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Sometimes Spike arrives with a truck full of supplies and other times it’s on his motorcycle with the panniers full of bottles. He always smells of highways and whiskey when she hugs him. The portal protects her and the seed numbs the outside world from her senses, colours are washed out and everything smells of ozone so she welcomes his scent as much as his gifts.

Angel always arrives with a bag of books smelling of motel soap and diner coffee but it doesn’t really matter and she hugs him just as hard as Spike.

The first few days will be saturated with sex and blood as they reacquaint themselves with each other. Spike and Angel always take time to push and poke at old wounds until she breaks them apart with her blood.

“That’s enough,” Willow said harshly, the scent of her blood pulling their focus back to her. Once she would have used magic to separate them but now that magic was jealously nursing the seed for the reborn world so instead she slashes open the skin on her arm and ignores the number of silver thin scars already there.

Spike stops instantly, he always seems surprised when she does this while Angel merely looks resigned to the comedy they live. Neither will touch her blood until she offers and she will not offer until they kneel before her.

The reality is that she needs it as much as they do, as confirmation that she is still alive and not dreaming inside seed the way she sometimes fears when she’s been too long alone.

When they kneel she opens her other arm and extends them both. Angel takes her hand as if he was going to kiss it (sometimes he does placing bloody lip prints on her palm) and Spike cradles her arm so he can watch Angel as he drinks.

The seed gifted her with just enough of its hoarded magic to maintain its shelter and her life as the world crumbled outside, but inside with Angel and Spike kneeling in supplication she is a goddess again.

Spike had told her once that her blood was like sunlight and popping candy and it would be easy to become addicted to her. It had been, but then she’d gotten addicted too, to the bite and the pain and being alive.

Once they have taken her gift it is always Angel who stands first to kiss her pulling her close and letting her taste the last of her blood on his lips. Spike hoards every drop and only tastes of whiskey when they kiss. After Spike turns to Angel and they kiss for the first time. In this nothing changes.

She is the conduit between them, their excuse as well as their need. She sees the hunger they have for each other but knows it is never exposed unless she is there. She doesn’t know the history of the hunger or the start of the mistrust but it was there long before she was and she doubts she will ever see it ease completely. She doesn’t really mind because their focus should always be on her first. Their gift is a gift to the seed as well, a tiny bit of demon to the mix to counter the human and to make the magic stronger.

They always kiss her before each other, always touch her and then touch each other over her body. Sometimes she knows when she takes them both that they are seeing history over her body and events that will never be repeated if Spike has anything to do with it, even though both of them desire it. So she sucks harder and tightens her muscles to bring them back to the body they’re in and she can feel the moment they’re back with her, feel Angel take control and Spike follow his rhythm the same way they fight.

Spike loves her breasts, happily suckling on them until the nipples are red and puffed and she’s so wet it’s running down her thighs and her gasps of pleasure are being swallowed by Angel’s mouth feeding her back her own juices licked from her core. Spike loves to kiss Angel then, lapping up the residue shining on Angel’s face.

She loves to drop to her knees and attempt to take them both into her mouth, stretching her lips wide and breathing in their desire, stroking smooth thighs and soft balls. She loves it when they are splayed out face down on the bed letting her pull their cheeks apart and delve her tongue into their holes until they’re humping the bed, Angel’s accent slipping and Spike’s swearing tumbling into begging as she adds fingers to the mix and the promise of a fist one day.

She loves it most when it is impossible to tell where each of them starts or ends, entwined on the bed hands and lips caressing flesh, cocks slipping in and out of willing holes and murmured endearments barely heard over the slide of skin and sweat, and sometimes blood when the mood takes her.

On the third day they emerge for food and water, bathing and checking for injuries before they tell her of their travels and how the world is faring without magic. They no longer talk about anyone they know, too much time has passed and they have lost all connection to any but each other.

Angel will always ask about the seed and she will always tell him the same. Spike will then open a bottle and they will drink until it is empty and confessions are shared that are never talked about again.

She grants them absolution for their actions and they grant her absolution for her inaction.

Because although the space inside is a washed out sepia of reality it keeps the breath in her lungs and the magic in her soul. Magic that would be leached out of her in an instant should she leave and doom the future even as it took her last breath.