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The Darkling Plain
The house looked so familiar in the dawn- so many returns: from boarding school, from University, from the Council. Always returning, drawn like a magnet, although nothing but pain had ever been here to welcome him.
Wesley got out of the car and kicked open the front door, staying just outside in the light.
'You fucker! You weak, spineless bully! Fuck off to your own hell dimension, because there's no one here you can scare anymore!'
Wesley jumped visibly, as if thinking his old fears had finally materialised, but then he saw Angel, lurking in the shadows- a very green, sickly-looking Angel.
'What do you remember?'
'Yes. I think he must have been. Maybe he was trying to fight it, even as it controlled him. You FUCKER!'
'No, sorry, Angel. Look, it's time to go. I'm going to back the car up, open the boot, and you make a dash, okay? Spike's waiting in the….'
'Yes. He saved us- saved me. He reminded me who I am now. And, Angel, he forgave me.'
'Okay. I'm too hung-over - for some odd reason - to question just how he did that; so, I'm just gonna lie in a dark trunk for while, okay?'
Wesley smiled, and with care, they negotiated Angel's transfer to the pub.
He came into the room with Wesley supporting one arm and sat on the bed, staring morosely at Spike. 'I am SO ill.'
Wesley smiled. 'You've been here five days, by my calculations, and you've been drunk that whole time- I think it was essential that you be kept… pliant.'
Angel groaned and put his head in his hands. Spike gave Wesley a questioning look, and Wesley shook his head fractionally.
Angel didn't look up but said deceptively casually, 'I assume that small exchange was something to do with the smell on this bed. Would someone care to explain it?'
Spike pouted then replied, 'I'm not gonna draw you a picture, no. We've been trying to forgive each other, and I think we've done that.'
Both Angel and Wesley heard the echoes of the things they'd said to Spike. Angel glanced at the bed once more then stood up.
The atmosphere in the room suddenly became very tense. Spike bit a nail; Wesley toed the ground then took off his glasses and began to polish them on the hem of his shirt.
Angel held out his arms. 'Good. We're good again. Now, someone PLEASE find me some goddamned pain killers?'
They came to him gratefully, and he embraced them both tightly, then he held Wesley away. 'Get some sleep- you look as if you've not slept for days.'
If Wesley was tempted to say that he'd not slept since he'd last been at the Hyperion, he didn't and only nodded.
Angel went into the other room and sat on the bed.
Spike made to join him, but Wesley caught at his sleeve. 'Thank you, Spike. For… saving me.'
Spike nodded. ''S okay. That's what friends are for.'
He went into the next room with a sense of peace that he hadn't felt for many months. He sat next to Angel on the bed and watched the lowered head. Angel looked up. 'Did I say hi, by the way? And you came all this way by yourself?'
'Oh, way t' go, make me sound eleven!'
'Okay. Sorry. How did you know?'
'No bloody phone call?'
'I don't remember anything after this damn place and some fuckingly moronic bartender!'
'You came all this way alone?'
'Okay, Luv, sleep of the good now, I'm thinking.'
'You and Wes?'
'Angel… sleep. We'll talk on the way home.'
Angel lay back and let Spike undress him. 'Who's got Droichead?'
'He said he could fend for himself.'
'I'm only teasing, Angel! Sam and Jordan are watching him.'
'Okay. You and Wes without me?'
'Still not drawing you that picture, Pet. Sleep.'
Angel closed his eyes. Spike sat and watched him until he was sure he was asleep, and then he went noiselessly into Wesley's room.
The human was sitting naked on his bed, pulling off a sock. He snatched the sheet over for modesty. 'Bloody hell, Spike!'
Spike gritted his teeth. 'Okay. I give in. What the bleedin' hell does Droichead mean?'
Wesley bowed his head with pleasure. 'The literal meaning? Bridge. The meaning I suspect Angel meant….' He looked up at Spike. 'Something that unites.'
With a rueful huff, Spike turned on his heel and went back to Angel.
Wesley tucked under the cool, white sheet and let himself sleep, completely untroubled for the first time since he had allowed inner demons to be more powerful than ones he fought so successfully every day.
When Angel woke, Spike was on the telephone, and he listened to some low murmurs that he didn't understand.
When Spike put the phone down and turned, Angel said, 'What wall?'
'Nothing, Luv. Angel…?'
'Hmm? Shit! I'm STARVING!'
'Yeah, me too. Angel…?'
'We've gotta get blood!'
'I've asked Wesley to procure some. Angel…?'
'Get dressed; I wanna go home.'
'That's what I'm trying to say. How's about a little holiday? Here. I mean… why go home right now? Just a few days. Let things settle?'
'Settle? What things?'
'Nothing. That was just an… expression. I just need a few days. Holiday.'
Angel didn't even hear the hedging; he was too busy thinking about being hungry.
'And 'sides… we could help Wes with the house. Empty it- sell it.'
'Go back in there?'
'Are you scared…?'
'Suspicious that he was being manoeuvred into something, but not really getting how or why, Angel shook his head.'
'Okay. Good. Cus Wes is there now, and I guess that's where he's got our food!'
They parked outside the house and viewed it slightly warily from the safety of the car. Wesley came out, smiling, and held up some small twigs. 'It's all quite safe! I've done a very powerful demon influence spell, and there's not a trace- well except for when it went all sparkly and pointed me toward you two arriving!'
Angel climbed out and, for the first time, looked the house up and down. 'This must be worth a fortune.'
Spike nudged Wesley. 'That makes three of us now. 'S good- this being rich thing. You can buy some new clothes now, Pet. No excuses.'
'I rather like my clothes! I was thinking more along the lines of a new apartment and perhaps some books I've been wanting….'
Angel wandered toward the front door and turned, puzzled. 'Did your father leave it all to you?'
Wesley gave him a look as if he anticipated what was coming. 'Yes. He did- only child.'
'Then how did Spike and I get in?'
Wesley looked embarrassed for a moment then looked up and said distinctly, ' I rather invited you both… in my heart. Before you got here. Pictured it being just like this really.'
Once more, Angel held out both arms, and they went to him. He embraced them and murmured, 'Never again. We stick together from now on. The only things we fight are going to be things other than us.'
They nodded and went into the house together.
It seemed a completely different place. Wesley wandered around in a daze, finding long-forgotten treasures. When he was absent for some minutes, the vampires found him in a small room at the top of the house playing with two wind-up Darleks. He looked up, his face flushed with pleasure. 'I'd totally forgotten these! Look, they still work. And the whole Dr Who Album collection. Incredible. And valuable!'
Spike gave him an incredulous look, and if the word anorak crossed his lips, Wesley pretended not to hear. Angel began to rummage through some other boxes. 'You need to get this to a sale.'
Wesley sighed and nodded. 'I need to begin doing something. Rubbish into a skip; things to the charity shop and, yes, maybe some of this more valuable stuff to an auction house.' He stood up and stretched. 'But some things I'll keep. All the books, of course.'
They both ignored the note of cynicism in Spike's voice and continued looking though boxes.
After a while, Spike drifted off and found a telephone.
'Not a good time to talk, Babe.'
'We've had a minor… leak.'
'Leak! Leak of what?'
'Not sure. Smells like gas. When the wall collapsed… ya know…?'
'If you blow my apartment up, Mate, I'll….'
'How much longer before I can bring him home?'
'Dunno. Call ya. Bye.'
Spike looked at the handset incredulously and redialled. It wasn't answered.
'Who are you calling?'
Spike turned to find Angel watching him and assumed, by his calm expression, that he'd not been there long. 'Sam. He's gonna meet us when we land.'
'Okay. Good. I really want to get back now.'
'Yeah. Me too.'
'It's been five days, by the way- just in case you haven't….'
'I've been counting too….'
Spike crossed the gap between them, and they embraced hard, lips seeking lips, eyes dilating. Spike made a small noise in the back of his throat and then murmured, 'I need to have you now, Angel.'
Angel nodded into his hair and then, looking around, pulled him into the library. Spike grimaced. 'Nah- first place he'll come after playing with 'is toys.'
They went back out into the hallway. Angel looked around despairingly. 'Seems… wrong. In his house.'
Spike grinned. 'Better be outside then.'
Angel raised an eyebrow, and chuckling, they went out into the dark night and strode across the gravel drive into the woods.
The found a fallen tree, and Spike straddled it, lighting a cigarette. 'You're really okay about us, aren't you?'
Angel straddled it too and borrowed the cigarette for a while, smoking happily. 'My family is back together. Guess that gives me reason to be happy, yeah.'
'One weird family.'
Spike smiled shyly. 'I missed you. I think I'd have come over even if you had called. I don't like being apart now.' He retrieved his cigarette and put one hand on Angel's thigh. Angel rested his hand over Spike's then took hold of it tightly.
They sat contentedly in the moonlight, smoking and talking. It was only when the cigarettes ran out that Angel frowned and said, 'Didn't we come out here to…?'
Spike chuckled and slid closer. 'Kiss me. I want to taste you properly.'
Angel parted his lips slightly and brushed them over Spike's. They were both cold, and sensation of cool skin touching cool skin sent frissons of pleasure down their spines. Angel sighed at the intense feeling of love that washed over him at that tiny feel of skin and slid his hands inside Spike's shirt to feel some more.
Suddenly, the night became less silent and peaceful as the passion of the kiss intensified. They both rose slightly and began to fumble with clothing, not wanting their lips to part. Getting impatient, Spike ripped open the front of Angel's pants and cupped him reverently, easing him out through the opening. It was the only thing that could have distracted his lips. He pushed Angel back so he was lying on the fallen tree and lowered his head to the place he'd missed for five long days.
It smelt like fresh ocean seawater, was as cold as that great body, and he sank gratefully into the smell and taste of Angel, bathing in the delight of coming home.
Angel let his hands dangle off the fallen tree, scrunching up the dry, Autumn leaves with his fingers, playing with them as Spike pulled the sperm out of him with strong, sure sucking.
He wanted it to last. He wanted to watch the moon move across the sky and still be lying there on that crisp, cool night with his penis in Spike's mouth. He couldn't. It had been too long; too much need welled up inside. Spike lifted his mouth slightly and murmured, 'You're coming,' fingering the throbbing veins running up and down the moon-glistening shaft.
Angel nodded then arched like a taut bow, gasping, 'Yessss.' The shooting sperm hit Spike's mouth then splashed down to be lost in the dark. It kept coming, shot after shot of pale release, until with a deep sigh, Angel lay back, his shoulders sagging, his fingers still and limp. 'I so needed that.'
Spike pulled him to sitting, and they kissed for a while, Angel enjoying the taste of Spike's face, marked and claimed as he'd just been.
He didn't let their lips part but slipped his hand into Spike's zip and released him too. Spike groaned, expecting Angel to pull away from the kiss and go down on him, but Angel just wrapped his large, strong fist around the solid shaft and began to work it expertly.
Spike grinned into the kiss and slipped his tongue into the welcoming mouth, tasting Angel's soft walls, teasing over his teeth. He knew he wasn't going to last long. Angel rose against him, dominating with his vast presence, overwhelming Spike with sensation: tongue, lips, fist, hissed encouragement. Spike could hear a wet sound as Angel's flesh rubbed against his. He loved the sound of that contact, loved picturing what they looked like, loved imagining what Angel was thinking. Despite the vast darkness of the wood and the sense of infinite, cold space above them, everything that was important shrank to fit the tiny space they occupied together on the fallen log. They were all there was, all that mattered, and with a deep shudder of release into Angel's waiting fist, Spike knew with total certainty that Angel felt this too.
He shook. Angel held him close, licking urgently into his mouth as if he could taste a share of the orgasm. Angel's hand was incredibly skilful on him- drawing him out still but responsive to his new sensitivity. The strong hand was soaked, dripping with cum, and Angel used it to lubricate this gentle milking.
With a glint of glee in his eyes brighter than the reflected moonlight, Angel put the hand to his lips and licked at it like a cat: slowly, deliberately, lost in the pleasure of the cleansing.
Spike rested his head against the broad chest, and with his other hand, Angel ran trails through the soft, blond hair, spiking it up slightly. When his hand was clean enough, he kissed the spikes and rose.
'It's cold. Wesley will wonder where we are.'
Spike adjusted his clothing then waited as Angel did the same, and they began to walk slowly back through the trees to the house. Just before they reached the open space, Angel laid a hand on Spike's arm and said seriously, 'Thank you for forgiving Wesley. I can't help but feel that you did it for me- partially, at least.'
Spike stopped and rummaged for a cigarette, cursing when he remembered they'd smoked them all. He played with his lighter instead. 'No. Don't think that this is some sort of patched up thing to placate you. It's not. I don't need to placate you now. If I think something, I tell you. I walked into that house and found Wesley sucking you off, and I knew it wasn't real. I knew, Angel. And that's not the sire thing. It's not the friends. It's this human inside me, reaching out to the man inside you. I will never placate you. I'll always tell you the truth.' Even as he spoke, a small vision of a collapsing wall and leaking gas flickered across his mind, but he reasoned that delaying telling what (hopefully) wouldn't need to be told couldn't possibly count.
As if reading some of this conflict, Angel narrowed his eyes and looked at him suspiciously.
Spike gave him a cheeky look and finished, 'So, no, it's real, Angel. I forgive him. People make mistakes.'
If he never got reward in heaven, Spike felt he'd been given it now by the look on Angel's face. The worry and anxiety seemed to lift from the dark face; for the first time in many weeks, Angel looked his human age once more, without the burden of centuries weighing him down. Shyly, he took hold of Spike's hand. He let it drop and brushed his fingers over the prominent cheekbones. He trailed one finger down Spike's nose and across his lips. 'It seems… appropriate… somehow that we're here in England again. Do you feel it? It's like we're starting something new- just like we did before.'
'When we started the dance?'
'Yeah. Have we stopped dancing now?'
Spike tipped his head back and laughed. 'Fuck NO! We've only just started, Angel! Now the fun's really gonna start. Come on, Pet, let's go help the lesser mortal.'
As Spike predicted, a sense of fun pervaded the house for the next few days. Wesley made a discovery: if the vampires ever gave up being super-hero detectives, they could become removal men. It became something of a competition between them: who could lift the heaviest piece of furniture, which could carry it the farthest, which could work the longest, go the furthest. Wesley only just kept ahead of them, coving everything with yellow stickies, giving them instructions of where things were to go.
Wesley had offered the vampires the use of any of the bedrooms, and they'd picked two on the top floor. Although things were very good between all of them, neither Spike nor Angel felt comfortable flaunting their relationship at Wesley, so they chose to sleep separately while they were in his house. He thought this rather quaint but didn't have the heart to tell them. It amused him to lie awake at night, thinking of them lying hard and frustrated in separate beds. For some reason, which he didn't want to analyse too closely, he was not tempted to seek them out. In weak moments, he put this down to not being able to choose which he would go to- and this thought so horrified and amused him in equal measure that it effectively stopped him from making any moves at all.
On the beginning of the third night, Wesley looked around and brushed some dust off his hands. 'Well. That seems to be everything.'
They wandered around the empty house together. All that was left was the dirt and dust of the years. Wesley wiped his finger along a windowsill. 'I can finish up here, now. I'll get a cleaning company in and then someone over to value it. No need for you two to stay.'
Angel nodded. He had many reasons for wanting to get back to LA, not least of which the fear that he would suffer from blue balls soon if he had to look one more time at Spike's body without being able to fuck it.
He was slightly disappointed by Spike's reaction to their release and watched an anxious shadow cross his face. However, Spike didn't object when they packed their few clothes and climbed into Angel's hire car that night. He did insist on driving, and Angel didn't object, not being particularly keen to repeat his very alarming journey down to Devon on the wrong side of the road. He cast a last look back at Wesley and then relaxed back into the seat with a sigh.
Spike turned up the heating. 'You sleep, Luv. I'll let you know when we get to the airport.'
Once more slightly disappointed, Angel frowned. 'It's good to be alone again.'
'Yeah. Why don't you try and catch some zeds, Pet. You must be tired.'
'Not particularly, I thought we could… talk?'
'Well, sure. But it's kinda hard to do that and drive, ya know?'
'Slow down then maybe! Christ, Spike!'
'Maybe just close your eyes and sleep then, Angel. Leave the driving to me?'
Angry, but not wanting to start an argument, Angel turned his head and stared out at the darkness.
After half an hour, Spike glanced across at him and grinned. He slowed down, lowered all the dashboard lights and kept the heating on full. With any luck, Angel would sleep until they got to their destination.
Angel woke up and stared at the man coming toward him wearing a top hat and tails. For a moment, he had a totally disorienting flashback to another time, when he'd been another person. Then time righted itself, and he sat up, rubbing his fingers through his hair. 'Good evening, Sir.'
Angel watched the man open the car door and hold it open for him. Bemused, he climbed out to find Spike unloading their bags to the pavement.
Spike nodded at the doorman, chucked him the keys, waved imperiously at the bags and strode off. Angel looked up to the name of the hotel and then around in bewilderment, but followed Spike in through the huge front doors.
He caught the grinning vampire's arm and whispered urgently, 'What the fuck are we doing in Claridges? We're supposed to be at Heathrow.'
Spike turned with a withering look. 'Angel! We're in England. We've nothing to get home for especially. We're together… can't we have some fun for a few days?'
'Well, yeah. Some shopping? I've gotta buy the guys something. Clothes! Think of all the cool clothes you could buy….'
'Stop fucking patronising me!'
'Clubs…? Angel, think of the clubs we could hit. I mean- this is bloody London!'
'But why Claridges?'
'Because. We're rich now, and we can.'
Angel's mouth quirked up, and he looked around then shook his shoulders out slightly. 'Okay.'
Spike poked him gently in the ribs and led the way to the front desk.
He ordered a suite boldly, not caring that it only had one bedroom. He even asked for a large bed and noticed with interest that Angel didn't seem all that bothered either. They strode into the small lift and sat on the seat, chuckling. Angel glanced over at him. 'Thank you.'
'You don't even know what I'm thanking you for!'
'For saving you from that demon; for forgiving Wesley; for not shagging you under his roof; for rescuing you from the dire boredom of Devon; for bringing you here to have some fun… anything else?'
'For just being you.'
Spike pursed his lips, amused and glanced back at him. 'As I said, you're welcome. Now. Who's gonna get to be on top first?'
Angel raised an eyebrow, leant over and whispered, 'I wanna fuck you like an animal.'
Spike moaned and whispered back, making sure his lips brushed Angel's cool ear, 'I wanna feel you from the inside.'
to chapter 5
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