Sandy Places Among the Angels

Part Five

Xander stared at the ceiling, trying to catch his breath. "I take it you missed me?"

"Er, did I? Miss a bit of you?" Spike rolled over, a very tiny bit -- he was pretty well plastered all alongside Xander, and there wasn't much room to move unless it was 'away'. Spike lifted his head a bit and looked at Xander's chest. "I think I got it all."

Privately, Xander admitted his lover indeed had explored every inch of him, but he wasn't about to say so. Spike might -- might -- stop if he did. "Maybe you should, y'know, doublecheck."

Fingers were already running across his chest before he had half of the sentence out. Xander wriggled happily at the exploration, reaching up and sliding a hand through Spike's short hair, pulling him down for a kiss. "Mm, I did miss a spot," Spike said, grinning smugly.

Xander returned the grin, unable to keep from smiling back. "I missed you, too."

"So, you gonna make it up to me now?" Spike asked, licking a spot on Xander's chest and sounding terribly innocent.

"I thought I was."

"I thought that was me saying 'glad you're back'."

"It can't be both?" Xander gasped as Spike's fingers brushed over one nipple.

"D'you want to only have sex once? Before breakfast, I mean," Spike added hastily, as though if they didn't plan it, it wouldn't ever happen.

"Since when did we need a reason to have sex?"

"Because--er..." Spike trailed off, looking thoughtful. He was still absently running his fingers over Xander's chest though, which was nice and distracting. Xander was quite happy to lie there and wait while Spike thought -- as long as he continued doing that with his fingers. Spike tapped Xander's chest -- accidentally hitting a nipple. Twice. Finally he said, "Because it's more fun when you're -- actually just as much fun, not saying it isn't fun when we have sex for no reason. But -- where was I?" He absently flicked the nipple, lightly.

"Uhhh?" Xander said intelligently. Waiting patiently was one thing, being expected to think while Spike was touching him was something else.

The finger began making a slow circle -- pushing his nipple around, very gently. "Don't you think you owe me a bit of... something special?" Spike's tone didn't seem at all petulant, or even very inviting. He sounded like he might have been talking about which sports channel they were going to watch.

"Sp-special?" He was naked, Spike was naked, they were in bed, almost assuredly about to have sex. That was special, wasn't it?

Had he missed an anniversary already?

"Because you--" Spike stopped, and his finger stopped. "Right, sex." He shifted up to kiss Xander.

But there was something about Spike's tone, something he saw in Spike's eyes, that set off alarm bells in Xander's head. He let Spike kiss him, but then pulled back. "What's wrong?"

Spike blinked, and looked like he didn't have a clue what Xander meant. "Don't you want to have sex?"

"I think the answer to that is a hearty 'Duh.'" He reached up and traced one of Spike's cheekbones with a light finger. Spike smiled, a not-so-wide smile that made his eyes go soft, and more blue. Xander couldn't resist giving him a kiss, but then he asked again, "Is something wrong?"

Spike hesitated before shaking his head and trying to kiss him back.

Xander let him, but then doggedly returned to his question. "Spike? Talk to me?"

"What about? I can talk dirty, if you like -- tell you what I wanna do to you." Spike waggled an eyebrow, but his eyes still had that soft, almost sad look in them.

"Tell me why you're looking at me like one of us has just lost his puppy?"

He could see Spike deliberately changing his expression. Pulling it into a completely not up to anything, just wanna have sex with you, expression that Xander was meant to believe -- if it weren't for the fact he knew Spike all too well.

It was obvious that if he wanted Spike to talk, he was going to have to bring out the big guns. "Please, Spike," he said softly, giving his own version of the lost puppy look. "Tell me what's wrong."

There was a second's hesitation, then he saw Spike's resolve crumble. The soft look in his eyes was back and the kiss that followed was all about I love you, and not much of 'shag me til I croak'. After the kiss, Spike lay his head down on Xander's chest and snuggled close. Xander automatically wrapped his arms around his vampire as he waited for Spike to start talking.

"Just thought," Spike finally began, trying to sound like he didn't actually care. "You... said you were leaving on Wednesday. And you'd be back Sunday afternoon."

"Is that what this is about?" Xander asked quietly, feeling himself tense despite his efforts to remain calm.

"No." But Spike was lying, and he wasn't trying to hide it. Xander thought that maybe Spike just didn't want to fight about it so was giving them an out, in case Xander didn't want to argue, either.

For a moment he was tempted. Dealing with anything that pitted Spike and Giles against each other in his mind or heart *hurt*. He loved them both, even if the words were almost impossible to say. He didn't want to feel like he had to make a choice -- he *couldn't* make a choice.

"You didn't call," Spike said, after Xander hadn't spoken, belying the guess that he didn't want to discuss it.

"I meant to!" Xander fidgeted. "But there was this dead Indian who was cutting off ears and things, and a grizzly bear in the living room -- and Buffy was *cooking* and..." He trailed off, feeling guilty because he realised he hadn't even thought about calling Spike after his first day back. "I'm sorry. I should've."

Spike blinked up at him. "Bear? Buffy cooking? Do... I have to go growl at someone?" He said it like it would mean moving away from naked Xander, putting clothes on, and working -- ie, no fun -- but the look in his eyes said it would be almost as much fun as sex.

"You can growl at me if you want," slipped out before Xander could stop it.

There was a startled grin, then Spike looked very mean. He growled, deep in his throat, so soft at first Xander could only feel it, not hear it.

Xander shivered. The growl grew louder, very slowly. Spike's expression turned more and more predatory as the volume grew. Xander could feel his cock harden as the growling continued and he let go of Spike, his arms falling to the bed spread out wide as he stared up at the suddenly dangerous looking vampire. The more predatory Spike got, the more passive Xander became, offering himself up as willing prey.

He could feel Spike's reaction -- the erection touching his thigh as it jutted out as though neither of them had just had sex. Spike leaned closer, growling louder, deeper. Without warning he flashed forward, and before Xander could register the move, Spike was on his throat.

Xander cried out as Spike's teeth sank into his flesh, the secondary pain lost in the much larger pleasure of the vampire drinking from him. There might have been a hand pumping his cock for all he was suddenly so close to release. But it was just Spike's mouth, sucking him, still growling and the vibrations of it were echoing in his neck, and down his collarbone into his chest.

He could feel Spike thrusting himself against Xander's hip. Without thought, Xander raised his legs, wrapping them around Spike's hips, the movement a blatant invitation as well as letting him thrust more aggressively up against the body above him.

Spike responded without letting go of Xander's throat -- pressing their bodies together, he shifted around just enough to push his cock against Xander's ass. He thrust again, blindly. His attention seemed to be wholly at Xander's neck, and anything else was incidental.

It was something Xander could understand, because he was more aware of his neck than any other body part; he swore he could feel each drop of blood flowing from him into Spike's mouth. Spike was probably drinking slowly -- not trying to drain him, after all. But it felt like everything was being pulled to his neck, to Spike's mouth. He felt Spike's fingers suddenly dig into him, hard, and desperate.

He tried to say Spike's name but all that came out was a strangled whimper. He felt Spike tense -- in that good, about to come, about to fuck you through the floor kind of way. He heard Spike growl, loud and hard and he sucked at Xander's neck and both sensations soared straight to Xander's cock. Under that kind of stimulus there was no way Xander could keep from coming for long.

Something fumbled against him -- a hand thumped against Xander's stomach, then it scooted down and took a hold of his cock. Rubbed it, once, then twice, then counting was no longer worth the effort. Then he was coming and screaming and holding onto Spike with everything he had. He felt Spike holding him -- wrapping his arms and legs around him and holding him, touching him -- jerking him off and thrusting against him and sucking lightly at his throat. He could hear Spike's growl changing, knew by the sound that his lover was close to coming as well.

Watching, feeling that, with the tremors of his own climax still playing along his nerves, let Xander find the words he could so rarely actually get out and he gave them to his lover now. "I love you, Spike."

There was a gasp that was half release, and half soul-wrenching something, and Spike pulled his mouth away from Xander in a nearly violent move. Xander wasn't quite able to restrain the involuntary sound of loss that welled up in his throat at that and he reflexively tightened his grip on Spike, keeping him close. But Spike didn't seem to be going anywhere. He was latching on tightly, still in the throes of his orgasm, panting hard and fast as though he'd forgot he didn't have to breathe. It made Xander want to hold him tighter, just wrap himself around him and never let go.

He heard a mumble, and as Spike suddenly froze, then began collapsing, he heard it again, more clearly. "Love you, Xan."

Those words went straight to his soul and Xander was sure if he hadn't just come he would've just from hearing them. There was a soft lick on his neck -- right where Spike had bitten him. It felt like a cat licking spilled milk. Xander shivered at the sensation. "That's just..."

"Mmmrmpm."

"Yeah." He grinned.

Another lick.

He shivered again. "You know, if I knew how good being bitten felt, I would've let you do it years ago."

"Errm?" Spike licked one more, lazy time. "Before you liked me at all?" he teased.

"No, if you tried to bite me back before we got together, I would've staked you," Xander replied, remembering the nightmares he'd used to have about being bitten, and worse, being turned like Jesse. "And then gone home and took great pleasure in washing your dust out of my clothes." He said it casually, somehow. Apparently his subconscious didn't associate Spike with the Bad Things anymore.

Spike sniffed, and raised his head to look blearily woeful at him. "You wouldn't have even kept my dust?"

"Not back before I discovered I didn't hate *every* vampire."

Pouting, now, Spike snuggled in and looked cute at him.

"What? You going to tell me that I wasn't just another takeout meal to you when we first met?" Xander demanded.

Spike's eyes darkened, and for a moment Spike didn't answer. Then he said, in a soft, deadly serious tone, "The first time I saw you, you smelled like something I wanted."

The words shocked Xander, and left him absolutely speechless for a moment. "I-I did?" he finally managed, staring at Spike with wide eyes. Steady, unblinking blue eyes stared back. Another moment without reply, then Spike nodded, very slightly. "First I thought-- wouldn't have killed you that night. Would have turned you."

Xander swallowed hard. Another shiver went down his spine, not for pleasant reasons this time. But contrarily, he pressed closer to Spike for comfort. "Why..." he trailed off, not sure which he wanted to ask more: Why had Spike wanted to turn him? or Why had Spike let him go?

Spike didn't blink, didn't flinch away. Just looked at him and said in that same, serious, low tone, "Because I wanted you with me. Forever. But if I'd turned you, I wouldn't have."

Oh. For a moment Xander's brain just... stopped. "Why?" he repeated in a whisper. How could Spike have felt so much so fast?

Now Spike looked surprised. "Because when a human gets turned into a vampire, his soul goes away. Someplace."

"No." Xander shook his head. "Why did you want me?"

"Er--" Spike stopped, looked flummoxed, then -- looked embarrassed. "Why'd you want *me*?" he demanded.

"Because..." Xander trailed off.

Spike started to raise an eyebrow in an 'aha' smug expression -- then he pouted. Hard.

"What?"

"Don't you know why you like me?" Spike asked, dejectedly.

"I asked you first," Xander shot back, thinking fast.

"Oh, so juvenile," Spike retorted. He pinched Xander's leg.

"Ouch."

"Baby. Tell me."

"You first."

"I asked you first. Ow! All right, I asked second." Spike rubbed his own leg and gave Xander a very adorable glare. "Kiss me first?"

Xander sighed extravagantly. "Well, if I must..."

"I think you must." Spike nodded, gravely.

Fighting the urge to smile, Xander leaned in solemnly and kissed him. The kiss was easy, and thorough. Spike tasted every part of his mouth, concentrating on Xander's lips, and tongue, then everything else he could reach. Xander almost forgot his question, almost decided to let it pass and just keep kissing Spike.

Almost. But Spike's revelation had been so surprising, and Xander still felt so bewildered about why the vampire would've felt like that so quickly, that he needed to know the answer. So he pulled back and asked it again, softly, "Why?"

"Darn. You were supposed to forget the question."

"I didn't."

"Um. What was the question?"

"Spike--" Xander began exasperatedly.

"Because you smumawhm."

"Huh?"

"You smelled good!" Spike snapped, frustrated and embarrassed.

"I smelled good?" Xander repeated disbelievingly. "You fell in love with me because of my b.o.?"

"Not your--" Spike stopped, gave him a disgusted look, and started to roll away.

Xander grabbed him and held him in place. "Don't. I'm not making fun of you. I just... I'm trying to understand."

Spike just glared at him. "What's there to understand? You smelled good. I liked it; I wanted you. End of story."

"What did I smell like?"

"I... dunno. Not sure there's words for it." Spike frowned, thoughtfully. "Like nighttime. Like hunting." He turned his head and gave Xander a direct look. "Like a vampire. Only... you know. As a good guy."

"Really?" He had no idea what any of that meant, but it sounded... interesting. Good, bad, he had no clue.

Spike nodded. He looked suddenly uncertain, as though realising Xander might consider this a reason to head for intensive therapy.

"There's more to it than that now though, isn't there?" He wasn't sure where the question had come from, but there it was, coming from his mouth.

"More?" Spike's eyebrows almost quirked upwards. "You mean like, do I just want you for sex and snack food?" There was a sudden note of bitterness in his voice.

"No!" Xander immediately denied, then thought about it. "Well, yeah, kinda. But not really. I just... what do you want for me? I mean, I know it's more than sex and snack food, but... What do you want me for?"

Another blink, and the bitterness changed into amusement. He thought Spike was going to laugh -- and Xander thought he might have to smack him if he did. Spike just smiled, saving himself. "Other than me being all sappy and saying I love you?"

"But why?" He felt like a two year old, repeating the same word over and over. But suddenly, it was important that he heard Spike's reasons.

His lover shrugged, annoyingly not providing an actual answer. But Spike seemed like he wasn't avoiding the question -- it looked more like he was trying to figure out what to say. Xander held his tongue and his patience and waited. "You really want me to go all poetic and sappy?" Spike asked.

Xander nodded.

Spike pouted. "I've got an image, you know. I'm all bad and evil and things. Normally."

"But you love me?" Xander asked, pouting back.

"Well, yeah, of course." Spike sounded like Xander had asked him if he liked the taste of beer.

"Enough to go all poetic and sappy for me?"

"Er... probably, yeah."

"Well?"

"Right now? I don't get to prepare first?"

"You need time to figure out why you love me?" Xander let his lip begin to jut out in the beginnings of another pout.

"No, I need time to figure out what rhymes with 'forever' and wondering if I can still be an evil vampire if I use the word 'cerulean'."

Cerulean? Xander mouthed the word silently.

"It's a shade of blue," Spike explained. "That shirt you stole from me about a month back is 'cerulean' colored. And... er... was thinking about you having stolen it and how it makes me feel all sappy." Spike didn't quite meet his eyes as he talked. Xander wonderd if Spike's eyes were 'cerulean' and if he'd get pinched if he said so.

"So... so far you love me because I smell good and I'm a thief." Maybe for a vampire, that was romantic. Xander wasn't sure he agreed.

"No, because when you put on my shirt that morning without even asking, I realised I liked that you felt like you had the right to take my stuff without asking. Because it's as much yours as mine because I am."

Xander's grip tightened on Spike as the words sank in. "You're mine..." he echoed in a voice barely above a whisper.

His. His vampire. His Spike.

"Yeah. Not that I don't think you look sexy in the shirt, and would've made you wear it anyhow -- just the shirt, no pants. Even if I hadn't sort of ruined your other one that night."

Xander kissed him. "You're mine," he repeated.

"Yes," Spike repeated, sounding a tad confused.

He nipped at Spike's throat. "Mine."

Spike purred.

"My Spike." Xander wriggled, feeling the happiness spread through his soul like warm sunshine. "Tell me more."

"Mur?" Spike seemed to be paying more attention to the wriggling.

"Tell me why you love me."

"Love you wriggling." Spike kissed him, on the chest. "Love you lying there all well-fucked and happy." He kissed another spot on Xander's chest. "Love you being so fearless," he added in a quieter voice. "Loved you from the first time you stood up to me, knowing I could... kill you in a second and you didn't back down. Love your brains and your sense of humor, juvenile though it may be. Love that you can wear the dorkiest clothes on the planet and look like you don't care." Each comment was being accompanied by another kiss, randomly placed.

Xander opened his mouth, but couldn't say anything around the sudden lump in his throat. So he hugged Spike as tight as he could, burying his face against Spike's hair. Spike glommed onto him, not saying anything else.

"I... Me too, Spike. I'm yours, I mean."

He felt Spike lick his neck, almost across the bite marks. Spike sighed. "Yeah."

Xander felt it all the way down his spine. "Do that again."

Spike sighed, and said "Yeah."

"Dork. I mean the licking."

"You call me a dork, and now I'm supposed to lick you?"

Xander wriggled invitingly.

"Do that again," Spike asked.

He wriggled again.

And Spike pouted at him. "I don't get to call you a dork?"

"You could fuck me instead," Xander offered, with another wriggle

"Dork."

Before Xander could open his mouth again, Spike was flipping him over unceremoniously. Xander let out an involuntary and embarrassing yelp.

"Comfy?" Spike asked, cheekily.

Xander narrowed his eyes and deliberately wriggled. A hand slapped his left buttock, sharp but not hard. "Ow," he complained, though it had startled more than hurt. He wriggled again rebelliously.

Another light smack. "Have to lie still if you want me to aim properly."

"But I thought you liked it when I did this," Xander said coyly, wriggling to demonstrate.

"I do -- er, wait." Spike fell silent, his hand resting on Xander's ass. Fingers drummed lightly across his buttock.

Xander looked over his shoulder at his lover. "Wait?"

"I'm thinking." Fingers kept drumming, but harder now, and they started... slipping.

"Spike?" He shifted slightly, his cock reacting as the touches became less light.

"Hmm?" Spike's fingers were still moving, absently, except that they seemed to be touching almost all the right places. Almost, because they were still on his ass and not someplace more useful like down between his legs.

"What are you doing?" Reflexively, he found himself pushing back into Spike's hand, encouraging whatever touches the vampire saw fit to give him.

"Forgot what the question was, again," Spike said without a trace of embarrassment. Which meant he was lying -- but why, exactly? Other than the fact he was now almost letting his fingers fall down between his buttocks, tapping lightly at his asshole before moving back up his other butt-cheek and further annoying Xander by not following through.

"There was a question?" He raised his hips and spread his legs further, trying to encourage the fingers to go where he needed them.

"Wasn't there?" Spike sounded surprised. His fingers stopped -- on Xander's balls. Tapping. Thoughtfully.

"Grumurrr," Xander said, heartfelt.

"Oh!" Spike said, as though Xander had just said something intelligent. "Right, then." And his hand came down on Xander's ass again. Sharp, smacking, but not actually hurting.

In fact it so didn't hurt that he felt his cock jump at the touch and Xander let out an involuntary gasp.

"Mmm, like that?" Spike purred, caressing his ass right where he'd slapped.

"Uh huh," he breathed.

Another slap. Xander gasped again, the sting seeming to spread like tingles through his entire body. There was another slap, on the other side, the same sharp, not-hurting touch. Then Spike stopped.

"Muh?" Xander asked, looking over his shoulder again.

"Sorry; you wanted me to fuck you." Spike even looked sorry, and was trying to shift over into position. He wasn't shifting very *fast*, though. And Xander knew just how fast Spike could move into a 'fucking Xander now' position. Just the thought was almost enough to turn Xander's brain off all the way.

But his ass was still tingling from Spike's slap and he wanted more of that. Concentrating enough to find words again he managed, "Do it again?"

"Ooh." Spike sounded impressed. And he did it again. And again.

And again.

Xander began moving into each slap, hips pushing back to meet Spike's hand and he heard someone moaning in rhythm, realizing only dimly that it was himself. Another smack, and he heard Spike groan, suddenly, and his hands were on Xander's hips and Spike was above him. "Got to..." Spike said, urgently.

And then his cock was against Xander's ass.

"Yesssss," Xander hissed, wriggling against it. "Yesyesyesyesyesyes..."

Spike shifted, once, then he pressed against him. Against and into him and Xander threw his head back, a raw and needy sound coming from somewhere deep inside, pushed out by the feeling of Spike's cock pushing inside. He was echoed by Spike, as he pushed in, Spike's low growl returned. Echoing this time from the base of Xander's spine, it grew louder as Spike began fucking him, hard.

Xander, hung his head and just panted for breath, bracing his arms to keep from being pushed into the headboard, and let himself be fucked. Spike was hanging onto him, making more, louder sounds -- growls and groans, mixed together.

It was... Spike filling him and surrounding him, Spike being his entire world, making him feel like this, making him cry out with the feelings, making him come. Spike didn't sound like he was feeling anything different -- digging his fingers in and fucking him wildly, he was gasping, now, and there were half-formed syllables coming out. None identifiable, but Spike was pushing himself closer to Xander with each thrust.

Xander wanted that, wanted Spike as close as he could get. The words Spike had said to him earlier suddenly echoed in his mind again and Xander came with a cry of "Mine!" on his lips. Spike grabbed him, hard -- for a second Xander almost shouted at him to stop. But then Spike was fucking him, and coming, and screaming like something was being torn out of him.

Xander's arms gave out and he collapsed flat on the bed. Spike remained where he was, following Xander only enough to not slip out of him, apparently. Spike rested his hands on Xander's back for a moment, before slipping them down to the bed. "Christ. I think I short circuited myself."

Xander chuckled wearily at that, not even attempting the herculean task of words yet. With a grunt, Spike pulled himself free, and fell onto Xander.

"Oof."

"Oof you, too," Spike said, sleepily, snuggling in. For some reason, in his exhausted afterglow, that caused Xander to get the giggles. Spike didn't say anything, but he was bouncing slightly as Xander laughed underneath him. Finally, making a concerted effort, Xander rolled over, spilling Spike to the side.

"Hey!" Spike protested, grabbing onto Xander and pulling him over, on top of Spike. They lay, sprawled, on the bed. "Dork."

"Maybe. But your dork," Xander murmured, snuggling closer.

Spike squeezed him tight, hugging him. "Mine."

Xander smiled as the word sent a happy glow through him. He lifted his head and met Spike's eyes. "Yours," he said clearly.

"Murmle." Spike cuddled him, and lay still.

"Spike?"

"Mm-hm."

"I really did miss you when I was gone."

There was silence. Spike didn't move.

"Spike?" Xander lifted his head again to see his lover's face.

"Missed you, too," he said, almost inaudibly.

Xander kissed him gently, then settled back down again with a contented sigh. They lay there for a long enough moment that Xander knew they'd both fall asleep, now -- if Spike hadn't already. It was a nice way to relax after the drive back to LA, he decided. Spike sex, then a nap. Spike nap, he added, feeling his boyfriend's cool body plastered all along his.

The comfortable, lazy doze was shattered by a noise his hand recognised, even though his brain didn't. His hand was grabbing the phone and bringing it over, before he could figure out what had happened. "Mur... wha?"

"Xander?" Giles' voice sounded in his ear.

"Giles?" he muttered, waking up slightly. He felt Spike tense.

"Are you all right?" Giles asked.

"Yeah?" He tried to wake up more. "What's going on?" He'd just seen Giles a few hours ago.

"That was what I was going to ask you." Giles tone was level but Xander could hear the worry underneath.

"Huh?" Xander blinked. "I've only been home a few hours. What could have happened?" As he said it, he realised what Giles was talking about. "Oh. You mean 'hi, just called to let you know I'm back and not splattered somewhere along the highway'?" He felt Spike shift away, and he grabbed onto Spike's arm and pulled him back.

"That would be the question, yes."

"Um. Hi. Got back fine. Not splattered on the highway."

"Yes, I'd gathered that by now." The words were delivered with equal parts dry humor and exasperation.

"Sorry. Slipped my mind when I got home." Because Spike had been waiting for him. Pouncing him as soon as he walked in. Then there had been sex and talking and brain-meltdowns and napping.

He heard Giles sigh. "I'm about to sound like a parent," he warned.

"But I shoulda called?" Again he felt Spike shift, and again he kept a tight grip on Spike's arm.

"You should've called," Giles confirmed. "I was worried."

"Sorry. I got-- really distracted when I got back." He glanced over his shoulder, at Spike -- who was pretending, now, to be asleep. "I'm kinda... still distracted, in fact. So, I'm alive and unsplattered. I'll call, next time. I didn't mean to worry you. Can I call you back, later?"

There was a startled silence from the other end of the phone. "Of course... if you're busy..."

"We were sleeping, but -- um, yeah," he said, apologetically. Over his shoulder, he saw Spike staring at him, eyes wide in shock.

"We..." He could practically hear the click as Giles' mind figured it out. "Oh, *that* kind of distracting. I... um... I should probably... uhh... let you... get back to it..."

Xander grinned. "I'll call you later," he promised.

"Err... yes. Um, take your time."

"Love you," he added causally, words slipping out before he realised it might make Giles drop the phone.

There was a pause and then Giles was saying, "I love you too, Xander." He could hear the smile in Giles' voice.

"Bye," Xander said, and he could suddenly *feel* Spike grinning.

Spike's face was pressed against Xander's back.

Xander hung up, and looked over his shoulder. Impish-looking blue eyes met his. Spike just grinned.

"What?" he asked, grinning back.

"Love you, too," Spike repeated, his voice utterly happy. Happier than he'd sounded all day. It made Xander want to kiss him so he did. When the kiss ended, Spike just grinned again. he laid his head back down to resume his nap, but Xander could feel him wriggling.

"You're wriggling," Xander pointed out.

"Mm."

"You're happy," he added.

There was a pause, then, "Promise not to let it leak onto the sheets."

"Considering everything else that's on the sheets I doubt we'd even notice." For that, he got pinched in a very sensitive place. "Ouch!" He pouted at Spike. "I hang up on my dad for you and this is what I get?"

"Yes." Spike sounded -- delighted.

Xander couldn't hold onto the pout in the face of that. "You liked that, did you?"

Spike kissed him, right in the middle of his back. "Thank you," he said, seriously.

He hugged Spike tightly. "You mean as much to me as he does."

"But you hung up on him."

Xander nodded. "I did."

Another wriggle, and Spike said nothing more. He did snuggle a little closer -- Xander was going to have to remind him to leave room for Xander to breathe. But he had enough oxygen at the moment and it felt good to be that close. So he snuggled closer himself and let his eyes drift close.

"Yours," he murmured, letting himself drift off.

~~~~~

"I really appreciate this," Xander told Cordelia, for what he knew was the fifth time. They were sitting at Chez Lomain's, having a very nice lunch as Xander's bribe to her.

Cordy looked at him. "You better. I don't handle slime for just anyone, you know."

"It's perfectly almost safe slime," Xander assured her. He paused and ordered soda from the waiter, and tried not to look intimidated when Cordelia ordered hers in French.

"The operative word in that sentence being 'slime,'" she told him, after the waiter had left to get their drinks.

"But it's colourful," Xander added. "You could wear something to match it." He was pretty sure he wasn't making much sense, but she'd said he could bribe her with lunch and she'd let him know after she ate, whether or not she'd do it. Hence the fancy French restaurant, instead of Billy's Pizza. he didn't think anything he said would really sway her decision. It was entirely up to how much he was willing to pay for her meal.

"Please." She wrinkled her nose prettily. "*Nothing* matches slime. It's oozing and icky and... slimy."

"But this is high quality slime! It's psychoreactive. Er, or at least it's supposed to be. If I did it right."

Now Cordelia was looking faintly alarmed. "You want me to touch psycho-slime? Like regular slime isn't bad enough?"

"No! It's like... um... did you ever see the second Ghostbusters movie?" He hated to admit where his inspiration had come from -- he'd turned in his proposal for his semester project a month ago, and had managed to make it sound like he'd got this brilliant idea from someplace other than the movies.

"This isn't going to involve a giant marshmallow is it?"

"I don't think so." Of course, he knew better than to rule anything out.

"Okay, that is not the kind of reassurance I was hoping for."

"Cordelia, you grew up in Sunnydale. Do you *really* want me to say "no, there will be no giant marshmallows involved'?"

The waiter was setting their drinks down as he said this, but the man didn't even blink. Maybe he didn't speak English. Maybe Hollywood people ate here. Xander resisted the urge to look around, as he had that thought.

Cordy considered as she sipped her drink. "Point. Even mentioning it is probably tempting fate too much."

"So if it does show up... we blame it on Angel." He grinned as she gave him a sharp look.

"I doubt he'd even notice, he and Doyle are so wrapped up in each other." Cordelia tried to sound exasperated but the softness in her eyes gave away her real feelings.

"Yeah. Darn them." Xander smiled, as well. He felt a little softy-eyed about it, as well. They'd finally actually *told* each other how they felt, and Cordy and he were taking bets on how long it would take for anything more than talking to happen.

"Though if we're looking for someone to blame bad things on, there's always *Spike*." Cordelia's nose was crinkling up in the same expression of distaste she had shown for slime.

Xander froze. He opened his mouth, decided if he had to kill Doyle for spilling the beans, he'd have to make sure Angel never found out about it. Decided maybe he could get Spike to do it. Realised that Cordy wasn't trying to threaten him with life, limb, or phone calls home, so maybe she didn't mean his Spike.

"So this is marshmallow slime you want me to touch?"

"Spike?" he squeaked.

She looked at him startled. "What, Angel didn't tell you he's been helping out?"

"Er... Spike? As in... Spike, Spike?" He knew Spike was helping out, because usually Spike helped *him*. But Cordelia wasn't supposed to know Spike helped out. She wasn't supposed to know he was in town.

"Is there more than one?"

"Um, no. I don't know. Is there?"

"God, I hope not. One of him is already one too many." Cordelia shook her head. "I still don't know whatever possessed Angel to let him hang around, y'know, unstaked."

"So... Spike. Angel's Spike. He's... you've seen him?"

"Of course I've seen him." She was looking at him strangely now.

"He's... Angel's Spike?" Spike hadn't mentioned seeing Cordelia. Xander was going to have a talk with his boyfriend about keeping secrets.

"Well not that way. Ewwww. Spike? Ewwwwww." The nose crinkle was back.

Xander frowned, and bit back a retort. It wouldn't exactly keep 'dating-Spike' a secret if he told Cordelia how un-eew he was and how he knew Spike wasn't Angel's. He tried to re-focus on finding out exactly what Cordelia knew. "But... he's here? In LA?"

Now he was getting the 'did Xander get hit on the head and suffer brain damage?' look. "Where else would he be helping out Angel Investigations?"

"Um. So. He's helping Angel?" Xander thought he was still sounding a little moronic, but at least he wasn't saying anything like "he didn't tell me that."

"Yes, that's why I said he was helping Angel. Because he is." Now she was *talking* to him like he had brain damage.

"Weird." Xander nearly jumped as the waiter came over, mentally adding an extra ten dollars to the guy's tip for rescuing him from further stupidity. "So! Food. We should order."

Cordelia continued to look at him doubtfully, but willingly gave her order to the waiter. Again in French.

"Um." Xander realised he hadn't actually looked at his menu. He didn't even know if it would be written in English. He gave Cordy a cute look. She sighed and said something else to the waiter; Xander hoped it was food for him.

If not, he'd just threaten to have lost his wallet or... no, Cordelia would walk out and leave him with the check. He smiled at her to thank her, and handed over his unused menu to the waiter. The man nodded and took it, giving Xander a slightly raised eyebrow look. Xander returned it -- the guy was cute, after all. No harm in looking, with Spike not around to growl possessively.

The waiter smiled slightly, and walked away. Xander turned back to Cordy.

"Please tell me you were not just flirting with our waiter."

Xander looked shocked. "He started it."

"You were! Oh my god, I can't take you anywhere."

"You... who brought whom here?"

Cordelia waved away the comment. "Would you have been here without me? No? Then I stand by my statement."

"Are you saying I wouldn't have come to eat dinner at a place like this if I weren't trying to butter you up?" It was a little scary to realise that Xander's statement didn't actually worry him.

"Please. I've seen what you usually eat."

Xander narrowed his eyes. "I've eaten at places like this before."

Twice. In London, with his grandparents. But did she know that?

She lifted an eyebrow. "Without Giles?"

Xander frowned at her. "Maybe."

Cordelia just smiled, her point made.

"I *could*," he insisted. "If I wanted to. There aren't a lot of places we can go--" He stopped himself, too late of course. He played with his silverware to cover for not wanting to look up at her.

He started when she reached across and covered his hand with her own. "You and Bork?"

Xander nodded. He didn't want to get into this discussion. He *really* didn't. Cordelia knowing that Spike was in town and hanging around Angel was one thing. Talking about 'Bork' was another, totally different, more dangerous thing.

Because if she said 'can I meet him' he'd have to lie to her some more. Like he did to everyone.

"You know," she began slowly, "you could bring him by the office any time. God knows if we can put up with Spike, we can put up with anybody."

"I... know," he managed. He didn't think he could say anything about Spike -- make a joke about him, or anything. He needed to change the subject. "So -- you're willing to help me?"

Cordelia sighed exasperatedly. "Yes," she said, sounding much put upon, "I'll help. God, I'm just too nice for my own good."

Xander grinned at her. "Great! Wonderful! Did I mention I would be willing to take you to dinner again, after I'm finished with the experiment?" It would distract her from Bork. And Spike. And possibly himself.

"My choice of restaurant?"

"If I can afford it, and have clothing they'll let me inside wearing, yes."

She smiled. "You forget, you told me how much Giles sends you every month."

"Oh. Um. It has to serve food I'll eat?" He had a feeling they'd covered this ground already, when they'd made plans to come here.

"Is there food you won't eat?"

Xander opened his mouth to tell her -- then stopped. He thought about it. The he looked at her. "What did you order me?"

Cordelia just smiled mysteriously.

"Have I mentioned I'm allergic to vegetables?"

"You prepared that vegetable stirfry for me and Doyle last month."

"But I had to take a antihistamine beforehand. Otherwise my head would have swelled up, and I'd have broken out in a rash, and I'd have started babbling."

She raised her eyebrow again. "And I would have noticed a difference?"

"You might've," Xander countered. He leaned back as the waiter brought them both salads. He found the waiter giving him a smile, as he leaned forward to set Xander's plate in front of him. Xander returned it. It was nice to know that, taken or not, he was cute enough to be flirted with.

Cordelia rolled her eyes when he left. "That's so rude. For all he knows, I could be your girlfriend."

"Maybe he wants you to watch."

He watched as she wrinkled her nose then got a faintly interested gleam in her eye that suddenly made Xander nervous.

"Or maybe he knows a fabulous looking catch like--" he paused, then said, "Me, wouldn't be caught dead dating a *girl*."

He was *almost* too far away to get kicked. But it was worth it.

~~~~~

Xander was hunched down so he could look at the beaker, level with the top of the slime inside it. He'd tried not to call it 'marshmallow slime' out loud -- but he had to admit that the colour, when in its dormant state, was... white. And slimy.

Marshmallowy.

When someone who didn't know what the slime was really made of, was holding a test tube of it, it changed colours. Pastel, neon, primary -- you name it, it changed to match the mood. Xander had even been able to get Cordelia to hold a test tube of slime that perfectly matched her shirt -- blue-green.

He'd had to tell her dirty jokes to do it, but in the interest of scientific research, it was all worth it. So was seeing Cordelia laugh and blush until she could barely stand.

It had been a good afternoon. He made a mental note to make an effort to try and spend more time with Cordelia, without the slime and without the demon fighting. Not only did he enjoy her company, but she was an excellent source of office gossip -- which he obviously needed since no one else seemed to see fit to mention the little things to him -- like his boyfriend openly hanging around.

He reminded himself to say something about that, to said boyfriend -- preferably when Spike was naked, and distracted, and Xander could take advantage of it to get abject apologies and favours to make up for it.

Or maybe he'd just mess with Spike's mind.

Xander grinned, then wrenched his concentration back to his experiment. Cordy had left an hour ago, with his IOU for another nice dinner. Xander had begged off helping Angel tonight with their current case, because this project had to be finished by Friday. He didn't have time to take this evening, or any other, off this week -- so losing a few hours' work because he was thinking about a naked boyfriend and dropped a test tube would not make him a happy camper.

It sucked being responsible sometimes. Here he was stuck in the lab -- alone -- when he could've been out there fighting demons and saving the world. Or the city. Or at least the client. But you never knew when saving the client would accidentally involve saving the world too.

At least he had something to look forward too - giving Spike a hard time. He really did want to know how long he'd been hanging out at Angel's. Before or after Doyle had given Xander his little talk? Probably after, he decided. Otherwise Doyle would have said they already knew that much.

Doyle was a good guy -- forthright when it mattered. He would've said... though come to think of it, Xander realised - why hadn't *Doyle* told him Spike was hanging around the office?

Of course Doyle had been rather distracted lately, preoccupied with his own vampire. The last few times he'd seen him, Doyle had been wearing a grin bordering on sappy and idiotic and his conversation had trailed off any time said vampire was in the same room.

Xander had been hard pressed not to drag Doyle aside for some 'dating a vampire' bonding. He wanted to, and figured they would eventually. But right now Doyle was still in the 'easily distracted' stage. Xander remembered being there himself.

Possibly last week, when he'd been trying to study, and Spike had called. Or that morning, when he'd almost been late for class because of the naked vampire in his bed. And in his shower.

Okay, maybe the easily distracted stage didn't go away at all.

He decided that meant he should go ahead and try for some Doyle-Xander quality time, where they could dish about their boyfriends. Maybe he'd call this weekend, after he got his project turned in. Send Spike and Angel off to play by themselves -- or together -- and he and Doyle would go out and grab a pizza and more soda than man was meant to consume.

He looked up at the sound of the door opening, grinning when he saw it was Spike. "Oh, hey. Was just thinking about you. Well, you and Doyle and Angel."

Then he saw the look on Spike's face.

"What is it?" he asked, feeling his heart in his throat.

"I... come on," Spike said, waving towards a stool. "Sit down."

Xander didn't move. "What is it?" he repeated, his voice shriller, the ghost of panic in it.

Spike gave a sigh, shoulders hunching a bit, then he just walked over. He stopped in front of Xander, and looked down, reaching for Xander's hand. "Doyle got-- He. He stopped the Scourge. Saved everyone."

Xander blinked. That was a good thing, right? Saving everyone. Then why was Spike looking at him like that?

Spike swallowed hard, and squeezed Xander's hand.

"I'm sorry." Spike's voice broke.

"I don't..." Understand. He shook his head, bewildered. He could feel the panic licking up his sides like a fire slowly catching. Spike was crying because Doyle saved everyone? It didn't make sense.

He didn't want it to make sense.

"He's dead, Xan. He--" Spike grabbed him, hard, and held on.

"No."

But Spike didn't answer -- he just held on tighter, and pressed his face against Xander's shoulder.

"No," he repeated, voice so shrill he barely recognized it as his own. "You're wrong. Doyle isn't-- he wouldn't -- he can't--"

"He did."

"No."

"He is." And Spike's voice broke again, and there was silence, just Spike's body shaking in tiny tremors. "I liked him."

For some reason that made it real for him, forced him to believe it, even as he kept mouthing "No," over and over.

~~~~~

They left the lab; Xander knew he wouldn't get any more work done on his project, and the thought of a Friday deadline suddenly didn't mean anything. It was 50% of his grade -- but who cared? It wasn't like he could concentrate on his experiment.

It wasn't like he could really concentrate on driving, but he managed somehow. He wasn't really sure how, because he wasn't really paying attention. When he parked his truck in the underground parking, he realised with a start he'd brought them to Spike's building. Spike hadn't said a word -- either he hadn't noticed or didn't think anything of it.

They headed upstairs in silence, Spike juggling a ring of keys as they approached the door. The building was mostly empty, other than Spike and a couple of hafnar demons at the far end of the basement. Maybe that was why he'd brought them here -- Xander didn't feel like running into any of his neighbors. He didn't want to have to make small talk or answer questions about what was wrong. He just wanted... wanted this not to be true.

Spike had his head down as he unlocked his door. Xander usually teased him about why he bothered, who would steal from a vampire? Not today. Spike didn't say a word as he pushed the door open and walked inside, foregoing *his* usual joke about inviting Xander in, the human into a vampire's lair. Xander followed, closing the door behind him and leaning against it wearily.

He saw Spike glance back towards him, but he wasn't sure Spike really saw him. The apartment was a huge loft -- they'd knocked down a few walls, and taken over what had been two apartments to make one huge one. Spike had never bothered buying a decent TV, or a computer, or even bookshelves, which was why they tended to hang out at Xander's place.

He waited, but Spike just took a few steps into the living area and stopped. His lover looked... lost.

"Spike?"

"Xan?"

He opened his mouth, but couldn't think of anything to say. So he crossed the room and wrapped his arms around Spike. His lover nestled into his embrace -- for a moment Xander had a eerie flashback to all the times *he* had burrowed into Giles' embraces. Then Spike sighed, and pressed against him.

He didn't feel anything like Giles.

"We should..." Xander trailed off, not sure what they should be doing.

"No."

"No?"

"No." Spike's voice was small, and sounded odd. It didn't seem like he was going to let go of Xander any time soon, either.

"Okay," Xander replied, though he still wasn't sure what Spike had been denying, or what he was agreeing to now. The world had stopped making sense some time ago -- back in the lab.

They stood there, silently, for several minutes.

Gradually Xander became aware that Spike was shaking. "Spike?"

Spike made a sort of noncommittal noise, but didn't follow up with an actual response.

"What's--" Xander bit off the sentence before he could ask the extremely idiotic 'what's wrong?' Doyle was dead, that was what was wrong.

But still... Spike, vampire. He'd seen more death than Xander even wanted to think about. Doyle was... had been... a friend, of course, but shouldn't it be he, Xander, that was falling apart over this?

There was a soft sound, like Spike had tried to say something, but nothing more than air had come out. But he was clinging to Xander like *he'd* been the one--

Oh. Sometimes, Xander reflected, he could be extremely dense. Hugging Spike tighter, he murmured, "I'm right here."

"Saw you--" Spike said, his voice nearly crumbling. "They said it couldn't be-- it had to... if you'd been there and a step closer than Doyle, you'd have--" He stopped, and his arms tightened even harder around Xander.

He couldn't deny it; he didn't want to die, but he wouldn't have let a friend die in his place. "I'm right here," Xander repeated, giving the only reassurance he could.

"Don't ever," Spike began, sharply. When he stopped, Xander wasn't surprised. It wasn't the sort of thing he could promise -- Spike knew as well as he did the sort of life they lived. It was a wonder Xander hadn't been killed before now, the kind of danger he'd been in throughout high school.

But he hadn't been; none of the people he'd been really close to had been, not since Jesse. And that was before they'd known what was going on, knew how to fight back. Since then... it had been like they'd been living a charmed life. Until now.

"Guess our luck finally ran out, huh?" he asked, hearing the shakiness in his own voice.

Spike's arms tightened sharply -- making Xander fear for his ribs. But Spike loosened his grip infinitesimally, immediately after. "Not luck," he insisted. "Don't blame this on luck. Don't *ever*--" he stopped again as his voice had risen.

"Well, what is it then, if not luck? Fate? You saying that Doyle was destined to die?"

"No. I'm saying you damn well better be good enough to win." Spike leaned back and looked at him squarely in the eye. "Or you damn well better run away."

Xander met his lover's gaze with his own. "I can't promise--"

Spike frowned, stubbornly, and looked like he was about to argue. Then he just let go of Xander and stormed away, pacing quickly across the living area.

"Spike?" Xander asked, voice smaller than he had intended, feeling suddenly bereft.

His lover spun around instantly, his own expression as lost and uncertain as Xander felt. "You have to," he insisted, but without any heat in his voice. "M'not losing you."

"I don't want to lose you either."

"Ever." Spike looked at him, a curious expression on his face, a mix of petulance and something else, something that made Xander think of the demon he rarely saw.

He wanted to promise, but he knew he couldn't, and he didn't want to lie. But he wasn't a vampire. He wasn't going to live forever. "I can't promise not to die..."

But Spike shook his head. "Promise me you won't... do what Doyle did. I don't *care* if the whole bloody world goes away. Don't *sacrifice* yourself. Not..." His voice caught, and he looked away. "Not without me. Xan, you didn't see Angel's face. And he's only been in love a few weeks. I've had you for years."

Oh god, Angel... He didn't even want to think about how Angel must be feeling. It was just too much. Forcing his mind back to Spike's words, he asked, "You saying that if I have to... sacrifice myself... I have to let you come with?"

"If the only way you can save the world -- and it has to be the world. None of this 'die for greater Los Angeles' crap. If the only way is for you to let yourself be killed, I'm not staying here to watch."

"So you want to come with me."

"Well, if I can't convince you to come with *me* to Brasil, then yes. I'll have to go with you." Spike looked at him, directly. Not blinking, not breathing, not moving.

Xander crossed the room until he was standing directly in front of Spike. "All right," he breathed, barely audible.

"You promise?" His words were just as soft, his eyes never leaving Xander's. He hadn't reached out for him again; not yet.

"Promise."

With that, Spike launched himself at Xander again, pinning him in an embrace as tight as the one before.

"Love you." The words slipped out without Xander thinking about it.

"Love you, too." There was a pause, then in a tone that sounded more like Spike normally, he added, "Sorry about... getting all brains-turned-to-mush on you."

"S'okay. It's understandable." He hugged Spike tighter as the knowledge of what had happened hit him all over again.

Doyle was gone.

They stood there, Spike held him as tightly as Xander held Spike, and now neither of them said anything.

Spike seemed perfectly willing to stay right there, holding him, not saying anything more -- sappy, brained mushed, or otherwise. Xander, however, needed more. "Spike?"

"Yeah?"

"Can you-- I need-- Will you fuck me?"

Spike blinked at him. Then Xander saw a quirk of amusement, and Spike said seriously, "I dunno."

"You don't?"

"I--" Spike looked down, and with a deliberately shy tone, said, "You've got jeans on."

"I can take them off," Xander offered, eager to put everything behind him and just think about sex. Anything but think about-- anything.

"Would you?" Spike looked at him hopefully.

"You'll have to let me go."

There was a brief pause. Then, "Don't want to."

Xander found himself hugging Spike tighter at those words. "Still got my jeans on."

"Yeah." Spike sounded sad. "Have to figure out how to do it with 'em in the way." Then Spike kissed him.

"You could just bite me," Xander offered rather breathlessly when Spike released his lips.

He felt Spike's mouth on his neck before he had time to take his next breath. But then he stopped. After a second, Spike pulled back. "I can't."

"You can't?"

Apologetically, Spike said, "We... we'll have to go 'round to Angel's place. Eventually. We can't--"

"I'm not sure I care," Xander said stubbornly, pouting. Talking about Angel meant thinking about Angel, which meant thinking about things that weren't having sex with Spike.

"Xan..." Spike reached up, and touched his jaw. "It's not like he's at his most... sane, right now. How d'you know he won't show up at my door in half an hour and stake me? Drag you off to Sunnydale to be exorcised?"

It was Xander's turn to clutch at Spike in a half panic. "I'd never let him hurt you."

"I know. I know," Spike said, holding him. "Just... it would be stupid to die for a quick bite. World wouldn't even get saved."

Xander sighed, giving in. "I just want to be as close to you as I can get."

Spike kissed him. "You're already inside my heart. Where else can you be?"

Xander just stared at Spike, the words echoing in his head.

"Xander?" Spike tilted his head to one side, looking at him, confused.

"Tell me more?"

"You're doing horrible things to my reputation as an evil, heartless bloodsucker, making me say things like this." Spike grinned. "I could bring you a dead rat, show you how much I love you."

"Ewwww." Xander wrinkled his nose in disgust.

"Dead birds?"

"Only if they're chicken or turkey, plucked, and preferably already cooked."

Spike grinned again, then his smile faded and he got serious again. "Give you a non-plucked, uncooked, un-dead gorgeous guy?"

"Bleach blond with an attitude?"

Spike frowned. "I don't bleach."

Xander snorted. "That why your bathroom is full of bleach kits?"

"That's for cleaning the drain." Spike kissed him again, and Xander could feel the tension in them both. Pretending wasn't working.

"Spike?"

"Yeah?"

"Can I bite you?"

Spike didn't even hesitate. "Always."

~~~~~

Xander woke up tangled in blankets, sheets, a pillow, and what seemed like more arms and legs than two guys should own. Some of them were cool to the touch -- Spike. Some of them moved when he told them to -- his own. Now if his brain could just wake up enough to remember why he felt like there was something wrong, he'd be great. Was he late for class? Did he have to get home soon for something? Did he -- oh. Xander opened his eyes.

Doyle.

He glanced over, but Spike seemed sound asleep. He didn't even stir as Xander leaned across him to grab the phone. Xander dialed without looking, watching Spike's face, instead. Spike remained asleep, for which Xander was grateful.

He listened to the phone ring a couple of times before it was picked up. "'ello?" Giles said, voice thick with sleep.

"Dad?" he whispered, though it wasn't like the sound of his whispering wouldn't wake Spike any less than his normal volume. But he couldn't bring himself to talk any louder.

"Xander?" Giles suddenly sounded much more awake. "What's wrong?"

He had to open his mouth, swallow twice, before he could say, "Doyle..."

"Doyle...? Did he have another vision?"

"He's dead." He felt his throat close up, and he held himself still. Hearing himself say it made it sound so... real.

There was a brief silence on the other end of the phone. "Are you all right? Physically, I mean."

"I... I wasn't there."

More silence, then Xander thought he heard a sigh of relief.

"It was... a scourge something... was going to kill anyone who wasn't full demon. He shut it off or something." Xander tried to remember what Spike had said, the few things he'd said when Xander had tried to ask him how it had happened. He still didn't know exactly what had happened, but he wasn't ready to ask again.

"How are you doing?" The words were asked gently, as if Giles was afraid the question would break him.

"I don't know." It was the truth. Not just because he'd only woken up a few moments ago. He still felt numb, but it was nothing like what he'd felt when Jesse had died.

He heard Giles take a breath. "Are you alone?"

"N... no. I'm at... Bork's place." He hated saying that. He'd avoided having to say that name to Giles for weeks.

"Good. You shouldn't be alone right now."

"Yeah." He found himself relaxing. A little, at any rate. Now, though, he had no idea what he wanted to say to Giles. What else was there to say?

"Have you called the school, let them know you're not going to be to class for a few days?"

"Uh." Xander blinked, then realised why it didn't matter that he hadn't thought of it, yet. "I just woke up. He... was killed last night. A few hours--"

Just a few hours ago.

"Shh. Don't worry about school then. I'll call them before I leave."

"Thanks-- leave? Where are you going?" Xander didn't try to lower his voice. Spike hadn't moved -- he was either sound asleep such that nothing would wake him, or he was faking it to let Xander talk to Giles.

"Los Angeles. I'm not about to sit here when you need me." There was a slight pause. "Unless you rather I didn't--"

"You're coming here?" He let out a breath with a rush. "Oh. Yeah. I mean you don't have to but, yes, when?"

"As soon as I shower and dress."

"I..." Xander swallowed. "Thanks."

"Are you going to stay at Bork's until I get there?"

"I don't know. I haven't talked to Cordy or Angel. I dunno... if... I could meet you at my place," he suggested.

"I would feel better knowing you're not alone."

"I'm not in any danger. It's over. Doyle... Doyle did it."

"It's not your physical safety I'm worried about."

"Oh." He looked over at Spike. Hadn't moved, hadn't cracked open an eye. Wasn't breathing -- but that didn't tell him anything. "I won't be alone."

"Good. You stay there and I'll come and pick you up."

Xander sat up, wide awake. He managed to attempt to avoid babbling. "Uh, you... here? Um, I can... we... I'll be at my place. By the time you get here. To LA. Not Bork's. I have to... uh..." He stared at Spike, who was still pretending to be undead and not helping. Xander realised he was staring at Spike's naked ass. "I have to go home anyway. To. Um. You don't know where it is."

Giles rattled off Spike's address. Xander wondered if his heart was still beating.

"You... you've been here before?" He glared at Spike's naked, unmoving ass. What the fuck was going on?

"Is there some reason I shouldn't have?" Giles sounded confused and a little taken aback.

"You didn't tell me. He didn't tell me." His death glare was having no effect on Spike's posterior. What *else* was Spike not telling him? Hanging out with Angel -- in front of Cordy. Getting visits from Giles. What next? That he'd converted to being a Lutheran?

"That I had Bork's address? I'm sorry, I thought you realized."

"I... I..." Xander closed his mouth. Then he realised what Giles wasn't saying. "You haven't *been* here."

"Well no, not yet." Giles paused. "I'm beginning to wonder if I should have, though."

"Oh! No. No, no... er , I mean... I just. It's... um..." Xander was looking around frantically, trying to figure out why he'd be freaking out about Giles having visited. Other than the real reason. As he looked around, though, all he could see was an apartment huge enough for twenty, clean only by virtue of Spike not owning much stuff and leaving half of what he did own at Xander's place. It was practically unlived in, even for the undead.

"Just...?" Giles asked leadingly.

"Neighbors," Xander gasped, wondering where the inspiration had come from, but not willing to ask. "I mean -- they're fine! They leave us alone. But I... figured you'd... um... not freak, because if I say you might freak you'd freak. But... you know. Lecture, maybe. They're hafnar," he added, realising Giles had no idea what he was babbling about.

And hadn't he been not going to babble? At least he wasn't making anything up -- the only other inhabitants of the building *were* hafnar demons, even if they were actually pretty nice hafnar demons.

"Is that all? Xander, you do remember I'm a Watcher? I'm not going to... freak because your boyfriend has hafnar demons for neighbours."

"They bring us pie." He had no idea why he'd said that. They did, though, even if it hadn't been made out of anything Xander could *eat* or that Spike was willing to.

"Err, yes. As long as they're not offering to make you *into* a pie..."

"They might have. I couldn't really understand through their accents. But so far, not even trying to drag us into their place, or near the raging bonfire in the laundry room."

"That's always good to know."

"I... so you're coming down?"

"Yes." Giles voice was once again all business. "I'll be on the road in under an hour. Stay where you are, I'll meet you there."

"Uh--" There was no way out of this, that wouldn't have Giles here sooner than possible just to find out what it was that Xander didn't want him to see. "Do we have to clean the place up?" he joked, lamely. It was daytime. Where -- how -- could he send Spike away? And how could he send Spike away from his own place?

"Shovel a path to the doorway if necessary. Other than that..."

"Right. If we can find the shovel." He glared at Spke's ass again. Sewers, then, and Spike could whine about it later. Xander would just owe him. A lot.

"I'll be there soon."

Xander gripped the phone, and said in all honesty, "Thanks."

"Anytime you need me. You know that."

"I know." And he did. And it was why he was grateful for Giles coming down, even if he had no idea how they were going to hide Spike.

"I love you, Xander."

"I love you too," rolled out without him even thinking.

He heard the pause on the other end of the phone. "I'll be there as soon as I can," Giles repeated, his voice wrapping the words around him like an embrace.

"OK." Xander hesitated, then hung up before he could spend another twenty minutes saying goodbye.

Then he slapped Spike's ass.

Spike opened his eyes. "You wanna have sex with your old man on the way down?" He didn't sound like he'd been asleep at all.

Xander froze. "What?" he squeaked.

Spike raised his head slightly. "You spanked me. But -- do we have time to have sex with Giles on his way?"

"I..." Xander shook his head, going over what Spike had said. "Oh," he said faintly. "You meant did I want to have sex with you, while Giles is on his way down."

With that, Spike raised an eyebrow. Then he grinned. "Still carrying a torch?"

Not looking at his reaction to that question too closely Xander threatened, "I can always go get a torch to use on you. And I'm not talking flashlight."

"Oo, I love it when you talk dirty." Spike rolled over, onto his back, sprawling casually.

"Would you be serious? Giles is coming. Here. He knows where you live."

Both eyebrows went up. "Thought you wouldn't tell him. What with the keeping me a secret, and all."

"I *didn't*!"

"Then how'd he find out?"

"How should I know?" Xander's voice was going shrill with panic.

"Oh. One of those resourceful Watcher things?" Spike didn't seem concerned. He did lean forward and try to give Xander a kiss, though.

Xander pulled away. "You're being entirely too calm about this."

"Why shouldn't I be?" But Spike narrowed his eyes. "I did hear what he said. Wasn't anything bad."

"But-"

"What?" Spike seemed sincerely confused.

"Giles! Is coming *here*!" When had Spike gotten so thick-skulled?

"Yeah. So he said. So you've said." Spike looked around. "He said we didn't have to clean up."

"Spike!" Xander yelled.

Now Spike narrowed his eyes. "What?"

"Giles is coming here! You're here! Naked!"

"I can put clothes on," Spike said, reasonably. "Possibly even before he drives down here from Sunnydale."

"But you're Spike," Xander said slowly as if explaining to a particularly dense child.

"And you're Xander. Your old man's name is Rupert." Spike said it right back, as if both of them were dense children.

"He doesn't know about you."

"Right. Hence the years of secrecy." Spike nodded.

"And he is coming here. To my boyfriend's apartment. Which is your apartment. You think he might just put that together?"

Spike looked thoughtful. "So you're saying 'Spike, do you remember where you put that six pack of Bork-facade potions you had made up'?"

Xander stopped and blinked at his boyfriend. "Huh?"

"You forgot I had them?" Spike's eyes grew wide. "Er, I maybe forgot to tell you I had them?"

"You have Bork potions." Xander was quite proud that his voice remained steady and calm. Prouder still he wasn't beating his boyfriend to dust with a pillow.

"Yeah. In case someone's dad showed up on the doorstep unannounced." Spike was actually looking a bit sheepish.

"You were expecting this?" he yelped. Calm and steady had just gone right out the window.

"Well, no. But -- I thought it couldn't hurt. Got six for the price of two, so..." Spike shrugged. "Thought I'd told you."

"You didn't."

"Oops?" Spike looked cute.

Xander just stared at him.

Spike smiled. "Love me?"

"That's the only reason you're not a pile of dust right now."

"Dust? Why would I be dust? I have the potion, I can be all Borky for you and Giles. No Watcher finding his son in bed with a vampire, ergo no dust."

"You'd be dust because if I didn't love you, I would've staked you for being so... so..."

"Cute? Naked? Shaggable?" Spike was leaning back, on the bed. Naked. Shaggable.

Xander frowned, trying to ignore all that. "Annoying."

"That too." Spike nodded. It suddenly occured to Xander that -- for a guy who'd been as upset as Spike had been last night, Spike was acting really weird.

"Spike?"

"Yeah?"

"You're... are you... Is something wrong?" Xander stammered. "I mean other than the obvious."

Again, up went the eyebrow. "Wrong how?"

"You tell me."

Spike looked confused. "I've missed an episode, luv. What are we talking about?"

"You're acting... weird. Considering."

"Considering Giles?" Then Spike made an 'oh' face. His voice changed a little. "Considering Doyle? I just..." He looked away, guiltily.

Xander reached out to touch his shoulder. "What?" he asked softly.

Spike glanced back at him, but then stared at the floor. "I just... was upset about.. it being you. We settled that. And I'm... hell, Xan. I'm over a hunderd years old. I see people die all the time."

"So... Doyle dying doesn't..."

"It hurts. Don't misunderstand," Spike said, quietly, and as sincerely as Xander ever heard him. "But... you're here, with me, and that's better than thinking about him being gone."

"And you can... compartmentalize it that easily?" Xander asked. He wondered if it was something he could learn to do. Wonder if he had been, these last few minutes -- and guilt hit him, hard. He tried to focus on Spike, because that was easier, even if it did make him feel guiltier.

Spike shrugged. He looked away, and said, "I've seen a lot of people die. I... try not to think about it." But it looked like he was, now.

"Suppose you wouldn't. With the whole..." Xander waved a hand in the air, to signify "evil vampire" without actually saying the words.

"Killing people for food?" Spike said, and odd, flat timbre in his voice. He didn't look at Xander when he said it.

Xander moved to wrap his arms around Spike's waist, even as he agreed, "Yeah." Spike didn't immediately relax into Xander's embrace. "What are you thinking?" he asked, knowing he was asking because without talking, there was a lot of thinking in his own head that he didn't want to be doing.

"Waiting." Spike must have realised Xander's next question would be the obvious one, as he added, "For you to... say something. Or not say something but act like you can't help thinking it."

"That you're an evil vampire?" Xander asked.

"Yeah. Because -- I am, you know. Never have figured out why you love me anyway."

Xander thought about that. "I don't know if I can explain. I can try...?" Because god knew it would be more distracting than thinking about the fact he was talking about his relationship, when Doyle had only been dead a few hours. He wondered why he had a weird feeling that Doyle would have understood.

But Spike leaned back and shook his head. "Nah. Don't need to -- gives me something to think about when the telly's out.'

Xander searched Spike's face, wondering if he should try to put his feelings into words anyway. "I do love you, you know," he settled for.

A huge grin suddenly appeared. "I know," Spike said in a smug tone.

"Were you just trying to get me to say it?" Xander asked, trying to look stern at his vampire, and failing.

"Would I do that?" Spike asked, this time looking and sounding as innocent as an evil vampire couldn't possibly be.

"Didn't we just finish establishing that you're evil?"

Spike's eyebrows both went up, his eyes went wide, and the utterly shocked look on his face said that whatever Xander was getting at, it couldn't have possibly been Spike. Ever.

"Oh, please."

Now Spike looked smug again. He leaned forward to give Xander a kiss, and stopped just an inch shy of Xander's mouth.

"*I* can kiss *you*?" Xander asked, not sure what this game was but willing to play.

"Yeah." Spike looked at him. "If you want."

"If I want." He raised the eyebrow again.

"You may," Spike said, graciously.

"And what if I want you to kiss me instead?"

"I already have." And he was right, because in that half-nano-second before he'd spoken, he'd cheated. Used his vampirely superpowers to sneak foward and kiss him and reply all before Xander could react.

"Cheat." Then he kissed Spike back. He knew this was just running. But he'd done that before, and it had turned out okay. His chest hurt, and kissing Spike made it hurt a little less.

"Got me kissed, didn't it?" Spike asked, when Xander finished kissing him.

"Cheat. Evil cheat." His heart wasn't quite in the teasing tone, but Spike didn't call him on it.

"Er... wasn't that the whole idea?" Spike asked.

"Yes, but--"

"But what?" Spike was running his hand back up, now, and onto Xander's back.

"Giles..." It was becoming harder to remember his train of thought.

Spike nibbled at his shoulder. "Can I call you 'Angel', then?"

"What?" Xander pulled back to look at him confusedly.

Spike was looking at him, innocently.

"Spike?"

"Xander." Spike was being deliberately infuriating. Maybe he was just trying to distract him.

"Tip for you. Mention Angel while you're trying to seduce me and you won't."

"Oh, but it's all right for you to call me 'Giles'?" Spike retorted.

Xander frowned. "Huh?"

"You called me Giles. I was trying to have sex with you, and you called me Giles. I'm fine for a bit of role-play--"

"First of all, ew. Don't go there or I will have to do something nasty to you. Like withhold chocolate. Second of all, and I repeat, 'Huh?'"

"I admitted I was evil. Then I did this." Spike repeated a hand motion along Xander's back. "I was getting ready to do this," Spke paused and nibbled on Xander's shoulder. "And you called me Giles. I can do the accent, but -- I thought you were pretending you didn't go there."

Xander mentally reviewed the conversation -- which was made difficult by Spike's attempts to distract him. "I wasn't calling you Giles," he said, when he finally figured out what Spike was referring to. "I was starting to remind you that Giles is on his way and you distracted me." He paused. "You can do the accent?"

"Of course I can," Spike said, in Giles' accent.

Xander stared, feeling a bit stunned. As well as other things.

"Do you want me to scold you and send you to your room?" Spike asked, waggling an eyebrow -- still using Giles' accent. "Er, or my room, since that's closer?"

"We're in your room," Xander pointed out, still staring.

"Then perhaps you need to show a little remorse for your transgressions," Spike said, sternly.

Xander opened his mouth, but then closed it again when he couldn't think of any words.

Other than Spike. Accent. Pounce. He shivered.

"Would you like to make it up to me?" Spike asked.

"Muh?"

Spike settled himself against the headboard, sitting on the bed like he was ready to read the newspaper. Or... possibly something else, as his cock was sticking up and he was guiding Xander's attention towards it. "Xander, be good, now," he said.

Xander stared, his tongue darting out unconsciously as if he could taste Spike in the air.

"That's a good boy," Spike encouraged. "Come on, then."

Without thought, Xander crawled toward Spike, eyes riveted on his lover's cock. Spike patted the side of his head. Glancing up to meet Spike's eyes, Xander leaned forward and licked the head of Spike's erection.

"Ye-e-es," Spike sighed. "That's just right." He got the inflection nearly perfect.

Xander whimpered.

"Suck me, Xander."

"Oh, god."

"Can call me that too," Spike said, smugly, in his normal accent.

In retaliation, Xander closed his mouth around Spike and let his teeth scrape lightly.

"Murrrraag!" Spike's eyes half-closed and his hips gave a slight jerk.

Wanting to hear that sound again, Xander repeated the motion. The sound repeated, with a little more emphasis on the 'my brain is melting now'. Xander pulled back, lightening his touch until he was barely touching Spike. He wondered if he could get Spike to talk again.

First, he had to speak English. Right now Spike was leaning his head back and making happy sounds in no language at all. Xander lightened his touch even more. Spike gurgled. It would have been a bad sound if Spike actually *needed* air. But Xander wanted the accent. He stopped entirely, looking up at Spike with a pout.

Spike stared at the ceiling -- or something inside his skull -- for a few seconds before he looked down at Xander, confused. "Er... stopped. Bad stopped."

"I'm waiting."

"Er--" Spike blinked. "Oh!" He began shifting around -- to be able to give Xander a blow job at the same time.

Xander stopped him. "No, not that. The... talking."

"We're talking?" Spike shook his head. "Oh!" He grinned, evilly. "You mean, the talking," he spoke in a low, accented tone that made Xander shiver. Spike leaned forward to kiss him.

"Muh," Xander enthused.

"Is that all you can say to me, dear boy?" Spike said softly.

It took a few seconds for Xander's brain to process the question and come up with an answer. "Uh huh." He was going to hell, he knew. But his boyfriend was evil -- shouldn't he want to go with? Surely as long as no one but he knew what they'd done, no one would know just how evil he was.

Spike chuckled. And, god help him, he even laughed with an accent. Xander felt like he was melting. Well, all but one particular part of him. He knew he should be talking himself out of this, but it was difficult to think, and he was more turned on than he'd ever been in his life -- except when Spike had bit him.

Spike tapped the side of Xander's face, reminding him he had a task. "Don't let's fall behind. I might lose interest."

There was absolutely no way Spike could lose interest, and they both knew it. But -- Spike could say anything he wanted, as long as it kept him talking. He could read the phone book, for all Xander cared. He made an encouraging sound and lowered his head to lick at Spike's cock again.

This time Spike made the encouraging sound, followed immediately by encouraging words. Lots of 'that's right's and 'just like that's, all in a proper English accent. Each word felt like a caress and sent shivers down Xander's spine. It was definitely encouraging his actions. Xander firmly squelched another little voice that said this was bad, bad, so wrong, and continued encouraging -- or rewarding -- Spike.

As he continued licking, Spike kept talking. Even when he gasped and his words became hoarse, he maintained the accent. Xander moaned as the words, the accent, rolled over him and he relaxed his throat, taking Spike in as far as he could.

The resulting groans were not really in any accent at all -- nor even English. Then Spike gasped out, "Right like that. Good boy!" Xander wriggled under the praise, letting his very straining cock rub against the bed, and redoubled his efforts to make Spike come before he did. It seemed to be working, gauging by the difficulty Spike seemed to be having. "Like... that... yes, good... oh, grupha... muh..."

Even then Spike was keeping the accent. Xander shivered again as he pulled back, bringing his teeth into play again, and pressed a finger along Spike's perenium.

"Gah!" Spike's legs tightened around him. "Mur... ya... god, yes..."

Xander grinned as much as he could and glanced upwards at his lover. Spike was staring at the ceiling again, and his jaw was working slowly, open and closed, with sounds coming out only every so often. Xander debated pulling back again, but there came a certain part where such things were just evil and he was supposed to be the good one. Except he was evil, and going to hell, so why not torture Spike more?

On the other hand, Spike was beginning to beg. "Please, please, Xander. Come on, hurry." He was writhing on the bed, now, holding onto the headboard tightly.

Xander pulled back long enough to ask, "What do you need?"

"What do I *need*?" Spike demanded, with surprising coherency. "Fuck, Xan, just keep sucking. Or licking or biting or *anything*."

And he was still using Giles' accent, and that accent was getting inside of him, doing all sorts of things to his libido. But Xander tried to sound as unaffected as he could. "Anything? Sing show tunes?"

"If you're doing things to my cock, you can sing anything you want."

He wrapped his hand around Spike and began jerking him off. "I'll have to remember that."

"Murrrrrrrrrrr." Spike had finally lost the accent. Xander leaned down to kiss him, then nuzzled his throat suggestively. "Xa-an," Spike whimpered.

Grinning, mouth still pressed against Spike's throat so he could feel it, Xander moved from nuzzling to nipping. Spike was growling louder, now, and with much more need. His fingers were beginning to grasp hard enough to bruise. Xander bit down, hard enough to draw blood.

Spike's grip tightened instantly, stopping only before breaking something important. Xander licked at the spot for a moment, then, with the strange coppery taste still strong on his tongue, he raised his head to kiss Spike, sharing it with him.

Spike grabbed onto him as though he'd been starving. Sucking at Xander's tongue, he held on and kissed him, hard as he could. Xander shivered, kissing him back just as hard. An involuntary whimper came from deep in his throat.

Still growling, and still making bruises, Spike began thrusting his hips hard into Xander's hand. He growled in desperation and turned towards Xander, making him lose his grip on Spike's cock. Spike shoved himself againt Xander's hip and began thrusting. Xander shifted to press himself against the vampire more firmly, wriggling to get even closer.

It didn't make much difference a second later, because Spike was shouting inbetween trying to continue kissing him. His lover's body jerked in Xander's arms and Spike let go of his control. Xander stilled, just holding on as he watched and felt Spike, feeling a surge of... something that he was the one who made Spike like that.

As Spike cried out, he closed his eyes. He'd vamped out, reflexively Xander knew. But Xander knew he wasn't trying to hide himself -- he was just gone, out of control, and letting Xander be the one to hang on. So Xander did, holding him tightly, murmuring endearments, the kind that he'd never had been able to bring himself to say at any other time.

He didn't really know how long it was before Spike began to relax. When he did finally lay limp in Xander's embrace, his face changed back, smoothly, and Spike left his eyes closed.

"Spike?" Xander kissed him gently.

"Mmmmrm."

"You back with me?"

"Mmrrmrm." Spike snuggled.

"That would be a no." Xander kissed him again.

"Hrmm," Spike replied, more quietly.

Xander licked at his neck again, the place where he'd bitten already healed. He felt Spike shiver. Xander wrapped himself around him tighter. "Mine," he said softly.

There was no answer.

"You better not have gone to sleep," Xander warned darkly.

No answer. Spike was completely motionless.

"Typical." Xander sighed, rolling away, over onto his back. "Get me all hot and bothered and then... nothing." He stared down at his cock and wondered how long it would take Spike to do something if he began jerking off.

As he moved, his ostensibly-sound-asleep boyfriend rolled with him, hanging on as though tied to him. Xander narrowed his eyes suspicously, then reached out a hand to pinch Spike in a sensitive spot.

"Again? Already?" Spike moaned in protest.

"Some of us are still waiting for the first time," Xander replied, then after a second's thought. "Actually, third time, but I'm still one behind."

A cool hand groped Xander's behind, squeezing each butt cheek. "Feels like two," Spike said, sleepily.

Xander wriggled hopefully. But Spike let his hand fall, and went back to his motionless state. "Spike, if you're going back to sleep -- or pretend to go back to sleep -- I'm going to get up and... do... something."

"Can I watch?"

"No."

"But I let you bite me!"

"You *let* me bite you?" Xander turned around to give Spike a disbelieving look.

Spike was looking back with a hurt, slightly outraged expression. It mirrored the one Xander felt on his own face -- the difference being, he was justified.

"If that's the way you feel about it, I won't bite you again," Xander told him.

He watched, amused, as Spike's mouth fell open. "You will, too," Spike retorted.

"Not if it's such a huge sacrifice on your part." He did his best to look sympathetic. "I never would have done it if I'd known you hated it so much."

"Will, too," Spike repeated.

"No. I wouldn't want you to be... gritting your teeth and putting up with something that you don't like."

"But if you don't, I won't, either."

Xander froze. Then rallying, he affected a indifferent shrug. "Not like you've been doing it lately anyway."

Spike's teeth were on his throat almost before he stopped speaking. He didn't bite, but hung there.

"You're not going to do it," Xander said, holding perfectly still. All the while some voice in the back of his mind was chanting 'please, yes' over and over.

He felt Spike growl. The teeth pressed against his skin.

"You won't."

He could feel the fangs elongating, twin pinpricks agaisnt his throat, not yet breaking the skin.

"Spike!" He wasn't sure if he was begging or berating.

And without warning the fangs were gone -- from his throat. Spike shifted his head and bit him on the arm, right inside his biceps.

Xander arched upwards off the bed, the cry he wanted to let out getting caught in his throat and coming out as a strangled whimper. Spike leaned onto him, holding him down across the torso. He sucked slowly, but the sensation was the same. Throat, arm, it didn't make any difference. Each swallow Spike made went straight to his cock. He was aching, hips thrusting upwards, desperate for some kind of touch there, something to make him come.

A hand closed on him, as though Spike had heard. Or maybe he just knew what it felt like. He gripped, firm, and began stroking Xander. It was... everything was melding together and Xander felt himself trembling, his hands finding and gripping onto Spike's shoulders with white-knuckled grip.

He heard Spike whispering in his ear, and only then realised Spike had stopped biting him. But his hand was still stroking, and Spike was saying things that sounded wonderful.

"Spike..."

"Love you."

And then he was flying, everything but Spike disappearing from his perception. The cool body pressed against his, holding onto him, holding him down, surrounded him. A soft, accented voice still whispered in his ear and something shot through his brain that it was not Spike's regular accent. If anything, that made Xander fly higher. feeling like lightning has shot along every nerve. He was surprised he didn't black out, although quite possibly he had, and never noticed.

Spike held him -- carried him, rather, until he felt wrung completely out. Xander snuggled up to him, so worn out he was barely able to move.

"Rmmaram," Spike sighed.

"Mmm," Xander agreed.

"Mmph," Spike said, giving him a slight nudge.

Xander grumbled something even less intelligble.

"Oi. You better not be going to sleep," Spike grumbled.

"Mmmmmrrrph?"

"I'm two behind."

Xander laughed, quietly, then silently whispered something meant to be an apology, then let his eyes close so he could go back to sleep. Love and loss would just have to go away for awhile.


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