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Time is the Fire in Which we Burn - Chapter 7


Spike made a stealthy return to the hotel, not wanting to be noticed or cross-examined. As before, he spent the day in bed, but just before he could make another early evening escape, there was a light knock on his bedroom door. Knowing exactly who was there, he said softly, 'Just a minute,' dived out of bed and pulled on some jeans. ''K.'

Angel opened the door, but did not actually come into the room. 'Stranger.'

Spike gave a small shrug. 'Been busy.'

'Wanna be busier? Vamp nest.'

Spike gave a shy smile. 'I'll just shut up and fight this time.' He pulled on a shirt and sat to tug on his boots. Angel came further into the room. He idly picked up one of Spike's rings that was lying on the dresser and tried it on, by his expression not really thinking about its fit. He turned and gave Spike a surreptitious glance, thrown when he found Spike watching him closely. They both turned back to what they were doing. After a few moments, Angel said, his back still turned, 'Spike…?'


It was not much encouragement, but Angel ploughed on nevertheless. 'We've known each other a long time.'

'Longer than most.'

'Have I ever really known you? Or you me…?'

Silence greeted this hesitant question, and Angel turned to find a quizzical look on Spike's face. He frowned and added, 'I find it hard to say things - or so I've been told. It….'


Angel glanced incredulously toward the door and murmured, 'Not fucking now!'

Spike, his boots finally on, stood. 'Just say it, Angel'

Angel opened his mouth. 'I-I….'

'Angel, man, you there?' Gunn skidded into the room. 'Gotta go, now. They've scattered. All over the freaking hood.'

Without speaking further, the vampires followed the human out of the room. Angel glanced at Gunn's back, laid a hand on Spike's arm and said softly, 'Stay safe. There are things that need to be said.'

Spike frowned and nodded, but the words he longed to say to Angel only seemed to stick in his throat more soundly.

They arrived at an abandoned warehouse. Although some of the vampires had dispersed, a large number remained. They appeared to be partying, but the humans tried not to look too closely at the buffet. They set about the killing, and it was long, hot work. Spike fought on autopilot, this contest nothing new or particularly hard for him. He was distracted, running through in his mind what Angel wanted to talk about, why he was so hesitant, what it might mean for his own fragile place in this new pack.

Without warning, something hit Spike hard on the back on the head, and he turned, infuriated, lashing out at his attacker. Agony stabbed him, and he fell to his knees, clutching his head in disbelief. He looked up at the vampires' human accomplice and watched helplessly as the axe swept toward his neck. He closed his eyes at the last minute, unwilling that this ugly face should be the last thing he saw, so missed the human's slightly gory end. He felt hot blood splatter him though, so snapped his eyes open just in time to see a head hitting the floor. The decapitated torso still stood; Spike gave it a push, and it fell satisfactorily to join the rolling head. Trying to ignore the intoxicating scent of wasting human blood, Spike shrugged and gave Gunn a small grin of thanks. Gunn nodded and held out his hand. Together they waded back into the fight, not noticing a pair of dark eyes that had watched the scene from across the space, unable to help.

The last vampire went down with a satisfying amount of dust, and the group stood triumphant in the wreckage of the fight. The humans moved together, comparing opponents and generally unwinding with tasteless jokes at each other's expense. Angel was looking down at his axe, apparently deep in thought. Spike went over to him, rubbing his head where the human had hit him. He turned and looked amused at the noisy group. 'You've a good… ugh.' He fell as Angel's slap backhanded him viciously to the ground. 'What the…?' Angel pulled him up by the lapels of his coat, ignoring the expressions on the shocked humans.

'You almost got killed.'

Spike's eyes widened. 'Almost being the key word there, I'm thinking!'

'You could have been….' He let Spike drop and turned away, striding over to the car. Spike wiped the corner of his mouth and watched him leave.

Angel threw his axe angrily into the trunk of the car. Angry at Spike, furious with himself, beside himself at everyone else, he didn't know where to put this… fear. So close….

He climbed in, drumming his fingers on the wheel, waiting impatiently as his friends rather nervously took their places. He waited. He turned. 'Where's Spike?'

Fred gave him a weak smile. 'He went off.'

Angel gritted his teeth and slammed the car into drive and screeched over the deserted dock. His angry presence kept them silent on the way home.

Angel started to walk into the hotel when he got back then swore and got back into the car. He screeched off once more, and his exit was greeted with sighs of relief from the three tense humans. He drove the route he knew so well, parked and tore up the stairs. He banged on the door. After a significant time, Wesley answered, wet, a towel around his waist. 'Is she here?'


'Good. Let me in.'

Wesley stepped to one side. Angel stood as usual with his back to the room, leaning on an arm, staring morosely out of the window, but this time he initiated the conversation. 'He's making me weak.'

'Is he?'

Angel turned at the flat comment. 'I nearly lost him tonight.'

'So, you've told him? You… actually have him.'

Angel did his best shifty look. 'No, but….'

'Fuck you, Angel.' Wesley went back into his bedroom. 'You interrupted a very pleasant shower to tell me you're more of a coward than I…. Get out of my way.' Angel stood his ground, a dark presence in the bedroom.

'I can't do weak, Wesley; you know that.'

Wesley took a small towel off the bed and began to rub at his hair, the effect making the short dark strands stick up in all directions. 'It's not weakness, Angel; it's vulnerability - an entirely different thing. You can't do strong without it.'

'What?' Angel flicked out his hand and held Wesley's still, annoyed by domestic actions at this time of such huge import. Wesley gave him a small, irritating pat, infuriatingly not apparently seeing such great significance in the moment.

'You know, Angel? I just don't get the Christian vision of heaven, do you? Lions lying down with lambs just aren't lions in any definition, are they?'

'Okay, and this is about me… how?'

Wesley smiled inwardly at the narcissism, but it was a very fond smile. 'You see, I've always held that you can't have ultimate good without its balance: ultimate evil. You can't have you as you are now without Angelus. You can't be strong without being vulnerable. Without vulnerability, you can't empathise. Without empathy, you can't be our champion.'

'Two more inches, Wes. If Gunn hadn't been there, Spike would….' Angel turned and busied himself rearranging the items on Wesley's nightstand.

'Why haven't you told him?'

'I was going to. Tonight.'


'I hit him instead.'

'You bloody fool.'

'It was a very caring punch.'

Wesley put his hand on Angel's back, planning to give him another small pat, but Angel turned and caught his hand. A look passed between them, but before Angel could speak, Wesley shook his head fractionally. 'Go find him, Angel. Make this right.'


The club was heaving. The music was deafening. The bodies were hot, and they wanted him. He'd shed his duster in a safe place where he could retrieve it later and, dressed only in shirt and jeans, he moved through the blue, writhing mass. Once more, hands were on him, and it was so good. There was no confusion in what they wanted - no unexpected pain, no rejection. Spike swelled to the knowledge that in this place, he would never be rejected. He closed his eyes and let the bodies hold him up. Arms, hands, chests, legs - all warm and alive and pumping blood and simplicity in their need. He was kissed and warm tongues told him of his desirability. He was held and strong arms reaffirmed that he existed, almost fooled him that he too was alive.

He drank heavily, and when he'd taken in just the right amount, Angel left his mind. Everything else did too, but he had peace from Angel for a while. Mindless, he became all body in this place where only the physical was needed or wanted.

He noticed no one in particular until one man manoeuvred him over to the wall. He pressed Spike to the cool tiles as if the slim body was made of rubber, and its owner had no will. He moaned to the feel of Spike's unique physique under his hands and opened his shirt to press his palms to Spike's nipples. Spike looked down at the hands on him and laughed. The man kissed him, glad to smell the drunkenness, anticipating where it would lead them. Spike closed his eyes to the kiss until… it changed. He snapped his eyes open and tried to focus. A cool darkness enveloped him, hiding him from the blue light. Strong hands held his and spread-eagled his arms to the cool tiles, and now he was kissed by lips that were as ancient and as seductive as his.

Spike blinked, and tears rolled down his face. He'd drunk too much. All thoughts of Angel… drink... no thoughts of Angel… more drink… conjure Angel in this place. He didn't want for this not to be Angel. He didn't want to sober and find the unknown human kissing him.

Spike let out small confused sound when the lips lifted from him, but they swiftly came back to capture the tears, licking them off his face. His arms were lowered and pinned tightly to his side, and a quiet voice whispered in his ear, 'I'm taking you home, now. Make a scene of any sort, and I'll punch you unconscious and carry you.'

Spike jerked his head back with a cry. He swallowed deeply, utterly confused at Angel's startling reality. 'For fuck's sake! Piss off! Why?'

Angel smiled and leant back to make sure that despite the volume of music, his words would be heard. 'Because you are mine, and I'm fucking sick of smelling other people on you. From this moment on, Spike, you'll smell only of me. Your own man? Fuck that too. Mine. Now, move your sorry arse.' With a painful grip on Spike's upper arms, Angel manoeuvred him through the dancing figures. One or two customers went home that night with considerable bruising and a few sprains as hands were chopped away and bellies punched. When they hit the night air, they both reeled at the contrast. Spike bent over and put his head down for a moment, groaning. Angel came closer, but he was waved away. When he straightened, Spike looked more focused.

He sat on a low wall and felt his jaw gently. Angel did not miss the implication and sat next to him. 'You weren't careful. I won't lose what's mine. I was angry. Sorry.'

'You said you'd never wanted me.'

'Jeez. No, I said I'd been waiting for you to be just that… you.'

Spike pouted and despite the slightly childish tone, said softly, 'No you didn't.'

'So, I'm suddenly like a dad to you?'

Spike gave him a small flash of a look. 'Touché. I thought that might hurt.'

'It did. I'm not heavy with the incest.'

Suddenly Spike tipped his head back and groaned in frustration. 'Jesus, Angel! You've shagged your sire, your childe, your childe's childe, so I'm thinking incest expert here!'

'Okay, I'll go with that. Kinda handy, since I'm gonna fuck you tonight.'

Spike jerked his head around but whatever he'd about to say or protest was lost in Angel's mouth - just a small breath of speech dissipating in the strength of Angel's need.

Angel bruised Spike with his hands and bit his lip slightly as they kissed, drawing blood. With a small groan, Angel eased his mouth away. 'We need to take this home.'

Spike sat back and gave him a long, searching look. Angel could tell some fundamental decision was being made behind those blue eyes. Angel would have said they were sad eyes, but that didn't seem likely, given he'd just told Spike what he had been wanting to hear for a century and a half. The decision seemed to be taking an inordinately long time. Angel frowned and, at his look, Spike said softly, 'Tell me again, Angel… what you said in there.'

'It's simple, Spike: you're mine, and I intend to have you.'

'Uh huh.'

He got up and shook his shoulders. 'I need to get me coat. I'm not right without it.'

This wasn't the hot urgency Angel wanted, but he waited while Spike returned to the club.

On the way back, distracted by the heavy traffic, Angel could only cast a few anxious glances at his passenger. Spike sat with one ankle crossed over his knee, staring out into the dark, his hair blowing and ruffled slightly by their passage.

When they got back, the hotel was deserted. Angel came up behind Spike and wrapped his arm around his neck, whispering softly, 'My room, now.' Spike nodded, but then twisted in Angel's arms and pushed him back against the counter.

He gave Angel one, intense look, searching his eyes for something then hung his head. 'All right.'

At that slightly cryptic comment, he looked away from Angel for a moment then leant in and kissed him.

He slid his hands up Angel's loose shirt and splayed them over the hard, peaked nipples. Angel buried his fingers into Spike's hair and pulled and played with the short strands, then cupped Spike's backside with one hand, pulling them together. He smiled into the kiss as he created delicious friction through their bodies. 'Come on.'

Spike nodded but hung behind Angel as they went up the stairs. When they reached the bedroom, Angel flattened Spike against a wall, mashing his face into the wallpaper. He pushed his hand down inside Spike's jeans, trying to reach the hard backside. 'Pull them down.'

Spike flung around and pushed Angel backward until he fell onto the bed. He straddled his strong body and began to undo Angel's jeans. 'I've only done this once, but it was tighter than a nun with 'er legs crossed.'

Angel only half heard this and flipped Spike onto his back, rising darkly over him. 'Strip. I'm kinda there, and I wanna be in you.'

Spike's eyes came back to focus a little, and he slid out from under Angel's heavy hold. 'You what?'

Angel jerked his head back. 'Just turn over and shut up.'

'Err… that's kinda what I want you to do, although you can talk if you want.'


'Well, duh! I'm not a frigging girl, Angel; you ain't sticking anything in me!'

'What the fuck?' Angel's expression clearly showed that this possibility had never once entered any of his various plans for Spike. He spoke very slowly and very distinctly - just in case this would help clarify the matter. 'Spike.' He saw that part had been understood. 'I am your sire.' No argument yet. 'YOU AREN'T FREAKING TAKING ME!' Gritting his teeth with the knowledge he'd lost a serious amount of credibility by shouting in a high-pitched voice, Angel nevertheless grabbed Spike and began to rip at his jeans once more. 'Now, fucking take these off, turn over and make any damn noise you want.'

Spike pushed Angel off the bed and pinned him to the floor, a position they knew would not last long, Spike being so much lighter than his sire. 'Just shut up, Angel, and let me do what I'm good at.'

Angel predictably flung him off and stood, then began to pace angrily, running a distracted hand through his hair. 'You were fucking taking it tonight kinda happily I'm thinking - and every night you've been here. Way't'go with the butch act now, Spike.'

'I'm confident enough to give a little too, yeah. Are you? I don't think so; now, spread on that sodding wall!'

Angel batted Spike's hand away, but grabbed it too, pulling Spike to him. 'I could force you.'

'And me you.'

Angel laughed. 'Yeah.'

Spike bristled. 'You sayin' you're better than me?'

'I don't need to say it.'

'Okay. Best man wins arse then.'

'And… what?'

'I'll fight you for it. Winner gets to take the other's arse.'

Angel looked mutinous but secretly pleased with this outcome. 'Sure.'

Spike gave him a knowing look. 'No wriggling out at the last minute - like when you've lost, mate… I know you. "I'm not very good at saying what I mean, Spike. I didn't mean you could really have my ars…." Ow! Wanker!'

'Your Irish accent is worse than mine. A deal is a deal. I always make good, Spike; you know that.'

''K then. Fight it is. But not now. I'm still drunk.'

Angel nodded as if victory was already his and he could afford to be magnanimous. 'Fine. Tonight.'

'Tonight then.'

Spike got about half way down the hallway before he was flattened against the faded wallpaper. 'Fuck this. Come back to bed with me. Just - Jesus, am I really saying this? - just sleep together.'

Spike turned and caught Angel around the back of his neck, pulling him onto his mouth. They kissed all the way back to the bedroom, kissed as they stripped and crawled naked together onto the bed. Spike was the first to realise that their plans were being scuppered. He pulled away, wide-eyed. 'OH! Shit! Sorry.' Clasping Angel tightly to him, his body shuddered several times and then went limp. Angel peeled him off and ran a hand in wonder through the sticky mess. The wet hand went to his own erection, but before he could touch it, it jumped, milky strings of cum leaping from its tip to fall soundlessly on the dark silk sheets.

Angel pouted for a moment, fixating on the bed, a slight flush of embarrassment discernable to other preternatural senses. 'Okay. We'll just sleep then.'

Spike, quickly agreed. 'Oh yeah. Good idea. Shagged now… and tired might be a better way of puttin' that.'

Angel lay on his back, Spike on his belly, and an awkward silence fell between them until, with a small curse, Angel turned and heaved Spike into his arms. He pressed his face into the soft hair. 'I don't lose control easily. That was novel - thank you.'

Spike pushed back further into Angel's arms. 'Gonna have more novel tonight, Luv. Better get to sleep, or you'll be too tired to enjoy it.'

'Yeah, yeah. Like I'm worried, Spike.'

''K. But remember, I'm younger than you.'

'I'm older.'

'I'm cleverer.'

'I'm sneakier.'

'I'm badder.'

'You're recently souled. I've had decades to learn how to work round mine.'

'I want you.'

'I want you more.'

''K. We'll see. Tonight.'


Angel fell asleep to this pleasant thought. Spike lay awake all day, wondering how he was going to maintain this new fiction given that lying to Angel now gave him some considerable pain.


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