The Calm Amid The Storm



Pacing inside the main entryway of Wolfram & Hart, Spike flinched as the thunder grew louder and more insistent. He growled stubbornly, glaring at one of the front windows, streaked with the sheets of rain that fell in a constant barrage outside. But his growl turned into a quiet gulp as another thunder crash set the hair on the back of his neck on end.

The workers that almost always seemed to be there had gone home. Even Harmony wasn't anywhere to be found. Spike knew. He'd looked. He might as well have been the only creature on the planet as far as the office building went. And with this thunderstorm outside... Well, he was reluctant to attempt to go back to his apartment.

You see, Spike had never gotten along with thunderstorms. Because of their diet, vampires tend to have very high iron content in their bodies. You know what else has high iron content? Yep. Lightning rods. This is why, even on the stormiest and cloudy days, vampires have a tendency to stay INSIDE wherever they happen to be. Simply because going out can be insanely hazardous to their health. No one wants to be hit with several thousand volts of pure electricity. Even if it isn't fatal, (which, except in the most unlucky of circumstances, it isn't), it can still do you serious damage.

Spike knew all that... Because when Angelus and Darla had first warned him of the dangers of going outside during a storm, he'd ignored them. And he'd been zapped. Several times. All before he could make it back inside the hotel they'd been staying in at the time. The first bolt had hit somewhere near his right leg, but the electricity had traveled through the puddle he'd been standing in, and shocked him a good one. His first reaction had been anger, and he'd turned and snarled, rather than running. That would be another mistake. Because the next bolt hit him head on. With his hair smoking and body literally sizzling, THEN he broke and ran... But not fast enough. Two more bolts hit near him on the way back to the door, and the final one seemed to shoot straight through his spine, even as he ducked inside. Crying and blubbering like a terrified child, while the storm had raged on outside, he'd literally (and for the only time ever) dived into Angelus' and Darla's bed. Drusilla, proving that she had SOME common sense, had actually already been there.

Each bolt that hit him had been accompanied by an insanely loud blast of thunder. The kind of thunder that rattles walls and (nowadays) sets car alarms blaring. As a result, Spike now had a very healthy fear of thunderstorms. Even when he was inside and perfectly safe, he could never seem to shake the thought that the lightning was a living thing... A living thing that wouldn't rest until it had shocked the unlife out of him, or set him on fire in the process. What made it even scarier was that this enemy couldn't be fought. Anything else that wanted to hurt him or kill him, he'd have a pretty good chance of fighting against (except, perhaps, fire, but that was another story). But not lightning. Not the storm. He wouldn't even risk going out carrying an umbrella. He'd tried that once. Thankfully the lightning rod atop the umbrella had absorbed most of the shock, or he would've probably passed out from that one. The umbrella, of course, hadn't survived the encounter. And when he'd staggered back into his crypt in Sunnydale, crying and clutching the skeletal, smoking umbrella in shock frozen hands, he'd been amazingly glad no one was there to SEE that. And he'd also decided that he could wait for the storm to pass before going to pick up the new TV Guide.

But now, pacing restlessly inside the storm shelter Wolfram & Hart provided, Spike felt those old fears welling up again. Every boom of the thunder, every crash of the lightning sent chills shooting down his spine. He was wringing his hands, and if his knuckles hadn't already BEEN white, they would've been going white from the way he was clutching tightly at his own hands. And it didn't help that he was basically alone. In truth, besides that creepy liaison with the Senior Partners, Hamilton, a few guards, and Angel, he WAS alone in there... But, wait. Angel. Angel was there. Swallowing, Spike headed for Angel's elevator and prayed that he hadn't changed his passcode since the last time Spike had been up to his suite.

As he got in the elevator and tapped the button, he swallowed. Going to Angel meant getting CLOSER to those storm clouds outside. Angel's suite wasn't exactly on the ground floor. Not to mention that he was admitting simply by going UP there that he was afraid. And admitting it to Angel. But, he considered, Angel probably already knew. Might even be expecting him. He had Angelus' memories of that first night, after all.

Spike, then still called William the Bloody, or just Will, as Angelus seemed to enjoy referring to him, had ducked into the hotel room the four vampires were sharing. His hair was standing on end, and his very skin seemed to crackle with electricity. A smoky smell emitted from him that would've normally repulsed the older vampires, but there was one thing about him that softened at least the two oldest, Angelus and Darla... At least as much as any of them could be softened, that is. Will had been crying. Absolutely terrified, and sobbing uncontrollably. He'd leaped onto the bed and tried to crawl up between Angelus and Drusilla, who'd been burrowed against her Sire's side. And Dru had actually hissed at him at first. She wasn't about to let her play toy get between her and her 'daddy'. But Angelus had stopped her.

"Let him come, Drusilla," Angelus had said quietly. With surprising gentleness for him. After all, Will wasn't the only vampire in the family who'd disobeyed his Sire and gone out in a thunderstorm once. Angelus had been just as headstrong as young William was. And had learned his lesson just as quickly. Thankfully, Darla had been there to comfort him as that storm continued to rage outside. And he felt her understanding when he let Will crawl up and collapse, shaking both from the shock and from fear, against his side. Angelus' arm had gone around Will's shoulders, and he'd simply held his Grandchilde while he waited for the sobbing and shaking to stop.

This was the night that caused young William to switch Sires, from his BloodSire, who was Drusilla, as she'd made him... To Angelus, his blood Grandsire, as Angelus had Sired Drusilla, and Drusilla had Sired him... But while Dru hissed at him and tried to shove him away, Angelus had welcomed the terrified Childe... still so young as a vampire, and young at heart, too. Eager to learn and underexperienced... Angelus had welcomed William to his side. Taken him under his wing, both literally and figuratively. From then on, it was Angelus who taught William. And who watched with proud indifference as his adopted Childe became known as Spike. He was, as Spike would once call him in an almost joking manner, Spike's Yoda. His mentor, and, yes, even lover. Though that one time was something Spike now had tried to forget. Unsuccessfully, of course. Some things you just never forget. Like how terrifying it is to be struck by lightning. And how terror always outranks pride.

Spike's thoughts turned back to the storm as another crashing "BOOOOOMMMM!!!" washed over the building from outside. The lights in the elevator dimmed for an instant, and Spike suddenly felt an icy blast of terror. If the power went off with him between floors, he'd be trapped in there. In the dark, with the thunder blasting all around him and shaking the building... What if he couldn't get out? What if the power never came back on? What if-

The doors chose that moment to open, revealing Angel's private suite, and Spike practically threw himself out of the elevator. In fact, he moved so off balance that he actually fell to his knees as he entered the room, panting for totally unnecessary breaths, his eyes wide with self-induced terror. And he had the oddest urge to kiss the floor of his Sire's suite. While mentally making a pact with himself to NEVER take an elevator in a storm again. Stairs. Yep. It was the stairs from now on. Except... they kind of have a tendency to shake during thunderstorms. LA construction. Always ready for earthquakes. Also meant that buildings were BUILT to sway like oceanliners at the top floors. Thankfully, Spike didn't have a tendency for seasickness, but that could always change. Hell, he hadn't used to be afraid of thunderstorms, either.

Another powerful flash of lightning that lit up the interior of the suite, accompanied by an equally loud blast of thunder made Spike squeak and scramble back to his feet. Angel had to be in his bedroom... He just had to be... He was... He wasn't there.

Spike swallowed and simply stood at the entrance to his Sire's bedroom, his arms around himself in that now so ingrained gesture of holding onto himself. He could feel that he was shaking, but he didn't care. Angel wasn't there. He was supposed to be there, damnit! He was supposed to always be there when Spike needed him. Didn't he know that? That HAD to be in the Sire's Handbook somewhere... And there had to be one of those. Right? There's a Slayer's Handbook, for God's sake. So he HAD to know that Spike would need him on a night like this... How could he leave? And leave his bed turned down. As if he was just... As if he'd gone... to... the... bathroom.


Spike swallowed when a quiet, almost amused sound of a throat clearing came from the bathroom doorway. He turned to face Angel, who was standing there, wearing a silk pair of drawstring pants, and absently drying his hair with a towel. He'd been taking a shower. And Spike had panicked. If he hadn't been so bloody scared, it would've been embarrassing. As it was, it was all he could do to stop himself from charging Angel and latching onto him like a terrified toddler.

Angel started to say something, then stopped and blinked when another flash of lightning and crash of thunder came from outside. He blinked again when he realized that, before the flashbulb effect of the lightning could completely fade, Spike was practically clinging to his waist. And he hadn't even seen his Childe move. They say fear can give you superhuman strength... If you already HAVE superhuman strength, it apparently gives you super- superhuman speed. Angel wrapped his free arm around Spike immediately, however, and began rubbing his back a little.

Spike was breathing hard, but at least he wasn't crying this time... However, gripping Angel tight enough to break a human's ribs probably wasn't the best indicator that he was going to calm down quickly, either. So Angel did the only thing he could do... With a hand on Spike's back to help guide him, he lead his Childe to the bed he knew they would share that night... There was no way Spike was leaving now that he was here. And Angel cared about him far too much, whether he'd admit it or not, to make him leave when he was obviously terrified.

With a slight sense of déjà vu, Angel gently helped Spike get his jacket off, so he'd be more comfortable. The younger vampire had enough sense to shove his boots off on his own, before crawling onto the bed. Angel sighed, but indulgently let Spike curl against him, burrowing his face against Angel's shoulder. The older vampire continued to rub circles on Spike's back through his black tee-shirt, and flinched slightly when another thunderclap seemed to rattle the very core of the building. It was these kind of nights that could make it quite unsettling to have a suite near the top floor of a major office building in LA. This was also the kind of night that made Angel long for the sturdy security that the Hyperion's box-like construction had represented. IT never swayed, no matter how bad the storm was. In fact, it had been so quiet, that a storm much like the one raging outside hadn't been enough to wake baby Connor when he'd been sleeping in his crib. Of course, the kid always had been a deep sleeper. But, then again, so was Spike, normally.

And right then, Spike wasn't doing anything remotely close to sleeping. In fact, that last thunderclap had caused him to curl so close to his Sire that Angel felt as if Spike was attempting to share his skin. "Easy, Will," he murmured, without even thinking. "Take it easy. It can't get us in here."

Spike just took slow, deep breaths, and tightened the arm he had wrapped around his Sire's tummy, nuzzling closer. "Don't care," he mumbled, his voice muffled by Angel's skin. The same way it had been all those years ago when they'd done this the first time. "Too loud. Too bloody loud, and too bright."

Angel closed his eyes, letting his hand continue rubbing circles on Spike's back, then he whispered, very quietly, "You know if I could turn it down for you, I would."

"You can," Spike answered automatically, the two easily slipping into the rolls of scared Childe and protective Sire. Something about the real fear, and the fact that they shared it... Angel had just had longer to get USED to it... making the transition and affection easier to show. "You can do anythin'."

A ghost of a smile crossed Angel's lips, his hand never stilling on Spike's back. "Can't do anything. But I'm glad you think so." Spike was starting to calm down, slowly. Angel could feel the tension leaving his back and shoulders the longer he stayed against his Sire. And Angel intended to allow him to stay there as long as he needed and wanted to be there.

Another thunderclap sounded. A rolling thunder, this time, followed by several exceedingly bright flashes of lightning. Spike tensed up again immediately and let out what almost sounded like a sob, his hand clutching at the skin of Angel's ribs. But the younger vampire began relaxing again almost immediately... Mostly because of his Sire's instant reaction to this latest sound and light assault.

Angel snarled at the thunder, his eyes snapping open and glowing gold in the dark room. His fangs flashed in the filtered light from the various night lights outside, and his lip curled back to expose the fangs longer. His growling lasted as long as the thunder roll did, then got louder again, into an all out snarl, when the lightning flashes came. He hissed and growled in defense of his Childe, raging against everything and anything that might dare to terrify his William like this.

Spike let out a soft sigh of relief... a sigh that turned into a soft, Childe- to-Sire purr as Spike relaxed. Angel was protecting him. Nothing would hurt him now. Angel wouldn't let it happen. His hand slowly loosened around Angel's stomach, but he didn't move his arm. And, now, rather than having his face burrowed against his Sire's side, he now just rested it against his shoulder, breathing in the soft scent of soap and aftershave, and just... Angel, that identified his Sire. A scent that was alternately infuriating and relaxing to him. Right now, it was simply soothing. "Told you that you could do anythin'," Spike mumbled as the terror turned to exhaustion and had him dozing off against his Sire's side.

Angel smiled a bit, his still present fangs making the normally soothing gesture seem feral to anyone who might have cared to look at him, and he tightened HIS arm around Spike, giving his Childe a gentle squeeze. "That you did, Will," he whispered back. "That you did."

And so they lay, side by side. Protector and defended. Sire and Childe. As the storm continued outside. For some reason, there were no more massive booms of thunder, and the only lightning seemed blessedly far away. It seemed that, somehow, they'd found the calm amid the storm.

The End.

(Author's Notes: I've been wanting to write something like this ever since last Tuesday, when I was at work and the power went out for over three hours. It was incredibly dark, and the thunder and lightning seemed so close, that I knew there was no way I was getting out of there without an inspiration... And here it is. I seriously suspect that a lot of the people who read this are going to hate it. But if you know me, you know how I write, and what I write about... So I hope I sincerely haven't offended anyone who's read this with the overtly male/male slash undertones. Yes, they are deliberate, but I believe I've made them clearer in this one than I have in any before.

Also, if I might make a request along with this apology... One of my stories, by the name of The Right Combination, has hardly any reviews, even though I think it's rather cute and sweet... If you liked this (don't read that if you DIDN'T like this, though) you should probably read that one... And I definitely wouldn't argue against some more reviews for it. This is the other fluff drabble fic that I mentioned thinking about in the last fic I posted, A Little Surprise. That one is (gasp) an Angel/Cordy fic of sorts, actually. So if you didn't like this one, maybe you'll like that one.

Thank you all for reading and reviewing, and the Special Features of Exit should be up in the next two weeks. I want to wait until after the Series Finale, because I have a story to post after THAT. Then, the next weekend, most likely, I'll post the Special Features of Exit. Thank you again. –Darkwolf)