Your browser isn't running scripts, so you might have trouble with the Drop-Down menu at top right hand corner of page. You can get it at

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Spike or Xander. I am simply borrowing them for the nonce and promise to return them to Joss & Co. none the worse for wear... unless they feel a bit of attraction to each other once they're back home... in which case, they can come live here forever. *grins*
RATING: 18 (NC-17)
A/N: It's 7 years in the future from S7:B... many things have changed and Andrew actually kept his trap shut.

Constructive criticism is always welcome but pure nastiness will be responded to in kind.

Original characters are mine and mine alone (meaning Elliot, Trevor, Mike the bartender and Sammy the waiter. :))

Old Enemies

Tisienne Blue


Part One

"Mr. Alexander!" the voice called from amongst many as he blinked in the flashing light from the cameras. "Mr. Alexander, Treecie Azure from Neverless Magazine!"
He smiled a bit, knowing the mag the woman was talking about. It catered to horror and science fiction fans. He might have a chance of getting a less inane question than usual from her.
"Ms. Azure," he said quickly, trying to point at her although he had no idea of where she actually was, considering the amount of spots in his vision at the moment.
The young woman smirked a bit at having been singled out by the author; then she let it go and looked at her pad.
"I know a lot of people have been comparing you to Anne Rice, and I already know how you feel about that, so I'm not going to ask anything so common. Besides, your work is nothing like hers."
She grinned when a good number of the other reporters blushed or looked away. Yeah, she knew they were too straight-laced to even try finding a different topic to ask about.
Mr. Alexander chuckled a bit and nodded, leaning forward in an attempt to see the woman but failing because people kept taking pictures. He should be used to it by now, he figured... but he wasn't.
"Cool," he said. "So what do you want to know, Treecie?"
The woman blushed a little herself, then asked her question.
"How did you really lose your eye?"
She frowned a little, then glared at the so-called reporters around her. "I know you don't like to talk about it," she explained, "because it might affect sales, but... your last three books made the best seller's list and at this point I think we all know you're not really the same guy as in the books, so..."
Treecie shrugged. "Please... how?"
Harrison Alexander-- as he'd been known for some three and a half years-- laughed. He actually laughed. "Meet me for dinner and I might tell you," he said with an over-stated wink that set the rest of the reporters howling with laughter. The young woman was a stunner, after all. Who could blame him?
She grinned. "It's a date. So if you won't answer that... now, I mean... what do you like on your pizza?" The young woman winked, and he answered.
"Pepperoni and sausage. What does that say about me, Treecie?"
The redhead laughed. "I don't know. That you like meat...?"
He thought she knew how right she was. As far as her imagination went, anyway.
Still, nothing wrong with fluctuating, either.
He was a confirmed bisexual, even with the media, so he just laughed. "You could say that," he admitted, most of the other reporters laughing, although he noticed a good number of them trying not to look jealous.
* * * * *
The rest of the press conference had gone off without a hitch, mostly, and Harrison-- as he was calling himself then-- was pleased to find himself at a secluded restaurant with the stunner.
They had salad and appetizers, entrees and dessert... and still, he couldn't bring himself to tell her the truth.
He was enjoying her company, though, and that's why he didn't freeze up when she asked him about his inspiration for his character "Spark" in his books.
Sure, the character was a vampire who had earned his name due to torturing his victims with the smoldering end of a fire brand. Sure, the guy had spent a load of time trying to live up to the desires of his maker and had then gone and gotten himself a soul, but...
"There is no Spark," he told her softly, trying to hide the sadness in his own soul. "It's a story. That's all. I took my experiences growing up and... made them into horror and that's where the books come from, is all."
The reporter looked at him sadly, then shrugged. "Okay. But... the eye?" She smiled. "You did say you'd tell me if we went to dinner, and... here we are. At dinner."
The author laughed loudly and lied to her face. "I'd love to say I lost it in some big, heart-rending showdown... that some evil priest put it out by driving his thumb into the socket. That would be appropriately dramatic, right? Not to mention being just what happens to Lavelle in the book. But... just between you and me?"
She nodded, for some reason actually meaning it this time. "Off the record," she promised, shutting off even her internal mental recorder... the one that she relied on most times to recall inflections.
The dark haired man smiled again and nodded. "All right... and you're the only one I've ever told this to so if I read it anywhere, I'll know where it came from..."
He chuckled softly, seeing her waiting with bated breath for some big, explosive thing.
"It's like this," he said softly. "You know how when you're a kid and playing knights with your friends, using sticks for swords... and your Mom says 'be careful or someone's gonna lose an eye'...?"
He chuckled as the young woman fell into peals of laughter, trusting that her amusement would distract her from the pain in his one remaining eye.
Fortunately, he was right.

Part Two

Harrison Alexander sighed softly as he walked into his two bedroom apartment in upper Northwest DC.
His agent Elliot had just dropped him off. For some reason, the DMV in Washington didn't want to let him have a driver's license. Possibly because he was missing an eye and possibly because of his driving record. Either way, he figured he was lucky to have become successful enough that he could call on his agent to drive him around.
Even so, it was somewhat degrading. He was able to see well enough that he should at least have been given a provisional license. Daytime only would have been fine.
As it was, he ran the risk of getting arrested every time he took his new Jag out, which was exactly why Elliot had insisted on driving him to and from the press thing. And waited while he had dinner with the reporter before driving her back to her hotel, then him to home.
Harrison Alexander. He sighed.
He knew the new Watcher's Council couldn't take a chance on him exposing them. Even with changing his name a bit, he was surprised they hadn't protested. Hell, he was amazed that they hadn't ordered him to stop writing the books.
Not that he would have listened, but still.
He'd been writing mostly as some sort of therapy, he thought. So he could find a way to accept himself and the things he'd done. Or not done, he admitted.
He'd never admitted his attraction to certain of his colleagues. Never admitted that he'd been hateful to them because he'd wanted them. First Angel, who'd had eyes only for the Slayer, and then... a little later... Spike. Even with Anya, he'd wanted him. Anya... was just another indicator. He should have...
It had taken him years to realize that he was drawn to demons. For the longest time, he'd blamed it on the Hellmouth.
It wasn't until that night... that horrible night... the night he and his friends managed to keep the world from ending...
Xander groaned and curled into his pillow, trying not to think about it. It had been six years and... he'd moved on.
He tried to force himself to sleep, and once he managed to do it even half way, that was even worse.
He saw again the fight in the old High School... saw again Spike from his eavesdropping spot at the top of the stairs before it all went fiery.
"I love you," Buffy had said, and Xander wished it was him there saying that to Spike, even though he hadn't known it then.
"No you don't," he'd heard the blond vampire respond, "But thanks for saying it..."
He remembered his heart skipping a good beat or two when Spike looked up towards where he was hiding, but then...
Then the flames came, and the long, drawn-out scream... and then Spike was gone. Eaten from the inside for a love that would never be.
And, Xander admitted privately, even if Spike had been talking to him, it would have been the same.
He hadn't truly known that he loved Spike until after he was gone.

And thank GODS he hadn't married Anya.
If he had, he'd be dead by now.
He had a sneaking suspicion that she might have had a problem with his inherent desire for lean, cut, cocky blonds of the male variety by now. Or even worse, would want to join in... assuming a different end to things, anyway.
He spared a sad, small smile for Anya, wherever she was. Did demons go to Heaven, even if they died saving the world? He had no idea.
"Gods," he said softly, and not for the first time, "Grant her happiness and peace."
His eyes closed tiredly as he slipped off completely, for some reason imagining all the things he wished he'd done before he'd lost his world.
Whether he defined his world as the blond vampire occupying his mind was another question entirely. He could just as easily have meant his hometown. He'd been very careful not to look too deeply into that question. He was honestly afraid of what he might find out if he asked himself and actually gave himself an honest answer.
Besides… he’d built himself a new world, this one with very little involvement of demons or Slayers. Except for the rare occasion when one of the old crowd called him. And he figured that was… if not good, then at least okay.
* * * * *
It was the ringing of his phone that dragged him from yet another sweaty, moaning dream and he groaned deeply as he reached for the receiver. He pressed it confusedly to his ear, calling "hello? Hello?" into it before he grunted and reversed it until the mouthpiece was actually by his mouth. "Wha...?" he said, trying again.
"Jesus Christ, Harris... do you even know what time it is? You CAN'T still be sleeping, right?"
Harrison sat up suddenly, his eye finding the clock across the room. "SHIT! I... sorry, Elliot! I overslept. Give me five minutes and I'll be down, okay?"
He forced himself to jump from the bed, then tossed the phone down once he hit the disconnect button. He didn't think he could actually shower, shave, dress and be out the door that quickly but he was for damned sure going to give it his best shot.
Fifteen minutes later he stepped from his apartment, locking the door behind him. His laptop was slung over one shoulder in its case while the other shoulder supported the carry on bag he'd packed two days earlier. There was no way he could miss this damned signing in New York. Even if it HAD interrupted a very good dream.
"Sorry, guy," he said sheepishly as he climbed into Elliot's Mercedes, "I swear I set the alarm this time..."
Elliot laughed, his pale blue eyes crinkling at the corners as he gunned the engine and headed for the nearest exit to 495. He tossed his head slightly, short blond hair bouncing with the movement as he yelled at another driver who had almost cut him off.
"It's fine, Harris," he said once he'd managed to merge into the next lane, getting in front of the bastard. "I know how hard you sleep, remember?"
The dark haired man chuckled, recalling the three months the two of them had been an item. They'd been good together, he knew, but... Elliot wasn't quite what he truly needed. Too American, for one thing... and too warm.
Besides, the other man had felt it. That he was a stand-in for someone who was gone.
Fortunately, he hadn't been angry about it. If he had been, he never would have stolen the first manuscript and taken it to work for the lead staff to read. And Harris wouldn't have had a carreer.
No, Elliot had told him that he figured it had been fun while it lasted. And the slightly younger one-eyed man had ended up being one of his closest friends, so... it was all good. A good fuck wasn't as hard to find as a good friend. And a good friend who didn't mind the occasional good fuck was even better.
Harris agreed on every level really, so when recognized the tone Elliot had used to say that about knowing how hard he slept, he frowned a little. "Okay... and this is me waiting for the punch line."
The blond had the grace to blush just a little, then laughed. "Our flight's not until eleven. I thought we could use some extra time. Especially considering how often you set that stupid clock-radio for PM instead of AM. You should just hire a service and be done with it. Or better yet, find yourself a man. Or a woman. Whichever you’re currently bothering with.” He winked.
Harris groaned, longish dark hair falling into his eyes as he looked down at his clenched hands, trying his best not to throttle his friend.
"If you knew," he grated out roughly, "how good the dream you pulled me from was, you wouldn't blame me for hitting you right now."
Elliot's pale blond brows rose and he darted a glance at Harris as he took the Dulles Airport exit from the Beltway. "Ohhh... dreaming about HIM again, were you? Guess you ARE in a male phase. So did he put it to you or were you the one driving this time?" he asked smugly. He didn't know who the guy Harris dreamt of was, but he'd be damned if he didn't want to find one like that for himself. All hunger and want... or at least in his friend's dreams.
The brunette sighed and shrugged a bit. "Doesn't really matter, does it? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. That's what they say, right?"
The conversation fell off as Harris stared out the window of the car for the rest of the short ride to the airport. God knew he loved Elliot. The man was pretty much his best friend these days. But there were still certain things he wasn't ready to tell him. Things he'd NEVER be ready to tell him.

Part Three

He knew he was haunted. He had to be. Or else it was the bloody soul inside him.
He couldn't figure any other reason for the way his so-called life had gone since what was supposed to be the final battle.
He'd expected to die there beside his Sire... or rather the Vampire who'd acted as his Sire since Dru was too bleeding wonky to act as such. But he hadn't.
Most of the others had, sure. And he'd PLANNED on doing so himself!
But sodding Lorne had other plans for him, it seemed.
After going and telling them all how he wouldn't be back, the poncey, swishy Pylean had come out of nowhere just as the fight was reaching a fever pitch and... clocked him in the head then shoved him down a manhole into the sewers!
And apparently the bloke had made arrangements because when he'd come to, he'd been in New Mexico with a group of Crashtith demons.
He figured the others were all dead by then; even the ones he hadn't seen pass. His Sire, the thug, the ex-Watcher and the Blue Bitch. They for damned sure hadn't been around by the time he got back to L.A. to look for them. Of course, neither had Lorne... aside from a few scraps of green, lightly scaled chunks of flesh under a dumpster. Might not have been him, necessarily, but... how many Pyleans were likely to have been in that alley at the right time?
And so Spike had done what Spike had always done. He made the best of it.
He went back to the Wolfram and Hart office building, amazed that it was still standing.
He slipped inside, avoiding Hell-beasts when he could and killing them when he couldn't.
He made his way to Angel's office, then up the elevator-- miraculously still working-- to his Sire's rooms and... looted them.
It wasn't hard to figure out that the combination to the safe was the date he was turned, then the date Dru was. It was SO easy, in fact, that he wondered whether Angel had done it deliberately so his favourite childe wouldn't be alone AND empty handed.
He rather thought he might have, simply because of the order of the dates. His turning, then Dru's. Maybe he'd meant something to the wanker after all.
He deliberately ignored the thought that if Angel HAD done that, it meant he'd known about Lorne's plan... had maybe even been in on it.
Six million in cash made a bloody big parcel, even when stuffed into the bag so thoughtfully left within the safe. The diamonds made less of a package. Those he stuck in the pockets of his jeans.
That wasn't what had made him cry, though.
No, what made him cry was the ring.
Angel must have snatched it from the Master, way back in Sunnyhell and kept it hidden all that time because he'd for damn sure never seen him wear it. Still, there it was.
Spike remembered smiling as he slipped the platinum band with its tiny diamonds and huge ruby onto his index finger. "I'll make ya proud, Peaches," he'd whispered into the still, sweltering air of his Sire's home. "I'll be th' Master of Aurelius for ya, seein' as I'm all that's left."
With that he'd turned and walked to one of the huge, spelled windows and broken it by throwing a chair through it. The spells seemed to have weakened for some reason.
Then he stepped from it, plummeting the three hundred feet without anything but a smirk, groaning slightly as he landed, then straightened.
And then... he'd walked away.
* * * * *
His walk hadn't gotten him too far, he realized, dragging himself from his own memories. He hadn't even made it back to England!
Still, New York was a good way away from California.
He wasn't entirely sure of why he'd chosen New York. Maybe because he still had fond memories of Nikki, but he doubted that.
More likely, he figured, it was because it was where he'd run into the bloke who'd made his look famous.
The pissant motherfucker was an enormous wanker of course, but still... by stealing his look, the LOOK would be remembered forever.
If he was dusted tomorrow, some kid down the line would show up with bleached hair, ripped shirt, jeans, and... yeah, it was a legacy. Perhaps not one he was thrilled about but... with a soul, how could he go back to Jolly Old and kill the prat? Besides... the fuck might already be dead. He'd heard he'd lived in L.A. for a time. Whether he still did or not was another question, and not one he cared enough about to find out. He'd just believe he was dead and that would do.
That thought made him smile as he continued following the tiny-breasted blonde woman down the street. The chit had "victim" written all over her. He'd be surprised if he was the only predator out tonight. Hell, he'd STAKE himself if he was the only predator out. That's how certain he was.
Luckily for Spike, he didn't have to go to those extremes because as soon as the bloody stupid chit turned down a side street she was surrounded by three vamps without souls.
He watched for a few moments, letting the girl get good and scared, then he stepped forward into the edge of the streetlight's pool.
"Think ya might be wantin' ta move along, blokes," he said softly, pulling a slightly crumpled Marlboro from his pocket and lighting it quickly.
He squinted a bit at them, smirking as he took another step closer to the girl, his eyes locked on the alleged lead-vamp. "I'm lookin' out for this one."
It amazed him that his reputation had grown so much in less than five years in a metropolis the size of New York, but... the vamps took one look at him and even their leader turned tail and ran.
Spike growled and pushed the blonde away. Amazing how small tits and yellow hair transcended everything else. He might have saved the bint's life, but that didn't mean he wanted to bed her! And all because he'd seen how unhappy she was when she'd left the bar.
Now that he knew how she acted, he was surprised the bloke she'd been talking to hadn't hauled off and HIT her.
He pushed her off again, then faded into the shadows, still watching until she entered what he assumed was her building.
"Right, then," he murmured, "I'm off."
It was the same every night. He went out once the sun set, found himself in a bar or club or whatever. Scouted until he found the most likely targets, then... followed.
It wasn't the same as what he'd done before but he was damaged somewhat. Even his soul thought he'd done enough.
Let others save the world. He'd just save a human or two at a time.
That was enough, wasn't it...?
It would have to be, he told himself as he strode the loud, dirty streets. After all, it was all he could do these days. Especially with his soul.
It had taught him a few things. TOLD him a few things. He wasn't all powerful. He'd learned that. And he was alone. More alone than he'd ever been in his life.
First he'd had Mother. Then Dru and Angelus. Even Darla. Then... the Scooby Gang.
Lastly, he'd had Angel and his crew.
All dead.
Every last one of them. Dead.
Oh, he knew most of the Sunnyhell crew had gotten out... probably. He’d even seen that little wanker Andrew a time or two. Almost saw Buffy once, when he’d gone to Italy with the poof. But considering what they must have been going on towards, he knew they were all dead, too.
A part of him still mourned for Buffy. She'd been a good adversary when he'd been soul-less. And he missed the Nibblet. Of all of them, she'd least deserved to die... except for the other. The one who'd given him sanctuary even through hate. The one who'd taunted and hurt with his words and so-called humour. The one he couldn't forget holding onto when that pain from the lost eye burned. Yeah... he missed Xander the most. But he knew the younger bloke was dead by now. Hell. Even before the Watcher's Council blew up, they hadn't been so good at looking after their own.
Spike sighed deeply and let his feet drag him to one of the better gay bars.
He wasn't exactly gay, but... he'd feel better if he could find a tall, handsome young dark-haired man... one who'd wear the eye patch while he buried himself deep and thought of other times.
Not happier times, necessarily, but... better ones.
It was a plan, and as plans went, Spike figured he'd had worse ones.

Part Four

"Go ahead, buddy," Harris said, smiling just a little into the glass of scotch he was holding. "Seriously, I'm not in the mood to hang around with a bunch of fags and queers tonight." He winked at Elliot, knowing his friend would understand his meaning.
Elliot shook his head and finished his drink. "If I didn't know you swung both ways, that'd almost be insulting," he teased. "There's no law that says you have to get yourself picked up, you know. Come on, Harris. Have a couple drinks, dance a little... it'll be fun. God knows you could use some fun. You've been all 'work-work-work' for the last eight months. Now the book is in, it's coming out tomorrow, and it's time for all good little one-eyed money-makers to shake their thing and cut loose."
Harris laughed loudly and shook his head again. "Maybe tomorrow, El. We can make a night of it." He waggled his brow suggestively and tossed a cocky grin out there. "Maybe I'll even put on the leather," he added, sealing the deal.
"Oh, good," Elliot nearly purred, "I have my collar and leash in my room."
The brunette chuckled and downed the last of the scotch in his glass. "I figured, buddy," he said as he stood. "You give whole new meaning to the phrase 'don't leave home without it' when it comes to your kinks." He winked and ruffled the short blond hair. "Don't stay out too late, and NO riding bareback, no matter how safe you think the guy looks."
Elliot tried to look offended. "Who says there's going to be any riding at all?"
Harris snorted. "Try selling that one to someone who doesn't know you. Now go. Have fun. I'll see you tomorrow."
Elliot sighed softly, still smiling as he watched his friend make his way across the lobby to the elevators. He was going to hold Harris to his promise of going out the next night. The guy needed to decompress seriously badly. He could tell. And if that meant he got to wear the leash and eventually be ridden like a pony, then so be it.
He grinned hugely as he went outside to hail a cab.
* * * * *
Elliot leaned against the bar at the club he privately called "Homo Heaven". His first margarita had gone down quickly but now he was nursing the second. He could afford to be either tired or hungover in the morning, but not both. Tired would be more fun, anyway. It would mean he'd gotten lucky and laid.
Of course, standing at the end of the bar wasn't going to get it done, so he pushed away and started circulating, catching bits and pieces of conversation as he roamed.
"Oh, please!" he heard one reasonably attractive man saying to another of the same sort, "He SO wants to be Spark! I mean, just LOOK at him! The eyes, the hair, even the clothes! It would be sad if..."
"If he didn't do it so well," the second guy yelled back in agreement. "Do you think maybe he IS Spark? I mean, the guy he's based on?"
Elliot moved closer and saw the first man roll his eyes. "Honey," the first guy replied, "Look at him. He's WAY too young. Harrison started writing the books like six years ago, right? THAT guy would have been like sixteen and that's just... wrong." He shivered. "No, the Author would never lust after a kid. He's a good guy from what I've read."
Elliot chuckled to himself, leaving the two men to their discussion. 'The Author' he repeated silently. Harris would get a kick out of that. The guy was right, though. Harris would never even think about someone that young. Not even six years earlier. His friend had always gone for older men. A little older, anyway. Of course, he still wanted to check out this guy who supposedly looked like his friend's most popular character. Who knew? Maybe he could get the guy to do some public appearances to promote the new book, assuming he lived up to the hype.
That was when he saw him, and... oh, boy.
His eyes raked over the long, lean body, fascinated by the black denim and the t-shirt stretched tight over lithe, cat-like muscles.
The guys he'd overheard had been completely right, he realized. If there ever was a Spark, this guy could have modeled for him.
Pale, smooth skin, high cheekbones, strong jaw... eyes just the right shade of vibrant blue-- at least he thought so, considering the questionable lighting. The hair platinum and swept back from a high, almost creaseless forehead but for the one small curl that had come away from the rest...
He watched the man for a few minutes then waved over a scantily clad waiter. "The blond," he said, passing the guy a twenty, "Get him a beer on me. Whatever kind that is he's holding. And give him this, too. Tell him I might have a job for him, if he's interested." He handed the waiter his business card then leaned against one of the tall columns going from floor to ceiling. It was as good a vantage point as any.
The waiter sighed and walked towards the bar. "Hey, Mike," he called to the bartender, "Another Beck's Dark for the mystery man." He rolled his eyes.
Mike chuckled and passed him a bottle of the beer. "You're just jealous, sweetie. Nobody's even noticed your new outfit, right?" He chuckled again when the waiter stomped off. Yeah... Sammy was jealous, all right.
* * * * *
"Oh, bloody hell," Spike growled softly as yet another waiter came over with yet another beer. "Look, mate," he said seriously, "If you an' your lot keep interruptin' me, I'm never goin' ta get anywhere with this bloke, am I?" He tilted his head to indicate the tall, good looking brunette he'd been chatting up. He rested one hand on the prospective 'date's' waist, cocking a brow.
The waiter grinned a little, even as he handed the blond the beer. "Honey, I think you've got a shot at getting EVERYWHERE with that one." He winked saucily. "Besides, as long as you stand around in here, you're gonna get interrupted. You're the best looking thing to walk in here in... weeks. Deal with it."
Spike laughed. "Why, you cheeky bugger! Off with you!" He chuckled loudly as he swatted the waiter on the ass. "Nice pants, by th' way. Where'd you find purple PVC with lace-up sides, anyway? An' do they come in black?"
The waiter grinned even more. "Reversible," he announced, cocking a hip towards the man. "Want to find out?"
Spike shook his head, pulling the brunette he'd been talking to just a little bit closer. "Sorry, mate. Got a thing for tall, dark an' handsome at th' moment. An' I don't rightly care much for a Prince Albert." He nodded down at the obvious thick ring outlined against the front of the tight purple pants. "But thanks for bringin' th' beer."
The short blond waiter sighed softly, then shrugged. "Just doing my job, mister man." He winked again and started to turn away then remembered. "Oh, I'm supposed to give you this, too. From the same guy." He handed over the business card with a sheepish grin. "He says he has a job for you if you want. Um, he seemed to mean a real job, not anything... weird."
With that, he sauntered off, glad someone had actually noticed his pants, even if it was the guy who had everyone so distracted.
Spike shrugged and slipped the card into the pocket of his jeans. He'd look at it later. Right now, though... he cocked his head a bit and looked a couple inches up, meeting the wide brown eyes of the young man beside him. "So, pet... Trevor... what do you say? Care ta spend a night all... tied up, so ta speak?"
Trevor laughed breathlessly. "I, uh... think I could go for that, but... uh, is the eye patch
Spike frowned. "'s just a thing of mine, mate. If you don't want ta, I won't make you... but I think you'd like it and I'd bloody well appreciate it, myself..."
The young man frowned. Even though the blond looked about his own age, he talked... older, somehow. And his eyes... oh, his eyes were anything but young. Lot of baggage there, Trevor realized. More than he wanted to mess around with, anyway.
"I... okay. Eye patch it is." Trevor's smile was a little weak but he doubted the Englishman noticed. "Just... the tied up is metaphorical, right? I mean, you don't want to actually... tie me up, right?"
Bloody hell, the bloke was almost more trouble than he was worth. And surprisingly vanilla, apparently, the whole wanting to take a bloke's cock up his bum thing aside. He was still bloody attractive, but... somehow knowing the kid didn't really know how to play was putting a damper on things for him.
Spike sighed and shook his head, a wry smile twisting his lips. "You know what, mate? I think I might be a bit too much for you. What say we finish our drinks an' our chat an' just move on, 'ey? Think it might be best for th' both of us."
There was a time when he would have lied to the kid and gone ahead and done whatever he wanted once he had him alone and away from any help. Of course, there was a time when he would have fucked him then eaten him and fucked him again, too, so... Spike shrugged and tried not to laugh at the relief pouring in waves from the kid. "Right, then."
They talked about art for a little while, debating the Italian Masters versus the French. Finally, though, their drinks were finished and Spike turned away. "You might consider chattin’ up that last waiter, Trevor," he said in parting. "Think he might be a bit more your speed."
William the Bloody, matchmaker for gay humans. The thought alone pulled a somewhat disgusted snort from him. But the kid was okay. He might have had the look but he for damned sure didn't have the guts of the one he remembered from good old Sunnyhole-in-the-ground.

Part Five

Even the way the blond moved was like a sort of poetry, Elliot thought. Like watching water flow effortlessly over and around rocks in a stream, although water didn't have that slight sense of menace to it that the blond was obviously trying to hide.
Elliot recognized it, though. He hadn't always restricted his games to collars and leashes. Hell, before he'd run into Harris, he'd tried some truly dark things and while they hadn't really taken, he could still recognize danger when he saw it.

Still, whatever had happened between the blond and the dark haired guy, the Spark looking guy hadn't hurt the other one. They appeared to have parted on good terms, so... maybe he'd just take a shot and tell the man what he had in mind. For the promotional thing, anyway. He'd be damned if he was going to mention the other thoughts flashing through his mind.

He waited until the blond took up a spot against the far wall, obviously scanning the crowd, then Elliot headed to the bar again. "Margarita and whatever sex on a stick is drinking," he said with a grin at the bartender.

Mike chuckled and got the drinks, wondering if he could maybe hire the blond by the wall. He'd made more money on drinks bought for the guy than he ever would have believed. He had no idea of where the man was putting it all, either, but he didn't look drunk or even buzzed, really. Handy skill to have, he figured.

Elliot forced his mind to business as he approached the other blond. "Hi," he said, leaning against the wall beside him and handing him the beer. "I'm Elliot," he added. "Elliot Washburn of Hamsterville Publishing. You have my card in your pocket." He nodded slightly, carefully not looking down at the man's groin.

Spike looked at the beer in his hand and took a long swallow. "Right," he said after a moment. "Somethin' about a job, you said?"

Elliot nodded quickly. "Yeah. And wow, your voice is perfect, too. You could totally be the basis for Spark. And that's what I wanted to talk to you about. How old are you? Never mind, you're obviously old enough, considering where you are and I'm shutting up now." He blushed. Damn Harrison! His propensity for babble was obviously catching.

Spike found himself laughing. He hadn't heard that many words expelled all on one breath in years. Not since... he frowned suddenly and sighed. Would the past never stop haunting him?

"Ta for th' compliment, mate. Like my voice right well myself, too." He nodded, shaking off the sadness. "As for how old I am... I look a good bit younger than is strictly true." And wasn't THAT an understatement? "Call it thirty-three an' you'd be close enough." If you added a hundred, he chuckled to himself.

His eyes widened hugely and Elliot stared at the man. "No WAY! Jesus Christ... you must have the best genetics EVER." He sighed softly. "That is SO not fair. You're older than I am and you look like you could be my kid brother. Shit."

Spike shrugged. "I tend ta avoid th' sun, mate. I've heard that helps."

"It must," Elliot said grumpily before smiling just as suddenly as he'd frowned and taking a sip of his drink. "Okay. The job."

"I'm not doin' porn," Spike said suddenly, his brain putting together publishing, the gay bar and the concern over his age in exactly the wrong fashion. "Don't care how much you're payin', I'm not takin' my clothes off an' I'm for bloody damned sure not bangin' a bunch of blokes I don't even know for your amusement. Not on camera, anyway," he added after half a second, during which the other man was silent.

The agent blinked, his eyes even wider as he heard what mister sexy said. It took him a moment to regroup. "Okay... uh, we publish BOOKS. Not porn books, either." He thought for a moment, sipping his margarita. "Well, okay. Maybe a few of our authors push the boundaries, but it's still printed words, not pictures..." He sighed. "Okay, let me start again."

Spike watched curiously as the other blond went back to the bar and returned with two new drinks.

He handed one to the platinum haired man and stuck out his hand. "Hi, I'm Elliot Washburn and I'd like to offer you a job doing promotion for my client's new book. You look an awful lot like one of his characters, you see."

If Spike could have blushed, he would have. Instead, he shook the guy's hand and chuckled. "Sorry, mate. Read you all wrong there, didn't I? I'm Sp... Will," he said, falling back on the name he used with humans. Wouldn't want the demons around to be able to track him that way, after all. There were hundreds if not thousands of 'Wills' in New York. This way, he was just another of a group. Much less obvious.

Elliot's pale brows rose high enough that they almost disappeared under the hair hanging down over his forehead. "Spwill? Interesting name..." It had sounded an awful lot like the guy was going to say 'Spark', he noticed. Well, maybe the he was a big fan of Harrison's and was paying homage to the character.

Spike shrugged. "No, bloke. 's just Will. Will will do."

A shrug answered that statement and Elliot leaned a little bit closer, not wanting to shout quite so loudly as he explained more about the position he had in mind for 'Will'.

* * * * *

"Come ON, Harris!" Elliot demanded, leaning against the wall of his friend's hotel room. "You're already pretty enough, okay?" He rolled his eyes. God, he had no idea of how it could be taking him so long just to get dressed! "Throw on some pants and a shirt and let's GO!"

Harris looked at himself in the mirror and adjusted his new eye patch just so. It was his favourite, he decided. The subtle silk stitching, black on black, relieved the severity of the leather patch. It almost made it look like a fashion choice rather than a necessity. And the fact that it almost perfectly matched the leather pants he had on didn't hurt either, he acknowledged silently.
He slid his feet into the tall engineer boots and straightened again, adjusting the open collar of his sapphire blue silk shirt, then nodded at his image. If he was going to appear in public as Elliot's top, he was for damned sure going to make his friend proud.

"Fine, fine," he groused, opening the door and stepping from the bathroom. "I'm ready. You'd better just be glad that I'm not really your Master or you'd be hurting right about now." He grinned, then noticed the complete lack of words coming from his friend. "Elliot...? You okay?"

The blond nodded slowly, eyes locked on the sleek form of his friend. He'd seen Harris all dominating before, of course, but he'd never looked quite so... comfortable. Must be the clothes, he decided. They had to be new or he would have seen them before and why the HELL hadn't Harris gone shopping wherever he'd bought them before?

He forced himself to close his mouth with a snap of teeth on teeth. "Nice outfit," he finally said, raking his gaze over the toned shape again. "I guess you went shopping."

Harris laughed. "Yeah, well. Unlike YOU, I don't travel with a trunk-load of kink-wear. And I did promise to wear leather. Now, give me your leash and shut up. Or do you want to just stay in?"

Elliot shook his head, laughing at Harris's quirked eyebrow. "I'm almost tempted, but you know what I said last night is true. You need to loosen up. Blow off some steam. And besides... I really want to show you off." He grinned. "I'll be the envy of every guy there. Bottom AND top."

The brunette chuckled. "You still haven't told me where we're going," he said as he took the leash and led Elliot from the room.

"You'll see," the blond said smuggly. "Besides, there's someone there I want you to meet. He might make a good double for Spark, if you approve of him."

Harris frowned but stayed silent. Nobody would ever be a good double for Spark. Spark was Spike and Spike was dead and there'd never be anyone even remotely like him. But he could never explain that to Elliot.

Part Six

He didn't need the money the man was offering; that was just the plain truth. Some careful and not so careful investments over the last five years had turned his six million into close to ten times that. It was the job itself that appealed to him.

Stand around and look pretty. Let people take a few pictures. Maybe sign 'Spark' to a piece of paper or two. Simple. Easy. No drama, no trauma, nothing to make him think about anything but whatever city or town he was going to next.

Yeah, he could do that. He could do that stone drunk and with half a brain cell.

He figured he'd feel guilty about leaving his city and the humans who so obviously needed him, but then again, he'd be back often enough that things shouldn't get too out of control.

He'd meant to pick up the books he'd been told about, but the only all night book shop had been out of most of them and he hadn't wanted to start a series out of order. Besides, since he was meeting Elliot and his client tonight, he figured he could hit them up for free copies.

Just because he had money didn't mean he shouldn't get things for free, he figured. Hell, look at that Hilton bint. Millions of dollars and she still got free designer clothes. He figured she needed them because after seeing her sex tape nobody would want to put up with her clumsiness. She’d need every penny just to catch herself a bloke… or a chit, whatever the dozy mare wanted. Besides, he'd never been overly enthused about blondes, his little obsession with the Slayer-that-was aside.

Spike frowned and shook his head. "Stop thinkin' about that bunch," he grated out to himself as he finished getting dressed. "They're all dead an' gone. It's just you left, mate. You an' your soddin' ghosts."

He forced himself to think about the coming meeting with the bloke from last night and the one who did all the writing. Apparently the man's work was good and popular, judging by the web search he'd done earlier. There were whole websites dedicated just to him and his stories.

If the sun hadn't been coming up, he might have checked a few out, but he'd been tired and once he'd dealt with his usual pre-sleep erection he'd gone to bed.

He finished tying his boots and headed for his private elevator. Money didn't mean much to him but it definitely made things easier. It had gotten him his penthouse, complete with the elevator and the rooftop garden of night-blooming flowers that appealed to the poet in him. Not that he would ever admit that with his soul he'd gotten a good bit of William back. He was still the Big Bad, after all. He just did good, more often than not.

"Out for the night," he announced as he passed the bloke on the front desk of the building. "Any callers can be expunged." Spike smirked, knowing how much Andy liked telling people to leave. Bitter fellow, but good at his job. He was sure there was a story there, but he really didn't care enough to find out.

He sat in the back of the cab watching the neon flash by as they got closer and closer to the club.

Spike found himself thinking about Elliot. For some reason, he trusted the human and that should bother him. Regardless of the fact that he helped humans on a near nightly basis, he knew just how quickly they could go from thankful to mean. Still, Elliot he trusted almost implicitly.

It might have something to do with the way the bloke smelled, he figured. There had been a very subtle, underlying scent to the man. Spike didn't know what it was but it had somehow been... comforting, perhaps. Or maybe the bloke just smelled like something Spike couldn't remember. That was even more likely.

Either way, maybe he'd have a chance to figure it out tonight, between finding the guy in the crowded bar and having to suck up to the undoubtedly uptight author who'd probably want him to change his hair or accent or something. Humans got odd when they got successful. He'd seen that a million times in the last hundred and some-odd years. He doubted this writer git was any different.
He got out of the cab when it stopped a few doors down from the entrance to the bar and tossed a few crumpled up tens at the driver. "Ta, mate... have a good night. An' you might want ta clean your gun. It stinks ta high heaven. Fired it, what... two days ago now?"

Spike smirked to himself as the driver peeled away. He so loved shocking people sometimes. And if the cops pulled the bloke over, an obviously recently used gun would get him in some sort of trouble, especially considering the faint smell of blood that had still been in the cab.

He straightened his t-shirt just a bit, not wanting to admit even to himself how much he wanted this job. "Please let this bloke think I'm as bleedin' perfect as bloody Elliot does," he murmured, not sure anyone was listening or would care if they were. "I'm bloody well tired of bein' me."

That last part surprised him. How could he be tired of himself?

Well, maybe it was just that he was tired of the so-called life he'd carved from the wreckage of his earlier life. Yeah... that must be it, he figured. All the responsibility of being the head of the Aurelius line. Even without any others left, he still had to present himself a certain way. He was all that was left. How his line was perceived rested entirely and squarely on his shoulders, and... it was a wearying burden some days.

Most days, if he were going to be honest. But not right then, he decided, because he had a writer to meet, and... well, he had the right to a bit of fun, damn it.

Yeah. Couple drinks, find himself a hot, tight brunette to take home, seeing as that hadn't quite worked out the night before.
He patted the back pocket of his jeans and smiled. He had the eye patch and was for bloody well sure going to find someone to wear it for him.

Spike smirked slightly as he strolled through the door, the bouncer and doorman both nodding him through without paying the cover. He didn't notice the bit of prowl in his stride but the other guys at the club surely did.

A silent knowledge crept through the room. The mystery man was back and he was on the hunt.

The posturing and preening of a good half of the patrons went unnoticed by the object of their attentions, however, because that was when Spike's nostrils flared as he caught that Elliot-scent again, stronger this time.

He followed it through the crowd, brushing past anyone who tried to delay him until finally he found him.

"Elliot," Spike said, then blinked at the sight of what the man was wearing, not to mention the fact that he was kneeling on the floor. He laughed low and throatily. "Like a bit of th' rough, do you, pet?" He cocked his head to the side, eyes traveling from the tousled blond hair down to the collar and leash, tracing the straps of the harness the man wore which showed off his shaved skin. "Smooth as a baby's neck... or bottom, as the case may be," Spike muttered before letting his gaze continue down over the thin cotton trousers and simple shoes.

Elliot blushed just a little, trying not to preen under the way Will was looking at him. "I... sometimes," he admitted with a sheepish shrug.

Well, well... and maybe the writer he was here to meet wouldn't be as uptight as he'd thought, considering this was how his agent came to a meeting.

Spike smirked and reached down, stroking the soft blond head of hair lightly. "Sometimes, 'ey?" He chuckled. "If I'd known that last night, pet... might be neither one of us would have gone home alone. I could overlook you being blond, if… You don't have a problem with wearin' an eye patch, do you?" It was more a statement than a question, but either way it wouldn't be responded to because that was when the voice came from behind Spike.

"Hey! NO touching what isn't yours. I may have to demand an apology."

The platinum haired body froze solid. He knew that voice. He couldn't know that voice, but he did. That voice was DEAD! Had been dead for far too long, and now... now it was sounding again and he was being haunted but this time while he was awake and he couldn't take it, not for even an instant and...

"I'm sorry," he almost whimpered before running towards the men's room without even turning around to see how much it wasn't who it sounded like. He'd finally gone round the bend, just like poor Dru. Only he wouldn't subject anyone to looking after him. He had too much of a soul to put anyone through that, especially with knowing how it felt.

He leaned his head against the cool tile wall of the men's room stall and shuddered.

There was only one thing to do. The question was... sunlight or a quick stake.

Part Seven

Elliot had no idea of what had just happened.

One minute, Will had been... almost flirting with him, and the next... a blond blur raced away from him with a whispered something, leaving him to look with shock at his friend.

"Damn it, Harris, what did you say?" he demanded, ignoring the fact that he was the one on his knees. "Will finally showed up and you said something to scare him off!" Elliot frowned and got up from the floor, then collapsed into the chair his friend had been using before he'd gone to the restroom and the bar. "Jesus! I TOLD you you needed to relax! NOW do you believe me?"

One brown eye stared at the hallway the men's room was down and frowned. "That was... this Will you wanted me to... but..." Harris sighed. "You're the one who wanted me to top, El. I was just doing what any dom would do if he caught someone touching his... you... without permission. I told him not to and to apologize."

Elliot frowned. "That's all? You swear it, Harris? And he freaked like that?" The confusion was very real. Will had seemed to know all about being dominant but to be scared off by such a simple comment was... "Okay, that's just weird."

Harris laughed bitterly. "Ya think?"

He wasn't sure why it bothered him so much. Maybe it was because even from the back, the blond man had reminded him of someone. The way he stood, his head cocked a bit... hell, even the languid way his hand had caressed Elliot's hair. It all seemed somehow... familiar. Yet he knew he didn't know this Will. Hell, he hadn't even been to New York for three years before this trip and he hadn't met anyone named Will then.

There was still something bothering him, though. Something about the man who'd run. Nothing he could put his finger on... it was something intangible. A feeling, maybe.

Whatever it was, though, he knew he had to find the man and apologize for scaring him if that's what he'd done. Hell, for all he knew he'd insulted him, although he doubted it. Judging from the way he'd been dressed, the man was definitely not a sub of any kind, so if he'd been insulted, a quick run away would NOT have been the response. And he'd held himself like...

He sighed softly. "Okay, El. I'm gonna fix this." He looked around and glared at the other men nearby before pointing a finger at his friend and saying loudly "STAY!"

Elliot grinned to himself as Harris walked away. 'Stay'? As if he was going anywhere without his friend... or maybe Will, he reminded himself, feeling his cock straining against the cotton slacks he wore.

* * * * *

It didn't take rocket science to figure out which stall the mysterious Will was in. There was only one that was occupied, after all.
Apparently there was some sort of vibe he was putting off, Harris figured. That was the only reason he could think of for the other men in the restroom to clear out as soon as he walked in. Still, it let him listen to what was happening in that locked stall, which was... nothing. Hell, he couldn't even hear breathing.

The brunette sighed and raised a hand, knocking on the door.

"Look, uh... Will, right? I didn't mean to... put you off or anything." He figured the word 'scare' might bother the other man, so he didn't use it. "El... well, he likes to play at being a bottom sometimes and I was just... trying to fulfill his little fantasy, okay?"
Harris chuckled and leaned against the door. "Shit, he takes that collar and leash everywhere we go, just on the off chance that I might ask him to wear them." He grinned to himself. "Not that we're together anymore, you understand, because that pretty much ended a while ago, and not because there's anything wrong with him because there isn't. It's me, you know? He's a good guy and a good friend but we just don't work the way we should if we were gonna be TOGETHER, if you know what I mean, and... why am I telling you this? Not like you want to know, right?"

Harris blushed at the continued silence from inside the stall.

"Look, it's just... I don't know whether I freaked you out or what, but I didn't mean to, okay? Then again, I have a long history of doing things I didn't mean to do, so... and Gods, do NOT get me started on that because I'd probably never stop and then you'd just want to kill me, right?"

He blushed more, not sure of why he was running off at the mouth but unable to stop.

"And if you're worried about the whole 'Spark' thing, don't. If Elliot thinks you're the man for the job, then I'm sure you are and I give my whole-hearted approval, okay? And now I'm just gonna go away and gag myself so I'll stop blithering because that's what I'm doing although I'm deliberately leaving off the part where I'm an idiot because... well, best selling author, right? Can't really call myself an idiot although I'm beginning to think I'm overqualified for the position of VILLAGE idiot..."

What the fuck was wrong with him? He hadn't lost control of his mouth since before he'd lost his eye! Yet here he was, sounding like the Xander of more than seven years ago.

Worse still, his captive audience didn't seem to even notice that he was talking.

Harris swallowed hard and forced his mouth to slow down to the speed of his brain.

"I... anyway," he said softly, hoping he hadn't just convinced the other man that he was a screaming loon, "I'd really love to sit down and talk about what El's got in mind. Maybe tomorrow if you have the time. I’m guessing you’ve had enough of me for one night, anyway." He let the self-depricating grin colour his voice as he stepped away from the stall door. "We're at the Plaza, so... just give us a call if you want to meet for breakfast or something. I... I really AM sorry about tonight."

* * * * *

He'd heard the voice of the boy. Heard it talking. The cadence, the flow... it was all so Xander. So HIM.

But it couldn't be. He knew that. Still, he allowed himself to get lost in the sensation that it might be.

It wasn't until the tone of obvious parting that he shook himself and straightened.

"Wait," he said softly, not sure the other man would even hear him.

He cleared his throat and said it again. "Wait."

Harris froze, one hand on the handle of the door. He knew that voice. He did. But he'd seen its owner die in a flash of fire and agony.

"I..." he said, his mind racing. Dead, dead, dead... Hellmouth... anything could happen on a... Hellmouth...

"But you're dead," he whispered, not turning around even when he heard the creak of metal as the stall door swung open. "I watched you... I saw you die, Spike... it can't be you... it just... CAN'T!"

The human called him Spike. That was the first thing that told him that maybe-- against all logic and reason-- maybe he wasn't actually going insane. Maybe it really WAS the boy it sounded like.

His entire body shook wildly, trying to reorder the world into a place where Xander could be alive and talking to him without wanting him dead. Then again, he'd said he'd thought he WAS dead. Maybe he was simply disappointed that it wasn't so.

That must be it, he realized. Here he was, still wanting the lad... young man, he corrected, looking at the tense, long lines of Xander's back... and the bloke wished him dead.

It figured, though. He'd never cared for anyone who'd returned the emotion.

"Right, then," he said, trying to keep the sorrow from his voice, "I'm dead and not here. We can go with that, Harris. Just run off with your toy and pretend you never saw me, alright? Because I'll for damned sure be pretending the same."

Spike swallowed hard, forcing the tears to wait until he left this God-awful place and got home where he could mourn in peace. "Oh, and I think that breakfast meeting is out of the question. Ask your friend Elliot. Avoiding the sun keeps me looking young."

It was the smug and snarky tone that had him spinning away from the door to stare at the blond. He looked different, Harris realized. More... worn. Or did he mean worn out?

Whatever it was, it didn't suit his former enemy and one-time almost friend. He let his eye roam Spike's body, up and down, up and down, without realizing that it was an appraising stare. He also didn't realize that he bore the full brunt of sadness in his eye when he met Spike's.

It was the matching sorrow he saw that had him stepping closer, however.

His hands rose to rest lightly on Spike's shoulders, not wanting to push the other man. He'd read all the Watchers' diaries about Spike, after all. He knew the vampire wasn't gay, as such, and also knew how much he'd suffered at the hands of Angelus, and later at the hands of the souled version of the same vampire. But he remembered what Elliot had told him about 'Will' and what he'd been up to at the bar the previous evening, so...

"Spike," he said softly, letting the amazed wonder creep into his voice, "You're alive! Or as alive as you've been since I met you, which is more than good enough!" His fingers tightened on the blond's shoulders, flexing over muscle-sheathed bone. "And someday you're gonna have to tell me HOW, but... not right now."

Having said that much, Harrison Alexander-- Xander Harris that was-- took fate and the universe by the balls and did something he'd only ever dreamed about doing.

He leaned in and down a bit, pressing his soft, warm, full lips to the equally soft and full cooler ones of the vampire. His fingers tightened on the strong though slender shoulders in an effort to keep Spike where he was for at least long enough to finish the kiss and a groan sprung from his lips into the wet cavern of Spike's mouth as the blond suddenly pulled him closer and did his damnedest to crawl inside him from the mouth down, it felt like.

Part Eight

Elliot tried to hide his surprise when the two men came back from the bathroom looking very smug and satisfied. His eyes dropped to their groins and he wondered at the satisfaction since they were both very obviously hard and straining in their pants. Then again, so was he, but he had a feeling his own needs weren't going to be met by either of the lovelies in front of him.

He sighed and finished his drink, then gave Harris 'the LOOK'.

He waited until his friend saw it and leaned down before he whispered into Harris’s ear. "I have a feeling you've found your 'Spark', Harris. Just be careful. I think maybe he's WAY into topping." He heard the chuckle Harris let out and shrugged. "Guess you found that out, huh? Okay. Go. Oh, and do me a favour. Lend me out to that guy over there. He may be young, but he's obviously intrigued. Besides, he missed out on Will last night. The kid deserves a consolation prize." He winked at Harris, then nodded towards the brunette Will had spent so much time with the night before.

Spike laughed at the thought, then cast a gaze Trevor's way. Apparently Elliot was right. Trevor had that look in his eyes like he didn't know what he wanted to do but was all for finding out. "Well, well," he murmured, "Fancy that..."

Harris looked over at the brunette with interest. About his own height... build similar to the way he'd been back in Sunnydale, although the boy had two good eyes... His brow furrowed just a bit as he glanced back to Spike, seeing the slightly sheepish grin. "Fine," he said softly, "Just remember what I said. No riding bareback, El. I love you too much to watch you die, okay?"

Somehow that made Spike jealous. He wasn't sure why. Maybe hearing the bloke he thought wanted him saying he loved someone else, maybe because he'd never had a friend he could say that to himself.

Either way, he found himself pulling Harris back against him, his cock pressing hard against the back of the taller man's leather pants. "Trevor's clean, you git," he snarled. "Bareback won't hurt your soddin' 'El'."

His eye closed halfway for a moment as he relished the hold on him and the hardness he could feel. "Maybe," he muttered, knowing Spike would hear him, "But if I let him be all unsafe this time, he'll want to do it every time. And how would he know whether someone was safe or not?"

He blinked, suddenly getting why Spike was acting all... pissy. "Believe me," he continued, rubbing back just a little, "The last thing I want is my agent dragging you out at all hours of the night so you can tell him which guys are safe to fuck without condoms. He's been my best friend for close to four years, Spike. But that doesn't mean I want him spending every night with you. Not when I'd rather it was ME with you."

And there. He'd said it. Not quite a declaration of love, because for all he knew, he'd imagined a lot of who and what he thought the vampire was. But it was a statement of intent, he thought. "Unless," he finally said after a few moments of silence and stillness from Spike, "you really want him. I mean, I'd understand. Elliot's a great guy. Hot. Willing. We could have worked out if he hadn't been so..." he let his voice trail off, not quite willing to say what he was thinking. Hell, for all he knew, Spike just wanted to fuck him once and move on. "He's definitely lust-worthy..." he said almost despairingly.

The blond growled softly. "Maybe before I knew you were still alive, pet... nah, definitely before I knew." He nodded, then swallowed hard. "If... if he hadn't been so... what, luv? What were you about ta say?" He almost wanted to kill himself for calling the bloke 'pet' and 'luv'. But Xander had said something about him being dragged out at all hours and that seemed to imply that he was taking this seriously, just as Spike was.

He wasn't sure of how or when it had become something they agreed on. They surely hadn't discussed it in the men's room. And what a place for a first kiss, Spike snarked at himself. Might as well have done it in a sewer, really.

Still, they'd stopped there, after that long, deep, soul-baring interaction of tongues, teeth, mouths and roaming hands. He could hardly wait to get Xander back to his place so they could find out how much better it could be without clothes, not to mention without other blokes trying to walk in on them.

"If he hadn't been so..." Harris began, only to be cut off by Elliot.

"It's not that the floor show isn't great, guys," Elliot complained gently, "But... me. Tall, dark and cherry. Now." He nodded towards Trevor again insistently. "Before he gets snapped up by that guy in the black pants."

Spike arched a brow and glanced over, then laughed. "I guess they really are reversible." And that was all he'd say on the subject as Xander took Elliot's leash and led him over to the dark haired young man.

Harris smiled dangerously and took the young man's hand, pressing Elliot's leash into it. "This one is mine. Release him in the morning. If I don't see him by three PM, I'll find you." He leaned down and kissed Elliot softly. "Have fun, buddy," he said, deliberately not telling Trevor Elliot's name.

He looked back into the eyes of the stunned but obviously excited young man. "No marks that won't heal in three days." And with that he turned, groping the waiter in the black PVC pants for a moment, then strolled out of the bar, Spike right beside him, looking for all the world like two tops going to compare notes... aside from their hands, which kept trying to wrap around each others' in a yearning grip.

"Uh... he really will let him go in the morning, right, Spike?" Harris said softly as they hailed a cab.

Spike climbed in behind Xander and gave his address, then shrugged. "Assume so, luv... but if he doesn't, I can always find him. No worries."

Harris had to agree. The last thing he was doing at the moment was worrying... or at least worrying about Elliot.

* * * * *

It wasn't until the cab pulled up in front of the tall apartment building that Harris realized he'd gone home with Spike. Not that he hadn't known it intellectually, but it was driven home by the fact that they weren't in front of the Plaza.

He got out of the cab and stared up at the huge, awe-inspiring edifice as Spike apparently paid the driver and came to stand beside him.

"A bit of a step up from th' crypt, 'ey?" Spike said with a smug tone. He took Xander's hand and pulled gently, leading him inside when the doorman did his job and opened the door.

"Andy," he greeted the man behind the desk, "This is Xander. You're likely ta see him a good bit, so he's off th' 'expunge at will' list, right?" He winked at the man, chuckling silently at the disappointment he could smell coming from him. "Everyone else is still a fair target, mate," he said, chuckling even more when the disappointment faded.

For his part, Harris couldn't believe the building they were in. Not that he had any doubt about Spike being resourceful, but... "You didn't kill someone for their apartment, did you?" he asked softly, wondering how much he'd care if Spike said yes. "I mean, considering the building, I wouldn't blame you, but... dead bodies kind of stink after a while. And how sad is it that I know that?"

Spike chuckled and led Xander to the private elevator bank. "Nah, luv... bought it with American money an' everything. An' I figure you should know about th’ stinkin’, considerin' your history."

Harris smiled, just a bit nervous as they stepped into the elevator and it started rising. His dreams, his fantasies... they'd all been less than real. Now here he was, getting ready to make them into true reality and... he swallowed hard, shifting just a bit closer to Spike in the small confines of the elevator. "Is it okay if I'm a little bit... anxious?" he asked almost desperately, trying not to sound as pathetic as he probably was.

Spike's fingers tightened around the other man's as he tried not to give in to the urge to just press him against the wall of the elevator and have at him.

"Yeah," he finally said, swallowing hard. "Anxious is alright. Good ta know it's not just me, mate." He smiled shakily as the elevator slowed, then stopped.

"Welcome ta my home... Xander Harris."

Part Nine

He'd seduced men before. Many a time. It was usually easy for him. Simple. He'd managed to acquire enough experience that even the straight ones could rarely say no, and yet... here he was, shifting from foot to foot repeatedly as he waited for Spike to finish doing whatever it was Spike did on getting home.

He felt himself throbbing in the embroidered leather pants, knew the vampire had to be just as hard, if not more so due to his nature.

Finally Harris had had enough. He stood there and stepped out of his engineer boots, then unfastened his pants, pushing them down his thighs as he stared at the doorway Spike had disappeared through. His hands moved to the buttons of his shirt and he smiled as it quickly joined the pants on the floor.

The only thing he kept on was the eye patch.

He figured Spike would appreciate it. He didn't like looking at the empty socket himself; Gods knew what the vampire would feel about it. Still, Spike seemed to WANT him, and if he'd ever even dared to think the guy was alive, he'd never have expected THAT.
Harris wasn't the sort to look a gift horse in the mouth, of course, and that was why he was standing naked as a jaybird in Spike's living room.

Maybe he was wrong, though. Maybe Spike was just glad to see him, and if that was the case he should put his clothes back on. Even if he wasn’t wrong. He didn’t want to give the vampire the wrong impression of him. So yeah. Clothes.

It took less than a minute for him to accomplish that, then he moved to the door Spike had disappeared though and entered it.
His brow rose, watching the blond mix drinks and whatnot for a few moments, all thoughts of trying to be subtle escaping as he watched one strong, elegant hand reach for a glass. He moved up behind him, arms making a fleshy cage around his sides.

"Spike," he whispered, his lips moving gently against the other man's ear, "I didn't come here for the booze, in case you haven't figured that out..."

Spike shuddered just a bit and leaned back into the hold the human-- HIS human, if he played this right-- almost had on him. "Yah?" he murmured back softly, "So tell me what you want Xan... I can be whatever you want me ta be." He meant it, too. Whatever it took to not be alone again. He couldn’t be alone… not when he knew Xander was alive and apparently wanted him.
Harris frowned and forced the blond man to face him.

"I WANT," he said simply, "you to be YOU! I want..." He stopped talking, his human to vamp translator apparently out of whack.

Instead of words, he found himself pressing hard against the stunning vamp. His lips found the ones he'd discovered in the men's room of the club and he groaned as they responded. "Maybe I should have stayed naked," he muttered into their kiss, only to be stopped as Spike pulled away from his mouth.

"You were naked?" he demanded, sounding shocked. His eyes moved up and down Xander's body. "Bloody hell, where was I?" he asked seriously.

Harris chuckled as he stepped back just a bit. "Apparently you were making drinks, Spike. And can I just say SO not a compliment when you've got a guy waiting to bang or BE banged into the next world...?"

Spike chuckled a bit, then thought about what Xander had just said. "So you don't have a preference?"

Harris thought about the question for a little while, then shook his head.

"As long as it's you, Spike, I'm fine. Whether it's my cock buried deep inside your ass or yours in mine..." He pulled the other man to him even harder, kissing him roughly. "Either way," he said sincerely, "I'll be a happy, happy man."

Spike groaned, his entire body begging for the man pressed against him. He'd dreamt of him for years but he'd never imagined that Xander could ever want him. Not even if he'd thought the boy was alive. Obviously he was a moron, considering what had been happening between them since that first fateful clench at the club.

His hands roamed wildly over Xander's back, wanting nothing more than to peel the dead skin and worm-shit from his skin. Yeah, silk felt lovely, but it was still worm-shit. Just as the leather was dead skin to him at the moment. "Naked?" he muttered again, trying to press himself as close as he could to the body he knew was calling out to him.

Harris smiled, leaning in to kiss Spike again. "You in a hurry all of a sudden?" he asked, his good eye taking in the kitchen. "Or would you rather let me take my time and... explore you...?"

Oh, bloody hell.

"Explore away, luv..." was Spike's only response.

* * * * *

There had never been a heat as searing as Xander's was. Spike was sure of it. His head fell back and he stared at the ceiling as the fingers and lips moved over his skin. He had no idea of when or how he'd ended up shirtless, but he found that he really didn't care. The only things that mattered right at that moment were the man touching him and the kitchen counter holding him up.

The tight, cool skin beneath Harris’s lips tasted like nothing he'd ever even imagined. Salt-tinged and sweet at the same time, with just the faintest hint of something he couldn't place. But that was fine. He didn't really care what the taste was. It was just Spike and that was enough for him to know. He filed the flavour away in his mind, even as he slid lips and hands down the taut, lean torso, pausing for a few moments to nip gently at one flat nipple, his teeth and tongue teasing it to a hard, raised point.

"Gods, Spike..." he murmured, falling to his knees as his hands slid around the other man's back to pull him closer. "This... this is real, right? I'm not just dreaming…?"

Long, elegant fingers dug deep into thick brown hair, holding on like his life depended on it as Spike slid to his own knees in front of his obsession. "No," he whispered, staring deep into the chocolate brown eye, "Not dreamin', pet... luv... Xander... or if you are, I'm dreamin' along with you." He smiled slightly and pressed himself hard against the much younger man. "An' if I'm dreamin', luv... I don't want ta wake up, right?"

Harris nodded, swallowing hard. "No waking up. Got it. Gonna just live in the dream, the both of us."

Spike nodded, leaning forward just a little until his lips brushed soft, hot skin. He groaned. "Bloody hell, mate... if you knew what you smell like you'd be willin' ta bottle it..." His tongue slipped out, licking a slow, wet line up the taut neck and he groaned again. "An' you taste even better, luv... makes me wonder if all of you tastes this good..."

The brunette groaned himself and rocked against the vampire, searching for blessed friction. "Jesus, Spike... find out, will you? Soon... before I explode from just thinking about it."

It was the leather-covered cock, hard and obviously ready, rocking against his own jeans-encased shaft that pulled the growl from him. He felt his face shift, the demon pushing to the fore. "Bloody hell," he grated out again, then moved away, his head hanging as he tried to control himself. "I... I'm sorry, mate... just... give me a minute, 'ey?" Spike could only hope Xander wouldn't run at the reminder of his true nature. He didn't think he could stand it if he did, especially with the demon demanding that he press the young man into the linoleum and... He groaned loudly.

Harris frowned and moved closer, ignoring the warning growl he could feel more than hear. One hand rose, slowly coming to rest on one pale shoulder. "Spike... what is it? What's wrong? Did I... did I do something? Say something…? Because whatever it is, I didn't mean it. Really." He bit his lip, hoping that whatever he'd screwed up could be fixed, and quickly.

Wide golden eyes flew to the warm and worried brown gaze. "I... I'm a vampire, Xan. Can't change it. Wish I could for you, but I can't. Always goin' ta be a part of me, yeah?"

His hand moved from the tense shoulder to cup an equally tense cheek. "You've been a vampire for as long as I've known you, Spike. Can't say it's really a shocker that you still are, y'know?" He smiled a bit, leaning closer as his thumb stroked back and forth over cool, soft skin. "Besides," he continued a little wickedly, "I think I'd be kind of creeped out if you looked your age, so... vampire? Duh. Not really a problem."

Spike blinked, not entirely sure of how to react to this version of the boy he remembered. That Xander would have staked him the minute he'd shown the demon. Or run away, possibly, what with the no chip and all. But now... this young man... "You don't mind, then. Truly."

Harris shook his head slowly. "I'd only mind if you told me to stop, Spike. Because I don't think I can. I've waited so long... everyone was all wrong... no-one was you... and you were dead..." He swallowed convulsively, his other hand finally rising to rest on Spike's hip, pulling him closer. Lips found skin, grazing lightly up to settle on the ridged forehead and Harris nearly purred at the softness of the rough-looking skin.

He'd never imagined this... that this man could look at the face of what he truly was and still want. Still desire. Still... yearn. His own hands finally unclenched, finding their way to a silk-covered spine as he arched into the tenderness of the lips on his skin. "Bloody... hell..." he whispered, his voice catching for a moment as the need to touch and be touched overwhelmed him.

"Oh... yeah... bloody hell is right," Harris chuckled softly, trying to control himself before he ended up naked on the kitchen floor, begging to take or be taken. His fingers stroked over Spike's cheek, finding their way to his hair and rubbing through it, disturbing the careful application of gel with willful pleasure. "Gods, Spike... could you possibly be any more gorgeous? Jesus..." he sighed softly, unaware that he was still speaking out loud. "I have NO idea of what you could ever want with me... you're perfect..."

The tears he'd forced away in the men's room of the club threatened to spill again as he heard Xander's words. His fingers tensed against the other man's spine as he pulled him flush against his body, groaning at the heat and scent of him. "Want th' world, Xan... an’ want ta show it ta you you." He nodded a bit sheepishly. "But first... I want ta take you ta bed an' find out how many ways you can fuck me... an' how many ways I can fuck you." Spike nodded again, the one brown eye caught by his own golden ones. "Want ta make you scream for me, luv... want ta cover you in my scent, my cum, the taste of my skin. Want ta stroke you inside an' out an' show you how much I've wanted you all… these... years..."

He heard the voice trailing off, but he'd be damned if he could find any words to fill the silence. So Harris did the only thing he could manage. He nodded, slamming his mouth hard against the fanged lips before him. A small moan sprung from him, swallowed immediately by Spike's mouth, as he felt his lip split just a bit on one sharp tooth. "Now!" he finally managed to say, his tone demanding and wanton with the overwhelming wave of lust he felt anew.

Spike growled deeply, sucking at the small flow of blood from Xander's lip. "Y-yeah," he finally managed to say, "Now it is, luv..." And with that he moved quickly, getting to his feet and pulling the dark haired man up with him. "Come with me..." He had to laugh at the murmured words he heard as he led Xander to his bedroom.

"Gods, Spike! I'm planning on it... repeatedly, I hope," was what he'd said.

Part Ten

Neither of them were laughing a few moments later, though. In fact, laughter was the furthest thing from their minds.

Harris stood by the bed, his eye locked on the once again human-looking face of the vampire as he unbuttoned the blue silk shirt which he’d just realized was almost the exact shade of Spike’s eyes.

The silk slipped to the floor and he tried not to look as nervous as he was. Sure, he’d kept in shape. That was why his spare bedroom was filled with working out equipment. Still, he wasn’t entirely sure if…

“Bloody luvly,” Spike murmured, watching the show. One hand stroked over his hard cock through the denim while his eyes traced every visible inch of skin on the younger man.

Harris blushed brightly, amazed that just those two short words from Spike could make him so shaky inside. “No,” he finally said, his hands moving to the leather of his pants. “That would be you. Lovely, I mean. Not bloody. Or not right now, anyway… speaking of which, have you eaten, Spike? I mean, I really don’t want to have to stop because your belly gets all rumbly and oh Gods, could I BE any more pathetic?” He blushed even more and shook his head. “Ignore me. I’m a moron. And nervous, obviously, because me, you… here. Not that I don’t want to be here because I DO, but… you know what I mean, right?”

And there it was. The babble he remembered from what seemed like a lifetime ago. Maybe there WAS a bit of the bloke he remembered in this man. Hell, he knew there was, but still… he’d wondered, what with the successful air Xander had these days.

Spike smiled, then laughed quietly as he slipped closer, suddenly unwilling to wait for Xander to finish undressing. His arms lifted, palms resting flush against the toned, chiseled chest. “Ate earlier, mate,” he said, sliding his hands down over tight nipples and twitching skin. “Of course, can’t say as I’d mind havin’ me a hot shot of protein...” He smirked wickedly and dropped to his knees as his fingers nimbly undid the button and zip of the truly wonderful leather pants, allowing Xander’s thick, long cock to spill forth.

Harris groaned, the cool air of the bedroom reminding him of how hot he’d been under the pants once it passed over his ready shaft. His hands found their way to Spike’s head, fingers tangling willfully in the short blond locks. “Gods, Spike,” he panted, his hips already arching towards the other man. “If you stop now, I’ll… I don’t know, but I’ll do something. And you won’t like it.”

The vampire snorted softly, exhaling cool air over the seeping head of the perfect treat in front of him. “Been called a lot of things in my time, luv… but ‘tease’ was never one of them.” He looked up into the wild brown eye and grinned. “An’ you might be surprised at what I’d like, comin’ from you. Might have ta put your imagination ta work an’ see what we can try. Later.”

The brown haired man didn’t even have a chance to try to formulate a reply because as soon as Spike finished speaking, he wrapped his hand around the needy shaft, his lips encircling the tip.

Spike purred silently, something about this position-- on his knees in front of the bloke he’d laughingly called ‘donut-boy’ a time or two-- feeling right. It felt even more right as he slid his mouth to the base of the long, thick cock, letting it fill his throat as his hands moved to Xander’s ass, fingers flexing into the tensed globes of flesh through the leather.

For his part, Harris couldn’t even manage to keep his eye open. It closed hard, squeezed shut as he reveled in the sensation of the wet, talented mouth on him. His fingers clenched hard in the short blond hair as his hips rocked in and out, in and out, his brain derailed almost entirely. “Fuck…” he moaned softly, the hands on his ass finally pushing the leather down to let it pool at his feet. “Fuck!” he groaned again as the perfect mouth left his flesh damp and bobbing in the still air.

His lips were tingling with the taste of the small drops of pre-cum he’d tasted. It wasn’t enough, though. He needed MORE. More skin, more heat, more closeness, more… Xander. Spike stood and pushed his own jeans down, stepping from them after untying his boots and toeing them off. “Fuck?” he echoed teasingly, pressing himself close to the dark haired man, “Think I’d like that, pet…”

He moved closer still, the sensation of his cock touching Xander’s without anything between them making him gasp. “B-bloody…”

“Hell,” Harris finished, gasping in a great lungful of air. His hands released the blond hair and skimmed down Spike’s long, sensual spine until he reached the tight, toned ass. His fingers dug in deep, forcing the thick cock harder against his own. “Jesus…”

“Fuck,” Spike growled, his true face appearing once again. “Bed,” he grated out. “Now!”

Fortunately, it was only a few feet away. Otherwise they never would have made it, what with neither of them wanting to move apart. So they shuffled, each small motion of cock-on-cock leaving them both breathless.

They fell onto the bed, hands and lips fully engaged with skin, heat, coolness, passion, fire, need. Navels and pecs, waists and thighs, nuzzles at that soft spot behind the ears among other places.

“Gods,” Harris groaned wantonly. “Spike… please!”

His head lifted from the nipple he’d been laving so wildly. “Please what, Xan?” he murmured, every part of him focused on giving pleasure to this dream of his. “Anything you want, luv…”

“You,” Harris moaned. “Want YOU…”

Spike chuckled, his head spinning just a bit from what had happened so far. “You’ve got me, luv. Any way you want me.”

The soft words finally registered and Harris opened his eye, staring into the wide golden eyes of his demon lover.

One hand slipped from the hair again to cup a smooth, soft cheek. “Want you EVERY way, Spike,” he said, willing the vampire to believe him. “Want to bury myself deep inside you… feel you just as deep in me. Gods, Spike… just… have me, okay? However you want to. Just… now!”

Platinum hair shifted with the swift nod as Spike rolled away, fumbling at the drawer in the bedside table. He pulled the tube of raspberry scented lube out and turned back to the human he feared had stolen into even the smallest reaches of his heart. Not that he was going to tell him that. Not yet.

Spike’s eyes drifted over the tanned form of his lover as he gave him the tube. He tried to be funny, sure the intensity of the moment needed some relief. “Be gentle with me, luv… ‘s been a while, you know?” As if a human could hurt him… physically, anyway.

Harris swallowed hard. As much as he wanted to be balls-deep in Spike’s ass, he’d never thought the vampire would let him have him first. Still, that would only make it that much better once Spike returned the favour. And he would make sure Spike did.

Then again, he figured it made sense. There was no question of whether he’d cum with Spike, although the vampire’s constitution would likely allow for a second round. Maybe even a third, Harris thought with a grin.

The brunette chuckled softly, his cock throbbing even harder at the thoughts he was having. He popped the top of the tube, squeezing a good dollop into his free hand. “Don’t worry, Spike,” he murmured, one slick finger sliding past the tight sac, “I’m going to make this so good for you that you’ll scream… my name.”

Spike gasped a bit as the finger worked its way into his ass. It had been a long while, just as he’d told Xander. Even when he’d gone out hunting partners, he’d always topped. Hell, the last time he’d been on the driven end had been when Angelus… He forced the thought away, not thrilled with the memory of himself in that raggedy old wheelchair.

He groaned softly, relaxing himself deliberately as that finger probed deeper. “Been screamin’ your name in the night for years, pet,” Spike admitted quietly, rocking his hips back and forth as a second finger joined the first. “You just weren’t there ta hear it…”

Harris smiled a bit at that, although he was more focused on how tightly Spike’s ass was gripping his fingers. “I’m here now,” he managed to say, forcing another finger into the tight hole and flexing them, finding the small, hard nub after another moment.

He chuckled as the vampire keened softly. “Like that, huh?”

It was a rhetorical question, of course, although it was answered with a longing groan.

Harris pulled his fingers from the grasping hole and rolled Spike fully onto his back, staring into his hot blue eyes. One arm slid down, raising a tight, pale leg up to his shoulder as his other hand-- the one still slick-- stroked over his own cock. The last thing he wanted was to remind Spike of the bad times he’d had.

The seeping tip of his lubricated cock pressed against Spike’s hole and he gasped. It was already too good. “Shit,” he mumbled. “I’m not gonna last, Spike, especially not when I’m watching you like this… but I’m still gonna be gentle…”

Spike growled again, arching into the light pressure. “Don’t need you ta be TOO gentle, do I? Not goin’ ta break, mate,” he moaned back, his arms reaching around Xander to pull him down and in suddenly.

They both gasped wickedly as Xander’s cock pierced him fully, driving into him until he felt the other man’s balls slap against his ass. “Bloody…”

“Yeah,” Harris groaned, his hips shifting just a bit from side to side as he settled himself and tried to think of anything but what he was doing, and with whom… and how much it must have hurt the vampire to take all of him in like that, so fast.

Spike’s brows rose a bit, then lowered again as he realized why Xander’s eye was closed so tightly. His hands moved to stroke the slightly stubbled face as he pulled the soft lips to his. “You feel perfect, luv,” he whispered after pulling away from the so-tempting mouth. “Fillin’ me th’ way you do… nothin’ but pleasure here, mate…” He arched his hips, trying to rock the thick, long cock inside him even deeper.

He hadn’t felt this out of control in years, Harris thought. Of course, he’d never been inside anyone who mattered as much as Spike did; not even his ex. He had to be good. Had to make the vampire want him again. If he didn’t, he’d… die, Harris figured. He’d never known anything like the sensation of being deep within Spike. Even his fantasies hadn’t come close. And now that he did know… there was no going back. Not even the smallest chance that he could let the man go.

Harris took a deep breath and forced himself not to cum as he pulled back a bit, then slid deep again, feeling the small nub within the vampire sliding along his cock. “Spike,” he breathed, clamping down again on the need to cum. “Gods… so good… so tight… Gods… you’re… perfect…”

“Per…fect… for you… maybe…” Spike moaned, his eyes clenched tightly against the need to cum already. He felt the long, thick cock inside him sliding against his prostate yet again and he growled, staring at the pulsing beat in his love’s neck. “One more time, Xan!” he demanded. “Hard an’ rough! Please!” Yeah, he was begging, but he really didn’t care.

Harris’s eye widened, then he smiled wickedly and pulled himself almost entirely from the tight, silken ass before slamming himself back in fully. He managed to repeat the action two more times, each effort rewarded by a long, drawn-out groan before he couldn’t stop.

One more deep, wild thrust had him arched and tense, his body pressing roughly into Spike’s through that one point of connection as he felt himself explode. His thick, rough shaft softened slightly and he pulled the blond closer.

“Maybe…?” Spike murmured, suddenly sure he was pushing things too fast. A good shag was one thing, but to ask the bloke if he was perfect for him? Maybe just a bit too much for the moment. Not that he didn’t want to know, but he’d be damned if he wanted to scare the man away.

“No maybe about it, Spike,” Harris finally said, pulling himself from the thoroughly plundered hole with a somewhat disappointed sigh. “You ARE perfect for me. Hell. Demon-magnet, remember?”

Spike chuckled softly, shifting in the strong human arms as he thought back to those days. “Yeah, I remember, luv… and if I hadn’t been cursed ta marry the Slayer, I’d have been the first of my ilk there. Would have pounded you into th’ floor, too.” Spike smirked, then considered. “Or th’ sadly inadequate sofa-bed you had then.”

Harris chuckled softly as his hands roamed the shape of his lover. “I think I like this bed better,” he murmured, fingers wrapping lightly around Spike’s still-hard cock. His own shaft was more like a limp noodle at the moment, but he figured that was fine. “Want you, Spike,” he whispered into the vampire’s ear. “Want to feel you nearly break me…”

And wasn’t that a fine kettle of fish, Spike asked himself silently, even while his mouth replied. “Goin’ ta do you so good, Xan… you won’t even think about goin’ back ta your Elliot… ever… even for play.”

Harris tried to speak, to explain again. But that was when Spike’s quickly lubed fingers found his asshole and he discovered that he couldn’t do anything but moan and shift himself between the fingers and the warming skin pressing against his once again hardening shaft. Besides, if Spike being jealous over Elliot got him this kind of treatment, he’d have to make a point of how much he loved his best friend.

The heat alone was stunning. Then again, he’d known it would be. Hell, the way the bloke’s cock had felt in him had made him surprised that he hadn’t burst into flames.

His fingers slid deeper, searching for that sensitive spot. When he found it, he purred, listening to the small whimpers it dragged from his beloved.

Sure, he reminded himself as he avoided that spot while he stretched his love as well as he could, he wanted this to be good for the man. As good as it had been when Xander’s cock had been in him. But he also wanted to take his time… and live up to his promise of stroking the bloke… inside and out.

Part Eleven

“Tell me, pet,” Spike groaned, his hips moving slowly but surely as he rocked within the brunette beneath him. “Tell me…” He could smell it, but he needed to hear it. Even with nobody else there, he needed Xander to say it out loud, no matter what. Hell, he just needed to know it for himself. “Say it, luv…” he groaned, eyes locked on the side of his lover’s neck.

Harris pressed back, taking the long, thick cock deeper into his yearning ass. He didn’t know exactly what Spike wanted to hear, but he’d do or say just about anything to keep him from stopping. He was so close…

He rocked back harder, his anus stretched beyond what he’d always assumed was the breaking point. His hips shifted, forcing the cock to slide along that tiny spot within him, and he gasped. “Want you,” he finally groaned. “Always… never gonna stop! Think… I always… did…”

His neck arched harder, bending wickedly as he felt his sac drawing up tight to his body. “Spike…! Please! I don’t want to cum without you!”

And that was all he’d needed to hear, Spike told himself as he slammed deeper, harder, more roughly into Xander’s ass. He was almost afraid to take the offered neck, but he just couldn’t help it. He’d planned on waiting til the bloke told him he loved him, but… hell, he could always bite him again then. He was looking forward to it, in fact. He let his true face slip out yet again and rested his lips against the sweating, pounding pulse.

His cock swelled, spewing harshly and repeatedly into the human as his teeth pierced sweet, innocent flesh for the first time in years and he came again, moaning his beloved’s name… his claimed’s name. “Xander…!”

Coming down from the blood-high took a while but when he did he found his cock still buried deep inside his human. And Xander really was his now. He’d ensured it with the intent behind his bite. He purred softly, still drinking from the perfect font before him. “Til th’ day I die, luv,” he murmured, groaning his satisfaction into the still air, the sound echoed happily by the young man surrounding him.

* * * * *

Harris woke slowly, confused for a moment by the shock of blond hair he could just see over the back of his shoulder. Of course, he was also confused to find himself mostly on his stomach, one knee flexed against the soft, smooth sheets to allow his shaft a bit of room. He moaned softly, languidly, his body relaxed completely in the unusual position.

Spike chuckled, his tongue passing slowly over the mark he’d given Xander the night before. His hips shifted just enough to remind the man of exactly where his cock had spent the night… and where it still was. “Mornin’, luv,” he murmured, one hand slipping between the brunette’s chest and the sheets to pinch lightly at a suddenly pointed nipple. “Sleep well?’ He pulled back slightly, then slid deep again, almost purring at the sensation of his love finally awakening.

“Oh… Gods… yes,” he finally answered, not sure of whether he was answering the question or simply stating his approval of Spike’s actions. He rolled back slightly, pressing harder against the vampire’s warmed skin, shuddering slightly at how right it felt to be there with him. He moved one hand behind him, twisting slightly to press his palm against the small of Spike’s back. He could barely make out the small edges of light around the curtained and shaded windows as he let out a deep, breathy sigh. “Gods, Spike… you feel so…”

“Deep?” the accented voice replied sensually, “Hard…? So thick and full of cum for you that it’s amazin’ I’ve held on for the almost four hours you’ve been sleepin’…?” He pulled back again, leaving just the thick, seeping head inside Xander’s hole as his hand moved from the peaked nipple down over quivering flesh, circling the bloke’s navel. “ ‘s been equal parts dream an’ nightmare, Xan… surrounded by the heat of you but wantin’ ta fill you so full of me you’d be carryin’ my scent for days… wantin’ ta cum over an’ over in your hot, tight ass, but not wantin’ ta cum without hearin’ my name on your lips…”

Harris almost whimpered at both words and tone, then did whimper as Spike’s hand slipped from his navel to the head of his cock, fingers wrapping almost painfully tight around it and sliding down to the base ever so slowly, matched exactly by the slow slide of the vampire’s cock back into his willing ass. “Spike…” he gasped.

“That’s right, luv,” Spike whispered back, his lips brushing lightly against the younger man’s ear, “Spike. It’s Spike inside you, makin’ your whole body cry out for release… ‘s Spike fillin’ you so right an’ good that nobody else will ever satisfy you again… Spike… makin’ luv ta your hot, human body… makin’ ya his…” His hips moved faster, harder, the words focusing him as well as the young man on exactly how connected they were. He shuddered a little, still matching the motion of his fist to his thrusts as his other hand took a firm grip on the man’s hip.

His heart was beating so fast he thought it might burst, but if it did, then what a way to go. His fingers on the vampires back flexed spasmodically as he arched and bowed, pressing back harder as the thrusts grew in strength and speed, and forward into the somewhat rough fist. His eye clenched tightly shut as his head tipped back, resting on the shoulder of the man inside him and he felt those soft, full lips close over the pierced flesh from the night before, the sensation of gentle suction just about doing him in.

Harris’s body froze, unable to choose between the differing sensations, and when Spike suddenly slammed deeper yet into him, his fist sliding to the base of Harris’s cock as just one sharp tooth scraped over nearly healed flesh, the human screamed, loud and long.

Spike’s shout joined Xander’s, his long-denied erection finally allowed its completion. Fingers dug deep into muscle and skin while his other hand milked his love’s shaft skillfully, wickedly, pulling every possible drop of pleasure from him as his own shaft swelled even more, fighting the tightening of the perfect home it had found before spilling long and hard, overflowing the tight channel in a violent tide of thick, white fluid.

It was a good five minutes before even Spike could manage to speak, and when he did, he was determined to keep it light. He wouldn’t speak of loving the man, or of what it meant to him that Xander was here in his bed, in his arms. Keep it light, he told himself again. There would be time later to explain about the bite, and what it truly meant to offer yourself up to a Master Vampire, even one with a soul. Perhaps especially one with a soul. He somehow thought the young man might get a little… worried about that. But that was for later. For now…

Well, for now, Spike just purred lazily, holding the human’s back against his chest, his cock still deep inside that tight sheath, although it was considerably less tight at the moment than it had been the night before. His fingers traced idle patterns across Xander’s chest as he listened to his heartbeat and breathing becoming less and less erratic.

When the time came for words, Spike chuckled softly and kissed the man’s shoulder, sucking the flesh until a small bruise appeared. “You did ask for a noon wake up call… right, mate?”

Harris laughed, then moaned as the action set the vampire’s cock to hardening within him once again. “Gods, Spike, you’re like the energizer vamp with that thing, aren’t you?”

“Only with you, Xan,” Spike murmured, hands still languidly stroking flesh. “Only with you…”

And finally, Harris agreed with Elliot. He would definitely have to hire a service to wake him up… assuming he could afford Spike’s fees.

Part Twelve

Harris signed copy after copy of his new book, appearing to pay attention to each of his fans as he did so. In reality, though, his mind was a good three point seven miles away.

Spike was sleeping by now, he was sure. Hell, he’d be sleeping himself if he could… or more to the point, he’d at least be in bed NOT sleeping if he were with Spike. But instead, here he was, trying to be gracious as the store manager brought him yet another café latte.

“Gods, no,” he finally said with a grin. “One more of those and I won’t stop vibrating til morning.”

The manager laughed and trundled off, saying something about a bottle of water instead.

Elliot laughed and leaned forward from his chair behind and slightly to the left of Harris. “The question is, whether that would be a bad thing. I have a feeling WILL wouldn’t mind.”

He could hear the smirk in Elliot’s voice and blushed slightly, almost entirely sure his friend was right. Still… “I don’t even know if I’ll be seeing him tonight, El. We didn’t get around to talking about it. And speaking of nights… you still haven’t told me about Trevor,” he murmured back.

The blond man chuckled happily. “What’s to tell? Young, relatively inexperienced, and willing to learn. I’ll be seeing him later. Poor kid needs some learning and I’m just the guy to give it to him.”

Harris grinned and turned some of his attention back to the woman standing across the table, gripping his new book like it was her lifeline.

He reached out with a grin and pried the book from her fingers before opening it, his pen poised over the blank first page. “So, who should I make this out to?”

* * * * *

Half an hour, Spike figured, for Xander to get back to the hotel. Another forty minutes for the bloke to shower, shave and change. Maybe twenty minutes to get a cab and make it to the shop he’d been going to. Four hours, his human was contracted to stay, then another hour or so for the man to get back to the hotel, change again, and haul his ass back to Spike’s place.

He added the figures again, then looked at the clock and frowned. Five and a half hours total. Xander’d left at one, so… he should have been back by now, damn it!

Unless it had all been a lie, a little voice in the back of his head whispered, slowly growing louder. The younger man could have played him… wanted nothing but a shag or six to put in another sodding book… and he’d been so overwhelmed with the notion of love with someone who actually wanted him, he’d never even noticed.

It wasn’t like they’d even exchanged phone numbers or anything. Hell, all he knew was the bloke was staying at the Plaza. Unless that was another lie.

But no… Xander had said that before he even knew it was Spike in that bathroom stall, so that part was true, he figured.

Of course, there was one way to find out for sure.

He stalked across the living room and snatched up the phone, dialing the operator for the number.

He snarled as he waited to be connected, then forced himself to stop when the hotel’s front desk answered.

“Yeah, I’m callin’ for Harrison Alexander. Put me through.”

He felt his demon slipping to the fore when the man on the phone informed him that there was no guest registered under that name. So even before he’d known it was Spike, the man had been lying. Had he said anything at all that was true? Probably not.

But the other bloke, that Elliot. He’d seemed to want Spike to work for him, so maybe… “Right,” he said snippily, “Give me Elliot, then. Uh… Washboard. Washbin. Somethin’ like that.”

He darted into his room, the cordless phone still pressed to his ear as he dug the business card from the pocket of the jeans he’d worn the night before. “Washburn! That’s the git!” he nearly shouted into the phone.

He practically bounced with impatience as the call rang through, growling when he got voice mail rather than an actual voice.

The handset shattered into bits of flying plastic and metal as it hit the far wall, but by then Spike was gone in a swirl of leather, denim and fury.

Lie to him, would he? USE him? Take bloody advantage of his emotions?

Yeah, well, he’d show sodding Xander bloody Harris a thing or two about being used and abused… and his little pissant sub, too.

* * * * *

Elliot lay back on the covers of his friend’s made bed, one arm above his head as he rolled his eyes. “So, wait,” he said for about the fiftieth time, “You KNOW Will. Knew him before last night, I mean.”

Harris sighed and nodded. “Yeah… back in California. He was… not a friend, exactly, but…” he shrugged.

The blond snorted, pausing as he thought he heard the phone ring in his room next door. He’d have to remember to check his messages tonight. He’d skipped doing it earlier.

“R-r-riiight,” Elliot drawled. “He wasn’t a friend, but you based your best and most erotic character on him. Not a friend, yet here you are, almost in love with him. Sure. I can see how that works.” He snorted again.

Harris chuckled a little bit, silently admitting that his friend had a point, although he was afraid ‘almost in love’ might be a huge understatement. For him, anyway. That was why he hadn’t thought twice about offering his neck to Spike the night before. He loved the vampire. Trusted him. Hell, he needed him, and a whole lot of other things that ended in ‘ed’. Trouble was, he was starting to have some doubts about what Spike’s feelings were.

The platinum blond hadn’t even asked him to call, had he?

No, he’d just kissed him hard, squeezed his ass, then sent him on his way with a soft “later, luv…” that had kept him throbbing in his leather pants until he’d been able to fix the problem in the shower.

Harris had thought at the time that Spike meant ‘later’ literally, but… maybe he hadn’t. Maybe it had been his way of saying “thanks for a good shag, mate”.

An unhappy blush spread over his body and he sighed. “Well, obviously it DOESN’T work, El. Because where am I right now? Am I bent over his couch, screaming his name or am I sitting in a hotel—a very NICE hotel, but still not Sp-Will’s place—with my agent?”

Elliot laughed. “You know, that’s what he called himself the first night I met him. Spwill. Interesting, huh?”

The brunette closed his eye and rubbed fingers slowly over his own face. “Spike. His name is Spike. Will is his real name, though. Or it was, anyway.”

“Okay,” Elliot said quickly, sitting up. “Let me see if I’ve got this straight—pardon the term.” He winked, glad to pull at least a small laugh from his friend. “You knew this guy back in Cali but you weren’t friends. You just… what? Lusted after him from afar? So when you left for DC you decided to make him a vampire in your books?”

Harris laughed again at the confusion on Elliot’s face. “Something like that, buddy. It’s a REALLY long, long, LONG story. And it’s nowhere near as interesting as you think,” he went on, lying shamelessly. “So just let it go. Call him Spike or Will… he’s still Spark. That’s the short version, okay?”

“Fine,” the blond grumbled, moving to the room’s refrigerator and pulling out a beer. “So you run into him after god knows how many years and have a one night stand, thinking it’ll get him out of your system. I get that. He’s like… your ideal. Nice to get what you want for once, huh?”

Six years, ten months, twenty-seven days, Harris thought. He could probably nail it down to hours and minutes, too, if he tried. But he didn’t want to right then; mostly because he’d already started another count in his head. Time since he’d last touched Spike: “Seven hours and thirteen minutes,” he murmured, shaking his head at Elliot’s questioning look. “Nothing.”

Elliot sighed and took a long swallow of the imported beer. “It must have been one hot night, though… considering how much sex was pouring off the both of you when you left the club. It actually seemed like…” He shook his head. “Didn’t seem like a one night thing, anyway.”

Harris shrugged, trying not to let his friend see how much it bothered him that it apparently HAD been. “I guess it was. For him, anyway. I doubt I’ll ever get him out of my system, though.” He whispered the last.

And ohhhhh… that explained the funk Harris was in, Elliot figured.

He sat back down and patted the bed beside him. “Sit, Harris. You’re fooling NOBODY with that stoicism.” He waited until the brunette was next to him, then Elliot wrapped his arm around his shoulders.

“You’re my best friend, Harris, and my favourite former lover. I’ve told you some things about myself that would have sent anyone else running away, possibly while screaming. And you never judged me. You just… listened. Held my hand, sometimes literally. So… talk to me. Let me return the favour. What exactly HAPPENED between you and Will? Because he wasn’t giving off anything LIKE an ‘indifferent’ vibe last night…”

It was a calculated risk, but Harris finally sighed and started talking. He left out the part about Spike being a vampire, of course, and the part about the biting, although Elliot had commented earlier about the “weird hickey”. He spoke of his heart and his body and how they’d been entirely in tune for once… and how he’d thought Spike had felt something similar.

He spoke of his doubts now, since Spike hadn’t even tried to contact him, and how he felt… lost. Left. Abandoned.

And finally… finally he cried, the hot, despondent tears slipping from his one good eye as the empty socket throbbed in sympathy. He hadn’t realized just how hurt he was until that moment. He swore he could feel his heart actually breaking.

Elliot frowned deeply as he stroked the man’s spine. If he ever saw Will again, he was going to kick his ass for hurting Harris like this.

Of course, considering what his friend had told him, there was a chance that Will was feeling just as lost and alone. Hell, the man was probably home crying just as hard as Harris was. If they hadn’t had that stupid signing today, Harris wouldn’t have had to rush off. Maybe they would have made plans or something.

Just as importantly, HE wouldn’t have had to leave Trevor’s bed himself. But that was a thought for another time. Like after he found out what the hell was REALLY going on with his best friend and the sexy blond.

Part Thirteen

Finding out which room Elliot was in was easier than Spike had expected. He’d considered bribing someone for the information, but if he had to kill the bloke, he didn’t want to be remembered.

So he’d stopped during his stalk through the night to the Plaza Hotel and had bought a snow globe of New York in one of the better shops. It was an old one. Still had the buildings that came down on 9/11.

He’d paid a good bit extra to have it delivered immediately to the hotel, the bloke’s name written large on the box.

After that, it was even easier. Run quickly through alleys and back ways, beat the delivery kid there. Hang about by the front desk asking questions about tourist attractions until the kid showed. Then watch while the desk manager looked Elliot’s name up and tried to call the room. 1237. Right, then.

A quick stroll to the elevator banks, a fast rise to twelve, and then… yeah. He was going to find out what the hell was going on. Why Xander’d lied to him. Shit, his agent HAD to know where he was staying, right? Right. And he might even know… how he could get the bloke back.

The anger still simmered, bubbling at the back of his brain and scorching his heart with its heat. But that was nothing to the sudden hope that maybe… maybe he could fix whatever it was he’d done wrong. Maybe he could make it up to the bloke who’d become more important to him than his own existence.

He was for damned sure going to try, anyway.

* * * * *

Harris had finally fallen asleep, the tears slowing then stopping as exhaustion took over.

It had taken Elliot only a few moments to extricate himself from the hold his friend had on him.

He’d wriggled from under the arm pinning him down, then he’d pulled the bed spread up from one side, tucking it gently around the sleeping man and almost laughing at what he knew his friend would call a ‘Harris burrito’.

Having lived in New York before the publishing house transferred him to DC, Elliot actually knew which building this Will lived in. He also knew he’d manage to get up to the man’s apartment, even if he had to blow the guy on the desk. There was no way he could let whatever had happened destroy his friend. Harris was more fragile right then, after one night with Will, than he’d EVER seen him.

It wasn’t that good ‘I’m so sore I might break if I try to sit down’ kind of fragile, either. Elliot knew that kind well.

No, it was more of an ‘I’m broken inside and if I sit down I might never get up again’ sort.

And that was unacceptable.

Even if Harris was right and Will or Spike or whatever didn’t want to see him again, Elliot was for damned sure going to make sure the bastard at least wrote him a note or something. He OWED Harris that much.

For a moment Elliot wasn’t sure whether he meant himself or Will, but either way, something was going to have to be done. Harris was not just his best friend. He was his biggest client. And NOBODY screwed with his friends or clients in the bad way.

One hand rose, pushing lightly at a hank of hair and Elliot frowned as his fingers brushed over the strap of the eye patch. He doubted it would be comfortable to sleep in, but Harris was very adamant about nobody seeing him without it. Not even Elliot. He sighed and left it in place.

Eye patch… eye patch… there was something about…

He blinked, eyes widening as he remembered what Will had said the night before. Will could overlook that Elliot was blond if he’d wear an eye patch? Oh… this was good. It was all some sort of misunderstanding. It HAD to be. Why else would WILL have been looking for someone to wear that sort of thing? He seriously doubted that the other blond had a pirate fetish.

He smiled just a little and moved quietly to the door, taking one last look at the man on the bed. “I wish this was a mood I could fuck you out of, Harris, but… I don’t think it’s just a mood. Fortunately, I think I know the man for the job.” He blew a kiss at the sleeping brunette, then slipped from the room and turned towards his own, his hand still on the lever.

If he was going to head out, he wanted to put on some REAL clothes. The ones he’d worn for the signing were far too conservative for his after-hours liking.

* * * * *

He smelled it as soon as the elevator doors opened. Xander… and Elliot, though the blond man wasn’t anywhere near as impressed on his sense-memory as the man he was truly hunting.

He wondered for a moment whether Xander hadn’t really lied. He’d never said that he and his ‘El’ had separate rooms, after all, but… no. They hadn’t smelled that close. Not like they’d been sharing a bed, anyway.

Spike’s boots thudded ominously on the carpeted floor as he strode towards the end of the right hand hall, watching room numbers and inhaling deeper and deeper the closer he got. He could smell Xander more fully now… the slight tinge of the salty sweat clearer. Maybe the young man and his agent WERE sharing a room.

He almost hoped so. It would save him having to torture Elliot, after all. He had a few doubts about how happy his Xander would be when he found out he’d hurt his friend.

Still, all in a good cause, Spike figured.

Find the bloke. Figure out what he’d done wrong to make Xander leave him and not come back. Fix it. Yeah. That was a plan Spike could live with.

He didn’t think about what he’d do if he couldn’t fix things. He already knew. But he hoped the dark haired young man would listen to reason because he didn’t particularly want to turn him. He liked his heat far too much to sacrifice it so soon.

He saw the door open a good twenty feet down the hallway and frowned as he recognized the bloke exiting it. Sure, Elliot was dressed in nine to five finest, but there was no mistaking the bloke.

Spike frowned and glanced at the room door beside him. 1235. And there was one more between him and the door Elliot had just walked out of.

“Odds on th’ left, evens on th’ right,” Spike muttered, looking to the other side just to be sure. He was right. And that meant… “Xander…” he growled, the sound more a moan as the open door allowed him to smell his beloved even more intensely, as well as the salty taste-scent that wasn’t sweat.

Elliot had almost shut the door when he felt the slender but strong body slam into him. He lost his grip on the door as he struggled, pushing the form away.

He blinked quickly, sure he was imagining things because he’d thought he’d seen golden eyes, but when he blinked again, they were regular bright blue. Or as regular as they could be, considering the package they came in.

“Will!” he cried softly, trying not to wake his friend through the slit of the door, “Thank God!” If the blond had come looking for Harris, then… he’d been right, Elliot was pleased to realize. It was just a miscommunication of some sort.

His nostrils were flaring, Spike knew, but at least he’d managed to control the demon. He had a feeling that no matter what Xander had told Elliot, he hadn’t mentioned that part. If he had, the human wouldn’t be smelling so…

Spike inhaled again, deeper, then chuckled to himself. The bloke was angry, relieved, sad, upset… a lot of things, but not afraid. Elliot didn’t know about him. Good.

“He’s cryin’,” Spike said softly, unable to hold back the concern in his voice, not that he wanted to. “Why’s he cryin’? What’s hurt him? I’ll… I’ll kill it, whatever it is.”

Elliot sighed. MEN. He shook his head slightly and reached out, taking a hold of Spike’s arm. “No… I don’t think you really need to kill yourself, Will… but I think we need to talk. About Harris.”

Spike let the other man lead him almost blindly to 1237. Kill himself? But he’d never said… and why would… and that was when it hit him.

HE was the one who’d made Xander cry. He didn’t know how, he didn’t know by what method, but… it was HIM.

“Oh, bloody hell,” he groaned dismally as he collapsed into the chair Elliot had led him to. “Bloody fuckin’ hell.”

Part Fourteen

The dark haired man moaned softly, his eye still closed as he did his damnedest to never wake up from the wonderful dream he was having. Warmth and contentment flowed freely through him in the dream. He was safe, he was loved, he was wanted… and that was all he’d ever wished for.

A small part of him knew it WAS just a dream, but he chose to ignore that portion of his psyche. He would just stay there, happy and complete, for as long as he possibly could.

“Mmmm… Spike…” he murmured softly, his muscles stretching languidly against the soft sheets as he imagined strong, slender fingers and full, soft lips on his skin. “Gods… love you, Spike…”

He felt the silken brush of short hair as the imagined lips slid lower over his naked flesh.

Naked? He wondered for a moment about that then shrugged mentally. Dream. Naked. Fine with him. The best kind of dream, really.

One hand finally moved, stroking over slightly cool skin before tangling in satin locks. “Gods…”

Spike’s lips were stretched into a wide smile as they traveled slowly and needily over the tanned skin. He doubted Xander was fully awake, though, because he had a feeling that if he HAD been… they’d be talking rather than touching. And touching now would take some of the sting out of the words they’d have later. Enough for him that the bloke had said he loved him. They were the only words he wanted to hear for the next little while.

That was why he was moving so slowly, so carefully, doing everything he could not to wake Xander before the other man was so ready he’d not even try to stop him.

Besides, Spike figured a truly stellar blow job would be a very good first step to apologizing.

Hell, two or three of them wouldn’t be amiss.

He understood the things Elliot had told him. He really did. He could see how Xander might have thought he’d been abandoned. He could even get how the younger man might not have realized that when Spike said ‘later’, it was an order, not a courtesy.

But for Xan to truly believe that it was possible for Spike to let him walk away when he’d just found him again… well, that he DIDN’T get.

There’d have to be a reckoning for that, Spike knew, but… not right then.

First he wanted… needed… to show Xander exactly how much he WASN’T left behind. And then he needed to have him show that he, Spike, wasn’t a momentary aberration, either.

His fingers continued their gentle dance over rock-hard pebbled nipples, even as his mouth slid just a bit lower, tongue creeping out to lap delicately at the tip of his Xander’s seeping cock.

“Bloody hell, luv,” he whispered, eyes closing at the fierce purr from his demon at tasting their human again, “Can’t live without your flavour… don’t want ta even try…”

Harris’s dream shivered, becoming hazy as the imaginary mouth closed over the head of his cock. He squeezed his eye closed even tighter, willing himself to remain asleep. Waking up would mean coldness and misery and unmitigated sorrow.

The dream settled down a bit and he relaxed, fingers rubbing lightly through the hair as his hips rocked against the bed. “Gods, Spike,” he whispered, “So good… wish you were real…”

He felt the smooth, strong tongue stroking up and down the underside of his shaft, felt it press wickedly along the length of the thick vein there and moaned. He spread his legs farther apart, yearning for the contact, the touch he knew he’d never have again in real life. “Spike…” he moaned louder.

And just the sound of his name coming from those lips in that tone made him… yearn. His lips wrapped around the young man’s cock again, this time sliding his mouth to the base. His throat worked willfully, caressing the head as he swallowed and he inhaled deeply, drawing the thick, musky scent of his love through his nose.

The smell was more intense there, pulling a low, deep growl from him that had his Xander shivering with what was obviously desire. So Spike growled again, one hand leaving the younger man’s chest to search the side of the bed for the tube Elliot had so thoughtfully provided.

His head bobbed up and down, slowly making love to Xander’s cock as he somehow managed to open the tube and get a good bit of the contents into his hand. Fingers now slick, Spike set the tube aside and slipped one shaking digit into the other man’s tightly budded hole.

Heaven, he knew, feeling those legs part more as his slender finger worked in and out, in and out, coming close to that small nub inside but not quite touching, stroking, pressing. Soon… yes. Spike let a second slick finger join the first, working that blissful hole wider, twisting and spreading until yet another digit joined the party, dancing slowly and willfully around that spot. Soon… but not yet and not with his fingers.

No, when he woke the young man by sliding slow and hard against his prostate, it was going to be with his cock. He’d wake him the best way and once he was truly aware, remind him of all the reasons Spike would never let him go.

Of course, the way his human was reacting to the touches and probing pretty much put the whole blow job idea on the back burner, so to speak. Besides, Spike now realized, it would wake the man too soon. He slowed the motions on the thick, pulsing shaft slip between his lips, concentrating now on fully preparing his beloved. He didn’t want to hurt him… much.

Harris actually thought he might be awake, but… it was impossible. If he were awake, that would mean Spike was really there, and how could that be?

He groaned low and deep, his knees rising as he pulled his feet up the covers, spreading wider still for the glorious touch. “Spike,” he whispered longingly, afraid to open his eye and see that he really was awake and simply imagining, or worse yet had somehow ended up with someone else.

Cool hands slowly and gently turned the young man over, finally releasing both hole and cock to accomplish the task. Spike moaned silently, staring at the long line of Xander’s back before laying himself over him, skin on skin from top to bottom. Hands rested atop broader, tanned hands, length of thighs on length of thighs. “Luv you, Xan,” he finally whispered, pressing his ready shaft against the rounded buttocks beneath him, “Told you, luv… til th’ day I die.”

Harris couldn’t control the small jump at the words, his eye opening wide. It was real… and Spike was really… oh, yeah… “Right there…” he gasped, arching higher to the slightly smaller form draped over him.

His heart pounding wildly, Harris wondered if he’d truly gone round the bend. This… he… SPIKE… Too much thinking, he told himself sternly. Think later. FEEL now. “Spike…” he groaned, “Please… want…”

The vampire pressed harder against that toned, firm ass. “Not about what you want this time, pet… wanted you ta come back ta my place after your little junket. You didn’t though, did you?” Blunt human teeth nipped hard at Xander’s neck. “An’ now, luv… ‘s about what I want.”

He would never do anything to truly harm the other man. He hoped Xander knew that. But he was still a vampire and… he hadn’t quite finished claiming the brunette. Not fully. Doing it now might be a bit on the quick side, but he couldn’t take a chance on waiting any longer. Not with his Xan apparently not recognizing when he was wanted… needed.

“W-what d’you w-want, Spike…? Anything…” Harris stammered, his skin growing hotter by the second as he thought of the many ways this could go. He knew he should be worried, considering the vampire could actually hurt him now, but… even if he beat him senseless, it couldn’t possibly hurt anywhere near as much as the pain that had screamed through him when he’d thought the blond didn’t care. He still wasn’t worried, though. Spike was there with him, and whatever came of it, he figured it would be for the best.

He could almost HEAR the gears turning in his love’s mind and that would never do. Spike’s lips brushed against one ear as he gripped the younger man’s wrists in his hands. “Want ta fill you so deep an’ so hard you’ll never forget who you belong ta, pet. An’ you DO belong ta me. Just… forgot ta show you good enough. ‘s time ta correct my own mistake. Now, luv… hands an’ knees. I want your ass in th’ air for me, knees spread; your head down on your hands.”

His eye squeezed shut again, his groin tightening even more at the harsh tone of the soft words. It took him less than a second to move, once the large, cool blanket of vampire lifted from him. Harris pushed himself up, hands gripped together in front of him, forehead on his linked fingers as he kneeled there on his knees, legs spread wide, cock hanging heavy and glistening with droplets and dribbles of nearly clear milky fluids.

Spike nodded to himself at the speed and attention to detail his human responded with. He found the discarded tube and slowly stroked a thin layer of the lubricant over his straining shaft before returning his fingers to the recently vacated hole, stretching and teasing once again. “Good, luv,” he murmured, “Like you all relaxed this way… goin’ ta like your tension even more when I feel you cum… when I finally let you cum.”

And that almost sounded ominous, but Harris would be damned if he could speak. Every part of his being was focused entirely on his ass, his cock… “Gnnnahhhh…” he managed to whimper, shifting back in an effort to take those fingers deeper.

The blond chuckled and applied a loud, open-handed slap to one quivering butt cheek. “Didn’t ask you ta talk, luv… not yet. Once I’m buried deep inside that tight heat of yours, you can voice whatever words you want. Have a feeling ‘s goin’ ta be more like sounds rather than actual words, but that’s fine too.”

Another slight jump at the slap, his cock throbbing harder still when the voice came again. “Think you liked that, pet… addin’ it ta th’ list of things ta explore later.”

With those smug words, Spike moved closer on his knees, settling between the man’s legs as he removed his fingers, replacing them with just the tip of his cock against the reddened, well-worked hole. Both hands fastened on hips, noticing the small bruises from the night before.

Spike chuckled and dragged the man back just as he slammed forward, entering to the hilt, his sac slapping hard against Xander’s.

It was a strangled-sounding shout that came from Harris’s lips. He’d been expecting the sudden thrust somehow, but the sheer size of his partner filling him so quickly skated the razor’s edge of pleasure and pain. The pain receded after a moment as Spike shifted his hands, wrapping one around the base of Harris’s cock. He whined softly, wanting to move and to stay still, equally. Until he felt the other hand there too, then felt the sudden pulling, tightening sensation that plunged him right back onto that razor. “S-s-sp…”

“It’s Spike, luv,” the vampire in question said, smirking more as he finished tying the bootlace he’d removed from his Docs earlier into a quick-release knot around the base of his human’s shaft, another loop separating the balls. “An’ I told you, pet… you don’t get ta cum til I want you ta.” Fingers found hips again, holding Xander still as he pulled his thick, hard shaft out completely then pressed the thick head again to the yielding hole.

This time, the shout was shared by both. Heat, searing him, burning him to the depths of his soul, warming his skin even without fresh blood. He pulled himself from Xander again, repeating the penetration just because it felt so good. “Bloody hell,” Spike whispered as his sac drew up hard and tight. “Not yet…” He forced himself to stop, buried balls-deep within his love while he forced down the urge to burst. His demon apparently agreed, choosing that moment to emerge.

Harris’s entire body was shaking, inside and out. His hands gripped each other so tightly he thought his fingers might break. “Spike,” he moaned, pressing back into that sensation of fullness and hoping his vampire would let him cum soon. He would have shot off after the second thrust if he could have. “Spike,” again, more demanding this time as the blond remained still within him.

“Shhhh… hush, luv…” Spike growled, closing his eyes against the perfect vision before him. “Just… give me a moment, alright?”

Harris replied by trying to press further back, squeezing the long cock inside him. “It’s been…” he gasped softly, “A moment…”

The blond snarled and moved his knees closer, resting them fully between the other bloke’s and settling back on his heels. He pulled Xander with him until the man was in his lap, legs spread over him, his cock sliding just a bit deeper from the change of position. “There. Happy now, pet?” Spike snarled again, sharp teeth scraping gently at the top of one tight shoulder.

He found himself arching back, one arm up and over his other shoulder, holding onto Spike to keep himself from falling forward again. “G-gods… S-S-Spike…” He couldn’t even move, it felt so good. He’d never had anyone so deep in him. Not even Spike the night before. “It… it’s like you’re… in m-my…” he groaned, arching his neck to the small scratches of teeth.

“Your heart, luv?” Spike growled, “Your soul…? I am, pet. Live there now. Nothin’ you can do ta change it…” He let his tongue lap lightly over the skin he’d been nibbling, purring softly when that small act made Xander shiver again.

“I w-was gonna s-say… the back of my throat, but… like you in my… h-heart and s-soul even… better,” the brunette groaned, his eye squeezing closed again as he felt Spike rise just a bit, pressing impossibly deeper. “F-fuck…”

“Next time, luv,” Spike whispered, lifting the man’s hips slowly, then sliding that perfect tightness down to his base again, “Next time, we’ll fuck. Promise. Busy makin’ luv right now.” He lifted Xander’s hips again, his own rising slightly as he let the bloke descend fully once more. This time when he felt his sac clenching, he let it. He helped his love rise one more time, crying out roughly as he slid down, his shaft swelling larger still before exploding wildly in spurts of slightly cool, thick fluids within that grasping sheath. Sharp teeth found their mark, driving deep as he felt a hard, dry orgasm spill through his Xan.

Jesus, he’d never been so hard and aching to cum. His balls were swollen and almost purple and he didn’t even want to think about how hard they’d be by the time Spike released the improvised cock ring. And then he found out, because the teeth drove in and his entire body shuddered, the bootlace preventing any actual release. He shook and shivered as his anus filled with soothingly cool liquid, unable to feel anything but his own swollen cock, the one in his ass, and the incredibly sensual sensation of teeth and tongue at his neck, drawing life and love from him in steady draughts.

It was the constant keening drone near his ear that had him finally pulling away from the soft, strong neck. “Xander,” Spike moaned breathlessly, still hard within the young man. “Cum, luv… cum hard an’ long for me. Want ta hear you… feel you…” One hand released a deeply bruised hip, finding the loose end of the lace and giving it a careful tug.

He screamed, cumming again as his human arched back so hard, Spike was pressed over and onto the bed, glad for the strength of vampire muscle and bone that kept his knees from breaking. He held the man against his chest, fingers wrapping loosely around the rapidly firing shaft. “That’s it, luv… cum,” he groaned encouragingly, “luv you, pet… luv seein’ you, hearin’ you explode for me… never lettin’ you go, Xan… not for anythin’…”

Some part of Harris’s mind was listening to the words, but most of him wasn’t capable of thought. All he really noticed was the tone as the hand slowly stroked him, pulling shot after shot of hot jism from his still-throbbing cock. His back arched, body bowing and heaving in the grips of the most intense experience he’d ever known.

He never even managed to find his voice before the huge, swelling wall of blackness fell over him, wrapping him in a velvet embrace of satisfaction and pleasure so pure it hurt.

Spike chuckled proudly as he shifted onto his side, reluctantly pulling himself from his Xander’s well-used hole. It had been a while since he’d made someone pass out from something other than fear. Still, it wouldn’t be the last time, he knew. Not with the way his love responded to him; to his touch.

Of course, that meant their little talk would have to wait until the bloke woke up, but that was good, he figured. Give the second claiming a bit of time to settle. Xan might be pissed off when he found out, but he’d get over it.

He’d have to. There was nothing to be done about it now other than give in, accept it, and complete HIS end of it. And then… nothing would ever come between them. It would be impossible.

Ridged forehead and golden eyes receded along with sharp teeth, and it was the human looking vampire who pulled the brunette against his chest, one leg thrown over the warm body, holding him close as he waited patiently for his claimed to wake, a soft, rumbling purr echoing in his chest.

Part Fifteen

Harris slid as carefully as he could from the bed, not wanting to wake Spike unnecessarily. He still had a few hours before his next signing and while he did want to spend them with the blond, he didn’t figure on Spike having much interest in his bathroom time.


One blue eye cracked, taking in that long line of back, butt and thigh he loved so much. “Goin’ somewhere, pet?” he murmured sleepily, one hand stroking lightly over his own stomach. “Shower time?”

Harris chuckled at the raised eyebrow and tried to will his cock down. “Not yet, Spike… but I’m human, here. I need to use the facilities, alright?”

The vampire puzzled through that for a moment then wrinkled his nose. “Right. I’ll just stay here and laze about in this night warm spot you left me, then.” His eye closed again and he settled into the recently vacated space, purring softly.

The brunette laughed softly and went on. It wasn’t until he finished his needed business that he noticed his cell phone still charging on the counter. Maybe he should… His face hardened a bit and he nodded to himself. He would. He wanted… needed… to know.

* * * * *

He was frowning slightly as he hit the end call button and set his cell down to charge again. Not frowning because he didn’t believe her, but because he did. She’d never been able to lie well, and still couldn’t.

They really hadn’t known.

Of course, they did now, and he wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. Hell, for all he knew, Spike hadn’t WANTED anyone to know. And if that was so…

Harris sighed. He’d have to tell him and just… hope for the best. It wasn’t like he’d planned on spilling a secret, after all.

Spike cocked his head, a quizzical expression on his face as Xander stepped from the bathroom. “ ‘s not that I don’t want you ta have other friends, luv, but… who were you talkin’ ta in there?”

He’d really hoped the vampire would still be sleeping, but obviously not. Harris sat down on the edge of the bed, staring at the carpet between his feet. “I… may have done something stupid, Spike,” he said quietly. “I mean really, REALLY stupid. Donut-boy-Zeppo stupid. Not me NOW-stupid…”

The blond shrugged. He’d actually dozed off for a few minutes after Xan closed the bathroom door, but he’d woken when the man’s voice rose from a soft murmur behind the wood. He moved his hand, placing it on the brunette’s side and stroking lightly. “Doubt that, pet. You’re one of th’ smarter blokes I’ve met. Just took a while for you ta grow inta it. Best sellin’ author an’ such, yeah?”

Harris smiled a little and leaned slightly into the roaming hand. “Yeah, well,” he admitted after a moment, “Still kinda feel like the old me sometimes, and this would be one of them. Spike, I… I called Willow to find out why nobody told me you were alive. I guess… you didn’t want them to know, though.” He sighed hopelessly. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have.”

“No…” Spike nearly whispered, his head spinning suddenly. “No, you… couldn’t know… Red’s alive? I mean she’s not dead? Still… runnin’ about castin’ spells an’… Red’s alive?”

He’d been so sure they’d all be dead by now. He’d been SURE! And maybe he’d figured on a few of the baby Slayers still knocking about, but… “Who else?” he demanded harshly, sitting up as his fingers dug slightly into tanned ribs. “Who else is still alive, Xander?”

His eye was wide as he turned to face his lover. “You didn’t know… you really thought… and even ME, and… is that why the… this?” He blinked repeatedly, promising himself he wouldn’t cry. “Because you thought I was… the only one left… the last… but I’m not her, am I? And she’s alive and now you… know it, and… Gods, I should never have… never… this. You. US. And why would you want… crippled… half blind… broken… wrecked…” He stood, backing away from the bed as the words poured from him on a river of self-loathing. “I… you sh-should… leave now, Spike. Please.”

His brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what the HELL his love was talking about, even while he processed the shock at knowing at least some of the others had survived. It had him almost defeated, though. This version of Xander-babble was foreign to him. So foreign, in fact, that it took him a good few seconds to realize the young man was backing away from him.

“Luv… what’s goin’ on with you?” he asked softly, rolling from the bed and moving towards him. “I’ll admit it’s a bit of a shock ta know Red’s still alive an’ kickin’, but what the bloody hell does that have ta do with you an’ me?”

Harris stepped back every time Spike stepped forward, until he found himself nearly sitting on the dresser. “N-not Willow! BUFFY!” he shouted, the tears finally spilling from his eye. “YOU LOVE HER! And she’s ALIVE, damn it! And now I’m gonna l-lose you again, and I just found you! Just found out what could be, and… I CAN’T STAND IT!”

He couldn’t have kept himself from catching the younger man as he started to collapse. Even if he hadn’t loved him to distraction he couldn’t have helped it. But as he did love Xander so deeply, he moved with all the speed one of his kind could and gathered the bloke into his arms, lowering them both to the floor.

Long, pale legs wrapped around the larger man, arms cradling him close and tight. “Luv… pet… Xander… No… No. Just… NO!” he spoke sincerely, lips pressing small, soft kisses to slightly clammy skin. “Didn’t know, luv… never knew what luv was… thought I did, but never knew it. Not til you.” He smiled softly, still placing those soft, sweet kisses against his beloved’s face. “Knew I luved you, Xan… even before I burned. Knew it soon as I saw how you acted after that soddin’ prat took your eye. Still so strong, so carin’… never givin’ up, never wantin’ ta use your war wound as an excuse ta take it easy.”

He held him tighter, lips a mere hairsbreadth from warm lips. “You had the heart of a warrior, luv… an’ once I saw it, I couldn’t luv anyone else. Not even th’ soddin’ Slayer.” He nodded seriously when the soft, weepy brown eye opened to glance ashamedly at him. “Knew you were there, Xan,” he whispered, his voice dropping to a level better for intimate confidences. “At th’ end. Knew you were there. I could smell you. Knew th’ Slayer didn’t luv me because she never had th’ heart you did. Knew YOU could never luv me. Hated me, you did. But I saw you at th’ end.”

“You were standin’ there at th’ top of th’ stairs, tryin’ ta hide. Made me so jealous, knowin’ it was because you cared so much for her an’ not at all for me.” Spike sighed. “But I could give myself ta the fire an’ hope it’d give YOU a chance, couldn’t I? Even knowin’ ya’d never know how much you’d come ta mean ta me.” He smiled a bit. “An’ so I did. Saved th’ world in fire an’ pain… just so I’d know you’d live that little while longer.”

Part Sixteen

“So wait. He said Spike’s alive? SPIKE’S alive. ALIVE? But… he can’t be!”

“That’s what he said. He wanted to know why nobody told him.”

“Because I saw him DIE, Willow. I mean, I SAW it! I told you! He… burned up from the inside and it… saved the world.”

“I know, Buffy! I’m not saying it’s true. That’s just what he said! But… he seemed so sure.”

“Uh-huh. This is XANDER we’re talking about, right? One eye… maybe not seeing so good these days?”

A snort. “He sees well enough to make millions writing his books, Buffy. I… look, I’m not saying it really IS Spike…”

“Right.” A smile in the voice. “Because let’s face it, Will. If it was, he’d have totally gotten in touch with me. He LOVED me, you know?”

Uncomfortable silence.

“What, Willow? What aren’t you telling me?”


“Okay, SPILL, young lady!”

Another sigh. “Um, Xander said he and Spike are um… luvvurds.”

“Buzzards? They’re buzzards? Ew, that’s just gross. They what? Go out looking for roadkill for dinner? Or OH, NO! Is Xander a vampire?”

“LOVERS! He said they’re LOVERS!” Shouted through the phone.

A blink. Another blink. “Oh… Xander’s gay? Is that why he and Maria aren’t married anymore? I mean, I guess that’s grounds for an annulment, right? Wait a minute… Xander CAN’T be gay! Because… bug lady! Cordelia! Anya!” Stunned pause. “Well, maybe that would do it. But then Maria, and she’s such a nice girl, so… huh? How can Xander be GAY? He’s straight! Always was, always will be! People don’t just change like that!”

Irritated clearing of the throat.

“Uh, except when they do, which is really, really cool. Yeah. A big old YAY to gayness! And it can’t really bother him that much, right? I mean, he did ask you to ‘gay him up’ that time.”

Sudden groan. “Oh, Goddess… what if I… maybe… I didn’t mean to, Buffy! I didn’t, I swear! But… I made Xander gay! With my magic! I must have!”

“Willow… get back to London. I’ll be there tomorrow. We have to talk to Giles. Maybe he can fix it or at least help us figure out what to do. Xander gay all of a sudden… and thinking he’s with Spike? This has ooky bad demon-ness written all over it.”

Another sigh. “Yeah, I think you’re right. OH! Maybe I was the one who made Xander gay, but… if there’s someone with him who he really believes is SPIKE… shape-shifting demon, maybe? Or… oh! Maybe an incubus! They’re all bad and sexy and ‘come here, little boy and sit in my lap’ and I could SO see an incubus pulling off Spike. But not THAT kind of pulling because… Um. Okay. Demon?” Small eeep.

“Good idea, Will. You’re probably right. He always did attract the worst possible… partners. I’ll call Giles and tell him to expect us tomorrow. That way he can get some rooms ready.”

“See you then, Buffy. And thanks. I was going crazy over here.”

A laugh. “You’re one who wanted to be stationed in Guatemala. I tried to tell you… too far away. I wish you and Kennedy had…”

“Well, we didn’t, Buff. It was just too weird after a while. I mean having my girlfriend go out hunting vamps every night? Maybe if I could have gone with her, but with the South American Council of Covens to manage, I just had too much work, y’know?”

“You sure you can get away for this?”

“Yeah… Dawnie’s been coming along really well. She’s ready for her shot at running things. And if anything goes wrong, we’ll be just a phone call away for her. And Buffy… it’s Xander. MY Xander. I have to do everything I can to help him.”

“Well, give Dawn my love before you leave and tell her to call us even if she doesn’t have to. You know, unless she can’t drag herself away from the grimoire and that guy she’s been seeing.”

A snort. “ ‘That guy’. Like he isn’t the most powerful male witch of their generation. They’re a good match, Buffy. If it works out with them, their children could have enough power to do pretty much anything!”

Sigh. “I know, I know… I just wish he weren’t so… Anyway. See you tomorrow, Will.”

“Yeah, Buffy. See you tomorrow.”

“And don’t worry, Will. We’ll figure out what’s wrong with Xander. Then we’ll fix it. Maybe we can even get him to stay in London for a while. Oh! We could have a Scooby Reunion! Get the rest of the gang to fly in… it’ll be great! But first we have to cure Xander of his magic-induced gayness… and figure out what the Spike-thing is. Maybe I can kill it!”

Rolled eyes. “One step at a time, Buffy. Love you. Bye.”

“Love you too, Will… uh, in the non-lesbian way. Bye.”

Part Seventeen

Three days since his ‘breakdown’, as Harris called it in his head. Three days during which Spike had done everything he could to convince him he really meant all those gushy-feeling inducing things he’d said. And the blond had pretty much succeeded, he admitted silently.

One large, warm hand stroked slowly up and down the spine of the sleeping vampire, a small smile on the human’s face. Nobody had ever been as beautiful as the creature lying beside him. He was sure of that much. Hell, he actually couldn’t blame Dru and Angelus for wanting to preserve Spike for all time, even if the vampire did claim to have been something of a milksop, back in the day. Obviously the insane woman had seen what he truly was and if her Sire had chosen to help out, then… good. And good for himself, he figured. If they hadn’t done as they had, he—Harris—would never have known this feeling. This… deep, full happiness.

His hand stroked more, just a bit harder on the sleek spine.

Spike smirked into his pillow, doing his best to stay still. The long, slow touches were incredibly comforting to his soul. They made him feel… he didn’t know what, but it was definitely a good thing. For the first time in the years since his Turning, he didn’t have to worry about why he was being… petted, basically. Xander wasn’t setting him up for anything… wasn’t using kindness to disarm him just so he could suddenly turn around and hurt him. How did he know?

Because that wasn’t his love.

No, Xander was exactly what he seemed to be. Strong, handsome, reliable… loving, sensual, loyal. He was exactly what Spike had needed all his life. And if it had taken a hundred and some odd years to get to this place, well… that was all right.

Of course, he still had to tell him about the claiming. He’d been putting that off, thinking it might scare the other man.

He’d tell Xander about it when he got back from DC, he decided. That would be better than telling him now.

If he told him now, the bloke would spend the entire two days away from him wondering and worrying and working himself into a fret. Spike just knew it. Plenty of time for that when they were together again. At least then he’d be able to distract him, not to mention deal with whatever emotional outbursts might come.

Yeah… that would be the best plan, after all.

Harris smiled to himself, hearing the little mumbles of Spike thinking hard. The blond had always done that and obviously that hadn’t changed. Still, that meant the vampire wasn’t really sleeping, and if that were the case…

He stroked his hand up that long lean back again, letting it continue on the down stroke to the pale, toned cheek nearest him. Fingers spread, clenching just a bit on skin and muscle, and Harris chuckled as he heard Spike moan.

“Morning, babe,” he murmured, releasing the handful to rub lazy circles on Spike’s rear. “I thought you were NEVER gonna wake up.”

Spike grumbled, trying to sound sleepy. “Who says I’m awake?” he muttered. “An’ don’t call me babe. Makes me sound like bloody Cher, it does.”

Harris shrugged, laughing. “Tell you what,” he said, sliding one thick digit playfully up and down the vampire’s crack. “You can be Sonny later… babe. And if you’re not awake, I guess I just need to try harder.”

The vampire groaned, spreading his legs a bit. “Goin’ ta hold ya ta that, luv,” he murmured, raising his hips to allow room for his growing shaft. “So… you’re goin’ ta wake me up, ‘ey?”

The brunette laughed again, moving closer to lay a soft, wet kiss between Spike’s shoulder blades. “Wake you up… wear you out. Same difference,” he teased. His tongue lapped gently at the soft skin and he moaned softly at the taste. “Jesus fuck,” Harris sighed happily, placing more kisses on his back.

Spike rumbled softly, hips shifting just a bit as the lips traveled down his skin. “Yeah… luv… I’m him…” He gasped, feeling that one finger at his crack pressing harder between his cheeks. “Bloody hell, luv… don’t ya dare stop…”

Harris sat up, his finger still moving up and down, up and down that wonderful crease. “Yes, Spike, that’s exactly what I was planning. Get us both all hot and bothered, then stop.” He snorted, his eye scanning the bed and the table beside it for the tube from the night before, finally seeing it peeking out from under the corner of Spike’s pillow.

“Bleedin’ smart ass,” Spike muttered with a grin, pressing up against that digit just a bit. “Workin’ your way up to a spankin’, you are…” He smirked, smelling the suddenly even more intense scent of his love’s arousal.

“Promises, promises,” Harris murmured, grabbing the tube with his free hand and setting it down closer to them. He shifted, bending over to press his lips to one cool globe of flesh, teeth nibbling lightly as he pressed that finger deeper. “Open up, babe… let me see all of you…”

Spike would have said something smug if he could have but the sensation of his human’s teeth along with that finger probing at him had him doing nothing but what Xander had asked. He found himself rolling quickly to stare at the stunning dark haired young man as his knees drew up then fell to either side of him, his cock bouncing proudly as it hardened even more. “As you wish, pet…”

Harris chuckled softly and leaned forward, taking the thick seeping head into his mouth quickly. He slid his lips slowly to the base, sucking hard as he reversed the motion. “I have a lot of wishes, Spike,” he whispered, nipping lightly down the underside of the turgid shaft.

Long, elegant fingers gripped tightly at three hundred count Egyptian cotton. “G-granted, luv… every one…” he gasped, his head grinding back against the bed as he felt that mouth on his sac, sucking, nipping, gently rolling each tight ball between tongue and palate. “Bloody hell!” he growled, his face shifting quickly.

His own body was tighter than tight, longing to be buried deep within the pinkish pucker he could see when he lifted the heavy sac in his hand. And he would be soon enough, Harris knew. But first… well, first…

He laid himself out further, tongue flicking at the balls in his hand. “Hold your knees up, Spike,” he whispered, the words breathing across the dampened flesh. “Up and wide, okay?”

Spike almost couldn’t believe that his human already had him panting, but it was true. He forced his fingers to let go of the sheets beneath his, his hands moving to the crooks of his knees, lifting his legs and holding them spread wide. “Granted…” he groaned.

Amusement danced in his eye. He could get used to this wishing thing. “Gods, Spike…” he murmured, staring at the entirety of the man before him, “You’re so…” He shook his head, unable to find the words, then leaned in again, laving the lightly-haired sac for just a moment more before sliding the tip of his tongue almost roughly over that soft spot between it and his next target, pressing hard.

“Xan!” Spike yelped, golden eyes slamming shut at the sensation, only to fly wide again when he felt that wet point circling his anus. “Luv!”

Arms slid on the mattress, sliding under thighs and over their tops, holding the man still as he tasted and teased, moaning at the flavor before pressing inescapably at that clenched ring. His tongue probed slowly, pressing harder each time until finally he felt it pass through, sliding into the very core of the writhing vampire.

Spike could feel the dribbles of pre-cum dripping onto his skin… feel the brunette’s head between his legs, the tongue flicking within him… and he’d be damned if he could keep himself from looking. He somehow managed to tear his gaze from the ceiling, but looking down his own curled in torso was his undoing.

The sight of his beloved there, tongue buried deep is his bum, opening him, loosening him… the slight pain of the fingers digging deep into the tops of his thighs… it was all too much. “Xander!” he growled, his body convulsing as much as it could in that position as his cock swelled further and spurted rapid, thick shots of copious seed over his chest and face.

Harris felt the shaking of his love’s body and smiled to himself, driving his tongue harder and deeper, swirling it wickedly within Spike’s rear. He pressed harder when he felt that tight ring clench even more, trying to push him out. His fingers flexed roughly on Spike’s thighs and he shook his head a little, letting his nose and cheeks rub sac and skin wickedly.

His human was trying to kill him. That was the only possible explanation for why the bloke wasn’t stopping… wasn’t even slowing down. “Luv…” he groaned, nearly begging, “Want you, Xan… need you…”

It was the work of maybe a minute for Harris to pull his tongue from the tightness surrounding it and find the tube he’d gotten earlier. He coated his cock quickly, then moved his slicked hand to Spike’s now-reddened hole. “Gods, Spike… I need you too…”

One finger pressed deep and Spike groaned. “Bloody hell, luv! Enough with th’ foreplay. Need you IN me. NOW!” He held his legs open even wider, rocking just a bit as the finger was withdrawn, the broad, thick, hot tip of his Xander’s cock replacing it. “Yessss…” he hissed. “Now, luv… now…”

And what was a boy to do? Xander thought wryly, even as he pushed forward in small, short thrusts, his hips shifting just a little from side to side. Make love to his vampire, of course, he answered himself. He groaned loud and long as just the head of him began to move past the tight little pucker, then groaned even louder, this time joined by Spike, as that ring relaxed and he took that long slide to flush.

“Gods… Spike… MY Spike…”

His hands released his knees, letting his legs wrap around the warmth of his claimed’s sturdy waist. “Yeah… pet… your spike… in your Spike…” he moaned low and deep as Xander started moving.

No matter how many times he found himself balls-deep in Spike, each time was like the first. He rediscovered the tightness, the cool burn, the overwhelming sense of completion. Of coming home. Being home.

And maybe, Harris realized, that was why none of his other relationships had worked; not even his marriage to the lovely and accepting Maria. Fact was… Spike was his ideal.

Even when he’d thought the vampire was dead, there must have been a part of him screaming, crying, demanding that there had to be more. That somewhere in the world, there had to be someone who could make him feel the way he’d only felt for Spike, and only after he’d seen him die.

But that didn’t matter now, he knew. Because Spike wasn’t dead. Or not in the ‘big pile of dust at the bottom of a crater’ way. And he truly WAS home. Home. With Spike. Home FOR Spike, he hoped.

He rocked himself slowly and deeply into the man, reveling in the sensation of those long, strong legs wrapped around his waist as the cool hands grasped wildly at his back. His eye focused on one barely slitted golden orb and he stroked in and out even more slowly, something within him wanting to make this moment last forever… or at least make the memory of it last two days.

“How does that feel, Spike,” he whispered, hips twisting slightly as he rocked deep, his cock moving against the other man’s hard little nub in small increments. “Tell me, babe… how does it feel…?”

If it were possible to have murderous thoughts at a moment like that, Spike was having them. His beloved was… fuck! Driving him crazier than Dru EVER was and the bloke expected him to speak?

Well, apparently so because his Xan slid deep and stopped, waiting for a response apparently.

“F-feels…” he finally managed to moan, “B-bloody… amazin’… pet…” His eyes closed hard, wishing for nothing other than more strokes, more tenderness, more… Xander. Hell, he’d never really known that having his ass plundered could BE tender. Not until this human. HIS human. His fingers flexed, digging deep into the thick cords of muscle at either side of the man’s spine. “Luv me, Xander… just luv me… don’t ever stop…. PROMISE me you won’t ever soddin’ stop!”

And that was a promise Harris knew he could keep. Hell, he’d have to kill himself to stop loving Spike, and even if he did… he’d still love him in whatever afterlife a one-eyed, bi-sexual, one-vampire-fixated former Scooby got.

His body started moving again, still slowly, still deeply. “Look at me, Spike,” he whispered, needing to see the man’s eyes, to know he was there with him. “Look at me, babe… I love you. I will ALWAYS… love you…” His breath caught as the golden stare fastened on his one good brown eye.

Harris’s hips moved faster, harder, unable to resist the depth of love, need, wanton desire in those eyes. He couldn’t stop. WOULDN’T stop. He loved Spike beyond the boundaries he’d always thought existed and he for damned sure needed to SHOW him.

His hips moved like pistons, burying himself deep then receding, shifting to hit that special spot, and when Spike howled high and rough, his cock spewing yet again between their bodies, Harris did the only thing he could to show the other man how much he meant it.

He bowed his head, his mouth finding the tense, arched column of Spike’s neck… and he bit. HARD.

He bit until skin split and cool blood tasting of moonlight and hops and the colour of night burst over his tongue.

A small part of him knew it was merely borrowed blood he drank, but the majority of him didn’t care, and as his body exploded wickedly and rapturously, he continued to drink it down.

Nothing had ever tasted as good or as right… nothing.

Spike’s entire body clenched hard and if he hadn’t been able to hold on to just a bit of his sanity, his legs and arms might have broken his human’s back.

Xander was… biting him!

The realization had yet another volley of cool spunk shooting from him, coating their chests as he pressed his neck harder against the blunt teeth.

It would hurt like a bitch later, he knew, but right in that moment… he couldn’t manage to care. His ass was full of his beloved’s cock, and the human had almost completed the full claiming. And now…

Spike groaned loudly, his ass shifting down to take in as much of Xander’s cock as possible as he felt the younger man swell a bit more.

“Xan… luv… YES! NOW!” he keened, his legs rising to the man’s middle back. “Cum for me, pet!”

Regardless of their positions, Harris was well aware of who wore the pants in their relationship. And if he were going to be honest, he’d admit that he wouldn’t have it any other way.

He slammed himself deeper still, once, twice, three times more. His mouth opened wider, screaming against Spike’s neck as the command made him tighten, then begin streaming ropes of thick, viscous fluid into his vampire’s willing ass. “Spike!” he tried to scream, although it came out more like ‘Spuuullllg…’ as he continued to drink, his cock still exploding as though it would never stop.

Part Eighteen

He couldn’t believe he’d passed out.

Then again, maybe it made sense.

His Xan had been so deep in him and had DRANK from him!

Spike purred, his fingers finding their way to the mark the young man had made.

He felt a shiver low and deep in his stomach as he touched it; then he purred more.

His human had taken the first step towards completing the claim. Had almost made them fully bound.

He wondered whether Xan knew it, but… even if he didn’t he would soon.

Spike stretched, still purring contentedly. He’d just have to chance telling Xander before he left. After all, now that the claiming was nearly done, it wouldn’t matter how far away from each other they were. He’d know when Xan got all freaked in DC, as he was sure to do.

All that was left was to give his human a proper send-off, and he had a good number of thoughts regarding how to do that.

He smiled softly, reaching out across the bed. He was ready to try all his ideas and more.

A frown crossed his face as he discovered more cool sheets without a hot body on or in them. “Luv…?” he murmured before opening his eyes to find the note on what had become Xander’s pillow.

~Dear Spike,

I’m sorry but I couldn’t get you to wake up. Had to get back to the hotel so I could pack for the flight.

I’m gonna miss you SO much. But hey, it’s only two days, right? And then I’ll be back for two weeks with no work! We can just stay in bed and order in. Assuming you’ve got a place that delivers blood, but having seen your apartment I’m sure you do.

I meant what I said… BABE. When I get back, you get to be Sonny. I like it when you’re all… well, you know.

I hope you’re not mad at me for biting you, Spike. I just couldn’t help it. I mean, there you were, begging (and yes YOU WERE BEGGING… silently, but still) for something more and I just couldn’t help it. Poor impulse control, huh? Guess that explains Anya, right? And yes, that’s a joke. She was never even a hundredth of what YOU are to me.

But back to the other thing…

Just so you know, Spike… you tasted amazing. I held you for nearly three hours afterwards and all I could think about was how much I wanted to bite you again… taste you… while you pounded into me.

Guess that’s something to try when I get back, huh?

Anyway, I need to stop writing before this note becomes a written ramble. More than it already is, I mean.

I love you, Spike. I miss you already. I need to at least hear your voice, so call me. I know you have my cell number. USE IT, Deadboy Junior!

All my heart and soul,


Spike frowned then sighed. He’d known he’d passed out, but for hours?

Then again, he figured he might have.

He’d never had a human-- much less a human connected to HIM-- drink from him, and certainly not in the midst of some of the best sex he’d ever had. And Xander had almost finished the claiming, even if he DIDN’T know it… and he definitely didn’t, judging by the note.

Spike smiled slightly, relaxing back on the bed and inhaling the scent of his beloved from the sheets. Going by the time on the clock, his human wouldn’t be landing for another twenty minutes. Add another half hour for baggage claim and… yeah. Call him in an hour.

He pulled Xander’s pillow to him, his nose buried deep as he drew in draught after draught of the beloved scent.

* * * * *



“Hello, luv…”

“Gods, Spike… I miss you already.” A sigh.

“Yeah… miss you too, pet. Woke up and you were gone. Pity, that. Had so many things I wanted ta do with you… ta make sure you didn’t forget me while you’re gone.”

A laugh. “If I couldn’t forget you for all those years, babe, two days isn’t ever gonna make it happen. I might be kinda… needy when I get back, though. Just so you know.”

A low, deep chuckle. “I’m already ‘needy’, Xan… need ta touch you, taste you, feel you under me…”

“Jesus fuck, Spike,” deep groan, “ Can you at least wait until I get to my place?”

“Can,” smug tone, “Won’t, though. Now, where was I? Right… feel you beneath me. Need that. Need ta feel that tight, hot ass of yours wrapped ‘round my cock like a soddin’ velvet fist… need ta hear you moanin’ like you do… feel your hands grabbin’ at my arms, my back, my ass…”

A wordless moan on Harris’s end.

“Need ta rock inta you, see th’ sweat drippin’ down th’ sides of your face, feel your body heavin’ against mine, pullin’ me in so deep I almost think we’ve fused, luv… that we’ve become one great shudderin’ beast…”

A muttered “Fuck…” followed by a strong, heavy gasp for air.

A voice belonging to neither of them is heard through the line. “Jesus, Will! If Harris pulls it out and has a go at it in my car, I’m sending you the bill for the detailing, including what’s going to have to be a truly HUGE tip!”

A barked laugh. “Tell your El ta calm down, mate… just havin’ a bit of fun, right?”

A groan. “You are SO gonna pay for this when I get back to New York, Spike… in spades!”

Purring. “Lookin’ forward ta it, luv…” A soft sigh. “Just… miss you, pet. Didn’t know I could miss anyone so much an’ live… or go on existin’… whatever it is I do.”

“I… I know what you mean, babe… I almost didn’t get on the plane. I kept thinking about you lying there all… sleek and sexy and covered in your own…”

“God, give it a REST, you two! I do NOT need to hear this right now! Not even the ONE side of it!” Annoyed, snarky tone.

Rueful chuckle. “An’ what’s crawled up Elliot’s ass, luv? Seems ta be right irritable, he does.”

A chuckle, then a whisper. “Trevor. All of an hour away by plane.”

“Right, then. Tell th’ bloke I’m sorry. Didn’t mean ta rub it in. Know how it is ta miss a special bloke, don’t I?”

Sigh. “Yeah, so do I, Spike. And I’ll tell him. I… I love you, Spike. Only twenty one hours and… thirty three minutes to go, though. I THINK I can make it…”

“If not, luv,” possessive growl, “You get your ass on the next plane an’ get back ta my place. There’s NOTHIN’ at yours that I can’t buy for you here, got it?”

Soft laugh. “Got it, Spike… call me in an hour, okay?” Whisper, “I’ll be in the shower but my phone’s waterproof.”

Soft growl. “ ‘s a date, luv… talk ta you then. Tell Elliot I said g’night.”

“I will… and Spike…?”

“Yeah, pet… luv you too… can’t stop thinkin’ about how you… bit me…”

“You, uh… didn’t mind?” Tentative tone.

Loud chuckle. “Mind, luv? I’ll only mind if you don’t do it again. Just th’ way you said in your note, alright?”

Shuddering breath. “Oh, yeah… twenty one hours and thirty two minutes… and we’ll do that.”

“Bloody hell… talk ta you in an hour, pet. Luv you.”

“Same here. Forever, Spike.”

Part Nineteen

An hour, Spike thought. And it might as well have been an eternity. No, make that fifty minutes, he thought, looking at the clock. So only fifty minutes until he could call his beloved and picture him all wet and hot, water streaming in steaming rivulets over tanned skin and toned muscle…

He groaned, the mental images not helping with the erection beneath his robe.

Sure, he could have a bit of a wank, but… somehow the idea wasn’t appealing, even though he’d be hard again long before he spoke to his luv.

No, it just wasn’t the same as taking care of business while listening to his Xan do the same in DC.

“Four bloody hours by car,” he growled, wishing it was dark out. Hell, he’d take the drive in a heartbeat but the last thing either of his cars were was economical. He’d have to stop for gas and that would be bad considering the lack of full service stations on I-95.

He was surprised at how antsy he felt, considering he’d just talked to the bloke, but… he just felt a bit… off. Like something was… “Wrong,” he whispered.

No, he was over-reacting. He must be. It was just having his claimed so far away. That had to be it. It HAD to. Because if it wasn’t, then…

Spike’s hand scrabbled for the phone, hitting the speed dial for Xander’s cell. He waited impatiently as it rang once, twice… five times… six… Finally the voice mail picked up and he growled, stabbing at the end call button before hitting call again and punching in Elliot’s cell number.

Two rings and it was answered.

“Elliot,” he said roughly, “Somethin’s wrong. He’s not answerin’ his phone!”

* * * * *

He’d dropped Harris home five minutes earlier, waiting outside until his friend had gotten inside the front door of the security building. Then he’d headed home himself.

He hadn’t gotten far before his phone rang.

He’d fumbled for it on the passenger seat, finally hitting the answer call key and pressing it to his ear. Before he could even say hello, he heard Will’s voice saying ‘Elliot, something’s wrong’.

“Will… WILL!” he said after a moment, “Calm down. I just dropped him at his place. He’s probably in the bathroom or something!”

“No,” he heard Will say, “He’s not. There’s… he’s… bloody HELL, mate! Can you… can’t you just go check on him, ‘ey? For me? An’… I’ll pay ta have your car detailed anyway, alright?”

It wasn’t the offer of free detailing that had Elliot turning his car around as soon as he could. It was the completely frantic sound to Will’s voice. Still, he spoke slowly and calmly into the phone, trying to soothe the man as he made his way back to Harris’s building.

He swerved wildly, nearly hitting a line of parked cars. “Hey, watch it, buddy! This is the city, not Indy!” he yelled, even though he knew the other driver couldn’t hear him. Hell, the van was already long gone.

“No… no, it’s nothing, Will. Some asshole just about creamed me, is all. Yeah… yeah, I’m almost there.”

He turned the corner, eyes brightening when he saw the empty parking space just in front of Harris’s building. “There IS a God,” he whispered softly as he pulled into it.

“Nothing, Will. I’m going inside now.”

Fortunately he still had his keys from when he and Harris had been all hot and heavy so he let himself into the lobby, then rode the elevator up to six. He walked down the hall, the phone still pressed to his ear.

“No… I’m getting there. Damn it, Will, I’m only human, okay? Give me a minute.”

He slid his key into Harris’s deadbolt, frowning when he found it wasn’t engaged. Harris NEVER left his door even partially unlocked. It was like a fetish for the man. “Hold on,” he demanded, suddenly finding himself just as concerned as Will was.

His other key slid into the lock in the doorknob and he turned it, pushing the door open and stepping inside.

“Harris,” he called out, “Harris?”

It was then that he saw his friend’s bags sitting in a pile in the living room, as though they’d just been dropped and abandoned. Even the laptop was there and that, more than anything, told Elliot that Will was right. Something really WAS wrong here.

“Will,” he said softly, “I think you’d better get down here. Harris… he’s GONE. His bags are here, but he’s not…. Yeah, even his computer. Just… on the floor. It seems… Yeah. I’m going to call the police, so…”

“WHAT? NO! It’s… if something’s HAPPENED to him, then we need to call… but… Christ, Will, how can you…?”

“Okay… no, okay. You’re right. If he was kidnapped, whoever took him won’t want the police involved. I… how soon can you get here?”

Elliot sighed softly. “Fine. Because looking young is more important. Stay out of the sun.”

He hung up and left the apartment, careful not to disturb anything.

He didn’t care WHAT Will said. The police would want as untouched a crime scene as possible.

With that thought in mind, he deliberately left the deadbolt unlocked, even though he knew Harris would have blown a gasket.

He went outside and got into his car. He’d wait until Will got there ‘sometime after dark’ before he called the cops, but that was about it.

In the meantime… he sighed unhappily. Not only was his best friend missing, but now he had to cancel his next encounter with Trevor. He was supposed to fly back to New York the next day, but unless Harris showed up soon he didn’t see that happening.

He opened his phone and dialed the number he’d already memorized.

Part Twenty

He’d been pacing his empty flat for what felt like hours, though he knew it had to be a considerably shorter period of time. Hell, he’d just gotten off the phone with Elliot… he looked at the clock… twenty minutes earlier.

Still, everything inside him, soul and demon both, was crying out for him to just GO. FIND his claimed. Get him BACK. NEVER let him go AGAIN.

It was a good plan. Get his Xan, bring him home… keep him safe forever. Yeah. And if that meant neither of them left the apartment and the attached garden, then so be it. Whoever had taken his claimed was never going to get another shot at it.

Not while Spike lived… er, breathed… er, existed.

He snarled suddenly, glaring at his door when the knock sounded again. It had better not be that crazy old bint in the other penthouse wanting to borrow ‘sugar’ again. Fuck, he’d almost needed to use a crowbar to pry her from him the last time.

“What?” he growled, standing by the door.

The voice came, sounding somewhat familiar. “Elliot called. He told me what’s happening.”

“Yeah, so?” Spike snarled, trying to place the man on the other side of his door.

“So it’s almost four hours until sunset, Will… but I have a car parked down in your garage with tinted windows. I can get you to DC a good two hours before you’d be able to leave and find a flight.” Trevor waited for that to sink in. “Do you want to find your Claimed or not?” he demanded after a moment or two.

The blond was torn between rushing through the door to get into that car, and rushing same to throttle whomever it was. But the thought of getting to DC was enough to stifle the latter urge. He threw open the door and blinked, seeing the tall, dark and tasty morsel he’d passed on. “Bloody hell… you must really care for that Elliot, ‘ey?”

Trevor shrugged and blushed slightly. “Wasn’t planning to, but… yeah. So are we going?”

He was answered by Spike reaching out for something on the hall table.

“Ready, mate,” the vampire said, sliding his wallet into the back pocket of his jeans. “Let’s go. You can tell me how you know about my… needs… as we drive. Not ta mention how you got past Andy an’ up ta my floor.”

He smirked, seeing the decidedly uncomfortable look on Trevor’s face. “We have four hours, bloke… figure that’s time enough ta get ta know each other.”

All Trevor could do was sigh and get into the private elevator with the vampire. He’d known Spike wasn’t stupid. Andrew had told him that much years earlier. He just wasn’t looking forward to coming clean.

* * * * *

They’d been driving for almost ten minutes before the constant stare got to the man.

His hands clenched on the steering wheel, knuckles white with tension. “Okay,” he said, his first word since they’d gotten into the car, “What do you want to know?”

Spike arched a brow disbelievingly. “Oh, how about all of it, mate? You obviously know what I am, though I’m guessin’ you haven’t shared that bit of intell with your Elliot. So th’ question is… how? An’ what makes you think Xan’s my claimed?” He frowned, more questions spilling from his lips as he got warmed up.

“Did you know who I was when I was chattin’ you up that night we met, an’ what were you goin’ ta do if I’d actually taken you home with me, ‘ey? Th’ old ‘stake through th’ heart’ bit? Think you could take me out, bloke? If you do, then why are you tryin’ ta help me, an’… bloody hell. Too many soddin’ questions!”

Trevor tried not to laugh. He really did. But it was impossible, considering how annoyed and confused the vampire looked. He managed to hold his laughter down to a couple minutes, though, by which time Spike was glaring at him.

“Be glad I have this bloody soul, bloke, or I’d eat you for lunch,” he growled, irritated.

Trevor grinned. “Hah! You had your chance at the club that night, Spike,” he said teasingly before sighing just a bit. “Okay. You want answers. I guess I owe you some. Hell, that’s the least I owe you after what you did on the Hellmouth.”

The blond blinked. “Know about that, do you?”

The young man nodded, steering his car onto the highway. “I know about a lot of things. Most things, actually. Or at least, the ones that have to do with you. I… ah, hell, there’s no easy way to put this. I’m your Watcher, Spike. Have been for a couple years now.”

Spike snorted. “Been watchin’ a few too many Highlander re-runs, have you? I’m a vampire, mate. We don’t HAVE Watchers.”

Trevor sighed again. “No, vampires in general don’t. But you’re hardly the run of the mill vamp, are you, Spike? Deliberately got yourself a soul, gave your life to save the world, came back out of phase with this dimension and wandered around like a ghost…” He took a breath, then continued. “Got solid again, helped take out the Circle, took part in saving the world… AGAIN. No,” he said softly, shaking his head, “You’re not exactly typical for your kind. And that’s why you have a Watcher.”

The vampire frowned, his back against the passenger side door as he looked at the bloke. “An’ what exactly do you watch me doin’, git?”

He shrugged. “Pretty much everything, Spike. From a distance, of course. Hell, I just about died when you walked into the club that night. You’d never gone there before, so I thought it was a safe place for me to have a night off. But then, there you were and next thing I knew…” He blushed. “And just so you know… I would have worn the eye patch if I hadn’t known about Harris.”

“You knew… what, mate?”

Trevor chuckled. “I’ve never really wanted to be a replacement for anyone, Spike. But I knew about Harris and his eye and considering your history, I… well, let’s just say I had a good idea of who you’d be imagining, and it for damned sure wouldn’t have been ME.”

Spike chuckled and looked out the front windshield. “True enough, bloke. So you’ve been watchin’. Got it. But you can’t have been doin’ it for long. You’re bloody young, aren’t you? So you took over from someone else, yeah?”

Spike could smell the lie before the young man even uttered it. “The truth, Trevor. I’ll know if it’s not.”

“Damned enhanced senses,” Trevor muttered. “Fine,” he said louder, “I’ve been watching you since New Mexico, okay? I’m… older than I look, like someone else I could mention.” He gave the vampire a pointed glare.

Both dark brows rose, almost meeting platinum hair. “What are you, then? Because you for bloody sure SMELL human…” And maybe he’d been stupid to go climbing into a car with the guy… and driving out into the bloody sun. ‘Brilliant, Spike,’ he told himself. ‘Get all worried over your claimed and set yourself up ta die.’ He tried to be subtle about leaning down, his hand searching the floor of the car for anything he could use as a weapon.

“I AM human… now.”

Spike’s search halted and he cocked his head, staring at the brunette curiously. “Meanin’ you didn’t used ta be. Now, you know that’s somethin’ you’re goin’ ta have ta explain, mate. Along with th’ rest of it.” He relaxed into his earlier position again, watching the Watcher, as it were.

Trevor laughed a little bitterly. “Gods… at this rate you’ll have my life story before Delaware.”

The vampire smirked. “Doubt it, bloke. Not if you keep makin’ me drag it from you like I’m pullin’ teeth. Done that a time or two, you know. Pulled teeth. Messy, but th’ screamin’ was fun.”

Brown eyes rolled. “Yeah, I’m intimidated, okay?”

Spike grinned. “Start talkin’, git. I’ll tell you when ta stop.”

Part Twenty-One

The drive had gone quickly, although Spike had to admit the boy’s story was… odd, at best. Still, there wasn’t any way it wasn’t true. Made him feel a bit better about trusting the git, anyway. In fact, there was only one part of the story that had him baffled.

“So wait,” he said as they crossed the Maryland/DC line, “Andrew… annoyin’ little wanker Andrew… is a big shot in th’ new Watcher’s Council. Has his own faction an’ everything.” He’d known the kid was working with the Watchers. Remembered it from when that crazy bint cut his arms off… and that time in Italy. But somehow he was having trouble reconciling the irritating and grabby geek he recalled with someone who could actually be in charge of… well, anything.

Trevor chuckled, remembering how Andrew had been when they’d first met. He could understand why Spike might be confused. “Yeah. He’s second only to Giles these days, and even that’s debatable, really. Giles mostly handles the administrative side of things along with his staff. Andrew’s the one out in the field. He makes the rounds, checking in with the so-called potentials and investigating when he hears about a new one popping up.”

“He’s also the one who takes care of organizing attacks on demon nests. AFTER he does his homework to see if whatever type it is is actually dangerous. He’s in Uganda now, but he knows about Harris. I called him on the way to your place.”

“Right, then,” Spike said softly, “An’ I feel all better now. Bloody hell, aren’t we there yet? It’s been dark out for half a bleedin’ hour!”

“And thank gods for that,” Trevor mumbled. “The smoke was killing me with the windows closed.”

Spike shrugged and flicked his latest butt out through the open window. “Sorry about that, mate. I’m just…”

“Worried about your claimed. Yeah, I get it.” And he did get it. The vampire’s human was missing under suspicious circumstances and Spike was a possessive sort. He was surprised the guy wasn’t foaming at the mouth.

Trevor had his own suspicions about what had happened to Harris. He just hoped he was wrong. That’s why he didn’t mention that while Andrew was in Uganda, he was also trying to get himself back to London to check things out. It was likely to take the man a few days, though, what with the scarcity of transportation out in the bush, unless he called in some favours. Hell, he figured he was lucky the guy’s cell even got a signal there. Then again, that was why the Watchers Council paid the big bucks to a very clandestine satellite company.

So Andrew would check it out, and… if Trevor was wrong, there was no need to get Spike’s hopes up… or his temper.

The brunette turned one last corner then pulled to a stop, double parking in front of the building. “We’re here.”

“You’ve been here before,” Spike said jealously. He didn’t like the idea that this bloke might have been there before him, although his Xan had obviously never met him before New York.

“Yes and no. I’ve driven past before, just so I’d know the location if I was needed. Now come on. You can be all jealous-vamp later. Right now, we need to see if there’s anything Elliot missed. He’s a good guy, but he hasn’t had to deal with anything like in a long time.”

Spike got out of the car, lighting another cigarette. “Yeah… speakin’ of which, does he know about you? Th’ Watcher thing, not th’ other.”

Trevor shook his head, joining the vampire on the other side of the car. “No, and I’d like to keep it that way if I can. It’s… not something he needs to know. Not until we’re sure things are going to work out with us, you know?”

The vampire shrugged, not caring much either way. “Right, then. Won’t mention it. An’ you might want ta put your ‘young an’ innocent’ face on because here comes th’ bloke in question.”

* * * * *

Elliot’s expression was tight as he stepped into Harris’s apartment again. The hours he’d waited for Will and Trevor had been terrible. He’d found himself thinking about all the horrific things that might be happening to his friend. Hell, he’d almost called the police at least a dozen times, only the thought that it might make things worse for Harris keeping him from actually doing it. And now… looking at the small pile of luggage on the floor again, he was even more worried.

“I… this is how I found it, guys. Everything here, but… no Harris.”

Trevor stepped through the door, a muttered “come in, Spike” removing the barrier to the blond’s entry. He stepped up behind Elliot, large hands smoothing up and down the man’s tense arms. “It’s okay, El… we’re here. Everything’s going to be all right. Right, Will?” he demanded, glancing over his shoulder.

Spike snarled, game face flashing out for a moment as his senses were assailed with scents. He might not have smelled them for a number of years, but he still recognized them. “Slayer,” he snarled, “An’ Red… some others I don’t know. Bloody hell!”

“I was afraid of that. What else do you smell?” Trevor said bluntly, silently acknowledging that there would be no keeping Elliot in the dark now.

The vampire frowned, closing his eyes to concentrate on the scents more fully. “Somethin’… sweet. An’ bitter. Like… burnt sugar, maybe? But kind of…” He shook his head, not knowing how to explain it.

“Earthy?” Trevor demanded, “Like barren dirt that’s been heat scorched?”

“Yeah!” Spike opened his eyes, glaring at the man. “What th’ soddin’ hell IS that?”

The brunette sighed. “Powdered Chobrith horn and dried Spindra bile. It’s… well, let’s just say Harris will probably be sleeping for a few days. But it’s harmless, Spike! Really! He’ll be incredibly hungry when he wakes up, but that’s all!”

The vampire growled again. “Where would they take him?”

Elliot had no idea of what was going on. He’d been glad at first when Trevor’d told him he’d get Will there. He’d been gladder still when the guys arrived. But now… now he felt like he’d stepped into some bizarre fairy tale, or maybe one of Harris’s books.

“What the HELL are you talking about? How can he smell anything like that? There’s nothing to smell! And what the FUCK is whatever horns and bile thing you said? Trevor! What the…?”

Spike snarled, ignoring the other blond. “Where. Would. They. TAKE. Him.” He spoke slowly, his eyes flashing golden at the young man.

“Shit,” Trevor sighed. “London, Spike. Where else? And Elliot, it’s…” he sighed again. “It’s a really long story and I promise I’ll tell you later, okay? Right now, Will and I have a plane to catch.”

“Fine,” Elliot said angrily, “I’ll get my passport. Because if you think I’m letting you fly to ENGLAND with Harris’s BOYFRIEND without telling me what’s going on, you’re sadly mistaken!”

“Elliot,” Trevor started, only to be cut off by Spike.

“No, mate. Let him come. Don’t have time ta argue him out of it, do we?” With that, he turned and stalked from the apartment, taking the stairs down instead of waiting for the elevator. He just didn’t have the patience for any of this. “I’m comin’, luv,” he whispered, wishing the man could hear him. “I’m comin’ ta get you an’ if they’ve harmed a single hair on your head, then… their heads are goin’ ta roll.”

He meant it, too.

He stood by Trevor’s car, bouncing impatiently while he chain smoked and waited for the gits to join him. Now that he knew where his Xander was, he wanted to be there already.

Part Twenty-Two

He could hear the voices around him. He could even hear what they were saying. But for some reason, he couldn’t seem to respond.

He wasn’t entirely sure that he wanted to, anyway. He felt so… warm and languid… sleepy and comfortable.

Hell, the only thing missing was a cool body wrapped around him, holding him tight.

It was that one lack that kept him from smiling. It was… wrong… to be this relaxed without Spike there beside him.

He tried to force his mind to tell him what was happening. The last thing he remembered was… Elliot dropping him off. Walking to his apartment. He remembered going inside, then… nothing.

Had he fallen asleep on the couch, maybe? No, he quickly discarded that idea. He wouldn’t feel like he was getting farther and farther away from his vampire if he were on his couch. So what had happened?

Harris frowned, grunting unhappily. And since when could he feel how far away Spike was? Not that he minded, but it was… strange.

“Um, is he supposed to be… moving around like that?” he heard from nearby.

“No… maybe he didn’t inhale enough, though. Here, I’ll fix it.” A second voice said, accompanied by a chalky sensation coating the inside of his nose as he breathed.

The first voice again. “Thanks, Will… we can’t have him waking up until after we…”

Even the small bit of awareness faded as whatever he’d breathed went to work, dragging him down into warm, deep darkness.

* * * * *

The next thing he heard was chanting. He couldn’t quite manage to open his eye, but he could definitely hear the chanting. He could smell some sort of burning something, too.

He tried to make sense of what little he knew, but it didn’t MAKE any sense. And he still didn’t know where he was or what was happening.

He felt his skin twitch as some sort of energy passed over him, then faded. It didn’t feel bad, but it wasn’t exactly pleasant, either.

Harris groaned softly, deciding he was just having a particularly bizarre dream.

“Damn it, he’s moving again!”

“That’s just… weird. He got enough to keep him knocked out for DAYS!”

“Well, maybe it’s old or something because he’s definitely moving!”

He heard a sigh. “It doesn’t matter now, anyway. The spell is done. When he wakes up, he’ll be…”

“Our Xander again. Our funny, heterosexual old friend. Good. Thanks, Will.”

“He’s SO gonna hate me for making him gay in the first place, though…”

“Um, maybe you could do that… memory thing? I know it went badly the last time, but this is different. It’s XANDER, right? And… he probably won’t want to remember about… letting guys… do THAT to him, right?”

“I… I guess… and he won’t remember being taken in by that Spike incubus, either… although… you know, Buffy, I’ll bet it’s only the incubus who’s done… that to Xan. It’ll be much easier to just erase that part… and Spike, of course. That way if the demon comes looking for him…”

“Xander won’t recognize him! Willow, you’re brilliant!”

“I have my moments. Okay, time to erase Spike and all things Spike-related from his mind.”

Harris felt his heart beating faster and harder, pounding frantically. They wanted to make him forget Spike? Forget loving him, needing him, feeling his vampire’s arms around him, his beautiful cock spearing deep into him? Forget everything good and pure and worthwhile in his life?

He tried to yell ‘NO!’ but he still had no control over his body. He grimaced involuntarily, small tears coming from the corner of his eye as he smelled something else burning and heard a different chant.

This time when he felt the energy pass over him, his back arched and a strangled scream was torn from his throat before the blessed darkness dragged him under again.

* * * * *

The vampire snarled suddenly, eyes darting wildly around the first class cabin. He barely kept his demon from coming forth, only managing it because of what he knew would happen if it did.

“What’s wrong?” Trevor asked quietly, his concern clear in his voice. “Spike, what’s happened?”

“They’re hurtin’ him,” he growled. “Claim’s not complete, but I can tell that much! They’re bloody well HURTIN’ him!”

As much as his mind was reeling from everything Trevor had told him over the last six hours of the flight, Elliot found himself leaning across the aisle to take Will’s hand. “So we find them. We get Harris back. Then we hurt THEM.” He was unaware of the dangerous look in his own eyes, but the other man saw it.

Trevor blinked a few times at the tone, then smiled. Maybe this thing with Elliot would work out after all. He hadn’t been sure, mostly because the other man had always seemed so happy to be passive. “Yes,” he said, agreeing, “We will.”

Spike growled low in his chest. “As much as it takes. Not lettin’ ANYONE hurt my luv an’ get away with it. Don’t care who they are. Doesn’t matter. Hundreds of ‘potentials’ out there. What’s one less Slayer, ‘ey? Even that one.”

Elliot frowned and gripped the cool fingers harder, glad they had first class all to themselves, although he had no idea of how Will had managed it. “I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that, Will. I’d rather not have to kill anyone, especially the girl ‘Bunny’ is based on. Besides… prison in a foreign country? Not really something I’ve been wanting to try.”

It would be different for Will, of course, because he was a British Citizen. Elliot had thought as much from the accent, but he’d had it proven when the other man had pulled a UK passport from his wallet before they’d boarded the plane. Still, he doubted Will wanted to go to jail either.

The most surprising thing to Trevor was that Elliot had accepted the idea of killing so easily. He was starting to wonder whether he knew what the other man had made himself into at all. Then again, Trevor realized, he’d been less than forthcoming with his new lover, too. He guessed they had a lot to talk about, once the current crisis was over. Still, it was reassuring to know that something of the man Elliot had once been was still there inside him. Especially when they didn’t know what they were leaping into.

“I’ll handle Buffy,” he said softly. “Remember, Sp… Will, I know things about ALL of you that… well, I doubt she’d like it if I decided to share her secrets with the rest of the Council.”

Spike frowned, forcing himself to calm a bit. They had another hour in the air, after all. Getting angry now wasn’t going to do him OR his Xan any good. “Right, then,” he finally said, looking past Elliot to meet Trevor’s eyes. “You hold your secrets ready an’ me an’ El will handle th’ rest.”

He sat back, finally releasing Elliot’s hand. “Taa, mate,” he murmured, “For th’ support.”

“No problem,” Elliot muttered back, trying to shake some circulation back into his fingers. “I love Harris too, you know. Maybe not the same way you do, but just as much. And not just because of my ten percent.” He smiled, trying to lighten the mood.

He let the demon gnash its teeth inside him where nobody could see. On the outside, he chuckled and tried to look relaxed, although he had a feeling he was fooling no one. “Doesn’t hurt, though, does it? Speakin’ of which… just how much is my bloke worth from writin’ his little books?”

Trevor smiled, relieved that Spike wasn’t going to lose control… or not at the moment, anyway. He had a feeling that would change once they were on the ground and had gotten through customs. He sat back in his seat, his hand finding Elliot’s. This might be their last quiet time for a while and he wanted to enjoy it.

Elliot’s smile became a bit tender as his fingers tangled lightly with Trevor’s. He’d have to tell the guy about his own past some time, but not yet. Later.

He shrugged at Will’s question. “I don’t know exactly. I’m his agent, not his accountant. But if I had to guess…?” He paused, thinking. “With the audio books, the film rights and worldwide merchandizing… probably around ten million or so by now. It depends on his investment portfolio, of course. Could be more, could be half that, y’know?” He watched Will carefully, wondering whether the blond was about to get greedy.

Spike blinked, stunned. “All that just from scribblin’ down his stories? Bloody hell, I’m impressed.” He smiled then. “But it’s good. Nice ta know my better half can hold his own. Wouldn’t have minded supportin’ him, of course, but I wouldn’t want him feelin’ like a kept bloke, right?”

“Oh, hell… you mean you’re… well, sure you are. I know where you live, and it isn’t cheap. But still… Damn that Harris. Some guys have all the luck. He not only finds his ‘lost love’ but it turns out you’re rich, too.” Elliot winked teasingly. “Remind me to beat him. You know, after we find him, take him back, and kick some serious ass.”

And all Spike could do was laugh at that. He was approving of Elliot more and more.

Part Twenty-Three

He didn’t know the room he was in. He was pretty sure he would have remembered it if he’d been here before. Hell, the antique four poster bed alone would have stuck in his memory.

No, Harris had never slept in a bed with a canopy, not even a manly canopy like the one above him.

He blinked a few times and stretched, arms spreading wide as he arched his back, working the kinks out. He hadn’t slept so well in ages, he thought, unsure of why that felt like a lie… why he felt so alone.

“Well, duh, Harris,” he told himself out loud, “You ARE alone. Great big bed, with nobody in it but you.” He chuckled softly, rolling from the high mattress.

The rug was thick and soft beneath his feet, almost caressing the soles of his feet as he wandered to what he hoped was a bathroom. A small frown crossed his lips at the sight of the empty closet. “Other door, then.”

After making use of the toothbrush he found still in its wrapper, then showering, he strolled back into the bedroom, a fluffy dark green towel wrapped low around his hips. “Okay… I’m obviously at a hotel somewhere… so where are my clothes?”

He opened drawer after empty drawer in the dresser, frowning again when he realized he didn’t have anything to wear. Not even a robe or a pair of boxers, and that was just… wrong. What had happened to him? And what hotel was he at?

He was fairly sure he hadn’t gone on a bender and ended up going home with some guy, because… well, there was the alone in the bed thing from earlier. Besides, he didn’t feel like he’d been drunk recently. He felt… really, really good. Physically, anyway.

Something was bothering him, niggling at the back of his brain. He couldn’t figure out what it was, though, and after a few minutes, he shook his head. He’d worry about it later. Right now, he just wanted some clothes. Naked was all well and good when it was a choice. Right then he wanted to choose NOT to be naked.

His eye lit on the telephone beside the bed. Maybe he could call the front desk. He might have sent his clothes out to be laundered or something because he couldn’t imagine a place this nice letting him check in while naked… and if he called down, he’d at least be able to find out where he was.

Harris actually had the receiver in his hand when he heard the very soft knock at his door.

He put the phone down and crossed the lush rug, tucking the towel tighter around him.

“Yeah?” he said through the door.

“Mr. Alexander,” a voice said, low and definitely male, “I’ve brought your things. I apologize for the delay but some of the girls got a bit rambunctious when they discovered you were here. They’re big fans, you know.”

“Girls…?” Harris asked, opening the door to arch a brow at the man outside, “What girls?”

“The potentials, sir. The newest batch. I’m Collins, sir. Happy to be of service should you require anything during your stay.” The man extended a small pile of clothing towards him.

It wasn’t until he saw the eye patch on top of his clothing that he realized he wasn’t wearing it. He blushed, somehow ashamed that this man was seeing him that way when not even… somebody he couldn’t think of… He flushed more and snatched up the patch, pushing the strap over his head and settling the entirety into its usual position. “I… I’m sorry about that, uh… Mr. Collins. I didn’t realize…”

“It’s just Collins, sir. No Mr. I… serve here.” The man nodded, not at all ashamed of being a servant. He was good at his job. The best, really. And even with the throng of teenaged girls about the place, it was a pleasant position. Lively. It was also one he was very well paid for. “There is nothing to apologize for, sir. There is no shame in being wounded while serving the world. Indeed, it is perhaps admirable that such is the limit of the damage you received during your service, Mr. Alexander.”

And apparently he COULD blush more because he could feel how hot his face was getting. “I… thanks, it’s just not… pretty. I try not to make people… see it…”

Collins smiled slightly, liking the young man. “Life is seldom pretty, sir. However, it has its moments and is greatly preferable to the alternative.” He extended the clothes to the man again, almost losing his professional demeanor at the desperation they were grabbed with. “I will leave you to prepare yourself, sir. Miss Summers and Maiden-Crone Rosenberg await you in the blue salon whenever you’ve completed your ablutions.”

Somehow, hearing that Buffy and Willow were nearby didn’t surprise him. It should have, but it just didn’t. So he just looked at the man for a moment and arched a brow.

“You know,” Harris said, chuckling quietly, “If I hadn’t taken up writing, I’d have to ask for a translation. Thanks, Collins. And it’s Harris by the way. None of that Mr. Alexander stuff, okay?”

Collins actually looked regretful. “I’m sorry, sir, but I am unable to refer to you in such a familiar manner. It would violate the separation of Master and Servant. However, the sentiment is appreciated.” He nodded. “And now, sir, I really must return to my duties. I have been invited to participate in a rousing game of… Dream Date.” He almost scowled before remembering himself. “When you are prepared, please use the bell pull beside the door and someone will join you momentarily to conduct you to the Ladies.”

Harris couldn’t help laughing at the quickly hidden look of disgust on the man’s face when he mentioned the game. Still, he closed the door and began to get dressed. Once he’d finished, he did as Collins had instructed and pulled the long, tasseled rope. He almost thought he could hear a bell ringing somewhere far away, but he couldn’t have. His hearing wasn’t that good.

He stepped from his room to wait for his guide, surprised when a young man came around the corner almost at a run. “I guess Collins wasn’t kidding about the ‘momentarily’, huh?” Harris grinned.

The out of breath young man laughed, his face still pink from exertion. “You must have impressed him. He threatened me with scrubbing the foyer floor if you had to wait more than two minutes.” He winked. “I’m Robert,” he added, combing his blond hair back with his fingers. Brown eyes sparkled merrily in his strong, chiseled face. “I’m responsible for tutoring the girls in demonic languages. I also assist Mr. Giles in research, though that mostly involves sending me out for coffee and pastry.”

Harris laughed loudly. “I guess G-man hasn’t changed. That used to be my job. Uh, the getting donuts. Not the tutoring.”

“I know,” Robert said, nodding as he started down the hall, back the way he’d come. “Believe me, we’ve ALL heard all about you. Apparently nobody else can do the job right.” He grinned, taking the stairs down two flights then turning left.

Harris chuckled, unable to keep himself from watching Robert’s butt flex beneath the form fitting linen trousers. “See, that’s interesting. Because from what I remember, I couldn’t do it right either.”

The blond laughed as he took another turn, then went up a flight of stairs and veered right. “Sorry about the up and down, Mr. Alexander. The house was built in bits and pieces. Some areas can’t be reached by a direct route.”

Harris just shook his head. “It’s like a big old maze. And it’s Harris, okay? People call me Mr. Alexander and I wonder who they’re talking to. You know, aside from hotel clerks… and Collins, apparently.”

Robert laughed again and slowed to a stop outside a set of obviously hand carved wooden doors. “The blue salon… Harris. Nice meeting you, by the way. If you’re not too busy later, maybe you’ll let me show you the town?” He arched a brow, letting a lazy gaze sweep down the taller, older man, then back up. “I’d enjoy doing that.” He nodded slowly. “I think you might find it… fun, too.”

Harris almost blushed but made himself laugh instead. “Mmmmaybe… uh, how old are you, Robert?” The last thing Harris needed was to get arrested for… well, anything, but especially messing around with someone underage. Assuming he was reading the young man right, of course.

The blond smiled slowly, sure now that the tall, dark and sexy Harrison Alexander had caught his meaning. “Twenty three next week, Harris. Old enough, I think.”

Harris chuckled softly, one hand rising to rest on Robert’s shoulder. He squeezed lightly, leaning a bit closer. “Definitely. Hey, what time is it now?”

“Seven PM, Harris,” Robert said after looking at his watch.

“Good. Let’s call it ten, then. I haven’t seen my girls for a while. We have some catching up to do.”

The blond grinned. “I’d say it’s a date… I’ll meet you back here?” He arched a brow again.

“Yeah. I’m not sure I could find my way back to my room, anyway.”

“Later, then…”

“Yeah. Later, Robert.”

Harris ignored that niggling feeling at the back of his head again. There couldn’t be any reason for the word ‘later’ to make him sad, after all… “Ignore it and it’ll go away,” he whispered to himself as he opened the doors and stepped into the mostly blue room, only to find his arms full of two wriggling bodies, one blond and one redheaded.

He grinned, returning their hugs. It was good to be… home? And something about that felt wrong, too, but he’d think about it… some other time.

Part Twenty-Four

Spike growled loudly as they got into the taxi. Two hours to get through customs? Why the fuck had there been so many people trying to enter England, anyway?

Still, he’d managed to NOT go on a bloody rampage in the airport, and he was proud of that. Didn’t mean he wouldn’t go on one now that they were out of it, though.

“How much farther?” he demanded after ten minutes of riding in the back of the cab, pressed far too closely against Elliot and Trevor for his liking.

“Five minutes,” Trevor said soothingly, his voice low and calm. “Come on, Will… you know what they gave him. He’ll still be out like a light.”

The blond grumbled but nodded, forcing himself to relax a little. It wasn’t even ten o’clock. They had plenty of time.

* * * * *

It was after nine thirty when Harris looked at the clock. He blanched then stood up suddenly, disentangling himself from the affectionate puppy-pile he and the girls had formed. “Sorry,” he said to their unhappy expressions, “But I have a date at ten…”

Willow and Buffy exchanged glances, both of them smiling at this evidence of their old friend’s straight status. The spell had worked!

“One of the potentials?” Willow asked with a smile.

“Oh! I bet it’s that Rhonda,” Buffy added. “That girl is HOT! All legs and tits and tiny waist… what?” she asked seriously, seeing the looks both Xander and Willow were sending her way. “I may not swing like that but I’m still a girl… we appraise each other.”

Harris laughed. “If you say so, Buff. But no. Robert is going to show me around. That’s the date I meant.” He chuckled softly. “And hopefully the town isn’t all he’ll show me.” He grinned at the girls wickedly as he strolled towards the door of the salon. “Don’t wait up, okay? He’s a hot one… might take all night to put out the fire.”

He was entirely unaware of the stunned silence behind him as he left, but even if he had been, he wouldn’t have known its source.

* * * * *

“I thought you said the spell worked…?”

“It DID! You saw the glow… it wouldn’t have done that if it didn’t work, and the memory spell worked, didn’t it? He hasn’t so much as MENTIONED Spike, right?”

“So what are you saying, Will? Xander was already gay? Because I totally remember him being with women!”

“Well, maybe he’s BI, Buffy! I can see how he wouldn’t necessarily want to TELL us that! I remember how long it took for you to accept me and Tara!” Willow paled, thinking about her dead love. “And maybe I was wrong to help you in this… quest to de-gayify Xander! He was so HAPPY when I talked to him! Even if it was an incubus, Xander was HAPPY! And that seems to piss you off more than anything else!”

Willow glared at her best friend other than Dawnie. “Why is that, Buffy? Why does it bother you so much that Xander could be happy? That he could find his fulfillment with a male, even if it’s one who looks like Spike?”

The Slayer shook her head sadly. “It’s not that I don’t want him to be happy, Will! It’s just… if whatever this thing is—incubus, some other kind of demon, whatever—if it made him BELIEVE it’s Spike, then… isn’t Xander’s happiness… a lie?” She sighed. “You know I love Xander. He one of my bestest buds. And if he really IS gay, then I wish him well with that. But I can’t just… let his happiness be based on… trickery.”

Willow’s eyes widened, then narrowed. “You know… maybe the incubus thing really does care about him. Maybe it just… didn’t know who else to look like?” She bit her lip. "Maybe Xander was ALWAYS attracted to Spike. I mean, he did let him live with him and ulllp!

Buffy shrugged. “Either way, whatever it is had to know that lying to Xan was wrong. So I still think we did the right thing. At least now, Xander won’t have to find out that someone he cares about is a big fat liar.”

The redhead frowned deeply. Buffy had a point, but still… wouldn’t it have been better to just TELL Xander what they suspected about his lover? Sure, he might have gotten hurt, but… wasn’t that his right? And he surely never asked them to protect him, and… she would have hated it if someone had done to her what they’d done to Xander. It was… a violation, and she was only now realizing it.

Willow sighed, turning away. “This whole thing is WRONG. And it’s my fault. I never should have taken away Xander’s right to choose. More to the point, I never should have called you after Xander called ME. I should have just kept his secrets.” The redhead sighed again. “I’m breaking the crystal, Buffy. I’m giving him back his memories. He deserves them! Even if it turns out that it was some strange demon, he deserves to know that he was…”

“You can’t,” the Slayer said softly. “You don’t even know where it is.”

“Buffy… what did you do?”

Buffy smiled a little. “I took care of my own. And Xander is definitely one of mine. If he wants to have a boyfriend then that’s fine, Willow, but… not some lying demon-thing, okay?”

She’d started to walk towards the witch when she was blown away from Willow by a sudden explosion of air. “Wha…?” Buffy said dazedly.

Andrew smiled at Willow, completely unashamed by his nakedness.

“I heard there was a crisis, so I got a few shaman friends to help me out with getting home,” he said, grinning. “Is this it? Because two hot chicks in a clench…? That would be number four on my top ten list.”

Willow smiled back and shook her head, pulling at Buffy’s arm to get her back on her feet.. “I’m glad you’re here, Andrew. Maybe YOU can make her understand…”

Andrew looked at the Slayer who was currently climbing to her feet from the foot of the couch and sighed. “Somehow I doubt it, Willow… especially since I know about Harris… and Spike.” He was NOT looking forward to explaining.

Part Twenty-Five

Their taxi had just stopped halfway down the block from the enormous house Trevor claimed housed the new Watcher’s Council. It truly was a bloody big house, Spike thought, trying to decide on the best point of entry. If he was lucky he could slip in, find his claimed and sneak out with the sleeping bloke. He’d come back later to punish the ones who’d hurt his Xan, but first thing was to get him safe.

“Right, then,” he said after a moment, “Here’s how it works. I’m goin’ ta shimmy up that drain pipe, go through that open window… once I’m inside, I’ll be able ta follow my nose ta my luv. Meantime, th’ two of ya go in th’ front an’ distract whoever’s there. I’ll get Xander out th’ same way an’… what?”

Trevor was laughing hard enough to cry, just about. “G-gods! You… I’m guessing you’ve always wanted to be a super hero… or a thief, Will. And how exactly are you going to get a sleeping Harris down from that window, assuming you somehow manage to get invited inside? Which, by the way…? Not likely. That’s a house FULL of potentials. I think they might know better than to just say ‘oh, come on in’ to some guy lurking outside a third floor window.”

Elliot rolled his eyes at their driver. “Ignore them. They do this role playing game back home, and sometimes they can be a bit much. We can get out he…” His eyes widened as he saw the two men walking down the front steps of the house in question. “Guys! GUYS! Look!” He pointed, his hand shaking a little.

The driver shook his head and muttered something French about crazy Americans. As long as they paid him, they could say whatever they liked. He couldn’t care less.

Spike growled softly, seeing his Xan stepping onto the walk. “Thought ya said he’d be sleepin’ for days, git!”

The brunette frowned, his brow furrowing. “He should have been… I’ve never seen anyone get up so soon after… Unless…”

“Unless?” Elliot demanded, unwilling to wait through yet another extended pause.

“ ‘s th’ claim,” Spike said softly, looking amazed. “Pet’s got himself some immunity ta their poisons, I’m guessin’.” He growled suddenly, seeing the man with his beloved leaning entirely too close for his liking. “An’ I have a soddin’ poacher ta kill, mates. I’ll be back with my luv.”

“Spike! That’s Robert. He’s Giles’ assistant. I wouldn’t recommend killing him unless you really WANT to meet up with Ripper? Besides… Harris loves you,” Trevor said pointedly, looking at the very visible mark of human teeth on Spike’s neck. “Robert could try for weeks and never even show up on Harris’s radar. Not with you two being claimed, anyway.”

“They’re getting into a car, guys…” Elliot told them, drawing their attention back to the street. “Do we let them drive off, or…?”

The vampire growled again. “No! I’m not lettin’ my bloke out of my sight!”

“Fine. We follow them; see where they’re going. If we get a chance, we talk to Harris and bring him back with us. If not, at least we’ll know where he is. Trevor, you go inside. You’re one of them. They’re more likely to tell you what’s going on than us.” He nodded sharply. “Now, go!” he insisted, kissing the brunette hard. “Call me if you find anything out.”

Trevor’s eyes were wide as Elliot practically shoved him from the cab. “What the hell just happened?” he whispered to himself, staring after the departing taxi before shaking his head and starting towards the big house.

* * * * *

They slipped into the club after Elliot paid the door fee. Spike barely bothered to take in the room, his eyes peeled for a particular brunette. He could smell him, though the scent was somewhat subdued by the crowd.

“Do you see him, mate?” he shouted to Elliot over the music.

“Not yet, Will! But we saw him come in…”

“He’s here… I can feel him!”

“Okay… split up. We can cover more ground that way!”

“Right. Meet you back here in half an hour ta compare notes.”

Elliot sighed and put one hand on Will’s shoulder. “We’ll find him Will! We WILL!”

The vampire nodded, more worried about why his claimed hadn’t bothered to call him when he woke up alone and in a strange city. There was obviously something going on, and he had no idea of what it was. “Yeah,” he said, nodding. ‘But what if he doesn’t want to be found,’ he thought, suddenly afraid that his beloved had changed his mind about them… about him.

Well, if he had, it would just be up to Spike to change it back, and… he could do that.

* * * * *

Harris was dancing, drink in hand, when he felt the tapping on his shoulder. He grinned at Robert then turned to brush off whomever it was, only to laugh in surprise at the sight of “Elliot! Buddy! What are you DOING here?”

The blond reached out, grabbing Harris’s hand and pulling him away from the dance floor. “A better question would be what the hell are YOU doing here! Christ, Harris, we’ve been worried sick! You just… disappeared! Hell, you even left your laptop!”

The brunette frowned. “I disappeared? No… I… I must have planned this trip and just… forgot to tell you. Yeah, that’s all it was, El. I’m sorry. But I’m fine. Really.”

“Bullshit!” Elliot shouted, dragging his friend out of the club and onto the sidewalk. “What the hell HAPPENED to you, Harris? Have you completely lost your mind? I dropped you off at your place after the New York trip and when I went back five minutes later you were GONE! Will was FRANTIC! So was I!” He glared at Harris. “Trevor drove Will all the way to DC just so we could try to figure out what happened, and… here you are! In ENGLAND! DANCING! With some guy who’s NOT Will, and I want to know what the hell is going on!”

“I…” he remembered going to New York with Elliot now. He’d had fun. And so had El, returning to DC with a new boyfriend, even if he did live in New York. “Wait a minute. Why SHOULDN’T I be dancing with Robert? I mean, I know he’s younger than the guys I usually go for, but so what? He’s legal! He asked me out, El, and Gods know it’s been ages since I’ve had a date!”

“And what about Will, Harris? He LOVES you but the minute you’re away from him, you’re on the other side of the damned OCEAN, rubbing up against some other guy! Christ! That’s just so not YOU!”

Harris snorted. “You really need to lay off the crack, Elliot. I don’t even KNOW anyone named Will!”

Oh… and this was so not good. “Shit,” Elliot whispered, seeing the sincerity in his friend’s eye. “You… really don’t remember, do you? Did you… hit your head or something? Is that why you don’t remember Wi… Spike?”

The brunette looked confused. “Okay, whatever game you’re playing, Elliot, I am NOT in the mood. I don’t know how you found me, but I’m on a DATE, in case you didn’t catch that part. I didn’t hit my head, I don’t have amnesia, and for the record…? Who the HELL is Will? Or Spike. Whichever!”

The voice came from directly behind him.

“That would be me, luv.”


Feed the Author

The Author's Live Journal

The Spander Files