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Reality Check - Chapter 5
‘’S not easy—this love business.’ Wesley seemed to illustrate the difficulty of love with his inability to get the bottle back on the table. It kept tipping off, which seemed to confuse him no end until Spike realised what was wrong and struggled up to move the table closer for him.
Wesley was impressed, so, after a long swallow of whisky, gave the vampire some more of his wisdom. ‘’S not like you need it to last—juss long enough to get him back here…. He seems to have tired of Buffy pretty quickly.’
‘Ten years, Wes. ‘S bit unfair.’
‘He’s replaced her with a baby!’
‘And I’ve got to replace the baby.’ Spike drowned a full glass in one go, and tried to stand and make an unsteady way to the fridge. ‘Broody Butt got any more?’
‘Not in the redigifator… refrid… fidge. This is best Bushmilsh—mills, philish… phils… vampire.’
Spike found the bar and opened another bottle, standing in the doorway to the bedroom, staring at Angel.
Wesley climbed very precisely to his feet and joined him.
‘People he’s loved.’
Wesley hiccupped and repeated, ‘People he’s loved. We need a list so we can match… traits….’
‘You can’t count Darla! Angel was a demon. ‘S not love!’
‘It bloody well was! I loved Drusilla more than….’ He trailed off when his list of loves post-soul proved to be rather short.
‘You,’ Wesley poked him in the chest, ‘were an appaulin’ly bad demon. You were full of humanity!’
‘You said he still loved Darla after he was souled!’
‘Damn. All right. Darla.’
‘I’m seeing a trait, Wesley! Shit! I can see it!’
‘I knew it! What?’
‘They were all soddin’ female!’
‘It’s pure co’isidence. Think of another.’
He was making his way back to the table for a top up when Spike said very quietly, ‘Fred.’
Wesley continued to pour some more of Angel’s whisky but said in a less slurred voice, ‘He did not love Fred. Not like that.’
Spike shrugged but added, unconcerned, ‘He did.’
Wesley straightened. ‘What are you saying?’
‘I’m not saying anything other than Angel loved Fred. But he let you have her, cus he loves you more.’ There was a long moment’s pause, and then Spike said interestedly, ‘Huh. You’re not female….’
‘This is getting us nowhere. You’re mixing up love with love…. I mean, friendship, respect can all be… but love is a different thing… a sexual thing, if you like….’
‘Maybe it’s all the same for Angel.’
‘Don’t be bloody ridiculous! Angel doesn’t love me!’
‘He’d die for you!’
‘Well, that’s friendship.’
‘He’d kill for you.’
‘That’s… not true, I hope… but it’s also quite explainable…. And what about you! If he loves me (given he hardly has the time of day for me these days), then he must bloody adore you!’
Spike’s face spoke his derision for him. Suddenly angry, he strode toward the bedroom. ‘I’m going to fucking rip him off that bed and just shake him till he comes back!’
‘No! We tried to pull him free. It nearly killed him!’
‘He’s already dead! Let’s just admit it and move on, yeah!’
‘You don’t mean that!’
‘I mean it more than I mean to go back there and make him…. He’s never—not in a dream, not in real life—going to love me!’
‘He doesn’t have to! He has to want you. He has to find that killing need he had for you! My God, man, he’s bloody killed you once already! What more proof do you want? Don’t tell me he turned you so he could listen to you read poetry!’
Wesley’s eyes were glinting, and he began to circle Spike. ‘It’s unusual for a male vampire to turn another male. Angel’s done it twice that we know of: Penn and you. Why? What did he want from you, Spike? William?’
‘No…. It’s critical. I was thinking about Angel’s passions now, but I’d forgotten….’ He seemed lost in his own thoughts for a moment, murmuring, ‘What passion it must take to bite into someone’s throat and suck their…. What need it demonstrates to bring someone into eternity with you….’
‘Wanna give it a go?’
‘And he kept you by his side for almost twenty years. That’s longer than most marriages…. And—.’
‘No. Let’s not go with the ands; let’s stop talking about this at all. ‘S not relevant. Angel is human inside this bloody dream world of his. He won’t want to think about his past. He won’t want to think about….’ He didn’t need to add the word me; they both heard it in the silence.
‘Maybe he’s tired of the baby as he tired of Buffy! Maybe it’s exactly what he’s looking for!’
‘He’s not suddenly gonna think of himself as a vampire!’
‘But he might want to be… turned into one….’
Spike reeled back, arms folded protectively across his chest. ‘You want me to make him beg to be turned?’
‘He’d never do it.’
‘No!’ Spike turned sharply away to hide his expression, but Wesley grabbed his arm.
‘What did he do, Spike? Did he promise you something? Oh! My God! He promised to love you! He promised to be your lover, didn’t he?—if you let him turn you! But he lied! That’s what you fight about! He promised—.’
Spike shoved him so hard and Wesley was so unsteady from the drink that he crashed into the coffee table and sprawled on the ground. Spike stepped over him and stormed toward the elevator but stopped and rubbed his hands over his face before returning and picking him up. He laid the limp human on the couch, checking his pupils. ‘You tosser.’
‘I was right though.’
‘Yeah. You’re always bloody right.’
‘You still love him.’
‘Don’t matter if I do or I don’t. He’s still lying to me.
Wesley’s hand came out unsteadily and gripped Spike’s sleeve. ‘Bring it back, Spike. Bring it back for Angel inside that damn perfect world of his: the passion, the need, the promises…. He’s hiding from all of it. Bloody hell: Buffy and babies…! Offer him what he really… wants.’
Wesley drifted into unconsciousness, his mouth still open, still forming that final word like a confession.
Spike studied him for a while then leant down and brushed his cheek over the dark stubble. He smelt deeply into the whisky breath, put his tongue to the drunken pulse beating wildly in the hot neck. His fangs descended, and he stretched his mouth wide over the sweaty column. He bit, just enough to feel the rush, but not enough to break the skin.
Very slowly, he unbuttoned the middle of Wesley’s shirt and slid his hand in on the dark hair, placing it over the thumping source of the man’s life.
He listened to the beat then tongued the neck, heart, neck: pulses of pleasure.
A darkness came into his mind as if the human’s insight had stirred up long-settled silt from the murky pool that was his life. So many promises made to turn a weak mind. Intellect overwhelmed by physicality—masculinity overcoming the effeminate.
Had Angelus reneged on his promise or had he changed too much to want it? He wasn’t William—he wasn’t weak, cerebral or effeminate now.
Perhaps that’s what they argued about: who was to blame for this waste of a hundred years.
Very slowly, keeping his amber eyes locked on Wesley’s face, he slid his hand under the man’s waistband.
Arguing seemed to agree with Wesley, too.
The warmth was overwhelming; his palm absorbed it as he explored. He put his mouth back to Wesley’s neck and face, tickling with his tongue as he would to taunt a victim. Death and sex, the two commodities they’d been trading in all their demon lives. How inadequate a woman’s body was to close the gap between these two extremes. Pawing this man was the closest Spike had come to understanding the connection—sweat, raw meat, hair, muscle and sinew, stubble and the smell of the primal oceans.
Wesley grunted as if Spike’s hands brought forth his unconscious agreement.
Spike withdrew his hand and mouth and sat back on his heels. He slid into human form.
He had learnt nothing that helped him with what he had to do with Angel—quite the contrary. It had only confused him about his reluctance. Angel wasn’t the only one who stuck to women to avoid the obvious. He didn’t want to discover there was something he wanted even more.
Perhaps he should just pretend he was going to do this thing. He could lie on the bed with Angel and pretend. No one would know. No one else would be inside Angel’s head but them. And Angel wouldn’t tell—given it would all be pretence, he’d soon be dead.
Or he could just… do it.
He could lie with Angel and pretend that he wanted him. Or pretend that he was pretending. Then, when they came back, they could argue some more, this time over things they pretended in a dream. Not the things they pretended about now.
He knew he was badly messed up.
Then, however, Spike suddenly had an image of him promising Angel something, dangling it in front of him until he complied, holding it tantalisingly just out of his reach until he begged, trailing it teasingly over his body until he was quite lost.
He grinned with anticipation, a slow, malicious stretching of his facial muscles.
They were right: revenge was a dish better served cold.