Beggars Can't Be Choosers


Part Seven

Wherein Xander leaves the hospital

Xander was getting ready to leave the hospital when Spike came back to see him. Willow had explained that Xander had talked himself into a state of agitation and nothing anyone would say could reach him. The best Spike could do was to leave him alone for a few days to collect his thoughts.

So the vampire had kept himself away from the hospital for three days. Now he had to know what was going to happen. If Xander didn't want him then he'd just have to move out of the apartment. Spike couldn't face the thought of living with him and not touching him…of watching him go out with other people…having fun without him. The vampire took a deep breath and asked the question that had been plaguing him for three days.

"Have you decided yet? Are you leaving me?" he asked, pain radiating from every pore.

The boy looked up in surprise. "You're back! I didn't think you'd come back for me," he said impulsively and then blushed at how much he'd revealed.

"You're the one who wanted me to leave, pet. You ordered me away and I went. I only did it cause you said you needed time to think. So did you? Have you decided what to do yet?" Spike retorted, anger colouring his voice, he wasn't the one who'd started all this talking of leaving, he wasn't the one who doubted Xander's love.

"No, I-" Xander cleared his throat. "I'll take anything you can give Spike. Second-best is better than nothing at all," he said softly, looking anywhere but at Spike.

The blond allowed himself a moment of relief before he stalked over to Xander and kissed him deeply, doing everything he could think of to give him pleasure. When he pulled back, Xander was breathing erratically and leaning on him for support. "Not second best, luv. You're so much more than that. To me, you're more than anyone ever was," he whispered and leaned in for another kiss.

They went back home together. The whole experience tired Xander out so much that he was asleep in the car before they even reached the apartment. Spike smiled sadly and picked him up. He carried his boy to the apartment and put him into bed before undressing himself and sliding in next to him. The vampire gently gathered Xander in his arms and settled him down against his body.

"I love you Xan, and I'll do anything within my power to convince you of that," he whispered to his sleeping lover.


Spike repeatedly tried to talk to Xander about what happened the night he was injured but he was always rebuffed. The brunet did not want to discuss this matter and he made his feelings perfectly clear. Every time Spike so much as hinted at that night Xander would get up and leave the room.

He stopped saying 'I love you' when he realized that Xander's only reaction to the words was a pained look and a quick change of subject.

So Spike did the only thing he could think of, he pandered to Xander's every whim. Whatever his boy wanted, his boy would get. All he had to do was hint at it. Sex was all about Xander's pleasure. Spike poured everything he felt into his lovemaking, trying to convince Xander of his feelings the only way that was open to him. Words were either not allowed or not believed and this was the only other way he knew how to express himself.

A few days after their return from the hospital, Spike asked Xander if he still wanted to tell the girls about them. He figured if he showed the boy how much he wanted them to know, Xander might relax a little around Buffy and, more importantly, around Spike.

"If you're not up to it, we could always ask Willow to tell them. That way they can find out without the big dramatic revelation scene. What do you think, Xan?" he asked.

"You know she knows?" Xander asked carefully.

"After you told me to fuck off at the hospital, I was a bit of a mess. Red was so shocked she let slip that she knew." Spike shrugged. "'S okay Xan, I don't mind her knowing. So, what do you think, shall we have Willow tell them?"

"I guess," Xander replied hesitantly.

"No, no guessing Xander. I want to tell them that I love you. I don't care how they find out, so long as they know. And I want to know what you want to do so spit it out," Spike stated vehemently, making his feelings on the matter entirely clear.

The brunet closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I want Buffy to know you're mine," he said quickly.

Spike sat down next to him and hugged him tight. Calling the vampire his must be a sign that Xander was beginning to believe in him again, right? "Then she will, Xan. I'll get Willow to tell her tonight, yeah?" he said, smiling at him.

"Yeah," Xander sighed and let himself relax into Spike's embrace.


When Spike went to work that night he marched straight to Willow and asked for her help.

"Xander won't believe I love him," he said miserably.

Willow sighed sadly. "I'm sorry Spike. I did warn you about this. Does he know what happened on the night?" she asked.

"No. Every time I try to talk to him about it he walks off. I love him, Red, I do. Why can't he just believe that?" He groaned and let his head fall on the counter.

Willow looked at his bent head and asked, "Ever thought of claiming him?"

"Yeah. It wouldn't work though. Not unless he believes I love him. And if it doesn't work he'll think it's because I don't love him enough, stupid wanker that he is," Spike mumbled into the counter.

"So why don't you just let it be?"

The vampire lifted his head and stared at her straight in the eye. "Cause he may be a stupid wanker, but he's my stupid wanker and every single instinct I have says he has got to get it through his thick head."

Having said that, he dropped his head on the counter again. "Why do I always fall for the crazy ones?"

Willow smiled at Spike's self-deprecating tone and went back to checking the order sheets. A few minutes later Spike sighed and stood up.

"Hey Red, could you let the Slayer know the wanker and I are together? I figure he might feel better if she knows I'm taken. Got him to admit that he considers me his. That's gotta be progress, right?" he asked hopefully.

"Gotta be," Willow echoed with a smile. "I'll take care of it tonight when I get home, okay?"

Spike nodded and went to check out the new shipment of goods, for any dangerous or apocalypse-inducing books, trying not to think of Xander for at least five minutes.


"Xander and Spike? Really?" Buffy said, crinkling her nose. "Next thing you know Wesley will start wearing leather and making out with Angel. Ewwww…I so didn't need that mental image," she said with a shudder.

"Xander and Spike, really. Except Xander got it into his head that Spike's still in love with you and he's miserable," Willow went on, feeling more than a little relieved that Buffy took the news so well.

"So what you're telling me is that when I had that whole soul-baring conversation with Spike about our past and our future he was getting it on with Xander? I am so gonna kick his undead ass. He knew I felt guilty for not loving him back!" Buffy glared at the imaginary Spike in her head.

"Buffy, try to focus: Xander thinks Spike is still in love with you," Willow said, thoroughly exasperated.

"But he's not! He explained everything during 'The Talk'. The demon part of him was in love with me. He got over me. The soul just kinda liked me, so no-getting-over-ing necessary there," she explained testily.

"Yes, well, we know all that but Xander refuses to believe it," Willow replied, trying not to lose patience.

Buffy frowned thoughtfully. "This explains Spike's non-reaction to our not getting back together. And a big chunk of the past few months. I thought I was imagining things! And we're sure that Spike's actually in love with Xander and not just using him as rebound guy?"

"Pretty much yeah. I've been watching him these past few months. He acts like a guy in love. And you saw what he was like when he found Xander bleeding on the ground, he completely freaked out," Willow explained.

"Then we all we have to do is: find a way to make Xander realize that Spike loves him and not me." Buffy was nothing if not optimistic. Five minutes later, they were both staring into space trying to think of a plan to knock some sense into their friend.

"You could always force him choose between Buffy and Xander. If he really does love him and not Buffy, then Spike'll choose Xan," Dawn said casually, coming in from the kitchen.

"Dawn, didn't we have the 'no eavesdropping' conversation?" Buffy stared at her sister in exasperation.

"Nope, you've scheduled that for next week I think." Grinning like the irreverent teenager she was, Dawn plopped herself next to Willow on the couch. "Now, let's get back to my brilliant plan."

"What if Spike chooses Buffy?" Willow asked.

"I thought you said he loved Xander," Dawn argued.

"He does…I think…What if he doesn't love him enough? It'll break Xander's heart," she said sadly.

"Then we'll have to think of something else," Buffy stated firmly.


The following morning Willow called Xander and cheerfully informed him that Buffy knew about his and Spike's relationship and was very happy for them.

"She is however a little bit upset that Spike neglected to mention that he was happy with someone else during 'The Talk'. Better warn him that a little ass kicking is due next time they train together," she said, grinning at the thought of Buffy being all righteously angry and Spike trying to talk himself out of trouble.

"Thanks for the warning Wills. I'll tell Bleach to avoid training with her for the next few days," Xander joked and hung up.

He wasn't thinking of Buffy and Spike being together. Of course he wasn't. Spike loved him. He'd said so hadn't he? And anyway Xander trusted Buffy. She wouldn't take his vampire from him. Right. Of course not. There was no reason to wake up his boyfriend for some reassurance-sex. Nope. No reason at all. He was not going to their bedroom. He was not staring at Spike, sleeping on his stomach, all naked and beautiful. He was not taking off his clothes and climbing on the bed. And he sure as hell wasn't trailing kisses down Spike's back. Nope, that must be some other Xander, cause this one wasn't doing that.

"If you stop there I'm going to have to kill you, you know that right?" growled the vampire.

Okay, maybe a little reassurance-sex.

Xander kept trailing kisses down Spike's spine. His hands massaged the blond's ass while he was busily exploring the small of his lover's back with his tongue. As Xander slowly started moving his mouth lower, Spike moaned and arched trying to hurry him to his destination. The boy smiled against his skin and veered off to the side to lick and nibble on Spike's cheeks. Then he moved sideways back in the direction of the twitching hole he could see peeking at him. A few millimeters before he reached it, he lifted his mouth from Spike's body, enjoying the strangled sound of disappointment coming from the vampire.

Buffy couldn't get him to make that sound. Only Xander could leave Spike panting and begging for his touch. He quickly spread his lover's cheeks wide apart and swiped his tongue over his hole. Grinning at the blond's resultant yelp Xander settled himself down to explore. He teased Spike, flickering his tongue over the tight sphincter then retreating to blow a warm stream of air over it, until the vampire was continuously pleading for more. Only then did he pull the vampire to his hands and knees and stab his tongue inside as far as he could. Xander fucked Spike with his mouth; doing everything he could to drive his lover crazy with need.

By the time Xander replaced his tongue with two lubed fingers Spike was near incoherent, all he could do was moan and push against the intruding digits. Xander smiled at the vampire's wanton behavior and added another finger, watching as Spike shimmied and bucked trying to get them even deeper inside.

The blond didn't know what had gotten into his boy but he was all for enjoying the results. He arched and groaned, thrusting back to follow Xander's fingers when they pulled out of his ass. Spike whimpered at the loss, only to groan again when he felt his lover's cock enter him in one hard thrust.

Xander gripped Spike's hips and started fucking him as hard and fast as he could silently chanting 'my Spike, mine'. He angled his thrusts to hit Spike's prostate as often as possible and started a punishing rhythm, driving them both inexorably to the peak.

All too soon Spike arched his back with a strangled moan and shuddered his orgasm. Xander pumped into his lover's body a few moments more before he shouted out his own release and collapsed over the vampire.

The brunet sleepily snuggled next to Spike, mind drifting aimlessly. He just had to make sure Buffy knew that Spike was his. His Spike. "My Spike," he mumbled and fell asleep.


A few days later, Xander walked in the Magic Shop to find Buffy and Spike sitting close together at the round table, planning next week's patrols. Willow and Dawn were chatting at the counter and they turned around just in time to see a fleeting look of pain cross over their friend's face before he covered it with his usual merriment and went to kiss his boyfriend hello. To Spike's surprise Xander sat himself on the vampire's lap and leaned in for another kiss.

The girls saw Spike whisper something in his ear that made Xander blush and squirm a little. Dawn turned to Willow and whispered, "His heart's already broken Will. Every time he sees them together he gets that look. And then he does something to show himself that Spike's with him. He puts on a happy front for us, but this is killing him."

"You're right," Willow replied sadly. "We have to do something to fix this."

Part Eight

Wherein the girls have a cunning plan!

"So, what, I burst into their apartment and say 'Spike, you are a sexy vampire with a soul, dump Xander and be my snuggle bunny'?" Buffy asked incredulously.

The three girls were having a strategy meeting at Buffy's kitchen, trying to come up with workable plan to convince Xander of Spike's feelings.

"Well you could try to sound less like the Buffybot, but yeah, that's the gist of it," Dawn grinned proudly.

"Dawnie, you're my sister and I love you, but you. Are. Insane. That's never gonna work!" she exclaimed.

"Yes it will. It's either that or you can threaten to beat him up if he doesn't leave Xander alone," the teenager pointed out.

"I refuse to beat Spike up. I did that too many times already," Buffy mumbled, glaring at her sister.

"I didn't say you had to actually beat him up, you just have to look like you're going to beat him up," Dawn explained, rolling her eyes at her sister's denseness.

Buffy sighed. "I don't like that idea. Willow? Please tell me you can think of a better plan."

"Erm…actually I kinda like Dawn's idea," Willow said hesitantly.

"See? Willow likes it," Dawn said smiling smugly.

"Xander's greatest fear is that Spike will leave him for you. If he sees that Spike had the opportunity to do so but didn't, maybe he'll let go of that," Willow explained her reasoning.

"But what if Spike doesn't choose him? Xander will be miserable because of me. He'll hate me," she said, sounding worried.

"He won't choose you. Spike loves Xander, no way would he give him up for you or anyone," Dawn reassured her, patting her back.


Spike and Xander were having a quiet night in. The brunet had settled into his customary position, sprawled over the sofa with his head resting on Spike's lap, when someone knocked on their door. They both groaned in disbelief.

"I was just getting comfortable," Xander whined.

"We could ignore it and hope whoever's out there goes away." Spike suggested turning to look at the door hopefully.

Xander contemplated doing just that until he heard Willow's voice calling him. He sighed and got up.

"Guess I better get it then," he grumbled as he headed for the door.

"I said it before and I'll say it again Harris, that girl leads you through the nose." Spike grinned and Xander turned to glare at him before opening the door.

Dawn burst in first, hugging Xander and giving him a kiss on the cheek before begging for his help. "I need to know about your sordid sartorial past. Willow said you wore the stupidest clothes," she said, looking at him pleadingly.

Willow came in more sedately and grinned at Spike and Xander's disconcerted looks before explaining. "Dawn's doing a project at the difference clothes make on how you perceive someone."

The teenager nodded earnestly. "Xander's my case study. He went from Hawaiian disaster to construction chic to cool slacks and shirt. That must have made a difference on how people treated him, right?" she said enthusiastically.

Said case study just stared at her speechlessly while his vampire and his best friend laughed uncontrollably.

"Aw come one Xan, don't be like that. All you have to do is let me interview you and show me some of your old clothes. Please? I'll even make you brownies," Dawn cajoled.

"Yeah, Xander. Show the Bit your bloody awful taste in clothes." Spike grinned from his position on the couch.

"Come on Xan, she only wants to ask you a few questions and look at a couple of shirts," Willow joined in.

Xander finally relented and smiled at the trio. "Okay, okay I bow to peer pressure. Come on, Dawn, I put them away in Spike's ex-bedroom. It's been returned to its rightful position as a walk in closet," he said and led the way to the land of god-awful clothing, Willow and Dawn following behind him.

Spike watched them disappear into the closet shaking his head in amusement. The doorbell rang again and he went to get the door still chuckling at the humans' antics. He opened the door to find a very sexily dressed Buffy on the other side.

"What's with the get up Buff? Got a hot date tonight?" he said smiling.

Buffy tilted her head and looked him up and down. "You know, Spike, I've been thinking…" she said and leaned in close to close the door behind her.

"Have you now?" Spike said, automatically taking a step back.

"Yup," she purred and copied his move, standing close enough to brush against him.

The vampire frowned and tried again to put some space between them with little success. Whenever he moved, Buffy would smile coyly and mirror his movement to end up close to him again.

"What are you doing Buffy?" he asked worriedly.

"Isn't it obvious?" she simpered and arched up to whisper in his ear. "I want you back."

In his mind's eye, Spike could see Xander walk out of the bedroom laughing at something the girls said. He'd see Buffy wrapped around him and he'd get that look, the one that Spike had been doing his best to avoid, the one that turned his pretty brown eyes into pools of despair.

Spike jumped back as quickly and as far away as a vampire could and glared at the cause of that look. How dare she even attempt to do something that would cause his Xander that much pain!

"Are you all, insane?" he yelled, getting louder and angrier with every sentence. "Why won't anyone get it through their thick skull that I. Love. Xander! Not you, not Dru, not even my fucking poof of a Sire. I love Xander. Deal with it, the lot of you! The only way I am ever leaving him is as a pile of dust okay? Do you get that?" He turned to see Buffy slink towards him again. "Damn it all to hell Slayer, if you so much as make a move in my direction I'm going to have to knock you out. I am not leaving my boy, get that you stupid bint?" he screamed in her face and started pacing angrily, continuing his rant.

"And how dare you come on to me! Do you even know what that would do to him? What kind of friend are you that you'd want to cause him so much pain. Listen, you insane bitch, if you even think of doing that to him again I will rip your head off your shoulders and deal with the consequences later, do you understand?"

Spike turned to glare at the Slayer and saw her grinning happily at him. He stared at her in bewilderment. "Fuck, you are insane!" he exclaimed.

"You love Xander," Willow said as she smiled from the doorway to the closet.

"Well, yeah. Weren't you listening to the ranting and raving bit?" Dawn said coming to stand next to her.

"You set me up," Spike said slowly. He looked around and spotted Xander standing behind the two girls. "Right. Everybody out. I need to speak to Xander privately." He ushered the girls to the door, herding them out as quickly as possible, turning a deaf ear to their complaints and questions. "Out, out, out!" he said and slammed the door in their faces.

When the door was closed he turned to face Xander who'd just come out of the closet himself, looking thoroughly confused but tentatively happy.

"Did you know about this?" he asked gravely.

"Spike I swear I had no idea!" Xander exclaimed.

The blond just stared at him doubtfully.

"Look, d' you really think I would take the chance you'd say yes and leave me?" the brunet said earnestly.

Spike shook his head and relaxed. "You did notice that I didn't say 'yes'," he pointed out.

"That I did." Xander grinned.

"In fact I was quite vehement in refusing to so much as go near her," Spike went on, smiling a little.

"Yup," Xander agreed, nodding exaggeratedly.

"I do believe we should have a serious conversation about that and your apparent inability to get it through your moronic mind that I'm not ever going to do that," Spike said and started prowling towards Xander.

"Of course we should. Talk is very important," the boy said, mesmerized by Spike's movements.

"Good, we'll do that after," the vampire concluded and pounced on Xander pushing him to the floor.

Spike straddled Xander's hips and looked down on him.

"Now, what shall I do with you I wonder," he mused rocking his hips just enough to cause a slight amount of friction. When the human tried to move to accentuate the friction Spike sat down heavily on him forcing him to stay still. "You're interrupting my thinking process, if I can't decide what I want to do with you then I won't do anything. So stay still." Xander nodded and the vampire resumed the slight rocking motion.

"Right then. Let's start with taking all your clothes off, shall we?" the blond murmured and suited actions to his words, swiftly removing Xander's clothes without letting him off the floor. Spike settled down again on the boy's hips, nestling his jean-covered ass on his lover's erection. He immediately set about driving Xander crazy with lust. Spike tugged and pinched and sucked and nibbled on his nipples, all the while whispering about little boys needing to learn their lesson. Every time Xander tried to reach out for him, the vampire would just grab his hands and place them over his head.

By the time Spike decided that Xander's nipples needed no further attention, the boy was a quivering mass of nerves. "Now let's see if you understand how things are. Who do I want to shag to oblivion, you or Buffy?"

Xander took a shuddering breath and moaned, “Me.”

"Good boy." Spike smirked and shimmied down a bit so that he was sitting on Xander's knees. "What else do I want to play with…" he mused.

Xander groaned in anticipation only to be disappointed when Spike completely ignored his aching cock to focus on his belly. The vampire trailed open-mouthed kisses from chest to bellybutton before sucking on the skin, making a pretty pattern of bruises. Once he was satisfied with his artwork he asked, "Who do I come home to every day, Xan?"

"Me," Xander whimpered.

Spike moved further down Xander's body and spread the boy's legs wide, bending them at the knees, and placing his feet on the floor. He then proceeded to lick and nibble on his perineum before making his way to his balls to lick and suck on them, still avoiding Xander's straining erection.

"Who do I want to claim for mine, pet?"

Xander just whimpered at the loss of Spike's mouth.

"No more til you answer me. Who do I want to claim for mine?" the vampire repeated.

"Me," Xander managed to whisper.

"Good boy," Spike praised before picking him up and carrying him to the bed. The blond swiftly removed his clothes, and lay down next to Xander. He took the lube and started preparing his boy, enjoying the incoherent moans and pleading noises Xander couldn't help but make. When he judged his lover to be ready Spike slicked his own cock and lifted the brunet's legs over his shoulders.

"Who do I love Xander?" he asked, nudging his cock against his lover's hole.

"Me," Xander whispered and bucked, trying to push Spike inside him.

"With all my heart and soul, luv. Only you," the vampire promised and slammed his cock inside in one hard thrust, swallowing Xander's scream with his kiss and beginning to fuck him in earnest. "Mine, Xan, only mine. Gonna claim you proper, love you forever."

Xander was so aroused by Spike's actions and words that in a matter of moments he was arching his back and moaning his release, swiftly followed by the blond himself. They both fell into an exhausted sleep.


Xander woke up to a pair of blue eyes watching him steadily and a hand stroking his hair.

"Hey there," he mumbled sleepily.

Spike smiled down at him and the hand moved down to trace his face. He leaned down for a kiss before getting out of bed.

"Time for that talk, pet." Spike put on a pair of sweats and handed Xander his own. "I'll go make coffee, you do whatever humans do in the bathroom every morning and come join me okay?" he said and left the room.

Xander sighed and got out of bed himself. Though he knew it was necessary to talk about things at least once, he was not looking forward to having this conversation. He went to the bathroom and did 'whatever it was humans did', smiling at Spike's words.

When he finally reached the kitchen there was a hot cup of coffee waiting for him on the table and a solemn vampire leaning against the counter.

"So…" Xander started nervously.

"So…" Spike echoed with a small smile, "Where do you want to start this then?" he asked.

Xander took a place at the table and sipped his coffee pensively. He took a deep breath and said, "Tell me what happened that night."

"So now you want to talk about it?" Spike said, resentment for Xander's previous attitude showing plainly in his voice.

"Now I know you won't tell me you thought she was more important, yeah." Xander blushed and stared intently at his coffee cup.

"You'd have known that some time ago if you'd let me talk to you about it," the vampire said and sighed sadly. "Right. About that night…I need to tell you some things first and I need you to promise you'll listen okay?"

Xander nodded solemnly.

Spike took a deep breath and started explaining himself. "You remember how I used to have nightmares about the people I killed, yeah? They're… they're not quite gone yet. Except now I dream about people I can't save. I dream about watching Dawn getting attacked by humans, about Buffy dying because I'm too slow to react. Willow usually dies in a fire while all I can do is watch." Spike's voice had taken a bleak quality and he was staring into nothing, lost in the pain of the memories.

He turned to look at Xander and his eyes were full of unshed tears. "I dream about you all the time, Xan. Nightmares about how you're in danger and screaming for me and I can't get to you. Where I can hear you call for me and I can't see you until it's too late. And then it was for real, I could hear you but you weren't there. I thought I was going insane again, hearing voices. So I ran to help the Slayer. When she said you had been there with her when the demons attacked I thought I'd go crazy. I had heard you and I hadn't done anything. And then the nightmare was real, you were lying on the ground bleeding and I'd let it happen."

Xander was on his feet and wrapping his arms around Spike a split second before the vampire broke down.

"Shh…it's okay baby, I'm alive, we're all okay, don't cry Spike, please don't cry." Xander tried to soothe the overwrought vampire marveling at how his lover had managed to keep all this inside for so long. "Why didn't you tell me Spike?"

"I tried you sodding wanker, but you wouldn't let me," Spike yelled pulling out of Xander's arms.

"I'm sorry Spike, I-I should have listened. I just…I thought you -" the boy started hesitantly only to be interrupted by an angry vampire.

"You thought I didn't love you. You thought my feelings weren't real and you wouldn't let me explain you bastard. You judged me and condemned me and you wouldn't even let me tell you what really happened!" Spike kept shouting until he caught sight of the fresh scar on Xander's torso. "And fuck, I let you die," he said and hugged Xander close to him, tears running down his cheeks once again. "Not dead, not dead, still here with me. I'm sorry; I'm so sorry Xan. I left you there. I should have known better, I'm sorry Xander."

The brunet held the crying vampire close, murmuring words of comfort and trying to come to grips with the situation. Spike still had nightmares. He dreamt he let Xander die. He was wracked with guilt over it and Xander hadn't let him even try to explain what had happened. Because Xander didn't really believe someone like Spike could love him. Willow was right; he was an idiot.

Xander gently led Spike over to the couch and sat down, cradling the blond in his arms until Spike was calm enough to stop breathing again.

"I'll make you a deal, Bleach. I will never ever doubt your feelings for me again if you promise not to keep things from me again. This whole thing never would have happened if we had talked to each other more." Xander looked at Spike expectantly.

The vampire nodded tiredly. "I'm sorry, pet," he whispered.

"No more sorries okay sweetheart? We'll both be better from now on. We'll make each other better." Xander soothed.

Spike nodded again and closed his eyes. They stayed like that for a few minutes, resting and enjoying the closeness. Xander was nodding off when the phone rang. Careful not to disturb the sleeping vampire in his arms he reached for the cordless lying next to him.

"Hello?" he whispered.

"Hey Xander, why are we whispering?" Willow asked.

"Will, hey. We're whispering cause Spike's asleep."

"Oh," she said and started babbling nervously, "Are you two okay? You don't hate us do you? I mean, we wouldn't have done it if we weren't sure Spike would tell Buffy to sod off or something like that and Buffy felt really bad about doing that, she was so worried you'd hate her. And we only did it cause your heart was breaking and Spike was all fidgety and tense and Spike is never tense unless he's in some kind of trouble and we didn't want you to be heartbroken. Cause we love you both and we only wanted to help. Did we help? You guys are okay right? And you don't hate us?"

Willow stopped to draw breath and Xander took the chance to jump in with reassurances that everything was okay, and yes he and Spike were fine and no they didn't hate them.

"We hate Buffy," the vampire sleepily mumbled, "she scared us, we want revenge, we'll train with her tomorrow."

"Did you get that Will? Bleach will avenge himself upon the Slayer tomorrow," Xander said, smiling down at his sleepy vampire.


A few days later, Xander walked in on a slayer-vampire training session. Spike had taken Buffy down and was leaning over her, one arm across her chest to hold her down and the other pinning her hands over her head. The vampire was smiling down at his sulking captive, face mere inches away from her.

Xander felt a little twinge in the region of his heart but he ruthlessly stomped on it. 'Spike loves me, not Buffy,' he told himself firmly and smiled at the two combatants.

"Hey guys, what's up? Or should I say what's down?" he joked.

"Xander!" Spike looked up at him, his face immediately brightening up and his smile turning into a full-on grin.

'See? My Spike,' Xander smugly told his doubting part as the vampire got up and came to kiss him hello.

"Now both of you go get ready. Our reservation is at seven and we're gonna be late if we don't leave soon." He shooed both slayer and vampire towards the showers and went to chat with Willow and Dawn as they waited.

The couple had decided to treat the girls to a night out at a posh restaurant as a thank you for interfering. Xander very forcefully pointed out, staring intently at Dawn, that this should in no way be taken as any kind of encouragement for them to interfere again. This was a one-off.

Just as they were about to leave, Willow asked to talk to Spike a minute.

"You guys go on," she smiled, "this'll only take a minute. We'll catch up."

She waited until the others were out the door before turning to talk to a smiling Spike.

"We didn't have this talk before because I either wasn't supposed to know about you and Xander or you were such a mess it didn't seem fair to have it," she said and watched Spike's smile be replaced by a puzzled look before continuing in the nicest possible tone, "If you ever hurt my Xander again in any way whatsoever I will temporarily forget that I'm a good witch, turn you into something small and disgusting and then beat you to death with a shovel." Willow smiled sweetly. "Glad we had this talk, now let's go eat, I'm starving."

Willow literally skipped to the door, leaving behind her a thoroughly bemused vampire. A couple of minutes later Xander walked in and took his hand to lead him out the shop. "She gave you the shovel talk, huh? Yeah, even Cordelia had that look after the shovel talk," he said, laughing as he dragged his vampire out to catch up with the others.

The End

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