1 Xander's Announcement

"It's okay Xander, she wasn't right for you anyway."

"We still love you Xander, and none of us liked her very much either."  

"You'll get over her soon Xander, and then you'll find someone even better! "

That last was from Tara, though Xander was still staring at Willow, a little surprised by what she had said about not liking Anya.  

The Scoobies were all gathered at Buffys house, watching movies and gorging on junk food.  It was the fifth hour of the 'Help Xander get over the evil ex-demoness who broke his heart' party, and festivities were in full swing.  Willow and Tara were curled up together on one end of the sofa, with Xander sprawled out on the other end.  Buffy was sitting in one recliner snuggled in Riley's lap.  Dawn was sprawled out on a pile of pillows on the floor. Surprisingly, even Giles was there, perched gingerly in the other armchair.  Pizza boxes and candy wrappers were scattered everywhere, it was in fact almost exactly like their normal research sessions, only missing the sniping commentary from the bleached blond vampire who had not been invited on account of not being very good at cheering people up.  Plus he said he didn't want to come to such a girlie party anyway.  Anya was missing too, but that was the whole point of needing the party in the first place.  Xander grinned happily at his friends, not minding their fumbled attempts to comfort him.  

Truth was, he wasn't all that broken up.  "S'okay."  Xander took a big swig from his soda and grabbed a candy from the pile in his lap.  "I'm actually not that upset about it."  

A round of 'awww, isnt he brave' sounds met that last remark.  

Xander pushed on with what he had to say.   "Actually, I am glad for the chance to move on and try new things, meet new people."  

Willow looked expectantly at Xander, "Do you already have someone new in mind?  Who is she? "

Xander shook his head at his friend, "Nope, no one special in mind.  I'll let you know as soon as I have a new, inappropriate crush picked out.  And who knows, the next object of my affection may not even be a she.  I've been thinking about trying out the whole gay thing, 'cuz you know, my track record with the ladies hasn't been so great..."

Dead silence and frozen stares met his comments, and Xander actually began to worry that his friends had been frozen in time.  "Um, hello?  Guys?  Snap out of it."  

Giles was the first to 'snap out of it'.  "Ex-excuse me, Xander?  Would you mind repeating what you just said?  Because it sounded an awful lot like..."  

"Yes, Giles, I did say that I thought I might be gay."  

"Ah, yes, and what exactly has brought you to that decision?"

"Yeah," Buffy interrupted, "Is there some boyfriend you've been hiding from us?"

"No, no boyfriend, no sneaking around behind your backs, nothing like that.  It's just," And now Xander suddenly wished the soda in his hand was a beer, he wasn't usually this open with anyone, and it was making him uncomfortable.  "It's just that ever since high school, when Larry came out, it's kinda been in my mind that I might be..."

"But Xander, you've never, I mean, usually you're all into the girls."  This last a tentative interjection from Willow.  

Xander reached over and squeezed his best friends hand, "Yeah I know Wills, but now since you've got the whole liking girls thing covered, I figured it was time to explore other options."  

Willow and Tara both blushed bright red, and the room broke out into hysterical laughter.  

It took a few minutes for everyone to recover, but when the laughter had mostly died down Xander was able to gasp out, "No seriously guys, it's just a hypothesis at this time.  If it makes you all more comfortable we can just say Im bi, until the theory has been tested."  

This brought a few more giggles and Xander relaxed back into the embrace of the couch, glad that at least this little revelation wouldn't cost him his friends, not that he had thought it would, but still...  Shaking off the last of his fear he grabbed the remote, "Okay guys, what's next, Aliens?  Die Hard?  Oooh, I know, what about Tomb Raider, Angelina Jolie is cute!"  

Buffy grinned at him, "Oh come on Xander, wouldn't you rather watch Indiana Jones?  Harrison Ford is awfully sexy."  

Xander blushed slightly at that, but managed to look miffed as his friends laughed at him, "I'll have you know that I prefer blondes."  The reference to Anya sobered the group up and Xander was about to apologize until he noticed the evil gleam in Willow's eye.  Oh Shit, Xander thought, paybacks a bitch.

"So Xander," Willow began sweetly, staring at him with big innocent eyes, "You prefer blondes.  Does this mean we should fix you up with Spike?"  

The room erupted into laughter intermingled with the occasional 'Oh gross!'  

Xander pretended to actually consider the option, then made a face.  "No thanks, I'm afraid necrophilia just isn't my thing."  

The produced a pissed, 'Hey!' from Buffy, as the rest laughed loudly.  

"Seriously Buffy," Xander continued, "Isn't it weird, with you know, the whole body temperature thing?"  

Buffy looked embarrassed and Riley came to Buffy's rescue, threatening a laughing group with evil things before he and Buffy retreated into their own little world, kissing and making little noises at one another.  Finally Dawn made gagging noises and threw a pillow at the couple, and the group happily settled down for the next movie.

A few days later found them all together again, this time including Spike, spread out around Giles living room, hunkered down over ancient books researching yet another upcoming apocalypse.  Xander was so absorbed in trying to make out what exactly the two demons in the picture were doing that he didn't notice the evil grins that Buffy and Willow shared.  

"So, Xander."

"Yeah Buff, what's up?"

"Willow and I were just wondering, theory been tested yet?"

Xander felt himself blushing a deep crimson.

Spike noticed too, "Bloody hell, Whelp, you look like a bleedin lobster.  What've you got your panties all in a bunch about?"

Buffy and Willow started laughing, "Actually we were wondering who managed to get him out of his panties."  

Spike looked confused and Xander tried to replace his look of mortification with one of not caring-ness.  "For your information, no, the theory has not been tested yet."  

The girls just laughed some more.  

Spike seemed to finally catch the gist of the conversation, "Lay off the whelp, you two.  Bloody hell, he's just been dumped by the bint, give a man a chance to recover."  

To Spikes surprise, Xander managed to look more mortified, and the two women broke into even more hysterical laughter.  "What the 'ell has gotten in to you two?  Yo Rupes, I think these two have been put under some sort of curse or something."

Giles looked disapprovingly at the group, "Oh no, I am not getting in the middle of this.  Leave me out."  

Spike stared at the watcher before turning back to the Witch and the Slayer, who were now just lying in a heap on the couch gasping for air.  The Whelp, he noticed, was trying to hide behind his book.  

Willow was the first to regain her breath, "It's good to know you care about Xander, Spike."  She began to grin evilly, "Because we were all thinking, seeing as how Xander had mentioned that he prefers blondes, and with you being so cute and available and all, that you two would make a lovely couple."  

What the redhead had so innocently suggested didn't quite all sink in at first, and Spike began to preen from the complement, "Well, yes, I am quite shaggable..." Suddenly Spike trailed off and turned a look of gaping astonishment on the innocent looking witch.  "What did you just say?"  

Buffy smiled, "Just that you and Xander would make a lovely couple.  Didn't you hear the big announcement, Xander's gay, or so the theory goes."  

Spike was dumbfounded, he looked from Buffy, to Willow, to Xander who was trying to hide again, and back to Buffy.  "He..he's what?!"  

Xander sighed and threw down his book, glaring his best evil glare at the again hysterical girls.  "You are both so dead."  He turned to the more-pale-looking-than-usual Vampire, "I'm gay Spike, probably."  

The Vampire scooted back away from the boy, "You'"  the last word came out more as a squeak than anything else.  

Xander frowned at the blonde.  "Yeah, so what?"  

Finally Spike seemed to find his voice, he stood up and angrily gestured at the grinning girls, "And what, exactly did they mean when they said we'd make a good couple?"  

"Relax blondie, they were just teasing you."  

Spike stomped across the room, "Well they can bloody well stop it, because I. AM. NOT. A. POUF!"  

The whole room was staring in silence at the outraged Vampire.  

"But Spike," came a tentative query from Willow, "we thought, I mean, being a Vampire and all, that gender wasn't really an issue..." the redhead trailed off.  

Spike threw up his hands in exasperation.  "Do you lot believe everything you read?  Sure for some it's not, but for some of us it is!  And I'll thank you to not go spreading rumors like that about me, my reputation in this town is damaged enough, what with me hanging around with you lot, I don't need every demon and his brother thinkin' I'm a bleeding fairy!"  With that impassioned speech the angry Vampire stomped out of the house and into the night.  

The Scooby gang stared at each other.  Buffy spoke first, "Well I don't believe it, is Spike actually?"

Willow nodded, "I think he's homophobic!"  

Xander met their stares with his own best evil smile, "This is gonna be so much fun!"

2 Spikes Dilemma

Spike pounded his fists into the demon in front of him, reveling in the satisfying smack of flesh and crunching of bone.  For the last month, the gang had been tormenting him relentlessly about his supposed feelings for the Harris boy, and he was on his last nerve.  The truth was, he liked the Whelp, just not in the snuggle bunny sort of way.  The few weeks he'd spent living in the boys basement had formed a fledgling friendship between them, and now he couldn't even joke with the whelp or suggest a game of pool without one of the girls giggling that he was making a pass at the brunette.  

As for the reason Spike avoided any mention of his supposed exploits with other men... SNAP, with a satisfying crunch Spike broke the demons neck, his enjoyment of the moment overshadowed by the dark path his thoughts had almost wandered down.  Nope, not going there, not ever again.  

Spike shuddered to himself, then turned to see what the rest of the Scooby gang were up too.  Xander was just finishing off the last of what looked like quite a fight, judging from the number of bodies piled in front of him.  Buffy was teasing and tormenting a group of demons, while simultaneously kicking the shit out of them, and Spike almost felt sorry for them, but he'd been on the receiving end of the Slayers bizarre sense of humor one too many times this past month to feel too sorry.  Red and her girl were standing in a circle, Giles watching over them, chanting.  Spike wandered closer to the fray, absentmindedly grabbing a fleeing demon and passing it back to the Slayer, as he watched the Witches work.  He watched as a giant fireball began to form in front of them, and noticed that the Slayer and the Whelp had herded the rest of the demons into a group, making a nice fat target.  Spike chuckled to himself amused at the fate awaiting the clueless bunch of slime, when suddenly he realized where in the graveyard they were.  

"Oh bollocks."  

He tried to yell out a warning, but it was too late.  The magic fireball sped towards its victims, the Slayer and the boy leaped out of the way, and Spike watched helplessly as the pack of demons, and his crypt they were standing in front of, went up in flames.  

"Oh Spike, I'm so sorry."  

"Yeah, we're sorry Spike, we...we just didn't realize."

Spike shrugged off the Witch's heartfelt apologies, they had been doing it for the last hour, mostly tearfully too, which normally would have caused the blond to immediately forgive them, but he was still smarting from a month of teasing and so was stringing out the apologies for as long as possible.  Mostly he was too busy picking through the charred, sodden remains of his former home.  

Xander picked up what was once probably a magazine and tossed it aside in disgust.  "The problem with magic fire is that it doesnt know that stone's not supposed to burn."  

"Yes, well, be that as it may, the sun will be up in an hour, and we had best figure out what Spike is going to do till he can find a new place to live."  The Watcher's tone clearly said he was hoping that the Vampire would not decide to stay with him.

Tara quietly murmured, "We destroyed his home, I suppose he could stay with us."  

Spike perked up at that, "Really?  In the girl's dorm?  Can I watch you do spells?"  

Tara blushed and stammered, but Willow didn't give into the Vampires wheedling tone.  "No way Spike, as sorry as I am that we destroyed your crypt, staying in our dorm is not an option."  

Spike tried to appear crestfallen and pouted.

Xander wandered over to the group, handing Spike a few soggy but un-burnt tee shirts and a couple of c.d.s he'd found.  "Don't worry guys, Xan-man to the rescue.  Blondie stayed with me before, I'm used to him, he can stay with me this time."  

Buffy opened her mouth, an evil glint in her eye, but to Spike's surprise Xander interrupted her.  "Shut it Buff.  No more teasing.  Gods knows I've enjoyed tormenting Spike just as much as you all have, but we just destroyed the guy's house. He deserves a break.  This is the official start of the no teasing Spike moratorium."  Xander turned to look at Spike, who was doing a good impression of a stranded fish.  "What?  Like I want to listen to you bitch for the next week?  No thanks."  

The group began walking back towards the town but Spike was still staring at Xander like he'd grown a second head.  Xander grinned and grabbed Spike by the elbow, pulling him along.   "Come on roomy, lets get home, I smell like charred demon and you're not much better.  Home, shower, food, bed, then tomorrow we'll try to find you a nice new dank crypt."

Spike paced the small confines of the basement restlessly, switching an unlighted cigarette from hand to hand.  Just what did the whelp mean by bringing him here?  And what was with the sticking up for him in front of the gang?  I think I've made it bloody clear that I'm not interested in him, what the hell game is he playing?  Spike heard the shower shut off and threw himself down on the couch trying to look casual and not at all wigged out, as a dripping Xander, wearing boxers and an undershirt, emerged from the steamy bathroom, toweling his hair dry.  "Your turn!" the brunette sing-songed.  

Spike grumbled to himself and stomped towards the bathroom; he froze when a hand suddenly grasped his arm." What?"

Xander smiled and thrust a pair of sweatpants and a tee shirt into Spikes arms, "Just thought youd need something to wear, after.  Your clothes are kinda slime covered."  

Spike glanced down at himself, finally noticing his beslimed state.  "Yeah, well, thanks mate."

Xander smiled and released the vampire, who brushed past him and into the bathroom, hurriedly shutting the door behind him.

Xander pulled out the couch bed and made it up, then tossed his clothes into the washing machine.  He heard the shower running and knocked on the door.  

"What?" came the snarky reply.  

Xander nudged the door open and stuck his head in the door, "Gimme your clothes, I'm gonna start a load of laundry."  

Spikes wet head shot out from behind the shower curtain and glared at Xander, "Just what the bloody hell do you think you're doing in here!"  

Xander laughed at the glowering vampire, "I'm just grabbing your clothes, you do want them washed don't you?"  

Spike grumbled and disappeared back behind the shower curtain, "Just don't go peekin', you big pouf."  

Xander laughed and grabbed the pile of clothes, "Like I'd look at your skinny ass.  I like real men, thanks."  

Xander laughed at the injured "Hey!" that followed him as the bathroom door slammed shut.  

Xander was munching his way through a TV dinner and idly watching the boob tube when Spike stomped out of the bathroom.  "There's a mug of blood in the microwave."  

Spike grunted and detoured to the kitchenette, grabbing the mug and blowing on it.  They sat in silence, watching the early morning programs.  Finally Xander sighed and turned off the T.V.,

"Well, that's it for me, time for good little boys and bad little Vampires to be in bed."  

Spike looked up from the chair he was slouched in, "M'not getting into bed with you."  

Xander sighed and rolled his eyes.  "It was an expression, paranoid much?"  

Spike just grumbled and wouldn't meet Xanders eyes.  

Xander sent up a prayer to whatever deity dealt with the stubborn undead, and turned a serious face to his reluctant roommate.  "Look, Spike, seriously, we have to talk."  Spike turned to look at him.  "Spike, I know that we've been teasing you a lot lately, but seriously, calm down.  I'm not going to make a pass at you.  I won't try to seduce you.  We're friends, that's it.  I'm just offering my friend a place to stay while he's homeless."  

Spike still looked suspicious, but started to relax.  "I'm your friend?"

Xander scoffed, "Of course we're friends, why'd you think we weren't?"

Spike rolled his eyes, but seemed much more at ease.  "Right then, well, give me a blanket Whelp, its on your head if I freeze to death while I sleep."  

Laughing Xander tossed a blanket to the Vampire and settled himself down.  "Night Spike."

"Night Whelp."

3 Confessions

Xander awoke disoriented, unsure of what he was hearing.

", no, stop, please stop"

Was that Spike?  Xander rolled over and looked to where the Vampire was asleep in the chair.  The blond was thrashing slightly, moaning and whimpering in his sleep.  Xander levered himself up out of bed and approached the sleeping Vampire carefully.

Spike cried out, "no, please, no, Angelussss"

Concerned now, Xander placed a hand on Spikes shoulder and shook him gently, "Spike, Spike wake up, its just a dream."  

The contact must have spooked the dreaming Vamp, because the next thing Xander knew, Spike had vamped out, and he was flying across the room, slamming into the wall with a loud 'Oomph!' as the breath was knocked out of him.  

Apparently he was hurt enough to set off the chip, because one minute Spike was half awake, looking around confusedly, and the next he was on the floor, clutching his head as he screamed in pain.  

Xander crawled gingerly over to the blond and pulled him into his lap, stroking Spike's hair and rocking him gently as the pain-wracked vampire whimpered brokenly.  Xander was really scared now; he'd never seen Spike react like this before.  He began making soothing noises, trying to calm the vampire.  

"Shh, Spike it's okay, it's just me, just Xander.  You're safe; you're here in the basement, nothing's wrong.  It's okay."  

The soft babble seemed to calm Spike and eventually he stilled and looked up dazedly into concerned brown eyes.  "Are...are you okay?  What happened?"

Xander smiled and released the blond, letting him sit up and lean against the couch.

"I'm fine, you were having a nightmare, must have been pretty bad.  When I tried to wake you up you lashed out, and it set the chip off."  

Spike groaned and rested his head in his hands, "Gah, I feel like I've been hit by a truck."

Xander tentatively placed a hand on the Vampire's shoulder and squeezed gently, "It must have been pretty bad, wanna talk about it?"  

Spike stiffened and tried to shrug the hand off, "It's nothing, just a bad dream."

"Spike, you were screaming in your sleep.  It wasn't nothing."  

Spike growled and turned his back on the boy.

Xander eyed the stiffly set back and tried another approach.  "You know, I'm not exactly a stranger to nightmares, myself."  

Spike shrugged his shoulder and continued to stare off into space.  

"Did I ever tell you, when I was a little kid, my dad used to beat me?"

Spike stiffened and turned surprised eyes on the human.

Xander barreled forward with his story.  "For as long as I can remember, he hit me.  The littlest thing would set him off.  No matter how hard I tried to be good, how hard I tried to please him, nothing worked.  All I wanted was for him to be happy with me, I wanted him to love me, take care of me, be a real dad, but he never was.  I used to show up to school so bruised, I'm still surprised that no one ever called Child Services."  

Spike was wrapped up in the story, hardly blinking as he stared at the human bearing his soul to a soulless Vampire.  "Wh...what happened?"  Spike barely breathed the question.

Xander smiled a sad smile, his eyes filled with an old pain.  "Well, once Buffy moved to town, and Willow, Jessie and I started helping her, I started to believe I was worth something.  Saving the world once or twice does that for you.  Anyway, when I was about seventeen I hit him back.  Something in me just broke, and for the first time I got angry, really angry at him.  So I hit him back.  And he just stopped.  He never bothered me again after that.  But I still have nightmares about it sometimes.  The worst part about them is the feeling of total helplessness, I know that I'm not helpless now, but in the dreams I still feel like I'm five years old and unable to fight back."

Spike drew in a deep breath and looked at his clenched hand.  Slowly, in a monotone, he began to speak.  

"Angelus hated me.  When I was first turned, he almost staked me, but Dru wouldn't let him.  Unfortunately Dru was too sick to take care of me proper, so Angelus took over as my sire.  I wasn't much as a human, but when I got vamped, I got cocky, thinking I was king of the world.  I wouldn't listen to a thing Angelus said, wanted to be my own man.  Angelus couldn't let a whelp like me show him up, so he set about breaking me of it."  

Spike smiled a sickly smile at Xander, "Angelus' forte was torture, he was good at it.  Not just physical torture, but mind games too.  Anyway, he found out that I was a..." the next word was mumbled and Xander couldn't hear it.  

"Spike," Xander touched his clenched hands gently, "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

Spike sighed, "He found out I was a virgin, alright?  Breaking in virgins was one of Angelus favorite games, its even better when his victims a Vampire cuz Vampires heal up and return to their pre-turned state."  

Xander stared at the Vampire in shock.  Finally he did the only thing he could do, he wrapped his arms around the blond and drew him against his chest, stroking a hand through the blond locks.  "I'm sorry."

"S'alright," Spike shrugged, but didn't extract himself from Xander's embrace.  "It happens, pretty common among Sire and Childe actually.  Anyway, that's why I wigged a bit when the girls started teasing, s'not you, I just don't like being reminded, and decades of being forced turns a guy off some things, ya' know?"  

They sat like that for what seemed like hours, Spike allowing himself to be comforted, Xander content to just stoke his hand through blond hair and whisper the occasional soothing comment.  Finally Xander shifted slightly, a groan escaping his lips as his leg reminded him that when a limb falls asleep, it hurts.  

Spike sat up, blinking as if he hadn't realized where he was.  

"Okay blondie, floor times over, I think my butt fell asleep."  

Spike laughed and offered a hand to pull Xander up off the floor.  

Xander glanced at the chair Spike had been sleeping in, then over to the bed.  "You know, the mattress is old and sucks, but its queen sized, plenty of room and a little more comfortable than that chair.  Just friends and all, you know."  

Spike grinned at that, but then looked away in embarrassment, "Nah, chair's fine, better than the stone slab I've been sleeping on, at any rate."  

Xander shrugged, "Suit yourself.  I'm going to bed though."  

They settled themselves in and Xander was just drifting off when he heard Spike whisper, "Thanks Whelp."  

Xander fell asleep with a smile on his lips.

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