Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation
By Lasair
For fish_23

Fred was heading towards the garage when she realised that she had to be back in the lab in three hours' time and that her chances of keeping her eyes open for the drive home weren't exactly stellar. She sighed, and got back into the elevator. Well. At least she'd installed a futon in her office after her last bout of severe workaholism.

She'd just got herself under the covers when Spike walked through the wall.

"Spike! This is my..." She gestured wildly, taking in her bed, her naked shoulders and the wall he'd just ignored.

"Right. Didn't mean to interrupt your snooze time." He kept on walking.

"Wait!"

He grinned. "Oh, it's company you're after now, is it?"

Fred sat up carefully, extremely aware of the clothes piled on her desk chair. "What are you doing here? It's my office, and I was "

"Having a kip? Don't worry, I won't let Angel know you're nodding off on the job."

"I am not nodding off on the job! I should have been home hours ago, but the new defence system for the building is only a quarter-operational and that means three-quarters of the evil in Los Angeles can still get in and try to utterly destroy us and the only reason I'm getting any sleep at all is because I think I'm so tired I might accidentally turn the defence system inside out and destroy us myself and " she drew in a quick breath "I've changed my mind, I don't want to know what you do wandering through our offices in the middle of the night!"

Spike looked put out. "Ghost here? Don't sleep, can't sleep. This building gets bloody boring if I don't explore, and I can't annoy Angel all the time."

"Sure you can," Fred suggested hopefully. It was mean of her, but another half-hour awake and she might start writing on the walls again. "He's upstairs in his penthouse, isn't he?"

Spike tilted his head on one side. "Hmm, I was going to root through your desk and see if you had anything incriminating lying around. But yeah, I haven't annoyed Angel in a good ten minutes. Be seeing you." He strode through the wall and Fred laid herself thankfully down to sleep again.

She was woken up shortly afterwards by the sound of something heavy hitting the ceiling. Fred groaned. Either she was going to have to go home at nights, or she needed an office further away from Angel and Spike's spats.

Upstairs, Spike was amusing himself by sitting in the foot of Angel's bed an inch or so below where 'on' the bed would be. The lamp Angel had thrown at him had gone harmlessly through his head to shatter its bulb against the floor. Good strong throw, though. Nice pent-up rage in Angel's right arm. Spike grinned.

"Something funny, Spike?"

Spike shot him a withering glance. "Oh, that's original. Did they teach you that one at a management course on being a piss-awful CEO? How to effectively threaten old pals when you haven't a snowball's chance in hell of touching them?" He curled up his fist, stuck out his index finger and waved it mockingly slowly back and forth in front of Angel's eyes.

"Fred's blown her budget on researching ways to recorporealise you," Angel growled, "and when she delivers, I'm going to take great pleasure in kicking your ass."

"I haven't let you sleep properly in weeks," Spike retorted. No idle boast, either. Angel's eyes were lidded heavily from the nights he'd spent jerked out of sleep by Spike's insistent voice, over and over again until he gave in and traded verbal blows till morning. Spike wondered if Angel realised how much it got to him, being doomed to spend twenty-four hours of the day wandering the corridors without even his own footsteps for company. If he knew how much Spike needed their bitching sessions, needed him to keep him sane. His voice faltered a little as he continued, "You'll be a tired old man and I'll have a fresh new body to beat you in. No contest."

Angel straightened up in bed. Good, Spike thought, maybe he's given up on sleep now. He found himself leaning forward in an unconscious attempt to keep Angel engaged.

"Fresh new body? You'll have forgotten how to use a body, Spike. After all this time drifting around as a ghost? Hell, you can't even keep your ghost body together most of the time. I just wish you'd pull one of your disappearing acts now and let me get some sleep."

"Out of luck there, mate. Pavayne's not pulling his little tricks anymore and so I'm here to stay. Maybe you should have let him carry on if you wanted rid of me that badly." He paused and winked at Angel. "Or maybe you missed me all these years? Got attached, did you? Couldn't stand to be parted? Got nostalgic for our old "

"I was helping the helpless." Angel drew out the last word with a malicious satisfaction, looking over Spike's insubstantial body, half-submerged in the bedframe.

Angel didn't look tired now. Spike could sense how alert he was to any sign in Spike's body language that the word had wounded him, could see the lively venom in his eyes. Spike concentrated very hard, remembering how he had distilled the fear of Pavayne into six translucent letters on a shower wall, and reached out to hit Angel in the face.

Angel's reflexes enabled him to grab a ghost's arm before the punch could connect.

"Bugger."

There was a pause. The two vampires remained locked together. Then Angel asked patiently, "Why am I holding your arm?"

"Reality bends to desire..." Spike muttered. "I communicated with Fred before when she couldn't see me. I got my hands to work. When I really needed to."

"And now you really need to hit me," Angel commented. Spike appreciated that it wasn't a question. Unlike some people, Angel knew full well what an annoying git he was.

"Yeah. Don't need you blocking me, though."

"Which raises the question of why you're letting me do it," Angel pointed out, and Spike slipped through his grasp in such a hurry that he nearly fell through the bed.

"I was surprised!" he yelled, managing to right himself. "Man throws a punch, man expects he might get blocked it followed, all right? I forgot to stop getting physical."

"Right," Angel said, reaching out towards him. Spike flinched, and then concentrated on letting Angel's hand flicker right through him without encountering any resistance. Since when did he have to concentrate not to have a body? "And this wouldn't have anything to do with a pathetic need for human contact."

Spike snorted. "Hardly human." He felt he was regaining some ground.

Angel nodded grimly. "Yeah. Two of a kind."

They stared at each other and Spike felt himself solidifying again. The bed sagged ever so slightly underneath him, and Angel's eyes widened.

When Fred stormed upstairs to demand a different office and funding for research into extra-strength caffeine, she was a little put out to discover that some alchemy of Angel's seemed to have superseded her eight-hundred-thousand-dollars-over-budget recorporealisation R&D. But as she looked at Spike sinking his teeth into Angel's shoulder, while Angel shut his eyes and left fingerprints on Spike's waist, Fred decided that the office gossip would be worth it, and as a bonus, this way she'd get more time to sleep. She slid out quietly.

They never noticed she was there.