Rough Diamond


Part Thirty-Six

The short ride home was made in silence. The excessive amount of whisky combined with the teeth rattling orgasm left Xander barely able to keep his eyes open. The relief that his body had been so desperate for had come with the shock of seeing a whole new side to his companion. Watching Spike rough up Gunn and then forcefully claim Xander's ass was the most erotic thing he had ever experienced and now he was exhausted.

Whatever quirks Spike may have that gave him a somewhat prissy, girly affect, couldn't be further from the truth. Spike was all man and had the cock to prove it.

The whole experience was also making it nearly impossible to ignore the other part of his body that was becoming overly attached to Spike. His emotions.

Spike's silence was borne of shock. He had never, in his life, done anything so outlandish. He had stood in the filth of the back alley, punched a man, not to mention stealing the poor chap's lube and condom, then in a totally felonious manor, committed an act of lewd and lascivious behavior. And enjoyed it!

An arrest of public indecency and assault should have been a given.

Still, as disgusted as he was with himself, he had to admit, the orgasm was so earth moving that his fucking knee caps were still rubbery.

Driving back over the dark and bumpy road, Spike stole a glance over at his sleeping companion. Xander was again wearing his cowboy hat because Spike, personally, had snatched it off the head of the skanky Janet as he steered the boy back through the crowd toward the front door of Cracker's and then directly to the parking lot.

All he could wonder was how the hell he had allowed himself to get into this situation and, even more concerning was the fact that when it was all over and they returned to the real world, what would he do about Xander.

A kiss could be denied. A grope and a hand job he could try to forget but what they had done tonight would stay with him for the rest of his life. It was the most exciting sexual experience he had ever had. Hell, it was probably the peak. Everything now that followed would be down hill.

But the worst part was that somehow, his damn heart had weighed in on the situation. Maybe, Spike rationalized, it was because he had never really had this much of a close contact relationship before. Hopefully, this erroneous illusion that he was falling for a male prostitute would dissipate when they returned to the city and their own separate lives.

Even Spike knew bullshit when he shoveled it.

Pulling up the drive, Spike wished they had electricity. The cabin was dark and ominous and he would have given anything for a flashlight and his gun, both of which were still on the bedside table.

Stepping out of the car, Spike was inundated by the sounds of the wilderness and immediately thoughts of that fucking Rocky looming in the trees, waiting to attack, caused him to rush to Xander's side and jerk the door open. "Come on, Xander, wake up. Get out of the damn car. Hurry up."

"What? Huh? Hey, we're home. Great, thanks Spike. I knew you'd get me home all safe and sound."

Still drunk, Xander stumbled from the car and fell forward into Spike's arms. With a disgusted sigh and a grunt, Spike shifted the weight and helped his boy make it in, through the door, past the fireplace that was down to glowing red embers, and directly to the bed where he was dumped like a sack of potatoes.

Spike would have been happy to leave him like that as punishment if it weren't for the fact that he had to sleep there too, so with tenuous fingertips, he tugged off the shoes, shirt and pants before running to the kitchen to fill his wash pan. As he waited for the water to heat he tossed his own clothes into a pile for tomorrow's bon fire. He hoped the Mayor called soon, he was about out of clothes.

When he finally slid into the double bed, Xander immediately scooted over and spooned up behind him. The combination of the incredible body heat from the boy and the sweet smell of the whisky that still clung to him shot directly to Spike's cock and much to his dismay, it twitched happily in his pressed, white boxers. Spike knew he was fucked.

When they again woke, it was late in the afternoon. The fire had gone out and the cabin was cold and damp from the air that whispered of the oncoming autumn. Spike shivered and pulled the blankets up around his chin. He knew his bladder would drive him out soon enough but he was hoping for a few more minutes of warmth.

Unfortunately, those minutes were cut short by the unexpected pounding on the cabin door. Startled, Spike jumped from the bed and grabbed his gun. In a repeat of their last meeting, Spike jerked the door open and pointed the barrel at the freckles on Andrew's nose.

Andrew gasped. "Oh, hell yes!"

When Spike recognized the boy with the brown sacks in his arms, he dropped his hand to his side and moved away to let him enter. Andrew slithered across the threshold as he all but drooled. "Hi, Spike. Wow, you sure look keen when you get up. You city folk always sleep late or was you doin' other stuff?"

Spike's only answer was a roll of the eyes.

Andrew knew where the kitchen was and part of his brain told him that was where the groceries went, however, his eyeballs had set his feet in cement as he ogled the God that was Spike.

The man's usually neat hair was wild and unkempt and except for a very thin pair of boxers, he was stark naked. And the best part? He was sporting morning wood! Andrew was on the verge of hyperventilation. Could his young life get any better?

Yes, he decided, it could, when seconds later, Xander came dragging out of the same bedroom, totally naked as his man meat stood at attention for a morning salute.

Xander nodded at Andrew, paused to give Spike a closed mouth peck on the lips then headed outside to empty about a gallon of piss from his over full bladder, bitching as he went. "Damn, it's cold as fuck in here. I'll do the fire as soon as I get back. Oh, hi Andrew."

Andrew's gaze never left the bounce of Xander's bare ass cheeks till they turned the corner and moved out of sight. When he could no longer see him, he turned back to Spike with a huge grin on his face. "Gee whilikers. You guys are great!"

Spike just sighed, shook his head and headed out to find his own tree.

"Just put the fucking groceries in the kitchen, Andrew."

Part Thirty-Seven

Rocky was pissed off. He had hung around all morning waiting for the breakfast service only to be disappointed. He knew the humans were in there because their loud machine sat outside. He had skittered all round the perimeter of the cabin and even climbed up to peer in the windows. There he saw his human, curled in a nest with his mate. Rocky didn't like his human's mate.

He had tried to be friendly. He liked it when his own coonie companion was treated with respect so he had tried to be friends, but this human was not the same. He was loud and always screaming and running around whenever Rocky came near. His human's mate scared the hell out of Rocky.

Still, a free meal was a free meal, so he waited. Hiding in the bushes off the main porch, Rocky chattered happily when another human arrived with bags of delicious smelling goodies. Breakfast couldn't be far off. Within minutes, his human ran outside and Rocky took off to follow wondering if he had brought food. When he smelled the human urine, Rocky slipped behind a tree to hide from the stinky, foul odor.

When the first drops of hot urine hit the back of his head, Rocky nearly fainted. He spun around in time to see the other one, the one who was stingy with the table scraps, shaking off his pee stick and tucking it away.

Rocky was horrified. Rocky had been disgraced and disrespected. Rocky would have his revenge! This time it was personal!

When Spike hustled back to the cabin, he was relieved to see that Xander, now wearing jeans, was building a fire. Andrew was kicked back in Spike's chair watching and giving tips on how to stack the kindling. When he saw his fantasy return, Andrew jumped to his feet.

"Morning Spike. I put away all the groceries. Xander says you guys had a late night out. He didn't say what you were doing. I bet I know. Can I stay for breakfast?"

Spike was at his breaking point. The cabin was filthy, he desperately needed to scrub his body from head to toe, possibly with an S.O.S. pad, and he and Xander needed to have a real talk. Without saying a word, Spike marched over and latched onto Andrew's earlobe. Andrew was led, unceremoniously to the front door. "Ow ow ow ow ow."

Spike then opened the door and pushed the boy out, slamming the door in the kid's freckled face. From inside, they could still hear the chirpy, muffled voice. "Yeah, o.k, I know you guys are busy. I guess I'll go. Bye. Call me if you need anything."

Xander chuckled and put the finishing touches on the building fire. He then stood and held his hands out toward the warmth that rose with the promise of quickly heating the cabin. Spike momentarily forgot about the bath or the layer of dust that was growing around him by the second. Instead, he sat down and clasped his hands. "Xander, sit down. I want to talk about last night."

Xander grinned and laughed. "Yeah, that was kick ass, wasn't it? Damn I needed an all out night of drinking,  fighting and fucking and that one was as good as they get."

Spike hung his head and sighed sadly. "That's what I figured. How can you do that Xander?"

All the joy deflated from him and Xander knew that sooner or later they would have this talk. He had just hoped for later. Much later.

"Do what Spike? What are you asking me?"

Spike sat up and looked the boy in the eye.

"Fuck strangers. How can you let strange men fuck you for money."

Xander held his head high. "Well, in the first place, you're paid to be a detective because that's what you're good at and that is what you choose to do. It just so happens that what I'm good at is giving men pleasure so why shouldn't I be paid for it. I have to live too. As for last night, you aren't a stranger and as I recall, you didn't pay me."

Spike would not back down. They had started this conversation and he was going to see it through no matter how much pain it caused.

"No, but I wasn't the one you wanted was I? You went out there with that other man. You wanted him to fuck you and I just forced myself in. I wasn't your choice. Was he a customer? Did you lose your fee?"

Xander wanted to punch the smug, superior look right off Spike's face, but what would that prove? So, Xander stood firm and crossed his arms over his chest.

"No, he wasn't a customer. The fact is, I'm used to fucking several times a day, Spike. I need it. I haven't had it for four days and I couldn't keep waiting on you to decide that I wouldn't give you some fatal social disease. So, I had too much to drink and when he rubbed all over me on the dance floor, I just figured, what the fuck. That's all it was, Spike. It was an anonymous, physical release. It wouldn't have meant shit. As it turned out, it meant more. At least to me. I can tell that all you felt was disgust, so why the fuck don't you run off to the kitchen and sterilize your fucking cock before it rots and falls off."

Spike broke eye contact. His voice was small and unsure. "It meant everything to me. I thought I'd die when I saw that man kissing you.
I couldn't let him have you. I couldn't watch him......"

Anything else Spike was about to confess was cut short when Xander jerked him to his feet and pulled the smaller, boxer clad body roughly against him. This time Xander neither announced or requested permission. He kissed.

Immediately, Spike threw his arms around Xander's neck and he let the larger man plunder his mouth with a tongue that still tasted of beer, whisky and unbrushed teeth.

And for once, he didn't care.

Part Thirty-Eight

The bright, cheerful afternoon sun had given way to a dark, overcast evening. Cuddling together on the sofa, the two men listened as the distant thunder slowly grew closer and closer signaling an oncoming rain storm.

Xander had laid in an ample stack of fire wood and Spike had scrubbed down the cabin. There was nothing to do now but wait for the rain.

When Spike put away the groceries that Xander had ordered the day before, he was delighted to see that he had included a request for batteries for the small portable radio. Once they settled in, they found a blues station, poured a glass of wine and were very comfortable with each other.

Their conversation had been vanilla. Nothing controversial, no speculation about what would happen when the phone rang and the Mayor informed them that the Colombians had been caught and the witness and his protector were needed to return to the real world of cops and robbers and handsome boy hookers.

Instead, they talked of wild flowers, what Spike would cook for supper and why feeding the crazed Rocky only encouraged it to abandon it's wild survival.

When the first huge drops of rain splattered against the window panes, they could physically feel the relief of the drop of atmospheric pressure in the air around them. With a slow, lazy stretch, Xander turned to the man beside him. "So what do you want to do? Want to play cards? I'll go get your gloves."

Spike smiled at the casual way Xander accepted his 'quirks', but he had other activities in mind. "No. Cards don't interest me. I wondered if maybe we, um... I mean if you.... actually I thought........"

Xander chuckled and scooted closer. He leaned in and whispered as though he were concerned someone else might hear. "What? What do you want to do Spike?"

Spike glanced back and forth between the radio and Xander. He wanted to ask, but he didn't want to sound like just another john. "Would you, um, dance for me, you know, like you did at Cracker's?"

Xander was thrilled. He loved to dance and he had a feeling Spike would be very appreciative. Quickly, he fiddled with the dial till he found a station that played a faster salsa tune and he began to sway.

Immediately, Spike jumped to his feet and held out his hands. "STOP!"

Xander's hips froze in mid swing and he frowned. Before he had the chance to question him, Spike was on his feet and rushing around. He grabbed Xander's hat off the coffee table and set it on his head. He then unbuttoned the boy's shirt and slipped it off his shoulders. As Spike returned to his seat, he realized that it still wasn't exactly right and he flipped back around, unsnapped Xander's jeans and tugged them just a few inches more so they rode indecently low on his hips.

For a fraction of a second, Xander remembered being in the hotel room, dancing for another man and what the consequences had been. But then he stopped. He shook his head to clear it and he knew the past held no power over him. He was here, now, with Spike and Spike wanted him to dance.

Taking a moment to survey his handiwork, Spike nodded his approval before returning to his seat where he snapped his fingers indicating 'go ahead'.

Xander laughed and decided to make this the performance of a lifetime. Spike deserved it. After running his fingers through his long dark hair, he put his hat low over his eyes and hooked his thumbs in his belt loops. Then, facing the older man, Xander slowly began moving.

His hips picked up the beat of the music and rolled in perfect time. As the spicy hot tune filled the cabin with a combination of steel guitar strings and the deep beat of a bass drum, Xander moved one hand to his gold nipple and the other hand pressed against his ever growing erection.

Xander had assumed that he would dance till Spike's arousal peaked and he would be rewarded with a thick piece of cop meat to suck on, or even better, a high hard one up his love canal. Instead, Spike shocked the hell out of him when he rose to his feet, took off his own shirt and began to exactly mimic the roll, grind and dip of Xander's movement.

Xander's breath hitched. The detective's body was small, tight, corded and muscular and he turned and pressed his ass against Xander's crotch.

"Oh, fuck, Spike."

Spike threw his head back. "Is this right?"

The detective then bent his knees and while humping and grinding, squatted and lowered himself down before rolling his hips back up. When he turned back around, he was surprised to see that Xander had stopped dancing and stood, rubbing his hand over the front of his jeans that now tented forward. Spike placed his palms flat on Xander's stomach feeling the coarse, prickly hairs before reaching into the boy's front pocket and pulling out a condom. Gently they continued to sway together.

But, Xander'd had enough playing.

He slid his fingertips into the back of Spike's pants and gripped the firm round globes of his ass as he nibbled on the detective's ear. "Fuck, Spike you're so damn hot. Slide it on. Put the fucking rubber on and fuck the hell out of me."

Spike slipped his hand between their bodies and he unzipped Xander's jeans. He then released and stroked the thick, hard, veined flesh. "It's not for me. I want you to wear it."

Xander gasped, then he lifted Spike's face, forcing him to look up. "Have you ever done that? Do you know that it hurts the first time?"

Spike's hand automatically continued to stroke up and down on the perfect cock and considered what he was asking Xander to do to him.

Finally, when he thought he could put into words what was in his heart, Spike swallowed and laid his feelings out in a way that he had never done before. "I'm scared as hell, Xander, but not of the pain, I'm scared of having my heart broken. I've never let anybody do this because I just can't imagine another human being climbing inside my body. The very thought of it has always given me the heebie jeebies, until now. Now, it's the most exciting thing I can imagine. Even if we separate and go our own way when this is over, I always want to remember the feel of you being in my body with me."

Xander was overwhelmed. The warmth that rushed through him, this time, went deeper than lust. He wanted to say the words. But he couldn't let himself do it. The three words that formed in his heart, caught in his throat and died on his tongue. He couldn't do it. He wouldn't say it. The best he could do was a choked nod before he turned and ran from the room.

Spike carefully removed his pants, folded them and laid them across the back of a chair. He then stood naked next to the fire to keep warm while he waited. His cock was hard and erect and every now and again, his fingers would drift, ghosting lightly over it to keep the low tingle humming sweetly in his balls.

He was nervous when he thought about what he had asked Xander to do, but he knew there was no one else he wanted or ever would want. The late day sun was concealed behind several layers of thick clouds as the rain now came down in heavy sheets and Spike gave a prayer of thanks for the solid roof.

When Spike's curiosity was beginning to lean towards concern, he considered calling out to Xander to see what he was doing instead of doing Spike. Before he could, Xander hurried back in, his arms full and his heart the same.

Part Thirty-Nine

When Spike had to ask the ultimate of Xander, the boy knew how hard this was. Neither man thought it odd that the older man was the inexperienced one and the younger one the teacher. Everything about this situation felt right and natural.  Still, Xander understood that if he did this wrong, he could ruin for Spike what he had waited a whole lifetime to experience.

It was a huge honor and responsibility.

Spike stepped back when Xander indicated, and he watched as the boy laid out a clean fresh sheet in front of the fire so that no part of Spike's skin would touch the bare, less than sterile floor. He had brought a pack of Spike's disinfectant wipes, a clean towel and a sealed packet of lube.

Spike was touched that there was no hint that this was being done cruelly or to make a joke of Spike's OCD, instead, it was all so personally designed that Spike understood in his heart of hearts that Xander did not consider him a joke, or worse, a customer. They weren't going to fuck. This was what making love was about and Spike was startled to think that Xander, in his short, worldly nineteen years understood what Spike never had.

When everything was ready, Xander held out his hand which Spike shyly accepted and they both stepped on the sheet. Xander gently took Spike's face in his hands, tipped it up and kissed him softly on the lips. The only sounds in the room were the rain on the roof, the soft music in the background and the heavy combined breathing of two sexually charged men.

"Lay down for me Spike. Spread your legs and let me see you."

Spike cringed. His insecurity and self preservation screamed at him to cover up but the look in Xander's eyes gave him the courage to do as he was told. With his knees bent and his feet apart, Xander gripped the thin bony ankles and knelt between Spike's feet.

Spike's hard erection pointed straight up. It laid against his flat stomach and the slit dribbled precum that pooled in his belly button. Leaning down, Xander's tongue darted out and lapped it up. Spike jumped as his stomach sucked in. When Xander began to kiss down the shaft, Spike sighed and lifted his arms over his head submissively.

"You like that?"

Spike nodded. "Feels so good."

"Good, because now I'm going to suck your nuts then lick your hole till you're dripping wet and juicy."

Spike gasped and grabbed for a wet wipe. Xander took it and cleaned his lover's privates before tossing it into the fire. The crackle and sizzle shot through Spike's body like electricity and Xander dove in. As he licked, nibbled and tongued Spike's wrinkled sac, Xander coated his fingers in a warm oily slick and, counting on the oral distraction, he smoothly slid his thumb into Spike's hole.

Spike stopped wriggling as his body sent up a red flag alert that the security had been breached. His knees jerked together and the muscle ring around Xander's thumb squeezed, trying to slam shut. Xander held still.

"Come on, Baby. You have to relax for me. Does it hurt?"

Spike considered the strange sight of Xander's head between his legs and oddly enough, it helped. He then, in a self medicating habit, grabbed a wipe, cleaned his hands and pitched it into the fire, a move that calmed him considerably and he laid his head back down.

"No. Feels funny but it doesn't hurt."

Xander chuckled. "Funny? Let's see if I can do better than funny."

Leaning forward, Xander decided it was time to pick up the pace and he wrapped his lips around Spike's rock hard meat and dropped his face till his nose landed in a crispy hair nest. At the same time he popped his thumb out and shoved two fingers back in before the opening had a chance to close.

The sounds of the rain and the fire were now drowned out by the curses, the moans and the grunts of the writhing man on the floor. Then, Xander found  the spot. This time the sentinel at the gate threw up a white flag and welcomed the invaders in. Spike's hand flew down and grasped Xander's wrist to prevent the boy from even thinking about taking that finger out.


Xander released the drooling cock from his mouth before it could explode and looked up into the wanton, dazed blue eyes. "See, Baby? See how good I can make you feel? It's gonna be even better when that's my cock in there pounding against that sweet spot. I promise"

Spike tried to remember why he had been afraid of this but nothing logical came to mind. His body felt hot, fevered and strange. Every pore of his skin seemed blown open and each hair too sensitive to touch. The 21st. century highly evolved area of his brain had sizzled out with the wet wipe in the fire and the only part that now functioned was the caveman corner that screamed to him to let Xander in.

"Yes, please."

Xander knew it was time. Spike was in that place where nothing mattered but the flesh. It is the release of trust that makes an orgasm truly shared and doubles it in strength. Wasting no more time, he got to his knees and dominantly threw Spike's legs over his shoulders. Then, bending the smaller man in half, he leaned down and kissed him gently, whispering. "The head is the biggest part. Once we get that in, the rest will go easier. Don't tighten up and don't stop breathing."

Spike nodded and tried to hold his ass high to help. When he felt Xander line up, it was all he could do not to grab for the box of wipes. Then his boy shoved through. Spike's legs pressed down on the broad, strong shoulders as the pain and burn ripped through him. Still, he had no reservations. As a gay man, he had always wondered what this would be like and the splitting agony was almost a relief in it's natural feel.

"Do you want to stop?"

"NO! You got the fucking thing in there, now goddamn it, do something with it."

Xander chuckled, then did. He eased further in then pulled back. He did it again and again, going a little deeper each time till nuts met ass. Every muscle in his own body was straining against the need to pound into this sweet, virginal hole till his balls filled and his cock exploded, but he didn't want Spike to remember it like that so he gritted his teeth and he went slow.

When a pattern had set, Xander let himself relax. He moved in and out easier and faster. Spike's breathing had gone from high pitched whines to deep moaning, mumbled curses that Xander knew meant pained pleasure. Tipping his lover's butt, Xander rammed in again and Spike grunted and grabbed his bouncing, leaking cock. Xander had fulfilled his promise.

Both men stopped thinking. There was no more teacher and pupil. There was only two men rapidly racing toward an all encompassing, mind blowing orgasm that threatened to shake the walls of the small cabin with it's force and intensity.

Always an overachiever, Spike got there first. Accustomed to a slow building orgasm, Spike was stunned when this one slammed into him like a tsunami, twisting every cell in his body and shooting wads of cum out of his cock that even caused his balls to twitch and jerk.

He was so all consuming with his own flush of hot pleasure, Spike was totally unaware of the man, still deeply planted inside him, that was doing the same.

Part Forty

Spike and Xander were faced with the biggest dilemma of their entire time here in the wilderness. Did they drag their exhausted, spent bodies to the soft warmth of the double bed with it's wooly blankets or do they stay here, slumped like boneless slugs in front of the fire to sleep?

It was dusk and the setting sun no longer filled the cabin with usable illumination, only deep shadows that meant they needed to light the lanterns if they hoped to move around without stubbing toes or cracking shins.

The rain had stopped and they could hear the crickets outside competing with the chirping tree frogs to see who could sing the longest and the loudest. The muted radio still played in the background and the fire was again reduced to hot red coals.

Spike would have voted to stay but he could feel his blood sugar dip and his bladder fill, neither of which could be ignored for long. Reluctantly, he rolled over in his lover's strong, safe arms. "I'm hungry and I have to pee."

Xander chuckled and opened his eyes. "Nothing I can do about either of those but thanks, now that you mention it, I need to piss too. Tell you what, why don't you go find your favorite tree and after you water it, start some dinner. I had Andrew bring a couple of steaks."

Spike tried to look mad but failed miserably. "So, what is your lazy arse going to do while I'm at all that?"

Xander rolled over on his side and tugged the smaller man against him. He then began loudly and dramatically nibbling and devouring his shoulder, neck and ears. "I'm going to rest up so that later on you can arrest me for another breaking and entering charge."

Spike giggled like a school girl before catching himself, clearing his throat and answering in a deep baritone. "We'll just see who does the entering, you shameless felon! Now, if it weren't for the fact that I'm about to urinate on myself, I'd teach you a thing or two about respect!"

Before Xander could reply, his lover was gone. The silence that surrounded him filled him with a peace and contentment that he had never known in life. He wished time would stop and that they could live like this forever.

Xander again closed his eyes and dozed off.

The next time he woke, it was to an odd sound that had crept into his sleepy brain nudging him from a sweet, vague dream. It sounded like Spike. It sounded like he was standing in a long, deep tunnel calling to him. Calling his name. Xander blinked and cleared his mind, trying to focus. THERE! He heard it again. He pulled himself to a sitting position and he called back. "Spike?"

He received no answer. Xander scratched his head and rubbed his hands over his face. He strained to hear, but there was nothing. No birds, no crickets, no Spike. In fact it was that total lack of anything that concerned him the most and Xander leapt to his feet, now fully awake and alert.


This time he heard the response. Soft, muted, and distant. The only thing Xander could discern was that Spike was somewhere outside.


Still naked, Xander rushed through the cabin, into the kitchen and out the back door landing in bare feet on the cold, rain dampened grass. His eyes struggled to adjust to the now total lack of light until he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. He cautiously stepped toward the edge of the clearing, stopping when he saw the tall weeds rustle and part. "Spike?"

"Stay calm, Pet. Don't move. Don't come any......."

Anything else he was about to say was cut off as the huge, dark, paw like hand clamped over Spike's mouth.

Xander's eyes tore away from the false calm on his lover's face to focus on the sneering man behind him. He had Spike pulled tightly against his chest. One hand was sealed over Spike's mouth and the other held a sharp, long serrated butcher knife flat against the skin of the detective's throat.

Xander felt the hair raise on the back of his neck. Panic flooded his body with adrenalin and his fingers twitched. He wanted to scream. He thought about running back to the cabin to get Spike's gun, but he knew with absolute certainty that when he returned, Spike's throat would resemble Joey's.

When Xander felt like he could speak, he held his head high and his voice strong. "Carlos."

Spike's captor took a step closer, muscling the smaller man with him and he laughed. "So, dey tell you my name, yes? You call me Curly when I fuck you. You call me dat like we was friends. But we no friends, no? Friends no steal from each oder. You steal from Carlos. yes?"

Xander's body shuddered from the cold and shock yet the calm trusting look in Spike eyes gave him strength. "What did I steal from you? I earned that money. That was business. You fucked me, you paid me. That's it. Is that what all this is about?"

Carlos threw his head back and he screamed in frustrated fury. The hand that was held over Spike's mouth now grabbed a fist full of the blond hair and he jerked it back, exposing the detective's long pale neck. Pressing the knife just a fraction of an inch tighter against the flesh, Spike felt the sting as the point nicked the skin.

When Xander saw the small rivulet of blood trickle down and stain the collar of Spike's shirt, he threw both hands up. "NO! Stop! What is it? What do you think I stole from you?"

Carlos' chest heaved. He wanted this over. He wanted his property so he could satisfy his bloodlust and butcher these two stupid fucks. That was the only thought that kept him under control.

"You wear it now. You stupid white boy! You steal from Carlos den you flaunt it in my face. You wear it now."

Suddenly, as though the sun had come up at midnight, the blast of knowledge rocked Xander to the core. He had caused this. Joey's death and possibly Spike's was all his fault. He had stolen it and promptly forgotten all about it.

Without conscious effort, Xander's fingers went to his ear.

The earring!

"All this is over an earring? You killed Joey because of an earring?"

"You give me NOW!"

"NO! Xander, don't do it! There's a bigger reason than one small diamond. He wouldn't put himself under the law's microscope over an earring."

Xander froze. He knew Spike was right, still he didn't care why the dangerous drug dealer wanted the stupid piece of jewelry. If it meant he would let them live, he could have it.

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