The pale orange sun had barely sunk below the horizon when he swung out of the magnificent doors of LA's once finest hotel, climbed in to his black Plymouth convertible and began his journey. He had not bothered to tell the others where he was going... or why. As he sped off into the growing darkness, the remaining employees of Angel Investigations were left standing in the lobby, wondering when their boss would return. And whether it would be in person or in an ashtray...
Cordelia had tried in vain to get him to spill the beans on this 'business' he had to take care of, but he managed to remain evasive. Anyway, he felt that her main concern was probably her wage packet rather than his welfare. Wesley was convinced that whatever it was, it probably wasn't a *good* idea, but he also knew there was no point in trying to stop Angel when his mind was made up. And on this particular journey, it was. Gunn stuck to minding his own business.
Life at The Hyperion and Angel Investigations was still on slightly uneven ground since it's employees had returned. They were seriously hoping that this sudden departure would not signal the return of Angels' darker side. One that, on its last appearance, made the decision that lawyers were an acceptable snack food.
Driving down the freeway on one of his long life's more familiar journeys, the rage he'd been trying to hide from his work colleagues began to surface...
In his crypt, lit only by soft candlelight and the flicker of the TV screen, Spike was slumped morosely in a battered armchair. Swigging from a bottle of cheap whiskey, he tried not to contemplate the miserable mess that his unlife had become...
No more Dru to while away the years with... Well... not since he'd chained her up and tortured her that last time. Now he only had the Scoobies for company and he couldn't even eat them 'cause of the sodding chip. Even Harm was looking like an appealing prospect right now - God, he thought, I must be desperate...
His vampire senses, although dulled by the excesses of alcohol, detected someone entering his crypt. He smiled for the first time in days.
'You could bloody well knock, Slayer,' he shouted.
'Guess again, Spike,' came an all too familiar voice.
'Peaches...?' he asked, questioningly. 'What the fu...'
Before he could finish the sentence, a fist came swinging out of the darkness behind him and knocked him out of the chair and across the floor.
'Hey Spike, how've you been?' the voice of his sire asked, in mock concern.
Unprepared for this sudden onslaught, he barely made it to his feet before a second blow hit him, closely followed by a third. His instincts told him two things: One, fight first. Two, find out what the bloody hell was going on later!
Recovering fast, Spike managed to counter with a few blows of his own, as the two vampires raged through the crypt, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Chairs were overturned, tables shattered, turning some of Spike's only possessions into little more than firewood. While he was trying to get his head round the situation and not get his arse royally kicked at the same time, Spike realized that Angel was still ranting at him.
'Was this something you thought you'd keep to yourself, eh? Did you not think I'd find out! Or did you just not think at all?' The words were punctuated by further punches and kicks to Spike's body.
'What are you going on about, you stupid git?' Spike managed to get out, between blows. Angel was really pissed, but he honestly had no idea what about.
Spike was *trying* to keep the manic demon at arms length, but he was beginning to tire now. Even the Slayer in full swing hadn't given him a beating like this in a long while, well, not since that time when...
It finally dawned on him.
Angel knew he had the advantage over his childe. Spike had been drinking anyway, plus the fact that he had none of the anger that was fueling Angel's attack. He saw the blonde vampire go to throw a badly aimed punch, caught his wrist and twisted it behind his back, pinning him up against the side of a stone tomb.
'Ok, ok, easy there, tiger,' Spike panted through unnecessary breaths. 'You got me... Now would you mind explaining to me what the fuck this is all about?'
Something in his tone of voice told Angel that he already had a pretty good idea what this was all about. He loosened his grip on the vampire's arm and Spike twisted angrily to face him. Angel had only one word to say:
The silence between them spoke volumes.
'Ahhhh... that...' Spike trailed off. 'Yeah, well... it's just that... well, I meant to...' Unable to find anything suitable to say, he settled for an uncomfortable silence.
He could feel the piercing glare of his sire, but couldn't bring himself to meet it. He knew he was expected to say something, something that would excuse the fact that he'd ever laid a damn finger on the bloody Slayer. Strangely, nothing came to him. He chose to shrug, non-committaly.
Angel's sudden blow snapped his head back and sent stars across his vision.
'Shit!' cried Spike, trying to stem the flow of blood from his nose. 'What the fuck was that for?'
'You know exactly what that was for,' hissed Angel, grabbing his childe by the shirt and slamming him back against the stone. 'You *ever* touch her again, and I swear to god I'll fucking stake you myself, you piece of shit!'
Something in Spike quietly snapped. He'd barely passed the time of day with his sire in a century or more. Not since the tosser had got his precious bloody soul back. Even the re-emergence of Angelus had not heralded happier times for their relationship, so there was no way he was going to become Angel's punching bag over that damned Slayer.
Buffy... no, he couldn't think about her now. That was past. But being caught in his sire's vice like grip was very much in the present. And he needed to prove that coming here and beating the crap out of him would not give him the upper hand.
He summoned up every bit of arrogance he could, and shot Angel a condescending look.
'Aww, whassup soul boy... you jealous 'cause I could nail her and still wake up the same person?' he smirked.
Bolts of pain shot through him as Angel wrenched him forward and slammed him back against the tomb with all his strength.
'Or' he rolled his hips suggestively against the older vampire's, 'are you jealous 'cause it was *me* doing the nailin..'.' He let that one hang in the air for a few seconds before the inevitable punch hit him full force in the stomach.
*So* worth it.
Angel loosened his grip on Spike, as the younger vampire doubled over, coughing hard from the force of the last blow. He should have known the insolent blonde would manage to find *yet another* way to use this situation to hurt him, to twist the knife just that bit more. But deep down, didn't he feel that he deserved it?
As Angelus, he'd used William in every way imaginable and hurt him in quite a few more. On Angelus's return he'd found yet another way to torment his childe, by taking Dru away from him. As for what he'd done to Buffy as Angelus, the guilt and pain had not lessened with the passing years. Wasn't it somehow fitting, to the piece of him that despised the demon inside? That the two he'd both loved and hurt the most should return that pain?
But now there were new feelings, ones he'd not considered a very long time...
On his rage filled journey from LA, his mind was focused purely on beating the living hell out of Spike for even daring to think that he could be with Buffy. For trying to have something that he knew he couldn't. Not once had he considered how he felt about Buffy being with Spike. His childe. *His*.
It had been centuries since he'd thought of Will that way. Funny how thoughts of that beautiful blonde instantly turned him from Spike back to William. From the confident, arrogant, self-assured vamp in front of him, to the almost innocent fledgling he'd been over a hundred years ago. So eager to please his master, so keen to learn. And Angelus taught him well.
As these thought flashed through Angel's mind, he wondered how much of it Spike was picking up. Once his soul had been returned, Spike could read him all too easily.
Yeah, he was getting all of this...
Once he'd recovered sufficiently from the pounding Angel had given him, Spike had settled himself in a reclining position on the top of the tomb. A position that said 'well-look-who's-in-control-now.'
'Slayer got your tongue, pet,' he enquired, innocently.
Angel wanted to kill him. Again... *Slowly*.
Spike watched as a myriad of thoughts and feelings crossed his sire's face.
Yeah, got him with that one, he thought smugly to himself, settling back on the cold stone.
Time was when he'd have walked on holy water if it'd pleased the magnificent dark haired vampire who was now standing in the ruins of his crypt, looking slightly bewildered. But those times were long gone, and he'd be buggered if Angel thought he could come here and pull that alpha male shit on him now. Sire or no sire.
Mind you, when they'd been crushed together, groin to groin, not a few moments earlier, it brought back memories that weren't all bad. Not to mention a familiar tightness in Spike's jeans that had not been elicited by *this* particular vamp in more years that Spike cared to remember.
Hell - anything was better that having the shit kicked out of him.
Suddenly, the whole atmosphere had changed inside Spike's ruined crypt. Looking at his beautiful blonde childe, Angel couldn't quite remember what he was so angry about anymore. And Spike didn't look quite so comfortable reclining on the top of that tomb. In fact, he looked... vulnerable.
A smile spread slowly across Angel's face.
If Spike thought he could brazen out *this* situation, he would soon be thinking again. The slight bulge in the front of his jeans, which he was now trying to disguise as he shifted uncomfortably, had not gone unnoticed by Angel.
A plan formulated in Angel's mind.
Would it still work? His expression faltered. Maybe it had been too long since Angelus had been William's master... Still, he thought, the smile returning. Only one way to find out...
As Spike continued to read the situation on his sire's face, he wasn't sure that he liked where it was going. The silence grew, but the balance of power quite definitely shifted. As did Spike. He was trying to rearrange his jeans into something a bit less obvious... Something that didn't look quite so much as though boy scouts had set up camp there...
*Dammit*! Angel was just standing there, looking at him. And smiling. One thing guaranteed to tip Spike's world off balance was the sight of his sire smiling. It worried him. He decided that he almost preferred it when Angel was trying to kill him. Well, almost.
OK, enough! The looking had turned into staring. And from there, the staring had gone blatantly into mental undressing. Spike was mentally trying to hold *onto* his trousers - and losing the bloody battle to boot!
'Stand. Up.' The achingly familiar voice cut through the endless silence like a blade.
'What the bloody hell do you th...' Spike hadn't even finished his sentence yet somehow he was already sliding off the tomb and onto the floor. Damn his conditioning!
He pulled himself up to his full height, (which admittedly, still left him a good few inches away from Angel's eye level) and tried again.
'Look, you can't just burst in here and start slapping me about and then think that you...'
'Shut up, Spike.' That voice again. Calm and even, yet totally commanding, as Angel stepped closer, pinning Spike against the tomb once again - and still smiling.
Spike shut up and swallowed hard as he felt the full weight of his sire pressing against him. Pressing *there*, and feeling so damn good.
God, he was weak!
Angel used his superior weight and height to their full advantage, pushing Spike hard against the stone behind him, looking deep into those magnificent cobalt blue eyes, and daring him to have a problem with it.
As Angel drove his hips forward, he found that Spike did have a problem... Well, certainly with his self control, if nothing else.
God, he was good!
Spike decided that this *wasn't* going to happen. Not now. Not here, Just...*not*! Now all he had to do was to talk the rest of his body round to his brain's way of thinking. Or maybe he should try talking to Angelus, before his sire and his dick, between the two of them, decided to cut Spike's one functioning brain cell out of the conversation altogether.
And when the hell did Angel become Angelus again? When, in Spike's mind, did 'prancing-hair-boy' turn into 'he-who-must-be-obeyed'? And why was he *still* smiling?
God - someone's got to say something...
Spike tried to break the silence, but somewhere in the process of all his blood descending into his trousers, it seemed to have taken his voice with it... Oh, Angel was really getting off on this little situation.
He quickly decided that he'd had enough of this. No bloody hair- gelled nonce was going to get the better of him. He raised his arms to push the dark haired vampire away. Lightening fast, Angel caught both his wrists and played his final card. As their hips were ground deliciously together, he leant forward to whisper gently in Spike's ear. The soft voice, with just the lightest trace of its Irish roots, issued the ultimate command.
'Why don't ye be a good little boy there, and just turn around for me...?'
As his legs tried to give way beneath him, Spike had only one clear thought in his mind. Now *that's* not fair...
Of course! Angel mentally kicked himself for being so dumb.
He'd carefully chosen Angelus's words, but forgot that they wielded the most power over his childe when he used Angelus's voice. He was always surprised at how easily the soft brogue of his past life came back to him when he needed it. And he'd never been more thankful for it than now, as he knew he had that arrogant little blonde *exactly* where he wanted him... well, not exactly, but that could soon be fixed.
Before Spike could recover from the effects of his sire's command, Angel let go of his wrists and grabbed his shoulders, spinning him round to face the waist high stone sarcophagus. He let out a tiny cry as Angel roughly pulled him back against his own hardness, and began to remove his clothing.
Ohh, just let him try to say *anything* right now, Angel thought cheerfully, unbuckling Spike's jeans, and I swear to God, I'll fuck him straight through this tomb and out the other side... Now this kind of revenge seemed much more fun than trying to beat the shit out of him!
Holding Spike face down across the tomb with one hand, Angel used the other to free himself from his own clothes. He could feel the younger vampire tremble almost imperceptibly beneath his strong grasp. They both knew what was coming next...
'Ahh... To lubricate... Or not?' Angel mused out loud.
Spike whimpered softly.
Memories of old times flooded Angel's thoughts. Well, this was going to be fun for one of them - and thank God it was going to be him!
Spike kept up a silent mantra of expletives as he pressed his face to the cold stone and waited to be possibly the first vampire who was ever buggered to death...
Deep down, he knew that if he'd *really* wanted to stop this, he'd have been out of his crypt and halfway across Sunnydale by now... But he didn't... And he wasn't.
'Cause this brought back memories... Memories of his 'family' - his vampire family - as they'd murdered and pillaged their way across Europe and the Far East. Memories of the Angelus he had once loved. Memories of a time when slayers were for ripping to shreds, not for pining over like certain broody soul boys he could mention... Plus, he hadn't got laid in far too long, and what he really...
'*FUCKMEANGELUS*!' Spike yelled at the top of his voice.
'Already am, Will,' came the smug reply.
Spike gripped the edge of the hard stone, willing himself to relax before his body got reacquainted with the level of pain that... Hang on... That wasn't what he'd been expecting... It felt like he'd used something to... Ohh, I'm *so* gonna fucking kill him when this is over, Spike thought happily to himself.
He heard an uncharacteristic chuckle coming from behind him.
'Had you going there, didn't I?' Angel laughed softly, mimicking Spike's earlier whimper.
Oh God! Surely this was *way* more fun than any souled demon ever had the right to have?
Holding on to Spike's hips so tightly that he thought he might crush them before too long, Angel renewed the centuries old bond with his childe - by pounding into him like there was no tomorrow. And from where he stood right now, he wasn't all that bothered if there was a tomorrow or not...
FUCK! - This was good...! And likely to be over very soon...
FUCK! - This was good...!
Angel's hands were gripping him so tightly, his rhythm imparting both pleasure and pain. Spike knew he was moaning out loud now... And he didn't care... He felt alive!
Metaphorically, of course...
And it didn't matter to Spike that he couldn't remember when it'd last been this good to be with Angel. In fact, he wasn't sure that it'd ever been *this* good. Then again, at this precise moment he wasn't even sure that he could remember his own name...
But why now, when their only close contact in over a century had tended to involve manacles, hot pokers and holy water? Why, after all these years, did it feel so right? Spike guessed that he was feeling something about Angel's return more deeply that he cared to admit. And from his current position, he was feeling *something* very deeply indeed...
Stolen blood was now pounding through every fibre in Angel's body as it rushed towards its exquisite climax. He was vaguely conscious of the need to reach out and hold Spike close to him, as his world exploded in a rush of lights and colors...
Spike cried out as Angel's grip tightened even further, until all he could think about was how *good* it felt. Until a final thrust of Angel's hips threatened to crush his pelvis into the stone... And then there was stillness... And silence...
Spike slowly opened his eyes, and for the briefest of moments, he was surprised to see the walls of his gloomy crypt and not the sumptuous dTcor of a 19th Century town house. Then he remembered that this was the 21st Century.
That Angelus had regained his soul and become Angel...
That William had lost his sire and become Spike...
And that they'd both been fucking stupid enough to fall in love with a Slayer...
Which had, ironically, brought them full circle. Only this time, it hadn't been something between Angelus and William. This was something totally new... And giving rise to the mother of all uncomfortable silences...
What had he done?
As his incredible orgasm and its accompanying fireworks subsided, Angel fell horribly back in step with reality. He stumbled away in shock and slid down the wall onto the floor.
How the hell had he got from wanting to beat the shit out of Spike to fucking him senseless? On Angel's internal chronometer of personal cock-ups, this was rating pretty highly, along with singing karaoke, employing Cordelia and... well, turning Spike in the first place.
While Angel had been mentally rambling incoherencies to himself, Spike had managed to gracefully return his clothing to its rightful place, and had hopped up onto the tomb where he was now sitting, cross legged, attempting to light a cigarette.
Weakly, Angel got to his feet and tried to think of something to say. 'Sorry' just didn't seem to cover it.
'Stop it!' His childe's voice broke through his thoughts.
'What?' he replied, falteringly.
'You know bloody well what. You're brooding, you tosser.'
Angel just looked at him incredulously as he drew deeply on his cigarette and exhaled a plume of pale blue smoke.
'What?' it was Spikes turn to look confused. 'Don't try to turn this into something else you've got to atone for, you stupid git... It's nothing... You got your ya ya's, you got to take it all out on me, I got what was coming to me for messing with your ex and I enjoyed it more than our usual exchanges. What's the big deal?'
Angel couldn't answer... as soon as he'd touched Spike, *all* thoughts of revenge, all thoughts *period*, had vanished from his mind. Had he and Spike just been in two totally different places? Was his childe completely oblivious to how fucking fantastic that had felt?
Spike knew his lips were moving. He could even hear the words that were being spoken casually in his own lower class English accent. But they seemed to be bypassing his brain...
His brain was screaming, begging to be let into the conversation. But he knew he couldn't let that part of him speak. The part of him that this whole thing had meant something to. 'Cause it was obvious that it didn't mean the same thing to Angel. This had been about revenge to him, pure and simple.
And now it was done, so he could just get the hell out here.
'So, feel free not to let the door hit you in the arse on your way out of town, Pet...' Spike's black nailed fingers brought the cigarette to his mouth, and he prayed that its glowing tip in the darkness would not give away the fact that his hands were shaking.
'Don't you... I mean, shouldn't we...' Angel's voice sounded so small.
'What?' Spike bit back, viciously. 'Share our feelings? Bask in post- coital bliss? Talk about the future? Not really our style, is it Love? You were always more of a fuck-and-run kind of guy. And seeing as you've already done the first part...'
Spike needed him out. He needed to be alone.
'Look, I-I just thought...'
'I said - GET OUT!' Spike threw himself off the tomb and down the ladder into the underground part of his crypt.
Seconds later, the sound of stone banging against stone told him that his sire had gone.
Angel stumbled blindly out into the cemetery, feeling more pain than he had in years. And, considering the number of times he'd been chained up and tortured in those years...
How had tonight gone so wrong? He'd known as he drove to Sunnydale, that he'd got the situation blown out of all proportion. Buffy was a free agent now. And he'd only got marginally bent out of shape when he found out about Soldier-boy, who was, by all accounts, the love of her life for some time.
But Spike? Something about that had pissed him off beyond all reason. And after tonight's activities, he had a better idea of why that was...
He thought that if he came to see Spike, he could get over the need to kill him. That they'd just talk about it, in that strained and uncomfortable way that all their conversations were held. They'd avoid talk of wheelchairs, Dru, manacles, and hot pokers. Then he'd just drive back to LA - situation over...
Oh, how wrong can one souled vampire be?
No, there was no rational talking. Just violence, smashed furniture and the need to claim his impossibly beautiful childe in the only way he knew how.
And now there was just hurt and humiliation that Angel had never meant to cause.
Truthfully, he couldn't say that he'd given much thought to how they'd both move on from this. He'd been too caught up in how good it had felt. But he'd mistakenly thought that Spike would have felt it too...
God, he was ashamed to listen to himself... Had he really thought that Spike would just fall into his arms after all these years of hate, revenge and torture? That one misguided act of sexual abandon would erase their checkered history?
For the first time, Angel saw the situation from Spike's point of view. He'd turned up unannounced, kicked his ass, broken up his home and then unleashed Angelus, who had fucked him senseless without giving anything in return. He could have sworn at the time that Spike had wanted it too, but now he wasn't so sure. What with Buffy and being chipped, maybe he'd just been too humiliated to fight Angel off...
If it was actually possible for a vampire *already* burdened with a soul, he now hated himself even more.
Plus, the warmth in the morning air told him that the sun was now only seconds from rising, and he'd spent far too long in self pity to make it to anywhere safe...
Spike lay on his bed listening to the silence in his crypt, smoking cigarette after cigarette and wishing that he still had some alcohol left. Anything to numb the pain.
This was like Buffy all over again, only this time the pain was new and improved.
He closed his eyes and wondered for the thousandth time how the hell this had happened? How had one suggestive comment, designed to piss Angel off and used to try and diffuse the situation, resulted in fucking amazing sex with his sire for the first time in over a century? And how could he have possibly thought that this was about anything except Buffy? Angel was probably thinking about her the whole time...
He couldn't quite believe that all it had taken was this, to make what he'd ever felt for Buffy pale into insignificance, what he'd ever felt for anyone. To make him remember when Angelus had been the center of his fucking universe...
And that he'd told him to get out...
'Fuck!' Spike kicked his legs onto the floor and began to pace up and down, still smoking furiously, like his life depended on it. Ironic really, considering...
His stomach growled loudly, interrupting the silence. Apparently, despair and depression did not affect his appetite. He supposed he should eat something. Even vamps can't survive on alcohol and nicotine, although Spike gave it his best shot.
As he climbed the ladder to get to his blood supply, a searing pain struck his arm.
'Shit! What the fuck is this?' he cried out, bolting up the final steps and away from the ladder.
He saw that the heavy curtain covering his crypt's only window had been pulled down during last night's violence, and that the sun was now casting a painful beam across the floor. Grabbing a nearby sword, no doubt 'borrowed' from the watcher, he hooked the curtain back into place, neatly cutting off the deadly rays.
Standing in front of his mini-fridge, Spike surveyed the carnage. The physical damage was purely superficial. As for the mental damage... Well, that would heal in time. Best make a start, he thought, reaching for a pack of O neg, courtesy of a friend with connections at the hospital who owed him a favor.
His senses started singing as they filled with the effects of this rare treat.
With any luck, that bastard Angel would be half way back to LA by now. Spike's thoughts cheered him immensely as he pictured his sire driving away from Sunnydale...
Driving... In Angel's car... The convertible... In blazing sunshine...
Spike dropped the empty blood pouch to the floor as the implications of his mental picture sunk in.
What the fuck had he been thinking, ordering Angel to get out? And why had he been stupid enough to go? Angel should have sensed the approaching sun even if Spike's confused mental state had prevented him from registering it...
Without thinking, Spike rushed to the door of his crypt and flung it open...
Angel drew his legs as close to his body as he could, as the sunlight crept further and further round the side of the mausoleum. He had, he figured, maybe six minutes before he ran out of crouching space and brought over two hundred and forty years of existence to a dusty end.
Rather that, than call out for Spike. He'd rather die thinking that his childe might, in some small way, miss him. What he couldn't bear was the thought that Spike might turn his back on him and leave him to his fate.
So Angel crouched... And waited...
And then, there it was... Like an oasis in the desert... An open door opposite, with his childe's panic-stricken face looking out, those blue eyes wide with fear. Even now, when the end was so close, Angel couldn't help but notice his unbearably blue eyes, even if he didn't understand their expression.
This is it, he thought. This was the moment he'd been both praying for and dreading.
'If he closes that door now, I swear I'll just step out into the light.'
So he waited... His chocolate brown eyes never leaving those blue ones... Until they disappeared into the darkness...
Standing in the doorway, Spike had no idea what he thought he was going to do. It was daylight for fuck sake.
Then, as his eyes adjusted to the harsh light, he saw him. Huddled in the rear alcove of the crypt opposite, was Angel, his dark eyes burning into Spike's own.
Would Spike *ever* understand his Sire?
Why had Angel even left in the first place, so close to sunrise? And why was he now crouched, minutes from death and a raised voice away from salvation, but hadn't made a sound?
Even after a century apart, Spike realized he should have known better than to expect the souled one to simply walk away from what had just happened. Too much brooding, not enough action. That was his problem. Spike guessed that now it was all up to him. If he saved Angel, then maybe...
Stepping away from the light, he reached for his 'traveling-round- Sunnydale-by-day' blanket, which was just inside the doorway.
He balled it up tightly and whispered a silent prayer before throwing it as hard as he could.
It landed a few inches from Angel's feet, but Angel didn't move. He simply sat looking at it, as if he had no idea how it was supposed to help.
'Jesus, do I have to do everything myself,' Spike muttered out loud, exasperated. But he knew what Angel was waiting for. Like he said, too much brooding...
Aiming for an air of casual nonchalance, Spike called out, 'You might wanna put that on Pet, if you're gonna make it back over here in one piece...'
It was all the encouragement Angel needed to hear. Grabbing for the blanket, wincing as his hand was thrust briefly into the sunlight, Angel threw it over his head and made a dash for the sanctuary of Spike's open doorway.
He threw himself inside so violently that he didn't even see that Spike was still in the doorway. He ran full pelt into the blonde vampire, knocking him backwards and landing on the crypt floor, slightly smoking, but otherwise unharmed.
Crawling out from under the blanket, Angel hesitantly met the gaze of his childe, who was sitting, slightly dazed, in the middle of the floor.
'You stupid sodding wanker!' Spike yelled, getting up and dusting himself down 'You were nearly toast out there! Next time you wanna kill yourself, do it in your own bloody town!'
He marched angrily across the room, and for the second time in as many hours, Angel watched helplessly as Spike quickly disappeared down the ladder and out of sight.
For a split second, Angel had thought Spike saved him because he cared... Because he had felt the subtle change in their endless relationship too. But now he realized that he'd been wrong. He just hadn't want Angel dusted on his own doorstep...
Which left them with nothing to do except wait out the long daylight hours together. He hoped that Spike would stay down there until sunset, so he could slip away unnoticed and get the hell back to LA, to try and forget that last night ever happened.
OK - So he was at *least* back inside. That was a definite improvement. And it wasn't like he'd be going anywhere for a while.
So why couldn't Spike say what he was really feeling? Why, when his singed sire had come tumbling in through the door, had he yelled at him and stormed off? When what he really wanted to do was grab hold of him and make him promise never to do anything so bloody stupid again...
Spike sighed deeply out of habit and contemplated the ceiling for the second time that morning. God - he hated all this brooding, it wasn't his style. This was more Angel's domain. It made Spike's head hurt... Not to mention his heart...
Was this what it was like to have a soul? To get all these human feelings and emotions? Spike had always told himself that the only reason he helped out the Slayer and her Scoobies was because he needed to get fed. He just chose to ignore the feelings of pride, satisfaction and achievement he got when they defeated evil, or averted the apocalypse - again.
He knew that it was Angel's soul that drove him to spend his existence fighting the big bad. Hell! He'd *been* that big bad on more than one occasion.
Was it possible that his chip was the electrical equivalent of a soul?
His head throbbed... He couldn't think any more... He pulled the covers over his head and let sleep wash over his exhausted body.
Hours had passed. Angel sensed that the sun had probably peaked by now and was beginning its slow descent to the west. Too slowly.
He'd been unable to get any sleep... Mainly because there was nothing left to sleep on that wasn't made of stone or broken into several pieces. But also because his mind wouldn't still, however tired his body was. Angel had spent the vast majority of the morning watching the exit that Spike had taken earlier. In the vain hope that he might return from his... his...
It suddenly occurred to Angel that he didn't actually know what was down there. He'd never visited Spike's place before last night, and hadn't really been in the mood for a guided tour at the time. Cautiously, he took a few steps forward and peered into the darkness.
It had been quiet down there for hours, and he was sure that Spike was asleep by now. Carefully, using every ounce of his vampire stealth, Angel slowly descended the ladder.
Upstairs, Angel had found that the crypt was lit by a number of indirect sources during the day, making it much brighter than you would expect. Down here, there was only the soft glow of a few candles, and he stood quietly at the bottom of the ladder, taking in every detail.
The lower level was as basic as the upper, but with the obvious advantage of not having had a sire and childe wage world war three through it. It contained little more than a place for Spike to store his clothes - what there was of them, and a bed. His eyes gravitated towards the end of the chamber and fell upon his childe's bed.
It was probably the *exact* opposite of what Angel imagined Spike to sleep on. A very simple metal frame had been constructed to support the mattress, with longer poles at the bed head, creating a semi four poster effect. Soft drapes had been carefully hung over the poles. The overall effect was slightly magical in the gentle illumination of the candles.
Briefly, Angel wondered if this whole scene had once been created for the benefit of Buffy. Then he realized that he didn't actually care one way or the other, because what he saw next would have taken his breath away, if there'd been any there to take.
In the middle of the bed, fully dressed but delicately wrapped in the sheets, lay his achingly beautiful childe. Angel gazed in total wonder upon Spike's sleeping face. It was one of pure innocence, one that looked so much more incredible now it wasn't twisted with rage and hurling insults at Angel's own. It was a face that he had loved from the first moment he had ever set eyes on it, and in the last twelve hours, he had managed to fall in love with it all over again. With Spike himself.
God, did he really love him? His emotions felt as thought they had been washed on a spin cycle, so dizzy that he wasn't sure of anything anymore. The only thing he knew for certain was that he had to hold Spike, the need to touch him again was overwhelming.
If he was really careful...
Slowly, silently, gently, Angel climbed on to the bed.
It was a wonderful dream, so vivid and so real that Spike didn't want to wake up. He concentrated on keeping his eyes tightly shut so that it wouldn't dissolve.
'Cause in his dream, Angel was here. Not upstairs, desperate for sunset so he could leave, but here, in his bed. Not brooding about using their sire/childe relationship for revenge, but here, stroking his cool skin. And it felt so good.
Yeah, he couldn't deny that the sex had been bloody brilliant too. It always had been, Angel was a fantastic shag. But this... this was different. There had never been this kind of intimacy in anything they'd done before. And Spike wanted it so much. Not that he'd ever admit it to anyone, he still had a rep as the 'Big Bad' to uphold, but this was a dream, right? Where you could live out your fantasies and they couldn't hurt you? Where you could experience that which will never happen in reality...?
Ohh... He was surfacing, coming back to the reality he'd been trying so hard to stay away from. The one where Angel wasn't in his bed...
Except in this one, he was.
Unless Spike had started to hallucinate, Angel was lying there facing him, gently stroking his arm, those deep brown eyes tightly closed.
He couldn't bear the thought that this gorgeous vamp, who was touching him so tenderly, could be a figment of his overworked imagination. He had to know if he was real or not. Spike felt that if he gently reached out and tried to stroke back, only to have this Angel melt away under his touch, he might just go insane. Best get it over with quickly...
Quickly drawing back his hand, he punched Angel on the nose...
The sharp pain ricocheted through Angel's head.
His eyes flew open as he went into game face, ready to challenge his attacker. But all he saw was Spike's slightly bemused face looking at him. He smoothed his features out again.
Despite the fact that he'd been lost in the feel of Spike's sleeping form only a few seconds earlier, the painful awakening had put him on the defense, rather than immediately worrying what Spike might think that his sire was doing in his bed.
'What the fuck are you doing, you bleached idiot?'
'Oh... It is you then,' came the confusing reply.
As he looked at Spike, who was now sitting up and grinning from ear to ear, it occurred to Angel that he was not being yelled at anymore. True, he had been punched on the nose for no apparent reason, but Spike wasn't telling him to leave. In fact Spike looked positively ecstatic to see him there.
Would Angel *ever* understand his childe?
He figured he had just one chance to get this right. Taking a deep breath that he didn't need, Angel began the speech that he'd been running through his head for the last hour or so...
'Look, I need to say this and I need you to listen, then I'll go if you want, but I just want...'
'Oh shut up, you bloody annoying poof!'
Spike silenced the rest of Angel's carefully prepared speech by launching himself at the older vampire and attaching himself to his lips.
Angel feared he might melt away into nothing... It was a risk he decided to take.
This wasn't a dream.
This wasn't a hallucination.
This was real.
He could feel Angel's hands in his hair, on his neck, his chest, waist - God, the man was part vampire, part octopus!
He could feel Angel's cool lips on his own, the touch of Angel's tongue against his own, sending sparks down his spine and setting fire to his crotch...
He never wanted this kiss to end. It didn't have to, it wasn't like they needed to breathe or anything. Also he knew that when they did come up for unnecessary air, he might have to explain punching Angel's nose, but... Fuck! If Angel kept doing *that*, he'd never be in a fit state to explain anything ever again...
Many, many minutes later, the embrace was eventually broken. Spike sat back on the bed and looked hesitantly into Angel's eyes... OK, this was where it could all go tits up. He steeled himself for his sire's reaction.
'Fuck,' breathed Angel, 'that was amazing.'
There were so many thoughts running through Spike's head, so many things he wanted to say, so much he wanted to do. He settled for recapturing Angel's mouth with his own. As they sank down onto the bed and tangled themselves in the sheets, it proved to be a popular decision.
He thought that he might need to pinch himself to make sure that this was really happening, but the feeling of Angel's hands on his body was enough to convince Spike that it was. Insistently, he caught hold of Angel's hand and led it to his belt buckle, wanting to let him know that it was OK this time, but Angel pulled away.
'No, Spike. Not just yet. Not after...,' he trailed off.
Spike groaned and rolled over onto his stomach, feeling like a ridiculously horny teenager whose parents just got home early. Like he said - too much brooding...
Breaking away from yet another passionate tumble in Spike's sheets, Angel knew his resolve was in severe danger of crumbling. But being immortal... they had nothing if not time...
No, even the pouting would not change his mind... no matter how much his childe looked up at him through those ridiculously long lashes and stuck out his incredibly biteable lower lip... No...
God - he swore that Angelus had *never* been so susceptible to those piercing blue eyes... and that amazingly tempting bulge in Spike's jeans... But then Angelus had been a psychotic killing machine with a penchant for convents and submissive blondes. He could see that this - whatever *this* might turn out to be - would work very differently.
And something told him that control might be an issue... or possibly several issues.
'How did you find out?'
Spike's voice broke his concentration. He turned and looked blankly at him.
'Buffy.' A slight hesitation, 'How did you find out that we'd... y'know...?'
'Oh... Overheard a couple of Ronove demons in a karaoke bar...'
Spike was trying to keep the smirk off his face. Angel figured that the smirk would win eventually. He waited. After four seconds, Spike collapsed into fits of uncontrolled laughter.
'Ohhh... Please... Tell me you didn't... No...' he went off into further hysterics.
Oh, he'd pay for this... Peroxided little shit...
'That's a very long and very different story,' Angel sighed and gave Spike his best 'you-are-trying-my-patience' look. It still worked.
'Sorry.' His laughter subsided into the occasional chuckle. 'Please... I am curious as to how good news travels so fast.'
Angel continued. 'I heard these demons talking about the Slayer, just caught my attention. Heard them say that she'd got a thing for fucking the undead these days, but only the ones with something wrong with them. Put two and two together - came up with you.'
'And how did you...?' Spike gestured to his head, indicating the chip.
'Giles,' Angel answered simply.
'Shit. Good news really *does* travel fast,' he muttered.
Angel didn't think that now was the time to mention his regular phone calls to the ex-watcher. How he often called to make sure that life on the hellmouth hadn't got too out of hand. How he sometimes called just to hear how everyone was...
From across the bed, Spike sighed deeply. He sounded... weary. Now was the time...
'Well,' he heard Angel say, lightly, 'all we gotta figure out now is what we're gonna tell Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn...'
'What?' Spike looked aghast. 'You come over here hell bent on revenge, clout me seven ways from Sunday, trash my crypt and end up fucking me into a tomb - And you're worried about what to tell the help?'
He shook his head, sadly. 'What ever happened to 'mind-your-own-fucking-business' as an acceptable explanation...?'
Angel launched himself across the bed, grabbing him and pulling him down into a crushing embrace. Spike found himself nose to nose with his unfeasibly strong sire, staring straight into those demonically dark eyes. Oh-oh, he felt Angelus hovering dangerously close to the surface, best to keep smiling and say nothing.
Angel's words were slow and controlled, like he was speaking to a six year old. 'We have to work out what to tell them when I turn up back in LA with *you* in tow. How else am I supposed to explain you away? A holiday souvenir?'
Spike chuckled, in spite of himself. Partly at the thought of Angel taking home anything that even closely resembled this blonde vamp as a souvenir... But mostly in the knowledge that Angel, in a strange half-arsed way, had asked him to go back to LA with him.
He hoped that his chuckle had told Angel in the same half-arsed way, that he'd be more than happy to take some time out in LA. He had a strange feeling that being with *this* incarnation of Angel could be a *lot* of fun...
In the semi darkness of the guttering candles, they lay side by side. Gently, their fingers entwined together, unconsciously laying a claim to each other that no one else could see.
Angel's voice gently intruded the oh-so-comfortable silence...
'So... The punching of the nose...?'