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The Games We Play - Chapter 1

Spike sat on the stairs looking around the Magic Shop. He had to admire the old demon; she knew how to bring in the punters. The place had a business-like air that it had never had under the Watcher's ownership. He liked it. If you had to work, which thank the undead he didn’t, then you might as well do it properly.

He watched the children milling around and chatting. He had never felt so content in his entire life. Since Buffy had come back, things had been very, very good for Spike. He shifted on the stairs imperceptibly; he was a bit sore, very hard, and feeling like a quick wank and a cigarette. He considered going out into the back alley and using his favourite spot on some comfortable boxes he’d found there, but the others had started coming out occasionally, and he couldn’t risk it. So he just sat there and enjoyed his discomfort.

The door jingled, and Buffy and Dawn came into the shop. Spike gave her a quick look to assess her mood. He was wary of her since she had confessed to him that she thought she had been in heaven. He didn’t have much experience of heaven, and didn’t know what to say to her half the time. But then, talking had never been the attraction of their relationship. Dawn spotted him immediately and came to sit beside him.

‘Where have you been? You are always off somewhere these days, Spike.’

‘Sorry little bit, had business.’

The demon, not looking up from the till that Spike suspected she preferred fondling to Harris, huffed slightly. ‘Must be important business then Spike; you’ve been away every weekend for the last two months.’

Spike didn’t like the way this conversation was going and tried to change the subject. ‘So, little bit, what yer doin’?’

'What’s that?’

‘Nothing, Pet. Fell off me bike.’ Spike pulled the collar of his duster higher over the wound in his neck which Dawn was trying to see better. He glanced nervously at Buffy. She’d know what it was; she’d know very well; so he didn’t want her to see it. Fortunately she was talking to the demon and wasn’t concentrating on him.

‘It can’t possibly be mailed. It might get lost. It’s far too valuable and dangerous.’ They seemed to be arguing over a small amulet that Anya was holding in the palm of her hand. Buffy took it off her and held it up to the light.

‘Maybe you could get a courier to take it. Giles is paying anyway, isn’t he?’

Spike watched the lights glinting on the green gems embedded around the rim. Dawn hopped up and went to have a closer look.

‘What is it, Anya?’

‘It’s the Bethesden: an ancient amulet supposed to have great power. Although I can’t get it to do anything. It’s Giles’. He forgot it, and now he wants it. Or the Council wants it or something. Anyway, he’s told me to get it to him the safest way, no expense spared.’

‘Is it safe to touch, Buffy?’

‘No Dawn, leave it alone, I don’t trust it. You can’t use a courier, Anya. If it’s as powerful as Giles says, he’ll just have to come back for it.’

Spike heard the longing behind this declaration. ‘He’s gone Slayer. He’s not coming back for you.’

She rounded on him. ‘You don’t know that. He could come back for this.'

‘Whatever.’ Spike shrugged in an irritating fashion. He never got into an argument with her these days. She only did it to provoke a response, and he didn’t need to respond to her like that anymore. He decided to take his cock back to his crypt and see to it. And he had a phone call to make; he made a lot of phone calls these days.

He slipped out of the shop and walked slowly back through the town, enjoying strolling alone in the warm night air. He stopped at a street cafe and ordered coffee, changed his mind and ordered tea instead, then got out his new cellphone. It had been a present. He checked his watch. Another present. He’d had lots of presents recently; it was rather nice. He had a long conversation while he drank the strange cold stuff they had brought him instead of tea, and reluctantly rang off when he saw the battery getting low. His cock was threatening him with dire punishment if it didn’t get a bit of attention, so he paid and carried on back home. Home. It was beginning to look more like a home now. He’d done some digging and added new stuff. Again, more presents. He sat down on one of the presents and stretched his hands out over the covers. This bed was going to get a lot of use sometime soon.

These separations almost killed him, but they had both agreed to it for now. It was all too difficult at the moment for them to open themselves up to public comment and criticism. So they kept their affair secret and reveled in this privacy.

He kicked off his boots and took off his jeans, wandering around for a while with his erection swaying out in front of him. He’d promised during the call that he’d do this and fingered his watch as he walked, thinking of when they had bought it together. Eventually, he could stand it no longer. He lay on his back on the bed, and put his hand down to his shaft. He’d been told to imagine another hand there, so he did, and found this incredibly erotic. As he pulled on his penis, he thought about the other things that he had been asked to do. Could he do it? He thought over their discussion, pictured that voice telling him the things he had to do, hearing the arousal behind the words. He’d been amused at first, and then excited, but now he was worried. Did he really want to do this?

The answer came to him in a rush of cum so violent that it shot up and hit his face.

Spike lay in the wet patch he’d made. He pressed his face to it and smelt deeply. He’d promised this, too.

So, the next day, he walked into the Magic Shop and announced to the demon, ‘I’ll take it. The amulet. You pay my ticket, and I’ll take it.’

There was silence, and all eyes were on him. He just smiled sweetly and repeated his offer. ‘I’ll take the amulet to England.’

‘Why would you want to do that?’ The demon was suspicious.

‘Why not? Haven’t been home much; thought it would be nice. Getting a free ticket an’ all. Oh, and I want business class at least.’

‘Huh....’ Spike could see she was tempted. Then Harris interjected.

‘Hey, this isn’t one of those ring things, is it? Spike can’t use this amulet to go ‘grr’ again, can he?’

No one knew. Buffy kept quiet.

Anya said she’d ask Giles.

By the afternoon, she had an answer: no, Spike could not use it and yes, let him bring it if he wanted to.

Anya asked when he wanted to leave. He risked a small glance at Buffy, but she said nothing and continued to study a small split in one nail.

‘Whenever, I’ve nothing else to do.’

So, by the next morning, by the dint of careful timing to take allowance for sunlight, Spike caught the plane to England.

Buffy and Dawn took him to the airport, and perhaps it was Dawn’s presence that inhibited Buffy slightly, because Spike thought she seemed low and thoughtful.

He landed at night, which was ideal, made his way to the underground, into London, and out on the train to Bath.

Anya had worried for hours about how he would carry this priceless and powerful object, had wrapped it, packed it, and obsessed over it. Spike unpacked it, unwrapped it, and stuffed it in the pocket of his duster with his cigarettes. He’d never lost them, had he?

He sat on the train, as it whisked him through the dark English night. Was he nervous? He smiled at his lack of reflection in the train window. Not in the slightest. He was excited.... He felt invigorated, loved and in love. He put his hand over the watch again, his talisman, and brought his lover into the carriage with him, imagining his hand stroking over that soft skin, softness surprising in a fighter.

Bad decision.

Now he was hard and desperate as usual, and no willing tongue or lips to bring him off.

When the train pulled into the station he stretched, got his bag from the rack, and made his way to the platform. He looked around at the milling passengers and grinned to himself. He fitted in: everyone else was pale too. If he had seen the looks people gave him behind his back, he might have questioned this assumption. You don’t see many leather-clad, stunning, peroxide blonds in Bath, particularly not male ones.

He went off the platform and out to the taxi rank. He was tired now, very tired. He’d been traveling all the previous day, all night, and felt hungry, too. You can hardly carry or acquire fresh blood of any variety when you travel. Not with a chip, anyway. Had been easy once, but not now.

He looked with dismay at the queue for taxis. It was pouring down with rain and, for the first time, he almost wished he’d said no to the sexy, provocative voice on the other end of the phone.


When he heard that low, cultured voice, though, his doubts slipped away

'Hello, I thought I'd meet your train. The car's in the car park.' Giles pushed himself off the wall where he'd been waiting for the train, and came over to Spike. For Giles, it was like walking towards a little slice of Sunnydale, of America, of the old life. Spike, of course, had not changed at all. He was exactly the same: same hair, same clothes, and same face. He had a new watch, he noticed, but other than that, no change.

'You look well.'

'Always, Pet.'

'No… really well, better.' Neither of them felt comfortable referring openly to the time of Glory, or the time after….

'Yeah, well, she's back, isn’t she?' Spike did not elaborate on why exactly this had changed his life for the better so dramatically.

'How've you been then?'

'Oh, you know… drinking lots of tea, and not quite shagging… no change.'

Spike laughed. He was surprised that Giles had remembered that jibe.

They walked into the rain towards the car and climbed in.


'Not at all, but the traffic may be bad.'

So, they started towards Giles' flat. Spike looked out of the window, running his hands through his wet hair

'Nice watch, new?'

'Hmm.' He didn't want to bring the giver of his watch in here, now. It was too special, too secret, too exciting. But the comment made him smile and harden even more.

'Bath's changed a bit.'

'Oh yes? When were you last here?'

'Eighteen sixty… ish. Not too sure of the exact year.'

'Oh.' Giles wished he hadn't asked. It was all too easy to forget that the creature you had sitting next to you was not a handsome, slim, young man, but an ancient, undead demon.

And did he just call Spike handsome?

Maybe Giles was just seeing things through new eyes; maybe coming back to England had made him reassess his definition of what was good looking.

Within fifteen minutes they were pulling into a side street next to an elegant block of Georgian flats. They retrieved Spike's bag from the boot and made their way up the stairs.

The flat was very Giles: dark, gloomy, and cluttered. Spike felt quite at home. He wandered around, picking things up and putting them down in the wrong place. Giles tried very hard not to follow him around and replace all his carefully arranged objects.


'Yeah… err….'

'I've got some in for you.'

'Thanks ever so.' If Giles heard Spike's mimicry of his accent, he didn’t comment. Perhaps Spike was merely fitting in, dropping the false, working-class slang he'd affected all these years.

He sat down on one of the leather couches and waited patiently for Giles to bring the drinks.

'Err, I'm sorry Spike, I don't have a microwave; can you have it cold? I could heat it in a saucepan?'

'Cold's fine. Anything.'

They sat in silence for a while, Spike sipping his cold blood, Giles his whisky.

'One of those going, too?'

'Help yourself.'

So Spike did, a triple, which he downed in one. He was feeling better now, more focused.

'Have you got it?'


Spike fished in his pocket and produced the amulet, and chucked it across to Giles.

'Good grief, Spike. Do you have any idea how much this is worth?'

'Nope, it's here, isn't it?'

Giles took it reverently and disappeared into his room to put it away.

'Right then, I'll be off Pet.'

'Oh….' Adisembodied voice floated out of the other room. 'I thought you'd stay. At least one night… I've made up a bed for you.'

If Spike smiled with a low, quiet smile, Giles didn't see it.

'Okay, Watcher. One night maybe. I'm knackered.'

'Well, you're in here then.' Spike followed Giles into the second bedroom. A large antique bed with an iron rail almost filled the room.

'The bathroom is there, and I've put out some towels for you. Well. Sleep well. I'll see you some time tomorrow. Maybe we can chat a bit then, catch up on what's happening at home… err, in Sunnydale.'


'Spike pulled his shirt over his head, seemingly oblivious to Giles who was still in the doorway, watching. He undid the button on his jeans and unzipped them. Then he turned to Giles. 'When do you get up then?'


'Yes, up. You. When?'

Was Giles thinking of something else? Is that why he seemed to misunderstand Spike's simple question? Was he looking at Spike's flawless skin, his perfectly toned muscles, and the way his cheekbones reflected the light, when he stood in profile?

'Earth to Giles… what time shall I get up, in the morning?'

'Oh, no need, sleep on. I have a few things to do, but I'll try not to disturb you. Do Vampires get jet lag? Anyway, there's blood in the fridge, help yourself; there's plenty more where that came from. Goodnight.' And with that, he left. Hastily.

Spike smiled and headed to the bathroom. The water was lukewarm and dribbled out. He sighed and climbed out. He tried not to remember the last time he'd been in a shower, but he couldn't help it. He remembered the power of the water cascading over them both, the feel of that skin under his hands, the sounds of low moaning and gasping as his thrusting had brought them both the sweet release they craved.

His penis bounced against his stomach. He walked slowly back to his room, rubbing his hair vigorously with a towel, and bumped into Giles heading in for a bath.

Spike knew that Giles didn't know where to look.

'Sorry luv, been living on my own too long. Got out of the habit of wearing stuff.'

Giles, trying hard not to look down at Spike's swaying erection, felt a bit abashed at this. He had lived alone his whole life, but was dressed in heavy, striped-flannelette pyjamas.

'Quite, alright. Goodnight then,'

'Night.' Again, if Spike grinned at this little encounter, then it was hidden from Giles, as he passed by to continue on to the bathroom. Spike lay on the bed and, finally, allowed himself the pleasant relief he'd been looking forward to the whole trip. He rummaged in his bag and brought out a tub of vanilla hand lotion. It had been a joke between them. Everything he did in England had to smell of vanilla. They'd bought two tubs, one to stay for use at home, one to come here to England: a link across the miles.

He got a small amount onto his hand and started where he always liked to, gently fondling his balls, rubbing them together in his sac. He looked at his watch and wondered if somewhere, many miles away, someone was lying in a bed missing him. He hoped so.

When he was ready, he worked up to his penis, running his hands up and down the cool shaft for a while, imagining it buried deep in tight walls. He knew he was going to cum far sooner than he'd wanted. He felt the familiar swelling, felt the sperm rushing past under his hand, put his worn tee shirt up and caught the explosive jet in the black folds, milking himself until he felt pleasantly drained. He turned over on his stomach, stretched to the four corners of the bed, and started to drift off to sleep. He had intended to think about Sunnydale for a while, but didn't. He fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.

He awoke to the sound of a Hoover being run around the flat. He smiled, turned over, and thought through his reason for being here. He pulled on his jeans and, leaving the top button undone as usual, wandered out, trying to flatten his hair.


'Err, it's four in the afternoon, Spike.'

'Oh, sorry.'


'Yeah, and….'

'Help yourself to both then.' Giles couldn’t take his eyes off Spike. His jeans barely clung to his hips, threatening at each step to slip to the floor. He swore he could see a few wisps of dark hair escaping from the opening. But then he wasn't looking, was he?

'Did you sleep well?'

'Oh yeah. Like the dead.'

'So, Spike, do you have any plans while you are in England? When do you go back?'

'Trying to get rid of me already?'

'Lord, no. I mean… you are welcome to stay here, if you want.'

'Thank you, then I might. Couple of nights anyway.'

'I was also wondering if you'd like to go out tonight. For a meal. Do you eat? I know some vampires don't.'

'Yeah, I eat. What did you have in mind?'

'Oh, I know some lovely pubs around here: in the villages, or by the canal.'

'Okay, you choose. So… what shall we do now?'

Spike had come back into the sitting room and stood sipping his blood, as he watched Giles hoover and tidy.

'Well, you could watch TV for a bit, if you want.'

'Yeah… what's on… got any snacks?' Giles smiled at Spike's sudden enthusiasm, and threw him the remote control, going into the kitchen to fetch some snacks.

They sat together watching the Tellytubbies for a while.

'Something else?'

'Oh yeah.'

But being England, and half past four, there was nothing else on. So, they turned it off, and Spike sat sideward in the couch, his leg bent up to face Giles. It caused the zip on his jeans to slide down slightly, but he didn't seem to notice.

'So, what's the news from Sunnydale? How are they all… Buffy?'

Spike didn't really want to discuss Buffy with Giles, but knew he had to say something. 'She's fine. A bit sad sometimes, but fine.'


Spike only looked at Giles with a raised eyebrow, and they had a moment of complete understanding and agreement.

'Quite. Xander, Anya?'


'Well, that was unexpected. Not! Dawn?'

Spike smiled… it was the first genuine smile Giles had seen since Spike arrived. It made him look so human. Giles could have cried for the waste.

'She's fine. She doesn't understand the long term consequences of what's been done.'

'Again, quite. Any news from LA?'

'None. So, what time shall we go out?'

'Oh, not too early, eight?'

Spike looked at him and raised one eyebrow. 'So, what shall we do to fill the time?'

Giles heard a distinct groan in his head. He wanted to let the groan out. He felt a tension in his body that he couldn't identify or explain. He felt scratchy, restless, like he wanted loud music or a fast drive in a topless car, something, anything…. He had to be satisfied with fetching them both a whisky. As he passed it to Spike, their hands touched briefly. Spike kept his eyes fixed on Giles' and left his hand there a little too long. Maybe he was just getting a good grip on his glass.

'So….' Spike took the glass and rested his hand on the open front of his jeans. 'How have you been, Watcher?'

'Fine, fine.' Giles hoped the moment of confusion had passed. 'Bit quiet sometimes.'

'Uh huh. As you said then, lots of tea but no shagging.' His hand slipped lower.

'Is it hot in here? I'll turn the heating down a bit, I think.' As he went to get up, Spike laid a hand on his knee.

'I like it hot.' He did not remove his hand. One hand on the open front of his jeans, one hand on Giles' knee.

'Come on, Pet. Fess up. What's the love life like then? Lots of nice girls in Bath?'

'Err… not really.' He moved his knee away, and Spike smiled.

But Giles effectively turned the tables on him. 'What about you then? Still in the crypt on your own?'

Spike started to study his nail, not catching Giles' eye. 'Yep, that's me. No change there.'

Giles thought it time to end this conversation. It had disturbed him in more ways than one. It had highlighted what he felt was his great weakness, and it had given him the distinct impression that Spike was lying about something important.

'Well, maybe we should go out a bit earlier. By the time we get there, and then closing time is eleven… I'll take a shower, I think.'

He had only been under the water a few moments, when he heard the door being opened.

'Hey, Watcher, thought you might like another of these.' Spike handed him a whisky around the curtain then stayed there, leaning on the wall, sipping his.

'Err… do you mind, Spike?'


'Well, I do.'

'Mind if I use the phone then, while you're in here.'

Giles was thankful to get rid of him. 'No, please do… the States?'

'Yeah, that okay?'

'Of course.'

He had kept his back to Spike the whole of this conversation. He was acutely embarrassed. He wondered how his body looked to someone else. He'd had no feedback on that since… Jenny. He looked down. His penis was flaccid and still as always. It was the thing that embarrassed him the most. He felt despondent and old suddenly. Life didn’t seem to hold out any promises anymore. No excitements. It was what he thought he'd wanted. Now he was not so sure. Spike being here had brought all the old life back to him. Buffy, like a light in darkness, Willow with her funny ways, Xander, almost like a son to him sometimes, Dawn… sweet Dawn. Like most of us, he remembered the good times, and conveniently glossed over the demons and death and endless fighting. He even remembered some of that with fondness. He had been alive, needed. He had no pleasure left in his shower and climbed out, wrapping a towel firmly round his waist. He walked quietly to his bedroom, but stopped, as he heard a low voice in the sitting room. Spike had his back to the door and was clearly not aware that Giles was there, listening.

His voice was light; it was happy. Giles' eyes widened. Spike's voice was full of love and longing. It was obvious in his every word, in the way he sat, in the way he cradled the handset. Spike was in love. Giles felt guilty, listening. But he couldn’t help it – he had never heard Spike like this before.

'Yeah… I got here last night… me too… nah, no time yet… of course… you didn't… bloody hell, you wait till I get home… I'll put you over my lap and bloody spank you… oh yeah? You and whose army? Well… yeah… point taken… but I won't go down easily… alright I do go down easily… but… no… maybe… what are you doing now? Fuck… do it again… oh god… no more… don't tell me… god, you're so far away… love me? Course I do… you know that…. yeah, well… I didn't know before… but when you… repercussions and all that… well, it all changed didn't it? Yeah, I know, Pet… how's the others… good… no I don't send my love to 'em… I'm a frigging demon… stop forgetting that… yeah… gotta go… love ya… no you… you… no… okay… you… hah… see ya….'

Giles slipped quietly away to his room. He was worried. Deeply worried. He had the distinct impression that Spike had been talking to Buffy. He couldn’t have rightly said why he thought this, except he knew that Spike thought himself to be in love with Buffy and, whoever he had been talking to, he clearly loved. Giles was in no doubt about that. He had not had much experience of it himself, but he could hear it in others. Spike was deeply in love, and it seemed as if someone returned that love. And Buffy was vulnerable. Buffy was not quite 'Buffy' these days.

He sat on his bed, wondering what he could do or say. He was glad they were going out; it might give him an opportunity to raise his concerns in a public arena where he would feel safer. Did he fear Spike or just fear the answers he might give?

He heard Spike running a bath and heard him get in it, heard pleasant, low singing. It distracted him. He found himself wanting to go and speak to him now and was confused as to his motives for this. He went out into the hall and looked towards the bathroom. The door had been left wide open. He moved slowly towards it. Felt himself being drawn. He stood to one side and looked in. Spike appeared to be asleep, his head thrown back, resting on the bath, his feet propped up on the taps, one arm dangling down, holding an empty glass. Giles stood looking at him for some time.

'Like what you see, Watcher?'

Giles jumped. Bloody Vampire senses.

'Err… I need to speak to you, Spike.'

'Ohh, am I in trouble, Daddy?'

Giles realised his voice must have sounded pompous and censorious. That would not be a good way to start.

Spike suddenly lifted himself out of the water and padded, naked and wet, over to the towel rail. Giles beat a hasty retreat.

'Tonight. Maybe we should leave it to tonight.'

''K, Pet.' Spike wandered back to his room. He dressed carefully in his black leather jeans and white shirt. He'd been instructed to wear this, so he did. He wanted to phone home again and describe how he looked, how he felt, and hear that voice again. He knew the effect he would have, knew it would lead to them having desperate phone sex, both trying to come without each other's hands and lips and smell and skin. They'd had a lot of phone sex recently. It was something they could both do in snatched moments, surrounded as they were by the others.

When they were ready, Giles wanted to take a taxi, said he wouldn’t risk drinking and driving. Spike called him a wuss and said drinking improved his driving. So the presence of the driver put paid to any conversation they might have had on intimate issues. They kept up a light easy chatter, and Giles discovered that Spike was a charming, witty, and engaging companion. When he wanted to be. Seemed he wanted to be tonight.

They climbed into the dark hills surrounding Bath, through tiny villages and hamlets, eventually stopping outside a low, rambling, thatched building.


'It used to be a Coaching Inn. It's Thirteenth Century.'

'Even older than me!'

Again, why did Giles resent Spike reminding him of his unnatural, undead status?

They walked into the low ceilinged building. For the first time, Giles saw the effect that Spike had on the local population. All eyes turned to them. All eyes turned to Spike. Oblivious of the effect he was having, he sauntered up to the bar, and started discussing the beers with the bartender.

'What do you want, Watcher? I'm buying.'

'You're buying? Well, that's a first.'

'Well, I'm in funds, so take advantage of it.'

'How… I mean, where did you get money?'

'Flogged the business class ticket and came buss.


'Come on Giles… drink… what?'

'Well, as I seem to be paying anyway, I'll have a pint of Theakstons.'

They took their drinks to a table by the fire. Spike shrugged off his duster, and Giles could feel all eyes on them again.

'Don't worry, Luv. They'll think I'm your son or something.'


'Don't worry about everyone looking at us… they won't think we're gay.'

'I should jolly well think not!'

Spike only looked at him through covered lids, as he sipped his beer. Then he moved his knee to rest it against Giles'. 'If we were gay, I'd be touching you up like this.'

Giles moved his leg sharply away. Spike raised his eyebrow with a seductive smile.

'Now they think we're just having a lover's quarrel.'

'Spike… shut up… I had quite enough of your sense of humour when I was in Sunnydale, I don't have to put up with it now.'

'Oh, lighten up, Giles. I'm only having some fun. When you're as old as I am, and seen what I've seen, you've gotta keep having fun.'

'Spike, don't over-egg how old you are; you are only a hundred and thirty or so, humans can quite easily live to ninety these day. So, there's not that much difference.'

'Yeah, good point, good point. But remember, out of that ninety years, you've gotta take off the first eighteen - no fun there, no money, and too much doing as yer told. Then the other end you've gotta take off forty years or so – no fun to be had past fifty. So, what does that leave you? Thirty years when you've got jobs and mortgages, marriage and children, all tying you down – not much fun to be had there either. So, when do humans actually have fun? Maybe that one gap year before it all turns to shit. Well, I've lived that gap year one hundred and thirty times. No job, no responsibilities, freedom, fun. So I need to try new things occasionally… do stuff to keep having fun.' As he said this last, he moved his knee back to rest against Giles'. Before Giles could pull his knee away, Spike followed up with a quiet comment, 'You'd make a good vampire, Giles.'

Giles was so shocked at this, he forgot to move his knee. 'Me! I hardly think so.'

'Yeah, you would… I've often thought about doing it.'

Giles felt it getting incredibly hot in the room. He was distinctly aware he was sweating a bit and knew that Spike would be able to detect it. 'You've thought about turning me?'

'Hmm… I have.'

'Why, for God's sake?'

'Can't you picture it? The bite, the long sucking, the feeding… think Giles… never getting older… the power.'

'Yes, and being a reanimated corpse, walking round because you've got a demon in you.'

'Well, yeah, there is that, point taken.'

Fortunately, the girl came over with menus and asked if they were eating. Spike immediately moved his leg away from Giles and switched his attentions to her. Giles could see she was completely taken in, flattered and attracted. Spike was then engrossed with ordering. He wanted ribs as a starter, steak and kidney pudding, and spotted dick with custard for pudding. He managed to keep a straight face, as he ordered this last. He then got up and bought three bags of crisps and a packet of dry-roasted peanuts to keep himself going while he waited. Giles ordered a light ham salad.

'How on earth do you eat all that? I mean….' Giles waved his hand vaguely, indicating Spike's lean body. 'It's hardly fair, and it's not like you… you know.'

'Sure don’t.'

'So, where does it all go?'

'Well, I've got this theory,' Spike had recently had this exact conversation with someone else who had been jealous of his ability to eat enormous quantities of calories without putting on any weight, and smiled to himself, remembering how he had pretended to pinch some fat, and how he'd been given a mock staking for it. 'You know if you stake me I go all… poof.'

'Yes, of course.'

'Well, that must be the demon in me… I'm not real.' Spike seemed unconcerned admitting this.

'I don't follow you, Spike.'

'Well, I reckon there must be a demon in my belly going…' Spike illustrated his theory with rapid staking motions of one hand. This, needless to say, got a few raised eyebrows from some of the punters who were continuing to watch this rather strange couple. '…like this to all the food, and it just goes… poof, too.'

'And you thought that up all by yourself did you, Spike? Do you think you may have too much time on you hands?'

Spike just gave him a cheeky smile and winked at him. 'Maybe.'

The food arrived, and that occupied him for about five minutes. Giles had never seen anyone eat so fast. Spike seemed to be reading his mind, because he just gave a feral smile and said, 'It's a predator thing. You've got to be quick, or the others will get it.'

By this time, they'd had another couple of pints each. Giles was feeling very relaxed and more than ready to initiate the conversation about Buffy, but Spike suddenly spotted a darts board and got up to have a game. He got challenged by the in-house champion, agreed a sizable bet, and took him on.

Giles had the ghastly vision of a riot occurring when Spike fleeced the local thugs of their money, and decided to try and intervene. He didn't need to worry. Spike was on top form, charming everyone. Obviously, he won. He could hit bull's-eye every time with his eyes closed facing the other way. But as he was more than willing to demonstrate this trick for everyone, as often as they wanted it repeated, and bought a round with his winnings, he had the locals eating out of his hand.

A few more pints got downed. Giles wasn't sure if he could detect any change in Spike at all. He felt quite drunk. He felt loose and detached from reality, warm and easygoing.

So, the opportunity to talk about Sunnydale and Buffy just never occurred. Before he knew, it was closing time, and Spike had to be dragged away from his new friends. They piled into the taxi together. Spike sat close to Giles, pressing his leg up against him. Giles didn't feel like objecting; he felt very, very mellow. The tension that had been between them earlier was quite gone. Giles found himself telling a funny story and felt witty and clever when Spike laughed.

He realised how much he had missed this… the company, the fun.

When they got back, Giles put the kettle on to make some tea, and Spike hopped up onto the counter to watch him.

'Got anything to eat, Pet?'

'Spike, you've done nothing but eat all night.'

'Yeah, well. I've gotta keep my strength up… you never know when I might need it.' He raised an eyebrow and ran his tongue over his lips.

Giles felt himself flush. He was feeling very strange. There was something happening, and he couldn’t define what it was. He felt detached from his usual self, daring and… something else. Something physical. His whole body felt tense, ready for action, as if he needed to fight something. Suddenly, Spike hopped down. 'Well, I'm off to bed. Thanks for tonight, Pet; I enjoyed it.'

'Oh.' Giles felt a profound sense of disappointment. He'd thought they might sit a while and talk. He'd thought they might play some music, relax together a bit. 'Goodnight then.'

Spike's absence left a cold vacuum in the room. He felt bereft.

He pottered. He tidied. He reluctantly went to his room and got into his pyjamas. By the time he'd done this, he'd worked himself up to thinking that he'd been cleverly fobbed-off all night. Spike had known he'd wanted to talk, and he'd been effectively distracting him from the beginning.

Giles paced in his room for a while. Then he silently opened his door and crossed the hall to Spike's room. Just as last night in the bathroom, Spike had left the door wide open. He stood looking at the Vampire on the bed. Spike was unusually still, utterly silent. It was hard to tell if he was asleep; he looked truly dead.

'Still like what you see?'

'Good God, Spike. I nearly had a heart attack. How did you know I was here?'

'You know how.' Spike let the answer hang in the air. Giles didn’t pursue it. He suspected it might have something to do with the totally unexpected and delightful erection he felt pushing up against the front of his pyjamas. He had not had an erection for many years. Not since… her.

Spike sat up, now clearly wide-awake. Awake and naked. Giles could see one lean hip, as it stuck out from the sheet.

Spike lit a cigarette. 'Why don't you come in and sit for a while. We haven't had that talk yet.'

'Don't smoke in here, please. You'll set the detectors off.'

'Took the batteries out.'


'Come on then, don't lurk. I can't stand lurkers.'

Giles thought he detected a hint of irony in Spike's voice, but you could never really tell with this complex, intriguing Vampire.

And why had he just called Spike intriguing? He'd never thought of him like that before. Giles blamed it on his erection, which was draining blood from his brain.

As if Spike could read his mind, he suddenly said, 'Don't be embarrassed,' but fortunately added, 'guess you couldn’t wait till morning to have a little talk with ole Spikey.'

Giles came in and sat on the bed, as far away from Spike as he could.

'So, Spike, about Buffy.'

Spike totally threw him by tipping his head on one side and asking gently, 'Do you miss her?'

'Oh, I don't know. I've been busy. Council work.'

'Uh huh.'

'What?' he said evasively.

'Why are you lying, Rupert?'

Giles felt the whole conversation tipping rapidly into a place he didn't want to go. Well, not when he was in his pyjamas, erect, and sitting on a bed with a naked Spike. Besides, he did not want to waste his first erection in over three years. He wanted to go back to his room and enjoy it. Again, as if reading his mind, Spike took a long, slow, sensual drag of his cigarette, his eyes half shut, squinting at Giles in a lazy way. Then he stretched out his legs so they were flat on the bed. His legs were flat, but the sheet was not. The sheet was very obviously tented over a very large erection.

Giles saw it without actually looking down. He gave himself enormous credit for not glancing down, for keeping his eyes fixed firmly on Spike's face.

Did he see a slight smirk from Spike at this?

Spike's hand fell, as if unconsciously, onto his lap.

Giles had the bizarre experience of being able to feel that erection under his hand. He was bewildered by this reaction. He did not find men attractive sexually. He had never ever thought about another man in a sexual way. If he had of, it would most certainly not have been Spike. Spike revolted him, annoyed him, and scared him alternately. Spike represented chaos of thought and action. Spike represented passion and unbridled lust. Err… why did Giles just think that? Again, he blamed this on lack of blood in the brain.

'So.' The quiet voice shocked him out of his revere.


'Giles….' Spike's voice was low, unhurried, and confident. 'I've come a long way; I'm still tired; shall we keep this conversation to the morning?'

'Oh, sorry… of course.' Giles made to get up.

'I didn’t say anything about you leaving.'

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