“Easy there,” Spike said hoarsely. “Don’t hurt your ribs.”


“It’s no problem,” Xander said, contradicting himself by panting as he half-carried Spike down the stairs to the door. “You don’t weigh much. Here, can you lean against the wall while I unlock the door?”


“No trouble,” Spike said, wondering to himself if he could in fact manage to stay upright without Xander’s supporting arm. He managed to cling to the wall long enough for Xander to get the door open, but the effort left him exhausted, his head swimming. He was relieved when Xander helped him inside, but balked when Xander steered him toward the bedroom. “Not there. I’ll ruin the bedclothes. Bathroom, all right?”


Xander rolled his eyes, but helped Spike to the bathroom.


“The man’s two steps from dust and he worries about the sheets,” Xander said exasperatedly, his careful assistance as he gently lowered Spike into the tub belying his tone. “I still think we should’ve taken you to Giles.”


Spike snorted derisively. He was, in fact, amazed that the whelp had stood by him this far. He’d lost so much blood that he couldn’t hide his game face; if he’d been any more fit to attack, chip or no chip, Xander might’ve been in serious danger.


“What, and let the Slayer finish the job? Not likely, Pet. ‘Sides, nothing he could do. And showing up like this would’ve ruined the gesture, ey?”


“Well, we were right there,” Xander protested. “And Buffy was probably gone by then. Here, wait, I’ll go get the blood.”


“Never mind the pig,” Spike called as Xander left the room. “Bring in the bottles from the icebox, will you?”


“Uh – all of ‘em?”


Spike sighed ruefully.


“Best do,” he said grudgingly. He hated to admit to Xander just how close he’d come indeed.


Xander came back laden with bottles, which he arranged neatly on the vanity.


“Which one first?” he said. “I’m going to have to cut those clothes off, you know.”


“Yeah, I kind of figured, Pet,” Spike said wryly. “Knife in the left boot if you want. Give me a bottle – um, the one on the left.”


He drank down cold vampire blood and grimaced. Stuff was almost ready to go off; it didn’t keep worth a damn, and he had his doubts that the demon blood in the other bottles would be any better. And he hated cold blood. But it was enough to distract him while Xander painstakingly cut away his ruined clothing. Well, at least he’d had the sense not to wear any of his nicer stuff.


Xander carefully peeled away the last tatters of Spike’s tee shirt and paled.


“God, Spike – “ he said, swallowing hard.


“Yeah, Pet, I know,” Spike said, grimacing. He was hurting – hurting bad, to be honest. The big rip across the midsection of his tee shirt corresponded with an equally big rip in the skin beneath, through which Spike could see things he’d rather not. He could feel the ends of two broken ribs grating together and was thankful that he didn’t have to breathe. Rather nastier was the protruding end of his broken tibia; it hurt whether he bloody well breathed or not. The fracture in his collarbone and his half-smashed shoulder were nothing next to that. Well, he’d had worse, but never when he didn’t have fresh human blood or his Sire’s blood available to heal him. He’d recover, now that he was replenishing his blood supply, but it wouldn’t be fast and it wouldn’t be fun, not on old bottled blood. “Pants, too, would you? And careful on the left, ey?”


Xander apparently didn’t trust his now shaking hands with the knife, and he fetched the scissors instead, handing Spike a second bottle of blood before he started cutting. He had to pause from time to time because his hands were trembling so badly.


“Spike – um – are you sure we shouldn’t call Giles?” he said, very softly, wincing when he uncovered that broken left leg.


“Bloody hell, no,” Spike said, shaking his head. It hurt. “I told you, Pet, nothing he can do. Or rather, nothing he could do that you can’t, if you’ll oblige.”


Xander swallowed heavily again, trading Spike a full bottle for the empty.


“Spike – I mean, you will get better, right?”


“No doubt, Pet,” Spike said, rather more firmly than he felt. Bloody hell, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been done this bad.


“Okay.” Xander took a deep breath. “Just tell me what to do.”


“Right, then. First thing’s to wash off all the blood and Vorgost ichor,” Spike said, grimacing. The stuff stank something awful. “I know, it’s nasty. Use the spray if you want.”


“No way,” Xander said firmly, grimacing too. “Uh-uh, no spray on those owwies. Drink up and take it easy.” He got out every washcloth, hand towel and rag in the linen closet and went to work, replacing the bottle in Spike’s hand whenever it got empty. At last Spike was more or less clean, at least in front.


“Um, shouldn’t you have started healing by now?” Xander said hesitantly as he dropped the last gory rag into the bucket he was using for them. “I thought vampires were supposed to heal really fast.”


Spike snorted unhappily.

“You seen me heal really fast since I got chipped?” he said pointedly.


“Well – come to think of it, no, I haven’t,” Xander admitted. He sat back on his heels, looking at Spike worriedly. Cleansed of all the blood and ichor, the wounds looked even worse.


“Bottled blood,” Spike said sourly. “Most of the oomph is gone out of it. I’d be in worse shape yet if I’d been depending on Giles’ slaughterhouse squeezings – bottled animal blood is about as bad as it gets. Live blood’s the ticket, which is why most of the vampires you’ve seen healed up fast.”


“Why didn’t you feed on the Vorgost, then?” Xander said, wrinkling his brow. “There was blood everywhere.”


Spike snorted.


“Pet, what color’s that stuff?”


“Uh – kind of orange?”


“And how’s it smell?”


“Stinky. Kind of like a broccoli fart,” Xander admitted.


“And what’s that tell you?” Spike said patiently, trying not to laugh at Xander’s comment – laughing would hurt too much.


“It’s not like regular blood?” Xander guessed.


“Not blood at all,” Spike corrected. “Ichor. Look, Pet, can we go into this later? I’m sitting in a tub with me insides on the outside, or nearly.”


“Uh. Okay. Yeah.” Xander turned slightly green. “And I should do what now?”


“Get in the vanity, there’s a leather bag at the back,” Spike told him. “Trot it out.”


Xander pulled out the bag, opened it and looked. He turned a little greener.


“Oh my god,” he croaked.


Spike chuckled slightly, then groaned at the pain it caused him. The bag was Spike’s heavy-duty first aid kit, although he had to admit that he had, in the past, occasionally used the instruments therein for rather darker purposes.


“Don’t worry, you’re not using most of that stuff,” he said. “Just get out the suture kit. It’s right on top there.”


“You want me to – stitch – you – up?” Xander stammered disbelievingly.


“Yeah, and pretty soon,” Spike said wryly. “Get a wiggle on, will you? My liver’s gettin’ chilly here.”


It took considerable prompting, coaxing, and a constant flow of instructions that Spike in no way felt like giving, but Xander did it, and did it pretty well, too, although he had to stop twice to bend over the loo and vomit. At last Xander tied off the knot and ever so gently cut the thread.


“Done,” he said with immeasurable relief.


“Hardest one down,” Spike agreed, probing the stitches gingerly. Damn good job for the whelp’s first time, come to think of it. Maybe it was some leftover memories from that soldier git Spike had heard the Scoobies talk about from time to time.


“Hardest one?” Xander said, some of the relief fading from his expression.


Spike gestured at his leg.


“Planning to leave that as is, then?” he said.


“Oh. I guess not.” Xander shivered. “So what do I do now?”


“Well, first you dig down in that bag until you find a wide wrap, and we wrap my bloody ribs so they stop grinding about,” Spike told him. “Then – “ He glanced around and sighed. “Then we get me out of the tub, which is gonna hurt like bugger-all, and in there in the living room.”


“Okay.” The rib wrapping was accomplished easily if not comfortably, and getting Spike out of the tub was downright awful, but Spike knew that was nothing compared to what was coming. Xander mostly carried him into the living room, putting Spike down where he indicated, against the wall. Spike sat back, a folded washcloth in his hand.


“Okay, Pet, now you sit down facing me – shoes off, right? My bad leg between yours. Good. Now you put your foot here – “ Spike positioned Xander’s stockinged foot against his groin. “Left a bit, don’t want to smash the goodies. Now grab the ankle. Now, in a minute, I’m going to put this rag in my mouth, and I’ll give you a nod, and you brace with your foot and pull with your hands. Pull bloody hard, don’t worry about me.”


God, he hated this. In the old days Angelus or even Dru could’ve done this neatly and competently and with no fuss; either one of them would have given him a good draught of their blood to heal him up fast, or at least they’d’ve brought him good ol’ human hemoglobin on the hoof, so to speak. He’d have been up and around in a few hours. Now he had a bloody amateur, if a well-intentioned one, and bottled blood, and God alone knew how long he’d be crippled up – assuming it was set right and ever did heal up straight. Worse, being lamed up meant no more demon and vampire hunting for late-night snacks. Between his injuries and Giles’ meager all-pork diet, he might very well starve.


Spike looked up at Xander’s anxious face, felt the way the mortal’s hands trembled against his ankle.


“’Kay, Pet,” he said quietly. “Go for it.” He put the washcloth in his mouth, bit down on it experimentally. He gazed into Xander’s eyes and nodded.


Xander took a deep breath and pulled. Hard and sure.


It hurt worse than he remembered, and he remembered pretty damned well. Actually it wasn’t as bad as the bleeding chip, but it was certainly bad enough and then some. He fought to stay conscious, fought to wait until he felt the click that meant the bone was set so he could tell the whelp when he’d got it right, but he was weak and depleted and exhausted from the fight and the blood loss and the pain and the garlic, and just as he felt that click, it was with a certain amount of gratitude that Spike felt the darkness close in, and he surrendered without protest.


Darkness. Peace. Darkness had always meant peace, rest, safety, security, shelter. Darkness was the quiet place where Spike could hide from sunlight, from hunger, from pain, from –


That taste.


He knew that taste. Knew it intimately, knew it joyfully. The taste of hot red vitality. The taste of strength and healing and power. The taste that meant survival. The taste of another life joining with his, however briefly.


The taste that filled his mouth now.


Oh, glorious, hot, salty, sweet, metallic, rich. It zinged through his veins like lightning, like music, like magic. So sweetly familiar, that feeling, that taste –


That very particular taste –


Spike’s eyes shot open, staring over the flesh pressed against his mouth. Staring into Xander’s worried eyes.


Xander could never see the internal war going on, as Spike’s heart and mind howled No! Stop! while every cell in his body screamed Yes! More!, while the needs of his heart warred with his instinct for survival. It was only a second, maybe less, but in that second, for the first time ever, Spike truly glimpsed Hell.


And with a roar of agony, he wrenched Xander’s arm away from his mouth.


Long moments while he shuddered, while Xander’s lifeblood sped through his body, while bones knitted and skin flowed together and torn flesh melded. He whimpered with the rawness of it, his tongue seeking the last traces on his lips and chin and fingers, and finally, finally he felt his game face settle back into its human contours, but he kept his eyes closed. He knew he hadn’t killed Xander, hadn’t seriously drained him; he could hear the whelp’s strong, steady heartbeat from here. No, what Spike was afraid to see was what might show in Xander’s eyes. He didn’t know what he was more frightened of seeing there – fear? Contempt? Disgust? Would it be worse, or better, if he saw instead what had motivated the mortal to cut open his own flesh and offer an evil soulless vampire his blood? At last he could stall no longer, and terrified of what he would see, Spike opened his eyes.


Xander sat there, stunned, staring, his expression a mixture of amazement and relief, and thank God those two emotions eclipsed whatever else might have been there because Spike wasn’t sure he was ready to see that right now. And it didn’t surprise him a bit when he heard the first words that tumbled out of his own mouth.


“You stupid bloody git, what the bleeding hell were you thinking?”


Stunned relief abruptly became stunned disbelief.


“I thought I was saving your life,” Xander said, scowling. “I thought I was helping you. Stupid me, but what else is new? Hey, Xander the fuckup, I’m used to it.”


Spike realized that Xander was shaking like a leaf, and that revelation shook him profoundly.


Over me? Jesus bleedin’ Christ. He was that scared for me. Scared enough to offer me his blood. Hell, scared enough to risk his bleeding life. For a moment Spike couldn’t think, couldn’t react. Angelus had run off and left Spike and Dru to their own devices. Dru had run off to shag some bloated demon when the mood struck her. Had anybody ever been prepared to offer their life for him? Ever?


Spike sighed.


“C’mere, Pet,” he said tiredly, holding out one arm.


“What?” Xander said suspiciously. He was still shaking, and Spike could see the anger and hurt fighting for dominance in his eyes.


“C’mere. Or do I have to go there?” Spike still held the arm out, beckoning wearily.


Xander hesitated a moment longer, then scooted over under the arm. Spike gave him a brief one-armed hug.


“Give over, Pet.” Spike firmly took Xander’s hand, examining the still-bleeding shallow cut on Xander’s forearm, comfortably far from the major blood vessels. Glancing up into Xander’s eyes, Spike lifted Xander’s arm and deliberately licked, collecting the droplets of blood running down his skin. He cleaned Xander’s arm with little cat-licks, careful not to hurt. When he’d finished, he bit into his lower lip, tasting his own blood, and licked over the cut again, feeling the edges of the skin seal under his tongue. Xander gasped. Regretfully, Spike savored the last traces of Xander’s blood and released his arm.


Xander shivered, staring at Spike, his eyes wide and dilated. Then, silently, he folded Spike into his arms and held on tight with fear or desire or both, Spike didn’t much care which at the moment, held on as if he’d never let go.


“’S all right, Pet,” Spike soothed, stroking Xander’s blood and ichor-mucked hair. “’S all over. It’s all right, I’m all right, all done.”


“I need a shower,” Xander choked, and Spike could hear that he was right on the edge of tears. He didn’t know if he could cope with Xander’s tears right now – he felt rather fragile himself at the moment – so he tried to lighten the mood.


“Glad you’ve finally got the mood, Pet,” Spike quipped. “’Course, you’d have to do it now when I’m not real fit to do anything about it. Then again, I could just let you do all the work this time, seeing as it’s your turn.”


Xander almost jumped back, his face flaming; then he saw Spike’s grin and grinned himself, still blushing.


“Well, it is kind of getting to be a habit, you stark naked and me holding you,” Xander chuckled.


“At least this time you didn’t bloody jump on me.”


“Yeah, well, you had enough broken bones to start with.” Xander’s expression turned serious again. “Spike, I – I mean – “


“Hush up.” Spike laid one finger over Xander’s mouth, shivering at the feel of those lips. “You did good, Pet. Real, real good. You took good care of me. I won’t never forget it.”


Xander shivered too.


“I won’t either,” he whispered, his breath fanning Spike’s finger. “Um, Spike – I want – can I – “


God, those eyes. They were almost luminous.


“What, Pet?” Spike murmured. “What d’you want?”


Xander licked his lips. His tongue brushed Spike’s finger; Spike felt that light touch through his entire body.


“Can I kiss you?” Xander asked, very quietly. “Can I kiss you and – and nothing else?”


Spike smiled.


“’Course you can, Pet,” he said, hearing the huskiness of his own voice, and when Xander leaned forward, Spike met him halfway.


God, those lips. Xander could hide behind jokes and clownish behavior and self-effacing wisecracks and clothes that hid that edible body, but there was nothing but truth in his kisses. He opened his mouth to Spike more intimately than anyone Spike had fucked had ever opened their bodies to him. Kissing Xander was like plunging his fangs into a vein, naked and wet and powerful and focused.


When Xander drew back again, the sensation of loss was tangible and immediate, and Spike fought down the urge to pull Xander back to him. Xander’s eyes were dilated, his lips swollen and moist, and he was still flushed, but Spike could smell that embarrassment had bloody little to do with it.


“Can I wash you?” Xander murmured. “Just that and nothing else?”


“Sure, Pet,” Spike said, shivering. “Don’t worry, Pet. ‘S not like I could do much right now anyway.” He was half hard, but despite the infusion of Xander’s blood, after all the damage and healing he was amazed he’d managed even that much. He needed rest now, deep restful sleep, more than anything else.


Xander got up, returned with a blanket, which he wrapped around Spike.


“Just sit still a minute,” he said. “I’m going to clean the tub, and then I’ll be back for you.”


“Thanks, Pet,” Spike said, wishing he could spare Xander that gory tub, but too drained to do more than sit there and enjoy the lack of pain. There was some residual ache, but Spike would wager even that would be gone after a good day’s sleep. He could’ve done with some more blood, but he’d make do with Giles’ packets when he woke up. And then he’d see about getting something fresher.


He must have dozed a bit, because it seemed only a moment later that Xander took the blanket away and carefully helped Spike to his feet, supporting the vampire while he tested the leg. It felt wobbly, and Spike could feel that the bone hadn’t totally firmed up yet, but it would do just fine.


In deference to Spike’s weakened state, Xander had apparently opted for a bath instead of a shower, for the tub was full. Xander settled Spike comfortably in the large tub, then washed him gently with the last of the clean washcloths.


“Don’t suppose you’d care to join me?” Spike quipped.


Xander glanced down at the pinkish/orange-tinged water and grimaced.


“No thanks,” he said. “I’d rather not sit in my dirt. I’ll take a shower when you’re done, then clean the tub again. Yuck.”


The water darkened considerably when Xander washed Spike’s hair, and Xander squeamishly drained and refilled the tub before he finished washing the vampire. Spike enjoyed the washing, but was glad enough when it was over; healing sleep was calling to him, and he was having a hard time keeping his eyes open. When Xander helped him out of the tub and tenderly patted him dry, however, he steered Spike not to the vampire’s bedroom, but toward the new waterbed. This time Spike didn’t even bother with innuendo; he was simply too tired.


“’S up, Pet?” he yawned.


“You’re still stiff and sore, I can tell by the way you’re moving,” Xander said, helping Spike into the waterbed and tucking him in cozily. “The warm waterbed will feel good. Go on, just go to sleep. I’ll take the phone off the hook so Giles doesn’t wake you up when he finds the surprise you left on his doorstep.”


Spike chuckled.


“I’d give a good bit to see his face when he goes out for his paper and trips over that Vorgost head,” he said sleepily.


Xander chuckled too.


“Yeah, I think they’ll get the point,” he agreed. “Although I think the railroad spikes through its eyes are a little bit over the top, don’t you?”


“Good artist always signs his work,” Spike yawned. “G’day, Pet.”


“Sleep tight,” Xander murmured, and Spike thought he felt the gentle press of those lips against his cheek, but he was asleep too soon to be sure.




Spike woke slowly, groaning happily. The bed was warm and comfortable, the flat was nice and dim, and there was a warm, solid body spooned up tightly behind him, a strong arm thrown over his waist. Spike yawned, stretched, grinned, and contemplated simply going back to sleep. Even the aching hunger in his stomach wasn’t enough to roust him out of his comfortable nest.


Warm lips moved against the back of his neck, softly kissing the tender skin there, and that was worth waking up for. Spike rolled over to look at his companion.


Xander looked drowsy, but he’d obviously been up sometime already; he was wearing a pair of sweat pants instead of the pajama bottoms he’d slept in, and his breath smelled of that tomato soup he liked.


“Morning, Pet,” Spike yawned.


“Try evening,” Xander corrected, yawning too. “I was starting to worry.”


“Day and a bit of the night’s not so bad as these things go,” Spike said drowsily, making no move to scoot away from Xander’s warmth.


Xander chuckled.


“Try day, night, day and part of the evening,” Xander said. “You’ve been asleep for almost 48 hours.”


“God, no wonder I feel so bloody hollow,” Spike grumbled. “How much blood have I got left, Pet?”


“Just the packets Giles gave you,” Xander said apologetically.


“Shit.” Spike grimaced. “Well, needs must, I suppose.”


Xander gingerly extended his arm.


“You could – “


“No, Pet.” Spike shook his head. “Thanks. It’s a nice thought. But before, see, I’d had plenty to drink already, and I was weak enough you could’ve stopped me if I got greedy. Now I’m bloody hungry, and even though I’m not all fit yet, I’m strong enough to be dangerous.”


Xander hesitated.


“Then how about if you drink enough pig’s blood that you’re almost full?” he suggested.


Spike glanced at Xander, surprised. He hadn’t expected the whelp to offer again; he’d taken the gesture for a life-or-death sort of thing. But he wanted that hot red elixir, of course he did, and he wasn’t fool enough to turn it down when it was freely offered and it didn’t seem likely he’d drain the whelp dangerously. And maybe he could take advantage of this opportunity.


“Right, then,” he said softly. “If you don’t mind, then.”


Xander shook his head, flushing slightly.


“No, it’s okay,” he said. “Come on into the kitchen, I’ll start heating up your breakfast.”


To Spike’s relief, he was steady on his feet, still a little weak, but a good meal would take care of that. He let Xander wrap him in a robe and lead him to the kitchen, but when Xander would have installed him in a chair, he shook his head and pulled out the spicy V-8 while Xander poured blood into a mug.


“If you’re going to feed me, you’ve got to take care of yourself,” Spike said innocently, turning away to pour the liquid. Glancing over his shoulder to make sure Xander was occupied in what he was doing, the vampire bit into his thumb and dripped a little blood into the glass, swirling it to mix with the V-8.


“Trade you,” Xander said, and Spike turned, holding out the glass and accepting the mug in its stead. They sat down at the table and sipped their respective breakfasts. Spike fought down a smirk as he watched Xander drain the glass. The small dose of his blood would help Xander regenerate the blood he lost, but more importantly, it would help strengthen the bond between them, which had already grown exponentially with the quantity of Xander’s blood Spike had ingested.


Spike went through four packets of pig’s blood before he nodded to Xander. Xander vanished momentarily into the bathroom, then reappeared with, to Spike’s surprise, one of the scalpels from Spike’s bag. Xander turned up the underside of his forearm, then hesitated, glancing at Spike.


“Was it right, where I did it before?” he asked.


“Not bad, but here’s better,” Spike said, drawing an imaginary line with his fingertip along the fattier part of Xander’s forearm. “Nothing goes under here, tendons or veins, but it bleeds nice.”


Xander swallowed, took a deep breath and cut carefully with the scalpel, grimacing but, to Spike’s surprise, not wincing.


Jesus, the whelp’s got a high pain threshold, Spike thought, impressed. Then he grimaced himself. Figures, don’t it? Suppose he’s felt a good deal worse.


Xander laid the scalpel down and extended his arm, his eyes on Spike rather than the wound. Spike grasped Xander’s wrist lightly and bent his head, rumbling happily at the back of his throat as his tongue took that first intoxicating taste of Xander’s blood.


He licked at the wound but didn’t draw upon it, careful not to cause Xander any additional pain. When the welling blood slowed all too soon, Spike sighed regretfully. He should’ve given Xander the spiked (heh heh) V-8 after he’d had his taste, not before. Right now, under the influence of Spike’s blood, Xander healed up a lot faster. Spike bit into his lip and licked the wound once more, finishing the healing before Xander could suspect that anything was amiss.


“You didn’t take as much that time,” Xander ventured when Spike raised his head, licking his lips clean.


“Didn’t need as much today,” Spike said, shrugging. He met Xander’s gaze and grinned. “Doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, Pet. Lots.”


Xander smiled shyly.


“You know,” he said, “I haven’t gotten my pizza yet. I was promised pizza in exchange for Vorgost-slaying.”


“No, you were promised pizza in exchange for spectating,” Spike retorted. “And seems to me I recall you charging right on in with this bloody big hunk of wood, which isn’t something a vampire exactly likes to see coming at him, if you get my meaning.”


“It wasn’t for you, it was to bash the Vorgost,” Xander argued. “And seems to me I recall that at that particular time, the darned thing had just laid your belly open with its claws and was trying to gnaw your leg off.”


“I was doing fine,” Spike grumbled.


“Oh, yeah, Mr. Who Needs Eyes,” Xander said, rolling his eyes. “The thing got the drop on you within fifteen seconds. I counted.”


“Didn’t know it could jump so high,” Spike mumbled.


“Or land on you,” Xander retorted. “Anyway, if it wasn’t for me and that ‘bloody big hunk of wood’, we could’ve been poking through its poop looking for your leg. Or your head.”


“All right, all right, what d’you want, a bloody medal? Fine, you rescued me.” Spike groused, although he grinned despite himself. Xander had actually looked pretty fine, charging right at that Vorgost, big old branch in his hand and an expression of utter fury on his face. The avenging warrior. Under better circumstances he might have enjoyed being rescued. Not to mention carried off and ravished.


Then an amusing thought caught his attention.


“Wonder if Giles ever found his little present,” Spike chuckled.


Xander laughed.


“He sure did,” he said. “I called him around noon yesterday so the gang wouldn’t bust down the door looking for us. As if.” For a moment his smile faltered; then he laughed again. “Actually it’s even better than that. Buffy found it.”


“You don’t say!” Spike said, raising his eyebrows. “Better yet, but how’d that happen?”


“Well, turned out that Willow was really pissed at her, so she and Tara took off with my car,” Xander grinned. “They took Dawn home, but left Buffy at Giles’. I guess he’d had a couple of beers and decided he’d better not drive, and he’s not insane enough to let Buffy use his car, so she had to sleep over on the couch, and he was going to take her back to the dorm in the morning. Anyway, she was the first one out the door.”


Spike almost howled with laughter as he imagined the Slayer’s expression. God, he hoped she’d slipped in the big puddle of ichor leaking out of the severed head.


“Well, way I understand it, women aren’t averse to getting a little head now and again,” he said wickedly, prompting Xander to tip his chair over backward as he shook with laughter.


“Guess she got a good headstart on her day,” Xander giggled.


“Ooooh, Pet, you’re bloody wicked,” Spike laughed.


“She and Giles can study it, get ahead in their research,” Xander wheezed.


Spike poured Xander a glass of water and handed it to him, waiting until Xander choked off his laughter and swallowed some of the liquid.

”Come on, Pet, let’s get dressed,” Spike said serenely. “Night’s wasting.” He waited until Xander took another sip. “And I’m bloody eager to head on out.”


He turned toward the bedroom, grinning wickedly as the water came spurting out Xander’s nose.


Email: Shadow