by LilacGirl (alias_lilacgirl at hotmail.com)
Spoilers/Time Setting: S4 BtVS, S1 Ats
Notes: Thank you to Eloise Bright for the beta.
Summary: Spike needs a spell translated and calls upon Wesley's services.
The magic shop was in the basement of an occult book store. It was everything a real magic shop was supposed to be, not like that new age one in Sunnydale. It was dark, dank and dusty. With live things kept in jars and shrunken heads behind the counter.
The owner was a short, bald fellow with spectacles. "I'm looking for a spell," Spike said, leaning on the dingy wood counter. "One to remove something metal from a brain, like shrapnel."
The man nodded and went over to a set of shelves and pulled a book out. Flipping through the pages, he stopped and handed the open book to Spike. It was written in strange swirly marks. "I can't read this," Spike protested. "Where the hell am I supposed to get someone who can read this?" The owner waved at a message board next to the door.
Spike smiled when he read the advertisements. Demons for hire, spell casters for hire, crypt for sale, dungeon equipment for sale, someone was selling a slightly scorched cauldron. Under a bright pink flyer for a bondage party was a neat, handwritten index card, offering services for translating demon and archaic languages.
They meet at a reading room of a public library. It was too bright and open for Spike's taste. The translator was sitting where he said he would be, right in middle of the room. This guy wasn't stupid, if something nasty was going to happen, it wouldn't be in middle of a library. Looked like he'd been there for awhile too, books and paper spread around him. Spike went to his table and opened the book to the spell. "Can you read this?"
The sudden arrival of his client startled Wesley. He quickly composed himself and looked at the passage. "Yes, it's written in Brahmi." He stretched out his hand for the book, but Spike kept it just out of his reach.
"How much?" Spike hated haggling over prices. That wasn't how things were suppose to work. He should get whatever he wanted done and then kill them afterwards.
"If I can examine the spell, I can quote you a price," Wesley asked politely, his hand out for the book. Spike gave it to him, pulled a chair up and slumped in it across from Wesley. Bored, Spike studied the man. He was a Watcher. Spike would bet on it, they all smelled the same. Another Bloody Watcher.
Wesley scanned the words, gleaning what type of spell it was. It seemed harmless. It was written before the era of modern medicine. It was nothing more than metaphysical brain surgery, but he was curious as to why a vampire needed such a spell.
He didn't have definitive proof the man in front of him was a vampire, but he'd be surprised if he wasn't. He had the look of a wanna-be with the black clothes, bleached hair, pale skin and a rebel attitude, but he didn't act false. He was real.
Wesley looked up from the script, "Two hundred dollars."
Spike snorted, "I've got ninety-five. That's it."
Having his curiosity sated was worth more than money. Sighing, Wesley agreed.
"I have the translation mostly done," the Watcher was babbling. "But I need a few details for the spell, for a proper translation."
Spike slumped further into the hard library chair. "Like what?" he growled.
"What is being removed and from whom," he knew the vampire wasn't going to like this. They tended to be rather protective of their privacy.
Spike groaned. He should just buy a bloody billboard. He wanted to believe the Watcher was lying, digging for information. But he doubted that. This one didn't seem that cunning. "I got a chip in my head," he mumbled looking away.
Wesley couldn't have possibly heard him correctly, "Excuse me?"
"I've got a bloody chip in my head," he snapped. "A government lab put it in my head. The damn thing prevents me from hurting humans." He glanced over and the damn Watcher looked cynical. Without really thinking, Spike picked up a pencil lying on the table and tried to jab it into Wesley's chest.
Before Wesley had a chance to defend against the attack, Spike dropped the pencil and clutched his head in agony. Wesley sat still, too shocked to do anything.
The pain passed and Spike slouched back down in his chair, really wishing for a cigarette, but he'd finished his pack hours ago.
Wesley really didn't know what to say. "How do you feed?"
Spike laughed, "I can't. My blood now comes in neat little plastic containers instead of boil 'n bags like you," he leered.
Wesley tried not to be shaken by the vampire, "I see why you would like to have this removed." He started working on the translation.
Wesley waited for the vampire. He had the finished translation, albeit an ineffective one. Part of him felt bad for the vampire, unable to feed, but he couldn't hand over a spell to a demon who hunted the human population. It wasn't as if the vampire had no other avenues to obtain blood.
The library was closing and Wesley packed up his things. Wondering what would happen if the vampire didn't show up the following night. Wesley didn't care about the money, but he did find it odd the vampire wouldn't collect something he desperately needed.
The night air was still warm, the heat radiating up from the cement. Walking out in the parking lot he heard, "Watcher."
Turning, he saw the vampire slumped against the building, hiding in the shadows. Wesley walked over and gasped, "What happened to you?"
Spike's face was barely recognizable. One of his eyes were swollen shut, nose broken, lower lip was split open. "I rented myself out as a punching bag. What the fuck do you think happened to me? Bloody humans," he muttered.
Wesley looked around, unsure of what he should do. Surely he couldn't just hand over the translation and say good luck. 'I'll," he stuttered, "I'll give you a ride home."
"I don't have one anymore. I was staying in the crack house. Pretty good gig. No one thinks it's odd you sleep all day and not eat. But apparently I shagged someone's girl." He gestured to his face.
"Did you?" Wesley asked.
"Does it matter?"
Wesley sighed. "No, I guess not. Do you have anywhere else?"
He shrugged. "Why? Are you offering?" Spike would have raised an eyebrow if his face worked properly.
Everything inside of Wesley was screaming no. The Watcher, the Rogue Demon Hunter, the employee of Angel Investigations, even the brief citizen of Sunnydale, was telling him to say no. But the Samaritan side was saying yes. He couldn't hurt him. What harm would it do if he took the vampire home? Just for a night, well, day. Obviously he couldn't defend himself against humans and shouldn't be out on the streets in his condition. "Can you ride?" Wesley asked as he started to walk away.
Spike staggered and caught up, "Ride what?" Then chuckled when Wesley stopped at a motorcycle, "You've got to be joking."
"No," Wesley stated simply as he strapped on his helmet.
He was already in pain; getting dumped in middle of a street couldn't hurt much more. He climbed on behind the Watcher. Tucking his duster in around his legs; didn't need it bellowing out like a witch on a broomstick.
The bike came to life and they roared out onto the city's streets. The wind was like a thousand needles against Spike. He tucked down and rested his face against the back of the Watcher, feeling the smooth leather against his cheek, breathing in the Watcher's scent of books and cologne. A half smile came to his lips as his hands slightly tightened their grip on the Watcher's hips as he held on. Maybe he could salvage something of the day.
The bike came to a stop in front of some shabby apartments. "Y'know, I thought Watchers were paid better," Spike commented as he climbed off.
Wesley took off his helmet, "How did you know I was a Watcher?"
Spike smiled or as close he could, "The same way you knew I was a vampire. We can just smell it."
The apartment was clean, but Spike was still expecting to see a meth lab. Wesley's neatly made bed was on one side of the room and on the other was a ratty arm chair with accompanying television, in the back was the kitchen.
"There's a bathroom over there if you like to take a shower." Wesley motioned to the only door in the place.
Spike went back to the shower and Wesley tried to distract himself from the fact he just invited a vampire into his home, defying one of the cardinal rules. He went about making tea, resting the kettle on his hot plate, taking down a mug, wondering if he should take down two. He wondered if the vampire would even drink tea. Angel didn't, but Angel was the only vampire he'd known on any personal level. He wasn't sure if it was a vampire aversion or an Angel one. He glanced up at the clock and calculated his guest has only been in the shower for a few minutes. He could run out and procure some blood from the local market.
The whistling of the kettle broke Wesley out of his mood. He chided himself for wanting to wait on the vampire like he was some servant. The fiend has taken hundreds, if not thousands of human lives, he deserved no comfort.
Wesley tried to calm his nerves and drink his tea. He knew what he was doing. He was trying to treat this vampire as he would treat Angel, as he would like to treat Angel, if Angel would let him. Wesley sighed and stared up at his yellowing ceiling. This was beyond madness, this was dangerous and Wesley needed to get his wits back before something regrettable happened.
Hearing noises from the bathroom, Wesley shifted his gaze down to his tea. The door opened and the other man came out, but it was a few moments before Wesley looked up.
He was wearing one of Wesley's worn towels obscenely low around his hips. His pale skin was like a leopard's, speckled with dark bruises. Wesley knew it was rude to stare, but his eyes refused to look elsewhere. Finally, he jerked his head free and looked to a corner of the room.
"C'mon now, Pet. Looking is free," he sneered and stood much too close to Wesley.
While trying not to look at Spike, Wesley attempted to back away, but Spike reached out and took the mug of tea from him. As the vampire drank, Wesley asked him, "Would you like a cup?"
"No," he placed Wesley's empty cup on a nearby counter. Spike walked further into the small room, pointedly looking at the bed. "A little small, but I'm sure you're a cuddler," Spike winked.
"I ah," Wesley walked towards his satchel lying by the front door. "I planned on spending the night at work. You'll have the whole bed--place to yourself. So you can heal."
Spike lightly touched Wesley's arm and he went still. "I don't think you really want to leave."
Closing his eyes, Wesley found some courage. Standing straight and looking right at Spike, he said, "You can't stop me."
A distrustful smile came to Spike's face. "Oh, I'm not so sure." He leaned in slowly, making his intention obvious, but Wesley didn't turn away.
Wesley wanted the kiss. Wanted to rip away the towel to see what was hiding underneath. He wanted to be on his back in his small little bed with this man on top of him. He wanted to clench his eyes shut and pretend it was another vampire. This was as close to Angel has he would ever become. Dangers be damned.
Half-hour to sunrise, Spike moved around the room with stealth he rarely used. He wanted people to tremble at the sound of his voice, to the rhythm of his footsteps. One day he'll get that respect back, but for now, he was sneaking out of a one night stand. Which just wasn't right to do so. The right thing was to drain the bloke dry and steal all the silver.
But he couldn't kill the Watcher, for obvious reasons, also with him dead, Spike really couldn't get revenge on Angel. He wasn't sure how the relationship played out between the two. He knew they must work together, but hadn't started shagging yet. It was nice to get to something Angel owned, a little payback for Drusilla.
Spike struggled into his clothes, his body sore from a long night of punishment, but it was worth it. With a smile, he looked to the bed and its sleeping companion. The Watcher would be feeling it for days.
He rummaged through the bag lying by the door and found his spell. Taking it, he left, having already paid for the Watcher's services.