He'd half meant to just dress it and take it back to Warren - now that he didn't want to piss Buffy off. That was before the little trip to LA, though. Now, seething hatred for Angel burned in him once more. It was always like this when he actually saw him. He thought their relationship was neutral, distant… until they met. Then everything about Angel seemed to rub Spike up the wrong way. That fucking huge hotel made his crypt seem a bit sodding ironic. The clothes in the closet had gone on and on, row after row of exquisite taste, making him feel like a reject from the army surplus store. That bloody cool superiority, too…. What did the fucker mean "I miss you"? I miss you? Miss you how? I'm only fucking two hours away, fucker… if you missed me all that much, why not pop over and see how I'm making out with a FUCKING CHIP in my head.
That, of course, was the real reason for Spike's seething anger when he got home that night. That was their first meeting since the most catastrophic event in his entire existence since… well, since meeting Angelus for the first time, really, and what had Angel said? Nothing. That's what. He hadn't even remembered it. His childe was effectively not a vampire anymore, and what had he said to show his concern, interest, amusement, ire, flaming fucking fury at his childe being treated so? Nothing. Flat fanny nothing. What he'd always got from Angel. In a fit of spite, Spike threw the clothes into a corner and plugged the robot in.
He watched as the creature came to life, as it sauntered over to him, rubbing the hard belly, fondling a newly arisen erection. He looked into its green eyes. 'Strip.'
The robot's eyes widened, but it grinned and slowly peeled off the sweat pants, looking coyly at Spike through lowered lids as the waistband had to be stretched out over its engorgement. Spike held up the leather pants. 'Put these on… slowly.'
The robot needed no choreography for its erotic display. It pulled the leather slowly up its thighs, turned to slide them snugly over its hard backside, turned back with its erection poking enticingly out of the front, and then zipped them up with a small sigh of disappointment.
Spike nodded, stood and said grimly, 'Good. Now. Come here and suck me off.'
The creature grinned greedily and fell to its knees. 'Yeah, give me your big bat, Slugger.'
Spike winced. 'Don't speak. Just suck.'
The robot pressed its face into the front of Spike's leather jeans and began to nibble at him through the material. Spike hissed and reared back slightly at the pleasure. Just to give himself something to hold onto, he buried his fingers into the soft brown hair. The robot cupped him with one hand and began to squeeze gently. With its other hand, it eased down Spike's zipper and groaned as wisps of dark hair escaped through the opening. Shuffling on its knees, the robot urged Spike back against the wall. Suddenly, a tongue probed into Spike's open jeans, and tiny licks flared a deep desire in his balls, making them swell and throb. He moaned and held the robot to him tightly, but strong hands came up and undid his button; his jeans were slid off his hips until they caught on his thighs, but left him totally exposed to the robot's gaze. Erect, pulsing, Spike's shaft wavered in front of the so-familiar face. Suddenly, the robot looked up and smiled at him, and Spike's dead heart kicked over once at that terrifyingly familiar look. But he did not have time to analyse why the look should disturb him so much because, for the first time in his life or unlife, an ostensibly male tongue then slid slowly up his cock from root to tip. For the first time, it probed into his foreskin and swirled over his hot tip. For the first time, Angel took him in his mouth; Angel's lips stretched over his bulbous head; and Angel's cheeks bulged to take his thickness.
Spike spread his arms on the wall as if crucified by the pleasure. He began to moan and sound incoherent encouragement. He wanted to hear Angel's voice, but instead he felt a cool hand slipping around to tease fingers over his cheeks. It was so intimate that Spike's need almost betrayed him, and he had to breathe deep human breaths to control the surge of release that threatened at the feel of those insistent fingers. He held on once more to the hair and began to massage it in time to the movement of the fingers on his arse.
'Angel…?' He so needed to hear the familiar voice in all this unfamiliarity. 'Angel?'
The robot looked up and smiled an apologetic smile around the shaft that filled his mouth. It eased itself off. 'What, Big Boy?'
'Come on, Spike, fill me with your man cream.'
Spike's human, steadying breathing suddenly became a huge hitch of shock. He pulled away and rolled further down the wall. 'No! Not that! Say something else! Something he would say!'
'I want dollops of you?'
'Oh, fuck! Shut up. This is all wrong. You were supposed to want me!'
'I do. Come here, and I'll show you how much.'
'You were supposed to love me.'
'I'll love you until there's no love left to swallow. Just come here.'
'Shut up! Not you… I'm not talking to you. You don't get it, do you? I've always had to do things to make you notice me. Why can't you just want me?'
The robot only laughed. 'Hey… I love it when you say no.' It began to shuffle nearer and opened its mouth once more as if to receive supplication.
With a shudder of revulsion, Spike leaned forward, pressed his fingers into the soft hair and turned the obscenity off.
He fell to his knees and placed his forehead to the cool floor and stayed that way for some time. He could not bear to look at the robot or to think about what he had allowed it to do - what it had made him admit. Programming written while he was drunk… that's all it had been meant to be… an amusing addition to Angel's poofy personality: fancying his childe.
With a curse, Spike rose and grabbed one of the chips and pushed it angrily in. Obedient, silent, automaton flatness looked back at him. For a flicker of a second, Spike thought he saw more than dumb compliance in the eyes, but it was gloomy in the crypt, and he took little notice. He stripped off and climbed between the sheets. With a sigh, he said, 'Get in.' The robot slid into the sheets next to him and lay on its back, arms held loosely on the covers in front of it. Spike slid over and put his head on the robot's chest, draping his arm across the leather-clad waist.
He could not remember a moment when he had felt so low, felt such self-loathing - not when he'd come around in his coffin and realised his life was over, not even when he'd come around in the Initiative and realised his unlife was pretty much over, too. Nothing compared to this… this sense that he was over. He was tired of it all, and he just wanted to rest. Even now, however, he would have held out against the fear and the confusion, but the robot chose that moment to begin stroking Spike's hair in soft, repetitive movements.
Spike sat up and flung himself away, tears beginning to roll down his face. 'What are you doing? He said come and go - that's all. That's all you're supposed to do: come and go. You can't….' The robot just watched him and blinked slowly. Spike dashed the tears away with an angry gesture but, nevertheless, lay back down and took the comfort the silent, plastic-encased wires now seemed able to offer him. In a comfortless existence, it was what it was, and he tried not to question his motives.
After half an hour or so, however, the hand caressing his hair began to shift lower. It crossed Spike's mind that he only had to say, 'Stake me' to the robot and it would probably oblige. It was what he wanted, for with this slow, inexorable progression down his back, he could no longer separate reality from dream, wish from longing or robot from flesh and blood.
He didn't say it. He did what he always did: he survived; he continued. He extracted himself from the strong arms, eyed the doe-like complacency in the face of the other and snatched up another chip, stuffing it in angrily. This would end his confusion for a while. This would focus him back on the sire he needed to remember.
The blow caught him on the side of the head, and it was as painful as it was welcome. 'What the devil's been going on here?'
Spike began to dress, aware that the robot was watching him. 'Will you answer me?'
Spike looked up, took a deep breath and replied, 'Go fuck yourself, Angelus.'
It was bloody, and it was not especially quick.
It pounded its fists into Spike for a long time to soften him up before the breaking of the bones began. Almost unrecognisable, Spike finally crawled into a corner and tried to protect his head from more. The creature, humming tunelessly, rummaged for a glass, took a long drink of Spike's whisky then broke the glass against the wall and with the jagged edge came over to its childe. It put a knee to Spike's chest to hold him down and began to probe in his mouth. It hesitated for a moment but said with an encouraging smile, 'Tell me again what I should do, Spike.'
Between the cold fingers and spitting on blood, Spike mumbled, 'Fuck yourself, you fat Irish…' and then almost died on the exquisite pain of having his tongue cut out.
Bathed in so much blood now, the robot's hands were slick and hot in Spike's mouth. It extracted the sliver of separated flesh and held it for a moment, grinning down at its victim. Then it tipped its head back, stretched its neck and swallowed it, for all the world as if sampling an oyster.
Spike crawled away on his good arm, swallowing huge draughts of the blood that spurted from his severed tongue. It was what he'd wanted. The pain focused him. This was what he knew; this was always available from Angelus when softer touch had not been. This, Angelus would give him freely; they never tired of this dance of pain. He knew his tongue would heal; magical re-growth would begin. Spike smiled. It always grew back, and Angelus would do it again. There would always be the dance.
With a glance at Spike, the robot began to brush at some small specks of blood on its leather pants. 'You'll stay here and think about improving your manners, Childe. I'm going to look for Drusilla.'
Spike tried to stand, but his smashed kneecaps betrayed him. He screamed out, but choked on the blood and gore in his mouth. What if it found Buffy? What if Buffy found it? Spike had no doubt that in certain lights, in certain circumstances, the Angel robot would fool some people. If it had been as he'd planned, it might have fooled everyone, but one-dimensional like this - subject to these limited personalities - he did not think the deception would last for long. He could not bear the idea of Buffy discovering what he had done.
He tried to stand, but his snapped thighbone gave way, and he fell to the floor with a scream.
He didn't care anymore.
Let them all die.
When he came to, Spike was in a much-improved mood. He tested his tongue with a few suitable expletives then stood and tried out the rest of his body. Good as new - if a bit bruised and scabby. He wondered how much time had passed and what chaos he'd find if he went outside. By the look of his candles, he guessed about eight hours. How much harm could one psychotic robotic vampire cause in eight hours?
With a small grin of excitement, and rather pleased once more with his game, Spike changed out of his torn clothes, grabbed a handful of chips and made his way out into the cool night air. He hardly had time to light the obligatory cigarette when he was hailed by a panting Rupert Giles. 'Thank God, you are here. Have you seen…. oh, bloody hell, you've had a run-in with him too. So you know. He's back and, to coin a phrase, he's bad.'
Spike watched the watcher attempting to catch his breath curiously. 'You've seen it? Him.'
Giles held out his bleeding arm with a withering look. Spike looked interested. 'He got quite close then?'
'Spike! This is a crisis. I've been sent to get you.'
'Why? What have I done? I didn't do it?'
'What on earth…? Spike, we need you to help with Angelus. Get a grip, will you?'
'Has… she… seen him?'
'I think we all saw him. Is this some sort of trick question?'
'Huh. So, she's still alive?'
'Spike! Would I be here getting you if she wasn't… well, maybe I would… and, God, what a depressing thought: you - our last great hope whether the slayer lives or dies.'
'Fuck you too. So, why are you here again?'
'It's an episode from some hideous science fiction show, isn't it? I'm doomed to be forever leaning on this tomb, trying to explain it to you.'
As finding and stopping the robot suited Spike's plans exactly, he saw no reason not to get some much needed brownie points with the Scoobies at the same time. He put on his helpful vampire expression. 'Right. Sorry. So, where's the action?'
'At last. Buffy thinks he's heading for the old mansion again… familiar ground and all that, I suppose.'
Spike didn't wait for the watcher and spun off at his own speed. He hadn't been to the old place since he'd wanted to hit Angelus so hard that his brains would decorate the walls. Spike grinned - nothing changed there then.
He went in warily when he got there, but there was no need. It was pacing the floor and looked up as he came in. 'You're healed? Good, I need you.'
Something in Spike flared for a moment and instead of getting close and turning the robot off as he'd planned, he leant against the wall for a moment and lit a cigarette. The robot came over and stuck out its hand for one. Spike looked surprised, but he enjoyed holding out the packet, enjoyed watching it take one distractedly, enjoyed watching the immaculate nails holding the slim column, enjoyed it as the creature bent its head toward Spike's fist and cupped its hands gently around the lighted tip. It was just a snatched moment in the confusion, however, and was soon over.
The robot stood up and nodded its thanks. It laughed. 'Bitch thought I was Angel.'
Spike hesitated before replying. 'You spoke to her?'
It winked. 'I did more than that.' It chuckled again. 'She still feels like a nun on the Pope's knee.'
Spike frowned. 'And that's feeling how…?'
The robot looked delighted. 'Nothing happening down below, ya know? Frigid.'
'Buffy?' This was news to Spike who had always seen Buffy as the source of all… come to think of it, she was kind of small and… stiff. It chucked Spike under the chin at the odd expression on his face.
'She nearly took my balls off again. Fucking knee-jerking bitch.'
'She touched you?'
The robot looked surprised. 'And…?'
'She didn't say anything… like… for instance… it's a robot?'
It didn't dignify this with a reply but whirled away, gesturing with the cigarette. 'Plan. I need a plan.'
Spike looked at the pacing figure. 'World domination time again then?'
'She's here, Spike, in my gut. I can't get her out.'
'Maybe you should move on, Mate, get a new hobby. I hear Gameboys can be just as addictive.'
'She crosses me at every turn. Everywhere I go, that blond innocence that I just want to squeeze until it runs hot and….'
Spike turned it off, bored with it already. Unfortunately, he couldn't just abandon the robot here, although the thought did cross his mind. The consequences of someone finding and reactivating it did not much appeal. He sighed and reached deep into his pocket for a replacement chip and slotted it in.
Suddenly, a head appeared in a hole in the wall. 'God! Alone with two vampires. Does anyone care just how much I hate my life?'
Spike wondered if he was cursed. 'Harris.'
'You fighting for the good here, Spike? Cus I'm thinking Buffy's only a few….'
Xander climbed into the room. 'Why is he just… standing like that? Undead psycho freaking me out here.'
Spike cursed and put a casual hand to the back of the robot's neck. 'He's had a blow on the head… he's concussed….' He turned the robot on and was about to give it a simple command, when it pushed him to one side and went slowly toward Xander. 'My, my, isn't he a salty treat to taste?'
Spike shot forward and stood between them. 'As I said, blow on the….'
'Hmm, blow… good idea… hey, Alexander, come to Angel….'
Xander backed against a wall. 'Angel?'
The robot began to unbutton its shirt seductively, completely ignoring Spike's attempts to stop it. 'Sure am.'
'Spike! What's happening here?'
Spike looked from one to the other and pouted slightly, trying to cover a small grin. 'I don't know, Harris, but I am so tempted to let it play out and see.'
With a squeak, Xander pushed past the two vampires and began to scramble over some rubble toward the hole. The robot caught at the back of his waistband and slipped its hands in and around to the front, cupping the boy none too gently. 'Come on, Xan, I didn't think you'd be soft. You've always been so hard for me.'
Xander whirled around and shoved its hands out. 'You're insane. More than Angelus.'
The robot pouted. 'Like you weren't panting for me when I held you so close in the school hall.'
'What! Who the hell rewrote that little scene in your tiny brain?' Xander looked to Spike for support, but for some reason, Spike appeared occupied with a chip in his nail polish. 'Spike!'
Xander didn't wait for assistance; he shoved hard and scrambled once more for the opening. Spike took his chance, and while the robot was distracted trying to cop a feel of the ample retreating backside, he removed the offending chip and quickly inserted another, wishing - not for the first time that night - that he'd done his methodical re-labelling.
'Xan? What's up? Spike! Angelus!'
Spike looked up at Buffy, cursed and glanced anxiously at the robot. Buffy slithered down the rubble with a stake held menacingly at the two of them. The robot held up placating hands and then, to everyone's astonishment and embarrassment, burst into tears.
Buffy backed off, her eyes wide. Spike frowned and looked surreptitiously at the small box. He choked back a small giggle.
'I'm so sorry. Did anyone get hurt? This is just awful.'
'No.' Buffy came closer. 'Angel?'
'No… don't call me that, sweet thing. I don't deserve that name.'
'Angel, what's wrong? What's happened to you?'
'Oh, look at your sweater: all dirty. I can't bear it. Give me that stake where I deserve it.' The robot dropped to its knees with a theatrical hand over its heart.
'Angel! Stop it. Spike! What happened?'
Xander interjected. 'Head… hit on.'
Buffy looked at the three men then pointed at Spike. 'This is something to do with you. I can smell it.'
'Oh, God, can you smell me? I know I've been running, and I'm not….' The robot sniffed at its shirt then put a hand to its mouth and huffed gently. 'Does anyone have a mint?'
Spike bit his lip but gave Buffy a disingenuous look. She eyed him through narrowed lids. 'Let's get him home.'
Spike watched her helping the oddly reluctant Angel out through the gap in the wall. 'He looks good, though, doesn't he?'
'Angel… he looks… okay.'
'He's weird but, yeah, he looks pretty normal. It must be internal bleeding. Can vampires…? Never mind. What now?'
The robot had stopped and was washing its hands in the small fountain. It began to run the moisture through its hair. 'Is it flat? I just know it is. It's hell trying to style when you can't see….'
Buffy gritted her teeth. Xander stifled a small laugh, but Spike stepped forward. 'Maybe I should take him back to LA.'
Buffy was instantly suspicious. 'Why?'
'Well… West Hollywood here might be a tad embarrassed when he… recovers. Do you want that for him?'
Spike's concern for Angel's feelings seemed to tip the balance from natural distrust of the blond vampire to complete certainty that he was up to something. She took a menacing step toward Spike but stopped when she heard Giles approaching. Giles ran into the small courtyard, still panting. 'You could have waited for me, Spike… oh, all here and… Angelus! Angel?'
The robot looked at Giles and suddenly fell to its knees holding its hands as if praying. 'Can you ever forgive me? My God, all the unnecessary pain and tears.' It bit at its fist and began to strike at its own robotic chest. 'Cut it out. Cut it out that it not offend you more.'
'Angel! Get up.' Buffy looked embarrassed for Angel, embarrassed for herself, and still furious at Spike, but she suddenly grabbed his arm and said between clenched teeth. 'Take him. And if one hair is harmed on his….'
'I'll baby him like my own… baby.' Spike decided not to push his luck, grabbed the robot's arm and began to lead it toward the steps. As soon as they were sufficiently out of sight, he switched to the chip he'd intended and led a malleable, silent robot home.
He couldn't believe they had taken this thing for Angel. It didn't speak well of them or of Angel, and Spike was furious and amused in equal measure. He was also slightly furious for other reasons, and when he'd had a few drinks he switched chips again.
The robot advanced on Spike with a pleased expression. 'Hello, Spiky, I'm still hard, and you're still here.'
'Stop there, Buddy. You are supposed to want me.'
'Hmm, I do; you know I do.'
The robot stopped and looked puzzled. Spike knew the machine had no real memory, it merely reanimated over and over again with the same programme, but nevertheless it had pissed him off that the robot had tried to take Harris. He pointed his cigarette at it.
'Yeah, only me.'
'He wanted me though. You don't.'
Spike reared back. 'What did you just say?'
'Harris wants me. Always has….'
'Whoa… hold on here a minute. Firstly, you can't know what happened back there; you're just a bleeding robot with no memory. Secondly, I gave you that thought cus it was funny at the time; so don't use it to piss me off now. And third, no, I don't want you cus that was just a….'
The blow caught him in exactly the same place that the one from the Angelus-chip robot had a few hours earlier. Spike reared back, furious. 'What the fuc…?' The next blow sent him spilling into his bar and bottles crashed around him. 'Stop, you fucking piece of….' With a grunt of pain, he doubled up, but he waited until the robot bent over him then put his hands up to the back of its neck. The robot caught his hand, twisted it up and around Spike's back, lifting him off his feet by his twisted shoulder. Spike howled in pain and shock.
The robot whispered in his ear. 'No more turning off, Spiky. I'm sick of that little trick.'
Desperate, Spike nodded and went limp as if in surrender. The robot put him back on his feet and turned. Spike caught it on the side of the head with a full bottle and, when it went down for a brief moment, jabbed it off.
They sat together on the floor for a while, Spike staring at the blank face. It was time to get rid of it, and Spike knew exactly where he'd do that. The image of feeding this physical perfection to the furnace in the local crematorium almost brought tears to his eyes, but he rubbed his shoulder gently and thought about the peace and quiet of his life before he'd had this crazy plan. With a sigh, he pushed the simple move-around-chip into place and turned the robot back on. With barely a pause, the creature rose and grabbed him once more. It threw him back into the wall then pressed up against him, spread-eagling him by the wrists. It stared at him for a moment then grinned. 'I'm going to enjoy this.'
Spike's eyes flew wide. 'This can't be happening. You're malfunctioning.'
'I'm horny; I'll give you that.'
'This is not real. Look you're….' He got no further, for the robot casually took one hand off his wrist and backhanded him to silence. It took a firmer grip on the wrists, and then kicked Spike's legs apart. Slowly, it lowered its face to Spike's and brushed him with its lips. Spike tried to jerk his head away, but was prevented by the wall. He clenched his jaw and refused to allow the kiss. The robot was stronger and just pressed, until Spike thought his lips would split from the pressure. It was easier and less painful to just relax and let the thing kiss him. The lips were strangely hard; there was no taste or smell, and Spike wondered how he had ever thought this thing like Angel. The tongue in his mouth made him want to gag and spit it out, but he feared the robot's reaction and knew he only needed one second, one slip, and he would be able to turn it off for good. As if reading his mind, the robot suddenly pulled away and looked at him thoughtfully. It wrenched him off the wall and pushed him over the bed on his belly. With one immensely strong hand holding both of Spike's wrists, it began to rummage around on the floor with a grin. 'Ah… here we are, Lover.'
'I'm not your…. no!' The robot began to cuff Spike behind his back, and Spike's urgent cries were completely ignored.
'Better, don't you think? No sneaky little hand slipping out to turn me off now. Okay, let's get this thing on.'
'What thing? You pile of stinking plastic and wires.'
The robot paused. 'That's the second time you've said that. Why do you say that?'
'Cus that's what you are, fucking I-can't-turn-you-off hypocrite. I had you made.' If Spike was hoping the robot would be phased by the contradiction, he was disappointed, because it only laughed and looked appreciatively at its hands.
'I thought so. Not thinking it now.'
'You will. You're going to enjoy this.'
The robot replied by tearing Spike's shirt from his shoulder. When it had ripped the shirt off, it tore Spike's jeans off too, all the time revelling in Spike's utterly ineffectual efforts to fight it off. Finally, naked and very scared, Spike lay on his belly on the bed. He'd been in some bad situations, but this was fundamentally bad in a way that demons, hellmouth, torture, chips, and death in general were not. This was just bad. And scary.
Bad and scary very quickly became incredibly painful, and not that good sort of pain that Spike hardened to. This was embarrassing pain. The robot made no attempt at all to get him ready, but in a voice that was now swinging constantly from modern Californian to lilting Irish, to parody of West Hollywood, it accompanied the rape with snatches of songs and a constant stream of meaningless chatter.
Spike endured. He endured the rough fingers stabbing into him, and only rose silently off the bed, biting down on his lip, determined not to give the robot the satisfaction of hearing his pain or his fear. When the fingers began to probe and scratch around his soft internal walls, he buried his face into the mattress and tried to put himself somewhere else. It didn't work, and he was still there when he felt something tear inside and sensed cool fluid filling him. The robot withdrew its fingers and licked appreciatively at the blood. It forced Spike's head to the side, so he could see what was happening. Spike saw the robot's erection, the contents of his stomach rose involuntarily, and he sicked up the pigs' blood he'd consumed earlier. The robot didn't even seem to notice.
Finally giving way to the fear he'd sworn not to show, Spike said, 'Please, Angelus, don't.'
That did make the robot pause. It put a hand to Spike's head and began to brush his hair gently. 'It's Angel. You should know that.'
'No. It's not. You're not. I don't know what you are now; it's all gone wrong, but you aren't Angel. You never could have been.'
'Huh. In what way aren't I Angel?'
'Fuck off. I'm not bringing him in here with you. Oh, Christ, no! Stop!' As if to punish Spike for the denial of its identity, the robot pushed in to the very root of its metal-hard eleven-inch shaft without pause or mercy.
Spike couldn't believe or describe the pain. He'd thought himself to be the world's greatest expert on pain, but he'd never really felt pain accompanied by such humiliation and impotence. Until the penis entered him, he had still been Spike. As it had begun its swift journey, something that was part of him got lost. He felt it slip away: some part of himself that he liked, something that made him funny, something that made him more human, something that just made him a man. He was no longer a man. How could he be, face down on a bed, handcuffed and being penetrated by another man?
The pain had only begun for Spike, and by the time the robot came to its strange ejaculation, there was very little tightness left in the channel that held him. Spike's flesh had finally given way, as human flesh would have done an hour or so before. But the robot did not seem to mind pumping into a wet, mushy mash of blood and fragments of skin. Two hours of heaving and pulling and trying to find the release it thought would be easy - the release its programming had let it to expect would be easy - had made it just desperate to come into something, anything. Finally, it stopped jerking out the approximation of semen that was the closest Warren had been able to come to imitating the real thing, and it fell off the red, wet thing it had been using and lay on its back.
'Jeez. That was a disappointment.'
'Take the cuffs off.'
As if the robot did not recognise the voice for a moment, it looked puzzled, but quickly laughed. 'Yeah, like I'm gonna do that.'
Spike did not speak again.