Buffy clicked the Off button, stared at the phone for a moment, then turned and hurled it across the room.
“So, um,” Willow said. “Not so much with the helping?”
“Oh, very helpful,” Buffy said through clenched teeth. “In the don’t-bother-your-pretty-little-head-abo
Xander flinched as Willow’s eyes momentarily flashed obsidian.
“He said to stay home.” Buffy’s tone could have stripped paint. “The Army’s got it all under control, and we shouldn’t go in there because they’ve received intel that this is a bioterrorism gig. He said.”
Willow stared at Buffy – with normal eyes, green and round and anxious. “Bioterrorism? Buffy, that’s big stuff. Or, small stuff. Very tiny stuff. But dangerous stuff. Maybe – maybe we should listen to him.”
“Indeed,” Giles said. “It is more his field than ours. Riley is well aware of your, er, abilities, and if he thinks they should handle it, perhaps we should let them. For once.”
Buffy shook her head. “I know what I saw. There was a Tarsak demon outside Pleasant Acres. I lost it when I was busy staking Mrs. Coles, but Spike picked up its trail. It’s definitely in the warehouse, and where there’s one, there’s at least a dozen. Whatever’s going on in there, it’s demonic. Riley just doesn’t want me to show him up again.”
“Buffy,” Giles said softly. “Don’t you think you’re past that? Riley has been very helpful at times, whereas I really think…”
Buffy spun to face Giles, and Xander saw the flicker of motion as she stopped the punch that would have flattened him.
“I get it,” she said even more softly. “I know you don’t want me out there, and I know, I’m sick of hearing, what you think about Spike. But I’m done with someone Watching over my shoulder –” Xander could hear the capital – “and I’m not letting Riley push me around in my town.”
She turned and pointed at Willow, talking over whatever Giles had started to say. “We’ll surround the building. You take the front door, Xander takes the delivery bay, and I’ll patrol the roof. Spike can go in and check things out. I don’t believe Riley’s bio-crap story, but there’s no point taking dumb chances.”
Xander barely managed to stop his mouth from pointing out that was pretty much all they did these days.
“I’ll just stay here and make the tea, then,” Giles said coldly.
“Spike is immune to anthrax. You, not so much.” Buffy tossed Xander a gun. “Plus I need someone to stay with Dawn. Willow, can you get me a diagram or something of the warehouse?”
“Google Earth is on the case.” Willow was already clicking away.
Xander busied himself checking the safety catch. Giles’ gaze sat heavy on him for a moment, but Xander concentrated on filling his pockets with spare ammo and eventually, it went away.
Xander checked the safety catch for the eighth time, and stared nervously at the door beside the empty delivery bay. Buffy had been very clear about the mission. Shoot, she had said. Anyone – any thing – comes out of there that isn’t one of Riley’s team, shoot it immediately. We sort out the bodies and interrogate them later.
Then Giles had yelled that Slayers didn’t use guns and Buffy was clearly incapable of making sensible decisions when Riley was around and necromancy was completely out of the question, and Willow had yelled that they were using tranquilizer guns for goddess’ sake and what was the point of her trying so hard to be reformed if nobody even tried to trust her anymore and she knew Giles was sleep-deprived but she hadn’t known he was completely insane, and Buffy had yelled that it was hard but everybody needed to stick together and remember who the real enemy was, and Dawn had yelled that in that case people needed to stop yelling so much and Riley wasn’t the enemy and Buffy needed to stop being a vengeful bitch.
The good ol’ Scooby gang, Xander thought. Still trucking along, long past our sell-by date.
Slayers were made to fly solo, and they weren’t made to last very long. Physical damage healed, but the mental trauma just kept adding up until everything fell apart. Giles shouldn’t have had to come back. Willow shouldn’t have left the coven so early. Buffy shouldn’t have forgiven Spike. Xander… shouldn’t have done a lot of things.
We shouldn’t have brought her back.
At that moment something black came through the door. It was not part of Riley’s team. Xander shot it.
It kept coming.
Xander realized two things simultaneously. One, Spike was technically not part of Riley’s team. Two, it takes more than one tranquilizer dart to the shoulder to stop a determined vampire. Spike was still striding towards him, growling, eyes narrowed.
“Shit! Sorry, Spike, you heard Buffy, I…”
Spike grabbed Xander by the front of his shirt and slammed his back against the wall.
“…you aren’t wearing camo and I didn’t mean… augh!”
Xander’s breath whooshed out as Spike crashed into his front. Spike’s eyes were flashing blue to yellow and back; his fingers dug cruelly into Xander’s shoulders. Xander sucked in air, struggling ineffectively. “Fuck! Look, I’m sorry I shot you but…”
Spike kissed him.
Xander’s mouth opened in shock. Spike took full advantage of this.
Xander twisted his face away, scraping the back of his head painfully against brick but getting his mouth free. Spike immediately latched onto his neck and Xander yelped. “Get off, you freak! What the hell is wrong with you?” He sucked in another deep breath. Spike smelled funny. The usual cigarette-and-leather scent was overlaid with something faintly sweet. Kiwi? Banana? He took another sniff.
A curious, tingling heat began to spread through him.
Spike licked up his neck and began sucking on his earlobe.
Xander moaned and snaked his hands under Spike’s coat, grabbing his ass and kneading.
Spike growled again, low and deep. His mouth returned to Xander’s, nipping at his lips, sucking on his tongue. Xander whimpered as Spike twisted one hand into his hair and yanked, turning his head to get better access. He pushed his hips off the wall, bucking into Spike, and Spike pushed right back, grinding Xander’s ass against the wall. Xander moaned again and his knees buckled as he felt Spike’s cock shoving hard against his hipbone. His own dick felt about a foot long and made of stainless steel, and if he didn’t get to fuck Spike right this minute it was seriously going to set his pants on fire.
He relinquished his grip on Spike’s ass and tried to work a hand between their bodies, fumbling for Spike’s zipper. Spike, however, continued to rut against him in a frenzy, refusing to separate their lower bodies for even a second. He bit at Xander’s mouth; Xander felt his lip split, didn’t care, went on kissing and bleeding into Spike’s mouth.
Spike growled even louder and locked one hand in Xander’s hair, tugging painfully at the roots. Xander hooked an ankle behind Spike’s knee and pulled. Spike staggered back and fell full length, still holding tightly to Xander; Xander landed between Spike’s spread legs and groaned as their dicks collided. They rolled on the ground, fighting for dominance, writhing and fucking mindlessly against each other for endless seconds.
Later, Xander remembered the desperate keening sound Spike made as he spasmed against Xander, but at the time he was too busy coming in his own pants to notice.
“Xander?” Willow said.
Xander gasped and rolled off Spike, staggering to his feet so fast he overcompensated and fell over the other direction. He scrambled up again, wiping his mouth and looking around frantically. “Will, I, uh, we, you don’t…”
The alley was empty. Spike had vanished, and Willow was nowhere to be seen as her voice echoed in the back of his skull, “Xander? Are you okay?”
Xander nearly collapsed again, legs going weak in the rush of relief. “Yeah, fine. Any movement your end?”
“Nope. Quiet this side. I’m kinda wondering if maybe Buffy’s overreacting, but…” Xander could almost hear her worry-meter ticking. “Are you sure things are okay? Have you been running?”
Xander fought to calm his breathing and suppress any thought of the last several minutes.
“Just doing a little on-the-spot calisthenics. You know, keeping fit, keeping busy, seeing as it’s completely uneventful over here.” He managed a small laugh. “Only I, uh, fell over and this sidewalk has seen better days and my pants are kinda gross, and it kind of looks like this whole thing’s a bust so maybe I’ll just head home and change, meet you at – ”
He dropped to the ground again at the piercing yells in his head.
“Giles! What are you doing here? OH MY GOD, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
“Buffy! Don’t – just let me – I can – oh. Oh! How did…oh…” Willow’s voice trailed off into silence. Xander could still hear Buffy shrieking through the mind-link.
“GET OFF HIM! Oh my god, my eyes! Will, make them – RILEY!”
His brain helpfully supplied some pictures.
Xander wondered if beating his head against the wall would make his brain desist.
“Xander, just…” Willow’s voice came through, choked with suppressed mirth. “Sure, go home. Clean up. We have kind of a, uh, situation here but not so much with the demons. I’ll handle it.”
Xander’s feet were already homeward bound, but apparently his brain was a sucker for punishment. “You sure? I could come give you a hand if you need it?”
“No! It’s okay, we’re – “
“ – all good!” Willow said hastily and dropped the metaphorical receiver, cutting the connection.
Xander closed his eyes for a moment, pondering the weirdness, as his feet continued on their way.
His feet stopped when his nose told them to. His brain, which hadn’t been paying attention, frowned and reminded his eyes to open.
His mouth then dropped open to protest; Spike was standing way too close to him.
His brain was trying to shout a warning to his nose, but Xander was still annoyed with his brain and allowed his nose to take a sniff.
“Seeing as it’s your fault I got slimed,” Spike said, voice dripping honey and lust, “think you owe me a shower.”
Most of Xander was not only on board with this plan, but already sailing into the sunset. If only his damn brain would shut up. “Do we need to worry about the demons? What’d you find out?”
“The demons are… busy.” Spike leered. “Initiative set a trap to lure them. Best idea that bunch of wankers ever had.”
“So the bioterrorism thing…” Xander said weakly.
“Yeah,” Spike said. “Pheromones all over.”
“Is that why you’re…” Xander waved a hand between them.
“Probably, yeah,” Spike said. “Can we get on with it?” He took a pace forward and rolled his hips against Xander’s. Xander inhaled against his neck and hardened instantly.
Xander’s brain attempted to remind him of the multiple reasons this was a bad idea.
Xander’s dick argued that his brain had traumatized him earlier and deserved to be taken offline.
“Be a lot better this time round,” Spike murmured, and Xander’s brain was left in the dust as Xander started running.
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