This is sort of AU. It is set after high school and far enough into university life that Buffy has Riley and Willow has Tara and Dawn is around (but there is no Glory) and Spike has the chip and um... I think that's all.



Xander stared up at the factory and idly wondered why the big evils seemed to flock to this building. It wasn't directly on the Hellmouth because that was where the school was.

He gave a sigh, and fought back the tears that once again threatened to overwhelm him.

His life had had gone from craptacular to shitastic in about .003 seconds.

His father, the raging alcoholic he was, had managed to surprise Xander after he had dropped onto his bed after a bad night of patrol, not that anyone knew he had gone because he had been alone.

His father had then told him to "get the fuck out and take all your stupid shit because we didn't want you in the first place and we sure as hell don't want you now."

Xander had watched the old man storm up the stairs in bewilderment, then the door slammed and his father's words had sunk in.

All of them.

He didn't know if he wanted to cry or scream or laugh or what, so he found his phone and tried to call Buffy, Giles, Willow, Tara, someone he knew so he could crash at their place until he found something more permanent. Though that might be a little hard considering he had just been fired, again.

Anya had left him the week before and no one seemed to notice, except maybe Spike but the Blonde Wonder hadn't said anything.

So here he was standing in front of the latest "lair" of the latest big bad to come to beautiful Sunnyhell and no one knew because no one cared.

'Security around here is fairly lax,' Xander stated as he leaned casually against the door frame.

Walden, because didn't that name just strike fear into the hearts of innocents, whirled around, 'you!' he-it snarled. 'Seize him!' he raged as he pointed to Xander, who had to suppress a giggle because Walden had just reminded him of the Red Queen, all he was missing was a flamingo.

Xander moved into the room and let the assigned minions grab his arms.

'What are you doing here?' Walden demanded, as the minions forced Xander to his knees.

'A little recon for the slayer, see how you run things, how easy it is to kill you,' Xander replied staring defiantly at this creature.

Walden smirked, 'Well it seems we have our final piece,' he announced to the room, that Xander now realized was packed not just of Helkin demons but of vampires and other assorted demons, he didn't notice the shock of blonde hair at the back of the crowd.

'Prepare the sacrifice,' he told someone who Xander couldn't see, 'we start at sundown.'

'What sacrifice?' Xander protested, 'No! No sacrifice! I'm too young and so not a virgin!' he practically shouted.

Walden began to chuckle, though it had more of a wet slopping sound to it, 'fool human, we don't require you to be pure of body but pure of heart and you practically sing of it,' the demon replied gently caressing Xander's cheek.

'Prepare the sacrifice,' Walden stated again, before he returned to the harem of creatures that awaited him, a purple male was the first to greet him.

As the minions half carried, half dragged Xander to wherever it was they were taking him, Xander struggled lamely because it was, after all, why he was here.

Spike's head shot up as he heard that voice. What the hell is the whelp doing here?

He had told them recon, but that was Spike's job. Something was off here but Spike wasn't close enough to hear anything, even if he was a vampire, nor could he see anything because of the several tall, dark and stupid's in his way.

Glad for his slight stature for once, Spike made his way through the crowd to get closer but only arriving as Waldork was leaving and the Whelp was being dragged off for preparation.

Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Fuck. This definitely was not of the good and when the hell did he start talking like them?

Watching as Xander passed, what was that look he was wearing acceptance? Resignation? Relief?

Something wasn't right. Spike pushed his way through the crowd and almost started to run as soon as he was through the door but then remembered that it was sunny out. Just another beautiful day on the Hellmouth. Stupid Californian weather. Why couldn't today be the one day it was overcast?

Spike dropped into the sewers and headed to the Magic Box, though he made a detour to dispatch the minion that was following him. As he traversed the sewers he came up with a plan on how to figure out what was going on, because he couldn't come off as sounding like he actually cared about the whelp, because he didn't.

Nope he had never been to the Nile, but he had heard it was very nice this time of year.

Taking an unneeded breath he waltzed into the back room of the Box, thankful that the alley way behind it was shaded.

Buffy and Riley were sparing on the other side of the room, though by the looks of things they were about a twitch away from having sex.

'Have sex already,' he stated as he passed by them, looking unconcerned and un-phased.

Both blushed a bright red as Riley practically jumped away from her.

Spike gave a soft chuckle in amusement. They were so easy to fluster it was almost not worth it.

He entered the main room to find Willow and Tara pouring over either their homework or slayer-search, he could never tell these days with those two.

Anya, the irritating bint, was "helping" a customer. And by "helping" Spike meant trying to coerce into buying more than they needed. The poor guy looked completely lost, though he had been admiring his assistant.

Giles was behind the cash, ringing up another customer, this one looking thankful that she hadn't been harangued by Anya.

Giles gave her an apologetic smile as he handed her back her bag.

Spike flopped down onto the couch and picked up a book that had been left there. It was something about sacrifices and he flipped through looking for any good pictures.

'Riley and Buffy are having sex in the training room,' he announced not looking up from his book. Neither Red nor Glinda looked up, but Glinda blushed slightly as Red scowled into her book.

Giles sighed and murmured something about leaving stains while Anya stormed into the training room to tell off the pair.

'Has anyone seen Xander?' Dawn asked as soon as she closed the door.

Spike perked up at the mention of the whelp and the concern she was trying to hide.

'I didn't know you were so huge, Riley, Xander was bigger, but you've got a nice-'

'Dawn! You're late!' Buffy admonished, redder than Red's hair. Spike was torn between wanting to know how big Xander really was and why Niblet was so worried about Xander.

Riley sank into the couch, looking like he wanted it to swallow him whole.

'I was looking for Xander I haven't seen him for days,' she replied, looking like she wanted to pout and break down in tears.

'He's probably at that job he has, what it is?' Buffy asked Willow sounding surprisingly innocent, 'the pizza place?'

'No that was last month, I think it was the new grocery store,' Willow replied.

'Actually it was the new candy store,' Tara offered as Dawn scowled at the pair.

'And he was fired,' Dawn added, clearly unimpressed with her sister and her friend.

Giles joined them, looking concerned, 'why was he fired?'

'Probably because he was eating all the stock,' Buffy smirked, causing Willow to giggle and Spike, Giles and Dawn to scowl at her. Yes Xander had a sweet tooth but he had been working on getting into better shape.

Spike looked like he wanted to slap the Slayer.

'Why are you looking for Xander?' Giles asked, trying to divert Dawn from Buffy.

'Because he was supposed to help me with my homework,' she replied, surprising everyone save for Tara, Spike and Riley, who hadn't been eaten by the sofa, oddly enough.

Willow couldn't hide her snort of amusement that Xander would help anyone with their homework.

'Just because he isn't college guy like you doesn't mean he doesn't know his stuff,' Dawn almost shouted.

'Yeah but its Xander, he of the not good marks in high school,' Buffy replied, as if she was talking to a small child, which in her mind she was.

'Why are you being such a bitch about Xander?' she demanded furiously.

Buffy looked affronted, 'because it's Xander, donut boy extraordinaire,' the sound of skin against skin echoed around the room. Spike wanted to applaud the young woman who was glaring daggers at her older sister.

Buffy looked startled as did Willow but Tara was trying to sooth the youngest Scooby, because even if Buffy didn't recognize her as one, the others did.

'Dawn,' Giles stood between Buffy and Dawn as Tara held the trembling figure, 'Why are you so worried about Xander? I'm sure he's around somewhere.'

'I've been looking for him everywhere, I went to his house and he wasn't there, his parents said he had moved out and then I went to his job and they told me he had been fired and he wasn't at the coffee shop or anywhere and I couldn't get a hold of him and-' Giles pulled the distressed teen into his arms. Tara's hand never left her back.

'The Whelp's at the factory,' Spike stated as moved to collect an assortment of weapons.

Everyone gaped at him, 'And you didn't mention this sooner,' Buffy glared at Spike.

'Between what round of Xander Bashing, Buffy?' Riley asked, clearly unimpressed with his girlfriend.

Buffy flushed, 'you should both be ashamed of yourselves,' Tara stated as she joined Riley and Spike at the weapons cache. Riley handed her a short sword and a short bow.

'We have until sundown before they start their ritual, I don't know when they'll use him as their sacrifice,' Spike stated as he handed Giles an axe.

'We should hurry, it's about an hour and half away,' Riley replied as he holstered his own sword.

'What?' Spike looked at Riley, and paled even more, if that was at all possible. How friggin' long had he been staring at those pictures for?

'Soldier boy, you're driving,' he stated as he pushed everyone out, because he wasn't worried about the Whelp, nope he just wanted to save the world. Giles looked faintly amused, he had noticed the way Spike would watch Xander. He had had long conversations with Tara about the wistful looks that Spike would give to Xander when he wasn't looking, Xander did the same but they were sure that Spike and Anya hadn't noticed.

'I'm coming too,' Dawn said looking determined.

Spike and Giles studied her for a minute before sharing a look, Giles nodded, 'fine, but you stay behind with Tara,' he stated as Riley outfitted her with similar weapons to Tara. No one mentioned Spike's usage of the witch's first name.

The drive took twenty-five minutes, and Spike cursed traffic every minute of it. Dawn and Tara shared amusement over it.

The warehouse was even more crowded than when Spike had left. Great, five humans against well over a hundred assorted demons.

'Spike you take the left side, Giles you take the right side and I'll go down the middle,' Riley said evenly.

Everyone stared at him, 'was that a joke?' Giles asked seriously.

'Maybe,' Riley replied, Giles gave a low chuckle.

'It's great you finally have a sense of humour but there are a lot of angry demons glaring at us and it's making me uncomfortable,' Tara announced, Dawn nodded in agreement.

'Right then,' Spike turned his attention to the demons who were still staring at them, though they hadn't moved. 'Well trained bunch you are,' he commented.

'Attack!' a voice Spike recognized as Walden shouted.

And attack they did. Dawn and Tara were surprisingly apt with their bows and had taken down several vampires and other more easily slayed demons as the men hacked and slashed their way through the group.

Buffy stared at the closed door of the Magic Box in surprise, 'did they just go without us?' she asked Willow who was in a similar state of shock.

'They did, because we've been horrible to Xander, he's been my friend since forever and I was so mean!' she wailed.

'Why are you still here?' Anya demanded, stopping Willow's tears before they could really get started.

Willow and Buffy turned to stare at her.

'Why aren't you going to help save Xander?' she demanded again.

'Why do you care?' Buffy asked, 'you broke up with him.'

'Just because I broke up with him doesn't mean I don't care about him, I do, that's why I broke up, he wasn't happy with me,' she replied.

Buffy and Willow stared at her in confusion.

'Don't forget to lock the back door,' she stated after she locked the safe and a weapon, she had no idea what she was going to do but she had to help Xander. She left through the front door, locking it and closing the gate.

Buffy and Willow were left alone at the table.

Xander stared up at the ceiling, tracing the path of the sun as it moved across the room achingly slow. He had been tied to the altar, what felt like an eternity ago and had lost all feeling in his limbs. He glanced around the room just as they burst into the room.

The cavalry.

Well, not technically, but they were here to save the day.

He didn't look; he couldn't, because he didn't think he could bear the looks of disappointments he would find there.

The sun wasn't down but at the moment Walden didn't seem to care. After commanding that they attack, he began his ritual.

Xander couldn't block out any of the noise and he didn't want to listen to it either so he started to hum.

As Giles, Spike, Riley, Tara and Dawn fought to save Xander, Buffy and Willow debated on what to do. They didn't have a car or a bike or any mode of transport and it would take at least an hour to walk to the warehouse and the fight would probably be over by then anyways and well in the end they decided to simply stay and see what happened, Buffy went back to her homework even if she didn't do any since she was worried about Riley, and Willow doodled aimlessly, she couldn't concentrate on anything because she was worried about Tara.

Anya, however, had decided out of the fight because of her lack of transport and inadequate fighting skills and had gone to Giles' apartment to set up a sort of triage, knowing that they would all need some sort of medical treatment.

Spike, bloodied and bruised, made it to the altar first; he was just in time to see Walden use three quick swipes to cut open Xander's wrists and throat.

'No!' Spike launched himself at Walden just as the demon plunged the dagger into Xander's heart.

Spike collided with Walden and the pair went tumbling across the floor.

The ground started to rumble and everyone stopped fighting. Then there was lights and wind and just as suddenly as it all started it was done.

Nothing seemed different.

'No!' Walden shouted in disbelief, as he glared at the still form of Xander at the altar like it was his fault and then there was a loud snap and he fell to the ground lifelessly.

The other demon's started a mass exodus just then.

Tara was helping Riley as Dawn stood trying to help Giles. Spike, with a look of utter devastation, moved to Xander.

'I am so sorry, pet,' he whispered as he blinked furiously. He gently picked up Xander's still form and headed back to Riley's SUV. The other four followed in silence.

Riley handed the keys to Tara and winced as he got into the car, Dawn helped Giles in, one of the demon's had managed to twist his arm back. He didn't think it was broken but it was close.

'I have more medical supplies at home,' Giles said softly, before he dropped his head onto the back of the seat wearily.

Anya was pacing when Tara and Giles appeared in the door way, followed by Riley and Dawn. Spike was carrying Xander.

'Oh, no,' she breathed as she rushed forward to check on the boy and stopped short as she noticed the dagger in his chest. Tara managed to catch her as she stumbled back.

'I can't just sit here and do nothing,' Willow announced as she stood and packed her bag.

'What are you going to do?' Buffy asked.

'I don't know, go to Giles' and get his medical stuff ready, anything is better than sitting here pretending nothing is wrong.' Willow replied as she headed out the back.

'Wait,' Buffy called, as she followed the redhead.

The door to Giles' apartment was slightly ajar and with a glance at each other Buffy went first pushing open the door cautiously.

They were woefully unprepared for what they found.

There were bloody rags and such on the floor as Giles and Riley shared a bottle of scotch.

Spike was sitting on the couch across from them and seemed to be mumbling softly to something in his lap.

'Where's Tara?' Willow asked, looking around the room almost frantically.

Giles looked up, clearly disappointed with the witch, 'she is upstairs with Dawn and Anya, and they are asleep,' he replied stoically.

'Oh God Riley I was so worried about you,' Buffy stated as she tried to kiss him, but he pushed her away.

'What about Xander, the whole reason we went in the first place?' he asked icily.

Willow stopped on the stairs and looked back guiltily.

That's when she saw the pale form of Xander laying across the couch with his head in Spike's lap. Spike was gently combing the hair back as he crooned softly to Xander.

Both were covered in blood.

'We were too late,' Spike surprised them all when he spoke.

Willow had to sit on the stairs, Xander was dead. It just didn't compute in Willow's brain. Buffy just nuzzled into Riley. Or tried to anyway.

'I have to see Tara,' Willow announced as she stood abruptly and almost fell off the stairs.

A whistling and a thwack had Willow stopping in her tracks. She stared at the dagger that was embedded in the wall.

She turned back to Spike who was staring at her with a mix of hate, anger and jealousy. It scared her.

'Riley, please, my best friend is dead, I just-' Buffy was complaining because Riley wouldn't hold her. Giles poured himself another glass of scotch, his son, because in all the years he had known these children he had felt the most for the boy because he had seen himself in him. But what could he do, he was just a librarian and had no relation to the boy and had to deal with a rebellious slayer. He hadn't had time for the boy too. Lord how he wished he'd made time for him.

As Giles brooded over his treatment of Xander, Riley was arguing with Buffy and Spike was staring accusingly at Willow.

Xander started coughing.

Suddenly all of them were focused on Xander. Spike was trying to help him breath, as the other's watched Xander's wounds heal themselves.


It had been a week since Xander had sacrificed himself and everything had changed.

He was living with Giles in the spare room, well, it was his room now. He even had a key to Giles' front door. Something no one else had though they all knew of the secret key he hid in case any of them needed to get in.

He didn't even have to pay rent.

Or chip in for food or anything.

He tried to help out but Giles' guilt complex about him dying was preventing Xander from actually doing anything. It was the first day that Giles was leaving him by himself. Normally he would go in the mornings and come back in the afternoons but not today. And Xander planned on tidying up and making Giles dinner as a thank you.

He hadn't seen anyone else namely because he hadn't wanted to and also because no one had come to see him.

Except for Spike.

Spike had come by every night and as attracted as Xander had been to Spike he found himself wanting to get to know more about the vampire. He was finally able to admit to that attraction. Dying had a way of making you see what was important and what wasn't.

Letting someone know you care about them was, in Xander's opinion, important. He just didn't know how to do it.

As Xander made dinner for Giles he was surprised by an unexpected visitor.

'Anya,' he greeted coldly, letting her in.

'You're angry,' she stated, 'and I understand, I really do,' she continued not letting Xander speak. His look told her that he was unimpressed.

'I'm sorry, I did it the way I did and that I didn't talk to you. I'm not sorry I broke up with you though. I saw the way you looked at Spike and the way he looked at you and I was mad that you didn't look at me like that, not anymore. Xander I know that you think you love me, I know I love you but I'm not who you want. They say that if you love someone to set them free, if they come back great, if not then it just wasn't meant to be. I want to see you happy and if that means being with Spike then I want you to be with Spike.'

A week ago Xander would've have denied any feelings for Spike until he was blue in the face, but he liked to think he had matured.

'Why didn't you tell me all this when you broke up with me?'

Anya gave a bashful shrug, 'I don't know, I think I wanted to not want to have to be nice to you for a little while.' Suddenly Anya was all teary and she launched herself into his arms. 'I am so sorry Xander, seeing you lying there all dead, it... I... I couldn't help thinking that it was all my fault and I hadn't explained things to you and I wanted to apologize.'

'Ahn, shut up,' he snapped gently.

'I was babbling,' she stated as she sniffled.

'Yeah, full on babble, I don't even think Willow can cry and babble that well,' Xander offered as he tried to lighten the mood. Anya gave a wet laugh.

'It wasn't because of you,' he blurted. 'What happened played a part but it wasn't the only reason.' He paused to collect his thoughts, he hadn't expected to have this conversation with Anya, or anyone really. 'I was in a bad place last week with losing you and my job and having overheard the Xanderbash once or twice and being forgotten about and left behind and then the parents got violent and I just wanted everything to end.'

'Oh Xander, when it rains it pours for you doesn't it?' she asked as she pulled him down onto the couch and hugged him tightly.

Xander gave a weak sniffle, 'yeah.'

'So what changed?' she asked, not wanting her Xander to be so un-Xander-like.

Xander gave a swipe at his eyes, 'I have someplace to live that isn't the basement, and for now I don't have to worry about bills or what not for the first time since I turned fifteen, and I know that he wants me here. I have someone who talks to me and with me and doesn't just want me to go get snacks or drinks or be bait or for sex and no one's made me feel inadequate or useless.'

Anya looked ashamed, she had been one of those that had used him and now, having it shown to her in such a way, 'I am so sorry Xander.'

'It's okay.'

'No it's not-' she tried to protest.

'Yes, it's done and over and acknowledged and put to rest. I'm over it, I've accepted it and damn it if it didn't introduce me to some kinkier stuff, it was fun and I did- I do love you but I'm not in love with you.'

Both Anya and Xander cringed at that, 'That was so cheesy.'

Anya reached over and swiped at his chin, 'you had some hanging,' she offered with a grin.

'So are we good?' Xander asked.

Anya nodded, 'yeah, we're good,' she sniffed the air suddenly and was about to ask Xander what he was burning when he shot into the kitchen with a string of impressive cursing.

'Xander?' she asked as he dropped the food, dish and all, into the trash.

'I was making Chardonnay Chicken for Giles, sort of thanks since he won't let me do anything else.'

'That is totally my fault,' she winced when he gave her a weak glare.

'It totally is,' he agreed.

'Then I will go and get something from that restaurant you like and have it delivered before Giles gets back, I'll pay and everything,' she offered.

'That would be good, since it was the last edible food we had,' he replied.

'Right, then, I'll just be on my way,' she said as she all but ran from the apartment.

An hour later Xander accept the already paid for dinner from the delivery man. Ten minutes after that there was another delivery man, this one had a cooler of blood, human in assorted types.

Xander tucked the food into the oven to keep it warm and the blood in the fridge to keep it cold. Giles had cleaned out one of the produce drawers for Spike's blood, something that Spike had appreciated, not that the drawer had gotten much use. So much so that he had gifted the watcher with a very rare, very expensive bottle of scotch that the watcher only pulled out never.

Xander was sitting on the couch with a beer watching television when Giles arrived home. Thankfully the burnt smell had long since dispersed.

Giles greeted Xander as he headed up to his room to change. Xander rushed into the kitchen as soon as the shower started.

He set the small table and put everything on to dishes. Xander had been surprised when he'd discovered that Anya had ordered the same chicken dish he had been attempting to make before she had arrived.

'So I thought we could order pizza or something, since I'm pretty sure-' Giles cut himself off when he stepped into the kitchen to find an open lager and dinner already on the table.

'Hungry?' Xander asked, slightly sheepish.

'Famished actually,' he replied as he sat across from Xander, who had stood when he'd come into the kitchen. 'You didn't have to do this, you know.'

Xander shrugged, 'I know, but I wanted to, and then Anya showed up and that's why your casserole dish is in the garbage, and she bought dinner so thank her, I just set the table,' he offered.

'Well then,' he said, as he chuckled, 'cheers,' he held up his glass and Xander clinked his against the older man's, they both took a long pull before digging into dinner.

Giles watched Xander from the corner of his eye as they watched some silly American sitcom. The younger man kept fidgeting, finally Giles spoke, 'Is something bothering you?'

'Yes, no, maybe... yeah,' he finally settled.

'Do you wish to speak about it?' he asked gently, letting Xander know that he didn't have to answer if he didn't want to.

'No, maybe, would help.'

Giles didn't ask anything else, he simply turned off the television and gave Xander his full attention.

They were silent for a few minutes, Giles fervently hoped that no one disrupted their night. It was the first quiet night that he, they had had in a long time.

'Ever since I died I've realized that it doesn't matter what gender a person is. I was in denial before, but I think I've always been attracted to other guys, I just couldn't admit, namely because my father would've just had another reason to beat me, but there's this guy and I like him, I've been spending more time with him and it's been nice, he doesn't expect me to do anything and he's helped out so much,' Xander finally finished his babble and he looked away from Giles and his hands worried the edge of the blanket.

It took Giles a moment to process what Xander had said, and when he did he blushed. There was only one person Xander had been spending more time with and he certainly didn't expect Xander to pay any bills that weren't his and while he was honoured that Xander had crush on him, there were all kinds of reasons for them not to be together, namely because he, Giles, was already in a relationship. A long distance relationship but a relationship nonetheless.

When Giles spoke, he chose his words carefully, 'I am flattered that you would choose to bestow you're affections to me, I would have to decline any advances, I'm currently seeing someone and,'

Xander had seemed to be able to process Giles-speak faster than he could process Xander-speak because he cut Giles off, 'Whoa, what are you talking about?'

Giles looked flustered for a moment, 'aren't you... don't you have feelings for me?' he asked. He idly wondered if this conversation could get any more awkward.

'Feelings for you?' Xander parroted, and blinked, and blinked again, 'I do have feelings but of a parental kind, or what I assume would be parental since my own lacked in both parental skill and desire,' oh yes, it could get more awkward, 'you're like the father I wish I had. Okay yeah, I may have had a crush on you way back when you were Librarian Giles but I was so far in denial that I wouldn't have even acknowledged it. Now, I want you to know that I do love you in a purely son to father way and not in a creepy incest like fashion.'

Giles look relieved and he gave a low laugh, 'I feel a little less awkward and a whole lot more embarrassed now. I love you too, if I'd had a son I'd hope he'd turn out like you have, you have come a long way and I would be proud to call you my son.'

Xander blushed and turned away, blinking furiously, no one had ever claimed to be proud of Xander. Embarrassed, turned on, angered, cheered up, and an assortment of other emotions but never proud.

It seemed that that was Xander's breaking point, everything that had happened over the last few weeks seem to catch up with him and he just seemed to crumple. A surprised Giles pulled the sobbing boy into his arms. As Xander let out his pent up emotions, Giles murmured soft endearments and rubbed his back gently.

After a few minutes Xander seemed to quiet down and he eventually fell asleep. Giles shifted so he could be more comfortable, with a lap full of sleeping teenager.

'How much did you hear?' Giles asked as he flicked on the television and turned down the sound.

'Enough,' Spike sat on the chair beside the couch, 'I've been trying to get him to talk but he just clams up or changes the subject.'

'If you hurt him in any way I'll stake you myself.' Now that he'd had time to think Giles had realized that Xander had been talking about Spike.

'I wouldn't dream of it,' Spike replied, 'there's a match on that sports channel,' he offered absently, as Giles flipped stations.

Giles found the match and they watched in silence for a time.

'I found the ritual that Walden was trying,' Spike offered during a commercial break, 'it called for an unwilling sacrifice.'

Giles closed his eyes almost in defeat.

There was more, Giles knew, but Spike took a moment, 'there was fine print, said if the sacrifice was willing the ritual wouldn't succeed.'

'So the sacrifice had to want to die in order for it to not succeed,' he clarified.

'We're all to blame for pushing him that far,' Spike said gently squeezing the watcher's shoulder.

'I should've seen it,' Giles insisted.

'You can't see everything,' Spike replied, 'the Whelp kept everything pretty well hidden.'

The pair sat in silence, not really watching television so much as listening to Xander sleep.


It took a few days but finally Xander managed to get Spike alone. He had seen Willow and Buffy but neither went out of their way to talk to him and Dawn had been pretty constant and Riley and Tara had made several appearances. Xander had been surprised to find a mutual X-File fan in Tara and a fellow country music fan in Riley.

So having Spike all to himself made Xander quite happy.

He didn't say anything, not right away, he didn't have to because he and Spike had been dancing around each other for the last few days. Xander launched himself at Spike, who eagerly pulled the young man into his arms.

If Xander didn't need to breath he was sure that the kiss would have gone on forever if they could manage it.

'You okay with this?' Spike asked, as he wrenched himself away from his nummy treat.

'I am so okay with this,' Xander grinned as Spike cupped his arse.

Xander sat sprawled on the couch with Spike curled on and around him, soaking up as much of Xander's heat as he could. Just one more thing that Spike loved about his human, he was always like a furnace. Giles was ensconced in his chair and was trying to do research, but he couldn't focus. A fact that both Xander and Spike had noticed since Giles' gaze kept traveling to the door.

'You waiting for something, Watcher?' Spike asked in amusement as Giles' gaze went to the door for the hundredth time.

'No, well possibly, a guest is coming he had to stop somewhere and he didn't know how long it would take.' Giles replied as he continued to stare at the door, finally giving up all pretence of trying to do anything other than stare at the door.

'So who is this mystery person that you're in a relationship with?' Xander asked casually.

Giles flushed, but didn't look away from the door but he was saved from answering when there was a knock at the door.

'Wesley,' he greeted as he pulled open his front door.

Wesley surprised both Xander and Spike by not only being at the front door but also by pulling Giles' mouth to his for a heated kiss.

'I missed you,' Wesley offered softly.

Giles grinned and kissed Wesley softly, 'I missed you too,' he took Wesley's hand and pulled him into the apartment so he could close the door.

Both Spike and Xander were both gaping at the pair.

'Xander, Spike, you're both looking well,' Wesley greeted as he pulled a large folder from his bag. He handed it to Giles, 'all they need are your signatures.'

Giles fished a pen off the desk and quickly signed where Wesley told him to and then took a deep breath. He handed the package to Xander who took them with confusion.

He read the first page but, as simple as the legalese was on the first page, it didn't quite penetrate his brain.

He looked up to Giles who gave an encouraging smile, 'you don't have to sign them, we can even just toss them in the fireplace and let them burn, and I know you don't need a parent at your age but I would like to legally make you my son,' he explained.

'I don't...' he turned to Spike, who gave him a soft smile.

'He wants to adopt you pet, make you his son,' he said gently, 'just sign the papers and say thank you,' he offered.

Xander stared from Giles to Spike to Wesley and back to Giles, he finally nodded even as he was signing the papers and handing them back, 'does this mean I get to call you dad?' he asked grinning.

'So long as it's not that horrid G-Man,' Giles replied, feigning irritation.

Xander grinned and settled back into the couch, Spike settled next to him. The pair grinned when Giles and Wesley settled in the chair.

'You know if he wasn't my father I'd say they were sort of cute,' Xander offered with a grin.

Spike let out a surprised laugh as Giles mock glared, Wesley blushed but laughed too.

Xander gave a contented sigh; all things considered his life was finally looking up.

The End

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