The wear of the day was like a blister on Angel. Too many countless papers to look over, most of which he couldn't begin to navigate without help.

When the last meeting ended, Angel stayed in his chair, waiting for the room to clear out. There were perks to being feared by people, if you liked being left alone. But then there were always some who didn't fall into the fearing category. One of those people happened to walk in to the board room with a six pack in hand.

"Rough day?" Spike asked. He approached Angel's end of the table, and then wisely took a seat that left space between them. He plopped the six pack on the table and nudged it towards Angel like a peace offering.

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Fair enough. Day's over. Let's just have a drink, yeah?"

Angel finally moved, only to gesture with his hand. "Not tonight, Spike."

"Okay." Spike dropped his hands and sighed, leaning back in his chair. He couldn't bear the silence for more than a minute. "Something's with you."

"There's always something, Spike," Angel said. "It's just this place. Legalese one day, zombie ambush the next. You know how it is."

"I know how you are," Spike retorted.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Something's on your mind, and you don't ever just open up and bitch about it. Me, I bitch a lot. You just let it fester," Spike stood up, restless on his feet. "Fine, so you don't want to talk or share your feelings. Gotta be so manly with your silk boxer briefs and your expensive hair gel. I'll just tell you what's on my mind. This place is bloody boring."

Angel blinked at Spike and narrowed his eyes, barely keeping himself from rolling them. "That's your complaint? You've been here for more than a day, haven't you?"

"I'll give you to occasional attack of the crazies," Spike conceded, "but this isn't what you're used to. What either of us is used to. We should be out on the streets every night, kicking the tar out of ghoulies. Instead you're locked in your office all day long with nothing to do but brood. I worry about what you cook up in your head."

"If I thought talking it out would help, I would," Angel said.

"If that's true, then okay," Spike said. He thought for a moment, and then took off his leather duster and rolled his shoulders. "Let's fight about it, then."


"Come on. If you're gonna shut up then you'd better put up."


"It's you and me, Angel, we don't need a reason why," Spike pointed out. It was true that no one would find it the least bit strange to have them exchanging punches in the middle of the board room.

"I get what you're trying to do," Angel said. He pushed himself away from the table and stood up slowly. "I just don't want to fight. Can we go upstairs?"

Spike lifted an eyebrow and then laughed. "Well, I guess I know what you consider a stress relief. Not sure I'm in the mood, though."

"Spike, please," Angel hissed, and Spike shut his mouth long enough for them to escape to the penthouse and barricade Wolfram and Hart away.

Spike tossed aside his coat and shoes as soon as he entered the apartment. Angel moved like a busied whirlwind, fumbling in the kitchen over no discernible goal, tidying things that didn't need it. Spike finally intercepted him, stopping him with hands on Angel's shoulders.

"Calm down," Spike said, feeling like he was trying to soothe a tense horse. He rubbed his hands over Angel's shoulders for a moment, and then leaned up on his toes to give Angel a kiss.

At the last moment, Angel moved and their lips missed. Spike's mouth landed on Angel's jaw instead, but he went with it, pressing harsh kisses in a line that ended at Angel's ear, and that was when Angel pulled away.

"Not tonight," Angel mumbled, looking like a guilty child.

"Alright, I'm starting to get pissed. You don't seem to want anything to do with me."

"It's not you, it's-"

"Give me that line and I will tear your throat out," Spike pointed a finger at Angel.

Angel looked away for a long moment.

This is how it ends, Spike thought to himself. No fight, no big to-do. Somehow the lack of a confrontation just made it so much worse.

Angel lifted his eyes and saw the hurt on Spikes face, the gears turning in the younger vampires head. He swallowed, cursing himself to hell and stepped forward quickly.

Spike tensed and stopped him, pushing back on Angels arms to prevent the first punch. Angel shoved hard enough, and his defensive stance collapsed for an instant. Before Spike could recover, Angel's mouth was at his cheek, pressing a tender kiss onto his flesh.

No punch came, and Spike shuddered, then let his guard drop. Angel's lips were cool to the touch, and when his mouth fell on Spike's neck with a bite it was a cold drop of ohmygodyesnowplease.

Angel sucked hard enough to draw the flavor of blood through the skin, leaving dark bruises behind. Those would heal within moments, but the reaction was incredible, like he'd found a 'Go' button and pushed it. Spike was cat-like in his arms, a steady rumble from his chest, making every effort to close the distance between them.

His teeth bit at the right places. His clever hands worked magic on Angel's body, and it was pure havoc. Angel was surprised that the bed didn't collapse, the way that they plummeted onto it. Spike barely seemed to notice, needing no laws of gravity. His hips settled over Angel's and full weight settled there while he arched up to strip off his shirt, the pressure driving Angel mad.

"Don't," Angel said, stopping Spike's hands when they moved to his belt. "Keep them on."

"Angel," Spike objected, but Angel rolled up his hips beneath him, and the friction was too good to miss.

Angel grabbed onto Spike's waist, pulling him harder against him, so that they ground together with every little movement. A hard rhythm built up, until it felt like fucking, but they were still separated by so many layers of denim and cloth.

"Can't go on like this," Spike mumbled breathlessly. Angel didn't stop, but instead purposefully reached a hand between them, and Spike understood his intentions.

Angel watched Spike writhe above him, and claw the sheets as he came. He felt the dampness of denim in his palm. He let go, barely avoiding an attempted kiss. Spike looked confused by the dodge, so Angel quickly diverted by nipping at Spike's ear, even as he rolled Spike onto the bed and lifted himself up.

It seemed to work at first; Spike sighed contentedly and rubbed his head against the pillows. He noticed Angel get out of bed, but didn't realize until a few moments later that Angel was not coming back for another round.

"Where're you going?" Spike asked, genuinely perplexed.

"Shower," Angel said, disappearing into the bathroom.

Not so much as a gesture or look hinting an invite. He might as well have gone back to the office. Spike stripped himself out of his clothes, peeling off his jeans. He felt oddly, as if something was off. He'd never had sex with anyone with his clothes on. Well, not with the good bits covered up. Even though Buffy had hated him, she still wanted his good bits.

When Angel got out of the shower, he climbed back into bed with all the resolve of an old man who just wanted to sleep. Spike laid still, waiting and listening and thinking. It was all too quiet. No soft night melody trying to draw him in. Instead, the world felt like a strange void.

In the still of the night, Spike got out of bed, dressed, and silently left.