Awakening to find Buffy gone, the declivity between them where she'd lain already cool, Spike was a little bit glad.
Then he felt guilty for feeling glad even a little bit.
And guilty for reaching at once for Angel, who was also awakening, blinking, focusing on who was and wasn't in bed with him.
"Where'd she go?"
"Where could she have gone on this tin can? Christ, you smell good when you've been sleeping." Spike crawled across him, making himself heavy on the solid slab of Angel's chest, and brushed his lips across his sire's. Angel's big hand came up and encompassed the back of his head, urged him in closer. He groaned as Spike kissed him. Angel's mouth and face smelled of Buffy's juices; they both did, and it excited them.
"Fuck me, our Will," Angel shifted beneath him, opening himself. Spike lifted one big leg to his shoulder, spat into his hand to make things wet. When he went into him, Angel smiled. Sometimes his face could be so boyish. Spike smiled back.
Afterwards, head pillowed on Angel's huge biceps, Spike lit a cheroot, exhaled, and listened to the churning of Serenity's bowels. His body was pleasantly numb. The funk of sex was heavy in the tiny cabin's stale air. There was so little else to do on this ship.
"Never gets old," Angel said, caressing Spike's cheekbone with the rough back of his hand.
The remark sent Spike's thoughts skittering. "We do, though. Never thought I'd be so bleedin' old. I've forgotten more'n the average scholar'll ever learn, an' still I feel like I've seen every fucking thing there is."
"Twice," Angel agreed.
"How do we stand it?"
It was what Buffy had asked. He'd spoken to her about love, about taking an interest. Which was the truth, but sometimes he wondered. How much she'd be able to stand, how much she should be expected to stand. He couldn't fathom the depths of her unhappiness now.
"Is she going to be okay?"
"She'll have to be, won't she?"
"She'll have to be," Angel echoed. He sounded no more convinced than Spike was. "Should get up and look for her."
"She's not lost. She'll come back when she wants to. Better not to crowd her." Buffy had already complained about the smallness of the ship, and their accomodations. Spike knew that she was having flashbacks of waking up in a boxthe box where she'd spent the last five hundred years, and the coffin in Sunnydale before that.
"What if we're crowding her already?"
"She doesn't want to leave us."
"We're all she has now," Angel agreed. "But we ... what we ... might be too hard for her."
"You think? Seemed to me like jealousy wasn't on her mind last night."
"She's not used to sharing you." Angel's fingers caressed Spike's shoulder, ran down his arm, brushed a nipple. Spike left his smoke in the ashtray, and turned back into Angel's arms.
"What was it like," he whispered, as Angel grasped his nipple, squeezed and tugged it, "fucking her again? After all this time?"
"How can you ask me that?"
"Thought I could ask you pretty bloody much anything by now."
"Do you mean, am I hoping to do it a lot?"
"No, that's not what I mean."
Angel had seized hold of his cock now, dragged it up against his own. They were both still sticky from their previous exertions, but despite having just come, Spike was ready for another go. Angel could get him up with a look, with a word, or like now, with the merest of touches. You'd think familiarity would breed boredom, if not contempt, but Spike had never been like that. He got off best, was excited most, by lovers of long acquaintance. Angel was the longest. Holding them together in his massive hand, Angel thrust, so the wet tip of his cock nosed Spike's ballsac.
"Fucking hell. Yeah. Do that again."
Angel grinned. "S'like what schoolboys do. You always liked this."
"An' you. Shit." He wriggled, trying to fuck Angel's encircling hand, but now Angel held him down, curbed his movements, so he had no choice but to let everything he was rush to the sensitive tip of his cock, rubbing so maddeningly against the same spot on Angel.
"Pretty Will. Pretty cock, pretty arse. Always. Not giving them up now, not for Buffy or anything."
Spike was sure that wasn't what he'd meant either, but he was glad to hear Angel assert it anyway, so glad that he shuddered and came, too soon, but Angel wasn't displeased. He just clambered up and presented his own erection to be sucked. Spike took it eagerly in.
Since they'd sensedand then confirmedthat after so many centuries, Buffy wasn't lost, wasn't dead, he and Angel found themselves, to their mutual surprise, unable to keep their hands off each other. They'd been buggering each other on and off forever of course, but there was more emotion between them in the last six months, and of a different kind, than Spike could remember since ... well, since they'd lost her. And at that time, the passion was for mutual recrimination and fury, that led to a parting of more than twenty-five years. He'd have said, for the last two hundred at least, that Angel was a trusted, even if often scarce, comrade, and, at certain times and in certain places, he'd have admitted they were lovers. But there was something in the joy and apprehension and sheer terror they'd experienced when Buffy's energy resurged, and they set off to find her, that made them want and need each other like never before. They didn't talk about it muchalways were a pair of randy bastards, you an' me, was about all Spike had to say on the subject, as a subject. With Angel, he tapped into a tenderness he could express physically, but not articulate.
Before thatwhile the war was on, though it barely touched himhe'd lingered on a little cow-planet on the edge, called Minerva, one of those places where the orangey light of the sun-star didn't fry him. He'd been just passing through when he witnessed a bar fight of exciting proportionsone tall lanky cowboy taking on ten, and winning. The matter-of-fact and beautiful violence of the fellow made Spike's blood sing, and he stayed on observing to the end, determined to shake the man's hand.
When the thing was over, the tall cowboy turned out to be a woman.
Neelia had a fascination for him, and a sexual thrall. She was bigger than he was, and stronger, and she dominated him in bed that first time with the same taciturn instinctive confidence with which she manhandled the animals. There was nothing he had to teach her in that way except how to kiss. The first time he thoroughly kissed herit was after she'd given him their first astonishing fuckshe almost punched him, and then blushed all over like a young girl. It was that blush that roused his interest as well as his lust. She wasn't beautifulnot in the face, certainly, which was too long, bisected by the line of shade made by the hat she only took off when she laid down: sun-scorched on the bottom half, and yellow-y white on the top, with a twice-broken nose and eyes that were too small and close set. But her long body rippled with strength, her black hair, when she let him unbraid it, was thick and silky as a mare's tail, and she had a cunt of such prodigious flexability and delightful aroma and flavor that Spike, a cunny man from way back, could only worship it in abject gratitude.
Spike was sure Neelia was a slayer, but he never could convince her of that, or even that demons and vamps were real. There were none on Minerva. None of that had anything to do with her life, which was lived outdoors in the daylight of a harsh landscape.
He ran cattle with her and her people for almost eleven years. They were, like the Masai on Earth-That-Was, blood drinkers themselves. None of them suspected him. He never went into game face while he lived on Minerva, and the only times when he was half-way tempted to reveal his status were on those infrequent occasions when Neelia would grieve over being barren. Then he worried that he was thieving her life, and tried to convince himself he'd better leave her. He told her it was he who was barren, and that she'd better go with another man.
But she never would go with another man. "You suit me, Will," were her strongest and seldom repeated words of affection. Spike didn't think he was exactly in love with her, not like he'd known love in the past.
But on the morning when her foot got caught in that rope, and the bull on the other end of it broke her neck, he couldn't remember what his reservations about her might've been. He wept the whole way, carrying her broken body back to camp. When the elder offered him the consolation of one of their ritualsa posthumous marriagehe accepted gratefully. Neelia's wedding and her funeral took place together. Spike was a bridegroom and a widower on the same day, and so doubly expected, as many told him, to shed his tears.
He stayed on Minerva for a few more months, for the look of the thing. But there were other women who wanted him, and he couldn't want them, so he packed up and went seeking Angel again.
Only Angel could console him. Angel did.
The taste of Angel's spunk, spurting now across his tongue, was as gratifying, in its way, as fresh blood.
Sated, Angel kissed him. They should get up now, set the room and themselves to rights, but how much more pleasant to cuddle languidly in the funk.
Angel murmured to him. Spike murmured back.
"So now you speak Chinese? Well how about that."
The temperature in the tiny cabin plummeted.
Silhouetted in the hatch over their heads, Buffy's shape was different. When she'd descended the ladder, Spike saw whyshe'd traded the utilitarian clothes and boots she'd had until now for a dark blue silk cheongsamwhich she was a little too thin to fill out properlyand her hair, grown so long during the centuries in stasis, had been put into multiple braids and arranged in an elaborate 'do.
Angel was staring at her, blinking.
"It smells like a locker room at the beach at the end of the season in here."
"We were just gonna see to that," Spike said. Angel had instinctually pulled the sheet over them when they'd heard Buffy's voice, but he threw it back now and sat up. There was nothing here she hadn't seen. "You look lovely." He wasn't sure that was the truth, but he figured he'd better say it anyway.
"I look like a trainee whore. But Kaylee and Inara were so nice. Kaylee wanted to give me all her things."
"So, the ladies satisfied that we aren't holding you against your will?"
"I guess." Buffy drifted closer to them. "Can I request a sheet change?"
Angel sat up. "I'll go back to my Let you be with"
Buffy looked at Angel. The impassiveness in her face made Spike's stomach sink. "Why should you go? It's not for me to separate you."
"Just ... time to get cleaned up. Like you said." Angel reached down, found his trousers puddled on the floor by the bunk, and made a hasty, barefoot retreat.
Buffy watched him climb up, and winced at the slam of the cabin door.
"You look so good together. You look like good friends now."
There was no sarcasm in the remark. Just wistful admiration, and sadness.
"Yeah," Spike said. "Could tell you some stories, I expect."
"I hope you will. I like stories. When you tell them."
He wanted to pull her into his arms, but was aware that he was all smeary, and that she'd already remarked on the smell. Buffy was perfumed; he recognized Inara's scent, as he recognized her particular shade of lipstick on Buffy's glossy mouth. He wondered what she meant to convey by coming back in this get-up. Maybe nothing. Maybe she'd just submitted to the two friendly women's desire to "pamper" her.
"But I don't know how you can tell me all about what you and Angel have been doing. All this time. I've missed too much."
"Can give you the highlights." He wanted to change the expression on her face. Wanted to take all her anguish away. He always had.
Buffy was already picking one of the tiny braids apart. She stared at it between her her fingers, almost cross-eyed.
"It was so long ago. It was long ago when we were together, and I was lost lost lost, dead to the world, and you've moved on, and now ...."
Spike wanted to kick himself. They were a couple of stupid wankers, letting her come in on them like that. Wasn't anything she didn't know or understand, of course, but it was too soon for him and Angel to carry on like this, being so frank about their liaison, while she was so fragile, hovering between existing and wanting not to exist.
"Told you before, never never forgot you, always missed you. Angel an' me."
"If you want to be alone with Angel ... I don't want to prevent that."
He knew she was proposing to go away from thempossibly straight out an airlockbut he tried to take her remark lightly. "'Course not, love. An' when you want him to yourself, it'll be just the same. We'll work it out amongst ourselves, won't we, an' be happy. They'll envy us everywhere we go, an' you especially, havin' two such lookers as us in your bed."
"Oh," she murmured, frowning, still picking abstractedly at her hair, "the bed is mine?"
"Bed's always the lady's, yeah, to invite whom she likes."
"So you'll be in my bed, when you're making love to Angel? When he makes love to you?"
Fuck me, I stepped right in that one. "Buffy"
She shrugged suddenly. "You just have to give me time! You've had all this time, and I've had none! I thought you were my husband, and now it's different. I just have to get used to it."
"I am your husband."
"No. No, you really aren't. And I'm not your wife. And Angel isn't ... isn't my lover. Nothing's that simple. I don't know what any of us are right now. We don't have a home. We don't have a planet."
"We have one another. We'll figure it out."
Buffy looked him in the eye now. "It's good ... it's good that you didn't just throw him over, when you found me. There was a time when you'd have done that, you know."
A feeling passed between them then that returned a modicum of Spike's hope. Buffy put a foot on the ladder, and began to ascend. When she reached the latch, she glanced down. "Should I start a pot of blood soup in the galley, or d'you think that would give your game away?"
"You said it stunk in here."
"Might as well stink up the rest of the ship. That way, they'll really remember us when we're gone."
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