Eternity's Bright Promise - 2
Spike was there almost on time. He sauntered in as if it were a perfectly normal occurrence. He took the offered drink, flung himself on the couch where he could see the clock and waited. He didn't speak; he didn't move other than to drink. Giles didn't push and made himself busy in the kitchen. After half an hour, Spike got up angrily. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, a light knock sounded on the door. Giles went to open it; Spike stepped back.
The doctor glided in. Giles felt a shiver run down his spine and glanced nervously in the direction of the feet. There was nothing to see but the hem of a long black coat. A slight scratchy noise sounded from its direction when the doctor came to a halt. Giles wanted to look at Spike: he wanted to go and stand close to Spike…. Hell, he really wanted to be standing behind Spike. The doctor turned to look at him and, at the look, Giles capitulated and went hastily over to stand beside the vampire. He felt ridiculous until he sensed Spike move slightly closer to him so their sleeves just touched lightly. The human was not the only one concerned by the doctor's appearance.
An expression 'vulture in a frockcoat' had sprung into Spike's mind as the creature had glided in - just before the thought "no fucking way is that touching me" had lodged. He'd seen Giles' reaction, wanted him closer, been glad when he'd come: the solidarity of the watcher's presence comforting.
'Good evening, gentlemen. Where is the examination to be? Here?' Giles felt like vomiting. There was something in the voice: something inherently evil that made him want to scream.
He sensed Spike about to leave and said under his breath. 'Don't be foolish, think of why he's here.' Giles tried to look at the doctor's face without recoiling and said as pleasantly as he could, 'Yes, I think so - on the couch perhaps. I'll be upstairs if you need me.'
No words, not a single look, but a hand shot out and clamped on his arm. Giles didn't need more: he understood the silent plea for him to stay.
'Err… perhaps I'll wait here after all.'
Spike let go and moved as if in a trance to the couch. He shed his duster and stretched to take off his T-shirt. He glanced over at his audience and turned his back, slipping out of his jeans and onto his belly on the couch in one seamless movement. Giles thought how thin and vulnerable he looked under both their gazes and winced slightly at the bruises from Buffy's beating, which still coloured the torso.
The doctor grinned a skull-like smile at Giles and glided over to begin his examination. It seemed to take forever. He inserted some needles into Spike's spine as if giving demon acupuncture; he tested reactions and nerves; he drew blood and tested it in arcane devices.
Spike kept his face buried into his folded arms, still not speaking or moving or otherwise betraying any emotion.
Giles looked over the naked body, idly comparing it to the one he had conjured up in his bed. Another mistake, he found the examination confusing, and a sense of prurient guilt warred with blossoming arousal.
Eventually, the doctor said, 'Turn over.'
Spike hesitated. Guilt getting the better of desire, Giles said quietly, 'Perhaps I'll make everyone some tea. I'll be in the kitchen, Spike… if you need me.' He saw a small nod and turned away.
When he knew the human was out of eyesight, Spike turned over and let the demon doctor's claw-like hands scratch over his genitals. He stared at the ceiling, grateful that vampires could not blush. He was held, fondled, tested - all to no avail: he remained flaccid.
Eventually, the doctor glided to Giles. 'You're paying - do I report to you alone, or to him as well?'
Giles hesitated briefly. 'No, say what you have to now.' He glanced over at Spike to confirm this decision and blushed deeply when Spike stood up, looking for his jeans.
'There's nothing wrong with him.'
Spike and Giles said together, "What?' Spike hastily pulled on his jeans and came closer.
The demon shrugged. 'Physically, there's nothing wrong.' He glided towards the door. 'I'll send my bill.'
Giles nodded, distracted.
Spike sat down heavily on the couch, his T-shirt suspended in his hands. He bent over as if weary, every disc in his spine visible. Giles came up behind the couch.
'This is good, Spike.'
Spike didn't reply: he seemed to be trying to suppress some strong emotions.
Giles put a hesitant hand on one naked shoulder. 'Spike?' To Giles' amazement, Spike didn't shake off his hand. To the contrary, he leant back into the caress slightly and said, 'It's not bleedin' good, though, is it? Cus if it ain't physical then… it's…. That means….'
'Yes, I know.' Giles could hardly form the words; he stared at the way the short blond hairs brushed over his hand, feeling the contact acutely. 'It's in your mind.'
Spike ripped away at this and stood up, facing him furiously. 'It means I'm fuckin' done for, don't it? Bloody round the twist like Dru - like every other fucking vampire I've ever met.' He shrugged on his T-shirt, grabbed his duster and left, trying to keep his face averted from Giles.
Neither of them slept well.
Giles had a persistent arousal, which, when he tried to alleviate it, only sent him into strange and disturbing, post-orgasmic dreams about birds feeding on carrion. Spike lay awake in the dark, wondering how you could prove you were sane if someone challenged you on it. That he'd not had an erection for over three years because of something in his mind sickened him. He'd thought it was the chip. He tried to will himself to hardness, bringing erotic images into his head; he conjured up the pain; he heard the screaming - but nothing. His penis lay soft and unwilling in his hand. It did not make for an easy night.
Giles expected Spike to come into the shop at every ring of the bell the next day. He almost smelt the burning of his blanket; he almost heard his affable curses as he dodged the sunlight… but he didn't come. Giles locked up early and went home, slightly disappointed, but not surprised. He had no real answers for Spike and had begun to feel he'd opened a can of worms with his meddling that had been better left sealed up tight.
He was very surprised, when almost ready for bed, a loud knocking sounded on the door. He opened it cautiously, even more surprised to see Spike, smiling on the threshold. 'Err… Spike?'
'Let me in, mate. I've come to say thanks.'
'Oh. There's really no need. And it's rather late.' ("And I'm by no means certain what I feel when you come to me like this.")
'Oh, come on, just one drink, and I'll be off.' He waved a bottle of red wine engagingly. Giles couldn't help it. His vision of an evening with Spike, drinking fine wine and listening to music, crept into his mind. He nodded wearily and stood back.
Spike sauntered in. 'Glasses?'
Giles looked at the bottle. 'It's already open.'
Spike didn't look concerned. 'Yeah, sorry mate: I had some earlier then thought about thanking you like, so brought it with me.'
Giles got two glasses out and went to sit on a chair. Spike poured some wine and passed one over. He sat on the couch and nodded amiably as Giles took a sip. 'So, thanks for last night, Watcher. How much do I owe you like, only I'm a bit skint at the mo', but I'll get it to you eventually.'
Giles shook his head. 'Nothing. It's my contribution to Buffy's safety.'
''K. Cheers for that.'
Giles leant back against the chair and drank his wine. Spike didn't drink but sat watching him carefully.
'Put some music on if you want.' It was what he said in his head but couldn't be sure it had come out that way. He couldn't have stood up to save his life and just wanted to sit there, watching Spike. He must have missed Spike putting on the music but heard a soft aria from the speakers. Spike was no longer on the couch; Giles tried to rouse himself enough to find him. He couldn't: the heat was heavy on him once more. Hot inside and out, melting into the room and into the evening… and, ah…. There was Spike; he slid into his vision; he slid against his body; Spike straddled him. This was a dream…. This was a dream he had had before but forgotten. Spike was so light. Why was he so light? Was he swimming? He appeared to be underwater, the light wavering between them. Giles tried to smile at this thought and wondered how he was still breathing - breathing and swallowing. He took another sip of wine, which was strange given his hands lay heavy and useless on his lap. Maybe the glass was magically suspended in the enchantment. He remembered swallowing the last mouthful; he remembered Spike leaning toward him; he looked blearily into piercing, penetrating blue eyes; he remembered one sweet, soft kiss and a tongue that set him on fire with its coolness… and then he knew no more.
Spike put the glass down on the floor and leaned back in towards Giles. He placed cool lips to his; he eased a cool tongue into the warm mouth, and opened it up. He held Giles' floppy head steady so he could kiss him. He kissed hungrily; he put a hand down to Giles' crotch and fondled the soft bulge. He slipped a hand under Giles' shirt and stroked over the warm belly.
There was nothing. His own softness mocked him. He jerked back, tipping his face up to the ceiling in despair. Unsupported, Giles flopped over to one side. Spike pursed his lips and tipped his head on one side a little. The human looked almost endearing. He smiled and picked him up over one shoulder effortlessly and took him up to bed. Giles moaned slightly as he was placed onto the mattress. He moaned even more as his shirt and trousers were removed. Spike sat down next to him and folded his arms on his thighs, pondering. He lay back - just for a moment - too weary and too depressed to go home. It was quiet and comfortable. He swung his feet up and stretched out.
Giles breathed softly next to him; it was the first time he'd shared his bed with a breathing creature. It was the most profoundly depressing thing he'd thought about in a succession of depressing things. He turned over onto his belly and hoped the human staked him in the morning.
Giles woke up naked in his bed. Thoughts battered their way in through a raging headache. Thirst was the most urgent, the need to pee a close second. Wondering about the time slid in third, and only then did the thought that there was a vampire lying next to him creep in. He didn't move. Spike was lying asleep next to him. Blue eyes staring at him flashed into his mind. Spike had kissed him. No… wind back…. Spike had drugged him, then Spike had kissed him, and then….
Giles mentally checked over his body and knew, with a profound sigh of relief, nothing worse than Spike's tongue had been inside him. He turned and propped himself up on his elbow, wincing, as even that small movement made the shards of pain penetrate into previously untouched tissue in his head. Spike's eyelids fluttered slightly, rapid eye movement visible for a moment, before deeper sleep resumed.
The human rolled onto his back once more utterly confused by the sleeping vampire.
As if a lover already, as if he sensed Giles' depression, Spike turned over and wrapped him up: one cool thigh lying over Giles' groin, and one strong arm wrapping tightly around his warm chest. Spread-eagled thus, the vampire nuzzled his face under a slack arm, forcing the human to raise it and embrace him.
Giles lay rigid. Spike's leg lay directly over his penis, and it stirred slightly to life… but that was not the most entrancing sensation: Spike's face was cool against his hot skin, just as he had imagined it would be.
What could he do? He drifted back to sleep, one finger swirling over the short blond hairs on the back of Spike's neck…. This time, his dreams were far more alluring.
When he woke again, Spike was gone.
Spike did not come to the shop the next day. Giles doubted he'd have seen the vampire at all but for a chance meeting outside the Bronze. They both appeared to be looking for Buffy, both unsuccessfully. Giles gave Spike a bitter look. Spike followed him to the bar and sat, head lowered, playing with a beer mat.
Giles didn't look at him, but said angrily, 'Why did you do it…. I'm curious, Spike, as to what you thought you were doing.'
Spike pursed his lips a little and seemed put out by being questioned so abruptly, but after some obvious internal debate, said, 'I just got to thinking about what that vulture said… 'bout me being mental an' all… and I just thought that if I kissed someone, it might all come back like.'
Giles swivelled on his barstool and stared incredulously at Spike. He began to laugh. 'Oh, you stupid vampire!'
Spike did a double take at the human and stormed out of the bar furiously. Giles hesitated and then followed him, watching the retreating back as it stomped down alleyways and on into the high street. Spike knew the watcher was following him, and eventually sat down at a table outside a café, searching for his cigarettes and lighter. Giles paused, and then sat down opposite him. When the waiter appeared, Giles looked at Spike, got no response, so ordered tea for himself. They were silent, Spike smoking and clicking his lighter open and closed.
When the order arrived, they both stared at it for a moment. Giles sighed and said to no one in particular, 'I don't care how long I live in this country; I will never get used to that.' He picked up the cold drink and eyed it distastefully. He peered at Spike over the rim of the glass and began to chuckle once more.
Spike squinted back at the human through his habitual pall of smoke; the faintest twitch of his lips softened his look. 'What ya laughing at, ya poof?'
Giles shook his head fractionally. 'I was comatose, Spike; what did you think would happen? You can't get aroused unless passion is reciprocated. You need someone to kiss back.' He glanced at Spike's lips as he spoke: they were flawlessly pink in the pale face. 'You need someone holding you.' He looked at Spike's nails, imagining their dark glory trailing down his back and shifted uncomfortably. 'You need the soft noises people make when they get pleasure from another body…. You can't get real pleasure unless it's reciprocated.'
Spike's eyes were fixed on Giles. His pupils dilated. Giles couldn't take his gaze off them. The vampire suddenly shook himself. 'That's not true, Watcher. I've taken people all me unlife, and the less willing they were, the more I drilled 'em.'
Giles shuddered and sipped his revolting drink for a moment. He was about to say something when an idea crept into his mind. 'Say that again.'
Spike looked annoyed. 'Rape, Giles. Rape turns me on.'
'But you couldn't… didn't last night?'
'No.' Spike looked down. 'Didn't even wanna try… and how pathetic is that?'
Giles winced at the vampire's logic, but mulled the reply around in his mind. Spike watched him. 'What?'
'Spike, maybe the chip - and the not hunting - has changed you in other ways. Maybe you now need all the things I outlined. And then there's your treatment at the hands of Angelus.…'
Giles looked up sharply. 'What?'
'Watching you being repeatedly buggered, Giles, weren't the most fun moment of me unlife.'
Someone spoke it for the first time. Giles went hot then cold. His hand tightened on his glass until a cool hand slid over his. 'Mate, you'll crack it.'
Giles stared desperately at Spike; Spike held the look. 'I didn't enjoy being made to watch that.'
Giles nodded slightly. 'No, I had the impression you didn't, or you'd have made more sport of it: used it before now.'
Spike laughed ruefully. 'You trying to say I've become a poof?'
Giles tried to smile. 'Needing someone to love you isn't unmanly, Spike.'
Spike suddenly stood up, tipping his chair over in his anxiety to be away. He leant over the human, and his voice was bitter. 'Maybe… but it fucking buggers me for eternity, don't it? You seem to forget, Rupert, with your psychobabble and offers of help - I'm a soddin' reanimated corpse, walking 'round cus the demon that inhabits this dead body feeds itself on others' blood. I'm so fuckin' loveable, so soddin' desirable, ain't I?'
He stormed off into the hot night, his duster swirling around him.
Giles sat stunned at the table. Deliberately avoiding any self-analysis about Spike, it now came anyway. Giles didn't think about Spike like that at all: to him, Spike was… infinitely desirable. He looked slowly down at his hands and could not ignore a second bit of startling self-knowledge: Spike would never - could never - desire him. He was under no illusion about the vampire's impression of him: old, fussy, boring… and they were probably the more flattering of Spike's descriptions. He shoved his drink away with an angry gesture and watched as the glass wobbled, tipped, and the cold tea spilt onto the blisteringly hot pavement. It was not his place to feel sorry for himself: he was the watcher, and Buffy needed him. He needed to put aside personal feelings and work on a plan to help Spike.
Giles paid for the drink and began to walk slowly back through the town, occasionally brushed and elbowed by the people out enjoying the warm night air. He watched their eager, happy faces rather bitterly, but a plan began to surface in his mind. He looked at it carefully from all angles, even paused and stared blankly in a shop window for some time as he considered it.
It only took him a few minutes to walk briskly to the vampire's lair. He opened the crypt door uneasily: not through fear that the vampire was dangerous, but from the oddly embarrassing thought that, even though he'd known Spike for years, he'd only been there once before. Spike was not there. Giles was about to leave when he saw the open hatch. That was new.
He descended carefully, making a deliberate amount of noise. Spike was sitting on the end of his bed, idly holding the T-shirt he'd obviously just removed. 'Just fuck off, Rupert.'
Giles came closer. 'I have an idea.'
Spike looked up wearily. Giles was moved by the vampire's look of utter resignation and realised what a trial this must be for him. He took encouragement from Spike's lack of response and hovered uneasily by the small bar. 'I think you're right, Spike: you are just a corpse.' He saw Spike's look and continued hastily. 'You are just reanimated, but why do you have to be?'
Spike gave him an angrily incredulous look. 'What the fuck are you babbling about, Watcher?'
'No one knows who or what you are - except for the few of us. You can be who you want. It's not as if you have 'vampire' tattooed anywhere, is it? You don't have vampire tattooed anywhere, do you?'
Spike smiled for the first time. 'Not so 's you notice, no. So, you saying I should pass meself off as human then and pick up a shag like.'
'Err… yes, I suppose I am.'
'Uh huh. And just where would I do that neat trick then?'
'Well, there're all sorts of places and groups and.… Well, I'm not really sure, but I suppose there are bars and places… like pubs at home.'
Spike actually began to look interested. He started to pace around. 'So, I don't tell 'em I'm dead… do the dirty deed… and, hey presto, all cured.'
'You have a unique talent there, Spike, to turn the most honourable of intentions into something sordid and unpleasant.'
Spike grinned. 'Honed over decades, mate.'
Giles took the opportunity of the vampire's pacing to sit down on the very edge of the bed. He tried to resist the temptation to inspect the sheets. 'I think where you go rather depends on what sort of girl you were trying to pick up.'
'Well, woman then. What sort do you go for?'
Spike looked genuinely puzzled for a moment then said hesitantly, 'Tall?'
Giles looked relieved. 'Good, tall.'
'Exactly, tall and strong.'
'Oh, well not too difficult to match, I'd have thought.'
'Gotta be interesting…. Ya know, things to talk about.'
'So, tall, strong and smart.'
'So, what, I just go out tomorrow and… find someone?'
Giles looked him over slowly from head to foot. 'No. You'll have to get new clothes first.'
'And that would be why?'
'That would be because you look as if you've stepped out of a Billy Idol tribute band, Spike. And a not very good one at that. If you're going to pass as human, you need twenty-first century clothes.'
Spike made a show of eyeing Giles from head to foot, raised one ironic eyebrow, but didn't comment further.
Giles knew he had nothing to lose now. 'You'll need a new name as well.'
Surprisingly, Spike agreed. 'Damn right, ain't gonna take this name to no wussy bar to pick up some fuck-me-easy. This name's got history, mate: it means something in the demon world.'
'Hmm. Exactly. So… what would you like to be called?'
Spike gave a good impression of a rabbit being caught in headlights. 'Fuck.'
'Stick with Spike in that case.'
'Pillock. I dunno. What do you think?'
Giles gave a small smirk. 'You probably don't want to know. All right, let's decide on a persona first, and the name might just occur to us.'
'Absolutely. When you became Spike, you must have had some idea who he was in your head first?'
'Damn right I did. He was a fuckingly cool demon.'
'So… who are you going to be?'
Spike was looking increasingly worried. 'None?'
'Yes, that would really get the girls flocking in, Spike. You must have a good job and - ergo - money.'
'Oh, yeah. Rock star?'
'Trying to get away from the heroin-chic look, remember? What else do you know about, besides music?'
'Blood and death?'
'Oh! A doctor.' He looked at Spike's hair. 'Maybe not. Something else, and it's got to be credible.'
Spike hesitated for a moment. 'A teacher then.'
Giles almost laughed but knew he'd have lost the demon if he had. 'Teacher.'
'It's what I was gonna be… 'fore I got murdered like. Classics, or history… equally good at both.'
Giles looked genuinely impressed. 'Or modern languages now…. How many do you speak?'
Spike looked up for a moment then shrugged. 'Three or four.'
Giles began to get excited. 'It's absolutely perfect. An English teacher in America…. Why are you over here?'
Spike gave a small, evil grin. 'Visiting my brother.'
Giles nodded. 'Excellent. And he could be a.…'
'Oh.' Giles paused, considering this from various angles, all of them seductively dangerous for him. 'That means I'd have to come out with you.'
Spike began to chuckle. 'Cup of tea, cup of tea, nearly had a shag…? Think maybe I'm not the only one havin' a little problem getting laid.'
Giles got up angrily and began to walk towards the ladder. Spike's laughter followed him. He paused. It was not mocking; it was…. He turned and looked at the vampire. Spike was laughing a deep, genuine laugh. It was infectious. Giles began to laugh, too. Spike sat down and then laid back, hiccuping slightly as he looked at the ceiling. 'Fuck, the most unlikely trapping duo in town. So, where'da we start then?'