“You’re going out with them.”
Spike looked over at Angel, his old Sire, as he fidgeted nervously, throwing one shirt to the ground to pick up another one and then shaking his head as he threw that shirt to the ground.
“Well, yeah.” Angel said.
He said it like it was the most natural of things and Spike suspected that it probably was. He probably went out with them every Friday night to the only club in all of Sunnydale and listened as they talked about various and sundry things.
Spike was invited, personally by Xander and a little more shyly by Xander’s friend Willow. Spike had said he’d think about it and Xander had pouted and hadn’t talked to him for the rest of the night.
“You should come.” Angel said.
“It’s probably not the best idea.”
“You’re avoiding him.”
“I am not.”
“Yes, you are. I can tell that you are, Spike, and so can he. He’s not stupid. You hardly ever talk to him when we go to the library to do research. You won’t let him go on patrol with the rest of them. You’re keeping him at a distance and don’t tell me that it’s not killing you because it is.”
He picked up another shirt, this time obviously liking it because he slid it on, past his arms and over his broad shoulders and started to button it up.
“So what if I am?” Spike said a bit petulantly.
Angel let out a put-upon sigh and cocked an eyebrow before turning to Spike to look at him questioningly.
“I thought we went over this.”
“It’s a bad idea.”
“It’s the only idea that’ll work.”
“He deserves better.”
“He doesn’t want better. And I hardly think that it’s going to stop a bunch of vamps from snacking on him.”
“You haven’t claimed him properly. They’ll do it just to piss you off. You know how unsafe it is for vampire claims to go unclaimed.”
“I haven’t claimed him.”
Angel rolled his eyes.
“You might as well have, Spike. You bought him, you keep him close, your scent is all over him and, if I’m not mistaken, he’s got a bite mark on his neck that came directly from you.”
Spike glared at Angel because all of that was true. Those things meant something in the vampire world, meant possibly a claiming, and vampires just loved to mess with those, loved to make sure lowly humans didn’t get claimed by vampires.
Xander was in danger just by Spike being around, but he’d also be in even more danger if Spike left. A rejected claim was not something the vampire community let pass. Most of the time the rejected were killed, but sometimes… sometimes it was worse and Spike couldn’t let that happen to Xander.
“The lesser of two evils.” Spike muttered.
“Something like that.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“You’ll do what you think is necessary.”
“Or I’ll fuck it up.”
Angel frowned, looked at Spike seriously before walking up to him, hands placed on Spike’s forearms and he looked directly into Spike’s eyes.
“You’re not going to fuck it up.”
“Right, me, not fuck something up. I’m the universal fuck up, if I remember correctly. Your words, not mine.” Spike said.
“This is different. This… this is something you can’t fuck up. No matter how hard you try.”
“You act like you know.”
Angel’s frown deepened, eyes going a bit downcast and Spike wondered if there was some truth behind his words before Angel looked back up at him, conviction swimming in his eyes.
“I don’t know. I never could. Even as a human… I never loved anyone. Not really. Guess that’s what made me such a good vampire.”
“What makes you think I…”
“Don’t mess around, William. You and I both know that you’re different. You’re one of those vampires that can claim humans and mean it to be something better than degradation.”
“You called it weakness.”
“I didn’t like that you were capable of it. It’s not weakness. Not if you don’t let it be.”
Spike frowned. He could feel it inside him, those emotions telling him what to do, but he couldn’t make himself do it. Couldn’t make himself because it felt too right and Spike had always grown up to question anything that felt like it was too good to be true.
This was one of those things.
“Lets… lets not talk about it anymore. They’re expecting us, right?”
Angel sighed. He looked like he wanted to pursue the matter farther, but he bent his head a bit and quirked his lips.
“Yeah, sure. They’re waiting for us.”
“I can’t believe you invited Undead Guy Jr.” Jesse said.
It was the fifth time he’d said it, to both Willow and Xander since entering the Bronze and it was starting to get on Xander’s nerves.
“Jesse, he’s helping. You know that thing where he gives us useful information. Besides, he’s Xander’s… boyfriend.” Willow said, her nose scrunching up a bit at the word boyfriend.
“Ah, no, Wills, much as I love you, the use of the word boyfriend… not of the good.” Xander said.
“Really, but… he is… right?” Willow said.
He could feel Jesse and Buffy’s eyes on him, hot and heavy waiting for his answer and he squirmed a bit.
“I guess it’s just… the word boyfriend in relation to a hundred something year old vampire… just… weird.” Xander said.
“I call Angel my boyfriend.” Buffy said.
“Okay, well it’s also a guy thing then.” Xander said.
“Dude, I’ve got no problem with you getting all… you know… gay. It’s totally cool with me.” Jesse said.
“Thanks Jess.” Xander said dryly.
“But… the dude’s a vampire. You know, fangs, bloodlust, evil.” Jesse said.
“Yeah, I picked up on that.” Xander said as he took a swig of his drink.
“And maybe I’m thinking he’s not the kind of guy you want to get cuddly with. Just saying, is all.” Jesse said.
Buffy frowned, brows furrowing as she tilted her head and turned to Jesse.
“Angel’s a vampire.”
“Yeah, but he’s the neutered kind.”
Buffy slapped him.
“Okay, ow, woman. Remember, super strength, human teenage guy. You can’t just go around smacking people like that.”
Buffy glared at him.
“If you could get past the whole ‘he’s a vampire thing’ you’d actually see that this Spike guy cares about Xander, your friend; and Xander, your friend, cares about this Spike guy.” Buffy said.
Xander wondered what it took for her to say that, to go against everything she has learned since becoming the Slayer to say that about Spike, but Xander didn’t really care. It was enough that she was saying it.
“That’d be more convincing if you didn’t call him ‘this Spike guy’, Buff.” Jesse said.
“Please, Spike… it’s a silly name.” Buffy said.
“So call me William, ducks.”
Xander and the rest of the table turned to the side to see Spike and Angel standing there. Xander smiled at seeing Spike for the first time in days that didn’t somehow involve crouching over old books researching.
“William. It’s better.” Buffy said.
“Well, I prefer Spike, but apparently it’s silly.” Spike said.
Buffy couldn’t help it, she smiled and so did Willow. Jesse looked like he might, but then his face blanked and turned determined again. Xander sighed. He wasn’t going to change Jesse’s mind any time soon, but he would guess it was a plus that Jesse was there, even under protest.
Xander still couldn’t get used to having friends, being normal. He got up and there was breakfast made for him, Giles trying to engage him in conversation that didn’t deal with demons or monsters.
Then he’d go to school where he’d talk about demons and monsters, but also school stuff, gossip and trends and ridiculous teenage stuff. He rarely had anything to add to the conversation, but it was nice to be there for it, to trade barbs with Cordelia when she graced them with her presence or tease Willow about the guitarist that seems to have taken an interest in her.
It was fun, it was normal and it was something he should be used to, being a teenager and all, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t used to it and sometimes having Spike there, solid and at his back, was nice, better than nice even.
“You came.” Xander said.
“Course I did.” Spike whispered into his ear, lips grazing his cheek.
“You want something to drink?”
“Yeah, I could go for something, but let me get it. You want something?”
“Um… yeah… I’ll take a refill.”
Spike smiled, lips touching Xander’s cheek again before he started to walk over to the bar.
Xander just smiled as he watched him go.
“So what happened next?” Willow asked.
They were walking out of the Bronze, it being almost past everyone’s curfew, including Xander, who had been surprised by that one. Giles had stuttered a bit before Xander had told him to spit it out and then Giles had said he expected Xander home before midnight, no exceptions.
It had been kind of nice.
“Well nothing after that. Stupid thing took the hint and took off. But it’d been a close one.” Spike said.
Willow laughed and Xander laughed too. Buffy looked a bit grossed out.
“I really hope those things don’t try to come here. I’d rather not have goop on my clothes.” Buffy said, face contorted in disgust.
“Yeah, well, they usually stay away from the Hellmouth. Too many bigger nasties that’d kill ‘em.” Spike said.
“Good, that’s one demon to cross off the list of baddies coming to the Hellmouth. And a million more to consider.” Buffy said with a slight frown.
She turned her head, looked around a bit and Xander noticed Spike and Angel doing the same. He turned to Willow and Jesse who both seemed unfazed by this.
“They’re sensing a vampire. They do this.” Jesse said.
“Really, kind of weird.” Xander said.
“Yeah, took us awhile to figure it out. Buffy would space out and look around and we’d wonder why and then she’d get up and run off… kind of like right now.” Willow said and Xander watched as Angel and Buffy took off in the direction of the alley way.
“Stay here.” Spike said.
“Don’t argue with me.” Spike said, handing Xander a stake before taking off with them.
“Stay here? Does he really think that’s going to work?” Jesse said.
“Looks like they’ve got it handled. I mean, the three of them, super human strength, gotta have it under control right?” Willow said.
Xander nodded as he looked around. He couldn’t exactly sense vampires, not like Buffy, Angel and Spike, but he had eyes and a stake. Not that he thought he could do much damage. He planned to yell really loud for Spike if a vampire did pop out. It was foolproof really.
It took a few minutes before they came back, brushing dust off of their clothes and Xander’s focus was solely on Spike. Spike, who looked agitated and worried and a bit crazed, not that Xander thought anyone else would notice.
“Well, that was a regular feeding frenzy.” Buffy said.
“How many?” Jesse asked.
“Eight, at least. Feasting on three people.” Buffy said, tone business like, but filled with passion and anger.
“Dead, yeah, they’re dead.” Angel said.
He seemed to notice the look on Spike’s face, too, and he looked almost as worried as Xander did.
“Hey,” Xander said, trying to get Spike’s attention.
His head snapped up and his lips pursed.
“I’m going to get Xander home now,” he said, his tone a bit cold sounding before he grabbed Xander and started dragging him toward the end of the alley way.
Xander could hear the protests coming from the rest of the group, but he couldn’t get himself to care. Angel would explain it to them and, if he didn’t, Xander would explain later.
They made it just out of sight from the group before Spike pulled him into an alley way, pushing Xander against a wall and he was on him, lips and teeth and Spike’s hands everywhere and not enough places at the same time.
His lips were hungry, his body hungry, moving against Xander’s and Xander had wondered when this would happen. When the vampire side of Spike would take over, even just for a little bit and he knew he should be scared, but he wasn’t.
Spike wasn’t going to hurt him.
Xander felt Spike’s lips on his pulse point, sucking and biting, but with human teeth and Xander knew what he wanted, but he wanted things too.
“God, I was wondering if you were ever going to touch me like this again.”
“That all you want? You want me to touch you? All you had to do was ask nicely, pet.” Spike said, his hands trailing up Xander’s sides and Xander shivered a bit.
“You’re hungry.” Xander said.
“Angel’s only got refrigerated blood. Pig’s blood.”
“You haven’t gone out and taken a bite out of the Sunnydale populace.”
“Never enough time, what with me spending it with you and your lot.”
“You’re hungry.” Xander said again.
“But you want it, don’t you. Warm blood coming from some innocent bystander. You want it.”
“Of course I want it. It screams in my veins, Xander.”
Xander smirked a bit, tilted his head and looked directly into Spike’s eyes.
“So take it.”