Title: Immortal Convergence
Author: Kay
Email: kaygrr@hotmail.com
Feedback: Do you really want to see me beg?  My happy dance is way more
entertaining. Website:  ssfdu.tripod.com/kay/journal.htm  (Sandy rocks)
Archive: Hey, just ask first <g> Series: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Pairing:
Xander/Wesley, Xander/Wesley/Spike, Duncan/Methos, Spike/Methos,
Giles/Richie...etc. Rating: PG
Sequel:  None Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire
Slayer and the characters of the show don't belong to me in anyway
whatsoever. Mutant Enemy, I live in envy of you.  The same goes for
Highlander and Rysher - they may be your toys, but I'm going to play with
them.  Niener.  This story is written for enjoyment, not for profit.  This
whore only works for feedback.  Litigation would be a waste of time,
people. I'm a member of the Starving Student Sect. Summery:  A renegade
immortal on the Hellmouth puts Sunnydale in danger, and it's up to the
Scooby Gang and some visitors from Seacouver to put things right.
Warnings:  spoilers up to Graduation II...I think.  Xander returned from
his summer a month ago, but that's about it.  No Anya, no Tara (<sniff> I
*like* Tara).  There is Riley, though.  As for HL...say it with me people:
 Richie isn't dead!  Let's just pretend that in the next to last season,
Ahriman was vanquished without a certain never-to-be-mentioned incident
occurring, K?  And the final season of HL never happened, either.  Hell,
if I'm going to be messing about with the characters, why not mess around
with time, too? <g>

I know we've been through this before, but here's a quick rundown on the
characters from HL:

Immortals:  people who, after they die a violent death, come back to life.
 They cease to age, will recover from any injury or death except
beheading, and can sense when others like them are near.  They fight each
other to the death, and when one beheads another the winner absorbs the
loser's power, called the Quickening.  At the end of 'the Game', the final
Immortal remaining gets 'the Prize', some sort of immense power.  They
cannot fight on Holy Ground and they take challenges singly, fighting one
on one.

Richie Ryan:  died when he was in his early twenties; student of Duncan
MacLeod, he has been an immortal for only a few years.  He has a tendency
to be a hot-head, but he is a good guy over all.

Duncan MacLeod:  in his thirties, he died four hundred years ago in
Scotland.  He holds to the ideals of chivalry and honor, earning him the
nickname of 'Boyscout'.

Adam Pierson:  the current alias of Methos, the oldest Immortal at five
thousand years.  He has been many things and holds to a code of survival
above all else, for himself and his friend.  I personally am in love with
this man.

Joe Dawson:  a mortal, he is a Watcher, a member of an organization
dedicated to tracking the interactions of Immortals.  A Vietnam vet, he is
a close friend of Duncan's.  Also, he's pretty damn cute himself.

So I was reading all the HL crossovers that popped up a few months ago
and I enjoyed the hell out of them.  I decided to try my hand at one, and
this is the result.

A word about the pairings...they are all James and Sandy's faults.  James,
because of an off-hand comment that sent my mind off in rapturous
contemplation of the possibilities of Wesley and Xander together.  Sandy,
because she put up with me rambling out ideas for this fic and came up
with quite a few of her own.  And I guess I can blame Karen too - she
didn't do anything to stop me, after all.

Thanks, y'all <g>

Part One/?

One hand rubbing at his forehead in small, soothing circles, Richie Ryan
squinted through the windshield, searching for a late-night dinner.  He
had been driving back up to Seacouver from a short vacation in Mexico,
touring through California on his way.  It had gotten late enough that he
wanted to pull over and get a hotel room for the night.  He'd gotten off
at the exit for Sunnydale, liking the name of the town and figuring he
could find a cheap place to stay.

Right now, all he wanted was a diner.  He had a raging headache, which he
figured was brought on by skipping lunch and dinner.  He wanted something
to eat and a Coke.  Maybe he could charm the waitress out of a couple of
Tylenols, too.

Richie frowned.  For a town off a major highway, there sure weren't many
places open.  He finally found a diner with a flickering neon open sign
still lit and pulled in.  Both hands rubbing at his temples, he entered
and claimed a table.

The waitress approached him warily.  Richie wasn't sure why - it wasn't as
though he looked intimidating.  He was always going to look the same as he
did at the time of his first death:  barely in his twenties, with curly
red hair and blue eyes, there were no lines on his face, nothing to
commemorate any of the trials he'd faced, the enemies he'd defeated, the
lessons he'd learned.  Except in his eyes, maybe - Duncan always said he
gave everything away with his eyes.

He smiled at the waitress and begged her for a hot meal, a Coke, and some
aspirin.  She looked him over carefully, then relaxed and smiled back at
him.  "Sure thing," she promised, heading back toward the kitchen.  She
came back right away with a tall glass and a few white pills.

Richie downed all the aspirin and the soda right away, but it did nothing
for the headache.  His head continued to throb, the pain almost enough to
kill his appetite.  He still smiled gratefully at the waitress when she
brought him a stack of pancakes.  As he was digging into the pile, the
door chimed and someone else entered the diner.  At the same moment, the
pain swelled nearly unbearably as he was hit with the awareness of another
Immortal's presence.  Dropping his fork, he squinted up at the newcomer,
hand inching toward his hidden sword.

The guy who had just entered the bar looked even younger than Richie:
with dark hair that was just beginning to cover his ears and a long sleeve
shirt over baggy blue jeans, he looked just like any other teen-ager.  The
assessing look he threw at Richie told him that the stranger knew just
what they were.

The dark-haired man didn't approach Richie right away; first he took the
time to call out a greeting to the waitress and barely-visible cook.
"Hey, Nancy, Lou.  How're things tonight?"

"Quiet," the waitress answered cheerfully, pouring a large cup of coffee
and stirring an obscene amount of sugar into it.  She handed the mug to
the stranger.  "You doing all right, Xan?"

"It's quiet out there, too," Xan answered.  He sipped at the coffee and
approached Richie, pausing a few feet away from him.  "Mind if I join you
for a sec?"

The redhead looked him over carefully.  He couldn't see how the other
Immortal could be concealing a sword, but he'd been fooled before.  Still,
Richie felt confident.  He'd been taught by the best.  "Take a seat," he

Xan nodded and sat down across from him.  "Just passing through?"

"Basically.  I was thinking of getting a hotel room."  He casually picked
up his fork and took another bite of his dinner.

"Are you looking for a fight?"  Xan looked curious, nothing more.

"Not especially."  Richie tried the trick Duncan always used on him, but
he couldn't read the other man's eyes.  The gaze that met his was merely
interested, giving nothing away.

"Good."  Xan took a drink.  "That always ruins a night.  If you're not
here for me, then I suggest moving on.  There are nice hotels up off the
next exit, only about twenty miles away."

"What is this, some sort of territory thing?  This is your town, and you
don't want anyone else in it?"

Xan laughed.  "Yeah, in a few minutes I'm going to go piss on the sidewalk
just to make my point.  No, I'm really thinking of you.  Sunnydale's not a
real good place for people like us."  He grinned.  "You know, those of us
with the extended warranty."

Richie couldn't help grinning back.  He liked this guy.  "What do you

"That headache you've got?  It's not going to go away."

"How did you know?"

"Sunnydale does that to everyone of us that I've ever met.  Sucks, doesn't
it?  That's the main reason I'm suggesting you move on - it's going to
make sleeping a bitch."  Xan finished the rest of his coffee and stood up.
 "If you decide to stay, go to the inn about three miles up the road, the
one with the pirate sign.  It's on the outskirts, so you may actually get
some sleep."  He headed toward the door, calling out good-byes to the
others as he went.

Richie motioned the waitress over.  "Who was that guy?"

"Xander?  He's a nice guy.  A local."  Her tone was guarded, like she
wasn't telling him everything.  "He comes in a lot of nights, checking up
on us.  He's a good kid."

Richie nodded his thanks, then gathered up his things and paid the bill.
He was going to trust his instincts:  he liked Xander and was going to try
the next town up the road.


Once he reached Seacouver, Richie knew right where to head to find his
friends:  Joe's bar.  It didn't matter that it was eleven in the morning;
they'd be inside, he was sure.  He wanted to talk to all of them about the
guy he'd met in California.  He parked his car outside and banged on the
door until he heard the lock click open.

Joe Dawson jerked the door open.  "Jesus, Rich, what's the hurry?"  He
leaned forward on his cane, blinking in the sunlight.

Richie grinned at the older man.  Although he'd been creeped out by the
thought of Watchers, Joe had become a close friend.  "Are Mac and Adam

"They're in the bar.  What's up?"

"I've got a story and some questions for all of you.  Come on."  He led
the way back to the bar.  Sure enough, Duncan MacLeod and Adam Pierson
were sitting at the bar.  "Hey, guys!"

"Richie, I wasn't expecting you back so soon!"  Duncan's look of welcome
turned to one of concern.  "You look exhausted."

"I drove all night."

"What on earth for?"

"I didn't intend to.  I pulled off the highway last night to find a place
to sleep, but then the weirdest thing happened.  As soon as I got off the
road, my head started killing me.  I stopped at a diner and this guy
walked in.  He was one of us, and he told me that it was the place that
was giving me the headache, that it gave one to any Immortal who came to
town.  I decided to take him at his word and as soon as I got on the road,
the headache was gone.  It felt so good, I decided to just finish the
drive."  He looked expectantly at the other men.  "Have you ever heard of
anything like that before?"

Duncan shook his head, but Adam was up and off his chair.  "Where did you
pull over?"

"Some little town called Sunnydale."

"Shit," muttered the older man.

"Did you get this guy's name?" Joe asked, pulling out his cell.

"Let's not involve the Watchers just yet," Adam said, holding up his hand.
 "This might be something we want to take care of ourselves."  He pinned
Richie with an intense stare.  "This is very important, Richie.  We need
to know everything you can remember about this guy."

A little unnerved, Richie shrugged.  "I don't know...I was eating when he
walked in.  The waitress gave him a cup of coffee and called him Xan.
They talked, and then he came over to me."  He repeated the conversation
they'd had.  "Then he left, and I asked the waitress about him.  She
didn't tell me much - I don't think she wanted to tell me a lot.  All she
said was that he was a nice local boy."

"Local boy?  No way."  Joe shook his head.  "No way could a pre-Immortal
last long enough on the Hellmouth to hit his teens before his first

"Hellmouth?" Duncan asked.

"You want to do this or should I?" Joe asked, looking at Adam.

"I will.  I'm going to assume neither of you know nothing about the
Hellmouth."  Adam sat back down and stretched out his legs.  "It's in
Sunnydale.  It's a not very imaginative name for the mouth of Hell."

"What?"  Duncan shook his head.  "Are you serious?"

"This from the man who recently defeated a demon that returns every
thousand years to end the world?"  Adam's smooth voice was thick with
sarcasm.  "There are more things than just demons wandering the earth,
although there are more than enough of them.  Monsters, ghosts, and the
Hellmouth are out there, too.  Most of these creatures are attracted to
the Hellmouth."

"If these monsters are all over the place, why haven't I run into any of
them before?"  Richie asked.

"You probably have and you just didn't know it.  Most of them avoid our
kind, anyway."

"Unless they're hunting you," Joe muttered.

"What?"  This time it was Richie's turn to ask.

"Some of these creatures are attracted to us.  To the power of the
Quickening inside of us.  A few of them can even take that power from us."

"What would that do to an Immortal, to lose the Quickening without losing
his head?  Would we go back to be mortal?" Duncan asked.

"No.  We just die.  They can do the same to a pre-Immortal, although it is
more usual to kill the young ones, then take their Quickening after
they've revived."  Adam shook his head and drummed his fingers on the bar.
 "How the hell did this guy last so long?"

"We've got a Watcher in place down there to make sure that no one hangs
around there." Joe said.  "He hasn't reported any Immortal activity in

"Is it the Hellmouth that caused the headache?" Richie asked, rubbing at
his forehead.

"Yeah."  Adam sighed.  "I'm too old for this.  I'll go home and pack.
Meet you back here in an hour, Joe?"

"I'll be ready," the other man promised.

"What's going on?" Richie asked.

"We've got to Sunnydale and check this guy out.  If he's just living
there, than we need to explain the danger he's in and get him away from
there.  If he's there to cause trouble..."  Adam's voice trailed away.

"I'm coming," Duncan said.

"I would have thought you'd had your fill of battling demons, Highlander."

Duncan just shot him a flat look as he grabbed his coat.

"I'm coming, too."  Richie liked Xander; he wanted to think that the other
Immortal was just unknowingly in the wrong place and he wanted to help
him.  He yawned hugely.  "I'm not driving, though."

He took up Duncan's offer of a ride and followed him out of the bar.
Demons, monsters, and Hellmouths.  What next?


Xander leaned against the doorframe, hands shoved deep into his pockets.
"Guess I'll be turning in now."

Willow twined her arm with Oz's.  "Are you sure?  We might still find a
few vampires to stake."

Buffy nodded, standing beside Riley.  "Come on.  You know you like it when
they go puff."

"Oh, I've had enough excitement to last me for tonight, I think."

Buffy wrinkled her nose.  "Are you sure?  I mean, you can't be wanting to
get back to your roommate."

"Ooh, maybe Xander wants to listen to him talk for a little while before
heading for bed.  One of his lectures usually puts me right to sleep,"
Willow giggled.

"More like puts you into a coma," Buffy laughed.

Xander pulled his hands out of his pockets.  "Good night."  He heard Buffy
call his name, but he let himself into the building and shut the door
firmly behind him, not bothering to answer.  He'd made it clear that he
was tired about the jokes about his roommate, that he resented the
constant insults to his friend, and they still continued to ignore him.
He was through listening to it.

He walked up the stairs to the apartment that everyone knew about,
knocking lightly on the door as he opened.  "Honey, I'm home," he called.

"I'm in the library, Ricky," was the reply.

Xander ambled over to the room they'd filled with books and christened the
library and grinned as he watched the other man sort the all the
books...again.  Xander didn't know why he was allowed to put the books
away after a night of research; he never put them in the right place and
his roommate just ended up redoing it.

As he watched the other man work, his marveled at the circumstances that
had brought them together.  He'd headed out on his road trip almost before
the wreckage of the high school had stopped smoking.  Just past LA, a
tractor trailer had lost control on the freeway and jumped the median.
He'd had no chance to avoid the other vehicle; the crash had been
horrific.  Xander didn't remember much of it, just sick helpless terror
and then blinding pain.  The next thing he'd been aware of was waking up
on the side of the rode, confused as hell by the fact that he was alive
and covered with a sheet.  He'd peered out and found a typical accident
scene, with cops and EMTs all over the place.  He was lying surrounded by
other white-sheeted bodies, but none of them were moving.

For once, Xander was grateful for having grown up in Sunnydale:  he was so
inured to weird that the whole situation barely phased him.  He'd made a
break for the woods after draping his sheet over the body next to him,
hoping that the rescue workers would figure that they'd just miscounted.
Once safely away, he'd known that he'd have to find out why he wasn't
dead.  His clothes were torn and bloody, suggesting that he probably had
been at the very least badly injured.  He didn't feel possessed, but if he
were would he be in any state to notice?  He hadn't the last couple of
times it had happened, after all.  He decided to get to the closest help
he knew of and to leave his friends out of it until he was sure he wasn't
going to be a danger to them.

It was surprisingly easy for a dirty, bloody man torn clothing to flag
down a cab in LA.

Angel had been surprised and concerned when he'd turned up, while Cordelia
had immediately called dibs on taking him shopping for new clothes.  Angel
had sent her and a guy named Doyle home and had spent the rest of the day
testing Xander, making sure he wasn't possessed or a zombie or a
spontaneous vampire.  The answer finally came when Xander gave himself the
mother of all paper cuts while looking through a book.  Before he could
really get into swearing about it, the thin slice had stopped bleeding.
Blue sparks had danced around the wound as it healed before their eyes.
That had been the clue Angel had needed:  he told Xander that he was an
Immortal.  Angel hadn't known much about it, just that he could only die
by beheading, that he wasn't evil, and that he had to learn to defend
himself from other Immortals.

So instead of spending his summer cruising the open road and maybe
breaking a few hearts as he passed through towns, he'd begun to train with
Angel, learning how to fight with all kinds of weapons as well as with his
bare hands.  There had never been any doubt in his mind that he would
return to Sunnydale.  How could he not?  Now he could go and really be
useful, finally be able to protect his friends the way he'd always wanted
to.  He wasn't ready then to tell them what he was, and he still wasn't
now.  He wasn't sure how they'd react...besides, there was no good way to
bring it up in conversation.  "Funny you should mention shoe sales, Buffy.
 Did I mention I'm immortal?"  There were no good segues for it.

As summer had drawn to a close, Angel had fretted about letting Xander go
back to Sunnydale.  This had really amused Xander, first because the
master of all things broody was fretting, and second because he showed how
much he had changed.  He'd done some growing up over the summer, coming to
be Angel's friend rather than a snide rival.  Oh, he still kept up the
snide remarks, but he and Angel both knew it was more out of habit than
anything else.

Xander had been a little worried about leaving LA, too.  He knew he was
nowhere near done with what he had to learn in order to keep himself
alive; worse, he still knew way too little about what he was.  He'd run
into a few other Immortals in LA, but none of them had been interested in
talking to him.  They'd issued challenges and he'd met them; thanks to
Angel's training, he'd survived.  The freaky light show and spirit
absorption thing afterwards had both frightened and repelled him; it was
an incredible rush, but it felt way too much like vampirism for Xander to
ever be able to be comfortable with it, no matter how much Angel assured
him that it was the way things were supposed to happen.

Wesley turning up had been a godsend.  The former Watcher had been at
loose ends and doing his own tour of the United States at the time.
Hearing of Angel's detective business, he'd come down to the office to
investigate and make certain that the vampire really was helping people.
He'd known far more than Angel about Immortals and was able to explain the
rules that governed them to Xander.  He also sparred with Xander, giving
Xander some experience with a human opponent.  Oh sure, training with
Angel was great, but Xander seriously doubted that any Immortal would
suddenly shift features and start throwing him around with super-human
strength.  He hoped, at least.

Cordelia had suggested that Wesley go back to Sunnydale with Xander as a
joke, but Xander had jumped at the idea.  It would be nice to have some
there who knew his secret, who could help him train and figure out exactly
what was going on with his new life.  It was more than that, though.
Oddly enough, dying had helped Xander to finish growing up.  He'd accepted
a lot about himself over the summer, including his purpose to continue to
protect his friends.  He'd stopped treating Angel as a rival and a pariah
and he did the same for Wesley, accepting the other man as a friend.

Thanks to Doyle, he'd also finally accepted the fact that he wasn't
necessarily as straight as he'd been trying to convince himself he was.

He hadn't known if Wesley could come with him, though; neither he nor the
Englishman had any sort of employment waiting for them in Sunnydale, so
figuring out how to support themselves had been their first task.  They'd
found their answer in the shape of a billionaire with a penchant for
role-playing.  David Nabitt had been fascinated by the idea of an immortal
young man fighting against evil.  Once Xander had thrown in the
information about the blond young woman who was the first line of defense
against world destruction, the man had been hooked.  Xander had promised
to send him accounts of their exploits and a few pictures of Buffy and in
exchange David had rented out two apartments for them, one on top of the

David had paid for the lower apartment to be converted into a large
practice area, with room for sparring and practicing anything they needed
to.  No one knew about that lower apartment; as far as Xander's friends
were aware, the one above it was the only one he had.  He and Wesley each
had their own bedroom and bath; the den had been converted into a library
for all the books David had supplied Wesley with.

Xander had been excited and nervous about Wesley coming with him.  Excited
because he didn't want to lose his new friend and teacher, but nervous
because of the way he was beginning to feel about him.  He'd also been
worried about how the Scooby Gang would react to Wesley:  they hadn't
exactly taken to him the last time around, although Xander had to admit
that a lot of that had been his fault.  In the month that he'd been back,
they'd gotten into the habit of making fun of Wesley but otherwise
ignoring him, something that Xander was rapidly beginning to hate.

Shaking those memories out of his mind, he watched with appreciation as
Wesley straightened and turned to face him.  Long legs encased in
well-worn jeans, a gray button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to
the elbows, and his every-present glasses in place, Wesley looked

Not to mention edible.  Xander grinned at him, letting a little of his
appreciation show.  "You ready to go out?"

He was delighted when Wesley grinned back at him almost identically.  He
loved the way the other man's eyes crinkled up at the corners when he
smiled.  Pierce Brosnan had nothing on Wesley's eyes.  "Why, Mr. Harris,
are you asking me out on a date?"

Xander laughed.  "Ooh, yeah, I'm Mr. Smooth.  C'mon Wes, we'll go out,
kill a few monsters.  It'll be really romantic."

"You've been taking relationship advice from Buffy again, haven't you?"
Wesley shook his head sadly.

Xander raised his hands in surrender.  "If I ever start doing that,
please, for my own good, put me out of my misery."

"What, and miss the chance to see you try to pick up an undead farmer?
Not for the world."

Xander sank back against the wall, laughing.  "You want to go?"

Catching up a few weapons and secreting them about himself, Wesley nodded.
 "I've got a line on a pair of Greshek demons in town to try to take out
the Slayer.  Shall we go dissuade them?"

"I love it when you talk British."  Xander gestured toward the door.  "I'm
right behind you."

"Incidentally, did you see that Immortal again?"

Xander knew the question was far from incidental for Wesley.  Sometimes he
thought the other man worried more about him encountering others like him
than he did.  "No sign of him.  I think he actually took my advice and
moved on."  He smiled softly at Wesley's relived nod.

As he followed Wesley out the door, Xander nodded to himself, pleased by
the way things were progressing.  He'd been flirting steadily with Wesley
for weeks and to his delight the Englishman had responded and flirted
back.  Sometimes he'd look up and catch Wesley looking at him, the
expression in his eyes making Xander flush and never want to look away.
There was something growing between them, something that was getting
stronger and deeper and more necessary everyday.  Neither of them had any
inclination to rush it:  it was better to just let it grow on its own
time, to let it take its course.

Xander had rushed into relationships before, but he had no intention of
doing that this time.  He wanted to take his time and make sure it was
done right.  He didn't think he'd ever been in love before, but that
didn't matter.  All he needed to know was that when he was with Wesley, he
felt right.  Not just happy or horny or giddy or safe or comfortable,
although he felt all those things as well.  With Wesley, he felt right,
just as strongly as he felt wrong when he wasn't with him.

He wasn't going to take any chances with this.  He wasn't sure it was
love, but it was so close that he couldn't tell the difference.  As they
headed out onto the street he walked close beside Wesley, hyper-aware of
the way their shoulders brushed occasionally, of the small smiles the
other man gave him.

No, he was sure of it.  This was love.


"Are those them?"  Xander leaned closer to Wesley and whispered his
question in his ear.

Wesley shivered a little at the feeling of warm air against his skin.
"Yes," he whispered back.  "How do you want to do this?"

Xander grinned at him and pulled a notebook out of his back pocket as he
tucked a pen behind his ear.  "I think we'll go with Plan Nine."

"Which might as well be from outer space," Wesley muttered, shaking his

"It's always worked before," Xander protested.

"Get going."  It was true; Xander's Plan Nine always worked.

"What, no kiss for luck?"

"No."  It was tempting...but no.  Wesley didn't want to start anything
right then.  It would be terribly embarrassing when they were unable to
stop and the Greshaks found them grappling in the bushes.

Xander pouted.  "It worked in Star Wars."

"Get going," Wesley repeated.  He smiled.  "If you finish this up quickly,
you might get your kiss then."

The way Xander scrambled out of the bushes was very gratifying.  Wesley
watched the other man approach the demons with a mixture of pride, worry,
and affection.  Xander had changed so much from the boy he'd been in high
school.  He was an adult now, a man.  He was no longer the gawky boy
Wesley had first met, ready with a constant stream of off-the-cuff jokes
and insults to hide a deep well of insecurity.  He still kept up a running
commentary no matter what he was doing, but now it was just an outgrowth
of Xander's special way of relating to life, rather than an adolescent
defense mechanism.  The way he had dedicated himself to protecting his
friends and keeping Sunnydale as safe as possible, the capable way in
which he handled himself; all this made Wesley almost feel like a Watcher
again as he helped Xander night after night.

He couldn't help worrying about Xander.  He knew that the other man was
Immortal, knew that he could recover from almost any injury.  While
Immortals hadn't been one of his main areas of study, he'd done some
research when he was in training.  Who wouldn't be interested in a race of
immortal beings indistinguishable from humans?  Wesley was sure that every
Watcher who read about them secretly fantasized about being one.  He knew
he wasn't; he'd brought it up to Xander, who'd assured him that he wasn't
like him.  Just because an Immortal couldn't be easily killed didn't mean
that he couldn't feel pain.  Wesley hated it that Xander could be hurt,
hated that the other man would take risks and get injured.  He'd been
horrified when he'd found out about the agonizing headaches Xander
suffered from being near the Hellmouth.  Although Xander had assured him
that he was used to the pain, Wesley had performed a spell to stop it.  It
wasn't easy; Wesley hadn't been in the habit of spell-casting, although he
was doing so regularly now.  It was worth the effort, though.  Knowing
that Xander wasn't hurting anymore was worth just about anything.

Watching Xander approach the demons, Wesley felt a smile tug irresistibly
at his lips.  He found himself smiling all the time now, and he knew that
it was due completely to Xander.  The younger man had helped to change
Wesley's outlook on life, his humor influencing Wesley's own attitude.

Of course, the fact that he was falling in love with Xander help quite a
bit, too.  He was rather enjoying the experience.  The growth of awareness
of each other, the tentative touches and fleeting glances, and the slow
burn of kindling desire:  they were all made new again in Xander's open
grins and teasing eyes.  He was sure Xander felt the same and the time was
almost right for them to take the next step.  They'd know when it was time
and until it came he was willing to wait and enjoy the ride.

Of course, they'd have to survive the Greshak before they could do any
real enjoying.  He leaned against the tree, ready to move if Xander needed
him.  From where he stood, he could see Xander's grin as the dark-haired
man approached the demons.

"Evening, fellas," Xander called, nodding pleasantly.  "New in town?"

"What do you want?" growled one of the pair.

"I'm on the Slayer's planning committee," was the easy answer.  He pulled
out the pen and held it to his pad of paper.  "I understand that you are
interested in killing her?"

The demons stared at him, utterly bemused as they nodded.

"Now, she's a busy lady, so we have to try to schedule these things in so
that everyone gets a fair shot at her.  If you're ready, we can do the
audition now."

"Audition?" one asked.

"Oh, yes.  You have to audition.  You didn't really think that you could
just come to town and jump her, did you?"  He laughed.  "No, you have to
audition first.  We have to make sure that you're up to her standards.  If
your attempt is going to be a joke, then she isn't going to waste her
time.  There are a lot of top-notch demons out there who deserve to have a
go at killing her."  He tucked away the pen and notebook.  "Are you

As the demons exchanged confused glances, Xander struck.  He pulled a long
blade out of the back of his waistband and swung it hard, slicing through
the closest demon's arm in a single clean blow.  The Greshak howled, but
Xander was already moving on to the other, stabbing forward and catching
it in the gut.  A few more carefully controlled motions and both the
demons were down and Xander was barely breathing hard.

Wesley approached him.  "I hate Plan Nine."

"Yeah, but it always works," Xander said, wiping the blade clean and
putting it away.  "It confuses them..."  His voice trailed away as he
carefully turned around, scanning the area around them.  "Someone's
coming," he said shortly.  "I can feel them."

"Feel them?"  Shit.  Immortals.  Wesley looked around and spotted several
men coming toward them.  "Them?"

Xander nodded shortly.  Wesley moved closer to him, hands hanging loosely
by his sides.  He didn't know what to expect, but he would be ready.  He
had a gun tucked away at the small of his back and he wouldn't hesitate to
use it if it would save Xander.  He sized up the men that approached them:
 all of them looked dangerous, capable and ready for trouble.

The one with long hair held back in a tail stepped forward.  "What do you
think you're doing?  There's no killing on holy ground!"

Wesley realized with start that the man was right - the cemetery they were
in was technically holy ground.  They spent so much time hunting down
vampires and other creatures in Sunnydale's graveyards that he had
forgotten that.  After a while, it got hard to see a place of so much
death as holy.

Xander cocked his head to the side.  "Now, I'm not real clear on the rules
for our little club, but I'm pretty sure the no fighting thing only
applies to us, not to when we fight with others."  He shot a glare at the
red-haired man.  "I told you to leave town, not come back and bring

The thin man shrugged, his hands shoved deep in his coat pockets.  "We
didn't give him a chance."  There was something about his voice that
tugged at Wesley's memory, as if he'd heard it once before.  The little
tickle of recognition refused to become anything more than a tickle so
Wesley pushed it to the back of his mind.  He'd give it time to develop on
its own.  The man continued speaking.  "We need to talk with you."  He
glanced over at Wesley.  "Privately."

"Are you looking for a fight?" Xander asked.

"No," the long-haired man said.  "Watch what you say - this is a private
matter.  For members of our club, as you put it."

"Wes stays."  Xander's chin poked out obstinately.

"Not this time.  This is important and it needs to stay quiet."

Wesley reached out and took Xander's hand in his own.  "We don't keep
secrets from each other," he said quietly.  Xander's hand tightened around
his, signifying Xander's acceptance of his plan.  Claming to be lovers
would cut down on the objections that the strangers would raise.  Now he
just had to concentrate on the situation instead of the feeling of the
callused fingers curled so warmly around his.

The strangers exchanged glances, clearly not certain of how to proceed.
Xander sighed.  "If all you want is to talk, then let's get out of here.
I really don't feel like fighting off every energy-sucker in town."

"What?" asked the redhead.

"Can we get going now and get talking later?"  Xander's voice was level,
but Wesley could feel his worry through the shifting of his fingers.  He
could feel nervousness rising in himself.  Demons were attracted to the
power within Xander, leading them to focus on him in a fight.  They rarely
sought him out on their own; he just didn't have enough power within in
him to draw their attention to that degree.  If Xander was worried about
the men around them attracting demons, then they must be powerful indeed.
Wesley wasn't worried about the demons so much as he was wary of the
Immortals.  How powerful were they?  How much of a threat to Xander did
they pose?

"We really should be leaving town," the thin man said.

"What, because of the Hellmouth?" Wesley asked.  He raised an eyebrow at
the strangers' surprise.  "You're right; we need to talk.  Let's get off
the street."  He and Xander led the way back to their apartment in a
round-about fashion, walking off to the side of them so they could keep an
eye on them.

Wesley kept a hold of Xander's hand the entire time, fingers laced through
the other man's as they walked side by side through the night.


Xander motioned toward the sofa and chair even as he sank down into his
favorite armchair.  He didn't miss the fact that the other Immortals
didn't sit down until he did.  Even the older man, the mortal, was careful
in sitting down, not letting down his guard for a moment.  That was fine;
Xander might be sprawled in his chair but that didn't mean he wasn't
holding himself ready.  Wes sat down on the arm of his chair, sitting
close to offer support and to hover protectively over him as he stared
suspiciously at the other men.

Xander decided to give into impulse and he reached out a hand and lightly
rested it on Wesley's thigh.  He caught the Englishman's surprised look
and grinned up at him.  Wes had surprised him with his claim to be lovers,
but he'd understood the other man's reasoning.  Now that they had
established the lie, there was no harm in acting the part, was there?  Wes
smiled back at him and Xander squeezed his leg gently before turning his
attention back to the men watching him.  "Let's get started.  I don't want
to draw this out too long."

"What, you've got plans we're keeping you from?" the mortal guy asked.

"There are some special hazards for our kind in Sunnydale.  I'd rather not
have to deal with them tonight."  Xander sighed.  "I'm Xander, this is
Wesley."  He nodded toward the redhead.  "You, I've met before, but I
didn't catch your name."

"I'm Richie," the other man answered.  "This is Joe," indicating the
bearded mortal, "Adam," the thin man, "and Mac."

Xander's gaze raked over each man as he was introduced.  Richie still came
across as good-natured, if somewhat guarded.  Judging by the way he talked
as well as by the buzz Xander could sense from him, he really wasn't that
much older than Xander.  Joe seemed intent, but Xander could see that most
of the lines around his eyes were from smiling rather than from pain.  He
gave off a solid 'good guy' vibe that Xander wanted to be able to trust.
The other two men were harder to judge.  Adam gave off a buzz that
threatened to set Xander's head spinning:  it was full of seductive and
frightening power, a strange sensation to emanate from a man who slouched
unassumingly in a chair.  His face was blank, but his gaze was sharp.  Mac
gave off almost as powerful a feeling, but he was more obvious about it,
carrying himself like a warrior.

"Duncan McLeod of the McLeod," the long-haired man elaborated.

Xander considered whipping out his middle name as some sort of counter,
but decided against it.  He wasn't certain any of these guys had a sense
of humor.  He decided to settle for getting down to business.  "I'm
guessing you're in town because of the Hellmouth?"

Duncan shook his head.  "Who was your teacher?  You claim not to know the
rules that govern the Game, but you know about the Hellmouth?"

"My teacher wasn't an Immortal."  Not exactly.  He didn't want to dwell on
that, didn't want to drag Angel into this if he could help it.  "Besides,
I grew up in Sunnydale.  I went to high school right on top of the
Hellmouth.  Ate lunch with the Slayer almost every day, even."

"The Slayer?" Richie asked, obviously confused.

"A human who is called to fight vampires," Adam said quickly.

Wesley's hand covered Xander's, tightening gently in warning.  Xander
turned his hand over and laced his fingers through the other man's.  How
did Adam know so much?  What the hell were these guys doing in Sunnydale?
He didn't want to sit here and exchange obscure supernatural trivia with
them all night - he was starting to get seriously worried about having
them in the apartment.  Wes had performed a spell of warding after they'd
moved in to help shield the sense of Xander's Quickening from anything
outside in attempt to avoid attacks by anything seeking his power.  Xander
trusted in Wesley's ability, but the combined power of Adam and Duncan was
making him nervous.  He didn't want the warding to fail; this was his home
and he didn't feel like having it targeted by demons because of these

Adam focused his attention on Xander, his gaze penetrating, forceful.
"Who was your teacher?  How did a human teach you and let you fall in with
the Slayer?"

"I met the Slayer in high school, before I knew what I was.  We're
friends.  And I never said my teacher was a human."  Xander was ready to
try to babble his way around the question, but Wesley took over the
conversation for him.

"We need to hurry this up.  My warding won't be able to stand up to the
amount of power of all of you in the same room."

"What, we're going to start attracting vampires?"  Richie grinned.
"They'll sit and swarm around outside, like moths?"

"Vampires won't much care," Xander said.  "It's the other ones you have to
watch out for.  The ones that will ambush you as a pack and tear your head
off so they can siphon off your Quickening for their own use.  And since I
have to live here, I'd rather not have them hanging around outside.  It
makes going to the grocery store a little more hazardous than fresh milk
is worth.  You guys have got to get out of town."

Duncan shook his head.  "I don't understand."

"The Quickening can be sensed by more than just Immortals," Adam said.
"Some creatures, some demons, can sense it, as well.  Some of them are
able to take a Quickening.  They don't do it like we do, but they still
use the power for their own purposes and you end up just as dead."

"Beyond that, the Quickening just attracts a lot of demons.  They don't
even seem aware of it, but they are aware of you more than mortals and
that makes you way more likely to end up fighting for your life."  Xander
shrugged.  "Then there are the humans who will try to steal the power for
use in magic, although the guy we usually have to watch out for isn't in
town right now."

"If it's so dangerous, how did you last growing up here?" Duncan

"I told you, I'm friends with the Slayer.  I'm usually with her when we
run into the bad guys so they end up being distracted by her."

"How do you deal with this headache?" Richie asked, rubbing at his

"When you grow up with something, sometimes it's hard to even know it's
there."  He wasn't going to tell them he didn't feel it anymore, thanks to
Wes.  He didn't know these guys, so he was going to keep that little
advantage to himself, thanks.  Besides, it was true; before he left
Sunnydale on his road trip, he'd never actually left the Hellmouth before.
 It had taken him awhile to figure out why he felt so different on the
road:  he'd been living in pain for so long that he'd been unaware of it
until it was gone.  It had been hard, coming back to Sunnydale, knowing
that he was going to have to feel it again, but he'd been determined.  He
pulled Wesley's hand closer him.  Thank god for Wes.

Wesley stood up.  "I think it's time for you to go.  We can continue this
conversation later, if we have to."

Xander nodded as he glanced at the clock.  "The sun's going to be coming
up soon."

The other men reluctantly stood.  "The Hellmouth is a dangerous place for
an Immortal," Joe said.  "You shouldn't be here.  You shouldn't have come
back after you died your first death."

"No one knew I was dead," Xander said.  "And the Hellmouth is dangerous
for everyone."  He picked up his jacket.  "We'll walk you back to your

Out on the street, Adam fell in step beside him.  "There are other dangers
for an Immortal on the Hellmouth," he said quietly.

"I know," Xander said simply.  He wondered which one the Immortal was
referring to.  "Like Quickenings refusing to settle?"  Yeah, that was it,
judging by Adam's startled look.  Xander had figured it out, based on his
past experiences with possession.  Quickenings didn't settle right on the
Hellmouth; it was like the other person fought the new possessor of the
Quickening, refusing to lie quiet even though they'd died.  It had taken a
lot of concentration and some guided meditation at Wesley's hands to help
him get the few Quickenings he'd taken in LA to finally settle.  Xander
knew he could never risk taking another Immortal's head on the Hellmouth:
he wouldn't be sure of being able to maintain control, after.  "I know
it's dangerous.  I grew up here, remember?  I'm careful, I know how to
handle myself.  I can do a lot of good here."

"You shouldn't have come back.  After your first death, you should have
just moved on, made a new life for yourself.  People are going to notice
when you don't age.  And if you're involved with the Slayer, sooner or
later you're going to get hurt.  What will you tell them when you're
healed the next day?"

"You know, I'm not really worried about that.  The mayor turned into a
giant lizard demon in the middle of my high school graduation and I sort
of blew up the school in the process of killing him.  Didn't even make the
front page of the newspaper. I can't really see me not aging drawing all
that much attention."  Warm fingers crept around his and he smiled at
Wesley.  He was beginning to think that Wesley's hand in his was going to
be a required part of his walking from now on.  "My best friends are the
Slayer, a witch, and a werewolf.  We've got a former vengeance demon
hanging around with us and don't get me started on the women I've dated.
I'm pretty sure my friends are going to be able to handle the fact that
I'm an Immortal."

"You haven't told them yet, then."  The other man's gaze was thoughtful,
as if he was weighing more than just Xander's words, was weighing his
thoughts and soul as well.

"Hasn't come up yet.  I'm not going to tell them until I have to.  I want
to enjoy being Normal Guy for a little while longer."  He lifted his chin
a little.  "And there's no way I'm going to leave here, not while people I
care about are out risking their lives every night.  Not when I can help
make sure that they make it through the night."

"The Hellmouth..."

"I know it's dangerous, all right?  I figured out life here wasn't going
be easy or safe when I watched my best friend turn to dust around the
stake I plunged into his chest!"  Xander took a deep breath.  "I'm not
stupid.  I know better than to take a Quickening here.  Immortals don't
come here, anyway.  The headache is enough to keep them away."

Adam didn't reply, apparently lost in thought.  That was fine with Xander.
 He'd rather just walk along and revel in the feeling of being so close to
Wes, anyway.  He shot a grateful look at the other man.  He'd let Xander
handle the conversation his own way, and the trust in him that revealed
warmed him to his core.

They passed a fairly large strip mall as they headed toward the hotel.
Xander winced as they drew near the center of it.  His head began to ring
with the feeling of another Immortal's presence.  He shot an accusing
glare at the newcomers.  "You didn't mention bringing another friend."

"We didn't," Duncan protested.

"Then who the hell is over there?" Wesley asked, gun in his hand.  He let
go of Xander's hand but stepped closer to him.

"I don't know," Duncan ground out.

Xander stayed close to Wes as he scanned the center, searching for
  "There."  He pointed to a man exiting one of the closed shops.

The stranger was short, with blond hair that tumbled down into his eyes as
he stepped out onto the sidewalk.  He wore a black shirt that laced up the
front and knee high leather boots.

"Any particular reason he's dressed like a pirate?" Xander muttered.

"Why don't you ask him?" Wesley suggested.

"K."  Xander raised his voice.  "Ahoy, there!"

The blond's head shot up and his eyes widened as he took in the men facing
him from across the street.  "No!"  he yelled.  "You cannot have me yet!
Not when I am so close!"  He raised his hands and began to chant in a
hissing language.

"Spell," Wesley shouted.  "Move!"  He grabbed Xander's arm and began to
run for the other end of the building.

Xander didn't need to be told twice.  Whatever that guy was working on, he
didn't want to get his with it.  He threw a glance back over his shoulder
and saw the other Immortals just standing there.  Swearing, he turned
around and headed back toward them.  He could see flashes of light
swirling around the chanting man's hands and knew they were out of time.
He barreled into Joe, figuring he was the most vulnerable.  "Get down!" he

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Wesley knock Richie and Duncan over
with a flying tackle toward their legs.  Adam dropped to the ground as
stinking fire blast through the air where he had been standing a moment
before.  Xander shielded his eyes from the glare.  When it had past, he
looked back toward the blond man but he was gone, running off while they
were all distracted.

Xander shoved himself to his feet.  "What part of 'move' do you people not
understand?" he demanded, reaching out to help Joe stand.

"How were we supposed to know he'd do that?"  Richie asked.  "What the
hell was that?"

"A spell," Xander said shortly.  "You're on the Hellmouth.  If you don't
start expecting shit like that, you're not going to last long.  Another
good reason for you to go home."  He stalked over to where Wesley was
standing.  "Are you all right?"  He ran his hands over Wesley's arms, gaze
raking over his body to check for injuries.

"I'm fine."

"No, you're not."

Wesley blinked.  "I beg your pardon?"

"What were you thinking?  You could've been hurt!"

"I could ask you the same thing!"  Wesley grabbed him by the shoulders.
"You had no way of knowing what sort of spell that was.  He could have
killed you."  Pale eyes stared furiously into Xander's own.

Xander hated this.  He absolutely hated it, and there was nothing he could
do about it.  He hated that Wesley could be hurt, hated that he worried
the other man.  It was a part of living in Sunnydale, a part of the life
and fight they had chosen for themselves, and there was nothing he could
do to change it, but he hated it all the same.  He could read
understanding in Wesley's eyes, and knew that the other man felt the same

He sighed and looked over at the others, not stepping away from Wesley's
warm hands.  "Any of you know that guy?"

"I think I do," Richie said.  "If he's the guy I think his is, I ran into
him a few years ago.  He was a little weird - heavily into the whole
Dungeons and Dragons scene, you know?  All knights and wizards and
fantasy.  I couldn't understand it; life is weird enough without trying to
bring all that into it."

"Looks like he's trying to make his fantasy a reality."  Wesley gestured
toward the store the Immortal had exited.  "The Magic Shop.  I think he's
trying to develop skills in magic."

"Trying?  It looked to me like he succeeded," Joe protested.

Wesley shook his head.  "That was rudimentary.  Anyone who can memorize
the chant can fling Kreslir's Fire around."

"Anyone can do magic?" Duncan asked skeptically.

"No," Adam answered, in unison with Wesley.  The thin man offered up a
half-smile.  "You have to have an innate affinity and talent for it to go
beyond a few simple incantations."

"Tossing spells around, breaking into the Magic Shop, the way he
dresses...this guy is trouble," Xander said.

"Where should we look for him?" Duncan asked.

"We?  *We* aren't going to do anything.  You're going to go back to your
hotel, pack, and leave town.  This isn't a part of your Game.  This is
Hellmouth business."  He was tempted to declare that it was a job for the
Scooby Gang, but he wanted these men to take him seriously.

"No way am I leaving an out-of-control Immortal magician on the
Hellmouth," Joe said.

"Oh, the way is easy," Wesley said with that smooth British sarcasm that
Xander loved.  "Go back home.  This isn't your concern.  You don't know
enough to duck when someone throws a spell at you; you're only going to be
in the way here."

Xander took in the stubborn stares directed toward them and sighed.
"Fine.  At least go back to your hotel and rest.  I'll go talk to the
professionals and when we have a plan, I'll give you a call and let you
know what's going on and how you can help."

"See you soon, then," Duncan said.

"Absolutely," Xander promised.  Like hell he'd call.  Hopefully, they'd be
able to take care of this wannabe the next night, and then he could call
these guys and tell them to go home.  He watched them walk away and looked
over at Wesley.


"Please," Wesley answered with a tired grin.

Xander reached out as they walked and caught Wesley's hand.  The smile on
the other man's face was beautiful:  Xander was going to try to make it
appear more often.  Once they were back home, Xander set himself to
putting away the weapons he'd taken out with him.  He looked up as he
finished and caught Wesley staring at him.  "What?"

A slight flush stained the other man's cheeks.  "You don't seem to mind
that I told them we were lovers."  A small smile quirked his lips.  "I was
hoping you wouldn't."

Xander straightened and crossed the room to stand in front of Wesley.
"How could I mind?"  He reached out and gently brushed his fingers across
the line of Wesley's jaw.  "It actually isn't that far off from the
truth."  He leaned forward until his lips were only a fraction of an inch
from Wesley's.
  "I do love you."  He smiled into Wesley's eyes before he pressed his
to his mouth.

The first touch was hesitant, the merest brush of lips.  Wesley's warmth
and the elusive taste of him from that barely-there contact wasn't enough
for Xander.  He wanted more; he needed more.  He moved forward again,
seeking firmer contact.  Soft lips yielded against his, parting to admit
his questing tongue.  Wesley's tongue slid wetly against his own, sweet
friction that ignited a fire in Xander.

Strong arms wrapped around his waist as Wesley pulled him hard up against
his body.  Xander moaned happily into the kiss, sliding his fingers into
Wes's back pockets.  He thrust his hips forward against the other man's,
feeling Welsey's hard length against his hip.

Wesley pulled away from the kiss to lave a wet path to Xander's ear.
"Love you, too," he husked into Xander's ear, nipping at the lobe.  "Love

Xander shivered at the feel of damp breath on his skin, at the scent of
Wesley filling his senses, at the sound of the words.  He couldn't believe
they had waited so long for this:  Wesley felt so right in his arms, the
weight of him making Xander feel more whole than he could ever remember.

"Bedroom," Wesley suggested, hands sliding up under Xander's shirt.

"Yours is closer."

"Yours had a bigger bed."

Good point.  Xander refused to relinquish his hold on Wesley, preferring
to walk awkwardly to his room rather than let him go.  The other man
didn't mind at all:  his arms stayed around Xander for the entire journey
as well.  Once in the bedroom, he concentrated on stripping away Wesley's
clothes.  The Englishman wasn't one for bachelor guy lounging:  no
wandering around the apartment wearing nothing but a pair of boxers for
him.  Damn it.  Xander wanted to see what he was hiding under those
clothes, wanted to see for himself the body he had begun to map with his

He muttered impatiently when his own shirt was pulled up over his head;
sure, he wanted to be naked too, but it was blocking his view of Wesley.
Long limbs, ropy with the muscles of a runner, winter pale skin, light
dusting of hair:  it was better than Xander had imagined.

After both their clothing had been tossed to the floor, Xander pushed
Wesley down onto the bed and crawled on top of him.  He leaned down and
scraped his teeth over the surface of a prominent collar bone.  Wesley
arched upward into the touch, fingers twining in Xander's hair to pull him

"No teasing, Xan.  Not this time," Wesley murmured, one hand snaking down
so he could rub his palm over Xander's erection.

Gasping his agreement, Xander settled himself on top of Wesley, stretching
out so that their erections were aligned as he began to thrust against his
lover.  Teasing could be fun, but not right now.  Not this time.  Wesley
pulled Xander's head down and caught his mouth in a consuming kiss that
tasted of love and need and growing desperation.  Both men moved faster
and faster, driving each other toward completion.  Xander shuddered as he
came, moaning Wesley's name into his mouth.  Beneath him, Wesley thrust up
a final time with convulsive power, bathing Xander in his seed.

Limbs tangled together, they lay panting on the bed.  Xander rolled to the
side of Wesley, one arm wrapped possessively around his waist.  Nuzzling
gently at a pale shoulder, he murmured, "We should get cleaned up."

"Not right now."  Wesley's arms tightened around Xander and he kissed him

"Not right now," Xander agreed, settling himself down to enjoy the feeling
of finally holding the man he loved in his arms.


Spike leaned closer to the open window, trampling flowers under his black
boots as he maneuvered for a better view.  He'd been away from Sunnydale
for months and had been out of contact with any being he knew here.  If he
was going to have any idea what to expect in town, his best chance of
getting the information was to get it here.

Why the watcher had never figured out that closing his windows would be a
good idea was beyond Spike.  Not that he was complaining.  Hang about the
window for an hour or so while the Slayer and her groupies had their
little meeting and he'd know what was going on in Sunnyhell.

Not much had changed over the summer.  Rupert was still looking at the
children surrounding him with that mixture of pride and anxiety, as if he
didn't know whether to cheer them on or lock them up in a closet.  Buffy
was as blond as ever...but hello, the guy she was cuddling with on the
couch was new.  Light hair, military bearing, open face.  Probably someone
she picked up at college.  Spike wondered briefly if Angel knew he'd been
replaced.  Maybe he'd find a way to make sure his Sire knew.  He sized up
the new man and dismissed him.  How dangerous could a guy willing to be
Buffy's pet be?  The witch was still snuggling with her boyfriend.  Red
hair and bright blue; the vampire had a sudden vision of the wolf dyeing
his hair green in December so he and his girlfriend could be walking,
talking Christmas decorations.

His gaze paused on the whelp; the boy was talking, describing some
encounter he'd had the other night.  Spike listened to him, but the rest
of his attention was focused on trying to figure out what was different
about the dark-haired man.  He *felt* different, even from outside the
house, but Spike couldn't remember what that new feeling should mean.  He
glanced at the man beside Xander and had to repress laughter.  Watcher
Jr.?  Since when did he get back?  And why the hell was he sitting so
close to Xander?

Spike shook his head as Giles and Buffy seemed unimpressed by Xander's
  It wouldn't be a good idea to ignore this; he'd seen the guy Xander was
talking about on his way over to the watcher's.  The guy was a loon and he
was going to be trouble.  He grinned.  Buffy was going to get knocked on
her ass and he wanted to be there to see it.  It would be a lovely little
welcome back gift.

The humans inside stood up, getting ready to split up for their patrols.
Spike straightened as well; he wasn't done with them, yet.  The Hellmouth
was no place to chance walking around unaware and the Slayer and her
friends always tripped and fell right into the thick of it.  He glanced
down and saw that a single plant was standing untouched in front of the
window.  He deliberately ground it into the dirt.

Spike considered following Buffy; maybe he could snitch a camera from
somewhere and catch her and her new toy messing around in a secluded
  He could send the prints to Angel one at a time.  His gaze became dreamy
as he imagined the other vampire's reaction.

Maybe he could steal a video camera.

When they all left the house, though, he hid in the shadows and trailed
along behind Xander and Wesley.  He wanted to figure out what was new
about Xander, where this odd awareness of the boy was coming from.  He
stayed far behind them, counting on vampiric sight and hearing to monitor
them.  When the pack of fledges jumped the pair as soon as they entered
the cemetery, Spike anticipated a 'what-not-to-do' routine of flailing
about and miracle escapes from the two men.

He stared as the two men smoothly moved to defend each other's backs,
stakes in both hands as they evaded grasping hands and gaping jaws.
Defense flowed seamlessly into offense and ash showered the ground around
them, drifting through the night air and the fledges were destroyed one by
one.  Where the hell had the two men learned to move like that?  Spike
drifted closer; the two panting men were focused on each other, not him.

Sucking in a lungful of air, Xander gave Wesley's body a searching
once-over.  "You OK?"

Wesley nodded.  "I'm fine."  He took a step closer to Xander.  "You've got
some ash on your face."  Xander made a face and raised a hand, but Wesley
caught it in his own.  "Let me."  With a half-grin playing on his lips, he
leaned in close and gently rubbed his thumb over the corner of Xander's

When Wesley's hand didn't release its hold on his chin, Xander raised an
eyebrow.  "Did you find more?"

"No.  Just something else I need to do."  With no more explanation, he
pressed his mouth to the other man's.

Spike closed his mouth.  What the hell?  He watched as the two men stole
heated kisses in the middle of the cemetery, hands wandering greedily
inside of jackets as they stood pressed so closely together they cast but
one shadow.  It was only as they regretfully separated that he realized
how close he'd come to them:  he'd kept on walking, wanting to see better,
wanting to see *more*.  He ducked behind a crypt with a muttered curse.
Ducking down a bit, he peered around the corner.

"Where to now?" Xander asked, reaching up and straightening Wesley's

"There's a Hlern hiding out in the Westfall family crypt, or another nest
of vampires over on Elm Street.  I'm personally leaning toward the

Xander sighed.  "Elm Street's a mile away."

"Hlerns are notoriously nasty."

"There's a whole nest of vampires."

"Hlerns spew mucus."

"Exactly where on Elm Street is the nest?"  Xander grabbed Wesley's arms
and tugged him toward the cemetery exit, resolutely ignoring the other
man's laughter.

Spike was pulled after them.  He couldn't resist following.  How could he?
 He'd been gone for a few months and everything changed.  These two were
supposed to be jokes, the comic relief of the Slayer's merry little band.
Hell, the English guy wasn't even deemed good enough to be in the group,
last he'd checked.  Wanker had been voted right off the island known as

As he skulked through the shadows, he noticed a few things.  Xander and
Wesley weren't on patrol.  They weren't doing any of the aimless wandering
that was the usual tactic of the Slayer's gang for stumbling across
  Instead, they were hunting, moving through the night silently and
as they deliberately tracked down their prey.  In between battles they
laughed and teased each other and stole kisses and caresses.  It was
hypnotic, the way they shifted from deadly concentration to lustful mirth
and back again, never losing focus of their purpose.  They were gorgeous.

He should have brought a video camera for them.

His eyes traced over the line of muscle in Xander's shoulders, the elegant
slope of Wesley's back, wandering from one to another and back again.
He'd dismissed them before, focussing instead on the Slayer, tormenting
them only as a way of getting to her.  How could he have never seen them

Wesley was right; the Hlern was difficult to kill.  Spike's muscles tensed
as he watched them battle it, forcefully restraining himself from helping
them.  He didn't want to reveal himself yet, but he wasn't going to allow
them to die.  He shook his head as Xander pulled a sword out of nowhere
and took a chunk out of the Hlern's hide.  The dark-haired man's follow-up
stroke died before it was completed as he staggered, one hand half-rising
to clutch at his head.  Wesley stepped in, chanting low under his breath,
sending a shower of ominous violet sparks flooding over the demon.  As it
backed away roaring in pain, the two men glared behind them.

Spike's eyes widened as he saw the four men approaching.  The power
radiating off two of them was enough to send him into a predatorial
crouch, shivering at the feel of it rolling off them in waves.  It hummed
through him, calling to him to take it, taste it on his tongue.  As the
men drew nearer, he realized that he recognized one of them.  He grinned
slowly.  That explained what was so different about Xander:  the boy was
one of them.
  An Immortal.

He rose to his feet and watched as Xander and Wesley turned their
attention back to the Hlern.  As Wesley cast another spell, Xander
skewered the creature with his sword.  The Hlern thrashed about in a
frenzy of pain, roaring weakly as its life slowly drained away.  It turned
toward the four arriving men.

"Down!" Xander shouted, dropping to the ground beside Wesley.

The four men immediately fell to the ground, just before a gout of mucus
flew forth from the Hlern's snout.  It arced high over them, missing them
completely.  With a final convulsive thrash, the Hlern lay still.

"You're learning," Wesley said, climbing to his feet.  He stretched out
his hand and pulled Xander up to stand beside him.

The powerful one with long dark hair got to his feet.  "What the hell was

"Just one of the many joys of life on the Hellmouth," Xander said, wiping
the blade of his sword clean and hiding it away.  "Mucus-spewing demons."

Spike decided it was time to make his presence known.  He ambled out of
the shadows, hands swinging gently at his sides as he made his way around
the Hlern's carcass.  "Nicely done, that."

Xander turned to face him, eyes narrowing in recognition.  "Spike.  What
are you doing here?"

"Just passing through, really.  Was in the general area and got to missing
the old Hellmouth."  He lit a cigarette with exaggerated casualness.
"Nice to see you again, Xander.  Wesley."  He gazed past them to the thin
man he remembered so well.  "Benjamin."

"You know him?" Xander asked.  He shot a glare at the other man.  "I
thought you said your name is Adam."

"It is Adam," the thin man said with a shrug.  "Right now, anyway.  I
don't insist on keeping the same name through the years, like some of our
more stubborn brethren.  I'm flexible."

"That you are, mate," Spike agreed with a dirty chuckle.

Adam frowned.  "I don't remember you.  And I haven't gone by 'Benjamin' in
a very long time."

"Yeah, about ninety years, isn't it?"

"Who are you?"

"What, you don't remember me?  I'm hurt."  Spike let himself slip into
demon visage.  "Does that jog your memory?"

Xander heaved a bored sigh and leaned back against Wesley, who pointedly
restrained a yawn himself.  The reactions of the four other men were more
gratifying.  The one with he long hair pulled a sword out of his coat and
held it low, at the ready.  The red-haired youngster stumbled backward
into the bearded older man, who was swearing under his breath.  Adam gaped
at him for a moment, then also drew his sword.  "William the Bloody."

He'd still been William the Bloody, a part of the Scourge of Europe, when
he'd met Benjamin.  Darla hadn't been all that interested in playing with
the Immortal, but among them Angelus, Spike and Dru had more than made up
for her absence.  It had been consensual, mostly.  Benjamin had enjoyed
the bloody games they'd played with him, enjoyed the painful and dangerous
position of favorite toy until Angelus and Dru had lost interest in him
and let him go.  It had been years, but Spike could never forget him,
never forget the taste of Immortal blood on his lips or the way he'd
pushed the other man beyond the limits of mortals.

Spike inclined his head.  "Most people call me Spike now."  He took a drag
on his cigarette.  "How've you been?"

"You know him?" the long-haired man asked.

Spike didn't miss the way he moved closer to Adam, taking on a stance that
was both protective and possessive.  This could be fun.  "Oh, Adam and I
know each other *very* well," he answered in a tone thick with innuendo.

Adam shot disgusted glare at him.  "You never could keep your mouth shut."

"Not true, pet.  As I recall, you were the one who had to wear the gag all
the time."

"That's only because your mouth was full of other things."

"Your still jealous that my technique is better than yours."

Adam shook his head.  "You're delusional."

"Yeah, but that didn't stop me from fucking you until you passed out again
and again, did it?  Didn't stop me from draining you and waiting for you
to recover only to begin again, the whole time with you begging and
screaming against the gag - only you weren't asking me to stop, isn't that
right?"  Spike kept half his attention on the long-haired man.  He didn't
know a person could turn that red without stroking out.

"As if you didn't do your share of groveling," Adam said.  He looked over
at his would-be protector.  "MacLeod, calm down.  It was a long time ago."

"What the hell is he?" ground out MacLeod.

"A vampire."  Xander's face brightened.  "They do this neat turn-to-ashes
thing when you kill them.  Wanna see?"  Despite his words, he made no move
toward Spike.

The blond man raised his hands, shifting back into his human features.
"Hold on a minute, there.  You don't want to kill me.  Not when I can tell
you where to find the crazy man you're looking for."

"How do you know we're looking for someone?" Wesley asked.

"Keep my ears open, don't I?  Immortal like Xander here, and he wants to
be a bad-ass mojo-worker.  Does that sound like your boy?"

Xander took a step toward him, deliberately invading his space.  "You can
take us to him?"

Spike didn't back up an inch.  Staring up into the dark eyes, he smirked.
"Am I going to have to blow in your ear, or will you follow me on your
  He watched as Xander's eyes darkened.

"Lead the way."  Xander reached out and took Wesley's hand, not needing to
look back to know the other man was reaching for him.  "We'll be right
behind you."

Spike allowed his gaze to wander once more over the bodies of the two men
in front of him.  A package deal, were they?

He could get to like this.


Wesley moved closer to Xander, fingers once again entangled with his
lover's.  Xander looked over at him with a flashing grin.  Leaning in
close, the young man murmured, "Vampires and Immortals and Watchers, oh

Wesley chuckled.  "Does that make you Dorothy?"

"I always fancied myself as more a Scarecrow kinda guy, personally."
Xander tilted his head and licked at Wesley's ear.  "Who did you want to

Wesley was saved from having to answer by MacLeod's irritated, "Would you
two like us to wait while you go get a room?"

Xander nipped at Wesley's ear, deliberately not pulling away for several
moments.  When he did, he shot an irritated look at the long-haired man.
"We won't need a room.  I've got to go take care of something."  He jerked
his chin over toward the darkened street a block away.

Wesley nodded his comprehension.  "You'll catch up with us?"

"As long as Spike isn't lying to us, I know where you're going."

"Hey!" Spike objected.

"Don't even bother," Xander said.  "I won't be long," he promised Wesley.

"Have fun," Wesley said, before pressing his lips to Xander's.  After a
moment his lover was gone, disappearing down a side street.

"Where's he going?" Adam asked.

"Family business," Wesley said shortly.  It wasn't his job to explain it
to them.  He stared at Spike.  "Were you planning on getting us to our
quarry tonight?  Or perhaps you wished to wait until dawn and then light
the way with your flaming body?"

The vampire glared at him before his expression shifted into a speculative
smirk.  "Whatever you want, pet."  He started walking again.

Wesley shivered a little as he followed behind him.  He loved Xander, was
still surprised by the depth of the feelings he held for the other man,
but it was difficult not to be affected by Spike.  The vampire was a sexy
bastard and was well-aware of it.  Watching the blond man walk ahead of
him, he spared a glare for the enveloping leather duster that concealed
the body encased in tight jeans.  It just wasn't fair.

He ignored the mutterings of the Immortals and kept walking, keeping half
of his attention focused on the direction in which Xander had disappeared.
 He wasn't worried about Xander, not really:  he knew his lover could take
care of himself.  He just preferred having Xander's solid warmth beside
him, hearing him talk and breathe, being able to turn and see him smile.

He glanced behind him and caught Joe's eyes.  He slowed down and fell back
to walk beside the other man.  "Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?"

Joe looked at him speculatively.  "I'm not going to guarantee you any

Wesley smiled faintly.  "Fair enough."  He kept looking at the other man
from the corner of his eye.  "How long of you been a Watcher?"  He didn't
miss the startle jerk, or Joe's measuring stare.

"What do you know about Watchers?"  Joe's voice was low and controlled.

"I was one, once.  Oh, not your branch.  We...they...focus on more
supernatural areas, rather than just Immortals.  Most attention is paid to
the Slayer, as well as various varieties of demons.  Ever hear of us?"

Joe shook his head.  "Bits and pieces, nothing definite.  Just that there
was another group of people out there keeping an eye on things even
weirder than the stuff we take care of."

"So that's how you heard of the Hellmouth?"

"I'm high enough up in the hierarchy that I know about the need to keep
Immortals out of here.  Immortals like your boyfriend."

Wesley grinned.  His boyfriend.  He had a boyfriend.  Xander was his
boyfriend.  He caught the line his thoughts were taking with a rueful
grin.  Next thing he knew he'd be writing 'Mr. Wesley Harris' on sheets of
paper and doodling hearts.  Dear Lord, he was acting like a teenager.

And he liked it.  Xander was such a bad influence.  He was looking forward
to seeing what other ways his lover would effect him.

He realized that he'd stopped paying attention to Joe and looked back at
the other man.  "Xander grew up here.  I believe we both know the dangers
of him being here better than you do.  He is careful and know the risks he
faces from demons.  He knows never to take a head here, not that Immortals
ever stay here."

"How does he handle the headache?  None of these three have stopped
bitching about the pain since we got here."

Wesley hesitated for a moment.  "He grew up here.  He's used to it."  He
wasn't going to tell them about the spell.  If things got ugly, he wanted
Xander to have every advantage possible over these men.  He didn't know
them, and while he might need to work with them he didn't have to trust

Joe looked ready to press his point, but he was thwarted by Xander's
  The dark-haired man was grinning darkly and breathing hard.

"Did you have fun?" Wesley asked.

Xander's smile was viciously amused.  "He had a gun this time.  He waved
it at me until I told him all it would do was piss me off if he shot me."

"But he didn't?"

"I think he's beginning to give up.  I'm beginning to break the old
bastard's spirit."

"Who are you talking about?" Joe asked.

"My father," Xander answered.  "I like to drop by the house every so often
and give him the chance to try to kill me.  I love the look on his face
when I show up the next day completely healed."

"You can't do that," MacLeod said sharply.  "It's dangerous!"

"No shit.  I mentioned the gun, right?"

"He could find out what you are.  You're not supposed to run around and
tell mortals about us.  Immortality isn't some sort of prank to pull on
people.  To pull on your *father*."

Wesley moved to stand between Xander and the long-haired man.  "You don't
know Xander's father," he said, voice low and quiet.  Xander had started
this game after his father pushed him down the basement stairs shortly
after his return to Sunnydale.  Xander hadn't expected the attack and had
fallen badly, breaking his neck and dying as he lay helpless in a crumpled
heap.  When he'd revived and climbed up the stairs an hour later, his
father had been terrified and Xander's game had begun.  If it was up to
Wesley, the man wouldn't just be harassed; he'd be dead.  "And you forget
this is the Hellmouth.  Here, the dead walk on a regular basis."

"Getting some of your own back, are you?" Spike asked.  There was a light
that looked very much like respect in his eyes.  "Good for you, pet."

Xander shrugged.  "It's always good for a laugh."  He shared a smirk with
Spike and then they were walking, hunting the renegade Immortal once more.

Wesley was surprised by Spike's support, but it did make a sort of sense.
The vampire certainly held his own Sire in contempt.  He ignored the
disapproving glances from the other men, although Adam really didn't seem
to care what Xander did.  He caught Xander's hand in his once more,
drawing him close.  Xander came willingly and under Wesley's gaze his
smile became more natural, less dark.  He couldn't blame Xander for
harassing his father but he was always relieved when that smirk vanished
and his lover's easy smile came back.  He was distracted from his thoughts
when he saw that Spike had stopped walking.  "What is wrong?  Did you
forget where you were planning to ambush us?"

"Shh," the vampire hissed.  "Can't you hear that?  There's fighting up

Wesley stilled and he could barely hear the sounds of conflict.
"Definitely fighting."  He didn't look at Xander as he started running; he
didn't need to.  He knew that Xander would be right beside him.  Fighting
in Sunnydale almost always meant members of the Scooby Gang.

Running around the corner, Wesley slowed down as they turned the corner,
taking in what he was seeing.  Buffy was fiercely engaged in fighting with
a man dressed in long robes.  The reason for the Slayer's ferocity lay in
the street behind Buffy:  Willow was down.

"Willow!" Xander shouted, pulling his gun from the back of his waistband.
With a quick glance toward Wesley he was gone, running toward the

Wesley moved off to the side, intent on flanking the delusional Immortal.
One part of him was caught up in horrified amusement:  the man had gone
out and found himself robes so he could dress up like a wizard.  It was
rather sad, in a completely laughable kind of way.

He flinched as he heard the robed Immortal begin chanting.  "He's going to
try throwing Kreslir's Fire again!"  He may have gotten a new wardrobe,
but he hadn't learned any new tricks.  Wesley's eyes widened in surprise
as MacLeod charged into the fray and tackled Buffy, knocking her to the
  Kreslir's Fire missed them completely.   "What are you doing?" he

"At least he's got the rules down!" Xander shouted.

Buffy shoved MacLeod off of her, using her Slayer strength to send him
staggering back several steps.  "Xander, do you know this guy?"  She stood
and brushed herself off.

"That depends.  Will you kick my ass if I say yes?"

"Just keep him out of my way."

"This man was attacking you," MacLeod objected.

"Yeah.  I sorta noticed that.  Now could you just stay the hell out of my
way while I finish this?"  She glared at Xander.  "We'll be talking
later."  She turned and leapt at the robed Immortal, putting him back on a
physical defensive.

Xander grabbed MacLeod.  "I want you to stay with me and wait for my
signal to move in."  His voice was raised; Buffy was muttering her
irritation as she battered at the Immortal.

"I don't-" MacLeod began to object, but Xander didn't let him finish.

"Wes, you keep an eye on whatever magic this guy might try.  The rest of
you, stay out of this unless I tell you we need you."  He licked his lips.
 "And take care of Willow."  His gaze strayed over to his friend, who was
beginning to stir on the ground.

Wesley divided his attention between their enemy and Willow.  He trusted
Xander to take care of himself so he wanted to make sure the strangers
took care of Willow.  Fortunately, he didn't have to trust them long.  The
rest of the Scooby Gang showed up, probably drawn by the sounds of
fighting.  Oz and Giles immediately began to tend to the fallen woman,
while Riley immediate moved closer to Wesley, helping him to pen in the

Xander pulled MacLeod around to help him circle around the Immortal.  The
stranger realized what they were doing and threw Buffy away from him,
clearly looking to escape.  MacLeod pulled his sword, ignoring Xander's
furious objections.

"Xander!"  Wesley's shout came too late; distracted by MacLeod's sword,
Xander wasn't ready for the Immortal's break for freedom.  Wesley watched
as his lover was thrown sideways, slamming into MacLeod.

Slamming into MacLeod's sword.

Wesley scrambled over to Xander, letting Riley and Buffy try to chase the
fleeing man.  He dropped to his knees beside Xander.  "Are you all right?"

"He caught me," Xander said, breathing in tight, controlled gasps.  "Not
bad enough to kill me, but it hurts like a bitch."

Wesley checked the wound himself, sighing in relief.  He was bleeding, but
the wound wasn't deep.  "It'll heal quickly."  He shrugged out of his
jacket and helped Xander pull it on.  "You will pay for the cleaning."  He
knew Xander wasn't ready to tell his friends what he was so they were
going to have to hide the fact that he had been injured.

"Yeah, yeah."  Xander ran his fingers down the line of Wesley's jaw, then
groaned as he heaved himself to his feet.

"Xan, are you hurt?"  Buffy and Riley walked over to them.  The Slayer
looked her friend over in concern.

"I'm good.  Just twisted my side when I fell.  What are you two doing

"We lost him.  Slippery guy just vanished down an alley."  She raised her
eyebrows as she looked over the strangers.  "Friends of yours, Xander?"

"Uh, not exactly.  I ran into them tonight and I was bringing them to
  It turns out that this guy isn't exactly normal."

"The robes and Fire o' Stench was kind of a tip off."

"Kreslir's Fire," Willow muttered, letting Oz help her to her feet.  "It
was Kreslir's Fire."

"Yeah," Xander said.  "You ok, Wills?"  After her nod, he turned his
attention back to Buffy.  "No, I mean weird beyond the wizard
wannabe-ness.  These guys are tracking him."  He looked over at Wesley.

Wesley nodded quickly, catching Xander's ploy.  "Yes.  They are members of
a group not dissimilar to that of the Watchers.  Rather than being
concerned with the Slayer, they monitor a group of people known as

"Hey!"  Joe made his way forward.  "What do you think you're doing?"

Xander held his hands up.  "I know, I know, you're a secret society.  But
they need to know what we're up against, Joe.  I'm not going to let them
go into this blind."

"It's too dangerous."  Wesley took up the narrative immediately, not
giving anyone else a chance to speak.  "Joe and his assistants came to
Sunnydale tracking this man down.  He's one of the Immortals, and they are
qualified to take care of him.  He's gone quite mad and they need our
assistance."  He glared at the Immortals, willing them to go along with
the story.  It protected the truth about their natures, after all.  More
importantly, it protected the truth about Xander's.

Adam sighed.  "Fine.  I guess you all do need to know.  We're here to get
this man under control before he causes anymore chaos."

Giles nodded slowly.  "I've heard of Immortals and of another group of
Watchers.  If this man really is an Immortal, we'll need their help."

Wesley sighed in relief.  They were going to go along with it.  No one's
secret was going to be revealed.  They'd be able to take care of this
without any major problems.  A voice from the shadows destroyed his

"Yeah, Buffy.  We're just here to help."  Spike took drag on his cigarette
as he approached them.

"Spike," Buffy hissed, pulling out a stake.  "The only thing you're here
to do is die."

Shit!  Wesley exchanged a frantic look with Xander.  How were they going
to explain the vampire?  They could just let Buffy kill him, but the
Englishman was reluctant to allow that to happen.

"Buffy, wait!"  Xander held out a hand to her.  "Don't stake him yet.
He's...ah...he's got a grudge against this Immortal.  Think about it,
Buff.  An Immortal.  A vampire is going to be useful."

"We don't need him," she said, hefting the stake.

"But we might.  He's agreed not to cause any trouble while he's hunting
this guy.  Hey, he even said that he'll drink bagged blood instead of
hunting."  Xander's fierce glare silenced any objection Spike might have

Buffy glared at the vampire.  "One misstep and it's over.  So much as
sniff at someone's neck and you're dust."

"Got it, Slayer."  He took another drag.  "So what next?"

This time it was Wesley's turn to jump in with an idea.  "It will be dawn
in a few hours.  I suggest that we return home to rest and meet tomorrow
to form a plan."

Buffy yawned hugely as she nodded.  "Fine.  Giles's house at five.  I'm
going to want real answers by then."  She pointed at Spike.  "Who's going
to babysit him?"

Wesley caught Xander's gaze and saw the distinct 'what the hell' look in
his lover's eyes.  "We will.  If all else fails, I can always lock him in
a room with wards."  He caught the skeptical look on the Scooby Gang's
faces, knowing that they doubted his abilities.  That was fine.  That
didn't matter so long as Xander stared at him with absolute trust and
belief - just as he was doing then.  The group began to break up.  Wesley
gave directions to Giles's house to Adam and bid him good night, then
walked after Xander to join him at Willow's side.

Xander looked his friend over with concern.  "You sure you're all right?"

She nodded, but winced a little.  "He just surprised me.  He started
yelling about needing what I had and just rushed me.  I didn't have time
to try to do anything before he knocked me over.  It's a good thing Buffy
was with me."

Xander briefly touched Oz's arm.  "Take her home and take care of her,
  Oz nodded and wordlessly wrapped his arm around Willow's shoulder and
shepherded her away.

Wesley reached out to touch Xander's shoulder.  They were careful not to
touch too much in front of the Scooby Gang.  Neither of them were ashamed
of what they had, but Wesley especially was reluctant to tell the others.
He wasn't ready to deal with questions and jokes.  For right now, he just
wanted to keep what they had private, to treasure and enjoy it for a
little while longer.

Xander smiled at him wearily and flexed his shoulders experimentally,
stretching out his side.  "Healed," he said quietly.

"Good," Wesley said, pulling Xander into his arms.  He slid his arms
around his lover's waist, pressing their bodies close together.  "I can't
wait any longer for this."  He lowered his mouth to Xander's, drinking in
the taste of his lover, reveling in the sweet play of tongue against
tongue.  He jerked a little as Xander nipped at his lips.  He mock-glared.
 "If you don't stop that, we might not make it home."

"I'll stand look out."  Spike's offer reminded Wesley that they weren't
alone.  With a rueful smile, he kissed Xander once more before stepping
away from him.

"Time to head home," Xander said.  "We wouldn't want you to flame away in
the sunlight after we had all the fun of stopping Buffy from killing you,
now would we?"

"I can take her," Spike said.

Xander snorted and looked at Wesley.  "Want to call for take-out for him?"

Wesley nodded and pulled out his cellphone.  He dialed a familiar number
and began to walk back toward the apartment.  He smiled when his hand was
caught in Xander's.  He squeezed his lover's hand as he began to talk on
the phone.
  "Lreel?  It's Wyndem-Pryce.  I need a cooler of blood bags delivered to
place about twenty minutes ago."  He ignored Lreel's protests and looked
over at Spike.  "Any preference for blood-type?"

Spike shook his head.  "So long as it's human, type doesn't actually make
any difference."

Wesley spoke over Lreel.  "I don't think I'm being unreasonable.  I'm not
even asking for a specific blood-type.  All I expect is that a delivery
boy will be waiting for me at my door with a cooler of human blood.  And
Lreel?  I'll be home in ten minutes."  He hung up on the shrieked curses
coming from the other end of the line.

"Your boy didn't sound happy," Spike said.  "I'm not going to get any
supper.  And whose bright idea was it to tell the Slayer that I wouldn't
be hunting?"  He glared at Xander.

"Oh, that bright idea?  It came from the same guy who stopped her from
staking your ass.  The same guy that's giving you a place out of the sun
that doesn't involve shacking up with a corpse."

"Nothing wrong with staying in a crypt.  I'm a vampire, for fuck's sake."

Xander ignored Spike's mutterings and grinned at Wesley.  "Someday you're
going to have to tell me what you did to Lreel."

"I didn't do anything to him," Wesley said with grave dignity.  "I am
merely a highly valued customer."

Xander laughed.  As they neared the apartment, he pointed out ahead of
  "Delivery boy as requested, sir."

Wesley fought down a burst of arousal at Xander's words and focused on
where his lover had pointed.  He was right.  A nervous Henta demon was
fidgeting in front of the door to their apartment building, standing watch
over a cooler by its feet.  Its fidgeting grew worse as they approached.

Wesley moved away from Xander to stand in front of the Henta.  He faced it
with his arms crossed and no smile on his face.  "Is this my order?"

The Henta nodded violently.

"Is it correct?"

The demon nodded so vehemently that Wesley worried it would do itself an

"Then you may go."  He watched the Henta scurry away down the street.  As
he unlocked the door, he glanced over his shoulder.  Xander was right
behind him and Spike was picking up the cooler.  As the vampire
straightened, there was a look of something like respect on his face.

Wesley smirked to himself as he walked up the stairs.  It was nice to see
that his skills in intimidation were beginning to pay off.  He opened the
door to the upper apartment and stepped back to allow Xander to enter in
front of him.  His smirk grew.  Chivalry?  Nope.  He just wanted to check
out Xander's ass in jeans one last time before he removed them.  An
irritated throat clearing drew his attention back to the hallway.

Spike raised an eyebrow.  "Should I just camp out in the hallway, then?"

"If you like.  If that gets boring, you are welcome to come inside."

Spike snarled at him but there was no real malice behind it.  The vampire
wandered into the kitchen and began to stow his blood in the fridge.

"Where are we going to stick our little ray of darkness?" Xander asked.

"My room."  Wesley grinned at Xander.  They'd tried out both beds and he
definitely preferred the extra space in Xander's.  He looked over at
Spike.  "You can stay in the bedroom on the left.  I'm going to set a
ward.  If you try to leave the apartment before I've removed it..." he let
his voice trail away.

"Oh, don't be coy, pet.  What'll happen to me?"  Spike tore open one of
the blood packets and poured it into a saucepan.

"If it survives you imploding, can I have your duster?" Xander asked,
putting on his begging face.

Wesley watched the superior look slide off of Spike's face as he was faced
with the full force of Xander's attention and pleading.  The smirk was
back in moments, but Wesley had seen it disappear.  He wrapped an arm
around Xander and led him over to the bedroom on the right.  "Sleep well."
 He shut the door firmly behind them.

"What was that about?" Xander asked.  He sat down on the bed and pulled
off his shoes.

Wesley tried to look innocent but Xander was unmoved.  He decided to just
be honest.  "I didn't like how he was looking at you."

Xander smiled gently at him.  "You should probably be more worried about
the way I look at him," he confessed.  "Spike is..."  He shook his head
helplessly.  "Spike is Spike."

Wesley nodded.  "I know what you mean.  He's awfully hard to resist, isn't
he?"  He shared a conspiratorial grin with Xander.  "He's got the walk and
the attitude..."

"The ass and the accent..."

"And just what is so seductive about his accent?" Wesley demanded.

"Nothing," Xander said, sinking to his knees to untie Wesley's shoes.
"I'm just a sucker for accents, I guess."

Wesley swallowed hard, the arousal he'd felt outside returning full force.
 "Xander..."  His voice was hoarse.

Xander looked up at him.  "Wes?  You OK?"

"I won't be if I don't get out of my jeans soon."

Xander blinked and seemed to realize how his position could be viewed.  He
was kneeling in front of Wesley.  His eyes darkened.  "Does this have
anything to do with the fact that you almost crushed my hand outside?"

"Right after you called me 'sir'."  Wesley's embarrassment disappeared
under the heat of Xander's gaze.

"Well," Xander said speculatively.  Staying on his knees, he reached up
and unbuttoned Wesley's jeans, gently pulling them down his legs to pool
at his ankles.  Xander raised one foot in his hands and removed shoes,
socks, and pants.

Wesley braced himself with a hand on Xander's shoulder as he raised the
other foot.  He reached up and pulled off his own shirt, then reached down
and fingered the collar of his jacket as it lay against the warm skin of
Xander neck.  "Take this off."

Xander nodded mutely, shrugging out of the jacket.  As Wesley continued to
stare at him, he pulled off his ruined and shirt and tossed it on top of
the jacket.  He stared up at Wesley, breath coming faster than before.

The blue-eyed man reached down and cradled Xander's face in his hand.  He
murmured in pleasure when his lover turned his head to nuzzle at his palm
and press a soft kiss in the center of it.  Holding Xander's gaze, he
pulled the kneeling man's face toward him.  Xander came easily, lips
parting as his tongue snaked out to lick at the tip of Wesley's erection.
Wesley gasped at the feel of moist heat curling around him in teasing
licks.  He couldn't help the forward thrust of his hips.  Xander
immediately stopped his teasing and opened his mouth, allowing Wesley's
hardness to slide inside as he raised his hands to rest them on Wesley's
hips.  At the feel of Xander's mouth around him and his tongue playing
along the underside of his erection Wesley moaned out loud and sank his
hands into Xander's hair.  He looked down as he began to thrust lazily
into Xander's mouth, so he caught the sudden glint of amusement in
Xander's eyes just before the younger man began to hum.  Gasping at the
feel of it, Wesley stepped back.

"What's wrong?" Xander asked, hands moving in soothing circles on Wesley's

"Nothing," Wesley reassured him, stroking his fingers through Xander's
  "It was good.  Too good, and I didn't plan on coming in your mouth."  He
waited for Xander's reaction.

The dark-eyed man stared up at him for a moment, then leaned forward to
place a sucking kiss on the tip of Wesley's erection.  "Please," he

Wesley reached down and pulled Xander to his feet, leaning down to
unfasten his jeans.  Xander helped and soon he was naked as well.  Wesley
grabbed his upper arms and jerked him forward, kissing him thoroughly as
he backed him up to the bed.  He tumbled Xander back onto the bed, landing
on top of him.  He felt his lover's erection press up against him and
Xander arched up, seeking friction.  Wesley grabbed Xander's hands as they
began to wander down between their bodies and pinned his wrists to the
mattress on either side of his head.  Panting, he stared down into
Xander's eyes.  "Do you have anything?"

"I just got tested a month ago, Wes, and it came back clean."

Wesley ducked his head and bit Xander's nipple.

"Ow!"  Xander's breathing sped up.  "In the drawer.  Wes, please!"

Wesley licked the abused nipple, soothing it even as he jerked open the
drawer and began to feel around inside of it.  He grabbed the tube of
lubricant and opened it one-handed, yet another skill of which he couldn't
boast.  Switching over to Xander's other nipple, he coated one of his
fingers and slowly slid it inside of Xander.

Beneath him, Xander bucked and moaned.  The dark-haired man's face was
strained with pleasure, mouth open as he panted wetly for breath, head
thrown back as he fought to keep his eyes open.  When Wesley reached up to
trace his finger over the line of Xander's lips, Xander leaned forward,
closing his lips around the finger.  He sucked frantically at it, mutely
demonstrating his need.  Wesley rewarded him with a second finger inside,
speeding up his preparation.  Sure that Xander was ready, Wesley slicked
his erection and then began to slowly press himself inside his lover.

"More," Xander begged.  "Faster."

Wesley shook his head, not wanting to risk hurting him.  Xander groaned in
frustration, then hooked his ankles around Wesley's waist and pulled,
forcing Wesley deeper within himself.  Wesley gasped and gave in, burying
himself completely within his lover.  He held himself still for a moment,
treasuring the first moment of being totally joined to Xander.  He looked
down into eyes so dark they were almost black, seeing passion and need and
love, all so strong that he wouldn't have been able to believe that they
were meant for him without the knowledge that Xander could see the very
same things in his own gaze.

Xander was still for a moment as well, then he reached up one hand in
order lay his hand over Wesley's heart.  "I love you," he said softly.

Wesley leaned down and caught Xander's lips in a gentle kiss.  "I love
you," he replied, feeling the truth of the answer in the core of his soul.
 One more kiss and then he began to thrust slowly, long gentle glides back
and forth, pulling out almost all the way before completely sheathing
himself once more inside Xander.

Xander's hands traced random patterns of fire over his skin, fingers
bestowing lingering caresses and firmer touches in an sensual rhythm that
Wesley couldn't resist.  He began to quicken his thrusts, needing release,
needing to watch Xander's face as he came.  He reached down between them
to curl his fist around Xander's erection, pumping the hard flesh in time
with his own thrusts.  He heard Xander begin to cry out as his pleasure
built and was vaguely aware of his own needy sounds.  His orgasm caught
him by surprise, so powerful that he only had time to slam himself home
inside of Xander, triggering his lover's own release.

He tried to keep his weight off of Xander but his lover pulled him down.
"I want to feel you," the younger man murmured.

Wesley sank down on top of him, Xander's flesh a perfect mattress the
boneless mass that had once been Wesley's body.  Withdrawing regretfully
from his lover, he nuzzled Xander's temple, inhaling the warm scent of him
as he kissed the fragile skin.  He hovered on the edge of sleep, too sated
and content to move.

Then he heard the door snick close.

Wesley sat up, staring hard at the door.  He was sure he had closed it.
He'd been having his slight fit of jealousy and he'd wanted to separate
Xander from Spike.  There way no way that he'd not closed the door.

Xander propped himself up on his elbows.  "Undead voyeur," he muttered.

"That bleached bastard was watching us," Wesley hissed.  He started to get
up, but Xander wrapped his arms around him and held him still.  "Xander!"

"Let him be.  He's probably jerking off in the bathroom.  Do you really
want to walk in on that?"

Wesley groaned as a jolt of arousal shook him.  He could feel a blush
mounting on his cheeks as he met Xander's eyes.

Xander grinned and thrust up gently against him.  "Or maybe I should let
you go?"

He shook his head.  "I couldn't."

"Too in love with me?"

"No."  Wesley kept his expression absolutely serious.  "You waited too
long to go get a cloth and now I'm stuck to you.  Otherwise I'd be out
that door-"  His words trailed off into laughter as Xander growled at him
and bit his shoulder.

"Just for that, *you* can go get the towel," Xander said, fingers skating
across Wesley's flesh, seeking and finding ticklish spots.

Wesley would get a cloth and use it to clean both himself and Xander up.
Then they would talk about Spike and what his interest in them could mean,
how their interest in him could develop.  Finally they would sleep and he
would have Xander in his arms and need nothing else in the world.

But first, he was going to win this tickle war.


Xander got to his feet as soon as Joe was done explaining what Immortals
were and what he believed the crazy one was doing in Sunnydale.  Again.
If Buffy wasn't demanding more information, then it was Giles or Riley or
Willow.  To be fair, the other Immortals had spent over an hour trying to
get a handle on what exactly the members of the Scooby Gang were.  Willow
being a witch went over fairly easily, as did Giles's status as a Watcher.
 Xander wasn't sure that they believed Oz was a werewolf, but since the
moon wouldn't be full for another two weeks there really was no way to
prove it to them.

And if Duncan said, '*you're* the Slayer?!' to Buffy one more time, Xander
was going to dope slap him.  Adam had muttered something about taking
chivalry too far and he was right.  If Duncan didn't watch himself, Willow
or Buffy were going to lose their patience and unleash some
Hellmouth-style girl power on his ass and make him shut up with the
incredulous comments.

Xander cleared his throat, drawing all attention to himself.  Time to end
the meeting.  He didn't want to give Giles or Willow a chance to start
asking too many questions.  The sooner he got the two groups separated,
the better, or else all the secrets he'd been working so hard to conceal
would be found out.  "So now that we know what we're up against, let's get

Buffy stared at him.  "Since when are you Gung-ho Boy?"  She stood as
well.  "But you're right.  I don't want this guy running around my town."

Xander shook his head in concern as he watched Willow get ready to leave.
"Wills, maybe you should stay here.  He did go after you last time,

"If he's messing around with magic, you're going to need me out there."
She smiled at him.  "I've got Buffy and Oz looking out for me.  I'll be

Xander nodded reluctantly.  He wanted to be looking out for her too, but
he had to keep his eye on the other Immortals.  He and Wes would be
canvassing Sunnydale with them, while the Scooby Gang looked over the rest
of town.  The two groups should be able to handle both the Immortal and
anything else Sunnydale decided to throw at them.

Buffy cast a dubious look over at the silent vampire standing in the
  "Are you sure you want to take him with you?"

Xander could feel both Wes and Spike's eyes on him.  He and his lover
hadn't confronted Spike about his peek into their bedroom the night
before.  Of course, Spike hadn't said much of anything to them, either.
Xander wasn't quite sure what he wanted to say.  'So, Spike, did you like
what you saw?'  'Do you have any advice that you'd like to offer?' 'How
about coming on over here and joining us.?'

He forced his wandering thoughts back on track.  Hoping he wasn't blushing
as much as the heat on his face told him he was, he settled with, "Yeah,
we can keep watching him.  You guys get a Vampire Slayer, we get a
vampire.  It doesn't even things up, but it's better than nothing."

As they began to split up, Richie hesitated before speaking up.  "I think
maybe I should go with Giles.  And his group."  He didn't give anyone a
chance to react before hurrying on with his explanation.  "That way
they'll have someone with first hand experience with Immortals with them.
Plus, I can get in contact with Joe right away by his cell.  Just so we've
got all the bases covered."

Buffy shrugged.  Xander couldn't come up with any reason to object.  "I'm
good with it.  G-man, do you have a problem with it?"

"Xander..." Giles sighed and stopped his usual objection.  He just shook
his head.  "No, it sounds like a good idea to me."  He took of his glasses
and wiped at the lenses.

That settled, they left Giles's house, splitting up to search for their
quarry.  Xander watched his friends disappear down a street, then turned
to face the men he was with.  "They're taking the areas of town that tend
to be more monster-prone.  We've got the more populated areas, so let's
try to keep a low profile."  Not that a low profile was all that necessary
in Sunnydale.  So long as Spike didn't drain anyone in the middle of the
street and Adam and Duncan didn't square off with their swords, they'd be
fine.  They shouldn't attract too much attention.

As they walked, Xander briefly outlined the set up of the town, describing
its geography and what to expect.  As he was winding down, he caught Joe
staring at him, an odd look on his bearded face.  "What?"

"You said you died your first death last summer.  You can't be more than
twenty, so when did you find time to do a turn in the military?"  Joe
raised his eyebrows, waiting for an answer.

Xander blinked.  "What makes you think I was ever in the military?"

"The way you just laid out the town for us.  It sounded like the briefings
I'd get from my CO back in the bad old days."

"I was never in the military."

"Could've fooled me the first time we met," Spike said.  "You were acting
the part then."

"Oh, the Halloween thing.  Well, yeah, if you count that, I was in it, but
only for six hours max."  Wesley nodded; he'd heard the story before.
Everyone else looked confused.  Xander sighed.  "More of the hilarity that
comes with growing up on the Hellmouth.  A few Halloweens back, a guy cast
a spell that made me and my friends turn into our costumes.  I was wearing
an army guy outfit, so I spent that night thinking I was in the army.
Eventually we all came out of it, but I've still got some of the army
guy's know-how floating around in my head."

Wesley nodded and came closer, moving to stand close enough to Xander that
their shoulders brushed.  "I believe it may have something to do with
Xander being an Immortal.  He has always been susceptible to possessions
of that nature and the effects of them linger in him when they should not.
 I wonder if the Quickening within him functions as a sort of beacon for
possessing forces."

"And since he absorbs other Immortals' Quickenings and holds them within
himself, maybe that causes him to hold onto the possessions longer?" Adam
chimed in with his own speculations.  "That could be."

"You're being remarkably blase about the idea of this guy being
possessed."  Duncan jaw was set in a hard line.  "No offense, Xander, but
maybe this Immortal we're looking for isn't the only one who's not
completely sane."

"Now why would I take offense at that?"  Xander shook his head.  "You
didn't grow up here.  You wouldn't understand.  No one lives here without
having their lives brushed by darkness.  If they're lucky, a brush is all
they experience."  He met the long-haired man's gaze steadily.  "My
graduating class started out with a little over five hundred students.  By
the time four years had passed and graduation services were over, there
were just over three hundred and fifty of us left."

"Kids drop out, move away -"

"Get drained by vampires, get turned, are used by black magic workers in
spells, get turned into fish monsters, are dragged into cults, or are
turned into zombies."  Xander stopped walking and faced Duncan squarely.
"Without Buffy and Giles and Willow, the casualties would've been worse.
So we're going to find this guy, no matter what you think of my sanity,
and we're going to take him out so he can't hurt any of them."  He waited
until Duncan nodded and then started walking again.  Wesley was a warm
presence at his side and Xander leaned into him, needing to feel him and
drawing comfort from him just being there.

He looked up as he felt someone approach them.  "What do you want, Spike?"

"Just wondering if you wanted me to drain him for you, pet."  The vampire
grinned.  "We can leave him in an alley and he can catch up with us after
he recovers."

Xander grinned and heard Wesley laugh.  "I don't think you want to do

"I'm feeling a mite peckish," Spike persisted.  "It won't do any permanent

"He'd probably taste like Angel," Wesley muttered.

Xander cracked up.  "They do have the same attitude of broody indignation
and righteousness, don't they?"

Spike laughed.  "Think of it!  I'd have to bite him," he pointed at Adam,
"just to get the taste out of my mouth."

"What does he taste like?"  Xander heard himself as the question and
couldn't believe that he let it slip.

Spike moved closer to him, so Xander was closely hemmed in by Wes on one
side and Spike on the other.  His blue eyes seemed very dark as he stared
at Xander.  "He tastes like beer, actually.  Beer and power and age and
under all that the thick sweetness of life."  His tongue swept briefly
across his lips.  "It's like human, but more.  Heightened, in a way.
Those blue sparks that come when you heal?  It's like I can taste them in
the blood, feel them sparking across my tongue, sparking through my

Wesley's hand brushed across the small of Xander's back.  That small touch
was enough to break the spell Spike had cast over him.  He started
slightly and leaned back into his lover's touch.  "No biting Duncan," he
said firmly.

Spike shrugged and moved back a bit.  "Fine."  That wicked grin came back
to his face.  "Is he the only one off-limits?  There's something to be
said for the clean purity of human, you know."  His gaze drifted over to

Xander felt Wesley's hand flex on his back.  "You should have eaten before
we left," Wesley said firmly, sliding his hand down until his fingers slid
beneath the waist of Xander's jeans.  Xander shifted a little, placing
himself more firmly between the two men.

Spike sulked for a moment and stepped away, leaving them to themselves.
As they looked around the streets, searching for sign on the Immortal they
hunted, Wesley's hand remained tucked in Xander's jeans.

"Feeling possessive?"  Xander breathed his question into Wesley's ear.

"A bit," Wesley admitted.

"So was I."  Xander bumped his nose against Wesley's cheek.  "Hard not to
be when he's hitting on you.  I don't want to lose you."

Wesley pulled him closer.  "You're not going to lose me," he said
vehemently.  "And I'm not going to lose you, you understand?  Not even
Spike can do anything to us.  I love you."

"And I love you," Xander said, not savoring the rush of warmth he felt
each time he heard and said those words.  "But Spike..."

"Spike is a sexy bastard and you're right, he is difficult to resist.  But
I can.  I've got you."  Wesley blinked.  "Did I just quote Sunny and

Xander laughed and kissed his jaw.  "You did.  I'll pretend I didn't
notice, though."  He hesitated for a moment.  "But you do want him, don't

"I'm English, Xander.  I'm not dead.  But I don't *need* him.  I need
you."  Wesley stopped walking and pulled Xander into a tight embrace
before claiming his mouth.  After a moment, he pulled away.  "I love you."
 They grinned at each other, then continued walking.

Xander glanced over at Wesley.  "You know, you can't always get what you
want, but sometimes you can get what you want *and* what you need."

"Now you're quoting the Stones?"  Wesley's tone was joking, but there was
definitely a speculative gleam in his eyes.

Xander's reply was interrupted by Duncan's approach, so he let the topic
  He knew Wes would be thinking about it, though.  Spike was obviously
interested...and then he had no more time for thought as the long-haired
man began to speak.

"I was wondering about your teacher," Duncan said.  "Not an Immortal, but
not human, either.  You know what you're doing when you fight."

Xander nodded a little.  He recognize the conciliatory tone and knew that
Duncan was trying to smooth over their earlier argument.  He realized that
everyone was listening in, Spike and Immortals both.  He glanced at Adam.
"If you knew Spike, then you probably knew my teacher.  Do you remember

"Angelus?"  Adam stopped walking.  "That psychotic was your teacher?"  His
hand darted inside his coat.  "He taught you to use a sword?"

Spike froze as well.  "You were with Angel?  You went to him?"  His hand
clenched into fists at his sides."

"Who is this guy?" Duncan asked.  "Angelus?  Angel?  What's his name?"

"Angelus is a vampire," Adam said tightly.  "He's even more insane than
Spike.  Amazing in bed, but he's still a vampire.  He exists only for
killing and torment."

"And sex," Spike chimed in.

"And sex," Adam agreed, sharing a nasty smirk with the vampire.

"Angel is Angelus," Wesley said.  "Angelus was cursed by a group of
gypsies and his soul was restored to him.  He is now a fighter on the side
of right."

"And a great brooding ponce," Spike said.  "All guilt and remorse over
things he can't change."

"I know the type," Adam said.

Xander watched as Duncan glared at Adam.  He wasn't sure what the history
between them was, but he didn't want to get caught between them.  With
that much heat in Duncan's eyes, he'd either get skewered on their swords
or end up pinned on the ground as they tore at each other's clothing.

Spike was still glaring at him.  "Angel was your teacher?  I suppose you
spent all your training months with him?"

What the hell was this?  Spike was acting as though he was upset by Xander
spending time with Angel.  It was as though he was jealous.  Xander hid a
grin.  Spike *was* jealous.  "Of course, Spike.  After the car accident I
was in, I knew I should have been dead.  I knew Angel was in LA and that
he could help me.  Once he figured out just what I was, he trained me.  I
had to learn to protect myself.  I spent all summer with him.  He taught
me a lot."  He let a little innuendo seep into his tone.

Spike took a step forward.  "Did he, now?"

"It was sort of a life changing summer.  I found out I was Immortal,
learned to fight, figured out I was bi..."

"All thanks to Angel?"  Spike's features rippled a little before he got
himself under control.  "And you met up with Wesley there?"  He glared at
Wesley, too.  "How long were you in LA?"

Xander was amazed.  Now Spike had himself convinced that Wesley had slept
with Angel, too.  He really was jealous at the thought of them being with
Angel.  It was a sign of how much he really did want them.  While watching
the blond man snarl was fairly entertaining, he didn't want to waste
hunting time on taunting Spike.

They could save that for after they took care of the Immortal.

"I didn't have sex with Angel," he said.  He was aware that everyone was
listening in, but he didn't let it bother him.  "I did not have sexual
relations with that vampire!"  The joke didn't work; Spike was still
looking ready to kill something...well, more than he usually did.  Xander
needed to get Spike calmed down so they could move past that.  "Can you
imagine it?"  He closed his eyes and tipped his head back, leaning back
harder against Wesley.  He exhaled heavily once, then again, hastening his
breathing.  He moaned softly, gradually increasing the volume as he
continued to pant.  "Harder," he murmured, rolling his hips gently.
"Harder, please, more..." he panted each word out, leaning harder against
Wesley.  He moaned louder, then caught his breath and cried out in a
strangled tone, "Deadboy!"

Xander brushed his fingers through his hair as he opened his eyes.  "Kind
of ruins the moment, doesn't it?"  He tried to straighten up, but Wesley
wrapped his arms around his waist and refused to release him.  Xander
blinked, then took a closer look at the men facing him.  All of their eyes
were rather wide, and Spike's features were rippling once more.

He'd gotten more of a reaction than he'd expected.  He craned his neck so
he could look back at Wesley.  His lover's gray eyes were dark and hungry.
 Wesley ducked his head and spoke directly into Xander's ear.  "You are
going to be punished for teasing me when we get home."

Xander shivered at the feeling of warm air moving over his skin.  He
smirked.  "Yes, sir."

Wesley's arms tightened around him, and then he was pushed away.  "Let's
get going," Wesley said, tucking his hand back into Xander's jeans in a
blatantly teasing and proprietary gesture.

Xander wriggled a little into the touch, ignoring Duncan's irritation and
Joe and Adam's amusement.  He liked teasing Wes, and loved it when Wes
teased back.  He glanced over at Spike and found that the vampire had
regained control once more.

Spike stared at him, then glanced over at Wesley and back to him once
more.  "So if Angel didn't help you figure out you like it both ways, who

Xander sighed.  It looked like tonight was Relive Your Sexual History
  Of course, Wesley was going to punish him for it later, so it was worth
it.  "A man who works with Angel.  His name's Doyle."

"Doyle?" Wesley asked.  He'd met Doyle when he'd come to LA, but that had
been after Xander and the Irishman had ended their brief relationship.
They hadn't been in love with each other; Doyle had been too fixated on
Angel for anything to really develop between them.  Besides, his feelings
weren't unrequited; Angel had gotten progressively more twitchy the longer
Xander and Doyle had been involved.

Xander shrugged.  "I told you I can't resist an accent."  He grinned a
fondly to himself as he thought about Doyle.  He'd initially be drawn to
the Irishman because Doyle loved to tease Cordelia and would team up with
Xander to make her furious and make her laugh.  That had extended to
hanging out during downtimes between training and battling the evil in LA.
 After a night when the weather was very drunk out, they had ended up in
bed together.  It could have been wierd, it could have been frightening,
but it was Doyle.  It was laughing green eyes and long clever fingers and
teasing comments in a lilt, all of which gave him nothing but pleasure and
  They'd parted as friends and Xander missed him, talking to him on the
phone on a regular basis.

The subject was dropped after that, but as they walked through the
streets, Spike was a constant presence beside and behind Xander and
Wesley, never straying more than a few feet from them.  Xander exchanged a
pleased glance with his lover.

Spike was hooked.

Xander was looking forward to getting rid of the wizard-wannabe more than
ever.  His town would be safe, his secret would be kept, and he and Wes
would get a chance to see if Spike had anything to back up his attitude
and reputation.

Xander started to walk faster.


Interlude One

Author:  Sandy

Feedback:  ssfdu@hotmail.com  <please tell her you loved this so she'll
write more!>

Richie sauntered along the dark tree lined streets of Sunnydale, almost
tempted to whistle. He wasn't particularly worried about being separated
from Mac and the others because surely a little moonlight stroll around
town couldn't be as dangerous as the residents implied.

Besides it wasn't as though they could kill him.

Vampires, monsters and demons oh my!

The immortal snickered quietly to himself, but not quietly enough if the
puzzled looks thrown his way were any indication.

If they thought *he* was a bit strange or something they obviously hadn't
looked at themselves in the mirror lately.

Take Buffy for example. Classic blond, gorgeous valley girl type. But he
could already see she needed to lighten up. Okay, so she had super powers,
was the chosen one or something like that but not everything was the world
is going to end next Thursday right after lunch and she has to battle The
Forces of Evil <tm> to stop it. Or maybe it was and he just didn't know
about it before. All the more reason to lighten up and live a little.

Then there was Riley, Buffy's boyfriend. He didn't really look old enough
but something about him screamed Military...and hick. And from what he had
seen already, the way those two carried on you would think he was some
sort of living extension of her, joined at the hip...or was that lips?
Anyway he didn't think she was attracted to him for his IQ level.

They were so cute together it was almost enough to send you into a
diabetic coma from too much sugar, and he had only known them a few hours.

The next in the motley bunch known as the Scoobies... Richie paused to
roll his eyes at that...was the little redhead.

Willow seemed really nice, and bubbly, and a little...for lack of a better
term kooky.

Guess it was all the witch stuff.

He started humming the Addams Family theme, earning himself more strange
looks. He just smiled blandly at them and continued humming.

Of course he didn't get a strange look from Oz, just a carefully raised
eyebrow. Oz appeared to be a man of few words, and even fewer expressions.
Between her steady stream of babble and his silence maybe they managed to
balance things up.

Maybe it was a werewolf thing? He wasn't quite sure he believed that one

This was turning out to be one strange town.

And last, but not least there was Rupert Giles, the one person in the
group he didn't feel he had figured out yet.

The kind of person Adam would call an enigma.

An enigma with cruel parents.

Rupert? What were they thinking?

But strangely enough it kinda suited him.

It wasn't just that Giles was older that made him seem more interesting,
the way the others were bickering during the meeting, Richie even felt

There was just something about Giles that was different. He reminded Ryan
a lot of Adam. Casual and harmless on the outside, but with untold depths.
In Adam's case, dangerous, very old depths, and Richie wanted to find out
if there were more than just the obvious similarities.

He wouldn't admit it out loud but he really quite liked Adam. The man had
a wicked sense of humour and an interesting view of the world and people.

Another thing the two men had in common was their appearance.

Not attractive in the usual sense, but...

Giles was rather cute, okay more than cute, if you went for the older,
cultured English type, even if from the way he talked you would expect
tweed rather than jeans, a pullover and a battered leather jacket. Richie
had to admit it was a good look on him though.

A damn good look.

The Immortal wondered if he was easily flustered as the bookish types he
had met before, deciding that it would be a lot of fun to find out. There
were much worse ways to fill in his spare time.

Casually, he moved to the older man's side. Ignoring the others he asked,
"So is there anything interesting to do around here, besides killing nasty
looking things? Y'know fun, like clubs or bars or something?"

"Fun?" was the incredulous reply.

The Immortal was impressed, it took real talent to imply so much in one
simple word. That one seemed to say 'You are kidding, aren't you? We are
on an important mission here, one that cannot fail because it may mean
death, destruction and untold havoc.'

"Fun. The concept of doing an activity that is enjoyable. You do know that
one don't you?"

He had been watching the changing expressions on Giles' face, mentally
rubbing his hands together gleefully. The brief flash of something
dangerous and almost predatory caught him by surprise, and intrigued him.
Perhaps there was more to the other man than he thought. Besides he'd
always loved a good mystery.

Giles rolled his eyes a little. "Yes I am quite aware of what fun is, I'm
just not sure this is the time or place to discuss it."

"Well if I am to believe all the doom and gloom around here we might be in
for some trouble, so wouldn't it be better to make plans now before
possibly getting fried be the would-be Merlin?"

"Well if you concentrated more on the danger at hand, instead of looking
for *fun* perhaps you wouldn't get 'fried' as you so delicately put it."

Strike one for the older guy.

Richie thought to himself that this really was turning out to be
entertaining. Almost enough to distract him from the killer headache he
had for a while.

"Don't center on your anxiety Obi-Wan, keep your concentration on the here
and now where it belongs." Richie stated solemnly, but with a devilish
twinkle in his eyes.

"Obi-Wan?" Rupert frowned, looking rather confused.

Oz had apparently been listening to them because he turned and raised an
eyebrow inquiringly at Richie and then answered Giles' question.

"Recent Pop Culture reference."

"Ah." But it was clear that he didn't get it. The others continues

"Haven't seen the Star Wars movies? What planet are you from?"

He ignored the indignant mutter directed his way.

"Looks like I need to expand your horizons a little more than

"Expand my horizons?" The older man spluttered incredulously. "Now listen
here Mr. Ryan, I can assure you that my horizons do not need expanding and
if they did you would not be the person to do so. I hardly know you."

"Say the words and I can change that."

"And what words would those be..."

Before Richie could answer they were attacked.

They hadn't realised that they had slowed their pace and lost sight of the
others around a corner until they were jumped by three men.

Giles spun around and hit out at his attacker and Richie followed suit,
gasping in surprise at their ridged features and sharp teeth.

"They're vampires!" He called out.

With a grunt and a long suffering sigh the ex-Watcher responded, "I can
see that."

Reaching into his jacket the older man withdrew a stake and went on the
offensive. Taking the vampire by surprise he quickly staked him.

"Here, catch!" He yelled at Richie, throwing the piece of wood in his
direction and grabbing another from his pocket.

Twisting around while knocking his attacker back, the young immortal
managed to catch the stake.

"Through the heart, right?" he asked loudly.


By now the others had heard the fighting and had come to their aid. Buffy
quickly dispatched the one fighting with Giles as the others helped Richie

Soon they were all dust and the group caught their breath.

Edging over to Rupert once more, Richie proclaimed, "Well that was

Buffy shot him a look and muttered something about always attracting the
crazy ones.

"Exciting? You do realise that if I hadn't been with you, you would most
likely have been killed?"

"Well, yeah. But you were here and I wasn't killed," Richie batted his
eyelashes and simpered. "My Hero!"

Giles muttered something about foolish, ignorant children.

"So about broadening your horizons..."

"Argh!" Rupert threw his hands up into the air and stormed of to join
Buffy at the head of the group.

Richie enjoyed the view immensely.


After a few minutes of quite conversation as they led the group, Buffy's
voice grew louder.  "I think you should go keep an eye on Boy Wonder back
there. I don't think his friends would like it if we let him get himself

"Do I have to?" Was the reply from her companion, sounding suspiciously
like a whiney child. "Besides I don't even own a cape so why does it have
to be me?"

"Because you are the adult of this bunch and you are always telling me
that being an adult means responsibilities," the Slayer replied a touch

Willow appeared to be stifling a giggle.

"If you insist." With a put upon sigh, Giles turned and walked back
towards Richie.

"You don't love me any more." Ryan sniffed.

"Oh shut up, you." The ex-Watcher glared at him balefully.

The younger man's lips twitched suspiciously but remained silent.

Quiet descended for a few minutes as they continued walking.

Just long enough to lull Rupert into a false sense of security, Richie
decided evilly.

He went in for the kill.

"Is it true what that say about English men?"

Giles frowned slightly, then gave him a faintly warning look. "What is it
that *they* say?" he asked disdainfully.

"That if you can manage to make them lose control... under all that tea
drinking and tweed they can be real tigers in bed"

The older man came to abrupt stop, looking like he either was going to
choke or strangle him.

Taking a few deep breaths he tried to regain his composure.


Ladies and Gentleman, we have a winner, Richie thought to himself smugly.

"Oh well...um.. That is to say... Oh for god's sake man you are starting
to sound like Wesley..." The last part was muttered to himself, but
audible as he studied something near his feet.

Flushed, he took another deep breath and pasting on a Classic Stern
Librarian Face <tm>, looked up.

Straight into the blatantly flirtatious expression on the younger man's

Giles raised a eyebrow and replied dryly. "Wouldn't you like to know."

Richie smiled at the tone and answered. "Well that was the general idea.
So?" He mirrored the faintly mocking expression.

"I am English, not easy. I'm sure even one of such tender years as
yourself can understand the difference, even if they do start with the
same letter," Giles retorted primly.

"I never said anything about being easy, only being great in bed. There's
a difference and I know that, so should you. Well?..."

"Well, what?" Rupert asked irritably.

"I asked a simple question, you're an intelligent man so I'm sure it isn't
that difficult to answer."

With a weary sigh, Giles faced him. "Look Mr. Ryan, I'm sure this...this
casual flirtation is amusing you, but I would ask that if you are only
toying with me for lack of better entertainment that you stop it now."

Richie gave him a considering look. "If you let me get to know you better,
maybe we could turn it into a serious flirtation."

"Mr. Ryan..."

"Richie, please," The Immortal asked.

"Alright then, Richie..."

He gave Giles a lopsided grin and held a hand up to stop whatever the
other man had planned to say.

"Okay so maybe I started this as something to do, but what can I say? I
like you, you're interesting. It isn't a crime to show your appreciation
if you like someone now is it?"

"Well...no." Giles looked rather startled.

"Good then, because I'm enjoying myself, but I'm not trying to be cruel or
hurt you or anything. I don't do that," Richie told him seriously.


Ryan had reduced the man to single words. That was interesting.

"If it really bothers you, I'll stop. But then I would be forced to use my
famous puppy dog eyes on you until I was allowed to continue, or the
others noticed and asked why I was doing that. Whichever comes first."

Richie could have sworn Giles' lips twitched.

"That's emotional blackmail!" The older man accused him. "I don't want the
Buffy/Willow inquisition."

He was definitely fighting a small smile now.

"Hey! All's fair in love and war." The Immortal winked at him. "So just
let me continue, simple."

"Has anyone ever told you that you are an unrepentant brat?" Rupert asked

"You'd be surprised."

"No, I wouldn't."

Sometime during the conversation they had unconsciously continued on after
the others.

Richie turned his head and pouted mournfully.

"Heaven save me from wilful children," Giles beseeched the sky.

"Children?" Ryan spluttered. "I'm a lot older than I look."

The ex-Watcher snorted. "I'm 25. Ask Joe and the others if you don't
believe me."

"Really?" A speculative gleam entered the other man's green eyes.

"Yep. So now that you know I'm way past legal are you going to answer that
question?" Ryan asked slyly.

"Oh for crying out loud! We aren't back to that are we?"

"Definitely. Inquiring minds want to know. You do realise that if you
don't answer, I'll just assume it's true and you don't want to say
anything on the grounds it might incriminate you"

Giles carefully raised one eyebrow and gave the younger man a mysterious

If Richie wasn't hooked before, he was now.

"I shall answer that question when I am good and ready to," he replied a
touch smugly.

The ex-Watcher increased his pace to catch up with the others.

"Oh yeah, you're good alright." Ryan was impressed, and already a little
turned on.

"So about those interesting things to do in Sunnydale, anything you'd care
to recommend...Tiger?"

Instead of being indignant like Richie half-expected, Giles laughed and it
was a wonderful sound.


A faint scuff teased at Spike's ears, drawing him down the dark alleyway.
He leapt upon the source of the sound, dragging it out into the
illumination of the street lights.  He took a look at the struggling
figure in his grip and sighed in disgust.  "Vlertik."

The scaly demon fought harder to get away, twisting in Spike's hands as it
strained to dive back into the alley, back into the darkness.  The vampire
shook it merciless as he glanced back over his shoulder at the men behind
him.  "Want me to kill it?"

Wesley shook his head.  "It's just a scavenger, Spike.  Let it go."

Spike tightened his grip, sneering as the Vlertik squealed in pain.
"Easier just to kill it."  He smirked as the demon fought frantically,
fruitlessly as he increased the pressure.  Hands closed his shoulders and
he was jerked backwards.  Surprised, he released the Vlertik as he snarled
and turned on the person who had touched him.  "What the hell are you
doing?" he demanded of Wesley.

The taller man ignored him.  He cast a quick glance at the cowering demon.
 "Get out of town.  If I see you here again, I'll be most put out."

"Wyndem-Pryce?" the demon whimpered.  The Vlertik scrambled away, moaning
in abject terror.

Spike forgot his outrage immediately.  The demon was scared shitless of
Wesley.  What the hell was going on?  "How did you do that?"

Wesley smiled mysteriously.  "If you behave yourself and restrain your
homicidal impulses, perhaps you shall find out."

Spike growled a little, but Wesley didn't react.  He just walked back to
the main part of the street and took his place beside Xander.  Xander said
something quietly, too low for Spike to catch, and Wesley laughed and
rewarded his comment with a hard kiss.

The groups started moving again and Spike fell in step behind Wesley and
Xander, hands shoved deep in the pockets of his duster.  He watched as
Wesley's hand found its way into the back of Xander's jeans and the two
men drifted closer to each other.  He shook his head.  He didn't know how
those two had gotten together and he had no idea how they thought they
were going to be able to keep it a secret.  They barely took their hands
off each other as it was; he wasn't sure how they'd managed to restrain
themselves when they were at the Watcher's.

He'd never paid to much attention to either of them.  He was aware of them
as the back ups to his main enemy, the Slayer.  Not especially dangerous
or interesting in and of themselves, they were a force to be reckoned with
only when they were teamed with the rest of the Slayer's team.

He wasn't making that mistake now.  He was watching for the loon they were
hunting, and he kept some small amount of attention on Benjamin -Adam-,
his stuffy friend, and the older man, but the bulk of his focus was
reserved for Xander and Wesley.  His gaze greedily took in the way Xander
had put on muscle, on the easy way Wesley carried himself, on the constant
touches and comments that flowed between the two men.

He'd given in to his curiosity the other night, creeping over to the
bedroom door Wesley had shut and listening through the wood.  As soon as
he'd heard the bedsprings creak, he'd eased the door open, peering through
the small crack to catch sight of the men inside.  He'd been captivated by
the sight of the pale expanse of Wesley's back as he knelt over Xander,
the tight line of his ass as he moved over his lover.  He had traced the
lines of limbs that trembled even as they moved in ecstasy.  He hadn't
missed the expressions on their faces:  passion and love and want as they
exchanged broken words.  He hadn't been able to move or look away until
both of men had come and lay entwined in each other's arms.  Only at that
point was he able to slip away and dash for the bathroom, where he was
able to relieve the erection that was demanding his attention.

Just like in the bed, on the streets they moved in perfect sync with each
other, always aware of where the other was, always coming back to move
together.  He knew they couldn't have been together long, but they acted
as though they'd been involved forever, their awareness of each other so
deep as to be instinctive.

Spike fought down a strong wave of longing.  Lust he was prepared to deal
with; how was he supposed to help himself when confronted with Wesley and
Xander?  The longing, now, that was different.  That was dangerous.  Spike
didn't lie to himself.  He might not always pay any attention to the truth
and usually refused to allow it to stop him from doing whatever he wanted,
but he didn't try to deny it.  He knew that he wasn't solitary by nature.
He was meant to be with other people, needed constant contact with others
in order to keep himself happy and sane.  As much as he'd enjoyed
irritating the hell out of Darla and Angelus, he had needed to be around
them in order to do so.  Without them around, his life was emptier.  It
helped to explain his attachment to Drusilla.  He loved his dark princess,
to be sure, had devoted his unlife to her without compunction or regret,
but he was honest enough with himself to admit that his need for her had
been as much a part of his need for companionship as it had been love.

He had been separated from Drusilla long enough that he was beginning to
feel the lack of company.  Seeing Wesley and Xander so easy together made
him more aware of his own loneliness.  It made his lust for the two of
them become something more, something stronger, something dangerous.

Something that he probably wasn't going to be able to resist.  Spike
grinned sardonically as he lit a fresh cigarette.  So he knew they were
probably going to complicate his plans more than he wanted.  He took in
the way Wesley's eyes crinkled at the corners when he laughed, watched
Xander's tongue flicker out to moisten his full lower lip.  It would be
worth it.

As they turned the corner on to another street, voices carried to them
from up the block.  Spike peered through the darkness, relying on his
superior night vision.  "Slayer," he said.  Buffy and the rest of her
merry band were walking towards them.

Xander and Wesley separated smoothly, moving apart as though they were
just finishing a conversation.  "Hey, Buffy," Xander called.  "You find

"Only a few fledges so inept that the Boy Wonder over there was able to
stake one," Buffy said, jerking her chin over in the direction of the
curly-haired Immortal.

Spike smirked.  Sounded like someone hadn't made much of an impression.
He looked over at Richie, approving of the way the man didn't react to
Buffy's comment.  Richie just tucked his hands into his back pockets and
grinned.  The vampire raised an eyebrow as he noticed the way Richie's
gaze lingered on Giles.  Every time Giles met the Immortal's gaze, he
flushed a little, but there was definite interest in the Watcher's eyes.

Looked like Sunnyhell was going to be even more entertaining than usual.

"Fledges?" Duncan asked, staring at Richie.

"Newly-turned vampires," Giles explained.  "They tend to be ravenous, but
as Buffy said, they are inept.  Quick to attack, but they do so with no
finesse.  Ah...Richie did quite will in his first encounter with them,

Richie was standing closer to Giles than anyone else.  The Immortal leaned
in close to Giles and murmured in a low voice, "Thanks, Tiger.  Was it
good for you too?"

The former Watcher rolled his eyes and replied in an equally quiet tone,
"It was adequate.  I've had better, if you must know."

Unfazed by the dismissal, Richie leered at the other man.  "You know what
they say:  practice makes perfect."

The looks between Richie and Giles got even more interesting as Giles
glared at the other man, a mixture of irritation and heat.  Thanks to his
vampiric hearing, Spike was the only other person to hear the comment.
Spike took a long drag on his cigarette.  No matter what happened now, he
was going to have to stay in town.  There was no way he was going to miss

His gaze strayed back over to where Wesley and Xander were trying to keep
their distance from each other.  Well, no way he'd miss it, unless he was
otherwise occupied.  As he watched, Xander frowned and shook his head,

"So we both came up empty," Buffy said.  "Great.  Any ideas on where else
we should look for this guy?"

Now Richie was rubbing at his temples, even as Duncan shook his head.

"If he's into magic, we might want to cruise past the Magic Box again,"
Willow suggested.

"Yes," Giles agreed.  "That could work.  Or-"

"Or we could look down the street a bit," Adam interrupted.  His face was
impassive, but his hand had crept inside his enveloping coat.  "I believe
I saw something there."

Spike tossed his cigarette into the street and got himself ready.  Adam
hadn't visibly reacted, but he was willing to bet that the other Immortals
had been reacting to the presence of another Immortal.  "I think you're
right," he said, even though he saw nothing.  "I think that's him."  No
need to reveal everyone's secret, now was there?

He raised his hands innocently when Xander turned to stare at him.  The
dark-eyed man realized what Spike was doing, and the vampire was rewarded
with a delighted grin before everyone started moving down the street.
Spike sighed as he followed Wesley and Xander.  The things he did for a
nice ass...

As they got closer to the end of the block, Spike realized that he could
see movement in one of the many abandoned buildings that littered
Sunnydale.  The one at the end of the street was composed of crumbling
bricks and rotting wood, untouched by care and worn by time.

Wesley squinted at the building.  "If he is attempting to mold himself
into a stereotypical wizard, perhaps he has sought out a building that
conforms to the image of the haunted house stereotype to frequent as

Xander smirked.  "If you're going to attempt to live one bad cliche, might
as well go for them all."

Buffy walked over to the front of the building, moving slowly toward the
door.  Duncan moved up to stand beside her.  She glared at him over her
shoulder.  "Do you mind?  I need some space."

"You need someone to back you up," he countered.

"That would be one of my friends, then.  No offense, but I don't know
you."  She eased inside the doorway, muttering something about another Boy

A few seconds of tense silence passed, then Buffy ran back out the door.
"Get back!" she ordered, physically pushing Duncan in front of her as she
fled from the building.  Stinking flames filled the doorway behind her and
spilled out into the street.

"That's him," Wesley called as he and Xander moved forward.  "Don't let
the fire touch you.  It seems to be his only trick, but be ready for
anything else.  There's no telling what he may have learned since we last
encountered him."

Spike shook his head as he moved to shadow Wesley.  After watching them,
he had no doubt that both men could take care of themselves.  No matter
what anyone else thought, they were capable, deadly fighters.  But Xander
had the edge of Immortality on his side, so Spike would stay closer to
Wesley.  He wanted to make sure both of them lived through this.

As he moved closer to Wesley, he could hear the taller man swearing under
his breath.  Spike knew where is frustration was coming from.  There was
no good way to come at the Immortal.  Hidden inside the building, he
tossed reeking fire at them through the empty windows and doorways,
guaranteeing that they couldn't come at him through any of the entryways.
At the same time, they had him penned down:  they couldn't get in, but he
couldn't get out, either.

"I'm going to try something," Wesley warned the others.

"Wesley, are you sure?" Willow asked.  "I could-"

"Let the man work," Spike said impatiently.  Hadn't they seen how well he
could direct deadly magic against his enemies?  He ignored the witch's
startled look and focused on Wesley, waiting to see what he would come up

The tall man spoke quietly under his breath, words clear and precise as
his hands sketched exotic patterns in the air.  He spoke for a few
moments, then dropped his hands and waited.

After a few seconds passed and nothing happened, Buffy rolled her eyes.
"That was great, Wesley.  Really terrific.  Willow, could you try

Willow's reply was lost in a tremendous roar as smoke boiled out of the
windows and doors, oily gray and clinging to the bricks as it drifted
reluctantly into the night air.

"Nice, Wes," Xander said, grinning appreciatively.

"Oh, yeah," Spike echoed.

Wesley included them both in his triumphant smile.  "This will either
flush him out or kill him."

"Then we can go collect the body after the smoke clears."  Adam's voice
was approving.  "Quite efficient.  Very intelligent."

Spike glared at the Immortal, repressing the urge to growl.  He settled
for baring his teeth in a vicious snarl, silently warning the Immortal to
stay away from Wesley.  Couldn't he see that the man belonged to Xander?
Didn't he see that both of them were going to belong to Spike?

He was distracted from his possessive anger by the emergence of the
Immortal, coughing and gasping.  He was still dressed in the ridiculous
robes from the other night, but all the wheezing rather ruined whatever
dramatic effect he may have been attempting to achieve.

Buffy moved in on the coughing man.  "All right.  Time for you to stop
trying to live the dream and just be grateful that I'm going to let you
keep living."

The Immortal raised his hands in a threatening gesture.  "Stay away from
  I mean it!"

"Anybody want a peanut?" Spike murmured.  He laughed out loud at the look
of surprise on everyone's faces.  His laughter mingled with Xander's as
the dark-eyed man was nearly doubled over in amusement and disbelief.

The Immortal took advantage of the momentary distraction to grab Buffy and
slam her into the wall of the building, hard.  He released her
immediately, allowing her to fall heavily to the ground.  He then turned
his attention to Wesley.  "You!  You're even more powerful than the witch!
 I need that power!"  He lunged towards Wesley, chanting in a voice that
rose to a shriek.

Spike moved forward with vampiric speed, placing himself between the
Immortal and Wesley.  At the same time, Xander delivered a vicious kick to
the Immortal's midsection, sending him staggering back toward the
building.  As he fell backwards, the energy he'd summoned with his spell
went wild; rather than heading straight for Wesley, it slammed into the
building behind him.

Spike listened in horror as the he heard the wall groan under the force of
the blast.  The entire structure shuddered.  Spike had heard enough
buildings collapse in his time to know what was going to happen next.
Xander was clear of the wall, but Wesley had moved forward in order to
counter the crazed Immortal as well as back up his lover.

Ignoring the voices inside his head screaming that he was a fool, Spike
ran forward a few steps to grab Wesley by the upper arms and swing him
around hard, propelling him in a hard arc out of danger.

He had time to shield his head with his arms before he was buried in an
avalanche of bricks and dust.


Wesley spun to the ground, thrown completely off-balance by the force of
Spike's shove.  He rolled as he hit the ground, carrying himself out of
danger before rising smoothly to his feet.  He watched, horrified, as the
crumbling front wall of the building collapsed, sending bricks hurtling
down in a deadly cascade.

Right on top of Spike.

Wesley shouted his denial and forced himself to his feet, not sure what he
could do, but determined to find a way to help.  He took two steps forward
before the rest of the building began to collapse with a hideous roar.  He
threw up his arms to shield his head and was forced back by the choking
cloud of dust that arose from the wreckage.

When he could see again, Wesley searched for Xander, relaxing slightly
when he saw his lover standing unharmed a few feet away.  He quickly
catalogued the others:  Buffy was coughing hard as Riley hovered
protectively over her.
  Willow and Oz were checking on Duncan and Adam even as Giles talked
intently to Richie.  The Immortal they'd been fighting was nowhere to be
seen.  He must have seized the opportunity presented by the confusion and
fled into the night.  And Spike...

Wesley swore viciously under his breath in the vilest language he knew as
he scrambled over the barely-settled rubble to the vampire.  Spike's head
and right arm were visible; the rest of him was buried beneath the fallen
bricks.  Blood coursed in sluggish pulses down his face from a gash on his
cheek.  Wesley crouched on the bricks near him, not quite daring to touch
the pale skin.  His hands hovering an inch from Spike's face, he called
softly, "Spike?  Spike, can you hear me?"

"Fuck..." Spike's voice was a barely-there whisper.  His eyelids drifted
open, revealing eyes that were hazy with pain.  "Fuck, that hurts."

A warm hand on his back startled Wesley, and he turned to find Xander
beside him, face set in lines of worry.  "How're you doing, Spike?"

"Not so good.  I just had a building fall on me, you moron."  Spike glared
at him.

"How bad is it?" Wesley asked.

"Not so bad.  I've got a few minutes left in me, if I'm lucky."  His smirk
was tired but it was there.

Wesley sucked in a deep breath, his mind racing.  There had to be a spell,
something he could do to save Spike.  Spike had been hurt pushing him out
of the way, damn it!  He wasn't going to let him die.  Not like this.  Not

Xander's hand pressed lightly on his back, pulling him out of the swirling
morass of his thoughts.  "I'll take care of this," the dark-eyed man
murmured, gaze fierce.  He stood up and climbed off the rubble.  "This guy
is getting more dangerous the longer he stays in Sunnydale.  I don't want
him learning anything more that could do more damage.  He doesn't have
much of a lead on us; you can still catch him."

"What about William?" Adam asked.

Buffy hefted her stake.  "I can put him out of his misery."

Xander shook his head.  "I'll take care of this," he said firmly.  He held
up his hand when Adam started to speak.  "Look, you just stay close to
Buffy and try not to die, all right?  I've got this under control."

"Fine," Buffy said.  "Try to catch up with us later, you two.  Let's get
going before this guy destroys any more of Sunnydale."  She led the rest
of the group off down the street, relying on Oz and Riley to help her
track the Immortal.

Xander returned to Wesley's side and smiled gently down at Spike.  "Are
you ready?"

"Where are you planning on sticking the stake?  Or did you decide to try
decapitation?"  The vampire's mocking grin was ruined as his face twisted
in pain.

"Don't be stupid," Xander said, rolling up one of his sleeves.  "I'm not
going to take your head.  What fun would that be?  I've got plans for your
head and the rest of your body that don't involve you turning to dust."
His forearm bare, he glanced over at Wesley.  "I do hate having to vacuum
the bad, don't you?"

"What the hell are you going on about?" Spike demanded.

"Why don't we talk about this later?"  Xander held his wrist in front of
Spike's mouth.  "Now drink up like a good vampire so there will be a

Spike stared up at him speechlessly.

"Hurry up," Xander urged.  "You need this if you're going to survive."

"You sure about this, pet?"

"What, you want me to slice my wrist myself?"

"No," Spike said.

Xander pressed his wrist to Spike's lips.  When the vampire continued to
hesitate, Xander shook his head impatiently.  "Spike, just do it!  I'm not
going to let you die, not after you saved Wes's life!"  His smile was
strained.  "Not before we've had any real fun together."

Spike's reply was the shifting of his features as his demonic visage came
to the fore.  He parted his lips and sank his elongated fangs into the
soft skin of Xander's wrist.  Xander gasped and arched his back, but he
didn't pull away.

Wesley slid himself behind his lover, supporting him by wrapping his arms
around him.  "How is the pain?"  He rubbed his cheek against the exposed
side of Xander's neck, trying to be as close to him as possible.  He
didn't like seeing Xander hurt, but this was the only way to save Spike.
The vampire was badly injured and Immortal blood could heal him, give him
the strength he needed to recover and free himself.

"It doesn't hurt, exactly," Xander said, nestling in closer to Wesley.  He
moaned a little.  "It's just so intense..."  He gasped and arched again.
"Oh, god..."

Wesley felt the faint stirrings of jealousy as his lover writhed against
him as the result of something *Spike* did to him.  He turned his faces
and kissed Xander's throat.  It was foolish.  They'd both admitted their
attraction to the vampire, had been dancing around the idea of becoming
involved with him.  There was no reason to be jealous.  He knew Xander
loved him, trusted in that knowledge as he trusted in nothing else.
Wesley looked back down at Spike's face.  The vampire's eyes were closed,
his grimace of pain replaced with one of pure pleasure as he drank

With obvious reluctance, Spike wrenched his mouth away from Xander's
wrist.  "No more," he said.  "Any more will be dangerous."

"Sometimes I think the bleach you use must have seeped into your head."
Xander turned carefully in Wesley's arms.  His face was pale and his eyes
a little shocky.  "You should start to dig him out.  If this works like it
should, we can go after Buffy in a little while."

"If it works, I'm taking you home," Wesley said firmly.  Xander always
tried to make light of injuries he received, even if they killed him, just
because he recovered so quickly.  Wesley knew that the experiences left
him a little shaky and exhausted.  He wasn't going to let anything else
happen to him tonight.

Xander stared at him for a moment, then nodded.  "Home," he agreed.  He
pressed his lips to Wesley's, yielding easily to Wesley's slightly
desperate demands to deepen the kiss.  After a moment, he pulled away and
moved to lay behind Spike, clear of the rubble that covered the vampire.
He pressed his wrist to Spike's mouth once more.  "All of it, bright boy.
You need to drink all of it."

"I don't want to kill you, pet."  Spike's tongue swept across his lips.

"You have to.  You need more blood to heal completely.  And it's easier
for Xander to recover from the blood loss if you just kill him."  Wesley
picked up a brick and tossed it aside.  His gaze met Xander's.  "I'd
rather be holding you."

"Hold me when we get home.  The faster you dig him free, the faster we get
out of here."  Xander flicked Spike's ear with his free hand.  "Do it all
ready.  Your skinny ass doesn't need to be on a diet."

Spike, already looking stronger, looked from Xander to Wesley and back
again, wonder clear in his eyes.  He licked Xander's wrist once before
once more biting into the still-wounded flesh.  Xander shuddered and
closed his eyes, laying his head down on the bricks in preparation for

Wesley forced himself to look away and concentrate on pulling away the
bricks that covered Spike.  He paused for a moment when he saw Xander go
completely limp.  A few moments after that, Spike gently pulled Xander's
wrist away from his mouth, face returning to its usual human lines.  When
he freed Spike's other arm, the vampire began to help, shoving bricks away
from himself with controlled haste.  Finally, Spike was free.  He stood up
and swayed alarmingly.

"Are you all right?" Wesley asked, watching him worriedly.

"Give me a minute.  I was dying just a moment ago..." his voice trailed
away as he turned carefully to stare down at Xander's motionless form.

Wesley scooted over to Xander's side.  His lover hadn't died often, but
Wesley had absolutely hated it every time it happened.  He knew Xander was
going to revive, but that was hard to hold on to when he was lying so very
still.  "We need to get him home," he said.  "I'm not leaving him out
  He stared up at Spike.  "I can't carry you both."

"I can walk," Spike said, standing up straighter.  He staggered off the
pile of bricks.

Wesley watched him closely, but it looked like Spike was telling the
truth.  He was getting steadier by the minute.  The gash in his face had
already healed.  Immortal blood must be powerful indeed.  He turned his
attention back to Xander.  Carefully slipping his arms under his body,
Wesley cradled Xander close and rose to his feet.  He picked his way down
to the street and started walking quickly back toward their apartment.  He
didn't want to waste anytime.  Xander deserved to revive in a safe place.
"Let's go," he said.  "He's heavier than he looks."  Spike at his side, he
hurried through the dark streets.


Willow shook her head, hand pressed to her mouth in horror.  She couldn't
move beyond a slow, continual shaking of her head in denial of what she
had just seen.  Tears filled her eyes as Wesley carried the dead body of
her best friend down the street, Spike strolling along companionably at
his side.  As they turned the corner and moved out of sight, tears spilled
down her cheeks.

The harsh sob that broke loose inside of her destroyed the paralysis that
held her immobile and she turned and ran down the street, forgetting about
the dangers of Sunnydale at night.  None of that mattered.  All that she
could think of was getting to Buffy and Giles and finding a way to make
the horrible thing she had seen not real anymore.

She caught up with the others not far from where she had left them.  Oz
was already coming toward her, lips parted in alarm as he took in her
tears and distress.  "Willow, what happened?  Why did you sneak off like
that?  Are you all right?"  He caught her in his arms and held her close.
"What happened?"

Aware of everyone gathering around her in concern, she tried to pull
herself together.  Clinging tightly to Oz, she looked over his shoulder
and sought Giles and Buffy's gazes.  "I went back to tell Xander that we'd
found out where the guy was holing up.  I thought that we could use his
help and that Wesley would maybe do that spell again so we could drive him
out of the place he's hiding now."

"Why didn't you wait for me?" Oz asked.

"I can take care of myself," she said quietly.  "I just wanted to make
sure Xander was all right."  The tears came back.  "But he's not all
right.  Buffy..."

"What happened to Xander, Willow?"  Giles leaned closer to her, voice

"I don't know why Wesley did it.  He must have put Xander in a trance or
something.  I saw Xander lay down by Spike and put his wrist up to Spike's
mouth.  Spike, he..."  She swallowed hard.  "He drained Xander!"

"And Wesley just let this happen?" Buffy asked.

"He was digging Spike out from under the bricks while..."  A sob
interrupted her words and she burrowed deeper into Oz's embrace.

"Then what happened?" Buffy asked.

"Wesley picked up Xander's body and walked off with it.  Spike was with
him."  Her eyes widened.  "Do you think that Spike is going to turn him?"

"He's not going to have a chance," Buffy promised, face set in lines of

"Ah, perhaps you're being just a bit hasty," Adam suggested.  "There must
be some kind of other explanation.  Did you see Wesley put Xander in a

"No.  But he must have!  Why else would Xander let Spike kill him?"
Willow couldn't  believe the man was trying to rationalize what had
happened.  Xander was dead!

"Hey, Willow knows what she saw.  And what kind of explanation could there
possibly be?"  Buffy glanced back at the Immortal's new hideout.  "I'll
deal with this guy later.  Right now we've got to go find Xander's body.
I'm not letting Spike turn him.  I'm not going to let him do that to

Willow nodded shakily.  "We've got to stop him."

"Look, you don't want to go rushing into this," Adam said, hands raised in
a soothing gesture.

Buffy silenced him with a glare.  "You're right.  It's a little late to
begin rushing, since Xander is already dead."  Tears rose up in her eyes
and she blinked them away impatiently.  "But I'm not going to let Spike
give a demon possession of Xander's body.  He's my friend and I am not
going to let them desecrate him further."  She turned around and stalked
off the way Willow had come, Giles close behind her.

Willow gently pushed Oz away and met his gaze.  "We have to go do this.
For Xander."

He stared at her for a moment and then nodded.  "For Xander," he agreed.
He grabbed her hand and they hurried after Buffy.  She heard the strangers
slowly begin to follow, but that didn't really concern her.  She'd failed
Xander in letting him be killed.  She wasn't going to fail him any more
and allow him to be turned, too.


Wesley shifted Xander's weight again in his arms.  Their apartment
building was in sight, and it felt as though his lover got heavier with
every step he took.  The sparring and training had put new muscle on
Xander, muscle that Wesley loved to look at but was rapidly beginning to
hate to carry.

"I can take him for you," Spike offered.

Wesley was tempted to refuse, to keep Xander in his arms...but he was
getting heavy and someone needed to unlock the door.  He looked over at
the vampire, examining him critically.  He was walking steadily and
appeared completely recovered from his burial.  "All right," he agreed.

Spike took Xander into his arms, holding him tightly against his chest.
His hands were strangely gentle and he held Xander as though he was
worried he might break.

Wesley moved a few steps ahead of Spike so he could open the door quickly.
 No need to attract any more attention then they already had.  He led the
vampire up the stairs to the apartment, glancing back every few steps to
check on Xander.  He didn't know exactly when Xander would revive, but
past experience told him there was probably another half hour before his
lover would recover.

Spike started to take Xander into the bedroom.  Wesley reached out and
touched his arm.  "Not in there.  Take him to the bathroom."

The blond man cocked an eyebrow at him.  "Wouldn't he be more comfortable
on the bed?"

"He gets a bath, first."  He flushed a little under Spike's incredulous
stare.  "Look, he hates dying.  He says it's strange and frightening and
disorienting when he revives.  It helps if he is some where familiar and
if I'm with him.  He'll never admit it, but he feels better if he's had a
  Only, it's not the bath, exactly."

"It's the fact that you took the time to do it."  Spike walked past Wesley
and into the bathroom.

Wesley stared after him for a moment.  He hadn't expected that level of
insight from Spike.  He had the feeling that he was going to find out that
he'd underestimated Spike in a lot of ways.  A small smile on his face, he
followed Spike into the bathroom.  The vampire had turned on the water.
He had Xander propped up on the counter and was pulling his shirt up over
his head.  Spike dropped the shirt to the floor and helped to keep Xander
upright as Wesley knelt to remove his lover's shoes.  Together they slid
off his pants and underwear and carefully lowered him into the tub.

Wesley cupped his hand in the water and ladled it over Xander's head,
again and again until his hair was wet.  Reaching across the tub, Wesley
grabbed Xander's shampoo and lathered his hands with it before working it
into the dark strands.  As he did, he watched Spike carefully soap
Xander's skin, washing away the dust from the building's collapse.

Wesley watched Spike's face curiously, wondering what the other man was
thinking.  His hands wandered in gentle circles over Xander's skin, soft
touches for a man who could not feel them.  His eyes were wandering up and
down the length of Xander's body, tracing over every inch as though trying
to commit it to memory.  Once he'd finished Xander's upper body, he
shifted down to his feet, lifting each leg out of the water and paying
attention to every plane and curve.

Once he finished with Xander's legs, Spike looked over at Wesley.  He
grinned.  "Looks like only the best bits are left."

"They're *all* the best bits," Wesley countered.  "But I will take care of
these particular bits."

Spike bowed his head in acquiesce.  He relinquished the soap to Wesley,
then slid his hands under Xander and lifted his body from the water so the
former Watcher could finish washing his lover.

Wesley kept his ministrations fast but thorough.  He needed to get Xander
dry and into clothing soon.  He didn't want him to revive in the bath.
With Spike's help he rinsed all traces of soap and shampoo from Xander's
body.  He let Spike pull Xander completely from the tub and hold him while
Wesley toweled him dry.  He then led the way into Xander's bedroom.

He rooted through Xander's drawers until he found the flannel pants and
blue t-shirt that Xander loved to wear.  He turned around and froze,
captivated by what he saw.  Spike was carefully arranging Xander's limbs
on the bed, trying to make sure he was lying in a way that would be
comfortable.  Smiling, Wesley walked over to stand beside him.  "Let's get
him dressed, first."

Spike nodded.  Together they pulled the clothing onto Xander's lax form.
"Now what?" Spike asked.

Wesley looked down at his soaked shirt.  "Now I change."  He saw that
Spike's shirt was the worse for wear from the bath as well.  "You should
as well."  He doubted that Xander's clothes would fit him or Spike:  they
were both thinner than the dark-eyed man.  "Come with me."  He led Spike
into his bedroom and opened his closet.  He pulled out a gray shirt for
himself and found a black one for Spike.  "It's not as tight you usually
wear, but it should serve..."  His voice trailed away as he turned and
found that Spike had already peeled out of his wet shirt, tossing it into
the hamper as he grinned at Wesley.

"I'm sure it will work just fine, love."  Spike strolled forward, gaze
sweeping down Wesley's body and up again.  He reached out and pulled the
shirt from Wesley's frozen fingers.  "Thank you," he murmured, leaning in
closer.  He stared into Wesley's eyes for a moment, then slowly leaned

Wesley let his eyes close as cool lips pressed against his own.  He parted
his lips easily to the tongue that probed at them.  Spike tasted faintly
of cigarettes and strongly of whiskey, but underneath it all was Spike,
something ancient and dangerous and irresistible.  The feeling of strong
hands sliding around his waist shocked him back to awareness.  He stepped
out of Spike's embrace, shaking his head.  "We can't do this."

Spike's face fell, disappointment and hurt clouding his eyes before he
turned away.  Wesley reached out and grabbed his shoulder.  "Now, Spike.
We can't do this now," he qualified.  "We have to go back and wait for
Xander to revive."  He allowed his fingers to play over the hard muscle of
the other man's arm.

Spike turned around and searched his gaze intently for a moment.  He
nodded to himself, apparently satisfied with what he found.  He pulled on
his shirt and headed for the other bedroom.  "Come on, love, you don't
want him to wake up alone, do you?"

Stripping off his damp shirt and pulling on the new, Wesley followed him,
helpless to do anything else.  Once inside Xander's room, he climbed onto
the bed beside Xander, leaning up against the wall as he pulled his
lover's body across his lap, cradling him close.  He looked up as Spike
moved to sit beside him.  The vampire didn't say anything; he just shifted
so he too was supporting Xander.  Side by side, hands stroking over
Xander's hair and arms, they waited for him breathe once more.


The disorientation was what he hated most.  It was like waking up and
being hit in the head with a baseball bat at the same time:  he was
shocked to awareness and it was an incredibly unpleasant experience.  He
gasped for breath, lungs spasming back into rhythm as his muscles jerked
in helpless reaction.  Soothing hands stroked through his hair, over his
arms and back.

Too many hands.  Xander's eyes snapped open.  "What?"

Wesley smiled down at him.  "Welcome back," he said, undisguised relief in
his voice.  "We were beginning to get worried."

Beside Wesley, Spike peered down at him.  "How you doing, luv?"

"How should I know?  I just came back from the dead."  Xander raised his
head and looked himself over.  He was wearing his favorite Clothing of
Sloth and his hair was damp against the back of his neck.  He was laying
across Wesley's lap with Spike pressed close beside him.  He felt
surprisingly good, and he knew that a large part of that was due to
Wesley.  Who else would make sure he was clean and in his favorite
clothes?  He returned Wesley's intent stare, reading the concern in the
gray eyes.  "I'm not quite right," he said with a sigh.

"What's wrong?"  Wesley began to look him up and down, searching for the

Xander decided to spare him any more worry.  He reached up and slid one
hand around the back of Wesley's neck.  He tugged his lover down and
kissed him deeply.  He begged for entrance into Wesley's mouth with
teasing licks to Wesley's lips.  His lover acquiesced and Xander wrapped
his other arm around Wesley's shoulder so he could pull himself closer,
needing to reconnect with him.  Only when his lungs began to protest did
he pull away.  He smiled into Wesley's eyes.  "Now I'm fine."

Wesley laughed at him and shoved him off his lap.  Xander grinned and sat
up, crossing his legs and facing the two other men.  "What did I miss
while I was out?"  His gaze traveled over the vampire's body.  "Are you
all right?"

"I should be asking you that."  The blond spread his arms, putting himself
on display.  "Good as new.  Nothing quite like the blood of one of you for
curing what ails a vampire."  The smirk slipped from his face.  "Thank
you, Xander.  If you hadn't offered yourself up like that, I would have

Xander held Spike's gaze.  "I owed you.  I was too far away and you got
Wesley out of the way.  I couldn't just stand there and watch you die."

"Is that the only reason?"  Spike pouted in an exaggerated manner.   "And
here I was, thinking that you liked me."

Xander laughed.  "Spike, I do like you.  I've *always*  liked you."  He
fluttered his eyelashes and looked away.  "I just never believed that a
suave, sophisticated vampire like you could ever be interested in someone
like *me*."  Wesley's soft laughter in his ears, Xander looked back over
at Spike.  His own laughter faded as he saw the serious expression on the
vampire's face.  "Spike?"

"I do like you, luv.  More than that, really."  Spike rose up onto his
knees, placing himself in Xander's personal space.

Heat and anticipation curled through the dark-eyed man as Spike came
  He inhaled sharply and his gaze slid over to search out Wesley's.  His
lover nodded minutely, encouraging him.  One corner of Xander's mind noted
the slight flush on Wesley's cheeks and he guessed that something had
occurred between the two men while he had be incapacitated.

It was his turn, then.  He met Spike's gaze once more.  The blond man was
waiting patiently, not approaching but instead letting Xander decide what
to do next.  Xander leaned forward, reaching out and fisting his hand in
Spike's shirt.  He pulled the vampire toward him even as he leaned
forward.  His eyes slipped closed as he pressed his lips to Spike's.

He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting in a kiss from Spike.  He'd
thought about the man in more explicitly sexual terms, really.  Kissing
hadn't played a role in any of his favorite fantasies.

He was going to have to rectify that immediately.  Spike's lips were soft
against his own, persuasive and working in perfect tandem to coax Xander's
lips open.  Strong hands slid up his back to pull him closer.  He murmured
happily as Spike's tongue caressed his, tugging on the vampire's shirt,
needing to be even closer.  A quiet noise of protest escaped him when
Spike slowly pulled away with a final lick to his lower lip.  He forced
his eyes open.

Spike was smirking at him, but his pupils were dilated and his hands still
rested on Xander's shoulders.  "Oh, I definitely like you," Spike said.

Xander opened his mouth to deliver a wise-ass reply, but restrained
  He turned his head to check on Wesley.  He'd just made out with another
man right in front of his lover.  With Wesley's permission, of course, but

Wesley was flushed, his lips slightly parted.  His breath was coming
awfully fast.

"Wes?  Are you all right?"  Xander leaned away from Spike, suddenly
concerned.  What if Wesley had changed his mind?  God, what if Xander had
hurt him by kissing Spike?  "Wes, I-"

His words were lost as Wesley launched himself at him.  He opened his
mouth to try again and was silenced by Wesley's frantic kiss.  Xander
returned it with equal fervor, catching his lover's need and was swept
along by it.  Wesley gradually calmed and the kiss became a series of
short hard brushes of mouth over mouth.  "I love you," Wesley muttered in
between kisses.

"Wes, are you-"  Xander couldn't get the full question out before Wesley's
mouth was on his once more.

"I'm fine," Wesley said, still speaking in between kisses.  "More than
  The sight of you, with him..."  He claimed Xander's mouth once more
reluctantly giving it up.  "As you would say...very hot."

"Hey, what about me, then?"  Spike's voice insinuated itself into the
charged moment, joining him in the intensity that surrounded them.

Xander watched in delight as Wesley's lips curled upward at the corners.
He gave a nearly imperceptible nod.  Wesley's smile grew and he turned and
pounced on the vampire, driving Spike down onto the mattress.  Xander
propped himself up on his elbow and watched with interest as Wesley pinned
Spike's wrists to the bed on either side of his head.

"What about you indeed," Wesley mused.  "What is to be done with you?"

Spike interrupted his teasing by lunging upward and sealing his mouth to
Wesley's.  Wesley gave in and returned the kiss with enthusiasm.

Xander exhaled shakily.  Wes was right.  This was very fucking hot.  The
way Wesley moved on top of Spike, the sight of both men giving over to the
passion that drove them...it made him squirm on the bed, wanting to see
more.  Wanting to join them.

As if reading his thoughts, Wesley broke away from the kiss and
straightened, kneeling over Spike as he turned to face Xander.  "Xan?"
His voice was soft and thick with need as he reached a hand out toward

Xander scooted across the bed and took Wesley's hand, leaning against him
and Spike both.  He smiled at both men.  "So what's next?"

"I think that's obvious," Spike said, thrusting upwards against Wesley.

The gray-eyed man mock-scowled at him.  "This is somewhat serious, Spike.
It's obvious what we want to have happen next, but..."

"But?" Spike prompted.

"But are you going to end up eating us?" Xander said.  "And I mean that
bad kind of eating, not the fun sexy kind."

Spike stared at him for a second, then shook his head firmly.  "No, pet.
I'm not going to do that to you.  I like you two."  An amused leer spread
across his face.  "But can I nibble a little, sometimes?"

"If you're very, very good," Xander said.

"Or very, very bad," Wesley countered.

"I'll be very, very bad anytime you want me to, pet."  Spike stretched
comfortably and one of his hands began to creep up Wesley's thigh.

Wesley grabbed the wandering hand and immobilized it, lacing his fingers
through the vampire's.  He turned to meet Xander's gaze.  "Do you remember
what we did with the paddle?  I do believe that we'll be needing it."

Xander laughed at the look of consternation that was briefly flashed
across Spike's face.  The blond man quickly rallied.  "Didn't know you had
it in you," he said, something very much like respect in his voice.

Wesley cocked an eyebrow.  "But I haven't had it in me...yet."  He added a
little wiggle for emphasis.

Xander grinned.  This was looking more promising than he had ever dared
dream.  Spike sounded like he was interested in more than a one time
thing, which didn't bother Xander in the least.  He loved the way Wes was
having fun with Spike; anything that made his lover smile like that was
fine by him.  And having Spike around was certainly no hardship for
Xander.  Not when he knew he'd be able to get his hands on the vampire the
way he wanted to.

His musings were interrupted by the sound of the front door shuddering
under repeated blows.  "What the hell is that?  Have we pissed anyone off

Wesley frowned.  "No one that we've let live."  He climbed off Spike and
off the bed.

Xander reached down and picked up the 9mm he hid in one of his drawers as
he headed out the door, not sure what to expect but determined to be
prepared.  He made it half-way across the room before the door gave way
beneath the resounding blows and buckled inwardly.

Xander blinked.  "Buffy?  What the hell is going on?"

Buffy strode into the room, a stake clenched in each hand.  Behind her,
Riley, Willow, and Oz quickly followed, spreading out as they had so many
times before to cover her back.  Willow looked like she had been crying.
Even further back, in the hall, Giles, Joe and the other Immortals watched
through the doorway.

"Buffy?"  This wasn't right.  "Willow, did something happen?  What's going
on with the Immortal?"

"Shut up," she said, her voice harsh with determination.  "Don't bother
trying to lie to me.  I know what happened."

"Yeah, but apparently I don't, so would you mind filling me in?"  He heard
Wesley and Spike enter the room behind him.

Her face crumpled a little.  I didn't want to believe that it was true,"
she said.  After a moment, any sign of weakness was gone.  Her gaze slid
past him to the men behind him.  "You bastards."

"Nice to see you, too, Slayer."  Spike's drawl was thick with irritation.

"Buffy, what do you want?" Wesley asked.

"Don't talk to me.  I know what you did," she spat at him.  "How could you
do that to Xander?  I thought he was your friend!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Wesley demanded, stepping forward.

"Willow went back to get you.  She see it all.  She saw you make Xander
let Spike feed from him.  What did you do, bring him back here and have
Spike turn him?"

Shit.  His friends didn't know he was Immortal.  Of course that was the
only explanation that they could come up with for his resurrection.  And
with Spike's presence in the room, Buffy Spider-senses would be confusing
her about his true nature.  "Buffy, listen.  This isn't what you think."

"Shut up!"  She raised one of her stakes.  "You're not Xander any more.
You're a monster wearing his face.  Although not for much longer."

The stake waving beneath his nose was beginning to irritate him.  "Buffy,
just calm down and listen to me for a moment.  You don't know the whole
story.  Just give me a second and I can explain it to you."

"I'm not going to stand here and listen to your lies."

"For fuck's sake, give the man a chance to talk."  Spike moved restlessly
behind Xander.

Buffy snarled.  "Maybe I'll kill you first," she said, sidestepping
Xander.  "You never should have touched him."

Xander took a step back and stepped firmly in front of Buffy.  "You're not
going to kill anyone.  You need to calm down."  Not that she would.  She
was running on anger and passion, good when she was facing down a real
threat, not so good when she was wrong.  It was hard enough to get her to
listen to reason in normal situations; it was almost impossible when she
was this upset.

"Fine, if you want to be the first to die, I'll take care of you first."

"Buffy, would you just shut up for a moment and listen to me?  You've got
this wrong.  Willow did see Spike drink from me, but it didn't kill me."

"Being vampire means that you're dead," Buffy said snidely.

That was it.  He could appreciate that she was upset over his 'death'.
Really, he could.  But he was sick of only being able to get a few
sentences out at a time.  "Try pulling your head out of your ass and maybe
you'll be able to hear what I'm trying to tell you.  If you'd consider for
just a moment that you might not know all the facts just because you're
the Slayer, maybe you'd figure out what really happened."

She stared at him, and for a moment he'd thought he'd finally gotten
through to her.  "Xander would never say that to me," she whispered.

He didn't give her the chance to attack.  She wasn't going to listen to
him, not until he had her disarmed and gave her absolute proof that he
wasn't a vampire.  He'd probably have to sit on her to get her to hold
still long enough to listen.  He wasn't sure he could take her, but he had
to try.  He thrust upward with his forearm, knocking the stake in her
raised fist out of alignment with his body.  He intended to follow up with
a sweeping kick to her legs and then use the gun to make her stay down,
but he was thrown off balance when Riley rushed past him.  Xander scowled
as he watched the soldier move to block Wesley from coming to his aid.  He
realized that Willow and Oz were moving to counter anything Oz might do.

He snapped his attention back to Buffy, but it was too late.  She took
advantage of his momentary distraction.  "Goodbye, Xander," she said
quietly, before ramming the stake in her other hand home in his chest.

Xander stared at her in disbelief, agony ripping through his chest and
spreading outward throughout the rest of his body.  He never thought that
she'd actually do it.  Not his friend.  He never...


Quicker than thought, Spike moved across the room.  He tossed the witch
and the werewolf aside with no more effort than a human would expend in
tossing a pillow, and then he had Buffy by the throat.  Snarling into
gameface, he slammed her back against the wall, her feet dangling above
the floor.  While she gasped for air, Spike snapped a quick look over his

Wesley knocked Riley to the ground with a few vicious blows, then raised
his hands and began to chant quickly.  Flickers of light began to dance
around his fingers, sharp glints of dark colors that swirled restlessly
just above his skin.  He ended the chat and glared around the room.  "I
can kill any of you with a word now," he said in a deadly quiet voice.
"*Any* of you.  No one moves."

Spike turned his attention back to Buffy.  She was clawing at his wrist in
an attempt to break his hold, but it did her no good.  Her face was
turning a slowly darkening shade of red.  "You stupid, stupid girl."  He
shook her a little, knocking her head back against wall.  "He's a vampire?
 Xander's a vampire?  Then why the fuck hasn't he turned to dust?"

Her gaze moved past him to the body on the floor.  He watched as her eyes
widened and filled with tears.  She shook her head a little and the barest
whisper of denial escaped her.  "No..."

Behind him, he could hear Willow shriek from her place on the floor.  "Oh
my god.  You killed Xander!"  He resisted the urge to echo her with a cry
of 'you bastard'.

"Oh, yes, Slayer.  Yes.  That would be Xander's body on the floor.  His
*body*!  Which means he isn't a vampire.  Which means you just killed
him."  He loaded his words with contempt and loathing, wanting the full
import of what she had done to strike her like a hammer blow.  She had
just killed one of her best friends because she wouldn't trust him,
wouldn't take the time to listen to him.  Xander had only been trying to
protect Spike.

She had to pay.  He could rip her throat out so easily, kill her now when
her self-doubt and despair had made her completely weak and vulnerable.
The last emotions that she would ever experience would make her defeat
total.  He flexed his fingers, preparing to destroy her and take vengeance
for what she had done to Xander.

"No."  Wesley's voice cut through his homicidal intentions.  "Spike, don't
kill her."  Riley made a move to rise from the floor and Wesley gestured
negligently toward him.  A shower of sparks cascaded over Riley's skin and
the soldier writhed in silent agony.  That display of power quelled all
movement from others as well.

"She deserves it," Spike countered.

"Xander doesn't want her dead."

With that one sentence, Wesley won.  Spike wasn't going to kill Buffy if
it would upset Xander.  With a disgusted sigh, he released her and stepped
back, watching in satisfaction as she fell to the floor.  She crawled over
to Riley, carefully avoiding Xander's body.

Giles cleared his throat gently.  "Is Xander..."

"Dead?" Wesley finished for him.  "For the moment, yes."  Spike could tell
that Wesley wanted to go to his lover, but the spectacled man stood tall
and dispassionate, concentrating on the people he faced.

Spike was fighting the urge to pull the stake from Xander's chest.  He
wanted the other man to revive, wanted to hear him laugh and speak again,
wanted to have a chance to welcome him back to life with a kiss and
reassure himself that the dark-haired man really was all right.  He held
himself still, though, waiting to follow Wesley's lead.  For now, he'd
content himself with watching the other man's back.

"For the moment?"  Giles had removed his glasses and now wiped his hand
across his eyes.  "Don't play word games with me, Wesley.  Is there a
chance..."  His voice trailed away, filled with barely-there hope.

Spike felt a moment's pity for the man.  He knew the Watcher cared about
the young people under his care, had heard the exasperation he used to
hide the depth of his affection for Xander.  Giles hadn't done anything
wrong, besides failing to properly train his Slayer.

Wesley sighed.  "He will recover."  He stared down at Buffy as she rubbed
Riley's back, he gaze full of loathing.  "No thanks to you.  Did it feel
good to slam that stake into his chest?  To make the choice to ignore his
friendship and loyalty and everything he has given up for you and just
kill him?"  Buffy turned her face away from him, pressing her face into
Riley's shoulder.

Spike cheered mentally when Wesley dropped into a crouch, speaking
directly into Buffy's ear, his words sharp and cutting.  "Look at him.
Look!"  After she turned her head so she could see Xander, he continued
speaking.  "He has made the choice that he was going to stay here and risk
his life so he could try to keep you alive longer.  He came back because
he cared so much about all of you, your lives were more important to him
than his own.  And how do you thank him?  How?"

"I didn't know," she whispered.

"You never gave him the chance to explain.  You are arrogant, Buffy.  You
are the Slayer, not a god.  You are not infallible and your refusal to
admit that you can be mistaken has killed the best friend you will ever

She turned away with a sob, burying her face in Riley's shirt, unable to
look at Xander any longer.  Wesley slowly rose, a sneer distorting the
lines of his mouth as he stared down at her.

"Please, Wesley," Giles said, voice hoarse with emotion.  "Please explain
what you said."

"Please?" Willow echoed.  "Wesley, you said 'for the moment'."

"So I did."  Wesley glanced down at his hands, still alight with magic.
"Xander isn't exactly human," he said quietly.  "He's like the man we're
hunting.  He's an Immortal."

Spike knew the admission was difficult for Wesley to make.  He knew the
other man had to hate telling Xander's secrets, but the truth had to come
out now.  He noticed that Wesley wasn't looking at the other Immortals.
Apparently, he wasn't going to out them just yet.

"He can't be," Willow said, but Spike saw her sit up straighter as hope
fired in her eyes.  "I've known him since we were both little."

"That doesn't matter.  It's not something that you can see by merely
looking at him.  He himself didn't know until this summer.  That's how he
was able to give blood to Spike and recover from blood loss."  Wesley
looked up and met Giles' gaze.  "He will recover once more.  With time."

Giles sagged a little in relief and the red-haired Immortal was
immediately at his side, speaking quietly into his ear as he laid a hand
on the Watcher's back.  He was definitely going to have to keep an eye on
those two...when he wasn't keeping an eye on *his* two.

Spike turned his attention back to the Slayer, knowing that she had heard
Wesley's revelation.  She raised her head quickly, lashes wet with tears.
"He's not dead?"  A small smile appeared on her lips.  "He's going to be
all right?"  Spike opened his mouth to yell at her, to destroy the relief
his could hear in her voice.

Giles beat him to it.  "How can you think he's going to be all right?" he
demanded.  "Buffy, you just murdered him, stared into his eyes as you
killed him.  How can that possibly be all right?"

"But he attacked me!"

"He was only reacting to your attack on Spike.  For god only knows what
reason, Xander didn't want you to kill him for no reason.  Xander was only
trying to protect Spike who, for the first time in history, was actually
innocent.  And could you have truly believed you were in any danger from
Xander?  Did you forget about all of us here, ready to support you and
guard your back?"

Spike's first instinct was to object, but he didn't want to interrupt
Giles as he was just hitting his stride.

Buffy shook her head.  "Giles-"

"Buffy, there can be no excuses.  No explanations.  Tonight you have
failed your calling as a protector of humankind.  You killed a man who
wanted nothing more than for you to listen to him for a few moments.  I
don't know that you've ever acted so rashly, so callously in all the time
I've known you."  Giles removed his glass and stared down at them, sighing
deeply.  "I had thought you more mature, finally.  I had believed that you
were comfortable in your role, that you were ready to ascend to a new
level in your training and abilities."  He met Buffy's gaze.  "I was

The Slayer's eyes filled with tears once more as she stared at Giles.
Spike grinned viciously.  Stupid bitch was only getting what she deserved,
after all.  He watched in irritation as her lower lip began to tremble.
He recognized that move; Dru had always used that tremulous pout to try to
guilt him into doing whatever she wanted.  No way Buffy was going to make
it work for her this time.  He looked at Wesley and raised an eyebrow.

Wesley nodded minutely, then turned his attention to everyone else in the
room.  "Leave."

"What?  No," Willow protested.  "I want to stay and make sure Xander is
all right."

"Why?  So Buffy may take another crack at killing him?  Not tonight.  All
of you are going to get out so that I can tend to him."  He raised his
hands when Willow began to protest again.  "If I must remove you by force,
I shall."

Oz's hand on her shoulder, Willow nodded, but her eyes were mutinous.
"I'm going to check on him later," she warned.

"Because that worked out so well this time," Spike commented.  He smirked
at her glare and raised an eyebrow as if he couldn't understand the reason
for her animosity.  She didn't say anything else as Oz ushered her out the
door, but her gaze remained pinned on Xander until the last moment.

Joe and the Immortals left slowly, almost as though they were afraid to
leave the apartment.  Spike figured they were worried about having to
reveal their own secrets.  Although from what he remembered of Adam, the
man was going to find a way to weasel out of telling anyone anything.

He returned his attention to the three members of the Scooby Gang still
remaining in the room.  Buffy had pulled Riley into a sitting position and
wrapped her arm around him protectively, while Giles stood just inside the
doorway.  "What part of get out didn't you three understand?"

Riley clenched his jaw and spoke in an overly even voice.  "I'd get up if
I was certain Wesley wasn't going to zap me again."

Wesley stared mildly down at him.  "That depends entirely upon you.  Are
you planning on doing anything else foolish?"

Riley exhaled sharply, but limited his response to, "No."

"Then you may go."

With Buffy's help, Riley slowly climbed to his feet.  As the two of them
passed Giles, Buffy reached out the older man.  Giles shook his head.
"Outside," he said shortly.  Buffy let her hand fall and headed outside.
Giles lingered, his eyes on Xander's motionless form.  "You swear he will

"From death?  Yes."  Wesley waited for the older man to meet his gaze
before continuing.  "From being killed by one of his friends?  I don't

Giles nodded.  "Take care of him."  He sighed and left, closing the door
quietly behind himself.

Spike relaxed, finally sure that no one was going to try to hurt Wesley or
himself, or do any further damage to Xander.  As he watched, the sparks of
light flickered and died, disappearing from Wesley's hands.  "What now?"

"Now?  Now we get him cleaned up and wait for him to revive."  Wesley
sounded grim as he knelt beside Xander.

Spike sank down beside him, staring in wonder at the body.  He watched as
Wesley gently touched Xander's cheek as though the other man could feel
it.  "He's dead," he said softly, still hardly able to believe that Xander
could just open his eyes and breathe once more.  He knew the young man was
an Immortal, but he was so still and quiet that he could barely trust in
Xander's recovery.

"Ooh, look who knows so much, eh?  Well, it just so happens that your
friend here is only *mostly* dead."  A small smile touched Wesley's lips.
"It's one of his favorite movies," he said quietly.  "And one of mine,
now."  He reached out to wrap shaking fingers around the stake still
embedded in Xander's chest.

Spike placed his hand on top of Wesley's.  "Let me, love."  He gently
removed Wesley's hand, not wanting him to have to tear the piece of wood
from his lover's chest.  Wesley stared at him for a moment, then nodded
slowly, leaning back and leaving the task to Spike.

The vampire grasped the stake firmly, steeling himself a bit.  He wasn't
squeamish, but this wasn't just any human.  This was Xander, a man who had
died twice for Spike, a man who Spike had come to respect and desire
fiercely.  Jaw tense, he pulled hard on the stake, pulling it loose from
the resisting flesh.  He tossed it easily into the trash, not wanting to
look at it, not wanting Wesley to have to see it.  He glanced back down at
Xander, slightly disappointed not to see any change.  "How long is this
going to take?"

"I don't know," Wesley admitted.  "He hasn't died so often that I have
much to compare it to."  He brushed Xander's hair back from his forehead.

Spike didn't like how quiet he was.  "So what now?  Another bath?"

A bitter life escaped Wesley.  "I don't know if a bath can fix this."

How was Xander going to handle how he'd died?  How was Wesley?  Spike
pushed his worries away with the ease of long practice, focusing on the
present and what he could actually control.  He slid his hands under
Xander and pulled the lax body into his arms, standing as he did so.
"Let's get the blood washed away, at least.  Get him some fresh clothing."
 He watched the other man, waiting for his response.

Slowly, Wesley stood.  "Let's take care of Xander," he agreed.

Spike smiled and leaned in to Wesley, rewarding him with a swift kiss.
The rest, all the decisions, all the worry, it could wait.  Right now,
they just needed to focus on Xander.  Cradling Xander as though the other
man could feel him, he carried him back to the bathroom.


Xander gasped as he revived, desperately pulling air into lungs that
abruptly began to work once more.  He had no chance to try to orient
himself or figure out how he had died before he was pulled into strong
arms.  His eyes flew open and he had time to see the expression of pure
need on Wesley's face before his lover's lips were covering his own.  He
didn't understand what was driving Wesley but he didn't fight the sensual
assault; he gave himself over to the kiss, trying to give Wesley whatever
it was that he needed.  Laying on top of Wesley, he relaxed and became
utterly compliant.

The feeling of curious hands on his back told him he and Wes weren't
alone:  Spike was still there.  Xander wanted to remember what had
happened, wanted to know what had so upset his lover, but the taste of
Wesley and the way he was moving desperately against him drove all thought
from his mind.  When cool lips pressed against the back of his neck, he
moaned and thrust harder into Wesley.

When Wesley tried to end the kiss, Xander murmured unhappily and followed
his mouth, not wanting the pleasure to end.  Wesley indulged him for a few
more moments, then pushed hard on his shoulders, forcing him away.
"Xan...Xander!  Please, I need to talk to you."

Xander opened his eyes and nodded reluctantly, swayed by the serious look
in Wesley's eyes and his own question.  "What was all that about, then?"

"I just needed you to know I love you," Wesley said quietly.  He looked
past Xander.  "We both wanted you to know that we're here."

The presence at Xander's back slid over to the side, so Spike could see
both Xander and Wesley.  "I'm not going anywhere," he said quietly.

The concern in Spike's gaze rattled Xander more than the worry in
Wesley's.  "Guys, what's going on?  Did I miss..."  His voice trailed away
as the memories crashed in on him.

Reviving the first time...

Finally kissing Spike...

Arguing with Buffy...

The stake...

"I can't believe she did it," he said, feeling numb.  "I never thought she
really would do it."  He'd been so sure that he'd be able to get her to
just shut up for a few minutes and listen to him, that he'd be able to
explain to her what he was.  It was going to be hard to give up his
'normal guy' status, but he knew he was going to have to do it. At least
he would've been keeping one less secret from his friends.

He pressed his face into Wesley's chest, inhaling deeply to catch the
comfort of his scent.  "What happened after...after?"  Two hands, one
warm, one cool, rubbed slow circles on his back.

"After Spike picked Buffy up by her neck?"

Xander's head shot up at Wesley's words.  He stared at Spike.  "You didn't
hurt her, did you?"

"I told you," Wesley said, his remark clearly directed at the vampire.

Spike shook his head.  "I didn't hurt her.  I wanted to, but Wes told me
that you didn't want her dead."

Xander cocked an eyebrow.  "And that stopped you?"  He hadn't thought
anything could stop Spike from killing Buffy if he had the chance.

The blond man leaned in toward Xander, gaze locked on Xander's lips.
Before Xander could ask him what he was looking at, Spike captured his
mouth in a searching kiss.  Xander could taste lust and relief in the
kiss, as well as affection and something deeper that he couldn't quite

When Spike broke the kiss, he caught Xander's lower lip between his teeth
and worried it for a moment before pulling away completely.  "Course it
stopped me," he said with a serious expression.  That expression was soon
replaced with his usual smirk.  "After all, I wouldn't want to do anything
to put you off, now would I?"

Xander couldn't help smiling back a little.  There was just something in
the spark in Spike's eyes, something in the absolute deviltry that never
quite disappeared from his gaze that was irresistible.  He relaxed back
onto Wesley's chest, this time with Spike's fingers stroking through his
hair.  "So after you didn't kill Buffy?"

"And after Wes floored Riley and threatened to kill the next person that
so much as moved with the whirly bits of light surrounding his hands?"

Xander thumped Wesley on the chest with a loose fist.  "What were you

"Stopping them from doing anything else stupid.  Buffy had used up all of
their quotas for the next year."  Wesley's arms tightened around Xander's
waist.  "I wasn't going to let them do anything else that could hurt you."

Xander tilted his head and kissed Wesley's throat.  "I understand," he
said quietly.  "So then what happened?"

"I attempted to make Buffy aware of the gravity of her actions and then I
explained to everyone why you hadn't turned to dust."

"So they know I'm Immortal?"

"Yes.  There was no other way to explain that you would return.  After I
told them about you, I asked everyone to leave and Spike and I waited for
you to recover."

"You left out the part when Giles tore the Slayer a new one," Spike said
with a low laugh.  He caught Xander's questioning look.  "He was more than
a little angry that she killed you.  She's not going to be able to flutter
her eyelashes and get out of this one."

Xander sighed and rubbed his cheek against Wesley's chest.  Buffy was his
friend; she had saved his life more times than he wanted to admit.  He was
pissed as hell with her for killing him, but there was no way he could
just write her off.  It was going to take time, but soon he'd be able to
get past this.  He had to.  He was part of her support and he wasn't going
to back down from the role he had decided to play as the Slayer's backup.
With Giles obviously angry with her, he rather thought this time she was
actually going to learn the value of listening and thinking before she
acted.  "Now what are we going to do?"

"You can call Giles tomorrow," Wesley said firmly.  "Perhaps Willow as
well, as she seemed to be most concerned about you.  But for right now,
you are going to rest."

Xander wriggled a little on top of Wesley.  His lover was ordering sleep,
but Xander could feel Wesley's erection digging into his pelvis, could
feel the barest hint of trembling tension in the arms that were still
locked tight around him.  Wes was clearly in no mood for going to sleep

Good.  Neither was Xander.  He'd felt this before, after an intense fight:
 the adrenaline rush refused to fade until he found some way to release
it.  Sex was definitely the most effective, and most fun, way to do so.
Reviving after dying produced the same restless need within him; he needed
to find a way to be rid of it or he'd lie awake until he finally gave it
to exhaustion.  He raised his head.  "Could I have a goodnight kiss?" he
asked innocently, resisting the urge to bat his eyelashes.

Wes smiled at him.  "Of course.  Anything like you want."  He slid one of
his hands up Xander's back, bringing it up to cradle the back of Xander's
head and he pulled him closer for a kiss.  Wesley brushed his lips against
Xander's, a gentle caress no doubt intended to soothe him before he slept.

Too bad Xander had other plans.  He slipped his own hands up to wrap his
fingers in Wesley's hair and refused to end the kiss.  Instead, he
deepened it, insinuating his tongue between Wesley's lips, sweeping it
into the sweet mouth he had come to crave. He planted his knees on either
side of Wesley's hips on the mattress, refusing to be dissuaded by
Wesley's hands pushing against his shoulders.  He rocked against Wes,
sweet friction for both of them even through the clothing they both still
wore.  Finally the need to breathe forced Xander to release Wesley's
mouth.  He stared down at his lover, panting.


He kissed away Wesley's protests.  "You said whatever I wanted, remember?"

"You need to rest!"

"I need you more."  As Xander leaned back down to claim Wesley's mouth
once more, he felt the mattress shift as Spike stood up.

"It looks like you two are going to be busy," the vampire said, staring
down at a point somewhere off to Xander's left.  "I'm going to find a
place to stay before the sun comes up."

Xander stared at him.  Didn't Spike know that they wanted him there?  That
they wanted him to stay?  He looked back down at Wesley.  He caught his
lover's exasperated grin and shared it.  As one, they reached out and
grabbed Spike's arm, jerking him back down onto the bed.

When Spike tried to protest, Xander leaned over and stared into his eyes,
his lips a hair's breadth from the blond man's.  "And what makes you think
that you get to go anywhere?"  He watched as blue eyed darkened with
desire as each word sent warm breath brushing over Spike's lips.  "We've
got plans for you."  He licked Spike's lower lip slowly, wetly.  When the
vampire reached for him, Xander backed away.  "Aren't you a little

"So are you," Wesley said.

Before Xander could respond, his shirt was jerked up over his head.  He
fought free of the material, gaining control of it and pulling it away
from Wesley, who stared unrepentantly up at him.  Xander balled up the
shirt in preparation to toss it to the floor.  He glanced at it briefly
and froze.

"What's the matter?" Spike asked, his own shirt in his hands.

"This isn't the shirt that I was wearing before.  Does that mean..."

"Sorry, Xander," Wes said.  "It was ruined."

He loved that shirt.  The cotton had been so soft and worn and it had fit
him perfectly.  "I'm going to miss that shirt."

"I know," Wesley said in a soothing voice.

"Let us take your mind off it," Spike suggested.

"I think you'd better," Xander laughed.  He reached down to grab the hem
of Wesley's shirt, but the other man batted his hands away.  "Wes, you
have to get naked for this."

"I know, but you're not going to help.  This is about you, Xan."  Wes
hooked his fingers in the waistband of Xander's pants.

"No, it isn't," Xander disagreed.  He reached out and started to play with
the button of Spike's jeans.  "It's about us."

Spike growled and pounced on Xander, knocking him off to the side of
  Between his and Wesley's efforts, they soon had Xander naked and
his clothes removed by teasing, tickling fingers.  He squirmed on the
mattress, protesting through his laughter at their refusal to let him

Wesley stared down at him from his right.  "You want us to be naked as

"Yes!"  Xander reached up, but his hands were once more knocked away.

"You just keep your hands to yourself," Spike said from Xander's left,
managing to sound prim.  That was ruined by the way he leered at Wes as he
jerked the gray-eyed man's shirt over his head.  Wesley was an eager
participant, raising his arms over his head to help.  He then reached over
to unfasten Spike's jeans.

Xander watched open mouthed as the two men stripped away the last of their
clothing.  He looked from one to the other and back again, greedily taking
in the sight of lean muscles and pale flesh.  He began to pant as Wesley
slid one hand around the back of Spike's neck and pulled him in for a
kiss, their lips meeting above Xander's body.  The kiss deepened as their
hands began to roam over each other's body and Xander whimpered, loving
what he was seeing and wanting to be a part of it.

Wesley turned his face to the side and stared down at him, arching his
neck as Spike nipped and sucked at his ear.  "Was there something you
wanted?"  A soft teasing smile played at the corners of his mouth.

"Please," Xander said, clenching his hands into fists at his sides to stop
himself from reaching out.  "Please, Wes, I want you.  I want you both."

"You must do better than that," Wesley chided.

Xander licked his lips.  "I want to be inside you.  I want to stare down
into your eyes as I fill you and I want to hear you say my name every time
I thrust into you and I want to feel you come and taste your scream when
you do.  Please, Wes; I want fuck you."

"Since you ask so nicely," Wesley said, his breath coming faster, "you

Xander reached out a hesitant hand and skimmed it up Wesley's thigh.  When
his touch was allowed, he scrambled to sit up and wrap his arms around
Wes, kissing him with desperation and need.  He pushed Wesley down onto
the mattress, his lips wandering over his face as he fumbled with the
drawer, forcing it open and finding the lube.  His hand was shaking too
badly for him to open the tube with just one hand, but he didn't want to
stop touching Wesley with the other.

His problem was solved when Spike plucked the tube from his fingers.  "Let
me help you, pet."  He opened the tube and emptied a portion of its
contents onto Xander's fingers.

Kneeling up over Wesley, Xander managed to stop stroking the other men's
sweat-damp skin for a moment and reach out to Spike.  He cupped the pale
man's cheek and drew him close for a grateful kiss.  He sucked
suggestively on Spike's tongue, then released him with a grin and a
teasing promise:  "Later."

A pinch to his nipple made Xander gasp and glare down at Wes.  "Aren't you
forgetting something?" Wesley asked, elegantly raising an eyebrow.

Xander frowned and looked up at the ceiling.  "Hmm.  Got rid of
clothes...found lube...made out with Spike..."  He gasped as Wesley
tweaked his other nipple.  "Oh, yeah.  What was I thinking?"  He leaned
down and brushed his lips over Wesley's, then quickly made his way down
the body beneath him.  He paused at Wesley's nipples and scraped his teeth
over them in a playful gesture of vengeance.  He continued downward,
stopping only when his mouth was hovering over the erection that jutted so
pleadingly from Wesley's body.  Gaze locked on Wesley's face, he exhaled
heavily, drinking in the sight of Wesley's face screwed up in pleasure.
He slid his lubed fingers beneath Wes even as he moved his other hand over
the soft flesh of his inner thighs, down to his balls and then back again
in a teasing caress.
  As he slowly pushed on finger inside of Wesley, he lowered his mouth
his erection, humming in delight as he tasted his lover once more.

Wesley moaned and thrust up into his mouth, hands landing hard on Xander's
shoulders and fingers digging into the muscles there.  Xander bobbed his
head up and down, then crooked his finger within Wesley's body.  That move
caused Wesley to push himself back onto his finger.  With a few deft
twists of his finger and clever manipulations of his tongue, Xander soon
had Wesley bucking beneath him, straining to reach the pleasure offered to
him but not sure which to try to reach first.

Xander slid a second finger inside of Wesley and almost choked in surprise
as lubed fingers breached his own opening.  Soft lips caressed his spine
as Spike slowly stretched him as he prepared Wesley.  He was barely able
to concentrate on not letting Wesley come with the sensation of skilled
fingers teasing him with maddeningly random movements.

Satisfied that Wesley was ready, Xander slowly released his lover's
hardness with a finally reluctant lick.  As he sat up, Spike withdrew his
fingers and moved to lie beside Wesley, a look of avid interest on his
face.  Xander slowly slicked his own erection with lube, gaze darting from
one man to the other.  As Wes wrapped his legs around his waist, Xander
pressed himself within his lover, sighing with pleasure at the feeling of
slick heat welcoming him home.

He held himself still within Wesley, refusing to move for a moment, just
absorbing the feeling of being united with his lover once more.  Finally,
he could ignore Wesley's protests no longer and he thrust slowly, the
smooth glide sweet to his senses.  His eyes slid shut as he gave himself
over to the pleasure.  Something intruded on the haze in which he was
losing himself, adding to it, making it different from what he had known
before.  He opened his eyes and stared into Spike's as the vampire skimmed
his hand down his back.  He smiled invitingly and Spike moved closer,
raising his other hand to explore Wesley's chest.

After a few moments they had found their rhythm:  Xander driving into
Wesley with ever-increasing speed as Spike kissed whatever skin was
closest to his lips as his hands did magical things to Wesley's cock,
judging by the sounds Wes was making.  Passion pushed Xander farther into
ecstasy, pushed him with the willing help of Wesley's undulations and
Spike's caressing tongue.  Beneath him, Wesley cried out sharply as he
came, warm seed spattering Xander's chest and Spike's hands.  The sight of
Wesley's completion, the feel of him and Spike's delighted laughter drove
Xander over the edge and into his own orgasm.  He shuddered above Wesley,
panting as he came down from the heights and lowered his head to kiss
Wesley deeply.  As he slipped from Wesley's body, cool hands urged him
down to lay between Wes and Spike.  He obeyed their suggestion and sank
down onto the bed, still exchanging needy kisses with Wesley.

Xander could feel the siren call of lethargy that always followed an
intense orgasm, but Spike was moving restlessly behind him, reminding him
that the vampire had been left behind.  For the moment, at least.  He was
gathering his willpower to fight the drowsiness when Spike's fingers
circled the entrance to his body.  Before Xander could say anything, Spike
was pressed up tightly against his back, one hand still playing up and
down the cleft of his ass while his other arm wrapped around Xander's
chest to hold him close.

"You're warm," Spike murmured, speaking into Xander's ear in a husky
murmur that sent shivers down his spine.  "You're both so warm."

"One of the many fringe benefits to being alive," Xander said, arching
back into the touches with an amused grin.  "We also get to breathe and
enjoy food for reasons other than grossing out humans."

Spike nuzzled closer to him, embrace growing tighter.  "But you weren't
warm a little while ago.  You were as cold as I am."  He nibbled at the
nape of Xander's neck.  "So cold and still that I could barely believe
that you'd ever move again."

Xander met Wesley's gaze.  He knew what Spike was feeling; the vampire
wanted to reassure himself that Xander was truly all right, that he was
whole and healthy and alive.  Xander felt the same urge himself; every
time Wes was endangered he experienced the same need to reaffirm his
lover's life.  Wesley nodded, his gaze sharpening with interest and desire
as he gave silent permission.

Sure that Wesley wasn't going to object, Xander relaxed completely into
Spike's caresses.  The vampire reacted to his unspoken agreement by
increasing his attention to Xander's neck, sucking avidly at the pulse
point beneath his lips.  Xander should have been frightened; vampires and
necks were a deadly combination.  Instead, he lolled his head to the side,
giving Spike better access to his neck and murmured in approval as blunt
teeth scraped across his skin.

Xander twisted in Spike's arms, wanting to have his mouth again, wanting
to feel the skillful passion that had surprised him so much before.  He
slid his hands around Spike, reaching down to cup his ass and pull him
closer as he lapped at the blond man's mouth with his tongue, teasing
darts across soft lips.  Spike didn't suffer the teasing for long:  with a
muffled snarl, he crushed Xander's lips to his, tongue probing ruthlessly
into the young man's mouth.  His hands wandered down Xander's back and
soon his fingers were teasing the entrance to Xander's body, dipping
within and continuing the stretching that Spike had begun earlier.

When warm arms crept around his chest and fingers brushed over his
nipples, Xander began to thrust in earnest against Spike, needing relief
from his renewed arousal.  To his displeasure, Spike easily pushed him

Blue eyes sparked with mischief and want.  "I'm not going to let it be
over so fast, pet.  I've got other plans for you."  A twist of the fingers
within Xander left no doubt as to what those plans were.

Xander moaned and shoved himself backwards, loving the flashes of pleasure
that ripped through him as Spike's fingers found his prostate.  "If you've
got the plan, then hurry up and act on it."

Spike grinned and kissed him hard, then pulled away from him completely,
even taking away the fingers that were doing such wonderful things to
Xander.  Before Xander could protest, Spike used his greater strength to
flip him around and was pressed up against his back.

Xander found himself staring into Wesley's eyes.  He reached out mutely
for his lover and was gifted with a tender kiss.  The kiss intensified as
he reacted to the feeling of Spike's hands on hips, heavy and possessive.
He groaned into Wesley's mouth as Spike's hardness pressed within him,
coolness stretching him, filling him with pleasure.

"So warm," Spike said, his voice full of wonder.  "You're so warm."  He
thrust carefully into Xander, as though frightened that he might break.

With Wesley's fingers trailing over his erection in a teasing pattern that
denied him any real friction, Xander was in no mood to be coddled.
Release was dancing just out of his reach, need for it burning through
him.  He shoved himself back against Spike.  "I'm not going to break," he

Behind him, Spike froze for a moment.  His grip on Xander's hips tightened
painfully for a moment, and then he pulled out of him, taking away the
cool source of pleasure that had speared him so perfectly.  He hauled
Xander to his knees and plunged back into him. Xander arched his back with
a wordless cry, ecstasy driving his breath from him.  Spike thrust into
him again and again with increasing force.  "Perfect," the vampire panted.
 "Both of you..."

Xander shuddered and looked down at Wesley.  The gray-eyed man slowly rose
to his knees and knelt facing Xander.  His eyes dark, his lips wet, he
reached down and firmly wrapped his fingers around Xander's erection.
There was no more teasing; Wes stroked him firmly, expertly.  Wesley
watched Xander eagerly.  His gaze slid past him, looking over his
shoulder.  An evil little grin twisted his lips, and the wonderful
friction slowed down and stopped.  At the same time, Spike's thrusts lost
their frantic pace and power, until the vampire was buried inside of him,


Wesley shushed Xander by brushing the back of his fingers against Xander's
cheek.  "Shhh," he whispered, leaning forward, licking his lips.  At the
last moment, he moved past Xander, ignoring the dark-eyed man's parted
lips and kissing the vampire behind him.

Xander whimpered piteously as Wesley pressed closer against him but
completely ignored him in favor of kissing Spike.  Loudly.  Wetly.  Xander
could hear it all, feel the effects it was having on each man, but wasn't
allowed to participate.  Spike was holding him immobile, refusing to allow
him to thrust either backward or forward.  Wesley was sweaty and hot and
delicious against him, but he wasn't doing anything else except leaning
against Xander.

Wesley's moan of pleasure pulled another whimper from Xander.  He dropped
his head and ran his tongue over Wesley's shoulder, stealing the traces of
sweat there.  He watched with desperate eyes as Wes raised one of his
  A hitching sob escaped him as the hand by-passed him and reached over
shoulder for Spike.  He couldn't turn far enough to see what his suddenly
evil love was doing, so he kept his gaze pinned on Wesley's face as the
Englishman pulled away from the kiss.  Wesley was still looking at Spike
as he nodded encouragingly.  "Do it," he said, his voice irresistibly
husky.  There was a pause and then Wesley's mouth dropped open as he
inhaled sharply.  His eyes widened for a moment, then his lids drooped in
hazy pleasure.

Soft sucking sounds teased Xander's ears.  He twisted his head but
couldn't see anything.  He looked back over at Wes, staring greedily as
his lover began to pant a little.  "I didn't know," Wesley murmured.  "I
never...I didn't know."

Son of a bitch.  Spike was biting Wesley.  Wesley had offered his wrist to
him and the vampire was sucking at it right then.  Wes was getting off on
it, and judging by the tiny involuntary thrusts that were just frustrating
the hell out of him, so was Spike.

It wasn't fair and Xander wasn't just going to sit there and *not* take
it.  He jammed his elbow back into Spike's side.  Spike grunted in
startlement, and Wesley pouted as his wrist was released so Spike could
begin to demand an apology.  Xander didn't spare a moment to listen.  He
shoved Wesley down onto the bed and moved to follow him, falling forward.
With his arms still wrapped in a vise-like grip around Xander, Spike had
no choice but to follow him.  Glaring down at Wesley as he propped himself
up over him, Xander growled.  "That wasn't nice."

Wesley stared at him for a moment, then his lips quirked in that sexy evil
smile and he thrust up against Xander.

All his righteous indignation disappeared.  All that mattered was the
friction he so desperately needed was back.  He thrust down against
Wesley, everything forgiven.  His movement got Spike back with the program
and soon the vampire was once more pistoning his hips, driving himself in
and out of Xander.  When sharp teeth scraped over his shoulder, Xander
cried out.  "Yes!  Spike-"  He didn't have to ask twice.  A sharp pain
sliced into his shoulder and then he felt the same amazing sense of
connection as before, the same fainting pleasure that burned its way
through his veins.

He dropped his head and kissed Wesley deeper.  Wes thrust harder up
against him a few more times and shouted as he came.  The feeling of
Wesley's come on his skin was the final bit of stimulation Xander needed.
He arched his back as he came, gasping as pleasure crashed through him.
He relaxed down on top of Wesley, holding him close as Spike thrust into
him frantically and licked at the bite on his back.  After a few moments
Spike came as well, sprawling across Xander's back as he relaxed into a
boneless heap.

After a moment, Xander worked up the will to shove himself over to the
side of Wesley, causing Spike to roll off of him as well.  Xander
immediately half-crawled back on top of Wes, wanting to be close to him.
He sighed in absolute contentment as Spike moved to spoon up behind him.
"Oh, yeah.  I'm so keeping both of you."

Spike laughed.  "Just try getting rid of me."

Xander shared a grin with Wes.  Looked like they were going to get to keep
the vampire around for a while.  A yawn caught him by surprise.

"Sleep," Wesley said firmly.

Xander wasn't going to argue.  He was sticky and sweaty and completely
exhausted.  He was sandwiched between the man he loved and a man he was
coming to care very much about.  He had no plans on moving anytime soon.


"I still think we should at least have called Giles," Xander said,
checking the alley in front of him for any hidden dangers.

"No,"  Wes and Spike answered in unison.  Spike scowled.  "Telling the
Watcher is as good as giving Buffy a ring.  Rather not have to kill her

Xander stopped walking.  "Spike, are you feeling all right?"

"Fine.  Why?"

"You did just say that you didn't want to kill Buffy," Wes pointed out.

"I don't want to kill her *tonight*.  Xander would get all upset and it
would take forever to get him calmed down and there'd be no way to
actually get him into bed at all."  Spike heaved a tragic sigh.  "No help
for it, is there?  I'll just have to let her live to slay another day."

Xander grinned at him.  As much as he knew that they should call Giles,
should let everyone know that he was recovered, he didn't want to.  Doing
so would mean that he had to deal with his friends and he wasn't quite
ready for that.  Not just yet.  He wanted to be sure that he had a handle
on his own anger toward them first.  Their friendship was important to him
and he didn't want to lose them because he didn't give himself enough time
to calm down and sort himself out before seeing them again.  He resumed
walking, carefully staying aware of the area around him even as he
strained to catch a hint of the buzz that would warn him of another
Immortal's presence.  Between Wes, Spike, and himself, they should be able
to take out the crazed man on their own and leave the Scooby Gang
completely out of it.

Xander approached the next alley and glanced down it.  Movement caught his
eye and he snapped his fingers a few times to signal that he was stopping.
 He entered the mouth of the alley cautiously.  Maybe it was a cat.  Just
a cat.  He didn't have to bother a cat.  If it was an unlucky homeless
person who hadn't heard the warnings to stay away from Sunnydale, he'd
take the person to the police station and leave him or her with a firm
warning to stay out of town and as much cash as he had on him.  If it was
a vampire or some other malevolent demon...his hand tightened on the stake
in his belt.  "Hello?"

"Funny," chuckled a low voice.  "I didn't call for take out."

Xander rolled his eyes.  "What, is there some sort of lame-ass threat
manual that they hand to you guys as soon as you come popping out of


"I've only heard that line a few *hundred* times.  Could you at least
extend yourself to the point of being original, maybe?"

The vampire came out of the shadows  He was obviously a fledging and
overly enamoured of the whole evil-creature-of-the-night deal.  He was
dressed all in black leather, fully in game face as he slinked out of the
shadows.  "I thought it was pretty good."

"It probably was pretty good when someone came up with four years ago.
Now it's just tired."

"Like you could do any better," the fledgling sneered.

"Listen, pal, I have done better under far more trying circumstances."
Xander took an aggressive step forward and poked the vampire in the chest
with his finger.

"Prove it!"

"Fine.  Is that a stake sticking out of your chest or are you just happy
to see me?"

The fledgling glanced down at his chest.  "What the hell are you talking
about?  There's no-"  His words cut off as he turned to dust.

Xander grinned down at the stake in his hand.  "Moron."  He turned and
headed back into the street.

"Everything all right?" Wesley asked.

"Just doing my part to raise the collective IQ of the Hellmouth."  Xander
put his stake away with a sardonic grin.  He moved to walk past Wesley,
but his lover caught him by the arm.  "Problem?"

"I think you've got a bit of ash on your cheek."

Xander recognized the gambit.  He didn't make Wes play the game; instead,
he fisted his hand in Wesley's shirt and jerked him closer, taking his
mouth in an aggressive kiss.  He found no resistance and Wes responded
eagerly.  Trusting in Spike to watch their backs, Xander slid his hands
around Wes and pulled him close, sliding his hands down to cup his ass and
caress the warm flesh as he brushed his groin teasingly over Wesley's.
Long fingers twisted in the hair at the back of his head as Wes expressed
his appreciation.

"Xan, stop."  Spike's voice was low, urgent.

Xander groaned and began to end the kiss reluctantly.

"Now!  Wes, make him...fuck.  Never mind."  Spike's voice was one part
irritation, one part anticipation.

Not releasing Wes, Xander turned his head to face Spike.  "What's your

"Me?  I don't have a problem.  I was quite enjoying the show.  But I think
the critics over there aren't quite as impressed."

Xander followed the direction of Spike's nod.  "Shit."  Buffy, Willow and
Riley were staring at them open-mouthed, while Giles had his glasses off
and Oz had raised an eyebrow.  The Immortals and Joe were looking amused
and uncomfortable to varying degrees.  He'd been so wrapped up in Wesley
that even when he felt their approach he'd ignored it, sure that they
weren't with the Scoobies.

"Oops," Wesley murmured.

"Oops is right."  Xander sighed.  "They were going to find out sooner or
later.  You know what this means, don't you?"

"Yes," Wes said.  "When Buffy and Riley begin to crawl on top of each
other during a meeting, I can grope you, too."

Xander laughed and rewarded him with a short kiss.  "Time to face the
music."  He stepped away from Wes.  "Hey, guys."

"Xander?"  Willow sounded hesitant, as if unsure that it was really him.

"Hey, Willow."  He took a step forward in concern as she leaned heavily
onto Oz.  "Wills?  You ok?"

"Yeah, I think so.  Are you?"

He held out his arms.  "Good as new."  He shifted his gaze over to Buffy.
"My clothes were toast, but I'm all right."

"I didn't know," Buffy protested.

"You didn't give me a chance to tell you, did you?"  Xander got ready to
counter her next protest, but was distracted by a sudden sense of knowing.
 "Never mind.  We'll finish this later - after we take care of the bad
guy."  He pointed over to the left.  "He's lurking over there."

Buffy hesitated, then nodded.  "Fine.  Business first."

"Meeting at my house later," Giles said firmly.  His look took in Joe and
the Immortals as well.  "Everyone has some explaining to do."

Wesley at his side, Xander lead the way in the direction that he felt the
deranged Immortal.  He studied the collection of small shops.  "I don't
think he'll be in the vitamin shop."

"And I doubt he is creeping about in search of greeting cards."

"That leaves the dry cleaners and the comic book shop."  Xander glanced at
his lover.  "Comic book shop."

Beside them, Spike tossed his cigarette into the gutter.  "Just hope he
isn't looking for ideas for his new costume."

Xander shuddered as he imagined the Immortal in spandex.  "We've got to
stop him."  He glanced back at the others.  "I'm going to try to get him
out on the street.  I don't want him to be throwing any magic around in a
tight place."

"Sounds good to me," Buffy said.  "We get him out here and kick is ass."

"How are we getting him out here?" Duncan asked.

"He went after Wesley before," Riley said hesitantly.

"And Willow the time before that," Xander said.  "We're not going to use
anyone as bait."  He was about to ask for more ideas when he noticed that
Spike was gone.  "Get ready."  He and Wesley moved to one side, ready to
flank the Immortal when he came out onto the street.

"What do you mean, get ready?"  Buffy shifted off to one side even as she
protested.  "What do you-"  Her words were interrupted as Spike ran out
the door to the shop, which he had entered unnoticed.

"He may be a little angry," Spike warned as he stood on the other side of

"What did you do?" Xander asked.

Spike was saved from having to answer by the emergence of the furious
Immortal from within the comic book shop.  Still wearing a mis-matched
collection of robes, the wild-eyed man drew to a halt in the street as he
realized that he wasn't just facing one man.  He glanced back over his
shoulder toward the shelter of the store.

"Not this time," Xander said.  "No running away.  This time we settle

The robed Immortal faced him.  "I'll take your head," he promised.  "And
then I'll tear the magic I deserve from the bodies of your friends."

As Wesley shifted to stand closer to Xander, Duncan murmured quietly, "The
Game, Harris.  You can't break the rules of the Game."

Xander sighed.  "I'm not going to break the rules.  I'm not going to fight
him."  He took a few steps back and watched in satisfaction as Wesley and
Spike leapt forward, ready to attack.

The deranged Immortal pulled out a sword and began to work to fend them
  Even as he watched his lovers fight, Xander could feel Duncan's
disapproving glare.  "What?  I'm obeying the rules, or the complete lack
of them.  There aren't any rules about what mortals can do."

"He's right."  Adam's voice was an unexpected source of support.

"I don't like it," Duncan said.

"Of course you don't.  That doesn't change the fact that he's not breaking
the rules of the Game."

Swinging wildly with his sword, the crazed man managed to fend off both
Wesley and Spike.  When Buffy and Riley jumped in the fight, Wesley fell
back.  "I don't want to risk a spell; they could get caught up in the
fringes of it."

"Then let's end this," Duncan said, drawing his sword.  "Fall back!" he
ordered as he stepped forward.  He got the attention of the encircled
Immortal.  "Let's do this our way.  One on one.  Let's leave these mortals
out of it."

The other Immortal nodded.  "Let's go."

"I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod," the long-haired man said.

"I'm the man who's going to kill you."  With that, the battle was engaged.

Spike shook his head as he glanced over at Adam.  "Is he always this much

"He can be," the thin man said with a smirk.

Spike responded with a dirty chuckle.

Xander was only vaguely aware of the exchange.  Duncan was good.  He was
easily beating back the other man's attacks.  He frowned.  Duncan wasn't
fighting to incapacitate the wizard-wannabe or even temporarily kill him.
Duncan was looking to take the other man's head.  "No," he said.  "Duncan,
you can't do that!"

Duncan disarmed the other Immortal as if unaware of Xander's words.
"There can be only one," he said quietly.

Xander swore as he lunged forward, throwing himself in the path of
Duncan's sword.  It bit deeply into his side, dropping him to his knees.
As he fell, he was aware of Wesley firing on the deranged Immortal,
killing him with a hail of bullets.

"What the hell are you doing?" Duncan demanded.  "This was my fight."

"You fucking idiot," Wesley hissed, dropping down beside Xander.  He
turned his attention to Xander.  "How bad is it?"

"I'm not going to die.  I'm just going to wish I would."  He gingerly
looked down at his blood-soaked side.  "He pulled it at the last moment."

"Xander!"  Willow crouched down near him.  "Are you - you're not going to
die again, are you?"

"No, Wills.  I'm just going to hurt like hell for a little while."

"Do you want me to do something nasty to him for you?  I've learned a few
new spells-"

"Seriously, Willow, I'm going to be fine.  I just need a little time."
With Wesley's help, he was able to get to his feet.  Spike was immediately
there, helping him to stand as Wes turned to glare at Duncan.

Duncan was met the hostile stare with one of his own.  "What are you
doing?  You can't interfere with a fight between two of us.  It violates
the rules of the Game."

"Killing an Immortal on the Hellmouth violates the rules of not getting us
all killed!"  Wesley shook his head.  "Weren't you listening at all when
we explained what it meant to be here?  The power of a Quickening could
even prompt the reopening of the Hellmouth!  There's no way to predict
what it could do, and no excuse for coming so close to disaster!"

When Duncan opened his mouth to protest, Adam elbowed him in the ribs.
Hard.  "Shut up, Highlander.  Apologize to the boy for almost killing him
and thank him for not letting you kill us all."  He smiled at Xander.
"What do you want to do with him?"

"I don't care.  I don't especially want his head.  If Duncan's so hot for
it, he can drive him outside city limits and take it."  He shrugged
carefully.  "That might be the best idea.  We can't have you all wandering
around here much longer without risking more danger than we can take.
Take him with you when you leave town and Duncan can stage another duel
with him there."

Adam elbowed Duncan again.  "That sounds like the best plan."  He walked
over to the dead Immortal and knelt down beside the body.  He pulled a
knife out of his coat and slammed the blade home, through the dead man's
heart.  "That should make sure he doesn't wake up."  He rose and looked
over at Xander once more.  "I guess this is goodbye."

"Oh, no, it's not."  Giles's jaw was set.  "There's still a meeting at my
house."  He looked down at the dead man.  "You can store that in my garage
until the meeting is over."

Richie stepped forward and shot a helpless look at Duncan.  "It can't
hurt, Mac.  We'd be better off knowing more about the Hellmouth, too."

"Fine."  Duncan smirked at Richie.  "Then you can help me carry the body."

Xander hissed a little as Spike shifted to take more of his weight.
"C'mon, pet.  Let's get you over to the House of Tweed and get this over
with.  Then we can take you home and maybe get you in the bath while
you're awake."  He kept his voice low as he leered at Xander.  "Nummy as
you are while you're wet, I bet you're more fun when you're conscious."

Xander grinned as Wesley moved to help support him on the other side.
"This meeting had better be quick."


Once again, Wesley marveled at life on the Hellmouth.  Only in Sunnydale
could they have made it to Giles's house without being stopped by the
police.  He and Spike had practically carried Xander most of the way there
until he had finished healing from the sword wound.  At the same time,
Duncan and Richie had been dragging the dead Immortal through the streets,
bickering the entire time.  As it was, they'd made it all the way to
Giles's house without encountering anyone, although it was likely that
they had just scared away everyone else who may have been on the streets.

Once the body had been safely stowed, everyone gathered in the living
room.  Buffy and Riley claimed their usual couch and Oz and Willow took
one of the chairs, Oz perching on the arm.  Joe took the remaining chair
and the Immortals stood behind him, Richie leaning against one wall.
Giles stood beside his bookcase in his usual lecturing place.  Wesley
pulled Xander over to stand in a corner.  That way both of them could see
the entire room and Wesley wouldn't have to worry about watching his
lover's back.  Spike drifted over to stand near them, slouching back
against the wall as if utterly unconcerned with the discussion taking
place around him.

Wesley knew what was coming; Giles was going to insist on getting a full
description of Immortals for future reference where Xander was concerned.
Buffy would attempt to justify her actions, Xander would yell at her,
Willow would make peace, and life would go on.  The gray-eyed man watched
in amusement as Giles tore his gaze away from Richie for about the
twentieth time since Wesley had been told what to look for.  Spike was
right; there was definitely something going on between those two.  That
was the one area where Wesley had no predictions.  Either Giles or Richie
could still surprise him.

He noticed Richie was wiping his hands on his jeans again.  He could
understand the impulse; carrying a dead body around was never pleasant and
usually left him with the distinct desire to wash his hands.  Unless the
body was Xander, in which case he was left with the desire to kill people.

Before he could say anything, Spike said, "If you want to wash your hands,
pet, I can show you Rupert's washroom.  I can even give you a guided tour,
if you like.  I know where he keeps all the manacles."  He didn't leer,
exactly, but there was definitely something more than casual interest in
his voice.

Giles bristled immediately.  "He doesn't need your help.  He isn't a
  He smiled at Richie.  "There is a washroom down that hall."

"Got it," Richie said with a warm look.  He disappeared down the hall.

Giles once again forced his eyes away from Richie's retreating form.
"First things first."  He fixed Joe with a steady glare.  "I am going to
need more information on Immortals than you have been willing to give me
so far.  If I am to competently help to keep him safe, I need to know
about the dangers he will face on the Hellmouth."

"Uh, Giles?  I don't really need a protector," Xander said.

Wesley could clearly here the unspoken 'another' in that sentence.  He
grinned unrepentantly at Xander.  He wasn't going to stop trying to
protect Xander anytime soon.

"No, you need a nursemaid," Giles said, but his glare was fond.  He looked
back at Joe.  "What can you tell me?"

Joe sighed.  "I guess you people understand the importance of keeping
secrets.  We don't know the origins of Immortals.  They appear as
foundlings and grow up just like ordinary people.  The only thing
different is what happens when they die a violent death.  After they do,
they revive after death, completely healed.  From that point on they are
Immortal.  They can sense other Immortals and are bound by the rules of
the Game."

"Game?  I'd heard something of this before," Giles said.

"It's a lot of fun," Xander said earnestly.  "Like Pokemon, only way more
violent.  Instead of 'got to catch'em all', it's 'got to kill'em all'."

"Essentially, yes," Joe said.  "The rules of the game are simple.  No
fighting on Holy Ground.  One Immortal faces one Immortal at a time.  Most
importantly, there can be only one."

"Only one what?" Willow asked.

"Immortal.  Only one Immortal.  They fight to the death in order to take
each other's Quickening and increase their own power."

Wesley watched the expressions of mixed fascination and horror that came
to the Scooby Gang's faces as Joe explained the concepts of Quickenings
and the Game, as well as the complete role of Watchers.  He saw that
Willow and Giles took the threat presented by the release of a Quickening
so close to the Hellmouth seriously, so he knew there would be no further
debate about removal of the Immortal from Sunnydale to be dealt with

"Wait a minute."  Buffy raised one of her hands.  "You said Immortals
fight other Immortals.  So what was Duncan there doing by jumping into the
fight with the crazy guy?  Shouldn't Xander have fought him?"  She blinked
and looked at Duncan.  "You're like Xander.  You're Immortal."

Duncan sighed.  "I am.  Joe said there was an Immortal on the Hellmouth,
so I came to help him however I could."  He looked over at Adam and
elbowed him in a mirror of Adam's earlier actions.

Adam glared at him.  When Duncan just stared back at him, the thin man
sighed.  "You know, I'm beginning to like this new policy.  Instead of
keeping with the tradition of secrecy that extends back since before
memory begins, let's just begin telling everyone everything."  He looked
over at the people staring at him.  "I'm an Immortal as well."

Wesley looked over at Richie as he re-entered the room.  When the
red-haired man heard Adam's words, he caught Duncan's eye and shook his
head quickly.  Interesting.  Wesley wondered how long Richie was planning
on keeping his secret.  He wondered if he was planning to tell Giles at

He ran out of time to worry about Richie and Giles when he realized that
the general attention of the room had shifted over to himself and Xander.
"What?  I'm not an Immortal," he protested, deliberately misunderstanding
the reason for their regard.

"Yeah, but you were kissing one," Buffy said.  "Is there something you two
maybe forgot to tell us?"

"We didn't forget," Xander said.  He smiled at Wesley.  "We just wanted to
keep this between us for a little while."

"So what is it between you?"

Xander raised his eyebrows.  "I'd say there's about half a foot, maybe?"
He looked at the distance that separated him and Wesley as though trying
to measure it.

"Idiot," Wesley said fondly.  He met Buffy's intense look mildly.  "I love
him.  He loves me."  He left it at that.  Anything more was none of their

Buffy licked her lips.  "You love him and he loves you?  You mean in a
'you're my best friend' or 'I love you like a brother' kind of way,

Wesley rolled his eyes and had to stifle a grin as Xander commented in a
low voice meant for him and Spike alone, "Last time I checked, this wasn't

Spike snorted loudly from his place by the wall and sneered at Buffy.
"For the Chosen One, you have the observation skills of one of those
pointy sticks you wield."  He pointed at Wesley.  "He loves the whelp."
He pointed at Xander.  "And he loves him back.  They truly, maddeningly,
sickeningly love each other."  He included the rest of the room in his
contemptuous stare.  "For the slower members of the class, that means they
shag like bunnies on speed."

Wesley couldn't restrain his laughter, and he leaned against Xander as he
chuckled, loving the feeling of the other man shaking with laughter beside
him.  The Scooby Gang looked as though they'd been smacked in the back of
their heads.  As he regained control of himself, Wesley looked over at
Willow.  The only person whose opinion mattered to him in any real way was
Willow.  She was still a huge influence on Xander and her approval could
make things much easier for them in the long run.  Not that easy mattered
- he wasn't going to give up Xander.  Ever.

Willow stared at him measuringly.  "Riley, explain the shovel to him."

Riley straightened and began to speak immediately.  "If you do anything to
hurt Xander in anyway, Willow will hunt you down and beat you to death
with a shovel.  There will be no mercy and no chances to offer up excuses,
only bloody death by bludgeoning."  He cast a slightly wary look at
Willow, who nodded approvingly, and then he relaxed.

Spike shoved away from the wall and turned to face Xander, his coat
swirling dramatically around him.  "Forget the bloody shovel.  You've got
me to worry about.  Here I am, travelling half-way around the world to
come back to you and I find out that you're cheating on me.  You'd better
be able to explain this to me, pet."

Wesley watched in delight as Xander widened his eyes in a show of alarm.
"Spike, I didn't know that you were coming back!  I hadn't heard from you
in ages and I was lonely."  He reached out imploringly toward the vampire.

"You said you would wait for me," Spike said forbiddingly, taking a step
forward.  "You promised me."

Wesley snuck a peek at the other people in the room.  The Sunnydale
residents had slipped back into a state of shock, while those from
Seacouver merely looked confused.  Giles had removed his glasses and was
wiping at the lenses furiously.  "I don't want to hear this," he said
clearly, refusing to look up from his glasses, "and I am not going to

Buffy's face was twisted with disgust, while Willow was being lightly
restrained by Oz has she half-rose from the chair.  "Xander...you and

Spike leered cheerfully at her.  "Didn't you know?  It's not as though I
bite just anyone...no wait - anyway, me and Xander, we're like *this*."
He raised his hand, his first and second fingers twined together.

Buffy covered her eyes and moaned something about mental images and
needing a lobotomy to erase them.

Wesley looked back over to Spike and Xander, eager to see what they would
come up with next.  Spike invaded Xander's personal space.  "How could
you?" he demanded, managing to sound hurt.

"I wanted to wait," Xander said soothingly, ignoring the others'
reactions.  "But then I met Wesley.  How could I resist?  Look at him!"

Spike cocked his head to the side and looked Wesley up and down.  "He is
rather nummy," he said in a considering tone.  Lips twisted in a grin of
absolutely satanic glee, Spike reached out and grabbed Wesley, jerking him
forward into a consuming kiss.

Wesley resisted for a moment before he remembered that he didn't give a
damn about who was watching.  He relaxed into the kiss, submitting to the
demands of Spike's mouth as he allowed his hands to roam freely over the
blond man's back in a blatant display of desire.  When he was finally
released, he was panting and Spike's eyes were somewhat glazed.

Still holding Wesley in his arms, Spike nodded over toward Xander.  "Look
at him."  Xander was obviously affected by their actions:  his eyes dark
with passion, he licked his lips and had his hands clenched into fists.
When he reached out to Spike, the vampire shook his head and pulled Wesley
away from him.  "No.  You're still in trouble, pet.  You have to be

"Spike..."  Xander's voice was thick with want.

"No."  Spike's tone was firm.  "I think I'm going to have to take your new
toy away for a little while.  If you're a very good boy, perhaps you'll be
allowed to watch."  His hands wandered down Wesley's back in a teasing
journey for both Wesley and Xander.  Spike nuzzled at Wesley's ear.  "What
do you say, Wes?  We can teach him a lesson and enjoy ourselves at the
same time."

Smirking at Xander, Wesley cuddled himself closer to Spike.  "Sounds good
to me."

"We didn't do anything wrong," Giles said.  "So why are we being

Buffy jumped in.  "What the hell is this?  Xander, you were involved with
Spike?  Have you and Wesley both completely lost your minds?"  Her hand
inched down toward her stake.

Xander blinked and reluctantly looked over at her, frowning when he saw
her hand moving.  "No, Buffy.  Leave your stake where it is.  I wasn't
involved with Spike in the past.  We were just playing a game because
Spike's, well, Spike."

"Then what is he doing crawling all over Wesley?"

"You've got to admit it's pretty hard to resist the urge to crawl on him."
 Xander waggled his eyebrows.  When that failed to earn him any smiles, he
sighed.  "I'm in love with Wes.  That's not going to change, ever if I can
help it.  And for right now, Spike's going to be staying in town for a
while.  With us."

When Buffy began to protest, Wesley stepped away from Spike and stood
slightly in front of the other two men with his arms crossed over his
  "Your objections really don't matter.  Xander and I are both adults and
may act as we please.  If anyone wishes to dispute this, I'd be more than
happy to discuss it with you further."  He flexed his fingers and
repressed a smirk as Riley flinched openly at the reminder of his

The silence that followed his offer was remarkably gratifying.

"Good.  If no one else wants to object to something that isn't any of
their concern, I suggest we move on."

Conversation began haltingly.  The men from Seacouver weren't really
effected, aside from a bit a shifting by Adam to adjust the drape of his
coat; Wesley grinned as he realized that the Immortal had been affected by
the little display he and his lovers had put on.  Duncan's furious glare
as the long-haired man realized what was going on made Wesley suspicious
of the relationship he and Adam shared.  There might be more their
bickering than he had previously believed.

The Scooby Gang was too shell-shocked to just get back to business easily.
 If Giles polished his glasses much more, he was going to wear away the
lenses.  As Willow and Buffy tried to finalize arrangements for
communication with Joe and the others if they should ever need help with
Immortal related problems, Giles looked up, unexpectedly catching Wesley
looking at him.  The older man's stare was fierce and a little strained.
Wesley realized that he'd been put under quite a bit of strain lately:
dealing with a threat to the Hellmouth that he knew very little about,
thinking Xander might have been (permanently) dead, and struggling
flirtation with a stranger were all adding up.  The Watcher's gaze slid
over to Xander and then moved back to Wesley's once more.  Wesley had the
feeling that if the impossible happened he ever did anything to hurt
Xander, his biggest worry would be Giles and the vengeance the other man
would seek for the crime of hurting one of the young people for whom he
cared so much.

A quiet comment by Richie pulled Giles's attention over to the young
Immortal, a hidden hunger in his eyes that was nearly eclipsed by powerful
loss.  Richie was going to be leaving in a few hours and with him would go
whatever chance Giles could have had with him.  Wesley shook his head.  It
wasn't right.

Xander's hand brushed lightly over his.  "What's wrong?"  Wesley explained
in a low voice to both Xander and Spike.  When he finished, Xander had his
jaw set in determination.  "We're not going to let that happen."

"What are we supposed to do about it?"

Xander's grin was full of wicked mischief.  "Spike, hit on Richie."

The vampire chuckled low in his throat.  "Pet, you deserve a reward."

"I thought I was going to be punished."

"If we get home in time, you'll get both," Wesley promised him.

Spike moved so he was leaning against the wall, between Wesley and Richie.
 Everytime Richie made a comment or asked a question, Spike either admired
what he had to say or rushed to answer him, smiling the entire time with
obvious promise.

"That's a good point, Rich.  Very insightful."

"Not much chance of that happening.  You think of everything, don't you,

"I'm sure you can handle it, nice strong boy like you.  Shouldn't be any
problem at all."

"Never even considered that.  Glad you're here, mate."

Wesley watched in fascination as Giles's glower became blacker and
blacker.  He hoped that the older man had never come across the Klertonian
spell for creating an actual death glare or else Spike was at risk of
becoming a smoldering pile of ashes.  Giles didn't do anything but glare,
though, and glaring wasn't going to stop Richie from leaving with the
others as soon as the meeting was over.

Spike shot one last lascivious look at Richie before falling back to talk
to Wesley.  "This isn't working.  He's just going to watch me, just going
to watch Richie leave town."

Xander licked his lips.  "I don't know, Spike.  He's looking less like
Giles, mild-mannered librarian and more like Ripper, bad-ass demon
worshipper.  I don't know how much farther you can push him before he
loses it."

"We need him to lose it," Wesley decided.  "Anything less and he's just
going to stay in control and lose any chance he has with Richie."

"Right, then."  The demonic glee was back in Spike's blue eyes.  "One out
of control Watcher coming up."

Wesley wasn't sure what to expect, but Spike falling silent and listening
intently to the conversation wasn't it.  After a few moments, Spike asked
a question about magic which Wesley had to answer.  As he explained the
concept, he was further confused by Spike's complete inattention to what
he had to say.  Instead, he went back to watching Richie with undisguised
acquisitiveness.  Soon, he started poking Wesley, never taking his eyes
off Richie, hard little jabs to the speaking man's shoulder.  After a few
moments, he couldn't take it any more.  "What do you want?"

Spike looked at him with the pleading eyes of a five year old.  "Can I
have him?" he asked, pointing a Richie.  "We could take him home with us,
have some fun, further his education a bit."  His tongue swept over his
lower lip as he glanced back at Richie.  "Please?  I bet that he would be

Beside Spike, Xander's eyes lit up as his gaze locked on Richie.  "You
know, I think Spike's on to something."  His gaze wandered down the
red-haired man's body.  "He's got a great-"

Wesley watched in fascination as Giles snapped.

"That is quite enough."  Giles took a few steps forward, placing his body
firmly in front of Richie, blocking Spike and Xander's view of him.  "If
there is to be any furthering of Richie's education, it will be done by
me, do you understand?"  He glared furiously at Spike.  "If I catch you so
much as looking at him, you will regret it."

"Looking isn't a crime," Spike protested.  "Neither is appreciating.
Can't help doing either when there's someone like him about."

"The next time I catch you 'appreciating' him I'll arrange a suitable
chastisement.  Perhaps you'll learn faster if I perform the Searsian
Persuasion and key it into every time your eyes wander."  Giles took a
step forward, pushing his way into Spike's space, looming over him.

Wesley winced.  He had no idea where Giles planned on finding a miniature
Searsia demon and even less understanding of how he planned on restraining
Spike long enough to insert it, but it was a dire threat indeed.  Spike
had apparently heard of the rare method of torture; he didn't back down,
but he kept his eyes on Giles instead of trying to sneak another look

Questioning fingers tugged at Wesley's shirt and he looked down to meet
Xander's inquiring gaze.  "What's a Searsian Persuasion?" Xander

"I'll tell you when you're older," Wesley said just as quietly.  Xander
stuck his tongue out at him, then returned his attention to the
confrontation in front of him, as did Wesley.

Behind Giles, Richie cleared his throat.  "Don't I get to have a say?"

"No."  Giles turned, Spike completely forgotten.  The vampire moved with
controlled haste until he was standing behind Wesley and Xander, the whole
time acting as though he was doing so for no particular reason, especially
not to hide from Giles.

Giles didn't just loom over Richie; he kept moving until Richie was
pressed up against the wall.  "You don't get to have any say.  You've done
quite enough flirting and teasing."

Richie opened his mouth to object, but Giles didn't give him the chance.
He covered his mouth with his own, stealing his words and his breath.
Wesley watched in fascination as Giles pinned the Immortal to the wall
with his body even as he used his hands to angle Richie's head so as to
better dominate his mouth.  Richie's body was stiff with resistance at
first, but after a few moments he was pliant against Giles and his arms
were wrapped around the Watcher's waist, pulling him even closer.

"I didn't know Giles had it in him," Xander said admiringly.

Wesley shot a concerned look at him.  He didn't care for the way Xander
was looking at Giles at all.  He looked at Spike and found that the
vampire wasn't liking it either.  He grabbed Xander and pulled him around
so the younger man could no longer see the kissing pair.

"Hey, I was watching that!" Xander protested.

Wesley decided Giles had the right idea:  shut'em up with a kiss.  He
ruthlessly stopped Xander's complaints and swept his tongue across his
lips, distracting and silencing him at the same time.  He kept one of his
eyes open and watching Giles and Richie, though.  He didn't want to miss
that, either.  A cool body pressed up against his side as Spike slid one
arm around both his and Xander's waist.  Wesley wriggled happily as the
blond man's lips brushed over his jawline; apparently, Spike wanted to
take advantage of the Scooby Gang's distraction to get in a few touches of
his own.

Giles finally released Richie's mouth.  Richie blinked a few times and
grinned delightedly at Giles.  "Oh, Tiger, you can teach me anything."

"I plan on it."  Giles leaned in to kiss Richie one more time, but the
younger man evaded his mouth.  "What?"

"There's something I have to tell you."

Giles made no move to release him.  "You're married?"




"An exceptionally skilled male impersonater?"

"No."  Richie laughed a little, but he still looked nervous.

"Then it doesn't matter," Giles said firmly, moving in once more.

"I'm Immortal!" Richie blurted.

Giles blinked.  "Are you planning on killing Xander?"

"Of course not!"

"Are you seeking to harness the power of the Hellmouth as a part of some
nefarious plan?"


"Then it doesn't matter."  One more lingering kiss, and then Giles stepped
off to the side so that he could see the rest of the people in room.  He
kept one of his arms around Richie as he turned to glare at everyone in
the room.

Wesley wanted to back away from Xander, but his lover was bumping up
against him in teasing brushes that he found irresistible.  The added
sensation of Spike's light brushes of lips dissolved his will completely.

Giles pointed a finger at Buffy, who just beginning to get over gasping
for air and work herself up to talking.  "You are not going to say
anything, except perhaps 'congratulations, Giles'.  Anything more exceeds
the extent to which this is any of your business."

He pinned Willow with his glare next.  "You are going to stay out of
Xander's love life, and you are going make sure everyone else stays out of
it as well.  He's old enough to make his own choices, so you are just
going to let it go.  If one of them hurts him, then you and your shovel
can step in but until then you are not to interfere."  His gaze swept the
whole of the Scooby Gang.  "That goes double for my own life.

Hasty nods all around, even from Buffy.  Wesley was impressed.

Still staring down the seated people in the room, Giles raised his voice.
"And if you three do not cease to make out inside of my home I will render
you all impotent and no amount of little blue pills will ever be able to
help you."

Xander jerked away from Wesley as if burned.  "Giles, that's not nice."

"It wasn't intended to be.  You will behave in my home or face the

"Fine," Xander sulked.  "But the same goes for you then.  No making out
with Richie when you're at our place."  He stuck out his tongue, a
childish gesture which Richie immediately returned.

Wesley sighed.  He wanted that tongue to be doing something else.  "Well,
I do believe we've covered just about everything we need to tonight.  Joe,
Adam and Duncan will take care of our insane friend Willow, Buffy, Riley
and Oz can finish patrolling if they wish; I will take Xander and Spike
home; and Richie-"

"I'll take care of Richie, thank you very much."  Giles glared at him.
"You've got your hands full."

Not at the moment, but he did have high hopes for the rest of the evening.
 "Ah.  Good night, then."  Wesley herded Xander and Spike toward the door,
wanting to get out before another apocalypse occurred or Buffy recovered
from her shock.  He thought he heard someone begin to speak but he slammed
the door shut behind them before he could be sure.

Xander was laughing at him openly.  "Would you feel better if we ran?"

Wesley flipped him off.  "Yes," he admitted, grabbing Xander's hand and
dragging him off down the street.  "At least for a block or two."  With
Spike easily keeping pace with them, they made their way to the apartment.
 Only when they were inside with the door locked did Wesley begin to

Xander pulled off his ruined shirt and jacket.  "I'm going to start
charging the gang for my ruined clothes.  Buffy doesn't go through her
wardrobe at this rate."  He heeled off his sneakers.  "I mean, the others
don't have to replace shirts nearly as often as I do.  And have neither of
you noticed that I'm almost naked?  Why haven't I been jumped yet?"

Wesley laughed.  "Because you haven't let us get a word in edgewise."  He
reached for Xander and caught him by the shoulders, pulling him forward.
"You've just been talking and talking when there are far better things you
could be doing with your mouth."  He demonstrated one of them by pressing
his lips to Xander's, gently teasing them open with persistent licks until
the dark-haired man was murmuring happily as Wesley's tongue swept his
mouth.  Feeling smug, Wesley pushed Xander back until he fell back onto
the couch.  He moved to follow him but was arrested by Spike's hands.

The vampire leered at him.  "Don't you think you'd have more fun with less
clothing?"  He didn't wait for an answer; he just stripped away Wesley's
clothing with ruthless efficiency until they were lying in a crumpled heap
on the floor.

Warm hands on his hips drew his attention back to Xander.  His lover
grinned at him as he pulled him closer.  "What is it with you and my
mouth?"  He leaned forward and sucked the head of Wesley's erection into
his mouth.

Wesley hissed his pleasure and let his head fall back.  He didn't know how
Xander could not know what it was about his mouth; not only did the most
amusing, most infuriating, most wonderful words come from it, but he had a
way of twisting his tongue just like *that*...Wesley gave up on thought
and just clamped his hands down on Xander's shoulder to hold on for the
ride.  As he began to pant in anticipation of climax, Xander pulled away
and he couldn't help his moan of protest.

Xander's hands ran up and down his thighs in a soothing caress.  "Wes, Wes
listen.  I just wanted to make sure that you wanted to come in my mouth."

"Of course I want to come in your mouth!  Where else would I..."  Wesley's
irritated protests faded away as he realized what Xander meant.  With a
growl, he jerked Xander to his feet and impatiently pushed his jeans away
from his hips.  He soon had his lover back down on the couch as he kissed
him urgently.

"Can you magic up some lube?" Xander asked.

"Spike!"  Wesley craned his neck around in a desperate search until he
spotted the vampire watching them in undisguised appreciation.

Spike walked over,  holding a tube negligently between his fingers.  "Was
there something you wanted?"  His attitude of complete nonchalance was
only slightly ruined by his lack of clothing.


"Nothing for nothing, pet."  Spike sat down on the couch, leaning back
against the arm.  "What are you going to do for me?"

Xander wriggled around under Wesley until he could crawl across the couch
toward Spike.  He didn't bother to say anything; he just began to lick a
path up Spike's pale inner thigh.  Wesley watched in satisfaction as
Spike's eyes slid closed.  He leaned forward and plucked the lube from the
vampire's nerveless fingers.

As Spike began to moan steadily from Xander's attention, Wesley used the
lube he'd claimed to prepare Xander and himself.  He didn't want to draw
this out, for any of them.  It had been a long day and he just wanted to
feel both his lovers against him once more before they got some
well-deserved rest.  He wanted to end this day the right way:  wrapped up
in love and lust and the scent of two men he was beginning to care about
more than he'd thought he'd ever be able to.

Watching Spike claw at the couch, Wesley slowly pressed himself inside of
Xander.  Xander arched back against him, seeking to hasten the contact
between them.  Wesley obliged, thrusting hard and seating himself fully
within his lover.  Both of them froze for a moment, savoring the sudden
feeling of connection.

"Hey!  You're not finished, here!" Spike protested, sliding his hands
around Xander's head and pulling him back down.

Xander grabbed one of Spike's hand and brought it to his mouth.  He sucked
two of the vampire's fingers into his mouth.

"That's not what I want you to suck on," Spike protested.

Wesley held himself still, breathing hard, waiting to see what Xander
would do next.  He wasn't disappointed.  Xander bobbed his head up and
down over the fingers for a few moments more, then froze.  Spike threw his
head back and groaned, even as his hips thrust upward involuntarily.
Wesley was confused until he caught sight of red on Xander's lips.  Xander
had bitten Spike.

Wesley dropped his head to Xander's back.  "Jesus, Xander."  He couldn't
hold back any longer; the thought of Xander doing something so violent, so
erotic to Spike was more than he could endure.  He snaked one hand around
Xander's hip to grasp his lover's erection and moved his hand in time with
his increasingly frantic thrusts.  He could feel completion hovering just
out of reach, until he caught sight of Xander wrapping Spike's bloody hand
and one of his own around Spike's cock to jerk him off.  Pale fingers
entwined with dark as they stroked wetly, redly over Spike's flesh.  That
was all Wesley needed; orgasm ripped through him.  Shaken, he rested
lightly against Xander's back until the other two men also gasped out
their completion.

Sandwiched in between the two other men, Xander was the first to move.
"Erk.  Shower."

Wesley grinned; he loved the way Xander went pre-verbal when he was well
and truly worn out.  He carefully pulled out of Xander and help him to his
  "I don't know if we'll all fit."

The only coherent word in Xander's reply was "fun".  Wesley chuckled and
nodded as Spike helped him to maneuver Xander toward the shower.  As they
headed for the bathroom, Wesley found himself hoping that Spike was
planning to stick around for a while.  He wasn't in love with the vampire,
but he had a feeling that given time he very well could be.  Spike meshed
wonderfully with the two of them, falling seamlessly into the rhythms of
their lives and love.

He also believed that they hadn't seen the last of Richie.  Giles wasn't
one for casual affairs and the look in Richie's eyes was far from one of
merely casual interest.

With Richie in town, the rest of the men from Seacouver could well become
regular visitors as well.  Wesley approved, in a way.  So long as Duncan
managed to restrain his outrage at the way Xander on a occasion bent the
rules, he believe that the other Immortals could be quite useful in
helping Xander to learn more about the rules that governed his extended
life and help guarantee that he lasted longer in the Game of which he was
a part.

Wesley found himself looking forward to the future; Sunnydale was going to
be a little more interesting from now on.  Not only was Spike going to be
around, but Buffy had been taken down a few pegs and Giles was definitely
going to be more fun.

All that could wait.  He had two men waiting for him in the shower.

Life was good.