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Chapter 2

'Well, you gonna let me in? I'm risking immolation 'ere. Mid morning, an' all that.'

Giles knew his mouth was opening and closing in an approximation of a guppy, but he couldn't stop it. He turned away from the door to the telephone and picked it up. Buffy was talking to someone else while she waited, chatting, unaware that his life was crashing down around him while they were connected.

He coughed, trying to summon voice. She turned back to the receiver. 'Oh, hi. So?'

'Yes.' He could manage no more and put the receiver slowly back onto the cradle. He returned to the door. Spike was bending, lighting a cigarette and trying to shelter it, unsuccessfully, from the rain.

He waved the soggy attempt at Giles. 'In?'

Giles stood, holding the door ajar, his mouth now closed, but his head moving from side-to-side in denial. 'Here? You've… to me? Why? I mean, what are you…? Here? Why…?'

Spike waved his free hand dismissively. 'Oh, I'm not here. Well, course, I am, but not here specifically… if you see what I mean.'

Giles clearly didn't.

'Jesus. I'm not here to see you, Watcher. I've come to meet up with Dru, but I was told to bring these.' He held up a small holdall, which appeared to be bulging with brightly wrapped parcels. 'So, if not for me, if not for me bleedin' ciggy, how's about lettin' me in so your fucking chrissy pressies don't get soggy?'

The telephone rang again and, in a daze, Giles turned away to answer it. 'Giles? What's up?'

'Oh, Buffy, sorry. Yes, he is here. He arrived the moment you conjured him. I was a bit… spooked; that's all. Sorry.'

Still not quite himself, he replaced the handset once more without setting her mind at rest at all. He went back to the door. Spike was now leaning on the doorframe, looking more pissed off than earlier. He only gestured into the warm, dry hall with a questioning look.

Giles came back to himself: the shock, the anticipation and the agony, wearing off. 'No. Absolutely not. I will not invite you into this house. Leave the bag, if you must, but go. Go to her. Just go.'

Spike stood straight and eyed him carefully. 'No?'


'I've come all the bleeding way from California, and you won't invite me in?'

'No. Absolutely not. I am not completely stupid, Spike - despite appearances to the contrary. I could have no reason on this earth to invite you in here.'

'Bloody hell. Bloody hell. Eight years we've known each other. Eight fucking years, and you won't invite me in?'

'Two of those, you were trying to kill me; the other six, you've been dreaming of it. So, no.'

Giles wondered how long they would have stood there in this complete impasse. He was not going to weaken - not as he had with the letters; this was different. Spike, he had the feeling, was not going to leave without a struggle. It was rather ironic that, suddenly, for the first time in nearly two months, it stopped raining. As swiftly as English weather does, it went from a heavy downpour to nothing to imminent sunshine in a moment. Spike started to smoke, then to curse and when the smoking actually seemed to hurt, began to plead piteously.

Giles swore uncharacteristically and invited him in. Spike swiftly stepped inside and shed the still smoking coat, inspecting it morosely, casting evil looks at Giles.

'Don't look at me like that. I wouldn't put it past you to have conjured that sunshine to further whatever diabolical cause you've got.'

Spike gave him his you-are-such-a-stupid-git look and shrugged off the moment by successfully lighting his cigarette. He gasped in outrage when it was plucked from his fingers and cast back into the small puddle he had left by the door.


'Spike! Has it escaped your notice that this is a thatched cottage? No smoking.'

'Fucking hell, this is gonna be a short stay then. Look, take the bleedin' presents, and I'll be on me way.'

He followed this expressed intent by chucking his coat onto a chair and beginning to wander, uninvited, around the cottage. He inspected every room downstairs, murmuring, 'Nice' every so often.

Giles watched the vampire's exploration, following yet standing still in a bizarre combination of eagerness and lassitude that made him feel like an out-of-control wind up toy.

Finally, Spike completed his tour of the bottom of the cottage and nodded at something, repeating quietly, 'Nice.' He turned and began to mount the stairs. Bemused, distracted, Giles followed.

'Fourteenth century?'

'Err, no. Earlier. Eleventh.'

'Not all.'

'Well, no. Recent additions over the years, of course.'

'Thought so. How many bedrooms?'

'Three. I've turned the fourth into a study.'

'Cool. Worth a bob or two then?'

'Apparently. Gone up five times what it was worth when I left.'

Spike turned from examining the bathroom. 'So, if you sold up and came back, you could live the life of Riley an' not get in 'er way anyway.'

'I'm not going back, Spike. Ever.'

Spike gave him an unreadable look then shrugged slightly. 'So, where'm I sleeping?'

Giles shook his head sharply: a small, jerky movement, as if he'd been stung. Spike grinned and waved a hand at the sunlight streaking in through murky windows on the landing. 'Kinda stuck, an' a bit jet-lagged, truth be told.'

Giles sighed resignedly. 'Then you'll leave?' Spike looked puzzled. 'For London? You're here to see Drusilla?'

'Oh, yeah. Course. Yeah, tonight.'

'All right then. You can lie up in the guest room for the day.'

Spike, avoiding the better-lit areas of the landing, slid into a large room behind Giles. He sat on the ancient iron bed and bounced gently with a low whistle. 'Bed made for shaggin', this.'

Ignoring the provocation, Giles went to the window and pulled the heavy curtains. He turned and eyed Spike thoughtfully. He was beginning to recover from the initial shock. He was glad Spike was here, for at last, he was able to hold up his passion to the light of common sense and see it for what it was: foolish, idle nonsense of an aging, lonely man. He could suddenly see, all too clearly, why he'd picked on Spike for his turn-of-life crisis. It wasn't that Spike's dead status, his blatantly heterosexual preferences, or his dislike of him, made him unsuitable; rather, that he'd picked on Spike precisely for those very impossibilities. He didn't want the complication of physical love. He didn't want love reciprocated. He didn't want sex. He'd had two shared orgasms in eight years - not an impressive boast. He'd picked on Spike as an excuse not to have a relationship. Chaste, romantic fancies and deep, unrequited longings were one thing - he could enjoy them. This thing sitting on his guest bed and biting the edge of one badly painted nail was quite another. Spike in the flesh did not match his intense fantasies at all, and Giles was utterly relieved to realise that his healthy dislike of the vampire was as strong as ever.

Delighted, invigorated, feeling much more chipper, Giles took a brisk step toward Spike.

Spike looked up from his nail and, with a frown, fingered his T-shirt. 'Bloody all wet!' and, with that, he stripped it off in one swift stretch.

Giles froze then fell again.

Same as before. Same speed, same direction: straight down.

Same hard, shattering landing.

He actually laughed out loud: a harsh, bitter bark of laughter. Who was he fooling? Not himself apparently. He wanted to lick Spike dry. He wanted to suck the rain from that small slip of black material, for that moisture had been on Spike's skin. He wanted to be the rain that wetted Spike; he wanted to wash over that perfect body.

He held out his hand mutely.

Spike frowned and rose uncertainly from the bed.

'The T-shirt, Spike, give it to me. I'll dry it for you while you sleep.'

Spike jerked back with a small laugh of his own. ''K. Ta. Jeans, too?'

Giles sighed but could not help his eyes straying down Spike's half-naked body, as if checking the wetness claim. The damp material clung tightly to the slim frame. Giles blinked slowly and held out his hand once more. Spike raised his eyebrows expectantly and made a small twisting movement with one finger. 'Turn round then.'

Giles coughed, embarrassed and immediately turned with a small, 'Sorry.'

He heard the faint clanking of a heavy buckle, heard a button being released and a zip being lowered. The rustle of material sounded loud in the otherwise silent room.

He did not turn around but held his hand out behind him, not only for fear of seeing Spike naked, but also of showing naked Spike the small, but obvious, damp spot that had appeared on the front of his own pale chinos.

For the first time since he was a very young man, his body had responded of its own accord to the slightest of stimulation: to the sound of a buckle, a button and a zip.

Receiving the damp clothes in his out-stretched hand, he said softly, 'I'll wake you before it gets dark.'

From somewhere close behind him, an equally soft voice replied, 'No need. In-built alarm.'

'Yes, of course. Sleep well then.'

He heard the mattress depress and walked, with as much dignity as his leaking erection would allow, out of the room.

He went immediately to his own room and shut the door. He laid the clothes on the bed and went to stand by the window. Tipping his face up to the sunshine was not only a treat, it seemed to distance him somewhat, from the import of the clothes on his bed.

An hour ago, he had been bemoaning Spike in the rain, enjoying his brooding and angst. Now he had Spike (naked Spike - that seemed a surreal, but important, qualification to the 'had Spike' part)… now he had naked Spike in his spare room.

He was rather at a loss.

Giles stepped out of his trousers and underpants, and threw the damp garments to join the pile on the bed. He stood naked from the waist down, eyeing the collection thoughtfully. He picked up Spike's T-shirt and sniffed it cautiously: tobacco - a male smell of addiction. The material smelt musky and was almost warm to the touch. He didn't want to wash it; he wanted to be able to inhale its unique fragrance whenever he wanted. Giles wondered if Spike would miss this one T-shirt, if he fetched the vampire's other clothes from the….

Giles frowned. He quickly pulled on some dark cords and went back across the landing.

'How did you get here?'

Spike was almost invisible, tucked completely under the soft goose-down duvet. Giles came closer and stood by the edge of the bed. A head appeared, and Giles almost groaned. Spike's rain-wet hair had dried naturally in the bed to soft, wavy strands; it was mussed and very human looking. It was after-sex hair; it was hair that begged to be played with.

'How did you get here?'

Spike, woken from the early stages of deep sleep, frowned. 'By plane. I can't fly, wanker. I ain't an Anne bleedin' Rice vampire.'

Giles gritted his teeth. 'Not here, here. Here. Devon. How did you get to Devon from the airport?'


'Yes, ah.'

'Car. Nicked it.'

'Oh, bloody hell! Where is it now?'

'Left it in a wood 'bout ten miles from 'ere. Legged it the last bit; 's why I'm s' wet.'

'Bloody hell. Again. How long did you think it would be before it was found? Before they traced it to you? Before….'

'Relax, yer pillock. Me fingerprints are hardly on file, are they? Dead? A Victorian?' He burrowed back into his nest and seemed about to attempt sleep once more, when he said softly, 'Nice trousers, by the way. Good choice.'

Giles spun on his heel and shut the door a little too firmly on the way out. He swept up the clothes and went downstairs, stuffing them angrily into the machine. He teetered between love and hate, swayed on those so similar emotions. He toyed with the comforting thought that what he'd felt since that hard falling was actually only hate - but chuckled at his own foolishness. Despite the change of clothes, his balls were as hard as golf balls, his penis engorged and the head still slick and sticky with precum… hating Spike did not seem all that likely.

He went into the downstairs cloakroom, took the small visitors' towel off the rail, and uncharacteristically, got himself out to relieve the discomfort.

He was embarrassed, even though it was his house and his erection. It seemed furtive, excessive: evidence of that lack of self-control he so derided in others.

Nevertheless, it was physically necessary. He attempted to see it as completely natural, to think of it as merely nature's way of perpetuating the species (ignoring the small part of his brain sneering ironically at a dead male vampire's role in that comforting thought) and began to work his penis into the towel. It didn't take more than a few strokes. With a soft grunt of release, he spilt long strings of sperm into the soft material. His balls relaxed; his penis softened and after a quick wash, he tucked himself away. Carrying the towel gingerly by one corner, he went back into the kitchen.

Spike, sheet around his waist, was sitting on top of the counter in the shade of a lowered blind, smoking toward an open window. He turned as Giles came in.

Even Giles could smell the sperm on the towel; he wondered they didn't jump up and sing a small chorus of 'Here we go, here we go.' He blushed furiously and only hoped that the cigarette smoke was temporarily blocking Spike's preternatural senses. He tossed the towel nonchalantly into the hamper and made to put the kettle on. 'I thought you wanted to sleep.'

'Needed a ciggie first. Desperate.'

Giles tried to ignore a slight emphasis on the last word.

'As you're up, would you like a cup of tea?'

'Oh, yeah. Any chance of some heating? I know this is England, and there's a war on, but it is bleedin' December an' all.'

'You don't feel the cold.'

'I bloody do. Look at me - all goose bumpy.' Giles didn't mean to look, but common politeness drew his gaze to follow Spike's small indication.

He tried to look at the bare skin, but his eyes fixed on the obvious tenting under the thin, white sheet.

Spike smoked casually, looking at him through lowered, smoke-squinted lids. Giles shook himself. 'I'll light the fire in the sitting room. Go in there.'

Spike nodded and hopped off his perch, elaborately holding the folds of material to him. He chuckled. 'Sorry 'bout this.'

Giles sighed. 'I'll light the fire; I'll make you some tea; I'll fetch you an old robe. Anything else?'

'Well… seeing as you ask like. I'm a bit peckish. How's about a snack?' Giles took a sharp step back. Spike huffed. 'Yeah, like I could. Sandwich snack, Giles. Just a sandwich.'

'Oh, yes, of course. Right. Fire, tea, robe, sandwich.'

Spike patted his arm in sympathy. 'Never mind, Luv. 'S only 'til tonight.' With that, trailing his sheet behind him, he went to await the lighting of the fire.


Giles bustled for an hour, making food for both of them, lighting the fire and trying to get it to catch sufficiently, making tea, finding long-discarded old bathrobes, and choosing one that would best fit the slim body. He didn't admit to himself that he was enjoying his unexpected guest, but when all was finally done, he sat in an old armchair next to the blazing fire with a rare sense of satisfaction. Spike modestly exchanged the sheet for the robe, not letting the one go before the other was tightly in place. When he was happy, he sat cross-legged on the rug, as close to the fire as he could without risking immolation, and began appreciatively on the food. Giles ate his slowly, watching Spike's lowered head.

'Where are you meeting her?'

Spike looked up from examining the inside of one sandwich (as if he was suspicious that he was being fed surreptitious vegetable matter) and looked puzzled. 'What?'

'Drusilla. Where are you meeting her? And when, for that matter. It's a long drive back to London this time of the year.'

'Does it get longer then - in the winter?'

'Don't be facetious. You know what I mean.'

'Yeah, roads were hellish coming here. 'Specially in the poxy car I nicked, but if you're gonna nick 'em, you've gotta go for old and unloved, yeah?'

'I believe modern ones have tracking devices, yes.'

'Huh. So, you missing 'em all yet?'

Giles answered half-heartedly, aware, somewhere in the back of his mind, that he'd been effectively distracted from his own question. 'Of course I am. That was never in question. But to come back to my original….'

'So, what you gonna do with the rest of your life then, Mate? Any plans?'

Caught off guard once more, Giles replied even more hesitantly. 'Oh, I don't know. I haven't really had… you know… lots to sort. A book. I thought I might write a book.'

Spike stretched out his legs and leant back against a chair, eyeing his packet of cigarettes with a small pout. Giles sighed. 'Into the fire, if you must.'

Spike grinned and lit up, obediently making a great show of blowing the smoke toward the flames. 'A book, hey? What, a novel? Textbook?'

'Yes, a textbook… I suppose you could call it. There have been offers….'

'Cool. I wrote a book once.'

'Err… you wrote a book.'

'Uh huh. 'Fore I was killed, course.'

Giles took a sip of his cooling tea, thinking about this. 'I hope your punctuation was better in those days.'

Spike laughed and pushed Giles' leg with one bare toe. 'Pillock, I thought you'd notice that. Surprised you restrained 'til now. Was half expecting one of me letters to come back red-inked. I don't bother with shit like that now, Giles. Twenty years of learning Latin and English grammar'll do that for ya. I liberated meself from the PC altar - punctuation correctness, that is - when I died.'

Giles could still feel the toe against him, although it had long been withdrawn. He coughed and took another sip of tea. 'You speak so casually of such profound things: life, death. Don't you feel at all bitter?' For the first time since they sat down together in front of the fire, Giles looked directly at Spike, catching his gaze.

For the first time, Spike hesitated in his reply, the flippant manner somewhat abated. 'It was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was a gift bestowed.'

Giles shook his head - not denying this, just finding it hard to equate with what he knew. 'I've spent my whole adult life staking your kind, and never once did I meet a vampire that made me think they had been… bestowed: they were all mindless, evil, obscenities.'

Spike pouted and studied his nail for a while. 'Is that what you think of me?'

'No. I don't. Well, evil if you get half a chance, I suppose. Oh, and frequently obscene, I'm afraid to say. And often apparently mindless. So, yes, I suppose I do.'

Spike did not rise to this; he was too busy chuckling at Giles' expression. He nodded complacently. 'There ya go. That's being a vampire for ya. So, no, I'm not bitter. Well, not about being turned.'

'But about the chip.'

Spike looked back up sharply, and then nodded. 'Clever, Human. Yeah, you could say I'm a tad pissed about that.'

'It does seem unnecessarily cruel, even to me. Even though we would not be here without it.'

'Guess not.'

'And how are you going to feed while you are here?'

'I'm leaving tonight, remember?'

Giles covered his frown of confusion by getting up to poke at the fire. 'Of course.' He threw some more logs on the already blazing mass and said neutrally, 'Are you going to sleep at all then?'

Spike crawled over to the couch and stretched out on his belly with a small laugh. 'Yeah.'

Giles watched incredulously as Spike appeared to fall into an immediate, deep sleep. He shook his head slightly but chucked an old throw over the sleeping figure, picked up the dishes and went out to the kitchen. He glanced at the clock, utterly bemused to see that only two hours had passed since the telephone call from Buffy. It was still relatively early morning. The brief respite from the rain was over, and the ground was being punished for its excessive enjoyment of sunshine by a thunderous downpour. Rain slouched out of gutters, ran in rivers down the path and pooled on the lawns. He put on his coat and made for the door, hesitated and turned to the sitting room - just to check on the fire. He stood by the door, looking in. He came in slightly. He took off his coat and sat quietly back in the chair, now facing away from the fire.

Throughout the long, silent day, he watched Spike sleep. He bathed in his obsession. He allowed his imagination free rein: Spike living with him; Spike a good friend and companion; Spike an undefined more; Spike writing books with him and taking long country walks. When he had constructed the edifice of their lives together, one piece at a time, he stripped it down again: Spike was an evil killer; Spike was a clever, manipulative vampire; Spike was immortal; Spike did not have old, fussy Englishmen as companions.

Completely satisfied with his long day of musing, Giles finally got up to make himself a drink.

'Make me one, too, hey?'

Giles' heart jumped, and he felt a small stab of shock in his belly. 'Don't bloody do that. How long have you been awake?'

'Dunno.' Spike turned over lazily and stretched. 'How long you bin there watching me?'

'I was not watching you. I've… been for a walk and… done some shopping - you've been asleep for hours.'

Spike sat up and rubbed his hair. Giles tried not to notice the robe falling open on his bare chest. 'How's about that drink then?' He trailed after Giles into the kitchen.

'You shouldn't drink if you're leaving tonight. Bad enough that you steal a car, let alone….'

'Nah, I'll be walking. Outta petrol.'

'Oh.' He made them both a small drink and handed Spike's over. Spike downed it as if not noticing it was really there and helped himself to another. He poked through the bottles on the shelf.

'Not much 'ere.'

'Hmm? Oh, no. Most of it's in the other room….' Giles felt this to be a mistake as the words were leaving his lips. He watched a small smirk cross Spike's face. 'No. World of no, Spike.'

'Come on, Pet. You go sit down, and I'll make us something good. Come on, don't be a spoilsport; I've gotta go soon, and we won't ever see each other 'gain, most likely. For old time's sake?'

Giles couldn't say no. He wanted to. Confusion reigned in his head. He didn't want Spike to go, but he desperately wanted to be left alone. He wanted Spike here, but he wanted a different Spike: his Spike - the one he carried and played with in his head. He wanted something to happen, but he didn't know what that something was. All was confusion, and his hesitation only made Spike chuckle. He began to open cupboards, selecting odd ingredients. He went through the lower rooms, searching out alcohol. He whistled tunelessly as he assembled all his supplies. 'Come on. Go sit down.'

Giles would have continued to refuse; he wanted to supervise the activity - especially as Spike had just taken a dozen eggs out of the fridge - but the vampire chose that moment to discover his clothes, clean and dry, in the machine. He exclaimed in delight and shed the bathrobe. Giles reared back, banged into the table and rattled the bottles Spike had lined up. 'Good God!'

Spike huffed in disbelief. ''S not like you ain't seen it all before, Watcher.' He proceeded to pull on his T-shirt.

Giles spluttered. 'When? For God's sake, when have I ever seen you naked?'

Spike paused, much to Giles' dismay, and the human held a theatrical hand up to his eyes to shield them from the blatant display. 'Sure you have. Haven't you? Seems like I remember you in me crypt… nah, maybe that was the fat boy. But you… nah, maybe that was the slayer. Huh. Jeez, didn't think I was that modest. So, all new to you, hey? Sorry.'

He pulled on his jeans, moved Giles out of the way and began to open bottles. 'Away. Go. Read. Play with yourself again. Go.'

In a daze, Giles went to sit in front of the fire once more. He had not missed the 'again', and he blushed against the heat rising naturally from the flames.

After half an hour or so, Spike came in carrying two large glasses of something yellow and thick. Giles sensed the eggs had featured largely in the strange concoction and heaved slightly at the thought. Spike refused to be drawn and handed him a glass. 'Bottoms up.'

Giles squinted at him to see if he could detect any irony in that, but Spike looked back at him with innocent blue eyes. Not fooled for a minute, Giles sipped suspiciously at the disgusting-looking drink. He paused and took a longer taste. 'Huh.'

'Good, hey?'

'Yes, it is. What's in it?'

'Never you mind; drink up; there's more where that came from.'

Spike sat down on the hearthrug. Giles got up to rebuild the fire and, somehow, ended up sitting down there with him. When his glass was empty, Spike refilled it. When that was gone, Giles got up to refresh them both.

He went into the kitchen. He began to spoon yellow liquid from a vast bowl into the glasses, got impatient and just dipped them in instead. He remembered drinking his down there and then; he remembered refilling it. He remembered wondering the way back to Spike, and then he knew no more.


He woke to a half-life: half in hell, half not. Everything hurt, but most desperate was the need to pee. His bladder was splitting with the urgency to empty. He groaned - so much pain. His head was beyond describing: awash with pain. His body ached as if he'd been hit with something. He pictured bruises flaring in odd places. He mentally drifted down his body, exploring each painful area. Something heavy and cold lay on him. That wasn't exactly painful; it actually eased and soothed.

Something equally cold was… inside him.

Disbelievingly, he slid sideward and dislodged whatever it was. Something moved; something groaned. Giles kept his eyes firmly shut, his mind blank to all of this and staggered unseeingly out of the room. Finding the stairs confused him, for they went down, not up. He turned and bolted to the bathroom. He stood braced against the wall as a vast stream of urine hit the water. It felt good - until his body caught up with being vertical. Everything rose up in a sour, rancid heave, and he vomited copiously toward the toilet bowl. He didn't need to open his eyes to know it was all yellow: it tasted yellow.

The vomiting split open the few parts of his skull that had been intact when he'd woken. Still unseeing, he fumbled back to the hot, rumpled, sour-smelling bed and feebly pulled a pillow over his head. Something cool slid over his belly. It felt so good on his hot, flushed skin. Something cool draped heavily over his groin. He didn't think about any of it, except to accept the relief from the burning of his skin. He slid gratefully back to sleep.


The next time he woke, he didn't even make it out of bed. He tried to lift his head, felt a tingle in his jaw, couldn't stop the vomit and leaned over the side of the bed in uncaring horror at what was about to happen. Surprisingly, there was a washing-up bowl. He retched into it, and then fell back into the embrace that now moved, cool, over his forehead and across his temples.

He fell back to sleep.


When he awoke again, there was no coolness; he was burning up alone. Before he had time to really register or miss the loss, something warm was being urged against his lips. It smelt of… heaven. Oh, God, tea! Greedily, he drank the tea from a vast mug, his whole body screaming out dehydrated relief at the liquid. When that was gone, he moaned, but a glass appeared in his hands. Orange juice - he whimpered his relief and drank that as well. Finally, six familiar white pills were placed in his upturned palm and water appeared in his other hand. Something nagged at him that six was too many, but he swallowed them, regardless, and sank, exhausted, to the bed once more. Tea, orange juice, painkillers and water - he was beginning to revive. Best of all, though, the cool embrace returned. Once more, he whimpered but, this time, turned into it, not analysing what it was or where it came from. It was just a small slice of heaven in this hell of his own making.


The next time he woke, his brain functioned relatively normally. He felt an overwhelming need to pee again and got up. He wondered when, in this strange hell-like dream, he had learnt to fly, for he could not feel his feet and drifted toward the bathroom, seeming to bounce off walls like a small balloon in his progress. His brain lurched sickeningly behind his body, unable to catch up. He giggled as he peed: numb - it was as if someone else's penis were in his hand. He stopped laughing when he noticed the mess around the floor and bowl and heaved slightly at memories he didn't want to face.

He stood up and tried to turn his body back toward the door. He avoided the mirror but ran a hand in wonder through thick, rasping stubble on his face. He climbed back into bed and lay stiffly, wondering why Spike was sprawled naked next to him. He glanced down, puzzled at his own naked body. Flashes of memory began to return. A memory of an innocent yellow drink almost made him gag. His mind jumped straight to a memory of actually vomiting.

He began again. Yellow drink… a fire… some talk… more yellow drink… then vomiting. He felt he was missing something important.

There was a complete blank between those last two events.

He pouted slightly. He was lying to himself badly.

He remembered the few minutes before the vomiting.

He remembered waking up covered by a heavy, cool body.

More critically and worryingly, he remembered waking up with something hard and cool lodged deeply in his body.

He came to the incontrovertible conclusion that somewhere in that blank time - somewhere between yellow drink and vomiting - he'd had sex with Spike.

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