"What?" I look across the table to the slim, blonde vampire sitting across from me. He smiles, that wicked, horrible smile; it lets me know that whatever he's suggesting cannot possibly go well – for me at least. And that's exactly how he wants it.
"We should go on holiday," he says matter-of-factly, nodding his head fervently. I frown.
"And why should we do that?"
He rolls his eyes. "Because, you daft git, we never do anything fun."
"Thought you got your jollies killing demons nowadays, Spike."
"I enjoy a good slaughter any day, Angel. But you – you don't. You need some time off. Some time to relax."
"I'm trying to relax Spike." I look back down at the book that lays open in front of me. It is ancient. At least three centuries old – maybe older. I'm coming up on three centuries. Damn. I'm old.
"Yeah, I can see you're having a right good crack." His voice dripped with sarcasm, but I did my best to ignore him. I set my eyes upon one of the last lines I had read and tried to continue. Not the easiest though when you're reading a book originally written in Aramaic and then translated into German.
"You can't ignore me forever – you've already tried, it didn't work."
"Get stuffed, Angel." I look up at him again, furious.
"Holiday?" I ask him. He grins mischievously. "Where?"
"I was thinkin' Europe – you pick the country."
"It's not what you're thinkin' – "
"So it's not because of Buffy?" He glares at me, leaning his chair back as far as he can and staring at me with his ice cold eyes. I stare back, not ready to relinquish my power in the argument.
"No," he says slowly, standing up. He fishes a badly crumpled pack of cigarettes out of his pocket, sticking one in his mouth. "It's not because of the Slayer." He walks to me, sitting down on the table next to my book as he lights up. "It's for us. You. Me. We could use a vacation." His left eyebrow perks, looking at me expectantly. As he blows smoke into my face, I pluck the cigarette from his fingers and take a drag myself. "What say you, love?" His tone is genuine, and I know he really does want to get away. Hell, I do too. Europe, huh?
"What do you think about France?"
Well here we are, on our ruddy way to France. Leave it to tall, dark, and brooding to choose France – Paris, to be exact. The city synonymous with love, and romance, and all that swotty, nancy-boy wanker bullshit he dreams about. Guess I can't complain too much – I told him to pick. Least we're travelin' well.
We're on board a very nice, very expensive cruise ship. Where he's able to get all this money, I have no idea. I know he's not filchin' it – he couldn't steal something even if they were givin' it away for free. Mr. Righteous, that's him. Probably has a whole mess o' cash somewhere, and just won't tell me about it – doesn't trust me. Not that I blame him. If I knew where it was, it wouldn't be there anymore. And we probably couldn't have afforded this.
We're walkin' up on deck now – it's a warm night. Well, as warm as it can get in the middle of April out on the North Atlantic. But hey, vampires, right? No need for warmth. Wait, didn't the Titanic sink out here some where… in April? Oh well. 'S not like I'm worried about drownin'.
He's walking next to me, starin' up at the moon. All starry-eyed and dreamy. Makes me feel a bit sick, to be honest. Not because I don't feel that way too, but because I just can't show it as easily. Not yet, at least.
I reach out and take his hand – his fingers intertwine with my own and he squeezes gently. His gaze turns to me, and he gives me one of those little smiles that mean more than he could ever say. I know he loves me. He tells me that quite a bit, when he's not threatening to stake me in my sleep. But all the threats, all the anger and frustrations we take out on one another – it's all really out of love. Sick as it is, we just want to be loved.
The wind picks up a bit – it pushes on his hair every so slightly, bendin' it like a reed. The moonlight on his face… God, listen to me! Goin' on like a bleedin' school boy, or worse… a poet.
We're at the bow of the ship – it's beautiful. Watching the waves the ship makes as it cuts through the water. There are a few lights reflecting on the water, giving parts of it an eerie glow that I find rather sensuous. I chance a look at him. He looks pained, almost angry about something. Looks as though he's never going to be cheerful again.
A single tear falls down one cheek, followed by another, and another, and another still, until I pull him into me and brush them away. I've no idea what set this off, but it's clearly time to get a move on – I'm not sittin' around all night listenin' to him caterwaulin' about something that he won't talk to me about. No sir, not this vamp.
"Spike," he whispers, his voice breathy. I lean into him, nuzzling his neck fondly.
"Here as ever, Angel." His hand releases mine so that his arm can pull around my waist, clinging tightly to me.
He turns fully to me now –pushes me back against the railing of the ship, leans into me. His lips are like fire against my skin, although I know it's only my mind playing tricks on me. He kisses me forcefully, fervently. I push against him, for once not caring who sees or what they think. I can feel him, growin' in his pants. Smell his desire, his arousal. It's a scent I've commited to memory – much like the scent he has just after feedin', or the scent he gives off once he's just out of the shower. All of them different, and all of them incredible.
And he tastes so good…
Right now, kissing him as though it were the last thing I'd ever do, I can feel it. It's real, almost corporeal in and of itself. And it's strong – the strongest feeling I've ever had, in all of my nearly three hundred years. Its there; squirming and writhing in my stomach, fluttering and bouncing at the slightest touch of his hands. I can't help it – I love him.
Truly love him. And I think it's time we take this inside.
"Spike," I whisper in his ear. He purrs in response.
"Let's go back to the room?"
"No." His answer catches me off guard, and I pull back slightly. I see that damned expression – I am in trouble, but I know I'll enjoy every minute of it.
"Why no?" He grins devilishly.
"Because I want you here – right here, right now."
"Some one – "
"There's no one here, pet," he coos. I feel a hand start to caress me from the outside of my pants, and I have to swallow to keep my focus. "The excitement of knowin' you could get caught – it's a natural high, love." Oh God, his hand – it's in my pants now. When did that happen?
"Ooohhh," I moan, my eyes closing as my head dips back slightly. "Oh, Will…"
"That's it, Liam," he growls, his hand speeding up continuously. "I wanna make you cry out right here." If he's not careful, it'll be over way too soon.
"Sl-slow…" I can barely get a word out. My brain has mostly shut down – it's all instincts now. I crack my eyes open and see him grinning maniacally. But he does slow down, enough so that now I know I won't burst at any second. He brushes his free hand through my hair, his fingertips trailing gently on my neck and then back up onto my cheek.
"I love you so much, Angel," he whispers, his fingers tracing the edges of my lips.
"I love you, William," I whisper in return. He leans in and kisses me. It's soft, and gentle, and damn it all if I don't feel like crying right now. I open my eyes when I hear his zipper – his pants drop slightly, just over his hips. I watch him turn around and lean against the railing. I glance around quickly before gently guiding myself into him.
"Oh," he exhales, arching his back ever so slightly as I begin working myself in and out, slowly, slowly, then building up speed. I have mastered the art of moving my hips quickly but tenderly – out here, I don't want to hurt him. I don't want to fuck him, and I don't want to have sex with him.
I want to make love to him. I want to show him everything I could never have admitted before that damned stand we took against Wolfram & Hart. I can hear his hand working steadily on himself – he's close to climax, I can damn near taste it. And I'm –
"William!" I groan. I feel my body make that release just as his own spasms bring a gasp from his own mouth. I close my eyes for a moment, pulling away and fixing my pants. When I again open them, I see his eyes staring back at me. I pull him close and kiss him again, but roughly, aggressively. Forget romance right now – I just want to go back to our stateroom and show him how much I appreciate him.
"Care to go back to the room?" he asks, looking as though he has read my mind. I nod, smiling. We walk back hand in hand, and I feel hundreds of emotions running through me all at once.
He unlocks the door to our room, pulling me inside quickly and pushing me against the wall, kissing me again. By the time we make it to the bed, we have already had sex three more times.
As we crawled into the bed, he curls into my chest and rubs his face all over me, like a cat marking their owner. I smile a little, too tired to really think straight. And of course, in my exhaustion, I ask him one of the worst questions ever.
"So, what's the first thing you want to do once we got to Paris?"
I'll be damned but this is a nice place. Cor blimey, but this place is incredible. I thought the ship was nice, but now I know me old grand sire was really sittin' on some cash. We got a big suite – it's got two bedrooms, each with a bed. I suppose it was partly for pretenses, but I don't know why he bothered – I'm sure the maids notice that only one bed seems to be slept in every mornin'.
So it's now our first night in Paris, and he asked me what I wanted to do – so, we're at the Eiffel Tower. Cliché, I know. Shoot me, will ya? But I know he likes it, and its part o' that whole romance bit that I think I might be startin' to understand. Angel likes froofy romance shit – right? Froofy romance makes Angel happy. And when Angel is happy (though not too happy, o' course), then Spike gets to be happy. So I suppose that it's in my best interests to keep him happy.
"This is incredible." I look over at him. We're at the tip top of the Tower, lookin' down at the city. There are a lot of people around, but I don't mind so much right now. It's worth it to see his eyes light up like candles around a bed. Whoa, wait, did I really just think that? Damn it, he's affecting me.
"I know somethin' even better," I tell him, lookin' back out at the cityscape here. I remember bringing Drusilla here just before going to Italy in the fifties. She loved it here – said the stars were a lot louder way up here. But I can't remember enjoying it as much then as I do now.
"What's better than this?" he asked, still watching the lights and people. He leans onto a railing, inhaling deeply as he smiles. I push up next to him and rest my head on his shoulder.
"You," I tell him sweetly. I feel the top of his head rub against my own.
"When did you become so sweet?" he asks quietly. I sniff.
"I've always been this way – I was a gentle poet before I met Dru, and you and Darla. Back then, you were the monster, and I was the quiet, meek and mild poet who simply wanted love. Now, seems we've changed places. When we met again in Sunnydale, you were the one in love, the one who wanted to feel and care. I was the monster, hell-bent on destroying things. Funny lit'l world, innit?"
He says nothing, but I know he's thinkin' it. He knows I'm right. As a man, and then a vampire, he was ruthless, and immoral. He had no wish for love, or tenderness, or compassion. And as a man, romance and love were all I ever thought of. I was a poet, he was a drunken lout. And neither of us were very good at what we did.
"I want you to know…" He pulls away, then carefully slips his arms around me, pushing his stomach and chest against my back. I lean into him, tilting my head to one side as he rests his face along my neck. "You mean everything, Will. When you came to me, at Wolfram & Hart… I didn't want Fred to make you corporeal again because I was sure I'd lose you then. And when you finally became solid, and you still ended up with me, I really was happy about it. I know I didn't show it much…"
"Or at all," I interrupt. I know he is annoyed at my interruption, but he'll deal with it.
"But what you did – fighting by my side, helping me out after the fight, just being there for me… it means more than I can say." I know he's telling the truth. And God help me, I melt when he says things like that.
We finally walk back down the stairs – most people end up on the elevators, so the stairs are semi private. We hold hands, staring at each other quite a bit, not carin' who sees. It's rather freein', really. Bein' so open about how we feel. Perhaps I am learnin' how to be all starry-eyed. Have to admit, it's not bad.
We're walking past dozens of shops and cafés, taking in the scenes. It's breathtaking. I just can't believe how good I feel right now with Spike, of all people. We're coming up on a night club – the typical techno music is pumping out through the front door as a pair of young girls walks out, their arms entwined. They're laughing and kissing each other rather eagerly, running finger through brown and red hair.
"Glad to see we're not the only ones, pet," Spike whispers. I smile as a familiar scent hits my nose.
"Spike," I say quietly as the girls pause near an alley way. "Do you smell that?" He sniffs at the air, and I see the recognition on his face also.
"Are we really smelling…" He lets the thought drift off, watching the girls as they duck into the alley, still giggling. We share a glance before heading off after the girls.
"This is not right," he mutters as we stalk after the girls, careful not to let ourselves be seen or heard. "Ruddy vacation – we're not supposed to have to deal with this too."
"Shut-up," I hiss, crouching behind a stack of wooden boxes. I peer around the corner and see it – the red head no longer looks like a human. Fuck, why does it have to happen now?
"Hey!" A far too familiar voice resounds against the brick walls surrounding us. I look at the girl approaching the scene, watch that trademark blonde hair as it bounces slightly under a dark hat. "Think she's hot? You should really try me – I promise, you won't regret a thing in the morning."
The vamp charged her, and the fight was over far too quickly. I smiled.
"She's gotten better," I hear Spike whisper behind me. "Think we should say hello?"
"And tell her what, exactly?" I ask, turning back to him. "Hey Buffy, just in town for a while, you look great, and oh by the way, Spike's been back from the dust and crater that was Sunnydale for more than a year?" He shrugged.
"If she's with The Immortal now, I doubt she'd lose sleep over anything. Besides, it'd be rude not to say hi."
"Spike, you can't just walk up to the girl we both loved so much and just strike up a conversation! Besides, she'd know there was something different about us – she'd realize we're – "
"Whispering in a dark alley after watching her slay a vampire on her damn vacation." I turn slowly to see Buffy Summers kneeling next to me. Her expression is a mixture of mild annoyance and definite shock.
"Buffy," I whisper. She smiles slightly.
"Angel," she said aloud. She turned to Spike then, staring at him for a few minutes. "Let me guess – the amulet had power to bring you back from the great dust pan in the sky?" Spike nodded slightly, watching her intently. I felt myself grow jealous of the way he looked at her. "Which brings to mind the question, how the hell did Angel find the Amulet?"
She stood, and we followed suit quickly. I gave a half shrug at her question. "I didn't – it was sent to me at Wolfram & Hart, but I don't know how it was found in the first place. It's a long story after that."
"Mmm," she nodded, not sounding completely convinced. "And so, once he was back, he decided not to come see me, or call, or write even. In fact, no one told me anything about you being back, Spike," she said, sounding angry now. "It would have been nice to know, Angel!"
"What the hell did I do?" I ask defensively.
"I told him not to tell you." I looked at Spike, who had stepped up so that he was now almost between Buffy and me. She glared at him, then her expression softened.
"I guess it would have kinda freaked me out if suddenly you showed up at my doorstep after I knew you were dead-dead," she shrugged. Then she smiled, giving him a hug. An arm reached out and pulled me into it as well. "I've missed you both so much," she whispered.
"We missed you too, Buffy," I heard him say. I felt myself wanting nothing more than to rip her off of him and hold him close. I didn't want her touching him – I didn't want to lose him. Not to her.
When finally she pulled away from us, I stood closer to him, hoping she would get the message and not touch him again – ever. "So, what have you guys been doing?" she asked.
Spike grinned, and I knew he was going to tell her the truth – he was going to tell her what we were to each other.
"We've fallen in love," Spike said. "And have taken to shagging on a pretty consistent basis."
And here it comes, the ear-splitting shriek and her screams of disapproval.
Yep, any minute now.
Did she hear him right? She did realize he meant we're sleeping with each other, not with random people? Wait – she's smiling. Like she's actually happy for us. And she looks… relieved. Wait… what?
"Wow," she whispers. "I'm happy for you two."
"And you?" Spike asks. "Got that special someone in your life now?" She nods, looking behind her for a spilt second. Spike smiles when she turns back to us. "I'll guess it's a demon by the name o' The Immortal?"
"No," she shakes her head. I hear footsteps – they're coming towards us. Did she hear them before? Is it another vampire? I really hope not – this is supposed to be a vacation.
"So who is it?" I ask, suddenly feeling compelled to jump into the conversation. She grins. The footsteps are much closer now – and they sound female. High heels, softer than a man's steps. And there is that scent again – that familiar but unregistered scent…
"Don't tell me you've thrown in with the witch," Spike said. Buffy shrugged.
"Not exactly," she said coyly as the girl stepped into the light.
Instantly, I felt stupid for not having remembered that scent. The dark lips, the deep brown hair that was wavy and bouncy, the suggestive smirk. It all boils down to –