Time is the Fire in Which we Burn - Chapter 12
The smell was worse when they woke. Angel wrinkled his nose and, like any predator, felt something profoundly wrong with the scent of rotting blood in his lair. He woke Spike with a prod in the ribs. 'Get up.'
Spike sat up, wrinkling his nose too. 'Jesus, was that us?'
'And a few dozen pigs. Shit. Let's get out of here.'
Angel grabbed some clothes, and they went into Spike's room. Angel sighed and sat on the edge of the bed, pulling on his T-shirt. 'I'm going down.'
Spike nodded. ''K.'
Angel looked up at him through narrowed eyes. 'That was too easy.'
Spike smiled at him and sat down on the bed. 'I'll get whiny and demanding soon enough, don't worry. 'Sides, I feel like some killing needs to be done somewhere.'
'You're going to help?'
Spike raised an eyebrow. 'For the right fee, yeah.'
'You want paying?'
'You think you're gonna get me for free?'
However hard he tried, however much he wanted to see what was happening with his friends, Angel could not resist the obvious cue. He leant over and seized Spike's hair, tugging the face toward him. 'I already have. Cheap whore.'
Spike grinned and knelt up, pushing Angel onto his back. He swung a leg over and sat on his naked groin. 'Maybe I'll start charging then.'
Angel grinned. 'I think you've already had enough for capturing my arse.'
Spike's eyes widened in mock outrage, and he grabbed Angel by the throat, leaning in close. 'You said that was forgotten. And forgiven.'
Angel suddenly jerked his hips up, and Spike collided with him, forehead hitting nose painfully. They both pulled back, moaning and chuckling. Spike put his hands to Angel's chest and spread his fingers over the silky material. He tugged slightly on a loose thread on one of the buttons with pursed lips. 'How can we do this so easily now?'
Angel folded his hands under his head and stared up at the troubled eyes. 'This?'
Spike flashed a swift glance at him but went back to studying the button. 'Talking. Listening, I guess - even more important.'
Spike smiled shyly. 'Yeah.'
'Your soul, I guess.'
Spike tipped his head on one side and finally looked at him. 'Just me? Just me changed?'
Angel was suddenly the one to look away. He turned as if seeking something in the empty room then said softly, 'No. I-I kinda slipped off my pedestal with Darla.' He turned back and looked at Spike. 'You know how I split Angelus off from me all the time….'
Spike slid off to one side and sat crossed-legged alongside him. He nodded, and Angel took this as encouragement to continue. Feeling too naked, too vulnerable, he sat up and began to pull his pants on. 'We merged over Darla. He came more to the surface and I… sank. We'd never been more… integrated.'
'When vampires go bad….'
Angel snapped his head around, saw the grin and smiled ruefully. 'What? I'm trying for some major soul-searching here, Spike.'
'Sorry, Pet. So you got a bit badder, and he got a bit gooder?'
'In a way.'
'So, how's this to do with us? Huh. Us.'
'Yeah. Us.' Angel stood and began to rummage through Spike's clothes and threw him some things. 'You got your soul… I stopped seeing mine like some fucking shiny star that made me the hero of the show.'
'You crawled out of your own backside you mean.'
'Huh. And what'd'ya know? You finally left room for me in there.'
Angel flashed him a look and came over. He picked up the shirt he'd chosen and began to dress Spike. 'I'll hold you to that thought tonight.'
Spike stood and took his jeans from Angel. He gave a small nod. 'Okay. Work. Let's get to the mission, shall we?'
Angel jerked his head back, a little surprised by Spike's eagerness to be at work and his apparent missing of the fairly obvious promise of sex later. He watched Spike shrug on his coat and stomp toward the door. Suddenly, Angel began to laugh. Spike hunched his shoulders but continued on down the hallway. Angel jogged to catch up and whispered in his ear, 'Take the opportunity to give up.'
'Think how much money you could save.'
'Is that what you woke up thinking, Spike? Not about me, but about….'
'Fuck off. Don't say the word.'
'Nicotine… hmm… smoke, curling in your mouth… the feel of that….'
Spike began to run and hit the stairs at full speed. The humans looked up, startled to see the vampires, even more startled at the blur of black that tore through the lobby to the basement. Angel jogged lazily down the stairs and rubbed his hands together with a smirk. 'So, what's happening?'
He looked from one to the other, amused at their expressions. When no answer was forthcoming, he shook his head theatrically and made for the kitchen. 'Wes?'
Wesley followed him in and sat warily as he watched Angel putting a large number of blood bags in the microwave. Angel kept his back turned to the room, resolutely watching the small revolving pile.
'I'm thinking we need to redecorate.'
'Ah. Any room in particular?'
'Well, my rooms for a start. Kind of old and musty. Feeling like a change. And Spike's room. Ya know? Shutters….'
'That's good, Angel.'
Angel opened the microwave early and took out a bag. 'I think it is.'
He turned and looked at Wesley. They gave each other a frank appraisal for a moment, and then Wesley nonchalantly stood. 'I'll get on to some decorators.'
Angel nodded and watched him leave. He smiled. He'd thought the dead were masters of taciturn and reserved - the English had them beat hands down.
Spike returned just before sundown, smoking happily. He sauntered into the lobby and threw himself on one of the couches.
Wesley felt it first, but he had been waiting for it and suspected its cause. Gunn sensed it next and absentmindedly scratched, then discretely adjusted himself. Cordelia was next. She reached in her purse and began to run bright red lipstick around her mouth, rubbing her lips together, checking the effect in a mirror. Fred was the last to succumb, but finally she looked up from a book, taking off her glasses and lifting her hair off her neck. 'Is it hot in here?'
Everyone turned to look at her. She looked back. 'Hot?'
Cordelia nodded dumbly and shifted slightly in her seat. Angel came out of his office and leant casually in the doorway. All eyes swivelled to him and flushes spread over the paler faces. He was staring at Spike, and the humans followed his gaze. Fred dropped the book to the floor with a loud slam, making Cordelia jump. Spike was staring back at Angel. Gunn suddenly realised he was sweating and put a hand to his forehead in wonder. Fred stared at him. 'Let's go home.'
He didn't even nod, just stood up and, folding his jacket in front of him, followed her out. Cordelia gathered her things and looked annoyed at no one in particular, but suddenly said, 'God, I hate LA sometimes. Wesley, we're going out.'
'Yes, you. You're taking me out.'
Wesley wanted to be away from the vampires for his own reasons so agreed to the suggestion. He cast one last look back at the two intent, silent figures and closed the door softly behind him.
Angel crossed slightly more space, but they met roughly in the middle of the lobby. Hands tore at clothes until shirts lay discarded on the floor. Angel backed Spike into the shadows and turned him to face the wall. Whatever had been pumping from their bodies, whatever had seeped into the unconscious minds of the humans, it now drove them mindlessly. Angel could hardly unbutton Spike's jeans in time to enter him before he came. Two hard thrusts in, and he exploded in the tight backside with a moan. Spike pulled off and reversed their positions, wiped some of Angel's cum on himself and pushed in on the cool wetness. Almost faster, he released into Angel with a grunt of thoughtless need then pulled out and rolled over to lean next to Angel on the wall. Slowly, he sank to the floor. Angel turned and slid down next to him.
Spike turned his head and found Angel looking at him. He raised an eyebrow. 'What the friggin' hell was that?'
Angel held his gaze. 'I was like that once before. With Darla. Now there's two of us.'
Spike looked impressed then smiled. 'One more step off that pedestal of yours, I'm thinking.'
Angel tipped his head back and shook it ruefully. 'We're gonna have to do better.'
'I think we did pretty….'
'Kinda bad for business. And friendships.'
'Dunno. Reckon the girls would watch. Know old Wes would.'
Angel was about to reply to this when the telephone rang. He waited for someone to answer it then cursed when he remembered they'd all gone. Struggling to his feet and straightening his clothes, he made it just before it stopped. Spike watched him for a moment, amused, and then crawled over to his discarded coat and retrieved his cigarettes. He smoked for a while then stood up and went over to the counter. He leant alongside Angel, blowing smoke in his face, and then borrowed the pen he was using and wrote shower? in bold letters and underlined it.
Angel glanced down and became hesitant on the phone. He squeezed it against a hunched shoulder and wrote yes.
Spike grinned and began to draw two stick figures in various contorted positions. Angel frowned and turned the paper around, trying to make out what they were doing. Finally, he snatched back his pen and wrote why is someone firing arrows at us?
Spike looked puzzled and studied his sketch then with a look of total derision wrote that's the frigging water you pillock.
Angel nodded and made some vague comment into the receiver then wrote I promised you room in my arse.
Spike grinned and added put down the fucking phone.
Angel didn't even speak. He just dropped the handset mid-sentence, and they turned and ran up the stairs. They crashed into Angel's room, winced and ran back out, slamming the door. Spike dragged Angel into his room, and they fell on the bed, laughing. Angel lay on Spike's slim body and held his face still. He stared at him intently. 'I missed you when you weren't here. How's that? I've not had you for our whole unlifetime, but I missed you while you shopped for cigarettes.'
Spike gave a small shrug. 'I've always missed you. All that time, missing something I never really had.'
He rose up and pushed his fingers into Angel's hair, pulling him down. He opened his mouth and welcomed Angel in, their tongues touching lightly, playing and exploring. They both smiled into the kiss, keeping their eyes open, watching with amusement the other's expression.
The kiss deepened. Hands began to roam restlessly over cool flesh, seeking new sensation, giving intense pleasure where they touched. Spike stretched his arms above his head and let Angel explore every inch of his torso. He lay still as his jeans were removed. Angel turned him, touched, moved on, returned - each touch making Spike's skin spark with need. Finally, Angel straddled his backside, sitting high on the raised cheeks, splaying his hands into the small of Spike's back and running them slowly up the spine into the hairline. Spike clenched his fingers in pleasure then stretched them out as if they too were being massaged and played with.
Angel reached a hand behind him and sought Spike's cleft. He explored that as he continued to play with Spike's back. He slid off and lay alongside his new toy, smiling with pleasure as Spike curled back into him.
He brought his mouth softly down onto Spike's ear, licking and nibbling into the tempting flesh of his lobe. Spike twisted his head around, and they kissed again. Spike was about to turn fully, but Angel raised an eyebrow and pushed the top thigh away from him. With a blink of desire, he eased his erection into Spike's waiting hole.
It was more intimate than earlier frenzied entries. So close, their mouths and eyes almost sharing space, they seemed to share the moment more too. Angel shared Spike's submission, feeling it as keenly as he felt his own dominance, and this puzzled him. He twisted Spike's face around once more and ran his fingers around the intense eyes as if seeking answers physically from their blue depths. He saw confusion in Spike as well and whispered, 'What's happening between us?'
Spike shook his head but blinked a long, slow blink of pleasure at the feel of Angel moving gently inside him.
Angel wrapped his arm around Spike's chest and hugged him close. He couldn't thrust and heave. He couldn't tear into Spike in a blitz of blood and need. He didn't want to bite him. He wanted to stay like this: sliding in and out of Spike with nowhere else to go and nothing else he wanted to do.
They drew out their orgasms for a very long time. When he sensed that he was coming, Angel stopped until the pressure dropped. Spike did not touch his own penis, but allowed Angel to dictate the pace entirely, swelling when Angel used a steady rhythm on him, softening again during the long periods of waiting while Angel regained his control.
Angel found himself nuzzling into the faint scar on Spike's neck that proved their shared history. There was no temptation to bite at all. He enjoyed licking the faint roughness, drawing out a quiet hiss of pleasure. He murmured softly, 'Like that?'
Spike was silent for a moment then answered equally quietly, 'Yeah.'
Angel smiled shyly into the damp skin, 'We're talking….'
Spike chuckled. 'I didn't think you could do it and fuck at the same time. Bloody revelation.'
'Tell me something.'
Spike twisted again, but after a long, deep kiss he frowned and said, 'There's nothing about me I want you to know.'
'I want to know everything. I should know everything, but I don't.' He stilled the exquisite rhythm in Spike, and his eyes clouded over at some private pain.
Spike shook his head forcibly and urged the movement to restart, pushing back into Angel. 'Don't. We wouldn't be here now if things had been different.'
Angel looked at him thoughtfully and almost automatically began the gentle riding into him once more. 'Darla's gone.'
'I always chose her above anyone, but she's gone now. I never wanted you, but you're here.'
Spike was quiet for a long time, Angel lost in his own thoughts until he noticed the silence. 'What?'
When he got no reply, he repeated the question against Spike's ear and this time allowed a hint of command into his voice. 'What, Spike?'
'Do you wish it was her here now?'
Angel readjusted their position slightly so he could slide his other arm under Spike and pull him closer. 'Spike. I never spoke to her.'
Spike dipped his head in pleasure and did not reply. He ran his hands over Angel's hard, smooth flanks, enjoying the feel of the muscles contracting and stretching under his palm. He arched back into Angel's hold and stretched his thigh up as far as it would go. Angel moaned his gratitude at the extra depth and, for the first time, slid a hand up to play with Spike.
The first touch of Angel's hand to the hard root was the catalyst for explosive orgasms. Spike cried out, and his hand flew to join Angel's. Angel pushed him more face down on the bed and rose above him, his entry now hard and fast. With a harsh shout of pleasure, Angel released urgently into Spike. He heard another cry, but it was distant, his whole concentration on himself and his own pleasure.
When he was spent, he eased himself down onto Spike, pressing him face down in the mattress. Spike's hand crept around and fastened briefly on Angel's backside, and Angel nodded into Spike's back that he would stay in. Spike's arm slipped off and neither moved nor spoke for a long time. Angel dozed, drifting in and out of what he thought was a light sleep. He thought Spike slept too but wasn't sure. Finally, he woke properly and rolled off to one side, grunting slightly as he slipped flaccid out of the cool hole.
He prodded Spike in the ribs for some company, but only got a grunt in reply. He glanced at the window and frowned deeply. A momentary, overwhelming sense of confusion hit him. It was light. He shook his head to this impossibility and looked again, angry that the day refused to disappear to his command. He poked Spike more forcibly and got a more forceful grunt back. 'Spike, it's morning.'
Spike turned over onto his back, fumbled for some covers and pulled them over his head. 'Good.'
Angel watched the lump for a while, smiling. He stretched and thought about what he had to do that day. There was a new case. That was always good. He tried to remember what the… new… client… had… 'SPIKE! FUCKING HELL!'
'Jesus! What?' Spike sat up, furious but tense and wary at the same time. Angel was struggling to get his jeans on, hoping around, tugging on them desperately. 'The phone message.'
'You freaking moron. You left it on the counter.'
'Oh.' Realisation hit him. 'OH! And hey! What'd'ya mean I left it? It was your bleedin' client.'
'Your fucking illustrations.'
'Your invitation into your arse.'
Angel gave him an anguished look. 'Oh fuck. Maybe they've not noticed it yet.'
'They might 'ave seen the shirts on the floor though….'
'Oh, shit!' Angel wrenched the door open and stormed toward his room. Spike, still hopping and pulling on his jeans, followed. They braved the smell and grabbed a couple of fresh shirts and cautiously peered around into the lobby.
There were no discarded clothes on the floor, and no one seemed particularly upset. Angel gave Spike a look and stepped out but was suddenly dragged back. Spike pressed him into the wall and pinned his wrists. Angel tried to relax his expression, but failed miserably. Spike tipped his head on one side and smiled. He leant forward, kissed him lightly and said, 'I love you' then turned and ran swiftly down the stairs hailing the humans with a cheerful expletive.
Angel closed his eyes to feel the kiss once more. He kept them closed so he could listen once more to the words. He took one long, very welcome breath and walked slowly and confidently down the stairs.
After the initial shock on wake up, it proved to be a very normal day. Wesley tactfully produced the information on the new client - carefully copied from the original. Angel made no comment on the manoeuvre, and Wesley calmly outlined what he saw as the best plan of action. Angel concurred, and they readied themselves for action.
Spike wandered out of the kitchen and saw the preparations. He grinned. 'Bleedin' fun at last. Where we going?'
Angel hardly appeared to glance at him, but Spike's preternatural senses caught a brief, intense look. He felt the look deep inside, and he paused for a moment to merge it into his core, so he would never lose the feeling it gave him. When he looked back up, he was as calm as ever, but they both knew a part of Angel was now fused into him as deeply as his soul.
Spike walked over and slapped Wesley on the back. 'Give us a weapon then.'
Angel laid a hand on his arm. 'Not you. Bad guy's a human.'
Spike looked disappointed, but seemed to accept the sense of Angel's argument. With a small shrug he said, ''K. Where's the TV room then?'
Wesley looked amused at Angel. Angel looked confused then said hesitantly, 'There are some books in my room.'
Spike gave him a look, which clearly said that he'd had the pleasure of Angel's taste in reading before. With a sigh, he went over to annoy Cordelia.
Wesley watched his retreating back for a moment until Angel tapped him on the shoulder. With a slight start, he followed the vampire down toward the tunnels.
They returned in the early evening looking tired, but pleased with the outcome of the case. Angel began to clean the weapons and chatted to Fred and Cordelia who had waited for them to return, but his eyes roved unconsciously around the hotel, clearly seeking someone else. Eventually, a figure appeared on the stairs, and Angel stopped talking. Once more, the humans started to look uncomfortable, so Angel gave himself an imperceptible shake before he looked again. Cordelia gave a small whistle of appreciation as Spike came down, which was greeted with a cheery, two-fingered salute.
He was wearing black leather jeans with a white shirt. It was a simple enough choice, but the effect on his lean, hard body was sensational. Allied with the jewellery and spiked hair, it was an arresting look, and he knew it. He gave Angel an amused glance and with a cheeky raise of one eyebrow said, 'You've got ten minutes to change.'
Angel recovered and put the sword back in the cabinet. 'For what?'
'I know what a…. I can't go out tonight.'
Spike jerked his head back a little. Wesley neatly sidestepped around them and with a look at the girls to follow him, went into the kitchen. Angel shrugged off his coat and went toward his office, rubbing his neck.
Angel gave a dismissive wave of his hand and began to flick through some papers on his desk. He half turned. 'You go out if you want.'
'On my own?'
Angel turned and perched on the desk. He tipped his head on one side then smiled and held out his hand. Willing enough not to turn this into an argument, Spike came over and leant against him. 'You've gotta have some fun, Angel. You've worked all day. We're only going for a drink. Maybe a movie?'
'I can't. I have to see some people tonight. It's been arranged for weeks.'
'People die when I do things like that.'
Angel looked at him thoughtfully. 'Do you mean that?'
'Do I know them?'
'Of course not. I don't.'
'Well then.… Why should I care? I'm not a frigging saint, Angel. I'm still a demon; just one with a winning personality.'
Angel laughed softly and cupped Spike's hard backside in his hands, just rocking them together lightly. 'It's those we don't know that test our commitment the most. It's easy to care for humans you know.'
'Is it? Did you ever actually meet Xander bloody Harris?'
'Well, besides him. Buffy? Cordelia? Fred? Gunn? You'd care if they got hurt.'
'I'd care cus you cared.'
Angel tipped his head the other way at this simple question, and the effect was startling. Spike felt far more import in the look than in the simple use of the name, but only answered with a laugh, 'Sure, he's okay.'
Angel raised an eyebrow at this, but let it pass. He pushed Spike off, and picked up the papers once more. 'Tomorrow night. Pick a good movie, and we'll go tomorrow.'
'Bugger.' Spike huffed and pouted for a while, then flung himself in an easy chair and lit a cigarette. 'If you owned a bleedin' telly I wouldn't need to go out.'
Angel looked at him, surprised. 'Get one.'
'Buy a TV. Tonight. Do that tonight instead. Don't put it in my room or yours though.' He fished in a pocket and casually threw Spike a card. 'Get anything else you need - in reason.'
Spike looked at the card and back at Angel. 'How?'
Angel looked surprised. 'On the Net?' He looked at Spike's face. 'You know how to surf…?' With a grin, he sat Spike at his desk and got him started. He could have been showing him how to feed; Spike's eyes widened slightly as they opened some on-line electrical stores. Realising he was no longer needed or wanted, Angel patted Spike affectionately on the head, said, 'Within reason, remember' and went out to find Wesley.
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