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Time is the Fire in Which we Burn

Episode 2 - Chapter 2

Jordan's words nagged at Spike as he waited for Sam to emerge. After an hour, he reasoned that he couldn't follow the human during the day anyway and decided to tackle the problem from another angle.

Wesley answered after another long session of knocking. Spike was in no mood to be chatty and pushed past the human. 'Something's going on, Pet. I need you.'

'You must be desperate then.'

Spike frowned; he heard the words but did not hear the cool, ironic tones he was used to. He shook himself slightly and shut his ears to Jordan's soft voice.

'Angel is acting kinda weird - well, you saw it. Do you think he could still be….'

'Why are you asking me? I'm sorry, Spike; this is out of my league.'

Spike actually stamped his foot but then turned nonchalantly and pretended he hadn't. 'What's up with you?'


Spike frowned and turned back. Suddenly, he jerked his head back. 'You've shaved.'

Wesley's hand flew to his chin, but he met Spike's gaze. 'I think standards should be maintained. I cannot tell you how reprehensible I found that ghastly place last night. I just decided it was time I got a grip of myself. Actually, I'm thinking of applying to be readmitted to the Council.'

Spike made a small scoffing sound. 'Actually, you hate those stuck up prigs as much as I do.'

'Spike. You are a vampire. I don't give too much credence to what you think, say or do.'

'Uh huh. That so.'

'Would you please leave now. I have things to do.'

'Cleaning out your apartment of all the corrupting influences?'

'No, I'm thinking of going home - to England. I want to write some letters to some old Council contacts.'

'England. Letters. Why don't you put on your fucking cardigan, Wesley?'

'There's absolutely no reason to be rude.'

'Rude? Rude. I'll show you fucking rude….' Spike slammed Wesley against the wall and cupped him, gently teasing the soft bulge.

Wesley's eyes flew open, and he pushed Spike off. 'Good God! How dare you!'

Spike gave him a look, nodded more to himself than at the human, spun on his heel and left, slamming the door hard behind him.

He went morosely down to his own apartment and flung in, throwing his coat angrily onto a chair and stripping off his T-shirt. He went into the bedroom but jerked to a halt. 'Huh.'

Angel stared at him lazily from the bed. He waved a full glass of whisky at Spike. 'What fucking time do you call this?'

'Why are you here?'

'You said come over. I have.'

'Oh, yeah. That was before you acted like a total arse, Angel. I kinda thought you'd….'

'You think too much these days, Spike. I kinda preferred the old you - when your brain was in your dick, and that was permanently employed with things other than thinking.'

'Fuck off, Angel; I'm not in the mood for this.'

Angel swung his legs off the bed and reached for his shirt. He walked around and gave Spike a look as he passed. Spike let out a small breath he'd been holding and turned to the shower.

The blow caught him totally unprepared, and he crashed into the wall, recoiling with a crack of his neck. He turned slowly, slightly dazed and held out a hand between them. 'Angel. Something is wrong with you….'

Angel closed the gap between them and pinned Spike to the wall, his naked chest rubbing against Spike's soft, silk shirt. 'The only thing wrong with me is you.'

'Calm down, Pet. Let's talk….'

'No. I'm done talking, and I'm done listening. All fucking day… lecturing me: don't do this; don't do that; grow up; be a man; take responsibility. I don't want friggin' responsibility; I want to have FUN!'

'Jesus, Angel, this isn't you….'

'No, Spike, you're wrong. This is exactly me, and I'm just rediscovering it.'

'Okay. Let me go, and we'll talk about having some fun, okay? Maybe I can have a drink and get as drunk as you.'

Angel laughed. 'Good try. Only… no. I'm remembering the fun I used to have and… you know… it was only really fun when I was the only one having it.'

He bent and crushed his lips to Spike's. 'Like that, Faggot?'

Spike brought his knee up, and Angel sank theatrically to the floor, pale and wide-eyed. Spike stepped around him and went back into the office. He snapped open his cell and pressed Jordan's number. Before he could hear if it rang, he was propelled into the wall again as, with a great bellow, Angel rammed into him. Spike hit back this time, catching Angel a low, hard blow to his belly. Angel doubled up, but when he straightened, unexpectedly flung his head up sharply and caught Spike's chin with his substantial skull. Spike staggered, and Angel was on him. They fell back against the desk. Spike jerked his head forward and head-butted Angel, nodding, satisfied when he heard the crunch of Angel's nose. Angel only wiped himself on his sleeve, started at Spike then swung a huge punch under Spike's jaw, sending him tumbling over the desk and onto the floor.

Spike scrambled to his feet and made a dash for the bedroom. Angel was quicker and rammed him again. They fell together heavily on the bed. Spike struggled to free himself, and Angel began to laugh, pulling at Spike's jeans.

Spike turned with a horrified look on his face. 'No. Not this.'

'Yes, this. I know you won't scream and wriggle for me, but hey! I can always add that in my head.'

Spike took advantage of Angel's amusement and kicked him in the face, scrambling off the bed and back into the office. He had the door open, but once more he found himself better acquainted with the paint than he wanted to be. Angel crushed him into the wall and then put an arm around his throat.

Spike tried to turn and look at him. 'Angelus?'

Angel laughed. 'Hardly. My soul's really enjoying this.'

'Then what? You must have some idea what's….' The arm around his throat tightened.

Spike glanced down. 'That's not gonna have much effect, Pet. Case you've forgotten - not breathing here.'

'Oh. This isn't to stop you breathing. This is to hold you still while I do this….' Angel punched him in the side of the head. 'Oh, yeah, now that's fun!'

He kept punching Spike in the temple until the body slumped in his arms. Angel held him away for a moment then hefted him over his shoulder and deposited him on the bed. He began to hum, an old Irish tune that he'd not heard in so many lifetimes. It calmed him, made him think of his mother and her soft words that had never been able to take away the bitter disgust in his father's tone. Well, fuck them all. He didn't have to listen to any of that now. Now, he was free to have some fun. Father wasn't here. No one was home, just him and any of the servants he chose to offer his favour.

He knelt on the bed and stripped Spike quickly then looked at the unconscious figure. He pouted. He needed something to hold him secure, and he had the feeling a few strips of sheets wouldn't work with this one. He wandered around, scratching his belly idly as he looked for something more suitable. He eyed the cables for the computer and, with a shrug, ripped them out, wincing as the machine crashed to the ground. He took them back into the bedroom and tried to bind the strong, pale wrists. It didn't work very well. Cursing, he stood and looked at the problem. With a grin, he went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. When he got back he knelt securely on the unconscious form and forced the blade through one wrist.

Spike came back to consciousness with a huge gasp of pain. He was too stunned to move, and Angel swiftly threaded a loop of cable through the hole and fastened that securely to the head rail. Now, if Spike fought to get loose, he'd have to rip his wrist open for that freedom.

Angel was pleased with his handiwork and knelt just out of Spike's reach. It was more perfect than he'd planned. With only one arm tethered, Spike was free to fight just enough to make it fun.

He eyed Spike's expression. 'What? Don't give me that look. You've been asking for this for so long.'

'Is that so? What did I exactly say, cus I think I missed that.'

'Oh, Angel… I love you… oh, Angel….'

'Fuck off.'

'I'm going to.' Angel casually began to unzip his pants and knelt up to free his erection.

Spike bit his lip and tested his restraint. He was prepared to rip the cable through his wrist or hand, if that's what it took. Angel saw the look and picked up the knife. 'You know? I always wanted to know how long it would take for a vampire to grow back an eye. Let's see, shall we?' He stabbed quickly at Spike's eye. Spike dodged, and the knife cut a deep gouge across the bridge of his nose, which immediately spurted a mass of blood.

Spike swallowed deeply. He had no doubt that if he hadn't moved, he'd be minus an eye, and he wasn't at all curious how long it would take to grow back. He nodded. 'Okay. I get the message. Just do what you want, Angel. Get it over with and let me get on with trying to find what's possessing you.'

'You're determined not to admit that this is just me, aren't you?'

'That's cus it's not.'

'Spike, Spike. This is more me than you've ever seen before. I'm all together for once, feeling really, really good. You want that for me, don't you?'

'Stop talking; you're boring me now. Just fuck me and get it over with.'

Angel grinned and got off the bed, fetching the bottle of whisky he'd been enjoying earlier. He waved it at Spike. 'Want some?'

Spike refused to play and lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, withdrawing into himself. Angel walked around the bed, fondling his erection and drinking from the bottle, casting Spike amused glances out of the corner of his eye.

When he'd had enough alcohol to bolster his courage, Angel picked up the knife and played with it thoughtfully. Spike watched him cautiously whilst trying to feign complete indifference. Suddenly, Angel lunged, and Spike jerked his arm up in defence. The knife caught him across his biceps, a deep, red wound forming, which bled profusely. Angel stood back, grinning. 'Quick.'

Spike ignored him and licked gently at the wound. Angel came at him again. Spike shouted in outrage but still deflected the blade. This time, the knife sliced across Spike's forearm. Blood began to splatter over the sheets and Spike's pale body. Angel stepped back once more. Spike swallowed deeply. 'Angel, where do you think you are?'

Angel frowned. 'Here. What do you mean?'

'Don't you remember anything about being... you?'

Angel faltered, and Spike pressed his advantage. 'This is me. Look around you. See where you are.'

Angel put the knife carefully out of reach and knelt on the bed. He looked at Spike thoughtfully. 'Why do you deny that I'm just me?'

'What! Hurting me! Fucking tying me up! Come on.... I don't know who or what you are, but you're not Angel.'

Angel made himself more comfortable and reached around for the knife. He tapped it against his knee, every so often teasing it at Spike, catching him with its sharp blade. 'I've never wanted you, Spike. But you just won't get it. I didn't want you as a snivelling man - I only turned you for Dru. I sure as hell didn't want you when you were a real vampire - shit, what an embarrassment. I never admitted to siring you, and you sure as hell never admitted to me. But, oh, this sorry story just gets worse, because then you go and get yourself neutered like some fucking puppy dog. And, surprise! What do you turn into? Everyone's fucking puppy. But then - are you still with me here, puppy...?' He gave Spike a particularly vicious stab, which Spike caught in his hand, the blade cutting deeply into his palm as he pulled free. Angel shook his head. 'Then you went and begged for a soul because you wanted me to love you. I can't feel love, Spike. I'm still a demon. I've faked it. I've moaned, and I've come for you, and I've - shit - made you come, but every time you touch me, I'm thinking of that pathetic, snivelling....'

'Shut up.'

Angel laughed. 'You're getting it! I'm me, Spike. I'm me, and I'm just so freaking tired of you.'

Spike looked briefly to the ceiling and swallowed then said calmly. 'Okay. Good. Let me go then, and we'll agree to differ.' If he added something else in his mind, he kept these thoughts off his face.

Angel grinned as if he'd heard the addition anyway. 'But you're missing the point, Spike. I want one last moment with you. Something for you to remember me by.'

'I thought touching me revolted you.'

Angel tapped the bloodied knife to the side of his nose and chuckled. 'I'm not going to touch you.' He lunged at Spike and flattened him, pinning his free arm under him. Spike was slippery from the blood, and his wounds opened and leaked heavily into the mattress. Angel lay on him, crushing his face into the bloodied mess so he could not rise then he played the blade slowly down Spike's spine, just enough to leave a thin, red trail. When he reached the base, he began to make small circles with the point. 'It took you a long time to recover from breaking your back. I guess spinal nerves are complex - even for a vampire. Just as well they weren't severed completely….'

Spike twisted his face to one side and looked at his tethered wrist. It was his last option. Angel saw the look and stabbed the knife into that hand, nailing it with the blade to the mattress. 'Don't.'

Spike jerked to the pain, but Angel only lay on him heavier until the jerking stopped. He stroked Spike's hair. 'I almost enjoyed that. Jerk some more.'

He pulled the knife free and went back to his contemplation of Spike's perfect back, now running with blood. He pursed his lips. With the side of the blade, he parted Spike's cheeks. 'Oh, Jesus. Did I ever stick..?. Fuck, there's only so much you can stomach, ya know?'

'Yeah, like your fucking cock isn't leaking for me now.'

Angel looked up. 'You can still talk... thought you'd gone all moody on me there for a minute.'

'Just fuck me, Angel, and get it over with.'

Angel's face darkened. 'I told you I'm not a pervert. I'm gonna do you a favour, Spike.'

'Yeah? I can't wait.'

'I'm gonna make sure you never enjoy doing it again either.'

He plunged the knife into Spike, opening up his tight ring with sharp metal, making blood provide the lubrication for this very different penetration. Spike arched back and screamed. Angel took his hand off Spike's wrist and clamped it to his mouth. 'Wanna lose your tongue too, you little faggot?'

They heard a thumping on the door. Angel pulled the knife out and climbed off the bed, then he tossed it dismissively at Spike. He glanced down at his own almost purple erection. 'Well, what'd'ya know? Wish I had time to let you watch, Spike, but I think the faggot patrol has come to rescue you.'

He tucked himself away and went to open the door.

Jordan took a step back when he saw the blood-coated figure. He slid into a far larger, more menacing form, but Angel only laughed at him and pushed past.

Jordan watched him leave, turned back and went in. The office was a wreck: the computer on the floor, chairs overturned. He took a deep breath and went into the bedroom.

He staggered but made no comment, just knelt on the bed and tried to help Spike free the cable threaded through his wrist. There was so much blood his hand slipped, and for some reason, he couldn't see very well, so their hands mingled in the blood, fingers slipping together and parting, entwining and then separating. At last, Jordan picked up the knife and hacked through the last few wires.

Spike had covered himself with a sheet, but it did not hide the blood. Nothing could hide that. Jordan hesitated; he made to leave, but then turned and grabbed awkwardly at Spike's head. He pulled him to his chest and held him tightly, resisting the vampire's struggle to be free, and eventually, Spike went limp. Still, they did not speak. Jordan began to untangle Spike's hair, soft repetitive movement of his fingers through the blood-sticky mass.

At last, he whispered, 'This was the other him, Spike. He's lost his soul.'

Spike did not reply, keeping his own counsel.

After what seemed like an age to the demon, when his legs had gone numb from kneeling in such an awkward position, Spike pulled away and wrapped the sheet more tightly around his waist.

'I'm going to shower.'

Jordan nodded and watched him get very slowly off the bed. He watched as Spike went into the bathroom, and then he stripped off his own blood-soaked clothes and went quietly in behind him. Spike was naked, and so for the first time, Jordan saw the blood running down his legs. Once more, he didn't comment but came tentatively toward him and stepped into the stall. Spike avoided looking at him, but seemed to accept his presence and turned on the water. It was so hot it took his breath away, and they both turned their faces up in the silence.

Jordan picked up a bar of soap and put his hands gently to Spike's arms. He left the punctured wrist and hand alone, but began to wash the other cuts systematically. Spike watched the lowered head. 'You're good at this.'

Jordan shrugged. 'You get beaten up a lot when you're different. Wounds, I know.' He sank to his knees. 'Turn around.'


He tipped his face up and looked quizzically at the quiet vampire. 'Jesus, Spike, I've had this...' He touched the flaccid penis gently with the bar of soap, 'inside me. There's not much left to be embarrassed about after that.'

Slowly, Spike turned and braced his hands on the tiles. He inspected his wounded wrist. He stared at the cuts covering his arms. He ignored the soft ministrations behind him.

He wasn't ever going to enjoy something like that again.

Jordan rose to his feet and turned Spike. 'I've got some bad news, Lover.'

Spike twitched up an eyebrow, despite his best intentions not to be there. Jordan grinned. 'You're dead.'

Spike nodded at the effort, if not at the actual humour, and turned the water off. 'Get dressed. Borrow something of mine.'

'What are we going to do now?'

Spike walked into the bedroom, his face turned to Jordan as he replied. 'I'm.... ' He froze and turned slowly.

Angel was standing staring at the bed. He turned to Spike, and his face was so pale, it was though all trace of unlife had been stripped from him. He opened his mouth as if to speak, but no words came, only a small, strangled sound. He swallowed and tried again. 'What's happening?'

Jordan came to stand beside Spike, and they looked at Angel. Angel frowned and cast a small glance at their naked bodies, but then seemed to go back to the more puzzling question. He looked helplessly at Spike. 'I was walking along, and I was thinking about... hurting you. Spike? What's happening?' Suddenly, Angel seemed to come back from place very far away. Blood flushed into his face, and he came over to Spike. 'Fuck. Look at you!'

He took Spike's arm in the only place he could find that wasn't bleeding and made him sit on the bed. Jordan watched him through narrowed eyes, casting an occasional look at the knife. Spike looked up at him over Angel's bend back and shook his head fractionally. Jordan pouted and made a small knife sticking motion in Angel's back with his hand. That finally brought a small smile from Spike, but he shook his head once more and then said, 'Just get dressed, Luv.'

Angel looked around, surprised as if he'd forgotten the demon, but he turned quickly back to Spike's wounds. 'Bandages?'

Spike shrugged. 'Use the sheet. Or maybe a clean one.'

'Whether or not this was meant as reproach, it seemed to effectively end any talk between them. Angel rummaged and found something to use and bandaged Spike silently. Jordan dressed in some old jeans and a shirt of Spike's and then held out his hand in passing. Spike put his up, and they touched fingers briefly.

Angel looked up and frowned at the touch but said quietly, 'I'm going to call a conference. We need to discuss what's happening. All of us.'

Jordan gave him a look. 'I'm not going anywhere with you, you fucking arsehole. He might forgive you, cus he used to love you once. But I won't. Ever.'

With that, he gave Spike an apologetic look and left.

If they thought it had been an awkward silence before, now they could almost hear the cringing. After minutes that seemed to drag like hours, Angel said softly, 'I'll get you some blood.' He seemed to hear self-accusation in that simple statement and, not glancing at the bed, went into the kitchen. Spike didn't want to look at the bed either, so he went into the office. He stood looking down at his broken computer. It seemed to signify something more than just a broken office machine. He righted a chair with some difficulty and sat down heavily. Angel brought out a mug of blood and put it on the desk. 'Drink. I'll get another.'

As he watched Spike listlessly drinking, Angel took a breath and said, 'You know that wasn't me, don't you?'

Spike looked up. 'Of course.'

Angel let out the breath. 'So, we're...?'

'Why don't you make those calls, Angel? Get everyone together. Not here though.'

Angel frowned. 'But are we okay?'

Spike looked up and held his gaze. 'Of course we are. That wasn't you.'

Angel nodded and kept Spike's gaze for a moment then looked away and picked up the phone.

Spike went carefully into the kitchen and rinsed out his mug. He watched the water swirling blood stained down the drain. Something rose in him. He swallowed the blood back down again, but he couldn't keep it down. He vomited it into the sink, the sight and the smell of it only making his stomach heave more.

He felt a hand on his back but shrugged it off. Without turning, he stood and wiped his mouth. 'Have you called everyone?'

'Just those of us working on the case, yes.'



Spike moved around Angel. 'I'll dress.'

'I'll help.'

'I can manage.'

'I'll tidy up?'

'Yeah. Good idea, Angel, put everything back as it was.'

With that, Spike went into his bedroom and shut the door.


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