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Disclaimer: All characters herein are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. I am just enjoying the boys any way that I can.

Rating: NC-17 sooner or later

Warnings: M/M sex, some mild blood play and flashbacks to child abuse.

S/X eventually. Some X/An, T/W and B/R. Supposedly, this is set sometime in Season 4, however, I am too lazy to go back and look up every tiny bit of information to be sure that everything in here happened during that time period. Therefore, if you see a reference that does not fit in the timeline, fuss at me in your head and then let it go. Most of the background that you need is in the story itself. Be warned, there is some Buffy bashing in this fic. I don’t dislike her, I swear, it’s just how the story turned out. Hope you enjoy!!

The Triangle

Randy Sex Kitten


A scream filled the air as the scent of blood wafted across the breeze.

Shadows filtered across the sand as the trees continued to sway gently in the warm nighttime breeze.

There was no carnage, no sign of the life that had just been destroyed. A murky shape slipped across the sand, vanishing into the welcoming dark waters. The waves splashed against hard skin as the figure silently slipped under the swells.

No other sound was heard.

Part One

Giles looked up at the clock once again. He had been waiting for Buffy to arrive to train for over an hour. He was concerned, not that she was in danger, but that their relationship had deteriorated to the point where he was no longer effective as her watcher.

Over the last six months, there had been many changes within their tight knit group. Willow and Buffy were attending college and spending less time with the gang, each absorbed in their new romantic interests.

Giles had to admit that Tara was a lovely choice and a good partner for Willow. Her kind soul seemed to temper the young, redhead Wicca. Tara had confided to Giles that she had practiced witchcraft since before she could speak. Giles had evaluated her powers to the best of his ability and found that she was, by far, the most powerful human he had come across in some time. He admired the young woman for not exploiting the powers that lay pulsing within her body.

Buffy’s choice of partners, however, left a lot to be desired. Riley Finn… Giles couldn’t even contemplate the young man without including his last name. He sighed. Riley was simply too arrogant and cocksure for Giles’ comfort. Buffy spent less time patrolling and training every week due to the influence of the commando. Giles was worried that she would not last as the slayer much longer. Her lack of concentration and her frequent yelling matches with her friends and her watcher were undoubtedly doing damage.

Spike was another recent addition to their group. Giles, against his better judgment, was becoming quite fond of the peroxide vampire. He had accidentally discovered that not only was Spike a very intelligent man, but also a gifted linguist and a voracious reader.

He made this discovery several months back, when he caught the creature breaking into his shop after closing time to return a book that he hadn’t noticed was missing. They had sat for hours after, sipping tea and talking about various books in his collection. They had discussed not only the linguistics, but also how each text was applicable to the situation in Sunnydale. Since that day so many months ago, Spike and Giles had met after closing biweekly to discuss any new texts that may have come in or to argue British sport.

Giles had noted the relationship between Xander and the vampire changing, as well. After moving into his new apartment, Xander had unexpectantly offered the spare bedroom to Spike, much to Anya’s chagrin. No one really understood the reason behind the invitation, but the three housemates seemed to get along well, in spite of the almost non-stop bickering between Spike and Xander. Spike, being a creature of the night, slept the day away, giving the young couple plenty of daylight hours in which to enjoy each other without the vampire’s presence presenting a problem.

Giles was pleased with how his family was flourishing. He smiled around the top of his teacup, thinking of how Spike would respond if he knew that Giles thought of him as one of his children. Strangely enough, they had discovered that they were related. Giles appeared to be a direct descendent of William’s younger sister. Knowing that his sister had lived long enough to have a family had pleased the vampire to no end.

Giles’ eye wandered back to the clock. Where was Buffy? The young woman was pressing on his last nerve. He was tempted to send her out to do an extended patrol and write a formal report on her findings. However, he was not interested in reading the ramblings of his hormone-driven charge, so he decided against that course of action. He sighed again. Ninety minutes late. Buffy would be in for quite a talking to when she arrived.

The bell rang loudly as Buffy entered the magic shop, Riley close on her heels. Giles rolled his eyes as Buffy draped herself over her stiff yet unresisting boyfriend. There went the talk and the training. When the soldier was around, Buffy made no effort to concentrate. Giles felt that he should have followed his instinct this morning to not get out of bed.

“Do you mind, Buffy? We do have work to do.”

Buffy looked at Giles in shock. “What?” She quickly returned her attention to her boyfriend, pressing her full length against him.

Giles started at the pealing of the telephone, turning his back to his slayer and her current playmate. Buffy took the opportunity to drag Riley into the training room for a quick session on the mats.

“Buffy!” Giles’ sigh of disgust carried over the wire to the council member on the other end of the phone line. Knowing the Council like he did, Giles gave up on training his slayer tonight and settled in for a long talk.

Hours later, Giles rubbed his nose as he finally hung up the phone. Buffy had long since escaped out the door, mumbling something about patrolling around the tongue that was mapping out her mouth. Giles had waved her off, more interested in what the Council’s man was saying than his disinterested slayer.

The Council of Watchers was in an uproar and was requesting his assistance with the issue. He knew that Buffy was not up to the task in her current condition. Namely total self-absorption. He would have to go himself. Groaning, Giles realized that he would not be able to do it alone, he would have to take some help with him.

He sighed and reached once again for the phone, wincing as the receiver touched his oversensitive ear. This was going to be great fun.

“Shut! Up! Spike! Hello?” Xander’s voice stung his ear as it raced through the phone lines.

“Xander, this is…”

“Spike, shut the fuck up! I’m talking to Giles!” Xander neglected to move the phone away from his mouth before yelling at the vampire and Giles’ headache increased tenfold.

“Hey G-man! What’s up?” He could hear the smile in Xander’s voice over the line.

“Xander, I have asked you numerous times not to call me that.” Giles’ smile was not evident in his voice, although prominent on his face. “I wonder if you and Spike might be able to come to the shop for a while. I would like to speak with you both about something that has come up.”

There was a loud thump and Giles heard both Xander and Spike squeal in pain before the young man answered, “Damnit, Spike! Yeah, Giles, we’ll be there in a minute. Look, Fangless…” Xander’s rant stopped as the call was disconnected. Giles went off in search of his hidden whiskey, praying to every deity he could think of that the neutered vamp hadn’t found this one yet.

“Hey Ahn! Giles needs me and Spike at the shop. You want to go?” Anya wandered out of the bathroom to find her boyfriend and their roommate sitting on the floor in the living room, their shoelaces tied together.

“Why are you tied to Spike?” Anya frowned at the two men on the floor.

She had noticed that more often than not, if she left the two alone for any period of time, she would return to find them in interesting situations. She had walked in on tickling fights, thumb wrestling, arm wrestling, ‘Tai Chi’ lessons…

That particular episode had made her laugh. She had walked in on Spike and Xander; both dressed in sweatpants, tangled on the floor as they attempted to situate themselves into calming positions.

She was amazed at how well the two men got along. Contrary to what they both insisted was true, she no longer believed that they hated each other. She knew that neither Spike nor Xander saw what she did, so she never commented on it.

Over the months that they had all lived in the apartment, she herself had developed strong feelings of friendship for the blond demon. They had a lot in common. Sometimes, when she and Spike were alone in the apartment, they would regale each other with tales from their pasts, trying to outdo each other with their stories of creativity and skill.

Looking at the two sitting on the floor, Anya laughed as Xander jerked on a lace, hitting his head on Spike’s chin, causing them both to fall back onto the floor.

“Blondie here tied our shoes together while I was on the phone.”

“The fuck I did, Harris! You’re the one who was bloody tying his shoes while blathering on about something or another. I was just standing here drinking my blood.” Spike looked innocently at Anya, hoping to win her over with his argument.

“Never mind,” Anya sighed. She reached over and deftly untied the knotted laces. She then quickly tied Xander’s tennis shoes before moving to Spike’s boots. Both men scrambled to their feet, each glaring daggers at the other.

“There, you are both ready to go. No, I do not want to go with you, I just got home from work two hours ago and I am ready to get into the bath and then rest. You go, enjoy your talk with Giles and I will see you when you get home.” She stood on her toes and placed a quick kiss to Xander’s mouth, then gave an affectionate shove to Spike’s leather clad arm.

“Bye, Ahn. Love you.” Xander threw his coat over his shoulder before motioning the vampire out the door before him. He turned and winked to his girlfriend as she closed the door behind them.

“Bath, negligee, bed.” With that, Anya walked resolutely to the bathroom to pamper herself.

An elderly woman glanced at her doorway as what sounded to be a herd of buffalo thundered down the stairs just outside her door. She glanced down at Baggins. “That’s the two young men from upstairs, what a lovely couple.” She smiled as the feline hopped into her lap and began to purr.

“My car, Whelp. I’m driving.” Spike pointed Xander towards the blacked out DeSoto parked across from Xander’s wreck of the week.

Xander glanced up and glared at the vamp. “What? You don’t want to be seen in my car?” He looked over at his Pepto-Bismol pink Toyota and flinched. “Right, you’re driving. Only, please let me move the crap out of the floorboard!” With that, he ran to the passenger’s side of the classic car, flung the door open and began throwing empty liquor bottles towards their owner.

“Hey! Quit that!” Thunk. “Ow!” Spike snarled at Xander before grabbing the bottle that had just hit him in the head. He threw it in an arc towards Xander, aiming for the gravel at his feet.

Spike screamed when Xander backed out of the car, the bottle impacting with his lower back. The pain in his head caused him to fall to the ground, whimpering. Xander rushed to his side, scared at the obvious intensity of the jolt and apologetic for his part in the actions that had led to the chip’s adverse reaction.

“Shit, Spike! I’m sorry, man. Hey, careful…” Xander helped lift Spike off of the ground to lean against the trunk of his car.

“You ok?” Xander’s look of concern helped Spike focus on something other than the pain that continued to fire through his brain. He glared at Xander in exasperation and reached for his pack of cigarettes, trying to shake off his game face.

“That thing is getting worse, isn’t it?” Xander’s quiet inquiry made Spike pause, his cigarette halfway to his mouth. He considered a snarky remark, but changed his mind at the expression on the whelp’s face. He had no reason to lie.

“Yeah, mate. It’s getting worse. I’m not sure what’s happening, but the jolts are getting stronger and lasting longer each time.” Spike lifted his Zippo and lit the cigarette with a trembling hand.

“It’s also taking less to set it off,” Xander muttered. Last week Spike had been helping Anya unload the groceries and had opened a cabinet door as she was passing by. She had walked into the door, bumping her head and Spike had fallen into convulsions.

Uncomfortable with the relaxed atmosphere, Spike finished his cigarette, threw the butt to the ground and shook his head. “Alright, Harris, all better, let’s go.” The two men climbed into the car and drove off towards the Magic Box.

Giles glanced up from his whiskey search at the sound of a bell ringing. He peered over the counter to see Tara enter the shop. Standing up, he smiled at her.

“Hello, Tara.” Tara jumped at the sound of his voice.

“Oh. H..hello, Mr. Giles.” Tara smiled gently at the storeowner. Giles had become important to her in a very short period of time. She looked at him as the father that her own male parent never was.

“Did you need help with something, or are you here just to visit?” Giles tried to phrase his question in such a way to let the girl know that she was welcome at any time, with or without Willow.

“I w..wanted to talk with you, i..if you don’t mind.” Tara looked at the floor before remembering that this man wouldn’t hurt her. She raised her head to look him in the eye.

“Of course, my dear. Tea?” Giles waved towards a chair as Tara nodded. He went into his office to collect his carafe of tea and two clean teacups.

“Now then, what did you want to talk about?” Giles leaned forward, eagerly. The blonde Wicca had never approached him in this manner, and he was intrigued.

Tara blushed and stammered, but began to speak. “I’ve been f..feeling something s..strange over the last few days.” Her speech began to lose its stutter as she forced herself to relax. She took a sip of tea before continuing. “I’m not sure what it is, M..Mr. Giles, but I’m afraid something big is about to happen. I’ve asked Willow if she’s felt anything unusual recently, b..but she hasn’t. I really don’t think that anything is going to happen here, but there is something…” She trailed off, waving one hand in the air, unable to communicate her thoughts.

“Please, call me Giles, or Rupert, if you can stand it. We are friends and colleagues and I would like very much for you to address me in a less… formal manner.” Giles smiled once again at the shy, blushing witch, and then began to question Tara.

“Have you looked deeper within yourself to find what this feeling is about?”

Tara thought for a moment before answering. “Y..yes. I did try to meditate, but couldn’t balance myself. All I could feel was evil energy trying to get into me.” She shuddered at the memory and then frowned at her less than coherent explanation.

“This is not coming out right. Mr., I mean, G..Giles,” she grinned, then frowned, her speech becoming more confident. “There is something big going down within the next few months and it is not happening here. I’m not sure that it will even happen on American soil, but something is going to happen.” Tara looked intently at the watcher, allowing her concern and fear to show on her face for a moment before reigning them back in.

“I think I might have some idea about what you are talking about,” Giles spoke softly. “However, I would like to wait for Xander and Spike to arrive before going into it in greater detail. Is that alright with you?” At Tara’s nod, he continued. “So, how are your classes going?”

Tara flashed a shy smile. “Actually, I did have something else to talk to you about. I have been accepted into a short-term program to do some field research in my Sociology class. I think the subject of my research will be the Sociological effect of Mythology on human interaction with nature. I have been excused from my classes for the last half of this semester so that I can focus exclusively on my research.” Tara paused and looked down. Giles, sensing that there was more that she needed to say, sat quietly and waited.

Taking a deep breath, Tara spoke. “My classes are finished this Friday. Um, I am also supposed to find an experienced off-campus teacher to help guide me in the right direction. I wanted to ask if you would be interested in being my mentor for the project.” Tara glanced down at her shoes, pleased that she had managed to ask for Giles’ help.

The smile that had been comfortably resting on Giles’ face broadened.

“You want me to help you?” His pleased expression made Tara glad that she had asked.

“Yes, please. I don’t know anyone who has more knowledge of mythological creatures and incidents than you.”

Giles quickly responded in the affirmative. “Then I would be honored. Tell me more about your project.”

Giles and Tara spoke animatedly about their chosen subject, blissfully unaware of the time that was passing. Both glanced up when the bell sounded, matching smirks crossing their faces when both Spike and Xander attempted to enter at the same time, resulting in shoulders digging into one another and yet another shouting match.

“Shift over, Whelp! I’m trying to get inside!” Spike’s snark was audible.

“I’ll ‘shift over’ after I get in the door, Fangless. Move your skinny butt!”

“M’ butt’s not skinny,” Spike pouted. Xander paused at the very real pain he heard in the other’s voice. He realized that the snark and pout were a cover for the chip’s firing, yet again. He closed his eyes, rubbing the bridge of his nose harshly.

“Sorry, Spike. Here, you go in first.” Xander stepped out of the way, allowing Spike to enter the magic shop.

The scene that he was witnessing overwhelmed Giles. He shook his head; unable to believe that these two men had no idea how aware they were of each other. He had noticed it on many occasions.

When the group patrolled, Spike could always be found within fifteen feet of Xander. Yes, he had measured it. When researching, they either sat directly across the table from each other, or side by side. The bond that was developing between the two men was almost visible to Giles, however, it was quite apparent that they had no idea that it was happening. Their verbal sparring had in no way changed. To someone who didn’t know them, is was obvious that these two men hated each other.

“Ok, G-Man, we’re here, ready to slay and/or maim whatever you point us at.” He glanced around the shop. “Where’s Will and Buff?”

“They’re not here, Xander. I wanted to speak with you and Spike about a phone call that I received from the Council. Tara is here because she seems to have picked up on some occurrence that will be happening in the next few months and I believe that her feelings are directly tied to the Council’s ‘problem’, therefore, I asked her to stay.”

“What should we care what the Council of Wankers has to say?” Spike paused at the look on Giles’ face. “Never mind. Better question: why us, Rupert?” Spike looked directly at the watcher, seeking the truth in his eyes.

“You two are the only ones that I could ask for help, that’s why. I need help that Buffy would not be willing or able to provide and this will involve some travel. She is not currently in a position where she can leave Sunnydale for any length of time.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “Don’t tell me that the Whelp and I are stuck helping because the Slayer is too busy playing college girl to do her fucking job!”

Giles’ winced at the tone in Spike’s voice. “Please, let me explain before you decide whether or not you are willing to help.”

Unconsciously, Xander and Spike glanced at one another, and then nodded.

“Tell us.” Spike tossed one leg over a chair, settling in to listen to his nephew, Xander sitting to his left, instinctively leaning towards the blond vamp.

Giles looked into three sets of eyes. Blue, Chocolate Brown and Hazel peered back.

“What do you know about the Bermuda Triangle?”

Part Two

“The first documented use of the words ‘Bermuda Triangle’ was in 1965. However, the legend has been floating around since Columbus arrived in North America. There have been countless reports of missing boats, planes and other vehicles that have disappeared while traveling in the area between Fort Lauderdale, Bermuda and Puerto Rico. I will go into more detail on this in a moment.

First, the ‘Bermuda Triangle’, or the more appropriate ‘Devil’s Triangle’, is one of only two places on earth that a magnetic compass does point towards true north. Normally, it points toward magnetic north. The difference between the two is known as compass variation. The amount of variation changes by as much as twenty degrees as one circumnavigates the earth. If this compass variation is not compensated for, a navigator could find himself far off course and in deep trouble.

The other area is known as the ‘Devil's Sea’ and is located off the east coast of Japan. It also exhibits the same magnetic characteristics and is known for its mysterious disappearances, but is not relevent at this time.” Giles paused and consulted the notes he laid out on the table.

“As I said, there are legends that part of Columbus’ entourage disappeared in the area of the Triangle. Many other ships have vanished in a similar manner. When man began to fly, planes were added to the list of missing craft. One of the most famous disappearances attributed to the Triangle was Flight 19.

In December 1945, five Avenger torpedo bombers left the Navel Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, around two in the afternoon. It was a routine practice mission and the flight was composed of all students except for the Commander, a Lt. Charles Taylor.

The mission called for Taylor and his group of thirteen men to fly due east fifty-six miles to Hens and Chicken Shoals to practice bombing runs. When they completed that task, the flight plan called for them to fly an additional sixty-seven miles east, then turn north for seventy-three miles and finally straight back to base, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles.

About an hour and a half after the flight had left, a Lieutenant picked up a radio transmission from Taylor. Taylor stated that his compasses were not working, but he believed himself to be somewhere over the Florida Keys. Lt. Cox urged him to fly north, toward Miami, as Taylor was sure the flight was over the Keys.” Giles took a sip of tea and looked around the table, seeing only confused interest in the eyes of his listeners.

“Planes today have a number of ways that they can check their current position including listening to a set of Global Positioning Satellites in orbit around the Earth. It is almost impossible for a pilot to get lost if he has the right equipment and uses it properly.

In 1945, though, planes flying over water had to depend on knowing their starting point, how long and fast they had flown, and in what direction. If a pilot made a mistake with any of these figures, he was lost. Over the ocean there were no landmarks to set him right.

Apparently Taylor had become confused at some point in the flight. He was an experienced pilot, but hadn't spent a lot of time flying east toward the Bahamas, which was where he was going on that day. For some reason Taylor apparently thought the flight had started out in the wrong direction and had headed south toward the Keys, instead of east. This thought was to color his decisions throughout the rest of the flight with deadly results.

The more Taylor took his flight north to try to get out of the Keys, the further out to sea the Avengers actually traveled. As time went on, snatches of transmissions were picked up on the mainland indicating the other Flight 19 pilots were trying to get Taylor to change course.

By 4:45 P.M. it was obvious to the people on the ground that Taylor was hopelessly lost. He was urged to turn control of the flight over to one of his students, but apparently he didn't. As it grew dark, communications deteriorated. From the few words that did get through it was apparent Taylor was still flying north and east, the wrong directions.

At 5:50 P.M. the ComGulf Sea Frontier Evaluation Center managed get a fix on Flight 19's weakening signals. It was apparently east of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. By then, communication was so poor that this information could not be passed to the lost planes.

At 6:20 a Dumbo Flying Boat was dispatched to try and find Flight 19 and guide it back. Within the hour two more planes, Martin Mariners, joined the search. The weather was getting rough and the Avengers were very low on fuel. The two Martin Mariners were supposed to rendezvous at the search zone. The second one never showed up.

The last transmission from Flight 19 was heard at 7:04 P.M. Planes searched the area throughout the night and into the next day, but there was no sign of the Avengers.” It was quiet in the room for a moment as Giles flipped through a book, searching for anything that he may have forgotten to share.

“In addition to the compass difficulties, an environmental factor that comes into play is the Gulf Stream. It is extremely swift and turbulent. The unpredictability of the Caribbean-Atlantic weather pattern also plays it’s role. Sudden thunderstorms and waterspouts appear unannounced, frequently.

So… that is a brief and extremely incomplete history concerning the Bermuda Triangle. However, I will refrain from offering any more, as it appears that I am about to lose Xander.” Giles paused and looked at his listeners. Xander immediately sat up straighter in his chair and glanced around at the others. “Any questions?”

“Yeah.” Xander turned and looked warily at Spike. “What year is it, Fangless? Because if I’m back in high school, I’m gonna have to vote for screaming and running away from the Master Vamp.”

Spike preened at the thought of Xander and the others running scared. He flashed his fangs at his flatmate and growled threateningly. His chip shot a warning jolt, which he tried to ignore.

“Spike, quit.” Tara’s quiet voice destroyed the atmosphere that the vampire was attempting to build. He dropped his game face, grateful when the pain receded. He adjusted himself in his chair and proceeded to give the Wicca his best pout.

“What does this have to do with the Council of Watchers or the strange feelings that I’ve been having?” Tara looked expectantly at Giles, waiting for the information that she requested.

Giles sighed and pulled off his glasses, cleaning them on the handkerchief that he retrieved from his pocket.

“There have been reports from various parishes in Bermuda of creatures rising from the sea. More than two hundred people have gone missing, presumed dead, their bodies never recovered. The population is quite afraid.”

“How refreshing to know that outside of Sunnyhell, people actually notice the things that go bump in the night,” Spike snorted.

“And the Council is aware of this how?” Xander’s warm chocolate eyes narrowed in suspicion.

“Well, it appears that there is an active Hellmouth a hundred miles off the shore of Cobbler Island. They’ve been monitoring the island closely for the past fifty years.” Giles closed his eyes and braced himself for the explosion.

“What the fuck?” As he expected, Spike was the first to respond.

“Those wankers knew that there was an active Hellmouth and have done nothing to close it? They didn’t even notify their Slayer or her Watcher about the danger that might be brewing underneath the surface of the ocean! Those idiots!” The Victorian accent and language of William’s youth came to the fore as he vented his anger towards the Council. Without warning, William disappeared and Spike returned, game face glaring out at the world. “Bloody Hell! I could rip their heads off, tear out their hearts and eat their eyes!”

Spike suddenly screamed and fell to the floor, his entire body convulsing violently.

“Shit!” Xander dove to the floor and tried to keep the flailing vampire from hitting his head or legs on the table.

Giles quickly stood and shoved the table away from the two men on the floor, forcing Tara to jump up from her seat. They all heard a loud snap and Xander grabbed Spike again, continuing to hold him down as the convulsions began to slow.

“I think he broke a rib.” Xander glanced up at Giles, a look of pain fleeting across his face.

“W..what happened?” Tara’s shaky voice penetrated the quiet of the room.

“His chip. It’s been going off almost continuously the past week.” Xander sighed. “Giles, you know how I feel about vampires, this one in particular, but seriously, this is unfair! He’s not doing anything wrong!”

Xander glanced over at Tara. “Yesterday, I bumped into him when he came out of his room. He blacked out for several minutes before we could get him to wake up.”

Spike moaned and tried to roll over, his broken ribs grinding together. Giles looked on as the brunette helped the quaking blond from the floor and into a chair. Tara turned and ran out of the room when she caught sight of the vampire’s paler than normal complexion. Xander wandered towards the front door, struggling with his own thoughts.

Giles knelt at Spike’s feet, urging the vampire to look him in the eye. Blood dripped from the corners of Spike’s blue eyes as he attempted to smirk at the watcher. “Ouch.”

“Yes, quite. How long has this been going on, Spike?” Giles appeared to be genuinely concerned. Spike looked into the eyes that so reminded him of his baby sister. He allowed his pain to show as he spoke.

“About three weeks. It’s been getting worse. You know, it’s been several months since the damn thing has gone off due to anything that I’ve intentionally done. I’ve learned exactly what I could and could not do on my little electronic leash.” He sighed and looked at the ceiling. “Last week, it started responding to non-specific violent thoughts. Then two days ago, it began to zap me when I thought about fighting other demons. Rupert, I’m not sure how much longer I can take this,” he added tiredly.

Tara appeared at his side and offered him a mug of blood. “Ta, pet.” Spike gulped the revitalizing liquid down and returned the mug to her hands. She quickly set it to the side.

Giles took the wide tape that blonde woman offered to him. Tara dragged off Spike’s duster, leaving it lying across the back of his chair and began to help Giles pull up the vampire’s black t-shirt. Giles pulled a long strip of tape and began winding it around Spike’s rib cage, tightly binding his ribs.

“Don’t need that, Watcher. It’ll heal.” Spike winced then hissed as Giles tugged at the tape. Xander glanced over at the sound of the vampire’s indrawn breath.

“Yes, Spike, it will heal. This way, however, it will heal correctly.” Giles pulled down Spike’s shirt and stood. Tara moved to help the vampire ease back into his leather.

Xander looked on with concern as Spike struggled to get his arms into the sleeves of his coat. It was unlike him to accept so much assistance without a fight or at least a sarcastic remark. The blond must really be suffering.

Xander’s thoughts were buzzing. He hated vampires, hated what they stood for and what they were. He had always felt the same about Spike as he had Angel. He could put up with them because of Deadboy’s soul and Spike’s chip. Didn’t mean that he liked them.

He was beginning to reevaluate his feelings about the blond struggling before him. No one should have to live with that type of pain, that type of punishment for things that they hadn’t even done. Xander scoffed at his own thoughts. This was William the Bloody! He’d done plenty of things that deserved punishment. Xander couldn’t seem to convince himself of that fact, though.

Xander was becoming seriously concerned about his own mental health.

“Well, that was fun. What’s next?” Xander slapped his hands together and looked expectantly at his friends, who all glanced at him in shock.

“I think that we should all go home and rest. We will reconvene tomorrow to continue this discussion.” Giles squeezed the bridge of his nose and sighed.

“Alright, G-man! See ya tomorrow.” Xander headed for the door, glancing back surreptitiously to make sure that the blond was following.

“Ta, Rupert. See you later.” Spike spun on his heel and stalked from the store, his Big Bad persona firmly in place.

Tara turned to Giles and smiled. “What time should I come by?”

Giles glanced at the clock and responded, “Around ten am, if you’re free. I would like to make a recommendation concerning your research project.”

“OK. My classes don’t start until one, so I’ll see you then.” Tara gathered her shawl around her and headed back to the dorm and to Willow.

Part Three

Spike lay on his back, smoking and looking at the stars. He thought it was quite amazing that he had not lost interest in the heavenly bodies above him in all the years that he had laid underneath them, staring into their depths.

He closed his eyes, blowing smoke towards the moon. When the burning ash reached his fingers, he crushed the cigarette out on the asphalt-covered tiles beside his head.

He searched for another cigarette, his hands anxious to be doing something. As he brought his lighter up, he saw a shooting star fly by.

“Well, well… What a pretty sight. Shooting stars. Dru, baby, did you see that?” He thought back to the nights he had spent with Drusilla as she waited anxiously to see the lights shooting across the sky. Her childhood belief that a wish made on the flying debris would come true still strong in her mind.

Spike lit his cigarette, inhaled and dropped both arms to his sides, lying spread-eagled on the roof of his apartment building.

Thoughts of his dark princess no longer tore into his heart. He was confident that they would never again be together as they were and truthfully, he really didn’t want to anymore. Too many things had changed; the last incident with Angelus had destroyed any hope of recovering their relationship.

Spike scoffed. Relationship, right.

He was her pet, her servant. He would have done anything for her and often did, but it wasn’t the same for her. He no longer desired her as he once did, though. Thoughts of running his hands over her slim form no longer interested him, no longer aroused him and no longer hurt. He loved Drusilla, always would, but she was no longer his world.

No matter, when he was laid out under the stars, he spoke to her. Something about the familiar skies reminded him of good times with his wicked plum. He smiled at the remembrance.

He slipped easily into the language and soft accent of his youth, he had no one to play the Big Bad for up here. “Oh, Dru. This hurts so badly. I don’t know if I can handle this much longer. This fucking chip…” Spike stopped speaking as a sob attempted to escape his throat.

“Shit.” He drew the hand holding his cigarette across his face before dropping it to his mouth to draw in another lungful of comforting smoke.

He thought back on the past three weeks. He had told Giles the truth; it had been months since his chip had gone off. The limits on his behavior were rigidly defined. He could contemplate violence all he wanted, he just could not act on his thoughts. Direct contact with a human, no matter how accidental, caused the chip to surge. However, tonight was the first night that the chip had gone off when he had thrown something in the general direction of a human with no intent to harm.

Fuck, he hadn’t even meant the damn bottle to get that close to the Whelp. He had thrown at the gravel at the boy’s feet. His chip fired a warning shot at the remembered image. The thing firing at his anger towards the Council was simply intolerable.

He was no longer safe in his own head.

Spike growled, sat up and threw his cigarette across the roof. Something had to give.

He lay back down, trying to calm himself.

“Drusilla, my queen, I understand your madness now. Angelus caused you all that pain and you were so innocent, so pure…”

No use dwelling on the past or on things he could not change. He glanced up at the stars, naming the planets that were visible to his searching eyes.

After a long while, his roaming thoughts turned to his home and to the two humans he shared it with. Spike had been shocked when Xander had offered his spare room to him. By the look on the boy’s face, Xander had been taken by surprise as well.

Spike had waited for the boy to rescind his offer, but Xander had stayed firm, telling the others that he had offered the space and would stand by it, no matter how much it confused him.

So… after a week of waiting for the boy to appear and tell him to stay away, Spike had appeared at the whelp’s door, his few possessions in hand. He had smirked at the whelp and the demon girl, handed an envelope of cash to the boy and stalked into his room, slamming the door behind him.

Spike still wasn’t sure what caused him to give him the money in the first place. He knew that the boy was young and still struggling financially, but he really didn’t care, or he shouldn’t have at any rate. Still, he found himself shoving wads of cash at the boy. If Xander had been surprised at the money, he had never mentioned it. Anya had asked a time or two, but Spike had remained silent on the subject. He had amassed an impressive fortune in his long life; he just couldn’t quite access all of it.

Spike made a mental note to speak with his sire about his accounts that were currently sitting in Angelus’ name overseas. Spike had always hated dealing with money and had left it to the older vampire to manage his funds. Now that he was unable to hunt, he needed to be able to buy his meals.

The hospitality of the Scoobies would not hold out forever.

Anya had helped him acquire a few furnishings for his room, welcoming him into her home after making it quite clear that he was not to interrupt them at any time if Xander was in the process of giving her orgasms. He laughed aloud at the ex-demon who shared his space. What a fiery girl.

The whelp on the other hand… Spike was unsure as to what he felt about the boy.

His relationships with Tara and the watcher had grown and developed into what he considered true friendships. Red was still a bit skittish around him, but he understood that, after all, he had directly threatened her life more often than any of the other Scoobies.

Anya and he had a lot in common. He enjoyed swapping war stories with her over tea. She was the only one who had been alive during the same time periods as he had. It was nice to reminisce with someone who had been there.

Buffy was the Slayer, cautious and wary, but as the months went by, she had become less threatening. Her soldier had contributed greatly to that end. She had no time to focus on Spike or his problems.

But the whelp… Spike sighed and lit another cigarette. Xander… Spike was beginning to wonder about the boy.

Xander was an enigma. He yelled at Spike, told him how worthless and unwanted he was, but the gentleness in his eyes when he lifted him off the ground…

Spike growled in frustration. He was not going to finish that thought. Yes, the boy was attractive; he could admit that. Spike had always had a thing for tall creatures with dark eyes and hair. Angelus and Drusilla… He smiled as he thought of his first lovers.

But Xander was human, straight and severely demonphobic. No use even enjoying the scenery there.

Straight? Enjoy the scenery? Spike had tried not to look at Xander as anything but an annoying nuisance until tonight. He wondered why the concern in the boy’s eyes had affected him so deeply.

Spike closed his eyes and contemplated the young man. He had enjoyed the boy’s sense of humor since day one. The lad was bloody brilliant, although none of the others seemed to notice. Spike enjoyed spending time with him. Annoying the whelp was his current favorite pastime.

Xander had slimmed since starting his job in construction. His skin had darkened to a warm honeyed tone, the muscles evident beneath his white wife beaters shifted gently as he pulled on his baggy overshirts. Spike’s mind began to wander.

Xander closed his eyes, running his hands over the strong abs under the worn cotton of his shirt. His hands dropped to his belt, his fingers dangling down to brush against the treasure hidden below. One hand rose, pulling his shirt up as his fingers drifted towards his nipple. Strong, calloused fingers gently pinched the brown nub, tugging at the soft hair surrounding the warm flesh.

Slowly, the shirt is pulled up and over his head, exposing the wide expanse of his chest. Sweat from his day outside still gleamed on tanned skin. Xander’s hands dropped to his fly, releasing button after button, allowing lighter flesh to appear between the spreading fabric.

Spike moaned at the images that filled his mind. His hand drifted down to his covered cock, softly caressing the burgeoning flesh. His eyes flew open in panic.

“What the fuck?”

Spike jumped up from his position on the roof, dropping the dead cigarette from his grasp. He walked to the edge of the roof, looking down on Sunnydale.

“That’s it, I’ve lost it.” He looked up at the sky. “Dru, luv, if you can hear me, I’ll join you in la-la land soon.”

Spike jumped off the edge of the roof, gracefully landing on the grass below. Snarling, he brought up his game face and raced into the night, fleeing from his own thoughts.

Xander sat on the couch in the living room, listening to Anya’s snores through the open door of their bedroom. He lifted his beer, taking a long swallow, enjoying the sensation of the cool liquid flowing down his throat.

Thoughts of Spike were haunting him.

The chip that had protected them for so long was misfiring. Xander was not a stupid man; he knew what that meant. They were in danger. Anya, Buffy, Giles, Willow, Tara and himself were all in grave danger. If the chip burnt itself out and didn’t fry Spike’s brain in the process, the vampire would be able to return to his old hunting habits.

OK. Well, that was all well and good. Knowing that they were in danger was the first step in protecting themselves. The only problem was, he wanted to help the vampire get the damn thing out.

The hardware in his head had been zapping Spike several times a day now. Xander would have found it amusing if the vampire had brought it on himself, but the fact of the matter was that Spike was doing nothing to cause the chip to go off.

Xander took another long swallow of beer, emptying his bottle. He threw at the trashcan, lobbing it in without touching the sides. “Two points!” He threw his arms up in celebration.

He contemplated getting up off the couch to get another beer, but the movement required to do so was unappealing. He reached down and pulled off his boots, wriggling his toes as they escaped their confinement.

As he lay back on the sofa, his thoughts returned to the annoying vampire. Spike’s chip was really screwing up. Xander had a rudimentary understanding of electronics and knew that something bad was going on in the vampire’s brain. He knew that Spike had learned the limits of his chip a long time ago and always acted accordingly. Spike played at being tough, but the pain of the chip was obviously debilitating and he avoided it at all costs.

Xander wondered at the unusual nature of the blond man. A vampire. He should not be living in an apartment with a couple and sharing living expenses with them.

Spike had given Xander almost two thousand dollars in cash the night he had moved in. He never said a word about it, so Xander never did either. Every once in a while, a new envelope would appear in the bowl that Xander emptied his pockets into.

He knew Anya was curious about the money. Xander had wondered if the vampire had finally gotten lucky and scored big in a mugging. He hadn’t heard any news about that, though, so he doubted it.

Anya’s snores grew louder and Xander shuddered gently. He loved Anya, but was quickly learning that he really didn’t want to live with her. It wasn’t just the snoring, either. She seemed to be treating him more as a child than a lover. On many occasions she out and out mothered him and Spike.

He knew that she and Spike would sit and talk for hours when he was out. He really wasn’t interested in their conversations, but he did find it interesting that he didn’t care. Shouldn’t he be concerned that his girlfriend was spending hours on end with another man? Another man who was an extremely sexy blond with stunning musculature and a striking accent.

Xander’s thoughts drifted, the vampire filled his head. Spike was not especially modest. When they lived in his parent’s basement, it was not unusual for the vampire to walk around nude. Here, he pulled on sweats in the mornings for breakfast, but left everything else uncovered. Xander began to imagine what that strong chest might feel like under his fingers, cool and dry…

Xander jerked and hit himself in the head with the palm of his hand. “What in the heck are you thinking about?” He smiled as Anya snorted and shuffled in her sleep. Xander’s thoughts returned to the chip in his friend’s brain.

Xander looked over at his computer sitting on the desk in the corner. He dragged himself from the warm embrace of his couch and plopped down in the chair in front of his desk. Turning on the machine, he began to search for information on computer chips.

Shortly before dawn, Xander was pulled from his research by the sound of keys in the front door. Spike walked through the room, glancing at Xander, but not speaking as he entered his bedroom. Xander sighed and turned off the computer. He had to be at work in less than an hour. A shower was in order.

Xander worked through his day as an automaton. As he lifted, hammered and drilled, he thought on the intricacies of the human brain. As he reviewed the complicated blueprints with the architect, he thought of plans for a complicated computer chip.

By the end of the day, Xander had come up with a single idea with which to help Spike. It seemed too simple and he was pretty sure it wouldn’t work, but he was going to bring it up tonight at the meeting.

Xander clocked out and headed for home. He was too hot and sweaty to go straight to the Magic Box. Instead, he looked forward to a long, cool shower in the quiet of his own apartment.

He knew better than to plan anything like that. As soon as he walked in the door, Anya, Willow and Buffy accosted him, all talking loudly about something that he couldn’t understand.

“Hey, hey, hey! HEY!” His shouts finally quieted the gaggle of girls and he eased past them and into the kitchen for a glass of water and a beer. The girls stood in the doorway and watched him as he finished the water and popped the lid off the beer.

Sighing, he looked at the group in front of him. “I’m not getting a shower right now, am I?” All three heads shook no.

“Fine, at least let me sit down. He pushed past the crowd in the doorway and sat on the couch, stretching his legs out and propping his work boots on the table.

“OK. Shoot.” As all three mouths opened, he amended his statement. “One at a time, please.”

Buffy and Willow looked at Anya as she took a deep breath. “Xander, you are not going to believe what happened!” She paused and looked at the other girls, both bouncing on their toes as they eagerly anticipated Xander’s reaction to their news.

“We have been invited to go to LA.” She sighed triumphantly as she completed her news.

Xander stared at her blankly and said, “Ok.” He then stood up and headed for the shower.

“Alexander Harris! Come back here!” Xander stopped mid-step, spun and returned to the couch, dropping down to the cushions.

“As I was saying, Cordelia called the Magic Box this morning. They’re having a problem with some demon that is attacking the models at fashion shows. Cordelia is hosting a show at the Hyperion this weekend to try and draw it out. She wants the three of us to come down and act as models!” All three girls looked at him expectantly.

“Yeah?” Xander’s brow furrowed as he tried to decide what reaction they were looking for.

Suddenly, all three girls began to chatter at him again, talking about fashions, clothes that they needed to buy to do the show and what shoes would look best with each outfit. Xander began to doze as the noise continued around him.

Xander woke to the sound of someone banging on the table in front of him. He opened his eyes to see startling blue eyes looking right back at him. “Oi! Whelp! Time to get up. Watcher wants us, remember?”

Spike wandered into the kitchen and Xander heard the sounds of the vampire rummaging around in the kitchen, preparing his evening snack.

“Where’d everybody go?” Xander smacked his sticky lips and tongue, trying to produce some moisture for his dry throat.

“Who? Oh! You mean the bints that spent the entire afternoon yakking non-stop out here, keeping me from getting my beauty sleep? They left about an hour ago, all nattering about shopping for shoes or some such crap.” Spike gulped down his blood, grimacing at the taste as he swallowed.

“Ghastly stuff.” He rinsed out his mug and laid it in the bottom of the sink. He was not in the least bit interested in another episode of ‘how to keep Anya happy by not leaving nasty mugs in the sink’. Demon girl had gone on for about forty-five minutes the last time she had found a blood-tinged cup.

“Ready to go, Harris?” Xander looked at Spike in exasperation.

“Do I look like I’m ready? I need a shower and something to eat. You go ahead and go, I’ll get there when I can.” Spike shook his head at his flatmate.

“Nope, Watcher wouldn’t let the girls use his mid-life-crisis-mobile to get to the mall, so Anya volunteered your car. You’ll have to ride with me.”

“Well, crap. Ok. I’m gonna hop in the shower. Be back as soon as I can.” Xander stood and stretched, exposing a firm belly and a long line of dark hair that lead down into the front of his work pants.

Spike blinked and looked away, his mouth snapping shut as he spun. “Hurry up, Whelp. Don’t have time to wait for your slow arse.”

Xander flipped off the vampire and hurried into the shower.

Spike sat in the warm spot that Xander had just vacated, luxuriating in the leftover heat. He laid his head on the back of the couch and tired not to envision Xander in the shower, all wet and soapy. He growled softly as he imagined the difference in skin tone between Xander’s stomach and hips.

Xander stood under the necessarily cold water. He had caught the look on the vampire’s face when he stretched. Spike’s eyes had deepened to midnight blue and Xander could swear that the look in the dazzling eyes was lust, pure and simple.

“There is no way that Spike is lusting after me, now quit it.” He spoke to his cock as it continued to try to rise. “Why are you reacting to Spike anyway?” He roughly washed the rest of his body, willing away his erection before it really got going good, turning off the icy water and wrapping a towel around his slightly blue skin.

When Xander reappeared, dressed and ready to go, Spike handed him a sandwich before herding him towards the door. “They were expecting us twenty minutes ago, let’s go.”

Xander stared at the sandwich in his hands as he ran down the steps. “Spike, wha…”

Spike interrupted. “Forget it, Whelp. It wasn’t for you. I am the one that will be blamed when we’re late. Now get in and let’s go.”

Xander slid into the front seat of Spike’s beloved DeSoto, chewing thoughtfully on his sandwich, oblivious to the cleanliness of the car that surrounded him.

Part Four

Once again, Tara and Giles were sitting at the research table when a squabbling Xander and Spike appeared at the door.

“It’s true, Spike!”

“You’re wrong, Whelp. There is no way that they are going to let T’Pol and Trip do it! Unresolved Sexual Tension is the mainstay of all Star Trek seri…” Spike stopped his rant suddenly, snarling at the pair sitting in front of them. “Never mind.” He threw himself onto the stairs leading to the balcony and lit a cigarette.

“Hey guys. What’s up? I’m sure that you’ve all heard about our girls’ big debuts.” Xander sat next to Giles, leaning back in his chair.

“Unfortunately, yes. Buffy asked for the next few days off to prepare, as well as the weekend for the show. I will need your assistance in patrolling, if you don’t mind.” Giles’ expression spoke volumes as he looked back down at the book in his hands.

“Tara and I have been researching the islands of Bermuda. We have found some interesting information.” Giles began to flip through the book in his hand, looking for some specific text.

“Here, look at this. There is an area of the island that is considered sacred by the people who live there. It doesn’t say why, though…” Giles began to murmur to himself as he continued to browse through the book.

“Ok, looks like we just lost Giles. How are you doing, Tara? Heard that you’re out of school for the next month or so.” Xander began to pat his pockets, Spike style, before pulling out the candy bar that he had so cleverly stashed before being shoved out of the apartment.

“Y..yeah. I’m doing some research with Giles. I’m looking at Mythology and it’s Sociological…” Xander interrupted before the Wicca could finish.

“Um… sounds great.” He looked decidedly uncomfortable with the scientific description of Tara’s study topic.

Bored with watching the others, Spike stood and began to pace around the room, fingering items as he passed them. “So, Watcher, you said you would fill us in tonight, so fill.” He picked up a crystal ball and began to toss it into the air, catching it from a different angle with each downswing.

“Yes, I will… Spike, do put that down. It may be credulous merchandise, but I will make a profit off of it. Thank you.” He eyed Spike as the ball was unceremoniously dropped back into its position on the counter.

“As I was saying, the Council has been monitoring the Triangle and its effects on the population for some time. However, their contact on the island is one of the people who has disappeared. The Council is quite concerned that the Hellmouth might be changing in some way. It is unknown if the creatures attacking the population have come out of the Hellmouth or if they have just been drawn to it. There have been no witnesses to the attacks except for the contact from the Council, and, as I mentioned, he’s missing now as well.” Giles paused to gage the reactions of the others.

“So, what exactly does the Council want us to do?” Xander’s question made Giles smile. Not ‘you’, but ‘us’.

“They have asked that we go to the island and do our own investigation into the disappearances and the Hellmouth.” Giles was surprised when he felt his body relax after this revelation.

“Sod that! I’m not getting on a plane with you lot and flying all over the bleedin’ planet, trying to save the day. I got enough to worry myself about here in Sunnyhell!” Spike’s argumentative reaction was far from unexpected, and as Xander opened his mouth to retort, Giles placed a hand on his arm and shook his head gently. Spike continued to pace as his tirade intensified.

“What, you think that now I have this chip in my head, I’m just your little attack vamp? Not gonna happen! I’m Evil! I don’t go around saving puppies and ridding the world of demons. Well, I do, but just because the violence is bloody brilliant.” An evil smirk crossed his face as his thoughts continued. “Yeah, blood and gore, that’s what I’m all about. Bet those nasties in Bermuda wouldn’t stand a chance against the Big Bad. Yeah. They’ll see what happens when you mess with William the Bloody…”

Spike stopped pacing as he realized what he had said. “Oh, bloody hell. Fine, I’m in. When do we leave?”

Giles reached into his jacket and removed a set of tickets. “We are scheduled to depart next Wednesday from Los Angeles. We have an extended layover in Texas then will take a short flight to Atlanta then to Miami. From there, we will set out on a cruise ship for Bermuda.”

“A cruise ship? Why aren’t we just going to fly out there?” Xander licked the chocolate off of his fingers as he waited for Giles’ answer.

Spike’s own concerns about the excessive layovers and flights were lost as he watched Xander’s slippery tongue slowly drawing the warm chocolate off of his hand.

Tara looked at Spike, surprised at the look on his face. She glanced to see what he was looking at and grinned. Xander had finished licking and had drawn his entire middle finger into his mouth to suck off the sweet candy. Spike inhaled loudly.

“What, pet, not up for a moonlight cruise?” Spike covered his gasp with a snarky comment. What the hell was he thinking, getting aroused by the whelp licking his fingers clean?

“Not with you, no.” Xander’s own reply was quick. Giles stepped in before they became involved in a full-blown fight.

“I would rather fly straight through myself without all the layovers and time spent onboard a ship. However, this is the fastest that I could get us out to the island. For some reason there are no direct flights going to the island within the next month. Bloody American Tourism Board…”

Giles returned to his book. “Even with my consenting to the erratic and completely insane traveling plans, there are no flights available any earlier than next week. This leaves us time for research and allows for Anya, Buffy and Willow to participate in Cordelia’s… thing.” He frowned as he thought of the excitement that the three young women projected over wandering up and down a catwalk.

“Please be ready to leave by four pm next Wednesday. We will meet here and leave for the airport before five. I was able to insure night flights throughout our journey. I’m not sure how long we will be needed, but be prepared to be gone for approximately three weeks.” With that, Giles returned to his research.

“Three weeks! What about my job, G-man? I do have to work you know.” Xander was excited about the prospect of getting away from Sunnydale, no matter the length of the trip, but felt as though he should put up a token protest.

Giles sighed once more and looked at the young man over the top of his glasses. “Xander, last week you told me that your boss had just asked you to take your vacation time sometime soon as you were accumulating it too quickly, did you not? You have over five weeks accrued already, correct?”

“Yeah. I’ll talk to my foreman.” Xander had forgotten about that conversation. He began to filter through his wardrobe in his mind, thinking about what to take when he suddenly thought of something. “Will it be OK to leave the shop closed for that long, Giles?”

“What do you mean, Xander?” Giles asked distractedly.

“Well, with you and Anya both gone, the shop will have to be closed. Won’t you lose your customers if you’re gone that long?” Xander was truly concerned. Spike snorted.

“Anya will not be going, Xander. I have tickets for you, myself and Spike.” The bell sounded and the room was filled with the excited chattering of Buffy, Anya and Willow.

Willow bounded over to Tara, kissing her full on the mouth. “Look at what I got!” She began to dig through the bag in her arms, dropping several items to the table in front of her girlfriend.

Anya squealed at the sight of Xander and began to unload her bag into his lap. Buffy pouted when she realized that she had no one to show off her items to. Spike noticed.

“Ah, poor Slayer. No soldier boy to entertain you; whatever will you do?” Buffy shot a look at Spike before flouncing into the training room with the cordless phone.

Giles dropped his head to the table as he listened to the young people around him. Xander was trying to placate Anya while Spike shot verbal jibes in his direction. Willow and Tara were whispering with their heads pressed together, so close that blonde and red twined.

As Buffy returned, Giles cleared his throat. “I am pleased that you all enjoyed your outing today. I know that you have much more to say, but we do need to research and patrol tonight. Shall we begin?”

As Giles filled the remaining Scoobies in on the complications concerning the triangle, Spike sat on the counter, kicking his feet and watching the people around him.

These children had been protecting Sunnydale and the rest of the world for the past four years. It was incredible to him. They had no special abilities other than Buffy’s Slayer calling, but still they fought the forces of evil. He rolled his eyes at his own thoughts. He sounded like one of the comic books that the boy had stashed under his bed that he thought no one knew about.

Red’s powers were growing. He was concerned that she would do something stupid after dog-boy left her, but Giles had been able to convince her that spell casting while emotions were running so high was dangerous. Spike shuddered as he considered what might have happened if she had actually cast the ‘my will be done’ spell that she had come across after Oz had packed up and left for good.

Spike turned his attention to the Slayer. Buffy was staring at nothing, barely listening to what her Watcher was saying. He growled quietly, perturbed that she would tune out the one person that could help her stay alive. She was a worthy adversary, but Spike was afraid that she was becoming overconfident. He knew that if she were this brash when they had first fought, he would have easily won. Of course, he himself tended to think too much of his own skills, hence her still being alive.

Xander said something, drawing Spike’s attention. He could see that Anya’s hand was stroking the young man’s cock under the table. He sniffed the air, drawing in the delightful smell of Xander’s arousal.

“So… patrol. Buffy, you, Xander and Willow take the main route. Spike and I will follow up on some leads that I have about the unusual activity at the lake. Tara could you and Anya continue cross referencing the texts that I gave you earlier?” At Tara’s nod, he turned to his partner for the evening. “Ready?”

The group trudged into the Magic Box several hours later, all smelling of T’glath slime. “So you found them?” Tara asked, wrinkling her nose at the smell.

“Yes, we found them, yes, we killed them and yes, we stink.” Buffy slopped down at the table and began to run her fingers through her hair, flinging thick slime onto the wooden floor.

“Buffy, please do not do that!” Giles sighed. “I suggest that we all shower here.” Turning to the smirking vampire, he added, “No, Spike, not all together. If we do not get this off our skin soon, it will begin to petrify.” He looked down at Willow who had received the strongest spray from the demon and was covered head to toe. “Would you care to be first?”

Willow dashed for the training room without a word, dripping a steady stream of slime as she ran. Spike chuckled and shrugged off his duster, which amazingly, had not a drop on it.

“How is that that you go out with us and kill the slimy things, we all get covered in this vile crap, but you only have it on your hair and boots?” Xander shook his head, attempting to dislodge the green goop from his ear canal.

Spike shrugged and dropped his slimed covered boots onto a chair as he reclined. “I dunno, just lucky, I guess.”

Xander glanced around the room. “Where’s Ahn?”

Tara looked up from the book she was reading. “She went home fifteen minutes ago. S..she said to tell you that you are excused from giving her…” She blushed furiously.

“I get it,” Xander groaned.

Giles walked from his office, rubbing a towel vigorously over his head as Xander dropped into the chair next to Spike and leaned back, closing his eyes and breathing deeply.

Buffy glanced up from her position across from Tara as Willow reappeared from the training room in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt.

“Me next!” The door slammed as the Slayer rushed to the shower to clean herself.

“I am so glad that we all started keeping extra clothes up here. I threw that outfit into the trash.” Willow began to brush her thick hair. Tara stopped her with a touch. Smiling, Willow dropped to the floor in front of her girlfriend and sat between her knees. Tara looked at Spike as she began to brush the red hair in front of her.

“I found some i..interesting information on Bermuda while you were out, Spike. There is a in Pembroke Parish called the Admiralty House. It was built in the early 1800s. Starting around 1849, someone dug an elaborate system of tunnels and caverns beginning under the house. The tunnels run all over the island.” She winked at Spike, grinning at the stunned expression on his face.

“Really, Glinda?” Spike seemed unsure what to say next.

“The Council rented you guys a house called Mazarine by the Sea. It’s less than a mile from the Admiralty House. Betcha you could access the tunnels somehow from there.” Tara finished brushing her sleepy lover’s hair and drew her to her feet. “C’mon, Willow, let’s go home, it’s late.” She picked up their bags and a small stack of books and led Willow from the store. Willow smiled hazily at everyone and waved her hand as she yawned. “’Night.”

Buffy stomped through the room. “Gotta get home, Giles. My mom’s gonna freak.” As she disappeared out the door, Xander wandered into the training room for his shot at the shower.

As he stood under the warm spray, Xander allowed his thoughts to drift. It was just like Anya to announce to whoever was around that he was excused from giving her orgasms for the night. He sighed, yet another personality quirk that he just could not get used to.

He looked up, letting the water run into his face. Thoughts of Anya and orgasms had unfortunately resulted in his body reacting in its normal manner and he was now sporting an impressive erection. He groaned, miserable. He was standing in the shower of the Magic Box with people waiting for him to finish. From years of experience, he knew his hard-on wouldn’t just go away, so he wrapped a calloused hand around the sensitive flesh and began to stroke hard. He wasn’t aiming for pleasure, just release.

He ran his thumb over the head of his dick, smoothing the creamy precome across the surface. He stroked harder, trying to come up with a fantasy that would end this quickly. Anya in her new lingerie, Anya sucking his cock, Anya and Buffy sucking his cock at the same time… Nothing helped. He stroked, pulled, pushed with his hips and strained his muscles, but he couldn’t come.

He leaned against the wall of the shower stall and tried to calm down. Forcing it wouldn’t work. Xander closed his eyes and allowed his mind to wander, still stroking himself gently. Suddenly he saw Angel coming towards him, grabbing him in a headlock. Xander tensed and wondered where his brain was taking him, but since his cock seemed not to care, he decided just to go along for the ride.

Angel dragged him down a dark hallway and began speaking to someone else. When Xander looked up, he saw luminescent eyes looking down at him and he felt his erection jerk. He began stroking harder as the blond vampire in his mind dropped to his knees before Xander; Angel tugged the dark headed boy upright, still holding him firmly in his grasp.

Fantasy Spike growled at the two men in front of him before reaching out and pulling down Xander’s zipper, dragging his cock out. Xander struggled against the strong arms holding him to no effect. The man on his knees before him slid his mouth gently around the head of his cock. His tongue pressed against the slit before somehow wrapping itself all the way around his shaft. Looking up at Xander through his eyelashes, Spike began to suck gently and…

“Aaaggh! Oh, God!” Xander came violently into his hand, spurting his semen against the wall of the shower. He almost cried at the release. Pulling himself up straight, he reached for the soap and quickly washed all the evidence from his body before stepping out of the shower.

As he wrapped a towel around his hips, he flushed. He had just gotten off on the thought of being held forcibly by one vampire while another sucked him off. Xander knew he wouldn’t be able to look Spike in the eyes again.

When he finally reappeared from the training room, he came upon Giles sitting on his haunches next to Spike as the vampire convulsed.

“What set it off this time?” Xander walked over and knelt beside the older man.

“Nothing. He was sitting at the table, smoking. We were discussing the travel arrangements for the trip and he just started screaming and clutching his head. You were right, Xander. Something has to be done.”

Xander swallowed and looked up at Giles. “I did some research last night and I had an idea. I’m not sure if it will work or not because it just seems too obvious, but it couldn’t hurt to try, I mean…”

“Xander,” Giles interrupted. “What was your idea?”

“Well,” Xander studied the pattern on the wooden floor, trying to think through what he wanted to say. One glance at the still shuddering form of the man lying in the floor decided him. “I spent about five hours on the internet last night reading everything I could find on microchips.

The only thing that will absolutely kill a chip of any kind is heat. We don’t want to heat him up, though, because we’d fry his brain before the chip even started to smolder. The chip could be surgically removed, but again, brain damage.” Giles frowned at the young man, silently urging him to hurry.

“Sorry, just trying to go through my thought process. Ok. There are several types of computer chips, some more sensitive than others. It is possible to erase the programming on the more sensitive chips with magnets.” Xander stopped and looked at Giles.

Giles rocked off his feet to sit on the floor, his mouth dropped open. “Xander, you’re right. That was so simple that I hadn’t even considered it. As you say, there is no way to know if his chip is one that would respond to that, but it couldn’t hurt to try.” Giles pulled off his glasses and began to rub them with his shirttail.

“Obviously we will need a rather strong magnetic force to make it through his skull and brain tissue…” Giles looked off distantly, as he searched his brain for any information that might help them help Spike.

“Well, I thought about that, too. MRI machines are basically huge magnets, right? And they would be strong enough to cut through his skull and brain tissue because that’s what they were designed to do.” Xander down at the vampire who lay between them, silent and still.

Giles frowned, contemplating that statement. “No Xander, I believe the MRI would rip the chip out of his brain, straight through his skull. Perhaps an electromagnet…I will do more research into this. That truly was a brilliant idea. Thank you. Here, help me get him up and I’ll assist you with getting him into the car.” They both stood and grasped Spike’s arms, pulling them over their shoulders, dragging him up and towards the door.

Part Five

Spike came to about halfway back to the apartment. He snarled when he realized that Xander was driving his DeSoto.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Whelp?” A growl escaped from his lips. He wiped his mouth with his hand, absently licking at the blood collected there.

“Well, I’m driving your lazy butt home since you decided to take a nap.” Xander looked over at the vampire beside him, wincing internally at the drawn look on the other man’s face.

“Pull over, I’m driving.” Spike struggled to sit up straighter, drawing his duster around him as he shivered.

“No, I am not going to pull over. Giles says that you didn’t do anything at all to induce that last jolt and it was the worst so far.” Xander glanced again at Spike, noting the dark circles that were developing under now dull blue eyes.

“’M fine. Now pull over.” Spike reached out to touch Xander, receiving a zap from his chip for his efforts. “Fuck!”

Spike fell silent, allowing himself to drift off. When he awoke, he was sitting alone in the car. He began cursing the boy aloud before he realized that they were sitting in front of Willy’s. Xander appeared suddenly outside Spike’s window, causing him to jump.

“Here, Fangless.” He shoved several bags of blood through the window. “Eat up. You look like shit.”

“Thanks too much.” Spike raised an eyebrow as he tore into the bags, too hungry to be concerned with his audience. Xander climbed into the driver’s seat and began patting his pockets, looking for the key. He found it in the ignition and started the powerful motor back up.

Spike threw an empty bag out the window and had started on a second when he realized that the blood didn’t taste bad. He drew in another mouthful, swallowing then turning, startled, to look at the boy. “Human?”

“Yeah. Really, man, you look bad. I didn’t think that pig blood would do anything to help repair the damage that thing has to be doing to your head.” He avoided looking at the blond vamp as he turned back in the direction of their apartment.

Spike finished five of the six bags that Xander had bought for him before they turned onto their street. He dropped the last bag into a deep pocket to save for a mid-day treat.

As Xander parked the DeSoto in it’s customary parking place, Spike took a deep breath and turned to face the other man. “Xander, thank you for the blood. You’re right, pig wouldn’t have cut it.”

Xander waved off the comment and walked around the car to help Spike out of the seat, resulting in the Big Bad popping back out.

“Hands off. I’m fine,” Spike rumbled, shoving Xander back before falling to the ground, writhing in pain.

“Yeah, you look great.” Xander shrugged and walked towards the door. Spike growled and pulled himself off the ground, staggering towards the boy who was holding open the door for him.

By the time he made it into the building, the pain had passed and, as they walked up the stairs to the apartment, Xander and Spike were arguing as usual. They were stopped in their tracks at the sound of a soft British accent.

“William! Alexander! Come here, boys!” Both men turned and made their way into the open door of the elderly woman’s apartment.

Mrs. Sanderson had become a presence in the life of the Scoobies. Of indeterminate age, the woman fairly projected youth and vitality. Spike suspected that the woman was well over a hundred years old. He had surreptitiously probed the woman’s memories while indulging in her tea and found that they had shared more than a few historical periods.

She was regularly awake at all hours of the day and night and they never knew when they might be summoned to visit. None of the Scoobies dared refuse her invitations. Spike and Giles were particular favorites of hers; she would hold them in her apartment for hours discussing all things English.

“Hello, Mrs. Sanderson. How are you this evening?” Spike’s cultured alter ego’s voice rang out in the quiet room.

“Quite well, my young William. Please boys, come in and sit.” Mrs. Sanderson waved them towards the lace-covered couch and walked into the kitchen to fetch tea and biscuits.

“Well, now, boys. How are things going?” Mrs. Sanderson placed an intricate silver tray down on the coffee table in front of Xander and Spike. She positioned a delicate bone china teacup and saucer in front of each of them before pouring the hot infusion through the silver strainer and into the cups.

“Everything is going fine, Mrs. Sanderson. We’re planning on a trip in the next few weeks, so you need to tell the grocer that you’ll need help getting up the stairs with your groceries. I don’t know why you won’t use the elevator.” The softly wrinkled face glowed as a smile was beamed in Xander’s direction.

“Thank you for letting me know, Alexander. I will be sure to alert Mr. Haverty to that fact. Where are you going?”

Spike gently stirred his tea, not allowing the silver spoon to touch the fragile china. “We are going on a cruise with Mr. Giles. I do believe that it will be quite the holiday.” He reached for one of the sweet cookies still sitting on the silver tray.

Xander attempted to mimic Spike’s precise stirring method, accidentally tapping his spoon on the rim of his cup while removing it from the tea. He blushed and looked nervously at his hostess, apologizing with a smile.

Mrs. Sanderson had been quite adamant that both young men learn how to behave correctly at tea. She had been fairly delighted at how quickly Spike had taken to the outdated custom. Xander was still adjusting.

“How long will you be away?” She lifted her cup and saucer, sipping quietly at her beverage.

Xander, trying to avoid actually having to drink his tea answered. “We’re not sure. Giles…” At Mrs. Sanderson’s frown, Xander amended his statement. “I mean, Mr. Giles says that we will probably be gone between two and three weeks.” He lifted his cup to his mouth, trying not to grimace at the taste. He looked at Spike pleadingly.

Spike rolled his eyes at Xander as Baggins distracted Mrs. Sanderson. “We will be leaving next Wednesday at half four. I do wish we could give you more information, but we are unsure as to when we will be returning. Mr. Giles, as you know, is a man of varied interests and could possibly find distractions on our return. As he is financing our travels, we are more than willing to stop anywhere he pleases. We are eagerly looking forward to our trip.” With that final comment, Spike finished his tea and stood.

“Mrs. Sanderson, it has been delightful, but I regret that it is late and Alexander and myself have much to do to in preparation to leave next week, I’m sure you understand. Thank you for the tea.” He bent at the waist and placed a gentle kiss on the wrist of his hostess.

Mrs. Sanderson smiled up at the vampire and touched him gently on the head. Spike’s knees bowed as he felt a rush of energy flow through his body. He shook his head slightly and smiled at the older woman. “Thank you again for the tea.” He shook his head again, feeling odd.

As Spike moved towards the door, Xander stood and followed. Spike spun and thrust his eyebrows in the direction of Mrs. Sanderson.

“Um… Thanks for the tea, Mrs. Sanderson. We’ll give you call when we get home!” Xander turned back and walked quickly to the door.

“Thank you for the company, boys! Enjoy your holiday!” As her door closed, Mrs. Sanderson looked down at her cat. “Oh, Baggins, did you see their auras? They’re becoming aware; it won’t be long now, my pet. Off to bed now.” Mrs. Sanderson lifted the lanky feline and the two shuffled into the bedroom.

“Mmgh…” Anya’s less than coherent response made Xander frown. He had hoped to rid his mind of the disconcerting thoughts about Spike by pounding his very human and, more importantly, female girlfriend into the mattress. However, when he got home, he found her sound asleep in their bed.

He once again massaged the small breast that filled his hand as he kissed and nibbled at her neck. Anya groaned again and spun in the bed, knocking him in the head with her elbow. He released her quickly, rubbing his sore cheekbone. Anya rolled to her stomach and began to snore.

Xander turned over, leaving Anya to her dreams. He stared at the ceiling, trying to control his thoughts. Remembered conversations flew threw his head.

Growing up, Xander would lie in his room at night, praying that his father would be too drunk to remember that he had a son that he hated. On a good night, his father would stumble drunkenly past his room into his own, where Xander would try not to listen to the grunting and cursing from the next room. Xander would pretend that he didn’t hear his father blame his mother for his inability to perform.

“You cunt! If you were in the least bit attractive, this wouldn’t have happened. ‘Course I can’t get it up! You think I want to be with a woman that looks like you? If I weren’t tied to you, I could have any woman I wanted. But, no! You had to get knocked up and trap me. I shoulda' made you get rid of the little fucker! Then I would be a free man! Get it hard woman!”

His father would rant for hours about the uselessness of his wife and son. Xander’s mother never fought back. How could she? She believed every word that came out of her husband’s mouth.

On a bad night, his dad would remember him. He would be dragged out of his bed and thrown to the floor, kicked and beaten until he no longer resisted. Then the real abuse would begin.

“Why are you crying, you little fag? You think I don’t know what you do in here at night when your skinny, little friend comes over? You like dick, boy? Well, here’s one for you!” His father would then force Xander’s mouth open and stick his hard cock in, fucking his son’s mouth as he continued to verbally lash out. He was always hard.

“You like that, you little cocksucker?” Tears would roll down Xander’s face as he tried not to gag on the flesh that filled his mouth. “Yeah, you like it. You’re a little fag, aren’t you?” He would continue to thrust into the unresisting cavern before pulling out and coming all over Xander’s face and chest. “There, you little queer. Clean yourself up. If I ever catch you doing any disgusting faggot things in this house, I’ll kill you. Get up off the floor and be a man!”

After a few more well-placed kicks, Xander would half-stumble, half-crawl to the bathroom to clean himself up. Looking into the mirror, he would see haunted eyes looking back. In his heart, he knew that was why he had developed his defensive comedy routine. He had to prevent the world from seeing what he saw every time he looked into the mirror.

Then Jesse had died. Xander had killed him. Jesse was the only other person that knew the whole truth about his father’s abuse. Xander had hidden it from everyone else. With Jesse, he had let himself cry, had tried to understand why his father hated him so much. Jesse had been unable to offer anything but the innocent comfort of his arms. He had loved Jesse with all his heart and then he had killed him.

That night was one of the bad ones. When his father forced his way into Xander’s mouth, he finally broke. He was gasping for breath and crying harder than ever before, the pain in his heart not allowing him to distance himself from the abuse. He was so angry. He was angry with himself, angry with Buffy and angry with the world… He was too angry to be cowed. He bit down, hard.

His father had screamed and his mother had run in immediately. That had hurt Xander more than anything. She had known. She had heard everything that had ever happened in this room. Blood dripped out of his mouth as his father lay on the floor before him, rolling back and forth, curled around his own body.

His mother had driven his father to the Emergency Room. It had taken 25 stitches to repair the damage that Xander’s blunt teeth had caused. After that night, he never saw his father’s dick again.

The abuse didn’t stop, though. It evolved into something different, but just as bad. Xander rapidly learned how to clean and medicate the lash marks his father’s whip had left across his back. The whip that he had bought the night after Jesse died. The whip he had used almost every day until Xander moved into the basement. Anya had never noticed the faint scars.

Xander flinched, pulling back from his own thoughts. He heard Spike in the next room, pacing. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep. He rolled closer to Anya’s warm body and relaxed into her heat before drifting off.

Spike smoked the last cigarette in his pack and continued to pace. It was too early in the evening to sleep and he was too worked up to even sit comfortably. He hadn’t felt this good since the commandos stuck their damn chip in his head. Must have been all the human blood that the whelp had fed to him, he decided.

Looking at the empty package of smokes, he gleefully threw on his duster and ran out of the apartment and towards the stop and rob, happy to have something to do other than sleep.

“Gonna get some smokes, gonna get some smokes, gonna get some…” He stopped singing as he saw a figure dart around the corner of the street. Sniffing the breeze, he snarled happily. It was a fledgling. He could kill it.

Spike raced after the other vamp that, wisely, had run at the first sight of Spike. He allowed the chase to continue for an extended time. He howled as he ran, drinking in the night. When he was done playing, the master vampire quickly caught up to the fledge, who fell to his knees, begging for his life.

Spike felt the need for a little release and pummeled the other vampire until it could no longer stand. When the younger demon quit moving in response to his punches, Spike pulled a stake out of his duster pocket and plunged it into the other’s dead heart.

Brushing dust from his clothing, Spike dropped the stake back into his pocket and looked around. He was standing in a residential neighborhood quite a ways from his own apartment. He hadn’t realized that he had chased the fledgling so far. He turned back in the direction of home. Looking up at a street sign, he noticed that he was about a block from Revello Drive. He wandered towards the Slayer’s house, thinking that he might as well check to make sure that Buffy had arrived home in one piece. A flimsy excuse to see one of his favorite females, but his overactive mind really didn’t care.

When he got closer, he noticed that the kitchen light was on. He grinned and stepped up his pace, hurrying to the door. Peeking in the shuttered window, he saw a familiar shape. He smiled and knocked quietly at the door before running his fingers through his hair to neaten it.

The shutter cracked, and then fell shut as the door opened. “Spike, come in.” Joyce smiled as she moved aside to allow Spike through the door.

“Evening, Joyce. Too late, or early to visit?” Spike squinted at the clock on the oven, deciding that too early was the correct question. He smelled the unmistakable scent of cocoa and his mouth watered.

“Never too late…” Joyce peered at the clock herself. “Too early for you, Spike. Hot Chocolate?” Joyce began filling a second mug before the vampire had a chance to answer. She leaned over to pull the miniature marshmallows from their cabinet before pushing the mug of chocolate and bag of sweet treats towards the waiting vamp.

Spike pulled off his duster and hung it on the coat rack next to the door then hopped onto the stool across from Joyce. He filled his cup to the brim with marshmallows before sipping noisily at the warm concoction.

“So what’s going on, Spike? Haven’t seen you recently.” Joyce sipped at her own chocolate, closing her eyes with pleasure.

“Well, my soddin’ chip has decided to fry my brain. Spent more time than I’d like to admit laid out on the floor these last few days.” Spike’s comment made Joyce frown. She put down her mug and walked around the counter. Pulling Spike’s mug from his hands, she ignored the warning growl that escaped from his chest as she turned him to look at her.

“What do you mean? What’s going on with your chip?” Spike reluctantly began to relate the story behind his dysfunctioning implant. After a few gasps and sighs, Joyce gave Spike back his mug and settled on the stool beside him.

“Are you alright? Is there anything that I can do to help?” Spike smiled at the look on Joyce’s face. He loved this woman. Her fiery spirit impressed him long before the US government violated him, and now her caring heart drew him to her like a moth to a flame.

“’M fine, Joyce. Actually, it went off pretty badly at the shop tonight, but hasn’t fired since. The whelp bought me a few pints of human, and I’m feeling much better.” Remembering that he still had a packet of blood in his duster, he walked over and pulled it out. Joyce took the plastic bag from his hands and poured the contents into a mug before placing it in the microwave.

“What does Rupert think about all of this?” The microwave beeped and Joyce placed the oversized mug in front of Spike before taking the empty hot chocolate mug from his hands and rinsing it in the sink.

“Not much. I heard he and the whelp talking about magnets or something. I have no idea.” Spike and Joyce sat together, sipping their respective drinks and chatting until the sunrise became imminent.

Joyce glanced at the clock before pulling Spike off of his stool. “Home, Spike. Want to see you again.” She smiled gently at him.

Spike smiled and leaned in to kiss her cheek. “Thanks, Joyce. Be back soon.” He winked at her as he opened the door.

“Anytime, Spike. Anytime.” Joyce was rinsing out the bloody mug when her daughter appeared behind her.

“Was that Spike? Why didn’t you call me? I would have gotten rid of him for you.” Buffy walked over top the cabinet and pulled out a glass then headed towards the refrigerator.

“I didn’t want you to get rid of him, Buffy. I enjoy spending time with Spike. I invited him in.” Joyce frowned at her daughter.

Buffy looked up from where she was pouring herself some juice. “What do you mean, you invited him in? You can’t just invite vampires into our house!”

Joyce glared at her only child. “Yes, I can, because it is my house. I’m going to shower. If you want a ride to school, meet me at the car in an hour.” With that, Joyce left the kitchen.

Buffy stared after her mother, stunned.

Part Six

Spike arrived home just as the sun crested the horizon. He stood in the lobby for a long moment, watching the sunrise. As the beams of light drew closer to his feet, he withdrew to the apartment. Spike sighed as he ran from one of his favorite sights.

He stopped suddenly on the stairs. “Fuck! Forgot my damn fags!” He stomped up the rest of the flight and strode towards the apartment.

Xander glanced up from his seat at the bar as Spike came into the apartment. “Hey fangless, you look good.”

“Feel good, Whelp. Guess it was the blood you got me. Been too long since I had any human.” Xander nodded and went back to reading the paper as he slurped his coffee.

Spike grabbed a mug and filled it with coffee and a touch of cold pig’s blood. He walked behind Xander to the living room, pausing as he glanced over the other man’s shoulder.

He moved closer as an article caught his eye. Xander glanced up at the man behind him, and then returned to his reading. When Anya walked in, she found Spike standing behind Xander with one hand on Xander’s shoulder and one foot propped on the younger man’s chair. They were both leaning forward, intently reading the newspaper that was laid out on the bar in front of Xander. Both men raised their mugs to their mouths when Xander turned the page.

Anya snorted at the domestic image before her, causing both men to jump. “Shit, Ahn! You scared the crap outta me!” Xander grabbed a handful of napkins and began to dab at the coffee that now decorated his shirt.

Spike snarled in her direction before swallowing the last of his coffee/blood concoction and tossing the mug into the sink. He ignored Anya’s pointed look and stalked into his bedroom, shutting the door behind him.

He poked his head back out. “You still got that envelope I gave you?”

“Yes, Spike. Don’t worry.” Spike’s door slammed shut once again as Anya walked further into the kitchen.

Xander stood and wrapped his arms around Anya. “Hey, sweetie. How’s my girl?” He leaned in for a kiss and attempted a quick grope. Anya knocked his hands away and reached for the coffee pot and a mug. Xander looked down at his hands, confused.

“I have to get to the Magic Box. I told Giles that I would work a full eight hours today, even though we’re leaving at three.” Anya peered at Xander over the top of her mug.

“You’re leaving today? I thought that the show wasn’t until Saturday night!” Xander whined.

“Yes, Xander, today. I’ve told you that several times.” Anya sipped at her coffee as she mentally reviewed everything that she had packed. Xander looked around the room, still confused, and wondered if he were dreaming. Anya refuse sex? He tried to clear his head when she began speaking again.

“Now, while I’m gone, you will need to be sure that you keep the apartment clean and orderly. I do not want to return to dirty dishes and floors. Also, you need to look at the ceiling fan in Spike’s bedroom; it is making an irritating noise. Please try not to kill each other while I’m gone. We will be home on Sunday afternoon.” Anya picked up her purse and her suitcase, giving a quick kiss to Xander, who stood there open-mouthed.

When Anya passed by Mrs. Sanderson’s apartment, she paused and looked up the stairs. She knocked gently on the door before opening it and walking in.

“Is it done?” Baggins looked up at her and meowed gently, ending his cry with a growl.

“Good. I’ll be back Sunday. You have the number where I’ll be if you need anything before then.” Anya closed the door behind her and ran down the stairs. She was already late for work.

Spike strode out of his room clad only in his form fitting black jeans and headed towards the bathroom. The blond glanced into the living room as he passed before stopping and taking a few steps back into the doorway. He glanced questioningly at the boy that was standing in the middle of the living room with his mouth open.

“Oi, Whelp!” When he received no response, he walked over to Xander, his bare feet silent on the wooden floor. He touched the other man’s arm.

“Hey, donut boy.” Xander flinched and looked at Spike.

“She’s gone.” Spike nodded his head at the obviously unbalanced man.

“Yeah, she’s gone. Went to work didn’t she?” Spike prompted Xander to talk with a slight nudge to his chest.

“No, gone, gone. She won’t be back until Sunday.” Xander looked at Spike in confusion. “Did you know that they were leaving today?”

“Yep. ‘S all the bints have been bloody talking about all week.” Spike snorted at Xander and stalked to the bathroom to shower.

Xander looked around the living room and wondered what was happening with Anya. It had been over a week since they last made love and all of his attempts had been cut off before he even got a chance to make it to the pass. Last night at the Magic Box had been the first time in weeks that she had touched him first, and then she had come home and gone to sleep.

He wandered over to the couch and sat down, silently thanking the carpentry gods for screwing up the shipment and giving him the rest of the week off without touching his vacation time. He stretched his feet out on the table and scratched his stomach as he contemplated his girlfriend’s strange change in attitude. He heard the shower start and the variation in the water’s sound as Spike stepped into the stream.

“Oi! Whelp!”

Xander looked towards the doorway and hollered back. “What?”

“There’s no soap or shampoo in here!”

Xander sighed and heaved himself off of the couch, stretching and moving his hand up to scratch his chest as he wandered towards the bathroom. He yelled through the door to Spike, “Anya just bought some last week!”

“No shit! I’m telling you there is no soap or shampoo in here! She musta taken it all with her!”

“You have got to be joking, we had at least four different brands of everything imaginable in there!” Xander popped the lock on the bathroom door with the screwdriver he had stored over the doorjamb for that purpose and walked into the steamy room.

“Did you look under the cabinet?” He glanced over at the shower stall, quickly looking away as Spike stood on his toes to look over the top of the door at him, his dick pressing against the clouded glass.

“No. I was in the bloody shower, wasn’t I?” Xander rolled his eyes as he squatted down and began digging under the sink, pointedly ignoring the erection that had suddenly appeared in his sleep pants.

I am NOT lusting after the evil undead, I am NOT lusting after the evil undead… Xander spared a glance over his shoulder, his mouth filling with saliva as he took in the sight behind the glass.

Spike stood under the spray of water, his hands running through his hair as he arched his back, allowing water to cover his entire body. His cock was semi-erect and jutted out slightly in front of his hips as he raised his hands over his head and stretched.

Spike turned and once again pressed against the glass, flipping his wet curls out of his eyes. “Find anythin’ yet?”

Xander continued to dig through the cabinet. “Aha!”

“Aha, what?” Spike pushed up higher on his toes, trying to see what Xander had found.

“Remember that stuff that Mrs. Sanderson gave me a couple of months ago?”

Spike groaned. “Please, no. Tell me there is something else under there!” Xander smiled evilly and handed the heavy bottle to the blond.

“Here ya go, Fangless!” Xander turned and walked stiffly out of the bathroom, locking the door behind him.

“What kind of vampire uses rose scented soap?” Spike muttered as he poured the pale gel into his hand. He closed his eyes, taking in the captivating aroma. When he opened his eyes, Spike was standing in a garden full of rosebushes of every color. He saw a young woman in a formal gown dancing down the path, a kitten at her heels.

He jerked, returning suddenly to the bathroom. He frowned at the soap in his hands and began washing himself quickly. “Don’t know what the hell that was… Damned Whelp and his damned soap…”

Spike’s thoughts turned to Xander and he allowed his left hand to drift down and cup his balls. Who cared if the boy was straight? No harm on getting off to images of him. “Xander…” he muttered as he began to stroke. His mind filled with images of the dark haired man. The vampire’s fangs descended and he imagined biting into that strong neck and feeling the warmth of Xander’s blood filling his mouth. He gasped and ran his fingers over the head of his cock, wishing it was the boy that was touching him.

Spike continued to stroke himself, yelling almost silently in his completion. He soaped himself back up, then rinsed off and stepped out of the shower to dry. As he pulled his towel off the rack, a familiar smell filled his senses.

“Xander.” He inhaled deeply, following the heavy scent of arousal down to where the younger man had been digging through the cabinet. Spike smirked and wrapped his towel around his waist. He leaned over and tossed his jeans over his shoulder and wandered towards his room, whistling jauntily.

“I am NOT lusting after the evil undead!!” Xander scowled at his reflection in the mirror over Anya’s dressing table.

Xander glanced down at his dick, noting with pride the size of the bulge it made in his flannel pants. He then growled at it, trying to convince himself that his erection was not the result of seeing Spike naked.

He threw himself face down on his bed chanting quietly under his breath, “Not for the evil undead, not for the evil undead, not for the evil undead…” After several minutes, he fell into a light sleep.

When Xander woke up later that afternoon, he was feeling better. He had dreamt of rose gardens and kittens for some strange reason and, when he woke, he could still smell the delicate blooms.

Xander got out of bed and stretched, brushing his fingertips against the ceiling of his bedroom. He pulled off his ragged, coffee-stained t-shirt and reached into his dresser to grab some boxers. The brunette looked through the clothes in his closet, disgusted, not for the first time, in his own taste. How he wished he could afford decent clothing. He dug around the back and pulled out a steel gray t-shirt and a pair of clean jeans.

Yawning, Xander stumbled into the bathroom, staring a hole in the familiar wall as he emptied his bladder. Flushing the toilet, he turned to the shower and started the hot water. He stripped and tossed his clothes into the hamper before stepping under the spray.

Xander luxuriated under the steaming water. He stood still for several minutes before reaching for the rose soap. He wrinkled his nose at it, but poured some onto his bathing sponge anyway. The scent reminded him of his dream. It was so vivid!

He suddenly remembered what happened the last time he was in this bathroom and his erection returned with a vengeance. Not a good thing when your girlfriend is an ex-demon. Xander once again allowed his thoughts to drift where they wanted as he gently stroked himself.

Orgasming to the thought of burying his cock in Spike’s ass, he quickly rinsed off and climbed out of the shower to dress. Xander tried not to analyze his thoughts too carefully.

He happily admitted that Spike was attractive. He had no problem with that. He did have a problem with the way his body reacted to the other man. Well, not really, Xander actually felt ok with the whole thing, which really bothered him. Xander shook off his thoughts and finished dressing. He combed his wet hair and padded barefoot into the kitchen to find a snack.

Xander carried his plate of cold chicken and potato chips, precariously balanced on two coke cans, into the living room. He held an open beer in his other hand. Plopping onto the couch next to Spike, he offered the blond one of the cokes.

“What in the hell is that? Gimme the beer.” Spike swiped the bottle out of Xander’s hand and returned to watching the television.

“What are you watching?” Xander took a bite of his chicken and a swig of coke.

“Iron Chef.” Spike drained the bottle and set it on the floor next to Xander.

“Cool,” Xander muttered through a mouthful of chips. He tried not to think about how sexy Spike looked in his jeans and a t-shirt, his hair dried into loose curls.

An episode of Iron Chef, two episodes of Good Eats, an hour long investigative report on the dangers of fruit flies and halfway through an episode of American Chopper later, Spike began to complain.

“’M hungry. Feed me.” He shoved Xander, inadvertently pushing him off of the couch and onto the long forgotten and often kicked beer bottle.

“Shit!” Xander jumped up off of the now broken bottle, lifting his shirt and pulling his pants down slightly, twisting to see where he had cut his hip.

“Oh, man! That hurt!” Xander winced.

Spike leaned forward and tried to pry a small glass chip out of the cut, causing Xander to jump. “Sorry about that, Xander. Let’s go in the bathroom, I’ll help you clean it.” Both men walked into the bathroom and Xander dropped his jeans to the floor before standing next to the sink. He pulled out the alcohol and handed it to the vampire. He dragged the edge of his boxers down, exposing the wound.

“This might hurt a bit.” Spike poured the alcohol over a cotton ball and began dabbing at the wound, trying to see if there were any more glass shards.

“What do you mean, ‘might hurt’? That fucking burns, you asshole!” Spike finished cleaning the cut, noting that the bleeding had stopped.

“Doesn’t need a bandage. You’re ok.”

Xander frowned at Spike as he pulled his pants back up.

“I’ll go clean up the glass. Want some pizza? My treat.” Spike’s obvious apology was quickly accepted.

“Sure, I’ll be out in a minute. Gotta pee anyway.”

“Alright.” Spike leaned over and tenderly kissed Xander before walking out of the bathroom.

Spike and Xander stood silently on opposite sides of the bathroom door, before commenting in unison.

“What the…?”

Spike ran out the door and pounded down the stairs into the apartment lobby. He paced through the room, glaring at the sun-dappled floor, wishing he had remembered to stop for cigarettes last night.

Xander stood in the bathroom, rubbing his lips gently and thinking about what just happened.

Mrs. Sanderson sat, rocking, holding Baggins and humming contentedly to herself.

“Hey, Spike?” Spike turned and looked through the lobby towards the stairwell that held a very nervous Xander.


Xander looked down at his still bare feet and quietly asked, “How come your chip didn’t fire when you pushed me off the couch or when you cleaned the glass out of my butt?” Spike looked at Xander in shock.

“I have no fucking idea.” Spike rushed past Xander and up the stairs to the apartment. When Xander arrived moments later, he found Spike digging through an old chest in his bedroom.

“What are you looking for?” Xander sounded fearful.

“Chains, rope… Whatever I can find,” was the garbled response.

Xander backed out of the room asking, “Why?”

Spike looked up and into Xander’s eyes. “There is something wrong with my chip. I know that you’ll feel better if I’m tied up before you go get the Watcher and drag him over here to do… whatever.” Spike’s matter-of-fact answer chilled Xander to the bone.

“Spike, you think we’re going to stake you?” Xander walked back into the room and dragged the vampire to his feet.

“That thing has been frying your brain for over three weeks now. I know you thought I didn’t know how bad it was, but I did! I’ve been racking my brain and wearing out my welcome in computer geek chat rooms on the internet trying to find a way to reprogram that frickin’ thing or kill it altogether.”

Spike looked deeply into Xander’s warm brown eyes. “You’re not afraid of me, then?”

Xander swallowed convulsively then answered. “I’m terrified of you right now, Spike! But I’m glad that your chip isn’t hurting you anymore…”

Spike bent his elbows and placed his hands over Xander’s larger ones. “I would never hurt you.” He leaned in and kissed Xander full on the mouth. He barely brushed the other man’s lips, lightly tasting the essence of Xander with the tip of his tongue before pulling away.

Xander stood in the same position, hands on Spike’s shoulders, eyes closed, as he relived that softest of caresses.

With his eyes still closed, Xander commented, “Wonder what happened…”

Spike released Xander’s hands and stepped back out of the other man’s semi-embrace. “I don’t know, I’m sorry, Xand…”

Xander interrupted Spike’s apology. “Not that, Fangless. I mean, what happened to the chip?”

Spike sat on the edge of his bed, thoughtful. “I don’t know. I started feeling better last night.”

“Where did you go after we got back from the Magic Shop?” Xander sat beside the vampire, carefully keeping his hands to himself.

“I was jacked up from the human blood you got me and needed smokes. Went out and saw a fledge. Chased him a bit, finally staked him, was close to the Slayer’s so I went to see Joyce. Had hot chocolate, talked a bit, came home. Forgot my smokes.” Spike summarized his evening for the other man. He patted his pockets, searching for the non-existent cigarettes.

Xander thought for a moment before commenting. “Well, the chip still worked after the blood, remember? It went off when we got out of the car. Then we came in and you went back ou…” Xander thoughts continued without his mouth.

“Mrs. Sanderson.” They spoke at the same time. Suddenly there was a flurry of activity as both men searched for socks and shoes.

They ran into each other at the front door, ricocheting back and landing on their butts. Xander’s eyes widened. “Oh shit. That didn’t hurt you.”

Spike lunged off the floor and dragged a stammering Xander to his feet, pulling him towards the stairs and down to their mystifying neighbor’s apartment.

Spike pounded on the door several times before the soft voice answered. “Come in, boys!”

They walked into Mrs. Sanderson’s sitting room to find her filtering three cups of tea. She gestured to the couch opposite her, encouraging the men to sit.

“How was the rose soap? It’s about time you put it to use; I can smell it on you, you realize.” Both Xander and Spike stared at Mrs. Sanderson as if uncomprehending.

“Did it soothe you? I made that expressly for you two, to help relieve certain stressors that were interfering…”

“What did you do to my chip?” Spike rudely interrupted the woman.

“Chip? I don’t really like potatoes…” Xander glared at Spike trying to relay a message with just his eyes. “’M not talking about potatoes, you... The chip in my head! You touched me last night and now my soddin’ chip doesn’t work.” Spike tapped his skull fiercely and stared hard at Mrs. Sanderson as she glanced down at the feline twisting around her ankles.

“Language, my dear. A chip you say? Oh, my, I didn’t realize. My Baggins noted that your balance was off, even for a vampire, so I was just trying to restore you. I had no idea that someone had intentionally damaged you!” Spike and Xander stared openmouthed as Mrs. Sanderson took a sip of her tea.

“Ah… Quite good. Now boys, please focus on what is important. Did the soap that I gave you help with your needless inhibitions?” She smiled warmly at Xander and Spike before adding, “Close your mouths, dears.”

Xander managed to snap his mouth shut at her request and looked sideways at Spike. “You knew he was a vampire?” he asked.

“Well, of course! You don’t get to be my age and not know the truth about the things that go bump in the night.” Baggins hopped into Xander’s lap and began to purr. Xander stroked him absently.

“William, I did ask you to close your mouth, there’s a dear.” Mrs. Sanderson sipped at her tea once again and nodded towards the cups still sitting on the table.

Spike picked up his cup and drank down his tea in one gulp. “Thank you for the tea, Mrs. Sanderson.” He got up off the couch and walked dazedly to the door.

Xander nudged the cat off of his legs and rose. “Thanks, Mrs. Sanderson. We’ll try to stop back by when we’ve… um, we’ll stop back by later.” He pushed the vampire from in front of the door so that he could open it, looked back at his hostess and smiled, then ushered the stunned vamp out the door and back up to the apartment.

Part Seven

Angel looked down at the letter in his hand, then back up at the deliverer. “What is this?”

Anya looked back at the dark vampire. “A letter from Spike.” She sat in a chair opposite Angel’s, across the wide oak desk.

“Why do I have it? And don’t tell me it’s because it’s addressed to me.”

Anya shrugged and glanced at her feet. She shifted her legs, crossing them at the ankles, admiring her new shoes. “Spike needs access to his accounts and you are going to give it to him.” She reached down and rubbed at the toe of one black shoe, removing a smudge that marred its patent leather perfection.

“And why would I do that?” Angel growled at his visitor.

“Because, it’s his money. I did research. I found that all of the accounts listed in that letter, along with these additional accounts…” She opened her purse and pulled out a small piece of notepaper that she shoved at Angel. “…Were initially opened with funds withdrawn from the account of one William Bradley Jamison. That particular account was set up in 1872 by the affore mentioned Mr. Jamison. You will release those accounts to him, because they are the end result of Spike going to college and working as a lawyer for five years before you and your crazy entourage killed him. Now cough up the names and access codes so that I can go practice walking down the catwalk again.” Anya scowled at the demon before her, unknowingly intimidating the hell out of him.

Angel silently reached under his desk and pulled out a ledger. He picked up a pen and began jotting notes from the book in front of him. “Fine. Here are the codes. Why are you doing this for Spike? Your boyfriend hates him!”

Anya took the proffered paper, examining it to ensure that all the information was present before folding it to fit into her purse. “I am not my boyfriend. I like Spike. I even admire him. He, like me, was pulled from his life without warning and without choice. He is a survivor and I will help him in any way I can because I know exactly what he is going through. Unlike you, I care for my friends; I consider them family.”

She shook her head as Angel tried to speak. “If you were any kind of demon, you would have rushed to your childe’s side as soon as you heard that he had been attacked and violated.” She ignored Angel’s indrawn breath and continued. “Regardless of whether or not you were his actual sire, you are his family and instead of coming and getting him and taking care of your own, Spike had to beg his mortal enemy for asylum…”

Anya took a deep breath and stood. “You are nothing in this Angel. You gave up your rights to anything of Spike’s when you didn’t come for him. We done?” Angel nodded mutely and Anya strode out the door, following the sounds of laughter towards the ballroom.

Giles stood in the doorway of the Magic Shop, smoking a cigarette he had found stashed under the research table. Spike wasn’t the only one in the family that knew how to snoop. Xander had just called to let him know that he and Spike would be at the shop right after sunset.

Giles could tell from the lad’s tone that something serious had happened. He was fearful of what had happened this time with that bloody incapacitating chip. Giles glanced up at the clock on the wall and took one last drag off of his cigarette. He crushed it out against the wall and threw the butt into the trashcan just inside the door.

Giles stalked back to his office and at down in his chair. He was about halfway through a book on microchips and it was very slow reading. The bell rang and he gratefully rose from his chair to walk into the main room of the store.

He stopped at the looks on the two men’s faces. “What on earth has happened?”

Spike fell heavily into a chair, ignoring his nephew.

“Mrs. Sanderson happened. We’re not sure how, but she’s done something to Spike’s chip. It’s not working at all from what we can tell.” Xander sat in the chair beside Spike, dropping his head to the table and rolling his forehead along the surface.

Stunned, Giles sat across the table from them.

“Really? It doesn’t work at all?” Xander lifted his head enough to shake it before dropping it back to the table. “We really haven’t tested it, but it hasn’t fired since last night.” Xander’s voice was muted as he spoke to his shoes.

“Spike?” Giles was concerned about the lack of reaction from the vampire.

Xander glanced over at him and commented, “He’s been like this since we left her apartment a couple of hours ago.”

Spike jerked his head up to look at the watcher.

“Go ahead and dust me. I won’t fight you.” The blond leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, placing his hands on the arms of the chair to insure that they wouldn’t interfere with the stake he knew was on its way.

“He keeps saying that, too.” Xander stood and roamed into the training room, slamming the door behind him. Giles heard the heavy bag begin to swing as Xander hit it.

“Spike, look at me.” When he was ignored, Giles swiftly moved his chair around the table and pulled at the vampire’s chair to turn it to face him. When Giles was knee to knee with Spike, he tried again. “Spike.” Giles reached out and touched the vampire’s knee. Spike slowly drew his head up and looked into the watcher’s face.

“You know, I was really ok with the pain. You want to know why?” Giles nodded. “Because I’m a ponce. I bloody care about you soddin’ humans! I care about what happens to you and I care about what happens to Glinda and, God help me, I care about the bloody Whelp! I’d still like to kill the Slayer, but this is the first time that I have actually been happy since Angelus left! I was ok with the pain…” Spike’s voice wavered and tears began to fill his eyes.

Spike began to plead with his nephew. “Please, Rupert, stake me. I don’t think I can handle being rejected by yet another family. I can’t live alone any more, please stake me.” The tears began to roll down Spike’s face as he begged for his own death. “Please,” he breathed.

Giles sat back in his chair, astounded. The vampire didn’t want the chip out. The vampire considered them his family and feared their rejection. The vampire was more human than Giles felt at this moment.

“No,” he said softly. Spike jumped up, roaring and in game face.

“Stake me, you fucker!” He attacked Giles and the training room door flew open.

“Giles!” Xander flew across the room, trying to pry Spike’s hands from around Giles’ throat. Giles let go of one of Spike’s arms and waved Xander away.

“N…n..nno,” he hissed through his mostly closed throat.

Spike released him and fell to the floor, his face in his hands. “Why not?”

Giles stood and rubbed his throat. He looked down at the broken man in front of him and then at the white-faced young man clinging to the counter. “Because we care about you, too.”

As Anya roamed the hotel, she bumped into something big and pretty. “Hello.” She smiled into a bright green face with red eyes.

“I don’t believe we’ve met!” Lorne smiled brightly at the small blonde woman in front of him.

“No… I don’t believe we have.”

Lorne extended a hand to Anya who daintily shook it. “I’m Lorne.”


“Well, then, now we’ve met. Can I buy you a drink?” He offered Anya his elbow and she snaked her arm through it.

“Sure!” The odd pairing walked out of the hotel, chattering loudly.

“Spike?” Xander pushed open the bedroom door.

“Yeah, pet?”

“Can I come in?” Xander stopped the door’s progress, waiting for an answer from the blond.

A sigh.

“Yeah, pet.” Xander nudged the door up against the wall and walked to the edge of Spike’s bed.

The three men had studiously overlooked Spike’s breakdown in the shop. After Spike had cried himself out on the floor, Giles had offered each of them a shot of something that had made Xander’s toes curl. Spike had then shaken off his melancholia and brought out the Big Bad.

Giles, Spike and Xander then went out to patrol. They had dusted only one vamp in a two-hour period before Giles had given in and admitted that there really wasn’t much use in patrolling and everyone could go home. Xander and Spike had driven back to the apartment in silence.

Spike had gone to bed as soon as he walked in the door. Xander couldn’t. He had too many unanswered questions running through his mind, hence his standing at the foot of Spike’s bed in the middle of the night.

“Did you want something, Xander?” Startled, Xander looked down at the man in the bed.

“Um… I kinda wanted to talk about…” He glanced back at the door, considering if he could walk out and then, in the morning, convince Spike that this had all been a dream.

“You want to know why I kissed you?” Xander nodded wordlessly.

Spike sighed and sat up in the bed, insuring that his blankets covered him to the waist.

“C’mere.” He patted the bed next to him. Xander crawled up the bed, settling in next to the vampire.

“I kissed you because I wanted to. You’re bloody funny and sexy, and I wanted to see what it would be like to kiss you.” Spike looked into Xander’s chocolate eyes, willing the boy to believe him.

“And now?” Xander’s question went almost unheard by Spike’s vampiric hearing.

“What do you mean, Whelp?”

“Now that the chip isn’t working and you can leave and become a Master vamp again…” Xander’s voice fell off.

“I am a Master Vampire. Nothing can change that, I earned that title.” Spike frowned at the younger man, who flinched away at Spike’s harsh tone.

“The difference is, now I am a Master with no electronic leash to curtail his activities, is that what you’re thinking?” Xander nodded again.

“Well, I still have a bloody leash, just not one that zaps my brain.” At Xander’s baffled look, he continued. “I bloody well care about you. You, Xander. I don’t want to see you hurt in any way, and that includes being hurt by me. You understand that? Do I still want to kiss you? Gods, yes. But I will not get in between you and Demon girl. I was second choice for too long. Won’t do it ever again.” With that, Spike rolled over and feigned sleep until Xander crept out of his bed, shutting the door quietly behind him.

Xander stood outside the door, considering. He wasn’t sure if this was a good idea. He turned to leave when the door unexpectedly opened, revealing a smiling Mrs. Sanderson.

“Alexander, my dear, how are you? Please, come in.” She waved him into her home with an elegant sweep of her arm.

Xander walked into the sitting room to find the expected cup of tea waiting for him.

He sat down and picked up the cup and saucer, staring into its depths. “What did you do to us?”

Mrs. Sanderson responded in a gentle voice, sensing how on edge the man in front of her was. “I didn’t do anything to you. I made that soap, hoping that it would let you seek out what you desired most. It is not a spell to make you act a certain way; it is a charm of sorts. It helps you to focus and embrace your feelings without allowing them to strain you. Does that make sense?”

Xander nodded and sipped his tea.

“So, I’m not under a spell to… like Spike?”

“No, my dear. No spell. All the soap did was allow you to admit your feelings to yourself. I knew that you two boys wanted to be together. I just found a way to allow that without interfering too directly. All it did was open your eyes. Nothing else.” She looked deeply into the befuddled eyes before her. “Alexander, I did not put a spell on you or William. The feelings you have are your own and they are reciprocated, I assure you.”

“What about the chip?” Xander’s whisper attracted the attention of the feline sitting at the Wiccan’s side.

“I knew that William was out of balance and in pain. I did not know what caused it, but I fixed it.” Mrs. Sanderson brushed her fingertips along the fine line surrounding the brim of her all but transparent cup as she watched Xander’s response.

Xander stood and kissed Mrs. Sanderson on the cheek. “Thank you.” He leaned back down to rub Baggins on the head before walking out the door and up to his apartment.

The days faded into routine. Spike and Xander would spend the morning in their separate beds, each contemplating the other, and the afternoon on the sofa, alternately watching sports and movies. The nights were spent patrolling. Riley wasn’t seen while the girls were gone and Tara remained hidden in her dorm room, completing her class work so that she would be free to begin her research.

Xander knew that Spike wasn’t hunting. He never left Xander’s sight except to sleep, and he hadn’t been sneaking out at night, Xander was sure of that. He had checked more than once.

Saturday afternoon, Spike, Xander, Tara and Giles sat at the research table in the Magic Box, beefing up their knowledge of Bermuda. No mention was made of the two kisses or of the now defunct chip.

“Hey, can we go here?” Xander pointed at a picture of a nude beach.

Tara blushed and Giles cleaned his glasses. “I think not.”

Spike smirked at the Watcher and continued his research into the tunnels that Tara had discovered on the island.

“This is interesting,” Tara commented. She read aloud, “Devil’s Hole is a natural pool where visitors can catch Bermuda Fish, sharks, green Moray eels and other interesting specimens with hookless lines.” She smiled at the thought of being able to be so close to nature.

“That is interesting. Anyplace else that we might see beasties in the natural?” Tara glanced up to insure that Spike wasn’t making fun of her before she answered.

“Yes, there are several places on the island that you can go to intermingle with nature. There are also over one hundred shipwrecked crafts that are accessible.” Spike and Giles shared a look before closing their respective books.

“Time to look at shipwrecks.”

Xander and Spike stumbled into the apartment in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

“Ugh.” Spike silently agreed with Xander’s assessment as they pulled off their slimy clothes before they entered the living room.

“You know, you could start wearing underwear,” Xander commented wryly as Spike’s naked ass twitched across the room away from him.

“You know, you could stop wearing underwear.” Spike pointedly looked at Xander’s Blue M&M boxers. “Very manly, pet.”

“Hey! He’s on a motorcycle! That’s manly! There’s flames all over!” Xander quit arguing when he realized that Spike had beaten him to the shower. “Well, crap.” Xander used his shirt to rub the slime off of his arms and ankles before wandering into the kitchen to get a beer. He pulled a towel out of the hallway closet and spread it out on the couch, falling heavily onto it.

The remote was on the other side of the room, so Xander stared at the blank TV as he waited for Spike to finish in the shower.

He lifted the bottle to his lips and swallowed a mouthful. He listened as Spike began singing loudly. He didn’t recognize the tune, but enjoyed the sound of the other man’s voice.

He woke to the sight of Spike kneeling between his knees, hands on Xander’s thighs. “Wake up, Whelp.” Spike’s eyes crinkled as he smiled. Xander reached out with his beerless hand and stroked the strong angle of Spike’s cheekbone.

“Pretty…” Xander breathed.

Spike took the half-full beer bottle and placed it on the table before grabbing Xander’s hands and pulling him up off the couch. The towel stuck to Xander’s back and Spike tugged at it to get it off.

“Into the shower with you.” Spike gave Xander a little shove towards the doorway. Xander smiled and went into the bathroom.

Spike looked after the other man in wonder. It had been an eternity since someone had touched him without guile. Drusilla’s caresses were harsh and demanding. She drew blood even with her softest touch. Harmony, well, she’d had no idea that he might actually want her to touch him back.

However, there had been… no not going to revisit there.

Xander’s touch had scorched him. That innocent caress had almost made his dead heart start beating again. The kisses… the kisses were incredible, but this touch… He closed his eyes and drew his fingertips over the skin that was still tingling from the younger man’s hand.

Spike sighed and walked to his bedroom, stopping outside the door to the bathroom, scenting the air. Finally, he walked into his room and climbed into to bed to wait for the sunrise, thankful that Anya would be returning later today. Maybe he would be able to make it until she got home without kissing the boy again.

Xander stood under the spray of hot water, lost in his own mind. Spike’s skin was cool and soft and smooth. He compared the vampire’s skin to others that he had touched. No one else compared. His fingers tingled where they had touched Spike’s face.

He turned his thoughts to Anya. Ever since they had moved in together he had wondered if he really wanted to be with her. She was bright and fun to be around, but…

He didn’t know what to think. He finished washing with the soap that he and Spike had bought the night after Anya had left, and wasn’t that a fun trip? They had spent an hour on the shampoo aisle of Super Wal-Mart while Spike sniffed and critiqued every item on the shelves. He had finally gone with the first brand he had picked up.

They had spent less than ten seconds on the soap aisle. Spike had buzzed through, tossed a red bathing sponge and a bottle of St. Ives Cucumber Melon bathing gel into the basket and then headed towards the register.

Xander inhaled the scent of the gel Spike had chosen. It was comforting and familiar, but he didn’t know why. He couldn’t place where he knew the scent.

He finished bathing and stepped out of the shower, quickly drying off and dressing in a green wife beater and plaid boxers. He stopped at the door of Spike’s room on the way by, listening breathlessly. He then went into his bedroom and fell onto the bed, face down and spread eagled. He stayed awake until dawn, hoping that Anya would get back before he jumped Spike and kissed him again.

Part Eight

The girls returned earlier than expected from L.A. Tara, Giles and Xander were sitting at the research table discussing the upcoming trip to Bermuda. Giles had realized that this was the perfect opportunity for Tara to do on-site research in her project. He was in the process of trying to talk her into going with them.

“I..I’m not s..sure, Giles. I’ve never traveled any further than from h..home to here.” Tara looked distraught.

“Tara, you would be able to find an immense amount of information on mythological happenings if you were actually visiting the places where they were based. You must stop for a moment and think!” Giles was leaning forward in his chair, intent on persuading the young woman to accompany them.

Xander glanced up from the book he was absently staring at. “Tara, I’m sure that Giles could use your help. Spike and I aren’t spell-casters. If anything happens, it would be better to have two magically inclined people around, instead of just one.” He winked at the blonde woman and returned to staring at his book.

Giles watched, as Xander seemed to immerse himself in his reading. He had counted the number of times that Xander had turned a page in his book. Zero. He had also noticed that the boy just hadn’t been the same since the girls had left to go to L.A. “Xander, is something wrong?”

Xander assured Giles the best he could. “Nah, G-man, I’m fine.” He smiled at the other man and rose from his chair. “I’m gonna go check on Spike.” He walked through to the training room where the vampire was currently taking advantage of the Slayer’s absence by abusing her training equipment.

Xander stopped in the doorway and simply watched the graceful creature in the room before him. Spike was clad only in his well-fitting black jeans, completing forms in the middle of the floor, sword in hand.

Spike spun elegantly, swinging the blade in an arc towards the training dummy. The blade stopped mere millimeters before striking the rubber form. He pulled back, maintaining his defensive stance. Spike backed towards Xander, the muscles in his back rippling as he guided the sword through various positions.

Xander felt drawn towards the vampire. He gave into his impulses and walked towards Spike as silently as possible. Spike dropped the sword to his side and turned, watching Xander as the other man approached him.

Spike smiled a genuine smile as Xander encroached his personal space; almost, but not quite pressing his body against the smaller man. Xander smiled back and reached out a hand to again touch those cheekbones.

Spike leaned into Xander’s touch. He could feel a rumbling in his chest and struggled not to purr aloud. Xander drew his hand down Spike’s face, tracing a single finger over pale, full lips.

Xander’s breath hitched, he desperately wanted to kiss this man. He leaned towards Spike and licked his lips in preparation. A hair’s breadth away now, warmth dusting over Spike’s mouth. The energy between them was palpable and Xander suddenly felt that there was not enough oxygen available in the room. He leaned a fraction closer, his lips brushing against that oh so soft and cool mouth….

The store bell yanked the men out of their daze. They both stepped back. Xander looked at the ground, while Spike examined the sword in his hand. A squeal was heard and Xander looked towards the door. Anya’s voice set off a shock of guilt that filtered through his chest. He took a shaky breath, turned and trained his eyes on Spike’s back as the vampire replaced the blade in its scabbard on the wall.

Spike looked over his shoulder, his eyes a shock of blue against pale skin and Xander gasped once again. He turned and walked towards the door, towards his girlfriend, frantically trying to get control of his emotions before he got out of the room.

He took a deep breath and heard Spike’s quiet curses behind him as he struggled with the clasps on his boots. Xander opened the door, plastering a smile on his face. “Anya!”

Spike stood in the training room, listening to the group talking excitedly to one another. More specifically, he was listening to Xander talk to Anya. He pouted his best ‘no one’s around to see me’ pout and draped himself across the couch, lighting a cigarette.

Xander was sitting uncomfortably with Anya beside him. Their greeting kiss was light and closed-mouthed. He found that alternately comforting and disconcerting. Anya liked to kiss and had been away for over four days. He wondered at the change.

“Xander, I want to go home. Can we go now?” Anya whispered in Xander’s ear, looking around to insure that no one else heard.

“But I wanted to hear about the show!” Xander’s objection drew the attention of everyone else in the room, including Riley who had arrived minutes after the girls.

Anya shot him a dirty look, but stayed where she was, reliving the fashion show with her fellow models and chipping in her two cents whenever Buffy or Willow took a breath.

Buffy started. “Well, we got there and the first thing that happened was that Cordelia had fallen and sprained her ankle the night before. She was furious!”

Willow picked up the dialogue. “She loved our new wardrobes, though, and had us do a private fashion show for her.”

“Her favorite outfit was my red dress and patent leather heels,” Anya’s voice joined in the fray.

Buffy interrupted when Anya took a breath to further describe her beaded gown. “But she really liked my green pant suit. She said it made me look elegant!”

Anya frowned at Buffy and took over once again. “We did several practice runs since a lot of the models had problems walking down the catwalk.” She pointedly looked at Buffy.

“What? It was really high off the floor and narrow!” The Slayer’s voice shrilled. Riley wrapped his arms tightly around his girlfriend and glared at the room at large.

“But, Buff, you fell off of it!” Willow giggled at her friend. At Buffy’s scowl, she reddened. “Sorry.” Willow turned her face into Tara’s shoulder; her girlfriend began to stroke her head soothingly and made shushing noises.

Giles allowed the interaction to continue for about a quarter of an hour. Spike wandered into the shop halfway through the reminiscing and jumped onto the counter, lighting a cigarette and kicking his feet. When it became obvious that the girls were never going to get around to the point of the story, namely the demons, Giles intervened.

“What about the demon?” He enunciated as clearly as he could through his clenched teeth.

“Demon?” Buffy looked genuinely confused.

“Yes, Buffy. The demon that Cordelia asked you to come and lure out with your show.” Spike smirked at the look on the watcher’s face as Giles restated his question.

“Oh, that. Angel killed him.” Buffy turned and began to seek out her boyfriend’s tonsils with her tongue.

Spike and Giles groaned in unison at the over familiar sight and Giles once again spoke up. “Everyone go home. We will talk again tomorrow. Out. Now.”

Everyone stood and began gathering various items to take home. Giles furtively pulled Tara to the side. “You will consider it, won’t you?”

The blonde Wiccan smiled. “Of course. I’ll talk to Willow about it tonight.” She beamed at Giles and ran to catch up with Willow, who was struggling to the door with her two suitcases. “Here, sweetie, let me help.” The two young witches walked out into the night, back to their cozy room to become reacquainted.

Spike was pulled aside by Anya at the same time. “I need to talk to Xander alone. Can you wait until closer to dawn to come home?” Spike snarled for effect, glancing at the brunette man across the room, then nodded. He went back into the training room, pulling off his duster as he strode through the room. Time to work off some tension.

Giles locked the door behind Anya and Xander and then went back to the training room to talk with Spike.

Xander opened the apartment door for Anya. The ride home from the Magic Box had been quiet, but strained. Anya had responded yes or no to any question he posed but appeared tense. He ushered her into the apartment and took her bags back to their bedroom before returning to the living room.

He returned to find her sitting on the edge of the couch, hands clenched, her face a montage of emotions. When she noticed him in the doorway, she quickly adjusted her expression to a rather serious look.

“Xander, we need to talk.” Xander nodded and stayed standing in the doorway.

“Come over here and sit down,” Anya finally requested after a long moment.


Xander walked across the room and sat beside his girlfriend. Guilt was eating him up. Could she know what had happened between him and Spike? He felt guiltier about not feeling guilty about the kisses than he did about the kisses themselves. He reran that thought through his head and nodded. Yeah, that’s what he meant.

Anya looked at Xander, drinking in the sight of the slightly confused man before starting to speak.

“I have a lot to say, and I would really like it if you would let me talk without interrupting, ok?” Anya waited for Xander’s nod before continuing.

“Something happened this weekend. Something that I didn’t expect.” Xander’s eyes opened in panic. She knew. Anya looked down at her hands that were laced over her knees.

“Someone asked me out on a date. People have asked me out before, but I always just brushed them off, but this time… I felt an attraction.” She glanced into Xander’s face, not ever looking high enough to see his eyes.

“Since I’ve moved in with you, I’ve felt more like a mother or a babysitter for you and Spike. I don’t feel like a lover, and it is not your fault.” She stopped Xander’s objection before he started.

“I brought it on myself. I jumped into a relationship with you almost as soon as I became human again. Well, after I ran away from the mayor and drove around the country for a little while. But the point is, I felt comfortable with you because you knew about demons and you were large and had nice shoulders. I wanted to interlock parts with you. It was always good.” Anya spared a glance into Xander’s eyes, quickly pulling her gaze from his confused face back down to her fingers.

“I have enjoyed being with you and I still find you very attractive. Sex with you is incredible. You are giving and adventuresome in bed, something I haven’t seen in a man in probably over a hundred years. I’ve really enjoyed that. I’ve not met anyone else since we got together, except for maybe Spike, that I would even consider sleeping with.” Her admission dragged a gasp from Xander. He swallowed hard, banishing thoughts of the bleached vampire from his mind.

“So, this weekend, I met this guy, a demon, and he was funny and attractive and was interested in me. In me! He didn’t know that I was an ex-demon and when he found out, he didn’t care. He acted like I had said, ‘The sky is blue.’ It didn’t faze him.” Anya paused, turning on her perch, lifting a hand to Xander’s brow, and stroking him gently.

Seeing the question in his eyes, she answered, “No. You can’t talk yet. Let me finish. I love you, Xander. I love you. I just want to… I want to…” She broke off, unable to finish. She dropped her hand back into her lap, trying to force back her tears by sheer will.

“You want to break up with me. You want to see what it would be like to see other people.” Xander reached over and rubbed her hands gently.

Through her tears, Anya laughed. “I told you not to talk until I was done!” She wiped her eyes and allowed her emotions to escape through laughter. Xander pulled her closer and held her until she finished.

“You’re right. I want to break up, but that is not the only reason. I know you love me, but I think that you are falling in love with someone else. No talking!” She caught his quick intake of breath. “No talking,” she reiterated.

Anya smiled at her lover. “Didn’t you think it was strange that I took all of the soap and shampoo in the entire house with me on a four day trip?” Xander nodded vigorously, careful not to open his mouth.

“You and Spike are not the only two that Mrs. Sanderson talks to. She told me months ago that something was developing between you and Spike. I laughed it off but started watching. You care about him Xander. You do! Don’t shake your head at me!” She lightly slapped Xander on his thigh.

“What happened when you used the rose soap, Xander? Did you all of the sudden realize that I wasn’t the blonde featured in your fantasies? I’ve known that for a while, I can see it in your eyes.” Xander blushed and looked away, ashamed that he had been so easy to read.

“How did you…” He quit talking as he saw the threat in Anya’s eyes.

“You talk in your sleep.” Anya smiled.

“I do not!” Xander argued.

“Yes, you do, and unless ‘Spike’ is a new nickname for me, you’ve been dreaming about him for the last two months.”

Xander sat, stunned at the revelation. He didn’t remember dreaming about the evil undead, but he wouldn’t doubt it, considering how quickly his waking fantasies had turned to the blond man.

“You didn’t know, did you?”

Xander shook his head.

“Did he kiss you?”

Xander nodded, then jumped up from the couch. “Hey! You weren’t supposed to know that!” He pointed a finger accusingly at Anya.

“I guessed.” Anya stood and walked over to Xander, wrapping her arms around his waist.

“Are we ok?” she murmured into his chest.

“Yeah, Ahn. We’re ok. Wanna stay here until you find another place? I’ll sleep on the couch.” Xander pulled back and looked at the tiny girl in his arms.

“If I can trust you to keep your hands to yourself, we can both sleep in the bed.” Anya winked cheekily at him.

“I don’t think so, Ahn. Not my style, ya know?” Xander stepped away from his ex-girlfriend and walked towards their… no, his bedroom. “I’ll just grab some clothes and a blanket, then you can have the room, ok?”

Anya stared after him, knowing he didn’t really want an answer. Tears filled her eyes. She knew she had made the right choice, but it hurt nonetheless. She wiped at the moisture trickling down her face and walked to the phone, dialing a number from memory.

“Hello, Lorne? Wow, it’s loud tonight. How are things going?” Anya settled down on a barstool as Xander went into the bathroom to bathe.

Xander contemplated his shower as he stood under the spray. He seemed to be spending a lot of time in it lately, thinking about relationship stuff.

Anya had broken up with him. Anya had broken up with him because she wanted to date other people, other demons. Anya had broken up with him because he wanted Spike. Anya had broken up with him and he wasn’t upset.

He carefully evaluated his feelings. Nope, wasn’t upset or hurt. Kinda… relieved. Huh. He checked again. Yep. Relieved and maybe a little excited. The guilt he felt over kissing Spike was gone and in its place was anticipation.

He could kiss Spike now. Well, he could try to kiss Spike now. He had Anya’s permission. And Mrs. Sanderson’s, it seemed. Where on earth had that woman come from? He decided not to think too much about the elderly witch. His thoughts returned to Spike.

How do you go about asking another guy out on a date? Xander panicked. Do guys go out on dates with each other? What would he do if he asked Spike out on a date and Spike said no? Anxiety shook through his body. Nope, not gonna think about that.

Back to Spike. Blond hair, bleached; blue eyes. No… startling blue eyes that turned to midnight blue when he was aroused. Midnight blue eyes that sparkled when he laughed and clouded over when he kissed Xander…

Xander closed his own eyes and remembered the almost-kiss in the training room. He remembered the smile that Spike had given him. It was a real smile, not a smirk, not a sneer, not a lecherous grin. A real smile. Xander felt his own lips lift at the memory.

He finished showering and went into the living room, noticing that Anya was gone. He walked towards the bedroom and heard her moving around behind the closed door, so he went back to the living room to set up a spot to sleep on the couch.

As he snuggled up under his favorite, tattered thermal blanket, he wondered where Spike was now.

Part Nine

Spike looked up as Giles walked into the training room. The watcher looked Spike over, then walked to the wall and pulled down two Renaissance daggers. The long blades were lightweight and artistically pleasing, but, in the right hands, deadlier than many of the other swords that covered the wall.

Giles dropped them on the couch for a moment while he pulled his own shirt and shoes off. He then picked up the sharp-edged weapons and threw one at Spike.

Spike caught the weapon and raised one eyebrow at the other man. “Watch it, Ripper.”

Giles gave a passable growl and attacked. Giles flew at Spike, thrusting his dagger and forcing the other man to twist to avoid the blade. Spike fell to the floor as Giles landed on top of him. They grappled, each holding the sword arm of the other, an awkward hold at best. Arms crossed across their chests, they mutually released each other and rose to their feet.

This time Spike attacked. He used a different approach, reaching for Giles with his right hand, holding his dagger back. Giles blocked the grab and shot his right hand forward, aiming for Spike’s heart with his blade. Spike’s left arm moved to intercept the other man’s attack. Spike was thrilled that he was finally able to go all out without having to worry about the chip.

Holding each other, daggers twined, neither man could gain purchase. Both men backed off, circling each other warily. “Ya going to actually try and stick me anytime soon, Ripper?” Spike taunted the other man.

“No, Spike. I thought you would like to dance a bit more before we got down to it.” Giles attacked, driving towards Spike’s weaker right side, although he knew that Spike would never admit to having a weak side. Spike spun out of reach and parried the other man’s strike.

The men fought intently, each seeking to finish the other. After half an hour, they were still sparring and grappling. Both Spike and Giles were panting, the younger man covered in a film of sweat. Neither could best the other. Finally, Giles backed up and raised his dagger in front of his eyes.

Spike returned the salute and grabbed the dagger out of Giles’ hand.

“What the hell was that, Watcher?” Spike cleaned both blades with a towel before placing them lovingly back on the wall.

Giles lay on the floor, panting and sipping at a bottle of water that he had liberated from the refrigerator in the corner. “I needed to work off some aggression.”

Spike snarled at the other man, secretly pleased that Giles had chosen to spar with him. It was unusual for Giles to train with Spike, however, the matches were long and fierce when they did occur, often triggering the device lodged in Spike’s brain.

Giles raised his head from the floor and threw his empty bottle at Spike. “Oi, Uncle! Get me another!”

Spike threw the plastic bottle back at Giles and stalked over the fridge to grab another one, silently preening at the reference to their shared bloodline. He settled on the floor next to Giles, stretching his muscles to cool down.

Giles sat up and drank the second bottle of water. “So, Spike. What is going on with you and Xander?”

Spike glanced over, suspiciously. “What do you mean?”

“You both have been a bit off since the girls left, now tell me what is going on. Is it is because of the chip? Is Xander having difficulty trusting you?” Giles joined the vampire in stretching.

Spike stopped and leaned back on his hands. “Nah, not the chip.” He contemplated telling Giles to mind his own business, but it didn’t seem that the man meant any harm, so he continued.

“Mrs. Sanderson did some kind of spell on us the night that Anya left. I think that Demon girl had something to do with it, because she took every bloody cleaning solution in the house with her on her trip.”

Spike stretched towards the couch, reaching for his duster. He really couldn’t reach it without moving, so he slid back slightly and pulled it off the couch with his fingertips. He pulled out his cigarettes and Zippo, offering the pack to Giles.

Giles shook his head; he was still too winded to smoke. “What do you mean she put a spell on you, and why would Anya take all the cleaning solutions?”

“Well, she told Xander that it wasn’t a spell, that it was a charm. Something to let us realize our feelings. She put it in some rose soap that she gave to Xander a while back. Bloody bints just keep fucking with my life.” Spike puffed hard on his cigarette, failing to exhale for several puffs.

Giles smirked. Spike had been freed from his electronic leash just in time to discover that he cared for a human who would stake him immediately if he returned to his previous eating habits. Then the young man would live in mourning for the rest of his life, and Spike could never allow that.

“And what did you realize?” Giles’ question floated through the air, silence following in its wake.

“None of your business, Watcher.” Spike stood and pulled on his t-shirt, reaching for his Docs.

“It is my business Spike. We are about to leave for at least two weeks and I will be spending an inordinate amount of time with both you and Xander. I have the right to know if I should separate you both or allow you to… intermingle.” He frowned at the wording in his mind.

“Intermingle? You want to know if I want to intermingle with Xander?” Giles nodded and reached for the pack of cigarettes that was still sitting at Spike’s feet.

Spike thought for a moment. “Yeah. I do. I want to see where this is going, anyway. Maybe nowhere.” He frowned at Giles. “You mind?” He tried to make the question a statement, but failed.

Giles squinted through the cloud of smoke that he exhaled. “No, Spike, I don’t mind. I’ve seen the way you two look at each other. That doesn’t mean that I won’t hurt you if you do anything, and I do mean anything, that might even upset him in the least. Do you understand me?”

Spike smiled, his real smile, the one that Xander was thinking about at that exact moment. “Yeah. I got it. Gonna head home now.” He spun on his heel, draping his duster over his shoulder and shuffling a bit in his not-quite-tied-right Docs. He turned and walked back to Giles. “Forgot my smokes.” He swooped up the cigarettes and the Zippo, dropping them into an exposed pocket of his duster.

He stopped and looked at the man sitting on the floor, smoking his pilfered vice. “Thanks, Rupert. For the fight and the uh…” He waved his hand in the air.

“It’s nothing.” Giles grinned around his cigarette as the vampire stalked out the door.

“Wondered when they would bloody well figure it out.” He crushed the butt against the sole of his shoe before putting them on, slid into his shirt and walked out the back door.

Xander heard Spike’s key in the lock. He lay quietly on the sofa, willing the vampire to just walk past. No such luck. Spike stopped behind the sofa and peered over the back.

“Whatcha sleepin’ out here for, Whelp?” Spike’s tone was teasing. The boy was only sent out to sleep on the couch when Anya was preparing one of her games that they both thought he didn’t know about.

Xander rolled onto his back and looked up at Spike. “Anya and I broke up. I offered her the use of the bed until she can find a place of her own.”

Spike was taken aback. “Broke up?” He looked down at the brunette, almost having to physically restrain himself from picking the boy up and swinging him around the room in his joy.

“Yeah. She met some guy in L.A. and she realized that she’s not been with anyone except me since she became human again, and she wanted to see what it would be like.” Xander’s voice was soft and sleep-tinged.

Spike smiled at the young man. “You ok with that?” Xander smiled back and nodded.

“Yeah, I am.” He reached out a hand and lightly brushed the hand that Spike had lying on the back of the couch. “I really am.”

Spike grinned as Xander rolled over and found a comfortable position. “’Night, Spike.”

“’Night, Xan.” Spike stumbled into his room, dazed. Xander was free. He could kiss him and touch him now, or try to at any rate. Spike dropped his clothes to the ground, toeing off his loose Docs, and climbed into his bed to snuggle under the smooth silk sheets. He fell asleep with a smile on his face, purring lightly.

“I don’t care what you think, Spike! I am not going to live in an abandoned factory!” Xander awoke to the sounds of Anya and Spike arguing. He sat up and looked over the back of the couch. Spike and Anya were sitting at the bar, looking through the classified section of the paper.

“’S not abandoned, you twit! It been remodeled into an apartment. Look here, two bedrooms, open living area, 2 ½ baths…”

“Who needs half a bath? I mean… if you’re the only person living there, why would you need so many toilets?” Anya quirked an eyebrow at Spike.

Spike quirked his own back and slowly answered. “Because, if you had a guest or three that came to visit or to a party or to dinner, you might want to have some place for them to use!”

Anya looked befuddled. “Parties?”

Spike snorted and took a gulp out of the mug sitting to his left. He waited for more from Anya.

“I could have parties! And I could invite people over for dinner and have friends spend the night and with the open living area, I could push all the furniture to the side and have dancing space…”

“There’s the idea. Told you that this was perfect for ya.” Spike finished his drink and got up to rinse out the mug. He pulled the phone from its base and handed it across the bar to the now brunette woman.

“Why’d you dye your hair again?” Xander’s croaky voice broke through to Anya and Spike.

“Good morning! I wanted something new, that’s all. Are you ok? Was the couch too uncomfortable?” Anya looked so concerned that Xander giggled a bit, a very manly giggle.

“Call.” Spike’s growl turned Anya’s attention back to their previous conversation.

“Are you trying to get rid of me? I don’t mind if you and Xander have sex while I’m still here.” Her wide innocent look made Xander blush and make a dash for the bathroom.

“Good going. Now he won’t come out all day,” Spike snarled at Anya who laughed in response.

“I know, but isn’t he cute when he blushes all over?”

Spike considered the question then nodded. “Yeah.”

The entire group got together at the Magic Box later that day. Anya had gone, with Xander in tow, to the refurbished factory. She had squealed as soon as she saw the huge living area and the sunken bathtub in the master suite. All the formalities had been taken care of and the landlord had agreed to have the place professionally cleaned, making it available to move in within a week.

“You should see it, it’s huge! The bedrooms are both the size of the living room at Xander’s apartment and the living area is twice the size of the training room!” Anya continued to regale her audience with the description of her new apartment.

The group hadn’t seemed surprised by Xander and Anya’s announcement that they had broken up, although they still loved each other and were friends. Buffy had, in fact, looked relieved, though no one could figure out why.

Xander glanced over at Spike, who winked at him. “So… What do I get for finding you a new place?” Anya jumped up and kissed Spike full on the mouth, for the third time since signing the lease. Xander was beginning to feel a little jealous. He wasn’t sure of whom, though.

“All right, that’s enough. Anya, are you sure you don’t want to wait until we return from our trip before you move into your new flat?” Giles looked over the tops of his glasses at the excited woman.

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly wait that long to move in. We’ll be ok. Buffy and Willow will help me move my things in and I’ll wait until you guys get back to buy my furniture. Well, other than a bed. I’ve already ordered that.”

Xander closed his eyes and winced. Anya had insisted that he accompany her to pick out her new bed. She’d laid him out across at least a dozen before she had decided on the wrought-iron monstrosity that was now on order from the furniture company.

“You should see the bed! It is so beautiful. And I made sure that there were plenty of spaces where you could attach…” Spike slapped his hand over her mouth and whispered something in her ear. Anya smiled evilly under his hand and nodded. Everyone sighed in relief, but wondered what Spike had said to get the nymphomaniac to stop her description.

Giles took control of the conversation once again. “Tara did you discuss your going to Bermuda with Willow?” Tara nodded, but Willow answered.

“Oh, Giles, I think it is a wonderful idea. I’m gonna hate for her to be gone all that time, but she could get so much done on her project and maybe find out some really interesting information that no one else has ever discovered!” Everyone in the room unconsciously took a deep breath after Willow stopped babbling.

“Does that mean that you have decided to come, then?” Giles gazed hopefully at the blonde Wiccan.

“Yes, I’ll come.” A war whoop filled the air and Xander jumped up and began to dance around the room. When every eye followed him, he stopped and turned slowly to face the crowd behind him. He blushed and said, “Um, hi?”

Anya poked Spike in the side and whispered loudly, “See, told you!”

Buffy looked over, curious. “Told you what?”

Xander looked at Anya and Spike beseechingly, not knowing what Anya was referring to, but absolutely sure that he didn’t want anyone else to know.

“Spike and I were arguing about whether or not Tara would go on the trip.” Anya smoothly lied. Willow, Riley, Tara, Giles and Buffy all nodded, all clearly believing her.

Xander knew her too well, though and recognized the lie for what it was. He walked past her chair and kissed her on the cheek. “Thanks.” Barely a whisper in her ear.

“OK. So Willow and Tara are responsible for insuring that all the books that we will need are packed. After that, Willow will maintain contact with me via telephone about all Hellmouth related discoveries or activities. Riley and Buffy are responsible for reporting nightly to Willow about patrols. Anya is responsible for the shop. Xander and Spike are responsible for packing weapons and I am responsible for supervising everyone.” Giles had thrown in the last sentence to see if anyone was truly listening to him. Everyone but Tara nodded; she simply frowned.

Spike raised a single finger in the air. “Yes, Spike?” Giles sighed irritably. They had been over their plan several times in the past two days.

Spike smirked. “What time are we leaving again?” The entire room groaned and Xander dropped his head to the table, a regular occurrence since this discussion had started.

“That’s it, everyone out. NOW!”

Everyone leapt to his or her feet and raced out the front door, Spike hanging back from the group.

“Rupert, see ya tomorrow around four, yeah?” He winked at the Watcher and sauntered out the door, joining Xander and Anya who were waiting for him.

They walked back to their apartment, enjoying the evening breeze. Anya walked between the two men, content with the way things were going. She and Xander were honestly able to remain friends. She had been worried that he would be too hurt to get past her breaking up with him.

Spike was his normal self. He picked fights with Xander and teased Anya unmercifully about her new apartment, calling it the Love Shack.

They reached their apartment and entered the disaster area. Anya had separated all of her things from Xander’s and had half-full boxes stacked throughout the house. Xander and Spike, in their official capacity as ‘Packers of Weapons’, had knives, swords, daggers, maces, stakes and numerous other weapons laid out on every flat surface that they could find, including Anya’s boxes.

When Anya had returned from L.A. with his accounts, Spike had been amazed, not only with the account balances, but the number of accounts themselves. He had not really believed the Poof would willingly give up control of this part of Spike’s life. Anya had assured him that Angel had had no problems with giving up the information.

With his newfound wealth, Spike and Anya had gone out and expanded his wardrobe for the trip. They knew that the Council had rented them a house, but they knew nothing else about it. Spike worried about having to wash his three outfits and had spent the better part of four hours trying on and vetoing various items of clothing that Anya had picked out.

He had actually come out of the entire experience with a nice variety of clothes. They had found a store that had all of their men’s clothing on clearance and a specialty shop that had aisle after aisle of leather. No one realized it, but Spike enjoyed looking good, he liked to dress. He had stuck with the black on black simply because it was easy to maintain and gave off the image he had been trying to project when he first arrived in Sunnydale.

Spike had returned home with twenty silken t-shirts in various designs and shades of blue, red, black and gray; five pair of black jeans; two leather vests; three pair of faded blue jeans; five pair of leather pants in various colors; two pair of Dr. Marten boots, one black and one gray; fifteen button down shirts in silk, satin and cotton; two new leather jackets; a pair of Dr. Marten sandals that Spike swore he had never seen before and would never wear; two ten-packs of socks; two pair of Oakley sunglasses, a pair of black on black Minute Jackets, and a pair of black Splices with emerald lenses; two different Oakley leather belts; five new heavy silver rings; three new silver chains; four thick silver bracelets; a variety of leather jewelry and one pair of swimming trunks, fire engine red with blue flames.

Anya had also insisted that he buy a smallish, leather, Louis Vuitton traveling trunk in which to tote his new stash around the country.

Xander eyed Spike’s booty. “Tell me again why you need not one, but two pair of sunglasses, Mr. Allergic to the Sun?”

Spike slid the Minutes over his ears. “’Cause they look damn good.” Xander had to agree on that point. He walked to his own suitcase that was half-packed on the other side of the room.

“Hey, Ahn? Do you know what happened to my boxers?” Xander dug through his suitcase, unable to locate any of the underwear that he had packed for the trip.

“Ask Spike.” Came the answer from Xander’s bedroom where Anya was busy packing her own things. Spike, who was sitting on the couch, gave Xander his best innocent look, which was highly ineffective due to his eyes being completely covered by his sunglasses.

“Give ‘em back, fangless!”

Spike exposed said fangs to the other man, smirking the best he could around them. “Threw ‘em away, didn’t I? Told you, you need to go without.” Spike appeared completely unrepentant about stealing Xander’s boxers, so Xander did the only thing he could. He jumped the vampire.

“You jerk!” Xander landed on top of Spike, ignoring the vampire’s warning to not touch his glasses. Spike grabbed Xander and threw them both to the floor, rolling them until he was lying on top of the slightly larger man.

“What did I say about watching the glasses, mate?” He glared down at Xander; his new sunglasses barely perched on his nose. Xander couldn’t help but laughing.

“You look like Giles!” A loud growl filled the room, which caused Xander to laugh even harder. Spike considered his options. He could get off the boy and pout, he could get off the boy and leave or he could stay on the boy and just shut him up. He opted for number three.

Spike captured the other man’s mouth, lightly drawing Xander’s bottom lip between his teeth. Xander suddenly forgot why he was laughing and wrapped his arms around Spike’s back, pulling the smaller man closer and deepening the kiss.

Tongues snaked out and barely touched, tasting and learning. Xander hesitantly probed Spike’s mouth, running his tongue along Spike’s teeth, testing their sharpness. Spike moaned when Xander’s questing tongue probed his hidden fangs, causing them to drop slightly.

Spike pulled back, giving Xander a chance to catch his breath. He looked into the chocolate brown eyes below him that seemed to glow in the harsh light of the overhead fixture. When Spike saw that Xander had captured a lungful of oxygen, he dropped back down and plundered Xander’s mouth once again.

It was Xander’s turn to moan when Spike’s tongue routed out all the sensitive places in his mouth. He allowed his tongue to play against Spike’s, learning the other man’s taste, something sweet and warm, salty. Spike melted into Xander’s body, drawing himself deeper into the kiss.

Suddenly the sound of clapping filtered through their lust muddled brains and both men looked over to the doorway to see Anya leaning against the frame, a smile plastered on her face.

“Very nice! Do it again, I think I missed part of it.” Xander groaned and shoved Spike off of him, returning to his suitcase to finish packing.

Spike growled at the woman who had interrupted his snogging. “Bugger off!”

Anya laughed and walked into the room, ignoring the pouting vampire. She walked over to Xander and sat down on the floor beside him. “Do you have everything?” Xander pulled out the list that Anya had made for him and looked it over.

“Yeah, except for underwear.” He scowled at the blond man who had swapped out his glasses and was now peering at Xander through emerald green lenses.

Anya glanced over at Spike’s trunk. “Do you?” Spike mentally reviewed his things.

“Shit, forgot all my toiletries.” Xander giggled at the sound of ‘toiletries’ coming out of the badass vampire’s mouth.

“Sod off.” Spike walked into the bathroom, gathering his toiletries into the bag that Anya had made him purchase for that purpose. For some reason it seemed more full than it had when he first started packing it.

He dug down past his toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo before he found the cause. Anya had made some additions. He grinned and finished stuffing his gel into the bag. He zipped it shut and walked back into the living room, swinging the bag from one finger. He tossed it into the trunk and slammed the lid shut. He pulled out the padlock that Anya had insisted coordinated with the trunk’s exterior design and walked across the room to slip the key into a duster pocket before padlocking the trunk shut.

“All done!” Spike heralded.

Xander frowned at him from across the room where Anya was digging through his suitcase, tossing rejected clothing over her shoulder. “Ack! Where did you get this? Really Xander, red and blue stripes?” She continued to dig through his suitcase, taking out items and replacing them with what she felt was more appropriate.

“You know, Ahn,” Xander said conversationally. “You did break up with me. You don’t really get to dress me anymore.”

Anya rolled her eyes at him and continued repairing his wardrobe, sneaking in pieces that she’d had Spike buy last night. “Yes, I can. You’re single now, you have to dress to impress. Otherwise, how will you attract a mate?”

Xander snorted. “You broke up with me because I liked Spike. Wouldn’t that do away with your finding a mate theory?” Spike looked over at Anya from his perch on the couch, interested.

Anya sighed loudly and glared at her ex-boyfriend. “Have you looked at Spike lately?” Spike preened and posed, enjoying the attention he was being paid. “He is sex on legs. If you want to be with him, you have to look at least as good as him.” Spike growled and Anya amended her statement. “Not that anyone could look as good as him.” She smiled at Spike, who, in turn, stretched so that his new, skin-tight, burgundy silk t-shirt raised and treated the two brunettes to a view of his rippled abdomen.

Anya and Xander drooled accordingly, so Spike stood and sauntered towards the door, strutting to show off his assets. He stopped and turned back, prowling over to where Xander was sitting on the floor. He pulled the younger man up by his shirt and kissed him hard, pressing him up against the wall.

“’Night,” he whispered as he pulled back to give Xander air.

“Uhghn…” was Xander’s pithy reply.

Anya waited until Spike was ensconced in his room before rushing into the bedroom to grab her waterproof vibrator and heading for the shower.

Xander stayed where he was, pressed up against the wall, staring at nothing. When the shower started, he came out of his daze. Glancing around the room, he noticed that both Anya and Spike were gone.

Crap. He’d missed stuff again.

Xander pulled his blanket and pillow out from underneath a pile of Anya’s shoes and shoved another pile off of the couch. He tossed his pillow onto the end of his makeshift bed and wrapped his blanket around himself before lying down.

He replayed the two new kisses in his mind. Spike’s skin, his lips, his tongue… Xander felt his body respond to the memories. He had felt Spike, too. His hardness pressed against Xander’s thigh, rubbing slightly when he shifted to get a better angle.

He closed his eyes and thought of the man sleeping on the other side of the wall. He fell asleep with a smile on his face.

Part Ten

Xander was awakened at six am by the doorbell’s harsh buzz. Anya stumbled out of the bedroom in time to stop him before he opened the door clad only in his boxers. He glanced down at her baby doll nightie and tried to calmly explain in no uncertain terms that there was no way she was opening the door either. They stood arguing about who was going to go put something on when the bell rang again.

Spike stomped out of his bedroom, growling at the pair in the middle of the living room and opened the door. “What’dya want?” The men on the other side of the door stepped back at the snarled question from the blond man. Spike stood in the doorway wearing an old pair of Xander’s sweat pants, which were riding low on his hips. His hair was sleep-tussled and soft curls brushed his forehead.

He glared hard at the men and growled, flashing his fangs. “What the hell do you want?” He enunciated each word harshly to insure that he was understood.

“M..Movers. Um… M..Ms. J..Jenkins?” One of the men stuttered.

Spike spun on his heel and walked past Xander and Anya who stood staring, wide-eyed, at the hipbones and bare abdomen that were peeking out the top of the worn cotton. Spike grabbed Xander by his upper arm and dragged him from the room, glancing over his shoulder at Anya. “’S for you.”

Xander stumbled along behind Spike, ogling the other man’s back as he was dragged into Spike’s room. Spike slammed the door behind them and climbed into the bed, nestling under the covers.

Xander stood in the middle of the floor, pondering his next move. Suddenly the blond head reappeared from under the pile of blankets. Spike squinted up at Xander and flipped back the covers on the other side of the bed. “You comin’?” he rumbled.

Xander thought about it for approximately half a second then rushed forward to jump into the empty spot. Spike threw the covers over Xander and curled up against him, soaking in his heat.

“So warm, love.” Spike dozed off, lulled by the sound of Xander’s heartbeat.

Xander lay awake. When he was sure that Spike was sleeping, he lifted a hand and ran his fingers through the fat curls on the top of Spike’s head. His hair was so soft. Xander knew immediately why Spike gelled it so harshly. With the curls, he looked ten years younger and deceptively innocent.

He could hear Anya arguing with the movers in the living room. She had ended up hiring a moving company to move her into her new apartment. She, Buffy and Willow had decided that there was no reason to strain themselves since Spike had volunteered to bankroll her move. He had felt it was least he could do since Anya had found his bankroll to begin with.

“What do you mean this is the day that you’re supposed to be here? I scheduled for next Wednesday! Look around! Does it look like I’m ready to move?” Anya waved her hand around, indicating the room behind her. Remembering the weapons laying all over the place, she quickly pulled the door as close to shut as she could behind her body.

“Never mind. I will expect a call from your main office as soon as they open. Goodbye.” Anya shut the door in the movers’ stunned faces and went back into Xander’s room and climbed into bed.

Xander felt something odd.

There was something cool pressed against him, vibrating. He turned and opened his eyes. He looked into deep blue pools. Spike was leaning up on an elbow, watching Xander sleep, purring contentedly.

“Hello, pet.” Spike leaned over and lightly pressed his lips against Xander’s.

Xander did his best to imitate the sound emanating from Spike’s chest. He leaned into the kiss and wrapped his arms around the cool body that was pressed against him.

Spike rolled them so that he was half lying on Xander’s torso, one of his legs between Xander’s. He pressed his half-hard cock against Xander’s hip, rocking gently as he plundered the boy’s mouth; tongues met and dueled for dominance. The sleepily sensual vampire surrendered first and moaned into Xander’s mouth.

Xander fell into the kiss, forgetting that he needed oxygen. After what seemed like an eternity, he pushed at Spike’s chest, trying to get the vampire to back off so that he could breathe. Spike reluctantly pulled back, and immediately returned, skimming his lips over Xander’s eyelids, cheeks and chin. He began to drop lower, kissing and licking a trail down the other man’s neck.

Xander moaned and tilted his head, exposing his neck trustingly to the predator on top of him. Spike groaned in answer and began to actively lick, suck and nibble at the stubbly, but smooth skin. Xander rocked against Spike, pushing his torso up slightly, encouraging the vampire’s ministrations.

Spike’s demon responded immediately to the encouragement. His fangs dropped and his eyes flickered. Spike pulled back, attempting to control his features. Xander opened his eyes and looked on in wonder as Spike struggled. He reached up and brushed his fingertips over the ridge that kept appearing and disappearing from Spike’s forehead. Xander thought it amazing that the sight of Spike losing control could affect him so deeply.

Spike’s purr returned in force, pulled from his chest by Xander’s touch. The younger man smiled and continued to stroke the strong features. He leaned up to recapture the curved, full lips of the blond.

Just as Xander reached Spike’s lips, Anya flung open the bedroom door, both men jumped and turned towards the door. “We’re late! We were supposed to be at the Magic Box twenty minutes ago. Didn’t you look at the clock before you started fooling around?” She spun and stormed out of the room. “Men and their orgasms. Xander! I’ll finish packing your stuff. Spike! Get off of Xander!”

Spike looked down at Xander, taking in the kiss-swollen lips and the slightly flushed skin of the man lying beneath him. Xander smiled back up at Spike, enjoying the slightly drowsy and confused look on the vampire’s face.

“Anya. Gotta love her.” He reached up and pulled Spike back down, biting gently on his lips. “C’mon, let me up.”

Spike snarled and refused to move, pressing harder against Xander. “Don’ wanna. Wanna snog.” He leaned down and began to devour Xander’s mouth once again.

He yelped and looked over his shoulder. Anya stood at the foot of the bed, clad in her baby doll pajama bottoms and a button down blouse, with one of Spike’s new belts folded in her hand. “I said, get off of him, Spike! You guys are going to miss your flight if you don’t get out of that bed right now!” Spike flipped her off, but rolled off of Xander and climbed out of the bed.

He wandered out into the living area to find Anya emptying Xander’s suitcase. “Aren’t you supposed to be filling that up, luv?”

Anya scowled over her shoulder. “Hush! Do you really want to be seen out in public with this shirt?” She held up a particularly loud printed item and Spike blanched. “Then get over here and help me get the rest of this stuff in his suitcase before he comes out!”

Spike rushed to her side and began pulling out all the new clothes that Anya had chosen for Xander on their shopping spree. He pulled out a handful of silk that he didn’t recognize. “You bought him underwear?” He shook out the forest green silk boxers, rubbing the tips of his fingers over the fabric.

“Yes,” Anya hissed. “I know you don’t want him wearing any, but I know that he acts like a fool when he doesn’t have any on! He gets too distracted to function!” She rescued the boxers from Spike, who was fondling them with a far away look in his eyes.

“Hurry up!” Anya shoved Spike into action as she finished packing up Xander’s suitcase. She dumped all the clothes that she had removed into one of the shopping bags and pushed it towards Spike. “Stick that in the closet.”

As Spike shut the closet door, Xander wandered into the room. He smiled at Anya and pulled her up, planting a kiss on her forehead. “It is time to go!” His excited smile was contagious and soon all three were grinning like fools as they packed the last of the weapons into a hard case.

“How are we going to get these into Bermuda? Or, for that matter, how are we going to get them onto the plane in L.A.?” Xander’s voice was strained as he helped Spike carry the case to the door.

“No idea, pet. Rupes has some contacts, I think,” Spike offered.

Anya caught sight of a clock, squeaked and ran from the room, reappearing in the doorway with her skirt half on and her shoes dangling from her fingers.

Spike nudged Xander and both men watched as Anya’s skirt dropped to the floor and she bent over to pull it back up. Two heads tilted as one, soaking in the sight of smooth skin covered by nothing but a flimsy pale pink thong.

Xander unconsciously took a step towards the flustered girl, one hand reaching out. Spike slapped at the outreached hand and frowned. “Oi!”

Anya turned and saw that both of her roommates were staring and that both were sporting rather impressive tents in their respective pants. “Oh.” She flushed and quickly zipped her skirt. She slid on her heels, continuing to avoid looking directly at either man.

“I’ve got to get to the shop. Meet you there!” Anya flew out of the apartment; trying to control her breathing and hoping desperately that the moisture that was freely flowing from her pussy wouldn’t soak through her skirt.

A stunned Spike and Xander stood in the middle of the catastrophe that was their living room. Xander turned his head slightly to look at the smaller man. Spike noticed the movement and looked back.

Both men reached out and soon no thoughts of Anya and her pink thong were left. There was only coolness and warmth, tongues dueling and hands stroking.

Xander moaned in disappointment when Spike’s mouth left his. Spike dragged his tongue down Xander’s neck and began biting at his collarbone. Spike’s hand drifted to a nipple, tweaking and pinching the brown flesh. Xander moaned again, this time in encouragement.

Spike looked up and deliberately touched his tongue to one of Xander’s distended nipples. The younger man threw his head back and groaned. Spike’s touch was sending bolts of desire throughout his entire system. He knees buckled and Spike quickly threw an arm around his waist to support him.

Spike continued to tongue the nub in his mouth before biting it roughly, drawing out a shriek of delight from the brunette. “Again!”

Spike moved to the other nipple and bit hard, sending shivers throughout Xander’s body. Spike pulled back and looked Xander in the eye. “You are so responsive, love…”

He dropped his head back down to the other man’s chest only to snort in disgust when the phone rang. Both men began looking for the cordless phone, willing it to appear from under the piles of shoes, blankets and clothing that littered the room.

“Got it!” Xander held it up triumphantly and answered it. “Hello?”

Spike’s sensitive hearing allowed him to eavesdrop quite successfully.

“Quit making out with Spike and get dressed! Your flight is in less then two hours!” Anya’s voice carried clearly over the line and both men instantly looked guilty. “And quit looking guilty! Just get in the shower, separately, and get dressed. I’ll hold off Giles. Hurry!”

Xander hung up the phone and tossed it to Spike, who had moved into the kitchen for some blood. “I’ll hop in first, ok?” Spike nodded and downed his blood.

“Yeah, I’ll gather everything up.” Spike moved to pick up his trunk and Xander’s suitcase and laid them by the door. He heard the water start in the bathroom and allowed his thoughts to wander.

Xander stood under the water and did the same. He was amazed at how it had felt when Spike had bitten down on his nipples. He drew his fingers up to circle around the tiny mounds of flesh, remembering the vampire’s touch.

Spike wondered if Xander had ever thought about piercing his nipples, they were so sensitive.

Xander wondered why no one else had paid any attention to such a sensitive area.

Both men moaned as they contemplated Xander’s nipples. Two hands drifted down and two erections were stroked. As each man came he shouted the other’s name.



They made it to the car without too many further incidents.

Xander had stumbled over Spike’s trunk when the other man appeared from his bedroom, dressed in a sapphire silk t-shirt and tight blue jeans. It was obvious that Spike wasn’t wearing underwear; the pants were too snug to allow any. Spike slipped on a short, rough, brown leather jacket and his black eye jackets. He picked up his trunk and the case of weapons, and then turned to the other man.


He turned and walked out of the apartment, giving Xander a perfect view of his ass, too-tight denim barely brushed by soft brown leather. Xander shook his head. There was no way that he was going to live through this trip. He knew it.

“C’mon, Whelp. Time to go!” Xander picked up his suitcase and ran after Spike. He reached the DeSoto in the covered parking area reserved for Xander just as Spike was hefting the case of weapons into the trunk.

“Give it here.” Spike held out his hand for Xander’s suitcase and piled it on top of the other items already packed in the large space.

He walked around to the driver’s side of the car, patting the pockets of the unfamiliar jacket, looking for his smokes. He found them in an inside pocket and lit up, sliding behind the wheel.

“Got everything, pet?” He glanced over at Xander who was staring at him with lust filled eyes. “Shit, hang on.” Spike got out of the car, dodging small patches of light, and went back up to the apartment.

Anya had set up an account for Spike in Sunnydale, transferring funds from several of accounts that Angel had provided. She had given him a debit card to access the account while he was gone, but had also gotten him several thousand dollars worth of traveler’s checks. Spike had hidden the wallet of checks under his mattress and had almost forgotten it.

“Where in the hell am I supposed to put these?” Spike couldn’t fit the thick wallet into his jeans pocket, so he slipped it in with his cigarettes and Zippo. He walked back out to the car, revving the engine as he settled in his seat.

“Here we go.” Spike threw the car into gear and stomped on the gas. Xander laughed in half-fear and half-delight as they sped towards the Magic Box.

When they arrived, Spike ran in under an old wool blanket to gather up Tara, Giles and all of their stuff. The DeSoto had been chosen by default to take the group to L.A. Spike had refused to ride in the trunk of anyone else’s car, and none of the others were willing to black out their windows.

He walked in to find Tara and Willow kissing passionately, Tara pressing Willow forcibly against the counter, while Giles and Anya pretended not to notice.

“Where’s the Slayer?” Spike looked around the room and scented the air.

Giles snorted in disgust. “She was busy and couldn’t make it.” He lifted his suitcase and indicated a large box that held a variety of books. “Could you get that?”

Spike rolled his eyes but lifted the box, nudging Tara as he passed. His action pressed her more firmly against Willow, causing the redhead to groan under her breath.

“C’mon, gotta go. Watcher’ll eat me alive if we miss the flight.” He nudged Tara again, eliciting another groan from Willow. Spike leaned against the counter next to the two witches and had settled in to watch the show when Giles stuck his head in the door.

“Let’s go!” Tara jumped at his tone and blushed. Willow, too sated with her lover’s kisses to respond, floated over to a chair and sat down, silently watching Tara and Spike walk towards the door.

Anya hurried after the vampire, stopping him as he struggled to get his blanket back over his head to protect him from the waning sunlight. He tilted his head questioningly and she smiled, dragging him behind a curtain.

“When you and Xander get back, come by my new place. I’ll show you both some more of my lingerie if you want.” Anya stood on her toes and kissed Spike, pushing her tongue into his unresisting mouth and drawing in his taste. Spike was too stunned to respond to her soft lips.

Anya pulled back. “That one was for you. Give this one to Xander for me.” She reached back up and kissed the vampire again, almost bruising him with her intensity.

“Have a good trip.” Anya turned and sashayed back over to the counter, where she began going through the till, counting her precious money.

Spike stumbled out to the car, dropping the box of books through the window and into Giles’ lap, managing to singe his hand in the process. He fell into his seat and stared at the steering wheel. Xander had seen Anya grab Spike and pull him back in and wondered what she had said to make the vampire this quiet and still.

Xander leaned over and poked Spike. “You have to actually put the car in gear and physically drive it. It won’t go by itself.” Spike looked over at Xander and nodded. Revving the engine up, he pulled away from the Magic Box, heading for L.A.


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