The Essential Spike - 2
The following night, puppy in pocket, and DVDs and
beer in hand, Spike arrived for his first sitting.
He perched on the couch watching Giles make his preparations. 'Take that chair, Spike. Put it where you can see the TV and sit astride it facing me… lean your arms on the back… that's it. Now, can you keep still for an hour or two?'
Spike clenched his teeth and did not reply. Giles started to draw. He could almost feel the tension radiating off the vampire. It transmitted itself to his charcoal, affecting the lines and angles of the face.
'Would you like a drink, Spike?'
'Am I allowed to bleedin' reply?'
Giles laughed and got up to fetch an exceptionally large whisky.
'Trying to get me drunk, watcher?'
'A little, maybe. I'm trying to get you to relax.'
'Ah… that's not going to happen… this is too….'
'What, Spike? Too difficult for you?'
'No, I was gonna say too intimate, but that seemed too intimate to say.'
'It is intimate in a way. As I said, I'm trying to capture the essential you. I need to study you, think about you, and try to represent that in the lines of charcoal on the paper.'
'There you go then; that's why I'm tense.'
'You must know you are beautiful, Spike.'
'Eh! What the fuck!'
'Sit down! Don't move.…'
'Well! What do you bloody expect? Don't call me that…. I'm not a fucking poof.'
'You don't think men can be intrinsically beautiful?'
'Mate, I'm a demon. Where I usually hang out you don't discuss men being beautiful - not if you want to keep your knackers intact you don't.'
'Odd that then, Spike. I was under the distinct impression demons weren't too fussy what or who they copulated with.'
'Hey! We ain't bleedin' zoo animals!'
'Avoiding the question, Spike?'
'It wasn't a question, watcher. It was a statement.'
'Ah, so it's true then?'
'We can shag it - we just don't call it beautiful.'
'Subtle distinctions, Spike.'
'Well, demons… you know… like subtle. Subtle good.'
Giles started to add chalk highlights, and the soft substance oozed across the paper, the lines now fluid and smooth with Spike's relaxed pose. He smiled slightly and got up to refill the drinks. Spike held out his glass, and their skin touched briefly before Spike jerked his hand back. Giles turned back to his seat puzzled at the vampire's reaction, but also slightly pleased. This pleasure puzzled him, too, and he restarted his portrait with a distracted air. He sketched in Spike's body shape, intending to add the dark shading of his clothes later. His hand hesitated as he firmed over one knee. He closed his eyes, and in his imagination his chalk slid over the inside of Spike's thigh to where, even on a vampire, the muscles would surely be soft and sensitive. Would Spike feel a slow stroking of those muscles?
He opened his eyes, embarrassed, and continued to fill in the slim outline he had created. Spike was now quiet; his eyes fixed intently on the artist. Giles badly needed to adjust his clothing. To his shame, he was painfully erect, and the erection was trapped in the front of his pants, throbbing in an unpleasant way. He laid his work down and, claiming casually that he needed to pee, went quickly to the bathroom.
He leant his forehead on the cold mirror wearily. He was disconcerted. He had not meant it to go this far… he had not wanted to be out of control. Control was important to Giles; he had seen the dangerous outcomes that could occur in its absence. He decided to end this game before it went any further… before he went any further. He would stop this ridiculous study. He would cancel the debt.
'Debt cancelled yet?' As if echoing his own thoughts, Spike's quiet voice slid over him.
The vampire's unexpected presence, leaning casually on the doorframe, totally unnerved Giles. He had not yet done what he had come into the bathroom to do, and his painful erection filled his thoughts. He looked at his reflection for a moment, fought for mastery of his baser desires, but acknowledged their truth. 'No Spike, it's not. Two hundred dollars: that's ten sittings at the usual rate for an untrained model. We'll finish this session, and I'll want you again tomorrow.'
Not hearing the many layers in Giles' answer, Spike stomped back to the living room. 'You call me a model again an' you'll be using that chalk as a suppository.'
Committed now, Giles allowed himself a small self-deprecating smile. 'Oh… shut up, Spike, and watch the telly.'
The rest of the sitting went without incident, except for one minor puppy-related accident that, as Spike was posing and therefore keeping very still, he could not possibly get up and clean. Giles finally stood up with a quiet, 'Enough.' Spike leant back gratefully, twisting his head from side-to-side and flexing his shoulders.
'Bloody hell. Come on then, let me see it!'
Giles looked down at the image he had captured on the paper and knew he could not show it to Spike. It was the vampire seen through a filter of unadulterated desire. He hastily tucked it into his folder and held that rather childishly behind his back. 'When it's finished.'
'Hey, no fair!'
'Yes fair - I may change my mind about the expression. If you see it now....'
'Jesus, take yourself seriously, or what?' Spike threw himself on the couch and continued to knead his neck muscles with one hand. Giles watched the hand with avid interest.
'Yes, I suppose I do rather. I went to art school you know… I wanted to… but then I was called… crossroads, Spike, always crossroads.'
He had not expected Spike to be interested in this or to reply, so was surprised when he looked up and said, 'Yeah, tell me 'bout it. I was gonna do all sorts 'fore I got turned… now look at me.'
Giles laughed, relaxing a little, and beginning to enjoy himself once more. 'I have been, Spike, quite intently for almost three hours. I think I've seen enough, don't you?'
Spike suddenly gave him a disconcerting look and did not allow him to drop his gaze. 'You tell me, watcher. You're the one giving off the rather obvious signals all night… not me… I'm dead. But then you know that, don't you?' Spike twitched his lips, swept up the dog in one hand and swaggered out with a cheeky, 'See ya,' over his shoulder.
His cockiness fell from him as soon as Spike reached the cool night air. He leant his head against the smooth trunk of a tree outside the apartment for a moment before he could summon the will to walk to his bike. His hand slipped down to his crotch, and he wrinkled his brow, puzzled. He had not had such an urgent erection in a long time, and it disturbed him. He had not wanted to pose for the watcher, so why was he aroused by it now? More importantly, how did he now cope with the knowledge that he had made the watcher hard, too? He had not had that effect, as far as he knew, on a human male before. That he had now, ruffled him.
He did not sleep well all day. He continued to rewind the evening in his mind. He had a feeling he was being played: that his game had been subtly changed so he was no longer deciding the rules. He'd never met anyone other than Angelus who could do that, and Angelus had had a distinct advantage in that they shared the same blood so, when he wanted to, the sire could read the childe like an open book. That a human could be playing mind games with him was intriguing. He thought he might even put off the disembowelment to see where and how this absorbing game was going to play out. He woke before sunset… excited. He was excited, something he had not felt for years, and he treasured the emotion.
Giles had at least had activity to distract him all day. He would not let his thoughts dwell on Spike and found, as a result of that intention, that he thought about him constantly. Thinking about him generally had little effect; it was when he thought of him from an artist's perspective that he found himself becoming embarrassingly hard, hot, and uncomfortable. He had taken the unfinished picture to the shop with him and, when alone, glanced at it curiously. He was utterly dissatisfied with it, and as the day wore on he began to see what was lacking… or rather what was there that should not be. Giles knew that the perfection of the picture was in the way he had captured the skin tones and the sharp musculature of the face. Its faults were where the clothes began.
Giles wanted to draw Spike naked; his mind ached to see those muscles once more and to capture them forever in fluid chalk lines. He began to look forward to the evening's session with a tingle of suppressed desire, but also with an overwhelming sense of frustration at the knowledge that this desire would not be fulfilled.
Spike arrived for his second sitting on time and without the dog. When Giles raised his eyebrows questioningly, Spike said casually, ''E was embarrassed 'bout last night. Clem's sitting 'im. They're watching reruns of Lassie.'
Giles began to gather his supplies; Spike helped himself to a drink, uninvited. He seemed distracted and paced around the apartment picking things up and putting them back down, as if he had never seen any of them before. Giles watched him out of the corner of his eye, trying to gauge his mood.
Eventually, Spike stopped pacing and turned. 'So, are you gonna carry on with the same picture, or do another?'
Surprised, Giles laid down his paper. 'Err... I hadn't thought. I would like to try some other poses, I suppose....'
'Good, cus I've decided what the essential Spike is...' and with that, Spike stripped off his tee shirt, kicked off his boots and, turning his back to Giles, stepped out of his jeans. He flung himself down on the couch on his belly, and faced Giles with a coy expression. 'Better?'
'Bloody hell! No! I mean... what happened to the "I don't want to take anything off"?'
'Told ya - decided this was the essential me; I'm calling it 'Vampire at Rest".' He grinned and let one arm dangle to the floor in a lazy way.
Giles sat still. He was stunned. Again he felt the game had been taken out of his control. Spike had gained some considerable advantage over him, but he didn't know why the vampire had chosen this particular twist to his game. He settled down to sketch without further comment, but then grinned inwardly.
'You must be cold, Spike.' Giles got up casually, lit the fire he rarely used, and watched with satisfaction as it caught swiftly with a satisfying glow.
The effect of the firelight on Spike's skin was magnificent, and Giles congratulated himself on his ploy. Not only had he shown little reaction to Spike's deviousness, he had mirrored the underlying sensuousness of his tactics. Spike did not comment on the fire except to stretch languorously to its heat.
The sitting commenced.
His head bent to his paper, Giles decided to keep the initiative. 'So, Spike. You can 'shag it' but you don't call it beautiful. Explain this gender bending thing to me; I'm intrigued.'
'Mate. Naked or not, chip or not, you're gonna get yourself filled in, in a minute.'
'No, honestly, Spike. I'm genuinely interested. I surmise you weren't gay as a human?' He outlined the whole of Spike's flowing shape on the couch in one bold stroke.
'Hey! Fuck you - surmise is right! You got bleedin' done for that sorta thing where I came from.'
Subtle shading emphasised the split of Spike's legs and cheeks: each buttock becoming rounded under Giles' soft stroking. 'I know, that's why I'm curious. So, how does it start... when you die... get turned? And I do so love that euphemism, turned, by the way. But seriously, when did you find your interests changing?'
'Will you stop making me sound like some old predatory git with an' 'ole in me raincoat! I didn't change; I evolved.'
'Evolved? You've lost me.' He started highlighting Spike's musculature with soft white chalk, sliding it smoothly, as if a tongue, down each hard, veined bicep.
'Wish I bloody could. Look... last century, and you couldn't have shagged a black girl, could you?'
Giles chose a thin pencil and sketched in each long, surprisingly delicate looking finger, making them almost come alive and active under his hand. 'Possibly not in England, no.'
'But now no one thinks twice 'bout it, do they?'
'No, but I don't see the connection, Spike.' His pencil connected the sinews to the hollows of Spike's shoulder.
'It's all to do with distinctions. You've lost your colour distinctions; we lose our gender ones.'
Giles blurred the harsh edges of Spike's cheekbone slightly to see the effect, smudging his wet thumb over the charcoal, and feeling the bone beneath the skin. 'So, you don't see yourself as a man... male, so to speak?'
'Fuck you, bastard. I'll turn over if you like, and let you decide for yourself.'
Giles' hand paused in the act of running down Spike's spine. He closed his eyes briefly as he imagined that turning. Spike's flawless white body would have a dark, intriguing region that would draw the eye. He pictured choosing a pencil to capture that tightly curled hair and visualised how the pale penis would stand erect from its dark nest. He could almost see the strokes of white chalk he would use to bring out the shaft's unearthly power. Perhaps he would use a dark charcoal to smudge a suggestion of deep shade, emphasising the ridged cockhead. On this stark black and white picture he might choose a soft pink to swell and expose the smooth tip; it would be a single blush of colour, and the only focus for the eye. One sharp graphic line would capture the slit, larger, perhaps, than in real life, and he would use a cleverly shaded, gleaming drop of pre-cum to give it full expression and life.
'Err... no. Thank you, Spike. I'll pass on that.' Giles hoped his voice was steadier than his hand when he resumed the exploration of Spike's complex spinal definition. 'So, you are a man, but you don't see other people's or demons' gender differences... is that it?'
'Oh, shut up, watcher. I just fancy what I fancy. 'K? I can - so I do. Passes the bleedin' day, and it feels good, and there aren't too many good lookin' demons around anyway. I can't afford to be limited to one sex.'
The small hollow in Spike's hip defeated Giles, and he had to study it for a long time to see its essential nature. When Spike made only the smallest of movements on the couch it flexed and changed shape. 'Keep still, Spike, you're wriggling.'
'Yeah, well, this is....'
'Boring? Sorry about that. I said watch a film.'
'Stimulating. I was going to say stimulating.'
Giles did not comment on this, but thinking about that stimulation, and the slight movements Spike made, did not help his concentration on the hollow he was shading. 'Why only demons then, Spike? Why are you limited to demons? I would have thought you'd be able to attract a human... if they were drunk enough or senile, perhaps.'
Spike smiled and, again, the maddening twitch of his hip had Giles entranced. 'I can't shag humans.'
Giles caught Spike's gaze for the first time during this sitting; his pencil stilled. 'What?' Did he hear a slight disappointment in his own voice?
'Courtesy of the fucking initiative. Chip see....'
'I can't give pain, can I? All penetration gives some pain... and I should know... err... you don't know if you've not tried it, mate. So humans... out.'
Giles let out a small sigh of relief but did not allow himself to recognise the sound as such. He had now reached Spike's buttocks. He contemplated his first quick attempts at capture and made one or two subtle changes in their shape. He could not help but smile when Spike's fidgeting increased as if subliminally he could sense where the artist was applying pressure.
'Maybe you should think more laterally, Spike.'
'I'm lying down already.'
'Very droll. Maybe you should consider receiving... not giving. You can take pain, I gather?'
'I like pain.'
'I thought so. There you are then, problem solved, no?'
'Be a receiver?'
Silence descended on them for a while. Spike tried to decide if he had just been made an offer. Giles tried to decide this, too.
Eventually, Spike said quietly, as if to his hand, which he was studying with feigned interest, 'My gender bending - as you so charmingly put it - don't extend to humans.'
Giles congratulated himself on his composure. 'That's just as well I suppose, seeing as no one you know would volunteer for the penetrating.'
Spike knew the game had just taken a new path once again and chuckled. 'I think Harris might.'
Giles laughed, too. 'We were discussing people accountable for their actions, no?'
They grinned at each other, pleased with this game. Both felt they had won some points, without conceding any vital ground.
Giles got up and refilled their glasses. He was hot, and could feel a warm arousal suffusing his entire body. He looked at the fire briefly as he put Spike's glass down on the floor for him then, with a inward smile at his own sagacity, said nonchalantly, 'Are you warm enough?' and laid his hand on Spike's back. Spike groaned and quickly covered by coughing slightly into his drink.
'Yeah, surprisingly, mate. I'm quite warm... hot even.'
Giles grinned and resumed his seat. He could still feel the unnaturally warmed skin under his hand and wondered idly if it would warm thus from friction.
Whisky in hands and bellies, they resumed the sitting. Giles decided he would add some subtle colouring to emphasis certain parts, and lingered over his selection of chalks.
Spike began to feel the soporific effects of the warmth and the drink, but he came back to focus at Giles' next words. 'What do you miss most, Spike, about not being human?'
Spike glanced over at Giles' bent head, surprised. Giles looked up and smiled, and Spike relaxed into the smile; he could see no traps in the simple question. When he didn't answer immediately, Giles prompted, 'Sun?'
Spike thought for a moment. He swirled his finger in his glass and absentmindedly sucked on it.
'Spike... don't move.' The thumb ring was given a sensuous, midnight blue shadow, and Giles was pleased with the way this drew his eye. He allowed his gaze to linger on the real thumb for a moment just to ensure he had the right effect.
'Sorry. Nah, not the sun. Can't miss what you've never had, can you?'
'Oh come on, you were human for what? Twenty years?' He kept the blue in his hand, hesitating over Spike's eyes. Could he attempt to capture their ever-changing expression with his limited human talent?
'So, you must miss it.' A faint first dab of colour to the iris... it was perfect, and he smiled.
'Mate, I was human in London in the nineteenth century. I never saw the bleedin' sun.'
Emphasised thus, Spike's eyes held him in a hypnotic stare. He felt impaled by the ambiguity he saw in them. 'Well, what then? Food? I suppose you ate in Victorian England?'
'Course. But weren't my thing, if you know what I mean. Never been interested in food really.'
Giles cocked an eyebrow and coughed, amused.
'Spike, you are the greediest vampire I have ever met; you are always raiding my fridge and eating one hideous snack after another.'
'Oh, snacks... I thought you were talking 'bout real food: roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, spotted dick. Never been one for spotted dick much. So, not real food then... American food, that's different.'
Only the feet now needed completion. He had left them to the last. 'So, what? There must be something you miss.'
'Why? Why do you assume I don't relish being a vampire? Typical bloody arrogance of humans to assume there is anything of your life I miss.'
The toes were so human Giles' hand stilled reverently over them. 'It's not arrogance, Spike; it's merely my observation. You are so... sometimes you seem so.... '
'Sad. You seem so sad, and I thought it might be because you miss something.'
Spike was quiet for a few minutes; he continued to play with his glass on the floor, running his finger around the rim then tapping the crystal. Finally, he said, with a strangely flat tone, 'If you must know, it's this I miss.'
It was Giles' turn to be surprised. He stopped stroking the soft sole of Spike's bare foot and looked up. 'What... the fire? Posing for me?'
Spike laughed, and his voice returned to its habitual cocky tones. 'Fuck off. No, I miss the conversation. I miss being taken seriously.'
'Oh.' Giles felt there was very little else he could say to this.
'Yeah, there you go. Sad hey? Mind you, I've been two vampires, so I'm a bit odd, like, in me tastes.'
Giles had finished and was studying his creation, so his answer was distracted. 'Two?'
'Well, yeah. Pre-chip: post-chip. I didn't miss much of anything before this ruddy chip... too busy fighting, feeding, and fucking. But now... well, I've got sorta slowed down. I can't do those things, so I just wanna talk sometimes, be treated....'
'Like a human?'
'Yes. Like a human.'
Giles put down his paper and sketching tools, and looked directly at Spike. 'Especially when you are doing essential vampire research?'
'Ah....' Spike flashed him a small, self-deprecating grin. 'Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Backfired on me though. Misjudged me audience.'
'Oh, I don't know, Spike. You're here now, aren't you?'
'Yeah, I am.' Spike swung his legs off the couch and sat up. Giles flushed and turned away. Spike smiled evilly at his turned back. 'How's about a pose like this next time?' Giles did not turn around to see what Spike meant and continued to pack away his chalks. He heard a small chuckle and glanced over his shoulder to see Spike dressing. He had already pulled on his jeans and shirt and was lacing his boots. Furious with himself for falling for the ruse, Giles took the bait another way.
'Yes, all right, Spike, we'll do a naked front pose tomorrow, shall we? It would complete the portfolio nicely.' He turned his back to Spike, poking at the fire, pleased when he heard Spike's dressing motions still for a moment.
The next thing he knew, a hand was laid softly on his shoulder, and a voice whispered in his ear. 'Giles, few more sessions, and I'll let you experience the essential Spike in more than one dimension, shall I?'
Before Giles could reply, Spike was gone.
Spike didn't even make it to the tree this time. He collapsed against the wall of the house to one side of the door. He wished he needed to breathe; it seemed appropriate - long, slow, calming breaths. Every stroke of the pencil… every highlight of chalk… he had felt them as if it had been Giles' tongue caressing him. What had they spoken of? He didn't know. He thought at one point Giles had asked to fuck him, but didn't think that likely. Gradually, as the urgency of his arousal subsided, the evening unravelled in his mind and something of their conversation returned. He smiled; he felt buoyant. He had been offered an opportunity to explore something new and, for an eternal creature, that was rare and not to be lightly dismissed… but could he do it? Where would the Big Bad go if supine under that tantalizingly discreet body? Who would he be when that exploration had been… consummated? What new vampire would emerge from the bonfire of that passion? - for he did not doubt that there would be passion. He had felt Giles' suppressed desire for him; it was what was holding him captive to this cool alabaster wall. Spike shrugged; unlife was too long to forgo exploration. He grinned, pushed off the wall, and wondered how he would fill the coming day. Anticipation drove with him to his crypt. He felt vital and alive.
Clem met him at the door with a nervous, guilty look.
'What?' Spike felt his mood plummet. Clem did not look happy.
'I'm sorry, Spike. He's gone.'
'Who?' but he already knew.
'Fang… I put 'im out for a pee… I watched 'im… then I looked away. Well, all right, I had a pee, too… and when I looked back, he was gone!'
'Gone!' Clem was good at reading his friend and took a small step back.
'Yeah. I looked around, Spike, honest. I looked everywhere.'
Spike turned and went back out into the coming dawn. He called and searched for his dog for as long as the darkness allowed him.
He would find him, for how could a small puppy with a broken leg evade a master vampire who wanted to find him?
The cemetery was so full of night scents, he could not distinguish one from the other and, when forced inside by a burning on his skin, he had to agree with Clem that Fang was indeed gone.
Once more Clem looked anxiously at Spike's expression. He thought Spike looked calm but, nevertheless, tried to cheer him up a bit. He held out a new leash and collar he'd bought for the puppy to show Spike. 'Look, see… I didn't mean to lose him; bought him these.'
When Clem left some time after, he hesitated, unwilling to leave Spike in such a… state. He'd never seen his friend utterly lose it before, and it was not something he wished to see again. It had been the leash that had done it… he'd been stupid… he should have hidden it. He turned away from the crypt and made his way home, whistling sadly every so often, hoping a small, familiar figure might still appear.
Giles didn't go to the shop that day. He took off in his car and went for a long walk in the hills. He wanted physical exhaustion; he wanted to forget; he wanted to overcome his desire. He wanted to be alone and to think about the coming night. How would Spike pose? Sitting? - just a glimpse of his penis behind the chair back?… or blatant? - stretched on the couch, his arousal enjoyed by both of them? Where would it lead? Was he ready for what he surely knew was coming? He had left that side of himself behind with the dark magics that had given it air to breathe. Could he rip flesh once more? Could he penetrate and take? What new man would be born from this penetration, and what would die? He'd chosen a good place to come to ask these unanswerable questions, for there was no one to see his confusion and his… determination. He left the hills in good time for the darkness that was coming and returned to Sunnydale ready, eager and aroused.