Xander approached the crypt cautiously. He knew that Spike could probably hear him coming but he couldn’t quite make himself hurry. He knew that once Spike let him in there was no turning back, at least not without him feeling like a total coward.
He took a deep breath and gripped the thermos in his hand a little tighter. The bag of marshmallows would probably start to melt if he waited too much longer.
He banged on the door and waited.
Spike opened the door and raised an eyebrow. “Xan?” He stepped aside and let the mortal in. “Were we supposed to patrol?”
Xander handed Spike the thermos and the bag of marshmallows.
Spike frowned. “You brought me cocoa?”
“It’s Yule,” Xander said quietly looking around the room. “I thought that maybe we could…hang out.”
Spike grabbed a clean mug off the shelf and poured hot chocolate into it before pouring more into the thermos lid. He could tell the boy was nervous but he couldn’t figure out why. It had been a long time since Xander had felt uncomfortable being alone with him.
“Is something wrong?” Spike asked handing the cocoa over to Xander and opening the bag of marshmallows.
“Not exactly,” Xander said sitting down on the floor. He set his mug down next to him and leaned against the wall. “I went to the cemetery today. I was sitting there in the grass, talking to Joyce and Buffy and I kept thinking about how much has changed in the past couple of years. Willow and Tara off in England learning magic and Dawnie off at school, then it hit me. There’s nothing keeping me here. The Hellmouth is closed, everyone’s gone.” He looked up at Spike and said more quietly. “Everyone but you.”
Spike took a sip of his marshmallow-filled hot chocolate and sat down next to Xander. He tried to look unconcerned with this odd conversation but he was starting to feel a little nervous himself. “Do you want to leave?” he asked just as quietly.
“No.” Xander shook his head. “We go out a couple times a week to patrol. We play pool, sometimes grab a beer.” He turned his face to look at Spike. “Why didn’t you tell me we were dating?”
Spike dropped his hot chocolate and watched as it spilled all over his jeans with a strange sort of fascination. He watched as the marshmallows floated away on a river of chocolate before turning to look at Xander, who was still staring at him.
“I…” Spike started, not sure what to say. Of all the ways he imagined this conversation, this was nowhere on his mental list.
“Because that’s the kind of thing a guy should mention.” Xander let out a breath. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
Spike rolled his eyes, regaining his equilibrium. “When exactly? When I asked you out to play some pool last month and you brought a friend from work with you? Or when I invited you over for some beer and movies and we ended up clearing out that nest of Vortash demons when we went out for something to eat. Or I know, what about that time last year I wanted to stay in instead of patrolling and you thought I was depressed and brought Dawn over to cheer me up?”
Xander stared at Spike and thought back to all the times when Spike suggested they go out after a patrol, or even instead of patrolling. There were a lot of them. Spike was right, he was kind of an idiot. Not that Spike had called him an idiot, but it was implied. He nodded. “Point taken.”
Xander stood up and grabbed Spike’s arm trying to pull him to his feet.
“What are you doing?” Spike asked, watching the mortal. This whole evening was kind of bizarre, even for Sunnydale.
Xander paused and looked at the vampire, his hair falling into his eyes as they traveled up the lean form until they reached the blue eyes. “I just realized that we could have been doing more than patrolling, playing pool and sharing the occasional beer. I’d like to get you somewhere horizontal so that I can apologize in a place more conducive to everything that will come after the apology.” He paused and looked at Spike seriously. “Unless you have a different idea of how this evening should end?”
“You don’t want to talk about this first?” Spike asked. He stopped and pulled his arm away. “Xan, if we…do this there will be no going back. You won’t be able to wake up tomorrow and say it was a mistake, that I seduced you, or whatever.”
Xander took a step closer to Spike. He placed a finger across the vampire’s lips to keep him from talking. “This isn’t a game, Spike, and this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about you and me and a bed. It’s just the first time I realized that maybe you were thinking about it too.” He paused and took his hand away. “You were thinking about it, right. I didn’t just misunderstand all the time we spend together and all the hours we spend doing things other than slaying?”
Spike leaned forward, his lips nearly touching Xander’s but not quite. “You didn’t misunderstand, luv.” He brushed his lips across Xander’s.
Xander opened his mouth without thinking too heavily about it and kissed Spike back. When Spike pulled away slowly, Xander licked his lips and said softly, “I guess not.”
“If you want this, really want this…” Spike trailed off, searching Xander’s eyes, for what exactly he wasn’t sure.
“I love you,” Xander said quietly. “I have for a while.”
Spike smiled. “Me too.” He took Xander’s hand and led him downstairs.
Xander followed, thinking that he might be a little slow but that didn’t mean he didn’t figure things out eventually.
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