They didn't understand. None of them did. Oh, they prattled on about long life and times past and history, but none of them knew what it was like to live in the same head, the same body, for two hundred and forty-seven years. Not counting the mortal time, and for a lot of it he hadn't really been in charge, but he'd been THERE. It was a long, long time. They said he wasn't communicative? It was because he'd said everything there was to say, in three different languages, at least fifteen times. They said he wasn't fun? Well, when you've partied your way across every continent on the planet, and done everything that could possibly be considered fun an infinite number of times, it just got old. Unless you had someone really creative along. Spike had always been good for that. Fighting was still interesting, just because every opponent was different, and there was always the lurking possibility of disaster. He suspected that was why he was so good at it. He'd done everything. He'd made up with people who were angry with him before, for one reason or another. He'd fixed mistakes he'd made. He'd fucked Darla so many times it was almost habit, even after a long hiatus. He'd hit bottom and come back up, in the old familiar pattern, and every thought followed a deep, well-grooved path. So under it all, all the grovelling to Cordelia and Wes and Gunn, the existential crises that just never. fucking. ended, he was weary. Bored and weary. This was new, though. Not the basic circumstance itself--retrieving his idiot childe from some scrape or other was so familiar it was almost soothing. No, when he'd gotten the call from Giles, he'd almost known what was coming. Spike had been out of trouble for a while now, as far as he knew, and he'd been past due. "Angel?" "Giles. What's...is it Buffy?" "No, no, everything's...well, actually, it rather is, though she's fine at the moment. As well as can be expected, at any rate." "What's going on?" "Well, it's almost embarrassing, really. You see, Spike's developed this...fixation on her." "Spike? On BUFFY?" "Er, yes. We were all startled, as you can imagine. In any event, he's been stalking her, declaring his love, generally making a complete nuisance of himself. And right now...with Joyce..." his voice had trailed off. Angel had nodded, one hand pressed to his eyes. He'd liked Joyce a great deal, and he knew how deep the family bond had gone between her and her daughters. He was helpless, here, though...couldn't comfort Buffy, couldn't stand by her, couldn't even send a card that didn't make his teeth itch with the inappropriateness of it all. So he'd done nothing, and hated himself for it, and even the hatred was old and tired. "I was wondering..." Giles had sounded almost hopeful. "Can I help? Yes. I'll come get him. The last thing Buffy needs right now is anything...else..." "Thank you, Angel." The relief was almost tangible, and Angel could hear the wear in the Watcher's voice. "And don't..." "I won't let her see me. I'll be in and out tonight." Because Angel himself fell into the anything...else...and he knew it. So here he was, outside the crypt that Spike still, stubbornly, called home. It smelled of him. Cigarettes and whiskey and Spike. And hints of others...there was Buffy's soft summer-scent, and the dark blood-smell of Drusilla *so THAT'S where she got to,* and another vampire, female, who had bled here. Dawn, *Dawn?* peaches and childish light perfume. It seemed his childe had been entertaining, lately. He pushed the door open, alert as always in the presence of Spike. He was just too unpredictable. One minute kissing you, the next heaving a crowbar at your head...he grinned at the memory. "Spike?" "'allo, Peaches. What brings you 'round these parts?" drawled soft and slurred, from an armchair in the corner, and yes, there was that blond head, shining in the darkness. "Slumming." He shrugged, stepped further into the crypt, and swung the door shut behind him. He had a feeling this wasn't going to be pretty. "Right, well slum your giant arse off somewhere else, then. I hear there's a quite pretty piece of tail three doors down. Oh, wait, wouldn't be interested in that, now would you?" There was something...off...about Spike's voice. The edge was still there, but the underlying ever-present humor seemed to have vanished completely. Something was definitely wrong here. Was Spike...depressed? It couldn't possibly be, and yet...even when he'd been shoving pokers through his sire's side, or getting slammed into a wall by said Sire countless times, or bitching about that chip in his head, there'd always been an underlying glee in his approach to life. It was gone now. "Giles called. It seems you've been making quite a nuisance of yourself lately, m'boy." "I'm not your bloody BOY, Angel, and that watcher can just sod off and DIE, for all I care." But Spike didn't get out of the chair or even move. Didn't even put any heat into it. Angel moved closer, and could see Spike's eyes. Closed. He took a swig from the black- labeled bottle in his hand, and slumped further into the chair. His face was turned up, more fine-drawn even than usual under the porcelain skin, highligting his cheekbones and the line of his jaw. So beautiful, Angel thought. "Spike...you can't stay here, not now. Come on. I'm taking you back to LA." "You're takin' me exactly fuckin' NOWHERE, you trotting nancyboy." And if there still wasn't heat, at least his eyes were open. So very blue, but dark now. Angel sighed. They could work this out later. "Yes I am, Spike. Don't make this hard on yourself." He was worried, he'd admit it. He just wanted to get Spike out of here, now, for whatever reason, before the younger vamp decided to take a morning walk. He wasn't far from it. Angel had seen this before, in others. "Gerrof, you wanker. Go bother someone else. 'm sure the Slayer would be happy to see your face." Bitter twist of lips, and another drink from the bottle. "I'm not here to see Buffy, Spike. She has enough to deal with right now. I'm here to get you, and you ARE coming, whether you want to or not." "No." "Spike..." Sigh, and one long step, and he had Spike up and out of the chair and yelping, dangling from the hand around his throat. "Reflexes, m'boy. What have I told you about drinking?" Angel was snarling through his fangs now, right up against Spike's face, and was ready for anything. Punches, kicks, a lunge for his neck with teeth, but not the tears. Spike just hung there, looking defeated, and...tears. *Oh, shit.* **************** Spike was expecting anything, really. A backhand to the face, a disgusted sneer, to be dragged out of the crypt. NOT to get hauled into the Great Poof's arms while he sat down in the chair, or to be rocked while he buried his face in the scent of leather and soap and Sire, and sobbed. Fuck, he was a disgusting demon. He didn't know what had been happening to him lately. First the INSANE thing with the Slayer. He'd never been able to decide whether he'd rather shag her senseless or bathe in her blood, but since he only had one option these days, he figured he'd rather fixated on it. He understood, but it still sickened him. And the abuse from her pathetic gang of children, and him not even able to strike back...and Drusilla, and Harmony, and wasn't THAT just a ball-breaking little scene? And over everything, through everything...the soddin' chip in his skull that stopped him killing and, by weakening his demon that way, reduced him, day by day, to as near to human as made no difference. He couldn't stand it anymore. He cared about things...well, he always had, really, bein' the utter wanker he'd been before he was turned...but now they were different things. HUMAN things. Like company. And comfort. And security and belonging. Fuck. He was through with this. He'd finish off his bottle of JD, have a little toast to his unlife, and go outside to wait for the sunrise. Just as soon as he finished huddling into the arms of his Sire, and cryin' like a baby. ********************** Spike...Spike was curling into him with his whole body, and shuddering with great, heaving sobs that sounded like they were tearing his throat. Angel could feel the demon growling low in his chest *something has hurt someone that is MINE* but he just held the body in his arms, and rocked him. "Shhh. Hush then Will, none 'o that now...Hush. It'll be better soon, boyo." He heard himself slipping into the old accent, memories pulling at his voice until he couldn't help himself. He ran one hand through white, smooth hair, and marveled at the feel, and the sight of his long fingers in among the curls. Stroked, smoothed it back, and again. And started to purr, that low, rumbling comfort-sound that had been the only thing that would calm Dru's hysterics, or Darla's rages, or Spike's hyperactivity. So long ago. The sobs slowed, gentled, but he kept up the petting and the purring, just holding his Will. And it felt wonderful. Like home. Finally there was a last little breath, like a hiccup, and Spike was still. And rested for just a moment, hands still tight in Angel's coat, face pressed hard against his chest. Then he stood up with a jerk, pulling Angel's fingers out of his hair, and wiped at his face with a hard hand, turning away. "Feelin' better then, lad?" Angel kept his voice low and unamused, though he was a bit surprised to hear the accent still. "Sod off, Angelus." Apparently, even vampires got that hoarse, tight after-tears voice. "Come now, Will. Ye'll not be thinkin' I'm after leavin' you here now?" "I said sod OFF. An' stop with that bloody accent, it's makin' my head hurt." "I think that's probably the whiskey." Angel surveyed the floor, littered with empty bottles and one half-full one. But he tried, and managed, to get his voice back to normal. "Spike" ...and it was always Spike, without the Irish... "come home with me." "For what? So I can arse about your place instead of here, starin' at your broody mug at all hours? That would be a huge fuckin' improvement, thanks mate. It's all the SAME, Angelus, no matter where I go." "No. Come home with me. Keep me company. You can work with me, if you want, when I'm out slaughtering demons. It's LONELY, Spike..." "You've got your pet humans keepin' you company. Don't need me about to do it." But Spike's voice had gone softer, uncertain, and he'd turned a little from where he stood, facing the wall. "They don't understand. They don't know what it's like to have seen it all, done it all. And they BOTHER me. Frankly, sometimes I just want to kill them, they annoy me so much." Snort, and Spike turned a little more. "An' like I wouldn't?" Angel grinned, sensing victory. "Well, with you, life's never boring." "Too true, mate." Spike grinned back at him, facing him fully now from across the room. "The SLAYER, Spike? Really." "Like YOU'RE one to talk, y'great poof." But there was that damned uncertain tone again. "I actually...maybe love her, a bit." "I know." Angel stood, and crossed to his side. "It'll pass, eventually. She's not for us." "I know." Spike sighed, and leaned into him a little. Daring greatly, Angel wrapped one arm around his waist. Kissed him lightly on the temple. "It was just...a thing. Something to think about, to keep m'self from goin' totally 'round the bend, here." But his arm crept up to circle Angel's midsection, under the coat, palm flat against his side. Angel struggled not to start purring again. "I think it got a little out of hand when you chained her in your cellar, Spike." "Probably. Watcher told you about that, eh?" "I got the whole story. Spike...why didn't you call me?" "Well, last time I saw you didn't go so well, did it. An' word on the street was, Angelus was on his way back in. Torturing lawyers, or some such rot. Figured your hands were full, at the least, an' if that raving nutter was back I wanted no part of it. He's gone a bit off, y'know, since the whole curse thing." Angel knew. He remembered the things he'd done in Sunnydale and cringed. Some of it was standard Angelus, true, but some of the things he'd done had been beyond even the normal *normal!* demonic pale. Especially when it came to his childer... "No, he's not back, though it was a close thing. Even had a fling with Darla, if you'll believe that." "You shagged that bitch? Sounds like you should've been the one calling me." Spike huffed. "Spike..." Warning growl, habit. Spike's hatred for his grandsire was epic, and had never been tolerated well by Angelus. Spike ducked his head, leaning it against Angel's shoulder, and the older vampire was struck by their odd position. Standing in the middle of a crypt, almost-embracing, and this truly bizarre conversation... "Still...does this mean the whole curse bollocks is over? Angel's back, an' let everything with two legs an' a crotch beware?" Spike bumped his hip against Angel suggestively, and Angel grinned. "Not...quite. The Host-" "The WHO?" "The Host. He's a demon seer who runs a karaoke bar in L.A., and he'll be delighted to meet YOU. Just watch your backside around him, or it'll get pinched." Angel grinned harder at Spike's little disgusted sound. "Anyway, he thinks my soul stuck because for one thing, she didn't make me happy-" "Coulda told you THAT, mate-" "SPIKE. For another, because I felt guilty about her existence to begin with, and thirdly, because I never forgot the curse, or my penance, or my destiny." "Sod your bloody destiny. I just wanna know if we can shag." Spike was peering up at him through thick dark lashes, still spiky and damp with tears, and the glee was back. That little-boy, completely adult look that told Angel that if he didn't want to have his *suddenly VERY tight* pants around his ankles in about two seconds, he'd better step away. He stood still. "I...Spike, JESUS." Because Spike had turned to face him, and in those ridiculous old boots, he could stand on tiptoe and bump his crotch RIGHT against Angel's. Always direct, his boy. "Now now...no blasphemin', Peaches." He could hear the smile in that rough voice, even though his eyes were closed, even as shivers of pleasure ran from his groin to his fingertips and set him tingling. Deft fingers were at his belt, working the buckle without ever breaking contact, and pulling his shirt up and out of the way. His pants were at his knees and his shirt open and pushed off, with his jacket, before he even really registered what was happening. Clever, clever Spike. Who was now pressed up against him, full-body, mouthing his collarbone in that way he'd always adored, and pushing jeans-clad hips against his aching cock. He fisted fingers in that icy hair, drew Spike's head away from his body, and dove into the kiss. They both froze. This was not normal. Angelus had kissed Spike four, perhaps five times over the course of their long...whatever it had been. It hadn't been about love then, not really, though Spike had worshipped him and he had pampered and indulged his Most Favored. The return to Sunnydale had been all rage and pain and vengeance. And since then...pokers, taunts and fists. This was...new. And unexpected. And utterly delicious. Angel couldn't imagine why he'd been denying himself this mouth for so long. He parted Spike's rigid lips with his tongue, slipped inside, and sighed a little with the pleasure of it. ********************** Angel...Angelus...his Sire was kissing him! Long deep strokes, and little nibbles at his lips, and Spike groaned and threw himself into it with everything he had. Curved his hands up around that dark, ridiculously moussed head, felt strong arms wrapping around him and pulling him up into that heavy body, and this was bliss, sod the girliness of the position. There was a hand under his shirt, perfect body temperature, flat and hard against his spine, and fingers fluttering up and down. He suddenly felt overdressed. Shirt off first, then frantic fingers at his jeans *bloody button fly, hope some enterprisin' vamp eats that lot over at Levi's*, never once breaking the contact of mouth on mouth. And then skin on skin, and a long sigh of pure pleasure when he felt his cock rubbing in the coarse hair at Angel's groin. All that smooth skin under his fingers, and hard brown nipples that peaked when he touched them, like he knew Angel liked it. Angel sucked in a breath, and rubbed against him harder, and fucked his mouth with his tongue. Oh, this was the bloody bollocks. This was fuckin' great! Slayer who? Angel grabbed him hard around the waist and lifted him, Spike's legs automatically wrapping around his body, crossing at the ankles. Might as well be consistent, since he'd been actin' the chit all night so far already. They stumbled over to the bed, and then Spike was flat on his back with two hundred-plus pounds of horny, grabby Sire pressed against him. He wasn't complaining a bit. ****************** Cool, pale skin against his, long legs tangled around his thighs and pelvis arching up and blue eyes shining into his own, and Angel knew he'd better concentrate on his sins and penance HARD if this was going to work. So much more than Darla...his boy was life and light and energy, and despite everything, not tainted with despair. He trailed his lips down that elegant throat, pressed his teeth gently to the clean blade of collarbone, the swell of muscle on his chest. "Sire..." Spike was gasping now, wiggling beneath him, begging him with eyes and body and grasping hands for more. Angel ran a finger down one cheek, the bone beneath his hand as delicate as china and strong as steel. He'd always loved Spike's cheekbones. His childe flushed a little under the intensity of his eyes, and turned his head, exposing his throat. "Sire, please...." Where Angelus had made his mark. Angel's eyes darkened, then went gold, as he felt his other face slipping on like a mask. One snake-strike down, and his mouth was full of Spike's sweet blood, blood that tasted like magic and passion and eternity. And Angel wasn't bored. Not even a little. **************** OH! There was a strong hand fisting his cock now, and he didn't know how much longer he was gonna last...especially not with Angel's fangs in his throat and his big, hard body driving him down into the mattress...but he wanted more. Wanted to belong again. "Angel...more..." And the little girly gasps weren't helpin' him any in the image department, but fuck it. Just fuck it. He wanted Angel. He canted his pelvis up, as much as he could under the weight, and pulled at Angel's hips a little desperately, settling him where he wanted him. Felt Angel's erection, drooling wet and sliding between his legs, up and down the crease in his ass with the movement of his hand and his body. FUUUCK! Why wasn't he gettin' bloody ON with it? Angel pulled his teeth out of Spike's skin, lapping at the puncture wounds with his tongue, holding the smaller body motionless with hands and voice and mouth. "Be still, William. There isna a reason in the world to rush." And smirked down into Spike's frustrated eyes. "Yer great ponce...fuck me already, Angelus!" "As ye wish, boy. As ye wish." And there it was, pushing big and solid at him, and he whined a little and wrapped his legs around Angel again. Opening himself completely. *Take me, you bugger...it's on offer, an' all!* Torturously slow entry, inch by inch, as that great bloody rod rearranged his insides in the best possible way. One long last push and he was IN, and he could hear Angel chanting something about remembering sins, but he'd lost his mind and couldn't pay attention. The hard head of Angel's cock was knocking against his protate with every twitch he made, and he was twitching a lot, bucking up off the bed and pulling Angel down into him even further. He wanted MORE, dammit, wanted to be fucked into the mattress, fucked till he couldn't walk, and Angel seemed happy to oblige. The hard, pounding strokes were starting now, and Spike's back arched right off the bed, and the pleasurepainpleasure was making him dizzy. It had been so bleedin' long, and THIS was what he had been looking for, this strength and power and hard white beauty above him, making him scream and beg and submit. No wonder he'd gone moonin' after the Slayer. Considerin' Angelus' version of foreplay, one too many smacks from the little blond bint an' he'd been ready to go. But that was too much thinking, and this was too good to miss. IN and slow withdraw, and IN again, and Angel was screwing him raw, twisting his hips and changing angles, and yeah, he was screaming now, and begging to be touched, and there was a hand on him, and his brain melted. Hot silver feeling behind his eyes and down his cock and pulsing warmth and he was shaking as he came, tossing his head back and howling, and pushing down on Angel with everything that was in him. He felt Angel go rigid between his legs, those huge hands gripping at his thigh and arm and nails drawing blood...and felt the pulses inside him, long and one after another after another. His sire collapsed down onto him, still inside him, and this time it was Spike who stroked soft hair that was tickling his chest. ************** Oh, FUCK that was good. Better than anything. Better than Angel could ever remember it, and he had perfect recall. Demon perk. But this...this was just amazing, and he was surprised he still had his soul. It was in there, he could feel it. Plus, he wasn't currently flaying Spike's skin from his bones for daring to touch him without permission, which would have been a tip-off. *He's petting my hair. It feels wonderful.* Angel slid over to his side, taking Spike with him, curling his body around the slender one in his arms. Grinned into Spike's smirk, and kissed those perfect lips. Slow and soft, a regular after-sex kiss, but Spike still opened his eyes wide even as he kissed him back. "So, you're coming with me, then?" "Already did, mate." Smugly. Angel rolled his eyes. "To L.A., brat." "S'pose I might do, yeah. Ponce." "Well, we've got, he checked his watch, "four hours left before daylight. We should get out of here soon, to be on the safe side. Pack your things, let's go." He smacked a bare white cheek, and rolled off the bed to look for his clothes. "Angel..." Spike was picking at the bedspread with nervous hands, and Angel stared at him, shirt in hand, as he lay sprawled and touseled on the bed. "How...long should I expect to stay?" Whatever had changed in his childe was deep and serious. He'd even slipped back into his upper-class accent, and the doubt that he was welcome was loud in Angel's ears. And completely uncharacteristic, coming from that arrogant mouth. "Will...I'm hopin' ye'll stay on as long as y'like. An' I'm hopin' ye'll like to stay a long, long time." He smiled. Saw the insecurity *dammit, Buffy!* fade and the grin grow, and Spike bounced off the bed like he'd expected him to right away. "Right then. Clothes, fags an' duster, and I'm good." He gathered said items, shucked into his jeans and boots, ran a quick hand through his hair, and was ready. Still grinning. "That's it?" Angel looked around the crypt, into the open hole leading to the tunnels. "Nothin' more for me here, mate." Spike shut the cover to the hole decisively. "Are we going, or are you gonna stand about an' brood some more?" Sigh. Maybe boring had its unexplored merits..."No. Come on." And he led the way out to the car, and home.