Spike stayed on the steps for a long time, watching as the building emptied and the lights automatically dimmed for night. He couldn’t have said why he wasn’t up to moving, or doing much of anything. He just felt empty, as hollow as Fred must have been before that cunt of an elder god had moved into her body. They had failed her, and now there was nothing.
At that thought, he realized he was watching Angel through the glass office wall. The other vampire seemed similarly inert. He would pick up papers, try to distract himself, only to abandon them moments later and end up staring at his hands.
After a time, Angel looked up and saw Spike staring. Normally this would be the cue for Spike to make a hateful face, or look away quickly, but instead their gazes simply met and held, impassive, for a long moment.
Angel stood, crossed the lobby to where Spike sat, and still they watched one another.
“Where are you staying?” Angel asked, and Spike shrugged.
“Hadn’t thought about it,” he said, and Angel’s gaze finally dropped as he squeezed his eyes shut and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Come upstairs,” he said, the words half offer, half command, and Spike, knowing this was a mistake but not wanting to think about it too much, rose smoothly and followed him back into the office and the elevator to his apartment.
They rode the elevator in silence, now pointedly not looking at one another in the enclosed space, and exited into the living room.
Actually, living room was a bit of a misnomer, Spike mused. It was more like a tastefully-decorated football stadium. Angel indicated for Spike to sit, and he sank down into one of the enormous sofas, the arm hitting right at the top of his shoulder.
Angel retreated to the bar and returned with a tall bottle of Irish whiskey and two glasses. He set them down on the table between them and poured. Neither spoke again until the bottle had been drained.
“I suppose we should get some sleep,” Angel said. “There will be demands made of us in the morning.”
“Tell them to sod off,” Spike said, but he stood and shrugged out of his coat, then sat back down and began to undo his boots.
“What are you doing?” Angel asked, sounding genuinely confused.
Spike fixed him with a “how dumb are you?” expression. “Getting ready for bed,” he said. “What did you think?”
Angel looked around the living room dubiously. “In here?”
Spike rolled his eyes. “Didn’t you ask me..?”
Angel shook his head with exasperation and pulled Spike to his feet. “Come on,” he said, dragging the younger vampire back towards his bedroom.
Spike dug in his heels at the threshold. “No, not a good idea,” he said firmly, and Angel let him go with a sigh.
“I’m trying to be nice,” Angel said. “It’s not like we’ve never shared a bed before.”
“Not with the soul, we haven’t,” Spike replied, a little more sharply than he intended. “I’m not squeezing in there with you now…”
“We’re not ‘squeezing’ anywhere, Spike. That bed’s practically a parade ground.”
“I said no.”
Angel pinched his nose again, and when he looked up, Spike thought he saw tears. “Please,” Angel said. “I can’t bear being alone.”
That cut it, because Spike suddenly realized he couldn’t, either. He shook his head and muttered, “not a good idea,” but he sat on the end of the bed and resumed taking off his boots while Angel withdrew to the bath to change into his pajamas.
They both climbed into bed, lying stiffly, careful not to touch one another, and when Angel doused the light, Spike remembered the last time they’d shared a bed.
It was in Sunnydale, at the factory, not long after Angel’s soul had gone flitting off. He’d had two modes in his relationship with Spike during those months: torment and ignore. Spike had tried to stay out of his way so as not to remind the brute of his existence, but that night he’d actually been sought out and rolled up to the bedroom Drusilla now shared with Angelus.
“I’ve something to try tonight,” Angelus had announced. “We’re going to try to heal our poor little Spikey… with love.”
It was on the tip of Spike’s tongue to say that he could easily be healed with some of Angelus’s blood, but that would be too close to asking, and Spike had vowed he would not ask.
Drusilla had clapped her hands in delight, and Angelus had stripped Spike of his clothes and carried him, like a child, to the bed. He’d laid him down naked between Drusilla and himself.
Angelus has started on Spike’s torso and throat, licking and sucking and biting until Spike twisted under him. Dru, meanwhile, had petted and nuzzled his unresponsive penis like it was one of her dead kittens.
He’d tried to be still, tried to resist, but Angelus had employed all his skills as a master torturer, and after hours of their cruelty, Spike was sobbing with frustration and exhaustion.
“Please, stop,” he’d whispered at last, and with a triumphant laugh, Angelus had flipped him over and given him the most brutal fucking of his life, the pain so overwhelming he felt it despite the paralysis.
When he finally began to black out, Drusilla’s voice cut through the darkness to him. “Have we cured him, Daddy?”
“No, petal,” Angelus sighed. “I guess he doesn’t love us enough to get well.”
- - - - -
“Spike, wake up.”
Spike shook himself awake, and jerked away from Angel in fear before remembering where and when he was. “What’s wrong?” he asked, the previous day’s events coming to him in a rush.
“You were talking in your sleep,” Angel said.
Spike made an exasperated noise. “Is that all?”
“And you were…” Angel touched Spike’s cheek, his fingertips smearing one teardrop, and Spike turned angrily away.
“It’s nothing,” he said. “Thinking of Fred.”
Angel gave a soft sigh, then reached out and wrapped one arm around Spike’s waist.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” Spike tried to pull away, but Angel held firm.
“I’m sorry,” Angel said. “For everything I did to you then.”
Spike stilled. He hadn’t ever expected Angel to apologize to him for anything that had happened in Sunnydale, and wasn’t sure he’d heard correctly now. “What d’you mean?”
“I shouldn’t have hurt you,” Angel said quietly. “It was wrong. The soul did something, made me crazy. The old Angelus wouldn’t have done that.”
Spike thought on that a moment. “He might have,” he said then. “You could be a right bastard at times.”
“No, it was different,” Angel avowed. “I was trying to make you stronger in those days, less dependent on Dru. What I did in Sunnydale, that was just brutality.”
Spike gave a chuckle. “You’re drunk,” he said. “And you’re not making me see the difference.”
“Look at it the other way, then,” Angel said. “Think about the first time we shared a bed, and ask yourself if the Sunnydale Angelus would have done that.”
Spike didn’t reply, because he couldn’t really argue that point.
Angelus had come to the room William shared with Dru and pulled the younger vampire out of the bed and onto the floor. “Get dressed,” he’d snarled, ignoring William’s protests, then kicking William in the ribs when he didn’t move fast enough.
William pulled on some clothes, topping off with the greatcoat he’d been favoring lately, and followed Angelus into the street.
Dawn was coming on quickly, and Angelus was keeping up a steady complaint under his breath in which the word “bitch” was heavily featured. It wasn’t hard for William to figure out that Angelus and Darla had gotten into another one of their volcanic arguments, only this time, instead of Angelus submitting to his Sire, as usual, he’d either walked out or, more likely, been told to leave.
William just didn’t see why he had to be involved, but when he voiced this opinion he got roundly clouted for his trouble and dragged for a block and a half by his coat collar.
They knocked and were invited into a somewhat run-down old mansion in a disreputable part of town. Their “host” was a plump, balding man with the look of a cunning swine. He was dressed in a velvet smoking jacket and smoked a cigarette in a long silver holder.
The vampires followed him down a narrow hallway. “We need a room for a while,” Angelus said. “With the usual house privileges, of course.”
“It’s not a good time,” the man said cagily. “The coppers are putting the bite on us, again.”
Angelus sighed heavily. “If it’s about money…”
“No, the other,” the man said. “We just can’t have any ‘mysterious disappearances’ in the neighborhood this time.”
“We’ll be discreet,” Angelus said tightly. And then they stepped into a large salon.
The room was filled with the remnants of what looked to be quite the wild party. Empty glasses and overflowing ashtrays littered each table, and both Angelus and William coughed a little at the overpowering stink: cheap whisky, cheaper cigars, and the low-tide smell of spent human passion.
Their host handed them a room key. “It’s the usual one,” he told Angelus. “Top floor, in back. I’ll send one of the girls round when you’ve settled in.”
“I am in your debt,” Angelus said, and he dragged William up the stairs.
“Top floor, in back,” was more luxuriously appointed than its location had implied to William. There was a large fireplace with easy chairs and ottomans, a sideboard well stocked with liquor, and an enormous four-poster bed.
“So where am I supposed to sleep?” William said sullenly, and Angelus’s black mood broke for a moment.
“Jesus, how can a vampire be so damned innocent?” he said. “You’ll be in the bed with me, you brainless thing.”
“The hell I will,” William said, and Angelus had him by the throat again.
“You’re a demon,” he growled. “An abomination before God and man.” He shoved William hard in the direction of the bed. “Stop acting like some prissy preacher’s daughter.”
William gave a hateful sneer, but did begin to remove his coat and boots. Angelus, meanwhile, opened a bottle of rye and took several deep swallows.
A bit later William dozed on the bed while Angelus drank by the fireplace. There was a soft knock, and the door eased ajar. William blinked his eyes open as a woman entered the room.
Her dark hair hung loose, and she seemed half-undressed in an open shift and dressing gown. She was bound up in a corset and black stockings, and her face was heavily made up. She looked like a whore who’d been dragged out of bed mid-transaction.
She nodded to Angelus as she went to the fire and stoked it up to full blaze, and the vampire nodded back.
Something about her made William’s brow furrow in confusion. She moved oddly, off. When she came to the bed, he realized what it was.
“You’re a bloke!” he blurted out, and the… person gave an affected giggle, covering his face coquettishly with one hand.
Angelus stepped up behind this odd hybrid and wrapped his large hands around his waist. “Sometimes only another man knows how to please us, William,” he said over the man’s shoulder, then said softly in his ear, “what is your name, my dear?”
“Daphne,” he said, and his voice was incongruously husky and deep. William laughed nervously.
“Why don’t you get a little more comfortable… Daphne,” Angelus said, amusement creeping back into his voice. He turned the man around and unlaced the shift and dressing gown, pushing them off Daphne’s shoulders and onto the floor.
William stared, goggle-eyed and open-mouthed, at the creature before him. “Daphne” was slim and soft, and the corset pushed his torso into an approximation of girlish curves. His skin was shaved smooth and heavily powdered, and his bulge had been somehow concealed under frilly lace panties. Garters held up black stockings, and heeled boots made his legs appear long and shapely. He seemed other-worldly.
Angelus sprawled himself along the foot of the bed, regarding him. After a moment he magnanimously offered, “you go first, William.”
William shifted his stare to the other vampire. “What do you mean, ‘go first?’”
“Show my boy what I mean, Daphne,” Angelus said, waving one hand, and Daphne approached the bed. He pulled William up so he was seated at the edge, then sank gracefully down to kneel between his legs.
When Daphne reached to undo William’s trousers, William gave a start and tried to swat him away, but Angelus was kneeling behind him in an instant. Angelus grasped William’s wrists, holding the younger vampire immobile, and shushed in William’s ear.
“Relax, little one,” he soothed, his voice like honey. “Let our dear Daphne do what *she* does best.”
William shivered as Daphne exposed his cock to the air, then licked and stroked it to hardness.
“How magnificent you are,” Daphne murmured, then took the engorged organ into his mouth.
William had, of course, had Dru’s mouth on his cock on various occasions, but her ministrations, while pleasurable, had been tentative and restrained. Ladylike.
Daphne was not restrained. She attacked, consumed, devoured him like a wild thing. William moaned, arched his body in Angelus’s arms, shaking. Then Daphne swallowed him whole, his throat tightening around William’s penis, wet and warm, and William cried out as he came.
Angelus’s arms slipped from around him, and he felt himself eased out from between Daphne’s lips.
“That’s all,” he heard Angelus say to Daphne.
“But he didn’t…”
“He did,” Angelus said. “There is no seed with us, but he is spent, nonetheless. Now go wait for me by the fireplace.”
William felt himself lifted onto the bed, and the blankets cocooned around him. Then he watched, still dazed, as Angelus bent the whore over an easy chair, slicked his own cock with a sweet-smelling grease from an earthen jar on the mantelpiece, and thrust himself inside Daphne until he came.
Afterwards, when Daphne had been dismissed, the two vampires lay together, William in Angelus’s embrace. “this is the way it should be between us,” Angelus had said. “We shouldn’t waste time in the pursuit of women who would make us their fools. As men we know each others’ desires, and can find pleasure between ourselves. To hell with all of them.”
And for two whole days William believed Angelus, until Darla appeared at the brothel’s doorstep, and led her errant offspring home like an ox is led through the ring in his nose.
- - - - -
“You were drunk, then, too, as I recall,” Spike said after so many minutes of silence that Angel had to search for the thread of the conversation.
“So what?” he said after a moment.
“Oh, brilliant rejoinder,” Spike said. “My point is you only seem interested in shagging me if you’re completely wrecked or totally nutters.”
Angel gave this some thought, then tightened his arms around Spike. “maybe you’re right,” he said, “but I’m either too drunk or too crazy to think about it. Now go to sleep. Hopefully I won’t be entirely sane or sober in the morning.”
Spike said nothing, and after a few minutes he felt the shift in Angel’s weight that indicated he was asleep. But Spike lay still, awake and thinking, for a long time.
- - - - -
When Spike woke up the next morning he was alone in Angel’s bed, but he noticed the blankets had been tucked around him to preserve the small amount of warmth there was. He climbed out of bed, stretched, and padded barefoot into the kitchen where Angel was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper.
Spike rummaged in the fridge for a bottle of blood, poured it cold into a glass, and grabbed the entertainment section as he slid into the chair opposite Angel. They both pretended to read for several minutes.
“Still crazy?” Spike asked finally.
Angel sighed and folded his paper. “Probably a little,” he said.
When Spike did not reply, but continued to flip through the paper, Angel went on. “I’m glad you were here last night,” he said. “I’d like you to stay.”
At this, the paper shook in Spike’s hands, and he very deliberately refolded it and set it on the table, not meeting Angel’s eye. He ran one finger back and forth along the edge of the table twice before he spoke. “Is it me you want?” he said. “Or am I just convenient? Because,” he cut off Angel’s reply with a look, “I’ve been convenient before.”
“I was evil, then…” Angel began.
“I don’t mean you,” Spike said, waving his hand dismissively. “I meant her. Buffy.”
Angel’s expression turned dark. “I don’t want to talk about her,” he said.
“I do,” Spike said. “You understand I loved her, worshiped her, really. And I’ve come to realize she chose to be with me because it wasn’t real to her, just like it ultimately wasn’t real with you.”
Now Angel was starting to look confused. “What do you mean? What wasn’t real?”
“The relationship, as much as that makes me sound like a woman,” Spike said. “She could take me, fuck me anytime she liked, and she never had to deal with what she’d have with a human guy. No talking, no emotional attachment. We don’t even come, for Christ’s sake.”
Angel winced to hear it spoken so boldly, but he reached out and took Spike’s hand, getting his full attention. “It’s different with me,” he said. “We’re both vampires. We’re in the same order; I’m the sire of your sire. And our histories are so entwined, we couldn’t untangle them if we tried. God knows we have,” he finished quietly.
Spike took a breath as if to speak, then seemed to think better of it and closed his mouth.
“Like it or not, we’ll always be connected,” Angel went on. “And if I choose you, it’s because I respect the power of that connection.” He let go of Spike’s hand, but kept looking him in the eye. “So what do you choose?”
Spike took a moment to consider Angel’s words. “It’s true,” he said. “We’ve shared a lot. And at the end of the day, I’d rather stand with you than against you.”
Angel nodded. “Alright,” he said, then stood to pour himself more coffee.
Silently, Spike stood and went to Angel, then took hold of Angel’s waist to turn him around. He raised one hand to Angel’s cheek and brought their mouths together in a kiss.
Angel gave a small start of surprise, but almost immediately his eyes dropped closed and he returned the kiss in kind.
It was all too brief, and then Spike had pulled away, clearly amused at Angel’s confusion. “Just checking,” he said. He retreated from the kitchen and called back over his shoulder, “see you at your meeting.” Then he was gone.
Angel raised his fingers to his lips, feeling them tingle.