Rough Diamond


Part Sixteen

After nearly an hour, both men were relaxed, refreshed and their tummies full and satisfied. They had companionably discussed the exit's, routes and highways and Spike was certain he would have no trouble finding their destination. A trip they estimated to take another three hours.

When they returned to the car, Spike briefly considered revisiting the towel issue but decided that the damage had already been done so he dropped it. Xander flopped onto his seat, tipped his hat low on his face and crossed his arms. The big breakfast had left him sleepy and a quick nap was demanding attention.

"Look, I know the fucking rules, but do you care if I just kick my boots off while I snooze?"

Spike never took his eyes from the road as they pulled back in to traffic. His voice remained low and calm.

"I have a gun in my shoulder holster. If you remove your foul boots, I shall shoot you."

Xander shrugged. "Fair enough. Just thought I'd ask."

The rest of the trip was made in silence. Xander slept while Spike's brain sped faster than the Volvo. He often stole glances at the man beside him wondering what made him tick. How could he do the things he did? How could he allow men to sully his body the way they did, not knowing what sort of disease and contamination they carried. Did he achieve sexual satisfaction during these encounters?

There was no denying that the boy could be charming. That was more than evident by the way men and women alike smiled and flirted with him in the restaurant. No one had ever done that with Spike, although to be fair, he would never encourage it.

He had known physical pleasure with men. During his experimental days in college he had dated, platonically, several women and had intimate relationships with two men. Each of the two relationships had run their course. They burned hot and fast and in the end, Spike was unable to compromise and the men he was with couldn't stand his nit picking. All had parted on good terms.

But this, he knew was different. Wanton. Wild and unrestricted, throwing caution and cleanliness to the wind, it would be pay your money and take a ride on the Xander express. Release your inhibitions and allow this boy, who probably knew all the mysterious and wondrous things that one man could do to another to bring your body earth shaking pleasures.

Spike wondered what it would be like. Buying the physical favors of a stranger. For a few minutes, he allowed his fantasy to continue as the mile markers clicked off with monotonous repetition. His eyes darted over noting the strong thighs that sat, separated, bouncing marginally as the car hit a random rough patch of highway. Spike gripped the wheel with white knuckles as his heartbeat escalated.

When the boy unexpectedly snuffed and grunted in his sleep, the sound cut through the silence, startling Spike back to reality. He was horrified to realize he had a raging boner. Immediately, his mind went into control mode to distract himself and hopefully deflate a potentially catastrophic situation. It took nearly twenty minutes, but it finally, much to his relief, went down.

Two hours and ten minutes later, Spike pulled the car slowly forward on the narrow dirt path and he turned off the engine.


The tone of shock, terror and repulsion in Spike's voice woke Xander with a start and he sat bolt upright, sure the car had been surrounded by a small army of Columbians with small rocket launchers and AK 47's.

"What? What? What's wrong?"

When Xander's line of sight followed Spike's pointing finger, what he saw looked less to him like hell and more like heaven. Without being told to, Xander leapt from the car and rushed forward. He finally looked back over his shoulder at the man who was apparently not going to exit the vehicle.

"Is this it? Oh my god, Spike, it's so neat. Come on get your ass out here. Gimme a key and lets look inside."

Xander bounced on his feet. It was everything he had hoped for and he tried to take it all in at once. The building was small, one story high with a peaked roof. The entire cabin was constructed of old, weather worn logs. It was evident that it had not been used in years and the foliage of the area had all but overtaken it.

Three wood slat steps led up to a wide, railed porch that ran the entire length of the front of the cabin.

Closing his eyes and inhaling deeply, all Xander could smell was the damp earth and vegetation of the deep woods that surrounded them. The sounds that filled his ears were totally foreign. Gone was the traffic, the horns and shouts. Absent were all traces of civilization, replaced with birds, crickets and the breeze that rustled through the branches and leaves. Xander felt as though he and Spike were the only two people left in the world.

Despite his reservations, Xander's enthusiasm made Spike smile and worked like a shoehorn to wedge him from the car. Cautiously, he eased out yet he remained close in case he needed to hop back in. Reaching in his coat pocket, Spike extricated the small key and held out his hand. Not waiting for permission, or comment, Xander snatched it and ran up the steps.

Spike hung back, next to his avenue of escape and he watched as the boy fumbled for a minute then disappeared. He heard him let out a whoop of excitement and he immediately reappeared on the edge of the porch. "Come on! Hurry up! It's great, Spike, come and see."

When Spike didn't immediately respond, Xander put his hands on his hips and he tried to scowl, though his excitement was making a show of anger all but impossible. "Damn it Spike. For once in your life, don't be a prick. We're here and you can't spend the whole week in your fucking car, so give it the fuck up and come see."

Reluctantly, Spike had to admit, the boy was right. After all, he wondered, how bad can it be? Cautiously he stepped forward, careful to keep his feet on the narrow, dirt path and avoid the high, noxious weeds that lined the walkway.

He gingerly placed one foot on the first step as he evaluated the strength and durability of the worn, warped, plank. When it held his meager weight, he advanced to the next. As he made his way to the porch, he held back. Several boards appeared to be weak and suspiciously cracked.

Before he could express his concerns regarding the building's structural integrity, Xander grabbed him by the sleeve and physically jerked him inside. When Spike saw the interior of the small place that would be their temporary home, he staggered back and very nearly passed out.

Part Seventeen

The main room of the cabin was large. Much larger than one would estimate from the outside. It was square with windows on every side that, if cleaned, would allow the cabin to be flooded with light. Bright morning on the eastern side and soft evening light from the west.

The entire back wall that faced the front door was stone, built by hand to form a huge fireplace and chimney. Constructed from giant river biscuits, the stones were large, round and polished to a golden color which had now dulled from neglect and age.

The cabin was sparsely furnished. The white sheets that covered everything confirmed Spike's suspicion that the furniture, ashamed to be seen here, had committed suicide and was now nothing more than ghostly apparitions.

Spike had remained where he stood. His feet glued just inches from the front threshold. His brain was spinning, grasping for a possible out to this madness. They hadn't passed a decent hotel in miles and even if they had, it was out of the question. They were here because of security issues. They were here because of the job. Spike whimpered with stark realization. They were here.

Xander, on the other hand, was like a whirling dervish, spinning from one spot to another. This was exactly like the cabins he had read about as a child in the Davy Crockett books he used to love. Back when reading was his escape. Before life became so unbearable that physical escape became necessary.

Noticing the small doorway to the far right of the fireplace, Xander bolted in, reappearing in just seconds, the grin on his face only bigger. "Kitchen."

Running across the length of the room to the left side, he lurched through another door. Less than three seconds later, he was filing his report on that one. "Bedroom." Not giving himself a moment to catch his breath, Xander stood with his hands on his hips. "Well, we got a ton of stuff to do so I think we better get started."

With that, he whipped one of the sheets from the pitiful sofa it was concealing and the room lit up as the millions of dust mites sparkled and winked in the muted sunlight from the windows. To Xander it looked like pictures he had seen of snow falling and blanketing a winter field.

To Spike it resembled particles of radiation pouring contamination down over their heads. He could already feel it coating his throat and lungs and he staggered back, his hands clutching his neck. Using the last bit of vocal power he had, he screamed and ran from the cabin. "AAAHHHH!!!!!!!!"

Xander didn't care. If he was gone, he was gone. Xander was here to stay for as long as they would let him. With a repetitious snap of his wrist, he went around the room and jerked each sheet off, rolling them all together in a large bundle as he went.

"Now stop that! You're just making things worse."

Xander spun back around at the order and nearly burst out laughing. Spike stood just inside the doorway wearing rubber gloves, a paper face filter over his nose and mouth and a blue paper surgical cap over his hair. In his hand he carried a heavy, oversized metal case. The kind Xander had seen CSI carry on TV.

Without further ado, Spike set down the case, popped it open and began extracting bottle after bottle of cleaning solution, disinfectant sprays and clean, neatly folded scrub rags. Xander suspected they had been ironed.

Everything was laid out on the floor in a straight line by order of use beginning with the basics of Pine Sol and ammonia.

"All right. If we are stuck here, we might as well make it livable. Well, at least tolerable. You are going to start in here. I want everything dusted with this." Spike pushed one of the cans forward on the floor with the toe of his dress shoe.

Xander took off his cowboy hat and tossed it on the ugly red checkered sofa. For once, he didn't mind being ordered around. Truth was, he couldn't wait to get started. He wanted the place clean, tidy, and cozy before the sun dipped and the night turned cool.

Although it was now only three in the afternoon, he knew it would take all day. He tried not to openly snicker at the muffled orders being spoken through the paper barrier.

"After everything is polished and dusted, TWICE, you will start on those windows. Immediately remove the curtains. They are old, torn, and no doubt infested with fleas, tics and countless deadly microorganisms. They will be piled up in the back yard to be burned. Luckily, I have a stack of while towels in the boot of my car that will cover the glass and serve as substitution. Now, while you are doing all that, I will tackle the kitchen. We will consider the bedrooms later."

The corners of Xander's mouth twitched. This was to be a double whammy. First, he could just imagine Spike's response when he saw the filth and greasy mess in the kitchen and second, he couldn't wait to see the man's face when he dropped this bomb.


Spike looked up from where he had squatted, already beginning to select the products he would take in to the kitchen with him. "What?"

"Bedroom. Singular. One. You said bedroomS, but there is only one. We are going to have to share."

Spike's face went white as he remembered his impromptu erection and the unwanted fantasies he had allowed his mind to conjure up in the car. Thinking the expression of shock on the detective's face was due to the close quarters he was being forced in to with a whore, Xander nodded and grinned. This was getting better and better by the minute.

"That's right Buddy. It's you and me together, tumblin' tween the sheets of a big 'ole double bed in a cabin deep in the woods."

Spike stood upright, his arms overloaded with cleaning supplies and he huffed. "Oh, I think not, young man. Remember why we're here. This is not a party house and we are not frat boys. There will be no tumbling. Not between the sheets which I suspect are foul anyway, nor anywhere else. Now, you need to get started on this disgusting mess and I will begin in there."

Spike waved a hand in the general direction of the kitchen. He had already made up his mind that he would be sleeping in his car tonight and the limited arrangements only cemented that resolution.

Xander's smile faltered as he wondered if the detective was really serious. Xander was no pussy but the thought of being all alone in here scared him. This was a totally foreign environment. He knew the old saying of 'Does a bear shit in the woods?' He just hoped it wasn't THESE woods.

Not noticing the insecurity on the boy's face, Spike went about the task of inventorying the massive amount of bottles and cans he held in his arms. When he assured himself that he had everything that could possibly be needed, he hustled quickly across the room to the doorway and into the kitchen.

When the door swung closed behind him, Xander heard all the cans and bottles as they hit the floor and the now familiar, slightly muffled scream as the detective faced the unimaginable squalor.


His grin returned full force and was now accompanied by a hop, skip and a dance as he began swiping the dust rag around the room.

Part Eighteen

By six PM, Xander's good mood had taken a nose dive. He had failed two inspections and knew no matter how many times he dusted, cleaned, wiped and swiped, the living room would never be up to Spike's extreme standards.

He also realized that evening would be on them soon and they would have more pressing issues than how many dust mites per square inch the cabin contained. Xander stood, stretching the cramps out of his back and legs and he slammed down his well worn rag.

He then marched purposefully into the kitchen, determined not to take no for an answer.

"Now look here Spike, I think......WOW!"

Xander walked all around the small galley kitchen. It in no way resembled the filthy, disgusting area he had first explored when they got there. He had to admit, Spike knew cleaning. For some odd reason, it gave him a feeling of reassurance. If Spike was half as good a cop as he was a maid, Xander was safe as houses.

Spike smiled. He peeled off the rubber gloves and tossed aside the paper mask and cap as his eyes shone with pride and satisfaction.

"It's coming. It still has a long way to go, but, it's coming."

"You've done a great job. You could eat off the floor in here. That is if we had any food. I'm hungry Spike and that isn't all. The sun will go down soon and we'll freeze our asses off. In the dark. In the cold. What's up with that?"

"No problem, we just need to get organized. Now, according to the enclosed instructions, we call to the village and they will deliver anything we want. The stove here is connected to the propane tank out back, as is a small water heater in the kitchen sink. There are lanterns in the rear shed and bottles of oil. We will need to gather fire wood for heat. Funny....."

Spike turned the paper over in his hand then checked the envelope to see if something wasn't missing.

".....I don't see any reference to a water heater in the bathroom for the shower. When you checked the bedroom, did the bath have a tub or just a shower?"

Xander's good mood again returned and he sincerely regretted not having a camera. This was destined to be one of the great Kodak moments of all time.

"Oh, did I forget to tell you? Come here."

Xander indicated Spike should look out the back kitchen window where he pointed out a small standing shack. Spike looked on with confusion at what it was Xander was so anxious for him to see.

"See it?"

"Wha? That little building?"

"Yep. That's it"

"That's what?"

"The bathroom."

The look of abject horror that spread across Spike's face did not disappoint. It was everything Xander had hoped for and more, at least until the smaller man began to hyperventilate. He staggered back from the sink and Xander was afraid he may collapse onto the spotless floor. Xander caught him and eased him to a chair.

"Whoa, there Buddy. Don't pass out on me now. Look, it won't be that bad. There. See that porcelain pan over there? That's a wash pan. Just fill it with hot water in the sink and sponge bath. It ain't that big a deal. My Mom used to wash us kids like that when I was little. Come on, Spike. Buck up little cowboy, we got a lot to do and a short time to do it."

Spike nodded. His face was pale and his skin cold and clammy but he knew the boy was right. Besides the horror, he also knew that part of his shakiness was due to his low blood sugar. Spike's delicate constitution required he consume several small meals a day and he was now woefully behind. He realized that if he allowed himself to think about the unimaginable situation that was the bathroom, he would be totally incapacitated so he immediately forced his attention on to other issues.

"Right. Right you are. All right. I did check and the phone service has been connected. We shall order food. First, we need a list. I am assuming they carry a wide assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables. We want nothing high fat or prepared. You never know what those factories are infested with."

Xander rolled his eyes and snatched the phone number out of Spike's hand. He grabbed up the handset and punched the numbers.

"Hello? Yeah this Smith. I'm up at the cabin on Possum Road. Yeah, that's the one. Oh you've been expecting us? Great! Yeah, we're fucking starved! Send up bread, eggs, milk, butter, beans, weenies, soup and peanut butter. Oh, and throw in a hot pepperoni pizza. Shit, hang on a minute."

Xander covered the mouth piece with his hand and turned to face the man who was wildly waving his hands, harshly whispering "No high fat! No high fat!"

"What Spike? What is your problem?"

"I'll have you know I have a very sensitive system and cannot tolerate fatty foods. Suffice to say it reacts negatively with my colon."

Xander wrinkled his nose. "Gives ya the shits, huh?"

He then turned his attention back to the phone call. "So, all that and give us some salad shit and fruit. Hey, ya'll got a license? Great bring up a six pack and a couple bottles of wine. So, how long will ya be, cause I'm hungry enough to eat the asshole out of a skunk. 1 hour? Sounds good, see ya then."

Spike frowned. "Are you even old enough to drink legally?"

Xander shook his head in disbelief. "I fuck men for a living Spike."

Spike felt the bile rise in his throat. They had gotten along so well together since arriving that he had almost forgotten. The expression of disgust that crossed Spike's face was not lost on Xander and he snorted. It was a look he was well familiar with but for some reason, it hurt that it was Spike wearing it.

"We got an hour before the food gets here. Why don't you wash up, that fucking suit can't be comfortable and besides, it's filthy from cleaning. You run hot water for a wash up and I'll go get the bags out of the car. Then, while you change, I'll see to some firewood and fill the oil lamps."

Spike nodded. He was ashamed of himself. Xander was a nice person, despite what he did for a living and so far, Spike was acting the bigger arse. He resolved to do better. This whole scenario might just be his worst nightmare, but punishing Xander was not the answer.

Part Nineteen

Spike was torn. He knew he would absolutely die if he had to spend one more minute in that soiled and sullied suit. Unfortunately, although he'd brought other pressed shirts and, of course, numerous white, pressed boxers, he had planned on wearing the suit for most of the few days they would be forced to stay here. Now, the expensive Italian suit was rendered unwearable.

In fact he could, as he stood there, feel the slim and germs as they seeped and soaked through the fine, costly fabric and settle on his skin. But the thought that he would actually have to sponge bath in a sink pan sent shudders of revulsion throughout his body. It was a conundrum. Wash in the sink or live in filth.

Well apparently. Spike thought unhappily, This little cowboy is about to
buck up.

Spike opened the suitcase Xander had set on a kitchen chair for him before he left to cut some firewood. He removed his personals bag and set it to the side. He did give a quick cursing rant at his partner for the attempt at humor when he saw the clothing choices, however it was hard to stay mad when he noted that all the shirts were new and still in sealed plastic.

With a sigh he set the wash pan in the sink and after bleaching it, began to fill it with hot water. As he waited, he gazed out of the window over the sink and he watched as Xander moved around in the fading light. Spike watched him go to a small shed, fumble with the latch and disappear inside. By the time the pan had filled with steaming water, the boy had stepped out with an ax.

With Xander safely occupied outside, Spike began to remove his clothes which he tossed in a heap at the side. Regretfully, they would have to join in on the curtain BBQ tomorrow. No laundry service on earth could render them fit for use again.

Spike dipped his hands in the hot pan of water. The sharp contrast to the cool air that chilled his naked body caused him to shiver violently and break out in goose bumps. It raised the fine hairs on his arms, legs and torso in a disturbingly pleasant way that made his nut sack tingle.

As he unwrapped his individual bar of oatmeal soap, Spike again noticed Xander in the clearing outside. His long, thick dark hair brushed softly across his broad shoulders, swishing as he moved. Spike noticed that as the boy pushed a stray bit of hair behind his ear, the blinding sunlight would sparkle and gleam off the large, obviously genuine diamond stud in his ear and the detective wondered what act a prostitute could perform to earn such an expensive trinket. He also knew despite his curiosity, he would never shame Xander by asking.

Xander was unaware that he was being watched. He stood, shirtless, his tan, muscular back was ramrod straight. He had taken a couple practice swings at the large, old tree stump that was used as a base for chopping wood. When he seemed comfortable with the feel of the ax in his hands, he set a chunk of wood on the stump and swung.


Spike was startled. The sound was so powerful, he imagined he could almost feel it reverberate through the hard wooden floor, into his cold bare feet, up his corded slim legs and pooling in his crotch.

Uneasy with the feelings that were beginning to stir in his blood, Spike forced himself to look away. He quickly washed and rinsed his face, neck, chest and underarms.

As he rinsed his cloth and prepared to move lower, his eyes again drifted to the back field. Spike gasped and the soap slipped from his hands into the warm water at what he saw. The boy's back glistened, brown, and coated with perspiration. His body was young, strong, sculpted and perfectly defined. Spike nearly drooled as Xander's arms went high in the air and came down.


Spike's heartbeat and breathing escalated as he reached in and scooped up the soap, his eyes now locked on the window. Facing away from the cabin, Xander would methodically pick up a large log from his right, set it on the stump and as his back and arm muscles flexed and strained, bring the ax down and cause the wood to cooperate into at least four manageable sections that fell off to the left before the process repeated.

Despite seeing it coming, each time the deep, hollow sound reached Spike's ears, he jumped. Working independently from his brain, his hands began caressing the soap. They worked together to roll it and turn it till the foam filled his palms and dripped from between his fingers.


Spike's breath hitched and he stepped his feet apart. With his hands bubbly and slick, Spike watched the sinewy movements as he coated the insides of his thighs. His bare feet rocked slightly forward as the lather slick fingers moved instinctively up and he sighed as they found their mark.


Spike tried to find some small corner of his brain to justify that he was innocently washing himself but even that one little gray cell wasn't buying it so he gave himself over to the fantasy. What would it be like? To pay. To have Xander take your money in exchange for showing you all the physical pleasures you never knew existed.


Spike moaned as his hand slid smoothly and easily up and down his rigid, hot shaft. He couldn't remember ever being this hard, this wanting. He whispered obscenities under his breath when Xander ran his fingers through his long dark hair. Spike wondered if Xander would think him a freak if he wanted to wash the boy's hair. If he would charge extra.


Spike's stomach muscles quivered and his toes curled in the puddles of soapy, cool water that ran in rivets down the insides of his thighs. The harder Xander clutched the handle of his tool, the harder Spike gripped his.

With one hand bracing his straining arm against the kitchen sink Spike could feel the first wonderful stirrings in his spine, sizzling, creeping and burning down towards his sac and he stripped his meat frantically. Suddenly, Xander tossed the ax to the side and he bent over, his loose low jeans dipped and the tops of his firm round ass cheeks peeked out.

Spike's eyes rolled up at the thought that the boy wore no protective underwear. It was so scandalous, so dirty and wrong that it shot the slowly building orgasm into warp speed, nearly knocking him off balance with it's sudden power. His body went rigid and he forgot to breathe as the cock in his hand twitched and jerked with spurts of stringy, white release.

"Oh, Sweet, Lordy Lord."

After what seemed like hours, the spasms stopped and Spike's muscles slowly relaxed. Finally, he released his happy dick and it gradually, gratefully deflated. Glancing down, he was disturbed at what he saw. Looking up, he was horrified at what he didn't. Xander was gone!

Fumbling with his cloth, Spike frantically tried cleaning the soapy layer of bubbles mixed with apparently gallons of cum off himself. The kitchen would, of course have to be scrubbed again, but that would come later.

"Hey, you done yet? I got a ton of wood and I found some old papers in the shed. I can lay up a fire for later." Xander's sweaty face wore a huge grin as he stuck it in the kitchen doorway.

Spike screamed and tried to cover his exposed privates with what now seemed to be a very small piece of cloth.  "See here now. I expect a certain amount of respect for personal space!"

Xander laughed. "Why? Were both men here, and from what I've seen, you have NOTHING to be ashamed of."

Before Spike could sputter his outrage, Xander winked and was gone.<

Part Twenty

Spike dried, dressed and disinfected the kitchen with lightning speed. He practiced and rehearsed, in his brain, numerous admonishments that he would confront the boy with. There must be rules! There had to be certain guidelines and protocol followed and respected. The scurrilous boy needed to be made to understand that Spike was in charge and that this was not a camp out for fun and frolic.

Marching into the living area, Spike's speech was temporarily forgotten by what he saw. The room was transformed. It was clean, certainly not as clean as he could have done, but acceptable and surprisingly welcoming. The fireplace crackled and came to life as it gave off a golden light and heat that filled the room with comfort. He could see that Xander had put forth a great deal of effort and he decided that maybe his stern talking to could wait till later.

"Well, now, isn't this nice."

The pride on Xander face beamed brighter than the oil lamps and his smile warmed Spike's heart in a way no stone chimney ever could.

"Really? You like it? I just....."

Whatever else he was going to say was interrupted by a pounding on the door. When Xander reached for the handle, Spike lurched forward to stop him, whispering harshly. "No! Get back."

Standing to the side, Spike withdrew his weapon and held it firmly in both hands before calling out. "Who is it?"

"Mason's Market. Delivery"

Spike reached down and turned the door knob, jerking it open and spinning around to face the startled, freckled faced boy on the other side.

"Wow, is that a real gun?"

When he saw that the visitor was nothing more than a pup, Spike stuck his weapon back in the holster with a huff and walked away. Xander then hurried up with a grin to relieve the boy of the packages in his arms. "Come on, bring the rest in the kitchen. Did you bring the pizza? You didn't forget the beer did you? Oh, my God, it smells good."

Spike dropped into the chair by the fireplace and watched the two boys go into the kitchen together. He hoped that whatever the lad had brought was in sealed containers. God only knows where THOSE hands have been.

The small, blond delivery boy helped Xander remove all the items from the paper sacks as he introduced himself. "I'm Andrew. My Pop owns the market and I deliver. You the guy who called? You Joe Smith?"

Xander frowned at the odd name before remembering that it was originally his own concoction. Continuing to shove items in the cupboards, he grabbed out a couple plates and inhaled deeply over the steaming cardboard box. "Ah, yeah, that's me. I'm Joe. Well, thanks for the delivery. I guess you can...."

Andrew made no move to leave. Instead, he leaned over, his elbows on the cheap Formica counter top, his head on his hands. "What about the other guy? The one with the big... gun? He's really magnificent. You two...Lovers?" The last word was whispered with a conspiratorial giggle.

Xander snorted and shoved a piece of pizza in his mouth. "Nah, just friends. You interested? Heeeey, you know what? You might have a chance. You're just his type. He likes 'em young and blond. Why don't you go out there and let him know you're available."

Andrew's eyes lit up and his entire little body twitched. His wide blue eyes darted toward the closed door and back to Xander. With his mouth shoved full, all Xander could do was smile, nod and wink. Andrew jumped to his feet, whispered his thanks and hurried through the door, letting it swing closed behind him.

Xander happily unscrewed the bottle top and took a big swallow of beer as he listened to the muffled, indiscernible voices. Then, right on cue, Spike's shout of "Why you cheeky little bastard! Does your Mum know what you are about? Take your grocery hauling little butt right back down that road."

Xander snickered gleefully and drained his beer, reaching for a second. He barely managed to control his laughter as the door was slapped open and Mr. Magnificent himself stomped in.

"Well, I see you waited on me."

Xander shoved the pizza box across the table. "Like one hog waits on another. Have some."

Spike cringed and stared into the strange cardboard box. He had never eaten such a gross concoction in his life, unfortunately, he was starved and drastic times called for drastic action. Spike would eat pizza.

After rinsing a clean glass with hot water, he filled it with wine. He then got out a plate, a previously boiled fork and a paper napkin. When he sat down, the napkin crossed his right knee and the table setting was meticulously arranged.

Xander watched with interest as the detective carefully lifted one slice out with the fork and placed it, point down, on his platter. Spike then proceeded, with a knife and fork to slice and eat. Despite knowing the cheese would have dire consequences, he had to admit that it wasn't all that bad. Finally, Xander couldn't stand it any longer.

"So what was all that shouting about?"

Spike sputtered as he sipped his wine. "The little bastard propositioned me!"

Xander reached for another piece and feigned outrage. "What? No he didn't! Why, that's just shocking!"

Spike's eyes squinted into slits and he slammed down his fork. "You put him up to that, didn't you?"

Xander tried his best to keep a straight face but failed. What started out as a snicker, grew to a chuckle and finally he had to quickly swallow to prevent spraying food when he burst out laughing.

When Spike realized the implication of Xander's hilarity, he tried to be mad. Funny thing was, he didn't feel any malice in the joke and finally had to join in. For a good three minutes both men rolled with laughter and the tears ran down Spike's face. He couldn't remember ever laughing this hard.

Finally, with a gasp, he stopped laughing long enough to take a sip of wine. He then looked Xander in the eye and said, "You should have seen the boy's face."

And the uncontrolled laughter started again.

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