Third in the Mangled Spells Series

Mangled Spells and Manlier Bits


“I don’t know if I can do this,” Xander said as she straightened out her skirt and tried to ignore the feeling of worthlessness that the school inspired.

“Fine by me,” Spike said, and Xander felt an arm tug her back toward the exit.

“Spike!” she protested in a teasing sing-songy voice.  “Stop it.”

“Oi, you’re the one who said ya couldn’t do it.”

“Yeah, and there are lots of things I can’t do that I still do,” Xander said and then stopped as she considered her own logic on that one.  Spike just laughed.

“Good thing I got the practice in with Dru, otherwise I’d spend all my time tryin’ ta figure out what you meant.”  Xander felt Spike’s strong arm tighten around her waist, and thankful for that tacit support, she pushed open the doors to the library.  Back at the old mansion Spike had gotten them, she had begged Spike to let her come alone and try to talk to her friends without the added burden of Spike and Buffy snarling at each other, but now that she was actually walking through the doors, she was grateful that Spike had refused to even consider letting her face her old life alone.

Even as she pushed the doors open, she could hear the aggravated voices inside fall silent.  So many times she’d been at that table, hurrying to shut up as some outsider wandered into their inner sanctum. Okay, technically ‘he’ had been at the table, but still the whole point is that she—he—had been on the inside and now she felt like the invading outsider who everyone shut out of conversation.

“Yes, Xander nice to see you back home again,” Giles said as he look everywhere except at Spike and Xander. 

“Xander?!  You’re Xander?!” demanded a shrill voice, and Xander looked over to see Cordelia so shocked that she held her nail file half way to her hand without moving.

“Cordie, hey.” Xander answered, suddenly realizing that she hadn’t ever technically broken up with the cheerleader although the whole having kinky sex as a woman with Spike thing probably signaled a bump in their relationship.

“Don’t ‘hey’ me mister,” Cordelia lit into him, nail file dropping to the table.  Buffy and Willow visibly flinched at Cordelia’s word choice, but Cordelia herself continued on.  “You go and start sleeping with that…that…”

“Vampire, we’re called vampires,” Spike offered all mimicking helpful and fake smiles.

“You boyfriend-stealing, over bleached, fashion reject from the eighties.”  Xander froze, sure that she was about to see Cordelia eviscerated.  Buffy clearly had the same idea because she slid off the table and stepped closer to Cordelia protectively.  And hey, she’d finally found a way to get the two of them to stop fighting, and yet it somehow didn’t feel of the right.  Suddenly the tension broke when Spike started laughing.

“Ya got balls on ya, cheerleader; I’ll give ya that.”

“Don’t try to suck up to me.” Cordelia demanded, and Xander looked up at Spike’s amused expression.  “I’m not forgetting the whole Halloween trying to eat me incident.”

“Funny, I don’t remember tryin’ ta eat ya.  I’d think I’d remember a meal that complained as much as you,” Spike shrugged, clearly not bothered by the accusation.

“She was dressed like the cat,” Xander added a half-second before her brain reminded her that she wanted the whole conversation to end.

“Oi, I remember that now.  If I’d known you were so lively, I would’ve made a point of grabbin’ ya and shaggin’ ya good before turnin’ ya, luv.”  Cordelia stood opened mouthed and wide eyed, and Xander reminded herself to take a mental picture because never again would she see a speechless Cordelia Chase.

“William,” warned a voice from the shelves, and Angel appeared behind the banister overlooking the main library.

“Wot?” Spike asked, all innocence and blue eyes.  “Always did fancy the mouthy ones.  Must have somethin’ ta do with their mouths.”

“I…Well…You, you—vampire,” Cordelia complained as she huffed her way past them and out of the library.  And again with the firsts because that had sounded more like Xander-babble than classic Cordelia.

Xander watched Angel come down the stairs and lean against the far wall, clearly making his presence known even as he kept his distance from Spike.

“So, to what do we owe the horror of this visit?” Buffy asked.

“Thought I had an invite,” Spike said with just the right note of obviously faked hurt.  “If not, we’ll just be leavin’,” Xander felt herself pulled toward the exit before she even had a chance to say hello to her friends.

“Just you hold on a minute,” Willow of all people demanded, and when everyone including Spike, looked at her in surprise, the red began creeping up her face.  “I mean we all wanted to talk to Xander and didn’t think you’d want to come which is why we didn’t ask you to come, but we do really want to talk to Xander.”

“What she said,” Oz offered from a chair, the only one not obviously bothered by the vampire’s presence. 

“It’s just as well he came; we need to make some agreements,” Angel said from his side of the room, and Xander gasped as the arm around her waist tightened uncomfortably.

“Sorry, pet,” Spike offered before loosening up.

“Okay, I have an idea.” Xander said as she stepped away from Spike, using her hand to keep him in place while she took a step to the side.  “How about we talk without any threats of death or reminders of death or discussion of past attempted death.”

“Yes, this is undoubtedly uncomfortable for everyone involved,” Giles said as he returned to his seat at the table, but Xander noticed that the librarian sat in the chair closest to Angel.  Strangely enough, ‘Spike as therapist’ ran through her mind as she realized that the master vampire seemed to be solving all sorts of trust issues within the group.

“I’m not uncomfortable,” Oz offered.

“Well, I’m still on board with the frequent and indiscriminate use of Mr. Pointy,” Buffy said, but she settled back into her chair.

“Personally, I’m in the ‘uncomfortable but wanting to work it out’ camp,” Xander submitted as she stepped forward and took a seat at the end of the table that put her closest to Spike who still leaned against the counter.  Buffy just pulled out the earlier referenced Mr Pointy and started twirling it.

“What kind of truce are you offering, William?” Angel asked, and the tone suggested to Xander that the question had serious implications.

“Not offerin’ anythin’, Peaches,” Spike snapped back, but then he shrugged his shoulder and continued in a much quieter voice.  “If Xander wants ta stay here, we’ll stay, but I won’t put up with the soddin’ slayer makin’ murder faces at me.”

“Not murder without a victim, and you’ll just turn into little puffs of dust,” Buffy muttered.  Spike growled.

“William,” Xander looked up in alarm at that sharp tone, but when he looked to Spike for some sort of signal, Spike remained leaning back, unconcerned.  “Have you lost your mind?” Angel demanded, and Xander reviewed the conversation up to now.  Death threats, uncomfortable…death threats, work it out…implied death threats, offering… death threats.  Okay, unless she had really just missed something, Angel’s words made absolutely no sense.

“I do my own thing, and I’ll do whatever I soddin’ want, Peaches.  Said I’ll stay with Xander and I will, but I’m not interested in your bloody opinion,” Spike was clearly approaching a breaking point and Xander stood up to go stand next to him.

“And I’m thinking we have to leave.  You know, left something in the oven, need to go wash my hair, left the lights on or something,” Xander quipped as she started gently pushing Spike toward the exit.  If she had to choose, she chose Spike, but now she just had to get him out before someone ended up dust.

“But we haven’t gotten to talk,” Willow wailed, and that made Xander stop.  Xander looked at Spike who shrugged his disinterest and then at Willow who would have stood if Oz’s hand wasn’t keeping her in her chair.

“Willow, this just isn’t going the way I planned, you know with the slow motion embraces and the Hallmark-moment tears.  I just really think we need to leave before the testosterone gets any higher.”  At that point, Xander would have beaten a retreat to the exit, but Spike froze seconds before the library doors swung open madly and Faith breezed in like a storm.

“God, no wonder I can’t find any vamps out there to stake, B.  You got ‘em all in here.  Not nice to be greedy.”  Xander took one look at the dark slayer’s predatory gaze and bouncing energy and stepped between Faith and Spike.

“Oh no, no staking my vampire,” Xander exclaimed.

“And why should I care about you?” Faith asked with raised eyebrows, and Xander suddenly had the impression that Faith was a female reincarnation of Spike with the bouncing energy and quick wit, and no, no, no.  That was just wrong.  Not gay, not gay, not gay, although the thought of two women in a bed had been kind of sexy even back when she had manly bits, but Faith plus Spike would quickly equal either Faith plus dust or Spike plus bloody body, so no.

“It’s Xander,” Willow pointed out, and Faith held an expression of shock for a good three or four seconds before roaring out her laughter. 

“Oh god, I knew you were a slightly girly hiding behind Buffy and all, but this is just a little much.”  Xander felt the shift behind her and heard growling that she knew meant that Spike’s demon had come out to play.

“So, when do I get my vampire?  I mean Xander has *hers*, and Buffy is running around with tall dark and unholy, so when do I get my pet vamp?”  Faith finally asked, completely ignoring the game-faced vampire whose growls would have sent most sane creatures running for cover.  Xander glanced over, and Buffy had leapt to her feet.

“Xander’s not a coward, and I’m not a pet, and if ya want to keep your insides on the inside, you’d do well ta remember that, slayer,” Spike snarled.

“Right, real scared now,” Faith said as she turned her back and walked towards the others.  Xander felt Spike tense for the leap, and she pressed back into him, throwing him off balance and preventing the imminent fight.  She watched the group as Faith threw herself down into a chair, and Buffy retreated to Angel’s side.  Of course, that drew Xander’s attention to Angel who had the most inscrutable expression she had ever seen, not that the vampire was very scrutable usually, but this went beyond normal.

“Peaches may have his soul keepin’ him to the straight and narrow,” Spike continued now that Xander had stopped the physical fight, “but I’m not a pet vampire on a leash, so you’d best remember that.”

“Or what?  You think you can take me?”

“Already proven I can a couple of times.”
“Really?  I heard Buffy kicked your ass, took an ax to your head.” Faith smirked.

“Actually, it was Buffy’s mom who hit…” Xander corrected her automatically

“Pet,” Spike warned with a growl, but the damage had been done.

“Her mom,” Faith all but squealed.  “You got clobbered by her mom?”

“Pet, you are going to learn how to keep your mouth closed.”  Spike snapped, but Xander could hear both the anger and the betrayal.  The betrayal bothered her more than Spike’s anger which she had already learned not to fear.

“Yeah, probably not since I’ve been saying stupid stuff since I could talk,” Xander replied with a self-deprecating grin.

“So why exactly isn’t bleach-boy dust yet?” Faith asked, and Buffy opened her mouth to answer when Xander interrupted.

“Hey, Buffy’s tried to turn him to dust lots of times, and it doesn’t generally work.  Heck, if he’d had one less stupid minion, he would have killed Angel in that church, so the killing of each other thing hasn’t worked out.  Think it’s time for a new plan, so here’s an idea—let’s try one that doesn’t involve mutual homicide.

By the end of two hours, everyone had reached a tentative agreement to avoid accidental stakings, mass murder, magic spells, hell mouth opening, and unnecessary torture.  Xander noticed that no one offered to stop with the insults, but then she wasn’t stupid enough to try to push for that.  She’d be happy to just be able to have her friends without anyone getting eaten or dusted.  When Spike’s temper seemed ready to flare at Faith’s needling and Buffy’s obvious frustration, Xander stood and stretched.

“Guys, I’m really zonked, and I have a ton of school work to catch up on,” Xander said.  From the looks of utter disbelief she got back from everyone around the table, she guessed that she hadn’t picked the best excuse for a hasty exit.

“Yes!  You’re coming back to school!” Willow sang in joy.

“Um, not really.”

“Even on a hell mouth someone’s bound to notice the changes, luv,” Spike said to Willow, and Xander didn’t miss that Spike had started using endearments toward Willow.  The first time her vampire had called Willow ‘luv,’ she had looked in near-panic toward Oz, hoping that the werewolf wouldn’t be offended, but Oz had shrugged an indifferent shoulder and gone back to contemplating the nature of the universe or whatever he did when he had that look on his face.  Heck, for all she knew Oz was mentally undressing Willow and having wild animal sex, but with a deep, thoughtful expression.  She really needed to develop that skill.

“Yeah, that would be a no on coming back to school because I really don’t want to take boy’s P.E.” 

“Oh, I don’t know.  Larry wouldn’t mind,” Buffy said with a leer that could rival Spike’s.  Xander promptly started choking on absolutely nothing.

“Right, Larry.  Absolutely no Larry lookage for Xander.  Or no looking at Xander by Larry ‘cause I wouldn’t be looking at Larry at all so that’s no on the lookage from either direction.” Xander babbled as she stood and made a beeline for the exit.  “Nope, I’ll be taking classes by computer since Xander Harris has a horrible, disfiguring long-term illness.  So tomorrow night for the old pre-slayage meeting?”

“Right, shortly before sundown,” Giles agreed, and having made that graceful and not at all suspicious exit, Xander all but ran for the hallway.  Spike didn’t even catch up until she had burst out of the building and nearly run into Principal Snyder.

“Really, watch your step,” Snyder snapped and just then Spike came out of the building.

“Are you all right, sweetheart?” Spike asked in a voice more Giles than Spike.


“I’m so sorry for this mishap.  My wife and I wanted to see your facilities; my younger brother is joining us from England, and I’m afraid that those rude young people in the library quite upset my young wife,” Spike said in perfectly serious tones.  “William Barstow and my wife Alexa,” Spike held out his hand for a quick shake and Xander could practically watch Snyder transform into the ‘suck up to snobby adults’ mode.

“Really, *William*, it was nothing,” Xander insisted with a hint of warning in her voice.

“Now, sweetie, I know you think that’s just how American teenagers talk, but there really was no reason for such rudeness simply because you rightly pointed out that immoral and prurient behavior has no place in the school.”  Without giving Xander time to even open her mouth, Spike had pushed her past Snyder and hurried her down the sidewalk to the street.

“Spike, that was evil,” Xander hissed once Snyder had disappeared into the building.

“Yep, bein’ evil has advantages,” Spike agreed without slowing the pace.

“Well I just hope Willow and Oz get out of there before the wrath of Snyder falls,” Xander commented because she really did know that Buffy and Faith deserved it for some of the barbs they had thrown.  She wasn’t even inclined to feel sorry for Giles who had done absolutely nothing to try and support them. 

“Werewolf can look out for himself and his girl.  I’m more interested in why you went all babblin’ at the mention of this git Larry.”  Xander could hear the slight growl at the end of Larry’s name.

“Now, now.  Don’t go chasing the apple trees,” Xander chided.

“Won’t have ‘im lookin’ at ya.”

“Not a problem there; Larry’s gay.”

“But, I thought…” Xander had to laugh; two hours with the slayerettes and Spike was already catching the confusion virus.

“Yeah, well Buffy doesn’t know that.  I thought Larry was the werewolf and so I went in all sympathetic telling him how I understood because I knew about those primitive urges, and he thought I was coming out of the closet, so he sorta came out with me.”

“Only you, pet.  Do you people ever understand each other when ya talk?”

“Not usually, but you kinda get used to just being confused after a while.”

“Prefer not spendin’ that much time with them,” Spike finished, and the two of them walked the rest of the way in silence.  Xander had to admit that she had never before known anyone that she could be so comfortable just being around without talking.

“Pet, left ya a surprise upstairs in the third bedroom.”  Feeling a tingle of anticipation, Xander hiked up her skirts and ran up the stairs like a five-year old rushing to a Christmas tree.  When she opened the door, she stopped, speechless beyond even her capacity to babble.

“Like it?” Spike asked, and Xander couldn’t really come up with a response. 

“Um, wow.  Don’t really know what to say,” she finally admitted.

“Thought ya’d like it, pet.  Ya always seemed ta like our games.”  Xander felt Spike’s arms wrap around her from behind, and she could tell that her unenthusiastic reaction bothered him.

“I love our games,” she insisted immediately.  “I guess I just don’t see what you get out of them so I’ll admit to feeling a little guilty.”  Xander stepped forward and fingered the chains hanging from the ceiling.  Immediately her mind went to things she could do if Spike wasn’t chained lying down, but her guilt quickly overcame her desire.  White hats were not supposed to enjoy this stuff, and now that she was back in Sunnydale, it was just so much harder to turn off that little disapproving voice that sounded frighteningly like Giles.  And any thought of Giles in these circumstances was likely to have a less than good influence on any incipient lustiness.

“Bloody hell, I should ask you that; you’re the one who has ta do all the work when we play like this.  Sometimes I think you lot with souls can turn anythin’ into guilt.”

“Yeah, but I get to play with you and feel you tremble under my hands and know that you trust me.  I wouldn’t want to play this way all the time, but I have to admit that the sight of a chain gets me hotter than linoleum and apple trees put together.  I just sometimes worry that you give me all this trust and I’m going to mess it up,” Xander finally admitted even as her fingers went to work on their own, unbuttoning Spike’s shirt slowly.  She ran the tips of her fingers down his chest, feeling the smooth silk ripple as his chest muscles tensed.  Then she slipped her hands under the now open shirt, pressing her palms into the cool skin and feeling the minute twitches and movement.

“I like givin’ ya those things,” Spike said as he twitched his shoulders causing the shirt to fall to the floor.  “With vampires, it’s all about ownin’:  who owns who.”

“No ownership,” Xander muttered as she stepped into his arms and wrapped herself around his naked torso before nipping at his shoulder.

“Minions were mine, I was Dru’s, Dru was Angel’s.  When Angelus came back, he made sure I knew that I belonged to him too.  Vampires are all about ownership.”  Xander felt herself eased backwards, and she let Spike guide her as she concentrated on trying to make his nipple even harder.  When Spike stopped, she wasn’t surprised to find them under the chains.  “If no one owns ya and you own no one else, you’re soddin’ alone.”

“Keys?” she whispered.

“On the shelf, pet.”  Her lust rising up to overpower her guilt, she reached up and locked the chains around Spike’s wrist, suspending his hands slightly above his head and leaving him lots of room to twist and writhe, just the way she liked it.

“So, you see us as ownership?” she asked as she ran a fingernail down his back and into the back of his jeans.

“Tried ownin’ you, didn’t do a very damn good job,” Spike admitted as he shivered and jerked against the chains.  Xander knew he wanted her to do more, so she backed off a little and just touched him with the one finger as she slowly circled.

“So having given up on doing the owning, you’re okay with being the one owned?  I would think that a vampire wouldn’t want to submit to a human.” 

“You’re not most humans, pet.  ‘Sides, not like you’re tryin’ ta keep me from bein’ me—evil and all.” Spike pointed out even as he pressed his body toward her in an attempt to gain more contact.  “If ya were, ya would’ve stopped me from sendin’ Snyder after your little friends.”

“But if you can’t chain me up, you need me to do the chaining,” Xander pressed, unwilling to stop this close to understanding something important.

“Look at where we live, pet,” Spike pointed out, and it took Xander a minute to catch that train of thought.  After Buffy left, Spike had argued for Spain, China, and England…hell, he had even wanted to show Xander that Africa had more than mud huts.  Xander had only wanted to come home.  Before Xander could even start feeling guilty for forcing Spike to move back, Spike continued.  “For vampires that’s how it works.  That’s why it tore me up so bad in the end when Dru wouldn’t even beat me or try ta kill me.  If there’s no one takin’ control, there’s no relationship.”

“What about love?”

“We bloody had that too; Judge wanted ta kill us for that, but I am what I am, luv: a vampire.”  Xander stopped and put a hand on Spike’s chest, looking up into his clear blue eyes that held no shame, no guilt, no need to hide his nature.

“You’re so much stronger than Angel ever will be,” she whispered as she stepped close, and she could tell that she had hit a nerve when Spike shivered.  Of course she remembered Buffy’s description of Spike raging at Drusilla’s preference for her own sire.  “Angel is so weak he can’t even accept who he is, what he is,” Xander continued as she walked around to the back and let her hands travel over the muscled shoulders. 

“He’s not strong enough to control Buffy,” hands slipped around to the front of Spike’s jeans.  “But he can’t let go and follow her, either.”  Button and zipper released.  “And he doesn’t know how to have a human romance,” her fingers explored the cock still trapped and throbbing inside the jeans.  “He’s trapped by his own stupidity,” slim hands slid over the vampire’s hips, pushing the jeans down.  “because he can’t ever be human,” Xander used her foot to pushed the jeans to the floor and then brought her knee up to press up between his legs.  “And he can’t accept the truth that he’s a vampire.” Spike, breathing heavily, kicked his jeans away so he could spread his legs, and Xander pushed up a little harder as she reached around to explore his heaving chest.

“Worst kind of weakness really,” Xander whispered into Spike’s back as she laid a series of kisses across his shoulders, punctuated from time to time by a sharp nip.  “He doesn’t know himself.”  Xander tasted blood when she bit a little too hard, but from Spike’s reaction, she didn’t think he really minded.  “Weak,” she ran a fingernail up the back of his leg and up his backside, enjoying the feeling of strong muscles under the skin.  “Buffy had to rescue him,” Xander wandered around to the front, and as she had expected, Spike was game-faced and growling his pleasure.  “Buffy killed him,” she slowly let her hands slide down his still spread legs as she sank to her knees.  She could hear Spike really pulling at the chains now.  She laid her head on Spike’s thigh eyeing the impressive erection right in front of her face.

“Hundred years without this because he was weak,” she said as she ran a gentle finger up the shaft to the now exposed head.  She knew that at this point gentle touches were the torture because they wouldn’t let him come, and Xander did like to torture her vampire.  “But he can’t control the demon like you can.”  She reached forward and kissed the side of his shaft before gently blowing on the small wet spot she’d made.  Fascinated with the involuntary bobs and twitches, she leaned into Spike’s leg and watched the show.  “You saved Dru,” Xander licked a small trail up to the head of Spike’s cock.  “You captured Angel, more than once.”  She ran her middle finger through the pre-cum, coating one side and then the other.

“Sexy Spike,” she murmured as she let her head rest in the hollow of his thigh, every breath going over his cock as she moved her now slick finger toward his hole.  When she touched it, Spike growled even louder and opened his legs more, allowing Xander to slip her finger into the tight passage.  “William the Bloody,” she breathed across his cock even as she reached up inside to find the swelling right behind his cock that was the prostate.  “Scourge of Europe,” she pressed in and watched as Spike’s cock did another set of movements, this time helped by the vampire’s twisting in his chains.  She slipped her free arm around his closest leg and leaned her head into his body.  She licked a new wet spot just behind the throbbing head.  “Slayer of slayers,” she breathily named him as she pressed into his prostate, and then the unexpected happened.  He started jerking rhythmically into the air as he started coming, long streams one after another as Xander knelt at his feet and watched in fascination.

She sat, still cuddling with Spike’s leg, listening to the vampire gasp as he attempted to get his breathing under control, which was great sexual compliment from a creature who didn’t technically need to breathe.

“Didn’t know that was possible,” Xander said as she realized that she hadn’t even gotten around to giving Spike the blow job she’d intended to give. 

“Neither did I,” Spike agreed, and Xander looked up in surprise.

“Okay, 120 years and you’re telling me I’ve made a first with you?” she asked skeptically, but Spike’s eyes revealed the truth.

“No one ever really spent that much time tryin’,” Spike shrugged, but his expression made Xander think of the way he sometimes looked at chocolate or the way Willow looked at those really old magic books or the way Ms. Calendar used to look at Giles.  “Come up here and I’ll take care of you, pet,” Spike called.

“Uncomfortable?” Xander asked as she moved from her knees to sitting on the floor and snuggled in against his leg.  She looked suspiciously at her finger but decided that it really wasn’t dirty enough to bother getting up and washing right at the moment.

“No, used ta spend days chained tighter, but you haven’t gotten what you need, luv.”

“Oh yes I have,” Xander said as she closed her eyes and let Spike take her weight as she leaned into him unwilling to give up this perfect moment until she absolutely had to.  After all, Spike couldn’t exactly argue and from the sigh she heard from above didn’t seem to indicate he wanted to. 

Xander sat on the tombstone watching Spike and Faith take on the nest of fledges with such fury that every time Buffy tried to stake one in her usual ‘play with the vamp’ style, one of the other two had turned her opponent to death before she could finish a single insult.  With a long-suffering sigh, Buffy retreated to the tombstone where Angel and Xander waited in a sort of stony silence.

“Now I know why we usually go with Oz and Willow,” Xander sighed as she watched the two fighters race for a fleeing vamp.  “Put those two together and I never get to have any fun.”  Buffy just snorted.

“Since when is staking vampires fun for you?” she asked.

“Since someone taught me how to do it right,” Xander pointed out.  “Not that I’m getting to do that tonight.  I’m back to warming the tombstone, which is less fun than warming the bench what with the lack of Gatorade.”

“William is rather enthusiastic,” Angel agreed.

“In more ways than one,” Xander replied and then groaned.  Gender changing may have improved her sex life and grades, but it hadn’t done a thing to improve her ability to keep her mouth closed.  She heard Angel chuckle lowly, but Buffy just rolled her eyes and watched Spike and Faith wander back towards them.

“You kids have fun?” Buffy called out when they got close.

“The bleach has obviously leeched into his brain,” Faith insisted with a string of long-shoreman worthy curses under her breath.

“Oi, you’re the ninny who got between two vamps.”

“And I would have been fine if some rocker wanna-be hadn’t pushed me.”

“Out of the way, I pushed ya out of the way you ungrateful trollop.  Tryin’ not ta let ya get killed, not that I can remember why now because you’d be a good deal nicer ta be around dead.  I imagine that’s why ya showed up in town without any friends or family in tow.”

“Right, the altruistic vampire, I forgot.  Tell you what, you don’t worry about me, and I won’t worry when I accidentally stake you during patrol, okay?”  Spike answered her with a growl.

“Hey, hey, no stakings, it’s on our agreed list,” Xander interrupted as she rushed between the two.

“And here comes the ‘pweshious’ little girl to protect you,” Faith taunted, and Xander could feel the fury rolling off Spike in waves.  Okay, she certainly didn’t want to make Spike look weak, especially not in front of Angel, because Spike had explained enough about vampire culture for her to know how much that would hurt Spike. 

“Stake,” Xander demanded in her best impression of Cordelia’s imperious commands.

“What?  You smokin’ something precious?” Faith asked, but Xander stood with her hand out until Faith surrendered her stake with a confused look over to Buffy. 

“Don’t kill each other,” Xander ordered as she walked back to the tombstone.  Buffy took a step forward in alarm, but Angel put out a hand to keep her back.  By the time Xander had hopped back up on her impromptu seat, the fight had already begun in earnest.  Faith and Spike tore into each other like furies before jumping back out and circling in search of some weakness.

“But Faith,” Buffy complained as she pulled against Angel’s grip.

“Faith’ll be fine,” Angel said in a strangely tight voice.

“That bleached menace will kill her,” Buffy hissed.

“Spike’ll stop if Xander tells him to,” Angel said in a firm tone with a direct gaze at Xander.  Normally Xander would have denied having such influence over the vampire or at least been embarrassed by it, but this was, in one form or another, Angelus who had never really given up his grandchilde and Xander stared right back at him, unwilling to make any sort of sign of weakness.

“You’re sure?  I just don’t want Faith dead.”  Xander looked right at Buffy and made a promise that she seriously hoped Spike would keep. 

“He won’t kill her,” she vowed even as Faith went flying and landed horizontally against the side of a mausoleum before falling to the ground.  “He may hurt her a bit though,” Xander hedged.  By the time Oz and Willow joined them, Spike had clearly gained the upper hand although Faith had landed enough hits of her own to leave him bruised and battered.

“Whoa, seriously bad vibes,” Oz commented as he walked over, and Xander noticed that he kept himself between Willow and the fight.

“Are you going to do something about them?” Willow asked, large concerned eyes going straight to Buffy.

“I would, but then Xander would pull my hair, and we’d have the whole girl on girl thing, and I just don’t want to go there. My contract is specific for vamps and demons.”  Buffy shrugged and watched the final moments of the fight.

“Hopefully this will clear some bad vibes before anyone actually dies,” Xander explained as she watched Faith slip and nearly go down before driving Spike back with a side kick.

“Good idea,” Oz added, plopping down on the ground so fast that Xander was reminded of the wolf’s movements.

“But it’s not going to end in actual death death, right? Or even undead death?  Because killing Faith might get rid of some of the tension, but I don’t really think that killing is the best form of stress release.  I mean, there are some really good teas I could…” Willow’s words were cut off as Spike landed one last punch that sent Faith flying towards them.  She landed on the ground and tried to get up but succeed only as far as one elbow before falling back to the ground.

“Oh goddess,” Willow breathed as she went to help but Oz held her back.  Angel had a hold on Buffy, so when Spike walked up, everyone remained seated.

“Coulda been three,” Xander finally said into the silence.  “But I gotta say…bored now.”  Xander watched as eyes full of blood lust and passion turned to her.  Oh yeah, good fight plus no kill equals one horny vampire. 

“Eep?” Xander squeaked in a very fake expression of dismay.  Spike lowered his head, cocking it to one side, and Xander pulled up her skirt and started running for all she was worth.  She could hear Willow’s and Buffy’s voices calling, but she trusted that their demons would explain what she was doing with her demon as she raced full speed across the cemetery.  She would have made it too, except her Xander-luck never changed, and she tripped over a fledge crawling out of a grave.  The pale creature had a hold of her ankle, and by the time it had crawled out far enough to stake it, she felt herself tackled to the ground in an inhuman grip she could never hope to break. 

“Goin’ ta ravish ya good, pet,” Spike growled into the small of her neck, and Xander trembled at the words.  She felt herself pulled up and tucked under his arm in an iron grip that left no doubt about his mood even as they started walking toward the house.

“Goin’ ta eat that bint one of these days.” 

“Spike, you can’t eat Faith.” 

“Sure I can, bit of tooth right into the jugular, and I’d get her down in five minutes tops, three if I guzzle.”

“And that’s just really kinda disturbing, but I actually meant more of the ‘can’t’ in the ‘it’s wrong’ kind of way.”

“Evil, pet.  I’d think you’d remember that after a bit.”  Spike tightened his arm in a show of strength, but Xander only leaned into him more.

“And still I’m thinking it’s of the wrong no matter how much of a pain she can be.”

“Killin’ a slayer’s not wrong by vampire standards.  Last time I killed one, I had demons buyin’ my drinks for a month.”

“Angel’s the only other demon you hang around, and I don’t think he’d buy you any drinks.”

“I’m not so sure of that, pet.  I’ve seen how Angel looks at her, and he’s had thoughts of killin’ her.  I could probably get a drink or two out of the poof even as he lectured me about not eatin’ humans.”  They had reached the house and Spike opened the door.  “But enough talk about her, never did get to finish my chase the way I wanted to,” Spike said, and for a moment Xander didn’t know what he meant, but when Spike released her waist and gave her his best leer, Xander squealed and ran into the house, charging up the front stairs and thanking god that Spike had found and old mansion with wandering passages that went in circles.  She disappeared down one hall and had gotten halfway down the kitchen stairs before she heard the front door slam. 

Xander managed to avoid Spike so many times that she was starting to wonder if he was playing a game of cat and mouse.  When he tackled her to the ground on the rug in the living room, directly in front of the giant mirror, she knew she’d been played.  He growled and slipped his fangs into her neck, pinning her down, and from her vantage point, she could see herself pressed into the ground by absolutely nothing, and she resolved to ask Willow to check into ways to magic a mirror to show vampires because she suspected that they looked hot.  After Spike had taken a few mouthfuls, Xander felt herself pulled up into his lap so that she was facing the mirror.

“What do ya see luv?” Spike asked.

“Oh god, I thought I was going to get a good ravaging here,” Xander said as she tried to push his arms away and escape the image in the mirror.  She didn’t dislike mirrors nearly as much as she had as a male, but she didn’t especially like them either.  She’d even complained to Spike about this very mirror.

“What do ya see?” Spike asked again.

“Brown eyes, brown hair, girl next door kind of look,” Xander said, hoping that would satisfy Spike so they could get back to the chase and ravage portion of the evening’s entertainment.

“Eyes are the windows ta the soul, and yours are almost sepia, like those old photographs me mum took.  Fits ya because your soul’s older than you are; old enough ta understand things no teenager ever could.  Know what ya did for me back there, and hearing Angel and Buffy so sure I’d win, that’s a gift I won’t forget soon.  And your hair, thick rich chestnut curls I can bury my face in, lose myself in because I have lost myself in you.  Never felt this way for anyone before.”  Xander leaned back and stared at the image in the mirror trying to see herself like William did because she had no doubt that she was now held in the arms of William the poet who would sometimes sneak out of Spike and read her sonnets and leave Whitman poems on the bed.

“Face of an angel, and that shouldn’t turn me on bein’ that I’m a demon an all, but I love the gentle curve of your cheek and the lobe of your ear and the hollow of your neck.”  Each body part elicited a kiss or a nip so that Xander was squirming by the time he moved on.

“Love your curves.  Dru was all angles, but you have the body of a goddess with your wide hips and curved calves.”  These body parts were subjected to gentle caresses.

“I think you’re trying to call me a little heavy,” Xander pointed out. 
“Bloody hell, no.  Perfect.  Ladies in my day would have killed to have such curves.  Old-fashioned hour glass figure with all these perfect shapes to explore.”  Spike’s hands did a bit of exploring at this point.

“So I’m pretty,” Xander said in a ‘who cares’ kind of voice.

“Pretty, sexy, strong, mouthy, run soddin’ fast for a human, thoughtful,” Spike punctuated each word with a flick of his fingers on a button. “Loyal, smart, good at pissin’ off Peaches, learning ta swing a mean stake, assertive.” Xander soon found herself naked on the floor as Spike straddled her and tossed his own shirt into the corner.  “Love how ya ordered the slayer ta give up her weapon.  Love it even more that she did it.”  Spike pushed her legs apart, and Xander let herself be positioned, knowing that Spike would stop if she asked, but that if she struggled, she would just end up with rug burn in very uncomfortable places.  The last time that happened, she couldn’t sit straight, and Giles’ stuttering reaction had left her trapped between wanting to defend herself from the very obvious assumption Spike had spanked her and not wanting to explain the actual act that had led to her discomfort with sitting.

“So, what was the agenda tonight?” Spike asked with an amused smile as he straddled her, her hands trapped in his grip above her head.

“Chase and ravage?” Xander asked innocently.

“Oh yeah, I remember where I left off now,” Spike said with a leer, and Xander felt herself grow warm and tighten at his words as he began to thoroughly ravage her for the next couple of hours.

Xander woke up in a tangle of limbs with an uncomfortable ache in her back, probably caused by the fact that they had never made it to the bedroom the night before.  Instead they were sprawled across the living room carpet, which, Xander realized, probably now needed a trip to the dry cleaners.  She stretched, caressing the pale arm slung over her before she turned to look into that mirror in search of the woman Spike had described.  Instead her scream woke Spike who jumped up in full game face looking for an enemy to kill.  Xander ignored him, focusing instead on the image in the mirror: short brown curly hair, much darker brown eyes, heavy eyebrows, square chin.

“Bloody hell,” Spike cursed, and Xander couldn’t even form the words to answer.   “Pet, ya all right?” Spike asked, and Xander struggled to find her—his voice.

“Okay, I think I’m going to find a nice deep hell mouth and see if they having any openings…maybe something at the front desk.  I could do the whole ‘welcome to hell’ thing like at Wal-mart with the old people at the front door,” he babbled.

“You all right, pet?” Spike asked again, squatting down.  Xander looked over, but suddenly the image of Spike’s cock hanging between his open legs seemed ever so much more intimidating.

“I just did the whole gender changie thing again, and I have to think this isn’t good on the psyche, not to mention the body.  I mean, where do my manly bits go when they aren’t on me?”

“Well, your babbling came through all right.”

“Spike, what in the name of hell just happened?”

“I’d say that someone broke the spell.”

“Which I guessed based on the whole instant sex change thing.  I’m just kind of wondering why.”

“Two guesses, and the first don’t bloody count.”  Spike’s growl promised depths of pain and death that Xander hadn’t heard since the vampire first came to town.

“And suddenly I’m not feeling the slayerette love.”

“I’d like ta pull out their soddin’ guts,” Spike said, and Xander nearly jumped when a hand landed on his shoulder.  When he stood and spun, he realized that Spike had suddenly become shorter than him, and funny enough, shorter Spike seemed a whole lot scarier.  This was the view of Spike he’d always had back when the vampire had been his enemy, and Xander worked to slow his own heartbeat.

“Take it easy, pet or you’ll give yourself a heart attack.  Wankers aren’t worth it.”

“Yeah, heart attack,” Xander repeated, and then he realized that with the shift, he had parts exposed for viewing that he really didn’t want exposed.

“Oh god,” he shrieked, blaming the girly sound on his recent lack of manly bits as he dove for a couch.

“Not like ya have somethin’ I haven’t seen before,” Spike began.  “But then again, certain parts on ya, I haven’t seen.”  Xander didn’t even want to think about the lust he heard in Spike’s voice.  Nope—not gay, not thinking about it, and definitely not noticing the slowly hardening body part between his legs.

“Oh god, clothes,” Xander said nearly hyperventilating.  All her—his clothes were dresses, he’d even learned to fight in a dress, and oh god, why hadn’t Spike told him he’d put himself behind a couch where the mirror reflected a nice picture of his behind.   Muttering ‘oh god’ over and over, he dashed for the kitchen and just prayed Spike didn’t see it as some sort of foreplay because he was so not ready for that scene.

By the time Spike came in bearing mismatched sweats that just might fit over Xander’s frame, Xander had retrieved a cookie sheet and held it in front of his groin.  Spike’s eyebrow went up, but he didn’t say anything as he tossed the clothes on the counter.

“Um, thanks,” Xander said, still trying to get used to the sound of his voice.  “Could you…” Xander let his words trail off, but the incredulous look on Spike’s face made it clear that he understood.

“Fine,” he snapped and left the kitchen.  Xander slowly put the cooking sheet down and slipped into the sweats, at least dressed even if it was ugly even by his standards. 

Xander edged toward the kitchen door, toward the late afternoon light.  Since the night he’d gotten out of the airplane in France, he’d never really feared Spike, but he couldn’t seem to get his thoughts together with the vampire so near.  As long as he had girly parts, he could understand Spike’s infatuation; he’d seen that figure with the round hips and the waist and the bouncy breasts, and oh god, he was on the verge of having a whole new complex named after him because he was lusting after his own alternate self.  Xander shuddered. 

Back to his earlier train of thought, he understood why Spike would love that image he’d seen in the mirror, but he wasn’t the type to inspire anyone now.  Buffy’d rejected him outright, which actually hurt less than Willow trying to ‘de-lust’ him without even talking, I mean when you drove girls to the dark arts to avoid any possibility of a relationship, yeah, that did bad things to the ego.  Not that Cordelia did good things to the ego.  The girl had stood up to her friends, and not two days later had ripped on him to those same friends when she thought he wasn’t listening.

Yep, the special announcement was over, and Xander had just been returned to his regularly scheduled life still in progress.  And while he had inspired lust in a number of demons, he had always inspired them to try and snack on him in the end, so avoidance seemed the order of the day.  Xander closed his eyes, trying not to cry since as a man that violated the manly code, but he couldn’t help feeling like his friends had just ripped him out of his one chance at happiness.  Without saying a word, he slipped outside and started running, barefoot and all.

“Honey, I’m home,” Xander tried for funny as he walked in the library door, his feet scratched and his sweats…well, sweaty.

“This is unexpected,” Oz said from the table as Xander made his appearance.  Buffy was a little more enthusiastic.

“Xander, oh thank god, I can’t wait until Willow finds out; she’s going to be thrilled.”

“She’s not here?” Xander tried for nonchalant, but Oz’s sudden intense gaze told him he’d failed miserably.

“No, she and Giles went out to get some supplies,” Buffy said.

“And you didn’t go with?” Xander turned to Oz.

“Not invited,” Oz confirmed.  The sound of voices from the hallway led Xander to turn as Giles, Faith and Willow walked in.  His eyes narrowed in suspicion as Faith, still bruised and limping appeared with the two people who knew how to use magic.  Okay, sorta knew because Willow was obvious not all magic-girl yet what with the not being able to tell a love spell from a totally screw up the best friend’s life spell.

“Lookie, lookie who showed up,” Xander confronted the three, not even trying for diplomatic.

“Xander!” Willow shrieked as she threw herself into his arms.  A few weeks earlier this would have provided entirely too much temptation; now the only temptation was to break her neck.  Oh, okay, he couldn’t break her neck, but he was in a definite pinky-finger breaking mood.

“Willow, do you notice anything wrong with this picture?” Xander asked once Willow stepped back.

“Yeah, you’re back to looking like white trash on a limited income,” Faith offered and Xander gave her his best whither and die look.  Faith laughed.  “That might work on your vamp, but not on me she-he.”

“Xander what’s wrong?” Willow asked with wide innocent eyes.

“Um, Willow, you went and did the whole mojo thing on me *again* and I thought we had this discussion.”

“I assure you, Willow has not cast any spells that would have resulted in your…reversion to your original form.”

“Right, mate.  Why don’t you try that on someone stupid because we’re not buyin’.” Xander turned to see Spike leaning against the counter, and he instinctively took one step forward before stopping.  He didn’t belong in Spike’s arms any more and that moved him from pinky-breaking angry all the way up to leg-breaking angry.

“Really, I honestly didn’t do anything especially after the whole turning Xander into a girl in the first place thing which really gave me a case of the guilties.  I’m okay with you and Xander and I wouldn’t have messed it up,” Willow begged them to believe her, and Xander felt his anger dissipating under such a passionate plea of innocence.

“And despite my extensive research, I have certainly found no spell capable of achieving this result without the subjects’ cooperation,” Giles added.  Xander could see Spike’s eyes tighten at the news that Giles had researched ways to end the spell.

“Right,” Spike said in a completely disbelieving voice.  “Not stupid, so don’t soddin’ treat me like I am.”

“They already told you they didn’t do this,” Buffy said as she stepped up.  Whatever happened with Xander’s…um…parts, we didn’t do it.”

“Didn’t say you did it slayer, you’re not really bright enough for this kinda mojo.”

“You arrogant, bull-headed, conceited old…” Buffy started, clearly working up to a full out rant, but Spike interrupted.

“Oi, if you’re goin’ ta insult me alphabetically, you mind offer me a chair so I don’t have to stand through all 26?”

“What?” Buffy asked, obviously confused.

“I’m just thinkin’ when ya get ta ‘x’ you’re goin’ ta have a problem, and I don’t intend on standing while you try ta come up with vocabulary that probably isn’t even in that brain of yours.”  Xander felt himself approaching hysteria as Buffy turned to Willow, silently asking for a translation.

“You know, a for arrogant, b for bull-headed,” Willow explained with a shrug.

“Yeah, and I don’t intend on standin’ for the length of time it’ll take ya ta come up with one for every letter.  Don’t have that many decades ta waste.”  Buffy narrowed her eyes, and Xander just waited for his life to finish its complete unraveling, not that his life was so raveled to begin with.

“Oh, oh, ‘x’ could be for xenophobic,” Willow squealed, and all glaring ended as every person in the library turned to look at her.  “Well it could,” she defended herself, and once again Xander considered his recent ‘Willow babbling to distract from the evil vibes’ theory.

“Don’t really have anythin’ against foreigners, luv,” Spike said, but his voice had grown considerably softer and more amused while addressing the witch.

“Um, Xanthippe?” Willow tried.

“Ya already turned one of us into a woman,” Spike started, “how ‘bout ya leave it at just one.  If it’s buggin’ ya, the word I’d go for is x-rated.” Spike said, and Xander felt the blush start at his toes and work north until he had to fairly glow bright red.  Oh no, no thinking about Spike and sex.  No thinking about sex.  No thinking about what it would be like to have sex with Spike now because that would be really, really bad.

“I don’t know, I kinda like ‘Xander-whipped’,” Faith threw in, and Xander nearly choked on air, sure that he would pop blood vessels if he blushed any harder.

“And once again we have wandered into territory I most certainly do not want to explore.  Academic curiosity has limits,” Giles pointed out.  As he watched Giles polish, Xander wondered how long the librarian’s glasses survived on average. 

“You’ll bloody fix this spell you’ve bollocked up or I’ll show ya a few limits,” Spike snarled as Xander started backing toward the exit in the shelves.

“I hardly feel threatened by a hyperactive hundred year old when two slayers are in the room,” Giles snapped back, and Xander ran for the exit.  He didn’t want to actually watch when the whole thing dissolved into mutual homicide, but he just couldn’t do anything to fix it this time. 

Xander wandered town until he found himself in the park where he and Jesse and Willow used to go before life got so complicated…and then more complicated…and then complicated beyond human capacity for understanding.  Seeing a bench, he decided to sit and pick the pebbles out of his feet before he actually lamed himself.  God, he didn’t even have a home since his parents had bought the whole foreign exchange student crap, which just proved the poor quality gene pool he’d drawn from.

“This is a new look,” Angel offered as he sat down on the bench.

“Yep, going for that rummage sale look.” Xander said without looking up.

“I actually meant the male thing.”

“Right.  So I take it they didn’t let you in on the fun and games last night. Just as well since Spike really doesn’t need more reasons to kill you.

“What?  Buffy?  She did this?”  Xander smiled, he’d never actually heard Angel flustered before and it was almost worth it.

“Buffy or Giles, that’s the consensus.  Wait, can you have a consensus with just one person?” Xander looked over at Angel.

“Not generally.” Angel replied.  “What makes you think Buffy and Giles did this?”

“Oh, let’s see.  They hate Spike, they hate me and Spike together, they’ve apparently researched way to break the spell, and now the lack of spellage means me and Spike won’t be together.  Yeah, I’m guessing Giles and or Buffy.”

“William threw you out?” Angel sounded almost surprised at that.

“Uh, I’m a man here.  Manly bits,” Xander gestured toward his own crotch.  “Well, manlier anyway,” Xander said as he considered how he had sneaked out of first the house and then the library.

“And you and Spike talked, decided to go your separate ways?” Angel prodded.

“Talk, no.  But we did manage to avoid the attempted murder thing, so I’m calling it one of my better break ups.”  Xander looked over into Angel’s slightly confused face.  “Man, I know this is probably the closest you get to comforting, but if you’re looking to make me feel better, going away would be a good start.”

“Xander,” Angel took a deep breath as though bracing himself, and Xander ignored him.  “Spike wouldn’t have turned on you because the spell ended.  Say what you want, Spike is loyal to the end.” 

“Spike wanted girl me, it’s why the compatibility spell made the change because we aren’t compatible.  I just don’t want to be around when Spike decides he doesn’t like the old model.”

“You think he’ll turn on you.”

“I think he’ll eat me.” Xander exclaimed, exasperated with why Angel couldn’t seem to grasp simple logic.  “Oh, come on Angel, look at me.  Giles, Buffy, Jesse, Cordelia, and even Willow: they all think I’m some sort of screw up. Or thought in Jesse’s case since my screw ups helped get him killed.  You think your soul-less childe is going to think any better of me?”

“So, that’s why you’re sitting in a park a hundred feet away from a cemetery in the dark?”

“I can take care of myself.” Xander protested weakly, even though he now realized that he didn’t even have a stake and his ability to get home probably depended on sticking close to Angel.

“Xander,” Angel started, halting awkwardly after the name.  “Spike’s not someone you walk away from.”

“Great, we talking stalker boy with dead fish or we talking body floating in with the tide?  I’m actually hoping on the tide thing because Willow’s parents are going to notice another missing tank full of missing fish.”  Xander ignored the small stab of guilt as he twisted that knife into Angel, but the sooner Brood-boy went home, the sooner he got to work on his own brooding technique.  He waited for Angel to leave, but the silence just stretched out until he wanted to scream.  He really wanted to just get up and walk away, but he didn’t think he had the strength.

“Spike cares about you,” Angel said, and then Xander could literally hear the vampire grind his teeth before continuing.  “He loves you.  He’s not going to hurt you, although dragging you off is a real possibility if you run away without talking to him.”

“Been there, done that.  Can’t say I expected that to ever happen again because, hey, I’m not a girl any more.  You’re kind of ‘Missing the Obvious Man’ tonight, Angel.”

“No, pet, you’re the one missin’ the obvious if ya think I’m goin’ ta walk away from ya just cause your mates bollocked up some spell.”

“Spike,” Xander exclaimed as he stood, and backed up so that he stood slightly behind Angel who had also stood at the sound of Spike’ voice.  For his part, Spike’s expression wasn’t one to inspire confidence or long life expectancies.

“Yeah, pet.  Been lookin’ for ya for nearly two hours, and I’m wondering what you’re doin’ here.”

“Oh just sitting, talking, people watching,” Xander gestured toward the completely abandoned park, cringing as he realized he had given the world’s stupidest answer which seemed so very appropriate in its own way.

“Time ta come home pet.”

“Angel’s actually just going to walk me to my parents’ place since the real Xander Harris is back in residence, it’s time for him to go back to his real residence.”

“Your place is soddin’ well with me,” Spike snarled, and Xander nearly threw himself behind Angel, thankful for the older and much larger vampire’s presence.  Nice solid, soul-having, protective, reaching around to grab him by the scruff of his neck like a puppy Angel.  Xander yelped his objection to Angel’s manhandling of him as the vampire pulled him around with a large hand at his neck and another holding his belt.  Xander tried to pull away, but Angel’s grasp didn’t budge.

“Peaches,” Spike snapped, and Xander flinched in Angel’s grasp.  “What game are ya playin’?”

“Not playing.  I gave you Xander back at the school the first time you showed up in Sunnydale, wouldn’t be polite of me to take back my gift,” Angel said, and before Xander could lodge a protest, he found himself pushed forward toward Spike.

“Hey, Buffy is so not going to be okay with the whole giving me away plan,” Xander protested even as Spike’s arms closed around him, holding him firmly enough to prevent any sort of escape.  Angel shrugged.

“It’s a vampire thing,” he offered as he turned and disappeared into the night, leaving Xander to his fate with Spike, with an angry and still game-faced Spike.  Xander ducked his head and tried to find the right words to talk his way out of this one, but Spike simply started walking, pulling Xander after him as he strode toward home.

Spike’s mood was just as dark when the reached the house.  Xander tried to not notice the steel grip around his wrist as Spike unlocked the door and pulled him in.  Rather than going to the living room with its exit to the kitchen, Spike pulled them into the sitting room which they had set up for their various video games.  Xander didn’t comment as Spike propelled him into the small room that had only one exit, the doorway Spike stood in.

“Do ya feel that differently about us now?” Spike demanded, and the vampire searched his coat pockets until he finally came up with a cigarette.  Xander didn’t answer; he just retreated to a chair on the far side of the room.  “Bloody hell, why are you smellin’ all fearful over there?”  Xander looked up to see Spike’s yellowed gaze staring straight at him, a lit cigarette in his hand.

“It might have something to do with the whole fangy look,” Xander shrugged and dropped his gaze back to the floor, busying himself with various ways to kill Angel.  I mean, giving him to Spike once, that was bad, but to give him away a second time?  Oh yeah, Xander was soooo going to tell Buffy.  And god, did Giles misplace some of his manly bits because he was definitely feeling the estrogen here.

“Pet,” Xander jumped when delicate hands with chipped black polish landed on his legs, the vampire kneeling down in front of his chair.  Xander looked at Spike’s face and could almost see the pain, but better now than later.  “You want me gone then?  Now that the spell’s off, ya want me ta leave?” Spike asked, and Xander opened his mouth to say yes, but he couldn’t get the lie past his lips.

“I just don’t want to be here when I screw this up,” Xander said, realizing a half a second too late that his one logical brain cell had managed to take a vacation again.  A cool hand touched his cheek, and Xander flinched back. 

“I’m goin’ ta eat every one of one of those wankers,” Spike growled and Xander tried to shrink back into the chair.

“Hey, no eating the friends, thought we had this discussion.  Or sort of, we in that the girl me and you had this discussion.  But still, I distinctly remember conversation happening.

“They’ve bloody well convinced you that you’ll screw up, and that puts them on my short list.  You’re not some bloody screw up no matter what bollocks they’ve been feedin’ ya.”

“Oh they don’t have to feed me anything, they just have a habit of pointing out the truth about me being of the not helpful sort.”

“Bloody git.  You’re the one who brought the slayer back from the dead, and while I don’t generally condone saving slayers, you can’t hardly dismiss that as unhelpful.”

“Yeah, but I fall asleep on Oz watch and humiliate myself in front of Buffy and go lusting after Willow and you kind of know that part because you were there for the whole failed de-lusting thing..”

“Pet.”  Xander looked up at Spike’s serious tone.  “Do ya still want me?”  Xander looked into those clear blue eyes and he knew the answer.

“Yeah,” he whispered.

“That’s all that matters, pet.  Nothin’ else has changed.”

“Oh a few things changed,” Xander said with a glance downward toward his crotch, but Spike caught his chin in his hand and made him look at him.

“Nothin’ has changed.  You’re still you and I’m still me.  Soddin’ gits redecorated the outside a bit, but that doesn’t change who we are.”  Spike suddenly stood and dropped his cigarette in an abandoned mug.

Spike took Xander by the wrist, strong fingers pulling him unwillingly up the stairs even as Xander asked himself what the hell he was doing.  He should have just said ‘no.’ He should have stopped this before it got started because he wasn't gay, no matter what his cock claimed right now.  Nope, the fact that the thought of sex with a male vampire made his body jump up and take notice didn't mean he was gay. He didn’t even know how to be gay, so no gayness for him.  He was passing on the Dorothy parade.

Spike started toward the playroom, and Xander now started dragging his feet.  That room had some beautiful memories that he didn't want to ruin with his own clumsiness, but despite his reluctance, Spike wouldn't be deterred.  Throwing the door open, Spike pulled him into the room and then took his post guarding the doorway.

"So, I explained how it works for vamps, so what do ya want?"

"Outta this room?" Xander quipped as he wrapped his arms around his middle and tried to physically shrink into nothing.

"Pet," Spike said in a soft voice, "I'm not givin' ya up, so ya got a choice here."  Xander backed up as Spike slid out of his shirt. 

"Don't I hear Buffy calling? 'Cause I wouldn't want to keep her waiting," Xander said in a not-so-veiled threat, but Spike just sighed. 

"If that's the way ya want it, pet," Spike said, and before Xander could decipher that remark, he found himself being dragged toward the chains, Spike striping his shirt and securing him before he could complain or fight, not that he had an illusion than either would help.  Nope, getting chained up seemed inevitable from the moment he woke up with a penis.  Xander slumped against the chains and tried to breathe.

"Can't think I'd hurt ya, pet," Spike whispered, and Xander felt a cool hand run up and down his back before beginning to circle.  He closed his eyes and tried to channel Oz with all that self-possessed confidence and indifferent attitude.  Instead, he found himself blinking to keep tears from falling.

"I can make ya feel good," Spike promised, and Xander felt fingers at the waist of his sweats making him shiver.  He didn't move as Spike pushed his sweats down around his ankles, and he noticed with a bit of pride that his cock now hung limp and his balls were actively trying to crawl back up inside his body.

"Not gay," Xander pointed out, both relieved and worried about his lack of interest in Spike.  If he and Spike weren't lovers, as his cock currently seemed to indicate, that left exactly one option in his mind, and he didn't really want to think about the fact that he was chained in the lair of a vampire he wasn't sleeping with any more.  Of course, even not thinking about that option made his balls take another run at becoming internal organs despite Spike's hand exploring his backside and teasingly trying to reach between his legs which remained firmly together.

"Oi, ya really aren't goin' along with this, are ya?" Spike asked, and Xander didn't answer--he really didn't have an answer that wouldn't result in his becoming a statistic, but then again he expected that anyway so he didn't know why he was giving up his last chance to mouth off.  He felt fingers at his wrists, and then he was free and backing toward the window with Spike stalking toward him.

"Oh boy," Xander breathed heavily and half turned toward the window before closing his eyes.  He could feel when Spike pressed into him, a rustling of fabric against his skin.  Nice last words, idiot, he had time to think to himself before he realized that Spike had backed off.  He opened his eyes to find the drapes pushed back to either side, the window open to the weak moonlight that filtered in and the empty fields and power station through the glass. Xander turned his and saw Spike standing in the middle of the room, his own hands chained above him. Reaching down to pull up his sweats, he stood looking at the vampire.

"Spike?" he asked, but the vampire stood there unmoving with a closed expression.  Xander took a single step toward the door and then another and then he found himself running down the stairs and out into the sharp air of the early morning.  He had run for several blocks, shirtless and shoeless before he slowed to a walk, his heart struggling to slow.  He had walked another couple of blocks before his brain started actually processing what had happened.  Spike hadn't raped him, which was actually an improvement over their relationship when Xander had been a girl.  More surprisingly, Spike hadn't eaten him. Even Impata had eventually turned to him for a meal, and he'd never doubted that she'd cared about him. 

Xander had walked a couple more blocks, before he turned to the image of Spike chained in the middle of the room, his pale chest reflecting the moonlight.  Moonlight.  Xander's brain stuttered like a stuck record.  Moonlight. Light.  Moon.  Xander gasped and looked at the sky.  The sun wasn't up, but he could see the first pink lines beginning to appear.  Xander felt like a demon had reached in his chest and ripped out his heart...actually lost a couple of seconds looking for the heart ripping demon before he took off running as fast as he could.  By the time he reached the house, his breathe came in labored gasps and his feet stung from a dozen different scratches, but he ignored his own body as he crashed into the door.  Locked.  For a second, Xander stopped and panicked, looking up at the pinking sky.

Xander turned and saw a lawn gnome in the neighbor's yard.  Spike had made fun of it every time they walked by, but now Xander dashed over and grabbed the red and white smiling wood before running back to his own yard and swinging the thing like a bat into the living room window.  The glass shattered, and Xander swung a leg over the window sill, trying to jump free of most of the glass but not taking time to pick the glass out of his foot as he limped up the stairs using the banister.  He reached the door to the playroom which still stood open, and he threw himself into the room, ignoring Spike in his quest to reach the window.  With pink and blue tendrils snaking their way into the sky, Xander pulled the sun-proof drapes, checking to see that the two panels met before he turned to look at the chained vampire in the middle of the room.

"You idiot," he complained as he sat on the floor and considered his bleeding foot. 

"Won't be left again, too many bloody people have left me already, pet," Spike commented nonchalantly, as if he hadn't been minutes from turning to dust with no way to save himself.

"Yeah, well the whole expecting me to notice the window thing, not smart.  Don't ever underestimate my ability to be clueless," Xander said as he tried to grab a slick piece of glass and pull it out of his foot.
"Oi, you're hurt."

"Not as bad as the living room window.  Or the stairway carpet.  And we need to buy the neighbor a new lawn gnome."  Xander looked up and Spike was giving him one of those really cute confused as hell looks.  "Locked myself out of the house," Xander said as an explanation, and then he stood on his one good foot and hopped over to the shelf for the key before freeing Spike.  Silently, Spike scooped him up and took him to the master bathroom where Xander found himself put on the counter while Spike ran water into the sink.

"Bloody git, what the hell were you thinkin'?" Spike asked as delicate fingers explored Xander's foot finding and removing glass shards.

"Thinking my vamp was about to turn to dust," Xander said honestly.

"Didn't think I was yours anymore," Spike commented.

"Okay, I don't know how this works or what to do or even how I'm going to admit this to anyone else, but I don't want to give you up.  So can I go with, I want you but have no idea what to do about it?" Xander asked shyly.

"Can live with that," Spike shrugged as he drained the water and dried Xander's foot.  "Just thought ya didn't want me." 

"I guess I just couldn't believe you'd want me: Mr. drove Willow to the dark arts to get rid of me; Mr. can't get a date; Mr. screw up; Mr. demon bait."

"Pet, don't talk that way 'bout my mate.  Bit protective of him, and I might just get testy," Spike ordered with a slight snarl before picked him up and carrying him to the bed.  And suddenly a snarling vampire dragging him off was cute again, Xander realized. 

Spike set him on the edge of the bed and pulled the sweats off for a second time.  While Xander Jr. certainly didn’t look entirely enthusiastic, at least this time he was showing some interest. 

“What do ya want, pet?” Spike asked, and boy that stopped the proceedings because Xander only knew of one thing gay guys did, and having intimate knowledge of Spike’s anatomy, he *knew* that wasn’t going to fit.  Okay, assuming that was out, what did he want?

“Someone to wave a magic wand and make with the wiggins stopage?”

“Oi, no more mojo!” Spike insisted with an exaggerated shudder.  “Ya trust me?”

Xander paused.  When he really thought about it his life consisted of his parents (yep, zero trust there);  Giles (since when does the guy who raised a killer orgy demon and hid it for twenty years get to rip into the guy who makes one little tiny teeny error with a love spell and then fesses up); Buffy (yeah, thanks for the humiliation on the dance floor); Cordelia (okay, maybe not Cordy because she wasn’t actually talking to him anymore); and Willow (who he would have trusted until the whole secret de-lust thing, which actually upset him a whole lot more than the girly thing).  And he forgave all those people; he truly did, but when he compared them to the stunning creature now sitting on the end of their bed, he knew the answer.

“Yeah,” Xander said and he meant it.  “Trust you more than anyone else in the world.”  Spike froze, his head lowered to a foot above the bed, looking at him as though searching Xander’s soul.  Finally, Spike gave a long, slow, genuine smile.

“Well then, luv, don’t you worry ‘cause I can show ya all sorts of stuff ta do with manly bits.” 

Spike lowered his head again, and Xander felt a tongue run up the underside of his foot.  The tongue returned several times before Spike mouth descended on a toe, and Xander made a noise that fell somewhere between amused and horny. 

“Oi, not the reaction I’m going for,” Spike complained with a raised eyebrow.

“I’m sorry, feeling a little…strange here,” Xander defended himself. 

“Well you’re not goin’ ta be worth anythin’ until you relax, so flip over onto your stomach.”  Xander felt cool hands at his waist helping him to shift, and he did, but his nervousness just about took out his central nervous system.

“You’re not…I mean...Not that there’s anything wrong with…well…you know…I just mean, you aren’t going to…”  Spike saved him from his own inability to ask the question without saying words he just wasn’t going to say yet, or even think yet.  So why did he keep thinking about those thinks he wasn’t thinking about?

“Just givin’ ya a backrub.  You’ve got knots on your knots back here,” Spike said as he settled in on Xander’s lower back, and then Xander felt the strong hands leaning into his shoulder, pressing in and then rolling the pressure to the side until he could feel his body decompress.  All the worry and pain and betrayal of the day disappeared under Spike’s talented fingers and the vampire kneaded and massaged and rubbed and pressed until Xander thought his muscles might have detached from his bones because he just puddled in the middle of their big bed unable to move as he wandered into that twilight place between asleep and awake.  Every once in a while, Spike would land a kiss on some spot before starting to rub, and at first Xander had tensed every time, but each time, the gentle touch of lips only led to more massage, so Xander learned to relax through the man kisses:  the back of a knee, a shoulder, the small of his back, his left butt cheek, his right flank.  

Xander was so relaxed, he didn’t notice at first that the kiss-massage, massage, massage pattern had changed into one with far more kisses, and a few licks that he was trying his best to either ignore or repress.  His cock, however, had no objections, and he could feel it begin to swell under him as Spike’s tongue traced across his lower back and then blew across the damp skin causing Xander to shiver.  Suddenly he noticed that Spike had at some point gone from straddling his back to between his legs, and Xander started rolling himself over when he realized that he was sprawled spread eagle and stomach down on the bed, a position he truly wasn’t prepared to take in front of another man because hey, not gay.  And the raging erection he had at the thought of himself spread eagle in front of Spike didn’t make him gay, it just made him horny.  Horny at the thought of another man, but not gay.  Xander’s rolling maneuver ended when Spike pressed down on his hips.

“Shhh, ya said ya trusted me,” Spike murmured.  Then that tongue reached right down between his legs, lapping and sucking at his hole, and Xander’s first thought—eww—was quickly replaced by his second thought—yes, yes, fucking yes, and more please.  Xander squirmed and spread his legs even farther as the tongue now alternated its attention between the hole and the underside of his balls.  Xander started squirming even harder, struggling to push up, but the strong hands at his waist held him in place.

“Spike,” he gasped.  “Spike!” he panted louder when the vampire ignored his first call.

“Hmm?  Busy here,” Spike offered.

“I’m not going to have man bits left if you don’t let me get off them!” Xander complained, and the hands holding him down suddenly lifted him up, freeing his cock.

“Hand me a couple of pillows,” Spike asked, and Xander grabbed the pillows and tossed them down.

“Planning on sleeping down there?” he asked, but Spike simply waggled his eyebrows and arranged the pillows under Xander, and then Xander found himself pushed back down, this time with his butt in the air with his legs spread, and oh yes, this wasn’t a picture from a dirty magazine, not at all.  Not that he knew what a dirty gay magazine looked like because he hadn’t looked at the one Larry gave him.  He threw it out, and the one page he saw—it was just a fluke that the magazine had fallen open to that page when he tossed it in the garbage can.  Didn’t make him gay.  Anyone would have looked.  He had just been shocked.  He looked out of sheer amazement that bodies could actually stretch like that.  Then all thoughts of gayness or straightness or in-betweenness suddenly disappeared as Spike’s tongue sought entrance in a place Xander had always hung an “exit only” sign.

When a slim finger trailed up the underside of Xander’s cock, Xander found himself madly humping the pillows without any conscious thought, but Spike’s fingers tightened around the base of his cock, leaving him unable to actually reach the release his body demanded.

“Oi, calm down pet,” Spike whispered against his back, and he could feel the vampire’s cool breath stir the small hairs on his back.  Oh god, he no longer cared if he was gay as long as he got to come.  He gulped in air and tried to calm down since Spike clearly wasn’t letting go, but he could feel his orgasm curled like a spring ready to explode and trapped in a state of almost.

“Gotta come,” Xander finally hissed.

“And miss the grand finale?” Spike asked in his innocent voice that usually preceded major mayhem.  Xander would have cared more if every blood cell he owned wasn’t presently in his cock and unavailable for brain duty.  He felt a finger at his hole, a slick finger that slid in with almost no resistance, and Xander wiggled at little at the discomfort of having something up there.  The impression of motion inside his body reminded him of his time as a woman feeling Spike within him, but he missed the pleasure that came from Spike driving into him.  Now it felt strangely dull and clinical, which might be of the good because he finally got his erection to the point that he wasn’t going to die of internal leaking.  Xander had almost resolved to tell Spike that he didn’t enjoy the exploring when Spike touched something inside him that made him feel itchy and tingly and squirmy all the way through his insides.  He gasped.

“Nice?” Spike asked as he pressed again, and this time the itchy tingly graduated to lusty trembly.  Xander struggled to catch his breath as Spike pushed a third time, and suddenly Spike’s hand tightened around the base of Xander’s cock as Xander again felt his orgasm gather in the base of his spine, causing his legs to tense.

“Somebody’s feelin’ randy,” Spike hoarsely sniggered.  Xander couldn’t find the breath or the brain cells to answer, but suddenly the pressure increased as a second finger joined in and the pain removed the danger of orgasm.

“Relax, pet,” Spike suggested, and Xander suddenly knew that they were going to do that thing that he didn’t even want to think about because of the whole it’s freaking impossible aspect, but with Spike’s two fingers now turning slowly and rubbing that little magic button, Xander realized he wasn’t going to complain because Spike certainly seemed to know what he was doing.  Xander pressed his face into the pillows and let out a series of very unmanly moans.  Spike just chuckled, and Xander couldn’t even get up the energy to be upset about his gay vampire lover laughing at him in bed because as the pain retreated, even more of his blood tried to crowd into his cock which now throbbed in time with his heart.

The pressure increased again, and Xander gasped.  Spike’s second hand at his cock disappeared but the pain had again driven Xander back from the edge so he spread his legs even wider as he tried not to think about the size of what Spike was about to put in there.  Xander allowed himself to relax again as he slowly became used to the feeling of three fingers holding him open in a rather embarrassing way.  Amazing the things people could get used to, he thought as he fisted the sheets and felt the need to come slowly begin to rise again as the pleasure overwhelmed the pain.  However Spike just continued to play, sliding fingers in and out, touching that spot that inevitably made Xander’s hips thrust, kissing Xander’s raised backside.

“Please,” Xander begged as the pain of his delayed orgasm now overrode the slight twinges in his distended hole.  “Please, Spike I’m human so I’m fairly sure if you keep going, you’re going to kill me.”  That must have been motivation because Xander felt something much larger than fingers nudge into him and the familiar pain of stretching returned.  Inch by inch, Spike pressed his slick cock in the place where Xander had been so entirely sure it would never fit.  Xander hissed under each small movement it, the pressure building as he tried to tell his body it didn’t need to push the intruder in, and he became so concerned with controlling the need to push Spike out and so uncomfortable with the stretching that his once proud erection began to soften and wane.

“Spike,” he complained in an alarmed voice.

“Shh pet, remember the first time, remember how it hurt and ya accused me of breakin’ somethin’?  Ya gotta ride it out,” Spike offered.  “Love you,” Spike then whispered into his ear, and Xander was momentarily shocked out of caring about anything else.  Spike loved him, boy-him not girl-him.  Spike loved Xander Harris.  Spike who could charm a groupie out of a backstage pass picked him over Drusilla.  Xander didn’t even realized Spike was still pressing forward until he felt Spike’s thighs press up to the back of his own legs, the vampire’s body hair tickling him in very happy-happy joy-joy kind of ways.  Spike stayed in place, and Xander took the opportunity to reacquaint himself with breathing.  And as happened with the fingers, soon the need for more overrode the discomfort of being so full.  His happy button wasn’t getting enough so the lusty throbby bit had gone back to itchy tingly, and he wiggled in need. 

Xander didn’t have time to even think about what he needed before Spike pulled out just a little and then pushed back in and the feeling of Spike’s cock running across his prostate made Xander gasp in pleasure.  Spike repeated the motion a little faster now, and Xander pushed up on his knees a little so that Spike would have more room to work.  Cool hands helped him pull up off the pillows, and Xander tucked his head into his arms as Spike’s third thrust ran the full length of his prostate and Xander shivered and bucked, this own movement stretching himself wider, and then Xander couldn’t take any more.  When Spike pulled back, he drove himself backwards, and he could feel Spike temporarily rock backwards in surprise before he drove forward far harder this time. 

Xander groaned and reached for his cock but Spike had encircled the swollen organ before Xander could complete the motion, so Xander just concentrated on thrusting back after Spike pulled out, enjoying the feel of Spike’s hand ever tighter on his cock until Xander couldn’t take any more and he felt his legs stiffen as his coiled orgasm traveled up his backbone and erupted into such mind-bending pleasure that Xander lost himself in a feeling that overwhelmed every sense even as Spike roared out his own orgasm.  Absolutely boneless now, Xander collapsed down on the bed, pulling himself off Spike’s cock on the process, for which he was very sorry because he suddenly felt empty and wrong without Spike in him and oh my god, he was gay.

Spike collapsed next to him, a Spike arm and half a Spike chest lying across his own back.

“Wow,” Xander finally said into the quiet.

“Didn’t hurt?” Spike asked, trying to not sound concerned, but Xander knew better.

“Sore, but nope, not hurt,” Xander confirmed.  “That was like good man sex and good woman sex wrapped up all together which made for…” Xander struggled to come up with a description that would explain to Spike just how perfect that had been.  “Really, really, really good sex,” he finally settled on.  Spike snorted.

“Nice ta see ya still got your knack for words, there pet.”

“Hey, not all of us can be poets,” Xander teased back, and Spike pinched his ass.  “Oh god, now I have to tell people I’m gay,” Xander suddenly complained.

“Oi, is that why you had a bug up your butt?” Spike asked as he now soothed the skin he had just pinched with little rubbing circles.

“Okay, do *you* want to be the one to tell Buffy we’re doing the wild thing?”

“Think she knows, pet.”

“She knows girl me and you were…what’s your word?  Shagging?  She doesn’t know boy me and you are.  Oh god, Angel.” Xander said with sudden horror.  “He’s going to know ‘cause he’s going to do that whole gross sniffing thing, isn’t he?”

“Pet, he gave ya to me, so I don’t think he’s going to be shocked.” 

“True.  We just won’t let him know who likes the chains,” Xander giggled before reminding himself he was a man and switching to a manlier chuckle, a chuckle that was lost under Spike’s sudden and entirely un-Spike-like laughter.


“Ya think he don’t know?” Spike asked.  “Oi, sometimes forget how dense humans can be.”

“Okay, not feeling the love here.  Thought you didn’t like people insulting your mate?” Xander demanded with a glare.

“Anyone other than me does it, and I’ll rip his throat out,” Spike confirmed.  “But I promise you Angel’s known since day one.”

“Oh god, you told him?  What, did you sit down and say, ‘Hey, poof.  Xander and I like kinky games where he chains me up—she chains me up—where I get chained up.’  And when were you planning on telling me about this conversation?”  Xander turned over and sat up, suddenly very upset about the idea of Angel knowing anything about their sex life, but Spike continued to simply look up at him as though he’d lost his mind.

“You were there as I recall.  Angel asked what kind of truce I was offerin’, and I told the poof that I was followin’ your lead.  With vampires it’s all or nothin’, so when I told him you were makin’ the decisions, he knew that meant all the decisions.”

“So you just announced to your own sire that you were taking orders from the donut boy?”  Xander asked, suddenly horrified at what that must have done from Spike’s standing in front of his sire.

“If ya recall, he asked me if I’d lost my mind.  I told him ta sod off then, and I’d do it again, but I don’t really think that’s needed.  He gave ya back to me knowing how things were with us, so I’d call that as good of a welcome as you’re goin’ ta get into the line of Aurelias.”  Xander just froze, unable to even reconstruct an understanding of reality with this new twist.  Maybe he was in some alternate reality.  Maybe his real life was still out there somewhere and he and Spike still hated each other.  He shuddered at the thought of such a horrible world.

“What was he thinking?  He hates me; he should have been buying me a ticket to Siberia.” Xander finally concluded.

“Woulda followed,” Spike commented wryly.

“Then he would have gotten rid of both of us,” Xander pointed out.  “Besides doesn’t this change things?” Xander asked with a vague wave toward the bed.

“How’s that, pet?” Xander let himself be pulled back down into Spike’s embrace, still not used to the fact that the vampire seemed so much smaller now.

“Well, you’re the one who…you know.” 

“Bloody hell, you can have sex, but ya can’t say the word? 

“Fine, sex. Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex,” Xander insisted, each time poking a finger into Spike’s chest until the vampire captured his hand and held it still.  “You’re the one who did the sex part, so doesn’t that put you on top or something?”

“Not that simple.  I’m a vampire, pet.  Once I yielded to ya, I can’t just take that back, it’s not in my nature, and if ya recall, when I tried ta force the issue tonight, I couldn’t even get a rise out of ya.  So, I had a choice of surrenderin’ to ya or losing ya.”

“But the first time, that time you were all in-charge man and I yielded,” Xander insisted, still not really comfortable with Spike’s whole own or be owned view of life.

“Yeah, I overpowered ya, and I could do that again, but when I do, ya don’t yield.  I got ya drunk and slept with ya, but the minute ya sobered up ya called me every name in the book and rejected me,” Spike pointed out.

“Yeah, kinda did,” Xander agreed.  “I was really pissed off about the whole thing.”

“Yeah, that’s when I knew that if I wanted ya, I’d have to yield to you.  I gave myself to you and my demon recognized you as his superior, likes it even ‘cause ya want me and that makes the demon happy.  Never really was wanted before, just kind of ended up with someone.”

“So the demon’s okay with the whole human thing?” Xander asked, still not sure how much he liked this, but understanding it in a vampirey kinda way.

“Funny thing, never have heard of a demon acceptin’ a human before, but it might’ve been the spell.  Demon felt the need ta be compatible, and accepting ya as master was the only way to make it work.  Can’t say I’m sorry since ya make me a good sight happier than either Angelus or Drusilla ever managed.”

“Okay, just promise me one thing,” Xander asked.

“Wot’s that?”

“Never use the word ‘master’ again,” Xander begged.  “You’re the strongest, most energetic, most determined creature I’ve ever known, and you shouldn’t call anyone master.”

“Doesn’t make me any weaker to admit that I’m yours, and the fact that Angel gave ya back to me means he accepts it as well.  Puts ya right in the middle of the Aurelias line, which makes ya one powerful human.  But pet,” Spike’s voice grew suddenly serious, and Xander felt the hand around his tighten.  “We’re goin’ ta do somethin’ about your mates makin’ this trouble.”  Xander listened to the determination in Spike’s voice and knew he couldn’t just brush off his friends’ interference, not again.

“No one dies and no one goes on a respirator for the rest of his life,” Xander insisted remembering Spike’s anger toward Giles.  “No one is dead, right?” he suddenly realized that he hadn’t even asked about what had happened at the library.

“Wanker’s not dead, but if he doesn’t start tellin’ what happened, he’s goin’ ta hurt a little.”

“Spike, I’m serious.  If he gets injured or dead, I’m going to have enough guilt to make me nuttier than Dru, so unless you want me to start playing with dolls, no breaking my friends.”

“Git.  You’re worse than havin’ a mother, but no, I won’t break your friends.”  Trusting Spike to keep his word, Xander lay his head down on that strong chest and slid into sleep.

A loud pounding drove Xander from sleep, and he flailed wildly for a moment, woken from a dream where he walked a tightrope over a giant jelly donut.

“Oi, somebody better be bloody dead or there’s goin’ ta be a death,” Spike cursed as he leapt from the bed and charged out the bedroom door, snagging the sword that leaned up against the wall.

“Spike!” Xander yelped, struggling to get his legs untangled from the sheets long enough to chase him out the door.  Spike was already down the stairs when Xander yelled again.  “Spike!” he all but screamed.

“Wot?” Spike asked from the bottom of the stairs, sword held high.  Xander tossed the balled up black robe at Spike before ducking back into the bedroom to grab his own sweats.  He briefly wondered where his shirt had gone but didn’t take time to find it before grabbing his own stake and running down the stairs.

“Boy-toy,” Faith greeted him.  “If you’re expecting the in-laws to visit, you gotta wait for the sun to go down,” she said with a nod toward his stake.

“Ha ha,” Xander complained.  “What are you doing here?”

“Regretting missing all the fun.”  Faith turned around and looked toward the living room.  Xander flinched as stepped forward and caught sight of the destroyed room.  Bits of glass had gone everywhere, a scratched and chipped gnome lay on the couch and a bloody trail led up the stairs.  Spike leaned against the hallway door, unable to get into the living room since the sun proof drapes hung crooked across the big window, allowing the late afternoon sun to bathe the room in red light.

“Whatever ya want, just spit it out.  Don’t want ta ruin my reputation by havin’ a bloody slayer in my house,” Spike demanded with his arms crossed.

“I thought sleeping with the boy kinda did that for you,” she shot back.  Spike growled loudly and stood up straight as he slipped into game face.

“Oh put it away already,” Faith commented with as she picked her way into the living room.  “Like you better than Buffy’s vamp anyway, that’s for sure.  He spends all his time sniffing after Buffy, and I know Ms. Frigid isn’t giving him any.”

“Hey!” Xander protested at the same time that Spike announced, “Be bloody glad for it.”

“Who said I’m giving him any?  Man parts here!” Xander insisted and the minute the words were out of his mouth, he regretted them.  He didn’t even bother looking over at Spike because he knew the expression the vampire would be giving him, that closed off, ‘it doesn’t really matter to me’ look that always made Xander feel even smaller than usual.

“Yeah, right,” Faith said as she looked over.  “It’s five by five with me, don’t really mind the thought of two hot men squirmin’ around in a bed, but trust me when I say he looks like he’s getting a little.” Faith pursed her lips as she looked at Spike admiringly.  Xander instinctively looked over, and he had to admit that Spike looked entirely too sexy in his short black robe for the vampire to be celibate.

“Gettin’ a bloody lot,” Spike said with a smirk to Xander.

“Yeah, the boy’s color kinda says that.  Kind of a cherry red there,” Faith said with a head bob in Xander’s direction, and Xander could feel the blush that had started at the sight of Spike suddenly deepen.  “Of course, cherry might not be the best word to use,” Faith said with another purse of her lips.

“Hey!” Xander protested, suddenly realizing that Faith was intentionally saying things to make him blush, which wasn’t all that difficult for her considering that she was even worse than Cordelia when it came to saying exactly what she thought.  God, considering his ability to attract scary-type women, he shuddered at the thought that if Spike hadn’t come into his life she might have been in his future.  “I know you didn’t come over to admire our redecorating, so exactly why are you banging on our door before the sun even goes down?”

“Sun’ll be down in a half-hour, so if I’m waking you, somebody must’ve been a bad boy and stayed up last night,” she sing-songed in a salacious tone.

“When the sun goes down enough for me ta get into the living room, I’m goin’ ta eat her,” Spike threatened, but Faith simply laughed.

“The others sent me over.  After you threw your little hissy fit, the watcher did some sort of tracking spell, and it turns out there was a big blast of the voodoo yesterday.  Willow and Oz tracked it down to a hotel outside of town, and you’re never going to guess who was staying at the Sunnydale Inn.”

“Elvis,” Spike snapped.

“One Mrs. Post,” Faith said, and Xander noticed the slayer staring intensely at Spike. When Xander looked to see if Spike was doing something stare-worthy, Spike looked back at him with a one-eyebrow up look of confusion at the slayer’s attitude.

“Mrs. Post came in claiming to be from the watchers, but she was this master manipulator who tried to steal the Glove of Myhnegon.  Angel burned the thing and she disappeared,” Xander explained briefly, leaving out the whole Faith getting totally taken in part.

“So, the bint did something ta us?” Spike asked in a low voice.

“Yeppers, sure looks like it,” Faith agreed.  “We kicked her ass, took her all-powerful glove thingy, and now evil ol’ Mrs. Post seems to be playing with the abracadabras.  Whatever spell came out of there was big and Giles said some of the ingredients Willow found in the hotel could’ve been used to cancel out other magic.” 

“Oh god, did it affect anyone else?” Xander asked.  In a town like Sunnydale you could never tell.

“Apparently this girl called Amy came down with the world’s worst case of acne overnight, but other than that, things seem pretty normal for a hell mouth.”  Faith shrugged, her intense focus on Spike suddenly broken as she wandered the living room again. 

“So, library time,” Xander confirmed as he looked around for his shoes.

“Pet?” Spike asked. 

“Yeah, yeah.  Wait ten minutes for the sun.  I know.” Xander said.  Of course he wasn’t going to risk turning his vampire into dust…again.

“Actually, I was thinking ya probably want ta have clothes that actually cover your body, not that I mind if ya want ta start goin’ with the half-naked look.”  Xander looked down and realized that he didn’t know where his shirt was, his sweatpants were ripped in both knees, and he didn’t own any shoes that fit, although he had a sudden surplus of strappy sandals.

“I’m saying he looks better than normal,” Faith said with a shrug.

“Oh god, I am not going out like this,” Xander announced.

“Yeah, figured.  Thought I’d point it out before ya actually got ta the library, though.  You stay here, and when the sun goes down, I’ll go out and get ya somethin’.”  Spike offered.

“Nothing embarrassing,” Xander demanded, and Faith started laughing. 

“Considering what you normally wear, exactly what would be so bad that you would find it embarrassing?” she asked.  Xander didn’t answer; he just gave a Spike-like snort and went upstairs to catch a shower because he suddenly realized that he could smell the sex on his own body.  While he showered, he heard Spike come in to change, but by the time he got out, the vampire and the slayer were gone, leaving him to clean up and make calls about replacing a window, cleaning a carpet, and finding a new lawn gnome.

Spike didn’t come home for nearly two hours, but when he appeared, he had enough sacks to make Buffy and Willow together happy.

“Oh my god, you do realize I’m not a woman anymore, right?” Xander asked.  “Not feeling any girly need to change clothes three times a day and perfectly okay with swapping the same two pairs of jeans using the tried and true every-other day rule.”

“I’ve seen what ya pick for yourself, pet; you don’t get choices in this.” 

“Oh just give me a shirt and pants so I can get dressed,” Xander demanded.

“Who said I bought ya any shirts.  Like ya topless,” Spike smirked, but he also threw Xander a single bag which Xander took upstairs so he could change into god-awful tight black jeans and a deep blue silk shirt with low boots.  Great, if he wasn’t careful, Buffy was going to stake him as a vampire, he thought as he stomped downstairs.

By the time Spike and Xander arrived at the library, the others had gathered around a large map of Sunnydale, Willow suspending a crystal above the surface.

“So, I guess I’m going to be apology-man tonight,” Xander said as he walked through the swinging doors.  Giles removed his glasses almost immediately, and Xander realized that he was actually getting used to not seeing the Watcher with glasses, which probably wasn’t a good thing considering the man only took them off to nervously polish them.

“Yes, well I admit we might have approached you about breaking the spell if we had found a way…” Giles was interrupted by a low guttural growl.  He continued as if a century old vampire wasn’t suddenly looking at him as though he had the last edible blood in the world flowing through his veins.  “But I assure you we would not have attempted a counter-spell without your consent.”

“Ditto here,” Willow offered.  “I mean the whole you and Spike thing, yeah, it’s totally of the weird and creepy feeling making, but since I date a werewolf, I won’t try to tell you what to do.  Besides, you click…well, you did.  I don’t mean to assume that you still click, not that there’s anything wrong with guys clicking together, had a few of those type click thoughts myself…well, not so much the two guys thing as the two girls, and I just totally lost control of my mouth so someone please stop me.”

“Stop,” Oz suggested, and then he stood up and leaned over to kiss her on the lips.

“Thank you,” Willow shyly whispered, and Xander found that he was totally and completely happy that he hadn’t managed to mess them up.  Now that he had his manly parts back, he could honestly say that he no longer wanted to click with her.

“It’s okay, Willow,” he said, and suddenly he realized why she had stuttered.  Spike always stood somehow touching unless he was upset, but now Spike leaned against a far wall.  Xander went over and slipped his own arm around Spike.  “We’re still clicking,” he announced to everyone.  Spike simply smirked, but Xander would have sworn he saw something like approval in Angel’s eyes before the older vamp returned to his normal stoic/constipated look.  Maybe animal blood really did make vampires constipated.

“So, Mrs. Post?” Xander asked.

“Yes, she appears to have made a few contacts with the council despite her unsavory history.  I haven’t gotten any word back from England, but I think we can safely assume that Mrs. Post is a very real danger,” Giles offered as he slipped his glasses back on.

“The bint’s not really a problem,” Spike shrugged.  Xander shot a look over and would have called that expression guilt if he’d seen it on anyone else.  Knowing his vampire, he considered it more a cross between self-satisfaction and wariness at having gotten caught.

“Oh good lord, what did you do?” Giles asked, and yep, there went the glasses.  New record—three seconds.

“Oi, you lot said she was evil, seemed like that put her on my menu.”

“You ate her? Okay, that’s a serious euwww,” Buffy complained. 

“I double that euwww and add a yuck,” Willow said with a shudder.  “And I don’t even have to kiss him after he eats.”

“Well, at least we don’t have to look for her,” Xander finally said.  “And you are so brushing your teeth before I kiss you,” he finished.  Spike gave him his best leer, and Xander rolled his eyes.  “So, where to from here, G-man?”

“Oh good lord, does no one have a problem with Spike eating the woman?”  Giles asked incredulously.

“I’m going with ‘yea, Spike’ personally,” Faith offered.

“Problem, yes, and if you start eating the general population, I am so going to stake you, but Angel already told me about Spike’s extra-curricular activities,” Buffy admitted.

“And you hadn’t informed me?” Giles demanded, and off with the glasses again.  The man was going to get a callous on his nose if he kept doing this.

“Giles, I know this isn’t the perfect situation, but Spike has been a huge help patrolling, and Angel promises me he isn’t going off his new criminal diet, and Angel said that he used to do the same thing what with the eating bad guys, so I’m not going to stake him if he can’t go cold turkey on the red-stuff.”  Buffy turned to Spike, “but if you run out of criminals, you’d better go bagged because I will not have an innocent life on my conscience.”

“Don’t give a tinker’s arse about your conscience, Slayer, but I won’t do that ta Xander.”

“Yeah, I know,” Buffy answer with a sigh and an expression she normally reserved for really sappy girl movies that Xander would never admit to watching with his two best friends.

“Thanks, Buffy,” Xander said with a genuine smile, and Buffy simply smiled her answer back.

“Might have eaten a couple people myself,” Oz shrugged, and Angel simply stood silent.

“Well, I can see I’m outnumbered, so I will simply say that if you continue any of your previous activities, I will bring in outside help,” Giles said, and Xander could feel Spike tense under his arm.

“Rupert, William’s…extravagances….were always inspired to get my attention or Drusilla’s love.  I hardly think he is likely to continue torturing now,” Angel interrupted, and Xander suddenly found himself liking Deadboy, well not liking as in liking, but liking in a totally not gay way, not to suggest he wasn’t gay any more or anything. 

“So, demons and evil spells and rogue Watchers, oh my,” Xander said in his best Dorothy impression because, gay here.

“Yes,” Giles said as he obviously struggled to reach some decision.  “Spike, Xander, you have patrol tonight.  Buffy, go to the motel and talk to everyone who saw Mrs. Post or who might have any information on anyone she was working with.  Faith, check back at those places she took you.  She might have taken any accomplices to the same restaurants. Willow, if you would use that machine to try and trace any phone calls or credit records, I will try to reach my contacts in England.”  Giles distributed the assignments, and Xander found himself smiling.  He got sent on patrol.  He never got sent on patrol.  Patrol was where Buffy and Angel killed vamps between making out on tombstones, and don’t think he hadn’t followed the two of them often enough to know that.  And now he got sent on patrol with his vampire.  He turned to find Spike giving him a confused and somewhat concerned expression, but Xander just pulled out his stake and smiled.

“I so feel like staking something tonight,” he announced.  Faith’s instant roar of laughter followed by various chuckles from around the room made him realize his mistake.

“And I so did not mean that in a gay way,” he protested.  “Not that I have a problem with gay staking, but I meant staking a vampire,” he explained causing a new round of laughter.

“Oi, let’s just get out of here before ya kill ‘em with your brilliant repartee,” Spike suggested.  Xander would have asked what repartee meant except he found himself pulled out the door to the sound of his friends still laughing.

After patrol, Xander practically crawled in the front door, sore from his head to his toes. 

“You could have taken that last vamp,” he complained to Spike as he dropped his stake on the hall table and eyed their still destroyed living room.  The repairmen were coming tomorrow afternoon, and that meant he was going to have to get out of bed early to vacuum glass and clean.  And then there were the shopping bags strewn around the game room left from Spike’s mall trip.  The vampire was entirely too used to having minions around the place, and right now minions were sounding good, and no, he had not just thought that—bad, bad Xander.

“Ya said ya could handle yourself,” Spike reminded him, and Xander turned to give Spike an evil glare.

“And when did you start listening to me?” Xander asked. 

“Have to, don’t I?” Spike said, and Xander could hear the lust in those words.  “You’re as important to me as Dru was, just a mite bit more sane.  As important as Angelus, just a whole lot less of a sadistic bastard,” Spike whispered as cool hands wrapped around Xander’s waist.  “If ya tell me somethin’, the demon’s got ta listen, don’t it?” Spike asked, and now Xander heard the invitation as clearly as if Spike had spelled it out.

“Oh so not fair,” Xander complained as his cock twitched in anticipation.  “I’m supposed to be mad at you.”

“Ya handled yourself fine.  If any of those wankers got a fang near ya, I would’ve torn them bit from bit, but I liked watchin’ ya dust ‘em.”

“You could’ve helped,” Xander repeated, but the arms around his waist tightened and now Spike rested his head on Xander’s shoulder, and Xander’s pants tightened at the thought of Spike so near his neck.  Spike laughed softly, so Xander guessed he had just blasted his mate with pheromones.

“Hey, no laughing at me,” Xander insisted.

“What?  Goin’ ta make me stop?” Spike demanded in a voice that sounded inviting and challenging at once.  Xander spun in his grasp so that he was nose to nose with Spike.

“You think I can’t?” Xander asked, momentarily distracted by the thought that he couldn’t stop Spike from doing anything since the vampire was stronger, faster, and let’s be perfectly honest, smarter, but this wasn’t reality, and Xander felt himself harden at the thought that such a powerful creature played this way with him.  An eyebrow twitch suggested that he’d just showered Spike with pheromones again, but Spike stayed in character.

“Wanker, ya don’t have the balls ta do anythin’ about it.”

“Oh, you are so going to get it,” Xander warned, and he could see Spike’s trademark smirk slowly grow.

“Think ya can take me on?  Ya better be sure because ya won’t get two shots at it,” Spike said, but Xander just stepped back and gave Spike a cold glare.

“I don’t need two shots at it, and if you don’t want to end up…missing most of the skin from your back, you’ll get your ass to the bedroom.”  Xander had almost threatened dust, but considering Spike’s recent brush with near-dustage, he wanted to avoid that particular subject.  However, he noticed that Spike still stood with a recalcitrant expression, so Xander reached out and grabbed a fistful of leather coat, dragging the vampire up the stairs while trying not to giggle at the thought of him manhandling Spike.  Spike could break him with one hand, but he had to admit that this new variation on their games made him horny enough to try anything. 

When he had pulled Spike into the bedroom, he slid out of his shirt before realizing that Spike hadn’t lost a single piece of clothing. 

“Oh, you are just cruising for a bruising tonight, mister,” Xander said as he narrowed his eyes.  “You’ll either lose that coat or I’ll cut it off your chained body.”  Xander wasn’t stupid enough to touch Spike’s precious coat, but he hoped he could do menacing well enough that Spike would drop the coat without him having to follow through, and plan A was going down in flames because Spike had crossed his arms and gone into gameface. 

Realizing that he couldn’t win this without actually getting the chains on Spike so that he could have some actual control, Xander turned and walked out of the bedroom without a word, striding to the playroom where he snagged an armful of chains before heading back to the bedroom.  When he got back, he noticed that Spike looked worried, and he realized that Spike was probably worried about pushing Xander too far, but this was one vampire who was about to learn that Xander Harris could play sex games with the best of them.  Okay, maybe not the best since Spike had played with Angelus with the whole centuries of sexual experience thing going for him, but Xander Harris could play sex games with the relatively competent.

“Worried?” he asked, working Spike’s expression into the game.  “You should be after that display of temper.  Now get the coat off NOW!”  Xander stalked toward the vampire, manacles in hand, and the coat suddenly slid to the floor even as Xander reached out and grabbed the vampire by a wrist, locking a manacle on the wrist before Spike had a chance to react.

“Oi, I was movin’,” Spike argued as he tried to reach for the buttons on his shirt.

“Not fast enough, vampire-mine,” Xander said as he locked the second manacle around Spike’s right wrist the minute the two hands came within six inches of each other, the length of the chain between the two manacles, and now Spike was handcuffed.  Goal two: get the vampire on the bed.  Easy enough.

Xander reached down and put a hand behind Spike’s head, putting every bit of passion and desire behind his kiss as he nibbled on Spike’s lower lip before running his tongue inside Spike’s mouth.  Spike opened willingly, and Xander almost lost track of his own trap as he moaned into Spike’s mouth and felt the body against him harden in response.  Not giving Spike a chance to react, he pulled back and tossed Spike to the bed before the vampire had a chance to argue. 

“Vampire mine,” Xander growled as he now straddled Spike’s chest, and he could feel Spike shiver.  Xander tugged at Spike’s hand, and the vampire obliged by scooting up the bed until Xander could use the padlock in his hand to fasten the chain to the bolt in the wall.  “Whatever am I going to do with a lover who won’t ever follow directions?” Xander asked as he lowered his weight onto Spike’s trapped cock.  Spike groaned loudly but didn’t make any other response other than to glare rebelliously.

“Sod off,” Spike finally suggested, and Xander sighed dramatically before pushing himself down even harder onto Spike erection, feeling Spike squirm under him.

“All right,” Xander agreed as he got off the bed and he almost laughed at the expression of shock and horror on Spike’s face.  He walked out to the sound of Spike yelling.

“Oi, not playin’ it right, wanker.”  Xander walked into the playroom and considered their shelves carefully before choose a few toys.

“Did I hear you complaining?” Xander asked as he walked back into the room.  “Because as far as I know, I have the right to play with you however I want.”  Oh yeah, Xander smiled at the sight of a full length tremor going through Spike’s body at that comment.  “Over,” he commanded with a slap to Spike’s hip, and was he going to go to hell for really, really, really enjoying this?  Spike flipped and Xander pulled the vampire up to his knees, but stopped him from scooting up the bed so that his arms were now stretched out and his head resting on the bed.

Xander slowly undid Spike’s jeans, spending as much time rubbing and teasing as actually undoing the buttons, but eventually, he finished and pulled the jeans down to Spike’s knees.  He realized that with Spike’s boots on, the jeans functioned as an effective hobble since the vampire couldn’t kick them off.  As a girl, he’d played with Spike lots without actually understanding the benefits, but now he settled in to enjoy his work, opening a container of lube and slicking his finger before working it into the vampire.  He moved until he found the happy spot and then he spent some time touching it lightly enough that Spike started swearing at him.  He simply laughed and pulled out.  He’d never used more than one finger, so he tried to remind himself how good it felt at the end as he pushed two fingers in.  It was harder than he expected, and the hiss from Spike probably would have stopped him if he hadn’t gone through it himself, but he pushed on, getting the two fingers in before moving them and pressing into Spike’s prostate hard enough to make the vampire squirm.

Xander slapped a bare butt, and the movement stopped.  For a moment, Xander froze, horrified at what he had done, but Spike’s erection hadn’t suffered, so he continued his work, slowly stretching Spike until he thought the vampire was about the size of the toy he had selected.  He quickly lubed the toy and started pushing it into place, moving forward steadily until the widest part perched just outside the ring of muscle before popping into place.  He listened to Spike groan happily and then he picked up the attachment.  Fitting the hose in place, he slowly inflated the butt plug, watching as Spike’s muscles twitched.

“Too much?” he asked, finally unable to keep up the game without checking to see if he had gone too far.

“Not bloody likely,” Spike snarled, but with a sexy sort of snarl.  Xander laughed and finished inflating the toy before reaching down for Spike’s jeans.  Spike writhed in order to get his knees up off the bed so Xander could pull the jeans down, but instead, Xander pulled the jeans up, tucking the now fully swollen cock into the jeans before beginning the process of doing up each button.

“What the bloody hell do you think you’re doin’?” Spike demanded.

“I do believe we already had this discussion.  Something about how I could do what I wanted,” Xander replied amicably as he finished his work. 

“You soddin’ wanker,” Spike complained with a quick tug at the chains, but Xander had chosen their strongest lock, so he continued his work by taking off Spike’s boots.  Xander whistled a bit before picking up another set of chains and fastening them to Spike’s ankles and locking that chain to the foot of the bed, leaving the vampire truly immobile and helpless.  Laying his head down on the vampire’s shoulder, Xander summoned his most sympathetic voice.

“Comfortable?” he asked?

“You soddin’ little wanker, ya better not leave me here.”

“Yep, that sounds like you’re just fine,” Xander laughed as he gave Spike’s butt a slap and got up off the bed.  “Oh, I forgot one thing,” Xander said as he reached into the nightstand.  “I did tell you take off your clothes,” he said as he used a knife to cut Spike’s favorite shirt right off his back.  The vampire stared thunder at him, but Xander could also feel his body attempting to hump given the very limited leeway Spike had in the chains.

“I have to go clean up the downstairs,” Xander said as he put the knife back and walked toward the door. “Someone left a mess, so I’ll be back when I’ve finished.”  Xander laughed as Spike reeled off an entire litany of British curses, most of which Xander couldn’t even guess at. 

By the time Xander rushed through the housework, enjoying it more than he’d ever enjoyed housework in his entire life, he practically ran up the stairs with his own cock screaming for release.  He’d wanted to do a slow torture, but right now all he could think of was finishing this before he had to go to the hospital for a broken penis.  When he looked at Spike’s body straining against the chains, his shoulder muscles corded and his head thrown back, he pulled his own jeans off even as he hopped one footed across the room to unlock the leg shackles. 

The minute the chains were off, Spike pulled his butt up into the air, and the very sight of Spike nearly made Xander come.  He had to lean against the side of the bed to regain control before he crawled up behind the panting vampire and undid the straining jeans, yanking them off before releasing the valve in the toy.  Xander worried that he might not be able to get inside Spike considering how difficult he’d found it to just slip fingers in. He really didn’t want to bruise his cock, but the minute he positioned himself at Spike’s entrance, holding his erection firmly and taking a deep breath, he found Spike taking away the uncertainty by driving himself back with such force that Xander found himself fully inside Spike and gasping at the tightness. 

Before he could even process what had happened, Xander started instinctively thrusting, driving into Spike over and over before he felt the orgasm rip through him.  Over and over?  Yep, he got in at least two thrusts before coming, he was fairly sure.  He would have been embarrassed about his lack of staying power except Spike had managed to come all over the bed, and Xander kicked himself for not remembering to put down a towel because last time Spike had somehow maneuvered him into the wet spot.

“Oi, bloody brilliant for someone who insisted that he doesn’t do the whole ownin’ thing,” Spike commented after regaining his breath.  Xander was still trying to get oxygen to his own panting body which currently lay in a boneless pile on top of Spike.

“Playin’ not ownin’,” Xander muttered as he slid off to Spike’s side.  He caught an expression in Spike’s face, and he suddenly realized that he couldn’t change Spike and trying to make him play by human rules just wasn’t fair.

“You’re mine, but it’s not ownership,” Xander said as he struggled to come up with a compromise that didn’t make him feel like a fat southerner in the 1700’s sitting on the porch of his manor house.  “It’s more of a contract thing.  I promise to always keep you and do dirty sexual things I could never describe to Buffy and Willow and pick you over my occasionally clueless friends, and you promise to not drive me insane and keep me from doing really stupid stuff and kill the demons that always seem to want to eat me.”

“So, as long as I keep up my end of the contract, you’ll keep up yours,” Spike summarized with a knowing smirk.

“Yep, but it’s not ownership.”

“Long as ya keep me, demon’ll live with that.  So, ya doin’ ta unlock the chain now?”

“Nope.  I’m going to cuddle with my chained vampire…and I did not just say cuddle because men don’t do that.  I’m not cuddling, I’m saving on the cost of heating by sharing body heat.”

“I don’t make body heat,” Spike pointed out in a reasonable tone of voice.

“Shut up,” Xander groused, and Spike simply laughed as they settled in for the night.

The next day, by the time they had gotten the workmen out of the house, it had been dark for several hours, and Xander was anxious to get to the library.  After all, he actually had a vampire count to share.  Not Buffy, not Angel, not even Spike, but Xander the demon magnet.  Three vampires in one night, and that was slayer-type good, although slayers didn’t usually have a vampire with a nose for tracking newly risen minions, or actually, yes, Buffy did have her own vamp, so he did as many vamps with Spike’s back up as Buffy normally did with Angel as her back up, and score one for the Xan man. 

He suspected that Spike understood his enthusiasm because the vampire didn’t even complain when Xander practically ran to the school.  However, when Xander burst into the library with a loud, “Xan man with the staking gang reporting for duty,” he found Willow, Oz, and Giles at one end of the table with a serious looking older man on the opposite end.

“And I suppose this is another one of these children who has become involved with the slayer?” the man asked in obvious disdain, and Xander found himself looking at Spike’s back as the vampire obviously went into game face from his friends’ expressions.

“Vampire!” the man shouted as he stood so suddenly that the chair scraped across the floor with a hideous screech.

“Yes, quite.  We had rather noticed,” Giles commented.  “Xander, Spike, this is Quentin from the council.  Quentin this is Alexander Harris the young man who brought the slayer back from her death at the hands of the Master and Spike; I believe you know him as William the Bloody.”

Xander enjoyed watching the man visibly pale, but the man’s next words stopped him cold.

“Rupert, I fear that the council really will have to take action to clean up your incompetence in Sunnydale.  I had thought your reports bordered on the fanciful, but seeing this, you can expect a full council team with appropriate demon hunter units within the week.”

“Don’t give a rat’s arse what happens between you and the Watcher, but if ya send demon hunters in, I’ll consider ‘em on the menu,” Spike said and Xander came out from his vampire to stand at his side with a comforting hand on Spike’s back.  “In fact, I’ll consider *you* on the menu.”

“The council does not take orders from vampires,” the older man announced in a tone that made it clear that he considered all of them beneath his shoe.  But that condescending tone was somewhat belied by the man’s slow, steady retreat toward the protection of Giles.

“And I don’t take soddin’ attitude from you.  So someone better start explaining what has the witch and the wolf so twitchy,” Spike snarled in a voice Xander hadn’t heard since before the spell.  He could see Willow and Oz exchange glances as well. 

“There’s nothing that can’t be—.”

“Lie and you might not like what I’ll do ta get the truth,” Spike hissed at Giles, and the Watcher snatched his glasses off and opened his mouth to protest.

“Post called him.  Made a deal giving the council dirt on us, and in return the council agreed to pay her and help split us up,” Oz said before Giles could even started, and Xander didn’t think he had ever heard so many words come out of Oz at once.

“Ya let her in your little secret club, and she bloody sold you lot out,” Spike smirked.

“Might I point out that her spell was primarily aimed at you, so your smugness is hardly appropriate,” Giles replied as he polished even harder, but the Quentin refused to deny or confirm the accusation, he just continued to stare as though Spike was about to eat him, which might not be far from the truth, and then suddenly a little lightbulb flashed over Xander’s head.

“The spell,” he announced, “she knew she had to get rid of Spike.” 

“Hate ta tell ya, pet, but I never met the woman.”

“Yeah, but she was a watcher, so she knew you.  No one else would have gone after her if she tried to get revenge; we’d all sit around and moan about how unfair the whole thing was, just like we did when we found out she had tricked us in the first place.”

“Sittin’ around moanin’ isn’t my thing, not unless there’s sex involved,” Spike confirmed.  “But I’ve always been known ta take revenge kills a little too serious.”

At this point Quentin interrupted, taking a step forward in challenge before Spike’s snarl sent him retreating back to Giles’ side.  “Your conclusion assumes that Mrs. Post had some ulterior motive as opposed to being so horrified by the corruptive influences around the slayer that she wanted to return and help purge these corruptions.

“Oh, the bint had ulterior motives; offered up Watcher secrets by the truckload ta try and save her life: Passwords, local contacts, safehouses.”

“She would never give a vampire information,” Quentin declared imperiously.

“Not now she won’t,” Spike agreed with a not-so-nice-smile.  Quentin paled even more and then gathered his resources, as he went on the verbal offences.  He turned to Giles as a less intimidating target than Spike.

“And these are the influences you have around the slayers?  Vampires?  Werewolves?  Witches?”

“Oh my,” Xander sing-songed in a continuation of the Dorothy theme from the previous evening.   Giles glared, but he could hear Spike snicker.

“Not ta mention a former warlock and the only human member of the Order of Aurelius, but funny enough, it’s not your business what this motley lot does, so ya keep your nose out of our business, or ya will get added to the menu,” Spike insisted.  “We keep the hell mouth closed; you go do your soddin’ paperwork while your wives think of England.”  Xander guessed from Quentin’s and Giles’ reactions that there was an insult in there, but he wasn’t sure where.  He focused more on the fact that Spike had just publicly called himself one of the group: an official Scooby.  Okay, if anyone ever used the term Scooby on him that approved menu list would grow, but still.  Spike wasn’t just his lover; Spike was one of them.

“As if a vampire could be trusted with such a task,” Quentin huffed.

“Hey, Spike is as trustworthy as any of us,” Xander protested, driving his elbow into Spike’s side when the felt the vampire take a breath to protest his characterization of the vamp as ‘trustworthy.’  Not really the time for Spike’s diatribe on joys of still being evil.

“Ah, yes.  Young mister Harris who has managed to become possessed…twice, to infect himself with fish steroids, and to be romantically linked to a life-sucking Incan mummy, a preying mantis, and a male vampire.  Thank you so much for your character reference.”

“Hey, when you say it like that, you could make Mother Teresa sound like some sort of crazy person.” Xander protested.

“And did Mother Teresa ever harbor any demonic spirits?”  Quentin inquired sarcastically.

“Probably not, ” Willow quickly interrupted, “but the hyena is totally history, the soldier has come in handy, and it’s not his fault when he hooks up with creatures that suck the life out of people, well…except Cordelia, that one’s his fault.”

“Yes, Miss Rosenberg who has blown the power in half the city, tried to communicate with the dead, hacked government computers, released a trapped demon into the internet and accidentally turned her male friend into a woman.”

“Just back away from the witch,” Xander warned as he now stepped forward, noticing that Spike moved with him, waiting and clearly ready to eat anyone Xander put on the approved list. 

“You people have no business near the slayer.  Your corrupt presence taints the work she must do.”

“Oi, I’m the only one corrupt in this company, despite my attempts otherwise, and the slayer, both the slayers, can talk for themselves.  Ya might find that they have their own ideas on the matter,” Spike protested.  He probably would have continued but just then the library doors flew open as Buffy made her grand appearance.

“And I’m saying, ‘Go Spike,’ but hopefully not out loud because agreeing with the peroxided one could be one of the signs of apocalypse.” Buffy walked in the door, Faith in her wake like a sarcastic shadow.

“Still like him better than your pet vamp,” Faith said as she broke away to lean on the library counter.  Spike flashed game face and snarled as she twirled a stake in his direction, and Xander suddenly realized they were flirting, testing each other’s limits and seeing how far they could push. 

“Hey!  No flirting with my vampire,” Xander snapped as he stepped between.

“Oh good lord,” Giles said, and Xander turned in time to see the librarian disappear into his office, their guest standing with an expression of horror as if someone had just turned inside out, but no body anywhere to be seen.

“Hey, you want him, you got him big guy,” Faith said, and Xander turned back in time to see her hold her hands up in surrender.

“Yeah, yeah, get your own,” he said uncomfortably, suddenly aware that everyone was watching him make a fool of himself over Spike, over a male Spike, a smirking male Spike with that cat that ate the canary expression.  “And I’m just going to pretend I didn’t say that in front of everyone.”

“This is exactly the sort of unacceptable behavior to which the slayer must not be exposed.”

“If you’re talking the Spike and Xander PDA show, I’m on board because I really don’t want to be exposed to whatever they do in private.  I think we all try very hard to not think about them and private at all.” Buffy shuddered.

“Speak for yourself, B,” Faith interrupted with a quick leer, and Xander found himself retreating behind Spike, not too sure whether Faith was joking or not.

“Okay, most of us don’t want to know what they’re doing,” Buffy amended herself with a dramatic shudder.  “However, if you’re talking about us not being exposed to them as friends, you’re going to have to learn to deal.  Xander with his ability to inspire lust in demons at 100 paces and Willow with her wonky spells and Oz with his wolfiness and even Spike with his…God, I really don’t have enough time to go into all his problems,”

“Oi!” Spike interrupted, but Buffy continued as if he hadn’t spoken.

“They’re all my friends, and you’re not.  So you can take your judgments and your rules and you can…”  Buffy hesitated.

“Go shuve ‘em up a ry’tholon’s arse just before ya get eaten,” Spike finished, and Buffy flashed him a smile.

“Yeah, what he said.”

“Really, for nearly 12 centuries Slayers have lived by the Council rules, we have protected and guided our charges to ensure that—”

“Oi, wait a minute.” Spike stepped up, and when Quentin appeared ready to talk over him, Spike slipped into game face.  Xander couldn’t contain his own manly type giggle when the little toad squeaked in fear and retreated around a table.  “You lot have been guidin’ slayers for 1,200 years, but slayers have been around a lot longer than that.  The master used to complain about this slip of a girl who gave him grief ‘bout a century before the crucifixion, so I think we can safely say that Slayers did just fine before ya and will do fine without ya.”

“Well, really,” the man stood up to his full five foot one inch and did his best to glare.  “The council has always—”

“No mate, ya haven’t.  You’re a bunch of piss ants tryin’ ta make yourselves feel important by hangin’ on ta the one person who actually is important…or two in this case,” Spike nodded toward both slayers.

“I think bleach boy’s got a point.  And if we decide to keep him around along with all the other losers here, it’s our choice.”  Faith added to the discussion.

“Hey, I resemble that remark!” Xander exclaimed in his best offended voice.  He now turned to face Quentin   “And I’ve been around here long enough to say that I’ve done more to save the world than your council.”

“You tell ‘em, pet,” Spike encouraged him.

“And Willow and Oz, both have been out here fighting, and Giles.  And all you council people do is phone from England and tell us how we didn’t save the world right.”

“They’re worse than my mother trying to teach me how to drive,” Buffy pointed out.

“Like having someone tell you where to put your hand during sex.  If everyone’s getting off, not polite to criticize technique,” Faith added, and all of them looked over to her slightly horrified.  Except Spike, Xander could see amusement in Spike’s eyes which explained why he then hit his vampire.

“Bottom line, you need us and we don’t really need you,” Buffy summed up their arguments as she crossed her arms.  Quentin stood there a moment frozen, looking from one face to the other, but even Giles who had reappeared in his office door didn’t speak for him.  Gathering up his materials and shoving them back into his black bag, Quentin went for the exit with an indignant snort, giving Spike a wide berth.

“Before ya leave,” Spike said, and Quentin turned.  “London, 1886.  Don’t think I can’t do it again.”

“And if you try to take Buffy or Faith or attack the group again, I won’t stop him,” came a deep voice from the shelves as Angel appeared.  “I might be inclined to help despite the mess he manages to create with that particular…extravagance.”  Quentin paled even farther, and Xander thought the man might have a heart attack, but he simply left without another word.

“You know, I love you, and please never, ever tell me what happened in 1886,” Xander said as he leaned into Spike’s body and he felt Spike arm slip into place without a single disapproving stare.  Of course Buffy’s expression was a little nauseated and Giles looked extremely weary, but no actual disapproval type disapproval.

“Right, one git taken care of, so unless somethin’ big and slimy’s crawlin’ outta the hell mouth tonight, I’m takin’ Xander home and working on corrupting him.”

“Okay, ewwww,” Buffy complained, but her voice didn’t have the normal vitriol.  

“So, we’re all okay then?” Xander asked, pushing the tentative threads of togetherness he could feel circling the room.

“I’m willing to offer a no stake policy for a limited time trail basis,” Buffy offered.

“Right, that’s taken care of, so it’s time ta shag,” Spike said with a farewell nod toward the slayers, and Xander heard Buffy sigh and start to complain even as Spike dragged him out of the library.

“Giles, why do you let them…?”

“I assure you, I gave no permission.  My time with the watchers never prepared me to deal with such circumstances.”

Xander smiled as he realized that all was well with his world, and if he was lucky, he was about to get seriously shagged.  Once in the relative privacy of the hallway, he stopped, planting his feet and bracing his free hand against a locker.

“Oh bloody hell, what now?” Spike asked.

“I just want one promise from you,” Xander started.

“Right, won’t eat the slayers, won’t touch the witch, not plannin’ on sleepin’ with the dark slayer no matter how many passes she makes, and I’ll try ta keep the eatin’ people to a minimum.”  When Xander didn’t answer, still trying to form the words in his own mind, Spike added.  “What the bloody hell else could you ask for?”

Xander looked down into crystal blue eyes.  “Um, share the chains?” he asked, and suddenly Spike’s face transformed from annoyance to salacious in a heartbeat. 

“No problem pet,” Spike promised, and Xander happily followed as Spike nearly ran out of the school dragging him along behind.

The End

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