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The Darkling Plain - Episode
They both slept late on Christmas Day, wrapped in a tight tangle of limbs under the covers.
Spike felt a nagging guilt that he ought to let Angel get up and celebrate this most human of days, let him go out, enjoy the sun and the mountains. Angel felt guilty that he wanted this too, but also pleased that he didn't want it enough to actually get up and leave the warm comfort.
Inevitably, however, with a groan, he eventually tore from the bed and ran into the bathroom. Spike swiped at him as he left, then lay theatrically on his belly, one arm hanging off, waiting for his return.
Angel came out of the bathroom, idly scratching his belly, and went to peer cautiously out of the curtains. He made a small sound of wonder and held one back. 'Take a look.'
Spike crawled off and joined him, staring out at the blizzard. 'No wonder it's been so quiet.'
'The dog will still have to go out.'
Spike chuckled as he saw a small movement out of the corner of his eye. He nudged Angel, and they both watched, amused, as Droc tried to slither unnoticed under the bed. Angel bent and caught him, dragging him back out.
He pulled on some pants and a sweater, and then looked speculatively at Spike. 'What are you going to do?'
Spike shrugged and turned casually, reaching for his jeans. He dislodged the picture of Angel, and it fell to the floor.
Spike cursed and picked it up gently, brushing his hand over it lightly, placing it carefully back where he could see it.
Suddenly, he was seized and thrust back against the wall. Angel shook him slightly as if punishing him for something, asking him for something. When this didn't seem to solve what he needed solving, he pushed hard at Spike's shoulder, hard enough to bruise if Spike had been human.
Spike blinked slowly. Angel's face crumpled, and then Spike just stood there and let Angel hit him. Face, chest, belly, Angel's blows landed all around Spike's naked body until, panting, Angel crushed him to the wall and bit savagely into his neck. Spike tipped his head back and cried out softly. He heard a zipper, and Angel panted raggedly, 'Turn around.'
Angel entered him roughly, not strong enough to hurt him, never strong enough to hurt him, but enough to let him know that he wanted to hurt him, wanted to cause him pain. The punishment for the innocent transgression of still being a demon continued, Angel raking his nails down Spike's spine, drawing blood. Spike arched back into the pain, moaning in ecstasy. Angel punished him for this too, ramming home, jerking out, pummelling in. 'Fuck you!' Angel's voice was strained, ragged with these emotions that had come on him so unexpectedly. He felt tears beginning and didn't even try to stop them, letting them run down his cheeks as he fucked Spike for still being what he so desperately wanted to be again. Deep sobs tore at him, so when he ejaculated, his sounds of relief were muted by deep, heart wrenching sounds of grief. He flung Spike around, ripping out of him and hit him again, smacking his face to one side, making a brief flare of red on the pale face. 'Turn me! Fuck you! Stop this agony. Save me… please….'
Spike took him by the shoulders and shook him.
He ran with them both, crashing them both back onto the bed.
He flung himself on Angel.
He hit him, one hard blow to his face.
Then he fell on Angel's neck and bit him, human teeth doing ragged damage to the hot skin.
When he sat back, he was in demon form.
They lay utterly still, regarding each other.
Angel whispered, 'If we want it enough, I will be as I was before. I will keep my soul, Spike. I promise.'
Spike swallowed and felt tears running down his demonic face, something that he'd never thought to experience. 'Promise?'
'I want you back, Angel. I miss you so much.'
At last, Spike's honesty seemed to tip Angel over the edge. He began to shake, his whole face contorting with misery, and in a stream of almost unintelligible words, he spewed his misery out. 'I can't see you properly anymore, Spike; you're in the dark, like a shadow and so cold. You're so cold, Baby- all the time, and I can't warm you up. I don't have enough warmth for us both. And you're so quiet that I can't hear you- at all, sometimes. I can't hear that soft echo that was you, in me… all the time, in my head, there with me, so I was never alone. Now I am- alone. I'm trapped in this body, which isn't mine, and I don't want it. I want us. I want what we had, and I don't care about salvation. I just want you because you are MINE but you can't be when I'm like this. You're a cold shadow, and I can't hear you.'
Spike watched. He listened, and then he lowered to the soft neck. 'All right, precious one. Let's do it. Another new journey- you know I've never been afraid of them.'
He sank his teeth into Angel's neck.
There was a sound at the door.
Someone knocked lightly.
Spike flicked his eyes around, totally distracted. He was almost positive no one would just come in.
Droc went to the door and began to scratch, whining pitifully.
A voice on the other side of the door made concerned sounds, asking if he needed to go out.
Spike withdrew his fangs and returned to his normal face.
Angel stared at him, and they both knew they had just crossed some boundary that had held them sane, and that now there was only chaos on all sides.
Spike slid off and went into the bathroom, shutting the door.
Angel tidied his clothes and went down to celebrate his salvation with his human friends.
Nothing could have astonished Angel more than to see Spike come down the stairs half an hour later, looking perfectly relaxed. He nodded at everyone, stepped carefully over the discarded wrapping paper, and sat next to him on the couch.
When everyone was busy exclaiming over presents, he turned to Angel and just raised one eyebrow.
Angel held his gaze, and Spike nudged his leg closer, pressing it for a moment against Angel's thigh.
They blinked at the same time, and then Spike tipped his head back, smiling ruefully. 'Happy Christmas, Luv.'
Angel blinked slightly more rapidly but seemed to achieve the required control to continue with the human activity.
When presents were done, food began to be prepared, and under cover of everyone else being busy, Spike flicked his eyes back to Angel. 'Did you get some nice pressies?'
Angel frowned. 'Lots of… lotions and products. Are they trying to tell me something?'
Spike chuckled. 'Yeah- that you're beautiful, and that they want you stay that way.'
Angel turned to face him squarely. 'Not much hope of that, is there? Not now.'
Spike pursed his lips, glad that Angel understood that his madness had passed, and that they would not be returning to a brink that had so nearly destroyed them all.
Instead of replying directly to this, he laid his hand over Angel's bracelet and said softly, 'I promised, Angel. Now, go eat, and then slump on a couch for the rest of the day watching TV. You're a man.'
Angel smiled and put a hand to Spike's hair briefly. 'You have your food at the table with us.'
Spike's eyebrow rose. 'Huh. That's gives a whole new meaning to the blood of the lamb.'
'Okay, I'll gross out the humans.'
'Not this one.'
Spike took Angel's fingers and played with them absentmindedly. 'I've decided to tell Sam, by the way. It seems to me that people need to know how other people feel- so they can make up their own minds about things. It's not fair that Jordan won't give him at least that chance.'
'But if you tell him and he doesn't want Jordan, Jordan loses what he does have of Sam now….'
'I know. But it's not… honest. I need your help, though. I need you to keep Jordan here- occupied somehow, while I take Sam out somewhere.'
'And a long torture session is forbidden?'
Spike chuckled and wobbled his hand.
Angel twitched up his eyebrow. 'I could ask him to be Cindy Crawford and fuck him senseless for a few hours.'
'Luv, you've forgotten where to put it, and a few hours is kinda… ambitious?'
Angel repressed his smile and narrowed his eyes instead. 'I'm remembering a few hours yesterday….'
Seductively, Spike glanced back at him through lowered lids. 'I remember the feel of you, the sounds you made….'
They rose together.
'Ah, good, Angel, Spike- lunch is ready.'
Angel looked across at the laden table with as much horror as he would have done before his transformation.
'We were just going….' He glanced down to a boot pressing onto his foot and dried up.
When Wesley turned away, Spike whispered, 'Don't drink too much. I'm thinking post-Christmas-lunch-slump will be in bed- with me.'
Angel felt a shiver run down his spine and nodded.
Spike watched him going to the table, refusing to listen to the chaos and insanity in his head.
By the time they'd finished eating, the blizzard had totally passed away, and the sun had come out, drenching the new, heavy snowfall in dazzling light.
Angel went incredulously to the window, staring out at the beauty.
Suddenly he pulled away and came back to Spike, jerking his head toward the stairs. Spike tipped his head to one side then shook it slightly. 'You go out and enjoy it, Pet.'
'No! I want….'
'You want what I want. Make me happy, Angel. Please? Go out and enjoy the snow. Take Droc. Make sure he gets very cold and wet- he's in BIG dog trouble at the moment.'
'Please? I'll be here when you get back.'
'What will you do?'
'Angel! I've had one hundred and fifty years practice of finding things to do!'
'That's what I'm worried about….'
Spike smiled. 'On my own.'
Angel nodded. 'I'm sorry. I'm selfish.'
Spike toed the ground coyly. 'Are you jealous?'
'To die for.'
'Good. Go out. Stay jealous and selfish, and come back wanting me.'
Angel didn't resist any longer. He nodded at the humans who were waiting for him to accompany them and went out into the glorious day.
Spike went into his den and didn't look at Sam. Sam pretended not to notice that he wasn't being looked at and consulted the TV listing. 'Sound of Music or Wizard of Oz?'
'Nope. Not listed. And I'm thinking you've done that once.'
'True. Better than Sound of Music, believe me.'
'Up to bed and fuck for a while then?'
'He's talking to Lilah, why?'
'No. I kinda….'
'Okay, Babe. Don't fret it.'
'Let's go for a drink tonight. Just you and me.'
'Okay. Wesley's quaintly named tavern?'
Spike smiled. 'Okay.'
'Sound of Music, then?'
Spike sighed and slid down in the chair, nodding, and trying not to think of the alternative activities they could be enjoying.
Spike was impressed with Angel that evening. Just after it got dark, Angel asked Jordan if he'd pose for him to sketch. Surprised, slightly taken aback, Jordan asked swiftly, 'As who?'
Angel frowned. 'As you. Who else?'
'Well. That face.'
'Because I like a challenge?'
Jordan smiled, self-deprecatingly. 'Sorry. Sure. Why not?'
Spike leant on Angel's shoulder and kissed him lightly, stroking his finger over Angel's cheek.
He stepped out into the moonlit snow with Sam.
The human looked around anxiously. 'How far is this bar? I mean… kinda deep out here. And cold.'
'Step boldly through life's challenges, Sam.'
'I do. It's the fucking snow I'm complaining about.'
They followed the private track back down to the main road and then, a few hundred metres further on, discovered the place Wesley had directed them too.
Being Christmas Day, it was relatively quiet. They picked a table in a corner, and Sam slid in facing the floor, where a live band was advertised for later. 'Guess it's too much to hope it'll be Boyzone?'
Spike smiled. 'The usual?'
Sam nodded, and Spike bought a couple of drinks, taking them back to the table and sliding in, facing the bar.
They drank companionably for a while. When Spike had built all the beer mats into a tower and rearranged all the condiments as much as he could, he could think of nothing else to prevent him speaking. He glanced up at Sam and said quietly, 'I want to talk to you.'
Sam grinned, not taking his eyes off the band members who were warming up and tuning their guitars. 'Now, that's a shock. Jesus, Spike, you can be so… adorable.'
'Okay. Just remembering that I'm a vicious, killer demon and in no way adorable, here's the thing….' He took a deep breath. 'Jordan… Jordan?'
Sam looked over at him, and then followed his gaze to the bar. Spike was frowning deeply. 'Bloody useless Angel!'
Sam began to rise. 'I'll call him over.'
Spike put a hand on his arm and shook his head. 'No. Let me.'
Sam shrugged and went back to studying the lead guitarist with great concentration.
Spike went to the bar and leaned next to Jordan. 'That didn't bloody take long! Angel takes fucking hours to draw me!'
The figure turned to him, speculatively. 'Sorry. I think you've got the wrong person.'
Spike jerked back, a jolt running through his body, his vampire senses confusing him. He could sense no recognition in Jordan at all. He frowned but nodded. 'Sorry, Mate. My mistake. Bit dark in here.'
He casually ordered a couple more drinks and took them back to the table.
As soon as he saw Spike move away, the barman said to the new arrival, 'So, this person you're looking for- your twin? Not seen him in here. Sorry.'
The figure nodded absentmindedly, his eyes glued to Spike. 'Never mind. I think I've just found him.'
Sam turned when Spike sat down and looked back at the bar.
Spike said quietly, 'Drink up. We're going back.'
'Just drink up, Sam.'
'I've kinda just arranged something for later, Babe.'
Spike gave him a look.
Sam shrugged, grinning. 'Fingers running up and down frets, Spike. You just KNOW… yeah?'
'Just this once, stop thinking with your dick, and come home with me. Please. I- I… okay, I'm only gonna make you laugh, so I'm not gonna bother to say it.'
'I feel something's… coming. I want you home safely.'
Far from laughing, Sam paled slightly and stood up. 'Fucking hell, Spike! You're a vampire!'
Spike looked confused and unhappy, as if being accused of something again for which he had no defence. Seeing Spike's expression, Sam sighed and laid a hand on his arm. 'I meant that I trust your damn senses! Let's fucking go! Maybe now!'
Spike stood up and slipped a hand around his waist. 'Okay, I'm being melodramatic. Don't start preparing for the apocalypse just yet.'
Sam closed his eyes briefly. 'Way t'go to make me feel so much happier.'
'Come on, I'll protect you.'
'You'd damn well better. Fuck… snow, and now the end of the world. Where'd J go?'
'Dunno. But I'm gonna find out. Believe me- I'm gonna find out.'
Angel and Jordan looked up in surprise when they got back so early. Angel looked at Spike and raised a questioning eyebrow. Spike frowned, shook his head, and then flicked his eyes upstairs.
He jogged up without waiting to see if Angel followed him.
Angel came in and held up his sketchbook. 'What do you think?'
Spike frowned. 'That's… awful. Why's it awful?'
Angel nodded. 'I know. I couldn't draw him.'
'Okay. Surprise me, and tell me he wasn't there for some of the time.'
Angel looked puzzled. 'No, he was here. I just meant that I couldn't find his… face. Jeez, way t'go to make me sound the pretentious artist.'
Spike put a hand on his arm. 'Tell me.'
'He's like drawing… a rainbow? When I tried to get close to him, he just… moved away.'
'He was there- at the bar.'
'Uh huh. I'm not liking the sound of this.'
'What did he say?'
'He didn't recognise me- or said he didn't.'
'And you're sure it was….'
'As sure as I'm sure you're….' He trailed off, feeling that this was a slightly sensitive area best left unexplored, and finished, 'It was him.'
Angel nodded at the hot tub, and they shed their clothes, stepping out into the moonlit night.
Angel sank into the water and let his legs float free. Spike eyed the deep bite mark on the smooth skin and looked quickly away.
'How did you meet Jordan? You've never told me.'
Spike made a face and said innocently, 'In a bar- like you do.'
'Where does he come from? I mean….'
'I don't know. But, I'm going to find out.'
Angel nodded thoughtfully. 'Let's go home tomorrow.'
Spike nodded, too.
'I think you should ride with them. I don't like the idea of Sam being alone with him. Find some excuse, make them go at night, and… be careful?'
Spike tipped his head to one side, studying Angel's worried expression for a moment, and then swam over. He kissed him. 'I love you. Sometimes.'
Angel smiled, and they lay kissing, Spike floating gently on Angel, touching tongues teasingly, promising lips but withdrawing them.
Spike pulled himself closer and straddled Angel. He raised an eyebrow, shifted position slightly, and then lowered onto Angel's hardness.
'I'm sorry - 'bout earlier. I didn't mean what I said.'
Angel looked thoughtfully at him, adjusting slightly to enjoy the sensation of being encased in the cool tightness. 'Yes, you did- you miss him.'
Spike clenched his jaw. 'I love YOU.'
'I can't be him. I know that; you know that.'
'I love YOU.'
Angel nodded sadly. 'But not as much.'
'Differently.' Spike looked down into the opaque water to where their bodies joined and said quietly, 'Anyway, to you, I'm cold, and I'm dead….'
'I…. Sometimes, yes- without the blood. I'm without that loud ringing blood link, Spike. Can you remember what it was like to be alone?'
Spike stopped his gentle fucking and lifted off. He climbed out then held out his hand. 'Come to the bed, Angel. Let's do this properly.'
Angel nodded, and they went together to the large bed and crawled on.
They lay wet and warm in each other's arms. Spike leaned over and ran his fingers through Angel's hair, stroking it away from his face. 'I love you.'
'Is it going to be enough?'
Spike was silent for a moment, but then replied honestly, 'I don't know. I think… maybe….'
Angel saw a deep frown forming around Spike's mouth. 'What? Spike?'
'In the bar, with Sam- I felt something coming. I thought it was coming for them: Sam, Jordan. But what if it's us, Angel? It was like the end of the world. Maybe it was just the end of my world coming.'
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