Another Not for Profit Venture by Snow
I will not fade away ficathon
September 18, 2004
Beta by stir_of_echoes
And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we're apart
You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by
~Stardust by Bing Crosby
Spike had taken him to Europe, to all the places that were significant to him, places that held memories, even if they weren’t all good. They’d traveled through Paris, Berlin, even Romania and when that didn’t work he’d tried the British Isles, Scotland, and finally Ireland because Spike still held on to a small shred of hope, that maybe by bringing Angel back to the beginning of his life would bring him back to life.
Spike was tired. Tired of trying, tired of dragging what had become nothing more than an Angel shaped corpse around. Taking him from town-to-town, country-to-country, forcing him to eat, pulling him back from open windows, shielding him from the sun and always watching for some sign that Angel recognized something and having to deal with the constant, never-ending worry that Angel couldn’t or wouldn’t.
That maybe he never would.
Illyria followed them, shadowed them through city-to-city, always disappearing once they found somewhere safe to stay, sometimes for days, other times just for an hour or two but Spike sensed she stayed close by. He knew that she took up Fred’s persona as soon as she left them. Maybe it helped her to move around during the day, to blend in, maybe she just liked being someone else every once in a while, she had that luxury. Still, it was hard, seeing her, seeing the reminder of another loss, hard for him, and even harder for Angel. Since the one time she’d stepped in to their hotel room, brown hair flowing free, radiant blue eyes, packages under her arm and a bounce in her step, wearing Fred’s beautiful smile and Angel had seen her, she’d been careful to never chance it again. Now when she returns, when she enters the room, her skin is tinged blue, her eyes lack radiance, her face lacks the smile. Instead she’s silent and emotionless and Angel is once again unmoved.
Which Spike supposed, was a good thing, because Illyria resembling Fred had almost cost them their lives. Spike didn’t think at the time they’d escape the hotel unscathed or at the very least with their limbs intact. Angel had taken one look at Illyria . . . at Fred, and destroyed almost everything; he’d torn the room and its contents apart, he’d torn down the fixtures and fittings, hurled the furniture at the walls and through windows. But the worst part was that he’d done it all silently, wordlessly. With no more emotion on his face than they’d come to expect from Illyria herself. However, Spike had seen his pain, when he’d finally reached out and took hold of Angel, held his larger frame tight to his chest. When Spike had taken the blunt of the powerful blows, when Angel had spent whatever emotion was raging through him and he slowed, then stopped and just let himself be held, Spike had seen the tears that ran down Angel’s face.
It was the first time Spike had seen Angel cry since that night, that morning, when the battle had finally ended, when the rain had stopped and the sky began to turn red and gold with the rising sun. When he’d found Angel slumped against a wall, among the muck and filth and vermin that littered the alley. Both of them wounded, bleeding and bruised. Clothes torn and soaked through from the rain and demon gore and their own blood. Spike had stood in front of Angel, waiting for some acknowledgement, some movement, something, anything. But Angel kept his head lowered and Spike could smell his tears, could taste the grief that lingered in the air between them. Finally worried about the approaching dawn, the sunbeams that were creeping over the buildings, Spike reached down, pulled Angel up and took him underground, into the maze of the LA sewer system and the safety of the dark.
He’d found an unused maintenance room to hole up for the day and had to bring Angel physically in before shutting the metal door behind them. At that point Spike assumed Angel was suffering from some kind of shock, perhaps fighting poison from a tainted sword or demon’s bite. But as Spike lay next to Angel’s motionless body, attempting to get somewhat comfortable on the concrete, he’d heard Angel speak. His voice low and monotone.
“It wasn’t worth it.”
The words, the tone, had immediately grabbed Spike’s attention. He’d sat up, glanced sharply to where Angel lay, his face partly obscured by the shadows. Spike saw the empty, drained look on his face, the tears that glistened in Angel’s eyes and picked his words carefully.
“What did you say?”
“It cost too much.”
Spike bit his tongue hard and blood filled his mouth. Rage had surged through him like a drug and he wished now that he had not restrained himself. That he had made Angel fight him, with words or fists. Perhaps it would’ve changed things. But he had been too tired, too hurt, exhausted from blood loss and pain and not knowing if anyone but them had survived. So he had swallowed his anger, turned his back on Angel and fallen into a fitful, thankfully dreamless sleep. At that moment, too tired to care, too hurt, both physically and emotionally, to worry if Angel slept or cried or got up and walked out into the sun, for that matter.
Spike slept on and off throughout the day waking at sun set to find Illyria waiting for them just outside the door, almost as if she’d stood guard as they had rested. He saw her glance with mild curiosity at Angel’s silent form, his distinct lack of enthusiasm, his loss of will, but she didn’t ask any questions, just followed Spike as he led them out of the sewers and back up into the city streets.
They’d traveled well over the last six months. Spike had numerous assets and accounts under many different names and he knew that his were less than nothing compared to Angel’s accumulated wealth. He’d already decided that whenever the old man woke from his depression or whatever he was supposed to call it, he was getting everything back he’d spent on the three of them. One way or another, with interest. If, no, when Angel was back to normal, because Spike refused to contemplate any other outcome.
Spike rented a place out in the country, somewhere quiet just on the outskirts of Galway, away from the hustle and bustle of city life and prying eyes. Nothing special, just a small cottage that looked out across green fields and dense trees and not a single neighbor for miles, yet still close enough for Illyria to walk into the city every day. Close enough for Spike to escape at night when his sense of hopelessness and rage at Angel could no longer be contained and he needed to get away from him, find a pub and alcohol and pretend just for a few moments that everything was how it used to be.
Stumbling back a few hours before dawn, drunk on warm, dark Irish beer and still drinking from a bottle of well-aged whiskey he carried, Spike found Illyria, staring out the cottage’s front window at the night. She turned as he entered.
“He’s out there. He’s breaking apart.”
Spike stood at the door of the cottage and laughed without humor.
“Darlin’, he’s been broken since he killed the dragon.” But there wasn’t enough alcohol in the world to make Spike not care. Never enough to dull the sharp edge of his worry. “He left?”
Illyria nodded and looked back into the dark, “He is crying again. He drowns in his grief.”
Spike found him easily, Angel’s despair and pain left a trail that Spike could almost see. He sat on a stone fence, staring up into the sky, tears running down his cheeks, dripping onto his shoulders and chest. The night mist circling around both of them. Cool, wet air that clung to skin and clothes and tasted different from anywhere Spike had ever been. He sat beside Angel, took a long drink from his bottle and for once couldn’t think of a single thing to say. There was nothing left. Nothing that Spike hadn’t already yelled at him, pleaded with him, begged him and he was just drunk enough to contemplate leaving Angel there. Let the sun that would rise in a few hours do what Wolfram and Hart couldn’t.
“Do the stars look different to you?”
Spike almost dropped the whiskey at the quiet sound of Angel’s voice. It had been so long since he’d heard it.
“What? The stars?” Spike looked up. The sky was a soft, velvet black, sprinkled with thousands of lights and the cold, bright silver of a winter moon.
“Everywhere you take me I look and I keep expecting it to be different. For him to not be there. Watching me.”
Spike turned back to Angel. Okay, as if I needed proof, the big pouf has officially lost it.
“Orion, the hunter.” Angel gestured up to the sky. “He was there the night I was made. The last thing I saw before I died. The first thing I looked for when I rose. He’s been there every night, with every kill. There the night Dru brought you home. There the night the Gypsies cursed me. The night I felt my soul ripped out of my body when I loved Buffy. There when I returned from hell. He was hard to find those years in L.A., but when I really needed to, I could go to the mountains and see him. Always there. To the end. The only thing that hasn’t changed. Ever. And it should. I want it to. I want him to. I can’t understand why.”
“You expected the stars to change because of what we did?”
Angel’s chin dropped to his chest and his eyes closed. “I expected something. Anything. Nothing. I can’t feel anything but pain. Nothing makes sense to me anymore, I’m finished with this fight. So why am I still here?”
“Because this is what we do, Angel. This is who we are. You thought that bringing down the Black Thorn would change things? Would create world peace? I knew you had an ego, but bloody hell, not that much.” Spike took another long, burning swallow of the whiskey and out of habit, handed the bottle to Angel. He tried not to show his surprise when Angel took it from him and drank. “The world is how it is, Angel. We make it a better place just by what we do every day. Whether it’s taking down evil law firms, dismantling power-tripping demon brotherhoods or saving the dumb blonde in the alley from fledgling vamps. Or we can retreat into some dumb ass depression because we slayed the dragon and killed the giant and fought our way through the hordes and the humans are not falling at our feet in supplication and worship.” He took the whiskey back from Angel. “People are still out there that need our help. People that deserve our help. And staring at the sky looking for answers is not going to change that.”
“I just can’t care anymore Spike. It hurts too much.”
Spike felt his anger build at Angel’s whisper. Everything he’d held back since that night.
Every moment of worry and concern. Every second of wondering whether Angel was hungry or tired and making sure the curtains were drawn before he could sleep and where they were going to stay the next night. Where he was going to get blood that wouldn’t arouse suspicion and whether anyone was looking for them and what would he do if they were attacked, how could he protect them both if Angel was so determined to die and leave him alone.
And what would Spike do if Angel was not there anymore?
Somewhere in this world.
Spike moved without conscious thought. He stood and grabbed the collar of Angel’s leather coat in his hands and kissed him. Hard and right on the lips. He could taste Angel’s tears and it only fed his fury. Perhaps he’d been going at this all wrong, maybe the only way he could ever have Angel back would be to provoke his demon. Stir up Angelus. Make Angel remember who he was.
“Felt that, didn’t you?”
Spike did it again. He forced Angel’s mouth open with his own and invaded it. This time he didn’t stop, sucking at his lips, on his tongue, tilted Angel’s head back. Daring Angel to not wake up, to not become part of this moment, and Spike kissed him until he felt the light, hesitant touch of Angel’s hands between the leather of his coat and the cloth of his shirt. Then Spike pushed the larger vampire down, onto the wet grass and followed him, his mouth on Angel’s neck now, under his earlobe, just behind his jaw. Found that sensitive, soft place that used to make Angelus quiver against him.
“Remember? Right there? I used to make you come without even touching your cock just by biting you here.” Spike said as he licked Angel’s neck. “Yeah, you were a bad ass. You were evil. But in my hands? A kitten. A baby. A toy.” Spike could feel the vibration of a growl that rumbled just beneath the surface of Angel’s chest. He sat up, straddled wide hips and ripped open Angel’s shirt. Ran his fingernails down smooth, solid muscle to the seam of Angel’s pants.
It had been so long since he’d touched Angel this way. Decades, with literal and figurative distance and spaces between them, other vampires, some humans, a Slayer.
“I can’t find any more patience for your pain, Angel and I don’t have any more time to put up with your self-wanking angst. I’m tired of pulling you away from open windows and making sure that you eat. I need you here, with me. In the now. Not staring at the stars and living in the past.”
Spike unbuttoned Angel’s pants, held the weight of Angel’s cock in his palm. He leaned down and ran his tongue from the base to the tip. Yes. It had not been such a long time that he had forgotten that flavor. Then he sucked the whole of it into his mouth, let it bump the back of his throat and his forehead pressed against the stone of Angel’s abdomen. Instinctively, he inhaled Angel’s unique aroma, aged spices and ancient blood and Spike was flooded with memories, some from so long ago they had the vague quality of dreams.
He moved his head up and down, pulling and pushing with his lips, swirling the point of his tongue. Scraping the blunt edge of his teeth, rough on tender, silken skin and then Angel’s hands were in his hair. The pressure of fingers on his skull and the metallic taste of tears in his mouth replaced by the salt of passion and need and desire and for one second Spike didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when Angel finally threw him off. When he watched as Angel sat up and the look in his eyes was no longer depressed and indecisive and unfocused but hard-edged and intent and filled with pure, unbridled lust.
He didn’t say a word as Angel pushed him down on his back, knelt beside him and ripped his jeans open and down. Long fingers wrapped around his swollen cock, tight, squeezing and the sudden rush of pain and pleasure made Spike breathe. Made him hiss through dagger-like canines. Angel crawled over him on his hands and knees. And that stare did not waver from Spike’s face as he settled between Spike’s parted thighs and writhing hips, not until Angel buried his mouth in Spike’s neck. His lips cold and teeth sharp, slicing Spike’s skin as he entered him, hard and dry and fast.
Spike silenced the howl that rose inside and instead found that perfect spot to bite. That place where his nose rubbed against soft bristles of short hair as Angel moved back and forth above him and in him and the blood lubricated. It warmed them as they drank and fucked and growled. Angel bent low and Spike’s cock in his fist was almost crushed between them. Angel adjusting with each long, violent, deliberate thrust so that he completely filled Spike every single time. His hand moved just enough to make Spike’s brain boil with the heat and the feel of Angel inside him, the pressure and the ache and it was so good and so right, so familiar and so craved. And time seemed to stop as they came together with wet, rutting, panting grunts. Their gold eyes closed, brows ridged and fingernails caught on fabric and tore at flesh. The air around them was scented with the steam of sweat and blood and semen.
And then there was nothing but low, quiet purrs that echoed in the dark.
Spike glanced over at Angel. He lay on his back, eyes open, staring up at the sky again. Spike started to speak, but without looking, Angel took his hand and stopped him.
“I’m still hurting, Spike. I will be for a long time. I will miss Wes and Gunn and Cordelia and Fred and Lorne and Doyle forever but their deaths saved lives. And they knew, we all did, the risks. They knew that and still they fought. They fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves. They helped. Because it was the right thing to do, because they were warriors, they were Champions. You’re right and now we have to do the same, we have to do what we can, what we should and hope that it helps someone. Somewhere.”
I knew I saved your sorry ass for a reason. Say that again. Was what Spike wanted to say, but instead he looked up to the dark blanket of distant lights with Angel, finding and tracing the pattern of Orion. The shoulders, the belt, the knife at the hunter’s waist, and he felt the strong, tight grip of Angel’s hand over his.
“I think the stars do look different now.”
I do love how those two play together.