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Footsteps in the Sand - 1

Can you ever brush your teeth hard enough or long enough to get the after-taste of someone's cum out of your mouth?

Spike tried. He bought his first toothbrush and first toothpaste and brushed hard: human teeth, fangs - alternating them until his gums were bleeding, and he was sore as a human, frustrated as a vampire - but still he could taste him, and had the very distinct impression that Angel would, too.

It had taken him days to decide how to capture Wesley. He'd stalked him obsessively, watching and studying his prey. After his initial capitulation, Angel had washed his hands of the affair and refused to discuss it with Spike. As sharing it with Angel had been the only point of the exercise, this pissed Spike off, but as he assumed Angel was only interested in the part where they would split Wesley between them, rolling his warm body between their cool ones, so the human would not be able to tell where one vampire began and the other ended, Spike gave Angel the benefit of the doubt and continued with his game.

Most of his early ploys had little success: Wesley seemed immune to flattery and outwardly disinterested in Spike's presence. Spike could sense the man's nervousness around him, his uncertainty about the incident in the bed, his confusion about the vampires and their relationship, and Spike knew that all these were a barrier between them.

His first breakthrough occurred one day when they had no clients and everyone was hanging around being bored. Cordelia was on the telephone to friends, painting her nails. Fred and Gunn were reading a comic together and giggling in an irritating manner. Angel seemed in a bad mood and had gone up to his room to "read and don't come up and try to get me to shag you." That left Spike having the most boring day he'd had in a long time, so he thought it only reasonable he make a renewed attack on Wesley.

He wandered into the office and propped himself on the edge of the desk. 'What ya doin'?'

'Get off. Go away.'

'What ya doin'?'

'What does it look like I am doing? I am doing the crossword.'

'Oh, give us a clue then.'

'You jest.'

'No, I speak the bloody Queen's English, don't I?'

'Not unless the Queen has a secret indulgence for guttersnipe impressions and watching EastEnders, no.'

'Come on, Wes, I'm bored. Give us a clue.'

'All right. Anything to get rid of you. Four down: passionate longing - eleven letters, has a 'p' in it.'

'The easy crossword? You're doing the bleedin' easy one? I'd have thought you'd have been into the ole cryptic ones. You sadly disappoint me, Watcher.'

'For the millionth time, Spike, don't call me that. And you do not disappoint me at all - having no expectations of you except the lowest, you constantly fulfil them. I gather you have no idea.'

'You gather wrong then - nympholepsy. With that little 'p' an' all.'

'That is not a word….' Wesley picked up his dictionary with a worried look, skimmed through it, and looked up, triumphantly. 'Hah! Not in here.'

'Maybe, don't mean it ain't right. Cunnilingus ain't in there either, bet ya. That's a pocket dictionary, pet; bloody useless really.'

Wesley gave him a satisfied look and fished around on his shelf, producing one volume of a vast Oxford English Dictionary. Spike sat contentedly while Wesley found the offending word and looked up, astonished.

'All right, I admit it: I'm surprised, Spike. How did you know that?'

'Well, I used to do crosswords.'

Wesley was puzzled. 'Used to? Why did you stop?'

'Angelus murdered me.'

There was a satisfactory pause in the watcher's concentration on the puzzle. Spike saw a crack in the human's armour - visibly saw it widen under his studied nonchalance - and knew he was in when Wesley said quietly, 'I've always wondered about Angelus and those times. It's a part of vampire lore and not really very well known. I had thought, before I got sacked of course, to do a paper on Angelus. So, Spike, tell me….'

… Spike did… over tea… then over a drink in the office later that night. Spike told him about London and about being alive and being weak and being empty and being filled and being strong. He tried to file away which version he was telling this human, for it never did to get your various siring stories confused. Most of what he told Wes was true, and he saw his words widening the cracks in the human's resistance, exposing a soft, fleshy core.

By the next day, things had subtly changed between them. When Angel came downstairs, he found Spike and Wesley contentedly cleaning weapons together and chatting, albeit in a reserved English way, about England. Spike glanced up at him over Wesley's shoulder. He made no obvious comment, but said slyly, 'Hello, Angel,' and licked his lower lip slowly and with a provocative smirk. Angel gave him a challenging, intense stare, and turned abruptly away to the kitchen. Spike frowned at his retreating back and was about to get up and follow him but, at that very moment, Wes put a hand on his to demonstrate a particular technique for cleaning hinges. The feel of warm fingers on him distracted Spike. He decided to save telling Angel he was a pillock for later that night and watched the contrast of skin tones instead, noticing each flaw and every perfection in Wes' hands. There seemed more of the second than the first, and Spike did not even register Angel's retreat back up the stairs, or the unreadable look given to his study of the human.

Wesley went home early that night, and Spike prowled the hotel restlessly for an hour or two, killing imaginary demons. He was tempted to get Angel to do some training with him, as he desperately needed to work off some excess energy, but Angel had been no fun for days. Instead, Spike grinned, collected some beers, and made his way to Wesley's. Wesley took a long time to answer the door and, when he finally did, he'd clearly been in the shower. He was wet, naked - except for a substantial towel tied tightly around his waist - and he opened the door as cautiously as if the Mongol hoards were likely to be outside. His expression indicated that he'd have preferred that alternative to a vampire bearing alcoholic gifts. He hesitated, peering suspiciously through the gap left by the chain. 'What do you want, Spike? Does Angel need me?'

'Possibly, Wes, I'm working on it.'

Although not understanding Spike's cryptic comment, Wesley still didn't open up.

Spike sighed. 'Oh, come on, Wes… look, beer, and reruns of Blackadder on the telly tonight… who the fuck am I gonna enjoy that with, if not you? These bleedin' yanks… no bloody sense of humour… well, unless you think six numpties in a flat is funny. So! Come on, open up!'

Wesley began to shut the door. 'Look, ya git, you've already invited me in, so it ain't a biggie now. I'm not gonna be able to hurt you, and you can make me go when you want, but I'm really feeing stupid now, standing here with you peering at me like that.' Too late, Spike realised that he'd said exactly the wrong thing… that he had reminded Wesley of the time he had come into his apartment drunk… and what had followed.

Wesley now looked furious. 'What game are you playing, Spike? I am happy to speak to you as a colleague at work, but you cannot come to my home like this. You barge into everyone's life... well, all right, you were brought against your will - and can I just say how much I protested the decision to bring you here at all - you come here, wreak havoc in Angel's life, totally destroy my relationship with him by telling me the edited highlights of his sex life, and then you... you... I'm not even going to mention what I suspect you did to me in the bed, and you want to come in and watch my telly? Spike, do you think I am firstly stupid enough to fall for this little "let's torment Wesley, shall we?" game, or brave enough to touch anything of Angel's? Give me some credit.'

Spike gritted his teeth, unable to deny this fairly accurate summary. 'I don't want you to touch me, Watcher. I want you to talk to me and be a bit of a mate, cus living with Angel all day an' night ain't all it's cracked up to be… but never no mind; guess it weren't one of me best ideas.' Spike turned away - he knew he could lie just as effectively from the back as from the front - and made his slow and slightly depressed way to the stairs.

'Wait a minute, Spike.'

Spike grinned, but by the time he had turned, there was only resigned acceptance of his fate visible on his features. 'Look, maybe we did get off on the wrong foot, so to speak.' Wesley unchained the door and stepped a little way through. 'You are in LA now and, as much as I may find that a reprehensible move on Angel's part, I suppose I can understand his reasons. He was lonely, and I have to admit, you've made a major improvement in his demeanour since your arrival. Well, until this past week that is… he's seemed very low again, maybe....'

'You should be a vampire, pet.'

Wesley recoiled in alarm. 'Err... what?'

'You could talk all day without having to take a breath. Mind you, you wouldn't have much to talk about then, "Blood... give me. Sex... now," 's 'bout it, really.'

Wesley smiled for the first time since Spike's arrival at his apartment. 'You and Angel seem to do a little better than that.'

Spike grinned and cocked his eyebrow. 'Only when we're playing at being human, luv. You should hear us when we're on our own, "Blood - now! Sex - now!" yep, pretty much sums it up.'

'I really don't want to....'

'Oh, shut up, Wes, and ask me in, hey? Beers' gettin' warm.'

'Are they American?'

'Well, yeah, I nicked them off Gunn's shelf in the fridge.'

'Well, come on then, I have some decent stuff - some Boddingtons I've been saving - I think reruns of Blackadder would count as a suitable occasion.'

Charmed when he wanted to be predatory, Spike accepted the offered tin and shook off his coat, making himself comfortable on the couch while Wesley went to dress. He noticed, with some amusement, that Wesley closed the bedroom door firmly. The thought of Wesley's bedroom brought back the feel of a warm, erect human penis. It also brought back memories of a fuckingly awful hangover, not helped by his chip firing off.

Wesley came out dressed in very casual, very old, denim, his hair still wet but combed back. He looked about ten years younger, and Spike eyed him suspiciously from head to toe. Wes felt the examination a little too keenly. 'What?'

''S not your usual look, Watcher, that's all.'

Well… duh, Spike. I'm not at work….'

Wes sat on a chair to one side of the couch and turned the television on. They both put their feet up on the coffee table, and a companionable silence ensued as they watched the shows. Wesley was amazed to hear Spike laughing, clearly enjoying himself, and Spike caught the look. He echoed Wesley's earlier question. 'What?'

'A vampire with a sense of humour?'

Spike laughed as if to prove the point. 'You've been living with Angel too long, pet.'

'You've managed to survive his broodiness, and you've known him longer than all of us.'

'Yeah, well, he weren't so broody back then… fact, Angelus was the life and soul of every party… if you can be that being dead and soulless like….'

Wesley chuckled at the way Spike confusedly tailed off. 'Life and soul except when he was murdering you, I should think.'

Spike grinned. 'Oh, I don't know, even that had its moments. It's a long drawn out process an' ya gotta laugh… passes the time.'

Wesley got up to fetch more beer and came back with some crisps. As there was only one bowl, he sat down next to Spike on the couch. The watching resumed.

Eventually, Wes broke the silence between them with an unexpected question. 'What happened in the bed, Spike? The last time you were here. It's been on my mind, disturbing me, and I want to know the truth.'

'What do you want that truth to be?'

Wesley frowned, a crisp held half way to his mouth. 'There is only one truth, Spike.'

Spike put a mock-horrified look on his face. 'Jees, don't tell that to those fucking religious ragheads, mate.'

'One truth about physical reality then.'

'Huh, I never put you down for narrow minded, Watcher.' Spike cocked an eyebrow and took a sip of beer.

'Spike, stop prevaricating… what did you do?'

Spike swirled the liquid around in his mouth for a moment, then swallowed. 'I'd have thought the why was more important than the what.'

Wesley put his beer down on the coffee table, clearly annoyed. 'What on earth are you talking about?'

'Well, I might have done something… but it could have been as meaningless as scratching me own balls, or I could have not done something… but been lying there wanting to… take you.'

'Bloody hell, Spike.' Wesley got up, agitated.

'So, which would you prefer? See? Comes back to me original… what do you want the truth to be?'

'Spike, the very thought of another man - albeit only a rather glossy impression of a man - touching me, makes me want to….' Wesley trailed off, his face saying one thing, his distracted pacing another. Spike read the indecision quite easily.

'Uh huh. So you're really into all those little squidgy bits, hairy folds and whatnots, are you?' He looked around, amused, as if looking for hoards of non-existent girlfriends.

'What I do… my sex life… my romantic life, is none of your business. And you have artfully avoided answering my question, Spike. I want to know the truth. I want to know what you did and why.'

Spike laughed, chugged down the rest of his beer in one go, crushed the tin effortlessly with one hand, and tossed it accurately the twenty feet or so into the bin.

Wesley watched the tin fly through the air in wonder (and not a little annoyance) and huffed when it went in. 'You and bloody Angel. I'll never get used to it.'

'What, pet?'

'Your superior abilities - or whatever they are. It seems a little unfair that every other version of the undead - zombies to name just one variety - actually look and act half dead, whilst you vampires….'

'There ya go… 's why people write books and shit about us. Don't get "Interview With a Zombie", do you?'

Wesley sat down again, and Spike smiled inwardly as the disingenuousness of his conversation once again lulled Wesley into a false sense of security. Wesley had the intrigued-watcher look on his face once more. 'Spike, you don't suppose… no, it's ridiculous.'


'That Lestat and co. were real… that she based them on real vampires she knew?'

Spike spluttered his new beer. 'I sincerely hope not… gives vampires a bad name.' He suddenly heard what he'd said and laughed. 'Nah… take my word for it… not real.'

'I think she caught the gist of the creatures quite well though.' Wesley looked at Spike over the rim of his drink, his eyes lifted. Spike felt a shiver run down his spine and realised he was admiring the human's intense, soulful eyes. He shook himself and got up to pace.

'What d'ya mean, Watcher? Course, never read 'em meself.'

'Well, of course, neither have I… but, I mean, all that suppressed homoeroticism… that seems quite accurate.'

Spike suddenly felt far too sober for this turn in the conversation and drank the new beer in one go. He resumed pacing with an angry stomp. 'You'd better be careful what you say, mate. I've never put this chip to the test if I really wanted to hurt someone….'

'Spike… you can't deny it.' Wesley's voice was full of barely concealed amusement. 'You've as good as told me what you and Angel get up to. So I suppose the only thing she got wrong was the suppressed bit.'

'Fuck off, Watcher. Ain't no friggin' homos here. I'm… we're demons!'

'Oh, I fully accept that… if you limited your interests only to fellow demons… but you don't seem to, do you Spike? You see, I was only asking about the other night to see if you had balls enough - and what an apt expression, if I do say so myself - to admit what you did. I am fully aware of what happened. I'm sadly disappointed that you cannot admit it. Now, if you'll excuse me, Spike….' Wesley got up and opened the door. 'I'm quite tired, and we have a busy day tomorrow. Say "hi" to Angel for me when you… see him.'

Spike found himself back in the hall, confused, and not a little pissed off. He felt the tables had been effectively turned on him, and that was not only extremely unusual, it was utterly intolerable. He debated knocking again, but didn't feel quite confident enough to confront Wesley, so didn't. He went back to the hotel, walking slowly through the LA night, pondering the strange evening.

Angel was in bed reading when Spike got back and, for some reason, this only increased Spike's irritation. He didn't know what he expected Angel to be doing, but waiting up for him and reading... soddin' philosophy... wasn't what he wanted right now. Angel didn't comment as Spike came in, flinging his coat and boots into opposite corners. He stayed silent as Spike ripped off his tee shirt. He only spoke as Spike peeled off his jeans, revealing his clearly unsatisfied state. 'Well?'

Spike didn't know how to answer this. He he didn't know how it had gone or what he felt, but he wasn't about to admit to Angel that an uptight po-faced human had bettered a master strategist such as himself. ... and had he just been called a closet gay… and what the hell was suppressed homoeroticism for fuck's sake? And what did that pillock think he did with Angel anyway? Jesus. So, Spike didn't reply. He cast Angel a mutinous, silent look, and stomped off to the shower.

Angel closed his eyes briefly then laid his book very carefully and precisely on the nightstand. When Spike came out of the bathroom, Angel was curled on his side, the room was dark, and shagging - and that's all it fucking was: just a shag! - seemed off the agenda. Spike wasn't that bothered. He wanted to think about Wesley's eyes some more. For some reason, all his anger in the shower had focused on that part of Wesley's anatomy. They responded satisfactorily to a skewer but, to his enormous disgust, even more satisfactorily to kissing. He could feel the slight, delicate flutter under his lips and tongue as he.... He twisted around trying to get comfortable for a while. Typical bloody Angel… able to sleep through anything. After a few hours, Spike got up, pulled on some jeans, and went up to the training room. He took a sword from the cabinet and worked hard for some hours until he was sweating. It was no good. He couldn't get used to these human sleep patterns. He'd sleep tomorrow. If that meant he missed seeing the humans - well, it did… unfortunate… but necessary. He worked hard at staying awake the rest of the night so he could escape into sleep the following day, and crawled into bed just as Angel was getting up to take his shower.

'Where have you been?' Angel's voice was flat, toneless, and difficult to read; Spike was too tired to try.

'Busy.' He wrapped himself around in the rumpled sheets, and stretched out into the warm spot Angel had just vacated.

'Ah.' Naked, Angel looked down at Spike. 'Anything I'd be interested in?'

'Doubt it. Have a good day.' Spike turned his back and feigned sleep.

Angel sat back down on the edge of the bed. 'Why aren't you coming down?'

Spike's voice was a mumble from the small den he'd created for himself in the bedding. 'Vampire… daylight… allergic?'

'Spike….' Angel trailed off as if he wanted to speak of something he didn't have words for. Unexpectedly, he gave Spike's shoulder a small squeeze, and went for a shower.

Spike turned on his back and listened to Angel making no noise. He bet the watcher made lots of noise in the shower - singing? - probably light classical Gilbert and Sullivan or some shit. He probably had a pleasant tenor voice... and why was he thinking about that bloody human again? He pulled the sheets securely over his head, and that was how Angel found him when he returned from the bathroom. He stood in the doorway, rubbing his hair with a towel. He gave the charcoal-grey lump a thoughtful look, dressed quietly, and went downstairs. Spike wasn't sure how long he slept - it didn't feel all that long - before he was woken abruptly by a warm hand on his naked back. He opened his eyes, slightly disoriented at an event in his dream becoming real, to find Wesley sitting on the edge of the bed with a hesitant, nervous expression.

'Angel said you were ill… I brought these.…' He placed a couple of newspapers, folded to the crosswords, on the bed. 'Actually, I felt a little upset by my behaviour last night. I think I'd had too much to drink, and you unnerved me somewhat. It was unpardonable… provoking you, and throwing you out like that. Sorry.'

Spike sat up, remembered he was naked, and pulled the sheet tightly around him. He glanced at Angel's clock… nine o'clock. Bloody fuck! ''S a bit early, innit? And I'm not ill - I'm a bleedin' vampire - I'm supposed to sleep during the fucking day.'

'Oh good… that you're not ill that is… Angel was positive I shouldn't come up.…'

'Ah.' Spike thought he ought to follow that sagacious comment with an equally wise thought, but was too tired to bother thinking about Angel's odd behaviour. 'Where is the poof?'

'He said it was too quiet and went out. To kill something, I suppose.'

'And you didn't go with him?'

'No, I was thinking of you… I mean, I wanted to see you….' Wesley's attempts to explain himself were not helped by the increasingly panicked expression on Spike's face. He coughed and started again. 'I wanted to ask you something.' He held up a video. Confused and still half asleep; naked and very defensive; still in the throes of an odd, disturbing dream; feeling he was losing the initiative in his own game; Spike glanced in horror at the box.

''S that porn?'

Wesley pulled back as if the offering had burnt Spike. 'God! No! It's football… I just got it today - England versus Argentina - first round of the World Cup! For goodness sake Spike, why would I ask you to come over and watch porn with me?'

Spike tried to recover and sat up a little, clutching his sheet tighter. 'Footie? You're gonna invite me over to watch the footie with you?'

Wesley smiled. 'Well, yes. I can't enjoy watching the Argies getting a thorough thrashing without some moral - or in your case immoral - support.'

'Bloody hell, Wes, you've told me the result now!'

It was Wes' turn to look horrified, and he said very slowly and deliberately, 'It is the World Cup, Spike. Surely you knew the bloody result?'

Spike shrugged. 'Case you hadn't noticed, mate… been a bit busy here, an' Angel ain't into TV much… or football… or anything really.' Wesley glanced at the rumpled sheets, unable to help himself. Spike realised, firstly what he'd said about Angel and, secondly, that it was actually true… not part of his cunning plan to trap Wesley. He didn't like the human staring at the bed like that and couldn't decide whether this was because nothing had actually happened in these sheets for some nights or because he felt like a grade-A ponce sitting there. He scrambled off the bed still holding the sheet modestly to him. This infuriated him beyond belief. He'd never been modest before. He loved shocking people with his naked body… if he could manage a stonker too, well, all the better. So, why was he clutching the sheet to his privates like a prom queen caught in the shower by the football team? It was embarrassing; it was wussy; it was pathetic - he clutched it tighter and edged towards the bathroom.

Wesley suddenly looked up from the bed as if he'd only just realised Spike wasn't there. 'Err… so, are you coming tonight?'

'What!?' Spike backed into the wall, missing the door to the shower.

'For the football, Spike?'

'Yeah… yeah, okay, see ya then….' He went into the bathroom and leant his forehead on the door when he closed it. What the hell had just happened there? He'd lost it. He hadn't acted that pathetic since… a hideous, recurring nightmare of a chained Slayer flashed across his mind. He stood up and shook himself slightly. Big and still bad, and they'd better believe it. A slightly forced predatory grin crossed his face. Tonight. He'd have the watcher tonight.

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