Doors and Windows II
One day in Sunnydale somehow turned into two, then three. Angel had been sure that he would find the town abhorrent after Buffy's death, that he would not be able to stand being surrounded by her memory. He had thought to find it oppressive and painful and would be glad to rid himself of it, once and for all.
That was not quite the way it was.
He had called Cordelia and explained only that he did not know when he would be returning to Los Angeles, and to close down the investigations office until he did so. She agreed, but wanted to know if she would still be paid. Angel hung up on her.
There was a shadow that trailed along after him. If he went to the meat market, Spike went as well, proclaiming he was hungry. If he wandered the cemetery at night, listless but searching, Spike followed and made insolent remarks about the amount of people he had personally put in the ground they were walking on.
And when Angel returned to the mansion every morning at daybreak, Spike was close behind, muttering about how it was too late now to make it back to Giles' house.
Angel had tried once to persuade Spike to join the others in welcoming the new Slayer to Sunnydale. "You might as well stay on their team," he said futilely.
Spike had made a face and waved his suggestion away. "I don't need a new Slayer."
I don't either, Angel had thought. I want the old one.
And then one night Spike left unexpectedly, and didn't return by dawn. It was nearly twenty four hours later when Giles and Xander came stumbling through the front door of the mansion, each of them supporting Spike with his arms around their shoulders. His head lolled forward limply, the blond hair matted with blood, and a gash in his arm dripped onto the stone floor.
"What the fuck?" Angel snarled, at their side in an instant, pushing Xander out of the way and half-lifting, half-dragging Spike to the couch. Spike collapsed into it with a soft groan that alarmed Angel.
Xander waved a hand at the room. "Oh, you're welcome. It was no problem. It was really, in fact, a pleasure finding a half-dead undead at our door. And dragging him here because he refused to stay at Giles'. I'd love to do it again. Hey wait, I probably *will* do it again, because he *always* shows up this way. In fact --"
"Xander," Giles said sharply, "that's enough."
Xander looked innocently at the ceiling while pursing his lips. "Dumb bleach-head," he muttered.
Giles and Angel hurried to remove Spike's tattered shirt and jeans, leaving him clothed in only soft gray flannel boxers. Giles spoke in a low, urgent voice as they worked. "Recently, he's started going about on his own. Even when Buffy --" he paused, cleared his throat, " -- was alive, he would hunt on his own for nights at a time, and come back to us with injuries such as this. We warned him against it, tried to explain the gravity of the situation to him, but he...he's..."
"He's Spike," Angel said bluntly, probing through his childe's hair to find the source of the blood.
"Precisely," Giles agreed. He watched curiously for a moment as the concern on Angel's face deepened. "In any case, he wouldn't stop hunting on his own, despite the danger. I believe it stems from the fact that he can't...well, he can't..."
"Eat people," Xander finished cheerfully.
Giles glared at him again, and continued. "Since his manipulation by the Initiative several years ago, he's had to alter his entire lifestyle. He needed a validation of sorts to assure that he was still an effective hunter, though he was hunting for good now, instead of evil. Not an easy thing after a hundred years of carnage."
"How sad," Xander sighed, plopping down into a sheet-covered chair. "Bleach-head couldn't eat people anymore. His little non-soul-having mind was completely wacked." He stopped to contemplate Spike, who was trying weakly to bat Angel's hand away from his head. "On second thought, that's not true. His mind was already wacked. He'd have to be, to have anything to do with that Drusilla woman..."
"Xander!" Giles said firmly. "It's time to leave."
"We're leaving Spike here? Good."
"Yes, well, it seems that Angel has things well in hand. Er...you *do* have things in hand, don't you, Angel?" Giles watched as Angel tore a strip of sheet from the chair Xander had vacated and used it to bind the wound on Spike's arm.
"We're fine," Angel confirmed, using a hand to push Spike back down on the couch when he tried to struggle up.
"Right, then. We'll be off. Judging from past experience, he should make a moderate recovery by tomorrow."
Angel nodded, his attention already drifting away from Giles and Xander and focusing again on Spike and his injuries. He vaguely heard the door close behind them.
So...it seemed his childe was not so impervious after all. Angel felt a twinge of guilt for adding to what must have been an already bruised ego, remembering his "castration" comment a few days earlier. He stared down at Spike, bleeding all over his couch, and murmured, "Why are you this way?"
He got no answer other than a wince and a groan as Spike tried to move his injured arm to his head.
"Stop," Angel told him, pinning his arm to his side. "Just lay there, please?"
"M'fine," Spike mumbled, struggling again. "Fine. Let me be."
Angel gave up. "Okay. You're fine." He stood up in disgust, murmuring, "Stubborn little shit."
"Heard that, stupid bugger," Spike tossed back, turning his back to Angel and settling in uncomfortably on the couch.
Angel snorted in disgust and disappeared into the bedroom.
...Blood, blood everywhere...dripping from branches of trees that reached with hungry fingers out to him, branches that scratched his cheeks and left red trails of crimson on his skin. And then there were green-gold-hazel eyes crying tears of blood for him, and still more sticky blood running from wounds in the palms of her hands and the soles of her feet. A crown of thorns adorned her bleeding head, and then her eyes were maggots...
...and then Angel was gasping for unneeded breath as he struggled to loose the scream trapped in his throat. A hand was gripping his upper arm, shaking him free of the nightmare, and he pushed the hand away from his body and looked about the room wildly.
There were no trees, or blood, or thorns. There was only Spike, sitting on the edge of the bed and cradling his injured arm into his chest. He looked at Angel strangely. "You awake now?"
Angel nodded once, unable to find his voice.
Spike gave him one more dubious glance before rising stiffly from the bed and turning to the door, limping slightly as he went.
Angel watched him go, warring with himself, and just as Spike reached the doorway, Angel called to him in a voice raspy with sleep. "Wait."
Spike turned slowly, curious. "Yeah?"
He returned to the bed, sinking down onto it, shivering slightly. Angel noted he was still clothed only in his boxers, and he kicked the blanket toward Spike. Spike wrapped it about his shoulders, and Angel thought to himself that it made him look very young. It was how Angel liked to remember him, a hundred years earlier...happy and young and carefree.
They sat together in companionable silence, until Angel spoke.
"What kind of window did you mean?"
Spike cocked his head. "Huh?"
"You said that when a door closes, a window opens. What window?"
There was a heavy, pregnant pause, while Spike squeezed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. When he finally looked up, his eyes were snapping shards of blue. "Even now," he snarled, "when that damn bitch Slayer is dead, you don't see."
"*Me*, Angel," he nearly shouted. "For a hundred fucking years, we were together. You *made* me. I don't have a choice but to follow you around this fucking planet. And then came *Buffy*." He made a face, her name leaving a sour taste in his mouth. "Always the Slayer."
Angel blinked, not understanding. "You...you tortured me," he said. "You chained me up and tortured me for the Gem of Amarra. And then, later, you came to my house, smelling -- no, *reeking* -- of Buffy, and you taunted me. What the fuck are you getting at, Spike?"
"I hate to love you, do you know that?" he ground out between clenched teeth, not wanting to say the words but doing it anyway. "I hate it, I hate it, and I can't help it."
Realization dawned. Jealous. His childe had been jealous, jealous of Drusilla, of Buffy, of all the women that had come and gone in Angel's unlife. Angel leaned forward in bed until he was very close to Spike, and spoke softly to him.
"There was no one that would change what we had, Will. I told you that before. Not Drusilla, not Buffy. Soul or no, you're my childe. We're bound to each other."
"You left me. Lots of times."
Spike turned his head a fraction, and found himself nose to nose with his sire. "You apologize a lot."
"I mean it."
"Yeah? Let's see."
And Angel kissed him, because he knew it was what his childe wanted, and he wanted it as well. He was not gentle, because Spike would not want it gentle. It was not a sweet lovers' kiss. Angel growled and bit at his lips, drawing faint traces of blood to the surface and greedily licking them away, and he felt Spike bring his hands up to roughly hold his head in place. They kissed greedily for long minutes, Angel savoring the lost feeling of his childe, remembering that it had always been heady and good and hot between them.
Spike's blanket fell unnoticed to the floor as Angel pushed him onto his back, straddling his lean hips and still kissing him, while Spike clutched at Angel's hair and thrust his cool tongue deeply into his mouth. They broke apart abruptly, each man licking his lips, not surprised to see the deep saffron glow behind the other's eyes. Spike's gaze dropped to the front of Angel's pants where there was a prominent bulge, and boldly placed a hand on his cock and squeezed.
Angel grunted in surprise, closing his eyes at the feeling, his hips thrusting forward slightly. In a flash, he had divested himself of the hindering clothing, climbing back atop Spike. He pressed his legs down firmly, pinning Spike to the bed, and used one hand to easily free Spike's erection from the slit in his boxers.
Spike's eyes narrowed, and the ridges on his forehead deepened as Angel squeezed, watching as a crystal drop of fluid appeared at the tip and slowly trailed down the velvet side. Angel leaned forward to catch it with his tongue, causing Spike to hiss and buck beneath him, and Angel felt his own cock throb in response. He leaned up for a moment to press his forehead against Spike's, and look deeply into his glowing eyes.
"You are my childer, I claim you as mine."
"You have sired me, I claim to be yours."
The words were a bare whisper in the dark room, but the meaning was understood by both vampires, the souled and the soulless.
Angel lowered his mouth again to Spike's straining cock, the head a bright, soft pink. He moved in deliberate slow circles over it, taking only the head into his mouth, grinning to himself when he felt Spike try to thrust deeper. Then, without warning, he plunged his mouth to the hilt, taking all of Spike's hardness as deeply as he could, and sucking strongly at the same time. Spike growled and jerked, nearly coming off the bed, holding Angel's head firmly in place while he took short, shallow thrusts. Angel's passion built furiously and quickly as he pleasured his childe, his cock twitching with each groan from Spike, until finally Angel could not wait any longer and edged the very tip of his finger into the small, tight hole beneath Spike's sac.
The result was instantaneous. Spike snarled fiercely and started to clutch desperately at Angel's hair as he began to lose control of himself, and Angel felt him begin to shudder. Then there was a smooth, salty stream of fluid that Angel managed to catch on his tongue as it spurted, taking all of it in as Spike finally relaxed.
They lay tangled in the dark, a masculine pile of sweaty limbs, and though Angel's cock throbbed and his balls ached, he refused to disturb the comfortable quiet.
But when he felt Spike's firm hand on his erection, it was better than dying. Spike did not even have to take a third stroke. On the downward sweep, Angel was coming, embarrassed as hell for spilling in Spike's hand like a schoolboy but unable to stop himself. He throbbed over and over again, amazed at his reaction to his childe, and gritting his teeth against the warm, washing pleasure.
Finally he was done, his seed soaking into the sheet and his shaft softening. They lay together, sated, Spike pillowing his head on Angel's stomach. Tentatively, Spike spoke.
"So it's back to Los Angeles for you, I'm guessing."
"I work there."
Spike didn't answer, but Angel felt him tensing.
"You could come, you know," Angel offered. "Now that Buffy's...now that she..." he couldn't finish, it was too raw.
Spike chanced a look upward, over his shoulder to his sire. "Sorry about the Slayer, Angelus. She was a tough little git."
Angel's jaw tightened. "So? You coming?"
"You got pretty girls there?"
"I got Cordelia."