Categories > TV > Angel0 Reviews
Spike/Angel. Angel knows something has changed. He's just not sure what.
I really hate that.
But you know what I did after that stupid fake cup thing? With the hole in my shoulder and aching in five-thousand places, covered in scratches and burns and gouges, limping and breathing through a crunched nose and trying not to bite my tongue with seven splintered teeth? I licked him clean. Held him down on the floor and licked every last smear of blood off his face. Scraped away fast-forming scabs with my fangs, lapped at open wounds until they stopped bleeding, sucked at the deeper ones until my mouth was full. And he let me. He squirmed and swore and bucked a lot, but I know he didn’t actually mind. Because he didn’t send me flying. Because he didn’t tear my guts out.
I really hate that, too.
And after a while, he didn’t bother pretending he didn’t like it. He went limp and sinuous and pliable under me. He arched his neck and closed his eyes and held his face up for me to kiss. I knew that’s what he was doing, because I’d seen William do it a hundred times before. After a fight, after fucking him into the floor or the mattress or the wall or the table, after I’d repelled and denounced and rejected him, I’d hover just like this, staring down at him, cowing him. Sometimes he’d keep right on hitting, right on fighting, but other times he’d open up for me. Become a puppy wanting a pat. Offer his mouth, beg with his pretty mouth. Just love me and I’ll do anything you say. Love’s bitch.
But I didn’t kiss him this time. I was still angry with him. I am still angry with him. He looked at me with his seething blue eyes, those eyes Drusilla always cooed over. His mouth open and his chest heaving against mine. Panting and choking out half-moans. His lips were wet and quivering; his hands digging into my shoulders. I don’t remember what he said then. Something about destinies and hate and Buffy. Fit the mood of the time, anyway.
My shoulder hurting like a motherfucker and my face swelling up with bruises and a bunch of broken bones grating against one another, I stared back down at him and said, “Not everything is about you.” That fit the mood of the time, too, I think.
I wish now that I’d kissed him. Not like I’ll have another chance for a good long while, if ever. Don’t know if I’ll want to again. It’s just not something that goes with our relationship. It was always dominance between William and Angelus. Not love or affection or anything else even possibly worthy of praise. Protectiveness of Sire for Childe, and a struggle for respect and power, but not love. Love was between Dru and Spike. They were the young star-crossed creatures at odds with the world around them. I was The Man, as it were. Capulet to their Romeo and Juliet. I don’t regret that. I facilitated their fairytale. What good is a beautiful princess and a knight to rescue her if there is no evil dragon? To paraphrase someone whose name can’t remember, there are two great tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want, and the other is getting what you want. Maybe that’s Oscar Wilde. Sounds like Wilde.
And now here we are, back at Wolfram & Hart, hating each other, miffed and having a spat. He’s hardly going to come slithering through my office door and spread himself out on the desk for me. It’s not like I’m going to follow him into the basement and pin him against a convenient wall. I missed my chance.
At the very least, I wish I’d called him on it. This would all be a lot more bearable if I’d looked him straight in the eye and said, “Aww, does little Willie want a kiss?” And watched his face crumple. At least I’d be able to think about that and know that I didn’t let such an incredible opportunity slip me by.
God. I can’t believe I’m even still thinking about this.
I miss the days of Spike-as-ghost. Even though he was insufferably irritating, impossible to evict, and possessed of a deeply annoying habit of popping through doors you’d just closed to keep him out, at least he couldn’t touch you. Now, not only do I have the fading scars to prove his corporeality, but also the disrupted furniture and the throbbing hard-on.
All right, it’s not much of a secret. I pack a happy for little blonde people who can beat me up. Buffy and Darla and Nina, for instance. Buffy and Darla and Nina and Spike, more to the point. Lately, all he has to do is look at me funny and I sprout some wood. Or cock his head a certain way, or drawl out my name, Angelus, like it’s the only word he knows how to say. And then he brushes past me, or gives me a wallop, and all the blood migrates south.
Which I also really, really hate.
We’re all in a muddle now. We don’t know where we stand. Is he still wrestling for supremacy? Am I trying to reassert my fractured control? Are we equals? Was it a fluke? Is he the master now?
I know things have changed. I’m just not quite sure what. People tell me I’m kinda dense sometimes. Or most of the time. Maybe this isn’t as confusing as I think it is. Spike probably knows exactly what’s going on, the little twit. But, for now, we’re just dancing around each other. The jibes and snaps are thin. The anger greatly for show. I tell him to crawl in a hole and die because I don’t know what else to say. He tells me to get stuffed, and for all I know he means it, but I doubt it.
Something has to be done.
Another deeply angering thing about Spike is that insufferable smoking habit. I don’t breathe, I don’t get lung cancer, and I’m really not too concerned about Wes or Fred or Gunn, but the way my clothes smell after being in the same room with him for a while is truly nauseating. That acrid, stale smell that doesn’t completely wash out, it does horrors to silk.
This morning, I asked him not to smoke in my office.
So he stubbed his cigarette out on my desk. Pretty as you please, calm and innocent, he turned the cancer stick around in his fingers and crunched it against that glossy varnished mahogany. I don’t think I said anything. I think I just stared at him. And he widened his eyes and pouted and said, “What?”
One thing Spike’s good at is pouting. And he’s good at the sad puppy face, and the innocent child face and the fuck-you face and the I’m-so-sexy-don’t-you-want-to-tear-my-clothes-off face.
Not many people can resist those faces. Thankfully, I can. I hit him right in the eye. He hit me back. We broke a lamp and a sculpture of a frog and a coffee mug. I have rug burn on the backs of my calves. He has three snapped fingers. Fred’s mad at both of us. She could hardly speak she was so mad when she came in and found us rolling around behind the couch, throttling and punching and scratching. She shrieked about teams and Shanshu and little boys pulling pigtails.
So now Spike’s on one side of the building and I’m on the other, and we’re actively avoiding each other. Can’t say I’m too broken up about that.
The demon is huge. Unnaturally huge. Size of a house huge. What good is it being that large, I ask you? Makes it easier to stamp pesky vampires into jam, I guess. This thing—Xacdretyllir demon, Wesley says—has scaly, horned feet the size of small cars. They literally make the earth shake when they impact. And the roar it has… Let’s just say it puts a 747 turbo to shame.
Wes is standing on the roof of a pawn shop, pointing a cedar branch and chanting in Sanskrit. He’s wearing a white turban and blue genie slippers with turned-up toes. He looks like a jackass, but far be it for me to snicker.
Gunn is running in circles, yelling and waving his arms. I’m doing much the same. We’re trying to keep it distracted long enough for Wesley to send it back to the jar from whence it came. The jar some kid dug up and opened and died for. Why do demons have to be such bloodthirsty monsters? Not all of them are. Look at the Pyleans. They’re not violent. Well, not to excess, anyway. Couldn’t certain individuals learn from example? I’m getting pretty sick of being doused in blood and chemicals and ichors, punched and smashed and crunched and mooshed at seemingly every turn.
Spike’s around the other side of the Xacdretyllir, bouncing here and there, hacking at various pieces of demon flesh with his hatchet of an axe. I can hear him whooping and swearing and carrying on. Invoking dead singers, making rude allusions as to the demon’s paternity, extolling his own virtues, and giving God the verbal finger.
Gunn yells, “How much longer?!”
And Wesley yells back, “Not much!”
I leap forward and swing my sword at what looks like the Xacdretyllir’s Achilles tendon. There’s a spray of blood and the creature stumbles, sways, slaps a massive hand down toward me. I duck it, spin, leap, and end up standing on its head. Lord of the Rings cave troll-style. Now if only I had a bow and arrow, I could be just like Legolas. And I will never tell anyone that I thought that.
I raise my sword, ready to bring it down through the top of the demon’s head, and at that precise moment, Wesley finishes the spell. The demon disappears back into its jar. And I plummet three stories to the ground.
Unfortunately, it is Spike who carries me back to the car. It’s hard to walk with two pulverized ankles and a wobbly spine, let me tell you. I have a feeling I won’t be doing anything useful for a few days.
It’s not Spike’s fault that he has to carry me. I’m sure he’d just as soon leave me in the gutter for the sun to find. But Gunn took a nasty blow to the head during the last few moments of the fight, and Wesley has to support him as well as carry his spell supplies, so there really aren’t many options.
Spike isn’t overly concerned with making me comfortable, that much I can say. He slings me fireman-style over one shoulder, arm wrapped around my waist. My head dangling scant inches from his ass. I could bite it if I stretched a little. Not that I will.
At least the car isn’t too far away. I can’t drive, and Gunn’s seeing double, so I throw the keys at Wes and try not to cry when Spike dumps me in the backseat, banging my fractured limbs against door, seat, and floor. I do call him a fucking bitch whore of a rotting dead dog, though.
He just lights up a cigarette and smirks and turns on the radio and starts headbanging. Fucking idiot.
Fred comes to see my invalid self. Her mouth is all turned down unhappily and her hair is a big rat’s nest, but I’m so glad to see her. I’ve been in the equivalent of solitary confinement for the last two days, lying in bed, carefully not putting weight on anything that hurts.
She brings me body-temperature otter blood. Bless her socks off. Pig and cow get old fast. It makes me wonder if, since chimps and humans are so allegedly close on the evolutionary chain, would drinking ape be nearly the same as drinking human? Ick.
She tells me all the things that have been happening in the lab. I don’t follow a good half of what she says, but I nod and smile all the same, and it makes us both feel better. She says that Gunn is fixed up and Wesley is having a wonderful time translating some archaic scrolls found with the Xacdretyllir jar. And that Spike is staying out of trouble. Thank the Powers.
I wake up to find him sitting on the bottom of my bed, legs crossed Indian style, smoking like a chimney. He’s got an ashtray beside him. It looks like a graveyard of cigarette butts.
“So,” he says. “I see you’re feeling better, eh?”
“What,” I say. I am going to finish that thought with ‘are you doing here?’, but I stop. Seems hackneyed. “What have you been up to?” I ask instead.
He shrugs. “Roaming the earth and going back and forth in it.”
Huh. Satan from Job. Funny. I say as much.
He smiles cheekily. I recognize that smile. It goes with the I’m-cute-and-evil face. “Bored, actually,” he says. “Fred’s a peach, but she works. A lot. Wesley…” He waves his cigarette hand, creating swirling plumes of smoke around his head. “Ugh. Gunn doesn’t bear comment.”
Neither does that remark. I close my eyes and let my head sink back into the pillow. Sure, I feel guilty for lazing around here when I could be out there doing Good Deeds, but these pillows are immensely comfortable. And I’ve been threatened with tranq darts unless I stay in one place.
There’s a long, strangely amiable silence. The only sounds are the white noise of the city in the background, and the hum of heater and fridge and lightbulbs. It’s all so restful. Finally, I say, “So, Spike, what’s up with us?”
He’d been staring vacantly toward the ceiling, but now he snaps his gaze toward me. He lowers his head and regards me from under hunched brows. “Whaddya mean?” he hedges.
“You know.” I gesture in what feels to be an expansive manner. “Since that… cup. Things have been kind of weird.”
Why am I talking about this with him? Nothing good has ever come of trying to talk to Spike. He’s like some ADD politician. Ooh, shiny! interspersed with How can I best use this against Angel? All the attention span of a pudding cup, someone once said.
He narrows his eyes. “You’re asking me?” he says. “Me?”
“Well. Yeah.” Obviously.
Another long silence, this one not so amiable. More like charged. He finishes his cigarette and buries it alongside its fallen comrades. Regards the ashtray for a moment, and then leans over to put it on the floor. Irritatingly sweet flash of hip and belly when he does that. He’s not wearing his duster. Straightens up and sighs.
“I don’t know, Angel.” Sighs again, deep and hearty. “Guess we got our equilibriums knocked round a bit. Stupid fucking cup.” He presses the heels of his palms into his eyes. “Stupid fucking Shanshu.”
I hmm in agreement. Imagine. Agreeing with him. Kinda disturbing.
“I was so ready to beat you,” he says. His voice is low. “And I did it too, didn’t I? Knocked you out fair and square, took the prize. Except it wasn’t a prize.” He picks at a frayed patch on his jeans. “’S not fair.”
No. I stare up at the ceiling. Not fair at all.
Suddenly, he’s straddling me, leaning over my face. His lips are quirked up at one corner. “It wasn’t a total loss, though, was it, pet? Got to beat you to rat crap for once.”
Oh bully indeed. I gnash my teeth at him, but I’m not trying to knock him off the bed. I am getting a little hot and bothered under these blankets, however, with his groin pressing into my stomach. I know he can sense it. His snarky grin and waggling eyebrows betray the fact. I roll my eyes, get ready for a snide remark and a smooth rebuttal, but neither comes. Instead, he slides off, stretches out on the bed next to me, drags the covers away, and pulls me smoothly atop him. Not a new view, staring down at his angelic face from the height of triumph. But the fact that he’s not writhing and struggling, coupled by his legs spreading and wrapping around my hips, makes it an entirely novel experience. My mouth goes dry.
He tips his head back and lowers his lashes. “I don’t mind this new equilibrium,” he murmurs. “Do you?”
“Not really,” I say. We are equals. I think that’s what he’s trying to tell me. I don’t mind that. I like it, maybe.
So, this time, when his eyes drift shut and he starts breathing gently, and his face lifts up for a kiss, I don’t bother denying him.
A/N: That ‘attention span of a pudding cup’ remark is paraphrased from Anna S‘ “Sidelines”, an immensely good Spike/Xander fic of great length and wonderous content, which can be found here: http://www.drizzle.com/~eliade/xander_spike.html (I highly recommend it). I’m using that line, unfortunately, without permission, but I thought it was hilarious when I saw it, so I hope no one gets mad at me.