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The blindfold was adjusted carefully and Wesley stepped back and looked down at the figure in the chair.

“Can you see anything?” he asked, his tone neutral.

Spike smiled. “Would you trust my answer?”

“I don’t know. Should I? Perhaps not. I know the blindfold is opaque to my eyes but to a vampire’s? The Council always wanted to run tests on the upper limits of vampire hearing, sight and such, using some captured specimens, but the results were problematic at best.”

“Poor doomed bastards lied, did they?”

Wesley nodded, caught himself and said “Yes, I rather think they did.” He stepped behind Spike and rested his hands on the vampire’s shoulders, keeping the pressure light. “You won’t lie to me, Spike.”

If there was a question mark there, it was invisible.

“I think we’re ready. I shan’t tie your hands but if you try to remove the blindfold, I’ll terminate this. I want you to use your sense of taste and smell alone. You understand?”

“Word of honor as a formerly evil killer of innocents.”

Wesley dug his thumbs into hollows of bone and skin and waited for the wince. “I know what you are, Spike and what you’ve become. Stop showing off.”

Spike’s mouth wasn’t visible from this angle, but Wesley knew just how it would be curving, how that smirk could be wiped away by –

He walked away and brought over a covered tray, setting it on a small table beside Spike, and then reaching under the cover.

“First course.”

Spike opened his mouth obediently as Wesley tapped his knee. Wesley slipped a morsel of food inside, sticky, glutinous, and reddish-pink.

“God. Haven’t had this in years.”

“What is it?”

“Smoked salmon.”

“Is that the best you can do?”

“Tastes fishy.”

Wesley sighed. “It’s Loch Fyne salmon in fact, hand smoked and flown in from Western Scotland at an expense I may have trouble justifying.”

“It’s good. Got any more?”

“Maybe later. Drink this to clear your palate, if you’re sure you have no other comment to make.”

Spike spluttered indignantly. “Water? Not whisky?”

Wesley thought about the twenty-five -year old Macallan waiting for Spike and smiled. “Later,” he promised, rinsing his fingers. “Now you can try the venison...”

The odd meal progressed, with Wesley feeding Spike morsels of delicacies and watching his reaction. Then, when a creamy, ripe Stilton had chased down a spoonful of frothed, rich chocolate mousse, and the whisky had been gulped down with a shocking disregard for its age, he said briskly, “Almost finished.”

“So, how did I do?”

Wesley pursed his lips and studied the notes he’d made. “You wouldn’t know gourmet from garbage.”

Spike shrugged. “Sorry.”

“When I alternated cheap, prepackaged alternatives, you couldn’t tell. You like strong, intense flavors but you’re not really appreciating them at any level.” He stared at Spike. “You don’t taste them as we do.”

Spike drummed his fingers on the arm of the chair. “You humans. Judge everything by your own standards.”

“Not quite. Wait here for a moment, please.”

He came back and knelt down beside Spike. “Open.”

Spike’s nostrils flared. “That’s... Wes, what the fuck are you doing?”

Wesley dipped a finger into the puddle of liquid in the small container and dragged it across Spike’s lip. “What is it? Human or vampire, animal or demon?”

Spike reached up and tore away the blindfold. “Too easy. Not interested anymore.”

“Really?” Wesley took up another tiny bowl; repeated his actions.

Spike’s tongue ran over his lips before he could stop himself, and he smiled. “Nice, both of them. Tell Gunn and Fred thanks for volunteering...but you shouldn’t make them do what you’re not prepared to. What’s the matter, Wes? Scared I’ll get a taste for you?”

Wesley shook his head. “No. I rather hoped I’d be the...piece de resistance.” He tilted his head, exposing his neck, and waited, fighting a silent battle against a rising tension.

Spike stood up and went to him. “Wesley, did anyone ever tell you you’re a fucking idiot?”

“Not in those exact terms, but I think the meaning was clear, so, yes.”

“You don’t offer what you can’t –”

“I’m quite prepared to deliver.”

Spike’s fingers were cool against his face. “Then I’m going to take what you’re offering me. Do you trust me, Wes?”

“I don’t believe that’s something I considered much when I planned this. By then it had become irrelevant.”

“Stupid, fucking idiot.”

Wesley didn’t think he’d ever hear words like that and not flinch but Spike said them like a verbal love letter, in a voice as husky as sandpaper wrapped in silk. He closed his eyes, not out of fear but a desire to remove any distractions...and Spike chuckled, reached down and handed him the blindfold. “Fine. Put it on if you want. Won’t make it easier.”

Wesley stood in the dark, and heard the indefinable shift and slide of bone and muscle that meant Spike’s face had changed; like paper tearing, but it raised the hairs on his neck in atavistic apprehension. He raised a curious hand and Spike took it and guided it, letting Wesley run his fingers over smooth curves of fangs, thick bone extrusions and toughened skin. Then Spike nuzzled into Wes’ neck, letting him feel the scrape of fang on flesh, lacing his hand into Wesley’s hair and positioning him with a casual, terrifying ease. The cool, sharp wetness vanished and Spike was kissing him, tongue thrusting past lips parted in shock, human teeth grating against his own, kissing him with impatient tenderness and exasperation.

“Supposed to bite me,” Wes managed to say when Spike finally let him breathe. He tugged the knot of the blindfold loose and blinked into blue eyes.

Spike hooked his finger in Wesley’s belt and tugged him over to the couch Wesley slept on when he worked late. “You can have my mouth on you anywhere, Wes. Just point. Or ask...yeah, begging works too...”

He paused for a moment as he worked a button free on Wesley’s shirt with patient, deliberate fingers that knew how much of a hurry Wesley was in and didn’t care. “Just don’t ever do that again.”

“I trust you, Spike.”

Spike smiled at him without a trace of laughter in his eyes. “Do you? I don’t.”