Chapter 19:Reveal

The back room had been mostly cleared, and there were a couple of padded work-out mats stacked against one wall.  Xander grabbed one and Buffy grabbed another and they spread them on the floor - settled cross-legged in a circle.  Buffy looked scared and Willow looked nervous, and Xander took a deep breath, trying to settle his own nerves.  *Wonder if leaving Spike out there with deadboy and Giles was a good idea?*

* Calm, love, calm*   

                *Amusement*  from Spike, and *protect mine* and Xander sighed.

                "Something wrong, Xander?"  Willow asked, and Xander shook his head.

                "Not really.  Just - I hope Spike and Angel don't - you know.  Fight."

                "Oh."  Willow looked towards the doorway, frowning.  "Yeah.  Me too.  Maybe Giles will - keep them calm?"  Xander snorted.

                "Fat chance.  He's ok right now.  So long as deadboy doesn't do anything stupid."

                "Right.  Like Spike could take on Angel."  Buffy gave a dismissive flick of her hand, and Xander frowned at her.

                "Actually, he probably could.  Angel isn't - at his full strength, you know?  Pig's blood and all.  Spike's got some damn good moves.  One time in Istanbul -"

                "Xander - please.  I don't want to hear any gory tales from the crypt."  Buffy held up her hand, stopping him, then frowned.  "Isn't it kinda…creepy to have his memories in your head?  To have him in your head?"

                "No - not creepy.  I don't remember everything all the time.  The first couple of days I did.  And he did too.  We couldn't even leave the house.   It was crazy.  It was like - this big movie, just playing out in my head.  But now…"  Xander shrugged.  "I have to really want to remember - to try, like you would if you were trying to remember…French or something."  Buffy groaned, and Xander and Willow both smiled.  "I know what he was like before he was turned.  And I know how much he loves me.  It more than makes up for any…creepiness."  Willow looked intrigued at that, if still a little uncertain, and Buffy looked down at her hands, picking at her nail polish.

                "I don't…know if I can be happy for you, Xander - not right away.  Spike is - the enemy, to me.  I mean, I know with that chip and everything he can't…  But I just don't trust him, Xander." 

                "I know, Buffy.  Just - if you try, that'll be enough, for now.  Ok?  Just try?"  Xander looked at her hopefully, and she smiled finally, nodding.

                "I'll try.  Just - keep that wooden shovel in mind.  Ok."  She rubbed her hands up her arms, and her smile faded.  "About this soul-seeing stuff…"

                "Yeah.  Are you sure you want me to?   I mean - it's pretty private, what I can see.  I only looked the one time."

                "When did you?"  Willow asked, and Xander shifted a little, looking at her.   

                "Thanksgiving.  When you guys were arguing about the Chumash spirits.  I just wanted to know…and you were both there.  I've seen Tara, too.  And Oz - everybody, I guess.  Except Dawn.  I - haven't seen her.  Too much teenage angst."  Willow giggled and Buffy rolled her eyes.

                "No kidding.  She's just so -"

                "So fourteen.  Isn't it awful?"  Willow cut in, and Buffy smiled at her.

                "Ok, ok.  I won't go off about Dawn.  More important things to do here.  Go ahead and - and look, Xander, or whatever you do.  I really want to know what you see."

                "Ok,"  Xander said, and he reached out and touched her hand.  "It'll be fine.  Taisbean."  The seeing shimmered to life, and Xander smiled.  Buffy's soul was intensely white - the power of the Slayer shining like a beacon.  Her own features shifted and morphed into the features of the other Slayers - all of them, from the First to the girl who had died and made Buffy the One - a shifting so rapid and random it made Xander a little dizzy.  The sparks - the life - that danced around and through her were white as well.  But there was darkness there - black and bloody red, like slashes across her, and Xander looked for a long moment - felt - as well.

                *Love, for himself - for Willow.  For all of them, strongest for her mother and Dawn.  Loyalty and a fierce protectiveness to match Spike's.  Guilt - for times she felt she had failed them - failed herself.  Fear for them, and a mistrust of Spike that was tinged with the smallest bit of guilt.  Loneliness.  Jealousy - for what Willow had.  For what HE had, with Spike.  Longing for that for herself.  Angel was all tangled up in that longing.  Desperate desire to just be HERSELF - just be Buffy and not the Slayer - not the One.  And resolve - a stubborn resolve to BE the One - to handle it, to TAKE it - to keep them all safe.  One girl in all the world…  Another fear - hidden and pushed away behind walls, but still there.  A fear that she would never have anyone - that she would always be alone - that she would die that way.  That somehow…she was incapable of love…of being loved*  Xander took in a hard breath - reached and took Buffy's cold hands in his.  She was looking at him with trepidation, and he smiled a small smile at her.

                 "I can see how much you love your family, Buffy - how much you love all of us.  How much you would do to keep us safe.  Your power - the Slayer power - is like…a bright, white light.  It just makes you glow.  And you glow - your love and your loyalty.  All the Slayers are there in you - all of them…  And your…loneliness.  And…your love for Angel."  Buffy gasped, and there were tears in her eyes.  Xander dropped his voice down almost to a whisper.  "You aren't alone, Buffy - you aren't.  We're here for you - we can help you, if you let us.  And…you're so love-worthy, Buffy.  There's so much in you to love.  Please don't think that you're…not worthy."   Tears slipping free, tracking down her face, and she leaned across the space between them and hugged Xander hard.  He hugged back, stroking her back, feeling hot tears fall onto his neck.  Then she pulled away and swiped at her eyes, sniffing.

                "Where's Anya and her handkerchiefs when you need one?" she said, shakily, and Xander smiled at her.  "God, Xander…I - I'm glad you're my friend.  Thank you for - telling me."

                 "You're welcome.    And - I'm telling you the truth, Buffy.  Always telling the truth about what I see.  Ok?  You really are…a special person.  And I don't mean the Slayer stuff."  Buffy sniffed again - squeezed his hand.

                "You are too."  Beside him, Willow shifted a little and Xander looked over at her.

                "Wow.  He's right you know, Buffy.  We'll do whatever we can to help - you can count on us."  Willow smiled softly at Buffy and Buffy patted her hand.

"Yeah.  I know.  I just…don't want you guys to be hurt taking on my job.  But…" A quick, smiling glance at Xander.  "I'll try, I promise."  Xander grinned at her - looked over at Willow, who swallowed nervously.

"Ok.  Me now, I guess, huh?" 

                "Yeah, you."  Xander smiled at his oldest friend in the world, and saw her.   Willow's soul was like sunlight - brilliantly golden with a fiery scarlet edge.  The sparks that whirled around and through her were gold and red and black.  And there were black lines through the gold, as well; coiling and almost alive.  *Her power.  It's…older than she is.  Darker.  Stronger than she knows.*  Willow's power made Xander nervous, and the hyena growled somewhere down in the bottom of his mind *not pack*  Xander shushed it and concentrated on Willow again.

* Oh…  Love again - so much love - and bubbles of happiness for him.  Even though it was SPIKE that made him happy, she was glad he wasn't alone any more.  And there was…fear.  Fear that she wasn't smart enough.  Or strong enough, or just…not ENOUGH, for anybody - anything.  Fear that she would let them all down.  And a desire, so strong, to KNOW and to DO and to LEARN - a desire for more that was as fierce as Buffy's protectiveness.   And through it all, like a thread of purest silver, was Tara - lifeline and grounding wire all in one.* 

                "Wow - you really love Tara, don't you, Wills?   You're all gold and red, but - your magic is there and it's…its dark.  It's so strong.  You have to be - careful, Wills.  Be careful with it."  Xander saw her frown - then nod, and he hoped she would listen to him.  "And, Willow - you are enough.  You're good enough and smart enough - you always have been.  Don't doubt yourself."  Willow smiled at that - a shaky smile, and she wiped at her eyes a little. 

                "You could see Tara in me?"

                "Oh yeah - she's…all through you."

                "Oh."  Willow's smile got bigger, and then she, too, leaned forward and hugged him.   "I just - get so scared sometimes, Xan.  I mean - I feel like I just never know enough, you know?  The more I learn, the better I can help you guys - help Buffy - and sometimes it just seems like I won't ever have enough magic to do anything.  The magic's...all I've got." 

                "Hey - don't be silly, Willow.  You're more than the magic.  You're the big gun in the Scooby gang!"  Buffy joined the hug, and they all sat there for a minute, just enjoying the closeness.  Xander could hear Giles' voice in the other room - Angel's as well, both a little loud.  The link was full of *anger hate protect MINE*  and Xander was about to jump up when he felt something else.  It was vague - barely there - but it was *fear* and it was clearly from Oz.  Xander pulled away from the girls.   *What's wrong what's wrong*  to Spike, and the vampire was there, in the doorway, looking pissed and anxious at the same time.

                "Xander, it's -"

                "Oz - yeah.  Fuck."

                "Oz?  What do you mean?  Is - is something wrong with Dawn?  I didn't hear the phone-"  Buffy was climbing to her feet - Willow was - and Xander just sat there, staring at Spike, trying to feel what was wrong.  Out in the shop, the phone started to ring, and Spike cursed.  His souls were entwined - almost one - and the human part seemed to be soothing the demon - distracting it.  Xander jumped up, hearing Giles saying something in a voice that was tight with anxiety and they all hurried out to the other room.  Spike was snarling a little, baleful golden eyes staring at the Watcher, and they all waited while he finished speaking and hung up the phone.

                "That was Tara.  Apparently Harmony and her gang were waiting at the house tonight - to find you, Buffy.  And - somehow - they managed to snatch Dawn."

                "Oh my god, Dawnie!"  Willow cried, and Buffy whirled on her heel, getting up close to Spike.

                "Where is she taking her - where's Harmony hiding out, Spike!"

                "She took over my old crypt.  Sure to have her there.  Watcher, call the house and tell the

wolfling -"

                "Tara said he was tracking them.   He was knocked unconscious for a few minutes."  Giles said.   Angel was watching them, a strange look on his face.

                "Let's go then - we've got stakes in the car."  Xander said, already heading for the door. 

                "I don't need any help from Spike -"  Buffy started, and Spike was game-face, snarling.

                "Not gonna let Xander go alone, not gonna let anything happen to the Niblet.  So keep up or sod off, Slayer,"  he growled, and bolted past her, catching up with Xander.  They were both through the door and getting into the DeSoto by the time Buffy came out, and she shoved roughly past Xander and climbed into the back seat.

                 "Giles is bringing Willow in his car - he's got some weapons in the trunk.  Let's go.  If I don't get her home before my mom gets there…"  The DeSoto roared to life and Buffy let out a startled yelp as Spike gunned the car away from the curb and tore down the street.   The stereo was still on and Alice was still singing at top volume.

                "God, Spike, where did you get your license - a Cracker Jack box?"  Buffy yelled, hanging grimly onto the back of the seat.

                "Never got me a license, Slayer!"  Spike yelled back, still game-face, grinning like a madman now, and Xander and Buffy shared a look that was equally horrified and resigned.   In this moment, when Buffy was on, Slayer-mode, there was nothing but her in the seeing.  The other Slayers had retreated and Buffy's purpose - her focus - was so intense she was like a flare of magnesium in the corner of Xander's vision.   It was somehow...comforting.  

                "You see my burning fuse…From a mile away

I took your cruel abuse…Lord took away my shame

I learned to bite the hand…That used to pull my chain

We'll fight, cause we ain't on the same side…

We're in an unholy war, unholy war…I'll try, yeah I'll fight until I die




                Spike watched Xander walk into the back room with the girls - turned slowly and eyed the Watcher from where he was hovering near the display counter.  Spike sauntered over to the counter as well - dropped his cigarette butt into a cup of cold coffee.   Giles edged away and then stopped when Spike smirked at him.  *Calm* from Xander, and *love* 

                "Ssso, Watcher.  Tell me, why don't you, why you thought bringin' the great pouf up here was a good idea?"  Giles frowned, and over at the bookshelves Angel shut his book with a snap, glaring over at Spike.

                "Shut up, Spike,"  he grated out, and Spike leaned back against the counter, fishing out another cigarette and lighting it with a snap.

                "How's your shoulder, Peaches?  Still sore, maybe?"  Angel growled and advanced on him, and Giles held up a hand, looking nervous.

                "Let's all just - just calm down, shall we?  I asked Angel here because, as you said, Spike, he had information about this claim spell."

                "Yeah - but that's not why you had him come up here.  He could have told you about the spell on the 'phone.  Why'd you really want him here?  Did you think he could do somethin'?  Did you think he could - break the spell?"  Angel was still glaring, standing a few feet away, and Giles shuffled a little, looking back and forth between the two of them.

                "Well, I - yes, Spike.  I was - am - worried about Xander.  He seems to have leapt into this without much thought, as usual, and I-"  Giles stuttered to a halt as Spike turned on him, demon's visage flickering out and back.

                "You sayin' something against my own, Watcher?  Better not be.  Xander isn't stupid - he knew what he was doing.  I told him everything, and he chose it.  He didn't give himself up to me for - for nothing.  For a good shag.  Don't presume you know anything about him, Watcher."  Spike glared at Giles a moment longer, then turned a sneer on Angel, watching the older vampire glower at him from under his brows.

                "And Peaches here - he can't do a bloody thing about this spell.  What'd you think, he'd just come up here an' say 'piss off, Spike', and I'd tuck tail and run?"  Spike snorted - took a long drag and blew the smoke at Angel.  Giles fiddled with his glasses.

                "Well, yes, actually, I rather thought that, as your Sire, he could-" 

                "Sire?"  Spike laughed, and Giles looked bewildered.  "He isn't my Sire.  What, did he tell you he was?  Tell you he could - fix it all?"  Spike laughed again - looked over at Angel who was looking murderous.  "You should know when to shut up by now, you great git."

                "Spike,"  Angel hissed, and Spike smirked at him.  Giles was polishing his glasses, looking alarmed.

                "Not his Sire?  But you - I thought for sure - is Drusilla your Sire?  Surely not -"

                "Course she is, Watcher.  She chose me, she did the deed.   The pouf didn't have a thing to do with it."  Spike finished his cigarette and watched the butt bob in the coffee - felt *awe* and *love* and *friend* from Xander.  He could see - just in flickers - what Xander was seeing.  He could see *Slayer.  Her SOUL.  Bloody hell.  THAT'S what he sees?  That's…  Do WE look like that?*  He blinked - realized Angel had been saying something.

                "Sorry, Irish - wasn't payin' attention.  Was seeing what Xander was seein'.  Slayer's soul - amazing thing."  Angel shut his mouth with a snap, staring at him.

                "You can - you saw Buffy's soul?  What-"

                "Don't ask.  Maybe Xander'll tell you some time.  Maybe he'll look at your soul, Angel.  Bet that'd be a real treat.  Think your soul does that to its hair, too?"  Angel turned away in disgust, shaking his head, and Spike fished in his duster for his flask - took a long swallow.

                "Listen - both of you.  There is nothing you can do to change what's happened.   It's done.  And the more you fight it, the more you hurt Xander.  He won't take you actin' like he's some kind of a soddin' kid - some kind of a fuck-up - very much longer.  He'll leave here, and you'll be lucky if you know he's still alive.  So get over it and move on."  Giles stared at him, open-mouthed, and Angel strode back over, getting up way too close.

                "Listen to me, Spike - I won't let you weasel your way into this group just to fuck them over when you're bored of it all.   Giles wanted me up here to make sure you understood this: you're being watched, Spike, and you'd better be on your best behavior or I'll -"

                "You'll what, Angel?  Try to take me out?  I think we've done this, and I wasn't the one ended up bleeding, was I?"  Spike's voice was half growl, and he tried to calm himself.    "I've got family here - me and Xander and the wolfling are pack - and they'd both take you out if you fucked with me, you bastard."  Spike clenched his fist around the spiral nail in his pocket, the urge to pull it out and drive it through the solid rock of Angel's stupid head almost overwhelming.  *You miserable cunt, you back the fuck off*      "You don't order me, or try to make me, or tell me anything, anymore, Angel.  You understand?"  They were toe to toe, demons to the fore, snarling, and Giles was frozen against the counter. 

                *Fuck.  There's the witch.  She'd better…better watch herself.  That power of hers - like a snake, all twisted around her*    He shook his head a little, pushing the images away, still snarling at Angel.  Giles fumbled at his glasses and almost dropped them from nervous tension.

                "Wha- what do you mean about Oz, Spike?  What does he have to do with this?"  Giles asked, and Spike spared him a hateful glance.

                "Just what I said, Watcher.  We're - "   He stopped abruptly.  He could feel - something.  In the link.  It was faint, barely there.   It was Oz.  And he was…afraid.  He struggled for a moment with the demon - finally pushed it away to listen, and Xander was in the link, asking *What's wrong* and Spike darted into the other room, meeting his worried gaze.

                "Xander, it's-"

                "Oz - yeah.  Fuck."



                His old crypt was silent - seemingly deserted - and they approached warily.  Willow had convinced Giles to take her to the Summers house - she was worried about Tara being alone and about Joyce coming home to no daughters and a terrified stranger; Angel was nowhere to be seen.  *Bloody poufter can't even keep up*  Spike thought disgustedly before pushing open the crypt doors.   Xander and Buffy both crowded in behind him.  The inside was dark, but he could hear voices, very faintly, from under the sewer access cover.  The faint pulse of *fear protect help* that had been coming from Oz was stronger - was loud, and Oz was there, graceful wolf trotting up to the crypt and pushing against Spike's leg.  Xander crouched down, running his hands over the soft fur.

                "Hey Oz - you ok?"

                *Dawn*  and Oz let out a muffled sort of bark, clearly eager to get on with it.

                "Oz?"  Buffy looked down at the wolf - looked at Spike.  "So - are they in there?"

                "Down underneath.  I'm gonna heave that cover off.   There's a ladder on this side, but the hole's big enough you can just drop down - nothing underneath to catch on.  You get down there fast, Slayer, and the wolf and me'll be right behind you.  Xander, you get Little Bit, she'd gonna be scared out of her mind."

                "Yeah,"  Xander breathed, standing back up and flexing his hand around the stake he was carrying.

                "How many?"  Buffy whispered as they glided across the dirt floor.  Spike crouched down and grabbed the stone slab, muscles tense and ready to lift.  *Listenin' to me.  Guess you've got some sense, Slayer - keep usin' it and we'll have the Niblet back in a trice*

                "Only four or five when we met up a couple nights ago.  Dunno if she had more or not.  Didn't seem to.  Ready?"  Buffy nodded, and Oz pushed his muzzle into Spike's shoulder.   *Careful* from Xander, and Spike sent it right back, *careful love you*  Then he lifted and swung the cover off in one movement, lowering it as quietly as possible to the ground.  Buffy looked down into flickering dimness - some kind of fire light - and jumped, straight and graceful.  Oz was next, silent on his wolf-paws, and Spike grinned over at Xander and followed, duster rustling like crow's wings around him.  He landed easily and crept forward, hearing Xander land behind him.  There were voices ahead - Harmony stuttering something, a deeper male voice answering - and Dawn's panicked heartbeat, thudding over all.

                *Sounds like she's losin' her gang.  Stupid chit.  Almost got you, Niblet, be brave*  They went down a short stretch of tunnel and then into a larger chamber and Buffy was flying forward, kicking and punching, and Harmony shrieked "Slayer!"  and Oz leaped on a heavy-set female and then Spike was in, full-body slam into a hulking male.  The demon roared, delighted, and Oz answered, yipping howl that had *fight pack BLOOD* behind it, delight in the mayhem.  Something - a brief shock of *Wha-?  Fuuuck…* from Xander, and then nothing, the link shutting down hard.  Peripherally, Spike could see Xander over by Dawn, giving her a quick hug and then attacking the chains that bound her to the rock wall.  The big vamp under Spike grunted and heaved him up and Spike snarled and slashed his straight-razor across his throat - slashed again, putting supernatural muscle behind it and the panicked face fell back - away - as the vamp's neck was severed.  Dust puffed up from his disintegrating body and Spike turned, searching.  Buffy staked another male - her second - and Oz was standing, panting, in an eddy of dust.  Harmony was gone.  Xander did something with a tool - with his multi-purpose knife that he carried everywhere - and Dawn's hands fell, free of the chains.  She threw herself on Xander, crying, and Xander hugged her close, rubbing her back.  Buffy ran over and Dawn went from Xander to her, babbling incoherently. 

                "Shhh, Dawn, it's ok, mom'll kill me for letting you get kidnapped by vampires, you better not say one word to her or I'll...   C'mon, it's ok, shhh…"   Dawn pushed back from Buffy, wiping her eyes with the flat of her hand, face blotchy and eyes swollen.

                "I'll tell mom you killed vampires in front of me!  You're not supposed to do that!"  She looked over at Spike and smiled a tiny smile.

                "Thanks for c-coming to get me Spike.  Oz?  Is that Oz?  Wow!"  Dawn scurried over to the wolf and knelt down, running her hands through the soft fur and Spike smirked at the *scratch nice*   Oz, in a display of utter doggishness, leaned into Dawn and let her scratch behind his ears, mouth open in a wide, panting grin.

                "Wonder where that stupid cow Harm scampered off to?  Guess we'd better go find her.  You up for patrol, Xander?"  Spike lit a cigarette and Xander nodded, looking around.

                "Sure.  Guess we'll - tell her to get out of Sunnydale, huh?  I just - I don't think I can stake her, you know?"  *Know her*  and Spike nodded.  He'd figured they wouldn't be able to off one of their own, no matter how marginally she came under that heading.  He could remember Harmony - most clearly, he could remember her fighting for her life and her classmate's lives against the snake-mayor's hordes, and he reluctantly agreed with Xander's *helped us* and Oz's *frightened girl*

                "She tried to bite Willow, you know.  And she kidnapped my sister - why shouldn't we stake her?"  Buffy said, tucking her own stake away into the back of her pants.

                "'Cause she's…Harmony, Buff.  She went to school with us.  And…she's got a soul, too.  I've seen it."  Xander shifted uncomfortably, glancing at Dawn.  Buffy stared at him.

                "You're kidding, right?  Harmony has a soul?  Xander - "  Buffy stopped - pushed her hands slowly back through her hair.  Spike leaned against the wall behind him, watching them.  *What's got the Slayer all troubled now?* 

                "Xander - am I…am I killing - murdering - people like…like Angel?  If Harmony has a soul, could she be - good?  Could she..."

                *Ooooh, that's it, is it?  Huh.  Doesn't make' kill first ask second' quite so nice now, does it, Slayer?*  Xander glanced over at Spike, *love you* and shrugged at Buffy.

                "I don't - know, Buffy.  Kidnapping Dawn wasn't good…  Most of the demons you kill - the vampires - they really are evil.  I looked, out on patrol, and I've looked around a lot, and… they're different, Buffy.  Most of them really do just want to - kill everything.  Some don't.  But the ones that don't - aren't around much, when you are.   A soul doesn't mean instant white-hat status.  If it did, we humans would all be saints, wouldn't we?   It's not - black and white."  Buffy sighed, and looked over at Spike again - looked at Dawn, who was hugging Oz.

                "I guess - I guess I'll just…rely on you to tell me the difference, okay, Xander?  I don't want to…slay anyth- anybody that might not…need it."  She sighed again, and pushed a loose strand of hair off her face.

                *Tired Slayer.  Worried about her mum, her sis…and now this.  Maybe it'll tone her attitude down a notch.*  Spike shivered a little, and flicked his cigarette butt away.  *Still wanna taste her blood.  See what you've done, love?  Made me…almost feel sorry for the Slayer, for a second*  He frowned over at Xander, *damn pitiful slayer love you STOP that* and Xander stifled a giggle - turned it into a cough.

                "Yeah, ok - guess you'd better get Dawn home - where'd deadboy get off to?"

                "Don't think he's been gettin' off - probably half his problem…"  Spike muttered, and Buffy shot him a venomous look.

                "He's gone.  He said - we didn't need him, he wasn't part of the team and he'd just - be in the way."  She looked angry at that - tossed her head, dismissing him.  "Come on, Dawn - we need to get home."  Dawn nodded and stood up, one hand still on Oz's back, and they all filed back out to the main room.  Buffy looked in utter bewilderment at the collection of unicorn figures that Harmony had apparently been amassing, and Spike sneered at the fluffy bedclothes and throw-pillows she'd heaped on a big four-poster bed. 

                *How in hell'd she get that down here?  Christ.  Unicorns.  Be a mercy to stake her, sorry excuse for the evil undead.  Makes us all look bad*    Buffy went up the ladder first and stood at the top, watching Dawn climb.  Xander was close behind him, fingers edging around the sides of the duster and burrowing up under his t-shirt - trails of fire across his stomach.  Spike leaned back a little, resting against the solid warmth of the man, and Buffy, reaching down to help Dawn climb off the top of the ladder shot them an irritated look.  Oz made a breathy, yipping sound - wolfish laughter - and leaped up, clearing the edge of the hole and disappearing.

                *Love you want you mine* from Xander, and Spike turned in Xander's embrace and pulled him close - kissed him, taste of *sweet love love you*  running his own hands up under Xander's shirt. 

                "Hey!  You guys get up here!"  Buffy yelled, and Xander pulled back, grinning.

                "The Slayer shrieks,"  he whispered, and Spike reluctantly let him go; watched him climb the ladder and couldn't resist a grab at the taut body-part in jeans that hovered so enticingly just above him.

                "I saw that, Spike!"  Buffy growled, and Spike smirked up at her.

                "He slipped, Slayer - don't want him fallin' now, do you?"  She rolled her eyes. 

                "I'm getting Dawn home, and then I still have to go over to that warehouse.   Are you guys gonna find Harmony?"

                "Sure - oh…"  Xander looked over at Oz and Dawn, and nodded. 

                *Naked*  from Oz. 

"Oz needs to go home with you, Buffy - his clothes are there."  Buffy blinked - looked at Oz - blinked again.

                "Ah - yeah.  Right.  God I hope mom's not home!  Let's go, Dawn, we need to hurry."  Dawn sidled over to Spike - grabbed him in a quick hug that took him totally by surprise. 

                *Way to piss off big sis, Niblet*   She grinned up at him - hugged Xander too.

                "Thanks for rescuing me guys.  Sorry you had to do it."  Dawn strode out of the crypt, looking far too bouncy.

                "Yeah - thanks, you guys."  Buffy stood for long moment, just looking at the three of them, then she hastily went after Dawn.  Oz yipped - brushed close past Spike and Xander and followed.  Spike leaned back against a tomb, watching Xander  *want you*  surging over him, wash of fire.

                "Sssooo…havin' a little…fantasy, Xan?"  Spike whispered, and Xander came up close to him - put his hands on either side of Spike and leaned into him, heat and weight pressing him back.

                "Oh yeah…"  Xander brushed his lips over Spike's - over his cheek and jaw, moth-touches, and Spike shivered.

                "I thought about you, in here - thought about comin' over some night, after patrol.  All…worked up from the slaying.  Finding you here, in your…lair."  Xander's hands came up - pushed at the duster and slid it off.  Then his hands were at the hem of Spike's t-shirt, pushing, and Spike lifted his arms, letting Xander pull the shirt up and off.

                "What did you think you'd do, when you found me?"  Spike asked, voice low, and Xander put his palms flat on Spike's chest, rubbing lightly.

                "Oh, I thought…thought you'd be here, like this, in your jeans and boots - just…drinking some of that whiskey - smoking…  Lurking…"  Xander grinned at him - lost the grin as Spike pulled him close, groin to groin, subtle pressure.

                "Yeah?  And what then, love?  What's next…?"  Xander leaned forward again and ran his tongue over the claim mark - lightning down his body, straight to his cock, and Spike arched up, gasping.

                "Then - then I'd just push you down, like this - "  Xander pushed him back, laying him back along the cold marble, mouth hot and wet on his collarbones, sternum.  Xander's hands slid down Spike's arms to his wrists - brought them out and up, pinning them.

                "Hold you down, taste you - kiss you - bite you…"  Xander murmured, and did that, nipples and ribs and side of Spike's throat - hinge of jaw and the soft underside of his chin.  Sinking his teeth in, just a little, and Spike writhed under him, panting now.

                "Xan -"   *want you love yours yours*

                "Mmmm…"  Xander rocked his hips, pushing down tight, their erections crowding close through the denim.  The buttons of Spike's fly pressed in hard and he arched up, hissing, basking in the razor-edge of pain that licked out - became pleasure. 

                "Don't move,"  Xander said, and he let Spike's wrists go - wrenched open the buttons and pulled.  Spike put his legs around Xander's waist and squeezed, lifting his hips, and Xander yanked the jeans down.  The tomb was icy under his buttocks and back, Xander like a furnace against his cock, and Spike moaned softly, arching his back.  Xander fumbled for something in a duster-pocket - grinned and held up a squashed tube of gel.

                "Never know -"  Spike said, and Xander ducked down - came back up between Spike's legs, the jeans across his back.  He pushed his own jeans down, freeing himself, and then leaned back up, pressing Spike's wrists down again, full-body rub of hot flesh.

                "When I thought about this - you let me, let me fuck you - you wanted me…  God…"  Xander sealed his mouth over Spike's, all teeth and push, and Spike kissed back, fucking his tongue into Xander's mouth, tasting the essence of him, letting the demon out so that he could graze a fang over Xander's tongue - taste the rich, sweet blood that welled there.  Xander ground closer, his cock slicking wetness over Spike's belly; a bar of flame that threatened to brand Spike - immolate him.  His own cock jumped, pressed tight between two bellies, and he pulled Xander closer with his trapped feet, wanting more.

                *Want in me love please* and Xander let one wrist go - moved back an inch, and Spike felt the cool gel smearing on him - felt a fingertip stroke and circle and push in, slow.  A ripple of shivers ran out from that point, and Spike moaned into Xander's mouth - pushed the demon away as Xander leaned up a little, moving his lips down over Spike's neck.

                "You taste so good…feel good…love this, right here - "  Xander bit gently along the top of Spike's shoulder - pushed the finger deeper, skating over that place, and Spike arched up, gasping.

                "Ooh, pet…again, again - "  Xander's finger twisted - thrust - then he pushed in another, rasp of callus and scarred knuckles, blunt fingernails just ghosting over that most sensitive place.  Spike writhed, hips moving in shallow thrusts, and Xander leaned into his neck and rasped his tongue over the scar there - raked it lightly with his teeth.  *Beautiful vampire mine want*

                "You want me?  You ready for me?"  Xander whispered, and Spike turned his head a little, tongue and lips on Xander's throat.

                *Yours want NOW*   "Ready love, ready, in me…"  Xander's fingers slid out - his hips moved back a little, and Spike opened his eyes.  Stared at Xander - into wide eyes that were black in the dimness.   Spike felt the tip of Xander's cock pushing at him - pushed against it and sighed in pleasure as Xander pressed slowly in.  Xander's hand closed around Spike's balls - holding them up, tug and pressure, and then his slick palm covering Spike's cock, rubbing.  Spike reached and pulled Xander down - pulled him closer - and Xander's hand was on his wrist again, holding him still.

                 "No, no touching, just let me…"  Stronger push, going deeper, and Spike lifted his hips, arched his back - wanted, and Xander smiled at him.  Thrust in hard and froze for a moment.

                 "Oh, yeah - dreamed about this - you so tight and…cool, like this…  Wanting me - needing me…"  Xander moved back and forth, strong thrusts that rocked Spike back a little, the marble slick under his spine.  Xander leaned over him, faces inches apart, his hands and Spike's wide on the tomb, his hips moving faster, cock pushing deeper.  Spike felt tingles of electricity - of fire - prickling out over his body, centering on the burning brand that was Xander's cock in him. 

                "You need me, Spike?  You…need this?"

                "Know I do, Xan…you know…you make me alive, you -"   *love you love you beautiful my own always*

                *Yours always MINE*  Xander kissed him, frantic pressure of tongue and teeth, claiming Spike's mouth with his own, claiming his body with his own - his soul, with his own.   Thrusting harder now, collision of flesh loud in the stillness, and *oh there, there love fuck…*  and Spike was pulling him closer, legs like a vise around Xander's ribs and Xander suddenly let go of his wrists.  One hand snaked down between them, grasping Spike's cock and pumping it, rough and fast.  The other hand threading through Spike's hair, lifting his head, turning it, Xander's mouth on Spike's throat, on the scar.

                 "Wanted to make you mine - wanted to have you - want you…"   *Mine only mine*  and Xander's teeth sank deep, tearing flesh.  Spike's back arched up like a cat and he roared - turned his head and let the demon come, let the demon take;  the sweet and living blood, spiced with *magic* with *love* with himself and with the tiniest flash of the wolfling, exotic and heady and needed.  He drank - felt Xander doing the same, *good so good want this always* and Xander's body pounding into him, the heat of him in Spike doubling as Xander came.  Spike's own orgasm was thunder - fire - and he pulled away from Xander's neck and cried out again, moving helplessly, instinctively, shudder and push against the heat of Xander's body, against his slowing thrusts.  And then - flicker of images; himself, on his back, arched and gasping and glowing... 

                *Oh, what is - that's...*

                *You love, you, beautiful*  He saw himself - the demon and the human parts of himself entwined and glowing, golden-white, almost painfully bright.  Sparks of light, gold and scarlet and white dancing and whirling, around him, through him...  Spike shuddered, gasping, the final moments of orgasm a drawn-out ecstasy.   Finally Xander lay over him, panting, heavy and immobile and Spike hugged him close, kissing shoulder and throat - soothing the bite with his tongue, cleaning the smear of blood away.  *Love you pet, you thank you*

                "God.  Spike - love you so much.  Did you see - how beautiful you are?  Doesn't seem…real, sometimes.  Too good."  Xander burrowed into Spike's neck, hands slipping under his shoulder blades and pulling him close, and Spike ran soothing hands over Xander's back.

                "It's real, love.  *Real*   Never let you go."  They lay together for a long moment, and Spike heard the whispered Ceil that ended the seeing.   Xander shivered - shivered again when he slipped free of Spike's body, and he pushed himself up.

                "Getting cold.  Stupid crypt.  Damn - nothing to clean up with."  Spike sat up, limpeting onto Xander, arms and legs tight around his body.  *So warm*

                "Don't wanna let you go," he whispered, resting his head on Xander's shoulder, and Xander's hands were strong around his back - strong and sure and *safe, safe and loved*  stutter of images, memories; Dru and himself curled under blankets, sound of rain, dry rushing of a fire.  The whole family around a table - playing cards - Darla laughing and Angelus pouring her spiced cider, slipping a card to Spike under the table - the three of them on the pull-out bed in the living room, casual sprawl of bodies that touched without tension, himself and Xander and Oz…  *Family protect*  Xander raised one hand - gently turned Spike's face up, the dark eyes searching.  Full of love, full of... *understand*

                "I know, love.  I…know.  We'll have this, for as long as we can.  They know, now - no more hiding it, and we'll just…just be… *family ours never leave*  Soft kiss, to forehead and each cheek - to lips, and Spike sighed into it, loving it - loving that Xander knew, that he knew and didn't care, how fragile this felt to Spike - how much he wanted it.  *Want too much*

                *Don't want enough.  Give you everything - anything -my own always love you love you*  Spike hugged Xander hard, then leaned back a bit, smiling at him.

                *Real smile*

                "All for you, love.  Better get home.  Wolfling'll wonder what happened.   And - "  Spike made a gesture down at them, at sticky, drying matter that had adhered rather uncomfortably to both of them.  "Need a shower."

                "Always with the bath fetish.  Maybe we should have a bath - soak in that tub…"  Spike raised an eyebrow - smirked.

                "Sounds nice.  Like to fuck you in there - in all that hot water…"  

                *Want* from Xander, and Spike grinned - leaned back as Xander let him go and watched his boy squirm out from between legs and jeans, stumbling a little.  In the end they sacrificed Spike's t-shirt and walked home in the thick, summer air, Spike's duster over his arm and Xander's arm around his waist, stroking along rib and belly, *beautiful* through the link.   Spike noticed - as did Xander - a scurrying blonde presence in the bushes, but they both ignored it.  *Hunt her another day*  Spike thought, and Xander agreed.





Alice Cooper - Unholy War