And Ice For Your Wounded Heart - part three

And Ice For Your Wounded Heart - part three

"What are you doing here, little cuckoo?"  Drusilla's hand on his neck was cold and pinching and Xander froze. 

"I - I need to talk to Spike.  It's important!"  He shivered in her grasp, waiting for her to sink her nails - or her fangs - in but she did neither.  Just stood behind him, her cool body pressed to his, her hand gentling - stroking his neck and threading up through his hair.

"What are you going to talk to him about?  About...shoes and ships and sealing-wax?  About the walrus and..."

"And the egg-man?  Koo-koo-ka-joo?"

Drusilla laughed, a silvery peal of genuine amusement.  "No, silly thing.  The carpenter.  Not lobsters, anyway - oysters.  With vinegar and pepper, just like I like.  But no cabbage."  Drusilla stepped around him then, and looked up, smiling.  She looked - different.  Paler, somehow, and thinner.  Not as ethereal.  She looked brittle.  Xander frowned at that, and Dru pulled sharply away from him, her smile fading.

"Don't you be trying those sad eyes on me, cuckoo.  I'm not your priest."

"Are you sick?" Xander blurted, and Drusilla turned away from him, walking into the depths of the factory.

"I ate a surfeit of lampreys," she snapped.  "Spike's watching telly."  She stopped and turned, suddenly, smiling again.   "He's very tired - he's had to plan and organize so many things - a big party, just for me!  And all the king's horses and all the king's men will be there...  And Daddy - is going to play Humpty Dumpty!"  She held her hand out, waiting for him, and Xander walked slowly over and took it.  "And then I shall be put back together again."  She tugged at him and he followed her in to the shadows and down the stairs, to the bedroom he'd woken up in weeks before.  Spike was there on the bed in nothing but a pair of old jeans, smoking.  A large television had been bolted to the wall opposite and was blaring a soccer game.

"Spike!  Look who came for a visit," Dru sing-songed, and Spike slowly turned his head, most of his attention on the game. 

"Who, poppet?  Oh - it's you, little bird.  Come to take me up on my offer, then?"  Spike blew a plume of smoke at Xander and Drusilla pulled him closer to the bed, her hand tight around his.

"What?  No!  I'm - I'm not here for - for me."

"Why are you here?"  Spike scooted over on the bed, putting his cigarette in an ashtray and muting the TV - tossing the remote aside.  Drusilla gave Xander's hand a yank, pulling him off balance and then pushing him so he sprawled down on to the bed.

"Hey!" Xander tried to get up but Spike pounced, dragging him up to the headboard and the pillows mounded there; getting one leg over Xander's thigh - arm across his chest.  His whole body was pressed up close to Xander's and Drusilla was on the other side, stroking his cheek and cuddling close.

"Oh, Spike, he's warm - you didn't tell me he was so very warm..."  Drusilla crowded closer, her head on Xander's chest and her hand worming up under his ratty thermal shirt.  Xander tried to twitch away from her but Spike was right there, head resting on his fist, other hand languidly tracing the waist of Xander's jeans.  Xander felt little tremors shivering through his belly and thighs.  Fear, definitely.  But excitement as well, and traitorous lust, which he tried hard to ignore.   

"Course he's warm, pet.  He's still alive, isn't he?  Warm, and soft..."  Spike's hand dipped lower, brushing the edge of Xander's fly - working his fingers under the flap of it a little and Xander gasped softly.  "Well, not too soft.  Smells good too, doesn't he?"

"Spike, I -"

"Shhhh, love.  Let the lady talk."  Spike's eyes were half-lidded, dark - his mouth was open just a little, wet and lush-looking and Xander wanted to kiss him again - wanted to taste the smoke on his tongue.  Dru's hand was sliding slowly up his ribs to his nipple, and once there it circled and tugged and pinched, gently.

"He does smell good, Spike.   Like treacle tarts."   Dru smelled like dill and roses and iron and she was squirming now - getting Xander's arm out from between them and around her shoulders.  Xander wasn't sure if he should do that - not sure at all - but Spike was leaning in closer; trailing his tongue along Xander's jaw and chin - his lips - and Xander breathed in sharply, his fingers tangling in the spill of Dru's lustrous, earth-brown hair. 

"Does he?" Spike asked, low and rumbling voice, his eyes on Xander's.   Spike let his mouth rest on Xander's - let his tongue just delicately trace the edge of Xander's lower lip.  "Mmmm...tastes like honey and spice.  Like mulled wine," Spike murmured and Xander closed his eyes, arching helplessly into the dual touches on his body - into Spike's hand, that had undone the button and zip of his jeans and eased inside.

"He's got something in this throat," Dru said, her head on him like a sleepy child, her hand deft and lewd beside Spike's.  "Something's choking him; dog with a bone - fish on a hook.  Better let him talk," she said, and Spike drew back and Xander opened his eyes to find him looking at Dru with a little smile on his lips.

"Out with it then, cuckoo - sing your tune."

"I - it's...it's..."  Dru giggled into his neck - nipped at him - and he flinched and twitched away into Spike, who bore down on him a little more, pressing him into the bed - pinning him there.  Dru's leg was over his shins and suddenly he felt very, very trapped.  "You said - you had business with A-angel.  You said you'd leave my friends alone.  But those assassins - Willy said you sent for them!"

"Willy said?  Troglodyte.  I'll have his guts for garters."  Spike looked angry, but not overly so.  He rolled off Xander a little way and reached for his cigarette - took a last puff and ground it out.  Then he settled again, his hand going back to its teasing stroking of Xander's cock.  Dru had pushed his fly open further and was running her hand along behind Spike's, copying his pattern.  Xander shivered harder, the tremors of flight/fight subsiding and being replaced by ones of arousal.

"You promised!  I haven't told anybody -"

"Hush, love," Spike said, doing something with his hand, and Xander twisted, trying to be still - trying not to beg.  Dru was up on her elbow now, like Spike - looking at Spike with an expectant expression.  Spike paused in his caress to reach over and cup her cheek.  "I've been tryin' to get this cure for Dru sorted.  And every time I turn around - there's the Slayer.  Startin' to get irritating."   Dru bared her teeth and snapped at Spike's hand and he patted her cheek - went back to his slow caress of Xander.   "So, yeah, I called 'em in.  They might take out your Slayer - but I won't.  Promised, didn't I?"   Xander stared, dumbfounded, into Spike's face - into his half-smile and sparkling eyes and started to struggle.

"That's not - fuck you!  That's not the same - ow!"  Drusilla's hand had closed on him, too tight for comfort, and Spike leaned close again, chest to chest and his hand going up to grasp Xander's jaw - to squeeze it a little.

"Don't tell me what it is, cuckoo.  You need to remember where you are."  The demon rose and regarded him with unblinking, amber-colored eyes and Xander lay there panting, shivering - obscenely hard and wanting, oh god did he want.  "Full moon's two days off.  We'll do it then.  You keep your Slayer away from us, and she'll be none the wiser.  'Sides..."   Spike's head dipped down, toward his throat, and Drusilla's hand went easy again, curling around his balls and then trailing up to stroke his hipbones.  "I told 'em if she's not dead by the time Dru's all fixed, they have to go.  That make you feel better, love?"

"Ju-Giles knows," Xander stuttered, and Spike stopped, looking at him warily.

"Giles knows what?"

"He knows what you're trying to do.  About - about Du Lac and the c-cross.  He knows the ritual's gonna k-kill Angel."

"If Daddy'd been nicer we wouldn't have to kill him," Drusilla pouted, nuzzling into Xander's chest.  She slid lower on the bed, her hand pushing Xander's shirt out of the way so she could touch him - lick him.  Xander felt her hair slipping along his arm and stroked it once, gently.  Her tongue touched him again and again, little cold licks that made him gasp.  Spike's hand had dropped to his cock again, stroking slowly - smearing the fluid at the tip and pressing down, worrying the slit.

"So what?  Can't imagine a Watcher gettin' all sentimental over Angelus."  Spike leaned in the rest of the way, nuzzling into Xander's throat, the alien contours of the demon's face hard and strange against Xander's jaw and the underside of his chin.  Xander was panting now, trying not to move, trying not to writhe and clutch and beg because that's what he wanted to do.   Wanted Spike to kiss him - to touch him - wanted Spike's hand and Dru's to push off his clothes and feel every inch of him.  He squeezed his eyes shut, fighting for control.

"Oooh, Spike..." Dru said, and Xander tried to look at her but Spike had his chin pushed up to high - was sucking at his throat and letting the fangs just prickle, here and there.

"What is it, poppet?" Spike mumbled, and then he made a little noise down in his chest.  Xander could hear the buttons on Spike's jeans popping open.

"He wants to feel you, Spike - wants to give up to you...in to you...to us.   Can you see how he shows us his belly and whines?  Little beast inside, wanting a master..."  Her voice trailed off as her mouth fastened around the tip of Xander's cock and he jerked, crying out.

"Is that so?  What's in you, cuckoo?"  Spike's hand, which had stilled, now took up the slow movement again, bumping against Dru's mouth.  Spike shifted and Xander gasped as the vampire's cock pushed wetly at his hip - at his belly.

"N-nothing in me.  Got it out - Giles - got it out -" Xander stuttered, but he knew that wasn't exactly true.  Like the soldier, he remembered - remembered 'pack' and the intense, almost dizzying feeling of inclusion - of family.  Longed for it, in his dreams.

"Don't lie, cuckoo," Dru said, her lips buzzing against his cock-head, and then he felt her mouth moving and Spike's cock was pressed against his and she was licking them both while Spike's hand gently squeezed his balls - drifted lower, to stroke back between his legs.  Xander moaned, and finally worked his arm free of Spike's body and got it up into Spike's hair - pulling his head up and kissing him, heedless of the fangs.  He felt Spike stiffen for a moment - shock or offense - and then kiss him back, fang-tips digging in here and there, his tongue lapping for the blood that Xander could taste.

"He's a goer," Dru murmured, and then she sucked him down into her throat and he was arching up into her, hard, and Spike's finger was pushing into him, and his tongue, and Xander clutched fiercely at Spike's neck, whimpering - shaking through an orgasm that was almost too much.  He barely registered the rose-thorn prickle all around the shaft of his cock until Spike pulled away, licking his lips and looking down at Dru.

"Dru, love, don't take too much," he murmured, and Xander lifted his head muzzily to see Dru - demon-faced - slowly sliding her mouth off of him, blood on her fangs - on her lips - and on him.   *I should run screaming.  Oh god.  This is - fucked up, this is -*

"D-don't -" he whispered, and Spike glanced up at him, little grin on his face.

"Give us a taste, love," he said, and Dru slithered up until they could kiss.  Xander lay there and watched them, something in his belly curling like talons.  Fear, or anger.  Or jealousy.  Something. 

"Tastes like treacle tarts, doesn't he?" Dru murmured, and Spike chucked her under the chin.

"You're so right, poppet.  Now - what do I taste like?" he asked, and Dru grinned, her demon's eyes gleaming gold.

"Oh, Spike, I already know what you taste like," she teased, but she wriggled back down again, and Xander caught a glimpse of her red, red lips sealing around Spike.  And then Spike was leaning on him again, blocking his view - human again.

"No then, cuckoo, you come all the way over here to tell me off for sending the Taraka after the Slayer?  Or was there something else you wanted to tell me?"  Spike's eyes were fluttering, open and shut, and Xander could feel Dru's hair on his stomach - on his groin.  He could feel her small breasts pressing into his thigh, and one of her hands was still on his hip, just resting.  And he could feel Spike's hips, slow undulation as he responded to whatever Dru was doing.

"No, I - I wanted to tell you that - that Buffy and Angel...  She's not gonna just let you kill him, Spike.  She's like - in love with him or something."  There was a hissing sound from Drusilla and Spike twitched. 

"Mind your fangs, love," he said absently, staring at Xander.  "In love with him?  She's the Slayer.  Is she daft?" 

"I think he's in love with her, too," Xander said, and suddenly Dru was up, off the bed, halfway across the room.

"He is not!  Daddy doesn't love her!"  She put her hands into her hair and twisted it, moaning.

"Dru, come back to bed, poppet -"   Spike said, holding out his hand, but Dru was backing away.

"No, noooooo...  Oh I see it, I see it," she whispered, rocking, her hands like claws in her hair, her eyes tight shut.  Then she stopped, head a little to one side.  Suddenly her eyes popped open and she was human again, and her mouth was smiling, sweet and happy.  She had a smear of blood on her cheek.  "He does love her.  He loves her so much...  Oh, Spike!  Daddy's coming back."  She smiled at Spike - at Xander - turned and did a skipping little dance across the room and up the stairs.  "Must get ready, must make things all ready.  He's coming back and I don't forgive him for what he's done but he'll make it up to us, he will, he will..."

"Dru!  Bugger."  Spike sighed impatiently - looked down at Xander and grinned.  "Guess you'd better finish what she started, love.  All your fault, anyway."

"What?" Xander didn't resist Spike dragging his hand down to Spike's cock; cold and slippery with saliva and blood.  Spike arched his back, eyes going closed as Xander gripped him, and Xander stroked, light and then hard, twist and pull, watching Spike's face - watching the pleasure twist his features.  Spike's hand was chilly and heavy on his chest.

"Come in here, smelling of lust and misery, 'course I'm fuckin' hard.  Can't resist you, cuckoo."  Spike opened his eyes - leaned in close and nipped at Xander's lower lip, and Xander pulled him closer, getting his own hand up under Spike's t-shirt.  "Don't wanna resist you, pet.   So...sweet..."   Spike moved in close again, kissing him - kissing his breath away and stealing the heat from him - stealing his senses.  

*Is this what it would have been like if Jesse...?  I'd have let him.  Let him turn me, if he'd just...  If he'd have stayed.  Don't care.  Not so bad.  He loves her - doing it for love...  Hasn't hurt any of us and he could, he could...*  Spike was panting now, gasping into his mouth and Xander pushed him back, suddenly - slithered down his body and - after a moment's hesitation - put his mouth over the head of Spike's cock.  Cool flesh, tasting of musk and lemon and blood.   Spike made an inarticulate, mewling sort of noise and his hips came up hard - his hand twisted in Xander's hair and then Spike was coming, choking pulses of fluid that Xander frantically swallowed.  Cold and salt - the briny water of a winter sea - and Xander drew away and lay his head down on Spike's thigh - closed his eyes and just rested for a moment.   *He's had my blood, and now I've had...something of his.  Wonder if that means...anything.*   He'd skipped class today - too anxious to pretend to listen, too tired from worry and anger.  Spike's thigh was muscled and hard - his jeans smelled like smoke and blood and Xander hadn't even done his own jeans up - was shamefully exposed here in the lair of the monster.  But he closed his eyes and hugged Spike a little closer and simply...let go. 

"Idiot creature," he heard Spike say, but the cool, gentle fingers that slipped through and through his hair felt good - felt comforting.   Sleep came quickly.

 

*Two Slayers!  Jesus Christ!*   Xander clutched at the arm-rest of Cordelia's car as it careened along the road, speeding towards the church.  Crushed in the back, Giles, Kendra and Willow all grunted and groaned as they were squashed against each other.    *What'll Spike do when he finds out?  What if he kills her?  Or Buffy?  God -*  Xander had done his best to make them late: transposed the address of the church, 'accidentally' spilled a soda over Giles' notes - dropped hints to Willow about a possible counter-spell that had kept them researching an extra hour.  He didn't really want Angel to die - *not really not...completely.  Just a little.  The jerk.*   But he did really want Dru to get better, so she and Spike could go - wherever it was they were going next.  *Go and leave me...  Will they leave me?  I - want them to.  Oh, but...*    

Thinking of Spike's hand on him - of Spike's mouth.  Thinking of being trapped between those two chill, silken bodies - snakes, or sea-wet otters.    God, he wanted that - wanted that numbness - that release.  Wanted that certainty, because everything else...  *Nothing's black and white.  Parents are supposed to love you but...I don't know if mine do.  Vampire's are evil, but Spike loves Dru, and Angel loves Buffy...  Magic is good, but sometimes it's bad and you don't know until something tries to eat you...  Nothing's right.  Not even just one Slayer!*   He looked down at his hand, where Jesse's ashes had made a sort of tattoo in the long-healed cut.  *Did I change a little, having vampire ashes in my body?  Maybe it's like the blood, only...slower.*  

They stopped with a jerk and he tumbled out of the car and ran, watching as Kendra kicked in the door of the church and they all rushed inside.  The Taraka were there, and Buffy was; fighting them in a whirl of blonde hair and patent-leather kicks.   Someone was chanting something and Xander ducked a flying bit of debris and got ready to battle with the bug-guy.  He and Cordelia had jumbo cans of AquaNet and lighters.  The assassin's little maggoty self went up in flames very satisfactorily.

 

Angel hung from ropes, a knife pinning his hand to Drusilla's like some bizarre, fleshy cross and Xander wanted to be sick at the sight of it.  Spike stood behind them, one arm around Dru holding her up, the other in Angel's hair, stroking it.  He was talking into Angel's ear, and Angel swung, dazed, his dark eyes tracking over the room - over Kendra, and then Buffy.   Spike said one last thing - twisted Angel's head around and kissed him, hard, and then he was flying over the rail that was before the altar, piling into Kendra as Buffy fought the police-woman Taraka.  Cordelia was burning the last bits of the bug-guy and Willow was dodging and weaving, waiting for the moment to stake the vamp that was grappling with Giles.  Willy, bug-eyed, was scuttling out and Xander slammed him into the wall, fists in his shirt.

"You were supposed to be on our side, you bastard!" he growled, and Willy scrabbled at Xander's fist, panting.

"Wha'dya want from me, huh?  I got Miss Sunnydale and Bob Marley's sister on one side, bustin' my chops and I got Spike and his fuckin' crew on the other side, lookin' at me like the main course!  I'm between a rock and a hard place, here!"

"You're a lying asshole who deserves whatever he gets," Xander said, and thumped him hard into the wall - let him go with a shove and hurried to help Willow.  Just as he approached the vamp Giles was fighting exploded into dust and Giles sat down heavily, coughing.   Willow looked alternately pleased with herself and concerned that Giles had inhaled too much vamp-dust.  Xander picked up a broken piece of board - part of a shattered pew - and started hitting in wild circles, keeping the last two vampires away from Giles as he recovered.  Willow was staring towards the front of the church in horror and Xander risked a look that way.  Kendra was fighting Spike - fighting hard - but it didn't look good for the new Slayer.  Spike - was good

*Killed two Slayers already, that's what Giles said.  God, please, please - don't let him kill her.*    His makeshift weapon connected with a vamp and jolted out of his hands and then Giles was there, tackling the vamp to the ground.

"Go help Angel!" he yelled, and Xander grabbed the length of wood back up and ran towards the altar.  Kendra and Buffy did some sort of thing - gymnastic move too bewildering to follow - and now Spike was fighting Buffy, a huge grin showing his fangs, his duster like black wings around him.

"Oh no, no no no -" Xander whispered, not even sure who he was frightened for.  He leaped up the three shallow steps to where Angel and Dru hung, both seeming unconscious.  Angel looked - grey, and when Xander grabbed at Drusilla, trying to lift her, his eyes fluttered a little.

"Xander - get -"

"I'm trying," Xander snapped, not sure what Angel wanted and not caring.  Drusilla was light as feathers in his arms, limp and smelling of blood and cinnamon and the burning-sulpher smell of magic.    He cradled her close, lifting her small frame upwards so that she no longer hung by her impaled hand.  Spike had wound ropes around their wrists and Xander worked his utility knife free of his belt - pulled the blade open with his teeth and started sawing at the thick hemp, Drusilla's hair cool and silken across his throat.  Her head lolled forward, resting on his shoulder but he'd seen, in that moment, the gleam of malice and laughter in her half-shut eyes and he knew she was awake - was aware.  He could feel her lips, cool and nibbling, at the point of his jaw and he fought a wave of arousal.

*Fuck, not now, damnit, not here - where in fuck did he get this damn rope?  Never gonna cut through it -*   Xander could hear Buffy yelling something - could hear Kendra yelling too, and saw a fresh wave of vampires run into the church.  One knocked into a stand of candles and they went down - fell right into a heap of dust-sheets.  Flames leaped up, licking hungrily at aged wood and paint, and a couple of the new vamps panicked and ran back out.

"Hurry, little cuckoo, or we'll all be blackbirds, roasting in the pie," Dru whispered, licking the edge of his ear and Xander gasped softly, sawing desperately at the rope.   It parted with a sudden snap and Dru fell limply onto him, fangs pressing into his throat but not biting.   Angel went heavily to his knees, their pinned hands lying over his shoulder.  "Oh, that was clever, cuckoo, that was good -" she whispered, and Xander braced his foot on Angel's body and yanked the knife free of their hands.

"Xander!  What are you doing?  Stake her!" Buffy yelled, and Xander tossed the knife away, shuddering at the blood that slicked his hand.   Spike looked over at them and leapt, snatching Dru away and up into his arms.

"Bloody hell, he's not dust?"   Spike looked down at Angel and then up at Xander - leaned in close and kissed him, blood on his lip from a punch.  "You did good, pet.  Best get out, now, before you can't anymore."  He whirled and strode away, ignoring the Slayers, who were battling the last of the other vampires - ignoring Giles, who looked to have taken a hard punch and was being helped to the door by Willow.  The fire in the dust-sheets had spread up half the wall and the roaring noise it made was a shivery sound.  A moment later Spike was out the door and gone, not even sparing a glance for the vampires who were fighting for him and Xander sighed and leaned down - hauled Angel up with some effort.

"What did he say to you?" Angel mumbled, and Xander started dragging him out, past the last of the vampires and Kendra, who seemed to be critiquing Buffy's style.

"Said he'd kill me if I came around - what else?" Xander answered, and weaved a little under Angel's staggering weight, watching sparks fly up from the growing flames.   "What else would he say to me?"

 

Outside they stood on the sidewalk and watched the church burn, waiting for the fire trucks that Cordelia had called on her cell phone.  Angel was on the ground, hunched weakly in the grass and Buffy was bandaging his palm, her own hands deft and delicate and streaked with blood.   Giles and Kendra appeared to be comparing notes about - everything, and Willow was trying to get vamp dust out of her hair.   Xander combed his fingers through the back - brushed at her sweater.

"You okay, Willow?" he asked, and she nodded, gulping a little.

"I got a vamp!   Well, I got two, after Giles knocked that one out."  Xander smiled at that and Willow smiled back.  "Did the hairspray work?"

"Oh, yeah - it worked great.  Those big cans can really get a good flame - must have been three feet long!"  Cordelia was mumbling something about the reek of burning bugs and brushing at her dress, frowning.

"Xander?  Why did you - grab Drusilla?"   Willow was hugging herself, looking at him with a mixture of curiosity and puzzlement, and Xander shrugged, shoving his hands into his pockets, trying not to think about Dru's cool hand that had stroked his back, or the taste of blood and smoke that still lingered on his lips from Spike's kiss.

"I dunno.  She's smaller then Angel - seemed easier to just - hold her up.  Get the ropes off that way."

"Why didn't you just - just stake her?" 

Xander shrugged again, looking down - looking away from Willow's troubled gaze.  "I didn't know if - if it would do something to Angel, you know?  They were - that knife was in them both and -" 

"Oh," Willow said, nodding, and Xander finally looked at her, trying on a small smile.  They could hear sirens coming closer, and Angel looked as if he wanted to get up and go, but Buffy was holding his arm, talking softly to him. 

"Hey, how 'bout we have Cordelia take us to the Espresso Pump, huh?  Get some hot chocolate.  My treat," he added, and watched as Willow thought it over and then smiled back, nodding. 

"Okay!  And we can talk to Giles about the spell.  Do you think it worked?  Giles said it would kill

Angel -"   Willow talked on and Xander just nodded, trying hard not to think about Spike or Drusilla at all - trying not to remember.   Buffy declined coffee or anything else - went off with Angel, snugged under his arm but helping him walk all the same.  Giles looked concerned but he didn't call her back, and Xander wondered why he let Buffy do things like that.

 

The hot chocolate was too sweet and Giles was grumpy and sore, and as Xander walked home later that night he wondered if Spike and Dru were already gone.  When he got home the house was ablaze with light and his Uncle Rory's Bel Air convertible was parked half-way up the sidewalk, the engine still running.  Xander reached in and turned the car off - slipped the keys into his pocket and settled on the porch steps.  The TV was on inside - a ball-game, it sounded like - and his dad and Rory were yelling enthusiastically, voices slurred and peppered with curses.

*Guess the home team is losing.  Or, who knows, from the sound of it the home team could be winning and they're rooting for the wrong team.  Wonder if mom's home?  Wonder if there's any dinner?*  It was getting chilly but Xander didn't want to go in - Rory liked to grab him and tell him about his many hookers and deals and dog-race bets that had paid off big but he'd given the money to 'a friend' for something and wasn't he a stand-up kinda guy?  And then his dad would chime in about the thing he'd done at work, how the owner had come down to shake his hand - a lie, Xander knew, but one he couldn't call his Dad on.  Then they'd both ask him about school, and his dad would tell Rory how he'd flunked the last chemistry test, or how he'd failed in gym class one year. 

*Just not up for that.  Just want...some quiet.*  Xander put his arms on his knees and rested his forehead on his arms, closing his eyes and trying to tune out the sounds from the house - the scenes from the fight at the church.

"What's the matter, pet - head hurt?"  Soft voice - soft fingers stroking through his hair and down his neck and Xander shivered all over, leaning into the body that seemed to simply materialize beside him.

*Something like that...*   "No, my head's all right," Xander murmured, sighing a little as Spike's other hand joined the first and gently kneaded his neck and the top of his shoulders.

"What hurts then, cuckoo?  My Dru said you were hurting."   Xander rolled his head to the side, looking speculatively up at Spike, who looked - tired.

"I thought - thought you two were gone, already," he said, and something like surprise crossed Spike's face before a different expression showed there.  That soft, fond look - the one he'd turned on Dru before.  Only this time it was turned on Xander, and he felt his stomach clench tight - his breath catch and hitch a little in his lungs.

"Is that so?  No, still here, love.  Gonna take a few days for Dru to be back in fighting form - that spell was wicked, yeah?  'Sides - wouldn't just leave, cuckoo," Spike murmured, and tugged at him - made him sit up and then lean over and Xander sighed in weariness and contentment as Spike's arms wrapped around him and held him close.  Tucked up under Spike's chin, his cheek resting on the cool solidity of Spike's chest felt...wonderful.  Felt better than anything had felt all day and Xander wound his arms around Spike and just rested there, smiling to himself when Spike's mouth brushed his hair, again and again.  Cool flesh and cool leather and it soothed the hot, raw ache in his heart.  His own skin cooled in the night air until they felt...almost the same.  *Almost the same...*