"Bloody hell, Angelus -- what *are* you listening to? Sounds like that noncey Riverdance all you Micks are so keen on." It sounded like they were in the sodding steerage class compartment in that bloody Titanic movie. Spike half-expected Leonardo DiCaprio's frozen blue body to float by. Okay, so that made it just a *tad* bearable, but still.. Spike paused, frowning, then added as an afterthought (because he *is* still the Big Bad, you know). "If it *is* Riverdance, I'm gonna come in there and Riverdance all over that bloody stereo in a minute!" Angel emerged from his room, the chipper Irish music flowing in the background, keeping up a happy beat. He walked over to the bookshelf, taking a couple of books down before turning to smirk at Spike. "It's not Riverdance, Spike. They're a band called Gaelic Storm. I was feeling a bit down earlier--" Spike snorted. "Oh, no.. surely you jest! The Baron of Brooding feeling.. *down*?" Angel shot the blond a glare and dropped the books on the table, a small tickle of delight running through his body at Spike's surprised jump. "They cheer me up." Spike scowled, pulling a cigarette from an unseen pocket on his person (he seemed very prolific in the art of random cigarette emergences these days) and lit up, gesturing towards the very old and flammable books with a very hot and smoky cigarette. "Right, then. What's all this? Forget the recipe for fluffy sugar cookies? I think the Martha Stewart Show is on in a couple of --" "Don't smoke near the books, Spike." Spike clamped his lips together, and with a pointed eyebrow arch, he neatly tapped the ash from the end of his cigarette, watching it fall right smack in the middle of the book on the top of the stack. Angel narrowed his eyes. Spike curled his lips in a taunting smile. Angel's chest rumbled in a low growl, and the large vampire leaned closer to Spike, steepling his fingertips. "Spike.." His voice was low with warning. "Peaches.." And Spike's hand rose once more to tap ash on the book, when Angel's shot forward, grabbing Spike's wrist in his huge beefy-vampire grip, squeezing *hard* so the tendons and the bones ground together, forcing Spike's fingers to release the cigarette. Angel caught the smoldering cylinder of tobacco and ground it out in a nearby ashtray. Meanwhile, Spike was twisting in his chair, his face scrunched up in a very comical facade of pain. "Bloody hell! You huge.. sodding.. Leprechaun on steroids! Leggo of my arm!" Angel just tightened his grip, speaking slowly to Spike in his I-could-never-teach-kindergarten-because-I'd-scare-all-the-children voice. "Spike, repeat after me. No. Smoking. Near. The. Books." "Sod. Off. You. Great. Pillock." Angel growled again. "Spike, in a couple of seconds, it's gonna take both you and Lindsey standing side by side to make a complete pair of hands." Spike clenched his jaw, his eyes shooting blue sparks at the dark and glowery vampire. "You are *such* a wanker -- Why don't you just grab your bleedin' caveman club and beat me over the head until I do what you say? Then you can drag me around by my bloody hair for awhile. The Teutonic alpha-male act doesn't bode well with the girlies, you know." "Good thing you're girlie enough for me, Spike. Now, are you done raving?" Angel threw Spike's hand to him with just enough force to send his writhing-in-pain ass sprawling down onto the hardwood floor. Spike grumbled, nursing his poor little wrist, making a face at Angel. "I don't like you." Angel smirked. "I don't like you, more." Spike chuckled, pulling himself back into his chair. "Very bloody unlikely, mate. I own 51% of the stock in the I Hate Angel company, and we are a subsidiary company of the Spike is a Badass corporation -- which, since it's me, I have a say iin who owns stock, and you definitely *don't* get that privlege, you bloody shirt-lifter -- therefore it just so happens that I hate you more. Percentage-wise, and because I bloomin' well say so. So there." Angel stared at Spike, his forehead furrowed, the look in his eyes something akin to shock. "What?! You huge glowery thing. What are you staring at?!" "You used the word 'subsidiary'. In a sentence. And you used it correctly." Spike rolled his eyes, gesturing to the now ash-free books on the table. "Yes, Peaches. I am book-learned. Remember? Ninteenth Century nerd over here. What, you think one of the prerequisites of bein' able to read is to have a huge over-hanging forehead? All it does is get in the way of your light." Spike snorted back a laugh as Angel frowned, his hand reaching up to his forehead, unconsciously. "Vain as a peacock. Always were, always will be. Must drive you up the bloody wall, not bein' able to gawk at yourself in the mirror, 'eh, luv?" Angel just sighed and shook his head. That was his way of escaping an uncomfortable situation. If he faked like he was all soul-huting and suffering, most people would lay off. Keywords here being 'Most' and 'People'. "Oh, go shove that butt-hurt sigh up your arse, Angelus. I know you, and you *know* I'm right." Angel just shot Spike a pointed glare, then grabbed the previously ashed-upon book from the top of the pile, opening it carefully and shuffling through the pages. Spike sat back in his chair, the toe of his boot tapping rhythmically against the table leg. Tap. Tap. Tap. Angel continued to pour over his book in typical brooder fashion. Completely unfazed. Tap. Tap. Tap. "Spike, if you'd like to channel your energies into helping me out, I'd be very appreciative." Pulling in and exhaling a *very* over-dramatic and long-suffering sigh (which, of course, earned him no more than a smirk from the Great Pouf), he sat up, nodding reluctantly. "Fine. What great and spooky evil are we looking up, Batman?" "Ark'achoon demon. They're --" Spike pulled a face. "Ew, Peaches. Cover your mouth when your sneeze. Lookit --" He pointed to one of the books left on the table. "I think you just shot phlegm all over that one. Hrmph. And you tell me not to ash --" "Spike. Just shut-up already." Angel shot the blond vampire an exasperated look, his eyes pleading for either silence or assistance. Spike scowled and rolled his eyes, taking up one of the smelly, dust-covered volumes. "Fine, fine. Here we go, then." "Thank you." "Yeah, whatever." *** Angel leaned back in his chair, stretching silently. They'd both been bent over books for the past hour or so. Well, books plural for Angel. Book singular for Spike. He was still hard at work on the first volume, and from the looks of it, he hadn't gotten very far. Angel's lips quirked into a smile. He knew what the problem was, and he knew that bringing it up would be the perfect petty revenge for that comment on Angel's vanity earlier. What no one else besides perhaps Drusilla and Darla knew, was that Spike also had a crippling vanity -- he still needed to wear glasses. Of course, he refused. For the twenty years they were together after William was turned and before Angelus was cursed, he'd caught William wearing his glasses less than a half a dozen times. William didn't think vampires should be restricted to mortal ailments. Too bad they were. William also knew words like 'subsidiary' and 'prerequisite'. Spike seldom allowed people to see his intelligence, because he thought it might make him less threatening, but Angel knew better. He wasn't threatening, anyway. "Spike." Spike was glaring down at the book in his lap, hunched over, chewing on a black-tipped fingernail. He didn't respond. "Spike." The blond grunted, lifting the book and bringing it closer to his face, squinting his eyes slightly in the dimming light on Angel's living room. "William!" Spike's head shot up, a curse on his lips. "Oi! Don't bloody call me that. I don't trot about callin' you Liam, now do I?" Angel smirked and crossed his arms, cocking his head to the side. "I wouldn't have to call you that if you'd stop acting like him." Spike frowned, slamming the delicate book shut. He tossed it on the table, muttering. "What are you on about, Hair Boy?" Angel gestured to Spike's coat, which was draped over the back of his chair. He knew Spike kept a pair of glasses in there. "Why aren't you wearing them?" Spike growled. "Shut up. I don't bloody need them, now do I?" "Looked that way to me." "No one asked you, Danny Boy." "Four Eyes." "Sinead." "Should I get you a quill, poet-boy?" "Should I get you a designated driver, you drunken Mick?" "How about a Thesaurus. Let's see.. what's another word for.. 'Effulgent'..?" Spike growled. "Protestant!" Angel fell silent, snapping his jaw shut. Spike glared at him, mad-dogging the stunned older vampire. "That was *cold*, boy." "Yeah, well.. bloody shut-up about my poetry, you nonce." "Put on your glasses." "Shut --" "Put. Them. On. You're no good to me if you can't see. Put them on, or get out." Spike snarled, digging into his coat pocket, each movement exaggerated in anger. It was much like watching a small child throw a temper tantrum. He pulled out a slim brown case and slammed it on the table. Opening it, he grabbed the pair of plain wire-rim glasses and shoved them on his face, pushing them up the bridge of his nose with the middle finger of his right hand, making it very clear to Angel that the middle finger was a special present for him. "There. Bloody happy? Now, laugh and take the piss out and get it out of your sodding system so we can find this damn Achoo demon and chop it up so I can go to bloody sleep." Angel just smiled. "Thank you, Spike." He returned to his book. Spike frowned, crossing his arms. "What, no cracks? C'mon, Angelus -- I *know* you have something to say." Angel lifted his head, the smile still on his lips. "Yes, you're right, Spike. I do." Spike pursed his lips, nodding. "Right then. Let's hear it. Spit it out, Peaches." "I think.. they make you look.." Angel paused for effect. Spike was nearly out of his skin. Angel chuckled, grabbing Spike by the back of the head and crushing his lips to the blond vampire's. Spike's eyes bulged in surprise, his glasses knocked askew by Angel's huge brow. Angel pulled back, making a huge showy smacking sound with his lips, laughing at his grand-childe's sputtering and flustering. "Cute. Very cute." Spike drug the back of his hand across his lips, reaching up to straighten his glasses again, scowling. "Damnit, Angel. You don't stop sayin' rubbish like that and I might have to take to wearin' these all the time, and then no one would be afraid of me, now would they?" "No one's afraid of you, anyway, Spike." "Fag off, or I'll steal your Lucky Charms." "I don't know. If I leave, you might run into the wall or trip over your very own feet or something." "Banshee shagger." "Poindexter." Spike smirked. "So, what do you say we bag this search for tonight and take in an early evenin'? "I say you should really use your huge, squishy, frontal lobes more often, Spike, because that's the best idea you've had in years." "But first, Peaches.." "Yeah?" "Turn that bloody nancy-boy jiggin' music off!"