Demon Chemistry - 2
He watched the hotel avidly, waiting for Angel to make an appearance. He wanted to see if he had changed. Angel, it appeared, did not use the front doors of the hotel very often and, after a fruitless night of watching, Spike had still not seen him. He stormed off as the sun began to come up over the horizon and found somewhere to drink the day away - somewhere he felt sure that Angel would not go.
He felt Angel probing his mind as he walked to the bar the demon lowlife had told him about. He was not so easily found this time and shut him out completely by the simple expedient of closing his eyes so Angel could not see and humming so he could not hear. That he hummed a track from the Sex Pistols, only made Angel recoil and leave faster. Spike grinned; Angel had no idea he was in LA. He fingered the large stake in his pocket as he looked for the bar.
He was furious to be frisked on entry and forced to leave the stake, but it was a small price to pay and gave in after only a small amount of cursing. The bar was crowded and had a good atmosphere. Angel hovered near again, so he stood with his back to the wall, eyes closed, humming louder this time. He even sang a few lines of "God Save the Queen" just to piss him off entirely. Angel fled again. When Spike opened his eyes, he was being looked at intently by a green demon with startling red eyes. Spike gave the inquisitive punter, who clearly had not been impressed by his singing, an English 'fuck off' sign, which he seemed to understand, for he raised one exquisite eyebrow and turned slowly away.
Spike pushed his way to the bar, lifting a wallet as he passed a reeling punter.
He sat down at an empty bar stool and ordered a couple of bottles, which he spent the day drinking steadily. Every time he looked around, the demon was watching him with an almost superior smile on his face. Spike ignored him. He was only waiting for the sun to go down, and then it would all be over - all the longing, all the hating, and all the confusion - finally over.
It got dark. Spike got up to leave. He pushed past other drinkers on his way to the door… but a man stood resolutely in his way.
When a hand was placed on his arm, he could not lift his eyes. That hand had been the first thing he had seen when he came back from death. It stays in your mind... that kind of first.
He had to lift his eyes at that. Angel was dressed in a white tee shirt with an unbuttoned black silk shirt over it and black leather jeans. He looked... incredible. He looked... like he needed to be killed. Spike punched him, but his fist was suspended inches from Angel's face before it could connect. The green demon appeared at his side.
'This is Caritas, little one; take it outside.'
Angel gestured the demon away and only repeated, 'Spike.'
Spike couldn't speak. He'd come here to kill Angel, not to talk to him. He didn't want that again - that slow seduction that left him helpless to help himself. He wanted the fury that had driven him to send Angel to hell and try to torture the fucker to death.
He pushed around Angel and waded out of the bar, elbowing drinkers aside in a desperate flight. He grabbed his stake as he left and stood outside resolutely.
Angel came out, but he was not alone. He was flanked by a strong looking human who had been standing next to him. Spike glanced uncertainly in the black man's direction. He hadn't taken Angel having human friends into his killing equation.
'This is between us, Angel. Get rid of the ... wanker.'
'As if I'm going to do that, Spike, given you're standing there with an impressive looking stake which I assume is for me.'
Spike was somewhat at a loss what to do now. He couldn't take on the human, so taking Angel seemed pointless to attempt. He turned as gracefully as he could and began to wonder where he'd left his bike.
'Will you walk with me?'
Spike turned, outraged! 'Walk with you! Walk with you! I came here to stake you, fucker. No! I'm not going to walk with you!'
He headed in what felt like the right direction but found himself going down a blind alley. He cursed and turned. Angel and the human were following him.
'Where are you going?'
'None of your bloody business. I'm trying to find my way back to me bleedin' bike.'
'Where did you leave it?'
'Behind your soddin' hotel!'
'Guess we are walking together then.'
Spike cursed but had no option. He trailed behind Angel, watching his back and imagining the stake plunging in.
To Angel's credit he walked as if Spike, and a large stake aimed at his back, were not right behind him. He chatted pleasantly to Gunn. If Gunn thought this odd, he kept that thought to himself. If the boss was playing some weird mind game with the blond vampire, then that was up to him. He answered Angel's pleasant chat as if they did this every day, but he walked slightly hunched, as if the metaphorical stake were aimed at him and not Angel.
Angel wasn't sure what he wanted to do, but paramount in his mind was the idea that he must keep Spike in LA and away from Buffy.
The thought of staking Spike crossed his mind, and he stopped and turned to look at him. Spike appeared to be trying out various expressions behind his back, because he froze when Angel turned, a strange look held on his face. Angel ignored him and just looked him over. He had not changed much from the last time he had seen him. His hair was slightly longer and softer and not combed back in the harsh style he'd adopted when he'd gone blond. Other than that, he was just Spike - his childe, his enemy, his blood.
Spike bristled at the inspection. 'What? Fucker. Not satisfied with raping me mind, wanna do it to me body again?'
Spike noted with satisfaction the odd look the human gave Angel at this accusation.
Angel didn't flinch; he unhurriedly finished his inspection, and then said distinctly. 'I was asleep, Spike. It was unconscious. I'm sorry.'
'You fucking liar, Angel! The first few times, maybe, but not since you saw me with her. Couldn't resist it then, could you... inside me... so inside her again. Did you like it Angel? Did you like her ass? Bet you never got to poke that when you took her, ugh...'
Spike doubled over at the blow, and Angel stood back, rubbing his knuckles, furious with himself for losing the moral high ground.
Spike knew he'd lost it, too, and stood up, grinning, wiping the blood from his split lip.
'But then you always were partial to a bit of ass, weren't you, Angel?'
'You and me, Spike. Here, now.' Angel didn't see any point delaying this any longer. They'd delayed it almost two hundred years already.
Spike suddenly looked a little uncertain. 'What about the minion?'
Angel turned to Gunn. 'Go home, I need to...'
'No.' Gunn folded his arms, and Angel could see he wasn't going to budge, whatever he said.
'This is between Spike and me, Gunn. Don't interfere.'
'I ain't gonna let that thing kill you, man; I'd never be able to face them all again, and 'sides, you pay my salary an' all.' Gunn grinned, and Angel nodded faintly at him.
Angel led the way further back into an alley up as far as the end chain-link fence. Spike huffed slightly. 'This is familiar then.'
'This time you're on your own, Spike. Let's see how you do without your paedophile playmates.'
'Never needed them, Angel. I've been killing you in my mind for nearly two hundred years; I just needed enough interest to actually bother to do it.' Spike shrugged out of his coat and watched Angel taking his shirt off. He handed it carefully to Gunn.
'Drop the stake.'
'Drop the stake, or I have Gunn on my side, too.'
Spike swore, but threw the stake away towards the fence. 'Happy?'
They circled each other warily. Angel was sure he could take Spike. Spike was relatively certain he could take Angel. Neither made the first move though.
Gunn stood to one side and then climbed onto a stack of boxes out of the way. The looks on their faces suggested hatred so strong that he feared getting in the way. He wasn't going to allow this blond vampire to hurt Angel too much, but he wasn't going to let Angel know that just yet.
Angel finally made the first move and spun, catching Spike a flying kick to the side of his head. Spike went down but retaliated with a low sweep of his legs that brought Angel to the ground, too. Spike kept Angel in a scissor hold with his legs, then flipped to straddle him, sitting on his chest and punching as hard and as accurately into Angel's face as he could. Angel felt his nose split and fill with blood, and one eye start to swell before he jerked up his hips and sent Spike spilling over his head in an ungainly heap. Angel flipped back to his feet and spin-kicked Spike as he tried to get up, sending him crashing back into the edge of a dumpster. Both Angel and Gunn heard the snap as Spike's arm broke.
Dangling his damaged arm, Spike staggered to his feet, made as if to turn away, then spun and kicked Angel in an impressive copy of Angel's earlier moves. Angel recoiled at the power of the kick in his chest and hissed quietly when his rib cracked. Spike closed the gap between them, pummelling with his good arm at Angel's damaged face, concentrating on the already closed-over eye and the streaming nose. Angel grunted and caught Spike's arm, twisting him around and pulling him into a tight embrace against his chest. Spike wriggled in the hold and kicked back at Angel's shins trying to free himself; Angel only held on more, glad of the respite from the blows.
Suddenly, Spike propelled them both back into the wall, trapping Angel between him and the bricks, then brought his foot back in a slightly higher kick, which connected with Angel's balls. Angel gasped and dropped his hold, falling to one knee, and Spike capitalised on the advantage by chopping down on the back of Angel's neck with both arms. He howled in agony as his broken arm connected with Angel's solid neck. Angel sprawled face down on the ground and waited for Spike to come back at him, then timed to perfection, he grabbed at the broken limb and twisted it viciously. Spike went down, tears of pain and fury streaming down his face... but he stayed down on his knees and did not rise as Angel stood over him.
Finally, with an unreadable look on his face, Angel walked past Gunn and out of the alley in silence.
Gunn watched the fallen vampire for a while, then climbed off the boxes and handed him his coat.
'Good fight, man. But you knew you couldn't beat him. No one could.'
Spike struggled to his feet, his useless arm dangling from thin strips where the forearm was snapped right through.
Gunn watched him, impressed with the vampire's stoicism despite the agony he was clearly in. 'That's a badass injury you got there. Is that gonna heal without ... I don't know ... without someone setting it or something?'
'No, it's not.' They both turned to see Angel, who had come back into the alley unnoticed by either of them. He was wiping the blood from his nose, his white tee shirt stained with it. Angel came up and took hold of Spike's arm. Spike pulled away, but caught his breath at the pain. Angel slapped him and took hold of the arm again. 'I'll wrench it right out, Spike, if you do that again.'
Spike turned his face away, as if this small gesture could take him bodily out of the alley and away from his defeat. It couldn't. He was still there when Angel pressed the raw edges of his bones together and bound them with his own silk shirt.
Angel turned and walked back out of the alley. Gunn started to follow. Spike looked around, found the stake and picked it up. He held it in his hand. He looked at the boxes and the wall as if trying to find a crack that would hold the blunt end firm enough for him. He saw one and tried with his single working arm to push it in, but it wouldn't fit and fell uselessly to the ground. He stood with his head bowed just looking at it when he felt a light hand on one shoulder.
'You lost, Spike. Did you really think you could defeat me?'
'I've killed Darla and Penn. I've killed everyone who has ever threatened me, Spike. Why should you be any different?'
For the first time since the tears and the defeat, Spike spoke, and his voice betrayed the pain of that defeat. 'Because I'm the only one of them who hates you enough to kill you.'
'What, because I bridged the gap and read you?'
Spike tried to pull away, but Angel's hold on his shoulder increased, and it just seemed too much effort. 'No, because you had to Angel, because you had to.' Spike lifted his bitter, accusatory eyes to Angel. 'Now let me go.'
Angel roused as if from deep contemplation of Spike's words, and shook his head. 'No, you're coming back to the hotel with me.' He saw Spike's expression and lowered his voice so only the two of them would hear. 'You know I can force you, Spike, but that would only embarrass you further in front of my friend. So just give in gracefully, and come with me.'
Spike wasn't graceful, but he did go with Angel back to the hotel. He sank gratefully into one of the couches and peeled off his shirt. The arm had swollen into the black silk of Angel's shirt and throbbed with the agony of all severe breaks. He looked up, surprised, when Angel brought him a large glass full of blood and drank it as if he had not eaten for months. Angel brought him another, and he took that, too.
He sank back and closed his eyes.
Angel sat down next to him. 'Would you really have staked yourself?'
Spike didn't reply.
'That's not the Spike I saw when I ... read you.'
Spike looked at him. 'What do you know, Angel? You know nothing of my life.'
Angel nodded and looked down. 'Why are you punishing her for what I did to you, Spike?'
Spike flung himself up and limped painfully over to the counter. 'Fucker! Don't come at me with your bloody LA psychobabble. Slayer an' me are just fine, an' we don't need your bleedin' input in any shape or form.'
Angel rested his elbows on his thighs and appeared to be studying some slight mark on the floor. 'It was like watching me with you, Spike. She was hating it but needing it. And you ... you were just like me ... revelling in the pain and humiliation you could cause - just because you could cause it.'
'You are wrong, Angel. So wrong. You think the bloody world and everyone in it revolves around you, don't you? Well, listen up, mate; I don't think of you or what you did to me for all those years, ever. You are effectively out of my life, and what I do with Buffy has nothing whatsoever to do with you.'
Angel shook his head fractionally. 'I hear you, Spike. I hear you when you sleep, and I feel your pain.'
'Shut up! Shut up! You are such an arsewipe, Angel. You live in this friggin' hotel with your little mates all cosy-cosy, and what do I have? I've nothing but the shell of an unlife you left me with. You took everything from me - my life, Dru, everything.'
'I know I did.'
'I said, I know I did. I took Darla's unlife from her, and Penn's, and I'd have taken Dru's too, if I could.' Angel finally looked up. 'But that was me, Spike - that was Angel, not Angelus - and I've left you alone.' The ambiguity in this last was not lost on Spike.
Angel suddenly stood up. 'You look pale... paler than normal, that is. Do you want to stay here tonight? You can leave when you're fit to ride?'
'I'm not staying in your bloody home, Angel! What do you think this is, cosy reunion between sire and childe that's going to lead to vows of undying love and happy ever after? I came here to kill you.'
'I know you did. Lorne told me.'
'Lorne, the host at the bar... the green demon, Spike… the one who spoke to you. He read you while you were singing.' Angel looked down and smiled faintly. 'While you were singing "God Save the Queen", and he saw that you were thinking about killing me. That's why he called me.'
Spike stood frozen to the spot. 'He read my mind?'
'Your aura… your feelings and path, yes.'
There was silence for a moment. 'What else did he say?'
Angel looked neutrally at him. 'Nothing, why?'
Spike didn't reply to this, he shrugged as best he could and merely said. 'So, there you are... I was gonna kill ya; so, comes back to me original - I ain't staying here.'
Angel sighed. 'Suit yourself, Spike. I have a vast hotel full of empty rooms; if you want one, take it. If not, I'll see you in another hundred years maybe - next time you decide to blame your entire fuckup of an unlife on me.'
Angel spun on his heel and made for the stairs.
He wasn't stupid enough to stay in his own room that night. He headed up for the roof and sat up, watching the lights of LA for most of the night, his back to a wall and his senses alert. When he came down in the first light of day, he discovered Spike asleep on one of the couches, his duster over him like a blanket, his arm propped up, still bandaged roughly with the borrowed shirt. Angel went cautiously closer and winced when he looked at the wound. It had not healed well and was puffy and blackish. He went thoughtfully into the kitchen and heated up some blood. Bad healing like that usually meant a vampire had not been feeding well or was particularly stressed over something. He had not healed well for months when he had first come to LA.
For the first time since the telephone call from Lorne, Angel had the time and the inclination to think about Spike. His angry mood of the night had passed. He regretted most of what he had said and done with Spike since seeing him in the club. Yes, it had felt good breaking and beating Spike. He felt he was owed that, at least. Angelus told him he was, anyway... but the verbal bashing? That was beneath him. He didn't need to score empty victories over his family anymore.
Angel pursed his lips and tried to remember the times he never wanted to remember. The blood, the endless blood - that whole time was bathed in his memory by blood. Screaming and blood and sex - that was all it had been… that and the power. Power was the subtle binding of those three others together. He had been so powerful; it was like a drug in his system, and fighting with Spike in that squalid alley had been like a tiny snifter of that power once again. He'd known he would win. He always won.
So why was he confused about Spike now? He had all the power: it had always been his. Why did staking Spike seem so impossible? Why did just letting him leave seem equally impossible? It wasn't just Buffy; Angel knew that. Buffy could take care of herself - he sometimes thought she'd dispatched him to hell as easily as if sending him on a picnic, and she had no idea - could have no idea - what hell had been like. Angel smiled rather bitterly. She was damaged? She'd been in heaven for less than a year. He'd spent five hundred years in hell - in a place where he had not been so powerful, where he had had no power at all. So, it wasn't Buffy. There was something else snagging at his mind, memories of when it had not been about power…
Angel looked up. Spike was watching him from the door. Angel got the impression he'd been standing there unnoticed for some time. Spike held up his arm.
'This ain't good. You broke it - you fix it.'
Angel nodded resignedly and indicated a chair. 'Sit down. This will hurt. I hope.'
Spike didn't rise to the jibe and swivelled around a chair, straddling it and laying the offending limb on the table.
Angel came forward and, catching Spike's gaze, began to undo the shirt. It became a battle of wills between them: Angel to make Spike admit he was hurting; Spike refusing to do just that. When Angel began to reset the bone that he had set badly the previous night he won the contest fairly easily, for Spike winced, cried out, and then put his cheek down against his other arm, hiding his face from Angel. Angel got a much better match of the ends this time and was satisfied that the arm would eventually set straight and strong. The final twist he had given it during the fight had ruptured most of the tendons as well, and that would leave the arm weak for days until they healed. He turned away and fetched some proper bandages and bound the whole forearm tightly up until he was satisfied that, with good feeding, Spike would recover fully. Why he was bothering was a bit of a mystery, however, and he paused as he looked at the lowered blond head.
'It would be so much easier just to stake you, Spike.'
Spike sat back up slowly, rubbing his face with the sleeve of his good arm. The tears, mixed with the blood and dirt from last night, left his face with childlike streaks across it. Angel took a slight step back. This, far more than Spike's viciousness and hatred for him, made him feel uncertain. He didn't want to see Spike so vulnerable. He didn't want to see Spike as ... human. He hadn't wanted to see inside his head while he slept. It was all too confusing, and Angel grasped once more for the hatred he could conjure so easily and turned away.
Spike watched Angel's back thoughtfully for a while then sighed as if he had lost some inner battle and asked quietly. 'Why don't you then, Angel? I don't think I'd fight you if you tried it.'
Angel turned back. 'Don't tempt me, Spike.'
Spike stood up. 'Go on, then. Please. Just do it.'
Angel took a step back slightly aggrieved. He had no reason not to stake Spike, so his refusal was beginning to look a little weak. 'Sit down, Spike, and stop being melodramatic.'
Spike grimaced, tried to stop his lower lip from trembling, but couldn't, and he turned and stormed out of the kitchen.
He could see his bike across the street but couldn't get to it or ride it in the daylight. He felt trapped. He needed to flee, and the adrenalin built up in him, making him feel shaky. He put out a hand to steady himself, but did it with the wrong arm and cried out as his broken arm once again was put under painful stress. He felt a tentative hand on his shoulder. 'Spike. If you really want me to stake you, I will, but I'd much rather you had a drink with me and stayed until it was dark. Please.'
Spike tried to remember if Angel had ever said please to him before. He may have done in passing, but this seemed to be the first time that it was said in earnest. Angel wanted him to do something, and rather than try to punch or bugger him into submission, Angel had asked him like an equal. Please. He nodded without turning around and followed Angel back into the kitchen.
Spike was impressed at the size of the whisky poured for him. It was almost half a pint of pure malt, and it went down better than blood. He was equally impressed that Angel drank one the same size then opened another bottle and poured them both some more. He nodded his thanks, but only sipped at the second glassful. Angel drank his down in one.
Angel pursed his lips and licked them. Spike watched the tiny pink tip flick out and shivered slightly at repressed and confused memories.
Angel suddenly looked up and caught Spike's eye. 'Why did you show me those things, Spike?'
'Because I knew it would hurt you.'
Angel raised one eyebrow, and Spike looked down slightly embarrassed but then looked up challengingly. 'I hurt you cus I can now, Angel ... all those years when I couldn't ...
Angel nodded as if this made perfect sense to him. 'It's the power, isn't it, Spike? It's better than sex.'
Spike gave a harsh bark of agreement. 'Not quite, but good as, I'd say.'
Angel suddenly roused as if he needed to be away, doing things, anything other than being here. 'I'll show you a room you can have for the day. I suggest you try to sleep and heal.'
Spike nodded and finished his drink in one long swallow. He stood, a little uncertainly, and followed Angel to a set of rooms on the first floor. He sat on the bed as Angel fetched him some towels.
'The water is always hot, Spike. Shower; sleep. I'll wake you when it's dark. Then you can go.'
Spike nodded again but did not get up from the bed until Angel left. Even then he sat on for a while, thinking.
He was trying to remember what he'd done with the stake. It seemed important somehow, and he was annoyed to think he couldn't remember picking it up after he'd… would he have done it if he could have found a crack wide enough and strong enough? He thought he might have done, and that thought depressed him more than he cared to admit.
He undid his shirt slowly with one hand and eased it off. His upper body was a mass of bruises, some still livid, some fading. His legs and groin were worse, black and blue with a few swollen lumps. The only place that still looked white were his feet, and he sat rather despondently, eyeing them up as he summoned enough energy to attempt a shower. He unwrapped the carefully wrapped bandage, wanting to keep it dry and, letting his arm dangle, he made a stab at getting clean. Angel was right, the water was hot, and the shower was a rare treat. Spike looked at the towels when he got back to the bathroom and could have torn them to shreds: they seemed to mock him with their size and general fluffiness. This was the good life, and he had no part in it.
Spike sat on the bed and sighed when he looked at his arm. He didn't fancy riding back to Sunnydale with that in a few hours. He knew he was looking at a wound that would take at least a week to heal enough to punch someone with.
The bandage was easy to replace for the first wrap around. The second one only undid the first and he was back to square one. He took the end in his mouth and tried that for a while, but cursed as, once more, it all unwrapped in an untidy snake of white linen in his lap.
'I'll do it.'
Spike jerked back a little and grabbed one of the towels he had ignored until then. He draped it over his lap, not looking at Angel.
Angel sat alongside him on the bed and began to re-wrap the arm for him. He didn't hurry; he made every turn neat, every edge line up, holding Spike's arm at the elbow and using his teeth to hold the ends when he wanted to knot it.
Spike's body was warm from the shower, and his skin smelt like dreams that Angel could not remember the detail of on waking. Despite his better intensions, despite desperately willing it down, Angel felt his penis begin to swell. It was a familiar swelling, one that distracted him when he smelt incense, when he watched sunlight filtered through red glass, when he heard a whispered blessing, when he saw sculpted flesh and sharp, elegant features. Spike's body looked as if it were sculpted out of blotched marble, the bruises only emphasising the rigidity of the flesh beneath them and the feel of a small portion of that flesh in his hands, just made Angel swell more.
He did not miss the twitch of the towel in Spike's lap. The smell of arousal was potent in the room, and both of them knew the other was engorged.
Angel bent his head over his task. Spike watched the familiar brown hair for a while, and then said quietly. 'You'd have to kill me, before I'd let you take me again.'
Before he thought, Angel replied. 'That's why I killed you the first time.'
Spike reared back. Angel sat up, cursing internally that he'd been so unguarded, but looked puzzled at Spike when he only chuckled. Angel tried to hide his smile and looked back to the bandage, but he knew that Spike knew he was smiling.
'Why have you always had this obsession with my body, Angel? Everyone else seems to find me quite easily resistible.'
Angel laughed openly now. 'Have you ever looked in a mirror, Spike?'
Spike punched him lightly, and there was silence between them for a while.
'I've only been two hours away, Angel.'
Angel looked up at this strange and rather cryptic comment and replied in the same vein. 'No you haven't, Spike; you've been a hundred years away - lost to a time when I was someone quite different. I can't be Angelus for you, Spike. I don't want to be him. Ever.'
Spike looked confused. 'I hated Angelus; you know that. That's why I'm here now… Why would I want you to be him?'
'So you can go on blaming me? So you don't have to want me?'
Spike pulled his arm away. 'Want you? Are you joking?'
'No, I'm quoting.'
'Quoting. Angel, you are a…'
'Caritas, Spike. Lorne told me you were thinking about killing me and wanting me.'
'No! I was thinking about wanting to kill you. BIG difference, mate! I loathe you.'
'That's not true, apparently.'
'That's what he said.'
'Want you how? I don't get it.'
Angel looked puzzled. 'Well, I assumed… like… well, like you want Buffy.'
'Ah… degraded and begging me for it?'
'That's not how you want her, Spike; that's just what you want everyone to think. You want her to love you and need you and see you for what you'd like to be.'
'Jesus, fuck off will you? Are you trying to tell me I want you to love me and have some pansy-ass relationship with me?'
Angel twitched his lips fractionally. 'It was a particularly big stake, Spike… kind of unnecessarily big.'
Spike laughed, a genuine sound at last. 'Yeah, well, that's me, "Big Stake Spike".'
Angel finally sat back, pleased with his first aid. 'Anything else hurting?'
Angel put his hands to Spike's chest and began to feel around before he realised that Spike had replied figuratively. He looked up at Spike, and he did not remove his hands. Spike looked down at them.
'Are you trying to seduce me, Angel?'
'I'm not sure. I don't think so. I've never really done that before.'
'Never needed to, you mean.'
'No, I never needed to then.'
'When you were Angelus.'
'When I was Angelus.'
'But you think you do now?'
'No, not need to. I could take you that way as easily as I took you the other way yesterday. It's still just power, Spike, and I haven't lost that. But it's not what I want anymore.'
'But… you want me?'
Angel removed his hands and looked at them as if they betrayed him. He looked up at Spike, confused. 'Leaps of faith.'
Spike pulled back a little. 'What?'
Angel stood up. 'It's too great, isn't it… the gap between us. We can't go from hating each other, wanting to kill each other, to me wanting you… in twenty-four hours.'
It was Spike's turn to stand up, and he did it as best he could, holding the towel around his waist with one arm. 'What has want to do with hate, Angel? I can hate… I can feel like killing… but want to shag, too.'
Angel smiled rather bitterly. 'Yes, but you are a fucked up demon without a soul, Spike. I kind of think that for sex there has to be love, or at least, not hate.'
Angel had to give Spike his due; his horror at this thought appeared genuine enough. Angel looked him squarely in the eye. 'Are you saying the host was right then, Spike. Even though you hate me… even though you want to kill me, you… '
'No.' Spike grinned. 'I'm not saying that at all. I wouldn't shag you, Angel, if you were the last shaggable thing on earth. Hell, I'd shag anything else shaggable before I had to take you on. Do you know what I see every time I look at your body? I see me, in pain, huddled in the corner of some fucking barn where you took me before we'd even unsaddled the horses. I see me begging you to leave me alone. But most of all? I see Dru … oh, not you taking her away from me … that was Angelus; I know that; I'm not fucking stupid… no; I see her wanting you EVEN THOUGH YOU HAD A FRIGGIN' SOUL! Even then she wanted you, more than me. So I don't care what that green fudgepacker saw; I don't want you!'
It was hard to shout and hold a towel and maintain his dignity when naked in Angel's house, but they both knew he'd carried it off quite well.
To his credit, Angel didn't just leave. He pursed his lips for a moment. He stared Spike down. He picked at one immaculate, manicured nail. 'Anything else shaggable before me then?'
Spike spluttered, amazed at Angel's amused tone. 'Bloody right.'
'So… you'd do the Master first… before me?'
Spike's mouth dropped open in outrage. 'Yes!' He had a mental vision of this. 'No! He don't count!'
Angel scratched his jaw thoughtfully. 'Xander Harris.' He smiled as Spike shuddered.
'I was speaking in the realms of the emotionally possible, Angel.'
'No you weren't; you said anything shaggable. Xander Harris is infinitely shaggable, I'd say.'
'You… fancy that fat git?'
Angel laughed at Spike's face, and Spike did a double take. 'Fuck off, Angel; you know what I meant.'
It was Angel's turn to grin. 'Yes, Spike, I do now. You've confirmed it very clearly. See you this evening. Sleep well; don't roll on that arm, and don't overuse the other one.'
It was an indication of just how confused Spike was that he didn't even get this last comment until Angel had closed the door behind him. Angel heard the chair smashing uselessly against the door and laughed, pleased with the events of the morning so far.