Long Time Gone

Yin Again

Part Sixteen

Xander stepped on the elevator, happy to see Buffy already in the car. They hugged, and he pressed a kiss to her cheek. She smiled at him. “You’re up pretty early. How are you feeling?” There was concern in her voice. She was startled by his blinding smile. “I feel good.” She looked at him closely. “You look like a new man – you must have slept great.” He simply replied, “I did,” not sure how much he wanted to share with Buffy about his relationship with Spike. The elevator stopped, and Willow was waiting outside the door. As soon as she stepped onto the elevator, she hugged both of her friends. They exchanged greetings as they arrived at the lobby. Following the smell of coffee to the hotel’s kitchen, they found Cordelia and Dawn chatting at the table while the three children played at a smaller table.

The new arrivals greeted the kids, and then got themselves coffee and joined the two women. Xander looked around the table at the four beautiful women and felt right at home. He told them so, and they all smiled at him. “Who wants breakfast?” Xander asked. Even though it was nearly noon, and Dawn and Cordelia had breakfasted much earlier with the children, everyone agreed to at least have toast. Xander went to the huge refrigerator and started pulling out ingredients for omelets. The lively conversation kept up while Xander cracked eggs and chopped vegetables and threw bread in the toaster. They decided that shopping was the order of the day. Dawn revealed that Jase had offered to take all three kids to the park so Xander and his women could spend some time together in the afternoon.

Xander was getting ready to pour the eggs into the omelet pans when he heard Willow say “Awwww,” and giggle behind him. He looked over his shoulder and felt his heart repeat Willow’s sentiment. Spike had padded into the kitchen on bare feet, wearing black drawstring sleep pants and his gray sweater from the night before. His hair was sticking up all over his head, and he was rubbing his eyes with his fist like a child. He was absolutely adorable. He walked past the kids’ table and dropped a kiss on top of Sara’s head, and ruffled the twins’ hair. He wandered to the refrigerator and pulled out a bag of blood, tossing it into the microwave to heat. He leaned against the wall and rubbed his hands over his face. When he looked up, the four women and his beautiful, dark-haired lover were all looking at him with soft expressions. He tried to scowl, but the look dissolved into a shy smile. “Morning, ladies, Xan.”

Xander replied, “Hey, Will. Hungry?” Spike nodded, “Starving. Then I’m going back to bed. These human hours will kill you.” The microwave dinged, and he retrieved his blood and poured it into a mug. He slapped Xander lightly on the ass and strolled over to the table, hooking a chair with one foot and turning it around to straddle it, resting one arm on the chair back. By the time Xander started carrying plates to the table, Spike and the women were discussing the upcoming shopping trip in an animated fashion. Xander turned his attention to his plate and steadily worked his way through an enormous omelet and four pieces of toast. By the time he raised his head from his plate, the conversation had stopped and everyone was looking at him. “What?” he asked, defensively.

“I guess some things never do change,” Willow observed dryly. Xander’s only reply was to pilfer her last half-piece of toast from her plate and eat it in one bite. They agreed to meet at the car in a half-hour for the shopping trip, and Dawn and Cordelia offered to see to the dishes and turn the kids over to Jase. Xander, Spike, Willow and Buffy all headed for the elevator.

As the elevator door closed and left the fifth floor, Xander spun Spike around and pinned him to the corridor wall. Blue eyes widened for a second, and then crinkled with Spike’s smile. Xander leaned in, but stopped with his lips a fraction of an inch from Spike’s. “Will?” he said, “Do you have any idea how fucking hot you looked when you came into the kitchen this morning?” His voice was a low, sensual growl, and he looked deeply into Spike’s eyes. “Do you have any idea how badly I wanted to just grab you and throw you over the kitchen table, right there in front of everybody and show you how hot I think you are?” For emphasis, Xander pressed his erection against the front of Spike’s sleep pants, which now sported a sizeable one of their own. Xander repeated the action again and again, but still didn’t close the distance between their lips. He waited. He watched the blue eyes of his lover cloud over and lose focus as the lengths of their erections rubbed together. Spike’s pointed tongue came out to moisten his lips, and he whispered, “What was the question, again?” Xander replied, “Fuck if I know,” and finally kissed the vampire.

Spike tore his lips away from Xander’s and pushed him back. Xander fought to stay close, and Spike whispered, “Room, luv. Get back in the room. Now. Please.” They scrambled to the door, and Xander fumbled with his key. As soon as they were inside the door, they were kissing and pulling off clothing and stumbling toward Spike’s bedroom. Xander pushed Spike to the edge of the bed and then onto it, pulling the black sleep pants from his body as he fell. He stripped off his own jeans and lay down, positioning them so that they were head-to-feet. Spike caught on right away, and in one smooth motion captured his lover’s cock in his mouth and swallowed it all the way down to the root. Xander’s mouth opened with a strangled yelp, and Spike’s hardness was right there. He licked firmly around the dripping head, and then took as much of the straining flesh as he could into his mouth.

Spike rolled them over so that he was positioned beneath Xander, giving the human more control, and hoping that gravity would assist him in fighting the urge to thrust deeply into his lover’s mouth. This position also allowed Xander to thrust as deeply as he wanted to, and Spike was suddenly very happy that he didn’t have to breathe as Xander did just that, fucking his mouth in long, hard strokes.

Xander felt something against his hand, and fumbled for it. He’d found the tube of lubricant from the night before. Not releasing his tight suction on Spike’s cock, he opened the tube and slicked his fingers. Seconds later he was brushing those fingers against the tight opening to Spike’s body. Groaning, the vampire spread his legs, allowing Xander full access. The groan intensified when Xander worked a finger inside and began to pump it in and out of the snug channel. He added a second, and then a third, marveling at the clench and play of slick internal muscles, and the hot sounds that were coming out of the mouth he was fucking. He felt himself tensing and knew that his orgasm was near. Wanting them to come together, he intensified the suction on the hard flesh in his mouth and worked his fingers faster. As he felt his balls draw up tightly, signaling his impending release, Xander crooked his fingers and pressed hard against Spike’s prostate. Each man bucked into the other’s mouth as they came.

Ten minutes later, hands washed and teeth brushed, Xander boarded the elevator, remembering the soft kiss he had received as he’d tucked the sleepy vampire into his bed, soothing him off to sleep with the promise of presents.

Part Seventeen

The shopgirl gave Xander a brilliant smile and handed him an ice-cold can of Coke. He smiled gratefully and drained half of it in one gulp. She was blonde and had blue eyes, and a gorgeous figure that was showcased by her short, red sundress and matching sandals. She leaned against the marble-topped counter and folded her arms under the perfectly shaped, braless breasts that seemed to be standard equipment on LA shopgirls. “You’re a good husband,” she observed. “Taking your wife and her friends out shopping. Most men would have run screaming by now.” Xander looked at her thoughtfully for a moment. “What makes you think one of them is my wife?” he asked. She pointed at his left hand. “Ring.” He smiled sheepishly. “Oh, yeah.” He paused, and then asked with a grin, “Which one do you think is my wife?” The girl considered for a moment and said, “Either the blonde or the redhead. I can tell that you love all of them, but you definitely treat both of the brunettes like they’re your sisters. Come to think of it, you treat all of them like your sisters. So, my guess is that your wife’s not here.” Tilting his head, he said, “You’re very good at this.”

Just then, Dawn and Cordelia burst from separate dressing rooms, wearing the exact same dress. They took one look at each other and both turned back to the dressing rooms with a snort of annoyance. Xander dropped his head into his hands and sighed. He looked back at the shopgirl. “Do you have a men’s department? I need to get a gift for a friend.” She led him to the other side of the store. Xander started looking through a display of knit v-necked pullover shirts, looking for something that would make Spike look even more fuckable. He was holding two of them side by side when Cordelia walked up. Xander glanced over at her. “That’s a great outfit – I think you should get it.” She sighed with annoyance, “Xander, this is the outfit I wore in here.” “Oh,” he replied. She took the sweaters out of his hands and held them up to him. “These aren’t your size.” “Well, no,” he replied. “They’re not, um, for me.”

A light went on in her eyes, and she said, “Ooooooh. Well, in that case, the orange is a definite ‘no’. He just looks scary in orange – like a demented pumpkin. This purple is pretty weird, too. Try these.” She picked up a deep blue sweater and a dark burgundy one. “The burgundy is way too Angel, but I like the blue,” he replied, dropping the offending garment. Dawn joined them with a pile of clothes draped over her arm. She eyed the blue shirt. “For Spike?” Xander nodded, and she said, “Yeah – that’s gonna look even better than the one he had on last night. Grrrr.” She and Cordelia laughed together at Xander’s expression. “What?“ Cordelia demanded. “He’s incredibly hot, Xander. Don’t even try to tell me you don’t think so.” Xander opened his mouth to reply and then shut it with a snap, feeling a blush stain his face. Buffy and Willow joined the group, and Buffy reached out to touch the sweater. “For Spike?” The other girls nodded, and she made a gesture as if wiping sweat off her brow. Willow simply let out a low whistle.

Grabbing one other garment from the display, Xander handed it and the blue shirt to the shopgirl. “I’ll take it,” he said. “Can you gift wrap those for me?” The girl nodded and gave Xander a little smile that told him she was pretty sure she’d figured out a few things about his “wife”. He couldn’t help but think to himself “if only she knew”. He dutifully followed her to the cash stand, his women following in his wake.

The next stop was a shoe store, and Xander was thrilled to see that there was a music store next door. He begged off of going to Shoe Hell and entered the store, happy to have a little respite from the chatter of the girls. The few days he’d spent at Spike’s had been blissfully quiet. He and Spike had talked, but had also spent a fair amount of time in comfortable silence. The girls all had so much to say to him and each other that his head was ringing. He loved it, but he needed a break. He stepped up to a computer terminal located just inside the store and typed in a few searches. A page printed out with a list of his selections and their locations in the large store. He grabbed the paper and began shopping.

After securing his purchases, Xander walked back down to the shoe store. Willow was standing outside, leaning against a brick wall, shopping bags at her feet. “Good thing we brought Dawn’s Suburban Assault Vehicle,” he quipped, taking in the number of bags. She laughed, “That’s not the half of it. We may have to call for back up. Big sale.” She gestured at the shoe store. Xander pouted. “I’m never getting lunch, am I?” He leaned against the wall at her side.

“So, Wills, what’s your story? Are you happy up in Canada?” Xander’s look was thoughtful. Willow turned and gave him a brilliant smile. “I am. I really am. I love my work, and I can do a little magic without freaking out and going all dark side.  I think being so far from the Hellmouth takes away the temptation, and there aren’t so many dark forces swirling around in the Great White North. The dark forces aren’t big on the cold weather sports, I guess.” Xander screwed up his face. “Um, what exactly are the cold weather sports?” She laughed and said, “The usual. Skiin’. Snowshoein’. Snugglin’.” They shared a smile. “Do you have somebody special, Wills?” She paused, and then looked a little sad. “I have a few people I see. Oz comes up now and again, when he’s on tour and stuff. We’ve had some good times. And there’ve been others.” She took a deep breath. “I’m happy, Xander. “ He reached out and took her hand, knowing that she was leaving many things unsaid, many things about Tara and what she had lost when the beautiful, shy witch had died.

“Oh, hey!” Willow exclaimed. “I forgot! Oz is probably here in town. He does session work here a lot.” Her smile dimmed. “Crap! I didn’t bring my book with all of his numbers.”  Xander pulled a small cell phone out of his pocket. “Have no fear, my dear – technology to the rescue.” He dialed a few numbers and waited. “Los Angeles. Daniel Osborne,” he said into the instrument. He pushed another button, and then turned the phone so Willow could see the display. “Is that his number?” he asked. When she nodded, he punched another button and then closed the phone. He handed it to her. “The number’s in the memory. You can call him later if you want to. It would be nice to see Oz. He’s so wonderfully quiet,” he mused. Willow laughed. “Why do you think I had to come out here? My head was exploding.”

After a few moments of silence, Xander turned to Willow. “I need to ask you something,” he began. “What … what was it like for Spike after I left?” Her green eyes met his, and he could see deep sadness there. “Let’s sit down,” she suggested. “This could take a while.” They sank down with their backs against the wall, both crossing their legs under them. Once they were settled, she began to speak. “OK, you were here for the ‘crazy in the basement’ phase and the ‘oh, the crushing guilt’ phase. And then you left.” Xander winced, but there was no heat in her words. “We all really thought you were pulling another Oxnard; that you’d be back in a while. There was a lot of upheaval for everybody. Buffy had to take care of Dawn and the potentials and the families of the potentials who’d died.” She paused, and Xander remembered that one of those who had died had been Kennedy, with whom Willow had had a relationship. He clasped her hand in sympathy.

“Angel and his people were busy here, so Spike and I were kind of the only two left. We were both in bad shape. He struggled, Xander, he really struggled with the different parts of himself.” She twined her fingers in her lap, her voice dropping. “Some days he was all demon, and he scared the shit out of me. Some days he was all soul, and he’d sit there and tell me stories about all the awful things he had done in that beautiful, cultured William voice and he’d just cry like a baby.” She looked up at Xander, and he could see the pain in her eyes. “God, he tried to kill me several times, but he never could. At the time, I think I would have welcomed it.”

Her voice became dreamy. “One time, I tried to provoke him into killing me. I said the worst things to him. I called him an animal and a killer and a freak and a beast and a murderer. I screamed and ranted and raved and taunted him for being too big a coward to come after me and just end it all. He vamped out, and he had his hands on my shoulders hard enough to leave bruises, bruises where you could see the mark of each individual finger. He had me, and my head was to the side, and he was so close.” Her voice dropped again, and Xander could see the tears in her eyes. “He was right there, Xander, and he stopped.” A single tear rolled down her face unheeded. “He stopped, and he kissed me on the neck, just a feather-light kiss, and then he took me in his arms and held me while I cried, because he knew that every word I had said to him was about me, and the things I had done; the things I had been.” More tears flowed down her face, and her eyes came up to meet Xander’s. “Spike saved me. I thought I was helping him, but he saved me. He made me see that we were the same. He said that by helping me, he proved to himself that there was something in him worth saving. So, I guess we saved each other.”

Xander clasped her hand tighter and leaned forward to press a kiss to her forehead. He brought his hands to her face and used his thumbs to smooth her tears away. “I’m glad,” he said. “When I got to his house, he was strange. He didn’t recognize me at first, and then he was so … reserved. He didn’t give me a hard time, or anything. He’s so different now.” She smiled at him and wiped her eyes. “He never hated you for leaving. I think he thought that he deserved for everyone to leave him. You two seemed to be sort of friends when you went, but I think he was too conflicted to notice much.” She smiled wryly. “He was still obsessed with Buffy back then. You’re right – he’s very different. The old Spike was all bravado and smartass; he’s relaxed that a lot. By the time I left, he was doing OK. Did he tell you about making Angel give him money?” Xander nodded, but gestured for her to tell him more.

“Oh, God, Xander – it was hysterical. Spike was living with me at the time, and I had just accepted the teaching position in Canada. He came down here and met with Angel, and when he came back he was positively giddy.” A real smile split her face, and Xander was unable to do anything other than smile back. “I forced him to tell me the story. Apparently, he totally guilted Angel out of a bunch of money they’d gotten in Europe in the Bloody Old Days. He really played him. That’s when I knew he was going to be OK, because he was so proud of himself for working Angel.” They laughed together, and then Xander’s face clouded.

“Wills, I know I owe you a huge apology. I barely said goodbye, and then I never came back or stayed in touch or anything.” He sighed and looked down at his hands clasped in his lap. “When things were bad, I was ashamed to come back or call you guys – I didn’t want you to know what a fuckup I still was. Then, things got good, and I was too scared.” He looked into her eyes, and saw understanding there. “I get that,” she said. “You were afraid that if you came back here, no matter how happy and wonderful and successful you were, you’d still be the Zeppo.” He nodded. “When did you get so insightful?” he asked. She laughed, “Not me, that was Spike’s theory. I ranted to him one time about you leaving, and he told me I was being selfish. He said that I should be happy that you’d survived Sunnydale and gotten out, and that I should hope that you were happy. He was right, and I did, Xander. I hoped with all my heart that you were happy; that you’d found someone to love who loved you.” She touched the platinum bands on his finger. “And you did, so I can’t feel bad about you leaving; because you found Shari, and she loved you for you - the way you deserve to be loved.” It was Xander’s turn to wipe his eyes. Willow paused, and then waited until his brown eyes met her green ones again. “I may be out of line here,” she said, “but you’re my best friend, so I don’t care.” She gave him the resolve face that he remembered. “Spike cares about you. I can see it every time he looks at you. Don’t hurt him, OK?” Xander swallowed hard and whispered, “OK.”

The door to the shoe store opened, and Xander heard familiar voices chattering. He stood and pulled Willow to her feet, hugging her briefly. They gathered their bags and joined the other girls to trek back to the car with their loot.

Xander stumbled into the hotel lobby under the burden of at least fifteen shopping bags. He dropped them onto the floor and fell facedown on one of the sofas and groaned. A few seconds later, he felt a hand in his hair and looked up to see Sara standing before him. He smiled at her and said, “Hey, Sweetheart.” She held out her arms, and he pulled her onto the couch, turning on his back and settling her against his chest. She laid her head on his shoulder and made happy noises. Xander marveled at the trust the little girl showed while he patted her small back rhythmically. Xander turned his head and noticed Spike, Jase, Jack and Lily sitting on the floor staring intently at the television. Spike had the little girl on his lap, his chin resting on her dark curls. Spike turned his head and caught Xander staring, and the two men shared a soft smile.

When Xander awoke, he noticed that someone had draped a blanket over them, and that Sara was still deeply asleep on his chest. He also noticed that Spike and Lily were asleep on the other couch, also covered with a blanket. The little girl was curled up in front of the vampire, and his face was half-hidden in her hair. The bags from the shopping trip were piled at the foot of Xander’s couch, and he was happy to see that they appeared undisturbed.  As he carefully shifted himself into a sitting position against the arm of the sofa, Dawn walked out of the kitchen. She deftly took Sara out of his arms and settled her daughter on her shoulder without waking her. Xander pulled his feet up and she settled beside him.

“Best sleep you’ll ever have,” she remarked, “with a baby on your chest.” She smiled down at her child and then up at Xander. “Yeah, I slept great. How long was I out?” he asked. The perpetual dimness of the heavily curtained lobby kept him from gauging the time accurately. “About an hour,” she answered. “There’s a plan afoot to go out dancing tonight. Cordy’s even offered to keep Sara so Jase and I can have a date.” Her eyes sparkled. “Oh, and Oz is coming over. I can’t wait to see him; it’s been a while.”  Xander considered the idea of dancing. Then he considered the idea of dancing with Spike. “Dancing sounds great. Seeing Oz sounds great. And I’m abusing my privilege of using the word ‘great’, aren’t I?” Xander was proud of himself for cutting off the babble before it got started. Dawn grinned. “Yes, you are hereby restricted from using that word in conversation for at least an hour.”

Xander glanced over to the other couch and saw that both Lily and Spike were awake, blue and brown eyes watching them gravely, as Spike’s pale hand stroked the little girl’s dark hair. “Hey, luv, Bit.” He drawled in a sleep-roughened voice. “How was shopping?” Xander and Dawn exchanged a look and he said, “It was g … good.” Dawn laughed and chimed in, “He means it was great.” Dawn and Xander shared a laugh. Lily started squirming, and Dawn stood and took her hand to guide her back to her mother. As she turned to go, she said, “It’s a little after five now – dinner is at seven in the restaurant upstairs, then dancing to follow until the wee hours. Dinner is casual, but I want you guys really hotted up for the dancing. Don’t disappoint me.” She gave them a severe look and walked away swishing her hips, the effect slightly ruined by the baby on her hip and the sleepy little girl trailing behind her.

Xander turned back to Spike, and lifted the blanket over his legs, gesturing for the vampire to join him. Spike complied, fitting his body in front of the longer one and sighing when Xander’s chin hooked over his shoulder and an arm slipped around his waist. He could feel Xander’s warm breath tickle his ear as the human whispered, “How do you feel about going dancing?” The blond head tilted back to rest on his shoulder, and cool lips traced along his cheekbone. Xander shuddered slightly at the delicious sensation. “I’m OK with it, pet. Except …” Spike hesitated. Xander waited. “If you have any desire to keep our … this … us a secret from everybody, going dancing with me is a bad idea. If I dance with you, everybody in the place is going to know how things are.” Spike purposely brushed his lips over Xander’s sharp cheekbone again and was gratified to feel the shudder that ran through the body behind him. He also felt something else stirring against him, and pressed his hips back against Xander’s.

Xander groaned quietly into the soft, white waves and pressed a kiss to Spike’s temple. “Will, baby – I don’t care what anybody thinks. Besides, I’m pretty sure they’ve all figured it out. Our friends are not stupid.” Spike turned his head and sniffed the air. ”True, and it’s a good thing you aren’t feeling secretive, pet. Willow and Buffy are spying on us from the kitchen doorway right now.” He lifted his head from his lover’s shoulder and spoke louder. “Come on out, you silly bints, I know you’re there.” Xander heard giggles, and Buffy and Willow walked out of the shadows, arms linked and faces pink. “Stupid vampire nose,” Buffy muttered. The girls sat down on the couch Spike had vacated earlier. Buffy’s expression brightened. “Spike, what’s a bint?” He glanced at her and started answering automatically, “It’s the same thing as a cu …nevermind.” Willow, who already knew what a bint was, broke in. “Xander, did you give Spike his present?”

Spike jumped on that opportunity, sitting up and throwing off the blanket as he turned to Xander. “Yeah, mate – I was promised presents!” Xander laughed and got up to dig in the shopping bags. He handed a stack of CDs to Spike. “Here – the shop had some good British imports. See if you like any of those.” Spike started flipping through the CDs, exclaiming over several of the titles. Xander had picked him up a selection of 1970’s punk discs that he hoped the vampire didn’t already own. From the way Spike was nodding as he read the titles, Xander surmised he’d done well. His suspicion was confirmed when Spike looked up and gave Xander the most brilliant smile he’d ever seen on the other man’s face. He was momentarily stunned by the joy reflected there. Must remember to do more nice things for the vampire, he told himself.

Willow shoved a gift-wrapped package onto Spike’s lap, and he looked down. Buffy clapped her hands when she saw which package it was. “Yay! We all helped pick this one out. Hurry, open it,” she urged. Just to spite her, the vampire started opening the paper very slowly and carefully at the corner. His patience lasted less than five seconds, and he gleefully shredded the paper. Opening the box, he looked down at the dark blue pullover. He ran his hand over the soft material. “This is nice,“ he said. Xander chuckled, “we all think it will really bring out your eyes.” The girls readily agreed.  All three were silenced when Spike stripped off his black tee shirt and raised the blue shirt over his head to pull it on. Three sets of eyes were glued to Spike’s bare chest, then all three scrambled for something else to look at as they noticed the others looking.

Settling the blue shirt over his shoulders, Spike looked at the girls. “Do you horny bitches mind?” he asked. They both gave him a questioning look, and the vampire merely tapped his nose in reply. He laughed when both girls flushed. He turned back to Xander and saw desire in dark eyes as his lover looked at him in the shirt he’d picked out. “I was right,” Xander whispered. “It’s perfect.” Even in the dim light, he could see that the dark hue of the shirt caused Spike’s eyes to look even paler and more striking, and the knit material hugged every dip and curve of his muscular chest and abdomen. Xander’s hand rose unbidden to rest on the soft material at the center of his vampire’s chest. He stroked the material once, and then again. “How long did you say there was before dinner?” Spike asked breathlessly. “There’s time,” Xander assured him. The two men got up, gathered the shopping bags and moved quickly toward the elevator, leaving the gift wrap, two blankets and two red-faced, startled girls on the sofa.

Buffy and Willow turned toward one another and both breathed, “Wow.”

They purposely stood apart in the elevator, not daring to touch. They walked down the hall, Spike slightly in front of Xander. When the blond stopped to unlock the door, the brunet stopped directly behind him and pressed his erection firmly against the vampire’s ass, his hands resting on either side of the doorframe. Spike pressed back and then flung the door open. They stumbled into the room, and fell onto the sofa in the parlor. Xander landed on the bottom and pulled Spike across his lap, settling the vampire’s knees on either side of his hips. He ran his hands under the new shirt and bunched it up under his lover’s arms. Spike raised his arms and slipped out of the garment, gasping as hot lips and tongue swept across his chest to lick and bite his hardened nipples. He fisted his hands in Xander’s sable hair and pulled until the brown eyes looked up at him. He brought their lips together in a rough kiss, thrusting his tongue into the mouth below him in a punishing rhythm. When he could tell that Xander was struggling to breathe, he broke the clinch. While the human gasped against his neck, Spike bent his head to speak into a flushed ear, his voice a low, sensual growl.

“Xan, you make me so hot. I just look at you across the room and I’m rock hard. I get one smell of you, and I’m ready to burst. How do you do this to me? How do you make me want you so much?” Xander leaned his head into the hard, cool lips that were teasing his ear, and Spike obliged him by tracing the delicate shell with his tongue, then licking down the tanned column of Xander’s throat. Xander groaned as blunt teeth closed on the spot where his neck and shoulder met. “God, Will,” he moaned, “I swear, I think you could make me come just from your voice; the things you say.” He gasped as the vampire set up a rhythm, alternating thrusts of his hips and sucking and biting Xander’s neck. The human groaned again as the lips left his neck. Blue eyes, almost black with lust, stared into his and twinkled as an evil grin split Spike’s face.

“You know what, pet?” Spike asked in a thoughtful tone. “I don’t think I’m going to fuck you now. I think that maybe I can wait until after dinner, after dancing. How hot will you be then, I wonder?” Cool fingers traced the contours of Xander’s hot face. “After sitting at the table with all of our friends and making small talk while my hand is in your lap? After I spend an hour or so tracing my fingertips over your cock, reaching down to brush against your balls, running my hand across your ass every time you shift in your seat?” Xander’s mouth was open and he was panting harshly as he listened to his lover’s voice, hearing the accent change from the London guttersnipe to the Victorian gentleman; the hard words combining with the delicate diction to make his head spin.  Spike continued to speak in honeyed, cultured tones.

“After dinner, we’re going dancing, right, my love? Probably to one of those places with the smoky lights and the music so loud you can’t hear yourself think, with the driving beat that echoes the beat of your heart.” Spike’s hand came down to brush over the center of Xander’s chest, feeling the thud of his heart. “You can sit back and watch me on the dance floor, watch the way I move for you, just for you in a sea of bodies. You can sit back and watch me, drinking a cold beer, feeling the liquid in your mouth, colder than my tongue.” He swept that cool tongue against Xander’s lips, and then hissed as he felt fingers fumbling at the button and zipper of his jeans. Blue eyes closed for a moment as a hot hand gripped his erection, sliding it free of his jeans and starting a rhythmic stroke.

Spike’s eyes opened and met Xander’s again. He thrust hard into the other man’s hand, but his voice never wavered. “Are you going to dance with me, Xan? As soon as a sexy, slow song comes on, will you get up and stalk over to me, the way you did last night, like a panther on the prowl? I can see you; walking up behind me and pulling me against your chest, so I can feel how hard you are, so I can feel your cock pressed against me and know that you’ve been hard for hours already, and know that I’m going to keep you that way for hours longer.” Xander couldn’t tear his eyes away from Spike’s face, from the sight of sparkling eyes and moist, pink lips. “Do you think I can make you beg, luv? Do you think I can make you beg me to take you into the men’s room, or some dark corner, or out into the alley and push you up against a wall and shove my way inside you?” Xander hissed, “yes” breathlessly in reply, and raised his hips, searching for friction on his aching cock, while he kept up the bruising pace of his hand on Spike’s hardness.

“Yeah,” Spike whispered, “You will beg me; you’ll beg me to take you, to fuck you up against a wall. But, you know what, Xan? I’m going to tell you no. I’m going to make you wait and wait. I want you so hard and desperate for me that all I’ll have to do is touch you once and you’ll come.” Xander felt Spike’s cool hand snake down between his legs, barely staying in contact with the bulge pressing against his black jeans. Spike’s lips came to rest at the outer edge of Xander’s ear, and his hand rose and gripped the human’s cock hard as he growled, “Come for me, NOW!” The combination of Spike’s sudden, hard touch and that beautiful voice pushed Xander over the edge. He clasped his free hand on Spike’s hip and bucked up into him, gripping the hard cock in his other hand with a punishing stroke as he came with a roar. The vampire followed him into oblivion, shooting spurt after spurt of cold semen over Xander’s hand and shirt.

Xander leaned his forehead against his lover’s bare chest, and Spike dropped his head to his human’s shoulder. They both panted and gasped with the strength of their mutual release. Once his breathing returned to normal, Xander looked up into Spike’s beautiful blue eyes with amazement. “You’re incredible, baby,” he breathed. Spike answered him with a soft kiss, marveling at the responsiveness of the man beneath him. He really couldn’t wait for the rest of the night, since he truly intended to do every single thing he’d described to Xander. He felt his cock twitch and start to harden again at the thought, and climbed reluctantly to his feet. He held a hand out to his sticky, disheveled lover and pulled him off of the couch and toward the bathroom for a shower, stopping only to close the open door of their suite as they passed it.

Angel looked up as Buffy stepped into his office and closed the door behind her. He heard the small sound as the lock engaged. He took in her flushed face, and the way one hand was twining around her neck, rubbing over the claim mark he had placed there so long ago. He sniffed the air and a slow, sensual smile spread across his face as he smelled her arousal. He pushed his chair back from the beautifully carved antique desk and leaned back, spreading his legs. His eyes never left the shining green ones of his mate as she walked forward to stand between his knees. She looked down into his face, and then threw her head back, exposing her long throat and the silvery scar. Angel closed his hands on her upper arms and jerked her downward, his blunt teeth closing on his mark. She screamed.

Hot water pounded down on titian hair and flowed across pale skin. Willow leaned one arm against the marble wall of the shower and pressed her fingers harder into herself, thrusting and twisting. She swept her thumb across her clitoris and felt her internal muscles clench around her fingers as her orgasm shot through her. The picture in her mind wavered from that of a red-haired man to a blonde girl and back again as she sobbed in release.

Part Eighteen

Xander burst out laughing as he and Spike stopped in front of the plate glass window at the front of the Chanticleer’s restaurant. “Mon Petite Choux?” Xander spluttered. “My Little Cabbage? Please tell me that Angel did not name his restaurant ‘My Little Cabbage’.” Spike rolled his eyes. “Actually, mate, I wouldn’t put it past him, but the name came with the joint.” Spike swept the door open and bowed at the waist, ushering Xander inside with a grand gesture.

The restaurant was located on the penthouse floor and had an expansive view of the Los Angeles skyline. The room had vaulted ceilings hung with crystal chandeliers, and it was decorated in sumptuous shades of burgundy, navy and antique gold. In front of the windows, a long table was set with white tablecloths, gleaming china and glistening crystal. The fresh flower centerpieces glowed with candlelight. Willow and Oz were seated at one end of the table. Xander hurried to shake hands with the red-haired man. “Oz, hey,” he said, when they clasped hands. “It’s good to see you.” Oz clasped both of his hands around Xander’s and squeezed. “Hey, man.” Xander recognized that this, in Oz terms, represented an enormous show of support and sympathy. Oz released Xander’s hand to greet Spike with a laconic, “Spike.” The response was an equally measured, “Dogboy.”

Xander settled into a seat next to Oz, and Spike crossed to a service cart sitting by the window. He removed a beer from a brass tub of ice and poured it into a tall pilsner glass, leaving a perfect inch of foamy head on the top of the amber liquid. Reaching under the cart, he found a bottle of red liquid that had been placed in a thermal wrap to keep it at the perfect temperature. He poured the blood into a crystal goblet, admiring the way the flames of the candles were reflected in the facets of the vessel before he carried the two glasses to the table and set the beer in front of Xander. Brown eyes rose to his. With a soft smile Xander said, “Thanks, Will.” Spike slid into the chair next to Xander and sipped his drink, starting slightly when a warm hand stole into his lap under the crisp, white tablecloth. He smiled into his glass when he realized what Xander was doing. The whelp’s stealing my plan, he thought, gleefully; full of surprises, he is. Wonder how far he’ll take it. Spike shifted in his seat and spread his legs to give the hand better access and suppressed a shudder as fingers ghosted across the fly of his jeans.

The others joined them at the table, Dawn and Cordelia settling their children and then taking their places with Angel, Buffy and Jase. Spike was distracted by Xander’s hidden ministrations, but not so much that he didn’t notice the relaxed, satisfied expressions on the faces of Willow, Buffy and Angel. He grinned into his glass again at the thought that his grandsire owed him for what was undoubtedly a hot encounter with the Slayer, if memory served.

Dinner was a lively affair. The restaurant wasn’t in regular use – Angel had had the dinner catered. Two uniformed stewards served and then departed discreetly. Spike marveled at Xander’s composure as the brunet deftly ate with his left hand while keeping his right occupied in the vampire’s lap, running his fingers up and down hardened flesh, curving them down and around, then resting them on Spike’s cool thigh, the heat of his hand searing his lover’s flesh. When Spike stood to refill their glasses, Xander ran the back of one hand down the lower curve of his ass. By the end of the first course the vampire hovered in a state of exquisite arousal. He had carefully avoided returning any of Xander’s caresses, waiting to see how far this wonderful game would go.

Xander’s fingers kept up their gentle torment as he told his friends about the martial arts students who would be coming over the next afternoon. He had cleared his plan with Angel earlier and had finalized the details with his teacher over the phone that afternoon. Angel, Buffy and Spike were all planning to participate, and several of the others wanted to watch. Xander fielded questions about his training in a low, calm voice, and Spike was amazed at the human’s control, since he himself could barely manage to speak because of the sensations Xander’s hot hand was causing.

Dawn and Jase excused themselves from the table after dessert to take a sleepy Sara to bed, offering to also settle Jack and Lily. Cordelia left her seat and stood behind Spike to lean down between the vampire and her ex-boyfriend. She pretended not to notice the location of Xander’s hand. “It’s your lucky night, boys,” she assured them. “Dawn says I have to make sure you two are the hottest things in that club tonight. So, on that note, Xander has to come with me. Spike, you may come back to your suite in 45 minutes, no sooner.”  She tugged Xander’s elbow, and he rose to his feet, grinning. He leaned down and buried his nose in the soft white waves just above the vampire’s ear. “See you soon, baby,” he whispered. Spike gave him a slow, hot smile in return.

Cordelia practically dragged Xander away from the table and down the hall. Outside the elevator, she picked up a large satchel from a hall table. At Xander’s questioning look she said, “Bag of tricks – it’s some stuff I keep around for auditions. You never know what you might need.” They traveled down to the fifth floor, continuing the light conversation from dinner. Xander unlocked the suite door and led Cordelia to his bedroom. She stopped at the closet and flung the door open. Staring at the contents, she was silent. Finally, she turned to him with a brilliant smile. “Black it is!” she exclaimed.

Forty minutes later, Xander stared into the full-length mirror on the back of the bathroom door and smiled a tiny, evil smile. Cordelia was a genius. She’d had him shave, so his face was perfectly smooth, and then she had gone to work. On his feet were short, black leather motorcycle boots that disappeared under the boot-cut legs of a pair of butter-soft black leather jeans. The low waist of the pants was cinched by a wide leather belt that was pierced at intervals with silver grommets, and closed with a chunky silver buckle. Above the belt, his stomach, chest and arms were outlined against a tight black silk tee shirt. A thick silver chain encircled his wrist, and a dark, thick, tribal-style (temporary) tattoo encircled one bulging bicep. Cordelia had coated her fingers with styling cream and swept them through his sable waves, pushing his hair back from his temples. She had then mussed up the top so random waves curved forward to emphasize dark eyes. To further bring out Xander’s eyes, she’d smudged a little black kohl eyeliner around them, and then smoothed a tiny bit of a shimmering gel along the top curve of his cheekbones.

She stood back and admired her work. “You look great!” she enthused, and they exchanged a smile in the mirror. She splashed a minuscule amount of Xander’s cologne on her fingers and dragged them lightly behind his ears and down his neck, then followed her fingers with a swipe of a hand towel. “A little goes a long way with the vampire crowd,” she told him.

When he raised his eyebrow at her, she raised one of her own. “Well, Xander, you do know that there were a few years before Angel and Buffy got back together, right? Let’s just say I had some experience with vampire dating.” Xander mulled that over for a few seconds and decided not to give her a hard time; not when she could be a valuable reference. “OK, fearless vampire layer – tell me some undead dating secrets.” She wrinkled her nose at him. “You probably already know about biting – any biting. Major turn-on.” He nodded sagely, and closed his eyes at the memory of the kiss in Spike’s kitchen, against the refrigerator. “Well,” she began “Turnaround time is almost zero, they’re extra-flexible, omni-sexual, if they have inhibitions of any kind then I don’t know what they are …. Hmmmm …oh, yeah – dominance!” Cordelia’s eyes lit up. “If you can get it turned around where you’re the dominant one, that’s huge. Some vampires are more dominant than others – like Angel – he’s used to being the Big Bad. Now, Spike – you know Angel dominated him in the bad old days, so I bet he would go for you being all manly and rugged.”

Xander smiled his evil smile again. “I think that can be arranged. Any other ideas for me?” She considered him critically for a moment, and then answered, somewhat reluctantly, “Well, I don’t know how far along you guys are or what your intentions are, but there’s always blood.” At his slightly alarmed look she continued. “I’m just saying, if you wind up getting into blood play there is an element of danger. I don’t think Spike would drain you, but there can be consequences from sharing blood.” Xander met her eyes, “Did you and Angel ever …” Her eyes widened. “Oh, no! We weren’t that serious. But I know he drinks from Buffy sometimes. I don’t know if she ever has from him.” She shuddered delicately. “Don’t really want to know, either. If you want to drive Spike really crazy, you should put a little of your blood on something he’s going to wear tonight. The smell would surround him all night. It would be very, um, erotic. Of course, that’s just asking for it once you finally get back here. With that sort of stimulation, you getting bitten would pretty much be a foregone conclusion.”

“Honey, I’m home!” Xander and Cordelia both jumped slightly as they heard Spike’s voice at the door of the suite. “OK, let me get him into the other bedroom, then you slip out and go downstairs. I’ll send him down when I’m done with him,” Cordelia said. Before she could slip out the door, Xander pulled her into a quick hug and whispered his thanks into her ear. “Thank me tomorrow - with details,” she admonished, pressing a kiss to his cheek and whisking the bag of tricks out the door with her.

Xander stepped out into the lobby and was immediately surrounded by the girls, who dragged him across the marble floor, chattering excitedly about his new look. Once they reached the others, Xander said, “OK, everybody be still, I want to get a good look at you.” The girls quickly fell in line next to their mates and dates. Buffy was wearing a short, low-cut black dress that clung to her curves and emphasized her cleavage. Her legs were covered in filmy black stockings and she wore black shoes that could only be described as “fuck me” pumps. Her blonde hair was piled up on her head to fall in loose waves, small tendrils curved at her temples and ears. Her face was beautifully made up and her lips were a slash of bright red. She stood next to Angel, who was wearing burgundy leather trousers and a fine-weave gray sweater, his hair was gelled to perfection.

Willow was wearing soft, flowing trousers in an emerald green color that contrasted beautifully with her hair and brought out the sparkles in her eyes. She wore a short, fitted jacket of the same green with a silver tank underneath, and silver shoes peeked out from under her cuffs. Oz looked sharp in the camel colored trousers, black turtleneck, and brown leather sport coat he’d had on at dinner. Dawn’s long legs were encased in trim-fitting black pants topped with a sleeveless vest the rich dark color of blood. Black, pointed-toed microfiber boots added three inches to her height. She explained that Jase would meet them shortly, as soon as Cordelia relieved him for baby sitting duty.

While they waited for Spike and Jase, Xander was listening to Angel relate a story about one of the agency’s many bizarre cases, when he saw the vampire’s head go up. Angel stopped his story in mid-sentence and gawked over Xander’s shoulder. Without looking at him, he whispered, “Turn around – you have got to see this.” Xander turned slowly. “This” was Spike. His Spike, standing in front of the elevator, staring at him.

Xander ran his eyes appreciatively over his lover, from the floor up. Spike’s feet were encased in his usual Doc Martens. His lower body was held in the embrace of skin-tight black leather pants. A silver chain belt was slung around his narrow hips. He wore a soft-looking, white cotton button-up shirt. The top two buttons were undone, and the rolled sleeves were pushed up to just below his elbows. He had several chunky silver rings on his fingers, and a studded leather cuff on one wrist. In the vee of the shirt, a thick silver chain that Xander was sure was a dog’s choke collar nestled into the hollow of his pale neck.

Spike’s white-blond hair was slicked back on the sides, but he had left the top alone, so loose waves fell over his brow. His eyes were also rimmed with kohl, more heavily than Xander’s, and the contrast made his eyes look huge and crystal blue. In his hands Spike was holding his black leather duster. He swirled it around his shoulders and slipped his arms into the sleeves, then stalked toward the group. Xander met him halfway and, in a quiet but firm tone, said “Stop.” Spike froze, and looked at his lover expectantly. Xander moved closer, and drew his breath in quickly at the sight of two small silver hoops piercing Spike’s scarred eyebrow, and another in the lobe of his left ear. He leaned forward and tugged one of the eyebrow rings lightly with his teeth. Spike sucked his breath in with a hiss. The human stepped back and smiled into the eyes of his gorgeous lover. “You look …wonderful.” Spike returned the smile. “And, you, luv; you look eminently fuckable yourself.”

The elevator chimed behind them and Jase stepped out of the car. Dawn hurried to his side, and shooed Jase, Xander and Spike back to the group. Xander noted that Jase was wearing a pair of steel gray pants and a black tee shirt, topped with an untucked and unbuttoned red silk shirt. He looked at Dawn and wondered if she had any idea of how much her husband resembled the Spike of old. As soon as everyone had admired everyone else, they left for their night out.

Part Nineteen

The line outside of the club called 668 snaked almost to the corner. It was comprised of humans, some demons and the occasional vampire; but only the coolest of each species, of course. Everyone lined up was trying to exhibit their own brand of the L.A.-too-cool-for-the-venue vibe with varying results. Angel and Spike moved to the front of the group and strode directly up to the large, horned bouncer guarding the door. The demon turned to them with a dismissive look on its face, a look that quickly changed to a smile of welcome and an obsequious gesture when he recognized them. Spike dropped back to rejoin Xander and whispered into his ear. “We had to bust this place up a while back, and I think we made that guy nervous. He’s right helpful these days.” Xander laughed and rested his hand on Spike’s back as they entered the club.

The doors opened into a small lobby that was decorated with industrial-looking furniture and abstract metal sculptures. Dawn collected everyone’s jackets to check, half-listening to Spike threaten her life should anything happen to his duster, and then flounced off. When she returned, the group turned and opened another set of double doors that led to the interior of the club. Driving drums and a thundering bass line washed over them. The room was cavernous. Multi-level bars and dance floors crisscrossed the space, and strobes and laser lights flashed. Spike struck out toward the back of the room; the others followed. By the time they caught up to him, he was shaking off his demon visage and gesturing them toward a hastily vacated red velvet sofa that was nestled in a corner. Striding off again, Spike returned with two armchairs and arranged them across from the sofa. Angel settled into one of the chairs and pulled Buffy onto his lap. Xander turned to Spike and lifted his fingers to his mouth in the international “want a beer?” signal. Spike smiled and nodded. Xander grabbed Oz’s sleeve and they headed for the bar.

They returned with drinks to find Angel and Buffy guarding the seats. At Xander’s questioning look, Buffy pointed out to the dance floor. Xander easily picked out Jase’s red shirt; he was dancing with Dawn and Willow. Buffy pointed again, and Xander’s eyes came to rest on Spike. The vampire’s back was to him. He was dancing with his head thrown back, lost in the music. Spike’s leather-clad hips were moving with sinuous grace, and as Xander watched, one hand rose and ran slowly down the long pale neck, fingers twisting into the chain at his throat. Xander took a long swallow of his beer, and then let his mouth curve up into a broad smile. He couldn’t believe that this beautiful vampire was dancing for him; showing him all the things he had to look forward to. It was one of the sexiest things he had ever seen. He knew that Spike was playing to him, and he loved the blatancy of his lover’s actions.

The song ended, and another began on its heels. At the change of music, Spike turned around, his hand was still at his neck, and his eyes met Xander’s with a frankly sexual look. The vampire stalked toward his prey with a rolling, hip-thrusting gait. Tearing his eyes away from Spike’s, Xander let his gaze crawl down the slim body. Spike’s erection was obvious in his painted-on pants, and the human felt an answering hardness stir. Stopping in front of his lover, Spike removed the beer bottle from Xander’s suddenly nerveless fingers and tilted it up to drink. Xander watched his adam’s apple bob, then waited until Spike returned the bottle to him. He dangled the bottle by his side and lowered his dark head to place his lips against Spike’s throat. He could feel, rather than hear, a low, rumbling laugh, which changed to a gasp when he bit down on the tender flesh and curled his hand around the vampire’s hard hip at the same time, bringing their lower bodies into contact. Xander bit down again, and thrust his hips up once, then stepped back. He reached to the table behind him and handed Spike his own beer.

Xander felt a small hand in his and found himself being pulled onto the dance floor by a determined Buffy. He shot Spike a small smile, handed the vampire his beer and allowed his friend to lead him over to the others. As they danced, Spike moved to sit across from Angel. He looked over at Oz and saw that the werewolf was sitting on the edge of the sofa, his hands clutching a beer between his knees, his eyes focused on the dancing witch. Angel sipped from his glass of whiskey and looked at his grand-childe.  He knew the other vampire would hear him easily, so he spoke in a normal tone of voice despite the din of the club.

“What are you doing with Xander, Spike?” Spike tilted his beer up and took a drink. His answer was succinct. “Foreplay.” Angel smiled broadly. “That I can see – I meant in general, not tonight specifically.” Spike’s expression turned serious, and he looked the older vampire in the eye. “I don’t know exactly what’s happening. He just showed up, and … ah, hell.” His voice and eyes both dropped away, and he looked down at his hands. Angel reached out and touched the younger vampire lightly on the knee. “William, all I know is that you’ve been more like yourself the past couple of days than you have been in years. I’m glad to see you like this, but …” Angel’s voice also trailed off, and he removed his hand from Spike’s knee. Blue eyes met broody brown ones, and an understanding look passed between them. Finally, Spike spoke, and even he heard the note of desperation in his voice. “I have to take a chance, Angel. I just have to.” Angel simply nodded, and they both turned to watch the dancers.

Spike felt his mouth drop open, and glanced at Angel, seeing a similarly gobsmacked expression on the other vampire’s face. Xander and Buffy were dancing together. Buffy had her back to the tall man, and one of her arms was twined up and around his neck. Her other hand stretched around her waist to clasp one of Xander’s that rested lightly on her hip. His other hand was splayed over her ribs, the thumb resting slightly below the curve of her full breast, his long fingers reaching to the center of her abdomen. Buffy’s eyes were closed, her head lolling back against the hard chest behind her as her hips moved to the music. Xander’s head was bowed over hers, and it looked like she was whispering something in his ear. She twisted her head up and smiled at him; opening her eyes and watching him throw his head back to laugh. Their rhythm never faltered as they laughed, and Spike could see the roll of his lover’s hips against Buffy’s.

God, they look hot, Spike thought, admiring how Xander’s dark good looks were set off by Buffy’s gleaming blondness. He wondered if he and Xander looked as striking together then smugly decided that they probably did. Maybe even better, since he was so much paler than the slayer. He turned to his grandsire. “Close your mouth, mate, you look like an utter git. And go rein in your girl; she’s getting awfully touchy with what’s mine.” He softened the snarled comment with a sardonic smile, and the two vampires rose to claim their dates.

Xander leaned down to whisper in Buffy’s ear, “It worked; here come the territorial insane vampires." She turned her head and giggled against his cheek. “We’ve only got a couple more seconds, let’s make it good.” As the two vampires approached, the Slayer and one of her oldest friends moved their hips in unison. Xander kept his head bent to her neck and swept his hand up from her hip to just below her breast, while as a final detail she caught her lush bottom lip between her pearly teeth and closed her eyes.

Spike gestured to his grand-sire, and Angel stepped in front of Buffy at the exact moment that Spike stepped behind Xander. Angel put his hands on Buffy’s hips, and Spike put one hand on Xander’s waist and reached the other across both bodies to rest on Angel’s shoulder. The four bodies moved in perfect harmony for a moment, and then Buffy and Xander broke apart, pressing away from one another and against their respective lovers. Buffy looked over her shoulder and winked at Xander, and then smiled brilliantly. “Oh, so you and the slayer were playing a little ‘taunt the vampire’, eh?” The low growl in his ear sent a shiver up Xander’s spine. He leaned his head back and let it roll on Spike’s shoulder. “Did it work?’ Xander’s wry question turned into a gasp as Spike ground his leather-clad erection against the ass in front of him. It became instantly clear to Xander that Spike was not wearing anything beneath his leathers.

Crushed into a corner of the back seat of Dawn’s SUV on the way home, the night came back to Xander in bright flashes. Xander and Buffy’s exhibition had set the tone for the night. Numerous drinks had been consumed, and the group had come together and broken apart numerous times on the dance floor in various permutations.


Spike had Xander pinned against the wall next to the red velvet sofa. The vampire’s hard body ground into his, hips thrusting with the same rhythm that his cool tongue plundered the human’s hot mouth. Both of Spike’s hands twined in the sable hair, pulling their mouths together. One of Xander’s hands gripped Spike’s hip, and his other was tangled in Willow’s titan tresses as she sat on the sofa, straddling Oz’s hips, and kissing him with abandon.  The circle was completed as Oz’s warm hand rested at the small of Xander’s back.


All three girls laughing hysterically as Xander was sandwiched between Angel and Spike, dancing. Xander trying desperately to deny to himself that he was turned on by the fact that Angel’s erection was pressing against him while he was pressing his against Spike.


Willow, very tipsy, sitting on Xander’s lap in one of the plush armchairs with her arms around his neck and her warm lips resting against his temple. Spike leaning in as if to kiss him, and then turning at the last moment to run his tongue from Willow’s pointed chin to her ear, causing her to squeal and blush.


Dawn asking Jase if she could, and then kissing Spike’s shocked mouth, then blushing furiously before kissing her husband deeply.


Spike regaining his composure and asking Dawn for a repeat, with tongue, and laughing at her when she backpedaled away from him.


Xander looking out onto the dance floor in time to see Angel lean down and run his tongue slowly over the claim mark on Buffy’s neck and seeing the shudder that ran through her body, even at a distance.


Returning from the restroom and seeing Spike sprawled out on the steps that led to a higher level of the dance floor; legs spread, body relaxed, being chatted up by two gorgeous girls. Seeing the looks on those same girls’ faces as he slid down behind his lover on the step and trailed one hand into the open collar of the vampire’s shirt to tweak a nipple, causing the blonde to close his eyes, groan audibly and arch back against him.


Pinning Spike against the exposed brick of the back wall of the club and kissing him senseless, then noticing that Angel was doing the same to Buffy right next to them.

They stumbled into the elevator in a pack. The two vampires were awash in the human pheromones, and Spike knew that his eyes were flashing as yellow as his grandsire’s when they shared a look. The elevator was filled with the sounds of kisses and soft moans, broken only when Xander asked breathlessly, “Whose hand is on my ass?” and Jase answered, “Sorry!” The elevator stopped on the fourth floor, and Dawn and Jase and Willow and Oz stumbled toward their rooms, waving distractedly back at their friends. The doors slid shut again. Xander whispered a question into Spike’s ear, and a pale hand shot out to the control panel, pushing the “stop” button.

The two couples stood slightly apart, and then Xander leaned over very slowly and kissed Buffy. Her jaw dropped in shock, and he took the opportunity to slide his tongue into her mouth. Only their mouths touched as he explored the lips he had wanted to kiss for years. Her tongue met his, and she tilted her head for a better angle. They kissed for a long moment, and then broke apart, putting a tiny space between their lips. She gestured upward with her eyebrows, and Xander turned his head enough to see that Angel and Spike were also kissing. Where Buffy and Xander’s kiss was a gentle exploration, the vampires’ kiss was brutal; both were in game face, and Xander could see a trickle of blood running down Angel’s chin. On impulse, Xander twisted his neck enough to allow him to gather the small rivulet of blood on his tongue. He marveled for a moment at the smoothness of Angel’s skin, then turned and kissed Buffy again; sharing the small drops of blood he had collected. As he swallowed it, he felt a current of electricity run through his body.

Spike and Angel moved apart, both licking blood off of their lips. Spike’s hand went to the control panel again, and the elevator car began to move. Xander kissed his lover and tasted the mixed blood in his mouth. The elevator chimed and the doors slid open. Angel and Spike exchanged a look, and at Spike’s small shake of the head, Angel pushed them out of the car and hit the button for the penthouse.

In room 407Jase had Dawn pinned against the back of the door and was unbuttoning the small gold buttons that ran down the front of her vest while he kissed her deeply, sweeping his tongue through the hot cavern of her eager mouth. She was pulling at his red silk over shirt, stripping it off his shoulders, and breaking his grip on her buttons to jerk the cuffs over his hands. He finished with her buttons and paused to cup her braless breasts as they spilled out from between the sides of the vest, milky white against its bloody hue. One hand tweaked a dusky nipple and the other slid to her waist to unbutton and unzip her pants.

Dawn used her toes to push her boots off and began tugging at her husband’s tee shirt, pulling the hem from the waistband of his jeans and rubbing her hands over the sharp planes of his chest. He moaned into her mouth, and then broke the kiss to pull the shirt off and kick off his own shoes. He buried his mouth between her breasts and continued working on the zipper of her pants. The fastenings finally gave way, and he pushed them over her hips as she wriggled out of them. Jase straightened and ground his denim-covered erection against his wife’s body, causing her to gasp and draw her long legs up to curve around his waist. He pushed her harder against the door so he could move his hands, and as his tongue slid into her mouth he pressed two fingers up into her exposed wetness. She gasped into his mouth and moved her hands around to unfasten his jeans and push them down his hips to free his hard cock.

She stroked him for a moment, and then used his shoulders for leverage to impale herself on his hardness. She slid down his shaft, and as she felt him fully sheathed inside her she exploded in an instant orgasm. Jase panted into her mouth as he tried to hold back his own release, feeling his wife’s body pulse around him. He stood perfectly still as shudders wracked the body between his and the door. As soon as Dawn’s wetness stopped clutching at him, Jase started to move within her, bracing her body against the door and thrusting up into her strongly. Her heels drummed on his back, and she dug her nails into his shoulders. Their bodies became slick with sweat, and their bellies slapped and slid. Jase put his hands on her hips in a bruising grip and pumped into her with long, fast strokes. He felt his orgasm build, and pushed one hand between them to find that tiny bit of engorged flesh that would send her over the edge again. His fingers closed on the nub and pressed, and Dawn’s scream and Jase’s groan met in each other’s mouths as they reached their mutual completion.

In room 442 Willow and Oz had actually made it to the bed. Oz had stripped her clothes from her body with slow thoroughness, then lowered her to the bed and simply looked at every inch of her, a small smile on his face. Willow basked under his gaze, tucking her hands behind her head and crooking one leg prettily. Oz used his fingers to trace every part of her that his eyes had touched, and then followed with his lips and tongue. Willow stayed in her reclining position, knowing that this slow, worshipful exploration was his favorite activity, and that her patience would be rewarded. Finally he lifted his head from her body and began stripping off his clothes. He joined her on the bed, and then resumed his mapping of her body, rolling her over to touch and lick every inch of her back. Roughened, callused fingertips and soft pointed tongue brought her to a fever pitch. Once her moans and vocalizations became incoherent half-words, he finally pulled her up on all fours and entered her from behind in one long, sure stroke. They both howled.

In the penthouse, Angel’s long body was sprawled out on the floor of the living room. He was on his back and Buffy’s slim, golden body rose over him as the pushed herself up and down on him. She braced her hands on his chest and leaned forward to change the angle at which his cock entered her body on each of her hard thrusts. Angel’s large hands cupped her breasts and his fingers closed on her hard pink nipples, eliciting deep moans from her mouth.

In the hall outside suite 501 Xander’s hands shook violently as he tried to unlock the door. He growled with frustration, and then finally managed to get the door unlocked and open. He strode into the room, and then turned to look at Spike. The vampire leaned against the wall across the hall, taking and releasing unnecessary breaths, fighting for control. Xander looked into his eyes and ordered “get in here – now.” The blond pushed off from the wall and stalked into the room, stopping about a foot from his lover. Up close, Xander could see that his blue eyes were rimmed in yellow, and this outward signal of the barely restrained demon caused a shudder to run through his body. He tilted his head to the side and smiled at Spike. “I’m guessing that I don’t get to be in charge tonight?”

The eyes before him flashed completely yellow, and Xander gasped. Spike shook his head, trying to dispel the almost painful urge to allow his face to change; his eyes switched between blue and yellow several times. Xander closed the distance between them and placed a hand on either side of the pale face before him. He leaned in and kissed Spike gently, then pulled back and looked him right in the eyes. “Don’t hold back with me,” he whispered. “Let it go, Will. I want to see you.” The husky tremble in Xander’s voice broke Spike’s control, and his face rippled and changed; his forehead furrowing and fangs dropping.

Xander looked into the face before him, and then leaned forward to carefully kiss the fanged mouth. He ran his tongue over the familiar lips, and then slipped it inside to trace the new contours there. He ran the tip over the sharp teeth, and then started exploring the long, slightly curved fangs. Xander could feel their razor-sharpness. He carefully wrapped his tongue around one and sucked gently. Spike groaned and slammed their bodies together at the sensation. Xander sucked harder and felt his lover go wild thrusting against him.

Spike broke the kiss and panted harshly.  He twined one hand into Xander’s hair and roughly pulled his head back so that their eyes met. “Luv, I’m going to have to apologize in advance,” he gritted out between pants. “For what?” Xander’s breathing was also unsteady. “For how fucking sore you’re gonna be tomorrow.”

Xander relaxed into the soothing hot water. He groaned a little as certain body parts protested the motion. Spike shot him a contrite look and went back to rubbing his feet. It was all Xander could do to not laugh. Who would have imagined that Spike, master vampire, would turn into Florence Nightingale after an evening of what Xander had to admit was spectacularly athletic sex. Spike’s advance apology had not been in jest.

The hours of arousal coupled with the small amount of bloodplay in the elevator had brought the demon to the forefront, and Xander bore evidence of the wild encounter. After a careful inventory of body parts he decided that his injuries consisted of some mildly strained muscles, numerous finger-mark bruises, a tired jaw, an almost-healed, inch-long gash in his tongue, and a very sore ass.

He considered Cordelia’s advice from the night before and tried to decide if he wanted to correct her on the turnaround time point. Spike’s erection had not waned at all until after the third time he had spent into Xander’s body; snarling and sinking his fangs into his own forearm next to where Xander’s head was buried in the pillow. When Spike had finally pulled away from Xander, neither had been terribly surprised to find themselves bloody; although Spike had been horrified and immediately began apologizing. Xander had stopped the apologies by grabbing the vampire by the chin and kissing him deeply, not caring that Spike was still in full game face. As soon as the cool tongue had started moving in his mouth, Xander had wrapped his tongue around a fang and slashed it open on the razor edge.

Yellow eyes had snapped open to meet his as the hot blood splashed into their joined mouths. Xander had felt Spike bite his own tongue to mingle their blood, and then the vampire had closed his lips on Xander’s tongue and sucked. Xander felt his eyes roll back as he came harder than he ever had before in his life. He barely registered the inhuman sounds Spike made, as he also climaxed again. Xander had come back to his senses to find his lover tenderly licking him clean. Spike took particular care to run his tongue over the shallow gouges he’d clawed into Xander’s thighs when the boy’s rich blood had flooded into his mouth unexpectedly. As soon as he’d finished there, he had flipped Xander over easily and turned his tongue to any other sore areas he could find.

Xander had been quite gratified to find out that it was possible to have an orgasm simply from being rimmed. Especially if the person rimming you had supernatural strength that extended to his tongue and the added benefit of not needing to breathe. As soon as Xander recovered, he dragged his seriously aroused lover off of the sticky, bloody, sodden bed and into the marble shower. There he had earned his sore jaw by giving Spike an extended blowjob, bringing the vampire to the brink of coming again and again, then backing off to draw out the sweet torture. After much babbling and begging, Xander had finally allowed the vampire his release, swallowing against the cock that was driven to the edge of his throat as Spike’s body rippled around the four fingers wedged tightly up his ass and he poured out his essence into Xander. The trembling blond had sunk to his knees in the shower, the two men clinging together under the pouring hot water until lassitude had threatened to overtake them. They had fallen damply into Xander’s bed and crashed immediately into deep sleep, sated and exhausted bodies intertwined.

Xander had come awake in the afternoon to find Spike lying flat on his back, hands behind his head, staring unblinkingly at the ceiling. The blond head hadn’t turned to follow as the human went into the bathroom, or upon his return. Xander settled himself on his side, tousled head propped on one hand. He laid his other hand gently on the unmoving chest of his lover and asked, “What’s with the broody, bleach boy?”

Spike’s eyes closed and he let out a sighing breath. Without opening his eyes, he said softly, “I’m so sorry, luv.” After a moment, Xander replied, “For what, Will?” Spike sat up and shrugged off Xander’s hand, sitting cross-legged on the bed with the sheets pooling in his lap, where he started twisting the material between his agitated hands. Not meeting the dark eyes that searched his face, he began to speak in a low, miserable voice.

“God, Xan – I didn’t mean to … I lost control and I …I hurt you.” He hung his head. “Everything got so crazy  ... and it’s been so long … and I wanted you so much. I couldn’t hold back.” The vampire’s voice began to rise, and Xander could feel the self-loathing in it. “Christ, Xan – I fucked you bloody and damned if I didn’t love it.”

Xander leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the top of the bowed head, then slipped his hand between the ones twisting the sheet, gripping tightly. He leaned closer and placed his lips beside the vampire’s ear and spoke in a low, husky voice. “I liked it, Will. I loved it. I enjoyed every minute. It was rough and harsh and wild and I’ve never felt anything like it in my life. Feeling you tear into me, feeling the pleasure and the pain and the hot blood, oh God, it was a revelation.” He knew Spike could feel the shudder that ran through him, and he flushed with equal parts arousal and embarrassment at the words he was saying. He had felt the pain in the vampire’s voice, and knew that Spike believed himself to be a monster. Xander was trying to let him know that everything they had done together had been good, a source of excitement and pleasure.

Xander sat back and looked at the man before him. “Spike … Will, look at me.” When the blue eyes finally met his, Xander smiled a small smile into them. “When you … went all ‘grrr’? That was the sexiest thing I’d ever seen. I loved watching you let go, knowing that all of that power and lust was for me.” Xander’s smile grew as he watched heat bloom in those crystal depths, chasing away the haunted look he loathed. He continued speaking.

“Being with you is like nothing else in the world. Being with Shari, that was all about sweetness and gentleness – and you and I have that, too. But you give me something I’ve never had – you give me your strength and your wildness and your darkness. I know we can do anything together, and you won’t hold back and you’ll take me farther than I think I can go. And I know you’d never really hurt me. Much.” Spike’s head had come up, and Xander was staring into his eyes, pleading for Spike to understand him, to know what he was talking about. The blond’s eyes were wide, and he smiled suddenly. “Really?” he asked. “It was good – all of it?”

Xander counted on his fingers. “Allow me to sum up. Sex with you is good. In fact, it’s amazing. You getting all ‘grrr’ during the amazing sex: also good. A little pain: yep, good. Oh, and vampire spit: extra good for healing the damage from the previous good stuff. Vampire blood: again with the good; it kind of makes me feel zingy – like drinking seven or eight Red Bulls.” He grinned at the vampire and received an answering smile. Xander continued, “You getting broody? Well, that’s bad. I hate it when you get all Angel-y on me.”

Xander laughed when Spike picked up a bed pillow and bopped him on the head for that comment. He leaned in and initiated a little wrestling, then hissed when several of his injuries made themselves known. Spike’s eyes got stormy and he demanded, “Are you still hurting?” Xander shifted a little on the bed and grimaced. “I’m a little sore, but it’s not bad. It probably won’t help me much in the sparring match tonight, but it was worth it.” At that, Spike growled and flipped Xander over onto his stomach. With one hand, he pushed the human flat on the bed. “Stay there,” was his terse command as he strode off to the bathroom, unconcernedly naked. Xander waited, and soon heard his lover come back to his side.

Spike drizzled lightly scented oil on Xander’s back and started to knead the abused muscles.  The low groans from the body beneath him let him know when he was hitting all the right spots. As he worked the supple muscles of the human’s back, Spike thought about the conversation they’d just had. Spike had awoken refreshed and sated. He had lain in bed, remembering the night before. When his mind came to the memory of pulling away from Xander as the human knelt before him and seeing blood, the vampire had felt almost physically ill. He recalled how Xander had stilled his apologies with the wholly unexpected gift of his blood. Spike began to grin as a thought hit him. The grin turned to chuckles, then outright laughter, and soon he was almost lying on top of Xander, shaking with the strength of his mirth. “What’s so funny?” The muffled question came from beneath. Spike got himself under control and went back to rubbing the oil into sore muscles. “I’m sorry, luv. I just had a funny thought. I was thinking about what you said, and it came to me: you fuck like a vampire.”

Xander twisted from the waist so he could look at his lover over his shoulder. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked, somewhat indignantly. Spike pushed him back down gently. “Nothing bad, pet. I just mean that in the vamp world sex is right up there with blood and violence: the big three. Those are three things that your average vampire doesn’t hold back on – we do it all, balls to the wall and no holds barred. Most humans have a lot of hang-ups about sex; worrying if something is bad or wrong. Vamps don’t care – if it gets you off, it’s good.”

“I can get behind that kind of thinking,” Xander murmured. They were silent for a while, both enjoying the massage. “Will?” Xander’s voice was low. “Yes, luv?” Spike answered him. “Um, during … well, during, why did you bite yourself instead of me?” Spike hesitated, unable to read from the human’s tone what answer he expected. “I’d never bite you, Xan. Not without your permission. No matter how much I wanted to. I do have that much self-control. Barely.” He softened the sentiment with a short laugh. After a long pause, Xander said, “I was just wondering what it was like, because when you drew on the cut in my tongue last night, I was pretty sure all of my brains came out of my cock. I guess a real bite is pretty intense.” Spike worked his way lower on the human’s back before answering. “Intense is an understatement, mate. The bite is…well, it’s everything. Even when it’s just feeding, the one getting drained goes out on the highest of highs. Why do you think people like Buffy’s farm boy whore themselves out to vamps? But when it’s during sex, well – you felt something of it.”

Xander didn’t answer, and Spike continued his ministrations on his lover’s back. His hands trailed down Xander’s sides and over his hips to knead his strong buttocks. Xander hissed as the manipulation caused sensitive, sore flesh to rub together. Spike dipped his head, and Xander felt the warm push of the vampire’s muscular tongue stroking against his tender opening. He gasped and arched his back to increase the contact. He rose up slightly on his knees and leaned back as Spike began to rim him in earnest. Xander groaned and thrashed as the slick, strong muscle pushed in and out of his body. Finally, he could stand it no longer, and he came all over the last set of clean sheets in the suite, screaming, “Oh, God, Will! So good, oh fuck, yes!” Spike had allowed him to rest while the vampire drew him a hot bath, then had carried him to the bathroom, lowered him into the water and proceeded to wash him and rub his feet.

After twenty minutes in the bath, watching Spike attend to him while the vampire was sporting a painfully hard erection, Xander came out of his reverie and leered at his lover. “Why don’t you climb in here and we’ll do some underwater fucking experiments?” Spike shot him a dark look. “I’m not fucking you until you’re healed, pet,” he growled. “However …” he got an evil glint in his eye. The vampire moved with his usual grace to the side of the tub and climbed in, settling with one knee on either side of Xander’s waist. He braced his thighs and knees against the warm, wet body below him and wrapped his hand around his erection.

Xander marveled at the erotic picture before him. His eyes were locked on Spike’s hand, which moved with punishing speed on his flesh, sliding his slick foreskin forward and back as he masturbated over the body of his lover. Xander’s hands rose, one cupping and tugging at the vampire’s balls, the other sliding back between the tight globes of his ass. There was enough oil in the water to lubricate his fingers; he pushed one inside Spike’s grasping channel, and then quickly added another, curling them to hit the exact spot that made the vampire howl. Thrusting forward into his own hand and back against Xander’s fingers, Spike worked himself to his orgasm, staring down into the face below him. At the very last moment, Xander tipped his head forward and took Spike’s cock down to the root, swallowing every drop as the vampire came with a whine, his forward motion splashing water all over the floor.

Part Twenty

Jack and Lily walked down the row of adults, giving everyone hugs and kisses. At the end of the row, Cordelia knelt to hold her twins close for a long moment. Their father stood by the door, waiting to take them for the week. Xander could see that this was the usual order of things by the way everyone had fallen into line to say goodbye, while checking to make sure the kids had everything they needed. He and Willow were the only ones who had no idea what was happening, so they just stood at the far end of the line and got their hugs and kisses like everyone else. Once the kids had departed and the group dispersed, Willow turned to Cordelia. “You probably don’t care to hear this, Cordy, but your ex is gorgeous.” The brunette turned a wry smile on her friend. “Oh, he’s really hot, but he’s totally self-centered. Actor, you know.” She paused. “And before you say it, Xander, I will – there’s only room for one egomaniac in a relationship, and in my relationships, I’m it.” The three exchanged a smile.

They walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table, where Buffy was already seated. Cordelia burst out laughing as both Xander and Willow seated themselves with exaggerated care and grimaces. She looked around the table and said, mock-indignantly, “Did every adult in this hotel get fucked through the mattress last night except for me?” Xander, Willow and Buffy all flushed bright red, and Cordelia laughed some more. She turned to Buffy, “Why aren’t you sitting funny, too?” Buffy replied, “Slayer healing; it does come in handy sometimes.” Their laughter trailed off as Spike wandered into the kitchen holding a cordless phone. He handed it to Xander and demanded, “What’s so bloody funny?” when the girls giggled.

Xander stood up from the table to take the call away from the noisy girls and vampire. He returned to the table a few moments later to find Spike grinning and all three girls completely red-faced. He sank into his chair and buried his face in his hands. “Christ, Spike – what did you tell them?” he groaned. “Nothing, pet. We were having a serious scientific discussion about the healing properties of vampire spit, and the birds got embarrassed, that’s all.” Xander banged his head on the table. He kept his head down until the conversation turned to the upcoming sparring. Buffy told the group that Jase, Angel and Oz had gone down to the gym to set up, and Xander shared that the phone call had been from his Master, confirming that the group would arrive in an hour and a half.

Just as Xander was going to ask Buffy where Dawn had disappeared to, the girl in question strode through the door juggling huge bags of Chinese takeout, followed by her daughter. Buffy phoned down to the gym, and soon the gang was spread out in the lobby, feasting and chatting. After the final fortune cookie, Xander addressed the group. “OK, who’s sparring?” Angel, Buffy and Spike raised their hands. Xander nodded at them and continued. “So, all supernatural beings – please refrain from displays of preternatural strength and flexibility if at all possible. All non-living beings,” he eyed Angel and Spike, “please try to remember to breathe at least occasionally. No vamping out, and let’s keep the growling and snarling to a minimum. Also, during sparring, try to avoid low blows and especially dirty street fighting moves. Most of these people know forms and a little bit of freestyle stuff. They have not been doing this for ten to two hundred years like the rest of us.”

He looked around the room, his eyes coming to rest on Spike. “You’ll meet a man who I, and all the other students, will refer to as ‘Master’ or “Master Alan”. You can just call him ‘Alan’, since you aren’t his students. The others will call me ‘Sifu’, it means ‘teacher’ – it’s my title within the school. There will be some bowing – you don’t have to do it, though it’s customary to bow to your opponent when you begin to spar. When in doubt, if somebody bows to you, bow back.” He smiled and explained, “When we first start, there will be a very short formal bowing in. You don’t participate – you can just hang back while we do it. It’s no big thing. Then, Alan will introduce me, and I’ll introduce you. Then Alan will get us started. That’s all.”

Buffy raised her hand in the air. Xander smiled and gestured for her to speak. “I hate to do the girly thing and ask the fashion question, but what do we wear?” Xander laughed. “That’s a valid question, Buff. Just wear drawstring pants and a tank top or tee shirt. Just don’t wear black. Wearing black is a black belt privilege. Technically, if you were visiting a school, you’d wear all white.” Xander laughed when Spike scowled at him. He locked eyes with his lover and grinned. “Sorry, Will – no fashionable black for you this time.”

Everyone laughed and stood to gather the empty takeout containers. All heads turned when a buzzing noise sounded through the lobby. Cordelia strode across the lobby, tossing the explanation, “Door” over her shoulder. She reappeared after a moment, leading a young man dressed in black to Xander, who crossed the floor to meet them.

“Brooks!” he exclaimed, “I didn’t know you were coming. Good to see you, man!” As Xander approached, Brooks dropped the weapons bag he was carrying and met the other man with a bone-crunching hug. Xander stepped back and led him to the group. “Guys, this is Brooks Donovan. He used to live in Atlanta and moved out here a few years ago.” Xander introduced Brooks to each of his friends, noting that while Spike smiled and shook his hand, the vampire’s eyes flashed the tiniest sliver of gold. Xander didn’t stop to analyze the small bit of satisfaction he felt at the evidence of Spike’s possessiveness. The girls seemed suitably impressed, and Xander couldn’t blame them. Brooks was almost six feet tall, had piercing green eyes in a handsome, angular face and his jet-black hair trailed down his back in a braid that hung to slightly below his waist. He was, in a word, gorgeous.

After the introductions, Brooks apologized. “Xan man, sorry I’m early, but we finished early on the set – the leading man had an emergency manicure or some other Hollywood crisis, so I thought I’d swing by. “ He smiled sheepishly. “Are you an actor?” Buffy asked. Brooks laughed, “No, I’m a stunt designer.” Xander dove into the conversation. “Well, Brooksie – Cordelia here is an aspiring actress. Why don’t the two of you do shop talk while the rest of us get changed? Then we’ll go downstairs and warm up.” Brooks agreed and walked off with Cordelia happily chatting to him; she flashed Xander a grateful smile as they walked away.

Buffy, Angel, Spike and Xander boarded the elevator. As soon as the doors closed, Buffy turned to Xander and said, “Brooks is hot – is he straight?” Xander laughed and replied, “Straight as an arrow, Buff. Why do you ask?” She grumbled, “Well, apparently I can’t really trust my instincts anymore. You and Willow both turn out to be bent and I was clueless both times, so I figure I better just ask.” The men laughed. “He’s a great guy. I think Cordy likes him,” Xander raised an eyebrow and the others chorused “Duh!” as the elevator doors opened on the fifth floor.

Inside the suite, Spike trotted into Xander’s bedroom and leaned against the doorframe. “Will this do?” he asked, indicating his clothes. “I didn’t have a lot of white.” The vampire was wearing a pair of navy drawstring pants and a ribbed, white wife-beater t-shirt. Xander strode to the door and answered the query with a slow, gentle kiss. “You look good, baby,” he whispered against cool lips. Spike sucked in a breath and then let it out with a laugh. “Oh, very clever, pet,” he groused. “You almost had me there. “ He pushed Xander back a step. “I’m not fucking you til you’re healed. Furthermore, I’m certainly not fucking you while everyone we know and a handful of strangers are waiting for us in the lobby.”

“Well, yeah – since you won’t fuck me.” Xander whined. They both laughed, and the brunet tugged a black tunic-style uniform top on over his black pants and tank, leaving the shirt’s red frog closures open. He draped a black cloth belt over one shoulder and walked into the parlor for his shoes, glancing with regret at the bed they’d messed up earlier.

Spike came to stand in front of Xander where the human sat on the sofa tying his shoe, and stroked his thumb lightly over his warm lips. “Are you doing alright, luv?” he asked. Xander parted his lips and brushed the cool digit with his tongue briefly before he reached up and took Spike’s hand, using it to draw himself upright. He sighed.

“It’s been a big couple of days, Will.” Xander leaned their brows together, staring into his vampire’s eyes. “I feel … so different. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted, by coming back, and just by telling the whole story. It feels good to have it all out in the open.” The two men shared a small smile. Xander continued, “But, telling the story has started the next part, and that’s the part where we have to find Drusilla and I have to face her and kill her. And I’m putting my friends, the people I love best, right in front of the thing that killed my wife and child. I’ve gotta tell you, that scares the hell out of me.”

Spike closed his eyes and rolled his brow against Xander’s. “We’re not exactly rank amateurs at this, you know, Xan. Every one of us, save Sara, has killed a vamp or twenty in our day.” Xander looked at the pale, angular face before him, taking the opportunity afforded by Spike’s closed eyes to stare. When the blue eyes opened languidly, the human closed his and let out a shaky breath, which ghosted across the vampire’s lips. “I just don’t want to lose anyone else, Will. More to the point, I don’t want to lose you. I just found you.” Xander’s voice cracked on the last word, and Spike closed the distance between them, enfolding his lover in his arms, holding him tightly. He whispered against sable hair, “This time, nobody loses anybody. I’m not giving you up.” The two men stood in the embrace for long moments, dark hair resting on ivory shoulder, pale hair standing out in sharp relief against Xander’s black uniform. Finally, as they shifted apart, Xander tilted his head to give Spike a long, soft, chaste kiss; a kiss that took the vampire’s unneeded breath away; a kiss that held trust and hope and affection and caring. Spike kissed his lover in return, pouring out all of the same emotions; recognizing that he was losing his heart to the sweet, damaged mortal before him, and refusing to be sad about it.

Back in the elevator, Spike disentangled his hand from Xander’s reluctantly. “We better knock off the nancy-boy hand holding in front of the guests,” he observed wryly. “They might not understand.” He was surprised when Xander grabbed his hand firmly and carried it to his lips for a kiss. “Spike, everyone in my dojo knows I’m bi; I dated a guy who studied there before Shari and I got together.” He laughed out loud at Spike’s flummoxed expression, and then continued softly. “I had too many secrets growing up. I decided a long time ago to just be who I am. If other people don’t like it, they can fuck right off.” He kissed Spike’s hand again and then dropped it. “That said, we probably should be discreet, just so it doesn’t turn into a question-fest.” He paused, looking into his lover’s eyes. “Thanks for thinking about it, though. It means a lot that you’d want to protect me, protect us.” They shared a smile, and Spike followed Xander out of the elevator, shaking his head. How little I know about this man, Spike thought.

Spike trailed Xander across the lobby, still lost in thought. His head came up sharply when he heard Xander exclaim “Master!” and hurry across the marble floor to a man standing with Brooks and Cordelia; a group of black-clad students ranged behind them. Spike stopped in his tracks when Xander bowed deeply to the man, who returned the courtesy. The other students then bowed to Xander, who bowed back. Once the formalities were done, the whole group surrounded Xander and everyone began talking to him at once. Spike hung back and observed the chaos.

Xander first spoke to the man he’d called Master. Alan, Spike corrected himself, in an effort to silence the growl that was building in his chest. Xander leaned down to speak to Alan, and Spike noted with sharp satisfaction that the man was short. Really short – at least four inches shorter than his own modest five foot ten. Spike laughed himself for being so elated about the man’s lack of stature.

Alan appeared to be in his mid-forties, had curly, graying hair and glasses, and wore a uniform identical to Xander’s, except that where the belt Xander was tying around his waist had four red stripes on one end, Alan’s had seven red and yellow chevrons. The man looked strong and athletic. Spike couldn’t wait to fight him.

Turning his attention from Alan, Xander stepped forward and grabbed one of the students in a bear hug, spinning around slowly. As the other person’s back was turned to Spike, he could see that it was a petite woman, who had a long, dark ponytail hanging down her back. Xander’s face was buried between her neck and shoulder, and from her dusky skin tone, Spike could tell that she was Asian. He felt a tightening in his chest when he realized that this is what Xander and Shari would have looked like together. As Xander released the girl and set her on her feet, he dropped a kiss on top of her head. Xander’s eyes met Spike’s across the lobby, and Spike could see the tears that hovered there. He started forward to join the group, but hung back as Buffy and Angel exited the elevator, both dressed in workout gear, Buffy’s all white, Angel’s all gray.

The three advance to the group. When they neared, Buffy spoke quietly, knowing only the vampires would hear her. “They love him.” Spike gestured toward three men who were hanging back from the fray. “Except for Moe, Larry and Curly there; I don’t think they know him,” he observed. Buffy shot him a look. “You know what I mean.” Spike looked back at her. “I do, Slayer. I know exactly what you mean.” By the look that passed between them, Spike realized that, for once, he and Buffy were on the same wavelength, both pleased that Xander had people in his life that cared about him the way that his Sunnydale family had, and his real family hadn’t. With a nod the Slayer and vampires turned to the group, Buffy wading into the center to throw her arm around Xander, demanding, “Introduce me!” Xander laughed and pulled her close, announcing to the group, “Everybody, this is Buffy; Buffy, this is everybody.” Buffy’s laughter rang out as the whole group replied in unison, roaring, “Hi, Buffy!”

Xander gestured to the mass of people and said, “Let’s all go downstairs to the gym – we’ll do the introductions there.” The students gathered their duffels and weapons bags from the floor, and Spike noticed that Xander shouldered Alan’s bag, respectfully leading him to the front of the group. It took several trips of the elevator to get everyone down to the basement gym. The room was enormous and well appointed. One end held a Universal Gym weight setup as well as a stair stepper, elliptical trainer, two stationary bikes and two treadmills. Another corner was set up with two heavy bags, two speed bags and a practice dummy for boxing. There was a large expanse of open floor, and pads and weapons were racked the same way as Spike’s.

The walls were painted, but devoid of mirrors; one of the walls at the short end of the room was decorated with a large, half-finished mural. Looking more closely at it, Xander realized that the mural was of a woodland scene populated with fanciful creatures that looked familiar. He saw a fairy that looked suspiciously like Dawn, and another that he knew was wearing Tara’s face. Xander quirked an eyebrow at Spike, who mouthed the name “Angel” at him. Xander flashed his “impressed” face, and earned an eye-roll.

The students all stowed their weapons against a wall and shed their shoes and socks. Xander, Spike, Angel and Buffy did the same. Alan stepped to the front of the room, and the students automatically lined up in front of him in rank order. Xander stepped to his master’s left side and gestured for his friends to stay put.

Alan began speaking to the group. “It’s good to see everyone. I’m pleased to be able to introduce Sifu Xander Harris of our Atlanta school. He’s out here visiting and was kind enough to host our little traveling squad and LA locals on short notice. Many of you already know him. Sifu Xander, I’ll let you introduce your friends, and then I’ll do the honors for the other students. If you would, tell us a little about the martial arts background of the victims, er – sparring participants.” Alan gestured to Xander, who bowed and said “Thank you, Master.” He turned and pointed to the spectators. “In the cheap seats, we have the Peanut Gallery. The red haired lady is Ms. Willow Rosenberg, who has the dubious distinction of being my best friend since practically birth. With her is Daniel Osborne, who we call Oz. The little family is Jase, Dawn and Sara Hunter. The lovely brunette on the end is Ms. Cordelia Chase, who had the great misfortune and glaring bad taste to actually date me in high school.”

Xander gestured toward the three in workout gear who were standing at his side. “Here we have the victims. In the center, truly a rose among thorns, we have the lovely and talented Ms. Buffy Summers. Buffy is very deceptive – I promise you that she can kick most of your asses; I know she can kick mine. Buffy’s been a martial artist for more than fifteen years and has been tutored in more techniques than I can name.” Buffy blushed prettily and smiled.

Xander continued, gesturing at the vampires. “And … the thorns, the one-named wonders. Tall, dark and broody here is Angel. He studied ass-kicking and brawling at many of the finest pubs across Europe and Asia, and has been fighting, well, pretty much forever. This is his gym and his hotel. Oh, and if you mess up his hair, he may kill you, or at the very least, throw you out.” Angel shot Xander a dagger look followed by an evil smile.

Xander gestured at Spike, who was facing the group with his arms crossed over his chest and a challenging look on his face. “This is Spike,” Xander said, smiling at his lover, who gave him a sardonic grin in return, waiting to see how Xander would describe him. “Watch out for Spike. He’s possibly the most devastating fighter I’ve ever seen. He’s also not overly burdened with a burning desire to follow the rules. Spike’s very checkered background includes street fights, bar fights, brawls, mosh pits, riots, small wars and civil insurrections. Mess with him at your own risk.” Spike flipped Xander the two-fingered salute.

Alan took up the introductions again. “Thank you Sifu Xander, and thank you Angel, for the use of your facility.” Angel and Alan exchanged a short bow. “I think most of you know Sifu Xander, either by experience or by reputation. For those who do not, just let me say that he is one of the finest students I have ever had, and I consider him a friend.” Spike saw that Xander was swallowing hard against a lump that had risen in his throat at the high praise, and pride swelled within him. God, I’m a sap, he thought.

Alan ran down the row of students, naming them. The Asian girl was Naomi, and the others were Bruce, Paul, Donna, James and Kelly. Moe, Larry and Curly turned out to be Jeff, Todd and, ironically, Larry. Once the introductions were complete, Alan spoke a phrase in Chinese. The students all sank to their knees, sitting on their heels and dropping their loosely fisted hands to their knees with their eyes closed. Spike recognized the meditation posture that Xander had assumed at his house that first day. The group sat motionless until Alan spoke another phrase; then they placed their fists next to their thighs and bowed until their foreheads touched the floor, then sat up. They rose in rank order, following Alan and Xander.

Brooks came to the front and began warming the group up, taking them through a series of stretches and calisthenics. Spike found himself very impressed with Xander. He had noticed in the bedroom that his lover was flexible, but seeing the human kick one foot straight up in the air, grab the foot and fall effortlessly into a full split made him realize that he needn’t hold back on the “complicated” positions any longer. A small groan slipped out of Spike’s mouth when Xander lifted himself slightly off the floor and converted his American split into a Chinese split; he quickly covered with a cough, but not before Xander, Buffy and Angel all shot him a look. He shrugged and grinned in response.

Warm and sweating lightly, everyone donned padded gloves and mouth guards, coming to stand in a loose semi-circle around Alan and Xander, who were discussing which students should be paired. Angel wound up with Bruce, who was by far the largest student. The two men shook hands, sizing one another up. Buffy was paired with Brooks, and Spike with Naomi. Once all the others were paired up, Alan turned to Xander and indicated that they would be partners.

Naomi and Spike exchanged bows, and then began circling one another, fists up in defensive positions. Spike waited. The petite Asian girl didn’t make him wait long. She stepped in and aimed a flurry of punches at him, which he blocked easily. He responded with a punch and sweep combination; she blocked the punch and deftly sidestepped the sweep. They smiled at one another through their mouth guards, and the speed of their circling increased.

Naomi changed directions and bounced into a front kick combination, Spike blocked and returned with a combination of his own; she danced out of reach. The vampire decided to up the ante, and closed the distance between them to hammer at her with a series of short jabs. She blocked him again, and set her foot behind his to dump him on his ass with a shove to the shoulder. He snagged her wrist and pulled her down with him. They grappled, and Spike was impressed with her flexibility as she slithered out of his grasp. Her light body pinned him, and he slapped the floor as a signal for her to let him up; he preferred to fight on his feet. She hopped up and extended a hand. He touched it lightly and sprang to his feet, circling again.

“Xander was right,” she said; her slight accent softened the name to “Sander”. Spike quirked his scarred eyebrow at her. She grinned. “He was impressed with your fighting skill. You inspired him to study the martial arts.“ Spike’s surprise showed on his face, “He told you that?” His right cross was deflected, and Naomi used his forward momentum to spin him around. Spike used a back fist to block her follow-up strike and sidestepped, ducking a roundhouse kick. He spun again, grabbed her heel and pulled her off of her feet. She laughed out loud and accepted his hand up. As they turned, they realized that everyone else in the room had stopped sparring to watch Xander and Alan.

Spike felt his mouth drop open, and caught the mouth guard as it tumbled from his slack lips. The two men were almost a blur, spinning, kicking and punching. Despite his height, Alan was aiming kicks at Xander’s head and easily reaching the target, only to be deflected away by repeated blocks. Xander was countering with punches and kicks of his own, but neither man was landing many blows. As the students watched, one of Alan’s kicks connected to the center of Xander’s chest, knocking the taller man flat on his back.

Alan advanced to give him a hand up, but Xander rolled back onto his shoulders and jackknifed his body upright in one smooth motion, grabbing the extended hand and using it to flip his opponent. Alan rolled and swept Xander’s feet out from under him, and they fell to the floor, grappling. Spike could see that his lover was trying to exploit his longer limbs, but the master was slippery, repeatedly breaking Xander’s holds. Finally, Alan maneuvered into a position that should have been almost impossible for a human, wrapped one leg around Xander’s neck and pinned him. Xander slapped the floor, and the combatants stood, panting and laughing. As they noticed everyone staring, they said simultaneously “What?” Everyone else in the room broke out into applause.

Alan raised a hand to wipe his forehead and gestured to the group. “All right, enough with the ego-stroking. Change partners, bow, spar.” The students shuffled themselves into new pairings, and Spike found himself facing Bruce, Angel’s previous opponent. The big man was tough, and only Spike’s speed saved him a couple of times. In the third round, Spike was paired with Brooks, and found him to be an able fighter. Spike did smack him around a little, all the while telling himself that it had nothing to do with the hug Xander had shared with the man when he’d arrived. Brooks took his shots and landed a few of his own, a large grin never leaving his face.

After one-on-one sparring, they took a short break. Cordelia had set up a table with towels and drinks and was acting as hostess. Both Xander and Alan had been approached by students and were demonstrating particular moves. Spike grabbed a bottle of water and slung a towel around his neck, and then drifted to where Xander was assisting one of the Stooges, who he introduced as Larry.

Spike watched his lover finished helping the student, and then offered him the water as Larry left them to speak to another student. As Xander drank, Spike asked him in a low voice, “Having fun, luv?” Xander’s smile was breathtaking, not that Spike needed to breathe. “I’m having a blast,” he enthused. “You look like you’re holding your own.” “Course I am,” was Spike’s indignant reply. “I can take a bunch of bloody humans any day.” He stepped just a little closer to Xander, allowing their shoulders to barely brush. The contact was electric. “You really looked good out there, Xan. You make me want to hold you down and make you scream.” His voice was a low, sensuous rumble, pitched so only the two of them could hear. “I can’t wait to get you back upstairs later.” Xander’s hand came up and brushed against the vampire’s arm. He leaned in and whispered, “Sounds good, but right now you have to get away from me so I don’t embarrass myself by getting a major hard on in these pants.” He snared the towel draped over Spike’s shoulder and used it to scrub roughly at his sweaty face and neck, then replaced it and pushed Spike back a step. The vampire yielded and turned to walk away. He hesitated, then took one step backward and turned his head to speak over his shoulder. “Did I mention how much I want you right now?” he asked, then strode quickly away, not looking to see the open, flushed, needy expression on his human’s face, though he knew it was there.

Alan called the group to order and explained that the next sessions would be uneven matches, two on one, three on one and four on two configurations. In the first round, Spike found himself defending against Kelly, a tall, thin blonde woman and Jeff, one of the Stooges. He had very little trouble fighting them off and was even able to sneak looks at Xander, who was easily holding off two students. For three on one sparring, Naomi joined Spike’s attackers, and he was much busier. He caught a few glimpses of huge Bruce joining Xander’s group. For four on two, Spike and Naomi teamed up, as did Xander and Brooks, each team fighting four attackers. Spike found Naomi to be easy to team with, and had fun fighting beside the petite girl. Alan called time, and the group again broke apart to grab towels or water, or just to rest.

Spike sank down against the wall, panting unnecessarily from the exertion. Naomi slid down on one side of him and Buffy on the other. The three passed a water bottle among themselves. After a moment, Buffy looked at Naomi over Spike’s knees. “Do you mind if I ask you a question?” the slayer asked her. “Not at all,” Naomi replied. Buffy hesitated. “Did you know Xander’s wife?” Naomi nodded sadly, and Spike could see the pain in her black eyes. “Yes,” she said. “Shari was my best friend. We went to college together. I was in their wedding.” Spike laid a hand on her shoulder, and Buffy gave her a sad smile. “I’m sorry, Naomi – I shouldn’t have asked.” Naomi smiled. “It’s OK. I just … miss her.” They sat quietly for a moment, and then Spike squeezed the shoulder under his hand gently. “Were they happy?” he whispered. Naomi covered his hand with hers and returned the squeeze. “Yes, they really were. They had something very special.” She hesitated. “You worried about him, yes, while he was gone?” When they both nodded, she continued. “He was happy – they were happy. He will be happy again; with good friends like you to help him.” They shared a smile as Alan called them all to order again.

“I have a special treat for everyone,” he announced. “We’re going to play a little game I like to call ‘bar fight’.” The students laughed knowingly. “In honor of our special guests, we’re going to let Sifu Xander, Spike, Angel and Buffy be the home team.” He gestured at them. “You four are the defenders. Everyone else, you are the attackers. If your ass hits the floor, you’re out, and you have to join the Peanut Gallery. We play to last man standing. Defenders, get ready.” Angel and Buffy immediately turned back to back, and Spike and Xander mirrored their stance, forming a tight square with each one defending a side. Alan looked around at the group. “Bruce, Larry, Kelly and Brooks – attack!”

The brawl was on. Angel scored the first direct hit, knocking Bruce backward with a powerful kick. The big man faltered, but did not go down. Xander kept his shoulder pressed to Spike’s and parried attacks from both sides. Every thirty seconds, Alan called another name and drew another attacker into the melee, jumping in himself at the last. By the time Alan was in, all three Stooges were out, as well as two other students. That left the odds pretty even at five on four. The battle raged like that for several long minutes, each side gaining and losing the advantage, but no one falling. It was Buffy who turned the tide, sending Bruce out with a roundhouse kick that caused him to go over, taking another student with him. That left Naomi, Brooks and Alan fighting the Sunnydale squad. Dawn and Willow were cheering, “Go, Scoobies!” from the sidelines, and the defeated attackers were cheering for both sides.

Spike finally got his wish of fighting Alan, while Xander and Brooks fought, and Buffy and Angel double-teamed Naomi. They managed to knock her down just as Xander dropped Brooks to the floor. The three turned to assist Spike, but stopped short. Spike and Alan were dancing across the floor, flying through the air in flurries of kicks and punches. They both had huge grins on their faces, and it was obvious to all of the spectators that the two men were truly fighting to the best of their abilities. After more than five straight minutes of sparring, with neither able to take the advantage, they wound down, stopping as if by mutual consent. As they came to rest, Spike bowed deeply to the master, who returned a bow of the exact same depth, then straightened to clap the vampire on the shoulder. The room erupted in cheers and the two men were swarmed. In the confusion, Xander managed to grasp Spike’s arm briefly and smile his approval into dancing blue eyes.

Cordelia walked to Angel’s side and spoke to him quietly. The large vampire clapped his hands loudly. Once everyone’s attention was on him he announced, “Well, if we’re done here, Cordelia and Dawn have set us up some drinks and snacks in the lobby.” At a nod from Alan, the sparring participants lined up facing him. He chose to have them bow out with an informal standing bow, and they were soon on their way upstairs, shrugging out of sweaty uniform tops and drying off.

Xander turned to look for Spike, and saw that the blond was talking to Naomi and Bruce in an animated conversation. He took a moment to marvel at his lover. It was hard to believe that this was badass Master Vampire Spike. This man was laughing and joking, and doing that shy-smile-ducking-his-head thing that made Xander crazy every time another student clapped him on the back and complimented him. The Big Bad was practically blushing, and Xander was feeling some answering heat, and not in his face. Xander hung back for a moment to savor the satisfaction he was feeling at the integration of two groups of his friends. Buffy, Angel and the others were mingling easily; Angel was even smiling and pointing out features of the hotel to interested students. Dawn and Jase were trying to keep an eye on Sara as she was passed happily from person to person. Oz and Willow had been cornered by an LA student who recognized Oz from some club gigs, and Cordelia hadn’t left Brooks’ side, which seemed OK with him.

Xander felt a hand on his arm and looked down to see Alan standing beside him. The older man leaned against the wall next to his student. “Thanks for having us, Xander – this was great.” Xander smiled. “Thanks for coming. I was going into withdrawal – no classes for almost a week.” Alan raised an eyebrow, “I think your buddy Spike could be a worthy sparring partner – he’d keep you on your toes.”  Alan hesitated, and then took a breath. “How long have you been away from them?” Xander wasn’t surprised at the perceptive question; Alan had always been able to read situations well. Xander sighed. “Eight years. I was stupid to stay away so long. I had … issues.” Alan laughed, then sobered. “Well, Xan – you know what they say, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and all that.” Xander pushed off from the wall and they turned to go to the elevator. He shot back over his shoulder, “I thought it was ‘out of sight, out of mind’?” Alan gave him a wide-eyed stare. “I find it hard to believe that you could forget these people, even if you tried.” They joined the others.

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