Take Care: Later

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 "Him" and continues from events in "Back".
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Joss Whedon and are property of Kuzui/Kuzui Entertainment, Mutant Enemy Productions, WB, UPN, FOX etc. etc.
Feedback: Highlander II

The familiar scent of menthol cigarette smoke filled his nostrils. He inhaled deeply and shifted his body, tucking his hands under his head, then felt himself falling. Then something cold and hard met the side of his face. "Ow," he mumbled as he blinked his eyes open and realized where he was. He sat up, wiped his mouth and rubbed his sore neck as he stretched it. "Thanks for the catch, there, Spike."

One dark eyebrow crept up the vampire's forehead as he exhaled a plume of that mentholated smoke. Xander narrowed his eyes at the vampire, and at being wakened from a pleasant dream. A very pleasant dream involving touching and chocolate sauce.

He sighed and pushed to his feet. Still the bleached vampire sat, one arm draped over a drawn-up leg, cigarette perched between his lips. Stupid vampire. He brushed his hands over his hair in an attempted to tame the unruly mess.

"Where were you going to spread that chocolate sauce?" the vampire asked while Xander was drinking water from a cup.

He spit the water across the room and coughed. "Wha...? How...?" He wiped at his mouth.

Spike took a drag off his cigarette. "You talk in your sleep, mate."

His mouth fell open for him to speak, but his brain apparently forgot to inform his vocal chords there was something to say. He blinked, then stared at Spike a moment. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath. "Spike, he sighed and opened his eyes. "We can't do this anymore."

"Sleep?" Spike asked.

"No. The... the other stuff. The kissing and stuff."

Spike blinked once, slowly. "You've told me that before. You seem to keep coming back to that 'stuff'."

"This time. I really meant it." He took a sip of water. "One change though. Since we have to live under the same roof, we have to try to be civil. Get along. Not so much that people start asking questions, but enough so people don't start asking questions."

"So, pretty much, back to the way things were before you kissed me?"

Xander growled and 'shshed' Spike. "Don't say stuff like that. But, yeah. Pretty much that."

Spike shrugged and stubbed his cigarette out on the wall. "Yeah, I can do that."

"I'm gonna go take a shower." Xander turned and climbed the stairs, praying that Spike would not make one of his infamous comments.

"He's doing better," he heard Buffy respond to the questions from Willow. "He's not 'once more into the breech' guy yet, but he's better."

"How are you though?" Xander added.

Buffy gave him half a smile. "I'm okay. Little sore, but fine."

"You should get some rest, Buffy. We're gonna need you in this fight."

"I'm fine. I have to get to work. Look, do some more research on The First and I'll see you after school." She darted into the living room, called for Dawn on her way to the door and grabbed up her purse.

"Where do we start?" Xander asked and leaned against the counter.

"With Buffy or The First?" Willow responded with a sigh. "She can't keep going like this, it'll kill her... and us."

"Huh? What? Uh, yeah. But I meant this research thing."

She nodded. "I really have no idea. I've been working with Giles, but we're not really getting anywhere. My fingers are chapped from all the page turning."

Xander grinned. "You'll figure it out. It's what you do."

"Yeah. May have to wait for Giles to get back, because I've got nothing."

Xander held up his hands. "Don't look at me, I'm not any more advanced than you."

Willow laughed and dragged a hand across his chest on her way to the dining room and her laptop.

Research. Potentials. Souled-vampires. Uber-vamps. Bringers. The list kept growing with every passing day. And most of the things on the list were either scary or evil. Some were both.

I need a shower.

"Hey." Spike dropped to the ground from his perch in a tree where he had been smoking casually.

Xander frowned in confusion. "And you're sitting in a tree, why?"

"Out of the way."

"Uh huh."

"You want something or 'you just here to piss me off?" Spike crushed the cigarette butt beneath his left Doc Marten.

Xander's frown deepened. "Okay. Did I do something to piss you off already? Because I'm just not getting it."

Spike's eyes roved up and down his body; it made him twitch uncomfortably, as the vampire walked around him. He tried to follow the bleached wonder, but a firm hand forced his head still. "Didn't tell you to move." The hand trailed down his back, over his ass, around his hips to the fly of his pants. He tried to step away, but a long finger through a beltloop held him in place. The finger and the growl from deep in the vampire's throat.

Xander swallowed hard and took a deep breath. "Spike..."

The vampire snarled at him. "Rules," he snapped and reached a hand to open Xander's shirt.

He retracted a bit at the touch of the cold fingers to his skin. But, he wanted to grab the guy and kiss the hell out of him at the same time. That, however, was currently against 'the rules'. Shagging in the middle of the park was not at the top of his list, but it did have the potential to be very interesting. He let his eyes drift closed.

"You okay?" Spike asked.

He cracked one eye open. "Yeah. Why'd you stop?"

Spike sighed, annoyed. "Slayer. We gotta move."


"Where you going?" someone asked as he reached the stairs. No. Not someone... Spike.

"To take a shower."

"Brave man."

"Wanna stand watch?"

Spike shook his head. "Too tired. Good luck though." Spike climbed the stairs ahead of him. Where is he going? Oh, right. Potentials downstairs.

Xander considered his options one more time - go home to shower, leaving the girls with Spike and Willow or stay here smelly or stay here and get cleaned up. 'Home was out by virtue of him being too tired to drive back and smelly was a bad option all around. Summers' shower, here I come.

He climbed the stairs, collected his change of clothes from Buffy's room - where she had suggested he store them if he wanted to be able to wear them - and made his way to the bathroom. He pushed the door closed and, in a flash, he was pressed against said door from behind. He heard the familiar soft 'click' of the door lock engaging. A breath caught in his chest and he squeezed his eyes closed, hugging his pile of clothes to his body as he tried to determine just which one of the potentials had squirreled herself away in the bathroom.

"Did I really scare you that bad, mate?" the cold baritone rumbled in his left ear.

"Shit. Spike," he sighed as he turned around to face the... "Um..." bare-chested vampire and ended up dropping his clothes on their pairs of bare feet. "Th-thought you were tired."

Spike shrugged. "Too many girlie types in the other beds. And can't sleep in Slayer's bed. Too weird."

"Yeah." He looked away. "You should go. I already told you we can't do this anymore."

"I know." Spike leaned in and pressed his lips against Xander's neck.


"Do you really want me to go?" Spike asked as he pushed back to look him in the eye.

I hate it when he does that. He shook his head. "No. I really don't. But that's why you should."

A deep frown from the vampire; it enveloped his whole body. How does he do that? "So, I should go because you want me to stay?"

"Well..." his face fell. "How come when you say it, it doesn't make sense?"

The most evil grin to ever be seen on a souled creature crossed Spike's lips in response.

"That is so not fair."

"Seriously, Harris, if you want me to leave, just tell me and I'll leave."

"No you won't."

"I will. Just say the word."

"Naked," zipped from his mouth before he realized he was speaking.

Spike blinked and took a step away. "Interesting choice of word."

"Shut up and get that way. These girls are gonna think I'm worse than they are." He stepped over his pile of clothes and reached into the shower to turn on the water. "Oh, and Spike, for future reference, this probably isn't the best place to try this anymore. You damn near scared me to death." He leaned out of the shower and caught the expression on Spike's face. The vampire had backed himself into the far corner of the small bathroom and looked positively stunned out of his head. Shit. "Oh, Spike. God. I'm..."

"No," Spike whispered with a shake of his head. "I should go."

"No. Please, Spike. I never should have brought that up. I told you I didn't want you to go and I meant it. I'm just stupid."

Spike lowered his head to his chest and sank to his haunches, arms folded over his head. Xander knelt beside him, ran a hand over the disheveled blond locks and tried to tilt Spike's head up to face him. No go. Xander took a deep breath and gently kissed the back of Spike's head. "Come on now, let's get a shower."


"Dammit, Spike, we're gonna use up all the hot water and Buffy's already having trouble paying all her bills." Then he heard chuckling. "What?"

"You say the stupidest shit at exactly the wrong time, Harris."

"Whatever. You gettin' in?"

"Yeah yeah. Just don't bring up stuff anymore."

"Right. Sorry. Get naked. Come on."

He watched the vampire push to his feet and strip off his clothes. "Damn, I never get tired of that."

Spike snarled playfully. At least, Xander hoped it was playful.

Xander smiled right back and stripped off his own clothes. He adjusted the shower and stepped in, tugging at Spike's arm. "Mmm. Come here." He pulled the vampire beneath the spray and pressed his mouth to Spike's, feeling skin on skin - hands at the back of his neck, hipbones pressing, erections rubbing against each other. Xander sifted his hands into the now-drenched locks of the vampire's hair.

"Bloody hell, I've missed this," Spike rumbled.


"Intimacy, you nit." Spike slapped his ass.

Xander jumped at the wet skin on wet skin smack. "Did you really just use that word?"

"Word-a-day calendar. 'Intimacy' was yesterday's word. Now shut up and lather me up."

"I had a dream like this once."

"No you didn't. We've done this before."

Xander slid a soapy finger between the cheeks of Spike's ass and felt the vampire tense at the contact. His other hand stroked down the slender right leg to the ankle, grazed the foot and stroked back to the perfect hip. 'Slap.' 'Pant.' He heard Spike's palms hit the shower wall before the vampire began panting. He twitched the finger resting near the puckered entrance to Spike's body and the vampire tensed again.

"Bloody... fuck, Harris! Enough with the teasing."

Xander thumped Spike's ass. "No talking." He stood, keeping his one hand between Spike's ass cheeks and moving the other around the slender hip to the smooth hardness of Spike's erect cock. The vampire began to tremble under his touch, before he eve stroked him, so, by the time he did, Spike was nearly on his knees. He wrapped his free arm around the vampire's waist, supporting as best he could, and pressed his chest against the strong back as he stroked in an even, easy rhythm.

Spike growled and screamed something incoherent when he came, then sank to his knees, panting heavily. "Hope you don't want me t'do anything for the next hour. Shit, Xander."

Xander chuckled against the vampire's shoulder. "You're not supposed to be talking, but no, not wanting anything at all just now. Well, except this." He reached around, turned Spike's face to his and kissed him firmly on the mouth. "'You handle that?"

"Uh huh," Spike turned around and leaned against the back of the tub, then pulled him down for a more thorough exploration of his mouth.

Spike always seemed to know exactly how to kiss him, exactly how he wanted to be kissed; touch him exactly where he wanted to be touched, exactly how he wanted to be touched. There was no concern about the water - aside from it getting cold - no concern about getting caught. His hotel room idea had been brilliant. It involved a bit of a stretch of the truth to Anya and his friends, but he needed this time with Spike.

"Water's cold," the warm baritone rumbled in his ear.

"Probably should get out then." He leaned his head into the crook of Spike's neck, stroking the smooth pectorals. "Gotta get a towel."

Spike turned the water off and drew the curtain back. There was fervent knocking at the bathroom door. Impatient girls twittered about needing the bathroom. Spike flipped a rude finger gesture at the door with a snarl as he pulled a towel from a cabinet with his free hand.

"Spike," he hissed, then tried not to yelp as he was wrapped in the towel and kissed - again. He pushed the vampire away. "Really, Spike. We have to go. Now."

"Easy for you. They all know you're in here."

"Go through Buffy's room. Take my shoes. I'll go in there looking for them." He handed his sneakers to the naked man as he tried not to admire the muscles rippling beneath the skin. "And, uh, towel." He held out a towel for him as well.

"Yeah, yeah," Spike grumbled and snatched the towel to sling around his waist.

Xander could only shake his head as he pulled on his clothes.

"Maybe a cape."

Dawn chuckled. "Yeah. A cape is good."

He smiled back at her, then started toward the stairs.

"Heard your little speech to the Nibblet."

Xander faced the vampire leaning in the dining room entryway. "Yeah? Thought you were downstairs with the wanna-bes?"

"Didn't want to play show and tell anymore. That bit earlier was enough."

"Yeah." He sat down on the stairs, exhausted.

Spike folded his arms over his chest, still leaning in the doorway. "Was a good thing you did. Saying that stuff to the 'Bit."

"It's all true. She's amazing. She just hasn't had anyone tell her before."

Spike nodded. "They tend to focus on Big Sis."

"Yeah, and it gets tough to function when it seems like no one cares."

"We still talkin' 'bout Nibblet here?"


"You going to bed now?"

Xander shook his head. "Nah. Not really tired."

"Beer in the backyard?" Spike suggested.

A shrug and an agreeing head nod, then, "Why not."

They grabbed several bottles of beer from the refrigerator and, quietly, made their way onto the back porch. Seated in one of the chairs on the back lawn, Spike opened a beer and took a long pull. He'd placed the other bottles on the table for easy reach. Xander followed Spike's lead and opened a bottle as he took a seat.

Neither of the men spoke for several minutes. 'Content to sit, drinking beer and listening to the sounds of the nearly deserted town. Xander tried hard not to look at the bleached vampire sitting so close, but so far away, but couldn't help stealing a glance or two between pulls from the bottle in his hand.

He sighed, now was as good a time as any... "Spike, we need to talk."

"I know," he responded, staring off into the moonless night.

"What are we doing?"

"Drinking beer." The quip was half-hearted. It lacked any sense of the usual snark Spike never left behind.

Another pull from the slowly sweating bottle. "Yeah. I gotta know something, what are your feelings for Buffy?"

If the question surprised Spike, it didn't show on his face. The vampire finished the first bottle and placed it on the table. He rested his forearms on his thighs and stared at the ground during his response. "I think I still love her. I know she doesn't love me, but I don't need her to. Since I came back, I've thought about this.. a lot. I need her... I need her to forgive me, but not to love me. And, I just need her."

Xander was sure Spike was crying. Definitely holding back tears. It was not what he had wanted, but he needed answers. "All right, so what are your feelings for me?"

Spike looked up at him, slender tracks down his cheeks from a few shed tears, a confused frown turning the corners of his mouth downward. "For you?" he asked and Xander nodded once. "I don't know."

"At least we're in the same boat," he mumbled and finished his beer.


"When all this started, I never expected it to go on as long as it did. Never planned for that. And I shouldn't have done it. I was engaged to Anya. I loved her. In a way, I still do. But you. Damn you, Spike. You let me get lost and forget. Nothing outside that damned crypt mattered when I was there. Not really. I kept my mind on the outside world just enough to maintain enough of my normal life. To keep everyone thinking I had a normal life. And it worked, until that night. That night I showed up and you attacked me. I had no idea why, until later. You lying bastard! You hurt me because of something Buffy did to you." He paused a moment to breathe and to look at Spike - his head was down in shame and more tears were falling. It was killing him to see the Big Bad like that, but he needed to say all of this, get it all out. "That seemed the ultimate betrayal. Until you tried to hurt her and I know that had nothing to do with me, but that night, you didn't just hurt Buffy. You hurt us all."

"I know," Spike choked out as he tried to keep his voice steady.

Xander took a deep breath and finished off his beer. "Even after that, no one but Tara ever knew. And now, there's no one I can talk to about any of it, but you. And for some twisted reason, you sit there and listen to all of it. You are one fucked up vampire."

Silence this time.

"I don't know what to do anymore."

"What are your feelings for me?" Spike asked. "'Sides the seething hatred?"

Xander sighed and opened another beer. "I don't hate you, Spike. But I don't know how I feel about you. Some days I want to kill you; others, I want to drag you off to a dark corner and do whatever comes to mind. Neither of those is very healthy, but most days, I don't care. Most days, I just want you and I have no idea why." He let the silence linger for a moment, then asked, "Why do you let me? Why do you accept everything? And don't tell me it's just because you're a horny vampire."

The horny vampire was quiet for a minute, maybe two, before responding. "Lonely," he whispered, almost out of range.

"That's it?" Xander asked incredulously.

"Pretty much. You didn't change. Treated me the same no matter what was going on. Mostly. Couple of weird slips here and there on patrol, but you never changed your official opinion of me. It was more tolerance to get what you needed."

"That's what you think? That I came to you just for what I wanted? You really are an idiot. Were you not paying attention when Buffy brought you back from that cave? I wasn't there just because she asked me to be. Dammit. I wanted to be there. You son-of-a-bitch. Do you think I'm that selfish? You may be, but I'm not. Believe it or not, I give a shit what happens to you. Maybe I shouldn't. But I just can't stop. So, to answer your question: I don't hate you, I don't love you, but I do give a shit. I care. Make what you will of it, but it's the truth. No matter your feelings, or lack of, for me." He rose from the chair and stalked back into the house, leaving Spike alone in the yard.

He made it to the kitchen and got the door closed before the dam broke. All the emotion he had been holding in spilled down his face. He leaned his arms on the wall, then let his head rest on his folded arms and just let go. Tears rolled down his face, dripping off his chin onto the side of the bottle still in his hand. He rolled over one shoulder, pressed his back to the wall and slid to the floor. He thumped his head against the wall and let the tears flow until his guts ached and his throat was raw.

Minutes passed. He didn't know how many. Even when a warm weight rested on his shoulder and he opened his eyes. He sighed and closed his eyes again. "Leave me alone, Dawn."

"No," she said. "There's something going on and I think you want to talk to someone about it."

"I don't. I'm fine. Just go."

"Nope. You didn't let me mope. I won't let you," she insisted. "Why? Because you're just as extraordinary as I am."

He scowled at her, growled even. "Bite me."

Dawn frowned and snarled; scowled right back. "Okay, you know, you suck, Xander. I know you've been sleeping with Spike." She folded her arms over her chest. "Don't give me that dumbfounded stupefied look. How everyone else hasn't figured it out, I don't even know. Except that they're too tied up in their own shit. But that's not the point. I know what's going on. Something happened. I don't know if you're still sleeping with him, but there's still something." Dawn paused for a breath or two before continuing her rant. "I wasn't sure before, but after the other day, after you two went to get his stuff, I was sure. The way you sat next to him on the couch and didn't even flinch when he leaned against your shoulder." She softened her tone, leaned in close to his ear. "Xander, it's okay."

He shook his head. "It's not. He's a vampire."

"Okay, that's the idiot defense," she said. "C'mon, Xander, you know there's something else. It's okay if you like him. Really." She stroked a hand over his hair. Then she kissed his temple. "Xan..."


He raised his head as he blinked away the few tears lingering at the corners of his eyes. "No." He shook his head again. "I don't want it to be okay."

Dawn sighed. "You don't have to tell everyone. They don't have to know." She tugged him into an embrace. He wrapped his arms around her small frame in return.


"Yep. Where is he?"

"What?" Xander asked into her shoulder.

"Where is Spike?"

"Oh. Backyard."

"Is he okay?" She leaned away and wiped a thumb across his cheekbone.

Xander shrugged. "Dunno."

"I'll check on him. Get some sleep."

"Maybe I should talk to him," Xander offered.

"What are you going to say?" she asked.

"The truth: that he should leave or stay away from me."

Dawn shook her head and wrinkled her nose. "Yeah, probably not best. He won't bother you. I'll talk to him."

"Okay." He pushed to his feet, wiped his face and slid through the living room to the stairs.

Today - don't ask me what day it is, they're all blurring together. I wanted to write a letter to Spike, but I can't find any paper. So, I'll just write it in my head:


Shit. I know that's not the best way to start a letter, but this is hard. Especially after seeing you writhe in pain on the floor because the chip zapped your head for no reason. What's with that?

Anyway, how do I say this. I've tried to tell you this about a thousand times, we can't do this anymore. At least not until I know your true feelings for Buffy... and for me. I don't want you to love me, because... weird. But I want to know that you won't hurt me or my friends. Also, and this is the part that scares me the most, I don't want my friends to hate me for wanting to be with you the way I wanted to hate Buffy for being with you.

Did I really say that? But, if I wanted to hate Buffy for sleeping with you, why would I expect any different of her for knowing that I did the same thing?

I like sleeping with you. That way your skin feels and tastes. The way you touch me in just the right place and kiss that spot on the back of my neck when you think I'm sleeping.

Dammit. See, this is why I can't write letters to you... not even in my head. I always end up thinking of something we did or said or whatever... and I can't tell you to go. What are we supposed to do?

Screw this letter crap. I think Buffy's back anyway

"Spike," Xander gasped as he rounded the corner from the dining room. Not Buffy. And was Spike outside?

"Hey." The vampire seemed as nervous as he was.

He frowned. "Were you outside?" he asked.

"On the porch. In the shade. Needed some air. You need something?"

"Huh? No. Just going to get lunch or something."

"Right then." Spike shifted past him and down the hall.

Suddenly, I'm not hungry anymore.

Xander blinked and stepped backward into Dawn. 'Not on purpose, but Willow/Warren's under-roos comment caught him off-guard. He gathered his wits and listened to the chatter, not really hearing much until he followed the direction of Willow/Warren's pointing finger and saw Spike writhing on the floor. He was clutching his head. Xander could do nothing but watch Buffy help Spike off the floor and to a chair. What's this? What's going on?

He caught the look on Spike's face as he started forward, started to ask... but that look told him to stop. Told him that this was one of those times to shut up, back off and act like Xander. He figured he could do that. But he was ready to help if it was necessary.

"I can help. Untie me!" he heard the vampire squawk from the chair in the corner. He snarled at Spike and turned back to his mission. Creeping along a wall and peering carefully around the corner; he saw the enemy was waiting, weapon poised, eyes roving, searching. Xander tensed...

"Harris, it's a bloody video game and these ropes are starting to chafe. And not in a good way," Spike grumbled.

Xander sighed and threw the controller to the floor. "Dammit, I almost had him too." He shifted around to face Spike. "I didn't bring that thing over here to lose that level."

"No. You brought it here so we could play that thing... that game. Not for me to sit tied in a chair and watch you twitch and rock on the floor." Spike squirmed in his bonds. "Now, bloody untie me before I do find a way to hurt you."

Xander frowned petulantly. "You're mean."

The scarred eyebrow arched up the vampire's pale forehead. "Well, yeah. Hello, EVIL."

"Right. You're scary. If so, why're you still in that chair?"

He knew he had spoken too soon... he found himself pinned to the floor. 'Beneath a naked vampire with a raging hard-on. He cursed as he hit the floor. The vampire growled deep in his throat in response. Then, pressed cold lips to Xander's trembling ones. He gave up fighting back and relaxed.

"They did what?" he asked. He was trying to wrap his brain around the current news. "Buffy, I just want to know why."

"It was hurting him. A lot. Randomly. He wasn't doing anything at all and it would fire."

"So, uber-badness in Spike's head. Okay. But what about the trigger?"

Buffy sighed, exasperated. "As long as we keep an eye on him, I think we'll be okay."

"Where is he now?" Dawn asked.

"Downstairs. Sleeping. He'll be fine. This will be fine. Now - research."

Xander wanted to go talk to Spike. To work out some of the stuff in his head. Talking to the vampire while he was asleep would probably be easier, but it would solve little. Dawn tugged on his sleeve and dragged him to the table. Books seemed to stare back at him, taunting him with the words his eyes would go blurry scanning.

He stared at the pages, pretending to read (Take that books!). They knew Giles wasn't The First, but not much else. Except that it was quiet in the house since the girls were out in the desert with the aforementioned not-The-First former librarian. He just couldn't get his brain focused on research... or anything else.

Needing to stretch, to move, to get away from the books, he told the gang he needed to take a walk. Buffy asked him to warm some blood for Spike and take it to him. He wanted to refuse, but talked himself into it anyway.

Going through the motions - getting the mug, opening the refrigerator, getting the jar of blood, pouring the thick liquid into the mug, putting the mug into the microwave, pressing the little buttons, waiting for the beep, getting the mug out... Xander shook his head to clear the fog. Damn, Brain broken again. He took a deep breath and started for the basement.

Groans and hissing whimpers drifted up the stairs. He nearly had to turn back up the stairs, because the sounds ripped him in half emotionally. He stopped and took a few deep breaths, then continued down the stairs

Spike was restless and in apparent pain. Xander put the mug on a nearby shelf and knelt beside the cot. He reached a hand out to stroke the matted, bleached hair, but drew back before making contact. He wanted, so much, to touch, to hold, to comfort the man lying there.

Dammit. Isn't this how I got into this mess to begin with?

Spike gasped and put a hand over his face as he groaned. "Bloody hell." Spike rolled to his side and opened his eyes. "What are you doing down here, nit?"

Mr. Grumpypants tonight, aren't we? "Brought you a drink. I'll just leave it there on the bookshelf." He pushed to his feet, then started up the stairs.

He heard the sigh behind him, followed by, "Harris, wait." He paused. Waited. "I need to talk to someone."

"Don't you have Buffy for that?" he asked and kept his head low.

"Maybe, but she already knows this. I need to talk to you."



He turned his chin over his shoulder, determined not to back down. "No. I'm not ready to hear Confessions of a Souled Vampire."

"You might want to take advantage of this. There may not be a chance later."

Xander shook his head. "Write me a letter. I have work to do." The staircase suddenly seemed to reach to the sky. He was sure he'd never make it to the kitchen again. He heard the cot creak and had to force himself to keep a steady pace up the stairs and trust that the vampire wasn't coming after him.

A wave of accomplishment washed over him. He wasn't entirely sure what he had accomplished, but he felt good about what he'd done. Spike had wanted to talk, but he was sure it would have led to nakedness or, at least, kissage.

The shower was it. I can't keep going with the destructive behavior. No more. I'm putting Buffy and Willow in charge of Spike-duty from now on. Or he'll have to take care of himself.


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