Spike turned and looked at Giles over his shoulder. Something deep in Giles' belly stirred at that penetrating look. He stood up too swiftly, his chair tipping over to the ground. Spike turned fully but hung his head. Giles ignored the diffidence and crossed the gap between them. He put a finger under Spike's chin and lifted his head. 'No more chaste longing, Spike. As you so rightly said: love has nothing to do with nobility and self-sacrifice. Love is all-consuming. It burns my belly; my blood runs so hot in my veins for you that I feel cold.'
He took the back of Spike's head and pulled him closer. He glanced down at the lips that parted slightly from the confusion of the moment. He saw a glimpse of tongue: just a tiny pink tip flicking out to moisten dry lips. He moved his hands to imprison both cheekbones. He laughed and placed one hand on Spike's belly then slid it lower. He slid it right under the broken zip. His hands brushed over wiry curls he had no conscious memory of feeling before. Giles groaned softly at the unexpectedly erotic feel of something as simple as short, coarse hair.
Even more unexpected was the strong hand that stilled his exploration.
Giles looked up, confused. Spike met his look, equally bemused. 'No.'
'Yes, no.' Spike could see from Giles' expression that this was not clarifying matters. 'Are you coming back with me?'
Giles frowned. 'No, of course not.'
'Then, no. I can't… well, won't.'
'Spike…?' Giles was floored; he was unable to equate what he was hearing with what he knew of the vampire. He felt anger rising. He removed his hand and backed away slightly. Spike groaned and closed the gap between them with one swift step. He seized Giles' face in both hands and hissed urgently, 'Blood, need, passion. Wanting to die for someone. I could shag you now - course I could: done that, been there, sent the postcard; hundreds of 'em, thousands of fucking postcards over four lifetimes of fucking - but I want more.'
Giles felt a lump in his throat. It seemed he was being offered exactly what he had dreamt of, prayed for, but he could not take it - the terms were all wrong. He could not go back.
'I find this sudden virgin state of mind a bit unbelievable, Spike. You hadn't even thought about any of this until you got here. So, blood? Need? Passion? It doesn't wash, I'm afraid; I don't believe you.' The lump made his comment sound bitter, snider than he had intended.
Spike pushed him away in disgust, but then stomped close once more, almost spitting in his face. 'I wanted you long before your prissy little conversion. Did you not think I watched you every fuckin' step of the way? How you wanted me; how you became silent and embarrassed around me. I just wanted you to talk to me, but I had to watch you leave. I wanted to beg you to stay, but you didn't even leave me your address. Why do you think I fucking wrote? Why do you think I came here?'
'This is crap, Spike. You came here as a messenger boy and took an opportunistic….'
Spike flung away from him and kicked viciously at the presents. He threw them, one at a time, at Giles. 'Open 'em.'
'Come on, Human. It's fucking Christmas Day. Open yer bleedin' presents.'
He came over and shoved one in Giles' hands, forcing him to rip and tear - crumpled newspaper. Giles pushed Spike aside and picked up another, ripping it open - newspaper… the next and the next. Giles stared down, utterly confused and wretched. He heard a quiet voice behind him. 'I want more, now. I came here for more. Come back with me.'
Giles fell to his knees: the dilemma undoing him. 'I can't; I can't. That is done, Spike. It's time for me to move on.'
Spike sank down on the rug next to him. 'You're needed, Giles. Not just by me. Not just this, which is confusing and I don't really get yet… but for everything else. Shit, I can't 'xplain it. It's like you're the main character in the show, and you just disappear, and no one talks 'bout you - though you've been there in every scene before. Am I making any sense here? You have to come back with me. Please.'
'Spike!' Giles turned to him with a face of furious agony. 'Do you think this was a casual decision? Do you think this is really like some sort of show where someone writes your script for you…? "Ah, have the old chap leave for England…. No, bring him back for a while…. There, let him leave again." This is my life! How much life did I have over there? How much was I me and how much just a counterpoint to her? I am not a shadow, Spike. I have done with watching. I want to partake now.'
'Partake of me. That's what I'm saying, Giles. Come back. Things'll be different now. We'll be different for a start. Ain't that enough?'
'I don't know. God, I don't know. How long would it take for me to be your shadow, your bloody counterpoint?'
'Why do you have to make this so complicated? I don't understand what you're saying. Just come back and see?'
'You, Spike. You stay here. Let's have the Giles and Spike show, hey? What shall we call it? "The Watcher and the Vampire"? Not very catchy, is it? So, you stay.'
'I can't. You know I can't.'
'Why on earth not? You aren't alive; you don't have a finite time left to actually have a bit of life of your own, like me. Stay. It'll be a blink in your existence.'
'I can't live 'ere. You know I can't. It's all fucking mud and grass and no life. Jesus, Giles. Don't you get it? I'm dead; I'm cold: I need the life and the light of somewhere like Sunnydale.'
'We could try and make our own life, our own light.'
'Oh, bloody hell. I don't know; I don't know. It wouldn't work. I've done this country. Shit, I died here, Giles. I was turned here. I butchered my family here. I was the most savage demon of them all - except Angelus - here. Can you really expect me to live here?'
'Oh, God. You could try. It's all changed now. This is not the England you remember, Spike. Hell, it's not the England I remember. Please, just stay, and give it a go.'
'It's too cold and too dark. It's like being in a fucking coffin. It's bloody rained since I got here; it's so friggin' cold. I 'ate it! Come back with me to the warmth, Giles.'
Giles rose stiffly to his feet and backed away a little. 'I can't. I won't. I'm sorry.'
Spike rose, too. 'I'm going.'
'No. Spike. If I've ever not been truthful with you, then hear the truth in this: please - don't go. I don't want you to go.'
Spike held his gaze. 'And I don't want you to stay.' When Giles made no physical move to stop him, Spike picked his coat off the hall chair where it had lain since his arrival and, with one small, inscrutable glance over his shoulder, went out into the rain.
Giles stood for a moment then, uncharacteristically, pushed viciously at the tree, pleased when it crashed to the ground. He picked up torn paper and shredded it, trying to turn his pain into similar tiny pieces so that, too, would fall harmlessly to the ground. When nothing seemed to help, he turned to the kitchen and swallowed a large, unwanted whisky. That, at least, gave him pause for thought. He sat heavily on the chair and looked at the detritus of their meal on the table. The lump in his throat began choking him. He clenched his jaw, blinked rapidly but finally laid his head on folded arms and gave way to tears of rage and sorrow.
'I'm gonna stay tonight and show you why you should come back with me.'
Giles snapped up his head to find Spike dripping and pale, staring at him.
Giles stood shakily. 'Then I'm going to show you why you should stay.'
Spike took a step closer. 'One night.'
Giles shoved the table out of the way. 'One night.'
Spike reached out a hand. 'You'll be beggin' to come back to Sunnydale.'
Giles just brushed the fingers with his. 'You will be begging me to allow you to stay.'
Spike grasped the outstretched fingers. 'One night. I'm gonna make you feel immortal.'
Giles pulled the wet body to him 'I'll make your heart beat again. You'll have to stay.'
Spike caught hold of Giles' hair, enmeshing his fingers. 'I'll make you feel young; you'll need to come back with me.'
Giles placed a hand under Spike's borrowed T-shirt. 'I'll make you feel warm - inside and out. You'll want to stay.'
Face to face, Giles felt their need for each other surge between them. He moved his head toward Spike; Spike moved forward, too, and they touched lips. Spike's were icy, but that wasn't why Giles jerked away. 'A man? To kiss a man - it seems extraordinary.'
Spike smiled and looked down. 'I never 'ave either. Me an' Angelus - not into the kissin'.' He chuckled, as if at some private joke.
Giles pursed his lips. 'Do you think we kissed before? I have no memory of doing so, and I feel I would remember that.'
Spike nodded thoughtfully. 'I'm guessing we did. Seems like I want to so much now, I'd 'ave wanted to then, too.'
Giles groaned and, at the sound, Spike jerked the human's mouth back to his. He opened his mouth and kissed Giles with a passion the human did not expect. Giles felt a reciprocal hunger he'd never known before. What had been a pleasant, seldom indulged in act, suddenly became the focus of all his desires, all his need. Spike's cool lips warming on his, Spike's agile tongue, Spike's taste, the silky feel of his mouth, his murmurs of pleasure, the way cool, strong fingers entwined in his hair, the shift of a leg, a swell; all this filtered through Giles' mind as they kissed and kissed, toe to toe, in the rapidly cooling kitchen.
Eventually, Giles slid his mouth to one side and rested his face against Spike's neck. 'Will you stay now?' The words vibrated against the shockingly translucent skin, but Giles felt the reply as a small, sad shake of the vampire's head before Spike actually murmured, 'I thought it would make you come back with me.'
Giles shook his head too, then, with a sigh, went to close the front door. 'I still have you for one night, and I will make you stay.'
Spike shed his duster, holding out the soaked T-shirt in an uncanny repetition of an earlier soaking. 'How can you not wanna get 'way from here, Pet? It's bloody hideous.'
'It's home. It's me.'
'Not in the mornin', it won't be. I'll be your home.'
They came together once more, Spike pushing Giles back against the door as they renewed the exploration of their mouths. When Giles began to feel the dampness of Spike's clothes seeping into his, he laughed against the cooler mouth. 'I'm going to cheat now and build a roaring fire. If you stay, we could enjoy one every night.'
'If you come with me, we won't need one.'
Giles tapped him on the nose for such insolence, and Spike smiled slightly, some of the tension clearly draining from him. He gave a more characteristic smirk and bent to light a cigarette. 'So, what d'ya reckon to kissin' a man then, Giles? What you hoped?'
Giles didn't answer right away. He turned around thoughtfully and picked up the shredded paper. He took it into the sitting room and began to build the promised fire. When Spike flung himself into the chair next to him, Giles said quietly, 'It's more erotic than I thought possible, and I'm not surprised now that it was once illegal. Like heroin, I feel it could become addictive, and that - rather like heroin, once more, I suppose - would not be good for the overall health of the nation: babies and all that.'
Spike chuckled. 'Remember, you're tryin' out the stubble-free variety. I'm unique.'
Giles got a small, steady flame then turned with a frown. 'You know, I hadn't thought about that, or really appreciated it at the time. Maybe I'd better check again.' He pulled Spike out of the chair and down onto the rug with him. As the fire caught into a roar, they explored and compared smoothness. After a while, Spike pulled back to retrieve and enjoy his cigarette. He lay back companionably on Giles. Giles stared into the fire, trying to find some sense and normality in the reassuring flames. After a while, he absentmindedly picked up some of the unused pieces of paper.
Spike heard a low chuckle and tipped his head back to see what was so amusing. Giles flicked at the paper in his hand. '"Sunnydale Times"? A bit unfair, Spike. Low, mean tactic, you cheat. Look at the bloody temperatures last week. Oh, and a sale on at the book shop.'
Spike shook his head sadly. 'Nah, not guilty on that one, Watcher. I thought you'd come back easily, see? They were only to get me in through the door; never thought I'd need 'em to persuade you I was serious 'bout all this.'
Giles looked down at the blond head equally sadly, 'I'm sorry.'
'So, say you'll come back with me, an' you can stop being sorry, and I can stop being lonely.'
Giles only replied by laying his face on Spike's hair and continuing to watch the fire. It was quiet for a while, until Giles said, with an amused voice, 'If you weren't trying to trick me into coming back, why wrap the non-existent presents all the way over there? Why not make them up here?'
Spike grinned. 'Have you never travelled, Mate? Single guy? Bag full of pressies? Just before Christmas? Sympathy vote big time…. Massive fawning over…. Better even than owning a bleedin' puppy, believe me.'
Giles slapped playfully at him, but when he felt the wet clothes said, with some concern, 'Already dead or not, you should get out of those wet things.'
Spike wriggled a bit into his lap. 'Maybe you should help me.'
There was a significant pause. 'Ah, yes.'
Spike twisted around and rolled his eyes at Giles' expression. 'What now?'
'In our strange missing time, do you remember who….' He gritted his teeth, quite unable to continue.
Spike patted his thigh affectionately. ''Shagged' the word you're lookin' for?'
'Err, yes, I suppose it is. Who… shagged whom first, do you think?'
Spike suddenly looked less sure of himself, and he turned around to face Giles, crossing his legs and looking serious. 'I'm guessing you kinda stuck it to me, but that don't seem in keeping somehow.'
'Err… keeping with what?'
'Well, us… me, you. Ya know, I swear, me an' Angelus…? We never got it on, cus we couldn't decide who would top. He felt he should - being the sire an' all. I felt I should, cus I'm not a fucking poof. So… I can't see me rolling over for you an' offering up me bum, but - an' this is a really big but - I was filled with warmth in front of this fire, but I woke up in you. So, I'm guessing you did it first.'
Giles didn't respond to Spike's speech but began to poke thoughtfully at the fire once more.
'What now?' Spike toed him with an exasperated look.
Giles looked up, and his face was a picture of confusion. 'This is so hard, Spike - and stop sniggering - I want you more than I can say - you can stop that, too - but I can't make the first move. I'm sorry; I just can't. Kissing… I managed. Thinking about more… I'm doing that right now. But actually physically starting this? It is completely beyond me. I was never very good at it with women, and at least it was fairly obvious, then, who was supposed to do what... with what.'
Spike laughed. 'Shall I decide for us, Pet? Shall I make it easy for you, an' tell you how we can get this thing on?'
Giles swallowed nervously, fear making tiny beads of sweat prick out on his brow. 'All right. How?'
Gleeful, Spike replied, 'Run me a bath…?'
Amused, Giles bowed his head slightly and removed his glasses, pinching the bridge of his nose with relief. 'That I can do.'
He left Spike by the fire and went upstairs to the bathroom. He started the water and laid out a selection of oils and other things he though Spike might enjoy. He began to walk toward the airing cupboard for clean towels, when he paused on the threshold of his bedroom. He had forgotten the bed. As he heard Spike coming up, moving around in the bathroom, undressing, easing himself into the hot water, relaxing and splashing slightly, Giles set to on the bed. He stripped the sheets - without looking too closely at them - and remade it all afresh. He pulled out some crisp new sheets he had provided for tenants that had never been used and stretched them tight with neat hospital corners. With a fresh duvet cover and pillowcases, it looked cool and inviting. He folded the covers back and, amused at his own trepidation, surveyed the pure white, unmarked playground. It was bitterly cold in the room, so he lit the fire, pleased with the effect of the flickering warmth on the walls and the bed, the latter now seeming to dominate the room.
He felt a cool hand on the small of his back and closed his eyes at the tingle of excitement flaring from that small touch of skin. 'See, Watcher, same colour sheets I have in me crypt. You're almost there already; why not just come back? You'd never miss the difference.'
Giles nodded but said evenly, 'You don't need to return. I can recreate it all for you here.'
He turned and drew his breath in at the sight of the body behind him. It was flawless: long, sinewy and disappearing out of sight under a soft, navy-blue towel. He reached out in wonder and just rested the back of his hand against Spike's chest. He felt bold enough to shift it over one flushed nipple. He pouted a little and moved it fractionally, feeling a slight, erotic graze.
Spike looked down at the hand. 'Does it feel strange?'
Giles looked up. 'What? Hard and flat?'
Giles shook his head slowly. 'You would think so, wouldn't you? All those years of ingrained interest in natural, maternal swellings: watching, occasionally feeling. But this? This is revelatory. This feels… fundamental, like something that existed in my mind - in my heart - before that interest formed.'
Spike pouted. 'Is that a yes?'
Giles laughed and snatched Spike to him. 'Did I ever tell you that of all your endearing traits, it's your sense of humour that I love the most?'
Spike held him away slightly with a smile. 'Now… that's a great cue, if ever I heard one.'
'Oh, yeah…. Cus now I say, "You ain't seen 'ardly any of me endearing traits yet…".'
At that, Spike dropped the towel.
Giles held his eye contact for a moment then, with a tiny smile of gratitude, allowed his eyes to graze slowly down the faultless body.
Swollen, rigid and vertical against his belly, leaking noticeably, Spike's penis then dominated the whole of Giles' attention: the rest of the pale body becoming merely a blank canvas to highlight and display this more intensely coloured flesh.
In the low amber light of the fire, rising from the dark curls, the erection was almost the colour of raw steak; bluish-purple veins pulsed angrily on the visible underside. The knob made Giles' mouth water: smooth, oily, deep plum red and glistening.
Realising he had stopped breathing, Giles sucked in deeply and said shakily, 'For the first erection I have ever seen - other than my own - I would imagine that that one was relatively impressive.'
Spike tipped his head on one side. 'Touch it?'
Giles swallowed once more but placed a finger gently into the steady bubble of precum. He rubbed its thick oiliness between his fingers then around the slippery head. Spike bowed over slightly and whispered between gritted teeth, 'If only you knew how many times I watched yer fingers and pictured 'em doing that.'
Giles shook his head. 'I had absolutely no idea. Why didn't you say something? Why?'
Spike stilled his hand. 'I began saving yer bleedin' life! I'm a demon, but I saved yer life - did you not get it?'
'You were always so bloody caustic, I….'
'Defensive! How could I tell ya? Get real, Mate.'
'Yes, I know, I know. But, God, what a waste.'
'Would you have left? If I'd said something, would you still 'ave left?'
Giles groaned. 'Don't ask hypothetical questions. There's no point. I did leave, and now amazingly - thanks to you - we are here. And you won't be leaving again.'
Spike came closer, so the tip of his erection swayed against the bottom of Giles' shirt, making a tiny damp spot on the soft material.
'You'll be coming back with me, Giles - if you want this inside ya more, like it's gonna be soon. Come on, let's rumple up that bed again, shall we?'
Still nervous, still unsure what he was supposed to do, Giles allowed himself to be pushed back into the playground. Spike ran his hands over Giles' shirt then undid the buttons slowly. He parted the material and slid his hands inside onto the smooth, warm chest.
'Your heart's fluttering. Are you scared?'
'Yes. Aren't you?'
Spike chuckled but said, with a mock evil voice, 'I'm a demon. I can't feel fear.'
That made Giles laugh a little, and he looked up at Spike, grateful for the easing tension. 'If not fear then maybe just a smidgen of anxiety about what you're going to do?'
Spike pouted then grinned. 'Oh, yeah. Smidgens allowed.'
'Thank goodness I'm not the only one.'
'But we've done it all before. Didn't seem like we found it too hard to work out what goes where then.'
'Ah, but I've put lots of things in wrong - interesting but wrong - places when I've been drunk.'
'Yeah. Me too. Angelus' mouth was always a favourite.'
'Did you not think that… odd? When you'd both sobered up?'
Spike laughed. 'We never did.'
'Oh. But when you met again in Sunnydale - he was very sober then.'
'Yeah, he was, but I made up for the both of us. The drunker I got, the less I had to remember it.'
'Did you never discuss it?'
'Nah, trying to kill each other was much more fun.'
'Now you aren't trying to do that - given your chip - do you think you might discuss it one day?'
'Now, how'm I gonna do that, when I'm living in that nice apartment with you?'
'It would be even easier to avoid the conversation if you just stayed here.'
'Are you gonna ever shut up, and let me get on with this?'
'Is it going to involve having to remove my trousers? Because, if it does, then… possibly no.'
'What, these trousers?' Spike slowly undid the button, never taking his eyes off Giles.
'An' this zip?'
'Oh, look, it comes down.'
'An' then - hey presto - off they come.'
'Oh, God.' Giles clutched the sheet modestly to his waist, even though he was still in his boxer shorts, very aware that he was not showing the right kind of enthusiasm for the enterprise.
Spike didn't appear to mind; he just nodded at the sheet. 'Take 'em off under there. 'S okay.'
Struggling to do as Spike suggested, Giles murmured - more to himself than to the vampire - 'They'll be missing me at the nunnery.'
Spike swept the shorts onto the floor with Giles' other clothes. 'Now, turn over.'