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Chapter 18

Spike began to back away from the advancing creature. For the first time, he risked a proper look at Angel. Angel was writhing in his restraints, trying to pull free, blood now running down from his wrists to coat him in a grizzly red covering from head to foot. More puzzling, though, he was rubbing his face against the inside of his arm, desperately trying to dislodge the tape that was gagging him.

The robot suddenly lunged at Spike and crashed them both into a set of ovens. Spike felt a rib crack and winced. The robot laughed at his expression and punched him in the side. Spike brought his face up and cracked it into the robot's, but all he got was a broken nose for his trouble and not even a dent on the smug expression facing him.

He felt a sense of panic washing over him. He knew he could not defeat this creature. It didn't matter how strong he was, how fast, how fucking clever - the robot would always be one step ahead of him.

As if to illustrate Spike's fears, the creature picked him up and threw him back over the ovens. Spike crumpled against the wall, his preternatural body shaking from the force of the impact. He skittered on his hand and knees out of sight behind a large cabinet and then stood shakily.

The robot had begun to sing, a soft Irish lament to the dead reaching Spike, as he stood pressed against the reassuringly solid cabinet. He could hear the robot coming closer.

He blinked once, shrugged his shoulders, and then went back out to die in the way he always knew he would: fighting.

They fought for what seemed to Spike like hours, but that he was willing to admit was probably more like a few minutes - he couldn't have taken any more. He was pummelled, flung, broken, beaten, stomped on and smashed. He tore one of the robot's buttons off, but that was the extent of the damage he managed to inflict. The creature was triumphant, its complacency evident in the gloating way it picked him up and flung him around.

When Spike staggered to his feet for the last time, he realised, with a huge grin, that he had achieved his goal. He was at Angel's feet. He reached up and ripped the duct tape off Angel's mouth.

'Sword. Stab into where the chips go.'

The robot roared with fury and crashed into both of them. Despite his injuries and the metal stake in his armpit, Angel twisted his legs around the robot's shoulders and held on with all the force of his preternatural strength, the effort making him crash into demon form. Spike picked the discarded sword where it lay in a pool of Angel's blood and stabbed - accurately, incredibly hard, and without any hesitation at all - under the robot's arm.

It froze, mid-writhe; it silenced mid howl, and did not move or speak again.

There was no time for questions, no time for what they needed and wanted to say, for Wesley and Gunn burst into the room, weapons held ready. Wesley swore and ran to Angel; Gunn hesitated for a moment, staring at the scene that greeted him then ran to Spike. He flung away his axe and half carried him back up into the light of the lobby.

Wesley could hardly bear to look at Angel, but he took a grim, secure hold on the pole and pulled it out of his flesh. Angel made no sound at this, merely waited for him to break the manacles with the axe. Wesley lowered Angel to his feet, and they both stood regarding the robot on the floor.

Wesley toed it cautiously. 'Wolfram and Hart's latest gift? They are inventive, I'll say that for them.' He looked at Angel's pain filled, thoughtful expression. 'Do you think it really believed it was you? That it was alive?'

Angel rubbed his bleeding wrists and turned the robot onto its back with one foot. 'Yes. I do. It pushed that pole into me, Wesley. It tried to kill me by staking me under the arm. When I didn't go quietly into some freaking robotic goodnight, it lost it and dragged me down here. You know what? It was cutting my head off out of spite, but didn't think that could kill me cus I was a robot. And it didn't even see the paradox that I was bleeding.' He waved at the sword still sticking out of the small control box under the robot's arm. 'It thought that would kill me, because it must have been told it would kill him, yet it still thought he was me. God, I don't know, Wes. What a fucking mess.'

Wesley, wisely perhaps, decided not to tell Angel about the massacre that had been done in his name.

When they got upstairs, after more permanently destroying the robot in the intense heat of the boiler, Gunn appeared to be relating the incident to Cordy and Fred, for their faces were angry. Spike was nowhere to be seen. Not wanting to ask, Angel waited and was secretly very pleased when Wesley said, 'Where's Spike?'

Gunn looked at Angel, but before he could reply, Cordy came up to them, her hands on her hips, her face implacable. 'This is all your fault.'

Angel looked sheepish, thinking about some of his fantasies that so closely matched the robot's intent. 'What?'

'Spike going.'

'Spike's going?' Again, Wesley said what Angel wanted to, but couldn't.

Wesley rounded on Angel, ably backed up by the other three humans, and their strident accusations became a seamless litany of fury. 'How could you? We need him here!' 'If you'd made him a bit more welcome, Angel, he might....' 'You've gotta go and stop him, Angel. He can't go back!' 'Please, Angel, make him stay.'

Angel backed slowly into his office, furious at being unable to defend himself from accusations that were so patently unfair. Eventually, he slammed the door to them all and leant on it until he heard them move away, still complaining, still angry.

He sat down then laid his head slowly onto the desk. He stayed like that for a long time, ostensibly thinking about nothing but his head, nevertheless, full of Spike and what he had done - what he had said.

Spike had told him that he loved him and that he wanted him.

Angel heard a noise and sensed the door being opened. Expecting a return of the onslaught, he looked up wearily. He rocked back in his chair.

It was all there: the harsh blond hair, spiked; the black clothes; the boots - open at the top and loose to increase the slouchyness of the stomp; the duster and the rings. He was leaning in the doorway, one leather-clad leg bent up, his head tilted back. Slowly, with a grin, he produced a cigarette and bent to light it, drawing the nicotine into his lungs with slow deliberation. He tipped his head back again, blew out the smoke, then turned to Angel and raised one eyebrow seductively, a cheeky grin setting off the incredible cheekbones.

'I'm so fucking bad I should be made illegal. So… now they ain't gonna make you make me go, now they've fallen for the squeaky clean me, how's about we drop this just friends crap and get back to the more interesting relationship we were beginning to explore?' He chuckled. 'And you are such a crap liar, Angel: just friends, my arse.'

Angel rose so swiftly that, once more, he bashed his thigh against the desk. He limped over to Spike, not sure whether he was going to kiss him to hit him. Both seemed equally attractive, but he was too stiff and sore to do anything more than raise a hand in wonder to Spike's face. Spike tipped his head to the soft caress and then took another long drag of his cigarette. 'Fuck, I needed this.'

Angel blinked. 'I said no smoking downstairs.'

Spike gave him a very direct look. 'I wasn't talking about the cigarette.' He cupped his free hand to the back of Angel's neck and pulled him close. Angel nuzzled into the bloodied neck and swallowed deeply.

'Did you do all this - this squeaky clean act - so they'd want you to stay?'

Spike twitched up his eyebrow. 'What do you think? I mean… giving up smoking? Like, duh!'

Angel pulled away and looked Spike directly in the eyes. 'You've wasted your time.'

Spike tensed and took a long drag of his cigarette. Angel smiled, unable to resist the slightly pouting lip. 'They couldn't make me make you leave now. Now, I'll fight to keep you.'

Spike's eyes closed completely, and he tipped his head back to the doorframe. 'Say it again, Angel. Please.'

'No. I want to show you - take you. Upstairs. Now.'

Spike shook his head. Stubbing out his cigarette on his hand, he began to undo his leather jeans, murmuring, 'Here. Against the wall. Where they might come in and find us.'

Spike sensed the tremor of desire that ran right through Angel at the enticing suggestion. He turned and eased the leather over his flawless backside. It stood in stark, white, hard contrast to the soft black material. Angel groaned and cupped the firm globes in his hands, but after a significant length of time just holding and enjoying them, he leant into the back of Spike's neck and said softly, 'This is not the sort of taking I had in mind.'

The tremor seemed to pass from Angel to Spike through the contact of their skin. Spike shivered and pushed his neck toward Angel's mouth. Angel licked gently on the smooth skin. 'Blood and family, Spike. I want to start there again.'

He bent and pulled Spike's jeans up, leaning around the slim waist to fasten them for him.

He opened the door and went out into the lobby. He looked calmly at the humans. 'We could all do with a break. Take some days.' Before they could object, he added, 'Spike's gonna stay with us. Permanently. But he's injured and exhausted, and I want to be with him. Take some days.'

Angel went up the stairs, and knew he would be followed.

He went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. He peeled off his torn, bloodied clothes and then stretched his hand out behind him. Spike came to him, and Angel took his time undressing his childe. He didn't wince at the bruising or the injuries or the old scars, but guided Spike under the water and proceeded to wash him slowly from his blood-matted hair to his feet, kneeling to that task as if their respective ranks were reversed.

When they were both clean, Angel led Spike to his bed. He guided his childe down and then lay alongside him. Spike stretched back his neck and waited for the descent of fangs that would complete the circle: blood and family. Angel was right; it was a fitting place to start.

Spike frowned at the delay. He looked across at Angel. Angel was staring at…. Spike smiled, an indulgent, fond smile of someone deeply in love and pulled Angel to his chest. With a groan of disbelief at being so easily read, yet so accepted, Angel shuddered into his demonic form and his fangs sliced evenly through Spike's nipple.

Spike held Angel to his chest and let him nuzzle, let him suckle and find his comfort and his completion in this strange feeding. It wasn't very demonic; it wasn't very sire-like, but Spike didn't care. They would be what they had to be outside the narrow confines of their joined bodies. Out there, they'd be the Big Bad and the champion for good. Together, they could be what they needed to be and find perfection in joining that they could never find in the imperfections of their separate selves.

Spike held Angel's head for as long as he could, until the room began to fade to grey, until his ears began to sing with the blood loss, until his grip on the dark, silky locks gave way, until his strivings ceased, and until Angel took away all the strain and stress.

Spike did not know where he went in that quiet time when he was no longer in his body. Not having a soul, he was never too sure what his personality was, but he felt that he had been inside Angel, coursing through that strong, demonic body and sharing, for a short time, what it meant to be Angel.

Whatever. When he woke, Spike felt a profound sense of connection to his sire, as if that powerful soul had swept low and lightly tinted him with its intense colours. He couldn't move, not even to open his eyes, and when a bleeding wrist brushed over his lips, he could do no more than whimper with need.

Angel draped Spike over one arm - an arm now pumped and strong with his childe's blood - and tipped his head back. He reintroduced his wrist and watched the red pooling in his childe's open mouth. The swallowing reflex took over; Spike began to feed; his hands came up to grasp and possess Angel's arm, and then Angel relinquished the blood to its rightful owner.

Spike woke and wondered where the heartbeat had gone. He'd heard it, pounding in his veins and resonating in his ears - the powerful passing of blood through ancient bodies. He smiled. He'd made it; he'd created that illusion of life. Through his powerful sucking, he'd reanimated Angel's body for a brief time. He knew Angel was lying alongside him and sensed that he was awake too. He turned to look at him. He stared into the fathomless eyes as if falling. With a small, unnecessary breath, he said, 'This is like being totally alone.'

Angel kept Spike's gaze then smiled lazily and pulled him closer. Despite the odd way he'd expressed it, Angel knew exactly what Spike meant - he didn't need pretence with Spike either. He nuzzled into his childe. 'I can be anything I want, say anything I like.'

Spike chuckled. 'Say, "Hello, Spike, I've missed you," and I'm gonna freak. That aside? Yeah, Luv, anything.'

Angel rolled onto his back with a self-satisfied smirk.

'Is it gone properly this time?'

'Yep. I watched it burn. Kinda enjoyed it - in a masochistic "That should be me for all the crimes I've committed" sorta way.'

'Was it… switched off?'

Angel turned to Spike with an incredulous look, and Spike had the grace to look sheepish. 'Told you I was a crap demon.'

'Yes, Spike. It was all turned off. It didn't burn alive.'


'No more dreams, I'm thinking.'

Spike sat up and rummaged for his cigarettes. When he had one alight to his satisfaction, he looked at Angel. 'I think they'd be gone now even if the source of them wasn't.' After a few long drags, savouring the drug, he said through a pall of smoke, 'So, what now?'

Angel was waiting for this. He gave an evil chuckle. 'Are you feeling brave?'

'Not especially - what did you have in mind? Pervert.'

'This.' Angel leant away from Spike and rummaged under the bed for a moment. Spike watched the muscles flexing and relaxing under the flawless body and took another drag of his cigarette, waiting to see what demonic games Angel wanted to play. He frowned when Angel put a small box on the bed between them. He looked up, and Angel looked back, cocking an eyebrow. 'My memory's returning.'

Spike grinned and opened the chess set. He gave a small murmur of disbelief then a shake of his head. 'Tell me this isn't….'

'I'm anal like that, Spike. I hoard what's precious to me.'

Once more, Angel heard an unspoken reply, but this time, instead of ignoring it with guilt, he replied calmly. 'Nearly one hundred and fifty years old, Spike, and you are still only two hours away from me. I made sure of it.'

Spike looked up, thinking about this. He pouted a little. 'Nearly two hundred an' are we gonna play, or what?'

They set up the achingly familiar pieces. Spike rolled onto his belly and pushed the board toward the head of the bed. Angel copied his position so they lay side-by-side, board ready and waiting in front of them. Spike nodded at the dormant pieces. 'Go on then. At least start out believing you're gonna win.'

Angel smiled and made the first move, as was his right.

Spike countered - as was his prerogative - and old, well-remembered strategies returned to them.

Waiting for Angel to move again, Spike edged his foot toward the middle of the bed until it connected with hard flesh. Angel made his move then softly said, 'Stop cheating.'

Spike looked injured and countered Angel's weak move without much effort. Angel frowned at the pressure back on him and pursed his lips, planning his next play.

Spike took a small tactical advantage of this pause in his overall strategy and eased his leg so it lay alongside Angel's.

'Stop it.'

Spike turned, propped his head on his hand and said pointedly, 'Make me.'

'I'm not falling for it. I know you better now.'

Spike began a deeply wounded pout but, without looking, Angel clamped his hand over the offending mouth. 'You did this when you were losing. I got distracted and we… didn't finish the game.'

Spike removed the hand and rolled back onto his belly, the roll somehow bringing his whole body in contact with Angel's: foot to shoulder. 'How am I distracting you, Angel? I'm not doing anything I didn't do when we were both demons. And I don't remember you getting distracted then.' He left the perfect pause. 'Or was the storming out, groaning, what you mean by distraction?'

Angel didn't dignify this with a response; he just made a much better move. Spike flicked his eyes to the board and sighed, then lowered his chin to his folded hands, staring intently at the pieces. Angel fancied he could almost hear the cogs churning. He grinned inwardly and rolled a little on his side to scratch at his belly - the innocent movement exposing him and making his hand brush against Spike's hip. He rolled back into position and resumed his waiting.

Through gritted teeth, Spike said distinctly, 'You ain't funny.'

Angel chuckled. 'Yes, I am. You gonna move already?'

Spike did and took Angel's bishop.

'Fuck!' Angel frowned and cursed again. He even eyed the piece as Spike played nonchalantly with it - tossing it between his hands, making it stand up, then flicking it over - as if he would steal it back somehow. Instead, he made a stalling move with a pawn and lifted his leg to lie over Spike.

Spike hesitated, and the small clerical prize seemed forgotten for a moment. He blocked Angel's pawn with one of his own, then as Angel plotted his next move, Spike began to raise and lower his hips, so infinitesimally that at first Angel did not register the pressure on his leg. When he did, his strategy seemed temporarily forgotten. He closed his eyes and bent his beg up, so the tiny movements worked his groin into the mattress with feather-light touches.

'Thinking deeply there, Mate. You give in?'

'Fuck off.' Angel made a bold move with his knight. Spike put a hand down to rest on Angel's hard backside - he took his knight as well.

Angel growled and moved his queen in a striking attack on Spike's defences and grabbed Spike's wrist, shoving the offending hand under him to take the place of the mattress he was softly humping.

Spike moved his queen out of harm's way but kept his hand resolutely still. Angel hissed his displeasure and brought his other knight into the attack, his free hand sliding down Spike's backside and parting the cheeks.

Spike defended his queen but opened his legs.

Angel moved his rook into the battle, and his finger into the cleft of Spike's cheeks.

Spike swept the board onto the floor and savaged Angel's mouth, climbing into the kiss, ripping his hand from under Angel to grasp his hair.

Angel rolled onto his back. Spike came with him. They renewed their delight in kissing each other, the initial desperation and urgency giving way to a soft, inquisitive exploration of shared disbelief.

Angel's hands roamed constantly over Spike's back, into his hair to twist and tangle the short strands, and then down over the hard cheeks to cup and enjoy their firmness.

Gradually, Spike lay more and more on top of Angel until their erections rubbed together. It made their mouths separate and their tongues disentangle as the powerful sensations washed through them. Spike stretched his neck back and made a small, incoherent sound of pleasure. Angel came up and captured his neck, pulling him back into a kiss, but he rolled them both, now lying on top.

He began to dictate the action and the pace, his body finding a rhythm on Spike's, rising and lowering as his mouth held Spike a supine captive.

Finally, Spike pulled away from the insistent lips with a grunt, and he looked wildly at Angel. 'Stop! I'm gonna explode!'

Angel raised an eyebrow. 'And…?'

He slid down in the bed, deliberately letting his belly and chest drag at Spike's engorged penis. He lay between Spike's open legs and inhaled deeply. Raising his head, he made one, sharp command. 'You watch.'

Spike hissed his surprised compliance and propped up on his elbows. He watched the dark head lowering to him.

With a small leap of faith, Spike stretched out his hand and stilled the broad shoulders. 'Say something.'

Angel, clearly interrupted when he had other things on his mind, mumbled, 'Fuck off.' He only raised his face in amused puzzlement when this rejoinder drew forth delighted laughter from his childe.

'Okay. Proceed. Tosser.'

With a look that clearly said he didn't need or want permission, Angel took the rigid shaft in his hand and eased the foreskin down. He murmured his appreciation at the need evident in the swollen piss hole. It was flushed red and ragged, open and weeping. He teased it with the tip of his tongue then carefully wrapped it up again in its protective skin.

Spike growled and put a hand down to force the game, but Angel batted him away. With a look, he began to scratch his nail directly over the hole, only the thin, slippery membrane protecting it from his hard grazes. Spike hissed, and Angel glanced up at him with a satisfied smirk. 'Like that?'

'I'm not sure like is the…. Oh, shit…!' He arched as Angel increased the pressure of his nail. 'Fuck, Angel. You're killing me here. Again.'

Angel took pity on him - licking under the loose skin, probing to the flushed edges of the seeping indentation, rolling his tongue around the hot glans - but not for long. With a leisurely sigh of pleasure, he eased back the foreskin and returned to the torturous scratching.

Spike glared at him but then shook his head with amusement. Angel looked complacently delighted and bent to inhale in the soft hair around the solid shaft.

Spike capitulated and lay back with the knowledge that there was a fair way to go before he would be allowed to ejaculate.

Angel suddenly swallowed him to the back of his throat.

Spike jerked upright with a cry, his hands flailing until they found longish, soft strands to hold. He looked down and watched his reddened shaft sliding back out from Angel's lips, and the sight made his small pre-flow gush from him. Angel moaned at the increased flow in his mouth and recaptured the shaft, plunging down until the cool fluid eased onto the walls of his throat.

Over and over again, Angel's lips ran the span of the slippery column. He kept up an intense, impossibly demonic, non-breathing suction on the whole length. Finally, with a last glance up at Spike's engrossed expression, he brought his lips to rest around the base of the head and applied all his considerable strength to sucking Spike's ejaculation physically from his balls.

Spike cried out once more, a harsh, pain filled sound of confused delight and before he was ready, shot cum into Angel's mouth. Unprepared, the orgasm juddered into Spike with an intensity he'd not geared up to withstand. His cries turned into ragged panting as his ejaculation was forced from him, and he flung himself down, arms spread-eagled, churning into the sheets and tearing them with the power of the release.

Shots of cool, thick fluid flew into Angel's mouth. Very carefully, he kept the seal around Spike's glans and, this time, he took the entire offering without spilling and moaned in regret that he had wasted this delight at its first donation.

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