Forty-Eight Hours In The Lives of Xander The Bear And The Vamp Who Came Back by Reremouse

It's ten years since Sunnydale went down and Spike went down with it; Xander's changed and Spike hasn't, but they'll always have Cheetos.

Warnings: Banter, guyness, grossness, fluff, vagueness, pulled teeth, artificial flavorings, casual use of marijuana, totally excessive use of adverbs, zen Xander, twitchy Spike, lack of plot and possible signs of impending apocalypse.

Xander never started out with a plan to be that kind of gay guy.

You know the kind - the one who buys a house and lives in it for about five minutes before he's ripping up the floor and painting the walls exciting new colors.

Installing crown molding.

Then again he never started out with a plan to be gay.

It's just something he's learned about himself and the world he lives in over the years.

He's learned a lot of things:

He's gay.

That's one.

He'll never regain the svelte boyish figure of his youth.

That's two.

And there's a certain type of gay guy who really really digs that kind of thing.

That's a really important three and it makes Xander's life pretty good. Of course, nobody's called him 'daddy' yet and asked him to spank him but that's a wig he'll wig when the time comes.

And fourth is he's really got a knack for working with his hands and an eye for design - but it's a pretty good eye so he only needs the one.

Xander's a lucky guy, a guy who takes things as they come, not a plan guy.

So when he takes a bite of his cheese and onion sandwich, washes it down with iced tea, sets them both down, puts his feet up on the railing he's gotta get around to painting, and lights up a fat joint, about the last thing he's expecting is for a long, lean black car to pull up in front of his driveway, the back door to open, and a bundle of skin, bones, bleach and black leather to be ejected onto his lawn.

The car drives off.


And Spike lies there, pushing down the daisies because apparently he's a rebel like that.

It doesn't even occur to Xander to wonder if this is Spike - or how this can be Spike ten years and a thousand miles from Sunnydale.

So when he crouches next to Spike and rolls him over onto his back, takes a good look at a bloody nose and broken teeth, he's not surprised they're Spike's nose and teeth.

Well - okay - not much.

And if he'd had any doubts this was the real Spike, not an impostor, they'd have to slink away with their tails between their legs in shame when Xander picks Spike up.

He gets a poorly aimed fist in the kidney. "I can walk on my own, tosser!"

Fortunately, it's pretty well-padded as kidneys go so he sets Spike on his feet and watches him gracefully collapse into a heap o' vampire. "Any time you're ready, Spike."

Spike squints at him.

Squints some more. Tilts his head like the angle will change the view and sways dizzily. "Harris?"

"That's what it says on my driver's license.” Spike's still swaying and it gives Xander the urge to play one of those funky Indian reed flutes to see if he can charm Spike up off the ground.

Which is probably the only way Spike's gonna stand and walk any time soon but Xander's not on a schedule. He's a guy with time on his hands and a mellow that's gotta be good for at least another hour so he sits on the grass and leans back on his hand, smooths his beard and thinks of other things while he waits for Spike to come back around to the land of verbal conversation.

The grass is pleasantly lush under his fingers and he gives thanks to mother nature and Sears Craftsman, makers of fine lawn aerators and fine green growing things.

"Huh," Spike says when his world eventually revolves back around. Xander waits for it to revolve the rest of the way in hopes of a complete sentence. It doesn't take too long. "That really is all you, isn't it?"

Xander looks down at himself. Old jeans ripped off at the knee. Ben's Brewing Company tee stretched over a wide chest and a stomach that's probably got more in common with a keg than a six pack. Beard by ZZ Top Jr. He flops back onto the grass and wiggles until he's comfortable. "Yep."

"Have you no pride?"

"Actually," Xander says, leaning up on an elbow and watching Spike sway - back and forth, back and forth - "it's pretty fair to say I'm a one man parade these days." With a rainbow flag fluttering from his house's flagpole. And then because he's not the kind of guy who holds one-sided conversations and he stopped being the guy who worried about what other people thought a long time ago, "How about you? Pride?"

And Spike actually gives it some thought. Grimaces. Tips over with his head in the garden soil Xander's been saving for jasmine once the porch railing's been painted. He bleeds quietly for a few minutes, sniffs wetly and rubs blood off his cheek, licks it off his wrist. "Yeah - no - not really."

"Want to come in?" Xander twitches a shoulder toward the craftsman cottage.

"Yeah. Sure."

It takes a shoulder, an arm across the backs of Spike's thighs and a quick detour to the lawn chair and table to collect illegal goods to get Spike to the door.

Xander pauses on the threshold where Spike's duster is flattening against an invisible door.

And feels kinda stupid saying, "Come in, Spike."

"Get on with it," Spike answers and coughs and Xander's not going to think about the wetness on the back of his calves because - ew.

"Are you bleeding?" He kicks the door closed behind them and surveys his options. Chair - which Spike's gonna fall off of. Floor - which Xander buffed about a week ago and doesn't wanna do again because buffing means cleaning and cleaning means - well - cleaning.

"Yeah." The answer is eventual. Muffled. Soggy.

The couch is covered in about three days' worth of newspapers. Xander dumps Spike onto it. "Just don't drip blood on the Sunday funnies. I haven't read them yet."

There's rustling while Xander heads to the kitchen to snag a couple of beers - and a wet cloth.


Spike's engrossed in Get Fuzzy but he reaches for the beer anyway. Gets the cloth.

Gives Xander a dirty look.

But if there's one thing a few extra pounds do for a guy, they make him good at standing his ground - which Xander does and intends to keep doing until Spike gets the point.

It happens surprisingly quickly.

"Do this often, do you?" Spike asks from behind the wet dish towel.

"Do what?" Xander knocks a few sections of the paper off the couch cushions and sinks into the comfortable hollow in the corner cushion meant for his ass.

"Invite strange men into your home." He leers with broken teeth and leaves a bloody thumb print on the Family Circus, drops the towel on the floor and takes the beer.

"Yeah." Xander takes a time out to relight his joint and suck down some leafy herbal sanity, blows smoke and adds, "But you are - bar none - the strangest."

Spike reaches over and takes it, inhales deeply and leaves blood all over the paper. "Cheers."

And Xander privately acknowledges that - yes - Spike really is back.

It's a good thing he's not a plan guy. Because if there's one thing Spike's bad for - it's plans.

It's like a waiting game, the game they play sitting on the couch, ashing in the cereal bowl between them and drinking beer. Spike's waiting for Xander to ask why he's there. Waiting with all the subtlety of a cat at dinner time. And Xander's waiting for Spike's impatience to get the better of him. A lot more patiently.

But he's pretty good at waiting these days.

And poker.

It all comes of regular sex and having things to do to keep his hands occupied.

Right now, they're occupied with rolling. "Never thought you were the type," Spike says, like Xander's more likely to ask if he's already talking.

"I'm a lot of types." Not many of which he was when he and Spike were regular acquaintances.

"Type to flout the law."

Xander considers that - even after all these years he's not totally sure what 'flout' means but he's willing to take a guess. "I had a fake ID when I was eighteen."

He can't decide if Spike looks impressed, disgusted or concussed. "Way to go, Harris." And he decides on concussed when Spike ashes on a newspaper and they spend the next few seconds frantically beating a hole in last Wednesday's Business section until it stops smoldering.

"I'm a one man crime syndicate," Xander says to the singe mark on his couch cushion. He licks his thumb. Rubs it.

"I always - "

Spike reaches out to tap ash off the end and meets Xander's eye - don't even, Xander's eye says.

And Spike must be fluent in eye because he pauses to ash in the right place and doesn't get back to what he always, just smokes and picks gravel out of the tread of his boots with the dog end clamped between his teeth.

The silence stretches.

It's a battle of wills.

Xander's willing to throw the battle, if not the war. "You always what?"

"Always expected you to be the good guy, whatever else."

"I am a good guy."

Spike looks pointedly at the bag of weed.

"For a given value of good," Xander concedes. "Need a window replaced? I'm your man. Need help moving because your boyfriend threw you out? Also your man. Intimidating the ex-boyfriend free of charge." He pauses to zip the bag and toss it onto the coffee table and hunt for the lighter. Passes it to Spike. "And anyway, I share."

"Don't think sharing contraband with the evil undead qualifies you as good," says the politest vampire in the world while he lights up his second and drops the bloody dog end of the first into the ash tray.

"Are you evil again?"

Spike scowls at the black television screen, flicks a pebble out of his boot. "No."

"Then I must be good."

It's logic.

And Spike's not objecting.

"So how does a not very evil vampire take his pizza these days?"

"Pepperoni. Extra chili flakes."

Xander orders two pizzas.

He's got his mouth full of pineapple pizza when Spike gets around to conceding the war while licking pepperoni grease off his thumb and prefacing his concession with an evil eye toward Xander's pizza. "That's bloody disgusting you know." And when Xander shrugs and takes another bite he gets around to the main event. "I owe a bloke some money."

As surprising revelations go, it's more of an 'oh' than an 'oh my god!' But Xander figures he can be the better man and not point it out.

Except Spike's not done.

"Might've wrecked his car, too," he says around a bite of pizza, lethally hot - disturbingly crunchy. Reaches into his mouth to pick pepperoni from between his teeth.

He comes away with a pepperoni-topped piece of broken tooth, shrugs and flicks it into the cereal bowl with the pebbles from his boots and Xander quietly invokes the whole Sunnydale selective blindness thing. "Was it a nice car?" He sets down his pizza and uses a napkin. He's gay. He's allowed to use napkins. And he's not so sure his shorts are clean enough to wipe his hands on.

"Pagani," Spike says, licking a finger.

Xander takes a long drink of his beer and concedes, "Possibly worth dying for."

"Got that right, mate." There's more fiddling at the mouth. Muffled crack and clink but it's nothing a few squirts of Palmolive won't erase from the cereal bowl. He'll just keep telling himself that.

"So you owe him money, wrecked his car - "

"Stole his car," Spike corrects. "Then wrecked it."

"And you're alive - or whatever - to tell the tale...why exactly?" Xander's curiosity is invoked and he admits Spike's better than anything on TV.

Without commercial breaks.

"Might've put his son in the hospital," Spike says, non sequiturially.

And appears to think it's an answer.

Xander doesn't know.

In Spike's head it might be an answer.

He pokes around in Spike's head.


Unlike Spike - who's doing it more literally and Xander gets back to the point because the point's way better than flinching when Spike extracts another ruined tooth.

Xander considers offering more beer.

Possibly whiskey.

"He really doesn't like his son, huh?"

"What?" The word's muffled around Spike's fingers while he struggles with the broken tooth and Xander revises his mental offer to include pliers.

"His son. You hospitalized his son so I'm thinking - what - kill the heir?"

"Fuck, no." Spike - thank god - gives up on the tooth and resumes his beer. "He dotes on the little sod. It was only a bump on the back of the head anyway."

Xander does a little mental calculation - or geometry - something like that. "He was blowing you when you wrecked it wasn't he?"

"Well - yeah." Spike drains his beer, helps himself to another joint and lights it casually. "It was his idea, mind."

"And I'll bet you acted completely like a responsible adult until he held you down and forced you."

"Come off it, Harrs. Pagani. Blow job. Hundred and fifty fucking miles an hour up the Pacific Coast Highway." Spike spells it out.

And he may have lost the war, but Xander admits he totally wins the spelling bee. "Wow."

Spike wrenches the partial tooth free and flicks it into the bowl.

"Fucking right."

"You know, Spike - in this day and age - we have wise men. Learned men. Men we call dentists," Xander says while he's not doing dishes - mainly because pizza gets eaten out of the box and Xander doesn't do dishes until he realizes he hasn't seen the kitchen sink in weeks.

Because he's not doing dishes, he's sitting on the couch next to Spike who's struggling with the stubborn remains of yet another tooth. "Oh yeah - like to see how that one turns out," he says toothlessly.

Okay - he lisps.

And Xander's not doing much to hide his grin because he takes his small pleasures where he finds them. "No - seriously - demon-aware dentists who treat vampires. It's an after-hours kinda deal."

That gives Spike pause.

Pause during which he wipes his bloody hands on the damp towel. "And you'd know this how?"

"Demon magnet."

"You've shagged a vampire?"

"I shagged the dentist."

Spike seems to consider. Shrugs. "Nah. Almost got this one anyway. Wouldn't happen to have any blood on hand would you, mate?"

"Just the usual amount your average human guy carries around."

"Don't suppose - "

Spike pulls up short and squints at the delivery menu Xander's holding in front of his face. Takes it and reads it. "Twelve-fifty a pint for pig? That's sodding highway robbery!"

"Delivered fresh to your door," Xander agrees and chews on a pizza crust. The lisp almost makes the temper tantrum kinda - well - cute. "They've got blood cubes too."

This gives Spike pause. "Chinese or Vietnamese?"


"I'm a little short on dosh..."

Xander lifts up, fishes around in his back pocket and extracts his wallet. Follows it with Master Card because Spike regrowing his teeth? Priceless.

Also priceless is the way Spike's staring at the card with suspicion and temptation stamped all over his face - the suspicion's currently winning. "What's in it for you?"

Xander shrugs.

"Don't even know I'll pay you back."

"Pretty sure you won't, actually." Xander takes the last piece of pizza, sits back with a satisfied sigh.

Spike's looking at him with an expression Xander's pretty sure he's never seen on Spike's face before.


"That's - decent of you, Harris."

"Wasn't I just telling you that? I'm a decent guy." Xander gestures with his pizza. Decently. "There's some pliers in the drawer over there on your side table by the way."

Spike looks startled.

Spike looks pensive.

Spike looks - pleased.

"Cheers, pet."

Because nothing says 'mi casa es su casa' like assisted tooth extraction and take-out blood.

"Here," says Spike and all his teeth and his blood breath, handing over Xander's phone in the middle of the night.

"Fazeh?" Xander says - or something like it - because, well, middle of the night and Xander hasn't been middle of the night guy in years. His mouth tastes like something's nesting in it.

But apparently 'fazeh' means 'come and sit on my bed and have a nice chat with the person who calls my phone in the middle of the night,' because Spike does just that, mattress dipping under him, his hand propped on Xander's thigh like it belongs there. Or like Xander's part of the furniture. "The gentleman of the house is occupied."

Spike doesn't offer to take a message and even in his sleep-deprived state, Xander's glad. He's just not up for signs of the Apocalypse this early in the morning.

But Spike seems to have the telephone conversation thing under control and Xander doesn't want to talk to anyone who'd call him this time in the morning anyway - it's always either an ex-boyfriend or a telemarketer.

Possibly both at once.

Because Xander never claimed to be fussy when there was mutual nakedness involved and Ted was fun - if you overlooked the whole quota obsession - and Xander did.

Well - until he started to chafe because a guy's got to draw the line somewhere.

His indiscriminate and very equal-opportunity bed sharing habits are gonna be his undoing one day but it'll take more than middle of the night phone calls from the telemarketer he used to share with answered by the vampire secretary currently perched on the side of his mattress to push him into changing his ways.

Xander is nothing if not resilient.

Spike tosses the phone into a pile of dirty clothes. "Ted says hello."

"Fuck off, Ted," Xander answers, doing a credible impression of a man going back to sleep.

It's also apparently a credible impression of a man inviting a vampire to share the bed because Spike worms his way into the warm spot behind Xander and stretches out with a completely unnecessary sigh. "Not a bad life you've got here."


There's movement on the bed. A thunk and another thunk, the sounds of a vampire settling in for the night. "That any way to treat a guest?" There's hurt in Spike's voice. Hurt Xander's pretty sure's chock full of artificial flavorings and sweeteners.

He ignores it. Xander's always been good at keeping his priorities straight. And it's not as if he's using the other half of the bed anyway. "Good night, Spike." Because as conversation enders go it tends to work.

"Yeah, well," Spike says, a man at loose ends. There's silence.

There's shifting.

There's settling. And a warning accompanied by a finger poking Xander in the spine. "Mind you don't flatten me in your sleep, Harris."

Xander smiles into his pillow. "You pays your money and you takes your chances, Spike."

Spike doesn't sleep on the couch.

And Xander doesn't flatten him.

But it's not for lack of trying. There's something Spike-shaped and still beneath Xander when he wakes up and concedes that - yeah - it's probably a good thing Spike doesn't need to breathe.

Xander catches a whiff of his own breath and amends that - definitely a good thing Spike doesn't need to breathe, Xander lies there for a while heartily wishing he didn't either.

He scratches his chin through his beard and sorts through thoughts like a junk drawer.

Not looking for anything.

Just sorting - because Spike's right there so the usual next morning confused junk drawer thoughts search doesn't need to go on. No. Xander's just sorting thoughts for something to do.

And it's interesting lying there with Spike under him and Spike's belt buckle distantly digging into his hip while he looks at Spike close up.

Eventually, Spike's looking back.

When he is, Xander picks up pretty much where they left off. "So we've covered the basic how you got here but that's only half the important question."

An eyebrow goes up. The scarred one.

Spike's breath puffs into Xander's beard and he wishes it hadn't. He could have gone the rest of his life without experiencing morning blood breath. It smells about like he'd have expected.

"You're no bower of roses yourself, Harris," says the mind-reading vampire.


And Spike changes the subject. "What's the other half of the important question?"

"Oh - that. The other half is," and Xander pauses for dramatic effect. Also for getting Spike's belt buckle relocated to another area of skin. "The other half is why?"


"As in - why me?"

"Not the moving houses type, are you? Good bet you'd be where you were last and I wasn't about to ask him for a lift to L.A.." Sarcasm.

"You'd go to Angel these days?" Curiosity.

"No." Disgust.

"So what you're saying is - " Smug.

Spike clamps a hand over the smug before it gets the rest of the way out and manhandles Xander off him with impressive ease. "I'll be borrowing your toothbrush, Harris," he informs Xander on the way out of the bedroom.

Xander thinks about blood breath.

Thinks about Spike having teeth to brush again with relief.

Then he thinks about the spare toothbrushes under the sink he'd have given Spike if he asked. Shrugs. "Suit yourself."

"And I didn't come here because you were my first choice," comes from the open bathroom door.

"I'm pretty sure I wasn't even your third choice."

There's a pause filled with vigorous brushing and foaming.



"Might've been third."

Xander leans in the doorway, appreciating the novelty of a vampire flossing his teeth. "Who were the first two?"

"Not telling."

"And why didn't you go to them?"

"Was it the 'not' or the 'telling' you had a problem with?" Spike leaves his used floss on the side of the sink, turns, and hops onto the vanity, legs swinging, hands dangling, not reflecting.

Your typical vampire houseguest.

"No problems," Xander assures him, finger-combing his beard and scratching an itch on his jaw. "I just appreciate a little futility of a morning." He pads past Spike to the toilet, lifts the seat because he may be gay but years of training are hard to break.

Spike's gone before the stream hits the water.

"So," Xander calls after he flushes. "Why?"

There's an answer Xander can't make out over the flow of water while he's washing his hands. He turns off the water.

"Come again?"

"Sod off!"

"God, you're grumpy in the morning." Xander yawns and scratches his way past Spike and into the refrigerator. Passes Spike a foam container of leftover blood and pulls out the orange juice.

It's fresh squeezed - possibly proof of his gayness.

And he drinks it straight from the container - pretty much proof positive he's a guy, gay or not.

They stand there in the kitchen drinking cold fluids straight from the container together.

But only Xander belches when he's done.

"Thought gay blokes were supposed to be all delicate."

"Shows you how many gay guys you know." Which should be surprising given Spike's killer cheekbones and the kind of physique more often seen on TV than in art class. Xander has himself a think under the watchful arch of Spike's raised eyebrow. Adds Spike's tendencies, subtracts Spike's known obsessions and multiplies by 'vampire.' And there's the answer. "You ate them before you had a chance to get to know them didn't you?"

"You get to know your food before you eat it?" Spike issues the challenge. "How many Bessies, Chicken Littles and Wilburs d'you take the time to get to know?"

"Well - there's Mr. Tofu - but he doesn't really say much. Kinda wobbles at me until I put him out of his misery. It's a whole mutually-supportive thing."

Spike gives Xander a long stare and Xander takes the opportunity to give his jaw a long and satisfying scratch. Stays there scratching while Spike opens fridge - freezer - closes them and rests his head against the metal. "You're pathetic, Harris."

"No. Not anymore. Just vegetarian," Xander corrects.

"Same thing," Spike decides, running his tongue over perfect teeth with visible satisfaction.

Xander considers it.

And cops to it. "Okay so I changed my mind about my meat eating ways when confronted with dinner on the hoof."

"Pathetic." Spike enunciates every syllable while rifling through the cabinets.

"And then I discovered the hidden benefits." Xander retrieves his bag of Cheetos before Spike can get them open. The first Cheeto is sacred.

He eats it.


"Benefits," Spike says and pulls one of those completely unfair vampire moves that ends with the bag and Spike on the other side of the kitchen. Crunching.

And if the bag of Cheetos will not come to Xander, Xander will go to the bag of Cheetos so he joins Spike against the cabinets and dips into the bag. "Sure. You know - lower cholesterol, healthy heart, vitamins, minerals, blow jobs."

Spike's eyebrows are doing their thing again and Xander crunches contentedly. "Your doctor's that happy with you, then?"

When Xander's done choking on Cheeto crumbs, he clears his throat. "First? My doctor is approximately seventy years old and a great-great aunt many times over. And second, she's the biggest dyke in dykedom. I don't think even world peace would make her that happy."

"World peace is overrated, pet."

"You would think so."

They crunch, side by side, finding solidarity in neon orange fingertips and artificially inflated corn. "So, blow jobs," Spike eventually says.

"Vegetarians taste better."

"What? There's been side by side semen taste-tests?" The question is flip. Amused. Dismissive.

"Actually, yeah." And Xander's gonna stop grinning at the memory - one of these days.



"Oh yeah. Seriously. Best taste test ever."

"While we're on the subject," Spike says in the tone of voice guaranteed to make a guy want to get off the subject as quickly as possible, "of change."

"There was a subject of change?"

"Vegetarianism," Spike spells out, slowly for the Slow.

Xander dismisses it with a pfft and a wave of his orange hand.

Spike imitates the orange-fingered wave. And is not above imitating the, "Pfft?"

"Pfft," Xander confirms, this time waveless because the hand is back in the Cheetos bag. "We'd moved on to blow jobs."

"Which brings us to change," Spike concludes with the logic that is not.

"I'm waiting with bated breath to hear the explanation." Xander crunches. "Breath baited with cheese, so it'd better be good." He reviews the thought. "Good or a rodent."

Spike has the look of a guy who's not about to go there without being kidnapped, tied up, shoved into a trunk and driven there in a car with the serial numbers all filed off and stolen plates. "You've changed."

"Okay," Xander agrees because it's as true as it isn't true. "Possibly not as much as the vampire who's occupying space in my kitchen and eating Cheetos instead of drinking the blood of virgins but go on."

"Virgins," Spike says in a tone of complete dismissal.

"You don't dig the virgins?"

"Bloody boring," Spike gets tired waiting for Xander to remove his hand from the bag and shoves his in next to it, fighting for space and Cheetos. He emerges with a triumphant handful and waves them at Xander. "And anyway, don't make this about me, mate. We're talking about you."

"Me and change," Xander reminds him. "But you're gonna have to be more specific. I mean - it's not exactly a short topic."

"Or a small topic. You could say it's a topic with heft," Spike mumbles, picking Cheeto from a molar.

"Is this a weight thing?"

"No. You were tubby enough in Sunnydale."

"Get with the program, Spike. I am not tubby." Xander scrapes orange sludge from his thumb with his bottom teeth. "I live large."

Spike is not to be dissuaded. "You," Spike says like a man on a mission, poking at Xander and leaving an orange fingerprint in the center of Xander's chest, "were a model heterosexual."

"Model?" Xander brushes cheese from his chest, wipes the rest on a dish towel because Cheetos just aren't the breakfast of champions they used to be. "Model might be overstating the case," he tells the contents of the refrigerator while rummaging. "I mean - sure you've got the whole lusting after slayers and almost getting married thing. On the other hand," he straightens up, balancing a carton of eggs, package of cheese, loaf of bread and tub of butter, "almost. And then there's the whole thing with Yolanda."

"And she's - ?"

Xander clangs a frying pan onto the burner and stretches until his shoulders pop, slumps with satisfaction. "A he."

Spike's eyebrows do that thing where they kind of float toward his hairline without any apparent awareness on the part of the vamp they belong to.

Xander watches.

Xander shakes it off.

Xander gets back to the topic at hand.

"Not that I knew that little detail until the critical moment but - " Xander shrugs with what he hopes seems more like eloquence and less like a guy who doesn't have the words.


So much for eloquence.

"But the moment was more critical than the detail and so it kinda didn't matter at that point. And then it really didn't matter. And then we got on to the whole mattering but in a really good way thing and it's been all down the big gay hill from there." With skis. And possibly a jet pack. But he doesn't say that part out loud, so Spike says:

"Where's this Yolanda now?" Like a man not at all interested in the answer.

"Boston," Xander says. "And now he's a she. We stay in touch."

Spike lobs a disbelieving look.

Xander fields it. "What can I say? When I make a change, I make a change. How do you take your eggs?"

Thus demonstrating his incredible change skills.

"Vampires don't eat eggs."

Xander tips butter into the pan, balances the egg carton on one hand and pulls Dave's Insanity Sauce out of the fridge.

"Scrambled'll do," Spike concedes and then sits on the counter, thoroughly contaminating the workspace. It'd probably bother Xander if he wasn't so far past bothering. Or if he was more stereotypically gay. Or less stereotypically a guy.

As it is, he just lifts Spike's right leg to get a whisk from the drawer. "And here I had you totally down as a soft boiled with salt and pepper guy."

There's a flicker of yellow in blue eyes, hint of a growl and Xander shakes his head because he has to face it - who knew soft boiled eggs would be the button pushers.

Victorian vampires.

Go figure.

Xander figures.

Spike growls.

There's toast.

There's water boiling.

And when there's tea, he puts it into Spike's hands without comment because he knows a thing or two about calming the wild Englishman these days.

It's Spike who makes the comment after a few sips. "You've shagged an Englishman, haven't you?"

"Um. About that, actually," Xander tells the eggs, scraping them onto two plates and busily buttering toast.


"Huh? No - Englishman. Definitely - very - Eng - okay, I shagged Giles."

Tea sprays across the kitchen.

"Is there anybody you won't shag?" Spike's voice is pitched a manly octave higher than usual.

Xander doesn't even have to think hard on the answer. "Angel."

Spike grimaces and bolts his tea. "Right."

"Yeah - I'm afraid only one of us has had the poor taste for that one."

Spike doesn't deny it.

Spike does hold out his cup for more tea.

Xander is not cruel enough to withhold it.

"Haven't shagged the old man in years," Spike says out of nowhere. Or possibly out of the bad mental place if the expression on his face is much to go on.

Xander goes on it. "We all live and learn."

"He wasn't so bad in the old days."

Xander carries his plate to the table. Conversations like this are better had over comfort food and mouths full enough to necessitate thought before speech. At least some of the time. This isn't one of those times. "Are we talking about the raping, pillaging and plundering old days here?"

"Well - yeah - but he knew how to have fun back then."

Xander's eyebrows are doing some lifting and communicating of their own.

Spike shrugs. "You'd be surprised what you can be nostalgic over with enough time to come to terms." He gloops Dave's over his eggs and forks a bite into his mouth. Chokes it down manfully and squints the squint of a guy whose eyes aren't watering.

And Xander's got to admit he's impressed by the force of will that lets Spike swallow and take another bite of eggs that are - really - the definition of insanity. Impressed enough to share. "Yeah - I kinda miss getting my ass kicked by the demon of the week. Sometimes."


"I mean - not the bruises after - but there's really something exhilarating about that 'oh my god I'm about to die' moment."

Spike's eyes are distant - if moist. "Yeah - made me feel alive."

"Almost dying made you feel alive?"

"What? No." The scorn is back. It's good scorn. Spike could package it and market it internationally. "Killing did."

"You haven't gotten really really happy lately, have you?" It's a rhetorical question because Xander's pretty sure he'd be twelve pints short by now if Spike'd misplaced his soul.

"See if I get misty eyed over memory lane with you again, Harris."

"That's not memory lane, Spike," Xander says around a mouthful of toast. "That's Dave's."

Spike clears his throat and takes another defiant mouthful. "Sod Dave."

After breakfast, Spike apparently decides it's time for round two.

Round two of what, Xander doesn't know but it's got a definite round two-ish feel that starts around the time Spike plants himself in Xander's big comfy chair with his knees spread in a way that says either 'alpha male, here' or 'fuck me.'

They're surprisingly easy to confuse until Spike talks.

"Do you actually have a job?"

It's a tone reserved for aunts and uncles, laced with disapproval but Xander figures the disapproval might only be because he's lighting up an after breakfast joint and hasn't made any motions toward sharing.

"Sure," Xander says through a cloud of smoke. Throws things off the coffee table until he surfaces with a card and waves it at Spike until it's taken.

"XYZ Home design?"

"It's not like there's anything else a company run by three guys named Xander, Yao and Zeke can call itself."

"Harris - home design?" The disbelief is loud and clear and Xander has to hand it to him - Spike's a really emotive guy.

"What part of gay slipped through your steely vampire mental reflexes?"

Spike snorts, rifles through the detritus on the table until he comes up with an unlit joint and the cigarette lighter, takes what Xander's pretty sure is a fortifying drag and gestures sharply at a room that - okay - is not exactly ready for its close up in Home & Garden. "You live in a sty, Harris. What kind of idiot would hire you to decorate their home."

"Design," Xander corrects. "The decoration is all Zeke - and I'll have you know this is the most structurally sound sty in the neighborhood."

Spike ignores that - and Xander thinks he should be just a little more grateful the place isn't going to fall down around their ears.

"What's Yao do?"

"Yao convinces people to give us their money."

"He any good?"

"I have a fifty inch flat-screen television and a crew of twenty guys."

"And live in a sty."

Xander shrugs and stretches his toes to the cool, cool just barely still morning air. "I like my creature comforts."

Comforts that don't seem to do much for the creature taking up Xander's best chair because Spike digs his fingers into his hair and Xander'll swear later he hears the crack of truly titanic hair care products giving way to vampy strength. "Nargh," Spike says.

Xander reviews the conversation with all the arithmetic at his command and nothing equals 'nargh.' Demon math - never Xander's best subject.

Even though it really should be.

Just as a survival skill.

But there's something tense enough in Spike's posture to bring out the old mindless comforting and Xander's hand's just about to make contact with Spike's wrist when words happen.

"You weren't supposed to be like this."

Xander drops his hand onto Spike's knee. Spike's hands stay right where he put them, locked in bleached hair and gel.

And maybe he should be ashamed of himself that the first thing that comes to mind is: "What? Too nice to kill?"

Because - hey - it wouldn't be the first time someone he thought of as a friend tried to kill him.

It almost makes him nostalgic.

But not nostalgic enough to miss Spike tugging his hands free of hair bent at unnatural angles and dropping them into his lap and even though Spike's hand is about a millimeter from Xander's, they both stay where they are. "I'm not here to kill you. Pillock."

"Maim me? Turn me? Hand me over to a demonic cult as a human sacrifice?" It should be disturbing how easily all these alternatives come to mind.

"You've got a bizarre fantasy life. You know that?"

"I never said I was good at guessing games." Xander shrugs and pats Spike's knee.

Spike looks down at Xander's hand like he just now realized it was there.

"Come on - how wasn't I supposed to be? Nice?"

It could be nice. The way Spike's fingers creep over Xander's and slide up his forearm leaving goosebumps behind. It's not entirely expected - but then the way Xander's life has gone, touching and being touched is always a pretty random event.

But Spike's shaking his head and his hand makes its way to Xander's bicep. Squeezes. "You let yourself go."

It's the wistfulness in Spike's voice that catches Xander by surprise. Gives him time to consider his answer.

And there's really only one.

"Maybe - but I like where I went."

"Worn a groove in the corner booth at the local doughnut shop, have we?"

And Xander doesn't have to sneak a peek at Spike's face, just smiles serenely and agrees like a man who knows that serenity can be found for two dollars and eighty cents in a medium frozen latte and a chocolate cream-filled doughnut on a hot summer day. "It's the shop where everybody knows your name."

But Spike doesn't answer - not unless a man considers a frustrated huff an answer.

So he just waits, feels the seam of Spike's jeans under his thumb and observes Spike getting hard with a kind of academic interest. Pavlov's dog had nothing on vampires.

"I just insulted you," Spike says like Xander's hand isn't on his thigh.

Xander considers it, looks up from Spike's zipper to answer. "Well - you tried. I'll give half points for trying."

"I called you fat." He can't decide if Spike sounds frustrated or desperate.

"That's where you lost points." Xander finally retrieves his hand and rests his chin on it, trying to see the situation through Spike's eyes.

"You saying you're not fat?"

"I'm saying I don't mind if I am." He gestures to the zipper. "You gonna take care of that?"

"Why? Think I'd let a doughy pillock like you do it for me?"

"Maybe not at first."

Spike snorts. It's a high quality snort because Spike's an expert in derision too. "Or second or third, mate."

"Yeah, but by fourth you'd be begging for more."

"That right?"

"Nine out of ten users agree."

And Xander's not all that surprised to find Spike up in his face, hands on his hips and looking down that impressive nose at him. "Prove it."

Xander sucks on his joint, holds the smoke deep and sinks further into the cushions, considering what's on offer. He ashes into the closest cereal bowl and hands the joint out to Spike.


Xander presses it into his hand and takes Spike by the hips. "You don't waste the good stuff."

And his mouth's gonna be kinda busy.

Because when it comes to sucking cock, Xander's a fan of the deep and slow. A fan of sliding his tongue over bumps and dips, wriggling into and under and really exploring the territory.

There's probably something Freudian in how much Xander likes to suck - how good it feels to just keep sucking - but he made his peace with Freud years ago in a dark closet with Cordelia Chase and never looked back.

These days he takes the same approach to blow jobs he took to Africa - eventually - and both got way better once he figured it out: it's not about the destination - it's really really about the way you get there and Xander's got a thing for scenic routes.

Even from groin-level, Spike's pretty scenic, head thrown back, stomach caved in and twitching under Xander's fingers and thumbs that fit into the hollow under his ribs and slide down to grab his ass. It really is like grabbing a piece of art so it's a good thing Xander never felt too much awe for fine art. He's all about appreciating. And he does and he's digging his fingers into Spike's back when he gets his first taste of Spike.

And it's not a surprise that Spike tastes metallic and grassy - and kinda spicy but Dave's will do that to a guy.

It's not a surprise that Spike's fingers are digging into his own palms but not touching Xander. That the only reason Spike's not making noises is that he doesn't need to breathe. And isn't.

Really not a surprise the way Spike's legs quiver every time Xander rubs his bristling cheek and chin against a thigh.

It's kind of reassuring - vamp or no vamp, Spike's a guy.

A guy with his ankles tethered together by his jeans and his shirt shoved up under his arms.

A guy arched back and straining.

A guy who finally starts to breathe and digs his hands into his own hair to hold on and doesn't even notice that the joint clamped between his fingers went out a long time ago.

And there's no guy Xander's gone down on yet who could resist the patented Xander 'Dyson' Harris technique.

Spike's a guy.

A guy who comes hard and fast and makes a strangled sound and doesn't fight when Xander pulls him down over his lap and retrieves the unlit spliff. Roots in the pocket next to Spike's left ankle for the lighter and relights it. Drags. Holds. Slips the unlit end between Spike's lips and tips his head back to exhale smoke comfortably at the ceiling.

"So - " Xander eventually gets around to saying, "doughy pillocks - not all bad?"

Spike mutters something that sounds like 'sod off' so half-heartedly it's more like quarter-heartedly.

And he doesn't cuddle so much as slump bonelessly against Xander's chest, smoke curling from his nostrils like a Chinese dragon, doesn't make any moves to get away when Xander decides it's a good idea to run his hands over all that exposed skin.

But he doesn't kick his jeans off or pull off his t-shirt either.

It's ease - with limits.

Xander's pretty good with limits.

Or at least - pretty good with waiting until the limits end and they're away into no holds barred territory.

He doesn't have to wait long.

The second and third blow jobs happen while they're watching TV and it's pretty much as predicted when the fourth comes along while Xander's stripping for bed and finds his face summarily pulled into Spike's lap and Spike's fingers kneading through his hair and who's he to refuse a guest anyway?

It’s not quite begging but Xander feels vindicated anyway.

And after, Spike's doing a great Portrait of Nude Vampire Sprawled Bonelessly, smoking another joint and absently playing with Xander's hair with the fingers of his left hand. "Don't you ever go to work?" It's less accusatory, more fuck-dumb this time so this time Xander gives it a real answer.

"We're taking this week off while Zeke visits his grandma in Pasadena."

"Wouldn't want to cramp your style," Spike says like he doesn't mean it.

"You live to cramp my style." Xander reviews that in his head - wonders not for the first time if there's such a thing as smoking too much pot. "Or unlive for it. Something like that. You like it a lot."

"You're more fun than Angel," Spike acknowledges.

"Cheese is more fun than Angel."

Spike makes a noise that's something between a snort and a laugh. Appreciative. "Nobody holds a grudge like you."

"And don't you forget it, buddy." Xander waves a hand, drops it onto his belly and scratches under the band of his boxers.

"He doesn't like you either," Spike says out of nowhere. Or maybe out of that pocket dimension where Spike keeps the non-sequiturs when he's not using them.

"I cordially invite you to imagine how little that bothers me." Xander slides his hand into the boxers and gives himself a lazy stroke. He's half hard, but then that seems fair enough after he's gotten Spike off four times in a row.

It's not like he expects Spike to reciprocate.

He doesn't expect Spike to watch either and it's kind of a pleasantly kinky surprise when it turns out Spike does - so he keeps stroking while they talk. He's not in a hurry.

Neither's Spike.

They get along like that these days.

And when Spike makes a move, it's not so much to lend a hand as to peel the waistband of Xander's boxers down until it's tucked under his balls and he's got a better view. Also a smirk.


The smirk widens and Spike goes back to sprawling decadently. Also nakedly. And smugly. There's a lot of adverb going on where Spike's concerned.

It's a good thing Xander's not self-conscious.

"They say putting on weight makes a bloke's willy look smaller."

"Is that so?"

"'S what they say."

"What do you say?"

There's silence filled with Spike drawing smoke, Xander absently thrusting his cock against the curve of his palm.

"I say if it’s looking smaller these days, you must've scared the natives. Once upon a time."

"You're not wrong."

The next morning pretty much qualifies as a morning after and they say the way a guy handles morning afters says a lot about him.

Spike handles it by sleeping until noon, flipping off an offer of breakfast while sliding into the warm indentation in the mattress Xander just vacated.

Xander handles it by eating breakfast, watching Saturday morning cartoons and the kind of light housework he's just gay enough to do and just enough of a guy to avoid as long as possible.

But Spike's right - the place is a sty - and Xander's thanking his lucky stars nothing he cleaned out from between the couch cushions was alive.

Well - unless he counted the mold. Which he didn't. Resolutely. It was time for a new couch cover anyway.

Or maybe a leather sofa.


With Spike on it.

Xander doesn't question the assumption that Spike's gonna be there for a while and why should he? It's not like Spike ever failed to take his time finding a new place of residence and it's not like Xander ever raised more than a token objection.

Well - okay - a token objection and some seriously impressive morning wood but that's a recent development.

He's brushing his teeth when his cell phone rings.

He spits.

He answers.

"Harris here."



The conversation could end there but it doesn't. "Tell Spike he has until Monday."

"You know - you really haven't gotten less cryptic over the years."

"Just tell him."

"Or what - the world ends?"

"He'll know what."

So the morning after ends at 12:08 in the afternoon with minty fresh breath and Xander standing over the bed until Spike opens his eyes and squints out of the cocoon of blankets and pillow. "What?"

"I don't like Angel."

"Oh. Right." Spike's head lifts. He sniffs the air. "Is there any of that coffee left?"

There is.

Xander decides to be the bigger man and let Spike see the bottom of the mug before he gets back to the topic at hand. The big brooding topic. Because it's one thing to have Spike turn up bloody and beaten on his lawn - but it's something else entirely for Angel to have his phone number.

And since when did Cro-Magnons use the phone?

Xander helps himself to another fortifying cup of coffee. "How did Angel get my phone number?"

Spike mooches the last of the carafe without asking first and props his feet on Xander's ficus pot. "Probably the same way he got your address."

Which is how Xander learns what it feels like to have coffee in his sinuses.

Kinda burns.

And the ficus needed watering anyway.

"And how would that be?"

Spike shrugs. It's the kind of shrug that says Spike invokes the fifth and refuses to incriminate himself.

"The fifth doesn't apply to vampires," Xander tells him. "Angel. Phone number. How?"

It's a little late for gestures of innocence on Spike's part but he spreads his hands and does a pretty good impression. "Well how should I know? I'm not his minder."

"But to say that it happened in the same way he got my address would imply that he has my address - and you are aware of his illicit address havingness."

"Harris." Spike heaves a sigh - it's a heavy sigh - heaved wearily. And completely uncalled for because Xander knows he's right.

"You just don't want to admit I'm right." Xander waves him off in pursuit of pop tarts.

"Harris," Spike says again - with more force, less sigh.

It's not enough force to stop his pursuit of frosted goodness but he can be magnanimous, cozy as he is in his warm glow of satisfaction. "Yes, dear?"

"You're in the sodding phone book."

Xander deigns to ignore that.

"Let's move on to the sixty four thousand dollar question: why does Angel have my address and phone number?"

There's a stand off - or at least a stare off because they're both trapped in their chairs' fields of gravity. Eventually, Spike shrugs. "Because he's an interfering pillock, why else?"

"Of course."

Spike's look is eloquent. It says: "Duh."

Xander is impervious to the duh.

"Even interfering pillocks need reasons, Spike." Xander knows from interfering pillocks - which he figures is Spike-speak for kinda annoying but well-meaning in a manly, passive-aggressive and occasionally physically violent way.

"He thinks he knows what's best for everyone, doesn't he?" Spike swirls his coffee in the bottom of the cup, takes a sip and gives the ficus pot a considering look.

"You swiped it, you drink it," Xander informs him. "And what does Angel think is the best thing for me? Which - let me tell you - is a thought I plan not to think again if I can help it in that it implies Angel thinks of me."

Spike's giving him the duh look again. "The world doesn't revolve around you, you know." He flutters a hand in a vague downward direction. "In spite of the greatly increased gravitational pull and all."

It's weak.

Even for Spike.

So Xander bites. "Okay, I'll bite. What does Angel think is in whose best interest and why does it mean he has my phone number and address?"

"Obvious, isn't it?"

"If it was obvious, I'd be indulging in frosted goodness instead of playing three questions with the most annoying vampire ever."

Spike solemnly toasts Xander with his coffee, drinks, grimaces and pours the rest into the ficus pot. "Improves the soil," he lies. Or maybe not. Xander's pretty selective when it comes to horticulture and ficus plants aren't his area of expertise. "Angel thinks he knows what's best for me." Spike spells it out, slowly and with illustrative hand gestures.

It's progress and Xander will take it. "Okay - so what does Angel think he knows is best for you?"

The toaster dings and Spike gets up to collect the pop tart. And sniff it. Surprisingly, it ends up in front of Xander, thus proving that there are some things Spike won't mooch. He makes a mental note of that useful information for the future.

"Not what." Spike corrects, proving it's the real Spike, not pod Spike, turning down frosted wholesomeness. "Who."

Xander gives him his best evil eye. There's only one, so it's extra condensed. "Who?" he asks, mentally giving Spike one more chance. "And what does it have to do with me?"

"It is you."

"Excuse me?"

Spike rolls his eyes. Exaggeratedly. Because that's how he does everything. "Gone half deaf now too, have we?"

"Consider it hysterical deafness."

He waves it off. "Yeah - told him it was ridiculous but you never met a man like him for not listening. 'Specially what with his car in the shop and Connor getting himself all stitched back together in the hospital."

But Xander's not listening. On account of the hysterical deafness and - "Hey, what do you mean ridiculous?"

"Harris," Spike says in the old familiar pitying way, "look at me."

"I'm looking."

"And now look at you."

There is a brief and entirely rational urge to return the gesture of eyes rolling but Xander's only half armed so he settles for: "I'm looking at a man with an enormous ego."

"Well, you do have a humongous prick," Spike concedes with what could be generosity. "There is that in your favor."

"And I'm thinking here - there is no way Angel knows about the size of my cock. At least - I'm choosing to think that. Consider it thought." Xander bites into his pop tart and crunches loudly. Almost loudly enough to drown out the little voice reminding him that Cordelia did work for Angel for a long time.

Things get said.

He coughs, clears pastry from his throat. "So assuming that, what is it Angel thinks you need that I can deliver?"

Spike's waving again. Spike's a guy with a lot of gestures - and Xander knows from gestures. "The usual. Banter, strong personality, someone to lust after and protect, save the world with on occasion." Spike gets up, rifles the cabinets until he comes up with a lighter and a pack of cigarettes, "And an almighty shag."

In the scheme of things, coffee in the sinuses was preferable to strawberry pop tart filling in the sinuses. Xander makes a note of it for future reference. "Angel said you needed to get laid?"

"Well - not in so many words."

Spike's fiddling. Tapping the packet of cigarettes. Flicking the bic. He might as well have a big lit sign saying 'displacement behavior' flashing over his head and Xander gives it some thought.


There's more staring.

"Excuse m- what?"

"Okay," Xander confirms. "And you're not smoking that thing indoors."

Spike's not moving. He's doing a good impression of a vampire arrested in time.

And when he moves, unsurprisingly it's his jaw that moves first. "Who says I want a shag from you? That‘d imply Angel‘s right. Angel‘s never sodding right."

"That's almighty shag, buddy." Xander breaks the last piece of pop tart in half and eats both while manfully choosing to ignore any potential rightness of Angel. "And I'll bet I could win you over."

"With what?"

"I think the word you used was humongous cock." He drinks his coffee and brushes a crumb from his beard. "I'm a viking in the sack."

"Look in the mirror, Harris - you're a viking all the time!"

"There is that," Xander agrees agreeably. "So what was it again? Banter, strong personality, someone to lust after and protect, saving the world with on occasion? Hey, I'm qualified."

Spike's up and out of his chair right around the word 'protect,' skinning into his shirt and stomping his feet into his boots. He hasn't let go of the cigarettes. "Listen - I appreciate the sentiment. I even appreciate the offer. But you're missing the point."

Xander sweeps pop tart crumbs into his hand and eats them. "What's that?"

"The lust's got to go both ways, pet." It's almost gentle the way Spike says it. Like he's letting Xander down carefully.

Like he's not backing toward the door.

Like he's not wearing a sign around his neck saying 'Hello! I have issues - ask me how!'

"You know what I think?"

Spike's got a hand on the doorknob. "Pretty obvious you think science fiction geek is a fashion statement and doughnuts are a food group. Beyond that - no."

And Xander's got a hand on Spike's hand.

They look down at their hands together while Xander leans against Spike's back, pins him to the door in a way Spike's not so much trying to get away from as pushing back into. And Xander's a lot more immobile these days. "I think - and pay attention here because I'm never gonna say this again - Angel's right."

"Angel's a - "

"Right," Xander says again because he's been a hypocrite before and sometimes a guy's just got to repeat himself to drive the point home.

Spike starts to shake and Xander's just considering getting concerned when he realizes -

"You're laughing."

Spike is. "Feel like I've walked straight into a bad porn film all of a sudden, ‘s all."

"Okay - first?" Xander doesn't have a hand to raise to the subject, one trapping Spike's on the knob and the other across Spike's chest, so he pauses for effect instead. Effect achieved, he continues, "The porn film thing is pretty much guaranteed. Only without the cameras - not that it isn't a kinky thought but I don't happen to own a video camera."

Their hands move from the doorknob to the door under Spike's power and Xander curls his fingers between Spike's. "What's second?"

"Second is it's not going to be bad porn. And third - " Spike's belt is new and stiff. Harder to get open with one hand than Xander expected until Spike reaches down to help, bumping fingers and fabric and buttons and rigid flesh.

"What's third?" he asks, like a man who needs to breathe.

It's surprisingly sexy.

And Xander's forgotten third.

But then he never really expected to be here - here as in seducing Spike with touches because he's better at that than words and insults still leave him kinda hot and bothered these days. "I guess third is we put Angel's theory to the test."

"Sexual healing." Spike snorts a snort that looks down its own nose at the whole notion while his hips give a shimmy that helps Xander's hand work his jeans open and down, push Xander's boxers out of the way. Flexes his fingers under Xander's and reaches back to grab a handful of flesh at Xander's hip. And - "Lube's in the right pocket."


"It's not going to fit without lube. Pillock."

Oh, yeah. The insults still do it. And - "You came prepared."

"Sod off." Dismissive and English and pushy.

Xander's laughing when Spike lets go of his hip and guides his fingers between his cheeks. And stills.

"You - wow." Because Spike is prepared. Literally. Slick enough to take fingers even if Spike's right about needing more before Xander's cock can do more than think about getting in.

And it is doing a lot of thinking.

Spike's fingers spasm, back on his hip and Spike drops his head against the door. "Seemed like a good idea at the time."

Xander is prepared to concede it was a very very good idea.

But non-verbally.

Because pushing into Spike's not completely unlike plugging into a socket. Only without the aversion therapy the way they both tighten up and Spike's fingers curl and dig into the wood of the door.

"I'm gonna have to sand that out, you know," Xander says to the back of Spike's neck in a vague way because vague's all he's capable of buried balls deep in Spike - vaguely cataloging the way Spike's fingers move under his palm and the way his jeans scratch the insides of Xander's legs.

"Buy you a new one," Spike promises.

But Xander's got a feeling he might want to keep this one as a souvenir.

It'd make a great coffee table.


"What now?"

"The lube," Xander pants, "was a good idea. Thanks."

"Oh. Yeah - welcome."

The cigarettes turn out to be a good idea too when Spike post-coitally retrieves them from the floor and they end up back on the lawn where they started, smoking and staring up at the sky, lying in the grass with Spike's head pillowed on Xander's stomach.

Spike's still working a wild case of bed head and Xander's patiently combing out the last of the gel with his fingers when Spike gets around to talking. "Couldn't ever work between us." He stays right where he is. "Not for long."

So does Xander. "No?"

"You're human. I'm a vampire."

"Been known to happen a time or two."

"You're vegetarian. I drink blood."

"Hey, I'm not prejudiced."

"You're - " Spike gropes for a word, waves his hand around. "Large."

"And in charge," Xander agrees. "And anyway I didn't hear you complaining. I don't hear you complaining. In fact, there was a lot of encouragement."

It's inarguable. So Spike ignores it.

"You're a geek."

"But I've got a great television. And I understand the offside rule."

Spike's thrown. "You what?"

Xander waves it off. "The dentist's English. You'll like him."

"I don't need a dentist, I - " Spike pulls himself together. "We'll look ridiculous together."

"Are you kidding me? You'll be the envy of half the twinks in town." Xander spreads the fingers of one hand. "I'm a catch."

"And that's another thing! You're gay, and I'm - " Spike gropes around for a word.

"Maintaining a permanent address in Denial-land?"

"Sod off." Spike drags on his cigarette, rubs his free hand up and down the soft skin of Xander's inner leg like a man lost in thought. "I'm a hero."

That's the easiest one of all. "And I'm a sidekick. I kinda miss saving the world every now and again." Xander's fingers run down Spike's hair to his neck and he could get used to the way Spike nuzzles his wrist like a cat.

"There is that."

"And the sex is pretty great."

"The sex," Spike concedes with great solemnity, "is bloody fantastic."


Spike drags his cigarette down to the butt and grinds it out in the grass.

"I fucking well hate it when Angel's right."

Eventually they make their way into the bedroom where there's more bloody fantastic sex and more of post-fuck Xander crushing Spike into the mattress. More Spike wrapped around him and kneading with fingers and toes like a cat - or a boa constrictor.

One of those, but Xander's brain is on a coffee break so that's the best he'll be able to do right then.

"Planning to oil you up all over and climb aboard one of these days, mate," Spike says thoughtfully, thoughtfully squeezing a buttock, pushing his jaw against the bristle of Xander's beard. "Might be messy. Thought I'd let you know."

Xander processes it for a while. The grabbing and groping and conspicuous lack of any attempt to get out from under Xander's weight. "You are so much weirder than I ever took you for."

"Cheers." Completely unconcerned, totally at ease, just your basic post-fix junkie. "Phone's ringing again."

"So it is." Xander agrees. Easily. "That's what phones do."

"Most people answer them."

"Most people don't have a vampire boa constrictor on the end of their dicks."

"Suppose you could get one of those wireless ear piece thingies," suggests Spike the considerate vampire boa constrictor.

"You want me to take calls while we're having sex?"

"Might want to get that one, mate."

"That would involve excessive amounts of moving."

A heel nudges Xander in the back of the thigh.

Xander is unmoved.

"Could be Angel."

"Could be," Xander agrees and rolls over with Spike attached. There are sheet wrinkles deeply imprinted on the skin of Spike's back. Xander rubs them.

Spike makes no effort to move either. Or at least move away. The things he's doing with his hips are kind of encouraging. “What if he needs help saving the world?”

Xander thinks about it, decides. "He can send a car. Apparently, he knows where I live."