Take Care: Back

By: Highlander II

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 "Get Out".
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Joss Whedon and are property of Kuzui/Kuzui Entertainment, Mutant Enemy Productions, WB, UPN, FOX etc. etc.
Feedback: Highlander II

"Stupid fucking son of a bitch!" Xander snarled at nothing, stomping, fuming the entire way to... where-the-hell-ever. No real clue where he was going, but very sure he was far more angry about this recent slight than he had been about the table-top horizontal dance with Anya. Snorting, snarling, growling, his fists clenched at his sides. He took a deep breath and stopped. That scent. He would recognize it anywhere.

He sniffed and asked, "Going somewhere? Off to rape more of my friends, perhaps?" He stepped around the tree to face the vampire.

"I didn't rape..." Spike lowered his head and fell silent.

"No. Not this time. You just gave it a good shot. I should beat the hell out of you, but I don't want to hurt my hand."

"Doesn't matter. I'm leaving. Going away. To change things."

He would have laughed if he had not been so angry. "Change things? What could you possibly do to change things?" He did not give the vampire a chance to answer. "Forget it! There is nothing you could do to fix this! Just go. I don't want to see you again." He turned to stalk away, stopping only when he heard the phrase...

"Take care of yourself, mate."

Damn him! He's not supposed to do that. Try to make me care. He's not supposed to care. Dammit!


They had managed to get through it all. Tara's senseless death; Willow's crash into Dark Magicks and his helping her return from it; Anya returning to her vengeance demon ways; Spike's attack on Buffy. Tara's funeral that took place after Giles had whisked Willow off to England for some form of magic-rehab, had been hard enough, but helping Buffy through the trauma of the attack had been harder than any of them had anticipated. She had locked herself in her room for several days, refusing to leave, even when she was told that the vampire and demon numbers were rising. He had sat outside her door, talking to her, trying to reassure her that things would be fine, convince her that Dawn needed her.

Finally, either as a result of his little pep-talks or just sheer Slayer determination, she had emerged from her room, gone on a demon and vampire killing rampage - working through the emotions - then settled back into a mostly normal routine, beginning with one of her favorite things - shopping. He had opted to stay home, catch up on some of that lost sleep.

Or that had been the plan, until the first time he tried to take a nap and he remembered why he had lost so much sleep to begin with. Spike.

Beer, Jack, whatever he could drown himself in, he drank. It was his turn to crash and burn. Somewhere in all that, Dawn had saved his job.

"Xander, you know you're going to lose your place and all your friends if you lose your job, right?" she asked, tugging at his arms, trying to pull his uncaring ass off the couch. "Come on, Xander."

"Dawn, go away," he groaned.

She huffed. "You idiot. I saved your job today, but I'm not sure I can pull it off tomorrow."

His eyes popped open and he stared at her. "Saved?" She nodded. "That bad?" Another nod. "Shit."

"Yep. Get up. Get a shower, because, ugh. Get dressed and come on over to the house. We'll have dinner or something."

"Yeah. Okay." He rolled off the couch and stumbled into the bathroom. He heard Dawn leave as he was turning on the shower.


"Do vampires bathe?" he asked, reclining his head against Spike's abdomen, staring up at the ceiling of the crypt. He rolled his head into the stroking fingers in his hair and closed his eyes.

"Sometimes. Poof does. Me, don't have a shower here in the crypt, but I'm not opposed to the idea." The vampire's fingers sifted through his hair as they talked.

Stretching out one arm, he traced his fingers over the firm bicep of Spike's right arm that was curled under the vampire's head. Smooth skin, hard muscle, all vampire. "Where do you go?"

"Where do I go?"

"To shower. Bathe." He felt his breathing beginning to even as he lay there; the after-effects of their afternoon work-out tapering off slowly.

He felt Spike shrug. "Motel, usually. Too risky to try much anything else. Plus that whole vampire-need-invite thing, can't crash into people's homes."

"You could go to Buffy's." Xander opened his eyes wide. "And did I just tell you to invade my best friend's house? Ugh."

The vampire laughed. "Yeah. Wouldn't go there anyway. One bathroom for four women? You've got to be out of your mind."

That got him laughing too. He had been in the house when the four women had been trying to ready themselves for something or other. He had hidden on the back porch until they were ready. "Good point," he commented when he could talk without snickering.

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and sighed. "This is gonna suck, but I have to go." Silence from the vampire, just the movement of those long fingers in his hair. "I have to go back to the site for a few hours. Double check on some things before tomorrow." Still nothing from the vampire. He rolled his head to look at Spike's face. Spike was just looking at him, blank expression, still with those fingers in his hair. "Spike? Look, I'd ask you to come along, but, sun plus you equals extra crispy. And," he hedged a bit, "I'm not sure I can come back later. Anya's got some store preparation for the big sale tomorrow."

The vampire's brow furrowed in confusion, but that was all the response he received.

"Halloween sale. All the Scoobies are pitching in."

A nod. More than before. Sort of.

Xander blinked several times and sat up; the vampire's slender hand sliding to the floor. "Are you going to say anything, or am I leaving here in silence?"

A quirked eyebrow and a slight mouth twitch from the bleached naked guy, then he found himself pinned to the floor - thankfully atop the blanket - with a face full of vampire mouth. Literally vampire. Spike had morphed and the yellow-gold eyes and extended canines were all he could see. And feel. Spike was kissing him in full-on vampire face. That sent shivers and stirrings to all parts of his body and all sorts of thoughts into his head...


Xander let out a harsh growl and punched the shower wall, which resulted in sore knuckles, but not much else. He leaned his head against the wall, the hot spray of the shower dousing him. It was warm on his scalp, like fingers in his hair.

"No!" He opened his eyes, then clamped them shut again as residual shampoo streamed into his face. "Dammit." He rolled to press his back against the wall and slid to the floor, his head in his hands. I have to get the hell out of this mess. I can't keep letting everything back in. He's gone anyway.

He managed to finish his shower before all the hot water was gone, got dressed - all presentable and everything - and made his way to Buffy's for dinner as Dawn had suggested.

"Anya, hi," he said, blinking rapidly at seeing his ex-fiancée. "Um, how've you been?"

She sneered at him and snapped, "Do you even care?"

"Actually, yeah. I do," he told her, a hand on her shoulder.

"Well, I'm okay. Thanks." She turned and slid off into the kitchen.

"Xander! You're here!" Dawn bounded into the living room and hugged him.

He smiled. "Yeah. I'm here, Dawn-meister." He put her back on the floor and let her hug him again. And it hit him... he missed this. The gang together, just hanging, having food, researching, prepping for hunting. Nasties. Even the smell of Dawn's shampoo, the arrangement of the living room furniture and the smell of whatever Buffy was manufacturing in the kitchen.

"Come on. We're having... well, something." Dawn pulled him toward the dining room.

"So, Dawnie, you ready for school to start next month?" Buffy asked as she zipped through the dining room, dropping off a bowl of vegetables on her way.

"Ugh. Have everything I need, but I'm not wanting to go back." She crossed her arms over her chest and parked herself in a chair.

Xander smiled, put a hand on the younger Summers' shoulder. "You'll be fine."

She smiled back. Yeah, he had missed this.


He dropped Dawn and Buffy off at the school, worked his shift at the site - science building for the new Sunnydale High - helped Buffy terminate some zombies, then they all went home. Actually, back to Buffy's, which was more home than not anymore, and had dinner.

The next day, similar routine, but no zombies. The rest of the week was mostly uneventful, then, then it happened... some woman - Nancy - was walking her dog and some big worm thing ate it. Turned out it was Nancy's boyfriend; boyfriend-turned-worm demon.

But that was not everything. Spike was back and Buffy had seen him in the school basement. He had helped some - sort of - he had also gotten into a fist fight with Anya, then he had babbled some crazy shit and run away. What the hell is going on with him? "From beneath you..." That's gotta mean something.

Xander kept pressure on Ronnie's wound - coincidentally caused by Spike - waiting for the ambulance. Anya mentioned that things were going to get a lot worse. What 'things'? And how much worse than now was 'a lot worse'?

He watched the ambulance cart Ronnie away and stared at his hands. Not as much blood as he had been expecting. He looked up again and Anya was gone. A shrug and he started for home, alone. He was good at that - driving people away. He needed to learn a new skill.


Spike kipped and slammed a foot into the chest of the advancing vampire. Xander watched in awe and nearly lost his head - neck - to the vampire that grabbed him from behind. Buffy saved the day and his neck and Spike dusted his own attacker.

"I'm fine. Really," he responded when he was assailed by the rest of the gang.

Buffy huffed and sneered. "Okay, but I think someone should walk you home. Spike," she snapped over her shoulder.

"What?" the vampire snarled back at her.

"Walk Xander home. And make sure he gets there." She gave Spike the glare to end all glares.

"Why should I have to do it? He's your whelp."

She scowled at him. "Tara's hurt and Will's magically wiped. We're a little busy."

Spike snapped a mock-salute at her and replied, "Ma'am, yes, ma'am."

Buffy sighed and shook her head. "Xander, call me when you get home, 'kay?"

"Yeah. I need to swing by the store on the way, so, might be a little bit."

"Fine. Just call before you go to sleep." Buffy turned with Willow to help Tara and walked away.

"You might want to stop doing that if you wanna keep your secret, mate," Spike commented and lit a cigarette.

Xander frowned at him, confused. "Stop doing what?"

Spike blinked. "Gawking at me on patrol. Might get you exposed, or killed."

"Yeah, I'll work on that."

They walked for a bit, toward Spike's crypt, neither speaking. The sounds of the cemetery, familiar background music. He moved closer to the vampire, closer, but not touching. A soft exploding sound got his attention and he turned his head, realized that Spike had dusted a vampire.

"Is there anything you're not good at?" he asked.

The vampire shrugged. "Maybe a couple things. Why? Something in mind you wanna learn?"

He shook his head. "No, just you fight demons and you're fast; good with the kissing and the sex." He caught the grin on the vampire's face. "Then there's the touching."

"Touching?" Spike stopped and turned to him, just outside the crypt.

Xander nodded and pushed the vampire against the crypt door. "Yeah. How do you do the touching thing? Touch me, turn me on?"

"Mate, you're turned on before you ever get here."

"Anticipation of the touching," he breathed, his mouth at Spike's ear.

"So, what do you want? To learn how to turn me on just by touching me?"

"Yesss," he hissed and dragged his tongue over Spike's jaw.

"Uh huh." Spike stubbed out his cigarette on the wall of the crypt. Whispering, breathy, the vampire spoke, "Barely touch. Slow. Over the clothes."

Xander licked his lips and pressed his palms against Spike's chest, then drew them back and grazed his hands over Spike's shirt, but without making contact with the vampire's body. A low rumbling sound escaped Spike's throat and, as Xander moved his hands, he was sure he heard panting. Vampire's don't breathe. Why is he panting? Or, how? His hands traveled up the leather sleeves of the duster, over the shoulders, into the wind-blown, dusty, platinum hair.

The rumbling was back, this time accompanied by the cool hands of the vampire on his waist. "Maybe we should go inside, mate. Unless you fancy puttin' on a show."

He shook his head. "Inside." He pushed impatiently into Spike as he fumbled with the door, then started removing clothes - his and Spike's - and had them both half-naked before the door could be kicked shut.

"What happened to touching?" Spike asked.

"Plan to do lots of touching," he responded and yanked off his left shoe.

Spike quirked an eyebrow and folded his arms over his chest. "What if I'm not ready?"

Xander stopped mid-right-shoe removal and glared. "You're always ready."

A blink. "Not the point."

He tugged his shoe the rest of the way off his right foot. "You're kidding, right?"

The vampire shook his head. "You're supposed to be touching."

"Can I be naked too?"

Spike pondered that a moment. A long, excruciating moment, during which Xander counted to forty-seven and a half. "No. My boots can go, but the jeans stay."

Xander nodded, then crawled forward, stroked a hand up Spike's leg - over the pants, then down and under them. He unlaced the boots and pulled them off, slowly, making as much contact with skin as possible. He knelt on the floor at Spike's feet, running his hands up and down the slender legs, lingering over the vampire's exposed feet as long as he dared. He had learned last week that Spike liked having his feet touched, but only for a moment, then he would get antsy or grumpy. But the undead guy had nice feet.

His hands sneaked under the jeans and rubbed the vampire's ankles and he leaned his head against a strong thigh, rubbing his cheek over the coarse denim. Rough fabric covering taught muscle; cool, almost cold skin stretched over rigid bone. He grazed his fingers over the top of the vampire's foot and touched too long.

A deep, low growl emanated from the vampire's throat. Xander eased his hand up the leg to the ankle again, but, too late.

The growl again, then fingers wrapped around his just-now-too-long hair. "Bad puppy," Spike snarled.

Xander lowered his head and sat back, resting on his heels, his arms dangling at his sides, hands resting on the floor. This might not have been such a good idea after all. "Do you want me to leave?" he asked, his voice very soft as he tried to keep the tremor out of it.

"What? No." The vampire's head was closer now, near his. How was that possible... Oh, right, he can kneel too. "Look, mate, if you want to just go back like we were, no problem, but you want me to teach you."

He peered at the bleached demon through his eyelashes, then quickly looked away.

"Part of learning," the smooth baritone began, "is knowing, not only how and where to touch, but also, how and where not to touch."

Spike was doing that subtlety thing again. This time it meant 'Don't touch my sodding feet.' Right. Check. No touchy vamp-y feet. Xander nodded and raised his head. He met those full blue eyes head on and almost fell over. He blinked and kept himself upright.

"Wanna try again?" Spike asked.

He nodded and reached a hand out to Spike's neck, pulled him in for a long, deep kiss and used his free hand to tease the vampire's nipples.


Xander groaned and stroked himself one last time to drag himself over the edge. He leaned against the shower wall, panting. "Shit. I'm reduced to jerking off in the shower because even when I find a nice girl, it turns out she wished her ex-boyfriend into a worm via my ex-fiancée. Life's just majorly going my way."

He finished his shower, then got ready for bed. Need sleep. Willow come home tomorrow. Still need to make sign. Find yellow crayon. Need. Sleep.


Gnarl demon - creepy skin eating thing; invisible Willow; crazy Spike leading us around like a bloodhound. After seeing him like that - broken, disoriented, or something; not himself - no. Can't. He's still a vampire and he still hurt my friend. Out of his mind or not. I gotta keep remembering that. Can't forget what he did.

He drank his beer and stared across the room at nothing. The past few weeks rolling around in his head. The young girl who almost died at the hands of some morons who thought they could get rich by summoning a demon, then she died anyway. Just - died. She had told Buffy she knew she was going to die that day. And she had. It was too weird.

Then there was Anya's slaughter of a dozen or so Frat boys that was only un-done at the loss of Anya's friend's life. Not that Halfrek had been a close friend of his, but he did not want to see anyone die. He had talked to Anya after that. Told her some things he probably should have told her before, but had been too afraid.

Now, now was time for sleep. He pushed from the couch, put the empty bottle in the trash and put himself to bed.


"This is a bad idea. Really bad. Why here? Why me?" he rambled as he shoved closet stuff into a box.

"Because he has to stay somewhere, Xander. It's not good for him to be locked away in that basement." Buffy was helping him convert the apartment's main - and therefore largest - closet into a bedroom for one bleached, undead, crazy guy.

"And here is the best place, why?" He picked up the box and carried it into the bedroom, Buffy following.

"Xander, there's not enough room at my house. Plus, I don't think I'm ready for him to be that close to me yet." She put the box on the floor and folded her arms over her chest.

"Hadn't thought of that." He pulled her into a hug and just held her for a while. "Hey, come on. Not-so-evil-anymore undead needs a room." He smiled at her grin, then walked with her back to the closet-soon-to-be bedroom.


He tried to keep the mumbling to a minimum during the drive back to the apartment, but it was hard. He did not want Spike staying with him for much the same reasons as Buffy, only he could not say anything without revealing his own secret. He opened the door and walked in, reading off his mental list of rules. "...and if I use up all the hot water, well, that's your tough noogies." Turning around, he found the sullen vampire standing in the hallway. Shit. "Are you keeping up or do you need an English to constant-pain-in-my-ass translation?"

"Invitation," Buffy supplied.

He grit his teeth and turned to Buffy. "Is there something more emphatic than hate? Can I revile the plan?" At a look from Buffy that told him he really had little choice in this, he turned back to the guy in the doorway. The vampire, standing alone in the hall, just looking in, seemingly unsure of why he was there and what he should do. That makes two of us. Xander blinked and said, "Fine. I invite you in." And as Spike stepped into the apartment, he added, "Nimrod," for good measure.

"Don't want your sodding food anyway," Spike mumbled as he passed.

He did not want Spike in his apartment, nor near Buffy. And why is he our problem now? The conversation continued until Spike touched Buffy and made her jump. See, one more reason to keep him away - he frightens people.

"Sorry," Spike said and drew his hand away.

"No, it's me. I- I just..."

"I'll go. This can't work."

"It will. I-it already is. Okay, you know, you've been out of the basement..."

He watched them talking, well, Buffy talking, trying to convince the monster who attacked her that he deserved their help. Again, how was this a good thing?

"Bollocks," Spike said. Just what I was thinking.

"Okay, there was that one episode in the car, but..."

What is she talking... oh right, Spike's invisible friends from the basement.

Spike made a face and his shoulders tensed. "No, bollocks to the whole thing. I don't need your mollycoddling."

Buffy returned, "It's not coddling. Now go to your closet," before she and Dawn left.

Spike heaved a sigh and turned toward the closet. Xander wanted to say something to him, but nothing would come out of his mouth. He could not even get his mental mouth to come up with something coherent. So, he just watched the quiet vampire open the closet door, enter the small room and close the door behind him.

Then his mental mouth took off:

What the hell is going on here? Spike equals vampire, which equals dangerous, which equals really stupid idea to have him in my apartment. But, Buffy says he has a soul and, I guess, that's a good thing. Then, there's the part of me that wants to know if he even wants to talk to me, much less if he even likes me at all. Maybe I should ask him.

He took a deep breath and walked to the closet door. Tentatively, he reached his hand up, lowered it, then reached up again and tapped on the door. There was shuffling and the sound of other movements before the knob turned and the door was pulled open, slowly. He found himself face-to-face with eyes and a face so full of pain and emotion, he almost hugged the undead pain-in-the-ass. "Spike," was all he managed to push through his lips.

The vampire blinked and sighed and tilted his head to the left.

"Um," Xander stalled, "do you need anything?"

Spike shook his head.

"Okay. If you, you know, do - need anything - just ask." This time he got a nod. He still had the urge to hug and cuddle the vampire, but he refrained. "Good night, Spike." Another nod, then the vampire with his newly acquired soul disappeared behind the door.


His eyes snapped open at the piercing wail emanating from the closet-turned-bedroom. He jumped out of the bed, quick-stepped to the door and threw it open. Spike was huddled in the corner, arms around his knees, head bowed. "Spike? You all right?" he asked as he made his way, carefully, into the room.


"Spike?" He was near enough to touch the vampire, but he was wary, afraid of what could happen. He stamped down the memories flooding forward and willed himself to kneel beside the huddled figure. "Spike, it's all right. There's nothing here." He placed a gentle hand on the vampire's shoulder. No flinch - that was a good sign. "You should get some rest."

"No. Can't sleep," Spike responded quietly.

"Can't? Why not?" Spike started shaking his head. Xander sighed. He did not want to do this, but it was the only solution he had. "Come on." He patted Spike's shoulder. The vampire looked up at him, confused. "Come on. Come with me." He pushed to his feet and put out his hand. Hesitant, Spike reached up, took his hand and got to his feet. Xander waited, made sure the vampire was ready and lead him into his room. "Come on, you can stay with me tonight. Probably not what you had in mind, but I figure, I owe you this much."

As he entered the room, he felt the grip on his hand release and he stopped and turned. Spike was standing at the threshold, arm extended, hand still in his. Xander frowned and looked down at their hands, then back at Spike. The vampire shook his head.

"Spike, come on. It's okay. Really." He gave a light tug and Spike stepped forward, stopped mere inches away. He felt his heart rate increase and his palms begin to sweat at the closeness. It was too soon. Spike had just come back from wherever he had gone, still had feelings for Buffy and the events of several months ago still had not begun to fade - not enough anyway. He wanted to, wanted to grab the bleached bastard and kiss him and hold him and make the pain in his eyes go away, but it was just too soon.

Instead, he let the vampire crawl into the bed, then made himself comfortable beside him. He sighed, not at all surprised when Spike curled up at his side, head on his shoulder. It had been a long time since there had been anyone else in his bed. The body beside him was not warm, but it was solid and real.

And scared.

He had seen it in Spike's eyes just after Buffy and Dawn left. Spike was afraid to be alone with him. Or maybe just alone in general. Or just plain scared. That unnerved him. The Big Bad was not supposed to be afraid of anyone - or anything.


"Harris? What are you doing out here all alone? Trying to become demon food?" Spike lit a cigarette and leaned casually against a tree.

"Buffy's not here, Spike. You can drop the act."

"What act?" the vampire snapped. "Gonna get yourself killed, or worse, out here."

"Right, because, being me must mean that I'm a complete incompetent," he snapped back.

Bleach Boy rolled his eyes and took a drag off the cigarette. It was a disgusting habit - the smoking - but the vampire always managed to look dead sexy doing it. And other things.

"And I guess now you have to play white knight and rescue me? Should I act all in distress? Pretend some demon is trying to kill me?"

"You don't have to pretend, mate." The vampire pointed across the cemetery grounds.

Ordinarily, he would think Spike full of shit, but he had the feeling that, this time, it was real. Especially when he saw a pointed stick fly past his head end-over-end. He glanced over his shoulder and saw the dust cloud. "Thanks."

Spike shrugged and returned to smoking his cigarette and casually leaning against the tree. He took a deep breath and stalked toward the vampire, pushed him against the tree and buried his face in the menthol scented neck. Of course, nearly every part of Spike was mentholated. The crazy vampire smoked all the time; he was surprised his friends had not realized that he was beginning to absorb some of the tobacco-menthol odor.

But this time, there was something beneath the menthol and tobacco, not alcohol, something different. Sweet. Maybe a little salty. "Spike, have you been eating French fries?"

"Huh?" Spike blinked, startled. He dropped his cigarette. "What? No. What are you on about, Harris?" The vampire looked to the ground and stomped out his discarded cigarette.

Xander shook his head. "Nothing. Let's go." He latched a hand onto Spike's arm and started away, only to be drawn back, directly into the chest of the vampire. "What?" he gasped, his lips lightly brushing Spike's.

"We're not going anywhere." The lips touched his, full of fire; hands roamed his body, pushed the button-down off his shoulders. He relaxed under the confident touch of his lover, but felt the twinge of excitement and fear at being disrobed and kissed in public.

He licked his lips as Spike's blunt, human teeth grazed his neck. "How undressed are we going to get?"

"Pretty undressed."

"Out here? In the open? Where we can be charged with indecent exposure?"

"No one's gonna see us. And the cops in this town," Spike shook his head, "too stupid to try. They don't go into the cemeteries anymore."

Xander pulled away. "Yes. That makes me feel much better."

The vampire sighed. "You rather keep your clothes on and suck me off?"

"Subtlety, thy name is so not Spike."

"I just killed something. I'm horny. Do something about it or I will."

"Okay. Small steps, remember?" he reminded as he slid to his knees, his hands trailing down the vampire's body.

"Any smaller, Harris, and we'll be regressing."

"Shut up."

The vampire twitched an eyebrow. "Make me."

Xander frowned and unfastened Spike's pants. He gazed up, Spike was watching, relaxed, cool, waiting. He, on the other hand, was about to explode. He felt the flush whip over his body and the rush of adrenaline. His heart began to race and his fingers trembled a little as he opened the denim fabric before him and drew out Spike's cock. The vampire moaned - the first sound he had made since his 'Make me' comment. At least I got him to shut up.


"That was the last time I was afraid to try anything with you in public," he spoke softly to the sleeping vampire. "I jumped at every noise and sound and kept looking around, searching what I could see of the cemetery for spying eyes. Until you started stroking my hair and massaging my scalp. Then I forgot about everything else and just concentrated on the task at hand... or well, mouth."

He looked down at the mop of bleached hair, the vampire sleeping now only because he was here, with someone, not alone. Or, so he figured. He knew this was going to be hard, but he was not sure he would be able to deal with it. Spike, living with him, being so close.

"Spike, look. I know you're asleep, but I just need to do this. I don't want you here. Not after what you did - to me and to Buffy. Maybe you're sorry, maybe you're full of shit, but you're still a vampire. And that's the part I can't get over. I'm letting you stay because Buffy asked, but I'll kick your ass out in a second if you try anything."

He waited. And waited.

The vampire moaned and shifted, tucked a hand around his waist, but remained asleep. Xander sighed, brushed a hand over the bleached locks and settled in to try to sleep.

"Harris, anyone tell you, you talk to much?" he heard Spike mumble.

"Go to sleep. We're even," he told the vampire. For tonight, I'll take care of you, you undead pain-in-the-ass.


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