Over the next few days, there’s progress.
At least if you count ‘the slow gathering of weapons and information that just might but probably won’t be enough to save the world in a final showdown that’s coming up all too soon and you're not all likely to survive’ as progress.
Which Xander does – because, yeah, he’s known the plural of apocalypse for years.
So, there’s progress.
And a whole lot of sex.
And not just Spike and Xander, either. It’s a regular orgy on Revello Drive.
Well, not that kind of orgy.
The kind of orgy where people have sex in twos and in separate rooms and do it quietly.
Okay, so not always that quietly, but they all feign mutual deafness as necessary. There’s an understanding.
Faith says that danger makes people horny.
She’s not wrong - how else does an extremely literal ex-vengeance demon with a tendency toward overshare end up with an extra dry ex-watcher and his stiff upper lip? And boy would Xander have appreciated actual deafness last night when that finally came to fruition - but Faith doesn’t have the whole story either.
The truth is, love is making Xander hornier than danger ever has. And even if he knew he and Spike had years instead of wondering if they were down to days, Xander still wouldn’t be able to keep his hands to himself. It’s a strange feeling. No matter how close they are, it’s never close enough.
He always wants more.
And the feeling seems to be mutual.
He feels the infamous rooftop-shouting phase coming on, but it’s neither the time nor the place and from the looks he gets from the girls, it’s not really necessary.
Willow can’t stop smiling at him.
Dawn tends to ogle them both.
And Buffy has this happy-sad-lost thing going on in her eyes that makes Xander want to hug her tight and tell her it’ll work out for her someday, but he can’t because he doesn’t know it’s true.
Angel, when he arrives on the scene, takes one whiff in their general direction and looks not so much wistful as totally wigged – even after all these years Xander can’t say he doesn’t enjoy seeing Angel squirm.
And doesn't not enjoy seeing Angel and Buffy walking off together every night, shoulder to elbow, toward the nearest cemetery.
It's also shared.
Spike's got a speculative look on his face.
Because Angel's showing no signs of going away even now that Caleb's not an issue and Xander's not so sure he trusts whatever motivation Angel's got for staying if it's one he's not willing to share.
With anybody but Buffy.
"It'd be totally wrong to follow them and spy on their conversation," Xander says. "Completely unethical."
"Sod unethical." Spike's already walking. "I don't trust that bogtrotting poof and Buffy's got enough on her mind without him brooding all over her."
He's got a point.
Which is how they end up following Buffy and Angel in a totally non-stalkery, non-snoopy way through Restview Cemetery,
Except it’s hard to snoop when there're no words.
The stalking part they've got down because Spike's clearly a bad influence on him.
And there's a whole new awkward silence when Buffy and Angel stop next to a crypt and there's soft words and gentle hands and the kind of kissing that should be private. The kind of words that should be private. "You don't have to do this, Angel. It's not your responsibility anymore."
"The First Evil? It's not responsibility making me do this, Buffy - it's more like a grudge match. Like Ali versus Frazier. It has to be me."
Buffy speaks for Xander too when she says, "Huh?"
"It's a big showdown that's been a long time coming. And I'm gonna win."
And then Spike's dragging Xander off in another direction and Xander's not sure what happened but it seems to make sense to Spike.
Who's muttering. Things like poof and overdramatic wanker and figures, doesn't it?.
Xander catches the coat tails of the last one. "It does? Wait - what does?"
"The grand gesture. The great finale. The bloody hero of the sodding hour. Ending out of a sodding gothic romance."
"You got all that from smoochies?"
Because life with Spike was full of surprises.
Like ulterior motives for getting Xander out here in the middle of the night - ulterior motives and a blanket stashed behind some rocks on the lake shore, a soft patch of grass, and a tube of unscented lubricant in Spike's duster.
“I can’t believe you made me save a sodding puppy.”
“You were the closest one. And besides, mortal-type people can’t just go running out in front of cars.” Xander tries to snake an arm around Spike’s waist, but Spike is having none of it.
“A puppy,” he says, lighting up and dragging on the cigarette as if he’s got to get the taste of the deed out of his mouth. “Sure, soul ‘n’ all now, but a vamp’s got his limits.”
"Like puppy saving." Xander gets his arm around Spike's waist and slips it into his front pocket before evasive maneuvers can be taken.
"Puppy saving's the top of the sodding list." Spike stops walking and glares at the hand in his pocket.
Xander wiggles his fingers.
Spike's a pretty forgiving guy with the wiggling of the fingers and naughty touching.
"As soon as we get home, I promise I'll make it up to you." Xander nibbles at an ear.
Spike tilts his head away. "What? You think I'm that easy?"
Xander just moves from ear to neck. "I know you're that easy."
"Pup-py," Spike says again, but he's not exactly squirming away.
"I heard Angel saved a puppy once."
Spike's glare intensifies. "That's supposed to make me feel better?"
"Well, hey, I figure with Angel back among the undead and corporeal and all, maybe you two could start a little club." Xander almost manages to keep a straight face - does some squirming away of his own so Spike won't manage to strangle him.
"Fuck you, mate," Spike says.
"Use plenty of lube and you are so on, buddy."
"Were you always this randy?" Spike squints at him. "Seem to remember spending more time with our clothes on once upon a time."
"There was an apocalypse going on and a house full of Slayers. Not what I call the right time for naked time." Xander shakes his head. "And since when do you complain about horn dog Xanders?"
"Horn dog?" Spike demands.
"Randy?" Xander rejoinders.
"The point is..." Spike trails off.
"Um, yeah, what exactly is your point here? That you'd rather brood about a puppy than have sex with me? 'Cuz I've gotta say, you're straying awfully close to Angel territory..."
"You had sex with Angel?"
"Okay - first? So not the point. Second? Euuugh!"
"So you and Angel - ?"
"Right. So, you and Angel - ?"
"Me and Angel." Xander holds up a finger.
"Well - "
"Me and Angel?" Xander points the finger at himself.
"Yeah, okay. That's sodding ridiculous."
"Okay," Spike says, tossing away his first cigarette and lighting up a second one, "I think there's something we need to agree on."
"Leaving Angel out of our foreplay?"
"Motion seconded and carried," Xander says. "We now return to our original agenda. Which, in case you lost the plot, was getting home so that I can make this evening up to you in the dirtiest way possible."
Xander nods. "The dirtiest."
Spike takes a quick survey of the deserted streets around them and smirks. "Then why don't you make it up to me right here?"
"That's dirty," Xander concedes.
Xander also agrees.
Agrees and takes Spike by the hand and does that walking backward toward the bed thing he's getting good at except there's no bed out here.
Unless a guy counts the bed of pansies Xander's got his heart set on desecrating about now.
"Just so we're clear - you do know how to break us out of the back seat of a cop car," Xander says on the way down into the pansies with a grip on Spike's belt.
"’Course I do."
"And you know people who can get the record of public indecency erased," Xander rolls them over and yanks open Spike's belt.
Xander's mouth is busy.
Xander gives a happy murmur of agreement, which also gives a happy to Spike, who's doing that gaspy whimper thing that he insists he never does because it's unvamplike.
Right. Like saving puppies.
"Wha - what did you say?" Spikes gasps between whimpers.
"Doesn't matter what I say," Xander says around Spike's cock. "It's all about the vibrating vocal chords."
Xander knows Spike didn't catch a word of that but -
"Right, then. Bloody hell - just keep talking."
- he's definitely gotten the gist.
Xander holds Spike's hips steady and keeps going.
He has a lot to say.
He gives a swallow that has Spike shuddering beneath him, then lifts his mouth off Spike's cock for second. "Okay?"
Spike blinks. "Okay? Buggering hell, yeah. More than. 'Cept for the stopping."
Xander smiles. "Great. He'll stay on the couch and he won't make a peep."
"Wait - " Spike's clearly marshaling brain cells. Brandishing the whip. Failing totally when Xander wraps his lips around Spike's cock and does that thing where his tongue and Spike's foreskin get jiggy with it. Spike grips his shoulder and gasps. "Who?"
Xander mumbles around Spike and the grip on his shoulder would be setting off the chip if there was still a chip to set off.
Spike pulls him off with both hands.
There's a wet pop and Xander's rubbing up and down the underside with his thumb and for a while it's looking like a Mexican standoff so Xander's not about to let go of his weapon.
There's an appalled look in Spike's eyes. There's also a really lusty look and Xander waits for them to duke it out with a loose grip and a hand on Spike's ass. "How long?"
"Couple of nights while he's following up this crazy slayer lead in LA," Xander says and gets back to that humming and sucking thing that was working so well for him. "He's bringing a few slayers along, but hey, that's why we got a place with a guest room," he says around a mouthful of Spike.
But either Spike's hearing is getting better or his cock's growing ears because Spike transfers his grip to Xander's ears and eases him off.
They look at each other.
The caballeros circle each other, guns drawn.
"It's not a guest room,” Spike says. “It's a training room."
"With a bed."
"That's not - "
Xander stretches out his tongue and licks.
And it's white flags all around and Spike's hands in Xander's hair and back to the gaspy whimpers. "Couple of nights. And you owe me - fucking hell - a great shag," Spike takes this opportunity while Xander's speechless to make his demands. "And blows every night at the club. And - "
The last demand was destined to remain unknown because Spike tenses and comes and kneads his fingers in Xander's hair, catching breath he totally doesn't need. It's kinda flattering.
It's kinda hard on his scalp.
Xander pries Spike's hands open and then tucks him away. "And?"
And the leg cramps and sore knees are totally worth the fuck-dumb look on Spike's face so Xander kisses him. "They get here tomorrow. I'm sure they'll be in and out so fast we'll hardly even notice."