Jet's Slash Fiction

Title: Nummy Treat
Author: Jet
Rating: NC-17
Content: Spike/Xander, Angel/Xander
Summary: A bored Spike still finds a way to have some fun.
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine and are borrowed without permission.
Distribution: I would be honored. Just contact me first.
Feedback: Is very welcome at
Spoilers: This story occurs and splits into an alternative universe following "Hush" and "I Will Remember You." "Wild at Heart" (and therefore "Something Blue") didn't happen in this universe. This story contains spoilers for "The Initiative," "Pangs," "Hush," "I Will Remember You," and "Doomed," even though "Doomed" also does not occur in this universe.

Nummy Treat
by Jet

"So, here we are again."

Xander grunted with effort and disgust as he pulled the ropes on Spike's chair tighter.

"Really," continued Spike, conversationally, "you're making this too hard on yourself."

"Yeah, well, I like it better this way."

Spike raised an eyebrow. "Why, Xander," he said, feigning shock, "I had no idea you were so kinky."

"Oh, shut up," said Xander, blushing.

To Xander's surprise, Spike actually complied with this request... momentarily. Xander moved around in front of Spike to check the last knots while Spike just sniffed the air lightly and grinned to himself, casting a sidelong glance at the front of Xander's boxer shorts.

Xander finally finished with Spike's restraints and walked over to his bed, immediately collapsing on it, facing away from Spike.

Spike rolled his head back and sighed heavily.

Xander stiffened but refused to move.

Spike looked up to see this, frowned slightly, and tried again, sighing even more deeply.

"What," said Xander impatiently, without turning over or even moving at all.

"It's just not fair."

Xander sat up and turned around with an expression of extreme annoyance. "What's not fair, Spike? You killing hundreds, thousands of people and living to tell about it? You making it your sole purpose to destroy all my friends and then expecting us to protect you? Forgive me if my heart doesn't bleed for you."

"Hey, I didn't ask for this. And you would use that metaphor just when I'm hungry."

"Shut up, Spike," said Xander, turning away. "I'm not interested."

Spike grinned. "Liar."

"What?" asked Xander, sharply, spinning back around.

"Look, I'm just asking you to give a friend a break," said Spike, reasonably.

"Friend?" repeated Xander, with disbelief. "Friend? Has Giles been lacing your blood with something?"

"You don't consider me a friend?" asked Spike, somewhat offended.

"No," replied Xander, bewildered.

"But we've got such history together."

"Yeah, but it's not friend-history; it's more like mortal-enemy-history."

"Some of my best friends are mortal enemies."

"I am not having this conversation," said Xander, shaking his head and turning back around.

"Fine, I'll just stay in the chair while you sleep in the nice, comfortable bed. All by yourself."

Xander made an annoyed sound like a grunt. After a moment he turned around and glared wearily at Spike. "If I untie you, you promise to behave and... shut up?"

"Scouts' honor." Spike looked as innocent as he could.

"You weren't in the Scouts."

"What do you want me to say?" asked Spike, sarcastically. "Cross my heart and hope to die?"

"Never mind," said Xander, getting up from the bed and walking over to Spike. "You sure you won't bite me?" he asked, hesitating cautiously before starting on the knots.

"I would, if I could," replied Spike in a conciliatory tone, "but I can't."

"Very reassuring," said Xander, reaching down to undo the knots anyway, then hopping backwards as the ropes fell and Spike stood.

"Ah," said Spike with a smile, stretching widely. "Much better."

Xander retreated to the other side of the bed. "Just don't run off in the middle of the night and kill my family, okay?"

"Like you wouldn't be tickled pink if you found them all in a bloody mess tomorrow." Spike dropped down onto the bed, bouncing, and swung his feet up onto it.

"No, I wouldn't. Take off your boots."

Spike rolled his eyes dramatically but followed Xander's directions.

"Just because you don't get along with some people," continued Xander, cautiously sliding under the covers on his side of the bed, "doesn't mean you have to kill them."

"You humans have no idea how to live," replied Spike, long-sufferingly, as he tossed his boots to the floor.

"Do you want to sleep in the bed or not?"

"Who could resist your moist deliciousness?" asked Spike, turning a mocking smile on Xander.

"Shut up." Xander turned away, lay down, and pulled the covers over, as if Spike weren't there at all.

"'I happen to be very biteable, pal,'" Spike mocked, unperturbed.

"Shut up." Xander's tone was clipped and percussive.

"All right, fine." Spike pulled his shirt off over his head and lay down. "Good night, nummy treat."

Xander jerked up and spun around, opening his mouth to send Spike back to his chair to be tied up... but the words caught in his throat when he saw Spike lying there beside him in nothing but his tight black jeans, eyes shut, a devilishly seraphic smile on his face. Long moments passed as Xander stared. Xander's eyes almost glazed as they slowly traveled over Spike's bare body... from his shoulders... down his arms... across his chest... down his tight stomach... to—

Xander recovered and shut his gaping mouth just in time to prevent himself from literally drooling over Spike, and turned back around.

"Good night, Spike," he muttered, spitting out the name like a curse.

And Spike, still lying peacefully beside him, grinned even wider.

"Hi, Xander," said Buffy, laying her tray on the table and sitting down, "what are you doing here?"

"Hey, Buff," replied Xander, unsurreptitiously stealing a carrot from her plate and blatantly crunching on it. "I'm stealing food. Another one of my new thrifty life tactics."

Buffy fixed a sickly sweet smile on him. "So how's Spike?"

Xander raised an eyebrow. "Touché." He rolled his eyes and slumped back in his chair, shaking his head. "Great. It's fun having a roommate. A real growth experience."

"See? And you thought you were missing out, not going to college," said Buffy.

"Why bother when I can have a vampire in my basement?" replied Xander, more cheerily than he felt. "So how is college life these days?"

"Still kinda reeling from the Riley revelation," said Oz.

Xander nodded sagely. "And how is commando boy?" he asked, turning to Buffy.

"Fine," replied Buffy, shortly, turning her attention to her food.

"Just... fine?" asked Willow.

A reluctant smile began to grow on Buffy's face. "Good," she said, still not looking up from her plate.

"Good?" prompted Willow, raising her eyebrows and smiling broadly.

"Good," replied Buffy, finally looking up. "Not much of a chance yet for anything else. Still a little freaked."

"He's part of a secret demon-hunting project and he's the one who's freaked?" asked Willow.

Xander shook his head. "It's all very X-Files. Layer upon layer of conspiracy, wild experiments performed without the knowledge or consent of an unwitting public, agents ineptly angsting their way through bizarre professional and personal relationships. Trust no one."

"It's just a secret project, not a conspiracy," said Buffy, slightly annoyed.

Willow nodded. "Yeah, it's not like Buffy runs around saying, 'Hi, I'm the slayer!'" she said with a little wave.

"So, nothing to worry about," agreed Buffy, smiling.

"Uh huh," said Xander, unconvinced. "I'll bet Riley was involved with the Cuban missile crisis and President Kennedy's assassination. The truth is out there."

Buffy rolled her eyes.

"Xander," Willow protested, "he wasn't even born then."

"Can you really be sure of that?"

"Pretty young for his age if he was," said Oz.

"Xander..." Buffy began.

"Just be careful, is all I'm saying. So, has he taken you to see his bat cave, yet?"

Buffy sighed. "That's the thing about secrets, Xander. They're meant to be kept." She started crunching on one of her carrots.

There was a brief pause, and then Willow turned to Xander. "So what have you been doing out there in the real world?"

"Job hunting," replied Xander, leaning in enthusiastically. "I track 'em, stalk 'em, then move in for the kill."

"Any luck?"

Xander hesitated and his enthusiasm faded. "No one's ready to take on someone with my startlingly eclectic skill set."

"What exactly are your skills?" asked Buffy.

"They are many and they are varied," replied Xander. "And they are useless." He sighed and fell back in his chair, staring at the edge of the table. Oz handed him a sympathetic fry, and he munched on it somewhat dejectedly.

"Y'know," said Buffy, "it's kind of amazing that even in this tight job market, you can't find steady work."

"And it makes it so much better when you rub it in like that."

Spike strolled through the door to Xander's basement room with an obnoxiously self-confident air of owning the place, while Xander somewhat nervously closed and locked the door behind them. Spike, stopping in the middle of the room and looking around, appeared to be about to criticize the decor when Xander suddenly spoke.

"Make sure you take your shir—boots off before you get into bed."

Spike turned slowly around, a surprised though not altogether pleasant smile on his face. "No tying me up tonight?" he asked, with a hint of disappointment belied by his grin.

"You wanna sleep in the chair?" asked Xander, gesturing. "Be my guest."

"Why this sudden... change of heart?" Spike's tone had an annoying tinge of mockery.

Xander sighed. "I'm tired of arguing with you. I just want to go to bed wi—" Xander suddenly froze and choked on his words. He exhaled exasperatedly and wandered off to his dresser. "I just want to go to bed," he concluded firmly, facing away from Spike as he unbuttoned his shirt. "To sleep," he added, hastily.

Spike, meanwhile, was grinning madly to himself as he sat on the edge of the bed and leisurely removed his boots. He waited, watching Xander carefully, until Xander had turned around before gradually pulling off his shirt. Xander was caught, spellbound for a moment, watching Spike pull the fabric up and over, revealing his pale bare torso. When Spike's head reappeared, Xander quickly turned away, but not before Spike caught his eye.

Xander tarried at his dresser, taking unusual care folding and sorting his clothes before nervously approaching the bed. Spike was lying there, once again surprisingly silent and peaceful.

Xander kept a wary eye on Spike as he slowly lowered himself into bed and pulled the covers over himself. Spike remained motionless. Xander lay there on his side for long minutes, staring at Spike, motionless himself, before his eyelids finally began to droop closed, and he slowly drifted off.

As soon as Xander's breathing became slow and regular, Spike's eyes cracked open and he cast a sidelong glance over at the boy. Trademark maddening grin spreading once again across his face, he slowly reached out towards Xander and carefully went to work....

Xander awoke to a vague sensation of comfort. And an extreme sensation of arousal. Fighting his way into consciousness, he eventually managed to open a bleary eye. When it finally focused, both eyes immediately shot open.

"Spike?" he asked, his voice strained.

Spike stirred slightly, rubbing up against Xander's—"Nummy?" Spike mumbled in response.

Xander was flustered for a moment, but quickly gathered his wits. "You're lying on my arm."

Spike finally opened his eyes, and glanced about, only mildly surprised by his position. "So I am. And your hand is lying on my chest... and your leg is tangled with mine...." Spike snuggled against Xander. "And your—"


"—is grinding against my hip."

"Get off me!"

"You have to let go of me first."


"Well, move then."

"When I'm good and ready."

Xander remained frozen. Spike just continued to grin at him.

"Any time now," he prompted.

Xander hesitated. "I just wanna be careful. Don't want you to try anything."

"Like what?"

"I dunno."

"Like this?" Spike suddenly moved his hand up to Xander's crotch. Xander instinctively pressed into the contact, then almost instantaneously leaped back and out of the bed, tumbling to his feet.

"Gah!" he exclaimed, with more anger than disgust. "Don't touch me!"

"You started it."

"I did not. Now get dressed. I'm taking you to Giles."

"That's right. Just put me back in my kennel for the day." Spike's grin had finally faded, replaced by a dismal glare into the distance.

"Spike, shut up. There's a good boy."

Spike shot Xander a deadly look and, frowning in frustration, shoved his boots on.

"Another week?!"

"It's just five more days, Xander. Then we'll alternate every other night."

"What?! Giles—"

"The burden has to be shared, Xander, and Buffy and Willow o—obviously can't have him in their residence, so it's up to you and me."

"How did I get signed up for this?"

"I'm just asking you to do your part."

"Couldn't my part be something else? Book sorting, doughnut delivery, janitorial duty?"

"You already do all those things."

Xander rolled his eyes and turned away. "Oh, yeah, I forgot," he spat sarcastically as he wandered a few steps, head hanging.

"I do realize it's an inconvenience...."

Xander turned back. "He's a serious crimp on my night life, Giles."

"And you think he's not, on mine," said Giles, casting Xander a look over his glasses.

Xander deflated. "Okay, fine, whatever." He raised his eyes and set a penetrating look on Giles. "Just know that I am not happy about this," he said, firmly.

"Objection noted," Giles replied calmly, in a self-evident tone.

Xander spun about and left the room quickly. He trampled noisily down to the main room and looked about glumly, flinching and turning away when he found Spike staring at him, amused.

"I heard your little conversation with the ex-watcher. Don't you want me around anymore, Nummy?"

"Shut up. Just... shut up." Xander paced aimlessly for a moment, then headed towards the door. "I'm going job hunting."

"See you tonight!"

"I said shut up!" Xander slammed the door behind himself.

Moments later, Giles came down the stairs. He curiously picked up a mug he found lying on the end table and quickly put it down, wrinkling his nose in disgust.

"Spike, I thought I asked you not to leave mugs of blood lying around. This has... clotted."

"All right, all right," said Spike, as he got up and walked over to pick up the mug, "keep your hair on." He carried it back to the kitchen, muttering. "...what's left of it, that is."

Xander, grim and silent, sullenly stalked into his room, Spike following carelessly behind. Xander threw his keys down on his dresser with a violence that made Spike grin, and started to unbutton his shirt.

Spike, in no time flat, stripped down to his jeans, and lazily dropped on to what had become his side of the bed, waiting.

"So..." he began, casually, "any luck finding work?"

"No," Xander replied grimly. His movements as he put away his clothes quickly grew agitated. "Just... don't say anything."

"Just trying to make conversation."

"I don't want conversation," Xander said, turning around and walking over to the bed, avoiding Spike's eyes. "I just want—sleep." He sat down. "And silence. Tests show that silence promotes sleep."

"Really? I've always preferred the screams of the dying."

"That's because you're a sick and twisted evil fiend," replied Xander flatly, as he lay down and pulled the covers over himself.

"I believe that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me."

"Yeah, well, happy to remind you anytime," mumbled Xander, pulling the covers tighter.

Spike just clasped his hands behind his head and laid back with a satisfied sigh and smile. Long minutes passed in silence. Xander tried to keep still, but occasionally had to shift and squirm uncomfortably.

Spike sat up and turned to look down at Xander. "Trouble sleeping," he said, with a mockingly sympathetic tone.

"And more trouble when you're talking."

Spike clucked reprovingly. "Testy."

"I'm not taking lessons in politeness from you."

"That was a compliment."

"Shut up."

"I would if you'd stop tossing and turning."

"I am not! I'm just trying to get comfortable," protested Xander, writhing on the bed again.

"You're tense."

"You bet I'm tense."

"You need relief."


"You want a wank."

Xander instantly sprang up and turned around. "What?" he exclaimed, nervously. "No, I don't."

Spike gave him a look. "I can smell it."

"I—" Xander began, then choked. He frowned angrily. "Just shut up and go to sleep," he said, turning back around and lying down.

"Oh, fine," said Spike, sarcastically. "You just load up the air with pheromones and then drift off."

"That's the plan. Except for the pheromones," added Xander, raising an admonishing finger.


"I thought you'd approve."

This stymied Spike for a moment. "This is different," he explained. "It's left me all frustrated."

"You're frustrated?"

"Of course, pheromone boy."

"You need a wank? Take it outside."

"Why? We've both got the same problem. Thanks to you."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Just thought we could help each other out. Thought that was what you good guys did."

"Not with sex! Not that I'm thinking about sex. No."

"Oh, come on. You know you want to."

This made Xander sit up again and spin around. "Hey, just because I'm—not that I am—doesn't mean it's for you!"

Spike rolled his eyes. "Denial springs eternal."

"I am not in denial." Xander immediately flushed and looked away. When he turned back, he saw Spike unbuttoning his jeans. "Not... in... denial," he repeated, abstractedly, eyes captivated as Spike slowly pulled down the zipper, then slid the jeans down his hips. Xander's eyes widened as Spike's hard cock sprung free from the confines of the jeans, and he stared, mesmerized.

"Touch it." Spike's voice was a hissing whisper.

Xander moved nothing except his hand, reaching slowly across to grasp Spike's member. Spike grunted softly with satisfaction and reached his hand under the covers and Xander's boxers. Xander responded with a small sound somewhere between a whimper and a groan and leaned closer to Spike, still staring blankly down. His fingers moved gingerly, experimentally as he slowly began to stroke Spike's cock, still mesmerized in a kind of fearful wonder.

Spike began to move his own hand in Xander's shorts, and Xander suddenly collapsed atop Spike, teeth hanging on Spike's collarbone. Spike, inordinately pleased, was struck still for a moment before shivering slightly, prompting Xander to drag his mouth across and down Spike's chest, dragging his teeth and tongue along the way. Soon Xander was exploring Spike's torso with his mouth, tracing patterns with his tongue along and across the contours of the muscles as Spike began to... undulate beneath him.

Xander suddenly felt Spike's other hand on his near shoulder, turning him, pushing him gently, but insistently down. He opened his eyes and found himself staring directly at Spike's cock, mere inches from his nose.

He hesitated for only a moment, and then determinedly shut his eyes, opened his mouth, and took a deep breath... and then Spike's cock was in his mouth, and he was sucking. Spike grunted in approval, removing his hand from Xander's shoulder and tightening his grip on Xander's cock as Xander began to roll his tongue around and around.

Xander's tentativeness quickly melted away and he began to suck in earnest, bobbing his head up and down, teasing the sensitive spots with his tongue as he dragged it along the shaft and over the head. Spike's manipulations of his cock matched in increasing tempo and strength. Faster... harder...

And then Spike suddenly groaned and came, and Xander, surprised, swallowed instantly. All across his body, Spike's muscles tensed and flexed as he shot again and again. Spike's hand on Xander's cock gripped tightly, and suddenly Xander too was pushed over the edge, coming in his boxers.

Spike, finally finished, released Xander's cock and Xander collapsed against his chest, panting. Spike brought his hand up and wrapped his arm over Xander's shoulders, trapping him there.

As his breathing slowed, Xander's senses slowly returned to reality and he began to look around, increasingly nervous. He tried weakly to pull away, but Spike's embrace held him tightly, immovable.

Eventually, Xander gave up and relaxed against Spike's chest. "Still more romantic than Faith," he mumbled, before drifting into the blackness.

Xander awoke in exactly the same position in which he'd fallen asleep, and again with a sensation of extreme arousal. Fingers threaded through his hair, idly caressing his head.

Xander remained frozen, hardly daring to breathe, as he rolled his eyes up to see Spike's face, still blank, deep in sleep. Xander let his eyes fall back to Spike's chest, and stared unseeing for a while, before coming to a decision.

He snuggled closer.

This roused Spike. The hand in Xander's hair vanished as Spike stretched his arm and let it fall away. Spike said nothing, merely lay there languidly.

Xander, once locked in a tight embrace, now found himself merely holding what was effectively a cold and disinterested pillow.

He tentatively let go and Spike immediately stood, snagged his jeans, and began to pull them on. Xander watched him nervously, biting his lip, until Spike turned about to grab his shirt and caught Xander's eye. The scornful smirk made Xander turn away. He left the bed and went to his dresser to change out of his stained boxers.

Xander fumbled again and again with his clothes, obviously distracted, the frown on his face growing ever deeper. Finally, he sat on the edge of the bed to pull on his socks.

"You ready yet?" asked Spike, impatiently. "It's bad enough being forced to muck about the watcher's place all day without getting crisped on the way over."

Xander quickly pulled on his shoes and stood. Spike, fists impatiently planted on his sides, was frowning at the posters on Xander's walls.

Xander looked at him nervously. "You... you won't tell them, will you?" His voice was quiet and strained.

Spike just scoffed, and a grin spread once again across his face as he turned around. "It's our little secret."

Xander nodded and turned away, leading Spike to the door.

"And secrets," he muttered to himself, "are meant to be kept."

And Spike, surreptitiously noting the dejected angle of Xander's head, grinned to himself... wider than ever.

Willow, her head buried in the broken landscape of books, binders, and papers piled on her desk, ignored the phone until the third ring, snatching the receiver up hastily.

"Hello?" she said, distractedly, not looking up from her work.

"Hey, Wills!" exclaimed Xander, with unnecessary enthusiasm. "How's it goin'?"

"Uh," said Willow, looking around her desk, "kind of academic-y at the moment."

"Oh," said Xander, his enthusiasm dampened. "That doesn't sound promising."


"Um..." began Xander, hesitantly, "just wondering if, you know, there were any big hangs on campus tonight... frat parties, hall parties..."

"Buffy and I are kind of swamped tonight."

"Room parties?"

"It's this paper."

"Roundtable discussion groups? Live debates?"

"I—I don't know.... Xander, are you okay?"

"Yeah, fine," replied Xander, sullenly.

"Tonight's just not party night."

"Hey, that's okay," Xander said, cheerily. "There are, what, seven nights a week? I'm sure there'll be one soon that won't have a big, nasty paper... or a big, nasty demon."

Willow smiled. "We'll let you know."

"Thanks," said Xander, his tone suddenly dull again. "I'll let you get back to slaying that assignment."

"Okay," Willow said, uncertainly. "Bye."

Xander, looking defeated, opened the door and stepped aside to allow Spike to charge into the room, practically bouncing as he walked. Xander carefully closed and locked the door behind them both.

"I really need some blood."

Xander started nervously. "Well, don't look at me," he said, indignantly. "It's in the fridge. I just hope my mom doesn't find it."

"But wouldn't it be fun if she did?" Spike sauntered over to the fridge and pulled out a packet. "You got any Wheatabix?"

A look of disgust crossed Xander's face. "No," he said, with emphasis. "And I really don't want to know—" Xander stopped and shook his head. "I'm going to bed."

"Hey, wait up," exclaimed Spike, tearing open the packet and guzzling it.

Xander ignored him and slowly removed his clothes. Spike, already stripped to his jeans, was waiting for him on the bed when he was finished. A stray drop of blood trailed from the corner of the vampire's mouth. Xander frowned and crawled under the covers, lying on his side, turned away.

Spike's hands were immediately on him, caressing him, sliding under his shirt. "Come on, Nummy."

Xander shuddered. "No, Spike."

Spike was insistent. One hand trailed down into Xander's boxers and grabbed his already stiffening cock. "You know you want to," he whispered, giving it a tug.

Xander whimpered and relaxed into Spike's embrace. "No," he whispered, almost inaudibly.

Spike ignored this completely and calmly continued his ministrations, pulling down Xander's boxers as he bit gently at Xander's shoulder.

Then, suddenly, Spike withdrew. Xander shivered with relief, but tensed immediately when he felt Spike return and run a lubed finger down the cleft of his ass. Xander froze, unable to move or even think, and the finger slowly, gently slid into him. Xander whimpered in protest, but pushed back against Spike's hand.

"That's it," said Spike, grinning, and working in a second finger alongside the first.

Xander just shut his eyes tightly and bit his lip.

And then Spike's fingers were gone. Xander's eyes shot open with fear, knowing what had to follow... and then it was there. Xander could feel Spike's hardness pressing against him, demanding entry. "No..." he whispered once more.

Spike grinned to himself as he pushed inside, making Xander gasp. He waited for a moment while Xander writhed weakly, and then continued to push forward.

Xander's breathing became harsh and irregular as he felt himself being filled, impossibly full. Ever time he thought it was done, Spike would slide in a little farther, a little deeper.

Finally, he felt Spike's pubes brushing against his ass, and almost heaved a sigh of relief. But then Spike reached around to grab Xander's cock, hard seemingly against his will. "No..." he protested again, even though the word had lost all meaning.

Spike just smirked and gave Xander's cock a tug as he began to slowly withdraw. Xander let out a long, soft moan, immediately stifled when Spike began to push in again.

Xander's senses began to blur, feeling only Spike's hand on his cock, Spike's teeth running along his shoulder, and Spike's cock deep inside him, no longer slowly sliding, but thrusting faster and faster...

And then Xander was coming and coming.... His ass clenched and Spike gasped, thrusting even faster before suddenly shoving deep inside and holding there as he filled Xander with his cool, slick come.

For a moment, they held there, motionless but for Xander's heavy, erratic breathing. Then Spike slowly withdrew and then released Xander from his tight hold, rolling back contentedly onto his pillow and letting out a long, satisfied sigh. Xander squirmed feebly, trying to move away, but soon found he lacked the energy. Giving up, he pulled the covers tightly over himself, as if they might shield him.

And as Spike drifted off, Xander whispered, so softly that even Spike could not hear, "Angel...."

And then he slipped gratefully into oblivion.

There were several hesitant knocks at the door before it slowly creaked open and Xander poked his head inside. "Giles?" he called, uneasily.

"Nummy!" Spike exclaimed, merrily.

Xander turned and glared. "You." He grimaced and looked away with disgust for a moment, before looking back to ask, "Where's Giles?"

Spike rolled his eyes upwards. "Upstairs, somewhere. Looking for a book... something tedious like that." He grinned suggestively at Xander. "We've got a few minutes before he comes back down...."

Xander merely glared again, then turned away, stepped inside, shut the door, and quickly walked across the room to sit in on a couch as far from Spike as possible, sullenly staring at the floor. Spike watched Xander with amusement, looking almost as if he might start whistling at any moment.

Long, uncomfortable minutes later, Giles appeared on the stairway. "Xander," he said, pausing as he looked down into the room. "Good. You can take Spike with you now."

"Imagine my delight," Xander mumbled, too quietly for Giles to hear.

Spike snickered.

Giles, unheeding, walked to his desk and deposited two more large volumes upon it as he sat down.

Xander turned and watched him work for a moment before asking, in a hopeful-yet-hopeless tone, "Need any help there, G-man?"

"Simply routine research," said Giles dismissively, not even looking up as he searched through one of the large, leather-bound volumes.

"Just the sort to while away a pleasant evening with."

"That's right," agreed Giles, still not looking up.

Xander sighed and glanced at Spike, who was leering unpleasantly at him. Xander quickly turned away.

A few minutes of silence later, Giles finally looked up. "Is there anything you need, Xander?"

Xander turned to Giles, and hesitantly opened and closed his mouth. "Well, you see," he eventually managed to get out, "I mean, given that, y'know, I—"

There was a brief rap on the door before it suddenly swung open and Buffy strode into the room, a nervous Willow in tow.

"Giles," Buffy announced, "we've got trouble."

"Yes, your entrance didn't really have the earmarks of a social call," replied Giles.

"Vamp activity, way up," explained Buffy, with a matching gesture.

"It's like some sort of... vampire and demon... Fourth of July, or something," said Willow, walking in and sitting down.

"Picnic baskets and fireworks?" asked Xander.

Spike scowled.

"More like chaos and screaming children," said Buffy.

"That sounds better," said Spike, appeased.

Everyone turned to glare at him.

"What?" he asked, indignantly.

Buffy turned back to Giles. "Any big bads comin' up on the mystic calendar there, Giles?"

"Like evil has a day-planner," said Spike, sarcastically.

Giles glanced over his glasses at Spike with a combination of distaste and disapproval, and replied to Buffy, "While some demonic events are tied to the alignment of the planets or—or the changing of the seasons, there is nothing forecast f—for the near future."

"Well, there's something going on," said Buffy. "Evil's having a field day out there."

Spike smiled to himself and leaned back in his chair, satisfied.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door.

"Who's that?" asked Buffy.

Spike sniffed the air, then cast a sidelong glance and grin at Xander. "It's your little orgasm friend."

"Shut up."

"Should I be jealous?" asked Spike.

"Shut up!"

Willow, looking confused, got up and answered the door.

"Is Xander here?" Anya immediately asked as she stepped inside, brusquely brushing past Willow. She looked quickly around, and her eye fell on Buffy. "It's you." Anya's eyes narrowed. "I saw three vampires on the way over here. I'm lucky to have escaped with my life. Shouldn't you be out there doing your little slayer thing?"

"I was," explained Buffy, bristling, "but—"

"Well, get back to it." Anya turned to find Xander, and immediately walked over and planted herself on the couch beside him. "Where have you been?" she demanded.

Xander flushed and looked down. "I've been busy.... Job hunting, baby sitting." Xander cast an angry glance at Spike.

"And he's been enjoying the latter so much, he's been a little distracted," said Spike, with a grin.

"Will somebody make him shut up?" Xander asked, angrily, looking anywhere but at Spike.

There was an uncomfortable pause, but Buffy brought everyone back to the point. "Vampires," she said, simply.

"Xander knows a lot about vampires," said Spike. "Don't you, Num—"

"Please," begged Xander, "please let me stake him!" Xander suddenly froze and flushed hard, looking down miserably. Spike's immediate burst of laughter didn't help.

Giles glared at them both over his glasses. "If you two are quite finished, we could get back to the matter at hand." He turned to Buffy. "I share your concern about the increased demonic activity, Buffy, but unless there are some signs of rituals... or summonings... or black magic, it may just be... a bad night to be out."

"If you ask me," said Buffy, darkly, "they're planning something. And we need to find out what."

Gradually, every person's gaze turned on Spike.

Spike glared back indignantly. "What?" he spat, looking around at them. "How would I know anything? Like any self-respecting vampire would even talk to me anymore. Just rub it in, why don't you."

Everyone turned away disgustedly except for Xander, who continued to stare with a sort of distantly forlorn look in his eyes. Spike had turned away from the group, silently muttering to himself.

A worried look suddenly crossed Buffy's face. "This isn't one of those apocalypse things... is it?"

"Well," said Willow, twisting her lip. "This is the Hellmouth. It wouldn't be the first time we've contemplated imminent world endage."

"The Hellmouth," said Giles, suddenly, looking blankly out across the room, a slightly frantic note creeping into his voice. He turned to Buffy. "H—has anyone been back to the high school since...?"

"No," said Buffy, confused. "Condemned school building wasn't exactly near the top of my list of places to visit."

"But it should be on the list of places to patrol," said Giles, rising. "If someone—or some thing—were able to reopen the Hellmouth...."

"Bingo... instant apocalypse," said Buffy, all confusion gone.

"Just add water and stir," said Xander. "Well, except for the water part. And the stirring."

Giles began to sort through the books on his desk. "I propose we make a visit to the high school. Willow, we may need your help to counter any ritual or spell they might be using...."

Willow nodded nervously. Xander perked up. "Need any—"

"Xander," Giles continued, still sorting, "you'd better stay here."

"—help?" Xander finished quietly, frowning.

"It's a plan." Buffy leaned forward and grasped the edge of her chair. "Willow?" she asked, rising quickly when Willow gave her a hesitant half-smile. They both headed for the door.

Xander watched nervously as Giles tarried for a few moments, selecting a couple of books and a cross from his desk before following the girls out the door.

"Hey, Giles," said Xander, hurriedly rising from the couch. "Want any research done on the home front? Add a little extra brain power to the operation?"

"That's all right, Xander," said Giles, turning back as he stepped outside. "Just keep an eye on Spike—" Xander turned to glare at the vampire, who smiled sweetly back at him. "—and make sure he stays out of trouble."

As the door swung shut behind them, Xander dropped back down on the couch and his head fell into his hands.

Anya immediately turned to him. "I haven't seen you in days. What's going on?"

"I told you," mumbled Xander, not looking up. "Babysitting."

Spike snickered. "Yeah, that's right, baby," he whispered.

Xander made a frustrated growl and turned to glare again at Spike.

Anya ignored this exchange. "Surely Giles could watch him for one night," she said, sliding towards Xander and placing her hand on his shoulder. "Or just..." she added, leaning in and whispering sultrily into his ear, "fifteen minutes."

Xander winced. "No!" he exclaimed, jumping up and walking away.

"What's the matter?" demanded Anya, rising as well. "I thought you liked orgasms. I thought we agreed on that."

"Maybe you're just not doing it for him," suggested Spike.

Anya spun around, a mixture of confusion and anger on her face.

"Spike, shut up," said Xander, tiredly. "Anya, let's take this outside and away from Bat-Brain here."

"Hey, vampires don't turn in to bats!" Spike protested angrily. "Why does everybody think that? Smelly little vermin."

Xander ignored Spike and ushered Anya outside. As soon as the door shut behind them, Anya could be heard raising another angry demand. Spike smirked. Xander's tone was conciliatory, but the conversation soon deteriorated into a full-scale argument, closed by Anya with a single, brief, infuriated statement on Xander's character before she stomped angrily away.

Spike was just grinning merrily to himself the whole time.

Seconds later, the door swung open and Xander stormed through, slamming it violently behind himself. He stood for a moment in the middle of the room, fuming.

"She doesn't do it for you, does she?" Spike suddenly asked.

Xander spun around and glared. "Spike..." he began, warningly.

"You don't want her."

"Hey, that relationship was about the least dysfunctional I've had."

"She's just using you."

"Coming from the paragon of virtue and integrity that is you, that criticism sounds a little hypocritical."

Spike shrugged. "Who said it wasn't?"

"Anya's a very kind, caring individual. Unlike some people I could mention."

"Yeah, right. You just like her because she makes a great beard." Spike's tone became mocking. "Lots of orgasms and no questions about Xander's sexuality."

"Shut up!"

"Little faggot."

"All right, that's it!" Xander rushed across the room, and straddled Spike's lap, grabbing his collar.

Spike just smiled calmly back.

"You take that back!" growled Xander.

Spike was unfazed. "You know," he said casually, "you're really quite attractive when you're... aroused."

Xander yelled in frustration and jumped back. "I am angry! I am not aroused!"

"Liar, liar," said Spike. "Pants on fire," he added, glancing down at Xander's crotch.

"Shut up, you lousy bastard!"

"Ooh, I love it when you talk dirty," said Spike, with a leer. "Of course," he added, losing interest, "that was a miserable attempt."

"What do you want?" yelled Xander.

"I want to hear you swear a blue streak."

Xander's eyes widened and he took in a huge breath, opening his mouth and raising a condemning finger. Suddenly he froze, hesitated, and exhaled, dropping his hands. "Get used to disappointment," he spat, and turned away.

"Oh, come on, Nummy."

Xander's head swung back around and he squinted angrily at Spike for a long moment... before a leering grin began to spread across his face. Suddenly, he was walking across the room and grabbing Spike by the collar, dragging him up from his chair. Without another word, Xander manhandled Spike out the door.

And Spike, looking like he had just won the lottery, issued no protest.

The door to Xander's basement room swung open and Xander shoved Spike through it. Spike stumbled into the middle of the room, still grinning. Xander locked the door behind them, turned to Spike, and said, "Strip."

Spike turned around in complete surprise. "What?"

"I said strip," Xander repeated, his tone leaving no room for question or protest, "and lie down on the bed. Now."

Spike's eyes widened slightly, and the corner of his mouth curled with the possibility of a smile. He followed Xander's directions, staring at him all the while. Xander, acting completely disinterested, turned to his dresser and began to undress himself. When he was down to his boxers, Spike was already stripped and on the bed, waiting.

Xander suddenly turned and leered at Spike, licking his lips.

Spike stared back at him with an awful anticipatory glee.

Xander quickly stripped off his boxers, freeing his hard cock, and stalked, cat-like, to the bed, crawling until he loomed over the waiting vampire. "Don't move," he hissed, and immediately dropped to Spike's chest, attacking with his mouth.

Spike shuddered with surprise, and writhed when Xander began to drag his teeth across Spike's flesh, crisscrossing his torso, catching on the contours of the muscles.

When Xander reached Spike's cock, Spike was already painfully hard. Xander teased the head with his tongue, making Spike gasp through his teeth as he clutched the covers of the bed. Spike lolled his head back and forth as Xander began to take the cock in his mouth, slowly, meticulously, caressing it with his tongue. Spike sighed with satisfaction when Xander's nose finally nested in his pubes.

And then suddenly, Xander was gone.

Spike's eyes shot open and he looked down to see Xander kneeling between his legs, reaching to grab something from beside the bed, and taking it in his hands.

Spike sat up. "What's that?" he asked eagerly.

Xander casually reached out and shoved Spike back down again. "You'll see."

Spike grinned knowingly but still jerked with surprise when Xander, without warning, slid a slickened finger into him. Xander smirked at Spike's reaction and wriggled his finger, spreading the lube and making Spike squirm. Then Xander's finger withdrew, a pillow was shoved under Spike's ass, and Spike felt the head of Xander's cock resting against him.

He shivered. Xander gave him a leering grin.

Then, in one sudden movement, Xander thrust all the way inside him and came crashing down atop him, baring and raking his teeth on Spike's collarbone. Spike's entire body was wracked by spasms of shock and delight.

Xander lifted himself up and began to piston violently into Spike as the vampire writhed beneath him, eyes shut, a look of tortured rapture of his face. Xander leaned down and brought his mouth to Spike's neck, dragging his teeth down the jugular. Spike let out a load moan.

"Keep quiet," hissed Xander, moving up to nibble Spike's ear. "You want my mom to walk in on us?"

"But wouldn't it be fun if she did?"

"No," said Xander, giving Spike's cock a rough tug. "If you keep talking about her, it's gonna ruin the mood."

Xander lifted himself again and gradually increased the tempo of his thrusts. Spike continued to writhe, the muscles in his torso and arms tensing and straining.

Then suddenly, Xander, with a grunt, thrust deep into Spike and held there as he came, bending down to attach his mouth to the side of Spike's neck and sucking hard on the jugular. Spike gasped and moaned as he shivered and came, spraying their stomachs with his seed.

When the moment had passed, Xander rose and looked Spike in the eye. "Who's the little faggot now?"

"You are."

Xander rammed himself full force into Spike, writhing against him, delivering a crushing kiss that, when Xander eventually relented, left Spike airily surprised and himself breathless.

He then collapsed, resting his head on Spike's chest, panting. "Just so that's clear."

Xander ambled down the sidewalk with his hands shoved in his pockets and a spring in his step. He almost whistled as he walked, looking distractedly forward, his mind obviously elsewhere. He didn't notice the two girls coming around the corner until he almost ran into them, tripping and spreading his arms wide for balance.

"Buffy! Willow!"

"Hi, Xander," said Buffy. Willow grinned and made a little wave of greeting.

"What brings you two intellectuals to the non-campus?"

"Slight emergency," said Buffy.

Xander quickly turned solemn. "Magic-shop-type emergency? Impending doom percolating in the dilapidated yet still Hellmouthy ol' high school?"

"Well, no," said Buffy, "that was a dud."

"We ran out of peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream," explained Willow.

"Now, that's an emergency," agreed Xander.

They began to walk down the street together.

"So, are you doing the tracking and the stalking?" asked Willow.

Xander frowned. "Huh?"

"The job-hunting," said Buffy.

"Oh, yeah... job. Work. Rent. Food, even. I should be doing that."

"So what are you here for?" asked Willow.

"I just need to go to the drugstore, for more—" Xander's brow creased. "—errands."

"You wanna come to lunch with us?"

Xander hesitated. "No, I'd better shop and run. Gotta get home and make sure Spike hasn't managed to kill anyone."

"You're keeping him during the day now, too?" Buffy asked, surprised.

"Well, we—I mean, I got up too late to take him over to Giles's, so..." Xander shrugged.

"I would have given him a sheet to hold over his head and kicked him out the door," said Buffy.

"But I just love having him around," said Xander, stopping in front a shop. "Well, this is me. Bye, kids. Don't study too hard." He made a quick gesture of farewell, and stepped through the door.

Willow frowned sadly as she and Buffy turned to continue down the street. "Poor Xander," she said. "As if the no college and the chronic unemployment syndrome weren't bad enough, now he's got the permanent demon roomie."

Buffy shook her head. "He definitely needs to get out more."

Xander stepped into the basement and looked up in surprise at Spike, who was balancing on a chair, reaching for the wall. "Spike!"

Spike spun around. "Nummy. You're back early."

"What are you doing?"

Spike stepped down. "Making some executive decisions about your decor. Like getting rid of that." He pointed at the poster he had been about to tear down.

"I like that," Xander protested.

"It's ugly."

"This from the guy whose interior decorating usually involves cobwebs and decaying corpses."

"Right. Mood setters. You haven't got a mood here. You've got... tacky."

"Hey, I decorate to express my personality."

"As in, I'm a sodding fairy?"

Xander squinted. "Keep this up and you won't get to sleep in the bed tonight."

"No, not the comfy chair!" exclaimed Spike, with mock horror.

Xander couldn't help but snicker. He stifled it quickly and replied flatly, "You're a vampire. I'm sure you've slept in worse places."

"Hey," said Spike, seriously, "I don't do coffins."

"You should try sometime. Preferably a sealed one. Better yet, go for cremation."

"Sometimes I think you don't like me at all."

Xander grinned. "Got it in one, pal." He stepped forward and puts his arms around Spike, tugging Spike's T-shirt out of his jeans.

"See what I said about soddin' fairy?" Spike asked, as Xander pulled the shirt off over his head.

Xander just pulled Spike back into an embrace and began to run his lips up and down Spike's neck. "I'm getting really sick of your lower-class Limey accent," he murmured.

"Lower class?" exclaimed Spike, offended. "Have I ever dropped an aitch? And I suppose yours is supposed to be music to my ears." Spike's words dripped with sarcasm.

Xander laughed and nipped at Spike's ear before shoving him violently down onto the bed. He tore off his own shirt and then tackled Spike, kissing him fiercely. He reached down to unbutton Spike's jeans, trailing his lips down Spike's jaw and neck.

Spike writhed beneath him as Xander grabbed Spike's cock and tugged it to hardness. Xander continued to pull Spike's member as Spike just rolled his head back and moaned.

Xander, dragging his mouth lower, began to thoroughly explore every inch of Spike's chest. "Spike," he murmured, between kisses.

Spike groaned interrogatively.

"Do something?"

Spike grunted. "I can't. It's this damn chip."

Xander suddenly stopped and lifted himself up to look at Spike, but Spike was frustratedly turned away, staring at the wall. Xander smiled at him wistfully for a moment, then kissed him briefly on the mouth and left the bed to walk over to his dresser.

Spike turned to watch him, confused. Xander returned and knelt beside Spike, handing him a fresh tube of lubricant. He then pulled off his pants and boxers, and lay down on the bed, his back to Spike.

Spike just stared in amazement for a moment before grinning widely, and unscrewing the cap.

Xander didn't shiver or whimper, but rather hummed in pleasure when Spike's fingers entered him this time, pushing back against Spike's hand. Spike, increasingly eager, quickly withdrew his fingers and slowly inserted his slickened cock. Xander moaned and squirmed back against him, at least as eager, if not more so.

In no time at all, Spike was thrusting in and out, probing deeply, but necessarily gently, into Xander. He reached around to grab Xander's cock, already painfully hard, and Xander let out another long, low groan of pleasure.

But his eyes flashed open with fear when he felt something change behind him. He shivered even before Spike began to tenderly drag a sharp fang down his neck, but he forced himself to relax into Spike's tight embrace.

And then there was a tiny pinprick, hardly felt, but Xander hissed from the sudden sting. Spike eagerly sucked at the tiny wound, and Xander's eyes rolled from the wild combination of sensations, as Spike began to pound into him ever harder, ever faster.

Xander cried out as he came... and then everything went black.

Cordelia let out the occasional quiet sigh as she pecked intermittently at the keyboard, hunting for keys, her brow furrowed in concentration as she doggedly made up another invoice. Angel sat in a chair opposite, his feet propped up on the desk, reading the large leather-bound volume resting in his lap. Doyle was eyeing the bottle of Scotch with a vague air of justifying another shot.

Justification complete, Doyle reached forward and quickly poured himself a glass. The instant the draught hit the back of his throat, his entire body convulsed, and he fell to the floor, the shot glass landing with a loud crack and rolling away.

Cordelia looked up in amazement. "That must be some stuff," she said. "I thought you were one of those drink-the-other-man-under-the-table types."

"Vision," said Angel, rising and rushing to Doyle's side, as Doyle lay writhing and gasping for breath on the floor, hands pressed against his temples. Cordelia joined Angel, and after looking Doyle up and down helplessly for a moment, began to enthusiastically fan him with the file she held.

Suddenly, the vision broke, and Doyle immediately tore his hands away from his head and stared up, wide-eyed, at Angel, panting and shivering irregularly.

"It's Spike," Doyle breathed, his eye twitching. "He's—I couldn't understand—he's draining someone... but that's not the problem."

"Hello?" protested Cordelia, with disgust. "I'd say vampires draining people was a problem."

"Are you sure it was Spike?" asked Angel.

Doyle nodded, his head shivering almost arthritically.

Angel frowned. "What was the problem?"

Doyle looked around, exasperated with himself. "I don't know. But there's something... bigger... going on."

Angel looked out across the room. "He's up to something."

"It's Spike," said Cordelia. "Of course he's up to something. He's got that evil-vampire complex."

"Paper," mumbled Doyle, clutching his head again. "Address." Cordelia handed him a sheet and a pencil and he quickly scribbled across it.

Angel took the sheet, and when he had deciphered it, looked at Doyle with amazement. "Sunnydale? I know this address."

"Basement," muttered Doyle, still clutching his head and unable to look up.

"I'll call when I've found out what's going on," said Angel, rising and grabbing his coat, instantly out the door.

Cordelia stared at the door as it swung shut behind him, a frown on her face. "He's going back to Sunnydale again? Okay, he really needs to get over this Buffy thing," she said, rolling her eyes.

"So," said Doyle, as charmingly as he could as he attempted to collect himself, "I guess it's just you and me, Princess."

Cordelia just raised her eyebrow doubtfully and picked up the paper that Angel had left behind him, squinting as she deciphered Doyle's scrawl. Then she frowned in surprise and said, with utter disbelief but a slight note of concern, "Xander?"

Xander shivered slightly as he felt Spike's fang gently reopen the cut on his neck. Then Spike's mouth was tightly on him, sucking insistently at the wound, pulling harshly on Xander's cock, driving his own cock deep into Xander's ass.

Xander moaned as he came, and then went limp in Spike's arms. Spike came moments later, lifting his mouth from Xander's neck long enough to growl his satisfaction. Then he was immediately back at the wound, lapping at the remaining trails of blood.

When there was nothing more to be had, Spike pulled away from Xander, who rolled onto his back, lifeless but for very shallow respiration. Spike grinned to himself and left the bed to pull on his jeans.

At that moment the door suddenly crashed open, and a large black-clad figure swept into the room. "Spike!"

Spike stumbled backwards, falling to the floor. "Angel?!" he exclaimed with disgust. "What are the hell you doing here? I don't recall you being invited...."

Panic suddenly seized Angel and he turned to look at Xander lying unconscious on the bed.

"Relax, he's still alive."

"What did you do to him?" Angel demanded.

"I just drained him a little, is all."


"Guess," said Spike, rising to his feet and buttoning his jeans. "We weren't playing Tiddly Winks."

"You raped him."

Spike gave a short, scornful bark of a laugh. "The little poofter actually wanted it. Besides, I let him get rough with me once. It was fun." Spike grinned. "I was getting worried I'd never have it rough again."

"It's still rape."

"Spare me your moralism. You think I care?"

"I'll kill you."

"Are you sure? Wouldn't want you to feel guilty about it later. Wimp. Besides, poor Xander'd miss me," Spike added with an annoyingly self-satisfied smile.

Angel glared at Spike and turned back to look at Xander, who still lay unmoving on the bed. His frown deepened further and he turned back to Spike, his head shaking in disbelief. "Why?"

"I was bored," answered Spike, shrugging nonchalantly. "He was easy to manipulate. I figured if I could force the little fruitcake out of his closet, it might be worth a few laughs. You try living like this sometime," he went on, indignantly, "no bite, no kill. It's crazy.... Oh, wait, I forgot, you already do." Spike grinned wickedly. "Voluntarily. Even crazier."

Angel stepped forward and grabbed Spike by the shoulder. "Except I can still hit people," he said darkly, raising a threatening hand.

Spike was defiant. "But you can't fuck 'em."

Angel's hand dropped. His eyes narrowed.

"I can," said Spike, eyes glittering.

Angel shoved Spike violently back and turned away. He walked over to the bed and pulled the covers up over Xander, carefully arranging the pillows under his head. He then gently reached down and brushed a sweaty lock of hair off Xander's forehead.

After staring for a moment in silence, he turned back to Spike and demanded, "Why him?"

"You still on about that? He was convenient," replied Spike. "He's responsive. He's nicely shaped. Plus, he gets these big puppy dogs eyes that make you just want to break his neck," Spike added with glee rather than frustration. "I love that in a victim."

"You sick, twisted bastard."

"That's the second time I've been called that this week," Spike huffed.

"Only the second?" asked Angel, affecting surprise.

"I know," said Spike, taking Angel's comment as sympathy. "People used to call me that all the time. Funny how you never miss it till it's gone."

Angel glared briefly before turning back to Xander, laying a gentle hand on his shoulder. Spike grinned at them for a moment before his face suddenly fell.

"You want him, don't you?" Spike asked, a combination of amazement and utter disgust in his voice. "I can smell it in the air. That's why you—" Spike hooted derisively. "Going back to your old poofter ways, are you now? What about that slayer you're usually fawning over?"

Angel grimaced and stood up, moving away from the bed. "I had a chance recently to see what a mistake that was."

"I could have told you that." Spike laughed. "Women have brought you nothing but trouble, eh, Poof? Darla, Dru, the Slayer bitch. Some track record."

"It was my fault," Angel muttered, more for his own benefit than for Spike's. "I should have seen long ago...."

"She may be a good lay," said Spike, shifting his eyes sideways and upward as if reckoning the odds, "but she's a wet mess."

"Shut up, Spike," said Angel, turning back to Xander.

"Well, this is an interesting turn of events. You want what I've got." Spike laughed. "This makes it even better!"

Angel turned again to glare at Spike.

Spike smirked back. "He murmurs your name in his sleep, you know," he said, raising an eyebrow and carefully watching Angel's reaction. "It's bloody annoying."

Angel's glare dropped into stunned confusion. After a moment, he looked away to stare at the wall, still blank. Spike scoffed silently and rolled his eyes.

Xander suddenly let out a weak groan as he shifted slightly on the bed.

Spike immediately lit up. "He's coming 'round. Wonder what he'll say. Last night he thought he was in hospital. Called me Doc and asked if he was going to make it. He fainted again when I told him no." Spike grinned wickedly.

There was a sharp crack as Angel's hand hit the side of Spike's head, and a dull thud as Spike dropped immediately to the floor. Angel rushed back to Xander's side.

Xander grunted softly and winced before blearily opening his eyes. They were glassy at first, but soon gained some focus. "Angel," Xander murmured, a weak smile spreading across his face, "you came."

Xander reached up and Angel suddenly found himself in a weak, dreamy sort of embrace, and Xander's mouth was on his. Angel was too shocked for a moment to respond, but Xander was insistent, and Angel, hesitantly returning Xander's embrace, quickly began to lose himself in the kiss, yearning, hungry.

Xander suddenly froze.

Angel pulled back, alarmed, cursing himself. "Xander..." he began, nervously.

Xander's eyes widened. "Angel," he exclaimed, weakly. He stared anxiously for a moment, fidgeting with his hands, the corner of his eye twitching slightly. "I—I'm sorry."

"Xander, it's—"

"I—it's just... I kept having this dream where you'd come in and save me and—" Xander suddenly broke off as a look of confusion cross his face. "Say, why are you here anyway?"

"I'm here to save you."

Xander's confusion changed to amazement. Moving very deliberately, he reached across with one hand and pinched himself. "Ow. Okay, so this isn't a dream."

"Are you hurt?"

Xander flushed and looked down, shaking his head slightly. "No. Just a little hazy from the blood loss." He grimaced and brought his hands up to his temples. "Oooh, head shaking good not."

Angel frowned with concern. "What are you doing to yourself?"

Xander looked up at Angel for a moment, his expression a combination of grief and fear. Then his gaze fell back to the bed, defeated. "I'm massaging my temples, what does it look like?"

"You know what I mean."

"It's..." Xander began, then suddenly darkened, "none of your business."

"He's just using you."

"You don't know that."

"He's evil."

Xander shrugged. "So he's not the best boyfriend, but so what? Relationships are about compromise."

"Not about compromising your integrity."

Xander's face darkened instantly. "Well, it's a bit too late, isn't it? So you can stop wasting time with dirty, compromised me." Eyes still frowning, he forced a smile. "Compromised me is having fun!"

"He's draining you."

Xander shrugged. "It doesn't hurt that much. And he enjoys it... so much...." Xander looked down at Spike lying on the floor, with an expression somewhat like tenderness.

Angel frowned darkly. "He's a murderer."

Xander's eyes flashed. "So were you," he spat back.

Simultaneously, Xander looked down and Angel turned away, standing. Angel stood silently still for a moment, the muscles in his jaw clenching and unclenching. Xander simply stared blankly at his lap in utter dejection.

When Angel turned back, Xander was still sullenly staring. Angel opened his mouth, trying to find something to say, but could only manage, "Xander...."

Xander looked up at him instantly, his eyes wet and glistening. His expression was half angry, half—something Angel couldn't read before Xander quickly turned away.

There was a low, pained moan from the floor. Xander turned his head towards Angel, but didn't look up. "He's coming around," he said. "You'd better go."

Angel's expression grew even more pained. "Xander...."

"Please—" Xander choked on his words. "Go."

Angel drew up to his full height and shut his jaw tightly. He stared at Xander for a moment longer, and then suddenly was gone.

Xander looked up at the empty space where Angel had been, still struggling to hold back tears. There was another moan, this time slightly louder. Xander rolled his eyes around in exasperation for a moment before painfully reaching over to find his boxers and pull them on. This arduous task completed, he slipped off the bed and knelt down beside Spike, lifting Spike's head into his lap. Spike groaned again, rolling his head back and forth for a moment before finally opening his eyes... and wincing at the light.

"It's okay," said Xander, stroking Spike's hair. "Guilt boy is gone."

Spike moaned again and clutched his head. "Bloody wanker."

Xander laughed softly, but did not smile. He slowly helped Spike up from the floor. Spike tried to stand on his own, then swayed, woozy, and clutched at Xander's shoulder with one hand while bringing the other back up to his head.

"Bugger," he muttered.

Xander laughed more genuinely this time. "Well, at least there's no short term memory loss."

Spike smirked, then winced. "I need some blood."

Xander brought his hand up to the wound at his neck, quickly pulling it away when the touch brought pain. "I'm running kinda low myself," he said, a bit weakly, "and there's nothing in the fridge."

"The watcher," Spike mumbled. "He's got the rest of it."

Xander placed a comforting hand over the one with which Spike clung to his shoulder. "Can you walk?"

Spike took a step, and fell woozily back against Xander. "No."

"Great," said Xander, with mirthless cheer, "neither can I. I guess that means we go together. As soon as I find a Band-Aid."

Giles was fruitlessly leafing through yet another rather dusty text when a knock came at the door. He rose to answer it and found a somewhat bedraggled crew on his doorstep.

"This isn't going well," said Buffy, flatly, walking past him and collapsing on the couch.

Willow and Oz followed and Giles closed the door behind them.

"I take it you still haven't found any signs of a... coherent agenda... behind the recent... er, unrest?" asked Giles, returning to stand by his desk.

Buffy just turned to him with an exhausted look.

"If it's any consolation," said Willow, with a tentative smile, "evil's getting its butt kicked."

Oz raised an eyebrow and smiled at her.

"I'm running out of butt-kick to give," said Buffy, falling back on the couch again, covering her face with her hands. "Evil's not taking a breather."

"And none of the demons or vampires have mentioned anything that might—" Giles broke off when he saw Buffy sit up again to give him an even darker look.

"Fights to the death don't normally leave much time for conversation."

Giles looked apologetic but doubtful. "Well, given the witty banter you usually manage to squeeze in..."

"Which none of them seem to appreciate," said Buffy, rolling her eyes. "They haven't said anything. Well, except about the commandos."

"What about the commandos?" asked Giles, interest piqued.

Buffy frowned and thought for a moment. "Nothing specific... although some of them were blaming me for them."

Giles gave a short, weak laugh as he looked around at his home. "If only we were so well funded."

"But I don't see what that has to do with anything," said Buffy.

"If you ask me," said Oz, "they're pretty spooked."

Willow grinned. "They're spooked spooks."

"Technically, the term 'spook' applies only to phantasms and other such—" Giles broke off when he noticed everyone staring at him. "—but... that doesn't really matter. If the Initiative has gotten them riled up...."

"Riled up by Riley?" asked Willow, raising her eyebrows. "Who would—"

"Buffy," answered Oz.

Buffy frowned, thinking. "I wouldn't say riled up, exactly...."

"But," said Giles firmly, retaking control of the conversation, "if the activities of the Initiative have... alarmed them, that might explain what's going on."

"Why be... alarmed... by the Initiative?" asked Buffy. "I've been slaying for years, and they never did this for me."

Giles grimaced. "While I share your odd—and admittedly inappropriate—sense of... envy, I must admit that I am not entirely comfortable with the Initiative myself. There seems to be a considerable amount about them that we do not know. And Spike certainly seems to regard his current situation as a fate worse than death... or dust."

"Fine with me if he wants to stake himself," muttered Buffy.

"And so they're waging a campaign of civil disobedience?" asked Willow. "Why? It doesn't make any sense."

"Well, technically, when they're committing crimes such as... m—mass murder," said Giles, "it's not civil disobedience."

"It's a riot," said Buffy.

"The not funny kind," added Oz.

There was a hesitant knock at the door.

Buffy rose to answer it. "Is it Xander?"

"He already picked up Spike at sundown," said Giles, vaguely.

Buffy opened the door.

"Buffy," said Angel, a bit blankly. He stood frozen on the doorstep, a worried expression on his face.

"Angel," replied Buffy, almost as flatly, not quite able to keep a tinge of anger out of her voice.

After staring for an uncomfortable moment, Angel shifted his gaze past her into the room, nervously surveying the crowd assembled there.

"What are you doing here?" asked Buffy.

Angel's eyes snapped back to her and he hesitated guiltily. "I need to talk to Gi—to all of you."

Buffy just stared back for a moment, then stepped aside. "Come in."

"Thank you." Angel walked in past her.

"Angel," said Giles, reaching hesitantly to shake his hand.

"Giles," Angel replied, returning the handshake briefly but firmly. "Willow. Oz."

Willow gave a nervous half-smile. Oz nodded.

Buffy walked up beside him. "What's going—"

"Xander's in trouble," said Angel, quickly.

"Xander?" repeated Buffy, shocked.

"It's Spike," Angel explained.

Giles frowned. "Xander has been looking after Spike recently... but, as you know, Spike is no longer able to harm humans. I assure you that Xander is fine."

Angel shook his head. "Spike's draining him."

"Draining him?" repeated Buffy, incredulous.

"That's impossible," said Giles.

"That's right," agreed Willow, still with a slightly nervous tinge to her voice. "He tried to bite me... and he couldn't."

Oz put a supportive arm around her.

Angel shook his head. "If he doesn't do it violently, he can still drain someone. I saw it. He's done it before, and if we don't... do something, he'll do it again."

Suddenly there was a knock, and Xander swung open the door and stepped into the room, Spike following close behind.

Everyone except Angel turned to stare at them, still wide-eyed with shock. "Xander!" they chorused.

Angel just looked at Xander with a combination of concern and guilt.

These expressions were not lost on Xander, who froze immediately when he saw Angel, a look of utter betrayal on his face. "Secrets... meant to be kept," he murmured, softly.

Angel's gaze fell to the floor.

Buffy suddenly regained the ability to move. "You're dust," she spat through clenched teeth, grabbing up a stake from Giles's desk. She stalked toward Spike, raising the stake over her head.

"No!" Xander shouted, immediately stepping in front of Buffy, arms wide, blocking her path to Spike, who smirked over Xander's shoulder at the slayer. "He's... my boyfriend."

Oz blinked. Willow gasped. Giles went slack-jawed.

Buffy froze in mid-step and did a complete double take. The hand holding the stake fell to her side.

Spike, looking around at them all, grinned like he might start jumping up and down any second.

"Your what?" asked Buffy, sharply.

"My boyfriend," repeated Xander, nervously, lowering his arms as Spike embraced him from behind, snuggling his chin into Xander's shoulder, eyes locked on the slayer's reaction. Xander gratefully clasped the arms wrapped around him.

Everyone else just stared... except for Angel, who grimaced and turned away.

"So he's draining you... and doing you?" asked Willow, timidly.

"That's right," said Spike with a grin, nuzzling Xander's wounded neck.

Xander suddenly looked confused. He turned to Angel and asked quietly, "You didn't tell them...?"

Angel didn't turn to look at Xander, merely shook his head.

"Oh," said Xander, looking down at the floor, then looking up suddenly when he felt Spike's tongue run across his ear.

This display brought Buffy out of her stupor. "I did not need to see that," she growled, raising her stake again. "You are so dust."

"No!" Xander stepped forward out of Spike's embrace and spread his arms wide again. "This is one significant other you aren't going to slay. This whole gay thing is hard enough without you killing off my boyfriend."

Buffy stopped but didn't back down, glaring at Xander and Spike.

"Now," said Xander, stepping aside cautiously and then quickly walking into Giles's kitchen. "I'm going to take the rest of the blood..." He opened the refrigerator and grabbed the remaining packets. "And unless anyone has anything not involving a death threat to say..." he continued as he walked back into the main room, surveying everyone's reactions, except carefully avoiding Angel's. "...we'll be going."

With that, he turned around and led Spike to the door. He cast one brief, furtive glance back at Angel before quickly following Spike out and slamming the door behind them.

The room was deathly silent, as everyone simply stared at the door.

Angel suddenly growled, "Excuse me," and swept out the door himself.

The other four turned to look helplessly at each other. Buffy shook her head. "This is not good."

The music was blaring, but no one paid it any attention. Buffy looked worriedly back and forth at the people around the table, then turned to Willow, her expression a mute appeal. Willow could do nothing but return her hopeless look and turn to Oz. Oz just raised an eyebrow and turned to Xander.

Xander, staring at the table, fidgeted with the bandage on his neck.

Spike, leaning back in his chair with one arm casually thrown across Xander's shoulders, surveyed them all with barely contained glee. He grinned as he sipped his drink.

"So, this is what you humans do for fun, is it?" he asked, looking around at the Bronze. "Pretty tame, if you ask me."

"We didn't," muttered Buffy, bristling with anger which dissipated into guilt when Xander shot her a pleading look. "Sorry."

Spike just laughed. "It's all right," he said, with mocking generosity. "I've got my boy Xander here—" Spike jerked Xander closer with his arm. "—and we don't care what anyone thinks."

Spike's grin immediately dropped into a scowl when two voices came from behind them.

"Check out the homos."

"With the nail polish and the dye job. What a fruit."

Spike shot up and spun around. "Who are you calling a homo, wankstain?" he growled.

The two bigots just laughed. "Does it want to fight?"

Xander's hand tugged at Spike's sleeve. "Let it go, Spike," he said, quietly. "You can't fight them."

Spike clenched his fists, fuming. An idea suddenly struck him and he quickly shifted to game face, baring his fangs and snarling. His tormentors immediately recoiled in fright and beat a hasty retreat, stumbling over each other to get away. Spike grimaced to himself and shifted back before turning back to sit down.

Xander smiled weakly at him and grasped his hand under the table.

The others just stared blankly.

Xander hesitated, darting a glance at Spike, who'd gone back to sipping his drink, before speaking. "So," he said, addressing the table in general, "how's school?"

"What?" asked Buffy, startled and turning to look at Xander as if seeing him for the first time. "Oh, fine. Just fine. Right?"

"Fine," agreed Willow. "Yup. Fine's the word." She turned to Oz, who looked back at her doubtfully.

Xander, somewhat disappointed by the response, nodded slowly. "Figure out the why behind the recent demon festivity?" he asked, attempting a reassuring gesture by clutching Spike's hand more tightly.

"Impending apocalypse?" Spike asked with mild curiosity.

"No," said Buffy.

Spike shrugged and returned to his drink.

"We think the evil's just spooked by the Ini—" Willow was cut off by a shrill scream.

Everyone at the table turned towards the entrance, frowning, except Spike, who instantly perked up and began to jerk his head back and forth, trying to see past the crowd by the stairs.

"Gate crashers," said Buffy, rising and brandishing a stake. "The demon kind."

Willow and Oz followed her as she left the table and found a strategic position in the middle of the room.

Xander rose as well, laying a reassuring hand on Spike's shoulder. "Be careful," he said. Spike was too busy trying to catch a glimpse of the entering demons to reply. Xander smiled wistfully, gave Spike's shoulder a squeeze, and went to join the others.

The way to the entrance quickly opened up as the crowd, in an anything but orderly fashion, made for the rear exit. Buffy held up her stake and planted her feet shoulder width apart, beckoning to the demons at the foot of the stairs, who had trapped several terrified youths. "Hey, ugly, if you wanna harass the customers, I'm gonna need to see some ID."

They spun about, and their prey quickly ran off to join the escaping crowd. "Slayer," the lead demon sneered. And then they charged.

Spike watched the developing chaos with quiet amusement, hands folded behind his head, feet propped up on the table, when suddenly the table splintered into pieces. Spike stumbled to his feet and found himself face to face with a raging demon. He was barely able to duck the swipe the creature made at him.

Clenching his fists and resisting the urge to hit back, he twisted and dodged, backing away as the demon continued to stalk towards him. He quickly found himself being driven into a corner.

Spike hesitated angrily for a moment, then, "Xander?" he called with frustrated impatience. "A little help here?" Dodging another blow from his opponent, he turned and saw Xander cornered by another demon.

"Spike!" Xander called back, and desperately began pummeling his attacker, to no effect whatsoever. The demon just picked Xander up by the shoulder and tossed him casually away.

"Bloody poof," Spike muttered, rolling his eyes, and was immediately knocked to the floor.

"Tha's i'!" he exclaimed, losing control of his t's. He bounced back up. "I don't care how much this hurts!" He raised a fist and slammed it—hard—across the demon's face.

The demon fell. Spike didn't.

Spike stared in amazement, first at the fallen demon, then at his fist. "I can hit demons," he muttered, with growing delight. He gave his erstwhile opponent a rough, careless kick. "I can hit demons," he repeated more loudly, the delight spreading across his face and creeping into his voice. His eyes glinted and he sneered gleefully.

"I..." he shouted, dragging the demon up from the floor. "...can..." He gave the demon another bone-crushing blow across the jaw. "...hit..." He grabbed the thing by its horns. "...demons!" With a deft and powerful twist and snap, it fell to the floor, lifeless.

Spike, supremely self-satisfied, casually dusted off his hands. "Now," he called, looking around, "who's next?"

The demon about to slaughter Xander was convenient.

Xander was cowering in a corner, head down, arms instinctively but pointlessly raised against the raking claws that were poised to swing down on him. But instead of raking claws, there was a sharp crack and a grunt. Xander peeked up to see what was going on.

His jaw dropped in amazement and his arms slowly fell as he saw Spike beating the demon senseless. Spike gave an impressive roundhouse kick to the demon's side, easily dodged a wildly aimed swipe, and then delivered an uppercut that sent the demon flying. Xander's eyes followed it as it flew through the air and crashed to the floor, lifeless. He stared at it blankly for a moment, before turning to look up at Spike, a growing smile on his face. He gave Spike a weak but enthusiastic thumbs up.

Spike returned a leering grin before running off to join the rest of the action, leaving Xander groaning as he tried and failed to get up from the floor.

The next few minutes were a rather pleasant blur for Spike, as he leisurely but decisively worked his way through the crowd of demons that had assembled in the Bronze. One moment found him fighting back-to-back with the Slayer, but Buffy recoiled in disgust, and Spike, no less disgusted, quickly drew his fight to a different part of the room.

Not much later, the few remaining demons were on the run. Buffy, exhausted, leaned back against a table, letting out a weary sigh as Willow came up and gave her a supportive smile and pat on the shoulder.

Spike adopted a different attitude. "C'mon," he shouted, almost jumping up and down as he headed towards the exit, "they're getting away!" Xander, finally on his own two feet again, smiled with amused fondness.

"What do you care?" asked Buffy.

Spike stared back incredulously for a moment. "It's demon-fighting," he said, struggling to explain what he felt needed no explanation. "It's bang..." He gestured with a punch. "...grr..." He made clawing motions. "!" He held out his hands, exasperated.

Oz raised an eyebrow. "Coherent much?"

"Eh," Spike grunted, flicking his hand dismissively. "Forget it. Leaves more for me." He quickly bounded up the stairs.

Xander looked nervously around at his friends with an apologetic smile before dashing up the stairs after him.

Buffy, Willow, and Oz could do nothing but look at each other in helpless confusion.

Xander opened the door and Spike bounded after him into the basement room.

"Ooh, that was great!" exclaimed Spike, growling a bit on the last word.

Xander laughed. "All right, Tony."

Spike wasn't paying attention. "I am back in the game!" He shrugged off his jacket. "Back in the hunt!" He quickly stripped off his shirts. "I need some blood!"

Xander chuckled and went over to his dresser as Spike sauntered over to the fridge, ripped out a packet of blood, and tore into it, guzzling it down. He tossed the empty packet aside and dragged his hand across his mouth carelessly, smearing blood across his chin. "Ace," he said, satisfied.

He sat down on the edge of the bed, unlaced and kicked off his boots, and then fell back, bouncing, arms folded behind his head, grin plastered on his face. "This is going to be great!"

Xander, smiling fondly, slid into bed beside him and reached over to lay a hand on Spike's chest, caressing it lightly. Spike ignored him.

"I can't wait to get back out there. Pow! Grrr!"

Xander laughed softly and moved over to begin kissing Spike's chest.

Spike remained inattentive. "Tomorrow, watch out! I've got some serious demon arse-kicking to do. The big bad is back!"

Xander broke off from his ministrations and looked up. "Uh, Spike, in the meantime, don't you wanna..."

Spike suddenly looked down as if noticing Xander for the first time. "Oh, you can suck me off, if you feel like it."

Xander frowned, confused, but hesitated only a moment before opening Spike's jeans and pulling out his cock, already half-hard. Xander took the shaft in his hand and began to lick teasingly at the head.

"Oh, yeah," Spike hissed, reaching down with one hand to thread his fingers through Xander's hair, forcing his head down. Xander took Spike's cock into his mouth, rolling his head around, slathering it with his tongue.

Spike grunted approval and gripped Xander's hair tighter as he lay back and enjoyed the ride. Xander sucked with enthusiasm, moving his head up and down, pulling his cheeks in to tightly grip the shaft, and taking the occasional moment to pull back and caress the head with his tongue.

In no time at all, Spike was coming, and Xander hungrily swallowed everything Spike had to give, continuing to suck and lick at Spike's cock as it gradually returned to softness.

Once finished, he lifted himself up and smiled down at Spike. Spike gave him a quick grin in return and then settled back into his pillow, letting his eyes fall closed.

Xander stared at him lying peacefully there for a while, a confused frown developing on his face, before asking, tentatively, "Um, Spike?"

"Nummy?" Spike mumbled, not opening his eyes.

"Aren't you... forgetting something?"

Spike snapped one eye open and stared at Xander for a moment before realization hit. "Oh, right." He shut the eye again, and laid back deeper into the pillow. "You'll have to take care of yourself tonight. I've got to rest up for the demon fighting tomorrow," he said, smiling to himself in satisfaction.

"Oh, okay." Xander tried to smile, but a frown won out. He looked around for a moment, trying to decide what to do, before simply turning onto his side and pulling the covers over himself. He watched Spike lying there for a moment, and opened his mouth to speak... but then shut it, and his eyes, and tried to fall asleep.

"So..." began Willow, looking nervously at Xander.

"So," replied Xander, looking anywhere but at Willow. He took a bite from his sandwich and stared at his plate.

Willow twisted her mouth anxiously and looked down as well, absently rearranging the contents of her salad bowl.

Eventually Xander looked up at Willow with a determined air. "So," he repeated, "how'd that paper go?"

"Paper?" asked Willow, at a loss.

"The anti-party paper. The other day...?"

"Oh, the paper. Um, fine. I think."

"What was it about?"

"Transitional Cogitative Modes in Early Childhood Devel—but you don't really care, 'cause you're gay."


"I mean, we're not here to talk about the homework."

"Right," said Xander, somewhat hopelessly. "We're here to talk about my gaiety." He looked down again at his sandwich.

"But you like women."

Xander rolled his eyes. "Well, maybe it was Misconception of Sexual Identity Due to Enforced Traditional Gender Roles."


"I was confused."

"Oh. Okay." An even more confused look crossed Willow's face. "But... Spike?"

Xander sighed. "Yes, Spike."

"Shouldn't you try a normal, not-evil guy first?"

Xander looked down and fiddled with his sandwich. "I'm not allowed to have normal relationships. It's in my contract."

"But..." Willow began, then restarted. "I mean, Buffy already proved that dating and vampires don't mix."

Xander grimaced in pain. "Spike's different."

Willow didn't say anything, but her mouth twisted in reluctant concession of the point. She looked around nervously, trying to think. "But what if he's just... using you?"

Xander rolled his eyes. "Thank you, Angel."


Xander shook his head. "Look, we have fun together. We help each other out. What more could you ask for?"

"Well... love?"

Xander inhaled sharply and looked down at the table. "I do love him." He looked up at her defiantly. "I don't expect you to understand, but I do."

"But he doesn't—"

"How do you know?" Xander demanded, defensively. "He rescued me last night at the Bronze. He hangs out with me all the time. He's... nice to me."

"Really?" asked Willow, doubtfully.

Xander hesitated. "Yes, really," he said, attempting to sound convincing. "Yes."

"But he..." began Willow, her eyes locking onto the bandage on Xander's neck.

Xander's hand immediately clasped over it. "We help each other out," he said, firmly. Xander looked down again, glancing at his watch. "You'd better get to class."

Willow suddenly took a glance at her own watch, and began to frantically gather her books. She stood up, then turned back to Xander and paused. "I just want to make sure you're okay."

Xander hung his head in frustration for a moment, then looked back up with a weak smile. "I'm fine. I'm having fun. For once."

Willow just looked at him sadly for a moment longer before turning and walking out to join the rush of students moving between classes.

Xander put his elbows up on the table and buried his head in his hands.

Xander stepped through the door and immediately noticed that something was wrong. He looked around the room and saw that various items had disappeared or shifted position, as Spike collected a large pile of them in the middle of the room.

Xander was stunned for a moment, but then suddenly laughed out loud. "I told you, no redecorating."

"I'm not redecorating," said Spike, not turning around as he walked over to sift through Xander's collection of CDs. A scowl quickly appeared on his face. "Don't you have anything worth listening to?" He shoved a pile of discs carelessly aside and moved on.

Xander frowned, confused. "What are you doing?"

"I've found a nice little crypt... no view, bad neighborhood. Just what I'm looking for."

Xander's expression quickly became worried. "You... you're moving out?" he asked, quietly.

"Finally," agreed Spike, not looking up.

Xander watched him rummage a while longer before offering, in a voice still quiet and strained, "You can redecorate if you want to."

"No," said Spike. He looked up at the small windows. "Well, sun's gone down. Time to move." We walked over and picked up a large box, crammed with a jumble of random items, from the floor.

"That's my boom box," Xander protested.

Spike smirked. "Don't you mean our boom box, lover?"

Xander frowned and his brow furrowed, as he watched Spike saunter to the door.

"Don't touch the rest of that stuff," Spike said, as he opened the door. "I'll be back for it, and the fridge, later."

"Why are you... I thought we..."

Spike paused in the doorway and turned back with a leering grin. "Of course, you can come over any time you want to give me another blow job. You're getting pretty good at that. And you'll always be my nummy treat," Spike added, with a mocking emphasis that did nothing for Xander's self-confidence. Then he turned and was gone.

The door slammed behind him and Xander stared at it for only a second before dropping onto the bed, sitting on the edge, looking down blankly at the floor.

"Moist and delicious only get you so far, I guess." He cringed in pain and his head fell into his hands.

And there, in silent despair, he sat, waiting for Spike's return.

Xander hesitated, biting his lip, before reaching up to knock on the crypt door. There was a hollow echo from inside, but no other sound... except for a small movement behind him.

Xander spun around. "Angel!" he exclaimed, in complete surprise. His tone turned angry and defensive. "What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you."


"To tell you—"

"Can it, Deadboy."

"I'm leaving."


"You're right, it's none of my business. As long as you're safe...." Angel hesitated, then added, nervously watching Xander's reaction, "And happy."

Xander just stared.

Angel, giving up, began to turn away.

"Angel, wait," Xander said, suddenly, desperately. "I—"

Angel turned back but Xander was staring at the ground.

"You were right," Xander said, tiredly. "Spike was just... being Spike."

"I'm sorry."

Xander scoffed. "My stupid fault."

"You can't blame yoursel—"

"Oh, spare me the canned comfort, Deadboy."

Angel had no answer for this, and they both simply stood, facing each other, staring at the ground.

Angel suddenly stiffened and looked up. Moments later, Spike sauntered into view, a grocery bag casually tucked under one arm.

Spike gave Angel a brief look of annoyance, then turned to Xander. "So, Nummy, here to give your boyfriend that blowjob you promised?" he asked, pushing on the door to the crypt.

Xander flushed and turned away. Spike grinned.

A cloud of dust billowed up as the door swung open, turning Spike's grin into a grimace. "And while you're here, maybe you could clean the place up a bit." Spike looked over to check for Xander's acquiescence. Seeing Xander turned away and Angel glaring, he rolled his eyes. "I suppose Angel here has been confessing his everlasting love to you." Spike sneered and shook his head. "Disgusting."

Xander looked up in surprise. Angel closed his eyes in frustration. "No...."

"So you've just been standing here angsting about it. As usual." Spike shook his head. "You are the most tedious bloke I know. And that includes that blasted watcher." Spike turned to Xander. "Whatever he tries to tell you, you're better off with me. Great sex and no boring sentimental crap."

Angel turned away from Spike and gently placed a hand on Xander's shoulder. "Come on," he said, quietly, and began to lead Xander away. Xander, lost in a stupor, offered no resistance.

"On second thought," Spike called after them, "why don't you go on and give that blowjob to Angel. Bring Angelus back." Angel winced. "Then we can have some real fun."

Xander shuddered, but continued to follow Angel away. Spike chuckled to himself as he watched them walk away, and then, still grinning, turned and disappeared inside.

When they had retreated a safe distance from the crypt, Xander pulled away from Angel's guiding hand and stopped, staring at the ground. He shoved his hands in his pockets, kicked absently at the dirt, then suddenly turned to Angel, an unspoken question in his eyes.

Angel, suddenly defenseless, could do nothing but stare back, unsure what answer Xander might find.

The seconds ticked by in silence.

Suddenly afraid, Xander turned away again, back to staring at the ground. He was about to walk away, but he stopped his foot and planted it again where it started, shaking his head slightly.

"What do you do now?" asked Angel, quietly.

Xander exhaled in frustration. "I don't know.... I don't know if I can face them again... after this." He hung his head.

Angel took a careful step towards him. "I'll take you—"

Xander stiffened and drew back, frowning darkly. "I don't want your pity."

Angel hung his head and paused, trying to find words. Finally, he turned to meet Xander's eyes and extended his hand. "It would make me very happy if you would come with me."

Xander squinted slightly and stared for a moment.

Then he reached out and gently took Angel's hand. Angel returned the grasp with a firm assurance. They stood for a long while, just staring at each other, neither smiling nor frowning.

And then Xander nodded, and together they turned and walked off into the night.