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...There's Fire

“Been a while since I’ve seen you do that,” Spike said as his fingers left his lips, sending streams of smoke to twist and spin, blending in the air with Angel’s. He dipped his head, his lips curling slightly. “Sure the soul’s okay with it?”

Angel closed his eyes, his nostrils flaring as he inhaled deeply again. “Been a while since I have.” The smoke hit the back of his throat and he shuddered lightly. He rubbed his thumb against the filter tip and imagined it falling, sparking, a line of fire as it raced across a concrete floor. Flames licking up slim, white legs that glowed ghostly pale in its path, eager to burn. “Flesh on fire - lit up the sky,” he murmured, his head tilting back, eyes opening and staring up into smoke-filled dimness.

Spike’s eyes narrowed in confusion and he shifted restlessly, his legs tangled in the sheets. “Well, you just get darker and darker, don’t you?”

“What’s the matter, Spike?” Angel chuckled, rolling over, the cigarette lax between the fingers that trailed down Spike’s bare chest. He turned his head away as ash skittered across Spike’s flesh, glancing instead to the floor, where below them Wesley and Gunn paced, their weapons in hand, more imagined than heard. “Sent you to sooth the savage beast, didn’t they?”

“I’m not your bloody geisha,” Spike snorted. He huffed at the ashes and sparks scattering across his chest and then watched with not a little satisfaction as an ember melted a perfectly round hole through the silk sheets pooling below Angel’s hips.

“I didn’t say you were,” Angel answered. “But then, you were the one with the thing for Asia.” His thumbnail scraped against Spike’s nipple as he brought the cigarette to his mouth again. Smoke curled from his lips to Spike’s as he leaned closer. “I would have said tavern wench.”

Spike’s tongue darted out, just tasting the smoky richness of Angel’s mouth, and then he turned away. Ruining the moment, or making it, whatever Angel needed this to be. “Shut up and smoke,” he sighed, ignoring the choice of meanings behind Angel’s half-smile. “Christ, give you the one thing you’re allowed to brood while doing and you decide to get chatty.”

Angel grunted softly and fell back against the bare mattress, the sheets, pillows - all the gilded cage comforts Spike had both mocked and envied - scattered and torn by eager hands. Hands far steadier, calmer now, lifting to two sets of lips as they smoked silently for a moment. Eyes focused away from each other, falling instead to the sheets that crumpled around their hips, the torn window blinds that gave glimpse of the darkening night sky, the discarded clothes that piled together on the floor, connecting all the dots to Angel’s bed.

“Haven’t seen you do this in a while, either, Spike,” Angel said quietly.

Spike’s gaze rose from tracing the shadows, the canyons, the bloody mountains' majesties Angel’s hips were creating in the drape of the sheet. His lips quirked, tongue faster than thought as he prepared to illustrate all the times and ways he’d done this very thing, without Angel’s participation or permission, and then the words died away as he found Angel’s gaze back on the cigarette in his hand.

Spike exhaled harshly, pinching the burned down tip and then flinging the ashed-out butt onto a bedside table. “Well, you try burnin’ up from the inside and see how bloody eager you are to hold a flame to your face.”

“Doesn’t really make sense for us, does it?” Angel asked, considering the dimming tip of his own cigarette.

“Unlike this Black Thorn plan of yours, which is the Acathla 2004 of great ideas,” Spike nodded. He darted away as Angel sat up, cigarette poised to make Spike his vampire ashtray again. “It’s just smoking, mate,” Spike said quickly. “We’re vampires, yeah? That which does not kill us…” he reached for his lighter, the flame flaring at his lips as he lit another smoke, “…makes us look hotter.”

Angel snorted in response and a priceless piece of imported object d’Wolfram and Hart became an actual ashtray as he ground ashes into it. “Always did like to feel the burn, huh, Spike?” He plucked the lighter out of Spike’s hands, turning it over in his and feeling its aged smoothness, the pattern long since worn. “Cities in flame. Rooms in candlelight.” His thumb worked over a groove in the lighter’s base. “Slayers in arms. Can’t stay away from it.”

Spike looked at him steadily over the smoke leaving his lips. “Drawn to it, aren’t we? To the flame. Like a couple of bloody moths.” Chuckling, he grinned down at Angel. “Just a couple of fireflies…or fairies…” he coughed. “Or dragons, maybe.” He shrugged. “Somethin’ with wings.”

Angel settled back into the bed again, bare body just brushing Spike’s. “That’s your death wish, Icarus,” Angel said, his eyes narrowing, heavy with sleep in the smoky haze. “I was always kind of into tempting fate with cathedrals and crucifixes, myself.”

They were quiet for a moment; the soundlessness of breathless smoking, as illogical, as unimaginable, as Spike’s seeming serenity as he waited for Angel to lose this calm. Waited for the smoke settling to become unsettling, and whatever soothing he’d done to be driven away by thoughts of the mission. The past. Or Angel’s grim visions of their future, fueled in flames.

“I always kind of regretted that, though,” Angel said suddenly, his head restless against Spike’s shoulder.

“You? With regrets? Shudder to think,” Spike muttered.

“That vampires couldn’t fly,” Angel said as if Spike hadn’t spoken. “You know, the hard-to-kill thing hasn’t turned out too bad, and never having to worry about losing my hair…” Angel shrugged. “Flying, though…” he sighed quietly. “Would have been a big perk.”

Spike glanced over to where two dusters billowed over a chair, sleeves and tails entwined in a gloriously obscene embrace of leather. “Well, at least we've got the coats.”

Angel’s hand curled around Spike’s, drawing the cigarette to his lips and teasing Spike’s palm with his tongue. “Yeah. There’s that.”


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