Summary: Spike and Angel deal with the aftermath of the
Written for: redbrickrose
Angel is glaring at him. Angel is always glaring at him
these days. Spike stifles an expletive and pulls off his shirt.
“You’re in a hurry, mate,” he says as he crosses the
room to join Angel.
There’s no mistaking the set of Angel’s jaw, the
furrowed line between his brows: he’s pissed.
You’d’ve thought surviving an apocalypse would ease the
tension, but no, Angel’s wound tighter than a …Spike’s eyes suddenly
register the tented blanket at Angel’s crotch and he loses track of the
Not that shagging the stupid poof is a hardship, but
every once in a while Spike wishes it was his idea.
At night they patrol the streets. Los Angeles is a
wreck, but it could have been worse. It very nearly was. If Buffy and her
merry band of, well, Buffy-lites hadn’t shown up, it’s hard to say what
might have happened. Still, the casualties had been significant: Gunn and
Wes; Lorne was MIA; Lindsay was a planned and necessary loss; after the
battle even Illyria had said adieu.
Angel fights with precision, but it’s passionless
violence. Spike can’t really see the point. He always preferred a little
heart-pumping (so to speak) with his heart-staking. Spike has always been
cocky enough to believe that he and Angel were fairly evenly matched when
it came right down to it, but now he thinks that might not be true anymore.
It’s emotion that mucks up the works.
Now, on a street that looked as though it might have
been teleported from Baghdad, Spike watches Angel stake one, two, three
vampires without breaking the proverbial sweat.
“Nicely done,” he says, reaching into his pocket for his
Angel slants his gaze towards Spike but doesn’t speak.
“Course, I miss the days when there was actually a
little more back and forth. You know, a little he said, she said.”
Angel leans over to pick up his stake and wipe some vamp
dust from his boot.
“Is it absolutely necessary for you to give me the play
Spike lights the cigarette dangling from his lips and
inhales. “I actually have some pointers on form, too, if you’re
Spike shrugs. “Had enough?”
“Are you ever going to have enough?”
“Enough of what?” Angel asks.
“All this.” Spike spreads his arms wide, the lit end of
his Marlboro making a tiny red arc in the air.
Angel bites back a laugh. “I suppose you think there’s
something more,” he says. “Jesus, you really are the eternal optimist.”
“Well, you’ve got the eternal part right at any rate,”
They’ve moved back into the Hyperion. The lobby’s still
a mess, but they’ve fashioned a livable space in the basement. They dragged
a couple mattresses down from one of the rooms upstairs; there’s no direct
light to deal with; there’s easy access to the labyrinth of sewer tunnels.
Home sweet home.
It’s almost dawn when they get back. Spike twists the
top off a bottle of Dewar’s and takes a long swallow.
“You drink too much,” Angel observes.
“Could say the same about your moping, but what’s the
“There isn’t one,” Angel says. “That’s what I’ve been
trying to tell you.”
“Jesus,” Spike says, flopping into a rescued armchair.
“You really are thick.”
Angel reaches for the whiskey and tips the bottle into
his mouth. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and says: “Tell me,
Spike, is this how you’d imagined it? Us living in a fucking basement in
Los Angeles like two bachelor uncles.”
Oh, it’s gonna be one of those nights,” Spike thinks
“Honestly,” Spike says, “I thought I’d be on top more
often.” He shrugs and holds out his hand for the bottle.
Angel hesitates before handing it back to Spike.
“This isn’t the way it was supposed to be,” Angel says
dropping onto the mattress.
Spike laughs. “What? You didn’t honestly think any of
this was going to end well?” he waits for Angel’s reply and then adds, “You
and Buffy and a white picket fence?”
“It’s what you thought.”
“Maybe,” Spike concedes, “without the fence bit.”
“It isn’t even about Buffy,” Angel says.
“There’s a first.”
Spike cocks an eyebrow and gets up off the chair.
Spike lights another cigarette and reaches for the whiskey
bottle when they’re done. He tells himself it’s to banish the taste of
Angel’s spunk from his mouth, but mostly it’s because he want to busy
himself with tasks that don’t involve any more intimacy. Not that he could
call what they do intimate.
Angel appears to be asleep beside him. Spike is a little
envious of Angel’s ability to fall asleep because it seems that, these
days, Spike never can. He tries. Hello, whiskey. Hello, sex. But he can’t
shut his brain off. He can’t stop seeing the dragon, floating in the
star-dusted sky above their heads like some child’s colourful kite. He
can’t stop thinking about Gunn; one hand pressed against the gash in his
side, one hand extended clutching a sword he seemed barely strong enough to
hold up. He can’t stop thinking about Buffy, suddenly there in the alley,
her mini-me’s in a loose clutch behind her.
He lies in bed and wonders if Angel dreams. He admires
the way Angel’s stern features soften in sleep and he understands, looking
at him, what Buffy saw (sees) in him. Angel is still and sometimes Spike
thinks about touching him. But that’s just the whiskey talking.
After the battle in the alley, Spike had worn a path in
the carpet outside Angel’s old room in the Hyperion waiting for the door to
open, for Buffy to emerge and grace him with the same audience she had
bestowed upon Angel. Her eyes were quiet and her mouth was twisted in a
grim smile that had reminded Spike of all the post coital talks they’d
“What’s going to happen now, then?” Spike had asked her.
“I’m going back to England,” she’d said. “We need to be
ready for whatever comes next.”
“What if there’s nothing more to come?”
“Well then I guess we need to be ready for that, too,”
The skin under her eyes was smudged blue; she hadn’t
been sleeping. There was dried blood under her fingernails, and a deep
scratch along her collarbone. She was beautiful.
“I’m glad you’re okay,” she’d said suddenly.
“Yeah, well, okay might be stretching the truth just a
tad,” Spike had said.
“But you’ll recover,” Buffy had said with certainty.
He’d nodded. Of course.
“Look after him,” she’d said. “This whole thing has been
hard on him.”
Spike could feel an incredulous snort building, but it
was clear that Buffy wasn’t joking.
“I mean it Spike. He’s not like you.”
She’d smiled a little brighter then. “I really did miss
“Why don’t you stay then?”
“Yeah,” she’d said. “That would work.”
After Buffy left, Angel came to Spike’s room.
“We’ll need to be on the streets,” he said. “Wolfram and
Hart could still be out there.”
Spike watched Angel out of the corner of his eye. He’d
been flipping through the channels looking for news, but all he’d been able
to get was static.
“So what’s this then? A strategy meeting?”
“What have you got to drink?” Angel said, ignoring
“I’m sure I’ve got something, but you’ll have to ask
nicer than that.”
Spike barely saw the blur of Angel crossing the room and
only registered his head bouncing against the wall for a second before he
felt Angel’s mouth, cool and full against his own.
“What’s this?” he asked when Angel pulled away.
“So, what you fancy, then,” Spike says, pulling open the
door of the refrigerator. “Some pig’s blood or--” he pauses dramatically,
“some pig’s blood.”
They’ve returned from another night on the streets and
Angel is more sullen than usual. Sometimes the fighting cheers him up and
he’s slightly more bearable, but apparently tonight isn’t going to be one
of those nights.
Spike looks back over his shoulder for the response and
finds that Angel is not even in the room.
Spike closes the fridge door and heads back across the
room, poking his head into the bathroom to see if Angel is in the shower
and then, discovering that the bathroom is empty, heading up the stairs
into the lobby.
He’s not there either and Spike pauses, suddenly
There’s a muffled sound from upstairs and Spike bolts
for the staircase, bounding up the steps two at a time.
“Angel,” he shouts again as he rushes down the hall
towards what was once Angel’s room.
The door is open a crack and Spike reaches out a hand to
push it open a little wider.
Angel is there, sitting on the grimy floor, a carton of
stuff beside him.
“Connor’s things,” he says needlessly. “I’d locked them
Spike can see the closet door has been kicked in; it’s
hanging from one hinge.
“I couldn’t find the key,” Angel adds.
“I just needed to--”
“What? Be even more bleedin’ morose than normal?”
Spike can’t help himself. He understands the loss; at
least he understands it now that he has a soul, but he doesn’t understand
Angel’s constant need to scratch at the wound.
“You’ve never really loved anything besides yourself,”
Angel says, reaching into the carton and pulling out a pale blue blanket
decorated with small red sailboats.
“You’re a bloody selfish arse, you know that,” Spike
says, stepping into the room. He squats against the wall and readies
himself for another one of Angel’s speeches; Spike thinks of them
derisively as Angel’s Lecture Series on The Human Condition.
Angel is rubbing his thumb along the satin edge of
Connor’s blanket. “You were spurned by Cecily, turned by Drusilla, and the
Slayer’s boy toy for what was it, a minute?”
“Yeah, thanks for the lesson, Yoda. Did you have a
“What have you lost? In your whole life, what have you
ever really lost that mattered?”
Spike thinks for a minute because put like that he
supposes Angel could make a case, except that Angel’s logic is painted with
a broad brush and if Spike knows anything, he knows that love is made with
smaller, more careful strokes.
“You’ve had a soul for a century, Angel, and you still
don’t get it,” Spike says.
“And I suppose you do,” Angel says flatly.
Spike shakes his head and stands. “No. I don’t get it.
But isn’t that the bleedin’ point?” He moves closer to Angel. “We are not
like other people, in case you’d forgotten.”
“I haven’t forgotten,” Angel says looking up to meet
Spike’s eyes. “How could I fuckin’ forget?”
“Well, you couldn’t really,” Spike says, “but you always
act all surprised when things sting a little.”
Angel crunches the blanket in his long fingers and says:
“That’s what I mean: this isn’t a little flesh wound, Spike. Everything is
“Not everything,” Spike says.
This is how they live, although it’s not really living.
They fight. They fuck. They don’t talk because there is
nothing to say.
When it’s really bad, Angel goes upstairs and sits in
his old room. Unpacks Connor’s things. Maybe he howls at the moon; Spike
When it’s really bad, Angel hurts him: digs his strong
fingers into the back of Spike’s neck and holds him down. Doesn’t wait for
Spike to be ready.
Spike has his own demons to fight. Figurative demons
mostly, although of course there are real ones, too. He resents Angel’s
ability to swallow up the air and make everything be about him and his
losses. He hates the way Angel makes him come, face buried in the pillow,
impaled on Angel’s fangs and cock. Some days, he hates every goddamn thing
Spike can’t really decide whether Angel’s trying to save
the world or just fuck it up- but Spike stays because he doesn’t know what
else to do, or where else to go. He wants to remember what it felt like to
do something good. To be something good.
He keeps holding on to the belief that Angel needs him,
He sits on the roof watching the last of the colour
drain from the sky. From here, Spike can see Los Angeles trying to right
itself; on the corner to the west, the café has set out some patio tables
and chairs and several people are enjoying a late dinner; he can hear the
normal-sounding honks and idling engines which signify a traffic jam. It’s
a spectacular view and Spike imagines it must be pretty amazing by day,
He lights another cigarette and sucks on it gratefully.
It’s when he’s smoking that he feels most human, which he understands is
The rooftop door clicks behind him, but Spike doesn’t
bother to turn around. He waits until Angel joins him at the railing and
then he says:
“You shouldn’t have destroyed the ring, mate.”
Angel sighs and crosses his arms.
“It isn’t good to long for what you can’t ever really
“You might think about following your own advice,
Angel smiles a little, too.
Spike stubs out his cigarette and turns away from the
sky, the ragged band of pink that traces the buildings and skims across the
horizon. Turns his back away from what’s left of the light and meets
Angel’s dark eyes.
If this is going to be his life now, he needs to know.
“Going to play cops and robbers again tonight?” Spike
Angel shakes his head, his expression quiet.
Spike waits. The sky is the colour of tarnished silver,
“We’ll never win,” Angel says.
Spike’s throat aches.
“No, Angel, but that’s not why we do it.”
Spike steps closer, reaches out a hand to brush it along
Angel’s arm, as casual as if he were merely removing a speck of dust.
“Remind me again of why we do it.”
Spike isn’t exactly sure of the question Angel’s asking,
but the answer’s the same anyway.
“Because we have no choice.”
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