Written For: The Love With Its Back Turned Fest at windles_orbit
Fantastic beta services provided by savoytruffle and madame_meretrix!
A/N: Spike references his speech to Buffy in the chapel from the episode "Beneath You". The relevant dialogue can be found here if you'd like to refresh your memory. If you're not familiar with the title, it's defined here
Joie de Vivre
Becoming human’s most likely an excruciating process, but Spike wouldn’t know. He doesn’t remember it. Doesn’t remember the six month coma, either.
He does remember waking up a fucking nancy boy cripple. Remembers it like it was yesterday, but really, it was a week ago Tuesday. Time flies, and he’s spent most of it cursing Angel and that damn prophecy.
In retrospect, Spike doesn’t want to be a kind of man. He doesn’t want to be any kind of man at all; he just wants to be a vampire or even the other kind of corpse or any creature in the world that doesn’t have a tube in its arm and a catheter in its sodding bladder.
He looks at the doctors and imagines carnage…
“Most of your organs are suffering from some degree of atrophy…”
“And at first, some things won’t work as efficiently as you may remember…”
“In particular, your digestive system will be unable to process complex foods; you’ll have to start with small portions of soft, bland foods and work your way up…”
“And you may find yourself needing to urinate every hour or so as your bladder re-expands to full capacity…”
…and it makes him queasy.
It’s two weeks before the doctors allow Spike to walk. Two weeks of things he doesn’t bloody understand, like TPN and creatinine and why the fuck he can’t just rip these tubes out and get on his way. He’s human, and yeah, it’s been a long time, but he doesn’t remember it being like this. He may have been a ponce, but he was never a pathetic weakling who couldn’t even reach his own dick. Until now, that is, and it’s enough to send him around the bend.
The first walking experiment is punctuated with words like atrophy and ambulate, but all that matters to Spike is that his legs won’t fucking hold him. He says something to this effect, and the doctor launches into another speech, the more subtle points of which Spike misses entirely. He does register the fact that when they said walk, they meant lean on some overpaid porker of a nurse and hobble to the toilet every hour. He wants to bite someone.
One hundred plus years as a vampire, six months as a vegetable, and one day as a semi-ambulatory invalid before Spike gives up. Lies on his bed, refuses to eat, demands that the doctors stick the tubes back in and pisses himself when they won’t.
At least he can harass the nurse this way, and if he enjoys the cleanup a little too much, well bloody good for him. He’d enjoy it more if she wasn’t such a cow, though.
She lasts two days, and Spike declares himself winner and still champion. Champion, there’s a laugh. Here’s your champion, world, pissing himself in bed because he’s got nothing better to do.
Spike’s been told that his mouth is the biggest part of him—second biggest for those that know him well, which the doctor doesn’t. Doesn’t know him at all, which is why a harmless rant about the feeling of taking blood straight from the vein gets him tagged a suicide risk.
That’s when the rules change. Spike gets another little baggie on his tree, and he’s fuzzy on the details, but he ends up in a room that’s quiet and dull, and no one goes in or out all day except Xander Bloody Harris.
No catheters, no machines, no doctors, not even a fat cow of a nurse to touch his dick. Just Harris in the morning for poofy exercises, Harris in the afternoon for the treadmill, and fucking Harris on the hour, every hour for the toilet. There’s a nurse-type who brings food three times a day, face of a horse, and compared to her, Harris is all right, but only because he seems to have learned how to shut up.
Doesn’t say a fucking word, in fact, and if Spike thought his mouth was bloody annoying when it was open, it’s worse when it’s closed. Unnatural is what it is, and the silence grates on him.
Harris’s still got that glare, though, and it’s stronger for all of the hate coming out through just the one eye. Though that part doesn’t matter; Spike’s got a nasty glare of his own and he’s more than happy to use it.
He keeps a record of how long he can glare at Harris uninterrupted, and it’s pathetic how satisfying he finds the steadily increasing number.
The record’s eleven minutes the day Harris doesn’t come back after lunch. Spike waits as long as is humanly possible, has a nasty chuckle at that, and then wishes he hadn’t as it goes straight to his bladder. Still, he’s not letting Harris clean his dick, so he lowers his feet to the floor. He’d make it if he had something to lean on, he does the treadmill all right, but without, it’s a fifty-fifty shot.
His legs give out halfway, and he twists an ankle and bangs a knee and realizes that he has no concept of human pain and healing. He nearly blacks out, wishes he had because Harris finds him huddled on the floor, pissing himself through his tears. He tries to stop—crying, pissing, whatever—but it’s all water, and it’s all got to come out.
Spike doesn’t have the energy to protest as Harris gets down on the floor, puts an arm around his shoulders and gets pissed on, snotted on, cried on without a word.
He gets Spike back to the bed and feeds him two pills with a cup of water even though Spike protests that he doesn’t want any fucking liquid ever again. The amazing horse-faced nurse comes in for the cleanup, but Spike is out before she crosses the floor.
He wakes up in a blue room, and Harris is reading a paperback in a kitchen chair by his bed.
“Well, if it isn’t Rip Van Winkle.”
“Piss off,” Spike says, feeling clearer than he has in days. Then he remembers blubbering all over Harris on the floor, and it occurs to him that he hates his life.
Hates his life and hates fucking Harris.
Who’s apparently found his vocal cords, and Spike misses the silence before Harris has even gotten ten words out.
“Right, then,” Spike says. “I’ll just be off.”
“Or, you know… not.”
And it must be by sheer force of will that Spike gets his point across by sitting up and shoving Harris’s chest hard enough to topple his chair, because it’s for damn sure not the product of his pathetically human lack of strength.
His legs are steady but not quick enough, and he doesn’t reach the door. Instead, there’s a hand wrapped around his ankle and a hard shove on his thigh, and he stumbles backward onto the bed.
He kicks out when Harris approaches, and he’s pleased to see that the move still looks good, even if it hasn’t got the necessary force to throw Harris across the room. It backs him up a couple of feet, but then he’s back again, and Spike ducks off the bed before Harris can pin him.
He’s at the opposite wall when Harris catches up, and he’s fucking tired already, so he tries to slow the boy down with words. “What the fuck is going on?”
“You’re not leaving is what’s going on. If you wanna sit down, I can tell you—”
Spike reconsiders the talking halfway through Harris’ sentence and charges him, plowing them both across the room and into the wall.
He means to pull back, aim for something important with a fist or a foot, but Harris is solid against him and he pushes forward instead. There’s a moment of decision he’s sure he’ll deny later, in which he determines that Harris’ll do as well as Harmony, who was the available party he grabbed the last time he regained control of his body.
There’s that bit about beggars not being choosers, after all.
When he lashes out, it’s with his lips, and when his fist flies, it’s to the back of Harris’ neck, and it’s rough and strong and right, the way he pulls the kid in, and yeah, any body’d do in this case, but Harris really isn’t half bad.
Spike’s in a fucking living, sex starved body, but Harris is just Harris, and when he grabs Spike’s ass with big hands and yanks him in close, Spike’s dying—figuratively—to know what his excuse is.
He loses that train of thought when Harris pulls his hips in again, and once more, setting a rhythm. And Harris is thrusting too, hips and tongue, and it’s quick and hard and Spike likes a man who fucks like a man.
Spike’s cock eventually finds the crease of Harris’ hip, and he should probably take the time to get naked, but it’s too fucking good, and he doesn’t care that each desperate, erratic thrust brings him closer to the edge. He moves against Harris like his life depends on it, and maybe it does at this moment because the friction on his cock and Harris’ tongue in his mouth are the only things that matter. He comes flattened up against Harris, arm locked to the elbow around Harris’ neck, and he presses in hard with his hips and his tongue and Harris groans and shudders a final thrust as well.
He doesn’t back up because his tongue is still sparring with Harris’, and the kissing feels good, even if it is fucking Harris.
He’s got to breathe eventually, though, and it’s yet another way he’s been screwed by his humanity.
Breathing turns into sitting on the bed. The bed reminds him of the last time he saw Harris, and he flushes.
“Don’t worry about it,” Harris says, “I’ve seen worse.”
“I bloody well haven’t,” Spike mutters. No one else around, so he has to ask the boy. “You mind telling me what the fuck is going on here?”
“I can only tell you what I know.” Harris rights his chair and takes a seat. “You were found and brought to a hospital in L.A. Human, but barely alive. Your organs… regenerated, I guess. Giles could tell you more. It took six months, though. Did they tell you that?”
“You didn’t have any ID on you, all you were carrying were cigarettes and pictures. They couldn’t identify you by fingerprints or dental records, obviously, so—”
“The pictures all right, then?”
“Yeah. Yeah, they’re here.” Harris pauses. “What’s up with the pictures, Spike?”
“’M allowed to have pictures.”
“Sure you are. Of course, with you, it’s got to be stolen pictures with strange things written on them…”
“’S not like that.”
“Where’d you get ‘em?”
“Never said I didn’t steal ‘em. Found Angel’s private stash.”
“Okay, Angel having those pictures? Even creepier than you having them. On you. During an apocalypse. What’s the deal?”
“Give ‘em.” Spike holds his hand out; they’re his damn pictures, possession being nine tenths and all, and he’s about to say so when he realizes it doesn’t really work in his favor at the moment.
Harris produces the pictures from the inside cover of the paperback, holds them out, but then pulls them away again. He holds up the first one. “’Splain.”
Spike sighs. You cry and piss on someone, fuck ‘em up against a wall, and suddenly they want your deepest darkest. “Dawn. Niblet. You know I called her that.”
“Yeah, got that. And Buffy’s ripped out of the picture why?”
“Dunno. Came that way.”
The picture of Dawn lands in Spike’s lap and Harris holds up a second picture.
“So what?” Spike asks, and if he’s defensive, it’s only cause Harris won’t give him his stuff back without playing twenty questions. “Was Angelus’s picture, anyway.”
“Know what? I don’t want to know. You just keep your stalkery picture of Giles away from me, and we won’t talk about it. Moving on. Angel?”
“Yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness. What does it mean?”
“’S from the book of Mormon. About the devil’s angels.”
“The book of Mormon?”
“Spent some time in Utah. Ate some people. Read some stuff.”
A third picture is flicked lightly into Spike’s lap, a fourth held up.
“If you don’t know what that is, there’s no helping you.”
“Spike. You saved the world with a picture of me, Buffy, and Willow in your pocket. You’re gonna have to tell me why.”
“Saved it, huh? Figured this was hell.”
“The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe?” Harris reads the inscription on the photo like the words are foreign.
“Do you read anything?”
“I get the reference, Spike. You’re very clever. And Buffy’s gonna kill you if she ever sees this—”
“Slayers don’t kill humans, mate.”
“You called her the wardrobe. She’ll make an exception.”
“And how do you know she’s not the lion? She’s all blonde and fierce, like. I believe that makes you the clunky old piece of furniture.”
Harris drops his eyes, and the comeback Spike expects is a split second late. “The wardrobe is not clunky. It’s a beautiful piece of craftsmanship with hidden depths. It’s also practical, and very useful to have around.”
“Don’t matter. You’re the lion. Buffy’s the closet.”
Harris grins and laughs softly. “Why, Spike?”
“Wanted to have ‘em in case L.A. went all upside down on us, like Sunnydale.”
“That’s it? You just… wanted our pictures? Why the funny labels?”
“You live as long as I have, you make enemies. Think we made quite a few at the end there. Couldn’t label them properly in case someone got ‘em off me. Wouldn’t have them coming after you.”
“So why label them at all?”
“Dunno. I guess so anyone who saw them would know they had meaning for someone.”
“Oh. That’s… not what I expected.”
Spike waits for Harris to continue, but after a minute, it becomes obvious that he needs a push. “So, you were saying?”
“Huh? Oh. Right.” Harris runs a finger over the inscription on the last photo once more before handing it to Spike. “So Giles found you in the hospital, I don’t know how. You’re lucky, though—any of the other watchers would have staked you on sight and then consulted the Watchers’ Diaries while you bled to death.”
“So the Council’s rebuilding, then? A new generation of good ole boys to boss around the troupe of supergirls?
“It’s not like that. We’re doing it differently this time.”
Spike files the we away for later. “So. Dear old Rupert found me. Six months of sleep, two weeks of agony, and then I get stuck with you. Want to tell me how that happened? And while you’re at it, what was with the bloody attitude?”
Harris sighs. “You don’t have an identity. You signed some papers. You were a lab rat, Spike.”
“I don’t remember any papers.”
“Well, then you’re just gonna have to trust me on that.”
“And the silent treatment?”
“You pulled me out of my dream job. I was in Africa for nine months, and it was brutal. It was… I don’t know. It broke my heart and put it back together again every fucking day,” he says, running a hand over his face.
“It was real. I loved it,” he continues, laughing just a little. “I gave up a job I love to fly to California and get you, and I don’t know why. I don’t even like you.”
Spike snorts and shifts, feeling the cool stickiness lining the inside of his pants. “Yeah,” he says softly. “I hate you too, mate.”
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