"Sleep well?" "Okay." Silence. Angel sat on the edge of his chair, feet spaced out evenly on the floor. Elbows rested on his knees, he had his hands carefully interlaced. A sheen of moisture still clung to his body from his shower. Rivulets of water from dark, damp hair trickled down his neck and chest, disappearing beneath the towel wrapped around his waist. Angel couldn't quite bring himself to get dressed in front of his childe, who was perched on his bed. It had been far too long since the two vampires had been comfortable being in the same room as each other. A century, at least. The dark haired vampire found that he couldn't do something so simple as pull on a pair of trousers with Spike just there watching. It implied a certain amount of familiarity and trust that -- as much as Angel wanted -- did not exist any more. At least, not at the moment. Not yet. So Angel sat in his damp towel with wet hair and wondered what else there was for him to do. "How's the leg?" "Sore." Silence. Spike sat on the edge of the bed, sheets and covers pooled discreetly in his lap, one arm stuck out behind him as a prop. His injured left leg poked out from one of the blankets and dangled over the side of the mattress, swinging slightly. The blond had been up and sitting on the bed when Angel had emerged from the bathroom. He had gotten a morbid laugh when his sire had walked straight into the room, one large hand wearily covering his face, and proceeded to his wardrobe where the dark haired vampire had almost.. *almost*... taken off the towel before he noticed his audience of one -- complete with amused smirk -- awake and on the bed. The older man had froze in his tracks and jerkily walked towards a chair. Spike surreptitiously made sure all his parts were covered by the blankets. He too wasn't comfortable with baring all voluntarily. Angel sat down on the chair opposite the bed. That had been fifteen minutes ago. Fifteen long minutes. Fifteen long *silent* minutes. Spike studied his sire's face, which was annoyingly neutral, giving no indication of what he might be thinking. But the way he sat forward in his char.. and the way there was a sparkle of something deeper in those dark eyes... the whispered of... hope? Expectation? Spike couldn't put his finger on it. Was Angel expecting him to say something? What was there to say? 'I suddenly realised I don't want you as dead as I used to'? 'Hey, you're not so bad after patching me up after two fights and letting me sleep in your bed'? 'Being in the same room as you makes me feel a little less alone'? No. Even if he was thinking those things -- which he was -- the blond vampire just couldn't bring himself to say them. So, nothing was said. And it was so damn quiet. + + + + + Dublin, 1807 "Will.. childe, yer forcin' me t' wear out me voicebox with all this chatter..." The younger man ducked his head, a faint blush staining pale cheeks. "I-I'm sorry Angelus.." Angelus' lips curled in amusement. He didn't mind, not really. Not when Will was concerned. "Ah, very well, boy.." The older vampire cleared his throat, and in a voice that took on a softer, dreamier quality as he stared into the fire, Angelus repeated the verse from his childhood lessons. "I invoke the land of Ireland, Shining, shining sea; Fertile, fertile Mountain; Gladed, gladed wood! Abundant river, abundant in water! Fish-abounding lake!" Piercing blue eyes never left deep mahogany as the lilting verse was recited. The two vampires were staying in a well-furnished two storey home, most definitely in the better part of town. Angelus had killed the owners as they returned from abroad the night before last, so it would be at least a week before their prolonged disappearance would arouse suspicion. Sire and childe were on the road to meet up with Darla, who had been in Edinburgh for the last four months. She had sent for her Favoured, and Angelus, ever the dutiful childe, was travelling to Scotland to meet up with her, his youngest accompanying him. They had planned to cut straight from the south to the north of England, but Will had made noises about taking a brief detour to Ireland on the way. After some thought, Angelus complied with his childe's wish. In actuality, his arm needed no twisting. It had been at least thirty years since he had visited the country of his birth, and an odd longing to see his home had surfaced with a vengeance. Darla had given him a month to reach Edinburgh, so he and Will had plenty of time to take a small sidetrip to Ireland. Having arrived in Dublin two nights ago, they planned to stay at least one more evening there until journeying west across the country, to the Bay of Galway. Galway held a lot of memories of his family and friends, but they didn't bother him. It would be a wonder if any still survived after what he had done to the place after Darla Embraced him... for some reason Will wanted to see his sire's mortal and immortal place of birth, and Angelus had not the heart to refuse this harmless request. Will. Angelus' gaze fixed on his childe who was lying naked on his stomach on a thick rug in front of the fire, just across from his sire seated in an old, cushioned armchair. The older man watched William, who ran his fingers through the thick wool of the rug. Angelus' dark eyes observed the muscles in Will's shoulders play underneath taut, pale skin as his arms moved. This was the younger vampire's first trip to Ireland, and he was excited -- incorrigibly so. The last two days and nights had been surprisingly busy. If they weren't hunting or sleeping or engaged in more.. pleasurable pursuits.. Will had begged his sire to tell him tales of when he had been mortal on this Isle full of mystery and magic. The older vampire had thoroughly enjoyed holding his childe's attention for such a long time.. often the hyperactive young man couldn't keep his brain focussed on anything much for very long unless it was hunting or fucking... it was a pleasant change to see him taking an interest in something slightly more intellectual.. if you could call the mortal Liam's drunken, whoring days educational. Angelus knew his boy had a razor sharp mind, but for him to be truly smart, his intellect and analytical brain needed to be cultivated, so he perhaps wouldn't get into trouble with his brash, impulsive behaviour so frequently. So the dark haired vampire not only talked to his childe about his exploits and conquests, but about the lessons he'd learnt as a boy... the schooling Darla had sent him away for after after he was turned.. anything that might stimulate some culture in William's mind. It had oft occurred to Angelus that he could send him away to be taught. The boy was nary a decade into his vampiric existence, and to survive he would need more than cunning and street smarts. Will's education had been a somewhat lax area in his mortal life, and although the older vampire had no problems teaching his youngest childe about immortality, his scholastic development would be best suited to someone formally trained to teach. But there was something holding him back. --
He was selfish. William was so eager to learn, and although he complained about it incessantly, he dearly loved acquiring knowledge that just hadn't been possible in his situation in London before Angelus had turned him. Will grasped at every piece of knowledge his sire fed him like a thirsty man grasps a pitcher of water. He felt a personal sense of achievement with every crumb of information he learnt, and exulted in it. And Angelus was far too selfish to let anyone see William's triumphant smile when the younger vampire latched on to a new topic. To see those delectable lips split wide to reveal blunt, white teeth.. to have those cerulean eyes light up, as if someone had struck a match just underneath their azure surface.. No. Will's smile was for him and him alone. Besides, Angelus took *great* pleasure in rewarding his offspring for a job well done... something he was not willing to forego, and *definitely* wouldn't allow anyone else to do. Angelus was drawn out of his reverie by William's soft entreaty. "Another?" he asked hopefully. The dark haired vampire's lips formed a smile. "Aye, one more by Amergin an' then it be time t' rest." William nodded and rested his chin in his hands, giving his sire his full attention. Settling himself comfortably in the armchair, Angelus looked past William and back into the fire, which flickered in his dark, mirrored eyes. The lay flowed forth from his mouth like honey.. taking on a sing-song, chanting quality. "I am the Wind that blows over the sea, I am the Wave of the Ocean; I am the Murmur of the billows; I am the Ox of the Seven Combats; I am the Vulture upon the rock; I am a Ray of the Sun; I am the fairest of Plants; I am a Wild Boar in valour; I am a Salmon in the Waters; I am a Lake in the plain; I am the Craft of the artificer; I am a Word of Science; I am the Spear-point that gives battle; I am the god that creates in the head of man the fire of thought. Who is it that enlightens the assembly upon the mountain, if not I? Who telleth the ages of the moon, if not I? Who showeth the place where the sun goes to rest, if not I?" Deep brown eyes grew focused again and Angelus looked at his childe. William's fidgeting had ceased -- blue eyes were wide with wonder, and those pink lips were parted slightly. He returned his sire's gaze, laden with undisguised admiration and deference. The dark haired vampire's smile lightened his entire face. Angelus stood and shrugged off the silk robe he'd been wearing, exposing his classical nude body to the firelight. The older man extended his hand to his childe on the floor, who was still enraptured by his sire's lyrical words. "Come, me sweet Will. The day wearies me an' 'tis time t' retire." The younger vampire smiled brilliantly and took Angelus' hand, standing up. They walked to the bed positioned in the centre of the south wall. William dove under the covers and Angelus chuckled. The dark vampire slid smoothly under the blankets and coverlets and adjusted his childe's slight form against his own. His eyes fell shut and he began to fall into a satisfying slumber almost instantly, before a soft voice interrupted him. "Angelus?" "Aye?" his somewhat irritated sire answered. "Will we continue our conversations when you awaken?" ((So young)) he thought ((so very, very young)). Angelus smoothed back his childe's wildly curling sable coloured hair and answered. "If it be yer wish, lad." he murmured, drifting off again. But just before sleep overtook, he felt a soft kiss pressed to his chest by a pair of perfect pink lips. The dark haired vampire's lips curled at the corners and he fell asleep, the only sound permeating the room being the crackle of flames in the fireplace. + + + + + "You hungry?" "Yep." Silence. The two vampires sat at a small wooden table opposite each other in Angel's small kitchen. Cordelia, through some minor miracle had remembered not to disturb her employer. She was upstairs helping Wesley research a nice, non-demon case. Angel retrieved blood bags from his small refrigerator and emptied them into two grey ceramic mugs. He placed both in the microwave and hit a few buttons. The microwave whirred to life with lights and heat, and warmed up their meal. It had taken half an hour of sitting back and forth staring at one another before Spike had wordlessly gotten up and walked into the bathroom, shutting the door with a resounding click behind him. The dark haired vampire very well nearly breathed a sigh of relief. He got dressed quickly and set about cleaning up the room. Retrieving Spike's clothes from the dryer, he somewhat politely opened the bathroom door partways and placed them on the counter, and then tried to find something to occupy his time until the blond emerged. Spike had showered for as long as the hot water had lasted. He figured the longer he was in there, the longer he wouldn't have to have a staring competition with his sire and not talk to him. When the water ran cold, he dried and dressed into newly laundered clothes, but didn't leave the bathroom. The blond sat on the edge of the bath, listening to the water drip from the edge of the tap. Minutes flew by like seasons as he sat and stared at the tile wall. Why was it so hard to talk to Angel? Before the soul, it had never been hard. He had listened to his sire for hours, conversing about anything, everything and nothing... of course, during the first encounters with the souled Angel and the Angelus '98 comeback tour they had barely spoken a word to each other. That didn't really matter to him, though. Spike didn't regard either of those two incarnations of the vampire that wore his sire's face to actually *be* his sire. The blond thought to the vampire who's home he was staying in.. whose bed he slept in.. who's chest he'd rest his head on... and he felt like a fledge again.. when Angelus' name had been the first word he spoke in the evening and the last one breathed from his lips come dawn. He needed to talk to Angel. Spike let out an airless sigh. He needed to. Didn't mean that he *could*. Which was why Spike now sat in the small kitchen, watching intently as the mugs rotated slowly through the microwave door. The 'ding' halted their merry ride. Angel placed one of the mugs in front of him on the table and occupied his seat opposite the blond once again. The younger vampire knew Angel wanted to talk.. wanted to be able to get past the hundred years of absence, bad blood and fighting that had tainted their relationship. But the dark haired vampire wasn't able to bring himself to say much more than the occasional two to three syllable question. Still, it was better than the blond's one word replies... Spike stared at the mug of blood intently, hoping it would give him a crash course on starting up conversations with estranged sires. Oddly enough, the blood didn't seem to have many suggestions. So sire and childe sat across from one another, drinking their respective meals in silence. And it was so damn quiet.