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Cafe Love

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Café Love opened for business for only one summer month every year. The temporary café sat next to the boardwalk, right on the beach. It had indoor seating and some outside tables shaded by brightly colored grass umbrellas. It also had a reputation.

Many swore that it was the place where they met their true love. They also said that the owner was magical, and that even if you didn't find your love, a visit or two to the café would help you get you in touch with your feelings or find peace inside yourself. It was a modern urban legend.

The café was Spike's shot at redemption, at least as far as he was concerned. Making people happy for thirty days a year was his job. For that single month, he gave up his money-making schemes and his selfish streak. This was about others. It was a chance to balance the scales, or that was the idea. Course some might say that his motive was a bit on the selfish side in and of itself.

It was late morning and he had just suggested that one of the café patrons share a table with another. They hadn't blinked an eye and had done exactly as he said. Instinctively, he knew the pair were so alike that there was a good chance that they would at least find friendship with each other, if not more.

He moved back behind the counter and started stirring up a batch of dough, humming under his breath. It was funny how he had discovered he liked cooking and baking. All because he had helped take care of Buffy’s little sister when Buffy had been dead and no one had known she’d come back. That too had been an altruistic act on his part. He knew the Scoobies thought he was a little touched in the head for doing what he was doing now, but it made him feel good in ways he really hadn’t in such a long time. They could think he was bonkers all they liked. It was alright with him.

*

Dean had had a long-assed sucky night. Of course, it was much more sucky for Sam at the moment. A hunt had gone bad as hell. Sammy was laid up in the hospital for the next week because of a concussion, broken collarbone, and broken arm. At least the hospital thought that’s how long they were going to keep him. The worst of it was that the little bastard vetalas who had hurt his brother had beat feet and Dean had lost all track of them. All he could do was let other hunters know they were out there and what they looked like. So he had spent the night drinking--yeah, they had saved one guy, but two others were killed by the bitches before they booked. Dammit, Dean hated to lose, especially when lives were the price. He had finally fallen asleep but had shitty nightmares. After the fourth round of bad dreams, he decided he was done and wanted to go for a walk, get out in the sun, and find some coffee and breakfast.

The smell of rich coffee caught his attention and the smell of sweet pastries sharpened his hunger. Following his nose, he found his way to an almost garish beachfront coffee joint. Café Love? He shook his head. Probably run by some long-haired hippie freak, but hell, he’d bet the coffee was good, probably organic, small-batch roasted, and told to be good little beans and give up their caffeine and best flavor by the one-with-nature hippie.

Settling down at one of the tables out on the deck, he knew the sunshine and fresh air would be good for him--nevermind he was actually sitting in the shade. It was the thought that counted in this instance. From that spot he could comfortably watch the ocean, watch the people, and just try to forget what a shit hole his life was now. Sure, it would get better, but a bout of self-pity was fine in small doses.

Pulling the little paper menu from the clip tied with a long colorful string to the umbrella stand, he saw he was supposed to checkmark what he wanted. Not only did it have lists of coffees and teas and fancy fluffy drinks, it had pastries and pies and sweetbreads and desserts galore. But it was the third section that almost had him bursting into laughter. "What are you looking for? My soulmate, My best friend, A friend with benefits, Love," and it went on and on. He ticked off some strong sounding coffee, a couple random sweet things to eat with it, and he checked half the items on the "love" menu. Soulmate. Sexy lover. Hunk. Beauty queen. Spitfire. Anything that caught his eye and made him smirk, he checked off. He set the pad on the table and waited for service.

Walking out, Spike blinked at the bright sunshine then headed for his newest patron. "Good morning, luv, I see a lot of checkmarks there," he said, without picking up the order form. "How about I start you off with a strong coffee and," his gaze moved over the man's ruggedly handsome features. "A bit of apple pie, side of ice cream, and a touch of whipped cream?"

"Hey, if you're gonna dream, dream big I say." Dean glanced at the menu. He hadn't marked apple pie down, hadn't even noticed it, just marked some random things to try. But it sounded good, absurdly good. "Sure, I'm up for about anything right now," he said. "But I am something of a snob about my apple pie." That, of course was lie. He could eat Gas and Sip apple pie and not bitch about it because it was pie. He pointed a finger at Spike. "Dude, you rubbed your nose in the powdered sugar," he said, then tapped the end of his own nose.

"Did I, now?" Using his forearm to brush it off, Spike reached for the slip of paper Dean had filled out. "Right, I'll do my best to please you and have you humming in no time, yeah?" He gave the guy a closed-mouth grin, and walked back in. This was highly unusual. He had bleedin' butterflies in his stomach just from looking into the guy's gorgeous eyes and listening to his deep voice. It was a bit unsettling.

"Have me humming...?" Dean mouthed silently, watching the bleached blond head back inside. He didn't realize just how his eyes were locked onto the guy's ass until he nearly fell out of his chair because he was leaning out so far. Damn, that guy had one sweet bod. Maybe he would get the guy's number if he could figure out which team he played on, girls, guys, or both. Least there hadn't been a wedding ring.

Spike served up a few coffees to people who’d come into the café and took payment from a group, before walking out with a tray. Reaching the good-looking guy sitting outside, alone, he set the coffee down in front of him. Then the pie and ice cream. "You'll love the whipped cream, but then, you probably knew that," he said. The whipped cream was formed in the shape of a heart.

He then set a second cup of coffee down on the table, put the tray on an empty nearby table, and sat down. He smoothed the piece of paper Dean had filled out. "I've got a break. Since you have so many needs, thought you might want to talk about them."

Dean looked at the heart on his pie then his gaze shot to the waiter now sitting across from him. He dragged his hand over his mouth and chin, not sure if he should smirk, smile, or laugh. "Dude, I was just playing along with the menu thing. So tell me what things you need to talk about to ahhh… do your thing." He lifted the coffee and took a sip. Startled, he looked at the coffee. That was some freaking good coffee.

"You're playful. That's good," Spike took a note. Course he didn't have to, he just needed to chat the guy up. "I see you like spitfires. Wouldn't be because angry sex turns you on, would it?" Spike looked up at Dean and raised his hand. "Not quite the right word. You like to compete with your partner then have victory sex."

"What can I say, I like 'em energetic. And sex is for pleasure, get your mind off your troubles. I don't do the angry sex thing. What about you, you a spitfire, good looking?" Dean asked, picking up his fork after setting his coffee down.

"No one's called me that, but I do have a bite. Edge, I meant edge." Spike grinned, watching the guy take a bite. "Name's Spike. You're..." The name came to him, but his instincts told him to rein it in for this one.

Dean took the first bite of pie, his eyes widening. "Holy fucking-A!" he said around the bite, closing his eyes and savoring the pie. The guy said something, but he was too busy having a pie-gasm in his mouth to take much notice. He finally, practically reluctantly, swallowed. "Damn, that pie is freaking awesome. Don't suppose you guys do cheeseburgers, too?"

Spike picked up the pencil and wrote something else down. "Right, you're the sort who likes dessert before food. Not too big on patience, then." He looked up and found himself mesmerized by Dean's expressions and the way he was making love to the pie. "Even if it weren't on the menu, I'd make it for you. Bet you get that all the time."

"Yeah, but not from someone who works at a place that makes pies worth dying for. Wait a minute. You guys do have burgers?" Dean asked, the next bite of pie frozen halfway to his mouth.

"I meant favors, what with your looks." Spike gave Dean an openly appreciative look. "They're on our after-four menu, but if you want one now, I'll make it up." He got up, then thumbed the corner of his own mouth. "Bit of sauce. Just returning the favor," he said, dragging his gaze from Dean's mouth.

After wiping at the corner of his mouth, Dean turned back to his pie, practically amazed that every bite he took was as good, if not better than, the last.

He was scraping up the last remnants of the vanilla bean ice cream when the waiter returned, carrying a plate with perfectly crispy french fries and a big bacon cheese burger on an artisan bun. The man set it down in front of Dean.

"Seriously?" Dean asked, eying the burger and smacking his lips. "I'm almost afraid to try this, afraid I'll be disappointed after that pie."

"Thought I told you I aim to please. You," Spike added. "You've got nothing to fear where I'm concerned. Most of the time." He smirked and took a seat again.

"So, your name's, ah--” He had been having his first bite of pie when he thought the guy gave him his name.

“Spike.”

“Spike?” Dean said. This guy didn’t look like the leather and metal type that name suggested. Still, everyone had their nicknames, even if they didn’t seem to fit, there was usually a reason. Like a guy he once knew named ‘Evil’ because he was the antithesis of the word. “So, what's a guy named Spike doing working at a hippie love joint named Café Love?" Dean asked and tried a french fry without even adding salt to it, which was practically heresy.

"Like the name says, sprinkling a bit of love about. Maybe finding it myself." Spike had never felt like this before, like he couldn't breathe even though he didn't need to. He had to be right about this, impossible as it seemed. "What about you? What's a--" he paused, "tough bloke like you doing here in my hippie love shack?" he asked, raising his brow as he reached for his cup.

"Whoa, wait, this is YOUR place?" Dean asked, more than a little shocked. "Shouldn't you have a name like ‘Freedom’ or ‘Rainbow’ or something?" he teased.

"Those names wouldn't do, they don't reflect my personality." Then again, his summer love project didn't either.

"No, I like the name Spike.” Dean studied the owner a moment and gave a nod to himself. "I can see it fitting you, just maybe, in different circumstances. As for me, I'm here recovering from a couple massively sucky days and my little bro is in the hospital. Couple of broken bones, concussion. Could have been worse, but they want to monitor him until he can walk a straight line, so probably a week. They want to make sure all the swelling goes down without any complications.”

Taking a sip of his drink, Spike watched the hunter from under his lashes. "You miss him. He's your soulmate. Completely platonic of course." He smiled. "You've got room for another, you know."

"Miss who?" Dean asked. "What are you talking about? And Dude, might want to cut back on the loco weed while in the kitchen." He picked up the burger with both hands, studied it a moment, then sank his teeth into it and took a bite.

"Right." Spike knew the hunter knew exactly who he was talking about, even if he didn't agree. That was just because he wasn't in touch with himself, that was all.

He'd found it. The perfect cheeseburger. The perfect fucking cheeseburger in some little love shack coffee hippie house. But it was--absolutely perfect. Dean’s groan was nearly obscene.

The sound the hunter made had Spike’s eyes widening. "That visual... audible, I'm the one's got to live with it for the rest of the day," Spike complained. Under his Martha apron, he was wearing black jeans that had just gotten measurably tighter. "Do you make it this hard for everyone? To work, I mean." Wasn't what he meant at all.

"This is the absolute, most perfect cheeseburger. Ever. I can die a happy man now," Dean said around the mouthful. After swallowing, he met Spike’s blue eyes. "Name's Dean. And I need this recipe. I swear, I won't ever tell anyone, sell it, nothing, but I gotta have it. And the pie, too. Not like I can make pie, but hell, for that pie, I think I can make myself learn. My skills pretty much end with a can opener. It's either that, or you're gonna be dry ice shipping me pie every other week and burgers once a month. At least." Dean gave a nod and took a deep breath before taking his next bite of the burger, giving a softer groan this time, but still almost as obscene.

"Right. Now you're just being mean. Killing me." Spike wasn't kidding. This man, this hunter, was making him crazy just with the noises he made when he was eating. What would he sound like in bed, or against a wall, or sitting on his kitchen counter? "Come back after hours and maybe I'll give you private lessons." He smirked as he got up. Coming in his pants wasn’t the plan. Or part of his plan, even at Café Love.

"What happened to setting me up with my spitfire soulmate?" Dean smirked back. "A Winchester's even too tough for Cupid Spike? See ya later good looking." Dean gave him a wink and focused on his eating.

Spike didn't answer. The hunter was smart. He'd figure it out on his own eventually.

*

The café’s permit to operate on the beach required Spike to close up at ten. He'd let his assistant go home and now flipped the open sign over to closed.

He'd cleaned up the kitchen area and lost his apron. Now he was left wondering whether the hunter would listen to his heart.

*

Dean had gone back to the motel and crashed after that wickedly good lunch, then went and visited Sam for a while. Since it hurt Sam's head to try to read or work on the computer, Dean read to him to help alleviate some of the boredom. He was even thoughtful enough not to make it the Playboy forum that he read. He decided it was high time Sam was introduced to Vonnegut, and it had been a hella long time since he'd read any of it himself.

Dean grabbed a meal at the hospital cafeteria and took it back to Sam’s room, eating dinner with him. He was regretting not going to Spike’s place for a take-out meal, but he didn’t want to abandon Sam. After Sam finally started yawning and the nurses showed up with Sam's drugs, Dean headed out, promising to be back the next day to check in.

He wandered the sidewalks, people watching, grabbing some snacks here and there, popping into a random bar for a drink. He suddenly found himself back on the beach and decided some more pie sounded mighty fine. He was more than a little upset to see the closed sign in the door.

Well, Spike had said to come back after hours so what the hell. He knocked on the glass. "Hey Spike, you around?" Dean shouted

Spike walked to the door and had it half-way open when he realized he still had the apron on. Snatching it off his body, he tossed it aside onto a table, then stood back, running his hand through his hair. His entire focus was on the heart-stoppingly handsome man standing in his doorway. "There you are. Feel like I've been waiting for you all my life." He smiled. "Hard to believe it’s only been a few hours, yeah?"

"That line usually work on your customers?" Dean asked, smiling at the guy. "I came by for more pie. Or dessert of some sort," he said, his smile slipping into a smirk as he admired the blond. "Can you recommend a dessert?" he asked innocently, his eyes sparkling.

"I reckon we can find something that pleases you. How do you feel 'bout bottled blond spitfires?" he asked, raising a brow. "Made up the recipe myself. See you inspired me. "

"Sounds… interesting. Why don't you tell me what goes in the recipe," Dean said, walking in and looking around. The smells in the little diner were incredible.

"Right, this one's a secret. Mostly." Leading the way to the open kitchen, Spike turned and gripped Dean’s hips, lifting him easily up onto a counter. His hands lingered for a fraction of a second. "Just making sure you're not underfoot."

"Holy crap!" Dean exclaimed when he suddenly found his large frame lifted like he weighed nothing and settled on the counter. His hands had instinctively moved to Spike's sides, gripping his rippling muscles.

"You're a helluva lot stronger than you look, no offense," Dean said, his gaze locking with Spike's. Even though Spike had let go of his hips, Dean's hands lingered on Spike's sides.

"None taken." Staring into the depths of Dean’s jade green eyes, Spike’s mouth went dry. "Are you going to hold onto me, mate, or are you going to give me that kiss you're thinking about," he asked, his voice low and slightly husky.

Dean's eyebrows lifted, and he smirked. "Awfully sure of yourself," he murmured, then pulled Spike close, slanting his lips over Spike's as he wrapped his legs around Spike's thighs. He gave a pleased moan and slipped his tongue into Spike's inviting mouth.

When he had taken on this gig, this ‘road to redemption,' Spike had never dreamed it would benefit him personally. Even when they had first met and he had felt that tug on his soul, he had thought it couldn't be. But now, in Dean’s arms, he knew it was true. This man was meant for him, and he was meant for Dean.

Closing his own arms around Dean, Spike tangled their tongues together in a heated dance that he hoped would last a lifetime. Running his fingers though the hunter’s short hair, he moved his mouth against Dean’s, changing the angles of their kisses. The man tasted delicious, his scent was wild and adventurous, with a hint of leather and smokey whiskey.

Dean had never quite felt his heart racing the way it was. He had made love to all sorts of women and a smattering of men through the years, but this guy, he tasted different, he felt different and Dean was content to just kiss Spike and let Spike kiss him back for the moment. When the hell had that happened before? Being content? Feeling a soothing salve on his soul, basking in the presence of someone and forgetting his burdens?

Lisa was the closest person he could think of, and that was probably only because she was a gumby-girl yoga teacher and they'd gotten lost in each other for three days. But even forgetting about the world for those few days, it still didn't feel like this and all the hell they were doing was kissing!

He tightened his hold on Spike, groaning in satisfaction.

Spike wanted the moment to go on forever. In Dean’s arms, his past was gone and all he could see, and feel was his future. He let himself get lost in one kiss after the next until a gentle ding from the timer had him reluctantly pulling away. He tried to smile but was shaken at soul level.

Slanting his mouth over Dean’s in a quick, chaste kiss, he whispered, "Consider this a place holder." He pulled away and went to the oven above another counter to pull out a baking sheet.

Dean felt the air rush from his lungs. He wasn't even interested in what Spike was cooking which was just crazy. He was still busy enjoying Spike's taste.

Spike put the tray down on the counter, and laying one hand on Dean's thigh, gave it a squeeze. "Bottled blonds with spitfire centers, coming right up," he promised.

Biscuits, or cookies in the American vernacular, in the shape of hollowed out little coke bottles, were lined up on the tray. He moved back to the tray and started injecting a bit of candy into each one, swirling them to coat their insides so they'd hold liquid when he was done with them. "I've got beer in the fridge," he said, pointing with his chin. "But you might like these better with coffee."

"Coffee'll do," Dean said, watching in amazement. "How long have you been a-a-a-pastry chef? Cook? Dessert inventor? I mean that's like, amazingly awesome-cool." Dean headed over to the coffee machine. "Maybe we spike the coffee a little?" he suggested, not certain how that would go with the cookies. "I mean--you know with alcohol!" he added hastily, his face beginning to color with where his suggestion took his thoughts.

"Right, well, that's my secret spitfire ingredient," Spike answered, "not me, though that's a bloody good suggestion." He smirked. He hadn't thought anything could get the hunter to blush. "A bit of sweet and spicy liquor will go in these, but there's no such thing as too much alcohol, is there? Spike away." He held Dean's gaze for a long moment, before looking down at the tray again.

"No, no such thing as too much alcohol, but let's start with just the coffee. I wanna try your special cookies without mixing them up with anything else but good coffee." Dean pulled out some clean coffee cups and poured them each a mug. "So tell me your story," Dean said, leaning against the counter to stay out of Spike's way. He took a sip of the coffee and watched the man work.

"That might send you running for the door. I think I'll wait a bit before I air my deep, dark, mysterious secrets." Glancing over at Dean, he tossed him a smile. "Just until you're hooked on m... my pastries."

Spike started to carefully inject various liquors into each bottle-shaped biscuit, capping each with a tiny drop of the candy he'd used to line the insides of the biscuits. That way, the liquid would stay inside. "If you like those chocolate bottles with liquor in them, you'll like these," he predicted.

"Deep, dark secrets are my thing," Dean said with a shake of his head. "Can't seem to avoid 'em. Doubt you could tell me anything I haven't heard or seen before. But dude, between the perfect pie, the perfect burger… and the damned hot looks, you've definitely got me interested. So really, what's a British hippie pastry chef doing in Cali running a diner called the Love Café. And Spike… just a heads up… I'm on the road most of the time. I'm only here for a week or so. Once Sammy is out of the hospital, no telling how soon work is going to send me back on the road." He gave a reluctant shrug. "Just so you understand. The family business… well, it takes me all over."

Having finished filling the biscuits, Spike wiped his hands and turned around. His back was up against the counter. Reaching for the mug of steaming hot coffee, he took a sip.

"In some ways, we're not so different, you and I," he said, tapping his finger on the rim of his mug. "At the end of the month, in a week, this all," he gestured around him, "the café, it comes down and I'm off. Until next year. Just one month a year," he said. "So if we lose touch, you know where I'll be next time this year, yeah?" His heart railed against the idea of a long separation, but he knew that even what was meant to be often took time to get there.

Shifting a little, Spike nodded toward the biscuits behind him. "Go on, try a few."

"Only a week left?" Dean blurted out. Yeah, he knew what he just said, but the food here was freaking awesome and he had already been contemplating excuses to hang out in Cali longer. For the food… or maybe more if things went the way they both seemed interested in taking it. "So where are you off to for the next eleven months? Back to England?" he guessed. He picked out three of the cookie things and put them on a plate. He picked up one and sunk his teeth into it, slurping up the liquor inside it. Like everything else of Spike's, it was freaking awesome.

"England? No," Spike shook his head. "I go where I'm needed. But more often than not, I'm--"

His cell phone vibrated. Raising a finger asking for a moment, Spike walked to one of the tables and looked at the face of the phone, then took the call. "Love café. I'd offer to help you find the other half of your heart but..." Chuckling, he put a little distance between himself and the kitchen, though he knew he could still be heard back where Dean was. After a little small talk, he repeated, "a vamp... a problem? Right, well, you know I can't help until next month, yeah? You too, and just... keep that pretty neck of yours covered." He made a face at the phone when he found he was talking to dead air.

Pocketing his phone, he headed back into the kitchen and took an obvious look at the tray. "Thought they'd mostly be gone by now."

Dean had finished off the three cookies he'd taken, then another two, then two more, though he kept telling himself that was the last one. "I thought you might want me to leave a few for other customers," Dean said, then snaked one more.

"These are all experimental. Made just for you." Spike pushed the tray closer to Dean.

"So, you've got a friend with an unusual problem?" Dean asked. He might have misheard the guy, but then again… would it really be such a shock, considering the way his life seemed to go? "I know a few people who are specialists in unusual problems," he offered, then bit into the cookie.

Spike gave him a long look. The call had been suspiciously perfectly timed. It was the universe pushing them together, he was sure of it. "I know. That you know specialists. That you are one," Spike said. "But she can handle her problem. Probably called just to hear my charming voice."

Dean stared back at him, his brow furrowing a bit. "You seem to know a lot about me. My favorite dessert. My favorite food. These cookie things that remind me of… a summer a long time ago. So, cut the crap. Lay it on the table, Spike, deep, dark, or whatever." Dean couldn't help himself and reached for another cookie, though he kept his eyes on Spike.

"Maybe I should prepare a to-go dinner box for you first. Have a feeling this won't go down as well as you think it will." Spike cocked his head to the side. "You'll need a few days to think about it. Maybe more." He wished the call had come later, after they'd gotten to know each other just a little better. But Willow, goody two shoes that she was, he'd bet she'd wanted to thwart him from shagging Dean before he told him. She was a great one for coming clean first.

Dean considered what Spike said. So Spike knew he was a hunter, and Dean probably wouldn't like Spike's past… yeah, he didn't like the sound of this. At all. He pursed his lips. "Tell me this. You always had that body? Not possessed or wearing someone else's meatsuit? And do you… well, hurt or kill people? Suck their souls out or whatever?" Dean knew he was probably treading in dangerous territory, but dammit, for a week, he could pretend. So long as Spike wasn’t some demon possessing some hippie guy, or a supernatural type that killed others to live--yeah, maybe he could deal with just not asking and just not knowing. For a week.

Spike spread his arms out and let them drop to his side as he spoke. "Body's mine. Always has been. You and I, we play on the same side now." He looked away for a moment, then back at Dean. "I've never called myself a hunter, but I kill things. Evil things." The simple part was out. But they both knew there was more.

“A decade ago, it was a different story. You would have hunted me then," he admitted, bracing for a fight if it came to it. "People change. I. Changed." His eyes locked with Dean's.

Dean gave a bit of a nod. So there was a dark past. But, hell, he had his own dark side. Spike was right. What mattered now was what you did with the moment. And if you helped or hurt. "Okay, so tell me how you know so much about me. Keep it simple. You psychic?"

"Come on, you're Dean Winchester, who 'in the business' doesn't know about you?" Spike asked.

Dean gave a small scowl. "Yeah, apparently a lot more famous than I ever realized," he said, making a face. "Just as soon be off the radar." He reached out and grabbed another cookie. After taking a bite and slurping up the insides he said, "I approve of the cookie experiment, by the way. Fuck the past, fuck the dark facts and truths. I've decided I don't wanna know. We've got a week. If you tell me now… I'll have to probably get all pissy, or even go hunter on your ass, and Spike, that isn't the 'on your ass' images I've been thinking about all day. How about you? Wanna just screw the real world for the next week? We'll deal with the fallout after we've at least had some fun. And dude, just tell me I'm not going to regret going into this eyes shut."

Yeah, Dean knew it was probably stupid as hell, but after the sucky ass hunt, his brother in the hospital, and everything else, he wanted to feel that content feeling he had when kissing Spike and give the world the bird.

Spike moved into Dean's personal space and grabbed his jacket with both hands. "From the moment I laid eyes on you, hunter, all I could think about is kissing you. Shagging you. Your offer. You don't think it's one I can refuse, do you?" he asked, dragging Dean closer. "Can't promise you won't regret this, but I can promise that I won't give you something to regret."

Dean wrapped his arms around Spike. "Good enough for me," Dean said, pulling Spike up against and kissing the hell out of the café owner.

No more resistance. No more questions. No more red tape. It was too good to be true, Spike thought for a moment. And then the hunter's mouth was pressed against his, and there was no more room for thought. Their tongues tangled, dancing in and out of each other's mouth like they'd danced this dance a thousand times before. Spike slowly released his hold on Dean's jacket and closed his arms around the man, molding him closer, hanging onto him like he was the other part of his soul.

Dean felt it again. The contentment washed over him, soothing his mind, his heart, his soul. His thoughts flicked to the siren Sam and he had gone up against. It was the same, only not. The siren left you needy, wanting, desperate, ready to do absolutely anything. This… was like walking into Eden. Nothing but peace. He pulled back sharply, suddenly and met Spike's surprised gaze. "You're not an angel, right? Just want to make absolutely certain ‘cause most angels I've met are dicks."

"Angel?" Spike blinked. "Don't think anyone but my mum's ever called me that." He licked his lips, still tasting Dean on them. "Do you... do you need to know what I am?" he asked softly, fear creeping into his voice. Not fear for his safety, but fear that the hunter would run from him if he knew the truth. "Or can we really leave the world behind, just for a week?" He stepped back, giving Dean room, but wanting so badly to be in his arms again.

Dean gave a small laugh. "No, it just--all the fucking saving the world bullshit, all the crap the angels pulled--and being in your arms is like--" He gave a small smile, looked down, then met Spike's gaze. "It's even better than some of the memories I re-lived when I was in heaven. It just made me think of angels, that's all. No, I don't need to know anything beyond you're a café owner hippie that makes the best freaking pie and bacon cheeseburger, ever. Sorry. I'll keep my yap shut. At least as far as asking more questions. So, make me shut up already and kiss me again."

Reaching out, fingers splayed wide, Spike ran his hand up the column of Dean's neck, gripping his jaw. "I've got a better idea," he whispered, ghosting his lips over Dean's, then lifting his head. "Let me take you to my place. It's a few streets over. Give me your nights, Dean. I've got to work during the day, but promise me your nights for a week," he whispered, flames of love and desire practically leaping from the fires burning in his eyes.

Dean licked his lips, staring into those gorgeous blue eyes. He could tell both of them were feeling the same electricity, the same fire. Looking into that face, into that soul, he knew he could fall for this guy. He finally gave a nod. "Barring something happening to Sammy where I have to be at the hospital… my nights are yours for the next week."

"I can share you with him," Spike said with a nod. He’d seen that Dean had enough room for the both of them, and he'd told him as much when they'd first met. Bringing his mouth down over Dean's, he kissed him again, because he needed it, they both did. And when he released him, he was quick to grab his keys and shut off the lights, wanting nothing more than to be alone with the man.

Dean couldn't help it. He loved just watching the man move and his eyes followed Spike. He seemed to be grace incarnate, which wasn't something he often applied to anyone, let alone a man. As soon as they were out the door, he wrapped his arm around Spike's waist and planted another quick kiss on his lips. "Damn, you're addictive. Your kisses, your presence." He just stood there, staring at Spike, like some lovestruck fool.

"It's the biscuits talking," Spike countered with a smile. He was staring right back at Dean, lost in his eyes, when a sound from the street snapped him out of it. "Right, we can stand here thinking about the things we'll be doing, or we could, you know, start doing them. I say let's get on with this, yeah?"

He didn't allow Dean to let his arm drop, holding his wrist for just a moment, then leading the way with Dean's arm around him. They walked through the throngs of people on the boardwalk heading for nearby bars, or looking at the art displayed in windows, or listening to the street musicians.

Soon, he had them veering off the boardwalk and onto the beach. "Off with the boots," Spike said, finally pulling away and bending over to take his own shoes off. "Sand is still warm," he said, though the sun had gone down. "Come on, what are you waiting for?"

"My boots?" he asked, almost like it was heresy. "I have… ugly feet. Or toes. Or something." He saw the look Spike gave him. "Oh c'mon! Really?" He gave a very Sam-like huff and sat down on the beach, undid his boots laces, and pulled them off. He slid his boot knife down into his boots, then yanked his socks off, stuffing them down inside as well. "If I get sand fleas, or step on a crab or something, I am so tossing your ass into the ocean. Just so we understand each other."

"You toss me into the surf, and I'm taking your arse in with me. Just so we understand each other," Spike shot back, bending his head to inspect Dean's toes. "You've got nothing to worry about, mate. I've seen worse. There's this bloke I know, got fungus on his big toe and..."

"Eww! TMI! TMI! And what the hell are you looking at guys’ toes for? Foot fetish much? Dean buried his toes in the sand. He hated putting his feet on display as much as he hated wearing shorts. Unless it was for frisbee or basketball or something. Even then, he'd prefer sweats if he could get away with it.

Spike was right though. The sand was still warm and felt kinda nice on his feet. But he wasn't going to admit that to Spike. No way.

Laughing at his reaction, Spike gave him a moment to pick up his boots, then grabbed his hand and started walking along the beach. A few minutes passed, enough time to let Dean think the topic was dropped. Then Spike piped up again. "I quite like them. Your toes. You might wake up with a bit of nail lacquer on them, if you keep wiggling them the way you do when you walk."

"What!" Dean exclaimed, looking at him aghast. "Don't you dare or you'll never see my feet naked again! Or I'll put Nair in your shampoo or pink dye or something!”

"What the bloody hell is Nair?" Spike asked, his fingers threading through Dean's. "And wait until I give you a love bite right on your arch. Don't think you'll be threatening to hide your feet from me again after that." He smirked.

"Nair is--never mind," Dean said, chuckling. He liked Spike's hair and wouldn't do that to him anyhow. "No more talk of toe fungus and nail polish and my feet will be naked for you." He suddenly began laughing. "I'm beginning to think you're more than a little outrageous, you know."

"You did call me a hippie," Spike pointed out. "Ever dance in the moonlight, Dean?" he asked, then hit the heel of his hand against his own forehead. "Probably should be asking whether you've ever danced. But never mind, it's never too late to start, is it?" He whirled Dean around, before the man could stop him, then pulled him into his arms. "It's a bit awkward, what with all the pairs of shoes we’re holding, and no music. But there's no one here to see, so who the bloody 'ell cares, yeah?"

"Definitely outrageous," Dean said. "And no, I don't usually dance and never danced under the moonlight on a beach." He smiled and looked down into Spike's face. "I have a feeling you're going to drag me into a lot of firsts and somehow, I'm going to let you get away with it."

"Look who's psychic now," Spike said, his expression smug and satisfied. Their moonlight dance of sorts quickly turned into a moonlight snog, with a bit of groping on the side. By the time he pulled away, they were near his building, so they started heading back up to the boardwalk. “Across the street, there,” Spike said, nodding towards his apartment.

Dean looked over the building they were approaching. "Dude, how'd you score a place right on the beach? You a Bruce Wayne millionaire type or something. Pastry chef by day, superhero hunter-type by night?"

"Not my place, mate." Spike scoffed at the idea he was that plump in the pocket. Well, sometimes he was, but his lucrative schemes never seemed to last. "I get its use when I'm running the café. Which superhero?" he asked, as he punched in the key code to get into the lobby doors.

"Bruce Wayne. You know, Batman. Course you being all spitfire blond, maybe, I dunno, Supergirl?" Dean teased. "Bet you'd look hot in a red miniskirt."

"So long as I'm not Scooby or what's the other one, Mickey Mouse, I'll take it." Spike had no real interest in most American Superheros, but he did know Batman.

The elevator arrived, and he stepped in. A few minutes later, they were walking into a decent sized room with hardwood floors, very little furniture, and no clutter. A narrow, spiral staircase lead up to the loft. Straight ahead, the french windows opened onto a balcony overlooking the ocean.

The lights were already on but were low.

Spike dropped his shoes next to the door and motioned for Dean to do the same. "Want a drink?"

"I think you're trying to get me drunk. First feeding me sugar filled with liquor, coffee, now more… yeah, a beer would be good actually." He gave a smirk. "What can I say. My brother's asked me if I can even get drunk anymore." Dean looked out the window admiring the ocean. "You know, I never really had a dream home, but this might be kinda close. I like the sound of the ocean. Except when the mermaids are out."

"Mermaids. Didn't take you for the whimsical sort." Spike headed for the open kitchen, then returned with two beers. He stood at the balcony door, lifting the bottle up. His gaze was focused on Dean, and he didn't hide the fact that he liked what he saw.

"They're real, apparently. Never seen or heard one myself, but found a few journals of hunters who had. They're like the crocotta of the seven seas I guess. Get you to come out to the ocean then suck your soul out." Dean accepted the beer and took a long drink. "Sorry, I guess it's been awhile since… anything more than a one nighter. My last long term, hell my only long term went about as south as south can go. I think you need to distract me because I'm doing a sucky job of getting my mind off work. Or just plain thinking too much. And that should be Sam's department, not mine." He held a hand out to Spike to pull him closer, to join Dean in front of the window

Spike put his arm around Dean's back. "If it's distraction you want, I'm your man. The drink's optional, I was trying to be hospitable. It was that or pounce on you straight away, yeah?" Smiling, he took a drink. "You look nothing like the run of the mill hunter. More like a Scooby or a Ken doll, all grown up and nicely filled out."

Dean chuckled and likewise wrapped an arm around Spike. "A filled-out Ken doll, huh? I can say I definitely have a helluva lot more between my legs than that fashion queen. And what's a Scooby? Are you comparing me to Daphne?" He licked his lips. "We didn't really grow up with other hunters. Only knew of a few before our dad bought it and I kinda feel like we’re trying to play catch up with the whole hunter culture at times. I probably would’a been a mechanic, and Sammy, a lawyer, if not for Dad making us part of the life."

He ran the bottle over his lips, then took another drink. "Why the hell do I feel all chick-flick with you. Like… like you're, I dunno, water, and I'm thirsty way deep down inside. Dammit, shut me up already before I make a bigger fool of myself." Dean set aside his beer and turned to face Spike. "Pouncing is a real good idea, I think."

Spike dropped his bottle on top of a table. "One thing about fashion dolls... they're not hidden under all these layers." As he leaned in to kiss Dean, Spike worked Dean's jacket off, tossing it onto a chair without ever breaking the kiss. Closing his arms around Dean, he inserted his leg between Dean’s. "You weren't kidding about what you have between your legs."

"Damn straight I got a package--"

Spike brought his mouth down over Dean’s, cutting him short. He couldn’t help himself, not when the hunter tasted like the heaven he thought he’d never know.

Dean let himself simply get lost in Spike's kisses, in the pressure against his tightening pants. His hands roamed over the man's body, under his shirt, down to his ass, cupping it tight. "You aren't so small yourself," he murmured, feeling Spike's desire press against his thigh.

"It's all your doing," Spike answered huskily. Stripping off Dean's over shirt, he tossed it on the floor as he walked him backwards further into the living room. Then he lifted the hem of his tee shirt, and pulled it off, letting the material float to the floor at their feet. Heat flared in his eyes as his gaze roved over Dean's sun kissed chest and washboard stomach.

"We've danced under the moonlight and walked barefoot on the beach. Know what we haven't done?" Spike asked, maneuvering Dean towards a doorway.

"Don't forget the kissing and groping," Dean pointed out. "Sex on the beach? Isn't that a girly drink?" he murmured against Spike's neck as he sucked and kissed his throat. "One request. A big fucking blanket. Sand and sex don't go well together." He pulled back and tugged off Spike's shirt. "I bet you’re fucking gorgeous, naked under the moonlight."

"We've got moonlight in here, and I have a feeling I'll be naked in no time flat." Stopping Dean at the doorway, he leaned over his shoulder, laughing because he knew Dean had thought he was about to kiss him. "Patience, luv. I've got to get this bloody gadget started, so..." He pressed a few selections on a panel on the wall, and suddenly there was thunder and lightning coming out of the large shower room. The sound of pouring rain erupted as well.

"Ever made love in a storm?" Spike asked, his hands reaching for Dean's jeans.

"Yeah, I've made love in a storm, but somehow I think the storm might be coming from the two of us. How can you soothe my soul while setting it on fire at the same time?" He reached around Spike's arms and began working on opening his pants. He closed his eyes a moment, drinking in the scents. Such a strange combination of vanilla, cinnamon, coffee, alcohol, leather, sea salt… things that probably shouldn't complement each other making the most perfect blend of smells. In with that mix was Spike's own earthy scent. Maybe that's what made it perfect. "Damn, you smell good."

"Wait till after my shower." Spike grinned. The hunter had acknowledged he affected him at soul level. It might have been only a figure of speech, but it still made Spike's spirits soar. As impossible as vampire and hunter was, here they were, a vamp and a hunter, making love instead of trying to kill each other.

He nipped Dean's neck with his teeth. "Mmm, you taste good," he said, pulling back as they stripped each other. He wasn't going to think about how Dean really tasted and whether his life blood would be as heady as his scent. Spike knew the answer, but he wasn't going there.

When they'd lost their clothing, he pushed Dean inside the stormy shower, his eyes focused on Dean as the fake lightning threw lights and shadows across the hunter's handsome features.

"Wait until you really get a taste of me," Dean answered, giving Spike a good leer.

The lighting, the sounds, it was bizarre. In a storm, you didn't stay outside to make love, at least not when the lightning was illuminating everything, and thunder beat with the sound of waves pounding the shore. Unless you were safely inside a car with the rain pounding down on the roof and hood. One particularly loud crack of lightning made Dean jump just a fraction. "Damn, that's realistic," he said, laughing at himself. He let his gaze rove over the good-looking chef, running his fingers along Spike's side, over ribs buried under muscle. "But I definitely like what I see."

Spike's mouth went dry at the taunt. Giving Dean a heat-filled look, he followed him inside.

Looking down at Dean's hands on him, a delicious thrill ran through Spike. When he lifted his gaze, he gave Dean a smile. "Good, I was hoping it wasn't just my cooking that lured you in."

He gave himself another long moment to admire Dean, his gaze roving hotly over the man, from head to toe. Then he stepped forward and took him in his arms, kissing him as the water rained down on them, and the storm raged around them.

***

The slap on his ass stung. "Ouch! Dammit!" Dean yelled. He tried to strike back, twirling his towel into a rat tail, but as he tried to zing Spike with it, Spike grabbed the towel and tugged Dean close. "That's cheating!" Dean complained, but gave Spike a hot kiss, followed up with a retaliatory strike to Spike's ass with his hand. They'd mostly just made out, groped and teased each other mercilessly in the storming shower, but Dean thought it was some of the finest foreplay he'd ever had. "Where's the bedroom?" he whispered in Spike's ear

"Upstairs. Think you can make it?" Spike reluctantly released Dean, watching the hunter's heaving chest in satisfaction. "I'm right behind you," he said, as they headed out of the bathroom, towels around their waists. Right before Dean started up the narrow spiral stairs, Spike goosed him. "Right... behind."

"Hey!" Dean complained loudly, but they both knew it was all bluster. He liked having fun as part of foreplay. Dean sidestepped, grabbing Spike's arm and pulling him to the first step. "After you," he said, slipping right behind Spike, thrusting his stiff cock against Spike's backside. "C'mon, you're holding up traffic," he said, nudging Spike and fully intending to yank Spike's towel off halfway up the stairs.

A hunter was always wary of getting trapped. Whether Dean was making the conscious choice to force Spike up the stairs first, or if it was just his ingrained hunter's habits, Spike understood.

Bending over, he gripped the edge of one of the stairs, and deliberately pushed back against Dean's arousal, grinding against it. "Let's call that an appetizer, shall we?" Just as he felt Dean responding, Spike scrambled to climb the stairs.

Groaning at the unexpected pressure, it took Dean a moment to recover when Spike shot up the stairs and the pressure was gone. "Dammit!" he growled, chasing after Spike, and managing to just grab Spike's towel at the top step. He yanked it off, grinning at the red handprint he saw on Spike's left ass cheek. "Nice handprint you've got there. Would look good as a tattoo with Property of Dean Winchester inked across it. Whaddaya think?" Dean said, dropping Spike's towel to the floor and following Spike into the huge bedroom. "Wow. This room's bigger than most hotel rooms I've stayed in. And here I expected you to be the canopy with beads bed type."

"I think I like your idea too much," Spike answered truthfully, striding straight to the bed, without faltering even after he'd lost the towel.

He looked over his shoulder at Dean, then crawled on all fours across the bed, crouching low on his elbows, before rolling onto his side. "Come on then, make me your property," he said, his eyes glinting with a challenge.

"Careful or I'll get you drunk and take you to a tattoo parlor," Dean answered. When Spike gave him that look, he pulled off his own towel and began walking toward the bed, his gaze never wavering from Spike's. "They say a good lover listens to his partner, and I'm hearing volumes right now."

Crawling up onto the bed, Dean began a slow caress of Spike's skin, starting at his ankles and moving upward, tracing every line, every muscle. He began following the caresses with light kisses from his lips, pausing now and again to taste and suck and lightly nip now and again.

Dean wasn't the only one hearing volumes. When he’d dropped his towel, Spike's blood shot up, throbbing at his temples as he watched Dean approach. He could feel the heat from the hunter's body. Knew how good the man felt against him, and couldn't wait to feel the weight of his body.

Then the hunter surprised him. Spike's fingers clenched around the bed sheets as Dean made love to him with his mouth. A strangled gasp escaped him now and again, and he writhed just a little. When Dean moved high enough up his body, Spike reached for him, caressing his broad shoulders. Enjoying the sensual torture and increasingly tensing with anticipation. Eventually, he ground out, "Every storm has an ending hunter. I want mine."

"Some storms last all night long," Dean said, enjoying taking his time, exploring Spike's body. Any concern the hunter part of him raised about how cool to the touch Spike's body was, Dean stubbornly pushed away. He wouldn't ask. He didn't care. Not for right now. Right now, they were lovers and that's all he was going to acknowledge.

Seeing the stormy look in Spike's gaze, Dean chuckled. "Unless it's a very impatient storm. Like Storm Spike seems to be. My wallet is downstairs. Got condoms and lube at hand? Don't want to stop at the peak to go hunting for some," Dean said, his hand, drifting lightly over Spike's cock.

Spike's hips canted upwards to meet Dean's touch. "This impatient storm doesn't need precautions, of any sort, yeah? You're safe, too," he said, leaving it to the hunter to believe him or not. He sat up, bracing on his elbows, his gaze drilling into Dean's. Pleading. Demanding. Asking for it.

Dean hesitated. He'd always been careful. Yeah, not perfect, and generally trusted a woman when she said she was on birth control. Still, he usually didn't risk it unless things got out of control. But he felt Spike was telling the truth. Somehow, he got the feeling Spike didn't normally fall into bed with any good-looking joe who came along. "Okay," he finally said, and gripped Spike's cock, beginning to give Spike the pressure he needed and moved between Spike's legs.

Spike had already had the pleasure of having Dean's gorgeous lips wrapped around his cock in the shower. Just the thought of seeing that again had him going unbelievably harder in Dean's calloused palm. "So bloody good," he whispered, his eyes glazing as Dean pumped him.

This wasn't at all how he'd planned it. His plan had been to make love to Dean. To win him over a little at a time. To give him romance, something Spike thought Dean might not have had a lot of. He'd been dead wrong. Every move the hunter made was romantic, and thoughtful, and caring.

Once Dean found a nice slow rhythm that seemed to keep Spike happy, he scooted back and leaned down. After licking the bead of cum off Spike's cock, he ran his tongue down the underside of it to his balls. He sucked and played with Spike's balls for a few minutes then moved lower and deeper, sliding along the crack until his tongue found that prized circle of puckered flesh. He began to pulse his tongue teasingly against it, paying careful attention to what made Spike go crazy. He pulsed and speared his tongue in, working his tongue in a bit deeper and deeper.

The shock and pleasure from Dean's wet tongue invading him almost had Spike clamping his legs around Dean. Forcing himself to relax, he pulled his knees up, giving Dean more access. His cock was so stiff, it ached. And each accidental brush of Dean's chin against his sensitive balls had Spike groaning and raising the lower half of his body up higher. "Dean!" he finally ground out, driven close to the edge.

"Damn, you're impatient!" Dean said, laying a kiss on Spike's puckered hole. He reached between his own legs, jacked himself hard, then moved up until his tip was at Spike's hole. "And what is your pleasure, Spike? Want me to shove in and go at it, or work my way in, giving you some breathing room?" His fingers dug into Spike's thighs as he tried to keep himself under control when all he really wanted to do was simply bury himself in Spike.

Just the choices had Spike giving a needy groan. "Once you start pushing, don't you stop," he growled. As if to prevent the risk of that happening, he shifted his legs, locking them firmly around Dean. Now when he pulled his knees in, he could force the hunter towards him. The movement made Dean’s tip press just inside his hole. "Now... take me now," he suddenly said, "need to feel you inside. Fuck me. Love me. Take me, or by God I will--"

Dean gave a groan at the pressure on his tip, but he heard Spike's desire, so he thrust himself deep, burying himself balls deep. Leaning in, he crushed their lips together and gave Spike a few moments to adjust to being filled. He began to rock, pulling out slightly and pushing back in, slowly increasing the depth as he increased the pace. His body gained a light sheen of sweat as he worked to give Spike everything he'd asked for. Fucking him. Loving him. Taking him. Claiming him.

It had been a long time since anyone took care of him. Gave him exactly what he asked for, what he needed. The hunter gave with his body, and heart and soul. And Spike was lost. He knew then, if this didn't work out, if the end of their week turned out to be the end of them, he'd be inconsolable. He wanted, needed this hunter in his life. Needed him body and soul and wanted to care for him the way the man deserved.

"Yes, that's right, luv, bloody hell... it's just right," he whispered, running his hands over Dean. His sides, his back, sometimes allowing his fingers to bite into the hunter, knowing he'd leave his marks. He wanted to leave other sorts of marks, but this would have to do. This would be his claim.

Dragging Dean close, he captured his mouth and kissed him. The hunter's hot breaths fanned over Spike's face, somehow exciting him even more. And the sounds of the man's loudly beating heart affected Spike, had him even more wound up.

Dean pounded hard into Spike, urged on by Spike's whispered words, by the way Spike's fingers dug into him. Their tongues warred and danced, as graceful and perfect as the way Spike felt under him as he moved. He felt his balls tightening and he wished it would last longer, so much longer. He tried to stretch it out, to drag it out, but his body had been held back too long already. "Spike!" he shouted, the name echoing in the room as Dean's body almost violently climaxed and white flashes filled his vision.

"Ngh... Dean!" Spike shouted back, drawing the hunter as deep inside him as he possibly could and letting him bring him home with every hard, violent thrust of his hips. His cum splattered across his stomach, and Spike only just managed to use his hand as a barrier to prevent Dean from getting splashed, from noticing it wasn't as warm as it should be.

Reaching for Dean, he didn't allow him to pull out yet. "Where have you been all my life?" God, he was glad they hadn't met back when he'd have seen Dean as prey.

"In a 1967 Impala crisscrossing the United States more times than the number of beach goers during Spring Break. Feels that way anyhow. And I could say the same, but I promised not to ask, so I won't," Dean said, breathing hard as he collapsed on top of Spike. For a moment he was concerned--he didn't feel the tell-tale splash of cum against his stomach confirming Spike really had enjoyed himself, but laying on top of Spike he felt the cooling cum between them. "But you can tell me stories about where you've been all my life, if you want." He nuzzled the side of Spike's neck, content to lay there, still resting inside of his lover.

"Crisscrossing the world, under a dark rock. Or right here, in California in the last decade. Small town. Sunnydale, you heard of it?" Spike asked. He was taking a chance giving that tidbit of information. A bit of research could reveal to the hunter exactly who and what he was. Or if, when they broke it off, and if Dean was angry at him for what he was, and if he were the vengeful sort, Spike would always have to look over his shoulder.

"Sunnydale?" Dean murmured. "Didn't that place get swallowed up in some big earthquake sinkhole or something a few years back? Or am I thinking of some place in Florida?" Dean said, vaguely recalling not only reading something about it in Weekly World News, but also seeing something about it on one of the big news networks. "That the same place you lived?"

"Right, that wasn't my fault." Spike cleared his throat. "Earth swallowing it, up. But they've re-built the town. It's where I live, most of the time." He pulled Dean down and kissed him again, certain he'd never get enough.

As they kissed, they slowly separated, shifting so they were on their sides, facing each other. "I don't want this week to end, and it's just the first day we--"

Dean ran his hand soothingly along Spike's side. "Dude, live in the moment. Stop thinking about it. Tomorrow either of us could get hit by lightning, or eaten by a shark, or whatever. Course I've died so many times I've got frequent flyer miles." He chuckled at Spike's look. "Pissed off a Trickster. Apparently, he took great delight in killing me day after repeat day after repeat day, until Sam finally figured out it was the Trickster. We still don't know if it was real or just all in Sam's head. Most angels are dicks, so who the hell knows. And that trickster was an angel in hiding." Dean gave Spike a smile. "Why don't we just not worry about it, huh? We've got a week, if we get lucky. Longer if we get really lucky."

"I love this moment," Spike answered with a smile, caressing Dean, running his hand down his back and over the swell of his ass. Keeping him close. "Remind me to thank this brother of yours for it. I assume he saved you from this Trickster."

Leaning in, he kissed Dean again, and again. Light kisses, just to get a taste of him. Trying to commit to memory the way the hunter felt, how he made Spike feel. At peace.

"Let's wait until his concussion is a little better. He's still a little loopy from it," Dean said. "Then you can thank him with, well, he's a rabbit food fan. Some sort of power salad would probably make him happy." Dean returned the light kisses Spike was giving him. "You know what? I want to go sit on the beach, or walk along it, or something. For a little bit. How 'bout it? Then we can come back here for another good round or two of intimate discovery.

"You want to go out?" Spike ran his hand over Dean's face and shook his head. "You're serious?"

"Crazy, huh? You, me, together, barefoot, walking along the beach. I'm listening to the crash of the waves and thinking what a perfect night this is, how it feels so… right, so peaceful. No monsters, no apocalypses, nothing but waves and you. I like it. I don't usually stop and enjoy these sorts of moments. But if you want to convince me to stay in bed," he grinned, "I doubt you'd have much trouble doing it."

"I'd keep you in my bed forever if I could. But alright, let's go watch the water. All that fresh air will re-energize you. Then we'll be making a run back," Spike predicted, kissing Dean one last time, then sitting up.

"I'm good with running back," Dean said, having second thoughts when Spike kissed him, at least until he heard the calling rumble of the waves and tossed back the covers. Pulling on his jeans, he held a hand out to a likewise dressed Spike and headed downstairs and out into the night.

***

The next morning, Spike moved quietly around as he got dressed. He left the hunter sleeping in his bed, loving the sight of the man there.

Before he left for work, he made coffee, and breakfast for Dean, with instructions on how to reheat the food. He also left a note, telling the hunter to pick up a lunch box for his brother, before he took off for the hospital. He wasn't stupid, he knew he had to get into the good graces of the brother, if he was to have a chance with Dean.

*

Dean awoke to the sound of the waves and the memories of an excellent night with Spike. He wasn't really surprised to find Spike gone come morning. The guy had a diner to run and he wasn't really sure what time the place opened. After a quick shower that turned out to be a long luxurious one, he dressed and found the breakfast Spike had so thoughtfully left for him. The guy had more energy than the Energizer Bunny. Not that he was complaining. After eating breakfast, he walked along the beach, played some volley ball with a group on the beach, then found himself outside Café Love. The name didn't make him giggle any more. He sat inside, watching as Spike moved some guests around, introducing them and sitting them together.

Spike felt Dean's presence, lifted his gaze, and gave him a smile. Then he turned back to the group, asked them a ridiculous question to break the ice. He left them in a fit of giggles.

Moving behind the counter, Spike passed their orders to this assistant. Then he headed for Dean’s table with a cup of coffee. "You're a sight for sore eyes, luv," he said, bending and kissing Dean lightly. "Mmm, smell good enough to take a lunch break for," he teased, setting the coffee down.

Dean pulled him back down for a more intense kiss. "You could have woken me when you left, you know," Dean said, after the kiss. "I'm still full from breakfast, but always have room for a pastry. And by all means, join me if you can spare the time. If not, I'll just sit here and watch your ass while you work." He gave the man a smirk.

"Didn't you get enough of watching it last night?" Sitting down, Spike motioned to his assistant, pointing toward the pastries under glass. "Bring us a variety, yeah?"

He turned back to Dean. "I thought you might need the rest. I was being selfish, wanted to be sure you'd be just as energetic tonight.”

Dean chuckled. "I will be just as energetic tonight, and somehow, don't think I'll ever get tired of watching your tight, fine, ass." Lifting the coffee cup to his lips with one hand, he slid his free hand across the table top and interlaced his fingers with Spike. "Just so you know, last night was awesome. You're awesome."

"I'll take that as a promise, and a compliment." Spike tightened his fingers around Dean's. At that moment, he knew happiness and perfect satisfaction. Whether it lasted or not, he'd carry it with him into forever.

"It is a promise," Dean said with a wink. He gave a nod to the server who brought over a sampling of pastries and saw the way the girl's eyes paused on their interlaced hands. "I think you've been exposed," he said, nodding to the assistant who just stood there a moment, a bit dumbfounded.

Spike looked over at his assistant. "Sorry, this one's taken. But there's someone out there for you," he winked, laughing as she walked away, her face as flushed as if she'd been sunburned.

"I think she's got a bit of a crush on you." Spike released Dean's hand so he could eat.

"No, I think she has a crush on you. You should see how googly-eyed she gets staring at you when you're not looking," Dean countered, and picked out one of the pastries. He bit into it and gave a small groan. "Dude," he said through a mouthful, "I'll have to run twenty miles every day if you cook for me like this all the time. Damn it's good."

"You just have to spend your nights with me, no running required," Spike answered, smirking. "You won't have to worry about burning calories, yeah?" He watched with satisfaction as Dean enjoyed the pastries. "I'll need sex twenty times a day, if you keep eating like that." Spike licked his lips, the same way Dean just had, almost tasting the man on his lips.

"I can tell you're going to be high maintenance, aren't you?" Dean said, leaning across and giving Spike a light kiss. "So, where's the lunchbox you promised me. I really ought to get going to see Sam or I'll have some explaining to do. And you've got lunch rush coming up soon."

"I may be high maintenance, but I'm worth it." Spike got up and squeezed Dean's shoulder. "I'll send the box to your table. See you tonight?" He didn't wait for an answer. Already, he was wishing the hours away.

***

Spike watched as the workers dismantled Café Love. Very quickly, the temporary sides, the windows, and even the flooring was loaded onto a truck, and was as if the place never existed. It would be back next year, and by then, the stories about it would grow. And so would the Yelp reports claiming the rumors about the place were all true, and that the owner could help you find true love.

Spike's apron was gone. He was in black jeans and tee shirt, with a red over shirt. There was an edginess to him that hadn't been there for the past thirty days.

He heard the roar of the Impala long before Dean pulled up. Slowly, he turned and headed for it, crossing the promenade and heading for the street. His smile was a little uncertain, but firmly in place.

Dean rolled the window down. "Hey, good looking. I'm headed to pick Sam up from the hospital and we're headed up the coast to San Fran. Sounds like they've got a werewolf up there, and the full moon is a few days away. You… you wanna come with?" Dean asked hesitantly. He knew how he'd feel if Sam dragged his lover along and he'd told Sam about Spike and Sam didn't seem upset, but Dean figured this hunt wasn't all that far away and they could see how it went. "And what the hell do you do the other 11 months when Café Love is just a memory and anticipation?"

Bowing his head slightly, a wicked look crossing his features, Spike headed for the car. "I kill werewolves, vampires, demons, and other monsters. But only the evil ones," he said. "I know, it's an unexpectedly sedate life for me."

"Very sedate," Dean said with a solemn nod, smiling when Spike tapped the hood of the car and walked to the passenger side. Once Spike had settled into the shotgun position, Dean put the car into gear. "So, we do have something of, ah, an issue. I'm thinking maybe… maybe you see if you can find Sammy's true love? Do you do the matchmaking outside of the one month out of the year? I'm thinking if Sam's love turns out to be a hunter, or at least familiar with the business, it might make things easier. If they happen to be really rich, that'd be a bonus," Dean said with a soft chuckle.

An issue. Spike looked down. He knew they had to talk, but when Dean brought up his brother's love life, he looked back up at him with startled blue eyes. "Isn't there--" He cleared his throat, playing with the ring around his finger that gave him the power to be out during the day. "Something else? Something you want to ask me about?" He was nervous, but maybe the fact that Dean had forgotten he was 'different' boded well.

Dean was silent for a moment. "I ever tell you what a nosey little shit my brother is?" He glanced away from the road, over at Spike. "When I told him I'd found someone, someone I thought I might want in my life, long-term like, he figured I'd been put under a spell or something. He's also really damned good at research." Dean was silent for another long moment. "The fact you have a soul, and that you haven't bitten me has scored points in your favor. He's still dubious, even with the Slayer vouching for you. So, I'm hoping him falling in love with someone might keep him otherwise occupied."

Spike had reached for the door handle, ready to jump out of the moving vehicle if necessary but stayed his hand and looked over at Dean as the hunter made it clear he knew exactly what Spike was. Even who he was. But he didn't seem tense about. There was no look of disgust, or of disappointment. It was as if nothing had changed, when by all rights, everything had.

"Then, I suppose this would be a bad time to admit I wanted to. Bite," he lifted his hand, not quite sure where he stood, as far as joking went. He searched Dean's face. "That's it? You're not angry or--you're really alright with this?" If he didn't know to expect a bunch of 'girl jokes,' Spike might have let Dean see the tears stinging his eyes. "You still... you want me. This."

Dean gave a sigh. "Yes, no, I don’t know. About being alright with the fact you’re a vampire. Do I want this? Practically since I laid eyes on you. So, you know what? I've never had anyone to care about who wasn't family. Fell in love once and she kicked me out when I told her the truth about me. I remember how that hurt. How much that fucking hurt. And I always thought that if she'd just given me a chance, tried to understand, even a little, it might have been okay." He looked over at Spike. "If she'd just fucking given me a chance. So, you're getting that chance that she never gave me. And I know how much it would hurt, both of us, for me to say get the hell out of my life. Cause I don't want you out of my life. So, for however long this thing between us lasts, I'm game."

Dean turned his eyes back on the road and made the turn into the hospital's visitor lot. "And we'll work on the biting thing. Just--let's not go there until Sam can deal and I can deal. I mean, if you really did want to, you know, bite."

"I don't have to bite," Spike quickly said. "I've bitten plenty... I mean, I'm over it." It was a lie when it came to the hunter, but he could control himself.

He waited until the car stopped. "I've been thrown out too, for what I am. I was half expecting..." he closed his eyes, then grabbed Dean by his shirt, pulling him close and kissing him with everything he had. "We'll go slow. I'll act perfectly normal. Human. Right, and I'll give you space, the both of you. We'll meet up, make it work." He was talking a mile a minute; it was excitement and nervous energy.

Dean couldn't help the laughter bubbling up. "Breathe, Spike. Breathe. You're coming with us on this hunt. If you're okay with that. Sam wants to keep an eye on you for a while. Since he convinced me to let a vampire nest go once, when they proved they weren't hurting anyone, I figure he can't be throwing too many stones, y'know? After the hunt, we'll drop you off in Sunnydale, so you can get things in order, and Sam and I can talk for a few days. Besides, the docs want him to come back in a week for a final check. If Sam still isn't comfortable with it, then you'll just have to meet up with us instead of riding with us." He planted a firm kiss on Spike's lips. "So no getting all paranoid. Just be your handsome, funny, charming self, okay?"

The other shoe finally dropped. Dean had this all squared away and planned out with his brother. "Handsome, funny, charming. Check." Smiling, he stole a final kiss from Dean.

Just as they walked into the hospital, Spike put an arm around Dean. "Don't worry, I'll make sure your brother doesn't fall for me, too. That would be awkward."

"You're not his type. He doesn't appreciate a good pie, a good schemer, hustler, and likes his blondes to not just have brains but be superbrainiacs. Me? I like mine down to earth. And who's more down to earth than a vampire who has spent way too many nights sleeping in crypts." Dean put his own arm around Spike. "Hmm, maybe we could fix Sammy up with the Slayer. Buffy and Sammy have a nice ring to it doncha think?"

"Bloody perfect. They can keep each other busy while we--" He abruptly shut his mouth when he was whisked into a hospital room to meet Dean's not-so-little brother.

(A/N: Are there still Spike/Dean fans out there? We still enjoy writing them together)