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Protective Custody

Nash and Virtual Person


It was white. Why was everything around him white? Soft and warm. He'd never felt peace like this. Never.

He forced his mind to recall his last memories, and then regretted it. There was light there as well. Too much of it. White hot fire searing his body, consuming him, the pain competing with the ache in his heart when he realized Buffy was lying to him. He was turning to cinder and ash, alone, with no one in the world to love him. A fitting end for William the Bloody.

Spike tried to curse, but the words that came out of his mouth were as soft as the room. Where the bloody hell was he, and why couldn't he speak his mind?

“You can’t swear in here. The angels won’t let you.”

A little girl appeared, dressed in jeans and a pink t-shirt with a flower on it. She approached him slowly, finally coming to stand in front of him.

“You’re not supposed to be here yet, you know. You have to go back.”

Spike was startled. The last thing he'd expected was to see half a person, well a child. "Not supposed to be where? That would help me decide if I'm supposed to be here or not."; He blinked. It was still all light around him. He couldn't see past the light.

The little girl smiled softly. “You don’t decide. They do. You have to go back. They’re giving you a choice.” She pouted for a moment. “They didn’t give me one. You’re supposed to choose between half an immortal existence and a full mortal one. I’ll show you and then you’ll choose.”

“They? Who the flowery heavens are they?" he demanded. Only after the words spilled out of his mouth did he realize 'bloody hell' had been translated into that Godawful anti-poetic phrase. He gave a shudder of self loathing and walked over to her. "Right. I think I've had enough fun and games, yeah? Am I dead? Is this hell? Because...I could like it here, if they switched off the light. I'm not blind. Yet.”

“You’re not in hell!” The girl said and giggled. “I told you the angels won’t let you swear. You must really pay attention. Now I’m going to show you and then you’ll choose, okay?” She asked, and waved her hand daintily, revealing a huge screen.

"Angels...heaven... right. A bit confused here, the last thing I remember is getting burned by huge flames. It could happen to anyone," he said, looking at the screen. "They let you pick your room? A nice garden view is my choice. Go on, then."

The little girl rolled her eyes and gestured towards the screen. It flared to life, showing Angel, sitting at a huge desk, looking distinctly miserable. Harmony was perched on a chair in front of the desk, taking notes and yammering on at full speed.

“This is your first choice, a half existence in this place.”

The screen changed to show the inside of what seemed to be a large office, with all sorts of people and demons walking around, looking busy.

“Would you like to see your second choice now?”

"Angel." Spike glared at the screen. "Why does he always get to win? He gave her the amulet, and I'm the git that wore it." He touched the base of his throat, where the amulet had caught fire and spread the cleansing light. "What do you mean half existence? Twelve hour days?”

Spike was the recipient of a glare so fierce it looked odd in the face of what appeared to be a nine-year-old girl. “Do you always ask this many questions? I mean what I said. Half-existence. One half of you will not exist. Your soul will be there but your body will not. Happy now?”

"Sounds like a pretty 'rosied up' ... 'daisied up'... 'tuliped up' deal, I think I'll pass," he said through clenched teeth when the words he meant once again refused to come out. If they were trying to drive him crazy, they were doing a bloody fine job of it.

The girl giggled at Spike’s attempts to swear and with her good humour restored, she waved her hand towards the screen.

The screen switched again, this time showing a spacious apartment. Xander Harris was walking around, holding a speaking on a cordless phone and gesticulating wildly. He was frowning, and speaking in a manner that seemed urgent and important.

“This is your second choice, a full mortal life, under this human.”

The screen changed, showing Xander storming out of the apartment and walking across the street to a huge building, with the letters NWC artistically intertwined at the entrance.

“So, which one do you choose?” She asked, looking at Spike expectantly.

"Under this human? What does that mean?" Spike stared at the screen. Xander's manner. The foreign cars on the street. The old brick building... really old, not distressed and made to look old. "What's he playing at? A James Bond version of Dungeons and Dragons?"

“Your questions are beginning to tire me. You must choose and you shall do it now.” The girl suddenly looked austere and her voice held a hint of menace. “The human or the vampire. Choose.”

He was still trying to wrap his mind around the concept of being 'under' Xander. "Do you mean he gets to play boss?" He frowned, not at all pleased by that idea. A little power went to the boy's head, he remembered the days when he'd been tied to a chair and Xander had tortured him with ridicule.

Angel or Xander. Angel or Xander. Well it was an easy choice, he could lead Xander by the nose and show him who was the boss. "I'll take Xander," he sneered, smelling triumph over this prissy little know it all twit of a girl.

The girl smiled and waved her hand.


Xander walked back to his apartment, shaking his head at Andrew's stupidity. How many times did he have to tell the idiot not to call Colway 'Spock'. Okay, so the demon did have pointy ears and could do a mind-meld thing, that didn't mean he was a Vulcan in any other way. For one thing, Colway was very comfortable expressing any and all emotions. Around Andrew he usually expressed rage. If Dawn hadn't thought to call Xander Andrew would probably have been beaten to a pulp.

What was wrong with that thought? Oh yeah, he was a good guy and he couldn't let the mean demon kill poor little Andrew. Xander rolled his eye. If he'd been in Colway's shoes, the little runt would be seriously injured long before now.

"I need a beer and some Indian food." Xander decided and threw his coat over the sofa. He was about to reach for the phone when he spotted a man lying on his floor.

A very naked man. He cautiously walked closer to the body and gasped when he saw the man's face.

A very naked Spike!


Spike had no idea how long he'd been shivering on the cold floor in the foetal position. At first, he'd tried to get up on his own, but found his legs wouldn't hold him. Worse than a bleeding newborn colt is how the PTB had left him.

Turning his head slightly, he saw him - Xander looking wide-eyed and open-mouthed. "Well? Are you going to stand there and look at me, or be useful and help me up? And it wouldn't hurt if you invested in a heater and didn't freeze your guests' arses off, yeah?"

Xander just stood there, staring at Spike.

"You''re dead!" He finally stammered out, reaching out to poke him. After the whole business with The First he wasn't taking any chances. His finger met warm flesh and he realised that Spike was comfortingly solid. A second later Xander's hellmouth training took over. When something weird happens, just take it in stride.

"Please don't tell me it's another apocalypse!" He said, heading for the bedroom. "I'll get you a blanket and help you up but only if you promise me it's not another apocalypse." He added, grabbing the quilt from the bed. Taking things in stride was all well and good but he was not about to look at naked Spike longer than absolutely necessary.

"Feels like another apocalypse." Spike made one last face saving effort to get up on his own, but ended up banging his head on the hardwood floor when his energy ran out. "Not supposed to be dead yet, that's all that cryptic woman in a child's body would say. When have the Powers That Be ever been direct?" Not that he'd ever faced them before. All his jealousy about Angel having an "in" with them had been so wasted. Why did it take him this long to find out?

Xander came back to the room just in time to see Spike bang his head on the floor. He rolled his eyes at Spike's obstinacy and wrapped the quilt around his shoulders. "Here, grab hold of my arms and I'll lift you to the couch, okay? What the hell happened to you anyway?"

"I'm ba-ack," he said in his best 'child from Poltergeist' film voice. Well, the one who'd sent him back here had looked like the girl from the film. Spike reached out for Xander, and pulled himself up, not really caring whether the blanket stayed put or slid off his frame.

Eyes focused on the couch, he did his best to walk toward it without his legs going out from under him. "Learning to be human isn't all I'd hoped for, yeah?" He stopped, gripping Xander's shoulder, he took a break. The sofa was only a few feet away.

Frustration showed in his face, but he tried to cover by pretending to want to explain. "You're supposed to help me get back on my feet. A few days, then I'll be out of here," he promised. If that little PtB chit thought it would take him weeks, she didn't know him. "And you're to do everything I say during that time." Rules were made to be broken, amended, fixed and improved... that was all he was doing.

“They did not put you in charge! I don’t think even the Wankers That Be would be that stupid. And hey, how come I get stuck with you!”

As he was speaking, Xander put his arm around Spike’s waist, taking more of his weight and holding him up. “How the hell am I supposed to teach you to be human anyway?” He asked harshly, keeping his eye facing forward. The damn blanket had slipped and now Spike’s left side was in full view. What was worse was that Xander’s hand was resting on warm, silky skin.

Spike glanced down at Xander's hand, then at his face. The boy's discomfort wasn't hard to read. Something akin to a smile spread over his face for the first time since he'd been incinerated. "Fetch me food and drink, help me move around until my legs get stronger, do something about getting me clothes, preferably leather, yeah?" Another step and he was being lowered onto the couch. He couldn't help it if a small grunt of pain escaped him, though it was beyond him why he hurt all over. "You do have a telly?"

“Yes Spike, I do have a telly. Now shut up and let me think. I’ll get you some sweats for now and I’m calling Willow. No offence, but I wanna make sure you’re you and not some kind of demony thing.” Xander didn’t bother hiding his exasperation. “Oh, and for the record? I am not your personal servant. You wanna learn how to be human? Fine. You can start by learning how to feed and clothe your own self.”

Xander glared at Spike and grabbed the phone from the coffee table.

"Sweats... I'm not wearing bloody sweats!" He glared right back at Xander. "You'll get me proper clothes, like you're supposed to, or you'll be staring at me like this until you do," he threatened, sensing how much his nudity set Xander on edge. Poor repressed humans. At least that was one human quality that wouldn't be foisted on him.

Xander let out a long-suffering sigh. “Fine. Stay naked. Catch pneumonia. Then you can die in a couple of weeks and I can have my life back. Maybe then the universe will stop screwing me over.” He pressed 1 on speed dial and threw another glare in Spike’s direction. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m calling Willow.”

Spike stretched out with one leg resting across Xander's knees and put his head back. Not quite comfortable, he grabbed the pillow behind Xander without a 'by your leave' and tucked it behind his head. "Better. Much better. And it's three days, or four. I'm not staying here longer than that." He turned his head. "Or maybe Red can take care of me. She's got a much more accommodating bed side manner."

“Somehow I doubt the Wankers that Be would let either of us off so easy…Hey Will, you’ll never guess who landed, in all his naked glory in my flat.” Xander directed his attention to the phone, pushing Spike’s leg off his lap.

Putting everything he had in the motion, Spike leaned forward and snatched the phone out of Xander's hand. "It looks like I'll be needing a bit of
saving, how quickly can you get here?"

For the first time in her life, Willow was too shocked to even babble. She was sure she’d heard Spike’s voice but that was impossible! Spike had died!
“S-s-spike? Is that you? But…but you died! Didn’t you die?”

"Dying is relative. I just did the pain part of it." A slight frown marred his face. That bit of memory, he could do well without. "I'm human now, need a bit of..." Right, the word 'help' wouldn't come of his mouth. "Clothes and food... you cook, yeah? The Powers won't mind a small change of plans."

He met Xander's glare and gave an open shrug. The boy wasn't cooperating, so he'd had to take things in his own hands.

“You’re human? H-how? And how come you’re in Xander’s apartment? And the Powers put you there? Why?” Willow’s mind was already running through possible reasons and consequences of a human Spike. She dimly remembered Wesley calling Giles about a prophecy involving a vampire turning human. Maybe that’s what had happened. Why Xander’s apartment though? Suddenly it came to her. The PtBs had finally heard Xander calling them Wankers that Be. Why else would they put Spike with him, they knew the boys hated each other.

“I told Xander not to call them that! I warned him! Did he listen though? Noooo, not Xander, he had to go and show his bitterness. Look, Spike, if they stuck you with Xander then it’s better you stay there until we know what’s happening, okay? I’ll go to the Council headquarters and do some research. You stay with Xan, understand?”

“Right." He shut the phone and slammed it down on the end table with more force than he intended and that about drained him of the remainder of his energy and irritated him all the more."Willow says you are to do exactly what Powers ordered, and that would be..." he turned his head slightly, "obey my every whim."

“She said what now?!” Xander got up and started pacing around the room. “It’s not bad enough that I have to deal with Andrew every day, it’s not bad enough that I had to be in charge of the more demony employees, I have to have you around, now?” He stopped pacing a moment to glare up to the ceiling. “I thought we agreed no more butt monkey! Stupid all-powerful wankers that be. And you!” He twirled around and pointed at Spike. “You are wearing some clothes around here, mister and I don’t care if they’re sweats or leather. Oh, wait. They should be leather. So that you can see how it chafes when you’re human and have an actual body temperature.”

"Chafes...pah," he gave a disgusted sneer. "I want leather. And if not that, then jeans. Make sure they're black. I'm not about to go prancing about in something colourful." Prancing...He hoped he'd be walking soon. "My throat is parched. Thirsty. That's it... get me some water."

Out of the corner of his eye, Spike caught sight of something beige. What was that under the legs of the chair near where he'd laid sprawled for hours? Not a scroll! He used every bloody swear word they'd prevented him from using when he was in that holding room of theirs, and more. If it contained what he thought...his pulse started to race. Nervousness, what that what this was?

Xander looked suspiciously at Spike. He looked...worried? Yeah...worried and a bit nervous. He opened his mouth to ask Spike what he was hiding but he was rudely interrupted.
"What the bloody hell are you doing still standing there with your mouth open? Get the clothes and the water." Get the fuck away from the scroll.

“Fine. Just fucking fine.”

Xander growled and, with a last glare at Spike he stomped to the bedroom to get him some clothes. Stupid ex-evil-undead and his stupid colour preferences.

He grabbed the first black pair of jeans he could find. They would probably be too large for Spike but frankly, at that moment Xander didn’t care. Stomping back to the living room he threw the jeans next to Spike on the couch and went to the kitchen to get the water.

"Twist of lemon with it. And...fruit, peeled. Definitely peeled," Spike called out after him. "Cut up in small bits, not bigger than the size of quarters."

Hoping that would buy him enough time, he tried to make if off the couch, but collapsed back into it. That wouldn't work. And now for plan B. Those never worked, did they?

Leaning on his side, he held tight to one end of the jeans and threw them, trying to make the other end land on the scroll. Once.... twice... he didn't take too kindly to failure. Just a little further and it might work. He bent so far, half his body was off the couch, and threw one last time. Ah... he started pulling the jeans back toward him, with the scroll rolling nicely under them.

“Wash the cupboards Cinderella, do the dishes Cinderella” Xander grumbled, picking up fruit and utensils.

He was halfway through peeling an orange when he realised what he was doing. He was obeying Spike. Why was he doing that? Anger fully restored, Xander went back to the living room just in time to see Spike try to trap something with the jeans.

“Trying to reach something, Spike?” He asked mildly.

"Changed me mind. Forget the water, I'd like to try a soda, yeah?" He smiled, though it hurt his face to force it.

“Ah, but Spike, what kind of faithful manservant would I be if I didn’t help you reach what you were trying to get.” Xander replied cheerfully, convinced now that Spike was hiding something. “Here, I’ll get it for you shall, I?”

He kneeled down next to Spike and grabbed whatever was hiding under the jeans.

“Oh look, Spike. You came with directions.” He said as he unrolled the scroll. “Let’s see now, what does it say...”


“Ah, but Spike, what kind of faithful manservant would I be if I didn’t help you reach what you were trying to get.” Xander replied cheerfully, convinced now that Spike was hiding something. “Here, I’ll get it for you shall, I?”

He kneeled down next to Spike and grabbed whatever was hiding under the jeans.

“Oh look, Spike. You came with directions.” He said as he unrolled the scroll. “Let’s see now, what does it say…”

"Manservant. Didn't take you too long to turn into a Brit, did it." He tried to snatch the roll out of Xander's hands, but this time the boy was better prepared. "You're violating my privacy, give it back to me. It's mine. It's mine," his voice trailed off in defeat.

For a moment Xander felt sorry for Spike. He sounded so lost…then he remembered how Spike was going to take advantage of him just a moment ago.

“Says here that the Wankers are leaving you in my custody and care. So you were right about one thing Spike, I’m supposed to take care of your sorry ass. But oh, look! It’s not you who gets to make all the decisions! Oh no, I get to decide what’s best for you and if you don’t do what you’re told there will be, get this, ‘dire consequences’. In short, blondie, your ass? Is mine.”

Xander looked at Spike triumphantly. His triumph, however was short-lived. Spike looked so freaking miserable, lying on the couch like that, staring at the floor.

"Get your jollies now, Harris. While you can." He had nothing left to back up his belligerence, but he wouldn't let the likes of Xander know it.

As if dismissing him from his mind, he sat up and tried to draw his legs up so he could put the jeans on. His legs felt like lead weight and wouldn't move. Bending at his waist, he tried again, tried to get his feet into the jeans. "Bloody fucking hell," he threw it at Xander's feet. "Where's my water."

The silence stretched between them.

That parched feeling didn't go away. It only got worse, now that the glass of water was in view.

"Please," he said, the word barely audible as it slipped through tightly clenched teeth.

Xander watched Spike try to get dressed, shocked into silence by the jerky movements. Spike looked like he was about to burst into tears. It was the ‘please’ that finally snapped him out of it.

He shifted closer to the couch and bent his head a bit, trying to look into Spike’s eyes.

“I know you think I’ll be a bastard about this Spike but…Look Anya went through the same thing, okay? She was all confident and strong around the others but I saw what she had to deal with. I’m not going to make things hard for you. Well, not as much as I could anyway.” He smiled tentatively. “I mean, you do have the uncanny ability to piss me off and I’m not much of a saint.”

He got up and went to the kitchen to get Spike some fresh water, giving him a chance to pull himself together.

Spike literally glowered at Xander's retreating back. He didn't need him to be nice...or want him to. He didn't want to lay here as week as a baby, or to be under the boy's thumb. Anything would be better than this. Anything. Even a ghostly existence chained to Angel. At least then, he wouldn't have to rely on favors.

He looked up at the ceiling. Bloody Wankers. They tricked him. "I've changed my mind! I'll take the other deal. I don't want to be human!" he yelled at the top of his voice. And even that was gone. Not that they would have listened anyway.

What he would give to be able to go on a rampage now. Instead, he'd been rendered impotent. This was worse than being chipped. It was worse than death. He pulled the blanket up his body, and suppressed a shiver.

Xander heard Spike yell and paused. He knew that Spike didn’t want his help. Hell, if he’d been Spike he wouldn’t have wanted the Zeppo’s help either but they were both stuck here. He went back to what he was doing. He hadn’t wanted to be stuck with Spike any more than Spike wanted to be stuck with him. He never liked the guy. Okay maybe he was getting to like him when the world was going to end but that was before Spike had tried to turn him into his slave.

Still…the guy was so weak. And he needed Xander’s help. He knew himself well enough to know that he was a sucker for people needing him. Xander looked down at the tray he had prepared. He wasn’t sure if it would help any but it was a start wasn’t it?
Picking up the tray he returned to the living room.

“Being human has its perks. One of them, and my second favourite one, is chocolate.” He said as cheerfully as he could and laid the tray on the table. “We have Cadbury, which we never got in Sunnydale and as far as I’m concerned is reason enough to move to England. We also have Thorntons, generic supermarket goodies, and last but not least, the classic American treat, Twinkies!”

Xander looked hopefully at Spike. He knew chocolate wasn't as important as, say the ability to fight but it was good enough for him.

Spike eyed the tray, then Xander, then the tray. Knowing that English butler jokes might not be a good idea, until he at least got some of that water in him, he let his eyes do the talking as he reached for the glass.

Xander let out a frustrated sigh. “Come on Spike, at least I’m trying! We’re gonna be stuck together for the foreseeable future, can’t you at least cooperate a tiny little bit?!”

At first Spike took small sips. The liquid soothed his throat, and took away a craving that was almost as strong as blood lust. Greedily, he lifted the glass, taking big gulps and spilling some out of the side. He ignored the sounds of protests coming from his stomach and drained the glass.

"Not a child, yeah?" He stared up into Xander's dark eyes for a moment, before looking at the assortment on the tray. "If this is an example of the healthy meals you'll be serv... erm giving me, I think I'll be laid flat until the next millenium." You didn't have to be human to recognize junk food.

"No biscuits," he complained. He picked up the twinkie and raised an eyebrow. "No man should be caught eating one of these," he dropped it, and picked up the chocolate. Nibbling at it, he found the sweet velvety rich flavor quite addictive. Naturally, he wouldn't let Xander know he liked it. Making a face, he demanded. "Are you going to stand over me all day?"

Xander rolled his eyes. Vampire or not, Spike was just as irritating as ever.

“I’ll go make dinner in a minute. Don’t eat too much you’ll spoil your appetite and oh fuck, I sound like Willow’s mother.” This time the eye-roll was directed mainly at himself. “Any preference on dinner? Could order Indian if you want. Love the curries they have over here.”

He turned to look at Spike and finally remembered a very important fact. Spike was still naked!

“Clothes! We need to get you in some clothes!”

Spike stared right back at him. "And just how do you propose to do that?"

“Well, I was thinking you could put your feet in the holes provided and maybe tug up until you’re wearing them?”

"Tried that, yeah?" Eyes still locked with Xanders, he challenged him to do the deed. Who's turn was it to get all flustered and at a disadvantage now?

“Oh…right…” Xander shifted nervously. “I could maybe help with that then. But you have to wear underwear.” He added, casting a pleading look at Spike. “It’s for your own good really; they protect the sensitive bits from the harsh denim.”

Spike's eyes widened. "First you're worried about my chafed skin, and now my 'sensitive bits'... what have they done to you while I was gone? You sound either like Mother Theresa or a bloody poofter. Which is it?"

Xander could feel the blood rushing to his head.

“I don’t…it’s not…I’m a guy and you’re newly human guy and I’m only sharing my experience.” He finally managed to stammer out.

"Well go on then." Spike started to whip the blanket off and wasn't a bit surprised when Xander rushed off. Laughing out loud, he dropped the blanket back down on his lap and waited for him to return with some shorts. Which reminded him, "nothing with any bloody cartoons on it, or hearts!" He'd caught a glimpse of Xander's skivvys when everyone had been holed up at The Slayers house before the battle against The First.

Xander let out a sigh of relief. Spike could have made this way more embarrassing, he thought as he searched for a pair of shorts with no cartoons on it. He finally found a pair that was plain. Or as plain as Xander’s underwear could be. He went back to Spike, carefully not looking at the blond’s lap, and showed him what he’d found.

“Will these do?”

"Red. Almost as bad as hearts." He shook his head in disgust, but was worried about what the next choice would be. Sliding his hand under one knee, he tried to lift his leg, then looked at Xander and shrugged. A few inches was the best he could do, the rest was up to Xander. "This was your idea," he said, reminded him.

Xander gulped. Right, he had to get close to naked Spike. He could do this, there was nothing to be embarrassed about. They were both men of the world. Right.

“Okay, here goes…” He said and kneeled before Spike. Trying hard not to think of what his position looked like, he manoeuvred the shorts so that Spike’s foot came through one of the holes. “Lift up the other one.” He said, hating himself for sounding husky.

Spike took his time. If he was going to feel belittled and mortified at his inability to do anything, then he would make sure Xander suffered just as much... he'd grab those moments when they came. When his second foot was in position and Xander started tugging the shorts up as hard as he could, Spike wanted to laugh at the desperation in the boy's movements. It was clear he wanted this to be over as soon as it could, and was squirming on the inside.

Xander was trying desperately to get this over with, too aware of the compromising position he seemed to be in. Spike, on the other hand, was clearly having too much fun making things difficult.

The dark head bobbing at about Spike’s knee level, made him think of one universal thing. Threading his fingers through the boy’s hair, he said out loud. "Hello Red, I don't think this is a good time to visit. Wait until we're done, yeah?"

Xander’s eyes widened in shock and fear and he immediately jumped back, tripping on the table leg and falling down on his ass. Only when he reached the floor did he remember that Willow didn’t have a key to his apartment.

“That was so not funny.” He said, glaring at an entirely too smug-looking Spike.

Spike barely held in his laughter. "I'll need help pulling it up the rest of the way," he pointed out, nodding at the scrap of red cloth now resting half way up his thighs and very close to the edge of the blanket covering his so called 'sensitive bits.' "Here, I have an idea. I'll lift, and you pull."

“Fine. Just. Fucking. Fine.”

Xander got up and approached the couch again. This time he didn’t kneel, he bent at the waist and grabbed the waist of the shorts. By the time he realised that this position put him closer to Spike’s crotch than the previous one, it was too late to retreat gracefully so he gritted his teeth and tried to sound as calm as possible.


Hands braced on the couch, Spike did as he was told, lifting his hips up. Xander's heightened color amused him. "Pull."


The omelettes Xander had made for dinner hadn't been half bad. No, they were actually quite good. Spike had been surprised that the boy knew his way around the kitchen. In Sunnydale, the only cooking anyone saw out of him was Dominoes Pizza and Stan's Donuts.

Now he sat on the couch staring at the telly. They'd argued over what to watch. He'd wanted old reruns of Melrose Place, and Xander kept insisting on some awful science fiction. Spike had won that round and was happily watching the soap, but his satisfaction was short-lived. Xander had control of the bloody remote.

An ad break came on. Spike was ready to snarl at Xander not to even think of skimming channels in the direction of the sci-fi show when pain unexpectedly wracked his stomach. His gut twisted into knots, and he had difficulty breathing. Taking shallow breaths he tried to sit up straighter.

Xander absentmindedly watched the television, trying to figure out what to do with his unwelcome guest. From what Willow had said it seemed that he was stuck with Spike for the near future at least which sucked in ways the he was sure he was about to find out. He turned to tell Spike to at least let him watch Star Trek on the break but he swallowed his words. Spike seemed to be having some kind of trouble.

“Spike? You okay there?” He moved to sit next to Spike and leaned forward to catch his eye. “What’s wrong?”

"Something's bloody sawing me in half..." he took a few shallow breaths, hoping it would go away. "Stomach." The waves ripped through him again, causing him to clutch his stomach and bend over, perplexed and looking at Xander for answers.

“Erm…maybe you ate too much?” Xander suggested, reaching out and placing a hand on Spike’s back. “Does it come and go? Cause if it does then it’d be cramps.” The hand on Spike’s back started rubbing in soothing circles. He’d spent enough of his time around girls to know that cramps hurt like hell. He also knew how to make it a bit better. “I could get you a hot water bottle. Willow says the heat helps a lot.”

"Ate too much... ate too much?" Spike snarled, now that the pain receded slightly.
"You're the one who fed me, yeah? Are you trying to kill me?"

The hand stopped rubbing as Xander glared at Spike. “Me?! You’re the one who ate every single chocolate! And most of the omelette too! How the hell was I supposed to know that you’d be a greedy bastard?”

"You forced the chocolates on me... and those rude snacks, the twinkies. Don't try to put this on me." He took some more shallow breaths and felt a sheen of sweat cover his forehead. "I don't think I'll be eating after this."

And then it struck, another bout of pain and nausea. Instinctively, he gripped Xander's arm, his fingers biting deep into the boy's flesh. A groan slipped out of his mouth, unmanning him yet again.

Loosening his hold, he didn't look at Xander. He just held his stomach, anticipating another gutting. Next time, he wouldn't make a sound. Even if it bloody killed him.

Xander relented when he heard Spike groan in pain. “Yeah, yeah, held a gun to your head while you ate them. I’ll go get you the bottle ‘kay?” He asked and ran to get the hot water bottle and fill it with water. “I’ll be back in a minute!”

"Whatever, yeah..." He'd agree to whatever Xander wanted right now. This was ridiculous. "It's not for me. This being human, business," he announced to no one in particular. "I had a stomach lined with iron, now its..." He screwed his eyes shut, and tried to rider the next wave. "If you're going to do something, Harris... do it now."

“I’m coming, hold your horses!” Xander yelled from the kitchen, waiting impatiently for the kettle to boil.

Two minutes later he was back, sitting next to Spike and offering the hot water bottle.

“Just put it against your stomach, where it hurts.” He advised, his hand automatically resuming its petting. By the time he realised he was once again soothing Spike he didn’t want to move his hand. The guy looked so wretched…

Pressing the heat into his stomach, Spike was silent for a long time. The heat penetrated and seemed to sooth, as did the movement of Xander's hand. Otherwise, the boy would have been flat on his ass by now. "It's miserable being a human. I want my money back."

“Don’t we all.” Xander whispered, fighting the urge to touch his patch. Taking a deep breath he directed his mind to the subject at hand. Spike would need to sleep and in the state he was in, the couch did not look like a good place. He looked at the blond appraisingly and frowned. Something was off… he placed his free hand on Spike’s forehead. “Oh great…You’re all hot and clammy.” He muttered, snatching his hand back. “You should probably get some sleep.”

"You try to sleep with me putting daggers through you," he answered belligerently. But he was tiring, and the pain had receded to manageable levels. "Alright. I'll sleep," his tone made it clear he was doing Xander a favour. "Do you have another pillow? Something without a big button in the middle?"

Xander didn’t want to do this…he really, really didn’t want to do it. “You can have my bed.” But oh, look, he did it anyway.

Spike lifted an eyebrow. He didn't want any favors. He already felt like a git, sitting here as helpless as a colt, whining about pain. But once he fully stretched out, his legs would hang off the end of the sofa and he'd never get any sleep. "You're going to tell me to go ahead and take the bed, knowing I can't get there, aren't you? I know that trick, Harris. Wasn't born yesterday."

Xander stared at Spike in disbelief.

“Fuck you Spike! I try to be nice and get along and you just have to make it sound like I’m a cruel bastard. Well you know what? Fine. Think whatever you want. I don’t care.” He yelled and stood there glaring at Spike. “Last chance, bleach-for-brains. Bed or couch.”

As much as he'd like to tell Xander to fuck off, he gave a meek nod. "Bed." He put his arm out, and waited for Xander lean down and support him. On the count of three, he got up, holding the hot water bottle like it was a lifeline. "Need to work on your bedside manners, yeah?" Needling Xander was one way to pass the time as they crossed the living room ever so slowly.

“Need to work on your human manners.” Xander countered, supporting Spike’s weight. “This would go much faster if I just carried you, you know.”

All sorts of rough denials died on his lips as it got harder and harder to take the next shuffling step. "If you ever tell anyone, I'll kill you. Even if you only tell in your dreams."

“Yeah, yeah, you’ll torture me by snarking me to death.” Xander muttered and leaned down, putting a hand behind Spike’s knees and another on his upper back. He straightened, holding Spike against his chest. “Okay, here we go.”

Xander walked as fast as he could towards the bed, proud of the steadiness of his walk. Just a few more steps to go…just as he reached the bed, Xander slipped on a sock and suddenly the bed was coming towards him way too fast.

His vampire reflexes and strength gone, there was nothing Spike could do to prevent the fall. As he reeled backwards, instinctively, he held onto Xander. His landing on the mattress might have been soft, but an "oomph" escaped him when the boy landed on top of him.

Almost every part of their bodies touched. In fact Xander was practically nestled between Spike's legs, and so far hadn't made a move to get off him.

Xander stared down at Spike, shocked into immobility. He could feel Spike’s body underneath his own, warm and alive, pressing against him.

"Aren't you taking things a bit too literally? I don't think this is what the PTB meant when they sad I'd be under, you, yeah?" The boy was obviously stunned. "Harris. The answer is no. I'm not sharing the bed."

“I didn’t! I mean I wasn’t! I mean I’ll go now.” Xander mumbled and scrambled off the bed, grabbing a pillow and running for the couch.

"Just shut the bloody light." Never mind that Xander already had on his way out. It was a bit of a struggle to right himself and get into the bed on his own, but there was a slight chance he deserved to be abandoned.

He'd thought he'd be awake for hours. That the stomach pain would return. Instead, he seemed to slip right into sleep.

Xander shifted restlessly on the couch, trying to get comfortable enough to sleep. He kept trying to relax enough to sleep, but every time he was close, he would feel Spike’s body beneath his and snap right back to full awareness. He was not thinking of how good Spike felt under him. He was not. He kept tossing and turning until he was too tired to think of anything other than sleep and finally drifted off.


It was dark and cool - and then it wasn't. Heat burned his skin, boiled his blood. Sweat drenched his body, and yet Spike still burned up. Pin pricks of pain stabbed his skin everywhere. He tried to fight it, to push it away, to stop the pain. "No... no more," he kicked out, punched...something wooden shattered...his hand hurt...but still the burn. "NO, NO MORE!" he yelled. "NO MORE!"

Xander was slammed out of a restless sleep when a scream pierced the silence of the apartment. He looked around, wondering why the hell he wasn't in his bed when another scream brought reality crashing back.

"Fuck. Spike!"

He ran to the bedroom, taking in the broken table and the thrashing blond on the bed.

"Spike! Spike wake up." He said, trying to grab a hold of Spike's arms. "Come on, Spike, it's just a nightmare, wake up!"

This was no good. Spike not only wouldn't wake up, the thrashing became more energetic and he started clawing at his neck.

"Spike! Wake up damnit!"

Seeing no other option, Xander climbed on the bed and grabbed Spike's arms, pinning them to his sides. He lay over Spike, putting most of his weight on him so that he wouldn't be able to move and tried again, speaking close to his ear.

"Spike, wake up. You need to wake up now, okay? Just open your eyes. Open your eyes Spike!"

Spike fought it... fought the pain... the heat... struggling until something weighed him down. Something cool and calming, it was like standing under a waterfall. Letting it wash away the pain.

"Stay. Don't go." Spike managed to command as he clamped his arms around the new dream that would save him. The darkness slipped over him, putting out the painful flames. Leaving him with the peace he sought.

Xander sighed in relief when Spike finally calmed down and stayed still. He tried to shift a bit to climb off of Spike but the arms around his waist tightened every time he tried to move and the blond started muttering and moving.

"Let go Spike." He whispered, unwilling to wake him up now that he'd finally calmed down. A few aborted tries later he finally realised that the only way to get off Spike was to wake him up. He lifted his head high enough to look down on the sleeping blond and was struck by the tiredness he could still see on his face.

"I'll just close my eyes for a bit, 'kay Spike?" He whispered "Then I'll move. I mean , what could possibly happen if I just rest my eye a bit?"

Hours later Xander opened his eyes and focused on Spike's face. Why was Spike sleeping on the couch with him? He wondered and shifted a bit. His eyes widened and he froze immediately as last night came tumbling back into his memory and a new fact made itself known.

Spike's hands had somehow managed to wriggle inside Xander's underwear and were now firmly cupping his ass. And his stupid, traitorous body seemed to like it!


Xander wriggled a bit, trying to get out of Spike's...hold. The moment he started moving, Spike's hands tightened on his ass and he was pulled closer to the warm body underneath him.

Oh this is not good. This is not good at all. Come one Spike let go. Letgoletgoletgoletgoletgo.

The wriggling was not only failing but it was also accentuating the disturbing reaction of his body. Xander's mind shied away from the realisation that he'd gotten hard, painfully unbelievably hard, just from feeling Spike's hands and his body.

Just a morning woody. Nothing to panic about. Lil' Xander has no interest at all in the ex-evil ex-undead man lying under me. Shit he's under me!

Just then, Xander realised something truly horrible. Spike was awake. "Erm...morning Spike."

Spike had opened one eye, and now forced the other open to find Xander on top of him. "This is a bloody human nightmare. Tell me it's a nightmare." He moved his hands, skimming them slightly over Xander as he tried to grasp what new drama the boy had embroiled him in. Warm. Soft fleshy skin covering hard muscle...round…masculine globes. When his mind finally caught up and the truth of the situation dawned on him, he gave a start and pulled his hands out of Xander's shorts as if they'd been burned.

"What in fucking hell am I doing under you?" he demanded, just tethering in his panic... mostly at being unable to recall getting into this particular configuration.

"Well, you were having a hell of a nightmare and I tried to wake you up but you wouldn't wake up! So I tried to hold you still cause you were hurting yourself and my furniture and you only calmed down when I lay over you to hold you down and then I think I fell asleep." Xander babbled, forgetting that he was now free to move. "So I woke up and you were holding...erm...yeah, so I woke up and then you woke up and now we're both awake."

“Bollocks.” Spike’s heart…his very human heart was pounding out the message he refused to give with his expression or tone. Nervous fear. Awareness…disturbing awareness. Confusion.

The boy hadn’t moved. He was staring back at him. He couldn’t or didn’t school his features to hide the panic. “Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds?” Spike demanded. “So ridiculous it might be true,” he added, lowering his voice. “Harris?”

Xander was staring at Spike's chest, hypnotised by all the skin now in view. He didn't even heard Spike call his name though he did notice the chest rise up when he drew breath to do so.

"You're awake now, aren't you? Do you need a bloody invitation to get the hell off me?"

Spike's voice finally penetrated the haze around Xander's mind and he suddenly realised that not only had he stayed lying over Spike, he'd been just about to reach out and touch him.

"Right. Yes. Getting off, I mean down. Getting down now." He stammered and scrambled off Spike and off the bed. Once on the floor he had a better view of Spike's chest which led him into another flurry of panic. "Gonna go shower. Yeah, a shower sounds good. I'll be out in ten minutes okay?" He said, and not waiting for an answer, rushed off to the bathroom.

Clenching his hands around the bedclothes, Spike told himself he hadn't noticed the press of skin against skin. The slide of Xander's bare chest over his as he'd rolled off. Or the feel of his very hard member pressed against his hip. But when his gaze flicked to Xander's shorts, there was no way he could ignore the fact that L'il Xander was standing at attention. "Make that a cold shower, yeah?" he bit out.

Xander cringed at Spike's words and locked the door behind him. He glared down at himself.
"You know, your taste in people is horrendous. Cordelia wasn't enough, you had to get all excited about Spike of all people?"

He took a moment to calm down and turned on the shower. He contemplated following Spike's advice but the thought of a cold shower was not in any way attractive. Nice hot water it was, then.

He got into the shower and let the water run over him for a while. The heat was soothing and after a while he started washing himself as efficiently as he could. He tried his best to ignore his erection but for some reason it refused to go down.

"Don't look at me like that, there's no nookie for you, you evil ex-vampire loving fiend." He muttered and tried to wash his cock with the same efficiency as he’d washed the rest of his body.

Unfortunately for Xander, the moment his hand curled around his erection, image upon image of Spike assaulted his brain. His hand tightened and almost against his will he started stroking. Soon his movements became faster, as his imagination provided Spike posed in all sorts of interesting positions. On his knees in front of Xander in the shower. Lying back on the bed, legs spread wide, stroking his own cock for Xander's enjoyment. On all fours, thrusting back against him, taking him in so beautifully.

Fast approaching the point of no return, Xander searched for an image that would push him over. Spike…lying between his legs, pushing his hard cock inside Xander.

When he came back to himself, Xander groaned in mortification. I can't believe I came, thinking of Spike fucking me. Please don't let me have shouted his name. Please? He silently begged the heavens as he finished his shower and wrapped himself in a towel.

He walked back to the bedroom and immediately started babbling, looking anywhere but at Spike and trying hard not to blush. "Do you need to use the shower? I can put a stool in the shower stall so you can sit down and not have to worry about falling over and stuff."

“Yeah…it’s an idea,” Spike said rather gruffly, aware that Xander was avoiding looking at him. He took pity. After all, the boy was to feed, bathe and take care of his other needs, and who knew what those needs might be? And that hot water bottle had helped last night..

“It was nothing. I’ve already forgotten you were almost shagging me in your sleep. It could happen to anyone.” Right, that wasn’t so convincing. He tried again. “It was like sleep walking, yeah? And as for the…” his gaze slid to Xander’s crotch which had only half an hour ago bulged beyond belief. “Snake in the trousers act…completely normal,” he gave a one-shouldered shrug. “Who doesn’t wake up with one. It had nothing to do with me, although, yeah…I’ve been told I’m a looker.”

Seeing Xander’s eyes widen, he quickly added. “Joking. Now help me out of here, I’m about ready to burst…you didn’t warn me about drinking too much water before bed.”

Xander stood frozen to the spot, listening to Spike try to make things better. At least, he thought that was what Spike was trying to do.

"Yeah, nothing to do with you." He mumbled, trying hard to convince himself. Unfortunately, denial seemed to have taken permanent residence in Egypt and Xander remained totally unconvinced. So now he had to help half-naked Spike get to the bathroom without reacting at all. He could do that. Piece of cake.

"I forget you don't know stuff like that. D'you think you can sit?" Xander asked, trying not to wonder how Spike was going to be able to pee. The guy could barely stand and Xander so didn't want to have to hold him up while he took care of business. There was no way he could remain unaffected if he had to feel Spike lean against him for that long.

"Sit," he snarled, eyes going from friendly to openly hostile in the matter of seconds. "I may be human, but I'm still a man." Placing one hand on the nightstand, which seemed to have a broken... make that shattered lamp on it, he started forcing himself out of bed. "Well help me then, but there won't be any sitting...don't even think of it, even if you have help me hold it ."

It turned out, it was easy to stay physically unaffected when Spike was pissing you off so much. "Yeah, a man, with those moodswings coming thick and fast I can tell you're such a manly man, Spike." He snapped, glowering at him. "I am not, I repeat, not helping you hold it or anything else for that matter!"

Spike shook his head. “I didn’t mean it literally, Harris. Now…unless you want a puddle in your bed…” he raised his arm and once Xander bent, still glaring resentfully, he put his arm over the boy’s shoulder for support. Using the strength in his arms, he pulled himself up. He was standing. Better than yesterday, but one small step showed him he wasn’t well enough to go it alone. “Right…on three then.” The slow walk across the room went far better than it had the previous night.
Xander remained silent throughout the walk, angry at Spike for lashing out at him and at himself for allowing the blond to affect him in any way. He had to get it into his thick head that Spike was not going to stop needling him no matter how much he needed him or how cooperative Xander was. It was obvious that Spike still hated him.

Insensitive though he might be, Spike couldn't mistake the anger roiling off Xander. "What? You're not going to offer to carry me today, Nurse Harris?"

Xander ignored Spike, concentrating on getting the idiot to the bathroom. The faster they got there, the faster they'd get out.

When they reached the bathroom, Spike thought the last step was more of a shove than an assist. The only indication that he gave of having noticed was a "hmph."

Standing in front of the loo, he put both hands on the wall in front of him, and braced his weight against it. Spike pointedly looked down at his shorts, then swung his mocking gaze to Xander. "I'm ready then."

Enjoying the incensed look on Xander's face as the boy stormed out of the room and left him there, Spike laughed loud enough to make sure Xander would hear him no matter what room he disappeared to. One arm could hold his weight as he went about his business.

Clenching his buttocks, he closed his eyes and experienced the ultimate relief of emptying one's bladder. When he opened his eyes, they widened a bit. "Erm... Xander..." He tugged his shorts up. "I...erm... forgot about the aiming thing. Yeah… its...Xander?" He looked toward the empty door. "Xander?!"

The seconds ticked by. "You're needed for clean up duty." That had to irritate the boy as much as anything else he could think of. "Do you hear? My legs are shaking. Nursey, I’m about to fall and break my neck. What do you think the Wankers That Be will do to you then?"

Xander stomped back to the bedroom and started yanking on his clothes, too angry to pay attention to the voice coming his way from the bathroom. He was muttering under his breath and consigning the Wankers that Be to a hell of their own devising when he heard an almighty crash come from the other room.

"Oh shit. Spike? You okay in there?"

No reply.

"Spike, stop messing with my head and answer me! Spike?"

No reply and Xander was beginning to get worried. He went to the bathroom and opened the door. Spike was lying on the floor, seemingly unconscious.

"Fuck, this is all my fault."


Spike stretched out in the bed. The light was streaming into the room and everything was nice and bright this morning, for a change. Even if he hated the fragility of his now human body, the pain of bodily functions... both literally and in the sense that they were a damned nuisance and usually occurred at the wrong time, despite Xander's assurances that things would get regular soon... this one was thing he did like. The ability to enjoy the sun.

He swung his legs over the side of the bed, and put his hand out. Sunlight bathed his arm, but there was no smoke, no pain... no reason to panic and look for shade. Raising his leg up, he decided he was feeling a lot better today. A good deal stronger.

It had been two days since he'd had that accident in the loo. "Good old Spike and his plans, yeah?" he muttered under his breath. One minute he'd been threatening to fall as a means of getting Xander to move his sorry little ass and get on with helping him into a chair, and the next moment his legs had gone out from under him. Wasn't it clever of him to hit his head and lose consciousness, just to avoid the pain?

Things had been a bit different after then. Both of them tried to be a bit more civil to each other. Spike had to admit that Xander was the more successful one, but being cooped up in a small apartment and as helpless as a child wasn't good for his moods. He couldn't always control them, and lashing out at the only other person there was his only outlet. No matter how much he regretted it later.

One thing that had taken getting used to was going to bed alone and then bloody well waking to Xander sprawled all over him. He wasn't sure which of them had a death grip on the other, or why... it was baffling. Xander's embarrassed exits were quite charming, and even though he'd taken to wearing pyjama bottoms... somehow they seemed to always either be pulled down to his knees, or useless when it came to stopping Spike's hands from finding their way underneath them.

Bloody hell, he needed a smoke. Especially this morning. He might have made Xander the butt of his morning flagpole jokes, but today he'd woken up with quite a stiffy himself. It had to be because his body was on the mend. That, and he'd been thinking about Buffy. Yeah... that was it. And he couldn't figure out why Xander kept stopping him from ringing her.

That's it! Xander would have to be taught not to take the words 'in your custody' that literally. He wasn't a bloody prisoner after all. He pushed off the bed and stood up. Alone. He'd done it alone!

His frustration and demands forgotten all of a sudden, he walked carefully across the room, wanting to show Xander there would be no more carrying him. When he reached the loo, he heard the water running. That boy took so many showers, his skin had to be clean enough to eat off. Spike's shorts disturbingly tightened at that thought. He looked down, waved his hand in the air as if to dismiss the event in its entirety. Denial was a good thing. He knocked, "Xander..."

Xander was in the middle of his millionth shower in two days. He was cleaner now than he had ever been in his whole entire life but it really wasn't his fault. He completely blamed his traitorous body for jumping up and paying attention whenever Spike was around. He would be lounging on the couch, minding his own business and Spike would lean over to reach something, Xander would catch a glimpse of muscles stretching and bang, instant hard-on.

Waking up on top of Spike every. Single. Morning. wasn't helping either. They would go to sleep, him on the couch and Spike in the bed and before he knew it Spike would be thrashing about and Xander would have to climb all over him just to get him to lay still. If he hadn't been so embarrassed at the result he'd have proposed they share the bed.

At the thought of sharing a bed with Spike his cock immediately jumped to attention.

"Traitor." Xander muttered, glaring at it. He was still having panic crises thinking about being attracted to a man but that thought was less scary than the thought that he was attracted to Spike. Spike who was newly human and kept badgering him to call Buffy. Who had kissed him last night.

He touched his mouth as the image re-played in his mind. He'd just managed to calm Spike down, whispering to him that everything was alright and letting the blond hold him tight around the waist, the way he had every night. It wasn't the most comfortable position and he couldn't stop himself from squirming. Though now he wasn't sure if he was trying to get away or closer to the warm body underneath him. It seemed to help Spike to have something to hold on to though. And then it happened.

Spike's hand shot up behind his head and, simultaneously, he rolled both of them to their sides, bringing his mouth down hard over Xander's. Too shocked to react, Xander hadn't fought the kiss. With nothing to stop him, Spike thrust his tongue into his mouth.

Xander moaned softly, remembering how Spike's mouth and tongue felt. At first, the kiss had been brutal, almost desperate, much like Spike's thrashing about during the nightmares. But just as suddenly, it turned into a long lingering kiss. With each stroke of his tongue, Spike explored every part of Xander's mouth, marking it, claiming it, and finally setting a rhythm that made Xander burn for hours after it ended.

Even asleep, Spike was a damn good kisser.

Just remembering the kiss made him groan and his hand immediately gripped his erection and started pulling hard. He couldn't help but whisper Spike's name, mind filled with images of the blond.

Just before he could find release, he heard someone else gasp. He opened his eyes, seeing shocked blue eyes staring at him.

For a moment he was torn between embarrassment and anger. Spike smirked, and as shock turned into amusement Xander snapped.

"I've had it." He growled. "I have had it. You! It's bad enough that I seem to have developed an unholy attraction to you, it's bad enough that you kissed me for a good five minutes and then promptly forgot about it in the morning, it's bad enough that I'm spending more time with my dick in my own hand than I have ever spent in my entire life, you have to go and interrupt the one thing that brings me any form of release."

As he spoke, Xander stepped out of the shower and advanced on Spike until the blond was pressed against the counter. When he was done ranting, he put one hand on either side of Spike's head, pulling him forwards until their lips met.

Not too many things shocked Spike. He'd seen too much. Done too much. But the word shock didn't quite do justice to how he felt at the moment. It was as if he'd been struck by lighting. Not once, but three times. Finding the boy whacking off under the shower... now why hadn't it occurred to him to try that? Hearing him groan out his name... his , and in a dreamy, husky voice full of longing. And now this… Xander's lips pressed against his in an insistent and hungry kiss.

Did his heart pound? Oh yes, it was tapping out a rhythm even human ears would pick up. Did his mouth burn? Did he kiss the boy back? Yes, but only because he had no choice, there was nowhere to go as he was trapped against the sink. Was he insane? He had to be, because even though he wasn't touching Xander, he wanted to be. He wanted to hold him tight, force him closer, to press him against the wall and kiss him like he'd never been kissed. The burn spread over his body, turning into an ache the instant he felt Xander rub his erection against him. Aroused, he started to press back, but broke the kiss suddenly, and pushed Xander away.

"Is that how I kissed you?" he demanded, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, furious that the boy had managed to draw such a strong response. It might have been different if he'd been in control of the situation, but he didn't like this... being surprised...bloody ambushed... and bloody well liking it!

He was fully aware that Xander was naked, and that it wasn't helping his own situation.
“Towel," he snapped, throwing one over to the boy and struggling to get his breathing under control.

Xander was completely mortified. He couldn't believe he'd done that. He couldn't...Oh God, he'd kissed Spike and now everything was just....bad. The badness of the situation could not be overstated. He grabbed the towel Spike threw at him and ran.

This just went to prove how much of an idiot he really was. What the hell had he been thinking? As he passed through the bedroom, Xander grabbed his dressing gown and just kept going. No time to find clothes, no time to do anything but go. Because Spike was in the bathroom and he was about to come running. Then the mocking would begin and Xander really couldn't take that right now. He'd kissed a man. He'd kissed Spike and that was enough to freak him out without the added mocking.

He threw the front door open and stormed out. Or at least he tried to storm out but for some reason he bounced back. He tried again but nothing changed. For some reason he couldn't step out of his own apartment. The heat in his cheeks intensified as he realised that there was no getting away from Spike.

"Stupid Wankers that Be. They hate me." He muttered, leaning against the invisible wall.

Spike appeared in the living room in time to see Xander's unsuccessful attempts to leave. "Bugger that!" Spike's hand sliced through the air in a gesture of pure disgust. "They didn't ... they fucking did!"

He paced away, the slowness of his strides irritating him now that he'd forgotten that just yesterday, he couldn't walk on his own. "Bloody-fucking-hell." He came to a stop and turned his steely gaze to Xander. "This is all your fault, you know. If you'd called Buffy when I asked... this wouldn't have happened." Yeah, then he wouldn't have been so desperate for human contact that he'd settle for one Xander Harris.


"If I called Buffy like you asked then nothing would have happened okay? Look, I'm sorry okay? I'm sorry you got stuck with me, I'm sorry you're human and I'm fucking sorry you kissed me. I sure as hell am sorry I kissed you. Just...back off for a while. Can you ever do that? Back off?! Or is it against some sort of Spike code."

Xander was proud of the way he managed to keep the tremor in his voice to a minimum. He had been trying so hard to get along with Spike and now everything was ruined. Spike was obviously disgusted by the mere thought of kissing him. That was more upsetting than it should have been.

"I can't deal with this." He muttered and made for the bedroom.

"Don't cry... he's going to bloody cry..." The words were barely above a groaned whisper as Spike walked to the still open front door. He smashed his fist into the invisible wall, yelping and bringing his knuckles to his mouth. Pain. This time self-inflicted. Another fine lesson brought to him by Xander's Wankers That Be.

He glanced over his shoulder toward the bedroom and heard no sounds. No crying, no muffled curses, nothing. Letting off a loud sigh of frustration, he slammed the door and headed for the couch. It was all the boy's fault... it really was. Imprisoning him here. Refusing to allow him to hear or see Buffy. Just because a bloody scroll said he was the boss, he was really lording it over on him. Well bugger that!

Xander's phone sat within reach. Buffy's number had to be in it. After one last look toward the bedroom, Spike took the phone and scrolled down the list of names. "Angela, Beatrice, Daniella - not the demon one, Hanna - very hot, Inge... but no Buffy, and all these...girls? He could have fooled me....Jesse...hopefully a girl-shaped Jesse, Klingon's Unite..." Spike blinked. Checked the screen again. Right, it was Xander. "... Laura, Mars Watch RPG, ..." he started to scroll faster, Red would be able to give him Buffy's number. "Star Trek Geeks Anonymous, WC... ah, the Harris method of filing names. Git." He scrolled to WC- Buffy, and hit the send button.

In the bedroom, Xander sat down on the bed, staring at nothing and letting misery overtake him. Spike was blaming him for everything. It wasn't fair. Not like Xander had wanted to be in charge of Spike. He felt a little guilty over the whole Buffy thing. He had no problems letting Spike talk to Willow or Dawn but he really felt like Buffy would do more harm than good.

Spike was having a hard time adjusting to human, he didn't need to find out that Buffy was dating someone else before even the metaforical body had gone cold. Dawn and Willow had promised not to tell him but Buffy...she was a wild card, you never knew what she might do. Besides, she knew Spike was back and she didn't even call him.

It was for Spike's own good. It was. It had nothing to do with any unresolved feelings Xander might have towards him, nothing at all.

Okay, maybe it had a little something to do with it. But it was mostly because Xander didn't want Spike to get that defeated look on his face again. Stupid White Knight tendencies...Angelus was right, he did think of himself as Buffy's white knight. And Willow's and Dawn's. For some reason, Spike had been added to the list.

"I'm an idiot." Xander mumbled and let himself flop back on the bed. "Hey, the ceiling has a crack."

Buffy's machine picked up. Spike re-dialed two more times, as if it would make the result change, and finally gave up and listened to the message.

"Hi, this is Buffy. I'm on vacation in Rome, and Paris, and Rome, Rome, and… Rome..." Spike frowned, was there a certain purr to her voice? "So... speak at me, and I might call you if I can find the phone." He held the phone away from him and stared at it. Buffy? There was a mystery here.

Without leaving a message, he stormed...or tried to storm very the bedroom and hovered inside the door frame. Good, no tears. He let out the breath he'd been holding, and pointed at Xander with the phone. "Say's she's in Rome on vacation. I want to speak to her. I bloody well need to speak with her."

Xander kept staring at the crack on the ceiling. If he squinted a bit it looked like hieroglyphics.

"I know she's in Rome. She's always in Rome. And I already told you there will be no talking to Buffy."

His voice sounded as tired as he felt. It had only been a few days but it felt like they'd been having this argument for years. What was he supposed to tell Spike, 'You can't talk to Buffy cause she's busy playing with her new boyfriend and that information will probably break your newly human heart'. Yeah, that would go down well.

Leaning against the door frame, Spike crossed his arms. "You're taking this whole custody thing a bit too seriously, yeah?" His frown deepened. "You can't keep me prisoner forever."

"'s not me keeping you here, Spike. It's the Wankers. Remember them? High and mighty beings who think they know everything?"

Xander turned to look at Spike, intending to gather up enough energy to glare at him. Instead of glaring though, he stared, eyes widening with horror. "Spike! are you doing?!"

Spike raised an eyebrow and drawled. "Not whacking off, yeah?"

Xander blushed and briefly contemplated waiting to see whether what was happening to Spike could be permanent.

"Yes, thank you Spike. Nice way to bring up the most humiliating moment of my life. I was talking about you going all Marty McFly on me."

"Marty who?" Now Spike was confused. "What? You don't like your jeans on me. I knew they gave me bulges in all the wrong places." He'd have to do something about that before he saw Buffy.

He pushed off the frame and advanced on Xander. "Stop looking at me as if you've seen a ghost... and stop trying to make me forget about the call, I know that trick."

Xander scrambled off the bed waited for Spike to come close to him.

"I swear, Spike, this isn't about the phone call." He said, still staring. As soon as he was close enough Xander took hold of Spike's left arm at the elbow and lifted it up for inspection. "See?"

Xander had drawn close enough that Spike smelled the fresh clean scent of soap coming off him. Immediately the image he'd joked about slammed into his mind, followed by the mind drugging kiss he'd hated every minute of.

"What..." He blinked and finally looked down. "My arm... my bleedin' arm is gone!" He looked up at the ceiling. "Give it back to me you wankers, I need it. The arms were the only things you gave me that worked right away." When he found his arm was still see-thru, he ground out a stream of endless curses and threats.

"Spike...SPIKE! Try to calm down okay. What where you doing before you went all Mr Cellophane." Xander curiously poked at Spike's disappearing hand and tried not to freak out when his finger went straight through.

"We had enough poking and prodding this morning," Spike's voice was edged with desperation as he roughly dragged his arm away. Strange...the sight of other creatures' missing limbs never bothered him when he was hacking away with an axe.

"My human...flesh and blood arm..." he started to swear again, this time letting the phone drop from his right hand, and then using it to confirm his entire other arm was gone...slightly visible, but ... "I'm turning into a bloody hologram."

"I know. That's why we're trying to figure out what happened. You looked fine when I left the living room. What did you do after that?"

Xander tried to sound calm and comforting but he wasn't sure he managed to hide the little bit of panic. Spike was disappearing!

"Nothing. I'm stuck inside this apartment... care to tell me what I could have done to get this?" Spike looked down at his hand again, and gritted his teeth. Anger slowly edged out panic. "Fine. Go on and erase me. I never wanted to come back, now did I?" At that moment, he meant it. Life might hold a lot of allure, but he'd felt the bite of it's pain more often than not. "Maybe they should pick their slaves a bit more carefully," he said, walking to the bed and flopping down, with his good arm flung across his eyes. "You probably should leave now, yeah?"

"Spike for fuck's sake, stop acting like a three-year-old and tell me what you did! If you can undo it maybe we can fix this!"

"Undo it... there's nothing to fucking undo. I’m over a hundred years old, and they've got me under your bloody custody. That takes the cake...bloody wankers." He drew in a few much needed breaths. "Stay home Spike, don't ring your friends Spike, eat...bloody fucking don't eat. I'm sick of the lot of them and of you." He lifted his arm and turned his head. "What are you still doing here? Or is this a viewing opportunity you can't bear to pass up," he snarled.

"You know what? I didn't choose for you to be under my bloody custody! I tried to be civil and get this over with without killing your pain-in-my-neck ass and all you do is abuse me! Do what you want Spike, have junk food for dinner, go out and party all night. Hell you can even call Buffy if you want. Not like you didn't go through my personal phone to get her number. Have fun! Deal with the 'dire consequences' whatever they are on your fucking own."

By the end of his rant, Xander was screaming at the top of his voice. "In short, fuck you Spike." He concluded and turned to leave the room.

"Fine. Good. Bugger off. It's better that way." He closed his eyes again, this time to prevent the boy from reading into his expression. The last thing he needed or wanted was his pity. His other arm was already disappearing and if he'd felt no pain before and thought it would be easy, the Wankers had just corrected him. Jerking his head to the side, he bit down on the corner of the quilt blanket.

The blanket had warmed him when he froze that first day he'd been given life. And it would silence his screams now as his insides started to shift... to be torn apart a molecule at a time.

Xander made it as far as the hallway before what he'd said crashed into his brain. Dire consequences. He ran back to the bedroom.

"Spike! Dire consequences! If you don't follow the Wankers' directions you get dire consequences." He said as he came into the room. He stopped when he saw how much pain Spike was in. Stupid vampire, too stubborn for his own good. "Spike, we can undo it okay? Just...okay maybe you should apologise or something. Promise not to do it again. That could undo it, right?"

Spike had gone to the grave several times, and pain was no stranger. They could rip him apart, but they wouldn't win. The cloth in his mouth was wet by now, compacted- down as he bit harder, shaking like a leaf as he fought the urge to scream.

Xander watched Spike suffer, hating the fact that there was nothing he could do to help him. He fidgeted a bit, moving forwards and reaching out to touch him then moving back, not knowing if his touch would offer comfort or cause more pain.

“Come on Spike, please just apologise okay?” He asked, looking worriedly at the blond.

In the end, it was the look in the boy's eyes that broke him. That forced him to swallow his pride. He spit the cloth out. "Yes...even though this is tuliped-up...pardon my flowery gardened opinion, I'm sorry...I won't do it again." It took a lot not to scream the words out, no one would ever know how much. And he hadn't cursed, yeah? He's used the WTB approved list of words, so they could hardly complaint. "So put me back! Please..."

Xander looked anxiously at Spike, expecting to see him come back.


“Maybe you should sound like you mean it?” He offered hesitantly. “They can be real bastards when they wanna be.”


“I mean, they’re very nice powers and we wish them all the best and can we please have Spike back now? He didn’t do anything wrong, I mean, I asked him not to speak to Buffy and technically he didn’t actually speak to her so no harm no foul!”

"Yeah... what he just said," Spike said in a surly tone.

Xander rolled his eyes at Spike’s pathetic attempt at an apology. Pain or not, vampire or human, Spike sucked at apologies.

“Well? I’m waiting!” He said, trying to imitate Willow’s resolve face and tone. “Bring the ex-vampire back.”

"Yeah... that too."

The bastards made them wait. A long time. A good ten fucking minutes when all they had to do was give him back his body with a single thought. Did they even have thoughts? not ask that one out loud.

Spike stretched his arm out, "Look... you think it's new and improved, or same crap, new day?"

Xander looked up from his position on the floor next to the bed. After waiting for a few minutes he’d decided to sit out and just glare upwards until the Wankers fixed things.

“You’re solid again?” He asked hopefully. “Try standing up. Maybe they brought you back same as you were before you screwed things up.”

"You just want to carry me, yeah?" He hesitated before he tried. What if Xander was right, what if he was going to be forced to start at the beginning?

Slowly, he sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. Xander was already conveniently on his knees, so he gripped the guy's shoulder and raised himself up.

He took a step. Then another. Then turned and gave a lop-sided grin. "Looks like you're out of luck Harris, there will be no carrying."

Xander couldn't help but smile back at Spike. "Yeah, no carrying for you." He laughed.


His near erasure out of existence had overshadowed the Harris boy's most embarrassing moments, as he'd called it. But that kiss was a big pink elephant that neither one had brought up. And Xander's refusal to allow him to contact Buffy was still a source of tension. It frustrated Spike to no end that Xander got the last word on that issue.

And later, Spike had suffered more indignities, courtesy of his brand spanking new body. Bathroom rituals were bloody murder. And Xander's quiet promise - it will all normalize - made him want to murder someone.

And now, he was sitting at the dinner table looking at Xander's plate. A big, thick, juicy steak sat steaming, its aroma nearly driving Spike mad with hunger. No wonder his stomach was growling. Now he was starting to know the difference between good growls and bad growls. And those mashed potatoes looked so thick and creamy, he might die if he didn't taste it. The green bits of fluff on the plate, he paid no attention to.

"Starvation kills."

Xander laughed at Spike’s woebegone look. He didn’t consider himself to be an evil person. On a scale from one to ten, one being Closet!Larry with his merciless mocking and ten being Angelus in the leather pants of evil, he considered himself to be a lowly 0.1.

That, however, didn’t mean he didn’t enjoy having the best steak for dinner while Spike was having chicken soup. Thin chicken soup, with tiny little bits of chicken and overcooked noodles.

They’d been getting along well since the awful near-miss with Spike’s gradual disappearance, if you didn’t count the mounting Buffy-related tension and Xander’s ineffectual denial of The Kiss.

“You were the one talking about never eating again.” He pointed out, popping a bit of steak in his mouth.

Spike's eyes were glued on Xander's mouth. He watched as the boy chewed, licked his lips, and raised his fork to his mouth again. "You're making me very hungry," he whispered.

“So eat!” Xander exclaimed and gestured with his fork towards Spike’s little bowl of soup. “It’s healthy, good for you and the possibility of cramps is limited!”

"Very funny." His gaze met Xander's and he deliberately reached out and wiped the pad of his thumb across Xander's mouth, snagging a bit of mashed potatoes, and sucking it loudly off his thumb. Tasted a hundred times better than this gruel!

Xander froze, feeling Spike’s thumb brushing across his lips, staring as the blond suckled on it. He tried not to picture Spike’s mouth over his, tongue licking at his lips…tried not to think of last night’s dream, where Spike was doing all sorts of interesting things with that mouth.

"Just teaching you to share," Spike said, in a mocking tone.

Xander snapped back to reality and immediately blushed a bright red. He smiled mechanically at Spike and stared down at his food, cutting the meat and pushing it around on his plate.

A few spoonfuls of the dishwater, and Spike was back to eyeing Xander's plate. That is, when he could resist looking at his heightened colour and obvious attempts to avoid his eyes. "I'd like your meat."

Xander choked. He’d been in the middle of an intense ‘Don’t think about Spike in that way’ session and then the object of his penis’ desire suddenly said something like that! He threw a panicked look in Spike’s direction and tried hard to breathe, gesturing wildly.

He was breaking. He was about to give in. Just one bite was all he was asking for, what was the boy being so strict about it for? Spike licked his lips. "Dip it in the cream sauce, yeah?"

Finally able to bring his breathing back under control, Xander glared at Spike.

“You gonna stop staring at my food if I give you some?”

"Of course." He forked a piece of steak from Xander's plate, dipped it into the mashed potatoes and gravy, piling as much of the stuff as was possible onto the small piece of meat, and brought it to his mouth.

He had to make it last, so he licked the sauce drizzling down his fork first, then some of the potato, then took the rest in his mouth. When he finally swallowed, he thought he might cry at how good it was. And how unfair it was that good meant pain.

Xander watched Spike eat…if you could call that eating. He was giving the food a blow-job for crying out loud!

Spike met Xander's eyes. "What should I stare at now?"

“Erm…I dunno…not me. Or my food. Stare at your own plate.”

"I would. If it weren't so boring. Everything on your side of the table looks so much more edible."

“Well you can’t have it. Not until your stomach is used to the food!” Xander snapped and went back to pushing his food around his plate.

Spike frowned, but obediently ate some more dishwater, only making a face now and again. The silence seemed to stretch between them. And Xander's colour was still high. "You're not still worrying about that bloody kiss, are you? It was nothing, yeah?"

If possible, Xander blushed even more. “What kiss?” He asked, his voice breaking. Clearing his throat he tried again. “There was no kiss. I dunno what you’re talking about. Nobody kissed anybody.” He babbled, staring at Spike in horror.

"That's right. It wasn't a kiss, so much as a 'slip and fall'. Bathroom floor is bloody slippery when wet, and you couldn't help it that your mouth has good aim."

Well that did wonders for his own imagination, as he remembered the movements of Xander's mouth over his. The feel of his hands on the side's of his head, of the hunger and passion he would never have guessed resided in one Xander Harris.

“Yeah…yeah, good aim.” Xander mumbled, trying not to let his depression show. He pushed his food around a bit, offering Spike a half-hearted smile. He knew Spike was letting him off the hook but rejection was still rejection no matter how nicely it was phrased and how confused Xander was.

"Angel's aim wasn't that good. I think he was aiming for Dru when... yeah, 'slip and fall'." He lifted the spoon to his lips, never taking his gaze off Xander.

For the second time that evening, Xander choked on his food.

“Angel did what now? You’re joking right?”

"I promised not to tell that story, and now that I'm human, I'd better keep it, yeah?" He leaned over and slapped Xander on the back. "You alright?"

Xander coughed harder. “Fine. I’m fine. Shit, you’re human but you’re nearly as strong as Buffy!” He exclaimed, eyes widening in horror when he realised he’d mentioned she-who-makes-the-tension-in-the-room-rise.

Spike slapped one last time, decidedly harder than necessary. Then sat back, quietly staring Xander down. "If you said yes, it wouldn't kill you. And the bloody Powers wouldn't erase me since it would have my jail keeper's blessings."

“It’s not…I know you don’t understand but I’m doing it for your own good okay? Protective custody the Wankers said and that’s what I’m trying to do.” Xander explained, looking beseechingly at Spike. Please just drop it.

"'Protective custody' ... those are two words, and you're fucking emphasizing only the 'custody' part. You don't need to protect me from Buffy. She said she loves me." He knew it was a lie, but it was a beautiful lie. "And I like her aim, thank you very much."

“Oh yeah, I’m sure you like her aim. You liked it when she beat you to a tiny bloody pulp too, did you?” Xander said angrily, stung by the reinforced rejection. It was bad enough that he wanted to kiss Spike, he didn’t need his desire to be slapped back. Especially by comparing him to the oh so perfect Buffy.

"Yeah... rough sex...that was fun.."he said, getting a faraway look in his eyes.

"Is that what you call it? Damn, and here I was thinking she was beating up your sorry ass."

Even as he heard the words coming out of his mouth, Xander regretted them but it seemed like he had no control over his brain. Some small part of him just wanted to hurt Spike as much as he'd been hurt himself.

The words were jarring. More now that Spike was human and vulnerable, then if he'd still been a vampire. His skin hurt! Not quite hurt, but his cheeks and neck grew warm. This must be what it meant to flush with anger. Is that what the boy wanted? To see him angry? Well he wouldn't have his way.

"Sometimes love is pain," he said, clenching his teeth and sneering.

“Not that kind of pain it’s not. Someone loves you, they don’t hit you. Hell, Spike, you didn’t have a soul but did you ever hurt Drusilla like that?” How could Spike still believe that Buffy loved him? Damnit, even the densest of people would understand that she didn’t. Not like that.

"She doesn't love you Spike. She may care but she doesn't love you. Take it from someone who's been in the exact same situation with the exact same person: it's not about to change."

Uncontrollable fury washed over him, sending Spike's blood shooting to his temples. Before he knew it, his hands shot out and turned the table over onto Xander, who just managed to scramble away. Plates crashed and broke on the wooden floor, food and drink splattered. "Get out of my sight. My legs might be weak but there's nothing wrong with my hands," he snarled the warning out.

“Spike, that was my table! I made that table!” Xander exclaimed in shock, staring at wreckage. “You broke my table.”

"You're next if you don't get out, now," he stood up and took a step toward the boy. "I'm not bloody kidding, yeah?" Who knew human rage meant seeing red? Wanting to smash and tear the place apart? A tight jaw, and pain in the muscle that throbbed every time he clenched his jaw? "Move, or I won't be responsible," he bit out.

“No, you’re not kidding, are you? Vampire or not, you’re still the same. Fine Spike, you win. Call Buffy. You have my blessing to screw up your life any way you want. I’ll be in my room.”

Xander’s words were quiet showing just how tired he was of this situation. He felt like he was a thousand years old. Spike was just as violent as ever and he was just as much of a Zeppo as ever. Why think that anything would change?

Spike didn't turn around as Xander headed for the bedroom. Nor did he answer him. Already, he was doing everything in his power to hold onto his raging temper. That boy knew how to push his buttons, he did.

Minutes later, Spike was still rooted to the same spot when there was a soft knock at the door. Buffy. It had to be. Now he'd show Xander how far his head was up his ass!

Crossing the room as fast as he could without falling flat on his face, he tugged the door open and had a waiting smile on his face. It was a blast from the past alright, but not the one he'd expected!

“Hello Spike.” Dru stood on the other side of the barrier, looking hungrily at Spike. “No, not Spike. My William.” She laughed, clapping her hands together in delight. “Come, my William, we can play!”

"Drucilla?" As if mesmerized, he moved inside. Only when she stopped at the threshold, did he realize why. "Come in," he whispered, his eyes drinking in the sight of the woman who'd turned him... who he'd tumbled so many times. There was a definite tug on his heart. It had to be human sentimentality, not that he'd been short of it as a vampire. Odd though... the invisible blood pull of his sire was gone.

Drucilla took a few dainty steps and reached out to caress Spike’s cheek. So different, her boy…her knight…all warm and full of noise. She frowned, tilting her head to get a better feel of him.

“All wrong like this.” She whispered. “My dashing stranger is not right. We shall fix you my knight. The fishies are gone now but fear not, we’ll bring them back! Then we shall play again!” She concluded, smiling happily at him.

He put his hand over hers and leaned into her palm. "Fix me. We've been through that, yeah?" Spike grinned. "It was a good time, luv. A very good time. And now I'm..." He ought to be scared, you never knew with Dru, but he wasn't. "Broken, you might call it."

Dru crooned, wrapping her arms around Spike and leaning her forehead against his.

“We’ll make you right again. Cold and silent, like me. Then you shall be my knight and we shall have tea with the queen of hearts. Her own knight must go though.”

Sudden change of mood and she was glaring at the apartment.

“Her knight shan’t play with us. I don’t like him Spike. Make him go away.”

"Her knight?" Spike raised an eyebrow and followed her gaze to the mess in the dining-room. "Never mind that pet, Xander's just a messy eater." He looked at her. "How did you find me?" Was she going to turn him again? He could think of nothing better.

“The stars told me I lost you…like we lost Daddy but I didn’t believe them.” Dru let out a little growl at the stars. “But I made them tell me how I could fix it.” She laughed and vamped out, leaning towards Spike’s neck.

"I hate this body. It's weak. It hurts," he said, his heart pumping faster and faster as she drew close. The blood roared in his ears as he thought of the power he'd had as a vampire, the lack of pain. He hadn't needed anyone... not for a bloody thing. And he never would again!


A million images assaulted Spikes mind. Power. Lust. Him on top of the world, on top of his game. Vampire. People would quake when they saw him, not make fun or tell him what to eat. Yeah, there would be no ordering of the Spike, because he'd be in control. The big bad would be back!

"Yeah. No more being told to go to bed. Or eat the bloody greens. Or--". His arms shot out suddenly, and he grabbed Drucilla by the shoulders, holding her away as he had an epiphany. "Stop. If I do this now... he's the first person I'll kill." He knew the demon who'd possessed him before, and nothing would spare Xander from William the Bloody.

Spike saw the glint in her eyes, the look that said they'd enjoy it together. "I said no," he snarled, shaking the vampire, wishing he hadn't invited her in. "No one will touch him. No one."

“But Spike…” Dru whined, pouting at him. “The queen’s knight, he wants to take you away from me. Bad knight! No tea for him.” She pulled Spike close again, growling at a spot behind him.

The sound she made was a warning. Spike looked over his shoulder to see Xander. Not the Xander he was used to seeing. This one didn't wear a smile, or even the frustrated end-of-his-tether look he seemed to get so often for no particular reason these days. No, this Xander was calm, his face stony and serious, his gaze trained on Drusilla. And so was the crossbow. "Put that away, it's not necessary, yeah? I'm handling this," he said, frowning at the boy. Why couldn't he have stayed in the room?

“No.” Xander replied, never taking his eyes of Drusilla. “No way am I letting a vampire and a clearly insane human alone in my flat. I like being alive entirely too much to do that.”

He’d heard the door open a while ago but he’d ignored it, too lost in his own funk and thinking that maybe Willow could talk some sense into Spike. ‘Cause who else could it be at the door. It wasn’t until he’d heard the first growl that he’d realised something was wrong. He’d managed to sneak a peak through the keyhole and the moment he saw Drusilla he’d run for his crossbow. Nobody messed with him or his own anymore. Even if his own was an annoying ass like Spike.

He didn’t care whether Spike wanted to be a vampire or not, Xander was supposed to
protect him and he would!

Except that Spike hadn’t wanted to be a vampire. Not if it meant Xander’s death. Something to think about after Dru was dust because she sure as hell wasn’t getting out of here alive. Or undead. Whatever.

"Dru--" Spike's words of reason were cut off when he felt her make her move, and body slammed her against the wall to prevent her from getting to Xander. The boy thought she'd survived all these years and would be brought down by a bow and arrow. She was too quick for that, and too crazed to worry about a silly bow. Bloody hell, that body slam fucking hurt him all over. He'd scream later.

"Don't Dru..." he felt her hand slide around his throat; her nails digging into tender human flesh. He felt her lift him up off the ground. "Dru... old times," he gurgled. His feet touched the ground. At least he wasn't dangling like a silly puppet. One time didn't ruin a reputation made of a century, did it?

Xander kept the crossbow steady, waiting for a clear shot. Spike always seemed to be in the way and he wasn’t risking anything but a clear shot to the heart. He knew he’d only have one chance and it had to be right.

Dru narrowed her eyes at Spike. She didn’t like what she saw. Not at all. “It’s too late.” She gasped suddenly. “He’s already taken you from me. I shall tear him into a million pieces.” She declared stomping her foot. “Miss Edith does not like this, my William. You belong with us not him.”

Before Spike could sooth his vanity some more, he saw her shift fix on Xander. Again, an unfamiliar sensation of protectiveness washed over him. He crossed between them. "Please Dru.. I be..I be..." Fucking hell, he needed to get the plea out now. "I beg you. Please leave him... us alone. We'll play some other time, pet."

“You…you shan’t be my knight if I do that.” Dru observed, tilting her head at him. “You’ll leave me again, like daddy did.”

Her eyes took on a dreamy quality as she turned away from Spike. “I’ll find me a new knight. One of starlight and thunder. He shan’t leave me for the light.”

Spike released his breath as she turned to leave, but the crisis wasn't over, because Xander had just lifted the cross bow. "Xander, no!" The words were torn from his lips, half command, half plea... Too many fucking pleas to make when you're a bleedin' human...

The boy hesitated, and Dru was gone. Spike slumped back against the wall. "Thank you. Do you think I'll be sporting any bruises?" he asked, sliding his palm down his chest and right thigh where the impact against Drusilla had been the hardest. This body better toughen up a little faster, before he changed his mind and begged her to turn him.

“The hell did you do that for? I had a clear shot! Damnit, if Giles ever finds out I let Drusilla go I’m never gonna hear the end of it.” Xander glared at the empty doorway, trying hard not to stomp his foot like a five-year-old.

"Professional courtesy." He smirked. "Once a vampire you know."

This time Xander couldn’t stop the pout.

“I wanted to get her. You know how many people have been after her? The woman is insane but she’d damn hard to dust. And hey, you’re human now. Forgetting how to aim is one thing. By the way, don’t think I’ve forgiven you for that, ‘cause I haven’t. Forgetting that you’re food now? Whole other level of suicide. She could have killed you dead! And now I’ll have to ask Willow to do an uninvited thing. Just so you know, I’m blaming you. I already heard the lecture way too many times. Your turn now, buster.”

The last one was thrown over Xander’s shoulder as he went back to the bedroom to put the crossbow away.

"Turning into bloody mini-Giles now, aren't you," Spike closed the door, and headed for the room. "That wasn't a compliment." He watched the boy's angry motions as he put the cross bow in place in the closet and turned. Censure roiled from his dark brown eye. Spike shifted his weight. "She's my ... friend."

It wasn't the right word. But there was no word for sire, lover, companion, friend, team mate, and a damn good time, all rolled into one. "You wouldn't let anyone kill Willow when she was evil, would you? It's the same with Dru. I grew up with her." It had taken decades to grow from the spineless, down on his luck love poet he'd been when she'd turned him. And she had a lot to do with that.

"Willow was evil for a few days. Dru's been evil for centuries!" Xander declared. "Besides, you can't compare Wills and me to Dru and you. For one thing, Willow never left me for a demon. She left me for a werewolf. Notice the lack of slime?" As he babbled, Xander grabbed the phone and tossed it at Spike.

After the Dru incident he felt better about himself. Meaning he could forgive the food thing. "You're buying me pizza. You ruined my dinner and humans make up for stuff like that with pizza. Or at least they do when they ruin my dinner. Ask Willow. Speaking of Willow, she only tried to end the world once. How many times did Dru try to end it?"

Holding the phone, Spike's brows furrowed for only a moment. "Ah but... Willow was so much better at it, yeah?" That ought to take care of that argument. "You did say I could call Buffy?" The look in Xander's eye told him any further needling would result in no telly privileges or some other parental-style torture device that he came up with.

"Right... joke," he bit his lip and pressed the speed dial number for one of the eight or so pizza halls that were inputted. After he gave their phone number and address, he ordered. "Large pizza. Yes large... what do you mean large or super-large... when did they come up with super-large? Let me put it this way .. big, bigger, biggest... I want biggest. And if you say super-biggest I'll..." He gave Xander a frustrated look. "Toppings... I have to pick bloody toppings? Put everything on it." The excited jabbering from the other side had him gritting his teeth. "I have to pick a combination. Right. Combo A has....Look, give me combo C, and I don't really care what the bloody hell is on it, it's not for me. Right. Good." He put his hand out. "Give me your credit card so I can hurry up and buy you this pizza. Enthusiastic-guy on the other end is driving me mad."

Xander tried hard not to laugh at Spike's attempt to deal with the pizza guy. From the look Spike gave him though he was fairly sure he'd failed to hide his amusement. Served the over-bleached one right for being stupid enough to let Dru in, he thought as he handed over the credit card.

"Yeah but Dru killed way more people." He pointed out the moment Spike hung up the phone. "You're helping me tidy up and fix my table by the way. Part of your apology for slaying it."

"Buy a new one." He looked at the shiny bit of plastic in his hand. "We can go shopping tomorrow." That he slipped in, hoping for a yes since they'd discovered that leaving was no problem so long as they did it together. One more day in the apartment and ...

“I made that table. Made it. With my own two hands. First thing I ever made after I lost my eye.” Xander looked intensely at Spike, trying to get him to understand how much that table meant for him. “We’re fixing the table, Spike.” He concluded in a voice that brooked no argument, resolve face to the fore. His Willow had taught him well.

Spike slapped his hand around Xander's back. "Let's go fix the fucking table then. Maybe I'll earn a slice of pizza..."

Several hours later, after the table had been fixed, and the pizza eaten, and the mess cleaned up, the guys found themselves sitting on the sofa watching television. The fight must have gone out of both of them, as they were being quite friendly and civilized. They'd even managed to agree on a show to watch. Spike eyed the only 'fly in the ointment,' the bloody remote in Xander's hand. Why did he always end up getting control? There was something definitely wrong with this picture.

Those hands though…. With those very hands, Xander actually built something. A whole table. Spike imagined him working on the table, carving the simple design on it. Strong, but gentle hands. And deft. Hard and soft, he knew just how they felt. Didn't he wake up with them on his chest, or at his waist every morning? The boy knew how to use those hands in different ways too... images of him pleasuring himself in the shower assaulted his mind. No... no... he didn't need to thing about that, or want to.

Dragging his gaze away from Xander's hands, Spike tried to regulate his breathing. It was a very sad day when an ex-vampire got hot and bothered over the thought of another man jerking-off. Or maybe it was the knowledge that Xander had been thinking about himself as he... NO no no, he was not going there. He tried to watch the show, and succeeded. But other things came to mind. Things that were less confusing and distracting.

Like the fact that he'd realized tonight that Xander had taken better care of him, and had taken plenty more shit from him, than Dru ever had. Dru had been downright cruel when he'd been stuck in a wheelchair. Xander on the other hand... His gaze went to the boy's face. Xander tried to stay angry. He could even hear Xander promising himself to stay angry and not help, but it was a promise he never kept. Would Buffy take this good care of him? He knew the answer. And it was no. No one had ever done so much for him, including wiping up the messes he left. And he was a bloody fool to think anyone else would ever do so. "You're too bloody nice," he snarled under his breath, hardly acknowledging Xander's startled glance, and turning away from it.

“Huh? What’d I do now?” Xander exclaimed, trying to figure out where the snarling had come from. He’d been sitting there, pleasantly tired, watching television and Spike was suddenly snarling at him. “What do you mean I’m too nice? What, I should have forced you to watch Captain Archer?”

Putting his hands behind his head, Spike turned slightly. "Got wax in your ears, yeah? I said I don't want to see any more bloody rice," he jerked his head toward the telly, where a family of four was now making ridiculous ummmm ummm noises in a
commercial for wild rice.

“Rice…of course.”

Xander turned back to the television, smiling softly. Spike thought he was nice. Okay, so maybe he’d said it in a nice-equals-stupid kind of tone but still…he thought Xander was nice. The smile turned pleased. He liked that Spike thought he was nice. It was…nice. Okay so he was attracted to a guy. At least he was attracted to a human guy. Recently human but still…human! He stole a glance at the blond. Gorgeous human, he thought, smiling at Spike’s profile.

His eye moved to the kitchen where the recently restored table was gleaming with care. On the other hand, Spike was still Spike. Meaning he was annoying, could be mean as hell and still left wet towels everywhere. Much like Cordy and Anya in fact. Xander snickered quietly. Guess the gender could change but his taste could not. Besides, all three of them had another thing in common: they could all be very sweet when they wanted to be.

He’d heard Spike refuse Dru for him. Not strictly for him but for his life at least. Spike was mostly miserable as a human but he’d still refused the chance to go back to what he was because he didn’t want Xander to die. He’d been nice to him for the entire day after that as well. He’d even admired Xander’s craftsmanship, commenting on how well carved the designs on the table were. He liked this Spike…the one who didn’t feel the need to snark and put his attitude to the fore.

Another glance at Spike, who was frowning at something on the television. Maybe little Xan had the right idea after all.

Spike felt the weight of Xander's gaze. The longer the guy didn't take his eyes off him, the more nervous he got inside. Finally he glanced at the boy, and saw exactly what he'd imagined. A soft brown eye filled with hope, a half smile, a dreamy look that teenagers reserved for their crush of the day, or hour. God, let it be hour. Spike swallowed hard, not wanting to like being the object of a look that spoke of dreams and wanting and promises. If he let him go on like this, things would get very messed up. This wasn't how things were meant to be. He...Spike was in love with the Slayer. Xander's pattern was fall for demon birds who tried to kill him. Why the bloody hell was he changing the rules on them now?!?

And why am I panicking?

A plan. He needed a plan. He was the master of plans, yeah... that was the ticket. He'd solve this problem, he would.


Spike lay staring at the ceiling. This wasn't like all the other nights before. Tonight, he didn't fall into a deep, deep sleep the minute his head touched the pillow. His brain didn't stop. And his body didn't feel like lead weight. He was...getting better.

Now. About the problem called Xander. The boy had a crush on him, that much was clear. If it had been just about sex, it might have been alright. But the way he looked at him to tonight. Velvetty chocolate brown eyes so soft and blurry, so full of emotions he couldn't hide... it scared Spike. Even now, his stomach clenched. Fear for Xander... for the disappointment he'd ultimately face if he went down this road. And fear for himself. Because never had anyone looked at him with such open adoration, without asking a thing back from him, or expecting him to be strong, or to know all the answers. He could drown in that. He could lose himself in it.

"No. Nip it in the bud tonight, that's the best way. Yeah... stop him looking at me like that, and get Buffy... everything will get back to normal." He muttered his thoughts aloud. Now for the plan.

Wide awake, and perfectly alright, he started shouting the way Xander told him he cried out at nights. He spewed out words and curses, and called for help, hitting the nightstand with his hand and threatening to send it crashing to the ground again.

Xander woke up to the usual screaming coming from the bedroom. Sometimes he wondered why he even bothered to fall asleep. He rubbed his eyes, trying to wake up enough to stumble to the bedroom. Once there, he climbed on the bed and cuddled next to Spike. He’d stopped trying to force him down a couple of nights before when he realised that his mere presence on the bed seemed to calm the blond down.

“Sleep Spike. I’m here now. Just sleep ‘kay?” He mumbled and pulled Spike close to him. Now that he’d finally accepted the fact that he wanted Spike, he could enjoy feeling the blond’s body against him without trying to excuse the pleasure he got out of it. He sighed happily and relaxed, willing himself to go back to sleep.

Spike wasn't as happy. This wasn't right. Xander was going sleep… Just sleep? He'd been eyeing him like some sort of fruit tart...right, not the best description considering their situation...but now he wasn't taking advantage. Who wouldn't take the opportunity to take what they wanted when the object of their desire was in deep sleep?

Xander wouldn't. Because he was caring, and human and...damnit... Spike argued with himself. To do this or not. To hurt the boy. That wasn't the question. Xander would be hurt either way. Sooner was better than later. Later would mean heartache…

Decision made, there was no turning back. Spike rolled over on top of Xander, whispering meaningless words against the boy's ear. His breath came hot and moist, and he felt the boy's immediate reaction under him.

He stroked Xander's sides, up and down, each time pressing closer, moulding their bodies together. His shorts suddenly constricted around him so tight, he hissed.
Control... where the bloody hell had his control gone?

Xander was drifting back to sleep when he felt Spike roll on top of him. Nothing new there, Spike always cuddled when he felt Xander next to him. The whispering though, that was new. And so was the touching and the pressing and oh God that felt so good. He tried to breathe normally and ignore Spike’s actions but damn it was hard. Spike chose that moment to kiss and nibble on his neck and ‘hard’ acquired a whole new meaning. He let out a soft moan he arched his body, pressing against Spike.

“Spike? Please be awake.” He whispered, tilting his neck to give the blond greater access.

The sound of his own name whispered so urgently sent a jolt of need through the ex- vampire. He shouldn't kiss him, he really shouldn't. He should just stick with the plan, but that mouth...he needed to feel taste it once again.

Muttering a few more senseless phrases before his thoughts were scattered to the winds, Spike lowered his mouth and unerringly found Xander's. Meeting no resistance at all, he pushed his tongue inside. His head swam as their tongues danced together, in and out. He let it go on for as long as he could, then slid his hand under Xander's head and kissed him more fiercely, taking everything the boy would give him...savouring it, craving more.

Xander let himself get lost in the kiss, in the feel and taste of Spike. Please be awake, Spike. He felt Spike’s hands trail down his chest and toy with the edge of his sleep pants. He pushed up, rubbing his erection against the blond, willing the hands to sneak inside his pants.

When they finally did, cupping his ass and pulling him harder against Spike he moaned into the kiss, his own hands finally coming into play. He started at the blond’s back, tracing the muscles and slowly trailing downwards. The small part of his mind not dazed by Spike’s kiss noticed how silky soft the skin felt, how the muscles quivered under his fingers, how Spike shivered when he touched him.

Spike was lost in sensations. Xander's warm body wriggling slightly under him. The heated kisses, the slide of tongue against tongue, the tentative strokes of Xander's hands as they reached his ass...A shock of desire wracked his body, instantly making him grow hard and heavy, as he jerked against Xander, trying to get relief.

He raked his hands one last time down Xander's bare chest, gripped the elastic waistband of his pyjama bottoms and shorts, and cleanly swept the material half way down the boy's thighs. Why he needed to feel him, to run his hand over his arousal, to know how much the boy wanted him back, was beyond him. But once he gripped his silky-soft length and stroked him, felt the boy grow harder in his hand, a thrill edged with fear and warning ran through him.

Sticking with the plan was growing close to impossible. There had been no nakedness in the plan. Already Xander was naked. There had been no penetration in the plan, but God damn it...Spike wanted it...he wanted to turn Xander feel him from the hear him call his name out again and again.

Spike's entire body jerked in response to his thoughts. Taking his hand away as if it had been burned, he clamped down on Xander's hips and dragged him up against his body, as he pushed down and thrust against him.

Xander whimpered when Spike’s hand left him only to gasp in pleasure when his entire body was pulled into close contact with Spike’s, his cock rubbing against warm skin and hard flesh. He looked at Spike, saw blue eyes half-open but unseeing as they often did during one of the dreams. Shame overwhelmed him when he realised that he was taking advantage of Spike’s sleeping status. He tried to move back but Spike chose that moment to push down, and all thought fled Xander’s mind.

Through half lidded eyes, Spike watched the boy's eye as it darkened and went out of focus, he felt him shudder, and he was lost in the heady scent of the boy. Part clean fresh soap from all those bloody showers...the images that came with that thought had him thrust hard against the boy...part musky, all male.

Spike might have lost his vampiric senses, but there was nothing wrong with his memory...and it filled in the bits that he couldn't sense for real. The heady scent of pheromones building…clawing at him…drawing him like a magnet, the sound of blood rushing through veins and of a pumping heart. As if for real, he smelled and heard all the signs of arousal. And it built the pressure inside him. He rocked and rocked against Xander, seeking relief, climbing towards it before he burned up.

Xander pushed harder against Spike, his head arching back, eye closing as he chased his release. “Please Spike…” He whimpered, not sure what he was begging for but needing it all the same.

"Yes." He hadn't intended to answer, but every time he heard Xander say his name, he lost control. Spike ground his hips harder and faster, sharp stabs of pleasure driving him wild. Even through his shorts, he felt Xander, slick and hot against him, wanting him. He slid one hand under Xander's ass, lifting him up almost violently to meet his thrusts. By the time he shuddered his release and collapsed on top of the boy, his breath was ragged.

He was astounded by the strength of his reactions to Xander. And bloody hell... he'd forgotten to...

Xander felt Spike shudder against him and felt a touch of pride that he’d managed to make him lose control. Spike had come touching his body, his lips, him. He put his hand behind the blond’s head and dragged him down for another kiss. He could never get enough of Spike’s kisses. Feeling himself get closer to the edge, he arched back, letting go of the kiss.

Spike tried to say it now....he tried, but the word stuck in the back of his throat. He was meant to have been imagining her under him anyway, but all he'd seen and felt and wanted was Xander. It couldn't end like this. He had to do this… it was for the best... it was. Even if his gut clenched.

He worked up the courage again, then lifted his head slightly. "Buffy..." he groaned, giving one last hard thrust of his hips so his meaning couldn't possibly be lost on the boy.

Too late to stop his orgasm, Xander let himself go, closing his eye and turning his head away. Buffy. Of course. Spike was dreaming about Buffy. Shame returned with a vengeance when he realised he’d taken advantage of Spike. But this time…this time it wasn’t just shame. He tried to breathe in deeply but fuck it hurt. He couldn’t breathe, he just…he should have known. Buffy. Who else would it be?

Have to get out of here. Have to breathe.

He tried to scramble off the bed, forgetting about Spike’s octopus-like grip after the dreams.

The boy’s panic and hurt was palpable. Spike had known it would be bad. He'd been wrong. Dead wrong. It was worse than bad.

It's for his own good, one part of his mind cried out. But the other part, the new part cursed him to hell and back for wounding his friend.

He felt Xander wriggling...trying to get free. But somehow, he couldn't let him. He just couldn't. He needed to make it better, even a little. And not knowing how, he lowered his head and tried to kiss him better.

At first he tried to get away. Spike wasn’t kissing him, he was kissing Buffy. He didn’t want someone else’s kisses, he didn’t want to pretend that Spike cared for him when it was obvious it was all about Buffy. But gradually his resistance was worn down. How could he resist the tenderness, the love behind those lips? The love wasn’t for him but he could pretend for a while.

Xander might not know it, but these kisses were meant for him. Only for him. Slow and tender, meant to distract the boy, take him away from the ugliness of the moment Spike kissed him again, and again, until he coaxed a response.

Xander felt something wet run down his cheek. For a moment he thought he was crying but no, his eye was dry. He felt Spike’s lips tremble and he realised that the blond was the one crying.

Crying for Buffy. All he wants is her.

Swallowing down the pain he turned his head away again. Buffy’s kisses. Buffy’s tears. Buffy’s Spike.


Something was wrong. Desperately wrong. He had to find something. What had he lost? Where was it?

Tortured by thoughts and feelings he couldn't make any sense of, Spike forced his eyes open. The first thing he saw was the ceiling. Tilting his head to the side, the second thing he saw was the lack of Xander.

The events of the night came rushing back. He winced at the memory of Xander's disappointment. And now the bed was empty. Bloody hell, what was this lump in his throat? Hundred year old hardened ex-vampires did not cry!

He sat up, trying not to notice how much he missed finding Xander all over him in the mornings. How he liked barking out a command for him to get off...and then watching him scramble to get to the bathroom first.

Now he was here. Alone. What had he expected?

He swallowed over the lump in his throat. Bloody Wankers That Be, they'd given him a Xander-shaped teddy bear... and now he missed it. Worse, now that he was sleeping and not plagued by nightmares... his body wasn't reacting to Xander's attempts to flee. Asleep, he couldn't stop Xander from leaving.

Spike got up and decided a shower would bring him around before he faced the boy. There was a chink in his armor now, and if he went out there like this, he might < bloody well break down and admit everything.

After a steaming hot shower, he finally walked into the living room, a towel slung low around his waist. If he'd thought Xander was asleep, he'd been wrong. The boy was staring at the telly. He cleared his throat. “'Morning."

Xander tensed when he heard Spike speak. He’d snuck out of the bedroom the moment Spike had relaxed enough to let go of him. He’d gone into the bathroom, turned the water on and used the shower to hide himself again. This time though he’d been hiding tears. He’d been so stupid to think that Spike could ever see him like that. That he would forget Buffy for him. Compared to Buffy he was nothing, why would Spike want him instead of her.

By the time he left the bathroom he was calmer and wide-awake so he turned on the television and sat there, trying not to think.

“’morning” he mumbled still staring at the television. He wasn’t sure what he was watching but at least he didn’t have to look at Spike while he did it.

Xander cast a glare at the front door, once again swearing at the Wankers for locking them in there. Didn’t they realize what they were putting him through? Willow was right, they were punishing him for the ‘Wankers’ thing. “Bit over the top don’t you think?” He muttered. “You could'a locked me in with Angelus, it’d be less painful.”

Spike heard every word and couldn't muster up even a half witty answer. Instead, he headed into the kitchen and brought out two bowls, some of that silly colorful duck shaped cereal that no man should have in his kitchen, and some milk. He sat down on the couch, next to Xander. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," he quoted.

Xander tried to smile at Spike and accepted the bowl. It wasn’t Spike’s fault he was in this state anyway. All Spike did was have an interesting dream about Buffy.

“I taught you well, young grasshopper.” He said, aiming for a light tone.

He still couldn’t meet Spike’s eyes. He couldn’t believe he’d taken advantage of a friend. Spike had been asleep, and Xander hadn’t done anything to stop things, he just let everything happen. It was his own damn fault; if he’d stopped Spike then he wouldn’t have heard her name.

He aimed another smile in Spike’s direction and went back to staring. Oh, Pamela Anderson. Guess he was watching Baywatch then.

Spike ate some of the cereal, never taking his gaze off Xander. There... he was watching girls... so I cured him of... of whatever. Have you cured yourself?

"Big curves, just your type, yeah?"

“What?” Xander started, staring wide-eyed at Spike. “Curves…erm, yeah. The bigger the better and all that.”

He immediately turned his gaze back to the television, staring at the hot brunet male lifeguard. He tilted his head, trying to get a better look at the guy, figure out if it was men in general that did it for him. Washboard abs, dreamy green eyes and oh that smile. Yup, it was men in general. Hope surged as he thought that maybe Spike was just a fluke, maybe he just happened to be around when Xander started liking men!

He suddenly remembered how Spike felt against him last night. How the blond laughed when they watched dumb t.v. together. How his eyes shone when he was angry. Yup, it was men in general and Spike in particular. His mood plummeted once again.

Spike watched the expressions flicker over the boys face. After days on end in the small matchbox of an apartment with him, he'd learned to read what they meant. The boy still had it for him. What did he need to do?

"We should go out." Yesterday, they'd found out that they weren't actually stuck in the apartment per se. "We can leave together , so why don't we? Find a couple of birds…dance," he gave Xander a wheedling smile. "I think we've seen more of each other than we'd ever want, would be good to mix it up, yeah?"

Xander tried to muster up some excitement at a night of fun and watching Spike flirt with pretty women but for some bizarre reason it didn't appeal. "I don't think I'm up to it Spike. Maybe tomorrow 'kay?"

That would give him time to put up his defences, ready to joke and be the funny one. Because with Spike around that's all he could be, who'd notice a one-eyed guy when they had Spike to play with?

Guilt ate at the ex-vampire. He was responsible for taking the light out of Xander's eye. He hated that he'd had to do it. Right now, he hated himself. But he couldn't afford to let doubts paralyze him. He was sure... if he could get Xander out, if Xander saw a woman or two, everything would normalize. The boy would no longer look at him with that look that offered a slice of heaven, and Spike wouldn't be tempted.

Eve, Xander's name should be bloody Eve. He took a few deep breaths, and tried to think.

The boy wanted him, but after last night...he didn't want to want him. He could tell that much from the way Xander edged away from him, and refused to look at his bare chest, where only yesterday he'd been ogling with lust in his eye. So... if Xander was in avoidy-mode, all he had to do was crowd him. Yeah, that was the ticket. Crowd him, make him want what he'd had last night, and make him realize Spike was right. One night in the arms of a girl would right things.

A confident smirk firmly pasted on his face, Spike leaned across Xander, his chest lightly scraping against the boys as he reached for a pillow and made as if he was having difficulty grabbing it. The scent of soap coming from Xander teased his nostrils and sent his mind spiralling back to how they'd held each other last night, how they'd cried out their passion. Biting his lip so hard he tasted blood, Spike forced the memories out of his head.

Half-naked Spike! In his personal space! Xander pushed back into the couch as much as he could, trying to avoid touching all that skin. There was so much skin! He breathed in, trying to calm himself only to be assaulted by Spike's shampoo. His shampoo in Spike's hair. Ohhh that wasn't supposed to turn him on.

Behave goddamnit! You're my body and you will do as I say and I say calm down!

"That's alright then." Spike stretched just a little further, pressing into Xander. "We'll spend the day here. Just the two of us. Nice and cozy-like." He felt Xander's heart jump under his touch. Satisfied, he finally moved back and put the pillow behind his head.

"You alright?" Or should he ask the boy if he needed a shower?

"F-fine." Xander stammered, trying to get his body back under his control. "We could...erm...order in or something. Think your stomach can take Mexican? If you avoid the spicy dishes it should be okay I think."

"It's still breakfast. You haven't finished yours." Spike's grin broadened. "Do you want me to feed you?"

"What?" Xander coughed as his voice broke. "I mean, what? No. W – why would you wanna do that?"

"You seem confused. It's breakfast, you're talking lunch. And you're not eating. You seem a bit stiff..." Spike reached out and touched Xander's forehead, caressing it lightly. "No fever. But..." he gave a one shouldered shrug. "You took care of me, if you need me to take care of you...can do."

"Take what of me?" A sudden image of Spike fussing over him made Xander's bones melt into goo. He'd been told how Spike took care of have that for himself, have someone other than Willow care for him... "I need toast. Yeah. Toast." He mumbled, running off hoping Spike hadn't seen his eyes fill up. was working. Xander was already wanting to get away from him. He just had to keep working at it. As soon as he heard sounds that indicated the boy was on his way back, Spike hit the ground. His legs pointing toward the kitchen, he executed perfect push-ups, smirking at the thought of the view Xander would get. Hopefully the towel would stay put, but if it didn't... ah, the drama. He strategically sprinkled grunts into the exercise, and sped up and slowed, knowing full well what images would run through Xander's mind.

Xander managed to get himself under control and walked back to the living room and oh...push-ups. Half-naked push-ups. And the towel was slipping just a little bit. Xander tilted his head watching the towel move downwards...
"I need a shower." He suddenly declared and left the room.

Spike collapsed onto the floor letting out a soft laugh. That had worked faster than he'd even wanted. Right...his own member was hard and now seeking attention but...three minutes flat. Three minutes! How many showers could he make Xander take in one day before he admitted they should go out and see other people?

The next few hours were spent with Spike torturing Xander some more. With touches, and whispers, he even played a favourite trick of the virgins of the last century and pretended to twist his ankle so that Xander could inspect it. Of course it hadn't been clinical at all, not once Spike put his hand on Xander's shoulder, absently stroking up and down. Xander's neck had flushed beet red, and Spike knew that blood was rushing to other more important parts of the boy’s body. The sound of a long shower only confirmed it, and kept Spike amused.

Lunch had been no different. Spike fidgeted with his food, sucked his fingers, even wiped sauce off Xander's mouth and licked it off his fingers. He wished he could say that he wasn't affected, but he couldn't. Because his human senses read all the signs of Xander's arousal, and his memories as a vampire filled-in the heady scent of pheromones. So many times, he'd made jokes about it being the vampire’s viagra, now it seemed to indirectly affect him as a human. Although his pants went through several stages of tightness, for the most part, he managed to maintain control.

Little did he know, things would change.

By late afternoon, he'd mentioned going out a few more times, and still got a negative response. It was time to turn up the heat. He flopped down next to Xander on the sofa and flipped channels, stopping on the porn channel. He pretended not to notice Xander's startled gaze. "You have this channel and you made me watch Buckaroo Banzai? Git..."

Xander stared at the television in shock. The entire afternoon had taken a surreal quality. At first Xander thought he was crazy. Everything Spike did made him hard. Every. Little. Thing. After the second shower he'd tried to control himself. It was bad enough that Spike knew about his bathroom activities, he didn't need to know how often he got the urge too. But this...this was unbelievable. Porn. This was pure torture. Spike was just trying to get to him.

The blond wanted to go out and he was trying to get Xander to agree. Narrowing his eyes in determination Xander decided not to give in. Unbelievable horniness was still a hell of a lot better than watching Spike flirt with pretty girls. He'd stick to his guns.
Even if he had to permanently move into the bathroom to do so.

Spike put his hands behind his head and watched the show. He felt Xander move slightly away when two men and a woman started going at it. He couldn't have Xander escaping, not now...not when the scene was so perfect. He put his hand on Xander's thigh, and squeezed, his eyes fixed on the screen. The boy's muscle's tensed under his touch. Not satisfied, he ran his hand up and down the boy's thigh, very casually, as if there was nothing unusual in what he was doing. Changing the motion into ever growing circles, he drew closer and closer to the bulge in Xander's pants. He didn't need to look to know it was there. He'd already detected a change in Xander's breathing. The boy made a sound. A very soft sound, and that was all it took for Spike to grow unexpectedly and painfully hard.

Xander closed his eye and tried to breathe normally. He'd forgotten how determined Spike could be when he wanted to get something. Part of him wanted to slap the blond and tell him to back off, to stop toying with him. The other, bigger, part wanted to grab him and kiss him silly.

Not gonna happen. It was humiliating enough the first time. It just about killed me the second time when he thought I was Buffy. No more touching Spike okay? Now be a good body and calm down. Please calm down.

Spike was having troubles of his own. Damn last night...damn it to hell, it was making things difficult for him. Seeing the blond man on the screen bang away at the girl who lay face down, while kissing the dark haired male, all Spike really saw was himself and Xander...Xander on all fours...he swallowed hard and almost touched himself.

When the throbbing ache between his legs became too great to bear, Spike stood up abruptly. "My turn to take a Xander-shower, yeah?" he nodded down toward his very visible erection. "Don't change the channel." When Xander's mouth formed an "O," all he wanted was to grab him, and make that perfect mouth of his suck him off. He stared at the boy in indecision, then ripped his gaze away and half ran to the bathroom.

Xander-shower. Bastard got him hard enough to pound nails into concrete and then he made fun of him. Xander glared at the retreating blond, trying to summon up enough anger to kill his arousal. There, easier than he'd thought. Arousal all gone now.


Xander heard the shower go on and pictured a wet, naked Spike wrapping his hand around his cock and fucking his fist. Instant hard-on. He let his body fall back onto the couch and hid his face in the cushions.

"I'm gonna get you back for this." He muttered, mentally staking Spike. And not in the good, fun way.

Inside the bathroom, Spike had turned on the cold water. He was counting on Xander's imagination to torture the boy, and had no real intention of jerking off. That was until he heard a muffled sound near the door. The thought that Xander was listening made him painfully hard. So hard, he couldn't help seeking relief. He reached for the bottle of lotion on the counter...conveniently placed and almost empty. And now he knew why. Closing his eyes, he visualized Xander's mouth latched
around him. Tight. Hot. Hotter with every drag on his cock. He stroked himself faster and faster, closing his eyes tight as the pressure built inside.

Xander stood outside the bathroom door, staring into space, trying to hear the sounds Spike was making. He hadn't meant to do this, he'd been supposed to go to the bedroom but he stopped for a moment and now he couldn't move. He could barely hear anything over the sound of the water but his imagination provided him with a surround sound vision of Spike jerking off. He gathered all his self-control and managed not to just push his sweats down and give himself some relief.

Fuck, it was hard in so many ways.

Spike groaned out his release and then stepped into the shower. A second later, he slammed his hand against the tiled walls. Where was his control? Right...maybe he'd used this to his advantage, but he hadn't meant for it to happen. And he fucking hadn't intended it to be Xander in his head. He wanted him out of his head, before it was too late. This had bloody well work, or he was in trouble. Big trouble.

Five minutes later, Spike emerged from the bathroom, jeans on but shirtless, with steam still rising from his body. He wasn't half surprised to see Xander lingering close to the door. "Your turn, yeah?"

He took a step toward the bedroom and turned a predatory gaze on the boy. "Are we going out tonight, or will it be hot dogs for dinner?" The boy would understand how torturous dinner could be if Spike wanted it to.

"I dunno Spike, let's see how my shower goes first." Xander murmured and sauntered into the bathroom.

Spike's gaze dropped to Xander's ass. "He would have to shake it," he muttered. He should leave...go to the room. Instead, he was rooted to the spot and leaning towards the door.

Xander leaned against the door and tried to breathe. Fuck, Spike looked hot coming out of the shower. He looked down at the bulge in his sweats.

And now to take care of business. To put on a show or not to put on a show, that is the question.

He went into the shower, letting the water calm him a little. Xander had already decided to go out with Spike tonight. Hotdogs for dinner would just about kill him. He could already picture Spike licking up and down, taking the end in and sucking.

He groaned at the thought, his hand already moving down...

Spike had no idea how it happened, but he found himself pressed flat against the door, slowly going mad with the sounds Xander wasn't even trying to conceal. His hand clawed at the door, and then slid down to the knob. Maybe if he just...if he got it out of his system, their system...maybe one single shower together. He turned the knob.

It was bloody locked. As if cold water had been poured over his head, he stepped back and blinked. He'd been about to...he would have...Backing away very quickly, he went into the bedroom and sat on the bed. This was bad. Very, very bad. He looked up. "Thank you....thank you Powers... for locking me out. Sometimes you get things right, yeah?"

He let out a breath, and watched as Xander came in. "You're looking very... relaxed."

"Yup." Xander replied cheerfully, holding his towel up with one hand. "It was a nice shower. So where are we going then?" He asked, opening the lowest drawer in his dresser and bending over to look through it for a shirt.

"A club. Somewhere with girls." It was ironic that he was eyeing a very male ass at that moment.

"Cool. Mind getting out so I can get dressed now?"

Xander asked the question without turning to look at Spike. Best keep his eyes to himself if he didn't want another shower before leaving.

"Go ahead...nothing I haven't seen before." Spike arched an eyebrow when Xander refused to turn. "Don't worry, I'm not looking." He flopped back on the bed, supposedly staring at the ceiling, but his eyes did manage to occasionally steal looks into the mirror that very clearly reflected Xander from head to toe. And everything in between.

He was just as Spike had imagined. Lean and rugged, tanned, with the most mouth watering abs. He could see himself trailing his tongue along the indentations down to... He blinked, and started to whistle an old folksy ditty. Anything to clear his mind.

Xander hesitated a moment before heaving a resigned sigh and letting the towel drop and pulling on his clothes as quickly as possible. Making a scene out of this would only make things worse. Besides, it wasn't like Spike was affected by him the same way he was affected by Spike. The more he thought about it the more he decided that going out was a good idea. It would get his mind off his roommate or whatever Spike was to him. He might even score with one of the blond's cast offs. Not like he had any pride left anymore anyway, he'd had sex with a sleeping man who thought he was someone else.

"All ready. There's a club the slayers like, near Kings Cross. I think they call it La
Scala. Wanna go there?"

"Great. I love slayers," he smirked and walked out ahead of Xander.

* * *

A couple of hours later, they were sitting at a bar lit up by neon lights.

On the way to the club, Spike had managed to get Xander to agree to a shopping spree, and finally, Spike was wearing what he wanted. His leathers...they made him feel like the Spike he knew, gave him that extra confidence he needed now that the rules had changed on him. And the tight black tee-shirt he'd picked out made him look damned good, if the way Xander had looked at him was anything to go by. But now, sitting in the crowded club, packed with women... Spike was determined that Xander would see the light. Never mind that Spike had shooed off all the women that tried to talk to Spike. It wasn't because he wanted to be with Xander, it was because he had to work on Xander, help the boy with his techniques, and make sure the boy hooked up
with some girl.

Xander looked around him, marvelling at the sheer number of people that fit in the club. He waved at one of the slayers and tried not to wonder if she was really out with that guy. He looked even scarier than Angelus in full leather! Still, slayer and all, not like the guy could get the upper hand.

"Wanna go dance a little?" He asked Spike, looking longingly at the dance floor.

"Dance, yeah..." he started to slide off the stool, and came to himself. " women. Remember?" He wasn't sure who he was talking to at that point – himself or Xander.

The lights flashed. The throbbing beat of the music had them swaying. And the liquor had them very relaxed. Xander had several shots, but had absolutely forbidden Spike from more than one measly shot. It wasn't right...even if his head was spinning as he sat there, it wasn't right that there was a soft drink in front of him now.

Spike put his hand behind Xander's back, and leaned close to his ear to speak over the< music. "How about a beer. A light beer, yeah. Couldn't hurt."

Xander shivered and tried to concentrate on Spike's words. "No. No more alcohol Spike, human you didn't drink much and you're not used to it." He snapped and went back to looking at the dance floor. "I wanna dance. I could order you to dance!"

Spike leaned over again, this time resting the back of his hand on Xander's stomach. "I love it when you're all masterful like that." He found himself drawn to the boy's lips, but pulled back before they'd quite touched. "You're more drinks. As for the dancing, who with?"

For a moment there, Xander thought Spike was going to kiss him. Then the blond drew back and reality returned. He hated reality. Reality sucked.

"Doesn't have to be with anybody, you can just dance."

"I'd dance with you."

Xander turned to see a girl standing before him, smiling at him. She was blonde and small and pretty and had the nicest smile.

"Yeah?" He smiled back. "That'd be--"

"Impossible," Spike finished for him.


"Waa waa, nothing. Sorry pet, you'll have to find someone else, yeah?" Spike patted the girl's bottom and smirked as she flounced away in a huff. "That one wasn't right for you."

"Why the hell not? She was pretty and seemed nice!" Xander glared at Spike. "I thought we were here to meet girls!" He pointed at the direction the girl left. "She's a girl! I met her!"

"Yeah..." Spike shook his head. The drink really was affecting him. He couldn't even explain why he hadn't liked her. "Trust me. Not for you."

It went on in that manner for a while. Spike finding reasons various girls were unacceptable. Xander ordering his next drink and getting just a little more drunk and grim.

Spike ran his hand through his hair. "I want you to find someone, I really do. Just not a slut, or someone dressed in yesterday’s fashion, or God forbid did you see her nipple ring? You didn't...oh...well her blouse bunched...never mind, yeah?" he put his hand on Xander's face and turned it away from the vixen in shorts three sizes too small for her.

"Look, I have to visit the WC, then we'll go to another bar With nicer women. I promise." He slapped Xander on the back, and headed for the bathroom. Bloody human bodily functions. One shot, one drink, and here he was slightly swaying and about to explode.

Xander glared at Spike's retreating back and resolved to find a girl to dance with. Turned out the pirate look gave him an air of mystery or something because he was constantly approached. Next girl who asked him to dance would get him.

As Spike walked back to the bar, he noticed the place had gone darker, and the music changed into some haunting tones. A slow dance. He remembered those days at the Bronze when -- His thoughts were abruptly interrupted when he saw that Xander wasn't at the bar. But where? He scanned the room, then the dance floor.

There he was. Arms around a red head, not Willow. Spike's stomach clenched. Gritting his teeth, he forced himself to lean against the bar and wait. Let the boy dance. Maybe this girl would do it for him. Maybe...Spike reached for Xander's drink and almost took a slug. But preventing erasure was a good deterrent. He licked around the lip of the glass, and set it down hard.


Spike needed a drink...or something...his gaze went back to Xander. Fuck...the people in front of him blocked his view for a minute. And then he saw the boy again. His hands clasped around the girl's waist, the way they'd been clasped around Spike last night. He didn't like this. Not one bit. Picking up the soda, he guzzled it down, for all the good it did.

How long did a bloody dance last anyway? Three minutes? Two had to have passed. He could wait it out and—

When her hands started wandering over Xander's chest and she raised her face up to receive a kiss, Spike found himself crossing the dance floor, zig zagging to avoid the dancers, but his gaze decidedly fixed on one couple.

Sophie grew bolder, deepening the tentative kiss her dance partner was giving her. She rose up on her tip toes and slid her hand down Xander's chest when her wrist was suddenly caught in an iron grip that made her gasp and step back. "What the hell?"

"Stop." It was an order, and Spike's voice brooked no argument. "Go away. He's not for you."

"What? I think it's for him to decide, isn't it? Xander, who is this nut? Get rid of him so we can continue snogging--"

"Snogging?" Spike made a sound of disgust. "You call that snogging. He doesn't like being kissed like that. He likes it like this."

Spike grabbed Xander's shirt, tugged him close and kissed him full on the lips. The fact that Xander had been staring open mouthed helped a lot. And the fact that the liquor slowed his reactions was a bonus as well.

Forgetting the club, the people, bloody Sophie, and the lesson he'd brought Xander to the club to learn, Spike slid his arms around the boy, dragged him up hard against his frame, and continued the deep exploration of his mouth. No one could kiss him like this. No one could satisfy him like this. If the stupid chit of a girl didn't know it then, she would know it now.

Woah...Xander wasn't sure what was going on but he liked it. He was dancing with a girl and he was kissing the girl and it was okay. Then the girl was gone and Spike was here and holymarymotherofgodthatfeltgood.

He finally drew back, his body desperate to breathe and stared wide-eyed at Spike.

"How? What? How?"

"" Spike echoed, taking a much needed breath. His heart was racing. Damn had he gone off-plan or what? He made an effort to control his breathing, and the desire to bloody well lose himself in another kiss so he could forget what just happened.

He took a step back. Xander was waiting for an explanation. would come, any minute. He licked his lips. "She was evil, that's what. Now let's go home," he jerked his head toward the exit.

"She was what?" Xander frowned, wondering if maybe he had one too many shots. The room was swaying a bit. He looked at Sophie, who was downing something orange-coloured at the bar. She was evil? She didn't look evil. But then, neither had the Inca mummy girl or the praying mantis. "You wanna go already? But I wanna finish my dance first." He pouted.

Yeah maybe a little bit drunk. Otherwise he wouldn't be pouting at Spike. Spike who just kissed him and saved him from the evil lady. He glanced curiously at Sophie again. Evil, huh?

"Bird's gone, we should go too, yeah?" Spike was suddenly surly, and anxious to get out of there.

"I wanna finish my dance! Dance with me Spike." Xander ordered as imperiously as he could in his inebriated state.

"Huh? What? You're bloody ordering me..." he looked at Xander aghast. "You are bloody ordering me? How is that for my protection? Come on let's go..." Spike started to walk away, but saw Xander just standing there...waiting...standing his ground. No...there was nothing about his face that said "just kidding."

Scowling, Spike returned, and obeyed the order. Sort of. Instead of taking Xander in his arms to finish the slow dance, he just stood next to him, shifting his weight from one leg to the other. "There...dancing, happy?" He was going to kill the dj if this song went on and on.

"No." Xander pouted. "You're supposed to dance with me." He moved closer to Spike and took him into his arms. "Like this." He explained, letting his head rest on Spike's shoulder. "I like this." He murmured against Spike's neck.

"Mushy... too mushy," Spike ground out. The trouble was, it felt good. He could stand there as stiff as a board, or he could just hold him. Dance a little. What would it hurt anyway? As he enveloped Xander in his arms, only a few doubts remained. The boy was drunk. Tomorrow this would be a dream. Yeah... Spike's gaze slipped to evil-girl, and he unconsciously tightened his grip on Xander.

Slowly, Spike relaxed and rested his chin on top of Xander's head. He was mostly bearing the boy's weight. Now he knew how many drinks it took to knock the guy out. A small grin spread across his face. He was...happy. Why the bloody hell it was true, he didn't know. Maybe it was amazing that after all the torture he put Xander through, and after probably embarrassing the hell out of him, the boy hadn't yelled...hadn't made a scene. Hadn't bloody well hit him like Buffy probably would have. Instead, he'd asked for a dance. A dance.

He chuckled, and brushed his mouth over Xander's ear. "I'm sorry. I really am, yeah?" He wished he hadn't played that trick on him last night. That had crossed all lines. It had ripped the boy's heart out, and made Spike wonder about his own. Did he have one? Not in the physical sense...but could a person with a heart do that to someone else...someone important.

Stop psychoanalyzing, you were never any good at that.

Taking his own advice, he let himself enjoy the dance. Or maybe it was two. And then he took Xander home...half carrying him. The boy stumbled near the door, and Spike caught him and laughed. "Just don't puke...that's one bodily fluid I'm definitely not ready for." He followed the boy inside and headed for the bedroom.

Xander watched Spike go into the bedroom, trying to force his brain to think. He was pretty sure he'd done something horribly stupid but he couldn't make his head function enough to figure it out. Oh, well...he was alive and in one piece so it couldn't have been all that bad. He turned his gaze on the couch and he focused on it.

Our plan today is to get to the couch. Flop over.

He stumbled across the room and let himself tilt over onto the couch, hiding his head in the cushion.

Nice body. Good body. Sleep now.

The lights were out, but Spike found himself staring at a spot where a moon beam glanced the wall. He was relaxed, and a bit tired, but something was wrong. It took him quite a while to figure out what it was... Xander. It felt strange to be in bed without him. Not that it made sense. He'd been able to fall asleep without him before, but then the nightmares apparently came, and the only way they stopped was when the boy was with him. Now that he'd gotten seemed he couldn't fall asleep to begin with.

He should call him. Spike licked his lips and opened his mouth to do so, then had a better idea. "Help... need help," he kicked at the blankets, and hit the headboard with his fists, shouting out for Xander to come and take away the nightmares, like he had on so many nights.

Xander lifted his head from his comfy cushion and looked at the bedroom door.

"Not coming go to sleep." He yelled and plopped his head back down.

Spike just got louder. Right... the boy was half drunk, but he had to help him, didn't he? "Help! Bloody help me!"

Xander lifted his head again and gathered enough energy to glare in Spike's general direction.

"I know you're faking! You didn't wanna kiss me, didn't wanna dance with me and now you want me in the bed? Not coming. Got to sleep!"

Giving a wobbly nod to underline his words Xander hugged the couch cushion closer and closed his eye.

Spike stared at the spot on the wall some more and muttered under his breath. "Didn't want to kiss you...I did bloody well kiss you. If I didn't like it I would have..." He'd liked it. A lot. Too much. Too much to think it was just a thing. And he liked Xander making him laugh, and making those funny expressions at the drop of a hat. And he liked the way Xander looked at him. No matter how awful he treated him, there was always forgiveness and understanding in the boy's eye and face. And a promise. Forever, no matter what, you can't push me away. No one had looked at him like that. No one.

He rolled over. This was bloody stupid. He was driving himself mad because he couldn't sleep. And he couldn't sleep because drunken-sod in the other room wouldn't move. "Xander?" There was no answer. "Xander?" he tried again.

The sound of silence irritated him to no end. This was it, he wasn't spending the rest of the night checking out a moonbeam, or staring at a digital clock. Tearing the blankets off, he stormed to the living-room. A minute later, he was carrying the object of his affection in his arms. Never mind that the lug was asleep, and had no idea what was happening.

When he got the boy into his bed, he pulled him close. Then he pulled him onto his chest. That felt right. "Whoever knew I'd need a bloody Xander-bear to go sleep." But what was this... socks and clothes...too many of them. Spike narrowed his gaze and sat up. "Cant have that, now can we."


Xander drifted awake slowly. Something was niggling at the back of his mind, something wrong but he couldn't figure out what it was and he didn't care. He snuggled closer to Spike, letting out a little sigh of contentment.

He felt something tugging at his hair and he reached out to feel what it was. Eye- patch. Huh...strange... he always took it off before going to bed. He must have been really tired to forget.

A little thought flickered in his brain.

Not so much tired as drunk. Which would explain the weird feeling in his stomach. He frowned and tried to remember how he got that way. Spike had tortured him until he caved and they went out for drinks at La Scala.

Guess he'd drunk a bit too much. He relaxed again, wanting to enjoy this before Spike woke up and he had to go. He should probably follow Spike's advice and get a girl, that way he'd forget about the blond and just send him off to Buffy. She could break his heart without Xander being there to watch.

Hang on...there had been a girl! Xander's eye opened as he remembered that part of the evening. There had been dancing and some kissing and then Spike had come back from wherever and godamnfuckingdamnit!

Xander jumped off the bed, and stared at the sleeping blond in horror. He'd ordered Spike to dance with him! And then, oh fuck, he'd kissed him. He'd kissed Spike! Again! Okay, so Spike had kissed him first but it was only to get rid of evil girl and shit, there was no way he could hide now was there? Spike would know about his crush and he'd either mock him relentlessly or try to make things better. Xander honestly didn't know which option scared him more.

He dressed as quickly as possible, needing to escape again. Stupid Wankers not letting him out of his own apartment. He glared upwards, ignoring the knock on the door. He did not feel like company.

He glanced at his watch. Who'd be knocking at this time in the morning? Oh please don't let it be Andrew with another fake apocalypse! He'd told the boy time and again that he couldn't work until this thing was resolved but no, Andrew had to keep bothering him with stupid stuff even thought he knew very well Xander couldn't step out of the bloody apartment.

He threw the door open, glaring at Andrew only to find that it wasn't the idiot. It was the postman.

"Mr Harris?"


"Mind signing here please, I have a package for you."

"Sure thing." Xander automatically took the pen and stepped out into the corridor to sign the papers.

He took the package and went back into the apartment. Halfway to the kitchen he froze. His mind replayed the last few moments and he ran back to the front door.
He looked at the entryway dubiously and stuck his foot out. barrier. He jumped out into the corridor. Jumped back in. Out. In. Out.

"You shake it all about." He snickered.

They could go out! He couldn't wait to tell Spike that they could get out and finally get some privacy!

He was on his way to the bedroom to wake up the blond when he stumbled and fell on something round and freaking hard.

"Oh great, another scroll. What do you bastards want from us now?" He muttered unrolling the thing. “Do the hokey-pokey for your entertainment?”

"Oh. Okay then."

Xander scribbled a note for Spike and stuck it on the fridge. He grabbed his coat and with one last longing look at the bedroom door he left the apartment.

Spike finally woke. Strange. He'd dreamt of dancing with Xander all night long. Well there was the tussle with the Aghoran demon, but other than that and the cool Durnian silver weapons, there had been dancing, and kissing, and ordering around. The good kind.

Smirking, he sat up. One thing he hated about getting better was that apparently, it dulled what Xander called his 'octopus instincts.' Now, the boy could slip out of bed, and he'd sleep on. He liked waking with him in his arms. Maybe he should tie him up?

The smirk got broader, until he found that Xander was nowhere to be found in the apartment. He rained curses on the WTB, this time the exact opposite of his words from only days ago. Yelling at them for lifting the curse or whatever it was, when he needed Xander.

But when had the WTB been responsive? The apartment was still empty. Where would Xander be? Probably at the... right, Spike snatched the note off the fridge. At the Watchers Council. While getting the mail, he'd discovered he could walk out. "Bloody fucking brilliant of you," Spike complained.

Well he wasn't staying here all alone. As he rushed back towards the room, he almost tripped over something. Another scroll. He reached for it and read it. His walking papers. He was free of Xander's protective custody. It was over. Woo bloody hoo.

Taking it with him, he sat down on the bed. It was what he wanted, so why wasn't he partying. Why did he miss Xander already? Because you're bored. And there's no one to laugh at. Or with Because one person really cared for you... not just a part of you...or a strong you...or a human you... but all of you, and you drove him away.

He plucked Xander's shirt off the ground, and flopped down on the bed, holding it to his chest and taking a sniff. The boy’s soapy musky scent was still on it from last night. It had been fun. The drinking, the female viewing, the dancing. There had been hotness there. Yeah. He couldn't deny liking the way Xander felt in his arms, and in his bed. What to do?

He sat up suddenly and folded the scroll, then kicked it under the bed. "This plan is the mother of all plans."


Xander stood outside his apartment, looking apprehensively at the door. Spike would have found the scroll by now.

He's probably on his way to Buffy already. And hey, maybe that Carlos guy is a rebound and she'll be happy to see him and they'll be together.

He looked at the keys in his hand and then at the door again. He should go in, order some Indian food, relax and finally enjoy the peace and quiet that Spike's absence was sure to bring.

Sighing softly, he unlocked the door and went inside. He didn't realise anything was different until he tossed his coat on the couch and went to the kitchen to get a beer.

He came back to the living room and took in the sight. There were candles everywhere and the table was set out for what appeared to be a romantic dinner for two.

Xander's eye widened when he realised what was going on. Spike had invited Buffy over! They were going to have dinner in his apartment!

He heard a noise coming from the bedroom and his gaze snapped to the door. Oh God no. Buffy was already here and they were in the bedroom. In his bed. Spike and Buffy.

Carlos was a rebound and she's with Spike in my bed. With Spike. In my bed. Buffy and Spike.

Xander grabbed his coat and turned to leave again. They didn't need a third wheel in their date. Especially if they his bed. He could handle seeing them together but not yet. He had to get used to it first.

Hearing sounds from inside, Spike pushed away from the wall in the bedroom and walked into the living room. "Watched the exercise show on the telly... was doing push ups against the wall to keep fit and my arms nice and cut," he said quoting the exercise guru, and curling his arm as he reached Xander. "You think it's working? Feel me," he smirked, crowding the boy's personal space.

"What? Huh?" Xander stared at half!naked Spike and his bicep. Then he remembered why he was leaving. No Buffy here yet but she'd probably be here any minute now. " need, I can see it now, you'll be Mr Universe in twelve months or less, okay bye-bye, see you later."

"Mr. Universe. That's good, yeah?" Spike plucked Xander's coat from his hands and then threw it across the room with deadly accuracy. The coathanger tilted, then righted itself. "Are you sure you don't want to feel me? I don't bite you know?" He moved just a little closer, close enough to feel the heat emanating from Xander's body. Close enough to see the boy's throat convulse.

"No, it's fine. I don't need to touch." Xander managed to stammer out, backing away carefully. "I'm sure Buffy will love to do that for you. Now really, I have to go out and work. Yeah work! Have to work." He babbled and went to get his coat again.

"You just came back from work." Spike's gaze narrowed, fixing on the boy. He strode right behind him, put an arm around his waist and forced him to walk towards the kitchen. "There will be no leaving for you, yet. You have to help me with the cooking, or I might burn the place down, yeah?" Sliding his hands to Xander's shoulders, he guided him inside and parked him against a counter.

"I have insurance. You can burn the whole building down if you want." Xander replied mechanically. He was supposed to help Spike cook for Buffy? What the hell had he done to deserve this? Calling the PtB wankers somehow didn't cover all this, there had to be more. He briefly wondered if maybe he was paying for stealing Willow's Barbie when they were little.

"Now..." Spike flipped the pages of a cookbook he'd found. "When it says a pinch of salt... what do they mean? A big pinch like this or a little pinch..." While Xander's gaze was locked onto Spike's hands which were demonstrating the variety of possible pinches, Spike moved suddenly.

He reached behind Xander and opened the cabinet, leaning into the boy. "Salt... where did I put it?" But he wasn't looking into the cabinet, he was staring at Xander's mouth. Dragging his gaze away, he looked him in the eye. "I probably should put a shirt on. Didn't want to get dirty." There was maybe an inch of space between them. Spike closed it, while at least his one hand rattled around inside the cabinet, as if he was searching.

Xander stood frozen to the spot, trying not to look or smell or touch or oh God even breathe because breathing brought him that much closer to Spike. He tried to understand what Spike was up to but he couldn't for the life of him figure it out. Was this payback for the protective custody thing? Spike should be aware of Xander's attraction to him by now, maybe this was a way to get him back.

"Shirt would be good." He said, his voice breaking from tension. He didn't think Spike would be that mean.

"Yeah?" His gaze dropped to Xander's mouth. Just a taste... He took a breath. "Or you could take yours off. We'd be a matching set, I'll help if you like." He skimmed his hand over Xander's abdomen and heard him hiss. "You've heard of 'the naked chef?' At least we wouldn't be naked forget... I've already seen everything there is to see." Only when he thought his own body might give him away, Spike moved slightly back, eyes still dancing as he waited for Xander's response.

Xander looked over Spike carefully. He didn’t understand what was going on. Spike seemed to want…he didn’t understand. This was all for Buffy. Spike had read the scroll, it was impossible not to see it where it was, and was sure to call Buffy. He’d been bugging Xander for days, trying to get him to agree to that phone call…he must have called Buffy. Unless he had called Buffy and…

“I refuse to be anyone’s stand in.” Xander said angrily and pushed Spike away from him. “You wanted Buffy, fine. Go get Buffy.”


"Come on pet, don't be jealous." Spike didn't give Xander the opportunity to slip away. Instead, he caught him by the waist and easily lifted him up and sat him on the kitchen counter in front of him. "Glass of wine, while do some chopping?" He smirked at the boy's bemused expression.

“What?” Xander stared at Spike in disbelief. “Did the bleach seep down to your brain? I said I refuse to be her stand in. And how the hell did I get on the counter?!”
He wriggled forward, trying to get down only to find a short blond in his way. “Step aside, bleach boy, I want down.”

"Not what you were saying last night, yeah?" Spike locked gazes with him, and bodily prevented him from slipping down off the counter. Standing between Xander's legs pretty much made it impossible for the boy to get away. "Just doing what you told me. Erm... ordered me. Don't you remember? You said to dance... then you said to kiss you..." his gaze dropped to the boy's mouth. "You do remember that, and the rest?"

Xander blushed, remembering his actions. He couldn’t believe he’d ordered Spike to dance with him. Never drinking again, ever.

“I did not order you to kiss me and anyway I was drunk! Consider all orders rescinded or whatever and let me go Spike.” He snapped, still angry at being set up as a substitute.

"Yeah... you ordered me to kiss you. Then you said harder. Then you forced me to touch you all over, like this," Spike ran his hands up Xander's thighs. "And you made me kiss you. Like this," his voice dropped an octave, as he bent down and pressed his mouth on the boy's groin.

Xander let out a little eep when Spike suddenly bent to his groin. His brain went into overdrive, trying to remember everything about the previous night. What if Spike was telling the truth? He wouldn’t do that to Spike! But he had hadn’t he, when Spike was asleep he had taken advantage. What if…Oh God no…

He grabbed Spike’s head and instead of pushing him down on his crotch like his body wanted, he tried to pull him off.

“Spike no, please no. I didn’t order that, I didn’t! I wouldn’t do that, I’m not…I’m not like that, I wouldn’t!” He babbled, trying to get out of Spike’s grip.

Spike raised his head and flashed his most innocent look. "It’s not how you like it? I could have sworn that's what you said." He hadn't moved an inch though, and was still in Xander's personal space. "And you ordered me to walk around naked... something about no more clothes. Easy access, I think that was the phrase you used."

Xander felt the blood draining from his face as Spike’s hands slid up his thighs. He was ashamed to feel his cock reacting to Spike’s touch, mortified at his body’s rebellion.

“No. Nononononono.” He repeated, trying to make it true. “I didn’t. I wouldn’t.”

Gathering all his strength, he pushed Spike back and jumped off the counter, running for the one room in the flat that had a lock on the door. Couldn’t face Spike like that. When he’d done that to the blond. How could he do that? Being drunk was not an excuse…Never drinking again. Never.

He hadn't anticipated that. Spike gave chase, but found the bedroom door slammed and locked in his face. "Xander, open the door." He slammed his hand against it. "And here I thought I was irresistible. Come on, my room, the door. Need to talk. I won't touch you."

Xander leaned against the door, letting his body slide downwards until he was sitting on the floor, his knees close to his chest and hiding his face behind them.

“How can you even look at me after…I’m sorry Spike…I’m so sorry.” He said, tears sliding down his cheeks. “I won’t…” Deep breath to steady his voice. “I won’t do it again. Call Buffy, you can do that now, and just go find her okay? It’s what you wanted anyway.”

"Open the door. Open it," he demanded, hearing the sounds of crying. A muscle worked in his jaw. Why were his plans cursed these days? "Xander..." his voice softened, and there was a slight catch in it. "I... I cleaned up, for you. I cooked - for you. The candles, the flowers...they're for you. Just you. Not for her." He added.

Xander felt his heart lighten a bit at the words. It was all for him? Spike liked him. Not Buffy, him. He smiled and turned to unlock the door.

Then he remembered the rest.

“Spike I told you, all orders are off, you don’t have to act like you want me. You won’t disappear, just go okay?” He was too weary to deal with more drama. When Spike was gone…when he was gone he’d go talk to Willow. She’d help him figure out what the hell was wrong with him that he’d take advantage of the Wankers’ instructions. Take advantage of Spike.

“Listen. I was acting when I ... when I pretended I don't want you." Spike looked down at the ground. "The other was a mistake. I didn't want to feel what I was feeling, I was scared. I called you Buffy, but I knew it was you. I knew what I was doing." He banged his forehead against the door. "If you order me to leave, I will. But I don't want to."

Xander tried to understand what Spike was saying. When they…he hadn’t been asleep? Spike had been wide awake during the all the kissing and rubbing and grabbing. He’d been wide awake and he’d called out Buffy’s name. Xander frowned. Spike had wanted Xander during the whole thing? But he called out Buffy’s name. Why would he do that though?

“Are you lying?” He asked cautiously. “Because I told you, you don’t have to act like you want me. I’m…I’m sorry I ordered you to do all that.” His voice broke at the thought of what he had to apologize for. “I promise I won’t do it again. You’re free to do whatever you want Spike.”

"I want you to come out here, so I can kiss you better," Spike said simply.

“No. How can you want to do that anyway after what I did?” Xander hid his face in his hands, trying hard to forget what Spike had said.

"Maybe you didn't. Maybe I just wish you had, yeah?" Spike rattled the door knob. And maybe he'd been wrong. Xander couldn't forgive him for everything. That trick had been cruel. "Do you want me to go?"

Xander’s head snapped up at Spike’s words, banging against the door. He’d what now? A few seconds later Spike’s words made sense.

“You mean I didn’t do that? Didn’t order you to be all naked and have easy access and oh my God I’m going to kill you so dead!” He yelled and in one angry move he was on his feet and pulling the door open. “You bastard! You complete and total bastard! Do you have any idea what you just put me through?!”

All doubt fell away when Spike found himself faced by an avenging angel. "You love me." He couldn't help the smug smile, or the fact that he completely ignored Xander's anger, or the fact that his hands shot out and grabbed Xander by the shirt, and dragged him up hard against his lean frame. "Yes you do."

The smug look on Spike’s face only made Xander angrier. For the second time that night he pushed the blond away from him. “I swear, if I was sure I’d stop before I killed you I would punch you right now.” He growled and moved away again, this time because he didn’t want to hurt Spike. He couldn’t believe the blond could be so goddamn fucking cruel and he couldn’t believe he still loved the bastard despite that.

Xander slammed the bedroom door closed and started pacing. He needed to think. If all those orders Spike claimed he was given never took place then why did Spike set the apartment up for a romantic dinner? And if he’d been awake when they had sex then why didn’t he just stop? Why call out Buffy’s name. Xander was sure Spike wouldn’t do something just to hurt him. He’d gotten to know the blond enough to know that Spike didn’t just hurt people like that. There had to be a reason but what the hell was it?

Staring at the closed door, Spike sighed. Obviously it was time for a new plan.

Xander was settling in a rather intense thinking session when he heard music coming from the living room. He glared at the door, annoyed that Spike could obviously disregard his anger so easily. What the hell was he listening to anyway? That sounded nothing like Spike’s usual choice in music.

He watched the door open and Spike edge in, looking a little nervous. And he should be! What the hell was he thinking telling him all those lies and is that Macho Man?!

Xander’s eye widened when Spike started dancing to the music.

“You’ve lost your mind haven’t you? I mean literally. This being-human thing drove you insane. It’s the only explanation for what you’ve been doing.”

"Oh, come on, don't be angry... I called in and requested the song for you. Its happy and... very us , or more you..." he wiggled his hips, one arm raised over his head as he danced closer. "They'll be reading my apology at the end of it.”

“You called a radio station? Oh my God you are insane!” Shock kept Xander immobile as Spike approached.

He moved behind Xander and put his hands on the guy's hips, forcing him to move to the music. "Come on, don't pout. You know you want to laugh. You do... you're losing your pout." He stooped down slightly and kissed the corner of Xander's mouth.

“I’m not pouting! I’m angry!” Xander glared, trying to hold on to his anger. “You put me through hell Spike, and I can’t even understand why. Why are you even here anyway, you were supposed to be half-way to Italy by now!”

"Come with me, and I'll go," he turned Xander around to face him. "Dance... do it." He shoved his leg between Xander's and moved to the music, basically making Xander dance with him. "Macho, mach man... I want to be, a macho man... come on…" he wheedled, and smiled, and made the strangest dance moves, all aimed at coaxing a smile from his boy. Just one.

Xander looked at Spike trying so hard to make him smile and he felt hope blossom. He put his hands on Spike’s hips and held him still.

“Tell me. Just once, with no clever words and plans. Tell me and I’ll dance.”

"Tell you what? I'm sorry?" the blond asked, slightly confused as to what would make it all better.

“Yeah…sorry…” Xander mumbled, trying to smile. So that was that then. Spike obviously thought they were friends. Just friends. “Dance now, yeah?” He asked and started moving to the rhythm, pushing his pain down. He’d done this before, been friends with someone he was in love with, he could do it again.

As the song faded out, the dj's voice took over. "Right. This wasn't your typical love song, to say the least but it was requested by Spike, for Xander. Ah... maybe THAT explains it," the dj chuckled. "Xander, if you're listening..."

"Of course he's listening, he's here, you git!"

"... Spike says he was scared to love you, and he's sorry for the pain he caused, and he'd like to dance, dance, dance..."

Xander looked at Spike, surprised into silence by the dj’s words.

"Wait, I didn't say that bit... who the bloody hell says 'dance, dance, dance...'" Spike was fuming. "They bloody well messed it up."

Xander grinned at Spike, drawing the blond’s attention back to him.

“Wanna hear you say it. No ‘I’m sorry’s Spike. Stop being dense and tell me, okay?” He said, letting the hope show in his face and voice. He still needed to hear the words from Spike himself. Then he wanted a damn good grovelling and begging for forgiveness but the words would do for now.

Spike looked into Xander's face. "You want me to say it?"

“Yup. Loud and clear and with no hope of misunderstanding.” Xander insisted, beginning to enjoy Spike’s reluctance.

"Fine. I want you to... dance, dance, dance," he said, shifting his weight from one let to the other. "But I really didn't say it the first time. I don't think it sounds at all sexy or like me..." Reading all the signs of forgiveness, he started to pull Xander closer.

Xander stepped out of Spike’s arms and glared, amusement gone at the blond’s continued refusal to just say the fucking words. Spike was still playing games and Xander was tired of it.

“You can’t say it, you can’t have it.” He snapped and turned around, intending to go turn off the radio.

"I... I...well...I might love you. I mean if you bloody stayed put, didn't ruin the dinner and the dancing, and... generally were more accessible." When Xander turned, Spike crooked a finger. "Come here. I've always been more 'action' than 'talk,' yeah. Let me show you." His voice dropped an octave as his heated gaze travelled slowly down Xander's body, then went back up to his face.

Xander rolled his eyes at Spike's cop out, ignoring his body's reaction to the rest of his little speech. He stalked back to Spike and, putting his hand in either side of the blond's face, he pulled him forward for a kiss.

"I love you Spike. No might, no accessibility issues about it. "


"Too much talking, too little accessibility." Spike put his hand behind Xander's head and pulled him close, slanting his mouth over the brunet's. He traced the seam of Xander's lips with his tongue, testing it, before delving his tongue inside. He slid his other hand down the guy's shoulder, to the small of his back, dragging his body up hard against his own. With his knee still inserted between Xander's legs, he started to move to the music, dirty dancing the way he'd wanted to at the club.

Xander let himself be distracted for a moment, enjoying the feel of Spike's body against his. He'd never held a fully conscious Spike in his arms like this. Except apparently he had.

He stopped dancing and looked into Spike's eyes.

"I think you put me through enough for me to have earned this Spike." He said quietly. "Would it hurt you so much to just tell me?"

"Working my way up to it, yeah?" He stared right back, half afraid, half elated. "Would it make us bloody poofters?"

"Spike, I think it's the sex that makes us poofters. And we could not have it if it'll make you feel better. In fact I guarantee we won't have it if you don't say the words within the next three seconds." Xander said, exasperation dripping from every word. "I usually try to get you to shut up not speak!"

Spike could see the boy was serious. He swallowed hard and struggled to find the words. Three words. It should be easy to say. "Alright then." Lightning fast, he plastered his mouth over Xander's, murmured the muffled words, managing to work the word "blackmail" in there somewhere, before tentatively kissing him. Rome wasn't built in a day, was it?

"Sorry, couldn't hear you over the kissing." Xander said, smiling innocently at Spike.
Frustrated, Spike bit the words out as if they were a curse. "I love you, you git. Now if you're through with your fun and games, I've got a dinner to finish cooking." He gave Xander a slight push, and strode out of the room.

Xander grinned at the retreating blond. Spike loved him! He did! He followed Spike to the kitchen, bouncing as he went.

"So, no Buffy then?" He asked, wanting to dispel that last bit of nervousness that remained.
Spike stilled for a moment, then continued slicing the tomatoes. "Don't tell her anything." Frowning, he transferred the diced vegetables to a bowl. "I'd like to let her down easy, yeah?" Now he glanced at Xander, afraid of what he'd see.

Xander tried not to show his joy at Spike's words. No point in letting the Big Bad know how much his words got to Xander.

"Let her down, for me." He said happily and snagged a bit of tomato.

"Not like I have any know the PtB...they stuck us in one place and all probably end up disappearing if I leave." No need for the boy to know about the new freedom-scroll. If he knew, then he'd be crowing even more. Probably keep making him say that love word. "Get the plates, luv... erm... I didn't mean it like..." that was the problem, he had meant it like that.

"Oh." Xander's face fell at Spike's words. "I'll get the plates then." He mumbled and left the room.

Spike followed him and set the food he'd worked so hard on onto the table, eyeing the guy. Sad, crestfallen. He didn't want him to be sad. He crossed over to Xander and pulled him into his arms. "Every word I say, you can't take it as serious. The stuff I said about you ordering me about, I thought it was funny... that you'd think it was funny...that you'd play along. And right now, you know I don't care what the PtB bloody want out of me. I'm selfish-guy, yeah? If I'm with you, it's because I want to be. But don't go expecting me to give you flowery speeches and love talk. At least not yet. I'm doing my best here," he swept his hand around the room. "I should have known it wouldn't be good enough. And I know that I did and said things I shouldn't have. I'm trying to make it right, but if you expect more from me... I - will - fail." He didn't want Xander to accept him under any false beliefs that he would change.

Xander relaxed in Spike's arms, letting the blond hold him close.

"I'm sorry. It's've wanted her since you got back here and I didn't even think you cared for me, other than in a friend way and I wanted you so badly but you said her name and I know it was part of some stupid plan or other but it still hurt. I just want to hear it once, you know? That you could go get her but you won't. Cause you want me instead. I promise to lighten up right after." Xander offered a genuine smile. "I'll even dance macho man for you if you want."

"For the last time, then. I don't want her, I want you." He gave Xander a tiny push. "Make it a strip dance, and you're forgiven."

Xander grinned at Spike, happy to have finally gotten clear confirmation that he came first. "Hey, you got a hell of a lot more to be sorry for! You strip and then I will forgive you. But first you gotta feed me. Feed me, Spike!" He ordered and sat down on the table. "Go on then, you don't want the dire consequences do you?" He snickered.

"Careful what you wish for, you never know what bits they start erasing. It might mean the shower would be your best friend forever." Smirking, Spike picked up an asparagus with his fingers, dipped it in sauce and dangled it close to Xander's mouth. "Lick."

Xander leaned forward and licked carefully at the sauce, making sure to get all of it off the asparagus. Then he grinned at Spike and snapped his teeth through the vegetable, cutting it in half.


"Mmm," he agreed and kissed him, tasting the tangy sauce as he moved his mouth and tongue. "Very yummy." Spike broke the kiss and started putting food on their plates. Then he decided Xander was too far. Hooking his foot around Xander's chair, he suddenly pulled it closer to him. "What? Is it wrong to know what you want?"
"Nope, nothing wrong with that at all." Xander shook his head earnestly. "I for example wanna kiss you and have hot monkey sex." He stated and leaned forward a bit, dropping a quick kiss on Spike's lips. "But first I wanna eat." He grinned.

"Damn... I was thinking of skipping to the sex bit right away." He poured the boy some wine. "And if you don't stop looking at me like that, that's exactly what's going to happen." Noticing the boy fidgeting, his hands shook slightly as he poured the wine. Century old ex-vamps did not get this worked up at the thought of sex. They did not.

"If I tell you something, you promise not to laugh?" Xander asked, looking down at his plate.

"Do you believe my promises?" Spike countered, then added. "Tell me. I won't laugh."

"I do believe your promises!" Xander protested. "Your jokes, not so much. But you haven't broken a promise that I know of since you promised Buffy you'd take care of Dawn. And I'm off on a tangent now aren't I. Okay here goes...I'm nervous of the sex. Cause I haven't done this before. With a guy. Except for the time when I thought you were asleep. Before that, nothing. With guys." The more he babbled the more Xander felt his cheeks heat up. By the end of his little speech he was sure he was fire-engine red. "You promised not to laugh." He pointed out before lapsing into silence.

Spike managed to keep it to a smirk and not to laugh. "I promise to keep you so distracted you'll forget you're a virgin to this. Besides, you didn't seem to be that worried about it in bed. You had all the right moves, yeah?" He took Xander's hand and ran the pad of his thumb over the guy's palm. "You know what you like to do in the shower with this hand? You do that to me and I'll be a very happy man." As images of just that assaulted his mind, Spike reached for his wine and gulped it down. "We're not going to make it through dinner unless we talk about something else."

Xander immediately perked up. "I was good? Really?" He asked, preening a bit. "Anya did say I was a Viking in the sack." He snickered.

Thinking of Xander in a loin cloth, furry boots and with weapons made him go instantly hard. "Eat," he growled, stabbing at the food in his plate.

"Whatever you say, Spike." Xander agreed happily and resumed eating, silly grin never leaving his face.

"Fast. Eat fast." It was all he could do not to attack the boy with kisses and touches. Especially now that he knew there would be no clothes separating them. Nothing to stop them. It would be him and Xander, and the bed, or the floor, or the wall, or the shower..."Faster."

"If I eat any faster I'm gonna choke!" Xander said, amused by Spike's impatience. "You went to all this trouble to make dinner, I want to at least taste it."

"Fair enough." There was nothing fair about it. But Spike could strip Xander with his eyes. He continued eating, but did just that. Openly leering, even leaning back to let his gaze drop to the boy's crotch and linger for a while.

Xander wasn't sure whether to laugh or moan. Spike was looking at him like he wanted to eat him instead of the food. Which led to all sorts of interesting images.

"Stop that!"

Spike's enjoyment of Xander's discomfort was cut short by a blasted phone call. While Xander handled the call, he went to the kitchen to get some more wine. At least in his distracted state, the boy hadn't really commented on his alcohol consumption.

Xander held the phone tightly and listened carefully to the voice on the other side of the call. Things were more serious than he'd thought. He sighed sadly at the interruption to his evening and went to the kitchen to deal with Spike.

He found the blond facing the counter, opening a bottle of wine. Xander walked up to Spike and put his arms around him, pulling him back against him.

"Hey there."

Spike blinked in surprise. When Xander's hands swept over his stomach, he swallowed hard and looked over at him. "Did you...ah...need something?"

"Oh yeah. Need loads of things." Xander breathed, trailing kisses down Spike's exposed neck and worming his hands under the t-shirt. "Decided I wasn't so hungry." He murmured against Spike's skin.

"You did?" Spike hissed as his stomach clenched under Xander's touch. This was better than he'd imagined. Fire and ice. He pushed back and almost groaned at the feel of Xander's erection cradled against him.


"So, the leering actually worked..." he put his hands behind him, stroking Xander's sides and thighs. The hot, moist kisses pressed along his throat did things to him, twisted his insides. He didn't know how long he could take this before ending the foreplay... even though they'd only just begun.

Xander moaned when he felt Spike press against him. He'd wanted this for weeks and oh God it felt so good to finally have it. Then he remembered what he had to do.'re a Watcher now and you have to do what you have to do.

He abandoned Spike's neck to concentrate on his lips. Licking and nibbling on his lower lip until he could feel the vibrations of a moan, pushing his tongue inside to taste and explore... "Feel so good." He mumbled. "Wanna take this to the bedroom?"

Spike turned suddenly. "Nothing wrong with here," he said, smirking at the boy's sensibilities. He reached for Xander's shirt and started to tug it up.

Xander stepped back, needing to stay in control of this. If Spike started taking off his clothes, he'd forget the plan and just go with the sex. Which would be bad! Very bad even if Spike did feel like a little slice of heaven.

"I want to be comfortable." He pouted. "Tell you what. You go get all naked for me." He came closer to Spike, pressing him against the counter with his body. "And I'll do that strip I promised."

"Uh uh... Not fun getting naked alone." Spike gripped Xander's hips and started walking him backwards out the kitchen door. "If you're thinking missionary... don't," he warned, his hand sliding back over Xander's ass and squeezing. When they reached the bedroom door, he bodily shoved Xander up against the door and kissed him. It was a slow, forceful kiss that didn't take no for an answer. A part of him recognized Xander was holding back. He redoubled his efforts, sliding his hand under the guy's shirt and pushing it up slowly.

Gahh oh yeah that feels good...NO! No feeling good! Bad body! Concentrate!
"Come on Spike I really want to do this." Xander whispered in what he hoped was a seductive manner. "Wanna see you lying on the bed, all spread out for me. See your eyes go all...fuck yeah...wide... and see you touch yourself...don't you dare stop that...watching me..."

"You'll dance?" He tipped Xander's face up. "You'll do a strip dance?" Oh yeah, he could see the potential in that. "Right...getting naked." He guided Xander's hands to his shirt and lifted his arms as Xander tugged it over his head. "Get my fly," he managed to bark it out like an order, seeing Xander's gaze linger on the bulge in his pants.

Xander felt a pang when he saw Spike's excitement. Then there was too much nakedness to feel anything but good old fashioned lust. He came very close to just pulling Spike's jeans down and forgetting about everything but him.

"Oh no...If I do that I won't be able to think of anything but 'must have Spike now'." He muttered and took a step back from temptation. "Get in there, I'll put the music on and come after you." He instructed, taking another couple of steps back.

Spike frowned with displeasure at being thwarted. Still, if the boy had a fantasy he wanted to play out... it could be interesting. Sliding his hand over his rock hard cock, gain he wondered how long he would last before making Xander give it up. Patience

He quickly finished stripping, and lay on the bed on his side. "Come on then, I'm ready," he called out, impatience reflected in his tone.

Xander gave a frustrated groan and went to turn on the cd player. Spike was going to be so angry at him after this but damnit he had to do it. He grabbed his coat and the crossbow he had stashed in the cupboard next to the door and quietly left the apartment.

At first, the soft clicking sound didn't register as anything he ought to be aware of. But when it became clear that Xander wasn't about to treat him to a lap dance, anger pulsed through the ex-vampire at being duped.

He scooped his pants up and was dressed in a matter of minutes. So the boy had lied, pretended forgiveness. The whole thing had been an act. Trying to keep a lid on his hurt and disappointment, Spike stoked the flames of his anger. Anger was better than hurt. Slamming the apartment door behind him, he raced up the stairs... from there he could see which way Xander went. He'd tell him to stuff it and then clear out. Yeah,
that's what he would do.


Xander ran as fast as he could. He needed to get this done as soon as possible. Get everything over with so he could go back home and talk to Spike. He wasn't kidding himself that Spike would just take this calmly but he hoped that once he had a chance to explain things would work out.

Ten blocks later he reached his destination. He stood outside the building, waiting to catch his breath before going inside. He needed as much of an advantage as he could get, going in panting and wheezing was only going to make things worse. Squaring his shoulders, he got the crossbow ready and marched inside.

From a distance, Spike saw Xander enter a building. Now that he neared it, it looked like a garage... more like one that had been closed for business for a long time. The large metal door was slightly open. Now to see what he'd been left behind for. Still stealthy as a panther, he soundlessly opened the door and entered. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, but then he followed the sound of voices. An argument.

"Oh for heaven's sake Andrew will you stop calling yourself a master vampyre! You're barely out of your grave and they're vampires you stupid idiotic excuse for a fledge! And stop hiding behind the crate."

Xander glared at Andrew, any guilt or pity for the little runt disappearing when he refused to come out of hiding. He knew he had to get this done fast, Drusilla was bound to return any minute now and he couldn't deal with two vampires, even if one of them was Andrew.

"I am too a master vampyre! My sire chose me because of my black soul and cunning brain. Those are what make a master vampyre not the years of his unlife."

Hidden in the shadows, Spike took in the sight. Xander was here to what? Dust Andrew? And Andrew as a vampire? It was just too comical. He'd be laughing if he weren't hanging on so tightly to his anger.

Xander sighed. Why, why was he always stuck with the insane ones? Time to try the ages old your-momma method. "Your sire is nothing but a two-bit tramp who would bite anyone that looked at her twice."

"I will not allow you to speak that way about my sire you worthless mortal!" Andrew declared and stepped out of the shadows, game face to the fore.

Xander raised his crossbow and aimed straight at Andrew's heart. Just as he pulled the trigger he felt a sharp blow at his side. Next thing he knew he was laying on the floor with a very pissed off Drusilla standing over him.

"You shan't have my knight again! You stole my William, you can't have my boy! Bad knight!"

Separating from the shadows, in two strides, Spike was looming over him as well. "Xander, get up and get your arse home, or I'll be having you, but not in the way either of us thought." His voice was rough and savage. He'd never see the boy again and he didn't care. Or he didn't want to. Being a vampire was one sure way that would happen. Turning, his gaze locked with Drusilla’s. They didn't need to speak. The message was clear, he would let her turn him.

Xander saw the look that passed between Spike and Drusilla.


He scrambled up and pushed his way between the two. He stood in front of Spike, crossbow in one hand and stake in the other.

"No, I didn't dust your knight, he's still undead. You're not taking mine." He said, every inch the Watcher. Giles had finally trained him up and even Xander had been surprised at how well he'd taken to the role. "You touch him and Andrew dies. I have an army of Slayers at my disposal and you won't be able to guard him all the time, I will get to him and he will die."

Seeing the determination in Xander's eyes, Dru hesitated. She wanted her William back but she liked her new boy. He was so...tasty and loyal.

"I could have three knights." She said, taking a step forward.

"Then you'd have a very pissed off Wicca after you. I know you're insane Dru but you're not stupid." Xander tried to appear as calm as he could. He needed to get them out of here alive. Needed to explain things to Spike. He couldn't let things end like this, with Spike hating him...

Spike hated him.

No don't think about that...Get out of here and then deal with Spike...need to keep him alive so you can fix things.

Spike made a sound of disbelief, "Don't ever call me that. Now run along, or you'll have to kill us both," he pushed Xander's crossbow so it wasn't pointing at Drucilla anymore. When had the boy turned all-warrior? Another piece of the puzzle fell into place in his mind. So that was how it was. Fine. There would be no regrets. In a few minutes, unlife would be sweeter than this life.

Xander glared at Spike and lifted his crossbow again.

"Don't call you what? I'm not letting you die here Spike!"

"Don't call me period." He gripped Xander by the shoulders and started to push him toward the door, "Now, get the fuck out. This has nothing to do with you, yeah? Oh right... you're a good little watcher now. Stick your nose in everywhere. Well you'll end up with it cut off because I won't be so nice in a few minutes. Move." He gave Xander a rough shove and started to turn towards Dru. That was when things went bad.

He saw her hand coming past him. Time slowed to a crawl . He knew her target was Xander. He'd seen this move a thousand times before. Her hand would penetrate the boy's back, she'd squeeze his kidney... pull it out. Let him die watching his insides lying right next to him.

Time sped up. Spike forcibly turned the crossbow in Xander's hand, pulling it towards Drusilla. It bayoneted the vampiress in the chest. For an instant, all three of them had some sort of grip on the crossbow and stood watching each other in horror. Then she crumpled to dust. His companion of so many years.

"Drucilla!" Spike's voice was raw with pain, but when he swung his gaze to Xander, it was filled with accusation. The last piece of the puzzle fell in place. "You used me. All of you. The Powers. The Watchers. You..." his voice broke on the last. “Congratulations, you win." Dropping his hold on the cross bow, he strode away, leaving Xander and Andrew to deal with each other. He'd had enough.


Xander watched Dru come at him. Next thing he knew she was dust and Spike was talking to him...He stared at the pile of dust for a moment until Spike's words penetrated his brain.

"What? Spike, no, what the hell are you talking about!" He yelled, but Spike was already gone.

"He killed my sire! I shall avenge her death, that evil fiend shall die!"

Xander saw Andrew run for the door and almost absently aimed and shot him through the heart. He watched Andrew disintegrate into dust, feeling oddly numb. He'd known the guy for so long...shouldn't he feel sad or something?

No, because Spike came first and Spike was running away from him. Xander snapped out of the odd feeling of unreality and started running as fast as he could. "Spike wait!"

Anger boiled his blood, made the blood pound into his temples. Xander had used sex to keep him there... had taken care of him. So he'd been bait all along, to lure big bad Dru. And now they'd forced his hand, he'd killed her. Everyone got what they wanted but Spike. Nothing new in that... he ought to be used to it.

He felt a hand on his arm and wrenched it free. "Stay the bloody fucking hell away from me," he snarled. "Go collect your gold star, or is it an Academy Award? You deserve it." He lengthened his strides, trying to put as much distance between them as possible.

"Spike I don't know what you're talking about!" Xander protested, walking next to the blond. "I got a call from the Council, they told me that Dru sired Andrew. I had to stop them, Spike! I couldn't just let them go and you love her, she's your Willow. I didn't want you to have to do that, please Spike wait!"

"Don't lie to me," Spike whirled, hand pressed against Xander's chest, slammed him against a brick wall, pinning him to it. "Get naked Spike... I want you Spike... and I'm the git who believed it." He shoved the boy hard against the wall again. "I fucking believed in you. I was the trap for her, wasn't I? You and your watchers... I'm so bloody sick of the lot of you." He released him and wiped his hand on his pants.

"Thought it would be different with you. But it's same old thing. Buffy meant pain. You mean pain. And the job comes first. Well fuck you and fuck that. I'm clearing out... find yourself another playmate, yeah?" he swallowed hard then headed to the apartment. He didn't have much to collect, but it was all he had in the world now.

Xander run after Spike again, determined not to let him go on thinking that he'd used him. He slammed the door of the apartment shut, locked it and pocketed the key.

"Spike what you's not true." He explained, speaking as calmly as he could. "I don't know why you'd think...Spike I was just trying to spare you the pain of dusting her. Do you really think I'm capable of fooling you for weeks on end? That I would...that I would lie to you and pretend like that?"

"Did a good job tonight, didn't you?" Spike tasted the bitterness in his words. The small apartment, Xander... it was all crowding in on him now.

Xander watched Spike grab his clothes from the dresser and he finally started getting angry.

"So it's alright for you to put me through hell, make me think that you're touching me but dreaming of Buffy, making me sit through an entire day of teasing and fucking with my head but I make one fucking mistake....Damnit Spike at least all I wanted to do was protect you!" He yelled, advancing on him.

"You were supposed to be the light to my dark. I make the messes, you clean them up. I cry, you make me laugh... no changing the rules. One of me is too many, two of me are impossible." He grabbed the last tee shirt they'd picked out together, and dropped it into the bag. Bloody hell, watching the material disappear, he felt his soul get wrenched out of him. Why had he believed? Why hadn't his naturally suspicious instincts protected him from this? Why had he said the words the boy wheedled out of him? It made it so much worse. He started to turn back toward Xander, though there were no words of goodbye that he could think of.

"So all you wanted was someone to take care of you. Stupid me thought you wanted me. And what, saying you love me was the price you had to pay? Is that why I had to practically beg for you to say it?" Xander pushed Spike back against the dresser. "What would you have done if I told you I was going to go after Dru, Spike? Run after her? Tried to save her? You would have gotten yourself vamped trying. You got what you wanted, I tried to take care of you. It's a pity it doesn't go both ways isn't it?" He asked coldly.

"Fuck you, Harris," he pushed him back. "You made me say it and then you left me to go after my friend. My sire. And I never asked you to take care of me, I can wipe my own arse, thank you. And your bloody head is on backwards if you think it was one way, I killed her when she went for you...yeah? So fuck you..." he trailed and stared at a spot on the wall across from him, his chest heaving.

"I didn't know she was going after Andrew when you said it! I didn't know! All I wanted was you. I let her go once didn't I? I didn't even tell the Council she was here but she had to go and turn Andrew and they wanted her. It was personal after that. What was I supposed to do, Spike?" Xander tried to catch Spike's eye, willing him to believe. "I couldn't let them catch her, I couldn't let her go."

The reminder of the sequence of events, the phone call during dinner...that took away some of the sting. But not enough to make a difference. It still hurt. And Spike didn't want to hurt anymore. Not because of Xander. Not because of Buffy. Not because of Dru.

"Yeah you wanted me so bad you offered a lap dance," Spike swallowed over the lump in his throat. He wasn't going to let the boy see him break, he wasn't. "So you're a company man now. Good on you, mate."

For a moment Xander thought he'd gotten through to Spike but then the moment was gone and Spike was...Spike was miserable.

"I'm sorry." Xander whispered, "I just didn't know what else to do. It was stupid and mean and okay, maybe part of me was getting you back for the pain I felt before but I thought I could apologise and explain. I thought you'd let me make it up to you."

"Revenge... that's what I thought." And that was something he understood, or should. Only he hadn't expected if from Xander, the boy had been so mellow. His pride had taken a kick in the teeth, and then his heart with having dusted Dru. But Spike had done that himself - not Xander. The fight went out of him. "My plans never work out, do they? Why should yours?" he asked finally looking at Xander.

Xander took a step closer, fighting the urge to hug Spike close. He was sure the blond wouldn't appreciate that. "Please let me make it up to you."

The anger pulsing through the ex-vampire changed suddenly into need...a desire for things to make sense and work out. Who was he kidding, it was a desire for the boy looking so intently at him, and making an offer he couldn't resist. "How?" he managed to croak out the challenge, without reaching out and touching the boy.

Xander spread his arms out and let them drop. "I don't know...anything you want, name it and I'll do my best to give it to you."

"Anything? Dangerous offer, that." Spike couldn't quite hold the smirk as he imagined Xander doing everything he ordered. In the end, he decided it wasn't what he wanted right now. "Use your imagination," he whispered, his voice husky with raw sensuality.

Xander looked at Spike uncertainly, trying to think of something, anything to make things better. He finally decided to do what he'd promised to do before. "Stay there, I'll be right back." He said and ran from the room.

"I've heard that one before." Spike walked to the bed and sat down, cradling his face in his hands. Was it his body or his heart talking when it said to stay... to give this a chance? And should he listen to either? He'd said he loved Xander, but when had love ever worked out? Had it all been in his head? That this time it could be different... different in so many ways, he hadn't known where to start.

Xander shifted through his cds, quickly finding the one he wanted. He put it on, and took a deep breath…show time!

The intro started playing and he moved to position in the doorway to the bedroom, standing with his legs slightly open and his hips swaying slightly.

Spike looked up and stared intently at the boy in the doorway. Watching him move to the music...watching that uncertain smile...and maybe the look that said the boy couldn't decide whether he was in hell or heaven, something shifted inside Spike. The anger, the loss, the confusion, all suddenly dwarfed by the need to smile back... to laugh with him. Wasn't that what he'd thought was special about Xander all along. The way the boy could pull him back from his worst moods?

"Very nice. There will be stripping involved, yeah?" His gaze lingered at the top button on Xander's shirt.

Xander’s smile widened at Spike’s words. “Well, what kind of a show would it be if there wasn’t?” He asked, moving his torso with his hips and singing the words, all the while, looking intently at Spike.

When I get you all alone
I'm gonna take off all your clothes
Ain't nobody gonna interrupt my game, oh no

He moved forward, until he stood right in front of Spike. Putting his weight on his right leg he twirled until he was facing away, giving Spike a perfect view of his jean-clad ass.

Ever since you've been hangin' around
I've been trying to figure out
What I'm gonna say to you to get something, yeah

Spike's leather pants grew uncomfortably tight as he enjoyed the view. The words... the beat...the circular motion of Xander's hips with those torturous little surprise thrusts almost undid him. Bracing his hands on either side of his body as he sat on the bed, Spike leaned slightly away. It was either that or he'd pull Xander on his lap, but he wanted to make the moment last a bit.

Couldn't we do what we did last night again
Baby you and I could be better friends
Don't you think it's time we went a bit further, oh yeah

When Xander turned around and jerked his hips forward, Spike sucked in his breath. He wanted to go further... much further. And once they were done, friends wouldn't cover what they were to each other. Wordlessly, he nodded his encouragement. God did he need a drink. Or something.

Kind of faded, but I'm feeling alright
Thinkin' about making my move tonight
I can't pretend that you're only my friend
when you're holdin' my body tight

Xander concentrated on the steps, trying hard to keep his movements in control. He’d forgotten how much work dancing was but the look on Spike’s face was worth all the effort. He looked coyly at the blond, his hands fingering the shirt buttons, singing with all his heart.

'Cause I like the way you're making your move
I like the way you're making me wait
At the end of the night, I'm gonna make you feel like mine
You'll be coming on home with me, yeah, yeah, yeah

The intense fires of Spike's eyes were trained on Xander's teasing hand. "Do it," he growled, without meaning to. But did the boy listen? Yes and no.

He revealed skin and muscle at an excruciatingly slow rate, his movements parting the material, and letting it cover him up, and parting it again. "I'll pay you a thousand pounds, if you rip it off," he said, looking up at Xander's face. Oh God... the mouth... why had he looked at his mouth?

“Don’t think you can afford that, Spike. Tell you what, I’ll take it off if you wash the dishes for the whole week.” Xander laughed, never pausing in his movements.

"Yeah... do it." He hardly cared what he'd agreed to, he just needed to see more. Sitting with his legs wide open, he didn't even bother to cover the tremendous bulge that was waiting for Xander.

Don't you know you've got it?
And you know I want it
I can't wait to take you home (you know you've got it tonight)

Xander laughed and followed Spike’s instructions, eyes dropping to eye the blond’s crotch. I know you want it One hand dropped to cover his own cock, cupping it through the jeans, the other slowly trailed up and down his chest.

“Want this off too, Spike?”


Mesmerized, Spike just stared for a few heart beats. Eventually, he put his hands out and stroked Xander's moving thighs. At the feel of muscles sliding and rippling under his palms, need slammed into him so hard he barely stopped himself from pulling Xander down on him. The strain in his pants only grew worse when Xander smiled and started unzipping his jeans.

Dragging in a much needed breath, Spike stood up and walked behind Xander. Hands on the boy's swaying hips, he plastered himself up against his back, and moved to the beat. Over the boy's shoulder, the tantalizing view of Xander's undone jeans made Spike's hands itch to pull the jeans down lower. Groaning softly, instead, he lowered his head and kissed Xander's neck. Licking lightly and sucking, taking in the boy's scent. No matter how much he wanted the moment to last, he knew it wouldn't... because he couldn't wait that long.

Xander tilted his head, allowing Spike greater access. He pressed his ass against Spike's crotch, circling his hips so that it brushed against the blond over and over again.

"Want more Spike? All you have to do is say what you want." He murmured, all nervousness gone in his determination to give Spike what he needed.

Each grazing touch had Spike straining to get closer. "You. Just you," he whispered against Xander's throat. Closing his eyes, Spike fought for control. There would be no mauling of the boy this first time. Liar. Touching... there could be touching. And then there was. Dancing, groping, feeling. Spike's hands freely roamed over Xander, over all of him. Long and languid brushes against his thighs. Heated strokes trailing across his bare chest. Furtive touches against the clearly visible hard-on. Spike reached over and cupped Xander's face, forcing him to turn to the side. That mouth. It was his now.

He nipped Xander's lower lip, before kissing him better. Hot and furious, his tongue stabbed inside Xander's mouth, stroking and swirling. As the demands of his body grew, Spike turned Xander around without breaking the kiss. Now facing him, he inserted his leg between the guy's thighs, swaying, and dancing, and rubbing against him, as his kisses deepened and grew fiercer. The boy's ragged breaths only fanned the fires of his desire. So much desire, pent up for too long.

Xander's heart danced at Spike's words. Just him, only him.

"You have me." He smiled and leaned down for another kiss, his hands pushing Spike's t-shirt out of his way, eager to touch him. He concentrated on Spike's lips, the way they brushed against his own, the way his tongue pushed forward into Xander's mouth. He let his hands explore Spike's back, tracing the muscles, moving down to worm under the waistband of the tight jeans.

"You also have too many clothes on. Not enough accessibility!" He grinned, tugging at Spike's t-shirt.

Spike raised his arms and allowed the boy to remove the shirt, then undid his own pants. Tugging them slightly down his hips, he did the same to Xander's dark jeans. If they were completely naked, it would be over, so this had to serve. He pulled the boy into his embrace. Half stumbling, half crushing him against his frame, he backed him up against the wall.

"The song's over." He ran his thumb over Xander's red and swollen lips... his mark. Smiled slightly, and dipped his head down to taste that mouth again. There was hunger in his kiss, and in the way he rubbed his groin against Xander's. Every movement fanned his need. He'd grown so hard, it was painful. "Xander..."

"Yeah?" Xander's voice came out in a breathless whisper. He didn't even register the lack of music too lost in the lust and oh, in Spike's eyes. Not waiting for an answer, he bent his head to lick and nibble on Spike's neck, mirroring the blond's actions from earlier. "Taste good." He mumbled against the skin, his mouth moving down to Spike's collarbone, travelling across his chest to his nipple. He gave it an experimental lick, closing his eyes to savour the taste and feel of it against his tongue. Different from women but still damn good. He smiled softly and leant down to explore further.

Lost in the sensations that rocked his body, Spike threaded his fingers through Xander's dark hair, and leaned his head back, involuntarily arching into the boy. The boy left moist trails down his chest and when he reached his stomach, Spike shuddered. He looked down, wondering if the boy would go there. He probably hadn't ever—He hissed as that mouth of his trailed lower. "Please..."

"Anything you want Spike." Xander said, eye darting upwards. He pushed the jeans down a bit, staring nervously at the erection swaying in front of his face. Right...he could do this. After a moment of hesitation he licked daintily at the crown. Huh...that wasn't too bad. He put his hand around the base and did it again, licking more strongly, swirling his tongue a little at the top.

Spike forced himself to loosen his tight grip, dragging his fingers through Xander's hair instead of pulling him closer. "Again... more," he said, on the verge of a painful groan, pushing his hips forward.

Xander pulled back again and studied Spike's cock with a thoughtful look on his face, trying to figure out what to do next. He heard a soft moan coming from above him and, decision made, he took the crown into his mouth and suckled on it.

A jolt of white hot heat had Spike struggling to maintain control. Xander's inexperienced motions inflamed rather than gave relief. He held back as much as he could, but put one hand over Xander's static one, showing him how to stroke his shaft. A stronger jolt. One that almost brought him to his knees. He groaned his pleasure out and ran a shaky hand through Xander's hair. "Take me deeper," he murmured, eyeing the bed.

Xander closed his eye and concentrated on what he had to do. He lowered his head slowly, taking in as much as he could, and tried to move his tongue around the shaft. He loved it when that was done to him, maybe Spike would like it too. He heard Spike moan in pleasure and groaned in reply. Fuck, so hot having him like this, moaning because of me. He pulled his head back, sucking his way up and then down again, flicking his tongue and trying to hold his teeth back.

"Yes...oh yes." Spike surged forward, fucking Xander's hot slick mouth until he careened so close to the edge, he had to pull back. "Get up," he pulled Xander up. Eyed the bed, and took the fastest route, lifting Xander up into his arms. In a few quick strides, he deposited the boy on the bed. Dark hair, tanned skin, against white sheets.

Swallowing hard, he ran his hands down the boy's chest, gripped the waistband of the loosened jeans, and in one fell swoop, peeled them completely off. Staring, unashamed, he hoarsely whispered, "Beautiful."

He ran his hand over Xander's shaft once, twice... revelling in the boy's immediate response, then caught the boy's knees, dragging him to the edge of the bed. "Your turn," he said, his voice full of promise, as he dropped to the ground on his knees and took Xander's cock into his mouth. It might have been decades since he'd done this, but his memory was strong, and his imagination ever stronger. Moving his mouth and hands in tandem, he stroked and licked and sucked, loving the feel of Xander's erection, the small sounds he was making, the way he was arching up toward him.

Xander whimpered low in his throat, his hands grabbing the bedspread and holding on tight. He tried to control his body, telling himself that he couldn't come yet, just a little more of this and he'd let go, just a little more. "Spike good."

The praise only made Spike work harder at it, moving one hand up and down Xander's body as mouth and other hand worked him up. The next time Xander called his name, a wave of desire too strong to be ignored ripped through Spike.

Abruptly, he stopped, stood up, and dropped his pants. The entire time, his gaze was locked with Xander’s, who looked hot, and bemused, and was breathing hard. Spike wanted him so bad, nothing would stop him now.

He joined the boy on the bed, and pulled him up onto his knees, kissing him, stroking his chest as he angled his body behind Xander's. He'd promised to keep him distracted, and by God, despite the demands of his body, he did just that. Grasping the boy's shaft, he stroked and moved against the boy's ass at the same time, his own cock hard and heavy. Once Xander threw his head back, Spike prepared him, praying the boy wouldn't tense up. Not now, not when he wanted it so bad he was almost blind with desire.

Xander moaned pushing back against Spike's fingers. He'd tried his best to remain relaxed while Spike prepared him, finding it easier than he'd thought. He let himself feel, enjoying the burn of Spike's fingers stretching him, moaning his pleasure when he rubbed against his prostate. He felt something blunt push against his hole and once again pushed back, hungry for everything Spike had to give him.

The feel of Xander pressing back against his erection clinched it. Spike thrust his hips, slowing and holding on for the barest of seconds, before thrusting again. "Oh God," he croaked against Xander's ears, as the boy tightened around him, milking him, every drag against his cock taking him higher.

"Fuck...Spike..." Xander moaned, thrusting back, fucking himself against Spike. "More...need more."

He didn't have to ask again. Spike fucked him with long, powerful strokes, in and out, pleasuring him with one hand, gripping him around the waist with the other. Their bodies slid and moved together, joined at almost every point. Lean rippling muscles. The sounds of groans and gasps. The heat that burned between them. The pressure built with every motion, every sound. Spike drove deeper into his lover, faster as his release drew close. "Come with me," he said, his voice edged in desperation, "Come with me Xander..."

Spike's words only spurred Xander on, making his movements frantic and hard as he chased after his pleasure. Spike's hand tightened around his cock and he finally went over the edge, moaning his lover's name. He felt Spike tense behind him and then they were both collapsing on the bed, unable to hold themselves up.

"Well...that was nice." Xander giggled tiredly.

"Nice." Spike lifted himself on one elbow and looked down at Xander. "Did you say nice? It was bloody spectacular, is what it was. But if you don't think so..." He almost purred the threat next to Xander's ear, then scraped his teeth over the guy's exposed throat. "Five minutes, yeah? Then we'll have another go and see if it's just nice." He'd have the boy bloody screaming, is what he'd do before he let him out of the bed. Then he laughed, and dipped his head down, and gave him a long, lingering kiss. It had been more than good. More than he'd imagined.

Xander smiled into the kiss, happy to have made Spike laugh. Then he remembered what he'd been making up for when all this started.

"I love you, you know that right? No tricks, no using, nothing but me loving you." He asked earnestly, holding Spike's gaze.

Spike didn't look away. He was sure catching Dru was the reason that the PtB had put him with Xander, and pretty sure the Watchers had been in on it. But Xander... no, he was innocent of guile. "I know luv, I know." He lowered himself back into the soft bed, keeping one arm around Xander's waist, their bodies still touching. "Four minutes. And I have quite a few ideas about the shower..."


[Three Months Later]

The Slayer sat cross-legged on the nice comfortable arm chair, looking up at Spike. "So, watcha think?"

Sitting on the arm of her chair, Spike was almost draped over her as he leaned down to look in her lap. "Could work, yeah. We're good together."

Walking into the apartment, Xander heard Spike and Buffy talking and sighed sadly. He was so not in the mood for this. Dragging his feet he walked dejectedly to the living-room and flopped on the easy chair.

"Hey guys."

Spike jerked around, a slightly embarrassed or guilty look on his face. "You're home early, aren't you pet?"

Buffy leaned forward. "Hey Xan. I'm kinda sorta escaping Giles and all the new paperwork that goes with a kill...." Rolling her eyes upwards, she told him exactly how she felt about it.

"It's what you went to school for, isn't it, Slayer?" Spike raised and eyebrow, then looked over at Xander and crooked a finger at him. "Forgetting something, aren't you?"

"Can't get up, too tired. Giles put me in charge of a project. He used the old 'but you're the only one I trust' excuse. One of these days that's going to stop working." Xander pouted and mustered up enough energy for a half-hearted glare. "You two are entirely too peppy."

"Excuse me while I put a little pep into him, yeah." Spike got up, walked his hands along the arms of Xander's chair as if crawling up it, and kissed him full on the mouth, not stopping until he got the energetic response he wanted.

"Oh no... Dawn's right, you two are still making like rabbits." Buffy uncrossed her legs and put her shoes on.

Spike straightened and looked over. "Dawn... we don't kiss in front of Niblet."

"Guess she's got ESP then, huh?" She gave him a wry smile. "Okay so...?"

"I'll think about it, yeah?"

"'kay, you know I don't give up." Dropping the file onto the coffee table, she got up. "Xan... remind him what a good team we make. Guess I'd better head out. We're going out for drinks later, in case you want to come and not make like rabbits."

Xander turned to Spike and said solemnly. "You guys make a good team." He nodded to underline his point and turned to smile Buffy. "I reminded him. We might join you tonight, if he can get enough pep into me." He snickered, wriggling his eyebrows.

Recognizing the glint in Spike's eyes that said he was ready to take up the challenge, she grinned back. "That would be my cue. Closin' the door before it hits me. Call us." She strode out the door, and pulled it shut behind her.

"I'll put some pep into you," Spike put his hand out, and pulled Xander off the chair. "For that, you have to be near me." He kissed him again, then moved them to the sofa. "But first...she wants me to join the fight against evil…again. Brought over the whole bloody personnel booklet and benefits package," he said, gesturing to the materials Buffy left on the coffee table.

"There’s a booklet? Nobody showed me a booklet.” Xander asked, settling next to him and putting his head on Spike's lap. "So...thinking about taking them up on it?"

"I don't know. Maybe. I'm beginning to feel like a kept man. I'm not, am I?" His stamina had steadily improved over the last months, and he still had his moves. Training with Xander was something he looked forward to on the weekends.

"Nope. Nothing kept about you. You're a house husband." Xander replied immediately, giggling and tilting his head so that Spike could pet him. "Giles offered you a desk job as well didn’t he? After he found out how they used us he busted some ass and we have some vacancies. He could use someone with your knowledge." He said, a downright evil smirk on his face as he remembered Giles' reaction when Xander had explained that someone within the Council had leaked information on Spike’s whereabouts to the demon community. Ripper was fun when he was aimed at other people!

"Desk job," Spike growled the distasteful words, "don't let my cooking hobby fool you, I haven't changed that much." He brushed Xander's hair off the guy's forehead, then focused on his mouth. "Talk about it later, I have other duties. Got to perk you up and all that." Lowering his head, he brought is mouth down over Xander’s in a heated upside down kiss. He didn't think he'd ever get enough of this, strange as it was. Slowly, he swept his hands down Xander's chest and abs... he'd perk him up alright.

Xander arched into Spike's hand, moaning against his lips. It didn't matter how tired he was, Spike's touch was always enough to wake him right up. He raised his hands to cup Spike's nape, playing with the soft hair there. By the time the blond raised his head, Xander was panting harshly and wide awake.

"Come back here." He murmured and tugged Spike down for another kiss.

Spike gave a smug chuckle, and thrust his tongue out, meeting and tangling with Xander's mid-air. Every time Xander tried to suck his tongue into his mouth, he pulled back, merely stroking and twirling his around Xander's, teasing him. At the same time, used his hand to emulate the torture, lightly cupping Xander, stroking, running his thumb up and down over the growing hardness, but moving his hand when the boy tried to increase the pressure.

He loved the playful times. Times like this. Xander had taught him what neither Dru nor Buffy could. Love didn't have to hurt. It could be good. It could make you feel better, and make you want to be better.

Deep in his thoughts, Spike hadn't noticed the change in Xander's responses. But suddenly, the boy's hands were clamped behind his neck, insistently dragging him down closer. The intensity of the boy's look and motions cried out that playtime was over. But Spike wasn't done playing. Instead of kissing him properly, he tongued the corner of Xander's mouth, then dipped his head lower, kissing his neck.

Xander growled in frustration at Spike's refusal to kiss him already. Determined to get what he wanted, he moved up, pushing Spike back against the couch as he went, until he was lying over the blond.

"You are supposed to be under me." He muttered and held Spike's head still. He dropped tiny kisses all over Spike's face, laying out their plan for the night. "First we have fun of the inside variety, then we meet the girls for drinks. Then we come back home have more fun."

He lifted his head to give Spike a meaningful look before leaning back down for the kiss he'd been angling for.

Running his hands through Xander's hair, Spike pulled him close and gave him exactly what he wanted. A long, deep, mind drugging kiss that left both of them panting for more. Taking a breath, he smiled. "You've gone all masterful-Xander on me, killed a big bad today, did you?" He chuckled. "And I'm under you... only until I'm over you," he started to reverse their positions and met some resistance. Sliding his hand between their bodies, he unbuttoned and unzipped Xander's pants. "You know you want it, now be a good boy and turn over..." He swept his hands over and under Xander's ass for good measure.

Xander moaned softly and buried his face in Spike's neck. "Nope. My turn to play." He said and bit down on the flesh, sucking and licking the skin until he raised a bruise. "My Spike. Under me." His voice brooked no argument. Sliding his body down a bit, he unbuttoned Spike's jeans, pushing them down with him as he went. He didn't stop until he had the jeans off and then he moved up again, sliding his hands under Spike's knees and raising his legs.

"Objections?" He asked, raising his eyebrow.

Spike frowned. "You don't mean..." Right, the pillow that got shoved under his ass screamed yes, that was exactly what Xander meant.

His heart pounded. Indecision. A mixture of fear. He wasn't thrilled about passing the controls over. And yet there was that intense look about Xander, the determination. And the tantalizing feel of him sliding over his body. Spike's mouth went dry. "I don't know if it's a good idea pet..." But that look... he was still wearing that look. The one that said he'd get his way one way or another. A plan...a plan... a thousand pounds for a plan!

"I. Want. To. Play." Each word was punctuated by a kiss. Xander could see the indecision in Spike's eyes but he was determined to get his way. Just ‘cause he wasn't jealous of Buffy didn't mean he didn't have the urge to claim Spike for his own in every way possible.

Besides, it'd be fun!

Spike's stomach clenched. He swallowed hard. Trying to keep cool. Trying to remain unaffected. But Xander just wouldn't let him. One last time, he tried to reverse their positions. The boy...his boy was smiling. But there was steel under that smile. And love. How could he deny him?

Hand slightly shaky, Spike ran it over Xander's face. "Alright." It was the merest of whispers, but the triumph in Xander's face had him bracing.

Xander's smile widened at Spike's capitulation. He leaned down and whispered in his lover's ear.

"Don't worry Spike, I've got you and I'm never letting go."

The End

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