The Road to Sex, Lies, and Duct Tape


Part Thirteen

Xander was softly peppering kisses over Spike’s face when he opened his eyes. “Back with me, Spike?” He captured Spike’s lips with his own in a soft kiss and sucked gently Spike’s his lower lip. Xander was amazed at how handsome, beautiful really, that his lover was.

Xander was sitting on the floor and leaning against the end of the bed with Spike pillowed against the left side of his chest. His shoulder hurt a little, but not much. His hand was sore, but he could move it without too much pain. Go, Tara.

“Xander…that was bloody fantastic,” Spike breathed out, his voice losing his usual accent.

He sounded a bit more…cultured. Xander’s eyebrows went up. Egad. He’d fucked the accent right out of him. And wouldn’t Giles be proud that he’d used a British slang word properly, even if it was in his head? “Are you okay, Spike? I bit you. Does it hurt?” Xander frowned slightly at the dark purple mark as he stroked Spike’s back with his uninjured hand and brought up his right to stroke Spike’s face gently with his fingertips.

Spike growled, grabbed Xander’s face in both hands and attacked his mouth. Only after Xander was thoroughly snogged did he answer. “That was the absolute best shag I have ever experienced in my entire damned unlife. Right down to the bite.” Spike’s voice became hushed, reverent as he traced Xander’s kiss-swollen lips with a cool, pale fingertip. “You were perfect ‘n when you bit me, it felt…it felt, glorious, gleaming…goddamn effulgent. Christ on a crutch, Xander. If it was any better I’d be spouting fuckin’ awful poetry.”

“Hmm. That good, huh?” Xander graced him with one of his lopsided smiles before his face became sincere. “I know guys aren’t supposed to be big mushy romantics, but at the danger of being called a soppy git, I love you. Every time I look at you I want to say it. Every time I touch you. I thought I knew what love was, but I didn’t. Not till I fell in love with you.”

Spike suspected that his boy had been listening to too many feckin’ country songs to say something like that, but it still touched him. He swallowed hard. He would not make an arse out of himself. Not with Xan. Oh…fuck it. The past few days had just been too much for him. He grabbed Xander, straddled his lap, and let it all came out in a rush. “I love you so much, Sweetness.” He leaned forward and rolled his forehead against Xander’s. “I loved Dru for a hundred years and what I felt for her pales in comparison to how I feel about you, luv.”

Xander ran his hands up and down Spike’s trembling body. Spike leaned forward and held on tight, and spoke softly into his love’s ear, “I’ll do anything I have to, to keep you safe, Xan. I’m gonna love you and protect you for as long as I can, ‘cause I don’t think I could live without you now. I thought…I thought for a few moments there that I lost you. That you were dead, ‘n I just couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t…”

“Hey, Spike. Don’t get so worked up. I’m not going anywhere. Not without a fight. I’m hellmouth born and bred. I’m tough. I’ve survived the Master, Angelus, a bug-lady, a mummy girl, knocked down a hell goddess with a wrecking ball, and fetch a mean doughnut. Hell, I’ve survived dating Cordelia. Now that’s staying power. Some dickhead with a nail gun is not gonna take me out. I plan on sticking around long enough to be a burden to you in my old age. How’s that sound?”

“Bloody wonderful.”

“Good, now let’s get up because this carpet is biting into my ass.”

Spike gave Xander a hand up and then saw something on the floor. He bent over and picked it up. “What’s this then, Xan?”

Xander blushed. “Cock ring. My first official sex toy purchase. I’d planned this for days before I got hurt. How the heck did you think I kept it up for that long? I thought I was gonna blow before you left the room so I could put it on. Christ, one look at you spread-eagle against the wall and I would’ve lost it without that,” he said as he pointed to the ring in the palm of Spike’s hand.

“After today’s stellar performance, perhaps I should get you another ‘carpenters like to nail things to the wall’ shirt.”

“Just you, Spike. Just you. I just figured that I got nailed to a wall a few days ago. So today it was your turn.”

“That wasn’t funny, Xander.”

“Yes, it was.”

“No. It was not.”

Xander sidled up to Spike and tickled his ribcage. “Yes it wa-as,” he sing-songed, hitting Spike’s most ticklish spot.

Spike jerked and laughed. Xander loved to make Spike laugh, giggle, chortle, guffaw. Any or all of the above.

“Let’s take another shower, Spike, and we can watch the movie. Um...fully clothed.”


West Side Story wasn’t too fucking bad, Spike thought. Even though the Sharks and the Jets were prancing about on-screen, they didn’t look like a bunch of nancies. ‘N Xan looked like he was really getting into it. Boy just loved musicals. Apparently, his grandma had liked them, too. Bloody hell, anything was better than that whiny, twangy, it’s-been-so-lonely-in-the-saddle-since-my-horse-died, country shite.

Xander started to sniffle. Fuck. Now what? Christ, he knew this song. Heard it a million bloody times. “There’s a place for us, somewhere a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air, wait for us somewhere…”

“That’s beautiful, Spike. It’s kinda like us. I’m sorta like Tony, except I’m a carpenter and in California and you’re kinda like Maria.”

Spike glared at him.

Xander began to babble. “Of course you’re not a girl, you’re a vampire, and a very, very masculine one at that. Boy-howdy. You’re the manliest man I know, um, that’s not right. Vampiest vamp I know? No, that’s not right either…”

Spike decided to cut the boy some slack. “I get it, luv.”

His boy sighed in relief. “Good, ‘cause I think I was digging myself into a hole there.”

“’Bout knee high, pet. Easy to climb out of.” There was a knock at the door. “I’ll get it, Sweetness.” He’d noticed that Xander was holding himself a little stiffly after their marathon sex against the wall and didn’t want to stress him further. Boy was gonna stay put and get waited on whether he wanted it or not.

He opened the door, blocking the opening with his body. It was Red and Nibblet. Looked like the birds had been busy. The ex-witch was holding what smelled like pot roast and vegetables, and Dawn was holding a container full of cookies.

“Spike! Get outta the way so we can come in!” Dawn bitched at him.

“What’s the magic word?”

“Oatmeal scotchies?” Willow answered.

“Close enough. Come on in, Xan’s watching musicals on the telly. Where’s the Slayer?”

“Patrolling. She said she needed some alone time.”

Spike snorted. ‘Needed some alone time’ his shiny, white bum.

Willow served up everyone with a heaping bowl of pot roast, potatoes, onions, and carrots in thick, rich gravy. Everything was in small pieces so Xander wouldn’t have to use a knife. He had to admit, the bint knew her way around a kitchen. Xander told everyone his good news and they were appropriately excited for him. They munched away at their meal. Xan had three servings. Nibblet had two, being a growin’ girl ‘n all. He glared at Red till she cleaned her plate.

“Xander, I thought the doctor said it would take you a long time to heal,” Willow commented when she noticed Xander using the fork in his right hand.

The boy looked shy for a moment before answering. “Um, Tara came over and did a healing spell today. It really helped.”

The redhead’s facial expression drooped a bit when she heard Tara’s name. “Oh.” She paused a moment. “What spell did she use?”

Spike looked at her with trepidation, but answered anyway. “Said it was ‘Hestia’s Poultice’.”

“Huh. Well, that would speed the healing up a little, but not this much. Xander? Could I see your hand?”

Xander held out his hand. Willow gently held it while she unbandaged it. They all leaned over to stare at his palm in shock. The wound was still there, but it hand shrunk considerably, was much less inflamed, and the swelling was completely gone.

Spike indicated that he should pull up his t-shirt. The shoulder wound looked even better than his hand.

“Wow! I’ve never heard of that spell working this fast. What binding agent did she use?” Willow asked with a little too much interest, Spike thought.

“My blood.”

Dawn uttered a barely concealed ‘Ew’.

“That must be it. Usually, when the spell needs to pack extra punch, the caster will use the blood of a loved one. Since you have accelerated healing abilities, the blood must have given the spell extra oomph!”

“Um, yay for fast recovery, but should you be talking about this stuff, Will?” Xander asked with a concerned note to his voice.

Willow’s feelings flitted across her face. Anger, indignation, guilt, sorrow, resignation. “I can’t avoid talking about it…well, not all the time. We deal with it almost every day. I have to learn to be around it but not actually do it. It’s hard. Really hard. But, I think…I think I’ll be okay.”

Everyone nodded and quietly turned their attention back up to the screen. Maria stood over Tony’s dead body asking if there was enough bullets to kill everyone there and still have another left for herself. Spike clenched his jaw. This would not be what happened to him and Xander. He was going to make sure of it.

Willow, ever the perceptive chit, caught his eye. Her facial expression was the universally understood ‘are you alright?’ He nodded slightly before saying loudly, “I’ve sat through this tripe. I want my cookie dammit.”

The humans all laughed, the seriousness of the previous conversation dissipated, and Dawn began handing out cookies, while Willow got the milk. The next one they watched was Annie. By the time they got to ‘Tomorrow’ he had started growling.

“Spike! What’s your trauma?” the Nibblet asked.

“I want. To kill. The little redheaded bint,” he ground out from between clenched teeth.

“Why?” Willow cocked her head at him quizzically.

“She just needs killing. I want to rip her lungs up through her throat.” His eyes began to bleed to yellow and he seemed to have developed a tick, too. His tirade continued, “Tear her heart still beating from her chest and squeeze it apart in front of her fucking…freckled…face.”

Xander decided to intervene. He turned off the movie and said, “Spike, ex-nay on the uck-fay in front of Dawnie.”

Spike had enough sense to look at lease a little chagrined and grudgingly ground out a, “Sorry, Bit.”

Dawn got a smirk on her face and an evil glint in her eye. Uh oh. “That’s okay, Spike. If you can say that f-word, there’s other f-words I can say. Like fellatio for instance…”

Xander and Willow groaned.

“Oh no, you can’t,” Spike admonished, shaking his finger at her. Of all the bloody cheek! That soddin’ Janice. Had to be. Bad seed, that’s what she was. Corrupting his Sweet Bit. Trollop. “You’re not too old to get your mouth washed out with soap, missy!”

Xander and Willow mouthed, “Missy?” at one another.

Missy? Geez, Spike. Overreact much? It’s not like I’m out there doing it,” she got a wicked grin on her face and continued. “Yet.”

Spike growled again.

“It’s just stuff I learned about in health class. Heck, they even showed us how to use a condom…”

What?” Spike felt like he was going to have an aneurism.

“Using a banana, doofus. Chill, Spike. I was just messing with you. Geez. I got Buffy so riled up a few weeks ago she was threatening me with a chastity belt.” Dawn looked quite proud at her last statement.

“Do they still make those?” Xander queried.

“Bet the Watcher would know,” said Spike.


Willow decided to be the voice of reason. “Why don’t we watch a different movie? What else did Horatio bring over?”

Xander began to go through the stack one by one. “Best Little Whor- I don’t think so,” he said, glancing at Dawn. “Um, ‘The Music Man’, ‘Wizard of Oz’, ‘Cabaret’, and ‘Sweet Charity’. How ‘bout ‘The Music Man’? It’s one of my grandma’s favorites. I think she had the hots for Robert Preston.”

Everybody nodded in agreement. “So, Xan, your granny’s still about?” Spike asked. His boy didn’t talk about his family much unless it was to relate a drunken anecdote, or oddly enough, taxidermy.

His boy’s face lit up. “Yeah, granny’s still kickin’. She lives in North Carolina. I don’t get to see her much. I really miss her.” He looked bashful for a moment. “I told her about us.”

Spike’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline. “You did?”

“Yeah.” They made intense eye contact for a few moments before Willow cleared her throat. “Oh, movie, right.”

Part Fourteen

Xander woke up before the alarm, so he reached up and turned it off. Anything to keep from being blasted out of bed from some punk band. He’d had the station set to a country/rock band a few weeks before, but Spike had complained about the ‘ear-bleedin’ country shite’, so he had changed it. Xander hardly ever listened to the old country music that his lover objected to the most. Only when he was upset. It was his ‘music of pain’. Otherwise, he liked pop and rock the same as the average joe out there. Well, except for the whole show tunes thing. He was surprised that his lover didn’t object to that more than the country.

He’d told his boss that he’d stop by today to get the paperwork rolling. He had to be careful to not look as healed as he really was. Not that he wanted to be dishonest. It was just, well, not really believable that he would heal that fast. He was already mostly healed. Good thing that he’d gone to the doctor’s a couple days after he’d been hurt. At least the injuries were documented for Workman’s Comp.

He could barely keep his excitement down. When he’d started with the company there was much digging of the ditches. Now look. He was going to be all manager-y and there would be tie-wearage. Wow. Ties. He’d have to get someone to help him pick some out. He only had two; the one he wore to Joyce’s funeral and the one with parrots on it. He didn’t want to wear the first one and Spike had threatened to set fire to the other - while he was wearing it - if it ever showed up around his neck again. Hmm. Maybe it wasn’t the parrots themselves Spike objected to. It could be the ukuleles that they were playing.

He sighed inwardly. He would need to go to someplace that didn’t end in ‘Mart’ to do some shopping. Malls were frightening, estrogen-laden places. He needed someone to help navigate through them. Too bad the snappy-dresser ability didn’t come in his personal gay package.

Spike always looked great, but that punk look wouldn’t work for him, and all that black would really show the dust on the construction site. Time to invest in the straight-man’s staple: khakis. Lots and lots of khakis. Maybe he could call Cordy? He dismissed that thought almost before he entertained it. She was working with Deadboy. Poncy-haired douche bag. He put such thoughts aside and got ready quickly, kissed Spike on the cheek, made sure his sling and bandages were where they should be, and went out the door.


Xander sat in his car outside his apartment building while his mind wandered through the past hour. As a white male, he’d never experienced prejudice before. Before today, anyway.

Everyone had acted a little weird around him when he gotten to the site. Distant. By the time he had made it into the office trailer, he’d known that he was ‘out’. Big, gay news travels fast. While he’d known that a lot of the guys would react badly to his newfound homosexuality, actually experiencing it was something else entirely. He’d forced himself to act as normally as possible, smiling at coworkers he’d worked with for months while many of them gazed back at him with trepidation and mistrust.

When he’d opened the door, Pete had looked at him with a forced smile and a panicked look in his eye, and began to spew forth with the out-of-his-depth-sounding statements.

“Xander. Good to see you. Um, how’ve you been? I, uh, know I told you to come down here to start the paperwork rolling…”

Xander had cut right through the impeding mound of bullshit. “But you’ve changed your mind now that you’ve found out I’m gay.”

Pete had looked alarmed. “No! No, not at all.”

Good, Xander’d thought. ‘Cause he was pretty sure Spike could scare up one hell of a demonic lawyer to sue his bigoted ass.

Pete had begun again, “Look…try and understand my position. I like you Xander…as a guy, I mean…um…”

“I know what you mean. Chill. Trust me when I say you’re not my type.”

The Site Manager had wiped a hand over his face wearily and then gestured for Xander to sit on the couch. Pete sighed and asked, “Ya want some coffee?”

Xander had just shaken his head slightly.

Pete loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt jerkily, as though he felt like he was strangling. “Okay. Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass that you’re a-a…”


“After all, it’s your own business if you, uh, prefer…”


“Yeah. It’s the other fellas out there…”

“Worried I’m gonna turn them gay, too?”

“Christ, Xander! Let me get this out! This isn’t easy, ya know. It’s awkward as hell.”

“Well, firing someone for having an alternative lifestyle usually is awkward.”

What?” Pete sighed again, pulled out an airline-sized bottle of Canadian Club out of his desk drawer and doctored his coffee with it. He knocked it back with a grimace. “I’m not firing you.”

That was not what Xander had expected. “Huh?”

“This is gonna be rough, Xander. For both of us. I’m already catching shit. I’ll deal. You’re a good guy, a good worker, and you know your shit, but no matter what, people are going to talk. I’m willing to deal with that. Are you? Don’t answer right away.” He’d put up a hand to forestall Xander’s comment. “Think about it. You’re in for one hell of a shit-storm when you get back to work. A lot of those guys out there like you, but some of them feel like you lied to them. I’m not saying it’s right, but that’s how it is. Others out there…well, unfortunately you can probably expect some resentment and out-and-out hostility. Make sure you really want this.”

Xander had sat there for a few minutes and watched Pete roll the empty coffee cup between his hands nervously. “Pete. My whole life, I wanted to be good at something. I’m good at construction, at carpentry especially. I get more satisfaction out of work than you could possibly know. I’m not going to let a few assholes get in the way of my future. I want this job.”

He’d filled out the paperwork with some help from Mary, due to his injury. She’d patted his hand and given him a smile. Apparently, she had a nephew that was gay, so she understood. He’d left the site with a pleasant, yet steely facial expression. Outside, Linda had been the only one to actually come up to talk to him. Manny and Kenny had looked really uncomfortable and had barely been able to make eye-contact.

He’d driven home on auto-pilot. Now, he was just sitting here, in the car. Staring at his hands at ten and two. He forced himself to get out of the car and trudge his way into the apartment. He stepped inside, took off his jacket, and quietly walked into the bedroom. Spike was still sleeping. He was spread-eagle on his stomach, his face nuzzled into the pillow on Xander’s side of the bed.

Xander quietly stripped down, lifted up Spike’s arm, and slipped under the sheet. Spike immediately cuddled up to him and placed his head over Xander’s heart while he twined his leg between Xander’s. Xander dropped a kiss onto the fuzzy bed-head. No matter what, this was worth it. Spike was worth it. Worth everything.

If he told Spike what happened today, the blond would worry. He decided then and there that he wouldn’t bother Spike with this. He could deal with it on his own. It wasn’t really lying if you just didn’t say anything, was it?

Part Fifteen

The next morning, Xander stretched a little as he woke up, not much - he still hurt a little, before he kissed Spike on the shoulder. He’d been spooning Spike again. Spike loved it, said he loved being surrounded by all the warmth, loved feeling Xander’s heartbeat against his back. Xander loved that position, too. Not only was it comfortable, since he could sleep on his left side, but Spike was soft and firm, cool and cuddly. The blond didn’t even object when Xander would throw his leg over him like he was a giant body pillow.

Xander looked at the tousled curls on the pillow and got a naughty little idea. He scooted back and, as he predicted, Spike rolled over, unconsciously seeking his warmth. Now that Spike was on his back, Xander could put his plan into action. He scooted down on the bed, pulled all the covers off, and started with Spike’s toes.

He tightly, but gently, held the pale ankle before he began. First he started with Spike’s big toe. He swirled the tip of his tongue around it and then gently sucked on it. Spike didn’t wake, but make a little grunting noise. Xander continued by sucking harder then snaking his tongue between each little piggy. After each little piggy had been to market, he drew his tongue down to Spike’s arch and licked firmly. He didn’t want to tickle, just titillate. Spike made an ‘unh’ noise. Progress. He brought his tongue up to Spike’s anklebone and gave it similar treatment. When he released the tasty ankle, he looked up into sleepy blue eyes.

“Morning, Spike,” Xander said with a lascivious grin before placing wet, open-mouthed kisses up Spike’s calf. He picked up Spike’s leg to get access to the back of his knee so he could swirl his tongue and suck on the sensitive skin there. He glanced up and watched his lover’s cock swell. His mouth began to water and he let his facial expression become feral. He pounced on Spike and kissed him hard, tangling his tongue with Spike’s own. He felt Spike’s hands touch him.

“Unh, unh, unh,” Xander said, as he pulled back and waved his finger at his lover. “Put your hands on the headboard and keep them there, and, um…try not to kill it, okay?”

Spike nodded and swallowed hard. He loved playing little domination games with his boy. He began to breathe hard, knowing that it turned Xander on.

Xander watched the creamy, defined chest heave with unnecessary breath. He gave a little growl and attacked Spike’s nipples, viciously sucking one while he pinched and pulled on the other harshly and alternating for several minutes, making them puffy and swollen. He could feel Spike’s precome on his stomach as his lover thrust up against his abdomen, desperate for some friction. He released Spike’s tender nipples and began to trail biting kisses down Spike’s torso. He looked up at Spike’s face. The blond’s eyes were shut tightly in pleasure, his lush mouth open and panting. The beautiful, blue-topaz eyes opened and looked at Xander as he paused to gaze at the sight beneath him.

“Sweetness, please...don’t stop.”

Xander took one last look at the wanton writhing on their bed before he swooped down on Spike, pressed his body down on his lover’s hips so he couldn’t thrust up, took the shaft in his mouth, and then slid his lips down to the root. He swirled his tongue around the base and swallowed.

Spike cried out and felt his balls draw up. Xander slid his mouth up to the tip and pinched the base of Spike’s cock. He deep-throated Spike’s dick again and again, harshly sucking on the tip and pressing his tongue in the slit on every up-stroke.

Spike’s eyes rolled up in his head. Christ, the boy had deep-throated him before, but never like this. The suction, the tightness of his boy’s throat, the hot breath through the boy’s nose tickling his pubic hair. It was all too much. Spike began to thrash his head back and forth on the pillow.

Then his boy stopped pinching the base of his prick, slid his hot, wet mouth up to the head, and reached under his balls to rub harshly on Spike’s perineum. Spike came silently, his mouth open in a scream, arching up off of the bed despite the boy’s weight across him. Xander gently kissed the softening tip before releasing his partner’s member and stepping into the bathroom.

As Xander got ready for his day, he contemplated the past few days. After the first few highly-medicated ones, they had passed pleasantly enough. Except for the morning at the site, of course. That had really bothered him. He hadn’t anticipated that kind of reaction. He really wanted to talk to Spike about it, but he didn’t want to worry him. Spike had gotten so upset when he was hurt, Xander didn’t want to give him anything else to worry about.

Xander was almost completely healed. He could use his hand and move his shoulder, but they were both still a little sore and achy. He had to get Tara something extra-special for Christmas.

He loved spending so much time with Spike. They had gotten a small Christmas tree which Spike had lugged into the apartment, bitching all the way, of course. They had tried shopping together, but the crowds made Spike nervous. Too many humans, too many scents, too many carols sung by Karen Carpenter, which for some reason or other sent his lover off into a tirade-a-thon. And…too many screaming children. After the last ‘Mommy! That man growled at me!’ Spike had opted to stay at home.

Truth be told, Xander had already gotten most of his shopping done early. When he and Spike had gone shopping, he’d offered Spike the use of his credit card only to be turned down. Spike said, “You can play poker for things other than kittens, Xan. I’ve got my own dosh.” Which of course brought the debt up again. Spike assured him that it had been taken care of, the debt had been repaid, and that he had no need to worry.

Xander had become really enthused about holidays after getting his own apartment. He could finally enjoy them without his Dad getting tanked and then his Mom getting tanked in order to be able to deal with his Dad being tanked. Then again, one couldn’t forget about the corresponding food fights with the Chex Mix. He found peanuts and Chex Mix in-between the sofa cushions one year as he was dodging the jelly beans at Easter. And Uncle Rory could lob a mean cheese ball, too. Ah, memories.

He was taking Dawn out today since she was off on Christmas vacation. They were going to do all the kid things that Xander still loved to do. Go to the mall and see the train display, go through Santa’s Land and talk to the animatronic reindeer, buy personalized ornaments for everybody at the seasonal Christmas store at the mall, stuff their faces with every confection imaginable, shop till they dropped for silly stocking stuffers, then top the day off with a movie.

Dawn needed this. They had all been at the Magic Box talking about holidays past, when Dawn brought up a special memory of her father. The jerkbag. Buffy used to take ice skating lessons, so when Dawn got older enough she did too. The first day of Christmas vacation, their father would take off work and Hank, Joyce, Buffy, and Dawn would all go to the ice rink together and skate. This was their first Christmas without Joyce, and who knows how long it had been since Hank had shown his face. Geez, all the memories Dawn had of the putz were implanted by the monks.

Xander never had been any good on skates, skateboards, or anything of that ilk, but he could give her a special day with a big-brother type. She was even going to spend the night over with him and Spike. They were going to make hot chocolate, eat cookies, and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas followed by The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was Spike’s personal holiday favorite.

Spike had been acting a little weird. He went out almost every night, but didn’t give Xander any specifics. He didn’t want to pry but, ‘Just goin’ out fer a bit’ was about as vague-y as vague could get. Xander mentally shrugged. Spike said the debt had been taken care of, and he was really relieved over that. His lover probably just wanted to hang around with the boys for a bit. There was a specific crowd Spike enjoyed spending time with. His friend Clem, for instance. Clem was a really nice demon. Really knew his snack foods and was always willing to share whatever he’d brought with. He’d come over a couple nights for movies and a few hands of gin. He’d brought Combos.

As Xander carefully slid his right arm into his reindeer sweater, his thoughts turned to Buffy. He was starting to get frustrated. He, Willow, Dawn, and even Tara had tried everything they could think of to get her to face her problems, but no dice. Buff was neck-deep in festery stewage. Spike said she ‘needed her bony arse kicked’ and he was starting to wonder if that wouldn’t be the best course of action after all.

After he got his sweater in place, he reached under and turned it on. Yup. It had a battery pack and lit up. It had Rudolph on the front with twinkle lights in his antlers and a bright red, light-up nose. The whole thing blinked. He thought it would make Dawn smile.

He came out of the bathroom smiling until he was faced by Spike the Abominable Sex Monster. Spike hated it when Xander wouldn’t let him reciprocate. Sometimes, Xander just liked to suck him off and go on his merry way.

The lust in Spike’s eyes was all but extinguished as he took in the blinking holiday sweater. “Well, luv. That’s definitely a willy-wilter. Take it off.”

“Nope. I’m off to spend the day with Dawnie, remember? Don’t forget, she’s gonna spend the night with us, so I wanted to give you a little nookie to tide you over.”

Spike opened his mouth to protest, but then thought better of it. “Right, havin’ the Bit over. No sex.” He pouted.

Xander pouted back at him and shuffled forward. He pulled Spike into his arms and kissed him. Spike was desperate to feel his lover’s warm skin and slid his hands under the sweater. Xander inched his hands down and grasped Spike’s naked buttocks. He massaged them before he slid a finger down the crease and pressed it against the tight pucker. Spike released Xander’s mouth and bucked against him.

“Fuck! Keep the sweater on luv, just let me fuck you. You can be late…”

“Nope again. The Dawnster is looking forward to this; I don’t want to disappoint her. Tell you what. After I take her home tomorrow you can do me in front of the tree…”

“Deal. Now, go spend some of your hard-earned cash on the Bit, ‘n me too, of course. Remember, I look devilishly handsome in black leather.”

“Okay. Enough of the lusties. I can’t go pick up Dawn with a boner the size of the North Pole.” When Spike reached out to grab said boner through Xander’s jeans, he backed away. “No, no. Bad vampire.” He reached around gave Spike a slap on his ass, a quick kiss, and tweaked a still-swollen nipple. Spike growled his frustration. Xander winked at him as he went out the bedroom door.

Part Sixteen

Dawn and Xander were in the throes of a caffeine and sugar high that had them both bouncing around like hummingbirds on crack. Xander had finally insisted on some semi-real food, so they were in the food court sharing a large pizza.

“Mmm. This is great Dawnster. I haven’t had pizza in forever,” Xander said around a mouthful of pepperoni and cheese.

“How come?” Dawn asked around her own mouthful.

“Garlic. Spike’s really sensitive. Remind me to brush my teeth when I get home.”

“Sure.” She paused a moment before continuing, “Thanks, Xander. Really.”

“You’re welcome, Dawn. I love ya, ya know? You’re like the kid sister I always wished I had.”

“Thanks, although that’s kind of disturbing…”


“I used to have a crush on a guy who’s like my big brother!”

“Well, don’t worry. It’s hard to resist the Xan-man’s animal magnetism,” he replied with as much swagger as a man wearing a blinking reindeer sweater could.

“Right, reindeer-boy. A-and I love you, too, Xander,” the teen added, shyly.

Xander looked over and saw her tearing up. He pulled her over into his lap, ignoring the stares of the others around them and the slight pain in his shoulder, and began to stroke her long hair. “I’m sorry it’s been so rough on you. We all love you, Dawn. All of us. We’ll all get through this together, okay? Buffy’ll come around, you’ll see.”

They sat like that for a few minutes. Xander stroking her hair and talking softly. Xander knew she was feeling better when he heard, “Why does everyone pet my hair? What am I? A dog or something?”

Xander chuckled and helped her back into her chair. “Eat your pizza or no walkies for you.”


Spike made sure that his nightly activities were out of the way before Xander and Dawn would arrive. He heard their laughter before they even came through the door. They bounded in like a couple of over-eager puppies and were loaded down with shopping bags full of presents.

“Hello, luv,” he said, giving Xander a quick kiss on the cheek, since he could smell the garlic, before releasing him and grabbing the Nibblet. “Hello, Bit,” he greeted as he began to tickle her ribcage till she squealed.

Xander put the shopping bags into the closet while giving Spike a look that promised punishment if he peeked. They called Buffy to let her know they were back, popped some popcorn, and settled down to watch the movies. Xander refused to do the Snoopy dance in front of his lover no matter how much Dawn pouted at him. She fell asleep cuddled between the two of them just after Jack Skellington got shot out of the sky. They tucked her in on the couch with a soft throw and turned everything off except the tree. The multi-colored lights’ slight illumination warmed the dark room.

Spike and Xander walked into their own room and left the door slightly ajar. They awoke a few hours later to a soft, sniffling noise. A noise that Spike was all-too familiar with. They padded into the living room to see Dawn crying in front of the tree.

She looked up at them with tear-filled eyes and said, “I miss Mom.” Spike and Xander sat on either side of her and let her cry, Spike finally drawing Dawn into his lap and stroking her hair. He was surprised when she gave a short little laugh.

Xander smiled at his surprised lover and explained, “She was saying today that everybody pets her like she was a dog or something.”

As Dawn slid out of Spike’s lap and back onto the floor, Xander told her, “Spike just has a thing for long hair, Dawnster. He keeps trying to get me to grow mine out.”

“Really? So, you just like long hair, huh?” Dawn asked with a little mischief in her watery eyes.

“Yeah, Bit. Goes back to my mum. She had long blonde hair. Always wore it up during the day, as was proper for a lady of her station, but at night, she would come in and tuck me in, and her hair hung down her back. It was beautiful and so soft. She looked like an angel gliding down the hallways in her white robe with the glow of the candle in her hand.” A wistful expression settled on Spike’s face as he reminisced about his mother. Although it was a happy memory, Xander could tell there was some pain there, as well. Dawn must have noticed it, too.

“I don’t mind, really. It’s nice when you stroke my hair. I remember when you used to be my sitter and come in at night. You always made me feel better. Those songs you sang, did your mom sing those to you?”

Spike was surprised; he’d thought she’d been asleep when he did that. “Yes, luv. She did.”

Dawn reached up and kissed his cheek. “Thanks, Spike. I-I know that all the memories of my Dad were given to me by the monks,” she started, and then paused, swallowing hard. “But in my real memories, you were the one who was there for me. I love you, Spike. You’ve been more of a dad to me than my own father…” she paused again as she began to choke up and a tear made its way down her cheek.

Spike saw the tear and scooped her back into his lap holding the little girl who had lost so very much in her short life. “Don’t cry, Nibblet. Shh, luv. I’ll always be there for you. Always. I love you, Dawn.” He pressed a kiss into her hair and she gripped him even tighter.

Xander felt like he was intruding. His own eyes were bright with tears at the scene, and he began to stand up so he could give them some privacy. Spike caught his eye and shook his head slightly before waving Xander back down on the floor. He drew his boy into the hug and the three of them held one another.

After everyone had calmed down, Xander got up and made some hot cocoa. Spike would have done it, but Dawn seemed reluctant to let go of his hand. He brought back some cocoa and cookies, and some blankets and pillows, and they snuggled together on the floor.

“You know,” Dawn began, “this is gonna scar me for life. I’m gonna have to seek therapy.”

At Xander and Spike’s questioning looks she continued, “I not only used to have the hots for a guy who’s like my brother, I used to have a crush on my father-figure. And my brother and father are shacked up and doin’ the wild thing. Isn’t that like incest?” She finished with a broad smile to indicate that it was nothing of the sort and the guys both smiled back at her.

Xander looked over her head at his boyfriend. “I am so not calling you Daddy.”

Spike raised his eyebrow and gave him a lascivious look.

“Can I?” Dawn asked bashfully.

“Can you what, Nibblet?”

“Can I, can I call you Daddy?” she elucidated. She hastened to add, “Not all the time, just sometimes, when we’re alone? I don’t think Buffy would understand.” She looked down at her hands nervously twisting the chenille throw.

Spike gently took her chin in his hand and brought her gaze up to meet his. “Anytime you want, precious. Anytime you want.” He kissed her forehead and hugged her to his side.

“Thank you, Daddy,” she whispered softly in his ear.

Spike’s chest actually hurt. He was so full to bursting of emotion. Family. He actually had family. When this little girl, his little girl now, had called him Daddy, it was like an electric shock had run through his body. He couldn’t believe it. That this little girl loved him. Hell, he couldn’t believe that he loved this little girl. He used to kill teenaged girls for sport. Ravage and rend their little bodies with teeth and hands. Destroy them. Drink them down and bathe in their blood until they were nothing but a husk…and probably would again when this chip finally came out.

Now one called him Daddy.

For the first time since he’d gotten it, he realized he owed the Initiative a debt of gratitude. Oh, he still wished he didn’t have the chip. Still hated it. But without the chip he wouldn’t have Xander. Without the chip he wouldn’t have a slip of a teenaged girl with huge blue eyes looking up at him with love and calling him Daddy. His love began with them and expanded outward and was beginning to take in all those around them. Oh, not that he loved the others, but he knew that Xander and the Bit did, so that made them his responsibility as well.

The fucking chip. Petal was right, he would have to change his ways. When it came out or stopped working – if he began munching on the populace – he would lose everything. Everyone, one by one. He would have to work something out, but bloody hell, that could be years down the road. He would be damned again if he would sit here in front of a bleeding Christmas tree with the two people he loved most in the world and brood like that ponce in Hell-A.

No, now he had family. Not the imitation of one with Dru, Angelus, and Darla. A family who loved him back.

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