Mangled Spells
Warnings: Bondage, Dom/sub, m/m, m/f, (sex-flexible Xander)

Mangled Spells and Manly Bits

Xander woke with a dull thudding in his brain, and he lay in bed trying to organize his thoughts. Not an easy task on any day, but he seemed even more muddled today. Date with Cordie, check. Finding Willow, check. Spike. Shit.

Xander cracked his eyes open and groaned at the sight of Spike looming over Willow who sat cross legged on the floor.

“Hurry up,” Spike directed a demand toward Willow, and Xander did his best to slide off the ruined bed silently, which actually involved him getting tangled in the remains of the sheet and falling to the floor with a heavy thud.

“The moron’s joined us then, get on with it witch.”

“Hey, not a moron, and why’s my head hurt?”

“Oh, that would be the microscope Spike hit you with,” Willow offered from her place on the floor and now that Spike had moved, Xander could see candles set out in a circle with a small pot suspended over a large candle.

“Yep, I appear to have a microscope shaped bump, which really doesn’t explain what we’re doing here.”

“Willow’s here ta finish my spell, you’re here ta make sure she does it up right. I find that the right incentive makes for happy workers.” Xander tried to scramble backwards as Spike stalked over to him and reached down to grab a handful of hair. Xander tried pulling back, but the feeling of having his scalp ripped off convinced him to scramble after Spike as the vampire dragged him closer to Willow.

“Xander!” She yelled and started to get up.

“Oi, ya finish your work or I’ll rip his face off,” Spiked hissed and Xander found himself on his knees with Spike’s fist holding him in place. He would have replied with some really witty comeback, but he couldn’t really think at all what with the panicking and the imminent death.

“I’m working!” Willow fairly shrieked. “See me, working here with the magic and the candles and the feathers.” Willow returned to the small pot, dropping in a yellow feather as she stirred.

“Willow—” He wanted to protest Willow’s cooperation, to tell her to run for it, to leave him behind, but when the fist tightened, he found the pain really kind of short-circuited all other thoughts. Instead he got a front row seat for Willow’s spell just as it exploded with enough force to blast him out of Spike’s grasp and against the wall.

Xander’s next thought included a request to the universe that he not get knocked unconscious again for at least a week. He didn’t think that his brain could take that much more rattling around. Strands of something lay over his face, and he pushed at it, simultaneously groaning at the pain and spitting the silky threads out of his mouth. 

“Bloody hell,” he heard a voice complain. Great, the vampire survived; the universe must really hate him. “Did it work, witch?” Spike demanded. Xander knew that either answer would end in murder since ‘yes’ meant Spike didn’t need them and ‘no’ meant Willow’d failed. He struggled to sit up so that he could at least face death upright.

“I don’t know. It should have turned blue, but then it shouldn’t have exploded either.”

“Oi, ya bloody nit. I warned ya.” Oh yeah, and now came the killing part, and he couldn’t do anything about it. Well he could at least die the way he’d lived: saying something utterly stupid.

“Pick on someone your own size, Bloodbreath.” Xander noticed how strange his voice sounded at the same time that he noticed the stunned expressions on the two faces turned to him. 

“What?” he asked.

“Oh my god, Xander, I’m so sorry. I’ll fix it, really.” Willow babbled with wide eyes.

“Fix what?” Xander struggled to stand, and he found his body strangely uncooperative, off-balance and weak-kneed. He pulled at his pants which had become too loose and fought his way up. Once he stood, Spike started walking toward him with his game face cocked to one side in confusion. “What are you looking at?” he demanded.

“You, mate. Witch’s spell seems ta have done some redecoratin’.” Xander was about to ask what Spike meant when the vampire reached him, and Xander found himself looking slightly up to meet Spike’s eye. What the hell? He looked down to see if he was standing in a hole, but the sight of two breasts temporarily distracted him from any examination of the floor.

“Guh…ah…wha,” Xander lost all words and didn’t even fight when a hand pulled him away from the wall and toward a large mirror hidden in the corner.

Xander looked in and nearly fainted at the sight of a woman: a dark haired woman with long, thick curly hair and large brown eyes. The face had soft curves with a sort of girl-next-door look, and the body just had curves on curves. The kind of curves that Xander would have lusted after if it weren’t a mirror; as it was, the freaking kind of outweighed the lusting. Xander stared at the image and then moved his hand, watching in fascination as the reflection matched his moves.

“That shouldn’t have happened. The spell is just a love spell, you know, to bring love back into your life type spell.” Willow’s concerned face now appeared in the mirror. “I told you I was new at this,” she whispered an apology.

“Love spell?” he squeaked, and his voice had definitely taken on girly tones.

“You know, for Spike.” She nodded knowingly.

“You want to fall in love with Spike?” Xander knew he had missed something while unconscious, but how long had he been out, anyway?

“Goddess, no,” Willow glanced to the side at a figure not reflected in the glass even as Xander moved to touch his own body, his waist, his thigh, his face. He was avoiding other areas in the hope that this would turn out to be some trauma induced nightmare. “The spell was supposed to bring Dru back; she left him for a chaos demon.”

“I’m a girl,” Xander whispered to the figure in the mirror. “Oh my god someone just shoot me now, I’m a girl.”

“It’s not that bad,” Willow said, and suddenly Xander noticed the small twitches at her mouth. He spun around and nearly fell on his ass as he grabbed for something to keep from falling. Great, he grabbed the vampire. Spike seemed surprised, but the vampire simply reached out and held his arm until he found his balanced and pulled his pants up again. He turned his best angry glare to Willow.

“Are you giggling? There will be no giggling. This is so not the funny. ”

“It bloody well is, ‘cept that means ya bollocked up my spell, witch.” Xander turned to see Spike openly smiling and giving him a look that Xander recognized from the many times he’d seen it at the Bronze. That was a ‘hey, not bad’ kinda look, and oh shit this was so not of the good.

“No, no bollocking here. It’s probably just old skink root. I can fix this.” Willow insisted with a far more serious expression now.

“Well you’d better,” Xander demanded, dismayed at the girly tones and slight whine in his own voice.

“Yeah, what she said,” Spike added with a smirk and special emphasis on the word ‘she’.

“Don’t start. I will so stake you,” Xander growled back. 

“With what? Ya appear ta have lost your stake there.” Spike backed off several feet and leaned back against the wall, still smiling and leering.

“Is that a genitals joke? There will be no joking about my genitals!”

“No, this is not funny, we’re not laughing,” Willow insisted with a dirty look at Spike who simply continued with the leering. “I just need a few ingredients and then I’ll undo this spell and finish the love spell and bake a lot of cookies,” Willow promised.

“This is way more than cookies type mad. Brownies won’t even cover this. I’m not sure there’s enough chocolate in the world to make this okay.”

“Besides, a girl’s got ta watch her figure,” Spike laughingly added from his side of the room. Xander just glared.

“I’ll make a list of ingredients I need,” Willow continued with a frown. “Maybe I should ask Giles about the spell ‘cause I’m really not sure why that happened. Definitely going to need a couple of spell books.” 

“I don’t care what you need or who you talk to, just fix it,” Xander demanded shrilly before walking over to the ruined bed and sinking down, burying his face in his hands. “The universe hates me; it’s the only explanation.”

“Either that or the witch does,” Spike agreed, and Xander didn’t even bother looking up. “If you need ta go out, I’m not goin’ ta have the slayer chargin’ back here, so we’re goin’ ta make an agreement.” Spike was obviously talking to Willow, so Xander simply sat and listened, well that and secretly stared at his breasts. He had to admit that they were a nice pair, large and perfectly rounded, and oh god he needed help, serious professional help.

“I’m taking the bint with me. I’ll keep in touch with ya, and in two days and you’ll either agree to meet and finish this spell, or you’ll never see her again.” Xander raised his head to protest Spike’s threat against Willow, but the minute he opened his mouth, he realized that the “her” in question was him. Shit.

“Two days, but I don’t know if I can get all the materials. And the research, there’s going to be lots of research on why this went so wrong, and I’m not sure Giles is even going to be finished yelling at me by then,” Willow argued.

“Two days, witch. After that, I start lookin’ for a new witch ta cast a spell and you start lookin’ for a new best friend.” Xander felt a cool hand pull him up, and he scrambled when he felt his pants start to slide over his hips. 

“Uh, can’t we make some sort of agreement?” he asked even as Spike pulled him up the stairs and Willow watched helplessly as she twisted her hands together. “Hey, maybe you let us go and we won’t have Buffy and Angel kill you.”

“Thought you lot got rid of the tosser?” Spike asked even as they continued up the stairs. “Don’t matter, long as I got you, your friends’ll do as I say.” Xander took one last look down at Willow before Spike pulled him out the door and into the night.

* * * *

Xander pulled against the chain again. Unfortunately neither the steel manacles nor the concrete wall had decayed since 10 seconds ago when he’d last pulled against the restraints. Spike had thrown a couple of couch cushions on the floor of the basement before chaining him here, but he still couldn’t get comfortable, either because of his new body or because he was just slightly wigging on the whole hostage to a homicidal vampire thing. He yanked the chains again, but his pointless struggled ended when a drunken Spike staggered in the door.

“Brought ya a prezzie,” he slurred, and Xander ducked when Spike chucked a shopping bag at his head.

“Great, just what I need, a vampire stalker buying me things. Don’t think so blood breath.” Xander kicked the bag back toward Spike since his hands were chained close enough to the wall to prevent any throwing action.

“You’ll bloody well wear it or I’ll rip your soddin’ clothes off and leave ya chained here naked,” a game-face Spike snarled as the vampire came over with the keys to the manacles and released his hands.

“And suddenly presents seem like a much better idea,” Xander agreed as Spike dropped the bag at his feet. He reached in and when he started pulling the fabric out of the bag, he found himself reaching panic land at warp speed. “Oh no, not happening. The Xan-man will not wear a dress…again. Dress funny, yes; dress in dresses, no, not even.” Xander scooted back away from the green fabric lying on the floor.

“Warned ya,” Spike said, and suddenly Xander felt his legs pulled up into the air as he was forced on his back by a vampire pulling his pants off. He clutched the waistband, but he couldn’t hold on. The baggy jeans slipped right over his hips and down his legs as he scrambled to rescue his underwear.

“It’s a beautiful dress, nice color, always wanted to try out the whole cross-dressing thing. It’s the in thing now with Ru Paul and uh, and uh…Ru Paul.” Xander crab walked into the corner. This time when Spike threw the dress at him followed closely after by the bag he caught them and tried not to shudder at the thought.

“Right, I’ll be back in ten minutes,” Spike disappeared out the door and Xander looked around the basement for an escape or a weapon or just a sign that the earth would have pity on him and swallow him whole. Seeing none, he sighed and started slipping out of his clothing. 

Ten minutes later, and Xander had figured out most of the clothes, including the underwear, an experience that left him wondering how women dressed without help. The problem was that the dress was some sort of fancy dress with laces up the back in a copy of an old-fashioned gown. Xander was still trying to figure that out when cool fingers suddenly entwined his. He gasped at the feeling of Spike gently lacing up the dress, pulling it tight so that the fabric pulled across his breasts. And immediately he ordered himself to stop thinking of the breasts as his. He didn’t have breasts; he had a manly chest, with a couple of extra curves.

“Dru saw this in the window a couple days before we took off; I meant ta steal it for her before we left town.”

“Um, not Dru here,” Xander felt the need to point out. The dress was certainly not something he would ever choose to wear willingly. The best thing about it as far as Xander could see was that it was better than going naked. At least it covered him down to his ankles.

“Bloody right you’re not,” Spike snarled, but the fingers continued dancing across his back, making Xander shiver at the contact. As soon as he felt Spike let go, he turned to face the vampire, noticing for the first time that Spike stunk like a brewery. Truthfully, he also noticed the hand that had captured a couple of curls and played with them and the profound gaze, but he was ignoring those for the moment. Time for a little desperately needed distraction.

“You really are pathetic; you’re crawling in a bottle and chasing after some woman who’s always going to think of you as her second string back up vamp, right after Angel,” Xander did his own impression of Spike’s smirk. “Oh, I’m sorry. You aren’t second string; you just got bumped to third by a chaos demon, didn’t you?” Spike yanked his hand back, and Xander flinched when a couple of stray hairs got caught in his rings.

“You’re one ta talk, sniffin’ after Angel’s seconds, tryin’ ta figure out how ta get the Slayer ta even see ya,” Spike pointed out, and Xander tried to pretend that he didn’t feel the jab of pain at that one. He knew he was pathetic, but he didn’t have to share that particular insecurity so he kept silent for once in his life.

He assumed that he covered well enough because Spike continued on a new line of attack. “And the witch? She don’t even smell a lust ‘round ya, just bloody confusion. So, who’s that leave you with?” Spike turned and retreated to the door where he stood lighting a cigarette. 

“God I hate vampires,” Xander complained as he went to sit down again. He struggled to get comfortable with the heavy dress material clinging to his legs.

“I hate some of ‘em too. You should’ve seen Darla when she got goin’ good. Woman would’ve given your name ta the vampire hunters just so she’d have time ta get her clothes packed.”

“What’d she do to make you say that?” Xander scooted back on the cushion and leaned against the cool wall.

“Gave me and Dru up to a couple of vampire hunters so she’d have time ta pack her clothes,” Spike shrugged.

“Nice family you got there.” Xander absent-mindedly reached up under his skirt to scratch where the heavy fabric pulled his leg hairs and made him itch. “Between Darla and Deadboy you really did get the fuzzy end of the lollypop.” And god, how did women wear this stuff? He scratched harder.

“Peaches don’t count as family,” Spike fairly snarled.

“Thought you called him sire,” Xander pointed out, but then he looked up and realized that Spike was staring at the hand under his skirt. Xander yanked his hand out and crossed his arms across his chest, or at least tried to. He ended up crushing his own breasts beneath his arms which led to more Spike starage, so he finally just pulled his knees up to his chest and rested his arms on them.

“Angelus was my sire, and I didn’t even like him. Wanker made my unlife miserable.”

“Angel does that to a lot of people. If it weren’t for Angel my whole high school career would have been…well…less pathetic.” Xander saw Spike cock an eyebrow at that one. “At the very least I would have had a chance at Buffy, but no, he’s got to come in with the whole tortured soul act, like I can compete with 250 years of suffering.” Xander realized he’d just opened himself up for to a whole new range of humiliation, and he braced himself for the sarcasm. Instead Spike’s voice sounded slightly wistful.

“With Dru he was always playin’ master. He’d come in with his whip and his chains and promise ta make her beg.” 

“Okay, disturbing much?” Xander asked with a shiver.

“That’s just how vampires do it,” Spike frowned and nodded knowingly.

“Yeah, vampire or not he does know how to hold a woman’s attention. He gives Buffy this whole ‘I love you so I have to think of you first’ routine that makes her go blind around every other male.” Xander sighed heavily.

“Oh, please, doesn’t even compare. He soddin’ well left me and Dru with his bitch of a sire, and when he came crawlin’ back with his soul in place, Darla still preferred him. Bitch never stopped tellin’ everyone how Angelus killed better and raped better and soddin’ burned down towns better.”

“Big deal, Darla complained a lot. So what?” Xander waved a dismissive hand. “Angel offered you my neck and don’t think I’m forgetting that one any time soon. He nearly got me killed which trumps the whole complaining…complaint.”

“You want a competition, pet? Fine. After I told the tosser that Dru and I were meant for each other, he made me watch while he shagged her to choruses of how not good enough I’d always be.”

“Ouch,” Xander had to agree. That would suck, but he wasn’t prepared to concede yet. “Yeah, well Buffy once practically gave me a lap dance in the middle of the Bronze. She had me jonesing so bad I couldn’t even walk, and then she left me, just to make Angel jealous.”

“Child’s play,” Spike shot back, “After the tosser finally left, Dru used to beg me ta take the whip to her and pretend I was her ‘daddy’.” Yep, Spike won. Xander couldn’t imagine anything to top that one. He was also trying not to hyperventilate when the vampire walked over and sat on the cushion next to her, close enough that their hips touched, and oh god, she was not noticing the hip touchage.

“Why do we put up with them?” Xander asked as he tried to inch away from that hip.

“’Cause we’re men, and that’s what we do. Course you’re not a man anymore, are ya?” Spike pushed her with a shoulder in a soft, near-friendly jab.

“Hey, I’m still a man.” Xander shoved back.

“Yeah, mate, just missing your manly bits, huh?”

“Exactly, just a man minus the manly bits, and I’ll get those back just as soon as Willow breaks the spell. Then you can have Dru back.” 

“Yeah, right.” Xander was startled at Spike’s sharp tone.

“Exactly. We can all go back to normal.” Xander watched a range of expressions cross Spike’s face, and he didn’t understand a single one. “And what’s up with the nice here? Did I miss an apocalypse that you’re doing the whole listening thing?”

“I listen—don’t bloody care, but I listen. Live with Dru and her soddin’ visions for a hundred years or so and ya learn ta do a lot of listening. So dawn’s about here and I’m gettin’ some rest. Time for good little hostages to take a quick bathroom break before gettin’ chained back up.” Spike opened the basement door and waved a hand toward the stairs. Sighing at her own helplessness, Xander went upstairs and used the bathroom before returning to the basement for a very long day. 

* * * *

Xander sighed in his sleep, his dream lover’s hand running down the length of his back, and he arched into it. The dream grew sharper, clearer when the dream lover’s hand slipped around to his waist and up to a nipple, which was far more sensitive in his dreams than in reality. She moaned and started turning, but the pull of steel around her wrists yanked her out of the dream, and she opened his eyes to find Spike sitting beside her. For a moment he panicked that the vampire might have been “exploring” the new body, but Spike sat there with both hands folded over his knees as he sat on the floor next to the cushions and blanket that made Xander’s bed.

“Ya need ta get up, pet. We’ve got a few chores to run.” Spike reached over for the chains, and Xander held his hands up so Spike could unlock him. He grimaced when he saw the shoes waiting for him, but since the alternative was going barefoot, he slid into the slipper-like low heels and followed Spike upstairs. Once in the bathroom, she quickly took care of business and tried to ignore the missing equipment. However, the sight in the mirror froze her in place. 

Her hair was a tangled mess with curls tangled into a bush shaped mess, but that wasn’t what caught her eye. The deep green dress and large brown eyes mesmerized him, and how sad was it that he was turned on by himself? With a snort, Xander picked up a hairbrush and tried running it through her hair, but she only managed to yank a few dozen hairs out before her cursing brought Spike into the room.

“Oi, you’re just tangling it more.” Spike plucked the brush out of her fingers and started on the mop from the bottom, untangling the bottom couple of inches before slowly working up.

Xander really tried not to notice the cool hands at the back of her neck and the fingers running through her hair, but she knew that if Willow hadn’t magically castrated her, her cock would have been twitching by now. As it was, she could feel something up inside her tingle in a completely unfamiliar way. Xander found her eyes falling shut at the feeling of pleasure at having her hair groomed, but then he realized what was doing the grooming and his eyes opened to the sight of a beautiful woman in the mirror. Long dark brown curls fell to the middle of her back and the green fabric seemed to highlight the tanned skin. And the breasts, oh she was not even going to look at them as the bodice of the dress hugged the curves. 

“Ready, pet?” Spike asked quietly.

“Um, yeah. Just can’t get used to seeing that in the mirror,” Xander replied while still studying her reflection.

“Can’t say I mind view,” Spike commented, and Xander was still trying to figure out whether to take it as a compliment or an insult when Spike rushed her out of the house. “We need ta call the witch, make sure she’s gettin’ her part done,” Spike said once they reached the car, a non-descript white Honda. Spike held the door open, and she slid into the car before Spike slammed the door and walked around to his side. Xander considered making a run for it, but with the shoes and the long dress, she figured she’d only get far enough to embarrass herself and piss off Spike. 

“Willow’ll be at Giles,” Xander offered when Spike started the car.

“Then we find a payphone and call her there.” 

It didn’t take long for Spike to find that payphone and Xander found herself listening to a ringing phone while keeping a wary eye on Spike who sat on the trunk of the no-doubt stolen car and smoked.

“Hello?” asked a calm British voice.

“Giles?” Xander asked, yeah, real smart, like she knew a whole lot of British people that would be answering Giles’ phones. Obviously Willow’s spell hadn’t improved the brain.

“Yes, can I help you, miss?” Xander couldn’t help giggling a little at that.

“Uh, yeah. Wouldn’t mind it if a certain witch returned a few body parts of mine she seems to have lost.”

“Xander?” She could almost hear Giles polishing his glasses over the phone. “Good lord, Willow told us what happened. Where are you, what happened with Spike?”

“I’m still with Spike who’s standing about four feet away and who wants to know when Willow can finish his spell.”

“I’ll get her,” Giles offered, and Xander could hear indistinct voices in the background.

“Xander?” came an unsure, high-pitched voice, and she could picture the expression on Willow’s face that matched that tone.

“I’m fine, Willow. Well, not fine exactly in the sense that I’m still not me, but I’m fine in that I don’t have any new holes, abrasions, or bruises, which for a night on the hell mouth is not bad.

“Oh, thank goddess everything is okay,” Willow sighed, and Xander couldn’t stop the honesty that forced its way out. She lowered her voice to a whisper so Spike wouldn’t hear and turned her back to the vampire.

“Oh, things are so not okay. You gotta get me outta this body, Willow. I’m having thoughts I just shouldn’t have, and it’s all this body’s fault,” she quietly hissed into the phone.

“Whoa, slow down there, what kinda thoughts are we talking about?”

“The kind I don’t have,” Xander felt herself start to panic. “I don’t think vampires are attractive!”

“Spike?! You like Spike?” She could hear the voices in the background start shouting at that one. Great, why was he bothering to whisper when Willow would just shout loud enough for Spike to hear her from here?

“I do not like Spike; I told you, it’s the body and you need to fix this because I do not have thoughts about vampires. Pamela Anderson, Uhura, occasionally linoleum will do it for me, but I’m not attracted to vampires.” Xander tried to control herself, but she couldn’t resist the tendrils of panic that crept up.

“You had naughty thoughts about Buffy when she was a vampire,” Willow pointed out and Xander thought back to the vamped out Slayer in nightmare world with her animal growl and her intense yellow eyes and her tight body. Oh god, Willow was right. Not only was Xander into vampires, she was a lesbian.

“Willow, fix this,” Xander nearly shouted over the phone. She shot Spike a look, but he still sat on the car, unconcerned.

“Right, fixing. I just need one more ingredient and then I can like totally fix this. Where do we meet?”

“I don’t think I’m going to know until you do; my guess is that Spike will call and set up the meeting tomorrow. Listen I gotta go.” Spike had thrown his cigarette to the ground and jumped off the car, so Xander suspected she was about to get pulled from the phone booth.

“Stay safe, Xander,” Willow begged and Xander managed to keep herself from snorting.

“You too,” she said before hanging up the phone.

She walked toward Spike, but froze when he growled and slipped into game face. He strode toward her so quickly she took a step backwards, but then the vampire had passed her, and when she turned, she suddenly noticed the three demons walking toward them: fairly human shaped demons with yellow skin and purplish eyes.

“Spike,” one of the demons hissed. “We heard about your deal with the slayer, turning on your own line.” Xander retreated to the car but Spike stood his ground, just watching as the demons spread out.

“He likes humans,” the tallest demon commented, and three sets of demon eyes turned toward her. “Worthless all puny humans are, should be destroyed,” the demon finished in a yodaesque sentence.

“Worthless?” Xander asked in a voice stronger than she really felt. “Funny enough, that shirt seems to be from The Gap. So not only do you need us puny humans for clothes, but trust me, you need to pick up a few magazines and get some tips on how to avoid dressing funny.” Oh god, Willow’s spell hadn’t just turned him into a woman, it turned him into Cordelia. He shuddered. Spike gave a single snort laugh and backed up enough that he stood a couple of feet in front of her and the car.

“You don’t want ta get into this, or maybe ya do. You could be masochists who just like havin’ their arses kicked. If that’s the case, I’m one vamp who’s happy ta oblige.”

“Three against one? You won’t win vampire,” the first one commented as he closed the distance and stood a few feet in front of Spike, his two friends on either side. The wind blew, and Xander could smell the demons now.

“Whoa, you have a real smellage problem. Don’t you ever bathe?” Xander asked as she covered her nose in disgust.

“That’s a slinse demon for ya, pet. They stink worse than a rottin’ human left around the lair too long.”

“Perhaps we should train your human to respect her superiors,” demon number one offered with a tilt of the head.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah—inferior human here, but at least I can figure out how to use indoor plumbing.” Xander commented as she waved her hand in front of her nose. “Besides, I’m not seeing any superiors around or I might consider respecting—” Xander didn’t get any farther and then Spike flew into action with a solid kick to the nearest demon before punching a second one. Xander screamed and ran like a girl, since technically he now was one and was, therefore, allowed to act like one. When a demon reached around her waist, she drove an elbow into the demon’s face and then fell to the ground in a tangle of fabric when he pushed her.

She thought the demon was about to rip her heart out when he went flying sidewise with a vampire attached to his back. Xander scrambled up and grabbed a fallen brick off the sidewalk before rushing toward the fighting pair. She got in a couple of good hits before the demon stopped moving. Spike pulled her back, and the two of them faced off against the two remaining demons who both showed signs of injury. Xander clutched the brick.

“Spike, do slinse demons have mothers?” Xander asked as she tried to straighten her dress with her free hand. The two demons stood, braced for an attack.

“Yeah, pet, they do. Why?” Spike didn’t take his eyes off the demons, but Xander knew that Spike was paying attention to her.

“Theirs must be out checking into retroactive birth control,” Xander commented. Spike instantly broke out laughing, but the demons continued to look confused until Spike took a step forward and growled. The two demons turned and ran. Xander didn’t protest when Spike, still laughing, took the brick from her hand and tossed it toward the alley. 

You really got the knackers on you, don’t ya. Well, actually ya don’t any more,” Spike said with an amused expression that caused his mouth to pucker. 

“Hey, no genital jokes allowed,” Xander protested as she tried to straighten out her dress and brush the dirt off her backside.

“Allow me,” Spike said, and before Xander could argue, vampire hands were lightly slapping her butt as they tried to get the dirt off the heavy fabric. “Bloody hell, you’re a treat to have in a fight, not bad at the actual fightin’ part either. Think I’m goin’ ta keep ya,” Spike announced, and it took a few seconds for Xander’s slow brain to actually process those words.

“Keep me? You can’t just keep me!” Xander squeaked.

“Why not?” Xander thought Spike was teasing, but she looked into a face that showed only honest confusion.

“I’m a human being!” she pointed out.

“My point exactly: You’re a human and I’m a vampire, so I’m keepin’ ya.”

“But vampires don’t keep people, they eat them. Oh my god, I did not just say that. Just rewind the brain three seconds and try that bit again.” Xander tried to breathe. She found herself panicking.

“Sad thing is ya still make more sense than Dru. Come on then, got places ta see, people ta eat.” She felt Spike’s hand close over her arm, and she realized that she really didn’t have a choice.

“Um, can we talk about the eating people thing then?” she asked as Spike started pulling her down the street back toward the car which they had left when fighting.

“Talkin’ isn’t the first thing I had in mind, pet,” Spike leered, and Xander felt a warmth between her legs.

“Oh god, I’m never getting my body back,” she sighed as she followed Spike’s lead. Not like she had a choice, really.

“No, but you’re goin’ ta love what I can show ya how ta do with this one.” Xander found herself standing chest to chest with Spike, having to look up slightly to see the vampire, and when did he get to be so gorgeous with those intense blue eyes and exotic angled face. She hadn’t had time to truly analyze this new feeling when she felt lips at her lips and strong arms pulling her into a firm chest. Before she knew what she was doing, she allowed her own hands to encircle the trim waist in front of her.

Feeling a tongue explore the contours of her lips, she parted them slightly. Hey, hormonal teenage male, no one could blame her. Spike’s talented tongue distracted her until she realized that a hand had slipped up her skirt, fingers exploring until she could feel them tangling in the hair between her legs, and how the hell had the vampire managed that without her noticing? 

“Not gay, so not gay,” she gasped when the lips released her so that the vampire could nibble on her neck. And boy of boy, where was her panic when she needed it? Instead, she only felt this growing warmth.

“Not a man,” Spike pointed out, and as if to make his argument, he pressed on a spot between her legs, in the moist, smooth valley hidden within folds of skin. Xander gasped as something close to an orgasm flooded her body, sending her pressing into Spike even as her brain screamed for her to stop. He rubbed the spot causing wave after wave of the pleasure until she involuntarily moaned at the touch. Spike snickered and withdrew his hand.

“Yep, keepin’ ya, so move your arse. We’re goin’ home.” Xander felt herself pulled into a one armed embrace as headed for the car, and she had to ask herself what the hell she had just gotten into. Whatever it was, it didn’t look like she was getting out of it again if the strong arm around her waist was any indication. For once in her life, Xander just bit her lip and went along. After all, she could just blame the whole mess on Willow and the witch’s mangled spells.




Mangled Spells and Girly Bits

Xander stumbled off the plane and would have fallen if long tentacles hadn’t reached out to steady her until she could get her thankfully simple dress untangled.

“Oi, hands off mate,” Spike threw down a couple of bags and then jumped out of the cargo hold himself.

“So sorry, just helping,” offered the demon working the plane and the tentacles withdrew beneath the uniform leaving a human-looking worker. Xander felt Spike’s arm slip around her waist, and she found it almost comforting. Of course over the last many hours that arm had been the only thing keeping her from decorating the inside of a jet’s cargo hold with her own blood, so that might actually account for the comforting aspect of his hold. Spike shouldered the two bags and guided her around various service people toward the main building.

“So, are you going to tell me where we are or have we reached the game show portion of the festivities?” Xander asked once they’d left the demon behind and entered a large steel and glass building bustling with people.

“You bloody Americans, you really don’t know anythin’ about the rest of the world.”

“Hey, never expected to live long enough to see anything past Los Angeles,” Xander retorted. “So, glass and steel would rule out Africa, right?”

“And what exactly does Africa look like in your imagination?” Spike snorted.

“Grass huts and spears, right?” Xander said as she studied the signs. ‘Stationnement’ one sign announced, and Xander wondered why the French word for parking lot should have stuck in her mind. At least, that’s what she thought it meant. Spike had been silent a little too long, so she turned to see the vampire looking at her with open shock.

“Mud huts and shields?” she tried with a straight face.

“Bloody Americans. I soddin’ well hope you’re jokin’ pet.” Spike said with a shake of his head. “We’re goin’ ta meet some people; need ta pick up some of my dosh.”

“Can I at least hope that dosh isn’t something incredibly disgusting like demon liver?”

“It’s money, ya ninny,” Spike said.

“Master Spike,” intoned a voice behind her, and Xander jumped forward nearly two feet only to find herself pulled back by the wrist held imprisoned within Spike’s grip. A human-looking man appearing to be in his mid-twenties stood there with his head tilted toward Spike. Xander guessed vampire.

“Antonio,” Spike answered and Xander felt herself pulled back to Spike’s side.

“I swear, someone should make you guys wear bells,” Xander complained. Antonio responded with a surprised look to Spike.

“Xander, Antonio,” Spike said curtly. “She’s not on the menu,” he said with a small growl.

“Of course Master Spike, she will make a most beautiful companion.” Xander started to complain, but the tightness of the fingers around her wrist convinced her that she really didn’t want to lose the use of her hand.

“Geez, possessive much?” she whispered to Spike, and the hold only tightened.

“Yes,” the vampire replied as he threw the bags at Antonio.

Xander bit her tongue to keep from telling Spike exactly what she thought of that since she suspected that he wouldn’t find her nearly as amusing in front of the minion. She managed to keep silent through their hike to the car, the ride, and the walk up to a beautiful estate, but when a vamp in a silk suit and game face started openly ogling at her, she couldn’t resist.

“Hey, keep your eyes to yourself, buddy. Not a happy meal here,” Xander snapped, and she felt Spike stiffen slightly beside her.

“Your slave has a lovely mouth,” the other master sarcastically told Spike as he twirled a glass full of red liquid. What bad vampire movie had he seen to pick up *that* trick she wondered.

“I prefer the term un-free American,” Xander retorted.

“Really, I didn’t think slaves had preferences at all,” the master took a step closer, and Xander thanked god that Spike stood so close that she could feel him at her back.

“Oh, you really have to try harder than that if you’re going for menacing. Try showing more fang or maybe a little growl thrown in. Spike’s good at the growl thing, maybe he could show you.” Xander’s guts twisted in fear, but if she started backing down and cringing now, she knew she wouldn’t last a day. She faced Angelus and she could face these guys.

“Oh, I can do menacing girl, believe me. If your master gives me a chance, I’ll teach you to show respect.”

“Funny thing, Angelus said something like that once,” Xander tried for casual, but she realized that she was starting to panic at the thought of Spike giving her away. The thought hadn’t even occurred to her until that moment, but suddenly the vampire behind her seemed like a very good choice of travel companion.

“I remember that,” Spike suddenly said. “He was right annoyed that ya made him back down seein’ as how he’d gone there ta kill the girl.”

“He was actually going to kill her that time? I thought he was just doing more of his torture Buffy thing.” Xander turned and realized when she saw Spike’s serious face that the vampire wasn’t joking or exaggerating.

“Ya put yourself on his short list with that stunt, and ya won’t be doin’ anythin’ that stupid again,” Spike growled.

“You see,” Xander whipped around to the other master who looked at her in shock. “The growl, add the growl and it just sounds more menacing. Of course, I’ll probably still do something stupid because that’s kinda my thing—being stupid, but at least I feel menaced.”

“You expect me to believe this slip of a girl faced down Master Angelus? Or maybe it was that pathetic souled version of your sire she faced. I hear he’s been wandering the hell mouth lately.”

“Nope, it was Angelus. Angel annoys me what with him following after Buffy and all, but Angelus is the psycho who tried to get past me when he wanted to kill the slayer.”

“The slayer?” And wow, that got the master’s attention.

“My pet was one a the slayer’s minions. Stole her myself,” Spike said nonchalantly, but Xander could see what Spike was doing as clearly as if he had raised a neon sign. Well she could do snark just as well as he could.

“Hey, not a minion. More like a second in command. Okay, maybe third in command because Giles, the watcher, is all research boy, and that’s just not me. Give me a stake though and I’ll be there hiding behind the slayer every time. I even manage to take out a couple minions every week, well except those months that Buffy took off and the three of us had to patrol for her. I killed a lot of minions that summer.”

“Your girl tells fanciful tales,” the master said with an incredulous expression. “Will you allow her to stand there and lie about killing minions, not just minions but minions born on the hell mouth?”

“Not just minions? And why aren’t they ‘just minions’?” Xander turned to Spike and asked curiously.

“Minions on the hell mouth rise stronger than minions anywhere else, pet,” Spike offered.

“Having fought minions on the hell mouth, I have to say that’s kinda pathetic. Doesn’t say much about minions raised off the hell mouth, does it?” Xander was rewarded with shuffling feet of nearby minions and a pinched expression on the master’s mouth.

“Nope, most minions aren’t worth the dust ya get when ya stake ‘em.” Spike agreed amiably.

“I sent Antonio for the money you left in my care Master Spike, I do hope I see you and your companion once she’s been turned.” The master gave them a strained smile and retreated to another room. Xander didn’t know whether to laugh at how uncomfortable she and Spike had made him or squirm in discomfort herself at the whole turning idea. Just because she was starting to think of Spike as sexy and maybe even a little fun to hang out with didn’t mean she wanted to go the whole eternal commitment route. Antonio quickly appeared with a briefcase and a set of keys.

“Buh-bye,” Xander waved to the minions as Spike hurried him toward the car. Once they had gotten on the road again, she turned to Spike. “Not as satisfying as staking them, but on an amusement scale of 1 to 10, I’d rank that a 7.” Spike continued driving, but Xander could see the smile.

“Ya annoyed the piss out of him, pet.”

“Yep, and you enjoyed it,” Xander shot back.

“That I did.”

“So, are we talking about the whole turning thing, because I really don’t think drinking blood and gore and murder goes with this outfit,” Xander couldn’t resist a nervous laugh.

“Can’t say I haven’t thought about it, but ya can never tell how the demon’ll take. Might end up with something that sounds like you; might end up with some simpering fool who doesn’t know how to string two sentences together.”

“So, we’re going for the non-vamped version, good choice. Less filling,” Xander realized that her humor wasn’t even working for herself, so she contented herself with staring out into the night as they drove through Paris. Yep, uneducated American, but even she knew where to find the Eiffel Tower.

As dawn neared, Spike pulled into a basement and parked the car, waiting impatiently as Xander crawled out of the car and tried to wake up. She wasn’t sure how long she’d slept, but she did know that her neck hurt like hell. Well, maybe not hell because that whole simile was a little hard to throw around once you knew someone who’d been to hell. A crampy neck really didn’t compare.

“Hurry up then,” Spike announced as he held open a heavy steel door in the side of the large public garage.

“Boy, you’re Mr. Cranky Vamp today,” Xander said as she turned to slide past the vampire and the three bags he now held.

“I’m hungry, so don’t press your luck,” Spike groused, and Xander decided that she really didn’t want to annoy the vampire, so she just followed the pushes that guided her through a series of service tunnels to another steel door. Spike unlocked that door and Xander went in to find a simple bed sitting and a single dresser in a concrete room.

“Now, do I have ta chain ya, or will ya just settle down and sleep?”

“No, no chaining necessary,” Xander held up her hands in surrender. “Steel door, concrete walls, I’m thinking I’m here to stay unless I develop some freakish mutant powers before you get back. Actually, I’ve had freakish mutant powers before and I still don’t think I would have gotten out of this room.”

“Right,” Spike said uncertainly. “Just get some sleep,” he ordered as he pulled the door shut and Xander was left in darkness. Cursing the vampire for not giving her a chance to ask for a bathroom or even find the bed before lights out, Xander finally groped her way to the bed and crawled in. The blanket smelled of dust, but considering that she hadn’t been able to lie down for about two days, give or take a day of jet lag, she didn’t really care.   She was also willing to blame that same lack of sleep for the strangely calm state she felt as she drifted off to sleep.

The smell of bacon threaded its way through her dreams, and her dream lover’s hand once more caressed her gently. Moaning softly, she turned over, and found herself falling to the concrete floor as she rolled off the bed. Spike leaned against the wall and smirked. She almost didn’t notice the direction of his gaze, but then with a shriek, she pulled down her skirt from where it had twisted around her waist. Now that she was awake, she could see a breakfast tray on the dresser, and she noticed a light switch that she really could have used the night before.

“Hurry up then, got chores to run the minute the sun goes down.”

“Spike, I know this is Europe and all, but I really think I need to bathe. It’s been a few days. A few hard days,” Xander said with a not-so-discrete sniff to her armpits.  She didn’t really expect him to respond; in fact, she couldn’t really say for certain why she brought up a subject that would give the vampire more verbal torment material.  As usual though, Spike surprised her.

“I’ll bring water,” Spike said, and before she could argue, the door had closed with vampiric speed.

“Shit,” she complained to the closed door. She walked over to the dresser and began to pick food off the plate, a piece of croissant here, a piece of bacon there. By the time Spike returned, she had eaten over half the plate and felt both bloated from having to pee and full. Bad combination. The door opened, and she could have blessed the vampire when she saw two buckets, one still steaming with hot water and the other empty.

“Okay, out. Gotta pee, like right now.” She grabbed the buckets and put them on the floor before pushing a surprised Spike out of the room.

“Oi, ya don’t…” he got to before she closed the door and squatted over the empty bucket, sighing in pleasure as she emptied out her bladder. And now the day’s comedy has begun she realized when she didn’t have anything to dry herself off with. Inconvenient damn girl parts he cursed to himself as his thighs started to tremble.

“Spike!” she shouted.

“Thought you wanted me out, pet. What? Ya inviting me in for the show now?” Spike opened the door and started laughing when he spotted her predicament. “Oi, ya have a problem then?”  And oh yes, this is the vampire Xander had learned to know and hate.

“I need toilet paper,” she pointed out, her thighs starting to shake.

“What ya got ta trade?” Spike asked as he reached into his duster and took out a large crumpled ball of the blessed stuff.

“Spike, please?”

“Evil, pet. ‘Please’ don’t generally work on the evil.”

“I promise not to throw the contents of this pail at you?” Xander offered with an innocent smile.  Hell would freeze over before she would give Spike a free show, not that she could stop him if he insisted, but she’d read those diaries Giles so carefully hid in the most obvious hiding place in the world.  Please, who really thought the old ‘on top of the bookcase’ trick worked?  After reading enough to trigger nightmares and require therapy for the foreseeable future, she wasn’t about to give Spike any confusing ‘just might find your lithe muscles and tight body slightly sexy’ signals. Nope, she was reserving all the confusion for herself; just call her greedy.

“Ya soddin’ well better not anyway. Ruin the leather and my hand and your bare butt are going to have a meetin’.”

“God, Spike, just give it here,” she demanded, and with a laugh, Spike tossed the paper so that it unraveled and turned into a streamer in the air.

“Okay, you can leave now,” she said as her legs began to burn.

“Or I can stay,” Spike said pleasantly as he leaned back against the wall and watched. Xander froze, caught between desperately wanting to finish and stand up and really not wanting to touch herself there with Spike in the room. Spike had kept his hands in the safe-to-moderately naughty zones the whole trip over without ever coping a true feel, but she still remembered that quick grope when he’d shown her how a woman’s body worked.

“Spike,” Xander tried to keep some patience, but her composure was weakening as fast as her leg muscles.  “Get out.”  She enunciated each word sharply and clearly.

“Make me,” Spike retorted with a grin, clearly enjoying the interaction.

“God you suck,” Xander swore as she tried to worm a hand under her dress to wipe herself without providing a peepshow.

“For the right people, luv, I can suck with the best,” Spike shot back with an eyebrow wiggle and a pursing of the lips that made Xander pause.  She continued to curse Spike in whispered tones as she wiped herself off and dropped the tissue into the bucket.  When she stood, she smoothed down the dress without trying to pull the panties back up, yes she felt vulnerable with nothing protecting her naughty bits, but it was better than hiking up her dress in front of the vampire.

“And I so want to say something, but I think I’ll just show enough self-preservation to keep my mouth shut,” Xander said as thoughts of Spike and Angel and sucking crossed her mind.

“That’s a new approach for you, innit?”

“Oh yeah, but kinda trying to avoid ending up vamp food.”

“I’m not goin’ ta eat ya, ninny.”  Spike leaned down and unzipped one of the bags and pulled out a light green dress.

“You’re doing horrible things to my psyche here,” Xander complained as she caught the dress as it came flying at her. 

“Better than doin’ horrible things ta your guts, so get dressed so we can leave.”  With that, Spike turned and left, the heavy lock sliding into place a second later.  She realized that she just had to trust Spike to not walk in unannounced, which was actually a lot less disturbing that realizing that she had to trust Spike not to eat her. Xander took the world’s fastest sponge bath and slipped into the new dress, wondering what the future would bring.

The future, it turned out, was even more bizarre than a date on the hell mouth, and considering her dating record, she considered that pretty dang bizarre.  But when Spike led her to a tall building and then introduced her to a real estate agent and explained that they’d be looking at a couple of possible homes, Xander was struck speechless.

“Ms. Blache, this is Xander; Xander, Ms. Blanche,” Spike announced as he lit a cigarette.

“Xander? An unusual name.” The real estate agent pronounced the name Zan-DARE, and she suddenly realized that her name did have a bit of a girly accent when said in a French accent. Of course everything sounded a little girly in French—romance language and all.

“Yeah, old Latin for ‘she who can’t keep her arse out a trouble’,” Spike offered with a wink, and Xander placed her elbow in Spike’s stomach hard enough to drop a man; however Spike wasn’t a man so he simply laughed.

“We are going to look at a beautiful place on the ninth floor,” the woman offered in her thick French accent, a sing-songy voice that reminded Xander of Pepe Le Peu, which was funny because when Buffy practiced French, Xander tended to think more of influenza patients hacking up phlegm.

With her heels clicking on the marble hallways, the woman showed them to an ornate elevator where they rode up in silence, Spike’s arm wrapped tightly around her waist, and Xander couldn’t have felt any more trapped if the vampire had put a chain around her neck because every time she shifted, that rock solid arm just tightened more until she finally sighed and allowed herself to lean into Spike.  Not like she had a lot of choice, really. 

The apartment tour went rather quickly, it was an apartment after all.  One bedroom with a fireplace, one living room with a fireplace, one raised dining room, a balcony, a hall closet, and a newly remodeled kitchen and bathroom that the agent raved about. 

“Well, pet.  What do ya think of the place?” Spike asked once the tour ended.

Okay, this was unexpected.

“Um, fine.  I guess,” she responded.  Hardwood floors, check; fireplaces, check; nice big closet with a solid door for Spike to lock her up, check.  Yep perfect place all around.  The only question was why the vamp was being so nice.  Well, nice for him anyway because the whole bathroom bucket incident, so not nice in a general sense, but still much nicer than she’d expected.

“Might go see a place out in the country.  That sound all right?”  Xander looked over at Spike incredulously.  He came closer and slipped an arm around her waist, giving her one of his patented confused expression when she didn’t answer, but that’s okay because his confusion couldn’t be greater than her own.  “Don’t ya want ta see it?  We can look at another place in the city if ya want.”

Okay, Xander had now officially achieved wiggins land.  If *she* liked?  If she *liked*?  Since when did the bleached menace asked what she *liked*?  She didn’t really want to endanger any potential witnesses to her imminent murder, so she smiled sweetly and put on her most casual tone of voice.

“I hear California’s pleasant this time of year—maybe a little place somewhere around L.A.”  Xander realized she had gone too far the minute she watched Spike’s face freeze over in a mask of neutrality.  Uh oh, major vamp hissy fit on the tarmac and ready to take off.  She found Spike’s anger disturbingly reassuring since it put her back on familiar territory.

“’Scuse us,” Spike nodded to the agent, and Xander felt herself pulled into that newly upgraded bathroom by her elbow.

“Bloody hell, Do ya have brain damage or are ya tryin’ ta get yourself killed?” Spike hissed from between elongated fangs the minute he had closed the door.

“Not trying, it just kinda comes natural,” Xander said as she backed away from the fully vamped out Spike.  Of course, in an apartment bathroom that got her all of 12 inches away and she thanked god for each inch.  Spike continued to stare at her furiously until she started to squirm.

“You’re mine now, pet.  This init gonna change so either ya stop this soddin’ nonsense and show some appreciation for that fact I haven’t ripped your guts out or you’re goin’ ta find out how bad a temper I ‘ave, Got it?”  Spike’s accent had thickened and his eyes gleamed a demonic yellow because, hey, demon.  Xander found herself without enough spit in her mouth to speak, so she nodded slowly.  Spike’s face dropped back into his human features.

“What in the bloody hell are you tryin’ ta prove?”

“Prove?” Xander thought about that for a minute because she really did know that aggravating Spike was stupid in a suicidal sort of way.  She finally took a deep breath and decided to go for honest, not that honesty ever worked for her, but she couldn’t come up with a convincing lie, so honesty it was.  “I’m just freaking out on the whole lack of freaking out here.  I’m being held captive by a homicidal vampire who has on more than one occasion shown an interest in having me dead, and I’m not freaking out, which is worth freaking out over.”

“Oi, never wanted ya dead, pet.”

“Really?” Xander asked disbelievingly.  “Okay, how about when I helped Buffy stop you from killing Angel?  Or what about a couple of days ago when you bashed my head in with a microscope.”

“Didn’t kill ya,” Spike complained.

“Okay, what about just now when you threatened to show me your temper?  Huh? What was that about?” Xander asked triumphantly and then briefly wondered what idiot pill she’d taken to try and convince Spike that he hated her.  Oh yeah, she’d definitely had one too many hits to the head in the last week. Or maybe it was some sort of progressive trauma since she really had an impressive record of unconsciousness over the past few years.

“Wouldn’t a really hurt ya, pet, but ya talked about leavin’ and I got a mite angry.” Spike shrugged.

“Why?” Xander looked at Spike, trying to understand the vampire’s motives, but Spike seemed just as confused as she was.  “Why do you care?”

“Dunno, just do,” Spike announced in a that’s-that tone of voice that clearly indicated that he considered the conversation over.

“Don’t you think that maybe something hell-mouthy is going on here?” Xander demanded, the long missing panic finally poking up its head.  Xander looked to Spike for some sort of sign that the vampire understood just how out of control everything was starting to spin.  Without saying a word, Spike pulled her into an embrace, and she could feel him rest his cheek against the top of her head.  Spike’s intimacy left her utterly defenseless.

“Please, Spike.  Please just let me go home,” she found herself begging, and oh wasn’t this just charming?  Cry in front of the vampire because that just proved her manliness.

“Pet, ya can ask me anythin’ ya want except that.” Xander felt a hand drawing comforting circles on her back, and that very fact she used the word comforting proved that she had lost her mind.  Mind lossage would explain a lot or maybe an alternate reality or maybe she was still unconscious and dreaming all this, and oh god why did she have to think of that.  If she was dreaming, that meant that somewhere down in her subconscious she wanted and created this world and getting drained would be less painful. She reached down and pinched herself, but nothing happened.

“Ya all right then?” Spike asked after a minute of just standing and holding her.

“No,” Xander replied in a nearly normal tone of voice.

“Good cause it’s about time ta get out there before that bint starts thinkin’ we’ve got ta shaggin’ in her shiny new bathroom.”

“And even less okay now.  Euuuwww.” Xander pushed herself out of Spike’s embrace and could tell from the amused expression that Spike had intended that as a taunt.

“As you Yanks say, ‘Don’t knock it ‘til ya tried it,’” Spike smirked.

“And the okayness levels just keep right on dropping,” Xander said with a shudder.

“Oi, 120 years of experience here.”

“Hey, not gay here,”

“One man,” Spike pointed to himself, “plus one woman,” Spike pointed to Xander, “does not make for gay sex.”  Spike continued after the space of a heartbeat, “Course, some still might consider it necrophilia.”

“And the okayness has reached new lows.  We are stopping there before that toilet is no longer new and shiny.”  Xander held up a hand as if to hold off any comeback, but Spike simply took that hand and wrapped his own around it before leading her out of the bathroom and back to the now suspicious agent.

Spike and the real estate agent traded several words, none of which made any sense to Xander, and then Xander found herself escorted back to the lobby and out to the car.

“So, are we going to see the other place?” Xander asked for lack of anything better to say.

“Yeah,” Spike answered, and Xander wondered if the vampire was thinking about what she had said about something hell mouthy affecting them.  It would certainly explain the lack of blood and death in her current relationship with Spike, and oh god, she had not just put the words relationship and Spike in the same sentence. Suddenly Spike looked over at her sharply, and Xander nearly passed out at the thought she’d said that out loud.  However, Spike quickly returned his attention to the road, which was good considering the speed they were going. 

Xander spent the rest of the trip staring at the countryside with the increasingly infrequent farmhouses.  They must have driven a good three hours at clearly illegal speeds before pulling through a heavy iron gate that looked like it was rusted permanently open and which was set in the middle of a heavy stone wall.  Suddenly outdoor lights came on, and Xander found herself throwing up an arm to keep from being blinded.

“You came, I was so worried you would not be able to make it tonight!” sang a voice that sounded like a replica of the agent they’d left in the city.  Xander squinted in the heavy outdoor lighting and realized that the woman was nearly a clone with the same tailored suit and heels.  “The place, it is a real bargain. The chateau has been remodeled with a new kitchen,” she explained in that Pepe voice as she ushered them into the house.  This tour took longer with the woman pointing out the authentic wood carvings and historical pillars which Xander couldn’t resist running her hand over, feeling the warm wood beneath her fingers.  The upstairs bedrooms had ceilings that tilted at odd angles, and almost every room had a fireplace. 

“I know several of the windows need fixing, and we have a handyman who can do that, this quick,” the saleslady snapped her fingers at how fast the boarded up windows could be replaced.

“Don’t bother, mate.  Like the dark,” Spike said casually as he stuck his head in another closet.

“Oh, but I’d love to see all those windows replaced, and this place streaming with sunlight,” Xander said, and Spike’s head reappeared from out of the closet, a pinched expression on his face until he saw Xander’s own small smile.

“Yeah, well windows lead ta dust, and you aren’t the best at keepin’ a place clean.  Wouldn’t want ya ta have more dust ta clean up.”

“Oh, I don’t mind a bit of dusting,” Xander continued, enjoying the agent’s confused expression.

“Ya never had the knack for it Buffy did,” Spike retorted.

“True, she loves dusting.  If she ever visits, I can see her dusting here,” Xander said, and this time she couldn’t even identify the feeling she felt creeping through her soul.

“Yeah, well, don’t want the bint dustin’ around here, so I think I’ll leave her off the invite list.”

“You know Buffy though, she tends to show up and do dusting even when she’s not invited.”

“Are ya sayin’ that ya don’t want her invited, pet?” Now Spike had left the closet all together and Xander saw the almost hopeful expression on his face.

“Okay, I would invite her given a chance, but I don’t think I want her dusting in my house,” Xander admitted, and cringed when she realized that she had claimed possession of the chateau.  Spike’s smirk made it clear he hadn’t missed the slip.  “If I ever get a house.  I’m not saying that this is a house I want or that I’m ready to set up house, and can we just go back to talking about dusting now, please.” Xander realized that she had just lost that round badly, but at least she wasn’t as confused as the agent who continued to stare with an expression that rivaled Giles’ when Buffy and Willow started talking boys. 

“So, is that a yes or a no to the windows?” the agent finally asked once she realized that her two strange clients had finished their argument over American houseguests with dusting fetishes.

“No.” Spike said definitively and then the tour continued.

Before long, Xander found herself outside leaning on a low wall and waiting as Spike and the woman talked business.

“Votre belle femme, she likes the place?” Xander heard the real estate agent ask Spike even as she leaned against the wall and looked at the perfectly straight lines of trees. She really wished she had actually paid attention in French class, but then she’d never thought she’d end up in France. School. Would she ever go to school again or would this be her life, isolated in some beautiful French home, and why wasn’t that sounding especially bad?

“Yeah, appears she does,” Spike agreed.

“So, shall it be the chateau or the apartment?”

“Laissez ma femme choisir,” Spike said in a perfect imitation of the woman’s accent. Xander looked over for some sign of Spike’s decision, but his expression remained neutral, a cigarette hanging from one hand as he watched the road as if expecting someone.

“So, which do you like, Madam?” the woman turned her attention to Xander who found that she had to really think about that one. She couldn’t restrain a bit of a giggle when she thought of how her real estate agent would react to her criteria. While other buyers might look at the bathrooms or the foundations, Xander was considering escape possibilities and long-term captivity. Okay, the apartment had greater opportunities for escape: toss a note off the balcony, talk to a neighbor through the door, set a fire and wait for the firemen to come. Okay, that last one might be a little dumb since she really didn’t want to burn to death, but still, possible escape lay right at her fingertips. However, the very chance to escape would make Spike more vigilant. When he left the apartment, he’d probably chain her up; she never get to see outside except through a window.

The chateau was isolated, far from any help, but that would probably mean her daily life would be freer. She could walk outside under the trees. She could explore and maybe build something or plant something or just do something although she did laugh at the thought of using a table saw in one of the full-length skirts Spike preferred her to wear.

“I like the chateau,” she announced, and Spike simply nodded.

“Your husband, he does like to spoil you, yes?” The woman gave her a little wink, and Xander’s brain stopped functioning at the word husband. No, no, no, no, no she silently chanted. She was supposed to grow up and be the husband who worked all day and came home to a house that was getting old and had breaking plumbing to a wife that resented that he didn’t make more money. That was the fate life set out for him when it made him a perfectly average, normal human boy. He wasn’t supposed to be the one to grow up and find a husband with enough money to buy a French chateau. Oh god, he was living Cordelia’s fantasy, well except for the demon significant other, that was pure Xander, not that Spike was a significant other and god she was just going to stop thinking.  Everything was just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Spike must have noticed the change, because he dropped his cigarette and quickly pulled Xander into an embrace.

“Pet, ya all right?”

“Fine.” Xander replied after she’d caught her breath and dealt with the incipient panic.

“Is she ill?” the woman asked with concern.

“Mêle-toi de tes affaires,” Spike replied quickly but without his usual snarl. The woman huffed her annoyance and walked away.

“Pet, let’s get you set down in the front room, then I’ll take care of the soddin’ paperwork. Let’s hope I can do this without breakin’ the bint’s neck.” Xander couldn’t help but be comforted by the return of her normal Spike, and wow, when threats of neck-breakage were comforting, she really needed to rethink her values.

Xander continued to question her values over the next three days in the hotel that had taken another two hours to reach.  She wasn’t sure, but she suspected that Spike had picked a hotel on the far side of Paris just so that she would see that the chateau had no neighbors within walking distance in either direction.  The hotel, on the other hand, bustled with life—tourists and college students and happy families gathering around the pool.  Xander saw this while being held firmly at Spike’s side.  The rest of the time she was chained in a large room with enough slack to easily get to the bathroom, television and bed. 

Xander spent most of her days not noticing the funny way Spike sang with his music when he woke up in the evening, doing head-banging moves as he walked from the couch to the bathroom.  And not enjoying the way he talked to himself when he was stuck on hold on the telephone, making up imaginary family trees for people who made him wait.  When she got to look at Giles’ book again, she resolved to look up what it meant to be the unclean offspring of an Ano-movic and a Senih'D.  And she certainly didn’t notice the way his jeans hung low on his hips when he got out of the bathroom, drying his hair with a rough rub of a towel.  And when she was alone, she tried hard not to think about how upset Giles would be if he could see her now. 

After three days, Spike simply woke, packed the bags and hustled her into the car for a two hour trip back to the chateau.  A chateau that Spike had found some way to get cleaned, landscaped, furnished, and stocked.  When he parked the car, he tossed her a bracelet with a red bauble handing from the center.

“Wow, that’s a romantic presentation.  With Cordie I at least dressed up and managed to give her the necklace without throwing it at her,” Xander complained as she caught the gold and red bauble.

“Not a present,” Spike said in a strangely distant voice.  “Put it on.”

“Okay,” Xander answered with her best ‘cater to the crazy vampire’ voice.  She latched the clasp closed and then let the red teardrop stone dangle so that the porch lights coming in through the car window reflected into bloody-stained rainbows.  She smiled.  “Nicer than the heart I gave Cordie,” she admitted as she watched the red lights flicker on the dash.  “Wait, why isn’t it a present?”

“Keeps track of where ya are.  Keep it on and ya can leave the house.  Ever catch ya takin’ it off and I’ll chain ya up.”  Spike’s voice had a strange emotionless quality that made Xander’s arm hairs stand up.

“Right, leash the human pet, huh?” she asked, and suddenly the dangling stone didn’t seem quite so pretty.  “Surprised you didn’t just give it to me as some sort of present, make up some story about local ghosts and call it a protection charm,” Xander realized that she actually would have preferred the lie because now every time she looked at it, the stone would remind her of her place in Spike’s life: hostage, leashed pet, lower life form.

“Didn’t want ta lie to ya, so I told the truth,” Spike opened his door and disappeared into the house before Xander could even process that statement.  She experienced something that almost felt like pride that Spike refused to lie to her, as if he liked her enough to not lie.  Of course, the bracelet was still a leash, but it annoyed Xander a whole lot less as she got out of the car and walked up the walk to her chateau.

“You cooked?” Xander asked, unwilling to accept the evidence in front of her eyes.  Pans strewn about, dirty butcher paper crumpled on the floor, stray noodles drying to the stovetop.  Their first night in the chateau, and Xander had already discovered a wardrobe full of old fashioned dresses, the Playstation II, and 200 cable channels.  Only after a couple of hours had Xander done looking for Spike.  She really hadn’t expected to find him in the kitchen.

“Not an idiot, I can follow directions with the best of ‘em,” Spike gestured toward an open cookbook. 

“Please tell me that’s a human cookbook and not some book of demon recipes using Faryl horn and chaos demon spleen.”

“Chaos demons don’t have spleens, ya eat their brains.”  Xander stopped and looked at Spike’s neutral expression and wished she could read the vampire’s mind.  Not just the demon brain thing, although she was looking that up in Giles’ books the minute she got hope, nope she wondered things like why Spike had fixed dinner in the first place.  For a vampire, he was acting a little idiotic, and yes, she had seen Spike in idiot-mode before like turning his back on Buffy in that church.  But cooking dinner for Xander the left over Slayerette?  Yep, this was high on the vamp idiot scale.


“Supposed ta be a delicacy, innit?”  Spike replied, and it took Xander a minute to realize that Spike had answered the question she asked out loud rather than the ones she’d had running through her mind.

“Oh…uh, yeah.  Delicacy,” she muttered as she came all the way into the kitchen to get the plates and silverware she assumed hid in one of the cupboards.  Fifty millions cabinets and drawers later she’d managed to set the small table in the kitchen.

“Ya aren’t comin’ down with one a those human viruses, are ya?  Don’t want a snotty, drippy human ‘round the house.”  Xander nearly laughed at how much Spike sounded like her mother, well except for the accent thing, and the man thing, and her mother had said shedding instead of snotty and drooling instead of dripping and dog instead of human, but other than that, they sounded just the same.  And suddenly Xander didn’t like where that train of thought was threatening to go.

“Nope, no viruses here,” Xander confirmed as she concentrated on straightening spoons on the table.

“Here,” Spike walked over and handed her a glass of red wine and Xander stared at it blankly.  “Ya have ta actually drink it for it ta relax you,” Spike pointed out after she had stared at the glass for some time.

“Oh yeah, I’ve seen this horror film,” Xander suddenly said as she looked up into Spike’s deceptively innocent eyes.  “You get me horribly drunk and then you chop off my body parts.”  Xander put the glass down on the table even as Spike walked over to drain the spaghetti.

“If I felt like choppin’ off body parts, I wouldn’t have ta get ya drunk.  Besides, that’s a waste of good blood.”  Spike poured a white sauce over the noodles and dumped shrimp on top before bringing the bowl to the table.  “Drink,” he ordered and she felt the glass pressed into her hand again, and this time she brought the glass to her lips.  One taste and she spluttered most of the wine over the counter she was facing.  After wiping up the mess, she tried again, and while she didn’t particularly like the taste, she did appreciate the fact that the wine meant that the rest of the world suddenly made more sense. 

“You got me drunk,” Xander accused Spike after dinner when they had gone into the family room.  She had tried to sit on a big overstuffed chair next to the television, but she ended up on the floor.

“Yeah, pet.  Mite easier than I expected, too.”  Spike sat on the couch watching with that sexy half-tilt to his head.  Oh no, not sexy.  That disturbing half-tilt; that fascinating half-tilt; that intriguing half tilt, and damn it that’s the wrong direction, Xander complained to her drunken brain: think vampire, blood, guts, gore.   Disgusting half-tilt she settled on before collapsing onto her back in giggles.

“What ya laughin’ about, pet?” Spike asked, and Xander sat up and smiled back at the vampire’s own smile.

“You’re not really disgusting,” Xander declared solemnly.  Spike froze.

“Have ta say, that’s not the best compliment I’ve ever had, but a chap takes what he can get,” he finally replied with a shrug.  Xander sat on the floor and watched Spike stand and stretch, his shirt rising up high enough to show a line of chiseled skin between the tight black jeans and the faded black t-shirt.

“Hey, no fair,” she shrieked.

“I’m evil, pet.  Don’t have ta be fair,” Spike instantly responded as he brought his arms down.  “What aren’t I bein’ fair about then?” he asked after a second.  For some reason, that sent Xander into such giggles that she lay back on the floor panting for air.

“Not fair with you having the sexy stomach,” Xander pointed to the offending midsection, and she could see Spike’s eyebrow twitch in amusement.  “You should have a big hairy stomach that hangs down over your jeans.” 

“And why’s that, pet?” Spike asked as he knelt at her side, and Xander allowed her finger tips to reach out and touch the t-shirt over his stomach.

“That way you really are disgusting, and then I don’t have to argue with myself about intriguing stuff.”

“Remind me not ta get ya drunk again; ya sound like bloody Dru.” Spike said as Xander felt strong hands slip under her body and lift her effortlessly.

“You luuuuuv Dru,” she announced.  “Spike and Dru sittin’ in a tree K-I-L-L-I-N-G.  First comes love then comes...something….then comes something else that rhymes with something,” Xander sang happily.  She actually liked the sound of her new voice, which was a nice change from the way she used to sound when she sang along with country songs on the radio.

Spike was strangely silent as he climbed the staircase with Xander in his arms.  Spike kicked open the door to Xander’s room, and Xander found herself giggling at the sight they must have posed.  The blonde rebel carrying the dark-haired damsel in distress, not that she couldn’t take care of herself.  Because hey, when Buffy was all flu girl, she had punched Angelus.  She’d do it again to because she wasn’t some giggling girl from the front of one of those books Willow read and then hid in the bottom of her backpack where she thought no one looked.

“I did, I punched Angelus,” she said again, or maybe said the first time, she wasn’t sure.

“Right, pet,” Spike agreed, but Xander could hear the quiet amusement.

“I did.  I punched him and stuck a cross in his face when he was going to eat Buffy.”  Xander lost track of up and down as Spike dropped her on the bed and she bounced a bit.

“Really?  That must have been fun, sorry I missed it,” Spike said as he started pulling her shoes off.  But Xander wasn’t done.  Everyone treated her like she was the weak one of the group, and she wasn’t.  Okay, maybe she was weaker that Buffy because of the whole Slayer thing, and Giles might have something on her what with the training and the magics, but she could still beat Willow arm wrestling, maybe, she thought as she looked at her now much smaller arm. 

“That Halloween, I protected Buffy from all the crazy little sugared up children….Demon-children….Children who were turned into demons.” And suddenly talking seemed so much more difficult.

“I remember that.  Took a whole lot of my minions ta hold you and Angel,” Spike mused, and Xander smiled at the fact that Spike had talked about her and Angel as if they both posed the same threat. 

“Yep, and I stopped all the crazy demon eggs.  And I broke into the army base and stole the rocket launcher and I fought vampires and I faced down Angelus, and I went undercover and went all fishy—not smelling fishy, like fishy fishy fish type demon fish.”  Xander trailed off weakly as she suddenly realized that she was naked.

“Heya,” she screeched pulled the sheets up over her, but Spike simply cocked an eyebrow and lay down on top of the sheet so that he leaned against her side.

“What’s wrong, pet?” Spike asked.

“I’m not the weak one,” Xander continued her previous conversation now that she had covered all her bits.  “I may have, you know needed help with the preying mantis lady, but she kicked Buffy’s ass too, and with the mummy girl, I stopped her from hurting Willow.”

“Don’t doubt it,” Spike said as he let his fingers run through her hair, and suddenly Xander had trouble remembering what she had been so upset about.

“You don’t think I’m weak?” she asked, confused.

“Nope.  If ya were weak, I’d eat ya and get it over with.  Ya don’t bloody back down for anyone, got brass balls on ya, even if ya don’t have balls anymore.”  Xander knew that should probably be an insult, but for the life of her she couldn’t figure out how.  It sounded like a compliment to her, and she smiled up at Spike happily.

“Buffy tries to send me home,” she sighed.

“Buffy’s a bloody idjit.  Girl doesn’t know good help when she sees it.  I remember how angry Peaches got when Dru wanted to turn ya, he raved about how he wouldn’t have another runt in the house, but I’ll tell ya a secret pet,” Spike leaned down and whispered in Xander’s ear so that she could feel his breath moving through her hair like a tiny breeze.  “Angelus didn’t want ya as competition.”

“Really?” Xander closed her eyes at the thought of Angelus being afraid of her, of course closing her eyes also helped reduce the spinning in the room. 

“Yep.  He thought ya might take Dru from him seein’ as how she could sense your strength.”  Xander sighed and arched into the gentle touches at her waist, pressing up into Spike’s caress even as Spike’s hand slid farther south.

“Was just the spell,” Xander mumbled, suddenly feeling so very right as her skin came alive under Spike’s touch.  Spike’s hand now moved up until it rested over one of her breasts, kneading lightly before pinching the nipple so that Xander gasped.

“Nope.  Spell made Dru notice ya, but even after she told Peaches how you’d make a beautiful vampire.”  Xander realized that her skin and Spike’s skin had met, and she opened her eyes to find Spike slipped in the covers beside her.  She struggled to capture an unpleasant thought that danced at the edge of her awareness, but she closed her eyes in pleasure when Spike pressed up against her, his leg slipping between hers and pressing up until she gasped with pleasure and grabbed at the vampire.

“Peaches finally forbid her ta turn ya,” Spike whispered, and Xander felt talented fingers reach down and press into that spot that made her writhe and buck until she gasped as wave after wave of pleasure crashed into her.  “Told her he’d stake ya if you turned up a fledge on his doorstep,” Spike muttered as fingers slipped inside and pressed against the sensitive walls.  Xander nearly wailed when Spike then began to nibble and suck at her neck, and for one brief moment she dully considered that vampire and neck were not a good combination, but then she lost that train of though as a mouth engulfed her right nipple, sucking and gently biting even as the invading fingers pressed harder.  Xander felt as if she were having one weak orgasm after another as Spike’s talented hands and mouth moved from one part of her to another. 

“Demons appreciate strength.  It’s why Dru wanted ya, and it’s why I want ya,” Spike promised as he moved so that he now perched onto of Xander.  Xander tried to figure out why Spike had stopped, but then she felt something huge press into her and she gasped at the intrusion, but Spike continued entering until Xander couldn’t take the pressure and suddenly she felt something break like a balloon and the pressure was gone, replaced with a sharp pain.

“You broke me,” Xander slurred her complaint.

“Nope, you’re all right, pet,” Spike said and then Xander could feel him pulling out.  She put her hand down to check to see what he’d broken when he slammed in again, and suddenly she decided that if that’s what broken felt like, she was going to break some more stuff.  Spike thrust again, and Xander nearly lost her breath as she reached up to grab Spike’s shoulders, pulling herself up towards him, and he drove in again and again.  Spike shifted to one side, one of his arms disappearing even as he continued to ram in harder and harder as Xander gasped and rode sensations of pleasure and pain that made the rest of the world disappear in a haze.  Then, even as Spike thrust, she could feel his fingers at that spot which had become her favorite body part, and she bucked up off the bed, nearly screaming as she could feel her orgasm run down her spine like fire.  Spike thrust a couple more times and then she could feel the vampire come inside her, a strange feeling but not unpleasant.  Not unpleasant at all.

“Spike.” Xander moaned.

“Shhh, go ta sleep, pet,” Spike whispered in her ear, and suddenly Xander couldn’t think of doing anything else in the world.

Xander woke feeling strangely lethargic, as if she had run some marathon the previous evening.  Only once she stretched and rolled over did she realize that she was naked, and naked led to thoughts of sex, and sex thoughts led her straight to Spike and from there it was a short trip down into guilt and shame.  She was a Scoobie, what the hell was she doing sleeping with a vampire?  Well, okay, Buffy had done it too, but gee, look how well that had turned out.  Groaning from the headache and wincing at her own guilt, she got up and wandered into the bathroom where she started a bath in the large claw-foot bathtub.  Seeing how slowly the bath was filling, she left the room in search of the vampire, hoping to get the screaming and hitting portion of the afternoon started. 

She wandered through the kitchen, which Spike must have cleaned up because the table had been cleared and the dishes sat submerged in dirty chunky grey water.  Xander’s already queasy stomach nearly revolted at the sight and she snagged a Seven-Up out of the refrigerator before searching the rest of the house.  The family room with its electronic toys sat empty.  The front room with its large fireplace and formal furniture sat empty.  The downstairs bedroom with the boarded up windows, empty.  The downstairs bathroom, empty.  The two upstairs spare bedrooms, loft and study, all empty.  Xander finally gave up and went back to her bath to soak out the aches and wait out the headache. 

Her bedroom and bathroom had boarded up windows, and the rough planks nailed across the inside walls had been replaced with some sort of heavy plastic material that allowed very little light in, but since her bathroom faced west, she watched the barely visible sun, appearing like a slowly sinking nightlight in the orangish plastic material.  When the sun was hovering above the horizon, she drained the water, slipped into a long dress since she didn’t have anything else to wear, and went looking again.  She knew from being around Angel that vampires usually woke shortly before the sun went down, so she knew Spike was somewhere, especially since his car still sat outside in the drive.  She fingered her bracelet, considering taking it off just to force Spike out of hiding, but she also knew Spike kept his word, and she really didn’t want to end up chained in her bedroom.

Instead, she started walking around the house calling for Spike, only she didn’t use the name Spike.  She called out things like “bleached menace” and “hyperactive twit” and “loser boy” and “second choice Spikey.”  Strangely, the vamp didn’t respond.

Eventually, she gave up and settled in front of the Playstation II to wait.  She had just managed to save the nuclear plant from exploding when she felt cool fingers run through her hair.

“Gah,” she yelped as she threw herself forward and practically threw the controller.

“Oi, watch the toys, pets, they break.”

“You….you,” Xander couldn’t even form the words, but Spike’s confused expression somehow made her even angrier.

“Get away from me,” Xander ordered hoarsely, all jokes suddenly lost in the face of her anger.

“Ya didn’t seem ta mind my company last night,” Spike pointed out with a wiggle of his eyebrow.

“That so does not count, I was drunk,” Xander nearly shouted as she jumped up from the floor.  She suddenly didn’t want to have to look up at him. “And it’s just really wrong of you to get me drunk on the first…oh god I don’t even have a word to fill in the blank. Date, fuck, shag, make-out session.” She stopped before the word ‘rape’ came out of her mouth because even saying it made her feel dirty. “What the hell *did* we have anyway?” Xander could feel the babble boiling up like some out of control teakettle about to boil over.

“Shhh, pet,” Spike reached out and pulled her into his arms. “Not like that,” the vampire promised, and cool hands smoothed the hair out of her face before tickling along her scalp.  Xander struggled to push away, bracing her arms against the vampire’s chest and pushing, but she didn’t have the strength to extricate herself and she eventually gave up once she realized that she was only wearing herself out.  She’d wait for a better chance, she thought as she looked around at all the wood furniture.

“Um, I was there, okay, I wasn’t *all* there, but I was enough there to know that’s how it went.” Xander stopped abruptly concerned about just how drunk she’d been, and just what kind of fantasies had been playing through her mind lately. “Unless that’s not how it went. Oh god, please don’t tell me that I imagined all that because I don’t have enough money to pay for the therapy it would take to get over that one.” Fear and embarrassment overtook her anger as suddenly as Principal Snyder could suck the fun out a field trip.

“Made love ta ya,” Spike agreed quietly in a voice Xander only knew Spike to use with Drusilla.

“Oh god, I’ve slipped off the candy wagon, haven’t I?” Spike only gave her a confused look and continued with the gentle rocking and shushing sounds. “You’re using your soothe the crazy Drusilla voice on me,” Xander nearly wailed.

“Oi, tryin’ ta keep you from goin’ nutters. Didn’t think ya’d get quite so upset.”

“You got me drunk,” Xander wailed.  “You got me drunk and took advantage of me.”

“Yeah, didn’t want your first time ta hurt. Afraid if it did, I wouldn’t get a second.”

“But you didn’t even ask what *I* wanted.”

“I could smell it, couldn’t I? You’d walk around with a soddin’ cloud of pheromones followin’ ya like some bloody Disney cartoon.” Xander stopped and thought about that. Had she given permission in a vampirey sort of way? If another human had made that assumption, she would have called it rape, but Spike wasn’t human and he didn’t have human senses and she really had been seriously lusting after that body of his. A thought came to her.

“No fair. Just because I smell lusty doesn’t mean I lust after you,” Xander snapped, and the arms encircling her suddenly disappeared as Spike sat back and made eye contact. Xander could see the swirls of gold in those blue eyes. She saw the hurt, and realized that her words actually meant something to the vampire, but no one ever really listened to her, part of her mind protested. She stumbled, unsure what to say to erase that hurt expression that just didn’t look right on Spike. “I mean, I might just find apple trees stimulating. In the past, I’ve been know to get turned on by linoleum. There was even this museum once, and they had this display of pots that I found really exciting,” Xander babbled, and she could see the gold fading out of Spike’s eyes only to be replaced by an amused smirk.

“So, where’s this tree I have to cut down in the name of protectin’ my honor?”

“Now I don’t want you chopping down every tree I have feelings for,” Xander returned, her fear and anger replaced as suddenly as it had come up as she crossed her arms in mock-rage. “I won’t have you turning every tree I like into firewood.”

“I’d bloody turn every tree in France ta firewood if that’s what it takes ta keep your eye from wanderin’,” Spike returned.

“Well that’ll make for some really shitty scenery. I thought we bought this place for the trees.”

“Don’t bloody care where I live, never have. But when you picked this place, I thought your relationship with those trees was purely platonic. Won’t have ya cheatin’ on me with soddin’ fruit,” Spike said with such a straight face that she could hardly believe the vampire’s control. She could feel her own lips twitch, and she finally lost it, laughing so hard she nearly fell off the settee and Spike had to catch her.

“You’re insane,” Xander accused the vampire.

“You’re the one who brought up trees,” Spike pointed out reasonably. The vampire was silent for a long time and then he said quietly, “Wait here a couple minutes, right pet?”

“Sure,” Xander agreed uncertainly. Spike’s mood had changed so quickly that Xander wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it’s not like her emotions were doing any better. She sat in the front room, watching the fire slowly die as she waited impatiently. Before long, Spike reappeared, stripped to the waist, and Xander was not noticing the way one muscle curved into another, his chest a virtual sculpture in pale flesh. Nope not noticing. And not remembering, either. Not remembering how it felt to trace those muscles with her fingers or feel a 120 year old vampire tremble with need for her. Nope, she followed Spike upstairs to one of the unused bedrooms without thinking about any of that.

Spike opened the door and stepped aside for her to go first. When she saw the furnishings, she could feel her heart rate accelerate, her stomach knot, and tears begin to form. The large bed had been pushed up against a stone support column, and chains wrapped around the column with the manacles lying near the pillow. More chains lay near the foot of the bed, the long connecting chain looped under the end of the bed frame. Xander began to tremble, and wished that she *was* drunk. Maybe Spike would still be willing to go get some of that wine, she thought.

“Shhh, it’s alright pet,” Spike embraced her from behind.

“You don’t have to…” Xander lost her voice. “I won’t fight, I promise,” she whispered.

“No, pet, they’re not for you. I never meant ta scare ya last night. I’ve been with Dru so long sometimes I forget you’re human.” Xander looked over her shoulder, and Spike stood there in his human face, his regret and concern openly showing. “You need ta feel safe, so those are for me,” Spike said, and she looked down to see a key pressed into her hand.

“Just don’t lose it. Dru did that once, and it took the bloody minions days ta file through the chains.” Xander stood speechless as Spike went over, placed the lower chains on the floor, and then lay down to fasten the upper manacles around his wrists. The chain was short enough that Spike couldn’t even sit up, so he lay helpless on the bed in just his jeans. Xander closed her fist around the key and wondered if the vampire had lost his mind. She could take the key and walk away. She could go break a table leg and stake him. She could find his cell phone and call Buffy. Xander looked into Spike’s carefully neutral expression and suddenly she understood. He gave her this power because it was the only way for the vampire to know whether he could truly trust her, trust her not to leave him. It showed how much the vampire wanted to trust her.  Most importantly, it forced her to make a decision she wasn’t sure she wanted to make. She’d lost her desire to stake him the minute he lay down on the bed and she realized that he really hadn’t meant to hurt her and really wanted to put things right, but she did know what options that left her.

Xander shivered slightly at the sight of Spike laid out on the bed, and part of her wanted to go over and unlock the chains even as another part wanted to test Spike’s resolve. Buffy never really trusted her. How many times had Buffy told her to stay behind, which made her feel like the girliest man on the planet; of course she now actually was the girliest man on the planet, but Buffy had been shutting her out back when it still mattered to her.

She’d known Willow forever, but she ruined that with her male libido, and she knew they would never be the same. They’d be friends and love each other, but they’d never have the sort of childlike unconditional trust they used to have. Angel had called her a child more than once, and Giles’s heavy sighs and rolled eyes certainly implied the same thing. None of them truly trusted her, and now this vampire had put himself under her control. Xander put the key on the tall dresser and started walking toward the bed.

“Wow, for a master vampire your survival instincts aren’t the best,” Xander teased, but Spike didn’t answer, his expression still carefully neutral. She walked over to the bed and traced a finger down the center of Spike’s chest, feeling the muscles twitch under her hand.

“You do know that I have no idea what I’m doing,” Xander felt a need to point out as she settled on the edge of the bed, close enough that the silky fabric of her dress rubbed against Spike’s leg.

“You used ta have manly bits yourself; you know what ta do with them,” Spike said quietly. Xander now ran her hand up and down Spike’s chest, wondering what it would take to make the vampire lose control.  She allowed a single finger tip to trace the length of one chest muscle up to the shoulder, where she then traced it up Spike’s arm, and still he lay there.  Xander could feel the warmth between her own legs now as she considered a few possibilities.  Shifting so that she knelt on the bed, she began to run a fingernail over the puckered nipple that already stood up, and then, without warning, she pinched the tender flesh, and she could feel Spike struggle to control himself as his stomach muscles tensed. 

She lowered herself to now slowly lick at the abused flesh, and Spike rewarded her by beginning to pant unneeded oxygen.  While sucking on one nipple, she used her hand to pinch and pull at the other right before biting down gently, and a stronger jerk throughout Spike’s body told her she was on the right path.  Sitting up, she looked down at her captive with his eyes closed and his fingers curling into fists.

“Show me your real face,” she softly ordered, and Spike’s eyes came open.

“Pet, ya don’t really—”

“Show me,” she demanded more firmly this time, and Spike shivered once before his face transformed into the ridges and angles of his demon features.

“Could you get free if you really needed to?” she asked curiously, and Spike tilted his head a minute before answering.

“No, can’t.”

“Try,” Xander said as she shifted so that she now straddled Spike’s hips and looked down at him.  He lay still for a minute before acquiescing and starting to struggle.  He pulled against the chains until his muscles stood out in thick cords and the whole bed creaked in protest, but the chains held.  He switched to jerking the chains so hard that a stone chip flew off and hit the wall, but he only succeeded in making a trickle of blood appear on his hand.

“Stop,” Xander said quickly, and Spike instantly stilled as Xander reached up and ran her finger through the blood on his hand.  “You hurt yourself,” she said, surprised and a little horrified that Spike had taken it so far.

“Nothin’ serious, pet.  Vampire here.”  Spike stopped when Xander brought her finger up to his mouth.  He opened and she slipped the bloody finger in and enjoyed the sensation of his tongue running down the length of her finger even as he sucked on the digit.  Xander curled her finger until she felt the sharp edge of his fang, and then she pulled, allowing the fang to cut her finger open, and the responding groan from the vampire told her that she’d guessed right.  Spike began to struggle again, but this time his body writhed and twisted in pleasure even as he sucked, and Xander had to admit that she’d never before had such a reaction to a simple cut.  She could feel him pulling the blood, and she found herself grinding down on his body. 

When he finally stopped, she slipped the finger out and realized that she’d been grinding herself down onto a fully erect Spike who still had his erection trapped in his jeans.  Xander flinched at the unintended pain she’d caused.

“God, Spike, I’m sorry,” she slid down to straddle his knees before reaching to undo his jeans.

“Bloody hell, pet.  Nothin’ ta be sorry about, I’m havin’ a lovely time here.” Spike sighed with another tug at the chains.

“I’d be ready for a hospital visit by now,” Xander said as she undid the button and then froze, realizing that if she went any farther she couldn’t blame it on the vampire.  This really was her last chance to back out with any kind of dignity.

“Vampires are a little tougher than humans, takes a little more ta make them feel,” Spike said, and Xander looked up to Spike’s face which looked blissfully happy even with the demon features.  She left his jeans fastened as she moved up to straddle his waist again.

“And what do you feel?” she asked as she let her weight down on his trapped erection.  Hey, he’d all but invited her, so she wasn’t going to feel guilty about his squirming moans…much.

“Feelin’ a bit randy,” Spike said breathlessly as Xander shifted, rubbing herself up and down on the jeans and the trapped erection beneath the zipper.

“What are you feeling about this, about us?” Xander bend over so that her hands were on either side of Spike’s face as she continued to wriggle and grind herself down onto him, a sensation that she was enjoying immensely.  Spike didn’t seem to mind much either if she was reading his expression right.

“Bloody hell, not a human, don’t have human words ta explain it,” he finally gasped out as she pushed down particularly hard.

“Then explain in vampire terms.” Xander could see the hesitation and fear appear in Spike’s eyes at that, and she leaned down to kiss him on the lips lightly.  “I’m bright enough to translate, so trust me to understand,” she whispered against his lips.  She then went to work on his neck, nibbling at the soft skin where neck and shoulder meet even as she shifted her knees to the inside of Spike’s legs so that he was forced to spread his legs and allow her to rest her weight on his crotch.  He remained silent.  She had stopped moving, but she could feel Spike thrust upward, crushing himself against her body.  She slipped a hand down to his waist and whispered “stop” in his ear.  He stilled although she could still feel his muscles quiver.  She lay between his legs, softly nipping his skin for several minutes before she could feel him take a deep breath in preparation for talking.

“You’re strong.  I want ta be part of that strength, and I want ta have your strength for my own.  I want ta have ya, possess ya, make sure no one else ever touches ya and destroy anythin’ that comes near ya.  I want ta taste ya and taste myself in ya and know that everyone else can see and smell me on ya.”  Xander thought about that for a moment, lying still on her captive vampire.

“Do you want to turn me?” Xander knew that she could never take that risk; she would never become a monster that Buffy would have to track down, too many bad memories down that path.

“Never,” Spike said almost instantly.  That answer surprised Xander, she thought she’d have to convince Spike, but he sounded almost adamant about not turning her.

“Why not?”

“Turned someone else once; wanted them ta be strong and healthy forever, and I just bollocked that up.”  Xander propped herself up on one elbow and she saw that Spike had dropped back into human features, the pain so clear on his face that she couldn’t imagine what would have caused him such agony.

“What happened?”  Spike turned away from her, staring at the far wall, and Xander reached out to pull his gaze back to hers.  “I won’t tell anyone; I won’t go running to Buffy or Angel, I promise,” she looked into Spike’s blue eyes and could see as his resolve crumbled.

“My mum,” he finally whispered.  “I turned my mum to save her, and she called me worthless, said she wanted ta get rid of me.”  Spike jerked his head away from her hand and returned to staring at the wall.  “Dru thought the same or she wouldn’t a turned ta every demon except me the minute she was strong enough to.”

“They’re both insane,” Xander whispered as she ran her fingers through the soft blonde hair, he obviously hadn’t had time to make his namesake spikes yet.  “You’re the one who survived your battles with Buffy, Angel didn’t and no chaos demon would.  You’re the one who took out the almighty Anointed One.  You’re the one who killed two slayers, not that I’m condoning that because in general, killing slayers is on my ‘no’ list.” Xander said with a bit of a shiver.  Spike turned to look at her, and Xander could see the raw hope and need.  “You’re the one that had Buffy scared the minute you came to town.  You’re the one that made Angel go all twitchy, warning Buffy that you were this big bad vamp who never gave up on what he wanted.”

“He said that?” Spike suddenly interrupted.


“Wanker,” Spike responded, but Xander could see the smile.

“What happened to your real face?” Xander asked, tracing her finger across Spike’s forehead, and the demon features appeared without delay.  Xander traced the ridges and ran her thumb over the heavy brows as she cupped his cheek.  “You’re the strong one who controls the demon and doesn’t have to destroy everything the way most vampires do,” Xander said, and she realized that she meant it.  When her friends found her, and she knew they eventually would, she would just have to make them see.  She slid down and finished unzipping Spike’s jeans before pulling them off. Big surprise, the vampire didn’t wear underwear.  Xander tossed the clothes aside and took the fully erect cock in her hand.  The skin around the member surprised her, but then every male body she’d ever seen in the showers had been circumcised, so she explored the differences knowing full well that she was torturing the vampire below her who groaned and shivered.

She looked down and wondered whether the vampire was enjoying this because of or in spite of the chains, and an evil thought crossed her mind.  She got up from the bed only then realizing that she had remained fully dressed while Spike lay on the bed naked and chained.  Kinky.  She couldn’t even imagine Buffy’s face if the slayer found them now.  Well, actually she could, and it made her smile just a little. 

“Oi, where ya goin’?” Spike complained from the bed, but he really couldn’t do much else, so Xander didn’t answer.  She walked to the foot of the bed and picked up on end of the shackles.  When she stood up, she could see Spike’s primitive lust as she closed one end around the vampire’s ankle.  Pulling the other end until he was fairly well immobilized but still had some wiggle room; she looped the chain around the heavy iron bed frame before bringing up the other end and locking it around his other ankle.  She had expected protests or taunts, but Spike just lay there panting, so she backed off and started undressing, slowly. 

“Bloody hell,” the vampire softly cursed before he started twisting against the chains, groaning loudly as she allowed the dress to fall to the ground and stepped out of it.  Turning her back, she reached around and unhooked her bra, dropping it and her panties before turning back around and giving Spike a nice long look.  Now she circled the bed and Spike helplessly jerked against the chains, his grunts becoming more and more animalistic.  Xander realized that she was teasing Spike somewhat beyond what she intended, but she wasn’t really sure what to do. 

Walking over to the bed, she knelt on the edge, running her hands up and down Spike’s legs before taking a deep breath and straddling the vampire.  She reached down, and took his cock in hand, guiding it as she lowered her weight, and now Spike did buck up, and Xander balanced herself with her knees as Spike thrust up like a bucking horse, throwing her up into the air with strength that a human could never manage.  She thrust back happily, feeling her own orgasm start. 

Remembering the previous evening, she reached down and used her hand to press into that happy spot, and she could feel the orgasm rage through her as she spasmed over and over, the contractions making Spike’s cock feel even larger as it pistoned into her.  She collapsed onto Spike’s chest and suddenly two points of fire descended into her neck, and she pushed down into the feeling before her brain could process the sensation.  She could feel Spike come in her and the burning at her neck stopped as she felt him licking her neck.  Her brain slowly processed the fact that he had bit her, and she really couldn’t come up with a reason to care as she slipped off and to the side where she curled up with an arm over Spike’s chest.

“Plannin’ on lettin' me up soon, pet?” Spike finally asked.

“Nope,” Xander said as she enjoyed the feeling of trust as Spike relaxed against the chains.

They lay there for probably an hour, silently enjoying each other’s company, or at least Xander enjoyed it.  Spike didn’t really have a choice.  Eventually Xander stretched and got up, leaving Spike chained to the bed.  She went to her own room and dressed before coming back and retrieving the key.  Sitting on the edge of the bed, she unlocked Spike’s wrists and he sat up and arched his back and stretched.  Xander walked around to the foot of the bed and unlocked Spike’s ankles, still not sure what to expect.  Spike retrieved the jeans from the corner and came back to take her hand in his own before he headed downstairs.

Xander followed silently, really not sure what to say after such an intense evening.  She had all sorts of conversation starters after getting shot down; *that* she had experience with.  Nothing in her past gave her any clue about how to start a conversation after actually having sex, and kinky sex too.  In the kitchen, Spike knelt down and reached to the back of a shelf, and he reappeared with a large red stone.  Spike reached out for her hand, and Xander held it out as Spike removed the bracelet.  Letting the teardrop shaped dangle drop into the perfectly shaped hole on the large paperweight sized stone, Spike pushed the object toward her.  Xander reached out and took it, realizing that this was the other half of Spike’s tracking device.

“Now it’s a present,” Spike said. 

Xander lifted the bracelet out and picked up the tracking stone, watching a small glow in the large stone move so that it always pointed toward the bracelet.  Walking out the back step, Xander put the gem down on the step and picked up a second rock.  Spike stood in the doorway and watched as Xander brought the rock down and shattered the stone.  Still silent, Xander walked back into the kitchen and wordlessly picked up the bracelet.  She hadn’t struggled with the clasp for more than two seconds before cool fingers took over and fastened the bracelet around her wrist.  She sighed in happiness, knowing to enjoy the moment because any time her life went this well, disaster was around the corner, and in this case disaster meant Buffy.  She pushed that realization to the back of her mind and just enjoyed the moment.

* * * * * * * *

Xander hung her dresses by their hems on the line.  Yes, she had a dryer in the basement, but she liked being outside in the late afternoon sun, and Spike had shown her his secret lair in the basement, so she really didn’t want to wake him.  This close to sundown he’d wake easily, and the sound of the dryer thumping under a load of laundry would do it.  Not that Xander minded waking Spike.  Spike usually woke up horny as hell, and she was quickly learning to enjoy his lustiness. 

Often, he seduced her with soft kisses, but when she would wrap her legs around him and bite his neck, he’d respond with a good ravishing, and all she had to do was look toward the spare bedroom, and Spike would happily submit, allowing himself to be chained while she played in any number of ways that it embarrassed her to even think about, yet in that room all modesty was exiled to some far corner of her mind.  Yep, awake Spike was a good thing, and she was now trying to remember why she didn’t want to wake him.

A car rumbled up the road, and Xander ignored it, one or two cars a day passed on their remote road, so she continued to hang dresses feeling very French as she stood behind her chateau with her laundry basket of French dresses.  Who knows, maybe she’d even learn French.  She didn’t notice that the car had pulled up their drive until she heard a car door slam and a voice call in French.

“M'excuser, pouvoir je parle avec vous un moment, s'il vous plait,” stumbled an awkward voice that sounded strangely familiar.  Xander looked around the edge of her hanging clothes, and sure enough Giles, Buffy and Willow stood next to the car.  She smiled as she took a step forward, but their blank expressions reminded her that things had changed, changed more than the three of them might realize.  She froze, but then Willow’s face brightened, and she ran forward so that Xander found herself being crushed by Willow huggage.

“Xander!” Willow sang, and over Willow’s shoulder, she could see Buffy’s eyes go wide, and Giles snatch the glasses off his face to start polishing them as he suddenly examined the ground.

“Oh thank goddess, we looked everywhere and finally Giles did this location spell, and he promised to show me how to do one, but he’s still a little angry about the whole turning you into a girl, and you aren’t still angry about that, are you?” Willow said as she let go and took a step back even as she curled up her nose in embarrassment.

“No problem, been emasculated any number of times, so we’ll just put it in that column,” Xander replied, and now Buffy stepped up. 

“Look at you,” Buffy said with a small tug to the newly hung laundry.  “Have to admit, thought we’d find you hanging in a basement somewhere.” Xander could hear the confusion, the suspicion in her voice, but Xander really didn’t have words to ease her suspicions since she really did have quite a bit of freedom, certainly enough to go get a stake off one of the apple trees and stop Spike, but she hadn’t chosen to do that.  She wouldn’t choose to do that.

Giles stepped up next, and he put up a hand as if to pat Xander on the shoulder when an angry voice from the shadows of the house made his hand freeze.

“Touche la et tu crêves,” Spike snarled.  “Ya need a translation on that?”

“No, that’s quite all right.  I understand French quite well even if I am a little rusty speaking it.”  Giles pulled his hand back and began polishing his glasses until Xander wondered if it was possible to actually erode glass away with excessive polishing.  Buffy for her part took the predictable route and stepped between Spike and the group, despite the fact that the sunlight was an impenetrable barrier for the vampire.

“Buffy,” Xander began as she stepped forward, and then words failed her.  She stepped forward so that she stood between Spike and Buffy.  “Buffy things have happened that I probably need to explain before you start dusting—in the vamp dusting sense that is since I’m not really great with housework and I really could use help with the dusting dusting part of it.”

“Xander, we are well aware of your feelings, and the spell’s affect on your feelings.  The spell book Willow so unwisely chose to use mislabeled several significant spells, including the one she cast.  Her spell had certain side-effects.”  Spike started to growl, and Xander rushed in to defend the vampire and her feelings for him.

“This isn’t about the spell. I didn’t wake up from that spell and go ‘poof’ I’m in love with Spike,” Xander pointed out as she backed up toward the house and Spike.  Buffy moved forward, but Giles put out a hand to stop her.  Willow just looked guilty.

“No, ya woke up mouthy and bitchy.” Spike said as he stood with his arms crossed glaring at Buffy.  For a moment, Xander was surprised, but then she recognized the “Big Bad” persona that Spike had always put on in front of the gang, the persona that she herself had thought *was* Spike until she had gotten to know him better.

“And that would be different from now…how?” Xander asked with a crooked smile, happy to play his game.

“Isn’t really,” Spike shrugged. “You’re just lucky I fancy mouthy and bitchy.”

“Okay, is anyone else really getting weirded out by this? Cause, me? I’m thinking stake the vampire and work the rest out later.”  Buffy complained as she stepped forward despite Giles’ restraining hand.  Spike growled; Xander backed up farther.

“Really, Buffy. We have discussed this.”  Giles turned to Spike now.  “We really do need to discuss the repercussions of this spell, to which you yourself have been subjected.  If you agree to,” Giles took a large breath, “guarantee safe passage, we agree to leave without a fight at the end of our conversation.”

Spike glared out at the group with narrowed eyes, and Xander could feel the ‘no’ coming so she whispered, barely loud enough for Spike, but certainly soft enough that no one else could hear.

“Please, Spike.”  Xander watched Spike take her request into consideration, and even though he was nearly game-faced in his annoyance, he stepped back into the house to allow the group to enter.  Spike had disappeared, but Xander led the group into the front room and the vampire stood there leaning against the stone and smoking.  He hadn’t smoked much lately, but it was a better use for his hands than choking Buffy so Xander didn’t comment.

The group settled in, clustering on one couch while Xander settled on the settee.

“The spell is an ancient ritual for binding two people in a love spell as part of a Celtic treaty,” Giles explained.  “And while the gender change is a surprise, the spell itself is really quite easy to reverse—”

“Oi, never said ya could undo the spell.” Spike turned to face the group, and Xander could see the hints of gold in his eyes.

“And I never said you had a choice. If I didn’t need to save Xander, I’d stake you right here and now.” Buffy quickly stood.

“Hey! For once, not in need of rescue here. Well, not unless you mean fashion rescue, ‘cause Spike’s sense of fashion seems to be stuck in the 19th century.” Xander gestured at the deep blue dress with a velvet bodice that Spike had picked that morning.

“Really? I think it’s nice. Not really something I’d wear to do laundry, but the color’s good and the hair, with that French braid, and hey, you have a French braid in France.” Yep, count on Willow to stop a fight by shocking everyone into silence with completely pointless babbling. Xander was beginning to suspect that she did it on purpose.

“Yes, fascinating as that may be, we do need to…”

“No spells. Had enough of the bloody mojo ta last a lifetime.”

“Spike,” Xander started.

“No.” Spike cut her off before she could finish, and she could see the tension in the way Spike tilted his head and bounced on the balls of his feet.

“Spike, let’s talk a minute.” Xander pulled Spike out of the room, the shocked faces of his friends watching as she dragged the cursing vampire to the kitchen with assurances that they’d be right back.

“Bloody. No.” was his response the minute they reached the privacy of the kitchen.

“Spike, what if Giles is right? What if this is just the spell?” Spike fell silent at that, and started rummaging around in kitchen drawers for a cigarette.

“Do you want this if it isn’t real?” Xander asked, unsure what answer she wanted from the vampire.

“Want this however I can get it,” Spike finally admitted as he lit a cigarette and leaned against the counter so that he faced away.

“I want this too, but I want to know that you really want me. I don’t want to go through life thinking that I’m not good enough and you only like me because Willow’s spell made you,” Xander could feel the tears start, and before she knew it, Spike had flicked the cigarette into the sink and wrapped his arms around her. Realizing that this might be the last time to feel this safe and this loved, she melted into the embrace and shut her eyes against the pain and tears that threatened to spill out.

“You’re good ‘nough. You were before the spell and ya are now.”

“You used to call me the moron,” Xander whispered, the memory cutting like a knife because now she realized that even if the spell hadn’t made her love Spike, it probably had forced Spike to care for her. She couldn’t come up with a better explanation for why the vampire had been so nice, for why the vampire had allowed her to do the things she’d done.

“Never meant it. It’s what hurt ya the most, so I said it.”

“Exactly. You never cared about me before this.” Xander took a deep breath. “I know why I love you with your big bad attitude that hides this sensitive person who reads me poetry and trusts me. I love how strong you are but you never use that strength against me; you make me feel…” Xander lost the words and could only cry.

“Shh, pet. I’m love’s bitch, I am. Always have been. Gave you my heart, and you’ll have it ‘til the day you throw me out.”

“No, you didn’t give me your heart. Willow gave it away for you, and I can’t live with knowing that.”

“You want to do the spell,” Spike said quietly.

“I won’t let them stake you after, not that they could what with the whole master vampire thing you have going,” Xander clung to Spike, knowing that when the spell ended she’d never again get to feel his arms, well not unless he was draining her to get back at Willow for the humiliation of being forced to love a human. The way she felt right now, she wouldn’t even argue if he did want to kill her.

“Right, then let’s get this done,” Spike pushed her away so suddenly that Xander had to grab at the counter to keep from falling. She looked up and Spike’s face had become stone: unemotional, unmoving, and unreadable.

Xander reached out to touch him one last time while she still could, but Spike turned his back and walked out the kitchen door. Xander wiped the back of her hand over her eyes and took a deep breath before joing the rest of them in the sitting room. 

The three Scoobies sat on one of the couches; Spike leaned against the fireplace, and three pairs of eyes moved as though watching a tennis match—Spike to her to Spike to her.

“One condition,” Xander said as she came into the room and sat on the settee. She closed her eyes at the reminder of the night of passion that had started on this piece of furniture. At least she had the memories; they’d have to carry her through a life without Spike. “If this works, Spike gets safe passage out.”

“Oh please, I gave him that deal once, and he didn’t keep his word very well. Besides, once you have your…um…yeah…once you get *that* back, you’ll want Spike dust more than all of us,” Buffy said dismissively.

“Maybe,” Xander conceded just to avoid fighting, and she could see Spike flinch with just the twitch of a muscle. “But he’s earned it.”

“Yeah, by kidnapping you?” Buffy demanded incredulously.

“No, by having Willow put this spell on him and by taking care of me. If you don’t agree, I won’t be part of a counter spell.” Xander crossed her arms and prepared to wait them out on this point.

“Well yes, if that’s your condition, I’m sure we can all live with that, especially since Spike is unlikely to return to Sunnydale after his infatuation with a human becomes known in the demonic community,” Giles agreed with a meaningful stare at Buffy who huffed and rolled her eyes. Spike simply snorted, but Xander could translate that noise into ‘as if I soddin’ care about those wankers.’ Xander gave a small smile and just hoped that once Spike hated her again that she could find someone who made her half as happy.

Xander nodded, and Willow began to pull ingredients out of a backpack. Giles started a small fire where he busied himself with boiling water from a sealed bottle, and Buffy just glared. For his part, Xander thought about what his life was about to become. He’d go back to being the weak member of the group and having his manhood constantly undermined, which now that he thought about it was actually worse than just having his manhood magically removed. Cordy was probably waiting for him back home, unwilling to miss cheerleading practice just to retrieve him, and boy that really said a lot about their relationship.

He’d missed a couple of weeks of school, so he could pretty well count on that sucking, and his parents...well, actually he didn’t know what he’d find with his parents. They rarely ever noticed him except to blame his low grades and general worthlessness on each other’s genes. He’d never hated his own life quite so much, but Willow continued to stir and Giles continued to heat, and Buffy continued to glare, and Xander sat there and let them take away her future, but she knew she had to do it. Forcing Spike to love her was like putting the vampire on a leash, which was far less fun than restraints. Oh, naughty thoughts. She wouldn’t leash him, so even if it meant giving Spike up, she’d cut the leash.

She looked at Spike’s stiff back, and she remembered what it felt like to have that strong body under her, yielding to her, trusting her. She now knew it was the spell, but she couldn’t help feeling the heat of those memories. Spike must have smelled her because he turned to look at her with a puzzled expression.

“Can smell the apple trees from here,” Xander shrugged, and Spike suddenly laughed.

“Goin’ ta get my axe yet,” Spike answered while the other three looked on with confused expressions.

“I’ll stake you before you get half way across the room,” Buffy threatened with narrowed eyes, and Xander exchanged a confused look with Spike before she realized that Buffy had misinterpreted Spike’s comment as a threat.

“Oh yeah, protect all the apple trees of the world from the mighty axe wielding master vampire,” Xander giggled, and Spike gave her his best smile, the one without a hint of lust or leer or jeer in it.

“What?” Buffy asked, clearly confused, which seemed to be the emotion of the day.

“Nothin’ for you ta worry about, slayer. Joke my girl and I share.”

“And we’re back to wiggins-land. Xander is not your girl, I mean, she’s not a—he’s not a girl at all!” Buffy protested.

“Don’t know ‘bout *that*,” Spike insisted with a predatory leer. Xander blushed.

“Not to interrupt this disturbingly enlightening conversation,” Giles interrupted, “but the potion is ready. Spike, Xander, you need to be near the potion and touching when the incantation is read.” Spike took a step forward and offered his hand as though he were a gentleman offering to help her from a carriage. Xander took his hand and moved to the end of the coffee table where Willow had set up the ingredients and Giles prepared to pour the boiling water. Spike slipped an arm around her waist, and Xander allowed herself to lean into him one last time.

“I would ask that everyone refrain from killing once the counter spell has been cast,” Giles said with a warning look to each member of the assembled group. “Since you cast the original spell, you’ll need to read the incantation,” he said to Willow as he put a piece of paper down on the coffee table. Willow began chanting, and after a couple of seconds, Giles began to add the boiling water, causing the potion to steam and hiss. With a flash of light, the counter spell exploded, and Xander found herself crumpled on the floor behind the settee.

“Oi, bloody hell witch, don’t you know any mojo that doesn’t involve explosions?”

“That actually was supposed to happen,” Willow’s voice answered, slightly apologetic.

“Xander, you okay, pet?” Spike called, and Xander could hear Buffy start to swear.

“Damn it, you said this would put everything right again, and Spike calling Xander ‘pet’ does not qualify as right unless you’re in some bizzaro hell dimension.”

“I’m fine Buffy, really, thanks for asking.” Xander stood and watched as the room fell silent, turning to stare.

“Okay, this seems familiar. All I need is Willow offering cookies and Spike showing me a mirror.”

“Cookies, I can do cookies. I’m totally *going* to do cookies, a lot of cookies,” Willow promised with her best totally freaked out expression. Xander looked over and Spike had taken a round mirror off the wall and walked forward, holding it out like a shield. Xander looked in the mirror and froze. Long dark hair pulled back with a few strands escaping the French braid Spike had made, big brown doe eyes in a familiar female face, and small lips still colored with red.

“Okay, I’m guessing the counter spell didn’t work,” Xander said as she gazed at herself.

“I’d never even considered, well, not that I had any reason to,” Giles took off his glasses and started cleaning them furiously.

“G-man?” Xander asked.

“Wot? Ya got ahold of some old stint root again?”

“Well, no. I was very careful with the ingredients; this is a very complex spell, one that a novice never should have attempted,” Giles said dryly. Willow ducked her head.

“Can I stake the vampire or not?” Buffy asked from the other side of the room, and Spike turned to snarl at her. Xander just shook her head and put a hand on Spike’s forearm.

“No eating my friends,” she quietly ordered, and Spike gave Buffy one last snarl before returning his attention to Giles.

“So, Watcher, what ya bollocks up this time?”

“The spell can’t be reversed unless at least one of the parties involved *wants* to leave the relationship.  The original spell was a love compatibility spell intended to test the potential strength of a possible union.  Rival Celtic chiefs would allow their children to undergo the spell, and if the couple wasn’t compatible or if one of them wanted out of the relationship, the spell could be easily broken.” Giles explained while still cleaning his glasses. “This is really quite unexpected.”

“So the spell can’t be broken unless we want to break up?” Xander asked.


Xander looked over at Spike and thought of the possibilities: staying in France, going home and helping protect Sunnydale with Spike by her side, making a life without her parents, seeing the world, just having someone who completely and totally trusted her. She looked into Spike’s smug expression that clearly screamed ‘I’m one irresistible bastard,’ and Xander found herself silently agreeing with a smile.

“I can live with girly bits,” she said with a shrug, and then she found her mouth occupied with Spike kissage. In the background her friends made various noises, but she’d deal with them later. Right now, she wanted to kiss her vampire.



Mangled Spells and Manlier Bits

“I don’t know if I can do this,” Xander said as she straightened out her skirt and tried to ignore the feeling of worthlessness that the school inspired.

“Fine by me,” Spike said, and Xander felt an arm tug her back toward the exit.

“Spike!” she protested in a teasing sing-songy voice. “Stop it.”

“Oi, you’re the one who said ya couldn’t do it.”

“Yeah, and there are lots of things I can’t do that I still do,” Xander said and then stopped as she considered her own logic on that one. Spike just laughed.

“Good thing I got the practice in with Dru, otherwise I’d spend all my time tryin’ ta figure out what you meant.” Xander felt Spike’s strong arm tighten around her waist, and thankful for that tacit support, she pushed open the doors to the library. Back at the old mansion Spike had gotten them, she had begged Spike to let her come alone and try to talk to her friends without the added burden of Spike and Buffy snarling at each other, but now that she was actually walking through the doors, she was grateful that Spike had refused to even consider letting her face her old life alone.

Even as she pushed the doors open, she could hear the aggravated voices inside fall silent. So many times she’d been at that table, hurrying to shut up as some outsider wandered into their inner sanctum. Okay, technically ‘he’ had been at the table, but still the whole point is that she—he—had been on the inside and now she felt like the invading outsider who everyone shut out of conversation.

“Yes, Xander nice to see you back home again,” Giles said as he look everywhere except at Spike and Xander. 

“Xander?! You’re Xander?!” demanded a shrill voice, and Xander looked over to see Cordelia so shocked that she held her nail file half way to her hand without moving.

“Cordie, hey.” Xander answered, suddenly realizing that she hadn’t ever technically broken up with the cheerleader although the whole having kinky sex as a woman with Spike thing probably signaled a bump in their relationship.

“Don’t ‘hey’ me mister,” Cordelia lit into him, nail file dropping to the table. Buffy and Willow visibly flinched at Cordelia’s word choice, but Cordelia herself continued on. “You go and start sleeping with that…that…”

“Vampire, we’re called vampires,” Spike offered all mimicking helpful and fake smiles.

“You boyfriend-stealing, over bleached, fashion reject from the eighties.” Xander froze, sure that she was about to see Cordelia eviscerated. Buffy clearly had the same idea because she slid off the table and stepped closer to Cordelia protectively. And hey, she’d finally found a way to get the two of them to stop fighting, and yet it somehow didn’t feel of the right. Suddenly the tension broke when Spike started laughing.

“Ya got balls on ya, cheerleader; I’ll give ya that.”

“Don’t try to suck up to me.” Cordelia demanded, and Xander looked up at Spike’s amused expression. “I’m not forgetting the whole Halloween trying to eat me incident.”

“Funny, I don’t remember tryin’ ta eat ya. I’d think I’d remember a meal that complained as much as you,” Spike shrugged, clearly not bothered by the accusation.

“She was dressed like the cat,” Xander added a half-second before her brain reminded her that she wanted the whole conversation to end.

“Oi, I remember that now. If I’d known you were so lively, I would’ve made a point of grabbin’ ya and shaggin’ ya good before turnin’ ya, luv.” Cordelia stood opened mouthed and wide eyed, and Xander reminded herself to take a mental picture because never again would she see a speechless Cordelia Chase.

“William,” warned a voice from the shelves, and Angel appeared behind the banister overlooking the main library.

“Wot?” Spike asked, all innocence and blue eyes. “Always did fancy the mouthy ones. Must have somethin’ ta do with their mouths.”

“I…Well…You, you—vampire,” Cordelia complained as she huffed her way past them and out of the library. And again with the firsts because that had sounded more like Xander-babble than classic Cordelia.

Xander watched Angel come down the stairs and lean against the far wall, clearly making his presence known even as he kept his distance from Spike.

“So, to what do we owe the horror of this visit?” Buffy asked.

“Thought I had an invite,” Spike said with just the right note of obviously faked hurt. “If not, we’ll just be leavin’,” Xander felt herself pulled toward the exit before she even had a chance to say hello to her friends.

“Just you hold on a minute,” Willow of all people demanded, and when everyone including Spike, looked at her in surprise, the red began creeping up her face. “I mean we all wanted to talk to Xander and didn’t think you’d want to come which is why we didn’t ask you to come, but we do really want to talk to Xander.”

“What she said,” Oz offered from a chair, the only one not obviously bothered by the vampire’s presence. 

“It’s just as well he came; we need to make some agreements,” Angel said from his side of the room, and Xander gasped as the arm around her waist tightened uncomfortably.

“Sorry, pet,” Spike offered before loosening up.

“Okay, I have an idea.” Xander said as she stepped away from Spike, using her hand to keep him in place while she took a step to the side. “How about we talk without any threats of death or reminders of death or discussion of past attempted death.”

“Yes, this is undoubtedly uncomfortable for everyone involved,” Giles said as he returned to his seat at the table, but Xander noticed that the librarian sat in the chair closest to Angel. Strangely enough, ‘Spike as therapist’ ran through her mind as she realized that the master vampire seemed to be solving all sorts of trust issues within the group.

“I’m not uncomfortable,” Oz offered.

“Well, I’m still on board with the frequent and indiscriminate use of Mr. Pointy,” Buffy said, but she settled back into her chair.

“Personally, I’m in the ‘uncomfortable but wanting to work it out’ camp,” Xander submitted as she stepped forward and took a seat at the end of the table that put her closest to Spike who still leaned against the counter. Buffy just pulled out the earlier referenced Mr Pointy and started twirling it.

“What kind of truce are you offering, William?” Angel asked, and the tone suggested to Xander that the question had serious implications.

“Not offerin’ anythin’, Peaches,” Spike snapped back, but then he shrugged his shoulder and continued in a much quieter voice. “If Xander wants ta stay here, we’ll stay, but I won’t put up with the soddin’ slayer makin’ murder faces at me.”

“Not murder without a victim, and you’ll just turn into little puffs of dust,” Buffy muttered. Spike growled.

“William,” Xander looked up in alarm at that sharp tone, but when he looked to Spike for some sort of signal, Spike remained leaning back, unconcerned. “Have you lost your mind?” Angel demanded, and Xander reviewed the conversation up to now. Death threats, uncomfortable…death threats, work it out…implied death threats, offering… death threats. Okay, unless she had really just missed something, Angel’s words made absolutely no sense.

“I do my own thing, and I’ll do whatever I soddin’ want, Peaches. Said I’ll stay with Xander and I will, but I’m not interested in your bloody opinion,” Spike was clearly approaching a breaking point and Xander stood up to go stand next to him.

“And I’m thinking we have to leave. You know, left something in the oven, need to go wash my hair, left the lights on or something,” Xander quipped as she started gently pushing Spike toward the exit. If she had to choose, she chose Spike, but now she just had to get him out before someone ended up dust.

“But we haven’t gotten to talk,” Willow wailed, and that made Xander stop. Xander looked at Spike who shrugged his disinterest and then at Willow who would have stood if Oz’s hand wasn’t keeping her in her chair.

“Willow, this just isn’t going the way I planned, you know with the slow motion embraces and the Hallmark-moment tears. I just really think we need to leave before the testosterone gets any higher.” At that point, Xander would have beaten a retreat to the exit, but Spike froze seconds before the library doors swung open madly and Faith breezed in like a storm.

“God, no wonder I can’t find any vamps out there to stake, B. You got ‘em all in here. Not nice to be greedy.” Xander took one look at the dark slayer’s predatory gaze and bouncing energy and stepped between Faith and Spike.

“Oh no, no staking my vampire,” Xander exclaimed.

“And why should I care about you?” Faith asked with raised eyebrows, and Xander suddenly had the impression that Faith was a female reincarnation of Spike with the bouncing energy and quick wit, and no, no, no. That was just wrong. Not gay, not gay, not gay, although the thought of two women in a bed had been kind of sexy even back when she had manly bits, but Faith plus Spike would quickly equal either Faith plus dust or Spike plus bloody body, so no.

“It’s Xander,” Willow pointed out, and Faith held an expression of shock for a good three or four seconds before roaring out her laughter. 

“Oh god, I knew you were a slightly girly hiding behind Buffy and all, but this is just a little much.” Xander felt the shift behind her and heard growling that she knew meant that Spike’s demon had come out to play.

“So, when do I get my vampire? I mean Xander has *hers*, and Buffy is running around with tall dark and unholy, so when do I get my pet vamp?” Faith finally asked, completely ignoring the game-faced vampire whose growls would have sent most sane creatures running for cover. Xander glanced over, and Buffy had leapt to her feet.

“Xander’s not a coward, and I’m not a pet, and if ya want to keep your insides on the inside, you’d do well ta remember that, slayer,” Spike snarled.

“Right, real scared now,” Faith said as she turned her back and walked towards the others. Xander felt Spike tense for the leap, and she pressed back into him, throwing him off balance and preventing the imminent fight. She watched the group as Faith threw herself down into a chair, and Buffy retreated to Angel’s side. Of course, that drew Xander’s attention to Angel who had the most inscrutable expression she had ever seen, not that the vampire was very scrutable usually, but this went beyond normal.

“Peaches may have his soul keepin’ him to the straight and narrow,” Spike continued now that Xander had stopped the physical fight, “but I’m not a pet vampire on a leash, so you’d best remember that.”

“Or what? You think you can take me?”

“Already proven I can a couple of times.”

“Really? I heard Buffy kicked your ass, took an ax to your head.” Faith smirked.

“Actually, it was Buffy’s mom who hit…” Xander corrected her automatically

“Pet,” Spike warned with a growl, but the damage had been done.

“Her mom,” Faith all but squealed. “You got clobbered by her mom?”

“Pet, you are going to learn how to keep your mouth closed.” Spike snapped, but Xander could hear both the anger and the betrayal. The betrayal bothered her more than Spike’s anger which she had already learned not to fear.

“Yeah, probably not since I’ve been saying stupid stuff since I could talk,” Xander replied with a self-deprecating grin.

“So why exactly isn’t bleach-boy dust yet?” Faith asked, and Buffy opened her mouth to answer when Xander interrupted.

“Hey, Buffy’s tried to turn him to dust lots of times, and it doesn’t generally work. Heck, if he’d had one less stupid minion, he would have killed Angel in that church, so the killing of each other thing hasn’t worked out. Think it’s time for a new plan, so here’s an idea—let’s try one that doesn’t involve mutual homicide.


By the end of two hours, everyone had reached a tentative agreement to avoid accidental stakings, mass murder, magic spells, hell mouth opening, and unnecessary torture. Xander noticed that no one offered to stop with the insults, but then she wasn’t stupid enough to try to push for that. She’d be happy to just be able to have her friends without anyone getting eaten or dusted. When Spike’s temper seemed ready to flare at Faith’s needling and Buffy’s obvious frustration, Xander stood and stretched.

“Guys, I’m really zonked, and I have a ton of school work to catch up on,” Xander said. From the looks of utter disbelief she got back from everyone around the table, she guessed that she hadn’t picked the best excuse for a hasty exit.

“Yes! You’re coming back to school!” Willow sang in joy.

“Um, not really.”

“Even on a hell mouth someone’s bound to notice the changes, luv,” Spike said to Willow, and Xander didn’t miss that Spike had started using endearments toward Willow. The first time her vampire had called Willow ‘luv,’ she had looked in near-panic toward Oz, hoping that the werewolf wouldn’t be offended, but Oz had shrugged an indifferent shoulder and gone back to contemplating the nature of the universe or whatever he did when he had that look on his face. Heck, for all she knew Oz was mentally undressing Willow and having wild animal sex, but with a deep, thoughtful expression. She really needed to develop that skill.

“Yeah, that would be a no on coming back to school because I really don’t want to take boy’s P.E.” 

“Oh, I don’t know. Larry wouldn’t mind,” Buffy said with a leer that could rival Spike’s. Xander promptly started choking on absolutely nothing.

“Right, Larry. Absolutely no Larry lookage for Xander. Or no looking at Xander by Larry ‘cause I wouldn’t be looking at Larry at all so that’s no on the lookage from either direction.” Xander babbled as she stood and made a beeline for the exit. “Nope, I’ll be taking classes by computer since Xander Harris has a horrible, disfiguring long-term illness. So tomorrow night for the old pre-slayage meeting?”

“Right, shortly before sundown,” Giles agreed, and having made that graceful and not at all suspicious exit, Xander all but ran for the hallway. Spike didn’t even catch up until she had burst out of the building and nearly run into Principal Snyder.

“Really, watch your step,” Snyder snapped and just then Spike came out of the building.

“Are you all right, sweetheart?” Spike asked in a voice more Giles than Spike.


“I’m so sorry for this mishap. My wife and I wanted to see your facilities; my younger brother is joining us from England, and I’m afraid that those rude young people in the library quite upset my young wife,” Spike said in perfectly serious tones. “William Barstow and my wife Alexa,” Spike held out his hand for a quick shake and Xander could practically watch Snyder transform into the ‘suck up to snobby adults’ mode.

“Really, *William*, it was nothing,” Xander insisted with a hint of warning in her voice.

“Now, sweetie, I know you think that’s just how American teenagers talk, but there really was no reason for such rudeness simply because you rightly pointed out that immoral and prurient behavior has no place in the school.” Without giving Xander time to even open her mouth, Spike had pushed her past Snyder and hurried her down the sidewalk to the street.

“Spike, that was evil,” Xander hissed once Snyder had disappeared into the building.

“Yep, bein’ evil has advantages,” Spike agreed without slowing the pace.

“Well I just hope Willow and Oz get out of there before the wrath of Snyder falls,” Xander commented because she really did know that Buffy and Faith deserved it for some of the barbs they had thrown. She wasn’t even inclined to feel sorry for Giles who had done absolutely nothing to try and support them. 

“Werewolf can look out for himself and his girl. I’m more interested in why you went all babblin’ at the mention of this git Larry.” Xander could hear the slight growl at the end of Larry’s name.

“Now, now. Don’t go chasing the apple trees,” Xander chided.

“Won’t have ‘im lookin’ at ya.”

“Not a problem there; Larry’s gay.”

“But, I thought…” Xander had to laugh; two hours with the slayerettes and Spike was already catching the confusion virus.

“Yeah, well Buffy doesn’t know that. I thought Larry was the werewolf and so I went in all sympathetic telling him how I understood because I knew about those primitive urges, and he thought I was coming out of the closet, so he sorta came out with me.”

“Only you, pet. Do you people ever understand each other when ya talk?”

“Not usually, but you kinda get used to just being confused after a while.”

“Prefer not spendin’ that much time with them,” Spike finished, and the two of them walked the rest of the way in silence. Xander had to admit that she had never before known anyone that she could be so comfortable just being around without talking.

“Pet, left ya a surprise upstairs in the third bedroom.” Feeling a tingle of anticipation, Xander hiked up her skirts and ran up the stairs like a five-year old rushing to a Christmas tree. When she opened the door, she stopped, speechless beyond even her capacity to babble.

“Like it?” Spike asked, and Xander couldn’t really come up with a response. 

“Um, wow. Don’t really know what to say,” she finally admitted.

“Thought ya’d like it, pet. Ya always seemed ta like our games.” Xander felt Spike’s arms wrap around her from behind, and she could tell that her unenthusiastic reaction bothered him.

“I love our games,” she insisted immediately. “I guess I just don’t see what you get out of them so I’ll admit to feeling a little guilty.” Xander stepped forward and fingered the chains hanging from the ceiling. Immediately her mind went to things she could do if Spike wasn’t chained lying down, but her guilt quickly overcame her desire. White hats were not supposed to enjoy this stuff, and now that she was back in Sunnydale, it was just so much harder to turn off that little disapproving voice that sounded frighteningly like Giles. And any thought of Giles in these circumstances was likely to have a less than good influence on any incipient lustiness.

“Bloody hell, I should ask you that; you’re the one who has ta do all the work when we play like this. Sometimes I think you lot with souls can turn anythin’ into guilt.”

“Yeah, but I get to play with you and feel you tremble under my hands and know that you trust me. I wouldn’t want to play this way all the time, but I have to admit that the sight of a chain gets me hotter than linoleum and apple trees put together. I just sometimes worry that you give me all this trust and I’m going to mess it up,” Xander finally admitted even as her fingers went to work on their own, unbuttoning Spike’s shirt slowly. She ran the tips of her fingers down his chest, feeling the smooth silk ripple as his chest muscles tensed. Then she slipped her hands under the now open shirt, pressing her palms into the cool skin and feeling the minute twitches and movement.

“I like givin’ ya those things,” Spike said as he twitched his shoulders causing the shirt to fall to the floor. “With vampires, it’s all about ownin’: who owns who.”

“No ownership,” Xander muttered as she stepped into his arms and wrapped herself around his naked torso before nipping at his shoulder.

“Minions were mine, I was Dru’s, Dru was Angel’s. When Angelus came back, he made sure I knew that I belonged to him too. Vampires are all about ownership.” Xander felt herself eased backwards, and she let Spike guide her as she concentrated on trying to make his nipple even harder. When Spike stopped, she wasn’t surprised to find them under the chains. “If no one owns ya and you own no one else, you’re soddin’ alone.”

“Keys?” she whispered.

“On the shelf, pet.” Her lust rising up to overpower her guilt, she reached up and locked the chains around Spike’s wrist, suspending his hands slightly above his head and leaving him lots of room to twist and writhe, just the way she liked it.

“So, you see us as ownership?” she asked as she ran a fingernail down his back and into the back of his jeans.

“Tried ownin’ you, didn’t do a very damn good job,” Spike admitted as he shivered and jerked against the chains. Xander knew he wanted her to do more, so she backed off a little and just touched him with the one finger as she slowly circled.

“So having given up on doing the owning, you’re okay with being the one owned? I would think that a vampire wouldn’t want to submit to a human.” 

“You’re not most humans, pet. ‘Sides, not like you’re tryin’ ta keep me from bein’ me—evil and all.” Spike pointed out even as he pressed his body toward her in an attempt to gain more contact. “If ya were, ya would’ve stopped me from sendin’ Snyder after your little friends.”

“But if you can’t chain me up, you need me to do the chaining,” Xander pressed, unwilling to stop this close to understanding something important.

“Look at where we live, pet,” Spike pointed out, and it took Xander a minute to catch that train of thought. After Buffy left, Spike had argued for Spain, China, and England…hell, he had even wanted to show Xander that Africa had more than mud huts. Xander had only wanted to come home. Before Xander could even start feeling guilty for forcing Spike to move back, Spike continued. “For vampires that’s how it works. That’s why it tore me up so bad in the end when Dru wouldn’t even beat me or try ta kill me. If there’s no one takin’ control, there’s no relationship.”

“What about love?”

“We bloody had that too; Judge wanted ta kill us for that, but I am what I am, luv: a vampire.” Xander stopped and put a hand on Spike’s chest, looking up into his clear blue eyes that held no shame, no guilt, no need to hide his nature.

“You’re so much stronger than Angel ever will be,” she whispered as she stepped close, and she could tell that she had hit a nerve when Spike shivered. Of course she remembered Buffy’s description of Spike raging at Drusilla’s preference for her own sire. “Angel is so weak he can’t even accept who he is, what he is,” Xander continued as she walked around to the back and let her hands travel over the muscled shoulders. 

“He’s not strong enough to control Buffy,” hands slipped around to the front of Spike’s jeans. “But he can’t let go and follow her, either.” Button and zipper released. “And he doesn’t know how to have a human romance,” her fingers explored the cock still trapped and throbbing inside the jeans. “He’s trapped by his own stupidity,” slim hands slid over the vampire’s hips, pushing the jeans down. “because he can’t ever be human,” Xander used her foot to pushed the jeans to the floor and then brought her knee up to press up between his legs. “And he can’t accept the truth that he’s a vampire.” Spike, breathing heavily, kicked his jeans away so he could spread his legs, and Xander pushed up a little harder as she reached around to explore his heaving chest.

“Worst kind of weakness really,” Xander whispered into Spike’s back as she laid a series of kisses across his shoulders, punctuated from time to time by a sharp nip. “He doesn’t know himself.” Xander tasted blood when she bit a little too hard, but from Spike’s reaction, she didn’t think he really minded. “Weak,” she ran a fingernail up the back of his leg and up his backside, enjoying the feeling of strong muscles under the skin. “Buffy had to rescue him,” Xander wandered around to the front, and as she had expected, Spike was game-faced and growling his pleasure. “Buffy killed him,” she slowly let her hands slide down his still spread legs as she sank to her knees. She could hear Spike really pulling at the chains now. She laid her head on Spike’s thigh eyeing the impressive erection right in front of her face.

“Hundred years without this because he was weak,” she said as she ran a gentle finger up the shaft to the now exposed head. She knew that at this point gentle touches were the torture because they wouldn’t let him come, and Xander did like to torture her vampire. “But he can’t control the demon like you can.” She reached forward and kissed the side of his shaft before gently blowing on the small wet spot she’d made. Fascinated with the involuntary bobs and twitches, she leaned into Spike’s leg and watched the show. “You saved Dru,” Xander licked a small trail up to the head of Spike’s cock. “You captured Angel, more than once.” She ran her middle finger through the pre-cum, coating one side and then the other.

“Sexy Spike,” she murmured as she let her head rest in the hollow of his thigh, every breath going over his cock as she moved her now slick finger toward his hole. When she touched it, Spike growled even louder and opened his legs more, allowing Xander to slip her finger into the tight passage. “William the Bloody,” she breathed across his cock even as she reached up inside to find the swelling right behind his cock that was the prostate. “Scourge of Europe,” she pressed in and watched as Spike’s cock did another set of movements, this time helped by the vampire’s twisting in his chains. She slipped her free arm around his closest leg and leaned her head into his body. She licked a new wet spot just behind the throbbing head. “Slayer of slayers,” she breathily named him as she pressed into his prostate, and then the unexpected happened. He started jerking rhythmically into the air as he started coming, long streams one after another as Xander knelt at his feet and watched in fascination.

She sat, still cuddling with Spike’s leg, listening to the vampire gasp as he attempted to get his breathing under control, which was great sexual compliment from a creature who didn’t technically need to breathe.

“Didn’t know that was possible,” Xander said as she realized that she hadn’t even gotten around to giving Spike the blow job she’d intended to give. 

“Neither did I,” Spike agreed, and Xander looked up in surprise.

“Okay, 120 years and you’re telling me I’ve made a first with you?” she asked skeptically, but Spike’s eyes revealed the truth.

“No one ever really spent that much time tryin’,” Spike shrugged, but his expression made Xander think of the way he sometimes looked at chocolate or the way Willow looked at those really old magic books or the way Ms. Calendar used to look at Giles. “Come up here and I’ll take care of you, pet,” Spike called.

“Uncomfortable?” Xander asked as she moved from her knees to sitting on the floor and snuggled in against his leg. She looked suspiciously at her finger but decided that it really wasn’t dirty enough to bother getting up and washing right at the moment.

“No, used ta spend days chained tighter, but you haven’t gotten what you need, luv.”

“Oh yes I have,” Xander said as she closed her eyes and let Spike take her weight as she leaned into him unwilling to give up this perfect moment until she absolutely had to. After all, Spike couldn’t exactly argue and from the sigh she heard from above didn’t seem to indicate he wanted to. 


Xander sat on the tombstone watching Spike and Faith take on the nest of fledges with such fury that every time Buffy tried to stake one in her usual ‘play with the vamp’ style, one of the other two had turned her opponent to death before she could finish a single insult. With a long-suffering sigh, Buffy retreated to the tombstone where Angel and Xander waited in a sort of stony silence.

“Now I know why we usually go with Oz and Willow,” Xander sighed as she watched the two fighters race for a fleeing vamp. “Put those two together and I never get to have any fun.” Buffy just snorted.

“Since when is staking vampires fun for you?” she asked.

“Since someone taught me how to do it right,” Xander pointed out. “Not that I’m getting to do that tonight. I’m back to warming the tombstone, which is less fun than warming the bench what with the lack of Gatorade.”

“William is rather enthusiastic,” Angel agreed.

“In more ways than one,” Xander replied and then groaned. Gender changing may have improved her sex life and grades, but it hadn’t done a thing to improve her ability to keep her mouth closed. She heard Angel chuckle lowly, but Buffy just rolled her eyes and watched Spike and Faith wander back towards them.

“You kids have fun?” Buffy called out when they got close.

“The bleach has obviously leeched into his brain,” Faith insisted with a string of long-shoreman worthy curses under her breath.

“Oi, you’re the ninny who got between two vamps.”

“And I would have been fine if some rocker wanna-be hadn’t pushed me.”

“Out of the way, I pushed ya out of the way you ungrateful trollop. Tryin’ not ta let ya get killed, not that I can remember why now because you’d be a good deal nicer ta be around dead. I imagine that’s why ya showed up in town without any friends or family in tow.”

“Right, the altruistic vampire, I forgot. Tell you what, you don’t worry about me, and I won’t worry when I accidentally stake you during patrol, okay?” Spike answered her with a growl.

“Hey, hey, no stakings, it’s on our agreed list,” Xander interrupted as she rushed between the two.

“And here comes the ‘pweshious’ little girl to protect you,” Faith taunted, and Xander could feel the fury rolling off Spike in waves. Okay, she certainly didn’t want to make Spike look weak, especially not in front of Angel, because Spike had explained enough about vampire culture for her to know how much that would hurt Spike. 

“Stake,” Xander demanded in her best impression of Cordelia’s imperious commands.

“What? You smokin’ something precious?” Faith asked, but Xander stood with her hand out until Faith surrendered her stake with a confused look over to Buffy. 

“Don’t kill each other,” Xander ordered as she walked back to the tombstone. Buffy took a step forward in alarm, but Angel put out a hand to keep her back. By the time Xander had hopped back up on her impromptu seat, the fight had already begun in earnest. Faith and Spike tore into each other like furies before jumping back out and circling in search of some weakness.

“But Faith,” Buffy complained as she pulled against Angel’s grip.

“Faith’ll be fine,” Angel said in a strangely tight voice.

“That bleached menace will kill her,” Buffy hissed.

“Spike’ll stop if Xander tells him to,” Angel said in a firm tone with a direct gaze at Xander. Normally Xander would have denied having such influence over the vampire or at least been embarrassed by it, but this was, in one form or another, Angelus who had never really given up his grandchilde and Xander stared right back at him, unwilling to make any sort of sign of weakness.

“You’re sure? I just don’t want Faith dead.” Xander looked right at Buffy and made a promise that she seriously hoped Spike would keep. 

“He won’t kill her,” she vowed even as Faith went flying and landed horizontally against the side of a mausoleum before falling to the ground. “He may hurt her a bit though,” Xander hedged. By the time Oz and Willow joined them, Spike had clearly gained the upper hand although Faith had landed enough hits of her own to leave him bruised and battered.

“Whoa, seriously bad vibes,” Oz commented as he walked over, and Xander noticed that he kept himself between Willow and the fight.

“Are you going to do something about them?” Willow asked, large concerned eyes going straight to Buffy.

“I would, but then Xander would pull my hair, and we’d have the whole girl on girl thing, and I just don’t want to go there. My contract is specific for vamps and demons.” Buffy shrugged and watched the final moments of the fight.

“Hopefully this will clear some bad vibes before anyone actually dies,” Xander explained as she watched Faith slip and nearly go down before driving Spike back with a side kick.

“Good idea,” Oz added, plopping down on the ground so fast that Xander was reminded of the wolf’s movements.

“But it’s not going to end in actual death death, right? Or even undead death? Because killing Faith might get rid of some of the tension, but I don’t really think that killing is the best form of stress release. I mean, there are some really good teas I could…” Willow’s words were cut off as Spike landed one last punch that sent Faith flying towards them. She landed on the ground and tried to get up but succeed only as far as one elbow before falling back to the ground.

“Oh goddess,” Willow breathed as she went to help but Oz held her back. Angel had a hold on Buffy, so when Spike walked up, everyone remained seated.

“Coulda been three,” Xander finally said into the silence. “But I gotta say…bored now.” Xander watched as eyes full of blood lust and passion turned to her. Oh yeah, good fight plus no kill equals one horny vampire. 

“Eep?” Xander squeaked in a very fake expression of dismay. Spike lowered his head, cocking it to one side, and Xander pulled up her skirt and started running for all she was worth. She could hear Willow’s and Buffy’s voices calling, but she trusted that their demons would explain what she was doing with her demon as she raced full speed across the cemetery. She would have made it too, except her Xander-luck never changed, and she tripped over a fledge crawling out of a grave. The pale creature had a hold of her ankle, and by the time it had crawled out far enough to stake it, she felt herself tackled to the ground in an inhuman grip she could never hope to break. 

“Goin’ ta ravish ya good, pet,” Spike growled into the small of her neck, and Xander trembled at the words. She felt herself pulled up and tucked under his arm in an iron grip that left no doubt about his mood even as they started walking toward the house.

“Goin’ ta eat that bint one of these days.” 

“Spike, you can’t eat Faith.” 

“Sure I can, bit of tooth right into the jugular, and I’d get her down in five minutes tops, three if I guzzle.”

“And that’s just really kinda disturbing, but I actually meant more of the ‘can’t’ in the ‘it’s wrong’ kind of way.”

“Evil, pet. I’d think you’d remember that after a bit.” Spike tightened his arm in a show of strength, but Xander only leaned into him more.

“And still I’m thinking it’s of the wrong no matter how much of a pain she can be.”

“Killin’ a slayer’s not wrong by vampire standards. Last time I killed one, I had demons buyin’ my drinks for a month.”

“Angel’s the only other demon you hang around, and I don’t think he’d buy you any drinks.”

“I’m not so sure of that, pet. I’ve seen how Angel looks at her, and he’s had thoughts of killin’ her. I could probably get a drink or two out of the poof even as he lectured me about not eatin’ humans.” They had reached the house and Spike opened the door. “But enough talk about her, never did get to finish my chase the way I wanted to,” Spike said, and for a moment Xander didn’t know what he meant, but when Spike released her waist and gave her his best leer, Xander squealed and ran into the house, charging up the front stairs and thanking god that Spike had found and old mansion with wandering passages that went in circles. She disappeared down one hall and had gotten halfway down the kitchen stairs before she heard the front door slam. 

Xander managed to avoid Spike so many times that she was starting to wonder if he was playing a game of cat and mouse. When he tackled her to the ground on the rug in the living room, directly in front of the giant mirror, she knew she’d been played. He growled and slipped his fangs into her neck, pinning her down, and from her vantage point, she could see herself pressed into the ground by absolutely nothing, and she resolved to ask Willow to check into ways to magic a mirror to show vampires because she suspected that they looked hot. After Spike had taken a few mouthfuls, Xander felt herself pulled up into his lap so that she was facing the mirror.

“What do ya see luv?” Spike asked.

“Oh god, I thought I was going to get a good ravaging here,” Xander said as she tried to push his arms away and escape the image in the mirror. She didn’t dislike mirrors nearly as much as she had as a male, but she didn’t especially like them either. She’d even complained to Spike about this very mirror.

“What do ya see?” Spike asked again.

“Brown eyes, brown hair, girl next door kind of look,” Xander said, hoping that would satisfy Spike so they could get back to the chase and ravage portion of the evening’s entertainment.

“Eyes are the windows ta the soul, and yours are almost sepia, like those old photographs me mum took. Fits ya because your soul’s older than you are; old enough ta understand things no teenager ever could. Know what ya did for me back there, and hearing Angel and Buffy so sure I’d win, that’s a gift I won’t forget soon. And your hair, thick rich chestnut curls I can bury my face in, lose myself in because I have lost myself in you. Never felt this way for anyone before.” Xander leaned back and stared at the image in the mirror trying to see herself like William did because she had no doubt that she was now held in the arms of William the poet who would sometimes sneak out of Spike and read her sonnets and leave Whitman poems on the bed.

“Face of an angel, and that shouldn’t turn me on bein’ that I’m a demon an all, but I love the gentle curve of your cheek and the lobe of your ear and the hollow of your neck.” Each body part elicited a kiss or a nip so that Xander was squirming by the time he moved on.

“Love your curves. Dru was all angles, but you have the body of a goddess with your wide hips and curved calves.” These body parts were subjected to gentle caresses.

“I think you’re trying to call me a little heavy,” Xander pointed out. 

“Bloody hell, no. Perfect. Ladies in my day would have killed to have such curves. Old-fashioned hour glass figure with all these perfect shapes to explore.” Spike’s hands did a bit of exploring at this point.

“So I’m pretty,” Xander said in a ‘who cares’ kind of voice.

“Pretty, sexy, strong, mouthy, run soddin’ fast for a human, thoughtful,” Spike punctuated each word with a flick of his fingers on a button. “Loyal, smart, good at pissin’ off Peaches, learning ta swing a mean stake, assertive.” Xander soon found herself naked on the floor as Spike straddled her and tossed his own shirt into the corner. “Love how ya ordered the slayer ta give up her weapon. Love it even more that she did it.” Spike pushed her legs apart, and Xander let herself be positioned, knowing that Spike would stop if she asked, but that if she struggled, she would just end up with rug burn in very uncomfortable places. The last time that happened, she couldn’t sit straight, and Giles’ stuttering reaction had left her trapped between wanting to defend herself from the very obvious assumption Spike had spanked her and not wanting to explain the actual act that had led to her discomfort with sitting.

“So, what was the agenda tonight?” Spike asked with an amused smile as he straddled her, her hands trapped in his grip above her head.

“Chase and ravage?” Xander asked innocently.

“Oh yeah, I remember where I left off now,” Spike said with a leer, and Xander felt herself grow warm and tighten at his words as he began to thoroughly ravage her for the next couple of hours.

Xander woke up in a tangle of limbs with an uncomfortable ache in her back, probably caused by the fact that they had never made it to the bedroom the night before. Instead they were sprawled across the living room carpet, which, Xander realized, probably now needed a trip to the dry cleaners. She stretched, caressing the pale arm slung over her before she turned to look into that mirror in search of the woman Spike had described. Instead her scream woke Spike who jumped up in full game face looking for an enemy to kill. Xander ignored him, focusing instead on the image in the mirror: short brown curly hair, much darker brown eyes, heavy eyebrows, square chin.

“Bloody hell,” Spike cursed, and Xander couldn’t even form the words to answer. “Pet, ya all right?” Spike asked, and Xander struggled to find her—his voice.

“Okay, I think I’m going to find a nice deep hell mouth and see if they having any openings…maybe something at the front desk. I could do the whole ‘welcome to hell’ thing like at Wal-mart with the old people at the front door,” he babbled.

“You all right, pet?” Spike asked again, squatting down. Xander looked over, but suddenly the image of Spike’s cock hanging between his open legs seemed ever so much more intimidating.

“I just did the whole gender changie thing again, and I have to think this isn’t good on the psyche, not to mention the body. I mean, where do my manly bits go when they aren’t on me?”

“Well, your babbling came through all right.”

“Spike, what in the name of hell just happened?”

“I’d say that someone broke the spell.”

“Which I guessed based on the whole instant sex change thing. I’m just kind of wondering why.”

“Two guesses, and the first don’t bloody count.” Spike’s growl promised depths of pain and death that Xander hadn’t heard since the vampire first came to town.

“And suddenly I’m not feeling the slayerette love.”

“I’d like ta pull out their soddin’ guts,” Spike said, and Xander nearly jumped when a hand landed on his shoulder. When he stood and spun, he realized that Spike had suddenly become shorter than him, and funny enough, shorter Spike seemed a whole lot scarier. This was the view of Spike he’d always had back when the vampire had been his enemy, and Xander worked to slow his own heartbeat.

“Take it easy, pet or you’ll give yourself a heart attack. Wankers aren’t worth it.”

“Yeah, heart attack,” Xander repeated, and then he realized that with the shift, he had parts exposed for viewing that he really didn’t want exposed.

“Oh god,” he shrieked, blaming the girly sound on his recent lack of manly bits as he dove for a couch.

“Not like ya have somethin’ I haven’t seen before,” Spike began. “But then again, certain parts on ya, I haven’t seen.” Xander didn’t even want to think about the lust he heard in Spike’s voice. Nope—not gay, not thinking about it, and definitely not noticing the slowly hardening body part between his legs.

“Oh god, clothes,” Xander said nearly hyperventilating. All her—his clothes were dresses, he’d even learned to fight in a dress, and oh god, why hadn’t Spike told him he’d put himself behind a couch where the mirror reflected a nice picture of his behind. Muttering ‘oh god’ over and over, he dashed for the kitchen and just prayed Spike didn’t see it as some sort of foreplay because he was so not ready for that scene.

By the time Spike came in bearing mismatched sweats that just might fit over Xander’s frame, Xander had retrieved a cookie sheet and held it in front of his groin. Spike’s eyebrow went up, but he didn’t say anything as he tossed the clothes on the counter.

“Um, thanks,” Xander said, still trying to get used to the sound of his voice. “Could you…” Xander let his words trail off, but the incredulous look on Spike’s face made it clear that he understood.

“Fine,” he snapped and left the kitchen. Xander slowly put the cooking sheet down and slipped into the sweats, at least dressed even if it was ugly even by his standards. 

Xander edged toward the kitchen door, toward the late afternoon light. Since the night he’d gotten out of the airplane in France, he’d never really feared Spike, but he couldn’t seem to get his thoughts together with the vampire so near. As long as he had girly parts, he could understand Spike’s infatuation; he’d seen that figure with the round hips and the waist and the bouncy breasts, and oh god, he was on the verge of having a whole new complex named after him because he was lusting after his own alternate self. Xander shuddered. 

Back to his earlier train of thought, he understood why Spike would love that image he’d seen in the mirror, but he wasn’t the type to inspire anyone now. Buffy’d rejected him outright, which actually hurt less than Willow trying to ‘de-lust’ him without even talking, I mean when you drove girls to the dark arts to avoid any possibility of a relationship, yeah, that did bad things to the ego. Not that Cordelia did good things to the ego. The girl had stood up to her friends, and not two days later had ripped on him to those same friends when she thought he wasn’t listening.

Yep, the special announcement was over, and Xander had just been returned to his regularly scheduled life still in progress. And while he had inspired lust in a number of demons, he had always inspired them to try and snack on him in the end, so avoidance seemed the order of the day. Xander closed his eyes, trying not to cry since as a man that violated the manly code, but he couldn’t help feeling like his friends had just ripped him out of his one chance at happiness. Without saying a word, he slipped outside and started running, barefoot and all.


“Honey, I’m home,” Xander tried for funny as he walked in the library door, his feet scratched and his sweats…well, sweaty.

“This is unexpected,” Oz said from the table as Xander made his appearance. Buffy was a little more enthusiastic.

“Xander, oh thank god, I can’t wait until Willow finds out; she’s going to be thrilled.”

“She’s not here?” Xander tried for nonchalant, but Oz’s sudden intense gaze told him he’d failed miserably.

“No, she and Giles went out to get some supplies,” Buffy said.

“And you didn’t go with?” Xander turned to Oz.

“Not invited,” Oz confirmed. The sound of voices from the hallway led Xander to turn as Giles, Faith and Willow walked in. His eyes narrowed in suspicion as Faith, still bruised and limping appeared with the two people who knew how to use magic. Okay, sorta knew because Willow was obvious not all magic-girl yet what with the not being able to tell a love spell from a totally screw up the best friend’s life spell.

“Lookie, lookie who showed up,” Xander confronted the three, not even trying for diplomatic.

“Xander!” Willow shrieked as she threw herself into his arms. A few weeks earlier this would have provided entirely too much temptation; now the only temptation was to break her neck. Oh, okay, he couldn’t break her neck, but he was in a definite pinky-finger breaking mood.

“Willow, do you notice anything wrong with this picture?” Xander asked once Willow stepped back.

“Yeah, you’re back to looking like white trash on a limited income,” Faith offered and Xander gave her his best whither and die look. Faith laughed. “That might work on your vamp, but not on me she-he.”

“Xander what’s wrong?” Willow asked with wide innocent eyes.

“Um, Willow, you went and did the whole mojo thing on me *again* and I thought we had this discussion.”

“I assure you, Willow has not cast any spells that would have resulted in your…reversion to your original form.”

“Right, mate. Why don’t you try that on someone stupid because we’re not buyin’.” Xander turned to see Spike leaning against the counter, and he instinctively took one step forward before stopping. He didn’t belong in Spike’s arms any more and that moved him from pinky-breaking angry all the way up to leg-breaking angry.

“Really, I honestly didn’t do anything especially after the whole turning Xander into a girl in the first place thing which really gave me a case of the guilties. I’m okay with you and Xander and I wouldn’t have messed it up,” Willow begged them to believe her, and Xander felt his anger dissipating under such a passionate plea of innocence.

“And despite my extensive research, I have certainly found no spell capable of achieving this result without the subjects’ cooperation,” Giles added. Xander could see Spike’s eyes tighten at the news that Giles had researched ways to end the spell.

“Right,” Spike said in a completely disbelieving voice. “Not stupid, so don’t soddin’ treat me like I am.”

“They already told you they didn’t do this,” Buffy said as she stepped up. Whatever happened with Xander’s…um…parts, we didn’t do it.”

“Didn’t say you did it slayer, you’re not really bright enough for this kinda mojo.”

“You arrogant, bull-headed, conceited old…” Buffy started, clearly working up to a full out rant, but Spike interrupted.

“Oi, if you’re goin’ ta insult me alphabetically, you mind offer me a chair so I don’t have to stand through all 26?”

“What?” Buffy asked, obviously confused.

“I’m just thinkin’ when ya get ta ‘x’ you’re goin’ ta have a problem, and I don’t intend on standing while you try ta come up with vocabulary that probably isn’t even in that brain of yours.” Xander felt himself approaching hysteria as Buffy turned to Willow, silently asking for a translation.

“You know, a for arrogant, b for bull-headed,” Willow explained with a shrug.

“Yeah, and I don’t intend on standin’ for the length of time it’ll take ya ta come up with one for every letter. Don’t have that many decades ta waste.” Buffy narrowed her eyes, and Xander just waited for his life to finish its complete unraveling, not that his life was so raveled to begin with.

“Oh, oh, ‘x’ could be for xenophobic,” Willow squealed, and all glaring ended as every person in the library turned to look at her. “Well it could,” she defended herself, and once again Xander considered his recent ‘Willow babbling to distract from the evil vibes’ theory.

“Don’t really have anythin’ against foreigners, luv,” Spike said, but his voice had grown considerably softer and more amused while addressing the witch.

“Um, Xanthippe?” Willow tried.

“Ya already turned one of us into a woman,” Spike started, “how ‘bout ya leave it at just one. If it’s buggin’ ya, the word I’d go for is x-rated.” Spike said, and Xander felt the blush start at his toes and work north until he had to fairly glow bright red. Oh no, no thinking about Spike and sex. No thinking about sex. No thinking about what it would be like to have sex with Spike now because that would be really, really bad.

“I don’t know, I kinda like ‘Xander-whipped’,” Faith threw in, and Xander nearly choked on air, sure that he would pop blood vessels if he blushed any harder.

“And once again we have wandered into territory I most certainly do not want to explore. Academic curiosity has limits,” Giles pointed out. As he watched Giles polish, Xander wondered how long the librarian’s glasses survived on average. 

“You’ll bloody fix this spell you’ve bollocked up or I’ll show ya a few limits,” Spike snarled as Xander started backing toward the exit in the shelves.

“I hardly feel threatened by a hyperactive hundred year old when two slayers are in the room,” Giles snapped back, and Xander ran for the exit. He didn’t want to actually watch when the whole thing dissolved into mutual homicide, but he just couldn’t do anything to fix it this time. 

Xander wandered town until he found himself in the park where he and Jesse and Willow used to go before life got so complicated…and then more complicated…and then complicated beyond human capacity for understanding. Seeing a bench, he decided to sit and pick the pebbles out of his feet before he actually lamed himself. God, he didn’t even have a home since his parents had bought the whole foreign exchange student crap, which just proved the poor quality gene pool he’d drawn from.

“This is a new look,” Angel offered as he sat down on the bench.

“Yep, going for that rummage sale look.” Xander said without looking up.

“I actually meant the male thing.”

“Right. So I take it they didn’t let you in on the fun and games last night. Just as well since Spike really doesn’t need more reasons to kill you.

“What? Buffy? She did this?” Xander smiled, he’d never actually heard Angel flustered before and it was almost worth it.

“Buffy or Giles, that’s the consensus. Wait, can you have a consensus with just one person?” Xander looked over at Angel.

“Not generally.” Angel replied. “What makes you think Buffy and Giles did this?”

“Oh, let’s see. They hate Spike, they hate me and Spike together, they’ve apparently researched way to break the spell, and now the lack of spellage means me and Spike won’t be together. Yeah, I’m guessing Giles and or Buffy.”

“William threw you out?” Angel sounded almost surprised at that.

“Uh, I’m a man here. Manly bits,” Xander gestured toward his own crotch. “Well, manlier anyway,” Xander said as he considered how he had sneaked out of first the house and then the library.

“And you and Spike talked, decided to go your separate ways?” Angel prodded.

“Talk, no. But we did manage to avoid the attempted murder thing, so I’m calling it one of my better break ups.” Xander looked over into Angel’s slightly confused face. “Man, I know this is probably the closest you get to comforting, but if you’re looking to make me feel better, going away would be a good start.”

“Xander,” Angel took a deep breath as though bracing himself, and Xander ignored him. “Spike wouldn’t have turned on you because the spell ended. Say what you want, Spike is loyal to the end.” 

“Spike wanted girl me, it’s why the compatibility spell made the change because we aren’t compatible. I just don’t want to be around when Spike decides he doesn’t like the old model.”

“You think he’ll turn on you.”

“I think he’ll eat me.” Xander exclaimed, exasperated with why Angel couldn’t seem to grasp simple logic. “Oh, come on Angel, look at me. Giles, Buffy, Jesse, Cordelia, and even Willow: they all think I’m some sort of screw up. Or thought in Jesse’s case since my screw ups helped get him killed. You think your soul-less childe is going to think any better of me?”

“So, that’s why you’re sitting in a park a hundred feet away from a cemetery in the dark?”

“I can take care of myself.” Xander protested weakly, even though he now realized that he didn’t even have a stake and his ability to get home probably depended on sticking close to Angel.

“Xander,” Angel started, halting awkwardly after the name. “Spike’s not someone you walk away from.”

“Great, we talking stalker boy with dead fish or we talking body floating in with the tide? I’m actually hoping on the tide thing because Willow’s parents are going to notice another missing tank full of missing fish.” Xander ignored the small stab of guilt as he twisted that knife into Angel, but the sooner Brood-boy went home, the sooner he got to work on his own brooding technique. He waited for Angel to leave, but the silence just stretched out until he wanted to scream. He really wanted to just get up and walk away, but he didn’t think he had the strength.

“Spike cares about you,” Angel said, and then Xander could literally hear the vampire grind his teeth before continuing. “He loves you. He’s not going to hurt you, although dragging you off is a real possibility if you run away without talking to him.”

“Been there, done that. Can’t say I expected that to ever happen again because, hey, I’m not a girl any more. You’re kind of ‘Missing the Obvious Man’ tonight, Angel.”

“No, pet, you’re the one missin’ the obvious if ya think I’m goin’ ta walk away from ya just cause your mates bollocked up some spell.”

“Spike,” Xander exclaimed as he stood, and backed up so that he stood slightly behind Angel who had also stood at the sound of Spike’ voice. For his part, Spike’s expression wasn’t one to inspire confidence or long life expectancies.

“Yeah, pet. Been lookin’ for ya for nearly two hours, and I’m wondering what you’re doin’ here.”

“Oh just sitting, talking, people watching,” Xander gestured toward the completely abandoned park, cringing as he realized he had given the world’s stupidest answer which seemed so very appropriate in its own way.

“Time ta come home pet.”

“Angel’s actually just going to walk me to my parents’ place since the real Xander Harris is back in residence, it’s time for him to go back to his real residence.”

“Your place is soddin’ well with me,” Spike snarled, and Xander nearly threw himself behind Angel, thankful for the older and much larger vampire’s presence. Nice solid, soul-having, protective, reaching around to grab him by the scruff of his neck like a puppy Angel. Xander yelped his objection to Angel’s manhandling of him as the vampire pulled him around with a large hand at his neck and another holding his belt. Xander tried to pull away, but Angel’s grasp didn’t budge.

“Peaches,” Spike snapped, and Xander flinched in Angel’s grasp. “What game are ya playin’?”

“Not playing. I gave you Xander back at the school the first time you showed up in Sunnydale, wouldn’t be polite of me to take back my gift,” Angel said, and before Xander could lodge a protest, he found himself pushed forward toward Spike.

“Hey, Buffy is so not going to be okay with the whole giving me away plan,” Xander protested even as Spike’s arms closed around him, holding him firmly enough to prevent any sort of escape. Angel shrugged.

“It’s a vampire thing,” he offered as he turned and disappeared into the night, leaving Xander to his fate with Spike, with an angry and still game-faced Spike. Xander ducked his head and tried to find the right words to talk his way out of this one, but Spike simply started walking, pulling Xander after him as he strode toward home.

Spike’s mood was just as dark when the reached the house. Xander tried to not notice the steel grip around his wrist as Spike unlocked the door and pulled him in. Rather than going to the living room with its exit to the kitchen, Spike pulled them into the sitting room which they had set up for their various video games. Xander didn’t comment as Spike propelled him into the small room that had only one exit, the doorway Spike stood in.

“Do ya feel that differently about us now?” Spike demanded, and the vampire searched his coat pockets until he finally came up with a cigarette. Xander didn’t answer; he just retreated to a chair on the far side of the room. “Bloody hell, why are you smellin’ all fearful over there?” Xander looked up to see Spike’s yellowed gaze staring straight at him, a lit cigarette in his hand.

“It might have something to do with the whole fangy look,” Xander shrugged and dropped his gaze back to the floor, busying himself with various ways to kill Angel. I mean, giving him to Spike once, that was bad, but to give him away a second time? Oh yeah, Xander was soooo going to tell Buffy. And god, did Giles misplace some of his manly bits because he was definitely feeling the estrogen here.

“Pet,” Xander jumped when delicate hands with chipped black polish landed on his legs, the vampire kneeling down in front of his chair. Xander looked at Spike’s face and could almost see the pain, but better now than later. “You want me gone then? Now that the spell’s off, ya want me ta leave?” Spike asked, and Xander opened his mouth to say yes, but he couldn’t get the lie past his lips.

“I just don’t want to be here when I screw this up,” Xander said, realizing a half a second too late that his one logical brain cell had managed to take a vacation again. A cool hand touched his cheek, and Xander flinched back. 

“I’m goin’ ta eat every one of one of those wankers,” Spike growled and Xander tried to shrink back into the chair.

“Hey, no eating the friends, thought we had this discussion. Or sort of, we in that the girl me and you had this discussion. But still, I distinctly remember conversation happening.

“They’ve bloody well convinced you that you’ll screw up, and that puts them on my short list. You’re not some bloody screw up no matter what bollocks they’ve been feedin’ ya.”

“Oh they don’t have to feed me anything, they just have a habit of pointing out the truth about me being of the not helpful sort.”

“Bloody git. You’re the one who brought the slayer back from the dead, and while I don’t generally condone saving slayers, you can’t hardly dismiss that as unhelpful.”

“Yeah, but I fall asleep on Oz watch and humiliate myself in front of Buffy and go lusting after Willow and you kind of know that part because you were there for the whole failed de-lusting thing..”

“Pet.” Xander looked up at Spike’s serious tone. “Do ya still want me?” Xander looked into those clear blue eyes and he knew the answer.

“Yeah,” he whispered.

“That’s all that matters, pet. Nothin’ else has changed.”

“Oh a few things changed,” Xander said with a glance downward toward his crotch, but Spike caught his chin in his hand and made him look at him.

“Nothin’ has changed. You’re still you and I’m still me. Soddin’ gits redecorated the outside a bit, but that doesn’t change who we are.” Spike suddenly stood and dropped his cigarette in an abandoned mug.

Spike took Xander by the wrist, strong fingers pulling him unwillingly up the stairs even as Xander asked himself what the hell he was doing. He should have just said ‘no.’ He should have stopped this before it got started because he wasn't gay, no matter what his cock claimed right now. Nope, the fact that the thought of sex with a male vampire made his body jump up and take notice didn't mean he was gay. He didn’t even know how to be gay, so no gayness for him. He was passing on the Dorothy parade.

Spike started toward the playroom, and Xander now started dragging his feet. That room had some beautiful memories that he didn't want to ruin with his own clumsiness, but despite his reluctance, Spike wouldn't be deterred. Throwing the door open, Spike pulled him into the room and then took his post guarding the doorway.

"So, I explained how it works for vamps, so what do ya want?"

"Outta this room?" Xander quipped as he wrapped his arms around his middle and tried to physically shrink into nothing.

"Pet," Spike said in a soft voice, "I'm not givin' ya up, so ya got a choice here." Xander backed up as Spike slid out of his shirt. 

"Don't I hear Buffy calling? 'Cause I wouldn't want to keep her waiting," Xander said in a not-so-veiled threat, but Spike just sighed. 

"If that's the way ya want it, pet," Spike said, and before Xander could decipher that remark, he found himself being dragged toward the chains, Spike striping his shirt and securing him before he could complain or fight, not that he had an illusion than either would help. Nope, getting chained up seemed inevitable from the moment he woke up with a penis. Xander slumped against the chains and tried to breathe.

"Can't think I'd hurt ya, pet," Spike whispered, and Xander felt a cool hand run up and down his back before beginning to circle. He closed his eyes and tried to channel Oz with all that self-possessed confidence and indifferent attitude. Instead, he found himself blinking to keep tears from falling.

"I can make ya feel good," Spike promised, and Xander felt fingers at the waist of his sweats making him shiver. He didn't move as Spike pushed his sweats down around his ankles, and he noticed with a bit of pride that his cock now hung limp and his balls were actively trying to crawl back up inside his body.

"Not gay," Xander pointed out, both relieved and worried about his lack of interest in Spike. If he and Spike weren't lovers, as his cock currently seemed to indicate, that left exactly one option in his mind, and he didn't really want to think about the fact that he was chained in the lair of a vampire he wasn't sleeping with any more. Of course, even not thinking about that option made his balls take another run at becoming internal organs despite Spike's hand exploring his backside and teasingly trying to reach between his legs which remained firmly together.

"Oi, ya really aren't goin' along with this, are ya?" Spike asked, and Xander didn't answer--he really didn't have an answer that wouldn't result in his becoming a statistic, but then again he expected that anyway so he didn't know why he was giving up his last chance to mouth off. He felt fingers at his wrists, and then he was free and backing toward the window with Spike stalking toward him.

"Oh boy," Xander breathed heavily and half turned toward the window before closing his eyes. He could feel when Spike pressed into him, a rustling of fabric against his skin. Nice last words, idiot, he had time to think to himself before he realized that Spike had backed off. He opened his eyes to find the drapes pushed back to either side, the window open to the weak moonlight that filtered in and the empty fields and power station through the glass. Xander turned his and saw Spike standing in the middle of the room, his own hands chained above him. Reaching down to pull up his sweats, he stood looking at the vampire.

"Spike?" he asked, but the vampire stood there unmoving with a closed expression. Xander took a single step toward the door and then another and then he found himself running down the stairs and out into the sharp air of the early morning. He had run for several blocks, shirtless and shoeless before he slowed to a walk, his heart struggling to slow. He had walked another couple of blocks before his brain started actually processing what had happened. Spike hadn't raped him, which was actually an improvement over their relationship when Xander had been a girl. More surprisingly, Spike hadn't eaten him. Even Impata had eventually turned to him for a meal, and he'd never doubted that she'd cared about him. 

Xander had walked a couple more blocks, before he turned to the image of Spike chained in the middle of the room, his pale chest reflecting the moonlight. Moonlight. Xander's brain stuttered like a stuck record. Moonlight. Light. Moon. Xander gasped and looked at the sky. The sun wasn't up, but he could see the first pink lines beginning to appear. Xander felt like a demon had reached in his chest and ripped out his heart...actually lost a couple of seconds looking for the heart ripping demon before he took off running as fast as he could. By the time he reached the house, his breathe came in labored gasps and his feet stung from a dozen different scratches, but he ignored his own body as he crashed into the door. Locked. For a second, Xander stopped and panicked, looking up at the pinking sky.

Xander turned and saw a lawn gnome in the neighbor's yard. Spike had made fun of it every time they walked by, but now Xander dashed over and grabbed the red and white smiling wood before running back to his own yard and swinging the thing like a bat into the living room window. The glass shattered, and Xander swung a leg over the window sill, trying to jump free of most of the glass but not taking time to pick the glass out of his foot as he limped up the stairs using the banister. He reached the door to the playroom which still stood open, and he threw himself into the room, ignoring Spike in his quest to reach the window. With pink and blue tendrils snaking their way into the sky, Xander pulled the sun-proof drapes, checking to see that the two panels met before he turned to look at the chained vampire in the middle of the room.

"You idiot," he complained as he sat on the floor and considered his bleeding foot. 

"Won't be left again, too many bloody people have left me already, pet," Spike commented nonchalantly, as if he hadn't been minutes from turning to dust with no way to save himself.

"Yeah, well the whole expecting me to notice the window thing, not smart. Don't ever underestimate my ability to be clueless," Xander said as he tried to grab a slick piece of glass and pull it out of his foot.

"Oi, you're hurt."

"Not as bad as the living room window. Or the stairway carpet. And we need to buy the neighbor a new lawn gnome." Xander looked up and Spike was giving him one of those really cute confused as hell looks. "Locked myself out of the house," Xander said as an explanation, and then he stood on his one good foot and hopped over to the shelf for the key before freeing Spike. Silently, Spike scooped him up and took him to the master bathroom where Xander found himself put on the counter while Spike ran water into the sink.

"Bloody git, what the hell were you thinkin'?" Spike asked as delicate fingers explored Xander's foot finding and removing glass shards.

"Thinking my vamp was about to turn to dust," Xander said honestly.

"Didn't think I was yours anymore," Spike commented.

"Okay, I don't know how this works or what to do or even how I'm going to admit this to anyone else, but I don't want to give you up. So can I go with, I want you but have no idea what to do about it?" Xander asked shyly.

"Can live with that," Spike shrugged as he drained the water and dried Xander's foot. "Just thought ya didn't want me." 

"I guess I just couldn't believe you'd want me: Mr. drove Willow to the dark arts to get rid of me; Mr. can't get a date; Mr. screw up; Mr. demon bait."

"Pet, don't talk that way 'bout my mate. Bit protective of him, and I might just get testy," Spike ordered with a slight snarl before picked him up and carrying him to the bed. And suddenly a snarling vampire dragging him off was cute again, Xander realized. 

Spike set him on the edge of the bed and pulled the sweats off for a second time. While Xander Jr. certainly didn’t look entirely enthusiastic, at least this time he was showing some interest. 

“What do ya want, pet?” Spike asked, and boy that stopped the proceedings because Xander only knew of one thing gay guys did, and having intimate knowledge of Spike’s anatomy, he *knew* that wasn’t going to fit. Okay, assuming that was out, what did he want?

“Someone to wave a magic wand and make with the wiggins stopage?”

“Oi, no more mojo!” Spike insisted with an exaggerated shudder. “Ya trust me?”

Xander paused. When he really thought about it his life consisted of his parents (yep, zero trust there); Giles (since when does the guy who raised a killer orgy demon and hid it for twenty years get to rip into the guy who makes one little tiny teeny error with a love spell and then fesses up); Buffy (yeah, thanks for the humiliation on the dance floor); Cordelia (okay, maybe not Cordy because she wasn’t actually talking to him anymore); and Willow (who he would have trusted until the whole secret de-lust thing, which actually upset him a whole lot more than the girly thing). And he forgave all those people; he truly did, but when he compared them to the stunning creature now sitting on the end of their bed, he knew the answer.

“Yeah,” Xander said and he meant it. “Trust you more than anyone else in the world.” Spike froze, his head lowered to a foot above the bed, looking at him as though searching Xander’s soul. Finally, Spike gave a long, slow, genuine smile.

“Well then, luv, don’t you worry ‘cause I can show ya all sorts of stuff ta do with manly bits.” 

Spike lowered his head again, and Xander felt a tongue run up the underside of his foot. The tongue returned several times before Spike mouth descended on a toe, and Xander made a noise that fell somewhere between amused and horny. 

“Oi, not the reaction I’m going for,” Spike complained with a raised eyebrow.

“I’m sorry, feeling a little…strange here,” Xander defended himself. 

“Well you’re not goin’ ta be worth anythin’ until you relax, so flip over onto your stomach.” Xander felt cool hands at his waist helping him to shift, and he did, but his nervousness just about took out his central nervous system.

“You’re not…I mean...Not that there’s anything wrong with…well…you know…I just mean, you aren’t going to…” Spike saved him from his own inability to ask the question without saying words he just wasn’t going to say yet, or even think yet. So why did he keep thinking about those thinks he wasn’t thinking about?

“Just givin’ ya a backrub. You’ve got knots on your knots back here,” Spike said as he settled in on Xander’s lower back, and then Xander felt the strong hands leaning into his shoulder, pressing in and then rolling the pressure to the side until he could feel his body decompress. All the worry and pain and betrayal of the day disappeared under Spike’s talented fingers and the vampire kneaded and massaged and rubbed and pressed until Xander thought his muscles might have detached from his bones because he just puddled in the middle of their big bed unable to move as he wandered into that twilight place between asleep and awake. Every once in a while, Spike would land a kiss on some spot before starting to rub, and at first Xander had tensed every time, but each time, the gentle touch of lips only led to more massage, so Xander learned to relax through the man kisses: the back of a knee, a shoulder, the small of his back, his left butt cheek, his right flank. 

Xander was so relaxed, he didn’t notice at first that the kiss-massage, massage, massage pattern had changed into one with far more kisses, and a few licks that he was trying his best to either ignore or repress. His cock, however, had no objections, and he could feel it begin to swell under him as Spike’s tongue traced across his lower back and then blew across the damp skin causing Xander to shiver. Suddenly he noticed that Spike had at some point gone from straddling his back to between his legs, and Xander started rolling himself over when he realized that he was sprawled spread eagle and stomach down on the bed, a position he truly wasn’t prepared to take in front of another man because hey, not gay. And the raging erection he had at the thought of himself spread eagle in front of Spike didn’t make him gay, it just made him horny. Horny at the thought of another man, but not gay. Xander’s rolling maneuver ended when Spike pressed down on his hips.

“Shhh, ya said ya trusted me,” Spike murmured. Then that tongue reached right down between his legs, lapping and sucking at his hole, and Xander’s first thought—eww—was quickly replaced by his second thought—yes, yes, fucking yes, and more please. Xander squirmed and spread his legs even farther as the tongue now alternated its attention between the hole and the underside of his balls. Xander started squirming even harder, struggling to push up, but the strong hands at his waist held him in place.

“Spike,” he gasped. “Spike!” he panted louder when the vampire ignored his first call.

“Hmm? Busy here,” Spike offered.

“I’m not going to have man bits left if you don’t let me get off them!” Xander complained, and the hands holding him down suddenly lifted him up, freeing his cock.

“Hand me a couple of pillows,” Spike asked, and Xander grabbed the pillows and tossed them down.

“Planning on sleeping down there?” he asked, but Spike simply waggled his eyebrows and arranged the pillows under Xander, and then Xander found himself pushed back down, this time with his butt in the air with his legs spread, and oh yes, this wasn’t a picture from a dirty magazine, not at all. Not that he knew what a dirty gay magazine looked like because he hadn’t looked at the one Larry gave him. He threw it out, and the one page he saw—it was just a fluke that the magazine had fallen open to that page when he tossed it in the garbage can. Didn’t make him gay. Anyone would have looked. He had just been shocked. He looked out of sheer amazement that bodies could actually stretch like that. Then all thoughts of gayness or straightness or in-betweenness suddenly disappeared as Spike’s tongue sought entrance in a place Xander had always hung an “exit only” sign.

When a slim finger trailed up the underside of Xander’s cock, Xander found himself madly humping the pillows without any conscious thought, but Spike’s fingers tightened around the base of his cock, leaving him unable to actually reach the release his body demanded.

“Oi, calm down pet,” Spike whispered against his back, and he could feel the vampire’s cool breath stir the small hairs on his back. Oh god, he no longer cared if he was gay as long as he got to come. He gulped in air and tried to calm down since Spike clearly wasn’t letting go, but he could feel his orgasm curled like a spring ready to explode and trapped in a state of almost.

“Gotta come,” Xander finally hissed.

“And miss the grand finale?” Spike asked in his innocent voice that usually preceded major mayhem. Xander would have cared more if every blood cell he owned wasn’t presently in his cock and unavailable for brain duty. He felt a finger at his hole, a slick finger that slid in with almost no resistance, and Xander wiggled at little at the discomfort of having something up there. The impression of motion inside his body reminded him of his time as a woman feeling Spike within him, but he missed the pleasure that came from Spike driving into him. Now it felt strangely dull and clinical, which might be of the good because he finally got his erection to the point that he wasn’t going to die of internal leaking. Xander had almost resolved to tell Spike that he didn’t enjoy the exploring when Spike touched something inside him that made him feel itchy and tingly and squirmy all the way through his insides. He gasped.

“Nice?” Spike asked as he pressed again, and this time the itchy tingly graduated to lusty trembly. Xander struggled to catch his breath as Spike pushed a third time, and suddenly Spike’s hand tightened around the base of Xander’s cock as Xander again felt his orgasm gather in the base of his spine, causing his legs to tense.

“Somebody’s feelin’ randy,” Spike hoarsely sniggered. Xander couldn’t find the breath or the brain cells to answer, but suddenly the pressure increased as a second finger joined in and the pain removed the danger of orgasm.

“Relax, pet,” Spike suggested, and Xander suddenly knew that they were going to do that thing that he didn’t even want to think about because of the whole it’s freaking impossible aspect, but with Spike’s two fingers now turning slowly and rubbing that little magic button, Xander realized he wasn’t going to complain because Spike certainly seemed to know what he was doing. Xander pressed his face into the pillows and let out a series of very unmanly moans. Spike just chuckled, and Xander couldn’t even get up the energy to be upset about his gay vampire lover laughing at him in bed because as the pain retreated, even more of his blood tried to crowd into his cock which now throbbed in time with his heart.

The pressure increased again, and Xander gasped. Spike’s second hand at his cock disappeared but the pain had again driven Xander back from the edge so he spread his legs even wider as he tried not to think about the size of what Spike was about to put in there. Xander allowed himself to relax again as he slowly became used to the feeling of three fingers holding him open in a rather embarrassing way. Amazing the things people could get used to, he thought as he fisted the sheets and felt the need to come slowly begin to rise again as the pleasure overwhelmed the pain. However Spike just continued to play, sliding fingers in and out, touching that spot that inevitably made Xander’s hips thrust, kissing Xander’s raised backside.

“Please,” Xander begged as the pain of his delayed orgasm now overrode the slight twinges in his distended hole. “Please, Spike I’m human so I’m fairly sure if you keep going, you’re going to kill me.” That must have been motivation because Xander felt something much larger than fingers nudge into him and the familiar pain of stretching returned. Inch by inch, Spike pressed his slick cock in the place where Xander had been so entirely sure it would never fit. Xander hissed under each small movement it, the pressure building as he tried to tell his body it didn’t need to push the intruder in, and he became so concerned with controlling the need to push Spike out and so uncomfortable with the stretching that his once proud erection began to soften and wane.

“Spike,” he complained in an alarmed voice.

“Shh pet, remember the first time, remember how it hurt and ya accused me of breakin’ somethin’? Ya gotta ride it out,” Spike offered. “Love you,” Spike then whispered into his ear, and Xander was momentarily shocked out of caring about anything else. Spike loved him, boy-him not girl-him. Spike loved Xander Harris. Spike who could charm a groupie out of a backstage pass picked him over Drusilla. Xander didn’t even realized Spike was still pressing forward until he felt Spike’s thighs press up to the back of his own legs, the vampire’s body hair tickling him in very happy-happy joy-joy kind of ways. Spike stayed in place, and Xander took the opportunity to reacquaint himself with breathing. And as happened with the fingers, soon the need for more overrode the discomfort of being so full. His happy button wasn’t getting enough so the lusty throbby bit had gone back to itchy tingly, and he wiggled in need. 

Xander didn’t have time to even think about what he needed before Spike pulled out just a little and then pushed back in and the feeling of Spike’s cock running across his prostate made Xander gasp in pleasure. Spike repeated the motion a little faster now, and Xander pushed up on his knees a little so that Spike would have more room to work. Cool hands helped him pull up off the pillows, and Xander tucked his head into his arms as Spike’s third thrust ran the full length of his prostate and Xander shivered and bucked, this own movement stretching himself wider, and then Xander couldn’t take any more. When Spike pulled back, he drove himself backwards, and he could feel Spike temporarily rock backwards in surprise before he drove forward far harder this time. 

Xander groaned and reached for his cock but Spike had encircled the swollen organ before Xander could complete the motion, so Xander just concentrated on thrusting back after Spike pulled out, enjoying the feel of Spike’s hand ever tighter on his cock until Xander couldn’t take any more and he felt his legs stiffen as his coiled orgasm traveled up his backbone and erupted into such mind-bending pleasure that Xander lost himself in a feeling that overwhelmed every sense even as Spike roared out his own orgasm. Absolutely boneless now, Xander collapsed down on the bed, pulling himself off Spike’s cock on the process, for which he was very sorry because he suddenly felt empty and wrong without Spike in him and oh my god, he was gay.

Spike collapsed next to him, a Spike arm and half a Spike chest lying across his own back.

“Wow,” Xander finally said into the quiet.

“Didn’t hurt?” Spike asked, trying to not sound concerned, but Xander knew better.

“Sore, but nope, not hurt,” Xander confirmed. “That was like good man sex and good woman sex wrapped up all together which made for…” Xander struggled to come up with a description that would explain to Spike just how perfect that had been. “Really, really, really good sex,” he finally settled on. Spike snorted.

“Nice ta see ya still got your knack for words, there pet.”

“Hey, not all of us can be poets,” Xander teased back, and Spike pinched his ass. “Oh god, now I have to tell people I’m gay,” Xander suddenly complained.

“Oi, is that why you had a bug up your butt?” Spike asked as he now soothed the skin he had just pinched with little rubbing circles.

“Okay, do *you* want to be the one to tell Buffy we’re doing the wild thing?”

“Think she knows, pet.”

“She knows girl me and you were…what’s your word? Shagging? She doesn’t know boy me and you are. Oh god, Angel.” Xander said with sudden horror. “He’s going to know ‘cause he’s going to do that whole gross sniffing thing, isn’t he?”

“Pet, he gave ya to me, so I don’t think he’s going to be shocked.” 

“True. We just won’t let him know who likes the chains,” Xander giggled before reminding himself he was a man and switching to a manlier chuckle, a chuckle that was lost under Spike’s sudden and entirely un-Spike-like laughter.


“Ya think he don’t know?” Spike asked. “Oi, sometimes forget how dense humans can be.”

“Okay, not feeling the love here. Thought you didn’t like people insulting your mate?” Xander demanded with a glare.

“Anyone other than me does it, and I’ll rip his throat out,” Spike confirmed. “But I promise you Angel’s known since day one.”

“Oh god, you told him? What, did you sit down and say, ‘Hey, poof. Xander and I like kinky games where he chains me up—she chains me up—where I get chained up.’ And when were you planning on telling me about this conversation?” Xander turned over and sat up, suddenly very upset about the idea of Angel knowing anything about their sex life, but Spike continued to simply look up at him as though he’d lost his mind.

“You were there as I recall. Angel asked what kind of truce I was offerin’, and I told the poof that I was followin’ your lead. With vampires it’s all or nothin’, so when I told him you were makin’ the decisions, he knew that meant all the decisions.”

“So you just announced to your own sire that you were taking orders from the donut boy?” Xander asked, suddenly horrified at what that must have done from Spike’s standing in front of his sire.

“If ya recall, he asked me if I’d lost my mind. I told him ta sod off then, and I’d do it again, but I don’t really think that’s needed. He gave ya back to me knowing how things were with us, so I’d call that as good of a welcome as you’re goin’ ta get into the line of Aurelias.” Xander just froze, unable to even reconstruct an understanding of reality with this new twist. Maybe he was in some alternate reality. Maybe his real life was still out there somewhere and he and Spike still hated each other. He shuddered at the thought of such a horrible world.

“What was he thinking? He hates me; he should have been buying me a ticket to Siberia.” Xander finally concluded.

“Woulda followed,” Spike commented wryly.

“Then he would have gotten rid of both of us,” Xander pointed out. “Besides doesn’t this change things?” Xander asked with a vague wave toward the bed.

“How’s that, pet?” Xander let himself be pulled back down into Spike’s embrace, still not used to the fact that the vampire seemed so much smaller now.

“Well, you’re the one who…you know.” 

“Bloody hell, you can have sex, but ya can’t say the word? 

“Fine, sex. Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex,” Xander insisted, each time poking a finger into Spike’s chest until the vampire captured his hand and held it still. “You’re the one who did the sex part, so doesn’t that put you on top or something?”

“Not that simple. I’m a vampire, pet. Once I yielded to ya, I can’t just take that back, it’s not in my nature, and if ya recall, when I tried ta force the issue tonight, I couldn’t even get a rise out of ya. So, I had a choice of surrenderin’ to ya or losing ya.”

“But the first time, that time you were all in-charge man and I yielded,” Xander insisted, still not really comfortable with Spike’s whole own or be owned view of life.

“Yeah, I overpowered ya, and I could do that again, but when I do, ya don’t yield. I got ya drunk and slept with ya, but the minute ya sobered up ya called me every name in the book and rejected me,” Spike pointed out.

“Yeah, kinda did,” Xander agreed. “I was really pissed off about the whole thing.”

“Yeah, that’s when I knew that if I wanted ya, I’d have to yield to you. I gave myself to you and my demon recognized you as his superior, likes it even ‘cause ya want me and that makes the demon happy. Never really was wanted before, just kind of ended up with someone.”

“So the demon’s okay with the whole human thing?” Xander asked, still not sure how much he liked this, but understanding it in a vampirey kinda way.

“Funny thing, never have heard of a demon acceptin’ a human before, but it might’ve been the spell. Demon felt the need ta be compatible, and accepting ya as master was the only way to make it work. Can’t say I’m sorry since ya make me a good sight happier than either Angelus or Drusilla ever managed.”

“Okay, just promise me one thing,” Xander asked.

“Wot’s that?”

“Never use the word ‘master’ again,” Xander begged. “You’re the strongest, most energetic, most determined creature I’ve ever known, and you shouldn’t call anyone master.”

“Doesn’t make me any weaker to admit that I’m yours, and the fact that Angel gave ya back to me means he accepts it as well. Puts ya right in the middle of the Aurelias line, which makes ya one powerful human. But pet,” Spike’s voice grew suddenly serious, and Xander felt the hand around his tighten. “We’re goin’ ta do somethin’ about your mates makin’ this trouble.” Xander listened to the determination in Spike’s voice and knew he couldn’t just brush off his friends’ interference, not again.

“No one dies and no one goes on a respirator for the rest of his life,” Xander insisted remembering Spike’s anger toward Giles. “No one is dead, right?” he suddenly realized that he hadn’t even asked about what had happened at the library.

“Wanker’s not dead, but if he doesn’t start tellin’ what happened, he’s goin’ ta hurt a little.”

“Spike, I’m serious. If he gets injured or dead, I’m going to have enough guilt to make me nuttier than Dru, so unless you want me to start playing with dolls, no breaking my friends.”

“Git. You’re worse than havin’ a mother, but no, I won’t break your friends.” Trusting Spike to keep his word, Xander lay his head down on that strong chest and slid into sleep.


A loud pounding drove Xander from sleep, and he flailed wildly for a moment, woken from a dream where he walked a tightrope over a giant jelly donut.

“Oi, somebody better be bloody dead or there’s goin’ ta be a death,” Spike cursed as he leapt from the bed and charged out the bedroom door, snagging the sword that leaned up against the wall.

“Spike!” Xander yelped, struggling to get his legs untangled from the sheets long enough to chase him out the door. Spike was already down the stairs when Xander yelled again. “Spike!” he all but screamed.

“Wot?” Spike asked from the bottom of the stairs, sword held high. Xander tossed the balled up black robe at Spike before ducking back into the bedroom to grab his own sweats. He briefly wondered where his shirt had gone but didn’t take time to find it before grabbing his own stake and running down the stairs.

“Boy-toy,” Faith greeted him. “If you’re expecting the in-laws to visit, you gotta wait for the sun to go down,” she said with a nod toward his stake.

“Ha ha,” Xander complained. “What are you doing here?”

“Regretting missing all the fun.” Faith turned around and looked toward the living room. Xander flinched as stepped forward and caught sight of the destroyed room. Bits of glass had gone everywhere, a scratched and chipped gnome lay on the couch and a bloody trail led up the stairs. Spike leaned against the hallway door, unable to get into the living room since the sun proof drapes hung crooked across the big window, allowing the late afternoon sun to bathe the room in red light.

“Whatever ya want, just spit it out. Don’t want ta ruin my reputation by havin’ a bloody slayer in my house,” Spike demanded with his arms crossed.

“I thought sleeping with the boy kinda did that for you,” she shot back. Spike growled loudly and stood up straight as he slipped into game face.

“Oh put it away already,” Faith commented with as she picked her way into the living room. “Like you better than Buffy’s vamp anyway, that’s for sure. He spends all his time sniffing after Buffy, and I know Ms. Frigid isn’t giving him any.”

“Hey!” Xander protested at the same time that Spike announced, “Be bloody glad for it.”

“Who said I’m giving him any? Man parts here!” Xander insisted and the minute the words were out of his mouth, he regretted them. He didn’t even bother looking over at Spike because he knew the expression the vampire would be giving him, that closed off, ‘it doesn’t really matter to me’ look that always made Xander feel even smaller than usual.

“Yeah, right,” Faith said as she looked over. “It’s five by five with me, don’t really mind the thought of two hot men squirmin’ around in a bed, but trust me when I say he looks like he’s getting a little.” Faith pursed her lips as she looked at Spike admiringly. Xander instinctively looked over, and he had to admit that Spike looked entirely too sexy in his short black robe for the vampire to be celibate.

“Gettin’ a bloody lot,” Spike said with a smirk to Xander.

“Yeah, the boy’s color kinda says that. Kind of a cherry red there,” Faith said with a head bob in Xander’s direction, and Xander could feel the blush that had started at the sight of Spike suddenly deepen. “Of course, cherry might not be the best word to use,” Faith said with another purse of her lips.

“Hey!” Xander protested, suddenly realizing that Faith was intentionally saying things to make him blush, which wasn’t all that difficult for her considering that she was even worse than Cordelia when it came to saying exactly what she thought. God, considering his ability to attract scary-type women, he shuddered at the thought that if Spike hadn’t come into his life she might have been in his future. “I know you didn’t come over to admire our redecorating, so exactly why are you banging on our door before the sun even goes down?”

“Sun’ll be down in a half-hour, so if I’m waking you, somebody must’ve been a bad boy and stayed up last night,” she sing-songed in a salacious tone.

“When the sun goes down enough for me ta get into the living room, I’m goin’ ta eat her,” Spike threatened, but Faith simply laughed.

“The others sent me over. After you threw your little hissy fit, the watcher did some sort of tracking spell, and it turns out there was a big blast of the voodoo yesterday. Willow and Oz tracked it down to a hotel outside of town, and you’re never going to guess who was staying at the Sunnydale Inn.”

“Elvis,” Spike snapped.

“One Mrs. Post,” Faith said, and Xander noticed the slayer staring intensely at Spike. When Xander looked to see if Spike was doing something stare-worthy, Spike looked back at him with a one-eyebrow up look of confusion at the slayer’s attitude.

“Mrs. Post came in claiming to be from the watchers, but she was this master manipulator who tried to steal the Glove of Myhnegon. Angel burned the thing and she disappeared,” Xander explained briefly, leaving out the whole Faith getting totally taken in part.

“So, the bint did something ta us?” Spike asked in a low voice.

“Yeppers, sure looks like it,” Faith agreed. “We kicked her ass, took her all-powerful glove thingy, and now evil ol’ Mrs. Post seems to be playing with the abracadabras. Whatever spell came out of there was big and Giles said some of the ingredients Willow found in the hotel could’ve been used to cancel out other magic.” 

“Oh god, did it affect anyone else?” Xander asked. In a town like Sunnydale you could never tell.

“Apparently this girl called Amy came down with the world’s worst case of acne overnight, but other than that, things seem pretty normal for a hell mouth.” Faith shrugged, her intense focus on Spike suddenly broken as she wandered the living room again. 

“So, library time,” Xander confirmed as he looked around for his shoes.

“Pet?” Spike asked. 

“Yeah, yeah. Wait ten minutes for the sun. I know.” Xander said. Of course he wasn’t going to risk turning his vampire into dust…again.

“Actually, I was thinking ya probably want ta have clothes that actually cover your body, not that I mind if ya want ta start goin’ with the half-naked look.” Xander looked down and realized that he didn’t know where his shirt was, his sweatpants were ripped in both knees, and he didn’t own any shoes that fit, although he had a sudden surplus of strappy sandals.

“I’m saying he looks better than normal,” Faith said with a shrug.

“Oh god, I am not going out like this,” Xander announced.

“Yeah, figured. Thought I’d point it out before ya actually got ta the library, though. You stay here, and when the sun goes down, I’ll go out and get ya somethin’.” Spike offered.

“Nothing embarrassing,” Xander demanded, and Faith started laughing. 

“Considering what you normally wear, exactly what would be so bad that you would find it embarrassing?” she asked. Xander didn’t answer; he just gave a Spike-like snort and went upstairs to catch a shower because he suddenly realized that he could smell the sex on his own body. While he showered, he heard Spike come in to change, but by the time he got out, the vampire and the slayer were gone, leaving him to clean up and make calls about replacing a window, cleaning a carpet, and finding a new lawn gnome.

Spike didn’t come home for nearly two hours, but when he appeared, he had enough sacks to make Buffy and Willow together happy.

“Oh my god, you do realize I’m not a woman anymore, right?” Xander asked. “Not feeling any girly need to change clothes three times a day and perfectly okay with swapping the same two pairs of jeans using the tried and true every-other day rule.”

“I’ve seen what ya pick for yourself, pet; you don’t get choices in this.” 

“Oh just give me a shirt and pants so I can get dressed,” Xander demanded.

“Who said I bought ya any shirts. Like ya topless,” Spike smirked, but he also threw Xander a single bag which Xander took upstairs so he could change into god-awful tight black jeans and a deep blue silk shirt with low boots. Great, if he wasn’t careful, Buffy was going to stake him as a vampire, he thought as he stomped downstairs.

By the time Spike and Xander arrived at the library, the others had gathered around a large map of Sunnydale, Willow suspending a crystal above the surface.

“So, I guess I’m going to be apology-man tonight,” Xander said as he walked through the swinging doors. Giles removed his glasses almost immediately, and Xander realized that he was actually getting used to not seeing the Watcher with glasses, which probably wasn’t a good thing considering the man only took them off to nervously polish them.

“Yes, well I admit we might have approached you about breaking the spell if we had found a way…” Giles was interrupted by a low guttural growl. He continued as if a century old vampire wasn’t suddenly looking at him as though he had the last edible blood in the world flowing through his veins. “But I assure you we would not have attempted a counter-spell without your consent.”

“Ditto here,” Willow offered. “I mean the whole you and Spike thing, yeah, it’s totally of the weird and creepy feeling making, but since I date a werewolf, I won’t try to tell you what to do. Besides, you click…well, you did. I don’t mean to assume that you still click, not that there’s anything wrong with guys clicking together, had a few of those type click thoughts myself…well, not so much the two guys thing as the two girls, and I just totally lost control of my mouth so someone please stop me.”

“Stop,” Oz suggested, and then he stood up and leaned over to kiss her on the lips.

“Thank you,” Willow shyly whispered, and Xander found that he was totally and completely happy that he hadn’t managed to mess them up. Now that he had his manly parts back, he could honestly say that he no longer wanted to click with her.

“It’s okay, Willow,” he said, and suddenly he realized why she had stuttered. Spike always stood somehow touching unless he was upset, but now Spike leaned against a far wall. Xander went over and slipped his own arm around Spike. “We’re still clicking,” he announced to everyone. Spike simply smirked, but Xander would have sworn he saw something like approval in Angel’s eyes before the older vamp returned to his normal stoic/constipated look. Maybe animal blood really did make vampires constipated.

“So, Mrs. Post?” Xander asked.

“Yes, she appears to have made a few contacts with the council despite her unsavory history. I haven’t gotten any word back from England, but I think we can safely assume that Mrs. Post is a very real danger,” Giles offered as he slipped his glasses back on.

“The bint’s not really a problem,” Spike shrugged. Xander shot a look over and would have called that expression guilt if he’d seen it on anyone else. Knowing his vampire, he considered it more a cross between self-satisfaction and wariness at having gotten caught.

“Oh good lord, what did you do?” Giles asked, and yep, there went the glasses. New record—three seconds.

“Oi, you lot said she was evil, seemed like that put her on my menu.”

“You ate her? Okay, that’s a serious euwww,” Buffy complained. 

“I double that euwww and add a yuck,” Willow said with a shudder. “And I don’t even have to kiss him after he eats.”

“Well, at least we don’t have to look for her,” Xander finally said. “And you are so brushing your teeth before I kiss you,” he finished. Spike gave him his best leer, and Xander rolled his eyes. “So, where to from here, G-man?”

“Oh good lord, does no one have a problem with Spike eating the woman?” Giles asked incredulously.

“I’m going with ‘yea, Spike’ personally,” Faith offered.

“Problem, yes, and if you start eating the general population, I am so going to stake you, but Angel already told me about Spike’s extra-curricular activities,” Buffy admitted.

“And you hadn’t informed me?” Giles demanded, and off with the glasses again. The man was going to get a callous on his nose if he kept doing this.

“Giles, I know this isn’t the perfect situation, but Spike has been a huge help patrolling, and Angel promises me he isn’t going off his new criminal diet, and Angel said that he used to do the same thing what with the eating bad guys, so I’m not going to stake him if he can’t go cold turkey on the red-stuff.” Buffy turned to Spike, “but if you run out of criminals, you’d better go bagged because I will not have an innocent life on my conscience.”

“Don’t give a tinker’s arse about your conscience, Slayer, but I won’t do that ta Xander.”

“Yeah, I know,” Buffy answer with a sigh and an expression she normally reserved for really sappy girl movies that Xander would never admit to watching with his two best friends.

“Thanks, Buffy,” Xander said with a genuine smile, and Buffy simply smiled her answer back.

“Might have eaten a couple people myself,” Oz shrugged, and Angel simply stood silent.

“Well, I can see I’m outnumbered, so I will simply say that if you continue any of your previous activities, I will bring in outside help,” Giles said, and Xander could feel Spike tense under his arm.

“Rupert, William’s…extravagances….were always inspired to get my attention or Drusilla’s love. I hardly think he is likely to continue torturing now,” Angel interrupted, and Xander suddenly found himself liking Deadboy, well not liking as in liking, but liking in a totally not gay way, not to suggest he wasn’t gay any more or anything. 

“So, demons and evil spells and rogue Watchers, oh my,” Xander said in his best Dorothy impression because, gay here.

“Yes,” Giles said as he obviously struggled to reach some decision. “Spike, Xander, you have patrol tonight. Buffy, go to the motel and talk to everyone who saw Mrs. Post or who might have any information on anyone she was working with. Faith, check back at those places she took you. She might have taken any accomplices to the same restaurants. Willow, if you would use that machine to try and trace any phone calls or credit records, I will try to reach my contacts in England.” Giles distributed the assignments, and Xander found himself smiling. He got sent on patrol. He never got sent on patrol. Patrol was where Buffy and Angel killed vamps between making out on tombstones, and don’t think he hadn’t followed the two of them often enough to know that. And now he got sent on patrol with his vampire. He turned to find Spike giving him a confused and somewhat concerned expression, but Xander just pulled out his stake and smiled.

“I so feel like staking something tonight,” he announced. Faith’s instant roar of laughter followed by various chuckles from around the room made him realize his mistake.

“And I so did not mean that in a gay way,” he protested. “Not that I have a problem with gay staking, but I meant staking a vampire,” he explained causing a new round of laughter.

“Oi, let’s just get out of here before ya kill ‘em with your brilliant repartee,” Spike suggested. Xander would have asked what repartee meant except he found himself pulled out the door to the sound of his friends still laughing.


After patrol, Xander practically crawled in the front door, sore from his head to his toes. 

“You could have taken that last vamp,” he complained to Spike as he dropped his stake on the hall table and eyed their still destroyed living room. The repairmen were coming tomorrow afternoon, and that meant he was going to have to get out of bed early to vacuum glass and clean. And then there were the shopping bags strewn around the game room left from Spike’s mall trip. The vampire was entirely too used to having minions around the place, and right now minions were sounding good, and no, he had not just thought that—bad, bad Xander.

“Ya said ya could handle yourself,” Spike reminded him, and Xander turned to give Spike an evil glare.

“And when did you start listening to me?” Xander asked. 

“Have to, don’t I?” Spike said, and Xander could hear the lust in those words. “You’re as important to me as Dru was, just a mite bit more sane. As important as Angelus, just a whole lot less of a sadistic bastard,” Spike whispered as cool hands wrapped around Xander’s waist. “If ya tell me somethin’, the demon’s got ta listen, don’t it?” Spike asked, and now Xander heard the invitation as clearly as if Spike had spelled it out.

“Oh so not fair,” Xander complained as his cock twitched in anticipation. “I’m supposed to be mad at you.”

“Ya handled yourself fine. If any of those wankers got a fang near ya, I would’ve torn them bit from bit, but I liked watchin’ ya dust ‘em.”

“You could’ve helped,” Xander repeated, but the arms around his waist tightened and now Spike rested his head on Xander’s shoulder, and Xander’s pants tightened at the thought of Spike so near his neck. Spike laughed softly, so Xander guessed he had just blasted his mate with pheromones.

“Hey, no laughing at me,” Xander insisted.

“What? Goin’ ta make me stop?” Spike demanded in a voice that sounded inviting and challenging at once. Xander spun in his grasp so that he was nose to nose with Spike.

“You think I can’t?” Xander asked, momentarily distracted by the thought that he couldn’t stop Spike from doing anything since the vampire was stronger, faster, and let’s be perfectly honest, smarter, but this wasn’t reality, and Xander felt himself harden at the thought that such a powerful creature played this way with him. An eyebrow twitch suggested that he’d just showered Spike with pheromones again, but Spike stayed in character.

“Wanker, ya don’t have the balls ta do anythin’ about it.”

“Oh, you are so going to get it,” Xander warned, and he could see Spike’s trademark smirk slowly grow.

“Think ya can take me on? Ya better be sure because ya won’t get two shots at it,” Spike said, but Xander just stepped back and gave Spike a cold glare.

“I don’t need two shots at it, and if you don’t want to end up…missing most of the skin from your back, you’ll get your ass to the bedroom.” Xander had almost threatened dust, but considering Spike’s recent brush with near-dustage, he wanted to avoid that particular subject. However, he noticed that Spike still stood with a recalcitrant expression, so Xander reached out and grabbed a fistful of leather coat, dragging the vampire up the stairs while trying not to giggle at the thought of him manhandling Spike. Spike could break him with one hand, but he had to admit that this new variation on their games made him horny enough to try anything. 

When he had pulled Spike into the bedroom, he slid out of his shirt before realizing that Spike hadn’t lost a single piece of clothing. 

“Oh, you are just cruising for a bruising tonight, mister,” Xander said as he narrowed his eyes. “You’ll either lose that coat or I’ll cut it off your chained body.” Xander wasn’t stupid enough to touch Spike’s precious coat, but he hoped he could do menacing well enough that Spike would drop the coat without him having to follow through, and plan A was going down in flames because Spike had crossed his arms and gone into gameface. 

Realizing that he couldn’t win this without actually getting the chains on Spike so that he could have some actual control, Xander turned and walked out of the bedroom without a word, striding to the playroom where he snagged an armful of chains before heading back to the bedroom. When he got back, he noticed that Spike looked worried, and he realized that Spike was probably worried about pushing Xander too far, but this was one vampire who was about to learn that Xander Harris could play sex games with the best of them. Okay, maybe not the best since Spike had played with Angelus with the whole centuries of sexual experience thing going for him, but Xander Harris could play sex games with the relatively competent.

“Worried?” he asked, working Spike’s expression into the game. “You should be after that display of temper. Now get the coat off NOW!” Xander stalked toward the vampire, manacles in hand, and the coat suddenly slid to the floor even as Xander reached out and grabbed the vampire by a wrist, locking a manacle on the wrist before Spike had a chance to react.

“Oi, I was movin’,” Spike argued as he tried to reach for the buttons on his shirt.

“Not fast enough, vampire-mine,” Xander said as he locked the second manacle around Spike’s right wrist the minute the two hands came within six inches of each other, the length of the chain between the two manacles, and now Spike was handcuffed. Goal two: get the vampire on the bed. Easy enough.

Xander reached down and put a hand behind Spike’s head, putting every bit of passion and desire behind his kiss as he nibbled on Spike’s lower lip before running his tongue inside Spike’s mouth. Spike opened willingly, and Xander almost lost track of his own trap as he moaned into Spike’s mouth and felt the body against him harden in response. Not giving Spike a chance to react, he pulled back and tossed Spike to the bed before the vampire had a chance to argue. 

“Vampire mine,” Xander growled as he now straddled Spike’s chest, and he could feel Spike shiver. Xander tugged at Spike’s hand, and the vampire obliged by scooting up the bed until Xander could use the padlock in his hand to fasten the chain to the bolt in the wall. “Whatever am I going to do with a lover who won’t ever follow directions?” Xander asked as he lowered his weight onto Spike’s trapped cock. Spike groaned loudly but didn’t make any other response other than to glare rebelliously.

“Sod off,” Spike finally suggested, and Xander sighed dramatically before pushing himself down even harder onto Spike erection, feeling Spike squirm under him.

“All right,” Xander agreed as he got off the bed and he almost laughed at the expression of shock and horror on Spike’s face. He walked out to the sound of Spike yelling.

“Oi, not playin’ it right, wanker.” Xander walked into the playroom and considered their shelves carefully before choose a few toys.

“Did I hear you complaining?” Xander asked as he walked back into the room. “Because as far as I know, I have the right to play with you however I want.” Oh yeah, Xander smiled at the sight of a full length tremor going through Spike’s body at that comment. “Over,” he commanded with a slap to Spike’s hip, and was he going to go to hell for really, really, really enjoying this? Spike flipped and Xander pulled the vampire up to his knees, but stopped him from scooting up the bed so that his arms were now stretched out and his head resting on the bed.

Xander slowly undid Spike’s jeans, spending as much time rubbing and teasing as actually undoing the buttons, but eventually, he finished and pulled the jeans down to Spike’s knees. He realized that with Spike’s boots on, the jeans functioned as an effective hobble since the vampire couldn’t kick them off. As a girl, he’d played with Spike lots without actually understanding the benefits, but now he settled in to enjoy his work, opening a container of lube and slicking his finger before working it into the vampire. He moved until he found the happy spot and then he spent some time touching it lightly enough that Spike started swearing at him. He simply laughed and pulled out. He’d never used more than one finger, so he tried to remind himself how good it felt at the end as he pushed two fingers in. It was harder than he expected, and the hiss from Spike probably would have stopped him if he hadn’t gone through it himself, but he pushed on, getting the two fingers in before moving them and pressing into Spike’s prostate hard enough to make the vampire squirm.

Xander slapped a bare butt, and the movement stopped. For a moment, Xander froze, horrified at what he had done, but Spike’s erection hadn’t suffered, so he continued his work, slowly stretching Spike until he thought the vampire was about the size of the toy he had selected. He quickly lubed the toy and started pushing it into place, moving forward steadily until the widest part perched just outside the ring of muscle before popping into place. He listened to Spike groan happily and then he picked up the attachment. Fitting the hose in place, he slowly inflated the butt plug, watching as Spike’s muscles twitched.

“Too much?” he asked, finally unable to keep up the game without checking to see if he had gone too far.

“Not bloody likely,” Spike snarled, but with a sexy sort of snarl. Xander laughed and finished inflating the toy before reaching down for Spike’s jeans. Spike writhed in order to get his knees up off the bed so Xander could pull the jeans down, but instead, Xander pulled the jeans up, tucking the now fully swollen cock into the jeans before beginning the process of doing up each button.

“What the bloody hell do you think you’re doin’?” Spike demanded.

“I do believe we already had this discussion. Something about how I could do what I wanted,” Xander replied amicably as he finished his work. 

“You soddin’ wanker,” Spike complained with a quick tug at the chains, but Xander had chosen their strongest lock, so he continued his work by taking off Spike’s boots. Xander whistled a bit before picking up another set of chains and fastening them to Spike’s ankles and locking that chain to the foot of the bed, leaving the vampire truly immobile and helpless. Laying his head down on the vampire’s shoulder, Xander summoned his most sympathetic voice.

“Comfortable?” he asked?

“You soddin’ little wanker, ya better not leave me here.”

“Yep, that sounds like you’re just fine,” Xander laughed as he gave Spike’s butt a slap and got up off the bed. “Oh, I forgot one thing,” Xander said as he reached into the nightstand. “I did tell you take off your clothes,” he said as he used a knife to cut Spike’s favorite shirt right off his back. The vampire stared thunder at him, but Xander could also feel his body attempting to hump given the very limited leeway Spike had in the chains.

“I have to go clean up the downstairs,” Xander said as he put the knife back and walked toward the door. “Someone left a mess, so I’ll be back when I’ve finished.” Xander laughed as Spike reeled off an entire litany of British curses, most of which Xander couldn’t even guess at. 

By the time Xander rushed through the housework, enjoying it more than he’d ever enjoyed housework in his entire life, he practically ran up the stairs with his own cock screaming for release. He’d wanted to do a slow torture, but right now all he could think of was finishing this before he had to go to the hospital for a broken penis. When he looked at Spike’s body straining against the chains, his shoulder muscles corded and his head thrown back, he pulled his own jeans off even as he hopped one footed across the room to unlock the leg shackles. 

The minute the chains were off, Spike pulled his butt up into the air, and the very sight of Spike nearly made Xander come. He had to lean against the side of the bed to regain control before he crawled up behind the panting vampire and undid the straining jeans, yanking them off before releasing the valve in the toy. Xander worried that he might not be able to get inside Spike considering how difficult he’d found it to just slip fingers in. He really didn’t want to bruise his cock, but the minute he positioned himself at Spike’s entrance, holding his erection firmly and taking a deep breath, he found Spike taking away the uncertainty by driving himself back with such force that Xander found himself fully inside Spike and gasping at the tightness. 

Before he could even process what had happened, Xander started instinctively thrusting, driving into Spike over and over before he felt the orgasm rip through him. Over and over? Yep, he got in at least two thrusts before coming, he was fairly sure. He would have been embarrassed about his lack of staying power except Spike had managed to come all over the bed, and Xander kicked himself for not remembering to put down a towel because last time Spike had somehow maneuvered him into the wet spot.

“Oi, bloody brilliant for someone who insisted that he doesn’t do the whole ownin’ thing,” Spike commented after regaining his breath. Xander was still trying to get oxygen to his own panting body which currently lay in a boneless pile on top of Spike.

“Playin’ not ownin’,” Xander muttered as he slid off to Spike’s side. He caught an expression in Spike’s face, and he suddenly realized that he couldn’t change Spike and trying to make him play by human rules just wasn’t fair.

“You’re mine, but it’s not ownership,” Xander said as he struggled to come up with a compromise that didn’t make him feel like a fat southerner in the 1700’s sitting on the porch of his manor house. “It’s more of a contract thing. I promise to always keep you and do dirty sexual things I could never describe to Buffy and Willow and pick you over my occasionally clueless friends, and you promise to not drive me insane and keep me from doing really stupid stuff and kill the demons that always seem to want to eat me.”

“So, as long as I keep up my end of the contract, you’ll keep up yours,” Spike summarized with a knowing smirk.

“Yep, but it’s not ownership.”

“Long as ya keep me, demon’ll live with that. So, ya doin’ ta unlock the chain now?”

“Nope. I’m going to cuddle with my chained vampire…and I did not just say cuddle because men don’t do that. I’m not cuddling, I’m saving on the cost of heating by sharing body heat.”

“I don’t make body heat,” Spike pointed out in a reasonable tone of voice.

“Shut up,” Xander groused, and Spike simply laughed as they settled in for the night.

The next day, by the time they had gotten the workmen out of the house, it had been dark for several hours, and Xander was anxious to get to the library. After all, he actually had a vampire count to share. Not Buffy, not Angel, not even Spike, but Xander the demon magnet. Three vampires in one night, and that was slayer-type good, although slayers didn’t usually have a vampire with a nose for tracking newly risen minions, or actually, yes, Buffy did have her own vamp, so he did as many vamps with Spike’s back up as Buffy normally did with Angel as her back up, and score one for the Xan man. 

He suspected that Spike understood his enthusiasm because the vampire didn’t even complain when Xander practically ran to the school. However, when Xander burst into the library with a loud, “Xan man with the staking gang reporting for duty,” he found Willow, Oz, and Giles at one end of the table with a serious looking older man on the opposite end.

“And I suppose this is another one of these children who has become involved with the slayer?” the man asked in obvious disdain, and Xander found himself looking at Spike’s back as the vampire obviously went into game face from his friends’ expressions.

“Vampire!” the man shouted as he stood so suddenly that the chair scraped across the floor with a hideous screech.

“Yes, quite. We had rather noticed,” Giles commented. “Xander, Spike, this is Quentin from the council. Quentin this is Alexander Harris the young man who brought the slayer back from her death at the hands of the Master and Spike; I believe you know him as William the Bloody.”

Xander enjoyed watching the man visibly pale, but the man’s next words stopped him cold.

“Rupert, I fear that the council really will have to take action to clean up your incompetence in Sunnydale. I had thought your reports bordered on the fanciful, but seeing this, you can expect a full council team with appropriate demon hunter units within the week.”

“Don’t give a rat’s arse what happens between you and the Watcher, but if ya send demon hunters in, I’ll consider ‘em on the menu,” Spike said and Xander came out from his vampire to stand at his side with a comforting hand on Spike’s back. “In fact, I’ll consider *you* on the menu.”

“The council does not take orders from vampires,” the older man announced in a tone that made it clear that he considered all of them beneath his shoe. But that condescending tone was somewhat belied by the man’s slow, steady retreat toward the protection of Giles.

“And I don’t take soddin’ attitude from you. So someone better start explaining what has the witch and the wolf so twitchy,” Spike snarled in a voice Xander hadn’t heard since before the spell. He could see Willow and Oz exchange glances as well. 

“There’s nothing that can’t be—.”

“Lie and you might not like what I’ll do ta get the truth,” Spike hissed at Giles, and the Watcher snatched his glasses off and opened his mouth to protest.

“Post called him. Made a deal giving the council dirt on us, and in return the council agreed to pay her and help split us up,” Oz said before Giles could even started, and Xander didn’t think he had ever heard so many words come out of Oz at once.

“Ya let her in your little secret club, and she bloody sold you lot out,” Spike smirked.

“Might I point out that her spell was primarily aimed at you, so your smugness is hardly appropriate,” Giles replied as he polished even harder, but the Quentin refused to deny or confirm the accusation, he just continued to stare as though Spike was about to eat him, which might not be far from the truth, and then suddenly a little lightbulb flashed over Xander’s head.

“The spell,” he announced, “she knew she had to get rid of Spike.” 

“Hate ta tell ya, pet, but I never met the woman.”

“Yeah, but she was a watcher, so she knew you. No one else would have gone after her if she tried to get revenge; we’d all sit around and moan about how unfair the whole thing was, just like we did when we found out she had tricked us in the first place.”

“Sittin’ around moanin’ isn’t my thing, not unless there’s sex involved,” Spike confirmed. “But I’ve always been known ta take revenge kills a little too serious.”

At this point Quentin interrupted, taking a step forward in challenge before Spike’s snarl sent him retreating back to Giles’ side. “Your conclusion assumes that Mrs. Post had some ulterior motive as opposed to being so horrified by the corruptive influences around the slayer that she wanted to return and help purge these corruptions.

“Oh, the bint had ulterior motives; offered up Watcher secrets by the truckload ta try and save her life: Passwords, local contacts, safehouses.”

“She would never give a vampire information,” Quentin declared imperiously.

“Not now she won’t,” Spike agreed with a not-so-nice-smile. Quentin paled even more and then gathered his resources, as he went on the verbal offences. He turned to Giles as a less intimidating target than Spike.

“And these are the influences you have around the slayers? Vampires? Werewolves? Witches?”

“Oh my,” Xander sing-songed in a continuation of the Dorothy theme from the previous evening. Giles glared, but he could hear Spike snicker.

“Not ta mention a former warlock and the only human member of the Order of Aurelius, but funny enough, it’s not your business what this motley lot does, so ya keep your nose out of our business, or ya will get added to the menu,” Spike insisted. “We keep the hell mouth closed; you go do your soddin’ paperwork while your wives think of England.” Xander guessed from Quentin’s and Giles’ reactions that there was an insult in there, but he wasn’t sure where. He focused more on the fact that Spike had just publicly called himself one of the group: an official Scooby. Okay, if anyone ever used the term Scooby on him that approved menu list would grow, but still. Spike wasn’t just his lover; Spike was one of them.

“As if a vampire could be trusted with such a task,” Quentin huffed.

“Hey, Spike is as trustworthy as any of us,” Xander protested, driving his elbow into Spike’s side when the felt the vampire take a breath to protest his characterization of the vamp as ‘trustworthy.’ Not really the time for Spike’s diatribe on joys of still being evil.

“Ah, yes. Young mister Harris who has managed to become possessed…twice, to infect himself with fish steroids, and to be romantically linked to a life-sucking Incan mummy, a preying mantis, and a male vampire. Thank you so much for your character reference.”

“Hey, when you say it like that, you could make Mother Teresa sound like some sort of crazy person.” Xander protested.

“And did Mother Teresa ever harbor any demonic spirits?” Quentin inquired sarcastically.

“Probably not, ” Willow quickly interrupted, “but the hyena is totally history, the soldier has come in handy, and it’s not his fault when he hooks up with creatures that suck the life out of people, well…except Cordelia, that one’s his fault.”

“Yes, Miss Rosenberg who has blown the power in half the city, tried to communicate with the dead, hacked government computers, released a trapped demon into the internet and accidentally turned her male friend into a woman.”

“Just back away from the witch,” Xander warned as he now stepped forward, noticing that Spike moved with him, waiting and clearly ready to eat anyone Xander put on the approved list. 

“You people have no business near the slayer. Your corrupt presence taints the work she must do.”

“Oi, I’m the only one corrupt in this company, despite my attempts otherwise, and the slayer, both the slayers, can talk for themselves. Ya might find that they have their own ideas on the matter,” Spike protested. He probably would have continued but just then the library doors flew open as Buffy made her grand appearance.

“And I’m saying, ‘Go Spike,’ but hopefully not out loud because agreeing with the peroxided one could be one of the signs of apocalypse.” Buffy walked in the door, Faith in her wake like a sarcastic shadow.

“Still like him better than your pet vamp,” Faith said as she broke away to lean on the library counter. Spike flashed game face and snarled as she twirled a stake in his direction, and Xander suddenly realized they were flirting, testing each other’s limits and seeing how far they could push. 

“Hey! No flirting with my vampire,” Xander snapped as he stepped between.

“Oh good lord,” Giles said, and Xander turned in time to see the librarian disappear into his office, their guest standing with an expression of horror as if someone had just turned inside out, but no body anywhere to be seen.

“Hey, you want him, you got him big guy,” Faith said, and Xander turned back in time to see her hold her hands up in surrender.

“Yeah, yeah, get your own,” he said uncomfortably, suddenly aware that everyone was watching him make a fool of himself over Spike, over a male Spike, a smirking male Spike with that cat that ate the canary expression. “And I’m just going to pretend I didn’t say that in front of everyone.”

“This is exactly the sort of unacceptable behavior to which the slayer must not be exposed.”

“If you’re talking the Spike and Xander PDA show, I’m on board because I really don’t want to be exposed to whatever they do in private. I think we all try very hard to not think about them and private at all.” Buffy shuddered.

“Speak for yourself, B,” Faith interrupted with a quick leer, and Xander found himself retreating behind Spike, not too sure whether Faith was joking or not.

“Okay, most of us don’t want to know what they’re doing,” Buffy amended herself with a dramatic shudder. “However, if you’re talking about us not being exposed to them as friends, you’re going to have to learn to deal. Xander with his ability to inspire lust in demons at 100 paces and Willow with her wonky spells and Oz with his wolfiness and even Spike with his…God, I really don’t have enough time to go into all his problems,”

“Oi!” Spike interrupted, but Buffy continued as if he hadn’t spoken.

“They’re all my friends, and you’re not. So you can take your judgments and your rules and you can…” Buffy hesitated.

“Go shuve ‘em up a ry’tholon’s arse just before ya get eaten,” Spike finished, and Buffy flashed him a smile.

“Yeah, what he said.”

“Really, for nearly 12 centuries Slayers have lived by the Council rules, we have protected and guided our charges to ensure that—”

“Oi, wait a minute.” Spike stepped up, and when Quentin appeared ready to talk over him, Spike slipped into game face. Xander couldn’t contain his own manly type giggle when the little toad squeaked in fear and retreated around a table. “You lot have been guidin’ slayers for 1,200 years, but slayers have been around a lot longer than that. The master used to complain about this slip of a girl who gave him grief ‘bout a century before the crucifixion, so I think we can safely say that Slayers did just fine before ya and will do fine without ya.”

“Well, really,” the man stood up to his full five foot one inch and did his best to glare. “The council has always—”

“No mate, ya haven’t. You’re a bunch of piss ants tryin’ ta make yourselves feel important by hangin’ on ta the one person who actually is important…or two in this case,” Spike nodded toward both slayers.

“I think bleach boy’s got a point. And if we decide to keep him around along with all the other losers here, it’s our choice.” Faith added to the discussion.

“Hey, I resemble that remark!” Xander exclaimed in his best offended voice. He now turned to face Quentin “And I’ve been around here long enough to say that I’ve done more to save the world than your council.”

“You tell ‘em, pet,” Spike encouraged him.

“And Willow and Oz, both have been out here fighting, and Giles. And all you council people do is phone from England and tell us how we didn’t save the world right.”

“They’re worse than my mother trying to teach me how to drive,” Buffy pointed out.

“Like having someone tell you where to put your hand during sex. If everyone’s getting off, not polite to criticize technique,” Faith added, and all of them looked over to her slightly horrified. Except Spike, Xander could see amusement in Spike’s eyes which explained why he then hit his vampire.

“Bottom line, you need us and we don’t really need you,” Buffy summed up their arguments as she crossed her arms. Quentin stood there a moment frozen, looking from one face to the other, but even Giles who had reappeared in his office door didn’t speak for him. Gathering up his materials and shoving them back into his black bag, Quentin went for the exit with an indignant snort, giving Spike a wide berth.

“Before ya leave,” Spike said, and Quentin turned. “London, 1886. Don’t think I can’t do it again.”

“And if you try to take Buffy or Faith or attack the group again, I won’t stop him,” came a deep voice from the shelves as Angel appeared. “I might be inclined to help despite the mess he manages to create with that particular…extravagance.” Quentin paled even farther, and Xander thought the man might have a heart attack, but he simply left without another word.

“You know, I love you, and please never, ever tell me what happened in 1886,” Xander said as he leaned into Spike’s body and he felt Spike arm slip into place without a single disapproving stare. Of course Buffy’s expression was a little nauseated and Giles looked extremely weary, but no actual disapproval type disapproval.

“Right, one git taken care of, so unless somethin’ big and slimy’s crawlin’ outta the hell mouth tonight, I’m takin’ Xander home and working on corrupting him.”

“Okay, ewwww,” Buffy complained, but her voice didn’t have the normal vitriol. 

“So, we’re all okay then?” Xander asked, pushing the tentative threads of togetherness he could feel circling the room.

“I’m willing to offer a no stake policy for a limited time trail basis,” Buffy offered.

“Right, that’s taken care of, so it’s time ta shag,” Spike said with a farewell nod toward the slayers, and Xander heard Buffy sigh and start to complain even as Spike dragged him out of the library.

“Giles, why do you let them…?”

“I assure you, I gave no permission. My time with the watchers never prepared me to deal with such circumstances.”

Xander smiled as he realized that all was well with his world, and if he was lucky, he was about to get seriously shagged. Once in the relative privacy of the hallway, he stopped, planting his feet and bracing his free hand against a locker.

“Oh bloody hell, what now?” Spike asked.

“I just want one promise from you,” Xander started.

“Right, won’t eat the slayers, won’t touch the witch, not plannin’ on sleepin’ with the dark slayer no matter how many passes she makes, and I’ll try ta keep the eatin’ people to a minimum.” When Xander didn’t answer, still trying to form the words in his own mind, Spike added. “What the bloody hell else could you ask for?”

Xander looked down into crystal blue eyes. “Um, share the chains?” he asked, and suddenly Spike’s face transformed from annoyance to salacious in a heartbeat. 

“No problem pet,” Spike promised, and Xander happily followed as Spike nearly ran out of the school dragging him along behind.



Faith Ficlets




“What’s wrong?” Xander asked as he ushered a nearly crying Willow into the living room.

“It’s not that I’m being all jealous girl here, although I might be a little jealous, but that’s a normal reaction when new people get added into a group. So maybe I am jealous, but that doesn't mean that I don't have a valid point too," she wailed, and Xander wondered whether he had babbled that much before he had Spike to look at him with that one raised eyebrow that told him he needed to shut up.

“Um, what?” Xander asked, totally confused now.

“It's Faith. You aren’t in school; you don’t see what’s going on.”

“Faith isn’t in school either, last I checked she was big into the mocking of school and going-to-school type people." Xander pointed out, no less confused now than before.

“That’s just it, she comes to school more than most people who are actually coming to school only she and Buffy have this whole 'slayers versus the world' club going now.” Willow threw herself down onto the couch dramatically, and looked at Xander with wide injured eyes.

“Willow, what happened?”

“Xander, I’m really worried about Buffy. Faith showed up, and then Buffy goes and skips class, and on a test day too.”

“Bloody hell, now that’s an emergency if I’ve ever heard one. Next thing ya know she’ll be smokin’ cigarettes and listenin’ to that new fangled rock and roll,” Spike added as he stomped down the stairs. Great. Stomping... which meant boots... which meant their morning was shot to hell.

“I’m serious,” Willow insisted unhappily, and Xander sat on the couch next to her, slipping a hand over hers as Spike rolled his eyes dramatically.

“I’m sure Spike didn’t mean anything,” Xander said as he shot Spike his most evil look, which was more Dr. Evil than actual evil evil, but at least Spike leaned back against the wall without more than an eyeroll.

"I’m really worried about her,” Willow nearly wailed.

“When she starts sneakin’ out of the house with the Beav, you be sure to let us know," Spike commented dryly.

“You…you’re just…just annoying.” Willow finally spit out.

“My unlife is over,” Spike complained dramatically as he looked up at the ceiling. “I’ve been demoted from emissary of hell to annoyin’.”

“That’s okay, I still think you’re evil,” Xander said, which earned a smile from Spike and one horrified expression from Willow.

“Xander! That’s not nice," she insisted, and Xander mentally compared the idea of nice and Spike, and he had to say they really didn't belong together. He was about to point that out when Spike beat him to the punch line.

“That’s the point luv, world isn’t nice, I’m not nice, and I’m wonderin’ why I had to give up the chains and the bed just to come down and listen to this.” And that was definitely not the punchline he'd been thinking about.

“Spike!” Xander and Willow both shouted at once.

“I didn’t…you didn’t…he isn’t being serious is he?” Willow turned her big innocent eyes to him, and Xander froze. Deer in the headlights froze. Parents walking in on a third-base grope session froze. Utterly, utterly guiltily froze. Willow’s skin slowly turned a color that rivaled her hair.

“You didn’t…” Xander started.

“She bloody well did,” Spike quickly countered.

“We’d already put the chains away,” Xander finished lamely, and by that time Willow had achieved a sort of full verbal meltdown with individual consonants and vowels emerging from her at random intervals as she stood up. Xander thought he recognized the words “see” and “later” come out of her before she turned and fled out the front door. Xander looked over to find Spike had a satisfied grin. If he couldn't kill the Slayer and her minions, the vamp was determined to embarrass them to death.



"Right, so you spill about what bug crawled up your arse and died and then I can get back to shaggin' the boy," Spike said as he walked up to the slayer in the graveyard. The trees swayed slightly in the breeze, and Faith turned around, one hand on a hip in a gesture that was either sexual or aggressive. With Faith there didn't seem to be much of a difference, which really made Xander feel more than a little creepy, but he stood his ground. The more he understood Spike, the more he realized that he had to stand his ground or it made Spike look slightly on the wussy side for following him. And he wasn't even going to point out that following him really wasn't always the best idea in the world.

"Whoa there, bleach boy," Faith finally said after looking both him and Spike up and down in an exaggerated leer. "You may get to talk that way to your boy toy, but you sure aren't going to go talking to me like that." She smiled nastily. "Then again, you don't seem to be top dog in your house so maybe you don't get to talk to him like that." Faith turned her back on Spike, and Xander flinched as he prepared for the imminent breakage of headstones, and he suddenly wondered who had to fix all the broken headstones. Someone was making a killing on epoxy around this town. Instead of going into a killing rage, Spike started laughing.

"Oi, you sorry little shit. That's it, innit?"

"What? Nothing's it," Faith snapped back just a little too fast as she spun back around, her legs braced in position for battle.

"Not top dog anymore, are ya? Can't beat the skinny little bint, so you figure to pull her down a bit."

"Listen, B and I are five by five, so don't start meddling," Faith warned.

"Bloody hell, it's not like I care if you two kill each other. Wait, I do care. Wouldn't mind seein' two slayers lay into each other, and havin' both of your annoyin' selves outta my unlife would be a bloody bonus. But you're right I'm not top dog around here and neither are you. Fact is I seem to remember putting you in your place right under me, so you can just join the rest of us sods who get stuck waiting around for Her Highness and Mr. Broody to pull their heads out their arses and actually say something worth listenin' to."

"I…" Faith seemed to be at a complete loss for words, which had never actually happened before as far as Xander could remember. "You…" She closed her mouth again. "I am not under you," she finally finished. Xander waited for the explosion.

Three broken headstones, a near staking, multiple bruises, one broken bone, a bit of blood loss, and a possible concussion later, Xander finally helped Spike back to the house.

"Did you have to throw her into that tree?" Xander asked.

"She bloody kicked me in the family jewels. That woman has no soddin' respect for anything," Spike paused, and Xander waited for the punch line he knew was coming. "Knew I liked somethin' about that one."

"Please just tell me that you two are done now," Xander begged. Of course he couldn't help worring that a whole lot of people were going to be done if Angel and Buffy spotted the vampire hicky on Faith's neck. Well, he'd cross that bridge when he fell in that river.

"I figure this time she'll remember she part of the family, right under us, pet." Spike hissed as Xander helped him over the threshold. "Bloody wrong claimin' a slayer into the bloodline."

"Oh please, the Aurelius line is down to a souled vampire, a crazy vampire, you, and a bunch of minions," Xander pointed out.

"You make that sound like a bad thing." Xander just shook his head as he helped Spike up the stairs.

"Crazy vampire of mine," Xander whispered. Spike turned and gave him a wicked leer. "Oh no... you are showering by yourself until you stop bleeding," Xander nearly squeaked as a talented hand slid inside his pants, forcing him to fight off a horny vampire.

"Bloody hell. It's a waste of good blood washin' it off like that," Spike insisted as he continued to molest Xander. While a little voice in Xander's head told him that it was a bad idea, Xander allowed his lover to pull him into their bathroom. After all, when ya dated a vampire, why get squicked over a little blood?



"Are you sure about this?" Faith asked uncertainly.

"Oi, spent a quarter century annoyin' the git, so I bloody well know how to do it." Spike looked up toward the balcony where the door to the sewers lurked behind bookcases, and only on a hellmouth would someone connected a library to a sewer, Xander mused as he stared at the books and tried to ignore the big stupid thing going on in the middle of the room. At least Giles was off safely getting bored to death by Snyder.

"I can't believe you talked me into this," Xander complained as he retreated from the scene of the soon to be crime and stuck his head out the library doors to make sure no one was coming.

"I can soddin' hear anyone comin' so you're safe as houses. Just get your arse over here," Spike insisted.

"Why do I let you talk me into this stuff?" he practically whined. "And I'm not doing it if Faith is here. Make her go into Giles' office or something.

"Come on, let a girl have some fun." Faith whined with a roll of her body that made Xander look away because she had way too much of that bad-seed sexy going on for Xander to feel safe. Oh yeah, hanging out with the vamp had definitely damaged his psyche because he should not be finding this hot.

"Your fun is going to be the expression on Deadboy's face." Xander snapped as he ignored Faith with her leer matching Spike's, but Spike's naked body spread face down over the library table and covered only with a large beach towel make his leer a little more effective.

"Go on then," Spike said, and Faith retreated with a snort even though Spike could hardly enforce his orders with his arms tied to the far legs of the table. "And you get over here before I die of bloody boredom." Xander looked around and Faith had retreated to the office where she would have a perfect view of Angel's face as he came to the balcony without having a view of Spike and Xander's teasing. Xander had been very, very specific on that point. He'd even made Spike drag the table four feet down so that they would have privacy for this part.

Xander's lust took time to override his embarrassment, but with the temptation of Spike's body laid out like a feast, he had managed to get into the swing of the event as he straddled Spike's back with his jeans unzipped and his cock slipping between Spike's butt cheeks and no farther despite Spike's steady stream of cursing pleas.

Xander blanketed his lover's smaller body with his own, feeling the muscles under him strain and bunch as he slowly thrust, his jeans now around his ankles as he teased Spike's hole with just he head of his cock. Xander had just sunk his teeth into Spike's exposed neck when he felt a warm hand run up his back under his shirt. He jerked upright to the sight of a half naked and clearly aroused Faith running her hands over both of them at once, Xander's back and the inside of Spike's thigh.

He opened his mouth to protest when he spotted Angel standing on the balcony, eyes yellow and mouth open and panting as he gripped the balcony wood hard enough that Xander reminded himself to check for dents later. Xander tried to roll off Spike and cover himself up. Yes, he'd known this was the plan, well obviously not the whole plan since no one had filled him in on the naked breasts part, and he was so not expecting girl breasts that weren't his in the middle of this joke. Unfortunately, he managed to roll right into Faith which put his hands on the girl parts, and he jerked back and lost his balance falling onto Spike's helpless body and eliciting a breathy curse.

Xander looked back up at the balcony and Angel was gone.

"Bloody brilliant, pet. You timed that perfect." Xander looked down to see Spike congratulating naked Faith.

"You set me up too, you bastard," Xander complained.

"No fun being on the bottom if ya can't torment the top," Spike admitted. "Besides, gotta earn my punishment, don't I?" Xander sputtered as Faith slipped on her shirt and laughed.

"You boys have fun."



Drusilla's Gift

Drusilla floated through the night following a flock of silver birds whose bodies flashed like diamonds and made her miss the sun. Reaching up with a hand, she scattered them and then laughed as they reformed in the air, hovering like hummingbirds before transforming into silver threads that tied her to the stars and clung to her as she spun.

"Pretty ones all needing to be cut, cut, cut," she sang as she stopped near the tree. Her boy was there, still effulgent even without his soul, the light shining out… out… out. But no more nasty amulet for him. No, her boy had found a boy and he would turn her William's light into a fire that wouldn't burn him.

"I can't believe you got me to agree to this. I’m so getting arrested," the boy-king complained, and Dru smiled as she waltzed with the tree, the silver threads tangling in the green branches.

"You bloody love it, pet, fess up."

"I never said I didn't, I just said I'm going to get arrested," the boy-king protested, his gold effulgence tangling with William's brilliant white light. But the kitten king tottered. Dru moved closer, seeing a woman's form dancing in the light with the boys.

"A dancing ménage a trois all tangled up," Dru sang as she came out from behind the tree. The kitten pulled at his pants, struggling to get them up, and Dru laughed at the images that danced across his form. The fierce kitten teetered one way toward and then back again, close… close… oh so close.

"Dru?" Spike called her, and she danced to her effulgent prince.

"Pretty boy for my pretty boy," she sang her approval, but Spike only tilted his head in that way that told her he couldn't hear the stars. Miss Edith laughed so loudly that Drusilla could hear her from way across the town. She laughed back as she felt those strong arms at her waist.

"Pet, what are you doin' here?" Spike asked, and Dru lay her head on his shoulder as she looked at him.

"Isn't nice to come to a party without a gift. I brought a gifty," she whispered. "Shhhh. Mustn't tell. It's a secret." Drusilla pranced away and focused on the tilting prince.

"Hey, um, no present required, really. I'm big with the getting forgotten on days of traditional gift giving," the boy king said as he retreated to her Spikey's side. Like Spike he had all these forms dancing around in his light and Drusilla reached out to touch one. She laughed as the sunlight dancing around the prince lit her skin in golden colors without burning her.

"Tilting, tilting. Always tilting. Always there like a little fire burning beneath your skin all waiting to come out and burn you all up," she explained seriously as she reached out to push the tipping figure. Before her hand could touch, Spike grabbed her wrist.

"Not for eatin', this one," he said seriously, and Dru laughed.

"Too much light, he'd burn my tummy, silly," she answered. "But I have to give the gift, not polite to keep my gift away."

"Oh hey, I'm thinking I really don't mind."

Dru reached forward again, and this time Spike didn't stop her as she reached for the two figures entwined in the light and pushed. The figure tilted and rocked and then settled. Dru clapped her hands in joy.

"Oh shit. No. Spike, make her fix this!" Dru looked at Spike, still clapping her hands to the rhythm the stars made.

"Pet," Spike started, and both the kitten and Dru looked to him. "Maybe you should…" he stopped as he swallowed.

"Maybe she should give me back my cock?!" the kitten nearly yelled, and Drusilla bounced on the balls of her feet.

"A pretty girl, a pretty boy all tilty-whirly, and now I've given you my present," Drusilla turned and started following a new school of flying lights.

"Oh no, Spike. Stop her. I have breasts again. I don't want breasts again."

"Now, pet…" Drusilla danced away to the sounds of their voices, their combined effulgence lighting her path through the trees.


"Is anyone else disturbed by this latest," Buffy paused, not really sure what to call it when one of your best friend's lover's ex's made your gender change… again, "thing?" she finally settled on.

Willow slowly raised her hand, but Oz just shrugged as he flipped the page on his book and Faith didn't even pause in sharpening her knife.

"I mean, I got used to the Xander being a girl thing, and then he turned into a boy, and now with him being a girl again, I'm wondering how many times I'm going to have to make this same adjustment."

"Pronoun whiplash," Willow agreed softly as she wrinkled her nose.

"I was rather more concerned about Drusilla's involvement and why the vampiress would choose to interfere," Giles said as he sighed and pushed away another volume on rituals and love potions. "Although, considering the alternative, I'm grateful she chose to emasculate Xander rather than eviscerate him," he mused.

"The only thing I wonder about is what happens if he's having sex when he shifts. If he goes from boy to girl, I'm thinking Spike is just going to be a very frustrated vamp, but if Xander's a girl, and then he breaks out with the boy parts, how's that work?" Faith asked as she got a curious expression on her face.

"Ew. God, now I need brain bleach," Buffy said as she flinched away from the thought of Spike and Xander and sex. Yes, they might have it when no one was looking, but Buffy really preferred to put their sex life in the same category as her homework. If she didn't look at or acknowledge its existence, it didn't actually exist.

"Oh come on, don't tell me you weren't wondering," Faith snorted.

"I wondered," Oz said as he nodded slowly without looking up from the text he studied in hopes of finding some reference to Celtic binding rituals.

"Oz!" Willow pulled away from Oz in horror. Oz shrugged as Willow stared at him with an open mouth.

"I really had hoped to never imagine any part of their sex lives at all, so I must thank you properly for putting that unwanted image in my mind," Giles offered from his side of the table as he stood up and closed the book he had just opened.

"No prob," Faith answered with a wide smile. Buffy watched as Giles' back stiffened. Funny, before Faith showed up, Giles had been big with the 'remodel Buffy' into the perfect slayer plan, but now, with Faith, Buffy suddenly didn't have as much to worry about. She could always count on Faith to distract her watcher with something totally inappropriate. "But really, considering that I live in the house with them, you'd think I'd get some sort of peek." Faith finally finished.

"And I'm rather relieved that you haven't." Giles paused, "Surprised, but relieved."

"Yeah, I got the audio track with the moans and screams of pleasure and the crack of a whip every now and then, but no visuals," Faith said after a second. She had timed it so that Giles had just brought the teacup to his mouth, and he choked and spluttered tea all over the table.

"The books," Willow gasped as she snatched old volumes off the table. For the first time, Buffy picked up her book, using it to hide her own smile.

"Yes, well—" Giles seem to run out of words, but then the library doors opened. Angel walked in, and suddenly Buffy didn't care nearly as much about Xander or Xander-sex or even Xander-gender because Angel's expression was on the dark side of apocalyptic.

"Did you find Drusilla?" Giles asked.

Angel nodded as he looked around the room.

"So, what's crazy girl got to say for herself?" Faith asked.

"She said Xander is the way he needs to be for the stars to sing their lullabies," Angel shrugged.

"Okay, Xander needs to be shifting back and forth between boy and girl like some sort of thingy that goes back and forth… you know, like when you're playing piano," Buffy mimicked the motion, frustrated when the word slipped away from her. She remembered staring at that thing when she was five and her mom made her take lessons. Tick… tick… tick… tick.

"Metronome," Willow offered.

"Exactly," Buffy said with a smile. "Boy… girl… boy… girl…" She said each as she made her hand go back and forth like the rocking part of a metronome.

Angel didn't answer right away. "She's a seer," Angel said, but he sounded uncertain.

"We are all aware of her powers," Giles prompted.

"She wouldn't do anything to hurt Spike, and that means she won't hurt Xander, so if she says he needs this—" Angel let his words trail off.

"While she might not hurt her childe, I don't trust her to act in Xander's best interests," Giles argued.

"Chill, G-man. It's a vampire thing. Spike belongs to Xander, so crazy-girl might kill him and take Spike back, but she won't put the hurt on Xander because then Spike would have to get involved."

"Faith's right," Angel nodded.

"So, we are to take the word of you and Drusilla that this change is somehow necessary?"

Buffy flinched away from the sarcasm in Giles' voice, and she hated the way the words made Angel shrink back, as if he'd done something wrong.

"And is Drusilla still alive?" Giles demanded. Angel didn't react, and after a second, Giles slumped, the tension draining from the air as he sank into a seat. All the frustration of a moment ago vanished under weariness.

"I can't help but feel like I've failed in some fundamental way."

"It's kinda my fault with the spell and the old skink root and the trying to de-lust me and Xander without telling anyone, not even Xander."

"Yes, I am quite aware of your involvement in this disaster," Giles said as he pulled his glasses off and polished them. Buffy watched while Willow folded in on herself. Oz reached over, his hand finding hers and twining their fingers together until she gave him a small smile.

"Man, you people have got to lighten up," Faith interrupted the solemn mood. "Get laid, go dancing, see the humor in this. I mean, Xander running around sticking his hands down his pants just to check that his parts haven't fallen off when he's not looking… what's not to laugh at?"

"Faith," Angel said, and that sounded like a warning.

"Face it, in the big scheme of things, we have a mayor trying to open a Hellmouth, dozens of vamps running around, Cordelia creating alternate universes, and Giles' ex-best bud poisoning the town with band candy. Put that up against Xander who is actually passing all his classes, happy, and having enough sex to make me several shades of jealous, and I am not used to having to be jealous on that front. So, I'm thinking it's not that big of a deal. Anyway, I'm going to go patrol. Maybe I can talk Spike into a bit of sparring," Faith shoved her knife back into its sheath and sauntered out of the room. Somehow the other slayer took much of the tension with her.

"Xander is happy, which is kinda nice considering that he's had so much not to be happy about in the last couple of years." Willow said.

"But disappearing genitalia can be disturbing," Oz pointed out, and Buffy didn't miss how all the men cringed at that.

"Faith's right. We have real bad guys to chase, and Xander is happy. Mostly." Buffy said to the remaining members.

"There's nothing wrong with being a girl, and Xander was okay with being a girl, so going back and forth is just—" This time, Willow struggled to come up with a word.

"Weird," Buffy offered.

"Totally," Oz added as he pushed his book away.

"But there's nothing actually *wrong* with weird. In fact, it's not really weird so much as different… eccentric… unique, right?" Willow asked, looking from one person to another. Buffy looked over at Angel who had his hands shoved into his coat pockets making him look vulnerable even though he had enough strength in his hands to rip a fledge's head from his body.

"I'm okay with unique," Buffy said.

"It's kinda cool," Oz offered his approval. "Maybe I'll talk to Xander."

"I'm not sure I would characterize it as cool, but I am, at least at this point, willing to admit defeat in finding any solution." Giles started collecting the books together, and Willow handed over the ones she had rescued from the tea.

"So, if we're done with the disturbing, I think I'm going to patrol, too," Buffy said. "Want to come with and watch my back?" Buffy asked Angel. He didn't answer, but when Buffy started towards the library door, he walked beside her. Yeah, unique could be okay, and if Xander had a bit of unique in his life, Buffy could only hope that this time, unique turned out to have a happily ever after in there somewhere.


Giles' Reply

Subject: RE: Your recent decision
Date: Tue, 04 May 1999

After receiving your recent email, I felt it necessary to address your concerns.

> We truly doubt that you have considered
> the ramifications of allowing certain parties
> to have access to certain women, especially
> given historical precedence. Perhaps you
> should review the material in the Yarda
> Codex and the Herrick diaries.

I assure you that I have a complete understanding of Spike's nature. Should I ever forget that he is a vicious demon, I need only wait for one of his temper tantrums where he threatens to eviscerate whichever human seems to be annoying him the most on any given night, usually myself. And even discounting his vivid verbal descriptions, I have witnessed his violence during patrols on a regular basis. Despite Spike's past conflicts with slayers, his relationship with Faith remains disturbingly cordial, and his conflicts with Buffy remain both verbal and puerile to the point of being nearly familial. He has shown no interest in killing either. Now, I do not intend to suggest that I trust him because I do not, but right now his best interests are served by cooperating since, like Angel, the demonic community has ostracized him.


> The idea that a member of the Scourge
> of Europe would ever reform because of
> the influence of a teenager is laughable.

Xander's ability to curb Spike's more sadistic tendencies has been tested on numerous occasions. Our school principal physically restrained Buffy and Xander during an incident with a creature I dubbed the "Hansel and Gretel" demon. Even in a killing rage, Spike stopped when asked, by Xander, to release the man unharmed. Not more than a week later, the mayor offered Spike a significant bounty for turning on us, and while I do not condone Spike's willingness to cheat the mayor out of the money, I must point out that he did not betray us.

> In addition, the humanity of the
> teenager is in doubt. The Celtic spell
> described in your report has never resulted
> in the gender-changes our agents reported.

I shall ignore the implications of you placing agents in town, and would simply remind you that your actions have already angered the slayers and further interference might lead to conflicts. Xander is entirely human. He has suffered injury and indignity to fight beside the slayers because of his ethical nature, and to cast aspersions on him is the basest form of attack.

His recent spate of gender-changes came as a result of Drusilla's interference, and he is now settled into a primarily masculine persona. If, during times of stress or salacious activity, he reverts to his female form, the blame falls on Drusilla, not Xander. Furthermore, Spike has proven remarkably adept at creating plausible explanations for Xander's more inconveniently timed gender changes. After changing in the middle of an entire cafeteria full of students, Spike convinced the entire student body that our lunch room workers had laced the Jello with hallucinogenics. A situation that could have threatened the identity of the slayers and caused a panic of unprecedented proportions ended with nothing more serious than a thousand teenagers trying to get their hands on the remaining Jello.


> The relationship between Angelus and
> William the Bloody suggests that their
> familial ties still exert influence. Since
> Angelus has already posed a serious
> danger once, the potential for Angelus
> and William to act together in furtherance
> of evil exists. Your denial does not
> change this fact.

I have never denied that Angel and Spike continue to have a relationship, even if it no longer fits the most common form described for childer and sires. Spike seeks Angel's attention and approval, even as he torments the older vampire to prove his independence. If Angel lost his soul again, I would consider Spike's loyalties suspect, although I imagine he would still remain loyal to Xander first and foremost.

However, I do believe that danger exists with each and every one of us. The council is well aware of my own past dalliances with evil and power, and that potential exists in every one of us. Willow's curiosity has led her to inadvertently make decisions that could have caused great harm. Xander has endured harassment, neglect, and verbal abuse that could have caused him to turn on others as so many who suffer bullying do. Faith's fears and lack of direction when she first came to Sunnydale could have led her to seek approval in the wrong places. Oz's nature as a werewolf could have triggered aggression.

Each of us carries an ability to make a choice that could improve or damage the world, and Spike is no less capable of this than any of us. However, Spike has shown no interest in ending the world, and from my own observations, he would regret any such action the moment the television stopped broadcasting his wretched shows. He stood with us against Angelus before, and now that he has found Xander and some measure of acceptance in the group, I would expect no less of him now. Naturally, I would not trust my life or the fate of the world on this trust, but I trust him farther than I trust you.

> You should reconsider your loyalties.

Two words: Sod Off.

Yours truly,
Rupert Giles


Read Readers' Comments


Oz Sitting

Xander really didn’t know why he even bothered showering…that and he wondered who the hell build city sized sewers under nearly every building in town, including one that led to the school. Since he had agreed to take the early Oz watch, he and Spike had taken the sewers in order to avoid the whole turning to dust thing, which wasn’t really a thing for Xander, but he didn’t want it to become a thing for Spike. They got to the library just as Oz was starting to hang his patchwork of privacy blankets across the cage in the library.

“Hey,” Oz offered his normal greeting.

“Hey,” Xander returned even while Spike immediately went to Giles’ office to pick the lock.

“Giles out?” Xander asked with a quick look around. If Giles found Spike trying to break into his office the evening would go very, very wrong very, very quickly.

“He'll be late.” Oz attached the second corner of the blanket to the bars.

“Willow’s really still freaking about the flexigender, isn't she?" Xander asked. He wasn't really fond of his new habit of sliding into boobies without warning, but he was dealing better than Willow and Buffy who broke into babbling on a regular basis.

“Yep,” Oz confirmed.

“You talk to her?”


“Is it really that bad?” Xander asked, and that made Oz stop. Xander could see his back as he stood in the locked cage with one hand still raised in the air to grab another blanket off the file cabinet. Oz shrugged as he finished his grab and continued on his task. Xander recognized a dismissal when he saw one, so he settled in at the table with his books and his laptop. He had to finish two assignments before his on-line test, and he had discovered that working by himself with Spike and Willow to help him over the rough bits actually made school much easier. Of course, getting laid helped too what with the lack of constant daydreams about any sexy ass that passed by him. These days, he tended to limit his fantasies to one sexy ass, and oh that was not helping on the studying front.

“Bloody watcher got rid of the good scotch in his office,” Spike growled as he came out of Giles’ office, locking the door behind him.

“You drank it all last time we had a research meeting,” Xander said as he read about French and American movements in the later years of the war.

“Git never replaced it.” Xander listened as Spike’s Doc Martin hit the leg of the table one… two… three… four… five… six… times. He looked up and glared. Spike was twirling a knife which would have been really stupid if he had tried it, but Spike’s nimble fingers first balanced and then twirled the deadly blade. Did Giles hate him? Giles knew the patience of Spike, and still here they were. Seven… eight… nine… ten… eleven… twelve…

“I can’t believe we’re stuck here on Oz watch,” he groaned as he realized Spike had less patience than normal. “No offense Oz,” he quickly added.

“None taken.”

“Bloody hell. At least you can work on your school work, what am I supposed to do without anythin’ to fight?” Spike complained. “Of course you could always put your book down and come amuse me." Spike took the knife he had been twirling and slipped it back into his boot before starting his best sexual stalk.”

“Oh no, not in front of Oz you don’t,” Xander warned.

“I don’t mind,” Oz offered from the cage as he finished hanging the blankets that would afford him some privacy as he stripped and put his clothes aside in preparation for the change.

“Yeah, wolf doesn’t mind,” Spike said with a leer.

“That’s just not going to happen. I mean, what if Willow walks in here or Buffy or Faith?”

“Willow would be embarrassed,” Oz confirmed from the cage even as Spike dropped his shoulders in a hunter’s pose and shimmied closer. Xander retreated around the table.

“Embarrassed Willow, angry Buffy, trying to join in Faith…these are things I just don’t want to deal with,” Xander insisted as he continued to retreat around the table.

“We’ll be doing the wolf a favor to loosen up his girl, I can handle Buffy’s anger, and Faith can soddin’ watch from the sidelines. She'd like that,” Spike offered as he continued his pursuit. Xander seriously considered stopping the game, but Oz had disappeared behind file cabinets, the slayers were going hunting in the woods, and Willow was studying for a test, so they really were alone until Giles came. When Spike darted forward and grabbed his wrist, Xander squealed and pulled back without actually trying to free himself, or telling Spike to let him go which would have immediately earned his freedom.

“I’m bored, and since it was your bright idea for us to babysit the wolf, you can bloody well entertain me,” Spike said as he pulled on the arm, and Xander let himself be pulled into Spike’s embrace.

“Bored huh?” Xander asked as he tilted his head slightly to bring their lips into alignment. “And I suppose you expect me to fix this for you?” Xander asked in a long suffering tone of voice.

“Bloody right. Angelus used to go find me the prettiest girls when I was bored, especially if I’d been good.”

“Okay, referring to your past as a mass murderer might not be the best way to get me in the mood here,” Xander complained as he pulled back, and he heard a laugh from the direction of the cage. Oh shit, he was really hanging out with the evil dead way too much because the thought of an audience was supposed to be disturbing, creepy, downright terrifying. Instead his cock was just getting its normal 'oooh, yeah, sexy vampire,' vibes.

“Just sayin’ Angelus had a way of distracting’ me. I’m sure you could think of ways to distract me from the boredom.” Spike leaned forward and pressed his lips to Xander’s, and Xander reciprocated by opening his mouth slightly and pressing forward with is tongue, eager to explore the taste of Spike.

Xander wiggled his ass invitingly when he felt the strong fingers work into the back pockets of his jeans, and Spike moaned into his mouth, Xander pressing forward until their bodies pressed into one another.

“Just because Angelus put up with your impatience, you think I should,” Xander asked when their lips finally parted.

“Put up with me?" Spike snorted at that one. "He used to whip the skin off me for annoyin’ him,” Spike said. “Unless he was in a good mood,”

“And what if I’m not in the good mood?” Xander asked as he leaned forward and nipped at Spike’s lip. Spike ground his hips forward into Xander, and Xander tilted his head and bit sharply at the side of Spike’s neck. Spike hissed in pleasure.

“Oh good lord, you do have a home of your own, do you not?” Giles demanded, and Xander nearly tripped trying to back away from what had nearly been a ego-crushingly embarrassing moment as opposed to a moment of simple mortification.

“Giles,” he managed to say as he tried to check all his buttons without looking like he was checking all his buttons because that would be embarrassing, especially as a total stranger followed Giles into the library, and next time Spike wanted the naughty, he was so saying no. Well, he was saying no and actually meaning it.

“Yeah, got our own place with our own bloody cage, but last time we offered to wolf sit over there, got told we were untrustworthy.”

“I don’t think Buffy included Xander in that assessment. As I recall she said that *you* were untrustworthy, William.” Xander flinched for Spike when Giles used his real name; the only person who used his real name was Angel and then only when Angel was busy calling Spike a screw-up.

“Would you like to introduce us? I must admit I’m surprised to find students in the library so late, but I myself was headboy with library privileges, and I’ll confess I spent many late hour in a closed library.” The nerdy man with the too perfect suit and the Giles accent stepped forward.

“William, Xander – Wesley,” Giles said in a tired voice.

“Visiting from England,” Wesley announced and Xander looked over at Spike. Oh yeah, he had that look on his face—that look of complete joy, like right before the time he had verbally eviscerated the slightly slow cashier at the movie theater.

“I’m bloody shocked, I am. Never would have guessed.”

“Ah, from the mother country, are you? What part of England are you from?”

“Saw most of Europe in my years, can’t really say I’m from any one part.” Spike turned to Giles. “What exactly is this berk doing here?”

“The council sent him.”

“Mr. Giles, I’m shocked at your indiscretions.” And Wesley actually did manage to looked shocked and horrified. In fact, Xander hadn’t seen anyone look that shocked since Buffy’s mom had ended up with more dead people than live people at the whole homecoming party, and if *Giles* could shock this guy, Xander wasn’t putting money on how long he’d survive Spike's mouth.

“Oh there are far more indiscreet things around here, just wait.” Giles agreed amicably.

“I thought that the council wasn’t sending anyone else what with the whole Angel and Spike and obscure 1886 reference,” Xander said with a near panicked look towards Spike. Luckily Spike still had on his ‘play with the prey’ face as opposed to the ‘eat now’ face, at least Xander hoped that was lucky.

Oz chose that moment to remind the group of his presence by throwing himself against the cage with a mighty snarl. The thin Englishman jumped and made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a girl shriek, but then Xander didn’t have much room to criticize considering his own habit of girl screams, even when he wasn't a girl.

“Good lord, is that a werewolf?” The new Watcher approached the cage cautiously, stepping backwards when Oz threw himself against the cage once again. “He really is dangerous to keep around a school, far too dangerous for the children.” Wesley turned accusing eyes toward Giles.

"Oi, I'm not exactly safe for the kiddies, either," Spike pointed out as he pulled out his knife and started playing.

"Well I can see why the council is concerned."

"And as I told the council, their interference is both unnecessary and unwanted."

"Yeah, so sod off," Spike added as he sat on the table. Xander blushed as Spike then amused himself by sliding arms around Xander's waist, pulling him close so that Spike could rest his chin on Xander's shoulder. Part of Xander wanted to squirm away because grown men were watching, stuffy grown men. But the part of Xander that won was the part that sank into the cuddle, enjoying the fact that Spike would show his affection so openly. After Cordelia and her closets, Xander was man enough to admit that he loved the public affection.

Of course, when Spike's foot started worming between Xander's legs, Xander had to give Spike his best "so not kidding" glares, but it didn't make him move out of the circle of Spike's arms.

"I am here to discuss official business with Mr. Giles. If you are part of this… group… who assists the slayers, you do not have any part of this discussion."

"Xander, William, perhaps you should leave. I will take care of Oz watch for the night."

For the first time, Xander realized that Giles' use of Spike's human name wasn't just the librarian getting in a few digs. Giles was intentionally avoiding it. Xander looked over his shoulder and Spike had an eyebrow raised in question.

"No worries, mate. We can watch the wolf while you go set the berk straight on who runs this place," Spike said with a smile as if he wasn't annoying Giles to the edge of drink after drinking all the man's scotch.

"I think it may take a while. I certainly don't want to keep your from any pressing… business," Giles smiled tightly.

"Oi, feel like you're tryin' to get rid of me," Spike complained. "Don't tell me you're ashamed of having William the Bloody over for a spot of tea?" Spike teased in his most pouty voice, but he also loosened his hold on Xander, ready for a fight.

Xander watched as the new watcher’s back stiffened at Spike’s name, and the man froze in place so completely, that Xander was almost disappointed at the lack of a cartoon sound-track.

“William the Bloody? Spike??” Wesley asked as he slowly backed away, and Xander would have laughed at the expression. He would have, but since he was busy smacking his vampire on the arm for laughing, it didn’t seem quite fair to laugh himself

“I have faced vampires before, you should now. Training in the council facilities is no longer limited to studying history and philosophy," he announced as he fell into a position Xander could only describe as something between a cheesy 1970's martial arts film and a Monty Python skit. Wesley held his hands out with the fingers pointed like blades and even Xander could see how vulnerable his position left him. Xander found himself praying that he had never looked quite that pathetic, but then he had once played cavalry by showing up for a fight as 'the guy with the rock' so he wasn't taking any bets. Spike was obviously equally amused as he shimmied out of Xander's grip.

“That right? So, you think you can defend yourself from me? Because I firmly remember telling that other watcher that if any of you lot tried to come around here I was putting you on my approved diet list.” Spike snarled so convincingly that Xander pulled his own hand back even as Wesley retreated the length of the room, and he’d obviously forgotten Oz because he put his back up against the cage.

Xander opened his mouth to shout out a warning, but Oz moved faster than he could form the words. Xander waited for the blood and the screaming to start, but Spike streaked forward and pulled Wesley away from the cage even as Oz body slammed it and reached through the cage with thick, yellowed werewolf claws.

"I uh. Oh my." Wesley looked ready to pass out as he stumbled back toward Giles.

"Bloody hell. I've soddin' ruined my reputation. I hope you're happy," Spike complained as he stomped back to Xander's side.

"Deliriously," Xander agreed as he held out his hand for his vampire. Spike slid back into place, cuddling Xander, his chin resting on Xander's shoulder.


New Guys in Town

"Hey guess who's... back in town to see you guys after not being in town for a really long time," Xander corrected herself as Giles opened his apartment door. Yeah, obviously Giles and Buffy and Angel and Willow were big with the knowing that Xander had just shifted gender again, but Tara and Riley so did not need to know.

Riley looked up from the couch, and--ever the gentleman--stood up. Oh yeah, this was not good. Tara sat on the floor next to Willow, and she just stared with wide eyes.

"Xan...adu," Willow corrected herself half way through the name. "This is Xander's cousin, Xanadu, from Sacramento," she hurried to say. Xander didn't miss the frown on Buffy's face.

"Hey, Xan. What's up?" Buffy asked as Spike pushed past to sprawl on the end of the couch nearest the witches. Tara jumped a little, but then gave a shy smile as she scooted closer to Willow.

"I was just... well, you know, and I thought I'd come help with the disaster of the day," Xan said weakly. She really hated lying, but she wasn't big with the sharing either.

Usually when someone saw a vamp go 'poof', the gang started talking about special effects and movie locations and hallucinogenic jello. But the minute Riley had kept his head during a vamp attack, Buffy had spilled the whole thing about slayers and vampires and the one girl in all the world bit. Of course now, there was more than one girl in all the world, but at least Buffy had managed to not spill that part, or the part where two of the gang assembled for the lastest Hellmouthy goodness were actually vamps, or the part where Xander turned into a girl when he got too stressed. Like today.

Xander shot Angel a look, and the man had the blank expression of a seriously on-the-edge vampire, which wasn't surprising considering how many of these meetings now included Riley.

"Nice to meet you. I'm Riley Finn," Buffy's latest beau introduced himself. Xander stepped forward took his outstretched hand. Spike's whole body went tight when Xander shook the man's hand, but there really wasn't a good way to get out of the hand-shaking without some seriously weird excusage... skin fungus or something. Damn, that was good. Xander promised herself that she would remember that excuse for next time.

"Xanadu Harris," she offered him before stepping back to Spike's side. Immediately, Spike reached out and pulled her down into his lap, and this was not helping. Riley knew Xander and Spike were a couple, so now his eyebrows rose all the way to his hairline.

"Spike, quit playing around," Xander said as she aimed her hardest punch at his arm while keeping a teasing smile on her face. Spike glared at Riley for a second before letting go. Oh yeah, so much love in one room. Riley hated Angel for being Buffy's ex, Angel hated Riley for doing the things he couldn't do with Buffy like walk in the sun, Spike hated Riley because Angel hated Riley, and Riley just got a disgusted look on his face every time Spike did something sexual, like grab Xander's ass. Yep, one big happy family.

"Riley," Tara said shyly, and the whole room looked toward her. Willow's new girlfriend was not usually the kind to speak up in the middle of the whole group, and Xander could count on one hand the words she had ever spoken to Riley. The buff TA seemed to make her shrink in on herself. "I left some ground toadstool in Giles' storage area, but he put it on a high shelf. Could you please help me g-get it?" she asked.

Giles stuck his head out from the kitchen, his 'Kiss the Cook' apron on, and an oven glove on one hand.

"Tara, I don't--," Giles started, "Never mind. Riley, would you be so good as to help Tara? She knows where I keep the key to the storage area," he finally finished. It seemed like the more the group started pulling apart at the seams, the more complicated the dishes Giles cooked. Today he was doing homemade lasagna, and that ranked pretty high on the avoid-o-meter.

"Of course," Riley answered as he stood and gave Buffy a kiss before heading toward the door after Tara who had already darted away like a rabbit. From the perch next to Spike, Xander could feel the sub-audible growl roll through Spike's body.

The door closed.

"Xanadu? What is up with that?" Buffy demanded

"Hey, it's called a secret identity! I can have a secret identity," Xander defended herself.

"It's Riley and Tara."

"Oi, think that's my girl's point," Spike interrupted, "not like we know them all that well."

"We can trust Riley," Buffy insisted.

"Hey, I'm big with trusting." Xander held up her hands in surrender. "I'd trust Riley to have my back and to hold my purse and to do other stuff that requires trust that I can't think of right now, but I don't trust him enough to get into the whole boy-girl discussion."

"You just have something against any boy I date," Buffy said as she crossed her arms. Angel flinched at that, and Xander flinched for the man. Unless he missed his guess, Spike was going to disappear tonight, and both vampires would have serious injuries before they turned up in Xander's kitchen for some first aid. Xander really didn't see how beating the hell out of each other helped anything, but he had to take Spike's word that it was a vampire thing.

"Xander, what has upset you enough to trigger this change?" Giles asked as he came out of the kitchen wiping his hands on his tomato-streaked apron.

"Don't ask. No asking. Asking leads to discussions of sex acts which I do not want to hear," Buffy wailed as she stuck her fingers in her ears.

"You're just bloody jealous," Spike announced as he smiled smugly.

"Not with jealous, more with the ew," Willow came down on Buffy's side.

"Yes, well considering they are here and not either completing their sex act or meditating in order to return Xander to his male status, I rather assumed something more important had come up," Giles pointed out as he sat heavily on the end of the trunk with all Buffy's weapons

"Xander, did something happen?" Willow asked, concern immediately erasing the faint look of disgust from earlier.

"Something nearly happened," Xander said, as she felt her heart start to race even at the memory.

"Oi, don't get worked up over it now, pet," Spike said, and he reached out and pulled Xander back into his lap, a hand stroking her leg gently. "Ran into those soddin' soldier boys again. Had trouble getting' away."

"Trouble?" Xander nearly yelped. "Trouble? Trouble would be a stuck manhole cover. Trouble would be my pants falling. What we had was disastersville."

"Xander?" Willow asked, this time her voice was shrill with worry.

"I had to order him to leave me because the soldiers were everywhere. One nicked him with a tazer, and we barely got to the Bronze, and then Spike was smelling gun oil all over the Bronze, only these guys blended into the crowd. Like invisi-girl blended."

"Spike, do you know how they were tracking you?" Angel asked as he stepped forward now.

"They had somethin' because a lot of 'em went out the door after a fledge that I spooked, so they're smarter than the usual hunters."

"Oh god." Buffy's mouth made an 'O' and she looked toward Angel. Oh, this was so very, very unhealthy. Xander wondered if Riley ever got a glimpse of that lost expression that would sometimes flit across Buffy's face. In the past, that look might have made Angel's shoulders droop with loss and pain, but now he stiffened his back.

"How did you get away?" Angel asked.

Spike hesitated, his body tight with anger, and Xander knew they were going to have a serious talk tonight, either before or after Spike and Angel did their increasingly regular beating each other into senselessness.

"I told him to use the roofs. No way can humans follow through those downtown warehouses, especially with all the refrigerated and heated warehouses down there," Xander said when Spike seemed unwilling to admit that he'd left Xander in the club.

"You mean he left you?" Willow asked, dismayed, and Spike's body stiffened even more.

"Not like I bloody wanted to, you old cow," Spike snapped.

Willow jerked back. Spike said stuff like that to Buffy all the time, but normally he tolerated Willow. On good days, Xander would even say that Spike liked Willow what with the nicknames and the way he'd smile at her babbling. Even Tara had gotten a pass from Spike who had put the girl on his 'do not torment' list and had laid down the law with Faith who enjoyed teasing Tara and Willow until they both turned bright red.

"Hey, enough with the rude," Buffy complained at the same time that Angel gave a barked, "William" of warning.

"I'd switched into girl mode, so no way would they connect me to the guy with the vampire," Xander defended Spike. After all, Xander had been the one to order Spike away when the vamp had been perfectly willing to stay and kill any humans who had threatened them.

"If these are the same blokes who mucked about with you during World War II, they've grown some stones since then. These gits weren't afraid to keep hunting, and I think Xan is right about them using heat sensors. I lost 'em in the meat-packing district." Spike tangled his fingers with Xander's, and Xander closed her eyes in fear at what might have happened. These days, vamps and demons disappeared with no trace, which normally would be of the good, but not all the vanishing demons were exactly of the world-ending, people-eating sort.

"Buffy, I'm concerned that this level of involvement with demonic activity could have disastrous repercussions," Giles sighed as he pulled off his glasses and cleaned them with a clean corner of the apron.

"Big with the potential bad," Willow breathed.

"I've patrolled. I haven't seen anything, not even the normal number of vamps," Buffy protested. "I'm looking, Giles, I really am."

"I know you are," Giles assured her.

"Is anyone else nervous that the vamps in the group might not have as much trouble finding them?" Xander asked. For the first time, he found himself grateful that Oz had taken off after the whole she-wolf disaster because he would not want the werewolf in the middle of this.

"I don't want that any more than you do!" Buffy's back grew stiff as she glared toward Xander, and Spike went just as stiff in response.

"So, do I want to know what you people do with toadstool?" Riley asked with a laugh as he came back in the apartment. "Because if Mr. Giles is using this in his cooking, I think I'll skip dinner."

"Of course not," Giles said with more than a little disapproval. Angel retreated back to the wall, and Xander had to pinch Spike before he would let her go so that Xander could, once again, perch on the arm of the couch. Oh yeah, Riley was so going to think that Spike was a cheating dog.

"It's some biology thing," Buffy said with a wrinkled nose. "Those science nerds," she teased.

"You could become quite the psychology nerd yourself with a little extra tutoring," Riley said as he sat down and slipped his arms around Buffy's waist. Xander just struggled not to choke on the sap, and Spike made a sound that might have passed as a cough if he'd been alive. However, Angel's amused glare suggested that something nasty had been buried in there.

"Well, since you lot aren't killin' any vamps tonight, I think we're off. Need ta go find Xander. Seems like a good night to shag him raw instead of the other way around." Spike smirked as Buffy and Riley got matching looks of disgust. Xander just backhanded Spike as he got up.

"Don't count on it, Bleachbrain."

"Oi, Xander loves the feel of my--"

"Hey, tender ears here, no saying anything Giles will polish glasses over. No saying anything at all," Xander interrupted as she grabbed Spike's arm and hauled the vampire right out the door. Spike was still laughing when the reached the street, and really, Xander thought her blush would be worn out by now, but she could still feel the heat in her face.

"Xanadu," Tara called.

Xander turned, surprised to see the shy witch behind them.

"Yeah, pet?" Spike answered for Xander.

Tara trotted a few steps closer and then stopped. "If you're having trouble with stabilizing your aura as either male or female, I have a few spells that might help, depending on what gender you w-want to st-stay with," she offered softly.

Xander stood under the streetlight, stunned into silence.

It took Spike a second to answer, but he recovered faster than Xander could. "Thanks pet, but we've had quite enough mojo."

Tara blushed and nodded.

"Hey, I really appreciate the offer, and now that I realize that you knew, I really appreciate you getting Riley out of the way for us, but Dru, the nutso who made my gender a little flexible, she said there was a good reason for doing it," Xander tried to reassure her.

"She called it a prezzie," Spike agreed, "And my dark princess could see the future. She couldn't always explain what she saw, but I learned to trust her judgment."

"Oh." Tara stood silent, her hair in front of her face as she look down at the pavement.

"But thanks again, and I'm sorry about all the keeping of secrets," Xander said.

"We all have secrets," she agreed quickly. She looked up at them, and Xander could see the acceptance, and really it was a little surprising since everyone else had required much time for adjusting and freaking, Xander included.

"No bloody kidding," Spike agreed as he slipped an arm around Xander's waist.

"But not all secrets are bad," Tara nearly whispered, shifting nervously before continuing. "I've never seen vampires with so much love in their auras before," she turned back toward Giles' place and hurried down the dark street. This time, when Xander looked up at Spike, the vampire looked just as stunned as she was.

"Okay, I think we've been underestimating Tara," Xander said.

"Seems like, pet. She'd make a lovely vampire with all that hidden depth."

Xander planted an elbow as hard as she could in Spike stomach.

"Hey, not bloody nice."

"I think the not-niceness of this vampire I've been hanging around with has rubbed off."

Spike grabbed her, planting a kiss on her that made Xander forget what they were even fighting about.


Reporting Officer: Captain Finn
Report 9934, Section C

Date: 9-23-98
Location A: Domicile of Rupert Giles
Location B: Westside Cemetery.

Untagged hostiles 17 and 18 continue to maintain human interactions with the group identified with slayer-A. As yet, I cannot determine whether any human associated with slayer-A knows of their true natures. The male, A. Harris (Xander) did not attend. A team should check to see if hostile 17 has turned him. A new female, Xanadu Harris, appeared at R. Giles' home, and hostile 17 appeared sexually interested in her. She may also be a target for turning. W. Rosenburg reports her home as Sacramento.

After the meeting, slayer-A and I conducted a sweep of Westside Cemetery and eliminated one hostile, a standard vampire. Tomorrow slayer-A plans to patrol the east side of the campus.


"Agent Finn," called a voice as Riley printed his nightly report.

"Yes, ma'am," he answered as he came to attention for Dr. Walsh.

"Is there any progress with Mr. Harris?"

"He missed the meeting, ma'am. I'm just not sure I'm comfortable waiting to see--"

"Agent Finn... Riley," Maggie Walsh softened her voice, "if we can observe their reproductive cycle or capture a young vampire, it might be the difference in this war."

"Yes, ma'am," Riley said through clenched teeth. "But Xander is a civilian."

"The innocence of the others might be in question, but Xander intimately knows hostile 17. He knows the hostile has no heartbeat or body heat, and you yourself reported seeing the bite scar on Mr. Harris' neck."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Riley, I know this is hard on you, but we're fighting a war. And if Mr. Harris has brought hostiles into close contact with the slayers, there is every chance that he is working for the hostiles."

Riley nodded. Some days he hated his job, and now--caught between not wanting to see Xander turned and wanting to protect Buffy--he just wished he knew what to do.

"I'm proud of you, Agent Finn," Dr. Walsh said with a smile. The fear that had tangled in Riley's guts slowly unwound.

"Thank you, ma'am," he answered.


Girls' Night On

"I'm really thinking this is not such a good idea. Can't we just leave a note and run?" Xander asked as she fingered the edge of her sweater. Thank god she could control the switch back to male once she switched because if she turned into a boy in these jeans, certain body parts would never recover.

"Oi, I'm not running from a slayer," Spike complained. "But if you want ta run, I'd have to follow you, now wouldn't I?" he added after a second.

"I'm not running as much as avoiding. Avoiding for good cause which is not the same as avoiding with freaking," Xander said.

"Oh yeah, and the fact you're in a skirt again… you aren't freaked at all," Faith snorted as she sprawled across the couch. "But with the latest big-bad long-gone, I'm ready to blow this burg."

"I'm not in a skirt," Xander pointed out. She'd gotten dressed before Spike could pull out the dresses he loved. Some days, Xander had nightmares that Spike would try to get Xander in a dress when Xander wasn't all girlified. Yeah, Xander might be the one with the power of foot-putting-down, but Spike and his smirk and his leer and his hundred years of practice with manipulation definitely got his way most of the time.

"Right, so L.A., New York, Cleveland, or Nepal?" Xander asked the pair.

"Have good memories of New York," Spike said.

"Giles did say there are lots of vamps there," Xander mused.

"Anything more interesting that vamps?" Faith asked as she looked up from her book on medieval weaponry.

"Not bloody likely. The place is so overrun with vamps and vamp hunters that most other demons steer clear."

"Giles said L.A. is pretty nasty with the nasties, and Cleveland and Nepal both have Hellmouths," Xander said hopefully, and since when did he choose future cities based on how many demons were crawling around the city?

"Any idea where Angel is heading?" Faith asked.

"Why? Are we looking to stay near him or avoid him?" Xander asked. Spike snorted, which really wasn't much help in the clarification department.

"Hey, who says I'm going with? If you idiots end up in Cleveland, I'm bailing… Hellmouth or no Hellmouth." Faith grunted.

"Not bloody likely," Spike snarled as he went into game face and snarled at her.

"I'm shaking," Faith said as she held out her hand and mimicked a tremor.

"Hey, no, no, no, no. There will be no more breaking of furniture. If you two want to go at each other, take it outside and break a tree or something," Xander insisted.

"Yeah, don't break the furniture, you don't want your owner getting all cranky," Faith smiled at Spike evilly.

"Oi, someone needs a reminder of who's in charge of who. Besides, been a while since I tasted slayer blood," Spike smirked at her.

"Yeah, well you aren't even in charge of you."

"But I'm bloody well in charge of you, slayer."

"Whatever," Faith said with a roll of her eyes, not even trying to dispute it. Xander just closed her eyes and wondered when her life had gotten so weird.

"Hey, how about we get back on topic?" Xander pleaded.

"You mean how you're totally freaking out at the very thought of telling Buffy and Willow that you're bailing?" Faith asked, and that girl had a serious evil streak for poking at that particular sore spot. Spike must have sensed something because this time his growl wasn't playful. Faith fell silent.

"Not bailing. Just looking for some place where we're actually needed," Xander argued, and she felt tears threaten. She always seemed to cry so much easier when she did the girl thing, but considering the women she normally hung with, she was not even going to think of telling them that girl hormones seemed so much more crying-prone.

"The chit's got Cornbread and Cracker now, she seems to have all the back up she needs, especially since blowing up the Initiative took out most of the demon population. So, if we're looking for new hunting grounds, it's not bloody bailing on anyone." Spike's words, hot and angry, were for Faith, but his hands skimmed over Xander's curves, stroking and soothing. Xander let herself sag back into that support, and for the thousandth time, she wondered why Spike was so willing to follow her lead when she really didn't seem so good with the leading.

"Hey, Xan, you know I didn't mean anything by it," Faith came close to apologizing.

"I'm just a little freaked; not your fault."

"The girl parts kinda gave away that you're not five by five with this." Faith's voice lost that sarcastic edge. "But after we have a girl's night, you can make a few decisions. After all, have you even really talked to Buffy since Riley and Graham 'fessed up to spying on us for the other side?" Faith asked.

"Talked as in 'pass the butter, please'… sure," Xander tried to joke, but his funny bone was obviously unfunny.

"Pet," Spike said softly.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," Xander insisted as she patted her vampire's leg.

"Well, you'd better get your ass in gear or Buffy and Willow are going to show up with the movies on our doorstep," Faith pointed out, and Xander glanced at the clock. Oh yeah, time was definitely up.

"Come on then, Faith," Xander said with a false cheerfulness. From the way Faith and Spike looked at him, he hadn't fooled anyone. And from the look of horror on Faith's face, she didn't exactly want in on the movie night / bonding-fest. She had probably planned sneaking out and doing the nasty with Graham, and as long as Xander never again had to walk in on them in the basement, he didn't really care where they went to do the dirty. However, tonight he needed the moral support, and as much as Xander loved Spike, Spike plus Buffy in the same room was big with the unsupportive.

"Fuck. Don't even ask me to spend my night playing nice."

Spike laughed nastily.

"I hope you know that I'm not playing nice tonight," Faith complained as she pushed herself up from the couch.

"Do you ever play nice?" Xander asked as she got up to follow.

"I can play so nice you'd never forget," Faith said with a wiggle of her ass.

"Gaaahh! No. Stop planting naughty thoughts," Xander complained as she covered her eyes.

"Yeah, that's my job, innit?" Spike asked a scant second before naughty hands groped Xander while she still had her hands over her face.

"Hey! No naughty touching. God, I have to go face Buffy and Willow." Xander pulled away, and Spike let go with a laugh. Xander let her hands down long enough to glare at Spike who looked sorry in the not at all sort of way.

"Movie night or sex with the vampire, make up your mind so I can make my plans," Faith complained from behind, and Xander turned to the slayer.

"Movie night. Definitely movie night. Maybe movie night," Xander said as she headed for the door.

"Have fun, ducks," Spike called. Faith's answer wasn't even a little bit decent.


Xander sat in the middle of the couch, Buffy crossed-legged on the couch on one side, Willow lay on her shoulder on the other side. Faith had commandeered the chair and she sat on it sideways, her legs thrown up over the arm as she stared at the ceiling instead of the television.

"Okay, why does that guy think he can just sail in with flowers and think she'll just forgive him?" Willow asked as she pointed to the man on the television. Since none of them actually spoke Indian or Hindu or Beejee, or whatever the characters were speaking, Xander wasn't entirely sure he was trying to get her to forgive him. Maybe the flowers just meant the man had found a good sale on roses.

"Men always do that," Buffy agreed. "They think that just because they suck up, we're supposed to just forget all the crappy stuff they've done."

"Hey, not big with the man-bashing. In case you've forgotten, I'm a guy most of the time," Xander protested.

"Yeah, but you're like a guy-lite." Willow poked Xander in the side.

"Yeah, exactly, like a guy, only not." Buffy pointed out. "And look at that. He really thinks some singing and dancing makes up for whatever he did. Men."

"If he wants back on her good side, he should offer her something a little more interesting, maybe a lap dance," Faith said without looking over. She just kept staring at the little white dots on the white ceiling.

"Ew," complained Buffy. Willow's face scrunched up too. "Seconding the ew."

"Oh please. That's what makes a woman put up with all a man's shit," Faith snorted.

"Okay, gay here. I'm not really sure this applies to me."

"Come on, B, tell me that Riley didn't make up for spying by giving you a good tumble in bed."

"Okay, that's just disturbo," Buffy wrinkled her nose. "No more disturbo. So, since it's a girls' night, what girly thing should we do?"

"Maybe we should paint Xander's toenails," Faith teased.

"No. No, there will be absolutely no painting of fingernails, toenails, or any other nails on my body," Xander protested.

"But Xander, it'll be fun," Willow pouted, and Xander closed his eyes against the power of Willow-pout.

"No. no. no. no. And once more for emphasis, no."



"I have this great new shade, Iceberg Pink," Buffy added. She reached over to the end table and then playfully waved a bottle in front of Xander, who just glared.

"I'm in hell. This is guy-hell," Xander moaned as he let his head fall back to the couch and stared at the ceiling.

"You're not a guy, as far as I can see. You want me to reach in and double check for you?" Faith asked.

"And that would be a bigger NO than the toenail polish," Xander said as he tilted his head toward the smirking slayer. "If you're feeling all horny, why don't you go find Graham?"

"Boy's alright for a tumble, but this is about having a girl's night, isn't it?" Faith said as she reached across the gap between the couch and the chair and stole an enormous handful of popcorn from Willow's bowl.

"Hey, you don't need to hang around here. We're going to be boring all night. Just cheesy popcorn and cheesier movies," Buffy assured her. "I told Riley to take time off, so Graham's probably just patrolling. You could find yourself a nice soft hill."

Xander looked over because that was bitchy, even considering that Faith and Buffy careers out of being to each other.

"Not leaving Xander to go chase after Graham," Faith said. "Some of us know where to put our loyalties."

Oh yeah, that was Faith's extra-special level of bitchiness showing up. Buffy wrapped her fist around the fingernail polish and glared.

"Riley and Graham helped take the Initiative down," Buffy said tightly.

"Which is actually more than I actually did," Xander pointed out. Willow pulled away and gave Xander her best horrified expression along with a slap with the back of her hand.

"You didn't do nothing. You helped. You provided the important back up and first aid." Faith snorted at Willow's comment, and the witch blushed just a little.

"I was exiled to fray-adjacent land," Xander complained.

"You were helping out the best you could," Buffy interjected. "When did this turn into question-the-slayer? I distinctly remember using the words 'night off' and 'relax.' Do you remember those words? Because I remember those words."

"So, the best use of my help was carrying the Gatorade and bandages?"

"And the antiseptic and the magical supplies and being the person to help any people who might have gotten hurt, but no one got hurt, so I can kinda see how you might think you weren't helpful, but you were. If someone had been hurt, you would have been right there with the bandages and the antiseptic and the Gatorade..." Willow trailed off.

"That's pathetic, even for you lot," Faith snorted.

"This is supposed to be about us pulling back together as a team, and you're just being ugly," Buffy said as she glared around the room, and if Xander hadn't already been a girl, that look would definitely have sent him into girlsville. He could feel his guts tighten. "And instead of celebrating Adam being a pile of goo and nuts and bolts like a normal person, instead you have to go all weird and complainy."

"Yeah, because I'm not of the normal," Xander breathed. Okay, he was man enough to admit that stung a little, not that he was a man right now.

"Hey, no one said anything about your gender, which is totally not your fault. Let's not get cranky here," Willow intervened.

Buffy sighed heavily. "I'm sorry, Xander. I love you; you know that. This was bad, really bad, and I needed Angel and Spike and Faith with me to take Adam down."

"I get that Buff," Xander answered softly. "I know I'm the guy who showed up to play cavalry with a rock. I know my big move to save Willow when Spike kidnapped her was to get turned into a girl and dragged off to France. I'm not the back-you-up guy."

"Don't even go there," Faith immediately snapped, throwing herself out of the chair so that she stood in front of Xander with her hands on her hips. "You could stake vampires just as well as Captain Cardboard, but she left you behind while trusting Riley and Graham to keep the bad guys off our backs.

"Stay out of this, Faith," Buffy warned.

"Not even, B. You're the queen bee around here, but that doesn't mean that your shit doesn't stink. If I'm going to have someone at my back, I'll pick Xan every damn time."

"I had to--"

"Act like a fucking princess?" Faith mocked her, and Buffy sat up stiffly.

"Hey, movie night. Fun. Popcorn. Mocking of the stupid plots. This is not on the agenda," Willow interrupted.

"I'm starting to wonder what your agenda is," Faith said as she narrowed her eyes at Willow. Willow's mouth dropped open.

"Faith," Xander snapped, standing up so that she stood boobie to boobie with the slayer, and this was much more effective without the boobies. "Willow and Buffy are doing what they think is right."

Faith's jaw tightened and for a half second, Xander didn't think she'd back down. After all, Spike wasn't here to enforce the rules when Xan got around to actually making one.

"Exactly. We're doing what's right," Buffy added. Xander spun on her.

"I didn't say you did the right thing, I said you did what you thought was right," Xander corrected her. Buffy snapped her mouth shut.

"Xander," Willow said in an injured voice. Xander closed her eyes as she struggled to not back down at the sound of that need.

"Willow, I love you, but you guys just don't really see me."

"Xander," Buffy tried to interrupt, and Xander stepped back, holding up hand to hold off the excuses.

"I'm not the same person I was in high school,"

"We never said--"

"But you thought it," Xander interrupted Buffy.

"Not so much with the thinking it. In high school, you were a boy. At least, for most of high school, you were a boy."

"So, I can't fight because sometimes I'm a girl?" Xander looked around the room. Buffy had her mouth stubbornly set, Willow concentrated on staring at the television, and Faith just looked as confused as Xander felt.

"What happens if you switch to a girl in the middle of a fight?" Buffy demanded.

"Then I try not to break a nail when I stake the vampires," Xander quipped. Buffy's mouth tightened more.

"Oh, I know you are not going there," Faith said as she shook her head and backed away.

"I'm thinking of Xander's best interests, unlike some people who put him in danger," Buffy snapped toward Faith.

"I respect the man to take care of himself."

"And I love him enough to protect him... her... whatever," Buffy shook her head in frustration.

"Hey, standing right here, people!" Xander interrupted the potential cat fight. "Buffy, I know you love me, and I really do love you too, but I'm not incompetent."

"I never said..."

"You sure implied it enough, girlfriend," Faith said as she dropped back down into the chair.

"And what with actions speaking louder than words, you're fairly well shouting that you don't trust me at your back even when you say that you do." The minute Xander said the words, she felt the truth of them. She loved Buffy, Buffy loved her, but neither Buffy nor Willow could get past the whole 'we have superpowers, so we're better' roadblock. It was like having two mother hens who refused to notice that the chick had grown up, well, except that he wasn't a chick--at least not a literal one--and he was the same age. Actually, no, he was older.

"This is breaking the rules of movie night. We're supposed to all pull back together. We fight, we get stressed, Buffy kills the bad guy, and then we bond. It's a rule," Willow whispered so softly Xander almost didn't hear her.

"I love you guys, but I'm leaving town," Xander said quietly.

"What?" Buffy nearly choked.

"Oh god. No. No, you cannot do this during movie night. There will be none of this during movie night. There will be popcorn and movies and bonding," Willow said, her frustration clear in her clipped words.

"Willow, I love you," Xander said.

"Then just stop before you say something that we'll both regret tomorrow," she begged.

"I wish I could say I'm going to regret this, but I'm not. You guys are doing good. And now that Riley and Graham are staying, you guys will be doing even better."

"So, this is about Riley?" Buffy demanded.

"Okay, did you listen to anything I just said?" Xander asked in dismay.

"Not like she ever has in the past," Faith said with a snort.

"Okay, officially not helping," Xander hissed at her, and she rolled her eyes.

"You did this," Buffy said as she turned on Faith. "You have been telling him we didn't value him. Xander, she is just jealous of what the three of us have, and she always has been."

"I don't have to be jealous. Xan stood by me when the council wanted to throw my ass in some cell. Xan and Spike and Angel, so I'm not worried about keeping them as friends."

"Hey!" Xander blurted. "No one has to worry about friends. Friends good. We're all friends. I just..." Xander took a deep breath. "I just need to be friends from a little farther away. Far enough away that I'm not quite so smothered."

"We don't smother... we just love you." From the way Willow's voice trailed off at the end, she got it, and Xander hated that her face collapsed into guilt. "I didn't mean to smother."

"Willow, I love you. I just need to have a life, and that needs to be somewhere away from the Hellmouth." Xander stood, and Faith already stood at the door, holding it open.

"But Xander," Buffy said, all the anger and brashness washed out in open grief that made Xander feel like the biggest heel in the world.

"I just need to find myself, and I would so never leave you if you needed me, and you really don't, and if you do, you know you can call me, and I will drop everything to come back," Xander hurried to assure her. "It's just not good for me to be here."

"I think we all need a break. Let's head home, Xan," Faith suggested, and since when did Faith play peacemaker?

"No. No, we need to talk about this. We can change, can't we?" Willow insisted as she turned to Buffy with her 'back me up or suffer my pissiness for the next month' glare.

"I love you guys like you are, no changing needed. Just a little space," Xander said sadly as he stood up.

"But, Xander," Willow tried one last time.

"I'll let you know where we end up and I'll call with an address and phone number and emergency number and cross-streets," Xander babbled, anxious to cut off any more argument.

Xander hurried through the door, and Faith pulled it closed behind him. Okay, that had officially not gone well. Xander half expected to hear Buffy and Willow come bursting out the house after them, but the chirping of crickets provided the only noise as he walked toward his own home.

"That's why we follow you, girlfriend," Faith said as she slipped an arm around Xander's waist. "You always do the right thing for the right reasons. It's more than most of us can say."


Not a Bad Life

Angel stopped in the middle of the warehouse, his head tilted in a way that suggested he'd heard or smelled something, but given how dirty the warehouse was, Xander did not even want to consider just what vamp senses might be picking up.

"Why don't you guys head back to the car," Angel suggested.

"What? Demons… feasting on entrails… protecting the innocent. You know, all Doyle's vision stuff we're supposed to be stopping; that's not going to happen at the car." Xander shifted the armory bag up higher on his shoulder. Yeah, he probably shouldn't have insisted he could do anything the more demony members of Angel Investigations could do, but no way was he admitting that, not to Spike and sure as hell not to Faith.

"Just…. Look, I'll come and get you in a second," Angel said, his voice tight with stress.

"Spike?" Xander immediately turned to his vampire for an explanation since Angel and explanations were definitely unmixy. Stupid vamp acted like his hair would fall out or something if he ever just gave a straight answer.

"Human comin'. Some chit," Spike filled in. Angel cocked his head to the side far enough to glare, but Spike just smirked back and retreated behind Xander.

"Xander, take Spike and head back to the car."

"Hey, Doyle said the bad guys were big with the bad, so I'm not leaving you to fight all by yourself," Xander said as he crossed his arms, his crossbow dangling from one hand.

Angel sighed. "Xander."

"Angel," Xander returned the same exasperated tone. Spike gave a strangled laugh. It really was kinda funny. Angel could break Xander to little bitty bits, but Angel wouldn't. And because Spike was under Xander in the whole hierarchy, Angel kinda couldn't go after Spike without going after Xander. Yep, they were the world's strangest vampire kinda-clan.

"Angel," a woman's voice interrupted Xander's thoughts and Angel's glare. She stood in the shadows of the catwalk, but when she stepped forward into a pool of light created by the florescent lights, Xander recognized the cop who had been turning up at all their cases lately.

"Bloody hell. Look, if Mrs. Joe Friday here wants to play Nancy fuckin' Drew, let her. She can handle the demons climbing out of the sewers, and we can go off for a drink," Spike muttered, but he made sure to do it loud enough for everyone to hear.

"Kate," Angel answered, ignoring Spike altogether. "Kate, you shouldn't be here."

"Demons spewing out of the sewers?" she asked, her eyes going to Spike. Xander also saw her hand going for her waistband, and he was willing to bet gun. As the only officially not-bulletproof member of the team, he backed up a step, and immediately, Spike moved into the space in front of Xander.

"We're taking care of it," Angel answered her tersely.

"Oh, bloody hell. You're sniffing up her skirt, aren't you? Shove a blonde with more balls than brains in your path and you'll fall tits over arse every bloody time."

"Spike!" Angel and Xander yelled at about the same time.

"Shut up. I mean it," Angel warned with a flash of yellow in his eye. "Kate, this is not a good time…."

"So, the vampire is going to save the day again. Do you two know he's a vampire?" she demanded, turning toward Spike who immediately began to laugh.

"Yeah, known that for a century or so, mate. Look, he's doing the boy-wonder bit, God save the Queen and Mom and apple pie, or some such rot as that, so trying to make him look like the villain isn't going to do you much good."

"A century," Kate echoed weakly. Her hand vanished beneath her jacket.

"Hey, before anyone gets to shooting and potentially putting holes in the one member of this team who still has a pulse, can we just call a truce here?" Xander asked.

"You knew too?" Kate demanded, pinning Xander with a stare that would have melted steel, and for not the first time, Xander wondered why Angel always seemed to fall for the scary girls. Okay, Xander didn't have the best record himself being that he'd fallen for Spike and Spike was slightly more scary that a cop with a gun, but still.

"Wasn't real thrilled with it at first," Xander admitted. "I might have even been on the stake-all-vampires squad when I first found out, but after an apocalypse or two, you learn to chill."

"Apocalypse?" Kate swallowed.

"Or two," Xander corrected her.

"Thought you told her," Spike snorted.

"I did. I told her that I'm a vampire and that I'm trying to help."

"So, do you have a soul too?" Kate demanded as her eyes focused on Spike.

"Bloody hell no. Just don't like the idea of someone else comin' in and tryin' to muck up my territory."

"My territory," Angel corrected him with a growl. Xander bit his cheek to keep from smiling because for someone who claimed he just wanted to be left alone and that he didn't want anything to do with vampire hierarchies, Angel sure was spending more and more time staking claims, on LA and on the people who worked in this office.

"Yeah, yeah, you're the big bad vampire boss," Xander agreed, rolling his eyes for Kate's benefit since she seemed more than a little freaked out. "But the point is that Angel has saved the world and the Powers That Be wouldn't have set him up with his very own seer if they didn't think he had a lot more good to do."

"And I'm supposed to take your word for that?" Kate pulled her hand out from under her jacket, but instead of the gun Xander expected, she pulled out a stake. "A thing like this killed my father."

"And a vamp vamped my best friend so that I had to dust him. And then there was this whole apocalyptic theme at graduation, and a bunch of vamps attacked, well, vamps and a giant snake who ate the principal, but we're focusing on vamps, not giant snakes, so you can see that I have plenty of reason to hate vamps in general. But I'm still fighting with Angel because he's okay."

"Okay? He's okay?" she asked incredulously, but Xander ignored her as Angel and Spike flashed into game face.

"Aw shit. You know, the timing, so not good," Xander muttered as he went to one knee and dropped the duffle before unzipping it to reveal the small arsenal.

Loading the crossbow with silver bolts for this species of demon, Xander didn't have to wait long before the hoard of snub-snouted demons spewed from a grate in the floor. Okay, it was more like three demons crawling out, but it was still big with the freaky. Spike threw himself at the first two out, dancing back and forth between them with a flurry of attacks that seemed to stun them as they batted clumsy claws at his head.

Angel took on the third, a demon half again larger than the others, in closer battle, his sword flashing under the florescent light. Xander watched, as Spike lined up one of the two demons and then backflipped out of the way. Xander sank a silver bolt into the lizardy body.

"Take that ya overgrown handbag," Spike crowed as he distracted the other demon with a whirlwind of kicks.

"Angel!" Kate cried out.

"Xander!" Spike called.

"Got him!"

Spike twirled away to help Angel with his demon, and Xander sank a bolt into the second demon while the thing was still trying to figure out where Spike had gone. Pulling his knife, Xander darted forward and grabbed Kate's hand, yanking her back away from the fight.

Angel trailed blood from a deep slash across his cheek, but he and Spike were pummeling the head demon, forcing him backwards in a coordinated attack that left him no hope. Demons one and two slowly gurgled themselves to death as the silver bled poison into their system. And then the fight was over.

Angel came walking back toward them, blood running down his face so that he looked a little seriously scary. Spike, however, had an expression of pure glee. And strangely, that was even more scary.

"That's what you bloody well get for comin' into our territory. Wankers," Spike announced as he gave one of the bodies a kick as he bounced back to Xander.

"Oh my god," Kate yelled so sharply that Xander spun around, knife in hand, looking for another attacker.

"What? What?" Xander asked desperately as he couldn't see anything, but then invisible attackers weren't totally out of the question.

"You," Kate breathed.

"Oi, what got your knickers in a twist, pet?" Spike asked as he slipped his hand around Xander's waist. When he had to look up to Spike, Xander realized he'd gone she again.

"Wow. Didn't even feel that one," Xander admitted with a smile and a shrug.

"You okay?" Spike asked, breathing deeply, and Xander realized that Spike was scenting her.

"I'm fine. Knock it off with the bloodhound." Xander pinched Spike's arm.

"You're a girl," Kate finally managed an entire sentence.

"There was this spell and then there was a spell reversal and then there was this vamp named Drusilla who reversed the reversal."

"Dru was tryin' to help."

"Help with the socially inappropriate gender switching," Xander added wryly.

"Xander, will you please just take Spike and head for the car now?" Angel asked in his best 'put upon' voice. The facial bleeding actually helped with the whole pained martyr image.

"Yeah, we could fool around in the back seat while the caped avenger tries ta impress the girl with his powers of brooding," Spike suggested before nibbling on Xander's ear. Oh yeah, it had actually been a while since Xander had done the girl-sex thing.

"Do not have sex in my car, not again," Angel threatened.

"Hey, you look like you need some privacy, you know, what with all the revelations that you need to discuss," Xander said as she backed away. Spike smirked as he followed.

"Oh," Xander added to Kate, "and the wandering around warehouses looking for boogie men? So not healthy for the totally human sort. You really shouldn't do that without backup and I don't mean the kind out of the police academy."

"Oh, don't even bloody consider it, not either of you. I'm ashamed enough playin' backup to Peaches, but I'm not playing white hat for anyone else, got it?" Spike snapped.

"If it helps, you'll always be the big bad to me," Xander said with a smile that she hoped was more than a little naughty. When all else failed, sexual distraction worked wonders to get Spike's mind off the horror of being one of the good guys.

"Damn straight I'm the big bad."

"How big?" Xander teased.

"Oh for god's… have sex in the car, I don't care, just get out of here," Angel finally snapped.

"Yes, sir," Xander said, throwing the head of their little clan a quick salute before she grabbed the waistband of her jeans and headed for the door, a wiggle in her ass. Behind, she heard Spike grab the weapons bag before running to catch up. Oh yeah, life in LA was pretty damn good.

Read Readers' Comments


If you enjoyed this story, you might want to consider another vampire who find himself falling for a human woman.

Insistent Hunger

Paige has a small life in a fairly small town, and that's fine with her. She's happy with her chickens, her job as a police officer, and her questionable home improvement skills. However, when her rookie partner shows up on her doorstep one night, everything changes. He's panicked, bloody, dead, and still begging for help. And Paige is feeling an unfamiliar desire, a primal need for her partner that leaves her shaken and out of control.

Brady's dark good looks attracted the attention of a monster, but that doesn't mean he has to become a monster. Instincts might whisper about dark thoughts, but he trusted Paige with his life on the streets, and he'll trust her now. If trusting her means fighting this visceral need to be in her bed, he'll even try to ignore a growing hunger for this woman whose strength he admires.



Return to Text Index

Return to Graphics Index

Send Feedback