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Protective Custody – 2

The next day, Spike didn't make an appearance 'til late afternoon. He wandered down to the kitchen looking hung-over and sour. He raided the fridge for blood then started looking around for hangover nibbles.

'Fucking hell, Angel! Don't you ever eat?'

'He's upstairs, you ungrateful, lazy, dead thing.' Cordelia's voice drifted out from the office. Spike stomped next door and sat on her desk.

'Get off.'

'Make me.'

'Grow up.'


'Oh. Angel's upstairs in your room.'

'My room?'

'Yeah. I wouldn't have bothered, and he's been hung over and bitchy all day….'

Spike went back upstairs and heard a noise coming from the room next to Angel's. He stood in the doorway looking in. He had to admit, he was surprised…and not much surprised him these days. The bed was made with luxurious-looking, midnight blue silk sheets and contrasting fleece blankets. A huge widescreen television dominated the far side of the room, and a DVD player was lying alongside it on the floor. A sound system was half assembled under the window, and Spike recognised his own CDs strewn around it. In one corner, a small fridge was open and seemed to be filled with a wide range of his favourite drinks. Angel was sitting on the floor studying the instructions for the DVD player with a deep frown on his face. After a moment, he threw it from him with a hiss of annoyance.

Spike couldn’t help but smile. 'I'll do it.'

Angel's head flew round at Spike's voice, clearly chagrined at being caught out in such a display of petulant temper.

'Oh, you're up.'


Angel didn't appear to hear or register this reply. He was watching Spike's face as he looked around the room. 'Well?'

Spike nodded briefly. 'Thanks.'

Angel seemed pleased by this reply, as if he understood the effort it must have taken for Spike to say it.

'Hair of the dog?' Spike walked towards the fridge and opened two beers, passing one to Angel who took it reluctantly. 'Don't tell me you haven't the stomach for it.'

'Spike, I drank two bottles of whisky last night.'

'I noticed.'

Angel wondered if Spike was referring to their conversation and wasn't sure how to proceed when Spike suddenly threw himself face down on the bed and picked up the remote controls. 'Wanna see what's on?'

Angel hesitated. Beer… Spike… watching television…. Yet again there was a distinct feeling of domesticity and… and… happiness to all of this, which he feared beyond his capacity to rationalize that emotion. He felt a vortex opening below him and felt he might be sucked in.

Spike seemed to sense his dilemma. 'If it makes you more miserable, I'll hit you every so often.'

Angel smiled and sat down, leaning back against the headboard. He sipped his beer and watched Spike watching the TV. He tried not to enjoy himself.

Spike bent his legs up and started swinging them in time to his rapid flicking of channels. 'What takes your fancy then?'

Angel wrenched his gaze off Spike's hand on the remote and decided it was time to lay down some ground rules to this protective custody business. He'd been sort of mulling them over all day as he'd ordered the stuff for Spike, detailed Gunn for trips to Sunnydale, and otherwise fought his sick head and sour stomach.

'Spike, I am not Angelus. I don't do what Angelus did…in any way. No killing, no torturing, no feeding, and no sex. Do you understand me? I'm not returning to the old ways, just because you are here for a while.'

Spike rolled on to his side and propped his head up on one hand. He looked at Angel over his beer. 'What brought on that little speech then, pet? I was asking you what you wanted to watch on telly.'

If Angel could have flushed, he would have.


'But… seeing as you've raised it…. You telling me you don't have sex? Ever. You a eunuch or something?'

'I am not a eunuch! I am celibate.'

'Ahh….' Spike tried to imply the thought "big fucking difference" in his reply and hoped Angel heard it. 'Is that cus of what happened with Buffy then?'

'Partially, yes.'

'But if you shagged a demon, you wouldn't turn?'

'No, Spike, if I shagged a demon - love the turn of phrase by the way - if I did that, I wouldn’t turn. Have done that with Darla, and didn't.'

'So what's the deal then? Why punish yourself?'

'That's why. It is a punishment - for what I've done in the past.'

'That's just dumb, Angel.' Dismissing Angel's entire reason for being with that simple statement, Spike sat up and crawled up the bed to sit next to him. 'None of that was your fault.'

'And how do you work that out?'

'Jees, Angel. You didn't ask to be a demon, did you?'

'Err… well, I sort of did… Darla offered, and I sort of accepted.'

'Oh fucking hell…! You never gave me the choice!'

'Well, I wanted you more, I guess.'

That effectively silenced them both for a while. Spike finished his beer and fetched two more, returning to his seat next to Angel.

'So, what am I supposed to do while I'm a pris… in protective custody. I'm not a eunuch or fucking celibate or whatever… I need it… now… tonight… tomorrow… etc, etc. So, I'm adding that to me list… oh and some snacks.'

So, you want snacks and sex.'

'Yeah, I do… what you gonna do about it?'

'Spike, I'll provide you with as much sex as you've been having recently in Sunnydale.' With that, Angel turned and looked pointedly at Spike.

'Bloody hell, how long were you fucking following me for?'

'A while. I had to know how far it had gone with Buffy. So, I know exactly how much sex you've been having recently and, what do you know,' he leaned in conspiratorially, 'I've been having more than you.'

Angel started laughing; Spike swung his arm, trying to hit him, Angel caught his arm and effectively pulled Spike against him. Spike started to laugh, too. 'Okay, you poof, so we're both wankers.'

Angel wrestled Spike onto his back. 'We agree on something at last, Spike. We're both wankers: me because I want to be, you because you can't get laid.'

'Shut up, you poof.' Spike tried to hit him again but was laughing too hard, and Angel had pinned him on his back and was holding his wrists down.

Suddenly Angel stopped laughing. Spike looked up at him. They were both very still. Spike distinctly felt Angel's penis swelling against him. He raised one eyebrow speculatively.

'Uh huh. I'm thinking that celibacy rule of yours may be the only thing around here that's not rigid, Angel.'

Angel's eyes widened as he stared down at Spike. Did he see Spike's features change from perfect lines and planes to the very gates of hell? It was always hard to tell with Angel, but whatever he had seen, he rolled off Spike and stood up. With his back to the bed, he said very distinctly and very slowly. 'This will not happen again, Spike. I will not drink with you or watch television with you. I will not discuss the past again. You have your room; please stay in it as much as possible. I will be out most evenings; I work during the day. I see no reason for us ever to meet.'

He started to walk purposefully towards the door. He paused when he heard a low, bitter voice from the bed. 'I'd have thought being with me would be the most effective punishment you could give yourself.'

Angel turned and looked at Spike who did not look up from the bottle of beer he was thoughtfully swirling around in his hand. 'What do you mean by that?'

'If you want to be fucking punished, Angel, then maybe you should start thinking about the past. Seems to me you need to remember. You abused me for over twenty years and made me so crazy and weak I'm allowing Buf… I'm not over it yet. So maybe you should be with me….' He finally looked up at Angel. 'Maybe you'll remember that abuse and maybe, just maybe, it'll make you as fucking miserable as it makes me.' He climbed off the bed and went over to turn the TV off. 'Oh, one more thing, Angel.' He turned to look at him again. 'You do not need to set rules for me. I would not let you touch me again if you were the last chance I would ever have for relief. I wouldn't let your hands on my body if your hands were served up on a fucking plate. As for your cock….'

'You've made your point, Spike.…'

'No Angel, I haven't. I think you assumed that all you'd have to do is offer me a little bit of your pseudo affection and I'd roll over like that obedient little puppy I was all those years ago. Yeah, make me blow you; give me a pat on the head and I wag my fucking tail. I am not going to roll over for you. Ever. The abused grew up and recognised his abuser. Do you understand me? How fucking dare you say last night that you remembered me liking your cock. I had no bloody choice. I liked it, or I suffered it. Nothing in between.'

Angel's eyes widened in disbelief. 'Abuse. That's how you remember it?'

'No. That's how it was. You fucked me, made me blow you, made me wank you, whatever you wanted Angelus, and what did you give me?'

'I taught you; I trained you. I cared for you.'

'Each little thing eked out for my sexual compliance. I wanked you off… I got taught about hunting some more; I sucked you… oh, yeah, that was good, I got a lesson on vampire lore. But the best? The best was when I spread my legs and opened up my hole for you, Angelus, cus then….' Spike was so bitter at this last accusation that he turned away and looked down at his boots. 'Then you would talk to me. Then you treated me like a friend. Until you splattered inside me. Then you'd pull out and fuck off again until the next time you felt restless, bored, hard, or just plain mean. You beginning to see the pattern now?'

He looked up and stared boldly at Angel who was still standing frozen in the doorway. Angel started to shake his head slowly, seemed about to try and argue with this account, but suddenly turned and left, slamming the door behind him. The last thing he heard was the remote control smashing against the closed door.

They were both aware that most of the night their heads were only inches from each other's. Angel's bedroom was laid out as a mirror image of the one next door, thus his bed was pushed up to the same wall as Spike's. The wall was not that thick.

Angel pondered on what Spike had said. He had to allow that there was more than a grain of truth in what he had been accused of. The trouble was, he thought he had probably been like that to all his vampire family. He had not picked William out for any special abuse… but Spike was not remembering this past through a blood-tinted, vampire perspective. He seemed to be remembering it and interpreting it from a very human point of view… and Angel had to admit, that from that standpoint, he was utterly guilty. He had eked out his preference and approval with William. He had seduced him and played with him, abused his power over him, and made him desperate for the merest whisper of kindness.

Angel also thought long and hard about the slip Spike had made. It had not escaped his notice. He had chosen to ignore it until he had time to be alone and brood on its meaning. Spike had said, 'You abused me for over twenty years and made me so crazy and weak I'm allowing Buf… I'm not over it yet.' Angel had no doubt what Spike had been going to say. Buffy. He was allowing Buffy to abuse him. This admission surprised and worried Angel more than he thought possible. Most people would have laughed at this interpretation of Buffy and Spike's relationship. If there was abuse, it must be Spike, the vampire, who was the abuser. If there was a victim, then it must be that tiny, blond-haired slip of a girl who must be the victim. Perhaps only Angel, of all the people who knew these two characters, could allow that the other interpretation might have some truth to it. After all, that tiny, blond-haired slip of a girl had had the strength of mind to stick him with a sword and send him to hell. Victim, she was not. So, Spike's admission added a considerable amount of weight to Cordelia's vision. Perhaps Buffy's staking of Spike was not so unlikely, given that even Spike could admit she was an abuser. Angel was extremely worried.

As Angel lay the long night through thinking these sad, lonely thoughts, Spike lay inches away berating himself for letting Angel get to him again. 'The abused grew up and recognised his abuser'… where the fuck had that come from? He had to stop watching Maury. It wasn't good for him.

Why had he lashed out like that? What had he really thought as he'd felt Angel harden on him? Did he really believe all the bitter accusations he had hurled at Angel?

By the way he tossed and turned and paced and smoked and kicked the wall that night, probably not.

After this long night of non-existent soul searching, Spike decided he was probably too fucked up to know what he had thought when he'd felt that swelling pressing into him.

Certainly his initial reaction had been interest and amusement. Angel had a stonker on him. Angel was not such a saint after all, and Spike enjoyed watching the halo slip a little.

His next reaction may have been eager anticipation but, if it was, it had only lasted as long as it took for Angel's face to register disgust. So, then there had been anger, and not only anger directed at Angel. Spike was furious at himself, too. 'Eager anticipation'… he was that fucking puppy he'd just described to Angel. He could feel his tongue hanging out and his fat, furry bottom wriggling for a pat . What a bloody wuss he still was. He was a fucking Pavlovian puppy: yank the right chain, and there he'd been, drooling for Angelus' cock.

So, after the anger had come the scorn and fury, and that's what had lashed over Angel in those vitriolic waves. Spike knew very well his version of events was washed with venom, offered up on a plate of bitterest bile. Sure, Angelus had been a bastard… kind of came with the fangs… but of course he had not been abused for twenty years without some complicity on his part.

Hell, the whole bloody thing had started with complicity between the two of them. He remembered that. He fucking remembered everything. He had been looking for Dru. Had tracked her down to the master bedroom of one of the various places they had been living in that first year of his turning. He listened at the door for a while to see if he could work out who else was there. He could not have cursed or berated himself enough when Angelus shouted at him to come in. Even then he hesitated. He did not like Angelus and had had very little to do with him since he had been turned, but he knew better than to disobey.

He entered the room and nearly gagged up the blood he had consumed earlier that night. Angelus was stretched out on the bed totally naked with the largest erection William though it was possible to have and not actually be a donkey. For some bizarre reason, this erection was decorated by coloured ribbons. As William walked slowly and very unwillingly towards the bed, he saw that similar ribbons were in Darla's and Drucilla's hands as they knelt either side of Angelus. Dru giggled and threw one of the ribbons, which had been tied into a circlet, at Angelus' cock. She missed, and it slipped down his flanks to join a growing pile on the bed.

'We're playing hoopla.' She giggled again and held out a ribbon for William to try.

William did not know where to look. He was acutely embarrassed.

Angelus wasn't though. He spoke in a lazy, authoritative voice. 'Take the ribbon, boy. Come up here with us; you can't play from there.'

To William, it was as if Angelus' cock were a huge, single, red eye, winking obscenely at him. It actually scared him. He knew better than to disobey though, so crawled onto the end of the bed. He took the proffered ribbon and made a weak attempt to cast it in the general direction of the donkey impression.

The other three fell about laughing, and it infuriated him; it was as if they were commenting directly on his sexual performance in some way.

He looked furiously at Angelus. 'It would help if it wasn't fucking listing like that to one side.' He pointed to Angelus' cock that had indeed started to flag slightly.

As the words left his mouth, William realised that that had probably been a bad move. He was right.

Angelus lifted one eyebrow and said, 'What are you waiting for then?'

Darla put out a hand, as if to take on the job herself, but Angelus caught her wrist. 'Not you, him.'

'William, my name is, William.'

Angelus nodded. 'William then, come on. You never seem short of something to say for yourself; use that pretty mouth for what I made it to do.'

Angelus sat up, pushed Dru out of the way, and dragged William over to his side. William looked down at Angelus' cock. Strangely, it did not now seem so obscenely large or frightening. It looked enticing and interesting. He noticed the way it curved up towards Angelus' flat, smooth stomach. His own bent slightly down when it was erect. He was fascinated by this difference. He wondered what else would be different. He did not know quite what he wanted to do now. He thought about putting his mouth over that weeping tip. Then he thought about not doing that and just getting up and leaving. Even putting aside the fact that the latter would probably earn him a beating that would leave him unconscious for hours, even with that, he did not really want to do the second of those two options. He wanted to suck Angelus. He wanted that cock. Maybe he just wanted the intimacy it would imply. Maybe he wanted to be the one in this bed every night, laughing and having fun with Angelus.

Maybe he was just tired of being lonely.

He had a feeling, though, that this was a test. He felt under scrutiny even more than he usually did with Angelus. He wanted this to be perfect. He wanted to make Angelus want him. He had no experience to draw upon, but he looked at Darla, and then at Drucilla, and smiled to himself. He did not have much competition really. If he couldn’t do it better than they did with absolutely no idea of what a cock felt like from the inside, then there was something wrong with him.

He looked at Angelus. 'May I put my head on your belly? Sire.' He even added the polite ending he didn't usually bother with, just to butter Angelus up a bit.

Angelus had watched William's deliberations with interest and was clearly surprised by his question. Neither of the women had ever noticed this curving aspect of his cock, or made much effort to take that into account and make it really enjoyable for him. He nodded at William who proceeded to lie on Angelus' belly and take the soft cock into his mouth. Just as he thought, this angle would allow him to swallow it right down.

He explored the foreskin first. He slipped his tongue under the loose skin and, using his fist, squeezed it up to cover his tongue as well. He started swirling around the between cock head and that soft covering. He felt Angelus' belly tighten under his cheek. He heard an almost imperceptible hissed, 'Yesss,' come from Angelus' lips. Angelus’ shaft swelled and pulsed in his mouth. William smiled to himself; he did this to his own cock with a finger, and knew just how wonderful it felt. He wondered how much better it would be with a tongue.

Darla said impatiently, 'Hurry up, you're only doing a stiffening job there… don't ruin our game and go too far.'

She had not seen that Angelus' hand had crept onto the small of William's back and was making small, lazy circles there. She did not feel the way Angelus' hips rose fractionally to meet William's mouth. William stopped and looked up at Angelus… and they had that moment of complete understanding and complicity. William knew that Angelus was quite happy for him to ruin the game. He also saw that Angelus knew he wanted it, too. He gave a tiny smile and waited. Angelus smiled back… for the first time. It was the first time he had ever smiled at William.

William returned to Angelus' cock and sealed his lips around the ridge below the tip and sucked as hard as he could, flicking his tongue over the slit. Angelus hissed and arched his back. William relaxed his throat muscles and started swallowing, never releasing the seal or stopping the deep sucking. Angelus' cock hit the back wall of his throat, then slipped further down his oesophagus. He started slow movements up and down the shaft with his lips, ensuring the tip was rubbed against the walls of his throat. Angelus didn't last long. He shot a vast load of cum down William's throat. His penis started to wilt, so when Spike withdrew his mouth, it flopped onto it side.

When William lay with his head on Angelus' belly, cum dribbling out of the corners of his mouth, Darla was incandescent with rage. She'd been pushed aside, disobeyed, and Angelus' attention was definitely not on her. Angelus was actually panting, his eyes fixed on William with a look of complete shock. His hands were not on her, they were on William… they were stroking him; they were running through his hair and playing with the soft strands.

She slapped William hard and ordered him away. That time he had gone. But it had been a losing battle. Angelus and William had become obsessed with each other. Angelus could never have enough of William's talented mouth. William discovered he could never have enough of Angelus' approval, Angelus' hands on him, and Angelus' soft words of love. For Angelus was good at that; he never forgot to whisper 'Good boy' or 'Clever boy' or 'Well done' as he lay and enjoyed his Childe. Unfortunately, these were the only times in William's life he had approval from anyone, and it made too deep an impression. So, when Angelus decided he wanted more of William and took him in other, less enjoyable ways, William acquiesced. Angelus still never forgot to say 'Good boy' to him when he spread his legs and held himself ready for his Sire's inventive entries.

So now, as Spike paced the bedroom unable to sleep, other emotions started to come. After the amusement, the anticipation, the anger, the scorn… after this inexorable progress of feelings, there came a deep sadness. He had not really wanted Angel to leave. He had not wanted to see that sad expression on Angel's face but, most of all, he had not wanted to see disgust. That had been the worst of all. Whatever had happened between them in the past, whether it had been willing or forced, one thing was for certain… it had never been unwanted by Angelus. He had been obsessed with his Childe and 'disgust' had never, ever flittered across his face as he entered, came on, or filled William.

By the time the dawn filtered into Spike's bedroom, therefore, he had made an important decision. If Angel could now only feel disgust for him, then he would go along with Angel's 'rules'. Spike had enough disgust from others he wanted to love him; he did not need it from his Sire as well. He decided he would stay out of Angel's way.

What a pity then that for all his long night of introspection, Spike did not work out for himself that Angel's disgust had never been directed at him. Surely Spike should have known Angel better than to think he would ever miss a bit of unhealthy self-loathing. Maybe in this immediate leap to see himself as the object of Angel's disgust - that inevitable reaction of someone with low self-esteem - Spike only ended up proving that there had been some truth to his version of events after all.

Interestingly, for all his pacing and thinking, it did not occur to Spike that he had spent an entire night not thinking about Buffy: the Buffy who had recently filled his every waking and sleeping thought. Not one thought of her, but all thoughts for Angel.

All night Angel had refused to even let himself think about lying on Spike and getting hard on Spike. So he did not even get as far as first base on any self-realisation. He saw the dawn rise with no more awareness of his feelings for Spike than when he had had spent the whole of the previous day lovingly arranging everything in his room for him. As far as Angel was concerned, his rules would now protect him; he would not see Spike and, therefore, he would not need to think about Spike either.

Like many people who lie awake with a problem all night, Spike drifted off to sleep with the rising of the sun. He did not wake until late into the morning. He felt all wrong. He could not explain it any better than that. All wrong. Wrong in his body and his head. If he had a still-beating heart, he'd have added wrong in his heart, too. He was scratchy, bad-tempered, and restless. He put it down to the enforced confinement that he was not used to, and decided to explore around his prison and see if he could not find a way of escape.

As he wandered along one of the top corridors he heard a strange 'thwump, thwump, thwump' coming from one of the rooms. He had the bizarre thought, for a moment, that Angel was in there self-flagellating and cautiously put his head around the open door. He discovered Angel and Gunn training together. Two bedrooms at the top of the hotel had been knocked into one; there was a stack of training mats in one corner, a pummel horse off to one side, and a cabinet with an assortment of wicked-looking weapons.

Angel stood in the middle of the room, stripped to the waist and blindfolded. He wore only a pair of old sweat pants, and his feet were bare. Spike had genuinely forgotten just how beautiful Angel's body was. It was kind of disguised under his clothes, often looking heavy and slow. Naked, Angel looked as though he had been sculpted under the hands of an artist. His poise was perfect, his balance and strength exceptional. Gunn was prowling around the room with a vicious looking stave in his hands; he glanced over at Spike and grinned. Then he struck out towards Angel, but the vampire evaded contact effortlessly. It didn't take Spike long to realise that Angel wasn't even being tested by this training session. After a few more swings, Gunn leant on the stave, clearly exhausted and fed up. He then gave a small grin to himself and tossed the weapon at Spike. He was not aware of the new rules and said amiably to Angel, 'There you go, man; someone your own size to pick on.'

Angel whirled around and pulled off the blindfold. 'Spike.'

'Yeah, sorry, mate. Was looking for… was taking some exercise, heard you. I'll be off then.' He leant the staff against the wall and backed off.

'Wait.' Angel walked over to a corner and picked up a towel, wiping his face for a moment. 'I guess training couldn’t hurt. And I do need it.'

Spike looked confused. He'd have thought that out of all the things they should avoid, other than outright buggering, training together ought probably be at the top of the list. Yet again, he wondered just how he got to be so stupid, because Angel must know better than him. So he came into the room stripping off his T-shirt too. As far as he was aware, no one had given any thought to what he was going to do for clothes in this strange prison, so felt he ought to look after the one shirt he had. He picked up the stave again and weighed it for balance and strength. It was good: very strong and tipped with steel at both ends - a nasty weapon. Angel started to retie his blindfold.

'Err… I don't think you'd better do that, mate. I'm not a friggin' human.'

'This was not because Gunn was slow….'

'Hey man, last time I train with you!'

'It's sensory deprivation training - so I can fight in the dark more effectively.'

'Oh. 'K then.' Spike swung and struck Angel a vicious blow to the stomach.

Totally caught off guard by the near perfect speed and accuracy of the attack, Angel doubled in pain. He straightened up, grinned under his blindfold, and went into a protective stance. Spike swung again and caught Angel's legs, knocking him off his feet. He flipped up to a fighting crouch, and the next time Spike swung, he caught the pole and attempted to wrench it away from his attacker. Spike was expecting this though, let it give for a while, then twisted and pulled it free. He took advantage of Angel's off balance position to get a good hit to his back. But that was the last good contact he did have. Angel quickly adapted to the new speed of the attacks and parried them with equal strength and speed. After a few minutes, they were both sweating and totally engrossed in the struggle.

Gunn stayed pressed into one corner. He'd never seen a display like it. To his eyes, they moved in a blur of pale flesh around the room, seemingly in a synchronous dance of violence. After half an hour, Spike stepped back with a grin and said quietly, 'Impasse.'

Angel pulled off the blindfold and grinned back at him.

Spike cocked his scarred eyebrow at him. 'So, there is something we can still do together.'

Angel laughed lightly. 'Yeah…the best thing, too.'

'Wanna swap?'

Angel didn't reply but walked up to Spike and put the blindfold against his eyes, holding it still while he walked around to the back and tied it. Being this close to Spike's sweaty body aroused him more than he had allowed for.

Spike smelt the desire emanating from his Sire and shivered. That did not smell like disgust and it confused him.

He felt Angel move silently from him and tried to sense where the attack would come from. Next thing he knew, the pole thwacked against his back sending him into a pain-filled roll. But he knew where Angel was now and easily avoided the next swing. He stayed low, felt the next thrust coming, and sprang up and over it.

Angel was moving fast, using the whole of the room. Spike heard a low grunt of pain and realised with a smile that Angel had accidentally hit Gunn. 'Fuck man… I'm off; you two're dangerous.'

They were alone. They fought for hours, swapping roles and weapons. Spike favoured a high tensile steel nunchaku set and did some considerable damage with it to Angel's face and neck. Angel was most proficient with a lightweight steel kobutan, and Spike suffered for his accuracy with this weapon. They were both equally good with nightsticks and swords.

Angel's main downfall was his insistence on following the rules of each weapon, on the artistry of the attack and defence. It was as if he were following ancient rituals of his own making with every stroke. Spike's weakness was his very refusal to see that each weapon had its own personality and should be given respect. He would use the kobutan as a club if he wanted to, the sword as a battering ram, the nunchaku as a noose. He was a scrappy street fighter who would bite, spit, and pull hair, if he thought he was losing. He had only one rule: win. Angel always had to qualify his desire to win with his desire to conform to the martial rules.

Angel was the first to call it quits. He sank, exhausted, against the wall, letting his bare feet slide out from under him. He put his head down on his arms and groaned.

'You win. I'm too old for this.'

'Too old and too fat.' Spike could hardly even make it to the wall, gave up trying to do it on his feet, and crawled over to sit next to Angel.

'It's all muscle, Spike. Something you could do with a little more of, I'm thinking.'

'I make do.'

'So I see.'

Spike smiled. 'You enjoyed that, didn't you? You're not going to start singing 'In Dublin's Fair City' now, are you?'

'Nope. Not changing, not singing. But yeah, I did enjoy it. Like the old times, wasn't it? Except you've gotten better.'

'Yeah, we used to do this for days then though. Maybe we're just out of practice. You taught me everything I know.' This concession to their argument last night did not go unnoticed by Angel.

He smiled. 'Except for the spitting and hair pulling… that's all you.'

Spike laughed. 'Nah, most of that was Harm. You shouldn’t train with humans, Angel… they're not good enough; they'll get you killed.'

'There is no one else.'


'You volunteering to stay as my permanent sparring partner?'


'There you are then. I go with what I've got.'

They sat in silence for a while until Spike heard a low, soft, 'Spike….'

He turned to look at Angel and saw him look down at his lap… where Spike's hand was quietly fondling Angel's very evident erection swelling under the sweat pants.

'Fuck!' Spike wrenched his hand away and skittered a few feet further down the wall. He stared at Angel with a look of shock and fury on his face.

'See! See what I mean!' He could hardly speak for rage.

'What!' Angel was almost as angry.

'You… you made me do it!'

'Me! Me! How do you work that out… I was just sitting here…!'

To his enormous embarrassment and dismay, Spike felt tears prick his eyes and start to roll down his face. He dashed them away with a childish gesture and spat back at Angel, 'You don't remember, do you?'

'What….' Angel paused, because he did remember. Suddenly. Shockingly. He remembered long ago training sessions and how they would always end. How he would force William's sweaty body to contort for his pleasure, how he sometimes used the weapons on him, tearing his hole open with handles and blades, riding in the blood he brought forth. He remembered how William would cry and plead with him to stop, and how he enjoyed that heart-rending sound. He remembered the aftermath when he would hold William in his tight embrace, whispering sweet, meaningless words of love and comfort, until he was still and quiet, and ready for more splitting and entering. He had used William like clay, forever shaping him and reshaping him to forms of his own evil desiring. But most of all, he remembered how it always had to start. After the fighting, after the days of sweat and pain and effort, William's hand always had to be in his lap when they finished. William had to initiate everything. William always had to make it appear it was all his idea, or the weapons would not have been used on him only in preparation… they would have been all he'd have had inside him that night.

Angel turned his anguished eyes on Spike, could say nothing that would alleviate his own pain or Spike's rage, so instead put his face down onto his folded arms and started to cry.

Spike thought he would rather have had Angel pick up one of the weapons and insert it once more into his body. Angel's crying rent him in two far more effectively than his torture had done all those years ago.

He moved back closer. He started to put out his arm but pulled it away. He felt like a child discovering their father crying. It rocked his certainty about himself, his past and, most importantly, about Angel, his Sire. For if Angel could cry, then hating Angel became very difficult to do. Angel's tears took away a very large slice of Spike's bitterness and anger. So, after a few moments of indecision, he did put an arm over Angel's shoulders. He started to rub his hand around a little and even found himself trying to say something comforting.

'Come on, luv, it was a long time ago. It's all in the past now. I've moved on; you've moved on.'

He heard a muffled reply, moved his hand up to the back of Angel's neck and started soft rubbing round there as well.

'What was that, luv?'

Angel lifted his tear-streaked face, looked directly at Spike and said sadly, 'But that's the problem, isn't it? I haven't moved on. I wanted your hand there. I want it now. And that's my eternal punishment, isn't it?'

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