Take Care: Over

By: Highlander II

For: robintcj

Rating: R (leaning toward NC-17 for imagery); language, homoerotic sexual situations
Spoilers: None
Summary: Fic-let written as follow-up to a 'Secret Santa' gift for robintcj at the BtVS_Santa LJ. It follows canon through the end of season 5, keeps with canon, but with a little twist. This piece takes place just after the events of "Hell's Bells" and continues from events in "Done".
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Joss Whedon and are property of Kuzui/Kuzui Entertainment, Mutant Enemy Productions, WB, UPN, FOX etc. etc.
Feedback: Highlander II

Xander sat cross-legged in the middle of the living room floor with his tall glass of chocolate milk and plateful of chocolate chip cookies. He rested his elbows on his knees and steepled his fingers under his chin. The sunlight through the window was warm on his skin and filled the otherwise empty apartment with yellow light.

He had not seen, much less spoken to, Spike in several days. The last time they had talked, he had told Spike he needed to think some things through. He was still thinking. That was what he was doing now. Thinking. About Spike, about his friends, about Anya, about sex... nothing new on that last one. He wanted to stop worrying about his friends, about his feelings for Spike, everything. Scooby stuff, he was fine with that, but the personal things? Much harder.

He thought back to that first night it happened; the first time he had actually had sex with Spike and not just Spike's amazing oral variety either. The real deal.


Xander woke to find himself still wrapped in Spike's arms, or as much in them as he had allowed before they had fallen asleep. It was just enough to know that Spike was there, but not enough to be confining. He looked up at the bleached vampire's face, watched him sleep without movement. He wanted to wake the bastard up, talk to him about what it all meant and where it was going to go in the morning. He wanted to know if he could learn from Spike why he sought solace here, in the dusty crypt of this enemy vampire, instead of with his friends. He also wanted to feel those strong vampire arms holding him, protecting him from whatever evils might be lurking in the darkness.

He wanted it. He shifted and rolled over, pressing himself into the body of the vampire. Then he felt well-built arms encircling him and it was all and nothing at the same time. All he wanted and nothing he did not. Spike's chin was resting on the top of his head and he nuzzled closer and fell asleep again, tucked away, safe in the arms of this bleached foe, who was suffering emotional maladies so similar to his own, he was not quite sure who was comforting whom and when.


What would his friends have thought if they had known about that night? Would they have excused it as 'grieving over Buffy and doing something stupid'? Or would they have been disappointed in him? Hell, he was not even sure how he had felt, except that he liked the way it felt - being with Spike. It wasn't about comfort, not really. I didn't want comfort. I wanted sex. I wanted Spike. I still do. How do I get myself into shit like this?

He took a long drink of his chocolate milk and stared at the plate of cookies. Willow had made them because she said he looked like he could use some 'cookie goodness'. Willow was the best. She had not asked why he was in a 'mood' or if there was anything she could do; she just brought him cookies. Not that he could have told anyone why he was in this 'mood' if anyone had asked. How was he supposed to tell them that he was confused about his feelings and that those feelings were about Spike?

"Right then. What would you say to Buffy, let's say, if you found out she was sleeping with me?" Spike had asked.

That question was bothering him. That and that look Spike had given him when he mentioned Spike taking orders from Buffy. What had that been about? Was there something going on with Spike and Buffy? He shook his head and took another drink of his milk. No. Spike wouldn't be sleeping with me if he was with Buffy too. Would he? He stared out the window, into the sunshine. Then again, I was still with Anya and was sleeping with Spike. Shit. My life is just screwed up, isn't it?


Spike grabbed his shoulders, holding on, wanting. He looked up and the vampire's eyes were closed tight, his bleached head rolled back. Xander leaned forward and dragged his tongue across the vampire's exposed neck and felt the groan of pleasure build deep in Spike's throat before it passed his lips.

"Xander," Spike moaned, "don't stop."

Into Spike's ear he whispered, "Wouldn't dream of it," and slid his hands to Spike's hips as he continued to move his own, pushing and driving into the body beneath him. He loved this - this feeling; being inside Spike, feeling him move beneath him. He loved how Spike would lose control; he reveled in that feeling, that he, Xander Harris, could make the Big Bad lose control, even if only for a moment. The feel of hard muscle under his hands, twitching at his touch; the gasps and moans the vampire could never quite keep inside as he did just the right thing at just the right time.

Several weeks ago, he would never have imagined that he could do any of this. He would never have thought he would want to. And now, now he could not see how he had survived without it. Without knowing Spike so intimately. The vampire would never admit that he liked being taken, but he knew Spike enjoyed whatever they did. He just knew.

If that was the case, why was the stupid vampire pushing at him now and making the uncomfortable noises? "What?" he breathed.

Spike pushed against his chest. "Get up, you nit. Someone's poundin' on m'door."

"Ignore them. They'll go away," he countered and tried to shove Spike back into the bed. "Stop."

"Harris, get up. I don't fancy Slayer stompin' down here and tearin' us both apart."

The message decided to sink into his lust-addled brain and he sat up a bit. "What? Buffy's here?"

"Well, I don't know, do I? As I'm down here with you and not up there," Spike pointed toward the upper level, "where I can answer the door."

"Shit. Was almost done too," he grumbled.

Spike rolled his eyes. "Just get up, mate. We'll pick it up when I get rid of whoever's up there."

He rolled off the vampire and lay panting and annoyed on the bed. Spike slid off the bed and started for the ladder - completely lacking clothing. "Spike," he hissed, then threw the black jeans at the vampire.

Spike smirked back at him as he caught his jeans and tugged them on. Then the bleached menace disappeared up the ladder.

Xander tried to listen, to hear, what was happening above ground, but the stone floor blocked too much of the sound. All he got was muffled sounds of voices. His imagination took off running, picturing what could be going on up there: Spike really did still have a thing for Buffy and she had finally decided to reciprocate and they were up there, going at it like bunnies; Anya was looking for him and was trying to convince Spike to help; there was something big going down and Buffy needed Spike to help fight whatever it was and they were going to leave him down here, cold and naked, until they got back...

Spike slinked back down the ladder, a little worse for the wear, and collapsed onto the bed. Xander looked closer and noticed bruises beginning to form on the vampire's face, chest and arms.

"Spike, what happened?" he asked, resisting the urge to reach out and touch the bruised skin.

"Hit me," Spike managed with apparent difficulty.


Spike blinked and glared up at him, then looked away and closed his eyes.

"No, Spike. Buffy did this? Just now? Why?" He sat up more, looking down at the bleached vampire, who was obviously in some pain.

Spike sighed. "Didn't like what I had to say, I guess."

He blinked. "What the hell did you say to her?"

Spike shook his head. "Not important. I'll be fine."

He nodded and leaned over the vampire, placing his hands on either side of Spike's head, then pressed his lips to Spike's. He kissed gently, lightly.

"Uh, mate," Spike said, "I don't think I'm quite up for starting over,"

"Shh," Xander whispered and kissed his way down Spike's neck, over his chest, down his abdomen, careful not to abuse any of the purpling bruises as he moved. He unfastened the black jeans and pushed them out of the way, then glided his tongue over one intricate hipbone and felt Spike shudder involuntarily. He took a quick glance up for any facial indications - nothing. "You want me to stop?" he asked nervously, afraid he had done something wrong.

Spike shook his head slowly.

Xander turned his attention back to the body of the pained vampire. He had only done this once before, and then it was with a coherent Spike's instructions and direction. This time, he was on his own. He traced his fingers along Spike's length, touching, testing, receiving a satisfactory moan in response. So, he kept going, stroking, then shifting closer and drawing his tongue along after his fingers. Another moan and he felt the sheets gather where Spike had clenched them in his fist. He licked around the tip, then took Spike full into his mouth. The vampire's back arched off the bed.

"Bloody hell, Harris," Spike gasped.

Satisfied he was, at least, doing something right, he applied light pressure with his tongue. He really did not know what Spike liked, so he experimented with positions and pressures; doing things he had enjoyed Anya doing to him and things he had always wanted Anya to do, but had been too afraid to ask. All of it, somehow, with Spike was different. Like he knew, no matter what he did, Spike would not laugh at him or snap at him - well, not any more than usual.


The plate of cookies became interesting again. If I wasn't sleeping with Spike and I learned he was sleeping with Buffy... which would never happen because she hates him... what would I say? Would I yell? Scream? Get angry? He grabbed one of the cookies and took a hearty bite out of it. Crumbs dropped into his milk. He stared down at them floating and swirling around the chocolaty liquid, and pondered the question again - "What would I do if Buffy was sleeping with Spike?"

Angry? Would I be angry? Yeah, probably. It's Spike and he's a vampire. But it's more than that, she's my best friend. I love Buffy and if she ever did anything that destructive.... He shook his head. "Buffy wouldn't do that." He stared at his milk again. He finished his cookie, then drained the last of his milk and got to his feet.

I need to talk to Spike.


"What's wrong, mate?" Spike asked, looking up from some sort of project he was working on in the middle of the floor as Xander stepped into the crypt.

Xander frowned and pushed the door closed. "What the hell is that?" he asked back, pointing at whatever it was in front of Spike.

The vampire glared up at him. "A weapon."

"What does it do?"

"Nothing yet."

Big help there, thanks. "What's it supposed to do?"

Spike blinked at him, apparently irritated. "It's not finished. I'll show you when I'm done." Spike got to his feet. "Now, what's got you all bent out of shape?"

"Nothing. Well, I don't know."

"Uh huh. Told me last time we talked you were gonna think things over. So, you think?" Spike posed, pushing to his feet and tossing a metal tool to the floor.

Xander sighed and started making a slow circuit of the crypt. "Yeah. Did a little thinking."

"Come up with anything?"

He shook his head. "Nothing that didn't confuse the hell out of me."

"That's something," Spike responded and lit a cigarette.

Xander looked down at his feet. "Spike, I just..." He stopped and took a deep breath. "I'm just not sure this is gonna work out."

"Okay, now I want you to say that while you're lookin' at me." Spike took a heavy drag from his cigarette.

He raised his head, looked at Spike and took another deep breath. "I'm just not sure this is gonna work out, Spike."

Spike's face remained stoic. The vampire blinked once and put the cigarette to his mouth again. With a shrug of his shoulders, Spike turned away from him. "Yeah, sure. Seems to be going around."

"What was that? What's going around? Spike what are you talking about?" Xander scowled and stomped toward the bleached, smoking vampire.

"Nothing. Forget it. You wanna leave. Leave. I told you it was okay. So, go."

"So, we can't talk to each other and wallow in our own self pity if we're not sleeping together?"

Maniacal laughter from the vampire rattled around the room and Spike doubled over with the effort of it. "You have got to be bloody kidding me," Spike snarled once he had managed to regain his composure a little.

Confused, Xander frowned and asked, "What?"

"Gee, how about all of your little Scooby gang, yourself included, hate me? We'll start there."

Softly, he replied, "I don't hate you."

Spike tilted his head toward him. "What?"

He glared at the vampire. "I said, I don't hate you."

"You're the only one," Spike flung at him and crashed into the green armchair.

"Really, Spike," he turned to the grumpy vampire, "you think I've spent the better part of the last year with you - in some form of the word - and still hate you?"

"It's a possibility. I've seen it happen."

This is just weird. What is he talking about? Is this about Buffy again? Should have known he couldn't give that up. Stupid stupid stupid Xander. Undead guy doesn't really want you; he just likes to shag. This shouldn't be a surprise. He walked around the chair to stand directly in front of Spike. "Would you believe me if I said I really don't hate you? And that I kind of don't care what the rest of the gang thinks?"


"Didn't think so. I don't know what to tell you, Spike. I don't hate you, but I don't think I can do this anymore either."

Spike glowered at him. "I told you, you could leave whenever you wanted. That I didn't care."

"If you don't care, then why is this bothering you so much?"

"Not. Tired now."

"You are one stupid vampire, you know that? Forget it. I'm out of here. I don't care anymore." He stomped out of the crypt, leaving the door wide open behind him.

To quote Cartman from South Park - 'Fuck, fuckitty, fuck, fuck, fuck!' Damn stupid vampire. Like my life wasn't already so fucked up I couldn't understand most of it, now this. This! A whole stinking almost-year and now, nothing. Bastard doesn't even care enough to run out here and tell me to stop and come back and that we need to talk. 'Course that might have a lot to do with it still being daylight. "Shit," he said to no one and parked himself on top of a nearby tombstone.

"Something wrong, Xander?" a quiet, calm, female voice asked from somewhere to his left. Then he felt a delicate hand on his shoulder. "Xander?"

He looked up at her. "Hi, Tara."

"Is there anything I can do?"

He shook his head. "No. Thanks though."

"You sure? If you just want to talk." Her voice was soft and gentle.

"What would you say if I said I thought I had feelings for Spike?" he asked, bolder than he had figured he could be about this subject. He did not look at her though, just stared at the ground.

Tara was silent for a moment, her hand still on his shoulder. "Well, I'd have to say I'd be a little confused."

"Not angry?" he asked, surprised.

"No. Not angry. Why would you think that?"

He shrugged. "Because I would be if I heard one of my friends had feelings for him." That was new; he had not actually voiced that before - that any of his friends mentioning feelings for Spike would make him angry. Maybe Spike's question was not as off-the-wall as he had thought.

"Oh. Why?"

He looked at her and frowned. "I don't know."

"Well, do you have feelings for Spike?" she asked, soft and sweet, her head tilted to one side.

"See, I don't know. Maybe I thought I did, but now, I don't think so. Or I don't know." He slid off the stone and paced the ground.

"Does he have feelings for you?" she asked the question he had been avoiding asking himself for the last several weeks. The question that, if he never asked it, the answer would never matter.

Bullshit. He stopped pacing and sighed. "I don't know that either."

Tara blinked at him, quiet for a moment. "Have you asked him?"

Xander scowled. "And actually have to hear the answer?" He watched her face for a moment. "No." He lowered his head and shoved his hands in his pockets.

She smiled a soft, half-smile. "Xander, how do you feel about Spike?"

"I hate him," he replied as he looked up at her. "No. I don't. But, that's all I know. I don't hate Spike. He thinks I do."


"Because he thinks we all hate him."

"But you don't?"

He shook his head.

Tara frowned a little. "Is there something going on with you and Spike?" Her question stemmed from a concern and curiosity unique to Tara, not the contempt he was used to from everyone else.

"If I tell you something, do you promise not to tell anyone?" Tara nodded at him. "I've... I mean we've... Spike and... and I..." he paused, watched Tara; she did not flinch or squirm or make faces; she just waited, calm and understanding, waited for him to finish, "...we've been sleeping together."

Tara's startled blinks were not the comforting reaction he had been hoping for, but it was better than what he could have gotten. "Oh." She folded her arms over her chest.


"Nothing. It's... I mean. That wasn't what I was expecting you to say." She shifted around nervously.

"You're not angry? Upset?"

She shook her head and closed the distance between them. "Oh no, Xander." Her arms around him were soft and comforting. "Maybe a little confused, but not angry." She hugged him, one hand on his neck, one across his shoulders. She pulled away and he caught her hands in his. "So, what's wrong?"

He lowered his head, squeezed her hands. "I left."

"Okay. Why?"

He shrugged and let go of her hands. He had no idea. He had just left. "I don't think it'll work."

"What do you want from this thing with Spike?"

"Sex." The word fell from his mouth before he even really could think about it.

"Just sex?" she asked incredulously.

"Well, that's how it started."

"Then what? It became more?" she asked.

He nodded. "Not quickly. First it was just afternoon sessions of Passions and drinking, ending in some form of sex. Then, we started talking. Not meaningful conversations, but just talking. Stories. Like, did you know he had a dog once? As a pet?" He watched her shake her head. "Yeah. Scrappy little mutt he got from Drusilla. He thought Dru meant for the dog to be food, but when he tried to eat it," he caught the look of horror on Tara's face and acknowledged it with one of his own.


"You were gonna eat the puppy?" he asked, appalled.

Spike gave him a look. "I live on blood, nit."


"So, she starts howling and screeching; whining and tearing at her hair. I tucked the dog under my arm and asked her what was wrong. She squealed that he's a pet, the dog, and that if I love her, I'll take care of him." Spike sipped his drink and lit another cigarette. "So, I take care of the dog. Angelus? Darla? They hated it. They hated that we had to keep an eye on this dog, drag it everywhere we go. They didn't see the potential of the pet. I could walk down the street with the thing and people, women mostly, would just be attracted to me and Dru could snatch the tasty tidbit off the street. "

Xander could only stare. Here he was, in Spike's crypt, sitting on the floor, drinking, gagging on the cigarette smoke, listening to Spike tell stories about his past. The vampire's evil past. But, it was not bothering him. He was just listening. Spike had some really good stories, even if they did involve killing and trying to eat puppies. "So, what happened to the dog?" he asked, taking a sip of his own drink and blinking menthol cigarette smoke out of his eyes.

Spike frowned. "Don't exactly know. I told Dru he ran away, but I think Angelus ate him. Stupid ponce. That dog was my best meal ticket." Spike was getting that 'pissed off' face; the one where he would soon want to kill or shag something. Xander was hoping for the latter. Lately, Anya had been so busy planning the wedding that it was starting to scare him to death, and she had had little interest in 'interlocking parts'. And she had tied him up with appointments with florists and photographers and caterers, so he had not had time to get away to even see Spike, except during the odd patrol when Buffy had dragged Spike from the crypt and hurled him at demons and vampires. Spike was never as reluctant as that sounded, but he would put up a fuss when Buffy came knocking. Finally, Xander had begged Buffy and Willow to plan a 'girls' night out' and keep Anya busy for a night that had nothing to do with wedding plans. The girls had come through for him and he had come to visit Spike. Of course, he was hoping for a little more than just talking.

"Spike," he waited for the vampire to look up at him, then he swallowed the lump in his throat. Why was he still nervous about this? He and Spike had been together for the last several months, had done all manners of interesting sexual things, but he was still stuck on voicing his desires when it came to wanting more than kissing and touching.

"Harris, I've let you slide, because you're new to this, but if you can't ask for it, mate, you don't get it."

"Hey now!" Xander snapped, wounded.

Spike shrugged. "Rules, mate."

"You are evil."

"Well, yeah," the vampire supplied with as much nonchalance as ever.

Xander took a deep breath, opened his mouth to ask for what he wanted, but it came out as, "You mean, I can't just kiss you and direct non-verbally?"

"Not this time. Say it, or we talk until demon girl comes to find you."

That struck home. All the time and energy he had put into getting Anya's focus off the wedding for a second so he could have a reason to visit Spike - boredom and loneliness - and here he was squandering the time by being a chickenshit.

He took another deep breath, leaned forward, his mouth at Spike's ear and whispered, "I want you to fuck me." He heard coughs and sputters from the vampire and sat back, sullen.

Spike coughed again and put the beer bottle he had had to his mouth, aside. "Bloody..." another cough, "bloody hell, mate."

Xander looked up at him, still sulking. "Isn't that what you wanted? I followed the rules," he spat.

The vampire coughed one more time as he stubbed out his cigarette. "Yeah, followed the rules real well. But, wasn't expecting that. Not like that. Where'd you learn to talk like that? The voice?"

"Phone sex job. One of several short-lived occupations that have almost never come in handy." He shrugged. "'Til now."

"No bloody kidding."


"Uh, Xander, I think this story is moving in a direction a little more graphic than we should discuss in public," Tara commented softly, kindly, warning him away from squick-potential details.

"Right. Sorry."

"Can I ask you something?" He indicated she could. "Do you love Anya?"

He gaped. Anya. Not that he had forgotten her, but he had been so focused on Spike... not that it mattered much; he had left Anya and now he had left Spike. Hey, if you have to be good at something... "Yes. I do. I don't think we'll work out, but I do love her."

"Do you love Spike?"

That was a new one. Also an easy one. "No." Short. To the point. Definitive.

"Then maybe you did the right thing. You know sex won't keep you happy for long."

"Yeah. I know," he sighed and started for home. He turned back to the blonde witch. "Tara, thanks."

She smiled at him and headed out of the cemetery.

He turned back and headed home.


The same name over and over through his head all the way back home. He stopped at the door to his apartment, his hand on the knob. Tara had him having second thoughts about what he had done. He closed his eyes, fished the key from his pocket and slid it into the lock. He sighed, removed the key, turned and started back down the hallway.


"Spike!" he called, panting, clinging to the doorframe and scouring the crypt for the vampire. "Spike!" he cried again.

A bleached blur leapt from the hole in the floor, completely naked and very startled. "Harris? What?" Spike rubbed his left eye with a fist.

He took several quick, deep breaths, enough to be able to speak. "Why are you naked?"

Spike scowled. "Sleep when the sun's up don't I?"

"And that explains the naked how?"

Spike blinked and glared. "What do you want, Harris? I'm tired." The vampire rubbed his eyes again and scratched his head.

He shook his head. "Nothing. Nothing." He turned away and started home again.

What the hell possessed me to go back there? Need for sex. Shit. It's the only reason he wanted me around anyway. Fuck him.


Harris, what are you doing?" Spike grumbled.

"Taking your clothes off," he replied, pushing Spike's shirt up, kissing along the vampire's chest as he went.

Spike flinched when he grazed his teeth over one nipple. "Yeah, got that, mate. Why're you doing it?"

He crawled up, over Spike's body, abandoning the removal of the shirt, and leaned close to his ear. "I want to have sex. Is there a problem with that?"

"No. Think we skipped a step or two though."

"Again, is this a problem?"

The vampire shook his head. "Question...?"

Xander laved his tongue across Spike's ear. "I um. I... how exactly do we do this anyway?"

Spike laughed. "Just keep with what you're doing, mate. I'll walk you through the rest."

Yeah, he could handle that. He proceeded with the undressing of the vampire. Slow removal of the shirt, the boots, the jeans and thorough admiration of the pale, naked body. He stroked his fingers over every exposed inch of flesh, then trailed kisses over all the non-erogenous zones, or what he thought were. He sat up on his knees, his hands pressing into the mattress at Spike's sides. "Spike, is there anywhere on your damn-near flawless body that, if I touch or kiss it, won't turn you on?"

The vampire wrinkled his brow in thought for a moment, then pointed to his right elbow. "There. Might be the only place, but I'm sure if you lick it right, you can convert it."

He shook his head and ignored Spike's elbow, in favor of savoring his neck. The menthol and dusty-crypt smell-taste was becoming more and more familiar. He felt Spike's body relax beneath his mouth and hands.

"Harris, you sure you need instructions? You're doing pretty well on your own."

"Foreplay - that I'm pretty good at," he responded. "It's when we get to the actual sex part that I'll need the step by step."

"Right. Keep me informed." Spike folded his arms behind his head and stretched his legs down the length of the bed.

Xander grunted. "Hey now. You're supposed to be touching me too."

"Take your clothes off and I will." The vampire leered at him, causing an involuntary stirring deep in the pit of his stomach that traveled down to his groin.

He rolled off the bed - the bed being Spike's suggestion for this afternoon's little foray into sexual interaction, claiming he was afraid the sunlight might singe his ass - Right, like with the whole lack of windows, that would be possible. - but he wasn't complaining - happy to be anywhere that wasn't the floor - and pulled his clothes off, the layer of sweat covering his body making them stick. Then he crawled back onto the bed, picking up where he had left off - eagerly investigating the skin just behind Spike's left ear. The vampire's hands were cool against his warm skin, rubbing over and pressing into the muscles of his back and neck. The stirring was back - only this time he was sure it was butterflies instead of lust.

"Nervous, mate?" the deep vampire voice asked through his hair.

"A little," he responded, kissing Spike's chin, his eyes closed to focus on the scent and the taste.

"Don't be. You can't hurt me. I can't hurt you." Spike brushed a hand over Xander's hair and pulled him in for a soft kiss. "Really, you can't."

"I know. I've just... well, not with another guy."

"I know." Spike looked up at him, realization on his face. "You mean, you and Anya?"

He nodded. "Just once. It was weird."

"What happened?"

He shrugged. "I don't think she liked it. Or, I didn't do it right. Or, something. I don't know."

"Do you still want to do this?"

"Yes." His voice was stronger than he expected it to be.

"Right then. What instructions are needed?" the vampire asked with a sexy leer.

Oh, this is going to be so weird. Asking him what to do next and hearing him tell me... and, hey, is he gonna let me... Xander pushed back and sat, kneeling on the bed, looking down at Spike. "Hold on. You're gonna let me..." he could not make the words pass his lips. They just would not travel that path from his brain to his mouth.

"Uh, yeah. Unless you're sure you're ready to do it the other way."

His voice failed again and he could only shake his head. This seemed really odd behavior for Spike. Usually Spike wanted control... to dominate, lead, be in charge, but he was gonna... he could not even think the phrase. This is bad - I think.

"Is there are problem?"

Xander shook his head again and leaned across the vampire to pull open the nightstand drawer. He had no idea what he would find in there, but the few videos he and Anya had watched before their little experiment, led him to believe what he was looking for would be there. Spike did not stop him; hell, the bleached vampire did not even move. Locating what he had been after, he pushed the drawer closed and sat back again. He looked at Spike expectantly...waiting.

"Keep going, mate. I'll stop you if you do something wrong."

"Okay." He was quiet a moment. "Um, can we change positions?" he asked tentatively.

Spike frowned in confusion. "You want to be on the bottom?"

"Uh, no. I want you to bend over the bed." Again, his voice was bolder than he had expected. Maybe he was not as nervous as he had thought.

"Whatever works for you, mate. I'm pretty flexible." Spike rolled off the bed and positioned himself like Xander had asked.

The nerves were back as he crawled off the bed and stroked one hand down the vampire's lean back, spending a little more time examining the firm cheeks at the end. The vampire pressed back, into his hand, and whined a little when he let go. He smiled at that - he had made the Big Bad whine. It was just a small sound, but it was enough to strengthen his resolve and dissolve his nerves a little.

His libido was moving much faster than his brain. His libido was all the way to 'shove Spike's head into mattress and bite skin as you explode;' while his brain was still back at 'lube stupid.' The brain needed to catch up. He blinked and looked up at a sound from the vampire's head. "What?"

"I said, what the hell are you doing back there?"

"Uh," he replied and glanced downward, finding himself lubricated and ready, but that was where he had stopped. When the hell did I do that? Damn, this is weird. "Uh, hold on. Almost ready." I think. He took a deep breath and smoothly trailed one finger down Spike's back, between the cheeks of his ass and, slowly inside. The vampire moaned at his touch and pressed back when he inserted a second and third finger, wanting. It hit him as he rested his free hand on Spike's hip, that he wanted too. Wanted. Almost needed.

He leaned forward and raked his tongue along the vampire's spine, feeling the sudden shivers through the strong body. If Spike was losing patience, he was not showing it. Xander withdrew his fingers, spread more lubricant on himself, then pressed forward, guided himself to Spike's opening and pushed inside, slowly. He heard the soft gasp from Spike as he did and rubbed a hand along the firm, cool ribcage beneath him, grounding himself. This is Spike. He's a vampire. He's done this before. You won't hurt him.

"You wanna stop, mate?" Spike asked, a bit of strain in his voice.

"No. No." He pushed his hips forward and made another moan escape Spike's throat.


"I'm insane. That's the only explanation for this. I'm crazy." He settled on his couch, beer in one hand, television remote in the other. "Only a crazy man would think everything that's happened over the last year was remotely normal," he told the news anchor on the television and took a drink of his beer.

He glared at the door, willing the knocking to go away. No dice. More knocking. He sighed and rose from the couch, lumbered to the door and peered through the peep-hole. "Shit." He opened the door. "What do you want?"

"Nice to see you too, Harris," Spike returned.

"Really, what do you want?" he sighed.

Spike blinked. "To know whatever the hell it is that's got you so pissed at me. Did I do something?"

"See, that's just it. I don't know," Xander snapped. "Did you do something?"

A confused frown made its way onto Spike's face. "To you?" Xander nodded. "You mean did I... to make you...? Hold it!" The vampire pointed a finger toward Xander and his apartment. "You think I did some kind of spell to make you...? Right then. Think I'm gonna just forget this and push off. Have a nice life, Harris." Spike turned and stalked down the hall.

"Wait." Xander put his beer bottle on a nearby table and darted out the door after the pain-in-the-ass. "Spike!" he caught the vampire's arm and slammed him against the wall, then pressed in, kissing, hard. He planted his hands on the wall, on either side of Spike's head and dragged his tongue over Spike's lips. The inside of the vampire's mouth was surprisingly warm - with the taste of menthol and blood. He kept kissing, felt the cool hands on his back and the hard erection against his as he pressed his hips against the man between him and the wall.

Spike pulled away from the kiss, Xander tried to draw him back, but Spike stopped him. "I think someone's coming."

He leaned in and licked the vampire's neck, grinding his hips against Spike's. "Not yet, but I bet one of us will be soon." He licked and kissed and nipped at Spike's neck. I am one sick fuck. Was just whining about not wanting to just want him for sex and now I've got him pinned to the wall ready to dry hump him into oblivion in the middle of the hallway. Supports that insane theory of mine.

"No, I mean, down the hall," Spike informed and blinked as Xander moved into his face, kissing his mouth again.

"I don't care. Let 'em find out." He moved one hand to the side of Spike's face and held him still for more kissage.

Spike pushed him back again. "Look, mate, I think we need to talk before we keep going with this."

"Why?" Xander whined, trying his best impression of Spike's pout.

"Good show. But really. Something's got you worked up in all sorts of ways. Plus, Blondie-witch is here."

He turned over his shoulder and saw the blonde Wicca approaching. "Oh. So you wanna talk now or later?"

Spike sighed. "Come by the crypt later. See what blondie-witch wants right now." The vampire pushed away from the wall and made his way toward the stairs, ignoring Tara as he passed.

"He's in a pleasant mood," Tara commented.

"You caught him on a good day." He started towards the apartment, Tara at his side. "So, what brings you out this way?"


"Cookies?" Xander looked, but saw none on her person, not even a bag at her side that could be holding cookies.

She smiled at him. "I didn't bring any. We're going to make some."


"Because it's good for the soul. And I don't have a kitchen in my dorm room." She latched an arm through his as they entered the apartment, then tugged him toward the kitchen.

"What type of cookies are we making?"

"A special kind. You have flour and sugar and stuff, right?" Tara asked, a little concerned.

He nodded. "Yeah. I haven't used much of anything. Not big on the cooking."

She smiled and began looking through the cabinets, collecting ingredients and placing them on the counter. "So, what was that in the hall?" she asked out of the blue.

"What? Nothing. Just Spike. Talking," Xander replied in clipped phrases and backed away to the other side of the counter.

Tara frowned. "Xander, what did he do to you that has you so wigged?"

"I'm not wigged." He bumped into a stool, then leaned against it, trying not to make it fall as it wobbled on two legs.

"If you don't want to talk about this, that's fine, we'll just make cookies, but something that happened has you nervous about being with him."

Xander stared at the floor, kneading his fingers into the seat of the now stable stool. I can't tell her this. No. I'll just have to deal with it on my own. "Nothing. Nothing happened. I'm fine."

Tara shrugged. "Okay." She unwrapped two sticks of butter and scraped them into a mixing bowl.

"If I tell you something..."

She nodded. "It stays here. With the cookies."

He gave her half a smile. "Thanks."

"So there is something bothering you?" She poured sugar from a cup into the bowl.

"Now that you've got me thinking about it, yeah. There was one time, he kind of scared me."

"Tell me about it." She glanced at him over the mixer.

He took a deep breath and swallowed. "It's gonna get kind of squicky."

"It's okay. I'm prepared this time." She turned the mixer on 'low' and looked at him again.

He looked down at the stool where his fingers seemed to be trying to puncture the fake leather seat covering. Consciously, he willed his fingers to release the stool. He flexed his hand as he slid himself onto the seat and leaned against the counter. He looked up at Tara, she was watching him, but also paying attention to the cookie batter.

He took another deep breath and began, raising his voice to be heard over the whir of the mixer. "I went to Spike's crypt, nothing unusual, I just stopped by on my way back home. It had been a couple days, but that wasn't anything new. And I was feeling a little antsy about the wedding..."


Xander stepped through the door, then felt himself being pressed against it, hard. There was a pain between his legs and he realized Spike's hand was squeezing him - a little more than he liked, but not utterly unbearable. Then the vampire's tongue raked over his neck, harsh, rough, scraping. He held his breath as Spike's hand squeezed tighter. A squeak pushed its way through his lips, then a groan of pain.

The sharp sensation of pointed vampire fangs grazing along the line of the jugular vein in his neck made his body tense. He wanted to pull away, or push the strong body pressing him into the heavy door away, but fear of additional pain kept him still. Until he felt a shiver run through is body as his shirt was torn from his chest and the cold air of the night met his sweat-slicked skin. It was then he also realized the pressure on his groin was gone, but only for a moment. The vampire's knee pressed its way between his legs while the left hand grazed sharp fingernails over his chest; lightly at first, then harder, leaving angry red makes on his skin, though not drawing blood. Spike's right hand grasped him by the neck and held him still when he tried to shift away.

He took sharp, quick breaths, hoping Spike would finish soon and let him in on the game or let him go. There had been some rough play before, but nothing like this; not this painful, this one-sided. He wanted Spike to stop, wanted to yell at him to stop, but it was hard enough just to breathe.

Xander sucked in a breath as cold air and cold, rough concrete met his skin. He lowered his eyes, looking downward, and saw that his pants were around his knees. Spike's left hand gripped his cock, the right, still at his neck and the vampire attacked his neck again with lips, fangs and tongue. He gasped when he felt fangs pierce his skin; he felt the blood pulsing to the surface, his heart was racing so hard. Then it damn near skipped a beat as the vampire's cold grip tightened around his cock; his auto-responsive cock that was growing firm with Spike's grip, despite his best efforts to prevent it.

The pain was growing more intense than he could handle. Spike was not quite employing his preternatural strength, but the vampire was still strong. Tears pricked his eyes and he pressed his palms against the heavy door behind him. He managed to get control of his voice and whispered, stammered, "Please..." he gulped and took another deep breath. "Please... don't... hurt... me." He swallowed a sob and waited.

All the pressures released at once and he had to lean heavily against the door to keep himself upright. He took several deep breaths to slow his racing heartbeat. The entire encounter could not have taken longer than two minutes, but it had seemed like an eternity. He touched a hand to his neck and caught sight of Spike, on his knees, at the base of the stairs, his face buried in his hands. Slowly, Xander pulled his pants back up and tugged his arms free of his tattered shirt. Damn. I liked that one too. He sighed and made his way down the stairs to kneel in front of Spike. He noticed his hands trembling and folded his arms over his chest to try to hide it.

"Spike?" He wanted to know what had caused the vampire to engage in this much more sexually aggressive behavior. Was he trying to scare me? Did I piss him off? I thought we were doing okay. What the hell happened?

"Harris, go away," Spike snarled. "Just go."

"Why? I don't understand. What happened?"

The snarl was more feral this time, and the vampire kept his face hidden in his hands. "IF you value your safety, you'll get the hell out. Now!"


"Go! Before I really do hurt you!"


Tara gasped. "Oh, Xander. What did you do?"

"I left," he said with a shrug. "What I don't understand is how he could hurt me at all without the chip zapping his head."

Tara switched off the mixer and placed her hand on his. "I don't know, but Xander," he looked up at her, "have you told him that this is bothering you? Affecting your relationship with him?"

He shook his head. "I can't. I just... I don't think he even remembers doing it. He seemed so space cadet afterward."

"He remembers. That's not something you forget." She squeezed his hand lightly. "You have to talk to him about this. He needs to know why you're pulling away. Even if you tell him just so he understands why you can't go to him anymore or sleep with him or whatever... just tell him."

"I can't. I can talk to him about lots of things, but not this."


"No." He snatched his hand away and stalked to the couch.

"Xander." Tara abandoned the cookie batter and walked to him, sat beside him on the couch. "You have to talk to him about this."

He shook his head. "I told him this wouldn't work."

Tara frowned. "But you were kissing him in the hallway."

"I know," he sighed. "I shouldn't have. But..."

"You love him?"

Xander made a face of disgust. "Ew. No. But he sparks something, makes me hot." He lowered his head and said quietly, "I like it."

She nodded. "I know that feeling." Then she lowered her head, trying to hide a blush. "Talk to him," she told him, raising her head, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear.

He took a deep breath. "I'll try."


"Let's make cookies," he said and patted her on the shoulder. She smiled at him and they went back to the kitchen.


The rain had started when he had gotten about two blocks from his apartment, but he knew if he had gone back for an umbrella, he would never have been able to leave again; not to talk to Spike. So, he kept walking. Walking, getting wet, getting cold. His shirt stuck to his chest, his pants, to his legs. Water was seeping into his shoes, soaking his socks. He could hear the squish, squish, squish as he stepped on the wet grass, heading toward Spike's crypt.

He stood at the door for a long time, in the rain. Finally, he knocked and waited. And waited. Shit. I get up enough nerve to come over here to talk and he's not even here. With a heavy sigh, he stuffed his wet hands into his wet pockets and turned to walk back home. He heard the door open, but kept walking.


He stopped, his shoulders fell forward. I can do this. Xander took a deep breath and turned around to the half-naked, barefooted vampire leaning casually in the doorframe. "Hi."

The vampire blinked slowly. "Hi."

"Can we talk?"

The vampire nodded and stepped back into the dimly lit crypt. He followed, cautiously, slowly. He left the door open and remained on the stairs.

"You want a towel?"

He shook his head. "Something's been bugging me."

Spike nodded; said nothing; just the nod.

"A few weeks ago, I... uh... I came here and...." His throat seemed to close up on him. He swallowed hard and shifted himself a little, his pants growing tighter at the sight of bare-chested Spike. "I came here and you shoved me against the door."

"I have been known to do that. And, as I recall, you quite enjoy it." The vampire shifted his hips to one side, making him look absolutely delicious.

Xander pulled in the reigns on his hormones and kept going. "Yes. Usually. But, on this particular night, I didn't" He watched confusion contort Spike's face. He lowered his eyes and spoke toward the floor. "You hurt me."

"What?" Spike asked incredulously.

He looked up, directly into the vampire's crystal blue eyes. He hardened his face, puffed up his chest a bit and stated, "You hurt me. A lot."

Spike frowned, thinking. "What..." A look of realization crossed the vampire's face. "Oh. Oh no. God, Xander..."

"So, you remember?"

A nod. "Yes," Spike sighed.

"Why? Why did you do that?" His voice was getting stronger. He was getting angry - all the pent-up emotion from the last few weeks rushing to the surface.

"I'm sorry," the vampire said sadly.

"That wasn't my question." He felt the anger building more and more, like a heat rising from the tips of his toes to the top of his head.

"I know. Just wanted to say that part first. It's harder than the explanation."

Xander narrowed his eyes at the bleached vampire. "Talk and I'll let you know if I accept."

"Fair enough." Spike lit a cigarette and started pacing the floor. "Slayer and I had a tiff. Soldier boy came by growling 'bout some demon eggs and 'tween the two of 'em, they mucked up my money plan and blew up m'crypt."

"Anything else?" He knew there was something Spike was not telling him. Something big. He had learned how to tell when the vampire was being evasive, now was one of those times.

"Slayer told me to leave 'er alone again. Big fight. Lots of yelling and hitting. Made me angry. You didn't even get the worst of it."

"Good thing. I'd probably be dead if I had," he snapped, not even intending for that to have been out loud.

"Yeah. Same here. Chip woulda zapped me into oblivion. Gave me hell of a headache as it was." Spike dropped the spent cigarette to the floor and crushed it under his bare foot.

"So, the chip went off?" he asked, confused. He had not seen any indication that Spike's chip had activated that night.


"Why didn't you stop?"

"Wanted the pain. Hoped it would kill me."

Over a fight with Buffy? Must have been one hell of a fight. "So, why did you stop?"

Spike lowered his head and turned away. "Because you were afraid of me."

"Okay. Confused again. I thought you wanted us to be afraid of you?"

The vampire shook his head. "Not all the time. Not anymore. And not you. Not when we..." the vampire fell silent, choked on unspoken words.

Xander sat on the stairs, his body limp, his breath playing an elusive game he did not have the rules for. What the hell just happened? He stared at the dusty concrete floor for a long time, seeing nothing, letting thoughts rattle around his head.


He looked up, slowly, at Spike, standing over him all muscles and bleached hair. He sighed and lowered his head.

He caught the sight of Spike crouching before him; crouching near, but not touching. "Look, mate, I really am sorry. I wish I could take it back, but now I know why you left."

"Glad one of us does," he mumbled. Raising his head, he continued, "I wanted to come back here so many times, but I kept telling myself that you didn't really want me here. That you wanted Buffy, but since you couldn't have her, I was a suitable substitute."

"Will you be pissed if I tell you you're stupid?"

"Yes, but you'll just tell me anyway."

"Right then. You're a stupid git, Harris. You were never a substitute for Slayer. You came to me. Thought you were looking for something."

"But if you wanted her, why...?"

Spike reached a hand out and lifted Xander's chin. "Horny vampire, remember? Parts don't matter so long as we get off." The vampire shrugged. "You wanted sex, I wanted sex... sounds like we had a fair trade."

"Yeah, maybe."

Spike lowered his hand. "Did you want something more from this?"

He shook his head. "I still can't do this." He got to his feet and turned toward the door. "Bye, Spike."

"Take care of yourself, Harris."

He nodded and walked through the door, leaving it open behind him, knowing Spike was watching. But he had to go. Yeah, I'll do that.


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