Chapter Seven

"Would somebody like to tell me why I'm going along with this again?" Xander whispered as he crouched in the bushes outside Spike's crypt. Anya stood boldly on the doorstep, about to knock, and looked at him with a combination of fondness and scorn.

"Because you just watched, "In and Out" for the eighth time in a week, and told me very coherently at 3 a.m. yesterday that you were ready to go through with asking Spike to move in with us, because your karmic mission will never be fulfilled until you've seen Spike dance naked to Macho Man."

Jeez, could she be any louder? Xander blushed. Whatever funky CD Spike was playing inside -- sounded like a woman singing, pretty voice, but not in English -- echoed out into the darkened cemetery, almost drowning out the chorus of "Macho, macho man..." in his head. So maybe it was loud enough that he'd get lucky, and Spike hadn't heard. Arrgh. 'Do not think 'Get lucky' when Anya's talking about naked Spike,' he berated himself.

"Anya," Xander stammered, "I don't even remember being *awake* at 3 a.m." Except then why did he have crisp, clear mental images of Spike in black jeans and a muscle-T, energetically removing said clothes to a pretty good impersonation of Kevin Kline's dance routine, while he and Anya watched and shared a bowl of popcorn?

A particularly intense dream, that was all. Except...um... why was he dreaming about Spike, naked? And why had he come straight from the construction site, still in his work clothes and hard hat, while the song bounced through his head? Oh, yeah -- the hat was for protection in case Spike threw things at them.

"Xander, you're going through stage five of denial. It's to be expected, but hurry up. I've got a casserole in the oven."

"What's stage five?"

"It's where you overcome your fears, make a perfectly intelligent decision during open and honest dialogue with your significant other who thinks the whole idea of being with you and Spike together is the best present since the thing with the batteries that you made me promise not to say its name, and much cheaper over the length of our marriage than my total gay porn rental bills would be -- I showed you the calculations, Xander -- and then you chicken out because you're a big weenie."

Xander blinked. "You made that up."

Anya rolled her eyes and tugged on his arm. "Come *on*, Xander. You had a good idea. Get Spike off the streets and into a place where we can keep an eye on him so he's not a danger to himself or others, like those innocent bystanders at the Bronze who aren't equipped to appreciate the sight of a naked, drunk, dancing vampire. It's perfectly decent reasoning."

Xander shook his head. "No, it's a flimsy excuse dreamed up by a deranged man in a moment of extreme insanity proven by the fact that he actually went to *Angel* for advice. Spike's not a kid, and he's perfectly capable of taking care of himself."

"Xander, all we *need* is a flimsy excuse. Once we get him moved in, we can seduce him, and by the time Spike's naked in our shower, he won't care if we only want him there so we can deduct him on our taxes." She frowned. "We can't, by the way. I checked."

It would be a heck of a lot easier to concentrate on whether she was right or not, if Anya didn't keep saying things like "Spike's naked in our shower."

"Ahn... Talking about it with you was one thing. Actually doing it is something completely different."

"Yes. It's sexier."

"Not *that* kind of doing it. I mean, asking Spike to move in with us. How do we even know he'd want to?"

She put her hands on her hips, and gave him her best, 'Puh-leeeze' expression. "He's lonely, he's bored, and he's been reduced to redecorating tombstones for fun." She pointed to the nearest one, which had once read, 'Here lies Tom Spencer, Beloved Father and Husband.' Now it said, in roughly-chipped carving, 'Buffy Summers Has Stupid Hair. And she cheats at Kitten Poker.'

"Right, but that doesn't mean he's interested in...you know. Us. Me. You." Xander backpedaled quickly when he saw the stormy look approaching Anya's face. "I mean, anybody would be interested in *you*. But in a..."

"Kinky threesome?" Anya finished.

"Did somebody say kinky threesome?" The low British voice drawled from just inside the door. Xander groaned, crouched down lower, and tried very hard to look like a tombstone. "Oh, for god's sake, get up, Harris," Spike told him as he opened the door and stood next to Anya. Gah. Black jeans. Muscle-shirt. Gah. "You look like that parody of the Village People they have up at Rick's Triple X Video." Xander rose to his feet, blushing furiously.

"Oh, you've seen that one?" Anya asked brightly. "Xander and I wanted to, but they said they had to order a new copy, when I tried to rent it."

Spike was grinning right at Xander while he answered Anya. "Well, yeah. Somebody might've...er...worn it out, I suppose." He lifted one eyebrow as he leaned on the outside wall of his crypt. "So what're you two doing here? Just dropped by to tuck me in and read me a bedtime story? Play a game of Scrabble? Warn me not to go out at night 'cos there's ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties about?"

"We came to proposition you," Anya said succinctly.

"Not in a kinky threesome way," Xander said quickly, glaring at Anya. "Just a wouldyouliketomoveyourstuffintoourplacebecauseit'sbetterthanacryptandwecouldusesomehelparoundtheapartmentandsometimesweworryaboutyou way." He couldn't breathe. Wasn't that a sign of impending heart failure?

"Ah." Spike pursed his lips, as if he were thinking it over. "So it's nothing to do with wantin' to see me strut my bad stuff to Macho Man, then?"

Definitely heart failure. Followed by brain failure. Xander closed his eyes, and wondered if he could walk back to the car that way without tripping over any tombstones. Then he opened them, suddenly irked. "You mean you were listening to us all along?"

"Been gabbing loud enough to wake the dead out here - and there's a lot to choose from. Might as well listen in, since you lot interrupted my alone-time with Nana Mouskouri." Spike rejoined. Xander realized that sometime during his and Anya's talk, the strange music from within the crypt had disappeared. "Nobody messes with the Nana-time. That's the first thing you two need to know when I shack up with you."

"But you just let me go on like that, making a fool of myself?" Xander asked, stepping up into Spike's face.

The grin he got in response to that could've lit up the whole cemetery and half the surrounding block. "What can I say -- I'm evil, luv. Remember?"

Xander glared at him. And glared. And glared. Until finally something penetrated the chorus of 'I am a dork, I am a dork, I am *so* embarrassed, I am a dork...' in his mind. "*When* you shack up with us?"

"Yeah. Half an hour or so. I'm pretty much packed, but I've got a few things left downstairs. Plus I want my Nana-time. Sod off to the malt-shop for a bit, eh? Swing back by around nine?"

"*When* you..."

Anya was pulling on his arm. "Come on, Xander. He said yes. This is a *good* thing, remember?"

"Remind me why?"

"Because now we can actually *have* naked Spike in our shower, instead of just thinking about it?"

Xander groaned loudly. "I do *not* think about... Oh, forget it."

She led him toward the car, patting his arm, and telling him in soothing tones, "Hey, at least we didn't have to go with the backup plan."

*****

Spike stepped back into his crypt with a satisfied grin.

"Did it work?" he heard from the floor in front of his stereo, where Dawn sat cross-legged, flipping through his CDs.

"Yours truly is the proud new pet of one Xander and Anya Harris, completely house-trained and available for private dances upon request," he bragged. He added quickly, "Not for you, so don't even ask, you pint-sized pervert."

Dawn just held out her hand. "I *told* you they'd be here before the week was over, if you did the dancing on the roof thing. Pay up."

Spike narrowed his eyes, but reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled twenty, slapping it into her palm. "I liked you better when you were innocent and underaged and didn't know what Xander meant when he said the Wiccas were off doing spells together."

She smirked. "Times change. I'm an eighteen year old woman with a shopping habit to support. You're a hundred and twenty-nine year old private dancer and future houseboy. Get over it. Besides, don't say you didn't have fun with the whole thing."

"Well, the getting drunk part was fun, and the dancing, and the being coddled by the two of them. The vomiting, I could've done without."

"Yeah, yeah. Small price to pay." Dawn rose to her feet and peered out into the night at Anya and Xander's departing car. "I'm kinda disappointed you didn't hold out longer, though. You're too easy. You barely even let them get that lame, not-even-indecent-proposal out of their mouths, before you jumped on it."

Spike blinked at her as he walked over and pressed PLAY on the CD, and the Greek version of "White Rose of Athens" filled the crypt again. She looked back at him, making a face at the choice of music; he flipped two fingers at her. It was an old argument.

This was a new one. He liked new arguments. "I am *not* easy. And I don't think it was lame. At least they've got initiative; they came right out and asked."

Dawn gave him a positively malevolent grin. "The backup plan involved chains."

Spike swallowed hard, then glared at her. "Why didn't you say that earlier?"

"What can I say -- I'm evil, remember?"

the end