The girls knew.
Willow had told Xander his attraction to Spike was as obvious as a zit on a first date. She was
warily supportive of his persual of the bleached boytoy. Buffy had simply smiled evilly, which had
Xander snarling, spitting, and growling for her to leave Spike alone. If they hadn't known before,
they did after that little display.
Spike, though, was perpetually oblivious to Xander's struggle not to pounce on the vampire every
time he entered the room. Xander had never thought he'd be happy to work such long hours, thus
keeping him away from temptation. The weekends would've been impossible to get through if the
Hellmouth hadn't decided to help him out by spewing forth evil. Research and dancing with death
had never been so welcome.
Spike, with his newfound ability to pummel demons, had been absolutely no help whatsoever to the
Scooby gang. He only fought other demons in self-defense... or if they pissed him off... or if he just
felt like fighting. All in all, it could be said that Spike did what he wanted and bugger everyone else.
On the plus side, however, Xander hadn't had to patch up Spike because of the fights. That meant
no uncontrolled panic when Spike got hurt, but no kissing and making it better, either. The Big Bad
was back, and he constantly left his socks wadded up on the couch.
"Are you ready, funny-looking?" Xander called, sliding on his winter coat. It was nippy outside,
cold even for February in California.
"Oi, hold your soddin' horses!" Spike's muffled yell came from down the hall. The blond hopped
out of the bedroom on one foot, belting the top of his other boot, wallet clasped between his teeth. "I
and da shdop ad da mooshic shdore firshd."
"Mooshic shdore firshd," Xander agreed. "Ohshay."
Spike flicked him off, then tucked the wallet into the front pocket of his partially unbuttoned jeans.
After two months of healthy feeding -- although from bagged blood -- the vampire had regained most
of the weight he'd lost, which was the reason behind the roommates' weeknight outing: new jeans
for Spike. [Because I'm hanging on to my control by a thread,] Xander thought, surreptitiously
eyeing the blond's way too tight jeans. [A very frayed thread.]
They'd been living in the apartment for just over two full months, and in that time Xander and Spike
had become friends, much to Xander's disappointment. The brunette wanted them to be more than
friends, but what contact they had with each other had stayed mostly platonic. No kissing, no ass-snuggling, no fun.
Xander had been more awake in the evenings after work, and Spike had been joining him on the
couch for primetime television. Xander had renamed the two-hour block "purrtime" because the
blond vampire's almost-subsonic purr would underscore the programs as Xander's fingers danced
idly on the nape of Spike's neck. Sometimes, Spike would knead the couch cushions like a very content
oversized cat. It was a pleasant way for Xander to spend his evenings.
But he wanted more. Much more.
The mall was semi-crowded for a weeknight. [Valentine's Day shoppers,] Xander surmised, as he
trailed after the duster-clad vampire into the "Mooshic shdore." Valentine's Day was Friday, and
Xander'd already heard, in great detail, Willow and Buffy's plans with their new significant others,
Tara McCray and Riley Finn, respectively. Xander had no plans, despite Willow's urging that he
make some. [Although I do have bags of heart message candies, because yum.]
Surrounded by all the red and pink paper hearts, balloons, and cutsie sale items, however, Xander
wondered if abstaining from the holiday would be wrong. [But Spike is a vampire. Sure, at times he
is Mr. Bashful, but would an evil demon want to participate in a gooshy commercial holiday created
for lovers and to destroy a single person's self-esteem?]
[Besides, what would I get him?]
Xander wandered over to where Spike was flipping through the CD display. Spike had his own
money, earned through the lucrative business of mugging people and accepting bribes. Still, Xander
knew he'd be paying for something before their shopping excursion was through.
Xander put a hand on Spike's back as he joined the blond. "Find anything good?"
"Nah," Spike replied. "I'm looking for a certain Siouxsie compilation, but I think I'll have to go to
L.A. to find it."
Xander leaned closer to Spike and poked his fingers along the CDs the vampire was going through.
Spike lightly squashed the brunette's forefinger between two CD cases. "Siouxsie Sioux."
"No shit?" Xander laughed.
The brunette turned and saw his friend, Max, standing across the way. "Max, howdy-howdy. You
don't work at the theater on Wednesday nights?"
"Nope," Max answered with a shake of his head. "They unstick me from the floor on Wednesdays
and Thursdays." He looked at Spike and frowned slightly. "You look familiar, dude. Do I know
"No," Spike said bluntly, returning to his CD perusal.
"Max, Spike. Spike, Max," Xander introduced. "You probably saw Spike with me at the Sun.
We've been there once or twice--"
"Three times," Spike corrected. "Saw Gladiator, Charlie's Angels, and that annoying subtitled
one. Squatting Chinese, Flying Women, or whatever."
"That's right," Xander said, inordinately giddy that Spike remembered. [All I can remember is that I
only got smoochies at the first one.]
"I haven't seen Anya recently," Max said. "You two have a fight?"
"We two broke up," Xander said.
Max looked at Xander, glanced at Spike, then looked back at Xander and grinned. "Mind if I ask
her out then?"
Xander shrugged. "Be my guest. Do you have her number?"
"Meet you up front," Spike told Xander before walking away. Xander rattled off Anya's phone
number to Max as he watched Spike stop at the front of the store and thumb through a magazine.
"Is he the reason you and Anya split?" Max asked, grabbing Xander's attention. Max shook his
head. "Man, what were you thinking? Anya is one fiiiine woman, and you gave her up for that?"
Xander glared at Max. "Shut up, Seavers. Or I'll tell Anya to just say no."
Max laughed in response and walked away. Xander clenched his jaw and stalked out of the store,
collecting an oblivious Spike along the way. Xander was angry with what Max had said; not the
part about Spike being the reason he and Anya had broken up -- that was true. What Xander was
pissed about was the implied statement that Spike wasn't good/gorgeous enough to have caused the
break up. [Spike is more than temptationable enough, dang it! He's sexy and seductive and shy and
Just. Plain. Shibby.] "So there. Hmmph," he grumped.
"What was that?" Spike asked, giving Xander a strange glance as they headed through the mall.
Xander grabbed Spike's arm and came to an abrupt halt. "You are beyond drool-worthy, and don't
let anyone ever tell you otherwise," the brunette fairly growled.
Spike blinked, then blushed and blustered, "Already knew that."
"Good," Xander nodded once in emphasis. "Now, let's go get you some jeans that fit." [Before I do
things to you in the mall that'll get us banned forever.]
It was pouring buckets when they arrived home, and Xander immediately locked himself in the
bathroom for a very long time. He'd thought dry Spike was tantalizing; sopping wet Spike was
Now, tucked into bed and on the edge of sleep, Xander listened to the raging storm outside and
contemplated getting something for Spike for Valentine's Day. [Perhaps a dorky card, the kind
school kids give to each other,] he thought. [They're probably all out of 'Happy Valentine's Day to
the man I want to lick all over' cards.]
Slowly, Xander had promised when he'd first realized his attraction to Spike. He'd been going so
slowly snails were passing him by. On one hand, it was frustrating as hell and he had terminal
blueballs. On the other hand, he and Spike were friends -- real friends, or as real of a friendship
that could be between a human and a vampire. Xander wouldn't trade that friendship for Spike wet,
naked, and spread out on the bed like a sacrificial offering to the Xander-Penis. [Way to go, dipwad.
Now you're horny again.]
A flash of lightning lit up the room, followed rapidly by the crack of thunder. "Woah," Xander
breathed, tilting his head to look out the window. The rain hitting the glass sounded like thousands
of tiny rocks rather than water droplets.
Lightning flashed again, the thunder clap almost directly on top of it, and Xander's heart caught in
There had been a face in the window.
Xander stared intently, unblinking, at the window. There shouldn't have been anyone looking in the
window, not in the storm, not at this time of night. The lightning hit again, illuminating an empty
window and the half-shut heavy drapery. It had to have been his imagination.
Xander hopped out of bed, exited the bedroom and, with a wary glance at the other two windows,
checked the locks on the door. Spike gave him an odd look from the couch, the television humming
quietly across from him.
The brunette filled a glass with water and joined Spike on the couch. "What're we watching?"
"Predator," Spike replied.
"Cool." Xander patted his thigh and, after another odd look from Spike, the vampire curled up on
the couch and rested his head on Xander's leg. It was a recent position they'd adopted when
watching television together. Xander carded his fingers through Spike's bleached hair and, shortly
thereafter, the blond started to purr. A few minutes later, Spike began kneading the side of Xander's
leg. Xander glanced down and saw Spike's eyes were half-slits and his lips were slightly parted, a
content expression on his face.
Xander slowly relaxed, pushing the non-existent face in the window out of his mind.
The storm continue to rage outside long into the following day.
Whistling absently, Xander tossed his keys in the air and caught them on their descent. The air was
crisp and sweet-smelling, the rain seeming to have washed the world clean.
After work had ended, Xander had returned to the mall and picked up a Valentine's Day card for
Spike. Not quite the school kid kind, but not the licking one, either. [Which I did find, among other
cards not for virgin or shy vampires' eyes.] The card was tucked into the inside pocket of Xander's
coat. The brunette planned to leave it on the kitchen table in the morning before leaving for work.
[Bok, bok, bok, bok...]
Xander crossed the parking lot and entered his building. Checking the mailbox, he wondered if the
object of his fantasies would be home or out showing off his new jeans. [I liked the old ones a lot,
though. They outlined everything quite nicely once the Spikester started to regain weight.] Angel
had given Xander the name of a reliable source of human blood [after a long, sleep-inducing lecture
about the devil in black jeans] and a large portion of Xander's earnings went to keeping his sexy
vampire healthy. Xander thought it to be worth every penny.
"Bill, bill, occupant, bill..." Xander went through the mail as he descended the stairs to the
apartment. "I might be a millionaire. Resident. 'Nother bill. Ugh. Big sigh, money go bye-bye."
Xander tucked the mail under his arm and flipped through the keys on his key-ring until he found
the one for the apartment door.
Only, the apartment door was open.
The mail fell to the ground, unheeded. Xander stared at the door for several breathless moments,
then he cautiously pushed it open. His heart was pounding in his ears, a horror movie theme
floating through his brain. He should be running upstairs to call the police. He shouldn't be about to
enter an open apartment where the bad guy could still be holed up, axe in hand, waiting for him...
Xander held his breath and shoved the door hard. It swung open completely and smacked the wall,
ensuring that no one was hiding behind it.
From the light in the hallway, Xander could see that the apartment was trashed. Upon first glance,
Xander noted the television, VCR, and stereo were gone, along with the stacks of CDs. The
barcalounger was on its back, the lamps smashed, and glass and splintered furnishings littered the
Cautiously, Xander entered the apartment and switched on the overhead kitchen light. He should've
left it off. It looked as though a tornado had gone through the place. Hands shaking wildly, Xander
picked up the wall phone receiver and dialed 9-1-1. "Yeah... uh, I- I- I- my- my apartment w-was
robbed. I just g-got home, and it's-it's- everything's--"
Xander whirled at the tentative call of his name, the phone clattering to the floor as he dropped it in
fright. Gasping for breath, his eyes wide, he focused on the ghostly white man hugging his arms
"Spike..." Xander traversed the distance between them and embraced the vampire tightly. "Oh,
gods, Spike. Are you okay? What happened? Were you here?" The brunette stepped back and ran
frantic hands over Spike, fingering a blood-crusted hole in the other man's shirt.
"H-human," Spike stammered, his eyes wide and filled partly with fear and partly with anger. "It
was a human. I couldn't-- he-- I tried-- and he stabbed me, so I played dead--"
Xander gathered Spike to him, sinking to the floor as his knees gave out. [I could've lost him,]
Xander realized. [If he wasn't a vampire, I would have lost him.]
The police found them on the floor together, Spike nestled sideways between Xander's thighs,
Xander nuzzling the blond's hair and murmuring nonsense, more for his own comfort than for
"Gods, I didn't think they'd ever let us leave," Xander said, holding the door for Spike to proceed
him out of the police station. "But at least you ID'd the guy who robbed us. Although the police
still don't think we'll get our stuff back."
Spike shrugged, his hands shoved deep into his jeans pockets. Goosebumps spread along his bare
arms, his duster a casualty of the robbery. As he had been all night, except for answering the police
detectives questions, Spike stayed silent. [Too silent. A depressive silence.]
"C'mon. Let's just go... shit," Xander cursed. The apartment was a wreck and he really didn't want
to spend the night there. He doubted Spike did, either.
Glancing at the sky as Xander unlocked the car doors, he knew he had two choices -- going to
Giles's, or Buffy and Willow's. The sun would be up soon and he was exhausted. [Looks like no
work today. Why am I not going 'yippee'?]
"Do you need anything from the apartment?" Xander asked, pulling out of the police station parking
Xander looked over at Spike. The blond was staring out the passenger window, his body language
screaming 'keep away!'
Fifteen minutes later, Xander pulled the Bel Air into the parking lot outside of Buffy and Willow's
dorm. The sun was peeking up over the horizon, and he hustled Spike inside. Giles would've taken
them in, but Xander would rather Spike not have to sleep in the bathtub.
"Xander?" Willow opened the door wider to allow Xander and Spike inside the dorm room.
"What's wrong? What happened?"
"We were robbed," Xander told her, glancing at Buffy's empty bed. "Mind if Spike and I crash
here? I'm zombie guy at the moment."
"Of course you can." Willow put on her robe and slippers and collected her shower bucket. "In fact,
I'll go upstairs and bunk with Tara, so you guys can each have a bed."
"Thanks, Will." Xander hugged her briefly. "I'll explain more later, when I beg for you to help put
the apartment back together."
"Okay," Willow agreed. "Goodnight. Or morning."
After Willow left, Xander closed the drapes, effectively blocking out the dawning sun. Spike
hovered uncomfortably by the door, staring at the spotted carpeting. "Bedtime, small fry," Xander
told him, patting Buffy's bed. "I don't know about you, but I'm ti-i-i-ired."
Spike walked over and sat on the edge of the twin bed. He mechanically started to undress. Xander
tossed his coat on a chair, kicked off his shoes, and quickly used the phone to call off work. He then
gave Spike a wry smile. "Buffy's gonna freak if she finds you in her bed."
Not even a twitch in response. Xander pressed his lips together and lightly touched the vampire's
leg. "I'm sorry this happened, Spike."
Spike turned on his side, facing away from Xander. Xander sighed, double-checked the drapes, then
climbed into Willow's unmade bed.
As tired as Xander was, sleep was elusive. His mind kept playing over and over the scene when he
first came upon his apartment. It kept morphing and changing, and Xander found himself seeing it
from different angles. Worse, Spike became part of the horrifying images, his broken body lying
amidst the destruction.
[No, no, no! It didn't happen like that! Spike is fine. I'm fine. Things can be replaced.]
"What do you want?... No... Don't... Aiiip!"
Xander was shaking Spike awake after the yelp of imagined [or remembered] pain from the blond.
Spike awoke with a gasp, his arms flailing. The vampire yelped again when he connected with
Xander's nose, the chip reacting.
Xander caught Spike's arms and gently pinned the blond. "Hey, hey, hey. It's me. It's only me.
You're having a nightmare."
Blue eyes filled with strong emotion focused on Xander. "Xan?"
"Yeah, baby, it's me," Xander said softly. He released Spike only long enough to climb into the bed
with him. "C'mere," he said, pulling the vampire to him.
Spike pressed his face against Xander's chest and began to shiver. The shock had finally worn off,
and Xander knew there was nothing that he could do except hold the blond. Normally, Xander
would have been ecstatic and hard as rock, but at that moment, he wavered between concerned and
homicidal. [How dare someone hurt my Spike!]
"Damn it," Spike cursed angrily. "Stupid effin' chip."
"I know," Xander comforted and fell silent, not offering platitudes or promises he couldn't keep.
Eventually, Spike fell back to sleep, and Xander kept watch over the blond as long as he could
before he joined the vampire in Morpheus' embrace.
Xander woke up to soft blue eyes peering at him from across the pillow, the rest of the face blocked
by a thumb and hooked fingers. Xander smiled gently, tugged Spike's thumb away, and replaced it
with his lips.
Softly, and so very tenderly, Xander kissed Spike. The brunette slid his hand around the vampire's
side, shifting closer to the smaller man sharing the bed. "Spike," Xander whispered against Spike's
lips. "Kissing you."
Spike laughed, and Xander pulled back and glared. "Thank you for laughing," the brunette said
dryly. "It does wonders for my ego."
"Sorry," Spike snickered, blushed, and dropped his gaze.
Xander rolled his eyes, plopped a kiss on the tip of Spike's nose, then hopped out of bed. "Brrrr."
Xander rubbed his arms in the cold of the dorm room. He could see that Willow, and possibly
Buffy, and been and gone. [If they hadn't known before, they definitely knew now...,] he thought as
he snatched his coat, removed the envelope from the pocket, and scurried back to bed.
"Hey!" Spike exclaimed, sliding to the far side of the bed. "Your feet are bloody cold!"
"Sorry." Xander gave him a lopsided grin and thrust the card out. "Happy Valentine's Day."
"For me?" Spike stared at the envelope, shocked.
"No, for the sexy vampire behind you," Xander answered.
Spike sat up, the covers falling around his bare waist, and tore into the envelope with a flourish. He
snorted when he saw the front of the card, then opened it.
Xander propped his head on his hand and waited. [Either I'm going to be laughed at again, and in a
not nice way, or...]
Spike smiled shyly, leaned forward, and pressed a quick kiss on the side of Xander's mouth. "I, um,
like you, too," he said, staring embarrassedly at his lap.
A huge grin split Xander's face. [WOOHOO!!] "I'm glad," he said, managing to sound calm rather
The vampire abruptly crawled out of bed and put his jeans on, with his back to Xander. Then, he
went over to Buffy's dresser and began going through the top drawer. "Think the Slayer'd be pissed
if we nicked her knickers?"
[My sweet, adorably shy vampire,] Xander thought with a happy sigh. He got out of bed and
dressed, too. "Yeah, she'd be mad as hell."
Spike glanced over his shoulder with a questioning lift of his brow. "So?"
Xander sent him a mischievous grin. "So... let's do it."