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The Darkling Plain
Spike tried hard not to hear the silence or feel the emptiness of the apartment. He sat on the end of the bed, kicking off his boots, shrugging off his coat, then fetched some blood and went to watch TV.
After half an hour, he got up and began to pace. Suddenly, he snatched the phone up and punched some numbers.
'Get over here. Up top.'
'I'm kinda into some… thing… here!'
'Then get out of him, fetch J, and get over here.'
'This better be good….'
'It will be.'
Slightly annoyed still at losing someone he'd been wanting for weeks, Sam stood next to Jordan in the elevator, bitching. Jordan ignored him, and when the doors slid open, they stepped out expectantly.
They heard a shout from Spike's room. 'Take your clothes off.'
Sam cheered up quickly and shrugged off his shirt, walking eagerly over to the bed.
He stopped when he saw what was lying on it, and Jordan collided into his back.
Spike came out and clapped his hands together to chivvy them along. 'Come on! Sam- you're painting. Jordan- you're moving stuff with me.'
He followed Sam's look to the bed and said helpfully, 'Thought you'd wanna wear coveralls, ya know…? Don't want paint on those thousand dollar poofy clothes of yours. So, come on! Get to work.'
'You've called us over to decorate your apartment?'
Sam didn't know where to start with how much this was wrong. He picked the most obvious reason. 'Baby, you're a friggin' millionaire! Rich people don't do; they pay other people to do the doing- people who don't have money. Fucking hell! This is America! You're disturbing the natural order of the American way!'
Spike nodded happily and pulled him into the centre of the room, Sam's back crushed tightly to him. 'Look, Luv. This is… mine. For the first time in my life or death - or this strange place where I'm not really either - I have something that's mine. And it's so good. Why would I want to pay someone else to touch it? It's like shagging: if you wanna really enjoy it, you need to kinda do it yourself.'
Jordan leant close to Sam's ear and chuckled. 'Bet that economic theory wasn't taught in boring-man, tax school.'
In wonder, Sam accepted a brush. He refused to wear the coveralls, however, so began painting naked, which, he noticed, neither of the other two objected to.
Spike put on some music and then began to show Jordan what he wanted moved.
After a peaceful hour, Spike made coffee, and as he passed one to Jordan, shouted to Sam in the other room, 'Call the blokes Angel got to do all this. I wanna make some… alterations.'
Naked, streaked and daubed with blood-red paint, Sam came out of Spike's room and stood in the doorway. Spike groaned at the sight and put his head down on the counter to recover a bit.
Sam came over and put his brush into an empty mug. 'I thought you wanted to do it all yourself.'
'Not this- this is structural. Make my money work for me, Luv. I want it done before Angel gets home.'
Sam glanced at Jordan and saw his own worries reflected there. 'He's kind of possessive of this place- proud of it, yeah?'
Spike smiled and turned away before he betrayed himself too much. He nodded. 'He's proud of what's in it, yeah. Now, call these blokes for me.'
Once the builders arrived, Sam and Jordan became merely spectators, but Spike noticed they didn't rush to leave. Instead, they sat on the end of the bed, dressed, scoring butt-cracks.
Spike outlined to the men what he wanted and the timescale he wanted it in, then left them to get on with it.
He went to sit with his friends on the bed and tried not to notice that Angel would now be landing in England.
Without Angel or Wesley, something of a holiday atmosphere had pervaded the agency. When Spike and the others made their appearance later that day, no actual work was being done at all, and Angel's friends were lounging on the couches, gossiping.
They smiled at the other three as they emerged, then cast small, concerned glances at Spike as he went to his office.
Sam and Jordan joined the group on the couch, and Cordelia, still looking after Spike, said, 'What's up with grumpy locks?'
Jordan picked up a magazine then said deceptively casually, 'Angel's not called.'
Gunn rolled his eyes. 'That just ain't manly! Men don't… call!'
Sam gave him a withering look. 'Wesley gone- no call? Angel gone to the same place- no call? I'd say… not good maybe?'
Spike watched the small group, well aware that he was being discussed.
He tried to think of something to do to take his mind off the telephone not ringing. He felt something at his feet and peered under the desk to find the puppy, playing with one of his laces. He swept him up and onto the desk. They weighed each other up for a moment, neither wanting to appear too needy or lonely.
'You're gonna like what's happening upstairs, Mate.'
The puppy looked almost excited, and Spike nodded. 'The old, broody bloke will too… when he gets back, course.'
By the evening, Spike's mood had infected everyone. No one went home but hung around, making fatuous suggestions about the reasons for the silence from across the pond.
Before anyone knew, Spike had logged on and was searching rather vainly for a site to buy a flight to England. After half an hour, he was forced to come out of his office and say lowly to Sam, 'Help me, here. I've no fucking idea what I'm doing. Soddin' technology.'
Sam pursed his lips and looked at Jordan for support.
Spike saw the look. 'What?'
Sam winced, and Jordan murmured, 'Uh oh, here we go… let's-upset-the-hormonal-vampire time again.'
Spike gave him a look and folded his arms, repeating to Sam, 'What?'
Sam looked down at the floor but said distinctly, 'You can't go barging in, Spike. If they want time alone….'
'Stop there.' He suddenly nodded at his office and went in, not waiting for them to follow. When they were both inside, he shut the door and closed the blinds. 'This is not what you think it is. Something is wrong, and I need to go over there and find out what.'
Jordan sank slowly into the chair and crossed his legs, flicking an imaginary speck of dust off his pants. 'It's exactly what everyone thinks it is, Spike. Wesley forgot to call - for whatever reason - and it was just the excuse Angel needed to have some time with him without risking your possessive….'
'I said stop! Stop there, before you say something we're both gonna regret.'
The atmosphere in the office was suddenly very tense, and Sam went nervously to the window, peering distractedly out through the blinds. 'I don't wanna argue with you, Spike. Neither of us do.'
'Oh, yeah, like Jordan doesn't get off telling me what I should and shouldn't do!'
Jordan stood up, furiously, and poked Spike in the chest, but suddenly, Spike grabbed the finger and said softly, 'I'm sorry. That was dumb.' He ran his fingers through his hair and then put a hand out to both of them. 'Sit down, yeah?'
Surprised, they both sat, and Spike perched on the edge of the desk. 'Things have changed between us- Angel and me. And I've not really known how to explain it to you. See… he doesn't just love me anymore. He's always done that in his own, demonic way. Now he's IN love with me, and that makes everything different. I can't explain it any better, but I KNOW that something is wrong- it's the ONLY reason why he wouldn't have called me. I'm there with him, see? In here….' He tapped his own heart. 'He'll have me first in his mind. Sure, Wesley's there. But I'm there too, and he's in love with ME.'
He looked at their faces for a moment then shrugged. 'I can't explain it anymore.'
Sam rose. 'I'll get the tickets, Spike. Don't stress it, yeah. Techno babe here.'
Jordan grinned. 'I'll stand around and scowl to give you something to project all your angst onto.'
Spike blinked gratefully but added slyly, 'I don't know what you're so cocky about, demon; you've just volunteered to look after Dickhead while I'm gone.'
Jordan rolled his eyes but then added equally slyly, 'Guess I'd better keep him in familiar surroundings- stay in that gorgeous apartment.'
'I've told you about the use of that word, and sure, stay away-you can monitor the builders.'
'Hey! I wanna stay too! I need to… monitor builders.'
Spike looked between them. 'I'm almost regretting I have to go.'
Sam grinned. 'Send a postcard'
'Yeah, like I'm gonna do that. Shit. England. This is gonna be… weird.'
Flying First Class made the weirdness distinctly less noticeable.
He landed in darkness. It was fifteen degrees colder than where he'd taken off, and it was raining. He grinned and felt so at home it startled him.
Leaving Heathrow proved to be a nightmare, and by the time he was on the road to the West Country, he was in a foul mood and regretting not bringing someone else so he had someone to blame. He consulted the small piece of paper that held Wesley's address and tried to read the map whilst cruising in the outer lane of the M3.
Westcott House, Coombe Magnus, Devon: he calculated he'd be there in less than an hour.
Five hours later, having taken a very scenic tour of the West Country, he pulled into Coombe Magnus and stomped into a pub.
The bartender looked up when he came in and watched him closely. Spike leaned on the bar and ordered a beer, then pulled the address out of his pocket. 'Westcott House?'
'You be with the other one then.'
'I be asking you a question.'
The man continued to pour the beer in silence.
'Sorry- long drive, ya know…?'
'You're not from around these parts.'
'No. Clearly, or I'd know where the soddin' house was.'
'Know the old man, did you?'
'That's what the other one said.'
'Okay, I give in, Miss Marple. You tell me in your own time.'
'The other one was more polite; I'll say that for him.'
'What fucking other one? Other one what?'
'Yank! Me! You bloody git! Do I sound like a bleedin' American?'
The man looked totally unconcerned. 'Not from around these parts.'
'Oh, no wonder they've not contacted us: they're both stuck in a pub in some alternate reality where a fucking moronic barman keeps them talking for years until they DIE!'
'That'll be two-fifty.'
Spike's jaw hit the deck. 'I'm not buying the entire soddin' bar! Last time I bought a bloody beer, it was two bob!'
'So, you be a friend of the young 'un then.'
'Oh, deep joy, mystery conversation continues.'
'No. I'm not his bloody friend. I'm looking for a friend of mine who's… visiting him.'
'There you go then. The other one.'
'Okay. The other one is tall, dark, kinda overhung forehead?'
'He asked for the house too.'
Spike smiled at the thought of Angel's reaction to a conversation like this. 'And did you actually tell him?'
Spike understood that expression, and he dug into his pocket, pulling out some dollars. 'All I've got on me.'
The man nodded. 'Like the other.' He slipped it in his pocket and said, 'Next right, you can't miss it.'
'That's it? Next bleedin' right?' He smiled unpleasantly. 'Take the two-fifty out of that, Mate.'
'And will you be wanting a room?'
'Pity. It's a strange old house- not to everyone's taste. I offered the other one a room. He was stubborn, too.'
If Spike suspected that Angel had probably very successfully found a room and a bed to sleep in, he didn't let that treacherous thought change his expression.
'Ta for nothing.' He stormed back out into the night, feeling very, very tired.
First right took him down an unmarked lane. He sat craned forward in the seat, even his preternatural eyes struggling with the total lack of artificial lighting, and high, overgrown hedgerows. Eventually, he came to a small drive on one side with a set of old, rusty gates. The gates were open, so he swung the car in and crunched the wheels down a gravel drive for some distance.
When the house came into view, he sat back and turned off the headlights. He tipped his head back at the irony and mumbled to himself, 'So much for the fucking semi in Clapton. Trust that soddin' posh git to own this.'
Feeling suddenly very scruffy and travel-tired, Spike pulled the car as noisily as he could into the sweeping gravel court in front of the impressive house. There were two hire cars already there, and he sighed, taking this as a good sign.
Leaving his bag, he climbed out and went up to the door. Not wanting to ring and announce his presence (but not wanting to analyse too much why that was so), he tested it and found it unlocked. The house let him in silently, and he stood in the entrance hall, listening.
It was bitterly cold in the hall, too cold for such a damp evening, but Spike assumed that it was indicative of just how long the house had stood empty.
He heard something from one of the reception rooms to the right and bent to light a cigarette. It steadied him, and when his body was full of nicotine, he walked over and pushed open the door.
The room was lit only by a roaring fire in the hearth: the sound he had heard. It was much warmer, and he felt the heat on his cold face and hands.
He smiled; he could see the back of Angel's head where he sat in a deep armchair in front of the fire.
He moved quietly across the floor and came around to the side of the chair.
He felt his dead heart kick over.
It wasn't that Angel was drunk, which he clearly was, lolling with unfocused eyes in the chair- although that was unusual enough.
It wasn't that he was sitting comfortably with no sign of injury to prevent him making that all-important call home- although that was infuriating enough.
Rather, it was the dark-haired human kneeling between his open thighs, sucking him off enthusiastically that made that dead organ kick into life once more.
Maybe it was just shock, powerful as an electric charge, surging through his body.
Spike turned noiselessly, so as not to spoil the intimate moment for them, and went back into the hallway.
He got about six feet before he realised that he didn't believe it and, just as importantly, that this disbelief was new. Where was the seeing betrayal in everyone and everything? After all, he was beneath contempt- a dead thing.
Except that now, he wasn't. He was Angel's lover, and what he had seen in there was not true.
There wasn't a flicker of doubt in Spike's mind that Angel was in love with him and that meant no secret, cosy seduction scenes with Wesley, no fireside blowjobs.
Something in this house had just pissed him off big time.
He didn't know what it was but threw his cigarette away furiously and said to the cold air, 'You didn't wanna do that, Mate.'
The temperature immediately dropped another few degrees.
Spike narrowed his eyes and stormed back into the warm room. Angel was alone now, and Spike noticed another door the other side of the room. Angel was completely insensible. His eyes were bleary; his head lolled. He seemed to see Spike, but no recognition crossed his face. Spike took the whisky bottle from him and put a strong guard in front of the dangerous fire. Gritting his teeth, he went in search of Wesley.
He could smell the human, but more powerfully, overlaying that scent, was the smell of Angel's cum. Spike could almost taste it as he tracked it down. It went toward some back stairs, and he trotted up until he got halfway and realised it had stopped.
He retraced his steps, slightly puzzled, and then tried again: along the hallway, toward the stairs, disappear.
Only when he heard a faint sound did Spike notice a cupboard under the flight of stairs.
Frowning deeply, not at all sure what he was going to do with this new twist, he cautiously opened the cupboard door.
Wesley cowered inside, his arms wrapped tightly around his knees.
'Uh huh. You wanna come out of there, Mate?'
Wesley shook his head and said sadly, 'I'm not allowed to.'
'What is this, Wesley? Are you…? Is this some sort of spell?'
Wesley didn't reply only seemed to shrink more into himself.
With a curse, Spike crawled into the cramped space and squatted in front of the man. 'You do know me, right?'
Wesley shook his head.
Wesley eyes opened theatrically wide and giggled, 'You said a naughty word!'
Spike regarded him for a moment then said more softly, 'Who said you had to come in here?'
'He told me you could come out now. He sent me to tell you. You don't want to make him cross, do you?'
'Oh, no! Did he say I'd been good? I tried really hard.'
'Yeah, Luv. I saw. You were… very good. Fucking bloody hell!' Spike ignored Wesley's impressed look at the swearing and crawled out backwards, pulling him out too.
When they were standing, Spike felt an odd stirring of the air around him. With gritted teeth, he nevertheless managed to say calmly, 'I've got a really, really cool car outside. Would you like to sit in it?'
'I think it must be my bedtime.'
'Well, one quick look then.'
Spike took a firm grasp of his arm and led him back to the hallway and out of the door. He felt something lift from his shoulders when they got outside and pointed at the car. 'Get in.'
He turned and went back for Angel.
The door slammed in his face, and he could not break it down.
Swearing colourfully, he went around the house trying to break a window or find another, open door.
Everything repelled him. He was outside, and Angel was trapped inside.
Suddenly, he felt something prick his skin and realised, with a jolt of shock, that it was almost light. He jogged back to the car, found Wesley staring blankly out of the window and climbed in alongside him.
The publican was not impressed being woken at six in the morning, but dollars spoke, and Spike was a lot more generous than he had been the night before.
They were shown to adjoining rooms, and Spike pushed Wesley onto a bed, locking both doors to keep him in.
He knelt down in front of him. 'Don't be frightened, okay? I'm not gonna hurt you.'
Wesley focused on him. 'That's all you ever do, Vampire: hurt me.' He looked around, confused. 'Where am I? What's happening? Spike?'
Spike breathed a sigh of relief. 'Yeah. And I was gonna ask you the same.' To Spike's acute embarrassment, Wesley burst into tears and then curled into a ball on the bed, refusing to engage in any further conversation.
Spike paced furiously for a while, stabbing fear for Angel's safely almost making coherent thought impossible.
Suddenly, he had an idea and picked up the telephone, punching in some numbers furiously.
It rang for long time, and then a sleepy voice said, 'Hello?'
'Giles. It's me.'
There was a pause and then a small chuckle. 'Let me guess. You're in trouble again.'
'Oh…. Well, yeah.'
'Wait one moment while I find my glasses.'
'Well, I can't think without them. There we are. Now, what's wrong? Angel, I presume, will feature largely in the awfully, badly-narrated story you are just about to tell me?'
'You are so asking for it, Mate.'
'Spike, I've been asking for it for some time, now. You seem to have trouble actually… giving it.'
'Oh, well, yeah. Look, are you gonna help me, or not?'
'Right. Wesley's come back to England to his old house, and Angel's here too. Now I am, and there's something funny about the place. They're… possessed or something.'
'Describe exactly what you've seen, heard, smelt, felt, and thought. Leave nothing out.'
Spike poured himself a glass of water, realised he was starving, but sat on his own bed and went through everything he could remember.
Giles was silent for a moment and then said cautiously, 'I think I agree with you that its something to do with the house. I also think that you need to get Angel out of there as soon as possible.'
'Big fucking DUH winging its way over the Atlantic to you, Mate.'
'Don't be facetious. I also think other things- one of them being that Wesley is the key to all this. What's he doing now?'
'Crying and sucking his thumb- okay, I'm exaggerating slightly, but I'm….'
'Spike. Don't worry. This is nothing you can't handle. Is Wesley rational at all?'
'He kinda recognised me, yeah.'
'As I thought then. The influence of the house is wearing off. He is a conduit. He's channelling energy from the house- or the house is sucking it off him to create this scenario. I think Angel is just the unfortunate victim: his role could have been taken by anyone.'
'So, what should I do? Kill Wesley? Cus, ya know, happy to do that….'
'Err… no. And for more reasons than the fact that I think he is the key to all this and the way to stop it- although I concede that might be your most pressing reason.'
'He's gonna stop it how?'
'He has to face his own internal demons, Spike. He has to stop them using him. When he defeats his fear, it will dissipate, and I think you'll find one very pissed-off vampire storming around that house.'
'We can't get back in! How's he gonna face anything here?'
'You're there- use your instincts.'
'Will you call me when it's… over? One way or the other?'
'Giles. If it's the… other, I won't be calling anyone or anything. But yeah, if it works out, I will. Thanks, by the way.'
'Oh, my reward is the pleasure of being taken for granted by you with the very slim hope that one day you might actually remember I exist when things are going… well.'
'Pillock. Love you too.'
Spike hung up and regarded the curled figure on the bed. Being very hungry didn't help rational thought much.
He sat alongside Wesley and poked his leg. 'Sit up.'
'Wesley. Do you know where you are? Who you are? Who I am?'
'I'm not stupid, Spike.'
'So, sit up and stop acting like a prat.'
Wesley sat up and took off his glasses, wiping them furiously. 'I'll have you know that I'm a rogue demon hunter. No demon's safe from me- rogue ones, that is.'
'Good. Then you have to go back and….'
'I've been assessing the situation, coming up with a plan. Don't be fooled by my demeanour; no, this is just a cover I….'
'Wesley! Stop fucking jabbering, and go back and fetch Angel!'
'I think that would be very unwise. Unhand me!'
'Wesley, get a bloody grip here. You wanted Angel enough to…. Whatever, he needs you now.'
'Ah. I see you have totally misunderstood the relationship between Angel and me. I agree, on the surface, to an outsider, it might appear a little intense - odd even - but I assure you, we are nothing more than….'
'Wesley! This isn't you. Jesus, man, don't you remember the taste of Angel's mouth on yours?'
'Take your bloody hand off my thigh!'
'This is utterly ridiculous. You are playing clever tricks with my mind: making me remember things - emotions - I never felt. Kiss a man? It's unthinkable. It's totally un-English, for one thing. Just not bloody cricket.'
''S got balls involved. Wesley- think. You and Angel- before I came along. Remember how you changed: a fighter, a hard man. Darla? Remember Darla? Angel said you staked her!'
'Darla was a very nasty piece of work. I really never got what Angel saw in that evil doxy. You could see slut written all over her.'
'Kinda what he saw, too, I'm thinking.'
'Angel does not consort with….'
'Wesley! Concentrate. When you saw them together, why did you stake her? What did you think? Knowing Angel was fucking her…'
Wesley got off the bed suddenly and began to pace. Spike felt a stab of hope at the contrast between this sudden animation and the previous helplessness.
He rose as well and followed the human's pacing, keeping him close, intimidating him with his presence.
'Remember, Wesley! This is important.'
'I was rather upset. Yes, I do remember that. Such a waste- someone like Angel, with her.'
'So, you took a stake and plunged it in….'
'And Angel was plunging something else in…?'
'Yes. So hard, so wet….'
'Did you want it in you?'
'I have nothing but the noblest of feelings toward….'
'Angel wasn't happy, was he?'
'He banished you.'
'Were you angry with him?'
'I wanted to… stake him.'
'But not with the stake you used on Darla, hey? The other wood… wet and hard?'
'Yes! Shut up!'
'Alone, Wes. Shut out from Angel's bright light. You were so dark, so alone.'
'What did you do? Hurt yourself? Others? Sluts?'
'Never hard enough, are they? Always seeking that elusive body….'
'Shut up! I won't hear….'
'And then there was me. I crashed into all your lives. And he came to you again: confused- wanting a man's body. Did you ever suspect that about Angel? That he could want cock? He came to you, Wes. He needed you!'
'I know, I know…. He was so… confused.'
'Did it make you hard? Counselling him? Seeing him again?'
'Why did you seek me out in the pub, Wes? Why did you want Angel to have me?'
'I wanted that look in his eyes- the way thinking about you makes him: hard, out-of-control.'
'Because then you might have him….'
'Yessss. I wanted him to think more about… cock- what a bloody revelation: Angel wanting to… do such things. And then there was… you.'
'The three of us, Wes- remember how that was?'
'Oh, yesss…. But you hate me! I've ruined it all, betrayed you both….'
'No! This is it, isn't it? This is the power that thing has over you! Well, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the pretence now Wesley! I don't hate you!'
'Oh, don't give me that. You could kill me every time you look at me.'
'I've wanted you to want me again.'
'You're lying to get me bolstered up enough to go back in that house. I won't do it! I admit it! He's won! Even in death, he scares me! I won't do it, and your lies can't make me.'
'If I didn't… like… you, why did it hurt me so much? Hey? Betrayal from your enemies is just par for the bloody course! I loved… I thought…. Fuck it! I loved you! You wanted me, Wesley! I wanted you! It was all because of the games: hurting you, fucking you around. ME, ME, ME. That's why I can't forgive you, because it was all me! All my fault!'
'You've never really wanted me. How could you? Look at me! I'm a pathetic, snivelling failure. I failed at school; I failed at Oxford- a third for goodness sake. Everything I've ever done has been failure. You can't want me!'
'No! That was you before you met Angel! That was me before I met Angelus! I was weak and snivelling. I'd failed at everything! Fucking hell, Wesley, I was still a virgin…. Then there was Angelus. He made me. He made you. Don't you remember how it was, Watcher? When you sat in my apartment? Fucking hell! I was so hard all the time I had to wank for HOURS after you'd left, just to relieve the pressure in my balls from being near YOU!'
'It was all a lie. You weren't seeing the real me. And when I… did the same… afterwards… it was just another vile thing. Unclean and beastly.'
'You touched yourself? Thinking of me! Jesus, Wesley, why didn't you just say something? You must have known how I felt about you!'
'I couldn't cross the line with you. I didn't know where it would go. I could have eaten you alive, and where would that have left us?'
'You weren't afraid of me?'
'Afraid of you? Hardly. I wanted you. I wanted to dig down and find out what made you tick- dissect you with my hardness.'
'Oh, God, Spike. Forgive me?'
All the talking stopped.
Spike swallowed him whole as he pressed his mouth to Wesley's. He pushed his tongue in. He explored the dark, warm depths.
Wesley suddenly pushed off the wall and shoved Spike back onto the bed, ripping at his clothes.
'Show me how much you forgive me.'
'No. I'll show you how much I want you.' Spike tried to turn Wesley over.
Wesley held him down.
He lowered his mouth to Spike's. 'You turn over. I'm not being subservient to you, Vampire.'
After that, there were no more words. There were just bodies on a bed: writhing, seeking and giving pleasure, thoughtlessly.
Wesley was rough and hard, dominant, sure of what he wanted. Spike needed him to want this and wanted him to need it. When Wesley finally pushed inside Spike's body, he tipped his head back and cried, 'At last.' He worked hesitantly at first, then let rip, tearing with need, wanting to seal something between them with orgasm.
They both came quickly: Spike onto the bed and Wesley over his back as he'd pulled out to mark the body as his.
They collapsed, both panting, ripped pieces of clothing fluttering down to tangle with them on the bed.
Wesley turned to Spike with a frown. Spike met his look, and they stared at each other for a while.
'Hello, Spike. It's nice to… see you.'
'Hello, Mate. It's nice to be… seen.'
'Are you feeling… better?'
There was a significant pause, and then Wesley said softly, 'Was there anything genuine in what you just said and did?'
Spike blinked. 'I was faking until I realised I wasn't. You weren't the only one fighting demons here, Wesley.'
'You've never hated me…? I don't believe it.'
'Wesley, I'm me, yeah? Love and hate are sometimes the same. I get confused and angry- I never quite made up my mind whether I wanted to kill Buffy or love her. I get angry. I felt guilty. I am jealous.'
'Yeah. You wanted me then you wanted him. Everyone does that to me.'
'I think I've proved that that's not quite… accurate.'
Wesley sat up. 'I'm going back for Angel.'
'What if it won't let you in?'
It will- I don't fear it anymore. All those bloody years, holding my family captive to fear and hate. I'm not the man who left England. I'm the man who met Angel.'
'You think your old Dad was under….'
'Yes. I do. That wasn't a father who terrorised me all those years- it was a man held prisoner by a very malignant force. Perhaps because we gave it constancy, it never exerted its true power. Then we all moved away; father died, and it got… hungry.'
'Huh. Speaking of which….'
'My poor father.' Wesley's eyes suddenly filled with unshed tears. 'I'll never have the chance to tell him now- to forgive him.'
Spike gritted his teeth and sat up too. 'Err… Pet… dead man talking here- they hear us from beyond the grave.'
'Oh, I know in theory that's possible, but when it's your own, you doubt….'
'Wesley. I've not told anyone this - not even Angel - but Nate came back to me- he helped me with Lilah. Long story. But he came from somewhere, and he went back somewhere, and he heard me here- on this plain. Your old Dad knows exactly what's gone on here today.' He suddenly hesitated, and they both raised their eyebrows. 'Well, let's hope not exactly… here, here.'
Suddenly, Wesley turned to him with a frown. 'What has happened here? I feel rather odd about it all- not like I thought I would.'
'Yeah. I know. First time is usually more….' He mimed making a drum roll.
Wesley frowned even more. 'Like kneading bread?'
'Oh, go rescue Angel, hero.'
Wesley nodded. 'It was good though. Very. But you're still just… Spike. Very disturbing.'
Spike grinned and lit a cigarette.
to chapter 4
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