Time is the Fire in Which we Burn - Chapter 2
Spike tipped his head back and eyed the hotel. He let his gaze wander from the extreme right to the extreme left and shuddered slightly. He sauntered up to the door and went in, grinning at the ease of entry to the dead person's home.
A demon eyed him from behind the counter. Spike resisted the temptation to look around for the one he didn't want to see, but kept the demon's gaze. 'Where's Angel?'
'Are you a friend?'
'He doesn't have any. Where is he?'
'If you're not a….'
'Look, Frog, he's an old acquaintance of mine. I'm in town; thought I'd look him up. Where is…?'
Spike closed his eyes briefly then turned. 'Hello, Angelus. Long time no see.'
'Not long enough, and it's Angel now, but you know that, don't you? What do you want?'
'Talk? That'll be a first.'
The telephone rang, and they both looked at it, glad of the small distraction. The demon smiled uneasily and picked it up, seemingly also glad for something to do. Angel turned on his heel and went back into his office. Spike raised an eyebrow, suppressed a grin and drifted in after him.
'You've come up in the world, Angelus.'
'Stop trying to piss me off already, Spike. Why not save it until you can make it count?'
Spike almost laughed. 'Okay, ANGEL, I'll hold you to that.'
'Jeez. Offer an old mate a drink, why don't you?'
'When I see one, I will.'
Spike gave him a look and sat down in the chair opposite the desk. He folded one leg over the other. 'I've got a soul now too.'
'I know you know.'
'So? I say again; what do you want?'
Spike gritted his teeth. 'You're not interested?'
'Not especially. Are you saving the helpless? Are you repenting? Are you working hard for your redemption? Jeez, no! You're destroying everything in your path and corrupting your soul just as foully as you've corrupted everything you've ever touched.'
'You seem awfully well informed.'
'Ripples, Spike. It's all ripples. You've disturbed the order of things.'
'Cheers, Mate. That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me. Oh, no, it isn't… I think "Ow, that poker's hot" was better.'
'Piss off, Spike. You sicken me.'
'Now, Angel, here I am gonna ask you for a job, and all you can do is upset me. I'm gonna cry or something in a minute.'
'A job? You?'
'Slayer gave me the idea. See, I've been doing nicely in Sunnydale, but it's a small town - I'm running out of lucrative cases. Thought I'd try the big city like. Always room for another demon killer here, isn't there?'
'We help the hope… helpless, Spike. We don't shaft the damn clients in the process.'
'So? I'm not asking you to take money, Angelus. I'll take the money; you just point me to the cases.'
Angel got up, running his hands through his hair. 'Get out, Spike.'
Spike pouted and played with one of his rings for a moment. 'Does yours burn too, Angel?'
Angel turned at the soft words and frowned. 'What?'
'Your soul. Does it burn, or is it cold? Mine's both - at the same time. It's weird.'
Wearily, Angel sat back down on the desk. 'It's more like a weight, pulling on me, making me ache.'
'What do you want, Spike? Why did you come here?' Angel jerked back slightly at the faint glistening in Spike's eyes. 'Tell me.'
'I told you. I came here to… be with… to work with…. I don't know why, Angel.'
Angel sighed and stood up. 'Welcome to the home of lost souls, Spike. Chose a room; make sure it's well away from mine, and don't piss me off more than once a day.'
When he'd passed, Spike looked up and raised one eyebrow in amusement.
He could hardly fail to notice the lack of warmth in his reception from the others. Cordelia refused to acknowledge his presence; the thin girl kept her eyes averted; the black man sized him up aggressively, and the demon fluttered around and cast anxious looks at Angel. Sick of the tension, he did as Angel had suggested and wandered around the hotel looking for a room. He had a fair choice and picked one at random, stashing the cellphone and his money into a hole in the old mattress, noting the room number, then choosing another to sleep in. He was sitting on the edge of the bed in this room, lining his rings up, when he heard footfalls.
The irony of this was not lost on him, and he was still grinning bitterly when Angel came in.
If Angel noticed the expression, he didn't comment on it. 'Where are your bags?'
'Bags. Receptacles for clothes.'
Spike suddenly realised that for a prolonged stay in LA, as he had purported to Angel, he'd not planned his cover all that well. He shrugged then covered seamlessly. 'Didn't think you'd let me stay.'
'What do you need?'
Even Angel appeared to see something more in the look Spike gave him in response to that innocent question, but whatever had been in the expression, it was whipped away quickly. Spike stood up.
'Nothing. I don't need anything. I'm going out.'
'None of yours, I'm thinking.'
'Sure. Do what you like; only remember this is my city, Spike. I'll know if you start anything.'
'I kill demons, Angel. Does it matter why I do it - why you do it? The end is the same.'
'Do you really believe that?'
Spike shrugged on his coat. 'I don't believe in believing any more; how the fuck should I know?'
'I'll come with you.'
Spike jerked his head back. 'No, you won't.'
'Cus I don't like you.'
'I'm not going to talk to you, Spike; I'm going to keep tabs on you; that's all.'
'Fuck off! I'm going to do some business, meet some potential clients, stir up some interest.'
'Good, give me something else to watch besides you.'
Spike shoved his way past and went down the hallway with a dismissive wave of his hand. 'Do what you like. If you can keep up, that is.'
Unfortunately for Spike, Angel kept up quite effortlessly. His plan to seek out some suitable places where Angel might be corralled and restrained had to be put on hold. Instead, he had to feign interest in some bars and talk to people as if he were really touting for custom.
He was on his third bar when a new plan for the evening struck him. Angel, an ever-present, lurking dark presence to one side of his peripheral vision, was watching him as intently as ever. Spike grinned, surprised the idea hadn't struck him sooner. He stretched leisurely and looked around the crowded bar. He picked his victim carefully: dark, stunning and confident.
Making sure with a tiny glance that Angel was still watching, he sauntered over and knocked into the man's arm. 'Fuck, sorry, Mate. Let me buy you another.'
'That's okay. You're English? Love that accent, man.'
Spike raised an eyebrow. 'And there I was, trying to blend in.'
'Yeah? Maybe lose the leather look.' There was a significant pause. 'Or don't.'
Spike gave him a knowing, cheeky look and nodded toward the bar. 'Name your poison.'
The man laughed. 'You tell me - no way I can guess your name.'
Spike pushed in toward the bar and ordered two drinks. He resisted looking toward the side of the room until the man had joined him. Then, turning casually, hooking his elbows over the bar, he glanced over. Angel wasn't there. Spike looked down at his boots for a moment, not sure if he was pleased at this or not, but before he could decide, he sensed he was being watched again. He looked up. Angel was leaning on the bar a few feet away, sipping a drink and talking casually with the bartender. Spike turned his back and aggressively snatched up his drink.
The human looked at him speculatively. 'What's with?'
'You seem kinda angsty of a sudden.'
'Yeah. So. What's your name?'
'Spi…. Will. I go by Will.'
'Cool. Hello, Will.'
'Yeah, look, you wanna get outta here?'
'Bit sudden maybe?'
'You wanna play coy, or do you wanna have some fun?'
'Jeez. You got six months to live or something? Slow down and breathe here.'
'So wrong on so many counts. Do you wanna leave here with me, or not?'
'You inviting me?'
'Odd, but incredibly sexy. Yes, Will, I'm inviting you.'
''S okay then. Come on.'
They left together, the need to turn and see Angel's face burning him. He resisted. It was more fun this way.
They walked together along the street. Spike sensed eyes still on him, thoughts centred on him. Once more, the irony of this intense scrutiny hit him, and he wanted to turn and shout that it was a bit fucking late to be watching him now. They got to Sam's apartment block, and Spike looked up. Under that pretext, he glanced the way they'd come. He was there, in the shadows.
With a grin, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and followed the dark-haired human through the door.
The game lost some of its attraction when he knew they couldn't be observed but, nevertheless, having come this far, Spike felt wired and needing something. He went into Sam's apartment and took the offered drink. He looked at the offered pills too and, with a shrug, took them as well, amused to think of their effects on his dead body. Sam put some music on and then turned to him. Spike tipped his head on one side and looked at him for the first time in good light.
'You could be him.'
'Uh huh. I kind of sensed this was a revenge trip.'
'You bothered by that?'
'Am I gonna get to fuck you?'
Spike jerked his head back. 'You, fuck me?'
Sam came closer. 'I don't do bottom.'
'You don't what? I'm not with you.'
Sam looked at him and began to chuckle. 'Jeez. I'm disbelieving in miracles, but here you are. A virgin.'
'Hey! Fuck you!'
'No. I'm going to fuck you. Be your first.'
'No, you're not. I don't get with the bottoms or shit, but I'm not being fucked by you.'
Sam came closer and ran his finger down Spike's cheek. 'Hey, you're cold! Do you want I put the fire on? Shit, cold, in summer in LA.'
Spike looked down at Sam's hand. 'You're a nice bloke. I shouldn't be here.'
'You're nice, too, Will.'
'No. I'm many things, but nice ain't one of them. Look, you were right; this was a mistake. I was trying to piss someone off.'
'The man who was watching you all evening? Ex?'
'But leaving there with me was supposed to piss him off?'
'Well, yeah. Guess. Look, it's complicated.'
'Love always is.'
'Oh… you go fuck yourself, Mate. Love ain't come into any equation of mine for the last hundred and fifty years.'
Sam appeared to ignore this odd comment, and began to push Spike's duster off his shoulders. 'Who gives a fuck about the past or the future? We are here now. I'm hard. You're hard. Let's get soft together.'
Spike looked at the hands on him and chuckled. For the first time since they'd left the bar, a frisson of desire sparked between them. Spike caught at one of the hands. 'This is… novel. I've never had a hu… someone undress me before. Never had someone want me.'
'And I'm believing that, not! Have you seen yourself lately, Will?' Sam began to unbutton Spike's shirt. 'Shit, you are cold. Come on; get into bed.'
Entranced by the novelty, Spike allowed the human to pull him over to the bed. He lay down and let warm, eager hands undress him. 'Do you do eight year old, by any chance?'
Sam reared back. 'You shitting me? I don't do kids.'
'Sorry, only joking. Just as well I didn't ask about the dog.'
Sam sat back on his heels. 'You are weird.'
'I'm nervous.' Spike laughed. 'I'm very old; I'm very insane, and I'm actually nervous of something. Thank you.'
'Getting weirder.' Sam smiled though and stripped off his T-shirt. Spike unbuttoned his own jeans and slid them off. Sam stripped as well, and they lay on the bed, naked.
'You don't get a lot of sun in England, do you?'
'Dunno. Ain't been there since the smog laws were revoked.'
'I have no idea what you just said.'
'Do you care?'
'No, I'm thinking about doing this….' Sam leant over and kissed Spike. Spike closed his eyes and enjoyed the warmth against his cold skin and the need against his cold heart. He opened his mouth and, cupping a hand behind Sam's head, decided to remind him who was really in charge of this little seduction scene.
He pushed Sam down onto his back and rose over him. He overwhelmed the human with the force of his need, with his experience, with his seductive, powerful nature. Sam lay under the cold body, unable to resist, unable to reassert his usual role. After a while, Spike pulled away and lay back down on his side. He looked at the dilated eyes only inches from his and said sadly, 'I can't fuck you. Sorry. It would hurt you, see?'
'I-I…. Pain is kinda par for the course, Will. I'll carry it for a while and enjoy thinking about you.'
Spike grinned at the human's capitulation but rejoined softly, 'I'm not… allowed… to give pain. No point explaining. Just trust me on this one.'
Sam raised an eyebrow. 'Turn over then.'
Spike shook his head. 'No. Not for you.' He jerked his head back and repeated this for a while then corrected, 'Not for anyone.' That was better. At Sam's clouded expression, he added cheekily, 'I can do this though.'
He chuckled around the tip of Sam's shaft as the human reared back on the first touch of his cool tongue.
It was the first penis Spike had ever touched other than his own. That he was touching one with his tongue amused him. He tentatively dabbed at the leaking fluid, found it not distasteful, so played around the small hole for a while. The temptation to slide into demon form and push a fang into that delicious hole had to be suppressed, and the effort made him groan slightly. The groan made strong hands clamp around his neck and push him lower. Delighted to be experiencing anything new after so long, Spike allowed the human to guide him lower. He took the whole erection into his mouth until it rubbed against his throat. No need to breathe, no discomfort from the pressure on his throat, Spike began to enjoy himself in earnest. Everything smelt of warm sex. His own arousal grew to the hot intimacy. He was giving pleasure. He was about to be filled with strong smelling, unmistakably human cum that any vampire would be able to scent on him. He grinned around the shaft and put a little more effort into the blowjob.
Sam suddenly began to tear at Spike's hair and pant. Spike knew what was coming, and just before the warm sperm erupted, he pulled off the throbbing shaft and let the milky fluid spill on him, catching as much as he could on his discarded shirt and jeans. Satisfied, he helped the human finish his orgasm by taking him once more in his mouth and just sucking around the hot tip, licking and cleaning him off.
Sam fell back on the bed with a groan, and Spike lay watching him with a thoughtful look. 'I've gotta go.'
'What? Now? Why don't you stay? I'll cook something. Shower. Anything. Hey, don't go now!'
'I'm not a big eater, Pet. 'Sides, it's late, an' you've probably got to work in the morning. What do you do, by the way?'
Sam looked as if he was about to lie, but chuckled and said, 'I'm a tax attorney.'
Spike blanched. 'Huh. Never had much to do with one of those before. I can see why you fuck around and do drugs now though.'
Sam gave him a look. 'What do you do?'
Spike grinned. 'Just fuck around.' He dressed, watching Sam lying on the bed and trying to resist actual begging.
He saw the capitulation. 'Can I see you again?'
'You are so strange.'
Spike stopped dressing and turned. He began to laugh. Unable to reply, he just laid a fond hand on the other's leg and slid out of the apartment.
He stopped in the hallway to light a cigarette then entered the elevator. Just before the doors slid closed, a hand slammed into them, and Angel stepped into the bright interior. Calmly, he pressed the button to the ground floor, then turned his back and with intense interest watched the numbers descending.
Spike continued to smoke, watching the solid back. They exited together, and Spike strode back the way he'd come, trying to remember exactly where the hotel was. He waited for just the right amount of silence to pass then said conversationally, 'So many advantages to this soul thing, ain't there, Mate? Gives you a connection. You can talk with 'em, fuck 'em... jeez, even make love, I guess. 'S good. Serendipitous outcomes of being a souled sodding demon.'
This got no reply, so he slowed down, and when Angel drew level he said cheerfully, 'Hope you've got lots of hot water back home, Angelus, cus I'm real sticky like. Tired and sticky. I like LA already.'
There was still no response, and Spike risked a glance sideward. He could read nothing in the expression and smirked slightly. 'You sorry you wasted your evening now? Told you I had things to do…. Huh, people to do, as it turned out.'
'Why do you think this pathetic attempt to wind me up is going to work, Spike? I followed you because I have no idea how that chip works. Your soul doesn't seem to restrain you; I needed to see that your chip does.'
'Uh huh. And that's the only reason you stalked me all night and sat outside that bloody flat while I got my rocks off?'
'You didn't, I'm thinking. We're both vampires, Spike. I smell everything and… nothing.'
'Fuck you, Angel! Like smelling me, do you? Like his scent on me?'
'Not particularly. I don't like what it implies.'
'Implies?' Spike glanced at Angel's expression, wondering if he'd finally cracked the armour.
Angel turned to him. 'You've been rolling in shit, Spike. I don't like the mad dog implications.'
Spike jerked back. Before he thought it through, he lashed out at Angel, a vicious slap across his face. Angel reeled from the blow but caught Spike's arm before he could hit him again. Spike kneed him in the balls instead and chopped both arms across the back of his neck when he went down fractionally. Angel swiped at Spike's legs and sent him crashing down into the gutter. He lay over him, holding him down with the force of his superior weight. 'You look good there, Spike. Natural.'
Spike flung his head up and connected his forehead with Angel's nose. Blood spurted out over him, and he cried out, twisting his head away to avoid it. Angel watched this reaction to their shared blood and then let him up, brushing down his clothes and dabbing his nose on the back of one sleeve. 'Get up.'
Spike climbed to his feet and wiped at his face, shading it slightly from Angel's gaze and then walked away.
He began to feel sick on the way back. He put it down to the drugs mixing with alcohol. He desperately wanted a shower, some clean clothes and some sleep but felt an overwhelming reluctance to enter the hotel. As he slouched toward it, he decided to bring forward his commission to capture Angel. He began to plan in earnest, having not thought much beyond getting himself ensconced under his sire's roof. Now he began to go over details, rejecting some, filing others away. It occupied him until he got back and distracted him from the nausea.
Entering the brightly lit lobby, feeling shabby, dirty and smelly, knocked his plan from his head, and nothing but the sense of nausea took its place. He swallowed deeply and headed for the stairs. He made it half way up then clapped a hand to his mouth and ran for the nearest bathroom he could find.
He hadn't vomited for years, and the effort left him weak and almost shaky. A blinding headache followed the retching, and he cursed the chip, wondering if it had been jarred in the fight with Angel. He sat huddled on the floor and wrapped his arms around his knees. He couldn't open his eyes for the pain from the light. When he moved his head, it stayed in place then seemed to lurch to catch up with the shift. He retched once more, but it felt as if he was only bringing up stomach lining.
The light suddenly went off, and he sensed Angel crouching in front of him. 'Fuck of….' That hurt so much he didn't even bother to finish it.
'Dunno. Chip. Maybe.'
'This happened before?'
'Okay. Can you stand?'
'Just fuck…. Yeah.' Shakily, he got to his feet, but his head seemed to burst out of his skull. He sucked his breath in at the pain but pushed past Angel and headed out of the room. Angel caught at his arm and guided him down onto a bed. It all smelt of Angel, and Spike realised, despite his self-absorption, that he'd just vomited over Angel's bathroom floor. He managed a small grin, then lay back down on the bed and hoped he had a few more lumps left for the covers.
'When did you last feed?'
'God. What?' Spike lay with his feet still on the floor and one arm thrown over his eyes, despite the gloom in the room. He felt the mattress depress next to him.
'When did you last feed?'
'I heard you the first time. I don't know. I can't remember.'
'You can't remember when you feed now? Jesus, Spike, you try my patience. What did you take tonight? Besides sperm?'
'Fuck you. I don't know. They were blue.'
'Blue. That's all you know? You swallow Christ knows what shit, and all you know is that they were blue?'
'I'm dead. Drugs don't affect me.'
'Oh, right. Like I'm not remembering you and opium.'
'Oh, yeah. Well, fuck you. I can do what I like.'
'So, no food, unknown drugs, and I watched you drink at least three bottles of whisky. You kinda seeing a pattern here, Spike?'
'I'm seeing little red dots shagging green ones, if you must know.'
'Just lie there; I'll fetch some food already.'
'Choir boy would go down right nice about now, yeah.'
'Don't vomit on my bed while I'm gone.'
'Trust me, Angel, no fluid of mine will ever stain your precious bed.'
Angel didn't reply to this, but Spike sensed that he was smiling. He didn't risk moving his head to look.
When Angel returned with a couple of blood bags, Spike was asleep and snoring slightly through drink and drug induced, long remembered breathing. He stood looking at him for a long time, then laid the bags down where he was sure they'd been seen and quietly left the room, shutting the door noiselessly behind him.
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