By Saber ShadowKitten
That's not what happened," Spike said.
"Yes, it was," Angel insisted.
"No, it wasn't, you bloody poof," Spike stated. "Cor, your memory is about as good as your hair."
"Fine, enlighten us, oh wise-ass," Angel told the blond vampire.
The group had moved from the game to telling stories, mostly from the two vampires. The rain had let up, allowing the humans to dart outside to relieve themselves without being drenched. Despite the cloud cover, neither vampire had wanted to risk going outside, so they decided to wait until sunset to hunt for dinner, which meant they'd been listening to growling stomachs for a few hours.
Spike scowled at Angel, then turned to the others. "Don't believe a word that tosser said. First of all, it was 1839, not 45," he said. "Second, he still had that bleedin' mustache that tickled my nose. Made him look like a nancyboy."
"And your long hair didn't?" Angel asked.
"I still can't picture either of you with long hair," Cordelia said.
"I saw Angel once," Buffy said. "In that weird shared dream, remember, Angel?"
"Yes," Angel replied. He gave her a sad smile. "Not one of the best dreams for you to pop up in."
"The next one was much more interesting," Buffy said, giving him a naughty grin.
"I don't want to know," Xander said, holding up his hands.
"Wait, didn't Spike have brown hair?" Willow asked.
"Like mink's fur," Angel replied. "Soft like the animal's, too."
"After all the bleaching, your hair must be pretty brittle now, Spike," Cordelia commented.
"No, it's still soft," Angel said, then closed his eyes and shook his head, not believing he said that out loud.
"I don't want to know that, either," Xander said. "Get on with the story."
Spike glanced at Angel, uncertain whether to be embarrassed or pleased by his sire's words. He chose to go on with the story instead of thinking about it. "We were in Pamplona at some Spanish ponce's party and twinkle toes here wanted to dance with this cow who had tits the size..."
"Skip it," Buffy told Spike with a glare.
He grinned at her. "Let's say that even a vampire could smother to death between them."
Angel smacked him across the back of the head. "Spike, you are the most immature two hundred year old I know."
"Can I tell the story without your soddin' interruptions?" Spike asked. Angel made a grand 'go ahead' gesture with his hand. "Thank you, your royal foofiness."
"You do realize that name-calling is a sign that you like someone," Buffy said to Spike. "For grade schoolers."
"I've heard the more the name-calling, the more you like the person," Oz commented.
"God, Spike, then you must, like, love Angel," Cordelia said.
"Yeah, right," he scoffed, his face burning again. "I hate the git."
"Um, Spike," Willow said. "You're blushing."
"Am not," Spike growled, grabbing the duster, which sat between him and his sire. He proceeded to dig through the pockets with a show of great concentration.
"Spike and Angel sitting in a tree...," Xander sang maliciously.
"Shut up," he ground out. "I do not love him."
"What's that Shakespeare line?" Buffy asked. "The 'me' one?"
"'Methinks doth protest too much,'" Willow quoted.
Spike growled loudly, stood and stormed out of the cave into the light rain, disappearing from sight in an instant. Angel, who had been quiet the entire time they'd teased his childe, waiting to see how Spike would react, now spoke in a low, clipped tone. "That wasn't very nice."
"We were just joking," Buffy said.
"What Will does or does not feel for me is personal," Angel said, his voice unchanging. He rose to his feet. "Be glad that the sun went down, or you would have had an upset, soulless vampire on your hands." He picked up the t-shirt Cordelia had changed out of and slid it on, then left the cave.
It took Angel close to two hours before he found Spike. The blond vampire was sitting at the topmost point on the island on a waist-high, flat rock, arms around his knees, looking out over the ocean. He stood and watched in the gentle rain for several moments before he walked up to Spike. "Hey," he said quietly. "They were only teasing."
"Leave me alone," Spike said, twirling the black, chewed-up pen cap in between his fingers.
"Cor, you are such a bloody prick," he growled. "I hate you."
"Look me in the eyes when you say that," Angel told him, his voice serious.
Spike turned his head and met his sire's dark gaze. "I...," he trailed off and stared silently into Angel's fathomless brown eyes, then dropped his head. "Fuck."
The corners of Angel's mouth turned up and he lifted Spike's chin, meeting the stormy blue eyes dead on. Without a word, he leaned forward and brushed his lips against Spike's, the rain falling gently all around them.
Spike turned so he was sitting sideways on one hip and grasped the front of the older vampire's wet t-shirt, holding it tightly as he initiated a deeper kiss. Tumultuous emotions that mimicked the earlier weather came pouring out. With each brush of his lips, each stroke of his tongue, he tried to convey to Angel what he couldn't yet put into conscious words.
When the kiss ended, Spike took a ragged breath and released Angel. He turned back to the ocean, picking up the pen cap he'd dropped into his lap. He wrapped his arms around his legs again and closed his eyes, wanting his sire to leave, yet also wanting him to stay.
"I'm going to go hunt down something for the children," Angel said quietly, a smirk crossing his mouth at the bad pun.
"Whatever," Spike said.
"Don't stay out too long," Angel told him. "I wouldn't want you to catch your death."
"Ha, bloody, ha," Spike replied. Then Angel was gone and he was left alone again in the rain.
Everyone was asleep when Spike returned, the fire barely flickering in the darkness of the cave. Moving quietly, he headed to the back, his bare feet undoubtably making muddy footprints on the rock floor. Uncaring of the others' sensibilities, he stripped out of his jeans and let them drop to the ground with a small, wet plop.
He stepped over his prone sire and laid down, putting him between the back of the cave and Angel. The floor was rough and somewhat uncomfortable, but he was used to it already. His duster was once again his pillow, half-shared with the older vampire beside him.
"Fuck, what the bloody hell am I going to do?" he said quietly to the ceiling of the cave.
"You can start by coming over here," Angel replied, equally as quiet.
Spike jumped, startled, and cursed under his non-existent breath. "Will you please stop doing that," he hissed.
"Only if you come here," Angel said with a low laugh. Spike turned on his side, facing Angel and moved closer, but wasn't touching his sire. The dark-haired vampire growled. "Get over here."
Spike sighed dramatically and moved more, laying his wet head on Angel's chest, his body against his sire's side. He put his right arm on Angel's stomach, bent up so he could trace absent patterns with his fingers right over the other vampire's non-beating heart.
Angel put his arm around Spike's shoulder, holding the younger vampire to him. "You're cold,' he commented softly.
"Well, I'm dead. Guess that would make sense then," Spike replied.
Angel smiled in the darkness, briefly tightening his arm around Spike. Then he let his eyes fall shut again and relaxed, enjoying the sensation of his childe's random movements with his fingers.
Just as he was drifting to sleep, he heard Spike whisper, "I love you, Angelus."
The words were poetry to his heart.
"We thought you'd might want to finish it with us," Buffy said to Angel and Spike, who were both awake, dressed and waiting for the sun to set in a few minutes.
"Plus, you're men," Cordelia said. "If there's digging involved, you'll be needed."
"I'm game," Angel replied.
"What about you, Spike?" Willow asked. "Want to help us find the buried treasure?"
"Why not," Spike answered with a shrug. "Not like there's anything better to do."
Angel leaned over and whispered, "Oh, I bet I could think of something."
Spike ducked his head so the others wouldn't see the blush creeping across his face. He'd been doing that too much lately as it was, more the past few days than he had in the past few years. It didn't help that his sire had spoken in the same tone he'd used earlier that day while giving a very well-detailed anatomy lesson.
"Does this mean they get a share, too?" Xander whined unhappily.
"Oh brother," Willow said, rising to her feet. Oz joined her and the two headed out of the cave as the sun disappeared over the horizon.
"Come on, Captain Hook," Cordelia said, following the other couple out of the cave.
"Does that make you my Mr. Smithers?" Xander asked, trailing behind her. Buffy rolled her eyes and rose, as did the two vampires. Together they joined the others on the final leg of the treasure hunt.
"Well, X certainly marks the spot," Buffy said, looking at the jagged letter carved into the side of a tree.
"This is so cool," Willow said. "It's like we're on our very own Treasure Island."
"Minus Rizzo, the Rat," Oz commented. "And Gonzo."
"Is there digging?" Cordelia asked. "I am so not going to dig. My manicure is ruined as it is."
"Nope," Xander said, tugging at something in a small hollow at the base of the tree. "I think there's just pulling."
"Be careful, Xander," Angel warned.
"Never fear, Deadboy," he said. He leaned forward, then yanked back with all his strength and a tied up, dirty cloth popped out of the hole.
"That's it?" Cordelia scoffed.
"Looks like it," Xander replied. He picked up the bundle and stood. Walking over to a semi-flat tree stump, he set it and the map down, then untied the knots.
Buffy, Willow and Cordelia moved to stand around the stump, with Oz slightly behind his girlfriend and a curious Angel behind Buffy. Spike stood a few feet away, leaning against another tree, chewing on his pen-cap. Xander unfolded the edges of the material to reveal what was inside.
"What kind of treasure is this?" Cordelia said.
"Looks like handmade jewelry," Buffy said, picking up a strand of tiny spiral shells in a variety of colors.
"Look at this one," Willow said. She picked up an almost perfectly round, pink shell. "It looks like a ring."
"Woah, a guitar pick," Oz said, reaching past Willow to pick up a thin, flat, multi-colored shell in a triangular shape.
"Miss Cordy, for you," Xander said in an exaggerated voice, holding out a reddish coral formation in the shape of a rose.
"Wow," Cordelia commented, accepting it from him. "This is so beautiful."
"Not next to you," Xander said quietly, a small smile on his face. Cordelia blushed.
Angel stepped back and watched as they began to divide the treasure amongst themselves. Despite it not being gold or diamonds or jewels, the excitement and happiness on their faces made the treasure hunt worthwhile. However, he wondered who could have been on the island before them to hide the treasure to begin with, for it was obviously not a pirate's treasure, it was more of a treasure made by parents to keep their children entertained.
"Here, Angel," Buffy said, walking over to him. A handmade, wooden cross, held together with blades of the tall grass that grew on the island, was hanging around her neck. "This was in the pile. It looks like a ring, but it's made out of something weird. Anyway, it has an 'A' on it, so I thought you'd like it."
"Thanks," Angel said, taking the object from her. He glanced at it, then did a double-take and examined it more thoroughly.
"Angel, what is it?" Buffy asked.
"This isn't a ring," Angel told her in a stunned voice. "It's a cigar band."
"And this is amazing how?" Buffy said.
Angel didn't answer her. He was caught up in the memories the cigar band invoked in his mind. He remembered taking that very band off of a cigar almost two centuries earlier, then watching as his favorite childe used the edge of a fork to engrave his first initial on the circular top of the thin metal before giving it back to him with a shy smile. He had then taken the younger vampire's hand and put it on his finger, telling him that everyone would then know to whom he belonged.
"Hello? Angel?" Buffy said, waving her hand in front of the dark-haired vampire's face. "What's so interesting about it? It's not like it's real treasure."
"No, it's not," Angel said, looking past her to where Spike was watching Oz put a necklace of small shells over Willow's head, a small smile playing on the blond's face. "The real treasure is something far more special."
Before Buffy could continue, he walked away from her towards Spike. Stopping directly in front of him, Angel reached out and took the black pen-cap from his mouth. "Where'd you get the pen-cap?" he asked quietly.
Spike shrugged. "Found it in my pocket."
"Would it happened to have been on a black pen?" Angel said pointedly. When Spike averted his eyes, the older vampire had his answer. Uncaring of their audience, he wrapped his hand around the back of Spike's head and captured his mouth in a life-changing kiss.
Spike stared up at Angel, dumbfounded, when the kiss ended. "What was that for?" he asked.
Angel lowered his hand and took Spike's, lifting it between them. Taking the cigar band out of his pocket, the dark-haired vampire slid it onto Spike's middle finger. "Because you belong to me," he answered.
Spike looked at the band, then back up at Angel before shifting on his feet and looking away. "I do not. I don't belong to anyone, least of all a pillock like y-"
"I love you, Will."
"-y-y-you love me?" Spike finished, his voice dropping to an astonished whisper. Confused and hopeful blue eyes searched brown ones, looking to see if he'd heard right.
"Yes," Angel answered simply. He dropped Spike's hand and lifted his own in order to run the back of his finger along the younger vampire's cheek.
Spike inhaled sharply and swallowed. "I...er...the same."
"I know," Angel replied, his eyes crinkling in the corners as he smiled.
"Well, then...right," Spike said, shifting his weight again. Angel chuckled, then leaned forward and kissed him again, this time with more passion.
When they finally broke apart, they were assaulted with applause and whistles, plus retching noises coming from Xander. Spike blushed yet again and Angel grinned. "I think we'll continue this later," the older vampire said quietly.
And continue it they did, until they were forced to seek shelter because of the dawn.
"Hey guys," Willow said, looking out over the water from the beach.
"Yeah, Wills?" Buffy asked.
"Does it work if I say 'de boat, de boat'?" she replied in Herve Villechaize's voice.
The other four on the beach all looked to where Willow was pointing. Then they were on their feet, waving their hands and shouting. Oz took the shell and flare gun that was always in his pocket, loaded it and fired it into the air. It exploded into a bright pink flame that fell silently towards the boat.
The boat blew its horn.
With whoops of joy, the friends exchanged hugs, then a surprised Cordelia was involved in a searing kiss with Xander that left her stammering and flushed. Laughing, Buffy left the group on the beach to tell the two vampires the good news.
Quietly, she entered the cave and paused when she saw them. Light against dark, they were spooned against one another, Angel's arm wrapped around Spike's waist. A smile of happiness for an entirely different reason spread across her face and she was reluctant to wake them. However, she knew they could always go back to sleep later.
"Angel," Buffy said in a hushed voice, not wanting to startle him. "Angel."
"Buffy?" Angel asked sleepily, lifting his head to peer over Spike at her.
"We're being rescued," she told him.
Angel was awake instantly. "Giles?"
"Don't know," Buffy replied. "If it isn't, we'll think of something to keep you guys protected. I'm going to head back to the beach and see what's the what." She turned and headed for the mouth, then stopped and faced Angel again. "Do you love him?"
"Yes," Angel answered, his eyes dropping to the side of the still sleeping vampire's face. "I'm sorry..."
"No, don't be," Buffy told him. "I'm happy for you. And if you love him even close to as much as you loved me, he is one lucky person."
"I will always love you, Buffy," Angel said.
"I know," Buffy replied. "I'll always love you, too." She gave him a small smile, turned and left the cave.
"You two are pathetic," Spike muttered, shifting his head on his arm.
"And you're not?" Angel said, chuckling.
"No," he replied. "I'm a big, evil vampire."
"You're a short, lovable vampire," Angel corrected with a smirk.
"I hate you."
Angel bent his head and placed a soft kiss on the side of Spike's neck. "I hate you, too, Will."
Spike dropped back off to sleep with a content smile on his lips.
"...And then we found the treasure," Willow explained to Giles later that night at dinner. The seven rescued friends were sitting around the long table in the cabin of the chartered boat, heading back towards California. Clean bodies, clean clothes -- and prepackaged food for the humans - had made the members of the group deliriously happy.
"It was fun," Buffy agreed. "Even if the treasure was not gold and stuff." She held up the handmade cross necklace. "I like this better, anyway."
"I wonder who would have gone to all the trouble to bury the stuff and make the map?" Willow said.
"Perhaps a-a family found themselves in a, er, similar situation, and created the treasure hunt to-to entertain their children," Giles suggested in almost an exact repeat of Angel's thoughts earlier in the night.
The dark-haired vampire looked over at Spike and winked. "I think that's exactly what happened."
Not wanting to be there while they speculated about the treasure hunt he'd made to alleviate both his boredom and that of his friends, Spike excused himself and made his way out onto the deck. He pulled out a cigarette from the new pack Giles had given him and lit one. Leaning on the rail, he looked out over the dark ocean and let his mind wander to nothing in particular.
"Truth or dare, Spike," Angel said quietly, coming up behind him.
Spike jumped slightly, startled once again. "I thought I told you to stop that," he growled.
Angel smirked and leaned back against the railing. "Truth or dare?"
The blond narrowed his eyes. "Truth."
"How am I the blackmail?"
Spike looked away and took a drag on the cigarette. "I'll take the dare."
"I dare you to tell me the truth," Angel said.
He had a choice. He could either play along and tell the truth, or ignore his sire and have the secret hanging between them. "They'll kill you if I don't help the Slayer."
Angel was surprised. Until recent events, he thought Spike would have been ecstatic about that idea. "All kidding aside, I thought you hated me."
"I may have friggin' hated you with all the stolen blood in my body," Spike said, his voice barely above a whisper. "But I loved you more."
Pushing away from the rail, the younger vampire took a final drag on his cigarette, then flicked it over the rail. He gave Angel a long look and, with a combination of courage and vulnerability, slid his arms around his sire's waist and hugged him tightly.
Angel closed his eyes and brought his arms up around Spike, holding him close. "I love you, Will," he said quietly.
"I love you, too, Angelus," Spike replied, equally as quiet. "It bloody sucks."
"So do we," Angel told him with a light laugh. Spike released him and he dropped a quick kiss on his childe's lips. "Come on, if we're lucky, they'll all fall asleep early and we'll have the boat practically to ourselves."
"I don't remember you being this bleedin' horny all the time," Spike told him as they headed back towards the cabin. "It's probably the soul."
"Probably," Angel said with a smile. "It allowed me to be able to love you, so why not that as well?"
Spike rolled his eyes and Angel laughed. Then the two descended the stairs to rejoin the others, one adventure having ended and a new one just beginning.
A new one based on love.