“Do you ever go away?”
Spike smirked, not bothering to hide it. Spending time with Gunn, while not quite achieving the aims he wanted, was fun enough on its own merits. Male friends were still a new concept—male minions he’d had a plenty, but friends? “With so many other scintillating people to occupy my attention, I do believe I’m insulted that you don’t want to spend time with me.”
Gunn stared at him for a long moment. “You’ve been hangin’ around me too much. That sounded pretty lawyer‑like.”
Privately, Spike agreed. Oh, not the hanging around Gunn part—the talking like him. Spike’d had enough double‑ and back‑talk in his day, he didn’t need to start perpetuating that ornate, flowery style of precise wording and definitive phrase—
“Oh, bloody hell. I’m thinking like it now! Quick, talk like a street thug.”
Gunn burst out laughing, clutching that cue‑ball shiny head and as close as a grown man should ever come to out‑right giggling. Nothing even remotely condescending about that laughter, which was a bloody righteous change from gloom‑and‑doom, being stared at like an insect, or pitied. Three different moods Spike’d had more than enough of, past few years, ta very. Grinning back at the still‑laughing Gunn, Spike ‘sat’ on the sofa—never understood why he could affect things by sitting on ’em but not other ways. What, his butt had magical powers the rest of him didn’t?
The phone interrupted Gunn’s retort, but that was all right, too. They were. . .chums, was that the word? Had no reason to be, but Gunn appreciated a laugh the way the rest of ’em didn’t.
“Angel, man, I got it, okay?” Depressing the connection, Gunn hung onto the phone a few seconds longer before placing it down. “The man is a giant mother‑hen. Did he forget that I’ve been in fights before? Without his brooding to watch my back?”
“Just gettin’ that, are we?” Spike drawled. A little mutual Angel bashing—without the edge of hatred he couldn’t maintain that long anyway, really—was always a good spot during the day. “Angel’s a control freak. He’s gotta have tabs on everything, including your black hiney.”
“A hiney you’ve seen too many times. Should I be glad you’re incorporeal and can’t make a move on me? Or is that what showing up in my bathroom is all about?”
“Didn’t you know?” He managed to get his feet propped on the table the second time, studiously ignoring Gunn’s second burst of giggles. “I crave your arse, Gunn.”
More giggles, this time fuller than before and again without a single hint of mockery. “If that’s true, then you might want to cut down on the gags that make me jump sky‑high, or I’m gonna zipper off the other parts.”
“And miss seeing your face light up like a Christmas Tree? Nothin’ doing. I’ll just have to find some mojo to attach them back on.” He glanced pointedly around the office before looking back at Gunn. “Shouldn’t be too hard, in a demon law‑firm.”
“Am I interrupting?” Angel’s voice, cold and clipped, cut through the banter and seemed to suck a little of the equanimity from the room. Or maybe just filled it with more brooding, worrying, bollixing stress. “Gunn, you were supposed to come to my office—”
“So we could go over the demons we’re going to meet in ten minutes, except I know what demons we’re going to meet, I send you my report yesterday. And we talked strategy over lunch.” Gunn mirrored Spike’s pose, hands behind his head, feet up on the desk. It was an unconscious pose, but Spike couldn’t help but smirk when he saw it. Little bastard was pushing all of Angel’s buttons as nicely as ever Spike did. “So I though I could take a five minute break before we had a meeting with a group of demons that talk by whistling.”
Angel winced, then covered it quickly it by—of course—glaring at Spike. “Leave.”
And the most wonderful thing about having a chum that took Angel with as much salt as he did? They’d defend you against giant acts of prat‑dom. “Angel, leave the guy alone. We were just talking.”
“About have your bits zippered off? This a conversation you want to have, Gunn?”
“Not nice to eavesdrop, Peaches. And Gunn’s perfectly capable of throwing me out, should he be so inclined.” But Gunn really did have a meeting in a few minutes, one Spike wasn’t going to. Not fun to talk with other demons, just hit ’em.
Then he realized what he’d said—or more precisely, the phrasing he'd used and how eerily proper it was—and groaned.
“That’s it, we’re gonna go see that flick you were goin’ on about,” Spike ordered, “just so’s I can stop talking like a bloody lawyer!”
“Spike, I will never allow you to talk like Chris Rock. Or the skinny dude that shrieks a lot.” Seeing Angel’s impatient and incredulous face, Gunn waved and collected his things. “Later, man.”
Spike nodded, then made himself go invisible, following behind until he heard, “You’re watching movies with him?!”