Many thanks to germaine_pet who betaed and kindly pointed out the story's shortcomings. Your help was invaluable and I smooch you soundly for providing me with your insight.
He can’t say for sure what wakes him: the pain in his side, the smoke curling cat-like against his face, the sound of a moan, or something else - familiar, close.
Spike risks opening his eyes. He lifts a shaking hand and presses it into the rip in his jacket- feels the stickiness against his fingertips. That’s gonna hurt in the morning. Shit. That hurts now.
He twists his head. Rubble, Gunn’s blank eyes, someone’s sword, demon body parts.
Spike closes his eyes and lets the blackness swallow him.
Spike floats up. This is more like it. Off to get his reward now. About bloody time.
There are gentle hands. Someone is removing his jacket and the soiled and torn shirt. He hears a small, sharp intake of breath.
“Let me see.”
“I think he will last a while longer.”
Can I just get some rest?
He passes out when he feels something sharp pierce his skin.
When he opens his eyes again, Angel is sitting beside him.
Angel shakes his head.
“What? We’re not allowed to talk about it?”
Angel’s face is quiet, but his eyes are not.
“D’you think I could get something to eat? Preferably human.”
“How about some soup? I think there’s some canned stuff in the kitchen.”
“Why would I want--”
Angel looks at the floor. Spike reaches for his chest.
Spike’s stitches itch. He scratches around them, digging furrows in the skin on either side of the jagged line Ilyria has sewn into his human flesh.
Spike sits in the hotel lobby, watching the night sky. It’s always night. Or maybe it’s just soot from the fires.
Ilyria hovers. Not literally. She doesn’t know what to do. How could she? Her only real experience with humans was short-lived; he died before the battle in the alley.
Angel isn’t saying much these days.
That’s okay; Spike doesn’t have any questions for the answers.
The city returns to normal eventually. It’s a huge natural disaster, the likes of which the government has never seen. That’s what the newscasters say; Spike isn’t inclined to agree, but no one is asking for his opinion.
Angel comes and goes. He doesn’t bring back news from outside; he doesn’t say much of anything. He stops, briefly, asks how Spike’s doing.
“Where do you go?” he asks Angel finally.
“Nowhere. There’s nowhere to go.”
Spike sleeps in a narrow bed on the second floor. One night he wakes up and Angel is standing just inside his door.
“What?” he asks.
Spike sees a tinge of malice in Angel’s eyes before he leaves the room.
“If you would hold still, I could remove these threads,” Ilyria says, her scissors poised.
Spike clenches his jaw.
“Humans are so fragile,” she says, pulling the first stitch out.
“I’ve been human for about a minute,” he counters.
She regards him disdainfully.
“So, it is not a reward then?” Her question seems genuine enough.
Spike bites back laughter.
“I thought as much,” she says, pulling the last stitch free.
Spike looks down at the haphazard scar Ilyria’s stitches have left.
Spike ventures out into the sunshine. Los Angeles seems to be standing, albeit on wobbly legs. He wishes he had sunglasses; the sun is too bright.
It careens off the shiny surfaces: cars and windows and the mirrored fronts of office towers. Spike can’t stop looking at his reflection.
Angel pays him another nocturnal visit.
“Are you going to talk to me?” Spike asks, pulling himself to a sitting position.
“’bout what happened. I dunno. About anything.”
Angel leans against the wall. Spike’s eyesight isn’t so good anymore and Angel’s face looks like a roadmap, hidden streets and sharp turns.
“We had some luck,” Angel says.
Angel shifts against the wall.
“Are you better?”
“What?” Spike asks.
Angel points in his general direction. “Your side.”
“Oh. That.” Spike pushes down the blanket revealing his smooth, flat stomach. He twists and offers up his hip and above it the ragged scar.
“I guess I got off lucky,” he says quietly.
He looks up, but the room is empty.
Spike asks the question: “Have you called Buffy?”
Angel’s eyes narrow.
“Just, y’know, she’d want to know you were—we were—okay,” Spike says.
“You should let me go out with you,” Spike says, “on patrol.”
“I work alone.”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” Spike mumbles. “Now you do.”
Spike rolls over and opens his eyes.
Angel is sitting on the floor beside his bed, watching him.
“Fuck,” Spike whispers.
“Sorry,” Angel murmurs.
Angel lifts his hand and Spike is sure, for a moment, that he sees the shinysharp edge of a knife. He hauls in a breath.
Angel’s on his knees now, closer, his hand stretching out and then, remarkably, touching the scar where it appears, just above the sheet. He strokes one finger, carefully, along the raised flesh and then down, dragging the sheet lower.
“Angel,” Spike says.
“I just want to see.”
He’s going to see a lot more than that scar if he keeps going, Spike thinks.
“What are you--”
Angel shakes his head, be quiet. Then he is leaning forward and placing his cool mouth against the scar, which Spike suddenly realizes will never completely fade.
Spike can’t quite figure out what is up with Angel.
“He is upset by the loss,” Ilyria offers.
“Yeah, so are we all.”
“I do not have particular feelings on this matter,” she says. Sometimes she takes on the guise of Fred. Spike doesn’t like to talk to her on those days. Thankfully, this isn’t one of them.
“I saw Gunn when I woke up,” Spike says.
“I took care of it,” Angel replies. His eyes are so emotionless Spike feels a twinge of sympathy for him.
Spike isn’t sure he wants to know what that means, so he doesn’t respond.
“In the furnace,” Angel says despite the lack of prompting.
“Great. Well, that’s alright then. A fitting end.”
“There was no choice, Spike,” Angel says evenly. “I could have left him to rot or as some demon’s bed time snack. Would that have been better?”
Spike doesn’t want to give Angel the satisfaction of agreeing with him, but he has a point. He looks down at his lap, up again. “I’m sorry.”
“I suppose I could’ve left you, too,” Angel says. There is the hint of a smile on his face. It’s unfamiliar.
“You want me to thank you, then? Is that it?”
“No,” Angel says. “I don’t want anything from you.”
But it’s not true because in the dark, Angel wants it all.
Spike has very human guilt after the first time.
Angel is so intense; Spike had forgotten.
Spike lets his breath out in a painful hiss when Angel’s hand finds his cock. His thumb is nudging at the slit, not gently. Then Angel’s tongue is there, doing a slow, kaleidoscoping dance over the head of his erection. Spike bites back a groan.
Everything is tilted. Spike can count on one hand the number of times Angel has gone down on him. The memories of thrusting into Angel’s mouth are so vague Spike has relegated them to ‘wishful thinking’ status.
This, then, is wildly unimaginable- even as it’s happening.
Angel is on his knees, his palms pressing against Spike’s sharp hips, his long fingers curling around to dig into his backside. He sucks like a pro, every inch of Spike’s cock disappearing into that perfect mouth. The slow burn of Angel’s teeth as they track the skin coming up, the soothing tongue on the descent.
Spike has no memory of what it feels like to flush and all his nerve-endings are poking up against his skin. Hot skin: he’s forgotten that, too.
He doesn’t even recognize his own voice when he comes.
Angel is standing now. Spike watches, appalled and fascinated, as Angel unbuttons his shirt, unzips his pants, reveals himself, gloriously.
Spike’s spent cock jerks to life.
This is their pattern.
Angel comes to Spike’s room in the dark. Spike is already hard and waiting. Angel doesn’t want to be touched, so Spike grabs whatever is nearest: sheets, the edge of the bureau, his own cock.
Angel doesn’t want conversation, either. There is no small talk, no post-coital revelations, or whispered endearments.
Angel is insatiable and strong. Spike thinks he might, eventually, miss that super-human strength, but the warmth of his body makes up for it. He likes the rush of heat under his scalp, along the backs of his legs, under his arms. When Angel’s cool fingers trace a predatory circle around his arsehole, well, Spike can almost come from that alone.
Ilyria notes the change.
“You are having relations.”
Spike lifts his eyebrows in mock horror.
“Why?” she asks.
He hasn’t really given it much thought.
That’s the best he can do.
Spike wanders the halls of the Hyperion. Some floors are a disaster; others look ready to accept guests. He peeks in through open doors, trying to find a place he could hide.
If he should ever need to.
He wants to ask Angel: what if I hadn’t made it? Hypothetically of course because his wounds, although serious, apparently weren’t life threatening.
He wants to know when he became human.
He wants to know why?
Spike sits in the garden, in the shade, eating an orange. The juice is sticky between his fingers.
Ilyria appears at the door.
“Eventually you will have to leave this place.”
“Maybe,” he says, licking the end of one finger before popping the last segment of the orange into his mouth.
“It might be better,” Ilyria says thoughtfully.
“How’s that?” Spike asks.
Ilyria presses her lips together. “I would be cautious,” she says finally.
Angel’s cool tongue is at the (new) pulse in his throat.
Spike recognizes the gesture for what it is. He waits for it- poised on the edge of coming.
Angel lifts his head and meets Spike’s eyes.
Spike considers his request. Nods once, slowly.
Angel drops his head once more. He shifts, pressing his cock into Spike’s arsehole, slipperyslick; then, the exquisite pain of Angel’s fangs in his neck.
“Fuck,” Spike whispers, his eyes fluttering closed.
He is groggy when he wakes. Angel is still beside him on the narrow bed, his fingers linked together on his chest. There is a small smear of blood on his chin. His eyes are closed, and his lashes cast lacey shadows against the hollows of his cheeks.
Spike hates him.
Spike loves him, too. Always has. Aspired to be him, when he wasn’t calculating the best way to undermine him, or kill him or take what was so obviously his.
He looks down the length of Angel’s body; Angel is still hard underneath the sheets. He thinks about Angel’s prick in his mouth while he strokes his own cock absently.
Angel isn’t happy. Spike isn’t even sure if Angel has the ability to be happy. Some days Spike thinks he’d do anything just to get him to smile.
Anything at all.
Spike finds a bottle of Jack in Wesley’s old desk. The first swallow is like nectar of the gods. Spike coughs a little and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.
Ilyria watches him patiently from the door.
“Want some?” he asks, holding out the bottle.
“I do not believe so,” she says.
Angel appears behind her.
“I’m going out,” Angel announces.
“Cheers mate,” Spike says taking another drink.
His mouth is full of cotton and it hurts to open his eyes. Angel is at the foot of the bed, his arms crossed. Spike holds out his hand.
“Not tonight,” Angel says. “Not like this.”
Spike considers leaving.
He isn’t sure where he would go.
He shifts in his skin. Is this his life? His only companions are a blue-skinned demon and a vampire- neither of whom seem to know how to carry on a conversation that isn’t punctuated with innuendo and non sequiturs. Is this how he is expected to live out his days? Days that are finally, thankfully, numbered.
Then, Angel comes into Spike’s room and traces the scar with his tongue, hooks a finger inside him, swallows his balls, sips at his blood and makes him scream.
It’s a good enough life.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
Angel nods. “I’m okay.”
It’s a lie, Spike knows, but he isn’t sure for whose benefit.
One day Ilyria disappears.
Spike considers what it will mean to be all alone with Angel. Sometimes, when Ilyria was Fred, Angel seemed less – Spike doesn’t know how to describe it exactly- cut off. Without meaning to be, Ilyria is a buffer. She’s someone to talk to, someone to watch.
Spike is a little bit jealous that she’s gone.
Angel’s pupils are streaked with gold. His hands press against Spike’s sternum, pinning him to the bed. Spike waits for whatever happens.
Whatever is this:
Angel’s tongue flat against his nipple.
Angel’s long, strong fingers around his wrists.
Hold still. Don’t move.
Then he watches as Angel shrugs off his shirt and pants. Spike’s tongue swells in his mouth at the sight of Angel’s cock, still and lethal against his pale thigh.
“Turn over,” Angel says.
Spike shivers when Angel pulls his hips up, presses against Spike’s shoulders, pushing his chest against the bed, lubricates his index finger and slides it in, slides in another finger, barely gives him time to draw breath before he eases his cock into him and barely waits before he pulls out and sinks in again. Again. That feeling is worth staying for.
Spike wants to touch himself but he doesn’t dare because he knows that he’ll come and it’ll be over. He shuts his eyes and presses back against Angel; he is gratified when Angel grunts.
Angel’s hand curls around Spike. Angel’s palm is slippery and it slides along the length of his prick like it was meant to: a perfect marriage of friction and heat and ohmygod.
Spike comes over his chest and the sheets at the exact second that Angel sinks his teeth into his shoulder.
Angel pulls at the blood until Spike’s cock is hard again.
Then Angel stops feeding, pulls out (cock and fangs), flips Spike over and licks him clean.
“This can’t go on forever,” Spike says.
It’s raining outside. The sky is gun metal grey. Spike craves, strangely, tea and a scone.
“I guess that’s true enough,” Angel replies, “for you.”
“Look,” Spike says. “I didn’t ask for this. I wish it hadn’t happened.”
“Course. Humans are a dime a dozen.”
“You could go,” Angel says. “To Rome. Or Cleveland.”
“What in the bloody hell would I want to do…” He trails off. He knows what Angel means. “So could you.”
Angel smiles. “No. I’m finished with all that.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Spike asks.
Angel stands. “Nothing. It doesn’t mean anything.”
“Is this it, then?” Spike asks, standing, too.
“What?” Angel asks. “You expected more?”
Spike gets as far as the beach. If the fighting had made it this far, the authorities have managed to clean the area up pretty well: a few families have set up near the water, children are building castles or playing in the surf.
He sits and tips his head up to look at the sky, tracking a gull as it swoops and then dives for food.
This life should be precious.
But so was the other; Spike can’t deny it. And if he isn’t going to leave, he needs to stay.
He waits for Angel.
When Angel bends down, Spike reaches up and pulls him closer, locks his mouth with Angel’s. His heart is hammering wildly in his chest. Spike wonders what that feels like under Angel’s fingers. Imagines how Angel must hate him for it.
For a fleeting moment, Spike remembers standing in a loose circle with the others in Angel’s office. Angel is telling them about his plan to decimate the Black Thorn. Spike remembers thinking: this is worth fighting for. More than that: this man is worth following. He wants that feeling back.
Spike pulls away from Angel’s mouth. He blinks and drops to his knees, tugs at Angel’s fly, reaches in and pulls Angel’s hard cock free.
“Spike,” Angel says.
“Sod off,” Spike replies before closing his mouth over the swollen head of Angel’s prick. This is familiar and so is Angel’s hand in his hair, pulling and twisting. Spike hums around Angel’s dick, the vibrations causing Angel’s hips to rock forward. Spike yanks Angel’s pants down his legs and reaches up to play with Angel’s sac, rolling and tugging the balls with nimble fingers.
“Christ,” Angel says.
Spike makes a hollow fist, slides Angel’s cock in and out, tonguing the end wetly to provide plenty of lubrication. He varies the pressure and then, perfectly timed, sinks his finger into Angel just before Angel comes and comes.
Spike’s as hard as he’s ever been, but what he wants is not the sort of release Angel is likely to be willing to provide.
“Make me yours,” Spike says quietly.
“I thought I already had.”
Angel reaches down to pull up his pants.
“That’s not what I mean,” Spike says.
“I fucking know what you mean,” Angel says over his shoulder as he leaves the room.
A week passes.
Spike tries to leave but he can’t walk out the door.
Instead he spends his time straightening up bedrooms on the third floor. He cleans the bathrooms with Mr. Clean and he turns the mattresses (when the beds have them) and he opens the windows, just a crack, to let in the fresh air.
He walks the streets. He helps move rubble one day; stops a looter another.
When night comes, he goes into the office Wesley used once and reads the files Wes hadn’t bothered to take to Wolfram and Hart. Not all of them make riveting reading. Spike’s looking for answers, or at least some way to know that his soul will be safe. That matters to him now.
He finds another bottle of liquor, brandy, at the back of Wes’s desk drawer.
“Here’s to you,” Spike says as he pours a small glass.
Angel finally comes back to him.
“Shh,” he says, pressing his fingers against Spike’s lips. Then Angel’s mouth replaces the fingers.
That’s a feeling Spike doubts he’ll ever tire of.
Under the light leaking in through the window in Spike’s room, Angel’s skin is pale marble. That’s what it feels like, too, against Spike’s hands.
“If you knew what would happen, would you have let Dru--” Angel stops. He’s holding rope in his hand and he reaches for Spike’s wrists, wrapping them together tightly. “Would you have let her turn you?”
“Is that a rhetorical question, mate?”
“I dunno. I was miserable, I know that. She was so fuckin’ beautiful and I--”
Spike’s wrists chafe against the rope.
“Weren’t you?” Spike asks.
“Are you going to do me?”
“Ask me again in an hour,” Angel says.
An hour isn’t long enough, Spike thinks.
Angel has fucked him twice, whipped him, drank from him and kept him on the knife’s edge of coming for so long Spike thinks he might pass out.
Angel unhooks him from the pulley in the basement and lets him drop to the cold cement floor. Spike is shivering uncontrollably.
“I’m not doing this for you,” Angel says.
Spike watches Angel’s fangs descend. Angel lifts him off the floor and while one hand strokes his aching cock, Angel buries his face in Spike’s neck.
His orgasm blinds him. It is the sweetest pain imaginable. In the space between consciousness and darkness, Spike remembers the taste of blood.
He wakes in his own bed. The room is pale and silent. Angel is sitting in a chair, hands on his knees, eyes still and watchful.
“What happened?” Spike manages.
Angel shakes his head.
“Angel,” Spike says. He throws off the covers and stands. His legs won’t hold him and he sits again.
“You should rest,” Angel says.
And in the silence that follows, Spike feels his heart, weakened by the loss of blood, but still pumping.
“Fuck,” he says.
Angel leans forward. Spike could reach out and touch him if he wanted to, but he doesn’t.
It is hard to say who is more broken: the one who leaves or the one left behind.
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