“They stood up for me,” Xander repeated as he stepped through the door, his tone soft and wondering. “They stood up for me. Against Buffy.”


“They sure did, Pet,” Spike said. He slid his arm around Xander’s shoulders and squeezed. “See? They do appreciate you. They just took their bloody time figuring it out.”


“Giles said they needed me,” Xander said, very softly. “And Willow wanted moral support.”


Willow probably wanted something from Xander a little more potent than moral support, but of course Spike couldn’t say that; Xander didn’t realize just how powerful his “moral support” could be.


“’Course they need you,” Spike said. He licked the side of Xander’s throat, making him shiver. “You’re a very needable sort, luv.”


Xander turned to glance at Spike, his expression slightly anxious.


“Do you need me?” he asked.


Spike grimaced. Bloody hell, he hated this kind of conversation. It belonged on Oprah or Jerry Springer or something, not in a relationship between two men – a vampire and his Consort, no less.


“Look, Pet,” he said. “I’ve been walkin’ the earth for round about a century and a half, wreaked lots of lovely bloody havoc over most of Europe and killed two Slayers. In all that time I didn’t never take a Consort, never even thought about it. You think I ever agreed to let any mortal dictate when and who I could kill? Much less agreed and meant it? Can you even imagine me doing it?”


Xander snorted.


“Jeez, Spike, I can barely believe you did with me, and I was there.”


“Well, there you go, then,” Spike said patiently. Hopefully they could leave this ludicrous conversation behind in favor of something more interesting. And sticky. “What’s that tell you?”


Xander sighed.


“I know, I know,” he mumbled, dropping his eyes. “It’s just – never mind.”


Spike sighed too.


“Yeah, but you just got to hear it, don’t you?” he said resignedly. “Just gotta drag a confession out of the vampire, eh?”


Xander gave Spike a sideways glance and grinned abashedly.


“Do you mind?” he said apologetically. “Just this once?”


“Seem to get a whole lot of ‘just this onces’,” Spike grumbled. “C’mere.” He grabbed Xander and pulled the mortal to him, crushing Xander’s groin to his with almost painful force, letting Xander feel firsthand, so to speak, that Spike was getting pretty damned tired of talking. He buried his face in Xander’s throat, nipping sharply at that spot just under Xander’s ear that always made him moan.


“I love you,” he whispered in Xander’s ear, loving the way Xander’s cock jumped at the nip. Just for laughs, he added a nip to the mortal’s earlobe just for punctuation. Boing! “And I need you, all right? Got that? Can we get horizontal now?”


“Got it,” Xander gasped. “And, uh, yeah, horizontal is good, or vertical, or sideways, or upside down, anything you say.”


Spike snickered and stepped back, leaving Xander to support himself on his own now wobbly legs.


“Now that’s what I like to hear,” Spike said smugly. “Now, seeing as we’re celebrating – “


“We are?” Xander said, looking glazed and puzzled at the same time.


“Celebrating you not having to throw the fucking spear, all right?” Spike said impatiently.


“Oh. That. Okay,” Xander said, still glazed, but now less puzzled.


“Anyway, seeing as we’re celebrating,” Spike said firmly, “got a bit of a surprise for you, Pet, so you just park your bum on the couch for a minute till I call you in. ‘Course, you can strip off while you wait,” he added suggestively.


Xander had sat down at Spike’s words, but he bounced to his feet again, already pulling his sweater off over his head.


“Stripping’s good,” he said, his words muffled by the fabric.


Spike had hidden part of Xander’s surprise under the bed, and the rest of course was in the closet, so he didn’t have to try to sneak past his Consort or order Xander to the bathroom. He stripped hurriedly, got everything set up, flipped off the lights, and flung himself on the bed, arranging himself artistically.


“Come on in, then, Pet,” Spike called. “Shut off the lights out there first, would you?”


“Uh . . . okay.” The lights shut off and Xander appeared in the doorway. There was a tiny gasp, almost silent, as Xander froze there.


The portrait had been in less than perfect condition when Spike had retrieved it – no surprise, the way it had been shuffled from one storage hole to another, many less than environmentally perfect for hundred-some-year-old oil paintings – so Spike had had to take it to be restored. He’d purchased a stand to display it to best effect, and right now it was displayed the way it was meant to be, by the light of two candelabra placed on small tables on either side of it. It was a thing of beauty, Spike had to admit.


At the moment, however, he wasn’t sure whether it was the portrait itself that so captivated his Consort, or the other spectacle presented to him. The bed was different, of course, but Spike had gone to considerable effort to duplicate everything else: The wine-colored velvet hangings and bedspread, the black velvet cushions, and of course Spike himself.


His old nightshirt hadn’t been in the best possible condition either after all the years, but enough had been left of it for Spike to get another one made while the portrait was being restored, and Spike had arranged it and his pose to perfectly duplicate the portrait as he lay back half reclined among the cushions. Of course, his hair had been a good deal longer back then, and it hadn’t been bleached; Spike had briefly considered getting a wig just to complete the effect, then dismissed the idea. He’d never really liked his long hair; it provided altogether too much leverage. He’d never particularly minded when Angelus used it to hold his head still while the older vampire fucked his mouth, but all too often Angelus had used it instead as a handy grip to bang Spike’s head into walls or floors.


Xander was still standing in the doorway, jaw agape, eyes wide, cock wet and bobbing, and Spike licked his lips.


“Know you like to look, Pet, and I’m glad you like what you see,” Spike purred. “But there’s four other senses we can play around with if you’d care to get a little closer, hmmmmmm?”


“Wubba,” Xander said, licking his own lips just before the drool spilled over.


“Or if you’d rather,” Spike said slyly, “You could do some naughty art of your own.” He jerked his head at the nightstand, where he’d placed their camera – loaded with film specially enchanted to photograph vampires.


Xander glanced at the camera. At the portrait. At Spike.


“Gerflitz,” he said.


“’smatter, Pet?” Spike purred. He stretched languidly, raising his arms and crossing them behind his head. That made the linen nightshirt, which ordinarily hung almost to his knees, slide up his bare thighs allllllllmost high enough to give Xander a real spectacle. He wiggled his toes, relishing the soft velvet against his skin. “Cat got your tongue?”


“Glug,” Xander whimpered, and grabbed the camera, lens and cock pointing at Spike with equal greed.


Spike grinned.


For the next few minutes he posed for Xander, his postures ranging from demure to naughty, teasing his Consort with glimpses of naked skin but never allowing the nightshirt to ride up quite high enough. He reduced Xander to drooling idiocy by rolling over on his stomach, flexing one leg to the side, and letting the nightshirt creep up just enough to expose the lower curve of one buttock.


“Gggggggg,” Xander said, not bothering to wipe away the drool now.


Spike grinned saucily and rolled onto his back. He trailed his fingertips up the insides of his thighs, sliding the bottom of the nightshirt up as he did. He planted his far foot flat on the bed, flexing his knee up, his grin widening as he saw Xander’s eyes riveted on his fingers and their path. Slowly, sloooooooowly he pushed the bottom of the nightshirt up until the bunched folds just brushed the bottoms of his balls . . . then, a hairsbreadth at a time, on up, up, up, exposing the length of his erection.


“Wubba,” Xander whimpered, forcing the camera up again. His fingers seemed to lock on the camera as Spike slowly, lazily stroked his erection, gazing directly into Xander’s eyes. Well, through the camera, at least.


Xander lowered the camera, his mouth working but no sound emerging. Slowly, carefully he placed the camera on the nightstand.


Then he pounced.


“Oof!” Spike grunted as he suddenly found himself flattened under a very muscular, very warm, very horny Xander. Funny, he didn’t remember Xander having more than two hands, but he could swear the critter fighting to touch, explore and caress every inch of his body had to be part octopus.


“Easy, easy, luv,” Spike laughed. He rolled them over, shamelessly exploiting the advantage of vampiric strength, to straddle his lover. He started to pull the nightshirt up. “Want me to take this off?”


“Don’t you dare!!”


Abruptly, vampiric strength be damned, a very startled Spike found himself back on the bed under Xander, Xander’s hips still between Spike’s legs, Xander’s weight on his hands pinning Spike’s wrists to the bed.


Spike shivered. He’d forgotten his Consort was a hell of a lot stronger than an ordinary mortal these days. And all that lifting and carrying at his job didn’t hurt, either. He licked his lips, gazing up into Xander’s hot, dark eyes, making no effort to free himself.


This could get interesting.


“What’ve you got in mind, Pet?” Spike purred.


“I want to fuck you in that nightshirt,” Xander said hoarsely.


Spike pouted in mock disappointment.


“That’s it?” he said.


Xander blinked.


“What do you mean, that’s it?” he scowled.


“I mean – “ Spike writhed a little, just enough to make Xander’s hands tighten on his wrists. “ – after all that trouble and teasing, that’s as perverted as you’re planning to get? Me in a nightshirt? You can do better’n that, Pet.”


“Oh, yeah?” Xander panted. Abruptly he released Spike’s wrists – just long enough to reach over to the bedpost and pull free one of the thick silken cords Spike had used to tie the hangings back. Spike grinned as Xander carefully wrapped the cord around Spike’s wrist several times before knotting it, then stretched Spike’s arm out to tie the free end of the cord to the bedpost. “I can do better, huh?” He grabbed another silk cord and imprisoned Spike’s other wrist. “How about if I do worse?”


“Oooooh, Pet, didn’t know you had it in you,” Spike purred, giving the cords a surreptitious tug. He wasn’t entirely surprised to feel the sturdiness of the knots Xander had used. The whelp was a construction worker, after all, and he’d had more than a bit of experience with rope-tying with the Scoobies, too – including a few times he’d actually tied Spike up. Spike could probably get loose – well, all right, maybe – if he was willing to work damned hard at it, but he hadn’t the slightest doubt that Xander would have him untied in seconds if he showed any real reluctance.


Thing is, he didn’t feel any reluctance at all. Quite the contrary, which was a bit of a surprise. Angelus had tied him up on occasion, and those were some of the fonder memories – Angelus never bothered tying him up to hurt him, only when he intended to tease his Childe half insane with pleasure. But his Sire tying him up was one thing; letting a human restrain him was something else altogether. Buffy and the others chaining him in the bathtub or tying him to a chair – those were some of the most humiliating moments of Spike’s unlife.


Strangely enough, Spike couldn’t even bring to mind those other times when Xander had bound him. This was different. This was his Consort, his beautiful Consort looking down at him with that fire in his eyes and that hot throbbing cock that was hard for him. This was an opportunity for Spike to do something he hadn’t done in a long time – completely let go. When was the last time he’d been able to enjoy being out of control? Not since Angelus, probably. And unlike his time with Angelus, this moment, here and now with Xander, was all about pleasure. No doubt, no dread, no fear. Just delicious anticipation.


Just letting go.


“Sooooo . . . “ Spike purred. “Ever dream about having your way with a vampire in a nightshirt tied to the bed?”


Xander licked his lips and grinned.


“By some strange coincidence,” he said, his eyes dark and hot, “that just became my favorite fantasy.”


He slid his hands under the nightshirt and Spike moaned. Xander’s hands were roughened by his work, and the contrast of that roughness against his smooth skin and the softness of the nightshirt and the velvet bedspread, Xander’s heat against his coolness, was intoxicating. Xander ran his hands over Spike’s body, not so much caressing as exploring, hands greedily claiming every inch of him. Spike whimpered as those long fingers slid up his chest, around his ribs – whimpers turned to moans as Xander thumbed his nipples, not too gently.


“Oooh, you like that, don’t you?” Xander breathed. “I like this too, having the big bad vampire at my mercy. You can’t touch me, but I can touch you however I want to, can’t I?”


“That’s the fun of it, luv,” Spike gasped, feeling unaccountably short of breath as Xander’s hands stroked over his skin under the nightshirt, sliding around to his back, then down to cup his buttocks. Spike threw his head back in a mute gesture of vampiric surrender, baring his throat to his lover, thrusting his hips up unashamedly and whimpering again as the soft linen nightshirt slid over his hypersensitive cock.


Then Xander grinned wickedly and flipped the nightshirt up, up – covering Spike’s face with the fabric. Suddenly Spike was effectively blindfolded, and he yelped in protest. He’d been enjoying that hungry expression on his Consort’s face. Then he yelped again, this time not in protest, as a warm, wet tongue stroked quickly up the underside of his erection, swirled briefly around the leaking head, and then just as abruptly withdrew. Spike moaned, shuddering and spreading his legs wider in mute invitation. God, his Consort was positively evil to tease him like this – and Spike adored it.


Not a word in response to Spike’s various nonverbal cues, but that warm mouth fastened on his skin again, this time high up on the inside of Spike’s thigh, sucking wetly, then nipping hard enough to leave a bruise. Then the lightest trace of Xander’s lips across the tender skin behind Spike’s knee, then another warm, sucking kiss in the opposite crease of Spike’s thigh.


Spike was moaning freely now, delighted by this unforeseen streak of tender cruelty in his Consort. Bloody hell, the next few centuries were starting to look like a lot of fun!


That hot, voracious mouth enveloped one of his testicles, then the other, then oh bloody HELL nibbled up the underside of his cock and Spike was whimpering needily now, almost fucking begging, and it was hot as hell, unable to touch Xander, unable to see Xander, never knowing what was coming next – Well hopefully it’s me and he never ever wanted it to end.


Then the hands cupping his buttocks lifted him higher and he was propped momentarily on the tops of Xander’s thighs; lubed fingers seemed suddenly cold after all that heat, but Spike could have cared less and he opened for them greedily, striving to push down against that probing touch. Then Xander was lifting his hips again, God, supporting Spike’s entire lower body, and Spike might have thrilled at his Consort’s strength if Xander hadn’t chosen that moment to drive home within him in one good hard push.


Spike howled in pleasure and tried to clamp is legs around Xander, but Xander was having none of that; his arms supporting Spike’s hips were between Spike’s legs, leaving those legs nothing to do but jerk helplessly in midair while Xander thrust into him. Spike howled again in frustration and ecstasy and relaxed, letting Xander plunder him however he liked, gripping the ropes tied to the bedposts tightly, staring blindly up into the blank screen of his nightshirt. Bloody hell, had he ever felt Xander so hard, so huge inside him? At this angle it seemed as if his Consort was plunging right in to his very heart, and Spike could do nothing but howl and beg incoherently for more, more, more.


A slight shift and then Spike was able to wrap his legs around Xander’s waist, one arm still wrapping around Spike’s hips to hold him up – now where the ‘ell did that other hand go? – as Xander never paused in his rhythmic thrusts into Spike.


Spike’s question was answered very shortly as he felt Xander lean slightly sideways and heard a ripping sound – and then suddenly his cock was being stroked in a tunnel of pure velvet. That incredible sensation, accompanied by several hard, deep thrusts, was more than Spike’s already overstimulated nerves could bear, and he screamed and let go, coming so hard that if he’d been mortal, he would have passed out. As it was, the inside of his nightshirt blindfold deveped beautiful little sparkly star-shapes for several moments, and he barely noticed Xander’s last deep thrusts, or the hot liquid spurts inside him; he was only marginally aware when his Consort collapsed on top of him, a delicious sweaty weight.


Spike lay there basking in the afterglow, enjoying the smell of his Consort’s sweat and the raw musk of their rut. When Xander’s slowing breaths threatened to turn into snores, however, Spike said gently, “Er, Pet? Care to get me out of this?”


“Oh. Sorry,” Xander said sheepishly. The nightshirt was pulled back down; then Xander quickly untied Spike’s wrists. Before it could occur to Xander to come out with any more apologies, Spike rolled over and gathered his Consort up in his arms.


“My, aren’t you the wild thing, eh, Pet?” Spike said huskily. “Loved that, didn’t I?”


Xander blushed, but he licked his lips.


“Did you?”


Spike grinned and licked the sweat from Xander’s temple.


“Not half,” he said. “Suppose they heard me next town over.”


Xander grinned, although he was still blushing.


“Didn’t figure you for the ‘tie me up, tie me down’ sort,” Spike chuckled. “I’m impressed.”


“I guess you bring out the kink in me,” Xander grinned. “I never did anything like that before. I mean, I’ve tied people up before – including you – but it was kind of all in the line of Scoobyness.” He snuggled in closer, and Spike stroked the dark hair absently. Xander was silent for a long time, and Spike was beginning to drowse when the mortal spoke again.


“You know, I never thought it would be me.”


“Hmmm?” Spike said sleepily.


“The spear. I never thought it would be me. I’m kinda surprised you thought it could be at all.”


Spike frowned and opened his eyes, turning his head to look at Xander.


“How’s that, Pet?”


“The pure soul thing. Pure heart. Whatever.”


Spike raised an eyebrow.


“Don’t quite follow, Pet.”


“Well, I mean – “ Xander waved a hand illustratively. “I’m shacked up with an evil soulless vampire. I pretty much quit helping the Slayer to be with you. I was the one who got rid of your chip, making it possible for you to kill humans again. I even kinda gave you permission to kill my parents. I feed you my blood and I’ve drunk yours too, and you said yourself that it’s changed me. I mean, there’s probably not a whole lot of purity going on here.”


“Hmmmm.” Spike considered Xander’s words. “Might have a point there, Pet. That bother you?”


This time it was Xander’s turn to think. Finally he shrugged rather abashedly.


“I guess not,” he said. “I mean, I don’t know how, um, pure a guy my age is supposed to be. I mean if I was that, um, virtuous, then I guess I wouldn’t be with you. And I wouldn’t want that. So I guess however I am, that’s the way I want to be.”


Spike thought about that, then took Xander’s hand, gently nipping the inside of his wrist, barely enough to break the skin. He licked up the few drops of blood that welled up.


“Dunno, Pet,” he teased gently, kissing the tiny wound. “You taste pretty damned pure to me.”


“Oh, yeah?” Xander shivered and rolled on his side, pressing the full length of his body against Spike’s, and Spike felt the evidence of one the many benefits of a Consort’s slightly altered physiology pressing hot and hard against his belly.


“Yeah,” Spike said huskily, grabbing Xander’s hip to pull his Consort’s body even tighter against his own. “A bit too pure, to my way of thinking.”


Xander smirked.


“Sounds like I need some more corrupting, then,” he said.


“Sounds like a job for the Big Bad,” Spike smirked. He reached up and gave one of the silken cords tied to the bedpost an experimental tug. He grinned wider. “So, Pet . . . seeing as we’ve got these candles lit already, just how kinky are you feeling?”


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