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As It Was, So Shall It Be - Chapter 5

He had still not made sense of any of it when he went to the shop a few days later. No one commented on his recent absence. No one but Buffy noticed that he didn't glance at her on arrival, or keep his eyes fixed on her as he usually did. Losing a devoted punch bag is always hard, and Buffy felt the loss of the attention acutely. Spike sat on the stairs and listened to the chatter.  His life had been turned upside-down and no one knew or cared.  He was about to leave when the demon suddenly dived behind the till and brought up a parcel. 'Oh, I forgot, this came for you this morning, Spike.'

Suddenly, all eyes were on him. 'What? I can get bleeding post, can't I? Sod off.' He took his precious parcel out to the boxes in the alley and made himself comfortable. He tried to stop grinning, lit a cigarette hoping that would stop his face embarrassing him, bit savagely on one finger to see if pain would be more effective, then thought, "Fuck it, why shouldn't I smile?" and opened the package.

There was a thick envelope inside, this time not expensive velum, but ordinary writing paper with no pretensions. He laid this to one side to open last.  There were a number of items in the package, the most interesting of which was small, red, leather box. Spike opened it cautiously, peered inside, and decided it was his day for grinning. He couldn't have stopped now if he tried, and he wasn't even trying to try.

He took out a watch and put it on. He read the small note inside the box, in Angel's elegant writing. "So you know when the weekend comes." The watch had a chain band and was elegant, but chunky and rugged looking, too. It was quite a feat to achieve both these attributes in a watch, and Spike was impressed by the level of thought that Angel must have put into choosing it for him.  It went with his other jewellery and made him feel sexy, yet mature.  He laughed at himself and wished Angel was there to call him a pillock.

The parcel also contained a pad of writing paper and pack of metallic gel pens in lurid colours.  A scribble on the first sheet of paper, again in Angel's writing, simply said, "Use this, please."

Time for the letter…. Spike checked his watch, just to see if he had time to read it now, knew he had nothing to do until the weekend, which he now saw was still four days away, so ripped it open.  There were five sheets of closely written paper.  There were crossings out, underlining, and a few blots. It was in ordinary black pen, and all the pretension and effort of the first letters had gone.  Angel clearly felt he could now relax and write to Spike as if he were a friend, and not someone he needed to impress.  Spike smiled to himself and wished again that Angel were here, so he could call Angel a pillock.

Got back a couple of hours ago.  Been in the shower - two hours, and I just about feel clean enough to write to you.  So, how are you? You should get this Tuesday, or Wednesday. I'm going to put some things in with it, and that might delay me posting it.  I wish it were Friday now.  I've been thinking about you all the way back, and most of those thoughts not particularly sire-like, I'm afraid.  Whatever that is.  Things seemed odd when I got back here; maybe I'm just seeing them differently now.  You said you did not know the humans I live with; I want to try and describe them to you before you meet them.  It will make it easier for you, for them, for you.  I'm going to tell them the partial truth - that you are a relation of mine and that we've been estranged and now we are friends again.  I'm going to clear out one of the rooms here, so you have your own space.  I've told them you are going to help us on some cases.  Sometimes we are so desperate busy here, they will welcome any help.  So, my friends… Cordelia you know, (of course).  But she's not the same girl you last saw, I think.  She has the weight of the world on her shoulders and she lets it grind her down… yes, Cordelia is serious and thinks of other people… too much, really.  But I think you will like her.  She's like you; she tells the truth and doesn't pull her punches (ie, she's rude and obnoxious, just like you).  But I love her.  So again, just like you.   Did you ever meet Wesley?  He has changed, too.  He used to be so uncertain of his role, so in awe of me.  Now he is very strong, very powerful, and focused.  It's like Willow in some ways; they both seem to have found power quite addictive.  I'm almost in awe of him.  I don't turn my back on him too often, and I won't be leaving you alone with him.  Okay, think that came over wrong… no poofy overtones meant.  I mean he does what needs to be done, even if that would mean staking me.  See what you think.  Gunn.  How do I describe Gunn?  I think out of all of them, he's the one you are going to like the most.  He's so like you, it makes me laugh.  He acts tough, he is tough, but he's the one who is the most vulnerable.  His heart is too big.  

And then there is Fred.  I'm not sure what you will think of Fred.  She reminds me of Drusilla, and that is almost unfair to tell you, for you might come here expecting to see our mad vampire princess.  But Fred is confused and yet sees through the world's confusion, she is lost and yet seems more grounded than anyone I know.  She hears a different beat in her head to the rest of us, just like Drusilla did.  Fortunately, Fred's music is a little less violent than Dru's.  You will might will scare Fred at first, but I think she will love you more than any of them eventually. 

You come trailing clouds of glory in her eyes, because I love you…. 

Did I actually tell you that, by the way?  From seeing you sitting on that tomb, smoking, to leaving tonight, I'm not sure what happened to me.  If I forgot to say it, I'm saying it now.  And sitting here on my bed, my big, empty bed, it does not seem enough to say that I love you as my childe.  I think of Drusilla, I think of Penn, I think of you.  There is no similarity at all.  You don't have another sire to compare me with, but is it just sire/childe love?  Sorry, I meant to give it longer before I started to push you for more. 

I didn't tell you this, Spike (God, that looks worse written down than it does saying it… can I call you Will again?) but I actually made up an imaginary version of you in my bed this week.  It was very real.  He was very real.  What does that say about me?  Sad, hey?  I can assure you, I never made up imaginary Drusillas. 

Imaginary you was very good, by the way… thought you'd want to know that.  Almost as supple and inventive as you are.  Not quite so noisy and the mess was worse… so quite looking forward to real version getting here.

The rest of the letter was written in a different pen.

Hope you like the watch.  I've set the date and time so you'll know what day it is.  I'll expect you Friday at about six.  Don't be late.  Don't bring anything, because you won't need it.  What can you need, naked and in my bed?

The light in the alley was very bright.  Even in the shade where Spike sat, it made his eyes water.  He rubbed the back of his wrist over them, revelling in the feel of his new watch scratching slightly as it passed over.  Damn sunlight.  He put the letter carefully into a pocket in his duster, snatched up the paper and pens and dashed back to the shop.  There were too many humans around to attempt a reply, so he went into the basement and made his way back through the tunnels to the crypt.  He sat cross-legged on his bed and put the pens in a row in front of him.  He decided on the purple one, it set the right tone. 

What could he write that would sufficiently convey to Angel how he felt about that letter?  He had expected a sire-like letter, authoritative and commanding.  He had expected ordered thought and immaculate grammar, as befitted a sire writing to his childe.  He had half-hoped for a letter full of sex, even though that was slightly unlikely, given it was coming from Angel.  What he had not expected was that Angel would write to him as an equal, a friend, and someone important in his life.  He had not expected that Angel would write to him exactly how he wanted to be written to… how he had wanted to be written to for one hundred and thirty years.  That was quite an achievement for one letter, and it deserved a suitable reply.

In answer to your last, poof… lube might be good…!

How many of your friends will I have to meet this weekend?  You didn't say.  Thanks for clearing out a room….

Fuck.  I can't think of what to say.  It's like I'm falling, Angel.  It's like when you followed me for weeks before you turned me.  I wanted to speak to you, but if I had, what could I have said?  How could I have made connection with the creature that was to be my murderer and my….

How did you know exactly the right thing to say, you bastard?  You told me about your friends, about your life there, as if I matter to you now.  Fuck, it's scary.  You scare me.  I scare myself.  Guess I'd better tell you a bit about my shit here then.  Least you'll be able to think what to bleeding buy me next time. 

It's been hard, Angel, really hard since I got 'done'.  I feel like a fucking freak most of the time.  I seem to be thinking like a human all the time now and that's not easy to do when you know they all hate you, and you are dead.  Look at this bleeding place; I'm looking around it now, trying to see it from your eyes.  It's a joke, isn't it?  But I wanted it to be more homely or something, I think.    How sad is that?  I should be lying in a fucking coffin under the ground all day, not poncing around with candles and a mini-bar. 

But the truth?  I don't want a bleeding coffin.  I'd rather walk around like a man, but I can't, can I?  Cus I'm not one… not really.  And she knows that.  There… I've mentioned Buffy.  Brave me, hey?  Notice you didn't, poof.  But I want to tell you, so if you're gonna shat on me, you can do it early on, hey?  Nothing's happened yet.  It would have done, I think… if I'd had anything to do with it.  She's the only one who can stand me and although she don't doesn't see me as a man, she's not put off by that.  She's been there already, hasn’t she?  Do you think she sees the resemblence resemblance between the father and the son?  I'd like to think she does. 

But even if she didn't see me as a man, she made me feel like one.  It was what I needed, cus I didn't know what else to be.  I can't be a vampire… I can't bite; I've no blood-line left, no sire, no lore to follow… so I tried to be what I also couldn’t be, human.  But it's all different now.  Since you marched your poncey butt into my crypt.  Cus now I can just be me, can't I?  Not human, not vampire, not childe… just me.  And no, you can't call me Will, cus Will is effectively dead.  I'm not sure I'm Spike much these days, either; maybe we can work on that together, hey?  You gave me some amusing names in the past, I seem to remember; so, maybe I'll leave it up to you to choose.

I'm wearing the watch, by the way.  It's not very good though, is it?  It says it's still only Tuesday, and that's just shit.  Couldn't you get one that accel acell speeded up time a bit?  Did you steal it?  Good move.

Friday then.  I won't bring anything.  Nothing you can see anyway.

Spike was not happy with this letter but knew rewriting it would not improve it.  How can you write to someone when you can't afford to say what you feel?  He wanted to tell Angel things that would effectively change their relationship for good, and he couldn't do that yet. 

When Angel received the letter, he too took it to a more private place to open it.  He went into the basement and sat on his training mats.  He leant back against the wall and peeled the envelope open slowly.  In twenty-four hours he would have the author here.  It was still scary, whatever he had said in his letter.

The opening sentence made him smile.  He'd already given this some thought and knew Spike would be impressed with his selection.  The rest of the letter surprised and worried him slightly.  For all the light tone Spike continually adopted with the world, Angel sensed an underlying pain and vulnerability in his words.  It also cut Angel to the quick that Spike seemed to resent his undead status still.  If it had not been for Angel, Spike would be able to walk like a man, for he would still be a man.  It did not suit Angel's self-recriminatory mood to remind himself that if it had not been for him, Spike would be, in fact, a pile of mouldering rags in a distant English churchyard.  

Angel was glad that Spike had broached the Buffy topic.  He had not been brave enough.  Buffy was like a continual thorn in his side; her memory irritated him out of complacency about his life.  She was the great love of his life, and he felt he ought to remember to think about her more often.  He certainly felt he ought to be more jealous of Spike.  But when he examined his heart, he was more concerned that he might have lost some of Spike's love to Buffy, than the other way around.  He wanted to possess all of Spike's love, all of his thoughts, and all of his body.  The idea of Buffy having any of Spike made him desperate.  She'd taken enough from him already, without taking something that was so patently his.

There was no time to write back.  Spike would be leaving before he received it.  He stuffed the letter into his pocket and ran up to the room he'd cleared out for Spike to check it one more time.  He had no intention of Spike using the room, wanted him permanently in his bed, but had made a pretence for the others of making it habitable.

The last few hours before Spike's arrival dragged like no time had a right to.  It infuriated Angel because he knew that the weekend, once begun, would fly away from them.  By five, Angel was making moves for the others to be leaving.  Only Fred, of necessity, had been told of Spike's imminent arrival.  Angel had tested his story on her… told her that his childe was coming for the weekend and that, although he had been lost for a while, he was now found.  She was almost as excited as Angel: saw in her mind a kind of English schoolboy with a satchel and scabby knees coming for a weekend with his father.  

By five past six, Angel had given up on Spike for good.  It was clear Spike didn't love him; clear Spike couldn't love him enough to share his life in LA.  He went down to his training room again and changed into some old sweats, determined to take out his angst on the punch bag before he took it out on something more breakable.   The first punch felt good, the second even better.  He rapidly got into a rhythm, working up a hard sweat all over his body.  To his complete chagrin, he didn't even hear Spike come in.  He finally sensed him, realised that he'd been there a while, turned, and found him sitting on the steps watching him work out… a huge grin plastered on his face.  Angel stopped the swinging bag and started to speak, but Spike crossed the distance between them almost faster than Angel could follow.  He grabbed Angel by the back of his head, seemed to try and swallow him whole; Angel responded, his angst being eaten and taken into Spike's greedy mouth.  Spike's hand slid over Angel's sweating, naked chest, then dipped down under the loose elastic of the pants and around to clasp Angel's firm backside painfully hard, pulling their bodies together.  Angel groaned into the kiss and smiled when Spike hissed a quiet 'yes' to this response.  Spike pushed Angel's sweats down to his feet, and Angel kicked them off.  Spike stepped back a bit to admire Angel and started to peel off his own coat, pulling his shirt over his head and ripping at his belt.  He didn’t wait to take off his jeans; he just fell to his knees in front of Angel's cock and pressed his mouth to the soft, springy curls at the base of the thick shaft.  Angel groaned again and threw his head back in anticipation of pleasure from that grinning, talented mouth.   He didn't even make it that far.  He looked down, saw Spike kissing into his soft sac and came, copiously and embarrassingly over Spike's bent head.  He groaned in disbelief and disappointment.  Spike didn't even seem to notice; he pulled Angel's legs out from under him, flattening him onto the mat, and finally managed to get his own jeans off.  He straddled Angel's chest and put his urgent erection to Angel's lips.  Angel lifted his head to take the blood red tip into his mouth but was immediately soaked by a jet of sperm hitting his face and running down to pool at his neck.  Spike screamed and arched back on Angel's chest, pumping his cock.  He put his other hand over Angel's face to brace himself, oblivious to the discomfort for Angel. 

Even before the last few drops were spent, Spike rolled off Angel, and they lay side by side on the damp, sticky mat.  Their clothes lay discarded around them, their faces and hair wet from each other's cum.  Angel felt a tentative hand reach out and bury itself in his hair.  He started to laugh and sat up, pulling Spike's hand down to his lap, to make him brush other hair.  Spike sat up and laughed, too.  They shook their heads.  Spike allowed his hand to be used against Angel's cock, seemed to be enjoying the reaction it was getting in the now, semi-erect penis. 

Finally, Spike gave Angel a cheeky look and said quietly, 'So, you foreswore, too, did you?'

Angel laughed and nodded.  'Imaginary Spike's been threatening to leave; he's had no fun at all.  Been saving it all up for you.'

'Never gone a whole week without a wank before… don't think I will again.  Hey, imagine if I'd been caught in traffic or something….'

Angel smiled and looked down at the deep stain on the mat, felt the cum in his hair and around his face, and pulled Spike in for another kiss.  This time their kisses were soft, passionate, and loving. 

Spike pulled his hand away from Angel's cock and straddled him, now putting a hand around both thick shafts.  They looked down together at this erotic sight.  Spike kept one arm around Angel's neck as they watched him moving both foreskins languidly together.  Angel leant in and kissed Spike lightly on the forehead, 'Love the watch on you.'  It had not escaped Angel's notice that Spike was using that hand to bring them both off.  Spike looked up deeply into Angel's eyes, but only nodded.  He could feel himself starting to come again. He closed his eyes slightly, but Angel started kissing him again, 'No, look at us.'

Spike opened his eyes obediently and found Angel's deep brown eyes locked on his.  Angel put both hands to Spike's face, his thumbs on the sharply defined cheekbones.  He kept Spike's face locked like that as they felt their imminent explosions.  At the last minute Angel's eyes closed briefly from pure pleasure, but the rest of the time he kept Spike's eye contact, not letting him waiver for a second.  So they both saw the effect of the others' orgasm; both realised the pleasure they could give each other with their bodies; both knew, for the first time, the power that each held over the other.  When their cum shot forth, it was mixed together before either could know which cock it had been expelled from. 

Only when they were both spent did Angel release Spike's face.  He allowed Spike to lean into him, and they rested their foreheads together.  Spike gave a low chuckle as he looked down, 'Hope this watch is waterproof.' 

Angel captured Spike's mouth briefly, but then said equally quietly, 'Let's test it, shall we?  Bath?'

Spike sat back slightly and looked intently at Angel.  He tried to speak, but paused, and framed his words carefully first.  'Angel, that's not exactly a sire-like offer, is it?  We have never done anything like that before.'

Angel smiled.  'We didn't have hot-running water in the old days.'

'Uh huh.  You've been mixing with lawyers too much, I'm thinking.  You know what I meant.'

Angel didn’t comment, he stood up, pulled Spike to his feet, and handed him his jeans.  'Sorry, you'll have to dress to get upstairs.  Fred might be around.'

Spike nodded and pulled his clothes on, grimacing at the unpleasant feel.  Finally, Angel turned and gripped Spike's upper arms tightly, 'Let's not think too closely about any of this, Spike.  Let's just do what we want this weekend and think about it later.  Use this as a sort of test visit.  We said we would.  Please?'

As this was exactly what Spike wanted but had been afraid to suggest, he just grinned in reply and started to walk backwards towards the steps, leading Angel by the hand.  He made it back up to the lobby, but then realised he was lost and allowed Angel to lead the rest of the way.   Angel showed him the room he set aside for his use then led the way to his more furnished, more elegant set of rooms.

Angel ran the bath whilst Spike wandered around, looking at everything, saying nothing.  Angel stripped off and lowered himself into the water and stretched out with a sigh of pleasure.  Spike came in and hovered in the doorway, watching.  Angel smiled, 'Can't get clean from there, Spike.'

Spike nodded, but made no move to join him.  Angel frowned slightly, 'Are you coming in, or not?'

Spike took a deep, unnecessary breath.  'No, Angel, I'm not.  It's too… there's no room, and 'sides, I'm not in the mood.'

He turned on his heel and left.  Angel leant his head back on the porcelain for a moment, closing his eyes sadly.   This was not going well, but he had no idea how to fix things.  This was as new for him as it was for Spike. 

Angel was startled out of an imminent brood a few minutes later when Spike came back into the room.  He was carrying two large drinks.  He perched on the rim of the tub and handed one to Angel.  'I see you still drink whisky.  Well stocked bar there, Angel.'

Angel smiled at what Spike clearly meant to be a small apology.  He took the proffered drink and sipped it gratefully.  Spike made no move to leave and sat contentedly on the edge of the bath, watching Angel.  Angel gave him an amused look, 'This is hardly fair, Spike; you didn't want to get in, but you're just going to sit there and watch?'

Spike smirked irritatingly at him.  'Yep.'

Angel dipped his hand in and splashed some water over Spike's bare chest.  He rose up and rubbed it over the prominent muscles.  Spike groaned and caught up the hand, bringing it to his lips.  Angel allowed Spike to take one finger at a time into his mouth and suck them; he smiled when Spike dipped the fingers into the glass and licked the alcohol off them.  Spike braced his hands either side of Angel on the bath and leant down to kiss him, running his tongue over Angel's now warm face, 'Don't even think about pulling me in, Angel.'

Angel laughed delightedly and removed his hands from where he was sneaking them up to Spike's thin waist. 

Spike sat back and looked at Angel.  'In fact.…' Spike suddenly grabbed Angel's arm and hauled him out of the bath.  He pushed Angel, dripping wet, against the bathroom wall.  'Spread yourself.'  Angel hissed in delight and pushed him arms out in a parody of a cross on the wall; he spread his feet apart and groaned as he felt Spike standing hard against his backside.  'Jesus, Angel, I need you now.'  Spike undid the front of his jeans and pressed the tip of his cock to Angel's slick, wet entrance.  He worked in it past Angel's little-used, tight muscle.  Angel tried to rear back, but Spike put a hand to the small of his back and held him even further bent over. 

When he was fully embedded, Spike stood for a moment looking at the effect of their position.  He felt so turned on by this it was all he could do to prevent his cum surging up and filling Angel's hole now.  He was pressed right up against the backs of Angel's strong thighs, his cock was standing proud from its nest of tight, dark curls, but was hidden entirely in Angel's backside.  Spike tipped his head back for a moment and closed his eyes.  There was no way he could pass this off as a sire/childe thing.  He was buggering Angel against the bathroom wall.  It was the most erotic thing he could imagine, and he knew he wanted to do this again… and again and again.  He started to dip and work against Angel, holding tight to the strong, naked hips.  He pulled almost out, watched as his thick, glistening shaft emerged from Angel's hole, then watched avidly as it slipped back in.  This was the first time they'd done this in good lighting, and the visual effect of his cock, perfectly encased in the ring of Angel's arse, totally undid Spike.  Had he once thought he didn’t fancy Angel?  When was that then?  Cus it wasn't now.  He didn't even care that Angel was his sire; Angel was just a man with an incredible body who was giving him so much pleasure. 

Spike leant over Angel's back and increased the rhythm of his thrusting.  Each time he pulled out as far as he could, then plunged back in, causing Angel to flex and spread his fingers in ecstasy on the wall.

Spike reached around and took Angel's cock in his hand.  'Will you come with me, Angel?'

Angel could not reply, but he nodded.  Spike hardly needed to hold the thick, urgent cock; he felt it throbbing under his hand and knew it close to release. 

He thought about nothing else but this joining.  He thought about nothing else but release.  When he felt his balls swelling and knew his sperm was starting to shoot up his cock, he increased the pressure on Angel's shaft, and was rewarded by the soft sound of Angel's cum hitting the bathroom wall.  Angel cried out in pleasure as he felt himself being both filled and emptied.  When he was fully spent, Angel bent right over so Spike had the benefit of incredible access to his hole.  He heard a quiet, 'Fuck, yeah,' as Spike continued to milk himself.  Finally, even Spike was done.  He had nothing left.  His softening penis slipped out of Angel on a wave of spent cum.  Spike slipped to his knees and just hung his head down, exhausted.  Angel took hold of his arm and tugged it slightly.  When Spike looked up, Angel was indicating the still warm bath.  Spike gave Angel a look as if he had surrendered in a major battle, but he allowed himself to be undressed and manoeuvred into the water.  

Angel sat behind Spike not moving or making any attempt to force things.  He allowed Spike to get himself comfortable, allowed him to hang one leg out, if that reassured him that this was not too poofy.  Angel smiled to himself when Spike finally rested his head back against his shoulder and sighed a very deep, very unnecessary sigh.   'I'm really glad this is just a test weekend, pet.  I'm glad we're not having to think too deeply about any of this.'

'You enjoyed that, didn't you?  Taking me like that.' Angel's hand had crept around Spike's waist and was just brushing his dark curls lightly. 

Spike chuckled, 'Yeah, could you tell?'

'Hmm… I think something gave it away!'

'God, look Angel, I've been here nearly three hours already.  Where's the fucking time gone?'

'So, is it waterproof?'

'Yeah, its luminous, too.  I'll show you that later.'

'Promises, promises.  So, what do you want to do tonight?  Go out somewhere?'

Spike twisted around in the bath, so he could see Angel.  'Go out?  As in out, out?'

'Err… yeah, why not?'

'Well, we've never… gone out before, together… when we weren't hunting, that is.'

'I know.  That's why I suggested it.  We could just go for a drink, or see a movie.  You choose.'

'Okay, a drink then.  Come on!'  Angel had to smile at Spike's newfound enthusiasm.  He allowed himself to be pulled once more from the bath and followed Spike into the bedroom.   

'Did you bring some other clothes?  I know I said not to bring.…'

'Duh, pillock.  Meet you back here in ten.'

Ten minutes?  Angel wasn't quite sure what he was supposed to be able to achieve in ten minutes, but gave it his best shot.  He was a bit annoyed, therefore, when Spike did not reappear at the allotted time.  He went in search of him, didn't find him in his room, but heard chatter coming from the direction of Fred's.  He made his way cautiously along the landing and stood in the doorway looking in.  Fred had Spike's hand in hers and was leading him around her room, telling him the story of her rescue by an Angel.  Spike was clearly amused, seemed to be watching her as much as he was looking at the wall.  Angel noted with pleasure that Spike was dressed in the same brown shirt and slightly baggy jeans he had seen him in on his second trip to Sunnydale.  Angel could not take his eyes off Spike.  He was so beautiful, and he wanted him so much.  He didn’t think he had much left at that moment, but he debated forgoing the drinking and just taking Spike to bed.  He wanted to run his hands over those muscles once more; he wanted to mess up that carefully slicked back, wet hair; he wanted to wipe that amused smile of his face and replace it with something else.  Angel knew he could do all those things now.  Spike was his, but he did not question exactly what that possession meant.

Spike turned his face to Angel and smiled, nodding his head slightly at Fred.  He rolled his eyes, and Angel couldn’t help but smile back.  'Hey, Angel, you didn't tell Fred that I was all grown up… look what she bought me.…' Spike held up a small Action Man Torch and waved it suggestively at Angel. 

Fred grinned, embarrassed.  'Sorry, only you said he was your childe, Angel; I thought he'd just be little, and I always had to have a flashlight when I went away from home, so I thought, as this place is really scary an' all, he'd want some extra light, too, then when you went to tuck him in… but obviously, you won't be doing that, but maybe you could.…'

'Hey, it was a nice thought, luv.  An' I've no lecky in me crypt, so it'll come in really handy, thanks.'  Suddenly, Spike looked down embarrassed, and then said hesitantly to Angel.  'Err, I kind of mentioned that we were going out, Angel… and it is a kind of scary place this, isn't it? So I said Fred could… and then we decided on ice cream instead, sorry.…'

Angel could not have been more pleased with this suggestion or more pleased with Spike for thinking of it.  He continued to be delighted when he saw the effort Spike was making to include Fred in the conversation.  Her presence took the pressure off both of them to think about the future, and he was grateful for that. 

They returned to the hotel late that night.  As they parted, Spike leaned in close to Angel and whispered, 'How about that tucking in then?  I feel like experimenting with me new torch.'

Angel grinned, nodded briefly, and held five fingers lightly over Spike's watch. 

Spike didn't even bother examining his room; he just stripped off and flung himself onto the bed to wait out the allotted five minutes. 

When he heard Fred in her room, Angel moved swiftly and quietly up to Spike's, entered without making a sound and stood in the doorway, bemused.  Spike was deeply asleep, spread eagled on his stomach on the bed.  Angel slipped in alongside him and pulled him back into his arms.  Spike stirred enough to snuggle in even closer, but stayed asleep, his new torch clutched tightly in his hand. 

Angel fixed his gaze on Spike's hands for a few moments.  He noted with a pang of worry that the nails and cuticles were still badly chewed and torn.  It did not bode well for Spike's state of mind.  He allowed his eyes to travel up Spike's hard, thin arm, over his shoulders and down his chest to those incredible abdominal muscles.  Angel rested his hand lightly on Spike's belly, but moved it off again when Spike stirred in his sleep.  Angel was surprised Spike slept so deeply.  Surprised he slept at all really, given he was a vampire and needed to be constantly alert.  Angel settled down to a night of not sleeping, brooding, and being miserable, so was delighted and slightly surprised to be woken by bright sunlight behind the thick curtains and the smell of fresh coffee.  He opened his eyes, squinted at the light, and saw Spike sitting up against the headboard, sipping from a cup.

Angel sat up, disoriented.  'What time is it?  How long have you been awake?'

Spike made a pleased show of looking at his watch.  'It's eleven, and I've been up for three hours.  Why?'

'Fuck.  What have you been doing?'

'Made coffee and watched you sleep.'

'Watched me?'

'Yeah, I've been watching you, and thinking.'

'Ah.  Thinking.  That's not good, Spike.  We said no thinking.'

'I didn't say what I was thinking about, Angel.'

'No, but I bet it wasn't about shining my shoes like a good childe, was it?'

'No.  Guess I wasn't.'

'So, is this the time for the talk then?  Is this when we ruin it all?'  Angel sat back against the headboard next to Spike and took up the second cup of coffee from the side table.  He couldn't bear to look at Spike... could hardly bear to hear him, as he feared the words he might speak.


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