Eternity's Bright Promise - 4
Spike didn't bother to knock: he just sat on the bike and used the horn until Giles appeared.
Giles came up the steps from his apartment, zipping up his jacket and did not immediately look at Spike. When he did, he jerked up abruptly. Spike had on his war paint. The English teacher was gone, and in his place was a vampire dressed to kill: black jeans, black T-shirt, duster, boots, a wild assortment of rings and necklaces, hair spiked up…. These, and the casual pose on the bike, made Giles blink very slowly. Spike grinned, and the look was even harder, less full of genuine amusement than it had been the previous night.
'I got sick of your way, mate; we're gonna do it my way from now on. No poncy museums and fuckingly nice people who wouldn't fuck me if their lives depended on it…. I'm gonna do what I should have done in the first place: find me someone who's gonna want what I got.'
'You know you should have given it more of a go, Spike. Lots of girls were asking me who you were. I could have introduced you.'
'Watcher.' Spike allowed a pregnant pause while he waited for the human to focus on him. 'I'm doing this to have a shag. Do you really think any of the thick-lens cretins in that museum would do it with me in my crypt tonight?'
Giles frowned. 'I thought you wanted intellectual?'
Spike turned away. 'Yeah, well, maybe I had someone in mind, but they ain't being all that fucking clever at the moment.'
It was not lost on Giles that Spike's accent was harsher, too: more like the vampire he remembered from the pre-Initiative days. He wasn't at all sure he wanted to go anywhere with this Spike, but this thought was rather contradicted by the surge of desire and anticipation that had washed through him at that first sight. He cleared his throat slightly, and waved vaguely at the whole ensemble. 'And you're doing this, why?'
Spike busied himself lighting a cigarette, his face buried in his cupped hands as if a particularly strong wind was about to extinguish his light. 'I just got confused, that's all, mate. Tried too hard to be… likeable. I ain't, so better make the most of me good points.'
'Ah. So why am I coming along - given you seem to have rejected my plan.'
Spike grinned and the effect of the smile covered the lie quite successfully. 'Cus I want the contrast…. Fuck, watcher, I walk in with you… I'm 'alf way there already! Now, you coming?'
Giles reluctantly came towards the bike. Something was very wrong. He wasn't stupid, he could sense Spike was lying, and he could hear the thin layer of control over the vampire's emotions. What if he let Spike go out like this alone? What damage could he cause, what mess for Buffy to clean up later? Thus he rationalised far baser desires and swung his leg gingerly over the seat. 'Err… helmet?'
Spike turned around with a withering look. 'Yeah, an' I'm gonna floss carefully tonight, too. Live a little, human.'
Giles didn't bother to point out the contradictions in this last: he was too busy trying to discover what he was supposed to hold onto. Spike didn't wait for him to find out; he kicked the bike into life and swung out sharply into the street. Giles gasped and grabbed him tightly around the waist.
Spike looked over his shoulder, and their eyes met briefly. Spike's look was unreadable, and he quickly turned back to the front. He slammed the bike into a lower gear and shot it manically up the street. Giles clung on, closed his eyes and prayed.
After half an hour, and once they'd left the constricted streets of Sunnydale behind, he relaxed enough to notice he had his hands locked vice-like over Spike's belly. It was hard, every muscle clearly defined under his hands as Spike moved slightly to control the bike. Only the thin fabric of the T-shirt kept their skin apart. Giles began to grow embarrassingly hard, and he shifted fractionally back in the seat to prevent any contact giving this away. There wasn't far to go, but he had managed to create a fraction of an inch of space between his bulge and Spike's backside, when the vampire suddenly shifted back himself, clamping them firmly together again. Giles felt himself blushing and tried to will his erection down. They pulled out onto the coast road and headed north. Giles was bemused and wondered how far Spike intended to go. He shouted over the noise of the bike. 'Where are we going?'
Spike only shook his head slightly and pushed back further, lying lower over the bike, forcing Giles to lie lower over him or have the full blast of the air in his face. He was so close to lying his face on Spike's back as to make no difference, so he did… turning so his cheek lay on the leather, and he could watch the ocean speeding away on his left. He fell into a relaxed, almost trance-like state, and was startled into a small cry of shock when Spike abruptly pulled over into a small viewpoint on the edge of the cliff. 'Are we there?'
Spike swung his right leg over the bike, cocking it over the tank, as he perched sidewards to light a cigarette. Giles felt stiff and massaged his arms, now empty and rather cold. 'Is this where it - what ever 'it' is - is?'
Spike didn't reply as he concentrated on his first drag, but then shook his head. 'Nah. Just wanted a break.' He paused, seemed to be considering what mood to be in, and then said almost conversationally. 'I come 'ere a lot.'
Giles looked at him bewildered. 'Err…. Why?'
Spike turned to him, wide-eyed. 'Are you bloody serious? Fuck, watcher, look!'
Giles did. There was the sea: granted it was pretty, but it was just a lot of water when all was said and done. 'The sea?'
Spike continued to look at him and repeated - as if talking to someone mentally impaired - 'The - Sea.'
Giles looked back, trying really hard. 'Oh look, the moon is out, and it's nearly full. High tide's soon, I should think.'
Spike shook his head and turned back to contemplate the dark depths of the water. 'Look at its reflection, Giles: it's like mercury rolling over dark marble. Look at the swells and the breaking crests of white. Can you hear how deep it is? Can you hear how old it is?'
Giles turned to watch the pale vampire and thought how beautiful he looked in the moonlight. He shook himself and said bluntly, before he thought, 'You can't understand beauty.'
Spike slid off the seat and paced to the edge of the cliff to throw his cigarette out into the night, creating a small arc of red. When he turned back, his face was calm, but his voice was as cold as the ocean he had admired. 'And that would be why?'
'Well, you don't have a soul, Spike. Only souled things…. Only humans can appreciate beauty: it's what sets up apart from the animals.'
'Uh huh. I thought that was liking TV.'
'Don't joke about it, Spike. It's…. Are you telling me that you come here and look at the sea?'
Spike climbed back on the bike, set his shoulders as if about to say something, then viciously kicked the bike into life once more and slammed it into gear. Giles thought he heard a hissed, 'Fuck you,' as they pulled into the road, but once again, he was too busy staying alive to think about it too clearly.
Another half an hour, and they pulled onto a small dirt track, heading east. Spike pulled up, dug in his pocket, consulted a small piece of paper, and then continued on down the track. Going much slower now, Giles was able to speak quite easily. 'You've not been here before?'
Spike laughed, unpleasantly. 'No fucking way: I've never been that sad.'
'Pull over. Spike! Pull over.'
Spike stopped the bike and sat, staring forward. Giles put a hand on his arm, but the vampire only glanced down at it, in a non-committal way. 'What?'
''I'm sorry, Spike. I don't know what I've done to offend you, but I can see that I've done something. You're very… angry for some reason, and I'm sorry for that. But….'
'What?' Spike's voice was slightly warmer, and Giles heard the change.
'Truthfully? I'm scared, Spike. You've brought me out to God-knows-where to do God-knows-what and, chip or no chip, I am rather at your mercy. You saved my life the other night but… you had no reason to. So since then, since…. God! Look, Spike, I didn't mean…. I wasn't upset about you biting me. Well, no, that's not quite right: I was damn annoyed, and it hurt, but the blood… you taking it…. It's all right. Am I making any sense here at all?'
Spike did an amazing one hundred and eighty degree spin turn on the bike so he was facing Giles. He grinned and flicked up one eyebrow, pleased with the surprised look on the human's face. 'You asking me not to get you killed?'
Giles frowned. 'No. That's not it at all. Well, I'm asking that as well of course. But I…. Goodness, this is far too close: let me off.' He moved back a little and felt enough space to continue. 'I'm trying to say… and I seem to be finding it oddly difficult… is that you… you… don't revolt me - if that is what all this I-must-be-a-vampire-again look is all about.'
Spike looked thoughtfully at him. This was new. This kind of put an interesting slant on the hard bulge he'd enjoyed against his backside since they'd left Sunnydale. Spike had thought the watcher was just turned on by chrome and leather: fuck, who wouldn't be? He chewed one side of his lip for a moment then gave a far warmer and more genuine grin than he'd given all night. 'Come on, mate, you'll enjoy it…. Guaranteed. Give you something to think about, anyway.'
'So, we're - to use that ghastly American expression - we're okay? And I really must find someone else to talk to than a gang of culturally impaired Californian teenagers.'
Spike chuckled as he reversed his impressive spin. 'I'm okay, pet; but you're just a sad fuck with a fetish for helmets. Now, let's get there, 'fore all the fun's over.'
Five minutes later, and Spike pulled up in front of a small building. It was too small to hold more than a medium sized car, and Giles was baffled. Spike hammered on the door, and a tough looking man opened it. He folded his arms. Giles peered around and could see a flight of steps disappearing down to a basement and heard loud music drumming out.
Spike grinned. 'Nah, Willie sent us…. Here.' He handed the man the small piece of paper. It was glanced at, and the bouncer stood aside for them.
Spike blew him a kiss and ran down the stairs. Giles looked down reluctantly. 'What is this place?'
'Place for the useless, sick and rich - if you ask me, man.'
'Err… I'm not with you.'
The man eyed Giles thoughtfully. 'You're not here to imbibe then?'
'What? I'm getting a little tired of all this cryptic secrecy. What is this place, and who comes here?'
'It's a vampire club. What did you think?'
Giles felt his bowels shift slightly. 'A club for vampires?' He backed away a little.
The bouncer looked at him as if he were utterly mad. 'You need help. You're just like these fuck-ups. They believe in vampires…. Rich kids who wanna be vampires or something…. I don't know, and I don't care: I just tend the door. I get my tips, and I go home to my wife and kids… kids who play little league and go surfing… in the sun. Some of these sad fucks are as pale as slugs. They need help, but they pay the bills.'
'This is a club for vampire… admirers?'
'Yep. Crazy world.'
The thought flickered across Giles' mind that he was in the right place after all. He descended the stairs.
Spike was by the bar. He'd shed his duster and was talking animatedly to a… troglodyte. Giles looked more carefully and discovered her to be just a short girl in gothic makeup. He came up to them. Spike turned and grinned at him, enjoying the game. 'This is Moon Maiden; she's dead keen on vampires. I'm talking DEAD keen, Giles, ain't you MM?'
'Oh yes, I want to be turned and be an Eternal of the Night.'
Giles frowned. 'Don't you think that's a little rash? I wouldn't think clawing your way out of a coffin, having no heart beat, and never seeing the sun was all that much fun…. Oh and then there's the little thing about ripping out your family's throats and drinking their blood.'
The girl looked at him bitterly. 'Why are you here? This is a place for believers.'
'Oh, I believe: believe me. I just think that vampires are….'
'Revolting?' Spike helpfully finished his sentence as the girl stormed off, annoyed. Giles turned and looked at the vampire. Spike was looking inordinately pleased with himself, and Giles suddenly realised he'd been led by the nose and trapped, without even realising Spike's game. He'd only just said he wasn't revolted by Spike. He'd meant it… anything but revulsion… and here - being faced by people that disgusted him, with ideas that went against everything he'd devoted his adult life to - he had been forced to see the true extent of a lifetime's self-deceit. He was now not so different from them. How could he call them on their dangerous foolishness when he fantasised about the vampire standing laughing at him now? He turned angrily to go. Spike put a hand on his arm. 'Don't, please?'
Giles whirled around. 'Why did you bring me here? You know I can't tolerate them, Spike. Good God, Buffy risks her life every day and night to fight the things they admire. And me? I'm supposed to revile vampires, but….'
'What? For fuck's sake, Giles, what?' Spike was very close, his eyes wide and pleading. 'See, I thought… when I…. In the alley… when I…. Fuck! When I kissed you, I thought you liked it. But then you said….'
'I didn't say anything, Spike; I only meant…. I was just surprised when I thought about something of me being in you. It was new, and it threw me. I did enjoy…. Fuck!'
Giles smiled shyly. 'Yes, well, I'm a little… confused and…. Drink! Alcohol, suddenly very necessary, yes?'
Spike laughed. 'You paying then?'
'Of course, I seem to belong here more than you after all.'
'How'd ya work that out then, mate.'
Giles began to walk away. 'You, Spike, merely are a vampire, whereas I…. Well, I'm like all of them, I seem to like a vampire.' He leant over the bar a little and ordered two large drinks.
Spike came up and stood next to him - close enough for their arms to touch - and chuckled. 'So, which vampire is that then, pet? Do I know 'im?'
Giles hesitated, then put a hand lightly over the vampire's. 'You, Spike, I like you. Don't ask me why; you are obnoxious, evil, odd, loud, annoying, expensive, and scary sometimes; but for all that, you are now under my skin. Like a rather annoying itch, I suppose.'
Spike laughed delightedly and turned to lean on the bar, hooking his elbows over it casually. 'Well, you know what you've gotta do with an itch, don't you mate?'
'Ignore it, don't make it worse and hope it'll go away?'
'Nah….' Spike turned and looked very pointedly at Giles. 'You've gotta take it into a dark corner and give it a bloody good scratching.' Without giving Giles time to respond to this, he added mischievously, 'Ya know? Talkin' 'bout this has made me all… ready for action. Wanna come charm the natives with me?'
Still reeling from the mental image of giving Spike a good scratching in the dark, Giles answered rather absent-mindedly, 'You're not going to… you know… prove the existence of vampires, are you?'
Spike licked his lips slowly. 'Hmm. I might. Just slip into game face, hey? Test out the love-a-vampire freaks?'
'Don't, Spike; they're children really. Leave them to enjoy their fantasies. Real life will hit them soon enough.'
Spike squinted at him quizzically. 'What's up with you? Not your usual cheery self?'
'Yes, well. I feel about a hundred years old in here, Spike: worldly, weary and frankly, rather boring.'
'Old and boring, yes.'
' "Oh." Is that all you can say?'
'No, not all: I was just thinking that you're about a hundred years younger than me, that's all.'
Giles looked shocked for a moment, then said in wonder. 'I'd forgotten. Spike, genuinely, I'd forgotten. I look at you and I see… such a young man. But, my God, you were….'
Spike laughed and lit a cigarette carefully; he seemed to be thinking about something. Suddenly, he turned to Giles and kissed him, so quickly the human hardly knew what had happened. In a blur of black, he slipped off into the crowd, but Giles heard a distinct, 'Thanks, pet,' before he was gone from sight completely.
Giles put a hand to his lips. The first kiss he'd been drugged, the second had saved his life, but now this - a kiss freely offered. Giles wanted to leave; he wanted to take the vampire with him, and he wanted to return that kiss just as freely, only for much, much longer.
He lost sight of Spike in the crowd and felt the loss acutely. He began to follow in the direction he'd gone and eventually spotted him surrounded by the wannabes. He found a comfortable spot on some stairs where he could watch unmolested and sat back to enjoy the show.
Spike was in his element: he charmed, provoked, annoyed, and toyed with the teenagers. He spotted Giles and came over, flinging himself down with a laugh. 'Told 'em I'd take 'em to meet some actual vampires; got some real, real interesting offers of favours in return, believe me.' He laughed again and sprang up, 'Get us another drink, mate, yeah?' Giles watched with increasing fondness as the vampire stomped back to his new acolytes.
Suddenly, Giles heard a quiet voice to his left and turned to find the troglodyte, holding hands with a very small, very intense man. She looked rather bitterly at Giles and said, 'This is Julian. He's our founder. He's a world expert on vampires.'
Giles spluttered into his drink. 'Hello, Julian. Nice to meet you.'
Julian felt the occasion too acutely to bother with niceties. 'Moon says you are an unbeliever.'
Giles tried not to laugh. 'No, no, on the contrary, I do believe. I just don't think vampires are things to be celebrated or admired.'
'They are the great ones. They are… magnificent.'
'Uh huh. So, other than the blood drinking thing that I covered earlier with… err, Moon, on what does this claim to greatness lie?'
'Vampires are beyond our human pettiness: they are sublime.'
'Hey, Rupert ya git, where's me drink? Oh, fuck you; give us some money and I'll get 'em in…. I've nearly scored over 'ere.' Spike appeared, delved in Giles' pocket, took some cash, and left in another blur of black.
Giles coughed to hide his amusement. 'You were saying?'
Julian, distracted momentarily, continued in the same awed, knowledgeable tone. 'The blood drinking is completely misunderstood. It's only done for ritual purposes and then only the blood of willing volunteers: and we are all here to serve, of course, if called upon. They have no earthly needs, or desire for sustenance, and thus remove themselves from the baseness that is human.
'Here you are, poof, bought a couple of bottles, save me going to the bar like. You look after 'em, yeah? Oh, want one of me chicken wings? I'm fucking starving…. See ya.' Giles took the whisky in his arms, balanced the basket of wings on his lap and watched Spike's slim form disappear back into the crowd. He turned once more to Julian, this time not bothering to hide his smile.
'I'm beginning to see why you like vampires so much, Julian. Thank you for all these insights.'
'They can fly, you know.' Julian looked askance at Giles as the watcher tried to stifle a very obvious giggle behind his hand.
'Oh yes, they are beyond our physical laws and can move through the night sky with the power of their thoughts alone.'
'Uh huh, so no motorbikes then?'
Julian didn't even bother to reply to this. 'Why have you come here? You disturb our atmosphere.'
'Yes, I'm sorry… only, I came with my friend over there. You see he's a… great vampire admirer….'
Julian followed Giles' gaze and made a beeline towards Spike. Giles dug into the wings, beginning to enjoy himself.
He was halfway through the first whisky bottle when he realised, firstly that he couldn't see Spike anymore, and secondly that he needed to pee. He wondered if these children allowed themselves such non-vampire activities, but make a slow circuit of the room looking for an exit. He finally found one and fumbled his way down a dark, hot corridor. He heard a slight sound and stopped as two figures appeared as he rounded a corner. One of them was unmistakable, and he watched Spike's pale hands running lightly over the other one. The girl was pinned against the wall, her long, slim limbs spread-eagled against the peeling paint. Their mouths were wide, soft moaning sounds issuing from the girl. Spike was pressing his body against hers, his groin thrusting forward slightly as if working her.
Giles staggered slightly. He backed away. He pushed back through the door, through the crowded room, ran up the stairs, pushed past the doorman, and burst out in the hot night air. He felt he couldn't breathe but could hear his own ragged intake of air. He sat down heavily on a wall and lowered his head into his hands.
This was what he'd wanted to happen at the start: this was what it was all for.
Spike would shag that girl.
He would release the pent-up aggression that was making him so unreliable and then… then… Buffy would be safe: all would be right once more.
That was what it had all been for. So why did he want to… scream? Cry? Hurt something? Hurt Spike?
'What's wrong, pet?'
Spike sat down next to him.
Giles jerked his head up and took off his glasses, shading his expression as he did. 'Nothing, I was just hot.'
'So. All cured then, Spike?
'Un huh. I thought that was you.'
'Yes, sorry. But it's all over then? As I said, cured?'
Spike kept staring at him, and Giles felt uncomfortably vulnerable under the intense look. He felt so old, so shabby, so tired.
'What, Spike?' He began to polish his glasses in his old, comforting routine.
'Do you remember what I said 'bout why I wanted you here tonight?'
'Yes, I do. I seem to remember you wanted me along for the contrast - to make you look more attractive. Obviously, it's worked.'
Spike laughed. 'Nah. I had a different kind of contrast in mind. See, that girl,' he grinned wickedly, 'did nothing for me, whereas you….' He leaned over, clasped both hands around the back of Giles head, opened his mouth and swallowed the warm, human ear. At the Giles' gasp of surprise, Spike clamped his mouth to the now open lips, clashing his tongue against the soft warm one that greeted him. Giles faltered, reached the bottom of the wave and then began to rise on a huge swell of need and desire, pleasure and excitement. He began to chuckle and, finding it hard to kiss and laugh, pulled away. Spike was laughing, too, and swung a leg over the wall to sit astride it. 'So, Watcher…. You wanna do this here and now - stop us both being warrior monks? And did I just say that out loud?'
Giles just laughed again. 'Are you sure you can? The girl proved at least… potential, yes?'
Spike play-punched him lightly. 'Pillock! I've been hard for you since I tasted your mouth in that alley. You just don't get it, do you?'
'Obviously not: not as frequently as I'd like, anyway.' Giles put his hand to Spike's cheekbone; he stroked along it, the vampire turning his face into the caress. Giles sighed, 'Not here and not now. Let's go… home, yes? Warrior monk.'
Spike pouted for a moment but, with a light peck on Giles' cheek, went to fetch the bike.