Humanity


by Tinkerbell
Series: Wounds Invisible 11



"It's broken. Fuckin' thing is broken."
 
"What is?"
 
"The damn remote for the telly. It's broken." He punctuates his words by
smacking the hapless remote against the wooden arm of the couch, causing the
back battery panel to open up and skid across the floor.
 
"See? Fuckin' thing's ... oh, wait. Why the hell is there only one battery in
here? 'Posed to be two."
 
"Because I used one for my CD player," Cordelia informs him breezily, and
ignores the maddening glare he shoots her way.
 
Take cover, Hurricane Spike has broken in the west.
 
He heaves himself off the couch and starts rifling through the paperwork on the
counter, scattering folders and newspaper articles in his wake. "Where's my
*smokes*," he howls at top volume. 
 
"Er .." I say eloquently, unsure of why he is so agitated. He loses those
disgusting sticks of cancer around the lobby every day.
 
Snorting, he dashes a stack of files to the floor and stomps into the small
kitchenette.
 
I stand amid the floating sheets of paper, bewildered. What is wrong with him?
Aside from the obvious, of course. Mentally I begin to tick off things I could
have done to upset him.
 
After my list of Possible Slights Against Spike has reached gigantic
proportions, I give up and follow. He is in the tiny kitchen, mumbling to
himself as he opens drawers and cabinets and then slams them shut again.
 
"Can't find 'em," he says. "Can't find 'em. Wha'd you do with 'em? Did your
prissy little bitch of a glorified secretary toss 'em? Where. Are. My.
Cigarettes?"
 
There's only one thing to do, so I do it. Just as he flings a pile of neatly
folded dishtowels into the air, I grab his wrist and jerk him toward me. I fold
his lean frame into mine and put a firm hand on the back of his neck, placing
his face into the hollow of my shoulder. 
 
And I just hold him tightly.
 
After a long, long time, he heaves an enormous sigh and relaxes. I wonder if
this is a good time to ask him what might be the matter. And if he'll tell me.
 
I try to remember what Cordelia said about communication. She got it into her
head one night to give me lessons in the fine art of "Angel you have to
actually do more than look good in dark clothing, you have to actually speak
sometimes."
 
I try to, now. Really. Especially with Spike, who wears all emotions on his
dirty sleeve and nothing seems to bother him more than my silence in the face
of one of his outbursts.
 
Gives me a good passive-aggressive weapon, but I try not to wield it too often.
 
What did Cordelia say? Oh, right. "Sometimes you have to ask Spike what's wrong
instead of cowering away from his tantrums."
 
Ok.
 
"Spike, what's wrong?"
 
He lifts his head from where it is neatly placed in the hollow of my shoulder
and stares at me. "What's wrong? What's fucking wrong? Are you yanking my
chain, you jackass?"
 
Fuck Cordelia and her goddamned lessons.
 
I start to shake my head in protest and I can feel my mouth opening and closing
like a fish. Why, why, WHY do I always miss the boat with him?
 
By now he's pulled away from me completely and is backing up, and the
expression on his face is almost horrified. "You ... you're ..." he stutters
from the doorway. "You're fucking incredible."
 
And then he is gone, but I can track his journey through the lobby and up the
stairs because there are things crashing to the floor behind him. Cordelia
yelps when he knocks down one of the very large mirrors on the wall on the
second floor, and even Wesley raises his eyes to the ceiling when the bedroom
door slams with the force of a tidal wave, and then both pairs of accusing eyes
turn from the second floor to the doorway I am standing in, totally perplexed.
 
"Angel," Cordelia warns me, "you obviously were not listening at our last
communication session."
 
"But ... um ... he just ... well." I gesture vaguely at them with my hand,
because this of course will explain exactly what happened in the kitchen just
now.
 
Even Wesley is looking doubtful.
 
Cordelia raises a hand and points to the staircase. "You need to go up there.
And when you get there, you need to remember lesson number seven, when we
discussed smoothing over an argument without actually admitting guilt."
 
Was there even an argument that I have to smooth over? Why am I so confused?
 
"But ... what's wrong with him?" I ask, and I suppose the look on my face truly
shows my bafflement because Cordelia relents.
 
"Angel," she says softly, "You do know what month it is, don't you?"
 
Umm ... April, maybe? I stare at her blankly. She points to the calendar
hanging behind my desk, the desk I use every single day of the year.
 
"It's May."
 
Oh. May.
 
* * *
 
There are not many things I have in common with Spike, aside from the fact that
we have both killed hundreds of people. And we share the same living space.
That about covers it.
 
But there is the minor detail of both of us loving the most powerful vampire
slayer that ever lived, and she died, breaking both of our hearts in a single
blow.
 
There is that.
 
And it's May, which is coincidentally the month of her death. Even though it
was six years ago, and I did my time or penance or repenting or mourning or
whatever you want to call it. Not like I don't still mourn her ... because the
shining truth of the matter is that she was the love of my life, and I did
grieve intensely, and I still miss her to this day. I mourn her every minute
I'm awake, only most days it's pushed to the back of my mind and it's more like
a dull ache than a persistent pain.
 
But it's still mourning, and I still do it. I just do it a little more quietly
than my childe.
 
I ponder it all while I stand in the doorway of the bedroom that the hurricane
has swept through. I will not get mad at the overturned dresser drawers. I will
not be upset at my comb and brush and accompanying hair products on the floor. 
 
::what will you get upset over, angel?::
 
It's a small, niggling voice. Familiar and comfortable with residence in my
already too-analytical brain. I ignore it.
 
::you never get mad you never get mad you never get mad::
 
Ignore it. Go into the bedroom, Angel, I think. Go and comfort him, for he
cannot mourn as quietly and as privately as you. Go and find him.
 
::find him and make him comfort you for a change::
 
And then he is there, materializing in the doorway of the small attached
bathroom, his glowing cigarette the only light in the room. A small red ember
in a blanket of dark.
 
"Cordelia guilt you into chasin'?"
 
The rage explodes from my lungs before I even know what I'm going to say. It
must have been there all along, like a flame that has sucked all the oxygen
from the room and is just waiting for someone to open the door.
 
I guess Spike opened the door.
 
"It's May!" I shout at him.
 
He turns sullen immediately. "So fuckin' what."
 
"So what?" I repeat. "So what?" I'm in the bedroom and advancing on him before
he's even moved from the doorway.
 
Blue eyes dart nervously to the side and he takes a quick hit of nicotine,
expelling the stream of smoke over his head. "Why d'ya care, all of a sudden?"
 
Oh, so brave. Even in the face of wrath, he is brave. Always been brave, come
to think of it, never ever backing down from a challenge or a fight or 
 
::love::
 
his sire.
 
"You do not have the authority on love, Spike," I tell him while we're nearly
nose to nose. "You are not the only fool on earth who's ever been in love."
 
"Yeah? Leastwise I'm man enough to say it, Angel. You call yerself a man, you
like to walk and talk and dress like one, but you ain't one. A real man admits
when he's in love, no matter how much it kicks him in the balls. And a real man
stays in love." Not looking away any more, but straight on now. 
 
So, so brave.
 
"Stays in love? What the hell are you talking about?" He speaks in riddles. Or
at least I think he does. Cordelia says he's easy to understand, but she's a
woman. They understand emotional things.
 
Emotional things make me sort of itchy.
 
"You forgot," he accuses. "You forgot this is when the Slayer died. You forget
everything, Angel. Who's to say you remember how you ever felt about her?"
 
It is an anomaly to me that Spike is not scornful of the passion I had for the
Slayer. Instead, he seems to clutch my love for her close to his own heart, as
if it somehow validates his own misguided feelings ... as if it makes it all
right for a vampire to love a Slayer.
 
Because of course, at one time, a vampire did.
 
"I will not let you," I tell him, jerking the cigarette from his lips and
throwing it to the floor. "I will not let you stand there, boy, and tell me
that I did not love the Slayer. You and I both know it's not the truth."
 
"You forgot," he says again, lamely.
 
"I never forget her. It doesn't matter when she died. I never forget her. I
never, ever forget her. Do you understand me?"
 
There must be something like a crazed look in my eye, because he nods
reluctantly although I'm sure he doesn't believe me. His expression turns
thoughtful. "Did you tell her you loved her?"
 
A small twinge of slicing pain. "Yes. More than once."
 
"Uh huh," he muses. "Me too."
 
And then suddenly he looks small and young, very similar to the way he looked
when I found him and turned him on the streets of London. Heart of a poet.
 
I heave a huge sigh and feel some of the tension go with it. A thought occurs
to me. "Hey," I say tentatively, "I love you too, you know." Sort of not really
eloquent, but I think that's Cordelia's next lesson.
 
He drags his bottom lip between his teeth and worries it. "I know that, ya
dumbass."
 
"Yes. Well." I absently scratch my arm. See? Itchy. "I think there's ...
something ... downstairs I have to do. You want to help?" What a lame effort.
Now he'll predictably get mad for me being condescending.
 
"I think," he says slowly and with a very wicked grin, "there's something
upstairs you have to do."
 
Well. Something to be said for unpredictability.
 
* * *
 
It is quiet and smooth and rough and harsh all at once, which is usually the
norm with Spike. There is sweat and a grasping hand and a tight, slick grip,
not to mention an even tighter sweet spot below the small of his back. He
whispers my name again and again until the whole room is nothing but a litany
of his gasping voice and my grunts, and in the middle of it all is the memory
of a fallen Slayer. We come together, he in my hand and me in his body, and I
know there are tears on both of our cheeks as we shudder and arch and collapse
on each other on the damp sheets. He is sticky with my fluid.
 
I hear him swallow twice. Then a third time, and I know he is crying. I ease
off of his body and turn his back into my chest, snaking an arm over his waist.
"It's all right," I murmur into his sweaty hair. "It's all right to love her. I
still do."
 
He shakes his head in frustration. "That ain't it, Angel," he chokes out.
 
"What, then?"
 
"I want to know if it's all right to forget her."
 
 
 
~End