As soon as they got back, Spike laid out all the chips in a row. He pouted, and then closed his eyes. 'Eny, meeny, miny, mo, catch a vampire… fuck this.' He picked up the one that said "Like to drink with this guy", removed the one the robot had in, chucking it casually on the tomb and inserted the new one.
Almost immediately, the robot's face lit up. It chuckled and clapped Spike on the shoulders. 'William, me lad! Where have you been? My, but it is a gloomy place this. Come, let us go to a warm tavern and tell tall tales into the night.'
Spike laughed, hiccupped slightly, desperately tried to light a cigarette, and then said nervously, 'Liam?'
The robot turned. 'Well now, you've not called me that for a while, but I still go by that name. Angelus, Liam, what's in a name?'
Quite a lot apparently…. Spike circled the figure, tying to think through all the new permutations of these separate personalities. It wasn't what he'd intended: wanting a seamless flowing together of the person as he saw him. He now saw the headings had been a mistake. But all was not necessarily lost. This creature had all sorts of possibilities. Suddenly, he grinned and, lifting the sweat top once more - despite the robot's giggling protests - he removed the chip and grabbed another at random. He pushed it home and stood back.
The robot hung its head for a moment then lifted it slowly and stretched. 'I'm back.'
Spike raised his eyebrow. He didn't even need to look at the scribbled title in his hand to know who this was. No smell? No temperature? Then why had the crypt temperature suddenly plummeted? Why was there a smell of fear in the air?
The robot looked over at him and began to rub its head. 'Ow. That crowbar hurt, Spike. And when did you get out of that chair, by the way?'
Spike backed off a little. 'Hello, Fucker.'
The robot's eyebrows rose so quickly Spike thought they would fly right off, but the body moved quicker. Before he knew it, he was pinned against the tomb. He lifted his arm and turned the thing off. It stayed in the same position, and Spike slid out, laughing at it for a moment, until that slightly childish reaction lost its charm. Hell, whom was he fooling? It would never lose its charm. He kicked the robot as well. Then he punched it. Tempted, aroused, losing track of where this was all going, he turned it on again. It spun around, confusion crossing its face for just a moment. 'You move fast, Spike. But not fast enough.' The robot, rather predictably, lunged at Spike once more and crushed him to the wall. It punched Spike's belly, and Spike winced at the pain. Why didn't he just turn it off again? The temptation was delicious, but it was made all the more sweet and juicy by the knowledge that he could… but didn't. Embarrassingly, Spike felt himself getting hard on the power and the anticipation of pain. The robot pulled away a little and glanced down at Spike's noticeable bulge. 'Aye, good thought, where is she?'
Spike frowned. 'Who?'
It frowned, too. 'Our Drusilla. Who else?'
Spike shook himself slightly then turned it off again. Bloody Drusilla.
Spike took the chip out and tossed it onto the tomb with the others. He needed a drink. He needed to think. Shit, just one more chip…. He picked a new one and cast the box to the floor onto the small growing pile. He inserted it, waited then turned the robot back on.
The dark eyes lifted. Arms stretched over the head and the robot yawned theatrically and unnecessarily. He looked around and spied Spike. 'Hi ya.'
Spike nodded in a friendly way, rather intrigued. He couldn't place this one yet. The robot came toward him and cupped the back of his head in one hand. 'Any chance of something to drink?'
'Do you drink?' Spike cursed inwardly. He'd been caught unprepared… what a crass reply. The robot only laughed and stretched again. It placed a hand under its sweat top and began to rub its belly. 'Sure, I do.' It suddenly cast a deep, meaningful and very seductive look up at Spike. 'I do lots of things that involve swallowing.'
Spike moved back so fast he bit his tongue. 'What?'
The robot slipped a hand into its pants past the loose waist elastic. 'Is it hot in here? Jeez, I feel hot, Spike. Feel me.'
'No!' Shit. Spike backed nervously to the tomb and picked up the topmost discarded box. "Don't even wanna go here, Sicko." Bloody hell. He'd said use your imagination! Is this the best bloody Warren could come up with? Insatiable gay porn star? The robot continued to saunter toward Spike. Suddenly, it reached up and stripped off its top, casting it casually to one side.
'That's better. Why don't you get comfortable too, Spike?'
'Fuck off, Angel.'
It raised an eyebrow. 'I intend to. With you.'
Spike let it get closer then, with a shaking hand, turned it off. He swept all the chips into his pocket with the empty boxes, trying not to think about anything. Not until he realised he needed the basic walk-talk- do-as-you're-told chip, did he see that the chips themselves were not marked. And now, most of them were jumbled in his pocket. He tipped his head back and stared at the crypt ceiling and for the first time, really regretted what he'd done.
Not as much as he did when he heard Buffy's approaching footsteps. He shoved the robot into a tomb, slid the lid over, hopped up on the top and tried to look innocent.
'You are supposed to be gone.'
'Hello, Buffy. Nice to see you, too.'
She stared at him. 'You're up to something.'
Spike was up; he'd have to admit that, but he had his duster folded discreetly over his aching bulge, so didn't think she meant that. 'I'm evil, remember?'
Buffy huffed and continued to pace around. 'What's that?'
Spike stared at it with her. 'A small plastic box?'
She gave him a look and bent to pick it up. 'It says "Aren't I a fucking superhero then?" on it.'
'What is it?'
'Then you won't mind if I take it and show it to Willow?'
'It's a porn movie.'
'Ugh.' She dropped it as if it was physically contaminated by something unmentionable. Then she picked it back up. 'This is not a movie. It's too small, and you don't have a machine.'
Spike stifled a giggle and replied, 'It's RAM.'
'For a computer.'
'Oh. I knew that. Why have you got it?'
'It's got a game on it called 'Super Hero', see?'
Buffy didn't and wasn't sure RAM could have games on, but she didn't want to appear less technological than a Victorian, so she tossed it casually at Spike. 'Leave town, Spike. I meant it.'
'No, you didn't.'
She flashed him a look. 'You on for a patrol?'
Spike grinned and sensed he'd been forgiven for whatever they'd pissed each other off about before. 'I'll test me new superhero skills on ya, shall I?'
Buffy argued back, and they sauntered out happily together. After the patrol, Spike went drinking. He got back to his crypt with a few extra bottles, but that was as far as rational thought took him. He genuinely did not remember the robot until well into the next day, and only then when he found the chip on the top of the tomb where he'd placed it to go patrolling with Buffy.
He cursed as if the creature he'd left in the tomb would have minded twenty-four hours alone and buried alive. He cursed again at his own foolishness as he saw the inanimate object lying there but, smiling slightly, he took out the chip it had in, inserted the one Buffy had found and switched it back on.
The robot climbed out of the tomb looking slightly puzzled. 'Spike?'
'Why are you here?'
'I'm not. You're here.'
'What? Don't play games, Spike. Where are the others?'
'Cordy and Wes. Fred and Gunn.'
'They a group or something?'
'Stop pissing around. Where is this?'
'You don't have a place.'
'I don't have a lot of things, Prick. Where do you think it is?'
It gave up and went to the door. 'Day.'
The robot came back and pinned Spike to the tomb, but not in a particularly aggressive way. Spike's hand itched to turn it off, but he decided to let this one run for a while. 'Where am I, Spike, and how did I get here? This is Sunnydale, isn't it? It smells like it.'
'I don't know exactly how you got here. I just woke up, and here you were.'
The robot nodded and let him go then turned and began to examine the place. 'But you say this is yours?'
'Yeah. Since I got back….'
It gave him a look. 'Don't push your luck, Spike. I don't like hot pokers.'
'Yes, you do. It's why I chose them for you.'
The creature looked at him through narrowed eyes. 'Maybe it was a spell. I was working on a case and then… this.'
Spike couldn't help the grin. 'Oh. What was the case about, Angel?' The anticipation was wonderful.
The robot looked over at him seriously. 'Lost kitten. It's been gone for hours apparently. We're all frantic.'
Spike snorted. Bless Warren; he'd seen the funny side of the superhero personality, too. 'Yeah? You have lots of… kitten cases, Angel?'
It frowned. 'They are our most important. After blocked toilets.' Spike wiped a small tear from his eye, trying not to laugh out loud. He noticed the robot watching his hand and realised he was playing with the chips in his pocket, tumbling them around and around. He snatched his hand out quickly - he had not been thinking about one in particular. And besides, he'd mixed them all up… anything he selected now was going to be potluck. Still, it was sort of his responsibility to go through them methodically and put them back in their boxes - correctly labelled this time. The mere thought of such organisation wearied him before he could begin the task, so he just selected one at random, turned the robot off and changed the tune.
It stretched and scratched its belly speculatively. 'I'm still undressed.'
Spike rolled his eyes to the fates that seemed determined to piss him off.
'Why don't I get cool clothes like you?'
Spike nodded, he'd already been thinking he ought to go shopping; he was tired of looking at Warren's too tight sweats… oh. Spike glanced away then back, fascinated. How the fuck could the boy create things like this and be such a fucking tosser at the same time? The obvious erection tented the soft, grey material. The robot came closer. 'Weren't we interrupted earlier? I'm thinking this….' It fondled itself through the material. 'Hasn't been satisfied.'
Spike sighed. This was so fucking wrong he didn't know where to start with a list. Even headings wouldn't do this time. Having learnt his lesson last time though, he merely said, 'Go downstairs, and we'll shag, 'k?'
The robot nodded eagerly and went down the ladder where indicated. Once it was safely downstairs and out of sight, Spike turned it off.
He sat on the bed, looking at his creation for a while. It was truly terrifying. Switched off, it remained in its current state, the erection jutting out, forever caught in time. Spike had no idea why he had added this particular personality to the programming. Of course, he had never intended for each element to be separated out like this. He'd sort of pictured this as an undercurrent to the overall person. But why even that? It had never really formed part of his plan to piss Buffy off as he'd claimed to Warren. His original plan had just been to have a robotic Angel, get Buffy to shag the robot, discover her error and then have him there at the critical moment to crow over her shame and discomfort. So why did he add the homoeroticism that Warren - the tossing wanker - had now managed to turn into this parody of a gay muscle man?
Spike had added this trait as he struggled drunkenly with the Now of Angel's personality. Why had thinking about Angel now been so much harder than remembering Angelus? He hated the souled fucker - that was for sure. Maybe it had been just like his kitten rescuing additions to the superhero personality: just done because it was funny, and he could, and because it would embarrass Angel if he knew. As Spike looked at the frozen, erect figure, he had no doubt that this too would piss Angel off big time if he knew. Spike's mind flittered over their long, long relationship. In all the time he'd known Angelus or Angel, there had been many personality traits, but never this. He could only remember one embrace in a hallway and one kiss as he sat helpless in a wheelchair - both touches having been the result, not of latent desire, but of lies, abuse of power, and shifting alliances… and why the fuck had he remembered them so easily? Spike cursed and waved a dismissive hand at such accurate recall, even though there was no one to see. No wonder Warren had been confused, though. No wonder he'd screwed it up. Spike didn't know why he'd done it, so of course it had come out wrong.
To top it all, Spike was now friends with Buffy again. Now, he loved her again. The last thing he wanted was for her to find or shag this hunk of metal and wire - he wanted her to shag him. He didn't want her to see that…. Spike forced himself to stay on the bed and not reach out… just like this… and ease the sweat pants…. Jeez!
Spike let the elastic snap back into place and briefly wondered whether Warren had modelled that from life - and if so, how? - or whether he'd made additional use of the magazines he'd said he'd bought. Either way, it was impressive. Much more so than Spike remembered from the natural glimpses he'd seen of it over the decades. But then he'd never seen it erect before. He shook himself slightly, fished in his pocket for one of the chips he'd seen but not opened yet, swapped once more and sat back to wait until the erection faded, which he had a feeling it would very soon.
The robot swayed and staggered against the wall. Suddenly, large tears rolled down from its eyes. Spike was impressed and couldn't help wondering what other secretions Warren had been able to create, before he shook himself sternly. It came over and sat heavily on the bed. 'It's a cold, cold, night, Childe. I think the nights just get darker, and my heart cries out for the warmth of me own land.'
It began to sing a sad, soft, lilting Irish melody in the hideous off-key voice Spike remembered. As he thought, the erection wilted under his gaze as the drunken Irish peasant sang of his missed homeland.
'Why don't you lie down and sleep, Angelus? I'll send Darla to you?'
It reached up and took Spike's face in its hands then, totally unexpectedly, kissed him. 'Aye, that's kind, little one.'
Spike reared back. 'Why did you do that? You never do that? I've just worked it out… one bloody kiss in all the time I've known you! Who programmed you to do that?'
It frowned. 'No one. I always want to kiss you, Will. I love you.'
'Hey!' Spike stood up, agitated. 'You are just a bundle of wires surrounding programming I created! Me! You can't be more than I remember about you. Sure, the geeky twat got the fancying me a bit screwed up… I mean…. Fuck off, I don't have to explain myself to you. But you did not want to kiss me - ever. And I know, cus I programmed you.'
'I dinnie understand you, Will. What is this strange language you speak? Will you just lie with me now, and I can sleep curled around your sweet….'
'Fuck OFF!' Spike hastily switched the thing off and took out the chip. He glanced at the box. "Fucking Paddy." Exactly. That's what he'd described: drunk, maudlin, off-key Angelus in his cups. Not Angelus wanting to sleep with him! Not Angelus wanting to curl up….
Spike pushed the robot under his covers and stomped up the ladder. He blamed the sweat pants. Men got funny when they wore them. It was a known fact.
Spike had something of a dilemma now, because he wanted the robot dressed properly. Although he'd wanted to embarrass Angel by giving it funny programming, he didn't want to extend this private joke to dressing it in odd things: women's clothes or perhaps polyester. He wanted the robot to look the part, even though he now doubted he'd actually use it for the part. So, a dilemma in that he suspected Angel's style of dressing was expensive… very expensive, and he had no money. He could always try to steal the clothes he wanted, but Sunnydale was pretty limited to clothes shops, and he stole quite a lot already for his own needs.
There was only one real alternative, and he didn't like that one bit.
He took the robot with him, stuffed into the boot of his car. Amenable-chip robot had just climbed in. Spike smiled and actually paid to have the car safely parked when he got there. He spent some time checking the lie of the land and was more than delighted when he saw a group of humans, led by Angel, leaving the hotel in full evening dress. They got into a waiting cab and drove off. Spike shrugged at his own luck and sauntered into the building, to which he appeared not to require an invitation.
He poked around for a while, incredulous at how boring everything looked - if he ran a superhero agency, it would look like one - and then followed his nose up to Angel's room. How that wanker, Warren, had missed the subtle, beautiful smell that was his sire… and he was shutting up now, especially as he was beginning to hear his thoughts in Harris' accent.
Spike could only marvel at the true hideousness of Angel's rooms. They were beyond even his sire's masochistic nature in colour, tone and furniture. Spike shuddered and went to the closet. He rummaged very satisfactorily for a long time. This was so easy - like picking sweets from jars where you liked everything. He couldn't get it wrong. In the end, he smiled and chose black leather pants - oddly, matching the ones he was now wearing - and a dark, ink-blue shirt in a quality linen that made even him think of soft, peat bogs. He picked out a pair of boots, again, rather like his own and wondered if the robot would like some boxers. He almost laughed at the strange thought, straightened and turned.
He dropped the boots but caught clumsily at the clothes. Angel leant casually in the doorway where he'd clearly been for sometime, watching him.
'Why didn't I sense you there?'
'I don't know why, Spike. Why didn't you, and perhaps, more to the point, why would you need to if you weren't in my home, stealing my clothes?'
'I'm not bloody stealing anything of yours.' He shifted the clothes slightly and frowned, as if it was all Angel's fault. Which it was, given that everything bad in his life was Angel's fault.
'Good. Then you can put all that back.'
Spike was really, really annoyed at this. He wanted it all. He could picture the robot getting dressed it in. How it would look as it bent to pull to the leather up its thighs…. Spike yelped and dropped the offending items as if they'd scalded him. Angel looked on at the show, now wearing a slightly bemused expression.
'Anyway….' Spike blustered badly, but he was trying to stop thoughts of black leather, because he NEVER thought about Angel and leather unless it was cutting into the fucker's back. Not sliding up his thighs. 'Why are you back so bloody soon? Thought you'd gone out.'
'Well, sorry to be so inconvenient and ruin your diabolical plan. What is this diabolical plan, by the way? Have you had me cloned or something?'
'What?' Spike suddenly remembered that as he wasn't already smoking, he could now bend and busy himself with this most useful of avoidance devices.
'Not in here.'
'What?' That was worse than the cloning comment. 'What do you bloody mean?'
'No smoking in here. This is my home, and I don't like it.'
'Don't like it? Don't like it? You got me started, you fucker.'
Angel had the grace to look shifty. 'Okay, but not downstairs - they'll smell it.'
'Ohh….' Spike let the word drag out, leaving Angel with no doubt of his thoughts on that.
At last, Angel pushed off the doorframe and came into the room. Spike watched him warily. How could he have thought to capture this in plastic and wire? Absurd. It was like trying to paint God. And why had he just thought that? He puffed on his cigarette to cover, trying to fill the room with enough smoke for some of it to drift down into the lobby.
As if sensing this small rebellion, Angel suddenly chuckled and said, 'I've missed you.'
Spike stopped mid-puff and looked at him askance. 'Flattery? Who's got a diabolical plan now?'
Angel raised his hands in mock show of holding no weapons. 'I have. I've missed having someone who at least makes the effort to piss me off. It shows you care, Spike.'
'I care shit for you, Angel. You know that. We loathe each other and occasionally try to spice up our interminable eternities by trying to torture or kill each other. That's all.'
'And steal each other's clothes?'
Spike gritted his teeth, caught out. Suddenly, he had a brainwave. He let his expression fall into a naturally guilty, rueful smile. 'Okay, I'll come clean, Gov. Fancy dress, see? Harris bet me I couldn't, so I had to. Can't let that wanker beat me.'
Spike grinned inwardly; he knew Angel would go for it: mutual disdain for Xander Harris giving truth to the lie. 'And he bet you what exactly?'
This was the best bit. 'That I couldn't come as anyone sadder than me.'
It took a while to sink in, but finally Angel got it. He smiled a genuine smile of amusement and nodded. 'Did I say already that I missed you?'
Spike allowed a grin to move across his features now. He knew it was a safe expression - that it didn't reach his eyes, he covered by bending to the clothes. 'So…?'
'Not on your life. Put them back. Besides… leather pants and a shirt, Spike…?' Angel waved toward him, and Spike didn't have to look at his attire to know what Angel meant. He nodded as he put the stuff back.
'Got me there, but you know me… one hundred percent effort where there's a bet concerned.'
Angel wasn't totally convinced, but he carefully watched his clothes being replaced. 'What now?'
Spike looked up, surprised. 'Now? Now nothing. Now I fuck off back to Sunnydale, and you go back to the bleedin' ballet.'
Angel frowned for a moment then said, 'How did you know that's where I was going?'
'Cus you've done your hair with a specially poofy flair, Angel; that's how.' He grinned when Angel's hand went up instinctively. Spike sauntered past, paused, and with a small, cheeky, disarming slap to Angel's belly, said, 'Anytime you want to get into my jeans, Angel, you let me know… only too happy to….' He trailed off badly, his eyes opening theatrically wide when his brain caught up to his mouth. Angel too seemed slightly confused by what had only been meant as a jibe at his waistline. He made to speak, but Spike gave him a small, dismissive wave of his hand and left, angry with himself but not sure why.
Angel watched him go thoughtfully, collected the wallet he'd forgotten and, this time, locked the hotel securely before resuming his pleasant evening.
Spike broke in, stole the clothes he wanted and included a jar of the hair gel Angel had been wearing.
He had every intention now of getting the robot wet.