Also Comes in Strange
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Title: Proof
Authors: Tania  & Josey
Summary: No healing happens overnight.
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Angel/Spike
Notes: This was written as a round robin over the course of two days, and while of course not a song fic a great deal of inspiration came from Depeche Mode.
Warning: SPOILERS for Damage but not You're Welcome, this is the interlude between.
Feedback welcome here or at our Live Journals (http://www.livejournal.com/users/itsabigrock or http://www.livejournal.com/users/sangpassionne )


Spike hesitated outside the door, checking over his offerings one last time before knocking. A six-pack of beer in one hand, his fingers hooked awkwardly through the carry handle. Beer bought with money he'd ended up scrounging from Harm 'cos apparently Doyle's handouts didn't stretch further than a place to rest his head. In the other and securely tucked in a folder, a sheaf of papers lifted from Percy's office but feeling like a dead weight in his hand. And it was, of a sort, being a list of all his movements as logged by Wolfram and Hart.

He didn't so much mind the eyes on him, knew that it all got back to Angel whether he minded or not. What got Spike ruffled was knowing that he was out risking life and half his limbs while Angel sat behind a desk and tried to convince his little squad of adorers that Spike was expendable. He figured it was time Angel leafed through the proof that he was doing more than just walking around in daddy's shoes, he was filling Angel's damned shoes out quite well. So he was here, waiting for the door to open, and hoping to find his grandsire in a generous mood, because Spike didn't have the dexterity to open these cans on his own yet.

"Go away, Spike."

Sodding miserable git hadn't even opened the door. Grinding his teeth and quashing the immediate flash of temper that flared, Spike knocked and called out, "Come on, mate. Give us a break. Bury the hatchet and all that rot."

"Why," Angel answered, swinging the door open and fixing Spike with a flat glare. "When the only place I want to bury it is in your head."

Pushing past him into the penthouse, Spike headed straight for the kitchen area and slammed the beers down on the counter. "That's why, you pillock. Brought a peace offering. The least you can do is help me drink it."

"You have got to be kidding," Angel said, the still open door in his hand.

"Do I look like I'm kidding? Come on Angel, you, me, some really bad beer and some, uh, light reading?" Spike waved the folder in the air for a second before losing his grasp and sending a shower of paper onto the floor. "Bollocks."

"You're picking that up," Angel said, slamming the door a little harder than he had meant to before joining Spike in the kitchen and separating a single beer from the six-pack. Cracking open the can, he took a long drink and stared expectantly at Spike. "Well?"

Spike glared back at him, tracking the movement of can to mouth jealously, unable to bring himself to ask for help. Finger deliberately tracing the top of the can, Angel narrowed his eyes and waited.

"Oh, you bastard," Spike snarled eventually. "You bloody well know what's what, and there you stand, like god all bleedin' mighty-"

"Having a problem, Spike? Hands not all they should be?" The smirk accompanying the words was worthy of Angelus on a bad day and, casting a glance between Angel and the floor, Spike decided the floor was the lesser of two evils.

He dropped to his knees and tried his best to push the littered papers into one large pile, painstakingly pressing a fingernail under the pile and gingerly trying to squeeze enough to lift them. Each time the pile slipped from his grasp and by his third attempt he was nearly sweating with the effort. He dared not look at Angel, had no desire to see mockery in his eyes, so he kept his focus on the task at hand. He had nearly got it when Angel swept down and grabbed the entire stack.

"Oh for fuck's sake," Angel muttered, throwing the papers on the counter and cracking another beer open. "Do you need me to feed this to you too?" He asked coldly, holding the can out for Spike to take.

It was the final straw. Not able to fight and unwilling to start anything he couldn't finish, he was buggered either way and didn't plan hanging around playing Angel's punch-line for the night. Burning with humiliation, Spike headed for the door. He was halfway there when Angel's voice, quiet and genuine, pulled him up short. "I never thanked you, for trying to help her. You could have walked away."

Spike stopped, shoulders slumping. He was tired of all this. The push and shove. Friends one minute, enemies the next. Maybe it was about time Angel heard a few truths.

"No," he said, "letting a rabid slayer go cavorting around wasn't an option. And you lot were too busy getting the corporate machine off its ass to give a toss. People's champion here, mate. Remember? Or haven't the flunkies been keeping you up to date with the recentlies."

"Is that why you came here tonight? To give me a status report? I've seen all of these." Angel turned several of the reports over, quickly scanning over details of alleyway rescues and saved damsels.

"No, don't think you have." Spike turned back to face Angel, searching the air for words that wouldn't come. He took a few steps until he was again by Angel's side. "See this one?" He asked, pointing to the top sheet, "That happened two blocks from here. This one..." he pressed a finger to the pile, sliding several sheets off the top, "That was four buildings down. You're so wrapped up in your shiny new life you can't be bothered to look out the window and see the people who really need you. Can't see the ones right in front of you."

"And you can?" Angel answered, making a point of shuffling easily through the papers. He selected two that suited his purpose and waved them one at a time under Spike's nose. "Amy-Lou Cosby. Employee of one Jeffrey Saskin, known felon. Specializes in magical surveillance and uses her expertise to gather information for her bosses protection rackets. The vampire that attacked her was hired by one of Saskin's victims.

"This one? Frank Anderson. Do you want to see the list of assaults? His ex-wife's testimony?" Replacing the papers, he picked up his beer and took a long swig before saying, "I see them Spike. That's part of the problem. Now I really see them."

"So you're saying we should be able to pick and chose who we save?" Spike was completely taken aback. "Never pegged you to decide one life was worth more than another. Didn't think I needed to check for rap sheets before I starting swinging the old wood around." Spike was about to continue when he noticed the look of frustration that had clouded Angel's face a moment before had given way to a smile. "What are you grinning about?"

"Just never knew you to think about anything before you started swinging your wood around." Another smile curled around Angel's lips for just a second before bursting into a rapturous laugh.

"Pratt," Spike stated flatly as he tried to grasp the long open beer can from the counter with both hands, an effort that only made Angel laugh harder. Finally he managed to get a grip, dipping his head to catch the lip of the can and raising it to his mouth.

Angel found the laughter dying in his throat, an unexpected wave of sympathy taking its place. There was something wrong with a world where Spike, inveterate quaffer, struggled to drink his beer. And if he was struggling with a can, how the hell had he managed for the past week? Presumably someone had been there for him. Fred, maybe. She took an interest in such things.

The can slipped and Angel's hand shot out to catch it before he'd even realised he was moving. His focus was so determined on preventing a spill that it took him a moment to notice Spike flinching back and knocking a chair flying. Angel sighed, set the can on the counter and stooped to right the furniture.

"I wasn't going to hit you," he said.

"Force of habit, I guess." Spike wanted to laugh it off, but instead found his voice matching the sadness in Angel's. He stared at the beer, contemplating a second attempt at a drink for a moment before turning away from the kitchen. He'd only made it half a step when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Pivoting around, his lips met with lukewarm beer that tasted like manna from heaven.

Tilting his head back, Spike accepted the offering, refusing to contemplate the intimacy of the act. Angel's arm tightened around his shoulders, pressing him into the larger man's side and his hands rose, hovering either side of the can like a babe with a bottle. Couldn't grip it, though; useless bloody chunks of un-cooperative dead flesh. Another week at least, the doc said, before he'd be back to anything like normal.

Distracted, Spike missed Angel tipping the can higher and his mouth filled with a sudden gush of warm beer. He swallowed trying to keep up, missed the next one and choked, the excess liquid escaping down his chin and onto his shirt.

"You git," he spluttered "Do you have any idea how hard it is to get in and out of this thing?" Spike tried pulling the wet material away from his chest with little effect and, finally defeated, stalked to the sitting area and threw himself onto the over stuffed couch. He sank into the cushions, wishing he could sleep the week away while his body rebuilt itself.

Angel followed Spike and sat on the arm of the chair opposite him. He held the beer out again but Spike waved him off. "Won't help anyway, certainly won't get me healing any quicker and actually makes it damned hard to use what little grip I have in these stupid things."

They stared at each other for a moment, Spike squirming in his wet clothes, Angel sipping at his beer until; "You want a clean shirt?" Angel asked. "Cause I can." His voice trailed off as he gestured half-heartedly towards the bedroom.

Spike narrowed his eyes, studying Angel's face for any sign of a wind-up and found nothing. "Yeah, alright," he said, and as Angel rose to get it called after him, "and, err. thanks, mate. For going above and beyond, with the beer and such."

"No, problem," Angel shrugged, and left the room.

Staring at his closet, Angel realized he didn't really have many shirts without buttons, no t-shirts at all, so he grabbed a burgundy sweater and returned to the living room. He stopped in the hallway, just out of Spike's sight and stifled a snigger as he watched Spike struggling to pull his shirt over his head. He had managed to get his jacket off but the shirt was proving much more of a challenge, the more he yanked the louder his swearing became.

Finally Angel couldn't take any more. He tossed the clean shirt over the arm of the couch and slid his fingers under the thin cotton, fingernails lightly scraping up Spike's sides as he lifted the shirt over his head. The scent of spilt beer coupled with the lingering aroma of an antiseptic hospital cleaner assaulted Angel's senses and he threw the shirt across the room, where it landed on the tiled kitchen floor.

"God, that thing stinks," Spike said, unconsciously echoing Angel's thoughts. "Glad to get out of it."

Angel wasn't listening; he was too busy looking. The scars on Spike's forearms were no more than slightly raised pink lines, the skin healed faster than nerves with their kind, but they still bore the grey and grubby looking traces of tape. Worse was the now overpowering scent of iodine and shaman's herbs, strong enough to make him grimace.

"Sorry to offend your sensitive nostrils. I woulda tried showering if I knew we were getting naked."

The comment was delivered with a tinge of remorse and no eye contact, and yet again Angel found himself feeling sorry for Spike. It was one thing to be unable to fight, quite another to have to sit in your own stink, plus that of whatever demon you happened to have come into contact with that day, because you couldn't even turn the shower knobs.

"Do you..." Angel paused and let out a sharp laugh, "do you want me to help you wash them off?"

Slowly reaching the point of total humiliation, Spike was tempted to tell him to sod off, but when he took an exasperated breath and caught a whiff of his own scent, he gave a slow silent nod.

Angel couldn't resist a grin and, rolling his eyes, Spike returned it with an added, "Wanker," before striding off in the direction of the bathroom.

"At least I can," Angel called after him, taking a moment to bag the offending T and stick it in the trash. When he reached the bathroom door, Spike had gotten as far as taking his boots off and was staring helplessly down at his button fly, the expression on his face completely miserable.

"Want a hand with that?" Angel asked and then, realising what he'd said, could have kicked himself. "Not that you-" he tried again, only to get interrupted.

"Want is not the word I would use," Spike grimaced then acquiesced. "Yeah.please."

Stalking up to Spike, his movements' fluid-smooth, Angel slowly slid his hand inside the worn denim and pushed his thumb against the copper button, releasing it and moving down to the next. The backs of his fingers brushed against the soft undergarments that sheathed Spike's flesh, each loosened button taking him closer to forbidden skin and trembling thighs. Spike cast his gaze around the soft wood of the walls, the useless toilet, shower curtains, anything but the fingers deftly moving at his groin.

For his part Angel couldn't look anywhere else.

It had been forever since he was this close to Spike and he'd nearly forgotten what a body he had. Whip-lean, defined muscles, smooth pale skin that missed being translucent by a single shade. And the things he could do with it.

With the sense memory came all the others, and Angel's mind filled rapidly with images from a century or more past and an angry wilful young vampire that Angelus had taken such pride in destroying.

When Angel's hands had been stalled at the last button for more than a full minute, Spike couldn't help but turn his eyes towards his grandsire. "What's the hold up?"

"Sorry, got distracted." Angel yanked his hands away and pulled back the shower curtain, focussing on getting the shower started and up to temperature.

"Not like it's something you haven't seen before." Spike cocked his head to the side and Angel couldn't help but notice the daring lift of his eyebrows, "right?" He then slipped his hands over his hips and looped them under the thin white band that edged his black briefs, pulling them down to his ankles and kicking off both pants and trousers. He spread his arms out to the sides, the perfect image of a martyred god, naked and shaking with power. "See, same as I've always been."

As Spike turned his back and stepped into the shower, Angel came close to bolting. The water cascaded like a sheer veil over Spike's body; the steam swirling, half-revealing tantalising glimpses of flexing buttocks and back. With clumsy hands, Spike scrubbed at his hair, freeing curls from their prison of gel and letting them spring damply around the nape of his neck. The line of his spine, drizzled with droplets, made Angel's mouth water to taste and lick, and taste some more.

It was too much. The scent of hospital detritus had vanished, replaced by the exquisite aroma of familial arousal that had Angel harder than a nose full of amyl nitrate. There was no way he could go through with this. He was gonna lose control and do something Spike would regret in the morning.

Angel took a step towards the door, hand on the knob, needing to escape.

"Hey," Spike whined from the shower. "The whole point to this little exercise was you helping me. Now stop being such a prude and get in here, this bloody shampoo bottle isn't gonna open itself." Angel watched him through the opaque curtain for what seemed like an eternity, gathering the strength to unbutton his own shirt and slip out of his trousers. "Not getting any younger here."

"Yeah, well, you're not getting any older either." Reserve gone, Angel stepped out of his undergarments and placed an apprehensive hand on the shower curtain, slowly pulling it back. A burst of warmth and steam hit his face even as his breath caught in his throat, the first step was the hardest, but once inside the shower Angel immediately grabbed a wash cloth from the small shower rack, saturating it with the sweet smelling soap. He spent only the briefest of seconds working it into a lather before pressing it to the small of Spike's back, watching the bubbles blaze a path down the perfect curves of flesh and bone that made up Spike's ass.

"Think that bit's clean now."

Spike's voice called Angel back from his reverie and he looked up into mirth filled eyes.

"I'm just gonna make sure," Angel grinned and dropped a kiss onto Spike's shoulder, keeping their gazes locked. What he saw made his smile broaden; the tiniest flair of nostrils as Spike took in his scent, and pupils dilating until only the merest margin of blue remained. It was all the encouragement he needed. If there were regrets in the morning, they could face them then. Right now this was what they both wanted.

Angel trailed the cloth over Spike's hips, moving up his chest and running light circles over unseen but clearly stiff nipples. Spike leaned back against Angel's chest, resting his head into the crook of Angel's neck offering a better view, encouraging his exploration. Angel carefully ran suds over shoulders and then down Spike's right arm, gently washing over the tender scar and down to fingers that could not fully appreciate the care he gave them.

Spike closed his eyes, trying to focus on the flood of sensations that were washing over him, small moans escaping from his lips each time Angel pressed forward, aiming his attention at some new bit of skin. Goosebumps formed and receded with each pass of the cloth, Spike felt weightless, Angel holding him up and allowing him to exist only as a body to be worshipped and adored.

And then light fingertips were on his shoulder and Spike flattened his palms against the tile as Angel pushed him forward, face to wall, hot breath to spine.

A second later Angel dropped to his knees and, focusing on the trembling flesh of Spike's thighs, elicited yet more moans from above him..

It was all Angel could do not to bite. The feel of skin under his mouth, the faint quivers as he placed open mouthed kisses and used the flat of his tongue to lave away the droplets of water. He was drowning and yet it was still not enough. His thumbs rubbed a path up Spike's inner thighs, kneading and cajoling them to open for him. As they parted, he leaned forward, resting his forehead in the curve of Spike's back, his thumbs meeting and pushing apart those perfect hand-fulls of muscle. And here was where he wanted to be. As close to home as he had got in a century.

He brushed a single fingertip downwards, feeling, rather than hearing, Spike gasp as it passed oh-so-gently over his hole and continued onward between his legs. The tremble in Spike's thighs became more pronounced as Angel dipped, his mouth following the path of his finger, tongue teasing and touching, reacquainting itself with this familiar playground.

At the first unpolluted taste of his lover, desire flooded Angel's mouth and he could wait no longer. With all the finesse of a horny teenager, he plunged his tongue into Spike's body, grabbing mobile hips as Spike bucked back against him, swearing up a storm. Now he was surrounded by texture and scent. Satiny skin and muscle, lust and excitement. It filled his senses, making him blind and deaf to anything but the now.

Spike wanted desperately to form words, tell Angel how he loved the feel of his tongue, digging, probing long neglected nerves, but only the most guttural of sounds formed on his lips as he rocked his body against the insistent rhythm of Angel's touch. He was barely coherent enough to notice strong hands turning him around, a hungry mouth taking nips at his hips each inch of the way, lips curling around his cock, swallowing it whole. He had no time to catch his breath, Angel worked his length to painful stiffness in mere seconds. Spike gripped at wet brown hair, wishing he could pull and force it, he had to be content with running soft trails through the long locks and scraping his nails over the nape of Angel's neck.

"Angel," Spike was finally able to whisper, the name so long disassociated with this act, and yet now, here in this moment it felt like they had never parted. As Angel moaned into his length and squeezed at his body Spike revelled in the remembrance of nights long ago and the current sensations, wanting nothing more than to feel Angel inside him again. He reluctantly pressed at Angel's shoulders, pulling him up to standing. "Angel," he said again, before attacking his mouth, at a loss for anything else to say.

The desperate need in his boy's voice and mouth was like a fist around Angel's heart. Whatever their past animosities, this night was for much more than simple recrimination and they had all the time in the world. Spreading one hand on the centre of Spike's back, Angel pulled their bodies together, using his other hand to grip blond curls. Their lips crashed and collided, tongues duelling as they fought to devour each other, groins pressing tight, thrusting hard. Within seconds, Angel felt the familiar tensing of muscle in Spike's back and broke the kiss, opting to see the expression on his lover's face as he came.

Spike moaned, protesting the separation until Angel leaned forward, gripped his cock and, stripping it hard, whispered, "Come for me, Will."

"Oh god," Spike breathed out as Angel's hand tightened around him and he scrabbled for a grip on Angel's shoulders, something - anything - to keep him upright. Wide-eyed and gasping, Spike's pupils flashed black as he came crying out Angel's name and spraying Angel's chest with pearly drops that sluiced away under rivulets of hot water.

Spike felt Angel's grin widen against his shoulder and his own mouth curved in sympathy as Angel's arms wrapped firmly round him. "I want you," he said roughly, reaching between them and taking Angel's cock into his hand, growling at being unable to achieve more than a weak grasp.

"I'm right here," Angel groaned as Spike latched onto his neck, suckling at wet skin, raising gooseflesh and purple bruises. Spike began to turn his back, but Angel stopped him with a gentle hand. Instead Angel grabbed Spike behind the knees and lifted him against the tile, taking Spike's full weight by planting his own feet firmly against the shower mat. Grabbing a handful of conditioner, Angel quickly coated his length and entered Spike once again.

Trapped between tile and flesh, his body still coming down from one climax, and yet rapidly climbing towards another, Spike threw his head back and cursed a blue-streak at the ceiling.

"Fuck, yesss!" he hissed, using his heels against Angel's rump, his useless hands trying without success to pull Angel's head closer.

Sensing the desire in Spike's hands Angel leaned forward, latching on to one taut nipple and sucking hard as he pounded into Spike's body. Their fangs dropped simultaneously; Angel's dragging across Spike's chest leaving pinkish water in their wake, Spike's tearing into his own lip as he fought not to let the words he longed to say escape, the ones that spoke of need so deep it could never be fulfilled.

Torrents of steamy water pouring down his back, cool flesh encircling his entire body, desperate hands tracing over his shoulders and face, brow and mouth, Angel was lost in the sensations assaulting his body. Cohesive thoughts were beyond him, only 'fuck me' 'take me' 'need you' remained. He danced hard kisses and bites over his lover, some part of him waiting for Spike to recoil from his touch, each time surprised when instead he was met with returned kisses and thrusts. Spike mouthed next to his ear, words just inaudible under the steady hum of the showerhead, yet Angel knew their meaning.

"Perfect."

It couldn't be perfect happiness, but in this moment it was perfect union. Union of flesh and souls, mixed destinies forcing them together in the one way that had never needed explanation. This just was, it always was as it should be, overpowering, leaving them both whimpering as they released within and over and under each other, shaking bursting grasping as they came again and again. This was as it must be between them.

~Finis~

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