Becoming Known

Tisienne Blue

Part Thirteen

One week later, the outline for the Sunnydale Survivors Sanctuary was ready.

A week after that, Spike had managed to engage enough sympathetic computer programmers and web designers that the fundamentals were just waiting for a site.

That was when they ran into the green wall.


Sure, Spike had some, and he was more than ready to put every bit of it into the project, but… how could he keep them in an apartment—this one or the two bedroom that wasn’t quite ready yet, get the Bit clothes for school, feed his humans, if he did that? Even when they added what was left of the cash Xander had gotten for his car, they were well short.

There was no other option, the vampire decided, and in the midst of a beer buzz he sent a zipped file containing most of his recent photo series to a demon he knew, who forwarded them to some of the bigger-name magazines, acting as Spike’s agent.

He was shocked to receive a very generous offer on the printing rights to his ‘Dispossessed’ series in less than two days. They apparently went well with an article on the homeless that would be coming out the following month.

If Spike was shocked, Xander was simply proud. He’d known Spike’s pictures were good. He’d even said so, and more than once.

Amidst much shouting and jumping about, they all agreed—Dawn’s vote making it unanimous—to use the proceeds from Spike’s first sale to pay for the truly heinous amount of bandwidth the SSS site would need.

The site went public a mere six days later… and had more than two thousand hits in the first three hours.

Sadly, none of them were from the missing Scoobies.


It wasn’t until three weeks later when they tried to enroll Dawn in school for what remained of the academic year that they discovered just how much they had to thank Buffy for. The letter she’d given to Xander allowing him to have full responsibility for her sister was the only thing that kept Philadelphia Child Protective Services from taking Dawn away and putting her in foster care right then and there.

In his kinder moments, Spike figured the organization was actually doing its job, watching out and trying to protect kids, but in his darker moments…

Oh, he ranted and railed, cursing up a storm, even as he flew through their small apartment, straightening things one more time.

“Spike,” Xander said from his semi-safe spot in the kitchen doorway, “Spike, calm down. Everything looks fine, okay?”

The vampire snarled and shook his head. “Not losin’ her, Xan. Can’t! Poor chit’s already lost everythin’! Won’t let her lose us, too!” Won’t lose my family… he thought violently.

Well, a part of him was right there with the blond, but he remembered going through something similar when Social Services in Sunnydale had been checking into Buffy’s guardianship, and…

“Spike,” he said sharply, finally leaving the safety of the kitchen and making a beeline for the other man, “Stop it. It’s gonna be okay. They’ll come here, they’ll see that she’s got her own room, you’ll tell them about the new apartment and everything will be fine.” One hand rested lightly on a tense, nearly vibrating shoulder and Xander gave the vampire a comforting smile.

“I…” Spike began, only to be cut off as Dawn came out of the bedroom in her best ‘meeting officials who could take me away’ clothes. “You look perfect, Bit,” he said, smiling as encouragingly as he could.

Even white teeth bit lightly at a full bottom lip and Dawn frowned. “If they try to take me, I’ll run away. Kent will hide me. I know he will. I already asked.”

And for some reason that made Spike feel better.

“Not goin’ ta let anythin’ happen ta you, Nibblet. Xan’s right. I’m just bein’ paranoid, yah?”

Xander snorted, his hand sliding across the back of Spike’s neck to pull the blond against his side in a one-armed hug. “Ya think, buddy? Now relax. We have… over an hour until they get here and you’re way too uptight. It might be bad if you went all ‘grrrrrrrr…’ later just because you’re wound up.”


Kent stepped out of his apartment as soon as he saw the unfamiliar man get off of the elevator, glad he’d thought to keep watch through the peep-hole.

It had taken him a good week to realize that while Will and Xander weren’t together—regardless of sleeping in the same bed and half naked—they wanted to be.

It had taken him much less time to realize that both of the men doted on the young girl who was staying with them. That she was unrelated to either man through blood was irrelevant, he figured. She loved them like they were her brothers and he was entirely sure that no ‘real’ sister anywhere had two siblings who were as devoted.

But he also knew exactly what the city government would make of the situation, so he was for damned sure going to put a few ideas into the social worker’s head before the… guy, it turned out… could come to some bizarre conclusion that only a straight person would. Or rather, a straight person who’d seen the sorts of things social workers saw on a daily basis.

“Yoo-hoo,” he called out, giving the young man a wave and moving quickly towards him, “You look a little confused. Anything I can help you with?”

Michael Thomas pulled his credentials from his jacket pocket and nodded, holding the almost empty file on Dawn Summers tightly. “I’m looking for 324, but the numbers are…”

“All messed up? I know,” Kent said with a grin. “See, this building used to be a bunch of really big apartments. That was back in the Thirties. But rents went up and people didn’t need as much space anymore, so they sort of got… broken up. If it had happened all at once, I’m sure the whole place would have been renumbered, but since it didn’t, it can be kind of confusing until you get used to it. Oh, and 324? Divine little family! Mmmm… the two daddies? God, it’s a shame they’re so committed to each other. Wouldn’t mind a chance with either of them, but what’s a boy to do? Can’t get in the way of true love, right?”

He grinned at the man again, even while he was dancing on the inside. Granted, his little speech hadn’t been terribly subtle, but civil servants were often the sort to miss subtlety, so he figured he’d chosen just about the right degree of disclosure. He’d have to remember to tell the guys and Dawn about the ideas he’d planted in the man’s mind, but for now…

“It’s really a shame they aren’t ‘out’ yet, but then Xander works in construction and he just got here. He’s afraid it might be harder to find a job in his field if people knew.” He heaved a huge, dramatic sigh, fluttering one hand against his chest.

“And Will. Oh, dear, sweet William doesn’t want to make things any more difficult for poor Dawn than necessary, and I understand that. I mean, her entire hometown just turned into a hole in the ground! That’s going to be hard enough to explain at school, right? Telling her new friends that she’s not only from Sunnydale but lives with a gay couple? Well, that might be more than the poor girl could deal with… I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. You are the social worker who’s checking up on Dawny, right? I’d heard there’d be someone coming today, and you know… the numbering, so… Or have I just made an ass of myself to the wrong person?”

The other man blinked, grey eyes wide as he tried to process the spill of words he’d just been assaulted with. “I… Thomas. Michael Thomas. I… 324?” he nearly begged.

Kent giggled, rather like an old drag queen of his acquaintance, and took the man’s arm. “How about I just show you, sugar? And if you need… oh, anything… before you leave, I’m right down there.” He pointed, deliberately making the gesture languid. “316, Michael… and I’m Kent, by the way… at your service. And I mean that. Any… time.”

Dark blond head down and eyes tight on the carpeted corridor, Michael let himself be led. “Uh, thanks,” he finally said when he looked up and saw the door with the proper numbers. “I think I can take it from here.”

The redhead smiled flirtatiously and let go of the man’s arm. “I’m sure you can, sugar, and don’t forget. 316. Toodles…”

Good God. If the two men inside the apartment were anything like the guy he’d just met, he was going to take the girl so far away, they’d never even hear about her, much less see her. Not because there was anything wrong with being gay, but because… that guy had clearly been on the prowl. If the girl’s friends were the same, it would be the wrong environment for an impressionable child.

Thus, Michael Thomas was entirely prepared to do whatever was necessary, even before he knocked on the door.


Xander was surprised by the pleasantly shocked look on the social worker’s face when he opened the door in work boots, a nice pair of jeans and a button down oxford shirt, but he shrugged it off silently. “Um. Hi, I’m Alexander Harris. I, uh… usually go by ‘Xander’,” he said quickly before stepping back and letting the man in. “There’s coffee…”

“Agent Michael Thomas. PCPS.”

The two men shook hands and Xander nodded towards the living room area. “Uh, have a seat and… I guess we’ll talk, right?” And suddenly he was nervous. This guy wasn’t anything like the middle-aged woman who’d been all over Buffy after Joyce passed away.

“Bloody hell, Bit!” they heard coming through the open door of the bedroom, “Don’t care what you say! You’re bloody wrong and you know it!”

The social worker blinked as a girl’s voice responded.

“Hey! I am not! Just because you like it, doesn’t mean I have to! It’s icky! And… and just plain bad! A whole world of badness there, like Xan would say!”

Michael Thomas watched, eyes wide, as a compact blond form practically boiled out through the doorway.

“Pet!” Spike demanded, giving Xander a sharp stare, “Tell her the Cure isn’t bad… or ‘icky’! They’re no Clash, but they’re still soddin’ good!”

“Hah,” Dawn announced, following him out, “You just like them ‘cause that Robert Smith guy is all ‘wah-wah-wah, my life sucks, adore me while I flail around with my over-sprayed hair and bad makeup’!”

Xander groaned quietly. “Guys…? Guys!” He sighed when his shout had the argument grinding to a halt. “Um, the guy from the City is here.”

He sighed again and looked at the man, trying not to cringe. “Agent Thomas, meet Dawn and S… Will.”


As far as he could tell, the two men and the girl got along like family. Even more importantly, while the males often exchanged glances, they didn’t seem to be flaunting their relationship. And the girl was acting as though the way the men interacted was normal, as opposed to a show put on for his benefit.

In fact, if the guy out in the hall hadn’t told him that Xander Harris and William Suffolk were a couple, he wouldn’t have noticed any of the small signs.

Michael actually thought it was good that he had been told, because…

“Honestly,” he told the men as he was leaving, Dawn having retreated to her bedroom to read what she’d called ‘stupid history… not like I need to know it, anyway,’ only to be met by William’s ‘never know what might come in handy, Bit, and just ‘cause you’re not in school yet, doesn’t mean you can’t broaden your mind’…

“Honestly,” he said again, “I understand about you guys not being out to the world yet, like your neighbor said, but… if you were two heterosexual twenty-something guys wanting custody of a sixteen year old girl who’s not related to either one of you, well. Let’s just say that the City of Philadelphia would have a problem with that, notarized letter or not.”

He took the stunned look on the brunette’s face as a sign that they really weren’t ready to be open about their relationship, although the blond’s smirk made the existence of that relationship equally clear.

“I’ll have to make monthly visits for a while. Just to be sure Dawn is happy and well taken care of, but I don’t think there will be any problems with that. I…” he frowned slightly. “I understand that she’s going to be moody. Not just because she’s sixteen, but also because of everything that’s happened lately. And even if her sister comes…”

“When, you mean,” Spike interrupted. “When her sister comes. Been a right mess back in Sunny-D, yah? Might be stuck or somethin’. But Buffy’s a trooper. Goin’ ta show eventually. Hard with no bloody money and no car and whatnot or she’d probably be here already.”

Michael watched while the tanned hand on the bleached blond’s shoulder flexed, obviously offering comfort. Yes, this couple was nothing like that very… obvious… neighbor of theirs. He truly had no reservations about leaving the girl with them, although he’d definitely feel better when they moved into the bigger apartment and there was less chance of Dawn walking in on… anything. He was still curious about how and why the two humans were so close to the vampire, but it was obvious that they were all devoted to each other… in different ways, of course.

He’d actually been close to pissing himself when he’d realized what the blond was, but it had only taken moments for him to realize that regardless of William’s vampirism, he cared for the humans and would most likely do just about anything to protect them. And since the humans in question were from the Hellmouth, there was very little chance that they were ignorant of William’s demon, however odd that demon might be.

He forced himself to nod, even as he turned his attention back to the words being spoken by the brunette, this time.

“You have to understand,” Xander said softly, “Buffy… well, she’s the kind of girl—woman—who lands on her feet. If anyone made it out…” He smiled shakily. “Well, she’s got the luck, you know?”

He nodded slowly, fully aware of the sort of denial both men were displaying. He saw it with some of the kids when they’d been orphaned suddenly. ‘Mommy will be back, she wasn’t in that fire, she’s just lost’… but somehow he knew the men and the girl would manage to help each other through whatever happened.

“I’m sure you’re right,” he finally said, pulling out his wallet and finding a particular business card, “but if Dawn… or either of you… starts to feel… I don’t know.”

Michael sighed softly. “Look. Just in case… if any of you need to talk to someone, this is a friend’s card. He’s a psychologist, and that doesn’t mean I think you’re crazy, okay? You’ve all just… got a lot to deal with, so if you need help…” He blushed. “He’ll schedule Dawn for free, okay? He sort of specializes in separation and loss anxiety… trauma, I guess you’d say.” He frowned slightly. “He… has a skin condition so he looks a little bit… odd, but he’s really good at what he does.”

And that was true enough. What difference did it make that the Doctor was a demon? Hell, he’d probably be the best one to deal with the rather bizarre ‘family’ in question simply because of that little fact.

Xander’s hand tightened harder on Spike’s shoulder in warning and he reached out, accepting the card with a nod.

“Thanks,” he said quickly. “We’ll give him a call if we need to.”

Michael nodded slowly. “I hope you will,” he answered, “and completely off the record, now… if you don’t call him, call someone. I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re all dealing with. I’ll ring you in a couple weeks to schedule my next visit, but if you need to reach me in the meantime, my number is on the forms I left you.”

And what could they do but agree? It wasn’t as though they could disappear, after all, and even if they could… they wouldn’t do that to Dawn. Not now that she was finally feeling less… adrift.

Part Fourteen

It had been one thing to ignore the very obvious morning erection pressing against his back when he and Spike had been sleeping on the pull-out in the old apartment, but now that they’d moved and were sharing an actual bedroom, Xander wasn’t entirely sure that he shouldn’t say something.

Of course, it might be better if he figured out why he was still sleeping with Spike first. It wasn’t as though the sofa-bed was uncomfortable, after all, but for some reason it hadn’t even crossed his mind to use it once they’d moved, and now… it would just be rude to switch, not to mention… he didn’t want to.

Maybe it was simply that he was still sort off balance from what had happened to Sunnydale and wanted to cling to something familiar, but if that were so, why hadn’t he found himself getting all touchy-feely with Dawn, too?

He sighed softly, shifting away from the blond curled up against his spine, ignoring the fact that his own erection jumped just a bit when the cool, strong arms tightened around him.

“Stop movin’, git,” the vampire muttered. “Let me finish soakin’ up your heat, yah?” He pressed himself closer to Xander, carefully rubbing ever so slightly against that blissfully warm skin, though doing so was equal parts pleasure and frustration.

He still wanted the bloke. Wanted him even more than he’d done when they’d just been writing back and forth. Unfortunately, Xander didn’t seem to share his desire… or not when he was awake, anyway. When the young man was deep asleep, though… oh, that was another story entirely.

Yeah, when Xander was sleeping, he’d rock back against him, the round, warm globes of his ass pressing against Spike’s hardened cock, and the bloke muttered, murmured, sometimes even moaned.

Spike couldn’t help wishing his friend remembered that when he was awake and would maybe act on it, but then… Xander wasn’t gay, after all. Didn’t seem to be more than slightly inclined, no matter what the scent of arousal might possibly imply.

The brunette barely bit back a whimper as he felt slightly damp boxers pressing against him just above the waistband of his own similar ones, hardness pushing lightly at his skin. God, he was sick. He had to be. Spike didn’t want him, couldn’t want him, and… even if he did, he wasn’t interested in… weak, a sissy-boy, nothing but a fucking faggot, gonna show you what being a faggot is, you sorry little shit… guys. And especially not vampire-type guys, and…

“Fine,” he forced himself to say, amazed that his voice sounded so… normal, “But soak faster. I have an interview in a couple hours, remember?”

It was all he could do to hold back his growl at the reminder. Xander would go off and get the job this time—of course he would, because his bloke was bloody well skilled—and then what? Spike knew exactly what.

The human would make friends with whatever caveman types he worked with and then he’d start going out for a beer after work every now and again and when the gits realized just how much fun the bloke was to have around, those times would become more and more frequent until one day Spike would realize that he hadn’t seen his pet in sodding weeks, and…

“Bloody hell. Go on, then,” he ordered, releasing the man with a snort of disgust. “Have fun with your new bloody friends.”

Xander blinked, brown eyes wide with confused curiosity as he sat up and turned, staring at the blond. “What? And lets add a side of ‘huh?’ to that, okay? What ‘new bloody friends’?”

Spike pouted and rolled over, pulling the blankets up to cover his head. “Never you mind. Best be going, yah? Got yourself a soddin’ job ta get.”


One long shower and jerk later, Xander was grabbing a soda and pop-tart on his way out the door. “I should be back in a few hours, Spike,” he called over his shoulder, “tell Dawn I’ll bring her the new Cosmo, okay?”

He jumped when the blond in question was suddenly at his side. “God! Why do you keep doing that?”

The vampire smirked and shrugged. “Because it’s fun? And funny, too. You always jump like a bloody frog. The amphibious kind, not the French sort ‘cause they don’t jump much and you smell much better,” and when had he been infected with the bloody babble-gene? “You got cab money, pet?”

Brown eyes rolled. “Yes, Mom. I have cab money. And I’ll play nice with the other kids, too.”

Spike watched his bloke down the hall, finally closing the flat’s door when Xander disappeared onto the lift. He looked at the clock then frowned.

Dawn would be at least another hour with Kent; maybe more, but… when the man had offered to take the girl shopping for school, Spike had agreed. The sun was still out, after all, and anything that spared him from having to go to the bloody Mall was a good thing, plus… it was cold outside.

Then again, it was cold inside too, now that his mobile heating unit had left, and… it really was a bizarre time of day for a vampire to be awake, no matter that he’d started keeping more or less human hours since his family had arrived.

He sighed softly and crawled back into bed, pulling the covers and the fading, sweet scent of Xander tightly around him. He would try to sleep a bit more, and if that didn’t work, well… he could always try to figure out some way for him and his bloke to get closer.


“Hi, honey, I’m home!” Xander nearly snarled as he stomped into the apartment, tossing the bag with Dawn’s magazine in it onto the small table by the door, followed quickly by his keys.

“Xander!” Dawn grinned, darting over to give him a quick hug before grabbing the bag. “Bad interview?”

The man snorted. “Oh, no. It was a great interview. Right up to the part where I have no references and no employment history since every company I ever worked for doesn’t exist anymore.” He sighed and shook his head, still angry. “They said I could start out hauling boards and nails for them and maybe—maybe—in a year or so I could move up. I’m just… hell, I’m getting tired of hearing the same thing over and over, is all.”

What he didn’t say was that he was seriously considering accepting the unskilled labor position. Spike couldn’t go on supporting him and Dawn indefinitely, and even if he could, it made Xander feel… useless, that he wasn’t contributing to their living expenses. He was pretty sure that the car money was long gone, after all.

The girl hugged him again, harder this time. “I’m sorry, Xan. But hey! Maybe they could give you a test or something! You know, like the school board is doing for me since all my records are…”

He hugged her back just as tightly and pretended not to hear the hitch in her voice. “Yeah… maybe, Dawny. We’ll see. Hey! How was shopping?”

And just like that, she was letting him go, her voice bright again as she began describing the out of the way shops Kent had taken her to and some of the things she’d gotten, and since Xander’s goal had been to distract her from thinking about home, he figured it had worked well enough.


“We need to talk,” he murmured a good half an hour later, once he’d crawled back into bed beside the obviously awake but languid vamp and took up a spot leaning back against the headboard, knees comfortably bent.

“Do we, now?” Spike answered with a yawn. “About what, pet? Kent’s questionable fashion sense?”

Xander couldn’t help laughing at that. Spike was right. Some of the things Dawn had come home with were… odd, to say the least. But she seemed to like them, and that was good enough for him.

“No,” he said after a moment, peeling his shirt over his head without bothering with the buttons and tossing it into the corner, “About Dawn. I… I think maybe that guy was right, Spike. She really does need to see someone.”

Spike finally abandoned his laziness and sat up, leaning against Xander’s leg. “Yah… holdin’ on by a thread, she is, luv. Hoped she’d be alright, but… yah. We’ll give that doctor bloke a call tomorrow. And speakin’ of that Thomas… been thinkin’.”

Blue eyes veered away from brown almost shyly and Xander’s brow furrowed. “Okay. This can’t be good. Out with it, buddy.”

“We need ta kiss,” Spike announced, still not looking at his bloke. “We’re supposed ta be lovers, right? Bloke might get suspicious if we never kiss or anythin’.”

Kiss? Kiss Spike? Him kiss Spike? The both of them… kiss? “Like, kiss… each other?”

The blond snorted. “No. Kiss the bloody carpet. Of course each other, git! Can’t have him thinkin’ we’re a couple perverts, wantin’ ta keep a young girl with us for… nefarious reasons, yah? Already know he’d think just that if he had the smallest idea we’re not… together.”

And as that was true enough, Spike saw no reason to go into just how badly he did want to kiss his bloke, not to mention try a few other, more intimate things.

On the one hand, Xander knew Spike was right. They didn’t want Dawn to be taken away and if all it took was a few kisses to remove any suspicion from the PCPS agent’s mind, it was a small price to pay.

On the other hand, though… he’d have to kiss Spike. Repeatedly. Probably with tongue, and… and why wasn’t that as disturbing as he thought it should be? In fact, if the stirring in his boxers was any indication, certain parts of him were entirely undisturbed by the notion… and that should be giving him a wiggins too, but it just… wasn’t.

“I… o-okay,” he managed to say with a shaky nod, “When he’s… here, we’ll, uh… kiss.” Yeah, that was the right amount of reluctance, he thought. After all, he didn’t want Spike to think he wanted him, no matter what his cock seemed to feel about it.

And the growing tinge of arousal in the air was an eye-opener. Spike smirked to himself and leaned harder against his bloke’s leg, one hand finding its way to the back of Xander’s calf. “Yah,” he allowed smoothly, “that could work, mate… you know, if we want ta look awkward and such.”

The human groaned silently. “Fine. What do you want to do, Bleachboy? Practice?”

Spike finally sat up straight and gave the brunette a deliberately surprised look. “Bloody hell, Xan. That’s a soddin’ brilliant idea. Bloke won’t be here for close ta a week. Should be enough time ta do it all convincin’-like if we practice. Ya know… often.”

This time, Xander groaned out loud. “Great. I’m not only jobless and apparently unemployable, but now I get to spend all my free time practicing kissing a guy. Perfect.”

And if his heart wasn’t really in the objection, that was fine. It wasn’t as though he’d be saying so anytime soon. Besides, maybe he was just curious. He wasn’t gay or anything; wasn’t… weak, a sissy-boy, nothing but a fucking faggot, gonna show you what being a faggot is, you sorry little shit… wasn’t gay at all.

The vampire nodded matter-of-factly. “Right, then. Just means we’ll be able ta practice enough that the soddin’ git won’t even think ta wonder.” And maybe he’d have a chance to find out if that lovely scent was an aberration… or a sign.

“We can get started right after the Bit goes ta bed. And speaking of that… almost time for dinner, yah?”

Brown eyes closed hopelessly as the vampire rolled from the bed and started getting dressed. “I think I already regret this,” Xander muttered as he followed.

Part Fifteen

Thank God Dawn wanted to watch a movie after dinner. That was all Xander could think. Thank God!

Otherwise, he probably would have managed to blurt out the plan, what with the way the whole idea had completely taken over his mind.

‘Kiss Spike. I’m gonna kiss Spike? Spike wants to kiss me? I mean, I knew about the whole him and Angelus thing, but… Dru! Harmony—questionable taste there, but still a girl, so moving on—Buffy! Yeah, Buffy! So Spike’s not gay, and neither am I, so why am I so…’

He shivered, trying to convince himself that he was disgusted… disturbed… even freaked, while some betraying little portion of his psyche informed him that he was intrigued, interested… and freaked.

He stared blankly at the television, laughing when the others did and not noticing that Spike’s laughter came at times he would have deemed inappropriate if he’d been paying attention.

‘Okay… okay, I can handle this. I can kiss Spike. Sure, he’s a guy, but… it’s just a kiss, right? Lips. Lips on lips. Maybe tongues. And I’ve done the kissage thing lots of times before. Not with a guy, and not with a vamp, but how different could it be? And I like kissing. I’m—dare I say good at it?’

And that was true. Even Anya had admitted that he could kiss like nobody’s business, though she’d been more interested in orgasms than foreplay.

‘And this is so not gonna be foreplay! Not leading up to anything. Just… kissing. So we can keep Dawn and that Michael Thomas guy doesn’t take her away.’

‘But what if…’ he blinked suddenly. ‘What if I’m too good at kissing? What if Spike thinks I’m coming on to him? And… fuck, kissing usually gets me all hard and he’ll think it’s because of him and it will be because it’ll be his lips but what if it freaks him out, and then we’ll be all awkward together and that’ll clue the guy that we’re not really together-together, and…’

‘And what if he doesn’t freak out? What if… fuck, what if he laughs at me? I couldn’t stand it if he laughed at me! We’re friends, and… and okay. Friends can laugh at each other. Even if it’s because one of them got hard while they were playing tonsil hockey, and why doesn’t it bother me that this whole train of thought has been diverted into Pervert-land? And why the fuck does the idea of getting hard while kissing Spike have me… getting hard?’

Xander groaned and jumped up from the couch, heading towards the door. “Uh, I’m just gonna head down to the store. I need some, uh… vitamins, okay? I… won’t be long.”

Dawn blinked as the tall man almost ran from the apartment, his coat in hand, then cocked her head at Spike. “Okay… you think that has anything to do with the whole kissing thing?” And sure, she knew Xander would freak even more if he knew she knew. She couldn’t even imagine how he would react if he knew it was her idea, which was exactly why she’d been playing dumb, but he needed to either… piss or get off the pot, as her Dad had said a few times, back before he’d decided that having kids was too much effort and interfered with his sex life after the divorce.

The vampire chuckled and shrugged, setting the bowl of popcorn down in the girl’s lap. “Wouldn’t doubt it, Bit. Never known Xander ta do anythin’ as good for him as takin’ vitamins, y’know… and if he’s startin’ now, I’ll eat my socks.” He hoped that was what it was, anyway. If so, it might mean that maybe Xan wasn’t quite as… resistant as he’d been fearing. Still, he wondered where the bloke was really going.


“He wants us to kiss!” Xander announced as he burst into Kent’s apartment when the door was opened in response to his frantic knocking. “Kent, Spike wants us to kiss!”

It was only due to weeks of hearing Xander and Dawn refer to Will as ‘Spike’ that Kent didn’t do what he’d done the first time, which was blink and say ‘who’s Spike?’. Instead, he looked at the obviously distraught brunette and grinned.

“Well, if that’s what Will wants, who am I to say no…?” his green eyes sparkled merrily as he moved closer, arms held out towards the taller man.

Xander jumped slightly and took two quick steps back. “No! And, uh, don’t take this the wrong way, but ewww! I mean, you’re a good looking guy and all, but so not my type, what with the…” ‘penis’ he’d been about to say, but Spike had a penis and the idea of being lip-locked with him was… and that was where he lost his train of thought because Kent really was a handsome man and thinking about kissing him didn’t even make Xander breathe faster.

“Oh, relax,” Kent said with a teasing grin, “I was kidding, Xander. But I’m really not clear on why Will wanting to kiss you has you all… like this.”

Brown eyes narrowed curiously, watching Kent’s hands swat at what were obviously invisible flies. “He thinks we need to so we can fool the guy from the City, and…” He looked at the other man’s waving hands again. “And I’m doing the hokey-pokey from the waist up?”

The older man rolled his eyes. “No, you’re doing the ‘I’m a scared virgin’ thing, and OH… MY… GOD! Xander, you’re a virgin!”

The brunette blushed hotly and ducked his head. “I am not! I’m just…” he blushed more. “Maybe I’m not so big with the man-on-man experience, okay? But I’ve had sex!” He bit his lip and muttered, ‘The… boy-on-girl kind. Well, really the girl-on-boy kind, I guess. Y’know, more often than not… but the guy thing? N-not so much… or not so ever.” He sighed.

And suddenly Kent wasn’t sure of which man he envied more—Spike for finding and hooking the virginal Xander… or Xander for having the obviously experienced and adoring blond wrapped so tightly around his finger. And that thought had Kent blushing, as well.

“Oh, Xander,” he said, grinning as he put one arm around the younger man’s shoulders and guided him to the couch, “You’ve come to the right guy, okay? Just tell me what you want to know and I’ll give you the benefit of my… experience. And then you can tell me how to find myself a keeper like your Will.”

‘Hang out in cemeteries on a Hellmouth while some bizarre military outfit is hunting and crippling demons, then take one in and when he goes and gets himself a soul, keep in touch’ probably wasn’t what Kent wanted to hear, so Xander simply loosed a noncommittal grunt, then sighed.

“I… does this mean I’m gay? I c-can’t be gay, Kent! I… I don’t even like Barbra Streisand, a-and Judy Garland is way overrated, even if the special effects on the Wizard of Oz were so ahead of their time, and… and I like sci-fi and comics and, and…”

Kent sighed and pretended to swoon on the couch, pressing one overly dramatic hand to his heart. “Oh, young padiwan… you have so much to learn! But the force is strong in you, and I—Obi-Wan Kent-obi—shall be your guide.” He grinned.

Xander groaned. “Okay… one objection shot to flames, pardon the pun. I… hell, Kent. I’m not ready to be… g-g-g…” And he was panicking inside but he couldn’t let it show. A real man wouldn’t show weakness to anyone. Only a guy who was a… weak, a sissy-boy, nothing but a fucking faggot, gonna show you what being a faggot is, you sorry little shit… a cry-baby would do that.

“Gay. Say it with me now, Xander. Gaaaaaaaaay. Hooooooomosexxxxxual.” Green eyes sparkled at the soft moan the words earned. “Fine. Baby steps. And… you know what? Maybe it’s just Will. It’s possible, you know. But we’ll deal with your sexual identity crisis later. For now, why don’t you tell me why the idea of kissing Will has you all… weirded out?”

Okay. So he wasn’t necessarily homosexual. He might be Spike-sexual, though, and while that was still kind of disturbing, it also just… wasn’t. Besides, “He’s my best friend,” and that shocked him even as he said it, but he’d think about it later, “and I… he only wants to do it because of the guy from CPS, and I’m not sure if I’m as… what?” he demanded, glaring at the laughing redhead.


“Nibblet said ta tell you g’night,” Spike nearly growled, despite trying his best not to sound as angry as he was. “Tried ta wait up for you, she did, but after four bloody hours, she was about ta fall out right here. Must have been bleedin’ busy down there at the vitamin shop, yah?”

Xander frowned as he put his jacket back on the coat rack then looked at the sweatpants clad blond who was apparently absorbed in Dawn’s latest issue of Cosmo. “It hasn’t been…” he looked at the clock, then back towards the couch and the clearly upset vampire. “Shit. I… sorry, Spike. I was…” he sighed.

And that was just about enough, Spike figured.

“Look, mate. You don’t want ta work on keepin’ the Bit here, that’s fine. You could just say so, yah?” and he was not hurt that Xander bloody Harris would rather run around in the fucking snow than kiss him, Spike told himself. “Not the end of the soddin’ world, is it? Kissin’ a vampire’s too much. Get that, what with you bein’ all… ‘vamps are evil, should dust ‘em all’. So don’t worry about it, bloke. Might have ta grope you instead when the git’s here, but at least you won’t have ta touch me like you mean it, right?”

Xander groaned and followed the nearly vibrating blond into the bedroom.

“Look, it’s not like that, okay? I was just… confused, Spike!”

“Yah, well you can stop bein’ ‘confused’, mate. An’ you can stop lyin’ ta me! Said you wanted ta do whatever it took, didn’t you? Guess you meant… as long as it didn’t make you un-bloody-comfortable!”

And just like that, Xander found himself falling onto the bed, the pants he’d been changing out of still pooled around his ankles. “Oh… my… God…” he laughed, arms crossing across his stomach, “You think… Jesus, Spike! If… if I was gonna not do things that make me ‘un-bloody-comfortable’, I wouldn’t even be here!”

The vampire stared, his righteous indignation completely derailed by the bloke’s reaction. “You…”

“Think about it! You really believe it was all comfy and fun for me to leave my apartment and live in Buffy’s basement? Especially with all those damned potentials around, treating me like their personal slave and all-around fix-it guy?”

He sneered and put on a very bad falsetto voice. “Oh, don’t worry about that table; Xander will fix it… You broke a window? Xander will get some glass after his ten hour day at work tomorrow, then spend three hours making it right… Xander won’t mind taping ‘Alias’ for you; it’s not like he has anything to do tonight while we’re all out patrolling… Oh, Xander, you don’t mind making dinner for us later, right? And none of that take out crap, we’re tired of pizza and Chinese. How about some lasagna? You can make that, right? There’s a ton of recipes on the internet… and we know you know how to use that since you spend so much time e-mailing that vampire!”

Spike frowned, moving closer to the no-longer-laughing man. “Didn’t know… I mean, you never said…”

Xander sighed and shook off his anger. Sunnydale was gone. Most of the girls were probably dead. He’d be a huge fucking shit if he let himself hate them for simply… taking him for granted.

“It’s okay, Spike,” he said softly, sitting up to finish kicking the fabric from around his ankles. “I know they had a lot going on. I just… caught the brunt of their worry, I guess. No matter how uncomfortable it was… and that brought me to you, really. I guess… the point is, I didn’t leave tonight because I didn’t want to kiss you.” He met confused blue eyes under a furrowed brow. “I… ran away… because I did want to. And it… scared me. Still scares me. I’ve never… you’re a guy, Spike!”

Baffled blue eyes blinked and Spike flung himself down on the bed beside the brunette. “Yah… have been for more than a hundred years, mate… your point?”

He frowned, wishing the blond would go back to calling him ‘pet’ and ‘luv’ and even ‘Xan’. Then again, he could see how Spike would take his little absence as abandonment, and considering what he knew of the vampire’s past, he was probably lucky that Spike was talking to him at all.

Xander frowned slightly then steeled himself and met Spike’s eyes.

“My point,” he said softly, “is exactly what you just said. You’re… well, you’re really old, no matter what you look like. You’ve had time to get used to who you are, right? I mean, even with the soul now, you know you.”

Spike nodded slowly, leaning closer to hear the quiet words. “For the most part, yah…”

“Spike… I’m twenty-three. I’ve had two girlfriends in my life. Three if you count Faith, and I don’t because, well… I lost my virginity to her, but it was about as affectionate as it was with that guy and the apple pie in that movie. Uh, if I was the pie and she was the guy, and that didn’t make any sense, but…”

Blue eyes narrowed dangerously. “Used you, did she?” Even the soul was on board with the images of pain and torment set aside for her in his mind. “Hope that bitch made it out…”

Xander laughed shakily and shook his head. “That’s not the point. Look, I… God, I want to. I want to kiss you, Spike! I really do! And it scares me how much I want to, and…”

And that was more than he’d ever expected to hear, but… “Where’d you go, Xan?” Spike murmured, hands finding cloth-covered shoulders and running lightly down past sleeves, onto tanned arms. “When you left, pet… didn’t come back with any bloody vitamins that I saw…”

Xander swallowed hard, leaning into the cool hold on him and tipped his head, staring into those eyes that were so close… so close… close enough that he saw—thought he saw—something…

“Yeah, that was a suck excuse. I… Kent’s,” he admitted, his heart suddenly thundering in his chest. “I needed to talk to someone and he’s… well, we know him, and what with the gayness, and… and he thinks that maybe you kinda want… me, and… and God, Spike, will you please just… kiss me now…? Or… or tell me to stop, or… something!”

Spike gave his bloke a considering look then shook his head, his lips a mere two or so inches from Xander’s. “No,” he whispered. “If we’re goin’ ta kiss, luv… because we want ta, I mean, then… need ta know it’s your idea as much as mine, yah?”

And it really was up to Xander. He could close that small space… or not. It was up to his bloke, Spike told himself again, and he’d accept whatever the young man decided, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t on tenderhooks while he waited to find out.

Part Sixteen

Okay… okay, he could do this. And if Spike wanted him to start it; if he was understanding the words the vampire wasn’t saying, then… maybe he wanted to do this just as much, and not just because of the Dawn situation, and if that was true, then…

Oh, hell.

The worst that could happen, Xander figured, was that he and Spike would kiss and it would be horrible, but even then, it would still be a good thing. At least he’d know that whatever he was feeling was just… nerves or something.

Yeah. Nerves. And possibly some wigging about the fact that he kind of liked the way Spike held him at night. And he wasn’t gay, unless maybe he was, but only where Spike was concerned, and that wasn’t really the same thing, was it?

So. Kiss. He could do this.

“I… it’s all your idea, Spike,” he said after a moment, meeting those wide blue eyes again sheepishly, “but I… think I’m on board.” And to prove the fact, he took a deep breath, closed his eyes tightly and leaned forward, head angled just a bit.

Bloody hell! Xander was really going to… Spike blinked and let his own eyes close as those warm, red lips brushed his, and if his fingers tightened on the human’s arms, he didn’t notice because…

Oh… yeah. Strong, hot fingers in his hair. Soft breaths gusting from his bloke’s nose as those lips moved slowly, gently, taking their time to learn his, even if the body attached to them was still tense and trembling just a bit. Not that Spike’s was any calmer of course, because it wasn’t. It just didn’t show it as much.

Slow, lingering presses. Tender, searching brushes. Hot skin on cooler. And then something Spike had hoped for but hadn’t really been expecting, this first time… blunt teeth, nipping lightly at his bottom lip, and when he sighed into that intimacy, Xander’s tongue—slick, warm, and tasting his own, and…

He had no idea of exactly when he’d acquired the lapful of vampire, but he wasn’t going to complain. Not when kissing Spike was unlike kissing anyone else in his life.

Tentative became confident, curious became masterful, and when Spike wrapped tighter around him, ankles crossing at the base of his spine, Xander couldn’t help the groan that flew from him, only to find it swallowed by the swiftly warming cavern of the blonde’s mouth.

He’d never known a human could kiss like this—focused and intent and entirely committed to this one act. There was no overwhelming urge to move things along, no intimation that this was just a prelude to other things. Fuck, it was like Xander would truly be content to just hold him and kiss him forever, and somehow Spike didn’t have a problem with that.

Oh, he wanted more, granted, but… this experience, this sensation—like nothing else in the world mattered more to Xander than their lips, their tongues… meeting and twining, stroking and sliding—was like nothing else he’d ever known. Not as a vampire, and definitely not as a human.

That didn’t mean he was anything but hard, though. Hell, he was possibly harder than he’d ever been, and just from the bloke’s mouth on his… and the hands roaming slowly, purposelessly up and down his back. Then again, Xander was equally excited, if the thick length pressed lightly to his own was any indication, and he couldn’t quite keep himself from moving closer still, one hand finding and tangling in thick brown silk as he gasped.

This… this might be too much, Xander realized blearily. Spike was… God, Spike was in his lap, and those lips were… so soft and full and wonderfully cool, and just… God, he wanted that mouth, he could live in that mouth, but… and that little tug at his scalp, pulling some sort of… sounds from him, and he didn’t know what they were but he knew he’d never made them before because he’d remember it if he had…

And Spike was… rocking on him, against him, and he was hard—God, was he hard—and the friction was beyond incredible, and he’d rubbed against Anya before, rocked against Cordelia, even, but it had never felt like this, and this was good, too good, too… everything, and he couldn’t remember why it was wrong, why it was bad, because Spike was, Spike was…

Bloody hell, he was definitely keeping the boy. Might not even let him out of the apartment again. Not when he knew now… knew what those hot, full lips were capable of, knew what that strong, toned body felt like between his legs… and definitely not when he finally knew just how responsive and yearning his bloke truly was.

One hand slid from soft sable hair to cup the back of Xander’s neck and Spike dove deeper into that wet heat, his hips shifting slowly back and forth, back and forth, moaning into his boy’s mouth loudly as the shift of sweats against thin boxers pulled him closer and closer to shuddering wildly.

It was too much. Xander knew it was too much, in the scant moments when he could actually think. And yet he couldn’t even begin to stop kissing the blond, couldn’t bring himself to even slow, and when Spike’s shaft slid along his own yet again, separated by fabric or not, he couldn’t help but close his hands harder on that pale, flexing spine. He whimpered as he felt his sac draw up hard and tight, then release with a nearly painful suddenness that left him gasping into Spike’s mouth as he felt the vampire’s body tense, too.

He hadn’t planned on that; hadn’t even really considered it. Hell, he’d been more than ready to finish their bout of kissing and take care of himself in the shower, but… bloody hell, he’d felt Xander so hard against him, so ready… and when he’d smelled the scent of the boy’s explosion, felt it against him, even, he’d… “Jesus… bloody… Christ,” he gasped, finally dragging his lips from the warm ones he now planned to spend years—if not decades—worshipping, “I… that was… unexpected, luv…”

Oh, God… oh, God… I am so gay, I must be, I never felt like… that was… and it was Spike, and he wants us to kiss more? How can I… I don’t want, can’t want, this is just so…

“Wrong… so wrong, I…” Xander whispered, “can’t be like this, can’t have this, I… fuck! I don’t… but I do, and I can, and I… fuck! How can I, we, what are we… doing here, Spike? I… I don’t… but it feels so… right, but… but it hurts, I know it hurts, and I can’t… but God, I want…” and he wasn’t whispering anymore, he realized.

He’d been expecting a reaction. Just not this one. Hell, he’d figured the boy for shouting about him taking advantage. After all, they were supposed to kiss, not… whatever the hell they’d just done. And he knew Xander had enjoyed it just as much as he had. That glorious scent still filling the air was proof enough of that much.

So, yeah. He’d expected something, but not panic. Not… fear and desire in nearly equal parts.

“Xander,” he murmured, still holding the man, still wrapped around the slightly larger form, “Pet… calm down, yah…? ‘s alright. Just… bodies and such. Both of us wound a bit tight, luv, and have ta tell you, you kiss like a bloody dream, you do… nothin’ ta worry about, luv, no shame… promise you, Xander…”

Spike didn’t know, wouldn’t understand, and there was no way he could tell him, not now, not after… what he’d done, what they’d done, and… weak, a sissy-boy, nothing but a fucking faggot, gonna show you what being a faggot is, you sorry little shit… and he couldn’t explain, not when he didn’t really want to understand, himself, and…

“W-we… can’t k-kiss in here again, ok-kay?” he finally managed to say, wincing at his own stuttering voice. “I c-can’t… not this. N-not ag-gain, Spike… I… j-just for that guy, okay…?”

The vampire frowned and shook his head. “Not sure I understand, pet. Sounds like you’re sayin’… we can kiss, but that’s it, and only when…?” He stroked the bloke’s spine slowly. “Doesn’t make sense, Xan. Know you want me, yah? Want you, too, in case you missed it. Have done for a while now. Not seein’ the problem, luv, what with both of us bein’ single and all…”

“No! I…” the brunette swallowed hard and tried to push the vampire from his lap but was thwarted completely by Spike’s determination to stay right where he was. “I can’t do this! Not… not with…” Not with a man… male…

His entire body stilled and he closed his eyes. Of course. Not with him. Anyone else, Xander would probably be just fine, but not with him. He was never enough, never good enough. Not even with a soul; not even fighting the good fight; not even now, when all he wanted was to make this bloke happy and to be happy for once, himself.

“Right, then,” he snarled, releasing the warm body as though it had burned him. “Won’t bother you again, mate. And… think we’ve got the kissin’ part down. Don’t need ta ‘practice’ again.” He jumped from the bed, still growling. “Never should have asked you, mate; never should have thought… and thank bloody fuckin’ Christ I never asked you ‘bout those soddin’ scars, yah? Would have pushed me away that much sooner, I’m guessin’! Wanker!”

Xander was still shivering while the vampire snatched up pillow and blanket and stalked from the bedroom, and the shudders only grew worse when he realized Spike meant to sleep on the pull-out. But he didn’t know what to say or how to say it, so he just curled in on himself and tried not to cry. He’d have to move sooner or later, if only to clean himself up, but until then…

Until then, he would wallow in his misery and curse himself for not knowing what he wanted… or for knowing what he wanted but not knowing how he could have it without feeling so… wrong. He held his own pillow tightly, nearly mangling it in his grasp. The grasp that was suddenly even tighter because… Spike had noticed the scars. Not even Anya had noticed them, no matter how often she’d had hands, fingers on his skin… or how many times they’d showered together, and…

Spike had noticed, and that made it even worse because he couldn’t explain, could never explain. Not without having a fucking panic attack, and… and if he told Spike, then…

No way he’d still want me, he realized, sinking further still into depression as he buried himself beneath the sheets and hoped the world would just… disappear. “Hell, he won’t ever want to talk to me again anyway, after what I just… and we were friends, and now…” He shivered even more, cold inside and out, regardless of the heating and the sheets wrapped around him like a shroud.

Of course, he was entirely unaware of the fact that the blond on the couch was equally miserable… and was blaming himself.

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