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Past Tense of Loving
Angel wasn’t unaccustomed to being disturbed by an erection at work; it was one of the hazards—or benefits, depending upon how you looked at it—of being a creature of pure muscle, fed on blood. However, this one was different. This one distorted his suit. This one practically spoke to him, begging to be taken somewhere and dealt with (harshly).
It had picked a bad to day to rear its head, for Angel had to deal with a series of minor disciplinary infractions: employees wheeled in to see him (some literally) one after the other with no respite.
Fortunately, not rising to greet them, taciturn, shifting uncomfortably whenever they spoke, all added to his considerable reputation as a hard taskmaster. Angel knew his reputation and had never felt it to be more apt.
As so often happened these days, he only kept his mind half on the interviewee. The other half scanned the lobby, listened for the familiar accent, sought the subtle trace of tobacco, which he had come to love, and ached for the rustle of leather against muscle.
He tried sliding down in the chair. It didn’t help.
The employee rose, considerably unnerved, wondering if Angel was about to produce a weapon from some secret compartment under the desk. Rumours of beheadings tended to focus the mind.
He scuttled out, and Angel tipped his head back, closing his eyes for a moment of privacy.
He heard the door again and groaned inwardly.
‘I’ve been bad, Sir. Wanna discipline me?’
Angel grinned and opened his eyes.
Spike came around to his side of the desk and perched on it, at just that distance from the CEO that would give an observer pause for thought but nothing actually concrete to explain why it seemed odd.
He smiled slyly. ‘No kiss then?’
Angel’s eyes widened fractionally. ‘You want me to kiss you. Here?’
‘Sire and childe kiss, course.’
Angel’s lip quirked up. ‘And what’s one of those, when it’s at home?’
‘Well….’ Spike dragged it out, his tongue pushed into his cheek. ‘Let me see…. How did Darla kiss you? That’s all I meant. Just like that.’
Angel pouted. ‘Way t’go to make me feel like Incest Incorporated.’
They both knew instinctively that this was the wrong subject to bring up (so to speak), both having hardened a little more at the words. Eyes dilated; faces flushed.
Spike’s voice was high with sexual need. ‘Incest?’
Angel nodded, not even trusting his voice.
Spike shifted slightly on the desk and swallowed visibly. ‘Wanna come upstairs and give me some fatherly advice?’
Angel glanced at his watch then into the lobby and said, agonised, ‘I’ve got another freakin’ interview in five minutes.’
Spike slid closer, their legs touching. ‘I can do five minutes.’
A vision of rumpled clothes and sweat flashed across Angel’s mind.
Spike laughed—short, sharp, delighted. ‘Okay, Luv. No creases.’ He stood and strode purposefully toward the conference room, one meaningful glance behind to Angel.
Unable to resist, following as if the fate of the world depended upon him making this small, obedient journey, Angel let his legs take him in the wake of Spike’s enticing essence.
Spike was waiting in one corner, out of sight of doors, leaning on the wall, one leg bent up, a study in fake nonchalance. ‘Hi.’
Angel smiled and stepped up to him, leaning in hard. ‘Hi.’
They kissed long and pleasurably, pulling away to look at the effect of saliva on swelling lips then joining again to suck it off. Spike murmured as their lips parted, a thin trail of spittle hanging between them like a delicate foretaste of what was to come, ‘I’m feeling chastened already… Sire.’
Angel chuckled and braced his arms on the wall either side of the blond head, subtly rubbing them together. He slid his mouth around to Spike’s ear, making the journey exquisitely slow, and whispered, ‘I want you inside me.’
Spike’s whole body moaned—a surge of disbelieving delight tearing the sound from him. He had never had someone he wanted admit that to him and that it should be Angel—so inviolate, so restrained, so constrained—floored him. He tore at the dark hair, increasing the intensity of the kiss.
They groaned and pulled apart, wiping mouths and straightening clothes.
Harmony poked her head around the door. ‘Dunlow and Sampson are here, Boss. Wanna see them separate? Hey, Spike. What y’doing? Wanna go for coffee?’
Spike manoeuvred around Angel with a final, private look. The look Angel sent him back seemed to make the air around them thicken. Spike let out a breath, lifted his eyebrows and followed Harmony toward the lobby with an uncharacteristically leaden step.
Angel greeted his employees more confused about his childe than he had been for the hundred and twenty years since he’d made him.
He was only glad there was one thing he wasn’t confused about—the fundamental thing: Spike stayed.
That, he wasn’t confused about at all.
He wondered idly what it was these two demons had done that required his intervention then forget about them entirely and let them talk on as he thought about Spike.
Spike was the best kisser he had ever known—which was so not how he’d intended to start his introspection about his childe, but it was a fact hard to ignore. He wanted to put a finger up and touch his lips. He contented himself by closing his eyes and reliving the tongue entering his mouth, feeling again the mouth wide on his, hearing the soft moans of encouragement and enjoyment. Had he just moaned? He opened his eyes, saw the demons were staring at him, and waved imperiously at them to continue.
He was a great kisser, and he had an unbelievable body. Angel frowned. He hadn’t meant to think that either. He wanted to puzzle out the source of his confusion, not increase it. But as with the kissing, the body was hard to ignore. He’d always known Spike was good looking, and he’d always known he had a great body, but these were things he’d only known: abstract facts that didn’t touch the heart. Now he felt them. Now, Spike’s face swum in his vision, every expression studied and dissected, the pieces from this dissection reformed once more into a pleasing whole. His body seemed to be touching him now. Eyes closed, he could feel spidery-light fingers on his face, feather-light fingers on his pants, playing over the hard bone of flesh that pulsed achingly with this remembrance of slow relief.
He coughed and slid his chair further under the desk, checked that the demons were still whining about the unfairness of life, and went back to trying to puzzle out his confusion.
And now Spike was taking his amazing kisses, hard body and pretty face to play with Harmony.
Angel jerked upright and snapped open his eyes.
The demons stopped talking.
Angel folded his arms and glared.
Impressed with the way he concentrated on their very justifiable complaints, they continued.
It wasn’t that he didn’t trust him. He did. He trusted the whole. It was the parts he wasn’t so sure about.
Angel pouted and glanced down. Parts betrayed you. He was a man, and he understood these things. It didn’t matter how much a man loved, wanted, and would do anything not to hurt, he wasn’t always ruled by head or heart. Sometimes, this shaft of hard need took him where he didn’t want to go, made him do things he didn’t want to do. Spike spread on a desk in an empty office, Harmony astride his hard need was a case in point.
Angel bit his lip. Where had that come from? Once thought, the picture of them fornicating in the office next door could not be banished. He strained his ears to see if he could hear the sounds he had come to associate with Spike’s pleasure.
Perhaps they’d gone into a maintenance closet. Harmony had once told him—in one of her I’m-nervous-so-I’ll-babble-all-the-office-gossip moments—that they had the equivalent of a mile-high-club closet at the firm: one that it was considered a rite of passage to fuck a fellow employee in. Apparently—he’d not believed this part—names were scratched on the walls with dates. She was scratching Spike’s name now.
More likely, they’d taken the stairs to the apartment—his apartment—and—okay, their apartment—and were fucking like vampires in the bed. Which, he knew, would still smell of the male fluids that had poured from them both the previous night.
Maybe Spike would feel guilty and wilt.
Maybe he’d wrap her in the musky smells and fuck her every which way and back again.
He rose, fists clenched.
The demons cringed and began to backtrack: taking back all their lies, admitting everything, even things they hadn’t done but wanted to be punished for anyway.
Angel strode out to the lobby and over to Harmony’s station.
She wasn’t there.
He knew where she was. Her empty chair screamed the truth at him.
He went toward the stairs, not wanting to take the elevator and alert them.
Just as he wrenched open the door, one lone brain cell tried to overcome the morass of jealousy that had done in all its companions.
It told him to check the canteen first.
It told him that he trusted Spike.
Walking using only brain cell wasn’t easy, but he managed it.
He scanned the room blankly.
They were sitting together at a table in the window, shades on, basking in the sunlight, equally vacuous, equally blond.
Angel tried to work out if they’d had time to fuck before making this show of innocence. Five minutes. Spike had said it.
Some of his emotions seemed to ripple across the room, for one by one, heads turned anxiously towards his dark presence. Liking this idea, Angel dismissed the thought that they just weren’t used to seeing him in the canteen, and waited for the ripple of his fury to reach Spike.
Eventually, Spike, whether noticing the glances of those around him, or sensing some of what Angel wanted him to sense, looked around.
He took his feet off the table and the shades off his face. Harmony looked around and beamed guiltily. ‘Whoops. Coffee break ended, like, yesterday. Bye, baby.’
Spike stood up, too, and watched her skirt around Angel.
Everyone in the room was waiting for something, this small tableau enough to fuel the gossip for at least a week.
Suddenly, Spike dropped his head and walked meekly across the room. He stopped when he got to Angel, nodded his head as if signalling his contrition, and went defeated into the hallway.
Thoroughly thrown, Angel followed him out. Spike smelt of nothing but coffee and sunshine, and so the sun came out for Angel once more.
As they passed the stairwell, he nudged Spike and disappeared inside.
As soon as Spike came in, he spun Angel around and crowed, ‘You were bloody brilliant! Did you see their faces?’
Thrown again, Angel managed a confused, ‘Huh?’
‘Christ, Luv. I thought I was good—did you like the hangdog expression?—but you were bloody amazing!’
He began to climb the stairs toward the apartment. ‘They’ll think you’re taking me up for a bloody good beating.’
‘See! Told you my plan would work.’
Angel began to laugh before he’d negotiated the last flight of stairs. He needed to breathe to get the laughter out, but he’d lost the coordination to laugh this loud and breathe at the same time, so he fell to his knees, choking for breath, holding his side, which was cramped with lack of oxygen. It was such an unusual, unexpected sensation that he only laughed louder, tears streaming down his face.
He levered himself to his feet and recovered enough to walk into the apartment, small hiccups signalling the laughter simmering under the surface. He took one look at Spike and it bubbled up again, leaving him so weak that he sat on the bed, trying to wipe his eyes, still holding his aching side.
Spike clenched his jaw and snapped, ‘What?’
Angel tried to speak but fell back, shaking his head hopelessly.
Angel hiccupped again, shading his eyes from Spike as if one glance at his outraged face would set him off again. ‘You.’
It was all he could manage for a while, and he lay utterly ignored as he chuckled to himself, wiping his eyes and rubbing his side. Finally, Spike sat on the opposite side and asked menacingly, ‘Me?’
Angel risked a nod, clenched his jaw to hold it all in, but exploded once more, curling onto his side, punching the pillow. Spike got up with the clear intent to leave, but Angel turned and lunged, catching his arm. ‘One of your…. Oh, God—.’ He arranged his features and said, stifling a snort with difficulty, ‘One of your plans has actually worked.’
Spike cast him a sideward look of total derision and then flung himself down on the bed, the murmur dozy pillock just reaching Angel’s ears.
They lay side by side in almost total silence for a while, just the occasional stifled chuckle from Angel and a suitable reply from Spike breaking the comfortable peace.
After the longest time, Spike asked softly, ‘What you thinking about?’
Angel tested his voice and replied equally softly, ‘Tom and Pete.’
Spike turned his head on the pillow and studied the beautiful profile curiously. Sensing this, Angel said with his eyes still fixed on the ceiling, ‘I wonder if playing at being brothers when they were in public eventually affected how they were together in private.’
For a moment, Spike thought that Angel was genuinely thinking about the couple from the past and gave his question some serious consideration. The hand creeping purposefully over his thigh put paid to that. Angel was grinning to himself, and a frisson of something almost painful in its pleasurable intensity ran down Spike’s spine. Angel nodded as if he’d been having some interesting internal debate. ‘Yeah, seems to me—seeing as we’ve been playing Sire and Childe—that we’ve been going about this… sex… thing all wrong.’
Spike made a vain attempt to leave the bed, but he was hooked by the tight hold of Angel’s fingers in his waistband.
The zipper broke.
Angel continued in his happy voice, ‘Yeah, I mean, I like variety, Spike, you know that—been happy to take it… kinda fun….’ The pants were now down around Spike’s ankles. ‘See, I’m the sire; you’re the childe.’ He flipped Spike onto his belly.
Spike struggled back over.
Angel sighed and put him back where he wanted him. He rose over the writhing figure—sleek, predatory muscle. Spike arched and tried to get free but in doing so his legs parted.
Angel’s whole focus shifted to the dark indentation between the pale globes. Blindly, he released his hardness and urged it toward the shallow valley.
Spike’s eyes widened until they were as deep as a reservoir hiding streams from the past.
He twisted around locking eyes with Angel.
Angel twitched his hips forward, increasing pressure on Spike’s clenched entry.
Spike swallowed and said as distinctly as he could, ‘No.’
Angel hesitated and stared down at the still slightly bruised face, the offset cheekbone where the break was healing. Finally, he looked into the depths of Spike’s eyes. What he saw there made the air escape from his lungs in a long, low groan of gratitude.
He began to push.
Spike winced as if in intense pain and lied again. ‘No!’
Angel threw back his head and tore into him: a violent joining of pain and pleasure, truth and games.
Spike fought him like a man possessed: writhing, screaming, cursing. They tumbled to the floor. Angel stabbed back in, slicked on blood. Spike clawed at his face. They rolled, crashing into a table, contents spilling around them.
Lighter, faster, Spike got away. Stronger, heavier, Angel flattened him into a wall. Plaster rained down on them, unique confetti for this unique joining.
Blood slicked their flesh, pre-ejaculate ran freely, diluting it to sticky pink trails on their legs.
So hard that he was in pain, Angel slammed in again, the tightness resisting him, clamping around his hardness, utterly defeating the object of the resistance.
For the first time, Angel’s voracious sexual need was being fed, gorged on a body that was equally ravenous. Memories of lying beached beside Nina after their perfunctory tumbles were swept away on this tsunami of sexual power.
He humped the slim body into the wall, opening it up deep inside, stretching Spike’s rectum to the shape of his desires. Spike howled and kicked and begged, but to no avail; Angel pinned him effortlessly with his arms and raped him, jack-knifing his hips forward, forcing Spike’s legs apart, conquering him entirely.
Face into the back of Spike’s hair, Angel came for the first time inside another man, and however many times they were to repeat this, he knew that in his mind sex would always be associated with this feeling of complete power: the knowledge that he was a fearsome, invulnerable, predatory male.
Spike had given this to him as a gift of love.
He pulled out of the battered body, now running with his fluids, now marked with his scent.
He turned Spike to face him, pressing hard shoulders into the wall.
Spike twitched up an eyebrow, thrust his tongue into his cheek and murmured seductively, ‘Bully.’ Then he pulled Angel in for a long, wet kiss, sealing the truth between them, sharing it with their tongues, tasting it on the shared spit.
It seemed to Angel then, as Spike’s tongue raped his mouth and gave back some of the pleasure he’d taken from Angel’s harsher penetration, that he’d missed the critical similarities between them. Sure, they shared history. But what could be more profound than that they shared their desires, that they had matching bodies of muscles and power? What could Angel ask more than that Spike’s body carried the same fluids as his, the same evidence of his pleasure, delivered in the same way?
He didn’t have to be what had weakened him by his spectacular failure to achieve them: a teenage girl’s boyfriend and a human’s father. With Spike, he could be what came naturally to him: man and sire. There was no vulnerability associated with either of those. They defined him, made him strong.
Over the next few weeks, their relationship was rarely restful, except for the occasional times when they lay utterly stated in each other’s arms, almost unconscious from the draining pleasure of their orgasms. Mostly, they sparked against each other, coming alive in the other’s presence, powerful emotions crashing between them.
It seemed to all who knew them that things were becoming increasingly difficult: the infighting; the arguments; the silences; the flaring, bitter hatred. It wore everyone out. It seemed to wear them out, for they were absent for long periods of time after such arguments, reappearing only hours later, looking physically exhausted.
Why they still chose to go on cases together no one could understand, but they did, sitting alongside each other intently as if they could not wait to get out of the confines of the agency and be on their own.
The cases seemed increasingly complex, the couple’s extended absences sometimes giving cause for alarm.
Only Wesley appeared not to take all that he saw at face value. He watched their eyes as they fought, heard intent behind tone, noted casual touches of hands that were anything but careless.
Perhaps he was the only one who could have understood what he saw, for when he looked at them—toe to toe, faces flushed, bodies tensed—he saw this through the clarity of unfiltered starlight. When he heard bitter words, anger dissipated in the vast spaces of his memory, taking on a wholly different meaning.
They had been given a second chance, a second past, and they had seized it with both hands and made it theirs. They were no longer constrained by the relationship they’d been assigned by fate, but had shaped their own. He admired them for it. He loved them for it.
He did not doubt what they did when they were alone on their increasingly frequent absences from the office, and it made him feel confident for the future.
He knew that the bonds being forged in their heat would enfold them all and would armour them for what lay ahead.
For the first time, he did not fear the never-ending flight of future days.
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