In The Wake Of Death

by Saber ShadowKitten

He was sitting on the stone sarcophagus in the center of the room. His knees were pulled to his chest, his arms wrapped around his legs, his chin resting on one denim-clad knee, and he stared blankly at the wall of the crypt. Angel shut and locked the crypt door, walked up behind him, and laid his hands on the hunched shoulders. "I'm sorry."

"You would be," Spike replied with a snort.

Angel lightly squeezed the thin shoulders before sliding his hands around the younger man's body. He gently pulled Spike back against him, resting his cheek on the soft tangle of platinum hair. He took it as a bad sign when Spike didn't struggle to pull away.

"Is there anything I can do?" Angel asked.

"Bring her back."

Angel closed his eyes. "I wish I could."

Spike was silent for a long time, before he said, in a rough whisper, "Then... just hold me."

Cold tears escaped from the corners of Angel's eyes as the smaller vampire shook in his arms. Apart from the occasional hiccough, Spike made no sound as he cried. Angel wished there was more he could do, that he had the power to bring her back to life. But he didn't. So all he did was hold on tightly to the man whose silent sobs of grief broke Angel's heart.

It hadn't been that long ago that Spike had sobbed in Angel's arms for a different reason. Those had been tears of joy and relief. The operation had been a success, the danger to her life, they'd thought, had been over. Their time together that day had been a celebration, a reaffirmation of life, despite their non-living status.

Their relationship was a tumultuous one; it was one that had started out of anger and hatred, but had slowly returned to what it used to be, long, long ago -- friends, lovers, and companions. Their relationship was a secret -- who amongst those they knew would understand? They loved each other, but were not in love: that was reserved for a blond slip of a girl who should, by all rights, stake them both.

But eternity was a long time to spend without someone who understood every facet of the other and would be there no matter what.

"I tried to leave flowers, but Xander...," Spike trailed off and sniffed quietly. "Have you been to see her?"

"No," Angel replied, knowing instinctively which 'her' they blond meant. "I will, after the funeral."

Spike started to move, and Angel loosened his hold just enough for the younger vampire to turn completely around and face him. Tear-streaked cheeks and red, puffy eyes looked up at him. "The funeral isn't until tomorrow."

"I know," Angel said. He chased his thumb over a teardrop, dashing it away. "But she has her friends, Giles and Dawn, and I knew that you needed me."

Spike blinked rapidly, tears welling in his eyes again. "Why do I feel like this, Angel? Why do I care?"

"Because it's how you are, Spike," Angel told him. "It's what makes you different than the other vampires, and you're better for it."

"Tell that to my aching heart," Spike grumbled, brushing his hands across his damp face. "I hate feeling like this."

"I know you do." Angel bent his head and briefly tasted Spike's tear-salted lips. "Just tell me what you need, Spike. I'm here for you."

"Will you just hold me some more?" Spike asked, dropping his eyes. "I just... I need--"

Angel put his finger over Spike's lips, hushing him. "Come to bed," the older vampire instructed in a tender murmur.

Spike nodded and rose when Angel stepped away. Both vampires shed their clothing and met under the covers. Angel spooned himself to Spike's back, wrapping his arms around the leaner man. Spike captured Angel's fingers and held them pressed against his chest. The older vampire placed a soft kiss on the nape of Spike's neck and gently nuzzled the blond's short hair.

"Will it hurt this much when she dies?" Spike said in a raw whisper.

"No," Angel replied honestly. "It'll hurt worse."

Spike pulled Angel tighter against him. Angel closed his eyes and pushed the thoughts of her death deep into the recesses of his mind. In the dark silence of the crypt, Angel held Spike until night faded into day. As the sun slowly ascended the sky, Spike turned in Angel's embrace and lifted his mouth in invitation.

Angel murmured nonsense words of comfort and covered Spike's mouth with his own. Unhurriedly, his lips moved over the other man's, drinking the dried tears and sorrow. His large hands smoothed down Spike's skin, the hidden muscle rippling under his touch, and he palmed the blond's hardening sex. Spike sighed into the kiss, his hips bucking slightly against the older vampire's hand.

Angel firmed his grip and began a familiar rhythm, bringing his childe pleasure in the wake of anguish. His own manhood beckoned for reciprocation but he ignored it. His focus was completely on Spike, who was more important by far.

"Angel," Spike tore his mouth from Angel's with a gasp of the brunette's name. Angel's palm was slick with the younger man's pre-emissions, Spike's length slipping easily in the channel made by Angel's hand. The blond writhed beside Angel, his slim fingers twisting in the older man's hair.

"Angel... pet," Spike panted. "Soon... soon, soon."

"Yes, baby," Angel whispered, watching as his childe's face scrunched at the edge of release. "That's it... let go."

Spike came with a soundless cry, spilling himself onto Angel's abdomen, his hand, and the bed between them. Angel dusted kisses over Spike's face as the blond drifted down from his pleasure plateau. The blond opened his eyes, the irises a deep blue, and he met Angel's gaze, sincerity shining in their depths. He went to speak, but Angel pressed a freshly wiped finger against his mouth. Angel replaced his finger with his lips and kissed Spike deeply, with love and affection.

Afterwards, Angel snuggled Spike to him, chuckling when the younger man grumbled about the wet spot. He stroked his hands up and down Spike's back, resting his chin on top of Spike's blond head. The crypt was once again silent; outside, a new day was dawning, and life continued on.