by Saber ShadowKitten
I Hated You Because... 2
"Spike, don't," Angel warned quietly, clamping a hand onto the peroxide-blond vampire's arm. Spike growled softly, but did not move.
"All of you now, get into the raft. Or the little girl takes a bullet to her brain."
Angel's jaw tightened when the man pulled the hammer back on the revolver he held to Willow's temple. The redhead's eyes were wide and full of fear, and he knew if any of them made a wrong move, she would be killed. "Get in the raft," he instructed the others behind him. One by one, the six friends descended the ladder to the raft tied to the side of the boat, with Angel going down last.
The 'helpless sailors,' who'd they had stopped to assist, had turned into a foe of the worst kind -- pirates. One of the two non-descript men had grabbed Willow without warning, pulling a weapon out of his pocket and putting it to her head before any of them could act. All they could do was follow his instructions and hope an opportunity would present itself, but now that they were in the raft and the hacker was on the boat, those who still believed turned their prayers to the heavens.
What had started out as a simple part-work, part-pleasure trip was turning into something deadly. It had only been two nights since Spike, Buffy, Willow, Oz and Xander had joined Cordelia and Angel on the boat the dark-haired vampire had charted to make a trip down to Central America. The boat was decided upon to be the quickest and easiest route to get from Los Angeles to Guatemala, and could be adjusted to protect the two vampires during the day.
Rumors of a phoenix, a mythical creature that was said to be a bird made of fire, had prompted the little trip and was originally just to include Spike and Buffy, at both Doyle's and Giles' insistence. However, Buffy thought Willow should go because magick might be needed, and Willow didn't want to be gone from Oz for that long. Then the girls didn't want Xander to stay home alone, so the trip turned into an impromptu working holiday.
Up until that night, the gang had little problems, save for Angel wanting to throttle Spike when they descended below deck for the day to sleep. The blond vampire, as usual, couldn't sit still and continuously poked around until Angel threatened to throw him overboard. Then they'd argue for a good fifteen minutes across the cabin until Spike finally fell asleep.
Only a few months had passed since the vampires had last been forced to work together and ended up being shrunk to six-inches in height. Neither one had mentioned what had happened between them during that time, but it was in the back of both of their minds, Angel's especially. The younger vampire had been central to his thoughts over the months, and they were not an unpleasant distraction. In fact, Angel had welcomed the memories and the few fantasies that bombarded him when he went back to his apartment for the day.
The man appeared at the edge of the deck, Willow in front of him, the revolver now aimed to the back of her head. "Untie the raft, sweetie," he told her, his voice echoing down to the others.
"What is he doing?" Cordelia asked, panic in her voice. "He can't take our boat."
The rope came flying down and hit the water with a hard slap. Then a scream ripped through the night as Willow was roughly pushed off the boat, landing with a loud splash when she entered the water. Oz was out of the raft in an instant, swimming rapidly to his girlfriend's side, as the redhead surfaced and sputtered.
The engine started up and those in the raft exchanged startled glances. "Hey! You can't just leave us here!" Buffy screamed up to the pirate.
"Watch us!" the man yelled back, then laughed as the boat pulled away. The boat that the men had come from started up its own engine and sped off after the other one, testifying to the fact that the hijacking was a well-planned operation for the pirates.
Oz and Willow swam over to the side of the octangular, eight-person raft and were helped aboard. The seven of them watched in silence until the lights from the boats disappeared into the distance. The half-moon was left as their only source of light.
"They left us," Cordelia said, breaking into the disbelieving silence of the night. "I can't believe they left us!"
"At least we're alive," Willow pointed out, shivering in Oz's embrace.
Spike slid off his always present duster and passed it to the couple, and Oz gave him a grateful look. "Thanks," the werewolf said, covering Willow with it.
"There are emergency provisions in that kit behind you, Xander," Angel said.
"Willow, are you ok?" Buffy asked her friend in concern.
"Yeah," Willow answered. "I'm just a little wet."
"Good," Buffy said, reaching out to squeeze the hackers shoulder. "I was scared."
"Me, too. That was almost as scary as the time Angel...," Willow trailed off with an embarrassed look. "Never mind."
Angel pushed aside the familiar guilt as it crept upon him in favor of making sure those he held most dear were able to stay alive until they were rescued. "Xander, what's in the kit?"
Xander had the waterproofed bag open on his crossed legs. "Two flares, matches, first aid stuff, what looks like food of some sort, an empty plastic bottle and some strange looking thing."
"That's probably to make fresh water," Angel explained. "You'll be able to read the instructions in the morning."
"Oh god, morning," Buffy gasped suddenly, looking back and forth between Angel and Spike. "How long until the sun comes up?"
"Three hours or so," Spike replied, looking off into the distance over the calm ocean. "The sun comes up faster over the water for some bloody reason."
"Well, don't just sit there!" Cordelia burst out, putting an arm over the edge of the raft. "Let's get this raft moving! Paddle!"
"Cordelia," Angel said calmly, touching her back. "Stop. Panicking won't do any good."
Xander closed the emergency kit and set it between him and Spike, then took Cordelia's hand out of the water. Squeezing it gently, he said, "Angel's right, much as I hate to say it. If we panic, none of us will survive."
"Military man stuff, Xander?" Buffy asked, fear etched on her face for the two vampires.
Xander shrugged. "Maybe. Either that, or just common sense."
"You have the common sense of a fly, so it must be the former," Cordelia told him. Xander gave her a lopsided grin and she took a deep breath, blowing it out slowly. "Ok, I'm done panicking. Now, what's the plan?"
"Well, what do we know?" Oz asked, running his hand soothingly over Willow's wet hair.
"Two badly dressed tourists just stole our boat," Cordelia said.
"They left us alive," Willow pointed out. "And we're in a raft, not floating in the water."
"We have emergency provisions," Xander added. "There's enough here for at least two days, maybe more if we ration it."
"More, because the poof and I don't need 'em," Spike said quietly.
They fell into an uncomfortable silence for several moments. Buffy was the first to break it. "Maybe if we piled up all our clothes on top of you guys..."
"Spike's duster is pretty big," Willow said. "You may be cramped. Ok, really cramped."
"Does that mean they're going to use us as their emergency rations?" Cordelia asked.
"Now that's something I didn't want to think about," Xander said, shuddering.
"What about under the raft?" Oz suggested. Everyone looked at him and he shrugged. "If they stay directly under it, the sun shouldn't get to them."
"And you guys don't need to breathe," Buffy said.
"If that's the case, why wouldn't they swim deeper and not worry about where the raft was?" Cordelia said.
"Because we could float away, then they'd be stuck out here, not knowing where we were," Willow replied.
"We have rope," Xander said, pulling the end that was tied to the boat out of the water. "We could loop it around under the raft, then all you guys would have to do is hang on."
"Alright, soul-man, over the side with you," Cordelia prompted, giving Angel a slight push. "I don't want to lose my well paying job because you turned into a pile of ashes."
A short while before sunrise, Angel and Spike stripped and went into the water. The women looked, of course, in feminine appreciation. Oz and Xander both looked strictly for comparisons sake, then they both puffed up, much to the amusement of the three ladies.
The plan was that they would keep the raft heading east, where Central America was located. Since they didn't have paddles, save for the two vampires under the raft kicking every so often, a makeshift sail was created using Spike's duster. They took turns holding it, one person on each side to make it taut, and the slight breeze helped push them in the correct direction.
Two full days passed with little change in routine or scenery. The sun rose high in the sky, forcing those not holding the coat to hide under the excess clothing for shade. The humans were hot, irritable, thirsty and hungry, disgusted at having to use the ocean as a bathroom, and getting sunburnt. The vampires weren't too happy, either, having not fed and being stuck under water for close to sixteen hours per day with nothing to do other than hold on and help propel the raft.
Spike especially was going nuts, and took to swimming laps around the raft once the sun set, trying to burn off his excess energy in order to sleep for several hours. He had smoked the remainder of his cigarettes by the time the sun rose the second day, and had become snappish with everyone, adding fuel to the already short tempers of the group. Only Angel continued to act calmly, soothing the others frazzled nerves, even though he wanted nothing better than to throw everyone overboard and make them swim home.
Then on the third day, things drastically changed.
On the third day, the sharks came.
"Is it cannibalism if we eat Deadboy and Spike?" Xander asked.
"God, that's sick, Xander," Cordelia said, glaring at him. She rolled her shoulders and adjusted the makeshift sail, then shifted her weight on her knees. She and Oz were on sail-duty for that hour.
"He brings up a good point," Oz said.
"We are not going to eat Spike or Angel," Buffy stated, glaring at Xander, then Oz.
"Technically, they're not human any more," Xander pointed out. "They're dead."
"It's still human flesh and I cannot believe I'm involving myself in this disgusting conversation," Cordelia said.
"Um, guys," Willow said tentatively.
"Which brings up that whole philosophical argument -- what exactly is a vampire?" Oz continued.
"Guys," Willow repeated.
"They're demons that inhabit humans," Buffy replied to Oz. "Didn't we have this discussion when Vampire Willow was here?"
"Here's a good one for you," Xander said, adjusting the shirt draped over his head like a burnoose. "Why are vampires allergic to crosses, but not Stars of David?"
"Guys!" Willow snapped.
"What is it, Wills?" Buffy asked, looking at her friend. Willow raised her hand and pointed.
"Oh neat, dolphins," Cordelia said. "Hey, do you think we can get them to pull us in, like in the movies."
"Uh, Cordy," Xander said. "'That's no moon.'"
"What?" Cordelia said, frowning at Xander.
"Those aren't dolphins, Cordelia," Willow said. She turned and looked fearfully at Oz. "Those are sharks."
Beneath the surface of the water, Spike was slowly going out of his mind. He'd mentally sung all the songs he could remember the day before, and now he was counting. Despite the burning from the salt, every so often he'd open his vampiric-yellow eyes and check to see if the sun still lit the water around the raft. His arm was hooked around the rope, which was pulled tight enough around the raft to keep the two vampires close to the darkened bottom of it without worry about floating into the sun.
He had just reached one-hundred, fifty thousand when he opened his eyes and saw a blurred shape pass by near the raft. He blinked rapidly, waiting to see if something was actually there or if it was his imagination. He had counted to twenty when it passed by again, close enough for him to be able to discern what it was by the shape.
Spike had seen sharks before and had seen first hand what they did to those unfortunate enough to be in the water when the large predators were hungry. At the time, he'd laughed at the poor humans' misfortune, having pushed the three men over the edge of the ship into the water to begin with. He briefly wondered if it were karma, but then he dismissed the idea, seeing as his punishment was being forced to help out and protect the Slayer and friends for the rest of their lives.
He shut his eyes again and blindly reached to his right. Finding Angel, he jabbed at him until his sire grabbed his arm to stop him. Then the grip tightened and he knew that Angel had seen the sharks. Panic started to engulf him, and he dared to open his eyes to check on the sun. A shark seemed to swim even closer, and he quickly re-closed his eyes.
When Spike had started poking him, Angel had at first gotten annoyed. He immediately changed his tune when he realized the younger vampire wouldn't be touching him at all unless it was something important. Sharks definitely fell under the 'something important' category.
Angel's first thought after seeing the blurry shark was to protect Spike, an age-old response whenever his favorite childe was in danger. It had been over a century since the instant protectiveness over what was 'his' had kicked in, and the younger vampire belonged to him in every sense of the word. Buffy had come the closest to invoking the base reaction, but they'd never achieved the same level of bond that he shared with Spike.
Moving slowly, so as not to attract the sharks' attentions, he turned over so he was facing the bottom of the raft with his back to the inky depths of the ocean. Holding the rope with both hands, he inched to his right until he felt Spike directly beside him. He brought his legs underneath the blond's legs and pushed them upwards, then reached past Spike with his right arm and pulled himself directly under his childe.
Angel lifted them both upwards as close to the bottom of the raft as he could, using the rope as leverage. Then he slid the rope between them, moving them towards one end of the raft, until it was mid-torso on him. Spike was now between him and the raft, shielded as best as Angel could shield him from the sharks. He felt Spike press his vampiric ridges into his chest and the younger vampire's body shaking in fear.
The only thing left to do was wait.
"As long as the sharks don't go under the water, they're safe," Willow whispered, watching the six predators circle the raft. Buffy had taken over for Cordelia with holding the coat, and she and Oz were both mentally urging the wind to pick up.
"Do you think they even know the sharks are here?" Cordelia whispered. The redhead had explained that sharks were attracted by sound, and could hear a pin drop into the water as far away as two miles.
"Come on sun," Buffy urged, her face etched in fear for the two vampires beneath the raft. "Go down."
The group fell into nervous silence as the sun descended too slowly behind them. The wind picked up briefly, almost knocking Oz to the floor of the raft at its suddenness. He exchanged places with Xander, but Buffy wouldn't let Willow take over for her.
"Oh goddess," Willow breathed. "No."
All eyes turned to where Willow was looking and saw the tip of a dorsal fin just as it descended below the surface. Buffy looked behind her and saw that the sun was practically kissing the water. "Hurry," she said. "Please hurry."
They heard a bump on the bottom of the raft and everyone jumped, with Willow, Xander and Cordelia making squeaks of fright. Oz put his arms around Willow and held her close, and Cordelia moved so she was able to wrap an arm around Xander's knees. The wind picked up again, buffeting the taut duster and sending the raft forward on an easterly path.
Under the water, Angel had wrapped one arm around Spike's waist and was holding the younger vampire against him. He felt the brush of something rough against his back and he sent up a prayer towards heaven, not for him, but for the others. The two vampires legs rose and thumped the bottom of the raft from the upswell of water as a shark passed beneath them.
He almost yelled out in joy when he heard the two short raps on the bottom of the raft echoing in the water, indicating that the sun had gone down. He had to tighten his hold on Spike when the blond went to swim away, his body still shaking with uncontrollable fear. Going slowly, Angel used the rope to inch their way to the left side of the raft. When he could go no further without pulling the edge of the raft down, he moved their bodies downward until the rope was no longer between them, then gave Spike a gentle push upwards.
Using Angel's legs as a springboard, Spike surfaced in less than a second and had an arm over the edge of the raft. Oz and Buffy, who had discarded the duster the moment the sun set to prepare to bring the vampires onto the raft, reached down and helped get Spike into the raft. He immediately sat up, pulled his legs up to his chest and tried to make himself as small as possible.
Willow squeaked when another shark went below the surface and the Slayer searched the water for Angel. After the longest seconds of her life, his dark head finally broke the surface, and she and Oz pulled him into the raft. The wind kicked up again and Cordelia and Xander grabbed the duster, quickly putting up their makeshift sail.
"That was not fun," Angel muttered, wiping his wet face with his hand. Buffy hugged him tightly before helping him to sit up. Willow handed him Spike's red shirt, which the vampires were using to dry off before getting redressed each day. Neither of them had wanted to spend all day in the water and then have to wear wet clothing all night.
After a careless wiping down, he put his pants on, then turned his attention to Spike. The blond was still in his vampiric countenance, rocking slightly back and forth, with a glazed look in his yellow eyes. Carefully moving in front of Spike, Angel lifted his childe's chin and began speaking in a low voice. "It's ok, Spike. We're safe." He knew it was a lie, that they weren't really safe from the sharks attacking the raft, but at least he and Spike were out of the water.
Spike shuddered violently, then blinked and focused on his sire kneeling before him. Without thought or care about the others in the raft, he dropped his knees apart, reached up and grabbed Angel behind the neck, and yanked him down into a hard kiss. He cut his tongue on his fangs and shoved it into his sire's mouth, offering his blood.
There had only been two other times in Spike's long life where he'd been that scared. Once was when Drusilla had been attacked by the mob in Prague. The other had been when his sire had disappeared one night in Romania and hadn't returned.
Angel actually wasn't surprised when he was suddenly involved in a bruising kiss. He had known that Spike was frightened to the core by his shaking when they were still in the water, and knew that he would want reassurance that everything was ok. When he tasted his childe's blood, he had to force himself not to take the offer Spike was giving him. He highly doubted the others in the raft would appreciate two vampires going at it right in front of them. They were probably freaking over the kiss as it was.
The dark-haired vampire pushed back on Spike's shoulders and broke away from his kiss. His brown eyes stared into the younger vampire's yellow ones until they faded into the icy blue of his human mask. "Ok, now?" Angel asked quietly.
Spike closed his eyes a moment and reigned in his control, then nodded. He let go of Angel as he re-opened his eyes and ignored the stares he was getting. Inside, however, he was disgusted, not by kissing his sire, but by the vulnerability he'd shown in front of the others. Angel moved away and he grabbed his jeans and slid them on.
"Um, I hate to interrupt the awkward moment," Xander said. "But is that what I think it is?" He gestured with his chin towards the east and all eyes looked past the still circling sharks to see what he had indicated.
They made it to shore without seeing how sharp shark's teeth really were. Xander kissed the sand after they had pulled the raft onto the beach in a dramatic display of joy. Spike disappeared almost immediately, heading along the shoreline at a fast clip until he disappeared from sight. Buffy went to stop him, but Angel prevented her, knowing that his childe needed time alone after what happened in the raft.
A fire was built using driftwood and branches from along the edge of the beach, and soon everyone but Angel was asleep around it. Silently watching the flames, he tried to formulate a plan for the next day. Spike wandered back and took a seat next to him. "Did you find something to eat?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah," Spike replied, keeping his voice low so as not to wake the others. "I'll keep watch if you want to go."
"In a minute," Angel said. "Did you see a place for us to spend the day?"
"There's some rock crevices up the beach a bit," he answered. "They'll do for one day, but not any longer than that."
"I'll tell Buffy to search for something better during the day," Angel said. He studied Spike's profile for a moment. "About earlier..."
"I don't want to talk about it," Spike interrupted quickly, running sand through his fingers.
"What part of 'I don't want to talk about it' don't you bloody understand?" Spike growled. "Now get lost before I change my mind and leave again myself."
Angel shook his head and stood, brushing the sand off the back of his pants. He then silently headed off to find something to eat.
"I hate you."
"Not this again," Angel sighed, shifting on the hard rock, trying to get comfortable. It was pretty difficult to do, considering he was squashed into one of the rock crevices with his annoying childe.
"Everything is your bloody fault," Spike grumbled.
"What else is new?" Angel replied. His eyes shut and he felt himself drifting. He was so very tired.
"Sod off," the blond said.
"Spike, go to sleep," Angel growled.
"No, I want to complain, it's fun," Spike replied.
"Me, of course," he said, grinning.
Angel's hand shot out and clamped over Spike's mouth. "Put a cork in it, Spike, or I will for you," he threatened.
"Ib luk ta zeeru twi," Spike said from behind the hand.
The dark-haired vampire sighed in defeat and dropped his hand. Maybe if he ignored Spike, he'd shut up.
"I hate you."
Then again, it was unlikely.
While the vampires hid from the sun for the day, the other four explored the island on which they found themselves. Willow suspected they were on one of the Revillagigedo Islands because of their approximate position when they'd been left in the raft. The interior was lush and tropical, supporting the idea.
They had stuck together, following the safety in numbers rule, and had found a multitude of wildlife, flora and fauna, and a fresh supply of water. They had also found a cave set up off the ground within close distance to the water, accessible by climbing up large fallen rocks, which Buffy cleared out of any animals.
Returning to the beach, they used rocks to create a giant SOS on the sand. By the time they were finished, the sun had set and Spike and Angel joined them. Then they all headed for where the cave was located. Once there, Spike and Angel were elected to go hunt down some food for everyone -- literally.
Spike looked over towards Angel and the older vampire nodded. Silently, the two game-faced vampires circled their target, what looked to be a small deer of some sort, and prepared to strike. The blond was exhilarated with the hunt, the past few months lacking excitement in Sunnydale for the antsy vampire. Playing with the Slayer was fun, but they both had to pull back so as not to seriously injure one another.
He waited for the signal, poised on his haunches, his duster having been left back at the cave. When it came, he launched himself at the animal with a growl, tackling it to the ground. Angel pounced from the other side, grabbing its legs and breaking them quickly. Spike sunk his fangs into its neck with savagery, loudly feeding. His golden eyes met his sire's, who was crouched on the opposite side of the animal, and he snarled.
Angel narrowed his yellow eyes at Spike's action and growled a warning, leaning forwards on his knuckles and baring his fangs in animalistic fashion. His childe removed his fangs from the deer-like creature, blood staining around his mouth, and responded to the warning with one of his own. An evil, fang-filled grin crossed Angel's face as he realized that Spike wanted to play a game they hadn't played in close to two centuries, and he shot forward and knocked the blond to the ground.
The two fought with teeth and claws, rolling on the dirty ground, making loud snarls and growls. Every time one of them would stand, the other would tackle him to the ground again. Finally, Angel got the upper hand and pinned Spike to the earth. He quickly sliced a small cut on the younger vampire's throat with his canines, then raised his head to stare down into Spike's eyes, showing his dominance.
Spike's face slid back into its handsome human planes and he grinned boyishly up at Angel. "Wanna go another round?" he asked.
Angel let his human mask return and he gave Spike a half-grin. "Depends on the prize," he replied.
"Winner gets to eat Xander," Spike said.
Angel rolled his eyes and climbed off of the younger vampire. He didn't know what happened to the hostility that normally came from Spike when they were together, but at that moment, he was happy that it had dissipated. He hadn't had any male companionship in a long while, having been working exclusively with Cordelia and Doyle just showing up at the office to annoy him.
"As fun as that would be, I think Buffy would have a say in us not wanting to do that," Angel told him, picking up the animal and draping it over his shoulders for the trek back to the cave. "And if not her, then Cordelia and Willow."
Spike pretty-much bounced instead of walked next to Angel, full of energy from the mock-fight. "How about if we torture him a bit? Hang a Ho-Ho from the cave ceiling just out of his reach and watch him jump for it."
Angel laughed, the rich sound echoing in the night. "Now that I might actually pay money to see."
"Oh, even better -- tie his hands behind his back and make the bugger use his teeth," the blond continued, hopping up on a fallen tree and walking along it like a tight-rope performer. "Cor, that would be a bloody riot."
"We'll keep that in mind if things get too boring," Angel said.
Spike jumped off the end of the tree with a dramatic gymnast's flourish. He felt no anger, no tension, none of the usual bad feelings he had for his sire. The teasing in the rock crevices earlier in the day was just that -- teasing. He could honestly say he no longer hated Angel, he hadn't since they'd gotten shrunk together a couple months back and he'd been able to get rid of all the unresolved emotions that had been burning inside of him for a century.
The fear that had encompassed him when the sharks were circling had brought the fact that life, or unlife as it were, was too fragile not to take what you wanted. After thinking about it the night before and most of the day, he decided he wanted his sire back, the friend he'd had for all those years. Granted, there would be no more blood-and-guts violence against humans, since Angel had his soul and he had given his word not to munch on the populace, no matter how tempting, but that was just fine by him.
However, that didn't mean he was going to out-and-out tell Angel about his change of heart. "Race you back," Spike said, then took off running without warning.
Angel didn't even bother to give chase. Chuckling, he continued his leisurely pace, wondering if his childe's playfulness was just in passing, or if it would stay for awhile. He hoped it would be the latter, because, if his calculations were correct, they'd be on whatever island they were on for at least another week before Giles would know that something had gone amiss.
"'Annie Mary Twente,'" Angel read, tilting the worn paperback towards the fire. "'Born October 14, 1880, died October 26, 1886. Father and Mother, may I meet you in your royal court on high.'"
Willow was sitting sideways in Oz's lap, burying her face in his shoulder every so often. Cordelia and Xander sat side by side, and the former May Queen would grab his leg when she got too scared. Buffy sat with her legs crossed, wide-eyed, and Spike lay on his stomach beside her, his chin propped in his hand, his bare feet swinging back and forth in the air.
They were listening intently to Angel's deep voice as he read from a book of true stories about ghosts that Spike'd had in the pocket of his duster. The dark-haired vampire sounded ominous and chilling as he went from story to story, the crackle of the fire and the sounds of the night outside of the cave adding to the creepy mood.
"'That simple epitaph is just the beginning of a hauntingly sad account of the little girl who lies beneath a weathered, granite tombstone on a windswept hillock a few miles southwest of New Ulm, Minnesota. A four-feet-high, eighteen-inch-thick stone and mortar wall surrounds little Annie Mary's grave. Inside the wall, which measures no more than fifteen feet by twenty feet, broken glass, rotting tires, and knee-high weeds attest to the single grave's desolate condition. Rusted hinges at the gap in the wall give evidence that once a gate allowed the visitor entrance. Bramble bushes claw at the cracked mortar, a few elm saplings and tufts of prairie grass the only other vegetation of note.'"
Angel paused and looked up, the shadows from the fire casting his face in an eerie glow. "'Over the grave, nothing grows.'"
Willow squeaked and buried her nose in Oz's neck. "'Who is this child who died so young, so long ago?'" Angel continued. "'To answer that question is to pursue a fascinating account of madness and despair...'"
"Try living with Dru for a century," Spike mumbled. Buffy smacked him across the back of the head.
"'...And one of the most poignant ghost legends of southern Minnesota, for it is said that Annie Mary Twente sleeps uneasily in her pine coffin,'" he read. "'For nearly a century, stories have been told of a small, furtive figure in white wandering forlornly near the gravesite. Automobile lights have suddenly failed on a nearby gravel road, a young boy climbed the ash tree once and fell out for no apparent reason, and though the temperatures may soar into the nineties, the tombstone and their air around it are always cold. In the dead of winter the stone is warm to the touch.'"
Angel paused again, and tilted his head to one side, giving his audience a look that was pure demon. "'Adding to the melancholy of the place is the horror that Annie Mary Twente may have been accidently buried alive.'"
"Boo!" Xander yelled, jumping at Cordelia. She let out a loud screech, which was echoed by Buffy and Willow.
The men started laughing uproariously, the younger vampire going so far as to snort. Buffy kept hitting Spike and he had to curl up into a ball in order to protect himself from her onslaught.
"Xander Harris, that wasn't funny the first time and it still isn't funny!" Cordelia yelled at him.
"But the look on your face is worth years of laughter," Xander gasped out between laughs. She pounded on his shoulder much the same way Buffy was pounding on Spike.
"Don't think I don't feel you laughing, buster," Willow said to Oz.
"Sorry," Oz said, trying to keep his tone even. "You have to admit, it is laugh-worthy."
"Especially considering this is the sixth time he's done it," Angel added.
Buffy raised her fists to him. "Do you want some of this, too?"
"Don't hurt the reader," Angel said, putting up his hands in defense.
"I don't know why any of you chits get scared," Spike said, rolling back onto his stomach. "It's not like you haven't seen worse."
"Present company included, I presume," Buffy said sweetly. He made a face at her.
"What's the scariest thing you've ever seen, Spike?" Willow asked the blond vampire.
"Poopsy first thing in the evening," Spike replied, gesturing to Angel and eliciting more laughter.
Angel scowled at him. "Very droll."
"What about you, Slayer?" Spike said. "Aside from the tosser and myself, what's the scariest thing you've ever encountered?"
"Sid," Buffy replied instantly.
"What's a sid?" Oz asked.
"Ooh, I know," Willow said. "The demon hunter."
"Right," Buffy said. "Before I knew he was womanizing, horny puppet. Spike, you and Sid would have gotten along perfectly."
"That was before I knew you," Willow explained to Oz. "He was after a demon who tried to take Giles' head off during the talent show. It was awful."
"I would assume so," Oz said.
"I had to act in front of people," the redhead continued. "It was sooo scary."
"Wait, you were afraid of a puppet?" Cordelia said. "Where was I?"
"Breaking the eardrums of cats everywhere," Xander told her, patting her comfortingly on the back.
"It wasn't just a puppet," Buffy said. "Although they're bad enough on their own. Sid moved on his own and was stalking me. He thought I was the demon."
"Anyone could make that mistake, pet," Spike said. Buffy smacked him again. "Ow! Quit hitting me."
"Then quit saying stupid and mean stuff," she replied. "Better yet, don't talk at all."
"That's a statistical impossibility," Angel said, smirking at the blond vampire.
"Sod off," Spike retorted.
"Xander, what about you?" Cordelia asked. "I know you scream like a sissy and run away from everything, but what was the scariest? And if you say me, I'll rip your lips off and feed them to Spike."
"Thanks, luv," Spike said to her. "But they'd be too fattening. I'm trying to watch my figure, you know."
"Um, I'm gonna have to go with the Praying-Mantis lady," Xander replied. He shivered in revulsion. "That was just nyagh."
"Again, where was I?" Cordelia asked. "I don't remember her."
"This was before you joined the Scooby Gang, Cord," he answered. "Way back when the Buffster first came to Sunnydale."
"Oh, you mean before I started to hang out with you losers," she said, then shook her head. "I don't know what I was thinking by allowing you guys to be known as my friends."
"So, Cordelia," Xander said abruptly. "What about you?"
"That bug guy," Cordelia replied immediately. She glared over the fire at Spike. "Some bleached moron sent him after Buffy, only he got the wrong girl."
"At least he had taste," Spike said.
Cordelia preened and Xander scowled. "Keep your bloodsucking comments away from my Cordy."
"Your Cordy?" Cordelia said.
"Willow, how about you?" Buffy said loudly, interrupting the fight before it started.
"Faith," Willow replied. Everyone but Spike snickered. "Sorry, but it's true. She was just plain scary." The redhead looked up at her boyfriend. "What about you, Oz?"
"The vampire you," Oz answered. "That scared me to the bone."
"That's so sweet," Willow said, cupping his cheek. "In a strange sort of way, considering it was still me, but it wasn't. And she wore such binding clothes." Both Xander and Angel cleared their throats.
"I think it's the vampires' turn," Buffy said, giving Angel a pointed look. "Scariest thing you've seen."
"Well, hell is a pretty scary place," Angel replied, frowning slightly. "I can't say that I saw anything non-memory wise that was too scary."
"Don't get all broody on us, Angel," Cordelia said.
"What?" Angel gave her a puzzled look. "I'm not."
"He only has one facial expression, ladies and gents," Spike said. "So it's right hard to tell."
"I know what was the scariest creature I've seen," Angel said, staring pointedly at Spike. "Do you remember the summer we went to that party with the lady who fell into the fountain and couldn't get back out."
Spike's eyes widened. "Then that...thing went and sucked her right down."
"Yes, that." Angel nodded.
"Cor, that thing was bloody disgusting," Spike said. "It had what? Five tentacles?"
"Four," Angel corrected. "And they were green and slimy and had little pustules that shot that mustard colored venom." He made a face. "We decided to leave that party right after that."
"That just leaves you, Spike," Willow said. "What was the scariest thing you've ever seen?"
"I think the wanker should get on with the bleedin' story," Spike said.
"Come on, Spike, we all answered," Buffy prompted. "Fess up."
Spike looked down at his chipped nail polish. "A pile of ashes," he answered quietly.
"A pile of ashes?" Cordelia said. "Why would that be the scariest thing you've ever seen?"
The blond vampire raised his eyes and looked directly at his sire. "I thought they were Angelus'."
"When was this?" Angel asked in the quiet of the cave.
"August 31, 1898," Spike answered without hesitation. "You had gone off by yourself, leavin' me an' Dru alone that night. Next night, I opened the door and there was a pile of ashes on the ground right outside. I told myself that it couldn't be you, but then you never came back."
"That was the night I was cursed," Angel said, that date forever etched into his mind. "I took off running and never looked back."
Spike shrugged. "I got over it right quick. I had Dru all to myself. I found out half a century later you were still among the unliving and that's that."
Angel could tell that Spike was covering up his feelings because of the others. He opened the book again, intent on moving away from the sensitive subject. "Well, let's see what's so scary about Annie Mary."
"Hey, that rhymed," Willow said with a grin. "Scary Annie Mary."
The dark-haired vampire chuckled, then continued the story. "'Annie Mary was the youngest of five daughters....'"
"Hold still," Angel growled.
"Well, hurry the bloody hell up," Spike growled back. "The sun will be up before we get a chance to do anything."
"Spike, the sun hasn't even gone down, yet," Angel replied. He dipped two fingers into the wet mud and ran it straight down Spike's nose, over his mouth and down his chin. Then he added matching slashes across the blond's cheeks. "You were the one who wanted to do this."
"But that was before you decided to turn me into the bleedin' Sistine Chapel, Mike," Spike replied. He shifted on the hard rock floor in the back of the cave, looking past his sire out into the fading daylight.
Angel rolled his eyes and continued working, admittedly having fun. He had been surprised when he had woken up to find Spike leaning over his bare torso, tracing mud patterns on him. But instead of stopping his childe, he relaxed and allowed himself to enjoy Spike's gentle touch as he entertained himself.
The night before, after the others had fallen asleep around the fire, Spike had disappeared for awhile as Angel sat watch in the mouth of the cave, reading more of the book. When the blond vampire had returned, he was carrying a crudely-made bucket to carry water and a large, rubbery leaf filled with mud. He had then proceeded to paint lewd pictures on the walls of the cave until he had gotten tired and retreated to the back of the cave to sleep.
Angel remembered thinking that archeologists would one day find the cave and wonder what kind of ancient people would paint exaggerated stick-figures in blatantly sexual positions. He had stayed awake and on guard, even though he had to retreat to the back of the cave as well, until Buffy had awoken. She had taken one look at the pictures and sighed, like a mother does when her child does something ridiculous.
"Are you done yet?" Spike whined, breaking into Angel's thoughts.
"Almost," Angel replied, adding small dots under both of his eyes. "You do realize the others are going to think we're nuts."
"I'll tell them we've gone Lord of the Flies," Spike told him.
"You've read Lord of the Flies?" Angel asked, sitting back on his heels to examine his 'artwork.'
"Don't sound so bloody amazed," he scowled. "I read lots of things."
"You're adorable," Angel mocked with a smirk, setting the leftover mud-filled leaf aside. Spike glared at him. "Now, about the book..."
"The Slayer was reading it for one of her classes," Spike said. "When she finished, she gave it to me." He looked past his sire out of the cave. "I wish the bleedin' sun would set already."
"Anxious to meet the others on the beach?"
"More like anxious to get away from you," he replied. Angel shook his head and moved to put his shoes on. "I wonder what they did all day out there."
"Do you ever wonder what vampires do all night?" Willow asked, forming the sand for her portion of the giant sandcastle the five friends were building.
"Besides killing and maiming and doing other things that involve blood?" Buffy said. "I think those things take up their entire night."
"Not Angel," Cordelia pointed out. She grimaced as she looked at her fingernails, then began to rub the sand off of them.
"That's right," Xander said, adding small sticks to his end of the sandcastle as little people. "Soul-boy can't do that sort of thing."
"Actually, yes he does," Cordelia said. "You don't know how many dry cleaning bills I give him for all the clothes he ruins. Anyway, he reads a lot after hours. Or would they be normal hours for him?"
"Normal," Oz answered. He leaned over and helped Willow with the tower she was building.
"What about Spike?" Cordelia asked. "He doesn't do the killing humans thing anymore."
"He annoys me, mostly," Buffy replied. She shrugged. "But after I threaten to chop him into little pieces if he doesn't go away, I don't know. Although one time he told me he had a date, but I think he was being sarcastic."
"Who would want to date Spike?" Willow said, then smiled sheepishly. "That sounded kinda mean."
"Deadboy would," Xander replied. "You saw the way they were sucking face. Can we say blech?"
"It was kinda weird," Buffy said. "I mean, I know they had history together. History history."
"Seeing your ex frenching some other guy must be a real ego-booster," Cordelia said.
"Thank you for pointing that out, Cordy," Buffy replied sarcastically.
"I wonder what it was like between them," Willow said. "Do you think they did couple stuff?"
"God, I cannot picture Angel and Spike together like that at all," Cordelia said. "They are too fine to be gay."
"Vampires aren't gay or straight," Willow pointed out. "They're all bisexual. Remember evil me?"
"I think it's the relationship that's important," Oz commented. "Not the sex of the couple."
"You probably see a lot of that, being in a band and all," Cordelia said.
"Some," Oz replied.
"Can you imagine if they got back together after all this time?" Willow said. "That'd be so sweet."
"Don't you mean that would be so barf-worthy?" Xander clarified. "Come on, Buff. You're with me on this, right? Deadboy and Junior, a lovey-dovey couple?"
"If it made Angel happy, I wouldn't mind," Buffy replied. "Although not happy-happy, because then his soul would run away and that's not of the good. But if he could be a little happy, I'd be happy. Does that make sense?"
"You want him to not be sad because you're not sad because you have Riley," Willow said. "Well, you sort of have Riley, in that 'moving towards a relationship' way."
"We're not quite there yet, but yeah," Buffy said with a small smile. "And Riley isn't even bothered by my running off suddenly or by Spike's annoying habit of appearing out of nowhere to bug me because he's bored."
"Spike does get bored a lot," Oz said.
"That's because he's probably lonely," Willow said.
"Which means maybe he should hook up again with Angel," Cordelia added. "They could keep each other occupied so that Angel would stop annoying me and Spike wouldn't annoy Buffy."
"I'm still going ick," Xander said. "That would be like Cordy and me getting back together."
Cordelia arched a delicate eyebrow at him, then picked up her rubbery leaf full of wet sand and dumped it over his head.
"What in the world do you guys have on you?" Buffy asked, staring at Angel and Spike as they joined the group on the beach. Xander and Oz had built a bonfire and were cooking snake on it for dinner.
"Ask him," Angel replied, pointing at Spike.
"You are too weird for words," Buffy told Spike.
He gave her a shrug and a boyish grin. "Wanna fight?"
"Sure," she replied, rising and following him up the beach a short distance.
"We were just wondering how long it'll be before Giles comes to the rescue," Willow said as Angel sat down beside her and Oz. Xander and Cordelia sat on the opposite side of the bonfire, arguing over how to cook the snake.
"Nice designs, by the way," Oz commented. "Hieroglyphics?"
"It was going to take us four or five days to get to Guatemala," Angel answered Willow's question. "So he won't start to suspect something's wrong for at least another three days, because he'll assume we forgot to call and give us some leeway. Then he'll have to come out and search for us, so add maybe another week onto that."
"I'm glad we landed on a good island then," Willow said. "We got food, water, shelter, Spike's lighter for fires. I haven't seen any big predators, well, other than you and Spike." She gave him a grin.
"The only dangers you mostly have to worry about are spiders and snakes," he said, looking past the fire to watch Spike and Buffy spar. "Scorpions, too."
"So, we're going to be here another eight days minimum," Oz said. "This should be interesting."
"Why's that?" Willow asked.
"First day of the full moon is in four," Oz replied.
"Oh goddess," the redhead gasped. "That's right."
"Don't worry, Oz," Angel said. "Spike and I will take care of it." Oz nodded in silent thanks.
"Snake's done," Xander announced. "Anyone want to go tell Buffy?"
"I'll go," Angel volunteered. Rising, he silently made his way across the sand towards the fighting duo.
He paused when he was almost upon them and watched them fight for a few moments. Their movements were well-matched and graceful, their fighting styles similar. He felt as though he was watching a dance rather than a sparring match. They looked beautiful in the moonlight and he felt an ache in his heart for both of them, for the past, for the non-existent future.
With a sigh, he pushed back the feelings, then cleared his throat. "Buffy, food's ready."
Buffy dropped out of her fighting stance with a grin plastered on her face. "Thanks, Angel. And thanks for the fight, Spike," she said, then jogged back to the bonfire.
"I'm surprised you haven't tried anything with Buffy," Angel commented from beside Spike as they watched her go.
"What make you think I haven't?" Spike asked.
Angel looked down at the mud-painted vampire beside him. The moonlight played across his features, emphasizing the dark streaks, making him look like an ancient jungle warrior, albeit a peroxide-blond one. "Because you are impossible to resist when you want to be."
A large, cocky grin crossed Spike's face. "I really am, aren't I?"
Angel suddenly grabbed him into a headlock and used his knuckles on the younger vampire's head. "On second thought..."
Angel stood at the entrance to the cave, game-faced, staring off into the night. Willow, Buffy, Cordelia and Xander all sat behind the fire, near the back of the cave. The redhead continuously shot worried glances outside as the others tried to distract her with conversation.
A wolf howled.
Tensing, Angel tried to pinpoint how far away the werewolf was from the cave. Before the sun had set, Oz and Buffy had trekked along the beach around to the far side of the small island, then the Slayer had returned alone. It was the second night of the wolf's cycle, the actual full moon, when Oz's change was at its most complete.
The dark-haired vampire scanned the darkness, searching for either the werewolf or his childe. Spike had gleefully volunteered to keep Oz-wolf away from the cave, stripped down to only his jeans, and had bounded off into the jungle-like interior of the island like an over-enthusiastic puppy.
The brush down below moved and Angel sniffed the air. The scent of wolf was becoming more distinct, indicating that he was coming closer. He concentrated on the spot he saw the movement, trying to discern what was causing it.
Spike suddenly dropped down from above the opening of the cave, landing in a crouch beside Angel. The older vampire jumped, as did the others, and the blond gave everyone a fang-filled grin. "Hello, people."
"Don't do that, Spike," Buffy growled.
"Sorry," Spike said. "Well, that's a lie, I'm not." He turned so he was facing the mouth of the cave, still in a crouch. He put on hand on the ground and leaned forward slightly to scan the ground below. Dropping his voice, he glanced up at his sire, and said, "He's close by."
"I know," Angel replied, returning his gaze to outside of the cave.
"Look at them," Cordelia whispered on the other side of the fire. "Even when they're all fangy, they're still gorgeous."
"Not seeing it," Xander said.
"You have to admit, they do look good together," Buffy commented.
They watched as Angel reached out and ran his hand over Spike's hair, almost absently. Then they saw Spike look up at Angel with unmistakable adoration, even with the ridges and fangs.
"Oh my god, I think Spike has the hots for Angel," Cordelia said.
"I thought we already established that," Xander said. "Raft, sharks, tonsil hockey?"
"She means Spike likes Angel," Willow replied. "Like likes."
"I wonder if Angel knows," Buffy said. They watched as Angel looked down at Spike and smiled at him. "Ok, never mind. I think he knows."
"Then why aren't they together?" Willow asked.
"Still ick-ing over here," Xander commented.
"They're both men," Cordelia said. "Even if Angel does brood over everything, men never show their feelings."
"Hey, I'm a man," Xander said. Cordelia snorted in an unladylike fashion and he scowled at her.
Spike's growl echoed in the cave and it was soon joined by a second one coming from Angel. The four friends exchanged wide-eyed glances and moved closer together. The dark-haired vampire abruptly leapt from the entry of the cave and they heard the unmistakable sounds of fighting over Spike's continual growl.
Spike rose from his crouch and began pacing at the mouth of the cave, stopping every few steps to stare down at his sire and Oz-wolf as they rolled on the ground, fighting. He wanted to be the one out there, but Angel had told him to protect the others before he jumped down himself. He hated feeling useless or helpless, of which he felt both at that moment.
The fighting stopped and the werewolf loped off into the interior. Angel watched for a moment, then climbed back up to the cave. "He shouldn't bother us for the rest of the night," he said.
"I hate you," Spike growled, too low for anyone but his sire to hear. "Why the bloody hell did you do that?"
"Do what?" Angel asked, confused.
"There was no friggin' reason for you to do that," Spike said, gesturing out of the cave. "I had everything under control."
Angel reached out and ran a finger over a cut on Spike's cheek. "Maybe I didn't want you to get hurt," he replied quietly, his human mask sliding back into place.
All the anger rushed out of Spike at his sire's words and actions. His own face slid back into its handsome planes and he looked into Angel's dark brown eyes. They stared at each other for several moments, unknowingly painting a picture for those on the other side of the cave.
The ladies all held their collective breaths at the romanticism. None of them dared move a muscle, watching as they would a movie, their hearts beating furiously. All of them had one thought on their minds -- kiss him!
Of course, Xander had other thoughts entirely, ranging from fascination to ick. Not wanting to see what would happen, he turned his head and saw his three friends practically swooning. He made a noise of disgust, which broke the spell over the cave.
"Xander!" Cordelia hissed, smacking him as Angel and Spike separated. "You jackass!"
"What?" Xander asked defensively.
"You really know how to ruin a moment, Xander," Buffy scowled at him.
"Yeah," Willow agreed, folding her arms across her chest.
"What did I miss?" Angel asked, joining them. Spike sat at the mouth of the cave, his legs dangling from the edge.
"Only Xander being an idiot," Buffy said.
"I can see that anytime," Angel said, a smirk crossing his lips.
"They're all mad because they wanted to see ymmph-"
Cordelia clamped her hand over Xander's mouth, cutting off his sentence. "How much longer until sunrise?" she asked, changing the subject.
"Another four hours or so," Angel replied. "Why don't you guys get some sleep? Oz won't be back tonight."
"Good idea," Buffy said. She gave Xander a pointed look. "I know Xander is almost too tired to talk."
"Mi nem naa," Xander replied from behind Cordelia's hand.
Angel shook his head and retrieved the ghost book. "Goodnight," he said, then headed back to the front of the cave.
"Say anything, Xander, and I'll...I'll...do something really evil," Willow said the moment Angel left.
"Then I'll hurt you," Buffy added.
"And you don't even want to know what I'll do to you," Cordelia said, removing her hand from over his mouth.
"Fine, I won't tell them you guys are sick, twisted individuals who wanted to watch two men smooch," Xander said.
"God, Xander, don't you have a single romantic bone in your body?" Cordelia said. "Oh wait, I know the answer to that already, don't I?"
"Hey, I know romance," Xander protested.
All three girls snorted in response.
"Maybe I should have let you deal with Oz," Angel groaned the following late afternoon. He winced as he turned onto his stomach, using his balled-up shirt as a pillow. "I think I'm getting too old for this."
"I could have told you that," Spike replied, sitting up on his knees. Without being asked, he began to massage Angel's shoulders and back. "Are you going to let me keep the wolf distracted tonight?"
"Mmm-hmm," Angel all but purred. Spike chuckled and continued to rub his sire's sore muscles. Eyes shut, Angel thoroughly enjoyed the strength of the younger vampire's fingers, and the relaxation coming over him. "Damn, Will, that feels so good."
Spike paused for a second at the use of his name, then continued. Angel hadn't called him by name like that in over a century. It sent an undeniably pleasant feeling to his heart and his lips curled up in a bright smile. He'd forgotten how nice it was to receive a compliment from his sire, considering how few and far between they had been, especially after Drusilla had joined them.
"Can I take you home with me?" Angel murmured with a pleased sigh.
"Sorry, I'm not housebroken," Spike replied. Angel let out a small chuckle. "Besides, I doubt you would want to put up with me just for a free massage every once in awhile."
Angel looked at him out of the corner of his eye. "I can think of several more things you could do," he said in a low voice.
This time, Spike froze, not knowing if he heard right or not. Angel turned onto his side, causing Spike's hands to fall away, and looked up at him. He searched the dark-haired vampire's eyes for some clue as to what Angel was thinking. "Angelus?" he questioned quietly, uncertainty tinging his words.
Angel reached up with his left hand and ran his finger along Spike's jaw. Pushing up with his other arm until he was even with the younger vampire's face, he slid his hand behind Spike's neck and pulled him gently forward. He did not force the blond, leaving his touch light in order to give him a chance to pull away. When he didn't, Angel's lips turned up slightly before he pressed them to Spike's.
Both vampires inhaled sharply, their eyes falling closed as one. Gently, Angel deepened the kiss, much the same way Spike had months before. Unhurriedly, he brushed his lips back and forth against the younger man's, then applied slight pressure, opening his mouth slightly. He rubbed his thumb in small circles on the back of Spike's neck, allowing the tactile sensations to wash over him as he used his tongue to stroke the inside of the blond's mouth.
He felt the tentative brush of Spike's tongue against his and he invited the younger vampire to play in an entirely different manner. Their tongues twined together, the kiss progressing even further, growing steadily more passionate, yet staying tender. A small purr of pleasure rolled into the cave, but neither one knew who it came from, and neither cared.
The sound of the others returning slowly broke the two vampires apart. Angel opened his eyes first and studied Spike's handsome face. He saw the other man's tongue dart out to lick his lower lip, then rub them together. A smile crossed the dark-haired vampire's face when he saw this, and he leaned forward and placed another soft kiss on Spike's mouth. He released the blond completely and pulled his shirt on, then turned to the entry of the cave just as the others entered.
"Guess what we found," Willow said excitedly upon entering. She gestured to Xander. "Show them, Xander."
"We found a map," Xander said, waving the worn-looking piece of paper in the air. "A treasure map."
"A treasure map?" Angel said with disbelief.
"Let's see," Spike said, having managed to regain his equilibrium and stopped his heart from pounding in his chest, even though, technically, it didn't beat.
"Forget it," Xander said, holding the page to his chest. "You just want the treasure for yourself."
"Xander, stop being an idiot," Cordelia said, taking it from him. She passed it to Angel.
The paper felt odd to Angel, almost as if it weren't paper at all, but something else. The edges of it were jagged and brown, as if they had been burned at one time. The black writing on it wasn't very faded, but the script was small and neat -- and surprisingly in the Queen's English. An arrow pointed north along one side of the map and, of course, an 'X' marked the spot.
Angel passed it back to Spike, who examined it curiously, then handed back. "Neat," the blond vampire said.
"Do you really think there's a buried treasure on the island?" Buffy asked, more curious than excited, as Xander and Willow were.
"I doubt it," Angel replied. "But if you guys want to look..."
"We're going to start tomorrow morning," Willow said, holding onto Oz's arm. "That way we have all day and don't have to worry about the moon."
"Speaking of which," Buffy said. "We should get going, Oz."
"Right," Oz replied. He kissed Willow, then nodded goodbye to everyone and left with Buffy.
Xander sat down on the rock floor of the cave and studied the map. "Well, what do you think, Cordy? Is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?"
"If so, it'd better have some great jewelry for my having to put up with you this long," Cordelia said, sitting down beside him.
"Treasure or not, it'll be fun to look," Willow said, taking a seat, as well. "I was getting kinda tired of building sandcastles. Not that building them wasn't fun, too. But this witch can only take so much."
"You're starting to get all peely, anyway," Cordelia pointed out. "You are going to need some serious moisturizing when we get home."
Spike was perched on the end of a tree limb, watching and listening to the night. Bare-foot and bare-chested, he waited, allowing his predatory instincts to come forth, his yellow eyes flashing. He was in his natural element. He was prepared to fight for his territory. He was ready to protect his own.
He was having fun.
Looking over his shoulder, he could see the flickering flames coming from the cave, and his sire silhouetted in the opening. He felt a different sort of flame flicker to life inside of him -- that of desire. He wanted Angel, for much more than just a friend and, with that kiss that occurred earlier, he was pretty certain the older vampire wanted the same thing.
He knew he shouldn't allow himself to become attached again. His sire had a way of breaking his heart, whether it was by doing it himself or by taking the woman he loved. But he had grown up from a mischievous young boy to a young man who had loved everyone and everything, and that had followed him into the darkness when Angelus had turned him, although it put a different twist on who he loved.
Briefly, he wondered if he'd be in Angel's naked embrace the following day, but then the sound of another predator stalking nearby pulled his thoughts back to the task at hand. With a feral grin, he prepared to distract Oz-wolf and have a lot of fun doing it.
"This wasn't what I bloody meant," Spike muttered, arm over his eyes as he lay on the hard rock floor in the back of the cave.
"What was that?" Angel asked.
"Noth-ow!" he exclaimed, wincing and moving away from his sire's hands.
"Stop moving," Angel instructed.
"Stop poking on me," Spike snapped back.
"Do you want to bleed out on the floor?" Angel asked, pulling the needle straight up.
"If it means you'll stop poking on me," the blond grumbled. "Yes."
"Just hold still, you big baby," Angel said. Carefully, he inserted the needle under Spike's skin, then drew it through, stitching up one of the large gashes on the younger vampire's side.
"Ow! That fucking hurts!"
Angel took a deep breath -- a necessary one, if he didn't want to throttle his childe - and put his hand on the middle of Spike's bare chest. He applied pressure, holding the blond forcefully down, until Spike raised his arm from over his eyes to glare at him. "Are you going to let me finish?"
Spike ground his teeth together for a few seconds before growling, "Yes."
"It's not my fault," the dark-haired vampire said, releasing the pressure in order to continue.
"Yes, it is," Spike stated, putting his arm back over his eyes. He hissed as his sire started on the next gash in his side, made from the werewolf's claws the night before.
"How do you figure that?"
"If I hadn't been thinking about me an' you an' being naked, this wouldn't have happened," he grumbled.
Angel paused as the younger vampire's words hit him and what they implied. Unbidden, his eyes ran down Spike's nude form and a smirk crossed his face. "Well, you're naked," he teased.
"Sod off," Spike growled.
Chuckling, Angel continued his first aid, glad that the emergency kit from the raft had a basic first aid kit that included a needle and thread. Spike's injuries were bad enough to require stitches, and wouldn't be fully healed for at least a full day. Oz had apologized when he'd returned to the cave, but Spike had shrugged it off, telling the young werewolf that he'd had fun getting the wounds and not to worry about it.
It was laundry day again and both the vampires' clothing had been confiscated to be washed, as usual. Using sand and the salt water, every few days the girls and guys would separate to opposite ends of the beach and wash their clothing. The sun would have everything dry in less than a half an hour and someone would return the vampires' clothes before going off with the group for the day.
Angel was pleasantly surprised that everyone was getting along so well. It was a testament to how strong the friendship was between the others, Cordelia included, despite her being gone for most of the past year. Most people would have panicked about being stuck on a literally deserted island with no amenities and having to eat off the land. Not this group. They treated their enforced stay as a vacation rather than a problem, enjoying their time together on the beach and exploring the island.
The original sunburns that the five humans had gotten on the raft had changed into deep tans. Even Oz and Willow, who were the fairest of the group, had become bronzed. Injuries had stayed minor, cuts and scratches and a few bug bites, and good humor stayed intact. They ate whatever Spike and Angel had caught when they went hunting for their own food, drank the fresh water from the pond, and slept protected in the cave set high enough off the ground to prevent normal predators from climbing the rocks to get to it.
The nights were for the vampires. After dark, the seven would do something together for awhile, then Angel and Spike would go off to hunt. Then Angel would sit watch, which was fine with him, while Spike disappeared to find his own entertainment. But the younger vampire would always return early enough to talk with him for a few hours before the sun rose.
"Are you done yet?" Spike whined, breaking into Angel's thoughts.
"Almost," Angel replied, tying off another knot. He cut the end of the thread and stuck it and the needle in the first aid kit. Turning back, he let his eyes travel over Spike again, and he remembered the blond's words and what they meant.
Desire shot through him, but with Spike's injuries, the younger man couldn't move around too much. However, that didn't prevent Angel from moving. The dark-haired vampire only hoped he hadn't misconstrued what Spike had said, because he was going to administer first aid of a different sort. "Tell me how you got clawed again," he prompted in a low voice.
"No," Spike said.
"You said something about me and you..."
"Angel-" the blond warned.
"...And being naked..."
"Drop it," he growled, firmly keeping his arm over his eyes. He could feel his cock twitching at his sire's low tone and hoped that Angel didn't notice.
"Were you hoping something might happen...?"
"No, now shut up," he lied.
"Something like this?"
"Leave me the bloody hell alllllooooohhh Angelus," Spike hissed, his hips jerking up when he felt Angel's mouth around him. The dark-haired vampire chuckled, causing his throat muscles to contract around the head of Spike's shaft, and the younger man groaned in pleasure. "Fuck."
"Do you want me to stop?" Angel asked, then swirled his tongue along the sensitive spot of Spike's cock.
"Cor, no," Spike gasped. "Please, no."
Angel chuckled again, then Spike felt himself being fully engulfed by the older man's mouth. He thrust up uncontrollably, the sensations overwhelming him immediately. It had been over a century and a half since his sire had done this, well before Drusilla had joined them, and even then, the dark-haired vampire rarely pleasured him in this manner.
Two minutes hadn't even passed before he exploded into orgasm, shooting himself into Angel's mouth with a strangled cry. He laid there, stunned, staring at his sire with huge eyes as Angel straightened and licked his lips. "Wha...why..."
"Shh," Angel said, putting two fingers over Spike's lips. "I wanted to."
Spike was cut off when Angel replaced his fingers with his lips. The kiss was short and gentle, leaving the blond just as stunned. Angel then laid down beside him and, mindful of his injuries, put an arm across his waist. "Sleep," the older vampire said quietly.
"Like I could sleep after that," Spike muttered. However, his body had other ideas. The long and active night combined with the wonderful orgasm caused him to drift off within a few minutes.
When Angel knew that Spike had fallen asleep, he propped his head up on his hand and studied the younger vampire's peaceful face. His cock throbbed between them, aching for release, but he ignored it. What he had done hadn't been to receive something in return, it was purely to give the man beside him pleasure, something he hadn't done in a very long time.
He heard someone climbing up the rocks outside of the cave and raised his gaze. Oz entered, clothing in hand. "Hey," he whispered, setting the clothing down halfway into the cave, well away from the sunlit mouth. "How is he?"
The smile that spread over Angel's face was full of humor. "I think he'll be just fine," he whispered in reply.
Oz nodded and Angel saw relief evident in his expression. "I'm suppose to tell you we're going treasure hunting. We'll be back before the sun sets."
"Be careful," Angel said. Oz nodded again, lifted his hand in goodbye, and left.
The dark-haired vampire's gaze returned to Spike's sleeping face and his smile returned to one of tenderness. Laying his head back down, he closed his eyes and joined his childe in sleep.
Spike sleepily opened his eyes and found himself face-to-face with Angel. Chocolate brown eyes met his and an unconscious smile crept across his mouth. "Hello, Angelus," he said, his eyelids drifting shut again. He heard his sire chuckle and he pried his eyes open again, trying to get his mind to function. "What're you laughin' at?"
"I'd forgotten how cute you were first thing in the evening," Angel replied, his voice heavy with amusement.
"I'm not cute," Spike muttered, his lids fluttering shut once more. "I'm a big, evil vampire."
"You're a short, not-very-evil, cute vampire," Angel corrected. He'd also forgotten how fun it was to pester the blond vampire first thing in the evening, while Spike was still between being asleep and being awake. The highlight part was that Spike never remembered what he said, and Angel could use whatever the younger man muttered to taunt him unmercifully.
"Bugger off," Spike grumbled, burying his face into the crook of his elbow, which was bent at an odd angel under his head as a pillow. "I'm not short."
"Vertically challenged?" Angel asked, choking on his laughter.
"Be happy that I love you, or I'd have to bloody hurt you for that," Spike mumbled, drifting back to sleep with a added, "Wanker."
Angel's laughter cut off abruptly and he stared at Spike. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. He didn't know how to react, other than to continue to stare at the vampire who had fallen back to sleep beside him. After a few moments, he snapped out of his shock and sat up. Running a hand through his hair, he tried to wrap his mind around the emotions churning inside of him.
When he didn't have immediate luck, he climbed over Spike and got dressed, then went and sat as near to the entrance of the cave as he could. The mouth of the cave faced south, so the sun always invaded the interior until it set for the day. Angel looked out at the fading daylight as it played amongst the leaves on the tall trees.
In all the years Angel had played with Spike while he was in between sleep and wakefulness, he'd never heard those words uttered. He couldn't figure out why, either, considering what he'd learned from when the two vampires had been shrunk a few months ago. However, he was immensely glad that he hadn't known when he didn't have his soul, because he would have held Spike's love over the younger vampire's head like the bastard he'd been.
That didn't mean that he knew what to do now that he had his soul, though. He was unsure of his feelings for the younger vampire. Over the past two weeks, those feelings had been changing, especially once the two of them had wrestled the first official night on the island. Spike's playfulness and generally constant good mood had helped, too.
With a sigh, Angel decided not to think about the sleep-filled confession. Spike wouldn't remember he'd said it and dwelling on it wouldn't sort out his own emotions. He'd just have to wait and see.
Spike muttered something from behind him and he glanced over his shoulder to see that the blond had turned to his other side, and was now facing him. He let his eyes trace over his childe's naked form.
However, not knowing his feelings wasn't going to stop him from enjoying himself. With an anticipatory smile, he returned his gaze to outside of the cave as Spike stirred.
Spike forced himself to sit up when he half-woke this time. His body was sore from the still healing injuries and he could really use a cigarette. He opened his eyes, then closed them again when the fading sunlight assaulted them. He hated evenings.
Squinting, he managed to find his clothes and pulled his jeans on. Then he dug through his duster pocket until he found the black pen-cap he'd been using since he'd run out of cigarettes and popped the smashed plastic end into his mouth. Not bothering to stand up, he crawled over to where Angel was sitting and leaned back against the cave wall beside him.
"Good evening," Angel said, a wry smile on his face.
"Shut up," he grunted, chewing on the cap.
Angel chuckled. "How's your side?"
"Peachy," Spike replied. He turned his head and looked out of the cave, muttering, "I hate evenings."
"So I've noticed," Angel said.
"Have I told you to shut up yet?" he said. "If not, shut the bloody hell up."
Angel arched his brow, then rolled onto his knees, putting him directly in front of Spike's crossed legs. He put one hand on the rock wall beside Spike's head and used the other to pull the pen-cap from the blond's mouth. "There's only one way I'm going to shut up," he told Spike.
Spike was still unused to this sort of directness from his sire and his eyes widened just before his mouth was claimed by Angel's. With a small groan, he let his eyes fall shut and let the older vampire pull him into the kiss. Bringing up a hand, he slid it behind Angel's neck and into the back of his dark hair.
The sounds of the others returning once again broke them apart before the kiss could progress too far. Spike stared up into Angel's inflamed eyes and he swallowed heavily when his sire whispered, "Tonight."
Spike was nervous. He felt like he was nineteen again, about to lose his virginity to Mary Sue Wellington in the hayloft. Wiping his hand on his jeans, he dug his bare toes into the warm sand and watched as the white foam from the ocean's waves stopped a few inches away before retreating.
The moon was just past full and bright, reflecting off the dark water and making the white sand shimmer. There was a faint breeze that carried the scents of the island to him, the smells of flowers and trees mixing in with the salty smell of the ocean.
It was a night for romance. A night for making love under the stars. A night for being intimate with the person he loved.
Spike wanted to heave.
Closing his eyes, he raised his head to the moon, trying to relax. It wasn't as if he hadn't had sex with Angel before, because he had. Many, many times. But it had been over a century since he'd last done so with him.
Spike had been ignored when his sire had returned to 'the family' two years before, crippled by the Slayer and immediately dismissed by Angel. He'd been hurt by that, but was now glad that nothing occurred, because the Angelus he'd known was nothing like the one who'd returned.
Things were different yet again between his sire and himself. For one, Angel had his soul. He'd also spent the equivalent of a hundred years in the demon dimension with that soul. Spike had also changed, no longer the killer he had been. Forced at first or not, he'd come to care for those he was suppose to protect and no longer thought of humans simply as walking tv dinners.
Taking a deep, purposeful breath, he exhaled slowly and rolled his shoulders, trying to reduce the tension in them. He almost jumped out of his skin when two large hands slid onto them and began to massage his muscles. As it was, he let out a startled yelp and felt the rush of embarrassment flow thorough him when Angel chuckled.
"Problems?" Angel asked quietly, rubbing the blond's shoulders.
"You almost gave me a bloody heart attack," Spike answered sharply.
"Your heart doesn't beat," Angel pointed out.
"Stop being technical," he grumbled, feeling the tension slowly start to drain out of him under Angel's touch.
Angel chuckled again and stepped even closer behind Spike. He bent his head and whispered near the blond's ear, "I've been waiting for this all day."
The tension sprang back to life inside of Spike, but it wasn't from nervousness. It was purely sexual. He felt a coil of fire settle low in his abdomen and spread outward, lighting his desire. Turning, he found himself less than two inches from being pressed against Angel and raised his head to meet his sire's liquid brown eyes.
"Do you want this?" Angel asked seriously, his voice low and rough.
"Fuck yes," Spike growled in response, his hands going around Angel's neck and pulling his head down to kiss him.
Angel let out his own growl and wrapped his arms around Spike, pulling the blond flush against him. Their tongues clashed together, battling for supremacy in a war of sexual need. The scent of male arousal joined with the scents of the island, creating a heady mixture that assaulted both men's senses.
Angel tore himself away from Spike, taking a step back from him. He latched onto Spike's arm and pulled him from the sandy beach to the tall grassy area just beyond the beginning of the interior to the island. Spinning around, he yanked the younger man back against him, their mouths coming together once more.
They both ended up on their knees without either of them breaking apart. Angel worked his hands under the back of Spike's t-shirt, stroking the bare skin. The blond's blunt nails scratched against the back of his neck, his fingers going up to twine in Angel's dark hair. A small growl of pleasure rumbled in the older vampire's chest, testifying to the arousal coursing through him.
Spike was the one to pull away first, dropping his hands and pulling his shirt over his head. His blue eyes were chips of burning ice as he met Angel's desire-filled gaze. The dark-haired vampire quickly yanked his own shirt off and found himself on his back before the material even hit the ground.
The younger man began to lick and nip a path downward from Angel's mouth, stopping only to remove his pants. He groaned loudly when Spike's cool mouth surrounded his hard member. The blond sucked and licked and drove Angel to the brink within minutes, reaching between his legs to caress and fondle his sac. He exploded with a harsh, guttural yell, his hips thrusting upward into Spike's mouth as he emptied himself.
Spike kneeled up and fumbled with the fastenings to his jeans. He got them undone and shoved the jeans down and off his body with little finesse. Returning to his knees, he lifted a hand to his mouth and let the semen empty into it, then covered his prominent erection with it. He raised his eyes to Angel's and the dark-haired vampire's molten gaze caused him to shudder.
Angel sat up and wrapped his hand around the back of Spike's head, meeting his lips in a searing kiss. He tasted himself on his childe's tongue and his nostrils flared as he inhaled sharply. After a minute, he broke away and turned onto his hands and knees. The grass was both sharp and soft under his palms, matted together from where his body had lain.
He felt first one, then two slick fingers penetrate his tight hole, preparing him. Closing his eyes, he relaxed and let the thought of how intimate he and Spike were about to become remove any vestiges of tension. The fingers left and were replaced by the velvet steel head of Spike's shaft.
He snarled in pain at his childe's intrusion and the younger vampire wrapped his arm around Angel's waist, holding them firmly together. After a few moments, the pain dissipated and Angel grunted, "Go ahead." The first slow slide out and back into him was uncomfortable, but by the tenth one the dark-haired vampire was moaning in pleasure. Spike covered him, keeping an arm around his waist, the blond's chest pressed against his back as he set a steady pace.
Spike whimpered at the tightness surrounding him as he drove into Angel. It had been so long -- too long - and he found that he couldn't prolong his climax. His face shifted into its demon ridges and he pressed down lightly on back of his sire's shoulder with his fangs, waiting.
"Yes," Angel hissed, clutching the grass in his hands until it tore when the sharp canine's entered him. He felt Spike buck against him frantically, pounding into his inner walls and making his eyes roll up under the lids. A loud snarl broke through the night as Spike came, driving into him one final time and holding him tight as he climaxed.
Spike pulled out of Angel slowly, the blood from his sire ringing his mouth and his cock. He fell back onto the grass, eyes closed, as he came down from the aftereffects of his orgasm. He jumped slightly when he felt the older vampire's tongue on him, cleaning up their combined fluids of semen and saliva and blood. He shifted his face back to its human mask before opening his eyes.
Angel moved up next to Spike and lay on his side, one hand propping his head up. He reached out with his other hand and ran his fingers lightly up and down the center of the younger vampire's chest. "My perfect childe," he murmured, bringing his fingers up to slide along Spike's jawline, then brush over his lips. "You are still so very beautiful, Will."
"Well, you know, I moisturize," Spike joked even though he was trembling inside.
Angel laughed quietly, then bent forward and placed a soft kiss on Spike's lips. "Rest, Will. The night is still young and I am far from finished with you."
They tumbled into the cave less than an hour before sunrise, wet from playing in the ocean and trying not to make too much noise. They stepped over the others sleeping on the hard rock floor, the fire long since burned out, and retreated to the back, stripping off their t-shirts on the way. Spike was asleep within seconds of closing his eyes, worn out from the repetitive love-making between the vampires.
Angel lay next to him on his side, a small smile on his lips. His eyes ran over the younger man's sleeping features, drinking in the beauty of his dark lashes against his pale face, the strong line of his jaw, the perfectly sculptured cheekbones. His mouth was slightly open and it was all Angel could do not to bend down and kiss him.
With a satisfied sigh, he laid his head down on the duster the two vampires were using for a pillow. Even though he was content at that moment and had been at several other times throughout the night, he wasn't worried about his soul wandering off. It wasn't because his soul had miraculously become permanent, it was because the things that had occurred when he had lost it for those six months were forever etched into his mind, shading everything, even happiness.
It had taken him awhile to understand that -- along with Cordelia and Doyle pointing it out - and by then, in his mind, it was too late to return to Buffy. He firmly believed that she needed someone who belonged in the sunlight, who she could grow old with, have a family with, who she could love without worry or fear. It was wrong of him to choose for her, especially considering a Slayer's expected life-span was so short, but as the song said: sometimes love just ain't enough.
With Spike, however, he was in big trouble. If they were rescued at that moment, he'd happily do the Swiss Family Robinson thing and choose to stay on the island with the blond vampire. Of course, they'd run out of food too fast, but it was a pleasant fantasy -- he and Spike doing nothing more than playing, laughing and loving. It was something he could easily get used to, although the younger man would probably go stir-crazy from lack of things to keep his hyperactive self occupied. It was surprising Spike had lasted this long.
A smile still on his lips, Angel closed his eyes and fell into a content, dream-filled sleep.
The loud crack of thunder and the whine of Cordelia's voice was what woke Angel. He opened his eyes and found Spike curled up against his right side, blond head on his bare chest, arm carelessly thrown over his waist. It reminded him of the day he had awoken in the flower pot and his mouth quirked up in a half-grin.
Turning his head, he saw the five friends entering the cave, drenched from the pouring rain he could see beyond them. "I gather it's raining," he said wryly.
"Just a bit," Buffy replied, gathering some of the wood piled along one wall to start a fire. She had an amused smile on her face when she looked at him.
"Nothing," she replied, exchanging a glance with the Willow and Cordelia. They were grinning, too.
"I don't think I like those smiles," Angel said, easily maneuvering out from under Spike and sitting up. Considering the blond slept like the dead, literally and figuratively, it was a simple trick to do.
"Oh, you moved," Willow said, disappointingly. Angel arched a brow in question.
"You guys looked cute," Cordelia explained, grimacing down at her wet clothing.
"Not," Xander stated, lighting the fire.
"I'd have to agree with the ladies on this one," Oz said. He looked over at Angel. "Sorry, man."
Angel reached over and picked up his and Spike's discarded shirts. "Just don't tell Spike that. He hates being called cute," he said, then grinned. "On second thought, go ahead."
"I'm awake, you know," Spike muttered from behind him.
"No, you're not," Angel replied without looking back. He held out the shirts to Cordelia, who took them with a grateful smile.
"Pillock," Spike grumbled, then fell silent.
Angel chuckled, knowing that the younger vampire had fallen back to sleep. Buffy cleared her throat loudly and the men quickly turned around so the three girls could change. Oz and Xander stripped down to their boxers, which the others had seen before because that was what they'd been sleeping in.
"All clear," Buffy said, spreading out her clothes to dry. She was wearing Spike's red, button-down shirt. Willow had chosen the blond vampire's black t-shirt and Cordelia, being the tallest, had put Angel's white t-shirt on. Xander blatantly ogled her and she smacked him, much to the dark-haired vampire's amusement.
After giving Cordelia a goofy grin, Xander laid the treasure map out with their wet clothing. "I think this should dry without smudging."
"How's the treasure hunt going, anyway?" Angel asked.
"It's going all over the island," Cordelia answered.
"It's like the map-maker deliberately made it that way," Willow said. "We get to one side of the island with one of the directions, then turn around and go back to the other with the next one."
"At least it's something to do," Buffy said, pulling the shirt over her knees in front of the fire. "I was getting kinda tired of working on my tan."
"It was a rather good timing," Oz added.
"So, now what?" Willow asked. She glanced outside at the downpour. "I don't think the rain is going to stop anytime soon."
"We could play a game," Buffy suggested.
"How about I Never?" Willow said.
"I think the vampires have done everything, which is pretty gross," Xander said.
"Should I be offended?" Angel asked.
"Baa," Spike mumbled from behind him. He reached back and swatted the blond. "Watch it, mate, or I'll bite you."
Angel turned his head and looked back at Spike. "Promise?" he said in a voice too low for the others to hear.
Spike felt his face heat up as the stolen blood rushed there. "Sod off."
The dark-haired vampire laughed loudly, causing the others to stare at him. "You laughed," Cordelia said, amazement in her voice. "You never laugh. You may chuckle sometimes, usually before you're about to remove someone's liver, but you don't laugh."
"Uh, should we wig?" Xander asked. "Or worry about being lunch?"
"I'm not allowed to laugh?" Angel said.
"No!" Buffy said quickly. "It's just that, well, you're not normally the good humor man."
"He lacks the requisite hat," Oz commented.
Willow giggled. "And the truck."
"Maybe I just needed a vacation," Angel said with a wry grin.
"Or a good buggering," Spike suggested quietly, unable to contain the smirk spreading across his lips.
Angel turned halfway around, his grin changing into a genuine, tender smile. "That, too," he whispered.
"Cor, Angelus, cut that out," Spike grumbled, feeling the flush of embarrassment creeping over him again. Angel laughed again, this time softly. Mostly awake now, he moved the duster so he was beside his sire, joining the group. He laid down on his stomach and crossed his arms over the soft pile of leather, resting his chin on the back of a wrist and re-shutting his eyes. "What are we playing again?"
"I'd say Anywhere But Here, but I kinda like it here," Buffy said. "I could use a change of clothes, though."
"And a real bathroom," Willow said.
"And a mirror," Cordelia added. "And I so need some moisturizer."
"Truth or Dare?" Willow suggested. "Although there's not much we can do for the dares, cuz of the rain and all. So they'd have to be really creative."
"I'll go first," Buffy said quickly, an excited grin on her face. "Spike, truth or dare?"
Spike groaned, knowing that she was going to ask something he didn't want to answer. However, he was always a glutton for punishment. "Truth."
"What's the blackmail?" Buffy asked.
"Goddess, I've been dying to know that," Willow said.
"I've been on the curious side, too," Oz added.
Spike had been right. It was something he didn't want to answer. "Forget it," he said.
"Then I dare you to tell us what you did last night," Buffy said.
He didn't want to answer that either. He wanted to hold on to the perfect memory of the night without anything tainting it, because he didn't know if it would ever happen again. He knew he was an emotional sap, but he didn't care. "I don't wanna play anymore," he grumbled.
"Oh, come on, Spike," Buffy said. "Don't ruin the game before we even get started."
Angel kept quiet. He was interested in finding out what Spike would do or say. Granted, he was more curious as to the first question, seeing as he was an active participant with the second one.
"Angel," Spike finally answered.
"Wait, you did Angel last night?" Cordelia asked, looking back and forth between Angel and Spike.
"Ok, that's way too much information," Xander said.
"I was answering the first question," Spike said quietly. He had chosen to keep the previous night to himself, even though the answers to both questions, as Cordelia had pointed out, were the same.
"Ok, I'm lost," Buffy said. "Angel is blackmailing you?" She frowned at the dark-haired vampire, who shrugged.
"Not that I know of," Angel said.
"Angel is the blackmail," Oz said with comprehension. Spike nodded.
"How can he be the blackmail?" Willow asked.
"That wasn't part of the question, ducks," Spike said, opening his eyes and lifting his head. "My turn." He gave Buffy and evil grin. "Slayer, truth or dare?"
"Truth," Buffy said.
"Have you ever fantasized about shagging me?" he asked.
"Oh god, ego much?" Buffy said.
"That's not an answer, pet," Spike told her. "Remember, you have to tell the truth."
"Er...once, maybe," Buffy said, blushing. "It could have been some other blond vampire."
"Right," he replied, giving her a wink. He looked up at his sire with a smirk and Angel rolled his eyes.
"Don't let it go to your head, Spike," Angel said, not bothered by the fact that his ex-girlfriend had fantasies involving his childe. As he said on the beach, Spike was impossible to resist when he wanted to be. "Either of them."
"Buffy, what is it with you and vampires?" Xander said.
"It's the leather," Cordelia answered in Buffy's stead. "There's nothing sexier than a man in leather."
"So if I put on a pair of leather pants and jacket, you'd think I was sexy?" Xander asked her.
"As if," Cordelia replied. However, the blush that spread across her cheeks said otherwise.
"Oh Cordelia," Xander said in a sing-song voice. "Truth or dare?"
"Dare," she said with a scowl at him.
He rolled up onto his knees and planted himself directly in front of her. "I dare you to kiss me," he said. "Really kiss me."
Buffy and Willow exchanged wide-eyed glances, while the other three men watched with curiosity and amusement.
Cordelia glared at Xander went up onto her knees as well. "Fine. But don't think this is means anything, dork."
Xander gave her a lopsided smile. "I'd never presume to think so."
"You sound like Giles," she said, putting her hands around his neck.
"As long as I don't look like him," he said, then captured her lips before she could kiss him.
"It's about time," Angel said quietly, a smile on his face for his friend and co-worker.
The two brunettes broke apart and stared at each other. "Get the leather," Cordelia whispered, then let go of him to sit back down.
"Count on it," Xander replied with a grin, retaking his seat.
"Angel, truth or dare?" Cordelia asked, a flush staining her bronzed skin.
"Truth," Angel sighed, preparing for the worst.
"If you could have sex with anyone in this cave but Buffy, who would you choose?" she asked.
"I am not going to touch that with a ten-foot pole," Angel told her. "I'll take the dare."
"Then it's your turn to play smoocher," Cordelia said. "With Spike."
Spike, who had lowered his head back onto his arms and closed his eyes, jerked up and stared at Cordelia. "You want him to what with Spike?" he said, unbelievingly.
"You want him to what with Spike?" Xander repeated. "I'm think I'm going to be sick."
"Then don't look," Cordelia told him. She looked at Angel. "Well, we're waiting."
"They're waiting, Spike," Angel said, sitting up on his knees as Xander had done.
"How come I have to do something that's bloody disgusting?" Spike fake whined, pushing himself up to his knees as well, so he was facing his sire. "It's his friggin' dare."
"Just let him kiss you," Buffy said. "You can wash your mouth out with sand later."
"I think I'm going to heave," Spike said. "I'm doing this under extreme protest."
Angel put his hand under the younger vampire's chin and tilted it up, their eyes meeting. "Liar," he whispered, then pressed his lips to Spike's.
Neither of them heard the girls sigh or Xander's gagging sound-effects. Angel was focused completely on kissing the peroxide-blond and Spike couldn't hear anything over the pounding of the stolen blood in his veins. The kiss wasn't long, or passionate, or anything like the ones they'd exchanged the night before. Instead, it was tender and sweet and left Spike wishing for it to never end.
Angel broke away and one corner of his mouth turned up when Spike inhaled deeply, his eyes still closed. When they opened, Angel winked at him, then sat back down and said, "Willow, truth or dare?"
"That's not what happened," Spike said.
"Yes, it was," Angel insisted.
"No, it wasn't, you bloody poof," Spike stated. "Cor, your memory is about as good as your hair."
"Fine, enlighten us, oh wise-ass," Angel told the blond vampire.
The group had moved from the game to telling stories, mostly from the two vampires. The rain had let up, allowing the humans to dart outside to relieve themselves without being drenched. Despite the cloud cover, neither vampire had wanted to risk going outside, so they decided to wait until sunset to hunt for dinner, which meant they'd been listening to growling stomachs for a few hours.
Spike scowled at Angel, then turned to the others. "Don't believe a word that tosser said. First of all, it was 1839, not 45," he said. "Second, he still had that bleedin' mustache that tickled my nose. Made him look like a nancyboy."
"And your long hair didn't?" Angel asked.
"I still can't picture either of you with long hair," Cordelia said.
"I saw Angel once," Buffy said. "In that weird shared dream, remember, Angel?"
"Yes," Angel replied. He gave her a sad smile. "Not one of the best dreams for you to pop up in."
"The next one was much more interesting," Buffy said, giving him a naughty grin.
"I don't want to know," Xander said, holding up his hands.
"Wait, didn't Spike have brown hair?" Willow asked.
"Like mink's fur," Angel replied. "Soft like the animal's, too."
"After all the bleaching, your hair must be pretty brittle now, Spike," Cordelia commented.
"No, it's still soft," Angel said, then closed his eyes and shook his head, not believing he said that out loud.
"I don't want to know that, either," Xander said. "Get on with the story."
Spike glanced at Angel, uncertain whether to be embarrassed or pleased by his sire's words. He chose to go on with the story instead of thinking about it. "We were in Pamplona at some Spanish ponce's party and twinkle toes here wanted to dance with this cow who had tits the size..."
"Skip it," Buffy told Spike with a glare.
He grinned at her. "Let's say that even a vampire could smother to death between them."
Angel smacked him across the back of the head. "Spike, you are the most immature two hundred year old I know."
"Can I tell the story without your soddin' interruptions?" Spike asked. Angel made a grand 'go ahead' gesture with his hand. "Thank you, your royal foofiness."
"You do realize that name-calling is a sign that you like someone," Buffy said to Spike. "For grade schoolers."
"I've heard the more the name-calling, the more you like the person," Oz commented.
"God, Spike, then you must, like, love Angel," Cordelia said.
"Yeah, right," he scoffed, his face burning again. "I hate the git."
"Um, Spike," Willow said. "You're blushing."
"Am not," Spike growled, grabbing the duster, which sat between him and his sire. He proceeded to dig through the pockets with a show of great concentration.
"Spike and Angel sitting in a tree...," Xander sang maliciously.
"Shut up," he ground out. "I do not love him."
"What's that Shakespeare line?" Buffy asked. "The 'me' one?"
"'Methinks doth protest too much,'" Willow quoted.
Spike growled loudly, stood and stormed out of the cave into the light rain, disappearing from sight in an instant. Angel, who had been quiet the entire time they'd teased his childe, waiting to see how Spike would react, now spoke in a low, clipped tone. "That wasn't very nice."
"We were just joking," Buffy said.
"What Will does or does not feel for me is personal," Angel said, his voice unchanging. He rose to his feet. "Be glad that the sun went down, or you would have had an upset, soulless vampire on your hands." He picked up the t-shirt Cordelia had changed out of and slid it on, then left the cave.
It took Angel close to two hours before he found Spike. The blond vampire was sitting at the topmost point on the island on a waist-high, flat rock, arms around his knees, looking out over the ocean. He stood and watched in the gentle rain for several moments before he walked up to Spike. "Hey," he said quietly. "They were only teasing."
"Leave me alone," Spike said, twirling the black, chewed-up pen cap in between his fingers.
"Cor, you are such a bloody prick," he growled. "I hate you."
"Look me in the eyes when you say that," Angel told him, his voice serious.
Spike turned his head and met his sire's dark gaze. "I...," he trailed off and stared silently into Angel's fathomless brown eyes, then dropped his head. "Fuck."
The corners of Angel's mouth turned up and he lifted Spike's chin, meeting the stormy blue eyes dead on. Without a word, he leaned forward and brushed his lips against Spike's, the rain falling gently all around them.
Spike turned so he was sitting sideways on one hip and grasped the front of the older vampire's wet t-shirt, holding it tightly as he initiated a deeper kiss. Tumultuous emotions that mimicked the earlier weather came pouring out. With each brush of his lips, each stroke of his tongue, he tried to convey to Angel what he couldn't yet put into conscious words.
When the kiss ended, Spike took a ragged breath and released Angel. He turned back to the ocean, picking up the pen cap he'd dropped into his lap. He wrapped his arms around his legs again and closed his eyes, wanting his sire to leave, yet also wanting him to stay.
"I'm going to go hunt down something for the children," Angel said quietly, a smirk crossing his mouth at the bad pun.
"Whatever," Spike said.
"Don't stay out too long," Angel told him. "I wouldn't want you to catch your death."
"Ha, bloody, ha," Spike replied. Then Angel was gone and he was left alone again in the rain.
Everyone was asleep when Spike returned, the fire barely flickering in the darkness of the cave. Moving quietly, he headed to the back, his bare feet undoubtably making muddy footprints on the rock floor. Uncaring of the others' sensibilities, he stripped out of his jeans and let them drop to the ground with a small, wet plop.
He stepped over his prone sire and laid down, putting him between the back of the cave and Angel. The floor was rough and somewhat uncomfortable, but he was used to it already. His duster was once again his pillow, half-shared with the older vampire beside him.
"Fuck, what the bloody hell am I going to do?" he said quietly to the ceiling of the cave.
"You can start by coming over here," Angel replied, equally as quiet.
Spike jumped, startled, and cursed under his non-existent breath. "Will you please stop doing that," he hissed.
"Only if you come here," Angel said with a low laugh. Spike turned on his side, facing Angel and moved closer, but wasn't touching his sire. The dark-haired vampire growled. "Get over here."
Spike sighed dramatically and moved more, laying his wet head on Angel's chest, his body against his sire's side. He put his right arm on Angel's stomach, bent up so he could trace absent patterns with his fingers right over the other vampire's non-beating heart.
Angel put his arm around Spike's shoulder, holding the younger vampire to him. "You're cold,' he commented softly.
"Well, I'm dead. Guess that would make sense then," Spike replied.
Angel smiled in the darkness, briefly tightening his arm around Spike. Then he let his eyes fall shut again and relaxed, enjoying the sensation of his childe's random movements with his fingers.
Just as he was drifting to sleep, he heard Spike whisper, "I love you, Angelus."
The words were poetry to his heart.
"We thought you'd might want to finish it with us," Buffy said to Angel and Spike, who were both awake, dressed and waiting for the sun to set in a few minutes.
"Plus, you're men," Cordelia said. "If there's digging involved, you'll be needed."
"I'm game," Angel replied.
"What about you, Spike?" Willow asked. "Want to help us find the buried treasure?"
"Why not," Spike answered with a shrug. "Not like there's anything better to do."
Angel leaned over and whispered, "Oh, I bet I could think of something."
Spike ducked his head so the others wouldn't see the blush creeping across his face. He'd been doing that too much lately as it was, more the past few days than he had in the past few years. It didn't help that his sire had spoken in the same tone he'd used earlier that day while giving a very well-detailed anatomy lesson.
"Does this mean they get a share, too?" Xander whined unhappily.
"Oh brother," Willow said, rising to her feet. Oz joined her and the two headed out of the cave as the sun disappeared over the horizon.
"Come on, Captain Hook," Cordelia said, following the other couple out of the cave.
"Does that make you my Mr. Smithers?" Xander asked, trailing behind her. Buffy rolled her eyes and rose, as did the two vampires. Together they joined the others on the final leg of the treasure hunt.
"Well, X certainly marks the spot," Buffy said, looking at the jagged letter carved into the side of a tree.
"This is so cool," Willow said. "It's like we're on our very own Treasure Island."
"Minus Rizzo, the Rat," Oz commented. "And Gonzo."
"Is there digging?" Cordelia asked. "I am so not going to dig. My manicure is ruined as it is."
"Nope," Xander said, tugging at something in a small hollow at the base of the tree. "I think there's just pulling."
"Be careful, Xander," Angel warned.
"Never fear, Deadboy," he said. He leaned forward, then yanked back with all his strength and a tied up, dirty cloth popped out of the hole.
"That's it?" Cordelia scoffed.
"Looks like it," Xander replied. He picked up the bundle and stood. Walking over to a semi-flat tree stump, he set it and the map down, then untied the knots.
Buffy, Willow and Cordelia moved to stand around the stump, with Oz slightly behind his girlfriend and a curious Angel behind Buffy. Spike stood a few feet away, leaning against another tree, chewing on his pen-cap. Xander unfolded the edges of the material to reveal what was inside.
"What kind of treasure is this?" Cordelia said.
"Looks like handmade jewelry," Buffy said, picking up a strand of tiny spiral shells in a variety of colors.
"Look at this one," Willow said. She picked up an almost perfectly round, pink shell. "It looks like a ring."
"Woah, a guitar pick," Oz said, reaching past Willow to pick up a thin, flat, multi-colored shell in a triangular shape.
"Miss Cordy, for you," Xander said in an exaggerated voice, holding out a reddish coral formation in the shape of a rose.
"Wow," Cordelia commented, accepting it from him. "This is so beautiful."
"Not next to you," Xander said quietly, a small smile on his face. Cordelia blushed.
Angel stepped back and watched as they began to divide the treasure amongst themselves. Despite it not being gold or diamonds or jewels, the excitement and happiness on their faces made the treasure hunt worthwhile. However, he wondered who could have been on the island before them to hide the treasure to begin with, for it was obviously not a pirate's treasure, it was more of a treasure made by parents to keep their children entertained.
"Here, Angel," Buffy said, walking over to him. A handmade, wooden cross, held together with blades of the tall grass that grew on the island, was hanging around her neck. "This was in the pile. It looks like a ring, but it's made out of something weird. Anyway, it has an 'A' on it, so I thought you'd like it."
"Thanks," Angel said, taking the object from her. He glanced at it, then did a double-take and examined it more thoroughly.
"Angel, what is it?" Buffy asked.
"This isn't a ring," Angel told her in a stunned voice. "It's a cigar band."
"And this is amazing how?" Buffy said.
Angel didn't answer her. He was caught up in the memories the cigar band invoked in his mind. He remembered taking that very band off of a cigar almost two centuries earlier, then watching as his favorite childe used the edge of a fork to engrave his first initial on the circular top of the thin metal before giving it back to him with a shy smile. He had then taken the younger vampire's hand and put it on his finger, telling him that everyone would then know to whom he belonged.
"Hello? Angel?" Buffy said, waving her hand in front of the dark-haired vampire's face. "What's so interesting about it? It's not like it's real treasure."
"No, it's not," Angel said, looking past her to where Spike was watching Oz put a necklace of small shells over Willow's head, a small smile playing on the blond's face. "The real treasure is something far more special."
Before Buffy could continue, he walked away from her towards Spike. Stopping directly in front of him, Angel reached out and took the black pen-cap from his mouth. "Where'd you get the pen-cap?" he asked quietly.
Spike shrugged. "Found it in my pocket."
"Would it happened to have been on a black pen?" Angel said pointedly. When Spike averted his eyes, the older vampire had his answer. Uncaring of their audience, he wrapped his hand around the back of Spike's head and captured his mouth in a life-changing kiss.
Spike stared up at Angel, dumbfounded, when the kiss ended. "What was that for?" he asked.
Angel lowered his hand and took Spike's, lifting it between them. Taking the cigar band out of his pocket, the dark-haired vampire slid it onto Spike's middle finger. "Because you belong to me," he answered.
Spike looked at the band, then back up at Angel before shifting on his feet and looking away. "I do not. I don't belong to anyone, least of all a pillock like y-"
"I love you, Will."
"-y-y-you love me?" Spike finished, his voice dropping to an astonished whisper. Confused and hopeful blue eyes searched brown ones, looking to see if he'd heard right.
"Yes," Angel answered simply. He dropped Spike's hand and lifted his own in order to run the back of his finger along the younger vampire's cheek.
Spike inhaled sharply and swallowed. "I...er...the same."
"I know," Angel replied, his eyes crinkling in the corners as he smiled.
"Well, then...right," Spike said, shifting his weight again. Angel chuckled, then leaned forward and kissed him again, this time with more passion.
When they finally broke apart, they were assaulted with applause and whistles, plus retching noises coming from Xander. Spike blushed yet again and Angel grinned. "I think we'll continue this later," the older vampire said quietly.
And continue it they did, until they were forced to seek shelter because of the dawn.
"Hey guys," Willow said, looking out over the water from the beach.
"Yeah, Wills?" Buffy asked.
"Does it work if I say 'de boat, de boat'?" she replied in Herve Villechaize's voice.
The other four on the beach all looked to where Willow was pointing. Then they were on their feet, waving their hands and shouting. Oz took the shell and flare gun that was always in his pocket, loaded it and fired it into the air. It exploded into a bright pink flame that fell silently towards the boat.
The boat blew its horn.
With whoops of joy, the friends exchanged hugs, then a surprised Cordelia was involved in a searing kiss with Xander that left her stammering and flushed. Laughing, Buffy left the group on the beach to tell the two vampires the good news.
Quietly, she entered the cave and paused when she saw them. Light against dark, they were spooned against one another, Angel's arm wrapped around Spike's waist. A smile of happiness for an entirely different reason spread across her face and she was reluctant to wake them. However, she knew they could always go back to sleep later.
"Angel," Buffy said in a hushed voice, not wanting to startle him. "Angel."
"Buffy?" Angel asked sleepily, lifting his head to peer over Spike at her.
"We're being rescued," she told him.
Angel was awake instantly. "Giles?"
"Don't know," Buffy replied. "If it isn't, we'll think of something to keep you guys protected. I'm going to head back to the beach and see what's the what." She turned and headed for the mouth, then stopped and faced Angel again. "Do you love him?"
"Yes," Angel answered, his eyes dropping to the side of the still sleeping vampire's face. "I'm sorry..."
"No, don't be," Buffy told him. "I'm happy for you. And if you love him even close to as much as you loved me, he is one lucky person."
"I will always love you, Buffy," Angel said.
"I know," Buffy replied. "I'll always love you, too." She gave him a small smile, turned and left the cave.
"You two are pathetic," Spike muttered, shifting his head on his arm.
"And you're not?" Angel said, chuckling.
"No," he replied. "I'm a big, evil vampire."
"You're a short, lovable vampire," Angel corrected with a smirk.
"I hate you."
Angel bent his head and placed a soft kiss on the side of Spike's neck. "I hate you, too, Will."
Spike dropped back off to sleep with a content smile on his lips.
"...And then we found the treasure," Willow explained to Giles later that night at dinner. The seven rescued friends were sitting around the long table in the cabin of the chartered boat, heading back towards California. Clean bodies, clean clothes -- and prepackaged food for the humans - had made the members of the group deliriously happy.
"It was fun," Buffy agreed. "Even if the treasure was not gold and stuff." She held up the handmade cross necklace. "I like this better, anyway."
"I wonder who would have gone to all the trouble to bury the stuff and make the map?" Willow said.
"Perhaps a-a family found themselves in a, er, similar situation, and created the treasure hunt to-to entertain their children," Giles suggested in almost an exact repeat of Angel's thoughts earlier in the night.
The dark-haired vampire looked over at Spike and winked. "I think that's exactly what happened."
Not wanting to be there while they speculated about the treasure hunt he'd made to alleviate both his boredom and that of his friends, Spike excused himself and made his way out onto the deck. He pulled out a cigarette from the new pack Giles had given him and lit one. Leaning on the rail, he looked out over the dark ocean and let his mind wander to nothing in particular.
"Truth or dare, Spike," Angel said quietly, coming up behind him.
Spike jumped slightly, startled once again. "I thought I told you to stop that," he growled.
Angel smirked and leaned back against the railing. "Truth or dare?"
The blond narrowed his eyes. "Truth."
"How am I the blackmail?"
Spike looked away and took a drag on the cigarette. "I'll take the dare."
"I dare you to tell me the truth," Angel said.
He had a choice. He could either play along and tell the truth, or ignore his sire and have the secret hanging between them. "They'll kill you if I don't help the Slayer."
Angel was surprised. Until recent events, he thought Spike would have been ecstatic about that idea. "All kidding aside, I thought you hated me."
"I may have friggin' hated you with all the stolen blood in my body," Spike said, his voice barely above a whisper. "But I loved you more."
Pushing away from the rail, the younger vampire took a final drag on his cigarette, then flicked it over the rail. He gave Angel a long look and, with a combination of courage and vulnerability, slid his arms around his sire's waist and hugged him tightly.
Angel closed his eyes and brought his arms up around Spike, holding him close. "I love you, Will," he said quietly.
"I love you, too, Angelus," Spike replied, equally as quiet. "It bloody sucks."
"So do we," Angel told him with a light laugh. Spike released him and he dropped a quick kiss on his childe's lips. "Come on, if we're lucky, they'll all fall asleep early and we'll have the boat practically to ourselves."
"I don't remember you being this bleedin' horny all the time," Spike told him as they headed back towards the cabin. "It's probably the soul."
"Probably," Angel said with a smile. "It allowed me to be able to love you, so why not that as well?"
Spike rolled his eyes and Angel laughed. Then the two descended the stairs to rejoin the others, one adventure having ended and a new one just beginning.
A new one based on love.