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The Darkling Plain - Episode
Buffy sensed Spike before Angel did, her slayer senses kicking in at his demonic presence. She pulled away from the deep hug and frowned over at him.
Angel straightened, tears on his face and turned to follow her gaze.
A look of such intensity passed between them, that Spike was surprised they didn't just burn up there and then: a conflagration of betrayal and pain.
He swallowed and came forward a little.
Angel held Buffy's arms so tightly she would have bruised had she been a normal girl. He suddenly seemed to realise this and let her go with a small moan of apology.
She said to no one and everyone, 'He's human.'
Spike hadn't taken his eyes off Angel, so he just nodded.
Angel licked his lips nervously.
Buffy looked between them with a small frown, and as if sensing some of her puzzlement, Angel said softly, 'Spike?'
Spike blinked. He heard so much in that small interrogative that his dead heart jolted in pain. If Angel had just gotten down on his knees and begged him not to tell Buffy what they were to each other, he could not have made it clearer that this telling would destroy him.
As if Angel felt Spike's jolt of pain too, he flicked his eyes away and stared down at the floor with a lowered brow.
Spike nodded, confirming something to himself, and said softly, 'Okay, Pet.' He turned to Buffy. 'I work with the poof now- bet you didn't know that! Champion here, Slayer. Doer of right and all that. So, think I kinda left my sword here the other…. Have you seen it, Angel?'
Angel didn't reply, and he didn't look up either.
Spike shrugged. 'Never no mind. So. I'll be going. See ya around, Slayer. You stayin' for a while?'
Buffy opened her mouth to reply, but suddenly, an enthusiastic figure came out of the living room and hurled itself on Spike.
Spike fended Droc off, but the dog refused to be refused, whining around his legs, thumping his tail on the floor, and otherwise making Angel feel smaller than the small mark on the floor he seemed to be examining with such concentration.
Spike chuckled, but the odd sound, which in no way resembled amusement, seemed to worry the puppy, for it only whined some more. 'Least someone's pleased to see me. Hey, Poof, wanna call your fucking dog off, Mate?'
Angel cleared his throat and murmured, 'Come here.'
He couldn't have said which of them glared at him more. He looked back down and didn't try to call the dog again.
Buffy suddenly stirred and went toward Spike. 'How have you been?'
Spike summoned everything he had, everything he'd needed over the long centuries to survive, and replied calmly enough, 'Bloody good. You?'
'Why didn't someone tell me? Five weeks, and no one told me.'
'Five weeks three days.'
Spike shrugged. 'How did you find out?'
She held out a card she'd been clutching in her hand. 'Wesley sent Giles a Christmas card. It was mentioned in… passing.'
There was quiet voice from the bed. 'I didn't know if it would stick this time. I mean, I didn't want to tell you until I was sure I'd… stay like this.'
Spike laughed. 'Oh, I'm thinking you staying like that has just got a tad more certain. What do you think, Poof?'
Angel swallowed and scrunched up his face, turning away and going aimlessly toward the kitchen.
Spike bit his lip and put a hand to his head for a moment, as if his chip had fired off at causing someone some pain. Hesitantly, he murmured, 'I'd best be going. Leave you two love-birds alone.'
He saw Angel glance anxiously at the bed and knew with total certainty that the concern was only whether there was any evidence of his residence there.
He nodded more to himself than them and turned to the elevator. The puppy gave Angel another look and trotted after him.
As he pressed the button, he sensed someone at his side.
He thumped the button again, beginning to lose the fragile hold he had over his sanity.
Angel said very deliberately, 'Buffy needs to find a hotel, Spike. Can you escort her?'
Spike turned to him, and once more, they shared an emotion so intense, that when he looked back, Spike discovered that he'd cracked the plastic button.
He found it hard to form the word, but he said softly, 'Slayer?'
She hesitated, seemed very confused by something she could not define, but licked her lips and picked up a small bag that lay by the table. 'I don't need protecting, Angel, or have you forgotten? I'll stay with Cordelia. Will I see you tomorrow?'
Angel tore his gaze from Spike and said with evident relief, 'Yeah. Tomorrow.'
Spike nodded. 'I hear it's gonna be nice: sunny.'
Angel turned away.
Buffy gave him an intense look and then disappeared down the stairs.
Spike shrugged off his duster. 'Well, my news seems a bit flat now.'
He pulled off his T-shirt and dropped it on the bed, then hopped, dragging off his boots. He shed his jeans and went into the bathroom.
He stood under the steaming water, letting it hide all his emotions once more. He sensed Angel watching him, but tipped his head up to the water and let it stream over his face, blinding him to the man's presence.
When he stepped out, some time later, Angel was still watching him. He seemed to be deep in thought, but Spike didn't feel in the mood for hearing anything Angel had to say.
He dried off roughly and crawled onto the bed, pulling the covers up over his shoulder.
He felt the mattress depress. 'She'd only just gotten here, Spike. It was just a hug. For fuck's sake, it was just a hug.'
'Shut up, Angel. I'm kinda not in the mood for hollow assurances and lies right now. I saw something incredible tonight, and I wanna fall asleep thinking about that, yeah?'
'You know I loved her. This is nothing new. I didn't know she'd be here. It was a shock.'
Spike suddenly sat up and turned to face him. 'I get the hug, Angel. Fuck, I might have hugged her too, ya know? Hi, Slayer, good so see ya. But you…. You….' He gritted his teeth, but said it anyway. 'You denied me. You wanted me to stay silent, so I did. Now, I feel as dirty as you bloody well should.'
'Oh, don't give me this histrionic crap, Spike! What did you expect me to do? Did you seriously expect me to tell Buffy about us? I mean… suddenly, like that.'
'No, you didn't. You meant at all. Now, just shut the fuck up, cus I'm feeling very hungry, and you know what? You're suddenly looking more like fucking food than you ever have in your entire soddin' short life.' He flung himself down once more and pulled the sheet higher, his back to Angel.
'I sent her to a hotel.'
'Oh, damn. Yeah. I forgot that. Hmm. Now I'm feeling all torn up inside with guilt. Bloody lucky I was here to witness that then! Oh, wait. Silly me- she only got sent cus I WAS here.'
'That's not true, Spike. It was as much of a shock for me seeing her, as it was for you.'
'I doubt that.'
'I drove all the way here thinking about you and what we'd… said on the phone.'
Spike suddenly let out a small breath, and his hand on the protective coverings relaxed a fraction.
Angel slid in alongside him, his head propped up on his hand, staring at the tense, resistant back. 'Maybe I should have classed your love with the kind my father gave me after all.'
Spike rolled onto his back. 'When I came in, you looked up and wished I didn't exist.'
'Don't do this to yourself, Spike.'
Spike closed his eyes. 'Tell me it isn't true then.'
'It's not true. I was confused. I was scared- am scared. I'm scared what she'll say when I tell her. WHEN I tell her.'
'Yes. I'll tell her tomorrow. Why are your eyes closed?'
'So I can't see you lying.'
Angel pushed his face into Spike's hair. 'I'll tell her.' He breathed deeply into the smell of the wet hair. 'I'll tell her.'
Suddenly, Angel rolled over on top of Spike with a grunt- the grunt of a man initiating sex, a man intent on orgasm. He was already hard, a wet, sticky trail of precum now smearing Spike's tight belly.
Spike didn't need this to tell him that Angel was aroused and needing to ejaculate into something- he'd smelt it as he'd stood and watched them hug.
The erection, which was not for him, began to seek him out, Angel fumbling to lift the cool thigh, grunting once more as he pushed to enter.
With a frown and curse, he suddenly lunged for the nightstand and withdrew some lube.
He squeezed it onto his fingers and inserted two into Spike, stroking his dry walls, until they resembled someone's who could do this naturally- this slick, wet preparation for sex.
Eyes closed, head thrown back with need, Angel pushed home and grunted yet again as his foreskin dragged deliciously over his sensitive cockhead. He paused, deep in Spike's body, and opened his eyes.
Spike blinked. Up to that point, he'd read Angel very easily. Now, he wasn't so sure. Angel frowned as if his actions confused him, too. He began small movements. He looked down to where they were joined, his hand moving slowly down to take Spike's cock in a tight fist.
Spike arched slightly, and despite his determination not to respond to being second best, he did: the feel of Angel deep inside his body too much to resist. Angel dipped his head and placed a light, seductive kiss on Spike's lips. Spike looked up at him quizzically, not at all sure now that he was just a substitute for someone warmer, smaller, and more naturally blond.
As if reading some of these thoughts, Angel smiled seductively and came back to Spike's lips, slowly sucking the cooler tongue into his mouth, running his teeth lightly over it.
Spike moaned and very carefully rolled them, so he straddled Angel, deeply speared by his erect hardness.
Angel continued to play with Spike's cock, showing no sign of disliking its leaking presence. He made a fist and worked it for a while, moaning softly every time a bead of opaque, white fluid pulsed out.
He tolerated Spike on top for a little time more, but soon pushed him back and lay over him.
It crossed Spike's mind to see what Angel would say to being taken, but had the distinct impression that this would be well off the agenda now.
Still confused, still not at all sure what Angel was thinking, Spike lay back, relaxed a little, and let Angel have the orgasm and release he needed.
Angel sensed some sort of capitulation from his lover and began to force his own pleasure deep in the tight, hard body.
He began to pant out small ragged cries of effort.
Sweat dripped hot onto Spike's skin, drip after drip of fluid, marking him with Angel's scent.
Spike knew Angel's orgasm was imminent. He felt the cock inside him pulse and swell, and then Angel cried out, grunting again as he pulsed shot after shot of sperm into the waiting channel. Spike held Angel's shoulders and lowered him gently onto his chest, feeling the thudding of Angel's heart reverberating through empty places in his own body.
Covered in sweat, leaking living sperm, rocked by the unnaturally loud heartbeat, Spike lay in this illusion of life, holding the warm body of his lover.
He waited for Angel to beg to be turned, but was not all that surprised when this familiar request was not forthcoming.
Worn out from the long drive alone, the shock of seeing Buffy, and then sex with Spike, Angel lay as if unconscious in Spike's arms, snoring loudly.
Spike did not sleep at all.
Angel woke suddenly the following morning, and Spike sensed his immediate joy and anticipation for the day ahead.
He climbed out of bed and showered, humming quietly off-key. He spent a long time selecting what to wear, and then began to cook some breakfast.
Feigning sleep, Spike stayed until Angel left, then dressed and followed him down.
She was already there- sitting on a couch, watching Angel pour coffee.
She looked around when Spike appeared from the basement. Spike sensed that she flushed, but he didn't look at her and went on into his office.
Angel sat down next to her on the couch and carefully handed over one cup of coffee. They laughed together as he began to drink his, and although Spike was not watching this small scene at all, he could see that they were talking about the newfound taste buds and food in general. He still wasn't watching them when he saw the conversation become more serious.
She watched Angel's every expression. He was intent, focused, serious. She interrupted him, spoke rapidly. Her face became flushed. Angel listened as intently as she had.
After a few minutes more, Angel's cell phone began to ring. He frowned and tried to ignore it. Still not watching, Spike saw him take it out and reply impatiently.
Buffy turned to see where he was and then rose and came toward him.
Spike backed away from the window quickly and tripped over the edge of his coffee table. Righting himself, he went for nonchalant-on-the-edge-of-the-desk, and reckoned he carried it off quite well.
She came in and studied him for a moment. He resisted the desire to giggle. It wasn't a moment you wanted with any girl, and he felt his Big Bad image had taken something of battering. As he'd deliberately not showered that morning and could still smell Angel in him, he didn't feel he had the right to defend it anyway.
'This is awkward, Spike.'
Spike nodded. He'd have gone for something slightly stronger than awkward, but it was a start.
'Angel said it was best to be totally honest. And I think he's right.'
Spike nodded again. He was impressed with Angel- he hadn't thought he'd really do it, and now felt incredibly guilty that he'd doubted him.
'We didn't go into specifics. I don't think details are necessary.'
Spike didn't think they were either. Definitely not needing details.
'So we talked about things in general. Enough to get the picture. Anyway. We're over. You do get that, Spike. We're over. We were totally incompatible from the start.'
The nods were working well for him, so he did it again. This time, though, he added, 'You're taking this pretty… calmly, Slayer.'
She pouted a little. 'There never was any us, Spike. You knew that. But I'm glad you're using your soul anyway.'
Spike narrowed his eyes at her. He glanced out at Angel. 'Uh huh. So, what exactly were you two talking about?'
She frowned. 'Us- well, us being over. I told him that I'd just needed someone… after him. And that you were… there. That it was raw need- never love. He got that.'
'Oh, I'm sure he did. So…. Sorry, just run this past me again. You and Angel were talking about… you and me?'
'Spike! Are you deaf?'
'Maybe. I don't seem to hear the same as other people hear these days, that's for sure.'
Angel suddenly finished his call and jogged over to Spike's office. He hung slightly hesitantly in the doorway but then came in.
She moved slightly closer and said seriously, 'Spike understands, Angel; you don't have to worry.'
Spike smiled brightly and raised his eyebrows at Angel. 'Yep, no need to worry, Peaches. We've 'ad a right nice chat. Just like you two, 'parently.'
'Spike, I- We don't have time for this now. Wesley and Gunn need us.'
Spike's shoulders sagged, and he rose, still feeling slightly guilty. 'Okay, Luv, we'll talk later.'
He paused at the look on Angel's face. Angel winced as if something hurt him, but said apologetically, 'I meant Buffy and me. This thing's in the park, Spike- outside.'
Spike licked his lips. He ran his hands through his hair, but then let them flutter uselessly to his side. Nothing seemed much point saying, so he pushed past them and went toward the stairs to the apartment.
Angel kept his face lowered as Spike passed, but then he roused, whistled to the dog, and pointed Buffy toward some weapons.
The dog also appeared to have intermittent deafness and trotted up the stairs after Spike.
They got back just after lunch. They were all covered in goo. Laughing, Buffy made her way to the elevator.
Angel glanced desperately at Wesley, but he had gone into his office and was on the phone.
Angel jogged after her. 'Maybe go somewhere for lunch?'
'Angel! Demon-brains-hair-gel girl here!' She stepped in and leant on the wall, stretching off.
He stepped in, too, his mind rapidly going over the things Spike could be doing. Lying naked on the bed waiting for him was not ruled out.
They stepped out. Angel breathed a long sigh of relief, and Buffy went toward the bathroom. She turned and gave him a small, seductive look, but then followed his gaze to the living room.
Spike was sitting on the rug in front of the fire, reading. The dog was sprawled next to him, his head in Spike's lap, and he was turning and twisting it in pleasure as long, slim fingers ran through his fur and tugged gently on his silken ears.
Spike looked up for a moment at them, but then went back to his book.
Buffy frowned and said under her breath, 'Why is he here again? We talked. He understood it was over. He's doing this creepy… stalking thing again.'
'He has preternatural hearing, Buffy.'
She blushed and seemed slightly angry at this reply. 'Can I borrow something to wear?'
Angel nodded absentmindedly. 'Help yourself. I've some old sweats….' Suddenly, he stepped in front of her. 'Go shower. I'll find you something.'
He held the closet closed until she'd passed and then rummaged for something, trying not to look at Spike's things crammed untidily on the shelves.
He pulled the covers over the bed and laid the sweats out for her.
Spike was still reading when Angel came in. Angel paused in the doorway, wondering if Spike had any idea of the effect he was having with the silent studying again. He frowned and suddenly remembered that Spike had always read a lot during the day. He wondered if he'd taken it back up again over the last five weeks, some vague, undefined guilt stabbing him at this thought.
Spike turned a page. 'I know you are.'
'It's not an easy thing to say.'
'I don't know…. Try something along the lines of- I'm fucking Spike now, so sod off.'
Spike looked up sharply. 'As you just pointed out, I've got good hearing. She's showering.'
Angel pinched the bridge of his nose tiredly. 'I'll tell her tonight.'
Spike laid his book down. 'Tonight?'
Angel did a slight double take and added weakly, 'Dinner. It's just dinner, Spike.' He came forward and perched on the arm of the couch. 'Why don't you call Sam? See if he wants to go to the club… or something…. What?'
Spike blinked and wondered if he could summon the energy to explain why Angel suddenly pushing him on Sam seemed more than a little hurtful.
'Oh.' He saw Spike flick his eyes over to the doorway and turned to see Buffy standing there, ludicrously small and frail looking in his borrowed sweats.
Angel nodded, but seemed reluctant to leave them together.
He heard a slight chuckle and a softly murmured, 'Yeah, wouldn't take me long to tell her, would it?'
Angel gave him a bitter look.
Spike just shrugged and picked up his book.
Angel went toward the bathroom and suddenly said brightly, 'Make something to eat, Buffy? In the kitchen?'
Buffy smiled, pleased, frowned slightly at Spike's presence again, but went obediently enough into the kitchen.
Spike heard her humming quietly as she rummaged and wondered idly if she'd find his blood.
She appeared back in the doorway and came closer. 'It's been a long time since I've seen Angel. And now he's….'
Spike stretched out his leg and turned another page.
'I mean, it'd be kinda nice to be just… us, Spike. Do you… mind?'
He looked up. 'Why don't you ask the poof to ask me to leave? When he gets out of the shower like.'
'Why don't you just go?'
'You heard me.' He got up and pushed past her, going into the kitchen to the small fridge. Pointedly, he took out a blood bag and ripped the top off with his teeth. Keeping her gaze, he took out a mug and poured it in, then put it in the microwave.
He leant on the counter with his arms folded while it heated up. 'I'm here a lot.'
'How is Giles?'
'What's good?' Angel came toward them, rubbing his hair with a towel, wearing just a pair of leather pants.
Buffy's eyebrows rose a fraction, and she said softly, 'You're too thin, Angel. Why are you so thin?'
Angel couldn't help a small, pointed look at Spike. 'Thin.'
'I was just saying to Spike that it would be nice for us to have some time alone together- you and me.'
Angel swallowed. Spike smiled at him. He watched emotions flicker over Angel's face and felt something he didn't want to define. Suddenly, he put down his mug. 'I'm only jossing you, Slayer. I've got things to be doing anyway- vampire things.'
He went toward the elevator, saw the broken button, clenched his jaw, and took the stairs instead.
He sat all afternoon on the one of the couches in the agency, listening intently to see if anyone else used the stairs.
to chapter 3
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