The Triangle

Randy Sex Kitten

Part Seven

Angel looked down at the letter in his hand, then back up at the deliverer. “What is this?”

Anya looked back at the dark vampire. “A letter from Spike.” She sat in a chair opposite Angel’s, across the wide oak desk.

“Why do I have it? And don’t tell me it’s because it’s addressed to me.”

Anya shrugged and glanced at her feet. She shifted her legs, crossing them at the ankles, admiring her new shoes. “Spike needs access to his accounts and you are going to give it to him.” She reached down and rubbed at the toe of one black shoe, removing a smudge that marred its patent leather perfection.

“And why would I do that?” Angel growled at his visitor.

“Because, it’s his money. I did research. I found that all of the accounts listed in that letter, along with these additional accounts…” She opened her purse and pulled out a small piece of notepaper that she shoved at Angel. “…Were initially opened with funds withdrawn from the account of one William Bradley Jamison. That particular account was set up in 1872 by the affore mentioned Mr. Jamison. You will release those accounts to him, because they are the end result of Spike going to college and working as a lawyer for five years before you and your crazy entourage killed him. Now cough up the names and access codes so that I can go practice walking down the catwalk again.” Anya scowled at the demon before her, unknowingly intimidating the hell out of him.

Angel silently reached under his desk and pulled out a ledger. He picked up a pen and began jotting notes from the book in front of him. “Fine. Here are the codes. Why are you doing this for Spike? Your boyfriend hates him!”

Anya took the proffered paper, examining it to ensure that all the information was present before folding it to fit into her purse. “I am not my boyfriend. I like Spike. I even admire him. He, like me, was pulled from his life without warning and without choice. He is a survivor and I will help him in any way I can because I know exactly what he is going through. Unlike you, I care for my friends; I consider them family.”

She shook her head as Angel tried to speak. “If you were any kind of demon, you would have rushed to your childe’s side as soon as you heard that he had been attacked and violated.” She ignored Angel’s indrawn breath and continued. “Regardless of whether or not you were his actual sire, you are his family and instead of coming and getting him and taking care of your own, Spike had to beg his mortal enemy for asylum…”

Anya took a deep breath and stood. “You are nothing in this Angel. You gave up your rights to anything of Spike’s when you didn’t come for him. We done?” Angel nodded mutely and Anya strode out the door, following the sounds of laughter towards the ballroom.

Giles stood in the doorway of the Magic Shop, smoking a cigarette he had found stashed under the research table. Spike wasn’t the only one in the family that knew how to snoop. Xander had just called to let him know that he and Spike would be at the shop right after sunset.

Giles could tell from the lad’s tone that something serious had happened. He was fearful of what had happened this time with that bloody incapacitating chip. Giles glanced up at the clock on the wall and took one last drag off of his cigarette. He crushed it out against the wall and threw the butt into the trashcan just inside the door.

Giles stalked back to his office and at down in his chair. He was about halfway through a book on microchips and it was very slow reading. The bell rang and he gratefully rose from his chair to walk into the main room of the store.

He stopped at the looks on the two men’s faces. “What on earth has happened?”

Spike fell heavily into a chair, ignoring his nephew.

“Mrs. Sanderson happened. We’re not sure how, but she’s done something to Spike’s chip. It’s not working at all from what we can tell.” Xander sat in the chair beside Spike, dropping his head to the table and rolling his forehead along the surface.

Stunned, Giles sat across the table from them.

“Really? It doesn’t work at all?” Xander lifted his head enough to shake it before dropping it back to the table. “We really haven’t tested it, but it hasn’t fired since last night.” Xander’s voice was muted as he spoke to his shoes.

“Spike?” Giles was concerned about the lack of reaction from the vampire.

Xander glanced over at him and commented, “He’s been like this since we left her apartment a couple of hours ago.”

Spike jerked his head up to look at the watcher.

“Go ahead and dust me. I won’t fight you.” The blond leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, placing his hands on the arms of the chair to insure that they wouldn’t interfere with the stake he knew was on its way.

“He keeps saying that, too.” Xander stood and roamed into the training room, slamming the door behind him. Giles heard the heavy bag begin to swing as Xander hit it.

“Spike, look at me.” When he was ignored, Giles swiftly moved his chair around the table and pulled at the vampire’s chair to turn it to face him. When Giles was knee to knee with Spike, he tried again. “Spike.” Giles reached out and touched the vampire’s knee. Spike slowly drew his head up and looked into the watcher’s face.

“You know, I was really ok with the pain. You want to know why?” Giles nodded. “Because I’m a ponce. I bloody care about you soddin’ humans! I care about what happens to you and I care about what happens to Glinda and, God help me, I care about the bloody Whelp! I’d still like to kill the Slayer, but this is the first time that I have actually been happy since Angelus left! I was ok with the pain…” Spike’s voice wavered and tears began to fill his eyes.

Spike began to plead with his nephew. “Please, Rupert, stake me. I don’t think I can handle being rejected by yet another family. I can’t live alone any more, please stake me.” The tears began to roll down Spike’s face as he begged for his own death. “Please,” he breathed.

Giles sat back in his chair, astounded. The vampire didn’t want the chip out. The vampire considered them his family and feared their rejection. The vampire was more human than Giles felt at this moment.

“No,” he said softly. Spike jumped up, roaring and in game face.

“Stake me, you fucker!” He attacked Giles and the training room door flew open.

“Giles!” Xander flew across the room, trying to pry Spike’s hands from around Giles’ throat. Giles let go of one of Spike’s arms and waved Xander away.

“N…n..nno,” he hissed through his mostly closed throat.

Spike released him and fell to the floor, his face in his hands. “Why not?”

Giles stood and rubbed his throat. He looked down at the broken man in front of him and then at the white-faced young man clinging to the counter. “Because we care about you, too.”

As Anya roamed the hotel, she bumped into something big and pretty. “Hello.” She smiled into a bright green face with red eyes.

“I don’t believe we’ve met!” Lorne smiled brightly at the small blonde woman in front of him.

“No… I don’t believe we have.”

Lorne extended a hand to Anya who daintily shook it. “I’m Lorne.”


“Well, then, now we’ve met. Can I buy you a drink?” He offered Anya his elbow and she snaked her arm through it.

“Sure!” The odd pairing walked out of the hotel, chattering loudly.

“Spike?” Xander pushed open the bedroom door.

“Yeah, pet?”

“Can I come in?” Xander stopped the door’s progress, waiting for an answer from the blond.

A sigh.

“Yeah, pet.” Xander nudged the door up against the wall and walked to the edge of Spike’s bed.

The three men had studiously overlooked Spike’s breakdown in the shop. After Spike had cried himself out on the floor, Giles had offered each of them a shot of something that had made Xander’s toes curl. Spike had then shaken off his melancholia and brought out the Big Bad.

Giles, Spike and Xander then went out to patrol. They had dusted only one vamp in a two-hour period before Giles had given in and admitted that there really wasn’t much use in patrolling and everyone could go home. Xander and Spike had driven back to the apartment in silence.

Spike had gone to bed as soon as he walked in the door. Xander couldn’t. He had too many unanswered questions running through his mind, hence his standing at the foot of Spike’s bed in the middle of the night.

“Did you want something, Xander?” Startled, Xander looked down at the man in the bed.

“Um… I kinda wanted to talk about…” He glanced back at the door, considering if he could walk out and then, in the morning, convince Spike that this had all been a dream.

“You want to know why I kissed you?” Xander nodded wordlessly.

Spike sighed and sat up in the bed, insuring that his blankets covered him to the waist.

“C’mere.” He patted the bed next to him. Xander crawled up the bed, settling in next to the vampire.

“I kissed you because I wanted to. You’re bloody funny and sexy, and I wanted to see what it would be like to kiss you.” Spike looked into Xander’s chocolate eyes, willing the boy to believe him.

“And now?” Xander’s question went almost unheard by Spike’s vampiric hearing.

“What do you mean, Whelp?”

“Now that the chip isn’t working and you can leave and become a Master vamp again…” Xander’s voice fell off.

“I am a Master Vampire. Nothing can change that, I earned that title.” Spike frowned at the younger man, who flinched away at Spike’s harsh tone.

“The difference is, now I am a Master with no electronic leash to curtail his activities, is that what you’re thinking?” Xander nodded again.

“Well, I still have a bloody leash, just not one that zaps my brain.” At Xander’s baffled look, he continued. “I bloody well care about you. You, Xander. I don’t want to see you hurt in any way, and that includes being hurt by me. You understand that? Do I still want to kiss you? Gods, yes. But I will not get in between you and Demon girl. I was second choice for too long. Won’t do it ever again.” With that, Spike rolled over and feigned sleep until Xander crept out of his bed, shutting the door quietly behind him.

Xander stood outside the door, considering. He wasn’t sure if this was a good idea. He turned to leave when the door unexpectedly opened, revealing a smiling Mrs. Sanderson.

“Alexander, my dear, how are you? Please, come in.” She waved him into her home with an elegant sweep of her arm.

Xander walked into the sitting room to find the expected cup of tea waiting for him.

He sat down and picked up the cup and saucer, staring into its depths. “What did you do to us?”

Mrs. Sanderson responded in a gentle voice, sensing how on edge the man in front of her was. “I didn’t do anything to you. I made that soap, hoping that it would let you seek out what you desired most. It is not a spell to make you act a certain way; it is a charm of sorts. It helps you to focus and embrace your feelings without allowing them to strain you. Does that make sense?”

Xander nodded and sipped his tea.

“So, I’m not under a spell to… like Spike?”

“No, my dear. No spell. All the soap did was allow you to admit your feelings to yourself. I knew that you two boys wanted to be together. I just found a way to allow that without interfering too directly. All it did was open your eyes. Nothing else.” She looked deeply into the befuddled eyes before her. “Alexander, I did not put a spell on you or William. The feelings you have are your own and they are reciprocated, I assure you.”

“What about the chip?” Xander’s whisper attracted the attention of the feline sitting at the Wiccan’s side.

“I knew that William was out of balance and in pain. I did not know what caused it, but I fixed it.” Mrs. Sanderson brushed her fingertips along the fine line surrounding the brim of her all but transparent cup as she watched Xander’s response.

Xander stood and kissed Mrs. Sanderson on the cheek. “Thank you.” He leaned back down to rub Baggins on the head before walking out the door and up to his apartment.

The days faded into routine. Spike and Xander would spend the morning in their separate beds, each contemplating the other, and the afternoon on the sofa, alternately watching sports and movies. The nights were spent patrolling. Riley wasn’t seen while the girls were gone and Tara remained hidden in her dorm room, completing her class work so that she would be free to begin her research.

Xander knew that Spike wasn’t hunting. He never left Xander’s sight except to sleep, and he hadn’t been sneaking out at night, Xander was sure of that. He had checked more than once.

Saturday afternoon, Spike, Xander, Tara and Giles sat at the research table in the Magic Box, beefing up their knowledge of Bermuda. No mention was made of the two kisses or of the now defunct chip.

“Hey, can we go here?” Xander pointed at a picture of a nude beach.

Tara blushed and Giles cleaned his glasses. “I think not.”

Spike smirked at the Watcher and continued his research into the tunnels that Tara had discovered on the island.

“This is interesting,” Tara commented. She read aloud, “Devil’s Hole is a natural pool where visitors can catch Bermuda Fish, sharks, green Moray eels and other interesting specimens with hookless lines.” She smiled at the thought of being able to be so close to nature.

“That is interesting. Anyplace else that we might see beasties in the natural?” Tara glanced up to insure that Spike wasn’t making fun of her before she answered.

“Yes, there are several places on the island that you can go to intermingle with nature. There are also over one hundred shipwrecked crafts that are accessible.” Spike and Giles shared a look before closing their respective books.

“Time to look at shipwrecks.”

Xander and Spike stumbled into the apartment in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

“Ugh.” Spike silently agreed with Xander’s assessment as they pulled off their slimy clothes before they entered the living room.

“You know, you could start wearing underwear,” Xander commented wryly as Spike’s naked ass twitched across the room away from him.

“You know, you could stop wearing underwear.” Spike pointedly looked at Xander’s Blue M&M boxers. “Very manly, pet.”

“Hey! He’s on a motorcycle! That’s manly! There’s flames all over!” Xander quit arguing when he realized that Spike had beaten him to the shower. “Well, crap.” Xander used his shirt to rub the slime off of his arms and ankles before wandering into the kitchen to get a beer. He pulled a towel out of the hallway closet and spread it out on the couch, falling heavily onto it.

The remote was on the other side of the room, so Xander stared at the blank TV as he waited for Spike to finish in the shower.

He lifted the bottle to his lips and swallowed a mouthful. He listened as Spike began singing loudly. He didn’t recognize the tune, but enjoyed the sound of the other man’s voice.

He woke to the sight of Spike kneeling between his knees, hands on Xander’s thighs. “Wake up, Whelp.” Spike’s eyes crinkled as he smiled. Xander reached out with his beerless hand and stroked the strong angle of Spike’s cheekbone.

“Pretty…” Xander breathed.

Spike took the half-full beer bottle and placed it on the table before grabbing Xander’s hands and pulling him up off the couch. The towel stuck to Xander’s back and Spike tugged at it to get it off.

“Into the shower with you.” Spike gave Xander a little shove towards the doorway. Xander smiled and went into the bathroom.

Spike looked after the other man in wonder. It had been an eternity since someone had touched him without guile. Drusilla’s caresses were harsh and demanding. She drew blood even with her softest touch. Harmony, well, she’d had no idea that he might actually want her to touch him back.

However, there had been… no not going to revisit there.

Xander’s touch had scorched him. That innocent caress had almost made his dead heart start beating again. The kisses… the kisses were incredible, but this touch… He closed his eyes and drew his fingertips over the skin that was still tingling from the younger man’s hand.

Spike sighed and walked to his bedroom, stopping outside the door to the bathroom, scenting the air. Finally, he walked into his room and climbed into to bed to wait for the sunrise, thankful that Anya would be returning later today. Maybe he would be able to make it until she got home without kissing the boy again.

Xander stood under the spray of hot water, lost in his own mind. Spike’s skin was cool and soft and smooth. He compared the vampire’s skin to others that he had touched. No one else compared. His fingers tingled where they had touched Spike’s face.

He turned his thoughts to Anya. Ever since they had moved in together he had wondered if he really wanted to be with her. She was bright and fun to be around, but…

He didn’t know what to think. He finished washing with the soap that he and Spike had bought the night after Anya had left, and wasn’t that a fun trip? They had spent an hour on the shampoo aisle of Super Wal-Mart while Spike sniffed and critiqued every item on the shelves. He had finally gone with the first brand he had picked up.

They had spent less than ten seconds on the soap aisle. Spike had buzzed through, tossed a red bathing sponge and a bottle of St. Ives Cucumber Melon bathing gel into the basket and then headed towards the register.

Xander inhaled the scent of the gel Spike had chosen. It was comforting and familiar, but he didn’t know why. He couldn’t place where he knew the scent.

He finished bathing and stepped out of the shower, quickly drying off and dressing in a green wife beater and plaid boxers. He stopped at the door of Spike’s room on the way by, listening breathlessly. He then went into his bedroom and fell onto the bed, face down and spread eagled. He stayed awake until dawn, hoping that Anya would get back before he jumped Spike and kissed him again.

Part Eight

The girls returned earlier than expected from L.A. Tara, Giles and Xander were sitting at the research table discussing the upcoming trip to Bermuda. Giles had realized that this was the perfect opportunity for Tara to do on-site research in her project. He was in the process of trying to talk her into going with them.

“I..I’m not s..sure, Giles. I’ve never traveled any further than from h..home to here.” Tara looked distraught.

“Tara, you would be able to find an immense amount of information on mythological happenings if you were actually visiting the places where they were based. You must stop for a moment and think!” Giles was leaning forward in his chair, intent on persuading the young woman to accompany them.

Xander glanced up from the book he was absently staring at. “Tara, I’m sure that Giles could use your help. Spike and I aren’t spell-casters. If anything happens, it would be better to have two magically inclined people around, instead of just one.” He winked at the blonde woman and returned to staring at his book.

Giles watched, as Xander seemed to immerse himself in his reading. He had counted the number of times that Xander had turned a page in his book. Zero. He had also noticed that the boy just hadn’t been the same since the girls had left to go to L.A. “Xander, is something wrong?”

Xander assured Giles the best he could. “Nah, G-man, I’m fine.” He smiled at the other man and rose from his chair. “I’m gonna go check on Spike.” He walked through to the training room where the vampire was currently taking advantage of the Slayer’s absence by abusing her training equipment.

Xander stopped in the doorway and simply watched the graceful creature in the room before him. Spike was clad only in his well-fitting black jeans, completing forms in the middle of the floor, sword in hand.

Spike spun elegantly, swinging the blade in an arc towards the training dummy. The blade stopped mere millimeters before striking the rubber form. He pulled back, maintaining his defensive stance. Spike backed towards Xander, the muscles in his back rippling as he guided the sword through various positions.

Xander felt drawn towards the vampire. He gave into his impulses and walked towards Spike as silently as possible. Spike dropped the sword to his side and turned, watching Xander as the other man approached him.

Spike smiled a genuine smile as Xander encroached his personal space; almost, but not quite pressing his body against the smaller man. Xander smiled back and reached out a hand to again touch those cheekbones.

Spike leaned into Xander’s touch. He could feel a rumbling in his chest and struggled not to purr aloud. Xander drew his hand down Spike’s face, tracing a single finger over pale, full lips.

Xander’s breath hitched, he desperately wanted to kiss this man. He leaned towards Spike and licked his lips in preparation. A hair’s breadth away now, warmth dusting over Spike’s mouth. The energy between them was palpable and Xander suddenly felt that there was not enough oxygen available in the room. He leaned a fraction closer, his lips brushing against that oh so soft and cool mouth….

The store bell yanked the men out of their daze. They both stepped back. Xander looked at the ground, while Spike examined the sword in his hand. A squeal was heard and Xander looked towards the door. Anya’s voice set off a shock of guilt that filtered through his chest. He took a shaky breath, turned and trained his eyes on Spike’s back as the vampire replaced the blade in its scabbard on the wall.

Spike looked over his shoulder, his eyes a shock of blue against pale skin and Xander gasped once again. He turned and walked towards the door, towards his girlfriend, frantically trying to get control of his emotions before he got out of the room.

He took a deep breath and heard Spike’s quiet curses behind him as he struggled with the clasps on his boots. Xander opened the door, plastering a smile on his face. “Anya!”

Spike stood in the training room, listening to the group talking excitedly to one another. More specifically, he was listening to Xander talk to Anya. He pouted his best ‘no one’s around to see me’ pout and draped himself across the couch, lighting a cigarette.

Xander was sitting uncomfortably with Anya beside him. Their greeting kiss was light and closed-mouthed. He found that alternately comforting and disconcerting. Anya liked to kiss and had been away for over four days. He wondered at the change.

“Xander, I want to go home. Can we go now?” Anya whispered in Xander’s ear, looking around to insure that no one else heard.

“But I wanted to hear about the show!” Xander’s objection drew the attention of everyone else in the room, including Riley who had arrived minutes after the girls.

Anya shot him a dirty look, but stayed where she was, reliving the fashion show with her fellow models and chipping in her two cents whenever Buffy or Willow took a breath.

Buffy started. “Well, we got there and the first thing that happened was that Cordelia had fallen and sprained her ankle the night before. She was furious!”

Willow picked up the dialogue. “She loved our new wardrobes, though, and had us do a private fashion show for her.”

“Her favorite outfit was my red dress and patent leather heels,” Anya’s voice joined in the fray.

Buffy interrupted when Anya took a breath to further describe her beaded gown. “But she really liked my green pant suit. She said it made me look elegant!”

Anya frowned at Buffy and took over once again. “We did several practice runs since a lot of the models had problems walking down the catwalk.” She pointedly looked at Buffy.

“What? It was really high off the floor and narrow!” The Slayer’s voice shrilled. Riley wrapped his arms tightly around his girlfriend and glared at the room at large.

“But, Buff, you fell off of it!” Willow giggled at her friend. At Buffy’s scowl, she reddened. “Sorry.” Willow turned her face into Tara’s shoulder; her girlfriend began to stroke her head soothingly and made shushing noises.

Giles allowed the interaction to continue for about a quarter of an hour. Spike wandered into the shop halfway through the reminiscing and jumped onto the counter, lighting a cigarette and kicking his feet. When it became obvious that the girls were never going to get around to the point of the story, namely the demons, Giles intervened.

“What about the demon?” He enunciated as clearly as he could through his clenched teeth.

“Demon?” Buffy looked genuinely confused.

“Yes, Buffy. The demon that Cordelia asked you to come and lure out with your show.” Spike smirked at the look on the watcher’s face as Giles restated his question.

“Oh, that. Angel killed him.” Buffy turned and began to seek out her boyfriend’s tonsils with her tongue.

Spike and Giles groaned in unison at the over familiar sight and Giles once again spoke up. “Everyone go home. We will talk again tomorrow. Out. Now.”

Everyone stood and began gathering various items to take home. Giles furtively pulled Tara to the side. “You will consider it, won’t you?”

The blonde Wiccan smiled. “Of course. I’ll talk to Willow about it tonight.” She beamed at Giles and ran to catch up with Willow, who was struggling to the door with her two suitcases. “Here, sweetie, let me help.” The two young witches walked out into the night, back to their cozy room to become reacquainted.

Spike was pulled aside by Anya at the same time. “I need to talk to Xander alone. Can you wait until closer to dawn to come home?” Spike snarled for effect, glancing at the brunette man across the room, then nodded. He went back into the training room, pulling off his duster as he strode through the room. Time to work off some tension.

Giles locked the door behind Anya and Xander and then went back to the training room to talk with Spike.

Xander opened the apartment door for Anya. The ride home from the Magic Box had been quiet, but strained. Anya had responded yes or no to any question he posed but appeared tense. He ushered her into the apartment and took her bags back to their bedroom before returning to the living room.

He returned to find her sitting on the edge of the couch, hands clenched, her face a montage of emotions. When she noticed him in the doorway, she quickly adjusted her expression to a rather serious look.

“Xander, we need to talk.” Xander nodded and stayed standing in the doorway.

“Come over here and sit down,” Anya finally requested after a long moment.


Xander walked across the room and sat beside his girlfriend. Guilt was eating him up. Could she know what had happened between him and Spike? He felt guiltier about not feeling guilty about the kisses than he did about the kisses themselves. He reran that thought through his head and nodded. Yeah, that’s what he meant.

Anya looked at Xander, drinking in the sight of the slightly confused man before starting to speak.

“I have a lot to say, and I would really like it if you would let me talk without interrupting, ok?” Anya waited for Xander’s nod before continuing.

“Something happened this weekend. Something that I didn’t expect.” Xander’s eyes opened in panic. She knew. Anya looked down at her hands that were laced over her knees.

“Someone asked me out on a date. People have asked me out before, but I always just brushed them off, but this time… I felt an attraction.” She glanced into Xander’s face, not ever looking high enough to see his eyes.

“Since I’ve moved in with you, I’ve felt more like a mother or a babysitter for you and Spike. I don’t feel like a lover, and it is not your fault.” She stopped Xander’s objection before he started.

“I brought it on myself. I jumped into a relationship with you almost as soon as I became human again. Well, after I ran away from the mayor and drove around the country for a little while. But the point is, I felt comfortable with you because you knew about demons and you were large and had nice shoulders. I wanted to interlock parts with you. It was always good.” Anya spared a glance into Xander’s eyes, quickly pulling her gaze from his confused face back down to her fingers.

“I have enjoyed being with you and I still find you very attractive. Sex with you is incredible. You are giving and adventuresome in bed, something I haven’t seen in a man in probably over a hundred years. I’ve really enjoyed that. I’ve not met anyone else since we got together, except for maybe Spike, that I would even consider sleeping with.” Her admission dragged a gasp from Xander. He swallowed hard, banishing thoughts of the bleached vampire from his mind.

“So, this weekend, I met this guy, a demon, and he was funny and attractive and was interested in me. In me! He didn’t know that I was an ex-demon and when he found out, he didn’t care. He acted like I had said, ‘The sky is blue.’ It didn’t faze him.” Anya paused, turning on her perch, lifting a hand to Xander’s brow, and stroking him gently.

Seeing the question in his eyes, she answered, “No. You can’t talk yet. Let me finish. I love you, Xander. I love you. I just want to… I want to…” She broke off, unable to finish. She dropped her hand back into her lap, trying to force back her tears by sheer will.

“You want to break up with me. You want to see what it would be like to see other people.” Xander reached over and rubbed her hands gently.

Through her tears, Anya laughed. “I told you not to talk until I was done!” She wiped her eyes and allowed her emotions to escape through laughter. Xander pulled her closer and held her until she finished.

“You’re right. I want to break up, but that is not the only reason. I know you love me, but I think that you are falling in love with someone else. No talking!” She caught his quick intake of breath. “No talking,” she reiterated.

Anya smiled at her lover. “Didn’t you think it was strange that I took all of the soap and shampoo in the entire house with me on a four day trip?” Xander nodded vigorously, careful not to open his mouth.

“You and Spike are not the only two that Mrs. Sanderson talks to. She told me months ago that something was developing between you and Spike. I laughed it off but started watching. You care about him Xander. You do! Don’t shake your head at me!” She lightly slapped Xander on his thigh.

“What happened when you used the rose soap, Xander? Did you all of the sudden realize that I wasn’t the blonde featured in your fantasies? I’ve known that for a while, I can see it in your eyes.” Xander blushed and looked away, ashamed that he had been so easy to read.

“How did you…” He quit talking as he saw the threat in Anya’s eyes.

“You talk in your sleep.” Anya smiled.

“I do not!” Xander argued.

“Yes, you do, and unless ‘Spike’ is a new nickname for me, you’ve been dreaming about him for the last two months.”

Xander sat, stunned at the revelation. He didn’t remember dreaming about the evil undead, but he wouldn’t doubt it, considering how quickly his waking fantasies had turned to the blond man.

“You didn’t know, did you?”

Xander shook his head.

“Did he kiss you?”

Xander nodded, then jumped up from the couch. “Hey! You weren’t supposed to know that!” He pointed a finger accusingly at Anya.

“I guessed.” Anya stood and walked over to Xander, wrapping her arms around his waist.

“Are we ok?” she murmured into his chest.

“Yeah, Ahn. We’re ok. Wanna stay here until you find another place? I’ll sleep on the couch.” Xander pulled back and looked at the tiny girl in his arms.

“If I can trust you to keep your hands to yourself, we can both sleep in the bed.” Anya winked cheekily at him.

“I don’t think so, Ahn. Not my style, ya know?” Xander stepped away from his ex-girlfriend and walked towards their… no, his bedroom. “I’ll just grab some clothes and a blanket, then you can have the room, ok?”

Anya stared after him, knowing he didn’t really want an answer. Tears filled her eyes. She knew she had made the right choice, but it hurt nonetheless. She wiped at the moisture trickling down her face and walked to the phone, dialing a number from memory.

“Hello, Lorne? Wow, it’s loud tonight. How are things going?” Anya settled down on a barstool as Xander went into the bathroom to bathe.

Xander contemplated his shower as he stood under the spray. He seemed to be spending a lot of time in it lately, thinking about relationship stuff.

Anya had broken up with him. Anya had broken up with him because she wanted to date other people, other demons. Anya had broken up with him because he wanted Spike. Anya had broken up with him and he wasn’t upset.

He carefully evaluated his feelings. Nope, wasn’t upset or hurt. Kinda… relieved. Huh. He checked again. Yep. Relieved and maybe a little excited. The guilt he felt over kissing Spike was gone and in its place was anticipation.

He could kiss Spike now. Well, he could try to kiss Spike now. He had Anya’s permission. And Mrs. Sanderson’s, it seemed. Where on earth had that woman come from? He decided not to think too much about the elderly witch. His thoughts returned to Spike.

How do you go about asking another guy out on a date? Xander panicked. Do guys go out on dates with each other? What would he do if he asked Spike out on a date and Spike said no? Anxiety shook through his body. Nope, not gonna think about that.

Back to Spike. Blond hair, bleached; blue eyes. No… startling blue eyes that turned to midnight blue when he was aroused. Midnight blue eyes that sparkled when he laughed and clouded over when he kissed Xander…

Xander closed his own eyes and remembered the almost-kiss in the training room. He remembered the smile that Spike had given him. It was a real smile, not a smirk, not a sneer, not a lecherous grin. A real smile. Xander felt his own lips lift at the memory.

He finished showering and went into the living room, noticing that Anya was gone. He walked towards the bedroom and heard her moving around behind the closed door, so he went back to the living room to set up a spot to sleep on the couch.

As he snuggled up under his favorite, tattered thermal blanket, he wondered where Spike was now.

Part Nine

Spike looked up as Giles walked into the training room. The watcher looked Spike over, then walked to the wall and pulled down two Renaissance daggers. The long blades were lightweight and artistically pleasing, but, in the right hands, deadlier than many of the other swords that covered the wall.

Giles dropped them on the couch for a moment while he pulled his own shirt and shoes off. He then picked up the sharp-edged weapons and threw one at Spike.

Spike caught the weapon and raised one eyebrow at the other man. “Watch it, Ripper.”

Giles gave a passable growl and attacked. Giles flew at Spike, thrusting his dagger and forcing the other man to twist to avoid the blade. Spike fell to the floor as Giles landed on top of him. They grappled, each holding the sword arm of the other, an awkward hold at best. Arms crossed across their chests, they mutually released each other and rose to their feet.

This time Spike attacked. He used a different approach, reaching for Giles with his right hand, holding his dagger back. Giles blocked the grab and shot his right hand forward, aiming for Spike’s heart with his blade. Spike’s left arm moved to intercept the other man’s attack. Spike was thrilled that he was finally able to go all out without having to worry about the chip.

Holding each other, daggers twined, neither man could gain purchase. Both men backed off, circling each other warily. “Ya going to actually try and stick me anytime soon, Ripper?” Spike taunted the other man.

“No, Spike. I thought you would like to dance a bit more before we got down to it.” Giles attacked, driving towards Spike’s weaker right side, although he knew that Spike would never admit to having a weak side. Spike spun out of reach and parried the other man’s strike.

The men fought intently, each seeking to finish the other. After half an hour, they were still sparring and grappling. Both Spike and Giles were panting, the younger man covered in a film of sweat. Neither could best the other. Finally, Giles backed up and raised his dagger in front of his eyes.

Spike returned the salute and grabbed the dagger out of Giles’ hand.

“What the hell was that, Watcher?” Spike cleaned both blades with a towel before placing them lovingly back on the wall.

Giles lay on the floor, panting and sipping at a bottle of water that he had liberated from the refrigerator in the corner. “I needed to work off some aggression.”

Spike snarled at the other man, secretly pleased that Giles had chosen to spar with him. It was unusual for Giles to train with Spike, however, the matches were long and fierce when they did occur, often triggering the device lodged in Spike’s brain.

Giles raised his head from the floor and threw his empty bottle at Spike. “Oi, Uncle! Get me another!”

Spike threw the plastic bottle back at Giles and stalked over the fridge to grab another one, silently preening at the reference to their shared bloodline. He settled on the floor next to Giles, stretching his muscles to cool down.

Giles sat up and drank the second bottle of water. “So, Spike. What is going on with you and Xander?”

Spike glanced over, suspiciously. “What do you mean?”

“You both have been a bit off since the girls left, now tell me what is going on. Is it is because of the chip? Is Xander having difficulty trusting you?” Giles joined the vampire in stretching.

Spike stopped and leaned back on his hands. “Nah, not the chip.” He contemplated telling Giles to mind his own business, but it didn’t seem that the man meant any harm, so he continued.

“Mrs. Sanderson did some kind of spell on us the night that Anya left. I think that Demon girl had something to do with it, because she took every bloody cleaning solution in the house with her on her trip.”

Spike stretched towards the couch, reaching for his duster. He really couldn’t reach it without moving, so he slid back slightly and pulled it off the couch with his fingertips. He pulled out his cigarettes and Zippo, offering the pack to Giles.

Giles shook his head; he was still too winded to smoke. “What do you mean she put a spell on you, and why would Anya take all the cleaning solutions?”

“Well, she told Xander that it wasn’t a spell, that it was a charm. Something to let us realize our feelings. She put it in some rose soap that she gave to Xander a while back. Bloody bints just keep fucking with my life.” Spike puffed hard on his cigarette, failing to exhale for several puffs.

Giles smirked. Spike had been freed from his electronic leash just in time to discover that he cared for a human who would stake him immediately if he returned to his previous eating habits. Then the young man would live in mourning for the rest of his life, and Spike could never allow that.

“And what did you realize?” Giles’ question floated through the air, silence following in its wake.

“None of your business, Watcher.” Spike stood and pulled on his t-shirt, reaching for his Docs.

“It is my business Spike. We are about to leave for at least two weeks and I will be spending an inordinate amount of time with both you and Xander. I have the right to know if I should separate you both or allow you to… intermingle.” He frowned at the wording in his mind.

“Intermingle? You want to know if I want to intermingle with Xander?” Giles nodded and reached for the pack of cigarettes that was still sitting at Spike’s feet.

Spike thought for a moment. “Yeah. I do. I want to see where this is going, anyway. Maybe nowhere.” He frowned at Giles. “You mind?” He tried to make the question a statement, but failed.

Giles squinted through the cloud of smoke that he exhaled. “No, Spike, I don’t mind. I’ve seen the way you two look at each other. That doesn’t mean that I won’t hurt you if you do anything, and I do mean anything, that might even upset him in the least. Do you understand me?”

Spike smiled, his real smile, the one that Xander was thinking about at that exact moment. “Yeah. I got it. Gonna head home now.” He spun on his heel, draping his duster over his shoulder and shuffling a bit in his not-quite-tied-right Docs. He turned and walked back to Giles. “Forgot my smokes.” He swooped up the cigarettes and the Zippo, dropping them into an exposed pocket of his duster.

He stopped and looked at the man sitting on the floor, smoking his pilfered vice. “Thanks, Rupert. For the fight and the uh…” He waved his hand in the air.

“It’s nothing.” Giles grinned around his cigarette as the vampire stalked out the door.

“Wondered when they would bloody well figure it out.” He crushed the butt against the sole of his shoe before putting them on, slid into his shirt and walked out the back door.

Xander heard Spike’s key in the lock. He lay quietly on the sofa, willing the vampire to just walk past. No such luck. Spike stopped behind the sofa and peered over the back.

“Whatcha sleepin’ out here for, Whelp?” Spike’s tone was teasing. The boy was only sent out to sleep on the couch when Anya was preparing one of her games that they both thought he didn’t know about.

Xander rolled onto his back and looked up at Spike. “Anya and I broke up. I offered her the use of the bed until she can find a place of her own.”

Spike was taken aback. “Broke up?” He looked down at the brunette, almost having to physically restrain himself from picking the boy up and swinging him around the room in his joy.

“Yeah. She met some guy in L.A. and she realized that she’s not been with anyone except me since she became human again, and she wanted to see what it would be like.” Xander’s voice was soft and sleep-tinged.

Spike smiled at the young man. “You ok with that?” Xander smiled back and nodded.

“Yeah, I am.” He reached out a hand and lightly brushed the hand that Spike had lying on the back of the couch. “I really am.”

Spike grinned as Xander rolled over and found a comfortable position. “’Night, Spike.”

“’Night, Xan.” Spike stumbled into his room, dazed. Xander was free. He could kiss him and touch him now, or try to at any rate. Spike dropped his clothes to the ground, toeing off his loose Docs, and climbed into his bed to snuggle under the smooth silk sheets. He fell asleep with a smile on his face, purring lightly.

“I don’t care what you think, Spike! I am not going to live in an abandoned factory!” Xander awoke to the sounds of Anya and Spike arguing. He sat up and looked over the back of the couch. Spike and Anya were sitting at the bar, looking through the classified section of the paper.

“’S not abandoned, you twit! It been remodeled into an apartment. Look here, two bedrooms, open living area, 2 ½ baths…”

“Who needs half a bath? I mean… if you’re the only person living there, why would you need so many toilets?” Anya quirked an eyebrow at Spike.

Spike quirked his own back and slowly answered. “Because, if you had a guest or three that came to visit or to a party or to dinner, you might want to have some place for them to use!”

Anya looked befuddled. “Parties?”

Spike snorted and took a gulp out of the mug sitting to his left. He waited for more from Anya.

“I could have parties! And I could invite people over for dinner and have friends spend the night and with the open living area, I could push all the furniture to the side and have dancing space…”

“There’s the idea. Told you that this was perfect for ya.” Spike finished his drink and got up to rinse out the mug. He pulled the phone from its base and handed it across the bar to the now brunette woman.

“Why’d you dye your hair again?” Xander’s croaky voice broke through to Anya and Spike.

“Good morning! I wanted something new, that’s all. Are you ok? Was the couch too uncomfortable?” Anya looked so concerned that Xander giggled a bit, a very manly giggle.

“Call.” Spike’s growl turned Anya’s attention back to their previous conversation.

“Are you trying to get rid of me? I don’t mind if you and Xander have sex while I’m still here.” Her wide innocent look made Xander blush and make a dash for the bathroom.

“Good going. Now he won’t come out all day,” Spike snarled at Anya who laughed in response.

“I know, but isn’t he cute when he blushes all over?”

Spike considered the question then nodded. “Yeah.”

The entire group got together at the Magic Box later that day. Anya had gone, with Xander in tow, to the refurbished factory. She had squealed as soon as she saw the huge living area and the sunken bathtub in the master suite. All the formalities had been taken care of and the landlord had agreed to have the place professionally cleaned, making it available to move in within a week.

“You should see it, it’s huge! The bedrooms are both the size of the living room at Xander’s apartment and the living area is twice the size of the training room!” Anya continued to regale her audience with the description of her new apartment.

The group hadn’t seemed surprised by Xander and Anya’s announcement that they had broken up, although they still loved each other and were friends. Buffy had, in fact, looked relieved, though no one could figure out why.

Xander glanced over at Spike, who winked at him. “So… What do I get for finding you a new place?” Anya jumped up and kissed Spike full on the mouth, for the third time since signing the lease. Xander was beginning to feel a little jealous. He wasn’t sure of whom, though.

“All right, that’s enough. Anya, are you sure you don’t want to wait until we return from our trip before you move into your new flat?” Giles looked over the tops of his glasses at the excited woman.

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly wait that long to move in. We’ll be ok. Buffy and Willow will help me move my things in and I’ll wait until you guys get back to buy my furniture. Well, other than a bed. I’ve already ordered that.”

Xander closed his eyes and winced. Anya had insisted that he accompany her to pick out her new bed. She’d laid him out across at least a dozen before she had decided on the wrought-iron monstrosity that was now on order from the furniture company.

“You should see the bed! It is so beautiful. And I made sure that there were plenty of spaces where you could attach…” Spike slapped his hand over her mouth and whispered something in her ear. Anya smiled evilly under his hand and nodded. Everyone sighed in relief, but wondered what Spike had said to get the nymphomaniac to stop her description.

Giles took control of the conversation once again. “Tara did you discuss your going to Bermuda with Willow?” Tara nodded, but Willow answered.

“Oh, Giles, I think it is a wonderful idea. I’m gonna hate for her to be gone all that time, but she could get so much done on her project and maybe find out some really interesting information that no one else has ever discovered!” Everyone in the room unconsciously took a deep breath after Willow stopped babbling.

“Does that mean that you have decided to come, then?” Giles gazed hopefully at the blonde Wiccan.

“Yes, I’ll come.” A war whoop filled the air and Xander jumped up and began to dance around the room. When every eye followed him, he stopped and turned slowly to face the crowd behind him. He blushed and said, “Um, hi?”

Anya poked Spike in the side and whispered loudly, “See, told you!”

Buffy looked over, curious. “Told you what?”

Xander looked at Anya and Spike beseechingly, not knowing what Anya was referring to, but absolutely sure that he didn’t want anyone else to know.

“Spike and I were arguing about whether or not Tara would go on the trip.” Anya smoothly lied. Willow, Riley, Tara, Giles and Buffy all nodded, all clearly believing her.

Xander knew her too well, though and recognized the lie for what it was. He walked past her chair and kissed her on the cheek. “Thanks.” Barely a whisper in her ear.

“OK. So Willow and Tara are responsible for insuring that all the books that we will need are packed. After that, Willow will maintain contact with me via telephone about all Hellmouth related discoveries or activities. Riley and Buffy are responsible for reporting nightly to Willow about patrols. Anya is responsible for the shop. Xander and Spike are responsible for packing weapons and I am responsible for supervising everyone.” Giles had thrown in the last sentence to see if anyone was truly listening to him. Everyone but Tara nodded; she simply frowned.

Spike raised a single finger in the air. “Yes, Spike?” Giles sighed irritably. They had been over their plan several times in the past two days.

Spike smirked. “What time are we leaving again?” The entire room groaned and Xander dropped his head to the table, a regular occurrence since this discussion had started.

“That’s it, everyone out. NOW!”

Everyone leapt to his or her feet and raced out the front door, Spike hanging back from the group.

“Rupert, see ya tomorrow around four, yeah?” He winked at the Watcher and sauntered out the door, joining Xander and Anya who were waiting for him.

They walked back to their apartment, enjoying the evening breeze. Anya walked between the two men, content with the way things were going. She and Xander were honestly able to remain friends. She had been worried that he would be too hurt to get past her breaking up with him.

Spike was his normal self. He picked fights with Xander and teased Anya unmercifully about her new apartment, calling it the Love Shack.

They reached their apartment and entered the disaster area. Anya had separated all of her things from Xander’s and had half-full boxes stacked throughout the house. Xander and Spike, in their official capacity as ‘Packers of Weapons’, had knives, swords, daggers, maces, stakes and numerous other weapons laid out on every flat surface that they could find, including Anya’s boxes.

When Anya had returned from L.A. with his accounts, Spike had been amazed, not only with the account balances, but the number of accounts themselves. He had not really believed the Poof would willingly give up control of this part of Spike’s life. Anya had assured him that Angel had had no problems with giving up the information.

With his newfound wealth, Spike and Anya had gone out and expanded his wardrobe for the trip. They knew that the Council had rented them a house, but they knew nothing else about it. Spike worried about having to wash his three outfits and had spent the better part of four hours trying on and vetoing various items of clothing that Anya had picked out.

He had actually come out of the entire experience with a nice variety of clothes. They had found a store that had all of their men’s clothing on clearance and a specialty shop that had aisle after aisle of leather. No one realized it, but Spike enjoyed looking good, he liked to dress. He had stuck with the black on black simply because it was easy to maintain and gave off the image he had been trying to project when he first arrived in Sunnydale.

Spike had returned home with twenty silken t-shirts in various designs and shades of blue, red, black and gray; five pair of black jeans; two leather vests; three pair of faded blue jeans; five pair of leather pants in various colors; two pair of Dr. Marten boots, one black and one gray; fifteen button down shirts in silk, satin and cotton; two new leather jackets; a pair of Dr. Marten sandals that Spike swore he had never seen before and would never wear; two ten-packs of socks; two pair of Oakley sunglasses, a pair of black on black Minute Jackets, and a pair of black Splices with emerald lenses; two different Oakley leather belts; five new heavy silver rings; three new silver chains; four thick silver bracelets; a variety of leather jewelry and one pair of swimming trunks, fire engine red with blue flames.

Anya had also insisted that he buy a smallish, leather, Louis Vuitton traveling trunk in which to tote his new stash around the country.

Xander eyed Spike’s booty. “Tell me again why you need not one, but two pair of sunglasses, Mr. Allergic to the Sun?”

Spike slid the Minutes over his ears. “’Cause they look damn good.” Xander had to agree on that point. He walked to his own suitcase that was half-packed on the other side of the room.

“Hey, Ahn? Do you know what happened to my boxers?” Xander dug through his suitcase, unable to locate any of the underwear that he had packed for the trip.

“Ask Spike.” Came the answer from Xander’s bedroom where Anya was busy packing her own things. Spike, who was sitting on the couch, gave Xander his best innocent look, which was highly ineffective due to his eyes being completely covered by his sunglasses.

“Give ‘em back, fangless!”

Spike exposed said fangs to the other man, smirking the best he could around them. “Threw ‘em away, didn’t I? Told you, you need to go without.” Spike appeared completely unrepentant about stealing Xander’s boxers, so Xander did the only thing he could. He jumped the vampire.

“You jerk!” Xander landed on top of Spike, ignoring the vampire’s warning to not touch his glasses. Spike grabbed Xander and threw them both to the floor, rolling them until he was lying on top of the slightly larger man.

“What did I say about watching the glasses, mate?” He glared down at Xander; his new sunglasses barely perched on his nose. Xander couldn’t help but laughing.

“You look like Giles!” A loud growl filled the room, which caused Xander to laugh even harder. Spike considered his options. He could get off the boy and pout, he could get off the boy and leave or he could stay on the boy and just shut him up. He opted for number three.

Spike captured the other man’s mouth, lightly drawing Xander’s bottom lip between his teeth. Xander suddenly forgot why he was laughing and wrapped his arms around Spike’s back, pulling the smaller man closer and deepening the kiss.

Tongues snaked out and barely touched, tasting and learning. Xander hesitantly probed Spike’s mouth, running his tongue along Spike’s teeth, testing their sharpness. Spike moaned when Xander’s questing tongue probed his hidden fangs, causing them to drop slightly.

Spike pulled back, giving Xander a chance to catch his breath. He looked into the chocolate brown eyes below him that seemed to glow in the harsh light of the overhead fixture. When Spike saw that Xander had captured a lungful of oxygen, he dropped back down and plundered Xander’s mouth once again.

It was Xander’s turn to moan when Spike’s tongue routed out all the sensitive places in his mouth. He allowed his tongue to play against Spike’s, learning the other man’s taste, something sweet and warm, salty. Spike melted into Xander’s body, drawing himself deeper into the kiss.

Suddenly the sound of clapping filtered through their lust muddled brains and both men looked over to the doorway to see Anya leaning against the frame, a smile plastered on her face.

“Very nice! Do it again, I think I missed part of it.” Xander groaned and shoved Spike off of him, returning to his suitcase to finish packing.

Spike growled at the woman who had interrupted his snogging. “Bugger off!”

Anya laughed and walked into the room, ignoring the pouting vampire. She walked over to Xander and sat down on the floor beside him. “Do you have everything?” Xander pulled out the list that Anya had made for him and looked it over.

“Yeah, except for underwear.” He scowled at the blond man who had swapped out his glasses and was now peering at Xander through emerald green lenses.

Anya glanced over at Spike’s trunk. “Do you?” Spike mentally reviewed his things.

“Shit, forgot all my toiletries.” Xander giggled at the sound of ‘toiletries’ coming out of the badass vampire’s mouth.

“Sod off.” Spike walked into the bathroom, gathering his toiletries into the bag that Anya had made him purchase for that purpose. For some reason it seemed more full than it had when he first started packing it.

He dug down past his toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo before he found the cause. Anya had made some additions. He grinned and finished stuffing his gel into the bag. He zipped it shut and walked back into the living room, swinging the bag from one finger. He tossed it into the trunk and slammed the lid shut. He pulled out the padlock that Anya had insisted coordinated with the trunk’s exterior design and walked across the room to slip the key into a duster pocket before padlocking the trunk shut.

“All done!” Spike heralded.

Xander frowned at him from across the room where Anya was digging through his suitcase, tossing rejected clothing over her shoulder. “Ack! Where did you get this? Really Xander, red and blue stripes?” She continued to dig through his suitcase, taking out items and replacing them with what she felt was more appropriate.

“You know, Ahn,” Xander said conversationally. “You did break up with me. You don’t really get to dress me anymore.”

Anya rolled her eyes at him and continued repairing his wardrobe, sneaking in pieces that she’d had Spike buy last night. “Yes, I can. You’re single now, you have to dress to impress. Otherwise, how will you attract a mate?”

Xander snorted. “You broke up with me because I liked Spike. Wouldn’t that do away with your finding a mate theory?” Spike looked over at Anya from his perch on the couch, interested.

Anya sighed loudly and glared at her ex-boyfriend. “Have you looked at Spike lately?” Spike preened and posed, enjoying the attention he was being paid. “He is sex on legs. If you want to be with him, you have to look at least as good as him.” Spike growled and Anya amended her statement. “Not that anyone could look as good as him.” She smiled at Spike, who, in turn, stretched so that his new, skin-tight, burgundy silk t-shirt raised and treated the two brunettes to a view of his rippled abdomen.

Anya and Xander drooled accordingly, so Spike stood and sauntered towards the door, strutting to show off his assets. He stopped and turned back, prowling over to where Xander was sitting on the floor. He pulled the younger man up by his shirt and kissed him hard, pressing him up against the wall.

“’Night,” he whispered as he pulled back to give Xander air.

“Uhghn…” was Xander’s pithy reply.

Anya waited until Spike was ensconced in his room before rushing into the bedroom to grab her waterproof vibrator and heading for the shower.

Xander stayed where he was, pressed up against the wall, staring at nothing. When the shower started, he came out of his daze. Glancing around the room, he noticed that both Anya and Spike were gone.

Crap. He’d missed stuff again.

Xander pulled his blanket and pillow out from underneath a pile of Anya’s shoes and shoved another pile off of the couch. He tossed his pillow onto the end of his makeshift bed and wrapped his blanket around himself before lying down.

He replayed the two new kisses in his mind. Spike’s skin, his lips, his tongue… Xander felt his body respond to the memories. He had felt Spike, too. His hardness pressed against Xander’s thigh, rubbing slightly when he shifted to get a better angle.

He closed his eyes and thought of the man sleeping on the other side of the wall. He fell asleep with a smile on his face.