Remember Me - Chapter 14
'Please. I'm sorry.'
'I AM GOING TO STAKE YOU WHEN I GET OFF HERE.'
Fuck. Blew it. Back to square one and now he knows he really has won. I've lost. To him. I've begged my Childe. He's heard me beg and ignored me. I have been brought low.
I guess I dropped off again.
When I wake Spike is lying on the bed next to me, on his stomach, legs bent up, swinging his feet in a parody perhaps of my position with him earlier. He’s idly flicking through a magazine, just out of reach.
‘Could you at least tell Wesley and Cordelia that you have seen me and that I’m okay?’
‘That’s just what I’ve been doing on the computer, I emailed him.’
‘Oh. Thank you. That was very thoughtful of you.’
‘Don’t fucking patronise me, Mate.’
‘Well stop acting like a pre-menstrual teenage girl then, Spike. Grow up. Let me out of these handcuffs. Now!’
For a fraction of a second, he stops swinging his legs. Otherwise, no obvious sign he’s letting me get to him.
‘Spike...is this what all this has been about then. Us. Still misunderstanding each other, still fighting, still arguing. It’s great, we last all of...what has it been? Eleven days? You were well worth waiting one hundred years for.’
‘Shut up Angel, shut up! What about you?’
That got him. He’s sat up and is glaring at me now. ‘What about you? One hundred years and I’m still that bloody Labrador. Nothing has fucking changed? I’m still pining. You’re still never here.’
What is it with that dog? ‘What are you talking about Spike? Err...here...err...chained here...!’
‘Not now, before. All sodding day, Angel, you toyed with me in those bloody shops, watching me, flirting with me, and then you fucked off and went to work. I ‘m sick of it. It’s always your work, never me: never us. I’ve always come second with you.’
‘Spike, that’s not true! You do remember don’t you, I am trying to earn my redemption here...I’m trying to earn my forgiveness!’
‘Shut up...fucking shut up about it Angel! I know that, cus that’s it, isn’t it? That’s exactly, bloody it. Then you’ll be human and where the fuck does that leave me?’
‘Don’t tell me...don’t tell me you haven’t even thought about it. Angel? Please tell me you’ve at least thought about it!’
‘Thought about what? Nothing will change. There’ll still be me and you. Us. What’s wrong with that Spike?’
He looks as if I’d staked him. There is a look of rigid shock on his face. ‘Christ, and you think you have the right to call yourself my Sire. You’re pathetic, Angel. What do you mean there’ll still be us. There won’t be any ‘us’. You’ll grow old and die before I’ve even decided what colour I’ll do me hair next. And do you really think I want to fuck with a human? Shit Angel, what do you think being human is all about? It’s not running out into the sun, it’s not eating and drinking and making merry...that’s fucking Hollywood, Mate, this is real life...it’s shitting and getting sick and your hair falling out and getting wrinkles and losing your memory and not being able to see or hear...that’s being human. Fuck, Angel. I don’t even have a bog installed here. What am I going to do...get one put in just for you to crap in? Think I’m gonna want to stick it to you after that? I don’t think so...I like you tasting like warm jelly doughnuts when I stick my tongue in you...and stop looking all fucking pleased with yourself...it’s no credit to you, it’s just how you are...I don’t want human! And what do you think you’ll see Angel when you look at me? You’ll see a cold, scary, dead thing that you can’t smell, sense or understand. Jesus, did you really think there would be an ‘us’! How long do you think you’d stay single once you’re human, Angel? You’d be back with Buffy...shut up Angel...you’re a stupid fuck and I’m still talking here...you’d be back with Buffy or some other home-spun, all-American girl and a Daddy-to-be, while I was left still hiding in shadows, cus...oh yeah, course you’d stay in the dark with me...course you wouldn’t want to go swimming or surfing or sunbathing or driving in the warm sun with the roof down. And oh yeah...you’ll still want to share blood with me, won’t you? Still wanna bite this neck won’t you and oh, still so enjoy cold, dead fucking spunk down your throat every night. And what about these, these fucking bruises all over me wrists where you crushed them? I give human you one good fucking and you’ll never walk again, so what am I supposed to do, fuck carefully? Oh yeah, like that’s going to happen. So don’t...don’t ever fucking tell me there’ll be an, 'us'. Ever. Cus there won’t. You get human...no us. You go to work...you get human. So in my warped, twisted logic, seems to me, you go to work...no us! So that’s ‘what’ Mate. And you come in just expecting to fuck with me when you’ve been out destroying us...well fuck you then.’
And with that, he flings himself down onto his stomach and turns his head away.
I think Spike has just demonstrated for the second time in two days that he doesn’t need to breathe. Quite impressive, but I won’t tell him that. I can’t actually think of a thing to say. I think I’ll have another tattoo, somewhere on my forehead, visible where everyone can see it and it’ll say, ‘Stupidest fucking demon not alive!’.
‘I’m sorry, Spike.’
A mumbled reply comes from his turned head. ‘For what, Angel? Out of a fairly extensive list, for what exactly?’ Did that sound slightly…forced, as if he were struggling with tears?
‘Err...for not listening to you better?’
‘For not understanding?’
‘For wanting to be human?’
‘You’d better believe it.’
‘Maybe you could too...be human. If you helped me...what...what? Spike, what have I said now?’
He turns his face fully to me, his eyes glistening. ‘I DON’T WANT TO BE HUMAN! I like being me. ‘Cept when I’m with you that is, then it’s a real pisser...being me.’
‘Oh, for fuck’s sake.’
He releases my wrists and ankles and even absentmindedly rubs one lightly as if I had circulation to bring back. He’s already so human sometimes, it’s no wonder he doesn’t miss it.
I don’t know what to say, but I know what to do. I pull him to me and cradle myself around his rigid, unresponsive back. He allows this small apology and lies quiet in my arms.
‘You could always turn me back.’
He turns to look at me, wide eyed. ‘What!’
‘If I became human. You could turn me back.’
‘You’d let me?’
‘I might. If I were forced to become human against my will...I might.’
‘Um, interesting thought isn’t it?’
‘I’d be your Sire.’
‘I’d get to do stuff to you.’
‘Like you don’t already.’
‘Oh yeah. But I’d get to order you around and...’
‘Spike, that’s not going to happen in any reality.'
‘And that, from the poof who’s been chained to my bed, listening to the Sound of Music all day. Ow!’
'It wouldn't be the same though would it? I'd be Angelus, not Angel. Hell, Sired by you I might not even be as rational as Angelus. What do you reckon, a sort of Spike/Angelus mixture fledgling?'
'Fuck. Like to see that.'
We both pondered the implications of me returning as his Childe for a while. I focused on the overwhelming sense of disappointment about my redemption, he focused on how, when and where he'd get to…err, fuck me. I made a resolution to make a visit to the Powers That Be. But I didn’t tell him that. He thought of them only with disdain and I didn't yet know myself, what I was actually going to ask them for.
We fell asleep, a tangle of cold limbs. When I woke up he was already gone on some evil business of his own.
It seemed like a good time to make that visit.
I hate doing this. It's just too weird. But I went through the ritual, asked for entry and found myself facing the two rejects from a bad Star Trek episode.
'What do you want here, Vampire? How dare you disturb our rest again with your petty business.'
'I want to ask for something.'
'You have no right to ask for anything.'
'Hush brother: let him speak. He fights for the side of the righteous. He has the right to ask.'
Here goes, I'll either be extinguished in a ball of flame or kicked out, but I've got nothing to lose, except Spike…'I want to ask that you revoke the promise of my becoming human. I don't want it.'
'How dare you. You would remain an unclean, foul demon?'
'Yes, if you want to put it that way, I would.'
'And just what do you want as your reward then, for fighting for the right?'
'Oh, nothing! That's not why I'm here. Is that what you thought? No, I don’t want anything. I just don't want to be made human.'
'But what will make you want to keep to your path then? If you have no reward? This is unheard of?'
'I'll just do it. I want to do it. I want to help people. It's what I do now. I don't need to be rewarded for it.'
'The promise is revoked then you ungrateful monster. You will remain a souled Vampire and suffer your guilt. Now leave this place you have sullied with your presence.'
I feel as if I'm being sucked out when the sister turns and smiles at me, 'I have granted you something Angel. Use it well.'
And then I'm out.
I've done it. I've given up my chance to be human. I don’t even miss it. What is that in comparison to what I already have waiting for me?
I'm not sure whether to tell Spike just yet. He might misinterpret my actions. He might try to make me change it back because he would not be convinced I really meant this. He would blame himself for his outburst. Or I think that's how I would think and I reflect my angst onto him sometimes. He'd probably just laugh and want to shag.
So I did try to tell him once or twice. But my timing was badly off. I tried when he came over to the office, but there was always someone else around. I tried that night, but he was watching one of his ghastly shows and told me to shut up. So I tried for the last time that night in bed. But, as usual, he had something else on his mind.
‘Spike, I want to tell you something...don’t touch that, this is serious...if I asked the...stop touching that I’m trying to talk to you...if I didn't become...Spike...ahh...no...too...oh...Spike...’
So for that night, I gave up trying to tell him that now I’d never leave him. I gave up trying to tell him that I didn't accept redemption on any terms that meant I’d lose him. I gave up because his hands had found their way to my cock. I gave up because he was twisting around greedily sucking on my lips like a child wanting succor.
I wish I’d tried harder to tell him, given what happened, given what I was to find out and see. I wish I’d told him.
Things might have been different. Hard to know, given I didn’t tell him and we eventually fell asleep together with a lifetime of unresolved issues and unspoken love between us.
For the rest of that week we returned to our post-drowning relationship. On the surface anyway. I felt something was still wrong between us and I think Spike did too. I just couldn’t find the right time to tell him and the enormity of what I had done, on something of a whim, threatened to overwhelm me. But to be honest, I didn't have time to brood about it too much. The silly season had arrived in LA. The long, hot Indian-summer nights of demon activity and human weakness. I was overwhelmed at the agency with work, fighting or research. And I suddenly seemed to be doing most of it by myself. Spike rarely came over and Wesley seemed to be absent more than he was there. When he was there, he was distracted and almost useless.
Every day I came into the office more tired than when I left it in the early hours of the morning. Whereas I had relied on the occasional snatched sleeps to get though the days, they were lost now too. I never seemed to sleep. If I did I was troubled by thoughts of Spike.
I struggled through two weeks of this before I realized that I hadn't actually seen Spike in all that time. He had just stopped coming over. Stopped…coming. And so, therefore, had I. Stopped…coming. So that didn’t help me sleep either. My bed was suddenly too large, my apartment too quiet, my cock permanently aching.
The fighting seemed endless, always another demon to eviscerate, always another human to save who didn’t deserve saving. And no thoughts of redemption to keep me going. I knew I was becoming the very devil to be with. Cordelia started increasing her already sizable lunch breaks. She stopped staying late. She stopped chatting to me. She just left me alone brood and recover from the fighting and gear myself up to more fighting.
After three weeks I was all alone. She decided to take some paid leave, paid herself and left. But the work didn’t stop, only now I had no one to share it with, no one to be there when I returned covered in blood and gore and guilt. I often forgot to eat. It suddenly seemed even more revolting to me, the idea of drinking blood.
Half way through that week I think I realized that I had stopped showering. I started to smell dead demons on myself. But I was just too tired to care. Too tired to lift my head off the desk and do something about the feeling that my unlife was unraveling around me.
When I heard the door to the agency open at the end of that third week, I was hoping that it would be some sort of ending for me. Something that would just end the pain. Maybe a demon I finally couldn’t kill. I should have known.
It was Kate.
She looked as tired as I felt.
She sat down in the chair opposite me.
'How have you been?'
I just gave her the briefest of nods. I know I don’t look tired. I can't. I know I don't smell to humans. I can't. I know I don't look near the end. But I know, she knows. She's intuitive this one.
'I need to speak to your employee, Wesley Wyndham Price. Is he here?'
'Where is he then?'
'I don't know.'
'Don't know or won't tell me.'
'Why would I not want to tell you? What is this about?'
She looks at me as if trying to weigh something up in her own mind. Then she takes a photograph out of her pocket but holds it face down on her lap.
'I want to question him in relation to some recent arson attacks.'
I almost splutter. Well, that's cheered me up a bit. Wes, an arsonist. Wes with little matches…starting fires. But she sees my face and continues, 'Not in relation to the fires themselves, of course, but he has been seen on the premises of two recent ones, just before they broke out. He's been caught on the CCTV systems at both. There is no mistake, Angel. It is him.'
She hands me the photo on her lap.
There are moments in your life when you physically feel yourself divert from one path, one way of being, to another. When I met Darla for the first time…that was one. When I was cursed…that was one. When I loved Buffy…that was one. Hell was a big one all of its own. And now this.
I give myself the credit that Kate actually saw nothing of any of this. I credit myself with the fact that she did not see the final unwinding of the last skein of my sanity by what I found in the picture in my hand. It was clearly Wesley. The camera must have been mounted high on a wall looking down on an internal, dark corridor. Wesley had his back to the opposite wall and was facing towards the camera. I could only see the top of his head, because he was kissing someone. But it was Wesley. I recognized his clothes, his glasses, even a ring on his one of his hands, both of which were enmeshed tightly in the hair on the back of the head of the person he was kissing.
No. It was that he was kissing Spike that…upset me. Even with his back to me it was like Spike was standing here with me, so clearly did I recognize him. The hair, the black leather duster: no doubt. But even then, even if I had doubted it, the black polish on the nails of the hand pinning Wesley to the wall left me in no doubt. He even had his leg raised slightly to Wesley, pushing his cock against Wesley's. I've been kissed by Spike like that so many times it is like he has his lips on mine in the photo. It's like he is pinning me to the wall in the photo. It is like my cock he is rubbing with his. In the photo, in the fucking photo, but it's not. It's not. It's Wesley. Wesley, my best friend, my only friend, and Spike, my…my…my all. My life. My unlife. Mine.
The creature I have just given up my chance to be human for.
'Did you know, Angel?'
What? Does Kate know about Spike? How? I can't speak. How can I speak? My life has just effectively ended and I'm expected to speak.
'What?' It's all I can manage.
'That Wesley is gay. I'm sorry if you didn't, if you've had to find out like this. But I need to speak to him about the fires and about this man.' She leans forward and taps the picture of Spike. 'We want to question this man too. He's been identified at more than one of the incidents as well, but we can't trace him. We have a very accurate description, but he's been very hard to track down. Wesley, though, clearly knows him, and not just from the evidence of this,' she waves at the picture again. 'Eyewitnesses have placed them together more than once. They are clearly a couple. So again, Angel, where is he?'
Clearly a couple. It hadn’t been clear to me. Oh, no. I’d entirely missed that one.
'He's not been around for a while, Kate.' No, apparently he's been…busy. And so has Spike. Busy together. I wonder if it started that night when I was chained on the bed listening to them. I remember they went quiet. I remember muffled voices. Did Spike start it? I think he probably did. Maybe it was just another way to get back at me but it went too far. Maybe he liked it. Maybe that's what his impassioned rant had been about. Not about me at all. Not about me being human, but Wesley. Perhaps he'd wanted to fuck Wesley that night, but his dislike of human…fragility put him off. Maybe he kissed Wesley and was entranced by the warmth of his mouth, the softness of his skin. Maybe mine suddenly seemed cold and dead in comparison. Oh, yes. I can see how easy it would be. And Wesley would be so…grateful, needy…eager. It would be so much fun for a horny, evil demon to manipulate him, make him desperate, make him think himself in love. Maybe Spike does love him.
Maybe Spike actually loves Wesley.
'Angel…snap out of it. Are you all right? You don't look…Jesus, how do you tell a Vampire he looks sick? Look, keep the picture. Contact me when Wesley makes an appearance. Let me know if you see this man.'
Keep the picture. Thank you Kate. Yes. I would like to keep this picture.
I want to show it to someone.
I want to show it to Angelus.
Angelus was suitably impressed, as I knew he would be.
He wanted everything to be just right after that too.
I wanted everything to be just right.
It’s all about ritual, the beauty of the kill.
I showered first. It felt wonderful, that act of cleansing. All the dirt and demon gore washing away. I felt clear and focused for the first time in weeks. Purified. Ready.
I decided to cleanse the apartment too: of him. Of everything that might remind me of him when he was gone.
The first thing I found was a discarded lighter down the side of the couch. But I’m not stupid...no need to throw away something that might be useful one day. For the lighting of gas maybe. Or candles. No, I slipped that into a pocket and kept it.
Then I found some music he’d bought for ‘me’. Essential listening he’d called it. The first present he bought me, just before he bought me a state-of-the-art player to play it on. I decide to ask Cordelia if she wants any of it. No need to throw it out now.
I’m not getting much of a clear out here. I must try harder. The bedroom. I’ll clear the bedroom. Bound to be piles of his crap in the bedroom.
A pair of faded, worn, soft, barely blue, slightly-baggy-on-him-jeans are stuffed in a corner of the closet. I think I once said that when he wore them, they made him look like a male-porn star. He laughed delightedly and wore them for a whole week.
I lay them on the bed, straightening them out, running my hands over them. I can almost feel the steel-like muscle of his thighs under my hand.
So now I am completely undone.
I’ve just had too much pain in my long, unhappy life.
Why doesn’t he love me?
Why did he choose Wesley over me?
Why do I have to stake him?
I don’t want to.
But I have to.
I continue with my ritual, but I ignore the rest of his stuff. It’s not like I’m coming back here anyway, so who cares what’s here.
I actually think staking him will be too intimate and will imply a desire for closeness I don’t feel now. Beheading will be much easier and with any luck I’ll be able to catch him completely unawares and just do it.
I choose my favorite sword.
I feel suitably cleansed and ready. I knew ritual would be important.
When I arrive at his place I make myself at home on the couch. I’m not sure if I’m sitting in the spot where I lay when I brought him to his explosive, no-hands orgasm but I like to think I am. I run my hand over the soft, muted green coloured fabric. I remember his insistence that he wanted just this colour. It was the colour that sold him on the couch I think. The cushions are so soft, so easy to hide the long, razor-sharp sword behind. So easy to lay my head down and sleep. So easy, just so easy to forget for a few minutes what is going to happen. So easy.
I wake to their voices.
'Hey, Angel. What'ya doing here? Thought you had demons to irritate. Wesley's here too, he's…Angel, what's wrong?'
I don’t speak. I just flick the photo at them where they stand by the door.
As it flutters across the enormous gulf between my Childe and me, I have time to take in their appearance. Spike is in his habitual black coat. But under that he's wearing a white shirt and tight, black leather jeans. He is so totally beautiful I almost have to close my eyes, to enable me to focus on the task in hand. Wesley is looking even more…English than usual. He is actually wearing a tweed suit. It's bizarre, I just can't see it. I know they are together now, I know they are lovers, but I just can't see it.
The photo lands at Spike's feet, he bends to pick it up and studies it. I await his reaction, my hand slowly sliding towards the hilt of my sword, fastening around it, gripping it with Vampiric strength.
I watch his face. He looks up to look at me.
My God. He's laughing! I snap my head back, it's as though he's put a sword through me. I can't move. Laughing. I expected fear. I hoped for lies and weeping and begging for forgiveness that I was going to give him. But he's laughing. At me. At my pain. He's talking, I'm trying to focus on his words, but it's so hard, I can't hear, I can only hear a ringing in my ears of his laughter. The sound I thought I loved so well, his laughter, has destroyed me.
'Angel…are you listenin', Mate? You ain't gonna believe what we've got to tell ya. Hey…you're looking a bit…peaky there. Wes…put the kettle on will ya, I'm gasping for a cuppa. Angel Luv, you'll never believe where we've been…'
What is this?
What does he think this is?
Angel-drops-in-to-hear-about-Spike's-new-love-life. What about the photograph, MATE!
'What, Pet? Jesus, look at my hair in this,' he waves the photo at me as he passes towards the kitchen, 'can see me roots…better get 'em done soon.'
I rear up, grab him and smash him backwards into the bookcase, the shelf collapses under the pressure, books scatter like leaves around us. I press the blade of the sword to his throat. In trying to move from its sharp pressure he starts to sink to the floor, I follow, not allowing him any let-up till we are both lying amidst the detritus of his bookcase, him on his back, me on him, blade making a thin red line across his beautiful, slim neck.
One tiny push and he would be dust under me.
Now I have his attention.
He's not laughing now.
'Good God, Angel…what are you doing?' I feel Wes trying to pull ineffectually at my back.
'Go Wesley. Now.'
'I most certainly will not go. Let him up, Angel. Now!'
'Spike, if he is not out of here in five seconds I will push this blade down.'
'Just go all right, Luv. I'll sort this out with Angel. I'll be okay. Thanks for tonight and stuff, Pet…fuck Angel, stop it, you're cutting me. Wesley just go…I'll…stop Angel…GO!
Ahh, that's better alone with the love of my life.
'So, lover, what's it to be? Are you going to whine or cry, or maybe beg me for a while? Or will you try to fuck your way out of this? Yes, why not try wriggling a bit, so I get hard on you, then I might forget I'm going to slice this into your neck, centimeter by tiny centimeter. What you going to try then, Spike? Give it your best shot.'
'Are you fucking mad, Angel? Have you had some sort of Vampire nervous breakdown?'
'Ohhh, good one, I didn't think of that. Oh yes, try the rational reasoning with me again. That’s becoming a bit of your trademark isn't it? You be the mature, sensible one, I be the emotional irrational one. Oh, a bit trite though Spike. Haven't you got anything better than that?'
'Shut up, Angel. Just tell me what is wrong and I will tell you why you are a stupid pillock. Then I'll try to explain to you why I still love you even though you are just a wanker. WHAT IS IT?'
'It's in the fucking photograph, Spike. You and Wesley. My God, Spike…Wesley…my best friend for Christ's sake. Why, why couldn’t you just have left me if you didn’t want me anymore, if you hate me so much…why take this sick little revenge on me? Or is that it? Do you really hate me that much?'
I actually feel the blade now starting to slice through the skin on his throat. It's like cutting butter, so smooth and soft and temping. I just lean a bit harder on it, I don’t really need even to press, this is going to be so very easy.
It'll be much more difficult to cut mine afterwards. Maybe I'll just wait for the sun. I'll gather up some of his dust and take it in my hand so our dust will mingle together.
So this is the eternity I was promised when this creature came back into my life.
His eyes are so wide. So fearful now. So blue. So beautiful.
I lean down and kiss them closed so I don’t have to watch as they go.
As I do, something catches my eye alongside his head. It's one of the books of landscape photography. Its cover mesmerizes me. It’s a picture of a small farmhouse. It's surrounded by fields and fields of sunflowers. But what catches my eye is a distinctive well in the foreground of the photograph. It has a decorative handle carved like a witch on a broomstick. Incongruous. Incongruous, but remembered. I remember that handle, I remember that well, and I remember that farmhouse. Normandy. I remember Normandy. This is weird. I pick up another book. Tuscany Alive. I rapidly scan the pictures. Half way through, I find it, a page bent over to mark a particular photo. A small villa, high in the Tuscan hills. This time it's the building itself I remember distinctly, the way the steps run up the outside, the way the roof carves down to meet them.
My God. I've been to both these places. Been with Spike. I pick up another book. Beautiful England. Find a bookmark, marking a picture of a cottage by a lake, been there. Another, Scotland Revisited, a castle: been there. I fling it aside, another...some moorland, rocks with the Lord’s Prayer carved on them...I took Darla on those engraved slabs...a deliberate act of blasphemy. Oh my God. Spike has collected a record of places we went, when we were together.
I thought he had not remembered me.
I can hear a voice in my ear, muffled and in pain.
‘Angel, you’re cutting me, please. Listen, we went undercover, Wes and me...remember I told you…in the Initiative…Wes’ cover story. Me being bought by him and the clubs. Remember the clubs…I said they were selling those chipped demons to? Shit, Angel, look at me please, stop staring at the photos, please, Mate, listen, the kiss...it was all a pretence to get us into the clubs. You didn’t really think, did you...that I would...with him...with anyone? Fuck, Angel, I love you more than...’
I take my eyes off the books to focus on his words and as I do I shift my position slightly to relieve the pressure on his throat.
But as I do, he moves too with clearly the same thought in mind.
We both move badly.
The sword is incredibly sharp.
It was funny really. I was lying on him and then I...just wasn’t.
Because he turned to dust beneath me.