Episode 23


There was yelling.

"And would it kill you to lift a finger around here? After everything we've, I've, done for you and it's all 'Oh, I couldn't possibly do that, I'm a big fluffy puppy now, but I'm still too freakin' evil to hold a coupla two-by-fours'!"

There was sneering.

"Oh yeah, you've been a true comfort to yours truly in my time of need. 'Sides, you're a big whelp now, figure you could stand a little heavy lifting, make you feel all big and manly in front of all those pretty little girls."

"Oh, you so better be talking about my muscles, mister."

"Yeah, that's it, your muscles."

The occasional half-hearted shove. In the sense that they didn't want to start anything with Buffy around, not that they didn't want to start anything. 'Cause they did.

"Oh, I could take you, Spike. If you weren't you know, a vampire, or really, really old—"

"—and if you weren't the biggest girly-man this side of Vegas."

And wonder-softy goodness, but that in no way detracted from the absolutely genuine hostility they would both swear before god and man was pouring from both of them in dangerously large, metaphorical waves.

"You, you, stupid dead guy."

"Oh my, no more snappy comebacks, please. Wouldn't want you to strain your single brain cell there, mate."

It was comfortable.


"After all this time you've finally managed to learn the English language. Makes a Limey proud."

"Oh, sod off!"

"Fuck you."

Then, as Xander stood twelve inches from the man he could safely say he hated much more than ... well, than a whole lot of really, really ... unpleasant things, there was just lots and lots of dejavu all over again. Or dejavu for the first time ... or maybe it could only happen once ...

In any case, it was happening again. Buffy's basement, person he hated, death and gloom—although that was more a general state of affairs these days than an immediate sort of a problem—and lips, kissing type lips, as in his lips touching Spike's lips, and Spike's hands touching his—

Jesus! What the freakin' hell was he doing? More to the point, what the freakin' hell was Spike doing?!

"What the hell do you think you're doing!"

"What the bloody hell do you think you're doing!"

"Me? You kissed me!"

"I bloody well did not! I was standin' here havin' a perfectly nice argument and suddenly you're bloody well all over me!"

Oh yeah, this was all sorts of dejavu.

They glanced at each others lips. Probably not intentionally. Then there were identical horrified expressions as they realised they were still practically touching, followed by a retreat that would have made Superman dizzy.

"It's, it's ... this basement! It's ... haunted, or, or ... cursed! Yeah! Stupid freaky basement."

Spike was prepared to believe that. "Right, well. You just stay the hell out of it, then, huh and we should all be happy."


Identical nods.

"This didn't happen."

"Better bloody well believe it didn't happen. If you breathe so much as a word of the... thing that didn't happen ... I will reach down your throat and pull out your lungs so fast you'll still be drawing your last breath."

There was glaring. Lots of glaring.

They didn't let the dazed sagging against the wall kick in until after Xander had stormed up the stairs, and out of hearing.


That was the first day.



There was more glaring than usual. Not because something had happened, because nothing had, so why would they want to avoid each other and so what if they wanted to yell at each other; Spike was annoying and Xander was a prat and it was none of their business anyway so the Scoobies could just bloody well leave it alone.

The Scoobies didn't miss the united front, either. Coupled with the yelling, the frequent glancing, the even more frequent glancing away they ... well, they didn't give it much thought, but then it was the end of the world and all that, so ... But it did register.

Maybe that was why Buffy paired Xander with Spike. Maybe she wanted to give them a chance to work through their issues.

"I want full patrols out tonight. We've had more Bringer activity than I'd like. Xan, if you're not up to it ..." He'd gotten stabbed last week, but what was a little stab wound? He had energy to burn. "Fine, then I want you with Spike. I'll take the girls."

If so, it was nice that she did it without a very long accompanying speech. They both appreciated that. And seeing as nothing had changed between the two of them ...

"No problem, Buffster, the bleached menace and I it is. I've got no problem with that. None at all."

Spike rolled his eyes and growled, "Fine."

They didn't miss that, either.

So, there they were, Bronzeish side of town. Bringers abounding. Or, a-stabbing, just where he was not quite not standing, and how the hell did they do that without eyes anyway? And Xander was holding his own, if he did say so himself. Sure, maybe his own was an increasingly small bit of ground in the corner between two brick walls, but he wasn't dead and that had to count for something.

Spike, on the other hand, was holding not only his own but most of at least two dead creepy guys in robes, and if he wasn't currently about to die Xander would surely have been making an 'eew' face at that lovely sight. Holding, dropping, then watching in amusement as Xander ever more desperately parried blows from two pretty damned determined evil monks.

Xander spared a moment to be annoyed. "Spike, if I get stabbed again, Buffy is gonna be so pissed at you."

Spike smirked, shrugged, moved forward, took the head off one of them and waited while Xander skewered the other.

There was mostly panting. And not the good sort. Then there was glaring.

"Thanks for all the help Spike!" And sarcasm. "You couldn't have stepped in a moment earlier? I could have been killed!"

"Oh, calm down, whelp, I wouldn't let anything happen to your pansy ass. Like you said, Buffy'd probably stake me and I gotta say you're just not worth it."

"She so would ... And hey! What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Oh, yeah, mate. I'd die for you. You're the meaning my existence has been missing."

Okay, so there were lots of sarcasm.

Followed by a rather grievous slip of the tongue.

"So that's why you kissed me, is it? I light up your life, do I? The wind beneath your wings?"

And a rather pregnant silence. Except for the growling. Because it occurred to Xander just a moment too late that nothing had happened. It hadn't happened, he didn't remember it, and he certainly didn't think about it. Neither did Spike.

"Fuck you, you moron."

There was no smirking.

There was an alley outside the Bronze, two people who hated each other, one of whom had just saved the other's life, getting in each other's faces somehow turning into getting into each other's mouths and bugger it if this wasn't all ringing just a few too many bells.

There were more thoughts this time, but that was probably because it went on for so much longer, though they were mostly along the lines of 'Jesus, this guy's not half bad' and 'fuck, I could get used to this' followed not too distantly by 'shit, not again!' and rather more vaguely by 'just a couple more seconds'.

They broke away at pretty much the same moment, Xander to strong arms around his waist, Spike to long, rough fingers in his hair. Expressions went from dazed, to shocked, to horrified, to opposite sides of the alley.

It was pretty good, for a first kiss.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?!"

"Oh no, oh no no no. That did not just happen again. Or for the first time, cause there was no first time, and no second time 'cause there was no first time and why the hell do you keep doing that?!"

Spike could see Xander, but Xander couldn't see Spike ... which was a good thing. Not a thing to be remedied by walking away from his oh so comforting wall towards the little patch of extra blackness that couldn't possibly be walking towards him either and where did his wall go?

There was not going to be anymore kissing. Or any kissing, 'cause Spike would never kiss Xander and Xander would sure as hell never kiss back, so it stood to reason that anything that might have happened hadn't happened 'cause it was against all laws of nature and anyone who said otherwise could just bloody well stuff it up their arse.

Then, well, then it was lucky that at least one of them was a supernatural being.

There was pretty much full body contact this time, much more tongue and much less thinking. Except o'course, there wasn't 'cause it could never ...

Oh, fuck it.

There was lips. There was also tongue, teeth, hands, moans, hot, cold, very little thinking and a fair bit of grinding. Followed by weak knees, but neither of them would be admitting to that any time soon.

They drew back and looked at each other. The 'Shit' went without saying, which was probably a good thing 'cause there was a fair chance it would have sounded less seriously pissed off and more incredulously turned on.

They picked up the weapons that had got dropped during the ... ah, the fight. Carefully didn't look at each other. Walked to the mouth of the alley. They could see Giles and Anya coming towards them, still a fair way down the street.

They paused. "So, uh ..."

"Didn't happen."

"Right, right, a ah, momentary aberration."

"Never gonna happen again, neither, so no point in bringin' it up."

"Exactly. Nothing ... nothing's changed. Good then."

"Yeah, good."

Glanced at each other. Paused.

"Think you might be getting better."

A sideways look, a faint smirk.

"Spike, my friend, you really should learn not to underestimate the Xan-man."

They both relaxed a little.

"We'll turn you into a fighter yet, mate"

"Never know, you just might at that."

That night the Scoobies noticed something odd.

Spike and Xander didn't glare at each other once all evening.


That was the fifth day.



So nothing changed.

At least, that's what they'd say if you asked them.

A grand total of two days later it was generally decided among the Scoobies that it was becoming ever more obvious they had to meet to discuss what was going on between Spike and Xander.

Spike and Xander, naturally enough, weren't invited.

It took nearly an hour for no one to say what they were all thinking.

Everyone professed to be very pleased with the outcome.

Spike and Xander were in the living room. Sitting on the couch, together. Sharing popcorn, without complaining. And snickering over Jet Lee movies. Which they agreed were shallow, unrealistic, almost impossible to understand, but hey, at least they were full of explosions, and what else were movies for, after all?

Low lights, close proximity, explosions: it was all really very romantic.

Which was problem one.

Problem two made itself known when Xander caught Spike looking at him. Which could have been rendered insignificant if Spike had followed the rules and looked away. Like Xander had.

Spike, however, didn't. And at some point looking turned into gazing and if someone didn't do something soon there was going to be a whole new set of problems. Along the lines of, 'how do we get downstairs without all the people in the kitchen noticing anything?'.

"Hey, hey, whoah. Not happening, Spike, remember?"

A sneer, a snort, and that was all very well but Spike's eyes didn't move from Xander's lips.

"Like I'd want to anyway, boy. And I don't know what you're talking about."

Xander poked Spike in the ... arm. Spike looked up, startled. And then they were back to glaring. Which was good. Glaring was normal, glaring was ... not helping.

"Oh, you want to. I think we've proved pretty convincingly that you want to."

"Get over yourself, mate, it's like you said, momentary aberration, never happening again. 'Sides, you weren't that good."

"Damn right it's never happening agai—and hey! I'll have you know I'm a damn good kisser! Way better than you—"

It was, naturally, at this point that, meeting concluded, Anya wandered into the living room.

"—I ... I'll bet."

Another snort. "I yer dreams. Hundred years experience here, mate."

Then there was an ex-vengeance demon sitting in the armchair across from them and watching them both curiously.

"Actually, Spike, Xander is a very good kisser. It was one of the few complimentary things Cordelia said about him when we were friends and I have found it to be quite accurate over the years."

Spike shook his head dismissively. "You're hardly what I'd call and independent jury, pet."

Anya seemed to consider this. "Well, that is true, I suppose, although with my experience I do have some judgement about these things. Still, Willow!" shouted, and Xander was suddenly terrified. Never more so than when Willow, Faith, Buffy and Dawn emerged from the kitchen a moment later.

"Yeah, Anya? What's up?"

"Willow, we were discussing Xander's aptitude when it comes to kissing. Spike has pointed out that I just may be biased on the matter. You, being gay, and obviously no longer interested in him, should be more impartial."

Willow, to the delight and dismay of the respective people on the couch, smiled and answered promptly.

"Xander's a great kisser. I mean, I haven't kissed many guys, and I would never want to say anything against Oz, but he was the best of all the guys I've, you know, lip-locked with. He used to do this thing with his tongue ..."

What? What thing?

Spike managed a disinterested head-tilt. Quite a feat, considering. "Thing?" And a sneer. A sneer was always good. "Right. You're as bad as Anya, wouldn't want to hurt the whelp's feelings."

Suddenly, support from an unexpected source.

"Well, then take it from me, vamp. That is one wicked-ass thing that boy does with his tongue."

Faith smirked, dropping herself on the end of the couch beside Spike.

An incredulous expression formed on Spike's face and his head whipped around to stare at the man sinking into the couch beside him.

"Jesus, whelp, is there anyone here you haven't done?"

There was certainly no jealousy. 'Cause Spike didn't care. Never going to happen again.

"Yes, of course there is."

"Not including Dawn."



He was going to get whiplash at this rate.

Her eyes widened and she took a step closer to Willow. "I never! I would never ... oh, well, except that one time. But we were both really drunk and it was just friendly, you know, and it's not like it ever happened again and Xander I am so going to kill you for this."

A muttered, "Promise?"

"Although, now you mention it, I do remember that thing with the tongue ..."

"So, you're all tryin' to say that a twenty-two year old flabby carpenter is a better kisser than me, a hundred and forty-nine year old vampire?!"

After a moment Buffy commented, "Well, maybe not better." It was small consolation.

Anya jumped in. "Yes, Spike, you were certainly very good. Technique-wise, Xander's got nothing on you, but Xander is much less ..."

"Practised?" Buffy.

"Much more ..."

"Spontaneous?" Faith.

There was growling. "Spontaneous? I'll show you spontaneous."

Yes, we can all safely say we know what happened next.

Logically, Spike should have gone for Faith. She was sitting right there. Logically, that's what most of the Scoobies were expecting him to do. Privately, no one could work up much in the way of shock when he turned the other way entirely.

Except Xander, Xander was pretty surprised. He was also pretty damn turned on and hello problem number three.

This time there was kissing and glaring, which everyone was fairly impressed by. Then Xander apparently did that thing with his tongue, 'cause Spike's eyes fluttered shut, and there was mostly just kissing. And moans. After a moment there were fingers tangled in hair and a whole big lack of space between them, even considering the whole joined at the lips thing.

There were mixed reactions from the spectators.

Well, okay, there was one reaction pretty much across the board, except maybe from Willow.

That being, uh ... raised eyebrows. Of course.

Spike and Xander mostly ignored them as they went about defying all natural laws with impunity.

They broke apart with a gasp a good two minutes later. Panting, staring at each other. You could have cut the incredulity with a knife.

Someone cleared their throat, two heads whipped around. The Scoobies noticed, then, that the matching expressions of disgust materialised just a second later than they would have expected.

Xander turned to Spike. "What the fuck was that?" His voice unsteady.

A beat. "That was me ... provin' a point, is what it was. No way are you a better kisser than me." His voice equally unsteady.

"We can't ... you ... I mean ... Don't, don't do it again, right?"

"Oh believe me, whelp, once is more than enough."

They stood. They glared. Fuck, but they wanted to do it again. Xander turned and nearly ran up the stairs. Spike watched.

Dawn spoke up for the first time. "So, did he do that thing with his tongue?"

And he answered before he could stop himself. "Fuck, yeah." Then turned back with a start to the group of girls now watching him with knowing expressions. "This never happened. Never, you understand? I'll sodding well kill everyone of you if you ever breathe a word of it."

Two slayers, one all-powerful witch, one ex-vengeance demon and one teenager raised brows in identical expressions of 'oh yeah, you and what army?'.

Spike growled and stomped down to his basement.

They glanced at each other. Well, wasn't this an interesting turn of events?


That was the seventh day.



They avoided each other. It seemed like the best solution for all concerned.

Which might have sounded like par for the course. Ask the Scoobies they would have said, sure, what's the big deal, Spike and Xander have always avoided each other.

However, what they were coming to realise was that Spike and Xander had always actively avoided each other. As in there was growling and flouncing, which was quite probably meant to be swaggering, big words and very much getting enthusiastically into each other's faces before the inevitable dramatic exit.

That was not what they were doing now. Now, they were simply managing to never quite be in the same room at the same time unless there were a whole lot of other people there and at least six feet between them.

Eventually, even Giles commented that something had to be done.

He missed the noise.

The wasn't the only one.

Which isn't to say it wasn't a touchy subject.

No one could quite imagine it. Spike and Xander together. So it was a good thing they'd all gotten such a eyeful two days ago and could happily let their minds while away the hours contemplating that image. There were arguments, fights even, pros and cons considered and reconsidered, feelings examined, dismissed and eventually, maybe, let go of and finally they all came to the conclusion that maybe the two of them should give it a go. And to inform Spike and Xander of their decision, but that was merely a formality.

And thus it was that Buffy locked Spike and Xander in the basement and told them to work it out, for god's sake, and give us all a break.

Well, she was the slayer. If they'd wanted subtle, they should have gotten someone else to do it.

She took herself out to the backyard where she wouldn't be able to hear the noises.

The gang gathered around. It was only a matter of time, now.

Meanwhile, down in the basement ...

Contrary to their explicit instructions, so far there was just awkward silence.

"Um ... hey there Spike."


"... right, so, I'll just be going then."

"Right, you do that."

There was very little eye contact.

"Look ..."

"Wait ..."

Xander waited. Spike ran out of things to say.

After a moment. "Slayer, well, she's not completely, you know, wrong. About this."

Xander sighed. "Yeah, well. I was prepared to go the ignore it 'till it goes away route, but I guess you might be, you know, right. For once. We could ... talk."

As far as antagonism went, it was a pretty poor attempt.

And for once, Spike didn't mention it.

"We are clear on the fact that I don't like you, aren’t we?"

"Sure, hate you, too, Spike."

"Right, well, I just though we should clear that up first."

"First? What do you mean first? What's second? I'm not doing ... that thing ... again. Talk yes, but Spike, we agreed, remember! I am not going to kiss you! I don't care what you say, I've made up my mind and I'm sticking to it. No kissing, no touching, no nothing of any sort that involves your body being anywhere near my body. Aarg! What the hell did I just say? Get back over on to you side of the basement, you, you evil creature of the night, right now!"

Spike fell back onto old habits. He glared.

"Grow up, would you, Xander? 'S just a kiss. Don't have to mean a damn thing. Point of fact, let me assure you right now that it doesn't. I don't like you, you don't like me, bit of snogging ain't going to change that."

"Yeah, well, you know what'd change it even less? No snogging at all!"

"Bit late for that, innit?"

"Yes, exactly! So why the hell do you want to do it again?"

There was a pregnant pause. Spike moved closer. Xander didn't move at all.

"Why do you?"

"I don't ... fuck, I don't ... I don't know." Whispered, desperate.

"Yeah, well, neither do I. But I do. Fuck I do. I want you. We just gotta, you know, get it outta out systems."

Spike's lips were getting closer. Xander had a vague sort of notion they shouldn't be doing that.

"Systems, right. Just one kiss and it'll be horrible and unnatural and it'll never happen again."

"Sure, whatever you say ..."

Xander stepped back suddenly.

Spike was annoyed. "Look, Xander ..."

"Right, sure, I know. But, not here, alright? This basement's bad enough even if there weren't all sitting in the backyard waiting for us to come out."

"You're only procrastinating, mate."

"Of course I'm damn well procrastinating! Now get the hell up there and open that door."

Spike rolled his eyes and stalked up the stairs.

He tried the handle. "'S locked, mate."

Xander just looked at him. "So? Vamp strength there. Open it."

Spike hesitated. "Jeez, Spike. I'll fix it as soon as we get back. Stop being such a little Buffy's-boy."

A growl, a glare, an impressive show of strength and if Xander had been standing any closer they might not have gotten out of the basement after all.

They snuck out of the kitchen.

"Should we, you know, let them know where we're going?"

"After what they did? I bloody well think not. Serve 'em right if they think we're dead ..."

A beat. A sigh. "We are so whipped."

They left a note.

"So, my place? Ugh, no. Assuming this place doesn't get flattened, I'll never be able to go inside again. Your place—"

"—got blown up, ya wanker."

"Right, right. So ..."

"Jeez, 's plenty a empty houses around at the moment. Just pick one an' I'll break into it."

"We are not breaking into someone's house, Spike."

They ended up at a motel.

There was smirking.

"God, Harris, you think if we looked around a little more you could find someplace sleazier?"

"Shut up, Spike. If you bothered to actually pay for something once in a goddamn while, I might just have been able to afford something else. And what the hell do you care anyway?"

Xander opened the door, watching as Spike sashayed in and dropped his coat.

After a second the door closed with a disturbingly final sounding click.

"Well, get on with it then."

"Me? Why do I have to start it?"

"One, you're older, two, it was your stupid idea."

"If it's such a stupid idea then why the bloody hell are you still here?"

"Y'know, Spike, that's a damn good question."

It was tense. There were crossed arms.

"So then leave!"

"Yeah, well, maybe I will!"




That did it.

Spike was across the room faster than Xander could blink. Xander was pushed up against the door and there were tongues. Pushing and grinding and glaring and weak knees.

This time it didn't stop. Spike fought to take over Xander's mouth, Xander fought to do the same to Spike. There was yanking and pulling and it was pretty much as close as they could get to fighting without any actual violence.

It was also fucking hot.

Spike turned them around, used his strength to push Xander towards the bed. Xander didn't argue. He did, however, take a moment to rip Spike's shirt over his head. He scraped his fingernails down Spike's back. Spike growled, shuddered. When Xander smiled, it was dark, dangerous and Spike responded with one of his own.

"You wanna do this, Harris?"

A pause, narrowed eyes, then, "Hell, yeah."

Clothes disappeared.

Spike tossed Xander down onto the bed.

"So hot, so fucking hot. Wanna fuck you, Xan. Wanna chain you to the wall and ride you 'till you're screaming, begging for me to let you come."

Xander watched him. Spike lowered himself onto Xander body, whispered in his ear.

"But you wouldn't like begging, would you, pet? Not me. I could make you, though. I could go for hours. Hard and fast and long and slow, ripping you open like nothing your bird ever put up there. I could come inside you again and again 'till you were so full it'd feel like you were bursting and then do it just once more."

Spike fisted Xander's cock.

"What would it take, Xander? How could I make you scream?"

Xander moved against him. One hand pulled at the roots of Spike's hair, the other traced rough patterns over his backside.

Xander tilted his head and bit into the muscles of Spike's shoulder.

Spike shouted, arched, grinding his cock into Xander.

"You like chains, do you Spike? How about if I tied you up? All alone in that basement all day long. I could, you know. I've done it before. No one would wonder."

"Fuck, yeah."

Spike took Xander's mouth.

Suddenly, Xander rolled them over.

He smiled darkly.

"Would you let me fuck you down there, Spike? When Buffy might walk in at any moment? Or Willow, or Anya? Can you imagine the look on their faces? But you wouldn't care, would you Spike? Chained to the wall, on your knees with my dick up your ass."

They rocked against each other. Hard. Desperate.

"Would you want them to watch?"


"Fuck. Xander."


There was shouting then. Clenching and shuddering and clawing at skin and hair and an endless moment as Spike looked at Xander and Xander looked at Spike and they both knew, knew, exactly what they were doing, whom they were doing, and fuck, but that was enough.

They came together, staring into each other's eyes.

After a moment Xander rolled off of Spike, flopping down beside him.

They stared at the ceiling for a long while. Eventually, Xander's breathing evened out.

"So ..."

Spike rolled his head to look at Xander. He raised an eyebrow expectantly.

Xander glanced over and shifted uncomfortably.

"Right, so, that was ni—bad. That was very ... bad."

Spike looed away.

"Yeah, right. Bad. 'S exactly what I was thinkin'."

"Right, so ... I guess my system is now officially Spike free. Gee, that is a ... uh, relief."

"Sure, relief."

They glanced at each other.

"You still love Anya."

"Uh, right, Anya ... And ... you still love Buffy."

"Sure ... Buffy."

There was silence for a moment.

"So, guess we won't be doin' this again then, mate."

"Well, that, ah, that was the deal, wasn't it?"

"Never happening again."

Xander paused for a moment. It was a meaningful silence. Spike looked over.

"Right, after tonight, didn't happen, never happening again."

Xander flicked another glance Spike's way. Spike started to smile.


Xander looked like he was trying not to smile. "Didn't happen."


There was grinning.

"Jeez, Spike, yes, tonight. What, you're going deaf in your old age?"

"Nah, just makin' sure. Moron."

There was teasing.



It was comfortable.


That was the last day.



They showed up at Revello Drive just before sunrise the next day. The gang were by turns frantic and smug.

Buffy confronted them.

"So, did you two get everything sorted out?"

They glared at her. Just for old time's sake.


Buffy waited. "And? What happened?"

Spike and Xander glanced at each other.


"Not a damn thing."

Smirked. Turned back to Buffy.

"Nothing?! You two were gone all night and nothing happened?" She threw up her hands and walked away. "God, men ..."

Spike and Xander looked at each other, considering, for a long moment.

Then Xander grinned widely for a moment and turned to walk up the stairs.

"Hey Harris, thanks."

"Sure thing, Spike."

Xander left.

Spike went downstairs. Halfway across the room he caught sight of his chains. He paused. Titled his head. Glanced at the ceiling and smiled.

Xander would have to come down here eventually.

Play his cards right, maybe nothing could happen.

It was a good thought.

With a smile he lay down for some much needed rest.


That ... well, that was the first day, too.

The End

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