don’t. I was alive before your ancestors
crawled out of their bogs, Angelus. I will be here when your dust has
returned to the stars.’
Angel took back his fist. His time would come. Vaunting boasts didn’t
impress him much. ‘Why the torture? What was he trying to resist?’
The Duke rearranged a cuff that had ridden up during the slight altercation.
‘Betraying you. I should have known that a hundred years of being your—what
is the word in English? Whore hardly seems appropriate—whatever…. It would
make him… unyielding.’
Angel heard a long-dead pulse pound in his ears and sickness rise in his
throat. Spike had been tortured to betray him? And had… resisted. Nails
ripped out. Starved. Bones smashed. Teeth removed. So much pain that he
had… gone away in his mind.
The duke had been watching the changing expressions with amusement. ‘Such
love in a demon—soul or not. It was sickening. Now, however, it appears
his memory is returning.’
Angel started. ‘What?’
‘Oh, come on! Just how dense are you, Angelus? What do you think he’s
been doing these last few days? Waging a war on my operation, that’s what!
Step by step, he’s working back to the time when he lost—.’ He suddenly
darted out a hand and turned Angel’s face to him before Angel could wrench
away. ‘Well, this changes things.’ He chuckled. ‘You are still more demon
than I had been led to believe. This is not good news to you. You don’t
want his memory back. Well, well. This changes everything.’
Surly, Angel hissed, ‘What I want is irrelevant.’
‘Not at all. I know how he lost his memory, and I know how to restore
it… or not. Perhaps I will give it back to him. He’ll remember
our time together, the fun we had deep in those dark tunnels, all those
little presents I tried to tempt him with, and then, eventually, he’ll
remember… you. Are you that bad a memory, Angelus? What is it you
don’t want him to remember? This is delightful; I haven’t felt so stirred
by anything since I finally slid into that tight little backside—. Careful.’
He tapped the glass. ‘Our guest is leaving.’ He let go Angel’s wrist,
and the door sprang open as they pulled into the curb. ‘We’ll be in touch.’
‘What do you want?’
‘What do I want? Delicious choices…. To keep him ignorant? To have him
know everything? What a difficult question. Two powerful CEOs negotiating
contracts, dividing up a city, sharing black secrets. What do you think
I want, Angelus?’ With that, he gave Angel a massive blow to the jaw,
which toppled him out of the car into the gutter. Smoothly, the limousine
drew away, and the door shut silently.
* * * * * * *
No method of travel was fast enough—cab, running, leaping across the rooftops.
In the end he was forced to settle for an unsatisfactory combination of
them all: anything to get him back to the apartment and to Spike. Spike,
who was working inexorably back through his memory until he came to the
point where it was lost. To the point where it would not be. Lost.
Then he would know the great lie that had been perpetrated upon him. It
gave definition to betrayal. Angel almost enjoyed the irony: it was a
betrayal much more devastating than the one inflicted upon William in
the shadow of an English castle decades ago.
But was he planning to actually stop Spike’s retrieval of memory? Was
he willing to go that far to protect the relationship they now had? Would
they have a relationship of any kind if Spike were prevented in this quest,
if he was left striving to fill some unfilled part of his psyche, this
shadow in his mind that needed fleshing? His unsatisfactory flight back
to the apartment left Angel plenty of time for brooding upon these questions,
but as with most of his dark introspection, he was given no answers.
His sense of disappointment at returning a second time to find Spike absent,
when his whole being yearned for his presence, was almost too much. All
he found was a tiny flashing light on the device he’d left concealed in
the back of his closet. He almost threw the device against the wall in
frustration, actually saw his arm draw back and felt his fingers release
before the absurdity of doing so hit him. With difficulty, he mastered
the extremities of his emotions and studied the reading. Spike was moving
very slowly in an erratic manner somewhere near the docks. Hunting sprang
to Angel’s mind, but he dismissed it as he paused long enough to change
his clothes and set off on a hunt of his own.
* * * * * * *
He hunkered down behind a dumpster, close now. Spike was a few hundred
feet away, still moving slowly along one side of a large warehouse.
Angel checked the reading one more time then took to the roof. He covered
the distance between them until it appeared from the screen that they
had merged. He smiled bitterly at the irony and slid, belly down to the
edge. Nothing stirred except the detritus found in all alleyways and one
solitary, mangy dog attempting to find a meal. Angel narrowed his eyes
and scanned the shadows more carefully. He wasn’t perturbed at not seeing
Spike immediately. His childe was good at concealment, and he was a demon
with a mission. The light began to move once more. That did surprise Angel—nothing
gave away a position more readily than movement, but still he could not
see Spike. He watched the dog slink along the alleyway, heading towards
the water’s edge, then lightly dropped off the roof, landing so gracefully
the creature did not even turn. Glancing down at the device, he began
to follow the pinprick of light.
It was only after a few hundred feet that Angel got he was not only following
the light—he was following the dog as well. So tense was he, so unconsciously
overwrought that he remembered thinking for a split second that Spike
must have found the ability to transform into an animal before a more
prosaic explanation occurred to him. Blushing and glad no one was listening
to his thoughts, he jogged towards the dog. It turned on him and began
to snarl. He snarled back, only louder, and got the total submission he
was going for.
For all the tenseness, for all the anguish of the proceeding days (decades),
Angel couldn’t help a snort of laughter at the extravagant, gaudy pink
collar Spike had selected to fasten his tracking device to the dog. It
gave the cowering cur a jaunty air, so incongruous with its flea-bitten,
discarded appearance, that Angel didn’t have the heart to remove it.
At that moment, the dog looked up.
Angel started back fractionally.
It could have been the gloom in the alley. It could have been a tiny bit
of reflected light from a lamp over the doorway to the warehouse, but
at that moment, the dog’s expression had clearly said that Angel might
as well be wearing one too. And he might—a pink one with a little bell,
announcing to the world beware pussycat.
A great hunter, reduced to this.
Something began to stir deep in Angel’s belly: Angelus turning, sloshing
in his foul pit, ever waiting. He had not felt this since….
…. he had taken that one opportunity to be a man and have what men can
It seemed to Angel then that he was facing a great watershed in his life,
a dividing of ways, and which path he chose would affect lifetimes beyond
this. He looked up to the night, recalling the moment so many decades
ago when he had sought its counsel. Then, in a quiet country retreat in
Cumbria, the answer had come to him, startling in its power: above all
else, he had the shape and form of a man, and he could fill the hollow
places of that form with the emotions of a man as well. He had seized
love and lived it like a man. He could do that now. He could be a good
man and remove himself from this unworthy hunt, this reliance on the technology
of evil, free himself from suspicion and jealousy and guilt. He could
rise above the sum of his parts and forgive Spike, tell him the truth,
help him seek his memory and then face all that would come from the discovery
of that betrayal.
But being a man and embracing love had not worked too well for him in
the past. A few glorious weeks when he and William roamed the earth as
lovers had come to a bitter conclusion. Better perhaps he took the other
path. Angelus rolled over once more, grinning. Angel could feel his irresistible
pull, like the tide upon his conscience. How easy it would be to give
in to the demon inside. He would then take a very different path. No forgiveness,
no explanation, no restoration of Spike’s anything. Spike would stay as
he wanted him to be. As he had
created him to be. Obedience,
contrition, submission. The
very words made other things stir within Angel.
Man, demon. They pulled him with their conflicting desires. Slowly, in
his mind he began to move away from the light. The shadows at the edge
of the great darkness welcomed him, embracing him, whispering to him that
he was home. He stood on the threshold between day and perpetual night
and looked back along the path that had led him to this place. He had
told Spike that he had never been tempted to give up his soul, and that
was true, and the path behind him spoke this truth, running eager and
hopeful, straight and true, from the moment when he had been cursed.
Angel frowned and took one step back along his path to take a better look,
ignoring the spidery fingers that clutched at his coat, holding him in
the shadows. He did not remember his souled years as being that smooth and straight. He’d suffered!
Why did it appear so easy now in retrospect? And with the kind of clarity
that can come from depression and desperation, Angel now saw that the
goodness did not start from the curse; he could trace a thin, pale line
of light pushing back beyond this… all the way to a house in Cumbria.
He closed his eyes, but the image remained in his mind. He did not want
to see it, but it would not be denied: his goodness had begun when he
had chosen love. His love for William had created fertile soil in which
his soul could grow and flourish. It had brought him to this place, where
he was a good man.
Angel began to laugh, thinking of the duke complacent in his power.
What power? He was better than them all.
And not because he had lived longer or was cleverer, but because he was
a good man. You could change the uniform, but a suit didn’t alter
the demon beneath.
The laugh deepened to genuine good humour. The duke had seen them together
and believed they had been lovers for over a hundred years. And, in a
way, he was right. They had. Whatever had been good between them had been
carried down the decades and was still here now.
He was better than them because of Spike!
Angel tipped his head back and allowed his demon one howl of pure frustration
before he wrenched away from the tenuous fingers clawing him. He had no
desire for shadows at all.
‘Will it ever be better than this? Do we finally understand each other?’
Angel’s grin only got wider, and he answered William, a silent promise
in his thoughts. This is just the beginning.
The house was blazing with light pushing back the night, but it didn’t
faze Angel. He’d overcome high walls, sensors, razor wire and dogs—a few
lights were trivial inconveniences.
He didn’t need meetings to be set up. He didn’t get put off by enigmatic.
He’d been constrained, emasculated by his role of CEO of a law firm for
too long. Now he was taking the fight to the enemy. No more gentlemanly
conversations in the back of limousines, no more gutters.
He climbed to the second floor and entered through a French window into
a bedroom. It surprised him that he had not met more resistance, given
this was the house of the demon that had once controlled an army. Crossing
the bedroom, he heard noises for the first time. A raised voice from somewhere
in the house.
He exited onto a gallery that ran around a large central lobby. If he’d
not been hunting a dangerous enemy, Angel might have stopped to admire
the exquisite European décor. It seemed the accent was not the only thing
this self-styled duke could not shake off. Hanging over the gallery opposite
where he stood was a large banner, a black eagle embossed upon it. The
scene reminded Angel of rallies where as a demon he had stood in good
company and listened to a madman rant. Suddenly, he could hear the approach
of figures from a room below. The voice came again, and this time was
Angel’s blood ran a little colder. He ran to the edge and gripped it with
In the vast hall of the house, two figures emerged from another room.
They were fighting. Blows had already been struck with such force that
blood splattered the ground in a decorative, red arc. Angel froze for
one moment, then moving with the grace and speed of a true predator, he
vaulted the wall and landed beside the struggling figures.
Spike flicked his eyes toward him and shook his head as if in disbelief.
‘I didn’t want you here!’
The duke leapt out of Spike’s way, circling the much smaller figure, trailing
the point of his blade over the marble floor.‘You seem to make a habit
of bursting in where you are not wanted, Angelus.’
Angel ignored him and addressed Spike. ‘What the freaking hell is happening
Spike, keeping his eyes on the circling duke, replied calmly, ‘He’s being
The duke laughed and made a mock bow. ‘I have a house full of loyal subjects.
I have only to click my fingers—.’
Spike’s calm assurance seemed to puzzle the big man. He flicked his eyes
toward the front door. Spike grinned.
The tall demon hissed. ‘Good men are expensive, William. Bad men more
so. I shall not make your death easy now, as I had intended—for old time’s
Angel took a menacing step closer, but Spike snapped his head around and
snarled. ‘Stay out of this.’
Angel faltered. ‘Spike….’
The duke readjusted his hold upon his sword. ‘Don’t be a spoilsport, William.
Let Angelus play, too. He has his own reasons for killing me—don’t you?
All those wriggling secrets to keep….’
Angel lunged forward and grappled the wrist holding the sword. He shouted,
‘Spike!’ Together they could have taken him, but to Angel’s horror, Spike
flung himself at him and wrenched him off.
‘This is not your fight, Angel!’
‘Yes, tell him, Angelus. Tell him why it’s your fight, too. What are you
so desperate to stop him knowing? What did you do, Angelus? What do you
fear him knowing?’
Once more, Angel attacked; once more Spike pulled him off. This time he
hurt Angel—badly. There was no play-acting in his eyes. Angel backed off
to the wall, nursing his arm. The duke went for Spike once more, and they
were a discordant clashing of arms. A spray of blood hit Angel.
The duke grinned and switched hands on his sword once more. ‘What do you
hope to gain from this, William? You’ve made your point; now let it go.’
‘You need to die.’
The man narrowed his eyes and began to circle once more, a wider loop
this time, further away from the furious vampire. ‘Why? Because of our
little disagreements?’ He eyed Angel, clearly trying to think of a way
to engage him once more in the fight; sensing there was some advantage
to him in their antagonism. ‘Shall I give him his memory back, Angelus?’
Angel staggered forward. ‘Let’s deal!’
Spike paused, hung his head then said menacingly clearly, ‘If you take
one more step, Angel, I’ll finish this for good—with you. I’ve
had my memory back since the first night in our oh-so-lovely home. Now,
this is my fight. Can you understand that? This is not your
story—it never has been. Your arrogance astounds me.’
The duke leant forward, amused. ‘I said that, too.’
Spike ignored him, still staring at a spot near Angel’s feet. Then he
lifted his eyes. ‘We will talk about remembering and forgetting.
We’ll talk about lies, as well. All of them. But not now. You are not
important here, Angel. So, back off, and let me do what I came here to
do.’ He turned toward the duke. ‘You promised me some interesting conversation
once. Let’s talk in a language we both understand.’
He was a blur of darkness. There was a horrific clash of steel upon steel.
It seemed to Angel that it would never end, as he stood impotent and unwanted
beneath the slightly askew black eagle.
Spike could not possibly win. All the odds were stacked against him. Angel
wondered how long he would let it go on before he broke Spike’s injunction
and aided him. He pursed his lips, mulling over how long he was going
to let Spike suffer. When he did intervene, Spike needed to be
on the brink of defeat, grateful (finally). Begging would be nice.
Thinking through scenarios of how he was going to rescue Spike was so
much better than thinking about lies. Or betrayal. Or memories returned.
From the very first night?
He had just decided that it was time to put a stop to Spike’s foolish
bravado when there was teeth-jarring howl of pain. The duke fell slowly
to his knees as Spike’s blade was withdrawn with a flourish. Spike had
hobbled him, slicing through tendons, and he landed heavily, head bowed
Sword raised, Spike stood behind him. He said something in a quiet, gentle
voice that Angel could not catch, and when the duke lifted his head with
a small smile, Spike removed it.
* * * * * * *
The silence that followed hurt Angel’s ears. Such a presence passing should
create more waves in the universe. The universe’s utter disregard of such
matters was a salutary lesson, one that Spike seemed to be studying with
some concentration. Finally, he let the sword drop to the ground, and
it clattered, returning normal sound to the world. He wiped some of the
blood that coated his face, absentmindedly running it up into his hair.
Angel watched all this with close interest, until Spike lifted his eyes.
Then he glanced sharply away and made to be studying the door. ‘What now?’
Spike shrugged slightly. ‘I suggest we get the hell out of here.’
‘Why did you—?’
Spike had turned his back and was striding toward the door. Angel was
damned if he’d run to catch him up.
* * * * * * *
All the way back in the car, Angel mulled over where the greater blame
lay. He could see that, in some lights, there was fault on his side. Minor
errors of judgement. But everything he had done could be excused because
he had done it with good intent. It was all down to intent. Spike, on
the other hand, was clearly not so blameless. What the hell had he been
playing at? He was very tempted to ask.
He wasn’t all that sure he’d like the answers though.
He gave Spike an oblique look out the corner of one eye and went for something
neutral. ‘You look tired.’
Spike nodded. ‘Tiring life.’
‘You okay?’ See? He could do thoughtful.
Angel pouted and studied the road ahead. ‘I’m sorry.’ Magnanimous was
his middle name.
‘Sorry? For what?’
Damn. He didn’t want to actually have to be specific, as he didn’t really
think he had anything to be sorry for. Intent, hello! ‘For lying to you.’
‘And which lie was that?’
‘Jesus, Spike, make this hard, why don’t you! Which lie to you think?’
To his surprise, Spike turned slightly in his seat and studied him for
a moment then said softly, ‘I mean it. What lie? You said that I loved
you and I did. No lie there.’ He turned back to watch the front and shrugged
as if that settled it.
Angel glanced at him, catching his eye for a moment before he had to return
his concentration to the road. ‘You aren’t pissed at me then?’
‘I didn’t say that.’ Spike sighed and pinched his eyes. ‘It’s been a long
few days. I’m tired. Can we do this later?’
‘No! I think I’m owed some answers.’
‘Why are you owed anything, Angel? This has all been about me.
From the very beginning you’ve strutted through this as if it were your
story. It was me sold to that fucking git like a whore. It
was me who dragged our sorry butts out of that mess. It was me
who got shafted by your fucking dick—an’ I don’t mean the pleasurable
version of that. It was me who got done over by that bloody ponce’s
goons, me who lost my memory. Are you getting a pattern here, Angel?
I was the one you tried to trick into loving you. I was the one who had
to sort the whole damn mess out. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll be the one
who says where and when I tell you what this fucking story has actually
been about while you’ve been poncing around and singing the Angelus song
in the key of me. What did you think was actually going on here? Did you
think at all?’
Angel studied the nails on one hand. ‘But you do.’ He frowned. ‘Love me,
Spike began to choke. Angel realised he was trying to laugh but finding
it hard over utter incredulity. He pouted and said tetchily, ‘Okay, we’ll
do this later.’
They continued on in silence for while, Angel surprised that Spike couldn’t
actually hear the questions that were churning around in his mind. He
had to watch an irritating display of cigarette lighting, wound inspecting
and then slow smoking. He had just worked himself up to asking one of
the more obvious questions, glanced across to gauge its reception, when
he saw that Spike was asleep.
How could anger, hurt, jealousy, sexual frustration and fear survive their
greatest enemy—love? A wave of it hit Angel so powerfully it made him
grip the wheel tighter for support. He bit down on his questions and his
suspicions and drove on through the night with his sleepy childe breathing
deeply beside him.
* * * * * *
Spike’s mood of patronising obliqueness continued once they’d arrived
at the apartment. Being there made Angel’s guilt surface sharply; it was
the physical manifestation of his betrayal. He was feeling abashed and
in love enough to be generous though, and was more than willing to admit
his one or two faults over a glass of whisky on the couch with Spike.
Spike, however, threw his coat in one corner, hesitated then said quickly,
‘I’ll take the other room tonight.’
Spike gave him a quick look. ‘I think we need some space for a while.’
Angel gritted his teeth. ‘This is later now, Spike. If you’ve got something
to say, just say it.’
‘No. You’re not in the right mood and we’d only argue. I don’t want that.’
‘My mood! Jesus! You—‘
‘See? Let’s get some sleep and we’ll… talk… in the morning.’
Angel strode forward and caught Spike’s arm. ‘I lied to you. I’m sorry.
But I did it for us. Don’t freaking hold that against me, Spike. Don’t do another hundred
years of pissy angst at that. I love you.’
Spike nodded as if he’d just been told his library book was overdue. ‘I
‘You know? You know? So—.’
‘I love you, too.’
He knew he couldn’t afford to get emotional now. He needed to win this
thing, whatever this thing was. ‘Okay. Well, good. So we know where we
stand. Why the other bedroom then?’
Spike eased his arm away. He nodded, now a nod of capitulation and sat
down on the couch. Angel sat alongside him, turned to face him. He put
a hand to the back of Spike’s neck. Spike sighed and removed it. ‘Think
about it, Angel. Just look at what we’ve done to each other over the last
hundred years—to others too. We burnt far too bright, and in some ways,
I think it was just a sort of bloody-minded competition to see who could
not admit to loving the other
first. Well, now we’ve said it.
I’ll say it again: I love you. Bloody hell, I’ve always loved you, even when I wasn’t loving you very much.’ He smiled
ruefully at his own memories. ‘I was created from your blood; I want you
so much that when I finally had the chance to have you, I couldn’t hold
on. I told you, we were a disaster waiting to happen.’
‘No, that was me. I fucked
us both up. Darla—.’
‘Don’t blame her. What’s the point? We did it to ourselves. Shit, we were
just demons, so we didn’t have much of a chance to start with.’
‘We’re more than that now.’
‘Yeah, we are. Much more, I reckon—both of us. So, what now? Are we making
this thing work? No. We’re still pissing around and lying to each other.’
‘Christ. What are you saying, Spike?’
‘I’m saying that maybe we’ve got what we really wanted and that we should
leave it at that.’
‘What? I don’t understand.’
Spike sighed and laid his hand on Angel’s thigh. It wasn’t very high up,
though. More the sort of place you’d put it if you were comforting a child.
Angel didn’t find that very amusing and was about to move it when Spike
added, ‘I love you. I want to be with you. I wanna be part of this thing
you’re doing.’ He caught Angel’s gaze. ‘We’ve never tried that.’
Angel licked his lips slowly, considering this. ‘I’m not sure I want to.’
‘Sex with each other hasn’t done us much good. I think we confuse it too
much with love.’
Huh? Angel tried to regroup and say something sensible. ‘But—.’
It wasn’t easy.
Spike patted the thigh. ‘Think about it, Pet. Working together. No more
fights and bloody angst. Together, loving each other but not….’
‘I was gonna say tearing each other apart, but essentially, yes.’
Angel leant back against the couch and closed his eyes. ‘You were right.
Let’s talk about this tomorrow.’
He felt a squeeze on his thigh. ‘Tomorrow I’m gonna look for a new place.’
‘Cus. This is your place—I don’t want you to move back to the old one.’
Angel rubbed his face. ‘I don’t want to sleep alone anymore.’
‘You haven’t slept at all having me here.’
Angel rolled his gaze across to Spike and blinked. Spike stroked his thumb
over his thigh. ‘I love you.’ He smiled. ‘It’s good to say that at last
and just have it true and easy and how love should be.’
Angel nodded and couldn’t believe that he was finding some essential truth
in Spike’s assertions. He didn’t want to. He didn’t want to admit that maybe the physical thing had
been their undoing. But, oh, the temptation… Spike, at his side… Spike,
loving him… knowing that love every day. Secure
in that love. Fighting this fight he made his life’s mission. Christ,
but not having that hard body, like he wanted it right now, even the fingers
on his thigh sending sparks of need to his balls. How could he overcome
that? But he was better than that, wasn’t he? That had been their downfall.
Spike, at his side. Together. Loving each other. Eternity….
He need never be lonely again.
* * * * * *
met at breakfast almost eager to talk. Angel had slept, as Spike had pointed
out, for the first time in many, many nights. Without Spike’s presence
in the bed, Angel’s body had allowed him the rest he needed. He came out
of the bedroom to the smell of coffee and toast and felt that somewhere,
during the night, the world had changed.
Spike looked up from his mug. ‘Mornin’.’
Angel smiled and slid into a chair opposite him.
‘How are you feeling?’
Spike grinned. ‘Worse than yesterday. Bloody bastard got some good hits
‘I still can’t believe you—.’
‘He needed killing.’
‘No argument here.’ He frowned. ‘I have to know one thing, Spike. The
girl in the tunnels….’ He trailed off as Spike’s face paled slightly.
‘I didn’t know you were following me then. Guess I was distracted.’ He
caught Angel’s eye. ‘He wanted me to work for him inside Wolfram and Hart.’
Spike smiled, clearly amused at this thought. ‘He tried lots of things
to make me agree….’ A purse of his lips was all Angel was going to be
told about the horrors inflicted on his body. ‘When that didn’t work he
brought her. She was so diddy, ya know? Scared stiff, course. I think
they just took her, snatched her off the street on her way home from school.’
His distress poured off him in waves, and Angel laid a hand on his arm.
‘You don’t have to tell me. I’m sorry.’
Spike shook his head. ‘They all fed from her. Little bits at a time, tempting
me, too. When I refused they began to starve me. It was their game: everyday
bringing her to me. She was pretty much done for by the time I… lost it.
But I had to go back and find out what happened to her. They’d drained
‘I thought you’d bitten her. I saw what I wanted to see. God, I’m so sorry.
You kept the faith, but I….’
Spike’s colour returned—rapidly. ‘No. I didn’t. He said that you had signed
on with the devil—that you were CEO for your own reasons. I didn’t believe
him, course. But then you told me—.’
‘Yeah.’ He looked down at his coffee. ‘So I didn’t tell you I’d got me
memory back. And I didn’t tell you what I was doing. I didn’t trust you.
Did you notice that I have trust issues with you?’
They were silent for a while, deeply engrossed in their own thoughts,
playing over the previous few weeks. At last, Angel broke the silence.
‘Why did your memory come back so soon?’
Spike grinned with some private amusement. ‘It was an elf.’
Not really getting whether Spike was just mistaken, deranged or being
ironic, Angel sighed. ‘I really missed you when you were gone. I thought
you were dead.’
‘Oh, hell, I only die in blazes of glory that bring down civilizations—or
‘Then I thought maybe you’d gone to Buffy.’
Spike put his hand on Angel’s. ‘I was coming to you.’
‘Then stay with me now.’
‘An’ how long do you think that would last before we’d be tryin’ to kill
each other again? Dunno if you’ve noticed, but this is the longest conversation
we’ve ever had. One hundred and some years and we’ve had three minutes
of conversation that hasn’t involved one or other of us bleeding.’
Angel pouted and raised an eyebrow. ‘I remember long talks.’
‘Yeah, but that was kinda nonsense when you were up my backside—don’t
Angel gave an unexpected snort of laughter, and they leant back in their
seats, regarding each other.
‘I want it all, Spike. I’m not sure what I’m going to do without you.’
‘You’ll have me! That’s the point. I’ll be there in the morning; we’ll
work together; I’ll be there at night. We can see each other outside work,
if you want.’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘Yeah, well.’ He looked down. ‘Gonna be harder for me, so don’t look to
me for sympathy.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Oh, Jesus, Angel. Have you taken a good look at yourself ever? My need
for your body is elemental. I crave you like a drug.’
Angel paused then murmured wryly, ‘Not helping….’ He adjusted his position
on the seat. ‘Are you saying we… Jeez, I can’t even say it…. If we…. Shit.
Are we, what? Supposed to see other people? Eternity is a long time not
‘I dunno. I haven’t made a master plan I’m following here, Pet. I guess,
if we… you know… have urges, then yeah.’
Angel played with a tiny spill of coffee on the table. ‘Do you have someone
‘I’ve got women knocking at my door, Mate. Sex-magnet here.’
Angel had the grace to smile ruefully at this, and at his own jealousy,
but with a frown added, ‘But we… see… women only, yeah?’
Spike gave him a thoughtful look. ‘Would that make you less jealous?’
After a time, Angel nodded.
‘All right then, Pet. If that’s what you want. Applies to you as well
To give Angel his due, he looked genuinely surprised that Spike had felt
it necessary to add this codicil to their pact. ‘Well, duh.’
Spike leant back and cradled his now cold drink. ‘Uh huh. Cus, course,
you’ve never even thought about it, have you?’
‘No! Freaking hell, Spike, what do you think I am?’
Spike held up a hand. ‘Okay, okay. I was just saying like.’ He left a
long pause before adding slyly, ‘So, how’s ol’ Wes been?’
Angel’s smirk made them both laugh, and at this, Angel folded his arms
and sighed. ‘If this is how things are going to be, then… it’s good. I
could get used to this. Jesus. Can we really make this work?’
Spike hesitated a long time then laid down his mug. ‘I’ve kinda done this
before, Luv. An’ at the risk of cocking this up already…. This is kinda
what happened to me and Buffy.’ He glanced up quickly.
Angel contorted his face for a while, mulling this over then said through
gritted teeth, ‘Go on.’
‘We did the fighting thing cus we both wanted something we didn’t want
to want, if you get my drift.’
‘Drift fully got here.’
‘When we did get it, and I’ll
pass right over that part real quick, it near tore us apart. So we stopped...
getting it. But I still wanted a part of her… ya know? Her light; her
goodness.’ If he’d noticed that he’d gone from a short, sharp recitation
to suit his listener to a soft, almost wistful lyricism, he didn’t comment
on it. Angel didn’t either. He knew that light and goodness only too well:
it had drawn him, siren-like, to his destruction. Spike propped his chin
on his hand and finished soulfully, ‘An’ those were the best times we
had together. Never even touched her hardly, but I could feel
her, in me heart. Never known that before.’ He looked up at a small movement
from Angel and shook his head. ‘Don’t get jealous, you pillock. I want
that again. That’s what I’m tryin’ to say here. I want you in my heart—not under me skin getting me all riled and wanting
to rip you apart to taste you.’
Angel mirrored Spike’s position, chin on hand. ‘We tried. We tried so
hard just to be friends, but it didn’t work. I had to leave.’
‘She was younger then, Luv, and remember, what she had with me was just
a substitute for what she wanted with you.’
Angel shook his head. ‘Don’t underestimate your attractions, Will. And,
hey, did you two discuss me?’
Spike grinned, a cheeky tongue pushed into his cheek. ‘Your name came
up once or twice—oddly as other things were comin’ up.’
Angel growled softly but there was no malice in his expression. Far from
it. Spike coughed and stood up. ‘More coffee.’
Angel pouted and sighed and tried to get noticed, but Spike kept his back
resolutely turned to temptation.
* * * * * * *
When Spike returned to the table with two topped up mugs, Angel leant
forward and said in a rush, giving away that he’d been rehearsing this,
‘I still don’t see why you can’t stay here. We have two bedrooms, if you
want to be freaky, and—.’
Spike didn’t need to say any more. Angel had gotten that it wouldn’t work
as soon as he’d heard it out loud. He sank back gloomily.
Spike patted his hand. ‘You like your own space, Mate. You know you do.
And we don’t ‘xactly have similar tastes.’
Angel raised his eyes. ‘Except in one thing.’
Spike blushed—a distinct and deep glow. ‘Well, there is that.’
Minds now rushing on thoughts that were as unwelcome as they were welcome,
neither could summon the enthusiasm for more conversation. They were only
feet from a large comfortable bed that they already knew so well. They
knew just how high the edge was, how rigid the rail at the head, how and
where it creaked under exactly what weight. They knew its smell from being
pressed face down, its comfort from curling into its welcoming embrace.
A very familiar friend, it called to them. Their bodies heard and were
desperate to respond.
Angel suddenly wiped a hand over his face and said tightly, ‘I need to
go to work.’
Spike glanced at him and asked tentatively, ‘You free later today?’
His restraint at breaking point, Angel replied, tightly, ‘For?’
‘I thought you could come house hunting with me. I was really pissed to
miss that. Kept thinking ‘bout that while they… ya know.’
His words had an odd effect on Angel. Although the lust still eddied in
his gut, it was a minor inconvenience to the almost overwhelming pleasure
this confession gave him. He looked at his childe in wonder. ‘We’re going
to make this work, aren’t we?’
Spike kept his gaze. ‘You still surprise me, Angel, even after all these
years. Yes, I think we are going to make this work very well indeed.’
They went their separate ways—Angel to shower and Spike to his room to
dress—with absolutely no suspicion that this naive complacency about their
newfound restraint might be as insubstantial as the water which cascaded
over Angel’s hard, rippling muscles.
The story ends with the final part of the trilogy, Beautiful Dawn.
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