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The tone of the evening was set fairly early on. Initially sullen and reproachful, perhaps feeling his imprisonment too much, Angelus skulked along, glaring angrily into bars that he would normally not have hesitated to enter. Spike heard the baleful silence and knew only too well its provenance; he’d felt exactly the same when he’d been chipped.
Turning a corner, however, Angelus suddenly doubled over, clutching his head. Spike looked over, bemused for a moment. Then he glanced down.
He tried to stifle it.
He snorted and turned away.
He lit a cigarette.
Eventually, Angelus straightened. ‘What!’
Spike pointed helplessly to the ground, choking with the effort not to laugh.
Angelus glared at him, then at the place he was pointing. He looked more closely. ‘An ant.’
Spike lost it. His knees weakened, and he leant on the wall, giggling inanely.
Angelus actually stomped his foot in fury, which only made Spike laugh more. Eventually, Angelus pouted with a rueful, self-deprecating nod. The corners of his lips quirked up, and finally he laughed, shaking his head. ‘I will make you suffer for this one day. One day, I won’t be chipped.’
Spike wiped his eyes but couldn’t quite manage to stay serious long enough to stand. Angelus came close and suddenly darted out his hands as if going to punch him, but at the last moment, they landed on the wall either side of his head. Spike was imprisoned, but as it had once been with Angel, this imprisonment was in name only. They both knew this, and it sobered Spike. He stared into the familiar, brown eyes.
Angelus pouted again, running his gaze over Spike’s features. ‘Maybe I wasted a hundred years, Will. What do you think?’ He tipped his head and pressed his mouth to Spike’s ear. ‘I’d have ripped this off with my teeth once.’ He pressed his tongue deep into the cavity, sucking with long, sensuous pulls on the soft lobe. He heard a soft ‘Oh, fuck’ and smiled, switching to the other ear. As he tongued the intricate ridges, he murmured, ‘I need to feed again.’
Spike shifted his head out of reach slightly and eased out of Angelus’s imprisonment, trying not to make it look too easy. ‘We’ll find a demon bar that serves blood.’
Angelus held onto his arm, stroking with his thumb, his face lowered. ‘I was thinking human.’
Spike shrugged. ‘Some bars sell it.’
‘Nooo…. I was thinking… human.’
Spike snatched his arm away. ‘And this is the Angelus who was just floored by an ant.’
Angelus lifted his eyes. ‘But you wouldn’t be. You’re exactly as you ever were. Childe.’
Spike felt a frisson of pleasure course down his spine at the way Angelus rolled that term between them. It resonated with obedience and calming memories of a time when he knew his place in the world—at Angelus’s side.
He shook his head, as much to clear the disturbing memories as to deny the suggestion. ‘I’m chipped as effectively as you, Angelus. It would cause you physical pain. It would cause me….’
‘What?’ Angelus held up his hand in a friendly gesture. ‘I’m curious. Amuse me. What would it cause you?’ He took Spike’s arm, and they continued to walk.
‘I’d feel guilty.’
‘Huh. I know what that is. Angel feels it like something he ate in his belly, eating him from the inside.’
‘Well, if he feels it, you must feel it, too.’
‘I do—as something bad in my belly.’ He shrugged. ‘I get that it’s more to him than that, but that’s all I feel. And he doesn’t discriminate. He feels it all the time.’
‘That’s kinda what you sign up for, I guess.’
Angelus was silent for a moment then said thoughtfully, ‘Imagine an aircraft full of people, Will.’
Spike glanced over but Angelus continued quickly, ‘And there’s a crazy guy on board. He stands up and tells everyone that he’s taking over the plane, and he’s gonna fly them all into a mountain.’
‘Is this gonna turn into one of your cannibal stories?’
‘Shut up and listen. Imagine the fear in those helpless people. Can you? Can you hear the stifled groans from the impotent men, the startled cries from the women, silence from mothers, as they hold their babies tight to their chests.’
‘Okay, has Angel been reading Readers’ Digest again?’
Angelus smiled faintly but repeated, ‘Shut up.’ He flashed a glance back to Spike and continued, ‘Now, imagine that the plane has reached the mountains.’
‘How’s he gonna make the pilot do anything if he’s standing in front of the passengers like a pillock?’
‘The mountains are vast, covered in snow, no sign of life. Everyone on board knows they’re gonna die horribly if he carries out his threat. Then, suddenly, a man jumps up from the seats and shouts, ‘Air Marshal! Everyone down! And he shoots the guy—bang, bang—dead to rights in his chest. Blood everywhere… dripping down the cabin doors, running down his legs, pooling….’
‘I get the blood imagery, Gelus; I get it.’
‘Okay, so a life’s been taken. Someone’s been shot dead. No trial. Bang, bang—judge, jury, executioner. Is that marshal a murderer?’
‘Don’t be dumb. This is dumb, Angelus. Of course not. But you’re….’
‘Okay, so we all agree, medals for the brave hero of our story. But, let’s go back five minutes, before all that really great blood imagery. Our little pissant terrorist is standing there all cocky and pleased. Babies still being clutched to chests. Air turbulence.’ He wobbled Spike for effect, and despite himself, Spike laughed. ‘So, no marshal. Instead, there’s… me.’
‘You.’ Spike nodded thoughtfully. ‘So, you goin’ somewhere nice, Pet?’
Angelus growled softly, but it was affectionate enough. ‘Yeah, there I am, trying to snatch some shuteye, minding my own business, digesting one of the babies I ate earlier, and this fucking loser wakes me up! Starts pointing a gun at me! But worse… threatens to strand me up some fuckingly cold mountain with a pile of goddamn snow. So, I get up and then… we’re back to the blood imagery… still running down his legs… still pooling…. Only now, I’m there, lapping it up….’
Spike pouted, sensing he wasn’t going to like where this was going. Angelus nodded wisely, seeing the pout. ‘Exactly. Am I evil for killing him? Does it matter my motives were different from the marshal’s? Should I be given medals and a parade? Should I be condemned as a monster?’
‘You’ve never fed on skyjacking terrorists, Angelus. You’d get no kick out of it, and you’d probably get air sick.’
‘And you’re evading the question.’
‘Yeah, well. I don’t have all the bloody answers, okay?’
‘So, my point being…. Let’s find some evil sucker and become heroes for a night. What do you say? You slice, and I’ll suck. And, fuck, am I hard!’
‘No. I’m the only sane one left in this world of human insanity. They place every one of their lives in front of ours, Spike. Every one of them more precious than us. They’d deny us one fucking life; but they’ve decimated this entire planet; sent species into oblivion; murdered and preyed on themselves for millions of years!’
Spike felt a longing for Wesley—and not for the reasons he’d been wanting him recently. He knew Angelus was wrong—he had a particular doubt about the millions of years—but he couldn’t articulate what he felt were the flaws in his argument.
He ended the debate by saying sullenly, ‘I’m not killing anyone.’
Angelus nodded. ‘Okay, follow me.’ He strode off purposefully, not waiting to see if Spike followed him, only pausing once in agony as he squashed another bug, then disappearing around a corner.
Spike caught him up. ‘Let’s just go for that bloody drink!’
‘Wait.’ Angelus finally hailed a cab and slid in, waving imperiously for Spike to join him. He gave an address and settled back, humming.
Spike tipped his head back and shut his eyes.
Still humming, Angelus jumped out when they got to their destination and left Spike to pay. He jogged up some steps and knocked lightly on a glass door. A security guard peered through, appeared to recognise him, so let them in. ‘Mr Angel, Sir.’
Angelus grinned. ‘How many times have I told you to call me Angel?’ He waited until the man nodded gratefully then added coldly, ‘But maybe I like the sir better, now.’ He walked away, chuckling slightly and glanced at Spike. ‘What? Don’t be so fucking po-faced.’
Whistling now, he rode up in the elevator. They exited on the third floor. Angelus walked down to one of the apartments and knocked on the door.
A women answered it, and with eyes widening, she came out, glancing nervously back to the interior. ‘What do you want? I paid you! I told you I’d made a mistake! There’s nothing wrong!’
Angelus nodded seriously. ‘I know, Mrs Vincent, but I need to just have you sign another waiver.’
‘Another what? I can’t, I mean, my husband is here!’
‘Who’s that, Honey?’
Her eyes became frantic. ‘Just go!’
‘Hon? Who’s there?’ A man appeared, dabbing his mouth with a napkin. She smiled at him. ‘No one, Sweetheart.’
Angelus tipped his head to one side and said glibly, ‘We’re from the school.’
Spike’s eyebrows rose at this, and he couldn’t help but picture the incongruity: the leather… the jewellery… the hair.
‘The school? What the hell is this? Amanda! Get out here!’
A girl of about eight or nine fluttered into view, clutching a large colouring book. The man snatched it off her. ‘What the hell are two of your teachers doing here at this Goddamn time? What have you been saying?’
Angelus suddenly exclaimed, ‘You’re not Johnny! Will! She’s not Johnny. Hey, sorry folks. Our mistake!’ He grinned at them and hustled Spike down the hallway, taking back up his tuneless refrain.
Spike waited until they were in the elevator then exploded. ‘What the…?’
‘He’s been poking her since she was five. Mom called us in because she thought they had a poltergeist—blood on the kid’s sheets in the morning…. Angel knew right away. Smelt the girl on him.’
Spike blinked. ‘And what did he do?’
‘Nothing. As you can see, he did a big fat zero. Mom changed her mind. Told him she didn’t want him on the case anymore, and his fucking lawyer advisors said he had to lay off. Told me to lay off.’
‘Don’t! Don’t try to give me the impression that you care!’
Angelus looked hurt. ‘Of course I don’t. I’d fuck her myself before I killed her. Always loved them small and sweet, you know that. But what I’m trying to show you is that Angel’s way—your way—doesn’t work either. At least my way—if you help me kill him tonight—he’d be dead, I’d be fed, and the world would be better off. Amanda would be better off, that’s for sure. Wonder what he’s doing now, Will? Wanna go back and see? Bet she’s terrified…. Bet Mom’s got the TV on real loud. That’s what they do, you know! They turn it up, so they don’t have to know!’
‘Shut up! Shut up! You can’t make these decisions. It’s for….’
Angelus looked incredulous. ‘Go on! Finish that damn sentence! Who’s it for to decide these things? Surely you don’t believe there’s some great force for good in the universe, personally watching over that kid tonight!’
‘No.’ Spike toed the ground. ‘Of course not.’
‘Good. Okay, so who will look after her?’
‘Not you! That’s what I’m trying to say! You’re all screwed up inside, Angelus. You’d do it for the wrong reasons….’
‘Bingo! You told me that it doesn’t matter as long as right gets done.’
Spike shoved him hard and exited the elevator before him. ‘I told Angel that! And it was kinda private, yeah!’
Angelus laughed. ‘Well in that case, little one, I suggest you don’t have conversations with him when he’s ten inches up your arse, because you just know I’m gonna be listening in!’
Spike turned. ‘Ten?’
Angelus faltered for the first time that night and shrugged.
Spike followed him out, gleefully. ‘Ten?’
Angelus batted him away then suddenly flung an arm over his shoulder. ‘God, I’ve missed you.’
Spike leant against him for a moment then said wearily, ‘Drink now?’
Angelus laughed, his head tipped back to the sky. ‘Nah. One more Lesson According to Angelus.’
Spike groaned and stopped dead. ‘No. No more. You’ve made your point, and it’s not working. I’m not going to….’
Angelus cupped his face in his hand, stroking his thumb over one prominent cheekbone. ‘You’ll like this one—cross my heart and hope to die.’
Spike let his head fall onto his chest. ‘One more, then we go get you some blood—from a bottle.’
Angelus nodded. ‘Scout’s honour.’ He tipped his head to one side thoughtfully. ‘Taken those before, too.’ Back to humming, he hailed another cab, and they rode in silence except for his increasingly irritating musical undercurrent to the trip.
They pulled up outside a rundown warehouse in the docks. Spike knew where they were and pursed his lips, thinking. He turned to look at Angelus. ‘No.’
Angelus climbed out and said, ‘Pay the man.’
Unable to sit there without looking foolish, and reasoning that climbing out of the cab didn’t compromise his assertion that he wasn’t going in, Spike did as requested.
When the cab drew out of sight, he turned to walk back the way they’d come.
Angelus began to work his way into the building, tearing down the boards that had been nailed over the door.
Spike stopped and tipped his head back to the night. ‘Please don’t do this.’
‘Why not? Afraid?’
‘You know I’m not afraid of anything.’
‘Except losing me.’
Spike jerked his head around quickly. ‘Angel.’
Angelus shrugged as if he wasn’t too concerned that Spike kept making this distinction. Eventually, he had the door exposed, and he kicked it down. They wandered in together. The smell of the body was overpowering, and Spike wished he’d made good on his promise to come back and burn the place down.
Angelus found the light switch, and the small false room where his body had been slowly destroyed was flooded by light. He ignored it and walked behind the false walls. Spike knew what he’d find and went over, too, staring down at the now bloated body, which was crawling with flies.
‘They don’t look so fucking holy when they’re dead, do they?’
‘So, how did this one’s murder fit into your little smug view of morality, Spike? Jeez, did you keep his head as a trophy?’
‘No. It’s over there.’
Angelus smiled. ‘That was kinda a rhetorical question, but thanks for the info.’ He went over into the shadows and picked Ingram’s head up by the hair, and as he emerged back into the light, Spike had the bizarre notion that he did look almost holy, a biblical allegory.
Angelus held the face up to his, wrinkling his nose. ‘Why do I never get tortured by pretty boys in leather, huh?’
He swung the head around as if it were a grotesque wind chime he was testing for its melody. ‘So, what d’ya’reckon, Will? You put Angel before this human pretty easily, didn’t you? Angel… demon. Ingram… human. Tsk, tsk. Methinks there’s more ambiguity here than’s allowed in your philosophy.’
He dropped the head suddenly. ‘Shit. I need a drink.’
Spike nodded glumly.
Angelus put his arm around him again. ‘Thanks, by the way. For putting me first.’
Angelus’s only response to the decreasing vehemence with which this was said was to lean over and kiss the top of Spike’s head.
They walked away from the abandoned building in silence, both deep in their own thoughts. Angelus kept his arm over Spike’s shoulder and appeared unconscious of the fact that his thumb stroked Spike’s ear to the rhythm of their steps.
They stopped. They looked at each other and then over to a stack of boxes at the entrance to a warehouse. Six youths were lounging around a small area, which had been decorated with gang insignia.
Angelus tightened his hold on Spike and queried, amused, ‘Faggots?’
The one who had spoken pushed off his box and came closer. ‘Yeah. Fucking cocksuckers. This ain’t your place, man. We don’t want you round here.’
Spike murmured for preternatural ears only, ‘Chip?’
Angelus lifted his arm and said in a normal voice, ‘There’s only six!’
Spike began to back off, his hands raised in an unmistakable gesture of apology to the group. Angelus roared in fury and piled in.
Spike swore colourfully and stepped over him as he lay sprawled in agony and took over the fight.
He was kinda annoyed with himself and wasn’t too careful where he hit or how hard. They all had knives, and he was cut once or twice, but once he’d cut them back (with knives he’d taken from them as easily as proverbial candy from babies), they began to scatter.
He was left panting and keyed up, the only one standing. He turned to offer Angelus his hand and found him lying on the gang leader. For one bizarre moment, he thought they were shagging: Angelus’s body rising and falling on the supine figure, soft grunts and moans coming from them both.
Then he realised what was happening and pulled Angelus off a deep wound in the boy’s neck. Angelus grinned and licked his lips, a feral tinge of red on his fangs as he smiled. ‘Heroin! Jeez, what a rush!’
Spike crouched down to the unconscious figure. Angelus rose to his feet and came over, squatting down alongside him. ‘Why shouldn’t I feed from him? Where’s the harm, Spike? Tell me that? Where’s the harm? I need to feed. I have a right to my existence.’ He put a finger to a dribble of blood at the corner of his lips and then trailed it over Spike’s. Spike tried to dodge away, but Angelus snaked out his hand and caught hold of him. Suddenly, he leaned in and kissed him. It was quick, efficient and cold. He pulled back, waited until Spike opened his mouth to protest and then returned to the warm, moist hole, easing his tongue in as he ground their lips together. Very deliberately, he licked the last trace of the boy’s blood around the inside of Spike’s mouth. Holding the back of Spike’s head still, he eased his mouth off, bent to the wound and suckled for a while, then lifted his face and mouthed the blood second-hand to the waiting mouth, and none of this was now done quickly, efficiently or coldly.
Spike pressed into his touch, opening his mouth wider, his tongue now actively seeking the tantalising fluid. Angelus moaned, and Spike found his hand suddenly pressed to the front of the tight, leather pants. The hard length of Angelus’s blood-filled erection was obvious. Spike fell back, and Angelus lay over him, still kissing, writhing now, grinding them together.
Suddenly, there was a shout, the sound of pounding feet, and they looked up to see about fifteen youths running toward them down the dock.
As one, they rose to their feet and ran off into the dark.
They didn’t know if they were laughing, panting, or howling with delight at the night. They only knew blood as it slicked around their mouths and pumped their sex with power.
They finally stopped on a bridge, which spanned a road. Angelus jumped up onto the parapet and swung around a support.
He grinned gleefully down at Spike then stilled. ‘What?’
Spike was staring in dismay along the river. Angelus followed his gaze.
Spike lit a cigarette and turned his back to the approaching dawn. Angelus jumped down alongside him and took the offered cigarette. In a theatrical voice he intoned, ‘This is the day that I die.’
Spike said sharply, ‘Don’t joke about it.’
Angelus looked at him closely. ‘What are you thinking?’
Spike looked down at his boot. ‘I don’t know.’
Angelus scratched his head. ‘Let’s go find that bar that serves blood, hey? I’m kinda beat.’
Spike nodded and led the way. When he noticed that Angelus lagged behind, he cursed him roundly and hailed the first cab he could. Angelus sat slumped in one corner of the cab, picking distractedly at a scab on one of his fingers.
He slouched into the bar, slid into a booth, and when the blood arrived, in large beer-style pitchers, he began to drink, making full use of the fact that he didn’t need to stop for breath.
Spike slid in alongside him, watching him drink.
As he took a second glass, Angelus’s other hand slid over Spike’s thigh and just rested there as he drank. Spike made no move at all to shift it.
Finally, Angelus was revived. He grinned his more characteristic grin, rubbed his belly and belched. He glanced at his companion and moved his hand to Spike’s lap. At the very same moment, a tiny shaft of sunlight hit their table. They stared at it, watching it track the minutes across the stained surface. It became very quiet in the bar, somewhere between the nighttime patrons leaving or falling unconscious, and the morning ones summoning the energy to leave their beds to commence drinking once more. Angelus began to stroke his thumb over Spike’s hard swelling. ‘Tell me what you’re thinking, Will.’
‘I’m thinking about the sunlight.’
‘A bit early for existentialism, isn’t it?’
Spike smiled. ‘Angel’s been reading again.’
Angelus chuckled, ‘Well, you know it’s not me! It’s kinda neat though. He reads, and I learn. So, what does the sunlight tell you, childe of mine?’
Spike pouted. ‘That it’s time for us to go back.’
‘Ever the soul of tact, Will. You mean time for me to be tamed again, whining like a mewling pug.’
Spike didn’t reply. He began to trace patterns between the beer spills on the table.
Angelus slid closer and pushed his hand between Spike’s legs, caressing his balls through the leather. ‘Will?’
‘Was it easy to remove?’
‘Then maybe, just once in a while, ya know…? We could take little holidays together…. If you let me out sometimes… high days and holidays?’
Spike turned to stare into his eyes and shifted slightly in the seat, opening his legs and sliding forward. He blinked to the pleasure, and Angelus looked down, watching as his hand fondled and stroked the growing bulge.
Suddenly, Spike jumped up. ‘Let’s go.’
Angelus turned his head, knowing he was helpless to resist. He murmured in a ragged voice, ‘I shall sway with madness at this confinement.’
Spike cupped him around the back of the neck. ‘We need to run. Now. Out of the city. He’ll come for us, and we need to be a long, long way away before he does.’
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