Sweet Revenge came runner up in the Fall 2001 Xander awards for Best Angst, and was nominated in the Winter '01 Spike Awards.

Sweet Revenge is currently nominated in the The Precious Kisses Awards for 'Best Male Slash', 'Best Xander Slash', 'Best Spike Slash', and 'Best Angst'.



Sweet Revenge


by
Jackson



         
         




Part One

Spike lit a cigarette from the butt of another and surveyed the Bronze wearily. Same old, same old. Same bloody people, same bloody thing night after soddin' night.

There wasn't anything to do in this piss ant town! He didn't even have Harm to be mean to anymore, she'd sired some college guy exchange student and finally buggered off to France.

He hated this town! He hated this bloody chip, and most of all he hated the Slayer! Stupid bint! She should be honoured that he'd even considered liking her.

He took a long pull on his beer hoping it would wash away his disgust with himself for basically saying, "hey Slayer, here is my heart, why don't you stick a bleedin' knife in it".

Unfeeling bitch! Well no more. Yeah he'd been a little . . . ok, ok a lot off his game lately, but now he was back, yeah the big bad was back and he was going to make the Slayer beg and plead. Oh she'd want death by the t ime he was through with her.

It was good to hate her again. Felt simple and clear, no more bloody angst. God, for a while there he'd been acting like Peaches. Good thing he'd caught it. Next thing he knew he'd have been wearing a long sweeping coat and sporting more hair gel than a 50's rocker . . . Oh. Wait.

Well anyway he was gonna bash her head so hard . . .oh damn it! He hated this bloody chip! Hated. It. Sometimes he just wanted to shove his fingers through his ears and rip the thing out.

He inhaled deeply on his fag, and forced himself to stay calm. Not easy when you were wound so tight you could happily crack a nut with your ass cheeks.

Alright so he couldn't kill her, but there must be something else he could do, he was evil after all, 'bout time he started acting like it.

Course he was still rude to the Scoobies, but they barely even listened to him anymore.

Him! William the Bloody! Being ignored by the Slayerettes when he once had them jumping through hoops to try and stop him.

He'd decided to leave town, he'd only been staying for two reasons anyway. Firstly to find one of those initiative doctors to take his chip out and secondly a certain annoying blonde. Since both those reasons had pissed on him from a great height he had no ties anymore.

But no way was he slinking away with his tail between his legs, if he was gonna go it'd be in style. With the Slayer crying and cursing and swearing revenge howling for his blood, even though it'd be too late. If he couldn't have her love, then he'd have her hate, but he damn well didn't want her pity.

How?

A memory suddenly hit him, Angelus, smiling that gentle smile that made even his blood run cold, saying in that seductive voice; "To destroy this girl you have to work from the inside." And Spike covering up his nervousness with a light retort, but thanking God it wasn't him making Angelus have that particular look on his face.

Work from the inside . . .

Spike snorted and shook his head. "Tried it mate," he muttered to himself. The Adam fiasco. Close. Bloody close now he thought about it, but still no cigar.

But that was definitely the right track. Although going after friends and family of victims had never been Spike's bag, Angelus was the head game master, Spike preferred the direct route. Still desperate times and all that, but he couldn't kill any of them and there was no way the tactic he'd used for Adam would work again, they were all too solid at the moment.

Shame Angelus was gone really, he'd have been great for giving pointers here. Another memory hit. Him and Angelus watching Dru dance and babble happily. Making Spike's heart twist a little. Suddenly asking Angelus how he drove her mad, Angelus replying, amused.

"Spike my boy, breaking a human is simple as long as you have passion. Love, grief, hate. Take it down to it's most basic form and it's sex and death".

Spike's eyes passed over a couple making out on a couch, wavered, passed back.

Oh no way! He was disgusted with himself for even thinking of it! But still . . . Say if he could seduce one of Scoobies, make them want him as much as they hated him, humiliate them over and over. It'd drag them away from the Slayer, there was no way they'd tell her something like that. Use them and discard them. God he knew how much that hurt. Maybe he'd tell the Slayer himself, send them a dumpogramme via Buffy. When she checked his story out, he'd have killed two birds with one stone, hurt and violated someone she cared about, which would just eat up at her, and have shown her that William the Bloody wasn't loves bitch anymore

Of course he'd have to get out of town fast otherwise the only way he'd be leaving was on a dustpan, but happy vampires travel fast.

It was a good idea, the problem was the thought of seducing one of the Scoobies apart from it being difficult, was it was well, yuck.

Giles, no chance in this world or the world to come would he let himself be seduced by Spike. A challenge was one thing, working a miracle was quite another. Not his type anyway. Willow was possible he thought, she had a bit of a soft spot for him, but far too engrossed with the witch, it'd take months and he wanted results soon, besides he'd have to play nice which wasn't the plan, which left . . .Oh no way!

God no! Not the bloody whelp! Ah well, it was a good idea, but no go.

Although . . .Xander did have possibilities.

He had that whole 'not a superhero' inferiority complex going on, lessened but there. Recently dropped by the ex demon so extra vulnerability, bound to be needy. Well needier.

And okay he hated Spike, but he was about the only one who even listened to him any more, at least Xander always rose to the bait, and he got a reaction. Now he thought about it he'd had some fairly enjoyable little spats with Xander. The kind you got when there was a spark there.

Yeah and when he'd been staying with Xander he'd noticed Xander's eye's on him a bit longer than strictly necessary when he'd been changing his shirt or whatever. He'd come out with some quip actually, "enjoying the view mate?" to which Xander had replied, "just marvelling at the Big Bad discarding a Batman T-shirt for a Hawaiian shirt." But there was a blush to his cheeks. Spike had just shrugged it off at the time, so the lad wasn't completely straight, so what, but now . . .

But no, Xander for Gods' sake, a vamp had to have some principles!

Although . . .Spike blew smoke out slowly as his eyes narrowed in thought. The lad was nicely built, no doubt about that, and a brunette, he'd alway s had a thing for brunettes, and those huge dark eyes . . .and what was it Anya had said, "a Viking in the sack". Hmm.

An unpleasant grin began to spread over Spike's face. That grew even wider as he looked up to see none other than the whelp himself enter the Bronze.

This had to be a sign, hell it would be wrong not to do this! Spike necked the rest of his beer, and ordered another two bottles. Then he made his way over to where Xander was leaning against the wall watching the dancing. He had to go see about a guy.





Part Two



Song lyrics taken from Del Amitri's 'It might as well be you'

Xander was having a bad day. Worse because nothing particularly bad had happened. It had just been . . .tiring. It was exhausting waiting to feel better after Anya's departure. He didn't want to talk about it, he was tired of even thinking about it, he just wanted it to stop and he could feel better, but it didn't and he still felt numb and empty. He almost wished something had happened, like a demon attack or something. At least it'd give him something else to think about. But no. Nothing. Nada. Kind of like his life at the moment.

Saturday so no work. Patrol with Buffy, no bad guys. For the first time in history Giles didn't need help looking up something obscure, and Willow and Tara had a spell session going on. Whether spell was a code for something else Xander didn't know, and for the first time didn't really care.

He'd been at home until the silence began to severely creep him. Even under the sound of television and stereo he could hear it. The quiet. The emptiness, so he'd come to the Bronze, to be around other people. The guys were great and all, but they expected him to be cheery, or to share his pain, neither of which he wanted to do, this was good. Alone but not. No one expecting him to talk . ..

"Well, well, if it isn't my ex roommate. Here all on your lonesome?"

Xander closed his eyes briefly. Spike. Great. Of course. He really didn't think he had the energy for this, but the Bronze was too small to avoid him, best to just exchange insults until Spike got bored and went away.

"Spike. Taking a break from Harmony's intellectual brain teasers on fake tanning lotion?"

"Harm's gone. Left."

"Oh woe is me." Xander paused. He didn't think Spike and Harmony were the love affair of the century but he couldn't help but empathise with Spike a little bit. "Are you heartbroken?"

"Well wouldn't you be, not knowing where your next shag is coming from?"

Okay apparently not even the love affair of the hour. So much for empathy.

"And the mystery of Harmony's departure deepens."

"Yeah like you were interested in demon girl for her mind."

Xander felt like he'd been punched. How did Spike know these things when nobody talked to him? Suddenly the avoidance option was looking mighty appealing, and he shook his head, turning to walk away.

"Hold on there mate, not going without your beer are you?"

"What?" Xander turned to see Spike holding out a beer to him.

He looked at him suspiciously. "What did you spit in it?"

Spike rolled his eyes "Oh please. Give me some credit, piss in it maybe, here have this one then."

Spike passed him the other bottle, Xander took it and looked at it warily before shrugging and taking a deep swallow.

"Why are you buying me beer?"

"Well us heartbroken types have to stick together. Plus a blokes gotta look after his nummy treat." Spike lowered his voice to an almost growl, accompanying it with a long, slow look up and down Xander's body.

Xander almost choked on his beer, Spike wasn't, he couldn't be checking him out could he? Of course he wasn't. No. Not SPIKE. That was crazy thinking. It was just the song. That was it. Some slow achy song had come on and bodies were pressed together, swaying on the dance floor. Making him imagine stuff.

"Well much as I enjoy our little chats Spike, and when I say that I'm lying, why don't you tell me what you want?"

"What I want?" Spike repeated slowly, "what do you think I want?"

"A chance to perform live with Billy Idol?"

Spike rolled his eyes. He was going to have to step this up a bit. Shock him out of that joke reflex of his. He took a step closer, pleased to see Xander didn't back away.

Looking for that special someone new And hey babe it might as well be you

"Just thought we could cheer each other up a bit. You're better off without her, mate"

Xander's eyes were drawn to the movement of Spike's fingers. They were rubbing up and down the neck of his bottle. Up. Down. Circling the tip.

"Women, waste of time. Best find your kicks somewhere else."

Was there a reason Spike was standing so close to him?

Was there a reason he wasn't moving away?

The dance floor illuminates And there you are again

"Hmm?" Xander was still staring at Spike's fingers, almost hypnotic.

"Lot's of possibilities in the world today, be a shame if two blokes like us couldn't find something else to do."

They say you're looking lonely babe And they've been looking to

"Spike what are you talking about?" Yes good. Words are good. Those words were good, except maybe he could have said them less huskily and more firmly.

Spike lifted his beer to his lips, wrapping them around the rim of the bottle and taking a drink. Xander watched at he swallowed long and deep, then dropped the bottle to his side, running his tongue along his lips. Like it tasted good. Too good to waste. Now the smoke was getting heavier, and he could still kind of see other people through it, all pressed up against each other, but the only thing he could see clearly was Spike. Like they were in a private little world.

And through the fog that love creates The night is filled with all the usual mistakes

"Just saying is all." Spike began to circle slowly around Xander, "Doesn't do to be all frustrated when there are ways to find release."

Now Spike was standing behind Xander and breathed the last two words in Xander's ear. Xander flinched as the puffs of air hit his skin. Maybe not a flinch. Maybe more like a tense shiver, and what the hell was Spike doing?

I'm looking for something, and anything will do So hey babe it might as well be you

And now everything was feeling thick, and heavy and slow, except his heart. That was thumping away very quickly thank you. And now Spike was in front of him again. Smiling, looking very satisfied with whatever he was seeing on Xander's face.

"Don't you think?"

Spike was looking at him, looking him up and down again. Looking at him with something like, anticipation, interest. Curiosity. Like he was waiting. Waiting for Xander to say something. As he should. Spike had just asked him a question. But he wasn't sure what the question was. Or what his answer would be, and maybe Spike was just suggesting that they go patrolling or something, but he doubted it. Him and Spike were parallel lines that never . . um . . touched.

So let me in tonight And we two losers might start to win

Xander very slowly set his beer bottle down. Carefully. Like it might just shatter. And now was the time to say something witty and get out of here because maybe it was just his imagination but there was a seriously bizarre feeling here and he had better things to do than go along with whatever twisted game Spike was playing. Okay he didn't but still, enough was enough, but the best he could manage was a husky, "I'd better go now."

Spike half smiled. "Alright then."

But Xander couldn't move, just looking at Spike. Like he was waiting for something. Spike flicked his fingers casually towards the door.

"So go." Those words broke whatever the hell kind of hypnotism Spike was working and Xander found all limbs were present and correct, awaiting instruction.

And it might as well be you that I cling to

"Yeah, um, bye." And he stumbled towards the door, not looking back, no not at all, except when he's almost out the door he couldn't help but look back, and Spike was looking after him, like Xander somehow knew he would be, but he kept on going, and didn't stop until he got home.

And in the Bronze Spike grinned and ordered another beer. This was going to be easier than he thought.





Part Three



Spike winced in anticipation as the demon hurled him at the wall. Groaning inwardly as he hit the wall he turned back to the demon and gave it a half hearted kick to incite it to get a few good punches in on his face.

Fortunately it was only a Telcot demon, more slime than strength, which was good, wouldn't be any fun trying to work his magic if he was on the point of collapse, but still enough was -ow!- enough and he finally let loose on the demon, punching and kicking viciously before grabbing it and snapping its neck.

Shaking himself out he tenderly probed at his face. Unfortunately it was necessary to be convincing tonight, shame he couldn't see himself, but he certainly felt convincing especially where a claw had caught his cheek. Yep and his nose was bleeding.

"Nice one mate" he said, stepping over the dead demon lying at his feet. "Sorry about insulting your sister like that."

With that he set off towards Xander's apartment. He hated to admit it, but he really was pretty excited about tonight. Well why shouldn't he be? If all went well, tonight would be the first step in screwing the whelp physically, while sticking it to the Slayer metaphorically. A small voice whispered he'd still rather forgo the whelp and have the girl. Hey, he admonished himself, none of that! Hate her. Hate her. Gonna make her and her friend bloody cry. You had your chance bitch, now Xander's paying the price.

Having sex with Xander wasn't a problem, vampires could get it up with the tooth fairy if she winked at them. Besides he'd only have to imagine Buffy crying to get hard. As for the whelp. Well. He was certainly up for a walk on the gay side. Spike was willing to bet large amounts of the cash he didn't have that Xander had tossed off to the memory of that conversation in the Bronze at least once, against his better judgement of course. Spike was also willing to double the bet that Xander had never even attempted to explore this side of himself. Humans. Always so bloody uptight. Still it was working out better for him so why worry? Vulnerability. Such a useful thing to use. Keep him off balance and he'll soon be flat on his back, or his stomach. Whichever Spike preferred really.

Spike entered the foyer to Xander's building. None of those annoying Scoobies were about tonight, he'd checked. He paused for a moment, this had to go just right, before anything else he needed an invite. It wouldn't do for the idiot to open the door to see Spike grinning all over his face. Okay, lights, camera, action! He began hammering on the door.

Xander had been half watching T.V half dozing on the couch when a thunderous knocking jerked him up.

What the . . .?

He hurried to the door to see Spike in a dishevelled bloodied mess on the other side.

"Spike!"

"Invite me in!!" Spike threw a desperate look over his shoulder. Should get an award for this. "They're right behind me!"

"Come in!"

Xander grabbed Spike and pulled him into the apartment, not seeing the quick smile that flashed over Spike face as he checked the corridor for any nasties. When he turned back Spike was leaning against the wall, looking like he might faint.

"What was it?"

"Vamps. Don't worry, now they know they can't get in they'll go." He closed his eyes and began to slide down the wall.

"Woah, come here" Xander slung an arm around Spike and led him into the front room, sitting him on the couch.

"What happened?"

"Was out looking for something to pound on, got back to the crypt and a bunch of them were waiting for me, said they didn't hold with me working with the Slayer, killin' me own kind. Fought as long as I could, but there were too many, had to leg it but they chased me then I realised I was by your place."

Xander felt a pang of sympathy that unknown to him was written all over his expressive face. It looked like they'd given Spike a good working over. He could have been killed.

Spike noted the sympathy, physically biting his tongue not to yell "I don't want your bleedin' sympathy you useless git!" Slowly, slowly.

Xander regarded Spike wincing at the state of his face.

"That looks pretty nasty, you'd better get yourself cleaned up."

"What looks pretty nasty?"

"Your face, your nose is bleeding and you've got a gash on your cheek."

Spike snorted, "I can't see what I'm doing can I? You'll have to do it."

"Me! Why do I have to . . .oh forget it, I don't even have the energy to fight about it. Go and wash your face, and next time try running in the direction of Giles' place."

"Yeah, next time I'm trying to shake off a pack of vampires baying for my blood I'll ask if they wouldn't mind turning round while I run for help." Spike retorted as he heaved himself off the couch and headed for the bathroom. Xander didn't bother responding, but busied himself pulling out his first aid kit, well not really a kit, more of a case, and finding the things he might need.

Spike wandered back in drying his face gingerly.

"Sit down" Xander said not looking at him. Spike sat back down on the couch, and oh God. Spike had taken his shirt off, Xander's eyes widened as he traced the pale skin, defined muscles, the dark hard nipples, to the narrow waist where the thin line of hair led downwards, disappearing into his jeans . . .Xander wrenched his eyes away, and looked quickly at Spike to see if he'd noticed, Spike's clear blue eyes were amused as they met his.

Xander flushed, cleared his throat uncomfortably then began to dap at Spike's cuts with antiseptic.

"They looked worse than they were" he said, more to break the silence than anything else. He felt very awkward for some reason. He'd sat like this a million times with Buffy, Giles and Willow, patching them up and being patched up, but for some reason Spike was making him desperately uncomfortable. Maybe it was the way he wasn't taking his eyes from Xander's face. Maybe because none of the others ever took their tops off. Maybe it was the way Spike's knee kept brushing against his. Or maybe it was the memory of that bizarre night at the Bronze, which Xander had studiously not been thinking about, because there was nothing to think about. Spike had not been coming on to him, and even if he had, weird homo vampire that dyed his hair, Xander had done the manly thing and run away. So there was no reason to think of it when he was lying in his lonely bed.

Yeah. Right.

With fingers that shook slightly Xander fixed a small plaster to Spike's cheek, pulling back as quickly as he could.

"Will this even help? You know with the undead healing thing?" He asked as he tried to cover his discomfort, concentrating on replacing the items in the case. Spike didn't answer.

"Spike?" Xander turned back to him. And Spike had scooted a little closer to him, as Xander turned they were practically eyeball to eyeball. Xander inhaled sharply, smelling the smoke and danger, the scent of Spike that until now he hadn't even realised he knew so well.

His heart in his mouth Xander leapt to his feet, putting half the room between them. "So, you can go now okay?" Xander said hurriedly. Get him out, get him out, get that freaky vampire out!

"Go! How can I bloody go? They'll be waiting for me, can't even go back to me crypt, I'll have to find somewhere else, and get a new bleedin' telly."

Xander stared at him with dawning dread, "No, no way you can't stay here!"

"One bloody night. Come on Xander, it's not how I wanted to spend the night either, but it beats being tortured to death."

Xander ran his fingers through his hair. /Why me? "Fine. One night. And you're on the couch."

Spike raised an eyebrow, "Well, duh. What did you have somewhere else in mind?"

Xander flushed."No! Just making it clear, that all." Stupidstupidstupid

Spike's lips twitched. "Well a lot of things are becoming clear to me mate."

Not going to ask. It'll only encourage him. Don't want to know. Again, enough was enough, it seemed to be his standard reaction around Spike lately and it was far too late for exchanging barbed comments and insults.

"I 'm going to bed," he announced, not meeting Spikes eyes.

"Want me to tuck you in?"

"You know I'm doing you a favour . . ." Xander trailed off as Spike stretched his arms out along the back of the couch and slung his feet up on the coffee table, regarding Xander mockingly. Xander wanted to yell "Get your feet off my table you undead prick" but the power of speech had temporarily deserted him. His eyes travelled along the long lines of Spike's body casually sprawled out for him to see then looked away, ashamed of himself.

"Goodnight Spike." He muttered between clenched teeth as he closed his bedroom door.

Spike gave him less than an hour before he came out again.





Part Four



It was another of those nights. Hot, restless, fidgety, pissed off in a tired kind of way, because he just wanted to go to sleep, and wake in the morning, when he would be, hopefully, seeing clearly, in more ways than one, but he was still lying awake, staring up at the ceiling.

And it was oh so dark in here.

Sleep was a million miles away, no matter how tired he may be, he had a lot on his mind. Well he had a certain vampire on his mind.

And a painful hard on that did not want to go away.

It just throbbed harder in response every time Xander thought of Spike stripped to the waist, sitting so close to him he could smell him. Xander groaned silently to himself. He was so ashamed of himself. Not the guy thing. That was something he'd always kind of known about himself, but that for some reason it was directed at Spike. Spike! Again his body stirred restlessly at the thought of him, and a surge of lust, faintly mingled with revulsion flooded through him.

And what the hell kind of game was Spike playing anyway? Probably Spike had sensed Xander's attraction to him and was just playing games with Xander's head. But Xander hadn't really thought of Spike like that seriously. Not when there were girls around to divert his hormones nicely. Just every now and then it kind of hit him, like when he'd been tied to the chair in Xander's basement. For a brief moment he'd wondered what would happen if just for once they put all that energy they expelled fighting into something else. Wondered what would happen if he slid onto Spike's lap, wondered if kissing Spike deeply would shut him up. Would he respond? The thought was painfully exciting, but he'd shaken it off at once.

But it was only lately, only since that night in the Bronze that he'd been thinking about Spike constantly. The night that Spike had started it! God, sound like a five year old much? The night when he'd come home and dreamed about Spike pushing him down on the bed, pulling off his clothes. Moving back to look at Xander, at his body, those cold blue eyes, hot now, registering approval with what they saw. Their bodies pressed flush against each other, Spike leaning down to kiss him, ravaging his mouth, Spike's body, rocking against him, against his cock, the words "ways to find release" in Spike's rasping English accent echoing through his mind. That was what pushed him over the edge. Waking up in his own sticky emissions, he'd wanted to die. Kissing Spike! Kissing Spike! Even in a dream, what the hell was wrong with him?

Whatever it was it was still wrong and getting wronger. It didn't matter. One thing Xander was sure of was no matter how powerful his attraction for Spike got; Spike was up to no good playing on it. It would only lead to hurt. Just keep treating Spike as the enemy. Nothing was going to happen. Not now. Not ever.

But he was gorgeous.

And now the memory of that dream had only turned him on even more. He should just toss off and go to sleep, that was the sensible thing to do. That was what he would do. He slipped his hand into his boxers, stroking himself carefully, a shudder ran through him. He was so sensitive down there! He snatched his hand away. Couldn't vampires smell pheromones? If Spike was awake he'd be doing this to the accompaniment of sardonic remarks. Maybe he'd better check Spike was asleep.

With a long suffering groan Xander threw his feet on the floor and tramped towards the door. Peering around it carefully, he couldn't see a damn thing. Oh fuck it. While he was up he might as well get a drink. He headed towards the kitchen, casting a quick look in the corner of the room where Spike was just a dark blur, on the shadow that was the couch.

In the dark Spike's teeth flashed white as he grinned. About time too! He'd been waiting long enough. Fair play to the lad, he'd lasted longer than Spike had thought he would, he'd been lying awake for over two hours. Though the wait had probably just made Xander even more up for it. The rush of pheromones as Xander had opened the door had damn near overpowered him. For the first time a flicker of genuine interest in the lad passed through him.

He slid off the couch and slinkily made his way over to the kitchen where Xander was gulping juice like his life depended on it, the only light coming from the fridge where the door was still open.

"Trouble sleeping?"Spike drawled mockingly.

Xander stiffened, then put his glass down. He didn't jump, because somehow he'd known. Known that if he'd come out here Spike would be awake. But in the end he hadn't been able to stop himself, and, oh shit, Spike was only wearing his jeans.

"Just thirsty," he muttered, willing his erection, that was just begging for a chance to come back, to stay away.

Spike looked at him knowingly, taking in the rigid set to Xander's shoulders, the tension emanating from every line of his body.

"You're tense."

"There's a vampire on my couch."

"I'm the reason you're tense?"

"You bet you are." And you don't know the half of it, or maybe you do.

"Remember what I said last week? There are ways to find release."

God as if he needed reminding of that particular little snippet. Willing his erection away wasn't working, he half turned away from Spike, hoping he wasn't planning on looking down any time soon.

"What you want to go patrolling or something?" Xander tried to ask casually, miserably aware of the quiver in his voice.

"No." Spike grinned to himself, it'd been fun watching Xander squirm, but it was time to get this show on the road. His voice had no trace of laughter as he said firmly;

"Turn around."

"What?"

Spike lightly ran his finger down Xander's spine and Xander gasped sharply before he could stop himself.

"I said turn around."

The sensible thing would be to run, or say explain his arousal away by saying he needed a piss, or something but a mixture of miserable defiance and a feeling of sick excitement was flooding through him, and silently he turned to face Spike

Spike's eyes flickered down, then back up to Xander's face.

"Nice" he said huskily. "Shame to waste it."

And Xander's stupid, stupid body was defiantly agreeing with that, arousal was pooling in his groin and Spike was way too close to him, now, he was running his hand along Xander's arm.

And to his utter disbelief he felt himself grow even harder.

"What the fuck are you doing?" he asked in an appalled whisper.

"Obvious innit? I'm trying to seduce you".

"Don't". And any minute now he'd move away, somewhere his mind was screaming at him to run, but his cock was begging to be touched.

"You want me to." Spike said matter of factly.

"Get out, I've got better things to do than listen to this crap," he said strongly, but it felt like he was wrestling with quicksand.

"Like what? The witches are off workin' their spells, Buffy's battling evil and doesn't need you gettin in the way. Hell, even the Watchers gettin more action than you Xander, the only thing you've got is this place, and yeah it's nice, but it's nothing. Its empty".

"Is this your usual method of seduction? Cos on you it's still coming across as being a hurtful loser." And his mouth, oh his mouth was still on autopilot, still saying the things it would normally say, but oh, every fucking nerve feels like it's jumping up and down, and every inch of skin is begging to be touched, and if Spike doesn't stop wasting time on his stupid arm and slide that hand into his boxers Xander just might do it for him . . .

"I'm not trying to be nice, I'm being honest. The only person who really made you feel wanted and needed was your demon. But she's gone now and you don't think anybody will ever want you or need you again, but I do Xander. I want to nail you to the mattress and fuck you into oblivion, I need you Xander. Let me use you. Use me. Fuck ME".

And oh not a shiver now, past shivers, this was like a blast of confused desire just ripping through him that Spike must surely be able to SMELL but this is just a game, just a twisted game . . .

"This, this is just a game to you".

"A game? You think I don't want you? Give me your hand."

"No." But his fingers twitched. Just at the ends.

Moving very slowly Spike moved his hand, taking Xander's and placing it on the bulge in his jeans. And Xander looked down at his hand, like it was disconnected from him. It had to be. It couldn't be him rubbing his hand along Spikes erection like that. Squeezing gently.

"I want you so bad I can taste it. I want to shove myself so far up you so hard you won't be able to sit down for a week."

"Oh. Oh fuck." Squeezing a little harder now, and Spike just rocking into him.

"Yeah," and Spike's voice made Xander look up and there was that damned smile that was somehow a sneer. "That's the plan."

And Xander froze as Spike's mouth descended on his.





Part Five



Spike's lips were cool, hard. His tongue rough, lapping at Xander's closed mouth, making small noises of frustration that Xander wasn't letting him in. Come on you bloody poof for Gods sake, just let go. A surge of anger raced over him, it was bad enough he was having to do this at all, he didn't need the lad to stand there like a stuffed dummy while he was working his magic. Should be pleased about me usin' him, it's the only chance he'd ever have with me, and does he bloody appreciate it?!

His hands tightened on Xander's shoulders then he suddenly shoved Xander, hard so he was pressed against the wall. Xander's eyes were wide with shock, but he could still smell the lust emanating from him and it calmed him a little.

Oh yeah the lad wanted him alright, he was just working through a 'I- shouldn't- let- this- happen' hangup. Spike revised his plans for the night with lightening speed, obviously a full on fuck was out of the question, the whelp was still way too nervous, needed a little time, but still a little taster should get him tickin' over nicely. . . .

Spike moved close so his body was hard against Xander's and returned to the fray. Letting his hand brush lightly against Xander's cock an involuntary groan and thrust from Xander had Spike smiling to himself, That's it you slut, but if you think I'm gonna toss you off before you start showing a bit of involvement you're very much mistaken. Ignoring Xander's whimper he moved his hand to Xander's hip, moving his thumb in soothing circles.

Xander couldn't understand why he felt so hot. A cold wall pressed against his back, a cold vampire pressed against his front but he felt like he was hovering on the edge of meltdown. Burning. Spike's mouth was on his neck now, mouthing frantically his hands running swiftly all over him except where he needed it most and suddenly Xander's body had evidentiently decided that this standing frozen thing wasn't enough anymore, and this must be what an out of body experience felt like, because surely that couldn't be him grinding his hips into Spike, not caring that the jeans were chafing on sensitive skin, couldn't be him desperately clawing at Spike's back, couldn't be him making those moans, definitely couldn't be him muttering those words "want you, always wanted you".

He wouldn't do something like this, therefore it couldn't be happening, except it was and Spike's mouth was back on his and stupid, stupid Xander couldn't help it, couldn't, he moaned under Spike's mouth, opening his own, with a grunt of satisfaction Spike swept his tongue in for the first time, not exploring, not gentle enough for exploring more like claiming, and Xander was kissing back just as hard, and he could taste blood from somewhere and his lips hurt, and it almost felt like Spike was grinning as they were kissing, but he'd started now and nothing in the whole damn world was gonna make him stop. Spike's hand was moving down now, and Xander's bad, mean body was rocking harder, trying to get Spike to touch him, but Spike apparently had other ideas, Xander pulled back, panting as Spike unbuttoned his jeans and pulled his own erection free.

Xander's eyes swerved down then back up, appalled, for a second slipping out of this world that was nothing but cold wall and hard mouths and unbearable painful lust, the thought 'what the hell am I doing!' crashing into him, but then Spike grabbed his hand, placing it on his erection.

"Touch me," he said hoarsely.

Oh and those sweet words had him drowning in this all over again, and never before had those words sounded so fucking sexy, just because it was Spike asking Xander for something, but he still couldn't look at Spike while he was doing it. Xander closed his eyes and leaned his head on Spike shoulder as he began to move his hand, tentatively at first, but the feel of Spike in his hand was turning him on even more, the contrasting sensation of silky skin covering the hardness Spike's hardness! Spike wants ME!, and he began to move faster, closing his hand more tightly around Spike, maybe trying to show Spike this was what he wanted Spike to do to him, and he was out of control hard, and could just come from this, just from feeling Spike, but oh God how he wants to be touched and his cock is jumping and aching for Spike and he wants to say that but he's too shy, and the only way he can get it across is to try to show Spike by pumping his hand faster and sucking on Spike's neck harder and using his free hand to steady Spike's hips that are bucking faster and harder, and Xander couldn't help but let out a moan of frustration because he wants to be where Spike is and he's pumping, pumping, pumping, his wrist is aching now, and fuck knows how long he's been doing this for, but he can't stop, won't stop, because now Spike's shuddering and thrusting harder and he wants to make Spike come, right now, and he wants Spike in his mouth and up his arse and this isn't nearly enough and he wants wants wants, and now his hand is a blur on Spike's cock, and Spike is biting down hard on Xander's shoulder, and his fists are clenched on the wall on either side of Xander and suddenly the smell of Spike's come hit the air as he spurted his lukewarm orgasm over Xander.

Spike gasped as he came hard over Xander's hand, thrusting into him until it was over. For a moment he stood there, leaning heavily on Xander, too heavily probably, but who cared? He was feeling decidedly weak kneed and would've like to sit down, but Xander was pressing into him, still wordlessly begging to be touched, his erection still jabbing into Spike's stomach, and if he didn't give the lad something now, he might not want to come back for more. With an inward sigh Spike slid his hand into Xanders boxers and began to move it, hard, fast, it'd been fun making the lad go cross-eyed with frustration, but now he was finished he wanted this to be over.

Xander let his head fall back, banging on the wall, panting as Spike's slim fingers expertly moved on him, and now it was actually happening he almost wanted it to stop because this was all way too much and way too good, and wasn't gonna last, couldn't last, he'd been waiting for too long, and he bucked hard, coming with an intensity that was almost painful over Spike's hand, splattering his stomach and chest.

His knees buckled and he closed his eyes again, leaning against the wall, gradually coming back to himself to realise the fridge door was still open, and it was still semi dark, but his eyes had adjusted a little and Spike was leaning back from him, and his eyes were glittering with something like . . .triumph? Whatever it was it was cold, and Xander shivered, suddenly realising he'd done something incredibly stupid.

"See," Spike said at last, "told you there were ways to find release." He pushed himself away from Xander and went to the bathroom, and Xander dimly heard the sounds of splashing water. Xander went to run his fingers through his hair, then paused, Spike's come was still on his fingers, ignoring the twist in his stomach, Xander wiped his hand quickly on his boxers, and was probing gently at his sore, swollen lips as Spike came back in the room. Xander stared at him, if he thinks he's gonna sleep with me in my bed because of this . . . No way. He never, ever wanted to see the vampire again. But Spike didn't seem to even look at him, never mind want to sleep in the same bed as him.

Spike lay down again on the couch, his hands behind his head.

"You should sleep better for that anyway. Close the fridge door."

The what? Oh. Right. Numbly Xander did as he was told, and as Spike only seemed to want to go to sleep now he made his way back to the bedroom. He paused at the door, hating himself for asking, but he had to know.

"Are you, you won't .. . ."

Spike grinned, "Our little secret mate."

"Right" Xander slammed the door behind him and collapsed on his bed feeling bruised and battered beyond belief and shocked to the core.

Spike chuckled gleefully to himself. Our little secret, for now.





Part Six



The sound of his alarm pulled Xander out of the deepest sleep on record. Eyes still screwed shut he fumbled for the off switch. Ah peace. He slowly began to wake up, but something was niggling at him, telling him that waking up was not a good idea, what the hell was it . . ?

Oh Shit!

He flew bolt upright in bed as the memories of last night rushed to meet him, and sat rigid as shame and humiliation stickily spread through him like someone had just up ended a bucket of scum over him. He buried his head in his hands thinking helpful things like Oh no. God no. Please no. It didn't happen. It was just a dream. Please make it not have happened.

He wanted to turn back time.

He wanted to be beamed into outer space.

He wanted to die.

He definitely, definitely never wanted to see Spike again.

Ever.

Something that was going to be pretty impossible to pull off as Xander was fairly certain that Spike was still asleep on his couch.

Maybe he'd gone. Yeah Spike took a walk in the dawning sun to save me embarrassment

Maybe he could stay in here until Spike left, but he absolutely balked at the thought of spending another minute in here alone with his thoughts. Thoughts were not going to be happy today, he had to get out and go to work. And that meant leaving the bedroom.

Okay he could do this. On shaky legs he went to the door, noting in an abstract way that his hands were clammy. He opened the door and immediately saw Spike's outline huddled underneath a blanket on the couch.

Shitshitshit

He silently and quickly got ready for work, but it seemed to take forever, when he was eventually ready he headed for the front door only to be stopped dead as Spike's voice floated over from the depths of the couch.

"No goodbye kiss? Now that's what I call morning-after bad manners"

Xander flinched. Obviously praying that Spike had been struck with a bout of amnesia hadn't worked.

"I want you out by the time I come back."

"Yes I'm sure you do" came the amused reply.

"And I'm doing a de-invite spell tonight."

"That'd probably be wise."

"I'm going now" he added unnecessarily.

"I hate to see you go" Spike sighed, " I love to watch you leave."

With shaking hands Xander opened the door.

"Almost as much as you love to drool over my ass."

Xander whirled around, "I don't! I've never . . ." He trailed off as Spike sat up and let the blanket fall away. Ohmigod I kissed that mouth, I clawed that back, I tossed that guy off!!

And beneath all the embarrassment and self disgust, something stirred.

"I don't have time for this" he said firmly, and slammed the door behind him.

Alone Spike grinned madly. Hmm lets recap. Invite? Check! Sexual encounter? Check! Secrecy? Check! One humiliated Scooby? Check! On track for one hurting Slayer? Double check and mate!

He hadn't felt this good since the chip had been shoved in! Should've tried something like this long ago. Of course it wasn't as much fun as ripping the heads of everyone she loved and leaving them lined up on her doorstep, but hey he wasn't complaining. Spike was completely convinced that after Xander had battled through the whole 'ooh what have I done' reflex, that he was going to be ready for round two.

Recipe for round two . . .take one dark haired young lad in denial, add drop dead gorgeous blond vampire, male of course, stir in a hot night, and mix together in an intense wanking session, separate immediately and leave dark haired lad to simmer for a couple of days. Simmering process could be skipped, but you run the risk of dark haired lad crumbling under pressure, best to let him rise on his own. When lad has reached boiling temperature re-introduce vampire. Serve on bed and let the shagging begin.

Should write a seduction manual, this is just so pissing easy.

So why didn't it work with Buffy?

The thought crept unbidden into his head and pain flashed through him at the thought of her, but he ignored it. No good getting soft on her again, you've started this, so bloody well finish it

Anyway, revenge thoughts, Spike was ready for round two right now, was actually looking forward to it, and not just in a 'screwing the Slayer' kind of way, last night had been something of a surprise, he hadn't expected Xander to be so . . .passionate. That was the best hand job he'd had since . . .well he couldn't remember a better one. He tried to remember for a moment, then shrugged, probably it was just because vampires weren't much with the fooling around thing, full sex was pretty much a given. He'd forgotten how good the lead up could be, the anticipation . . .and what was it Xander had muttered? "Want you, always wanted you". His cock twitched at the memory of Xander panting that in his ear as his hands scratched down Spike's back and their hips ground together . . .

This revenge thing just got better and better! Of course the destination was the same, but it made it so much more fun if the journey included some good shagging.

In the highest of spirits Spike headed for the shower.

***

Xander slowly walked home. He was dead tired, work had been long, then he'd been patrolling with Buffy. And if he'd kept his eyes open for a certain bleached vampire nobody needed to know that but him. It had actually been on the tip of his tongue to ask Buffy if she wanted to go by Spike's crypt just to check he wasn't up to anything, but then he'd remembered Spike had been looking for a new crypt after the vampire attack, he wouldn't be there anyway. It had been two days since the night with Spike. Two of the longest days of his life. The whole never wanting to see him again thing had lasted approximately 10 hours.

Until he'd gone home to an empty apartment and was aware inexplicably of disappointment. And no. He hadn't asked Willow to come and do the de-invite spell for him. He told himself it was because she'd ask questions, questions he wasn't up to answering.

Bull.

Shit.

As the days passed he couldn't stop thinking about it. He'd alternatively been flashing hot with a shameful lust and ice cold with fear.

Not fear that he'd see Spike again. Fear that he wouldn't. He was hurt, humiliated and he couldn't stop thinking about it.

Couldn't stop thinking about Spike's skin that was every bit as silky as it looked.

The whimpers and growls he made when he was close.

The things he'd said. "I want to nail you to the mattress and fuck you into oblivion . . ."

Something in Xander's stomach kind of twisted over at the memory of it and a shiver of arousal ran through him. He shook himself, he was so stupid! He'd given Spike blackmail material for the rest of his life. It could never, ever happen again.

"Let me use you. Use me. Fuck ME." And Spike's voice was rough and sweet all at the same time like honey over wood . . .

No! Wrong. Wrongest. Couldn't get much wronger.

And why the hell hadn't he? Fucked him that is. Spike had said, he wanted to fuck him. So why had he stopped at, um well why had he stopped?

Shouldn't ask why, just be grateful for it

But he wasn't. Confused and frustrated as hell, yes. Grateful, no.

And it wasn't getting better. If anything as the time passed it was getting worse. An ache had set up camp in his body and wasn't going anywhere. That night hadn't been nearly enough. Not by a long stretch, had just fanned the flames inside him and they were still burning away. Something had been set in motion, Spike had reached out and bent the parallel lines, then left, leaving unfinished business hanging between them. Leaving Xander in a state of half horror, half aching need.

Knew it was just a head game. He's probably gonna resurface and say how crap I was and that's why he doesn't want to sleep with me

But somehow Xander didn't think that was the case. He'd felt Spike, and known, instinctively that whatever else was going on in Spikes mind, his body was enjoying what was happening.

So where the hell was Spike?

Xander shook his head at himself losing it much Harris? Does the term 'bitter enemies' mean nothing to you? and went to open the door to his apartment block.

"Well, hello lover."

Xander came to an abrupt halt, then, his heart in his mouth, slowly turned around.

There's the answer to one question anyway The bleached wonder was right in front of him.

And. Wow. Surely it couldn't be right for a guy to look that good. Scuffed DM's black jeans, black T-Shirt, black duster.

Kind of made Xander wish he was wearing something more low key than purple pants and an orange shirt.

"I'm not your lover." Xander muttered. How come if Spike was the harmless one, Xander felt like he was the one with a chip in his head? Defenceless. Stripped bare. "What are you doing here?"

"You live in there" Spike jerked his head towards the apartment block in front of them.

Oh. He's come looking for me The memory of Spike coming over his hand suddenly flashed through him and his fists clenched compulsively.

Spike ignored him anyway, flicking the butt of his cigarette away and flung his hand wide, acknowledging and disregarding the stars in one gesture. "So isn't it a nice night we're having, how 'bout them Redskins, well that's the small talk all taken care of. Ready to finish what we started the other night?"

Xander swallowed back the urge to scream "Yes!" at the top of his voice and ignored the blood throbbing in his veins in a seductive slow beat.

"It's never going to happen again Spike," he said strongly, "in fact there is no again because it never happened."

Yeah a small amused voice popped up in his mind you talk the talk, but you know you can't walk the walk, and Spike isn't going to take no for an answer. You hope anyway.

Spike's eyes narrowed and he stared hard at Xander. Got to love the way he keeps trying. Course it'd be a whole lot more convincing if I couldn't smell the potential hard on from 50 paces He decided to have a little fun with the lad. Play with this fish a little before reelin' him in and gutting him

"Oh well. If that's the way you want it." He feigned disinterest, not missing the flash of disappointment that fleetingly appeared on Xander's face. "I do have a reason for being here."

"What?" Xander asked warily.

"Left something in your apartment."

"No you didn't, I haven't seen anything."

Spike smirked, "Oh trust me mate it's there"

Xander heaved a long suffering sigh. "Fine, whatever, get it and get the hell out."

He opened the door and they walked down the corridor in silence. Xander stole another look at Spike, the plaster on his cheek was gone, the skin smooth and unmarked.

They reached his apartment and as he unlocked it Spike pushed past him and was inside before he could draw breath.

Spike raised an eyebrow at him, "Never got round to doing that de-invite spell I see"

Xander shut the door and thanked God for the dim light hiding his warm cheeks.

"No time," he lied.

He went to turn the light on, but Spike's hand shot out and grabbed his wrist before he could reach the switch.

"What are you doing?" he yelped. As much as he hated to admit it, it definitely was a yelp.

Spike didn't answer, but his thumb began tracing the hot skin on Xander's pulse point.

"You said you left something in here" Xander stammered, trying to ignore the distracting sensation of Spike's caress.

Spike's eyes glittered. "I did. Unfinished business."





Part Seven



Xander tried half heartedly to pry Spike's fingers from his wrist. "Spike if you try anything with me I will stake you."

Spike grinned. "Well I'm game mate, but I really see it more as me staking you. At first anyway, if you're a good lad, and a fast learner though . . ." Yeah and I'll be handing out ice skates in hell before I let you do that to me

Xander closed his eyes helplessly as the image suddenly hit of with all the force of a kick to the stomach of Spike fucking me thrusting into him. That arrogant smirk for once wiped out. Opened them to find Spike looking at him intently as his thumb still circled on his wrist, and his stomach felt like it had been hollowed, a low hot throbbing began to pound through him.

"No Spike." Yep going with the denial. It's my best friend. Try it again without the erection

"Never happened remember?" The words were meant to come out strongly, but came out more pleadingly. OhGodohGod what the hell is this, please don't do this to me, he used me, he's going to do it again, and I'm so completely fucked up and want him so badly I think I'm going to let him . . .

"But it did," Spike lowered his voice "I was the one that was pressed up against you that night, hearin' those sweet little noises you make when you're about to . . ."

"Shut up!"

Spike let his eyes flicker down to the lads mouth, moist and panting, then back up to meet his eyes. "Make me. I won't bite. You're quite safe."

Safe? Safe? The words Spike and safe did not belong together, Spike didn't make him feel safe, he made him feel like prey, like the hunted, like he was burning from the inside out and he was gonna die if he didn't get just one more taste of that cool skin and wicked mouth, made him so turned on and so hard that he could fuck if the world was ending and here it all was being just handed to him, but they hated each other, and Spike was up to something . .

"No." Just a word. Doesn't mean anything. Not when you don't mean it.

"Don't start lying to me. You've never lied before. You want me." Spike inhaled deeply. "I can smell it."

"What . ..what do you want?" Xander managed to choke out.

I want to have this bloody chip out of my head. I want to kill each and every one of you. I want to kill the Slayer and turn her and make her my bitch for eternity. But this will have to do so don't fucking push me

Instead of answering Spike tightened his fingers on Xander's wrist and pulled him until the lad was pressed against him, leaning in so his lips were hovering millimetres away from Xander's and he could feel the heat radiating from his mouth, the tremors running through him. He let go of Xander's wrist and waited for a moment to see what he would do. His breath was coming in short pants, but he didn't try to move away.

Good lad, you make it nice and easy for me to hurt you.

He should throw the lad on the floor and take him right now. Hard. He could do, he could get round his chip enough to do that. And it wouldn't be rape either. The lad was begging for it, with his eyes, his scent, far more eloquent than words. But he felt oddly reluctant to do it that way as happy as it would have made his demon. And yes, fine, his own erection. Yeah it was all ultimately a plan to screw the Slayer over, but still . . .The lad was doing things, awakening sensations he hadn't expected. The way Xander was staring at him with such a look of aching want, desperation clear in his eyes, because he knew there was no way he was going to win this . . .Spike couldn't remember when anyone had ever looked at him like that before. It was beautiful, intoxicating, and, oh yeah, as sexy as hell. Instead he flicked his tongue out, letting it dart along Xander's lips. Xander made a strangled sound in his throat the tremors became more apparent and Spike could feel him, straining against his pants, rubbing against Spike's own erection, and well well what was this?

Xander shuddered as he pressed against Spike, feeling his hands, that had apparently developed a will of their own slide around Spike's waist. A part of Xander's mind appeared to be screaming something along the lines of No! STOP! That's Spike!

"Spike...." he moaned, grinding his hips into Spike, and that felt so good, he just had to do it again.

Spike shivered, pleased. "You remember it don't you?" Spike murmured, his lips brushing Xander's with every movement. "Us coming all over each other? Haven't been able to stop thinking about it have you? Wanking off about it, imagining it's me. Don't have to imagine tonight. Remember what I said that night?" Spike's hands were sliding under his shirt like smoke, reaching to trail lightly over his hard nipples, pulling and pinching gently.

"Yeah." Xander gasped. Insanity. This was insanity. He had to pull away. But he couldn't move, didn't want to move, the slim cool fingers sending delicious shivers sparking though him, Spike was almost magical in this moment, enchanting, hypnotic, creating a fog of desire in Xander's mind. So gorgeous, he'd wanted this for so long, and he was right there. . .

"Liked it didn't you?" Spike let one of his hands slide out from under his shirt, ghost along Xander's body until it came to rest, just over his heavy arousal.

"Yes" Shifting slightly, rocking into Spike's hand.

"Yeah. Knew you did. Could tell. Got you all hot and bothered didn't it? What'd I say that got you the hardest?"

Xander felt his face flame, even as the bolts of excitement leapt straight to his groin.

"Well?" Spike prompted, his hand toying with the fastening to Xander's pants. Xander shuddered, tried to look away from Spike's eyes that were just drawing him in, swallowing him whole, and couldn't.

"That . . .that you wanted to . . .to" He gulped. As he spoke Spike was slowly popping open the buttons on his pants. "To . . . nail me to the mattress and . . .and . . ." He stopped, painfully embarrassed.

"And?" Spike was relentless, shifting his hand away, sliding it around the waistband to his boxers his thumb brushing Xander's wet tip. A groan flew from Xander's mouth before he could stop it. He took a deep breath. "And . . .fuck me into oblivion" he gasped out.

"Well" and there was the faintest hint of amusement in Spike's voice. "Since you ask so nicely."

Spike's mouth was suddenly ravaging his, using tongue, teeth, as he freed Xander's erection and oh yes that was it, that sweet fucking rhythm that was just the best feeling in the whole world and God it was like being stuck by lightening, and fucking hell so much better than he'd dared let himself remember. Xander moaned in the back of his throat wrapping himself around Spike, one hand tangled in his hair, the other on his ass, pulling him in trying to get closer to him, whimpering under the attack Spike was making on his mouth, and kissing back just as hard to stop himself from begging for more and he wasn't going to think, he wouldn't let himself stop and think . . .Except that Spike tasted just like he smelt, like smoke and cold and danger. And he had way too many clothes on, and he was trying to do too much, shove off Spike's duster, and unbutton his jeans and pull up his T-Shirt.

Spike pulled back and arched an eyebrow at him. "So. Do I need to ask if you're ready?"

As he spoke he squeezed a little harder making Xander jump and clench his fingers a little tighter on Spike. He couldn't say anything. But he didn't have to. He knew his answer was written all over his face.

"Right then" Spike smiled a truly evil smile, I love it when a plan comes together"Lets get the hell on with it."





Part Eight



Lying on the bed, not sure how he's got there, well he knows how he got there. Spike pushed him on to it, but not sure how this is happening, how he and Spike have ended up here. Out of a million possible future this was the one least likely to happen. Doesn't really care about that as long as it carries on happening. Clothes. His and Spike's. Seem to be vanishing. That's good that's fine and doesn't Spike have nice feet, and arms and shoulders and chest and nipples . . .

Hot. Too hot, but Spike was on him, pressing his cool body onto Xander's. Pressing it back on the cool sheets. So he wasn't going to melt. Wasn't going to vanish in a pool of molten Xander and any small chance he might of had of stopping this from happening has long gone, was gone the second he let Spike touch him again, and now Spike was pulling roughly at his pants and Xander was helping, kicking them off, and the boxers were going as well, and oh yes. Spike's cool, talented fingers were wrapping around him again, with the other hand holding him still, like Spike was worried Xander was going to try and stop this, like Xander wasn't arching up into Spike's touch, moaning at the friction, toes and fingers curling on the sheets for something to hold on to, cause this was being up on the tightrope with no safety net, this, this was going to happen, right now, wrong, wrong, wrong, but he can't understand what the hell wrong could possibly mean. Because this feels so good. And yeah evil vampire using him and maybe being used isn't so bad if this is what he gets out of it. The cool slide of his tongue and the slightly rough fingertips driving Xander mad, right away from common sense and he couldn't care less.

Nothing mattered because Spike was so fucking gorgeous and he's running his hands over the satin skin on Spike's bare back, and now letting them move round to trace the bulge straining against those jeans, that just have to come off and oh he wanted this, but fear was dancing through him but he couldn't stop and think about it, because if he did he might just stop . . .

And he doesn't want to stop. The only thing he really wanted was more and Spike seemed to get that and his hand is moving fast on Xander now . . .

"Oh God." Whimpered fast. Fingers clenching a little tighter in the sheets as his back arches again.

Nah, far from it actually, but you'll be on your knees to me soon enough Spike thought dizzily. For some reason Spike had always thought Xander would be a clumsy kisser, a theory that had not stood up to the test. The lads wise cracking tongue silent now tangled with his, sucking and nipping at his bottom lip. A guy could really get used to this Spike felt his cock throb a little harder at the thought of all the other uses he could put that mouth to.

"Very quiet for a change mate. Vampire got your tongue?" Having to joke or something, just to remind himself that he is in control here, because the heat is scorching, and Xander is all golden, smooth and tight . . .

"Shut up" Xander muttered fast, quick fingers working at Spikes jeans, unbuttoning him, "If you talk I'm either gonna come right now or kill you, don't talk, I don't want to . . .I just want . . ."

He pulled at Spike's jeans, heat rising as Spike slid out of them. Naked at fucking last, and he couldn't seem to see enough of Spike, not looking away appalled this time, cos Spike is so beautiful all of him, dark hard nipples, tight muscles, pale skin, fathomless eyes, narrow hips, long hard cock, couldn't keep his eyes on one point of his body, trying to devour him with his eyes, but it wasn't enough and he just had to touch Spike, had to believe he was really there, pulling him down on top of him, the cool heavy press of Spike's body holding him down, so he couldn't get out of this now . . .

And that's just great, just fine why would he want to get away, especially when Spike's quickening his strokes like that, making Xander gasp and buck, and gasp, and no! Moving his hand away.

Spike grabbed the lube out of his discarded jeans and slicked his fingers ignoring Xander's whimper of protest as he took his hand away. Be whimpering even more if I don't use this mate

Watching Spike with wide eyes, get himself ready, and suddenly Xander's thinking maybe he needs a little time to get ready, a couple of years maybe, just to get used to the idea but suddenly Spike's hand was back on him moving it down, past his balls, tracing along the tight skin between them and his ass and oh. A slick finger, pressing into him now, just moving around his entrance, and suddenly ridiculously he's wishing that he's done this to himself, practised or something, because at least then he'd know what to expect, but too late now, Spike pushed it in and ow, how can anyone want to do that? It hurts, and that moving in and out thing is not good, it's making him feel shaky and sick, and he wants it to stop, shifting uncomfortably, ready to try and pull Spike out, but when he moves it feels good, so he does it again, and Spike's in just a little deeper, and weirdly the further in it is the less it seems to hurt and still not pleasure, not really, but it feels something, so okay he'll let Spike do it a little more, and suddenly he's being stretched more, a lot more, what the hell? Oh another finger and Xander bit his lip, because as Spike's working past the opening he's just gonna scream, not biting it enough apparently because a pained moan flew out and he can't help it, his whole body tenses up, but suddenly Spike's other hand is sliding towards his cock and fancy that he'd forgotten about it with all the fingers up the ass, and Spike's pumping, squeezing, his hand getting slippery with pre-come and Xander's bucking, but that just sends the fingers further in, and owowow.

Hand pumping and fingers thrusting around like they're searching for something and what the hell is Spike looking for up there and

Oh yes, yes, YES...

"Fuck!Yes!" He yelled it out and he flushed embarrassed, stupid maybe cos Spike is seeing him naked right now with his fingers inside him and what's a yell of pleasure between bitter enemies? But still he's embarrassed and shoves his hand in his mouth to muffle the cries, but Spike knocks it away, looks almost angry with Xander and a huge wallop of fear hits him.

"Want to hear you" Spike growls, his face rigid, and okay that's just fine, whatever Spike wants, one less thing for Xander to worry about, and the fear recedes as Spike touches that place again, that place that sends Xander arching up off the bed shouting. And does it again, and again, and yeah he'd read about it, but didn't know anything could actually feel so good and body is out of control now, jumping and thrusting around, jerky, hard movements, pushing back on Spike's fingers now, trying to get them in deeper and moving faster and it's gone from kind of awful to just the best fucking feeling in the world and Spike's hand is still fisting his cock, and it's all way too much and Spike had maybe better hold him still 'cos oh yes just like that, that is so fucking good, don't stop don't . . .

"So good, so good. Spike! Oh I'm gonna . . . ." Jerking and bucking under Spike, fingers clenching, cock jumping, shooting over Spike, over himself. Shivering and moaning and eventually relaxing back on the bed, Spike's fingers sliding out of him, and that feels a bit awful, and Xander looks up at Spike, who raises an eyebrow in a kind of suggestively amused way, the intensity gone now, his glance oddly . . .gleeful? And Xander feels a little cold all at once, but then Spike is kneeling between his legs slicking his cock and pumping it before Xander's fascinated eyes and Xander's legs are over Spike's shoulders.

And that brings the fear right back up, and Xander placed his hands on Spike's hips trying to push him back.

"Wait, no, you're too big . . ." No doubt blistering shame will follow, and bitter regret but he can't let Spike do this, it'll rip him apart.

"Shhh." Spike ran his hands soothingly over Xander's sides, waiting for the trembling to lessen. He kissed him again, long and wet, feeling the hot velvet mouth under his moan as Xander began to relax under him, buck under him just a little. He let his fingers play with Xander's rock like nipples and lowered his mouth to one lapping and sucking hard. Smiling to himself as he heard the gasp from Xander yeah take it while you can get it mate probably meant he was ready as he was going to get for this.

Spike moved himself into position, running his cock along Xander's entrance. He had been going to do this from behind, it'd be easier, but he wanted Xander to know exactly who was fucking him, indelibly burned into his memory, he wanted Xander to see his face, to remember that his hated enemy was taking his virginity. Making him ache for more.

Spike pushed in a little, and Xander clenched his teeth against the pain, squeezing his eyes shut, but Spike pushes in a little more, and Xander's heat is calling to him, he's so hard now, so ready for this, for beautiful Xander, sweet and hot and he knows in a vague kind of way that he wasn't supposed to find this so exciting, was meant to be in control but the scent of lust and fear coming from him is just so fucking sexy, can't ever remember having a lover wanted him like this before and he's going to get it, oh yeah, gonna get it good and God how he wants to be inside. But Xander's hands were suddenly back on his hips and his teeth were clenching in frustration, he can't stop me, just stop fighting me maybe should pull back and tease a little more, but didn't want to do that, needed this now and couldn't help but say,

"Don't stop me . . . don't." Biting his lip to stop from begging Xander, hot, tight Xander to let him in.

"God no, don't want to stop" Xander gasped using his hold to pull Spike in deeper, and they both froze, shocked into stillness by Spike's sudden and easy slide in. Spike gasped as his hands clenched on Xander's hips. The heat, the incredible tightness was overwhelming, drowning him sending hot flashes all through him.

"Open your eyes." And Spike wondered briefly if that was his voice because it didn't sound all cool and in control the way he was used to sounding with Xander, it sounded all tight and shaking, intense.

Xander's eyes flew open. Spike looked down at Xander whose chocolate brown eyes were almost coal black with desire as he stared at Spike, and there was pain in them, pain and lust and just enough to push him over the edge and he starts moving, pulling out almost to the head before slamming back in again, and Xander's eyes are bright maybe with tears because this had to hurt, but Xander, hot, passionate Xander was thrashing under Spike, trying to hold on to him as Spike thrusts and pulls and thrusts and pulls.

Fuckfuckfuck One part of Xander's mind was screaming as Spike began to move even faster but he didn't know if it was a cry for help or a beg for more it's too much and his body is all out of control, somehow he's hard again, aching for release again, but can't even think or feel anything except it's too good and Spike stop please stop, but if you stop I'll have to kill you and it's all pleasure and pain and sparks shooting violently all through his body, shocks crashing though him, Spike's hard strokes hitting him just where he wants it, needs it and he can hear things that must be them, the smack of flesh to flesh and his cries echoing around the room and a weird kind of gasping noise and Xander doesn't know what the hell is going on, doesn't know if he's laughing or crying, but he's doing something, and he can't take anymore, but now Spike is whimpering his face twisted in that way that's so gorgeous pleasure so intense it hurts and somehow even though he's the one being fucked here, he feels powerful in this moment, cos he's making Spike cry out and lose it, making him thrust so hard Xander thinks he's gonna die and that's okay, cos there couldn't be a better way to go. Making Spike feel it, the heat the drive, the want to get as deep in as he could get, faster and faster and seeing that wicked gorgeous mouth part, and the words;

"Oh fuck, yes! Xander. . ."

And his name spilling from Spikes' mouth, and somehow that's better than anything although Spike's cock hitting that place and Spikes hand fisting his cock is coming a close second, and he's coming again, over Spike, with Spike. And too much, too much. Wants to say Stop, stop, stop, but what seems to be coming out is "Spike, Spike, Spike."

Mine now The thought flashed through Spike's mind too fast to stop as his cool dead seed spurted into Xander, possessing him. Gradually letting his thrusts stop. Collapsing on Xander, still inside him, waiting for the after come shivers to fade away, soaking up the lads heat for just a little longer before going back out into the cold. Xander's fingers gradually easing away from their tight grip on his hips. Reluctantly he pulled out and rolled over on to his side. Waiting for his legs to stop trembling. He glanced at Xander. His eyes were closed, his face turned away from Spike.

Something flashed though Spike, an inner hurt that no amount of time had ever been able to heal. Angelus. Drusilla. Always good enough to shag, but never to talk to. Never to love.

Impossible to love. Or so Bitchy thought. The thought of Buffy snapped him back. She was why he was doing this. Payback for her. What did he care if the lad didn't want to look at him? That was all part of the plan. To make the lad ache for him, his sworn enemy even as he hated him. To humiliate him, steal his pride and self respect until he was only a shell of a Scooby, and then . . .

Shaking off the memories, with a huge effort to pull himself back under control he slid off the bed and began to dress himself, keeping his eyes on Xander. Xander eventually opened his eyes, watching Spike dress. Spike snickered slightly at the sight of him rumpled and still sweaty. Obviously well shagged.

Xander swallowed as the cold feeling began to trickle through him. Reality was back, and he hated the man in his bedroom who was looking at him with a mixture of amusement and triumph. Had he actually been stupid enough to think that Spike was going to lay with him, hold him? Actually maybe like him? Yeah, right.

Hating his stupid body at the minute for wanting this so much. Hated feeling so good, so sated. Hated the feel of Spike's come trickling down his legs.

"What was this all about? Really?" Xander asked voice shaking with the aftermath of two intense orgasms and anger.

Spike shrugged indifferently as he located his duster. "I told you luv. Unfinished business, thought you'd be pleased. I'm doing what you said. I got what I came for and now I'm getting the hell out." The undisguised laughter and satisfaction in his voice made Xander flinch. He leaned into Xander to kiss him. Xander moved back sharply.

"Get out." he spat, hate and hurt blazing from his dark eyes.

Spike grinned then grabbed Xander by his hair and crushed his mouth to his ignoring the brunettes' struggles to pull away, running his tongue lingeringly over the hot mouth until he felt the lips begin to part under his. He released Xander and straightened up.

"I'm going. Don't worry though, I'll be coming back. You were right. You really are a nummy treat."

In a swirl of black leather and cigarette smoke scent he left. He banged the door behind him and hit the streets with a grin on his face. Unlife was good.

Xander lay back on the bed, covering his face with his hands, blinking back the tears. He wondered what the hell was going to happen next. But for now he just wanted to lie very still and not look at anything.





Part Nine



Xander stared up at the ceiling. The apartment was so still he could hear a tap dripping in the kitchen from lying on the couch.

Drip.

Hate him

Drip.

Hate him

Drip.

Hate him

Drip

Hate him

BANG BANG

Bang bang? That's not supposed to be in the routine Routine was important. Without routine everything was chaos, everything went wrong, bad things happened. Like letting a bitter enemy fuck you then stroll out of the room while you lay there feeling like a whore who hadn't been paid. Well and truly fucked. In more than one way.

"Xaaaander!"

With a monumental effort Xander slowly hoisted himself off the couch and padded over to open the door to possibly the only person in the world he'd let in right now.

"Hey Will."

"Hi! I thought I'd bring some food," she held up two bags that appeared to be crammed with edible goodness. "I thought we could spend lunch time together."

"It's nine in the evening," Xander pointed out with perfect accuracy.

"Yes, and it's Saturday and you haven't been to see me, so I'm thinking you've been in bed all day, which would make this lunch time."

"Whole day on the couch actually." Xander said with a pained smile. Not the bed. Oh dear God definitely not the bed but he stood back and let her slide past him. She tripped into the kitchen, cuffed the dripping tap, emptied the bags of food out on the counter and began to make coffee. Xander had long since stopped wondering how she managed to do all these things at the same time, he just sat at the table and watched as she worked her magic.

It was kind of soothing to watch her flit around, though she looked nothing like soothing. Her pink top and checkered skirt clashed wildly with her hair, but it was Willow, and he felt some of the screeching tension begin to ease up from his body.

"You. Eat something." She ordered as the rich coffee smells began to fill the kitchen.

Xander stared blankly at the food in front of him. Slice of pizza or a burger? Maybe just a sandwich? And if a sandwich which one? Chicken or Cheese? Tuna or beef?

He rearranged them thoughtfully, then as no inspiration was forthcoming put them back in their original positions.

Willow paused in making the coffee to look at Xander in concern, he was staring at a beef sandwich as if he couldn't quite remember what it was.

She pulled out a chair and sat next to him at the table, her eyes wide with worry.

"What's wrong?"

"Wrong? Nothing. Why?" If Spike's told anyone I'll kill him, then I'll kill myself

She gestured at the food. "You usually eat everything."

Xander resisted the urge to smack his head with his hand. Of course he did. That was why he couldn't decide. The thing was . . .he really wasn't all that hungry. Couldn't ever really imagine being that hungry again.

"Besides for the last few days you've barely said a word. What's up?" She put her hand over his. "Is it Anya? Are you really missing her?"

Xander conjured up a mental image of his last words with Anya. She'd been struggling into the car with her bags, pausing to give him one last kiss.

He'd grabbed her hand, and said desperately; "Don't leave."All he could say to make her stay. And it felt like it had been ripped out of him, but it still wasn't nearly enough. She'd dashed the tears away and gently pulled her hand from him. "Got to. Goodbye."

Goodbye silky hair, wide eyes. Goodbye to one of the most cynical, yet innocent women he would probably ever meet. Yeah, this was something to do with Anya. But mostly . . .it was to do with Spike.

Spike.

But he couldn't tell Willow that. He knew he could supposedly tell Willow anything. But how could he expect her to understand when he didn't get it himself?

How could he have let it happen?

He didn't know. He just knew he'd been lost, lost the minute Spike had touched him, couldn't have said no anymore than he could have stopped breathing.

And now everything that he used to do, patrolling, working, even this, him and Willow felt weird, not quite real, like he was suddenly an actor playing his own life, because outwardly everything was the same, but it wasn't because he was different, Spike had made it different. He had slept with Spike. He couldn't take it back.

He didn't know if he wanted to.

It had been . . .the sex had been . . well how did he go about describing something like that?

He couldn't think of the words, could only remember the feelings. His mouth going dry and his breathing quickening as he thought of it. So intense it was frightening. Painful. Yet somehow just the most beautiful, wrenching pleasure he had ever felt. And try as he might he couldn't regret experiencing it. What he did hate and wished with every part of him that he could take back was the fact that it had been Spike that gave it to him

Maybe he should just admit he was bi or gay or whatever the hell he was and find a non evil guy to have sex with. Maybe even a guy he actually liked.

He tried to imagine letting anyone else do what Spike had done to him, wanting anyone else to do what Spike had done to him, and couldn't. Maybe sex with any guy would have effected him like that, but somehow he doubted it. He might be very ignorant about it, virgin territory so to speak, but he didn't think that just the fact it was with a guy could explain sex like that. It was Spike. Spike had made it what it was. His mind just kept coming back to Spike. Spike biting his lip as he pushed into Xander, Spike sinking deep inside him, Spike gasping his name as he came, Spike, Spike, Spike.

Was it even possible to want someone so much, even though you hated them?

And he did hate him. After Spike had gone fucked me and left bastard, bastard, bastard and Xander had roused himself from his horrified stupor he had suddenly had to move, had to erase it, had to, changed the bed, but it hadn't been enough he'd scrubbed the mattress, scrubbed himself in the bath until he was almost raw, getting rid of the kisses, the semen, but even though the physical evidence was gone Spike was still fucking him in his mind, over and over.

And it was good damn it.

And if Willow could understand any of that could she explain it to him? And for a second, he didn't just hate Spike, he fucking hated him, for pulling him away from his friends like this, for making him keep secrets. But then again, this was nothing new. There was so much stuff he never told people. Like about Cordelia, when that first started, like when he felt left out and alone. Like exactly why he didn't go home to visit anymore. Like these feelings he'd been busy suppressing before Spike came along and blew his defences apart.

Willow knew so much about him, but she didn't know. She knew cos she'd always been around, not because Xander had talked about it. Couldn't tell her. Couldn't tell her about the sex, about the wantingwantingwanting thump he still got right in the stomach every time he thought of it. Couldn't tell her about the prison of steam and too hot water he'd incarcerated himself in, trying to wash the memory right away. About hammering the mirror with his fists, shattering it because he just couldn't stand to see himself right then. Couldn't tell her about shoving his fist in his mouth to choke down the sobs, because he never cried. Wasn't going to start over this.

Couldn't tell her.

Instead he raised his familiar defences hey had a lot of practice and smiled at her. "I guess I am missing her yeah."

She gazed at him sympathetically "I know it doesn't feel like it now, but maybe it really is for the best."

"How?" he asked, genuinely perplexed. How could it be for the best that the one girl he might have actually had a shot at living reasonably happy ever after with had walked out? Besides if Anya had been around, the chances were none of this Spike madness would have happened. He'd still be in ignorance of the dark, hungry look Spike's'eyes got when his pace became frantic, wouldn't know how it felt to be stretched so wide it seemed impossible that he'd ever get back to what he was . . .he tuned back into Willow quickly.

"I mean it wasn't love was it? Not really?"

"Well, maybe, kind of . . ." Had he loved Anya? He didn't know. He knew life had been better with her in it, he knew he missed her, knew it had hurt like hell when she'd left. Was that love? A kind of love he guessed. But not in love. Not passionate. The only passion he and Anya had had was in the bedroom, but that wasn't being passionate about her, that was just bodies. Whatever it was, it was as close as he thought he could get to being in love, as much as he could give.

"Whatever it was Will, it wasn't enough for her. It was all I could give though. Probably won't be enough for anyone." He concluded painfully. So useless. Such a failure.

"Don't say that! You will fall in love, completely one day, and all those barriers you think you need? You'll want to take them down, cos you'll just know, this is the person you can't do without."

"It's a nice thought Will."

"It'll happen, best friend promise."

Xander smiled as he remembered the best friend promise they had devised and they solemnly shook thumbs. Then he pulled her close in a hug.

"Love ya Will."

"Aww Xander!" She hugged him back hard, and he wondered briefly how differently his life might have turned out if he had noticed Willow back when she thought he was the greatest guy in the world. That would have been sweet. No Spike madness there. And you thought Cordelia was against all laws of God and man, Wills, if you only knew. He squeezed his eyes shut tight, trying to push the memory of Spike away, just for a few moments.

"So where's Buffy?" He asked as they released each other, trying to distract her from the truth he felt sure was written on his face.

Willow rolled her eyes. "Where she always is."

***

In the graveyard with a surge of satisfaction Buffy dusted her second vampire of the night, and looked up just in time to see a third launch straight for her. She raised her stake, but before she had time to begin to fight, the vampires eyes widened in shock and it burst into dust.

She looked down at her stake in confusion, then up to see Spike smirking at her, showily brandishing his stake. A surge of annoyance flooded through her.

"Spike! What the hell are you doing here?"

Spike felt a weird kind of joy that she was there, in front of him, talking to him, albeit a through clenched teeth kind of deal. Now, now, hate the bitch, hate the bitch, hate the bitch . . .

"Slaying, Slayer, same as yourself, enjoying it?"

"I was. What do you want?" She willed herself not to react as Spike openly leered at her eww shouldn't have said that eww Spike likes me eww

"To save the world from the evil undead" he dead panned letting his eyes flick appreciatively over her lithe form, noticing her eyes were bright with satisfaction from the kill.

"Looks more like lurking to me." She challenged her arms folded. Yuck. This is beyond creepy and disgusting, how long has he been watching me?

See, there was a sentence she didn't have to say! She was talking to him. She was coming round, getting used to the idea that there was something between them.

"Well if you want me to lurk . . ."

The pull of her was still strong. If she'd only let him, he could be good to her wouldn't hurt her stupid friend, wouldn't hurt her, it still wasn't too late, they could all still get out of this with a minimum of heartache . . .

"Spike, I don't want you to lurk. I don't want you near me. I hate you. The only thing I want from you is out of this town, out of my life, and if I could wipe the memories as well I would, what isn't clear about that?"

Snippy little bint! The pain that had settled into a kind of simmering ache at her rejection of him flared up again, ripping through him. "Fine! But don't blame me when I finish what I'm doing!"

"What reaching new levels of patheticness? Cos I have to say you're already way ahead of anyone I know!"

"Oh yeah? What about Xander?" Shit! He hadn't meant to say that, it had just slipped out. Not yet for Gods sake, not yet, it's too soon.

"You leave my friends out of this. He's way more of a man than you'll ever be."

Yeah and last week your manly little friend was letting me break in that virgin ass of his and begging for more. How manly do you think that is bitch?

"And if he knew that you'd tried anything with me . . ." Buffy continued.

"But he doesn't. And you're not going to tell him" he blurted out quickly. He can't know, if you fucking dare tell him . . .

Buffy rolled her eyes. "As if I'm going to talk about it. I don't even want to think about it."

"Whatever you say Slayer." He turned away from her, hiding his relief.

"I mean it Spike!" She called after him, "Off this planet remember!"

He ignored her as he stalked away. Lighting up a smoke when he got away from her. Fine so the revenge plan was still all systems go. Just thought he'd give her a chance to change her mind, try and be all decent like. Give her a chance to save her friend. She didn't want it. Suited him fine. Bitch.

It was just . . .he'd really been hoping she'd come round, and not just because he still wanted her under all the hate he was carefully nurturing. He'd almost hoped he wouldn't have to go on with this. The lad was unsettling. Spike hadn't expected to feel so . . .carried away. Yeah he'd expected to enjoy it, but he'd thought it would be the idea of screwing Buffy that really got him turned on. But he hadn't thought of her at all. Instead Xander had been all he could think about, all he could see, all he could feel. He cursed softly as his cock began to throb insistently as he remembered Xander under him, his eyes dazed, his mouth soft and wet and open. All that scorching heat and tightness.. . his hand tangled in Xander's soft dark hair as they kissed, frantic with need. Need Goddamnit! Need wasn't part of this fucking plan! Even now, even while he was giving her the chance to let him out of this with his pride intact he barely knew how to wait for the next time. And he didn't like that. In fact he fucking hated it. Not that he was going to get out of his depth or anything, of course not, not with Xander for Gods sake, okay so it had been a good fucking incredible shag, no need to go nuts. But still . . .

It had been painfully exciting.

He shook his head in confusion, what the hell was wrong with him? This was the perfect plan, and it was all working beautifully. So the lad was better in bed than he'd expected, that was no reason to stop, it just made it more fun for him. Besides the better the sex was, the harder it'd be for Xander to say no, which would make Xander hate him all the more every time he shagged him into the floor and left. Right. The perfect plan.

Right then. He'd best go and find his little nummy treat. He'd kept his distance for a few days, aware that Xander probably hated him so much right now he'd be staked on sight, but he'd waited long enough damn it. Anyway he'd proven he could take the boy, proven that he still had nothing but contempt for him. Now it was time to show the lad that this wasn't going to be stopped, no matter how much he might think he wanted to. That this would be over when Spike said so.

Only when Spike said so.





Part Ten



Willow left Xander less than reassured about him. He'd looked a little better, but she knew something was wrong, it was just so hard to get Xander to talk about stuff that was upsetting him. He kind of had this thing where if he thought if he covered it up with jokes he could fool everyone that everything was ok. More importantly fool himself that everything was ok, and while she didn't agree with it, it was his way and she respected that. But lately he hadn't even been making jokes, it was like things had gone so wrong Xander couldn't even fool himself anymore. It was probably that Anya leaving was upsetting him too much to keep his defences all the way up.

She made her way across the road, then paused, slapping her hand to her head as she remembered her new spell book she'd left in Xander's apartment. For a moment she hesitated, she really didn't want to leave it any later before going back home to Tara, she could get the book another time, but then again she had only just got it, she would like to look at it tonight . . .

She turned back to Xander's and stopped dead as she saw Spike stride into the building. He was unmistakable, the streetlights picking out his sharp cheekbones, reflecting off his bleached hair. Open mouthed she watched as he confidently entered the building.

Why was Spike going to see Xander? As far as she knew they loathed each other. . .He was probably going to try and borrow money or something, but Xander didn't need Spike in his face right now. On the other hand Spike bugging him might give Xander a little fighting spirit. She made her way towards the window to see what was going on, if Xander looked like he couldn't deal she'd tap on the window and ask Xander to pass the spell book to her, and mention it might be a very nice idea for Spike to get the hell away from him and walk her home. If Xander looked okay she'd just leave them to it . . .

Peering through the window she saw Xander apparently yelling at Spike, nothing new there, but Spike was inside, that was weird, Xander had never mentioned he'd given Spike an invite. She wished she could hear what Xander was yelling, Spike was lounging against the wall, looking at him with an expression she couldn't quite place, and wasn't sure she liked, amusement, and . . .she didn't know . . .maybe complacency? Like the cat that's got the cream, like it doesn't matter what Xander's saying, cos Spike knows its going to work out the way he wants it. Fascinated she leaned a little closer. Spike raised a hand to Xander, not violently though, slowly, she couldn't see properly, Xander's body was blocking her view, maybe flipping him off or something because Xander jumped back sharply, turned away from Spike and gestured to the door again.

She dithered, should she interrupt or leave? A sudden sound of movement behind her made her jump, whirling around, her heart pounding she saw a crowd of young girls laughing as they wandered down the street.

However it was a reminder that Sunnydale wasn't the safest place to hang around at night. Whatever Spike wanted he was harmless, irritating, but harmless. Xander would be fine. She might not be if she carried on hanging around in the dark.

She decided against getting the book, she just wanted to get straight home, reluctantly tearing her eyes away, she began the walk home.

***

Xander noticed Willow's spell book a moment or two after she left, when he heard the knock at the door he just assumed she'd come back for it. With a light hearted remark on his lips he flung the door open . . .to Spike.

For a moment he froze, taking in the bleached hair, the pale skin. Then he slammed the door. Too late. Spike had already jammed his foot in the way. There was a shamefully brief pushing match, and Spike was inside, kicking the door shut behind him.

"Out!" Xander yelled.

"You know" Spike said with a smirk, "You're beautiful when you're angry."

"Spike, I'm not joking, if you don't get out now I'll . ."

"What? Let me have a hell of a shag like you did last week?"

"Shut up and get out!" Xander yelled, borderlining on hysteria.

"Tut, tut, lover," he sighed with mock sorrow "I'd almost think you were ashamed of what happened or something if you keep talking like that."

'Ashamed doesn't begin to cover it, I'm not your lover and again I say get OUT!"

"Can't mate." He watched Xander through half lidded eyes. He wasn't joking before, Xander was beautiful when he was angry. Not as beautiful as he could be though. Naked, sweating and riding Spike's cock . . .and he was so close to having all that, just as soon as they got this pointless yelling out of the way. He felt his breath catch, cleared his throat as he finished. " I had to come back."

Xander glared at Spike. He was leaning against the wall, watching Xander with that smug look that set Xander's blood straight to boil. At this moment he didn't think he'd ever hated anyone more in his life because Spike had left, he'd just left, and no he hadn't been expecting true love or even a 'kind of like you', but something, not for Spike to actually try and make him feel like shit, and now he strolled back in after a week, a week Xander had spent feeling scared, lonely, ashamed and used and he expected a replay?

Xander advanced until they were nearly nose to nose. "What do you just want another shot at making me feel like a complete whore?" he spat into Spike's face furiously; "because I have to say you did a pretty good job of that last week, you really don't need a second go!" He was shaking, his fists clenched, so close to punching Spike in the face, except if he did that he wouldn't be able to stop, would have to beat him to a bloody pulp, and then maybe give him a taste of his own medicine? See how he liked being fucked for Xander's pleasure.

And that wasn't him. Wouldn't ever let that be him. He doesn't get mad and hit people, especially if they can't hit back, no matter how much they deserve it. So he let his nails dig into his hands clinging on to his temper, but though he could control his fists he couldn't control his voice, it was full of anger and hate . . .and hurt.

Maybe Spike heard that, or maybe he was just standing a little closer than he should because the smirk vanished as Spike stared at Xander's mouth, his eyes darkening.

"I didn't make you feel anything mate," he said slightly huskily. "I don't control your bloody feelings. All I did was make you feel this . . ."

He raised his finger, stroking down the side of Xander's face, Xander leapt back like Spike had burned him, and in a way it felt like he had, he could still feel the path of Spike's finger down his cheek. don't let Spike touch me. It was a simple rule for self preservation. Though it would probably be easier to walk through fire. A memory of Spike kneeling on the bed, sliding into him slammed into his brain, and he turned his back on Spike, his legs trembling, the desire that had been simmering for a week, hidden under the anger breaking free.

"Am I not saying this right?" Voice shaking, and he can feel the heat rising in him radiating throughout his body. Knows the fight, such as it was, is over. Can only hope Spike doesn't know. Will take his words at face value. Pointing at the door, not looking at Spike. "Out."

Silence. Then Spike's arms were sliding around his waist. The slim fingers that already know his body very much too well playing with him. One hand reaching under his T-shirt, teasing his nipples, the other freeing him from his jeans, and he should push Spike away, throw him out, but it seems like so much effort. Far easier to just stand here. Not moving, just watching those fingers, skilful and quick, touching him, manipulating him, in more ways than one, and he's never felt so alone, so completely helpless because he'd sworn, never him, no, no abusive people in relationships with him. And what happened? Spike comes along with the his bleached hair, black leather wearing, universal, bad boy uniform and Xander had caved. Couldn't even throw him out now, because, deep down, he just didn't want to. Spike began to kiss up his neck, as those fingers finished unbuttoning him and he's so hard already, his breath beginning to come in pants as Spike began to jack him off. Slow and steady. Spike pulls him closer so he's leaning against Spike a little harder and he can feel Spike's erection pressing into his backside as Spike starts rocking his hips against him. Eyes closed. Can't watch that hand touching him like that anymore.

And yeah, there were a million and one reasons to throw him out, but put them all together and they still couldn't come close to this, this overpowering want, this need deep inside him. This need that he couldn't seem to fight. And as much as he hated Spike, he hated himself more for not being able to stop it. And what did that make him? Some sick weirdo who got off on being treated badly?

Still keeping his eyes closed. Maybe it wasn't happening if his eyes were closed. So desperately tired, he didn't want to fight, but he didn't want to be here either. Right now all he wanted was to just wish it all away.





Part Eleven



Unresisting, not saying anything as Spike bundled him into the bedroom, stripping him, stripping himself, what would be the point? He obviously wants this, otherwise he wouldn't be here, and Spike could see through any resistance in a second. But he can't bring himself to respond. Even when Spike is on him again, and it's like he's been burning up and he never even noticed until Spike's cool skin was on him. Not responding. Fine, Just do it Spike, just get it over with, you've already made your point, but do it again just to prove how pathetic I am.

His eyes were stinging and his throat ached. His mom used to buy him ice-cream when his throat hurt he remembered. Comfort food. Once she'd taken him and Willow to the fair and he'd told Willow the best way to get ice cream was to pretend to be ill. His mom had known exactly what they were up to of course. But she'd been cool about it, not pretended to take them home or anything, just laughed, still got them the ice cream.

Nice days those days.

Safe days. Hadn't felt safe for a long time.

Spike was dizzy, his head whirling with excitement, as he quickly slicked himself. He hadn't thought getting back into Xander's bed would be so easy. He'd spotted Red through the window and as he'd hung around outside chain smoking, waiting for her to leave his anticipation cranking up notch by painful notch he'd imagined how the night would go. He'd been prepared for a hell of a fight, roaring rage from Xander and finally grappling to the floor in a heat of lust and anger, instead after some token protesting they were both naked, and he was harder than hell, and Xander was right there, underneath him. He pressed himself flush against Xander, revelling in the feel of his skin, scorching hot and silky with the hard muscles underneath not fighting. Smart lad.

Not fighting . . . or even moving at all. Still. Very still. What the hell . . .? Spike kissed him hard, passionately, aching for this, for the contact, that like it or not, he hadn't been able to stop thinking about. But he wasn't being kissed back.

Spike broke the kiss, pushed himself up, looking down at Xander with frustration. His face was pressed against the pillow, his eyes tightly shut, like he was trying to block it all out. Like he was trying not to cry. Spike clenched his fists, this wasn't it! It was no fun to fuck a responseless piece of flesh. He felt mad as hell, what was Xander playing at?

Playing at being away from you. A voice in his head spoke up, and he froze. Remembering Dru. She used to do that, not with him, but with Angelus before he turned her. Taking her mind away to some safe place while her body lay still and passive, taking whatever he dished out. He could almost hear her telling him about Angelus.

"He wanted to do so many things, go places he shouldn't go the bad vampire. I used to go away to happy places where he wasn't and play with kittens and ducks until he'd gone. Because I was so bad urrrgghhh! Dirty girl in bed with the vampire. And when I came back, he'd left his mark between my legs."

He looked down in dismay. Xander actually wanted him gone. This wasn't a violent protest covering up hidden passion. This was Xander actually wanting him gone, this whole situation to just vanish. What does it matter? A voice in his head questioned. Just shag him. He's not going to try and stop you. Flicking his eyes between Xander's thighs. The erection gone. No scent of arousal. Just lying there, waiting for Spike to use him in any way he wanted. He wasn't going to fight. Or even respond. And that disappointed him more than he could have believed. Lying passive wasn't good enough. He wanted Xander totally involved here. Wanted him looking at Spike the way he had last time, all hurt and fire, body and mind totally caught up in what Spike was doing. Wanted him to love it, want it, crave it more than anything.

Pushing aside his own need for the moment he licked up Xander's neck, he tasted like salt, like tears.

"Xannnder" he crooned. "Don't be like this." He began to rain kisses, gentle bites over Xander's face, his cheeks, lips and eyelids. Mouthing down his neck. Trailing kisses down his face again, the hidden pain and unreleased tears making him taste oh so sweet, and maybe he's taking the kisses as comforting because this time when he brushes a kiss over Xander's mouth, he feels the lips part slightly in response. Not stopping though, can feel Xander's cock twitching unfurling against his thigh, feels triumph and relief flood though him and moves his mouth down Xander's chest, letting his tongue trace in patterns over his hot skin. Pausing to lavish kisses and licks on his nipples that harden instantly.

"Please Xan," he whispered, moving up again, keeping him guessing as to where he was going to kiss, suck next, licking around Xander's ear "be like you were last time. I haven't been able to stop thinking about you, fucking you, feeling you . . ."

Feeling Xander's arousal. Hard and heavy brush against him. Letting his cock push against Xander's feeling the lads tiny instinctive jump forwards for just that little bit more contact.

Eyes still closed though. No sound coming from him yet. And he wanted that, craved it. Needed to hear his boy. Easy, easy, don't rush he chided himself. Lapped down again. Across his hips, licks up his thigh, a whispered moan fled from Xander, and his cock twitched towards Spikes mouth.

Spike paused for a moment. He really shouldn't do this for him. Really shouldn't, but he wanted to taste Xander so badly, wanted the lad desperate and begging for him.

Shivering at the feel of Spike licking up his thigh, Xander tried to push his mind back to that place where there was no Spike, no hurt, but Spike was hauling him back here where there was pain and hate and sweet gentle bites and kisses and Omigod can't be happening, Spike can't be doing that to me!, but he definitely is and oh god . Spike's mouth is cool and oh so wet his cocks just in this wet, sucking place and the only thing that matters right now is the way it's slipping over his cock and the tongue that's running up and down his shaft, lashing around the head and a light scrape of teeth there, and he's lost any ideas about how to switch off from this, because why would he want to, feels his back arching, then a finger touching him, flicking at his entrance and he's making those noises again, those gasping, pleading cries as he feels it slide in, slippery, bites back a shout and he is Losing. His. Mind, and Spike's sucking harder now, one hand pumping Xander into his mouth the other with fingers thrusting in and out of him and everythings tense, from his fingers clenched so tight they were aching, to cock, rock hard and oh so nearly there, to buttocks squeezed tight around Spike's finger and his breaths coming in loud harsh pants and not gonna last, not gonna last. . .

And Spike's lifting his mouth off, stopping the thrusting with his fingers.

"Want me to stop?"

Watching Xander's reaction with hungry eyes as he shakes his head and whimpers nonono.

"You with me here Xander?" Knows the answer will be yes, but wants to hear him say it. Xander seems to have lost the ability to form words, but the half sob of frustration and the hips bucking helplessly are good enough and he leans down, taking him in hard and fast and he's yelling shooting load after load of precome, shudders, gasps, comes hard and shaking into Spike's mouth.

Spike swallowed the last of Xander's orgasm, feeling his own need surge through him at the taste of it. Sliding himself up Xander's body and. Oh yes. Xander's wrapping his legs around Spike's waist, pressing into him as he looks up at him with those huge, aching eyes, full of shock and want. Asking to be filled, and he wants to sink into him, but forces himself to hold back, just for a moment. Balances himself one handed over Xander, cock in hand. Right. There.

"Do you want me inside you Xander? " Asked hoarsely, knows Xander wants this, but needs to hear the words, and Xander's looking at him, those dark eyes all confusion and lust, fuel for Spike's ego but this wasn't as much fun as Spike had thought it'd be. If he doesn't hurry up and say it within exactly 20 seconds I'm gonna ram myself in him and fuck him so hard he'll pass out Spike felt his hips thrust against Xander uncontrollably, couldn't stop them, moaned and almost hates Xander for doing this to him. Making him feel so out of control.

Staring up at Spike, can see the look on his face, rigid control and anger, and could it be . . .pleading? Wonders what would happen if he said no. Knows he won't. And maybe Spike was trying to prove something, but he knows from the look on Spike's face that this isn't entirely Spike's round. Knows when this is over he's gonna regret it and doesn't care.

Because well, over.

Over is impossible to imagine right now.

"Yes . ..I want . . . you. In me." Pauses. Swallows, says it, voice trembling. "Fuck me."

Spike shuddered. Hears a small unintelligible noise knows it's come from him, but he can't think of anything to do about that. Giving into their need, he finally let himself sink into Xander, taking a moment to thank god that he's already slicked, otherwise Xander would be taking it rough, cause he couldn't stop now if the Hellmouth itself was opening.

"Oh, yessssss." Xander's hissing it between clenched teeth as he arches up towards Spike because maybe it actually does hurt a little less this time, or maybe he just has a better idea of what to expect, and how has he done without this for nearly a week? And it's just like he remembered hurt and good, and somehow too much and not enough all at once and knows Spike is feeling it too because he's pressed against him shaking all over.

"Oh hell, Xander," Spike moans against his neck. " 'S been too long. Want you so bad."And it's like Spike is reading his mind, and maybe there is something there, some connection, or it could just be pure sex need, and he just has to touch Spike. Pulling him up, stares at him for a second, those blue eyes dilated and dazed, makes his breath coming in shuddering gasps, then kisses him.

Spike was shocked still for a moment, then opened his mouth, sinking into the kiss. And where the hell did Xander learn to kiss like that? Mouth as hot as he remembered, sucking on his bottom lip and Xander's whimpering, tongues dancing, mouths retreating for scant seconds, returning, and haven't kissed him like this before, slow, gentle and deep, can taste coffee and chocolate and under it something that's Xander himself, and it's even hotter and sweeter than coffee and chocolate.

And Spike's feeling something inside him execute a long, sweet roll over in his stomach and it has nothing to do with fucking. Pulls back from Xander's mouth for a moment.

"What kind of a kiss was that?" Spike asked, half jokingly, half seriously. Trying to stay in a place where there's reason and control, except he's sheathed in Xander who's holding him a velvet vice, gazing up at him with huge eyes and his mouth is swollen and begging to be kissed again and reason and control are just meaningless words. Begins to understand how Xander's been feeling ever since this began and isn't sure that he likes it.

"A good one?" Brow furrowed in confusion as to why it's stopped and Spike feels a smile pull at his lips, sees Xander's curve in response, and falls back into the kiss. Lets himself melt into the body under him and his hips began the steady pull and thrust and Xander's moaning into his mouth and can't believe how good this feels this hard hot rhythm and now Xander's sliding the hand that wasn't in his hair down his back, on his ass, trying to pull him in deeper and Spike bucks, gasps. Mouths breaking apart as he shifted to balance on both hands and really let go.

Heat, so much, drowning in this heat, and this is gonna be over too fast and he should slow down a little but he can't, just can't, feeling the need, the mindless aching want to get in, something he'd thought he'd lost long ago in just too many years of having sex and what the hell does Xander do that leads to over a hundred years of control just flying out the window? Because oh hell, he just can't go slow, can't do it, has to get in, has to see that body arch, has to hear the screams . . .

Xander knows he's making gaspy, pained sounds again, but can't think of anything to do about that, body is a thrusting, lighting rod of pain and good and just when he thought he could handle this Spike takes it up another level and it hurts. Hurts like a bitch, but oh, it hurts so good and he's got his legs wrapped around Spike and Spike is thrusting so hard it's almost like he's trying to throw Xander off, but he meets him on time with every thrust, and he's in so deep, and just keeps getting deeper with every movement, and wishes he hadn't only just come because he wants to come with Spike, and his prostate yelling for more and his cock trying to rise to the challenge and he is. Going. To. Die, and who the hell cares . . .

"Ohh, yes Spike . . ." Cried out on a wail and Spike has never heard anything sound better.

"Say it again, say my name." Not begging, demanding, but maybe Xander hears it as begging because he holds on a little tighter, pushes up harder and says it, no screams it again.

"Spike! Spike that's, oh that's so goooooood."

And Spike is throwing his head back and yelling,

"Ahhhh!Yessssss!" and Xander doesn't think he could ever see that enough, Spike losing that control of his as he comes inside him, and can feel the coolness slipping around inside him as they slow, stop.





Part Twelve



Spike lit up a smoke as he walked slowly back to his crypt. He didn't feel particularly good. Not as good as he should considering the evening had gone just the way he wanted really. Not good at all actually.

Everything felt drab. Looked dull. Like Xander was some kind of drug that now he'd had a fix of he was having the come down. And his mind kept wandering down paths he didn't like. Whispering things to him that he couldn't block out. No matter how deeply he inhaled on his smoke or how much he shook his head futilely to try to dislodge the thoughts they were still there.

He threw his cigarette away angrily, picking up speed as he began to walk faster, jog, soon out and out sprinting, but he could still hear his thoughts through the roar in his ears and eventually he stopped.

"Right! Fine!" He walked into the kiddies park he'd stopped by and sat down on the swing. Lit up another smoke and let his thoughts come out clearly. Deal with 'em one by one. Nice and logical.

"Alright brain. What's the effin' problem?" he asked aloud.

Oh great. Nice going mate. Talking to yourself. Treating your brain like it's a separate person. You don't think you might have spent just a tad too much time with her looniness do you?

"Whatever. Just stop festering and whispering in there before I really do get as loopy as Dru and come out so I can deal with it."

He flicked the ash away, tried to relax his shoulders and attempted to face the feelings bubbling away under the surface that were driving him crazy.

***

He'd been propped above Xander, still inside him when he'd felt Xander pushing against his chest. Since speech was still a fair way away from his brain he'd just pulled out and watched as Xander slid on his boxers and without looking at Spike, left the room. A moment later Spike heard the shower click on.

A few minutes passed by and Spike had managed to pull his jeans on with fingers that seemed curiously reluctant to work properly. He'd felt . . .weird. Not really ready to go. But didn't want to stay either. He'd felt fidgety. Restless. Unsettled and he didn't like it. And it was all bloody Xander's fault with his sweet mouth and hot skin and the 'oh yes do hurt me a little more' look in his eyes. For some reason he couldn't quite put his finger on Spike felt incredibly pissed off with Xander at that moment. Wanted to yell at him, or punch him or fuck him or something. Just anything, just to make him feel like Xander was still working in this plan, like Xander wasn't spinning off in his own direction and taking the plan with him.

Remembering letting Xander come into his mouth, that tender kiss, Spike felt the anger and tension coil up another notch. Bloody Xander, making him act all nice, all caring and gentle. What the hell was going on? His fingernails dug into his palms and he had an urge to go in that bathroom, drag Xander out by his hair, throw him on the floor and give the lad his first lesson in how to suck off a vampire. Show him who's in charge here. Why not? I dropped my head to him. Only fair he returns the favour. His features in a snarl, fury just below the surface, his game face hovering far too close he'd entered the bathroom.

He could see the shape of Xander through the shower curtain. Unaware that Spike was standing so close to him. Spike forced himself to take a moment. To just calm down a little, the last thing he needed was for the chip to go off, and if he didn't do this right it would. And hell he hated always having to be so bloody careful! He'd looked away from Xander, and his eyes fell on the cracked mirror.

He stared at it, confusion gradually fading away as he realised that Xander must have done this. Hammered at the mirror with his fists. In pain. In fear. Not now or he'd have heard it. Before. After the first time. Now you don't know that mate he thought uncomfortably. Could have been anything, you don't know Except he did, with a certainty that defied logic. He just knew, and he should be pleased about it.

He turned his eyes back to Xander through the curtain. Looking properly now, not just through a haze of anger. His head was hanging dejectedly, his fists clenched against the wall. The water was obviously too hot, Spike could feel the heat from where he was standing and the steam was filling up the room.

He'd felt . . .something catch in his throat. Something painful balled in his chest and his game face had receded without him even noticing. His fists relaxed and he'd backed out of the bathroom. Closing the door with a tiny click behind him.

He'd tried to dress himself quickly, wanting to be gone when Xander came out, cursing his own clumsy fingers, and his dithering that caused him to waste time, he'd just grabbed his duster when Xander had reappeared. His dark hair was plastered against his head in a black wet slick. He'd slipped on a pair of jeans and his skin was still flushed from the heat of the water.

And Spike didn't think he'd ever seen anything sexier in his entire existence. It was only spoiled by the utter misery on his face. And for a second he remembered the tremulous smile Xander had given him, just before he began to move inside him. The painful feeling in his chest intensified.

Xander froze as he saw Spike.

"Still here then?" His voice came out hard, brittle with tears he was determined not to shed for Spike.

Spike shrugged on his duster, trying to move slow and casually, like he just couldn't be having a better time, and shoved his hands deep in the pockets to hide the shaking.

"Wouldn't be very polite to shag and leave without saying goodbye now would it?" He forced himself to sound jaunty, amused, and it must have come out fairly convincingly because Xander's face closed down a little more and his voice was harsh.

"So say goodbye."

"Right. Goodbye." He'd brushed past Xander quickly, no smart comments this week. He just wanted to get away, escape from the feeling that he was in a steadily shrinking room. He'd reached the door when Xander spoke again.

"What the hell do you want?" Anger and hurt. And self hate. Acres of it. "What's in this for you? Mind games? Are you that bored?" A pause. A pronounced tremor as he asked. "Do you hate me so much?"

Not looking round at Xander, he hadn't intended to answer him, because talk was so cheap, it was actions that counted and no matter what he said he was still going to hurt Xander, and he just wanted to leave, to get away from these fucked up feelings, but he heard his voice say, "Low self esteem much mate? How do you know it's not just the sex? You might not have been around much, but I have, let me tell you, sex like this doesn't happen everyday."

"Just tell me the truth."

Spike turned around. The dark eyes were fixed on him intently. Shaking, but determined, his jaw looked like it had been cast in iron. Xander wanted some answers. And Spike felt something, some touch of . . .respect? Admiration? Even after everything Xander still was asking for answers from him, a demon. Still trying to work this out. And maybe he did deserve an answer of some kind. Not the answer, but something.

"You know" he began with no clear idea of what he was going to say, "Dru used to ask me if I would give you to her. She liked you. She said you were strong and beautiful. Light held in darkness. She wanted to see what you'd be like when you were dark inside and out. Crazy, I wouldn't of course, had enough problems trying to keep her under control. Last thing I needed was her lifting her dress for someone else, and the Slayer chasing us with a personal vendetta. Then she got strong. She used to go out and watch for you. It was a full time job keeping her away let me tell you. You were lucky, well protected. Angelus came back and she started on him. Trying to get him to turn you, he wanted to. He would have done. I kept talking him out of it. He would have still done it eventually but got distracted by the Slayer and the whole trying to end the world deal. I think he wanted to break you in." He shook his head in amazement. He hadn't thought of this before but it was true. "First time I've ever got somewhere before him, got something he wanted."

Xander stared. Confusion written all over his face, trying to make sense of all of this. " Dru was insane, and Angel, he wanted to kill all of us, to hurt Buffy."

Spike shook his head, "No, Dru was crazy, but when it came to what she sensed, what she wanted she was bang on, and with Angel . . .well Buffy would have been a plus, definitely, but if it was about hurting her, he'd of just killed you, turning you wasn't about her really. He just wanted you. It'd just eat him up to know I've got there first."

"So this is about Angel?" A faintly sick expression was on the lads face.

"No. Lets just call it a bonus."

He turned to go, but Xander called after him, "Angel hated me, I hated him."

"And you hate me, but you still want me don't you? Passion has got nothing to do with liking someone mate."

Not waiting for a reply, he left the apartment. Heard nothing behind him but silence.

***

Now sitting on the swing in the park his cigarette turned into a long column of ash, Spike swore softly. That little scene had bothered him. In fact the whole night had somehow taken a swing into weird territory, despite it also somehow turning out how he wanted it.

He didn't like that Xander had wrung an admission of sorts out of him. He didn't like that he'd wooed the lad gently as he seduced him to respond. Being gentle wasn't part of this. In fact it really would have been better to take him hard when he was trying to be switched off. That would have really proved the point that Xander was Spike's to use as he wanted to. He didn't like the sad droop of Xander's head in the shower and he didn't like that shattered mirror. He didn't like that he was starting to think of Xander like, well like a person. . .like he wasn't just a commodity to be used and discarded as Spike saw fit. Most of all he didn't like that little voice in his head telling him that he was abusing Xander.

It's not abuse. He was willing. Hell, begging for it at the end.

Oh yeah? Piped up another voice. So it's not abuse of his body. What about his mind? What about his feelings? When you know you're only doing this to hurt him, to hurt Buffy? Not rape but bad enough. Face it, for all your high and mighty speak about being better than Angelus you've turned into a sick, twisted, mind game playing prick just like him.

"Shut up!" He muttered. "Buffy deserves it. And if this is the only way to teach her a lesson then I'll do it. And I couldn't give a toss about little Xander's soddin' feelings."

And what about bein' all gentle with him?

"Cos I'm not Angelus! I'd never do to anyone what he did to Dru. Cos I don't want to be staked! Besides yeah I might be fucking him to hurt him but it's me preference innit? I want a bloody lover who appreciates the things I do, not one who doesn't notice not matter what I'm gonna do at the finish."

And what about that kiss?

"I was in the soddin' moment alright?"

You want him. You want to crawl back in that bed with him and spend the night taking him, teasing him, making him beg for you. You want to feel what it would be like if he took over, if he lay you down and ran his hands and mouth over you. You want to take him and kiss him and suck him and worship him with your body until you collapse into an exhausted sleep, then wake up in the night and do it all over again and again and again . . .

"No I don't! I've got a plan, it's a good plan, it's working like a dream."

But it didn't feel like a dream. And he knew. It wasn't Xander he was pissed off with back there, it was himself. Things might be going smoothly on the surface, but the reality was his stomach clenched in knots. His knuckles glowing white and the tension radiating from the inside out.

"Alright." He admitted. "He might be having an . . .effect. I'll just have to try a bit harder. Not let him have an effect. I am still in fucking control here."

Not when you're shagging him you're not.

"Shut. The. Fuck. Up."





Part Thirteen



Xander was lost. Not physically, that would have been pretty easy to sort out. Ask for directions, buy a map, whatever. This wasn't so easy, emotionally, mentally he was about a million miles from where he should be in a strange land where the sky was yellow and the grass was blue and water ran upwards and there was nobody he could ask for help. Completely alone. Led here by a demon with blue eyes and a wicked mouth and without the faintest idea of how to get home. And he wanted to cry and he wanted to laugh and he wanted to stake Spike and he wanted to fuck Spike and he wanted Spike to vanish and he wanted Spike to carry him away to a place where there was just the two of them forever and ever and ever . . .

"Xander?"

Xander jumped slightly then raised his eyes to look around the magic shop where the Scoobies were in high research mode, and turned to see Willow watching him. He realised he'd been clenching the book he was supposed to be translating so tight the spine had bent.

"What?" Shouldn't snap at Willow. Willow is good and sweet, but he has to snap at someone he feels like a ball of energy shoved in a too small cage and wants to run and shout and scream and kill something but he can't. So he's just sitting quietly with a book clenched in his hand feeling like any minute he's going to explode.

Willow blinked in confusion.

"I asked if you were coming to the party on Saturday?"

Xander slowly stretched his fingers out, it was hard going, they felt like they'd cramped up. How long had he been drifting in his spooky world ?

"Dunno, probably not, not really in a party mood."

"Oh come on, it'll be fun." She paused then batted her eyes teasingly at him. "Pleeeaaase?"

Xander felt a smile tug at his lips then gave in to it grinning reluctantly. "Don't give me the bambi eyes ok?"

"I'm ruthless when it comes to getting my own way." Just to prove the point she gave him her resolve face that worked as well now as the first time he'd seen it after he'd stolen her Barbie.

"Don't I know it." He shook his head slightly in defeat. "Okay, I am party guy, hear me roar."

"Great!"

His smile faded as he looked back at the book. What the hell was he doing? How had he somehow gotten into a place where smiling was almost a chore?

As if he had to ask. He was sick. That was the only thing he could think of to explain it. Sick.

And it was all Spike's fault. Bad, cruel, impossibly sexy Spike.

To fool around with Spike once - okay curiosity and lust. Fair enough. To sleep with him once, maybe, that was bad, terrible, but still kind of understandable but to do it again! After Spike had treated him so badly. . .twice! It was unbelievable. Except he had to believe it because it had happened. Why? Why, why, why? All he had to do was say no. One little word no. N.O. Spike couldn't force him to do anything. But he couldn't say it, and even if he could say it he didn't mean it, and even the last time, when he'd tried not to respond, tried to take his mind away Spike had done things, made him feel things that had him begging for more. He flushed with embarrassment. He'd actually asked Spike to fuck him!

Stupid, stupid, sick Xander.

But still . . . Spike could have fucked him, used him and strolled out but he didn't, only sliding in when he knew Xander wanted him to, Yeah to make it more fun for him. To prove that I'm putty in his hands. Not because Spike actually cared about how I was feeling And he'd been feeling . . .bad. Used. Dirty. But somehow Spike had made him forget that, at least for a little while, so even though the afterwards horrified realisation that he'd done it again was awful the sex was still amazing. The only problem was the afterwards lasted a hell of a lot longer. Except it was hard to remember that when Spike was wrapped around him like a second skin and that hard sweet body was thrusting against him.

And not thinking about Spike anymore. Nope. Not a bit of it. Not remembering the last time he had Spike in his bed. Not remembering the line of his neck as he threw his head back, not remembering how he sounds when he whispers to Xander when he's inside him, not remembering Spike's mouth wrapped around his aching length. . .

Bad, bad thoughts and Xander was great at dealing with bad thoughts. There were simple rules. You never speak about them, you batten down the hatches and keep smiling so that nobody asks what's wrong and eventually you stop thinking the bad thoughts.

Except normal rules don't quite seem to be working here because he is still thinking about it, and smiling is hard to do and he is remembering it and he's got the evidence to prove it. Hard, heavy, straining against the fabric of his pants.

He shifted uncomfortably, shivering slightly as the fabric rubbed against him, thanking god he was sitting at the table and nobody could see. Staring blindly down, not wanting to look up in case they can see the truth on his face.

And God he hated Spike, but he wanted him. Wanted him so bad . . . I guess it's official. I am completely fucked up. Felt edgy and antsy and bad and wanted Spike to come and fuck him and fuck him and fuck him because when Spike was fucking him everything went away, and he was lost in his cool skin and demanding kisses and pleasurepain but that was what had gotten him into this bad place in the first place so it must be wrong, it was wrong and Willow was asking him if he wanted to go to a party? It felt like two desperately incompatible parallel universes trying to converge and yeah he actually had considered that option. And what the hell had that last conversation been about anyway? Xander didn't really believe that Angel and Dru had wanted him, but maybe Spike believed it which might explain why Spike was doing this, except Spike had already said it wasn't and for some reason totally beyond his comprehension Xander believed him. So it was something else. Spike had all but admitted it, and whatever these reasons were Xander doubted they were for the good. Someone was going to get destroyed. Probably him. All because he couldn't say no to a guy he hated who was busy playing mind games with him.

So somehow his almost extinct social life wasn't high on his list of priorities of things to worry about. What was high on the list was the current family of demons trying to make the hellmouth their new home. Even higher than that was that no amount of research was yielding what they were or what would kill them so Buffy had gone to ask Spike if he knew anything. And yep there it was, top of the list, clear and undisputed winner of the things to worry about was maybe Spike was going to make an announcement of exactly what they had been doing with each other lately, and though that was a stupid idea, Xander couldn't shake the feeling that Spike just might do it.

"What are you going to wear Xander?" Willow asked perkily.

"Hmm?"

"To the party!"

Xander gazed at her completely befuddled. What was he going to wear? What did it matter?

"Clothes matter" She said sternly almost like she was reading his thoughts, "If you want to meet someone else you know, now Anya's um, gone, you gotta make the girls go non verbal."

"Believe me Will's I am not looking to meet anyone else," he said viciously.

"As much as I hate to interrupt this obviously important matter of Xander sartorial elegance," Giles said, interrupting, "have either of you actually found anything about the demons currently wreaking havoc?"

"Nope." Willow sighed and looked over at Tara who shook her head.

'Xander?" Giles rubbed his eyes tiredly.

"Nada. But we should keep looking don't you think? Then we can call Buffy and tell her not to bother with Spike and . . ." He trailed off at Willow's look. "What?"

"Nothing." She turned to check on Dawn who was fast asleep her head pillowed on her arms

Xander stood up to get another book, thankfully his erection had receded - for the moment. Pure fear had a habit of doing that.

Please God He prayed fervently Please don't let Buffy find Spike. And if she does please don't let him say anything

And where the hell was Spike and what was he doing?





Part Fourteen



Song lyrics taken from Nickel's 'Stupid Thing'

Spike was in a graveyard. Except he thought he knew every graveyard in Sunnyhell, and he didn't remember this one at all. There was something . . .wrong with it. It was huge, filled, practically stuffed with the dead, and the grass was slightly too long, ragged, and there were way more headstones than there should be, and they looked wrong as well. Too crooked and dirty. He could almost imagine faces leering out of them, faces of the dead with sly smiles that didn't hide their hate and anger. The branches of the trees were almost reaching towards him, and he knew it was crazy but they looked, felt, like clutching fingers trying to grab at him and the sky was blood red and the moon had fangs and it was cold. Bitterly cold, can feel the coldness in his very bones and can't think of a way to make it stop. Hasn't felt chill like this since he was alive, and there's nowhere here to shelter. The graveyard stretched out as far as he could see, bleak, the wind is whistling through him and he is completely alone.

Then he saw her, in the distance just like he'd seen her the first time. Dancing to a tune he can't hear and as he stumbled towards her the graveyard rippled, changed and he was in the Bronze circling around merging with the crowd and watching her dance, the red head and the whelp moving with her and the song starts echoing in his ears.

I did a stupid thing last night

And he is there, back at the beginning, where it all began but something isn't right, the Bronze has no scent and the people aren't giving off any warmth, but Buffy was the same. He began to move closer but the closer he tries to get the further away she moves.

I called you, a moment of weakness, no not a moment more like three months of weakness

The music was louder now, he could feel it hammering through him, feels like his ears are going to burst with the noise, and the louder the music gets the fainter the crowd gets until they just drift away, Willow and Xander vanish and the Bronze fades, and he's back in the graveyard, like he was there all the time.

I'm one step away

But he's not completely alone, she's still there some distance away. Her back was to him and she was retreating fast. He began to sprint after her, her golden hair beckoning him on like sunshine, vaulting over the gravestones and no matter how fast he runs she's always just too far away from him and his legs just won't move as fast as he wants them to, and that damn song is still thundering.

From crashing to my knees

His hands are raw and bleeding, and pain, awful, ripping, agonizing throughout his whole body the more he runs the more it hurts, but he can't stop, won't stop, feels like his insides are smashing up inside just gonna bust out through the frail covering of muscles and skin and bone, and he races past Angel? Wearing a cowboy hat and leaning against a headstone watching him with amusement.

"It must just eat you up that I got there first." He smiled as Spike stumbled.

"Not this time you didn't" Spike gasped as he sped past him but that makes no sense because he already knows that Angel has gotten to her, but none of that will matter if he could just reach her, trying to yell but nothing comes out, and she couldn't hear him over the damn music anyway but now she's closer, and she must be slowing down because he's not speeding up. Then she's so close, waiting for him? Did she know he was here all the time? Running up behind and she turns. He can see the crossbow in her hand, aimed right at his heart.

Finds his voice, wants to say something, anything, there must be words that exist to make her stop, make her love him, but can only stammer. "No. Don't . . .can't you give me some hope?"

Cold eyes, detached look with a touch of disdain on her face and can't she see how hard this is for him?

"It's not my fault. You're beneath me."

Hears the arrow released a split second before his stunned eyes tell his brain that she'd fired it and he doesn't know if it's hit or not, but feels himself falling, falling back,

I called you. I'm doing all right

landing on a bed, soft under his naked back and he is beneath her and she's riding him hard, and he's still so cold he grabs her hips and rolls them until she's under him, pounding into her,

No don't feel sorry for me really I'm alright

maybe trying to pound through her and he calls out "Xander".

I did a stupid thing last night

And opens his eyes to see blonde hair shorten and turn into brown, blue eyes darken to chocolate, breasts flatten and body lengthens and it's Xander, he's inside, Xander looking up at him with pain and lust he knows that look so well now

I'm one step away from crashing to my knees

and it's all so black, so dark, so lost in Xanders' hot flesh and wet soft mouth and somehow Xander must be passing his heat to Spike because it's overwhelming, so hot, can't imagine ever being cold again, and he's moving inside Xander, watching as he writhes under Spike

One step away from spilling my guts to you

and the daylight hits his eyes, makes him blink with pain, but he's not on fire, he's alone, cold and naked in the bed and Xander is standing by the door to his crypt, fully dressed and

You see there's this huge chunk of me missing

he's going to do something awful, Spike knows it but he can't move, can't speak can only watch in horror

I did a stupid thing last night

as Xander finishes pouring the petrol over himself and holds up the match. Looking at Spike sadly he lets it fall to the puddle of petrol at his feet and the flames burst out all around him

But it's the last time. Maybe tomorrow night will be the last time

and Xander is on fire, but not moving, not screaming only standing there, and Spike can smell the skin burning, but is paralysed as Xander dies before his eyes and he knows he's crying

One step away from crashing to my knees

He can hear Drusilla, and where was she hiding? She's yelling, "Open your eyes Spike! Open your eyes!"

One step away from spilling my guts to you

He wants to yell that his eyes are already open, but then understands what she means, and opens his eyes somewhere else, in another body, and he's still alone, cold and naked in his bed, but this time the music has stopped and he can move and he shoots upright in bed just as Buffy bursts into the crypt.

"Huh . ." What the hell?" Staring around wildly looking for Xander, he has to put him out, it might not be too late . . .

"Get dressed." Buffy snapped, folding her arms, tapping her foot impatiently.

"I . . .what?" Completely disorientated. Where the hell had Xander vanished to? Had he all burned up . . and Buffy was here and what the fuck was going on?

She rolled her eyes. "We need some information. Fifty in it for you, and if I were you . . ." She fixed him with a look that could bore a hole through a two inch plank. "I wouldn't push my luck."

"Information?" Slowly coming back to himself. It had been a dream. Just a dream. Xander hadn't set himself on fire, Dru was nowhere around and the real Buffy, who was much less fun than a dream version and who didn't morph into Xander was standing in front of him, bleating on about something.

She snapped her fingers at him. "Spike! Pay attention!"

"Uh . . .yeah. Information Slayer? What kind?" He slid his jeans on then untangled himself form the sheets.

"Demons. Black. Slimy, at least three of them moving into town. Do you know anything?"

Spike sniffed the air cautiously. It smelled like the sun had been down for a couple of hours, maybe about ten o' clock, that was unusual for him, he was generally awake early in the evening and vibrating with impatience, waiting for the sun to go down.

" Spike! " Buffy snapped suppressing a shudder. She had argued long with Giles about this asking Spike for information thing, Giles being the only one that knew about Spike supposedly - eww - being in love with her he had understood her feelings, but pointed out with perfect logic, (God she hated it when he did that) that Buffy had had her ass kicked by these demons and Spike probably knew what type this family of demons were that had apparently set their slimy black hearts on moving to the hellmouth, and more importantly what would kill them, and it would save valuable hours that would otherwise be spent on research while they killed with happy abandon.

It was times like this that Buffy really missed Anya. She would have identified the demons in a second. Instead she was here with Spike who kept drifting off on her . . .

Spike snapped back to the conversation. "Yeah, one eyed guys?"

'That's right."

"Skalor demons, you kill 'em by stabbing them in their eye with something iron. They sleep in the day, you've best to do it then, they hunt in their pack and they're strong bastards."

Later he would probably be ashamed of himself for coming out with a straight answer at once but he had other things to worry about, like Xander who wasn't dead, but he really would like to have that confirmed . . .

"You've not sent your little Scooby brats after them have you?" he asked trying to hide his horror at the thought.

Buffy rolled her eyes, "Research. And don't even think about trying to get more money out of them."

"Yeah. Speaking of which . . ."

She shook her head slightly in disgust, then shrugged her delicate shoulders and pulled the money out of her coat and threw it on the edge of the bed with a glare. "If you're lying . . ." She didn't finish the sentence but somehow Spike was in no doubt as to what she would do if he was.

"Hardly likely now is it?" He muttered picking up the money, beginning to count it.

Buffy turned to leave.

"Buffy . . ." Spike began, the words "be careful" ready to come from his mouth.

"No Spike." She snapped, her back still to him. "I don't want to talk to you. We're not friends. Just . . .don't, " she finished softly as she walked out, slamming the door behind her.

"Yeah you're welcome!" He called after her. For gods sake there was no need for her to act like he was a Chaos demon bent on destroying the Earth. He had only told her he was in love with her and she acted like it was the worst insult in the world, rude, hurtful, arrogant cow why the hell had he fallen for her again?

He slowly felt himself begin to return to normal. Not completely though, he was still so creeped out by the dream that having Buffy in the room with him, asking for help hadn't made his heart race the way it usually did. Well in a manner of speaking of course. Odd thing about vampires that. They didn't have the physical reactions to love they used to have, like heart racing, short of breath all the rest of it, but they still felt like they did. Just look at the way he panted when he was inside Xander . . .Spike cut that trial of thought off quickly.

But still Xander, suddenly the urge to see Xander to just check he was still alive was overpowering. Research she'd said, which meant the magic shop, he wouldn't go in, he'd had enough Scooby hatred for one night thank you so very much but he could look through the window. And yeah stupid to get so wound up over a dream but it had been a hell of a dream and fuck it he was only going to look at the whelp. No harm there. Right?





Part Fifteen



The pealing of the phone in the magic shop made Xander jump, and he jerked his head up to listen to the one sided conversation as Giles answered it, wondering what Buffy was saying. A cold feeling began tapping lightly down his spine and nausea swirled in his stomach as he began to sweat icy beads of fear.

"Buffy did you find out anything?" Giles was saying concerned, and what the hell might Buffy be saying on the other end?

"You bet I did, I found Spike. Did you know Xander's been sleeping with him?"

"Oh dear, that's bad. When are you going to kill them?" You, you, they're talking about youXander's mind whispered and he knew it was paranoid, and he knew it was crazy, but he couldn't stop thinking it. All going to hate me, turn me away

"As soon as I can. It's a shame but he's obviously no good to us now. Pervert."

"Fine, well you do a couple of sweeps and I'll look into their living habits." Giles continued.

"Okay, oh and keep Willow away, she might make a fuss."

"Be careful."

Giles hung up and Xander leapt. "So did she find him what did he say, did she find him?"

Giles blinked slightly and Xander cursed himself. Never, ever fluster Giles it takes him twice as long to get his words out.

"Yes she found him he says they sound like Skalor demons, they're killed by, um, being stabbed through the eye with something iron."

"Is that it?"

"What else do you want?" Giles asked bewildered.

"Nothing just um, you know." Xander trailed off, relief and confusion flooding through him and the tension eased up slightly from his body.

"Yes. Um, I'd better look them up just to be sure. Buffy's patrolling tonight and tomorrow morning we'll find the nest and kill them."

"We can start looking for spells to try and locate them." Tara suggested to Willow who nodded thoughtfully.

"And I'll . . ." Xander trailed off looking around him somewhat helplessly, "do nothing."

"Oh you can help me look them up" Giles said cheerfully. "Now we know what we're looking for it should be much easier, we can research weak spots, nesting grounds, possible dangers Buffy is unaware of . . ." he was already halfway into the bookcase passing huge volumes out to Xander.

***

Outside the shop in the darkness of an alley Spike watched as Xander, surrounded by books listened to Giles burble on about something that could probably be condensed into about two sentences.

See there he is, all nice and safe. Not setting himself on fire, not that I care or anything

Right he'd seen the lad. He was gonna go, time was awasting, the Slayer could come back at any minute and he was going to miss his chance to get in a kill before sun up. He was going. Right after this smoke.

The lad looked fine but the set to his shoulders was so tense it had to hurt and Spike thought he could hazard a guess as to why. Worried I was gonna spill the beans to the Slayer were we? Not likely. Or at least not yet. Got a few more plans in mind for you, think it's nearly finished? We've hardly begun.

Hmm what else could he do to Xander? There was the old 'keep him on his toes in front of his friends' technique, making comments that Xander would be reading hidden meanings into, hints and innuendo to get the lad jumpy, on edge, even more so than now, be a bastard to him one minute and sweet to him the next, keeping him anxious, eager to please. Cut him down and keep on cutting him until everything about him was ground into the dirt beneath Spike's boots. Angelus had employed this technique with victims with considerable success. And maybe he could take pictures of Xander, sleeping, sated, reeking of Spike's scent, filled with his come and use them to torture Xander with. Threaten to show them to the goody gang. Maybe even, when all this was finished he'd send one to Angel with a post it note on it saying. ' Guess who got there first.' Kill two birds with one stone, twist the knife into both of them. Angel would hate that, Angelus would have loved to take the boy, break him down, and that kind of feeling didn't just vanish, soul or no soul, but that was just tough for Angel because he'd won.

Him. Spike. He'd gotten there first. He was Xander's first.

Xander's first. Something kind of balled inside him at that thought, the aching feeling he'd been carrying around in his chest ever since he'd last seen Xander intensified. He was Xander's first. He was the one Xander had wanted enough to overcome any doubts or denial.

And he was going to use it against him just to hurt Buffy. He was going to destroy that lad just because his bitchy friend hadn't wanted to be with him.

Is it really worth it?

The rogue thought skimmed through his mind and was gone before he could stop it. If he could catch that thought he'd beat it to death with his bare hands. Of course it was worth it.

Of course it was.

He waited for the familiar painful burning anger to flood through him as he remembered Buffy and her undisguised loathing of him.

Waiting for the familiar painful burning anger.

Any familiar painful burning anger out there, this is where you're supposed to be.

Ah there it was. For a second there he was worried, if he didn't have that anger pushing him on . . .

Spike took a deep drag on his smoke and ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. This was meant to feel great! And he felt like crap. Now he knew why he'd never bothered with mind games before, just ripping the heads off people didn't lead to these awful feelings. This angst. He cursed softly to himself, he hated this, this sick disgust directed at himself, and he knew he was a long way from the vampire that had lightheartedly set out to seduce Xander that night in the Bronze, but he was damned if he could figure out a way to get back there.

He tossed his smoke away and absently lit up another. He frowned as he watched Xander. There was something different about him, what was it? He knew the answer almost at once.

Xander wasn't smiling.

Oh.

Well good.

All that relentless keeping-the-spirits-up moral boosting that Xander performed could be very tiring. He let his eyes flick around the others. Willow and Tara deep in discussion their faces serious and pale, Giles feverishly flicking pages over, Dawn blearily blinking, a frown on her young face, and it was all because Xander was in the corner, slightly turned away from them, drawn and worried. Not bouncing around the room, lightening the burden, getting them to find the fun instead of being overwhelmed by the fear.

Well fine. Nice to know the plan was working so successfully. Getting to all of them. He stared at Xander, all that tension just because the dark haired lad in the corner was lost in his own world. A world Spike had put him in. He shook his head angrily, what the hell was wrong with him tonight? That dream must have really gotten to him. Maybe he should call Dru to find out what it meant, but then again maybe not. Dru had very little interest in anyones dreams except her own. Besides the last thing he needed was to put Xander back in her mind. The thought of Dru rampaging through Sunnydale to get her 'dark kitten' was not a happy one. Besides Xander was his. Dru couldn't have him.

He watched as Xander's brow furrowed as he gazed down at the book he held, and felt a smile tug at his lips. It was so cute when he did that. He looked good tonight, a tight blue sweater and dark jeans. He took a step towards the window before he caught himself. Dru had been right. Xander was beautiful, why had he never noticed before? Timing he supposed, he'd always had bigger things to worry about like Dru and . . .Dru and the Judge and Angelus, the Slayer and the end of the world, then the bloody chip shoved into him. But he was noticing now.

Spike felt a sudden cold feeling trickling down his spine. Careful. Don't let your guard down. Don't let him get to you.

Inside the shop Xander stretched and shrugged on his coat, saying his goodbyes he opened the door.

Spike sank back into the darkness of the ally until all that could be seen of him was the red glow at the tip of his cigarette.

"Don't forget the party tomorrow" Willow called out as Xander left.

"I won't!"

"Nine thirty, Lowell House okay?"

"Got it!"

Xander got into his car and drove away, and Spike looked after him. Angelus had told him this was the best part to playing games, the satisfaction of the plan in motion coupled with the anticipation of what was to come. Not for him though, he didn't have any anticipation and the satisfaction was running out from his fingers. He came to a sudden decision, no more waiting. He was going to step this up straight away. Tomorrow he would put the rest of the plan in motion and get it over with. . .he just wanted it done. A party, the perfect place to torment him. By this time tomorrow Xander would be wishing he was dead. He ground the butt out under his heel and slowly walked away.

***

Later, in the magic shop after Buffy had come back to report on her night Willow opened her mouth. Closed it. Opened it. Closed it. She took a deep breath. "Buffy?"

"Yeah?"

"Have you noticed anything . . .different about Xander?"

"How?" Buffy rubbed her eyes in an attempt to get them to stay open just a little longer and slowly brought Willow into focus. It had been a tough patrol and the morning was only going to be tougher with the slayage of the Skalor demons to look forward to and she really, really wanted to be in bed.

"Well he was, he's been . . ."

"A lot quieter" Buffy finished on a yawn. "Yeah now you mention it I had noticed, it's just things have been so crazed lately, you know mom being ill" she glanced at where Tara was showing Dawn a glow spell and lowered her voice " and Glory and Dawn . . "

Willow nodded.

"I know you've got a lot on your mind, but I'm really worried about him, he never makes stupid jokes anymore, or laughs or makes eye contact . . .and he bailed early tonight, before you even got back, he didn't even wait to find out what had happened. When was the last time Xander ever bailed early?"

"Well . . .never." Buffy shook her head a little to try to disperse the fog.

"Well don't you think it's more likely that he's upset about Anya?" Giles asked concerned. Come to think of it he had noticed Xander was looking slightly droopy lately.

"I guess . . ." Willow bit her lip then continued. " It's just . . .well it's probably nothing but . . .I saw Spike go into Xander's apartment the other day, and well he was inside, so Xander must have invited him in."

Buffy sat up quickly and exchanged a worried look with Giles.

"Spike?"

"Yeah - I looked through the window and, well, it looked kind of intense."

"Intense how?" Giles questioned leaning in closer.

"Well they were yelling at each other so the same as always but then Xander turned away from Spike, and I could see their faces and . . ."

"And?" Buffy prompted.

Willow remembered back, to the look she'd seen, a kind of sad, hopeless want on Xander's and Spike's a kind of a pleased, hungry . . .

"God!" She examined suddenly, "I just wish I'd looked in a little bit longer but it was getting late and I wasn't really taking it in, and it's only when I started thinking about it . . ."

"It's okay Will" Buffy soothed her. "What did you see?"

Willow regarded Buffy's concerned blue-green eyes for a moment, then came to a decision not to mention the half formed suspicion that was hovering in the depths of her mind, Buffy really did have enough to worry about without her spouting theories based on one look that she hadn't even really been paying attention to, but hell she wished she'd stayed at that window a little longer.

"Xander looked upset" She finally said. "Like really. And Spike looked kind of pleased about it."

Buffy's eyes narrowed. "So you think Spike is doing something to Xander? Something to hurt him?"

"Yeah." Willow said thoughtfully. "That's exactly what I think."

"How long has this been going on with Xander?" Buffy asked thoughtfully.

"Um, I don't know, maybe three weeks or so?"

Buffy looked at Giles who gave her a slight nod.

"It's possible" she said slowly "that Spike is trying to upset Xander to . . .I don't know, hurt me in some way."

"Hurt you?" Willow's brow creased in confusion. "Why go through Xander to hurt you?"

Buffy shrugged, "Well he can't do it directly, he knows I don't pay attention to anything he says and he can't kill me, the perfect way." Her eyes flashed with anger, "hurt one of my friends behind my back then leave me to pick up the pieces, he knows you guys are my life and I'd never forgive myself if anything happened to one of you."

"But why hurt you, I mean yeah, evil, but he's been better." She trailed off at the look Buffy and Giles exchanged, "hasn't he been better?"

Buffy sighed "There was kind of a reason for that."

"What?"

"Well about three and a half weeks ago Spike and I had a um, talk and he urm. . ." she shuddered and carried on "kindoftoldmehewasinlovewithme."

"IN LOVE WITH YOU?!" Willow yelled, aghast.

Tara and Dawn looked up in surprise. "She's told you about the Spike thing?" Dawn asked, she smiled slightly smugly. "I knew about that first."

"Yeah, um Tara?" Willow waved a hand at her girlfriend who nodded in understanding and drew Dawn back into the spell, shooting a look of curiosity over at the group.

"Spike said he was in love with you?" she whispered furiously at Buffy "Why didn't you tell us?"

Buffy shrugged, "I didn't want to talk about it, I told mom and Giles and Dawn already guessed, and I wasn't up for any more discussion. Besides I didn't think he'd do anything to you guys."

"But Buffy these things can get really . . ." She trailed off, remembering the state Spike had been in when Dru had left him. "And well, Spike, I don't see him taking rejection well." Bits of information were flying together in her brain and she suddenly felt cold. Desperately concerned about Xander, paying for something Buffy had done, wandering around in a haunted house after dark and all the ghosts had Spikes' face. "Maybe Spike is . . ."

"Pissed off with me and trying to get his own back through Xander?" Buffy finished for her. "What a prince" she said in disgust.

"I'd better just remind you two we don't have any proof of any of this" Giles said.

"I know you're right but . . ."

"Yes nonetheless some action does seem required. What do you think Spike is doing to Xander? Should we ask him?"

"No!" Willow yelled. Buffy and Giles jumped slightly. "Well whatever it is that Spike's doing Xander obviously doesn't want to talk about it, I don't think forcing it would help."

"She's right" agreed Buffy. "We'll just keep an eye on him, not let Spike near him. I mean like Giles said, we've got no proof, we should just let him know we're here, let him come to us." A thought occurred, "and we're probably just being paranoid, I mean what could Spike do that would upset Xander so much?"

"Um . . .maybe Spike made Xander do something ah, risky, and is holding it over him." Giles suggested.

"It's hardly likely though, I mean Xander is pretty well balanced." Buffy pointed out.

"So was I, but Ethan came along. So were you, but Faith came along" Giles said gently. "Being, well foolish or wild can seem fun in the moment, and we all know Spike can be convincing."

"Yeah" Buffy half whispered, remembering her wild time with Faith. Something they had both paid a high price for later on. Too high. Giles placed his hand over hers briefly and she gave him a wan smile.

"Anyway" she said briskly, there was no time to mourn the past. There was never any time to mourn the past, "Is Xander coming to the party tomorrow?"

"Yeah."

"Well we can keep an eye on him there."

Buffy yawned and stood up wearily. "Dawn, come on, Giles' will give us a ride home."

She paused and put her hand on Willows shoulder. "Don't worry, if Spike is up to something we'll find out and we'll stop it."

"Yeah." Willow smiled weakly up at her.

She didn't mention the worry that it might already be too late.





Part Sixteen



Some dialogue taken from BtVS 'I was made to love you'

Xander peered though the haze. Another college party filled with people he didn't know. On the plus side the place looked great, though they'd really gone mad with the Hawaiian theme. He dropped his wreath of flowers over the head of a girl looking very much the worse for wear. She obviously had the right idea. He wandered over to the punch bowl and helped himself to a glassful. Although he hadn't wanted to come tonight it really wasn't so bad. Mostly thanks to the large amounts of alcohol he was taking in.

"Hey!" Buffy bounced over to him, "you okay?"

"Yeah."

"Come and dance with me."

"Um, Buff I don't . . ."

"Oh come on you can't say no." She smiled at him, and for a second he was reminded of why he'd fallen so completely in love with her back in high school, before Angelus and Faith and Glory and just too many tough choices had sealed the impatient and somewhat glitzy, hardened image she was putting out these days. It was a flash to the girl she had been, still was at her core. Sensitive. Kind. Impossible to refuse. He let himself be dragged onto the dance floor and took her in his arms. It felt . . .pretty good. Nice to be holding someone. He hadn't realised how much he missed it.

Spike never holds me He shoved that thought to the very back of his mind. He didn't want to think about Spike tonight.

"So you having a load of fun?" he asked.

"You know I am. Dancing with you is way better than trying to hook up with some good looking guy."

"Be still my heart."

They danced in silence for a few seconds then Buffy said awkwardly. "Xander are you . . .is everything ok? I mean with, well everything, cause you know you can talk to me. If anything or um, anyone has upset you."

He blamed the alcohol and nostalgia for the lump that rose in his throat and swallowed it down determinedly. "I'm fine Buff!"He said in as cheery a tone as he could manage. " The only problem I'm having is wondering how badly you'd kick my ass if I tread on your feet."

"You already have " she grinned. "Seriously though. If you ever need, well, anything . . ."

"I hear you. And thanks, but I'm fine." He tried for a smile and felt like it missed but Buffy looked convinced.

"Good. So have seen any hotties yet?"

"I appear to be dancing with one" he teased.

She smiled. "Why thank you kind sir, but I mean girls to enter date territory with."

"I don't think I'm ready to enter date territory Buff. I think date territory is going to be an unmarked, unmapped place for some time to come."

"Oh Xander, just try it! I guarantee " she grinned "it'll make you feel much better!"

***

After the dance Xander weaved his way unsteadily through the crowd back to the punch bowl. He wasn't much of a drinker, his parents had knocked any interest he might have felt in booze right out of him, but tonight was a night to push rules out the window and it was making everything pleasantly woozy, and that was pretty damn appealing right now. It felt like he'd been caught like this forever, every minute of the day he was worrying about Spike, wondering what the hell was going on with him and he couldn't take anymore. He just wanted to stop thinking about it just for a night. He was sick of feeling like this, miserable and scared. Cut off from friends. Sick of being used and forgotten about, pining for Spike like he was a drug in between hating him. For one night it would be so good to let it go, to forget, to lose himself, to just get away from the hell that was his life. He couldn't stand feeling like this another minute.

"Xander?"

He turned to face a girl who despite appearing in triplicate looked vaguely familiar, pretty with gorgeous reddy gold hair.

For a moment he frowned trying to place her.

"Xander it is you right?"

"Yep it's me alright" Xander agreed, would it be rude to ask who she was?

"It's Julie" She supplied seeing his difficulty, "I guess you don't remember me. We met at the frat party last year? You know the uh, incredibly scary one?"

"Sure I remember" it was coming back to him now. This was the girl he'd been trying to impress after having a fight with Anya. He remembered the party more clearly than her, but then it was hard to forget a party that had released poltergeists thanks to Buffy and Riley screwing the night away.

He smiled at her a little dizzily, glad to see she didn't seem to have any lasting scars about thinking she was wicked and unclean. Not if the somewhat flimsy top and clinging pants she was wearing were anything to go by. The alcohol and the haze might be playing tricks on him, but he thought she was standing a little closer than she really needed to be, and that was fine, it was kind of nice, reminding him of taking Buffy in his arms on the dance floor and the scent of her perfume brought back dozens of memories of Anya and nights when she lay next to him.

"So how have you been?" he asked, feeling proud he wasn't slurring his words at all.

"Oh okay, you know" She gave him a wry smile. "My hair grew back."

"Right." The key to not giving away you were drunk was to not say too much.

"They think someone spiked the punch at that party."

"Ah." He considered telling her the truth but decided against it, the people of Sunnydale had brought denial to an art form. Why spoil it. Besides then she might go away and he liked having her here, she sure was pretty to look at.

"Anyway I'm sorry about freaking out on you that night."

"Hey no problem, really, I'm used to people running away at great speed."

She laughed and did that thing that girls do, that thing where they look up at you from under their lashes and it makes you feel like you're the only damn guy in the room, and a warmth, not entirely due to the alcohol spread out in his stomach, and maybe Buffy was right about girls and date territory.

"I never got the chance to thank you, for trying to help me."

"Oh, I um, you're welcome" he stammered. Great where's my fast moving mouth when I need it? "So are you having fun?"

She did that eyelash thing again as she smiled at him. "It's getting better."

Xander let his eyes flick over her slowly, a way he'd never have dared do when he was sober in case he got his face slapped, but she didn't seem to want to slap him. "Do you feel brave enough to chance some punch tonight?"

She smiled. "Only if you have some with me."

He took the glass she handed him and looked at her for a moment. Maybe this wasn't the best idea, but the haze was comfortable and the girl was smiling and screw it. He was tired of being miserable.

***

Slipping into the party Spike prowled around, keeping his eyes open for the Scoobies. The noise of the party and the scent of all the perfume and aftershave made it hard for him to instinctively home in on whoever he was looking for, he was looking so hard into the haze that he damn near mowed the Slayer down.

Looking exceptionally lovely tonight. And exceptionally pissed off. Obviously expecting him to take the shine off her night. And who was he to fly in the face of tradition?

"Small world" he mused mockingly. He wouldn't have thought it humanly possible but her glare intensified.

"Oh dear, If looks could stake. Having fun pet? " He grinned, he knew she hated it when he called her that. He glanced after the guy she'd obviously been trying to pull, Ben something he thought. From what he could tell a pretty average guy all round thought she'd have learnt her lesson with soldier boy. "Trolling for your next ex? Gotta say, you can do better." Like a Scum demon. And he'd be the looker He bit his lip to keep from laughing.

"I told you I . . ."

"Thought I was gonna leave town. It's a free country, Free party." And if you think I'm gonna leave when life is so full you've got another think coming Slayer, Xander's to shag, pictures to take, busy, busy, busy

"If you want me to leave" he upped his leer so a blind nun would have had no difficulty in understanding him "you can put your hands on my hot tight little body and make me."

"Get away from me."

Hatred dripping from every word. And he'd forgotten how much fun it was to piss her off to the point where she was practically spitting venom. He drew breath for his next insult when just over her shoulder he caught a glimpse dim and fleeting of Xander. Losing interest instantly in exchanging insults he nodded absently to the Slayer and backed away, trying to get a better view and my, my he was looking good enough to eat tonight in some pretty subdued clothes for a change. Maybe tonight would be the night to fuck that hot beautiful mouth of his. The excitement began to radiate through him as he squinted through the haze, no wonder he'd nearly missed him all tucked away in the corner talking . . .to . . .that . .girl.

His eyes widened and the rest of the party faded to grey, a roaring sound in his ears as he stared in disbelief at Xander and the girl.

A girl. Xander and a girl looking all kinds of cozy, a pretty little thing too, all reddy gold curls and a big smile. Jealousy rose like bile in his throat as he took in the sight of Xander nodding along to whatever the girl was saying, then obviously made a quip of some sort because the girl burst out laughing and touched him on the arm. And left her hand there.

Xander leaned in closer to the girl and for one awful endless moment Spike thought he was going to kiss her. Instead he stroked a curl, letting it run through his fingers his face amused and admiring as he pulled out a tiny petal that had obviously been caught there. The girl went up on her tip toes and pulled Xander to her so she could whisper something in his ear, and they both laughed again.

A growl ripped through Spike and he looked away, because he couldn't bear to see anymore, then looked back because he just couldn't stand not to see, not to know. And Xander's hand was on her shoulder moving down her arm. Up again, and maybe the Slayer was even now sticking pins into a voodoo doll of him, because something had to be causing this awful painful burn in his chest. He watched with mounting horror as Xander slowly and seductively stroked her skin and the girl stepped even closer to him, so they were scant inches away and she let her finger trace down his face. Mine. Stop that I'm the one that gets to touch him! Get away from him bitch, he's mine! That was one lucky little girl there was a chip in his head otherwise that pretty little head with all it's curls would be ripped off for him to play football with and easy, easy, don't vamp out, not here, not now but that roaring in his ears is getting louder and his fists were clenching tighter and I'm a reasonable sort of vamp but there's gonna be blood and screams if he doesn't get the hell away from her

Come on Xander smile and leave, smile and leave, in fact don't even bother with the smile just leave please, okay? Just . . .please Which went to show what a waste praying was as the girl reached up to run her fingers through Xander's hair and he pushed against her hand like a cat, he was rocking a little on his feet, obviously had a few to drink, but the girl didn't seem to mind as she slid an arm around his waist supposedly to support him.

"Spike what are you doing here?"

Spike jumped and saw Red in front of him - he hadn't even seen her approach.

"Just keeping my eyes on things Red" he spat through clenched teeth.

"If you're going to cause trouble . . ."

"I'm not causing bloody trouble" But I soon will be if you don't get out of my face and let me see what the hell is going on over there.

She turned to follow his eyeline and saw him watching Xander talking to Julie. She glanced up at Spike and said casually. "Xander's been talking to her for an hour, they really seem to have hit it off."

"Is that right?" Spike spat as his eyes flashed yellow. Knew I should have got here earlier, oh fuck, shit, shit shit, don't do what I think you're going to do . . .

They watched, Spike in horror and Willow in interest as Julie took Xander's hand and led him out of the party.

"Make that definitely hit it off." Willow summed up.

"Have you seen Warren?"

"What? Who?" Willow turned to answer the peachy, pretty girl who was talking to her and he took the opportunity to slip past. Xander and the girl had gone. Relax, relax, part of the goody gang remember? Not a casual pick up kind of guy.Except someone had obviously forgotten to tell Xander that as he darted outside just in time to see Xander getting into a car with her. For a second he stood frozen as they roared away, then he shook himself out of his shock and began to run after them, but stopped before he'd even reached the end of the street. There was no way he could catch them.

"Fuck!" He gasped, his voice coming out strangely broken and almost tearful. "Shit." He lit up a smoke with trembling fingers. Inhaling with ragged breaths. So Xander had picked up a girl. Fine. So what. It was too late to stop Spike doing whatever he wanted now, he could still destroy Xander. Let him have a night off. He didn't care.

The fucking cigarette had gone out, he tried to relight it, then realised it hadn't gone out, it just wasn't calming him the way it should. He threw it on the floor, he didn't need it, he didn't care. Xander was just an unexpectedly useful pawn to checkmate the Slayer. That was all. So if Xander was just a pawn why did the sight of him with that girl, the thought of what they were probably doing right now hurt so much?

Spike was damned if he knew why.

He just knew it did.





Part Seventeen



Xander sank woozily onto the couch. The room was spinning but it felt nice, if a little weird. Everything about tonight had been nice if a little weird, but hey he didn't have a problem with that. Escaping from his life that was what it was all about and he thought he was doing pretty well. See Spike you bastard. I don't need you

He wondered if Julie would be mad if he closed his eyes for a second and decided she would. She'd been so keen on bringing him back for a drink the least he could do was stay awake. "Hey" She said amused as she sat next to him handing him a glass of something cool and fruity tasting. "Not flaking out on me are you?"

"Nuh uh. Not me."

"Good." She gazed at him for a moment. "Because I've been wanting to do this for a while now."

And it was like floating out of his body, watching from a distance as she leaned in to him her eyes drifting closed as she brushed her mouth lightly over his, letting the faintest hint of her tongue trace along his mouth askingly, and suddenly sleepy was the last thing he was feeling. Carefully, without breaking the kiss he set his glass down, and let his arms slide around her, pulling her closer to him, and hell she felt good. Smelt good. Tasted good. And slow and distant suddenly wasn't good enough anymore as her hot tongue traced a path of fire into his mouth, arousal zinging throughout his body, pooling in his groin and yeah his mind might be befuddled but his body seems to know what it's doing so he'll just let it take over from here on as his mouth was exploring hers, tongues sliding against each others and the room was still spinning and her lips were feather soft, sucking on his bottom lip and he had a lapful of a beautiful girl and it was all good. The need to be close to her, to feel her against him was overpowering. Pushing her back until she was lying on the couch, lowering himself on top of her and he'd almost forgotten what a girl felt like. Sweet and soft and curving. Fitting against his body perfectly as she hooked her leg over his and ground her body closer into him. Moaning into her mouth he slid his hands under her top and she lifted her arms letting him pull it off, her skin was smooth and so hot.

Wonder if this is what Spike feels with me

He frowned, almost shook his head to dislodge that thought that had flown into his head out of nowhere. His hands traced her breasts through her bra and she arched up into him as he trailed kisses down her neck. Breath coming faster now and almost unnoticed they'd slid into a rhythm, bodies thrusting against each other his hardness rocking into her, only the barrier of clothing preventing him from sliding inside, and this, oh this, it was so good, so familiar, no pain or confusion just bodies and sweet scent and heat.

And thoughts.

Stupid, betraying thoughts. Kept buzzing through his head. Irritating little flies that won't leave him alone.

This isn't right He opened his eyes and looked into hers. Serious and wide. A gorgeous greeny colour. Not like Spike's, a pure blue.

Yes it is, yes it is, yes it isHe trailed his hand down her thigh and squeezed his eyes closed, her hands were sliding under his shirt to gently scratch down his back.

Too hot

He shuddered and dropped his head, kissing across her breasts, but memories of a cool silky chest washed over him. She was arching up into his mouth making small moans and gasps and all he wanted was to crawl in from out of the cold, to a place where there was no more Spike, except Spike was here, because he couldn't stop thinking about him! No, no, no. Damn you, you bastard just get out of my head!

He kissed her again, hard, almost angrily, trying to get Spike out of his mind, trying to lose his thoughts in her warm mouth and the taste of mint on her breath, but he was remembering kisses that were cool, tasting of smoke, kisses that felt like they were swallowing him up, kisses that were the best he'd ever had.

Sliding his hand between her legs, rubbing through the material. She moaned into his mouth and let her hand begin squeezing him through his jeans, and it was like trying to swim in water that was just too shallow, and sleeping with the light on and feeling one person against you and wishing it was someone else, and he wanted to scream with frustration.

No, this isn't fair I won't let him do this to me! He was going to forget about Spike if it killed him. Unzipping her pants clumsily and letting his hand slide under her panties. Finding the spot, the place that had her bucking under his hand, and cutting off her moan by sealing his mouth over hers. Letting his fingers slide into her, heat and tightness surrounding his fingers as his thumb circled right there.

And she was bucking desperately under his fingers, her hands clenched on his shoulders, her gasps vibrating into his mouth.

"Xander" she moaned into his mouth.

"Xander" Spike had moaned against his neck.

How can his name sound so different coming from two different people? Hands, his and hers roaming frantically over each others bodies and he hears the sound of his zip a split second before she took him in her hand and he's hard and aching, but he doesn't know who for and he's missing the feel of cool skin and that wicked mouth, but he can't really stop now . . . "Julie" he groaned, not even sure now what he was trying to say. Stop? More? And her hand was moving, stroking and yes it felt good. Everything felt good.

It just didn't feel right.

Gasps and bucks and the light is bright against his closed eyes and everything feels so weird he's too close yet somehow too distant and it's too intimate for strangers so he really should stop this but the drink is ruining any control and she stiffened with a cry as he touched that place again, her hand compulsively tightening on him is enough to make him follow. And gradually, panting a little he opened his eyes to look at her.

Julie all dishevelled and flushed, partly crumpled against the back of the couch, partly underneath him smiled at him shyly and he had to bite his lip and look away because she was so pretty and her eyes weren't blue.





Part Eighteen



The night air was cool against Xander's overheated cheeks as he walked home. Walking faster, trying to leave the memories far behind him, but the harder he tried not think of it the more he kept coming back to it.

Fooling around with a girl and all he could think of was Spike.

This was so humiliating. A gorgeous girl, practically begging him to stay with her for all kinds of naked fun, so ironically he must have done something right with the groping on the couch but what had he done? He'd come up with the feeblest excuse in the world about working in the morning and hightailed it for home because he couldn't have sex with her. For one thing it wouldn't be fair to her, and for another . . .

The other problem was his own sick self. The only person he wanted to be with was Spike. But that sounded rather more cozy than it actually was.

Spike was making him sick. That was the truth of it. Lustsick, literally, sick with lust. Dying for his touch. He felt so empty without him.Yeah it was crazy but when Spike was next to him, his cool skin brushing against him, sliding into him he felt so . . .right. So complete. And there was no way Spike felt the same because if he did he wouldn't keep treating Xander the way he did and he hated this. Burning for someone who had made it very clear he had nothing but contempt for him. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if Spike once, just once showed some sign that he cared in some tiny way, that Xander wasn't just a thing an object to be used . . .But of course he didn't. He didn't care at all.

Yet again I've manged to screw up my life on a truly spectatular scale. At this point I should qualify for some kind of award. Always being used. Cordy, who was ashamed to be seen with me, losing my virgintiy to Little Miss Psychotic, she tried to kill me.He cut that thought off, he couldn't bear to remember Faith. That was in a big box labeled 'Never Open'. Anya who left me high and dry, and now Spike Why did this keep happening to him? He tried to be a good guy, he could be in bed with Julie right now but he wasn't because he just didn't use people like that. Nope, always the used, that was him, never the user. Always being dropped and treated like human trash, well no more!

He walked faster, his anger powering him so he felt as through he was practically flying. The anger and the alcohol creating a red mist where everything was so simple. He couldn't go on like this. Spike, the bastard was screwing him in every fucking way. Over and over. Well hope you enjoyed the ride Spike, pun definatly intended because it's over!

There was only one way out of this. Treat Spike like a drug he'd accidentally got hooked on and go cold turkey. No more Spike.

A sharp pang of something, fear? Loss? Had to throb and disperse before he could think again. It had to stop, whatever Spike's reasons were for starting this just weren't important anymore. The only thing that was important was getting his life back, and maybe some tiny measure of self respect. No more being treated like a toy. If . . .when Spike next turned up he was going to tell him it was over. Tomorrow he'd call Willow and get her to come round and do the de-invite spell. But what if Spike told the others?

"Then bring it on." He muttered as he approached his apartment, "cos I'm tired of playing these games."

He couldn't help but feel relieved as he approached his front door, it had been an eventful night one way and another even though it was barely midnight. At least now he could drop into bed and sleep, the prospect of total oblivion for a few hours was incredibly appealing. He took out his key, then paused. Looked at his front door that had been left ajar. And knew, just knew that some intruder had been in his home. Was still in his home. The anger still thrumming through him made him want to throw the door open and beat whoever was in there to a bloody pulp, but some small part of him that remained dispassionate warned him that could be a good way to get killed. Instead he swallowed it down and moving oh, so slowly he laid a finger on the door and gently pushed it open.

The door slowly swung open to reveal his apartment and he stepped inside.

Spike was sitting on the couch.

He raised a sardonic eyebrow.

"Surprise."

***

Spike had taken his duster off, sprawled himself out on the couch, making himself look the very picture of relaxation, never mind that his spine felt like it had been fused and every damn muscle was aching with tension, and yeah he knew it was crazy coming here, pathetic in fact but he couldn't help it, he had to know what had happened. He felt a fierce charge of relief as Xander walked in, felt the almost insane urge to throw himself at the lad, hold him, never let him go in case he disappeared on him. Kiss every inch of the boy's his boy's face. It was alright he hadn't stayed with her, maybe they'd just gone for ice cream or something, he didn't know but it was okay . . .

Then the scent hit him, the salty tang of sweat and semen, the smell of a girls orgasm swirling around him like a haze, and hey it might smell like strawberries and musk but all that he could smell was an arid stench, because that meant that Xander had done it. He'd actually slept with her.He'd actually done it.

Awful ripping hurt tearing through him and something stung in his eyes.For a second Xander blurred before him, but that was just the anger, that was what it was, blind with rage, literally.His fingernails dug into his palms but he couldn't move. So fucking angry with the lad not hurt, angry, not hurt he could kill him, who the hell did he think he was making him feel like this? Xander stared at Spike, speechless for a moment, forcibly hit by his beauty. He hadn't seen Spike for days and he'd somehow forgotten how he was so perfect it was almost painful to look at him. And he was here right now . . .

Yeah here right now, without Xander's consent. The anger began to burn again. Spike was doing it again just walking in and taking what he wanted, well this time he had a surprise coming. He slammed the door and glared at Spike.

"Do you usually walk into other peoples homes while they're out? Well you can just get out because as far as I'm concerned your invite is revoked and tomorrow I'm making it official. It's over Spike."

Over. Spike swallowed down some painful lump in his throat at the word. Over. No, no, no. Not over, it couldn't be. Xander was his, all his, he wasn't going to lose him, he couldn't bear it. He was still in control here and he wouldn't let it be over.

"I mean it. You might as well leave now because I am never going to sleep with you again." Arms folded Xander glared at Spike, but felt suddenly . . .uncomfortable. Spike was still sprawled on the couch in the exact same position, yet somehow without moving an inch his posture had changed, become less relaxed and more coiled, like he was getting ready to pounce and it's been a long night and he really doesn't need this . . .

"I mean it" Xander repeated but it feels like he's missed a trick here somewhere and his resolve is draining away and he took a sudden instinctive step back, but it came too late because in a blur of movement Spike had him pinned up against the wall before he'd even registered what was going on.

"No you don't"

"Spike no . . ."

"Shut up." And Spike sounded almost tearful, pissed off, his mouth on Xander's and he was kissing him. Hard.

Spike ran his tongue along the velvet of Xander's mouth trying to wipe away any scent of the girl from him. He hadn't realized until just now how much it meant to have his lingering scent on Xander, marking him, but Xander struggled, freed his mouth and pushed him away. "Why are you doing this?" The boy yelled, tears and rage and all harsh things in his voice, but at least it means he's feeling something for Spike and it's a hollow kind of victory but he'll take anything he can get. "What the hell do you want?"

And Xander found himself shoved back into the wall and Spike is almost glaring at him, leaning into his face and this is so not good . . .

"I want to fuck you." Harsh, angry and Xander's never seen Spike like this before, hard and frantic and really, really pissed off, can feel the anger in the palpable tension coming from the body pressed against his, can hear it in the growls Spike is making, vibrating into his mouth as he kisses him again, Spike flush against him, grinding into him hardness thrusting against hardness and oh fuck. Doesn't know why Spike is so upset, doesn't care. This is what it should be like how could he ever let it go, an almost painful hitching deep in his stomach, the achingly familiar feel of Spike's mouth on his and he's gasping for air but can't quite get enough and fuck it, who cares? Drowning, drowning, in this kiss, opening his mouth and meeting Spike's tongue with his own his hands scrabbling at the fastening on Spike's jeans,as he toes off his shoes because everything is just a waste of time all that matters is getting naked, now, if clothes would just vanish that would be perfect. Has to touch, feel, wants to fuck all night, wants to do everything, suck him and take him, and be taken, make himself all open all for Spike, all for Spike...

Spike pulled back, drinking in Xander's whimper of dismay like it was nectar.

"See?" Spike panted, "not over until I say so."

And somehow those words, the look on Spike's face, the mixture of triumph and hate brought Xander back to himself, reminding him of exactly how shit he felt, how humiliated and hurt every time Spike walked away after using him. With a thud he could almost feel body and brain reconnected. He grabbed Spike' shoulders and shoved him away. Hard.

Spike flew back, stumbling against the coffee table.

"Ow!"

"You . . ." His voice doesn't seem to want to work and his knees are decidedly shaky, but fuck this, he won't be Spike's toy for the night. "Don't touch me." He wiped his mouth with a shaking hand trying to eradicate the taste, the memory of the way he just gave in to him. His voice trembling but determined. "Don't ever touch me like that again."

"You're the one that wanted it you bloody poof." Spike snarled as he righted himself.

"Nice to see you acting like yourself again. Knew the real you was in there somewhere, take it outside Spike."

"I'd much rather shove it inside." Spike spat out.

"Get used to disappointment." Xander managed to get out as he backed away on trembling legs. That's it. Every step takes me closer to sanity. Somehow he thought if he could just get far enough away he would STOP wanting Spike. Yeah because it's worked so well before. "Whatever twisted game you're playing Spike I'm not going along with it anymore, it's over. The end."

"This. Is. No. Game." Spike ground out.

His head still spinning from the kiss and the alcohol earlier, Xander didn't notice Spike's eyes flash yellow, didn't hear the underlying threat in his tone as his words came out dangerously slow.

"I don't care what it is Spike, I'm telling you it's over and don't try any threats they won't work." Too caught up in trying to avoid one mistake he didn't notice as he headed straight for the biggest mistake of all. " And don't try to scare me. You've got that chip remember? You'll never make me do anything I don't really want to do!"

Spike's face was expressionless but his blue eyes darkened to almost black as he stared at Xander.

"Is that right?" Softly spoken, sounds almost calm, but for the underlying steel in his voice and the burn in his eyes you wouldn't know that he's just made William the Bloody very angry. Frozen. Mouth going dry. Suddenly knowing it's only the chip, tiny little piece of metal holding Spike back. The violence was radiating out from him, the room is almost shimmering with it. A predator, deadly and very, very pissed off and he's trapped and Xander felt his anger flee as fear. Cold. Icy. Began to trickle through his body.

"Spike I didn't mean . . " Shaking, trying to somehow put this back, put it right, but when things go wrong so far then they just keep getting wronger and Spike is very slowly coming towards him.

"Didn't mean what luv? You're quite right. I can't force you to do anything. Can I?"

Spike slowly moving towards him, and Xander backed up against the wall. "What are you doing?" Hoarse whisper and he hates the fear that's apparent in his voice.

"Nothing you don't want me to. Isn't that what you've just been saying to me Xander? No need to be scared now, since I can't do anything you don't want." The last word almost spat out, tiny, tiny expression of how pissed Spike is and oh shit, oh no . . .

"Spike . . .I'm sorry . . .I . . ."

"Take your jeans off." Whispered soft, falsely seductive and a huge wallop of terror hits him right in the chest and this is so so bad and Spike is way too close and surely oh please God, surely he's got this wrong, this can't be about to happen . . .

"No" Gasped under his breath and trapped trapped trapped And he has to move, has to get away cos those eyes were suddenly spitting blue fire, his jaw line rigid, like he might just decide killing Xander was worth the pain . . .

"Take. Your. Fucking. Jeans. Off." He leaned inches away from Xander, his hands were on the wall on either side of Xander's face.

"If you lay one finger on me . . ." He'll what? Stake him? He has to get out of here but Spike's eyes are pinning him down and all he can do is mouth empty threats and knows Spike can sense the terror stringing through him.

"I'm going to lay a whole lot more than that on you . . ." A growl and Spike's eyes flash yellow and a split second before he moves to slam Xander into the wall he breaks from his paralysis, ducks from under Spike's arms and quickly darts past Spike ohgodohgodohgod hears Spike curse and gets almost to the door before he feels those cold hands grab him. Bends over desperately trying to throw Spike off over his back, and it almost works, feels Spike lose his balance for a split second before he regains it and Spike is pressing his rock hard erection into Xander's backside.Wriggling and writhing even more franticly to try and escape but the cold hands are bruising his arms and each movement is only making him thrust back against Spike harder.

Spike swallowed a groan back at the feel of Xander pushing against him and managed to breath into his ear. "Easy, easy, eager little thing aren't you?"

"No" The small whisper hit his ears as he unzipped Xander's jeans and pulled his already stiffening cock out. Not eager but still hard for me though aren't you?

"I can't force you" Spike whispered in a mockingly gentle tone as his hand moved, coaxing him to full hardness as he stood, frozen, want throbbing through him alongside the terror and oh God, was it even possible for this to get any more twisted? Obviously it was because it's taking everything in him not to thrust, to fuck Spike's hand.

"You must want me" he breathed in Xander's ear. "You do don't you pet? Feel that?" Tighter grip on Xander's cock and a long hard downstroke. The groan escapes before he can swallow it and he knows Spike is smiling. A smile that would chill his blood if he could see it. "You want me. Want me to wank you. Suck you. Take you so hard you see fucking stars. Isn't that right?" Licking around his ear and a tremor ran through the lad.

"No." Whimpered pleadingly through gritted teeth, and oh hell, Spike's hand is pumping.

"If you say that again so help me Christ . . ." he growled furiously. Xander grabbed Spike's wrist and turned to face him as best he could against Spike's vampire strength.

"No!" Strong, determined. Smoldering brown eyes clashed with fiery blue.

Spike spun Xander around, wound his legs around Xander's the brunette tried to struggle away and Spike didn't try to hold him still, just hung on to him. They both crashed to the floor, Spike on top, his legs straddling Xander, knocking all the air out of him, pinned by his weight, Xander bucked trying to writhe away from Spike. He grabbed Xander's flailing arms, pushing them into the floor, holding him still with his vamp strength and his mouth is running off, can't control it, can't stop himself and his demon is howling with delight and all he can hear is the blood roaring in his ears and what must be him saying "Yeah I can't force you, you must want me, you do don't you say you do Xander say you want me, say it . . ."

"No no, fucking NO!"

Dark hair and soft mouth and hard body and they were HIS, chip or no chip he'd kill anyone who tried to take him away.

Xander bucked wildly under him, trying to throw him off, hard pelvis banging together. And it's all out of control, trying to get a grip on slippery glass and mind is a long way away and her hands, her smell was all over him the bitch had touched what was his, stroking where he stroked, and he couldn't bear it.

"Get. Off. Me." Panted as he struggles under Spike.

"Make me."

"I will kill you if you don't get off me." Dark eyes and they've never had that look in them before, pure, burning hate and that's something he's got out of the lad anyway, not love, but almost as good, or that's what he's telling himself.

"I'll take my chances."

Pushing down pinning Xander's hands above his head enough pressure to break his wrists if he moves again and Xander's getting frantic now and he couldn't really hurt the lad, of course he couldn't, he couldn't get round the damn chip that much, if Xander really did want him off he could do it, but the heat coming from his body, the hardness pressed into his and the struggles that just fell short of being convincing was telling him that he didn't.

Grasping both Xander's wrists in one hand as he yanks Xander's jeans, boxers, down and off and he should leave it there but he needs to feel Xander against him everywhere, trying to get him naked one-handed as the lad struggles under him.

"Fuck" Just rips the shirt Xander's wearing practically in half and he keeps reciting to himself intent is everything, intent is everything. If he didn't intend to hurt the lad the chip wouldn't go off but he did. Oh he did want to hurt him just a little but he keeps pushing it down and in his head he can almost hear the chip humming, getting ready to fry him if he makes just one wrong move if Xander would just stop fighting.

"Keep. Fucking. STILL!" With one hand Spike managed to work the fastening on his jeans pulling his cock out, that's so hard it hurts, kissing Xander and if the victory tastes sour it's lost in the sweetness of his boys mouth and Xander is biting his lip hard, Spike can feel the blood pouring from his mouth into Xander's but doesn't let up from the kiss. Moves so he's pushing Xander's legs apart with his knees, pressing against Xander and thrusts and rubs, thrusts and rubs, cock riding against cock, sweet frantic friction and Xander was trying to hold his moans back, but thank god for vampire hearing he could sense them rippling in his throat. Pumps Xander, once, twice and gathers the glistening strands of precome in his hand and pulls away to spit into his hand, coating his cock with spit and blood and precome because the lube might only be in his pocket but that's just far too far away right now and Xander's just gonna have to take it rough.

Releasing Xander's wrists as he moves himself into position, the slide of his cock in the crease of Xander's ass, pressing forward like it just can't wait to get there, and now is Xander's chance to stop this to get away. Waiting for a moment to see what he'll do and Xander lay still, panting heavily, staring up at him.

"Good lad." Spike said shakily.

"I hate you." Xander spat through tears of humiliation shining in his eyes as he felt the nudge of Spike's cock at his entrance.

"And my god I hate you too." Spike ground out between clenched teeth and slammed into him. Xander's eyes flew open and he's biting his hand trying to keep the cries in as Spike slammed in again and again. So much pain, he's being split in two and it won't stop, the worlds just gone away to trying to survive that huge blunt thing that's inside him and moving and he's choking back tears that he won't let out and it's awful and wrenching and it's swallowing him up and it's all hot and cold and pain and how has he ever thought this was good, when there's a shift in positions and suddenly he's caught the rhythm and has to move and oh shit, dear god and the pleasure is just ripping, wrenching through him, and suddenly he's grabbing on to Spike and shifting so Spike can hit that place again and again and it's just too good, too good, too good . . .

Vibrating flesh and the harsh cries filled the room and two pairs of hate filled eyes clashed as Xander's legs tangled around Spike's waist and he worked himself on Spike's cock, Xander's back arching and Xander's hands on his arse pulling him in deeper and harder and Spike wanted to do this forever and ever but it was too good and too much and he wasn't gonna last but he wanted to hear something before it was over. . .

"Tell me you want me. Tell me . . ."

"You know I do you bastard" and that, that admission was almost better than anything. Pounding into him with a burning fury that's almost joy.

Had to touch, had to fuck, had to come, getting rid of her scent with his essence and he can't slow down can't stop and the carpet burn on his knees is just something on the very edge of his mind and Xander is choking and growling, clawing his fingers down Spike's back, biting his shoulder and it's painful and twisted and it's getting him so fucking hot . . .

White hot fire racing through every part of him and Xander's teeth have broken his skin and it feels like blood is everywhere, from his mouth, from his shoulder, maybe from between Xander's legs as well but who cares about anything when Xander's underneath him, and

"Oh FUCK oh Christ, oh hell Xander" he's coming, coming so hard and Xander grabs his hand, puts it on his painfully hard cock and Xander's begging for him.

"Oh god Spike please" And he has to, has to make Xander come, and he's moving his hand on Xander's cock and Xander's so close himself, one stroke from Spike and he's coming as well in long hard spurts, with a gasp that's nearly, nearly a sob.





Part Nineteen



Movement, slowly returned to shaking limbs. Thought began to play through minds now the desperate, frantic need had been sated and the litinity of complaints that their bodies had stacked up unnoticed in what had just happened were now about ready to be heard. Spike lifted his head heavily and shook it, trying to snap back into reality, but he felt like he'd been caught underwater, things were heavy and blurred, sound felt dimmed, not quite real and right now the only clear thing was Xander under him, staring back at him with a look as stunned and confused as his own

"My wrists hurt." Xander said dazedly, his eyes wide and dark and beautiful.

"My lip hurts" Spike replied shakily. "And my shoulder where you bit it."

Silence fell again, unbroken apart from the sound of their shuddering gasps for breath. Spike just gazing down at him and his eyes are so blue and right now Xander could just drown in them and time and movement are things that have no meaning here, nothing matters except that Spike doesn't move away ever again. Like they've fucked all the anger out, all that's left is this. A moment that's spinning on and on.

Then he remembered the admission he made as Spike pounded inside him and he felt his cheeks flame with shame, he'd told Spike he still wanted him! He looked away, Spike saw, sensed Xander's withdrawal from him and reached out a hand to touch him, hold him, draw him back.

"Don't, " Xander said through gritted teeth. Spike was probably only waiting to catch his breath before he walked out again and he had to hang on to some pride. He'd rather Spike hated him then pitied him, and if Spike touched him he knew he just couldn't hold back. He'd sob into Spike's arms, tell him the whole story of what happened tonight with Julie and how he couldn't sleep with her because she was a shadow compared to this, compared to Spike, and beg him not to go because somehow he doesn't know how, Spike's not only inside him physically, but he's in his thoughts and feelings and yeah it's fucked up and crazy but right now he almost feels like he loves Spike, loves him all the time he's hating him, sick fool that he is. And he'd rather die than let Spike know that.

Spike froze his fingers less than an inch away at the harsh sound of Xander's voice. And how can one little word make him feel so bad? All at once snapping him back to what this really was, and of course Xander didn't want to be touched by him. Now the sex was over Xander probably couldn't wait for him to leave. Xander probably wanted to get a good nights sleep in so tomorrow he could meet the bitch from the party. Something was hurting like hell but he'd deal with that later. Right now he had to get away. Xander didn't want to be near him? Fine, he wasn't going to hang around.

Xander shivered as Spike pulled out of him, he didn't think he'd ever get used to that, the empty feel after being filled to bursting. Plus the feel like Spike was pulling out all of Xander's insides along with his cock.

Spike staggered to his feet clumsily and drew up his jeans that had gotten no further down than his knees. His boots and T-Shirt were still on and he struggled into his duster, only wanting to get the hell out before all this hurt just breaks down his defences and comes pouring out.

"Not staying then?" Xander spat pulling up his own jeans in quick, angry movements.

"No" Spike ground out, there was a weird quaver in his voice that Xander put down to amusement at the thought of actually staying.

"Good." And oh, the bitterness in that word he can practically taste in his mouth as he watched Spike wrench open the door.

"Fine!" Spike slammed the door behind him and Xander was alone. Which was what he expected. So he couldn't imagine why he felt so desolate.

***

"DAMNIT DAMNIT DAMNIT!" Spike matched the words in rhythm with the thud of his feet as he strode towards his crypt and lucky it's deserted around here otherwise he'd be introducing some demon face to face to it's own internal organs. Almost screaming and almost laughing because this is so insane.

Even Dru hadn't made him feel like this.

Hurt, acres of it. Because Xander had slept with someone else, and even now, even with his scent wiping out the bitches it didn't help. Because he could cover it up but he couldn't make it go away and it shouldn't matter so much. It shouldn't but it did, and he didn't know what the hell Xander had done to him, but it was something alright if the thought of Xander with someone else causes a painful ache that won't stop and he hates this. Hates all of it, hates that Xander can hurt him so easily, hates that he can't just stop it, can't stop feeling things. Things that were never meant to be a part of this plan.

Things like jealousy and hurt and want and sadness and wanting to comfort Xander and wanting kill him and this plan is so far beyond fucked up . . .

"Sod the fucking plan!" He yelled, "just fuck it! I don't care about the plan. I don't care about the Slayer, I only care about . . ."

He stopped. He didn't know. He didn't know what he cared about anymore. Just knew that the all important 'teaching the Slayer a lesson' idea had slipped away, run through his fingers like water and this wasn't about her. Hadn't been almost from the start.

"Oh please God" he whispered, "I know you've got no use for me and I've got no use for you but please. Please don't do this to me."

He couldn't care for Xander, he just couldn't. It was impossible. Not when Xander hated him so much. Not when he had treated Xander so badly there was practically no chance he could ever fix it.

It was impossible. He wouldn't even think it. He was in control. He was fine. He would get over this. Of course he would. And if his eyes were stinging then it was from the dust in the air and there was nobody there to say any different.

***

Willow hovered outside Xander's door. She ran her hands through her hair and futilely wished Tara was here. Last night after the party she'd finally broken down and confided in Tara exactly why she was so worried about Xander. Tara had barely batted an eyelid at what Willow had confided but had said what Willow was dreading she would say. Namely that she had to tell Xander about Spike's crush on Buffy. If nothing else Xander deserved to be in the loop since they all knew now. And if she was right about what she thought. . .well then Xander had the most right to know what was going on with Spike. Besides now they all knew it was only a matter of time before it came out and better gently from Willow that just dropped on him from Dawn or Buffy.

SometimesWillow thought unhappily being a best friend is a tough job

She wouldn't even care if Xander and Spike were together she thought, really clutching at straws if Xander was happy and Spike actually did want to be with Xander, she wouldn't like it, but she could deal with it, but she just kept coming back to the awful satisfied look on Spike's face that night she'd looked through the window, and couldn't shake the feeling that Spike had liked to watch Xander suffer. That hurting someone Buffy loved turned his crank in the biggest possible way. And Xander wasn't happy. That was very obvious. He'd been drinking last night, Xander had always made his feelings on drinking perfectly clear.

It could all still be okay she thought frantically, trying to calm her racing heart. She could be wrong or it could be over, Xander had after all met a girl last night. Finally knocking on the door she had to knock a few times before Xander eventually answered. Willow swallowed a gasp. She'd been expecting him to look hungover, tired, but not as bad as this. Deathly pale, dark circles and bloodshot eyes.

"Hey Xander." She said quietly not wanting to hurt his head with noise.

"Will. What are you doing here so early?" Still he stood back and let her in.

Ignoring the question she looked at him searchingly."You look like hell."

"I didn't get much sleep last night." He muttered, not meeting her eyes.

Willow raised her eyebrows. "Yeah I saw you leave with Julie? That's her name right?"

"Yeah."

Xander's voice was so flat Willow's smile faded. She took his hand and sat him down on the couch.

"What happened?"

"Nothing, a big nothing happened with Julie." He ran his fingers through his hair and slumped back against the couch. She winced it was painful to look at him when he looked so ill.

"Um . . .sorry?" She ventured.

"Yeah me too." He said cryptically.

"I could leave you to go back to sleep" she offered desperately.

"It's fine. Do you want some coffee?" Xander asked flatly.

"Sure."

She watched as he wandered into the kitchen, moving stiffly, rubbing his neck and she caught her breath. He was only wearing a pair of boxers so she could see clearly the scratches down his back, and the carpet burn on his lower back and legs.

So either Xander was lying about nothing happening with Julie or. . .

Never before in her life had she wished for Xander to lie to her but she was doing it now. She absently toyed with the leaves of the plant that stood by the couch. She looked down at it and her eyes widened. The soil was dotted with cigarette butts.

Ohgodohgod It was one thing to come up with a theory that fitted. It was another to see the proof of it scratched down your best friends back. For a moment she felt sick as the old world she and Xander had shared tilted into a new one. A new one where Xander and Spike could apparently put all their differences aside in the bedroom.

How could Xander? She was baffled and hurt and . . .outraged. Mr "Oh I'm perspective guy. Angel's a killer" Yeah where was perspective guy now? What the hell had he been thinking? she thought viciously, of all the stupid, stupid things to do. Even if he didn't know Spike was obsessed with Buffy he must know that Spike was an evil bastard who would chew him up and spit him out.

"Xander" she called out, knowing, appalled at herself that she was being spiteful but helpless to stop " have you seen Spike lately?"

A loud crash echoed through the apartment and her heart skipped a beat. Shit, I'm sorry, I'm sorry She leapt up and ran into the kitchen where Xander was on the floor, picking up the pieces of the cup he'd dropped. She knelt down next to him, helping him to gather the shards.

"Shit" Xander said tearfully. "So stupid."

Shame burst in her, the anger fled. So what if he had slept with Spike. This was Xander. Her best friend and first love and it didn't matter what he'd gotten himself into, what Spike had dragged him into more like. All that mattered was she loved him and couldn't bear to see him unhappy.

"It wasn't your fault Xander." She threw away the shattered cup then took his hand, pulled him up and led him to the couch.

"What's wrong?"

Xander buried his head in his hands. "Why does everyone keep asking me that?"

"Because you're pale, unhappy, distracted on patrol and have barely said two words for the past few weeks. No reason really."

"Wills, I'm just having a hard time lately. It'll get better."

Oh Xander I wish it would. I wish I could make it better, but I think I'm going to make it worse right now but you need to know this I'm so sorry please don't hate me, I love you so much

"Xander the reason I asked about Spike is . . ." she took a deep breath. "Well there's something you should know. It's something to do with Spike and something to do with Buffy."

Xander hadn't really believed he possessed any innate instinct for reading the future, but from the second he'd heard the knock on his door something had told him not to answer it. That something bad was only going to come of it. And for a moment he'd obeyed that feeling. But in the end he couldn't fight it. Lemming like throwing himself of the cliff he'd had to know what it was. And now Willow was trying to break it as gently as she could. Whatever it was. He thought with a curious detachment that until this moment he'd never really appreciated the phase 'chilled to the bone.' The rest of him only heard a roaring in his ears and a sick feeling right in the pit of his stomach and his voice came out oddly strained as he asked. "What about Spike and Buffy?"

"Spike's got kind of a crush on Buffy."

"Oh." Spike had a crush on Buffy. Spike had a crush on Buffy. Those words made no sense. He played them over again and they still made no sense. Maybe he was dreaming. But Willow was sitting next to him, her eyes wide with worry and sympathy, and surely dream Xander wouldn't have a hang over? Maybe he'd just heard wrong.

"What?"

"Spike told Buffy a couple of weeks ago how he felt. She told him to stay away from her. I just thought you should know in case he . . .I just thought you should know."

"Right." He thought vaguely out of everyone in the world he was glad it was Willow who told him this. Later he would play this conversation back and realise that she must have had some idea what had been going on with him and Spike, and rather than the shame he thought he'd feel, he just felt glad she knew. But that was later. Right now all he felt was cold and sick.

"Is he . . ." In love with her was what he wanted to ask, but suddenly the words just wouldn't come out and there was a burning in his eyes and a tightness in his throat, and he had to get her out of here, right now.

"Will I'm gonna go back to bed now." He said stiltedly.

She nodded and stood up, then leaned down and gave him a hug he just didn't have it in him to return.

"If you need me call."

He nodded and she left the apartment. Outside she wiped at the tears burning her eyes for Xander. She had to go home. Right now she needed Tara. Needed to try and forget the look she'd just put on Xander's face, and wished she could just pick him up and carry him away to a place where things like this didn't happen. Where there were no vampires with an axe to grind and no bad things that would hurt him.





Part Twenty



Some dialogue taken from BtVS 'I was made to love you'

Staring out of the window until he heard the click of the door behind him that meant Willow had gone. He still didn't move. Somehow it felt wrong that the morning sunlight should be so bright, it should be midnight and raining. But what did it matter? Nothing mattered. Just breathing in and out, and he's wondering why he's not feeling anything but numb. Anger he could understand, maybe even tears but not this, not this kind of numb disbelief. Life goes on people said, no matter how bad things got, so maybe that was it. Breathing in and out and staring out of the window and that was life going on wasn't it? Never mind messy things like Spike having a crush on Buffy because the leaves were still blowing in the breeze and he was still breathing in and out and life was going on and the pain slowly building up inside him was going to pass real soon.

So now he knew. Spike couldn't have Buffy so he had Xander. He wasn't even second best, he was just there. That was why Spike treated him so badly. Because he could. Like Harmony, Spike had done exactly the same with her and if whoever he was shagging decided they didn't like the way Spike treated them then hey, that was no skin off Spike's pale nose because someone else would come along and one shag was pretty much like the next because they were nothing compared to Buffy and if someone he was shagging, yes you're just shagging them aren't you Spike, well if someone he was shagging began to have feelings for him then that was just more fun for Spike.

Breathe in, breathe out.

He'd always known there was another reason behind it. He'd just never in a million years thought it could possibly be because Spike had fallen for Buffy. Spike and Buffy. And if it was all wrong he couldn't say so because he can't really speak or think past that pain that doesn't seem to be passing. Just steadily welling up and instead of fading it's getting worse.

He really didn't know why he was even so upset. It was just sex. Spike was twisted and mean and treated him like crap. So he shouldn't be so upset.

Anyway of course Spike wanted Buffy. Get over the vampire/slayer bump which Spike obviously had and she was incredible. Brave and beautiful and smart. One of a kind. Of course Spike had fallen for her. Who wouldn't? Looking at his reflection in the glass, and it was no good. Stark and pale and plain. Not like Buffy, all glowing and golden and perfect. Why would Spike want him when someone like her was around? The sex that was so incredible to him probably was nothing to Spike, less than nothing. Spike probably found it funny to watch him try to struggle against it while he could take it or leave it. It was probably entertaining for Spike to just come and blast apart his whole life.

Like it was coming from a long way away he could hear the phone ringing. He didn't pick it up, and they didn't leave a message. Breathing wasn't really coming now, it was more like gasping. And the leaves weren't there anymore. There were just a blur of green. His reflection blurred and vanished. Good, best it go away, best it all went away. And sure life was going on. Sure it was. Just not for him right now but in an elsewhere place he couldn't quite get to. A place for people who hadn't discovered the chipped vampire that they were for some reason sleeping with had a crush on their best friend who was also a vampire slayer, and for some reason the fact that Buffy could turn Spike down made him feel worse than anything. She could do it and he couldn't because he was stupid and weak and for some reason, God only knew why was totally crazy about Spike.

Sometime later, could have been minutes, could have been hours the phone rang and he let the answerphone pick up again. He could hear Giles asking him to go over to the magic shop to help with some research when he got the message, but he still didn't move. Life could go on without him for a little longer.

***

Spike rolled over again. Kicked off the sheets. Pulled them back up. Threw them off. Rolled onto his back.

"Oh fuck this!"

He hadn't slept a wink, too wound up to settle. Alright, alright I need to think nice and calm like But he couldn't, his thoughts weren't making any sense, kept wandering round in circles, thinking about Xander and the sharp tearing pain of jealousy he'd felt, his hurt as Xander had pushed him away last night, his casual acceptance of the Slayers insults . . . .Thoughts like little ants crawling over his skin and they were Driving. Him. CRAZY.

He felt a panicky fluttering sensation deep in his stomach and rubbed his damp hands on the sheet. Okay this can be fixed, no need to get all worked up, I've just gotta start loving the Slayer again then it'll all be back to normal

He closed his eyes and pictured her as he last saw her, at the party chatting up that Ben guy. He tried to fan the jealous feeling he knew he should be having. Nothing. It just wouldn't come.

Against his will he remembered Xander, touching that bitch, the scent of her clinging all over him and the searing hurt felt like an invisible hand was squeezing his heart.

What the fuck is going on? he thought frantically. If he could just get inside his own stupid head he'd arrange things back the way they were, the way they ought to be. But they weren't that way anymore, and when love was gone, it was gone. It couldn't be forced back.

He didn't love her anymore, maybe never had. Maybe she'd been right. It was an obsession, maybe even escapism, hell he didn't know. Not that he didn't believe he hadn't had those feelings for her, they'd been there and they'd been powerful. Just not lasting.

Given enough time and the feelings had simply faded. As crushes do.

And now, domino effect one realisation followed another. What he'd been trying to hide from himself almost from the start. It's not just time is it? It's him. The sight of him makes me catch me breath even when I don't need to breathe, I move inside him an' I feel like I'm drowning in him, and I see him with someone else an' it's like a knife in my heart and he hates me and I can't blame him, I've been such a git to him and oh shit, shit I can't do it. I don't know what I'm gonna do but I can't use him anymore he's beat me

In a sudden rage he shot out of bed, picked up the radio he'd stolen from Xander about a million light years ago and threw it against the wall.

"You hear that you bastard?" He roared "You've won! Alright? You've won! Beat me to my bloody knees"

He angrily rubbed at his eyes, stupid tears. He never cried. Tears were for girls. So now what? His grand plan in tatters around him everything he thought he knew blasted apart and the only thing left he was sure of was that he couldn't hurt Xander. So that meant staying away from him. And that hurt more than anything. But it was just what he deserved.

He grabbed the mobile he'd frightened some hapless passerby into giving him, only days ago and dialled Xander's number. But there was no answer, eventually the answerphone picked up and he hung up feeling sick. He had to do something. He had to see him now. Had to try and put this right before he lost his courage. He shot to the door, then recoiled back as the bright sunlight hit him.

***

"Any answer?" Willow asked anxiously as she came into the back room to see Giles put the phone down from calling Xander.

"No. I left a message. Why, is he alright?"

"I don't know. I went over there this morning and told him about Spike liking Buffy. He was pretty wigged."

"But that would have happened anyway, yes? What did he say?"

"Nothing."

"Ah." Willow and Giles regarded each other for a moment. Willow didn't want to lie to Giles but it wouldn't exactly help Xander to have the whole gang knowing what he and Spike had been doing. She just hoped Giles wouldn't ask anything that would make her have to lie to him.

"Do you think now he knows he'll be more inclined to talk about whatever it is Spike may be holding over him?" Giles asked, polishing his glasses furiously.

"No. But he had to know."

"Yes. You did the right thing. Have you seen Spike lately?" Giles asked as they walked back into the shop where Tara and Dawn were talking. Buffy was out, looking for a robot of all things.

"He turned up at the party last night." Willow said catching Tara's eye. Tara gave her a supportive smile.

"Hmm I don't like that." Giles said. "Did he speak to Xander?"

"No - but he was speaking to Buffy. Which is worse?"

"Well personally until we find out what he's up to I'd rather not have him by any of you."

"Do you really think Spike's doing something to Xander?" Dawn asked unhappily.

Willow and Tara exchanged a look. "It's probably nothing" Willow said comfortingly. And untruthfully.

"I don't want Spike to hurt him" Dawn said a little pathetically. Caught between being an adult and being a kid she just wanted to make all the bad stuff go away. Willow could relate wholeheartedly.

"None of us do." Willow soothed her.

"We still don't know for sure that Spike is doing anything" Giles interupted.

Willow stared steadfastly at the floor. She could feel Giles's eyes boring into her. Tara took her hand and she gave it a grateful squeeze.

"Spike's not really running to hang out with us on a regular basis, we shouldn't see him for a while." Tara said trying to distract them.

It might have helped if Spike hadn't chosen that precise moment to burst into the shop, his blanket almost in flames around him. He threw it off and stamped the fire out, ignoring daggers he could feel being glared at him from four sets of eyes.

"Well" He said at last as the fire smouldered away. "Hello all. Whats going on then?"

Trying to act all icy cool, but the sunlight was still sending prickles down his overheated skin and the light was hurting his eyes. He looked around but he already knew Xander wasn't here. Thankfully nor was the Slayer. He couldn't have coped with her threats right now.

"Spike you're not welcome here" Giles said in a voice of ice.

"Yeah and by the way we're working on a way to deinvite you from here even if it is a public place." Willow glared at him, it was taking eveything in her not to just kick him in the sun without his damn blanket. Right now she couldn't think of a better sight than watching Spike burst into flames and she knew it wouldn't help but she just kept seeing Xander's face in front of her. Looking like Xander never should look. Unhappy, ashamed and hurt and Spike had done it.

Unknowing she dug her nails into Tara's hand. Tara didn't even flinch.

Reds eyes where boring into him like nails and weren't the rest of them even less pleased than usual to see him? What was going on? He tried to hide his discomfiture."Hey! Someones glad to see me, aren't you little bit?"

"Stay away from me." Dawn spat.

"I think you'd better go." Tare said strongly with a minimum of stutter, still about as threatening as an hour old kitten.

"Okay, look I don't want to be here with you losers either, and speaking of losers wheres the biggest loser of 'em all? Where's the donut boy?"

"Xander is not your concern Spike" Giles said calmly, removing his glasses.

"Look I just want . . ."

The rest of the sentence was lost in a gasp of surprise as Spike found himself shoved up against the wall with a very angry ex watcher leaning into his face in an awful paradoy of intimacy. Giles's eyes were suddenly the colour of steel and twice as cold.

"Listen to me." Giles's said his voice taut with the effort of remaining under control "I don't know what you've done to that boy. I don't want to know but it stops now. Xander has been told about your fixation on Buffy. He is not your way to hurt Buffy. There is no way to Buffy. Stay away from both of them. Clear out of here, and Spike, listen to me. Get over it."

"I don't know what you mean." Spike said coldly. His mind stuck on one loop. Xander knows, Xander knows oh shit no

"Yes you do. Move the hell on."

Spike didn't frighten easily. You didn't face down two Slayers not to mention over a hundred years with Angelus if you frightened easily. There was a steel thread running through him that kept him standing when other vampires would have long since been dust. Even with the chip where sometimes he felt so trapped and panicked that this damn thing was never going to come out, he'd be stuck with it for ever and ever, even then he managed to stay in control. But looking into Giles's eyes and what he saw there was ruthless. Merciless. Family ties he thought dizzily and even Angelus would have backed away from the look Giles had in his eyes. And Spike was chipped. Sliding out from Giles's grip he grabbed his blanket without another word and slid out of the door, pausing for a second in the shade before making the run for a nearby sewer entrance.

He heard the shop door open behind him. "It was you wasn't it?" He said without turning around.

"You told him"

"That's right" said Willow coldly.

He turned and could this possibly be sweet, kind little Red? This witch with murder in her eyes? He took a step back, almost into the sun.

"I know what you've been doing. Do you really think he could hide that from me?"

"I . . ."

"But then that was the plan right? You didn't want to hide it, I worked that out. Chew him up, spit him out and then tell us all about it? Humilate him, destroy him and all just to get Buffy to notice you."

"You know nothing" he snarled, "nothing about Xander . . ." he stopped, the sound of Xander's name in the air twisting him inside. "Nothing about what's going on."

"I know enough. It's all to do with Buffy"

Another wallop of adrenaline hit him and he broke out in a cold sweat all over. "Did you tell him that?"

"No. But he'll work it out eventually. If he hasn't already."

Oh fuck Spike closed his eyes briefly.

"Red you don't understand, the reason I was looking for him was to talk to him, you don't know what he's done to me"

"I don't care he's done to you, I care what you've done to him, if you go near him again I'll know and just pray it's Giles that gets hold of you. Because if it's me . . ." and all of a sudden that delicate face was carved out of granite, "I will cut out your heart and set it on fire." Not waiting to hear his next response she went back into the magic shop. Grasped hold of the counter as the trembles subsided and looked up at Tara, who for some reason was putting antiseptic on her hand.

***

The damn phone was ringing again Xander glared at it resentfully. Was it too much to ask for a little alone time? Why did everyone decide to call him now? Well he wasn't going to answer it. He'd watched the light of the day become brighter at noon then hazy and golden in the late afternoon and now he was waiting for the first tinge of darkness to spill into the sky, waiting for this dreadful, dreadful day to be over, surely things had to be better tomorrow? His answering machine picked up and he listened as the words came floating over to him.

"Xander it's me" Came Giles's voice. " Please pick up, we need you. I'm afraid . . .I've got some bad news. It's about Joyce."





Parts 21-37







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