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Reality Check - Chapter 8




Angel seemed unable to raise his core body temperature (or other things) and kiss, so he reluctantly broke away from Spike’s lips with a wry smile.  ‘Hot shower?’

Spike nodded. ‘You go on. I’m gonna retrieve my jeans. Kinda fond of ‘em, yeah?’

He watched the slim, tanned figure leave, closed his eyes and left, too.

He didn’t open his eyes for a moment, sensing to see who was in the room. It appeared they were alone, so he sat up and ripped off the wires connecting his temples with Angel’s.

He turned the slack face toward his and stared intently at it. ‘Do you know what you’ve done, Angel? Are you going along with this damn demon? Is there actually a demon, or have you just decided enough is enough? What the fucking hell are you doing to me?’

‘I can’t answer the last one, Spike, but I can categorically confirm that there is a demon.’

Spike sighed and looked over to Wesley, who was standing in the doorway, nursing a mug and holding a sheaf of papers in one hand.

‘How long have I been gone?’

‘A couple of days. Hungry? Why are you back, by the way, without Angel?’

‘Yeah. Well.’

Wesley gave him a curious look then said softly, ‘Want to go and get something to eat?’

Spike nodded and swung his legs off the bed, and they rode silently down in the elevator.  Spike watched Wesley’s profile for a while then lit a cigarette. As they made their way to the cars, Wesley asked quietly, ‘What are you thinking?’

‘Why did you pick this particular way to bring Angel back? Of all the things you could have thought of, you think of this.’

Wesley frowned and climbed into the driver’s seat. ‘I’m not sure what you mean.’

‘Yes, you are.’

‘Well, I guess living with Angel for so long…. Just the two of us mostly…. All the things we went through together, it gives one an insight….’

‘You’re saying you sensed that Angel wanted men.’

‘No! Of course not.’

‘What then? Talk to me, Wes.’

‘I sensed he was missing… companionship. Intense companionship. Oh, I don’t know. I’m not sure exactly what I….’


Wesley looked relieved and dipped his head. ‘Yes. Touch. God, he must miss that so much.’

‘But why not Buffy or Darla or—why me?’

Wesley turned his head and regarded Spike thoughtfully. ‘Something’s happened, hasn’t it?’

‘Don’t evade my questions. Why not a woman?’

Wesley blushed but answered hesitantly, ‘Well, I don’t think—I’m not the only one to think this of course; the classics are full of… but you’d know that; you had a classical education, too. What was I saying? Oh, yes, see, I don’t think that a woman can ever fulfil all the facets of need that a man has. Some of them, of course: the need to reproduce. But when it comes to real connection, some kind of bone-shattering link to someone else, I believe that has to be with… well, a man.’ He turned his head to see how his confession had been received. Spike was biting a nail, and something in the simple action seemed to take on a deeper significance, so he added softly, ‘Tell me what’s happened.’

Spike pouted and replied obliquely, ‘Even if that’s all true, I don’t think it’s going to be enough to make him want to come back. I think he knows what’s happening. I think he wants to be there on a conscious level.’

‘No. I disagree. I know Angel better than you—well, this Angel, anyway. You’ve not seen much of him over the last few years. This Angel would not abandon his mission.’

‘I’m so sick of people and their missions!’

‘Tell me what happened.’

‘Just drive, yeah? I’m starving.’

Wesley pulled out of the garage, and they negotiated the traffic for a while, Spike staring out of the window as if mesmerised by all the people. Wesley glanced over at him occasionally then broke the silence tentatively. ‘You’re getting through to him, aren’t you?’

Spike made a so-so face. ‘The baby’s gone.’

‘Well, that’s good. So, there’s just the two of you?’

Spike nodded.

‘He must be so lonely.’


Wesley smiled. ‘Sorry. I didn’t mean that how it sounded. I meant that to have rejected Buffy and this baby in favour of you…. It seems to me—given all I’ve said before—that he’s getting closer to what he really wants.’

‘Maybe he doesn’t want it with me.’

‘I’m sorry?’

‘Well….’ Spike felt himself blushing and was glad Wesley would not be able to discern the faintest flush of red, which passed for a blush on his preternatural skin. ‘Even if I do accept your theory that Angel needs a male companion….’

‘He turned two men and only one woman, so it seems to me….’

‘Yes! I know that! I was there, remember? So…! I was thinking, even if I do accept your theory, maybe, seeing as it’s you he’s spent all this time with recently, all those long, lonely nights and all that danger bringing you closer together…. I was thinking…. It’s you he wants, not me.’

Wesley pulled up outside a bar, climbed out, slammed the door, and went in, leaving Spike to negotiate the sunlight as best he could.

The interior was gloomy in comparison, and Spike looked around, spotting Wesley sitting in a corner, nursing a large drink.

‘Bit early, ain’t it?’

As if not hearing him, Wesley said precisely, ‘I couldn’t survive the link. I can’t go through, even if I wanted to.’

‘And that’s an answer, is it?’

Wesley gritted his teeth. ‘It’s all you’re going to get.’

Spike put a hand on his arm. ‘I think you have to give me more than that, given what you’re asking me to do.’

Wesley took a long drink. ‘If there had been something between us, there would have been something… between us. But there wasn’t. Ever.’

‘So where did you come up with all that crap about what Angel wants?’

Wesley almost spat his words out they were so low, controlled, vehement. ‘Exactly because of that. He was so lonely, so needy, so desperate for something, and I was there, but there was never anything…. Don’t you see, Vampire? He was looking for someone else! He wanted it, but not with me!’

Spike leant forward to keep his reply equally private. ‘And it’s not me, either. He hates….’

‘Change the bloody record, Spike!’

All heads turned, and Wesley blushed, lowering his voice. ‘I’ve told you; that’s just what you tell yourself to avoid having to face the truth of what’s really between you. I see it every time you fight. I feel it every time he comes to me after he’s fought with you.’

Spike jerked back in his seat. ‘Christ. You want him.’

Wesley took a deep breath. ‘I’ve spent my entire life wanting things from other people that they seem unwilling or unable to give me. So, if I do, it’s nothing particularly new or revelatory. It’s not even relevant; suffice to say that I want Angel back. I want him back, and I want him doing what he has to do. That is the beginning and the end of my motivation in this.’

‘Oh, bullshit! Bullshit! Oh, my God! What’s the real reason you came up with this plan? Why am I trusting you? Shit!’ Spike tried to snatch his arm away, but Wesley’s fingers were strangely powerful in their grip.

‘Calm down.  Just calm down and think, Spike. You’ve known me long enough to know….’

‘Maybe you aren’t real!’ He leant forward conspiratorially. ‘Maybe Angel is right: this is the delusion. Maybe you’re a demon and you’re trying to….’

‘Spike. Spike!’

Spike swallowed and leant back in his seat. ‘Fuck.’

Wesley nodded. ‘Quite. Drink?’

Spike nodded.

When Wesley got back, Spike was smoking a cigarette intently and drumming an irritating beat on the table with a finger. He looked up sheepishly. ‘Sorry.’

Wesley nodded. ‘As much as I’d sometimes like this to all be a dream…. So, are you going to tell me what’s got you so… riled?’

It took another couple of long drags before Spike could bring himself to say, ‘We kissed.’


Spike squinted at him through the smoke. ‘Shouldn’t you be calling me a cad and telling me to unhand your beloved?’

Wesley choked on his large swallow of whisky but began to laugh.

Spike dipped his head, chuckling, too. ‘Shit. We kissed, Wesley. Me and Angel! Can you believe it?’

‘Well, frankly, yes. Anyone who’s been watching the two of you would have almost seen it coming, I think. What sort of kiss was it?’

‘Oh, God! Details, NOT!’

‘What I meant was: is it going to bring him back?’

‘No. It was very real but it was there.’

‘Ah. But he seemed to want it? When you kissed him?’

Spike left out the details and just nodded, but thinking of Angel reaching to him, deliberate and slow, and knowing exactly what he wanted.

‘Then you need to make it the only thing he wants. The only thing he can focus on.’

Spike pushed his glass away angrily. He didn’t need to hear the rest, but Wesley was relentless. He put his hand back on Spike’s arm. ‘The only thing, Spike. Make him weak for you; have him beg; have him forget everything he ever was or could be in the taste of your mouth and then—then you give him a choice.’

‘Make him an offer he can’t refuse?’

‘If he wants you, he has to come back here to have you, yes.’

‘You are frightening.’

Wesley sat back, clearly annoyed. ‘I do what I have to….’

‘Not that, although that single-mindedness of yours is spooky enough, Mate. But you have so much bloody passion, and it’s all going to waste.’

Wesley flushed, a dark smudge of colour behind his stubble. ‘I—.’ He hung his head and toyed with his glass. ‘I can’t afford to let go. I sometimes think I’d end up like Angel— only still here in this world. Only a demon got him to let go, Spike—give into his delusions. But I’m not that strong. And what about you? You live as chastely as I do.’ He caught Spike unprepared, and the vampire’s eyes looked uncertain for the first time.

‘I’ve done my passions, Pet. Long gone, and they nearly killed me in the doing.’

‘Bullshit yourself, Vampire. You lie like the very Devil sometimes. I think your passions brought you here. I know they saved you from that damn amulet.’

‘I’ve told you: you think too much.’

‘And I told you that it’s all I have. And now you know why.’

Spike leant forward with a small smile. ‘Maybe we should be the ones kissing. We’ve done the telling, after all.’ As he said the words, he knew they weren’t funny. He licked his lips and glanced up at the human’s expression. ‘Sorry.’

Wesley’s eyes were wide but almost vacant, as if he were deep in some memory or desire. He snapped back to focus and said in a ragged voice, ‘I would come into that damn fantasy of his with you if I could make him fear to lose you.’

‘To you?’

Wesley seemed to sober rapidly and laid down his unfinished drink. ‘It’s time we got back.’

Spike looked at him thoughtfully then said lightly, ‘Yeah, and I’m driving.’

They kept up a mutual silence on the way back for about five minutes, until with a small grin, Spike murmured, ‘So, we’ve admitted we fancy each other—any more advice on how that’s going to get Angel back?’

Wesley laughed ruefully and rubbed his hand over his face, the sound of flesh on stubble oddly erotic even in the bright light of day. ‘I shouldn’t drink during the day.’

‘You should go out and get a good shagging. Pay for it, Wes. We’ve all done it.’

‘You’ve paid for sex? You?’

Spike turned his head and locked his gaze with the human. ‘I have the feeling that soon I’m going to be paying heavily and for a very long time to come.’

Wesley could think of nothing to say to that, and they returned to their mutual silence as they made their way back to the bowels of Wolfram and Hart.


Continue to chapter 9