Human Touchby Wolfling
Spike concentrated on hitting the large punching bag over and over, doing his best to ignore the sweat dripping into his eyes, and the way that his breathing was starting to hitch.
He hated this.
The lack of strength and stamina, the senses that seemed so muffled compared to what he remembered, he hated all of it. He hated how fast he got winded -- hell, he hated that he got winded at all. The whole heart beating, needing to breathe gig sucked, and not in a good way.
And this was supposed to be his reward? Sodding Powers could've at least offered him a choice to trade it in for what was behind door number two. But, no... He'd been a vampire with a soul, and everybody knew that vampires with souls wanted to be human.
Spike snorted derisively at his own thoughts and hit the bag just that much harder. If he'd wanted to be human he could've asked for that in Africa instead of his soul. And soul or no soul, being a vampire had been an essential part of who he was, and one he'd never had any desire to change.
Not that anyone had given him any bloody choice in the matter. Spike hit the bag a little harder.
"Figured I'd find you here."
The voice came from right behind him, causing Spike to jump at its nearness, cursing his inability to detect someone sneaking up on him. Stupid human senses.
Trying to maintain as much of his shattered composure as he could, Spike reached out and stopped the bag swinging, then turned around to face the speaker. "You wanted something, Watcher?" he asked, tone half tired, half challenging.
Wesley wasn't quite able to hide his annoyance. "I would appreciate it, Spike, if you wouldn't call me that. I haven't been a Watcher for some time now."
"Yeah, well, nobody's what they used to be, are they?" He didn't try and hide the bitterness; why should he start now after all?
Ignoring the attitude as he had all along, Wesley picked up and handed Spike a towel. "By the amount of muttering under his breath Angel was doing, I'm assuming you two had another one of your 'talks'?"
"Is that what you lot are calling it now?" Spike asked, wiping the sweat from his face before slinging the towel around his neck. "Funny, I would've called it a knockdown, dragout... screaming match." It would've been a knockdown, dragout *fight*, but Angel refused to hit him, no matter how much Spike provoked him. Too afraid of breaking the poor fragile human.
Another thing to add to the list of things he hated about his current state: he couldn't even blow off a little steam with a good dustup.
"It's not the screaming that is of concern," Wesley said, "so much as the brooding that follows it."
Spike rolled his eyes. "The ponce broods if he runs out of hair gel. I'm just another excuse."
Wesley waved that off. "I'm not talking about Angel. It will take a better man than me to cure him of that habit." He looked at Spike. "I'm referring to you."
That took Spike by surprise, and caught between denying it vehemently and insisting he'd brood if he wanted to, the only thing that came out of his mouth when he answered was, "What?"
"Every time you and Angel have words, he retreats into his office, muttering under his breath, and you head down here to go a few rounds with the punching bag until either you or it collapses." Wesley eyed the undamaged bag pointedly.
Spike bristled defensively. "Don't see how it's any business of yours what I do." He didn't want to talk about this, he didn't want to think about it; that's why he came down here in the first place -- to *stop* thinking.
"Is being human that terrible?" The question seemed to come out of the blue, but Spike supposed it had been lurking just under the surface for longer than this conversation.
"Bloody right it is!" It wasn't like he'd been making a secret of his feelings after all.
It struck Spike that this was the first time anyone had asked him that; up until now everyone had been too busy trying to convince him how great it was to be human to actually ask him why he didn't want to be.
He looked at Wesley, who was watching him expectantly, patiently; the man looked like he really wanted to hear the answer.
More surprisingly, Spike found himself wanting to give it -- the real answer, the one he didn't like to think too much about.
"Being human is being weak," he finally said. It wasn't quite the entire reason, but it was a reason.
"Are you sure about that?" Wesley said as if honestly considering this for the first time. "I'll grant you that physically, humans are weaker than vampires, but there's other kinds of strength."
"So I should be grateful I still have my sparkling wit and noble spirit, is that it?" Spike snorted bitterly. "Bollocks that. I'm human, I'm lesser than I was. And you lot expect me to be happy about it?"
"I see." Wesley nodded knowingly. "You identify yourself only by your fangs. That would be a problem."
"What? No! That's not what I said," Spike protested, with more defensiveness than he'd meant to show.
"It's certainly what you implied. If that's not why being a human is so intolerable, then why is it?"
"Because everyone else bloody well identifies me that way!" Spike yelled finally snapping. "All of you treat me like I'm going to break at the least bit of violence. Angel's the worst of the bunch -- won't even touch me for fear of bruising the poor human." He shut his mouth abruptly, before he could start spouting more self-pitying crap.
Wesley regarded him for a long moment. "Right." He walked to the middle of the room and turned to look at Spike expectantly. "Let's go then."
"Err... meaning what exactly?" Spike asked, eyeing the human -- the other human -- warily.
"You wanted a bit of violence." Wesley spread his arms. "I may not be Angel-"
"I can tell by the hair." Spike took a step towards Wesley, then another until he was standing directly in front of him, feeling his heart beating fast in anticipation. "You sure about this?"
"You're not the only one needing to blow off steam. Take your best shot." A slight smile ghosted across Wesley's face. "I promise I'll hit you back."
Taking Wesley at his word, Spike hauled off and hit him.
Wesley's head snapped back from the force of the blow, but he didn't stagger or lose his balance. There was a few seconds afterwards where Wesley looked at him searchingly, then with a tight grin, punched him back.
And the fight was on.
Wesley was close to a match for Spike in strength and agility, and it was this that Spike had been missing -- testing himself against an opponent as strong or stronger than himself. Taking what was dished out and giving as good as he got.
It was, Spike realised, not that different from the knockdown dragout brawls he'd had with Angelus back in the day, when they'd go at it solely as something to do to release some tension.
As the fight continued, morphing into something of a wrestling match on the floor, Spike became aware that this encounter was like those past ones in another way as well. Angelus and his fights had often transformed into a hard fast fuck. So Spike wasn't surprised to find that he was fighting with a hardon.
What surprised him was that so was Wesley.
Spike could see the awareness of his own state in the other man's eyes, but neither of them pulled away. And if their grappling slowly seemed to change into groping, Spike didn't see anything wrong with that as long as no one was complaining.
He knew he was going to hurt, that the physical damage from this...encounter was going to visible for days to come. He didn't care. So his bruises and cuts weren't going to heal as fast. A small price to pay for this fierce exhilaration.
Maybe, just maybe, being human wasn't a total hell.