What is it now? Willow said, rather impatiently. She set the large box she was carrying on the couch. I brought a lot of my spell stuff this time since you didnt say what you needed. I hope it wont take too long, Tara and I need to leave in a few hours. What is it, more treasure, or maybe some kind of protection spell or
Sorry, Pet, Spike grinned. No magic at all.
No magic? Willow repeated disbelievingly. Then what do you need me for?
Red, theres a whole lot more to you than a bit of mojo, you know. You ought to get a life. Smell the roses, shag your lady, that sort of thing.
Spike, thats none of your business, she said weakly.
Right. Well, try this, then, Spike said. He pointed to the kitchen table. Can you set that up for Xander so its all ready to go?
A laptop? Willow sat down at the table, mouth dropping open. Oh, wow, this is top of the line! Uh, set it up? As in what?
As in whatever needs doing, Spike said, shrugging. Dunno the first thing about computers. Only I got him an Internet connection thingy, maybe you could do that. One of them cable modem thingies, theyre supposed to be the fastest. That box is supposed to have everything you need.
Willow poked through the box.
Okay, Ethernet card, firewall, antivirus software, uh-huh . . . okay, yeah, I can do this. Um, wheres the connection?
Well, I got two hookups, Spike shrugged. Over there on that wall, or theres one in the spare room. Didnt know whether he was going to want an office like, or whether hed rather be out here with me and the TV.
Knowing Xander, out here, Willow grinned. Um, no desk or anything?
I got one, its down cellar, all set up, Spike said patiently. But I bring it up here, kind of spoils the Christmas surprise, dont it?
True. Okay, Ill make do.
Spike left Willow alone to work while he checked the Christmas decorations and presents one last time. He and Xander had picked out the tree the evening before and bought the decorations; Spike had set up the tree and decorated it today just for a lark, hed put a little Count Dracula figurine on top of the tree instead of an angel. Hed considered raiding Xanders sex toy box (Xander had scooted it under the bureau and apparently thought Spike had forgotten about it) and hanging the toys on the tree instead of ornaments, but on reflection hed realized that most of them were too heavy, theyd weigh the branches down. Hed hung up stockings, too fishnet stockings.
While Willow clicked away on the computer, Spike wrapped some of the other presents hed bought Xander black paper, of course, and black satin ribbons. Xander could keep his red and green stuff. Of course, the really big one he couldnt wrap and had no intention of trying. Spike grinned as he thought of Xanders reaction to that one.
There was another present, too, that he wasnt altogether sure how Xander would take. Mark Allender, the project supervisor, had passed word up the line about how Xander had caught the mistake on the job blueprints. Lissik, without consulting Spike, had put a quiet word in the ear of the developer, and the developer had had a word with the general contractor . . . the upshot was that the company wanted Xander to take some drafting and engineering courses, possibly pursue an engineering degree, on the companys dime, with the idea of becoming an in-house project engineer. With a little help from Lissik, Spike had enrolled Xander in a little-known program where he could take almost the whole thing by correspondence via his new computer. All right, the institution catered mainly to demons and the like who couldnt attend normal schools, but it was a legitimate school, at least legally speaking. That way Xander could study from home as his time permitted.
Willow looked to be finishing up when the telephone rang. It was Giles.
Im terribly sorry to bother you on Christmas Eve, Giles said. Unfortunately Im having a bit of trouble translating a scroll that may have some relevance to our current problem its in a demonic language Ive never seen before. Since you have a certain facility with demonic dialects, I was wondering whether you might be able to join me at The Magic Box and have a look.
Only one problem, he said amusedly. If I go out now, Ill get a bit more of a tan thans good for me, if you get my drift.
Willow said she was dropping by, Giles said. Is she still there? She could bring you here on her way home, and Id be more than happy to bring you back.
In the trunk, Spike said scornfully. Youre talking two trips in the trunk.
Spike, Id really very much appreciate your opinion on this, Giles pressed. I know its inconvenient, but I did want to get this out of the way so that I neednt bother you over the holiday.
Spike sighed. Giles didnt know Spike was with Xander, so to speak, and Spike was certain that Giles concern was more for the sanctity of his own Christmas holiday than Spikes, but it amounted to the same thing as far as Spike was concerned. Besides, Spike didnt want to be disturbed over the holiday.
Right, then, Spike said resignedly. If Redll bring me, Ill be over.
Willow agreed to transport Spike to the Magic Box. When Spike remembered that Xander was supposed to be home early, however, and thought hed better call him on his cell, Willow shook her head.
Better not, she said quickly. I mean, what if hes out on a girder or something and forgot to turn his cell off, and it rings and startles him? Better just leave him a note, right?
That made sense, and Spike scrawled a note to Xander and let Willow tape it to the outside of the door while Spike hid the laptop away. Willow was able to pull her car into the upper warehouse easily enough, so Spike didnt have to run out under a blanket to scramble into the trunk, and the alley behind the Magic Box was comfortably shaded
The scroll Giles had mentioned was in Rgasi and had absolutely nothing, so far as Spike could see, to do with Ravyadha, his portals, the Tooth or anything else helpful. Spike was a bit puzzled he couldve sworn the Watcher had translated Rgasi before especially when Giles pressed him to translate the whole lengthy document, even when it became apparent to Spike that the thing was useless. Giles didnt look too disappointed, and he thanked Spike for his trouble with two six-packs of lovely imported stout and some extra packs of blood. Spike took the beer eagerly and the blood politely, although the refrigerator was well-stocked enough now that Xander was down to freezing the Miss Piggy Specials as emergency rations.
Another uncomfortable trunk ride, this time in Giles car, and then Spike was home. Even from the warehouse area Spike could hear that Xander was home already, puttering about in the kitchen, from which the most heavenly smells emanated, including one that made Spikes mouth water in a hauntingly familiar way
Then recognition set in and Spike was down the stairs and through the connecting door in an instant, just as Xander pulled a pan out of the oven and set it on a trivet. Spikes mouth suddenly flooded with saliva.
Is that he said, surprised at how small his voice sounded. He cleared his throat and tried again. Is that really
Roasted chestnuts, he said. Giles showed me how to do em. This is just part of them, Ive got a whole bunch, but I didnt want to spoil dinner, so you can have more later.
Spike sniffed and swallowed before drool could spill over. The kitchen was filled with delicious aromas; he couldnt begin to sort them out.
Dinner? he repeated blankly. Ive only been gone about a bloody hour.
Xanders grin widened.
Uhhhh, got a confession to make, he said. Ive actually been off all day. I set it up with Giles went over there and he helped me cook everything, and then he went to the Magic Box and got you over there so I could get the food back here. So Ive got all kinds of English stuff cooked. What I want to know is, why the hell do you Brits call everything pudding when none of its really pudding?
Spike was already busy peeling a chestnut so hot that if hed been mortal hed have worried about burning his fingers. He popped it in his mouth.
Pudding can be any dessert, he said with his mouth full.
Yeah, and it can be this Yorkshire popover stuff too, Xander chuckled. Well, Ive got that, and for dessert we can try to keep a straight face while eating something called Spotted Dick. I have my doubts.
Spike, his mouth stuffed with hot chestnuts he could barely swallow around the lump in his throat, watched in amazement as Xander set dish after dish on the table, motioning to Spike to sit down.
The one thing I draw the line at is that tripe stuff you talked about, Xander grinned. And whoever thought of mixing cabbage and mashed potatoes is going to do more bubble and fart than bubble and squeak, but whatever. And dont forget to save room for dessert.
Spike reached out and pulled Xander down into his lap.
Youre dessert, he whispered huskily in Xanders ear. And Im always hungry for you.
Xander turned and kissed him hotly, then pulled back slightly.
So . . . you like? he whispered.
The slight edge of uncertainty in Xanders tone choked Spike up again. He swallowed hard and pulled Xanders head around so he could whisper in his ear again.
No, I dont like. I love it. Love you. He nipped Xanders earlobe sharply, drawing a startled yelp, then soothed the sting with a slow, wet lick. Now sit down and lets eat all these goodies, sod the dishes after, and then well go open presents early, and then all thats left to do is decide whether we fuck in the bedroom or on the living room floor.
Xander got up rather reluctantly he was flushed and hard but apparently the pleasure of watching Spike eat his Christmas dinner outweighed the temptation to beg for instant gratification on the kitchen table. Spike didnt mind waiting. He didnt have to choose between his lovely dinner and his lovely Consort; hed have em both, and he liked em both the same way hot.
Three plates of food later, Spike was profoundly grateful that hed gotten back in the habit of eating mortal food. All right, it didnt satisfy his hunger the way a good hot draught of blood did fresh from the source preferably fresh from Xander but bloody Hell it tasted good, especially washed down with a couple of bottles of good bitters. At last he pushed back from the table and stretched happily.
Right, then, he said cheerfully. Whatd you get me for Christmas?
It doesnt work like that, he chided. Come on, lets go open presents.
There were plenty to open, too. Xander loved the leather duster Spike had bought him very like Spikes own, only not nearly as weathered Few good patrols will fix that, Spike chuckled and blushed at the fleece-liked black leather wrist and ankle cuffs. Spike just chuckled and gave Xander a leer.
Nobody says you always get to use them on me, Xander pointed out.
Works for me, Pet, Spike chuckled.
Xander was flabbergasted when Spike produced the laptop; Spike hesitantly broached the subject of the online classes, afraid Xander was going to be angry at him for interfering then a second later Spike found himself pinned to the floor under the weight of his Consort.
Youre unbelievable, Xander murmured after kissing Spike breathless. Mark just talked to me about that yesterday taking the classes, I mean. I couldnt figure out a way to do it, I mean, between work and patrolling and I want to spend time with you too Then he pulled back slightly, frowning. How the hell did you find out, though?
Told you, Pet, Spike said patiently. Building owners a friend of a friend.
Xanders frown deepened.
Spike, you didnt
Didnt do nothing, Spike said virtuously. Well, except buy the computer and suchlike. Nah, I just got the news, is all. He cupped Xanders chin, meeting Xanders eyes squarely. Im proud of you, you know that?
Xander flushed and pulled away from Spike. He swallowed hard and turned away, swiping roughly at his eyes with the back of his wrist.
Uh thanks, he mumbled.
Bloody hell, has nobody ever told the whelp they were proud of him? Then Spike winced at the thought. Right. Like who? His bloody parents who beat him? The fucking Scoobies who ignored him? Right.
Cmere. Spike pulled Xander roughly back against him and wrapped his arms around him, holding Xander tight until he felt the mortal relax slowly.
Youre special, you know that? Spike murmured in Xanders ear. Beautiful and special and very, very hot. Wouldnt have you for my Consort otherwise. But what youve done at your job, thats all your doing, and youve got every right to be proud of it.
Xander was still for a long moment. Then, shyly, I am.
Damn right. Spike gave Xander a last squeeze, then released him. Cmon. Got one more present to show you. Apart from the obvious, that is.
Xander laughed a little shakily.
By a strange coincidence, so do I. Apart from the obvious. Uhhhh you first?
Right. Spike jumped to his feet and pulled Xander up. Come on, then.
He was glad now that he hadnt brought it on into the upper warehouse. Hed left it, in fact, a couple of streets over to make sure that Xander wouldnt see it.
Uhhhh . . . Spike? Xander said uncertainly as Spike pulled him toward the black Expedition. Are we breaking into SUVs now?
Dont have to, Pet, he said, pressing the remote into Xanders hand. Try this on.
Xander went very still, his eyes wide.
Spike? he said in a small voice. Tell me you didnt buy me an SUV.
Kay, Pet, he said. I didnt buy you an SUV. Feel better knowing Ill lie for you? Cmon, open it up and have a look.
Xanders hands were shaking so badly that he had to fumble around several times before he managed to press the right button on the remote. Spike liked the Expedition it was roomy, comfortable and black. Hed had it fitted out with all the deluxe extras power everything, leather seats, posh stereo system, dark tinted windows, the works. He stood back and beamed as Xander silently, reverently explored it. Finally Xander glanced at him rather guiltily after all, hed probably forgotten Spike existed for a few minutes, at least.
Spike? Xander cleared his throat. Ummm . . . its not that I dont love it God, its fantastic! But, um, why an SUV?
The convertibles nice, he said. Good to have a classy car for posh occasions. But you need a workhorse ride, Pet something you can carry tools in, or bodies, or whatnot. Something reliable that can take it a bit rough if you need it. Sooo . . . he grinned. You like it, eh?
I love it, Xander said, shaking his head. Im still stunned. He ran his fingers over the leather back seat. It smells like your coat, he said shyly.
Spike raised one eyebrow.
Yknow, Pet, ought to christen it properly, he said slyly. Plenty of room in that back seat.
Xander flushed, and Spike could smell his renewed arousal, but to his surprise Xander shook his head.
Wait, he whispered. I want you to see your present first. Please?
Spike pouted slightly it wouldve been their first shag in a car, and he wanted it but let Xander drive him back to their building in the new Expedition. Xander led him into the very back of the warehouse portion, however, instead of their living area.
Close your eyes, Xander said. Ive been keeping this at Giles too, but there was no way I was gonna wrap it.
Spike closed his eyes, grinning. He had a sneaking suspicion he knew what he was going to see when he opened his eyes; hed smelled the traces of exhaust on Xanders clothes.
Okay, now you can open your eyes.
Spike opened his eyes.
His jaw dropped.
Hed more than half expected a motorcycle, but he hadnt expected this one. It was a classic Harley Fatboy, chrome everywhere, all the extras. Somebody, probably the whelp, had had it detailed, and on the black tank were painted droplets of blood flowing back toward the seat, as if pushed by the wind.
Holy bleeding Hell, Spike murmured, awed. He approached the machine slowly, reverently, like a postulant about to drop to his knees and worship. A moment later he did drop to his knees to have a good look at the engine. He fought back the urge to kiss it.
Bloody fucking Hell, Spike whispered, standing again, trailing the tips of his fingers across the leather seat.
Er, I take it that means you like it? Xander said hesitantly. I mean, I dont know much about motorcycles, and I didnt know if youd want something, er, lighter, more like a racing bike or maybe
Spike shut the whelp up by sliding his tongue into the hot mouth. He pulled Xander against him hard, let Xander feel just how happy Spike was.
I bloody love it, Spike growled in Xanders ear when hed withdrawn to let the whelp catch a desperately needed breath.
You realize, Xander panted, that the moment we show up in either of these, uh, vehicles, thats the end of the cash youre having such fun wringing out of Giles, and the beginning of a whole bunch of questions about how we got these?
Fuck em, Spike muttered succinctly, nibbling up Xanders throat.
Id uhhhhh! rather you fuck me, Xander gasped.
Can do, Pet, Spike purred. About time I get to unwrap my best Christmas present.
And he unwrapped Xander slowly, one garment at a time, kissing and caressing the newly-revealed landscape of Xanders body. Xander blushed furiously, and Spike was glad theyd never shagged in the warehouse before; the novelty of the situation obviously appealed to Xander too. Then Spike contemplated his naked Consort standing next to his marvelous motorcycle and decided there was one final touch he wanted.
Half a mo, luv, Spike chuckled. Lets put these back on. Xander blushed twice as red when Spike put Xanders socks and work boots back on, but Spike was delighted with the overall effect. Undressed except for the boots and socks, hard cock standing at attention, Xander looked beautifully perverse, more naked than naked. For a moment Spike thought about running to fetch the camera; then he discarded the idea. He just wasnt prepared to wait that long.
Uh, Spike? Xander said, still blushing furiously although he looked far from displeased at Spikes attention. Am I the only one getting naked here? And uh do we need something from the bedroom?
For a moment Spike thought that Xander had read his mind about the camera; then he realized what his Consort was talking about. He grinned and pulled a tube of lubricant out of his pocket.
Thought we might want to christen your new SUV, Spike said, grinning.
Xander glanced around.
Uh, did you hide maybe a sleeping bag somewhere too? he said abashedly. I mean, Im all for spontaneity, but cold hard concrete doesnt have a whole lot of appeal.
Spike licked his lips.
Oh, no, Pet, he said. Got a much, much better idea than that.
Spike stripped quickly, economically, then, to Xanders delight, slipped his leather duster back on.
Boots too? Xander begged.
Spike smirked and put his boots on. He was rewarded by a violent jump in Xanders erection and a noticeable increase in Xanders heartbeat and breathing.
Now what? Xander said, rather breathlessly.
Now we combine Christmas with pleasure, Spike grinned. He threw a leg over the motorcycle, chuckling as Xander shuddered at the sight, and kicked the Fatboy into life. It didnt purr. Cars purred. This beauty growled, the growl of a predator, a proper growl that echoed through the large building. Letting the bike idle, Spike beckoned Xander over.
Now you, he said. No, here in front of me.
Xander apparently got the idea, because his blush spread even further downward as he awkwardly slid onto the bike in front of Spike. Spike pulled Xander back against his chest, stroking Xanders chest, teasing his nipples, nibbling on the side of his throat.
Ever done it on a bike, Pet? Spike whispered, pretty damned certain that Xander had not. He teased Xanders erection with the very tips of his fingers, eliciting a beautiful pathetic whimper.
Jesus, Spike, Anya wouldnt even do it in the back seat of the car at the drive-in, and I thought that was, like, almost mandatory, Xander panted.
Spike said nothing, but he was obscurely glad; he didnt especially like to think of Xander with Anya, and the more experiences the ex-demon had denied his Consort, the more pleasures remained Spike and Xanders exclusively.
Well, then Ill just have to show you what youve been missing, Spike purred. He released Xander, grinning at the disappointed moan. Lean forward a bit.
Xander obeyed hurriedly, and Spike shivered at the sight of the smooth, creamy skin of Xanders arse, buttocks slightly spread by his position straddling the bike, against the black leather of the seat. Spike slicked up his fingers and gave Xander a cursory preparation; if there was ever a time to get a little rough, this was it.
Xander let out a low cry of pleasure when Spike slid smoothly into him. He tried to push back into Spikes deep thrusts, but he had to brace his hands against the motorcycle tank, and he couldnt get much leverage with his feet on the floor. Spike chuckled wickedly and thrust harder, keeping Xander off balance, forcing more of those delicious little whimpers out of him. It was more than a bit awkward for Spike too he had to hold on to the handlebars, steady the bike, and manage enough leverage to thrust, all at the same time. If it werent for vampiric strength enough that he could spare one hand to hold on to Xanders hip, he wasnt sure he couldve managed it. He had every intention that this would be the ride of Xanders life.
He fought back a whimper of his own. The vibrations from the engine travelled through both their bodies, transforming Xanders body into a hot, vibrating sheath for his cock; he could barely imagine how it felt from Xanders end. He pulled Xander back against him again, burying his face in the juncture of Xanders neck and his throat, smelling the heat in Xanders blood, feeling the transformation to his game face as climax threatened to overwhelm him. He thrust hard and deep one last time, pushing Xander forward in the seat, sinking his teeth into Xanders skin as the force of his thrust pressed Xanders erection against the vibrating tank.
Xander screamed, his back arching into a bow, almost ripping Spikes teeth loose in his shudders as he came, the convulsive clench of his muscles drawing a new howl from Spike. For a moment every muscle strained, fighting to wring out one last drop of the shattering pleasure; then Xander gave a disappointed little murmur and passed out, slumping forward on the motorcycle. Spike barely mustered the energy to grin, shutting off the motorcycle. It took his last effort to pull a totally limp Xander off the bike and down to the floor his duster would have to do as bedding fro them both, because there was just no way he could get them both to bed.
The concrete was hard through the duster. Spike didnt care about that, or the cold, but he knew Xander would, so he rolled them over, cradling Xanders body on top of his.
Finally Xander stirred.
Ummmfff, he mumbled, snuggling closer.
Wake up, luv, Spike whispered.
Dont wanna. Xander stretched. Winced. Unnh.
Uh-huh. Xander pushed up slightly, grinning ruefully. He touched his shoulder, shivering slightly at the smears of blood on his fingertips. Wow. Got kind of wild there, didnt you?
Spike snickered unrepentently.
Guess we did, Pet.
You know, I was going to ask you to take me for a ride on your new bike, but that wasnt exactly what I was thinking of, Xander chuckled. Now I dont think Im even gonna sit comfortably in that nice luxurious SUV.
We can take care of that if you want, Spike murmured. That and the bite. He raised his hand, preparing to bite into his wrist.
No . . . Xander grabbed Spikes wrist, stopping him. He kissed Spikes wrist and pressed it back down. Dont.
Spike raised an eyebrow inquiringly.
What, you telling me youre into pain now? he chuckled. This could get interesting.
Right on cue, Xander blushed, but something in his eyes told Spike he wasnt joking anymore. Spike shut up.
Spike? Xander said softly. This is the best Christmas Ive ever had in my life. Better than I ever even dared to wish for. And believe me, I wished a lot. And the SUV and all the other stuff is great, really it is. But having you is the best of all. And every time I sit down tomorrow Im going to feel you, and every time my shirt rubs the right way for the next couple of days, Im going to feel you . . . I want that, want a reminder of this Christmas for as long as I can keep one.
Some particles of grit from the garage area mustve gotten into Spikes eyes, because suddenly they were stinging. He shrugged out of his duster, leaving it on the floor, and sat up, pulling Xander around to sit facing him.
Gonna show you something, Spike said softly, drawing Xander close. He reached for his boot knife, holding up a hand at Xanders frown of protest when he made a short but fairly deep cut at the side of his throat. Dont worry, luv, Ill give you some other reminders after this if you want. Trust me. Hurry, now, before it heals up.
He waited until he felt the warm press of Xanders lips before he bit again, carefully far from the vein, closing his eyes as the bond between them flared open. Ahhhhh, the taste of Xander, the feel of Xander, bright and hot as almost-forgotten sunlight, the sweet, pure openness of him, the trust, the wonder, the astonished pleasure as now his Consort felt it too, drinking down pleasure, his/Xanders/his/Xanders, drinking down love, Xanders/his/Xanders/his . . .
It didnt last long, Spike healed too fast and with Spikes blood running through him Xander healed too, but it was enough. Spike could see from the glow in Xanders eyes when he drew back that it was enough, more than enough.
Remember that? Spike said softly. Told you, theres a bond between us, between vampire and Consort. Youve felt it before, though most times were both too busy coming to think about it much. Every time we share blood, it grows a bit stronger. I feel it more than you do, cause I know what Im doing, thats all. With time and practice, you can learn to feel me anytime, anywhere know what Im feeling, even what Im thinking, eventually. He leaned in again, kissed Xander slowly, sharing the taste of his blood, tasting his own blood in Xanders mouth. Think thats enough of a souvenir for you?
Xander swallowed, smiled. He was trembling.
Guess itll do, he said. Then he grinned. Well, that and the leather coat, and the SUV and the computer and all.
Too bad, I was looking forward to making you sore again so you could have your bit of a reminder whenever you sit down.
Xander scrambled to his feet, pulling Spike up after him.
What, I cant have both? he pouted. Ive got to choose between pressies and sex? Okay, fine, but if I have to take mine back, the bike goes too. He stalked off in mock outrage, the glorious sight of naked Xander, still in his boots, somewhat distracting Spike, leaving the drooling vampire behind to hastily gather up their clothes and scramble after his Consort.
Now, wait a minute, Pet, lets not be hasty, Spike said, trotting after Xander. Now where did the whelp stow those cuffs, I wonder?