Title: Offside Rules or The Simple Application of Regulation Without Any Exertion
"He's gone again and this is the third Saturday afternoon he has done it since we got back to London." Darla was likely to wear the carpet thin with her restless pacing. "Angelus! Are you listening to me?"
Angelus gave a little sigh and folded his newspaper staring up at her, a long-suffering look on his face.
"Well? You heard me. This is the third time he has gone missing, without a word to anyone. What are you going to do about it?" There was an anxious yet annoyed frown on Darla's face, and it was a fairly easy task for him to work out why. The boy had calmed down a lot in the last few years, but the minute they had returned to London he had started to slip away on his own again. Angelus suspected that Darla was concerned Spike had returned to the same habits that had driven them out of London in the first place.
"You think he's out causing trouble?" He'd just been enjoying the peace and quiet. The house seemed positively echo-y without Spike's perpetual presence stalking the hallways and filling the air with his cigarette smoke and swearing.
She pouted and dropped onto the edge of the settee, running her hands restlessly down the heavy material of her skirts; the closest Darla ever came to a show of desperation. "I can't think what else he might be doing in broad daylight, can you?"
The tree didn't offer much shade, but the day was overcast, and if the sun did manage to break through it should be enough. Spike dropped his cigarette butt and ground it out under his heel as he looked around the field. There were more people here than last week, he guessed that meant things were going well. He'd like to ask, but was worried someone he knew might spot him, someone like his father who used to come and watch all the time.
"William? William Bartlett?" At the sound of a familiar voice, Spike jumped round to confront the speaker.
"It is you. My goodness, it must be," the man paused, frowning slightly, "ten years, at least. How are you, my boy?"
If it hadn't been for the dog collar and the voice Spike would never have recognized the human who stood in front of him, holding out a hand in greeting. He thrust his hands further into his pockets, unwilling to touch the clergyman, then thought better of it and returned the offered handshake.
"Reverend Ardwell. How are you, sir?" It was a good job the vicar had been on sabbatical the year William had died, otherwise Spike was fairly sure he would have remembered burying him. Frankly, he was surprised the old man was still alive, he'd been well into his sixth decade the last time they'd met.
"Retired these five years past." The frown still hadn't left the man's face and Spike looked down, shifting his feet uncomfortably under the intense scrutiny. "What are you doing these days? I seem to remember you. moved away?"
"Yeah. Been traveling. With friends." Not exactly a lie but if the Reverend didn't recall his death there would be no need to kill him and, at the moment, Spike had no desire to rip out the throat of his old vicar. That may change, of course, if he got hungry, but right now he was more interested in what was happening behind him.
He jerked his head towards the team, still tying their boots and adjusting their clothing as they waited for the opposition. "How are they doing? I've lost touch, being away and all."
The Reverend Ardwell smiled proudly. "They've come so far in the last few years, William. You knew they dropped the church name a couple of years ago? I wasn't pleased, but people take them more seriously without it."
Spike's eyebrows shot up in surprise. He hadn't thought they would ever drop the 'St. Andrew's' from the club name, after all it was the Sunday school teacher from that church who had brought them all together. "I hadn't heard. Like I said, it has been a while."
"Oh my goodness, then you won't know about us winning the cup in '87. We were so proud of them. The Shrimpton boys smiled so broadly I accused them of breaking the pledge." The large grin on the vicar's face suggested that he could be likewise accused.
Spike couldn't help returning it. He was chuffed his team were doing so well and said so. Then his hand was clasped warmly between the human's and the vicar's eyes momentarily became sorrowful. "It's so good to see you again, William. I was so sorry to hear about your Father. It must have been a terrible shock when you got the news."
Not a twitch of emotion moved in him, the information sloughed off as if it were an omnibus timetable. His father was dead. So? Eleven years reborn and the death of any human had ceased to move him. All he felt was a whisper of pleasure that his Saturday outings were no longer threatened.
Unfortunately, the Reverend Ardwell seemed to expect more so Spike brushed a hand across his eyes before covering his supposed emotional outburst by fumbling for a cigarette. The pair stood in silence for a few moments, the human in respect for the dead, the vampire scanning the opposition supporters for dinner. Eventually, Spike put his hand to his mouth and cleared his throat, "So, who are we playing today?"
"Millwall Rovers. They're a very good side. We would have beaten them the other year, but for the ball bursting."
Spike unsuccessfully tried to smother a snort of amusement. "The ball burst?"
"Three times!" The vicar's grin was back and he was nodding gleefully as his companion reacted as he expected to the tale. "Are you going to play again, now you're back, William? I don't think you'd get a place on the first team still, but I'm sure Tom would let you try out for the reserves."
"No, I'm not staying. Just passing through." The conversation came to an abrupt halt when twenty-two men ran out on to the playing field.
It was three a.m. when Spike slipped back into the house. The place was silent and it smelled like the others were still out. He sighed silently to himself. There was going to be an argument when they got back, he'd seen Darla shooting suspicious looks at him the night before. She must have noticed his afternoon absences, he'd been hoping it would take her a few more weeks, the season would be over soon and in the meantime he had no desire to share his passion with his family.
He dropped onto his bed and kicked off his shoes before pulling the covers over him. It was exhausting being out all the afternoon and night, and the Millwall supporter he'd eaten for dinner hadn't been enough to revive him. As he slid towards sleep Spike smiled to himself at the look on the human's face when he'd informed him, just before he fed, that Fulham Football Club didn't like it when they lost. It had almost made up for the 4 - 0 drubbing his team had suffered.
He stayed in his room all the following day, only venturing down when he heard the other vampires moving about preparatory to going hunting. The minute he appeared Darla shot him a filthy look and grabbed Dru's hand, dragging her out of the door before she'd even had a chance to say hello. That left him with Angelus and the two donned their outdoor garb in studied silence.
"Where were you?" The question he was expecting finally came as they left the house.
"Just out." Angelus probably wasn't going to let the subject lie, but there wasn't much he could do on streets crowded with humans.
"Out where? Darla's worried, she thinks you've taken to brawling and spiking people again." To any passer-by the conversation would have appeared to be perfectly normal, but Spike could sense a high level of tension emanating from his Sire.
He shrugged and answered facetiously. "I'm not, so you can tell her not to worry, I'll be a good boy."
"William." Angelus was growling. Darla must have given him a really hard time if he was resorting to these tactics. The pair had reached a truce recently, Angelus no longer tried to bully him and, in return, Spike didn't bait his Sire. It was a good arrangement and meant they virtually ignored each other.
"Don't be a git, Angelus. You're not my keeper and if I want to go out for a walk I think I'm old enough to look after myself." The alley wall he ended up against was damp, and the lichen covered brick crumbled under his fingers as he scrabbled for purchase while trying to stand up. Pain lanced through his right leg as he managed to get it under him and he cursed roundly, it felt like the ligaments in his knee had torn. Spike propped himself against the wall, breathing heavily as he fought for control; his temper would not serve him well right now.
Angelus joined him, nonchalantly leaning on the wall next to him. "Not so old that I can't still do that." Spike bit back a retort and ignored him, focusing on his leg. It would need to be strapped for several days before it was back to full strength and, in the mean time, it was going to hurt like a bitch. Broken bones healed quicker and less painfully than ligaments.
"I asked where you were?"
"Just leave it, Angelus. Isn't it enough that I've told you I'm not doing anything stupid?" His answer was ground out between teeth gritted with pain and angry frustration. Maybe if he wished hard enough Angelus would sod off and leave him alone.
Angelus laughed mirthlessly. "And I'm just supposed to believe you? I don't think so. Darla is concerned, and with these petulant evasions I think I'm starting to believe she has cause. Where the hell were you?!" With the last, Angelus grabbed Spike's throat and pinned him against the wall, ignoring the hiss of pain from his Childe as their knees made brief contact.
Spike caught his wrists and tried to pry him off, his face set in a furious determination not to speak. Eventually, the younger vampire stopped struggling and just hung there, eyes closed, and still silent. Angelus dropped him, and watched impassively as Spike tried to stand without damaging his leg any further.
"Fine. If you don't want to say, don't. But you're staying in the house till I'm happy you're not causing trouble. Go home." Angelus turned and stalked off, leaving Spike to make his way alone.
By the time Angelus got back, Spike was up in his room with the good whiskey he had pilfered from the study, and had his trousers around his ankles. He was trying to strap his knee tightly enough to support it while ignoring the hunger gnawing in his belly. Upon sensing his Sire outside the door he growled at him in disgust. "Fuck off, Angelus. I'm not talking so leave me alone."
The door opened anyway, allowing Angelus to breeze in flushed with fresh blood and alcohol. He wandered around the room, poking into Spike's things and passing critical comments on what he found, completely ignoring the seething anger pouring from the figure on the bed. Eventually, he seemed to lose interest and slumped down in the chair by the fire. After a moment he turned his head slightly and leveled his gaze on his Childe. Spike immediately went on the defensive.
"What?" This was vintage Angelus. He hadn't seen this side of his Sire for a while and, frankly, he hadn't missed it.
Angelus nodded at his knee. "Is it broken?"
"No, the cruciate ligaments have gone." Dropping his eyes, Spike tried to ignore him and returned to the strapping on his leg. It kept slipping and he couldn't quite get it tight enough. The fire popped and crackled cheerfully in the tense silence, until a loud rumble from Spike's stomach joined it. He sighed inwardly, that was bound to get a comment.
"Hungry?" Spike shut his eyes and suppressed a curse.
"No." It was obviously a lie, but he couldn't bring himself to agree with anything Angelus said right now.
"It won't heal if you don't feed."
"Well look whose stating the bloody obvious." He really, really hated his Sire when he was in one of these moods.
"I could bring you something." Spike's head shot up and he glared at Angelus through narrowed, distrusting eyes. The older vampire hadn't offered him room service for years and he doubted it would come without a price this time.
He pitched his voice as neutrally as he could. "And why would you want to do that?"
"Maybe I feel like being nice."
Spike snorted in amusement. Angelus? Nice? Talk about a contradiction in terms. "Why do I doubt that?" He paused, "I'm not going to tell you where I was, so don't go thinking you can make me."
It was Angelus' turn to laugh. "I'm not going to try to starve it out of you." He came over to the bed and squatted down next to Spike's damaged leg.
"Don't get me wrong, I meant what I said earlier. You will stay in the house until I'm convinced, but I won't let you starve while you're here." Indicating the bandage he asked, "Do you want me to do it?"
Suddenly, it was all too much. Spike yanked up his trousers, hauled himself to his feet, and limped clumsily over to the chair to lean on its back, as far away from the other vampire as he could get. "What the bloody hell are you playing at Angelus? First an offer of dinner and a promise not to starve me, now the leg. What is this? Some sort of intricate mind fuck, 'cos I'm sort of past all that now."
"Past what, me fucking with you?" Oh, here we go. That was it, was it?
"Darla and Dru not enough for you? Thought you'd get your thrills elsewhere? Well, think again, Angelus. I'm not your 'boy' and I'm not bending over for you, so just piss off."
"Suit yerself." Angelus shrugged and stood up. "Still want me to do the leg?"
Spike cocked his head and looked at him in disbelief. Since when had Angelus ever taken no for an answer? Time was he'd have been battered halfway around the room by now, and still end up getting buggered whether he wanted it or not. Maybe he really was trying to be nice.
Angelus grabbed the bandage off the bed. "I wouldn't have offered if I didn't mean it. Sit down."
In a couple of minutes, Spike's knee was bound tight and the pain had ebbed to a dull ache. Ligaments were funny things. He remembered one of the blokes from the team getting this type of injury once, took him ages to heal and it was never the same. At least he wouldn't have that problem.
"Where did you put the whisky?"
"It's on the washstand, under the jug." It had already started to itch and he picked irritably at the edge of the bandage. "Got anything I can poke down this?"
A quizzically raised eyebrow was the only answer, and Spike couldn't contain a chuckle. "It will never fit down there. Plus it'd be useless for stopping the itch."
"I seem to remember a time when it scratched a lot of your itches."
Angelus was smirking as he passed him a drink and Spike took the glass without meeting his eyes. "Yeah well, that was a while ago." Truth be told - he did miss the days he and Angelus had spent together. The sex had been great - sometimes - but he didn't miss the head games that went with it, if he could have the one without the other.
There were a pair of strong arms wrapped around him, and when Spike blinked and found a set of pale lips millimeters from his own, he couldn't resist planting a firm kiss on them as he lied, "Nah. Not one jot or tittle."
"Really? Not at all?" Angelus wandered off to get his own drink, not adding to his comment. He didn't want to push Spike at this point. It wasn't that he couldn't, even without the injury he could take his childe anytime he wanted but, on this occasion, he wanted Spike to initiate things. This was a great opportunity to change the rules on their relationship again, the 'ignoring each other' thing really wasn't working for him.
The silence hung between them like something alive, begging to be filled, and Angelus was willing to let it. He knew that Spike would not be able to resist saying something. And here it was.
"It's just that." Spike was glaring at his hands. In Angelus' experience this usually meant he was trying to be honest, a rare enough event, and was probably about to say something that would leave him vulnerable. Not wanting to appear threatening while his childe worked through what was eating him, Angelus stayed where he was, leaning on the wash stand, glass in hand, trying to look compassionate and understanding. God, it was difficult.
With a frustrated sigh and a shake of his head, Spike continued, "I never knew where I was with you. It's easier with Dru, and that's just stupid, but it is. She loves me, I know that, so there's no nasty surprises with her, or at least, only the type I like."
"You want me to love you?" Angelus did an adequate job of keeping total incredulity out of his voice.
There was another dry chuckle. "No mate. Not that I'm not loveable but that sort of thing's not for either of us." Spike stopped his intent examination of his hands and aimed a direct gaze across the room, straight at Angelus. "Do you want to hear this or are you playing me again?"
"You want me to be your 'mate'? That's never going to happen and you know it."
"We," Spike angrily gestured between the two of them, "will never be 'mates'! We'll fight and we'll fuck, but there's too much blood for us ever to be 'mates'."
"So what then? If you don't want to be friends, what do you want?" Then again maybe he was that perceptive, and just naïve enough to believe things could be different. Angelus started to get a little angry himself.
"Because at the end of the day, what you want is irrelevant." He stalked over to his Childe, never breaking the hold they had on each other's eyes and stood over him. "Whether you 'want' it or not, you will always be 'my boy' and that can never, will never, change."
Spike broke first, dragging his eyes away almost regretfully. "Only 'cos you won't allow it, Angelus. You won't even try. You're so bound up in how a Sire and Childe should behave, you won't even consider that it could be different."
Angelus pulled back slightly a little confused. "Darla and I."
"Oh, Darla and you. Don't hold that up as some sort of icon for how things should be. Yeah, so she left the Master for you, wanted a room with a view rather than a lair in a sewer, but you're not friends, are you? You only came after me 'cos she told you to."
Angelus shook his head, trying to deny what Spike was saying but the younger vampire was in full flow.
"Don't try to deny it. I know you didn't miss me; weren't worried about where I was, what I was doing. And why was that? 'Cos we're not 'mates'. We aren't friends. In fact, I'd wager you enjoyed the peace and quiet."
A slightly shifty look moved in on his Sire's face. "See I'm right. There is nothing between us 'cept Dru and history.and blood. So what are the rules? You're not my Sire, Dru is, that's where the bond was made, not this ratty second hand thing that's between us."
"I'm your Sire in every way."
"Except the most important one. You never chose me, never made me. I turned up like a stray kitten and you were forced to take me in. Yes, you taught me, and I am grateful, but that doesn't change the fact that there are no rules for us. And if there are none, why can't we make our own?"
"And that's what you want?" Angelus knocked back his drink and held his hand out for Spike's glass.
"Yeah, why not. In less than ten years it'll be the twentieth century, Angelus. How about we try rejigging what it means to be a vampire." An evil grin spread over Spike's face as he passed over his empty glass. "You never know; you might even have fun."
It was an infectious grin and Angelus couldn't help matching it. The idea had merit; he was almost tempted to give it a go. Darla had got positively staid recently and fun sounded like...fun. "Okay. But there will be a couple of things."
"Here we go. Stopping the fun before it starts." Spike pulled himself up out of the chair and started to tug off his shirt. "If you don't mind, I'll give it a miss. Just bugger off and let me get some sleep, will ya."
"All I was going to say was that it would be better if we got rid of the girls first. Then they'll be no one looking over our shoulders."
Pausing with his shirt halfway over his head, Spike stared incredulously at Angelus, then dropped the garment back down. "You're not joking, are you? You really want to try it."
"Yes. I rather think I do." Angelus was feeling an almost childish excitement at the prospect and grinned. "So? What do we do?"
"Nothing till Saturday. Can you get rid of the ladies before then?"
"If I promise to, will you carry on taking your shirt off?" The discarded garment hit Angelus full in the face.
Darla leapt at the idea of going to Paris on an extended visit. As she forcefully pointed out, it was all very well Angelus making Spike stay at home all the time but that meant he was inflicted on everyone else, including her. The news did not go down so well with Dru. She locked the door on her room and refused to come out until Darla said she would get her a new doll from the finest store in the city, and promised that she could have her pick of the shop assistants as well. As the girls left the house at sunset on Thursday, dressed in their finest clothes and with huge smiles on their faces, Spike and Angelus exchanged knowing looks. Darla and Dru loved their shopping trips together; they had so much fun.
After they had alighted, and walked together down a road lined with middle class houses, Angelus decided it was time for a few answers.
"Where the devil are we going?"
"You'll see when we get there." There was a broad grin on Spike's face. He obviously wasn't going to give up the information that easily.
"Fine, but what do we do if the cloud breaks." It really was a most uncomfortable situation, Angelus felt exposed, almost naked without the darkness to hide him.
"We'll go back via the sewers. Could have used them to get here, but then you'd smell, and we'd not be able to go for a drink after."
"You'll see when we get there." They'd run out of houses and in front of them stretched a vast playing field, dotted with trees and alive with humans. Spike pulled his collar up and hunched his shoulders, concealing his face as some of the humans approached. "Follow me," he whispered urgently, and shot off towards a large plane tree about two hundred yards away.
Spike was already leaning against the tree smoking by the time Angelus joined him, and the smoke from his cigarette painted swirls in the air as he waved his hand towards the field nearby.
"We can see okay from here and, if the sun comes out, this beauty," he kicked back against the tree trunk, "will see we don't burn. Kick off should be in about ten minutes, so long as everyone is here."
"Kick off? This is some sort of sport?" Angelus was fairly certain that the 'kicking' didn't refer to anything more interesting. Humans had become distinctly boring in their leisure pursuits in the last fifty years.
Launching himself off the tree, Spike whirled round, his arms outstretched, before offering a dramatic bow to his Sire. "Welcome to Roskell's Fields, the temporary home of the best football team in West London, Fulham St. Andrew's. Although actually they've dropped the St. Andrew's bit now."
Angelus' mind was flooded with vivid images, spilled from Liam's memories of the football games he had played as a youth. The massed bodies of men, fighting for the ball in a no holds barred brawl between their village and the opposition. No quarter asked and none given, the contest continuing until it was too dark to see. Then he stared at the pitch in front of him with its clean-cut young men in short trousers preening for their attentive and appreciative audience. A confused frown blossomed on his face as he tried, unsuccessfully, to mesh the two.
"Football?" He asked bewildered, then glared at his hysterical childe who was creased up against the tree, tears of laughter flowing down his face. He couldn't keep a straight face for long and eventually joined in, the pair of them ending up on the ground, sitting against each other still giggling, sheltered from prying human eyes by the planes huge trunk.
With a small chuckle, Angelus wrapped his arms round Spike's shaking body and dropped a small kiss on to his tousled hair.
"We're here to watch a football match?"
"Too bloody right. Association rules an' all. None of that Union crap here."
Neither vampire spotted the human watching them and, as their lips touched, a man's voice called out. "William?"
"Bollocks." Spike cursed as his eyes snapped open, and he jumped to his feet to meet the man rapidly heading their way. "Reverend Ardwell," he called out, wincing slightly at Angelus' chortle when he gave the human an ecclesiastical title.
"William." The vicar stopped several yards away and stood frowning at the pair of them forcing Spike to leave the shelter of the tree to greet him. When he got close enough to offer his hand, Spike could sense an aggressive hostility from the man, aimed, not at him, but at Angelus who was still sat behind them.
"Is this the 'friend' you've been traveling with?" The words were spoken with distaste, and Spike glanced back at the tree to be met by a noncommittal shrug from his Sire. It was up to Spike whether he killed the human or not, and right now he'd rather try and talk his way out of this. There were a lot of people around and killing the vicar was bound to attract attention.
"Yeah. He's, err.foreign." That may help to explain their behavior to this most proper of elderly gentleman. It might also account for Angelus' appearance, his longer than typical hair and rich looking clothes, in such contrast to the slightly shabby garb Spike had worn. Spike frowned, in retrospect he should have taken more account of what they were wearing, to human eyes they probably looked like some foppish rake and a low class renter.
The vicar came closer and dropped his voice to a conspiratorial level. "If you ever need any help William, you know you need only ask. Your father was a good friend."
Oh yeah, wearing different clothes would have been a really good idea. Now there was no choice, the human may have omitted mentioning his presence to others before but this would become the subject of popular gossip, and soon the whole community would hear it. When that happened it was likely that someone would remember William was dead, and then his visits to the football would have to stop.
With a quick look around to check no one was actively watching them, Spike grabbed the old man round the waist and pressed a hand over his mouth and nose before he could squeal. The tree offered the best shelter, so he dragged the weakly protesting body over and continued to smother him against the trunk.
"Why not break his neck?"
Spike shook his head. "This way they'll think it was his heart." The man's eyes started to flutter shut, but sprung open violently when Spike briefly slipped into his demon face. "Just to let him know what he's dealing with," he muttered under his breath as the body finally went limp and he let it slide to the ground.
He stood there for a moment; head down, staring at the body, then swung at it with a vicious kick that Angelus blocked.
"He'll still bruise, then it won't look like heart attack. Come on we'd better go." He stood up and started walking quickly back towards the houses.
With a frustrated sigh, Spike nodded and turned to join him. "Stupid git. Now we're going to miss the match."
"No. I need to get drunk and hit something." Angelus spared a glance for his companion. His hands were deep in his pockets and his face was a picture of frustration and anger.
They continued on without speaking until the omnibus pick up point neared, when Angelus asked, "If not home, then where?"
There was no answer so he stopped and waited for Spike to notice that he'd gone. After another few paces his Childe turned and kept walking backwards up the street. The sullen expression had vanished to be replaced by an evil smirk and insolent cock of the head.
"Come on, I know exactly whose arses we're going to kick."
The interior of the Waterman's Arms was a loud heaving mass of humanity that still managed to grow hushed and draw back slightly as the two vampires walked in. Angelus looked uneasily around the bar before putting a hand on Spike's shoulder and hissed a warning in his ear. "No fighting. There's more than fifty of them and they're not small."
Spike sneered at him over his shoulder, before going up to the bar and thumping on it, demanding to be served.
"Oi. Mate. Get a bit of service 'ere."
For once Spike's coarse accent and scruffy appearance seemed to open more doors than it closed. With him taking the lead, the regulars quickly returned to their drinks and the pair were soon ensconced in the corner with a jug of passable whiskey set between them.
As the noise started up around them once more Angelus looked around and ventured, somewhat irritably, "Do you care to share your reasons for dragging me halfway across London to this den of thieves?"
"Not a flash house, mate, but nearly as good. The gentlemen you see around you are the players and regulars for Millwall Rovers. And those are the bastards that beat us last week." Spike kept his voice low to avoid attracting too much attention. "Thought we could thin the herd a bit. Take out some of their better players."
Angelus raised a quizzical eyebrow, "Brawl?"
"Nah, you're right there's too many of 'em. Get yer poncy coat all bloodied up. We'll just hang around till most of 'em have gone home then start something."
As they sat drinking Spike exchanged small talk and pleasantries with the humans around him, and Angelus studied his childe carefully, noting that this Spike was at variance to the one he lived with. The women would hate this place and Angelus himself felt distinctly ill at ease because, as a rule the family was led by Darla's preferences, tending to frequent higher-class areas unless they were simply hunting. Consequently, at home Spike often seemed too loud and brash, his swagger and cockiness abrasive, but here he was like a native, his accent, clothing and demeanor all allowing him to fit into his surroundings like a hand into a glove. After a couple of hours in his company any one of these humans would follow Spike outside or let him into their home.
He found himself reassessing the other vampire. Maybe he was too used to thinking of him as William, the rather ineffectual fledge Dru had brought back, forgetting the way Spike had reconstructed himself over the years. That creature was long gone and in his place was a competent, self-confident vampire that in a few decades, would almost certainly become a master. 'So little time left to play with him and so many possible games' Angelus mused a little sadly.
He continued to watch as Spike unsteadily staggered back to the bar for their second refill and rather drunkenly decided that even if some things had changed, there were others that hadn't and the boy still had a damn fine rear end.
"What you staring at?" Spike was smirking at him from the other side of the table, and Angelus blinked owlishly at him before finding an answer in his alcohol sodden brain.
"You. Your arse." A wolfish smile spread across Angelus' face as a thought occurred to him. "Outside now."
Spike didn't need telling twice. He was out of his seat and through the door before Angelus had finished his drink and, by the time his Sire followed him, had completely vanished into the gathering gloom. Just as Angelus was about to give up and go back inside, he saw the light of a flaring match down the street and followed, finding himself in an deserted yard behind a factory building.
"Spi.yerk" His low call was cut off as he was grabbed by the collar and yanked into the main factory building through a door that had been forced open.
"Bit more private than an alley." The words were hissed into his ear and Angelus spun round intending to push Spike back against the wall; he actually ended up flat on his face, the heel of his shoe trapped in a crack in the floor.
Glaring up from his less than dignified position Angelus growled in mock irritation and held out his hand, "Stop sniggering and pull me up."
His hand was gripped in a tight hold and Spike, through his laughter, managed to blurt out, "Jesus, I hope we don't run into the Slayer tonight. Mind you, if you do that trick she'll probably die laughing."
Angelus leaned back as Spike tried to pull him up then abruptly let go of his hand. Spike hurtled backwards into the wall and let out a small yelp as his Sire launched himself in hot pursuit. They collided in a tangle of limbs and lust, the wall harsh and rough through Spike's jacket as Angelus pressed him backward onto it with harder lips. This is what he had missed, the intensity of feeling flooding through his body all stemming from the immense power of the creature against him. He closed his eyes, allowing himself to be swept away by the kiss into a world where there was only Angelus and everything else became an irrelevancy.
"Trousers." Spike's hands fumbled automatically for his Sire's buttons as the words registered, and Angelus pulled back slightly.
"No. Yours." His eyes flickered open in confusion, but his hands did as they were bid, unbuttoning until the woolen trousers slipped away to pool at his feet.
"Oh God." The curse escaped Spike's mouth as Angelus dropped to his knees and placed a delicate kiss on the tip of his freed erection. It was followed by a dull thud as his head hit the wall.
At the quiet command Spike put his hands behind his head and linked his fingers together, this was a gift Angelus rarely bestowed on his Childe, and was only done on very specific terms. Angelus nodded his approval at the action, and rewarded it by running his tongue slowly over the tip and easing the foreskin back.
Moments later, all Spike could do was murmur obscenities as his body was skillfully teased towards its climax. It was the sweetest of sweet tortures; the bruising grip on his hip guaranteed his immobility while Angelus' powerful mouth devoured him. And it didn't matter how often Dru did this for him, or how wonderful she may be, it was nothing when compared to the incredible demon at his feet.
When he felt the fingers pressing against his lips, Spike opened his mouth, allowing them inside, sucking steadily and coating them thoroughly with his saliva as Angelus hummed around him. They were a removed with a damp pop and slid between his legs, pressing into him just far enough to breach the muscle, but no further. He tried to push back against them, but stilled as a fang pressed against his cock and small mewls of frustration echoed on the night air, punctuating the ragged panting that could already be heard.
Despite the fact that this act was doing nothing to assuage his own lust, Angelus was enjoying himself. There was something truly wanton about Spike when he was this close to coming and, with a little care, Angelus knew he could keep his Childe in this state for a long time. Until there was more begging than breathing, and the younger vampire would promise him the world in return for release. But that was for more private occasion, if he wanted to bury himself in Spike's body, which he desperately did, then this needed to be over.
He pushed his spit-wetted fingers deeper, scissoring them slightly to save time later, and relaxed his throat, taking Spike in right to the root. As he felt the muscles contract around him and the shaft in his mouth swell, he pulled back completely, allowing one fang to nick the head on the way, making for a good combination of semen and blood as his Childe spilled, howling, onto his hand and the ground.
"Turn around and place your hands on the wall." Angelus used the mixture on his cock and the moment Spike had managed, however shakily, to position himself he wrapped an arm round Spike's waist and pressed forward, forcing himself through that tight, still quivering ring of muscle.
Spike fought to stay upright as Angelus penetrated him, the waves of his recent orgasm had not yet faded and his body was singing at being assaulted again. He curled his fingers into the wall, breathing heavily and willing his knees to co-operate. As Angelus slammed home, he yelped and nearly slipped on the floor slick with his own emissions. There was an annoyed growl from behind him, and he was suddenly supported not only by the arm but also by fangs embedded in the nape of his neck.
Held thus, the world whirled around him. The feeling as Angelus used his body as a convenient hole was almost as overwhelming as having his Sire on his knees, and there was no choice but to ride out the lust of the demon embracing him. Even vampiric recovery time wasn't enough to allow Spike to come again so quickly, but as Angelus' thrusts became uneven and he felt the fangs in his neck grating against his spine, the vicarious experience was almost as powerful. His body pulsing in time with the cock inside him, as his bowels were flooded with Angelus' orgasm.
The bright overhead lights flicked on as Angelus was still shuddering against him and angry human voices filled the air.
"There they are. I told you."
As the gang of fifteen or so factory workers approached them, Spike fumbled for his trousers that were firmly entangled round his ankles. Not suffering from such an encumbrance, Angelus sprang into action, throwing the first couple of humans that reached him hard in Spike's direction. He bashed them against the wall before returning to his clothing, finally managing to get his trousers yanked up. Not quickly enough, however, as Angelus had disappeared under a pile of humans determined to bring him down. Just as Spike was about to pitch in and help, the scrum abruptly erupted, bodies flying off in several directions, and Angelus arose from the center in full demon face, like a pissed off version of Botticelli's Venus.
"Stop!" A commanding voice bellowed from the shadows and everyone froze, except the vampires that took the opportunity to disappear into the night.
"What the hell was that?"
"Did you see his face?"
"Bugger tried to bite me."
"Stronger than ten men."
A figure emerged from the shadows and stopped, waiting for the shocked men to fall silent. He wasn't a big man, but his demeanor carried an authority his size belied and as he spoke, he fingered the collar of his shirt.
"Hell indeed. Hellspawn, more like. They, friends, were vampires." His words were greeted with disbelieving laughter until he pulled his collar to one side exposing the silvery scars that adorned his neck. At the sight, the hilarity evaporated and the workers crowded around their foreman to assure themselves that what they were seeing was real.
"They attacked you?"
"Not them, but enough like them to know what I just saw."
"How come you ain't dead then?"
"Yeah. It was strong enough to take all of us out"
The foreman drew himself up to his full height before answering. "An angel saved me." He ignored the incredulous looks and continued, "An angel in the form of a beautiful girl, small as a child, but strong enough to defeat the devil himself. She struck the beast with a piece of the cross and it crumbled to dust in the face of God's wrath."
One of the men that had been rammed into the wall walked shakily over, brushing the blood from a head wound out of his eyes.
"I recognized one of them, the one that wasn't fighting. I saw him last week over in Fulham. He was talking to Tommy at the match, and then again in the pub just before he disappeared."
The men stood in silence for a moment; their heads bowed as they remembered their colleague who had been so brutally murdered, before one of them said, "You think that thing killed Tommy?"
"I'm sure of it." They turned back to their foreman as he spoke, unwilling to believe what they heard, but sure of it all the same.
"And they were in the Waterman's tonight."
At that news the group erupted again, gesturing wildly and talking over each other. The foreman watched patiently in silence until they at last ran out of ideas and came to him for help.
"Charlie, what can we do? If they're at the football match, and even in the pubs, none of us is safe."
"What about the bairns. Do they take babies?"
Charlie held out his hands calming the men before he spoke again. "I will speak to Mr. Morton. He's a good man and a generous boss. He'll see us secure in our homes and streets. And he'll provide the means for everyone's safety at the football match."
On the other side of the Isle of Dogs, the shadows moved and Jenny pulled her shawl tightly round her shoulders against the chill in the damp spring night as she hurried down the deserted road. She needed to get to the factory and find her Da, the little one was poorly again and with how much the doctor wanted for a visit, they needed to check there was enough before her Ma said yea or nay to him. Even a foreman's wages weren't much for a doctor's bills as well as food.
"Hey, Missus." A young man hailed her from an alley across the street. "Give us a hand. There's a toff 'ere looks like he's bin done over."
Remembering her lessons from church, Jenny crossed the road and hovered at the mouth of the alley. In the darkness she could just see the outline of a body splayed out on the ground, the man leaning over it.
"Is he dead?" She wasn't sure what to do or how to help, and didn't want to leave the well lit street.
"Dunno. Come and have a look." Dithering, she looked between the body and the factory, unsure which errand should be completed. If she helped a rich man there may be money to pay the doctor, the thought was enough to convince her and she entered the alley reaching the man on the ground within a few dozen steps.
She had been expecting an elderly gentleman, and was surprised when she saw the youthful pale face that stared up at her from sightless eyes. "Oh. That's so sad."
"Guess so. Check if he's breathing or if 'is heart is still beating." The young man stood up leaving space for her to kneel down next to the body, and she leaned over to press her ear against the broad chest.
"I think he's dead." Jenny said, sitting back on her heels and looked up into the blue eyes of her companion.
"You sure, check again. I reckon his eyes just moved." She leant over again, this time towards that beautiful face, her lips almost brushing his as she held quiet, feeling for any sign of breath. Nothing. He was certainly dead. She stared sadly at his dark eyes and he. winked?
In an instant she was pulled forward, his hand across her mouth shutting off her cries as she struggled against him. Surely the other man would not leave her, surely such a Good Samaritan would help?
"Hold her still, Angelus. Fancy me self a bit of tail." Her skirt was hauled roughly up to her waist from behind and she felt hard, incredibly strong hands part her thighs. At that moment Jenny knew she would die, if she were lucky.
"Bloody hell." Spike slung an irritated kick at the mangled body before buttoning his trousers and then looked accusingly at Angelus. "Silly cow's dead. I thought she wasn't as hot the last time. You must've drained her too much."
Angelus was stood nearby adjusting his cuffs as he waited for Spike to finish. The night was turning out to be something of a revelation, it reminded him of the times he and Darla had played with Holtz. He felt the same exhilaration and freedom from responsibility. Not that he would trade his Sire for a million childer, particularly if they all came in as irritating a package as Spike, but it had been a lot of fun.
"Don't look at me. I wasn't the one who fucked her mouth till she turned blue; humans are just too breakable to do that. Anyway we can always find another on the way home, I'm still hungry."
As the vampires made their exit over the rooftops a bystander would have heard the beginnings of an argument, as to whether they should go via Bethnal Green or White Chapel to pick up dessert.
During following week, the two vampires spent every night out exploring the city. Angelus found himself meeting demons from all over the world, and rediscovering just how well his name was known when his new acquaintances suddenly stopped talking and made excuses to leave. He was also dragged into pubs and drinking dens in areas of London he had never entered, and had no intention of visiting again.
Spike, by contrast, was enjoying himself immensely, not only did he have his Sire's undivided attention in a good way, but he was also getting to show off, a favorite pastime. By unspoken agreement, they avoided Millwall; each aware that having been seen in their true faces, it was possible that word of their presence had got back to the Watcher's Council.
"Sir? You wished to see me?"
"Catherine, my dear. Tell me, have you ever seen a football match?"
"Indeed. It seems that this Saturday our presence may be required in.Hendon."
"At least it's better than a tree."
Spike shot his Sire a disgusted look as the older vampire peered around the cricket pavilion with distaste. "Angelus, you're an old woman. Stop fussing. We're under cover and didn't get burned up, so what's the problem?"
With a withering glare Angelus told him, "The sun came out and we only just made it under here. What sort of an idiot goes out in daylight?" Then he scoffed, "Oh yes, William the Bloody. The vampire in human guise, who drinks in human pubs, eats human food and goes to watch football, when the sun's out!"
Things were bound to go downhill from there. "Sod off."
Eventually, they withdrew to the far ends of the room, having run out of insults and lacking the energy to fight. They stared off in opposite directions, each temporarily lost in their own thoughts.
The building was not large and was solidly wooden; roof, floor and walls were all constructed from the same material. It had three rooms, this one presumably where the players had tea, and two others that appeared to be storage and changing areas. Between the vampires, in the middle of the room, stood a large dark wood table surrounded by several simple chairs not much of a place to get marooned.
Spike fished for his cigarettes and cursed when he remembered they'd been in the coat he'd had to drop outside when it caught light. Things had been going well right up to that point, as far as he was concerned, and now everything had gone to hell. It was hardly his fault the sun had chosen that moment to break through the heavy cloud cover, just when they were as far away from shelter as they could get. Now they were stuck here, probably until sunset.
He sneaked a quick look at Angelus who was sat on the floor in the deepest shadow he could find, holding his burned hands across his chest. His jacket was undamaged but, like Spike, he'd had to abandon his coat outside. The gloves had been the real problem, when they had started burning Angelus couldn't get them off quickly enough and, as a result, his hands were red raw and blistered. Spike winced as he watched Angelus cleaning the burns, then stood up and picked his way quickly and carefully through the lattice of sunlight towards him.
"Let me see." He squatted down and held out his hands. Angelus glared at him, then after a moment, placed his hands in Spike's. The damage was mostly superficial and would be healed in a few hours, but from personal experience Spike knew they would hurt like a bitch. He placed a gentle kiss on the tip of each undamaged finger, then sank to the floor with a small sigh still cradling Angelus' hands in his own.
Angelus gave him a quizzical look. "What was that for?"
"The kisses. A little sappy for the hard nosed vampire whose new hobby appears to be playing hide and seek with sunbeams." There was a bitterly sarcastic note in Angelus voice and Spike knew precisely why.
"I'm sorry, okay. I'm sorry I dragged you here when you didn't want to come. I'm sorry the sun came out when it did, and I'm really sorry you felt you had to set yourself on fire to make sure I got inside first." He looked away, angry and embarrassed by what had happened.
"William?" Angelus said sternly, catching his face and turning it back towards him. "I did it because, even though Dru brought you home, I took on the job of looking after you. And even though you think you don't need me anymore, that will never be true. You'll always need me, Dru, and even Darla sometimes. We're family and, you know, we vampires don't like being alone. You think I didn't get up to this sort of foolishness with Darla when I was young?" He laughed ruefully. "The number of times she had to rescue me from some idiotic thing I'd got myself into." He shook his head, still smiling at the memories.
Spike's eyebrows nearly hit his hairline in surprise. He couldn't imagine Angelus ever being like that, the master vampire he knew was careful in the extreme, always concerned that someone would find them, worried that one of their kills would lead the Council straight to their door. Even during the past week when Spike had been trying to get him to relax, he hadn't changed in that regard. The idea of Angelus doing anything without thinking it through for several hours seemed ridiculous.
He wanted to say something, but there was nothing that didn't make him sound stupider than he already felt. With a little more thought he realized he had seen that side of his Sire, not carelessness, but the obsessive streak that would make him pursue his prey without rest or pause until he'd got what he wanted. Truly, it took little in the way of imagination to guess how that personality streak had got him into trouble. A bit like Spike's own determination to see things through to the bitter end, even if it was all falling down around his ears.
"We're a right pair, aren't we? Stuck here till sunset 'cos I'm too bull headed to stay home and you're too domineering to let me go on my own." He added his laugh to Angelus' and they sat, leaning against the wall, chuckling together at their own stupidity.
"So this is 'football'. I don't understand? Do they do this for fun?" Catherine stared at the match with fascination, curious as to why these young men were chasing a ball around the field. It seemed a pointless exercise to her.
Ripley tried to keep his focus on the audience rather than the game. They were, after all, not here to watch the football, but Charlie's enthusiasm for the game was quite noisy, and he was finding the continuous cheers and catcalls somewhat distracting. He scanned the crowd for any indication of what they were seeking but they all seemed entirely human. As the players left the field, Ripley managed to gain Charlie's attention.
"Do you see them?"
"No, sir. I did have a quick look but they weren't in the crowd."
"Are you sure they were vampires?" Maybe the man had been mistaken. It did seem a little far-fetched that vampires would be attending a football match.
Charlie's face was determined as he answered. "Absolutely bloomin' positive, sir. Couldn't have been anything else. Had the fangs and the ridges and." He used his hands to demonstrate what he had seen the week before.
"Yes, quite. Well, I don't think there is any more we can do here. I'm sorry, my dear, you seem to have been brought out on something of a wild goose chase." He addressed his last comment to Catherine who was staring at a small building about a quarter of a mile away.
"It was extremely sunny earlier. If I were a vampire caught out in the sun, I would look for some shelter."
Ripley followed her line of sight and her train of thought, and came to the same conclusion. "Shall we investigate?" He offered the girl his arm and the pair walked off, looking for all the world like a father and daughter out for an afternoon stroll. Charlie followed along behind, not sure what they were talking about, but with complete faith that they would find the beasts and deal with them. His heart contracted as he thought about his beautiful little girl and what they had done to her. He prayed that when they did find them, he would have a chance to send them to hell where they belonged.
Spike had roused occasionally during the afternoon when a particularly loud cheer had gone up, but he hadn't moved from his position wrapped around his Sire as they curled together in the shadows of the room. Angelus was sleeping deeply, his hands looking better with each passing minute, by sunset he would be able to use them again. Then they would go home and stop all this nonsense, Spike felt it was about time he grew up and forgot about all the human trappings in his life. He needed to become a real vampire, stick with his family and learn the proper way to do things. In the meantime, he had about two hours until the sun went down and Angelus' body in his arms; there should be something he could do to keep himself amused.
He let his fingers drift across the muscular, wool-covered buttocks conveniently located under his hand, and wondered if his Sire would ever let him go there. It was unlikely but he could always dream. And dream he did, letting his mind drift away on the fantasy of having Angelus' body under his hands, under him, willing and pliant. He was so immersed in his thoughts that he didn't feel the other vampire waken and become suddenly alert. And hissed in shock when a hand shot out and grabbed his arm to still his actions.
"Hush!" Angelus' eyes were wide open and he was staring at the door, his body a coiled spring ready to unleash at any moment. Spike froze trying to ascertain what the threat might be, but all he was sensing was a twitch in his crotch, which considering what he'd been doing wasn't surprising.
"Taste that?" He realized Angelus was breathing slowly and deeply, and Spike copied his action. A rich enticing smell filled the air, all musk and sweetness; it made his mouth flood with saliva and sent bolts of desire directly to his groin. It was an incredibly female aroma, like Darla's and Drusilla's, but this had an edge of fresh blood and heat, and theirs seemed dull by comparison. He met Angelus' intense gaze and cocked an eyebrow in a silent question.
"Slayer." It was whispered so quietly Spike nearly missed it and wished he had. Yes, he wanted to meet a slayer, kill a slayer, but he had always envisaged the encounter somewhat differently. Being trapped by sunlight in a wooden building with his Sire unable to use his hands properly, was not Spike's idea of an ideal situation. He visually searched the room looking for something that may be of use in the upcoming battle and found nothing.
"Definitely, sir. I can feel them." A female voice came from outside, quiet and well spoken with a slight accent, possibly Welsh.
"More than one?" It was answered by a man, definitely English and upper class.
"Yes, but not more than three."
"There was two of 'em in the factory. A couple of blokes." Another male voice, working class and rough.
Angelus moved to stand silently in the dark corner and indicated that Spike should join him.
"Can you describe them again?" The Watcher, probably.
"Tall, long dark hair. Looked a bit old fashioned. Built like a shit.outhouse, begging your pardon, miss." A slight pause. "The other one was smaller, skinny bloke, light brown hair." There was something familiar about this human's voice.
"Shall we see?" The door opened and silhouetted against the sunlight Spike could make out the slight form of a young woman. "Two. See in the corner, and they match the description." A man's figure appeared behind her and Spike heard a sharp intake of breath as the man looked and then stepped back quickly, further into the sunlight.
"Catherine, don't go in!"
He could almost hear the disappointed pout as the girl answered him. "But Ripley, there's only two. I could easily clear them and."
The door was closed again and the voices grew quieter, although still audible to the vampires trapped inside.
"Listen to me, Catherine. You have only been chosen for six months, they are contained in the building until sunset and as your Watcher I must warn you, I believe that the larger of the two may well be Angelus."
"Angelus? It has a name?"
"You must have read about him? Your last Watcher allowed you access to the books?" A long silence. "He didn't? Foolish, short-sighted man." There was a pause and Spike imagined the Watcher frowning as he worked out what to tell his charge.
"I have to admit I am surprised to see him here. I was led to believe he was still in Europe. However that is of little importance. What you really need to know is that Angelus has the reputation of being a vicious, violent animal, although it is said that in intellect he is little more than an Irish peasant."
Angelus flashed a disgusted look at Spike as he stifled a snigger at the Watcher's description, then turned his attention back to the conversation outside and listened with some satisfaction.
"Do not underestimate him, Catherine. In fact, I'm beginning to think it may be better for you not to fight them at all."
"What about the other one. Is he something special, 'cos the pair of 'em seemed pretty darned close in the factory, if you know what I mean."
"Ahh, I believe I do." There was an uncomfortable silence before the Watcher continued, "Which actually helps us identify the other vampire. He is, I would suggest, Angelus' latest childe. Little is known about him except his name, William the Bloody. He is not very old and some consider him impetuous and something of a simpleton."
At this Angelus' Neanderthal scowl mutated into a truly evil grin, which he fixed on his Childe and Spike made an obscene gesture in return. It seemed strange not to be actively doing anything with a slayer outside, but with the sun still up there was nothing they could do except wait for the inevitable attack. Spike risked a quick look at Angelus' hands and saw that the burns were nearly healed. At least there would be two of them to fight when the time came. Outside the discussion had turned to tactics.
"I know you feel you can beat them, Catherine, but could I offer a perfectly valid alternative, one that would remove any risk of your being hurt. The sun has them trapped in this old wooden building. Why go in and fight on their terms when we can set the pavilion on fire and give them the choice of burning with it or outside in the sun."
Spike didn't even see Angelus move, but he heard the muffled noise as his Sire's fist, wrapped in his jacket, went through the floor and he started to rip up the boards. The voices outside continued without interruption so it was a reasonable guess that his actions had gone unnoticed by the Slayer and her companions. He bent down to help but was waved away in the direction of the table. Not sure what Angelus required, Spike started to drag the heavy furniture towards the hole in the floor but stopped at his Sire's irritated scowl. As soon as the opening was big enough Angelus dropped through into the gap between the floor and the ground and vanished.
He reappeared a few moments later and gestured for Spike to join him. The space was cramped and made smaller by the joists that ran the width of the building at regular intervals. In a whisper Spike had to strain his ears to hear, Angelus outlined his plan.
"There is no way we can get out. It's too far to any other shelter and the sun is too strong. So we dig in and hope it's enough to stop us becoming dust when they burn this godforsaken shack down around us."
With that Angelus grabbed a board and started to scrape at the dank soil. Spike joined him and together they worked as quickly as they could, rapidly becoming aware of the smoke and heat surrounding them. It seemed like only minutes later that the building was groaning above them and the underside of the boards were starting to char. The hole was about two-foot deep, just under six-foot long, and all they could achieve in the short time they'd had. Angelus pushed Spike in first and fell in after him, covering as much of his Childe's body with his own as he could. He scrabbled around in the dirt, covering his head and hands with the damp earth, hoping it would be enough to protect him when the building collapsed.
How long he was trapped - Spike didn't know. He felt, rather than saw, the sun go down, but that was long after his Sire's body was crushed into him by the mass of burning timbers falling around them. Angelus had stopped shifting around at that point, and since then Spike had been fighting the panic that had gripped him when his Sire's quietly murmured platitudes had ceased. At any moment he had expected to feel the fire consume his flesh but it hadn't happened. Somehow he had survived, and so had Angelus because, although unmoving, his Sire was still a reassuring weight against his back.
Biting back the urge to scream as memories of his rebirth assailed him; Spike tried to move, twisting around until he could see over the edge of the hole. A large timber lay just within reach and, with a little maneuvering, he was able to snag it and pull himself out from under Angelus' dead weight.
Through the wreckage he could see the moonlight and crawled towards it, he needed to check the coast was clear before returning to Angelus. Prior to emerging he took a deep breath, tasting the air for a scent of the Slayer. It was still there but old, she must have left, assuming they had burned with the building.
It took all his nerve to go back for his Sire. What Spike really wanted to do was run, get as far away from the place as he could and never return. The pile of timber behind him shifted, collapsing further, burying Angelus deeper and it took another half an hour to remove enough burned wood from the heap to reach him. He grabbed the back of his jacket to pull him clear and retched when the material and a goodly amount of flesh came away in his hand. How Angelus had not gone to dust Spike didn't know, he had never seen such grievous burns on a vampire before. Not being able to drag his Sire clear, more timbers had to go and he fought back both panic and nausea to clear them. Eventually he was able to lift Angelus off the ground and managed to scramble away from the ruin with his Sire in his arms.
At that point he did throw up; after he had placed Angelus carefully on the ground, and had seen how much flesh had burned away, and noticed the huge gobs of it clinging to the harsh fibres of his jacket sleeves. As he shook and heaved Spike rather haphazardly, wondered why his Sire's injuries should produce such a reaction when he had seen, and caused, worse on many human bodies.
Finally, he got his body under control and realized it was much later than he'd imagined, there was only about an hour before dawn. Picking Angelus up and slinging him gingerly over his shoulder, Spike set off for the only place within reach where they could safely shelter for the day.
There were several suitable mausoleums in the cemetery and, having selected one that was tucked behind a row of large yew trees, Spike pried open the lock and dragged Angelus inside. There were no windows, so daylight would be no threat to them, several coffins lay in niches along the walls and four stone sarcophagi were arranged neatly to one side, leaving a largish floor area clear except for the dirt and leaves that had accumulated over the years. He checked carefully for any signs of other vampires or demons but found nothing, they should be safe.
Dawn found him wedged in the corner with Angelus draped over his legs, trying to extricate what was left of his Sire's clothes from his damaged back and legs. It was an almost impossible task, for as much tissue was coming away as cloth and Spike soon gave up, putting his face in his hands as he tried to think what he could do. Angelus needed blood, fresh blood. He could offer some of his own but that would do little except weaken himself further, and as the only one who could help Angelus, Spike needed to be as strong as he could be. Turning back to the injuries, they were drying and trying to heal but with so much filth in them it would take forever, they needed to be cleaned and for that he required water.
Blood and water. Blood and water. Where was a vampire supposed to get those during the day? Easing Angelus gently face down onto the floor, Spike quickly checked outside the tomb. The sun had risen, but its light was filtered through a high hazy covering of cloud, it wouldn't be comfortable to go out but he wouldn't burn immediately. He looked back toward his Sire lying in plain view on the dirt floor, he couldn't leave him there, if a human saw the broken lock and checked inside there was no way Angelus could defend himself.
The stone lid on the sarcophagus was solid but not heavy enough to stop a vampire from lifting it. What was left of the wooden coffin and skeleton within was easily cleared and Spike was able to drag Angelus into the tomb after him, laying him face down in the soft dry earth that was inside. Mindful of the burns, Spike bent down so he was speaking directly into his Sire's ear and whispered, "Angelus? Sire? I don't know if you can hear me, mate, but I've got to go find you some food. So I've put you in here. It's gonna be right dark and smell nasty but it won't be for long, okay? I'll be back as soon as I can."
It was all he could do. He hopped out over the side and pulled the top back over, leaving the smallest of gaps, not for air of course but it did allow just a little light in, and Spike couldn't imagine anything worse than waking up in a coffin again.
He made his way out of the cemetery and on to the streets keeping to the shadows, even this early there were people around but he couldn't just grab someone, on this occasion he needed more than a fresh kill, he needed something to cleanse Angelus' wounds. Looking around blankly, trying to work out what his next move should be, Spike was attracted by the sound of girls' voices. Tracking them was simple and a few minutes later he found himself outside St. Margaret's Industrial School, a bleak grey building filled with the chatter of young girls.
The rear entrance was off an alley and Spike slipped through, keeping his head down and heading towards the kitchens. There he was hoping to find food and water and, if he was lucky, something to carry them in. He knocked; hoping an invitation wouldn't be needed for what was essentially a public building, and a scullery maid, or possibly one of the girls opened the door. She was small and scrawny, her greasy hair pulled back under a cap and she peered at him short-sightedly in the grey morning light.
"What do yer want?"
Spike surreptitiously slipped his hand up the doorpost to check for a barrier, there was none; he could enter with impunity.
She was drained and dead within a minute and he stashed her body out of sight behind some bins before returning to the open door. Inside he heard three or four voices, all female, and the sounds of rattling pans and food being prepared. He grabbed a large basket that was sat just inside the door and walked confidently into the kitchens. The cook and her two helpers started at his sudden appearance then relaxed when they saw the basket, as Spike had thought they assumed he was delivering an order. Now came the difficult part, he needed at least one alive and none of them to scream, not an easy proposition.
"The girl that opened the door said she could use a bit o' help."
He indicated toward the scullery with his thumb and just as he'd hoped, at a nod from the cook, one of the girls scurried off through the door. One down. The cook fell from her chair with a snapped neck and his hand was over the last woman's mouth before she had a chance to scream. Her pinafore made a convenient gag and the string she was using to truss the joints trussed her up neatly too, meaning he only had to grab or kill one more before he could leave. Re-entering the scullery, he found the last one in a huge larder, drained her quickly and hung her body from a convenient meat hook.
The next question was how to get the food back to Angelus without attracting an audience. Spike retrieved the large basket he had taken into the kitchen and looked at the girl. She wasn't small but he could probably get her to fit, with a bit of judicious wiggling. She did, although after he broke her leg she didn't wiggle any more, he hoped she didn't die before he got her back to the cemetery, it would be better for Angelus if the blood was fresh.
The pantry also provided a couple of bottles that he filled with water, some cheap sherry he could use to clean the burns and plenty of clean muslin for bathing them. All this he popped in the basket and then covered the lot with a tablecloth he found in a drawer. At a distance the load looked like meat or vegetables, and should go unnoticed by any humans he met on the way back.
The mausoleum door slammed shut and the basket clattered to the ground, spilling its precious contents, as Spike dashed over to the sarcophagus and yanked the lid to one side. His senses had been screaming since entering the graveyard when he'd first heard the low whimpering coming from the tomb, now the noise was louder, more penetrating and he could see Angelus writhing as he cried, digging at the earth below him with clawed hands. The violent movement was tearing apart what little healing had taken place on his back, buttocks and thighs and dark blood had already blackened the soil beneath him. Spike vaulted into the tomb, straddling his Sire's body and grabbed his arms.
"Angelus! Oh God, what the hell are you doing? I'm back, okay? I'm here."
The contorting form stilled and relaxed at the sound of his voice, and Spike let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. Angelus turned his head and stared up at him through glazed and unfocused eyes.
"Yes, Sire. It's me." He linked his hands under Angelus' chest and eased the older vampire to his knees. "Come on; let's get you out of here."
Spike's initial panic was replaced by undiluted joy at seeing Angelus at least semiconscious and able to move under his own steam, however slowly. For the first time since dragging himself clear of the wreckage of that burned out pavilion and finding his Sire so grievously injured, he let himself believe that everything would be fine and that they would make it home.
He soon had Angelus lying face down on the tablecloth where he could clean the burns, and finally remove the remnants of his charred clothing from the wounds. It was a nasty job, even with the water and alcohol and Spike was grateful when Angelus passed out again, at least that way he was spared the worst of the pain.
As he worked he wished he'd brought a knife or scissors from the school. Something he could use to cut away some of the loose damaged strips of skin and flesh, rather than having to piece it together like a macabre jigsaw puzzle, scarlet and cream fragments layered over the ivory of bone. He wondered just how long this would take to heal, even with fresh blood everyday. The entire back of Angelus' torso and legs were almost skeletal in appearance; there was so much muscle and skin lost.
By the end, he had a pile of sopping bloody bandages and ruined clothing, which he shoved into one of the wall niches out of sight. The next task was to get Angelus fed and he really needed to be awake for that. Spike grimaced at the girl by the door, he dared not let her near his Sire until he was more compus mentis, and could feed relatively unaided.
Rolling Angelus onto his side and propping his head on his knee, Spike bit into his own wrist, allowing the still warm blood to trickle into his Sire's mouth. After feeding well at the school he had some to spare, and he could always go out again tonight. It took a couple of moments for Angelus to register that it was blood in his mouth but when he did, he latched on to Spike's wrist and drew the precious fluid out in strong draughts. It was so tempting to just let go and enjoy the feeling that coursed through him with the bloodletting, but in his current state Angelus could drain him without meaning it to happen. Just enough was what was needed, enough to bring his Sire round so he could feed from the girl Spike had brought back.
When Angelus' eyes flickered open again, Spike extricated his wrist from the greedy mouth, prising off the digits that had gripped tight enough to leave fingertip shaped bruises on his skin.
"Where are we? Is this Rome?" Confusion, then pain tracked across Angelus' face as he tried to sit and he sank back, panting slightly. Suddenly, he grabbed Spike's wrist in a bone crushing hold and started forward again, staring around wildly. "Darla! I've got to get her! Holtz is here; he's coming for us!"
With horror Spike realized Angelus was raving, flashing back to events that had happened well over a hundred years ago, when he and Darla were being pursued all over Europe by the vampire hunter.
As Angelus used the sarcophagus to pull himself up and staggered toward the door, Spike scrambled after him, placing himself between his Sire and the perils of the sun.
"Angelus?" He studied the older vampire's face carefully, watching for any signs of panic or violence, and moved toward him slowly. Confusion showed on Angelus' face again, as he focused on the figure in front of him, then he sank to his knees his face in his hands. Spike continued to approach and knelt down stroking the older vampire's hair and speaking softly.
"Come on. You just need to feed proper like, and then everything will be okay."
Angelus dropped his hands and stared at Spike in bewilderment once again. "You are not Penn, who are you? What have you done with my Childe?"
"S'all right, mate. Let's get you lying down and I'll explain everything."
A punch, solid enough to drive Spike back on his heels landed on his nose. He probed at it then checked his fingers for blood. "Fuck. What was that for?!"
"I am not your 'mate'. You are nothing. I do not know you!"
Angelus was up on his feet now and lurching towards him, his face black with killing rage. He was still strong, even with the injuries and Spike couldn't fight him without risking further damage to them, there was fresh blood seeping from his back just from moving. Spike scrabbled backwards, trying to stay out of reach and talk Angelus round.
"Sire! Sire! Not mate. I'm sorry, Angelus, Sire." The older vampire loomed over him ominously then, with a shudder, fell back to all fours breathing heavily, his expression reflecting the waves of pain sweeping through his body. As another shiver ran through him, he raised his head, true face to the fore. A single phrase escaped his twisting lips, intoned with primal need and tinged with sulphur.
A muffled squeak came from the corner by the stairs, and two sets of golden eyes swiveled and fixed on the young woman pulling at the string on her wrists in a desperate attempt to get free. In one stride Spike was over her, roaring, grabbing and dragging her towards Angelus. He held her firm against his legs, fingers tangled in her long hair pulling her head back to bare her neck, his foot heavy on her fractured leg keeping her still.
"Be exalted, Abandon, beneath and around us. Let Your grandeur be over all the earth. Sire, this precious and most unclean blood I offer thee, for the forgiveness of my transgressions and for my eternal life."
His voice was low and formal as he offered his gift to the vampire that had been his mentor for ten years, using words that predated its Christian imitators by a thousand. Angelus held his gaze until Spike looked away, the air between them crackling with unresolved tension and bent his head to sample the blood. After a moment he lifted his bloody maw and completed the ritual exchange.
"You are our God. We know no other than You, and I call upon Your unholy name. You destroyed death through death and gifted Your Childer everlasting life. I beheld the rebirth of my Childe, from innocence to glorious impiety. This offering has touched my lips, expunging his transgressions and making him favored in my sight."
Spike relaxed slightly; by completing the ritual Angelus had at least recognized him as family again and shouldn't attempt to kill him, hopefully. He watched as his Sire fed ravenously, draining every last drop of blood from the girl's body.
Before leaving he sat by the door, lighting a cigarette and enjoying the solitude of the night. It had been a difficult day; Angelus was drifting in and out, still not knowing him, although recognizing him as family of some sort and thus no threat. He had explained what had happened numerous times until realizing that his Sire was not retaining the information. Spike took a deep drag and stared up at the sky searching for inspiration. He didn't know what to do for the best; the wounds on Angelus' back were healing quickly, the skin almost whole again, although it would take longer for the muscle to regenerate.
It was his mind that worried Spike the most. Would it mend? Would his Sire remember or was the vampire going to be trapped in his own world forever? With a sigh he ground the butt out on the muddy ground and stood up. Whatever happened it wouldn't come any quicker for his brooding. What Angelus needed was blood and it was Spike's job to provide it. With a last look back he set off towards the town.
When the door swung open and feet stumbled down the steps, Angelus awoke with a start. He could see two young men, looking around dazed and disorientated, and he could taste the blood from the wounds in their necks on the air. Behind them was the strange vampire that was looking after him, the one he could not remember, but smelled like family.
"Hey, you're awake." The vampire headed rapidly towards him and Angelus growled quietly in his throat, warning the other to keep his distance. He may have no choice but to accept food from this young one, but that didn't mean he had to trust him. The other stopped a few feet away, dropping to his haunches and averting his gaze. There was no challenge there so Angelus relaxed slightly, the growl dying away.
"Hungry?" He nodded, the rich smell of blood had reawakened his appetite and Angelus thought he could probably drain three humans without assuaging it.
"I fed while I was out, so these two are for you." One of the men was pushed towards him and Angelus stood, mindful of the pain in his back. He knew he had been injured somehow, and badly if it was taking so long to heal, but couldn't remember where or how. The human stumbled into his arms and he sank his fangs gratefully into its neck, feeding quickly and efficiently. The other tasted just as good and, far from sated, Angelus sat and watched quietly while the other vampire stowed the corpses in a sarcophagus, keeping up a running commentary as he did so.
"Found a music hall, and these two and their girls were hanging round outside. Had the women meself. Hope you don't mind, but I thought the lads might have a bit more in them. Hey, I got you something." He fumbled by the door and came up with a silver flask and some clothing. "Don't know if these fit, but it was all I could find. They're a scrawny lot round here."
A name was rattling around in Angelus' head, one that seemed to want to attach to the loud-mouthed creature that was advancing on him again.
"William?" It was so low that Spike almost missed it. He stopped and dropped down into a squat again, not wanting to present a threat or challenge. Angelus was slumped sideways against the wall, his weight resting on his shoulder to protect his back.
"Sire?" His answer was almost as quiet and he watched as Angelus' expression cleared slightly.
"Drusilla's childe." There was still a frown, but it was one that conveyed deep thought rather than confusion.
"Yes, Sire. William, Dru's childe. Do you remember now?"
"No." Spike shrugged at the answer, there was little he could do except be here and offer whatever comfort or help his Sire would allow.
"Turn round. Let me have a look." He wanted to check and see how well the wound was knitting, and to do that, he needed to be closer than he'd managed to get since Angelus had regained consciousness.
With only a momentary hesitation, Angelus turned towards the wall allowing Spike access to his back. The skin was flawless again, completely healed although the stark outline of bone below it, testified that there was healing yet to be done. He reached out and tentatively touched the creamy expanse, snatching his hand back as Angelus hissed at the contact. The apology for causing his Sire unnecessary pain died on his lips as the smell of arousal permeated the air. It was, Spike reflected, only to be expected. Angelus had just fed, was flushed with warm blood and their bodies were conditioned to respond in certain ways. This was something he knew well and a comfort he could offer, if Angelus would trust him.
It took a few moments for Angelus to work out what the childe wanted of him, and minutes more before he would allow it, but the moment the mouth closed around his erection he knew he'd done the right thing. There was awareness in the Childe's actions, which screamed of familiarity with his body, which in turn spoke of family and trust. His mind may not yet remember but his body did and responded accordingly, relaxing and giving over control to the skilful mouth that suckled his flesh as a babe nurses at its mother's tit. He watched avidly, studying the features that worked him, blue on blue eyes, skin so pale that it seemed to glow in the darkness, grey shadows cast by prominent cheekbones, made infinitesimally sharper by their duty. As his climax took him away, another image superimposed itself on the one in his lap so strongly that for a second he touched the memories that came with it.
When his Childe went to leave, his task complete, Angelus caught his hand and pulled him close, wrapping him tightly in his arms. Neither may notice the cold, but loneliness was another matter, and he had need of some company to help ground the disorientation he was feeling. William shifted in his embrace obviously discomforted by his lack of opportunity to spend, but unwilling to give up his place in Angelus' arms. Eventually, Angelus murmured his permission; stroking and licking the soft skin beneath a delicate ear as the childe brought himself to a quick orgasm. As the sun rose they curled together, safe in a familial embrace and neither fought the urge to sleep.
It was mid afternoon when Angelus awoke, still curled around that now familiar body, and he took the opportunity to study the face again, recreating the image he had seen the night before. He remembered a less cynical expression, more like he was seeing now with features relaxed in sleep, a voice softer and more refined, lacking the arrogant aggressive edge he knew it contained. And there was something. something missing from William's face that had been present during the flash of memory he'd experienced. As Angelus raised his hand to gently caress the sleeping form, blue eyes flashed open, full of love and trust un-tempered by an awareness of time and place and it came back to him, what had been missing.
"I remember you." A small frown skated across William's face at his words. "I remember another you. Glasses, I remember glasses."
It was like watching a shutter slam closed behind the Childe's eyes, the love and trust gone in an instant, replaced by cold hatred and.fear? William's body froze, then pulled away, breaking out of Angelus' arms, and scrambling away to the other side of the room. A few moments and a lighted cigarette later, a shaky voice could be heard.
"Just go back to sleep, Sire. I'll watch till the sun goes down, so you can rest."
Spike watched as Angelus settled back and returned to sleep. An option he didn't want to pursue right now, he had a feeling that his dreams might not be good ones. But with several hours until sunset and his Sire's words replaying in his mind, even wakefulness was no protection against memories.
Dru's skirts smelled like heaven and Will decided, as he buried his face deeper into the satin folds, that he wanted to stay there forever. A faint cursing mercifully muffled by the fabric round his ears made its way into his head and he groaned silently. In the week since his rebirth that sound had become horribly familiar, and Will was starting to believe that his grandsire, or Sire as Angelus insisted he call him, was incapable of uttering any other coherent words. He spared a glance in Darla's direction, but she was laid unmoving on the chaise lounge completely absorbed in her book, something eighteenth century and completely incomprehensible. Having checked the coast was at least quiet Will slid his hand under satin and cotton until soft flesh touched his hand. In the background the volume of the curses increased, now accompanied by the occasional crash of breaking glass, and the next minute the sitting room door flew open and Angelus strode in, thrusting a sheaf of papers under Darla's nose.
"Will ya look at these. What the hell does he think I am? Some kind of lawyer?" He yanked the papers back and glared at the insubstantial sheets as if daring them to answer him. "It's not even English. or Latin for that matter. Some sort of bastard mix of the two if I'm any judge. And I'm not, though he seems to think I am."
Darla listened patiently until the tantrum played out and Angelus had slumped wearily down into his chair. "Darling, why don't you simply ask him to tell you what it means?"
He flicked a look of total incredulity at her before saying, very slowly as if to a slightly stupid child, "Because he could tell me anything. He wrote it and I am supposed to sign it. And," he stood again, pacing over to the sideboard and pouring himself a large drink. "I'm not signing anything that creep wrote without knowing exactly what it means."
Will kept his head buried, praying that Dru wouldn't open her mouth but it seemed, his un-dead status meant God no longer listened.
"William could tell you what it means." Will groaned again, this time slightly audibly. Damn her, why couldn't she have shut up?
Angelus swung slowly round to stare at her. His incredulous expression now replaced by one of sneering contempt. "And why would I think that pathetic excuse for a vampire could do anything of the sort?"
Biting back a reactionary 'Hey!' at the insult, Will buried his fingers into Dru's thigh, pinching the soft flesh in the hope of getting her to stay quiet. She was oblivious.
With a slightly smug smile on her face Dru uttered the words that would potentially seal Will's fate for the next few years. "My William was at university. He's clever, and he reads law things."
"This true, boy?" Will sighed and sat up, meeting Angelus' interrogative gaze.
"Yes, Sire. I was reading law and had nearly finished my third year of study."
Angelus narrowed his eyes and ran them over Will with a disbelieving snort. "We'll see. Come with me." With that he swept out of the room still clutching the document in his hand.
Will ran his hand through his hair and stood up to follow, casting a longing glance back at Dru's lap. He had a feeling this was the last quiet morning he was likely to have for a while.
Angelus was already ensconced behind his desk when Will joined him in the study, reading his way through more papers. He waved distractedly at the document. "Have a look. See if you can make anything of it." Then he raised his head. "And I'll be expecting you to explain it to me, so don't think you can bluff your way through it."
The document was written on delicate vellum, now badly creased where Angelus had been clutching it so wildly. Will smoothed it out and started to read. For the longest time the only sound in the room was the crackle of logs burning in the fire and the rustle of paper. Eventually, he sat back and tiredly pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers. The words had started dancing across the page and not for the first time Will wished his glasses had been buried with him, his eyes hurt.
"It seems to be the Last Will and Testament of Lord Grey. As I understand it, he is leaving all his worldly possessions to you, with the exception of five thousand pounds, which is going to," he checked the headed paper again, "Wolfram and Harte."
"What!" Angelus was on his feet and glaring over Will's shoulder before he had chance to blink. "Where? Where does it say that?"
Will traced the relevant paragraphs with his finger, giving his Sire a general outline of what was meant by the legal phrasing the firm of solicitors had used. By the time he had finished Angelus was livid. "I'll have their hides. I'll tear out their hearts and suck them dry. They think they can cheat me!" The veneer on the door cracked loudly under his fist and coherent words were, yet again, superseded by a string of incomprehensible curses.
Will's chair creaked as he leaned back heavily waiting for Angelus to finish. The whole family used this strategy; let him get it out of his system before trying reason, intercede too early and that unpredictable temper was likely to be turned on the speaker.
Eventually, the cursing slowed to a mumble and Angelus wandered back over to the desk, and glared down at the troublesome document. "Can we change it?"
Will shrugged, it was possible and he said so. "But they'll notice if I do. Then you're back to square one and we have another document to work through. It would be better if we circumvented them completely."
"Could you do that? Write something that says what I want it to say?" There was a hopeful yet avaricious look in Angelus' eye.
"No problem. It'll take a couple of days and I'll need a few bits and pieces." Why was he doing this again? If his eyes hurt from a couple of hours reading he'd be damn near blind after redrawing the will.
"Anything you need, I can arrange it." Angelus planted a huge paw on his shoulder and grinned. "Guess there is a use for you after all, huh William?"
When Will went hunting that night he slipped away from the others and scoured the dark narrow streets searching for something special. He was about to give up and grab the next tasty looking morsel that crossed his path, when he spotted her, or more importantly, what she was wearing. Holding her overcoat tightly around her more than adequate frame, the woman hurried along the street, Will trailing her carefully. He was certain that she would turn into a house any moment but his luck held and she stopped under a gas light looking lost. Will grabbed the opening with both hands and approached her, adopting a benevolent helpful look.
"Your pardon, Madam, but I couldn't help noticing; you look, mayhap, a little lost?"
Suspicious of his intentions, the woman glared at him, then visibly relaxed as she took in his smart clothes and unassuming demeanor. Within a couple of minutes, Will was ostensibly escorting the woman to her destination. Of course that was the furthest thing from his mind and it turned out to be an easy matter to lure her into an alley. The minute her heart stopped he removed her glasses and placed them on his face, holding his hand in front of him as if it contained a book. A relieved little sigh escaped as it swam into focus. Most of the time he was quite happy without glasses but these would be invaluable while he was working on the will and it would be nice to read for recreation again, even some of Darla's books suddenly became appealing.
It took two nights to redraft the document, and Will hardly moved from his room during that time. Luckily the woman who had so kindly left him her glasses was enough to keep his hunger at bay while he worked, but by the time the final copy was completed Will was exhausted. He sat back and carefully read through it once more before moving his writing equipment to the back of the table and turned off the lamp plunging the room into darkness. Rather than walk to the bed he crossed his arms to cradle his head and quickly fell asleep where he was.
"Give them back." Angelus stepped backward out of Will's grasp as he made a grab for the glasses and started twirling them around in one hand, grinning maliciously.
"Come and get them, four eyes."
A red haze closed in on Will's vision when he heard the jibe. What had been the bane of his childhood came slamming back at him in his new life but this time he wasn't going to take it. Letting his demon loose, he flew at Angelus, going for his neck with his fangs. The sudden attack took the older vampire completely off guard, Will had never so much as growled at him in the past week, and he swung at the fledge with the hand holding the glasses and smashed them into his face.
Will hit the floor with a thud, reeling from the force of the blow, and Angelus peered unconcernedly down at him. Realizing he was still holding the broken frames in his hand, he shrugged, muttered "Oops," and dropped them by Will's hand before stepping over him to get to the desk.
He perused the document, ignoring Will who had managed to sit up and was holding the remains of his glasses sadly in his hands. "This finished?"
"You bastard." Will was fighting back the tears as he contemplated not only the glasses, but also Angelus' frighteningly familiar taunt and subsequent punch.
"Excuse me?" He didn't hear the annoyance in the older vampire's voice so continued venting his frustration and anger.
"You've broken my bloody glasses, you bastard." It felt good to swear. Human William never swore, he was far too polite, but now it was pouring out as he pulled himself up and started in on Angelus with a vengeance. "I can't believe you did that. You broke my fucking glasses and then sodding well hit me. You are a complete arsehole Angelus, did anyone ever tell you that?"
The next punch had the benefit of a far better aim, and wasn't hampered by the glasses, so it contacted hard with Will's chin and sent him flying backwards into the wall. Growling with rage, Angelus pulled him up and punched him again, sharply and deliberately right on the nose. In his experience it hurt like hell and tended to make even the most irate vampire slow down and think. Not so with William, brushing a hand across his eyes to clear them, Will went for him again, this time managing to land a couple of punches himself.
Angelus quickly reassessed the situation. Instead of continuing to use his fists, which would only work if he punched the boy senseless, he changed tactics and took Will's legs from under him, using his superior weight to pin him down and immobilize him. Finally having a moment to gather his thoughts, Angelus grabbed a handful of hair and judiciously bashed Will's head against floor a couple of times.
Unbelievably the Childe kept fighting, panting hard from the exertion and trying to buck the older vampire off, still swearing at him loudly. So Angelus treated him to the same form of discipline he used on his own Childer. Rearing back slightly, he struck and sank his fangs into the nape of Will's neck. The younger vampire froze the instant his fangs pierced the skin and Angelus growled deeply, tightening his hold, feeling bone grate against the sensitive tips. He wanted to be certain Will wouldn't start fighting again the moment he released him, so added to the threat by grinding his hips down into the muscular backside beneath him. A silent shudder ran through Will's body but he didn't move.
Withdrawing his fangs slowly, Angelus was agreeably surprised to see that his tactic had worked. As a reward for the fledge's stillness, he cleaned the wounds before patting Will on the head and standing up. Will stayed unmoving on the floor, still humiliated but also confused by what he had felt when Angelus was pinning him down. The power from that body dismayed him, but left him more aroused than any gentle touch from Dru ever did, and that didn't make any sense. How could he have found being punched, held down and bitten by Angelus the least little bit arousing? The whole thing was ludicrous and probably insane.
Angelus was speaking to him. "I asked if this was finished?"
How could he just go back to business after what just happened? Will sat up, running his hands through his hair and looking about the room as if he had suddenly ended up in an alternative dimension. He quickly concluded it wasn't when he saw the broken glasses and felt the wounds in his neck.
"Um. Yeah. I-I think so."
"Show me." Shit. How was he supposed to deal with this? He grabbed the glasses and went over to the desk, trying to keep his distance from Angelus, and started running through the will.
"It's basically exactly the same. I've just rewritten the relevant paragraphs to make them say what you wanted." Good. Hands steady, voice calm. No indication here that anything's wrong.
Angelus listened intently for a few seconds, then got bored. If the boy said he'd done the job he was willing to believe him. For the moment he had something more interesting to consider. The newest member of the family was Drusilla's Childe and he'd treated the youngster with barely concealed contempt until the sudden attack had put them in close physical proximity. Experiencing the same high level of excitement and fascination towards Will as he had his own childer intrigued him, he hadn't expected to sense anything so strong at the contact, the bond being one generation removed. Picking up a pen and twisting it round his fingers as he pretended to listen, Angelus took a small breath to taste the air, it smelled like fear and arousal, a heady, potent mixture for a vampire. Replacing the pen on the desk, he picked up the sharp knife that had been lying next to it. Perhaps there was some fun to be had here after all and fledges always made for interesting games.
"What's this for?"
Will looked up, the confusion in his mind was starting to subside as he re-engaged with reality. His Sire was holding the knife he used for correcting small errors on the vellum. "It's for getting rid of mistakes."
Angelus raised a quizzical eyebrow. "Really. Useful tool then, if you can use it to put things right." He paused, then added, "Tell me, William, how do we put things right between the two of us?" His voice was deep and, Will thought, seductive?
Panic skated across Will's face. "W-what?" Angelus reached out a hand and ran a finger down his cheek, noting the shiver than ran through the boy at the contact.
"I asked how we put things right but maybe you think there's nothing wrong?" As he spoke, Angelus' finger drifted down the taut muscles in Will's arm until it was playing around the fingers of his right hand that was braced flat on the desk. It seemed to burn right through Will's clothing and left a burning trail that, curiously, also led to his groin. Removing his hand seemed like a really good idea, but his body was so busy holding him upright there was no energy left to actually move. His eyes were locked on the fingers brushing against his own, and he became aware of a new sound in the room, his breath coming in small gasping pants.
A smirk spread across Angelus' face as he studied the Childe's reaction to his touch. This was almost too easy. Time to up the stakes a little, couldn't have the boy thinking this was just about pleasure. With one last twirl he slammed the knife he was holding through the back of Will's hand to the hilt, pinning it to the table. As a bellow of pain ripped through the air, Angelus laughed and grabbed the pen using it in the same manner on the other hand. Will's knees buckled and Angelus grabbed him by the collar to hold him up, reaching for the smashed glasses with his other hand.
As soon as he was sure the fledge had his legs back, he straightened the twisted frames, placed them carefully back on Will's face and sat back to admire his handiwork. Tears were running from closed eyes, tracing rivulets down pale carved cheeks and pain was etched into a beautiful face. Quite the work of art.
"There now. Pretty as a picture." Angelus tapped the hilt of the knife; casually noting the fresh quivers that shot through the boy's body as the rhythm was played out in pain. This was fun. What came next? Pleasure - pain - pleasure again. The question was, just his or the boy's as well? Looking around Angelus spotted a small pot next to the whetstone. Oil? Probably. Guess he could do this. A healthy mixture of pleasure and pain worked with Penn and Dru; there was no reason it wouldn't do just as well with this one.
Keeping his face locked into an expression of supreme indifference, Angelus pulled the pot towards him and opened it. "So William, what do you think? Is the pen mightier than the sword?"
There was no answer. Totally unacceptable to Angelus who liked to chat while he worked. He tapped the top of the pen. "I asked you a question, boy."
Will's eyes flew open and his shocked gaze met Angelus' icy one. His hands were burning foci of pain, his ears were ringing, and he couldn't stop dragging in air with deep heaving breaths. At Angelus' frown he tried to control his body, still too new to have any real authority over his autonomic responses, and pulled an answer from somewhere. "D-don't know," was all he managed to force out.
Then Angelus was behind him, an arm round his waist, unbuttoning his trousers and slipping his hand inside. Will twitched as a strong grip made contact with his cock and fresh bursts of pain sprang from his hands. He couldn't help the words that fell from his lips, "Jesus, no! Don't do this."
"Don't do what? This?" Hands pushed his trousers down past his hips, until they pooled round his ankles, then returned to slide under his shirt rubbing firmly over the tense muscles in his back.
His hands were still throbbing but now in time with the rest of his body, one delicious, excruciating throb. Strong thumbs dug into the hollows between his vertebrae, making him hiss as colorful bursts of agony exploded behind his eyes, only to be replaced by the equally agonizing touch of a cool tongue laving each spot of pain.
He was panting hard as the hands slid down and, while one rested on his hip, the other pressed between his buttocks, and he felt the tips of fingers against his anus. Totally lost in sensation, Will bucked forward at the contact, his hands snapping painfully against their stays, "Fuck. Angelus, please!"
"Please what?" The boy was turning out to be almost chatty, considering the circumstances. Angelus ran his tongue up Will's neck and caught the lobe of his ear with his lips, sucking it gently as he removed his hands to search for the oil and release himself. His fingers and cock suitably oiled up he returned to his exploration, pressing one finger against the tight rosebud he found. This time there was no movement, just a hitch in breathing. Good, he learns quickly. He pushed a single finger inside and virgin tight muscles clamped down round it, precluding any further movement until they started to relax.
"Good boy," Angelus' voice breathed across Will's neck and he let his head drop forward until he was leaning heavily against the desk. The initial discomfort from the finger inside him was fading, and when the hand returned to stroking his cock he scarcely noticed the second one join it. They were pumping slowly in time and the ringing in Will's ears had subsided to a low hum of pleasure. The third finger caused his breath to hitch again, but he was staying in touch, still able to contain his movements until Angelus twisted them and hit something inside him.
It was like hot ice through his groin and his hips bucked forward uncontrollably, a scream ripping from his throat as his hands exploded again. Before the pain had reached manageable levels, the fingers had gone and he could feel the head of Angelus' cock pressing against him.
"Wait. Please, just wait for a moment." He needed to get his body back under control before anything else was added to his sensory confusion. His cock was throbbing in such a good way but his hands hurt like hell, and every nerve in his back and ass was screaming at him.
"Say, pretty please." A cold voice intoned in his ear as large hands gripped his hips and a velvet covered shaft pushed inexorably into him. Will panted hard, trying to use his breathing as a center for control, a point around which he could force his clenching muscles to relax. Slowly it worked and Angelus' oil slicked entry became easier and deeper until Will could feel wiry hairs against his buttocks.
When he felt the tight muscles around him relax, Angelus started to move, thrusting gently and ensuring he hit that magic spot each time. Pretty soon Will was pushing back to meet him, and Angelus could feel the muscles in the boy's back tightening as he used them to save his hands. 'This won't do'. He could just slam forward but that might do a lot of damage and there were still documents for those hands to write. A more subtle form of torture was needed. He ran his fingers up Will's dripping cock grasped it firmly, and started a strong rhythm that would quickly bring him to completion. Pretty soon Will was doing all the work, thrusting into his hand and back onto his cock, an excellent performance but it was still time to change the rules.
He released his hold on Will's left hip and reached forward, gently catching the top of the pen between his finger and thumb. No reaction. The boy was too caught up in the pleasure his body was giving him. Time for a little piquancy to be added to the mix. Every muscle in the body beneath him slammed taut as Angelus slowly twisted the pen that was pinning Will's hand to the desk. He took up the rhythm increasing the speed of his thrusts into the over tightened channel, and abandoned Will's cock to hold him firmly round the chest pulling him upright again.
Will's tenuous self-control was torn apart. With every thrust Angelus made into his body, his balls felt like they were going to explode, yet his hand was screaming in pain as the pen was ground into the wound. His ears were singing again and his body had joined in, the arm around his chest stopped him breathing and there was flashing lights behind his eyes. Somehow it was all enough and tendrils of orgasm formed at the based of his spine, shooting into his groin. As his climax built he felt Angelus jerk into him, fangs sinking into his neck as his bowels were filled with seed. The pen was ripped from his hand and it was the pain that sent him over the edge, cock erupting untouched to spill over the carpet and polished table.
He slumped over, hardly even registering the knife being yanked from his other hand, completely lost in the total body shudders that were still pulsing through him. A thump on the back of his head got his attention and Will realized Angelus was speaking to him.
"I said, your glasses fell off." They were picked up off the floor and Will stood up, still shaking. He removed his hands from the table; they were covered in his blood and there were bloody handprints around deep gouges in the wood. He felt wrung out absolutely exhausted from the pain and the sex and. he really wasn't sure what had happened or what was supposed to come next. He risked a quick look at Angelus and saw a smug smirk plastered over the older vampire's face as he held out the twisted frames for Will to take.
The smirk broadened when he took them. "I'll get you another pair. I've never fucked anyone in glasses before. It was fun; you make a pretty whore."
With that Angelus turned and wandered out of the room without a backward glance, leaving him standing there with his trousers round his ankles, covered in blood and cum. Will felt anger uncoil in his gut again. The casual note in Angelus' voice as he promised more of the same treatment filled him with hatred and self-disgust. He had let Angelus hurt him and had got off on it. He was going to end up like Dru, or worse, unless he did something to stop it.
Spike smoked his way through his entire stash of cigarettes as his thoughts drifted back again and again to those first few weeks after his rebirth. It was true that he wasn't totally insane like Dru, but had he escaped completely, he didn't think so. What had come home to him in the last week, despite his best attempts to deny it, was that he loved Angelus, not in a sappy romantic way but something more akin to addiction. He couldn't imagine not being near him, not having him and what did that mean? Angelus didn't give a damn either way. His Sire was obsessed with Darla and to a lesser extent with Dru, he was just a convenient body that could be used when other more appealing ones weren't available.
In truth, that was the reality of his role in the family, the one the others used when there was no one else. His body serviced Angelus, Darla and Dru with equal ease; they had made him that way, ready for them however they wanted him, the bottom of the tree, the furthest down the food chain. With a disgusted snort, Spike threw the remains of his last cigarette into the corner, he was the family whore and it had taken this to make him realize it. Others, if he remembered correctly, had been more perceptive.
The moment the sun set he stood up to leave, hardly sparing a glance at Angelus in the other corner.
"I'm going out. Don't know when I'll be back so don't bother to watch for me."
As the door started to close, a quiet voice called after him.
Spike froze, rage flooding through his body, then he spun round and kicked the door back on its hinges. "Not William, not Will. It's Spike, okay. Now do me the sodding courtesy of remembering it." He was shaking with anger as he stalked off and ended up nearly tripping over a gravestone he was so distracted by his thoughts. What he needed was a bloody kill to take his mind off things. A good kill like that first bloke.
Having decided that Angelus was going to drag him down the same twisted road as Dru, Will started avoiding him completely, leaving the room when he entered and slipping off alone the minute the family left the house to hunt. He frequented the rougher areas; those populated by thieves and drunks and adopted their manner and dress. Much to Darla's annoyance a drunken ruffian who looked as if he had crawled in from the gutter was quickly replacing the slightly bookish young gentleman who had joined the family. Eventually, leaving Angelus with Dru one evening, she tracked Will down and joined him while he was actively hunting.
"The man in the fur collar?" Will's knees nearly collapsed when Darla whispered in his ear. He hadn't seen or heard her following him so her sudden appearance was something of a surprise.
"Err. Yeah." He didn't want this. Didn't want to talk to her and certainly didn't want her on this hunt.
"What a nice looking man. Tall, dark, broad shouldered reminds me of someone." Darla's eyes were lit up with mischief and she was sporting a broad smile.
Will's anger flared, she was laughing at him. "What do you want Darla, 'cos if it's only to humiliate me don't bother, Angelus already did that, thank you very much." He went to turn away from her and stalk off but she caught his jacket in her small powerful hand.
"You'll loose him." She nodded towards the man Will had been trailing, then whispered conspiratorially, "Would you like me to help you? We could share him."
Will stared at her, open mouthed, before pulling away and storming off, rapidly loosing himself in the crowded streets. She hadn't been talking about the hunt, that much was obvious, but he couldn't allow himself to consider what she really meant if he was to remain sane.
The next night Will slipped out earlier than usual, too full of nervous energy to wait for sunset on such an overcast day, and cut across the sidings by King's Cross on his way to his regular hunting grounds. He was still very angry with Angelus and Darla, but couldn't work out what to do about any of it, except avoid them. Even more than when he was human, he was feeling lonely and isolated, and Dru was no help though she did her best, holding him and singing lullabies when he couldn't sleep. As he wandered slowly along the tracks he kicked anything and everything he could find imagining Darla and Angelus on the end of his boots.
The game came to a premature end when he slammed his toes into a sleeper, and in the tantrum that followed, he ripped it clear out of the ground freeing a twisted piece of rail. As the night darkened around him Will briefly found a new way to loose himself and forget his troubles, wielding the rail like a sword and fighting imaginary battles where he always beat the hero and ripped the throat out of the maiden chained to the rock.
Eventually, hunger overcame his boundless energy and he dropped the rail to start hunting. As the rail hit the ground it bounced off the huge nail that had once held it to the sleeper and he picked it up, slipping it into his pocket as a souvenir.
By pure coincidence, he found the same man he'd been trailing the night before, tall, dark haired with the expensive looking fur collar and followed him discretely for several minutes, along Wharfdale Road and York Way until the man entered a gentleman's urinal adjacent to King's Cross Station. It looked like an ideal opportunity for a quick clean kill so Will wandered in after him.
He hovered outside the interior door assessing the scene. The man was leaning against the wall smoking a cigarette, and his watchful attitude immediately put the young vampire on edge. It was almost as if the man were waiting for him. A quick mental shake later, there wasn't much a vampire had to be scared of after all, and Will strolled nonchalantly in. As soon as he spotted him, the man stood up and smiled.
"I thought I saw you following me and not for the first time. What do you charge?"
"Huh?" What the hell was he going on about? The human, who should be nervous at being in such a secluded place with a man who could be a thief, or worse, exuded self-confidence.
The man huffed irately and started to walk towards him. "Don't mess about, boy. You're not the only renter in town. What do you charge?"
An evil smile spread across Will's face as he realized what the human was talking about. "Oh, mate, you don't know how wrong you are."
All the pent-up fury that had been building inside him for weeks screamed for release at the expense of this human's life. He snatched the railroad spike out of his pocket and rammed it through the human's gut, propelling him backward into the wall, smashing through the tiles and pinning him to the brick behind. The man screamed and for one moment Will worried that the noise would draw unwanted attention, but the cravat torn from the man's neck proved an adequate gag and allowed Will to have a quick snack before he started work.
The location was too public for a really careful job, so Will had to make do with eviscerating the human as slowly as he dare, but the result was pretty and made a marvelous mess against the ornate tiling, the urinals, the door. In fact, Will was surprised just how far the human gut stretched when it was pulled out, and heart's blood, spiced with terror and mind bending agony, was such a tasty meal he felt sure he would do this again. It was all so much more satisfying than a quick bite in a back alley.
It took three weeks for the family to connect the infamous 'Railway Killer' to the drunk who periodically crawled back into the house covered in gore. Unfortunately, that was twenty-four hours more than it took the Watcher's Council to notice the same thing. The family fled London, managing to stay one step ahead of the posse that was sent after them, until they reached Leeds where they melted into the back streets and ginnels of the city. They lived in derelict buildings and moved as often as they could, even Will sensing that a repetition of his adventures in London would be a mistake. But he still hated spending so much time with the others; the airs and graces they affected made his skin crawl with memories of Cecily and everything his life had been before Dru rescued him. The presence of Angelus just brought on unwanted feelings and sometimes scared him so much he wanted to run.
He'd had enough of being William or Will, of being the baby and ignored by the other three unless they wanted him. Granted he wasn't about to bring his spike out of retirement on a whim, but some recognition of his achievements seemed in order. More than that he needed to forget and, alcohol being the most efficient method of obliterating his mind, he took to going out on his own again, waiting until the others were busy, then slipping out to find a quick meal and on to a pub where he could get extremely drunk.
The pub was crowded with men and the smell of stale human sweat and staler alcohol hung rank in the air but the warm, hoppy beer went down smoothly, and Will was soon well on his way to drunkenness. He was leaning against the bar letting the tide of humanity drift round him until he spotted a familiar looking man out the corner of his eye. Tall, dark haired, broad shouldered, no fur collar, but he could have been the twin of the first human to fall prey to his spike. Will studied him, noting the body language as he talked to the men around him, and how out of place the man seemed in such a place with his rich looking clothes and elegant pose. The minute he turned round Will relaxed, facially there was no similarity at all, and he pulled his hand out of his pocket where he'd been fingering the spike that still lived there, turning back to the bar to order another drink. A large hand on his shoulder stopped him and Will's nostril's flared at the unsolicited physical contact. He jerked his head back when a blast of the man's arousal assaulted him.
"Good evening, youngster. Can I offer to refill that for you?" The man smiled at him through crooked teeth as he slid onto the seat next to him and gestured to the landlord.
Will snorted at him and went to move away. The last thing he wanted tonight was some human making a pass at him, but as he stood the man put a hand on his arm.
"I'm well known and respected round these parts and you're new. I'd think twice before upsetting me." His smile had taken on a brittle quality and Will glanced quickly at the other patrons. He was being watched and, much as a bar fight appealed, he was fairly sure it would only lead to a row when Angelus found out, which he undoubtedly would. Reluctantly, he sat back down, ready to play this through until he could move to another pub and get drunk without being hassled.
"Where are you from?" Conversation? Since when did vampires have conversation with food? Will gave himself a mental clip round the ear. Since they started frequenting human pubs that's when.
"London." He sounded as disinterested as he felt.
"And what's a London lad doing in these parts?" Sod it. If he made a pass at the human he'd either leave or want to go outside with him. Either way there would be no more conversation.
"Look, if you're interested it's a tanner, take it or leave it." Will deliberately put the price high in the hope that the human would just go.
The man raised his eyebrows at the unsolicited offer, then raked his eyes across Will's face, nodding almost imperceptibly. "Out the back. Follow me in a couple of minutes."
The alley was dark, filthy and stank of human and animal waste, which Will was about to add to. The man had been waiting for him and, the minute he saw him enter the alley, undid his trousers. Will answered him by slamming his hand over his mouth and slowly pushing the railroad spike through his gut. Angelus was going to dust him, but right now he didn't care. In a moment of inspiration, before he ripped the man's throat out he leant forward and whispered in his ear.
"And seeing as how you didn't even bother to ask, the name's Spike."
The voices stopped outside and he heard one, not Spike, although the accent was disturbingly familiar, "A sodding grave? I'm not goin' in there."
The next voice was definitely Spike. "Why not. You're not scared are yer?"
An indignant huff, then, "No. Nuffin to be scared of. No such thing as ghosties or ghoulies, is there."
The door opened a crack, then further as a human's head peeked round the corner. "It's dark."
"Course its dark, yer stupid git. There are no windows and it's night-time. Get in there." The head disappeared and there were sounds of a scuffle from outside. Angelus dragged open the door to see Spike sat on a human's chest pounding his face into a bloody pulp while two others looked on in horror.
He watched for a moment then asked, as calmly as he could under the circumstances, "Have you quite finished?"
Spike looked up at him, swaying slightly on his perch, "Huh?"
"If you've finished, I'm hungry and would like to eat tonight." Angelus looked pointedly at the two men totally immobilized by fear and possibly the sight of a large naked Irishman.
"Help yerself, I'm busy." Spike's fist raised again and Angelus caught it mid-swing.
"I don't think that one is going anywhere, but the others might." His words seemed to break the spell and two sets of boots set off across the graveyard, the vampires in hot pursuit. Luckily Angelus caught his quickly, the drunken man falling over his own feet within a few paces and he dragged him back to the mausoleum. Spike was not faring as well if the curses he could hear were indicative.
"You bastard. That's the only shirt I've got."
The human reappeared dangling several inches off the ground and turning slightly blue from the tight hold round his throat. From the expression on Spike's face he was not in for a good night, the vampire was livid and his shirt was hanging off his shoulders, one sleeve ripped almost completely off.
Spike jerked his head at the comatose man on the ground, "You have that one. I've got a score to settle here." The unfortunate human was thrown through the mausoleum door and he pounced in after him.
Angelus' ate his meal to the delightful sounds and sights of Spike's creative idea of revenge for his torn clothing. It was somewhat reassuring to the older vampire that however coarse his Childe was, he had obviously learned enough to enjoy the family traditions of torture, albeit somewhat haphazardly.
"If you keep doing that it's going to suffocate." As the Sire, it was only fair that he gave advice when something was being done wrong.
Spike looked up from his position on the floor, an annoyed frown on his face.
Angelus held out a placating hand. "I'm just saying, if you leave the gag in while you're doing that, it will vomit and suffocate."
"Trust me. I know these things. Combine the amount of alcohol in its system with the pain of broken fingers, and you're sure to get vomit. It stinks, and I don't want it all over the floor so if you can't find some other way of playing, just eat him and be done."
"But if I take the gag out, it'll scream."
Patiently Angelus tried to explain, "So you need to find a way of shutting it up or do something less painful. There are other ways of torturing humans that don't involve pulling bits off."
Spike sat back on his heels and considered the shaking body in front of him. "What do you suggest?"
"Drain it a little and puncture the windpipe, then it won't be able to scream as loud."
The young vampire did exactly that, removing the shirt from the human's mouth and getting back to his games.
Spike woke with his cheek squished against clammy dead flesh and a splitting headache. He sat up, trying to remember where he was - and possibly who he was - and looked at the corpse he'd fallen asleep on. The face looked vaguely familiar and he seemed to recall a pub and a lot of alcohol, which would account for the hangover and probably the memory loss as well. He groaned and there was an answering chuckle from the other corner.
"A good night?" Spike flashed his Sire a look of pure venom and then groaned again. Even the small amount of light penetrating the gloom of the mausoleum was enough to make his head hurt.
"Don't know. Can't remember." Pub, beer, singing? Did he remember singing?
"You seemed to have something very specific in mind when you left."
"You told me your name was Spike and I should do you the courtesy of 'sodding remembering it'. Then you left."
"Ahh." Sometimes even a bad hangover isn't enough to make you forget your reasons for getting drunk and Spike closed his eyes, shuddering slightly as his deliberations from the previous day came back to him. Things were going to change; at the first opportunity he was going to tell Angelus that. No more games.
"Was it something I said?" There was a genuine note of concern in Angelus' voice and Spike stared at him in disbelief.
"Why would you care?"
Angelus held a hand out, inviting Spike to join him. He hesitated then joined his Sire on the bloodstained tablecloth, which was serving as a temporary bed on the dusty ground. "Because I care about all my Childer. Didn't I ever tell you about Penn?"
Now Spike was officially confused. After yesterday's self revelations he was absolutely determined that he would stop trusting Angelus, stop loving him if he could, and return to ignoring him. It had to be easier that way. But now his Sire was being nice, affectionate and caring. If this was any other day Spike would have treated the whole thing with cynical suspicion, but Angelus was not well, not having regained all his memories, so it wasn't really possible for him to be playing games, was it?
With a resigned sigh he settled down with his head on Angelus' knee. "I know he was your first childe but that's all."
Angelus' fingers ran through his hair, teasing out the mats and carefully untangling the knots. Spike had to repress the urge to purr under his gentle caress, it was so rare that his Sire petted him like this.
"He was a good boy. Always learned his lessons and did as he was told." The hand stilled. "Are you a good boy, William?"
Spike pushed his head up into Angelus' hand wanting to be touched some more. "Yes, Sire."
The stroking resumed. "I'm glad to hear it. It would be unfortunate if a Childe of the family turned out badly." He paused. "Behaved foolishly, thoughtlessly or was impetuous and disobedient."
Rolling on to his back so he could see Angelus' face, Spike looked carefully for any signs that his Sire was being sarcastic. There was not even a hint of a smirk and Angelus' eyes seemed to show only genuine pleasure from his assurances.
He frowned slightly, still unsure of what to make of this uncharacteristically caring Angelus then, hedging his bets, said, "I try." It wasn't a lie; he did try. So what if things tended to backfire on him, that didn't change the basic fact that he tried.
"I'm sure you are a dutiful childe, William." The hand that had been stroking his hair now turned its attentions to his face, the thumb caressing the lines of his lips and Spike closed his eyes, relaxing into the touch, until Angelus' spoke again.
"Penn was always my favorite. I loved him very much. I'd like to think we were friends."
It was as if time froze, Angelus' words rolled through his head again and again. It couldn't be possible; the cornerstone of Spike's entire life was that his Sire was incapable of a complex human emotion like love. And yet, why would he say something he didn't mean, at a time like this? When he was sick and vulnerable. Why would he leave himself open to the inevitable taunts and jibes that Spike would typically use at any sign of weakness? Unless he meant it. And if he had loved Penn.
When Angelus' lips met his, Spike returned the kiss with a passion he had never allowed himself to feel. And when they made love, with their mouths and then with their bodies, there was no holding back, every atom of the love and respect Spike had for his Sire went into it, and was returned a hundred fold. In the after glow they lay quietly together, and talked about the small things they had in common, the difficulties of living up to their mortal fathers' expectations, their love for their respective sires, the joy and passion of the hunt. They shared on a level Spike had never dreamed possible, and for the first time he felt safe and secure in his Sire's arms.
Eventually the conversation turned to their present circumstances and the events of the previous night.
"William?" Spike decided he didn't mind Angelus using that name any more. "Was it something that I said last night that upset you so much?"
Silently Spike considered his options. He didn't want to spoil this new level of intimacy with Angelus, but the fact that he had enquired at all seemed to call for some level of honesty in the answer.
"Just had some bad memories, that's all. Nothing to get all worked up about." That was fairly innocuous as answers went.
There was sadness in Angelus' voice when he spoke again. "Bad memories from things I did to you?"
Spike shrugged, "S'nothing. Don't fret about it."
Angelus gathered him tightly into his arms and placed a small kiss on his neck. "If I have hurt you in the past. There's nothing I can do to change that, but I am sorry."
And they talked, for hours. Despite his best intentions, Spike found himself falling for his Sire all over again and disclosing his thoughts and feelings on an unprecedented level. He felt able to tell this Angelus things he hadn't even shared with Dru, he recounted the story of his life, described his inability to fit in and how lonely he had been before and after being reborn, how Cecily had treated him, even recited some of his terrible poetry.
Though it occasionally crossed Spike's mind that there might be long-term repercussions to his honesty, he couldn't bring himself to care. He was no longer lonely and isolated, no longer the baby-sitter or the whore; he was loved and cherished for who he was not for how the family could use him. The cynical aggressive façade he had built up over the last ten years peeled away and he became William again, with all his vulnerabilities and passions. Despite that, he almost felt his Sire's equal Angelus had changed so much, he certainly considered him his friend, and he desperately hoped that whatever they discovered together would survive Angelus' regaining his memories.
After a week Spike returned from the hunt one night empty handed and with disturbing news.
"They're getting jumpy. Too many going missing." He hesitated before adding, "Do you feel up to traveling, 'cos the hunting's bound to be better nearer home. Plus the girls will be back in a few days and we should be there to meet them." It would mean leaving this wonderful haven they had made for themselves, but it was the only answer.
There was as much reluctance in Angelus' voice as he agreed. His back was virtually healed so there was no excuse for them to delay.
Angelus was waiting by the door when the growler, carrying Darla and Drusilla, pulled up outside the house. He hauled their luggage down and carried it inside, before sweeping Darla into his arms and running up the stairs. Several hours later, she finally got round to enquiring after Spike, and what the men had done to fill their time while she and Dru dined out on Paris.
The tale her lover wove intrigued and amused her, Angelus had a magical tongue when he wanted to and could keep her amused for hours. She listened almost enviously as he told her of football and slayers and burning buildings, and the foolish naiveté of childer.
"Exactly, football! Only Spike could be so gullible as to think I would enjoy football. Then the Slayer. What is it about that boy that attracts trouble?!" Darla smiled up at him and Angelus kissed her deeply, relishing the taste he had missed so much while she'd been in Paris.
When she was released Darla put a hand to his face, "But he did look after you. From what you've said, you were very badly injured."
"It's the only reason he isn't dust. That, and the fact that he can be useful occasionally." Angelus traced a finger down the outside of Darla's breast then cupped it gently in his hand, a frown on his face as he worked through what had happened. "He wanted to be my friend, Darla. After all these years he hasn't grasped that childer exist purely for the convenience of their Sires'."
When he reached down to caress her elsewhere, she pushed him away and held on to his wrist to stop his ministrations.
"No. Not until you tell me what happened next."
He rolled over with a petulant huff. "Nothing much. We came home and you came back and. Ow." The thump hadn't been hard, but it showed that Darla was not about to take any more nonsense.
She leant on his chest and pouted up at him. "So when exactly did you get your memories back?"
Angelus smirked. "The moment I felt his mouth round my cock." He closed his eyes and the smirk broadened. "God, I trained that boy well."
"And?" Darla tapped him expectantly waiting to hear the rest.
"He hightailed it out and my memory came back, a bit disjointed but enough to know who he was and what he'd done. I was going to just punish him," He paused and looked down at his Sire. "But I'd seen something in his eyes.
"Do you remember when Dru first brought him home, how innocent and naïve he was? For a moment, I saw it again and it was like having William back. And you know how much fun I had breaking the boy the first time. It was too good an opportunity to miss." The smirk was back and Darla couldn't help laughing at her lover's pleasure.
"So you were playing him for the whole week." She was impressed, even by Angelus' standards this was a mind game par excellence.
"Yes, and really since before you left. He was getting boring He was learning not to rise to the bait. He'd buried his emotions so deep it was no fun playing with him any more, and what's the point of childer if you can't play with them or fuck them."
Angelus didn't notice Darla's raised eyebrow as he got out of the bed. He started to slip on his clothes, before sitting back down next to her and adding. "You should have seen him Darla, it was better than the last time. He blossomed like a rose. Opened up his heart and gave me everything. It was delicious."
"And when did you tell him?"
Angelus plastered an innocent look on his face. "I didn't. But I think he guessed."
"Probably when they were dragging him out of the house. I called after them, telling them to be careful, not to break him too badly because I loved him, and suggested we go to the cup match when he got back. You should have heard the language. I didn't realize Spike could swear like that."
Darla frowned at him. She had no particular affection for the youngest member of their family, but he did have his uses and some of Angelus' educational punishments could be extreme.
"So where exactly did you send him? Dru seems most upset that he's gone." They lay quietly for a while and listened to Dru's plaintive cries as she wandered the house looking for her Spike.
"She needn't worry. He'll be back in a few weeks. You know that Fyral training camp in Epping Forest? They had a temporary vacancy for a punching bag, their last one got all gunked up, so I hired him out."
Darla fell back on her pillows laughing with delight at the appropriateness of the punishment and held out her arms to her Childe. "How clever of you, darling, to find someone to pay for the privilege of doing what you would have done anyway."
Angelus crawled over to her and kissed her deeply pleased that his Sire approved of his improvised punishment. Now he just had one loose end to tie up.
A bell sounded the end of shift at Morton's Jam Factory on the Isle of Dogs and the workers streamed out making their way home through the foggy night. Charlie turned up his collar and hurried after them, thrusting his hands into his pockets to hide the almost constant palsy that shook them every time he was alone. He glanced down an alley as he passed, something that came naturally to him since the feeling of being watched had started a week or so ago. There was no sign of movement but somehow Charlie knew there was something there, in the shadows, waiting for him to be alone a moment too long. Clenching his jaw against the sudden wrench of terror in his belly, he put on a burst of speed to catch up with the stragglers. Behind him the darkness swirled, resolving briefly into a large figure that appeared to defy gravity as it leapt up to the overhanging roof, only to vanish as it became enshrouded by the dense London smog.