“What’s a Sire?” Xander called after him, for the second time.
Angel kept walking. If there was one thing he’d had gotten very good at since coming to Sunnydale and meeting Buffy, it was walking away from questions. He walked past the flashing lights of the police cars, past the crowds of confused teachers and parents, quickening his pace just enough that Xander would give up and leave him alone. He did take the time for a quick curse aimed at Spike; idiot always had been overly dramatic. Couldn’t just say ‘friend’. No, he had to say ‘Sire’.
Not that either term was particularly accurate.
He rounded the edge of the school and took off, moving faster once he was out of Xander’s sight. Across the dark lawns of the campus, through the quiet residential streets; he hugged the darkest areas easily, not really thinking about it, just moving. He briefly considered going to Buffy’s house and checking on her, but rejected the idea. Her mother had been at the school, so Buffy would be busy calming her down, or avoiding hard questions of her own. It’d be just as easy to take a look in on her later, when she was sleeping.
It wasn’t like he had anything else to do. He was going to spend his time until dawn wrestling with the demon inside him, trying to wrap it in the black silk that felt like burlap, putting it back into its place. Too many old scents, old voices; too much blood flowing through veins so close to his mouth he could almost feel it hitting the back of his throat. The demon had wanted to stop everything, to reclaim what was his; had made that perfectly plain in its own lovely way.
He wasn’t surprised, really. He and the demon were the same thing, no matter how many times he told himself that the soul made a difference. All the soul did was make him ache, add shiny silver slips of guilt to everything else. It didn’t mean that he didn’t have the same urges he’d had since he was turned, didn’t mean that he didn’t want to hunt or fuck or claim. It just meant that he hated himself for wanting those things; that he loathed everything about being a vampire, no matter how good some things felt. There was always a price.
No, no sleep tonight. Tomorrow would do, would fit in nicely with the entire return to the way we were feeling he had going on.
Angel moved past the last of the houses on the current street—Maple? Cedar?—and along the edge of a small park, the playground equipment looking like metal monsters in the gloom. Nothing moved, so there was no need to linger. Past the park was a cemetery, and why did the sick bastards in this town put kids’ playthings so close to cemeteries? It was like the Hellmouth sucked every ounce of sense out of the city planners.
Or maybe they just needed so many cemeteries that they popped up wherever there was a vacant lot. And now that Spike was in town, they might even need another one.
Angel picked his way through the gravestones toward the larger mausoleums in the centre of the cemetery, listening for movement, expecting attack from anywhere. If nothing else got done tonight, he might at least dust a few vampires for Buffy. Work out some aggression.
He smelled the cigarette smoke before he saw Spike, but only just. It wasn’t like Spike was trying to hide, what with the sitting on top of a blocky gravestone out in the open and all.
“Angelus,” Spike said cheerfully. “Or ‘Angel’ now, is it?” He said it again, crooning in a sing song, “I see an Angel.”
Angel said nothing as he moved closer, his steps even and well paced.
Spike tossed the cigarette away, the burning tip shattering against another grave marker, a miniature shower of sparks exploding like red stars falling into nothing. He tucked his legs up and stood on top of the stone, adding, “Actually, I see a big wanker who needs to have his head examined, but that doesn’t scan as well.”
“Spike,” Angel said mildly, standing a few feet away.
Spike sneered and laughed, his neck elongated as he looked to the sky. “Nice to see you’ve mastered the fine art of conversation, mate.” He jumped from the stone, landing an arm’s length from Angel, maybe a little more. Enough that Angel would have to extend to grab him. Not that it would be a problem at all.
“You want to talk?” Angel asked. He had his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jacket, fisted so tightly he thought he would hear the tendons creak.
“Unless you have a better idea?” Spike asked, stepping away, walking in a slow circle around a few stones. Not really one for standing still, Spike. Nice coat, though. Looked sort of…dangerous which made sense, Angel supposed. But what the hell had he done to his hair?
“You do, don’t you, Angel?” Spiked asked with mock seriousness, his scarred eyebrow twitching up. “Have a better idea, I mean.”
“Not really,” Angel said quietly. “Unless you want to fight.”
“Is that what we’re back to calling it?”
“That’s all it ever was.”
Spike sighed dramatically and leaned against the same stone he’d started out on. “Oh, please. You’re hurting. I’m here. Talk to me.”
He looked so earnest Angel had to laugh. “Thanks, but no.”
“We never talk anymore,” Spike whined at him, his hands gesturing between them. “You never call, you don’t write…what’s a bloke to think?”
“That I don’t want to talk or write to you?” Angel suggested.
Spike clasped a hand over his heart. “You wound me. Deeply. I mean that.”
Spike waited a moment and sighed again. “You really thought you could fool me, Angelus? You don’t smell like a demon. It’s buried, wrapped up in blankets—and there’s no blood. Well, no human blood. What do they have you eating, anyway? It stinks. You stink.”
Angel shrugged again, one shoulder this time, as if he could just let what Spike said roll away from him. No big deal. “Yeah, well. You never were the brightest vampire in the nest. Thought I’d give it a try.”
Spike snorted and suddenly Angel could see how mad he was. Furious, the anger boiling under the surface as Spike clenched his jaw. “Okay, so what’s the deal? You don’t hunt, you don’t kill, you play with humans for fun and not meals. And the bloody Slayer? Christ.”
“How’d you get away from her, anyway?” Angel asked as they started to move, circling each other. “Thought for sure she’d kick your ass.”
Spike glared at him. “Yeah, well. She cheated, didn’t she? Had the little bitch down, was just about to sink my fangs into her pretty, pretty neck.” Angel growled softly, and Spike raised his eyebrow again. “Yes? Something to share?”
“Not with you. So she kicked your ass and you ran?”
Spike looked a little chagrined, of all things. “No. Got smacked on the head with an axe by some shrew yelling at me to leave her daughter alone.”
Angel threw back his head and laughed. That was just too good. Joyce Summers, trying to smash in the head of William the Bloody. Beautiful.
“Oh shut up, you git,” Spike snarled. “At least I’m not her lap dog, all collared and useless.”
Angel’s hand snapped out and grabbed Spike by the throat. “I want you to leave town, Spike.” He squeezed, not too hard, just enough to make Spike take notice.
“Nope.” Spike’s eyes barely widened, and he didn’t try to get away. “No fun in that, is there?”
“What’s here that’s so fun?” Angel squeezed a little tighter, the demon starting to shake off the burlap a little. The scents were back, and now there was the added attraction of Spike in his hand, bone and sinew ready to give way.
Spike shook his head as best he could. “Now, now. That would be telling.” Finally, he moved, arms coming up to knock Angel’s away, his body twisting. Just as he would have connected, Angel let go, dropping him to the ground as Spike was thrown off balance.
“Bugger,” Spike said viciously, looking up at him. “Now this is familiar. Going to step on me now?”
Angel looked at him, the impulse to do just that almost impossible to resist. “Get up, Spike,” he ground out.
Spike grinned up at him. “Just like old times,” he said, not moving. “Though I’m a bit disappointed, Angelus. You didn’t bring my gift.”
Angel reached down and picked Spike up by his collar, holding him with a double handful of leather. “What gift?”
Spike grinned at him. “My boy. The luscious snack you brought me, Angelus. Think I’ll keep him.”
Angel stared at him. “Xander?”
“That would be the one, yes. I don’t remember you giving me anyone else.” Spike twisted free and straightened his duster. “So, I thought I’d keep him. See how I like having a boy, see if it’s different from this side.”
“Think you’ve forgotten what it’s like from the side you’re on,” Angel said with a low growl.
Spike’s features shifted immediately, the pretty face slipping away. “Think you can still take me, Angelus?” he spat.
Angel didn’t bother replying, just let the demon in him shred the last of the burlap and show its face, his fangs descending even as he tossed Spike into the side of a mausoleum. Easy as ever. Angel didn’t often get deja-vu, he’d stepped too far away from his old ways for that. But the way Spike sprawled, the way he moved…the sound of his head smacking into stone, that did it.
So familiar, this act. Throwing Spike around, growling low in his chest as he made his boy behave…it was amazing what little things came back to him. The smell of him. Spike had always smelled just as he did now; earthy and dark, wild and defiant. Sexual. Or maybe that was Angel’s deja-vu again, like a body memory. So many fights, one conclusion. He pushed the thought aside easily, his focus on convincing Spike that Sunnydale wasn’t a good place for him to stay.
Spike flew at him, landing a good solid kick to Angel’s thigh, spinning him back into a gravestone. “Don’t you hate it?” Spike asked, not even breathing hard. “Don’t you want to throw it off and be what you are? A dog wanting off the leash?”
“Not really,” Angel said, knowing Spike wouldn’t see the slight lie. He did hate it, but he didn’t want to be rid of it. He never wanted to be as he’d been, as Spike was now. He never wanted to be a killer again.
“Oh, come on! You were—“
“And that’s the operative word,” Angel broke in, grabbing Spike’s arm as it swung past him and tossing Spike away from him again. “Were. Not now. Not for a long time.”
“And you don’t miss it?” Spike looked at him with narrow eyes and kicked out with both feet, his hands braced on something behind him. His boots connected with Angel’s stomach, and if Angel’d had breath he’d have had to fight to get it back.
As it was, he picked himself up and swung at Spike’s jaw, making the younger vampire’s head snap back. “Nope.” It wasn’t until Spike looked at him again, blue eyes flashing, that Angel realized Spike had really wanted to know if maybe Angel didn’t miss him. “You’re pretty, but not that pretty, William.” And his boy missed that slight lie as well.
“Spike.” It was reflex. Deja-vu all round. And then Spike’s rage propelled them as they danced and kicked, growled and punched. It took Angel about thirty seconds to figure out how much better Spike had gotten at this since they’d last fought. Spike was cruel and fast, throwing himself into the fight like it would be his last, like all he wanted was for Angel to be a pile of dust.
Which, Angel figured, was probably true. There wasn’t any way Spike would back down until Angel had either beaten him soundly or he’d gotten a lucky shot in. It would have to be very lucky, of course—Angel was still better, and Spike knew it. It showed in his defensive posturing, in his constant need to have the higher ground. Within a few minutes Spike was telegraphing not only his punches but his insecurities. “Not like that, William,” Angel said, with what he hoped was a condescending look. “You’re exposing yourself, here.” He illustrated the point with a well timed kick, knocking Spike onto his ass.
Spike sprang up again, his back arching as he forced his feet under him, his duster swirling nicely. Angel gave him points for style, but deducted for the sloppy way it let him get in close, let him pin Spike’s hands behind him.
“Now,” he said, pushing closer and forcing Spike into the mausoleum wall, “let’s talk.”
Spike sneered at him, his brow ridges making the expression more stark. “Sure, mate. Although I kinda think you’re taking this whole thing a little hard. You gave him away, remember?”
Angel stared at him and shook his head. “This isn’t about Xander, it’s about you leaving town.”
“Yeah, right. So, the soul makes your sense of smell all wonky?” Spike struggled ineffectually against Angel and added, “So many things about him, could just inhale him. Fear like that red wine you used to drink, strong and thick. But better? Determination—reminded me of fresh limes. And all of it simmering in lust. Made me hard just standing there.”
“Fuck off,” Angel snarled.
“Oh please. Even with the soul you know it. Tell me, you ever want to just get him alone? Teach him about—“
“Fuck off!” Angel pressed harder, his hand squeezing Spike’s wrists together until Spike winced and tried again to break free.
“Was for me, wasn’t it?” Spike taunted, pushing his hips obscenely into Angel’s. “You’ve never smelled him like that before.”
Oh, Angel had smelled it before. Xander was young and his best friends were girls—he’d smelled it every time he’d seen the boy. But at the moment he was smelling something else. Feeling something else as Spike moved against him.
Wouldn’t be so bad, not right now, a voice in his head said. It’s Spike. Not the same as eating some poor idiot out for a walk.
The demon screamed, wanting what had once belonged to it. Angel couldn’t stop the low growl in his chest, and he didn’t bother trying to stop himself from pushing back into Spike.
“Ya that hard up?” he asked. “Wanting a kid like Xander? You been that long without, Spike?”
Spike snarled at him, struggling. There was hate in his eyes, but far from making Angel pull back, it made him tighten his grip, made him force Spike even further into the wall. This wasn’t so bad. Spike’s anger smelled strong, like bitter black tea, and blended with the musk of his reluctant desire, it was heady. A memory made real.
“You need someone a little stronger than a teenager with a heartbeat, Spike.”
“Don’t need you.” Spike spit the words out, but he was still moving, his hips rocking against Angel’s.
“Yeah? Your cock thinks otherwise.” Angel rocked back, drawing a gasp out of Spike.
“Shut up.” But he stopped trying to get away and just rubbed, his body pressed full into Angel’s, his voice tight. “Just…shut up, Angelus.”
Yeah, right. “You spend a lot of time thinking about me, don’t you?” Angel asked, his head dipping to whisper in Spike’s ear. “Tell me, do you think about me when you jerk off? What do you remember, Spike? Me bending you over some table and teaching you a lesson? Being on your knees and sucking my cock? Or do you favour the times I actually used oil or blood to ease my way?”
Spike snarled again, but there was a hint of desperation in the sound, and more than a hint of it in the way his hips were moving against Angel’s.
Angel studied Spike’s face, the glazed eyes, as he spoke in a louder voice, driving home his point. “Do you fuck yourself with your fingers, try to imagine me inside you when you finally, finally, let yourself come? Or does it take imagining me biting into your throat before you can get off?”
Spike jerked against him, shuddering as he came, and Angel knew. Knew everything, and knew he’d only managed to make sure Spike stayed in town, not left.
“Damn,” he said, letting go and stepping back. He watched as Spike tried to stand on shaking legs, the look he got full of hate and shame. “Get out of here, Spike. She’s going to kill you. And I’ll let her.”
Spike didn’t say anything, just turned and walked away, around the edge of the crypt and into the gloom.
“Damn,” Angel said again. He jerked his head and wrapped the demon in black again, his face settling into its gentler planes.
Then he smelled it, heard it. A heartbeat and the enticing scent of limes wrapped in musk.
“Buffy’s going to love this,” Xander said behind him, his voice shaking slightly. “Her boyfriend, not staking the bad guy. Better, her boyfriend giving the bad guy a walk. Of course, that happened after the bad guy and the boyfriend got all hump happy in the cemetery.”
Angel sighed and turned around slowly. He looked Xander up and down, taking in the angry eyes and rigid posture, the way the young man had his fist curled around a stake.
With his eyes fixed on the growing wet spot on the front of Xander’s jeans, right at the tip of an obvious erection, Angel softly said, “And what can I do for you, Xander?”
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