Dead Men Walking - 5
Angel had not seen Spike since he had been chipped,
and his first thought on seeing the vomit-encrusted demon on the bed was, "nothing
changed here then".
It sometimes seemed to Angel that his whole experience of Spike was marred by alcohol, fighting, vomit, and anger. He knew this was unfair and other thoughts slipped into his mind that were far more truthful, but they were Angelus' thoughts, and he did not allow them.
There was no way Angel could have any idea just how much change had taken place in this creature that he felt he ought to think of as his childe. It was unfortunate that his first impression after so long, was that this was typically Spike. Angel had never heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but he proved its validity by the simple expedient of thinking that nothing had changed and, consequently, treating Spike as if he were the same. He, therefore, guaranteed that Spike would behave as if he were still the manic, violent, demonic creature he had been when pressing hot pokers through Angel's joints.
Angel wandered around the crypt, amusing himself with looking at Spike's eclectic collection of rubbish, until he heard Spike stir.
He went back and sat on the bed next to him. There was still no sign of real consciousness, but Spike had turned his face. Angel could now see the damaged cheekbone and closed, swollen eye. He winced slightly, well aware of just how painful the blow must have been. He wondered, idly, what demon had done it, and concluded that Spike probably asked for it.
Eventually, Angel got bored with waiting for Spike to come round, and the smell was making him feel nauseous, so he picked up a pitcher of water next to the bed, sniffed it suspiciously, then tipped it over the unconscious vampire.
Spike came to with a string of obscene curses and promptly fell off the bed, once more proving to Angel that little had changed where his childe was concerned. Spike sensed Angel's presence, composed himself as best he could, and attempted to tell him the bad news. The effort of standing up undid him, however, and he promptly vomited again, noisily and copiously, over the earthen floor of the crypt.
'Oh Jesus, Spike....' Angel backed hastily away, hoping it had not splashed on his shoes. 'You don't change, do you? You were a wanker when I last saw you and here you are... still pulling it yourself.'
Strangely, Giles was responsible for engineering this meeting, and he was the reason for it going disastrously wrong from the outset. Spike's expectations of how he could, and perhaps should, be treated by someone had changed over the last week. Giles' old-fashioned courtesy and kindness, his obvious attraction to him, and their mature, amused, pleasure in each other's company, made Spike instantly resentful of Angel's tone of voice. He had meant to tell him, wanted to tell him about the prophecy, but now thought "Fuck you, too" and didn't. He made a show of stripping off his filthy clothes, cursed when he saw there was no water left, and took the pitcher up to refill at the rain barrel. Angel watched all this with disdain. He had come to Sunnydale to fetch Spike and bring him to LA. When Wesley had shown him the letter, he'd had the irrational image in his head of a wounded animal: dangerous and unpredictable, and wanted that animal put right. He didn't want to watch Spike in his domestic routines, especially those that involved him being naked.
Angel had not seen another man's naked body for a long time; funnily enough, exactly the same amount of time that he had not seen Spike's naked body. He saw the changes to this apparently unchanging body and thought furtively that he ought to feed less and work out more.
Spike returned with fresh water and proceeded to make himself comfortable. He washed carefully, knowing that Angel was watching. He grinned evilly and debated washing his balls with his usual care and attention but thought irrationally, "Why should I give the fucker that much pleasure?", and skipped past those areas that Angelus would have insisted were thoroughly cleansed.
'Enjoying the show?' Spike threw this at Angel with his back to him, but didn't need to see the expression to know it would only be one of disgust.
'Stop pissing about and get dressed. I want to get back before it gets light.'
'LA, Spike. Switch on, wake up... I'm taking you back to LA.'
'Why for fuck's sake?' This was not what he had meant to start with, so he changed tack. 'I'm not going any bleedin' where with you, fucker,' but he was still curious as to how Giles had engineered this visit, so added again as an afterthought, 'Why?'
'You can't be any use to Buffy half-blind, Spike. I'm taking you to a doctor who specialises in demon injuries.'
Spike mentally congratulated Giles on his ploy and felt sorry that his effort had all gone to waste. He had no intention of going with Angel now or telling him the news… but, irrationally, he actually began to hear Giles' soft voice in his head....
"Just prove to him you are still a wanker then, Spike... that's really mature of you."
'I can't help it, Giles. He makes me so mad all the time. I can't think straight with him like I can with you.' Spike allowed himself much more honesty in his own head than he ever did out loud to anyone else, even Giles.
"That's because you love him, Spike; he hurts you more."
'Hey, no fair. You're using my thoughts there, watcher.'
"Err... Spike... I am only your thoughts."
'Oh, yeah, well bugger off then.'
The outcome of this rather bizarre process was that Spike decided he would go to LA with Angel, as Giles had planned for him. He would find an opportunity to tell Angel. If he had in the back of his mind the notion that he could, as a last resort, tell the pseudo-watcher and then piss off; he didn't let himself feel too guilty about that.
Angel had watched the strange emotions flickering across Spike's face. For the first time in a long time, he felt confused about Spike. He mentally shook himself and put it down to the smell of vomit and the fact that Spike was still naked.
He was glad when Spike started to pull on clean jeans and a shirt. Pleased, too, when he started to stuff other clothes into a bag. Spike noted Angel's relief and said casually, 'I don't like being blind either.'
Angel nodded his agreement and tried to keep his voice neutral as well. 'It shouldn't take long; you don't need much.'
These simple words, once again, hit Spike as a painful blow. He could hear the "I don't fucking want you in LA any longer than necessary" implicit in this, and it hurt him more than he thought possible. The sad refrain "more than two hours; so much more than two hours" drifted through his head, but he let nothing of this emotion show. He pictured Giles being pleased at this, thought, in fact, about telephoning him to tell him how mature he was being, and grinned when he realised that, at Angel bloody Investigations, such calls would be easy.
On the trip to LA, Spike made the decision to live up to Giles' expectations of him. He decided that however badly Angel and his motley crew treated him, he would be true to himself. He wasn't too sure what that meant, and knew he needed a call to Giles to get him to explain it to him. He made the resolution not to be provoked by Angel and to keep his emotions reigned in. He would find an opportunity to tell Wesley, or even the bint, about Angel's imminent death, and then he would go.
He looked across at Angel as he drove. Angel had not changed at all. He was still the broody, moody, boring, up tight, self-righteous puritan he remembered. He still dressed and acted like a poof. Spike was so tempted to start winding Angel up again. He so enjoyed the look of disgust that usually crossed Angel's poofy face when he started on him but, trying to stick to his resolution, he refrained. He looked at Angel carefully, thinking about the truth he had come to bear witness to. Angel looked invulnerable. It seemed... wrong to Spike that his downfall would come by his own hand. Spike looked at the strong hands on the wheel. He pictured the ways Angel might choose to take his life. It wasn't easy for a human to do… it took some considerable determination. Spike had no doubt that Angel could do it. He would be strong, even when human. Spike idly wondered where Angel's soul resided. He looked at his profile, studied his chest where his heart lay, and glanced briefly at his lap, sure it was not there. Would it burst forth in a kind of religious mania? Would Angel spend a brief period in strange coloured robes, or looking for spaceships behind the moon, before his guilt took over his rational brain and made him end his misery? The research in the council headquarters had not been specific on any of these points, or if it had been, Spike had not read that far. He had stopped at the part where it told him that his sire, the person who had been closest to him, and who he had loved more than he had loved unlife, was to die of grief and guilt by his own hand.
With a small, almost human sigh, Spike turned back to stare out of the windscreen. As if sensing the inspection was over, Angel turned to Spike and said, without any warmth in his voice, 'So, how have you been, Spike? I haven't seen you since you set a demonic paedophile on me.'
Spike heard his reply before he said it. It ran something along the lines of "how do you think I've been, you fucking git? I can't feed; I can't hunt; I'm a lackey for humans; I'm reduced to shagging someone who despises me and washes every time she touches me; I'm beaten up whenever she feels like it; I have no money, no unlife, no prospects, and my sire loathes and pisses on me, too," but, once again, he heard Giles in his head -- or at least the Giles filter through which he seemed to be passing all his thoughts. Giles was shaking his head sadly at this reply, indicating quite clearly that he thought it was silly and that it would not get him anywhere.
So, Spike smiled gently at Giles' metaphorical counting to ten and said instead, 'I'm fine. Been bad since this happened….' He touched his eye gently. 'But it can't be helped, I guess. Kind of goes with the job really.'
Angel's look of complete incredulity was worth all of Spike's newfound restraint. Spike chortled quietly in his head and folded his arms delicately, trying now to be the ideal passenger.
There was silence for a while. Angel seemed not to be able to think of anything useful to say, and Spike was not going to help him out but, eventually, Angel glanced at him once more and said just as coolly. 'How did it happen?'
- "Don't lie to him; he may already know the truth and just be testing you" -
'Buffy hit me.'
That almost caused the car to crash. Spike surmised that Angel had not known.
'What were you doing to her?'
- "Don't lose it now, Spike…stay calm. It's natural he would think you were the instigator…you have a bit of a history, after all."
Spike had to allow Giles this so, once again, he answered calmly. 'She killed someone by accident and was going to confess to the coppers. I didn't think she should... tried to talk 'er out of it, so she hit me.'
Angel's brow creased almost painfully. Spike reigned in the laugh that was threatening to bubble over at Angel's confusion.
'Why did she want to confess?'
Spike risked his own reply to this, without waiting for Giles' counsel. 'She's been a bit low since, you know, coming back. Not thinking straight, confused. She needed to be blamed for something, cus she blames herself for everything.'
Angel kept glancing across at Spike. He could not have been more surprised if the leather seat were having this rational conversation with him. He could not marry up in his head what he was seeing with what he was hearing. He had never had a single rational conversation with Spike since he had come to Sunnydale, yet here he was talking away as if he were completely normal. Angel knew Spike was not normal, so this new persona utterly confused him. He probed some more.
'You've seen a lot of Buffy recently then?'
Giles frowned sternly at Spike's suggested reply of "inside and out, yeah" so, although he thought it quite witty, he offered instead, 'We've had a lot in common I suppose… both being back from the dead.'
Spike felt so confident that he offered some information of his own. 'My chip doesn't work with her now.'
Angel's eyes widened with the look of someone who was beginning to realise how much he had been left out of the loop. He gave Spike a very direct look. 'And she's still alive?'
Spike only gave a small, rueful laugh. 'I wouldn't hurt her for all the world. I love her.'
Angel snorted his disbelief, and even Giles had difficulty staying calm. He laid a soft hand on Spike's arm and whispered in his ear, "Amend that, now".
Spike grimaced; he didn't want to, but felt the truth of Giles' words. 'Loved her. Don't now.'
For the first time, Angel's voice lost its cold, hard edge. 'Why the change?'
'You can only take someone's disgust for so long; she started washing even before she touched me.'
Giles winced and hid under the covers. Spike realised what he'd said and wished he could get under there with him. Angel pulled the car over to the side of the road and turned to face Spike.
'What do you mean?' His voice indicated quite clearly that he knew what Spike had meant.
Spike peered under the covers for support, but Giles wasn't coming out. Spike felt utterly alone and, for the first time, scared, but there was nowhere else to go but forward… or get out of the car and run like fuck, but it was a long way back to Sunnydale, and he had the mother of all hangovers.
'We've been lovers, Angel, for a few weeks.' He was getting bored with his promise to imaginary Giles. "Lovers"? Huh. He wanted to say "We've been fucking each other blind… what do you think I mean?" From the look on Angel's face, that's what he heard anyway.
He leaned over and took Spike by the lapels of his coat. He pulled him so they were face-to-face. 'You bastard, Spike. You couldn't get her one way, so you got her another. Proud of yourself? She was hurting, Spike, she needed… she needed help… not you. You disgust me.'
Giles was now tangled in the sheets and unable to extricate himself in time to help, but Spike felt for the first time that he didn't need him. He could see that it didn't matter what he said to Angel or how he said it. Angel had made up his mind about him and would not change it. He knew that the only thing holding him to Sunnydale was gone. It seemed he had been right. Angel was a great deal further away than the two hours Spike had come to rely upon. It was ironic. He'd only wanted to see Angel to tell him he was going to die if he pursued his path to redemption. He didn't need all this shit. Let Angel rot in the hell of his own making.
Spike waited until Angel took his hands off, and then nodded coldly at him. 'You're right. She didn't need me. It's been a fucking disaster. Sorry you came all this way, Angel, but I guess this eye don't matter too much now, cus I'm not going back to Sunnydale.' He put his hand to the door handle. 'If you see her, tell her…' but he could not finish. He opened the door and climbed out. Seemed he had a long walk ahead of him, after all. Giles was mumbling about him coming back to England, but Spike suddenly screamed at him, 'Shut the fuck up, watcher. I don't have any money? How am I supposed to buy a sodding ticket?' He wasn't too sure if he'd said this out loud, but didn't care all that much. He turned from the car and started walking.
Angel watched his childe's retreating back. The dark clothes soon disappeared into the gloom, but the blond head stayed visible for a few moments longer. Angel played back the whole conversation in his head. His inescapable conclusion was, that if anyone had spoken to him as he had spoken to Spike, he'd have hit them. Spike, though, had been calm, rational, and… mature? Could that really be Spike? Perhaps someone had swapped bodies with him, too.
Angel put the car into drive and coasted slowly along the hard shoulder, until he caught up with Spike. Spike ignored the large Impala driving along behind him until Giles, feeling guilty for abandoning Spike at a critical moment, suggested that he now looked ridiculous. What had started out as a mature "I am now leaving the scene of the crime" now looked like "I hate you, and I'm fucking walking." Not, he assumed, what Spike wanted at all. So, Spike stopped and sat down on the ground. Angel got out of the car and came to sit next to him.
Spike said nothing. He was silenced by the sincerity of this unexpected apology.
Angel repeated the quiet words, but Spike only reiterated. 'I'm leaving, Angel. I don't want any of this.'
'Will you come back with me until your eye is healed? Then, if you want to go, I suppose I can't stop you.'
'Why do you care? I've told you, I'm not going to help her anymore.'
'You can't fend for yourself half-blind, Spike. No vampire could.'
'You state the obvious, Angel; you don't answer my question. Why do you care?'
Angel looked down at the dirt beneath him and began to trace small patterns with a stick. 'I don't know that I do especially. But I've been told you are harmless - helpless I suppose - and it's what I do: help the helpless.'
There was only so much provocation Spike could take. To hear so clearly from Angel's lips that he didn't even care enough to help him, and that he saw him as a sort of pathetic charity case, was almost too much to bear. Or it would have been, if Spike had been listening instead of watching what Angel was scratching in the dirt. If he concentrated hard, if he screwed up his eyes, and if he used his imagination, he could see that Angel had drawn two tiny stick figures in the dirt, one standing close to the other. Spike looked up in wonder at Angel. Angel saw his look, frowned in confusion, and looked down to see what had caused Spike's reaction. He saw it, too. He could not look at Spike. He looked away and tried to scuff the picture with his shoe. Spike laid a gentle hand on his leg to stop him, and gave a soft laugh. 'I'm still not anatomically correct Angel… you should practice more.'
'I….' Angel could think of nothing to say that would explain why he had done it.
'And you're just a little stick poof - you should have left it with just me, mate.'
Angel finally looked up at him. 'I thought you looked lonely, Spike.'
Spike held his gaze. 'I am.'
'So, I added me.'
'But it's not, is it? I'm not your sire, standing firm behind you. I'm Angel, remember?'
'Hard to forget. I know you're not Angelus; you've changed; I've changed.…'
'You said we don't change; you said we're demons.'
'Don't quote that old shit at me Angel; it's all so long ago. What did I know?'
'I can't forgive you for Buffy.'
'For what? How does it affect you? I'm the one with my bleedin' face broken open, and my heart in fucking tatters.'
'Oh, don't give me that look, Angel. When you put that...' he touched the tiny figures with the toe of his boot, '...on the walls of the old abbey, you thought I had enough heart then. You were always telling me I wasn't a proper demon.'
'I was, wasn't I'?
'Well, I'm chipped now, too. So, what a wuss, hey?'
Angel sat, staring down at the ground. Spike couldn't help but think of the contrast between this and being with Giles. His week in England had flowed like honey. This was hard work. Angel was shut off to him. It was like looking too hard into the sun: all you got for your pains was blindness.
He tried what he hoped would be a simple question. 'Do you still love her?'
Angel looked up sharply, began to say something, clearly changed his mind, and said sadly, 'I love the idea of her, yes.'
'Uh huh. What does that mean then?'
Angel smiled faintly, and it almost appeared genuine. 'Spike, I loved a sixteen year old girl....'
Despite Giles' frantic shaking of his head, Spike could not resist. 'Yeah, some of us noticed, luv, but we kept stum about it... think you got away with it.'
Angel frowned, not getting the humour, and continued. 'But now she's a grown woman, Spike... so I guess I just love a memory.'
Spike was sorely tempted to mention that love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, but knew he'd confused Angel enough for one evening, so all he added was, 'Oh.'
Angel continued to look sadly at Spike. 'Besides, she was kind of hard work... we never seemed to have much to say to each other.'
'Not something we've had a problem with.'
Angel didn't get this either and asked innocently, 'Why?'
Spike didn't dignify this with a reply, merely looked expressively at him.
'Oh! OH! Bastard!'
Angel shoved Spike in the arm, hard. Spike was tempted to retaliate, but only added sadly, 'Think I'd have rather chatted sometimes.'
Angel raised his eyes heavenward as if looking for help he knew would not come, stood up, and said with a resigned voice, 'Come on, let's go Spike.' He put his hand out.
Spike looked at Angel's hand for a moment then allowed Angel to pull him to his feet. 'Do you think this Doc will do any good?'
'I can probably tell you now what he's going to say.'
'You need to rest and feed... but he may find something more permanent wrong, so it's worth going. Will you stay?'
Spike shrugged. 'I guess.'
They drove the rest of the way in silence, but, for once, it was not uncomfortable. Spike smoked out of the window; Angel listened to the news on the radio. It was almost companionable.
This blossoming tolerance was rather blown apart when they reached the hotel. Spike's welcome was anything but welcoming. He was greeted by frosty silence from those who actually knew him and quiet reserve from those who didn't. From Wesley he had a particularly cool reception, but this was not surprising given that Wesley had immediately seen Giles' letter as a ruse to get Spike to LA. He didn't know why Spike wanted to be here... he just knew that he had. Giles had made a serious error in writing to Wesley; he had not realised that Wesley was no longer the angst-ridden, up-tight pillock he had been in Sunnydale. He had matured and flourished in LA. Giles had also not allowed for the fact that he was not the only one fond of a vampire.
So Wesley had received the letter and shown it to Angel, but he kept his own counsel on its content. He had watched Angel's reaction to Giles' words carefully, seen his feigned indifference, and knew that Angel would not be as wary as he should be. He had determined to watch Spike minutely. One foot out of place, and Wesley would not hesitate to kill him.
Spike did not want to meet Angel's humans or be offered a room to stay in. As soon as he had Angel alone and in a suitable mood, he was going to tell him, and then he planned to leave. At least Angel had saved him a walk to the city; he had no intention of staying where he was not wanted. He tried not to let the thought "that's everywhere then, isn't it" distress him.
Angel showed him to one of the unused rooms in the top of the hotel. It was marginally better than being in a hole in the ground, but not much. It was dirty, damp, and depressing. Angel seemed to notice this for the first time as he opened the door for Spike. He looked around, clearly embarrassed at the state of his 'home'. Spike threw his bag on the unmade, filthy bed and lit a cigarette, wandering over to open one of the windows.
'Fred lives here, but the others will go home later. So, it's pretty quiet. Do what you like; there's food in the kitchen. I'll take you to the doctor tomorrow, first thing.'
'So Fred's your....' Spike found the word he wanted to use too difficult to say… fortunately, Angel interrupted him.
'Friend, Spike. She's just a friend; no different to Cordelia.'
'Uh huh. So, is there anyone else... in case I bump into 'em, you know....'
Angel actually smiled at this and came to stand by Spike in the window. He lifted one corner of the broken shutters and played with it absentmindedly, 'No, there's no one. I can't. If I'm happy, I lose my soul again.'
The moment was here, and Spike knew it. Just the two of them... a conversation about Angel's soul... no interruptions... being almost civil to each other. He took a deep, necessary breath, turned to Angel and said, 'So, how about something to eat then, mate?'
It wasn't easy trying to tell your sire that he is going to die.
Perhaps trying to make up for the state of the awful room he had given Spike, Angel immediately led the way down to the kitchen to heat up some blood. They both noted, with relief, that the humans, having rubber-necked enough, had decided to call it a day. Other than Fred, who was nowhere in sight, they had the place to themselves.
Spike sat down at the table and lit a cigarette; Angel turned around and frowned. 'Don't smoke inside, please.'
'You're bleedin' joking.'
'No, it's a filthy habit, and they will complain.'
Angel didn't really want to expand upon his position with the humans, because he knew what Spike would think. He just nodded and turned back to the microwave.
Spike hesitated and looked longingly at the much-needed cigarette. 'Can I smoke in my room then... given it might as well be outside.'
This purposeful jibe at the state of his accommodation hit home. Angel nodded once more and handed him a mug of blood.
'So, Angel... what you been up to since... err... recently.'
Angel smiled at Spike's tactful avoidance of the Marcus episode and sat down opposite him at the table. 'The usual, it's busy here.'
'So nothing interesting to tell me, then; nothing I might want to know?'
'Not seen Drusilla and Darla then? Darla not back and human, not turned again by Dru and on a rampage. You not shagged Darla... no family news at all then?'
Angel's head snapped up. 'You seem to be well-informed about my movements.'
Spike shrugged. 'Dru paid me a little visit. So... you did do some shagging… but still got that soul?'
'It doesn't apply to demons. Shagging the dead doesn't seem to count, Spike.'
'Maybe you should try viruses as well, expand your repertoire.'
'Nothing.' Spike eyed Angel angrily. This was the prefect opportunity to tell him. Why was Angel making it so hard by... by... just sitting there.
Suddenly, Angel got up and came towards Spike in an alarmingly purposeful manner. Spike slid his chair back hastily and got up, as if to defend himself. Angel took a step back, surprised. 'Hey, I was only going to look at your eye. What did you think I was going to do?'
Spike didn't reply to this; he wasn't too sure of the answer himself. Angel beckoned him back to the chair, and Spike sat down warily. Perching on the table in front of him, Angel took Spike's face in his hands. It was the first time he had touched him for many years, and Angel let one seductive thought creep into his brain, "Some things don't change."
He held Spike's face gently and turned it from side to side. 'Try to keep your eye focused on me.'
'I can't bleedin' see out of it, pillock. How can I keep it focused?'
'I mean, keep it still, on me... as if you could see me. Stop being so obtuse all the time.'
Spike mumbled under his breath, 'I'm not the fat one here,' and knew Angel had heard when the grip on his face increased unpleasantly.
Angel peered closer at the wound. 'You spend your whole time, Spike, trying to convince everyone you are even stupider than you look. This is me, remember? I know you. Look up at the light. Can you see it at all?'
'Yeah, I can see the difference between light and dark and make out blurry shapes.'
'Good. Stay there.' Angel hopped off the table, fished around in one of the kitchen drawers and came back with a powerful torch. He sat back down but, this time, put his feet up on Spike's chair and leaned in very close, shining the torch into Spike's eye.
Spike could smell Angel's hair. It was recently washed. He could smell the distinctive scent of his sire, which had not changed however much the creature inside had evolved. He closed his eyes to the powerful memories that assailed him.
'Sorry, so, what can you see?'
Angel sat back a bit on the table, but Spike noted with amusement that he did not take his feet off the chair or move away. 'I'm glad you came. It should have healed by now.'
'That the only reason that you're glad?'
Angel smiled faintly. 'You do seem somewhat improved; I'll give you that. Maybe it's Giles' influence. Why did you agree to help him with his book?'
'I wanted to get away from Sunnydale. He invited me... it seemed like a good idea at the time.'
'So... what did you do? Together?'
Spike wondered if Angel was actually fishing about his love life, just as he had done earlier about Angel's. It seemed unlikely that Angel would care, so he trod warily. 'We did some sightseeing, worked, nothing special.'
'Uh huh. What did he think about you and Buffy?'
'He... he was glad it's over.'
'Is it... over?'
Spike laughed without much humour. 'Err, yes, Angel... I think even I can take this hint....' Once more, he pressed a finger lightly on his eye. 'Oh yes, over, done, no more.'
'Woa... what do you mean, and Giles?'
'Is that over?'
Spike shoved his chair back and stood up. 'You have no bleedin' right to ask me that.'
'So, you did sleep with him.'
Spike took a very human gasp of outrage. 'You fucker! Yeah, I did, and I will again. Maybe. So, what you gonna do about it?'
Again, Angelus' seductive thoughts crept into Angel's brain; only these thoughts seduced him in a very different way. These were all of blood and pain. He looked up at Spike. 'Why? Other than the obvious. Why him?'
Spike was not prepared for this and had no ready answer, so could have kicked himself when the truth slipped out for once. 'Because he actually wanted me. It's hell of an aphrodisiac, Angel. You should try it some time.' Whether Spike meant Angel should try wanting him, or whether this was thrown out in general reference to Angel's woeful love life, was not clear.
Again, Angel surprised Spike. 'I did. With Darla, she was....' He had to smile at this description '...desperate for me. So I do know what you mean... you sort of fall into things you wished you hadn't... just because someone wants you.'
Spike sat down again. He was utterly confused now and wished he had just told Angel he was going to die and sodded off.
'You didn't want her?'
Angel shuddered. 'No. She was even worse than before, Spike, and she was pretty scary then, remember?'
'Of course I remember.' He wanted to add, 'I remember everything,' but fear of sounding too needy prevented him.
Angel suddenly hopped off the table, abruptly bringing the intimacy of their conversation to a close. Again, Spike immediately blamed Angel for preventing him mentioning the only reason he had come to LA. He had just been about to tell Angel... but now he'd have to delay. Giles went to make a cup of tea in disgust at his failed protégée, and Spike stuck a mental tongue out at his retreating back.
'You need to rest, Spike. Go to bed. I'll come for you in the morning.' Angel started to go to his room.
Spike felt a grin creep over his face at the double meaning in Angel's words and decided, as he had been so good so far, he'd allow himself one small jibe. At a pitch he knew Angel would just be able to hear, he said teasingly, 'You always did, luv, without fail.'
Angel hesitated, his back still turned to Spike. He squared his shoulders for a brief moment as if assailed by some memory himself, but he carried on walking up the stairs without comment.
Spike didn't need Giles' chastising that night; he mentally flogged himself for being a stupid tosser. It was the last thing he needed to think about right now; the last image he needed in his mind before trying to sleep. Now he was aching for relief and felt even more acutely than usual that it was pretty sad to have to do it for himself. Giles volunteered, of course, and Spike let him have some fun for a while, but just as he was about to come, Giles' soft, human hand was replaced by an older, much more experienced one, and Angel brought Spike off to a crashing, almost painful, orgasm.
He turned on the foul bed and tried to get comfortable, corrected his fantasy so that it had been Angelus' hand, but knew intuitively that his unconscious mind had got it right the first time.
Angel did not find sleep easy to achieve that night either. Despite driving to Sunnydale and back, despite having been so on guard with Spike that he felt almost shaky from the effort now, he could not find escape in sleep.
Spike's comment had unleashed a torrent of memories that his ironclad self-control had not let escape all day. Lying in the dark, in his large, lonely bed, he allowed himself to remember. He had come for William so many times on so many mornings over so many years. He'd come in William's inviting mouth; he'd come in William's enticing body; he'd come over William's sharp cheekbones; they had come together and separately... they had just revelled in the sex and in the pleasure of their bodies. The memories turned into a powerful fantasy, and William's body rolled with his in a tangle of vampire limbs.
Angel's fantasy deceived him, though, for it was not actually William's body he had in his arms. He held the body that had been presented to him earlier that night. Angel held a lithe, strong, pale, muscular Spike to him, and it shocked him to discover that his orgasm was no less violent and copious when that exchange was made.