"Angel. I'm surprised to see you," the watcher said, his arm a barrier between his body and the doorframe. "Was there something more you wanted?"
Angel shifted his feet and stared down at his hands clasped in front of him, knuckles still bruised from the fight a few hours earlier. "I just wanted to check that things… y'know, the vengeance spirit, did he…?
"Buffy is fine, if that's what you wanted to know."
An awkward smile broke across Angel's face and Giles stopped himself from going any further. Buffy's apparent non-reaction to the news that Angel was in town suggested a return visit and he had no intention of queering his slayer's pitch.
"Thank you," Angel said, turning away. "If there's ever anything I can do…"
Giles' hesitated, considering his options. Letting the vampire into his home earlier had been a calculated risk and the air still reeked with the sweet scent of herbs, burned as an offering during the simple reversal spell. If he invited Angel in again it may be a week or more before he could replenish his supply and perform it over. On the other hand…
The night had already swallowed the dark figure when Giles called after him, "Actually, there may be something."
Angel stopped, retracing his steps until he stood once more on the threshold of Giles' home, the yellow light from the small desk lamp burnishing his pale face with false life.
"We had an extra guest for dinner," Giles said before his thoughts became too entangled with memories of Jenny and exactly what it meant to let this creature into his house. "An unwelcome one, I must assure you. However, considering the circumstances, we had little choice but to invite him in-"
"Invite?" Angel repeated, straightening his shoulders and transforming within an eye blink from humble supplicant to warrior of the people. "A vampire?"
"Not just any vampire, as you will see. Angel, he has information we need and I think it entirely possible you may succeed in retrieving it for us."
"Oh, for pity's sake, Rupert, invite the tosser in or shut the bloody door. Some of us are trying to watch the telly."
Angel shook his head at Giles and took a step back. "You are not dumping him on me. I mean really, I'm all for penance but this," he peered inside the door to confirm what he already knew - Spike tied to a chair - and feared, "this is cruel even for you."
"Angel, I invite you in," Giles said with an unsympathetic stare.
"You know, I don't have to come in just because you invite me."
Giles grabbed Angel by the lapels and pulled him unceremoniously over the threshold. "You made him, now you're going to take care of him."
"Now you know that's not completely accurate, I didn't..." He stopped when Giles crossed his arms and obviously tuned him out.
"He's had some sort of device implanted in his head, he can't hurt humans, in a physical way," Giles muttered, "he is however the most annoying creature I have ever had the displeasure of knowing and I won't have him sitting in my flat while you are here. Now it's after midnight, I'm bloody well exhausted and you can just pick him up, chair and all for all I care, and get him out of here." Without another word he walked up the stairs, shaking his head at his unfortunate luck.
Angel didn't resort to carrying Spike chair and all, though he did stop long enough to pilfer some duct tape from Giles' stash. It was the only thing he could think of that would keep him sane - plus there was the whole issue of Spike threatening to scream `kidnap' if Angel didn't let him go. Angel just hoped that Giles would forgive him for borrowing his rather attractive Wilton rug.
Dumping the aforementioned carpet on the stone slabbed floor, Angel said, "We're here. If I unroll you, do you promise not to start yelling?"
Something unidentifiable that Angel chose to interpret as affirmative - it wasn't as though he had much choice - came from the roll of wool on the floor, and Angel gave it a tentative poke with his toe before shoving harder and standing back to let the rug unfurl and deposit a dishevelled Spike, Cleopatra style, against the sofa.
Spike flopped on the floor for a moment trying to figure out a way to get his hands untied from behind his back, push himself up onto his feet and kill Angel. Of course the planning in his head went much smoother in theory than practice. Five minutes later he was still trying to get to his knees, let alone his feet. His mouth was covered in sweat, lips unable to move under the strong tape but damn if he wasn't trying. He'd called Angel every name he could think of, although it was doing more to piss him off than Angel, who simply stared at him with that patented glazed over, unaffected look.
"I'll undo your hands if you'll play nice," Angel said once some of the fight had gone out of Spike.
Spike rolled onto his stomach, squirmed on the floor until his backside was facing Angel and raised his two fingers from his clenched fist in response.
"Fine. Well, I'm gonna look around, see if I left anything the last time I was here. I'll come check on you in a few hours. Oh, and hey, you might wanna roll about twenty feet towards the fireplace; when the sun comes through that window you won't want to be lying there." Angel started to leave the room, a small laugh escaping his lips as Spike renewed his attempts to break through the ropes binding his wrists.
"Annnnnjjee," Spike growled as loudly as the tape would allow him.
The sound stopped Angel, and he turned around with a dramatic sigh, letting his shoulders slump. "Are you talking to me?"
Spike's eyes shot daggers at Angel, and he reluctantly nodded his head.
"Do you promise to play nice?"
Another grudging nod of the head brought Angel back to Spike's side, and he knelt down to release the ropes. "If you don't, just remember I have chains in the bedroom and I'm not afraid to use them."
"I remember," Spike said as his tore the tape from his mouth, and then flexed his jaw to get it working again, rubbing his thumb into sore cramped muscles. "Not the sort of thing you forget in a hurry."
"Good. Hungry?" Angel asked, making for a cool-box stashed near the fireplace.
"Could do with a bite, yeah." Spike clambered to his feet and sauntered after him. When Angel offered him a polystyrene beaker of blood, he hesitated staring at it suspiciously.
"Pigs blood, Spike. It's what I eat and it's all I have, take it or leave it."
"Oh, I'll take it," he said, snatching the cup and flipping off the lid, sniffing it before taking a swig. "No problems there, just… Angel, the last time I saw you-"
"Don't try to apologise. You're only here because Giles wanted you out of his house. Believe me, if it was my decision, I'd have staked you on sight."
"So why the.." Spike held up the now empty container. "Never known you to be hot on the Geneva Convention."
Angel paused for a moment, trying to figure out exactly why he had agreed to take Spike. Chalking it up to midnight exhaustion, Angel took a sip of his own cup and shook his head.
"Tell me what happened."
"Well, after you and I got done playing," Spike looked to the floor hoping Angel was in the mood to take it as a joke, "I came back here to, um, mend my ways an' I got zapped by these soldier boys."
"They cut my fucking head open and stuck in some chip thing." Spike absently rubbed at the barely healed scar, "It's horrible, I try to bite and it sends bloody lightning bolts through my head."
"Just biting?" Angel asked, " I mean when does it go off?"
"As soon as I think about hurting someone."
Angel couldn't help but laugh. For someone like Spike who woke up plotting that had to be torture.
"But only on humans?"
"Yeah, I mean I haven't really tried it on anyone else, so I'm just guessing."
"Yeah it's a bleedin' nature special. So are you gonna help me or not?"
"Not," Angel said returning his empty cup to the cooler. "I'm sorry Spike but you're gonna have to learn to live with it. It's not like you haven't got help."
"Yeah, like you did with the soul. Not like you chased after us for years or anything. And if you think I'm gonna end up the slayer's lapdog, you've got another think coming, mate. First chance I get they'll be in so many pieces it'll take the bloody FBI to find them all."
"Be that as it may. But for now, you're safe and if Buffy doesn't want you dead I'm not going to kill you. Nor will I help you. This is her business, not mine."
Spike considered protesting, but really what was the point; Angel wasn't going to help him and so far the old man had been halfway decent. He couldn't resist a little dig though. "Like the vengeance whatsit. That why you stuck your nose in? Coming up to Sunnyhell like you own the place, creeping around behind the chit's back."
"I `stuck my nose in', Spike, because my seer had a vision. And I didn't tell Buffy because…" Angel couldn't finish. Why hadn't he told her? Because it would be too painful for her, like he had told Giles? Or because he was too much of a coward to face saying goodbye all over again.
"Don't have to explain. Saw the pair of you last year; bound to come to bad end what with the love and all. Slayers, vampires, not exactly a match made in heaven." Turning his back on Angel, Spike wandered over to the couch and slumped down, propping his booted feet on the coffee table. "Best off finding yourself a piece of demon ass in LA, soon take your mind off the slayer."
Angel followed him sitting at the other end of the long sofa and dropped his head into his hands. For a few minutes there was silence, just the sounds of the early dawn chorus and the distant noise of trucks between them. Then Angel sighed, looked up and said, "I wish it was that easy."
"Don't see why not. Chat up some nice bird and shag her blind. Not rocket science."
"You really in that big of a hurry to see Angelus back?"
"Sorry? What the hell does one have to do with the other?"
"You know, me, sex, badness."
"Thought you said that was all about perfect happiness and whathaveyou. I'm talking about fucking. You know, you, sex, fucking. Never said a word about it being perfect," Spike laughed at Angel's daftness.
"Just a fuck," Angel said pondering the idea, "I don't think I could."
"Have we met?" Spike reached a hand out to Angel; "I'm Spike, used to hang 'round a bloke called Angelus, fucked anything within fifty feet, dead or alive, yours truly included on a fairly regular basis."
"Ha ha," Angel deadpanned, taking the offered hand and giving it a harder than friendly squeeze.
Spike squeezed back and, gazing down at where they were touching, rubbed his thumb over the soft skin of Angel's hand. "Wanna give it a go?" he said quietly. "Not like I'm gonna complain if Angelus puts in an appearance. Least you'd know, for certain like."
Angel opened his mouth to say no, obviously. He refused to besmirch Buffy's memory by having sex with Spike, despite how good he was and how the memories of sharing his bed with him made Angel hard and… An image sprang into Angel's mind; Buffy outside the Espresso Pump talking to a good looking guy, smiling up at him, laughing, fingers hovering as though she wanted to reach out and touch. Touch like Spike was now, lazy tickling fingers over sensitive fingertips.
"S'ok if you don't want to," Spike was saying. "Not like I couldn't get anyone I wanted. Got `em queuing up round the block for a go at this, I can tell you. Not to mention-"
"I'll do it."
"- Harm and… What?"
"I said, I'll do it. I'll fuck you. Here. Now."
Angel was fairly certain the word "really" was coming out of Spike's mouth when their lips met, but he couldn't be sure because his mind was suddenly tingling and racing with doubts. Not that any doubt stood a chance when Spike was already pulling his ratty t-shirt off and flinging it to the ground and crawling into Angel's lap, biting at his lips and doing his best to suck the tongue right out of Angel's mouth.
There was a little stiffness in his body still, but then he had been shot six or seven times with arrows earlier that night, so Spike figured he was entitled to a few pained moans when Angel grabbed him around the waist and pressed their chests together. God he tasted good, Spike thought. Harmony had always tasted like bubble gum and frat boys, but Angel had none of that sweetness. It was all dark in here, and Spike loved it, always had. The way he kissed, the way his body curved in just the right places, hardened muscle against harder cock, Spike couldn't grind himself close enough.
Angel's shirt wasn't long for the floor, trousers following in kind. Sliding Spike off his lap and nearly ripping his jeans in his hurry to get them out of the way, Angel licked at the small arrow holes left by the Chumash attack, tasting blood tinged with an anger and frustration Angel hadn't tasted since William was first turned and hadn't yet mastered his own strength and preternatural skills. There was more than a hint of fear there too, again familiar in a way that sent Angel's mind racing back a century once again.
Sinking back onto the couch, he pulled Spike back into his lap and bent to take the tip of his already hard cock into his mouth, flicking his tongue deep into the slit and savouring the familiar taste. Spike bucked against him and Angel tightened his hold on Spike's hips guiding him into slow steady thrusts that set both of them moaning.
"Christ," Spike panted, bracing himself on the back of the couch and watching avidly as his length disappeared into Angel's hungry mouth, "Thought we were supposed to be testing your will power here, not mine." The touch of teeth set him shuddering and shaking his head, not ready to come yet, but rapidly getting there. Fingers prodded at his lips and he opened obligingly, sucking them in and wetting them thoroughly, running his tongue up, down and between, mimicking Angel's actions. Angel hummed, adding to the layers of sensation until Spike felt his skin was on fire and the upholstery shredded under his nails.
When Angel was satisfied, the fingers vanished, Spike's mouth making a wet pop as his lips closed on nothing, and then they were behind him, pushing against him, breeching him, sliding inside, finding that spot and pressing, stroking.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck. Angel, please." He couldn't have stopped the words if his life depended upon it, nor the thrust of his hips as he see-sawed between mouth and fingers, each touch sending him crawling further out of his skin, tingling, balls pulling up until-
Angel pulled his mouth away, using one hand to bring Spike to completion and catching the spurts of come with the other. That he had a good use for.
Guiding Spike's knees further apart, Angel eased him onto his come slicked cock, purring as silk-hard flesh surrounded him. Spike's intense gaze burned, hungry eyes at half-mast boring into Angel's, lips on the verge of words but not quite able to form anything beyond the occasional "oh, yeah" and "Fuck."
Angel tried to focus completely on the writhing body carrying out its demented experiment on his cock, but his thoughts kept travelling to his chest, waiting for the tell tale sign that he was about to lose his soul. It never came. His body tensed and arms clutched greedily at the back of Spike's neck, forcing their lips together again, his hips bucked up, driving deep into Spike's more than willing body, hands raced over hip and spine, but nothing stirred in his heart.
When he finally came Angel was nearly lost to the moment, thoughts of Angelus a million miles away.
"Told you," Spike mumbled into his neck, "no worries, just a fuck."
It was only Spike that made Angel come back to reality. Naked shaking Spike riding the last of his hardness, here in the cold mansion, Sunnydale and missions ordered by the Powers That Be.
Somehow Angel thought this might not have been what they had in mind.