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.
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.
“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.
“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 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.
"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.
After receiving your recent email, I felt it necessary to address your concerns.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two words: Sod Off.
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.
“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
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."
"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.
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.
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.