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Dead Men Walking - 4

On the long drive back to Bath, Giles almost wished he could have back the depressed, introspective vampire that had plagued him since his arrival three days ago. Spike was now practically catatonic. He refused to talk and just sat smoking one cigarette after another without seeming to gain any benefit from them. Giles was at a loss. He hated to admit it, but he felt sorry for Spike. He knew it must be hard to allow emotions through a protective shell that had long been hardened against them. Purporting to hate Angel so much, Spike could find no outlet for his grief, anger, and fear… other than turning it all in on himself. Giles ached to help him. After a couple of hours, he decided he had little to lose, and everything to gain, if he pushed Spike a little.

'You need to tell him.'

'Fuck off.'

'Whether you mean that in its literal or its more colloquial sense - rather difficult to do, given that I'm driving. So, no, I won't fuck off. You have to tell him.'

Spike rounded on him, and Giles was glad: at least he was talking now. 'And say, what? Hey, poof, you're gonna die… that's the bleedin' reward you've been looking forward to… you're gonna take yourself into some shitty cellar and fucking hang yourself 'til your neck stretches and you fucking cum all over yourself. Good one watcher. I'll go and tell him now, shall I?'

'Thank you for that graphic image, Spike. Maybe, if we're lucky, he'll take an overdose and go peacefully in his sleep, hey?'

Spike's outrage was so genuine, he lashed out at Giles and caught him a resounding slap on the side of his face. The blow tore off Giles' glasses, and the car skidded slightly on the, thankfully, empty road. His pain, however, was evidently nothing compared to Spike's, who was cursing and holding his head between his knees in agony. When he had recovered, he cast a truly demonic glare at Giles. 'I didn't know you hated him so. It was Angelus that fucked you over, not Angel.'

'Ahh, so we can apply logic when it suits us then, Spike.'

'Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off.' Spike wanted to leave his devastatingly mature reply hanging in the air but added, reluctantly, 'What do you mean?'

'Oh, come on Spike… drop the act. You lecture me on the difference between Angel and Angelus but refuse to accept it yourself.'

'Oh, I know the difference, believe me, watcher. I won't spare one thought for that souled fucker.'

'Uh huh, eight cigarettes in the last half hour, but not one thought.'

'Look, Angel is nothing to me. I refuse to think about him. He'd stake me if he could do it without ruining his fucking hair. Hell, if he knew about Buffy, he'd do it anyway.'

'This is the same Angel you were crying over only a couple of hours ago.'

'I am a demon, Giles. I cannot cry… it's like pissing: a physical impossibility.'

'Again, uh huh. Don't ever demonstrate your lack of pissing ability for me then, Spike.'

Spike didn't even dignify this with a reply, so a few minutes later, Giles continued his attack. 'Fortunate for you, then, with Angel officially dead soon, he'll be a lot further away than two hours, won't he?'

It was one of Spike's most endearing qualities that he never really got cause and effect. Having been in agony once already tonight, he nevertheless went there again. He thumped Giles' leg hard with the side of his fist. Giles winced but gave a small, evil grin when Spike collapsed once again holding his head.

'Oh, bloody hell.'

'Do I take it then that you find that thought unpleasant?' He saw the faintest of nods from Spike. 'So, Angel's death is going to affect you?' Again a nod. 'So, you need to tell him.'

When Spike looked up, there were tears glistening at the corners of his eyes. He saw Giles looking at them and said defensively, 'Pain, watcher, just the fucking pain!'

'You need to tell him.'

'Just shut up, will you? Yes, I know that. I know I need to bleeding tell him. But how I'm gonna do that? You tell me... shall I just turn up and say, "Hi Daddy, it's me." He'd fucking stake me 'fore I could get the first words out. He hates me; he hates me....' Spike cut off the rest before he committed himself to things that could not be unsaid, but Giles knew Spike needed commitment, and that the words needed saying.

'I wonder how long he'll be human for... before he does it. Maybe you could sort of slip in then and tell him, when he's not so physically strong.'

'Just fucking shut up, will you? You're missing the bleedin' point, you ponce. What's the point of me telling him anything, Giles? What's the point of telling him at all, if I can't lift a finger to help him?'

At last…. Giles tried not to smile at Spike's evident distress. He had thought that this was the root of Spike's anguish, but he needed to be brought to that conclusion himself.

'I don't know, Spike, but I still feel he has a right to know.'

'So do I, but.…'


Spike turned to face him and lit up yet another cigarette. 'I just can't see the scene, can you? How do you tell someone something like that? Maybe I'll write.'

'Good idea, Spike… you could buy a postcard of the Abbey, and write on that.'

Unbelievably, Spike ended up, yet again, with his head in his hands. This time, the tears really were ones of pain, and Giles took pity on him. Rubbing his bruised arm, he said gently, 'You can't write something like that; you need to go in person.'

Spike's reply was muffled, his face buried defensively into his thighs. Giles put out a hand and laid it on Spike's head. He was allowed to stroke his thumb gently over the short blond hair for a while, until Spike considered he'd been poofy enough and sat up. He repeated his reply more clearly now. 'Why me? Why do I have to be the one to tell him?'

A thought suddenly gripped him, and he turned more cheerfully to Giles.

'Absolutely not, Spike. If you think I am travelling all the way to LA to see Angel and tell him this, then you are a very sad, very delusional vampire.'

'Come on Giles, for me? Think of all the shit I've done for you over the years.' They both pondered on this for quite some time. Even Spike had to give a rueful smile at their joint conclusion that he had done precisely nothing, but this didn't prevent his continued wheedling until they pulled up once more at Giles' apartment.

Giles wanted to unpack, bathe, and sleep, but Spike wanted to talk. It was quite a role-reversal, and it made Giles smile. Spike followed him into the kitchen while he made tea and mentioned how much he'd helped the cause of right for the last few years. He followed Giles into the bathroom while he cleaned his teeth and outlined his role in keeping Dawn safe. He followed Giles into his bedroom and reminded him about the journals. Giles only continued to undress and, with a resolute tone, said, 'I'm not telling him, Spike.'

'Bugger you, Giles!'

Pausing in the act of taking off his trousers, Giles thought this a rather untimely reminder of their strange non-relationship. Spike clearly had similar thoughts, and his wheedling tone changed seamlessly to a more seductive one, as he crawled up Giles' bed and stretched himself casually, but decoratively, over the covers. 'What can I do to persuade you, Giles?'

Giles laughed so hard he fell over trying to free one leg from his trousers. He cast a glance at Spike's outraged face and doubled up, trying desperately to breathe. When he'd regained control, he said between stifled giggles, 'That was supposed to achieve what exactly, Spike?'

Spike knew he'd been rumbled, grinned, and shrugged. 'This fucking chip makes me demented sometimes, watcher. Was a time, if I wanted you to do something I'd just peel you for a while, and you'd up and do it right proper for me.'

'To be honest, Spike, I think I'd have preferred that to the whining and the pathetic seduction attempt. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to finish undressing and get into my bed.'

Spike did not move. He pursed his lips and studied Giles. Giles began to feel slightly nervous. 'What? I don't like that look, Spike. What are you thinking?'

Spike stretched once more then started to study a particularly interesting nail on one finger. 'Oh, I was just wondering whether I'd blown it completely with you now… whether if I suggested a shag, you'd think I was trying it on again.' He looked Giles directly in the eye. 'Would you?'

Giles felt his bowels contract. Whether this was from nervousness or anticipation, he couldn't have said. He sat down on the bed and took his glasses off, pinching his nose in a slightly tired way. 'I don't know what to say to that, Spike.'

'Why not? "No" is simple to say, Giles. If you say no - okay, I'll go. No hard feelings. Other things'll be hard, but I'm used to that… can take care of that on me own. Like you'll have to.'

Giles looked at him. 'What if I said yes then?'

Spike smiled, but there was no threat in that amused look. 'Ah, "yes"… well, a yes is even simpler to say. If you said yes, then I'd probably do this….' He put his hand out and took Giles' glasses and put them on the bedside table. 'A yes would make me do this, too.…' He replaced the hand rubbing wearily against Giles' eyes with his own, but he rubbed across the temples and the cheekbones with the ball of his thumb. 'If you said yes now, Giles.…' His voice was the barest of whispers. 'Then I could do this again.' His hand found the front of Giles' boxer shorts and slipped inside them. He knelt up next to Giles and pulled the hesitant face around to his. 'But if you said yes then, most of all, I'd want to do this….' He placed his cool lips to Giles' reluctant warm ones and, to the rhythm of his hand inside the soft cotton material, demonstrated to Giles how "yes" would be the right thing to say.

Giles realised, with an almost debilitating shock, that in all the years he had known Spike… in all the times he had watched him wreak havoc in his friends' lives, that this was the most frightened he had ever been of him. Giles' knowledge of all this began and ended with long-repressed memories of furtive rubbing in the dark and brief encounters in cold, shared showers. He did not know much about Spike's life, but he had the distinct impression that the vampire knew considerably more than he did about this particular subject. He pulled his mouth away from Spike's, but allowed the cool hand to remain inside his shorts. After all, it had been there before. Spike didn't seem to object to the hesitation, only sat back on his heels and smiled. 'So, Giles, yes or no?'

'I don't know, Spike… I admit, I'm scared. I've had no experience of this. And to be totally honest, I don't really trust your motives.'

'My motives are totally open and above board, Giles. I want you to tell Angel, and I'm gonna shag you 'til you do.'

This broke some of the tension between them. At Giles' soft laugh, Spike withdrew his hand and sat back, wrapping his arms around his knees. Giles slipped into the sheets and sat next to him, for all the world like an old married couple.

'I feel quite poofy now, Spike. I thought I'd just mention that.'

'Yeah, it's better when you just shag hard 'gainst a wall or something. That's the best… nothing poofy then… no beds, no bloody talking.'

Giles turned to him. 'And… you've done that?'

Spike nodded slowly, watching Giles' reactions carefully. 'I meant what I said that first day, watcher. It's vampire shit… we all do it. I used to think it was cus the demon inside us was non-sexual.…'


Spike frowned. 'A sexual what?'


'What kind of sex thing?'

'I'm sorry?'

'You said my demon was a sexual… what?'

'No, asexual, Spike, it means… having no sexual identity: lacking sex.'

'Well fuck you, too… what's the term for having too much damn sex then? I'm more sexy than me shirt, and don't you forget it!'

'I have no idea. B-sexual perhaps?'

Spike laughed. 'So, anyway, yeah. Vampire sexual shit. Asexual, Bsexual… it's all one and the same thing really.'

'Well, it's not for humans, Spike, as well you know. We have very clearly defined sexual roles, and I, for one, do not like the thought of myself as a poof. Sorry.'

'But you fancy me; I know you do.'

'Yes. I do. Bit of a dilemma then, isn't it?'

'Nah, not really, think of me as your son or something.'

Giles' jaw literally dropped open. 'Good God, Spike…!'

'What? It'll be easy then… you fancy me, but you can't do the biz cus I'm family. Easy.'

'Easy! You've just turned me from a harmless, poofy librarian into a predatory, incestuous paedophile! Thank you very much.'

'Labels, mate, just labels. We don't go in much for labels, us vampires.'

'Ah, so Scourge of Europe, The Big Bad, The Dark Princess, The Bloodline of Aurelius, The Master… all labels given by humans, were they?'

'Oh fuck off, Giles. You do my head in sometimes.' Spike slid down and folded his arms under his head. This was proving to be more complicated than he had anticipated.

Giles glanced at the confident demon lying alongside him. 'So…?'

Spike grinned. 'Hmm, that's what I was just thinking… so…?'

'The least you could do, I suppose, is finish off what you started.' Giles turned to Spike, took his hand, and placed it firmly, and without any hesitation, inside the slit of his boxer shorts. Spike hissed at the unexpected desire in Giles' face.

'Are you sure?'

'Oh yes, quite sure.'

Spike grinned, turned, and straddled Giles legs. It was a surprisingly erotic position, and they looked questioningly into each other's eyes. Spike started to feel softly around the warm, human groin, brushed the back of his sensitive hand over the soft curls and pressed the heel of his palm into the silky-smooth sac. Giles groaned and bowed his head at the delightful sensations. With practiced ease, Spike slid Giles' soft penis out from under the waistband, then eased the shorts off Giles' hips. Exposed, Giles felt a deep blush flood his face but raised his eyes, surprised and pleased, when Spike placed the back of his other hand against one flushed cheek. Spike closed his eyes to savour the heat and whispered, 'Yes,' quietly, and almost reverently. Giles realised with deep shame that he had not given any thought to the things that Spike might find sensual. For Giles, it was having an erection, being able to come to orgasm… for Spike, it seemed to be the flushed warmth of a human body and, perhaps, just being treated as a human for once. Giles felt humbled and guilty. It did not seem much to give this enticing vampire.

Giles held Spike's hand in his and, unexpectedly, took the cool fingers into his mouth. Spike's eyes flew open in delight. Giles swirled his warm saliva over them and nibbled on the skin as if it were alive and desirable. He smiled at Spike's reaction to this then took the fingers out and pressed them to the pulse in his neck. Spike groaned and bowed his head. Giles pressed Spike's dead thumb into the pulse, letting him feel how strong it was, how stimulated Spike made him: knowing that the vampire would be aroused by the thump, thump, thump.

When he thought Spike was ready, he pressed that strong hand to his heart, moving it around until it was in just the right position for Spike to feel the source of all his longing. Spike arched his back in delight, stretching his neck and exposing a tiny sliver of his abdomen under his loose shirt. Giles wanted to examine that sliver. He knew it was a rare thing to have your deepest fantasies fulfilled, and he was not going to throw away the opportunity a second time.

He let Spike's hand drop from his heart and began to unbutton Spike's shirt… button after button… slowly and sensually exposing the enticing body hidden under the material. The last buttons over Spike's abdomen took Giles slightly longer than the rest. He fumbled as he felt the hard tip of Spike's penis brushing up against the front of his soft flannels. Spike looked down at the hesitant hands, put his there, too, and the shirt soon slipped from the pale shoulders. Giles pushed Spike backward gently and reared over him, his erection rubbing across the front of Spike's trousers. He brought one hand slowly up the side of Spike's face, intending to brush his fingers over the penetrating eyes to close them for a while, but was shocked to see Spike flinch when the hand appeared above his face. Spike seemed not to have seen it until that point. Giles realised, with a shiver of fear for Spike, that he was blind in his damaged eye. He made no comment on Spike's reaction though, and distracted him by starting slow rocking motions against the tight, swollen front of the flannels.

Spike closed his eyes anyway, enjoying the sensation of this heavy, warm, human male on him. He felt vulnerable. Technically, Giles could hurt him, but this knowledge felt strangely good. He let go his defences; he allowed himself to be in danger, even though, with Giles, he knew hurt was unlikely.

Giles bent his head to rest on Spike's shoulder and increased the speed of his jerky movements against the hard body beneath him. He began a low moaning, and Spike realised, with shocked amusement, that Giles was about to cum. He concentrated on the thought of the human penis on him, pictured its soft cockhead glistening and ready to explode, imagined in his head the taste and smell of the potent cum and forced himself to orgasm. They came together, and Spike was glad that Giles had not appeared premature. He had never had such a quick, unsatisfactory shag, but he felt that this was an immense leap into the dark for the watcher and did not want him to know this.

When Giles recovered from his orgasm, he pushed off Spike and looked at the damp front of the vampire's new clothes. 'Sorry.'

He was on Spike's blind side, so Spike turned and gave him a cheeky smile. 'I was gonna take 'em off anyway. Want to help?'

Giles put his hands hesitantly on the buttons, but laughed as, once again, Spike cupped his hands around the deep, hot blush spreading across his face. When Spike was naked, Giles looked slowly over his body, shaking his head in wonder. Spike laughed. 'What?'

'I never realised your body was so incredible.'

Spike nodded complacently. 'Well, I've done a lot of work on it. William's had some fine tuning over the years.'

Giles sat back in surprise. 'Vampire bodies can't change; it's one of the most fundamental principles of the whole "dead body" thing.'

'Well, sorry, but I guess you watchers don't know it all. I can assure you... muscles new, hair new, few other bits and pieces, too, I shouldn't wonder.'

'Goodness.' Giles laid a hand softly on the muscled abdomen, stroked it down to the prominent hipbones, ran it up over the hard chest muscles and peaked nipples. Spike watched his hand and enjoyed the light trail of warmth left in its wake. 'So... err, Spike... what do you want to do now?'

Spike heard the hesitation and fear behind Giles' simple words. He looked at him quizzically, his head tipped slightly to one side. Giles caught his eye briefly, but looked down, embarrassed.

'I'd like to stay the night here, with you. I'd like for you not to leave this bed before me?'

'Oh....' Giles was so relieved and pleased, he felt that maddening blush begin again. 'Yes, of course.' He gave a slightly more confident smile to Spike. 'In fact, I insist you stay.'

'Good then.' Spike twisted around and slipped under the cool sheets. Giles pushed all the discarded clothing off the bed and joined him. This time, Giles turned to Spike and pulled the cool, slim body into his embrace. After some initial resistance, Spike relaxed into the human arms and allowed Giles to hug him. When he sensed that Giles was almost drifting off to sleep, he started to stoke one finger up and down the soft hairs on Giles' arm. Giles grunted at the tickling sensation and, knowing he was still awake, Spike said sneakily, 'So, when you gonna tell him, Rupert?'

A sleepy hand slapped him lightly on the belly, and Giles pressed his mouth to the back of Spike's blond head. 'I'll tell you what I will do, Spike... I'll get you invited to LA, and I'll make Angel want to see you, how's that?'


Giles tried to be as good as his word the next morning. He had not intended to get up until after Spike. He had a fairly good idea of why Spike had asked for this: he could picture the scenes that must have occurred with Buffy. Nature had its own agenda, however, that could not be denied. After lying for a few hours with the still sleeping vampire in his arms, Giles tried to disentangle himself unnoticed from the slim, hard limbs.

'Don't.' The voice was icy and accusatory.

'Err, Spike... sorry, human nature calls.'


'I have to pee, sorry.'

'Hey! Can I watch?'

'You most certainly cannot.'

'Spoil sport, I never get to do any fun things. Buffy let me.'

Giles pulled Spike over onto his back. 'If nothing else proves that you have never had the education of a gentleman, Spike, then your kiss-and-tell attitude in regard to Buffy gives it away completely. I will not hear such things about her.'

'She said I was the most degrading experience of her life. Do you feel degraded?'

'Err... no... but then I have lived longer than her; my perspective on these things is less black and white, I suspect. That was a cruel thing for her to have said.'

'So, will you let me watch?'

Giles suddenly realised that if he did not extract himself from this maddening vampire, then Spike might indeed get to watch, given he was getting desperate. He picked up his discarded boxer shorts and dressed modestly under the sheet. Spike rolled his eyes and mumbled something about still being in bed with a teenage girl. Giles ignored the jibe and made his way gratefully to the bathroom. When he finished, he heard Spike in the kitchen and went in to find him completely naked, drinking blood.

Giles felt faint and knew he had reached the limit of his tolerance. 'For God's sake, get dressed, Spike.'

'Well, I thought I'd shower first; if that's okay?'

'Yes, sorry, thoughtless of me... of course you can.'

'I don't like showering alone, either.'

Giles turned away and tried to appear nonchalant, as he put the kettle on. 'I think we'd look silly, squeezing into my tiny English shower together, don't you?'

Spike looked thoughtfully at Giles. 'You are very hung up on appearances, aren't you?'

'In the end, Spike, it's all we have. You will inevitably leave here. You will return to America. I will be glad then of my insistence on appearances. It will be all I have left.'

'That's a bit fucking sad.'

'Maybe, but I don't have anyone to carve my picture into immortal stone, or to join me there in that eternity.' Giles looked Spike straight in the eye. Spike did not flinch from his gaze and, after a moment, gave a slight nod. Giles knew that Spike had accepted the burden, and that he would go to LA and tell Angel of his fate.

Spike did not push for any more with Giles for the remainder of his short stay. His mind had moved on from the immediate to the distant, for he began to think about Angel.

This proved surprisingly painful, and he became increasingly restless in Bath. Now he had decided to go to LA, he wanted to do it now... he wanted to face Angel now. After another two days, he came into the Giles' bedroom one morning, dressed, packed, and ready to leave.

Giles knew that this moment would come and bowed to the inevitability of Spike's departure. He would miss him more than he would have thought possible, given that he was still occasionally confused by how much he hated Spike and how much Spike disgusted him. He accepted the confusion with grace and decided that, like Spike, he would try to be less concerned with labels and appearances. He even drove Spike back to Heathrow, and there was only pleasure in doing so. They parted like casual acquaintances; Giles shook Spike's hand at the departure gate and wished him well, promising to engineer an invitation to for him LA. He walked back through the concourse, only now admitting to himself that he felt surprisingly sad.

When the strong hands grasped his shoulders, he jumped in surprise. Ardent lips fastened to his, and Giles knew that, for this one precious moment, he was totally unconcerned about appearances or labels. These hang-ups would come back to him soon enough as he faced the stares and shocked expressions of the throng around them but, for that one moment, all he could think about was Spike. All he wanted to think about was the feel of Spike's lips. All he could concentrate on was the taste of Spike's tongue as it slipped into his mouth. Spike kissed Giles with an urgency and passion that they had not shared before. Their hands came up to entwine in hair; their bodies ground together. They only pulled apart because Giles needed to breathe. They rested their foreheads together, smiling.

'Take care, Spike. I hope it goes well for you; let me know how it all works out? And....'

Spike pulled away and looked at Giles intently. 'If you ever need it, there will always be a place in England where you will be welcome.'

It fleetingly crossed Giles' mind to ask why Spike's eyes were glistening, given he was not in pain, but he saw from Spike's expression that he did not need to mention this. Spike knew very well that he was not exactly being the Big Bad at this parting.

'Cheers then, Giles. Keep me books as long as you need 'em. Look after 'em for me... they may soon be all I have, hey?' This attempt at bravado went disastrously wrong and, with one last anguished look, Spike picked up his bag and headed back to face his unwelcome task.

The flight seemed even longer going back. The seats were uncomfortable; the alcohol made him scratchy and restless, and he was glad to land and get back to his own quiet, dead life. For the first time, he regretted letting Giles engineer the excuse to get him to LA. Left to his own devices, Spike knew that he would now have found some very good reason why he could not see Angel, or why Angel would not see him and, therefore, not bothered with the attempt at all. He felt as if events were overtaking him, as if he was merely a pawn in someone else's plans, and he did not like that sensation at all.

Giles did not hesitate in his promise to Spike. The minute he got back to his apartment, he sat down and drafted the letter he hoped would get Spike the invitation he needed.

Dear Wesley.

Thank you for sending me the address of your new Angel Investigations website; it was thoughtful of you. If I owned a computer, I would log-on and take a look.

Sorry I have not written earlier, but I decided to take the council up on the book offer I told you about in my last. As you rightly said, money like that does not grow on trees. But it's been a hard slog getting started, I can tell you. Not helped by a particularly bad decision on my part to ask that ghastly vampire, Spike, to assist with some of the research.

He was only here for a week but, believe me, it seemed a great deal longer.

How are things in LA? Busy, I expect.

Well, must be going, thanks again for your letter. By the way, do you know of any doctors in Sunnydale that specialise in demon injuries? I seem to remember there was one, but perhaps he has stopped practising. Along with being lazy and obnoxious, Spike also spent the entire time harping on about some minor injury. He did seem quite blind in his right eye... not something that would worry me unduly, except for its implications for Buffy. He is a liability like that, and I suppose something needs to be done.

Mention it to Angel, perhaps; he may know of someone who could help. I should think LA full of such people; maybe one of them could be persuaded to visit Spike in Sunnydale.

Yours, Rupert

Giles was pleased with this letter. He thought it subtle, yet believed it would produce exactly what he wanted. Wesley would mention the injury to Angel; Angel would bring Spike to LA. For all Spike's protestations that Angel hated him, Giles believed their relationship to be far more complex than a simple emotion like hate would indicate.

Spike spent his first few days back in Sunnydale in a state of nervous excitement. Giles had not told him the plan to get him to LA, wanting his reactions to be as natural as possible. Thus, Spike did not know whether he could expect to be summoned, whether one of the humans would come here to fetch him, or whether a resounding 'fuck off' might be winging its way to him. Once or twice, he went to the magic shop and telephoned Giles. It reassured him to hear that calm, familiar voice, but he could only do this when Anya was briefly distracted elsewhere, so their conversations were rather short and business-like. Only once did either of them venture onto more personal ground. After a week of waiting for something to happen, Spike slipped into the shop one evening whilst everyone was stocktaking in the cellar and dialled the memorised number.


'Spike. Still nothing?'

'Still nothing.'

'Give it time; I only posted it five days ago. You know how disrupted the post has been to America recently. They may not have even received my letter yet. How are you?'

'You know, the usual.'

'How's the Buffy situation?'

'Haven't seen her much....' Spike wanted to add "not when she's standing on me right, anyway", but he thought he had successfully kept his blindness from Giles, and resisted.

'Have you thought what you are going to tell Angel, when you do see him?'

'No. I kind of thought....'

'What? Tell me.'

Spike took a deep breath to try human means of steadying himself. 'I thought I'd come right out and tell him the truth. Angelus always tried to get me to do that - never did of course - but maybe I'll give it a try for once.'

'Good idea, he'd probably appreciate that... Spike? Are you still there?'

'Yeah, I'm still here.'

'Oh, it's rather hard to tell given....'

'That I'm dead?'

'I was going to say, given that you are so far away.'

'Oh. What you been doing then?'

'Working, reading your books as it happens today.'

'Anything good?'

'Yes, actually the last book, when you and Drusilla arrive in Sunnydale. Extremely interesting, especially the bits about a certain, quiet, intelligent, and rather handsome librarian....'

Spike laughed. 'Fuck you, Giles, I never described you like that.'

'Exactly, and thank you for the increase in my vocabulary. I'd never come across the term 'pissant fuckwit' before, but it is one I shall certainly treasure.'

'Fuck, that seems a long time ago. You've no idea how things have changed since this bleedin' chip.' Spike did not actually mean this to be in direct reference to his description of Giles, but as the words left his mouth, he realised that was how they might be interpreted.

There was a long pause before Giles said quietly, 'So, not a pissant fuckwit anymore then?'

Spike laughed. 'Are you fishing for a compliment, Giles?'

'Yes, I rather think I am.'

'Oh... well, I'm not very good at those. Ask the slayer; she don't seem to like my compliments too much.'

'As I would have thought you'd have noticed, Spike; I am not a young woman.'

'I had noticed, Giles. And that's the best compliment you're gonna get out of me. I'd noticed.'

'Heart felt, I'm sure.'



'What, watcher?'

'Remember what I said about... coming home. I would think that if you were facing eternity, England would be a much better country to do that in.'

'Why, cus it's so boring there anyway?'

'You're getting silly now, so I'm going to go.'

'Yeah, that cricket match is calling... don't blink, you might miss someone waking up.'

'Hang up, Spike. You are wasting Anya's money.'

'It's not being wasted, Giles.'

'Oh. Well, I miss you, too, Spike.'

At that, Spike did hang up; he couldn't afford distractions like this. He needed to stay focused on the task in hand... and, oh, was that the cash till left temptingly unguarded? Spike's focus left him for the rest of the evening and long into the night, because he got paralytic at the Bronze and continued drinking heavily on his return to his crypt. He crashed out unconscious on the bed in a pool of vomit and, therefore, did not hear Angel come down the ladder or sense Angel standing looking at him.

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