Eternity's Bright Promise - 8
Spike, as might be expected, was the first to recover. A small, amused voice drifted over Giles. 'Fuck.'
Giles gave a small groan. 'If that's a question, Spike, then I'm afraid the answer is no… for quite some time.'
'Did you answer your question, pet?'
Giles chuckled. 'Umm. Yea for cramp, I think.'
'Yeah.' Spike sat up and lit a cigarette, wriggling slightly on the blanket. 'Remind me not to fuck on sand anytime soon.' Giles chuckled and rolled over onto his stomach.
'Goodness, I'm starving suddenly. Don't suppose you brought any….'
Spike flicked over a crushed bag from the bottom of his box and then fished out a flask of something dark and viscous, which he opened slowly, not letting his gaze drop from Giles. Giles just shrugged at the blood and delved in the bag, pulling out some doughnuts. He looked at the slightly squashed, stale offering for a moment, then shrugged once more and ate one anyway. Munching, he watched Spike drinking the blood and found it strangely… affecting.
He couldn't face another doughnut and looked wistfully at the box. 'Did you bring anything else for me?'
Spike put down his empty flask and looked intently at him. Without dropping his gaze, he reached over and fetched something, and then held it out on his hand. Giles looked down, then back up at Spike. He shook his head fractionally. 'No.'
Spike didn't rise to this; he only put the small tub of lubrication on the blanket between them. 'I'm going for a swim, pet, think about it, yes?'
Giles watched the pale, slim body sliding back into the black waters and missed him even more than the first time. Now the beach held no fear for him, it was just the missing of Spike: his company, his body. He tried not to look at the jar lying by his thigh. If he didn't look at it, he didn't need to think about it… but the expression on Spike's face when he had cum, the cries of pleasure the vampire had made as he'd been penetrated. Could it ever be like that for him?
After an hour or so, Spike returned and flung himself, wet, on the blanket. He looked at Giles through lowered lids, trying to read his expression. Giles didn't speak, but he turned over on his belly. He did not pull away when Spike knelt between his legs and laid a cold hand on his backside.
Wisely, Spike seemed to have decided that he was better off not speaking. He lay down between Giles' legs and put a hand on each cheek. Giles was surprised that the vampire did not immediately use the lubrication, but understood why when he felt a cool tongue probing and seeking entry. He relaxed fractionally, knowing that this would not - could not - hurt. Spike began to work the hole. He licked and nuzzled it, pressed it with his thumbs, never quite entering, never quite wholly outside. Giles felt incredibly relaxed; he folded his arms under his head and fell into a deep, contented trance, focused but drifting. Time seemed to have no meaning: the sea neither rose nor fell; night did not give way to morning, but still Spike worked Giles' hole. After a while, he felt swollen; his anus had begun to throb with a delicious pulse of need. He needed to be entered; he wanted to be entered. He moaned softly and sensed the vampire kneeling up. He felt a cool gel being applied all around his hot, puckered skin, pushed in with the most delicate of touches. More…. Handfuls of the gel applied until he felt full of the slick material. He didn't think he could stand, let alone contribute much to this: exhaustion and stiffness had crept into muscles that he now wanted to be hard and working. He groaned in frustration at his own humanity. Spike didn't try and get Giles to rise; he lay down beside him and gently turned him over, just lifting one warm thigh slightly, so it lay over his cool one.
Naturally, gently, he slid into Giles as easily as his pale body slid into the ocean. Giles moaned to the sensation of stretch that he had not realised could be so pleasurable. When he was fully in, Spike propped himself up on one elbow and just moved his hips fractionally. There was hardly any thrust, more a soft wave-like surge of his cock deep into Giles' rectum. Spike put his other hand to the human's face and turned him slightly so they were looking at each other.
That was different. Giles blushed: this was so much more intense than what they had done before. That had been raw, urgent need. This was something different: this was intimacy. Spike's eyes reflected the moonlight and seemed almost luminous themselves; they were a brilliant flash of colour in the otherwise muted grey tones of the beach and the sea. Giles risked a small smile and chuckled when it was returned in full measure. Spike bent down to the soft laughter, and as he ran a thumb over Giles' cheek, he kissed him softly.
Giles relaxed back into the blanket; the vampire easing into him and kissing him. How had he come to this place? His life had not been destined for this. Where was the stable job in some small market town in the Home Counties? Where was the wife at home with his children? He should be lying in a bed in pyjamas, life mapped out and predictable. Yet here he was, on an isolated, Californian beach, making love with a vampire. A sense of unease drifted over the watcher, and Spike seemed to feel the returning tenseness. He paused for a moment, pulling away from Giles' mouth and easing the soft, rocking motions into his body.
Spike shifted position so he was kneeling once more and gently lifted Giles' legs - one at a time - onto his shoulders. Giles turned his head away: another embarrassment, another position that made him feel vulnerable and unnatural. His fears dissipated though when Spike re-entered him. The hard, cold shaft rubbed something inside him, and he felt his own penis twitch to life. He cried out slightly and looked at the vampire. Spike only lifted one eyebrow in a silent acknowledgment of the human's pleasure. Giles put a tentative, warm hand on the vampire's arm and said raggedly, through clenched teeth, 'You can push harder, Spike; it doesn't hurt.'
Spike's eyes flew wide, and he responded immediately. Giles cried out once more, but the cry was a pure animalistic reaction to the intensity of the pleasure cascading through his bowels. He lifted his hips slightly on the next thrust and heard a faint moan from Spike - the first sound the vampire had made since they'd been joined. He leant forward, put his hands both sides of Giles on the blanket, and began a rapid, jerking motion. Giles watched his face closely and could see the approach of the vampire's orgasm. Spike's eyes were glazed; his jaw was clenched with the need to cum. Giles felt inadequate to Spike's needs, sensed the vampire needed to thrust harder to get the relief he craved, but eventually, Spike's head flew back, and he let out a long, low groan as Giles felt flooded by cold sperm. Giles knew his human body would not cum again that night, and vicariously enjoyed Spike's orgasm. He pursed his lips as Spike continued to flood his body, for this was new. He realised that this was the first time he'd had sperm inside him, and that was… surprising. Angelus, it now appeared, had not ejaculated during the rape.
Spike finally finished and lay very carefully and very gently down on Giles' near-flaccid penis. Giles put a hand to the back of the blond head and softly stroked the short hair with his thumb. He felt Spike sigh and lifted his head to look down at him. 'Sorry, that wasn't what you were expecting, was it?'
Spike looked up. 'You didn't cum. Seems a shame, that's all.'
'I told you, Spike….'
'Yeah, I know: humans.'
'Middle-aged human, Spike.'
Spike rolled off and fished for his cigarettes. Giles let him light up and then said firmly. 'But it was good…. Thank you.'
Spike chuckled. 'Should I say, "You're welcome?" Wouldn't wanna be rude or nothing.' He flung himself down, and Giles turned over to lie on his stomach, his head pillowed on his arms, face turned towards Spike. He could not remember ever being so tired. He watched Spike's hand moving rhythmically between his lap and his mouth, as he chain-smoked his way through a pack of cigarettes. The vampire was vocal now, making up for his earlier silence. Giles listened, but he knew he was drifting in and out of the conversation, utterly unable to force himself to stay awake.
He woke sometime later, wrapped securely in the blanket, with Spike fully dressed along side him. 'Oh, bloody hell! Did I dribble?'
Spike shook his head. Giles could see him quite clearly, and he cast an anxious glance at the sky. Spike began to hand him his clothes. 'Yeah, we've gotta go. Dress, hey?'
Giles nodded and tried to stand, but a night of sex, sleeping on the sand, and the cold of the pre-dawn air made him stumble like an old man. Wisely, Spike didn't help him, but seemed to be occupied with the bike. Giles thanked him silently and pulled his clothes onto his stiff body. Suddenly he looked up in alarm. 'Not back up there, surely?' The cliff path looked even less negotiable in the soft light than it had in the pitch dark.
Spike laughed, his back still to Giles. 'Nah, when the tide's down we can get back around the beach then up through the dunes.'
Giles climbed on with difficulty, and Spike rode carefully through the soft sand until they reached the harder shoreline, when he kicked it into a low gear and sped back towards Sunnydale.
It was a closely timed event, and Spike skidded to a halt outside his crypt and plunged through the door with his hair smoking. He only laughed, but Giles was furious and would have told him so if he could have gotten off the bike. He slid in an ungainly fashion off the end, wincing as everything hurt.
He followed Spike into the crypt. 'That was too bloody close, Spike.'
'You were the one asleep.'
'You should have woken me.'
'You needed it.'
'Yes, well, I don't need you being immolated in front of me! I'd rather be a little tired.'
'Totally shattered then, I admit. But you still should have woken me.'
Giles looked at him. Spike returned the look with an open, trusting expression. Giles did not hold his gaze and backed off towards the door and the sunlight. 'I have to go. I promised Buffy I'd research, and I haven't.'
Spike pouted briefly but then nodded. 'Yeah, like I said, I've got things to do.'
Giles didn't actually remember this conversation, and didn't pay too much attention now. He had other things to think about. Self-analysis, which he had put off so successfully until this moment, had been thumping at his conscious brain since he'd woken up on the beach. He nodded at Spike, felt he ought to say or do something momentous, but only turned and went gratefully into the warm sun.
What must it be like, never to be able to turn your face to the sun and feel its warmth? If he ever felt sorry for Spike, Giles felt it now. His cold, stiff body craved the sun, and he'd never enjoyed an early morning walk more. Every inch of his body protested the exercise, his backside still throbbing from the night's activities, but he was too distracted by his thoughts to notice.
How long did he have? A year? Five years? How long before Spike got tired of his human weaknesses? Maybe less than a year… maybe next month, next week: maybe Spike would blow him off tomorrow. Spike was healed. Giles' couldn't help a small smile. He'd proved that rather successfully twice last night: the vampire didn't need him anymore. He thought Spike enjoyed his company, but was that enough? He knew that it was not. Where could they meet in a world where he wanted to inhabit the day, but Spike could only exist in the dark? Giles knew he wasn't a young man anymore, one who could make love all night and still get up and go to work all day. Hell, he was English: he didn't remember being able to do that when he was young.
He desperately needed sleep now, and after a hot shower, watching the sand swirling down the drain with all his fantasies, he fell onto his bed as if he would never rise. He only did when Buffy once more came around and shouted up for him.
He went down, dressed this time, realising that it was evening. He fell on his fridge, consuming anything he could find, as Buffy outlined her lack of success with the wanna-be slayers.
Munching a cheese sandwich, Giles mumbled, 'Are they having anymore success slaying?'
Buffy shook her head. 'They seem kinda focused. I've heard they're looking for specific vampires…. I guess it's a revenge trip.'
'Is that something we can use? Who are these vampires? Local Sunnydale residents?'
'Unfortunately: one of them is Spike.'
Buffy anxiously clapped Giles on the back, as he choked slightly on his food. 'Spike?'
'So Willie said. Said they were looking for certain vampires; he'd only heard Spike's name.'
'Bloody hell! Come on, we'd better warn him.'
'He knows. Willie told him, too.'
'Bloody hell again! When? He's been with…. He's not been around much; when did he hear this?'
'Dunno.' Buffy gave one of her most irritating "hey, I'm only a dumb blond" looks which, by its very ludicrousness, annoyed Giles excessively.
He snapped rather shortly. 'Shall we go then? Goodness, Buffy, you should have told me all this earlier.'
Buffy shrugged and followed him out. The cemetery was quiet. They went to Spike's crypt, but it was empty. Buffy said with some distaste, 'He's probably out torturing demons.'
Giles seemed distracted and not really listening. 'No, he's over all that.'
'Oh. Good. Spike back to his normal self. I'll rest happy.'
A gang of young men suddenly rushed at them both. Buffy held back, given they were human, young, and seemed to be only attacking with… crosses? Two of the gang thrust crosses on Giles' hand and Buffy's face. She batted them away with an annoyed look. 'Slayerettes, I presume?'
'So, you've heard of us already?'
Giles folded his arms, impatiently. 'Unfortunately.'
The leader looked more closely at Giles. Giles peered back at him. 'Do I know you?'
''Brad Craig? I was at Sunnydale High.'
Buffy looked pointedly at him. 'As a locker or a desk?'
'Hey! Girlie! Shut up! I'm the leader of this whole gang now; I didn't need to graduate.'
Giles smiled wanly. ' Err… and you chose the name I assume? The Slayerettes?'
'Sure did; cool ain't it?'
'Well, yes, I have to say it is… for a group of girls.'
Brad took a step back; the others stepped forward menacingly. 'What does he mean?'
Brad pointed a stake at Giles. 'What crap's that?'
Giles shook his head slowly. 'Nothing. It's a lovely name, very menacing and frightening. Buffy and I are quaking in our boots.'
All heads turned as one. 'Buffy?'
Buffy gave a goofy grin and rolled her eyes. 'Yep. Little girlie's the Slayer.'
'So why don't you big, scary boys drop the stakes and go home to your Nintendos? Give the demon population a break tonight…. What'd'ya say? For little me?'
Brad bristled at her tone and came forward threateningly. 'Fuck you, Slayer! We done something you ain't been able to do.'
Buffy yawned theatrically. 'What's that? Pee standing up?'
'Nah, we staked the vampire: Spike. You've been trying to kill him for years I heard, but we did it. So fuck you.'
As one, the gang turned and began to run noisily back through the cemetery. Buffy turned to Giles. 'Do you think it's…. Giles! ' She helped him to sit on a gravestone. 'You okay?'
'Yes, quite okay.' He took off his glasses and was about to start polishing them, but looked at them for a moment as if wondering what the point was. He put them back on. 'Well, quite an eventful encounter. I didn't recognise him, I must say. I hope I wasn't rude. Wouldn't have wanted to be rude. Do you think I was rude, Buffy?'
Buffy was staring at Spike's crypt. 'I don't believe him. He can't be gone. He's like… part of us. I mean, I hate him, but… he can't be… gone.'
She turned, surprised, as Giles began to walk briskly away. 'Stay on patrol, Buffy; that's the best thing. I shall go home and…. I'll make sure…. I'll….' He did not finish, and she watched puzzled, as he left without turning around again.
In some ways, he was relieved. Yes, it saved him the worry and anxiety of having this relationship with a vampire. He wasn't even too sure he'd been going to continue it anyway, and this just saved him the bother of telling Spike. Ridiculous, as if vampires could have relationships with humans! They could hardly be said to have emotions. Giles laughed as he opened his door. What had the vampire said as he'd seen the final stake? "Oh fuck! Stake?" It was rather…. Gone? Giles bent his head as if a sharp pain had suddenly seared through. Gone? That was impossible to equate, so once more he stood straight and began to make some tea, whistling slightly under his breath. He wished he could tell Spike the irony: cup of tea, cup of tea… actually had a shag. Had a very good shag…. Had that been with Spike? Gone? Again the pain, and Giles winced, lowering his head, puzzled. Gone? No, that couldn't be. Spike's face was before him as if he were actually in the room. Spike smiling…. Had he always smiled? Giles couldn't remember a time when Spike had not been laughing or smiling… and his eyes…. Had they really been that blue? Had they been open or closed when he'd been.… Gone? How could that be? This life was not real: he should be in that suburban house in Middlesex. So, perhaps, if this wasn't real, then Spike being… gone… wasn't either. Because gone was not possible: gone was… unthinkable.
It was dawn when Giles realised that he was sitting on his kitchen floor with an empty mug clutched in his hand.
Unfortunately, he became the focus of everyone else's grief: grief they could not, or would not, express, because, after all, Spike was only a vampire, and they hadn't liked him. Xander had particularly not liked him, and was particularly pleased that he was staked, and kept particularly repeating this to anyone that would listen as he sat all day on Giles' couch, refusing doughnuts. No one went to work; no one went to school. They hung around Giles, needing the comfort he was supposed to give them. He was Giles all day very successfully: no one noticed a thing. Nothing out of the ordinary: nothing that told them that he was Giles no longer and that, during the long night, he had become someone quite different. He waited for a suitable opportunity to leave and slipped quietly out by himself.
The cemetery was almost pretty in the daylight. He opened Spike's door. He went in. He climbed down the ladder, and when he looked at the bed, the last tiny shred of hope that he would come in and find this all a mistake went. The bed was unmade and empty. He lay on it, an arm over his eyes… but he couldn't put it off any longer.
Giles opened his eyes and looked at the small beacon of light that shone bravely through the morass. Spike had not found what he had been looking for, and he was now lost to that hellish confusion.
He had been tested - "Swim with me?" - and he had failed, unable to provide that safe, calm water for the troubled demon.
Some hours later, Giles left the crypt and went back to his house. They were all still there. He looked from one to the other then nodded at Buffy. 'Walk with me?'
Buffy hardly seemed to be able to summon the energy to do that, but she slipped her arm in his and went with him slowly down the road.
'I won't beat around the bush, Buffy. I'm leaving. I've decided to go home.'
Buffy stopped, her eyes shocked. 'Leaving? Now? I mean, why? For how long?'
'I don't know; I'll get home and see.'
'But why? I need you.'
'No, you don't. I have nothing to offer you, Buffy. I can't save you. You must be self-reliant, and I'm standing in your way.'
'Giles! I can't do this alone!'
'You aren't alone: you have the best friends in the world, and you have your own strength. You don't see it yet. I cannot help you, Buffy. Not now.'
She continued to argue, and Giles softened, not in his conviction that he was leaving, but in his insistence that it had to be that night. He went back with her to the apartment, but after half an hour, suddenly said. 'I have someone I have to see. I won't be back until tomorrow. Will you all be okay?'
If it was on the tip of Buffy's tongue to ask him bitterly why he cared, she refrained, and was glad when she saw his sad face. 'Where'ya going?'
'Somewhere I should have gone a long time ago.'
Giles drove to LA and did not remember any of the trip when he got there. He looked briefly at the address on Wesley's last letter and climbed out of his car in front of the Hyperion Hotel.
The cheerful brightness of the lobby confused him: nothing should be bright.
Cordelia greeted him warmly, Wesley briskly, as an Englishman would. Angel came out of his office, his eyes hooded and wary. 'Giles.'
'Angel. Can I speak to you?'
Angel looked a little surprised but nodded towards his office. He closed the door behind them and indicated a chair, sitting down behind his desk and tenting his hands under his chin.
Giles didn't know what to say now that he was here. He wanted to kill Angel for the things that he had done, and for things that he had not… but this was not a time for hatred. He wanted to make things right before he left.
'Angel.' A good start. 'Angel. I may be leaving soon, and I wanted to say some things to you before I left.'
Angel did not respond in anyway; he kept his expression neutral, his body still. 'I blamed you for a long time for things that were not your fault, and for that I am sorry. You are not Angelus, and I think it's only recently that I've really come to believe that.'
Angel blinked slowly, but that was his only response. Giles continued, but he hardly had the heart even for this. 'I feel that my attitude to you may have kept you away from Sunnydale. With me gone, Buffy will be alone. She may need you, Angel, and I want you to be there for her if she does.' He couldn't help a certain bitterness creep into his voice. 'God knows, you've been needed there all this time: he needed you, but I hope you'll do a better job for Buffy than you did for him.' There, he'd said it. He'd discharged his responsibility to the loved one he had left. The other one he'd failed, and it was too late to make amends.
Angel creased his brow slightly and asked neutrally. 'Who needed me?'
Giles looked up, surprised. His head and heart so full, he had forgotten that not everyone in the world was grieving. 'Spike needed you, Angel, and you failed him. I failed him. But it's too late for that now. I'm sorry. I didn't want to bring this…. I thought you would already know, for some reason. How very silly of me. I thought you might have sensed it. Spike was staked last night.'
Angel pursed his lips slightly. 'Spike's upstairs, asleep.'
'He arrived last night, said he was - and I quote - shagged, asked if I did room service, and took himself to bed.'
Giles laughed, and only at that odd, maniacal sound, did Angel change his position. He stood up and came around the desk to Giles. 'Wesley!'
Wesley took one look at Giles' face and went to fetch some water. Angel poured him a much stronger drink and handed it to him. 'Why did you think Spike was dead?'
Giles shook his head. 'Where is he?'
Angel looked a little taken aback. 'Upstairs. Room 103.'
Giles refused the drink, pushed past Wesley and ran up the stairs. He thumped open the door and found Spike sprawled naked on the bed, his arm hanging off, his head buried under a pillow. Giles looked around widely, picked up one of Spike's boots, ripped off the pillow and struck him hard across his head.
Spike yelped and sprung up. 'Fucking fuck! What the…. Giles? Fuck you! What the….'
Giles punched him.
'Hey! Bloody hell! What the….'
'You were staked, Spike! They told me you were dead!'
'Well I'm not, 'k? Might be if you hit me with that again.'
'What the hell are you doing here… in bed… asleep for God's sake? Spike, you were asleep all this time…! While I've been…. My God!'
Giles sat heavily on the bed, all the pent up emotion threatening to spill out and unman him entirely. Spike pulled on his jeans and sat next to him rather warily. 'So, you missed me then?'
Giles swung out and hit him again. Spike kept quiet.
'You came here to shorten those ninety years, didn't you?'
Spike looked at him incredulously. 'Don't be a bloody pillock, Giles.'
'Don't lie to me, Spike. I saw it in the picture. I know what… who the beacon is, Spike; I'm not stupid. And you came to him. I… brought you back to life, and you came here to enjoy him again.'
Spike began to laugh but shut up quickly when he saw Giles' face. Suddenly, without taking his eyes off the furious human, he shouted, 'Angel! Get your fat arse up here! Now!'
After a pause, Angel came stonily into the room. Still without taking his gaze from Giles, Spike said conversationally, 'Peaches…. Fancy a shag then?'
Angel gave him a bitter, withering look, turned to go, then spun back and punched Spike so viciously that he tipped backward off the bed.
Giles couldn't bring all his emotions under control. He helped Spike to stand, but then hit him himself once more. Spike stomped his foot and grabbed the rest of his clothes, storming down stairs.
When he reached the lobby, he skidded to a halt in front of Angel, and making sure Giles had arrived and was listening, said pointedly, 'Poof, I came here to tell you that you're being stalked by a fucking gang of think-themselves-slayers. I am. You are. And so are Dru and the rest of the Goddamned family. 'K?' This last was addressed more to Giles than Angel, and with this, he sat down on one of the couches, folded his arms, and said to no one in particular, 'Anyone else want to hit me?'
'Why didn't you tell me you were coming here?' Giles was aware that this question might appear a little odd to anyone that was listening, but asked it anyway. He knew Angel was looking at him strangely. Spike looked dumbfounded.
'I bleedin' did! On the beach, you old git. You were probably asleep.'
Giles saw Spike's gaze shift slightly and turned; Spike had been watching Angel return to his office. 'Wait for me here: I need to speak to Angel.'
Giles took a deep breath. 'I told him I'd forgiven him, but I suspected that was just the… shock talking, but I think I actually meant it. I just want to tell him that.'
Spike looked puzzled. 'Forgive Angel what?'
Giles looked at him and wondered why the vampire was so much smarter than he was. 'Exactly, Spike, exactly.'
He went slowly toward Angel's office and paused on the threshold. He was about to enter when he saw Angel by the window, gazing out at the fading day. Giles looked at his expression and froze. He saw something in Angel's eyes and in the set of Angel's jaw that threw him entirely. He backed away and went thoughtfully back to Spike.
'Come back with me?'
'What about me bike?'
'All right. But are you coming tonight?'
'Yes. It was quite a shock.'
'That "quite a shock" like your "bit tired" then?'
'I was… unhinged for a while, Spike.'
Spike couldn't help a shy grin. 'Oh, that's really, really sad.'
Giles laughed, but his heart was too full to let the laugh in.
He was glad Spike wasn't with him on the way home, for it gave him time to think. He had to decide what to do with the shop. What to do with the rest of his life, too, for he'd not changed his mind: he had to go. It was just that now the reason for the flight had changed.