A cool breeze blew in from the open window, not really doing much to alleviate the awful summer heat, but it at least got the air moving in the basement enough that it didn't seem as hot. A quiet calm radiated over the neighborhood. In the distance he could hear faded music from a scratchy stereo, the sound barely audible over the low hum of crickets in the yard surrounding his house. On a night like this Xander almost forgot that he was living on top of a giant demon magnet. Everything was peaceful, the kind of still quiet that came only in movies. Even the local baddies seemed to be affected by the heat. There didn't seem to be anything happening in the 'Dale tonight. No evil plots, no rampaging demons or insane wizards, nothing. There were still vampires and Buffy was still doing her rounds, but those things never went away. It was quiet enough that the rest of them could take the night off.

Problem was Xander didn't really have much to do on his night off, or at least nothing that he wanted to do in the oppressive heat that had seemingly stolen the reign of terror from the resident evil baddies. There hadn't been any big evils lurking around recently, just the heat. Even their own pet evil had up and disappeared. No one had seen or heard from Spike in over two weeks, not that anyone but Xander cared... or that Xander would admit that he cared. But really he just missed the fact that he didn't have anyone to go out drinking with or play pool with. Really, that was it.

So Xander lay on his bed, the only thing he could work up energy to do. He let his orange button-up shirt hang open while he pretended that he wasn't moping over the lack of gorgeous bleached Brits in his general vicinity or feeling hurt that said not-thought-about vampire had skipped town without even a word to Xander. Not that he thought Spike was gorgeous. Of course not, no. That would mean admitting that his heterosexuality was slowly being eaten away by the presence of a very han... no, not handsome, a very... something-not-gay-sounding vampire. But it wasn't the lack of eye candy that got to him. No, some small and obviously insane part of his brain had come up with the idea that Xander actually meant something to Spike.

Which he didn't. Obviously.

Because it wasn't like they were friends. Friends like each other. Which they didn't. Him and Spike. They hated each other, right? Well, kinda. Thinking objectively Xander couldn't remember the last time he'd been able to work up a good solid hate towards Spike. In fact, he'd been swinging a little more towards the exact opposite of hate recently... but that wasn't the point. They weren't friends. They were pool buddies. That was it. They had their game, every week. Same bat time, same bat channel. Regular as rain... wait, that didn't sound right. Scratch that. They played pool. That was it, end of story.

Oh, and they drank. Spike was all insistent that Xander needed to learn appreciation of 'proper' beer, so he'd started bringing some imported stuff over. The beverage of choice varied weekly. Spike had said it was so Xander could get a taste of all the different ones, so he could see what he liked and... Okay, so maybe they were a bit more than just pool buddies. Last time he checked being pool buddies didn't extend to vampires showing up on your doorstep with a case of beer.

Well, occasionally Spike brought other things. Like the Wednesday before he'd left Spike had brought some strange British movie, but that was only because the previous Monday he'd stopped by while Xander was watching Dawn of the Dead and started complaining about how Xander had no taste in anything, not clothes, not beer, not movies, nothing. Oh, and he'd brought pizza once a few weeks ago, which was a godsend because it'd been after a really bad day at work and Xander hadn't gotten home until really late. He'd even had to cancel on a research day with Giles and the girls, and he'd been so exhausted by the time he'd gotten home that he could barely see straight. To this day he was still surprised he hadn't gotten mugged or jumped by some vamp considering how he'd been staggering that night.

Yeah... so maybe they were a bit more than the average pool buddies. Xander would be almost tempted to say friends if he thought vampires could have friends. Which they don't, or at least not friends that were of the human-type. That whole 'happy-meal on legs' kind of thing sort of prevented that. So what were they?

A rustling by the window made Xander turn his head, wary of a stray cat crawling in through the open window. What he saw made him jump up in surprise as a pair of black boots appeared outside his window, followed shortly by a familiar bleached head.

"Spike!" Okay so maybe he was acting a bit too much like an overactive puppy but he didn't care. Why? Because Spike was back!

"Evenin', mate. Mind if I step in?"

"No, come in. The door's unlocked." He waited until Spike appeared at the top of the stairs to continue speaking. "You know you always have an open invitation here."

"You sure that's a good idea, pet?" A wicked smile creased Spike's face as he descended into the basement. Xander stared at him for a moment. His mind was still too busy doing its little happy dance of joy now that Spike was here for him to really catch what was said. One thin eyebrow rose on a pale face and Xander realized he was supposed to respond.

"Oh, what? The door? No big demons about and you vamps need an invitation."

"Didn't mean the door, pet." Spike's grin widened just a touch as he stepped closer, invading Xander's personal space. "Meant the invitation."

Xander matched Spike's grin with a dopey one of his own, trying not to let any of the sudden nervousness he felt leak into his face. He fell back onto their old ribbing instead, warring off his emotions with sarcastic humor. "Why'd that be a problem? Not like you can hurt me, Fangless."

Xander hit the wall so fast that he didn't even realize he'd been lifted until his back slammed into unmoving plaster. Pain hit him and he winced, more in sympathy for Spike than himself as he waited for the loud cursing that was sure to follow. One of the carved bookends on the shelf above him tottered and fell off the open end of the shelf above him to clank onto the floor, but there was a distinct lack of British swearing.

"See, that's the thing pet. 'm not so fangless anymore."

Xander's eyes widened to saucers as he stared at the madly grinning vampire that had him by the throat. "Your chip's out."

"Got it in one, luv."

Well that was certainly a surprise. A fairly big surprise. One that meant many nasty things, like the fact that he probably had about five more minutes to live and that all of his friends had possibly been brutally murdered not too long ago.

"When'd you get your chip out?" That certainly wasn't the brightest thing to say but apparently his mouth hadn't gotten the memo that there were more important things to worry about. Like, for instance, why he wasn't already dead and whether or not his friends were all post-mortem.

"'aven't been 'round for a while, 'ave I?"

That answered where Spike had disappeared to for the past two weeks and why he hadn't said anything, but it left room for more pressing questions. Like why Spike sniffing his neck.

"Are you going to kill me?" It was a pointless question, really. They'd all heard Spike's threats of what he was going to do to each of them as soon as he got his chip out.

Spike paused, his face hovering inches above Xander's bare neck. A burst of cool air ghosted over Xander's skin as Spike sighed. He shivered, and hoped Spike would write it off fear and not the fact that he was being mildly turned on by Spike pinning Xander to the wall with his entire body.

"'m not going to kill you," Spike murmured into his skin.

"Then what are you..." Cool lips met flesh with a distinct lack of fang and Xander's voice died a horrible spluttering death when a slightly gravelly tongue followed the lips. Spike was kissing him. On the neck. Spike, unchipped, near his neck, and not biting. Doing distinctly non-bitey things but Xander was more willing to focus on the bitey than the non-bitey considering the non-bitey was currently doing funny things to his lower anatomy.

Xander jumped as a cold hand suddenly appeared on his chest, slipping in through the open shirt to slide around Xander's side until it settled in the small of his lower back. Spike moved his mouth lower, pausing to nibble lightly on Xander's right shoulder blade and he realized then that Spike no longer had a hold on his throat. He could, theoretically, try to push the vampire off him right now. Theoretically. The more practical part of him was currently turning into mush as he learned what vampires could do with necks when not biting them.

"Spike," he moaned breathlessly though really it had been intended more as a question. Damn vocal chords not working how he wanted. He tried again. "Spike?" Good, that one came out a bit solider.

The vampire made a non-committal grunt into Xander's neck as he slipped the orange shirt Xander had been wearing down his arms.

"Spike?" He tried again, managing to get out a bit more this time. "What are you doing?"

The vampire pulled away for a second to glare at him. "'m not gonna kill you, mate, so stop whining."

"Then what are you doing, Spike?" He wasn't exactly complaining the sudden change, not really. It was just a little confusing to go from 'oh the big bad vamp's going to kill me and dance around town with my entrails as a banner' to 'oh the big bad vamp's trying to make out with me'.

Spike looked at him for a long minute. Then his gaze suddenly shifted elsewhere for the briefest of seconds before it snapped back to Xander, and he got the evilest of grin's on his face. Xander suddenly found himself getting a good look at the carpeting as he was slung over Spike's shoulder. He needed to vacuum. Wait, that wasn't what he should be focusing on. There should be indignance, really. All he could manage at the moment was to be turned on at how easily Spike could pick him up and toss him around.

"Spike, put me down!"

"Sure thing."

Xander bounced as he found himself once again on his back on the bed, though this time there was an evil looking vampire looming over him. Okay so that wasn't such a good thing. Make that a smug-looking and somewhat sexy vampire currently peeling Xander's pants off looming over him. Xander's mind suddenly caught up to what was going on here. Namely the fact that this was him, pantsless, with a very obviously aroused vampire doing naughty things to him.

"Oh." Spike wanted to have sex with him.

Xander's eyes widened as he realized what he'd just realized. "Oh!" Him. Spike. Sex. Hot sex. Wild passionate monkey sex with him and a vampire. Okay, so he didn't know for certain that there would be monkey sex but he was definitely hoping for it. They seemed to be heading that way, and he didn't really mind heading that way.

Spike grinned down at him, wordlessly watching revelation play out over Xander's face. He should be more opposed to this, he thought, but he couldn't think of a single objection as Spike lowered himself to press jean-clad thighs against Xander's naked legs. "Ohhh..." He moaned into Spike's mouth as the vampire kissed him, a real kiss full on the lips and he brought his arms up to pull the vampire closer. His fists clenched in soft fabric and he decided Spike was wearing entirely too much clothing. He was naked. Spike should be too.

A nearby lampshade suddenly got a new decoration as Xander tossed the vampire's shirt off to the side. Apparently the act was appreciated if the sudden fervor of Spike's wandering hands was any indication. He gasped as the cool lips moved down to worry at his neck once more. Figures that a vampire would have a particular fondness for that spot. As Xander's hands slipped into tight jeans he thought of something.

"Spike, what about..." Oh that tongue was devilish. A devilish, evil tongue to go with a devilish, evil vampire, and there was something he'd been trying to say. "Buffy?"

"What? Where?" Spike snapped his head up to stare around the room.

"No, not here." Relief visibly filled the vampire's figure. "Are you going to kill her?"

Spike looked at him like he'd turned purple. "You want me to?"

Xander quickly shook his head. "No, definitely don't want the kill-age. It's just that..."

"Spit it out pet." Spike slid off the bed suddenly and Xander was almost disappointed, thinking that he'd ruined it and that Spike was going to leave. That was until the vampire dropped his pants. Xander stared. He knew he was staring, knew he probably should stop staring and close his mouth but seeing Spike suddenly naked was... wow! That was the only word he could think of for it. Just... wow!

"I know I'm fucking gorgeous, pet, but you were trying to say something, right?"

"Right," Xander agreed quickly. What was it? Oh, right. Very slowly he dragged his eyes up to Spike's face, blushing at the lecherous grin spread across the blonde's lips. The bed dipped as Spike crawled back to him and he found himself once more looking up at the vampire. This was not a bad thing, he decided, and should be repeated more in the future. "You're not going to kill her like you said you would if you ever got the chip out?"

Spike rolled his eyes. "No, I'm not going to, okay? You good with that?"

"Yeah," Xander answered quickly. Spike started to lean down to kiss him, and Xander was fine with that as well but he had to ask. "What about Giles?"

"Bloody hell!" Spike glared down at him. "No, 'm not going to kill him either."

"And Willow?"

"No! Not going to kill anyone, alright? At least not anyone that you know." The last part didn't sit entirely well with Xander but he found he couldn't object overly much. This was Spike, a self-proclaimed evil killing vampire and it was hard to expect him to not kill just because he and Xander... He wasn't sure what they had. It was something, obviously, or they wouldn't be here like this and Spike wouldn't have made that limit on his killing. In a way it was almost sweet, in a sick, twisted I'm-sleeping-with-a-vampire sort of way. "Now is there anything else you need to get off your chest or can we bloody get on with it?"

As much as the thought of getting on with it made happy pink bunnies dance in Xander's stomach, he made himself stop for a second and think this through. Here he was, naked in bed with an equally naked evil vampire who had pretty much declared undying love in a kind of vampire-ish 'I'll limit my killing just for you' sort of way, about to have sex with an undead creature of the night. Sex up the ass nonetheless considering the plumbing involved. Strangely he found himself less bothered by all of this than he should be. But this was Spike, almost-friend Spike who he'd know for a while and if he thought about it he'd been attracted to for a while. This could work.

"Nope, I'm good," Xander replied with a smile.

"Sure?" Spike gave him a skeptical look.

"Yep." He nodded.

With a groan Spike let himself fall down onto Xander. Then the hands and the lips were back and Xander found himself responding with equal passion. He started slightly when a cold finger slipped between his legs and back a bit to poke at what would normally be an exit-only hole. Oddly enough the feeling wasn't as strange as he'd expected. Painful, but then few things in life weren't and Xander found himself actually enjoying it after a bit. He enjoyed it more when Spike pushed his legs further apart to kneel between them, lifting Xander's hips until they were perfectly aligned so that Spike could push a very large piece of flesh in with one swift thrust. And oh what a thrust that was. Xander cried out loud, very glad that his parents were two floors above them and very deep sleepers.

Spike froze for a good long minute, his face contorted into a look of pleasure to the point of pain. "Oh, you're going to be the death of me, pet," Spike muttered. "So warm, you are. Bloody heaven in here."

A small part of Xander's brain not currently covered in warm-fuzzies managed to respond. "You're already dead."

Spike glared down at him and then grinned as he pulled out slowly, leaving Xander cursing and grabbing at the bed sheets as he felt part of Spike move inside of him. The smug snickering coming from the vampire demanded some sort of response. Which he fully intended to give as soon as his brain started working again.

"Does that mean I get to be the life of you?"

There was more in that question than Xander realized, possibly more than he'd intended. They stared at each other for a long moment, completely ignoring the fact that they were currently joined at the hip. Spike looked at him for what felt like half of eternity before he suddenly smiled, a real smile that seemed foreign to the vampire's lips but it was a smile that Xander liked instantly. He smiled back.

"Yeah, pet, that's it."

"Cool," Xander beamed. "I like that."

Wrapping his arms around the vampire's neck he pulled Spike down into a deep kiss, thrusting his hips slightly to remind Spike of what he should be doing. Slowly Spike picked up the idea, moving in and out of Xander in an ever increasing pace until Xander had his head tilted back screaming obscenities at the vampire that was currently torturing him with pleasure. His body was tense, a taunt wire hovering just on the edge but no matter how much he wanted it, needed it release seemed to hide just beyond his grasp. He shivered, his body turned into one giant sensitive nerve and he realized he was waiting for something. His head was gently tilted to the side and then he found what he was waiting for in the sharp pinch of teeth biting into his flesh.

He screamed.

When Xander was finally able to peal himself off of the ceiling and float back down into his body, he was surprised to find a now still Spike licking frantically at his neck. He reached up and placed a hand on Spike's back, waiting until the vampire finished lapping at his skin to speak.

"You bit me." Xander couldn't help the hint of confused indignation that snuck into the words.

"There are different kinds of bites, luv." With a smile, the vampire slowly separated the two of them. For a minute Spike looked as if he was considering leaving. Instinctively Xander latched on, clutching Spike's arm in a tight hold. The vampire looked between Xander and his hand for a second before chuckling and shifting suddenly, rolling to his side and pulling the covers over them both. Once he was settled, Spike moved Xander over, positioning the human until he was half-draped over Spike's chest like a flesh-blanket.

Xander chuckled, the sound muffled by pale skin. When the amusement died slightly he turned to look up into equally amused eyes.

"So, you're really not going to kill everyone?"

A frown knitted Spike's brow and Xander got the strange urge to lean up and kiss it. Spike's arm around his waist kept him from moving. "...not your friends."

"Why?" The answer wasn't all that important. His friends were safe and he had this strange thing budding between him and Spike. The rest was irrelevant.

"Do you want me to?" Spike asked seriously, and Xander knew that if he ever did want Spike to kill someone, it'd be done. No questions asked, no arguing, just done. The thought was both scary and romantic at the same time. He thought maybe Spike's bad habits were starting to rub off on him.

"Of course not."

"Well that's it." Spike replied slowly.

"It's that simple?" It seemed a little too easy, at least to Xander's mind. Vampires weren't supposed to be all soft when it came to humans. Not that he was complaining, it was just a little unprecedented.

"...yeah, I guess it is." And that was it. Case closed.

"Thanks," Xander said with a smile, and he meant it.

"Welcome, luv."

Xander let himself drift in the embrace. It had been a while since he'd shared a bed with anyone and he was beginning to realize just how much he missed it. Which lead to the question of whether there'd be a repeat performance of tonight. He kind of hoped there would be, but he didn't want to just come out and ask. Instead he went back to the question that had been puzzling him earlier in the morning.

"Spike, what are we?" Even as he asked the question Xander could feel the dark land of sleep already pulling him down. He closed his eyes, his cheek resting against an unmoving chest that was surprisingly comfortable as he started to drift off. Just before he fell asleep completely, Spike's soft words caught his ear and he smiled.

"We're mates, luv."