A Choice Made


by Saber ShadowKitten
Tiny Smiles 15








Spike had been missing for four days. He'd left the apartment on Wednesday night with a kiss and a smile and a "Going to annoy the Slayer," and never came back. It was now Saturday going on Sunday, and Xander was trying desperately not to fall apart.

When Xander went to work on Thursday, he wondered why Spike wasn't in bed, but hadn't worried too much. Since the vampire had accepted the behavior modification chip was a permanent fixture in his head, he'd decided to become a full-fledged Scooby and fought on their team without payment or cajoling. If he couldn't be the Big Bad, he'd be the Big Bad Slayer-with-a-Dick, he'd told Xander one night. Spike had good timing, too, with all the personal crises' Buffy'd been having: her mom's sickness and subsequent successful operation; finding out Dawn wasn't really her sister but a key that the hellbitch, Glory, was hunting; and Riley's leaving... about which Xander kept his cheers to himself.

Xander had called the apartment, and Giles, Joyce, and the witches, at various times on Thursday to check on Spike. None of his friends had seen the blond, and Xander had only gotten the answering machine at home. By the time work ended, the brunette had started to really worry, and he'd rushed home to find the wrong blond waiting for him.

Buffy hadn't seen Spike on Wednesday night or anytime that day, she'd told Xander much to his dismay. She had come to the apartment to see if "the bleached boytoy" wanted to accompany her to the train station to check out a mass murder scene. Xander had left a note for Spike and had gone with her, not able to stand being alone in the apartment and hoping that the blond would've returned by the time Xander got home. He hadn't.

Friday came and went with no Spike. Xander had asked around the vampire's usual hangouts, but no one had seen him. Saturday Xander spent relentlessly cleaning the apartment, putting his fear into ridding the place of all dirt and grime. By Saturday night, the apartment was spotless, Xander's back hurt, and Spike still hadn't returned.

Xander lay in bed, smelling faintly of ammonia despite showering, staring blankly at the cracked white ceiling. His heart felt like it was in a vice. The dried tear tracks on his face itched like mad. A throbbing headache from not sleeping for four days pound, pound, pounded behind his eyes. [WHERE ARE YOU???] He was fighting not to admit that Spike might never be coming home, that the Hellmouth might have claimed another victim.

Xander dozed unknowingly, vivid dreams of blue skies and blue eyes being painted against his eyelids before he was startled awake by the bunk shifting and a ghost settling on his side beside the brunette. [Spike!]

Xander opened his mouth to speak, but the blond specter shook his head, putting a finger to Xander's lips. There was a bright sheen to the blue eyes [blue as the sky] staring down at Xander. The long, pale finger that pressed against his lips began to trace the contours of his face. The gentle touch smoothed over Xander's forehead, along his cheek and jaw, around his mouth and up the other cheek. A light brush over his eyelids, down his nose, and against his slightly parted lips again. A soft mouth replaced the finger, and the kiss that followed both reassured and worried Xander. It felt too bittersweet, happiness mixed heavily with sadness. Joy mixed with pain.

Spike pulled back and met Xander's dark, questioning, worried gaze. He stared for a long, long minute, shining eyes [tears] tracing the same path his finger had traveled over Xander's features. Then, he said, "I love you."

The smile started in Xander's eyes and finally lifted the corners of his mouth. "Yeah?"

"Yeah."

Spike's lips were back on Xander's then, without warning, and this kiss was deep and hungry, and went on and on and on until it ended and they were both on their sides, naked [how'd that happen?] and facing each other. Spike's leg was over Xander's hip and Xander's slick fingers were in places they'd never been before, and Spike was making these high-pitched noises in the back of his throat each time Xander hit the magic spot, and Xander wondered if this was real [too fast, too fast] or if he was dreaming [wishing, hoping, praying.] He hadn't even seen Spike fully naked yet. [Too fast.]

But Spike was panting and gripping Xander's shoulders, and his head was thrown back and he was gasping Xander's name. "Xan..." And Xander was hit in the chest and the stomach and up under the chin, and Spike was beautiful when he came [beautiful]. Xander wanted to freeze time [beautiful], but the hand on the clock was moving. so. fast. and it was over before he knew it, and he knew he wasn't as beautiful as Spike [beautiful].

Xander must have slept, or passed out, or both, because the clock read 10:16 a.m. and his headache was gone, and there was a Spike in his bed. It hadn't been a dream. [Thank Whomever!] Spike was really home, in one [naked] piece, though he was sleeping in a really odd position. His head was on Xander's stomach, his butt was against the wall, and his feet were on the pillow by Xander's face. His thumb was firmly ensconced in his mouth, too. [Ut-oh.]

Behind Spike's head, Xander could see his morning woody waving hello, which was quite disconcerting with the whole thumb-sucking thing. Couldn't be helped, though, so he ignored it in favor of more important things. [Spike loves me! And he's laying on my bladder, eep. But he loves me!]

The news was very wow. Xander wanted to get up and dance. He wanted to go outside and shout to the world that Spike loved him. He wanted to cocoon himself and Spike in the bedroom and just make googly-eyes at each other. [Spike loves me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!]

Who cared where Spike had been for the past four days? Who cared that Xander felt like he'd died inside while the vampire was missing? Who cared that Spike wasn't grievously injured, but didn't bother to call to let Xander know that?

"Mweow!"

[Hee.] Xander tried to stay mad, but it was impossible to contain his snorts of laughter as the bed-headed blond glared at him, glistening thumb rubbing his red tweaked ear. Xander knew Spike displayed cat-like behavior, but that was the first time he got a 'meow.' Snork. Snerk. Snarfle.

"What d'ja do that for?" Spike grumped, pulling the sheet over his exposed lap.

Xander scooted up and used Spike's discarded shirt, which had been hanging from the bed post, as a lap cover. His amusement disappeared quickly, replaced by a justified, low-boiling anger. "Because you've been MIA for days, and I've been worried like a girl about you."

Spike immediately dropped his gaze and played with the sheet. "Something came up," he said evasively.

"You could've called, or left a note, or have done anything to let me know you weren't road grit," Xander snapped.

"I couldn't."

"Fine. Whatever. Just don't 'couldn't' again." Xander swung his legs over the edge of the bunk. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have people to call to let them know you're okay."

He started to hop down to the bottom bunk, but Spike's next words made him lose his balance. He fell forward, landing hard on his chest, and banged his head on the metal frame of the open lower bed. He didn't know if the hollow ringing sound came from the frame or his head. "Ow, damn it!"

"Xander, are you all right?" Spike asked with concern, quickly climbing down from the top bunk. He crouched on the floor beside Xander and lightly touched the brunette's reddened forehead.

"I don't think so, because I'm hearing things." Xander pushed to his knees on the bed and rubbed his forehead as he looked over at Spike. "I could have sworn I heard you say that Drusilla was in Sunnydale."

Spike licked his lips and nodded warily. "I did. She was. She's gone now, though."

Xander blinked. "And you're still here?" He was stunned. Shocked. Surprised. Stupefied. And other 'S' words that meant whowhahuh?

Spike, however, wasn't stunnedshockedsurprisedstupefiedhedidn'tleavewithDrusilla. "Of course I am," the vampire snapped, rising to his feet. "I said I loved you, didn't I?"

"You do?" Xander squeaked. [It really hadn't been a dream.]

"I do," Spike confirmed with a stiff nod.

[So, Xander Harris, there's a five-foot ten-inch completely naked vampire in your bedroom who just told you that he loved you. What are you going to do next?]

Xander smiled a slow Cheshire grin that wasn't suitable for minors to see at Disney World.

*****

"Jeez-oh-peez, I'm coming already!" Xander pulled the t-shirt over his head, leaving it untucked from his jeans, his bare feet cracking on the hardwood floor as he went to answer the incessant knocking at the door. He had been changing the linens on both bunk beds, post-bath, when the knocking had started. Spike was in the bathroom now, cleaning up after a lazy morning [and afternoon] playing under the sheets. There'd been no sex had with Virgin Shyboy [but without having intercourse, you can still make love.]

Xander looked through the peephole, leaned back, rubbed his eyes, and looked again. [Why couldn't it be a Jehovah's Witness?] "What do you want?" he asked bluntly upon opening the door.

Angel stood on the other side of the doorway, looking large, colorless, and gloomy as usual. "May I come in?"

"No."

The dark-haired vampire lifted a brow. "Then may I speak with Spike?"

"Why?" Xander said in an unfriendly tone [because we are not anywhere in the vicinity of 'friends.']

The second brow joined the first. "Drusilla's in Sunnydale--"

"She left," Xander interrupted, "just like you are, hopefully soon." [Mee-ow. Your claws are certainly out today, Xander.]

"Xander--" Xander turned to see Spike come into the living room, still only wearing his boxers and looking rather well-loved. He was staring down at a plastic bottle in his hand. "Do we have any more of this bath oil laying about? I--" The blond stopped short when he looked up and saw someone was at the door. He narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms over his bare chest. "Lord Helmet, what brings you here?"

"Drusilla," Xander answered before Angel could open his mouth.

"She's gone," Spike said.

"That's what I told him," Xander said as the phone rang. Leaving the door open, he pivoted on his heel and went to answer it.

"Leave her alone, Angel," Spike warned, moving into Xander's old spot.

"Hello," Xander said into the phone, tuning Spike and Angel out. "Oh, hey Giles... Yeah, I know. He's here. Spike came home, by the way... Actually, he was with her, but she's gone now..." Xander's hand tightened around the receiver. "Why wouldn't he be?... Oh, and his feelings for me are fake? You think he was just using me as a Bed and Breakfast?..." Xander ground his teeth. "You're right, why would he chose me over her? After all, I'm just Xander Not-Worth-Loving Harris... Save it, Giles. I have a pest to get rid of and a boyfriend to love."

Xander slammed down the phone receiver at the same time the apartment door slammed shut. Scowling at the world, he walked over to where Spike stood glaring at the closed door. "I hate him," the blond stated, nearly crushing the plastic bottle of bath oil in his hand.

"He's not on my Favorite Persons list either." Xander curled an arm around Spike's waist. "What did Tall and Ugly have to say?"

"Nothing worth repeating," Spike replied. He shrugged off Xander's arm and headed back down the hall. The bathroom door closed with a slam.

Xander dragged a hand through his still-damp hair. [Great. Swell.] He viciously twisted the two locks and gave the front door a kick for good measure. [Ow. Bare toes. Hard door.]

Limping, Xander made his way to the bathroom. "And it was such a good day, too," he muttered to himself. He rapped twice on the door and turned the knob. "Spike, I'm coming in."

Spike was in the bathtub, spicy-scented oily water rising as the tub filled around him. His thumb was in his mouth, though he seemed to be pouting more than scared or upset.

Xander closed the toilet seat and sat down. "Drusilla's really gone, yes?"

Spike glared at him over the top of his fingers hooked over his nose.

Undaunted, Xander continued. "And you would rather stay here with me, rather than having gone with her?"

Slurp. Pop. "I'm here, ain't I?"

"Because you want to be, not because you and Drusilla worked up some nefarious scheme and I'm the key boob, right?" Xander said, eyes not leaving the blond's.

Spike's blue eyes narrowed. "Same question: you want me here because you want me to be, not because you want to keep an eye on me in case I'm cooking up some bloody nefarious scheme, right?"

"I want you here because I love you," Xander replied instantly.

"There's your answer."

[Ooshy-gooshy-mushy-squishy me.] "Good." Xander clapped his hand on his knees and stood. "Now that that's cleared up, I'm going to leave before I end up taking a second bath." [Ooh, look how far down that blush goes.]

Exiting the bathroom, Xander stiff-legged boogied into the kitchen and picked up the phone. He punched in Willow and Tara's number and started preparing dinner as one of the girls picked up. "Hey, Tara-Tara. It is I, Xander the Loved-By-Spike. Who's also home now. And loves me. So you and Wills can call off the search for him, because he chose me over her because he loves me. Have I told you the great fantabulous news? Spike loves me...."



End