The first time he heard the voice, he didn’t recognize it.

“Bloody hell.”

 Angel heard the words plain as day, and he jumped as if someone had blown fire into his ear.

 “Mr. Angel?” The young girl who was bringing in his coffee hesitated in the doorway, seeing his movement. “Are you all right?”

 He glanced to one side, then the other, and finally found what he hoped was a reassuring smile for the girl (he couldn’t quite bring himself to think of her as his assistant yet). “Oh, yeah. I’m uh, fine. Just thought I heard… someone.”

 “No one here but little old me,” the girl said, regaining her smile. She set the cup down on his desk and turned, pausing. “You know, if you’re hearing voices it probably just means you’re working too hard. You should take a break.”

“Right,” he nodded automatically, mentally smirking at the thought of ever getting a ‘break’. Still, he had been putting in a lot of hours, and coffee did make him jittery. He stretched in the oddly tinted sunlight that fell through his office window. Probably he was just hearing things.

Still, he turned his chair all the way around and had a look in all the corners of the room after she left. Just to be sure.

Not that he was paranoid or anything.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

The second time he heard the voice, he recognized it immediately. Smooth scotch, cigarettes and sarcasm all wrapped in a leather clad package that was forever burned into his brain like a mark of Cain.

“Oh, bugger all.”

Angel paused, mug of coffee halfway to his mouth. He cocked his brows and shot a sideways glance at Fred, who was busily prattling on about some book she’d been reading in the Wolfram and Hart library. “You hear that?”

“What?” Fred stopped, looked around. “Hear what?”

“That’s the second time…” he trailed off and looked back at Fred. “I swear I’m hearing voices.”

“Really?” Fred walked up to his desk and laid her hands on it, looking at him with wide-eyed curiosity. “Good voices? Or like,” she raised her hands in a mockery of claws and pretended to growl. “Kill, maim, destroy voices?”

Angel thought about it for a long moment, and cocked his head to the side, listening. Hearing nothing, he shook his head, dismissing it. “It’s nothing.”

“You know,” she said with the earnest intensity that somehow lent her thin frame a sexiness it wouldn’t have otherwise had. “Joan of Arc heard voices.”

“Yeah, and they bloody murdered her.”

Angel spun around in his chair, nearly falling from his seat.

“Well,” Spike added and shrugged, looking as if he wished he had a cigarette. “It was either that or start a new religion.”

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Spike shook his head and held his hands up helplessly. “Bloody hell. Just look at me. Can you believe this? Sacrifice myself to save the world and they send me back dressed like this.” He gestured to the pale gray sweater and pants he wore.

Angel stared at him, saw the sun shining through his ghostly form, saw the pale gray stone that would have swallowed his image if not for the bleached blond hair and piercing blue eyes. “Um, Fred. Can we talk about this later?” he asked without turning.

Spike glanced at Fred, then looked back to Angel with dawning glee. “You can see me, can’t you? And no one else can.” He grinned and leaned back against the wall, wishing he could slip his hands into the pockets of his duster. “Oh, this is going to be fun.”

Fred went with an odd backward glance at Angel, closing the door behind her.

Angel took another long look and wiped at his eyes. “I knew I shouldn’t have had that second cup of coffee,” he murmured.

“Oh, I’m here. Believe it, Peaches.”

“You died. Buffy said--”

“Oh.” He rolled his eyes magnificently. “Buffy said. Well if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle.” He snorted. “She ought to know better than that.” Buffy. Sweetness, warmth, skin like peaches and the taste of honey. Oh yeah, he’d already thought a great deal about Buffy. But he tilted his head and drove the damning thoughts away, not willing to let Angel see weakness in him, even for a second. Not now. Not even for her.

Angel rubbed a hand over his chin, rested his hands on his knees and leaned forward. “Let’s say you’re really here. Someone would have had to have sent you back. Why?”

“Looks like they sent me back to be your own personal hell.” He glanced up, considered. “You know, when they first sent me here, I thought they were punishing me. But tormenting you for the rest of your unlife?” He spread his arms and grinned. “This is my idea of heaven.”

“You don’t know why.” It wasn’t a question, more like a resignation.

“Look, this wasn’t my idea of grand old time either. Not like I didn’t try to get out of it,” he huffed. “Can’t have a drink. Can’t have a smoke. Can’t shag. But every time I try to leave, I end up back here.”

Angel’s mouth curved in a smirk. “Welcome to my world.”

“Yeah,” Spike said shortly, walking over and hopping up onto Angel’s desk. He crossed his legs and hunkered down, resting his chin in his hands. “But in my world, I get to torture you.” His mouth curled in a wide grin.

Angel turned back to his desk and sighed heavily, reaching past Spike to the papers that lay scattered over it in disarray. “Go away, Spike.”

“Oh come on! Can’t you have even a little fun? What? Afraid your caveman brow might crumble if you crack a grin? They sent me back like the ghost of Christmas Past in this GQ get-up to keep you company. The least you can do is appreciate it.”

Angel rolled his eyes up at the ghostly vampire (was he still technically a vampire?). “This is not my idea of fun.”

Spike curled his tongue against the inside of his cheek and smirked. Well, as long as he was stuck here, he might as well have enjoy himself. He leaned over, stretching out on Angel’s desk, draping himself across polished wood like an invitation. “No. I remember what your idea of fun was.” Bright blue eyes burned with an intensity that was inherently his, even in death.

Angel froze. “That wasn’t me.”

“Wasn’t it?

“Come on, Angel.” He reached out with semi-transparent fingers. “Don’t you ever think about it? Don’t you ever miss just shagging for the fun of it?”

Angel cut his eyes at Spike—and ghostly fingertips caressed his cheek, sending a shock like bubbling champagne through every nerve.

“I—you felt that,” Spike breathed, shocked.

Angel jerked away, turning his head aside.

“You felt that.” Fascinated, Spike crawled to the edge of the desk, reaching out again to caress the shoulder seam of Angel’s jacket, long fingers trailing up, up, to the sensitive skin at the back of his neck. Angel shuddered, caught like a fly in honey as he trembled on the edge of the touch, and Spike watched in wonder. Spike remembered what Angelus had liked, oh yes, but he’d never seen Angel like this. Had never known he could be so soft and school-boy shy, enraptured and shaking on the edge of self-control.

He hadn’t really meant to start anything of course. He’d only meant to torment the great poof with evil memories of his past. But the instant he’d touched Angel, everything had changed. It was as if an electric current had leaped from Angel’s body into his and he’d felt… compassion? Understanding?

“It gets old, doesn’t it?” Spike asked, easing from the desk. “All the wanting, all the holding back?” Slowly, he crouched to the floor, rose up on his knees. “Sometimes you’d give anything just to have a moment, just to feel someone’s touch.” He reached up and caught Angel’s face between his hands, holding him, lifting him. Blue eyes bore into dark, poems of desire and something more written in the angular lines of his face.

Spike knew what it was to wait and want in torture, every nerve in his body screaming, heart crying. To wish for tiny hands upon his body, delicate pink fingers with glittering nails and shivering touches. For white hot pleasure and the soft brush of blond hair over his skin. Oh, he knew so many forms of torture.

“This isn’t why they sent you back,” Angel protested, his jaw tremulous against the gentle coveting of Spike’s hands. He wanted this, oh yes, but he’d never under pain of death admit to it.

“No, I’m sure they sent me back to listen to you whine for another century or two,” Spike growled. “Doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun in the meantime, does it?”

Angel simply stared at him, dark eyes a mass of endless questions and recriminations. And oh, this wasn’t fair; centuries of pain captured in little-boy eyes, so shy and afraid. He was wrapped up in wanting, mouth pouting and petulant, needing to be kissed. There was no trace of Angelus’ hard edged smirk here; only a desperate need that invited Spike to taste the soft jut of his lower lip and do things to him that would make him smile so that Spike could savor every lustful curve of it.

He reached out, and Angel gave him one last pleading look, as if he didn’t quite know what he was pleading for, and then his eyes closed beneath Spike’s touch. Spike leaned up, lips parting, mouths meeting, worlds colliding.

The sun burst behind his eyes, and things Spike didn’t know, things he couldn’t have known flooded the corridors of his mind, tiny snapshots of Angel catching like tidal pools in the empty places. He tasted coffee and he tasted sadness, but beneath that, oh, beneath that there was a whole world, spinning with hidden desires and a beautiful heart that loved things like jasmine flowers and mint cookie dough ice cream and the smell of rain. There was darkness there, too, shot through with shades of blood and echoes of murder. It was thick and bittersweet like dark chocolate, edged in guilt and dressed in lament, and it tasted just as exquisite as the rest of him.

He traced the swell of Angel’s lower lip with his tongue, and like a doorway too long locked, Angel opened to him. Spike slid his tongue inside, slipped across Angel’s soul and was laid low, gasping for air at the sight of all he beheld.

Angel was gorgeous. How could it be that he had never known this?

And how could he know all these things? Was this some kind of new power to go with his new form?

Angel plunged his hands into the wild curls of Spike’s hair, drawing him deeper into the kiss, and Spike’s thoughts ran away like shadows from daylight. Tongues sought and caressed and teased, bodies pressed impatiently against one another, and hands tangled in clothing as they stretched and strained to touch, feel, and have just a little more of each other. And oh, he kissed like a woman, giving and taking with wild abandon, insatiable desire. Nothing like Angelus had been. Angelus had been a taker, hard mouth demanding and ripe with hatred. He had cut with cruel words and stroked with even sharper fingers, and there had been nothing in him that was not the desire to inflict pain. Angel was a slow, sweet burn that ached with want, and Spike felt himself melting with the intensity of it.

The filtered sunlight had warmed him, and his skin was hot beneath Spike’s fingers, parched and thirsting with need. He basked in each small stroke of Spike’s fingertips like a desert in the rain, and slaked himself with wet kisses from the well of Spike’s mouth.

“How long has it been?” Spike whispered in wonder, cool breath over heated lips. “How long have you been wanting?” He trailed a hand up the inside of Angel’s thigh, skin whispering over cotton and caressing the muscle beneath. “Stretching and straining in the dark, all alone with your hands buried under the covers?” His hand slid up the crease of Angel’s leg, tracing a delicate pattern on the skin beneath, just brushing the rock hard outline of his cock as it wound its way up to his belly. Angel gasped, shuddering, dark eyes smoldering as they burned into Spike’s.

“Imagining someone else touching you,” Spike murmured, nudging his cheek against Angel’s mouth, and his fingers slipped lower, teasing the head of Angel’s cock through his pants. “Wishing someone would stroke your cock like this.” He leaned closer, smooth cheek rubbing against Angel’s lips, his mouth so close to Angel’s ear that he hardly had to speak at all, the breath of each word making Angel’s body quiver. “Imagining someone seducing you.” He tasted the curve of Angel’s earlobe and bit down on it gently. “Talking to you all sweet and gentle before they slid down your body and took your cock in their mouth.” Slowly, ever so slowly, he wrapped his fingers around Angel through the soft material of his trousers, making him tremble and moan. “Suck you like hard candy, they would. Make you sticky, make you melt.” He tightened his fingers with gentle pressure. “Make you scream.”

“Oh, God. Spike,” Angel moaned, almost incoherent, hips lifting to meet his hand.

“You want it, don’t you, Angel?” he asked, voice a husky whisper as he nuzzled his head against Angel’s cheek. “Want it so bad you’re about to burst right here.” He slid his fingers around Angel’s cock and stroked it once, quick and hard. Angel gasped and dug his fingernails into Spike’s shoulder. Once they would have left tiny crescent shaped bruises on the marble of his skin, but now he only winced and hissed with the pleasure of it, wondering that this ghostly body could feel. “Never knew you could want it so bad,” he breathed, lips grazing against Angel’s. “Makes me hot, it does, seeing you like this. Makes me hard.”

Angel arched his body like a bow, strings pulled taut beneath Spike’s talented fingers. Spike leaned in close, mouth devouring every sweet whimper before it could escape, tongue delving, diving, stealing every last vestige of Angel’s self-control. When at last he stiffened, teeth digging deep into the flesh of Spike’s lower lip, Spike relented, easing the pressure of his hand. Angel’s eyes were dark with confusion, heavy lidded, and his lips were swollen from Spike’s hard, heated kisses, and Spike loved him there, trembling on the verge, wanting, needing so badly for him. He kissed away Angel’s pleading moan.

“Can’t let you come yet,” Spike whispered feverishly, breathing the words into Angel’s mouth. “Not when you when you need it like this.” His fingers trailed down to the zipper of Angel’s pants, sliding it down and slipping his hand inside, brushing over the swollen head of his erection. Angel gasped, jerking as if he’d been struck by lightning, so close to coming that Spike doubted Angel could even hear him anymore.

“Know what you want. Remember just how you liked it.” He slid slowly down the length of Angel’s body, pausing to rip open his shirt, buttons flying and scattering all over the floor. He slid his hands over bare flesh, dipped his head and took one hard nipple in his mouth, suckling before nipping it with his teeth. Tongue trailing lower, he traced a slick path down the center of Angel’s belly to the edge of his pants. Angel’s head was thrown back against the chair in utter supplication, his body an offering to Spike’s wicked hands and extraordinary mouth. God, he was beautiful.

Slowly, almost languidly, he reached inside and pulled out Angel’s cock, running his tongue along the sensitive underside. The taste was salty and somehow sweet, conjuring images of faintly remembered passion. Spike’s eyes never left Angel’s face, devouring every shuddering twist of his features as he writhed and moaned, and Spike let him hang there on the precipice a moment more before he took Angel in his mouth, slowly sliding down the length of him.

Angel grabbed Spike by the shoulders, bucking helplessly against him. Spike moved with him, lips and tongue slipping and sliding as Angel fucked his mouth with desperate strokes. He felt the rhythm lose its pace as Angel succumbed completely and thrust his hips wildly into Spike’s mouth, filling him with a rock-hard length of cock that exploded with wet salt and wild cries. And oh, he was gorgeous with all his suffering, but even more beautiful when he let go of it. Beautiful, and so fucking hot. Spike wanted to wrap his mouth around him and drink him dry.

Angel cried out again, and Spike kept moving, swallowing his spent passion, sucking and licking trembling flesh without mercy, and Angel came a second time, his fingers knotted in the muscles of Spike’s shoulders, face contorted with sheer pleasure. Spike swallowed every drop, only ceasing when Angel collapsed into the chair, boneless and spent. He licked his way to the tip of Angel’s cock, and smirked up at the other vampire’s stunned expression.

“There now. That’s better, isn’t it?”

Angel panted in a mockery of breath he didn’t need, and stared down at Spike, eyes still glazed, fingers still gripping the arms of his chair in a death grip.

The intercom buzzed, and both vampires swiveled their heads to look at it in surprise.

“Mr. Angel?” The young girl’s voice sounded confused, and maybe a little scared. “Are you okay? I thought I heard something.”

Angel sat up and fumbled for the button, trying to regain control of himself. “I—I’m fine, Stacy,” he said, taking a deep breath. “Everything’s fine.”

“Oh, okay.” Silence for a moment. “Do you need anything Mr. Angel?”

Angel pushed the button and unable to help himself, Spike reached out and stroked Angel’s erection, now slightly softer than it had been moments before.

Angel’s cock twitched in response and he jerked away, cutting Spike a nasty look.

Spike grinned.

Angel looked pointedly back at the intercom. “N-no, Stacy. I’m fine, just fine. I’ll, uh, buzz you if I need anything.”

He let go of the intercom button and turned to glower at Spike.

“Oh, come on Peaches. You’re not going to try to get all good and pure on me after that little show, are you?”

In response, Angel rose from his seat, picked Spike up and slammed him on the desk.

Spike coughed and blinked, pushing up off the wood angrily, surprised by how much the rejection stung. “You could have just said something--” he began, but then Angel was turning him over, tongue fevered and hungry in his mouth, one hand ripping at Spike’s clothes, the other tangling in his hair. Spike pulled Angel close against his body, rocking his hips up against the other vampire’s. Angel groaned into his mouth and thrust back, and if he could have, Spike would have smiled.

Whatever reason the Powers had sent him back for, Spike didn’t think they were going to be bored.

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