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Summary: Dean is a broken man who is plagued not only by memories of the horrific things he's done, but also by lingering dark needs that he can't control. For him, there is no hope, until he meets the vampire Spike under circumstances that could finish them both.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Spike-Centered(Past Donor)CasFR1819157,38473014,40627 Jan 1127 Oct 12Yes

Chapter 7

Dean slid behind the wheel and once Spike was settled, started the car and pulled out of the parking lot, heading for the lake. The bait shop was exactly where Dean thought and he was shocked to discover it was prime fishing season for big mouth bass and that they could be caught in the shallows. The shop owner was an old-timer and Dean got a couple tales out of him before breaching the subject of rentals and used the fact that Spike had never fished to his advantage. Pretty soon the old-timer agreed to loan them some basic rod and reels and equipment to go with it, sold them some 'dollar bills', which were six inch minnows, some worms, and even loaned them a couple lawn chairs. Dean had to suck it up and buy fishing licenses (or the owner wouldn't loan them the gear), and put down a two hundred dollar deposit on the stuff, but the owner told him he'd get all his deposit back if everything was returned in good condition.

Spike looked at Dean like he was crazy for shelling out all that money but Dean just shrugged. "You only live once." He chuckled ruefully as he headed the car for the lake and the spot the old-timer told them to set up at. "Okay, maybe you and I aren't the best examples of that saying."

A short time later, after giving Dean a little grief about everything from baiting the hooks to choosing the rods and selecting the spot they were going to sit at, Spike finally settled back and put on some shades because the sunlight glinting off the water was a bit too much for his eyes. "Didn't take you for the relax by the lake type," he admitted, tugging on his line. "Did you do this much, growing up?" He turned his head toward Dean.

"Pastor Jim, he had a pond that we'd fish in when we stayed there. Pastor Jim was a hunter, too." Dean was silent for a minute. "My growing up was mostly school and training and babysitting Sammy. Dad made us run every day, work out, target practice, do our school work, or homeschooled us when we were moving around too much. We never stayed any place real long, never made friends really. Dad left us with babysitters sometimes, and we got to do things with them sometimes. Sometimes...sometimes we did stufff like this cause it was free and could feed us. Sometimes we passed a softball. Dad loved baseball and football. I always liked frisbee, too. My growing up wasn't like most kids. I had to take care of Sam and when Dad would come home from a hunt, I'd have a whiskey poured for him, help get him cleaned up, stitch him up or bandage him, get him a sandwich, and then I'd get the weapons cleaned. He usually fell asleep pretty fast, sometimes before he ever finished his meal. It was just the way it was."

Spike heard both what Dean said and what he didn't. He didn't sound sorry for himself and the last was almost spoken defiantly, as if he expected to be judged or was used to justifying his childhood. "Grew up without a mother." Seeing it was a sore point, he continued. "It was the opposite for me. No father and a mother who coddled me and turned me into a bleedin'..." he shrugged and leaned over to the ice chest to pull out two beers. "Poetry and prancing about learning all the steps of the dance." It had been another time, but all the lessons in the world hadn't helped him fit into that world.

Dean laughed softly. "We do make a perfect pair. Both with a parent who did what they thought was best for us and got what they needed for themselves. Poetry and prancing, huh? I can't see you doing the ballroom dancing thing or whatever they called those dances. You didn't have one of those powder white wigs and little glasses on a stick, and wear all that make-up did you?"

"The make up came later. I look good in eyeliner. Billy Idol stole my look," he said seriously. "You do know good old Billy? Bloke's lost his looks now, but I haven't," he boasted. "You don't believe me?"

"Which part?" Dean asked seriously, adjusting his rod a little where he'd placed it in the sand, tightening the line and glancing away from the bobber. "And I want to hear some of this poetry. Idol steal those from you for some of his songs?" He smirked at Spike.

"Stole just about everything else. My sneer, my hair, clothes. The poetry wasn't worth stealing, not mine anyways." He could admit it now though it used to crush his very spirit in the days when he wrote it. Then again, his alter ego had been anything but spirited. "Idol didn't steal my voice either, but it's not as bad as my poetry." Maybe it was to get his mind off other things, or maybe Dean triggered the child in him or something, but Spike found himself singing.

Hey little sister what have you done?
Hey little sister who's the only one?
Hey little sister who's your superman?
Hey little sister who's the one you want?
Hey little sister shot gun!

A grin split Dean's face. Spike sang pretty good. A helluva lot better than he could, but that wasn't really hard. "Hey, you aren't calling me a little sister are you?" He tried hard to sound annoyed but he just couldn't. Thinking back to Billy Idol, he could see the similarities between Idol and Spike. Spike did the look better he decided, though he wasn't entirely certain about the whole eyeliner thing. "You're the one who wears the makeup, Dude."

"Those lips, those eyes... some uf us don't need make-up to fit the role," Spike teased right back, feeling a bit giddy at the way Dean was looking at him. For once, it had nothing to do with sex, what he was feeling. It was more about having earned a real smile and of enjoying being the focus of Dean's attention. "Something's biting. No, really," he nodded toward the end of the rod that Dean had stuck into the sand and then looked at the line going from it to the water.

"Just because I'm adorable doesn't make me a girl," Dean retorted. He looked at Spike blankly a moment then his gaze shot to the pole and the bobber that was beginning to dip. Dean practically dove for the pole and grabbed it just as the bobber disappeared under the water. "Holy shit!" he exclaimed as he wrestled with reeling in the fish. He had put up major fights with relatively small fish but this wasn't like anything he had dealt with before. He had to let out line, then start to reel it in, then let it back out, wearing the fish out and getting it slowly closer to shore. After a lot of curses and coaxing, he finally landed one big ass large mouth bass. He looked up at Spike proudly and gave a shout of triumph. "Hot damn! That was cool as hell!"

Spike had been offering useless advice, or so it seemed since Dean did the exact opposite of everything he'd suggested and still caught the fish. His excitement was catching and Spike found himself laughing and congratulating him, but then claiming the credit for having lured the fish in with his song. "You have heard of sirens?" he asked, ignoring the mock scathing look Dean gave him as he got the fish off the hook. "It's true. I'm part vampire and part siren. Could drive you mad with my song." If any one one of them was going to drive the other mad, Spike was very well aware it was Dean who'd drive him mad. He took a step back and dropped back down onto his chair, slowly releasing his breath as if to savor one more time Dean's fresh clean smell.

Rolling his eyes, Dean snorted at Spike's outrageous claim. To hell with hamburgers. Fresh grilled bass sounded better. He wasn't about to put the fish on a stringer and throw it back in the water, afraid the monster of a fish would escape and he had worked too hard for it. "You're the one who's mad if you think I'm that gullible. I'm gonna clean this bad boy now." Looking past Spike, he grinned. "Better grab your pole, Dude. Looks like you're getting a bite, too."

"Bollocks." Even though Spike didn't believe him, he found himself turning and then grabbing the pole, muttering curses as he started to pull the rod back and was yelled at and told to be more gentle and smooth. Scowling, he started to reel the fish in, his scowl deepening at the laughter from Dean. "That's called cheating, trying to break my concentration. My fish is twice the size of yours." Of course, he couldn't help it if his voice implied he was talking about more than just fish.

"Bollocks," Dean repeated back to him. "I've seen your fish and it's got nothing on mine." Although Dean had already cut the head off his fish, he figured he'd better go help Spike or the line was going to break, or the pole, or Spike would rip the hook clean out of the fish's mouth.

"Easy there," he told Spike as he approached him and gave him directions on how to land the fish. It looked to him like Spike was enjoying the challenge even if he was cursing half the time. Spike bitched and offered Dean the pole which Dean refused with an "I'd rather watch you play with your own fish."

"Right, you need me to show you how it's done. That or you want to see me holding something wet and slippery," Spike smirked, tugging on the rod again until he remembered to keep reeling. "Move back, unless you want my fish in your face," he warned, pulling on the rod and swiveling to the side, more than ready to compare the size of his fish to Dean's until he saw it was an itty bitty thing. "Bloody hell, I must have lost its mother," he grumbled, adding, "Don't you have a fish to clean?"

"Depends which fish you're talking about," Dean said with a grin. When he saw the small fish Spike pulled out he began laughing so hard his side began to hurt. "We need to keep that and mount it for you."

"I'll give you something to mount." Glaring and waving Dean toward the fish he'd been cleaning, Spike reached for the fish flopping at the end of his line. "Day is young, hunter. I could still pull one in twice your size." He made a face as he pulled the fish off the hook and threw it back into the water. The instant he turned to get a worm for the hook, his eyes met Dean's. The mirth in the other man's eyes was simply too much. At first a low chuckle worked its way out of Spike, then he was laughing along with Dean. "Clean the bloody fish," he managed.

Dean kept chuckling as he returned to his fish and began cleaning it and scaling it. "You'd do better with a minnow than that tiny worm you have," Dean teased. Once Dean finished cleaning the fish, he rinsed his hands in the lake then went to the Impala and pulled out a trash bag. After wiping his hands clean, he put some ice in the trash bag and dropped the cleaned fish down inside it and put it in the ice chest. He caught a minnow out of the bucket and put it on his hook and tossed the line back in the water, settling down into his chair.

"You know, these past couple days...they've been the best days I've had in a really long time." Dean looked over at Spike and smiled. "And it's all your fault. I'm getting spoiled."

The flip remark about hoping so, since prior to meeting him, Dean had spent time in vampire hell and before that, in a hell dimension, died on Spike's tongue when he realized Dean meant it. "Same. You're the best clean... or mostly clean fun I've had in a long time. It'll be hard, letting go of this," he said, then looked out at the water and cast his line, a wave of premature sadness hitting him at the thought that they'd part ways. If he beat this blood craving, maybe he'd have to hide how attached he was getting to Dean.

Letting go of it...Dean didn't really like that idea. Of course, reality would have to be dealt with eventually. Demons and angels and the Apocalypse and all that crap. He didn't really want to drag Spike into it all. But he also didn't want to let Spike go. It was selfish and he knew it but he had actually been happy these past few days. The big dark hole inside him didn't seem to be as big or as dark. He didn't know if it was friendship, kinship, the fucking hot sex, or just the 'vacation' he was taking from everything. Looking over at Spike and seeing the hint of sadness in his features, he said softly, "We don't have to. Not for awhile, at least."

Not for a while. That meant days. At most a week, at least from what Spike had heard of the conversation between the brothers and what he could read between the lines. It wasn't long enough, nowhere near long enough to get to know Dean like he wanted. Feeling like he was choking, he couldn't talk when he turned, but without thought, he took a step toward Dean and swooped in, melding his mouth to the hunter's, his lips clinging to Dean's the way he wanted to cling to him, to push off that moment they both knew was coming. Though he didn't touch Dean with his hands and could only kiss him lightly, the air of desperation in his movements and the sound of his soft, barely there sob, was unmisakeable.

Dean was startled to have Spike, who had been sitting in his lawn chair one moment, suddenly standing over him and kissing him, and he heard Spike's sound of loss. Slowly Dean stood up but never let his lips leave Spike's. He pulled Spike into a tight embrace and deepened their kiss until he finally had to break off to take a breath. He ran his hand along the back of Spike's head, over his bleach-blond hair. "Big bad-ass vampire falls in love with the empty shell of a hunter. A vampire that's more alive than his living counterpart. The world loves irony."

Swallowing hard, he held Spike tightly. "I'm not ready to say I love you. That doesn't mean I won't be at some point. That doesn't mean I will, either. I'm still pretty fucked in the head, pretty damned...scared. But I care about you. I'm just not sure how yet. I tried to figure it out last night. That's part of why I went off to think and look at the stars." Pulling back he placed his hands on either side of Spike's face. "I don't want to use you. Sex with you is fucking awesome, but I want to make sure when we're doing it, that we're on the same page, that I'm there with you, y'know? I don't want to be there because I need to be, but because I want to be. Like the other night. That was want." He caressed the side of Spike's face. "How the fuck do you get me all emo and chick-flick?" he asked, shaking his head just before he began to kiss Spike again.

Spike didn't want to feel so tangled up on the inside. He didn't want to be used, but he knew if this man wanted to use him, if he needed to use him, in the end he would let him, let him do whatever he wanted, take whatever he needed. He wanted to deny being in love, to tell Dean that he was flattering himself if he believed that, to protect his own heart, to prevent himself from being love's bitch one more time. Yet he couldn't. The truth was the truth, whether he asked for it or wanted it or not.

What he couldn't answer in words, he answered with his kisses. Closing one arm around Dean, he leaned closer and made love to his mouth, exploring every inch of it, licking and stroking and mapping it out as if he was committing it to memory, the way Dean felt and tasted. He wanted this to last, to go on forever, but thoughts of Dean's taste were soon eclipsed by thoughts of the taste of Dean's blood, the sound of it rushing through his veins, singing to him, the sound of his heart pumping blood through his system. The craving for blood slammed into him with unexpected force. Dropping the rod, he suddenly gripped Dean with both hands, his mouth moving to the side of his throat, his teeth pressing over his sensitive flesh, a snarl breaking from him as he fought against the instinct, the need to turn Dean into his prey, to force him to give up what he needed.

Dean felt the need in the kiss, felt Spike's desperation at the thought of being left behind. It made his heart ache that he didn't have answers for the man. Then Spike changed. His grip turned bruising and those searing lips shifted to his neck. He felt Spike's teeth against the wound that was almost healed. If that didn't set his nerves on edge the snarl clinched it. "Spike, calm down. You don't need the blood. You don't. Let me go," he tried to soothe as he shifted his footing, ready to try to break the vampire's hold.

Spike's world narrowed down to that one need, but somehow, some way, he heard Dean's voice as if it was coming to him from a distance. He shoved Dean hard, away from him and took a few steps back. Staring wildly at Dean, he felt his fangs elongate and snarled again. "Run."

Outrun a vampire. Yeah. Right. And lose sight of Spike? Maybe have Spike take out some innocent? One thing Dean knew was that Spike wanted him, or he hoped Spike did. Wanted him bad enough to hang around and hopefully, calm down. It was a risk. A big ass risk, but it was the best option he could come up with at the moment.

As Dean ran, he stripped off his couple of spare shirts, leaving just one on as he dove into the lake. Spike couldn't swim and the bank fell away to depth quickly. He hoped the lessons he'd given Spike hadn't been good enough that Spike could swim out to him or he was fucked. He swam far enough out that he didn't think Spike could make the jump to reach him. He turned and looked back to the bank and began treading water.

Wrong direction. Spike had wanted Dean to drive away, to leave him alone, to allow him a chance to fight off the need. Instead, Dean was in the water, head bobbing up and down, staring at him, making him want... need. He stalked his way to the edge of the water, paralleling Dean's position, eyes laser focused on him. His hands clenched and unclenched at his sides and his entire body was tense, flooded by blood lust held back only by a thin string of control and the fact that there was water between them. Love. Hate. Lust. Want. All of it was directed at the man in the water and it was tearing Spike up on the inside.

Dean watched Spike pace, knowing, feeling, that Spike was watching him like some sort of feral beast. Success at one level. Spike wasn't going hunting for an innocent. He prayed some innocent or good samaritan didn't come wandering by because he wasn't sure he could swim to shore fast enough to save them from Spike. How long could he tread water? His dad had made him tread water for hours in full gear and boots just like in the military, so he wasn't terribly concerned, but his boots were heavy and hard to swim in. He would have greater speed and mobility without them. If Spike couldn't get himself under control, Dean didn't really like his options. There were boaters and he could swim out, get to one, and hopefully get to shore without Spike tracking him. Then he just had to get some deadman's blood and a throwing knife. Yeah. Piece of cake. He took a breath and let himself go underwater, untieing his boots and pulling them off, his socks coming off right along with them. He resurfaced and stared back toward shore, toward the vampire.

"Spike, you gotta calm down. Take deep breaths or whatever the hell vamps do. Maybe we can ease you off this blood lust. You want me? You got me. But not so long as you're ready to bite me, drain me, turn me, whatever. Get a hold of yourself. Come back to me Spike. Please. Come back to me. Be the man, not the vampire."

A variety of expressions crossed Spike's features as he tried to concentrate on Dean's words, tried to use them to ground him. He heard a car roar by behind him, turned his head and looked as it parked some distance away and people got out and went to the trunk. Blood. Human blood pulsing into his mouth. He could have that, all he had to do was walk away. Who cared if it was the hunter's blood he really craved above all else. A substitute would hold him just as well. He licked his lips and slowly turned back, a haunted look entering his eyes. He shouldn't care what Dean would think of him. He was a bloody vampire, of course he would feed on blood.

Dean practically groaned. God dammit! If Spike went after them, he wouldn't have a choice. He'd have to kill Spike and he didn't want that. He desperately didn't want that. He wanted stay with him. His eyes widened just a little at that realization. He wasn't ready to give Spike up. Not now, maybe not ever. Who knew what would happened when he ended his vacation from the world. It might not work out between them, but right now, in this instant, he didn't want to lose this man who had become so very important to him.

"Spike, don't think about them. Stay with me. You gotta stay with me. Don't leave me. Don't make me go on alone. You saved me. Let me save you. But you gotta stay here, with me." Dean swam a few strokes closer to shore. He was still well out of Spike's reach, but he hoped moving a little closer would keep Spike there rather than going after the innocents in the distance.

"Liar. I know what you're doing... I know," Spike snarled at the man he wanted beyond words. The man he wanted to reject so he could get what he needed. All he had to do was ignore him and listen to all the other voices screaming inside his head, telling him there was fresh sweet blood for the taking, that he could stop, that he didn't have to drain them, that maybe they'd live, that it didn't matter. He took a step back, his head cocking to one side as Dean moved even closer to him. His gaze dropped to Dean's throat, but he managed to drag it back up to his eyes. Eyes that demanded something from him, something that hurt, something he couldn't give.

Indecision warred inside him. "Please. Please," Spike whimpered, taking another step back. "Please." He didn't need permission. Fucking hell, he should just take.

"I'm not lying Spike! I was lying to myself," Dean admitted reluctantly. "When I go back to my brother, ready to face the damned apocalypse again, I...I want you to come with me. But you gotta beat this dammit. We'll get you blood. From the blood bank, from some willing donors, from me. Something. But you have to control yourself. You've gone all these years keeping it under control. Remember that? You don't want to kill again, do you? You don't want to disappoint me, or the Slayer. She has faith in you. I have faith in you. Please, Spike. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in me to get you through this."

He'd say anything, wouldn't he? Would he? Spike's mind was a hot mess of confusion but his eyes clung to Dean's, saw a promise within them. He'd seen the promise in the Slayer's eyes, but it hadn't been real either. Buffy's face was superimposed over Dean's. He blinked, clearing his vision. Dean was still there, telling him, begging him, wanting him to do things his way. Why should he? Why should he impress a hunter who would abandon him in the end, just as everyone else he ever loved had? Why?

Pain seared his insides as he struggled to find a reason, any reason. Minutes slipped by. He didn't know how much time passed, but eventually the only answer that came to him was that promise in those jade eyes. Truth or lies, it was there and it tugged at him harder than the blood lust, fought for him harder than the blood lust. Drawing a sudden deep breath, Spike dropped down onto the sand, drew his knees into his chest and closed his arms around them, rocking a little as he stared at Dean, the yearning in his own eyes dying down a little at a time until calmness eventually enveloped him.

Dean watched, treading water, giving encouraging words, praying Spike could beat this. The water was colder than he had expected and he knew he was going to have to get out soon or risk hypothermia. When he saw Spike finally sink down on the bank, Dean waited longer, still talking, still soothing. Finally he began to swim slowly to shore, watching Spike closely, but with hope in his eyes that Spike had gotten it under control. He paused about twenty feet out, knowing Spike could easily leap that far if he wanted. "You going to be okay if I come out? You feeling better? Cause I am freezing my ass off out here."

It took a moment for Spike to understand. He gave a sharp nod and watched until Dean started to walk out of the water. Pulling his gaze away, he looked down at the sand, running his fingers over it, concentrating on the way the warm grains felt sifting through his fingers. The closer Dean got, the more shame he felt, at losing control, at what the hunter had seen, of what he must be thinking of him.

He got up suddenly, avoiding Dean's gaze and heading for the chairs. Assuming they were done, that he'd ruined the day, he started to pack up, reining his emotions in as tightly as he could.

"You did good," Dean told him. "I know it's gotta be hard, but you did it, you got through it. Hopefully, it'll get easier." Dean wasn't sure if he should approach Spike or not, unsure if him getting closer would make it harder on the vampire and bring the bloodlust back on. Seeing Spike starting to pick up he told him, "We can stay if you want. It's still a nice day. And you did say you were gonna catch a bigger fish than me." Dean paused and stared at Spike even though Spike wouldn't look at him. "I meant what I said," he added softly. "I-I'm gonna change into some dry clothes. If you wanna stay, get our poles set back up. If you wanna go back to the motel, we can do that too. There's always the carnival or we can find a park or a lookout or something to enjoy the sunshine."

"You don't have to pretend you can do that, enjoy anything after... after... bloody hell." Spike tossed his beer bottle into the public trashcan a short ways away. "It's not a curse to have your soul taken away. The curse is to have one and be a vampire. Just figured that out," he said, swearing. "Get your clothes on so I'm not responsible for freezing you to death. Then you can drive me to your ... your vegetarian vampire friends." He didn't want to go, wasn't even sure he'd stay with them. But he couldn't burden Dean like this, and he couldn't even look at the man for fear of what he'd find in his eyes, despite all the reassurances.

Dean picked up his couple shirts he pulled off and walked to the car. "Spike, I've been to Hell and back, and in that vampire hell-house. You think a twenty or thirty minute freak-out on your part is gonna make me throw in the towel? Get your head out of your ass. I'm sure getting off human blood the first time wasn't easy," he said as he pulled off his soaking wet shirt and pulled a towel out of the trunk, drying his hair and his chest. "You can't tell me you didn't about fall off the wagon more than a couple times."

After pulling on a dry shirt he looked around. No one could see him where he was standing so he quickly dropped his pants, barely dried himself, and slipped into a fresh pair of underwear and jeans. Since his boots were on the bottom of the lake bed, he slipped into some socks and his running shoes. Dean walked over to Spike's side and forced Spike to turn and face him. He lifted Spike's bowed head with a couple fingers under his chin. "Look at me. It's okay, what happened. Let's give this a few more days. If you haven't made any progress by the end of the week, we'll decide what to do then."

After pulling Spike into an embrace, he held him for a moment, then released him. Spike had just gotten himself under control and Dean didn't want to tease him with his throat so close to Spike's mouth. He pressed a kiss to Spike's temple. "It's gonna be okay."

"Maybe," Spike agreed thickly, glad to be held even if it took effort on his part to block out Dean's scent. "I want to fish. I want to catch a big one," he nodded, swallowing and reluctantly pulling out of Dean's embrace. "Also, I want you to pretend I'm a plate of funnel cake, and you can't have me," he said, bending over to pick up his rod. "Misery loves company, yeah?" Turning, he managed to flash a grin.

Dean smacked him hard on the ass. "I get bitchy when I don't get my dessert. So I'll cut you some slack if you get bitchy, too, Mr. Funnel Cake. Let's fish."

Spike resisted the urge to tackle him and kiss the breath out of him. "That makes you Mr. Black Pudding. Let's fish." He pulled his rod back and cast his line, vowing to maintain control, and to be his charming self, even if it killed him.

"Black Pudding?" Dean asked. "Nevermind. Don't wanna know," Dean said as he cast his line and settled back into the lawn chair, lifting his face up toward the sun, exhaling a relieved, contented sigh.

* * *

The rest of the day had passed without incident. At first, it had been a little awkward between them, and the jokes a bit forced, but later they'd fallen into their normal pattern. There was no denying the fact that they had fun in each other's company, whether they were being wild or sitting around. When they'd gotten back, Dean had half forced and half cajoled him into drinking more cow's blood. Spike had tried, he really had, but he hadn't been able to drink more than a quarter cup.

Then he'd slept for a few hours, having been tired out by being in the sun. He might be able to walk in daylight, but it did drain him of energy. That didn't mean he'd slept well. He'd been plagued by dreams and awakened several times, sure that Dean had left him, or that he'd drained Dean of blood, or maybe worse, that he'd killed the hunter's brother.

Now it was early evening and he was alone, standing on the small balcony, smoking and looking out into the forest behind the motel. He guessed he'd awakened before Dean thought he would, because he knew Dean was determined to watch him every moment that he was awake. Hearing the door, he turned and through the sliding glass door, he saw Dean walk in with some packages and a duffel bag in hand. "I haven't flown the coop, I'm right here," he announced, noticing the way Dean's eyes had gone first to the bed, then to the only other room, the bathroom.

Dean heard Spike's voice and his gaze went to the back door. With the light on inside, it was hard to see out on the balcony. He set the packages on the bed and walked over to the sliding door. "I didn't figure you had. Took me longer to get back than I counted on, though. I got you some presents." Dean grinned at Spike and waved him in. "C'mon finish your smoke and get in here." His eyes were as bright as a kid's on Christmas morning.

"Presents for me?" It wasn't what the vampire expected. Immediately putting the cigarette out in the ash tray and blowing out a last puff, he walked inside and searched Dean's face. "It's not something that can blow up on me, is it? You've got that look on your face," he added with mock suspicion, doing his best not to look too eager to see what the hunter had brought him.

"Yeah, I got you one of those cigars that'll blow up when you've smoked about half of it. Oh, and a can of peanuts that when you open it, a snake jumps out at you." Dean frowned. "Hey! You never told me I had to tell the truth around you! That'll ruin all my cool surpises."

Dean laughed at the look on Spike's face and tossed him the first package wrapped in newspaper. He didn't see the sense of buying decorative paper that someone was just going to rip off, wad up and throw away anyhow when he could find a newspaper for free. "Open this first."

Spike squeezed it and shook it but had no clue what was inside. "Didn't take you for a 'save the planet' sort," he commented as he tore the thick layers of newspaper open and found the watch. Surprised, he took a step back, his eyes moving from the watch, to Dean's face, and back to the watch which he pulled completely free. It had a black leather strap and was silver. What was interesting was the subtle etching on the face of the watch, behind the glass. "The sun and the moon..." It felt like something kicked him in the stomach, only in a good way, if there was one. Feeling the weight of Dean's gaze, Spike cleared his throat. "I've never received anything, any present better than this one. I'd kiss you if it weren't for... Thank you. I don't know why you did this, and I don't deserve it, but thank you," he said, his voice thick with emotion as he started to put it onto his wrist.

Spike's response was better than he had even hoped. Spike hadn't gotten a watch yet since hell-house and when Dean had seen it just seemed to him Spike might like it. He didn't really expect Spike to get all choked up over it though. "It screamed your name when I saw it. Made quite a ruckus in the store, this watch screaming 'buy me for Spike!' so you know, to shut it up, I had to. And it's waterproof down to 75 meters," Dean said with a solemn nod. "Since we seem to end up around water so much and all. And whattaya mean you don't deserve it? Why not? When we get this whole blood lust thing handled, you can thank me good and proper," he added giving Spike's body a once over a quirk of his eyebrow. He waited for Spike to finish putting on the watch then handed him another package. "This is next."

"I'll thank you, I'll be thanking you all night, maybe for a full week of nights and days," he muttered under his breath, wishing the unlikely. "It's not even my birthday, hunter," he said, taking the second package. This time he tore into it and seeing a terrible self taken picture of Dean on the face of the cell phone, he laughed. "Is this so you won't lose track of me?" he asked, pressing some of the buttons and working the functions. "In case... I mean for when you meet up with your people?" No, he wasn't going to think about that. "I'd like that, to hear your voice now and again." Feeling a bit self conscious, he gruffly demanded Dean's phone number to input.

It wasn't for when Spike and he seperated, it was for now, if Spike got all bloodlusty and left, Dean had turned on the app which would track Spike's location. He really hoped Spike didn't realize he could do that with the phone. "Dude, I already put my number in there. Speed dial one, of course. And your number is in mine. You can surf the internet and everything with it. I upgraded my phone too." Pulling out his phone he showed he had an identical one to Spike's. Before Spike had a chance to react, he took a picture of him and showed it to Spike, laughing. "It's as bad as mine. Okay, one more present for you. I dunno if you'll like this, but I thought maybe you would."

"Hold on, let me get a look," he said, grabbing at Dean's phone and looking at the picture. "It's not that bad. I haven't looked better in a picture in, well, forever," he mused, and almost reluctantly gave the phone back. "And what have we here?"

Meeting Dean's gaze, Spike took the last gift which was in a significantly smaller package. The instant he opened it, he dropped the silver cross to the ground, cursing as he pulled his hand away and expected the searing pain that came from touching a cross. There was nothing. No pain. Only silence between them.

Dean leaned over and picked it up. Taking Spike's hand he laid it in his palm and folded his fingers around it. "You don't have to be afraid of it any more. If you don't like it, the chain'll look good on you and you can toss the cross. I just thought...I dunno, that you might like the reminder."

Sure he had in part gotten the other presents to help distract Spike from the fact he had gotten him the phone and the reason for it, and really he was just going to get Spike a chain, but at the second hand store where he picked up his 'new' boots, he had seen both the watch and this necklace. If Spike was religious, or had been, it would be good for Spike. If he he hadn't been or wasn't, it still held signifgance that probably only he and Spike would really understand.

Feeling foolish at the automatic reaction, Spike nodded. "I like it. It's a good reminder, I'll wear it," he said. "It'll help with the disguise the next time I walk into a church. Alter boys and nuns have the best blood." Spike lightly smacked the back of the hand that held the cross against Dean's stomach. "Don't get your knickers into a twist, it was a joke. And thank you, for all this." His gaze dropped down to the chain and he pulled it over his hand, letting it drop down onto his chest.

After giving Spike a mock glare, he beamed. "You're welcome. Glad you like them. I got you something else, too." He turned to the duffel and pulled out paper bags. Opening them up he began to sit labeled coffee cups on the night stand between the beds. "I went around and got some different types of blood. I didn't know if maybe something would taste better. I got deer, a different type of cow, bull, pig, chicken, turkey, and I even got a small sample of cat and dog blood from the vet. Maybe one of them will work for you," Dean said hopefully.

Spike's stomach turned. "Not now," he said sharply. "Put it away. Please," letting out a sigh, he walked to the sliding glass doors an stood there, breathing in the fresh air. "Did you eat? Your dinner?" he wanted to change the topic before it ruined his mood. Looking down, he played with the phone, learning its features and making sure to ignore the cups Dean had set out, not that he could avoid the scent of blood coming from them.

"Okay." Dean hid his disappointment. If none of it smelled good, what the hell were they going to do? Apparently the type of vamp Spike had been before didn't have a lick of trouble with drinking blood that wasn't human. Well, maybe they did, but not like the type of vamp Spike was now. He would make Spike at least try the different types. He was going to have to call Lenore and see what she had to say, if Lenore would talk to him, if her number hadn't changed. He'd snaked it out of Sam's phone a long time ago and put it in his own. It never hurt to have a supernatural beast--person--owe you one.

He went to Spike's ice chest with the cow's blood still in it and nestled the cups down inside, putting a little more ice in the cooler, then firmly replaced the blood. He walked back over to Spike and pulled the door wide to let in the fresh air. "Yeah, I ate. Had pizza with extra garlic," he teased. "If you want, you can have a cigarette in the room, if it'll help. I know vamps have really good noses and you looked kinda pale, er, paler, when I pulled out the cups. Do what you have to." Touching the cross on Spike's chest, he asked quietly, "Guess it's a bad idea to ask if I can kiss you, huh?"

That cut through the nausea like nothing else could. Spike's gaze darted to Dean's as he considered the question, knowing he wanted it too. He closed his hand around Dean's wrist and pulled his hand up to his mouth. Eyes closed, he kissed his palm, using his lips to pinch his flesh as he practically made love to the small area. Gently, he bit the skin between Dean's thumb and index finger, listening to the rush of the hunter's blood, swallowing as he moved his mouth down over the pulse point of his wrist. His lips throbbed, ached with need, but it wasn't blood lust.

Dean had to bite back his moan, and his cock began springing to attention. How did Spike set him on fire like this? He wanted those lips on his own, and other more interesting places. It was just the good old Winchester curse he reminded himself. Find something important to you only to have it taken away, unreachable and untouchable.

Putting his own palm in the middle of Dean's chest, Spike pushed him up against the wall and leaned in, hovering right over the hunter's mouth. "I like a bad idea every now and again," he whispered, brushing his lips over Dean's. "Go on then. Kiss me. And if you say that's a city in Florida, I will have your arse on a platter."

"It's pronounced ke-seem-y," Dean said almost automatically and then groaned. "Oh, God, I'm turning into my brother."

Knowing this was probably a bad idea but unable to stop himself, he ran his hands along Spike's sides as he leaned forward the small distance he needed to in order to brush his lips over Spike's. He licked along the seam of Spike's lips, pushing the tip of his tongue in just barely past Spike's lips. When Spike's tongue met his, he immediately sucked it into his mouth, sucking on it and stroking it with his tongue as he pressed his lips more firmly against the vampire's.

It was instantaneous, the heat that flared between them. Spike kept one hand on the hunter's chest, the other flat against the wall next to his shoulder, ready to push away at the first hint that he was burning with a need for something other than this man's body and soul. Moaning, he moved his mouth back and forth, slanting it across Dean's first one way then the other. His tongue danced and tangled with Dean's, playing with him, provoking him, but carefully.

Spike's hand holding him firmly against the wall frustrated Dean. He had no leverage to push away from the wall to get closer to the man who made his blood burn with desire. He didn't suppose leverage would matter though, not with Spike's vampiric strength. If he couldn't press his body against Spike's he could press his lips. Putting one hand behind Spike's head, cupping the back of it, his kissing of Spike grew in aggresiveness. His other free hand drifted down from Spike's side to toy with the waistband on Spike's pants, running his fingers between skin and denim.

He should have known Dean would find a way to raise the stakes, to take this to a higher level. His aggressive movements registered loudly, waking his predators instincts. As their tongues warred, Spike's mind was plagued with images of tearing Dean's clothes off his body and taking him against the wall, or driving him to the verge, seeing how far he could drive this man and what would happen when he then allowed him to have his way. He'd make a great vampire, of that Spike was sure.

His body thrummed with need, his cock surged and pressed painfully against his zipper as Dean teased and touched him, his fingers dipping below the waistband of his jeans and threatening to open them up. Fuck. He tore his mouth away and looked wildly into Dean's eyes. "We have to stop."

Dean groaned when he heard Spike's words. Dammit! He wanted Spike. He wanted to make love to him, to have Spike make love to him, it didn't fucking matter. The thought of running his hands over bare skin and of kissing him more and more deeply, it was agony to know he couldn't. And probably even worse for Spike.

Pulling his hands away he held them up as if surrending. "Sorry. Guess I wanted more than a kiss," Dean said, looking into Spike's blue eyes with desire. He was silent a moment, watching the war inside the vampire in front of him. This was his fault. He needed to help Spike calm down. "Let's turn on the TV, have a beer, and I'll behave while you deal know. That be good?" he asked, telling his cock to just calm the fuck back down, that it wasn't going to get to come out and play.

"Shshsh," he stroked Dean's face. "It's not blood lust. I just want to be sure I don't... I had a nightmare and this is how it started." He knew Dean would understand that only too well. "Telly will be a poor substitute for what I want. Want you, want you so bad hunter," he whispered huskily, his lips burning for another kiss.

"Yeah," Dean said slowly. "I get it. If you do go bloodlusty, like at the lake, we're both fucked and not in a good way." He placed his hand alongside Spike's face. "Let's prepare, like the Boy Scouts or something. I'll get out a knife, dip it in deadman's blood, put it on the nightstand." He grinned then. "And the lube too. If you start to go bloodnuts, then you just have to hold back long enough I can cut you with the knife. Think you can do that? You trust me enough to be willing to do that?" He ran his thumb over Spike's lips. "Cause I really don't want to stop here."

"I trust you." Leaning in, he stole a kiss and pulled back. "It's me I don't... can't trust. You might never get a chance at the knife." He stepped back before he could change his mind and straightened his clothes. "You're first on my list. As soon as this thing is sorted out, you're the first thing I'm going to do." He glanced up. "No pun intended, yeah?"

Dean welcomed the kiss, but was disappointed it was so short. "You're saying this to the guy who raped you and carved you up all while he was pretty much still asleep. I get it. And I damned well better be first, and the only one on your list. Got it vamp?" he said, poking Spike in the shoulder. "So what do you want to do? Stay in? Go out? Try not to puke as you sample some of the blood I brought back? They've got some on demand movies we could check out or see if there's anything halfway decent on." He looked at Spike, giving Spike the options. Spike would know best what he felt safe doing and what he didn't. "Carnival is still going on, too."

When the hunger had hit him last night, it hadn't helped to have so many people packed together with the sound of their blood rushing around and tempting him. "Stay in and watch some telly. Sample your... beer," he said walking across the room to Dean's cooler and grabbing a couple of bottles from it. "I'd like to hear about how it is you ended up in Hell, if you're up to talking about it."

He said it casually, like the answer didn't matter, and put the beers down on the nightstand. Grabbing the remote, he started to scroll through.

Dean popped the cap on the beer and took a long swig of it. "Told you the last bargain I made sucked," he finally said. He turned his head sharply when he recognized one of the voices on TV and focused on it. He hadn't seen this episode of Dr. Sexy. He almost told Spike to stop, but then felt kind of embarassed by it. Just like he didn't like to admit he watched Oprah sometimes and the soap, Passions, he didn't want Spike to know he enjoyed this show either. None of them really fit his bad-ass image that he liked to maintain.

Flipping the channels all the way around, Spike found himself back on Dr. Sexy and in a scene where the doctor was in a steamy kiss that very much reminded him of how he'd pushed Dean up against the wall. "I think they're stealing our soundtrack," he said, his gaze glued to the screen.

Dean stared at the screen and blurted out, "What the hell's he doing with Melinda? Oh, Dude, so wrong, she's such a skank!"

"Nothing wrong with skanks, they obviously know how to kiss. That other one he's interested in, what's her name.... she only wants him because he's a doctor. Have you seen how she's always eying the lab tech. They're doing it in the lab, I'm sure of it. Right over all the patient files and... bloody hell," he cursed when there was a commercial interruption. Finding Dean's eyes on him, he shrugged. "I watch when nothing else is on."

"Cindy," Dean supplied for Spike. "Well, since nothing else seems to be on, you might as well leave it there, since you watch it," Dean said, trying to sound like he was making a sacrifice. He got up and went over to his duffel and pulled out a dagger, whet stone, honing oil and a cloth. He might as well do something productive during the commercials at any rate. And since Spike wanted to know all about the crossroad's demon and Hell. He'd given him a brief run down previously, but he had a feeling Spike wanted more than the thirty second abridged version.

"Hmm. Right, since I watch it." Spike made no further comment since he did want to watch and he didn't want to tempt Dean to change his mind and demand another channel. Settling more comfortably against the pillows at his back, he lifted the the beer bottle and took a drink. "This angel of yours, does she have wings?"

"He. Castiel. And yeah and no. He looks like an accountant or something, suit, tie, trenchcoat. In the lightning, you can see his shadow wings. I've seen 'em once or twice. Big mothers. I've waved my hand over his back when he wasn't looking and I couldn't feel a damned thing, but he asked what I was doing so maybe he could feel it. Dunno. He's there, then he's gone, so it's not like you see him spread his wings and take flight. Bastards move fast when they want to." Dean took another drink of his beer, settling back against the headboard, then put some honing oil on his whet stone and began dragging the blade in slow, even, steady strokes across the stone.

"How do you know he's an angel? I could say I'm an angel." He pondered that for a moment, then looked back at Dean. The blade in his hand glinted and drew his attention for a fraction of a second. "And I don't look much like an accountant."

"Believe me, he's an angel. It's his handprint on my shoulder." Intermittently between dialog during the show, Dean told Spike everything that happened. He started with the blasted out windows at the store when he first got out of his coffin, the burned out eyes of Pamela the pyschic, all the runes and sigils when they summoned Cas, the fingers to Bobby's forehead that made Bobby drop like a rock, and ended with the demon blade in Castiel's shoulder that the man shrugged off.

Spike had wondered about the scar that looked just like a hand print and now that he knew, he didn't really like the idea that it was an actual hand print, this Castiel character's mark on Dean. It was a good thing Dean distracted him with other things, his history told in the commercials, and sometimes over the show when Spike lowered the volume. Dean talked a little more about Sam cavorting with a demon. Even though he toned it down a bit, most likely because Dean himself was 'cavorting' with a vampire, Spike could see how much it bothered the hunter and that this could create a big rift between brothers who'd been taught to protect each other over everything else.

"You might be right about Ruby." He wasn't going to argue what he didn't know. "But sometimes there is a point in our lives where we need something that's not good for us. Like a phase, a rite of passage. And then we wake up, and it's another day and that phase is over, together with the reason we needed it in the first place." He raised his hand when Dean would have argued. "What is the worst thing that could happen to you? Losing Sam? You can't tell me it wouldn't send you spiraling, that you wouldn't ally yourself with anyone or anything that could bring him back, or avenge him. He was in that boat. Cut him some slack, even if he is an arsehole," he added, knowing Dean's first instinct would be to protect his brother.

"I didn't eat for I dunno, a couple days, while Sam was lying on the bed, gray and breathless," Dean said softly. "I talked to him, I stared at him, knowing I'd failed him, failed my dad. I wasn't fast enough. I saw the lethal blow but I was too far away. It was my voice calling out for him that distracted him, that let that bastard get the drop on him. I held him and told him it would be okay, all the while feeling his blood drain between my fingers, feeling the life leave him." Dean's voice grew hard and brittle. "I wouldn't fail him. I couldn't. It was my job to protect him, to save him. That's when I went to the crossroads and made the deal that brought Sammy back from the dead and gave me one year to live before going to Hell for all eternity." Dean's strokes of the knife across the stone grew harder, faster.

"Ruby has her own agenda, Spike, and she's taking Sam down the primrose path straight to Hell. Sam's lost sight of good or evil, all he knows is vengeance and hate and taking down that demon-bitch Lilith!" Dean's voice had risen in volume, anger etched in his face, remembering Lilith torturing him and wanting to see her dead as well, but not at the cost of his brother's humanity. Suddenly the knife slipped off the stone and sliced open the meat of Dean's thumb. "Sonuvabitch!" Dean said, dropping the stone and watching the crimson flow from the one inch wound as he grabbed for the cleaning cloth covered with splotches of honing oil.

Just like that, time stood still. The world dropped away and Spike's world narrowed. All of his senses focused on one thing and one thing alone, the scarlet liquid welling on Dean's thumb and the droplet that fell onto the white sheet. The scent of blood slammed into Spike full force, igniting a vicious thirst that only one thing would quench, and he would have it now.

As if in slow motion, their eyes met. There wasn't a hint of mercy in Spike's as he took measure of his prey, knowing full well his prey was doing the same. An almost cruel smile twisted his lips as his gaze locked onto the pulse at the side of Dean's throat and he started to rise.

(A/N: sorry for the delay)
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