Shame the Devil

Yin Again

Part Thirteen

Xander was standing in Buffy's front yard, under the streetlight. He had one hand on the ornate iron post, the other in his pocket and his face tilted up at the full moon. From his shadowy perch on the back corner of the porch rail, Spike thought he looked otherworldly. The vampire could see his friend clearly as the yellow light poured over the strong profile and glinted off of the silky dark waves that flowed down to brush the shoulders of his shirt. Xander had left his jacket in the car, and the sleeves of his untucked shirt were rolled up to his elbows. His collar and the top two studs were open. He was a tiny bit drunk, and he swayed just a little on his feet as he swung himself around the light post.

Spike watched as Buffy crossed the lawn. When he noticed her, Xander stopped swinging on the lamp post and held his hands out. She placed both of her hands into his, and he lifted them to his mouth, kissing her knuckles. Spike watched as they whispered quietly, noticing the way Xander inclined his dark head attentively, not releasing Buffy's hands. He bent his elbows to draw her closer, placing her hands on his shoulders. She curved one around his shoulder, the other came up to the back of his neck.

Spike could see Xander's lips move against Buffy's cheek, but couldn't tell what was being said. She pulled back a little and looked up into his eyes. With a small nod, she tilted her head, eyes slipping languidly shut. Xander wrapped an arm around her slim waist and let his hand splay on her hip. The fingers of the other hand caressed her back. Their lips touched lightly, almost playfully, and then Spike saw Xander take possession of Buffy's mouth, opening her lips with his own and sliding his tongue inside. The vampire turned and walked slowly into the house.

"Told you so," Xander said, as they broke apart. They each took a small step back. "Just like kissing my sister. Huh."

"Me, too," Buffy said, absently touching two fingers to her mouth. "Weird."

"Yeah," he replied. "The dancing felt right, and holding you in my arms was good, but the kissing..."

"Kinda wrong?" she supplied.

"Very wrong," he said.


"Looks like." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and they turned to walk back to the house.

"Cool," she said. "In that case, I feel no obligation to stay up any later entertaining you. I'm beat, I'm going to bed."

Xander pressed his lips to her temple. "Sleep tight. Love you." "You, too," she said, slipping into the house.

Xander stood on the porch for a moment with his hands in his pockets, smiling. He jumped when the door flew open and Spike stepped out.

"Cell phone," the vampire said shortly, holding out his hand.

Xander handed it over. "Who are you calling?"

"Bill. Thought I'd go back to the hotel - you can call him back when you're ready."

"Why are you leaving?" Xander asked. It wasn't like Spike to flake out before dawn, and that was still two hours away.

"Figured you and Buffy would want some privacy," Spike said, looking down at the phone.

"Spike, Dawn and Willow and Tara are staying here tonight and what would Buffy and I need privacy for?"

The vampire wouldn't meet his eyes. "Oh, I get it," Xander said with a chuckle. "You were watching us and you think we're gonna go upstairs and get it on with a houseful of guests, right? Thanks for giving me so much credit for classiness."

Spike looked up then, and Xander's smile dropped from his lips. Spike looked hurt. His eyes looked soft and vulnerable, and he looked like he was waiting for someone to hit him again. Suddenly, Xander understood.

"Oh, Spike - no. That's not it at all. Buffy and I were just figuring something out." The vampire tried to look down, and Xander reached out to catch his sharp chin with the fingers of one hand, tilting his head up so their eyes could meet. "Earlier tonight, she and I started feeling comfortable together. We didn't know if it was our friendship coming back or the... other. So we kissed, to see if there was anything there." He stopped talking then, because the look in Spike's eyes literally stole his voice.

"And?" Spike said, his voice husky. "Was there? Anything there?"

Xander smiled gently. "Yeah - friendship. Nothing else."

They stood in silence, looking into one another's eyes. "That's good," Spike said slowly, "That you're friends again."

"Uh huh," Xander replied, and he couldn't stop looking from the vampire's eyes to his lips and back again. Spike's eyes mirrored the motion, slipping from Xander's bright brown eyes to his mouth and back. Xander's fingers were still holding his chin lightly, and the points of contact burned with the human's body heat. Xander blinked lazily, and then very carefully and very deliberately slid his fingers back along Spike's face until they curved around his jawbone, pressing lightly into the hollow.

The door opened behind Spike, and Dawn stood there in a pair of pajama pants and a tank top, barefoot, with her hair in a ponytail. "Come on," she said. "Buffy and Tara both crashed, but Willow and I want to spend some time with you guys, OK?"

Xander didn't look away from Spike's eyes and didn't drop his hand. "We'll be right there, Dawnie," he said. She shut the door softly. Xander tightened his fingers against Spike's skin for a second, and then let the touch fall away.

"We're talking about this later," he said.

Spike leaned forward and touched his lips to Xander's with no pressure; just close enough that the other man could feel them move when he spoke. "Yes, we are, pet. Count on it." And then the touch was gone, and Xander shivered at the loss as he followed the vampire inside.

Willow was on the sofa, dressed much the same as Dawn, with her hair falling loose around her face. When the two men walked in the door, she gave them a big smile.

"Kick off your shoes and get comfy. Dawnie went to get drinks and stuff," she said.

Xander toed off his loafers and leaped on top of her, catching his weight on his hands and growling playfully into her neck, making her laugh out loud. Spike sat in the armchair to wrestle his boots off and smiled fondly at their antics. Dawn came back into the room with a tray, which she set carefully onto the table. It held two bottles of tequila, a bowl of lime wedges, a saltshaker and four shot glasses. She looked from Spike to Xander and then over to Willow. "Now," she said, her lip curling into an evil smile, "we're ready to talk."

Thirty minutes later, the girls had each had three shots, Xander four and Spike nine. The first bottle was empty, and the second was going fast. The vampire set the glasses up again and licked the back of his hand, sprinkling salt onto it before he slid the shaker across the table to Dawn. They were all seated on the floor, men on one side of the table, women on the other. Xander leaned down and licked the salt off Spike's hand before expertly tipping a shot into his mouth and then biting into a lime wedge. The girls tossed down their own shots, and Spike took the opportunity to place his hand on Xander's thigh under the table and squeeze the firm, warm muscle. He was gratified when the human shifted under his hand and angled himself a little closer.

Dawn bit her lime and made a face. "Blurgh!" she exclaimed, slamming the shot glass onto the table, grimacing when Willow shushed her. "OK, let's talk about sex."

Xander goggled at her. "I'm thinking 'wildly inappropriate' here," he said.

"Bullshit," she replied.

"OK, then," he said, reasonably, "what did you want to know?"

She smiled. "I wanna know if you're bi."

Xander's mouth fell open, and he looked shocked. The look fell off of his face almost immediately, and he grinned. "Yeah - I'm bi. Have been for a long time, though I'm sort of..."

"Cherry?" Spike helpfully supplied.

Xander turned to face the vampire. "I think 'inexperienced' may be a better word. I've just played on the straight side of the fence a lot more, is all."

"Cherry," Spike repeated.

"Don't make fun of me, fang-face. It's not my fault you vamps will fuck anything." Xander really thought that he'd be better able to look angry if Spike weren't so damn cute.

"Almost anything, pet," Spike said, looking mildly affronted. "It's a fine distinction, but a distinction nonetheless. There are at least a dozen species of demon I wouldn't fuck with your dick."

"Well, that's all of us then. The bi brigade, even," Willow laughed. She laughed harder when Spike and Xander both turned to stare at Dawn.

"Hello, modern woman - all about exploring my options," she said, tossing her ponytail over her shoulder.

Xander looked at Spike, who simply shook his head and gestured toward the tequila. Xander thought about it for a second, and then declined with a shake of his head.

"I have a question," Dawn said.

"Swallow," Xander replied. Spike spit tequila all over the table.

"That's not the question, but it's close," Dawn explained. "I wanna know who gives better blow jobs - girls or boys."

The two men looked at one another. "Boys," they answered together. Both women looked at them with narrowed eyes.

Spike held up a conciliatory hand. "Look here - who does better by you - blokes or birds? Birds, right? A girl knows how to touch you, she knows all the little secret spots and where to go soft and where to go rough, yeah? Cause she's running the same equipment, so to speak. Same with us."

Willow and Dawn considered his comment for a moment, and then both nodded.

"I get that," Willow said.

"How often?" Xander quipped, raising an eyebrow at her.

"More often than you, Cherry," she replied. Xander grabbed her foot and tickled it mercilessly until she managed to crawl out of his reach.

They settled back into their places, and Dawn poured another round of shots. Xander picked Spike's hand up and licked the palm before sprinkling salt into it. He did his shot nonchalantly, making sure to thoroughly lick the salt from the vampire's hand before tossing his tequila back.

"OK, I've got another question," Dawn said. She frowned when both men groaned theatrically. "What's your Bulletproof Kink?"

Willow raised her hand. "I don't think I have any kinks, Dawnie. Vanilla Lesbian here."

Dawn smiled at her. "Not 'tie me up, tie me down' kink - I mean, what's the one thing that'll get you hot no matter what? The thing that always works." She sat up and held one arm out. "Me, for example, I've got this spot, right inside my elbow. Somebody sucks on that spot, and I'm a goner." She shivered dramatically.

"Oh, I get it," Willow said. "Mine's hair-pulling." She sat back against the sofa, pleased with herself. "What?" she asked, noticing that both men were staring at her. "Not like 'drag me to your cave' hair pulling," she explained, "just a gentle tug, exactly the right way. Tara's the only one who can do it, anyway."

Spike leaned across Xander and tangled one hand into the back of Willow's hair, curling his fingers at the roots and tugging. Her eyes immediately closed and a soft moan fell from her lips. The vampire released her and sat back up. Her eyes flew open. "How the... what the..." she spluttered.

Spike looked at her knowingly. "Over a hundred years experience, Red. There's not much I don't know how to do right." He reached over and picked up Xander's hand. He dipped the human's thumb into his shot glass of tequila, salted it, sucked the salt off, and then threw back the liquor. Forgoing the lime, he grinned his evil grin at Willow. Xander sat, dumbstruck.

"Whoa," Dawn said.

"See your 'whoa' and raise you a 'guh'," Xander added.

"OK, Spike," Dawn said, "what's yours?"

He looked at her and laid two fingers against the side of his neck, where the pulse would be if he had one. "I'm easy, Bit - vampire, neck, biting."

"Makes sense," Willow agreed. "What about you, Xan?" she asked.

Xander grinned. "I like talking."

"You or the other person?" Dawn queried.

Xander chuckled. "Has to be the other person; I tend to go all non-verbal," he said.

"What do you like them to say? Dirty stuff?" Dawn asked, and Xander tried not to notice that Spike was listening intently.

"Not necessarily dirty," Xander explained, "I just like to hear ... stuff."

"Xander likes the talky sex," Willow singsonged. He nodded.

"Oh, crap," Dawn said. "It's almost five."

"Yeah," Spike said. "Sun's up in less than an hour."

Xander pulled his phone out of his pocket and called Bill while the girls gathered up the shot glasses, lime peels and empty bottles. Xander closed the phone and sat on the couch to put his shoes on.

While Willow and Spike carried the tray into the kitchen, Dawn came to sit by Xander. She gave him a kiss on the cheek, and accepted one in return.

"Thank you for the party," she said. "I love you. Now go back to the hotel, and if you don't fuck him, I will."

She kissed him again, and then trotted up the stairs, leaving him open-mouthed in her wake.

Part Fourteen

They didn't talk in the car. They sat side by side and looked straight ahead, and Xander hoped that Spike couldn't tell that he was shaking slightly.

Spike could tell.

They arrived at the hotel, and Bill opened the car door. They dismissed the driver, walked into the hotel and took the elevator to the penthouse. Xander swiped the keycard and opened the door, gesturing for Spike to precede him into the room. He shut and bolted the door, making sure that the "Do Not Disturb" sign was hanging from the knob. When he turned from the door, Spike was standing by the bar, looking at him and Xander caught his breath audibly.

The vampire's eyes were shining, but his expression was serious. Xander walked to him and stopped a foot away. Spike smiled gently, but didn't move.

Xander raised one hand and brushed it lightly over Spike's prominent cheekbone. "Spike...could you..." he stammered, and suddenly they were in each other's arms. Xander found that his memory was correct - the vampire's soft curls fit neatly in the crook of his neck as strong arms wrapped themselves around his waist. He ducked his head until his nose touched the top of Spike's head and inhaled and exhaled deeply for a moment. He could feel the brush of Spike's lashes as he blinked against his neck, then he felt a cool dampness as a gentle kiss was pressed there.

Xander tightened his arms and held Spike's smaller frame against his chest. He crushed their bodies together for a long moment, and then relaxed his hold a little. Spike turned his face up and tilted his head invitingly. Xander canted his head the slightest fraction to the side and they were kissing. The vampire's lips were as cool as the human's were hot, and the contrast made them both shiver. Spike insinuated a hand between them and brought his fingers up to cup Xander's cheek.

Their mouths slid gently together, each getting a feel for the other before deepening the contact. Xander let the tip of his tongue trace invitingly against Spike's lower lip, and he sighed when the vampire answered it with the touch of his own cool tongue and a soft groan. Xander brought one hand up to the back of Spike's neck and deepened the kiss further. Xander had a secret, and Spike was just finding it out: Xander was a phenomenal kisser. From closet time with Cordelia Chase to a few carefully chosen one-night stands, Xander's kissing prowess had been appreciated by all along the way.

Xander broke the kiss so he could catch his breath. He pulled back and looked into Spike's hazy, slightly shocked blue eyes.

The vampire blinked slowly. "Christ, Xan. I'm an idiot," he breathed.

Xander smiled and tilted his head questioningly.

"I should have kissed you a long time ago, pet," he continued, "I never would have stopped." He leaned forward and kissed Xander again, slowly and thoroughly. When they broke apart again, they were both panting.

Xander laid his head onto Spike's shoulder. "Why didn't you?" he asked.

Spike mirrored the motion, laying his head on Xander's shoulder, turning so his lips brushed the human's warm neck as he spoke. "Was bloody scared to. I haven't had a whole lot of friends, and I didn't want to make things awkward between us."

Xander put his hands on Spike's shoulders and pushed him out to arm's length. "So, you didn't think the occasional stoned leg-humping was awkward?" he laughed.

The vampire ducked his head and shrugged. "Dutch courage, pet, or in this case, Bolivian or Chinese. Was the only time I was ballsy enough - and it still didn't work out. You always took care of me, but you never reacted at all."

Xander raised one hand to tip Spike's face up. "I couldn't. I wanted you, but not that way, Spike. I didn't want to think you could only want me if you were...altered. It hurt too much."

"Jesus, love," Spike groaned, dropping his eyes. "I'm so sorry. I never meant to hurt you like that. As usual, I didn't think."

"Spike," Xander's voice was soft, and the vampire looked up into shining brown eyes. "Maybe you can find a way to make it up to me."

Spike's lips curled up into a grin. "Yes, Xan, I think maybe I can make it up to you. Why don't we explore that idea a little bit, yeah?" He reached up and undid a stud on Xander's shirt, sliding the backs of his fingers against the exposed skin in a small circle before moving on to the next stud. He could hear Xander's heartbeat speed up, could see his pulse thudding faster in his neck. He used his hands to spread the sides of Xander's shirt and leaned forward to press a kiss just below the hollow of one collarbone. He moved his lips up and traced the arch of bone with his tongue. Xander shuddered.

Spike continued opening the studs until the shirt hung open, then eased it from Xander's shoulders, all the while moving from one collarbone to the other, kissing and licking delicately. Xander toed off his loafers and socks, and Spike broke away to pull off his own footwear. He started to unfasten the studs of his own shirt, and Xander was instantly by his side, taking over with shaking hands. Spike placed his hands on Xander's shoulders and leaned in to whisper in the other man's ear.

"I've got an idea, pet," he said. "I think I know how to make it up to you." He chuckled, and the low sound sent shivers up Xander's spine. "I'm going to work on that - what did Dawn call it - that bulletproof kink of yours." The vampire's shirt slipped off his shoulders and down to the floor. Spike brought his hands to Xander's waist and unbuckled his belt. His lips were still brushing the shell of the human's ear, and he continued speaking in a low growl as he unbuttoned and unzipped the tuxedo trousers, letting them fall to the floor.

"I want you, Xander. I want to touch you and kiss you. I want every inch of you." Spike pushed against Xander's shoulder, and the taller man stepped out of the puddled trousers and backward. They moved in tandem across the room and through the door of Xander's bedroom, which was illuminated only by the bedside lamp. They continued walking until the backs of Xander's knees touched the edge of the bed. Another gentle shove and Xander was sprawled at full length on the bed, wearing nothing but his black silk boxer shorts. He tucked his hands behind his head and canted his hips up slightly, causing the thin material to cling to the length of his erection, outlining it. Spike hissed at the sight and leaned down to run a finger lightly down the silk-covered bulge. Xander shifted toward the touch and whimpered slightly when it was withdrawn.

Spike brought his hands to his own belt, unbuckling it and sliding it slowly through the loops before dropping it on the floor. He considered removing his trousers, but decided that having the barrier between his sensitized flesh and Xander's heat was a good idea for the moment. He moved over to the bed and carefully lowered his body to press full-length against the other man.

"Hello, love," he whispered.

"Hi," Xander replied, smiling breathlessly.

"You feel so good," Spike said. He balanced his weight on his hands and allowed his lower body to brush enticingly against Xander's. Tanned arms came up to wrap around slim hips and increase the contact. Spike allowed it for a moment, thrusting his erection against Xander's before pulling back.

"Don't be in such a hurry. We have all the time in the world. I need you to tell me a few things, pet." Spike's blue eyes looked into Xander's brown ones, and he smiled. "How close to the mark was I with the 'Cherry' comment, Xan?" He laughed softly when Xander flushed. "'s alright, pet - I just want to know where we stand, is all. Don't go getting freaked out."

Xander smiled sheepishly. "Pretty close, actually. I, um, I've only ever been..." He trailed off in embarrassment.

"Always been the top? Figured as much; it's a good place to start. Don't worry, you'll get your turn." He laughed again when Xander's eyes began to smolder and his heart rate jumped another notch. "I want you on me, love, in me, breaking me open, owning me. I want all that heat and hardness splitting me, fucking me, crushing me. But you are gonna bottom for me, Xan. I'll have you under me, all hot and wet and open. I swear you'll beg for it, you'll want it so bad. I'm gonna hold you down, tear you apart, turn you inside out. Want to be in you - tongue and fingers, cock and fangs. I want everything."

Xander's hands were opening and closing convulsively on Spike's hips, but he made no move to wrest control from the vampire. He was enjoying himself too much. Spike's low voice was rolling through him, making his bones resonate with the dark hum of his words. He was so hard his cock was dripping, soaking the silk of his boxers, the hot fluid painting his belly.

"I want everything," Spike repeated, making sure that Xander was looking him in the eye. "I've spent too many years gettin' it halfway. I know you, Xander, and you know me. You know what I am, what I can do, what I can give you if you'll let me. I'm not going to apologize for my nature." He nuzzled Xander's neck, allowing his game face to come forward and scraping lightly along the human's jugular with a fang. Xander bucked, and Spike could smell the burst of pheromones that wafted up from his hot skin. The heady fragrance of lust swirled around his enhanced senses.

He shook off his demon visage and kissed Xander roughly, thrusting their bodies together for a moment before pulling back again. Xander groaned his frustration. "I know you're close, love, I can smell it. I can smell your come, building up, so ready to go. You just need a little bit more, don't you? Just a touch, just my hand on you, my mouth on you." Xander trembled harder with each word. Spike drew his tongue up the side of his neck and swirled the tip against the curve of his ear, then moved in for the kill.

"We're going to do everything, love - everything you've ever wanted. We've got days and days to spend together, and I'm going to spend them learning you inside and out. I want to feel you around me, hot and tight. God, I can't wait to come inside you, can't wait to hear you beg me to fuck you." Xander's breath was coming in gasps, and Spike could smell how close he was to orgasm. "Gonna fuck you, Xan, gonna make you scream." It was too much; Xander pulled Spike's hips down to his and rubbed against him roughly once, then twice before his body stiffened and he came, crying out harshly.

Spike stared into Xander's face, watching the expression of pained ecstasy that swept over his features. His own orgasm rushed through him, taking him by surprise, and he gasped and shuddered before collapsing onto the warm body below him. Xander brought his hands up to cradle Spike's head, carding his fingers through the blond waves before raising his head to kiss the vampire slowly.

Xander pulled back and smiled. "I can't believe you just talked me off," he laughed. He trailed his hands down Spike's sides, moving one between them, questing.

Spike laughed shortly and stopped him with a hand on his wrist. "No need, pet. I came when you did. The look on your face..."

Xander leaned up and captured Spike's lips in a gentle kiss. It was one of those post-orgasm kisses - soft and deep and exciting without being urgent; a perfect coda to the roller coaster ride of the night that preceded it. The kiss faded away, lips moving to brush against the hard planes of cheeks and over chins and eyebrows and cheekbones and jaws, accompanied by soft sighs and small noises of satisfaction.

Finally, the vampire rolled them to their sides, and then stood to strip off his damp trousers. Xander wiggled out of his boxers and Spike appropriated them to clean them both up. He balled up the soiled garment and tossed it away. Xander shrugged his way under the blankets and held them up for Spike. The vampire settled against his chest, half-lying on top of him as he reached over and turned out the light.

Xander pressed a kiss to the top of Spike's head, and then sighed happily. Spike felt the vibration as Xander started to giggle. "What's so funny?" he asked.

"Wordgasm," Xander said, and they laughed together until sleep claimed them.

Part Fifteen

Xander awoke with his arms around Spike, his nose buried in the nape of the vampire's neck, and his morning erection pressed between the firm globes of his ass. His first impulse was blind panic. Mercifully, that passed in an instant, and he gave in to his second impulse - gently kissing the back of the vampire's neck while pushing his entire body strongly against the lean, cool back. Spike shifted backward, increasing the contact, and Xander let his hand wander down the contours of his chiseled abdomen to brush against his erection.

Spike groaned as Xander began stroking him while at the same time thrusting against him. They picked up a slow rhythm, Spike pushing forward into Xander's tight grip and back against his steely hardness. Xander licked, sucked and bit Spike's sensitive neck the whole time, causing the vampire to arch his head back and keen with pleasure while his hands fisted helplessly in the sheets.

"Gonna come, Xan," Spike groaned. "Oh, God, I want to taste you."

Xander slipped his other hand between Spike's neck and the pillow, bringing his wrist to the vampire's mouth. Spike cradled the proffered arm gently in his fingers and licked at the spot where wrist and hand met, tracing the fine veins there with the tip of his cool tongue.

"You sure?" he asked.

"Uh huh. Bite me," Xander grunted in his ear and stroked his cock even faster in the friction-warmed cleft. Spike morphed into game face and very gently sank his fangs into Xander. The human jerked momentarily at the sharp pain, then gasped audibly at the pleasure that suffused his body, radiating out from the two points where Spike's fangs pressed inside him. Xander bucked hard against Spike's body and climaxed, shooting hot jets of come between them. Spike sucked one more time and spilled his own release over Xander's hand.

While they both calmed down, Spike continued to run his tongue over the marks from his fangs, licking them long after they'd closed. Finally, after wiping his hand on the sheet, Xander drew his arm back and leaned up to prop himself on his elbow. He rested his other hand on the curve of Spike's waist, rubbing the indention there with the tips of his fingers.

"Good morning," he said.

"Mornin', pet," the sated vampire replied. "Breakfast?"

"Shower," Xander said, noting how sticky his chest and belly were.

"You get in the shower," Spike said, "I'll order."

Xander kissed him one last time on the neck and wandered off to the bathroom.

By the time the food arrived, they were both clean and dressed, and if the waiter thought having waffles at 6:00 pm was strange, he didn't say so. Halfway through their meal, Spike jumped up and went into Xander's bathroom, coming back with a small bottle in his hand.

"Here," he said, tossing it to Xander, who looked at him questioningly. "For your headache."

"Thanks. How did you know I have a headache?" Xander asked.

"Could taste it in your blood - silly mortals and your hangovers," Spike scoffed.

Xander washed down a couple of the painkillers with his juice and went back to eating his waffles. He had the fork halfway to his mouth when he dropped it onto the plate with a clatter. Spike raised an eyebrow at him.

"We're dumb," Xander exclaimed.

Shortly after sunset, Spike and Xander came hurtling into the Magic Box, hand in hand. As soon as Dawn saw them, she began to squeal.

"You did, didn't you?" she asked.

Spike looked at her and grinned. "Yeah, Bit. We did." She ran over and hugged him.

Xander looked fondly at the two of them. "God, you're like a couple of teenage girls," he said, laughing when they both stuck their tongues out at him. "Where's Willow?"

"Right here," the redheaded witch said, popping her head out of the office. "What's up?"

Xander grabbed Spike and dragged the vampire, with Dawn attached to his other hand, into Willow's office. "We know how to find out what's wrong with Giles." He had to laugh at the completely nonplussed look on her face.

"How? What? How?" she spluttered.

"Three excellent questions," he rejoined, and then laughed out loud again when the petite girl launched herself into his arms.

They broke apart and she looked up into his face, beaming. "What? How? Tell me, tell me!"

"Vampires can taste emotions and pain and stuff - Spike should be able to tell what's up with Giles if he tastes his blood," Xander explained.

Dawn clapped her hands excitedly. "Let's run by Buffy's - I'll get my bag. Then we can go to Willow and Tara's and I can draw some blood so Spike can taste it! Let's go!" She turned and ran out to the main part of the shop to lock up. Willow turned to gather her things from her desk and missed the significant look that passed between Spike and Xander. When she turned back around, she didn't miss their clasped hands.

"When? What? How?" she spluttered again, pointing at their linked fingers. "Xander, when I asked you said nothing was going on!"

"When you asked, there wasn't," he told her, ducking his head a little. "It's new. Like, last night new."

Willow enfolded both men in her arms, pulling their heads close to hers on either side. "If one of you hurts the other, I will say seven words that will make your man parts shrivel up and drop off, and I don't mean that figuratively," she threatened.

Xander swallowed audibly. "Upgraded the shovel talk, I see," he said weakly.

"Gotta change with the times," she said, shrugging. She turned and went after Dawn.

Spike looked at Xander. "She scares the unliving fuck out of me sometimes," he said.

"No shit," Xander replied. They looked at each other for a second, and then Xander leaned in to kiss Spike gently. The kiss was starting to intensify when Dawn cleared her throat from the doorway.

"As panty-dampening as that is," she said, "we've got a Watcher to cure." She turned and left the room again.

"Panty-dampening?" Xander mouthed at Spike, who shrugged and led him out.

Giles was happy to have blood drawn, though Spike posited that in his current state the Watcher would have been happy to strip down, paint himself lavender and join a pride parade. Dawn expertly applied a tourniquet, found a likely vein and deftly drew a large syringe full of blood, which she squirted into a small cup and handed to Spike, who tasted it, and immediately spit it back into the cup.

"Beer me," he demanded. "That was awful." Tara hopped up and went to rummage in the witches' refrigerator for a beer for Spike.

"So, what's wrong with him?" Xander asked the disgusted vampire.

"He's been poisoned," Spike replied, taking the beer from Tara with a grateful look and slugging back half of it.

The others all started talking at once, and all Spike heard was a cacophony of voices. He waited until they fell silent to speak.

"I don't know exactly what. The blood loses its potency if it's not still in the person, and it's hard to get a read on exactly what's going on. I can tell you one thing, though - Watcher's happy as a lark. Whatever it is must have some sort of euphoric effect." Spike looked over at Giles, who beamed back.

"Well, I'm glad he's happy," Willow said, frowning. "But we really need to fix him."

"Spike could just bite him," Xander said, then slapped a hand over his mouth.

"Spike could what?" Buffy asked, standing in the doorway with Sia behind her.

Xander looked at Spike. "Oops?"

"A little over six years ago." Xander's pronouncement was met with bleak silence and blank stares.

"OK," Buffy said carefully. "That answers the when; what about the how?"

"Brain surgery, Cedars Sinai," Spike said. The blank stares were back. Spike glanced over at Xander. "This might be fun if it wasn't so freaky," he said quietly.

"You had brain surgery?" Willow asked.

Spike nodded.

"How did you do that?" she said.

"Money talks. The more money, the louder it talks. Turns out almost everyone can be bought," Xander explained.

"So, you didn't need me to get you blood because..." Willow continued, glancing to the side to make sure that Sia and Giles had gone to the back of the house as requested.

"Because I can get it myself," Spike said.

"You don't drink out of bags anymore, do you, Spike?" Buffy's voice was toneless.

"No, Slayer, I don't." Spike looked at her unwaveringly. She continued to stare at the hands clasped in her lap.

She looked up and met his eyes. "But, you don't kill people." It was a statement, not a question.

Xander watched as Spike's mouth dropped open in surprise, and then smiled a little as the vampire caught himself and turned the expression into a sly grin. "And what makes you think that?" he purred silkily.

"I just don't think you would. Besides, I don't think Xander would let you." Her voice was confident, and she gave first Spike and then Xander a penetrating look.

"You're not wrong," the vampire conceded.

"So, where do you get your blood?" Buffy asked.

"The bodyguards," Dawn said, and the others all turned to look at her. "What?" she asked. "Haven't you seen them eat? Those guys are red meat fiends. They each ate half a cow at the party."

"They...let you..." Tara stammered a little as she spoke.

"It's part of their job, Tara. They're probably the highest-paid bodyguards on Earth. We recruit them specially - we screen them very carefully; have to make sure they're healthy, no addictive personality traits, stuff like that," Xander took her hand as he spoke, and she clutched his strongly as she absorbed the information.

"So they know Spike's a vamp," Buffy said.

"It's hard to miss when I'm feeding off of them," Spike said gently.

"So, where do you get them?" Willow asked.

"Cleveland, mostly," Xander said.

The others nodded, acknowledging the sense of recruiting people in the know, supernaturally speaking, from the site of the currently most active Hellmouth.

"I think you're missing the point here," Dawn said, looking at Spike.

He raised an eyebrow at her and waited.

"You're telling me that you know a neurosurgeon at Cedars, and you didn't use that connection to get me an internship there? You suck."

Part Sixteen

"OK," Spike said, grimacing. "Let's do this." He held Giles' wrist and bowed his head, biting as gently as he could. He took a small mouthful of blood and pulled away. He picked his beer up and drained it.

"Miskogen demon musk and alefin weed," he pronounced. "Bit, will you get me another beer? Watcher's blood tastes like shit."

Tara gently bandaged Giles' wrist while he beamed at her and patted her shoulder with his free hand. Dawn hopped up and returned quickly with the beer.

"Thanks," Spike said. "OK, Miskogen musk is a good, all-around confusion poison - it just makes the victim docile and hazy. Alefin is sort of a natural narcotic. Both of 'em are one-shot deals; the effects last until the antidote is given."

"How do you know that?" Xander asked.

"Dru and Darla liked to mess around with that sort of stuff in the old days. They poisoned a city well with Miskogen musk, and then ate all the people while they wandered around like idiots. I couldn't stand the taste, myself." Spike shook his head at the memory.

"What are the antidotes?" Dawn asked.

"Hell if I know," Spike said.

Willow piped up. "Yay, research!" At the looks from the others she added, "OK, so I'm still a nerd, deal."

Xander looked at Spike, and noticed that Sia was edging nervously toward the vampire. He slid onto the sofa next to Spike and held a hand out to the girl.

"Hey, Sia," he said. "Did you want to ask Spike something?"

She took his hand in one of hers, and then reached for one of Spike's. Holding both of their hands, she smiled.

"Cool," she said.

"What's cool?" Spike asked

"You belong," she told him gravely, looking from one man to the other and back again.

"Who do we belong to?" Xander asked.

She brought their hands together and waited until they linked fingers before she withdrew her hands. "Each other. Us," she replied. Turning, she resumed her customary place at Giles' side.

"Freaky kid," Spike said, "I like her."

Back at the Magic Box, Willow and Tara hit the books, researching the antidotes for the two poisons. Buffy and Dawn pitched in to help with the mundane tasks of shopkeeping, stocking shelves and inventorying supplies. Spike and Xander removed themselves to the "Danger Room" to spar.

"Nice work with the poison identification," Xander said, as he stripped off his faded blue oxford. He draped it over the weapons rack and kicked off his shoes and socks, leaving him clad in old jeans and a white tee shirt.

"Thanks." Spike shrugged out of his sweater, and then toed off his boots. He bent to remove his socks, and Xander pushed one of his shoulders hard enough to make him go down in a heap. The human tried to dance out of the way, but was snared by one ankle and pulled to the floor.

Xander ceased struggling when Spike crawled up his body, hemming him in with hands planted on the mat on either side of his head.

"You're bad," the vampire whispered, dipping his head to brush cool lips against Xander's heated ones.

"You like it," Xander replied, trying and failing to deepen the kiss.

"Yes I do," Spike said, and then, in a move that defied description and all laws of physics, he managed to rub his entire body against Xander's in a single, long undulation that left the human panting into his mouth.

"Do. That. Again," Xander demanded, and Spike happily repeated the motion again and again, watching the human's eyes roll back in his head with pleasure.

Xander blinked in confusion when Spike suddenly levered to his feet to stand over him. The vampire reached a hand down.

"We're stopping?" Xander asked, allowing himself to be pulled upright. "I don't want to stop. Stopping bad."

"Not stopping," the vampire purred, leading Xander across the room. "Relocating." He stopped and spun them around so that he could push Xander's back up against the door and plaster himself to the human's warm chest.

"Oh, good," Xander sighed, before threading his fingers into Spike's hair and pulling their mouths together. He gasped into the kiss as the vampire's nimble fingers went to work on the fastenings of both of their jeans, freeing their hard cocks and pressing them together with one hand. "Oh, good," Xander repeated. "Really good."

They both tensed when a knock sounded from the other side of the door.

"What?" they demanded in unison.

"Sorry," Dawn said, "just checking on you."

"If you'll go away, we'll be fine." Xander's voice wavered as Spike started slowly fisting their erections.

"So, you want me to go away?" she asked through the door, smothering a giggle.

"Yes, please," Xander replied, partially succeeding in biting back a groan as Spike sank to his knees before him, stripped jeans and boxers from his legs and stared at the wet, swollen head of his cock licking his lips.

"OK, if you and Spike will agree that I can go on a date with Isha," Dawn said.

"Uh huh! Yeah!" Xander shouted, as the vampire engulfed him to the root in his cool mouth.

"Cool!" Dawn squealed, and they heard her footsteps retreat.

"Oh, fuck! Spike! Jesusfuck, oh God!" Xander babbled as he was sucked hard and Spike started kneading and pulling at his balls. He clutched his hands in the vampire's blond curls and tightened them, pulling Spike's hair savagely, which only seemed to spur him on to greater speed and suction. Xander felt rather than saw Spike slip two fingers into his mouth, running them up and down the straining shaft, wetting them thoroughly.

"Ungggggh." Xander lost the power of speech as the spit-slick fingers began tracing the sensitive strip of skin behind his balls. He quickly freed one foot from the tangle of his pants so he could spread his legs. Spike's fingers moved back and traced his opening. The tip of one finger pushed inside, and Xander pushed back against it, groaning as he was stretched and filled. Spike waited for a second, then pulled out and thrust back in with two fingers, twisting them, questing. He found the tiny bundle of nerves deep inside Xander's body and pressed.

The human's head slammed back against the solid door with a crack, and he slapped his own hand over his mouth to muffle the cry of "fuck, fuck, fuck!" that he couldn't stop. Spike twisted his fingers again and pulled back so that just the head of Xander's cock was in his mouth. He sucked hard, and Xander came, babbling nonsensically into the palm still cupped over his lips. Spike thrust his fingers into Xander as he swallowed once, then twice, then pulled away, rolling the last of the human's hot fluid around his mouth with his tongue.

Spike sat back on his heels and looked up at Xander, who had collapsed against the door, panting. Xander slid down to the floor, and Spike leaned forward and kissed him, letting the tiny bit of fluid in his mouth slide from his tongue to Xander's. The human tugged, and Spike fell gracefully, rolling them both back onto the mats on their sides. Xander caught his breath, and then reached between them to stroke a finger down the length of Spike's dripping erection.

"Ohhh," Spike moaned, and Xander could tell that he was very close to the edge. Looking down, he traced the tip of his finger around the edge of the vampire's foreskin, pushing it back. He traced the ridge, then the slit, and then brought his thumb up to sweep over the head. He repeated the motion until Spike tilted his head up so their eyes could lock.

The vampire's eyes were almost black with lust, and Xander could feel his body shaking slightly. He pushed his other hand between Spike's legs and cupped his balls, rolling and tugging the velvet sac, walking his fingers along the slick skin of the vampire's perineum and sliding the tips of his fingers between his cheeks.

"Please, Xan," Spike begged. "Please touch me, make me come. I want you so much. Please, love."

The begging completely undid Xander, and he tilted his head to catch Spike's lips with his own as he wrapped one hand around the vampire's cock and began to stroke. He clasped the lower curves of Spike's hard buttocks with the other hand, allowing his spread fingers to dig into the firm muscle. Spike groaned and thrust into Xander's hot hand, twisting his fingers into sable waves and stroking the human's tongue with his own.

They writhed together on the padded floor until Spike stiffened and spilled his release between them, crying out into Xander's mouth. The two men separated, falling onto their backs. Each instinctively shifted toward the other so that their hips touched. Xander looked down at their disarrayed clothing and laughed softly. He struggled out of his tee shirt and used it to wipe their bellies and his sticky hand, then tossed the soiled garment toward the trash bin in the corner.

Spike reached over and twined their fingers, drawing their meshed hands up onto his chest, where he could lean his head down to drop dainty kisses onto Xander's fingertips.

Xander replayed the events of the previous fifteen minutes in his head, and then groaned.

"What is it, love?" Spike asked, blue eyes flashing worriedly.

Xander brought his free hand up to rub over his eyes. "We agreed to let Dawn go out on a date with Isha," he explained.

Spike considered that for a moment with a serious look, and then brightened visibly. "Nope, you agreed - I didn't say anything."

Xander turned his head to catch his lover's eyes. "Do you want to explain to Dawn that you didn't answer the question because you had my dick in your mouth, or do you just wanna go along with the date idea?"

Spike seemed to weigh his options, and then sighed. "Fine, they can go out on a date. Let's get Willow to give him the new shovel talk."

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