Gunn sighed, rubbing at eyes muzzy with staring at fine print in a disturbing shade of reddish-brown for too many hours. He sincerely hoped this was written in ink - or animal blood - because otherwise...
"You look like you need a break."
Gunn looked up and focused on the figure in the doorway. It took him a moment to realise that it was Spike. Spike in a suit, looking sleek, expensive and very amused.
"Since when did you stop making every day a Friday?"
"Boss man insisted. Said there was a dress code. News to me that helping the helpless only worked if you're in Armani, but well, if he's paying..."
Gunn sat back, feeling his shoulders loosen and his back forget the curve it had been bent into for too many hours. He grinned. "Looks good on you," he said sincerely. "What's with the tie, though?"
Spike kicked the door shut behind him and walked over to Gunn's desk. His shirt was neatly buttoned and his charcoal-grey suit flawless, not a dangling thread or piece of fluff marring its perfection, but his tie hung casually around his neck, unfastened.
"Do you know how long it's been since I wore one, mate? And it's not like I can use a mirror."
"So you came to me for some help?" Gunn laughed. "Man, a year ago, I wouldn't have known jack about all this, even with Cordelia reading out bits from her fancy magazines whenever she thought Wes and I were nearby, giving us the lowdown on what was hot and what was not. Which was us, mostly."
Spike pursed his lips. "Looks like she'd be proud of you now. Course, never seen you any other way."
Gunn reached down and pulled open a drawer, rummaging in it for a moment, before taking out a photograph. "That was me, couple of years back."
Spike let go of the ends of his tie and took it. Spike's hands were rarely empty now, though Gunn thought he was probably the only one to spot that. Since he'd...come back, he held onto little bits of the world, clinging in part desperation, part relief. Gunn wasn't sure he even knew he was doing it. He just knew that of all of them, he didn't mind Spike touching him; a brush of a hand, an exuberant hug that lasted a little too long...Angel got impatient, batting at Spike as if he were an annoying fly, Fred blushed and faded backwards, Wesley gave him a look so cool and forbidding that Spike would copy Fred - without the blush - but Gunn, he didn't mind it so much. Not like he had anyone else getting that up close and personal any more.
Spike ran a careful finger over the photograph, looking at it closely and then over at Gunn and shaking his head with a grin. "You've changed, Charley-boy."
Gunn grimaced. "Looks like we both have. So come here; let me fix that tie for you."
Spike walked around and Gunn pushed his chair back. Spike sat on the desk and turned up his collar, sliding the tie under it and folding it back down. Gunn reached for the trailing ends of silk, realised he was too low, and stood up. The tie was a soft, summer-sky blue, smooth and slippery against his fingers.
"You have to get this end like this - and then you wrap - Spike, you must have done this before!"
Gunn was still holding the tie when Spike looked up, his eyes full of mischief. "It's all coming back to me now."
Gunn stepped back, feeling annoyed and glared down at him. "Why you wasting my time, then?" he demanded.
Spike flipped the tie into place, tying it in an economical flurry and producing a perfect knot. "I was hoping you'd do something."
"What?" Gunn sat down and folded his arms, looking every bit as dangerous as he had in the photograph taken when he was clutching his axe like a baby, vampire dust dulling the sheen of sweat on his face.
Spike worked the knot loose, undid the tie and slowly, giving Gunn every chance to protest, dropped it around Gunn's neck. "See, I was hoping once you were holding it like this -" he gripped the ends lightly, " - you'd pull just hard enough so I could do this -"
Gunn let Spike tug him gently forward, let Spike kiss him, lips smooth and cool as the silk around his neck and waited. Spike stopped and looked at him, head to the side.
"Was that all you were hoping would happen?" Gunn asked, determined not to react until he had a better idea where Spike was going with this.
"No. Was hoping you'd finally come out and get hammered with me."
Gunn stood up and pulled on his jacket. "Can do that. If I leave earlier than eight, I'm guessing the world won't end. Anything else?"
Spike leaned over and flipped open Gunn's appointment book. "Don't you ever read this?"
He stabbed a finger on the entry for the following morning. Gunn craned his neck and read it. Spike's writing was surprisingly precise, retaining a flavour of copperplate, and he had no difficulty in reading the words from a distance.
"It says I have nothing on." Gunn read the words aloud. "'Gunn has nothing on.' Huh?"
Spike grinned at him. "I won't have either."
"Oh." Gunn thought about it and then took Spike's tie from around his neck and tossed it over to him. "Give me something else to take off you then."
Spike hadn't been quite accurate; by the time morning came, he was still wearing the tie...but it was wrapped around his wrists, anchoring them to the head of the bed, and his hands were clutching at air as Gunn's mouth and hands stayed on him, kept him safe, kept him close, kept him there.