The Road to Sex, Lies, and Duct Tape


by
Bytemi66



Part Seventeen

Xander woke up first. He opened his eyes to see Dawn across from him. He had cuddled up to Spike’s right and she his left, both pillowing their heads on his chest. Spike’s hand was in her hair. She looked so young, so human for someone who used to be a swirly ball of green energy. He reached across and brushed a wisp of hair out of her face and got up off the floor.

Whoever said sleeping on the floor was good on your back never had a nail gun injury. Not wanting to take any of the pain pills, he decided on three ibuprofen and some O.J. He grabbed his bandage supplies and padded across the hall to Horatio’s place. He tried to be extra super-duper quiet, ‘cause he wanted Spike and Dawn to be able to sleep in after the big emotional scene last night.

Today was the ‘big day’. Whenever Spike had gone out for the evening over the past week, Xander had gone over to Horatio’s. The Fey had been helping Xander plan a surprise for Spike. Thanks to him, Xander had discovered a few things about himself. One – he made a really unattractive woman. No drag for the Xan-man. Nuh-uh. Two – ‘tucking’ was very, very uncomfortable. Three – lace may look nice but it was way itchy and all the hair sticking out looked nasty. Four – did he mention how uncomfortable the tucking thing was? Five – he needed to start moisturizing. Like, now. And a little twease-age now and then wouldn’t hurt.

He’d had ducked into ‘the’ store to pick up his lay-aways while Dawn was preoccupied in another. He’d blushed remembering everything he’d tried on. The whole thing had been rather traumatic, truth be told. And embarrassing. And, um…kind of a turn on. He hoped Spike thought so, too.

He held up the big shopping bag when Horatio opened the door. “I picked everything up yesterday!”

Horatio practically bounced. He’d had a lot of fun playing dress-up with Xander over the past week. He probably would have had even more fun if Xander had actually let Horatio see him in them. “Let me see, mijo!” he exclaimed as he snatched the bag away and swept over to the cream-colored leather sofa. Horatio’s apartment was very striking. It had a very modern feel; clean lines, muted tones, very uncluttered. Mostly in cream, tan, and ivory with lots of lush plants. But there were occasional antiques. A large, oval, gilded mirror, a beautiful carved bombé chest, and a gorgeous painting in the corner.

The painting fascinated Xander. He could stare at it for hours, but when he tried to tell Spike about it, he just couldn’t find the words to describe it. He knew Horatio was Fey and was, at his center, a magical being, but this painting was special. Every time he looked at it he saw subtle differences – differences that happened sometimes while he looked at it. A different flower, another color on the horizon, a new, unusual creature in the meadow, a face in the woods. It became a ritual that every time Xander was in the apartment he would go over and check the painting first thing. Sometimes he would go over to the apartment just to see what the changes were that day.

“Xandarrrrr,” Horatio trilled. “Honey, come away from the painting and sit down.”

“Okey, dokey smoky.” Xander plopped down on the couch next to his friend. He couldn’t stop fidgeting.

“Honey? What’s wrong? Are ju nervous?” Horatio asked with a concerned expression and a gentle touch on Xander’s knee.

“Yeah. I mean, I’ve never ‘dressed up’. Anya and I did a little roll-playing, but we never did costumes or anything…well, except for the whole bunny costume thing. What if I look stupid?”

“Ju no gonna look stupid, mijo. Believe me, your Spike will love it,” the slight man said, tsking.

“Really?”

“Si. Now, when ju gonna come over to get ready?”

“After I drop the Dawnster at home, so…a couple of hours? Oh, would ya mind changing my bandages again?”

“Of course, mijo.”

Rebandaging was getting to be less and less of an ordeal. Now, all he had to use was a big Band-Aid type of thing on his back and some gauze and telfa pads on his hands. Both wounds were improving rapidly. After rebandaging and cementing his plans to stop back at Horatio’s so he could change there before he sprung the surprise, he decided to take a shower and get ready for his day. After all, he had made a promise to Spike, and that promise needed a little, uh, prep. Luckily, he no longer had to wear the bread bag on his hand and was able to make do with a latex glove. It made everything a bit easier.

When he finally emerged from the bathroom, Dawn and Spike were up and puttering around in the kitchen. Everything seemed okay. Dawn was happy and bouncing around talking about school, and music, and boys, the latter of which he knew terrified Spike. He probably would get her a chastity belt if he could, Xander mused to himself.

“Hey! Great, the bathroom’s finally free,” Dawn commented with a smirk. “What? Now that you’re ‘out and proud’ you’re gonna clock some major bathroom time? Geesh.”

“Bitch, bitch, bitch.” Xander sing-songed back at her.

“I know you are, but what am I?” She answered, giggling as she shut the bathroom door.

He slid up behind Spike and wrapped his arms around him while the blonde heated a ‘morning cuppa’ in the microwave. Spike leaned back against Xander’s broad chest.

“Do you kiss your mum with that mouth, pet?”

“Nope, that woman’s scary. Just my sexy, undead lover.”

“Well, that’s just fine then.”

“Glad you approve,” Xander answered back while slipping his hands into the front of Spike’s sweatpants for a good morning grope.

Spike gasped. “Nibblet’s just in the bathroom, Sweetness. Don’t start, unh…something you c-can’t finish.”

“I think thou dost protesteth too mucheth. Shuteth upeth,” the brunette said, stroking harder. He heard the shower turn on and knew he had about ten minutes before Dawn came out. He turned Spike around and dropped to his knees while he yanked down the overly-large sweatpants. He looked up into Spike’s eyes as he slid his mouth over his lover’s erection.
br />Spike’s eyes got wide. “Xander!”

Xander smirked around the cock in his mouth and watched Spike began to tremble and grab the edge of the counter in a firm grip. He knew he had to bring Spike off fast, so he began to suck as hard as he could while jacking Spike’s dick with one hand and fondling his supple balls with the other.

“Xa, oh, g-god, yes, baby, please,” Spike repeated in various hushed patterns. He looked down at his boy, took note of his hollowed cheeks and swollen lips. Felt his warm breath tickle his pubic hair as Xander breathed through his nose. In and out. In and out. Heard the quiet, slurpy sounds of his lover’s lips and mouth on his cock. Saw his prick glisten with saliva. Spike began to pant.

Then the shower turned off.

Xander felt Spike tense up as soon as the shower stopped. Shit. He stuck his finger in his mouth alongside Spike’s cock, pulled it out and inserted it quickly into Spike’s anus. His finger unerringly found his lover’s prostate and pressed on it hard, while simultaneously using his other hand to firmly massage Spike’s perineum. Xan pulled back and sucked so hard on the tip of Spike’s penis that he was sure his eyes were bugging out.

Bingo. Spike arched up on tiptoe and shot rapid spurts of cool come into his boy’s hot mouth. His mouth tightly shut to keep from yelling out his release. A stifled moan was all that escaped. Xander got up fast, pulled up the sweatpants and attached his mouth to Spike’s, kissing him slowly and deeply.

The bathroom door opened and Dawn emerged with a towel wrapped around her head like a turban.

“You guys been necking in the kitchen the whole time?”

Xander pulled away and Spike did his level best to look unphased. He was hugely unsuccessful.

Dawn arched her eyebrow and swept her eyes up and down the two disheveled men. “Hairdryer?”

“Sorry, Dawnster. It hit the road when the girl did.”

“No hairdryer?” Dawn questioned, aghast, her tone making it sound like they were on a deserted island and were down to their last bottle of water. “I mean, really, what kind of self-respecting homosexual male doesn’t have a hair dryer? At least Spike uses product,” she said smirking in an almost eerie impersonation of the blond vampire.

“Thanks, Nibblet…oi!”

“And what’s with all the Herbal Essences under the sink?”

“Anya loved the commercials. She said it was about time that they came up with a product that could do that for you without batteries and went out and bought a case of it. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that shampoo didn’t make that happy.” Xander shook his head and stepped across the hallway to borrow Horatio’s hairdryer with a quirky grin on his face.


~*~*~*~*~


After Xander dropped Dawn off his nerves kicked up a notch or two. He kept fish-flopping between not being able to wait for Spike’s reaction and panicky urge to dig out his receipts and take everything back. But face it, holiday crowds were a big deterrent to returning anything. So was standing in line and trying to explain why he wanted to return the objects and yes, he had tried them on.

But he hadn’t tried them on for anyone else. He could try them on for Horatio, but then Spike would have to kill their neighbor when he found out. So, no. He also couldn’t see dressing up and going to any bars to see if he passed muster.

He’d just have to grin and…bare it.





Part Eighteen

Spike was watching the telly when his boy came in. He started talking while his eyes were still glued to the screen. “So, get Nibblet home…” Then he looked up. “Alright?” He paused at the sight that stood just inside the apartment. “Xan, luv, why are you dressed up like Santa Claus?”

“I heard someone’s been a very good boy this year.” He walked over to the couch, jingling all the way with a sack slung over his shoulder, sat in the big comfy chair, and patted his lap. “Come tell Xanta what you want for Christmas, little boy.”

“Have you gone completely mental?” At Xander’s off look he continued, “Sweetness, I was wrong. I thought the bloody reindeer sweater was a turn-off. It bleeding pales in comparison.”

“Talk like that will get you a lump of coal. Do you want to be moved to my ‘naughty’ list?” Xander said, waving his finger at Spike.

Spike rolled his eyes. “Alright luv, I’ll play along.” He dutifully stepped over and plopped onto the red felt-clad lap. Wait a minute. He felt something under there that definitely wasn’t felt. That’s when he noticed the eyeliner. Xander was wearing eyeliner. And it looked damn good.

“So what do you want for Christmas, little boy?” Xanta repeated.

“You. Out of that damn suit.”

“Well, then. Why don’t you unwrap your present?” Xanta said, his gloved hand inching up Spike’s thigh.

Spike took the inching hand, brought it up to his lips and began to pull the glove off with his teeth. He repeated the action with the other and casually tossed them over his shoulder. He heard Xan’s heart, which had been a little rapid when he came in, speed up a little more, and his eyes began to dilate in arousal.

He stood up and knelt at his boy’s feet to remove the black boots and pull off the white socks. He ran his hand up the pants leg. Wait a minute. Leather? Oh hell, yes. He stood again and pulled Xander into a standing position as well. The hat and beard were next. Spike tossed them over his shoulder and heard the tinkling of the Christmas ornaments as they landed on the tree. He grabbed his boy’s warm, hat-tousled head and pulled it forward into a hard, demanding kiss. His hands slid down to the red coat and he began to unbutton each button in turn, still kissing his brown-eyed boy.

He stopped kissing Xander as he pulled the coat off of the broad shoulders. He gasped. Xander was wearing a studded leather harness that crossed around his torso in an ‘X’ with a circular metal ring holding the pieces together at the center. And a collar. The collar had little silver spikes sticking out of it. He was also wearing black leather cuffs that fastened with buckles and had ‘D’ rings attached to them.

“Jesus, Xander,” he said in awe as he looked across Xander’s chest and arms hungrily, like he was an all-you-can-shag buffet and he didn’t know where to start. The pants. That’s where he would start. Had to see what leather delights lay hidden beneath the red and white fun-fur adorned suit. He unwrapped the rest of his present with gusto and stood there stunned.

Xander was wearing black leather chaps and a black g-string; he was obviously very hard. His mouth went dry. “Turn around,” he commanded with a shaky voice. Xander turned around slowly and looked at Spike over his shoulder with lowered lashes.

Spike was staring at his exposed ass framed in supple black leather. His mouth was opened in astonishment.

Xander swallowed in nervousness and asked, “Do you approve, Master?”

Spike’s head snapped up at ‘Master’. His astonished expression changed to a feral lust. “Oh, I approve, boy. But you’ve been very naughty keeping this from me.”

“It was supposed to be a surprise,” Xander replied submissively.

“Still,” Spike said while stepping forward to grope that lovely, exposed ass with cool hands. Xander jumped a little when the cool hands touched his warm bottom. “Don’t you think you deserve a little,” Spike paused as he slapped the firm cheek in front of him lightly, “punishment?”

“Whatever you think is right, Master,” Xander said in a slightly strained voice.

Spike slid his hands over Xander’s back and the straps there that were the same as in front. He moved over to the chair and pulled his boy face-down across his lap. Time to see how far the chip would let him go. He slapped Xander’s right cheek then soothed the spot with circular strokes. So far, so good. He pulled his hand back and slapped again, harder. Not even a twinge from the chip, but Xander arched up, his fingers digging into the arm of the chair. Spike smiled, and evil delighted grin and began to spank his boy in earnest, getting his lover’s bum nice and rosy.

Xander was incredibly aroused. He’d tried spanking before with ‘anytime-anywhere-any-position Anya’, but she had been the one getting spanked. He hadn’t gotten much out of the whole spank-age experience. But maybe the ‘right…now left…harder, I thought I told you harder, dammit!’ constant stream of instructions had been what he found unappealing.

Spike brought his hand down in a stinging slap. “I don’t think you’re paying attention, boy.”

Xander groaned and thrusted his erection into Spike’s thigh then lifted his pink ass up for Spike to deliver the next slap. He began to beg. “Please, Spike, please!”

“Please what, boy?”

“Please fuck me!”

Spike growled, somehow making the growl itself sound possessive and sexy. And just how far gone was he when growling turned him on? In a few quick moves, Spike had them both on the floor on top of a soft chenille throw and several pillows. Xander was on his knees with Spike directly behind him. Spike pushed him down on all fours and stripped quickly, throwing his clothes off to the side.

Spike paused. “Um, Xan, luv? How do you get the g-string off? You put the chaps on overtop of it.”

“There’s, uh, Velcro straps at the sides…just rip them off.”

Spike ran now warmed hands over the reddened buttocks, grabbed the strap, and ripped the g-string off. “Bloody brilliant. Spread your legs, boy,” he said, once again back in ‘Master’ character. “Now, reach back and expose yourself.”

Xander rested his chest on the mound of pillows, turned his head to the side, reached back, and pulled apart his tender butt cheeks. He was panting in arousal, his cock was flat against his stomach and dripping against the chenille throw.

Spike leaned forward and lightly drew his tongue over the dusky pucker. Xander jumped, startled at the touch of the cool tongue against his entrance. He’d only let Spike do this once before, even though Spike had topped a few times by now. Xander was rather shy about it, ‘cause…ew. Spike didn’t have those nasty, bodily function-type things goin’ on, so there was no eww-factor about doing this to him.

“Relax, boy,” Spike said with a slap. “You’re gonna lay there real nice and take it.”

Xander whimpered and pushed down the ewwie factorage. After all, he’d done a lot of, um, prep. At the next touch of Spike’s tongue, Xander’s eyes rolled up in his head. He’d forgotten how wonderful it felt to be on the receiving end of rimmery goodness. God, no wonder Spike loved it.

The vampire batted his hands away and parted the brunet’s cheeks himself. He teased the clenching hole with tiny, stabbing cat-licks, enjoying the moans and groans coming from his beautiful boy. When he began to plunge his tongue in deeper, he felt his lover began to tremble. He reached underneath to find his boy’s right nice tackle, and encountered…a cock-ring.

“Ah, luv, ‘Cock Ring II, the sequel’?”

“Who says sequels can’t be as good as the original? Look at ‘The Empire Strikes Back’,” Xander said, slightly muffled against the throw pillows.

“Godfather II is a better example than that shite, Xan.”

“Whatever! Please, Spike! Ugh! I mean, please, Master, please fuck me. I can’t come until you allow it, Master,” the prostrate human said, trying to get back in character.

“Right, then, boy. Where’s the slick?”

“In the sack.”

Spike turned around and dumped out the sack. An assortment of goodies spilled out onto the floor. Plain lube, chocolate lube, white chocolate lube, a paddle, blindfold, a metal attachment to bind the ‘D’ rings together, chains for the cuffs, a ball gag, and several feathers. Well, well. If this were anything to go by, then he had been a very good boy this year.

“No more ‘Sorceress’ Special Slick’, luv?”

“Don’t think we need it anymore, Spike. I’ve kinda, uh, been ‘broken-in’ by this point and you just spanked me for a good fifteen minutes. I think we’re rollin’ in puppies here. Now, for the love of god, will you please shove your cock in my ass?”

“Topping from the bottom, luv?”

“Spike!”

“What was that?”

“Fuck me, Master!”

“What’s the magic word, boy?” Spike asked, again returning to character.

“Please!”

“That’s better.” Spike drizzled some of the plain lube down Xander’s crack, the coldness making his boy jump. Then he followed the lube down the crevasse with his fingers, slicking it and then Xan’s restrained balls and prick. Spike prepared Xander further, putting one, then two fingers into his slightly relaxed hole and began to scissor them. He was careful to avoid his lover’s prostate. He wanted the first jolt from that special spot to come from his cock, not just his fingers.

Finally satisfied that Xander was ready, Spike plunged in to the hilt then froze in place. Xander was so tight, so warm. He could feel the heat radiating from his boy’s reddened ass warming his stomach and thighs.

Xander made a whimpery noise.

“Are you alright, Sweetheart? I didn’t hurt you did I?” Spike asked softly, slipping out of character again as he stroked Xander’s back soothingly.

“N-no, baby. Just move. Please. I need you to move.”

“Right.” Spike pulled out and thrust back in with long, smooth strokes, angling the position to maximize his boy’s pleasure. Each stroke ending with a slap as their flesh came together. Over and over until they were both trembling and panting.

“Please, Spike. Please hold me,” Xander requested, quietly.

Every time they did this – with Xander on the bottom - his boy needed the closeness, the reassurance. Without pulling out, Spike leaned over and hugged Xander to him, then leaned back and sat back on his heels, pulling Xander upright onto his lap and forcing his cock even deeper into the hot, quivering channel.

“I’ve got you, Sweet. God, Xander, you feel so good.”

“Spike, I feel you. You’re so deep inside me,” Xander said with love and wonder in his voice.

“Ride me, Xan. Can you do that, luv?”

Xander pushed up with his knees and sat back down again, and again. Spike thrust upwards, gently, while kissing and sucking at his boy’s muscular neck. Xander arched his neck to give Spike better access and he bit down firmly with blunt teeth – not enough to break the skin; just enough to bruise a little. God, the taste of this boy.

“P-please, please, baby. Let me come. Please, Spike.”

Spike reached around and felt for the clasp and released it, and then grabbed his lover’s turgid member and began to stroke. On the third stroke, Xander arched his back, threw his head against Spike’s shoulder and came. Spike buried his face against Xander’s neck and thrust up once more before finally allowing himself to come to an intense, shuddering release.

The blond began to lift Xander off his lap, but Xander stopped him, clutching his lover’s hands in his own.

“Please, no. Stay in me. I want you to stay inside me. Just hold me, please, baby. Hold me tight. Don’t let me go,” Xander whispered, almost desperately.

Spike wound his arms around even tighter and placed slow, soft, licking kisses across Xander’s warm shoulders. “Not gonna let go, Xander.” He flattened himself against Xander’s sweaty back and moved his hands around the boy’s torso so they rested over his heart. He could feel the beat slowing down, gradually going back to normal. He tucked his head back against Xander’s neck and whispered, “I love you so.”





Part Nineteen

Xander was finally forced to get up because his legs were starting to tingle and both groaned as they separated. Spike told Xander to lounge against the pillows for awhile and got a warm washcloth to clean them up a bit. Spike tossed the cloth in the vague direction of the bathroom and lay down on the floor to cuddle with his boy.

“So, luv, what do you want to do next?”

“I’m your present; you decide. I’m your anatomically correct sex doll. Do with me what you will.”

“Yeah, ‘cause the last sexbot worked out so well,” Spike commented with more than a little sarcasm.

Xander helpfully pointed out, “At least I’m not wearing a pleated skirt and doing you in the cemetery.”

“Yet.”

“So not gonna do drag, Spike. I experimented this week. Horatio made me up and everything. I make a really, really unattractive woman…and I woulda had to buy everything in the big girls’ store.”

“But you’re so pretty, luv.”

Xander snorted. “You didn’t see me in lace and heels. I looked like my Aunt Carole on steroids.”

“So how did you decide on this? Bondage Wear Daily?”

“Horatio-“

“Horatio?” Spike queried with an edge of jealousy in an ‘I can kill him, you know’ tone of voice.

“Chill. He saw the stuff, but didn’t see my stuff in the stuff. There was no viewing of my stuff. Um, you know what I mean.”

“Alright, I won’t kill him.”

“Aww, honey. You say the sweetest things. My big bad pillow talker.”

“How about I talk about all the nasty perverted things I want to do to your hot manly body?”

“I’m all ears.”

Spike took advantage of all the ‘prep’ that Xander had gone through. Boy was so squeamish. No major hardship though. He loved his boy pounding into him.

He used the bondage gear and chained the leather cuffs to the legs of the kitchen table and took him with the boy’s legs in the air. Then he held him. He blew him then took him against the wall. Then he held him. Truth be told, Spike liked the holding and cuddling almost as much as sticking it to him. Almost.

He helped Xander peel off the chaps and remove the harness, cuffs, and collar, kissing each bit of flesh as it was exposed. The took a long, hot shower, making sure to get all those hard-to-reach spots, then decided to nap for awhile and cuddled together in bed under the dark crimson comforter, falling into a pleasant exhausted sleep.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike woke up to a warm mouth kissing and tonguing his navel.

“You awake, yet? Geez, someone sleeps like the dead.”

“Well, duh, to coin a phrase, luv.”

Xander put his mouth back down on Spike’s abdomen and gave him a hellacious belly raspberry.

Spike laughed at first – he couldn’t help it – it tickled, dammit! Then he launched himself at Xander and began to tickle him. He knew all the spots by heart now. Ribs, back of the knee, his feet. Xander broke away and ran into the living room, yelling, “No! Mercy! Please stop! Arrrghhh!”

Spike was dead on his heels. That’s when the door slammed open.

They both stopped in their tracks.

“Xander! Are you alright?” Willow cried out, alarmed, as she ran up to Xander.

“Um…fine, Will. How are you?”

Willow suddenly realized something. She didn’t look down. “Xander. You’re naked aren’t you?”

“Oh, yeah.”

She slapped a hand over her eyes.

“Damn that peripheral vision, eh, Red?”

“You betcha. Hi, Spike,” she said waggling her fingers in his general direction. They could see the blush around her fingers of her other hand. “I-I’m so sorry! I didn’t… There was the yelling and with the ‘No, please stop’ ‘n all I thought Xander was being hurt!”

“Uh, Willow? Not to interrupt the reasoning behind the whole bursting into your best friend’s apartment while he and his lover are having naked fun, but do you think you could close the door? I’m getting a draft if you know what I mean.” He looked out into the hallway and grimaced. Didn’t he have a nightmare like this or something? Shit, if he only had the cheese he could use it to cover himself somewhat. “Hi, Mrs. Fillmore.” He waved in nervous panic with his right hand while trying to hide the goods with his left. “Wave or say ‘hi’ or something Spike. It’s polite,” he stage-whispered to Spike nervously.

“Just what do you want me to wave at her Xander?”

Xander kept a smile frozen on his face. Luckily, Mrs. Fillmore’s vision wasn’t too good. Oh, shit. She was pulling out her bifocals.

“Will? Door? Before even more of the neighbors get a look at my not-so-wee-willy-winkie?”

Willow managed to close the door before Spike started waving.





Part Twenty

“So, Wills. What brings you by?” Xander asked after plopping his fully dressed butt on the couch. “And you can put your hand down now.”

“Are you sure?”

“Totally.”

“Is Spike decent?”

“Is that a trick question?”

Willow finally dropped her hand into her lap and gave Xander a look of exasperation. “Xander! What were you thinking running around screaming and naked?”

“Do you really want me to answer that one?”

She thought about it for a sec and blushed again. “That’s a big no. Let’s just pretend that question was rhetorical and move on.”

“Gotcha. Moving on. So, what’s up?”

“Christmas!”

“Okay. This may be obvious, but you’re Jewish…and Wiccan.”

“Duh. I’ve always celebrated Christmas with you. Dawn said you wouldn’t do the Snoopy dance this year,” she chided.

“So not wanting to do that in front of Spike.”

“Well, okay. I fully expect a complete reenactment later, though.”

“Why? ‘Cause it’s just not Christmas without me making a total butthead out of myself?”

“No! It’s just…tradition. Jews are big on tradition.”

“Shit. Now I have that song from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ going through my head.”

Willow nodded sagely. “I hate when that happens.”

Spike wandered back into the living room dressed in a pair of Xander’s sweats and a t-shirt while drying his damp hair with a towel.

“So, Red. What’s so bloody important that you interrupt what promised to be a sodding fantastic shag?” he asked while sitting down next to Xander.

Xander patted his knee. “We already covered that, baby.”

“Alright then, bring me up to speed.”

“Rhetorical question, Christmas, Snoopy dance, Jewish tradition, Fiddler on the Roof.”

Spike arched an eyebrow.

“Well, you asked.”

“That I did, luv.” He turned to look at Red. “How’d you get in, anyway?”

“I gave her a key,” Xander helpfully supplied.

“Right then. I suppose you’re here to go over Christmas plans.”

“Yup.”

Xander and Spike looked at her with an expression of ‘And?’

“Oh! Well, Dawnie’s been taking the whole first Christmas without Joyce thing really bad.”

“Yeah. We totally know,” Xander replied while sweeping a hand through his hair. God, what that poor kid was going through.

Willow plunged back in. “So, I was thinking, let’s go ‘ho, ho, ho’ all the way!”

“I think that’s ‘jingle all the way’.”

“Yeah, yeah,” she replied, rolling her eyes. “It’s not like you guys don’t have hundreds of Christmas songs to keep track of.”

“As far as I know, you only have the Dreidel Song. What’s up with that?”

Spike contributed. “You forgot about that Adam Sandler song, pet.”

Xander nodded and asked, “So how come that even though so many Jewish people are in the music and entertainment biz you guys only have, like, two songs? It doesn’t make sense. I mean, Hanukkah has nine whole days and only two songs.”

“I don’t know.”

“I’m just sayin’, how come Bernstein couldn’t plop himself down and write ‘Hanukkah Geld’ or ‘You Light Up My Menorah’ while he was composing?”

Willow sighed and put on the holiday version of her resolve face. It actually looked a lot like the regular version. “Xander.”

“Sorry, Wills. Forge ahead. Crap. Now I’ve got that Adam Sandler song in my head.”

Willow looked down by her feet. “Um, Xander? Why is there a Santa suit on the floor? And what is tha…?” The hand went back up and clamped over her eyes.


~*~*~*~*~


“Did you remember the cheese ball?” Xander asked absently, while trying to mentally catalog everything they brought.

“Yes. I remembered the ruddy cheese ball,” Spike answered tersely.

“Testy, testy. What’s got your knackers in a bunch?”

“You made me wear a Christmas sweater,” the vampire ground out.

“You look sexy.”

“I look like a prat.”

“But a sexy prat. What’s a prat?”

“Never mind.”

“Baby, it’s not a really obvious holiday sweater, and it’s red. You like red,” Xander replied coaxingly.

“It’s got a soddin’ Christmas tree on it.”

“But it’s tone-on-tone. Very subtle.”

“My left bullock, it’s subtle.”

Xander sighed, “Come on, Spike. It’s just for a little while. Plus, I’ve been having naughty thoughts about you wearing nothing but that sweater, a big red bow, and handcuffs.”

“Where’s the bow?”

“Use your imagination and ring the doorbell.” Spike pressed the button and rang the bell.

Dawn swung the door open eagerly and paused. She blinked. She yelled over her shoulder, “Xander and a pod person in a Christmas sweater are here!”

Spike glared at her then turned to Xander. Oh, shit. The mistletoe was really gonna hit the fan.

Dawn rolled her eyes and ushered them in. What was with these chits and the constant bloody eye rolling?

Willow came in beaming and wiping her hands on her apron. She stopped in her tracks, stunned, her eyes glued to the cheery red sweater. “That’s…wow. I mean…um. You look really, really nice, Spike,” she finally managed to force out with very little sincerity. Both of the girls looked like they were ready to blow and when Xander starting to snicker it was the last straw.

“That’s it!” Spike exclaimed, before shoving the cheese ball into a smirking Dawn’s arms and ripping the sweater off his body to reveal the plain black t-shirt underneath.

The ripping sound pulled Willow from her trance and, while giving the still-fuming Spike a wide berth, she stepped up to Xander and gave him a big hug. She looked up mischievously. “Why Xander, is that a beef stick in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”

“I am very happy to see you, but, yes. That is a beef stick.” He pulled a huge beef stick out of his pocket and held it up.

“Wow. That’s a lotta beef,” Willow replied.

“I’m a man that likes his meat.” He paused for a moment. “That really didn’t come out the way I meant it to.”

Dawn pursed her lips and grabbed the stick from his hand as she made her way into the kitchen. “Size queen,” she said jokingly under her breath.

“I heard that, Bit!”

She poked her head around the wall, her sheath of hair flaring out behind her. “I know.”

Spike sighed. “She’s so evil. Makes a bloke feel proud.”

He casually tossed himself down onto the couch and began to munch on carefully decorated Christmas cookies while Xander followed Red into the kitchen. He bit the head off the Virgin Mary just as Buffy began to walk down the stairs. She glanced down and made brief eye-contact before nervously brushing imaginary wrinkles from the gold sweater she was wearing.

“Spike.”

“Slayer.”

She turned to go into the kitchen with the others.

“You about done, then?”

Buffy tensed but did not turn around. “With what?”

“This bloody pointless bout of barmy self-flagellation you’ve been goin’ through for fecking weeks on end.”

She turned around and looked at him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Spike.”

“Yes. You. Do,” he said, while gesturing vehemently with the headless cookie. “If you want to give Peaches a run for his money, fine, but you’re hurting the Bit. I won’t stand for that. You’ve got to work your way out of whatever funk you are in and do it right bloody now. Your pals in there will mollycoddle you. I won’t. You keep taking your own sweet time and I guarantee you I will kick your arse so hard the only thing you’ll be able to taste will be my boot. Got it?”

Buffy simply nodded without making eye contact.

“Good. Happy Christmas, Buffy,” he said in a much more gentle tone of voice.

She turned and went into the kitchen.

Mary had a right nasty aftertaste. Maybe Jesus was tastier. He tossed the cookie into the air and caught it in his mouth.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander sat on the couch with the top button of his pants unbuttoned and belched quietly into his fist. He was chock-full of cheese and crackers, beef stick, cookies, little mini quiche, popcorn, shrimp, little puffy brown things with some kind of cheese filling, and little wieners on frilly toothpicks in barbeque sauce. He looked over at Spike who was letting Dawnie paint his nails and at Buffy and Willow who were watching ‘A Christmas Story’. No dodging of the cheese ball or the Chex Mix. No sleeping outside. No yelling. This was the nicest Christmas Eve he’d had since he was little.

They all stayed up late, drank mochas, played games, and laughed. They talked about Christmases past. About Joyce. They toasted her with egg nog and Spike waxed romantic about her hot cocoa with marshmallows. Buffy seemed to be loosen up a little after they talked about Joyce. They handed out the stockings and laughed together over the candy, Christmas ornaments, and kitschy little gifts.

Spike kicked everyone’s ‘arse’ soundly at Trivial Pursuit and then picked up a sleeping Dawn. He gently carried her upstairs, put her on her bed, took off her shoes, and pulled a coverlet up over her sleeping form. He gently swept a lock of hair away from her sweet face before he turned to go.

“Hey. No kiss goodnight?” a rough, sleepy voice asked.

He turned back, knelt down next to her bed, and kissed her forehead. “Goodnight and Happy Christmas, Dawn,” he replied, then kissed her once more for good measure.

She pulled her arms out from under the comforter and gave him a tight squeeze and a big smacking kiss on his cool cheek.

Spike tucked her back in and smoothed her hair one last time before getting up and closing the door.

“’Night, Daddy,” she whispered, knowing that he would hear.




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