Also Comes in Strange
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Title: Too Many Ways
Author: Tania
Summary: Post NFA, The hardest part of being human is knowing all of the ways you can die.
Pairing: Angel/Spike
Rating: PG


The hardest part of being human is knowing all of the ways you can die. The list won't fit on one hand no matter how they generalize and omit. There are nearly four centuries between them, years spent making lists of ways to kill. Now when they are together, those rare times that they find each other in the same city and time, Angel and Spike make lists of ways to die.

Ordering a beer, Spike motions to a long-limbed blonde lying by the pool. Her skin is scorched crimson from the sun, the falseness of her red confirmed when she reaches for a smoldering cigarette and her barely-there top exposes the thinnest line of milky breast. As she places the unfiltered butt into her mouth, dragging deeply as the air around her clouds with smoke, Spike can't help but laugh, "Number seven: Cancer."

"Seven A: Skin Cancer," Angel nods, making a mental notation on the How-to-Die list.

"Seven B: Lung Cancer."

They watch on as a man with pepper-gray hair joins Item Seven by the pool.

"Seven C: Prostate Cancer," Spike says, raising the freshly delivered glass of beer in the man's direction.

Angel follows the waiter as he leaves their side. As he goes the young man stumbles over a woman's extended foot and nearly winds up in the pool. Blushing as he regains his balance, he apologizes amid a sea of giggles from her compatriots.

"Drowning."

"Embarrassment," Angel adds, feeling empathy towards the awkward boy.

"Can't actually die of that can you?" Spike asks, looking as though he is actually pondering the thought.

"Don't imagine." Scanning the cabana area Angel spots a woman slapping her hand against a small child's back. "Choking."

"Food poisoning," Spike says, pushing a bowl of beernuts to the other side of the counter.

Downing their drinks they both rise, making a slow circle from the bar to the lobby, Bellboys stumble with huge trunks and suitcases, swearing aloud as several crash to their feet or impatient guests roll their carts over their toes.

"Blunt trauma. Blood clot in the leg." Spike stares at the boys as they swarm about the lobby, constantly looking as though they are walking off an injury.

Angel watches an older couple being helped out of an elevator that has come to rest just above its normal landing point. "Falling, or suffocating."

"If the doors don't open?" Spike asks for clarity.

"Yeah, might take a while."

"Stairs?" Spike says, already opening the door to the stairwell.

"Safer unless you trip." Angel smiles, brushing past Spike.

"Syphilis," Spike whispers as they pass a couple making out in one of the many dark turns of the stairs.

"Ssh," Angel warns, "Not funny," he adds once they are out of earshot.

"S'all funny, Angel."

"You could have said gonorrhea is all."

"Close to home, right," Spike says, "How 'bout herpes?"

"Not usually fatal."

"Sod it, we had better diseases when I was young."

"Number forty-nine was Black Death. Hard topping that." Angel slides the keycard through the door, pushing it open. He's barely slipped his shoes off before Spike is on the couch with a notebook out, scribbling furiously.

"We don't have to write them all down right now," Angel says, pulling his shirt over his head, oblivious to the quick glance Spike gives in his direction. Walking into the second room, he lets his trousers slip to his ankles before stepping out of them and into the bathroom to run a cooling shower.

"Razor cuts," Spike shouts across both rooms as the sound of running water fills the air. He writes for several minutes, filling pages with blue ink and memories.

"Did you already get sixty-three?" Angel asks, peeking his wet head around the doorjamb to watch Spike, "I couldn't remember."

"Car accident," Spike answers.

"Thanks," Angel nods, rubbing the towel in his hand from chest to head, tugging at the loose curls around his ears until they squeak against the terrycloth. "Hate when I can't remember."

"That's why I write them down." Spike says, no longer looking at the pen in his hand, "takes too much to remember them all."

"It's a lot," Angel agrees. Sitting beside Spike on the couch he pulls at the notebook until Spike let's go. "We'll need a bigger book."

"Probably."

"But it's good, right?"

"It's something to do."

"No, I mean, as long as we keep writing in the book it means we're still here to write in the book."

"That's the plan."

"No more tonight." Angel says, setting the book on the endtable and entwining his fingers behind his head.

"A'right," Spike agrees, matching Angel's position and staring out the window into the night sky.

"Comet."

"Boredom."

"Stop it."

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