"Ow! Fucker, let go of me! I come all the way from London for you, and this is how you treat me?"

"I don't remember asking you to come from London, and you know what, Spike? I don't remember even suggesting you'd be welcome if you did come from London! What the hell were you thinking?"

"I was thinkin' you'd be happy to see me, you ungrateful wanker!"

"What would make you think I'd be at all happy to see you darkening my doorstep?"

"Could be the three hours of screaming orgasms before your flight back, you tosser! Now let me in."

"Shut up!"

"What? What?! You've come all the way back here just to go back in the sodding closet? Well fuck you, pillock!"

"Great. Fuck me. Now go home!"

The door slammed hard enough to shake plaster down from the ceiling, falling like snow on Lindsey's cowboy hat as he stood, one hand on his key, key in the lock, watching the show with mild curiosity. "Bad breakup?"

The bleached blond whipped around, eyes narrowing. "Bad sodding relationship." He kicked the closed door with one booted foot, then whirled, planting his back against the wall and lighting a cigarette, dragging the smoke deep into his lungs. "Fucker."

"Yeah, Angel's got a plank up his ass most days." Lindsey looked him up and down, from tight shredded jeans to pierced eyebrow, and back down to the duffel bag and guitar case at his feet. "Want a beer?"

Lindsey could feel Spike's elevator eyes making their way over him with a slow down-up, lingering somewhere in his midsection, and then Spike shrugged, grabbing his stuff. "Could do. Ta, mate."

"Drop your things anywhere. Corona good for you?"

"Yeah, anything." Just as asked, Spike dropped everything just inside the door, and Lindsey spared a wince for the guitar, snagging a couple of bottles from the fridge and passing one over. "So you knew him when he was on active duty, I guess?"

"Yeah." Spike slouched down on the couch, spread out like he owned it, and headed straight to the bottle, draining it half down in the long pull of a man looking to get shit-faced. "You got a habit of inviting his cast-offs in for beer?"

"Nah." Lindsey toyed with his bottle, rationing out little little sips. Spike was becoming more interesting than the cold brew, slouching there like a souvenir of the London punk scene that Angel accidentally brought home. And what would the guy steal? The couch? The TV set? Good luck to him carrying that ancient monster. He'd be lucky to get ten bucks in a pawn shop. "Just the good lookin' ones."

Spike toasted him with the almost empty bottle. "You try tellin' him that."

"Don't think he'd listen to me," Lindsey said, and imagined trying to tell Angel that he was insane for throwing a guy who looked like Spike out into the hallway to preserve some kinda macho dignity.

"What? Doesn't like you or something? Look pretty enough to me." Spike's eyes narrowed down again, and Lindsey wondered if that was the expression of Spike thinking or if he needed glasses.

Could be either, he guessed, and spread his arms. "Looks are free. Help yourself."

Spike's eyes did that downward slide Lindsey could feel in his groin again, and he cocked his head to the side. "What else's free?"

And how did he know that was coming? Wishful thinking through his dick. "Beer, couch space, and counseling."

"Oh, that all?" Spike slouched further into his corner, setting down the beer bottle between his thighs in a way he had to know made parts of Lindsey sit up and beg.

"Advice too. Like you don't wanna be giving me the elevator eyes with Angel next door." Ethics were a bitch.

"Why not? Free country, innit?"

"Yeah, but he's got good hearing. Making Angel jealous isn't going to solve anything." And that boy, no matter what he had to say to the contrary, had unresolved business with Angel that was important enough to bring him half way around the world.

"Who said I'm trying to make him jealous?" Spike's fingers ran along the bottle, doing a good job of talking Lindsey out of his own thoughts. Up. Down. "You heard him. Doesn't want me here."

Or he's too much of an ass to admit he does. Yet. "Then why'd you come?"

Spike shrugged again, and propped a foot on the coffee table, giving Lindsey a better view around that damn bottle. "Had no place else to be."

Lindsey gestured, and did one of those dumb, fucked-up things that kept making his life so interesting. "Got couch space." Might as well be hanged for a cow as for a calf.

Spike's head tipped to the other side, and he squinted as if he were reading something off of Lindsey, then nodded once. "Right, then. Got couch space, got beer. Got free fucking counseling. We've established that I don't care if the bloody minded poof's jealous or not."

Yeah, right. "If you didn't care, I think we would've passed talking about him five minutes ago. Want another beer?"

"Yeah." Lindsey could feel Spike's eyes following him to the refrigerator, and didn't turn when he heard him speaking again. "You weren't kidding about the free counseling, were you? What do you do all day then? Got a nice apartment, shit for furniture. Cowboy boots costing a couple hundred quid unless I miss my guess completely."

And god, those boots had been worth the money. "Pretty observant, aren't you?"

"I do alright."

"What do you make of it?"

"You care about your boots," Spike said, and then, after some thought, "and got shit furniture. I don't know, pillock. Wouldn't have asked if I did. What do you do?"

Chuckling, Lindsey handed over the beer, retrieving his own, and getting comfortable. Sometimes felt nice to have someone to talk to who wasn't paying for the privilege. "Bout six months from now, you'll be talking to a man with a brand new PhD in Psychology. Right now, you're gonna have to make-do with a Psychology grad student working as a youth counselor on the side. And has shit furniture," he added as an afterthought.

"That right?"

"That's right," Lindsey said, and found himself smiling back at Spike a lot easier than he'd have expected.

"K, mate. Counsel me then."

"Alright," Lindsey said, taking a guess. "You lose a parent at a young age by any chance?"

Spike's head whipped around so quickly Lindsey heard something crack. "How'd you-?"

"Easy guess," Lindsey admitted. "Haven't got much to go on so far, but I've seen you form profound attachments more quickly than Angel."

"Continents form attachments more quickly than Angel."

"Okay, but you've gotta admit it was a good guess. Usually is, parents. I've done whole courses on parent-child issues." Lindsey paused, toeing off his boots and tucking his legs up under him. "Almost everybody's got some kind of issue stemming from their relationship with their parents."

"What's yours?" Spike asked, with all the directness of a man with no shame.

"Don't much like men who take out their insecurities on people smaller and weaker than them," Lindsey said promptly. "And I like money in the bank."

"Yeah alright, then. So what's Angel's issue?"

"Which one?"

Spike snickered into his beer, twisting it between his fingers, rings clacking against the glass. "Good one, mate."

"And true."

"Makes it even better. So tell me about the Angel you lot know over on this side of the pond."

Lindsey shifted until the couch swallowed him just right, and brought his beer to his lips, taking a long pull. "You saw him out there. Cranky bastard, private, hates to be surprised. Really hates things he can't control."

"Sounds like the Angel I knew back home."

"And you liked him enough to follow him all the way around the world? You need more counseling than I can give."

"Ha bloody ha. There's more to him than that. I'm not a complete idiot."

Really? Lindsey studied Spike, wondering just what Angel did have, besides a dark and broody magnetism that could bring a guy like this all the way from London on a wing and a prayer. "Sounds like I should be asking you about him, not the other way around."

Spike only half shrugged this time, as if he lacked the energy for a shrug involving both shoulders. "Nah. Wouldn't be fair to the poof spilling all his secrets, would it?"

And inspire that kind of loyalty. "You're a strange man, Spike."

"Yeah, been told that." Spike tipped his bottle to his lips, and let it drop onto the coffee table next to the other empty, draping his arm along the back of the couch. "Tell me something I don't know."

"Like what?"

"Your name might be choice, seeing as I'm going to be living on your couch until you toss me out on my ear."

"Lindsey McDonald." He leaned across, offered his hand, because it's what a well mannered young man does when giving his name. "We're going about all this backwards."

"Nah. If we were going about this backwards, we'd have shagged already," Spike said.

"You're confident that's going to happen?"

"Mate, I was fucking sure of it the moment you asked me in for a beer. Now, we gonna keep talking about our mums and Angel or are we going to have some grown-up fun?"

"I dunno. Think we can stop talking about Angel long enough? Pretty small couch." Lindsey ran his fingers over it pensively, wondering if he wanted to add to its collection of stains with this near-stranger, or just call out for pizza and more beer. "Not sure if there's room for three of us on it."

"Nah. Angel's old news tonight. Knew I wasn't getting anything there the moment he grabbed me neck and shoved me out the door. Not much in the way of foreplay, yeah?"

"Guess it depends on your kinks," Lindsey found himself saying, because Spike seemed like the kind of guy you could say that to and still look in the eye.

In fact, Spike was seeming like the kind of guy you could say pretty much anything to and still know where you stood. "Look, I'm the last guy to turn down sex from a gorgeous Englishman who's turned up in my debt, but-"

"Yeah? Don't like where this is headed."

"Call me crazy, but I kinda like you."

"Not what I expected," Spike admitted. "So lemme get this right; you're turning me down." Spike's thumb nail crept between his teeth, and Lindsey caught a flash of metal in his mouth behind it. For a minute, Lindsey found himself having trouble following his own logic.

"Yes, no." Lindsey shook his head. "No, I'm not turning you down. But I think I'm turning you down right now. Kinda wanna get to know you better. Don't have so many friends in this town."

"Yeah. Me neither." Spike glanced at the wall between Lindsey's apartment and Angel's, then looked him over with what Lindsey hoped to god was new respect and not disgust. "All right, then."

"So. You like pizza?"

"Well fuck you too, tosser. It's a free country and I can live where I sodding well want." Spike slammed the door behind him, though not as hard as Angel slammed his door next to them.

Lindsey glanced up from his textbooks and shoved hair out of his face. "He's in a good mood."

"Probably had the stick up his arse replaced with the new jumbo sized version." Spike threw himself onto the couch next to Lindsey. "And I'd still give me right ball to bugger him senseless."

"He never struck me as a bottom."

"Yeah? Well think about how much effort the poof puts into looking straight and then you tell me how much you know about him. Bleeding wanker." There was clinking of glass in the background, and then, Spike was passing Lindsey a beer and slouching on the couch next to him as if he owned the place. Then looked Lindsey up and down as if he owned Lindsey. "So. Would you say you know me?"

"Wouldn't presume to say I know you better than anybody back home, but yeah, I'd say I know you better than I did when you showed up," Lindsey said, knowing Spike well enough to not ask where he was going with the line of questioning. First rule of living with Spike had been to remember that any conversation would get where it was going in Spike's own sweet time.

"Would you say you've got to know me better as a person?" Spike asked, and why was Spike setting down his beer without finishing it?

"Suppose so. Enough to wonder why you're not finishing your beer."

"Would you say," Spike continued, sliding off the couch and prowling slowly to Lindsey, "I've proved that I'm not just here to get into Peaches' pants?"

"Yeah, probably," Lindsey admitted. "Though you coulda warned me you let the last guy spend the night before I walked in on you two."

Spike shrugged, and folded into Lindsey's lap with the grace of a big cat, letting his arms drape heavily over Lindsey's shoulders. "Got him to leave, didn't it?"

"Sorry," Lindsey said, though he doubted that was what Spike was looking for.

Spike waved it away with a smirk that leaned in so close to Lindsey that he could taste beer and cigarettes and something sweet that might've been his last piece of that chocolate cake they'd both been eyeing. "Didn't much want him to stay. He'd done what I needed him to."

"And what was that?"

Spike's forehead bumped the rim of Lindsey's hat, and he caught it, leaning in to speak right up against Lindsey's lips. "Proved I don't need the poof when I want a shag."

"That so?" Lindsey felt slowed down, locked up like he needed something, just one more thing to make this happen.

Spike shifted his hips, a long slow rock that brought groins together in a rasp of denim against denim, and crushed his lips against Lindsey's, invading his mouth on a gasp and dragging that tongue stud along the roof of Lindsey's mouth with a slow bump-bump-bump side to side. He pulled back, breathing hard and watching him with those blue, blue eyes. "That's so," Spike said, and damned if his voice didn't sound like smoke and whisky. He shifted his hips, reaching down to tug Lindsey out further on the couch, nestling his hard bulge right between his legs and starting up a slow rock. "Never ridden a cowboy before. Been looking forward to it."

And that was it, all Lindsey needed for his hands to shoot out, grab Spike's hips and drag him down for that heavy roll and grind. "Doin' just fine so far."

"You be sure to tell me if I get anything wrong, mate."

"You'll be the first to know," Lindsey promised, thinking just then that the only thing he'd be asking was "more faster, please."

"I'm in the proper position for that, am I?" And until Lindsey'd met Spike, he'd swear you couldn't hear a smirk. But he looked at Spike's lips, and sure enough, there it was.

"Oh yeah." Lindsey found his hat snatched off his head and pulled low over wicked blue eyes that shouldn't look half that good glittering beneath a battered brim. "You sure about this?"

The smirk Spike gave him this time was just that side of gentle. "Yeah. Think we can risk a good fuck between friends, you and me. Feel good. Feel better after, yeah?"

And Lindsey found himself smiling back, slow and lazy. "Yeah."

Spike watched his hands, long fingers outlining muscle and bone through Lindsey's t-shirt, then flicked his eyes up to his face, the roll and bump of his hips not stopping for a moment. "Gotta say, m' not much a one for bare backing though. You got stuff?"

That had Lindsey raising a skeptical eyebrow. "You trying to tell me you don't?" It was almost the roommate squabble. Your turn to buy the beer, mate. I bought last week. They'd be buying jumbo boxes of condoms at the Price Club along with the five pound cans of coffee soon.

"I'm tryin' to tell you," Spike said, and leaned in close again until it was all hot English skin pressed up against hot Lindsey skin except for those shirts which were just plain getting in the way at this point. "That I want a good rogering and don't want to go hunting through me stuff looking for the condoms I might or might not have remembered to buy at this point."

"Right," Lindsey said, and threw himself backwards, one arm still around Spike, the other groping into the end table drawer and coming up with a trick or treat assortment of condoms and little single serving plastic bubbles of lube.

"Can't say I had you pegged for the penny bins, mate."

Lindsey shrugged, looking up at Spike, who'd remained perched neatly over his hips through the whole wild ride, then down at the mess of plastic and foil on his chest and belly. "I'm a student. Can't go down the main mall most days without three student organizations offering up free rubbers and shit. Never know when it'll come in handy."

Spike stretched up, eyes growing comically wide as they took in the half full drawer and its contents.

"Been a student a long time," Lindsey said, grasping Spike's hips for a bump-and-roll of his own, just a nice little rub to stoke up the fire.

"Been collecting a long time too, yeah?" Spike passed his hand through the assortment, edges prickling against Lindsey's chest with potential.

"Bout time I put some of it to use, don't you think?"

"Oh yeah," Spike breathed, slithering his way up Lindsey to latch on beneath his jaw all teeth, metal, and tongue, and map nerves that felt wired straight to Lindsey's cock.

"Oh Jesus fuck! Where'd you get that mouth?" And if asked later how it was that Spike'd gotten his pants off while raising one spectacular hickey on Lindsey's neck, he'd never be able to answer without a silly grin and a hell of a lot of guess work.

"Came with the package," Spike said, rising over Lindsey and looking him top to toe, or at least face to groin where Spike's cock stood out purple, pierced, and weeping against the straining denim of Lindsey's fly. "Might've had an upgrade or two, mind," he said with a flicker and click of the metal in his tongue, and a slide of his forefinger over the bead just peeking out of his foreskin. "Hope you don't mind getting that shirt stained. Got a terrible problem with patience, me, and arguing with the poof always makes me horny."

"Yeah?" Lindsey fixed his eyes on the undulation of Spike's hips when he flexed his own, the dip and bob of that hard cock he'd just about kill to taste, and Spike's hand gripping up, down, and giving him his own private metal peep show. He raked his hands back through his hair, belly sucked in with a heart felt groan when Spike popped the buttons on his jeans one by one. "Oh yeah. Bet you got a history of- Oh fuck. Of things." Lindsey said, losing the rest of the thought to his hind-brain which'd started up a caveman chant, all high on pheromones and musk.

Spike chuckled, shoving Lindsey's jeans down rough enough to make him wince, and slid a hand around Lindsey's balls, rolling them warm and soft up against his body till he groaned. "Best not to psycho-analyze the man who's got a grip on your bollocks, mate."

"Lesson noted." Lindsey gave Spike the best bring it on stare he had and stretched his hands up over his head. "We gonna fuck or what?"

"Depends," Spike said, casually rocking himself against Lindsey's root, all hot hard under tender skin. Idly, he pawed through the condoms, discarding them one by one till he came up with one that met his approval, and ripped it open neatly, fingering the rolled latex with a heavy-lidded look into Lindsey's eyes. "You gonna stop being a responsible grad student long enough to shag me?"

"I thought you were a top," though how he was thinking anything the way Spike was slicking him up and rolling just a little too tight latex over him, Lindsey couldn't have answered later.

"Like takin' it too. And that wasn't what I asked." Spike stilled, completely, until Lindsey pried open his eyes to look at him.

"What do you want me to be instead?" Lindsey slid his hands up along Spike's thighs, palms prickling against hair more fine than a man ought to have.

Spike batted Lindsey's hands away, rose in a long undulation that started and ended at the base of his spine, and speared himself in one splitting thrust, hissing pain and pleasure as one with an unholy glitter to his eyes. "Hard. Hot. And in me would be choice."

"Jesus! Spike!" It almost hurt him, the tight, the spasming of hard muscle around his dick that already felt ready to explode. "What the hell do you think you're-unh! Fuck."

"Well you got that right," Spike said, and it'd be conversational if not for the subsonic growl riding his words with every twist and dip of his hips. "Feels good, mate. Like you wouldn't believe, all big an' splitting me. If I'd known you had this monster hidden away, might've ravished you in your sleep."

"God! Welcome any time." Lindsey groaned, breaking off in a laugh. "'Cept finals. No fuckin' with my sleep during finals week."

"Nah. Help you celebrate after. Beer. Wings. Hot sex."

"You're a pal."

"S' what mates are for, eh? Lending a helpin' hand."

"This one?"

"Yeah, that one'll do just fine."

"Oh, Jesus. Do that again!"


And only a heartfelt groan and laughter answered him.

Angel leaned his head on the thin dividing wall between apartments, one palm flat against the plaster as if he could block out the sound that way, every grunt, every groan, and every burst of laughter that happened a hell of a lot more than he remembered laughing with Spike.

And when he couldn't stand it any more, when he left his apartment, he slammed the door behind him hard enough to shake plaster down onto two sets of sweat-slick skin. If he heard more laughter as he stalked away down the hall, he wasn't planning to think about it.







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