All About Spike - Print Version
Purgatory and the Human Condition
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Bastard won't leave Angel alone.
There's this place he likes to go when he wants to think. No paralegals or computers around. The glass isn't tinted, and nobody kisses his ass. No blood on the menu - just a killer cup of coffee. He hasn't told the others about it, and if they asked where he went every night, he'd lie. It's his place, damn it.
So of course Spike would show up there.
Or maybe the correct term is "pop up there", because he really does pop up. Angel blinks, and whoosh - there's the asshole who should be rotting in some London grave instead of smirking in an L.A. diner.
"Should've known you'd go for that Nescafe sludge. Never did have any taste, did you?"
He's gotten really good at ignoring Spike.
... Who never could take a hint. "I'd offer to punch it up with some prime bourbon, 'cept you'd just scowl and call me a lout. Isn't that right?"
Rather than giving him the satisfaction of a verbal sparring match, Angel starts humming. More specifically, he hums the theme song from I Dream of Jeannie.
He's nearly to the "bah-dum-DUM" at the end before Spike figures it out.
"You always did enjoy rubbing me until I went 'poof', Angelus."
"Which, if memory serves, took a total of five seconds."
"At least I didn't have to worry about premature soul ejaculation."
Shit. Angel doesn't have a good comeback for that one. So he just gives Spike his best eye-roll and stares out the window. Night's fallen now, but that doesn't give him as much solace as he used to. The office has spoiled him, with its sunlight and tempered glass. Tricks him into thinking the daytime is where he belongs.
God, he wants Spike gone. Hates seeing that smirking face everywhere he goes, intruding on the place where he's supposed to be alone. As if he hadn't already suffered enough with his soul; now he has to suffer through what was, perhaps, the worst thing he ever did - at least, circa 1880. He's now stuck with Ghost Spike plastered to him like a bad haircut. Should've known better than to assume that the deal with the devil only applied to Wolfram & Hart. Cosmic joke, but he sure isn't laughing.
"If you're done brooding, the waitress just brought you the check."
Angel reaches for his wallet. "Can I pay you off and make you go away? 'Cause really, money's no object."
For some weird reason, that actually shuts Spike up. Finally, a moment of peace! Never lasts, though.
"You think I want to be here, stuck to you like this? I'm supposed to be off in the bloody astral plane. Oh, but no. Not good enough for heaven - no big surprise there. Hell doesn't want me, either. I'd call this purgatory, except I doubt even God would consider Los fucking Angeles a neutral site."
Beneath the sarcasm, something in Spike's voice hits him deep down. Dark and frustrated and all too familiar. He's heard that voice before, though usually coming from his own mouth.
Not the vampire he remembers. The one who would find something hilarious in every situation - the more twisted, the better. When Angel got drunk, he'd mope, even before the soul. But Spike was a giddy drunk, mocking and laughing at everyone around him. Sometime, if he had enough Bloody Marys in him - Spike got a kick out of the irony - he'd joke around and buy drinks for his food before he dragged it out to the alley.
Spike isn't drinking tonight.
Over the rim of the coffee mug, Angel watches him. Spike's fidgeting. No big shock there. Instead of staring Angel down, though, he's staring out the window. None of the old predatory gleam in his eyes - not that it should be, since he's not a vampire anymore. That had always been such a huge part of Spike, though. Everything was a source of fascination and amusement.
Now Spike looks like a dead shell.
And that strange, pathetic spark of humanity in him is what makes Angel ask, "Everything all right?"
"I'm fine. Fuck you," Spike mutters, but he doesn't look up.
Yeah, that's him. Except it's not.
More silence, and Angel starts to wonder if he can slip out of here without Spike noticing. It's tempting. Hell, a long, romantic dinner with Lilah is more tempting than being here like this. But he's supposed to help the hopeless, helpless, whatever. Spike fits the bill.
So he sits and waits, and after a while, payoff.
"If God wants to torture me, why'd he send me to you?"
"Because he hates me too?" Almost gets a grin. Angel doesn't want to think about why that makes him so glad.
Spike's voice deepens, slips into ill-fitting melancholy. "I'm serious. Why you?"
Good question. Forget the amulet crap. Why wasn't Spike sent back to haunt someone else - Drusilla or, God forbid, especially Buffy?
Because he always saw the things you hid from everyone else. Because Drusilla turned him, but you were his sire. Because in those twenty unsouled years - and throughout the century after - he was a part of you.
So he pulls out one of his random pearls of wisdom, and strangely enough, it fits. "Maybe you're not here because of me. Maybe I'm here because of you."
A low, bitter laugh. "Hardly. Don't flatter yourself."
"Believe whatever the hell you want, William. I'm done trying to make sense of this. Go off and brood - you still have two hundred years of catching up to do."
Spike sighs and scrunches up his face in something between a sneer and frustration. And then something amazing happens.
He looks up. Eyes shining, lips pouting. It's like his whole body is unfolding like a flower. He looks just like that boy Angel had taught everything all those years ago. The one he'd fuck into submission, then hold tightly until the shivers stopped. The one he would kiss, but only after Spike was asleep. He's beautiful.
"It hurts," Spike groans.
"I hate you, you wanker."
Angel can't help but grin. "I hate you, too."
Then the moment passes. Angel folds his change back in his wallet, and leaves a few bills for the waitress. Standing up, he says, "I'm going home."
"Don't go jerking off in the shower tonight, or anything. Stumbling in on that would send me straight to hell."
Angel laughs and heads toward the door. "Afraid of performance anxiety? Think you won't measure up anymore?"
But when he looks back over his shoulder, Spike has faded away.
"See you at home," Angel mutters. Then he steps out into the warm night air where he belongs.
Note: This is based on last week's AtS spoilers. Don't read this if you have no idea whatsoever how Spike returns. That's about as spoilery as it gets, though. The title is from the bizarrely hilarious song by Blur.
Theme from an Imaginary Film
"She told me she loved me. She lied."
Spread-eagled on the bed, Spike stares up at the ceiling. His hand curls as if he wants nothing more than to be clutching a bottle. Spike was always the drinker. Angelus got drunk on other things.
Angel steps out of the bathroom and walks over to the closet. Doesn't say a word in response to Spike; he's too busy pretending he didn't hear anything. Hard to do, though, when that subject is filling the room like dying roses.
Oh, he knows full well that Buffy was telling Spike the truth. She loves him. It was all over her face, clear in every word. What pisses Angel off is that she lied to him about it. I'm not ready for a relationship right now. Spike's not my boyfriend. Cookies baking blah blah crap. See ya, Angel. It's been fun.
Apparently, Spike loves her back. How fucked up is that? Always had to screw in on his territory, Spike did. Next thing you know, he'll find himself some bitch and get her knocked up, just so he can have his own kid too. Sure, Spike's not corporeal, but obstacles never do stop that bastard.
What Angel can't figure out, though, is if she and Spike were in love - he can't help cringing at the concept, even though he hasn't thought of much else since Spike went on his lovelorn pisser tear - then why the hell is he here? Bonded to Angel, okay, but why didn't those two run off together before Spike had a chance to dust?
Why isn't he making any sense, even in his damned thought processes?
And why the hell doesn't Spike believe her?
All this is a load of shit. Still pretending to ignore the bastard, Angel proceeds to fold every bit of clothing in his closet, even though most of them were perfectly fine to begin with. Then he goes back to the bathroom, nearly plugging his ears to block out the drunken ramblings, and inventories the counter. Hmm ... he'll have to stop by Target on his way home from work tomorrow.
Which brings up another point. He's pathetically domesticated now. Discount stores? Shopping lists? Holy fuck, just get him a 401(k) and be done with it, already. That's what Buffy's supposed to have, right? Normal guy who cares about crap like that. Hell, he even has a kid, though said kid is currently up in Tahoe, getting ready for university. Still, he's practically the ideal guy for Buffy now. And what does Buffy go and do? Falls fall for a son of a bitch like Spike.
As if my life didn't suck already ....
To hell with it. He's through with all this puissant moping. Gonna figure out a way to get rid of Spike, then take his life back. That Wicca woman in the paranormal division's got a crush on him; she'll do it and probably let him cop a feel while she's at it.
Except when he walks back into the bedroom, he stops short.
Spike looks utterly miserable.
Suddenly, Angel's mind careens back to a night in London, a hundred-odd years ago. A cigar and Scotch after whip-screwing William for a couple of hours. Face bloodied and legs still twitching, the fool looked up at him and whispered, "Drusilla's fond of me, but that's all. How do I make her love me?"
God help him, he's going to set things straight. He hates Spike, but he loves Buffy enough to do right by her. Doesn't mean he's going to tell her what happened here, though. Some things are better left to their own devices. And if she never finds out about her ghost lover, well, then, bummer for the both of them.
"Quit your damned whining, Spike. She doesn't love you? That's not true, and you know it."
That gets the boy's attention. "What the hell do you care about it, anyway?"
"You're right. I don't give a damn whether you two get together. In fact, it isn't going to happen because, hey, you're incorporeal. Bummer. But since I'm cursed with having you around all the time, last thing I want is to have to listen to your crap."
He sits down on the edge of the bed and leans in close. "Do you still love Drusilla, even though you two are never going to get back together?"
Spike looks up at him, defiant eyes gleaming. "Damn straight I do. Don't want to be within a hundred miles of her, but I'm always going to love her."
"Then welcome to the magical world of me and Buffy. Can't be with her. Frankly, even if I could, I doubt we'd last more than a couple of weeks. So don't worry about me as a threat."
A sudden bark of laughter. "You? A threat? Hardly." Spike pauses. "I was dying. She was being nice. The end."
Oh, this is getting to be too much. "Buffy's not Jasmine." Off Spike's blank look, Angel continues. "Never mind. She's not one to go around saying 'I love you' to everyone she meets. So if she said it to you, then it's the real deal."
"Then why can't I believe her?"
"Maybe you shouldn't."
Spike looks up at him, whip-sharp and startled. "Don't much care for you playing your agenda, Angelus."
"I'm serious." Oh, yeah. He can play coy. "What good's it going to do if she was telling the truth? Not like you can go after her, what with you being dead."
No response to that. Angel turns around and fingers the buttery leather of the coat he bought with his first dividend check. A clever grin tugs at the corners of his mouth. He indulges himself for a minute, then turns back to face the bed. Spike has disappeared.
Angel always wins.
The title of this one is from the song "The Shining Hour" by Grant Lee Buffalo. Want an mp3?
The only spoiler is for how Spike first appears on AtS. If that's all you know, you're safe.
Much love to kita0610 and circe_tigana for looking this over, and to anniesj for her inspired idea. ::mwah::
Gotta hand it to Spike. The ghost thing just means he can find even more ridiculous ways to fuck with Angel. Most of them aren't nearly as clever as he thinks they are.
For example: the sunshine.
Sure, not as big a problem as it used to be, thanks to necro-tempered glass. It's still glass, though. Different from actually feeling it on your skin, not that Angel remembers that from his long-lost human days.
At noon, he slouches in the portico of his apartment building, waiting for W&H's car to pick him up. Same as usual, except now he's got the none-too-welcome company of Spike.
"Now, this is the life," Spike proclaims as he strolls around the portico, teasing the sunlit edges. "Well, not the life, because hello, dead now. Bugger that. It's still sunshine."
Angel stares straight ahead, ignoring him this time mostly because he doesn't want to be some freak who talks to thin air - and he's not about to ask whether the doorman can see Spike.
"Mind tossing me a bottle of Coppertone? Oh, wait. You don't have any, poor baby." Spike turns and smirks. "Maybe I'll strip naked and let my best assets get a bit of a tan."
Screwing his face up in a glare, Angel finally looks over. Sure enough, Spike's standing full-on in the open air. The sun makes his leather coat shine, and his bleached hair glows like a halo. Oh, he really is stunning, all lit up like a god. Beautiful.
Angel closes his eyes to scrub away the image, and waits for the car.
He does have his own place in the sun, though. Filtered by glass, but hey, it's something.
What had Lilah said? Feels even better when you're naked.
Not that Angel's actually gotten naked in his office. Please. But he does get up to some really embarrassing stuff that he will never, ever reveal to another soul.
Every morning, Gunn sweeps the place for bugs and hidden cameras. He'll find one occasionally. No big surprise - Angel doesn't trust W&H one bit, even if this branch is his now. Wesley also worked some mojo to scramble any video or audio frequencies in the office, so that cameras wouldn't pick up any blackmail material. The AI team might be toeing the line of moral corruption, but they still put a premium on privacy.
The office is his sanctum, his playground. Sometimes he'll take off his coat and roll up his sleeves - once, he actually went shirtless - and throw open the blinds. Five p.m. is the best time for it, when the sun shoots directly into the room, and he can almost see the light reflecting off the distant Pacific. His secretary never schedules meetings between five and six, though she politely refuses to ask why. He'll just stand there, so quiet that even the murmuring voices outside don't bother him.
And he basks.
Two hundred and fifty years of walking this earth, and those minutes are the most real he's ever felt.
Didn't take long for Spike to fuck those over, too.
The bastard has this trick he likes to play. As hard as Angel tries to ignore him, Spike will stand right next to him, sparking in and out of vision, like a light switch flicked by a bored child. Trying his damnedest to distract him, not that Angel ever gives him the satisfaction. Even Spike can't take the sunlight away.
"Angelus basking in the sunshine. Fancy that." The smirk in his voice grates like steel razors. "I've half a mind to -"
Before Spike can horn in with one of those faux-clever comebacks, Angel's control snaps.
"Shut. The fuck. UP. You don't want to be here? Fine. I sure as hell don't want you around. Bully for both of us, The Powers That Laugh At Your Misery have stuck us together." He takes a step forward, shoves right up in Spike's ghost-face. Their eyes narrow in unison. "Until I can rub a lamp and shove you back in it, quit your goddamned talking."
Spike's chin tilts up, lips curl into something between a pout and a sneer. "God, you're pathetic. Trying to play Boss Man, but all you've got is that Hugo Boss suit. Not fooling anyone, you aren't. Underneath it all, you're just a wanker who can't let himself go once in a while. Tell me," he slowly blinks, "do you cry when you jerk off?"
So this is what Spike wants, huh? No-holds-barred, fists and fangs, having it all out? Oh, he can't begin to match Angel for all that. Boy's forgotten everything he was taught all those years ago.
"You tell me, Spike," he replies, his voice colder than blood. "Who's the pathetic one here? I'm in control. I do what I want. And you?" A long, slow glance up and down Spike's body. "Poor little Spikey. Can't go to heaven, and hell won't let him in. All you can do is taunt."
Spike's fists curl, anger seething off him in waves. That fierce need to fight, to kill - it's all over him. Angel knows that if things were different, by now he'd have been dusted with a pencil or broken chair.
Which just makes it better.
He moves in for the kill. Curls his mouth up in a grin and murmurs, "Buffy called yesterday. Things are going real well for her in London. Says she's never been happier. Maybe that's because she doesn't have to put up with you anymore."
Fury shatters into a million flash-blinding shards. Spike coils his arm back and -
The blow shoots straight through Angel. No resistance, only air, but fire sparks through his stomach. Tingling and consuming and all that pressure builds up up up and then -
Blown out like a candle flame. Like lust and death and the richest blood ever. It's Darla, and countless ingenue victims, and each night William sucked him off while Angelus teased him with a stake. It's Buffy and his soul flying away like a murder of crows. It's history, mixed with something he can never, doesn't ever want to name.
Every thread of emotion reflects in Spike's haunted eyes.
He felt it too.
Angel closes his eyes, leans back against the tempered glass. Palms skitter over the cool window, searching for a hold to keep him from sliding down to the carpet.
"I never -" Spike's voice trails away. He sounds so young.
When Angel comes back to himself and opens his eyes, Spike is gone.
The Two-Way Mirror
Things happened today.
He thinks he talked to Wesley about a potential new prophesy. Approved an expenditures form from the science division. Said hello to Gunn in the atrium. Drank blood out of a chilled glass. Did the same things he does every day.
Doesn't quite remember any of them, though, because everything since sunset is caught in the ether of dream-memory. Frayed edges around the image, like old photographs that have been left out in the sun. Almost unreal, except the white noise of his soul tells him that it was real.
When he closes his eyes, he sees Spike's parted lips, hears the ghost of his voice.
He stays in his office until the every other soul has left the building. These walls have always felt like a prison, a tribute to his corruption. Tonight, though, they protect him from all the things he's afraid to face. From Spike.
The elevator ride is a slow slide into oblivion. He wants to rest against the walls, to stab the hold button and stay in this cell forever. If he can do that, nobody will find him. They won't know about what happened when Spike hit him as the sun set over the Pacific.
But he's never been about cowardice, has he? At least, not when it really counts. So he stands completely still in the elevator and watches the red-lit numbers fall.
He'll figure out where he's going when he gets there.
His hand stills over the light switch in the entryway. This is the point when he usually turns on the lights and walks around the condo, surveying his domain. Tonight, though, he lets his hand fall away from the plastic, keeping the flat in darkness.
Angel walks into the living room, staring into the shadows. His world is never really dark. A predator's gaze, spotlighting the hunt. In a vampire's eyes, the world always glows.
In the blue haze of the dying night, Spike shivers in and out of view, like a circuit not quite completed. He faces the window, staring up at the black sky instead of the city lights below. Ghostly faded to anyone else, but clear as day in Angel's vampire eyes. The air around him shimmers like an aura; Angel never learned how to read those, and he's not sure he wants to start now. Too many things there that he'd rather not see.
Instead, he stands completely silent, watching the other man's stillness.
So much goddamned need all around them. Spiraling like poison. Everything he craves fills the room. A look of recognition - hell, even respect - from Connor. Sunlight beyond the prison walls of his office and apartment. To be the footsoldier instead of the general. Buffy. Peace.
It grabs him. Chokes and slithers. Sends him back to those longago nights when it was all so easy. Take what you want, and enjoy the hell out of it. And if they scream? Even better.
Except now the memories expand in other directions, until he's seeing beyond himself. The way William had flinched and nearly sobbed as Angelus pushed inside him that first night. Then afterwards, when William reached over and tried to pull him close, his flesh sticky and cold from come and other things. Angelus hauled back and pummeled the brat's face until he passed out. Then he locked the door and went out with Darla, finding other young pretties he could just fuck and kill.
Now, all he has is this. He doesn't know who he hates more - Spike for touching him last night, or himself for craving it. But when he feels himself grow hard, the choice is made.
A look up over Spike's flickering shoulder, to the city beyond. The two of them separate from that simmering world, and they always will be. Sometimes, the resentment and loneliness drown him, eating everything away until his soul is a lump of coal in the pit of his stomach. All those idiots walking the streets, able to take whatever the hell they want. Kiss, fuck, drink, live. None of them will ever know what it means to be him. His friends try, but it's futile. On nights like this, Angel wants to grab one of them by the balls and force him to take over this existence. Make someone understand, so that he won't be the only one this way.
And now there's Spike.
Angel hates that he's the only one who can understand, but he'll take what he can get.
"Touch me, William."
Spike doesn't even flinch. No hatred, no smirk. Just a shell of a ghost-man, stripped bare of all pretense.
For once, Angel is going to ignore sense and let himself feel. That need blinds him, makes him walk forward until they're so close that all he sees is Spike.
When Spike's hand comes up to touch his cheek, it passes through Angel's face and to the other side, pausing over his lips. Fuck, so warm, so alive. And when it falls away, he looks down for fists that he doesn't find.
"Do you want this?" Sounds so pathetically needy, so stupid. Can't help himself, though.
Spike looks up, then past Angel. Face blank, but jaw twitching like restraint is all he has left. "Yeah. No." A long, harsh sigh. "Fuck all. I need something."
Before Angel can plan his next move, a ghost-hand shoots forward and grasps his cock. Except there is no hand, nothing at all but this fire and electricity, like he's being destroyed from inside. God, it's incredible. When he looks down, eyes unfocused and dazed, he sees Spike's hand disappearing inside himself, as if it's part of him now.
Whip-fast, they touch each other everywhere. Fists pushing into bodies, below the skin in places nobody has ever been. White noise, white heat. Somewhere there's a siren, except there can't be because they're on the fifteen floor, and the world has crumbled away. Everything is wild and blind and oh fuck he's feeling something, something for the first time in so fucking long that perhaps he's dust now and it's the end of the world.
He looks down with dazed eyes, sees his hand flashing in and out of Spike's body, flickering as he comes.
Then a slow slide into sated dementia.
Angel can feel the thud of his heart, but nothing beats against the hand on his chest. He collapses on the floor, lungs tricked into breathing hard.
The sight of Spike leaning against the window, a million city lights framing his slackened body, is a surprise. Through everything, Angel had almost forgotten the other man was even there.
"I still hate you," Spike mutters, but the voice is less anger than post-orgasmic daze.
"Never gonna change," he replies. And he does still hate the bastard. He really does. But he felt something tonight, let it spark to life all the deadness inside him. If feeling that means he has to have Spike around, then hell, he'll take what he can get.
Something makes him reach out to press his hand to Spike's arm. Just to feel that energy inside, the bizarre connection they now share. It's erotic and overpowering, but right now it lulls his body into feeling so good that something new simmers inside him. Not perfect happiness - fuck, no - but just this sensation of calm, as if the loathing and loneliness have gone to sleep.
Spread-eagled on the tile floor, he pillows his head with his other arm. In the corner of his eye, he sees Spike do the same. Two fucked up, beautiful souls, who can give each other something that neither wants to get, but which they need so damned much that a hundred years of history don't matter.
Harsh night in a cool apartment, with necro-tempered glass for which he'd sold his soul. Angel doesn't get up draw the curtains. The sunrise will come soon enough, and he'll let it flood the room. He can do that now, after all.
And maybe, for all that, giving himself over to the devil is worth the cost.