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Counting The Ways - 3

Spike didn't hesitate. He dragged Wesley over onto his hands and knees and pushed his legs wide, heaving him up by his belly so his entrance was at maximum stretch, opened slightly, and the cheeks flat. He knelt up to the hole and offered it his penis, pouring oil over the thick shaft. Wesley suddenly put his hands around. Spike thought, for one awful moment, that he was going to be stopped, but the human only took his cheeks in his hands and pulled them apart more for the vampire's penetration. Spike slid in on a moan of deep, unguarded pleasure. Human ass - hot, slippery, soft, delicate - he began to move. He'd never been gentle with a lover before, his partners either victims about to die or the undead like himself. Or her. She was unique and gentleness had not been a feature of their relationship. This was new for him and, in its newness, exquisite. He worked slowly in and out, letting the ring of muscle stretch to accommodate him. When it had and he could see it tight but not damaged around him, he experimented with gentle side-to-side motions and deep, tight penetration. He could only get about five inches in, and the root of this cock stuck out. He hesitated, but then said quietly, 'Try pushing me out, luv.'


'You know... do the human thing, and push down hard.'

'I'm not bloody pregnant.'

They both laughed at the essential ludicrous of their position, and a very strong sense of furtiveness and illicitness at what they were doing hit them both. They felt liberated, naughty - as if about to be caught out in an immoral, dirty act. Spike said, 'Oh, yeah,' as he thought about penetrating a watcher. Wesley only moaned as he realised a vampire was fucking him, but he pushed - hard - and barked with a harsh sexual pleasure, as Spike gained three inches. He pushed again, all his belly muscles straining, as he shoved his whole backside hard against Spike's groin, pulling himself open with his hands as hard as he could... and felt a slight tear. It was delicious. It made his backside throb slightly, and he sucked his breath in at the feeling. Now Spike filled him totally.

The blood glistened on Spike's shaft each time he pulled out. It mixed with the oil and swirled around him. He put a finger down and played lightly around Wesley's hole for him, pressing it, tickling the perineum. They both laughed again, as Wesley put his head down into the mattress groaning.

Spike felt cheeky and repeated his earlier question. 'Feel better?'

'Fuck off, Spike. Through the backdoor this time.'

This sent them both in paroxysms of laughter, so much so that Spike pulled out and sat back on his heels. He stilled momentarily, enjoying the sight of Wesley's hole closing over, the blood still seeping out. Wesley cursed and glared back at him from the mattress. 'Err...'

'Don't worry, pet. Best bit's yet to come.' He proved his point by re-entering Wesley's slick, stretched hole without so much need for gentleness and knowing he could embed to his root. Wesley arched back, and Spike caught hold of his hair in one hand, twisting it around his fingers. He leant back slightly, fixed the image of their bodies in his mind, then closed his eyes and plummeted down into his orgasm. He rode Wesley, straining his neck back, pulling on his hair, thrusting into him. Wesley only responded to the increase in tempo by taking his hands off his backside and placing them on Spike's hips, digging his nails in, drawing blood. Spike knew he had not found Wesley's soft spot for him again and opened his eyes to concentrate on his shaft going in just right. He found it. Wesley screamed: a low feral scream of a man laid bare. His hands jerked away; they flew to his cock, and Spike watched the human's elbows working, as he urgently pumped his own release. He increased the power of his thrusting now he had found his aim. He kept his eyes open, fascinated by the sight of the human's ring stretched so far, so tight around him. He felt his foreskin rubbing over his tip as he pulled back, felt it rubbing deliciously over the spongy flesh on pull back. Then his balls began to swell. He grunted out, 'Soon, I'm gonna come soon...'

He felt Wesley's jerking hands speed up, felt him start to shudder - a deep shaking that registered through the walls of his ass. Spike gasped, as his penis shared Wesley's orgasm. He smelt the cum emptying uselessly into the mattress, revelled in Wesley's high-pitched scream of relief and release, and then knew no more except himself - his own body and the tidal wave that hit him. His sac shivered as its balls contracted; his shaft twitched, and he went rigid on Wesley's ass; he jerked slightly, felt it coming, concentrated on the image in his mind of this act and felt the deep, deep release of an intense orgasm. Minutes seemed to pass as he emptied. The room was loud with a sound he couldn't place, a smell he could and which drove him on. His cock was hot, heated by the watcher's tight walls leaking their heat into him. He could still conjure the taste of the watcher in his mouth, his blood rich with his untapped passion... and still the cum spurted from him. Wesley's bed was soaked in cum, the human pool already seeping in, Spike's spilling out of the tight hole and dripping down to pool at his knees. One last jerk, and he stopped.

Unable to move, Wesley lay crushed into the mattress, every part of his body throbbing and alive. Every corner of his brain was consumed by the sex; there was no space at all in that blissful moment for the pain and the fear that had eaten him for so long. He felt blessed, and a deep sense of gratitude washed over him. He turned slowly, groaning, as the small of his back began to protest the unnatural pounding and odd position it had been subjected to. He felt Spike slip out and groaned once more. Spike collapsed onto his face along side him, giving proof to the rumour that he was dead. Wesley heard a muffled 'Fuck' from underneath.

He laughed and repeated with amusement, 'Not right now.'

Spike turned his face and stuck his tongue out. They were both extremely pleased with themselves and felt oddly that they'd scored points over someone or something they did not like to name. Spike pursed his lips and put a friendly hand on Wesley's, just playing with his fingers absentmindedly.

''S good. I enjoyed that.'

'So did I. I still am.'

'Yeah. Guess I can stay the night then?'

'Why are you reluctant to get back, Spike? That's twice you've asked to stay.'

Spike fidgeted and winced slightly at the memory of an angry, raised voice behind a closed door. 'Yeah, I kind of told Connor who his mum was.'

'Angel's sire? He knew that; I am sure.'

'Maybe, put like that, but sire and mother don't really...'

'You called Darla Angel's mother?'

'Er... yeah.' Spike was surprised when Wesley laughed.

'I think you'd better consider buying a passport, Spike.'

Spike sat up. 'You think it's that bad?'

'Spike, he tried to kill me.'

'Yeah, but you stole the sweet, innocent baby and took him to hell.'

Wesley waited for the pain. He waited for the unbearable guilt to wash over him, but with Spike's teasing, mocking tone, he felt some of the pain dissipate. He was finally talking about it and to someone he knew would understand the true meaning of betraying Angel.

'Why are you here... I mean in LA, anyway, Spike? Shouldn't you be back in Sunnydale, helping to save the world?'

'Nah, world's too shitty. Decided to look me ole sire up.'

'And you didn't know about Connor?'

'No. I didn't. Angel didn't see fit to inform me of that little fact.'

Wesley sat up, too, enjoying his nakedness with Spike. 'There you go then. Even-stevens I'd say.'

'How do you work that then?'

'Well, come on, Spike. He should have told you about Connor, and he should have told Connor about you and Darla. It's Angel's fault. Go back and tell him.'

Spike laughed and began to kiss along Wesley's arm, casting him seductive looks through lowered lids. 'Shall I tell 'im you said to say that?'

Wesley watched the erotic slow progress up his arm, desperate for it to reach his mouth. 'If you like. I'm damned and outcast, Spike, hanging from a tree. I can't get any lower.'

'Sure you can, pet; you could fuck a vampire.'

Laughing, they rolled, kissing on the bed until Wesley's bodily exhaustion began to creep over him. He put his head on the pillow, closing his eyes briefly. 'I'm sorry, Spike; I'm only human...'

Spike lay down, too, and put his face close against Wesley's, almost touching, close enough to feel the soft human breath on his face. Wesley opened his eyes. 'I'd like you to be here in the morning.'

Spike grinned and snuggled in. 'I like strong tea with milk, no sugar. And I don't get up before lunch. Ever.'

Although they had shared physical intimacy, sharing the bed was new and strange to them both. Wesley lay slightly rigid; Spike turned away from him. A few minutes passed. Wesley was hoping he didn't snore, dribble or do anything else human and embarrassing when his whole body was suddenly possessed by cold limbs. Spike coiled around him; Wesley melted to the embrace, and not caring what happened - sensing that anything human would only amuse and please this strange vampire - Wesley fell into the most restful sleep he had had for some weeks.

He still woke every so often during the night, a light rising to the surface of deep sleep. Once, he had the impression that Spike was sitting up; once, he thought he smelt cigarette smoke, but every time he woke a cool hand was on him - sometimes on his back, sometimes on his belly - so each time a sense of calm descended over him. His first thought on waking in the morning was, 'Someone to fetch tea for; how nice.' His second thought was, 'I'm being sucked off; how nice.'

Spike's mouth was soft around him. He opened his eyes and watched, as Spike's languid head floated up and down on his stiffening penis. The delight of not having to give himself urgent, early morning relief washed over him, and he lay back to enjoy the sensation. The sounds of the traffic drifted in through the open window; occasional shouting and music came through the wall from the neighbouring apartments, and he was here, being sucked off by a vampire - a beautiful, male, vampire that he fancied. Life was strange.

Spike continued his slow rolling and sucking of Wesley's penis even though he knew the human was awake. He let him enjoy the sensation, let him relax to the pleasure but, eventually, he pulled away and, continuing to play gently with Wesley's erection, said, with a cheeky raise of one eyebrow, 'So, you feel like doing a bit of swapping this morning?'

Wesley coughed lightly. 'Good morning to you, too, Spike. And, swapping?'

'You know... you give it to me?'

'Oh. Do I have... not that I don't want to... only...' he trailed off rather miserably but looked up, surprised, as Spike only lifted his warm human thigh slightly in response.

'Good, glad you said that, cus you know, I get enough of that from Angel. This makes a bit of a change for me,' and with that he began to play with Wesley's hole in preparation for another entry. Wesley watched him for a while, feeling his sore entrance respond with surprising delight to the new stretching. When Spike had his tip just pressed in, Wesley said quietly. 'Angel?'

Engrossed in the sensations of Wesley's ass, Spike only murmured, ''Course, he always wants to take me; I wouldn't dare suggest he takes it for once.'


Spike looked up and heard his own words. 'Well, not Angel, I suppose. Angelus. Bit pedantic, mate.'

'You spoke in the present tense, too.'


'Spike, is Angel fucking you?'

There was a silence, and Spike stilled his gentle entry of Wesley, then pulled out completely and sat back on his heels. 'Fuck. It's been... over a hundred years? It still seems like yesterday, as though he still is.' He looked down. 'No wonder he's moved on.'

'The soul would make a difference, too, I should think.'

'Yeah. Guess. A hundred years.' His voice was full of soft, regretful wonder.

'So, Spike... does Angel still... how shall I put it...?'

Spike grinned. 'I'll make a suggestion, shall I?'

Wesley smiled. 'Does Angel still fancy men, do you think?'

Spike looked thoughtfully at Wesley. 'I don't know as he ever did, pet; I'm not exactly 'men', am I?'

'Well, no, but you couldn't do this if you didn't like another man's body, could you? I mean, he must like this...' he put a hand on his own cock and stroked it lightly. Spike's eyes widened and he felt a tingle shoot through his balls at the simple act. '... are you expecting him to want to take up with you again? Is that why you came here?'

'I don't know as I'd thought it through that carefully. The bitch called me William; William made me think of Angelus; thinking of Angelus makes me think of Angel, an' I guess thinking about the ole fucker is always good, so I got in me car and came.'

'Would you though, if he wanted to?'

'Damn right I would. Why? You planning to try it with him?'

'Bloody hell, Spike, get your mind out of the gutter, will you? Angel is my best friend; I love him like a brother; I would do anything for him...' Wesley trailed off, sunk miserably in his own thoughts, but Spike grinned. It was just what he wanted to hear. He wouldn't have such a hard time on his hands after all. He put his finger back into Wesley's hole and played with him for a while, waiting for the human to give him his full attention.

Eventually Wesley roused and hissed as his prostrate was given a particularly skilful rub. 'In, now.' Spike grinned and got back to what he enjoyed the most.

As he watched Spike's shaft slip in, Wesley couldn't help but ask, 'If you do get back with Angel, and you resume your... err...'


'I was going to say relationship - but actually, fucking sounds a lot more appropriate - if you do, what about this?'

'You liking this then, Wesley? You thinking you might want to do some more of this, more edited highlights?'

'There's more than this?'

Spike tipped his head back and laughed out loud. 'Bloody hell, watcher, you've got a lot to learn, and yeah, I like your ass; ain't gonna give this up. 'Sides, even if I do get back with Angel, that's only vampire fucking around. It don't mean nothing.' As if proving his point he knelt up against Wesley and just played gently with the stretch around his shaft. In the light of the morning and without the frantic lust that had driven them both the previous night, they had the time and the inclination to look and to feel and to touch and to wonder at the sensations their bodies could produce. Spike took Wesley's penis in his hand and played with the foreskin as he worked inside Wesley's hole. He pressed into the sensitive human perineum, trying to feel himself through the walls. Wesley began to pant as he felt his balls swelling. Spike pulled a pillow around and stuffed it under Wesley's backside, and he was lifted into a better position for the deep penetration Spike wanted. When all was just right, he began a long drawn out working of the human. He fucked Wesley for what seemed like hours. Every time Wesley threatened to come with powerful shuddering and jerking of his body, Spike clamped a hand down on his root and prevented it. He pushed in and out, in and out, the waves of pleasure being driven up his shaft and into Wesley's. They moaned in unison; they swore together, their eyes sometimes locked on each other, sometimes closed, leaving them the privacy of their own thoughts and desires. When he felt the time was right, Spike began.

'I'm worried about Angel.' His voice, low and ragged, matched the passion that was being created in the room. Wesley only groaned and tried to lift himself some more onto the pillow... ever higher... ever more penetration. 'I don't trust the brat. He reeks of hatred for Angel.'

Wesley's eyes opened, and he tried to focus for a moment. 'He loves Angel; you told me that... no, Gunn told me that. Push harder, Spike, please, just there, oh... yes...'

'It's a front.'

'Let me come, please Spike; I need to come; I'm... oh, Jesus, don't do that.'

'Wesley, he's lying, and Angel can't see it.'

'You're just jealous, Spike. Please, please, I beg of you... no! Don't tighten, oh, God, no more; I'm dying.'

'Hush. Maybe I am; I don't deny it, but that don't change the fact he's lying.'

'Angel would know. Let me... oh, God...'

'Angel's blinded by the light of his love and the darkness of his guilt. He's lost.'

'Yes, yes, yes, there, that's right, oh... you're so... how do you... yes. The others would see for him. Cordelia - she's spot on. Lorne's bloody psychic. They'd know. NO! Don't!'

'They do see. He isn't listening to them. He needs someone he loves to tell him.'

'Tell him then... oh, fuck... oh, fuck... I need to say fuck... fuck... I'm going to die if you do that.'

'Shhh, stop exaggerating, and he don't love me like that. I'm too much part of him; I'm in the light; I am the darkness; I'm him; he's me... I can't help him to see.' A long pause. 'But you can.'

Wesley stilled the thrashing movements he was making on each thrust, each skewer of Spike's penis inside him and growled out an angry reply. 'No!'

'Yes. Is that good, Wesley? Shall I let me fist go just a little? Can you feel the cum rising?'

'Oh, thank God; let me come.'

'Yes, then. I want you to speak to Angel.'

'No! I can't.'

'Yes, you can... you can cum, Wesley. Wouldn't it be great to cum... over your belly, hard shots of cum for me to see? Say yes.'

'No! NO! God, don't stop me again.'

'Yes, then.'

'No! Please, Spike, please have mercy. I can't. He hates me; I betrayed him. I'm Judas.'

'Oh, hush, pet. Stop that; just say yes; it's so much easier, and I'll help you... like I'm helping you with this... wanna see how supple I am?'

'Oh, God, swallow me... in your mouth, I'm coming, I'm coming... NOOOO!'

'Yes, then. Is it yes?'

'You... oh! Please... take me in your mouth again. Yes. Yes. Yes, Spike, yes. It's yes now... ah! Ah! AH!'

Spike was sucking hard so couldn't comment on the watcher's capitulation. Wesley exploded down his throat. He'd never felt cum so warm, so violently propelled. He knew the watcher had wanted to see Angel really; now all he had to do was think of a way for them to meet. Planning was fun, especially when you were swallowing copious loads of warm, early morning cum.

Wesley did not speak for a while after his orgasm. He lay still, allowing Spike to finish deep inside him. He watched, annoyed, intrigued, and intensely turned on, as Spike brought himself off in his warm body. It was a favourable position to watch Spike from - Spike's belly banging against his open thighs; the abs rippling as he worked; the smooth chest heaving for unnecessary air; a pale neck stretched back; long, slender fingers wrapped over his knees - he could watch Spike for hours and never tire of the sight of that body. He saw Spike's face change as he was about to cum; wondered what it was like for that dead, lifeless body to feel such unnatural animation and force of life and saw the answer in the corded neck; heard it in the high-pitched scream; felt it in the cold wash that flooded him. Unnatural sensation, but oh, how intensely pleasurable it was - even the leaking out, cooling and soothing to his stretched, sore hole.

Spike slipped out and sat back, and then bent over and put his forehead to the mattress. Wesley eased off the ruined pillow and rolled onto his stomach. He groaned as a hand slid over his backside. 'No. Please. Enough.'

'I just wanted to say good boy for agreeing, Wesley. You know you've done the right thing.' Spike's tongue, licking at him and cleaning him, made any contradiction to this seem rather pointless.

'You are the devil, Spike.'

'Thanks. Not yet, but I'm hoping to be promoted one day.' He slapped Wesley on his backside and flung himself down. 'Where's me cuppa?'


'Go on, make us a brew, an' we'll discuss tactics.'

'Joining the army? Please say yes.'

'Tactics to get you and Angel together. It's got to be just right.'

'How about we wait until I die and meet him in hell?'

'You ain't going to hell, pet. You're far too valuable in heaven. Too valuable here, now. So, stop all that self-indulgent, sexy, feelin' sorry for yerself - feel sorry for me instead and make me a bloody cup of tea.'

Wesley got up and wrapped a sheet modesty around his waist, waiting for the laugh of derision from Spike. Spike only looked thoughtfully at the ceiling as if inspiration could be found there.

Feeling a little manipulated, Wesley said with quiet amusement. 'You'll have to go back today and see him, or you'll lose your influence with him, too.'

Spike looked at him horrified. 'Oh, bloody hell. Still, guess he ain't gonna whip me or beat me or fuck me to unconsciousness, is he? He's got a soul now; what can he do?' Wesley laughed at his wistful tone and went to put the kettle on. He chuckled to himself as it boiled. He knew he'd put Spike on the spot and had the distinct impression that the vampire would be squirming. The thought of Spike squirming made him groan a little, and he pressed lightly into the counter. A pair of strong arms slipped around him and began to work at the knot of the sheet. 'Spike!' Wesley put a warning hand down. 'I utterly refuse to make tea for you naked. It's totally inappropriate.'

'Inappropriate? After we've just...'

'That was the bedroom. This is my kitchen; I will not... don't!' Wesley tutted as Spike hopped naked on the counter. 'I shall never, ever make another sandwich there; you know that, don't you?'

He fetched Spike a towel and threw it at him; Spike tutted, too, but draped it decorously over his lap.

Wesley couldn't resist the continuing the pressure on the annoying vampire. 'So, Spike, when are you going back? Angel might be worried about you.'

'Fuck off.'

They both laughed before Wesley could even reply with his 'Not right now.'

He passed Spike a cup and leant on the counter opposite him. 'Angel won't see me. I don't care what plan you think you have; he won't. I know him!'

Spike pushed out his bottom lip a little and looked shifty. 'I didn't really have a plan, mate. I kinda just thought... you come back... we'll all be there... he'll shout... you'll kiss and make up... but I'll admit, it's not me most stunnin' plan, is it?'


'Guess I'm going back then - 'til something comes to me.'

'Come on, take a shower, and I'll put your stuff in the washing machine.'

Spike grinned. 'That'll be a first for 'em then,' but he hopped off and went distractedly towards the bathroom. The water was scalding hot once more, and he let its soporific effects work on his tense body. He dried distractedly then slumped on the sofa while his clothes washed, watching Wesley make an attempt to clean and clear away the detritus of his betrayal. Wesley felt Spike's eyes on him and turned. Spike repeated for the third time, 'Feel better now?'

Wesley looked directly at him then nodded once, a small nod of understanding and gratitude. He came slowly over to Spike and sat next to him on the couch. 'I almost want to say, don't go back, stay here.'

Spike grinned. 'Wish I had this effect on some other people I could mention.'

'But I do want to see Angel. I do want to try and explain to him what I did and why...'

'I know, pet.'

Wesley looked down, embarrassed. 'When will I see you?'

Spike accommodatingly moved aside the towel. 'Now?'

It was a restrained, almost wistful blowjob. At each suck, each lick, Wesley felt he was losing something he had only now realised he could have. At each swell and rise of his orgasm, Spike felt the impending confrontation with Angel like a tight band around his balls. He did cum; Wesley did swallow… but it gave neither of them any real satisfaction. Wesley sat up, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Spike leant in, just to lick one small droplet falling from the human's soft lips, but Wesley captured his mouth, desperately pushing Spike down onto his back. What he'd not been able to say or show in the blowjob, he tried to demonstrate in the kiss.

They were both surprised by its intensity, by its... sweetness. They kissed like new lovers, friends, playmates. Finally, Spike slid out from under Wesley and pulled him into his shoulder. 'If we go on, mate, I'm just gonna stay here all day.'


'Nah. I need to do this 'fore... well, I ain't that brave these days, so better go face the bleedin' music.'

'Soon though, will I see you soon?'

Spike pulled on his jeans and Angel's shirt, both warm from the dryer, feeling oddly more naked and vulnerable with these clothes on. He glanced across at Wesley and replied quietly, 'Yeah, soon.'

It took him a long time to navigate his way back through the tunnels, but he didn't exactly hurry. His feet felt leaden, his dead heart heavy. He entered the lobby, waiting for the screaming to start... to find it deserted. He wandered over to the counter and almost jumped when Lorne popped up from behind.

'Sweet blond one! You're dead!'

'Duh! Newsflash… not. Where's Angel?'

'No, little testy one, I mean…'

'…just tell me, demon, was he mad…?'

'Oh, you can bet your sweet bottom dollar on that, but…'

'Oh, fuck. Shouting?'

'Sweetie, it was worse than…'

'Breaking of things?'

'Look bro' I'm tryin' to tell you here… demon on a mission…'

''He still mad?'

'Okay, I'm starting to think serenity; I'm seeing lotus blossoms…'

'Do you think he'll see me?'

'I think he might, honey, cus I'm trying to tell you…'

'Tell me he'll stake me, right?'

'Hush, hon. You already are staked, my little cacophony of self-absorption.'


'Destructo boy' told him he'd killed you… Angelpie's been a little testy since - if you know what I mean.'

'Oh… so the shouting…'

'Sure was, cupcake.'

'The breaking of stuff?'

'All broken over those fabulous blue eyes of yours.'

'All for me?'

'You'd better believe it, hon.'


'Well, haven't I just made someone's day. And oh, those dimples are just to die for! Couldn't you just fill them with tequila and suck them dry?'

'Shut the fuck up, ya poof.' But Spike clasped Lorne by the cheeks and squeezed them lightly, still grinning at him. 'Where is the other poof, and I need a drink.'

'Angelhair's gone killing. And I'm just betting you've never tried a Marilyn Mouthful?'

Spike sat in the kitchen, dubiously watching Lorne mixing and tasting a frightening selection of strange, alcoholic potions. 'Why did the little git tell 'im that then? Just making trouble, I guess.'

'Oh, I think a little green-eyed monster has risen in this hotel recently. Here, sip, bro'.'

Spike drank and gagged, spluttering the contents of his mouth across the table. 'Fucking what is this!'

Lorne sipped his complacently and watched Spike carefully.

'So, littl' Angel's jealous of me, is 'e?' A satisfied, sly grin crossed Spike's face.

'More than one little green monster here then, I'm thinking. Feel good, does it, being jealous of a munchkin?'

'Fuck off, demon. I'm not jealous of that little tosser; why should I be? I'm worried 'bout Angel, 's all. He's gonna hurt Angel. It's written all over the self-righteous wanker.'

'Oh relax. You're wrong.'

'No, I'm not. I know humans; I've been knowing the bleeders for nearly two hundred years - 's why I'm still here. That kid wants to kill Angel.'

'No, the kid wants Angel to love him, and he'd kill Angel and himself to make Angel do that. There's a big - Frank's-opening-night-in-Los-Vegas big - difference.'

'That's… stupid.' Spike began to feel almost hypnotised by the demon's startling eyes; he pushed the drink away, suddenly afraid it was drugged.

'It's not drugged, pretty one. Why would I need to do that?'

'Hey… you're reading me mind!'

'Umm, and what a Dorothy-in-Kansas whirlwind of a mind it is where sweet peaches is concerned.'

'Look, that kid is dangerous. It's why I'm getting the… anyway, he is.'

'Wesley? You've been with Wesley? Well, bubba, kudos to you for that!'

'Oh, Christ on the cross, stop bloody doing that readin' thing! And yes, I went to see the watcher. He's got to come back and talk some bleedin' sense into Angel. No one else seems able to!'

Lorne looked pleased. 'You, sugar, are brighter than that hairstyle would allow. And hey! Wesley's coming home! I feel a chorus of 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon' is needed!'

To Spike's great relief, this threat proved empty; Lorne merely continued to sip his drink. With a resigned sigh, Spike took his up again. 'So, watcher ain't needed then… if the kid ain't dangerous.'

'Oh, I didn't say he wasn't dangerous, sex-on-a-stick; he's just not dangerous to Angel. I wouldn't leave him in a room with you unless I needed some glittery dust for a nice collage. And Wesley is needed here more than you will ever know. And there's just got to be a song in there somewhere.'

'You tellin' me I shouldn't tell Wes that the kid's off the hook 'bout Angel?'

Lorne only looked at him expressively.

'You're a devious green bastard, ain't you?'

'Well, colour me incredulous, but at least I plan with my gorgeous pants still firmly in place.'

'Hey! Stop doin' that! That's gotta be illegal or summit. And don't I have to be singing? Ana-whatever demons read people singing!'

'I hear your song loud and clear without a melody, blondie, and I'm thinking torches and trilogies! No wait! I'm seeing Wesley; I'm seeing all that fabulous stubble and that dark, brooding expression. Ooh, I'm seeing something pale and very hard rising and, hmm, it's slipping in, and I'm hearing Kylie. Sing on girl! "I should be so lucky"…'

Lorne proceeded to sway around the kitchen with his glass doing an uncanny impression of the diminutive Australia singer. Spike started to laugh; the demon's complete refusal to be pessimistic relaxed him and took the edge off his usual sharp defensive mechanisms.

Lorne finished his tuneful parody and sat down receiving applause from a vast, but invisible audience. When he had acknowledged it enough, he turned to Spike with an amused smile. 'Why don't you take those tight little buns upstairs, darlin', and wait for even-tighter-in-the-ass to get home. I'll tell him you're not dead - so it's not such a shock to that old heart of his when his sourpuss mood vanishes.'

Spike grinned and, downing the rest of his drink in one go, bounded up the stairs to his room. As he passed Angel's, he couldn't help but see the devastation that had been wrought there. Bed coverings had been shredded, clothes ripped out of the wardrobe, the bookcase overturned, a lamp smashed, and the contents of drawers strewn across the floor. Gingerly, Spike made his way across the detritus of Angel's despair. He kicked a book and absentmindedly picked it up. Glancing at it, he stilled. He looked around and picked up the other books he could see. He put the half dozen of them on the bed and sat down, almost afraid to look. He picked the first one up again and opened it at random. Angel's bold, elegant handwriting filled the margins of each page. He had thought Angel had given Connor all their books. He was wrong. Angel had kept the most loved, safe in his room.

Demons loving poetry - the Scourge of Europe and William the Bloody reading poetry - how they had hidden that little secret from the others. He picked up another and smiled at the memories that assailed him. "How do I love thee?" Angel had shown him how that night: they had counted the ways together, each position, each entry, each move on each other's bodies remembered… and there in the margin, a bold number ten, crossed out and amended later to fifteen as their passion had taken even more sating before the final count was done.

Unbidden, Spike felt tears spring to his eyes. Why had Angel kept these books but not kept the faith with him?

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