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All I Need


Part Sixteen

“Well?” Angel snapped into the phone, trying to pretend he wasn’t worried about his boy and what the… whatever Xander was… might be doing to him. He had only Spike’s word for it that the former Scooby wasn’t a danger, after all. “What can you tell me?”

The operative on the other end of the phone grunted, covering his ear to block out the noises coming through the speaker attached to the directional microphone which was pointing directly at a particular room across the street.

“Uh, they seem to be getting… reacquainted, sir. Repeatedly.”

One brow arched in Los Angeles as a particular brood-oriented vampire tried to puzzle through what exactly the man was trying to say. “No yelling, shouting…? No… fighting?”

A throat was cleared quickly, sudden laughter restrained. “No… I wouldn’t call it fighting, sir. And no… bad yelling, if you understand what I mean.”

“Look, just spit it out, okay? It’s been a really long day and I’m not in the mood to decipher your hints. Is Spike okay. Is he safe with Harris. That’s all I need to know.”

The next laugh was slightly more audible than the previous silent variety. “Judge for yourself, sir,” the operative said slowly before upping the volume and holding the cell phone close to the speaker, a wicked smile on his lips.

* * * * *

“God! Spike! Your… your mouth…”

“Hmmm…?” the vampire hummed as his lips slid quickly to the thick base of his Xan’s long shaft, throat flexing wickedly around the sensitive head.

He pulled back, tongue swirling small fast circles on hard, hot flash before flicking rapidly over and into the tiny slit, gathering little drops of slick fluids tasting of something sweetly bitter and purely Xander.

Tanned fingers tightened on short blond hair, a loud gasp flying from Xander’s throat as he tried not to arch up into that cool, wet mouth, that tight, perfect throat. “Jesus fuck, Spike,” he moaned, eyes closed tightly as he tried to hold on, “God, baby… g-gonna cum… shit…! S-stop… Spike… g-gonna…”

His eyes narrowed smugly as they traveled up the long, tensed line of his Xan’s body, pale, elegant fingers wrapping firmly around throbbing flesh as he raised his head for a bare moment. “Cum, luv,” he whispered, tone low and desirous, “Want ta taste ya, Xan…”

And just the knowledge that Spike wanted this had brown hair grinding back into the mattress and when he felt that oh-so-talented mouth close over him again, there was nothing Xander could do other than arch and wail, buck and heave, his cock swelling, pulsing, throbbing and finally spilling fast, hard and deep over the questing, laving tongue and into the flexing throat that pulled so perfectly at him. “S-s-spike…! Jesus, Spike…! G-god…!”

“Luv doin’ that ta you, pet…” Spike whispered, letting the softening shaft slip from his lips to rest glistening on soft skin, the head crossing the stunning tan line across his Xan’s hips. “Expected ta, but… ya taste bloody amazin’, luv… bettin’ you’re goin’ ta feel even better, though…”

“Jesus Christ,” the brunette groaned, trying to catch his breath as Spike’s words alone started yet another slow coiling of desire within him, “I think… we should find out. Soon…”

“Thinkin’ more now than soon, Xander,” Spike murmured, gently prying the fingers loose from his hair before skimming slowly up the heated, still shaking body to press full lips to slightly parted panting ones.

“Y-yeah,” he managed to breathe against the slowly teasing tongue covered in the flavor of himself and smoke and something else… just Spike. “I… now is good…”

The vampire pulled back slightly, staring hard into wide brown eyes. “Not goin’ ta fight me on this, are ya mate? Figured ya for bein’ a bit more of a top than ta just…” he shrugged, a little embarrassed. “Ya made me feel so good, luv… when ya were shaggin’ me through th’ mattress, yah? Want ta… bloody hell, want ya ta feel that good, too.”

Xander swallowed hard, shaking his head quickly. “N-no, Spike. Not g-gonna fight you. I just… I’m kinda… nervous, okay? I… shit. I’ve never…” He frowned as the beast within growled at him for showing weakness. ‘Shut up,’ he told it. ‘It’s Spike. He has a right to know, doesn’t he? Or would you rather we lied to him?’

The idea of lying to ‘theirs’ was enough to send the hyena back to its corner, grumbling.

That was when Xander realized that Spike was being uncharacteristically silent, though. “Um… Spike?” One hand rose, fingers threading again into blond hair, cupping the nape of the vampire’s neck. “Spike?” he tried again, blinking at the worried, wanting and wondering gaze he finally received. “I… it’s okay, right? That I want you to…” He blushed for what had to be the first time in years.

Wide blue eyes held slightly anxious brown and Spike nodded, head dropping to lick, nip, suck at warm, dry lips. “Yah, Xan… ‘s fine. Good, even. Yah. Just… guess we need ta… work up ta that, then. Don’t… bloody fuck, don’t want ta hurt ya, do I? Not yet…” And someday he’d have to find out how the bloke could be a virgin, considering he’d obviously had some experience with men. Enough that he’d had Spike writhing and begging for more, in any case. But this wasn’t that day and he wouldn’t ask, not now.

He forced his own sudden anxiety away, body pressing down fully onto heated flesh and tense muscles. “Goin’ ta go real slow, luv… take my time until you’re so hungry for it ya can’t go another moment without havin’ me in ya, makin’ ya moan an’ shudder under me, yah…?”

Xander groaned, arching against the amazing form draped over him, one hand tightening slightly on the back of the vampire’s neck as the other hand slowly grazed over silken-skinned ribs and found its way to the small of Spike’s back. “God, baby… pretty much there, okay? I… fuck, Spike, I don’t want to take this slow. Need you. Need this,” he added with a sharp upward thrust of his hips. “I… I want to know this. With you.”

* * * * *

‘Hurtssss…’ the hyena murmured happily. ‘Good hurt,’ Xander replied silently, gasping softly at the strong urge to tense around the slowly thrusting gel-slicked fingers.

His own hands clutched tightly at the sheets, spine stretching and bowing slightly as those cool, elegant digits pressed deeper, spreading carefully, twisting gently within him. “Need…” Xander groaned, his thighs separating further, begging for more touch, more pain, more of the unexpected pleasure he sensed approaching. “Spike… p-please…”

And it was the little stutter that kept getting to him, Spike knew, fingers moving faster now, angling wickedly to brush a firm rub over the hard node he knew was there. “Don’t need ta beg me, luv… goin’ ta give ya just what ya want, aren’t I?” Assuming he could manage to not blow like a schoolboy before he managed to do that.

It was a possibility, he figured, what with the incredible tightness surrounding his questing fingers and the bloody stunning look on the bloke’s face. And then Xander shifted again, his hips rolling on the bed as small, lustful moans sprang from his lips and Spike could only hope he’d stretched the man enough because there was no going back, no stopping; hell, no slowing down, even.

Xander swallowed a moan as the suddenly slick and thick head replaced the fingers at his anus, his eyes locked on the gold-tinged pale sapphire of the vampire’s gaze. Strong, broad hands clasped pale arms as tanned legs shifted and rose, instinctively surrounding tense, nearly quivering hips and waist. “N-now, Spike… now, baby… please… d-don’t m-make me wait…”

That anxiety was still there in the bloke’s eyes, but now it was different. Almost like his Xan was truly afraid he was going to stop when they were both so close to… something. Something important and needed and wanted more than Spike could remember ever wanting anything that didn’t involve the man beneath him.

“No more waitin’, luv,” he whispered, mouth crashing down to swallow the sudden, loud cry as he pressed forward, pressed in, blunt tip forcing its way through the tight ring of muscle with a nearly audible sound.

Both man and beast howled, fingers digging deep into flexing muscle, legs wrapping harder, tighter around the alabaster body as hips arched, straining through the welcome pain and slight scent of blood to drag bodies flush, fuller than he’d ever imagined and still not quite enough.

“S-spike…” the word was a gasp and Xander didn’t care. The hyena didn’t care. Gasp, whimper, moan, shiver… it was all one and the same and entirely allowed in this moment, this instant of time when they were getting so exactly what they wanted. “G-god, baby… p-please…”

And there was that stammer again and he was so deep and his Xan was so hot and tight and perfect around him and he wanted this to last, to last forever, to go on past eternity, past the end of the world, the universe, the Gods themselves… and he could say none of that.

His hips moved finally, short and slow, rocking in tiny thrusts within that blissful heat. Eyes gone almost fully gold met green-shined deep brown, widening slightly at the intense emotions he saw chasing through those windows to his Xan. “So… bloody tight, pet… never felt anythin’ so good… b-bloody…”

“J-jesus…” And while he’d actually enjoyed the initial pain, it was being swiftly replaced by a sort of pleasure he’d only imagined time after time over the last six months, and poorly at that.

He loosened his hold on the surprisingly strong arms, fingers moving demandingly to shoulders, down, around ribs and finding another hold as one leg shifted higher, the other lowering to wrap just beneath the lower curve of his vampire’s ass. “Fuck me, S-spike,” he demanded, a small whimper under the words as he felt that amazing thickness pull back. “Yesssss…” he hissed, pressing up into the sensation when the motion reversed, the long, soothingly cool cock sliding deep again.

And the time for words was officially past, Spike realized, which was just as well because he couldn’t seem to think well enough to form any. He simply stared at his bloke, his arms shaking slightly as he moved himself in and out, in and out, shaft rubbing wickedly over the small nub he couldn’t have avoided even if he’d wanted to and he didn’t want to, wanted to keep seeing the rhythmic widening of those stunned and stunning eyes, keep hearing the small, grunting wheezes as he stroked deep, rocked hard, filled the man completely, his heavy sac slapping lightly against that round, flexing ass.

“Amazin’…” he managed to groan, that one short observation spending his entire vocabulary at the moment.

‘Yes, amazing, incredible, unbelievable… you, Spike, that’s you…’ Xander tried to say, the words emerging in a strangled-sounding whine of nonsense as the next deep slide pushed, pulled, dragged, forced him closer to something that was almost frightening in its intensity as it built, gathered, coiled, tensed, became.

Long legs tightened again, head grinding back into tangled sheets. God, he’d never felt, never thought… this couldn’t be how it always… or maybe it was just Spike that could make him… and he didn’t want to find out, didn’t care if it was. ‘Ours,’ the grunting, snarling, completely dominated hyena within him whined and apparently Xander could speak, if only in his own head. ‘Ours… and his… belong now.’ ‘Yesssss…’

Spike growled, hips pistoning wildly now, spearing fast and deep into the hot-tight-mine, a low snarl interweaving with the sound as the man beneath him shifted to meet his thrusts, the tightness clenching around him like soft, tight wet silk. His eyes, fully gold now beneath his deeply ridged brow, dropped to the pounding, jumping pulse in the sleek, arched neck and a small part of him wondered what his Xan would do if he bit him, took him that way as well.

And then the legs around him rose higher, crossing mid-back, and the bloke was so open, so willing, so wanting, so his that he couldn’t think anymore and even that tiny portion of his mind was subdued, rolled over by the enormous sense of right, this is right that filled him.

He moved faster, harder, glad beyond expression that his Xan wasn’t human anymore. He could never have controlled himself, kept from hurting him, but with things the way they were, even his soul was awash in a sea of pure sensation, pure desire and pleasure and ecstasy at the sounds of pain-tinged pleasure flying from the man.

God, he was so there, so ready… he was going to explode into tiny pieces of Xander-flesh and never be able to put himself together again… And then he gasped, the faster, harder, more driving through him and into his heart, it felt like.

“Nnnnnnngggghhhhhhh…” he whimpered, as close as he could get to saying ‘now’, and fortunately Spike seemed to speak sex-stupid-Xander fluently because the blond moved faster, harder still, slamming wildly into him, into that thing inside him and he couldn’t not look, couldn’t gaze mindlessly at the darkness behind his eyelids anymore and when he forced his head up from the mattress and looked into wide, wicked golden eyes in the demon’s face, he’d never seen anything more beautiful. He moaned and whimpered yet again, suddenly, violently erupting wild, hot splashes between them, the beast reveling in scent-marking ‘theirs’.

It was the sensation of hot, thick fluids spurting roughly against his abdomen that had him growling again, his sac high and tight and ready to burst as he buried himself balls-deep in his Xander once more. But it was the lustful gaze, the still wanton, incredible desire for all of him—demon and soul both—that had him pulling back completely, thick, seeping cock bouncing once in the air of the room before he slammed himself flush again, mouth covering the red, full lips, tongue driving deep, sharp teeth scratching hotter-than-sin skin as he shouted his own completion, his own fulfillment, his own overwhelming pleasure into that warm wet cavern and spilled deeply, roughly, harshly within the clenching, no-longer-virginal ass surrounding his pulsing cock.

* * * * *

The operative swallowed hard, the swiftly fading sounds making him blush even more when he hadn’t thought he could blush in the first place. He cleared his throat then shook his head at his partner entering the room, turning his back in hopes of denying the other man the opportunity to tease him at his body’s reaction to what had definitely been… interesting.

He took a few deep breaths and raised the phone to his ear again, speaking to the echoing silence in Los Angeles.

“As I said, sir… there is some yelling going on, but they don’t appear to be… fighting.”

His grin was enormous as the continuing silence was suddenly ended with the very obvious click of the connection being ended.

It was always fun to screw with Angel’s head… and not in the way he was suddenly picturing. “Fuck, I need to get laid.”

Part Seventeen

He wasn’t sure of whether he’d passed out for a moment or simply closed his eyes to bask in the amazing but still somewhat bizarre sensation of having Spike’s cock in his ass, driving him to a sort of razor-edged pleasure. Whichever it was, though, he’d somehow missed the part where the vampire had rolled them because when he opened his eyes, he found himself gazing down into sated and smug blue ones.

Xander chuckled softly, feeling his beast all curled up and satisfied in the back of his head. “Hey,” he murmured, one hand rising to stroke a chiseled cheek then slide on, fingers sliding swiftly into short blond hair. “Sorry if I went all… non-verbal on you, Spike.”

The vampire snorted, fingers flexing almost gently against the toned, rounded muscles of his Xander’s ass. “Least now I know how ta shut ya up, ‘ey, luv?”

Spike grinned, cutting off any possible response by the simple expedient of tilting his head up, capturing the still slightly swollen lips with his own, the kiss this time more leisurely, exploring, less desperate although no less yearning. “Was bloody incredible, Xan,” he whispered, pulling away just a scarce inch or so, “Unbelievable that ya let me… wanted me ta…”

Longish brown hair swayed gently as Xander shook his head. “God, Spike. Shit. I never knew… I mean, I kinda knew it felt good because if it didn’t then none of the guys I fucked before would have wanted me to but I didn’t know it could feel like that and how fucked up is it that I never even thought about doing that until you? I mean, maybe it wouldn’t have been as good with someone else and in fact I’m sure it wouldn’t because you’re you and…”

He forced his jaw to snap shut, blushing furiously at his own non-stop words and groaned. “And why are you the only one who can make me sound like the fucking donut-boy again?” he sighed.

He was caught between laughing at the fact that his Xan could still go on for that long without drawing breath and growling at the content of what he’d said. Sure, he’d known the man had… fucked before. Hell, he was glad of it in a way. At the same time, though, his demon was snarling. Xander was his! Still, Spike had been the first to take the man, to drive in deep and make him his own in a way no one else ever could… or ever would, soul and demon both agreed.

Xander was his, and… he was keeping him.

“Dunno, pet,” Spike finally answered the question he only vaguely remembered hearing. “Can promise ya… th’ donut-boy is th’ last thing I see when I look at ya, though.” And it was the truth. “Look at ya an’ see a bloke what’s made himself strong, luv… stands proud an’ doesn’t take any shit from anyone, yah? See a right stunnin’ mate, all silky skin an’ hard, beautiful muscle, one who’s got his own bloody demon or beast-- or whatever-- an’ rules it, not th’ other way ‘round.”

The young man tried to smile, pretending his heart wasn’t doing flips inside. “A-are you sure you’re not looking at yourself, Spike? Because that’s pretty much what I see in you, too.” He bit his lip, eyes boring into the vampire’s.

All Spike could do was laugh and roll them on the bed again, ending laying on the hot flesh of his… whatever… and leaning down to bite lightly at the salty-sweet spot where neck met shoulder. “Goin’ ta have ta think of your own words there, luv. ‘s not fair stealin’ mine.”

Xander chuckled again, a low, rich sound this time. “Damn,” he said after a moment, “Well, it was worth a try.”

* * * * *

Oddly enough, his pleasure in Paris had returned, now that Spike was there to share it with.

They’d spent most of twenty-four hours in bed, ‘shagging’ as the vampire called it and talking a good bit, too. And that was a good thing, Xander figured, although he wouldn’t have minded not talking, either.

Still, now Spike knew the particulars of how he’d become what he was and understood why the hyena wasn’t on a rampage… well, understood it as well as Xander did, anyway.

Eventually, though, food had become an issue, and not just for the semi-human, so they’d gotten dressed, each bemoaning the fact that it was necessary to cover the stunning flesh of the other, and now… well, now they were strolling along one of the many picturesque streets, pausing now and then to look at the paintings displayed by hopeful young artists.

“You’ve a nice grasp of th’ absurd,” Spike said to one of them in passing and Xander laughed, grabbing the vampire’s arm and dragging him off before the artist could do more than look offended.

“No teasing the local wildlife,” he ordered playfully. “Not when you don’t know where they’ve been.”

“That one?” Spike snarked, jerking his head in the general direction of the young man they’d just passed, “Don’t care where he’s been, luv… know where he wanted ta be, though. Was watchin’ ya all th’ way up th’ street, pumpin’ lust-scent all over th’ place.” He tried not to growl but failed miserably.

Xander laughed again, high-pitched and wicked this time as the hyena found itself equally amused by the jealous tone. ‘Good,’ it whispered smugly, ‘Ours.’

‘Yessss,’ Xander agreed once again but all he said out loud was “Please. As if I’d want that under me even if I didn’t have you, Spike. Besides,” he added seriously, “I’d probably break him in like five seconds.”

He couldn’t deny that his Xan truly did have him. Had done since that night at the Lodge. Not the night in the trees, but that first night they’d met there although he hadn’t known it at the time.

Spike smirked then, suddenly stepping into the doorway of a closed Patisserie and pulling his Xan in with him.

His hands were hard as he pressed the slightly taller man against the locked door. “You’d break him inta a million pieces, luv… an’ then I’d break ya inta even more for touchin’ him ta begin with.”

A deep, wild growl answered the words and Xander shifted, arms wrapping roughly around the vampire’s hard body and pulling him tightly against him as his lips found one pale ear and murmured. “Rather feel you shattering around me, Spike… all tight and cool and grunting like before when I…”

“Bloody hell,” Spike groaned, pressing closer as his cock responded willfully to the growl by swelling against the equally hard erection behind the cotton of his Xan’s pants. “Need… fuck. Need ta feed, Xan. Shit! Want ta have you, luv, but…”

Green-tinged brown eyes gave him a curious look from within a slightly tilted head then curious became considering and considering became heated and that head tilted a bit more, neck arched fully, cords standing out under the swarthy, sun-kissed skin.

“So, feed. Feed, Spike. Feed and be strong. Then we can go back to the hotel and I can show you all the… wicked little thoughts I’ve been having since we left.”

And he’d never ever tell his vampire how much the beast was bouncing, how excited it was at the idea of ‘theirs’ feeding from him… never mention that the act itself made the hyena dominant to the vampire. It wasn’t as though it mattered, anyway, because… no matter what the spirit within him chose to believe, Xander knew the truth. He and Spike were as equal as it was possible to be, species aside.

“Feed,” he murmured again, one hand releasing Spike’s waist to rest against the nape of his neck, thumb just overlapping the soft bleached hairs.

“H-how wicked?” the blond said softly, eyes locked now on the thumping, drumming pulse he could see beneath the stretched skin. He didn’t notice that he’d licked his lips or that he’d leaned in, inhaling the blissful scent of interest, arousal, curiosity and desire un-tempered by even the slightest tinge of fear. “How wicked, Xan…” his lips asked in movement against skin, any sound—small as it might be—drowned out by that thudding, pounding, enticing beat-beat-beat.

“As wicked… as you want… them to be… baby…” Xander groaned, his hand pressing that perfect mouth to his neck.

He heard the oddly erotic sounds of shifting flesh, reforming bone… felt the teeth slip from blunt to jagged. His neck arched more, harder, body begging silently for this kiss, deeper and more meaningful even than when he’d first felt Spike piercing his anus and… his entire body shuddered, shivered, shook with unsuppressed, unexpressed longing and need and completion as those sharp, wanting teeth dug deep, stabbing fast and hard but gently, too, into needy, desirous flesh and he tensed, arched, growled, moaned… came, roughly and wantonly against the sharp, strong form pressed so closely to him that it felt like an extension of his own.

* * * * *

‘Nothing like it, never like it, couldn’t imagine, would never believe…’ The words flowed through his body, more emotions than actual words. The action alone, the offering. The lack of fear, the trust that implied.

It wasn’t anything Spike had ever known or expected or even thought of having.

And the fact that it was Xander—his Xan—standing there so willing, so wanting, so un-fucking-believably insisting with the strong grip, the demanding pull, the hard, full arch of his neck…? That was just…

He didn’t have the words. Not even in his mind did he have the words to define what it meant to him other than… everything.

And then he was right there, teeth pressing against that hot, so hot, so fucking hot smooth skin, the salty-sweet-musky taste swamping his senses, and… he bit.

He bit hard, he bit deep, he bit tenderly and carefully for all the passion and need drowning him in that moment. His Xander, his… love. Or maybe just his because that one statement contained so much that he couldn’t explain.

So he bit and he purred and he drew at the wound. And he groaned and he rocked and he held his Xan hard. He moaned and he shivered, body aching for more as he throbbed and he pulsed and released to the scent of completion suddenly thick in the still air of the shadowed, sheltered alcove.

The blood… his blood… was like nothing he’d ever known. Richer, somehow, than other blood taken straight from the vein, although those veins hadn’t been his Xan’s, hadn’t mattered, hadn’t… called to him. Not that he’d known what it would be like before this moment because as bloody tasty as his love smelled, the taste under his skin was…

“Sex an’ night an’ fragrant, fertile earth… that’s what ya taste like, Xan,” Spike whispered, eyes closed as he pulled away from the healing wound. “Moonlight, trees… seas of longin’ an’ freedom…”

And it was true. His entire body sang with it, vibrated with the sense of knowing this man, his Xander, his… he didn’t know what; only that whatever the brunette was to him, it wasn’t anything he’d ever expected. Wasn’t even anything he’d suspected could exist for a creature like himself.

Yet now he did know and he would never let it go. Never let him go.

“B-bloody hell…” he breathed, meeting wide brown eyes that reflected something similar to the knowledge he’d just received himself.

Xander nodded, fingers rising to his own neck, sliding slowly over the unmarked skin. “I… yeah…” He swallowed hard, unable to look away from the blond’s stare. “Wh-what just happened here, Spike…?”

Blue-again eyes closed for just an instant as the vampire shook his head, leaning harder against his Xan’s solid shape. “Dunno, pet,” he finally said, breathing slowly against tanned fingers. “Was… stunnin’, whatever it was, yah?”

“Oh, yeah… definitely…” His hand dropped, joining the other on Spike’s back and just holding the blond against him as he waited for his heart to stop racing, for his beast to stop demanding that they force the vampire to drink again, to take them in, to give them that feeling again… the feeling that ‘theirs’ had crawled inside them and made himself a home.

He felt the purr start in his chest, felt it rumbling through him and exiting past his lips and against the tanned neck. A small part of him worried that he’d already made himself too open, too… vulnerable to the dark-haired man. Still, Xan had been there for everything that had happened in the last… bloody hell, it was only a day and a half, wasn’t it?

Well, not really. Whatever they were doing had apparently been months if not years in the making, although in the later case, he was sure neither he nor the then-human had had so much as a clue.

And then again, maybe purring wasn’t so bad right now because he was fairly certain that the small, rumbling vibrations he felt against him were his Xan’s equivalent of that same action.

“Think it was a one time thing, luv?” Spike murmured, pretty sure that it hadn’t been, but damned if he didn’t want to…

“I don’t know, Spike,” Xander said, voice shaking just a bit but still silky and dark, “but maybe we should find out. Back at the hotel.”

Oh, yeah… the hotel. Their room. Their bed.

Spike shivered, wondering if he’d even be able to survive drinking his Xan while the man was buried deep inside him. Then again, if he had to die—again—that was how he wanted to go.

Xander laughed, finding himself suddenly being dragged through the streets faster than he’d have been able to follow had he still been human. “I’m guessing that’s a ‘yes’,” he called out to the blond at the end of his arm.

“That’s a bloody ‘hell yes’, pet!” the blond called back with a smirk, “Besides, luv, ya did say ya had some wicked things ya wanted ta do ta my tight body, yah?”

And wasn’t that an understatement? ‘Oursssss…’, the hyena whispered smugly.

Never letting him go,” Xander answered possessively, ‘Not even if he wants us to.

Good. Keep Ours. Our WillSpike. Always.

And while it could have been frightening just how much he and his beast were in agreement, in this case, it just… wasn’t.

Part Eighteen

~From: Two Eyed Terror
~To: Watcher Man
~Subject: Hey, G-man!

Hey, Giles.

Yeah, it’s me again. I know the name’s changed but it’s still me.

Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you this last week. I’ve been kinda busy.

Ugh. Busy. SO not the right word.

I’ve been really, really… crap. Busy. LOL

I guess I should tell you… Spike’s here. With me.

Yeah. With. Like that. Spike’s why Angel was trying to find me, Giles. I’ll bet he hasn’t called you since last Tuesday, right?

God, Giles. There’s so much going on right now. I don’t even know how to tell you about all of it, so… we’re coming to London, G-man. There’s things I have to tell you that I can’t really get into like this. I… you deserve to hear it face to face, okay?

The short version of the story… uh, demon trials, I won, got my eye back and a brand spankin’ old hyena spirit on top of it, among other things. I’m sure you remember the hyena… and what I look like with two working eyes, right?

It’s not the same as before with the animal spirit, though, and I know you won’t believe that but it’s true and all I can do is ask you to trust me enough to not have one of the trainees kill me on sight.


I’m not trying to be all secret-having-guy here but like I said, I think I need to tell you this stuff in person and Spike agrees.

We’re coming across the Channel day after tomorrow. Just have a few things we need to wrap up here.

Hell, Giles. I really want to see you. Like I said before, you’re like… the Dad I always wanted and never had.

I guess things are different now since you know about the Primal but that’s okay. I’ll live, right?

And you’ll get why that’s funny after we talk. If you’re willing to let us come there.

We could meet you somewhere outside of the Watcher House if you want. That’d be fine too.

Hell. Okay. That’s all until we see you, I guess.

But no matter how you feel about this, G-man… I’ll always love you like a Dad.


* * * * *

~From: Watcher Man
~To: Two Eyed Terror
~Subject: Re: Hey, G-man!


Are you entirely out of your mind?

You can not simply drop me a line and hint in this manner! It’s enough to drive an aging Watcher to drink!

That said, of course I wish you to come to the House, although if you truly have reacquired the eye that bastard Caleb took from you, it might be wise to hide that fact at first.

The Trainees, as you called them, are familiar with who you are. However, to meet someone who obviously is not missing an eye but using the name of one of their heroes—an original Scooby, and God help me, I’ve been unable to eliminate that term—well, Xander, that might create more drama than any of us would like.

Xander, of all my former charges, you are the one who most frequently contributes to my receding hairline. Mostly due to the fact that you generally make me tear it out. My hair, I mean.

I don’t understand why you constantly question your place in the hearts of those who know you. Perhaps it has something to do with that bastard who fathered you, although I believe ‘fathered’ is the wrong term. Better to call him the sperm donor, considering the amount of care and affection he provided you whilst growing up.

That you have grown into such a kind, generous and competent man is entirely a testament to your own character, Xander.

As for the spirit which you say you have acquired again, I have no difficulty in believing there is a longer and deeper story behind that. I do remember when you and the others were first inhabited and that possession would never have resulted in teaching a Slayer a lesson. It would have resulted in her death, not to mention that she would have most likely been made a meal of.

The upshot of this, dear boy, is that I do trust you.

I trust you to enter this House. I trust you to treat the girls with kindness, should you meet them. And I trust you to continue being the brave and capable man you’ve grown into from the seeds of the courageous and sometimes bloody well stupid boy you once were.

As for whatever your situation is with Spike…

It irks me quite a bit to have to admit this, Xander, but… Spike is a good man. He proved as much time and time again although we were often more than reluctant to recognize it.

It was only after he was gone that we… I… truly realized just how much he had done for and with us all in his efforts to protect and assist us.

I have made some of this clear to him in our infrequent communications, but I expect some reluctance on his part to believe my sentiments are sincere.

I truly can’t blame him for that. I was a bit of a… jerk to him in the old days.

Still, if he affords you some happiness, then I’m happy for you. I am also curious as to what exactly led to this… lifestyle change for you.

I suppose that will be one more thing to add to the list of revelations you will provide when you arrive.

I am having rooms prepared for you both to use for the duration of your visit. If you choose not to stay here, that will be fine, as well. I simply wish you to know, Xander, that you and your… and Spike… are welcome here and that I am looking forward to seeing you soon.

Until then, I remain…

Your Father (in spirit),


(P.S.~ I am assuming the new name on this account is courtesy of Spike. Tell him to stop trying to help. And yes, that was a joke.)

* * * * *

It was the slight tinge of salt in the air of their room that had Spike squirming out from beneath the tangle of sheets and blankets as he frowned, eyes finding his Xander sitting at the small desk.

“What is it, luv,” he demanded, feet padding quickly across the few feet of floor, “what’s wrong?”

Xander smiled shakily and tilted his head back, teary but happy eyes meeting Spike’s worried ones as the vampire’s elegant hands came to rest on his shoulders. “N-nothing, Spike. I… everything’s… nothing’s wrong.”

He smiled again, twisting his body a bit and wrapping an arm around the blond’s waist before pulling him around the chair and into his lap regardless of the fact that they were nearly the same height and the position was slightly awkward. “Giles wrote back,” he said then, the pleasant surprise clear in his voice.

One scarred brow arched and Spike smirked. “Last time I was in your lap, luv, it wasn’t because of a bloody letter…” His smirk grew a bit deeper at the sudden groan the brunette released. “Right, then. Just makin’ sure ya remembered. Ya mind if I read it, Xan?”

It took him a good twenty seconds to understand the question, mostly because he was replaying the instance Spike had mentioned but when he did, Xander smiled, his tears drying, and pressed a slow, wet kiss to the vampire’s pale shoulder then bit it lightly. “Go ahead, baby… but hurry up. I think I’m having more of those… wicked thoughts.”

Bloody hell. “I’ll read it later, pet.” He stood quickly before turning and settling in his lover’s lap again, hardening cock rubbing against a warm, tight stomach. “Now tell Spike all ‘bout those wicked thoughts of yours…”

Part Nineteen

It was perhaps rather unfortunate, Giles thought, that one of the young Slayers-in-training had honed her hacking skills well enough to break into his e-mail account. But she had, and after nearly a full day of trying to explain to her and the others that yes, Xander Harris was coming to visit; yes, he was no longer fully human; yes, he apparently had two eyes these days, and yes again, he was apparently ‘involved’ with one of their other heroes—the vampire with a soul known as Spike… but that didn’t mean the men didn’t deserve their privacy.

They’d all taken in rather well, with that bizarre acceptance of youth. They also possessed all the arrogance of youth and had immediately set about planning a ‘welcome back’ party for the two men, and that was the ‘perhaps unfortunate’ result as he had no idea of how the vampire and the primal would react.

He’d tried dropping them a warning in e-mail but had no surety that they’d receive it before arriving.

Ah, well. He’d done what he could. He’d just have to hope his own presence would prevent any… undesirable outcome.

* * * * *

They’d driven the rental car to Cherbourg, almost wrecking more than once when Xander’s mouth on his cock became too distracting for the safe operation of the vehicle.

Fortunately, it had been dark out and traffic had been scarce, so pulling off onto the side of the road hadn’t really been too much of a hardship.

“What the bloody hell brought this on, luv?” Spike murmured, fingers stroking the softly mussed brown hair with slightly trembling fingers. “Not that I’m complainin’, mind. Wonderin’ what I did so I can do it again, yah?”

Xander chuckled, finally releasing the softening shaft from his lips and rubbing his cheek lightly against it. “Just taking the edge off, Spike. I figure it’s gonna be a while, what with staying at the Watcher House, so…” he shrugged and licked his lips slowly, eyes finding and holding blue ones.

The vampire snorted, trying to ignore the way seeing that wet pink tongue on soft red lips affected him. “What are ya tryin’ ta say, Xan? That we won’t be fuckin’ whilst we’re there? Because if that’s th’ case, mate, we can get a bloody hotel.”

“Um… I’ll think about it,” the brunette said with a grin as he straightened in the passenger seat and tucked Spike’s twitching shaft back into his pants. “We don’t want Giles to think we don’t want to stay with him, right?”

“Dunno why not, luv. If it means bein’ bloody well celibate with you right there, then I don’t want ta stay there, do I?”

Xander shook his head, still laughing quietly. “Okay, okay… no celibacy. But you have to promise you’ll try to be quiet, Spike.”

Another snort. “Yah, because I’m th’ one what howls loud enough ta scare dogs bloody miles away when ya cum deep in my ‘amazin’ ass’,” Spike grumbled affectionately as he pulled back onto the roadway.

It was a good thing, Xander thought, that he and Spike actually agreed on who usually topped, because if Spike thought he was loud, he’d obviously never heard himself. Hell, the blond could break glass with the sounds he made every time he came in him.

“Mmmm…” he replied after a minute or so during which his eyes closed and he remembered every moment of bliss he’d experienced in the last few days, “Your ass is amazing, baby… just like the rest of you. So… tight and cool.” He gave the driving blond a wicked grin. “Love driving deep into you, Spike… feeling you strain and heave… the way you whimper for me, begging me to go harder, faster…”

“An’ if ya keep that up, luv, we’re goin’ ta miss th’ ferry.” Which he, for one, wouldn’t mind at all. He was just a little bit nervous about seeing the Watcher, a little anxious about what the man would think of he and his Xan being together the way they were, and… if anyone could make the brunette rethink wasting his time on a bloody vampire, Xander’s pseudo-father was the one.

Xander heaved a slightly annoyed sigh, carefully weighing the reaction that would get in London. “Fine. I’ll behave. Just… hurry up, Spike. I want to get there already.” He thought for another moment, watching Spike’s intent focus on the road. “And you’re right, baby. We’re gonna need to stay in a hotel. I don’t think I could keep my hands off you for an entire night.”

Spike chuckled, pushing his worries aside for the moment. “Doubt ya could manage it for a bleedin’ hour, pet… but I like that, don’t I?”

And that was a damned good thing, Xander admitted silently. Neither he nor his beast would ever want to force the blond… but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t if they got desperate enough… which a whole night without touching, kissing, licking, fucking ‘theirs’ would pretty much ensure.

“Yeah… yeah, Spike,” he agreed slowly, suddenly hoping he was wrong about how much he needed the vampire… and how he’d react if denied access to him for long. “And I’m glad you do…”

It was still a sobering thought.

* * * * *

The balloons tied to the post outside the door should have clued him, he figured, but he’d been so nervous about actually seeing Giles again that he’d sort of brushed their presence aside in his mind and simply wrapped his arm more tightly around Spike’s shoulders before knocking on the heavy, iron-banded wood.

That made his expression all the more amusing to the gaggle of teenaged girls who virtually dragged both him and his vampire inside… once those same girls had finished squealing in a pitch high enough to have the hyena within him on edge.

Fortunately, Spike being Spike, the blond had stepped forward, protecting him until he’d gathered his somewhat lacking wits.

And Spike was a sight to behold, even with one eye. He always had been.

He’d posed and preened, accepting the fawning as his due, all the while holding lightly to his Xan’s hand while turning faux flirtatious gazes at each of the girls, and if this was the state of the trainee Slayers, the world was in for a heap of trouble, the vampire thought with a grin. Hell, even Dawn hadn’t been this bad. Not even when she’d been deep in the throes of her little crush on him.

“Right, then,” he inserted into one blissful moment when all of the teenagers were miraculously taking a breath at once, “Where’s th’ Head Man?” Spike rolled his eyes at the blank looks he got, unsure of whether the chits were daft or simply didn’t know who he was talking about. “Th’ High Poobah…? King of bloody Watcher-ville?”

Xander finally laughed, his fingers tightening around Spike’s. “He means Giles, girls,” he explained, wincing slightly when speaking to them earned him another excited squeal. “Uh… we’ll just check his office.”

“Yah,” Spike agreed, his limited patience giving out. “Alone. Meanin’ with none of ya lot. Maybe ya can go an’… play with your dolls or somethin’ whilst th’ grown-ups talk, ‘ey?”

Brown eyes rolled as Xander laughed. “He’s a charmer, I know. Look, ladies. Thanks for the welcome. It’s a nice surprise. But we really do need to talk to Giles, okay?”

Spike snorted and did the only thing he could think of to stop the incessant babbling from the twelve or so girls still surrounding them. He turned and dragged his Xan hard against him then waggled a brow wickedly and pressed his lips roughly against the other man’s, kissing him hard, deeply and thoroughly.

“Right, then. Giles is where?” he asked of the sudden silence.

One girl laughed, rather than looking stunned like the others and Xander recognized her as the same trainee he’d seen the last time he’d been in London, although they hadn’t exactly met, what with the suspicious glares on both their parts.

“I’ll show you, gents,” she said with a grin. “The house can be a bit of a maze if you’re not familiar. With it, not with each other because you’re obviously that. I’m Fran, by the way. Nice to meet you, Spike… and nice to see you again, Xander. Follow me.”

And that was unexpected, Xander thought, even as he and Spike started off down the hall behind the girl. “So you’re Australian?” he asked, then shook his head. “Duh. Of course you are. Sorry.”

“Think you’re still a bit flustered, luv,” Spike murmured, releasing his Xan’s warm hand to wrap his arm around his waist. “More interested in why Fran, here, didn’t go all bloody silent like th’ others when I kissed ya.”

The girl laughed, giving them a glance over her shoulder. “Most of the others have been very sheltered, gents. They already knew you were… together, but seeing it’s another matter for them. As for myself… my brother’s gay. Two men kissing is the least of what I’ve stumbled in on. And honestly, even if I hadn’t seen it before? Demons, vampires, were-creatures…? A couple of blokes who are into each other isn’t such a big bloody shock, right?”

And when it was put like that, Xander had to laugh. “I guess…”

For his part, Spike gave the girl a speculative gaze and leaned closer, taking a whiff of her before chuckling. “This brother of yours, pet… ‘s he tall like ya? Dark hair… not bad lookin’ for a human?”

“Well, of course he is, Spike. He’s my brother. He’s a good ten years older but there’s a resemblance. Why?” Fran stopped and turned, arching a sleek, sculpted brow at the blond.

The vampire shrugged and chuckled. “No reason, pet. Just wonderin’ if I might know th’ bloke.”

The young girl laughed and turned away, leading them on. “Not likely. He’s a bit of a free spirit. Never stays in one place long enough to get to know anyone. In other than the biblical sense, of course.”

* * * * *

The hyena had been snarling quietly in the back of his head the entire time Spike was chatting with the girl. Finally, once they’d been shown to Giles’ office and Fran had left them, it quieted down a little.

Stop it,’ Xander growled inside his head. ‘She’s nothing to us. Nothing to Spike. She’s just… a cub. A kit. A baby.

Ours talked to it. Ours liked it!

Brown eyes rolled quickly as the hated eye patch was finally removed. ‘Of course ours liked it. It… she was being nice. That doesn’t mean he wants her! We trust him, so just… stop!’

A grumbling, irritated rumble echoed through his head as the beast curled up tightly, mumbling to itself about dominant females and not sharing ‘theirs’.

Of course, that was when Xander realized that Spike and Giles were both looking at him, the vampire with a smug and amused expression while the Watcher simply seemed concerned.

“Sorry,” he said after a moment, “I was having a little ‘talk’ with my other half.”

The blond grinned and pulled his Xan closer, holding him tightly for a moment as he met the Watcher’s eyes. “He does that from time ta time, Rupert. ‘s nothin’ ta worry over.”

And actually, Giles was somewhat relieved. If the Primal spirit wasn’t fully integrated with Xander then there was a chance of removing it without damaging the young man. Not that he was going to suggest such a thing just yet. He didn’t have enough information, in any case.

“Yes, well… you’re here. And apparently doing well, one would assume.” Giles cleared his throat and took his glasses off, looking a bit flustered. It was one thing to express his affection for the former Scooby in an e-mail message, but quite another to do so in person. “I, ah… I trust your journey was pleasant?”

Vampire and hyena-having man exchanged one wicked glance, then separated, swooping in on the uncomfortable Watcher and grabbing him into an enveloping hug.

“Not as pleasant as th’ many blow jobs on th’ way, mate,” Spike said with a smirk once they’d set Giles back on his feet and released him, “but not bad.”

“Spike!” Xander yelped, shaking his head. “Bad vampire! No whiskey!” He turned his gaze on the man quickly polishing his glasses and clearly trying to hide a small smile and a large blush. “Ignore him, Giles. He’s just being pissy because someone called him ‘nancy’ when we stopped for gas. Petrol. Whatever.”

“ ‘ey! Doesn’t make me a bloody poof ta be snoggin’ my bloke while I’m waitin’ for th’ bloody pump ta finish, yah?”

And just like that, Giles was laughing harder than he’d done in years. He dropped his glasses on the table behind him and bent over slightly, clutching his ribs as the tears started to slip from the corners of his eyes. “I…” he gasped, still laughing, “I’m fairly… certain… that it does, Spike…”

Brown eyes crinkled at the edges as they met pouty blue. “Told you, baby… we’re a couple of… sodding nancy boy poofters,” Xander said with a grin and truly horrible accent.

Spike groaned and reached out, dragging the brunette against him again. “An’ I told ya, pet… don’t use that bloody accent unless ya want ta find yourself bum up over th’ nearest surface, yah…?”

It was Giles’ turn to roll his eyes and he did, wiping the small trails of moisture from his cheeks as he retrieved his glasses and settled them on the bridge of his nose. “Please, Xander. For the remainder of your stay, do refrain from… enticing Spike to such lengths. I sincerely have no desire to witness any such thing. Not to mention that repeated exposure to such attempts might possibly make my ears bleed… more.”

“Oh, you’re a funny, funny guy, Giles,” he said with a grin that echoed the Watcher’s and was soon matched by Spike’s as well. “So… I guess we should talk.”

“You did promise me answers,” Giles agreed, leaning against the table comfortably. “It might be best to get them out of the way before the party.”

“Party…? What party?”

Part Twenty

“Okay,” he said slowly, settling himself as comfortably as he could on the couch against the wall of Giles’ office while Spike helped himself to some of the Watcher’s very good scotch before joining him, “Where do you want me to start… Dad?”

If there was a sudden and small tear in his eye, Giles chose to ignore it, just as the other men did.

“I suppose I should ask about your… hyena, Xander. However, I must admit to a certain… nearly macabre interest in how… this happened,” he said carefully, gesturing back and forth between the blond and the brunette. “I’m not saying that I object. In fact, I can honestly say that at this juncture, I quite approve of your… romantic choices. For the most part. However, in all honesty, I simply… wouldn’t have imagined the two of you together. I seem to recall you as being rather…”

Xander chuckled softly at Giles actually being at a loss for words. “Heterosexual? Straight? Firmly on the ‘Oooo-gah! Titties!’ train?” he teased, his hand resting lightly on Spike’s thigh.

“ ‘ey!” the vampire joined in, enjoying the look on Rupert’s face, “Don’t care what ya do, Xan, I’m not wearin’ pasties an’ a g-string!”

The brunette pretended to consider that then leaned closer, whispering into Spike’s ear. “No… no pasties, baby. Don’t want them covering up your nipple rings. The g-string, on the other hand, we’ll talk about.”

“I don’t have nipple rings, ya git!” the vampire said loudly, his eyes wide and shocked at the murmured ‘not yet, you don’t’ he heard.

The Watcher sighed exasperatedly. “Honestly, Xander, I’m beginning to think that I need to separate you two if I want to get any information from you.”

Xander blinked and shook his head, turning a sheepish gaze to the older man as the hyena cackled inside him. ‘Theirs’ was going to look perfect with his nipples pierced.

“Sorry, Giles,” the man said with a small smile. “I got… distracted. Where was I?”

“Th’ Oooo-gah-Titties train, luv,” Spike provided helpfully, already deciding what size rings he wanted.

“Right… thanks, Spike…” Xander murmured, giving the strong thigh beneath his fingers a soft squeeze. “Yeah, the… orientation. See, it’s like this…”

“I know I told you about what happened in Africa, Giles. Most of it, anyway. Hell, I even filed reports when I could. But… okay, I don’t know if you’ll remember this, but… I’d been in Sudan for a few months when I saw my first massacre. Only it wasn’t done by demons, or even humans. It was disease, Giles. Do you…?”

The man nodded sadly, removing his glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Yes, I… I was so afraid for you, Xander. Your report sounded so… despairing. I was tempted to recall you, you know, however… your next communication was less… broken and so I left you there. Perhaps I shouldn’t have.”

Longish brown hair swayed as Xander shook his head. “No, it… well, I can’t say it wasn’t a life-altering experience, but… Hell, Giles. I grew up in Africa. In more ways than I can even explain.”

Giles sighed sadly but nodded. It was true, after all. No matter how many things the boy had seen that he wished he’d never had to deal with, it had formed him, shaped him into the young man sitting just a few feet away. “Please, Xander… go on.”

“Well, after that first village, I sort of… fell apart. Abasi was the one who helped put me back together.”

“Abasi? My Watcher Abasi? That Abasi? But… he’s married!”

Spike couldn’t help snorting. “Yah, Rupert… an’ ya don’t know a single, solitary bloke even here in jolly olde what’s got a family at home an’ a bloke or two on th’ side, right?” His hand slid a few inches, settling over his Xan’s larger, tanned one, pressing it lightly between his palm and his leg.

Xander blushed. He couldn’t help it. As much as he trusted Giles and loved him like a father, there were just certain things he wasn’t going to go into detail about with the man. “Anyway… he reminded me that I was alive, you know? And that there were pleasures, even while surrounded by death and despair. He… he showed me that it was alright not to let sorrow swallow me whole.”

“Yah, because that’s my job. Th’ swallowin’, I mean,” Spike murmured, grinning when the words pulled the hoped for smile from his Xan.

“So basically, Giles, without going into any more details, I… well, I found out a few things about myself, and lets just say that the tittie train still rides the rails but I’ve taken the option to… disembark at will. Okay, and am I the only one who’s finding this metaphor kinda… freaksome?”

“Hardly,” Giles admitted with a chuckle and a somewhat queasy smile. “Consider my question answered, then. And the hyena spirit? I trust… or no, I should ask. Is it the same spirit which inhabited you before or… do you believe it to be a different Primal?”

And that was a question he could answer without any qualms or embarrassment, Xander thought happily. “Oh, it’s the same one, alright. Just like this is the same eye I was born with, though I guess it’s a few years younger than the other one. Not that it matters.”

Brows arched as glasses were replaced. “And I suppose this is the part where you do go into detail, son. Because I’m afraid I must be entirely honest and say that I’m not certain of how much I trust the… trials you referred to in your letter.”

The blond frowned slightly at the subtle hardening of his Xan’s expression and moved his hand just a bit, fingers sliding between tense, thicker ones and flexing, holding the man’s warm hand tightly in a show of support. “ ‘s alright, Xan… ya can tell old Rupes, yah?”

Xander sighed and nodded, giving Spike’s fingers a small squeeze back as he closed his eyes, remembering.

* * * * *

He’d been traveling for almost two years and he couldn’t even recall the last time he’d bathed in anything other than a muddy hole, or a stream if he was lucky. Hell, he’d become very familiar with sand-baths. He’d never complain about sand in uncomfortable places again, he knew… assuming he ever made it out of Africa and to an American beach again.

The things he’d seen… the things he’d done… were so outside of what he’d known or expected that he honestly didn’t know how he’d managed to survive mostly intact.

This place, this ‘dark continent’ had taught him so much about ‘fair’.

Fair. That was a laugh.

He truly wanted to cringe every time he saw another body, another death, another child dying of AIDS contracted from its Mother’s breast.


Fair didn’t exist anymore. It was… an elitist conceit.

And yet a part of him missed it. Missed being able to whine and bitch and moan whenever something ‘bad’ happened. The way he’d carried on back in Sunnydale if his car broke down or he overslept or—God forbid—the mini-mart was out of Twinkies. ‘It’s not faaaaair…’.

No, fair didn’t exist and so he didn’t cringe. He didn’t cry. He didn’t let the enormous well of despair and hatred and self-loathing overwhelm him.

And not just because ‘fair’ was dead. But because of him. Spike.

It had taken him almost that whole two years to realize that the vampire had been the poster boy for ‘not fair’.

And Spike hadn’t whined, hadn’t carried on, hadn’t… Hell, Spike hadn’t even really complained.

He’d simply put on that stupid amulet and met his fate and God knew it had to have hurt but… he’d done it.

He’d done it for everyone, not just for Buffy. For all of them; even the millions of people he’d never met. He’d burned, turned to ash, gone up in a blaze of glory, and while Xander was sure Spike would have been happy to know that, the vampire was still the biggest example of ‘not fair’ that he knew from his old life.

They’d sort of been friends, although on reflection he’d come to the conclusion that ‘sort of’ didn’t really describe it. In the end-- before the end—they’d sort of… respected each other, he thought.

He’d found himself dwelling on the bottle-blond frequently, small snippets of rambling insanity coming back to him, then more lucid comments made when nobody was apparently listening and…

When he found himself in a place he’d never been, but still a place that seemed familiar, he’d known.

He remembered hearing about that tree… that rock—the one that looked like Richard Nixon. He remembered so many things the blond had said, and somehow he put them together in the proper order and… after brushing off his guide, he’d followed the clues, the landmarks, the ‘bloody awful bird in a box-ish ballon thing on the rise’ from the crazy days.

And he’d found it.

And he’d known what he wanted, too.

The only question was whether the demons would let him try.

* * * * *

As it turned out, they did. Something about his aura being ‘blessed’, they said, and being a child of the Hellmouth, Xander figured that meant all the demons and such—or maybe just the energy from the Mouth of Hell—had tainted him.

He didn’t care, though. Tainted, Hell-brushed… whatever. He’d have his days of testing and if… when he survived, he’d get back what he’d lost.

His friend. The one who’d been so brave and strong. The one who deserved so much more than the end he’d received… who hadn’t even really had a chance because they’d never really given him one.

It was that thought alone that made him hold on, that made him fight harder than he’d ever known he could.

‘Spike… Spike could come back, and God please don’t let him be mad if I’m pulling him from Heaven like we did to Buffy, but God, he deserves so much and I don’t really think he’s in Heaven because… that would be fair and fair doesn’t exist, fair is dead so let me give him a chance, let me try to make it all up to him because we treated him like crap and he deserved… deserves so much better and…’

And he found himself standing tall, balanced on one leg because of the demon-talon broken off in his thigh.

His face was bloody, but not as much as his hand which he had somehow managed to slam between rock-like ribs, through sandpaper skin and around what passed for a heart.

The burns on his chest ached slightly. So slightly he barely even noticed them until after he’d dropped the oozing heart to the dirt at his feet and then… then his entire body screamed, protesting the abuse he’d put it through, the extreme efforts he’d demanded of it.

He had only a vague recollection of collapsing beside the dead form of the last demon he’d killed, his suddenly weak fingers slipping in his own blood as he tried to pull the claw from his leg.

‘Wow,’ a voice said, shining gold flashing into his blurred vision, ‘that was—you’ll pardon the phrase—one Hell of a show! Stop… stop,’ the voice continued, fading in and out as blackness rose at the edges of his consciousness. ‘You won, human… and you’re safe. Nobody will hurt you now.’

He felt one smooth, almost metallic-feeling hand brush over his forehead, down to cover his eyes.

‘You have regained that which you lost… now, rest. You’ve earned it.’

He couldn’t have fought that voice even if he’d wanted to. His eye closed, body falling into a stupor so deep that he didn’t even feel it when the empty socket filled. He was gone so far and deep that the return of the hyena he’d known so briefly years earlier didn’t even cause a twitch.

He also didn’t move as Chip returned the other things he’d lost over the course of his short, human life.

* * * * *

Rupert Giles found himself weeping freely as he stared at the boy—the young man—wrapped in the vampire’s almost desperate hold. He’d never known, had no idea…

And Xander Harris had fought for days to pull Spike from the Hell he’d thought him in while the vampire had even then been in Los Angeles, which was possibly another sort of Hell, but still…

“Oh, my poor, dear boy,” Giles sighed, unable to find any words of comfort for what the brunette had been through.

“It… it’s n-not… all bad, Giles,” Xander finally said, his voice shaky and slightly muffled by Spike’s shirt. “I mean, I get to drive again, right? Two eyes and stuff. And I got control. I actually had some once, before the Scoobies and all that, so I got that back. Thus the no rampages and things. Took me until recently to figure that part out, though.”

He swallowed hard and pulled away from Spike slowly, one hand rising to cup the vampire’s cheek. “I… thanks, baby. I’m better now.” He smiled slightly, meeting the suspicious eyes. “Really. I just… I’ve never talked about it before, except to you. It was kinda… rough. But I’m okay.”

Spike’s lips compressed for a moment as he stared deep into the still-damp brown eyes. It bothered him more than he could ever explain to see his Xander upset like that. Finally, though, he nodded and relaxed a little, pressing a slow, deep kiss to full and emotion-swollen lips.

“Alright, pet… but maybe we should skip th’ party, yah? Go find us a hotel an’ just… rest.” Because the last thing he was ever going to do was ask the bloke to snuggle. He was a vampire, not a six year old chit, after all.

Xander shook his head, tongue slipping out to taste Spike on his lips. “If we don’t get it out of the way, we’ll just have to deal with it tomorrow, right? I don’t know about you, Spike, but I don’t want that hanging over my head.”

And Xander was just as resilient as he’d always been, Giles thought, wiping his eyes quickly and forcing a smile onto his face. “Right, then,” he offered, standing up, “I’ll just tell the girls. Half an hour, gentlemen?”

“ ‘ey! Watch who you’re callin’ a gentleman, mate!” Spike called after him, pulling his Xander close again once the door closed with a solid-sounding ‘click’. He could do an awful lot of things in thirty minutes, and at least one of them was likely to take his bloke’s mind off the past.

It was a plan… and this one would work. He just knew it.


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The Spander Files