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The Definition of Normal - 2

When he turned to the door, Liam was watching him, and his face would have broken the heart of someone more used to owning one that worked. Spike only looked down, ashamed. 'Sorry, pet. I'm a shit; I know that.' Then he looked up with his cheekiest grin. 'I am a bleedin' rock star, after all.'

Liam held out his hand. 'Did you mean it? Just a delusion?'

'…just a delusion, and he has to realise that.'

Spike was lying on the couch in Wesley's office. He opened his eyes slowly and tried to sit up.

A strong hand caught him under one arm and helped him to sit. Angel was on the couch next to him, and Spike had the distinct impression that his head had been in Angel's lap. This seemed somewhat unlikely, given their recent history, so he didn't comment on it. It was also unlikely he'd been lying on a delusion.

'How long?' Spike gave them both an agonised look.

'A few hours; that's all.' Angel smiled at him, and Spike felt an immense wave of relief flood through him at that smile. Whatever had happened between them in the bed earlier was apparently forgiven. Spike smiled back, but he knew it was a bit shaky and not one of his most alluring.

'That's good, then? Means this is getting more real?'

'This is real, Spike; stop being such a solipsist; it can't get more real.' Wesley's tone was surprisingly sympathetic, and Spike realised that he must have been the subject of an intense conversation before he woke up. He looked from one to the other thoughtfully.

'You haven't got a scoobie what to do, have you?'

Wesley looked down, abashed. Angel laid a hand on his arm and squeezed lightly. 'No, Spike, we haven't, but we haven't given up either. We will find a way to keep you here.' He smiled. 'If you want us to, that is.'

Spike leant back on the couch and somehow turned Angel's hand on his arm into Angel's hand in his hand. He, too, squeezed lightly. 'Yeah, I do. There is getting a bit weird. Still good… biro on boob definitely good… but… here has its moments, too.'

Angel glanced at Wesley, clearly embarrassed at holding hands with Spike. He withdrew with a nonchalant, but rather unnecessary, cough.

Wesley just murmured, 'Yes, well, I'll be off. I'll go to the library on my way home... see what I can dig up.'

When they were alone, a slightly more embarrassed tension grew between them than had been apparent in Wesley's presence.

Spike had put up with enough embarrassment during his reality shifts, so he stretched lazily and said, 'About the kiss, Angel. I don't regret it, but it ain't gonna make me prostrate myself at your altar. You know that, don't you? Those days are over.'

Angel chuckled, stood up, and offered Spike his hand. 'I don't remember you ever doing much prostrating yourself to me, Spike. Did I miss a little prostrate along the way, then?'

Spike took the offered hand for the friendship it implied and allowed Angel to pull him to his feet. 'Nah, I was only illustrating me point, mate. You don't have an altar either.' He saw Angel's teasing look with alarm. 'Do you?'

Angel laughed. 'Feed?'

'Oh, yeah. I'm bleedin' starving. No blood over there. Well, lots of blood, only I don't want it. And how fucking ironic is that?'

They still trod warily around each other - discovering boundaries, making and breaking fences - but the tension had eased. After they fed, Spike drifted back into the office, following Angel. 'What you gonna do now?'

'I usually work for a few hours, then train, and then go to bed, why?' Angel saw Spike's face crumple. 'What did you want to do?'

'Well summit a bit more interesting than any of that.' He pouted for a moment then said brightly, 'Poker?'


'Yeah, mate. It's a game with little bits of cardboard, an' they 'ave dots an' the like on 'em, an' they….'

'I know what poker is, Spike. I taught you to play it, if you remember.'

Spike flicked up one eyebrow. 'Not the way I play it now, you didn't.'

'Spike.…' Angel's voice was soft and playful. Spike was immediately wary.

'Yeah… what?'

'How come your accent swings alarmingly from mudlark to m'lord all the time?'

'What d'ya bleedin' mean, ponce?' Spike's outrage was so obviously feigned they both laughed. 'Well, okay, but when you've got hair like this… you kinda have to have the attitude to go with it. Be a bit stupid if I spoke like your Wesley bloody Wyndham-Price all day, wouldn't it?'

Angel raised an astonished eyebrow. As Spike had spoken, he had slipped into a flawless impression of Wesley... accent, intonation, mannerisms. It was eerie, and Angel filed away the possibilities of this unexpected talent in his childe.

Spike grinned, well aware of the impression he'd made on Angel. 'And hey! Hypocrite. How come you're all 'mister relaxed and playful' now, but fucking butter wouldn't get up your arse all day with them.'

'Oh, I think it would. Bad illustration, Spike.'

Spike pouted again, enjoying himself immensely. 'So, we gonna play fucking poker, or not?'

Angel leant across to a drawer. 'Can we just play the non-fucking version tonight…?'

Spike leant over the desk and snatched the cards from him, then hopped up so he sat crossed legged in the middle of the leather top and started to deal. He mumbled to himself as he threw the cards out, and Angel leant back in his chair, just smiling. This was so like old times he could have wept at the poignant memories.

They played for hours, sensibly at first, but once alcohol got introduced as currency the standard of play deteriorated noticeably. After half a dozen beers each, Angel joined Spike on top of the desk. After another… who's-bloody-counting-now number of beers… they seemed to be playing snap, not poker. Some of the poker rules still applied though, they just couldn't agree which ones. Spike started the fight; Angel only kept it going, but it was a good one, and they both enjoyed it. If it crossed their minds that it was almost as good as another intimate physical contact, neither spoke this thought out loud… at first. As the fight progressed, this became rather self-evident.

Spike tumbling onto the floor was the catalyst. He'd only been stretching, but an evil demon spell suddenly shaved a vital foot off the edge of the desk just where it was needed. He blamed Angel for not catching him, so reached up and pulled him off, too. Unable to stand for some reason, Angel crawled sideward and attempted to reach the kitchen for more liquid supplies. Spike caught hold of his ankle and was dragged along, protesting. 'Splinters, Angel. I could get a bleedin' splinter from this floor and go poof.'

'Not far to go then, Spike, and let me go.'

'I am not fucking gay. Why do I have to keep repeating meself? I am not gay!'

'You haven't said it before.'

'Don't bleeding split hairs with me, mate! You're not the one living in two realities. I've got bleeding poofs all around me, and I've had to make me point; 's all I'm saying.'

Angel stopped dragging him across the floor and pulled Spike to standing. He held his shirtfront tightly and brought him in close. 'What do you mean? What have you been doing?'

Spike's jaw dropped open in outrage, and he batted Angel's hands away. 'Are you telling me that that other place is real now?'

Angel stumbled backward slightly, regained his balance, and attempted to catch Spike's arm. 'No, I'm not saying that at all. Come here!'

Spike continued to dodge. 'So, that's just my… unconscious or summit?'

'Subconscious, Spike, but yes, so what?'

'So you're trying to tell me what I should bleeding think in me head now? Angel! Get a life, mate!'

'Hey! Don't you talk to me like that. Besides the fact I'm your sire, and I made you… something we don't discuss and don't need to talk about now, and I wish I'd never mentioned it, but… hey! I've forgotten what I was going to say… no I haven't… besides that - you are a guest in my house. Hotel. Whatever, a guest anyway, and will you come here!'

Spike did and landed Angel a solid punch to his belly. Angel doubled over, cursing, and Spike danced around him gleefully. 'Sire… sire? Yeah, damn right I don't mention it, luv. And just as well for you I don't. We both know why you wanted to be my sire, don't we, Angel? And it had nothing to do with you teaching me to read, ride a bike, or taking me to the zoo. Well, okay, we did go to the zoo and, okay, you did teach me to read a bit of Gaelic, but that weren't yer main motivation, were it, pet?'

Angel straightened up. 'No? What was it then?' He punctuated his question with a blow to Spike's jaw. Spike felt his teeth rattle, and blood spurted into his mouth as he bit his tongue. He howled in feigned agony and fell, writhing on the floor a bit, looking for sympathy. Angel straddled his chest and slapped him on one side of his face, then the other. The power of the blows made him grunt a little as he spoke. 'What… was… it… then?'

Spike caught his wrists, looked at him intently, then reared up and kissed him. He pulled away to see the effect and said with some emphasis. 'This Angel… it was for this.'

Angel pushed his arms out into a crucifix, trying to free his wrists, but Spike's arms went, too. The position pulled them together, chest-to-chest, mouth-to-mouth. Angel pulled back a little, looked into Spike's amused, encouraging eyes and acquiesced to the truth.

He buried his face out of sight into Spike's neck. He began a distressed keening, and Spike thought for a moment that he was going to pull away again, revolted. Then Spike felt it… a sharp stabbing against his stomach. He looked down and saw Angel's erection straining against the soft material enclosing it. Spike hissed with the knowledge that this represented the pent up urgency of many months. Angel began unconsciously rocking himself on Spike. It was so intimate; it turned Spike on… straddled and being used for relief… just the touch of him bringing Angel to a peak of desire. Spike now knew his power over Angel, and it made him ache for his own release. He stopped Angel's soft rocking and pushed him off his neck. 'Hey. Angel, Angel! Luv… it's me. Let it go, hey? No thinking 'bout it… no questions asked. No talking it all over tomorrow. Just us, here and now, and wanting each other. What d'ya say?'

Angel blinked slowly and nodded.

Spike grinned and freed Angel's erection.

When his engorged penis hit the cool air of the room, Angel leant back on his hands and groaned a deep, long, utterly blissful groan. He was displayed, stretched back, his pants just open at the zipper, and his cock poking through the gap. Spike fed on him, devouring the soft cockhead: first with his eyes, and then with his mouth. He fixed his lips with easy familiarity around the prominent ridge and flicked his tongue with the speed of a hummingbird's wings over Angel's slit.

Angel eased off one hand and used it to urge Spike lower. Spike acquiesced and allowed Angel to use the back walls of his throat for relief. His lips rubbed painfully into Angel's wiry curls, and he knew they would be swollen in the morning. His tongue found its favourite resting place against the thick vein… and then he started to earn his keep. He worked Angel with the experience and pleasure of decades and the fantasies of over a hundred years. Nothing could compare to it. Spike was an oral sensualist: smoking, eating, feeding, drinking, talking… it was all mouth, tongue and lips. Now this… now the ability to give ecstasy and agony, to tease and to torment. Spike sensed when Angel was about to release. He heard the change in his hissed encouragement and felt the increased urgency of Angel's thrusting. Hips reared into Spike's face; Angel's incoherent groaning became high-pitched, and then there was the fluid emptying into Spike - the sweet cum, cold and….

… hot. It was hot. The shock made the sperm catch in his windpipe instead of his oesophagus. Spike gagged, almost heaved the contents of his stomach, swallowed as best he could, but spat the softening penis from his mouth in disgust.

The blow caught him on the side of his face. It was as weak as it was unexpected, but coming after the hot cum and the gagging, it made Spike flinch and cry out. 'What the bleedin' fuck was that?'

Liam flung himself off the sun lounger and staggered to the rail, looking down at the beach with his shoulders hunched in misery. 'Do I really disgust you that much now, Will? I can't take this much more.'

'Well, bloody hell, what's happening here? What do you bloody expect?'

They were both naked and had clearly been enjoying some extracurricular sun bathing activities. 'It was fucking warm! I've never had warm spunk in me mouth… it kinda threw me.'

Liam cast him a spiteful look. 'You should be locked up again. You're insane. You used to say swallowing me was like drinking champagne… you could never get enough of it.'

Spike thought this didn't sound much like one of his compliments, but didn't argue the point. He was… distracted. For the first time ever he was discovering two intense aphrodisiacs… sunlight and warmth. He could feel the heat burrowing its way in through his skin to his muscles. His whole body was diffused with sexual tension. He was… horny; it was such a good word, and he used it again in his head… horny. He wanted to shag. Needed to shag, now! He eyed Liam's tense back speculatively. He'd seduced less likely victims. He slid off the sunbed and went into the bedroom, rummaging through the music collection. Selecting the track he wanted, he moved silently behind Liam. He slipped his arms around the resistant body and rocked his erection against Liam's tight, hard backside.

…Sorry seems to be the hardest word…

Liam tensed even more as the associations of the song hit him, but Spike began a quiet, low murmur against the hot skin on his back. 'Sorry, baby. I'm so sorry.' He rubbed his hands over Liam's belly and slid them up and over the peaked nipples. The seduction was fairly easy after that. Liam capitulated in small stages as his nipples were teased, his throat stroked, his neck nuzzled, and his ears nibbled. Spike eased Liam's legs apart and made him brace firmly against the rail. He took a sweet-smelling sun oil from the table and smeared it over his hand. Coconut. It reminded him of Angel's hair, but he thought it best not to bring up this interesting fact. Other things were up, and other things were demanding his whole attention.

He had a human erection.

He was naked in the sun; he was with another man, and he had a human erection. It was too many firsts to truly appreciate each one individually. This erection was different to his vampire one. It did not have the associations of feeding and killing that always clung to the edges of those. This was pure, male, desire.

He pushed a slick, oily finger into Liam's hole and swirled it around. Liam arched back and tried to still his hand. 'No… not yet. I haven't… I need to.…'

New to the human aspects of this game, Spike didn't understand and didn't listen to his plea. He eased himself thoughtfully into the warm entrance, savouring every moment of unique sensation. Spike bent Liam over the rail some more, so he was not blocking the view of the sea, then rode into the pliant human body until relief hit him with a blissful agony of sweet release.

He woke some time later in his hotel bed in a cool patch of recently spent cum, his penis still jerking and twitching slightly and seeping a last few drops into the rough, cotton sheets.

He pulled on some jeans, wincing as he eased up the zip and made his way to Angel's room. Angel was lying in bed, reading.

Spike hung hesitantly in the doorway, until Angel patted the empty spot next to him, and sat up. 'Hey.'

'Hey you. I'm back.'


'Yeah. So, what… happened? I kind of left at an interesting moment.'

Angel smiled shyly. 'I noticed.'

'Oh, good. Nice to be missed… you know… when you're in the middle of….'

'Hmm. Quite missed, Spike, believe me.'

'So, did I manage to finish?'

'Err… no. You passed out mid-swallow.'

'Ahh. Not good.'


'So, what did you do?'

'Stroked your throat.'

Spike half had his mouth open to say something, got the meaning of Angel's words, and turned to him with mock horror. 'You git! That's bleedin' illegal or summit. That's necrophilia, ain't it?'

'Could be. Could be called that with you conscious though.'

Spike hit him on the arm, and Angel wrestled him down onto the mattress. Spike tried to wriggle away, but he was laughing too much to make a realistic attempt. Angel put his face once more into Spike's neck. It seemed his favourite place from which to ask difficult questions. 'So… do erections travel across these reality shifts… did you finish off there? Without me?'

Spike made Angel look at him, and then arranging his features into what he hoped was pompous sincerity, said. 'Angel. Can I give you a tip?'


'When you become human, luv… give up the alternate lifestyle, hey?' He screwed up his face, trying to find a tactful way to put it, then grinned evilly and whispered in Angel's ear. 'Invest in a good bidet, pet. 'S all I'm saying, and I ain't ever gonna talk about this again.'

Spike pushed Angel off and reversed their positions, pinning Angel down. Still trying to work out why he needed clean feet in his next manifestation, Angel was not too resistant. Spike bobbed down and planted a kiss on his furrowed brow.

'Hey? What's that for?' Angel smiled, enjoying the sight of Spike's naked chest above him. He stretched up and played absentmindedly with Spike's nipples.

Spike mirrored the action, and they both felt the desire swelling in them again.

As he fanned his palms over the soft brown aureoles, Spike felt the hard bulge of Angel's erection straining the silk boxer shorts. He leant forward and rocked slightly, bringing them together - though separated by clothing. Both relieved recently, Spike knew they could keep this up safely for hours. Angel put a hand up to Spike's cheekbone, but Spike caught at his thumb, pulling it into his mouth. Angel allowed him to suck and nibble for a while, just enjoying the expressions flickering across Spike's face.

'Don't leave me again.'

Angel's husky voice made Spike look down, and he frowned. 'Can't help it, pet. When I go, I just go.'

Angel closed his eyes for a brief moment, and then looked up with an expression that made Spike still his hands. 'That's not what I meant. Don't leave me… here. When we have found the antidote… will you stay?'

Spike let Angel's thumb drop from his mouth and slid off. He lay down on his stomach alongside him and propped his head up on his elbow. Angel turned his face questioningly.

Spike held his gaze. 'That's a bit of a turn up for the books, isn't it? What happened to "we hate each other and spend a considerable amount of time and effort pissing each other off"?'

'I know… weird, isn't it? Maybe this is my alternate reality… the one where I realize how much I've missed you and….'

'Yeah… your shag-at-last reality, you mean. Your I-can-get-my-end-away-safely reality.'

Angel laughed at Spike's amused face and immediately caught onto the game. 'Maybe… still a good reason to want you to stay. Maybe I just want meaningless sex?'

Spike eyebrows raised a fraction. He studied Angel closely and could see nothing but the playful deceit on his face. Spike grinned seductively. 'Yeah… just meaningless sex, hey?'

'Hmm… just want to fuck you, Spike. Hell, no… I don't even know your name… still want to fuck you though.'

Spike leant down to lick enticingly around Angel's mouth, resisting being forced into a kiss. 'So, you don't want to be romanced and sweet-talked, Angel? I'd have thought that was your kind of thing. Flowers? Chocolates maybe… look like you enjoy chocolates a bit too much….'

Spike pinched at Angel's hard, muscular waist. The look of outrage on Angel's face made Spike giggle, and he tried to scramble away before retribution followed. He was far too slow; Angel flipped him onto his belly and pinned him face down on the bed.

Although they were only playing with each other, Spike had chosen his jibe carefully. He was working up to something that he needed to broach with Angel, but it hadn't gone well the last time he'd said it, and he feared it would ruin the mood once more.

He turned his head to one side. 'Angel….'

Angel didn't catch on to the change in Spike's tone. 'You're going to pay for that comment, childe.'

'No, Angel, listen… this is important.'

Angel sat back a little and just ran his finger lightly up and down Spike's spine. 'What?'

'Angel. I told you… I can't be Buffy. I don't want to be Buffy. I am not Buffy.'

Angel leant over Spike's neck, nuzzling a little too sharply into the skin.

'Spike… I think you've missed the point a bit.'


'Spike. I'm not either.'

The import of his words hit Spike. His eyes widened, and he turned over underneath Angel's strong thighs. 'You know?'

'I sensed it, yes. I know you too well. And her, I suppose. I could see it in her eyes, sense it in your body.'

'And I'm still here? Still giving this incredibly good impression of being alive?'

'I'm a pragmatist, Spike. It was inevitable.'

'Huh. Wish you'd told 'er that then. Took me fucking ages to….'

'Spike! Don't push your luck.'


'So, I've done with romance, Spike. It all carries too much baggage. I don't want it anymore. I want something else.'

Spike almost pouted. Angel couldn't help but laugh and leant down to kiss him. 'You are such a poof, Spike. I'm not done with love… I'm only just starting on the amount I intend to love you. Just a different kind of love, hey? I've lived long enough to want love on my own terms. I want our kind of love.'

'Our kind?'

Angel slid seamlessly into his demonic face and pushed into Spike's neck. 'Vampire love, childe.'

The teeth crushed against his throat.

The smell was potent, the noise overwhelming. Strong hands pulled the woman off him, and he clutched at his throat until he looked up to see a hundred thousand people looking back at him… wanting him, loving him.

Their voices sang his songs back to him. The stage was slick with his sweat, musicians in demonic guise danced around him. It was more bewildering than hell, and just as hot. The words came into his mouth, and he sang with no conscious intent or ability to control it. The audience became insane, screaming at the huge screens that projected his image around the stadium.

I want love, but it's impossible
A man like me, so irresponsible
A man like me is dead in places
Other men feel liberated

I can't love, shot full of holes
Don't feel nothing, I just feel cold
Don't feel nothing, just old scars
Toughening up around my heart

But I want love, just a different kind
I want love, won't break me down
Won't brick me up, won't fence me in
I want a love, that don't mean a thing
That's the love I want, I want love

I want love on my own terms
After everything I've ever learned
Me, I carry too much baggage
Oh man I've seen so much traffic

So bring it on, I've been bruised
Don't give me love that's clean and smooth
I'm ready for the rougher stuff
No sweet romance, I've had enough

He crashed off the stage, adrenalin pumping his heart and making his strained throat beg for relief. Liam clutched at him, wiping his face with a towel. 'Its fucking incredible, Will; you're a genius, a fucking genius, I love you!' He kissed Spike, but there was no real affection in the kiss: more pride and exultation, and a very real tinge of envy.

'What?' Spike pulled away. The screaming was deafening; he pulled Liam behind a trailer, hoping to stop the pounding in his head. Someone came up and gave Spike a bottle of water, and he downed it in one gratefully. 'What's happening, Liam? What's all this….' Spike indicated the vast stadium and the screaming.

'Will… it's your swansong… your fucking incredible swansong… it's your sell-out tour, the 'Vampire in Love' tour.'

Spike jerked his head back. 'Vampire in Love?'

Liam was pumped up, ecstatic; Spike could sense his arousal, even though he only had weak human senses to rely on. 'Yeah… you're gonna give over with the Spike thing this tour… I said let's kill him off… you know, spectacular staking on stage… weeping fans. But you came up with this idea… the 'Vampire in Love.' It's so fucking ironic, Will. You're in love, and you're just going to fade away. It's even better than your Spike debut 'Dangerous Moonlight' tour.'

'What the fuck do you mean, fade away?'

'After the tour… you're going stop being Spike… I'm working on your new persona… I thought the Mad Prince… you've always wanted to play Hamlet… so, postmodern royal child… what do you think?'

'What about Spike?'

'He's history, love. Listen….'

So bring it on, I've been bruised
Don't give me love that's clean and smooth
I'm ready for the rougher stuff
No sweet romance, I've had enough

Spike heard the song belted out of a hundred thousand mouths that would take his mouth and ravish it if they could.

Liam grinned, and there was a very real look of malice in his eyes. 'This is 'Angel's Song', Will. He's telling you he loves you. But it's not the love you want, is it? He can't love you like you want to be loved.'

Spike heard Angel's words in the lyrics.

'No!' Spike was desperate. Again, choosing between realities tormented him… had he been playing games with Angel…had Angel wanted to renew their vampire bonds? Or was this real - a rock star playing a vampire in love? Spike knew in the rational part of his brain that this was more realistic than actually being a vampire, especially one in love - especially one in love with his sire suddenly finding that love returned. Never one to let unpalatable truths influence his behaviour, or to let his rational side ever have sway, Spike felt an unexpected determination to return to Angel.

The fans continued to sing the anthem back at him. He wanted to scream at them to shut up… that he'd got it… that he knew it was 'Angel's Song,' but they continued to sing.

Liam started to wipe the sweat off in a more intimate way, his tongue running up Spike's cheekbone and catching the musky drops of fluid as they ran from his temple.

Spike pushed him away and did not miss the strange look of triumph that crossed the other's face. 'Angel was only playing. We were only playing… he does love me.'

Liam's look was exquisite. 'Good, Will. Cus I don't anymore. You're on your own now. Enjoy Angel's love, Will. Where you'll end up, it's the only love you'll have.'

With that he turned and walked away.

Spike howled. Liam was his only link to the reality of this total unreality… the only consistent thing in all this inconsistency. He raced to catch him up. He cursed under his breath and rehearsed his apology in his head.

'Hey! Wait up.' He was totally ignored, but he caught up with Liam as he was about to enter a luxurious looking trailer. 'I'm sorry.'

Liam shook off Spike's arm. 'You always are, Will.'

'No, really. I mean it this time.' Spike had a plan, and he needed help. He pushed the tense, resistant body into the trailer and guided it forcibly into the bedroom. Sitting on the bed, Liam folded his arms in a silent 'f-off' to Spike's attempt to win him around and stared resolutely at the floor. Spike straddled Liam's thighs and put his hands on the stiff shoulders. He stood looking down at the face he knew so well; Angel himself could not have been more closed off or unapproachable. Spike pouted for a moment and then remembered his own reflection. He smiled. He knew he was irresistible, and that Liam's resistance would be futile.

He put a soft finger under the lowered chin, coaxing it to rise. Liam held his gaze with a 'you can do what you like; I'm not going to capitulate' look.

Spike smiled his most winning smile. 'Oh that this too, too solid flesh would melt….'

Liam flinched imperceptibly but then looked pleased. Spike kept an earnest look on his face. 'The Mad Prince it is then, hey baby? You and me Liam; it's always you and me.' Spike's flawless lie, lent sincerity by another owner of that name, worked its magic on his audience.

Liam lay back gracefully and stretched out his hand. Spike melted to him and indulged him with kisses for a while - it was still Angel's face he was kissing, even if the taste, smell, and feel were different.

Before things could progress further, Spike whispered in Liam's ear, 'Hey… pet… I could use a little something… you know… spice things up a bit?'

It was a leap into the dark, but he landed successfully. Liam grinned and went to the closet, rummaging in a bag stashed under some clothes. He held up off-white pills and some shiny red capsules. 'What'll it be?'

Spike hazarded, 'My usual?'

Liam licked his lips and, one by one, popped a few into his mouth, and then did the same for Spike.

It took a while, but they kept themselves happily amused until, with a kick to his heart, Spike heard his thoughts echoing outside his head. He laughed, and a studio audience laughed with him. When Liam finally fell into an inevitable drug-induced sleep, Spike staggered to the closet and swallowed the entire contents of the small plastic bag. He didn't care whether he OD'd or whether he died. Either way, he thought it would take him back to Angel. While he waited for the poison to creep into his heart, he tested his prepared speech.

'Angel, I love you.' It didn't even sound strange. He realised he'd been saying it in his head for over a hundred years… a practiced litany of desire that had at last been answered.

He hung between the two realities, insubstantial and drifting. Sometimes there was Angel, sometimes Liam. Sometimes there was neither; they had been replaced by the demon that had stung him. It leant back in a chair, watching him speculatively. He tried to focus on Angel and push Liam away. Whenever he sensed Angel's strong arms and Angel's voice, he tried to tell him of that endless, eternal love, but he couldn't hear his own words for the echoes in his mind. Only once did he focus. He woke to blood in his mouth and knew it was Angel's. He felt lips on his and knew they were Angel's. He felt a mouth open on his, feeding him, and he knew it was his sire. He knew it was vampire love… powerful, all consuming, and eternal.

He tried to cling to that reality; he clawed Angel's neck to pull him closer, but woke to find a shredded pillow in his hands and sunlight catching the drifting motes as they circled lazily in the air with the falling feathers. White feathers. They mocked him. He held one up to the light - a feather left by a visiting Angel. He threw it from him despairingly.

Spike staggered from the bed and went out onto the deck. For the first time in this reality he seemed to be alone. It was the most terrifying thing that had happened to him in a long and often very scary 'life'. Up to now he had not really focused on this strange reality… had relied on it being interpreted for him by Liam. Now Liam appeared to be gone.

He leant on the rail, scanning the beach, looking back into the empty house. Alone. Maybe this was hell. Maybe hell was a close imitation of heaven… only subtly flawed.

A movement on the beach caught his eye, and relief flooded through him. Liam. He was… he was scrabbling in the sand and flinging handfuls of it around his head. He was running into the waves and screaming. Spike walked hesitantly down to the beach. Stepping onto the sand seemed to be committing himself more deeply to this reality. With this positive move he was no longer the insubstantial observer. He hopped over the blisteringly hot sand in his bare feet and waited at the water's edge for Liam to notice him. Liam was diving through the surf and hollering as he crashed out the other side. Eventually, he spotted Spike and came running out of the waves. He had cast off his clothes. His wet naked body almost undid Spike. Liam suddenly seemed extremely alluring.

He flung himself at Spike like an over-indulged puppy and caught at his arms, dancing down the beach with him.

'Hey! Fuck off! Rock star or vampire, don't matter - image to maintain here!'

The dancing figure collapsed on the sand, panting and giggling. 'Vampire, Spike. Just vampire.'

Spike took a step back then fell on his knees, staring.

The sand-covered figure sat hugging his knees, waiting.

Spike poked him speculatively.

His finger was captured and bitten.

Spike closed his eyes to the familiar gesture, and Angel pulled him into a strong, protective embrace.

'I'm truly mad now, aren't I?'

Angel pushed him away a little, maintaining familiar body contact and shook his head. 'NO! This is not real, Spike. I've just come to get you, that's all.'

'I don't….'

'Don't try, childe. I'm your sire, and I'm here now. You don't have to understand; you just have to trust me.'

'Okay, can we go home now?'

'We need to….'

'Yes, okay, good idea, but can we go home now?'

'When the demon.…'

'Yeah, sure, I get it, but can we go home now? Oh, and there's one more thing. I love you. I….'

Angel smiled and crushed Spike to his chest, wrapping his legs around the thin torso. 'I know, little one. I heard you.'

'Good, so can we go home now, please?'


Spike pulled away; he didn't like the sound of that sire-hesitancy. 'What?'

'I took some of the poison, Spike. It's how I'm here… well plus a little Wesley-assisted spell.'

'Yeah, so what? Can we go home now?'

'Well… I took a bit more than he told me to… totally by accident you understand. I was just to come here for five minutes… just to fetch you….'

Spike was aghast at Angel's carelessness. 'So, how long you think you might be here for then?'

'Oh… I was aiming for five days or so… if I get lucky.'

Spike's look of total shook at his duplicity made Angel laugh.

'I've got to stay here for another five days?'

'Err… Spike…. Sun…? Sea…? And there's one other 's'; what is it?' Angel screwed up his face as if thinking deeply, cast a look at Spike's expectant, lascivious, look, and giggled. 'Oh yeah… sugar!' Laughing, Angel grabbed Spike's hand and dragged him over the sand to the house. He headed straight for the kitchen and began to raid the fridge. Spike stood by, bewildered and bemused.

'You've come to get me back?'

With his mouth full of a peanut butter sandwich, Angel managed to say, 'Yus. Cowice yu rote rul.'

'Uh huh.'

With his eyes closed to the pleasure, Angel swallowed reverently. 'Wesley identified the demon. It immobilises vampires and spawns in their bodies. It needs to keep them immobile whilst the grubs hatch; they feed off the host - hence the seductive realities - hey, stilton cheese!'

Spike swallowed his rising gorge and kept his face neutral. 'I'm being spawned in?'

'Well, no, obviously not… he picked the wrong vampire.'

'Not good spawning material?'

'Spike… I'd spawn in you any time; trust me… hey, what's this brown stuff? No, this demon didn't anticipate that there could be a vampire with friends… ugh, ugh, what is this? It's revolting!'

'Friends?' Spike watched Angel gagging on the Marmite with little sympathy. 'Yer not supposed to spoon it in, mate; it's a smear job.' Spawning and smearing and watching Angel eat was making this reality less and less appealing.

Still spitting slightly but making use of some milk to drown the taste, Angel nodded. 'First Buffy and Willow and Harris, then Wes and me… you were never left alone when you were comatose - no being alone - no spawn.'

'So, it can't get to me?'

'Well, it can now, obviously. What do Sardines in Tomato Sauce taste like? Oh… Jesus!'

Spike dashed the tin from Angel's hand. 'Stop with the gourmet tour of Lowestoft, will you? What do you fucking mean, it can now?'

Angel continued to rummage, unconcerned, found something more familiar, and started to spoon ice cream into his mouth in greedy spoonfuls. 'The antidote, Spike. Wesley believes that the demon carries the poison and the antidote… so we have to catch one… lure one to our reality.'


'SO, impatient childe, we're the honey trap. And hey… honey! With the comb in… this is just… oh, yeah….' Angel saw Spike's face and carefully put the jar down on the counter. 'We are laid out in your crypt, Spike. Alone. When the demon comes, Wesley and Buffy are going to capture it, milk it for the antidote, and administer it to both of us.'

Spike nodded sagely to this plan for a moment, and then caught Angel a hard blow to his jaw. 'If one fucking single spawn gets anywhere near me, mate, you are history.' With that, he stomped off to catch some sun.

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