Demon Chemistry - 3
Spike did sleep but only after hours of thinking. This pissed him off to start with, the subject of his thoughts even more so. He wasn't sure who that had been, but it had not been the Angelus or the Angel he thought he knew. That was someone… different. That was someone… infinitively shaggable - leather jeans or no leather jeans - but, preferably, obviously, no leather jeans - and that thought just sent him off on another hour of fruitless brooding.
Angel treated himself to some Bach when he got to his office. He couldn't keep a grin off his face for most of the morning, and everyone trod warily around him. Angel happy - Angel wanting to chat and make pleasantries - was a scary thought. Crosses were pulled further forward in drawers, and stakes inconspicuously placed in easy-to-reach-even-when-being-chased-by-insane-vampire places. Angel ignored all this and continued to enjoy himself, thinking about Spike.
Spike wanted him.
Anyone wanting him was good, but that it was Spike was a shift in Angel's unlife so profound that he could not fully take in all the ramifications of this change. He'd doubted Lorne. He had heard the words come out of his friend's mouth but not believed them. Spike wanting him: it was unthinkable, unlikely, and illogical. He had pushed the thought to the back of his mind as he watched Spike naked on the bed, fruitlessly attempting to retie the bandages... but now he felt the truth of what Lorne had seen.
Spike wanted him.
Even thinking about this as he was on the phone to the building violations department made Angel's spine tingle and his penis twitch. Spike wanted him. Spike wanted to roll with his body once more, wanted to nuzzle and lick and enter and ...
Angel frowned and put the telephone down. Lorne had not said all that; he had just said... want. All the rest was Angel's own interpretation of what wanting should be now. Angel had no idea how Spike saw wanting - perhaps Spike had been right; perhaps want to him meant one of them debased and begging. Angel swore slightly under his breath. That was likely after all; that was Spike's experience of their relationship so far. Spike had never rolled - he'd been rolled. Spike had never nuzzled - he'd begged to be left alone or suffered in silence... and Spike had never entered - he'd been torn, stretched, penetrated, and taken. Angel held his head in his hands at the bleak memories of William... except for the snagging doubt, except for memories that slipped past his conscious brain before he had time to stop and examine them.
'What's wrong, Angel?'
Angel rearranged his features and looked up at Wesley. 'Nothing. Why?'
'Mister Cheerful to Mr Manic Depressive in ... one hour. I'm getting worried.'
Angel tried to smile but saw that was the last thing Wesley needed to reassure him, so he sighed and leant back in his chair. Wesley looked relieved to be on familiar ground once more and perched on the edge of the desk.
'What am I going to do about Spike?'
'Is there anything you can do, Angel? Isn't this one of those 'none of your business things' I was telling you about the other day?'
Angel pursed his lips. 'But it is my business. Buffy is still very special to me. Spike is my responsibility. I brought him into this world and had a major part in making him what he is.'
'Buffy is just a memory, Angel. She is not the naive seventeen-year-old you left behind you in Sunnydale. As for Spike... well, even if I accept that YOU made him, and not Angelus - an entirely different entity - and I'm not saying that I do accept that, but for argument's sake, let's say that is the case... then, even then, there is a time when parents have to let their children make their own mistakes. You can't keep him your responsibility, Angel. He is a grown-up, adult, fully fledged vampire.'
'Angel, are you listening to me?'
'Sorry, I got lost about half way through there.'
Wesley smiled. 'What do you want to do, Angel? What would be your preferred solution?'
Angel held Wesley's gaze as an image of white entangled limbs and Spike laughing that sweet laugh he had never heard for real came into his mind - but he kept any of this out of his expression. 'I don't know... ' He decided to test the waters. 'Lorne said Spike wanted to pick up with his family again. With me... as his sire.'
Wesley looked thoughtfully at Angel. 'You are not seriously suggesting that that might happen, are you, Angel?'
'Why not? This is a big hotel; it's not like I don't have room for family, and we always need extra bodies. ("Especially ones that make me cum in heaving, never ending waves of pleasure.") Spike's an excellent fighter. Ask Gunn.'
'Angel, Spike is Hannibal Lecter on a bad day. He's merely being corralled by a piece of technology we know nothing about. What if the battery runs down one day? Does it even run on batteries? I don't know... you don't know. Do you want to come home one day to find us all drained and tortured?'
Angel gave Wesley what he hoped was a withering look and said calmly. 'I'm not so sure that would happen anyway, Wesley. I know Spike better than anyone, and he has changed. If he really wanted to kill a human, why not just get someone else to do it for him? It doesn't make any sense. Surely his chip wouldn't prevent him getting another Marcus or some other lowlife to torture and kill you if he wanted it?'
Wesley shuddered. 'I'm not putting my life on the line to test that theory, Angel, and it's not fair that you should ask us to.'
'I'm not asking anything of you, Wesley; I just wanted your thoughts on Spike. That's all.'
Wesley laid his hand on Angel's arm as he started to rise angrily. 'I'm sorry, Angel. Maybe you are right. Spike coming here to kill you seems a bit unlikely - he'd have done a better job if he really wanted to - so maybe you are right. Maybe he did have an ulterior motive. Do you seriously think he would want to live here and ... work?'
Angel laughed and sat back down. 'Well, I'd be careful not to mention the 'w' word if I did put the idea to him.'
'You are serious then? You think Spike might be staying and joining the Agency.'
When Wesley put it like that, Angel's dead heart sank a little more into lifelessness at the unreality of that option.
He sat at his desk for the rest of the day morosely listening to the chatter from the outer office. They had no idea what it was like for a vampire trying to be human: no idea what it was like for someone nearly three hundred years old to try and fit into the modern world. Angel's loneliness mocked him. He craved the company of others of his kind... not the feeding now or the hunting, but other needs that his family had satisfied for him. Even with all their hatred, all their killing lust for each other, he had taken up again with Spike and been able to talk to him as if a hundred years were ten, ten were a mere one. What could he tell Wesley of that?
At sunset, as promised, Angel made his way slowly up to Spike's room. He paused on the threshold and looked in. Spike was an indistinguishable heap in the bedclothes, only identifiable by the bandaged arm stuck theatrically out to one side. Angel sighed and left him to sleep.
Early the next morning, Spike came down to the kitchen rumpled, grumpy, and hungry. He stopped on the threshold and stared in amazement at Angel, who sat with a stake on the table in front of him. He looked up as Spike came in.
'I'm making it easy for you, Spike. There you go... stake me now, if that's what you still want to do. It's what you came for, and it's time we ended this once and for all. I'm giving you the power. Take it.'
Spike picked up the stake as if in a daze. He rubbed his hair and winced when he realised his arm still hurt. He looked at Angel, looked away puzzled... then laid the stake back down.
'Bit clinical innit, mate? I can't do it like this... it's like a blind fury that washes over me sometimes, and I can't think about anything else... but I'm not thinking 'bout it now. Anything to eat?'
Angel pursed his lips. 'You might want to pick that stake up again.'
Spike hesitated in his rummage through the fridge. 'Why...?'
Angel kept his face averted. 'Your bike's been stolen.'
'No!' Spike flung himself to the window and tried to see out without immolating himself. 'The fuckers!'
'Did you lock it, Spike? This is LA.'
'Duh! Course I did. No.'
Angel was about to rub this in when he saw Spike's face. 'Hey, come on, we'll get it back.... I've got my crack team on it.'
Spike looked up at him, and Angel felt his stomach flip over at the unconscious trusting-my-sire-in-a-time-of-crisis look that Spike gave him. Spike nodded despondently and made his way back to the fridge.
He watched Spike attempting to open a blood bag with one hand and took over for him, silently. Spike let him and leant against the counter, still looking tired. 'So, how am I gonna get back... seeing you didn't wake me, and I've got no wheels.'
'I'll drive you, if you want.'
'You'll drive me. In your car.'
'Yes. If you want to go back today, I'll take you.'
Angel didn't reply immediately, but handed Spike the warmed blood.
'You could stay for a while, if you wanted to.'
Spike laughed. 'Your seductions don't get any more subtle, do they Angel?'
Angel tipped his head back sharply, a little defensive. 'I'm not... I meant... No, they don't. I told you I wasn't very good at it.'
'You want me to stay?'
'I want you to want to stay, Spike.'
Spike laughed. 'Good one, Angel. You're still a manipulative bastard, ain't you? And what would you be doing to make me want to want to stay?'
Just one finger, toying with one button... one strong finger, swirling around one small insignificant button on his shirt... Spike looked down and then up at Angel's face. Angel was inches away, his head tipped on one side watching him intently... and still the finger found interest in the one small button.
Spike swallowed. 'You're getting better, Angel. Been practicing?'
Two fingers had undone the button now, and cool flesh was pressed against Spike's chest. Again he looked down. They had moved closer together, mere inches separating their bodies. Spike fancied that if he tipped his hips fractionally forward, he would rub against Angel. He didn't need to. Fingers held the edge of the gap in his shirt and tugged.
Angel was as hard as he was.
Spike kept his face averted, his hands immobile. Did he want this? It was a long way from killing Angel - but confused memories assailed him again. Angel gradually pressed his entire body against Spike... nothing more… just lay his strong body on every part of Spike's, testing the fit and the feel after so long. Their near equal strength, size, and shape intrigued him and made him swell more. Spike felt the swelling, and a faint groan escaped him.
They broke apart; Spike back to the blood, which he proceeded to drop onto the floor, Angel to the table until the sound of the crashing mug made him turn. Wesley came in just as the blood splattered over the floor and the edges of the cabinets. It was an unfortunate image, and its import was not lost on any of them.
'What do you want, Wesley?' Angel was impressed with himself that he could speak at all. He was aroused beyond his ability to control it; his hands were shaking slightly, and he felt the prick of sweat under his arms and in his groin. He had never, ever felt that from anything other than a hard hunt. Perhaps two hundred years counted as a hard hunt after all.
'There's been an incident at Caritas. I'm on my way there now. Angel?'
'What? You want me to come, too?'
'Err... I rather thought so, yes.'
'I'm kind of tied up here with something, Wesley. Can you deal with it?'
'I think Lorne rather wanted you. I'm sure Spike can wait.'
Spike had his back turned to Wesley throughout this exchange and did not turn even at this. Angel replied for him. 'Give us a minute will you, Wesley? Wait for me in the car.'
Spike did not turn around when he heard Wesley leave. He was making small trails in the blood on the floor with his boot. Angel came and stood close behind him... then closer, so the front of his jeans were just brushing Spike's backside. Still, Spike did not turn, but he did still his foot and take his damaged arm in a tight hold, as if hugging it to him.
'Will you be here when I get back?'
Spike nodded and heard volumes in Angel's soft sigh.
Angel brought a hand up to Spike's hair. He desperately wanted to touch the soft blond strands but feared to in equal measure. He wasn't sure, later, in the car driving to the club with Wesley, whether he had made that final move or whether Spike had tipped his head back slightly - but whatever - the outcome was the same. Spike's soft hair brushed against the sensitive tips of Angel's fingers, and he allowed them to sink deeper into the silky strands.
'Only hate can grow from hate, Angel. This is not possible.'
'You know how to love, Spike. You've loved passionately all your unlife.'
'But I know how to hate more.'
'I know. I can still feel that crowbar of betrayal, Spike; every time Angelus comes into my dreams, it's hitting me again from behind.'
Spike laughed quietly. 'Is that Angelus comes into your dreams, or just in your dreams?'
Angel increased the pressure of his fingers on the back of Spike's head and through his hair. 'Both.'
'Oh. Am I ever there... cuming with Angelus ... in these dreams?'
Angel's thumbs worked the knots in Spike's tense neck, his fingers dipping down to the deep hollows of his collarbone. 'No.' He laughed as Spike immediately tensed at this denial and then added with his mouth barely touching Spike's ear, 'You are there when I dream as Angel.'
If the rest of the human staff at Angel Investigations were surprised to find Spike still there when they arrived for work, they didn't show it unduly. He seemed utterly unlike his reputation - almost stunned - and sat quietly in the kitchen staring thoughtfully at a stake for most of the morning.
Gunn went in a few times to fetch coffee and nodded at him amicably. 'Yo. How's the tentacle?'
'The arm? How's your arm?'
'You seen the boss today?'
'Oh. Yes. He went out with the watcher... to the club.'
'Okay. You... staying then?'
'Dunno.' Gunn heard a simple expression. To Spike, it summed up the entire morass of his confusion and fear.
By lunchtime, when Angel had still not returned, Spike opened himself up to the blood link and almost immediately sensed Angel hovering, looking for him. He walked slowly and purposefully back to the room he had slept in and lay on the unmade bed.
This time it was… incredible. Angel's presence flooded Spike like warmth into his cold body. Tendrils of desire crept through his mind; his body began to tingle in response, and he unconsciously turned over onto his belly to feel something against his aching groin.
Angel spoke quite rationally to Wesley; he listened attentively to the police officers present and thought he carried it off successfully. If questioned, he would barely have been able to say where he was, let alone what had been discussed. He was with Spike.
Spike's essence filled him entirely. He had tentatively stretched out, seeking entry, and Spike had let him in. Now he sat at the bar trailing his finger through some spilt beer and his mind through Spike's mind, feeling him and trying to think what he thought.
Spike lay like a patient anaesthetised on a table, vulnerable, open, allowing himself to be examined and seen. They both grew aroused. Easy for Spike - a slight rocking into the mattress easing his need - but Angel became increasingly uncomfortable, increasingly distracted.
Having to work, he finally withdrew, and the emptiness for both of them was painful.
Angel had never returned to the hotel with such relish. The sun was setting, the evening was warm, and his body ached for Spike's body.
Spike was waiting for him... in the lobby... his coat on and looking thoughtful.
Wesley drifted into the office, and Angel turned to Spike. He opened his mouth to speak, but Spike got in first. 'Will you drive me back?'
Angel frowned. 'I thought...'
'Angel, please don't ask me any questions. Will you just do what you said you would and drive me home? It's only two hours, after all.'
Angel didn't miss the undertone in this last comment; he just didn't understand what it meant. He nodded, however, and turned back to the car. Spike followed.
They were totally silent in the car. Spike had his head resting on his hand, his elbow on the window ledge. Angel stared resolutely ahead, determined not to be the first one to break the silence.
Finally, he could bear it no longer and just as they reached the familiar Sunnydale landmarks, he said quietly, 'And you are doing this, why?'
'Stop the car, Angel.'
This was not the reaction Angel had been expecting. 'What?'
'Just stop the car.'
Spike jumped out as soon as they stopped and paced a little away, trying desperately to light a cigarette. He couldn't get his lighter to work, and the frustration of this made his hands shake slightly.
Angel leant on the door of the car and watched him, expecting him at any minute to flee into the dark night. He didn't. He came back, flinging his unlit cigarette away.
'What's going to be left, Angel?'
He stared into Angel's eyes as if trying to read the answer to this himself. Angel shook his head slightly, not understanding what was being asked of him.
Spike grimaced as if putting it into more words was difficult. 'If I let the hate go - what's going to be left?' He thumped his chest where his heart lay dead. 'Angel, old scars - sometimes I think they are the only things holding me together at all!'
He paced away slightly then spun on his heel and came right back up to Angel. 'If I let you in, what's going to be left of me? I'm just hate, Angel: it's all I am.' He saw Angel didn't really understand, and tried again. 'I'm dead in places where the love should be, Angel. I'm a reanimated corpse. I am hate. It's my ... purpose.'
Angel hung his head down slightly. He had no answers for his volatile childe. He was on new ground, too, and his reference points were as screwed up as Spike's.
He mumbled something that Spike didn't catch, but it stopped Spike's agitated pacing and made him stand closer to Angel, listening. Angel repeated it. 'We could take it slower.'
Spike hadn't been expecting this. How could he? He thought he was speaking to his sire - this Angel, this man, he had no experience of.
Angel looked up. 'Yes. I probably need that, too. This is weird, Spike. I have no idea what I'm doing here, other than...' he reached his hand out, took it away, put it out again and caught hold of the edge of Spike's coat. 'Other than I want you. And that's not much to start with, is it?'
Spike pursed his lips a little and looked down at Angel's hand on his coat. He let a slow smile spread over his face, and his whole body relaxed visibly. 'It's a good start though.' He looked up at Angel, and his infectious smile made Angel laugh.
Angel dropped his hand and got back into the car. 'You going to walk or arrive in style?'
Spike got back in, and they continued on in silence.
When they reached the edge of the town, Spike suddenly asked Angel to stop and drop him off there. Angel looked over at him, puzzled. 'Afraid I won't like your place?'
Spike held his gaze steadily. 'No, afraid Buffy'll be there.'
'Yeah. Ah.' Spike paused and studied his thumb ring for a moment. 'What does your 'ah' mean then?'
Angel laughed. 'I think it means that I don't want to see Buffy any more than you want me to see her.'
'And that 'oh' means?'
Spike laughed. 'Fuck. I'm going back to the soulless; they're so much easier.'
Angel held his hands very still on the wheel. 'Are you still going to see Buffy?'
Spike munched his lips around for a while, thinking this through. 'If I do?'
Angel turned to look at him. 'Maybe she would help you ... peel some old scars away?'
Spike looked directly at him. 'What about her though?'
Angel smiled, genuinely pleased. 'I told Wesley you'd changed. You have.'
Spike opened his mouth to contradict this, but no lie could come to him that sounded convincing enough. Instead, he just put his hand on the handle of the door and said pointedly. 'I have to go now.'
Angel put a restraining hand on his arm for the briefest of moments. 'Keep in touch?'
Spike nodded, his back to Angel, but he replied with a hesitant, 'That... you know... blood and mind fuck thing...'
Angel laughed. 'You mean the ancient and mystical bond between sire and childe?'
'Yeah, the mind fuck thing... well, you know... if you want to... I won't... I'd like it.'
With that, he got out and merged with the night almost more swiftly than Angel could perceive.
Angel came to him that night as soon as he returned to LA, and Spike had been waiting for him ever since he had reached his crypt.
Willing participants, their link was strong, and Angel could see through Spike's eyes and feel what he felt. In all the confusion, in all the fear, he felt something that gave him hope for their future, and he did not push for more. He played and toyed with Spike until he heard Spike laugh - that genuine laugh he still wanted to hear for real - and then he withdrew with a last stroke across Spike's heart.
Spike's crypt seemed even emptier when Angel left him.