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Feel Again

Chapter Text

Angel stepped out of the elevator and into the penthouse. He listened closely as he hung his jacket in the entry closet, but he couldn’t hear a thing, and wasn’t all that surprised, when he went into the bedroom, to find that the bed was empty. It was only a couple of hours past midnight, and sunrise was still far away. Spike had to have gone out, maybe for a drink, maybe for a fight.

Hopefully not for anything more than that.

Coming closer to the bed and its rumpled sheets, Angel sniffed lightly. Spike’s scent was there, and his own, already fading after a five-days absence. He could also smell blood, and the scent twisted his guts. If he had known he would be gone for so long, he would have made Spike come with him. God only knew what kind of trouble Spike had gotten himself into. Next time, Angel would drag him along, Spike’s grumbling notwithstanding.

Then again, Angel thought as he shifted his sore shoulders and groaned, he could have used more fighting power on his trip.

Next time, definitely.

Still stretching muscles that shouldn’t have hurt that much — he still trained and fought regularly, after all; he wasn’t getting soft the way some idiotic Childe of his claimed at least once a week — Angel trudged over to the en suite bathroom and ran a bath in the chest deep, cast iron monstrosity of a tub while he undressed, groans accompanying his every movements. He was almost glad that the mirror didn’t cast his reflection; he was pretty sure that his back had to be black and blue, and had no desire to see it.

It was with a sigh of sheer pleasure that he climbed into the hot water and laid down. He turned off the tap with his foot and closed his eyes, allowing the tiredness of the past few days to dissolve in the water. The first two days had been filled with intense negotiations. The next three, with duels in which he, somehow, had always ended up being challenged. So much for being in charge. The whole thing had culminated with signatures on a document that would save a lot of human lives, or at least that was what he hoped, so it had been worth it. Still, it would have been nice if that Graim’leen demon had conceded defeat before stomping all over Angel’s back with its four legs.

After the shouts and arguments from the negotiations, the silence of the empty apartment was blissful. There would be more of the former when Spike returned from wherever he had gone to find blood and pain, but for now, Angel closed his eyes and cleared his mind. He never realized he was slowly drifting into much needed sleep, not until the clanking sound of metal hitting the porcelain jerked him awake.

He sat up in the now tepid water and blinked toward the door. Spike was standing there, as though frozen mid-step, surprise and the smallest hint of fear flickering through his features. The end of his belt was still in his hand; it was the buckle that had awakened Angel when falling to the floor.

Angel’s hands tightened into fists in the water as he took stock of the damage. Spike’s right eye was practically swelled shut. Dried blood was flaking under his nose; the reason, maybe, why he hadn’t noticed Angel’s smell. There was more blood at the corner of his mouth and on the knuckles of both his hands. His t-shirt looked damp in a couple of spots, and Angel had no doubt that the dark fabric hid even more blood.

Angel didn’t even know where to start. Reproaches had never worked so well with Spike, and he’d always seemed to see them as fuel to keep doing whatever it was that infuriated Angel rather than incentive to stop. Questions about where Spike had gone and what he had done to end up in such a state wouldn’t help anything. Angel knew the 'why'; the 'how' was irrelevant. Reminders about their unspoken agreement, maybe? But Angel had broken that first by leaving for so long, however unintentionally.

In the end, Angel only said one word. It snapped like a whip between them.

“Strip.”

Certain that Spike would obey, Angel resolutely turned his gaze away. Pulling the plug from tub, he stepped out of it and walked over to the shower stall. The tiles were cold beneath his feet, and so was the water in the shower when he first turned it on. In seconds, it was almost hot enough to burn. He had drawn the shower door half closed to stop the water from spraying out, but he could still see Spike approaching, could see a snapshot of his bruised body, and the tilt of his head, chin up, all traces of apology now hidden behind bravado.

“Get in.”

A muscle was twitching in Spike’s discolored cheek when he drew the glass door open and stepped in. Angel moved to the back of the stall to get a good look at him. Most of the bruises were fresh, but a few seemed at least a couple of days old.

“Anything broken?” he asked, more coldly than he meant to.

Spike shivered when the hot water first hit him. “Don’t think so,” he muttered, then turned a raised eyebrow at Angel. “You don’t look all that good yourself.”

Angel’s hand clenched at the back of Spike’s head and squeezed tight. “The difference, boy, is that I didn’t try to get hurt.”

Gold flakes glimmered in Spike’s good eye, darkened to midnight blue by the equally dark tiles in the room. Any second, now, he would say that it wasn’t any of Angel’s business, that Angel had showed he didn’t care by going away for so long, that he had no right to say a word about any of it.

Or maybe it was only Angel’s guilty conscience talking, because Spike didn’t say a word, and after a few more seconds he lowered his eyes, staring at a spot on Angel’s chest.

Angel sighed. He pulled at Spike’s neck until their foreheads touched and murmured, “Silly boy.”

Spike’s eyes flickered back up, almost hopeful now. His hand, slowly rising to trail against Angel’s thigh, was equally hopeful when it took hold of Angel’s slowly filling cock.

“It’s not as bad as it looks,” Spike said quietly. “The blood isn’t even all mine.”

And indeed, the water flowing over Spike was cleaning off blood, revealing unbroken skin in some places.

Angel flexed his fingers over Spike’s neck. He wanted to ask how badly the need to feel had shaken Spike; how long he had resisted before giving in. He could see it, though, written all over Spike’s skin in blue, purple, and sickly yellow. His hand drifted along Spike’s shoulder, stopping over a large bruise that extended three inches toward Spike’s collarbone. He rubbed his thumb against it, then pressed hard, watching not what he was doing but the rising of Spike’s cock between them, water and precome dripping from the tip.

A simple change in his touch caused Spike to turn around after a last, almost regretful squeeze to Angel’s cock. Spike’s hands came up to rest on the tile in front of him. His knuckles were clean, now, but they looked raw, the skin torn and cut. Angel bit back a growl and pushed two fingers inside Spike, slick from water only. More pain, but the moan that rose from Spike’s lips, prayer and praise both, was pure pleasure.

Two steps backward on that long journey, Angel thought, gritting his teeth and twisting his fingers viciously. But they’d get there, eventually. They had all the time in the world.

“Next time,” he said very low as he pulled his fingers free and lined up his cock to Spike’s entrance, “you’re coming with me.”

A slam of his hips drew groans from them both. Spike pushed back against him, then dropped a hand to grip Angel’s hand where it had found its way to Spike’s cock.

“Next time,” Spike repeated, and it was as good as a promise.