[info]reremouse decided to have a Spander Valentine's Day Ficathon
Prompt at the end.

Pairing: Spike/Xander
Betas: [info]ozsaur and [info]janedavitt, my heroes and shit
Rating: R
Category: Romance - What? I can do romance!
Warnings: None
Summary: Spike and Xander have been together for a while now, but it takes Spike spinning free of reality on a wild ride to make him wake up to what he has in Xander, and what he's willing to do to keep him.
Spoilers: Pretty much everything in both Angel and Buffy - if you don't want to be spoiled for the end of either Series, you probably shouldn't read this one.
Word Count: 10,094
Angel Advisers: Special thanks go to [info]sffan and [info]janedavitt for their invaluable information on AtS, as well as their efforts in containing my panic and offering good advice that I mostly ignored. But hey, they tried, right?
Author's Notes: Some dialogue from the Spike & Anya scene was taken from the episode "Entropy," Season 6, Episode 18 - written by Drew Z. Greenberg. Transcribed by Joan the English Chick for BuffyGuide.com

Wild Ride


The elevator doors opened, and Spike stuck his head out, looking around quickly before stepping out into the hall. Breathing a sigh of relief, he adjusted the collar of his coat with one hand, and casually sauntered down the hall, trying not to look like he had anything to hide – just in case. Of course just then, he heard footsteps on the stairs, and who should call out his name but the old poofter himself.


Spike kept walking. He knew that Angel would never believe he hadn’t heard him, but hell, he'd never paid any attention to what the old bleeder had said in the past, so why start now? He heard footsteps as Angel moved swiftly toward him – damn, he was still only half way to his door, he’d never make it unless he ran, and he refused to give Angel the satisfaction, so he just kept up his casual stroll until Angel reached out and grabbed his arm.

He stopped, his handful of packages swinging and turned to stare at Angel's hand, which was firmly gripping his upper arm. “You got a problem, mate? How about you take your hand off me? Now.”

Angel frowned at him, and Spike rolled his eyes. The man really needed to find a new facial expression; he was wearing this one out. His grip on Spike’s arm tightened. “I’d like a word with you, Spike.”

“This is not the time, Peaches. I’ve got to get some things set up before the whelp comes upstairs, so we can talk another time, right?” He tried to pull free of Angel’s hand, but the strong grip held him securely.

“No. We can talk now. Xander is in the library with the S.I.T.s, so you and I are going to talk.”

Spike smirked at him. “The S.I.T.s. You know, when you say that, you sound just like that Andrew twat. Next thing you know you’re gonna be sucking on a pipe and calling us Vampyrs.” He said the word with Andrew’s exaggerated style – accenting the last syllable to make it sound like vam-peers. “Fucking poof.”

“Well what do you want me to call them? Slayers in Training is a mouthful, and since you’re the only one who can call them Baby Slayers and get away with it, there aren't a lot of other options.”

“Yeah, well they know better than to mess with me. I’ll kick their arses all over L.A. if they try.” He gave an exaggerated sigh and motioned down the hall with his head. “Come on, then. You can talk to me in my room. I don’t want anyone seeing what I’ve got here – it’s a surprise, and I've timed it a bit close. If I don't get this arranged before Harris shows up I'm going to be an unhappy Vampyr, got it?”

He tugged again, and Angel finally turned his arm loose so that he could hurry up the hall to the last room in the corner – as far away from the baby slayers as he could get and still be on the same floor as Xander.

Angel trailed behind him. “What were you doing out in the day, anyway? The sun won’t be down for another hour yet.”

Spike set his bags down on his dresser, shuffling through them and ignoring Angel – he never passed up an opportunity to annoy the bugger.

"Spike..." Angel paused and sniffed, looking puzzled. "Do I smell flowers?"

Spike casually dropped one of the bags off the edge of the dresser, away from Angel. "No." He realized immediately how defensive he sounded and winced at the look of doubt on Angel's face.

"Yes I do. Roses. You went out in the sunlight and brought back roses? What the hell, Spike?" He moved closer and Spike stepped between Angel and the dresser - arms crossed and feet planted firmly, effectively stopping him from getting any closer to Spike's cache of shopping bags.

"That's what the sewers are there for, right? I don't see what the big deal is. You go out in the daytime all the time, why can't I?"

That stopped Angel in his tracks. "Well, it's just that you usually don't, so it seems strange that you did."

Spike rolled his eyes. "That makes a lot of sense, you poof. So what did you want to talk about? The fact that I come back from the sewers smelling like roses while you come back smelling of shite? Doesn't surprise me in the--"

Angel interrupted him, obviously reminded of the reason he'd come upstairs to find Spike in the first place. "I have a problem. I need you to cover the phones for me tonight."

Spike snorted with laughter. "You've got to be bloody kidding me. Sorry. Me and Xander have plans. You'll have to find someone else to do your dirty work for you. What about the Watcher? That old fart doesn't have a life, he can cover for you."

"I need someone who can go out if an emergency comes up. You know I can't leave Anderson here alone like that. He's in his sixties, I can't ask him to go out on a call."

"You've got a cellphone, give him the number, and have him call you if anything comes up. Or maybe just declare a day off; you don't have to be available to every needy bugger out there twenty-four hours a day. Just leave a message and get on with your bleeding life. What there is of it. Now get out of here, I've got things to do."

Spike turned his back to Angel and rustled his bags, sorting through them without pulling anything out, refusing to let Angel see what he'd gone out for today. But Angel didn't budge, just sighed heavily and leaned against the far edge of the dresser, frowning.

"I hate that phone."

"Well tell that to wolfgirl, not me. I'm not the one who insisted you carry it. Why not ask her to cover the phones for you if you have to have someone pretending this office is run efficiently?"

Angel mumbled, "No, not tonight."

Spike looked up, a smirk spreading over his face as he settled his hip against the dresser and pulled out a cigarette and his lighter. "You've got a date, haven't you? That's why you're being such an annoying bugger. Well, you should have asked earlier." He lit his cigarette and blew the smoke into Angel's face, earning facial expression number two, the angry frown.

"I still would have said no," Spike continued, "but at least you'd have had time to find another replacement. Taking your girl out for a candlelit dinner? You bringing her something special?" At Angel's puzzled look he rolled his eyes. "It's Valentine's Day, you idiot. You don't just show up empty handed on a day like today." The look of panicked shock on Angel's face was priceless. "You didn't even know what day it was, did you? What a bleeding fool you are. With six teenage girls in this hotel, you still didn't realize Valentine's Day was on the way? Some bloody great detective you are."

Angel started pacing - to the window and back again, his agitation showing in his jerky steps as he kicked a path through the clothes spotted around Spike's bedroom floor. "She called me this morning out of the blue and asked if I wanted to go to a party with her. I didn't even think of Valentine's Day."

"You're going to a Valentine's Day party?" Spike snorted smoke out his nose with his laughter. "You're going to a Valentine's Day party? I can't believe it. I just can't believe it."

He shot Spike an angry look. "Nina didn't mention it was a Valentine's Day party, but now that you've pointed it out, it must be. What the hell am I going to do now? I can't go to a party. What the hell would I do at a party?"

"I'm surprised she asked you. What the fuck was she thinking?"

Angel's eternal frown surfaced again, as he defended Nina. "She told me it was just a small gathering - just a few of her art school friends. She said it would be a quiet evening, that we didn't even have to stay long." He paused for a moment, staring down at the floor. "I asked if I should bring anything, but she said no, that she had that covered."

Spike shook his head, settling his ass on the dresser as he watched his grandsire resume his pacing, wondering if Angel would forget himself enough to stop watching the floor, and Spike would get the pleasure of watching him trip over Spike's scattered dirty laundry or his spare pair of Doc Martens. One could always hope; he could use a little entertainment. He took another drag off his cigarette.

"Yeah, well you'd better show up with something, mate - you don't meet your girl on Valentine's Day empty handed. I know you two are still fairly casual, but wolfgirl deserves better than that."

Angel came to a stop at the shuttered window, turning around swiftly to point a finger at Spike. "That's why I smell roses." He stalked over to Spike as he finally figured it all out. "You bought Xander roses! And chocolate, too. You did, didn't you?"

Spike bristled. "I did not!" he denied vehemently. Then at Angel's raised eyebrow, he deflated, leaning back onto the edge of the dresser. "Well, maybe."

When Angel smirked at him, Spike defended himself. "He doesn't usually have a lot of luck on Valentine's Day. We weren't together last year this time, but we went out for a beer and a game of pool to get away from his charges for a while. They were all mooning like silly fools over Connor; he'd just started training with them at the time. Harris was with his demon girl for years - she was good at taking, but not so much for giving, you know? So I thought he might like to be on the opposite side this year." He snarled as Angel's smirk spread, puffing himself up like the Big Bad he knew he wasn't being today, but faking it fairly admirably, he thought.

"Yeah, well, you can bet he'll be very grateful. You'd best not stop on the second floor tonight after your little date, if you don't want to hear exactly how grateful he'll be. We'll be at it all night, if I don't miss my guess. Don't fret, we'll do our best to keep the noise to a minimum." Angel's frown was back; that was more like it. He hated thinking about Xander and sex at the same time, so Spike rubbed his nose in it as often as he could. "Xander's one hell of a good fuck. He's got the hottest, most incredible mouth I've ever felt on my cock, and that tight arse of his - bloody hell..."

"What the hell am I going to do, Spike?"

Angel sounded a bit panicked, and Spike ate it up, smirking at Angel through the smoke of his cigarette. "I don't know, Peaches, and I don't much care, but whatever it is, you'd better get to it. Close down the office for the night, and go find your Nina something nice. She deserves it." He turned his back on Angel again, rattling through his bags, hoping the stupid sod would finally get the hint. "And don't you dare bother us tonight. Me and my boy have got some new toys to play with, if you know what I mean..."

He pulled out a pair of padded black leather wrist restraints and dangled them from one finger as he glanced over his shoulder at Angel. The look on Angel's face was priceless - panic and disgust warring with a healthy dose of lust for control as Angel practically ran out the door, slamming it behind him. Spike breathed a sigh of relief. He should have pulled those out when the poof first showed up, would have been a much shorter conversation. What a wanker.

He got down to work, setting everything up, hiding things under pillows and in bedside tables, sticking some sandwiches and snacks for later in the little mini-fridge he kept up here for his beer. Xander would be hungry at some point tonight, and he didn't want to have to get dressed to go down to the kitchen. The roses and a big box of expensive Belgian truffles took pride of place on the dresser, the blood-red roses tucked neatly into a black marble vase that showed them off admirably. Now, he just needed to strip and get into bed, like he'd been asleep the whole time, and wait for Xander to slip in next to him and kiss him awake as he did every day right before sundown.

He'd already warned that Watcher twit Anderson not to expect Xander around this evening, so Anderson was prepared to keep an eye on the baby slayers by himself for once, instead of foisting them off onto Xander as he usually did and hiding in the library. Everything was all set up, and his boy didn't suspect a thing. He settled back in the bed with a smile on his face - this was going to be a Valentine's Day to remember.

Xander deserved it, after all. What with the cheerleader dropping him on Valentine's Day for Christ's sake, and Demon Girl being so self-centered and all. He didn't even want to think about that slut of a slayer that took his boy's virginity - that made him so angry sometimes, he just wanted to forget his soul and just snap her neck. Okay, so there might be a bit of jealousy in that one. Not like he would have been Harris's first or anything - Demon Girl would have been there before him anyway, but damn it all. The poor boy never seemed to get a break in love, did he?

Spike wasn't sure he could be what Xander really needed; he was a bit on the crazy side himself from time to time, what with the demon popping out to war with his soul on occasion. But he liked to think he was a bit more stable than most of Xander's past romantic interests, and that seemed to be a good thing, at least for now. He'd like to hang on to Harris for a while, yet - at least until Xander figured out what he really wanted, and left him to find it. He had no doubt that would happen eventually; Xander was constantly rambling on about finding his perfect girl, which more and more often was bringing Spike's demon out growling in jealousy. But for now at least, Xander was enjoying his life for once. And that made both Spike's soul and his demon happy.

Spike stretched in the bed, feeling for the wrist cuffs he'd already attached to the headboard, and the lube and chocolate sauce that were stashed under the pillow. He grinned widely - yes, this Valentine's Day was going to be one Xander would never forget.


When Spike awoke, he realized he'd slept longer than he'd expected to - the clock on the bedside table said it was close to midnight, but he couldn't feel the night the way he usually did. It still felt like it was light outside, despite there being no glow of daylight around the edge of the blackout shutters Harris had installed in his room. There was no sound anywhere, not even the normal nighttime sounds of the sleeping girls down the hall, or of the old Watcher's loud snores - although he might have still been awake downstairs in the library, or more likely snoozing over a book in an easy chair.

They'd found Anderson that way many times since he and Harris had arrived with six slayers in tow, to shock them out of the sullen quiet that had overtaken the Hyperion in the wake of the final battle with Wolfram and Hart. The hotel and its undead inhabitants had fallen into a depressed silence as they'd mourned their fallen, and Illyria had left them to it, spending most of her time kicking ass in Compton, where she'd developed quite a following among the local gangs. Angel complained about it constantly, but he'd been better since the Slayers had arrived just over a year ago, bringing laughter and vibrant life back into the dark hotel.

The Hyperion had resembled an old crypt in sad need of repair, with much drinking of whiskey, mourning of the dead, and ceaseless brooding. Not Spike, of course, he didn't brood, but Angel had done enough for the both of them. It was only when Harris had shown up, nosing around to ferret out the truth of what had actually happened here in L.A. that Spike, at least, had realized what a boring old sod he'd become and started to change his ways. Xander had spent several months in L.A., and with the help of Spike, the two of them had finally made Angel realize that brooding over the past wasn't going to change things, and that they needed to move forward. Maybe even do some good for someone. You never know.

So Angel had reincarnated Angel Investigations once again, and he and Spike had been open for business for about three months when Xander had returned with a deal for them. They would give Andrew and two slayers a place from which to live and work, and in return they would have a Watcher and two Slayers in Training as backup for the Agency, plus the Council, what there was left of it, would make themselves available for research and advice. In a conference call with Xander and Spike in Angel's office and Giles in London, Angel had refused their offer, but had made a counter offer that had stunned them all: a Watcher, four Slayers and Harris were welcome, as long as they kept Andrew far away from L.A. Hell, Spike agreed with that - they would keep Andrew in a different dimension if he had anything to do with it.

Of course it wasn't that simple. Once he recovered from the shock, Giles agreed with the Watcher and Harris, if they could increase the Slayer contingent to six. It seemed that Harold Anderson, the only other Watcher he'd feel comfortable sending to work with two souled vampires, was currently working with two slayers that he'd need to bring with him. But if Xander was willing to sign on to help keep them in check, Giles would agree to the arrangement. It had taken Spike two days to bring Xander around - silly git had no idea what he was capable of, and how much Giles and, reluctantly, even Angel respected the man he'd become since they'd first met him as a high school sophomore. But it had been worth the struggle, and finally they'd arrived, transforming the bleak, dusty hotel into a home that brimmed with life. It had been good for them all.

Spike padded naked to the window, carefully unlatching the shutters to discover that as strange as it seemed it was indeed nighttime. He sealed them up again in any event, unsettled by his body's stubborn resistance to the facts. He didn't understand why Xander hadn't come to wake him. Even if he couldn't stay, he always let Spike know what was up. And why had Spike slept so late? Despite getting up early to go shopping, he really hadn't needed the sleep; there was no reason he should have slept beyond sundown.

"Bloody hell." The back of Spike's neck prickled as he pulled on a pair of still serviceable jeans and shoved his feet into his Docs. There was something strange going on, and he had a feeling he wasn't going to like it at all. He pulled on a T-shirt, then spent a moment at the bathroom sink fixing his hair - he did want to look good when he finally found Xander, after all. He grabbed his duster at the last minute; if something bad was up, he night not have time to come back for it, and that prickling sensation hadn't abated, so he felt the need to be as well prepared as possible.

Spike listened at the door for a moment, but heard nothing, so he finally opened it as quietly as he could and stepped out cautiously. Strangely enough, the only sounds he heard were mechanical in origin. He couldn't place them, but they were the kinds of sounds you heard in offices and laboratories - the whir of something spinning, the white noise of a fan or air conditioner, clicks and clacks as something was moved. The closer he got, the more he could hear, underneath them all, the sound of a human - or at least a demon with lungs and a pulse. The smell was odd, kind of filtered, and familiar as well, but he couldn't place it.

He stood before the door all the noise was coming from, unsettled. The room wasn't used, it was a dusty bedroom left empty when Xander's crew had taken over the second floor of the hotel. It sat halfway between his own end room and the first slayer's room - Carol's room. And for some reason, the sounds coming from inside made the room seem larger than it should - it echoed strangely. Spike shook his head. Right, then. Nothing for it but to open the door and find out what the fuck was going on here. He reached for the knob and pushed the door open.

He stopped right inside the door, staring around blankly. This was definitely not right. He was in Fred's lab in the Wolfram and Hart building, but that building didn't even exist anymore. He turned around rapidly, but the door had closed behind him, so he reached out to grab the knob and bleeding hell if his hand didn't go right through it.

"Oh, no! Not again!"

"Spike!" He froze, afraid to turn around in case this was a dream, and he'd discover that wasn't really Fred's voice behind him. He felt the pain of her death in the pit of his stomach, his first real friend here in this man-made hellhole called Wolfram and Hart. He could never explain to anyone how much he'd missed her when Illyria had taken her place.

"I've been waiting for you. I think I might have an idea on how to make you corporeal again. I can't really concentrate on it until I get this werewolf problem solved, but don't you worry, I'll take care of you, Spike. I promise." She looked back at her computer then, and Spike sighed, crossing over to her.

"It's been taken care of, love, I've been solid for a couple of years now, but somehow I'm a ghost again, and I don't really understand what's going on." He felt the same pointless despair he'd felt the last time this all happened when he realized she wasn't even listening to a thing he said. "Fred, love? Can you hear me?" He sighed, watching her fingers fly over the keyboard of her computer. It felt so good to see her again. He'd been despondent when they'd come back from England and she'd already died, transformed into Illyria.

Fred reached for something on the other side of the computer and came back with a chocolate, biting into it with relish. Spike blinked - what the hell? "Oi! Those are Xander's chocolates! Where the hell did you get those?" He reached right through the computer for them, but his hand slipped through the box and he kept going, falling through the floor of Fred's lab, down and down until he landed with a thud in the basement, flat on his face. "Oh, bloody hell." As he got up, dusting himself off, he heard a repetitive chopping noise coming from down the hall, and rolled his eyes, thinking of the apparition that he'd found the first time this had happened: the man chopping off his fingers one at a time. "Not falling for that again. Been there, done that. He can bloody well chop his todger off for all I care."

He headed for the stairway, hoping that might prove a way out, stopping right before he reached for the knob. He braced himself, then walked though the door to find himself in Buffy Summer's kitchen. He turned around quickly, but behind him was the door that led to the back porch. He looked around the room; he'd spent some quality time here, sharing cocoa with Joyce. What a lovey woman she'd been. He still found himself missing her from time to time. He listened to the many voices coming from the next room - young, loud, and female. It made him think of the Hyperion, with their gaggle of slayers that found it impossible to not make a racket even when they slept, and suddenly he placed the time and circumstances. He reached out to the kitchen table, and his knuckles met the top soundly. At least he was a real boy again. "As real as a vampire with a soul can be," he thought, sparing a fond smile for Fred.

He took a deep unnecessary breath to center himself, and entered the living room, the heavy slayer buzz that had seemed ever present in the Summer's household while they had been fighting the First crackling over his nerves. He was used to it to an extent, with six slayers in the hotel, but it seemed heavier and more ominous here - maybe due to the pressures they'd been under at the time. Everyone's nerves had been wound tight as a spring, and the fear had practically enveloped the house whenever some new horror had surfaced. All those children, trapped in a fate they had no control over. Brave, foolish girls who'd fought at the slayer's side with minimal training and a large amount of bravado.

There were girls spread out over every piece of furniture and most of the floor, eating pizza and sipping soda. Willow was having a heart to heart with Kennedy on one couch, sitting very close together and sharing a piece of pizza. He saw Anya talking to one of the other Potentials - Spike couldn't remember her name, but he remembered her. She'd been a right mess, up until she'd dusted her first vampire on patrol. She'd shaped up nicely after that. She'd been wounded the last time he saw her, right before the Hellmouth had done for him - or he'd done for the Hellmouth, as the case may be. He wondered if she'd survived?

It hurt to see Anya, knowing how hard it had been on Xander losing her. She'd been a decent sort for a vengeance demon. A good girl, all in all, if a bit narrow in her focus. He saw Dawn standing in a corner, talking to that twit Andrew, who looked much less sure of himself at this point in time, which suited Spike just fine. No Buffy or Harris anywhere to be seen. He joined Dawn and the twit; maybe he could figure out the lay of the land from them.

"Where's Buffy?" It seemed the right thing to say, considering that he wouldn't have asked about Harris right off the bat like that. Not back then, anyway, so unless he wanted to explain everything to them, he'd best behave as normally as possible for now.

Dawn looked rather uncomfortable. "Oh, Spike. Um. Buffy's changing, I think. She'll be down later."

Andrew piped up. "For her date."

Spike frowned. "Date?"

Dawn smacked Andrew on the arm. "Way to go, big mouth."

"Uh." Andrew shrugged, obviously unsure of what he'd done. "Sorry?"

Dawn spoke up quickly, babbling over Andrew's response. "Want some pizza, Spike? There's plenty. And there's soda and..."

"With Wood, you mean? She's going out with Wood tonight?" At Dawn's nervous nod, it came to him. That meant Xander was meeting that demon woman that wanted to bleed him out over the seal above the Hellmouth. "Bloody buggering hell. Has Harris left for his date, yet? We have to stop him."

Dawn looked confused. "Xander? What are you talking about? You aren't upset that Buffy is going out with Mr. Wood?"

Spike shrugged. "Yeah, well he's an arsehole, no doubting that, but he's not going to stick a knife in her ribs. It's Xander that's in danger. We've got to stop him." He headed for the front door, but stopped in shock as he realized that Demon Girl had just passed a familiar looking box of Belgian chocolates to that Chinese Potential Chao-Ahn. She took one and passed the box on, saying something that he didn't understand as she looked up at him nervously, fingering the pocket where he knew a stake lived. Spike pointed his finger at Amanda as she dug through the chocolates for something she liked. "Where the hell did you get those? Those are Xander's, dammit."

Andrew was going around the room handing a blood-red rose to each of the Potentials, and Spike grabbed his shirt and growled in his face. "Put those back, right now." Andrew clutched the roses to his chest, his eyes wide, and Spike smelled the scent of blood from the prick of a thorn in Andrew's palm. "There had better be twelve roses sitting in a vase when I get back with Harris, or someone is going to regret it. Is that understood?"

He didn't wait for an answer, just turned rapidly and ran out the door, not realizing what had happened until he found himself in Angel's Wolfram and Hart office, staring at the puppet sitting in Angel's chair. He just couldn't help himself - he burst out laughing. "Oh, god! You're a bloody puppet!"

Angel attacked without warning and they landed in the hall, rolling and scuffling as Spike fought to keep those hilarious but incredibly strong puppet hands from closing around his neck. He knew it would be easier to fight Angel off if he could just stop laughing, but try as he might, it was impossible to stop. And besides, it was well worth getting the shit beaten out of him by a puppet, just to be able to laugh in Angel's face and call him a wee, little puppet man.

But afterwards, as he checked out his wounds and followed puppet-man Angel back to his office, he noticed Harmony was biting into a chocolate from Xander's box of Belgian truffles and snarled at her, snatching the box and a suspiciously familiar bouquet of roses off her desk. "If you touch another one of Xander's chocolates, I'll have your guts for garters, you stupid twat!" He hurried across the threshold into Angel's office, just hoping that wherever he landed next he'd be able to keep them safe, somehow.

He stepped right into Giles's flat, and bloody hell, Buffy was there playing with a damned wedding cake topper, humming the wedding song, and Spike realized that this was not going to be pretty. Buffy squealed as he stepped through the door, rushing over and kissing him soundly as he slipped one arm around her. Damn, but he'd forgotten what it was like to hold her. That slender frame seemed so easily overpowered by his larger one, but her athletic body possessed a power he could never hope to contain, no matter how much he wanted her. And he did want her - once upon a time. But now, it just seemed wrong to be holding her, when Xander should be in his arms.

"Ow!" Buffy pulled back from him to reveal the crushed roses and the box of chocolates, the edge of which had been pressing into her collarbone. "Oh, honey! You brought me roses! And chocolates? Oh, you're going to be the best husband the world has ever known!" She pecked him on the cheek, then grabbed the gifts from him and turned away while Spike stood there shocked speechless. So much for protecting Xander's Valentine's prezzies. Buffy skipped over to Giles who lay on the couch with a washcloth over his eyes. "Look Giles! Spike bought me roses and chocolates!"

There was a scoffing noise from Giles's direction, and Buffy sat heavily on the edge of the couch, looking guiltily at him. "Oh, sorry Giles - I forgot you're blind and all. But you can smell them, can't you?"

She shoved the roses in his face, but Giles batted them away angrily. "Buffy, please! We have more important things to deal with than roses from a besotted, bespelled vampire."

She pulled them away to take a deep sniff herself. "Mmmm. Don't they smell just wonderful? Oh! Maybe you'd like a chocolate, instead. Ooo, Belgian Truffles. Spike, honey, you really went all out, didn't you? I love you so much." She popped a truffle into her mouth, then pulled out another one to offer to Giles, and Spike's unbeating heart clenched at her words. It did hurt, even now. But not nearly as badly as it used to. Spike realized with a start that someone else had taken her place in his heart. He'd always think fondly of Buffy, and he ached when he thought that he hadn't done right by her, but in the end he had another love, now. Someone who returned his affection without the necessity of a muffed spell by Willow, and that was much more important for him.

"Xander. I need to find him." He looked at Buffy regretfully. "Sorry, I have to go. You can keep the flowers, pet." Spike turned away from Buffy and her bewitched love and walked quickly out the door, looking for home. Looking for Xander.

When Spike stopped moving, he was inside the Magic Box, the bell still ringing behind him. Anya was standing behind the counter, with that demon bint - the one who was Anya's maid of honor at the wedding that wasn't. Another bleeding vengeance demon; just what he needed. The scene looked familiar to him, with Anya and this other one whispering together before - Halfrek, that was her name - walked out the door with a box of Belgium chocolates under her arm.

"Good luck with that. Ta-ta!"

It was only when Anya pulled out the bottle of Jack Daniel's, that Spike took a closer look at her and recognized her outfit. She looked sexy in red, but damn. The last thing he needed right now was an angry Xander trying to kill him with an axe. At least this way he'd finally locate the man, but he didn't think it would be a happy reunion under the circumstances. He'd best keep things rated PG this time around, or find a way to turn off their live camera feed. Besides, he thought, as he slammed back the shot she'd poured him, he was happy this time around. Well, not at this actual moment, but in general. He was happy with Xander, and not in the least interested in fucking around with that. Literally or figuratively.

"Bollocks." He tossed back another shot. "Right. But this is it - just sharing the bottle with you. Nothing else."

Anya leaned on the counter as she filled their glasses again. "What are you talking about?"

"Never mind, just keep them them coming, all right?"

Anya smiled. "I can do that."

A dozen or so shots later, and Spike was about over this particular scenario. He'd thought it might be a good thing to talk Anya around. He'd known what she had been doing before, trying to get him to make a wish against Xander. Not that he'd really been averse to the idea at the time, but he'd never liked being manipulated, and his stubborn pride had made him hold out, hoping she'd at least have the guts to admit what she was doing.

This time, he was actively trying to convince her to rethink her plan, but he wasn't having any success. The biggest problem was that for the most part, he totally agreed with her. Harris had been a bleeding fool. Spike knew what had been going on at the time, Xander had filled him in on everything that had happened, but no matter what that demon bastard had told him about his future life, Xander should never have left Anya at the altar like that. It just wasn't right. And he was getting tired of fending off her attempts at manipulation. He took one last shot. The sedative effects of the whiskey were taking their toll on Anya, and she was beginning to get maudlin. Looked like it was time for him to leave.

"This whole time, I've been coming on all hell-bent and mad. Wanting his head, you know? When, really, I..." Spike looked up at the tears he heard in her voice. "...can't sleep at night, thinking it...has to be my fault, somehow."

Spike started to panic; he'd never been good with tears. "Shh..."

"What if it was just pretending? What if he never wanted me ... the way I wanted him?" She snapped out of it a little and shook her head. "Ohh. I'm sorry."

Spike brushed some stray hair out of Anya's face, then cupped her cheek in his hand. "He would have to be more than just the git he is, Anya. He'd have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to want a woman like you."

Anya spoke in little more than a whisper. "Then why?"

He looked away from her then said, "I can't explain that, but I'll tell you what, though. It was never you. You need to remember that, all right? It was never you that was the problem. Will you trust me on that one?"

She smiled at him, tears bright in her eyes, but he thought she seemed happier for the moment, at least. He hated that Harris had caused her so much pain, but there was nothing for it. Nothing he could do to change that. He might love the git, but that didn't mean Xander was perfect. And there it was. He really did love Xander, and he didn't think he was ready to settle for "until he finds something better." He guessed it was time he faced up to it, and fought for the chance to keep his happiness for as long as he could. He needed to talk to Xander. It was time to move on.

"Right." Spike grabbed the last shot, and tossed it back. "That's it for me, then. I've got to go, love." He got up, and shrugged on his duster, wondering when he'd taken it off. Maybe he shouldn't have had that last drink, after all. He paused, and turned back at the door. "Thanks, Anya, I needed that."

"Thank you, Spike." Anya wiped her eyes then pointed a stern finger at him, but he could hear the humor in her voice. "You tell anyone I fell apart like that, and you'll know what it means to be on the bad side of a vengeance demon."

He grinned at her as he grabbed the door handle. "Your secret's safe with me, love."

He found himself in the house on Crawford Street, realizing with dismay that he was once again in that damned wheelchair. He looked up to see Drusilla humming softly to herself as she danced around a table, pouring tea for her dollies, spinning off to swirl around the room before returning with a box of chocolates that she opened and offered to the table, placing one chocolate on each plate before biting into one herself. She drifted across the room to where he was sitting and rubbed the soft center of the truffle over Spike's bottom lip, staining it with chocolate.

"Drusilla." It seemed having his heart strings tugged constantly wasn't getting any easier. Just seeing his dark princess hurt like hell.

"Spike, my handsome, evil boy." She sucked on his lower lip, licking the chocolate off, then popped the rest of the truffle into her own mouth before sharing her chocolate with him. He lost himself in their kiss for a moment, aching as he thought of how long they'd been together. When they parted, she stared into his eyes, frowning. "The stars told me you're searching tonight, lost and wandering their realm like an honest seeker of truth. But you've left it behind you, Spike; you'll have to go back to the beginning to find it again." She smiled gently at him, then spun round in a circle, her long dress flaring out. "You've found your truth in my little kitten, haven't you?"

She growled in the back of her throat, her lip curling up in a sneer as she imitated a kitten's snarl. "He's good for you, you know. I'm glad you've finally come to your senses. What ever would you do with a slayer, silly boy?" She took his hand and tried to pull him forward, urging him to join her at her dollies' table. "Come have tea with us, lovely. Then Daddy and I will go out and bring you home a dolly of your own for your dinner. You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

Before Spike could answer, he heard Angelus's voice in the next room, calling for Drusilla. She dropped his hand, her eyes brightening in a way he now realized he'd never been able to duplicate. "Daddy's calling! We'll be back soon, Spike. Now, you be a good boy, and keep my dollies company while I'm gone. And save some chocolates for my kitten!" And she was gone.

"Good bye, Drusilla." Spike rolled himself over to the table and took Miss Edith's chocolate off her plate, biting into it before licking at the soft center with his tongue.

"Right. Back to the search then." He popped the rest of the chocolate into his mouth, and rolled himself to the nearest door.

Spike opened the door into his old crypt, amazed that for once, there didn't seem to be anyone else around. He flopped down in his chair and reached for the remote. "Thank Christ. I can use a break for a moment." But out of the dark, from the hole that led down to his bed he heard something that terrified him. Something that had him up on his feet, backing up toward the door immediately.

"Is that my blondie bear I hear up there?" He stumbled over the door stoop as he heard the first foot land on the rung of the ladder up to his crypt. "Spikey? Where are you?"

"Harmony." He shuddered. "Bleeding hell, no." And he was gone.

And there he was, entering the elevator at Wolfram and Hart, with Wesley, Lorne, Fred, Gunn and oh god, there was Harmony again. He suppressed his shudder, and turned around to the door in time to see Cordelia disappear into Angel's office, and the moment came to him in a flash. They were on their way to a pub for a drink, and Cordelia was about to disappear again - dead in a coma that she never recovered from. There was that shudder back, demonically induced comas and mystical apparitions had never been his favorite things.

Spike wished this particular dream would last past the elevator door, because he still didn't feel numb enough, no matter how much he'd drunk with Anya just minutes before. He grinned and hummed softly as the door closed them in. "I wanna be sedated." Somehow it seemed appropriate to be thinking in terms of the Ramones right now. When he heard Lorne's gasp, he realized his mistake. Never make any kind of music in front of an empath demon. He flinched slightly as he glanced over; Lorne was looking spooked. Not a good sign.

"We need to have a talk, yeah?" At Lorne's shaky nod, he sighed. "I thought as much." Bloody hell. He'd become good at avoiding Lorne's gift in the past, but with things the way they were right now, he could use some insight into what would get him out of this nightmare.

Lorne touched the wound on his throat, where they'd gathered the arterial blood they'd needed for their spell to rid Lindsey of his tattoos. "And here I thought the excitement was over for the evening."

Gunn frowned in their direction. "What's up? You gonna need help with this one?"

Lorne smiled and waved his hand in their direction. "Don't worry, tall, dark and handsome. I think I can handle this one on my own. Just a little reading...setting a path or two. I can do it in my sleep." He sighed. "I'd rather be asleep, actually. No. I'd rather have a seabreeze. This will only take a moment. Maybe we can just talk in the lobby, while you guys go on ahead."

"Well, if it won't take long, I suppose we could just wait for you." Wesley raised one eyebrow. "You did say only a moment? I'm looking forward to that drink."

Sweet Fred spoke up then, "That sounds good, Wesley. We'll just wait for you two. It looks like you could use some help right about now, Spike," she said with a gleam of humor in her pretty eyes. Lord but he'd missed her - even more so, now that Blue was back helping them at the office, a constant reminder of what had been.

He grinned wryly at her and joked back. "Thanks love. I'll take that as a compliment then, shall I?"

Her smile grew. "That would probably be best."

Just then, Harmony held out that damned box of truffles and everyone dug in. Spike was too tired at this point to even fight it, but he shook his head when he was offered one. If it weren't for Xander's obvious addiction to it, he'd swear off the stuff for good. But if he ever got back, there was a bottle of chocolate syrup with Xander's name on it under his pillow, so he wasn't willing to go that far just yet.

The door opened and they piled out, but Spike stopped Lorne as he stepped forward, holding him on the elevator. "Maybe we should talk in here, Green Bean. More private, right?" He really wanted to speak to Lorne. He hadn't realized until then how much he'd missed the guy since he'd left. It would be nice to talk, if only for a moment. And if Lorne could give him some insight into all this, he should probably hear it. If he left the elevator, he'd never know what Lorne had to say.

Lorne nodded, and as the door closed he waved and called out, "We'll just be having a private consultation here in my executive office, sweeties, see you in a moment."

Spike looked hard at the group gathered outside the elevator, trying to fix this moment in his memory. He missed them all, except for Harmony, of course, and it was good to see them, even as exhausted and bedraggled as they were from their busy day. Sometimes he thought the price of being a good guy was just too high if it included losing people like those he's seen tonight. Fred, Gunn, Wesley, Anya - so many familiar faces lost in the fight. But then he'd think of Xander smiling in joy at some simple pleasure and realize it was worth it all if he could keep Xander alive and by his side.

The doors closed, and Spike locked the elevator down, then turned to Lorne, "Let's get this over with, all right?"

"You've been on a wild ride tonight, haven't you?"

Spike agreed bitterly. "On a roller coaster from hell. Think you can help me get out of this mess, Green Bean?" He really wanted a cigarette right now, but in deference to Lorne's vocal cords he just fiddled with his lighter instead, snapping it open and closed compulsively.

Lorne looked at him compassionately and Spike almost snarled, holding it in check with some effort. He didn't need sympathy right now; he just needed a way out. "I'm sorry, sweet cheeks, but I think you're going to have to just ride this one out."

Spike lost it then, cursing fluently in as many demon tongues as he could remember at the moment, and putting a dent in the stainless steel of the elevator door, as well as a fair amount of hurt into his knuckles.

"Whoa there, Blondie, calm down." Lorne examined Spike's knuckles, shaking his head at the swelling that was already developing. "Just keep reminding yourself that it's only a dream. It'll be over soon enough, and you'll be right back where you belong. I promise."

"So this is just me then, yeah? There's no spell or time traveling involved? I'm just having a bloody dream?"

Lorne patted his knuckles as he dropped Spike's hand. "Not so bloody, I think. It looks like you just needed to work some things out for yourself, and this is your way of doing it. And you have, haven't you? You're happy with your handsome little Scooby Doo aren't you?"

Spike smiled crookedly, slightly embarrassed to be admitting it, but what the hell, it was a dream, yeah? It didn't really matter, did it? He was just admitting it to himself, and he'd already done that more than once tonight. "Yeah, I am happy. I'm gonna keep him for as long as he'll let me. And then I'll fight for more. He's special, Lorne. He's worth the fight."

"Then tell him so, dumpling. You'll feel better for it, I think." Lorne reached for the button to open the elevator back up, but paused, turning back to Spike instead. "Oh, and as for that declaration of mine, back when, or is it up when? This time travel thing is tricky. I think I've been alone long enough, don't you? Maybe you could look me up when you get back home. I might not mind the occasional visit from a friend. And who knows, I might even be amenable to a consultation or two from time to time." He paused and gave Spike a stern eye. "As long as there are no evil law firms involved, that is."

Spike grinned like a school kid before he realized what he must look like and quickly put the Big Bad back on like a mask. He leaned casually against the elevator wall. "Yeah, I could do that. It's not the same as when you last lived there, of course, but you might get a kick out of the changes the Hyperion has been put through in the last year. You might even see a few changes in the old poof. He's off at a Valentine's Day party at the mo. Ain't that a kick in the pants?"

They shared a laugh as Spike pushed the button and the elevator doors opened. Lorne stepped out, then turned around to give Spike a solemn look. "Good luck, sugar cakes. See ya later, all right?"

Spike nodded. "Thanks, Green Bean."

Lorne walked over to the group who were discussing chocolate of all things, and Spike stopped the door from closing on him. Then he braced himself and walked out.

With pristine white walls surrounding him on all sides, Spike panicked, turning rapidly around to grab at the door behind him. He froze in the doorway, because inside the room was that evil professor Maggie Walsh, sitting at a table admiring a vase of roses. She looked up at him, and sneered as she bit into a chocolate.

"Oi!" That bloody bitch was eating Xander's chocolates! He stepped forward, but suddenly, standing in the doorway were soldiers with tasers, who shot him before he could get through the door. He fell to the floor, convulsing with the shock. And then the lights went out.

When he came to, he was struggling with hands that held his arms, a heavy body over his own, holding him down. "No! Not this time, you bastards." He gathered his strength together; he wouldn't let them neuter him again. But something was wrong, it was dark, and he recognized the voice calling his name, the scent of this human as familiar as his own.

He gasped. "Xander?"

Xander relaxed on top of him, "Thank god, Spike, I was afraid you'd toss me off the bed again."

"Again? Are you all right?" Spike tried to touch him, to see if he'd been hurt, but without breaking Xander's hold on his wrists he couldn't do much. And he found himself reluctant to do that. The weight and heat of Xander's body was comforting to him, and he hoped against hope that this time he'd finally made it back home.

"Nah, I'm fine. Just a bruise or two. I landed on my ass." He smirked down at Spike. "You could always kiss it and make it better."

Spike smirked back at him. "I suppose I could, if I could get up." When Xander started to move Spike hurried on, "Not that I mind things the way they are now." Xander grinned down at him, his eye sparkling as he wiggled his eyebrows. Spike burst out laughing.

"Hey! I offer you my best lecherous face and you laugh at me."

Spike snorted. "Love the lechery, Xan, but your eyepatch wiggles like crazy when you do that, and as much as I hate to admit it, that is not a sexy look for you."

Xander rolled over onto his back, "Damn. The patch defeats me yet again. I'm never gonna find the girl of my dreams this way."

Spike's demon roared. That was the final straw. Spike was up, straddling Xander's waist, snapping the cuff of one of the restraints he'd put in place earlier around Xander's wrist with lightning speed.

"What the hell?" Before Xander'd finished the sentence, Spike had the other restraint in place. He rarely used his full vampire enhanced speed in front of humans if he could avoid it as it tended to startle them, but there was a time and a place for everything, and he was putting a stop to this right now.

He sat back and surveyed his work. Xander's hair was a mess, probably from rolling around on the floor and the bed trying to subdue a vampire caught in the midst of a nightmare, and there was a bright red spot on his chin where a bruise was likely to form. He'd taken off his clothes before he'd climbed into bed, because he was totally nude, and slightly sweaty from their tussle. All in all, extremely shaggable, but Spike had something else in mind at the moment. He hoped it didn't spoil their evening, but it needed to be said.

"Spike?" Xander was staring at him, warily, obviously not sure exactly what he had in mind. Well, no wonder; Spike realized he was in game face and was snarling down at Xander angrily.

"While you're in my bed, there will be no more talk of searching for your dream girl. I'm not enough for you, it that it? Don't I satisfy you?"

Xander looked shocked. "What? I - what?"

"I don't want to be your 'until something better shows up', Harris. I want to be the one to make you happy. I want to be the one you're content to stay with. And I'm willing to fight for it if I need to. I won't take no for an answer any longer."

Xander swallowed heavily. "I didn't know you were asking the question."

Spike shrugged. "I didn't either, obviously. But I've had a revelation tonight, Xander. I want you. All of you. Not just what you're willing to share for now. Love's fool, after all, aren't I? Will you accept me? Am I good enough?"

"God, yes!" Xander stared up at him, a huge smile lighting his face. "Spike, I just thought you were passing the time - thought I was just something you'd have some fun with and you'd get bored with me eventually. I just didn't want to act like a fool in front of you. I didn't want to be the idiot left behind."

"You're not an idiot, you wanker. You're Xander Harris, and you're mine. That makes you the most important man in the world, now doesn't it?" He paused for a moment, uncertain. "You are mine, aren't you? You won't change your mind when I undo these restraints?"

"No! No changing of the mind. I'm yours." Xander tugged on the restraints, the chain connecting them together rattling against the headboard, his smile turning sly. "But you know, you don't actually have to take them off right now. I mean, if you don't want to."

Spike grinned at him. "Oh, uncovered a kink, have I? Well, let's just see what we can do about that. But first things first; I didn't get my wake up kiss. Think you can find that for me?"

"Oh, I know exactly where that is, but you'll need to get a little closer. Can you manage that?"

"Like this?"

"Little closer. Little closer." Xander raised his head slightly and spoke directly against Spike's lips. "I think you've just about found it now."

And then they were kissing. Spike stretched out over Xander, reveling in the heat of his boy, their tongues tangling and the kiss growing more and more intense and passionate. Spike broke off suddenly, and pulled back. "Is that Belgian chocolate I taste in your mouth?"

Xander's eye got large and he nodded. "Oh, yeah. Some crazy man left my favorite chocolates lying on your dresser! I just couldn't help myself. I had to have one. Or two. Okay, maybe six. But who the hell do you think would leave Belgian chocolates where I could find them? I had no choice but to investigate. Besides, it gave me something to do while I was admiring the roses."

"Liked those, did you? Good. I've had to defend them with my very life for the last..." he glanced over at the clock, "...twenty minutes or so. Twenty minutes? It's only been twenty minutes since I fell asleep? Is that clock right?"

Xander strained his neck to see the clock. "Yeah, I think so. Where were you that you needed to defend my chocolates? Wait. You defended my chocolates in your sleep?"

"And your roses. Can't forget them. Some friends we've got, every time I turned my back they were gobbling down your chocolates or stealing your roses."

"Our friends gave you nightmares?"

"Well, yeah." Spike defended himself. "We've had some dodgy friends through the years, mate. You should know that, by now." He leant down over Xander again, rubbing up against him, and sneaking a leg between Xander's, awakening some interesting responses in return. "But happy Valentine's Day, love. The box was unopened when you got it, right?"

Xander laughed, "Don't worry, none of our friends got to my chocolates. Or my roses." He blinked up at Spike coyly, wrapping one leg around Spike's. "I've never gotten roses before, Spike. Does this mean we're engaged?"

"Oi. Not going there. You're just going to have to settle for...romantically involved. That work for you?"

Xander's grin was wicked. He chirped in a high voice reminiscent of his teenage charges. "My boyfriend gave me roses!"

Spike snorted at that. "Shuddup, you."

He pouted exaggeratedly. "Does this mean I have to give my other Valentine's Day gift back?"

Spike's demon raised its jealous head, "What other gift?"

"Well, it was really a gift for both of us, I guess. Or maybe for everyone else...it's hard to tell, exactly - under the circumstances."

'What the bloody hell are you on about? Remember, I've still got you chained to my bed. I will get my answers sooner or later."


"The Watcher gave you a Valentine's Day present? What the hell is he trying to do?"

Xander shrugged. "Probably get some sleep, if I know him. He gave us a muffling spell. It's the candle I put on the dresser."

"What a brilliant idea. No more trying to keep ourselves quiet in the throes of passion! If he wasn't such an ugly bugger, I'd kiss the bastard."

Xander smiled up at him. "Why don't you kiss me, instead?"

The End

My story was written for [info]talamascaknight, who asked for the following prompts:

How Spike and Xander express their love: Physically, non verbally, and verbally.
When Spike and Xander express their love (what era Spander you want): Post everything Angel and Buffy. I don't follow the comics so whatever you feel like writing plot wise.
Where Spike and Xander express their love (optional): LA
Who else (if anyone) is involved: The LA crew and The Buffy crew (Not all at once, they're mostly based in England now, right? And Buffy is off with the Immortal. Everyone is busy.)
What else (if anything) is involved: Coming to terms with how things are post everything, finding their niche. Maybe a revenge attempt by what's left of Wolfram & Hart.
Up to three things you don't want: No MPreg please, no wacky prophecies, and no killing off of Spike or Xander, turning is okay, killing no.

(I think I got pretty much everything [info]talamascaknight asked for except the possible revenge attempt by Wolfram & Hart. Sorry, I just couldn't fit that one in.)

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