The shower had hurt; hot water sliding soap deep into every graze and cut, a soft towel turning into sandpaper as he rubbed it over his body, watching the damp skin flush falsely pink for a moment.
He ached, he was sore, and even knowing that it would heal faster than he deserved was no comfort right now. Because it hurt. And because bruises and cuts on the body of a loser looked like bruises and cuts. Nothing more. Badges of honour? Sexy and rakish? No. Just discoloured flesh, torn and compressed.
The walk from shower to bedroom was thirty seconds of watching carpet, as his head refused to lift high enough to let his eyes see past his slowly shifting feet. Which is why Spike had to speak before he knew he was there, because vampire senses didn’t work too well when your nostrils were still full of the scent of blood and your head full of a mocking voice that wouldn’t shut up.
Angel heard his name and that was all he needed. The blood he’d drunk might as well have been water for all the strength it had given him, but Spike saying, ‘Angel’ in that soft drawl was wet finger in a socket energising.
“You know, I’m not locking my door to keep you out, Spike.”
“That’s...what does that mean? You want me here? I’m touched. Really.”
“No. Just means I’m not the one going to any trouble to get some peace and quiet. Get out and if there has to be a next time, knock and wait. You’re not invited in. Got that?”
Spike stirred on the bed; an unselfconscious wriggle into a more comfortable position that Angel remembered. He remembered most things about Spike. He stood looking at him, absently noting the scratch parallel to a cheekbone and the way it changed the shadow of the hollow curve beneath the bone – not much, just a little – and the lower lip, slightly too full, the clear, pure line swollen and softened. Spike’s mouth looked like that when it had been kissed for hours too, but that had never been something he’d had any part in. Had he ever kissed Spike and not hurt him as he did it? Ever touched him without it being a blow robbed of speed and strength, not a caress?
Spike didn’t go. Angel hadn’t expected it but he still sighed, feeling the surge of anger ebb and a flood of weariness seep through his body.
“What do you want, Spike?”
Spike stared at him, scratching at a healing cut on his arm. His duster lay on the floor in an ink blot pool of black and his boots were beside it. Angel wore a towel around his waist but Spike looked more naked somehow. That coat...Spike’s security blanket, that’s what it was. Angel didn’t need that. Didn’t need anything that could be taken away from him.
Spike finally replied. “It’ll keep. Lie down. Bed’s big enough for, well, just about everyone you’re friends with.”
Angel tried to work out how many that would be and gave up. He walked over to Spike, losing the towel around his hips and not caring, and leaned over to grab him. He filled his fists with shirt and tugged –
“I beat you. First time ever.”
The shirt slithered and slid out of his open hands and suddenly Angel knew he wasn’t going to be able to make Spike leave. “Move. Move...over.”
Spike obeyed him and Angel felt a small, sweet tingle when he noticed Spike didn’t roll over, didn’t, not for an instant, give Angel his back as a target. Still some respect there, then. Angel lay down beside Spike, propped up on the pillows Spike had positioned and stared forward.
“Yeah. You beat me. Thought you were going to go and get drunk; celebrate.”
Spike shrugged, crossing his legs neatly at the ankle. “Went, had a couple, came back. Boring on my own.”
“Like you couldn’t have been with anyone you wanted,” Angel scoffed. He’d seen Spike work a bar, picking up propositions with the tilt of his head and his wicked grin as bait. Fish in a barrel.
“Got that right.”
Angel had to think a moment before it registered. Spike wanted to be with him? “What do you want?”
“Trusting as ever. Wanted to see you were...not like this. Might have known it’d set you off, get you brooding.”
“Can we not talk about this?”
The mattress shifted and Angel turned his head to see Spike half out of his shirt. “What the hell are you doing?”
The shirt flew past and landed on top of the duster. Spike began to work the button on his jeans open. “You’re naked, aren’t you? What’s the big deal?”
“My room and I just got out of the shower. Spike, put those back – ”
Spike rolled towards him, naked and grinning. “Your memory’s going. Tell me, Angel; after you’d beaten me until bits were broken and my blood was on the outside, what did you do next? What did you always do next?”
Angel glared at him, challenging Spike to say it for him. Spike leaned in and whispered softly, “You fucked me, didn’t you? Took your reward after all that hard work. Had your fun. Told me it was your right. Now this is my first day back with a body, Harmony and I got interrupted and it’d been one hell of a dry spell before that...so do you still need telling why I’m here?”
Angel looked up at the ceiling. Anything to escape blue eyes, demanding and mischievous. “Not going to fuck you, Spike.”
“You forgetting who won as well?”
Angel shrugged, feeling muscles whimper instead of scream. “Not going to roll over for you to fuck me either. So get dressed and get out.”
“Stuck record, aren’t you? Fine. Let’s just get an early night then, shall we? Be up bright and early to tackle evil and save the world, or whatever you do on a Wednesday.”
Angel twisted around and watched Spike pull back the covers and snuggle down, his back turned. “Get the light, will you?” Spike said blandly.
Angel’s eyes rolled with a mixture of exasperation and pique. “You expect me to believe you’re just going to go to sleep?”
The bed heaved and rocked as Spike rolled over, one hand fighting free of the sheets and reaching out. With the lightest of touches, Spike ran his middle finger from base to tip of Angel’s cock as it lay half uncurled against his thigh. “There. I molested you. Happy now? Sleep tight. Don’t let...anything bite.”
The curve of his back managed to convey sleepiness and utter relaxation. Angel looked at it and then down at his cock, which had grown as rapidly as fruit on a nature programme, swelling and ripe. It hurt worse than any of the bruises. It needed a soothing touch. His hand moved to it and he paused. Spike. Right there beside him.
“Don’t let me stop you, mate.”
Angel felt his jaw clench. “I wasn’t –”
The chuckle that answered him was drowsy and knowing. “Course you were. Don’t be shy. This is me, yeah? You’ve fucked day old corpses in front of me; bit late to be shy about –”
“Oh, well, thank you!” Angel exploded. “That’s an image to cherish now isn’t it! Well, it solved the problem nicely, so –”
This time he got Spike’s whole hand, gripping and squeezing gently. “Liar.”
Angel watched him move away again and felt his jaw drop. “Spike, what the fuck is this?”
“Nothing. Just checking if you’re telling the truth. You’re not. As usual.”
“You want me to admit I’m –”
“Gagging for it?” Spike suggested.
“Original. No, second thoughts. Boring.”
The pause was longer and Angel really did think Spike was going to drift off to sleep; the excitement of the day taking its toll even on his inexhaustible energy. He couldn’t help turning his head to look at him. Spike. Real. Alive again. In his bed. Had he even told him he was glad about that? Was he? It made everything more complicated, fucked up the prophecy, made everything ... matter more. Made everything interesting again. His hand was on Spike’s shoulder before he could find time to regret it.
“I’m...just wanted to see...you’re back.”
Spike’s shoulder shifted under his hand. “Pillock. Spent the better part of the night beating me up. Only just sunk in?”
He didn’t sound too bothered about the violence. Angel squeezed his shoulder again and then let his hand fall away. “You ever wonder what I did when they told me you’d died?”
“Give everyone a raise, you felt so perky?”
“Went out and killed until I couldn’t stand and my clothes were dripping with blood. Some of it mine.” Angel thought back to that night and shuddered. It hadn’t helped and it hadn’t made him feel better. The next morning, people had greeted him with eyes downcast, fawning and frightened. News traveled fast.
“Sounds like you were angry. Why? Wanted to off me yourself?”
“Missed you,” Angel said. The room wasn’t dark, not to a vampire’s eyes, but it was dim enough that he could admit that. Dim and quiet, luxurious and clean. He’d slept beside Spike in rooms with rats feasting on entrails in the corner; in sumptuous European hotels and mansions where the sheets were crisp and the carpets thick. Didn’t matter. Spike bled and begged and wouldn’t break, in any setting, eternally there to be a challenge and a threat.
“Finally.” Spike moved again and this time his hand cupped Angel’s face, holding it still. “Finally, you admit it.”
“Doesn’t mean I want you around,” Angel whispered. “Doesn’t mean I like you.”
Spike’s lips pouted in pretend hurt. “Wanker. Oh, wait, you were too modest to do that. And you don’t want to fuck...or be fucked...just want to lie here, hard and aching and suffer. Am I the only one who tells you when you’re being fucking stupid?”
Angel considered it, trying to ignore his body which was remembering what you did when a naked Spike was inches away and chatting wasn’t it. “Gunn...Wes...yes, they do sometimes.”
“And you don’t listen. Figures.” Spike moved in a fluid shift of his body, economical and casual.
Angel grunted in shock. “What are you doing?”
“Getting comfy. Not fucking you. No. Not doing that. Just...settling down for the night.”
Angel’s hands grabbed at the covers beneath him. Spike was lying on him, his hands flat against the mattress, his body meeting Angel’s in a dozen places. “Spike...” he said, hearing his voice, pleading and soft. “Get off me.”
“Make me. Touch me. Move me.”
Angel knew what would happen if he tried. Images of him wrestling with Spike, arms and legs flailing wildly until they worked themselves into just the right position to ... no. He gripped the sheets tighter, willing his hands not to let go, not to move to that pale, glowing figure above him, laughing silently down at him. Spike was shifting in a restless rhythm, making no attempt to disguise the fact that he was working his cock against Angel’s, each driving thrust not quite enough stimulation to satisfy, exactly enough to frustrate and arouse. It was unbearable and the moan that escaped Angel’s lips was proof of that.
“You going to keep on pretending you don’t want this, or are you going to get something to make it easier?”
Spike’s voice had lost its edge of amusement, roughened by need.
“You’re so fucking ...”
“Yeah. Suppose I am.”
Angel reached up and held him still. “I’ll stop fighting it, if you tell me why you’re doing this.”
Spike let his hips tilt, sending the length of his cock along Angel’s one more time. “Sense of symmetry.”
Surprise slackened Angel’s grip and Spike took full advantage of it, leaning down and biting Angel’s neck, finding the spot that made him arch and shudder, without hesitation.
“You’re not making sense,” Angel said, even as he tilted his head, even as his hands slipped from arms to waist and lower.
Spike sighed. “You never did have any poet in you, did you? When Dru turned me, I was pure as bottled holy water. Who was the first to fuck me, make me come, make me scream? You were. Then I died. Now I’m back. Won’t deny, Harmony would have done, but now I think about it, I’d prefer you for my first fuck again. Seems...fitting.”
Spike shrugged, which made the rest of his body move. “And I felt sorry for you.”
Angel stiffened with outrage. “You cheeky, insolent –”
Spike threw back his head and laughed. “Now that’s more like it...”
Angel pushed him off and leaned over to rummage through a drawer. Spike watched him curiously and then tilted his head as Angel tossed him two items. “Don’t need three guesses about this,” he said, flipping open the bottle of lube and sniffing at it cautiously, “even if it’s news to me you like strawberry, but what’s the coin for?”
Angel smiled, took it from him and flipped it, catching it neatly and covering it with his palm. “Head or tail?”
Spike frowned. “Heads I fuck you, tails you have me, you mean?”
Angel sighed in a long suffering way and shook his head. “Did I say that? Do you ever listen to a word I say?”
“Hang on, you said...oh.” Spike bit his lip and then said, “Head.”
Angel grinned, feeling anticipation dissolve the last ache. “Now we flip for who goes first...”
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