Lindsey gazed in horror at the palm trees covered in Christmas lights. We're going to have to find a new place to meet, he thought, if they're going to keep those up. As disturbed as he was by the sight, he couldn't stop staring at them, not until he heard Spike start speaking. He turned his head slowly, not wanting to be seen. Spike was supposed to be alone.
"The fantastic rocks are buried under snow. Nobody comes here for pleasure now. They think there is nothing to see."
Lindsey wrinkled his brow in confusion. Spike obviously was alone but his vampire senses should have told him Lindsey was there. And why was he reciting poetry to himself? Lindsey recognized the poem from when he'd formed an interest in college; his fanciful tendencies, as his father had called them, had waned over the years as his time had been taken over by his career. While he hadn't looked at any new poems in quite a while, the old remembered poetry had influenced the songs he'd started writing after leaving Wolfram & Hart. He whispered the first line of the poem: "Where shall we find the ninth song?"
At Lindsey's words, Spike looked up and immediately went on the defensive. "You're late."
"Got held up," Lindsey replied. In an old jean jacket, that was more patches than not, torn jeans, a grubby t-shirt that was no longer white, and two days worth of stubble, he looked like it actually might be true. The clothes made it easier for him to talk to certain people and he was less likely to be recognized by anyone looking for the man he used to be.
"Do you have it?" Spike asked, anxious to be away since he was certain Lindsey had heard him. As Lindsey handed over the disk, he asked, "This all of it?"
"I'll have more in a couple of days," Lindsey replied.
Spike stalked off in a swirl of leather coat.
Lindsey started at Spike's wake. Nobody comes here for pleasure, he mused. His breath hitched as he realized what Spike must have meant.
The next time they met, Lindsey wore a power suit from his lawyer days. His hair had been cut to a precise style, more classic than trendy, but which suited him better.
"Lost the stubble," Spike said. "Thought it was protective coloration."
"I found a new informant, someone higher up, and have to look the part," Lindsey replied.
"Bit risky, isn't it?"
Lindsey shrugged. "Getting info on the Black Thorn will be risky no matter what."
"You're not looking to step up the food chain yourself, are you? Maybe talk to Angel himself?"
A look of fury crossed Lindsey's face. "No," he replied grimly. "I'm willing to help because part of what I did, while working at Wolfram & Hart, helped create this mess but I don't go near Angel."
"That's good 'cause he'd probably kill you."
"Unless I killed him first," Lindsey replied. "You haven't told him you're working with me, have you?"
"Do I look stupid?" Spike asked. "He wouldn't use this info if he knew it came from you, no matter how desperate we were for it."
"He must be curious who your working with," Lindsey probed.
Spike smirked confidently. "I'm careful."
Lindsey, not completely reassured by Spike's confidence, replied, "It'll be at least a week before I have anything more. This new guy is nervous and needs to be courted a bit before giving up anything else."
After Lindsey had left the park, Spike sat and lit a cigarette. Something had been off about Lindsey. The clothes were too over the top for someone in hiding and his heart rate had been up. Spike resolved to be more cautious around the human until he knew why.
They met three more times before Spike figured it out. He'd gotten to the park early and was laying out in the top level of a fort in the playground when he heard Lindsey arrive. Obviously thinking he was alone, Lindsey had started speaking. As he peered over the top of the fort, Spike heard, "Waft cocoa, hazelnut, cinnamon, scents around me."
What the? Spike asked himself as he stood up, to get a better look.
"Tremble me in paralyzing pauses," Lindsey continued. By the time Lindsey had finished the next line, "I may no longer breathe without breathing you," Spike was standing straight up, leaning slightly forward, and wearing a curious expression. It was just his luck that a group of carolers, across the street, took that moment to start singing "Jingle Bells," breaking Lindsey's reverie.
"Caught in the act," Spike whispered, too low for Lindsey to hear at that distance, as Lindsey's mouth tightened at the sight of him.
As Spike hit the ground, Lindsey said, "You're early."
"Yeah, well, nothing holding me up, was there?"
"Here," Lindsey said, tossing him the disk before turning and fleeing into the night. Spike watched him leave, musing over the poem, which he was certain was the key to Lindsey's odd behavior.
The next time they met, Spike was the one dressed to the nines in a charcoal gray suit, a silk shirt that brought out his eyes, and Italian leather shoes while Lindsey had gone back to the scruffy look, appearing even more disreputable than before. Spike felt like a blooming idiot when Lindsey asked about the box. Hiding a sigh, he handed it over. "Merry Christmas."
Lindsey's jaw dropped for a moment before, with a bit of a shake, he regained some of his composure. "What?"
"Figured, what with you being undercover and all, nobody else was going to get you anything."
Lindsey opened the box cautiously, as if afraid of what it might contain. "Cocoa Lover's Gift Box?" He carefully didn't look at Spike as he checked out the contents. "Cocoa, hot chocolate mix, Chinese cassia cinnamon."
"Couldn't find hazelnut," Spike mused, thinking of the days he'd spent trying. When he realized what he'd said, Spike stared up, looking straight at Lindsey, his eyes wide.
Lindsey appraised him frankly before relaxing into an easy smile. "Perhaps you'd like to join me in some cocoa."
"I might at that," Spike replied thinking that, if he was going to be licking it off of Lindsey regularly, they were going to need a hell of a lot more cocoa.