by Camisha


Buffy strolled through the graveyard—Spike’s graveyard as she somehow couldn’t help thinking of it—feeling almost calm for the first time in longer than she cared to remember. Fresh from the desert and she was feeling the Zen. Okay, so the “death is your gift” thing had been more than a little ooky, but here on patrol there was a feeling of rightness. Slayer power coursing through her veins.


“Buffy the Zen-ful,” she murmured. “Full of the slayery Zen goodness.”


The sound of the vampires attempting to creep up behind her rang clear in her ears. Her senses were so sharp, she imagined she could hear a pin drop. Except that she wouldn’t be able to hear it right at that moment since she was more focused on the whoosh and thumps of her own spinning kick and punch. The cleanly executed combination took down two of the three vamps. She followed up with two handy jabs of her current lucky stake and the two poofing sounds as the dust fell echoed in her clear mind. She completed a quick one-handed back flip to finish off the third vamp.


“Yes indeed, I am a finely honed Zen-o-ramic slaying machine,” Buffy reported to the dusty air around her, as she automatically steered her one-woman patrol in the direction of Spike’s crypt. It never hurt to keep an eye on their so-called ally.


As she approached the crypt, she was surprised to see Xander emerge from it, pause briefly outside and then turn to go back in.




Xander stopped and turned, studying her for a moment before speaking in awkwardly measured cadence.


“Buffy. My friend. Slayer of Vampires. The Buffster.” He smiled.


“Xander, what are you doing here?”


Xander smiled again. “I’m standing outside Spike’s crypt. I’m about to go inside. I was inside before, but Spike told me to come outside and—”


At that moment, Spike burst out of the crypt and finished Xander’s sentence for him.


“And check to see if you were roaming about and needed any help with the slaying before we settled in to… um… hang out for a while…. You know, watch the telly… sporting events and other such manly stuff… and beer. We were gonna to drink beer. Lots of beer. So um, if you’ve got the slaying under control…” Spike started to inch back toward the crypt… “We’ll just get on with that…”


“What’s going on?” Buffy looked between them skeptically, feeling her Zen slipping away. “Xander? Spike? Since when do you two hang out?”


“Since… awhile,” Spike insisted. “It’s a guy thing. You know, male bonding. Xander’s got to have someone besides all you birds to hang out with all the time.”


“Yeah… right.” Buffy turned to her friend. “Xander, you hate Spike. Remember?”


Xander cocked his head and looked straight at Buffy. “I don’t hate Spike. It is true that I was once intimidated by his sinister, yet irresistible attraction. And yes, I struggled to stay away from him for years because he is The Big Bad and I know that he’s evil to the core, but I find that I’m no longer able to resist my love for—”


“Football,” Spike interrupted. “The boy’s just crazy for football. British football, you know. Soccer, you yanks call it. Can’t bear to miss a game. And you know, there’s one just starting, so we’d better go on down now.”


Spike turned to Xander, his tone low and firm. “Go inside, Xander.”


Xander started immediately for the entrance. “Yes, Ma—”


“Manchester United is playing and we really don’t want to miss a second,” Spike told Buffy.


Now,” he muttered to Xander. He turned to smirk and wave at Buffy before following the boy inside. “Happy staking, Slayer!”


Buffy watched them disappear into the crypt and shook her head. She started walking off to finish her patrol, then thought better of it and went back to crouch by the door and listen. Something strange was going on.


“So, pet, where were we?” she heard Spike drawl.


“I was about to walk in and announce to you that I can no longer hide my desire for you,” she heard Xander answer. “Then I was going to tell that I want you so much that it’s tearing me apart inside. And then I was going to explain how I need you to take me and make me yours.” 


“Right, then, let’s get on with it, shall we?” Spike paused and cleared his throat. “What are you doing here, Harris? You and your lot hate me, remember? Why don’t you run along home to your precious Buffy?”


“You’re wrong, Spike. I don’t hate you. I never have. I pretended I did because I was jealous of your sinister good looks and superior fighting skill. The truth is that watching you has always aroused me; I was just to afraid to admit it. But I can’t lie any longer—to you or to myself. I need to know what it’s like to feel you against me, inside me.”


“And what makes you think that I want anything to do with you, wanker? You’ve done nothing but mock and belittle me.”


“You’re right, Spike. I don’t deserve you. But I can’t live without you. Please, I beg of you. I’ll do anything to earn your forgiveness. Please, just don’t send me away. I’m your willing slave. Please, Spike.”


“Call me Master.”


“Yes, Master.”


“So you want to belong to me?”


“Yes, Master. More than anything, Master.”


“And are you ready to prove your devotion, pet?”


“Yes, Master. Please, Master, I want you to take me and fuck me. I want you to punish me for my past disrespect and teach me how to behave.”


You want? Doesn’t matter what you want, pet, now does it?”


“No, Master. I’m sorry, Master. I live only for your needs and desires, Master.”


“That’s better.”


“But it would be very good if you happened to need to punish me and desire to fuck me, Master.”


Buffy heard Spike laugh. “Cheeky bugger. I think you may be in luck, though. Strip.”


“Yes, Master.”


Buffy didn’t like where her mental picture of the events was headed.


“So perfect. So very perfect,” she heard Spike say. “Kneel for me, pet.”


“Yes, Master.”


Buffy found the image of a naked Xander prostrate before Spike and calling him Master disturbing. She also found it something besides disturbing. Something bordering on arousing. And that something, in and of itself, added a whole new layer to the disturbing. Buffy was thoroughly disturbed.


“Now, then, prove to me that you’re going to be worth keeping around,” she heard Spike say.


No answer from Xander that time and Buffy knew why. After all, even Xander knew that it wasn’t polite to talk with your… Buffy refused to finish the thought or to wait around for other thoughts to form. The slayer Zen had long since fled the scene and Buffy finally did the same.




Tara felt it the moment he entered the room. Somehow all eyes had turned to the door and a sort of silence had fallen. Which, of course, wasn’t literal, because the band was still playing on stage and somewhere in The Bronze people must still have been talking, but the focus had shifted and her eyes shifted with it. Shifted to him.


She almost didn’t recognize him at first. He had a bearing—a presence—that was dangerous, seductive, and totally un-Xander. His aura was off. Plus, he was wearing leather pants. Tight leather pants.


For a moment, as he took in the club before him, Tara saw his face soften into a frown. He looked bewildered, as if something he was seeing didn’t quite make sense. In that moment, he was so obviously Xander that Tara started to raise her hand to wave him over. But she dropped it a moment later when the bewilderment fell from his face and was replaced by something harder, darker, more calculating.


While the better part of the Bronze patrons looked on, Xander scanned the room. Tara couldn’t decide if she wanted to catch Xander’s eye or evade it, but it didn’t matter because his gaze passed right over her without a flicker of recognition. This couldn’t be good. Tara knew she needed to go get Willow out of the ladies room, but found herself a little mesmerized by Xander and more than a little afraid to attract him by moving or to let him out of her sight.


She watched as he completed his survey of the crowd and settled on his prey, a gorgeous young couple moving together on the dance floor. Prey… where had that word come from? Yet it was the only word that fit the look in Xander’s eyes, which never shifted from the couple, as he cut through the crowd like a hot knife through butter, people parting to watch him pass, all long strides and rolling hips. He arrived a few feet away from the dancing couple and Tara couldn’t believe he was actually going to try to take the beautiful young woman away from an equally beautiful young man. Yet the woman was already unwinding her arms from the man’s neck, shooting a coy glance in Xander’s direction, tossing her hair and positioning her chest to its best advantage.


A sultry smile spread over Xander’s lips and when he crooked his finger at the woman, she moved to him without hesitation. Xander reached out and placed his hand on the woman’s neck, carefully drawing her around him so that he stood between her and the boyfriend. He gave her a thorough once-over, gaze traveling down and then up every inch of her body. Then, to the shock of the crowd watching the scene unfold, Xander dropped his hand from the woman’s neck and turned to face the boyfriend.


With another sultry smile, even steamier than the original, Xander began to move his hips in time with the music, stepping up into the other man’s body until they were dancing—a dance that would have been more appropriate on the horizontal than it was on the vertical. For all that he had just been dancing with a woman, the man seemed quite content with the partner change as he moved his hips in synch with Xander’s.


The moment Willow exited the restroom, the increased tension level in the club hit her like something physical. Her senses telegraphed something like danger, so she avoided looking around too much and made a beeline for her girlfriend.


“What’s going on?” she asked as she reached Tara’s side.


Tara didn’t speak, she simply gestured with her eyes. Willow followed them to the spectacle of two hot young men grinding together on the dance floor.

”Oh my,”
Willow murmured.


“Save up some of your shock, sweetie. Wait until they turn arou—”


“Oh my God… Xander?”


“I know. It sort of makes you look at him in a whole new light.”


Willow nodded, mouth still hanging open. “It’s… it’s…”




Tara! I was going to say ‘disturbing’.”


Tara just looked at her.


“Okay, fine, that too,” Willow conceded. “Still, while I would normally be hip-hip-hooray girl about Xander coming out of the closet and getting his gay groove on…”


As they watched, Xander leaned close to whisper something in his dance partner’s ear and then pulled away taking the man’s hand to lead him out the back door.


“… this is the Hellmouth,” Willow finished.


“And we really should be following him right now, shouldn’t we?”


Willow nodded. The two women clasped hands and hurried through the crowd toward the door. When they reached the alley, they found Xander and the other man in what looked to be a passionate embrace.


“Please let them be making out…” Willow muttered under her breath.


The low words caught Xander’s attention. He lifted his head from the man’s neck and Willow could feel her heart breaking as she took in her childhood friend’s bumpy face and bloody fangs. Recognizing Willow, Xander immediately tossed the body to the side and smiled, his face slipping back into human form.


Willow! You’re here. I’ve been looking for you.”


As he stepped toward the redhead, Tara slid around him and knelt to examine the man he’d dropped.


Willow backed away a bit, shaking her head and trying not to cry. “Xander, what happened?”


Xander shrugged sadly. “I don’t remember. I just woke up and…”


Willow!” Tara called. “He’s still alive.”


“He is?” The tightness in Willow’s chest eased the slightest bit.


“Well, yeah, but only because you interrupted me,” Xander interjected defensively. “I mean, another minute and I…”


Willow, we have to go now.” Tara lifted the half conscious man to his feet and draped his arm over her shoulder.


Willow couldn’t tear her eyes from her friend. “I’ll fix this, Xander…”


“Willow…” Tara warned.


“I can do a spell,” Willow said looking between her lover and her undead friend.


“You can?” Xander looked hopeful.


Tara’s voice gained urgency. “Yes, Willow, and I’ll help you do it, later, soon. But right now we have to…”


Xander’s head snapped around to silence Tara with a sharp look and a hint of sharper fang. He turned back to Willow. “She’s annoying. Can I eat her?”


“… to run!” Tara finished.


This time Willow listened. With a magic word and a wave of her hand, she froze Xander in place as she and Tara hurried off, dragging Xander’s victim between them.




“Hey, Buff, wait up!”


Buffy was on her front porch when she heard Xander behind her. She stopped and he caught up to her, short of breath.


“Where’s the fire, Buffy? I’ve been trying to catch you for, like, the last five blocks.”


 “Sorry, I must have been distracted.” Buffy gave him a dry look. “I had a few things on my mind.”


“I thought the whole Slayer vision-quest thing was supposed to help with that.”


“Yeah, death is my gift. Woohoo. Still, I had a Zen thing going there for a while. But now? Utterly Zen-less.”


“Well, hey, we can fix that. Why don’t you go stake a vampire? It’s great for relieving the tension.”


“I don’t feel like staking a… Oh god, I really hope that wasn’t one of those double en-ten-whatevers… ’Cause, um, ew.” Buffy shuddered as she opened the door and entered her house.


Xander just stared at her from the other side of the threshold. “Uh, Buffy?”


“Jesus, Xander, quit playing dumb and get in here. We need to have a serious discussion about your behavior.”


Xander stepped inside and followed Buffy into the living room.


“Okay, Buff, can we back up like five-hundred feet here? We need to talk about my behavior? I’m getting flashbacks to my childhood, here.” Xander reconsidered. “Or the way I always imagined my childhood would be if my parent’s had ever given a rat’s ass about my behavior.”


“Xander, this is serious. We need to talk.”


Xander suddenly realized they were in the middle of a lot of serious stuff lately. “What's wrong? Is it Glory? Is Dawn okay?”


“Dawn's fine. It’s just… Xander, you know I care about you, right?”


Xander nodded slowly.


“The thing is, I’m worried about you. The way you're acting, the things you're doing—”




“I mean, have you thought about Anya?”


“Anya? What does she have—?


“I know you probably don’t want to hear me say that it’s wrong. And you have to understand, it’s not about blame.”


“Blame? There's blame now?”


“No, there's only love. And ... some fear.”


“Fear?” Xander was shaking his head. “Buffy, can I just say that I am very confused right now?”


“I know, Xander. I mean, clearly you’re going through something. And I know I’ve been focused on my own stuff lately, so maybe you’ve felt you had no one to turn to… but don’t you think this is a little extreme?”




“I mean a little excessive drinking, I could understand. Or gambling, there’s a vice. But the you having sex with Spike, that’s…”


“The ... who whating how with huh?” Xander stared at Buffy as if she had grown two heads. No, scratch that, he would have taken the two heads thing better, this was the Hellmouth after all. Anything could happen. Anything except… “Buffy, I—”


“There’s no point in denying it. I heard you two.”


Buffy started to pace away from Xander, who let out a sigh of confused frustration. He stepped after Buffy, putting a hand on her shoulder and turning her.


“Buffy! Listen. To. Me. I am not—”


Before Xander could finish his denial, Willow and Tara burst through the door with Anya on their heels.


Red, puffy eyes suggested that Willow had been crying, but her face possessed a steely determination that showed she meant business. She held a small orb in one hand and a piece of paper in the other.


“Oh God, she must have invited him in…” Willow murmured briefly before turning a hardened gaze on at her childhood friend. “Xander, take your hands off of her.”


Xander automatically dropped his hand from Buffy’s shoulder and backed away a step from Willow.


“Oh, God! He looks just the same,” Anya cried. In a flash, her expression turned from traumatized to puzzled. She turned to Willow and Tara. “I sort of thought he would be hotter. You know, dangerous and all. And you definitely mentioned leather pants…”


“Anya,” Tara said gently, putting a hand on her shoulder, “maybe that isn’t the most important detail right now.”


“Yes,” Xander agreed looking around at all the crazy women surrounding him, “a more central issue for concern might be… say… someone telling me what the hell is going on here!”


“Oh, God, he even sounds just the same,” Anya said.


“Yeah, what are you guys talking about?” Buffy asked, moving toward Xander. “Xander and I were trying to have a very important discussion…”


“Buffy, don’t get any closer to him,” Willow warned. “He’s a… a….”


“He’s a vampire,” Anya announced. “Though he looks and sounds the same, he is now a evil, soulless creature. Not to worry, though. Willow has procured an Orb of Thessala—I even sold it to her at a discount, considering the circumstances—and she is going to restore his soul. And you can relax, Xander, I’m not going to break up with you over this. Once you get that soul in you, we’re good to go. It wouldn’t be right for me to hold a little demon against someone, now would it?”


Anya’s speech was met with a moment of stunned silence. Then Buffy was looking around for a stake and Willow was starting her incantation.


Not knowing where to start with so much craziness, Xander choose to address the craziness with which he was most familiar. He turned to Anya.


“I appreciate your loyalty, An, I really do. And I’m glad we’re not breaking up, but just so you know, I’m not a vampire.” He turned to Buffy, who was at her weapons chest. “Buff, why don’t you toss me one of those crosses?”


The group watched Buffy do as Xander asked. Xander caught the cross and held up his hand to show how it wasn’t smoking. Willow stopped incanting and her body slumped with relief and confusion.


“But we saw you,” Willow said, looking to Tara who nodded in confirmation.


“I don’t know what you saw, but clearly I’m not a vampire. Heart still being.” Xander grunted as Anya flew into his arms and wrapped herself tightly around him, lack of air making the next words difficult. “Lungs still attempting to breath….  And about the me having sex with Spike…”


Anya pulled away. “You’re having sex with Spike?”


“No, Anya, I…”


“Given that I’m your girlfriend, you really should have cleared that with me first and asked if I wanted to join you—”




“But I’m not judging you. It's understandable. Spike is strong and mysterious… and sort of compact but well-muscled.”


“Anya, I am not having sex with Spike! But I'm starting to think that you might be.”


Buffy stepped forward. “Xander, I saw you. Outside of Spike’s crypt, remember? I stayed and listened. I heard you and Spike… with the stripping and the kneeling and the Yes-Master-Please-Master…”


Xander was still trying to figure out how to respond to a comment that freaky when he saw himself walk through the door.


“Spike’s my master. Who’s been stripping and kneeling for him?” asked the newly arrived Xander, glaring at each of the potential offenders.


“Oh my God,” the first Xander said.


“And so say all of us,” Willow muttered.


The Xanders approached each other and the new one spoke. “Say, look at you. You look just like me! Except that I have this collar that shows I belong to Spike.”


Again with a stunned silence as the new Xander fingered silver chain around his neck.


Anya spoke first. “Xander, have you had another encounter with Toth? Because this time I’d really like to do that threesome before we put you back together.”


“No, Anya, he’s a robot,” the first Xander explained with thinning patience, “He acts just like that… that…  girlfriend-bot that Warren guy made. Buffy, you couldn't tell me apart from a robot?”


“Oh, I don't think I'm a robot,” the Xanderbot said.


“He’s very well done,” Anya noted.


The Xanderbot smiled at her. “Thank you. Anya. You’re an ex-demon. You like money. You were my girlfriend before I gave my mind, body and soul to Spike.”


“Oh, Jesus,” Buffy said slowly, looking at the collar on the Xanderbot’s neck and touching her own neck as the realization dawned. “Spike must have had him built so he could program it to… to—”


“Oh God,” the real Xander croaked.



* * * * *


(Warren’s house. Four weeks earlier…)


“Trina, no, wait, listen, listen, I'm so sorry,” Warren pleaded into the cordless phone as he tried to finish packing. “I guess I asked— No, no, just give me a chance to explain, I ... Yes! No, but she— No, no, listen, listen, I'll do anything, just, no, no, don't hang up!”


Warren sighed as he went to hang up the phone. It was useless. By trying to create the perfect girlfriend, he’d managed to lose the real perfect girlfriend. Why did irony always have to be so damn painful?


He turned around and gasped in shock at the sight Spike standing right there, a cardboard box under his arm.


“How… how'd you get in here?” Warren asked.


“Your mum let me in,” Spike said, stepping closer. “I'm placing an order.”


For a second, Warren was confused, but then he slowly began shaking his head. “Oh, no. No. I'm not making any more girls.”


Spike flashed a hint of gameface that brooked no arguments. “That’s fine. Don’t need a girl,” he said, shoving the box into Warren’s hands. “Here're your specs.”


Trembling, Warren stared into the box. It was filled with pictures of… Xander Harris?


“Xander Harris? You want me to make a robot of Xander Harris?”


Spike just smiled at him. “You’re gonna make him real good for me.”


“A robot for…” Warren could bring himself to say it. “For… you know?”


“What I want the robot to do is all in there, in detail. You have a week.”


“Bu… but it took me six weeks just to build April, not to mention all the design beforehand.”


“Well, I hope you learned something, mate, because I’m giving you two weeks. ‘N that’s it.”


“Look, if you… if you want him to be any good, you’re going to have to give me at least five.”


“You’ve got three. And he bloody well better be perfect.” With that, Spike spun on his heel and stalked out the door.



(Warren’s house. Three weeks after that…)


“Some say it's better'n the real thing,” Spike said as he inspected his merchandise.


“Better than the real thing,” Warren repeated nervously as he watched for Spike’s reaction.


The figure Spike saw before him looked exactly like Xander except for the modifications Spike had specifically requested to his typically unflattering wardrobe. This Xander wore a short-sleeved rust colored tee shirt that stretched tightly across the chest and jeans that were also a bit tight across certain areas. How much sooner might he have fallen for the boy, Spike wondered, if Xander had dressed more like this, shown off more of the body he always seemed to be hiding?


And around the neck was a silver chain. A collar. His collar.


It was a perfect Xander, an improved Xander even, except for the one thing that made Xander Xander: the life.


“He looks good, but what about the rest? A little walk, a little talk...” Spike smiled to himself, picturing the real Xander in his head. “Or in this case, a little stumble, a little babble…”


Warren didn’t look up from the books he was stuffing into his backpack. “Hey, he's, uh, great. You'll be real happy, I swear. He's got everything you asked for. All the extra programming, tons of real-world knowledge, the profiles you gave me about his family and friends.”


Spike circled the robot. “All the extra programming, right?”


Warren schooled his expression not to show how he felt about that programming. “Ah, the, the stuff that you wanted, the, uh, scenario responses, you know, the, uh, uh, special... skills...” He couldn’t hold back a nervous laugh. “All of it. Now, you said that I could leave—”


Warren tried to slip past Spike, but the vampire grabbed his arm.


“Wait. I'm not sure I'm a satisfied customer. He looks a little shiny to me, you know, uh...” Spike studied to robot’s closed eyes. “...touch of plasticine...”


The eyes popped open.




The voice was just right and the owner of the voice looked upon Spike with pure worship. And before Spike could even react to those lovely facts, the Xanderbot had dropped to its knees.


“Master, how can I serve you?”


The vampire reached down and ran a hand through the thick brown hair, then looked up at Warren.


“He’ll do,” Spike said.


* * * * *



“Yikes,” said Willow as she stared at the Xanderbot standing in Buffy’s living room. “Imagine the things—”


Xander put up his hands. “No! No, no imagining. Any of you.”


Buffy shook her head. “It’s too late. I already got the live audio.”


“People. Friends of mine,” the Xanderbot interrupted. “You're forgetting the most important thing. Glory has Spike and she's going to harm him.”


Buffy’s attention immediately centered on the robot. “Glory has Spike?”


“Yes, that’s why I came to find you. You’re the Slayer.” The Xanderbot turned to Willow and Tara. “And you two are witches. You can help me rescue Spike.”


“And why would they want to do that?” the live Xander asked. “I say let Glory have him.”


Frowning, the Xanderbot drew closer to Xander.


“Xander, hold on. We have to think about this…” Buffy began.


“Nevermind, you’re right. We should definitely save Spike,” Xander agreed. “That way I can dust the bastard myself.”


Suddenly, the Xanderbot had Xander by the throat and was lifting him off the ground.


“You cannot dust Spike. He’s my master and I will protect him.”


Xander couldn’t breath. “Not… going… to… dust… Spike,” he managed to choke out.


The Xanderbot didn’t release its grip. “I don’t think I can believe you.”


“’Course you can,” Xander gasped. “I’m you… and… and you would never kill Spike… So therefore… I would never… kill… Spike. Because I’m… just… like you.”


The robot seemed to consider this for a moment, then accepted to logic and set Xander back down.


“If you two are finished,” Buffy said, “we need to figure out what Glory wants with Spike. Xander…?”


Both Xanders turned to look at her.


“Robot Xander.” she clarified.


“I don't think I'm a robot,” the Xanderbot said.


“Right, of course not.” Buffy rolled her eyes. “Just tell us exactly what happened. Don’t leave anything out.”


“Okay. We were in Spike’s crypt having sex and these unattractive demons in robes barged in and started to attack Spike. He’s a magnificent fighter and would have been able to fight them off easily except that there were too many of them and I think he was worried about me. I wanted to help him, but I was tied naked to the bed and I—”


“Okay, okay,” Buffy interrupted. “I take back the part about not leaving anything out. Just… just tell me if the demons said anything while they were taking Spike.”


The Xanderbot paused to pull up the data. “They said: Tie his hands! Glory will want him restrained. And then: Careful with him. She will want the key intact. And then—”


“She thinks Spike’s the key. Grab the weapons,” Buffy ordered. “We're going now. I have to ki— to, uh, make sure he doesn’t talk.”


“We don't even know where to look,” Willow said.


Buffy thought for a second. “I know where to start.”




Weapons in hand, the Scoobies plus one followed Buffy through the streets of Sunnydale. As they passed an alleyway, Tara caught two figures out of the corner of her eye. She touched Willow’s arm, motioning her to stop and look. They stared into dimly lit area, where the one figure, a brunet in leather pants, had the other figure pressed up against a brick wall.


“Uh, Buffy?” Willow called. 


Buffy was already several yards ahead. She turned impatiently. “Whatever it is, Willow, we don’t have time.”


“But there are a couple of guys in the alley…”


“I saw them. They’re probably just making out.” Buffy started to turn back around.


Tara and Willow exchanged a glance. “Buffy, this is Sunnydale…”


“Look, Willow, I know, but we have to get to…”


“And the one guy kinda looks like the vamp we saw earlier. The… the Xander one.”


“Shit,” Buffy sighed as she headed into the alley, the others staying a bit behind. “Hey, you!”


At her call, the man in leather pants pulled back, revealing his bloody fangs and his bumpy face. His bumpy Xander face. He took in the interruption and growled.




“Xander. What the…?”


To Buffy’s surprise, the vampire smiled at her.


“You know of me,” he said. He pulled his victim’s head up by the hair and gloated to the barely conscious man. “The Slayer knows my name. I mean, naturally, the tales of my evil exploits have been spread far and wide. I mean, I am a favored childe of the Master… But still, to be recognized on sight by the Slayer, that’s something.”


To the vampire’s obvious disappointment, the victim didn’t seem appropriately impressed, merely groaning in response. The vampire looked up at Buffy again.


“Look,” she said, “I’m obviously going to have to deal with you and whatever fucked up alternative universe you came from later, but I really don’t have time right now. So, I need you to drop that man and get the hell outta here.”


“I’m not running off, Slayer. I’m not afraid of you.”


“That’s what they all say. In fact, that’s usually the last thing they ever say.”


The vampire with Xander’s face laughed as he tossed his meal to the side and attacked.


Buffy was surprised by the vamp’s power as he plowed into her, causing her to drop her battleaxe. She was surprised again by his agility as he blocked her kicks and dodged her punches, easily landing several of his own. She was foolish, Buffy realized, to think of this vampire as Xander, to expect him to fight with Xander’s strength and coordination, or lack thereof.


As if to emphasize the point, a sudden kick from super-vamp-Xander sent her flying toward the entrance to the alley. Her friends rushed forward to help, but she shrugged them off, pulling a stake from somewhere in pants as she leapt to her feet to face her opponent again. Her opponent’s eyes, however, were no longer on her; they were glued to the other Scoobies, whom he had just noticed. More precisely, they were glued to the other two Xanders standing in the alley entrance.


“What the…?” Frozen in place, the vampire slipped back into his human face, a face where cool cockiness had been replaced by confused fear.


Buffy stepped toward him—whether to attack or offer comfort, she couldn’t even have said—but he suddenly unfroze and pushed her away, turning and bolting down the alley and off into the night.


Without a word, Buffy picked up the stake and shoved it into the back of her pants. She swung the battleaxe over her shoulder and resumed walking. Without a word, the others tightened their grips on their weapons and followed. After about a minute, the living, breathing, human Xander broke the silence.


“Okay, we… um…. so need to do something about this. And fast. Because two of me—when it was just the regular old me split in half, you know, with the Toth demon—that was company. But three of me—when the other two are either eating people or having sex with Spike—that’s definitely a crowd.”




After stopping off to pick up Giles at the Magic Box, Buffy led the gang to the place where she had encountered Glory’s scabby minion earlier, the lawn outside a ritzy apartment building. They split up to look for Glory’s place.


In the lobby of the building, Buffy and Xander found a battered and bloody Spike lying in an elevator with Glory’s minions closing in on him. The fight began. The others, including the Xanderbot, soon joined them in the lobby.


Spotting Spike in the elevator, the Xanderbot rushed over and knelt beside him.


“Spike, Master, you’re hurt. Who did this to you? I’ll find whoever it was and…”


Spike groaned as he lifted his head and opened his eyes. Struggling to make his lips work, he shushed the bot. “Don’t worry about me, pet. I’ll heal. Go find the other Xander. The one who looks just like you. Make sure he doesn’t get hurt, yeah?”


The Xanderbot hesitated to leave.


“For me, pet,” Spike whispered. He saw the Xanderbot nod and promptly passed out against the elevator wall.


The Xanderbot stood and scanned the room for the other Xander. A demon had Xander around the neck and Xander was struggling to dislodge its hands. The Xanderbot easily ripped the demon away from Xander and threw it against a wall, knocking the creature unconscious.


The fight continued with the Xanderbot destroying everything that even looked at the boy his master had bid him to protect until one minion took a lucky shot and struck the robot’s back with an axe. Tendrils of blue electricity flashed over the robots body as it slumped to the ground. Finished with the other minions, Buffy turned her attention to that last one and he was soon lying on the ground with his peers. Silence descended.


“We have to get out of here before Glory shows up. And I need to go find my sister,” Buffy announced. She glanced over at the unconscious Spike. “We also need to find out what told her. And quickly.”


“I’ll take care of Spike,” Xander said.


“Okay,” Buffy agreed. “Giles, Anya, you help Xan—”


“By myself.” Xander’s tone was firm but gave no clue as to his intentions.


“Xander…” For a moment he thought Buffy was going warn him not to hurt Spike, but then… “We just need to find out if he told Glory anything. Once we know that…”


He could do whatever he wanted. The unspoken words hung in the air. Whatever he wanted to do to Spike and Buffy wouldn’t object. All she cared about was Dawn’s safety. It made sense, but it seemed sort of… cold. Xander knew she was allowing him revenge if he needed it, but it seemed wrong somehow to be able to kill Spike now, after all this time. Spike was… Spike. He was supposed to be… around. Whether you wanted him there or not, his presence was something you could… count on.


Frustrated by the direction of his thoughts, Xander shook them off and bent over to haul the unconscious vampire to his feet. Looping Spike’s arm over his shoulders, Xander set off in the direction of Spike’s cemetery, leaving the others to gather up the weapons and the damaged robot and plan the next move.




Halfway to his crypt, Spike stirred. “X… Xander?”


“In the flesh, Spike. The real, non-plastic flesh.”


“Gonna… stake me now… I… I suppose.”


That was exactly what he should do, Xander realized. Yet…


“Shut up, Spike,” Xander said. “I don’t want to talk to you.”


The silence lasted for about two seconds.


 “Why do you hate me so much?” Xander asked. And that so wasn’t the question that he had planned to ask when he opened his mouth. He’d meant to ask about Dawn, find out what Spike had told Glory.


“Hate you?”


“Yeah, I don’t get it. I mean, I know you’ve never liked me—and, believe me, the feeling couldn’t have been more mutual—but I always thought it was sort of an apathetic dislike, you know. I thought I was beneath your notice…”


“Beneath my notice? Don’t I wish…”


“I mean, why would you go to all this trouble just to humiliate me? Do you really hate me that much?”


“Hate you? Are you mad?” Spike laughed bitterly in spite of the pain it caused his swollen face. “Hate you?”


“Will you stop repeating everything I say? Yes, Spike, hate me. I mean, Jesus, you had a robot version of me built and programmed to be your slave…”


Spike strained to turn his head and look at Xander’s expression. He was shocked by the hurt he found on the boy’s face.


“Not slave, pet. Lover.”


“L… lover?”


“Don’t hate you, Xander. More’s the pity....”



* * * * *


(Spike’s crypt. Six months earlier…)


Spike was asleep in his chair until the banging started. He opened his eyes and stood as the door to his crypt flew open and Xander walked in.


“Should have known it'd be one of you lot,” Spike muttered. “Had nearly six hours of peace. Couldn’t last.”


“Believe me, Fangless, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have to be.”


“Buffy send you?”


“We need information.”


“Slayer’s boy. Always at her beck and call. Don’t know why you stick around. She’s got her soldier boy and he seems to keep her right satisfied. Never gonna let you shag her, is she?”


“Shut your filthy mouth, Spike.”


“Or else what? You’ll make me?”


Xander pulled a stake from his back pocket and advanced on Spike. “You know what? Maybe I will.”


Spike stood his ground and smirked. “Ooo, so the donut-boy’s got a pair on him after all. Gotta defend his precious Buffy. You know, if you want to be someone’s minion that badly, I can help you out.”


Xander stepped closer. “And how’re you gonna do that, oh Impotent One? Can’t bite, can’t hit, can’t stop me from shoving this stake right into your heart.”


“I’m far from impotent, wanker. But then, that’s what you really hate about me, isn’t it?” With his eyes fixed on Xander’s, Spike tore open his shirt. “Got something to prove? You know what? Do it. Bloody just do it.”


”End ... my ... torment. Fucking chip. Being helpless against pansy-arsed humans like you. Doing the Slayer’s dirty work. Being ordered about by her groupies. It’s wrong! I’m a Master Vampire, for Christ’s sake.” Spike pulled off his shirt and threw it aside, pressing his chest toward Xander’s hand. “Just kill me!”


Xander stared at Spike and then raised his stake and lunged. Spike braced himself for the feel of the wood slicing into him, but it didn’t come. Xander stopped at the last minute, panting as they stared into each other’s eyes.


In a swift movement, Spike grabbed Xander by the upper arms and kissed him. Xander kissed back and suddenly they were trying to devour each other. Spike pulled back with a look of dismay, bringing his hand to his mouth. He stared at Xander and Xander stared back as they each backed a bit away from the other. Spike realized he too was panting now.


Xander dropped the stake from his hand and walked slowly forward again, reaching out to run tentative hands down from Spike’s shoulders over his chest and across his abs. Then he followed his hands with his lips, with gentle, adoring kisses. Spike allowed the attention for a moment before reaching a hand down to cup Xander’s chin and pulling Xander up to meet his questioning eyes.




“You’re right. This is wrong.”


Spike tensed for the coming rejection.


“I shouldn’t be ordering you around,” Xander continued. “I shouldn’t be insulting you. I should respect you and fear you. I should be following your orders. I should belong to you.”




“Please, Spike. I want… I need to belong to someone. I need to belong to you.”


“Yes.” Spike buried his face in his boy’s neck, licking and sucking at it, wanting to do more. “Xander, I love you.”


He lifted his head, then leaned in again to take his boy’s lips. After a minute, he pulled back again to speak.


“God, I love you so much…”


Suddenly, Spike awoke with a gasp and looked around. He wasn’t in the upper part of the crypt with the armchair and Xander. He was downstairs, in bed, and Harmony was sleeping next to him. A look of horror spread over his face as the harsh sounds of his panting echoed in the silence.


“Oh, god, no. Please, no.”


* * * * *



“What do you mean, ‘More’s the pity’?” Xander asked as he continued to drag the vampire along. They had reached the cemetery now. “If you don’t hate me, why would you…?”


“I love you.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Spike cursed Glory for working him over the way she had because if he had one iota of sense remaining, he would not just have made that confession.


“Are you crazy? You love me? That makes no sense. No sense on so many levels. The first of which is the level where you made a robot of me designed to… to… You know! I saw the robot, Spike. I heard about the things you had me, I mean him, I mean it, do. That wasn’t about love, that was about humiliation.”


For a few minutes, the talking ceased as Xander struggled to open the door to Spike’s crypt and maneuver the vampire inside. Eventually, Xander managed to get Spike laid out on the sarcophagus. When Spike spoke, his voice was rough, a low purr.


“Do you have any idea how… beautiful it was to see you kneeling before me? To have you trust me enough to give me complete control over you, over your pleasure?”


Xander shook off the words that threatened to hypnotize him. “Spike, a robot doesn’t trust you. It’s programmed. And it doesn’t feel pleasure. The only pleasure was yours.”


“It’s a fantasy, pet. To have someone pure and good and brave and loyal who wants me. Who needs me. Needs me to give him something that he doesn’t have in his life of perfect goodness. Something better than truth, justice and the American way. A pleasure so intense it can only come on the edge of pain. A pleasure that can only come from me.”


Spike closed his eyes with a sigh.


“It was just a fantasy. I know that. But believe me, in the fantasy, the pleasure was entirely mutual.”


Xander’s instinct was to go non-verbal. Or at least nonsensical-verbal. To babble a bit perhaps, to mock and make light as he backed toward the door at which point he would turn and run like hell, run for his life, run for his sanity and pretend that nothing he’d just heard held any appeal to him whatsoever.


But he had a duty to Dawn and Buffy. Couldn’t leave until he found out…


“Did… did you tell Glory who the key was?”


Spike’s eyes snapped open. The question wasn’t what he had been expecting.


“No. Wouldn’t do that to you… or to the Bit. Love’s bitch, remember?”


The delivery was too simple not to be sincere. Xander believed Spike, and suddenly he believed in Spike’s loyalty and devotion… to him. And that belief scared the hell out of him. Fear made him cruel.


“Stay away from me, Spike. If Buffy needs you, then she needs you. And if I’m there when you’re there, we’re there. But don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, and don’t… don’t fantasize about me. I don’t need you. I don’t want you. I could never want you. Got it?”


“Like a splash of holy water to the face, pet.”


Xander felt nauseous. He made for the door. Before passing through it, he turned and looked back at the battered form. He’d never seen Spike so broken. Vampire versus hell god. No contest, apparently.


“I’ll be back tomorrow with some blood.” 




True to his word, the next day Xander visited the butcher shop on his lunch break and took the blood over to Spike’s crypt.


“It’s cold,” Spike said.


“Be grateful it’s here at all,” Xander replied.


Those were the only words they exchanged.




The following day, Xander picked up the blood on his way to the construction site and put it in his thermos. Buy a new thermos, he added to his mental To-Do list as he watched the crimson liquid take the place of his usual coffee. At lunch time, he heated the blood in the employee microwave before taking it to Spike.


Spike closed his eyes as he put the thermos to his lips and made a pained face as if preparing himself to choke it down. Drama queen, Xander thought. When the blood entered his mouth and he found it to be warm, however, the sour look on Spike’s face melted into one of… Rapture, Xander thought, this must be what they mean by rapture. The thermos was empty in seconds.


Then Spike turned to look at Xander and Xander felt for a moment like the hero he’d always longed to be in all his years as a sidekick.




“Don’t,” Xander said. A needy, vulnerable Spike didn’t fit into his worldview and he wasn’t about to change that worldview after all this time. “And if you ever look at me like that again, I won’t come back.”


He took the thermos and left.




The next day, Xander brought two thermoses of warm blood.


“Pig’s blood,” Spike said between deep drinks. “Foul stuff. Not fit for consumption.”


“Be grateful you’re consuming anything at all,” Xander replied.


But Spike knew better than to be grateful.


“Cheap bastard,” he muttered.


Xander came back with more the next day.




Even after feeding every day for a week, Spike remained damaged and weak. He still couldn’t move from the sarcophagus. Xander hated to see the vampire like that. Hated how pathetically glad he knew Spike was to see him, even though Spike tried to hide it. Hated that he couldn’t stop himself from going day after day.


Spike hated for Xander to see him like that—hated that the white hat kept coming out of pity—but couldn’t bring himself to tell the boy to bugger off. Each day, he lay awake for at least an hour before Xander was due to arrive, afraid to sleep through the visit. He would talk to himself during this hour so that when he spoke his few words to Xander, his voice wouldn’t come out scratchy. He would rehearse ineloquent but earnest declarations of love à la William the Bloody Awful Poet then abandon them in favor of snarky comments à la Spike. These he also rehearsed over and over in his head.


It was a pathetic routine, but a routine all the same, so when a noise came at his door around midnight instead of noon, Spike was immediately on guard. When he looked up from where he lay to see Xander enter, he was more than a little thrown. Particularly off-putting was the half-conscious body that Xander dragged into the crypt with him.




“More or less,” Xander said with a shrug. A smirk Spike had never seen passed over the boy’s face as he held up the body. “You want a sip? Thought you could use something fresh.”


Spike gaped.


“Go ahead,” Xander urged. “He’s still alive. Sink your teeth in.”


“You come here just to taunt me, Harris? You know I can’t.”




Spike tapped his own head. “Chip, remember? Government technology? Try to harm humans, get a dose of shock aversion therapy? Ringing any bells?”


Xander stared at him like he was speaking in tongues. Spike wondered if he’d turned into a Fyarl demon.


“What the bloody hell’s wrong with—” Spike stopped in mid-sentence as his eyes landed on the neck of the man Xander was holding and the twin puncture wounds there. “Oh fuck. No… no… Xander… when?”


There was that smirk again. “Let’s just say I’ve had time to get used to it…. So, you can’t drink from him because it’ll hurt you,” Xander mused. “But what if I…?”


In a flash, Xander’s face changed and he bit into the man, pulling blood from the body and holding it in his mouth. He leaned over Spike, offering.


Spike stared in shock at the demon’s face above him. Then the face changed again and it was his precious boy hovering over him. Xander batted his eyelashes over puppy-dog eyes and Spike was lost.


Spike lifted his head to meet Xander’s lips and found them warmed from the blood, almost as if he were kissing a human Xander. And then the blood flowed into Spike’s mouth, hot and fresh and sweet and human, and Spike knew that he was as close to heaven as an evil, soulless, undead creature could ever hope to get. His tongue plundered Xander’s mouth, licking away every last trace of blood and warmth.


“More?” Xander asked, pulling back.


Spike didn’t answer, but Xander read the desire in his eyes and drew more blood into his mouth. He hovered over Spike again and again Spike waited for the return of the human face before accepting the blood-filled kiss. Again Spike drew the contact out until Xander drew away.


“You’re in love with the boy,” Xander said, half in wonder, half in contempt.




“Is he in love with you, too? Is that why he brings you animal blood every day? If he really loved you, you know, he’d bring you this instead,” Xander said, gesturing with his eyes to the half-conscious man from whom he was feeding Spike. “Or he’d offer himself. But the boy doesn’t have the balls for that.”


“What boy? What are you talking about?”


“I’m not who you think I am. I’m not the pathetic human who was here a few hours ago.”


“Xander, don’t say that. What happened to you doesn’t matter. Not to me. I’ll still—”


“You’ll still love me? Even though I’m a demon? How sweet. But I was being more literal. I’m not the Xander you know. I wasn’t turned today. I was turned a couple of years ago. This isn’t my reality.”


“Your reality?”


“You know, as in alternate universe. Need another drink?” Vamp Xander reached for the body.


“Yeah, but not that.” Spike tried to wrap his mind around the idea that his Xander wasn’t undead but this Xander was. “There’s a bottle of Jack Daniels in the corner…”


Vamp Xander fetched the bottle and took a swig before handing it to Spike. The man on the floor moaned, alerting Spike to the fact that he wasn’t dead yet.


“You should let him go,” Spike said.


“Why? Oh wait, wait, don’t tell me,” Vamp Xander sneered. “Because your precious human Xander wouldn’t like to know that you just drank from someone and then let him die, right?”


Spike didn’t deny it.


Vamp Xander sighed dramatically and rolled his eyes, but picked up the body and dragged it out of the crypt. He came back in, grabbed the Jack Daniels from Spike, took a slug, handed it back and then flopped into Spike’s armchair.


“William the fucking Bloody in love with a pathetic human version of me. Now that’s what I call a warped reality.”


“Ain’t that the truth.” Spike took a deep pull from the bottle.


“So, Billy-boy, what d’ya say? You tell me about your reality and I’ll tell you about mine.”




When Xander arrived around noon the next day with the usual thermoses of pig’s blood, Spike couldn’t keep the relief off his face. It was true. The vampire he’d talked to all night wasn’t his Xander. His Xander was still warm and breathing. He smiled as Xander handed him the blood.


“What did I tell you about looking at me like that?” Xander snapped.


Spike stopped smiling and drank.


“You’re looking a little better today, anyway. Starting to heal. You probably won’t need me coming around anymore.”


“Never needed you to come, you arse,” Spike lied, heavy on the snark. “Besides, I know you’re only here to keep an eye on me for Buffy. Make sure her informant stays alive and out of trouble and all that.”


Xander seized on the excuse as Spike had hoped he would. “Yeah, the others think you’re harmless—chipped and all—but I know better.”


“Oi, pet. You really think I’m evil?” Spike beamed at the unexpected compliment.


“Of course you are.” Xander packed up his empty thermoses. “You know what they say about leopards and spots. You couldn’t change if you wanted to. See you tomorrow, fangless.”


As Spike listened to Xander’s footsteps recede, the boy’s words started to feel less flattering, harsher. He might as well have let the other Xander drain that man last night, Spike realized. It wouldn’t make any difference. In this Xander’s mind, once a killer, always a killer.




That night, Vamp Xander returned dragging another semi-conscious victim with him. It was a gorgeous young male, just like the last one.


“You know, Willow’s gay in this world,” Spike told him. “Got a sweet little blond witch keeps her warm at night.”


“Yeah, I saw them at The Bronze that first night before I had figured out what was going on. But what about me? I mean, this Xander. How do his tastes run?”


“A whole lot straighter than yours, mate. He’s all hot and heavy with an ex-demon bint.”


“So you and he…?”


“Never. Xander wants nothing to do with me.”


“Yeah, right. That’s why he brings you blood every day. Repression, repression, repression. Anyway, forget the loser. How about a little something warm and red? It does the body good…”


Spike followed Vamp Xander’s eyes to the young man. No point in being good for the human Xander, Spike thought bitterly, he’d never get a reward.


“Don’t mind if I do,” he said.


Spike watched as the undead Xander drank. Then the vampire with Xander’s face was cupping the back of his head and pulling him in for a kiss. Spike took the blood eagerly and when the first mouthful was gone, Vamp Xander went back for another. This time, it was Spike who grabbed the other vampire’s head and held it in place as he drank from the soft mouth.


By the time the third mouthful of blood was exchanged, both vampires had forgotten about their meal. Xander crawled on top of Spike, straddling him to bring their growing erections into contact. Spike moaned against Xander’s cool lips as he savored the delicious friction.


Xander pulled back and locked eyes with Spike as he ripped the blonde’s shirt wide open. Then he was grabbing Spike’s wrists and pinning them on either side of Spike’s head. The move surprised Spike. The show of control was so unlike his fantasies of human Xander. 


“I’m not him,” Vamp Xander warned. “And I don’t bottom for anyone.”


With that, he began kissing and nipping his way down Spike’s chest, stopping to bite sharply at each of Spike’s nipples. Spike sucked in unneeded air.


“Want me, Spike?” Xander asked as he released Spike’s wrists to move lower.




Spike resisted the urge to bring his freed hands into play, knowing Xander would want him to keep them where they’d been put. Xander unzipped Spike’s fly and slid the tight jeans down Spike’s legs.


“Want me inside you, filling you up?”




Spike’s hips jerked in needy little thrusts. Then his leg was being hooked over Xander’s shoulder. Xander opened the fly of his own leather pants and positioned himself.


“Want to be fucked by a demon with the face of the boy you love?”


“Yes, yes, yes!”


Spike couldn’t see what Xander slicked himself with, but he suspected it was someone’s blood. Then he no longer had energy to wonder or care as every fiber of his being centered on the sensation of Xander slowly stretching and filling him, filling the emptiness.


“Please,” he said.


“Please what?” Xander asked.


“Please fuck me.”


Then Xander was moving inside of Spike and it ached and burned and tingled and it felt for the first time in he didn’t know how long like something more than merely existing, like being alive.


“Xander!” he shouted when he came. But he didn’t know whose name it was.




Spike didn’t even realize that Xander hadn’t even undressed to fuck him until the other vampire had climbed off of the stone slab. He watched as Xander casually tucked himself back into the leather pants and zipped the fly.


“Sweet dreams, Spike,” Xander said before he simply turned and walked out.


Spike lay there for about five minutes without a coherent thought beyond the fact that he was alone again. Then a groan emerged from the human still lying on his floor.


Fuck it, Spike thought. Let him die. But even as he was thinking it, he struggled to sit up and then to stand.


Next time a hell god asks me something, I’m bloody well going to tell her what she wants to know, was Spike’s next thought as he garnered every ounce of his limited strength to drag the body out of the crypt. He managed to get it a few yards away to a place where it might be spotted before that strength ran out. He fell with the half-conscious man to the ground, disentangled himself and crawled back into the crypt.




As Xander approached with his daily delivery, he spotted Buffy outside Spike’s crypt. He turned around and went back to work.




Spike’s body clock woke him just before noon. He heard someone entering and opened his eyes, expecting to see Xander. Instead he found himself staring at a stake. His eyes followed the arm attached to the stake all the way up to the face of the Slayer.




“Been finding bodies outside your crypt, Spike. Yesterday and this morning. Only reason you’re still alive is because they were. Now, talk.”


“’Bout what, Slayer? I can’t even pinch a human, let alone bite one.” Spike’s expression gave away nothing. “Besides, been laid up here for a week. Unfortunate encounter with a hell god, remember?”


“Just because you can’t hurt anyone, doesn’t mean you don’t know who did. How’d you know they’d been bitten?”


“It’s the Hellmouth, pet. Common sense. Told you. Been laid up. Haven’t been out.”


“How have you been feeding?”


Spike shrugged. “Strangely enough, there seem to be one or two people around here who’d rather see me live than die. Frankly, ’m just as surprised as you are.”


“Yeah, well if any of those people know anything about those victims, tell them that’s not the way this Slayer runs her Hellmouth.”


With that, Buffy made her exit.


“Melodramatic bitch,” Spike muttered. He waited for hours, but Xander never showed.




When Vamp Xander arrived that night, he was carrying a paper bag instead of a body.


“Brought you something.” He held the bag out to Spike, who was feeling strong enough to have graduated from the sarcophagus to his armchair.


Spike opened the bag and found a Styrofoam container of blood. He sniffed it. Pig’s blood.


“That’s what you like, isn’t it?” Xander mocked.


“Fuck you.”


“Thought you might like to eat first. You know, get your strength up? And it’ll be me fucking you, not the other way around. But hey, I’m game if you are.”


Xander started toward Spike with a smirk on his face that was half sexy, half infuriating.


“You’re using me,” Spike said.


“You’re using me,” Xander answered, stopping in front Spike.


They stared each other down for a long moment before Spike forfeited, leaning forward to kiss Xander.


“Fine,” Spike said when they separated, “but we have to leave. We’re not safe here.”




Three weeks later, a fully recovered Spike complete with attitude and leather duster stood chain smoking beneath the tree in front of Buffy’s house. As he waited for the human Xander to emerge, he thought back to the previous night.



When Vamp Xander had returned to their new residence in the basement of the abandoned church, he was bleeding, hyper, and horny. Normally, Spike found hyper Vamp Xander amusing and would sometimes dare to tease the younger vamp about the resemblance to his goofy human counterpart. But last night the hyperactivity had simply irritated Spike because he couldn’t get Xander to settle down long enough to get a good look at his wounds.


“Oi, will you let me see!” Spike was trying to look under Xander’s shirt, but kept having to slap the brunet’s wandering hands away from his crotch.


“You’ll be able to see everything if you get naked with me,” Xander said.


“I won’t be able to see anything when you’ve got me shoved up against the wall being fucked,” Spike observed blandly, still fussing with Xander’s shirt.


“Maybe not, but you so won’t care at that point.” Xander grabbed for him again.


“Christ, Xander, what’s got you so worked up?”


“Had a drink. Had a fight. Need a fuck. Then a smoke. Help a guy out, will ya?” Xander was trying to strip the blonde, but Spike kept squirming away. “Come on, Spikey, give it up for your beautiful boy.”


Xander copped an innocent but needy expression Spike knew was specifically designed to manipulate him. For a minute, it worked. Spike stood and let Xander pull his tee shirt over his head. But then Spike reached unbuttoned Xander’s shirt and saw the extent of the bruising beneath it.


“Bloody hell, Xander. Who’d you fight with?”


Xander laughed. “No one special. Just this blonde chick. Thinks she’s tough…”


“Damn it, Xander, I told you to stay away from Buffy and her lot.”


“You’re not my master, Spike. Besides, I like fighting with Buffy. A vampire with her friend’s face—I drive her crazy. Especially since I keep getting away. Drives her friends crazy too. It’s too much fun.”


“They’ll stake you.”


“Or I’ll drain them. Wonder which idea scares you more…” Xander laughed and pushed an unresisting Spike up against the wall.


Silently, Spike let Xander fuck him, all the while wondering.



Spike had just tossed his sixth cigarette on the ground next to the tree and was lighting his seventh when human Xander emerged from Buffy’s house. Spike stepped out of the shadows, startling the boy.


“Fuck! Spike, you scared me! What’s with the stalker bit? Oh, crap, you’re not, are you? Stalking me?”


“Need to talk to you.”


Xander balked. Right, now Spike needed to talk to him. After disappearing without a word. Where the hell had he been for the last three weeks? And why did Xander even care?


“I don’t care,” Xander said. “I don’t want to talk to you. I want nothing to do with you. Actually, no, I wanted ‘nothing’ to do with you before you built a robot version of me to have sex with. Now, I actually want less than nothing to do with you. Don’t you get that?”


“Like a pointy bit of wood to the heart, pet.”


“Then what the hell are doing here?”


“I’m here to help.”


“Right, well, don’t trouble yourself. We haven’t had any of your unique brand of help for the last three weeks and we’ve been doing just fine. So you can run along now, Fangless.”


“Look, Xander, I know that Xander—I mean the vamp version of you—has been killing people and I know that he’s on the top of Buffy’s most wanted list right now…”




Spike sighed, but carried on. “So, I also know that you haven’t been able to find him and that when you do, he always gets away. And believe me, that’s going to keep happening. He may be young, but he’s strong and the Master trained him well. He knows how to fight and he knows when to run so he can fight another day. He has stronger survival instincts than most vamps I’ve known. Kinda like you, in a way….”


“Are you even approaching the sign pointing to the road leading to the general vicinity of a point here? And exactly how do you know all this anyway?”


“Point is, I can deliver him to you.”


He had Xander’s attention now, so Spike continued.


“And I know all that because we’re… close. He trusts me. I can lead him right to you.”


“So he trusts you and you’re going to betray him? And you’re willing to do this because… what? You think it’s going to win you points with me?”


“I’m not that foolish. And it’s not about you. Least it’s not about winning points with you. I wanna make a deal.”


“A deal. So you’ll sell him out for what? Some quick cash? A few bags of blood? Pack of cigarettes? What is it that you want, Spike?”


Spike met Xander’s eyes.


“I want him to live. I know Buffy’s out to dust him, but I also know Red could do a spell to send him back where he came from. That’s the deal. I deliver him and you don’t stake him, you send him back.”


“Back where he came from so he can kill more people there? That’s not how good guys take care of bad guys.”


“Look, Harris, whatever it’s like in his world, he has the right to live or die there… or kill there. It’s where he belongs. Besides, that’s why they call it a deal. You compromise. Believe me, if you don’t want to do it this way, I’ll make sure you never find him.”


“Make up your mind, Spike. Whose side are you on? His or ours?”


“You know, you and he aren’t as different as you both like to think you are. You’re both too damn brave and too bloody foolish for your own good.”


“What’s that supposed to mean?”


“Don’t ask questions when you’ve already made it clear that you don’t like to hear the answer. Just leave a message at my crypt when you’re ready to accept my terms.”


And with a signature swish of leather, Spike was gone.




It should have been harder, Spike thought when it was all over. When he was back in his crypt and alone again. It fucking should have been harder.


But over a century of experience—as both betrayer and betrayed—had taught Spike that betrayal was usually far too easy, logistically at least. Oh, it’s a challenge to hurt your enemies. Enemies are always on guard, watching their backs. But once a friend—or a lover—trusts you to watch his back for him, it’s a simple matter to slide the knife right in. Logistically simple, at least.


“Let’s go to R Place tonight,” Spike had suggested around 10 the night before. R Place was a gay version of The Bronze and one of undead Xander’s favorite hunting grounds. Xander had long since given in to Spike’s pleas that he not cruise the Scoobies’ favorite hangout and now steered clear of The Bronze. 


“Mmm, R Place. Gonna let me kill, Spike?” Xander moved closer, bringing his lips within inches of Spike’s. “Gonna help me choose my victim?”


Spike closed the distance and kissed Xander, trying to keep the sadness—the sense of finality—out of it. Trying to keep it natural.


“Gonna help you choose, pet,” Spike said between kisses. “Someone strong, gorgeous and sexy like you…”


Xander smiled.


“But you can just drink, yeah?” Spike added softly, planting kisses on Xander’s face. “Don’t have to drain…”


Xander shoved him away.


“For fuck’s sake, Spike. I’m supposed to kill. I’m a vampire, damn it. And so are you. At least you’re supposed to be.”


“Let’s not fight. Not tonight.” Don’t let this be our last memory of each other. “Let’s go out.”


“I don’t know why the fuck I keep you around. I don’t know why I keep fucking you. You don’t even want me. You want him. You just settle for getting fucked by someone with his face.”


“You’re wrong. I… I love you.” The declaration was new.


“You love him. I’m not him.”


“I know you’re not him. And I do love him. But I love you, too.”


“Fuck that. If you loved me, Spike, you’d let me kill.”


“Bloody hell, I’ve told you why. As long as you keep killing, the Slayer won’t leave you alone. She’ll dust you eventually.”


Xander was not impressed. “Right… So it’s all about me, huh? Not about him at all?” 


“I love you,” Spike repeated. “I don’t want to lose you.”


“I still kill, you know. All the time. Not around you, but all the time. Still love me now?”




Xander snapped into gameface. “Prove it.”


Xander stood there, waiting. Without hesitation, Spike stepped close and began to plant kisses on the demon’s face.


“I love you. I love you.” Spike repeated it again and again. “I don’t want to lose you.”


After about a minute of Spike’s adoration, Xander pulled away, overwhelmed.


“Okay, geez, I believe you. Let’s go out.”


“No,” the words flew unplanned from Spike’s mouth, “let’s stay in.”


“Oh come on, it was your idea. Now I’m hungry.” Xander’s voice dropped seductively. “Think of it as foreplay. We’ll go to R Place, find the hottest guy there, seduce him with the promise of the hottest threesome he’s ever imagined… Then we’ll lure him outside and you can watch as I pin him to the wall and sink my teeth into his hard muscle. I’ll have a nice long drink and then I’ll take another and give you a nice, yummy kiss. We’ll keep sharing him like that until I’m so hot and horny that I don’t care about anything but us. And then I’ll let him go… alive… and you can thank me by taking his place against the wall so I can fuck you straight through the brick.”


“God yes,” Spike said, thoroughly caught up in the image, in spite of himself. “But, hey, let’s go to The Bronze instead.”


“I thought you didn’t like me to go there. Besides, The Bronze is lame, Spike, and the guys aren’t half as hot…” Xander looked at Spike’s face. “But hey, if that’s where you want, that’s where we’ll go…”


Yes, screamed the selfish part of Spike’s brain. Yes, yes, yes. “No, you’re right,” Spike forced himself to say. “Let’s go to R Place.”


And that’s how easy—and excruciatingly difficult—it had been. Spike and Vamp Xander had gone to R Place and seduced the hottest guy there. They had lured him outside. And Buffy, Willow, Tara and human Xander all had been waiting in the alley, just as Spike had arranged. True to their word, instead of pulling out stakes, the Scoobies had begun an incantation.


Vamp Xander had morphed into gameface and turned his back to Spike, taking his position to fight his way out of the trap with his lover. But instead of watching his back, Xander’s lover had struck him in the back of the skull with a lead pipe. Vamp Xander never knew what hit him. Spike stood and stared as a rip in space swallowed the unconscious body of man—the demon—he had loved.



It fucking should have been harder, Spike thought.


Hearing a noise, Spike looked up from his wallowing toward the doorway and saw a far too familiar face. Walked in from the sunshine, can’t be Vamp Xander. Wearing well fitting jeans, a tight rust-colored tee shirt and… a silver collar… but it can’t be…


“Master! It is so good to be with you again.”


“But you were… Where have you been?”


“I fell down and got confused. Willow fixed me. She’s gay.”


“Rumor has it, she’s not the only one, pet. Is there something you’d like to tell me, boy?” Spike asked, slipping easily into a scenario.


“”No, Spike. I want to, but I can’t. I’m too scared.”


“Scared, Xander? You’re the bravest boy I know. Always rushing in before you think things through. Why stop now?”


“But this is big, Spike. My friends won’t forgive me if I....”


“Who’s more important? Me or your friends?”


“I… I don’t know. I should say my friends, but…”


“Am I your friend?”


“No, you’re… you’re…”


“What am I, Xander?”


“I… I don’t know.”


“What do you want me to be, Xander?”


“I… I don’t…”


“You do know, pet. And now it’s time to tell me.”


“My… my master. You’re my master. I want you to be my master.”


Spike came forward to take his boy into his arms. “There now, pet. That wasn’t so difficult, was it?”


“No, Master.”


“And you feel better now, don’t you?”


“Yes, Master.”



“Yes, Master.”


“On your knees, pet.”


Spike threaded his fingers through the sable locks before him and released a blissful sigh.


“Take me out, pet. Make me nice and hard so I can fuck you good and proper, yeah?”


“Yes, Master.”


And then he was surrounded. Heat, moisture, suction… tongue.


“Ungh, that’s good.”


Spike let the goodness continue for another minute before he ordered: “Go downstairs. Take off your clothes and get on the bed.”


The sight of his boy naked on the bed nearly made Spike come on the spot.


“Want me to tie you down, pet?”


“I want whatever pleases you, Master.”


“Such a good boy. I want you to do something a little more challenging for me, pet. I want you to put your wrists above your head…. Now bend your knees and spread you legs…. That’s right, ankles apart…. Now I want you to stay still, just like that. Not because I’ve tied you down, but because I’ve told you to and you want to please me.”


When he heard the softly spoken “Yes, Master,” Spike undressed. Positioning himself between the boy’s knees, Spike started at the nipples and kissed and licked his way down the chest and over the ridges of the abdomen. He stopped to lick and slurp at the delectable cock before giving all his attention to his boy’s lovely, tight hole. His pet held himself perfectly still throughout as promised.


Spike prepared the entrance thoroughly with his tongue, and then with lubed fingers, before finally, slowly burying himself to the hilt. Only when he was fully inside did Spike lean forward to kiss his boy for the first time.


“You belong to me,” Spike said.


“Yes, Master.”




Pause. “Because I want to?”


“It’s not about what you want, pet.”


“Because you want me to?”


“Why?” Spike looked into his boy’s eyes.


“Because you love me.” This time, it wasn’t a question.


Spike began to move his hips.


“I love you, Spike!” his beautiful boy cried out at the moment of climax.




No sooner had Spike withdrawn from the tight passage and rolled off the warm body than the boy was getting up and pulling on his clothes.


“Where ya goin’, pet?”


“I must go to work, Master. I work during the day. I’m in construction. I like to take off my shirt and sweat while I build things.”


Spike smiled. Xander was almost upstairs when Spike’s voice stopped him.


“Come back anytime you want—or need—more, pet. Didn’t realize how much Warren had skimped on ’til now. Robot didn’t breath, had no heartbeat, wasn’t nearly as warm. Heard somewhere it was better than the real thing. But now I know it never even came close…”





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