Summary: Spike takes a left turn at Albuquerque on his way back from getting a soul.
Author's Notes: Spike knows Adam is an Immortal, but that's all he knows.
So why he's sitting in a bar in the middle of some redneck town just outside of Memphis, Tennessee is something he's not willing to look at too closely. A roomful of soldiers, no less, he thinks with a sneer for the corner tables full of Marines and sailors. He slams back his whisky, barely repressing a shudder that he tells himself is due to the fact that he's pretty sure he's now heard every song on Tim McGraw's latest CD. Twice. That he knows Tim McGraw's name is something he curses Xander Harris to an early grave for as he orders another round.
He's hungry, been so for days - not enough money, butchers, or untended animals in this part of the country - and well on his way to drunk. Four more shots, a chorus of increasingly-loud faggot jokes aimed in his direction, and two Garth Brooks, three Brooks and Dunn, and one LeAnn Rimes song later, Spike's got vivid enough images of fingerpainting the woodwork on the bar in somebody's blood that the chip is twinging sharply. The soul's mighty silent - something that makes Spike simultaneously thankful and gleeful: he *knew* Angel was just being a drama queen, and now he's got proof.
There's an 'accidental' bump-and-shove off the barstool that sets his head ablaze before he even hits the floor and jumps back up, fists clenched. The pain sends nausea ripping through his head and his belly, and he doubles over, heading outside into the rain before anyone gets it into their head to use the 'pretty little English boy' for a punching bag or worse.
He's leaning against a wall that's no protection from the storm raging overhead, white sparks still flaring at the edges of his vision, when someone comes around the corner and walks right into him. Spike's too drunk on Jack and pain to hold back again, and his fist is connecting with flesh with a thrillingly dull, wet crunching sound before he's got time to remember it shouldn't.
There's a choked inhalation and a muffled curse from whatever he hit. Definitely a what and not a who, Spike realizes as he bounces on the balls of his feet and prepares to swing freely: the distinct lack of blinding, searing, intestine-twisting pain tells Spike that whatever it is that's getting ready to fight him definitely isn't human.
There's blood on the back of his fist; Spike licks it off, and the vague familiarity of the taste of it distracts him long enough that he doesn't figure it out till he's pinned to the brick like a large bleached butterfly, only it's a sword through his stomach instead of a stickpin.
"Cheers, Adam," he croaks out with a crooked grin. "Fine way to greet an old friend you've got."
"Bloody hell," comes the quiet reply as Adam comes near, wiping the rain out of his eyes with the hand not holding the sword as he takes a good look, eyes widening. "Bloody hell," he repeats, and Spike laughs around a cough.
"Bloody hell, and too much of it's mine. You can take that great shish-ka-bob of yours out of my stomach anytime now."
Adam shakes his head and pulls back. "It's going to hurt," he says pointlessly before pulling his sword out of Spike's middle.
"Thanks ever so," Spike mutters. "I'd forgotten what it felt like, being impaled by you." He snorts at his own joke and looks up to see Adam's eyes twinkling at him.
"We can do something about that, once you're back in one piece," Adam offers.
"Sod off. Not letting you near me with any kind of pointy object anytime soon."
"Just trying to help," Adam says, not bothering to hide his grin. "What the hell are you doing in Tennessee, Spike?" he asks, not waiting for an answer as he turns around. Looking for something he can wipe the sword off with, Spike imagines.
Spike tries to stand up straight. Black spots swarm between the rain drops and send him back against the wall. He hits it with a damp thunk that pulls Adam back to him.
"You can't have lost that much blood," Adam protests. He manhandles Spike flat against the bricks and pulls his shirt up to inspect the damage. He waffles his head slightly, frowning. "Worse than I thought, but still not horrible enough for you to be swooning like a lady from an Austen novel."
Spike pushes him away, pulling down his shirt and glaring. "Don't recall giving you permission to touch the merchandise, mate," he says weakly as the alley starts to spin. He didn't have that much to drink, he thinks, and notices that the black spots have purple bedfellows just before everything whites out and he knows nothing at all.
He wakes up a while later, half-undressed in a bed that's surprisingly comfortable considering the lack of quality of the room it's in, to the sight of Adam, obviously fresh out of the shower, damp and towel-clad and smirking at him from the chair across the room.
"Hadn't realized vampires got the flu," he says. "I'll have to remember to make a note of that. Update the known data, so to speak."
"Fuck off," Spike grumbles. Normally, he'd throw the covers off and make a great show of stalking away, but the early-afternoon sun glimmering behind the blinds that are thin enough that Spike's grateful for the distance from the bed to the window ensures that the shower's the only place he's going anytime soon. And Adam would just follow him in there, so there's not much point in wasting the effort.
That it is an effort isn't wasted on him, but Spike pushes the heaviness that threatens to turn into worry away, tells himself that as soon as it's dark he'll be up and gone. He'll find something on the way out of town.
Thinking about feeding makes him aware of the lack of gaping hunger he'd grown so accustomed to over the last few weeks; a few more seconds' thought and he recognizes the faint buzz in his veins. "You gave me blood," he says angrily, pushing himself up on his elbows so he can glare at Adam.
"Yes. And it's at times like these when the vampire who was starting to look like the corpse of a famine victim remembers his manners and *thanks* the giver of food and life, and not just..."
Spike interrupts Adam's meaningless little tirade by flopping back into the pillows with a sigh and a quick flip of his fingers.
Adam chuckles. "Ah, yes. *There* you are."
Spike can't muffle his snort of laughter, settles instead for flipping Adam off again and rolling face-first into the pillows. "Gonna give a bloke the good stuff, mate, least you could do is wake him up for it," he mutters.
Something soft hits the back of his head. "I believe 'the good stuff' is why you *are* awake. Try to show a little appreciation, you ungrateful wretch."
It's only a supreme force of will and the knowledge that Adam would just laugh at him - and probably throw something harder next time - that keeps Spike from flipping him off yet again. He feigns sleep for a while, but it's useless, what with Adam's stare boring two burning holes into his back.
Spike tries to ignore him. Friend or no, he's not selling the song of his troubles for a pint or two. "You're a nosy bastard."
"Thank you," comes the infuriatingly smug reply.
Spike goes back to ignoring him.
Adam waits, his patience a tangible, heavy thing that sinks Spike further and further into the mattress until he's craving air he doesn't need. He pushes up off the bed angrily and stomps across the room, shedding his jeans in the process and throwing them at Adam as he enters the bathroom. "Miserable git."
He slams the door on Adam's startled look and purposely runs the water too hot. His hair's barely wet when he hears the rings sliding across the pole as Adam pulls the shower curtain back and steps into the tub with him. Spike lets his head drop.
A light touch down his spine makes him jerk. "Heroin chic went out a decade ago, my friend," Adam says quietly.
"Christ on a sodding crutch." Spike takes a deep breath and scrubs handfuls of water through his hair. Turns around and reaches for the shampoo, then cradles the bottle in his hands, flicking the cap open and shut as he meets Adam's eyes, finally decided on what he will and won't tell.
"Government knows about us," he says. "'Demons' us, that is; don't know about you lot. Couple of years ago, bunch of soldiers locked me up and tried to throw away the key. Got away, but not before they put a bleedin' microchip in my head."
"What in the seven bloody hells does the American government want with a computer chip in a vampire's head?" Adam looks incredulous, sick and furious. It was more than a little gratifying, after years of 'Yeah, so?' for Spike to see someone be pissed off about the chip on his behalf.
Spike snaps the cap off the shampoo bottle; Adam takes it from him, turning him around gently, giving him some privacy. "It was an experiment," Spike gives in return. "Wasn't meant to get away."
Adam says nothing, just starts working what feels like enough shampoo for three people through Spike's hair. He rolls his head back into it, eyes closed. "Government got theirs in the end, though: chip keeps me from..."
He stops, frowns; Adam digs his fingers into the knots at his temples. "S'posed to keep me from hurting anything living, originally. Think they mucked it up: I can kill demons and animals, though that last's a new one. Not that I'm complaining," he finishes with a wry glance down at the hollows beneath his hipbones.
"People?" Adam asks lowly, an undercurrent of something dark rippling the hairs on Spike's neck while Adam's sudsy fingers skim over his too-prominent ribs, raise goose bumps on his arms.
Spike shakes his head. "It's bagged or on the hoof for me, pet. Has been for years," he admits quietly. Leaves off the part where he's not entirely sorry any more. Adam's human, or near enough to it to make no difference, but there's a black quicksilver that runs through his veins sometimes, and Spike's reluctant to tell him about the soul because of it. He might have one of his own, but Spike's not certain whether Adam would comprehend the need that drove Spike to win his back; he's got no wish to try to explain it when he's not quite sure he understands it himself.
The words are scarcely out of his mouth when he's whirled and pressed against the tile. Adam pushes up against Spike hard, tilts his head. It's all Spike can do not to gape: for a fellow who can't be killed for the most part, Adam's remarkably touchy about anyone being near his neck. Makes sense, Spike reckons, but it makes it that much harder for him to believe what he's being offered.
"Take too much and I'll stick you to the wall again," Adam warns him. That's more like it, and Spike doesn't need a second threat before he's sinking his fangs into Adam's neck.
Adam's hot, wet, pulsing, almost-human neck, and Spike's hard before the first drops of blood hit his tongue. Jesus wept, he'd forgotten what this felt like. Warm, whimpering human under his mouth and his hands, rich blood flowing in steady pulses down his throat. He grabs Adam's arms and moves them, turns till Adam's the only thing between the wall and Spike's aching prick.
He slows his drinking, drawing it out. Adds a push and a twist and a caress here and there, and before long, Adam's bucking between Spike's legs, clutching mindlessly at his shoulders as he comes.
Oh yeah, Spike thinks, satisfaction, friction and an almost-full belly sending him twisting into his own blood-hot orgasm. That's the shit.
It's enough to remind a man he's a vamp.