Rated NC-17 Spike has his bite back and decides to make the Sunnydale gang pay for all they've done to him.
Xander comes home at just the wrong time. And a deal is made.





Making Them Pay


by
Michele



Part One

"Damn humans…" Spike edged around the crowd that had gathered at the bar, trying not to bump any of them too hard and ruin his night with a splitting headache. Not that his night had been all that wonderful to start with, but there was no reason to make it worse.

After extracting himself from the all too tempting gaggle of youths, Spike flopped down on one of the couches that were scattered around the Bronze and lifted his beer to his lips. What he was doing in this pit of desperation and hormones, he didn't know, but it was better than his silent crypt with its broken telly. The wankers that had broken it were gone now but that didn't change the fact that his telly was still broken, he still had a fine example of American microchip engineering in his head and now everyone who could possibly know how to get rid of it was dead.

Of course, the Slayer and her pals didn't give a damn, never did. Okay, there was that whole thing where he betrayed them for the promise of a chipectomy and all. But really, what did they expect? In the two days since the Initiative had been shut down, he'd kept away from the do-gooders in hopes of them being more understanding about the betrayal thing. But he had to assume that the deal he'd made for no staking, protection and unlimited blood for a year was pretty much off. So, where did that leave 'William the not so Bloody'?

"You are pathetic, that's what you are." He picked at the label on his beer and let his eyes roam the club again. Nothing had changed since he'd looked around five minutes before except that the herd had moved onto the dance floor and away from the bar. "Might as well get another beer before the cattle change course again."

Making his way back to the bar, Spike once again maneuvered around the pain causing humans and actually made it without so much a twinge. "Must be getting better at this," he mumbled with disgust. "Just like Pavlov's bloody dog."

Beer received and paid for, he stepped back and felt something crunch under the heel of his boot.

"OW!"

He turned while gripping his head with one hand in expectation of pain. But nothing happened. By the time he looked up, whoever he'd stepped on was gone. "Huh. Musta been a demon type." Shrugging his shoulders, Spike made his way back across the club and found a convenient dark corner to lurk in.

Eventually he tired of watching the off limits humans swirling around him, finished his beer and headed out. He didn't have any particular destination in mind and soon found himself wandering down an alley about two blocks away from the Bronze. Movement and the smell of a human further down the alley gave him pause. Demons weren't the only creatures that used the darkness to their advantage.

"Stupid, bloody humans!" he muttered before stiffening his spine and continuing down the alley. "Probably just a drunk. No one is going to make me afraid of the dark."

He'd only gone three steps before the cause of his unease revealed himself. Or rather, themselves. Three of them. Large, smelly and definitely not friendly if the knives they were displaying were any indication.

"You know the drill, Blondie. Your money or your life."



Spike looked down in shock at the remains of the three humans littering the ground. "Did I do that? I couldn't have done that…" He pinched himself to make sure he wasn't just having one of his killing dreams again. "Nope, I'm awake. They must not be human then."

He shook his head and leaned down to sniff at the remains. "Human…. hot damn!" Feeling almost giddy at the possibility of being able to kill again, Spike wiped his hands on a surprisingly blood free bit of shirt ripped off one of the men, tapped out a cigarette and lit up. Still not sure exactly what had happened, he rose to his feet and went to lean against the wall to think. "Maybe since they were more like animals than human…" He didn't want to rush out and try again only to find this was an isolated incident.

His face began to itch and when he scratched, his hand came away bloody. "Bastard marked up my face!" It would heal but it was annoying none the less. He stared at his bloody hand and tried again to remember what had happened between the threat and human parts scattered on the ground.

Nothing. Not a thing. A complete blank. "So I can kill again, but I can't enjoy it? Damn, stupid, BLOODY CHIP!"  

He stomped away from the alley and headed in the direction of his crypt. As he passed the Bronze again, he realized that the gasps and little shrieks that he'd been barely aware of were because of him. He looked down to see what everyone was pointing at and discovered that he was covered in blood and gore.  

"Bollocks!" He took off running before anyone got it into their heads to call the police or any other bothersome nonsense. Slowing after a few blocks, Spike looked behind him and saw that no one had followed.

"Great, just great. Covered in blood and not a friendly shower in sight." He knew he didn't dare go to the Watcher's house. The Slayer's house was also out since her mum was home and not at all happy with him at the moment. He didn't know if this was one of the weeks that Red's parents were in town, so he crossed that possibility off the list. That left the dorms or the whelp.

Since the dorms tended to be rather full of humans at this hour, not to mention a Slayer… "The whelp it is then."



Prepared to break in to Xander's basement home, Spike was surprised that the door was unlocked and so nearly fell through the door when it opened so easily.

"When are these people going to learn how to lock their doors?" Shutting the door behind him, Spike closed his eyes and listened. Everything was quiet, even from upstairs. He stripped off his soiled clothes as he walked over to the washer. After stuffing everything but his boots and duster in to the appliance, Spike headed for the bathroom.

As when he had briefly lived there, the bathroom was a mess. Dirty and dirtier clothes were scattered around the hamper where Xander had thrown and missed or dug something out from the bottom. And, as usual, there were no clean bath towels.

Spike pulled several hand towels out of the cardboard box that served as Xander's linen closet and laid them on the edge of the sink, climbed in to the tub and turned both hot and cold faucet's on full blast. Switching the water over to the shower head, he leaned forward and placed his hands on the wall letting the water run over his head and down his body.

What did it mean now that he could kill but not remember it, not be able to enjoy it? Was that better or worse than not being able to kill at all? Did he have any control over his actions once he decided to kill someone? Could he tell himself before hand to feed and not just rip them apart? Or was it only when he was enraged or seriously threatened that he could kill without the disabling pain?

Too many questions and not enough answers. "And only one way to answer them."

Spike washed quickly, turned off the water and got out of the tub. He briskly dried off with the hand towels, dropping them on the floor with everything else and went back to the main room.

He'd finally mastered the washer and dryer after that first disastrous attempt and now set about adding the proper amount of detergent and turning the machine on. Grabbing up his boots and duster, Spike returned to the bathroom, emptied the pockets of his duster and tried to wipe off as much of the gunk as he could then laid the two items out to dry.

With at least twenty minutes until the washer was done and then another forty-five until his jeans would be dry, Spike threw himself into his former sleeping chair, lit a cigarette and started to make a plan to discover just how his chip worked now… if it was working at all. Something had obviously gone wrong with it, but what? He needed to think of a way to test it that would cause him the least amount of pain… just in case.



"WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN MY ROOM?"

Spike startled awake and jumped to his feet. He'd evidently fallen asleep listening to his clothes tumble in the dryer. A quick glance at the clock told him that he'd been asleep almost eight hours and that it was nearly dawn. He blinked a few times and tried to find something that would sound reasonable to the whelp. "Uh.. I…"

"And why are you naked?"

"Well, see… there was this demon and…"

Xander hesitated just inside the door for a moment and then shook his head wearily. "Never mind. I don't really care. Just get your stuff and get out."

"The sun's about up." Spike protested on his way to the dryer.

Xander pulled out the couch bed and fixed the sheet where it had pulled off the corner. "I just worked for fourteen hours straight. I'm tired, smelly, hungry, have a pounding headache, my knee feels like an elephant stepped on it and I don't want to have to dig out the dust buster before I can go to sleep. Get. Out."

Spike stopped getting dressed, one leg in his jeans, the other out. "Oh, come on now. I just used your mum's washer and dryer. No need to get violent. You won't hear a peep out of me all day, I promise."

"Yeah, everybody knows how well you keep your promises. Out." He flopped down on the bed, toed his shoes off and glared at the half-dressed vampire. "I don't see you leaving."

Spike finished putting on his jeans and pulled his t-shirt over his head. "How about I run you a nice hot bath, give you a massage, fix you something to eat and I can stay the day?"

Xander shot up in the bed, eyes wide. "Have you been around any strange green pods lately?"

"What?"

"Where's the real Spike?" Xander began to inch his hand towards the end table where he kept his stake.

"Bloody hell! I try to be nice to you in exchange for a place to stay and…"

Sliding the drawer out slowly, Xander cut him off. "The real Spike would never be nice to me." He curled his hand around the stake and pulled it out. "Unless this is another one of your sick games. In which case, you're still dust."

Spike held out his hands in surrender. "Easy, Xander. I just learned my lesson about 'something for nothing'. That's all, really, 'turned over a new leaf' and all that rot. If you don't want me to do anything in exchange for a day's stay at Chez Xander's Smelly Basement, just say so."

"But you're staying either way, no matter what I want, is that what you're saying?" Xander nodded to himself- much more Spike-like- dropped the stake back into the drawer and slammed it shut. "I don't even have the energy to argue with you. And, ya know, I actually kind of hope you are a pod-Spike, 'cause you being nice is just too freaky for my brain to handle." He flopped back down on the bed with a groan and closed his eyes. "Since you're offering, though, food and a hot bath sounds real good. You can skip the massage though, no way I'm letting you touch me, pod-Spike or not."

Unseen by Xander, Spike smirked at the exhausted mortal. Not exactly how - or who- I planned, but good enough. When Xander opened his eyes, presumably to see if Spike was going to follow through with his offer, Spike arranged his face into its usual look of bland indifference.

"Oh, right. Bath and food." Still barefoot, Spike went to the bathroom and turned on the hot water in the tub. After it actually got hot, he put the plug in the drain, grabbed up his duster and boots and returned to the main room. "I lost track of your dreary jobs. What are you doing this time?"

"Two jobs. Pizza place, lots of messy kids. Bar, lots of messy drunks."Came the fuzzy reply from the bed.

Spike rolled his eyes and went back to the bathroom. The tub was about half full of hot water so he turned on the cold. "Bath's almost ready," he yelled. After several minutes of not getting an answer, he turned off all the water, went back to the other room and went to stand beside the bed where Xander was snoring away.

"Oh, isn't that cute. Wittle Xander's all tuckered out." With a snicker, Spike leaned down close to the boy's ear and shouted, "Xander! Wake up! You have a test today and you didn't study!"

"What! Huh…" Xander blinked up at Spike and then shot him the finger. "Asshole."

"Your Lordship's bath is ready."

"Do what?" Xander rubbed his eyes and swung his legs over the side of the bed.

"The bathtub is full, you moron." Spike crossed to the cabinet and started rummaging around. There wasn't much more than junk food, but since the boy seemed to live on the stuff, he supposed that would do for breakfast. "Do you want cereal or pop-tarts?"

Xander stopped half-way across the room and eyed the vampire warily. "I just know you are up to something, Spike. I haven't figured out what it is yet, but I will."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Cereal or pop-tarts?"

"Cereal and there better not be anything gross in it."

Spike gave Xander the two finger salute as the bathroom door closed.



"Xaaanndeeeerr. Are you wakey, wakey?"

Spike shifted as far forward in his chair as his rope restraints would allow and peered at the boy. Tiny slivers of light escaped around the curtain that had been haphazardly hung over the small basement window since Xander had taken up the nightshift, making it very easy for Spike to see that Xander was completely and totally zonked out.

"Three bleedin' hours! I really should make this hurt more." Mumbling to himself, Spike shimmied out of the ropes Xander had insisted on -despite Spike's rather argumentative and curse filled reminder that they'd progressed past that- and stretched. Three hours of waiting for Xander to finally stop moving around and muttering in his sleep. Three hours of waiting for all to fall quiet upstairs. Three unbelievably long hours waiting to find out if he was really a vampire again.

"Just a little nibble, brain. You understand me? If you kill him, you'll be fertilizing someone's garden before you can get out of town. There's time for death and mayhem later."

Spike eased himself carefully down onto the thin mattress next to the still sleeping Xander and licked his lips. "I will only take a little, only hurt him a little. I will not allow myself to take too much. I will NOT kill him."

Self-affirmations in place, Spike let his eyes roam the smorgasbord laid out before him.

Xander slept in only his boxers and the sheet and thin blanket had been kicked off almost as soon as he'd fallen asleep. Limbs splayed in every direction taking up maximum bed space, head turned slightly to the side exposing a luscious length of throat, creamy skin lightly beaded with sweat…. "You just have no idea, do you, boy?"

Shaking off thoughts better suited for another time, Spike slowly picked up Xander's hand from the bed and turned it so that the tender underside of his arm was exposed. Several ropy veins stood out against the pale skin, throbbing slowly with Xander's heartbeat. So close, so close… Spike could feel the pulse under his fingers, almost hear the blood as it moved through those veins. Thick and rich and oh, so sweet. Xander probably would be sweet with all the junk he ate.

Spike felt his face change and quickly glanced up at Xander. Still asleep, not even a twitch from Spike moving his arm. "Just a little," he whispered again and bent over. He brought Xander's arm to his mouth and placed his fangs against the skin, just below the elbow. No pain… the intent is there, but no pain! Slowly, he slid his fangs into the skin…

"AAAAAHHH!"

Spike jerked his head up just in time to get a fist to the ear. But no pain! NO PAIN!

"What the FUCK do you think you are doing?"

Grinning like an idiot while Xander clutched his injured arm, Spike cleaned his lips of the few drops of blood with a quick flick of his tongue and bounced off the bed. "I got me bite back!"

"WHAT? How? When?" Xander once again fumbled for his trusty wooden friend.

"And I remember it. No blackout, no pain. I'm a vampire again!"

"And I'm not dead, why?"

Spike scoffed and resumed his seat in his 'sleeping' chair. "It's the middle of the day."

Xander gripped the stake tighter and blinked, trying to find the relevance. "Okay. Not that I'm not glad I'm not dead, but.. WHAT?"

"Put that away, I'm not going to kill you. At least not yet. We have some things to talk about first."

"Do you generally talk to your food first? What the hell am I saying?" Xander leaped off the bed and backed towards the door that led outside.

"Planning on flashing the neighborhood?" Spike smirked and motioned to Xander's state of undress. "I'm sure they'd enjoy the show as much as I do, but…"

Xander looked down and grimaced. "Right. Clothes. Clothes are good." He glanced from Spike to his clothes on the other side of the room and then back to Spike.

"You'll never make it. You might as well listen to what I have to say… unless you have a sudden desire to be rather dead."

"What's your game, Spike? This just isn't like you. Not that I'm complaining about the lack of death here, but…"

Never the most patient of vampires, Spike had had enough and lunged out of the chair, knocking the stake out of Xander's hand. "Sit. Now."

"Right, right. I'm sitting." Xander scurried over to the bed and sat as ordered.

"I've been thinking…."

"As long as it doesn't involve the killing or maiming of Xander, I'm all for it."

Spike pressed his lips together to keep from laughing. "Really? I'm glad you see it that way."

"You are? Wait. See what?"

Spike sauntered over to the bed, enjoying the look of near panic on Xander's face. In his best 'Let's Make a Deal' voice, he said, "Let me tell ya what I'm gonna do."



Part Two

"Now, let me make sure I understand all this…."

Spike sighed dramatically and threw himself into the chair. "Even you should be able to understand. Maybe I should just kill you and go talk to Red. At least she's smart."

"Well pardon me, but being propositioned by a vampire while tied to my bed is a new experience for me. And just why am I tied up, anyway?"

Spike shrugged and lit a cigarette. "Keeps you out of trouble. Get on with the questions before I get really bored and decide to make you my dinner."

"Okay, so, I can't tell anyone that you can kill again."

"Right."

"We're moving in together someplace that's not this basement."

"Right again."

"I have to break up with Anya."

"Uh huh."

"And I have to do whatever you tell me."

"Yep, that's about it."

Xander rolled his eyes. "They outlawed slavery, you know? And besides that YOU ARE COMPLETELY INSANE! No one is ever going to believe I suddenly came into enough money to get my own place. And there's no way I'll escape being committed to the loony bin once I announce that we're moving in together."

"I will not have my fun ruined, boy. I'll work everything out, don't you worry about that…"

"Work everything out! Buffy will know what you're up to as soon as she starts finding the corpses."

"What corpses? Oh, you mean… Nope, not going to be a problem. So, what'cha say, Xander? Is it a deal?"

"Deal? A deal implies that both parties benefit somehow. So far I'm not hearing anything in it for Xander."

"I don't kill you. Until I get bored with you. I don't kill your friends. At least not right away. You get out of this dismal basement. You don't have to work at any more of those stupid jobs. You get rid of the pesky demon girl. Funny how that wasn't one of your objections. And best of all, you get to have some actual fun for a change. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself. I'd advise you to take it."

Xander stared hard at Spike for a few minutes and then shook his head. "I really don't get you, Spike. I mean, you don't seem like the 'play with your food' type. I pretty much figured if this day ever came you'd just slurp and go. Or at the very least you'd try to set yourself up as Master of Sunnydale just to annoy us. What's up with that?"

Spike crushed his cigarette under his boot heel and rubbed his head. He was getting an actual headache from all this blathering. If it hadn't been eleven in the morning, he'd have already drained the boy, arranged an 'oops, Xander got killed by a demon and I was too late' event and moved on to the next Slayerette. He didn't really know when this idea to stay and play had formed in his mind, but now that it was here, he was going to follow through. Besides, where's the fun in killing them quick or setting yourself up as Master if there was no one to impress?

"Yes or no, Xander."

"You kill me and everyone I care about if I say no, right?"

"Yep."

"Uh… then yes."

"Great." Spike stood and clapped his hands together. "Let's get on with the planning then." He caught sight of the stake on the other side of the room. "First though… Where are the rest of them?"

Xander craned his neck to see what Spike was looking at. "Oh, um.. that's the only one I have… honest."

"You are a terrible liar. Where are the rest of them stashed? I'm not untying you until you tell me."

Heaving a deep sigh, Xander temporarily resigned himself to the strange new twist his life had taken. "There's another one on the workbench, one under the bean bag chair, one in the drawer by the sink, one under the sink in the bathroom and one under the couch. I'll have to put the bed away to get that one. I think that's all of them."

Spike lifted an amused eyebrow and set about gathering the 'potentially hazardous to his health' sticks. "A little paranoid, don't you think?"

"It's not being paranoid when they really are out to get you."

"Well, I suppose that's true." Spike finished gathering up all the stakes -except for the one under the couch- and dumped them into the trash can. He returned to the bed and reached for the knot tying Xander's hands together, then paused. "You know, you aren't a very good host."

"What?"

"You didn't even offer me anything to drink…. and I'm feeling a bit hungry."

"No killing of Xander! That was the deal. No killing of Xander!" Xander began to struggle against the ropes as Spike knelt on the bed and starting crawling towards him. The grin on the vampires face did not bode well for Xander.

"Oh, I'm not going to kill you, pet. Just a little snack to hold me over till nightfall. It'll only hurt a little. And who knows, if you're lucky, you'll enjoy it."

Spike stretched out next to Xander on the bed and let his eyes wander. Not the neck, too tempting. Thigh would be interesting but again, too tempting. Back to the nummy arm, then. "You have plenty of long sleeved shirts, right?"

Xander had gone completely still, watching Spike examine him in a very disconcerting way. The vampire's seemingly out of place question caught him by surprise. "Yeah, why?"

"Because this will never work if they see the bite marks. If you struggle it'll only hurt more." Not giving Xander a chance to say anything else, Spike scooted down the bed a little, threw his leg over Xander's restrained ones, grabbed the boy's arm and brought it to his face. He'd momentarily forgotten that Xander's hands were tied together and frowned when he ended up with both of them. With a growl of annoyance, he twisted Xander's arm over and sank his fangs deep.

"OW, OW, OW!" Xander protested but took Spike at his word and didn't struggle. Once the initial pain of teeth sinking into flesh was past, it really didn't hurt… much.

There was a pulling sensation, that weird feeling of loss like when you give blood, and a general feeling of unreality, but not a lot of pain.

The room was quiet except for the slight sounds coming from Spike as he drank and Xander's breathing. An indeterminate amount of time passed and Xander found himself drifting a little. Sleep. So sleepy. Not good… He needs to stop… "Spike, stop." His voice was frighteningly weak, almost like he'd been drugged.

Nothing.

Xander roused himself enough to try and yank his arm away. "SPIKE!" The vampire didn't loosen his grip at all. "Spike, please... you said you wouldn't…"

A low growl and then Spike lifted his head, yellow eyes blazing with anger. "I'm not a fledge, I know when enough is enough!"

Xander cringed and tried to scoot away. "Sorry.." he quickly apologized, recognizing this was not the same Spike that he'd come to know and be annoyed by. It was so easy to forget who and what Spike really was after all of these months of not having to be afraid of him. "I was getting dizzy and…" he tried to explain.

"No." Spike shook his head and slipped back into his human mask. He was feeling a little dizzy himself. Pig's blood just didn't have the same kick that human did. Now Xander looked like he was about to do something really stupid and ruin Spike's fun. "I shouldn't have scared you like that. I got a little carried away, you were right to stop me. Won't happen again."

Not exactly an apology but probably the closest Xander had ever heard Spike come to one. "Okay. I mean, not okay that you got carried away, but… um, never mind." He held out his arms, turning them so Spike could see the bite mark. "Could you untie me now so I can go put a band aide on this?"

"It's not even bleeding anymore, ya big baby."

Xander made an 'owie' face and continued holding up his arms.

"You're not going to try anything, are you?" Spike watched Xander closely and immediately had his answer. The boy would be a horrible poker player. With a sigh, Spike untied the rope from around Xander's wrists, followed quickly by the ones around his ankles. As he knew he would, Xander rolled off the bed and headed straight for the trash can containing the stakes.

Xander realized his mistake as soon as he'd taken three steps away from the bed. A wave of light-headedness swept over him and he soon found himself on the floor. "You asshole!" he spat out. "This is never going to work so you might as well just kill me now while I can't fight back." The urge to lie down was too strong to ignore, so he stretched out on his back on the floor.

Spike tsked and slowly got off the bed. "Come on, Xan. This is an opportunity of a life time for you and you're acting like a big brat." He bent down and put Xander's arm around his shoulder, hefting the boy up far enough to toss him on the bed. "You get some sleep and you'll feel better when you wake up."

"I really hate you."

"Yeah, that's what they all say." Spike tucked the covers around the boy and chuckled when Xander promptly pushed them back down. "When you wake up we'll go have some fun."

A half-hearted sound of denial escaped Xander's lips before he was asleep.



"Do you have any relatives that Red doesn't know about?"

Xander paused with his hamburger halfway to his mouth. "No, I don't think so. Why?"

A surprise had been awaiting him when he woke up after having slept for almost ten hours. Spike had gone out after dark and gotten burgers, fries and orange juice. He'd also, surprisingly, brought blood for himself and a newspaper. The blood, more than anything else, convinced Xander that Spike was serious about this little plan of his.

"No black-sheep uncle or someone who can drop dead and leave you loads of money?" Spike dunked a french fry in his cup of blood and munched while he looked over the paper.

"Oh, I get you. No, she knows my family tree better than I do. Must be a girly thing, keeping track like that. Handy to have around at family reunion time, though." Xander took another bite of his burger and tried to tell himself that the red stuff on Spike's fry was just ketchup. "Even if I did, where would the money actually come from? It'd take you quite a while to rob enough people to get the kind of dough you're talking about."

Spike dunked another fry and waved it at Xander. "Don't worry about that, we'll use mine. Just have to get it transferred to a bank around here."

"Yours! You mean you have money and you've been mooching off us all these months?"

"Yeah. Hey, here's one. 'Three bedrooms, two baths, two car garage, central air and heat. Quiet neighborhood, set on one and half acre corner lot. Privacy fence in back. Washer/Dryer connections, cable ready, security system installed.' Sounds good, don't it?"

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"If you had money, why'd you make us feed you?"

Spike looked at him like he was an idiot. "Cause I could. Now, what do you think of the house?"

"You are such a pr… wait. House? No, house. Apartment. I'm not living in a house with you. That's just too much like… well, it's just too much."

"So you want us to live in really close quarters where you'll never be able to be out of my sight for more than a minute?" Spike shrugged and flipped the page back to the apartment section. "Fine with me, pet. Just thought you'd like a little privacy and comfort. I'll just have to remember to keep the noise down."

Xander blanched and put down his hamburger. "What noise?"

"Moans and groans and such. You'll have to learn to be a really quiet sex slave."

"Uh uh... NO WAY! There was NO mention of 'sex slave'. None at all. I would have remembered that part."

Spike looked up, the picture of innocence. "I distinctly remember you agreeing to do whatever I wanted. I haven't had a decent shag in months and then it was only that twat, Harmony, so it doesn't really qualify."

"No, absolutely not! You might as well kill me and everyone I've ever known. There is no way I'm having sex with you."

"Okay, fine. Let me start upstairs with your folks and then I'll wander on over to the dorms." Spike stood and started for the stairs. "Wanna watch me do the parental units?"

Xander let Spike get up two stairs before he spoke up. He'd been pretty sure that Spike was just pulling his chain about the 'sex slave' thing since Spike had told him often in the past just how unappetizing he was to the vampire. Apparently, Spike thought he was fuckable but not biteable. Well, excluding that little snack earlier. "No. Wait… I'll think about it, okay?"

No one was more shocked than Spike when Xander spoke up. He'd expected the boy to give in without meaning it or maybe try to talk him out of it, but he never expected Xander to actually consider it. After his eyebrows descended from his hairline, Spike gave Xander a classic smirk of triumph and returned to his seat at the table. "So, house or apartment?"

"Um.. house, I guess. Renting, right?"

"Yeah."

"Okay, rent the house." Xander picked up a now cold fry and flopped it against the table. "So, if I don't have any relatives that can drop dead and leave me money, how do we explain it? Ya know what? That isn't even the important part. How the hell am I going to explain that I'm suddenly a gay necrophiliac?"

"Everybody always knew you were probably gay. The girls talked about it all the time. And I am a charming, gorgeous guy you spent a lot of time with, problem solved."

"Nice try, Spike, not going to work this time, though. But this is crazy. You know that, don't you? This is just not going to work at all, in any way, shape or form." Xander pushed away from the table and started pacing back and forth in the little room that was available. "I just don't get it. What can you possibly be getting out of this.. this game? Okay, you said fun, but there's lot's of less complicated ways for you to have fun."

The boy had a point. This was getting rather complicated, but the idea of messing with the Slayer and her pals for a while just held too much appeal. He could always kill them all later if he got bored. And having Xander around to torment was proving to be rather entertaining, as well. "Oh, yeah? Like what? You don't want me to kill your friends, you don't want me out murdering the populace, and you don't want me taking over the Hellmouth. So what's left?"

"Go… You could… Damn it! I don't know, go bug Angel for a while or hunt down Drusilla or something. Go do vampire things… AWAY from Sunnydale."

The boy's logic was astounding. "So, you don't care if I kill people, just not here. Is that it?"

"No… yes.. Why can't you just go away and leave me alone?"

"Because it's more fun to stay and get a little revenge. Now come sit down or I'll tie you up again."

Xander sighed and returned to the table. "You are evil."

"That's what I've been trying to tell you people since the beginning. But would you believe me? Noooo… so, this is all your own fault."

"Great. Fine. My own fault. Sure." Xander nodded as if that made perfect sense. "Except I told them it was a bad idea to not stake you at Thanksgiving. Buffy shook her pretty blonde head and told me that it wasn't up to me, Willow told me that it wasn't a nice thing to do, Giles tutted and said you could be useful and Anya…. Anya got offended because she said I only wanted to stake you because you weren't human. Like, Duh. That is the whole point, right?"

"They never do listen to you, do they? How sad." Spike rolled his eyes and went back to his study of the paper. Convincing Xander to do everything voluntarily was going to be easier than he thought. The boy clearly still had issues with the Scoobies. And this game would be so much more fun if Xander was actively participating instead of just doing it to keep his friends alive. But he knew he couldn't push too hard or the boy would bolt.

Xander got up again and started pacing, clearly on a roll. "Do you know how much trouble could have been avoided over the years if they had listened to me? Do you? But no, I'm just 'Xander the donut boy' until it's time to fight, then I get my ribs bashed in with nary a 'thank you' in return. My opinions don't matter one little bit."

"Better keep your voice down or you'll wake your Da." Spike put the paper down and leaned back in the rickety chair. This was really getting entertaining.

"That's another thing. Why should I be afraid of my parents? I've gone up against things much scarier than them, yet I let them push me around like I'm still a child. I'm a man, not a little boy and I deserve to be treated that way!"

"Okay, pet. I'll treat you like a man, no problem there. Changed your mind about letting me kill the folks?"

Xander stopped pacing and turned to look at Spike as if he were actually considering it. After a moment, he shook his head. "Nah. It'll be much more fun to see their faces when I tell them that not only am I moving out but I'm moving in with a guy. My dad'll probably have a stroke."

"That's the spirit, Xan. You're finally beginning to understand how to have some fun." He stood and approached Xander. The boy was just full of surprises and Spike thought maybe he'd picked the right Slayerette, after all. "What say you and I go out for a bit? We'll have a few drinks and raise some hell."

"Yeah, sounds good. I need to get out of here for awhile." A quick trip to the coffee table for wallet and keys and Xander was at the door. "You didn't literally mean 'raising hell', right?"

Spike chuckled, grabbed his duster and slid it on. "No."

"Oh, good. Just had to check 'cause I never know with you guys."



A soft, tortured moan drifted through the basement and bounced off the concrete walls. A movement against sheets and then a gasp of pain. "Kill me now, pleeeease." Xander placed a pillow over his head and tried to make his brain stop moving around in his skull.

"Can't. I'll puke if I move."

Xander pulled the pillow off his head and slowly looked to his right. Spike lay there looking as bad as Xander felt. "Why did you let me drink so much?"

Spike scowled and then winced in pain. His lip was still swollen from the fight. "I tried to stop you," he said carefully, "but you said that no Fairy was going to out drink you."

"I called you a fairy?"

"No, you were drinking with a real Fairy. Don't you remember?"

Xander shook his head once and instantly regretted it. "No. Last thing I remember was you plunking that glass down in front of me and telling me it was a 'Willie's Special'."

Spike just grunted in response.

"What happened to your face?"

"Finally got some payback. Now stop talking before I rip your tongue out."

Xander snorted, closed his eyes, and started his injury checklist. His mouth tasted like he'd sucked on an old, dirty sock all night, his head felt twice it's normal size and rather squishy, there was a pounding behind his eyes that felt worse than anything he'd ever experienced. His left bicep stung in a way that he knew he'd find a cut or gash that would need disinfecting, the knee that had been kicked by a pissed off drunk on his last night at work felt like it had been kicked again, his stomach felt tender besides churning like it was about to erupt. And to top it all off, his jeans were uncomfortably tight over his morning wood.

On the plus side was the fact that he still had his jeans on, nothing else besides the jeans, including shoes but still, jeans on was of the good. He wasn't dead -even if he wished someone would put him out of his misery- and he was apparently being spared the memories of whatever humiliations he'd gone through last night. And he was sure there were some. One didn't go out with Spike to a demon bar and expect that nothing bad would happen.

Speaking of bad things… "You didn't kill anyone last night, did you?"

"Kill, no." Strictly true. There was that demon that wouldn't be beating up any more helpless vamps for a while, a vamp groupie short a few pints, dust that used to be a fledge way too interested in Xander's neck and Spike thought Willie would be a few days cleaning up all the breakage, but nobody dead. The dusted vamp didn't count since he was dead to start with.

Xander sighed in relief. Now if he could just make it to the bathroom without passing out and drowning in his own vomit. One leg was carefully moved to the edge of the bed and hung over the side. When his stomach stopped sloshing, Xander moved the other leg just as carefully.

"Stop moving the bed."

"I have to get up. Sorry."

"Why? Don't see me moving and I had more to drink than you did."

"Yeah, but you're already dead so it doesn't matter. I, on the other hand, have to go throw up, take a piss, tend to all my potentially infection causing gashes, get this taste out of my mouth and dig out some industrial strength aspirin."

"And we both seriously need a shower."

Counting to three, Xander lifted his torso into a sitting position and swallowed hard at the acid climbing up his throat. A few deep breaths later he felt the world come back into focus a little and stood up. "Okay, this is good. I can do this. I just have to get from here to…" Nope, not good. He sat back down on the edge of the bed and cursed under his breath.

"You're really bad off, aren't you?" Spike sat up and looked at Xander's back. He could see that the boy had broken out into a sweat and was swaying a little. "Have you ever been that drunk before?"

"No, not even close." A pause and then, "Spike, please… could you just help me into the bathroom? I won't ask you to do anything else, but…"

"No, that's all right, pet, I'll help you." Spike scooted off his side of the bed and came around to stand in front of Xander. "I'm just going to lift you up and then we'll get you into the tub. Okay?"

"'Kay." Xander didn't move, waiting for Spike to do whatever it was he was going to do.

Spike leaned down and hooked his hands under Xander's arms, pulling him up. After making sure that Xander wouldn't immediately fall back down, Spike slid to the side and placed one of Xander's arms around his neck, sliding his own arm around the boys waist. "Okay, we're going now. Tell me if you're going to ralph before we get there so I can get out of the way."

Xander remained miserably silent and let Spike shuffle him off to the bathroom. Once there, Spike dumped the slightly green human in the tub and turned on the shower using only the cold water. Leaning back against the sink, the vampire waited for the boy to say when he'd had enough.

Spike wasn't feeling all that great himself at this point, but having had ample experience with hangovers from hell, he was dealing a little better than Xander. And the hangover was almost worth it to have seen Xander cut loose like he had the night before. Spike mused over the events of the previous evening and a small smile quirked the corner of his mouth.

This unappreciated and underestimated human had actually been fun to hang out with. He'd held his own against the bullys in Willie's, not backing away from their taunts -verbal and physical- until he'd finally passed out in the midst of telling a Nenon demon where to stick his rather lewd offer.

And while Spike knew that none of the creatures at Willie's had been serious about hurting Xander -most knew of his association with the Slayer and more importantly, his role in bringing down the Initiative - Xander hadn't known that. To him they were the same creatures that he fought on a regular basis and he had no idea they meant him no real harm.

He'd been almost fearless once they'd walked through the doors of Willie's bar and that was the exact opposite of what Spike had expected. He'd actually kinda counted on Xander being uncomfortable and scared so that he would need rescuing or protecting. Another thing to bind the boy to Spike and make him more pliable.

But, much to Spike's surprise and, at times, amusement, Xander took care of himself without much need for Spike to step in at all. Spike decided right there and then that they would be going to Willie's again soon, but this time he wasn't going to let Xander drink himself into a near coma.

Speaking of which. "Xander? You still alive?" He looked a little better or at least a lot less green.

"No."

"Well, stand your dead carcass up and get out of your jeans." Spike leaned into the shower and slowly added hot water to the mix. "Get up unless you want my help getting out of those pants. Better yet, stay there and you can wash my back for me."

Spike stripped off his t-shirt, unbuttoned his jeans, and bent over to undo his boots. He glanced up at Xander and saw the boy wasn't paying him the slightest bit of attention. "Are you okay, mate?"

Xander shook his head as if to test it and looked at the disrobing vampire. "Yeah, I guess I'll live, thanks. And why are you getting undressed? You are not getting in here with me."

Now that was more like it. "If you don't want me in there with you then you'll stand up, strip down and wash up like a good boy."

Xander blinked and looked at his surroundings. "Oh, right. Okay, I can do it. Go away."

"You have ten minutes then I'm coming back for my shower whether you're done or not. Got it?"

Xander walked out of the bathroom nine minutes later looking almost human. "All yours."




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