Sticky Situations

~ Co-written by Mad Poetess [website]

Possibly, in the next hundred years or twelve, he would train his vampiric lover to pick up his freakin' socks. Xander stood in the middle of the bedroom, glaring at the scattering of dirty white socks -- he could count five of them from where he stood. He rather hoped there was one he couldn't see -- otherwise Spike had somehow managed over the last three days to remove an odd number of socks from his even number of feet. Things like that only happened in the laundry room.

"Oi, where the hell's my bloody..." Spike hopped through the bedroom door. Not like a bunny hop -- this was a one-footed, holding the other one by the ankle, 'can't let it touch the ground or it might get contaminated' kind of hop. Xander stared at him. It wasn't that Spike was behaving oddly. That, he was already used to. Xander stared because Spike was hopping, and holding his foot, while naked. Hopping. Naked.

Xander wondered if his brain was going to say anything else to him, other than 'hopping, naked' or if he should just keep watching the bouncy parts.

After a moment, Spike followed his gaze. Then grinned. "See anything interesting, then?" He hopped a bit higher off the floor-- then lost his balance, since he was still holding his other foot, and landed smack on his butt in the middle of the pile of dirty laundry.

Xander lost his mesmerized fascination with bouncy things, and began laughing. He didn't bother asking Spike if he were all right -- vampire healing, and besides, if he really was hurt he'd let Xander know. If he wasn't, he'd still pout for a kiss to make it better.

Which he was doing now, and quite elegantly. Lower lip jutting out just so, dark eyelashes half covering the blue eyes, as if he were about to give in and cry, which was utterly ridiculous. Spike hadn't cried since... Um... really, actually cried? Xander couldn't think of a time. Fake being hurt, yes, but actually break down and ball? In the PG-13-rated sense? Not Spike's style. But he was sure giving a good impression of leading up to it.

"Fine. Laugh at the injured party. See if I bloody care."

Xander stopped laughing... and snickered. Thought about stopping long enough to ask Spike what was up with the foot, but he could see there wasn't any blood gushing out or oddly coloured slime coating it, so the chances of there being anything actually *wrong* were slim. He didn't feel badly about laughing -- there were vampiric reflexes to taunt. Faulty vampiric reflexes, rather.

"Need a hand?" he did finally ask, as Spike's pout deepened.

Shake of the head, cross of the arms. "No. You'll just clap, an' then I'll have to... do bloody nothing at all to you, since Red won't twiddle the chip so I can strangle you just a *little* bit."

"I bet she would if you explained *why* you wanted to strangle me. If she wouldn't turn red and stammer that she couldn't possibly, while you were going into unnecessary detail." Xander wasn't into auto-erotic asphyxiation, before or after Faith, but he thought a little role-playing 'here, lemme hurt ya a little' might be... interesting. If it didn't involve Spike howling on the floor, clutching his skull.

"I did *not* go into unnecessary detail last time," Spike protested. "I just told her exactly what we wanted to be able to do, so there wouldn't be any unexpected surprises. Er, bad surprises. She needed a list-- she even asked for one." He fixed Xander with a 'Come on, argue with me, I'm actually telling the truth for once' challenge in his eyes.

"Yeah, I know -- she had me authenticate it. Actually, she wanted to know if a couple of them actually hurt." He grinned at Spike, who was trying to act like he wasn't flummoxed by his failure to make Xander blush and babble. Which Xander was, on the inside. Loudly.

It wasn't that he never thought of Willow and sex in the same mental sentence, if he could even form mental sentences when thinking about Willow and sex. It was just that... well, it was one thing to think private happy thoughts about what Willow and Tara did in private. It was another thing to have public unhappy conversations with Willow about what he and Spike did in private. Mostly private, given Spike's exhibitionist streak. And exhibitionist streaking.

Spike couldn't possibly be seeing the thoughts on Xander's face, since he'd managed to cover them completely with a complacent grin, so it was just his natural Spike-ness talking, saying, "Really? Which ones? You think she wanted to know 'cos she and Glinda want to try 'em out? Or maybe she just gets happy thinkin' about us doin' things?"

Filing that one -- again -- under Things We Do Not Talk About, Xander frowned. "Willow does not think about us having sex." And if she did, he wasn't going to ask. And if she told him, anyway, some evening on the phone when Spike was out doing something Spikey, like hunting demons to slay or buying cigarettes or helping a lost five year old find the ice cream store, then he certainly wasn't going to admit it to Spike. Because Spike would invite them to come down and watch. Or hold the video camera.

Spike was giving him the '*you're* the insane one, no matter what anybody says' look. "Oh, what? It makes perfect sense. We're two more-or-less gay men, we're happy to think about two girls gettin' happy together, why wouldn't they be happy to think about us gettin' happy?"

"Willow does not think about us having sex," he repeated, stubbornly. He'd already learned he could out-stubborn Spike. He'd had years of practice out-stubborning Willow and Jesse and his grandma, whereas Spike got bored quickly and changed the subject. Or decided sex would be more fun.

"Whatever you say," Spike agreed easily. Which meant his disturbed little mind had already fastened on something else, of course. Yup. There was the pout again.

Xander waited, patiently. "Are you gonna stay there on the floor? Or were you hoping to get ravished in the dirty laundry?" As he said it, he realized the offer was probably not the wisest thing he'd done today. Not that sex with Spike was a bad thing, and normally dirty clothes only meant easier clean-up after. But they hadn't done the laundry since they'd fought off the Gorkken demons. Soon, in fact, Spike would probably realize he was sitting on clothes saturated with odorless, colorless, sticky-as-hell goo.

"I didn't get my kiss-it-better," Spike pointed out, frowning way too prettily for a grown vampire. Especially a grown naked vampire.

"I was still laughing. You'll get it, soon enough." Xander grinned. In fact, Spike was sitting right on the shirt he'd worn that night. The cotton would be glued to his ass for at least an hour -- as long as it would take Xander to go buy some turpentine and sand. Not that there wasn't some left downstairs, but making Spike wait for him might get him back for the toad Xander had found in the fridge last week.

"I don't work well with delayed gratification," Spike informed him, as if Xander wasn't perfectly well aware of that.

As if that wasn't the reason every box of cereal in the place was poured into tupperware containers. It had nothing to do with fitting into the cupboards more neatly, which was a joke in and of itself, since the cupboards were filled to overflowing with Spike's collection of 32-ounce character cups from every drive-thru in L.A. county. No, it was all about Spike being able to immediately get the Cow and Chicken decoder ring, or the lick-em-stick-em tattoos. The latter of which Xander kinda liked himself, but that was beside the point.

"In other words," his lover added when Xander didn't answer after too many milliseconds, "I want my kisses *now*."

"You do, huh?" Xander took a step to the side, and leaned again the wall. "Right now?"

"Yeah. And I think you should kiss it where I fell," Spike said sincerely. "Apply the medication where it'll do the most good." He pointed to his ass, with the most serious expression that Xander had seen since Spike had informed him that since they were dirt poor, they should sell all of their chairs but one, and Xander should sit on his lap all the time. Just to save on the expenses. And that was when, again? Right-- this morning.

Xander sighed and pushed himself away from the wall. "I'm gonna get the turpentine, then. Which you are gonna scrub off before I kiss your poor abused ass."

Spike frowned, and looked down at the pile of clothes around him. "Oh... bloody hell. Not the sodding Gorkken demon slime. I thought you *washed* those clothes already."

"*Whose* turn was it to do laundry?"

"Not mine -- I traded for doing the dishes!" Spike stuck his chin out defiantly. Squirming a bit, now that he knew what he was sitting in, but not attempting to get up, yet.

"And who did the dishes lately?" Xander folded his arms in front of his chest, enjoying watching Spike squirm. Almost enough to make him just kiss it and make it better every place that wasn't slime-stuck.

"S'not my fault you couldn't wait and decided to do 'em yourself. *I* was gonna do 'em, eventually." "Every *week*, Spike. They have to be done every *week*. Otherwise we're eating out of our hands and trying to explain to the landlord why the roaches are paying half the rent."

Spike counted on his fingers, as if trying to figure out how much they could save by strong-arming the roaches they already *had* into chipping in. Beautiful old building or not, the things that lived in the walls of this hotel... ewww. "Not a bad idea at that. Anyway, it's not like I don't *try* to do the dishes. But every time I get about four plates and a fork cleaned, the blasted drain clogs up and I have to wait an hour for the water to go down. And I get *bored* in an hour."

"So do them every day. It'll only take you ten minutes." Xander knew this conversation wasn't going anywhere. But neither was Spike, unless he decided to go find the turpentine himself, which he might -- if it didn't mean everyone who saw him would laugh at him for the next year. Xander knew for a fact that Angel and Cordelia were in the hotel. The others might be, as well. "Why were you hopping, anyhow?"

"Was looking for my other sock. 'Spect it's one of these." Spike picked up each of the ones around him -- all five -- and matched it with the one on his non-bare foot. With no success. "Eh. Or not."

"You had to hop, because you didn't have a sock?" Xander thought about revising his latest estimation of his lover's looniness. Upwards.

"Well, the floor's *cold*! You know I don't like cold feet. Don't see why we can't ask the slumlord to put some carpeting in." Spike looked around the room as if they really were somewhere in the inner city, the cold wind nipping around the corners of the building, seeping in through the big cracks in the plaster. Xander could just see it on his face -- Spike and his overactive imagination, which was great when it came to roleplaying, but honestly... "Or maybe he'd chuck us out if we asked for special favors."

Great. Now he was playing the '3's Company' game. Another familiar one, although, as Spike kept pointing out, they really needed another roommate to complete the picture. A girl, and they could pretend to be utterly straight and only interested in her... It was the twenty-first century, after all. Xander rolled his eyes at the thought of it.

He was beginning to think he should have just kissed Spike and had sex. Or kissed him, then yelled at him about the socks being everywhere. Except kissing Spike usually made him forget whatever else he'd had in mind. That would at least get him over being annoyed about the socks, even if it didn't get them up off the floor and into the pile of dirty laundry. Which Spike was attached to. Giggle.

"What's so funny about asking Mr. Roper to put in a nice shag rug, for shagging on?" Spike folded up his legs Indian-style, pulling his bare foot close. "And for keeping my wee delicate feet warm?"

"How can you feel the 'cold floor' through the clothes and towels?" Xander wasn't going to mention the wee delicate feet. Not since Spike had discovered that Xander's feet were ticklish, and retaliated whenever Xander said or did anything even slightly retaliable. Besides, if the wee delicate vampire were that cold, he wouldn't be lounging around on the floor, naked, waiting for his kiss, would he?

"Not *now* -- when I was hopping about looking for my other sock. Anyway, we can't always shag on the laundry. Or, wait a minute, would be a good excuse not to do the laundry very often, if we had to keep it on the floor to shag on." When Xander raised a stern eyebrow at him, Spike looked sheepish. "I said that last bit out loud, didn't I."

"On tape," Xander assured him. Not that there were any cameras or recorders running, but Spike always threatened to put them up. It had become a running joke that anything they wanted saved was on tape. Or anything they didn't want saved. Someday, he was going to get a real job, and he was going to buy Spike a tape recorder, just to see what he would do with it. Xander admitted, privately, that he had a sadistic streak.

"Yeah, well. So I don't like to do laundry. Or dishes. Not like I don't help round the flat in other ways." A bit of a huff in his voice, as if Spike's nose was just a little out of joint at the suggestion that he didn't hold up his end of the bargain in the householding game. Though whether he was seriously miffed or not was anybody's guess.

"Um, other than feeding the fish and walking around naked, what exactly do you do?" Xander narrowed his eyes, daring Spike to come up with some blatant lie.

Spike twiddled his toes -- he could actually do that, and it was rather scary. Then he looked up with clear eyes. "Er..." Xander waited. "Love you?" Spike said finally. "And dust the videotape collection every day."

"Because you watch 'em all, every day." But Xander was unfolding his arms and going over to the pile of sticky clothes-and-vampire, and getting down on his hands and knees to give his lover the kiss he'd been waiting for. He tried to ignore the warm, rubbery sensation Spike's words had evoked in him -- he still wasn't used to realizing how serious Spike was.

"Course I do," Spike said after a few seconds. "Elfin Babes On Ice? Naughty Nurses 3? The Last Unicorn? Classics, every one."

Xander grinned, and shook his head as if exasperated. Then, leaning in for another kiss, said, "I love you, too. Wee feet and everything."

Another few moments of enjoyable silence. Then Spike looked quite put out, though Xander knew he *had* to be faking it now. "My everything is not *remotely* wee," he asserted, pointing downwards.

"Wee, wee, wee, all the way--" Xander got cut off by another kiss. "Home."

"But we *are* home," Spike said chidingly. "And it's not wee."

"Bet I can make it wee. Wee-er," he corrected. He leaned forward, and Spike obligingly leaned backwards.

As his bare back came in contact with the clothes that he would now be wearing until *somebody* fetched the turpentine, Spike asked, "We are, aren't we? Home?"

"Yeah," Xander answered, not sure why Spike was asking. He kissed Spike's forehead, then worked his way down Spike's cheek.

"I mean," Spike was still talking, which didn't say much for Xander's distractive abilities, but he lifted his chin for Xander to kiss his throat while he went on, "you don't think he *will* toss us out, do you?"

"He can't," Xander assured him blithely, thinking more about kissing Spike's throat. "We have those photos, remember?"

Spike shook his head slightly, which made the cords in his throat move beneath Xander's lips. "He doesn't really care about those, y'know. He's so bloody happy with his vampire-huntin' mate, and so bloody happy he can be bloody happy without turnin' into a right bastard, he wouldn't care if we published those photos on the internet."

Which they had seriously discussed doing, but they were still trying to think of a theme for the website. Hunter and hunted? Angel with a Gunn?

"So if he's so happy, he won't feel like tossing us out, will he?" Xander pointed out, feeling rather reasonable about the fact that here he was, finally trying to seduce his lover, and said lover was now more interested in moping about his Sire.

"Might do. Thought we were nice and cosy before, and things went all to hell." *Before* being, of course, a time when things had gone all to hell for everybody, followed swiftly by the Sire in question having headed that way in a handbasket himself. Spike usually only got like this when he was trying to fake his way into a sympathy-shag. But he was already well on his way to *being* shagged, which the trembling of his stomach muscles beneath Xander's hand indicated he knew.

Xander stopped for a moment, and looked up at Spike. "You're forgetting one thing." When Spike raised his head to ask what Xander was on about, Xander said, "If he tosses us out, we go show up on Giles' doorstep. Who will then help us blackmail Angel into letting us move back in, if only to reclaim his peace and quiet."

"Mmm. True. And even if that didn't work, I could always have fun annoying the Watcher again. Wonder if he's gotten over his acoustic phase yet?" Spike *sounded* distracted. Which was a good thing, since there wasn't any answer to the big question that he was asking, about why his Sire had offered him the suite in the hotel in the first place. Unless it was just to keep an eye on Spike, after the police calls had doubled the week after his arrival. Spike insisted they couldn't have *all* been him, but even Xander, who had been with him most of the time in the last year, didn't fully believe it.

"Or if Rupert chucks us out, we could go move in on Joyce. She still makes the best cocoa around, and I bet she wouldn't turf us." Spike sounded like he was half looking forward to that possibility. Probably because it would annoy the hell out of Buffy.

"Oo, or we can move in with Cordy. Dennis wouldn't mind the company, I'm sure." Xander stroked Spike's stomach, a light touch that was both arousing and soothing, depending on which way Spike decided he wanted to go. From the little circles Spike's fingers began to make in the hair at the nape of his neck, tracing up and down the ticklish skin between there and the top of Xander's spine, he thought he had his answer. Though Spike was still talking -- not that listening to Spike's voice had ever been a particular turnoff for Xander.

"Not sure I wanna share a flat with Dennis. He cheats at poker."

"Cheats better than you, you mean?" Xander teased. He knew for a fact Spike cheated better -- Dennis just had the advantage that no one could see his face. How did you call the bluff of a ghost? Except Cordelia seemed to know, every time.

"I do *not* cheat at cards," Spike lied blatantly. "Bluffing is not cheating. Dennis hides extra cards in the cracks in the floorboards, and ghosts 'em into his hand when everybody's distracted by some noise he's made at the other end of the flat, little telekinetic bastard."

"I thought that was you." Xander spent a moment re-evaluating his opinion of Spike and Dennis' poker cheating ability. Then he realized that Spike was probably just trying to distract him into playing poker with them, again, after he got paid this Friday. "Not the telekinesis part," he amended quickly. "Not that you can't lift things without using your hands." He leered.

"If I could lift poker cards with *that*, I'd..." Spike shut up, as if he'd suddenly had a thought that was going to change his entire unlife. Or maybe just their sex life, for a few weeks. "How do you feel about playing strip poker at the Powerpuff Princess' Pad?"

"I think Dennis will win, because no one will know how much clothing he had on to begin with." He wriggled, a little, to test Spike's interest. "Wanna play now, though?" Wait, hadn't he been annoyed about something?

Spike smiled. "I'm already stripped!"

"No, you aren't." Xander grinned. "Demon slime, remember?" There were at least half a dozen pieces of clothing underneath Spike. Most of them would be sticky...

Spike wriggled back a bit, which was nicely distracting, but then he wrinkled up his nose. "Yeah. Ick. I mean, not so much the slime, as the turpentine. Last time I got Gorkken slime on my arse, it was sore for two days, from the scrubbing. And don't say vamp healing factor at me -- some things still last. 'Specially irritating ones."

"Did I say anything? And is that why you leave your socks lying around?" Xander felt himself babbling, but it was Spike's fault. He remembered rubbing Spike's ass. Making it red, feeling Spike wriggle and the muscles jumping under his hand.

Spike took his hand out of Xander's hair -- bad Spike -- to scratch at his own. "Er... leave my socks around so I can get demon slime on my arse and have to have it rubbed off? Not quite getting the connection, here. You been sniffing the room deodorizer again?"

"That isn't room deodorizer, moron. That's the blood you spilled on the carpet two weeks ago and only pretended to get fully cleaned up." Xander debated crawling off Spike and going back to what he'd been doing before this entire stuck to a vampire thing happened -- which had been cleaning the room, so no, probably not -- or staying where he was. "And I meant, is that why you stick around? Because I annoy you by asking you to do the dishes?"

He admitted to himself that even *he* wasn't following that logic. But his blood cells were mostly all gathered around his cock, so he couldn't be held responsible for making sense.

"First, a two-foot by two-foot throw rug does not a carpet make, and second, what the bloody hell are you talking about?" Spike's hand had fallen to the top of Xander's head, and was just sitting there. Not *doing* anything.

"You said only irritating things last."

"Meant irritating things that *hurt*, not you. Not that you're not irritating, but I *like* when you rub me the wrong way." Spike's fingers began to move in Xander's hair, rubbing *some* way, at least. Was there a wrong one?

"You're saying I don't hurt you?" Xander bit him, just to make sure they were both clear. Since when did he have to work so hard to get Spike to shut up and have sex? Oh, right, since he'd made Spike wait for his kiss ten minutes ago.

"Nah, you hurt me just fine. Saying you don't... Actually, can't remember what I was saying. Somethin' about socks?"

"You want to know where your other -- matching -- sock is?"

Spike tried to sit up a bit, as if to look around at the scattered footwear on the floor around him, but Xander on top of him and sticky clothes underneath him made it pretty hard. Not that it wasn't already pretty hard, from what Xander could tell from being on top of him. "Yeah! Had the blasted thing on my foot when I got up the feed the kids, and now..."

Xander wriggled -- only one select portion of his body. He didn't think it would clue Spike in on where the sock was -- even though that *was* where it was.

Spike's eyes widened. "You don't s'pose one of the children ate it?" There was an overtone of serious concern in his voice.

"They might have. Might be someplace else." Xander wriggled again.

The wide blue eyes turned glassy for a moment, then blinked rapidly. "Er... gah. Ah. Could be... in the rubbish disposal? Might explain why the sink won't drain. Not that I tried to do the dishes today."

"I think that might have been a pair of underwear," Xander admitted. "Not that anyone was losing them on the counter next to the sink."

"Oh yeah..." Spike's face went dreamy in remembrance. Which was all well and good, since it had involved melted marshmallows and peanut butter and strawberry jam, and was pretty damned memorable, but Xander was trying to get his attention in the here and now, with something that might match up to that encounter if Spike would cooperate.

He considered wriggling again, but figured Spike was either not getting the clue, or was ignoring it. "I might have seen your sock," he offered, in one last attempt to be subtle and coy. Another minute and he'd just take off his jeans by himself.

Spike's eyes flashed-- with interest? Or merely another diversion, and since when did *Spike* want to be diverted from sex? A short attention span was one thing, but this was ridiculous. "Really? Cos' my foot's cold."

"Really? Your poor, wee, delicate foot?" He tried to figure out just where in the game of 'you want to seduce me now' they were at. It was useless - he'd lost complete track. He stood up, and walked away, towards the dresser.

"Hey, where're you going, then? Now the rest of me's cold!" The tone was utterly aggrieved. Put-upon. Woeful.

"I'm getting you a sock," he called over his shoulder.

"Oh. All right, then." Spike seemed satisfied, for a moment. Then he called out, "No, wait, found one. But... er... if I take this one off to put on my foot, then it'll get all cold where that sock used to be."

"Sounds like you have a problem," Xander noted, in a helpful tone. He tugged at his jeans, which were still too tight even though frustration and lack of anything fun happening was starting to reverse the blood flow. He got to the dresser and pulled the drawer open. Wasn't terribly surprised to find no socks in the sock drawer.

Spike was quiet for a bit, then said softly, "You don't wanna play, do you."

"What?" He spun around. "I *was* playing! You kept..." He stopped, and narrowed his eyes. "OK, Spike, what game were you playing?"

"Er... just playing. You know. Hard to get. Or something." Spike looked like he wasn't quite sure if he knew, either, and he didn't look happy about it.

Xander grinned. "Wanna play 'peel the sticky clothes off the vampire so he can be set in his Sire's hot tub to soak while said Sire is downstairs working?"

"Mmm. Like the sound of that game. With strawberry bubbles?"

"Of course. But we'll have to hurry -- he'll be upstairs in six hours or so. And you remember what happened last time he caught us." There had been howling, and there had been naked running, and there had been dripping, and there had been snapping of towels, and there had been Cordelia laughing for *weeks* afterwards. Humming the theme to 'Blazing Saddles' every time she saw them.

Spike cocked his head. "Did something bad happen?"

"We had to leave the hot tub."

"Good point." Spike held out his hand. "Going to help me up, then?"

"Depends." Xander walked back over. "You got slime on your hand?"

Spike looked at it. "Not yet. You planning on putting some there?"

"Maybe." Xander held out his hand. "I just gotta be careful about what parts of my body get stuck to parts of your body."


Spike hauled himself off the floor using Xander's wide-footed stance as leverage, then looked down at his bobbling bouncy parts. "At least the sock was clean," he said thankfully. "Anyhow, I'm sure we could operate just fine with our hands stuck together. We've done it in cuffs before."

"Yes, but not while smelling like turpentine. Come on." He gave Spike a tug to follow him. Maybe they could get down to the basement without anyone seeing them. Not that he cared about people seeing *Spike* naked but the explanations that would follow would delay their getting to the hot tub - and increase the chances that Angel would catch them. He might be a bit more concerned if it were *him* who was sneaking downstairs wearing only two socks, separated by a distance of a few feet, and various pieces of clothing stuck to his ass and back. But it wasn't, so Xander wasn't worried. And Spike never was.

"You think we could play 'You sank my battleship'? I'll be the submarine," Spike was saying as he opened the door to the hallway.

"Sure! Only you have to promise to cheat." Xander glanced down the hallway in both directions. Clear, for now. "Come on!"

But Spike was nowhere to be seen -- he had disappeared back into the suite. Or the flat, as he insisted on calling it when he was playing 'Ooh, the evil landlord's gonna evict us.'

"Spike? What the hell--" Xander sighed. He knew asking 'what the hell are you up to' was a useless endeavor. Someday he'd get out of the habit.

His lover showed up a few seconds later, clutching something yellow in his hand. "Just went to fetch Squeaky. He wouldn't want to miss out." Spike squeaked the rubber duck in Xander's face, and stepped out into the hallway. Which meant they were playing... um... Xander decided to hell with it. He'd figure out the game later. After they got naked and in Angel's hot tub.

So down the hallway they snuck, Spike humming the theme to Mission Impossible, his laundry-covered ass backed up against the wall. One sock on, and one... well, on, but not keeping his wee delicate cold foot from touching the carpeting in the hallway.

"Shh... I think I heard something," Spike whispered. Xander obediently stopped making the noise that he wasn't making to begin with, and waited while Spike stood next to the elevator, head cocked like a hunting dog listening for squirrels -- or Spike listening for squirrels, come to think of it. "Nope. My mistake. Come on."

Xander resumed sneaking along behind Spike -- and noticed that part of Spike's butt wasn't covered by stuck-on clothing. A few steps of not looking where he was going later, and he tripped and stumbled into Spike.

"Oi! Watch where you're going, you..." Then Spike noticed where his hand was. "Agent Harris, I distinctly remember reading in the Official Handbook that Official Hands aren't supposed to go on Official Arses. Conduct unbecoming an undercover operative who ain't under the covers."

"It wasn't covered. I was trying to fix that." Xander left his hand where it was. The buttock under his hand moved -- tensed, bounced a bit. How far away was the turpentine, again? And why exactly did they need it?

"Oh. Thanks. Always nice to know you're covering my arse." The elevator chimed and opened, thankfully empty, and Spike dragged Xander inside, pressing the button for the basement. "You realize this thing's probably gonna open on the ground floor and Princess'll be standing right there," Spike warned melodramatically. As if he hadn't pressed the Express button, which worked at least seventy-five percent of the time.

"Then we'd better get started." Xander pulled him closer with his free hand, which was suddenly no longer quite so free.

"Mmmph..." Spike said, quite coherently. "Mmph... who's gonna pick up the turpentine again?"

"What turpentine?" Xander moved his own ass back into Spike's hand. Which squeezed, then pinched. One of the things that Willow had confirmed was actually approved for her to twiddle into Spike's chip-allowed-parameters. One of the least blush-inducing things.

Spike's other hand squeaked the rubber duck it was holding. "Didn't want to make him feel left out," he explained.

Xander kissed him -- Spike, not the duck. It was easier than trying to think of a retort.

He heard the doors ding, and slide open. Then an unamused female voice said, "Yeah. Not surprised. Should I ask why the clothes stuck to his back?"

"We were trying a conventional position for a change?" Spike said brightly, squeaking the duck again. Cordelia reached in and hit the 'door close' button. "You think I should've said something about 'going down'?" Spike asked doubtfully.

"Maybe you should demonstrate," Xander suggested. "Just in case the doors open again."

Spike tried, really he did. You had to give him points for effort. He tried to slide down the front of Xander, to his knees, hitting all the interesting points on the way down. But there was that little issue of Xander's hand, and where it was now firmly stuck. Which was how they both ended up on the floor. "Isn't this where I came in?" Spike asked, his lips against Xander's jawline.

"Spike?" Xander wished for a moment that he lived in Cleveland, with a human girl, and worked in a grocery store. Then he realized he'd be bored out of his skull within an hour, and put his stuck hand to some use. He squeezed, and Spike made an interesting noise. Or maybe he'd fallen onto the duck.

"Hmm? What?" Spike asked, a bit of squirming and rearranging of limbs later.

"You're not stuck to the duck, are you?"

Spike wriggled some more, and shook his head. "Nope. Just you."

"Then why is it becoming familiar with bits of my anatomy?" He tried to wriggle, but was afraid of what he'd end up wriggling against.

"Which bits of your anatomy are hangin' out of your jeans, exactly?" Spike questioned sternly. "And do I have to give Squeaky a bit of a talking to?"

"None of my bits are hanging out of my jeans. Be glad -- if they were, I'd have to take Squeaky to dinner."

Spike looked sternly at the part of the rubber duck that was actually visible between Xander's tangled legs. "What did I say about chatting up my pet when I'm not around, Mr. Squeaky? Somebody's been a bad duck..."

Xander blinked at him. "You're not gonna spank the rubber duck, are you? Because I'm leaving the elevator if so."

"We're between floors -- be awfully hard." Spike grinned. "Besides, that wouldn't be any fun. He wouldn't squirm or kick or turn pink."

Xander gave him a stern look. He would have folded his arms across his chest for effect, but it was difficult to do with one hand plastered on Spike's ass. It was bad enough that neither of them were in a position to do any spanking.

Spike gave him a bit of a pout. Somewhere around 1.5, 'I don't really think I'm going to get what I want but I'm gonna do my damnedest to make you feel guilty about not giving it to me.' Somebody needed his head whapped. Somebody also was obviously aware that somebody else couldn't *reach* his head, and thus was taking unfair advantage of the situation. How unusual.

Xander squeezed his full-of-Spike-butt hand. Not a good grip to either cause damage or arousal, but it was all he had -- if he didn't want to risk getting other things stuck to Spike. Which, yes, lots of fun could be had, but who would get the turpentine, then? Angel?

The elevator dinged, and the doors opened. "Bargain basement -- second-hand dry goods, sex toys, Angel's ratty underwear, and two gallons of turpentine. Please exit to your left. Thank you for riding Air Hyperion," Spike said in the voice of what was either an elevator girl or a flight attendant, Xander couldn't decide which.

*Then* Spike tried to get up.

"Ow! Spike, what the fuck are you doing? That's *attached*!" Xander leaned back towards the floor, pushing/dragging Spike with him, and managing to roll them both towards the elevator door before they closed.

The minute Spike's bare skin hit the concrete floor, of course, he started to squeal. "Bloody hell! That's cold! Get me up, get me up, get me up..."

"Not in front of me, you don't," Gunn said, glaring down at both of them.

Xander spared only a second to glance at Gunn -- mostly to make sure he wasn't holding a weapon or a camera. Then he glared at Spike. "Big bad, my ass. Can't stand a little -- hey!" He yelped as Spike rolled them over, again, so that Spike was now lying on *him*. "Better?" he asked, after Spike wiggled a bit.

"Yup." Spike moved again, with a happy little throaty sound, and Gunn rolled his eyes.

"Maybe you two don't get what I'm saying here. Maybe we have a failure to communicate. You try to boogie down in front of me, I do somethin' nasty to you both."

"Spike? Could you sorta move your left hand a little? I-- thanks. Duck marks." Xander ignored the large, black, Angel's lover guy who was looming over them. Spike was lying on him.

"Duck... hey, where's Squeaky?" Spike wriggled again, this time sliding his hand around and beneath Xander.

"You're just begging for it, aren't you? Damn, I cannot *believe* I just said that." Gunn walked away, and Xander concentrated on wriggling and encouraging Spike's search. Especially since his hand was nowhere near the duck.

"That's not Squeaky," Spike said suspiciously. "Or... I dunno. Could be. Best give it a squeeze and find out." He gave it a squeeze. Xander squeaked.

Then they were both drenched, as water cascaded over them. Hmm. Now there was a soaking wet Spike on top of him. How terrible. Then again, the water was *damn* cold. And the floor was suddenly much colder now that his clothes were wet. Even though the view was nice.

Spike didn't exactly help out the situation by shaking his head and spraying water in every direction, then opening his big fat usually kissable mouth. "Hey! I want a bath, sure, but I want it with strawberry bubbles and my Squeaky, and I want it in my--"

Xander kissed him, desperately. Well, on reflection as he felt Spike's tongue touch his, it wasn't all that desperate. Yet. He just didn't think Spike should say 'Sire's hot tub' in front of Sire's boyfriend. There was another drenching, and this time the soap bubbles got up his nose.

"Those are *not* strawberry bubbles," Spike complained as Xander sneezed and pushed him up, trying to scramble to his feet lest he drown in either Gunn-showers or Spike. "That's all-temperature Cheer, and it's not nice to throw it on people."

Xander shook his head, splattering water and soap bubbles everywhere -- including Gunn's pantslegs, so nyah to him. "Could you do that again with some turpentine?" Xander asked. Maybe they could at least get something useful out of this, he thought as Spike knocked them both sideways again.

Gunn frowned at them. "You want me to throw turpentine on your face? Man, I don't like you two much, but I don't not like you *that* much."

Spike shook his head. "No, you're s'posed to throw it at my arse."

"Why are you--" Gunn's scowl vanished, and he started to grin. "Are you two stuck together with demon slime?" Neither Xander nor Spike responded, but Gunn began laughing, anyhow. "You are! You're stuck together. I *gotta* go find Angel."

"We are *not* stuck together! He just likes to have his hand there!" Spike protested. Which was true enough.

"Yeah? Then take it off." Gunn stood there grinning, arms folded.

"Maybe I don't want to." Xander felt a little ridiculous, arguing with Gunn while he was lying on the floor, partially underneath his pet vampire. He was slowly getting used to feeling ridiculous, though, since he was often in these sorts of situations nowadays. He didn't know how Spike managed to look like he *enjoyed* being in these sorts of situations.

"Right. Well, maybe I should go get Angel, then. And/or his new Polaroid." Gunn started to step over them, and Spike grabbed his ankle.

"You just get off on makin' things hard for us, or what?" Spike asked in an almost reasonable tone of voice.

Gunn looked down at them. "Do *I* make things hard for you? *I* who had to chase the two of you out of my bedroom while I was wearing only a bandanna? I, who had to pay four traffic tickets my truck got when I wasn't driving it? I, who--"

"Yeah, yeah, you." Spike nodded. Xander thought about whapping Spike, but figured Gunn would enjoy it -- and figured his hand might get stuck. Speaking of which... Xander looked at Spike's hand, wrapped around Gunn's ankle.

He nudged Spike, who looked at his own hand as if it were a completely separate creature that had just scuttled up and attached itself to the end of his wrist. As if he *liked* that creature, though. Spike looked up at Gunn with a smile so innocent Xander had to wonder for a moment if Spike's chip had gone on the fritz and it was goodbye Angel's boyfriend, hello no boyfriend for Xander when Angel found out.

"You're going where?" Spike asked.

Gunn looked down at his ankle, confused. But only for a moment. Then the familiar thunderous 'I am going to slay you and your little dog Toto, too' expression glared down at them. Xander was beginning to think he'd be in a much better position to not mind being wet, cold, and Spike-squished if he didn't have a rubber duck poking him in the back.

"You are unbelievably dead. You do know that, right?" Hopefully the question was directed at Spike.

"Do I have to give the standard vampire answer to that, or can we skip the cliches and get right down to the bloody threats?" Spike retorted.

"That *was* the bloody threat, Stupid." Gunn raised his fists, then turned, and leaned towards one wall. He had to drag Spike -- and Xander -- a few inches towards the wall before he was able to grab a container of turpentine.

Xander was impressed by the man's leg muscles, and found himself wondering just how they got that strong. And if it had anything to do with Angel. Unlike Spike, he wasn't going to actually ask. Not that Spike actually asked -- as such. No, he just squeezed Gunn's ankle admiringly. Xander wasn't worried. Much. It was just Spike's way of creeping the other man out.

Gunn glared at him even harder, before opening the container of turpentine and pouring a little over Spike's hand. Xander resisted the urge to roll his eyes when Spike tried prying his fingers off Gunn's ankle. Xander knew, now, that his hand wasn't stuck. He also resisted the urge to whap Spike on the back of the head -- because with his luck, *his* free hand would get stuck, and Gunn would put the turpentine away.

"Don't seem to be working," Spike said, clucking his tongue as if thinking hard about why not. "Er... maybe it's something about vampire skin. Try some on Xander's hand."

Gunn gave him a look that said 'who do you think you're fooling?' But, perversely, Gunn did pour some onto Xander's hand and Spike's ass. Xander's hand sprung free immediately, and he scurried out from under Spike quickly, without touching any more slimed bits of Spike.

"Should I try it again on your hand, or tell you now that this is all the turp we have left, before I pour it down the sink and leave you to wear those clothes off your ass by sliding down the stairs," Gunn asked Spike.

Spike blinked at him. "That's a trick question, right?"

"Give me the can... please," Xander said, getting to his feet. "And feel free to kick him, if you think that'll free your hand faster." Normally Xander wouldn't advocate the physical abuse of his boyfriend, but the situation was getting desperate. At this rate, Gunn and Spike would get into one of their argument/insult matches, and Xander would go without sex for another hour.

Which also wasn't always a problem, but he'd been trying and failing to trick Spike into seducing him for long enough, today. He wanted sex, and smooches, and he didn't want to have to do it with Mr. Squeaky. Or at least not without Spike being attached to Mr. Squeaky.

Spike extended his tongue from his mouth, which was often a sign that he wanted it nibbled on, but in this case was most likely the kindergarten-vampire's version of 'fuck you'. But he let go of Gunn's ankle, all the same.

"Well?" He looked at Xander, tongue back in mouth, aggrieved pout firmly in place. "You gonna help me up, or what?" He held out same, proven-non-slimy hand.

"After I de-slime you, yeah." Xander raised the can to pour.

"That's it, I'm outta here." Gunn brushed past them, hurrying for the stairs.

Xander watched him go. "What's *his* problem?"

"You mean, aside from having the bad taste to shag my wanker of a sire?" Spike looked at the can of turpentine hopefully, with a quick glance at Gunn's departing form. "Not sure why. Nice arse, could do better."

Gunn stumbled on the top step, then hurried out the door. Xander grinned. "You still thinking of getting a camera into their shower?"

"Already drilled the hole, just have to wait for the camera to arrive. Ordered two from Spyworld dot net, and they always check your bleedin' background five ways from Sunday before they'll send you anything."

"And you really think you'll pass their background check?" Xander tipped the can of turpentine, and began drizzling it over Spike's back. "Or -- did you use Cordelia's credit card again? Mr. I Freeload Off Everyone?"

"Nope. Used the Agency's. Angel-I-have-friends-in-the-police-department-this-week-Investigations." Spike purred slightly as the liquid hit the small of his back, and a pair of red boxer shorts fell to the floor.

"Hold still," Xander ordered as he continued to drizzle turpentine. It wasn't so much that he wanted to torment Spike by taking his time. That was fun, true. But Spike was already going to have to take a shower or twelve to get rid of the smell. Xander didn't really want to have to skip taking the first one with him.

"Mmmmmmm," Spike responded. Freakin' crazy vampire. Turpentine, of all things. Hell, everything turned him on. Tickling his toes, brushing his hair, watching Cagney and Lacey re-runs. "Just keep pourin'."

Xander stopped pouring. "Spike? You're being weird. Can you stop, just for ten minutes, so I can get you de-slimed and... um... get the clothes off you which is normally part of the fun?"

"Thought you liked me when I'm being weird. Hell, if I'd known you didn't like the 'weird' thing, I'd have given this whole insane vampire schtick up long ago, and gone after my real dream." Spike lay very still. Waiting for Xander to start pouring again, or hand him a straight line, or both.

"But then you'd still be in jail," Xander said, having already learned how not to encourage Spike. Of course, Spike seemed to be learning how to persevere being weird, despite lack of encouragement. He went back to pouring the turpentine.

"I have *never* been in jail, I'll have you know. 'Cept in Monopoly. Even then I was just visiting."

Xander wondered if Spike knew that the muscles in his ass twitched whenever he told a lie. He wondered when he'd gotten so much exposure to Spike's ass while Spike was lying, that he could tell. The last of the turpentine finally spilled out, and the last of the stuck-on-clothes fell off.

Spike stretched. Every muscle in his back did its own separate little dance, culminating in a conga line between his shoulder blades, before he bounced up to his hands and knees. Facing away from Xander. And wiggled.

Xander set the empty can down, enjoying the view. But he said, "You're going to take a shower now, right? Like, before you get near me?"

Spike turned around and stood, pout number Xander-wasn't-sure-what on his face. "You're not coming in with me?"

The bobbing sock wasn't giving any kind of boost to Xander's ability to look at Spike with a straight face. "You smell like turpentine."

It was obvious that Spike didn't understand why Xander was pointing that out. Xander wondered if he really *was* a moron, or if Spike just really, really wanted to play in the shower. Which Xander did, as well. But that wasn't the point. "Like you *don't* ?" Spike pointed to Xander's hand.

"Yeah, but I'm gonna take a shower," Xander replied blithely.

Spike blinked at him, and Xander wondered if the demon-slime was affecting his libido or something. "But--all right, if you want it that way, I guess. Don't use up all the hot water."

Xander sighed. "Spike? At what point did the verbal foreplay leave you behind? You smell like turpentine... you need a shower... I smell like turpentine... I need a shower... I tease you about not wanting you near me until you smell like Dove soap?"

"I remind you that there's three things in the world I'm allergic to-- garlic, Tide, and Dove Soap?" Spike tilted his head. "Okay, I have a love-hate relationship with sunlight, too. But mostly--" He paused. "Are you saying you *want* to take a shower with me?"

"As long as you don't make *me* wash with 'Irish Spring', yeah. Spike, you aren't supposed to *believe* me when I say I don't want to shower with you. Unless I'm late for work," he added quickly.

Spike crouched down to the floor again, looking for something, and talked over his shoulder. "But that's the best time to play in the shower. 'Cos then I have a moral duty to make sure you get absolutely squeaky clean, so you don't get fired, and we can afford to pay the rent."

"And how is my being three hours late for work going to keep me from getting fired?" Xander ignored the rest of it, since they didn't pay rent. Besides, now he had to contend with Spike's bare naked ass pointing at him again.

Spike picked up a pair of previously-stuck-to-him boxers and tossed them at the washing machine. He couldn't actually be thinking about doing laundry, could he? Not Spike. He must just have been trying to get them out of his way. "Well, if I were them, I'd rather you were all fresh and rosy, than stinky and covered with demon bits."

"Actually, my supervisor said I fit in better when I show up smelling like Bruthalg pus." Not that he was the only human at the magazine, but down in the pits it was mostly demons. Humans tended towards the finance department.

Spike tossed another piece of turpentine-soaked laundry at the washer. Which didn't remotely show off the muscles in his shoulders and back, or make Xander want to whine in frustration and wonder what the hell Spike was stalling for. "Not my favorite choice of aftershave, m'self. I'd go for Wendigo sweat or something, maybe. Keep forgettin' you work with all those obvious horns-n-spines types."

Which was a bald-faced lie, since every time Xander got home from work Spike would ask if he'd seen Miss March or Mr. December. Like the models had nothing better to do than wander downstairs? Of course, the time he *had* seen one of the models in the cafeteria, he hadn't recognized her -- as a living creature -- until a co-worker mentioned her.


"Yeah?" Splat! -- went another piece of soaking-wet clothing, this time a sock.

"What are you *doing*?"

Spike held up a dripping t-shirt, made a face at it, and tossed it over his shoulder, directly at Xander. "Looking for Mr. Squeaky, of course."

"Oh, for..." Xander sighed again, and reached down for the duck lying near his foot. Where he'd nudged it in hopes Spike would kneel down to pick it up and then maybe they wouldn't end up taking a shower next, anyhow.

When he stood back up, he found Spike had done the same, but somewhere in his search for the errant bath duck, he'd lost his uppermost sock. Xander swallowed. Spike held out his hand. "Couldn't leave him down here where just anybody could get to him. God knows what sort of perversions the Sire would come up with."

Xander opened his mouth to make a witty retort. Then he thought maybe *he* would get down on his hands and knees... Then his brain kicked back into gear and screamed 'turpentine!' at him. "You wanna go grab a shower?" he said, managing to mangle most of the consonants.

"I'm not sure what you just said, but I bet it ain't legal in this state," Spike told him. "I'm gonna take a shower. You comin'?"

"Yeah." Because he would be. Possibly already was, if Spike was going to walk up the stairs completely naked, like that. He only hoped they actually made it to the shower. This time.