Previous stories from this au community are here.
For spring_spangel April 6th.
Beta by ely_jan
Not mine. Never will be. Such a pity.
Angel untangled himself from Lindsey’s arms and legs. He climbed out of the small bed and gathered up the clothing around the room. His were all neatly dropped in a hamper, Lindsey’s were everywhere. On his unmade, unoccupied bed, on his nightstand, on his dresser. Angel closed the open drawers and slipped a pair of sweats up his legs. He looked back once to the bed, to the boy that lay there, stretched out and completely asleep. Bangs over his eyes and cheeks, his face relaxed and peaceful and for a very long moment, all Angel wanted to do was set down the basket of dirty laundry and strip off the thin cotton that hung loosely from his hips and return to that warm, comfortable, naked embrace.
But not right now.
This morning there were clothes that needed to be washed and dried. Dance classes with Wesley just before lunch that would run into late afternoon. It was Saturday, but there was never a day off in their world, just days when there weren’t as many appointments and interviews and photo sessions and endless practice, practice, practice.
Angel opened the door and slipped out quietly. He walked out of the small apartment and down the open terrace to the laundry room on their floor. He opened the door and found Spike there, sitting on a washer, his eyes wide. His hand pulling a cigarette from his mouth almost as fast as his fist would come up in a fight. Spike’s posture relaxed when he saw who it was and he blew out the smoke he’d been holding. The door automatically closed behind Angel.
Angel nodded and sat his hamper down on a washer a step away from Spike. He flipped open the lid and started dropping clothes in, his hands moving over jeans and T-shirts in a practiced way. He felt through the pockets of jeans and shorts for extras that might not wash well and sorted the whites from the colored materials without actually looking.
Spike sucked on the Marlboro and blew more smoke out into the air. Angel watched as it danced through the sunlight that spilled in from the one window into the room.
“Give me one of those, Spike.”
Angel poured in a cup of soap and turned the washer on. He leaned on a dryer across from the one where Spike sat, his thighs spread wide and covered in tight, torn jeans. A used-to-be black T-shirt with a faded rock group logo across the front, the sleeves cut off to emphasize his biceps. Angel paused to admire them, then held his hand out.
“Anyone know you’re still doing this?” Angel asked.
He meant Giles and he knew that Spike got that. Spike shook his head and tossed Angel the pack.
“Told ‘em I quit.”
Angel laughed and lit the cigarette. He handed the box back to Spike, his fingers trailed over Spike’s palm and his teeth bit into the filter as he smiled.
“Told them I never started.”
Angel nodded and ignored the bait. It had been too long since he and Spike had talked.
“How’s Dru?” Smoke curled around his words.
“She’s better. Back at home with Gram. For now. She still asks about you sometimes. I think she has you confused with someone else.”
Angel nodded and didn’t speak. He wasn’t sure what Spike meant by that. Spike’s mother had always been strange. Funny and sweet for a week and then scary the next time Angel came over. He would see her sitting in a corner, in the dark, playing with dolls. Her long, black hair hung limp around her face and her eyes glittered as she watched him. She would talk to Angel about things that had never happened, about the stars that sang to her, about the whispering of her china dolls and her fingers would stroke over Angel’s forehead, over his lips.
Angel adored her, even when she was off her meds. At least Spike had her when she was taking them.
“And your mom?”
Angel shook his head and pretended to be fascinated by the dust that waltzed with the smoke in the sun. He took another drag off the Marlboro and knocked the ash down to the linoleum.
“Darla’s gone again. I figure once she hears about the band, she’ll be back. Asking for money.” Angel smiled without humor. “Asking for a fucking house, probably.”
His eyes finally met Spike’s and even though they are only a step away from each other, Angel could feel the distance. Cavernous.
But it didn’t used to be that way.
“Does Xander know about … anything?” Angel asked, his voice quiet. Barely audible above the washing machines as they pounded and sloshed and vibrated.
Spike shook his head and arched an eyebrow at Angel.
“No.” Angel chewed on the inside of one cheek. He walked over to the small sink in the back of the tiny room and poured water over the cherry of the cigarette. Turned and tossed it in a wicker waste basket.
Spike had an empty can of Coke beside him that he tapped ashes in, a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s and Angel remembered.
Growing up in a brick tenement, low income housing. Lots of kids and single mothers. Lots of boyfriends and teenage gangs. The sound of sirens at night, random gunfire. Days after days when his mother, Darla wouldn’t couldn’t get out of bed to make him breakfast. She was too drunk or too stoned or still sprawled underneath a random, faceless man. She was beautiful and brittle, with varying shades of blonde hair, depending on what week of the month it was and how much money she could make.
Angel learned early how to fry an egg or toast a couple slices of bread over the open flame of the dirty gas stove. He learned how to get through the day without breakfast when there wasn’t anything to eat. And he never thought that they were poor or that he was missing anything.
Television was a foreign concept, something that was watched through store windows on the street when the Yankees were playing. Radios were scarce, too easy to steal. Too easy to get beaten up for, mugged for. Toys from anything but Goodwill were a dream, a fantasy in the dark when he couldn’t sleep out on the lumpy, stained cushions of the couch in their tiny apartment. Those nights when his mother had one more special friend in her room and they made too much noise as they fucked and fought and fucked again.
Spike lived two floors down and the boys spent their summer days running the city. They scammed subway toll from strangers, stole the occasional wallet or purse from stupid tourists. They went to the same nameless, faceless school and had to be separated in class because together they would create uncontrollable havoc for the teachers.
Nine, ten, eleven. Twelve and thirteen. Fourteen and they slept on the roof of the apartment building in the spring and summer. A blanket spread over the sun-warmed asphalt, the stars above them. Weak sparkles that barely made it through the lights of the city around them, but still there. Still theirs.
Smoke from Spike’s cigarettes rose in the dark as they looked up and Angel would talk about their future. The places they would go and the things they would see. The experiences they would have. Shared excitement about Hot Wheels tracks in the window of the toy store, the train that came with a remote control, the Atari game system that included Asteroids and Pac-Man was exchanged for world travel in fancy cars. Bank accounts that were never empty and people dressed in fine uniforms opening doors for them. For being famous and admired and lusted after like the bands they heard the girls chattering about incessantly in school and on the streets.
Some nights they drank more than just Coke or Dr. Pepper or Kool-Aid. Some nights they had bottles or cans in paper bags. Whatever they’d found/stolen/bought during the day, beer or whiskey or wine. It didn’t matter. It made them warm and silly. It made the fact that Drusilla’s mental state was getting worse every day and that Angel sported bruises on his face from yet another of Darla’s boyfriends not matter.
The first time they kissed, Angel had a split lip from running into the back of the gym teacher’s hand and he’d jerked away from the bright splash of pain.
“Sorry.” Spike whispered and Angel shook his head fiercely.
His fingers tangled through Spike’s long, dirty blond hair as he brought that soft, wet mouth back to his. Angel’s tongue snuck out to lick the dark copper off of his teeth and he smiled.
The first time they fucked, they fought over who would be on top. They ended up grinding naked against each other, biting lips and tongues and chins. Hands around hands around cocks that were slick with precome and sweat. Angel used his weight to roll Spike to his back and to bend his legs, to spread his thighs and he slid inside that tight, narrow passage with a shove and a twist Skin stuttering on skin, the heels of Spike’s feet kicking his back. The screams that erupted from both of them were soundless against the sirens that rose from the street and they came immediately, hard and fast and incredible.
Angel held Spike down, his palm slid through the sticky, warm wet and he jerked Spike off. His hand tight around Spike’s cock, one heavy thigh thrown over Spike’s legs. Angel never looked away from Spike’s eyes, even as Spike came again and again. He was lost in the heat of the blue fire he found there.
The second time, Spike slicked his cock and his fingers with a lubricant taken with the five-finger discount from the Walgreen’s on the corner of a street seven blocks away. He’d read the package carefully, his lips moving as he concentrated on the words, his cock trapped down rock hard in his jeans and when the pimply-faced pharmacy assistant asked him if he needed any help? with a smirk and a laugh, Spike punched the boy so hard his glasses shattered over his nose and he never saw which way Spike ran from the store.
Angel felt one, then two fingers slide inside him. His dick was hot between his thighs, his balls felt tight and swollen at the same time. The dim light from the stars blurred when tears filled his eyes and he spread his legs and arched his back. He pulled the boy deep inside him and felt gravel dig into his shoulder as he moved instinctively under Spike. Up and down and god … god … this was pain and this was pleasure and this was heaven.
This was better than running through cold water from a hydrant on a blazingly hot summer day. This was better than finding a twenty-dollar bill in the gutter and skipping school to take the subway to Coney Island. This was feeling that he belonged. That he was needed. This was everything he ever wanted. This was Spike. Holding him, touching him, wanting him.
A month later, Drusilla set fire to her hair and was carried out of the apartment building covered with bandages and wearing a straightjacket that pinned her arms down to her sides. Spit flying as she cursed and cried and screamed for her dolls and never once for her son. Spike stood beside Angel on the sidewalk, smoking, expressionless, and Angel watched the ice form over the flames in Spike’s eyes.
Not the thin ice of puddles in the streets or a cup of water left on the coffee table at night in January. This was thick ice. Lake ice. Ice that didn’t even pretend to creak or crack when they slid in snow-soaked tennis shoes across it with branches torn from trees and a rock or a partially deflated basketball or a piece of trash for a puck.
This was ice that wouldn’t warm to the tears Angel would swear to this day that he had seen form behind it when the lady from Social Services showed up the next day and told Spike to pack, that she was taking him to stay at his grandparent’s home upstate.
It was the ice that kept Angel from reaching out, the ice that kept him from even waving when he stood in the middle of the street and watched as Spike was driven away in the backseat of a taxi. Out of the tenements, out of the city, out of his life.
Five years later.
A random audition, a crowd of boys from all over the tri-state area. A man looking at each one of them as if they were livestock and he was culling the herd to find only the finest. Barking orders at them all and forcing them to sing the same inane lyrics over and over. Making them dance and dance until it felt as if they couldn’t stand still without trembling. In the end, Angel waited in the thinning group next to Spike. Sweat dripped down their faces, tank tops soaked. Material that clung to muscles that were much more defined than Angel remembered.
There was that same sneer curling those lips, the same sun-bright blond hair, the same restless, endless, pacing twitch. Like a live wire, a current of electricity through the whipcord thin body. The same thick, impenetrable ice in the same blue eyes that once, for one summer … had looked back at him with more … with heat.
Spike glanced at Angel with only the merest flicker of recognition. A look on his face that said I don’t know you. I don’t remember you.
And Angel hadn’t said a word.
Now they were alone. The warm, humid air that surrounded them and they were silent but for the sound of the machines working and water sloshing as their clothes washed. Angel leaned on the dryer and looked up slowly. He moved without that prior thought, without careful consideration, without caring for a moment about the consequences. He took the step that separated them and felt the brush of Spike’s knees on the outside of his thighs. He reached around Spike’s back; his fingers pressing into the muscles, sliding up under the thin, worn material of the T-shirt Spike wore. His lips were only a breath away from Spike’s when they opened and he sighed. He inhaled and tasted the flavor, the familiar, family.
“I miss you.”
“Shut up.” Spike growled, but his hands were moving as fast as Angel’s were. His black painted nails scored red trails over Angel’s hips. He slid forward on the slick, vibrating metal of the washing machine, reached underneath Angel’s thin sweats and cupped the curve of his ass. “Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.”
Angel kissed Spike with open eyes, looking into the blue as their lips met and they relearned how. He looked and he thought, he dreamed, he imagined that he saw a flaw, a sliver … a crack in the ice.
It was probably just the heat. It was probably just the time. It was just a window and sunlight and smoke and silence. It was just a stolen moment between them and it was nothing but a simple pause in the beat.