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The Darkling Plain
To start the renovations, Angel needed to bring forward the sale of the Hyperion. They all surprised themselves just how easy it was to pack up any evidence of the agency: a few weapons, office equipment, Angel's personal items. Everything went into store, and nothing was left of this slice of their lives but the ghosts, which seemed to linger around every corner, once the more substantial occupants of the hotel had departed.
Spike assumed that Angel would rent somewhere while they waited for the Crypt to be finished, so was surprised when, eying a box of clothes, his sire said sadly, 'They'll have to go into storage as well. Your closet's too small.'
Spike put down his mug of tea very carefully. 'We're not staying there.'
Angel looked up and pursed his lips. 'He's not there, Spike. His father died. He went home to the funeral.'
There was a very significant pause. 'You seemed awfully well informed.'
Angel shrugged. 'I keep tabs on people. It's what I do.'
'So… I move in with you?'
'He won't be gone long.'
'The renovations won't take long - money talks, Spike. Loudly.'
Spike shrugged and nodded but watched Angel thoughtfully as he removed a few shirts to take with them.
Angel spent most of his time at the Crypt, which left Spike taking Angel's place in the agency. If he fought harder and gave more of himself than ever before, no one commented on it.
One night, he returned to his apartment from a particularly hard battle, to find Angel and Sam, sitting on the couch, heads close, pouring over something laid out on Angel's lap.
Oblivious of the bloody figure he made, he pushed the door wide open and strode in, standing in front of the television with his arms folded, giving them both pointed looks. Angel immediately snatched up what they were looking at and pushed it under a cushion. Sam flushed guiltily and edged closer to Angel but saw Spike's expression and murmured cagily, 'I'll go see a man about a dog then.' He rose gracefully, slid around the implacable vampire and, casting Angel a sympathetic glance behind Spike's back, eased out and shut the door.
'What were you doing?'
'Nothing. Bills. Accounts.'
'Liar. Let me see.'
Angel rose, the papers clutched in his hand, and pushed past Spike. The apartment was too small. There was never anywhere to go. He walked the few paces into the kitchen but was trapped. Pushing past Spike again, he sat at one of the desks and put the bundle into a drawer.
Spike watched all this then spun on his heel and went into the bedroom, slamming the door.
He stripped off his clothes and stood under the shower, letting the hot water work its usual magic on his tired body. He sensed Angel come into the room and turned his back, bracing himself on the wall, head tipped back, trying to ignore him.
He felt a hand on his back, and the huge presence of his sire join him under the water. Lips touched his neck. 'It was the plans for the apartment.'
Spike twisted his head around. 'And I'm not to see?'
Angel pouted and hung his head. 'Sam said I should….'
Spike pushed him off incredulously 'Are you trying to make me bloody jealous?'
Not really expecting an answer, Spike was floored when he saw a mischievous, dark glint flicker across Angel's expression. It totally belied the low, serious, 'Of course not. That would be childish.'
His eyes widened, caught between outrage and amusement, and then he shoved Angel hard, out of the shower, pushed him until the backs of his legs connected with the bed, and then straddled the naked, wet body.
He pinned Angel's shoulders to the mattress and peered down with narrowed eyes. 'You're a riot, you are Mate.' Angel kept his face serious, but his eyes continued to betray him. 'I'm gonna go to the drawer and….'
'No. Don't.' Angel dropped the teasing expression and ran a hand through his wet hair. 'I want…. I thought…. Shit.'
Spike slid off and sat cross-legged next to him.
Angel sat up too. 'I want it to be a surprise.' He looked away as if he'd just suggested something obscene and added softly, 'But I feel like it's all me then… what I want. But I do - I want to surprise you.'
Spike laid his hand on Angel's thigh. 'I don't think I've ever had someone want to give me a… good… surprise.'
Angel turned to him with a shy smile. 'Yeah. I know. Can't say as I've ever given one before.'
They'd shared so many kisses before - kisses of lust, passion, domination, fun - but this one was different. It seemed to be an acknowledgment with bodies of what the new apartment meant to them - that they were more than lovers now. Unable to express this in words, they spoke of it with their lips and tongues: mouths speaking a different, but very effective language.
Spike eased Angel back once more and lay over him, dipping to his mouth, tasting and playing with him. Angel ran his hands up and down Spike's spine, revelling in the feel of the hard musculature beneath his palms. Their bellies became increasingly sticky as precum flowed from their engorged erections, and Spike trailed his finger in it as he kissed down to Angel's nipples. With a sly glance up, he bit into one small flushed bud, grinning when Angel arched off the bed with pleasure. He sucked the whole aureole into his mouth and teased it with his tongue, running his hands across Angel's hard belly, just brushing accidentally over his leaking tip.
Angel groaned and dug his fingers into Spike's scalp, pulling on the short, blond strands. Spike grinned again, pleased with his game, and teased his arm across the puffy slit once more. Angel tensed then said conversationally, 'Sam's almost permanently hard. Like us.'
Spike stopped and sat up, straddling the solid body. He looked closely at the dark eyes dilated with pleasure. With a slight edge, he said cautiously, 'It won't work, you know. You won't get me jealous.'
Angel frowned. 'Jesus, Spike. Hardly. I was only saying.'
Spike nodded and, after a tiny pause, slid lower and went back to bite Angel's other nipple. Angel stretched his arms above his head and moaned softly with pleasure. 'He's got one pierced. Do you think it would suit me?'
Spike climbed off and went into the kitchen. Angel stared at the ceiling for a moment then grinned evilly, very pleased with himself, and went to lean in the doorway. 'Only, it would be kinda hard to….'
'Stop it. Now.' Spike stood toe-to-toe with him and poked him painfully in the chest. 'Do you want me to admit it? Do you want me to say I'm jealous?'
Angel blinked. 'Yes.'
Spike tipped his head on one side a little. He put his hands to Angel's waist then carefully turned him to the wall. Easing the hard cheeks apart, he ran his finger lightly down the cleft, brushing over Angel's hole. Angel hissed and spread his arms, pushing back slightly. Spike leant into his back and murmured, 'I'm gonna remind you who you belong to.' He presented his stiff, slick cock to the closed-over hole and pushed in hard, bringing a wince and soft cry of pain from Angel. Spike flexed his knees slightly and leant in with his hips. Digging his fingers into Angel's waist, he shot himself forward then pulled back, thrust in again, and eased back. Angel groaned and flattened himself against the wall, rubbing to enjoy the friction on his own swelling. Spike put his forehead to Angel's cool skin and watched, ever fascinated, as his cock disappeared inside his sire's body.
The apartment was filled with the sound of slapping, grunting bodies. The thin partition wall began to shake slightly as Angel was pounded into it from behind. Sweat coated both their bodies, only making Spike dig his nails in more painfully to keep his grip. Small welts of blood blossomed on Angel's skin; it's coppery scent enraging their passion even more. Spike began to swear softly as his balls hardened and ached for relief. He felt them pulling up, tight and high, ready to explode. His shaft felt hot, running hard though Angel's deliciously tight ring, pushing high into his body. He twisted his head on Angel's back, mixing their sweat and groaned, 'Together.'
Angel nodded and hung his head to watch as he took his own hardness in an eager hand, fisting it roughly.
Spike kicked Angel's legs apart further and put his hands on the small of Angel's back, working him with a long, drawn out groan of approaching orgasm.
Suddenly, Spike cried out: a high-pitched cry of intense pleasure. It was almost drowned out by a short, urgent shout of release from Angel. Spike clung to Angel's back as he shuddered his cum deep into the solid body. Angel watched eagerly as his discharge splattered against the wall: thick shots that clung for a while then gave way to gravity, sliding sluggishly down the smooth paintwork.
Eventually, they pulled apart, and Angel turned, leaning back against the damp wall with an amused smile. 'I'll have to make you jealous again.'
Spike pouted. Angel caught him to him and bit lightly into his neck, leading him back to the bed. They climbed in and entangled, enjoying the smell of their shared fluids. 'Is there a place in this apartment we've not fucked yet?'
Angel chuckled. 'Over the sink.'
Spike twisted his head and gave him a censorious look, and Angel shrugged. 'You asked.'
'We'll be in our new place soon.'
At the rare excitement in Angel's voice, Spike pushed back into the spoon harder and drifted off, smiling slightly to himself.
The cry woke Angel instantly, but he was so used to it now that he didn't hesitate and woke Spike quickly. Spike sat up, disorientated for a moment, then swung his legs out of bed and ran his fingers through his hair.
Spike just nodded and, when he was ready, lay back down.
Angel reached out for the tense body, and they spooned back together. Spike's body was so tight, he began to stroke his hands over it gently.
'They'll start to fade, Childe. Trust me.'
'Maybe you're just used to them now.'
Angel blinked and then nodded. 'Yeah. Could be. I don't wake from them very often.'
'But you did in the beginning.'
Spike nodded sadly and closed his eyes. 'I thought the dreams about burning up were bad.'
'They were just you being hurt. These are worse because….'
'It's them - all those innocents.'
Angel disengaged himself from the stiff arms and sat up. 'Can I tell you something without you losing it on me?'
Spike pouted, but before he could reply, Angel added softly, 'About Nate.'
Spike sat up and swung his legs off the bed once more, presenting Angel with his rigid back. Not particularly encouraged, nevertheless, Angel continued, 'We found one of your victims in the tunnels, and he didn't blame you at all. He said it wasn't you.'
Spike flicked his head around. 'But you know that's not true. You KNOW.'
Angel nodded sadly. 'I know the dreams are bad because you still enjoy their pain, yeah.'
Spike shrank into himself, and Angel put a hand on his back. 'We're demons, Spike. We have to live with that, however much we don't want to be.'
Spike lay back down and folded his arms under his head, staring at the ceiling. After a long time, he snaked out an arm, and with a blink of relief, Angel lay down and allowed his childe to find some comfort in comforting him.
Disturbed a few more times that night, and all the nights since he'd brought Spike back to LA, Angel woke late, still feeling tired. He immediately sensed Spike was gone and opened his eyes to find a note lying on the pillow where he wanted his childe to be.
He rubbed his eyes and held it up to focus. "Gone to do the guilt trip thing again. Do some fucking washing and cleaning. Me."
Angel grinned, tossed the note to the floor and snuggled back under the warm covers, dozing, and thinking about the Crypt and Spike in equal measure.
He woke again about midday and slouched contentedly to the shower. When he stepped out from the hot water, he realised what Spike had meant: there were no clean towels. All his clothes seemed to be in heaps in various corners of the small apartment.
With a grimace, he pulled on some sweatpants and a T-shirt, and gathered all the clothes into one pile in the middle of the bed, pulling the sheet around them. Hesitating, he undid it again and separated all Spike's things from his. Frowning, he then mixed them all up again. He suddenly grinned. He'd just shared his arsehole with Spike, but he didn't want his laundry compromised. He swept all the clothes up, went barefoot out of the apartment and down to the basement.
The laundry room was pleasantly hot and damp. It was womb-like, and once he'd stuffed the clothes into a machine, Angel sat on one of the benches and idly picked up a magazine that had been discarded by a previous tenant. It was a style magazine, and with a grin, he turned to a section on kitchens. Pouting wryly at the very non-vampire like behaviour, he wiled away the time until the laundry was done.
He was so engrossed in a comparison between wood and granite surfaces that he didn't sense him come in until he heard a soft exclamation of distress.
He looked up then stood, letting the magazine drop to the floor. 'You're in England.'
It was a particularly stupid thing to say, and Angel cursed inwardly.
Wesley didn't seem to find it odd at all and nodded, saying stiffly, 'I've just got back.' He held out his washing as if this explained everything.
Angel clenched his jaw and wanted to leave, but didn't want to give ground to this enemy that confused him so. He sat down heavily, pointedly picked up the magazine, and went back to studying - without now seeing - the interesting article.
Wesley continued to stand, staring at the blank, closed-off expression. He seemed to be debating whether to stay or go, and then with a small tic, turned and pushed his clothes into another machine.
He sat on the opposite side of the room and stared morosely at his hands.
It was acutely embarrassing for both of them, and the longer the silence drew out, the less able either of them was to break it.
At last, Wesley said under his breath, 'I'm not as well informed as you seem to be about me…. Is all well with…?'
Angel didn't even bother to look up. 'Yes.'
Wesley flashed him a look through lowered lids at the curt response but took it as an affirmative that Spike was back and well.
As if trying to make the human feel even more uncomfortable by the cold neutrality of his conversation, Angel added, 'I hoped you'd be gone longer.'
Wesley went back to studying his hands as if they confused him slightly. 'Yes. I just stayed for the funeral. I didn't seem very welcome after that.'
'Yeah. That's the dead for you: unwelcoming.'
It was the wrong thing to say: too raw, too intimate, too many assumptions being made. Angel reared up from the bench and flew to the human, dragging him up and pressing him back to the wall. He put his face very close to the dark, flushed one. 'Forgive? Forgive you? Shall I tell you what it's like, Human? Every single fucking night, the nightmares plague him….'
'I don't want to be forgiven.'
Angel jerked his head back. The confusion almost undid him: purporting not to forgive when he so wanted to, and now hearing this low, heartfelt declaration. Wesley pushed him off and then ran a shaky hand through his hair. 'I don't want you to forgive me. I don't want him to.' He turned and leant on the washing machine. 'I think I want you to kill me. It's not a favour that you let me live, Angel. You've damned me.'
Angel swallowed deeply. He came closer to the rigid back. 'You'll get your wish where Spike is concerned: I don't think he'll ever forgive you.'
Wesley whirled around at something he heard in Angel's deliberate focus on Spike's lack of forgiveness, and his confusion was just as evident as Angel's: purporting not to want something he so desperately sought. His face creased up; he blinked and raised his eyes to the ceiling.
Angel looked away, and his hands hung uselessly at his side. He heard a choked sob and felt one arm twitch independently, wanting to reach out and give comfort, but instead, it went to his temple. He rubbed urgently at it as the confusion threatened to overwhelm him.
Suddenly, the door swung open, and a couple of young women came in with heavy loads of laundry. They glanced at the two men suspiciously and edged slightly around them to the empty machines.
Wesley hung his head then pushed off the machine and left.
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