AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm posting the first chapter of this fic sooner than I'd planned, because I got several comments on the last chapter of "It's Just A Jump to the Left" requesting more, and who am I to deny my readers? This fic is going to be a bit different than IJAJttL: kinkier and angstier. You have been warned!

SPEAKING OF WARNINGS: Herein, you will find homosexuality (duh), masturbation, and a few scary bad words your mom probably taught you not to say. If these things make you shudder (in a bad way), then I suggest you stop reading now and go find something more to your taste.

Later chapters will contain domination/submission, voyeurism, and probably additional scary stuff requiring warnings, and when any of these is the case I will give you a polite heads-up in advance.

Also, this fic is a sequel to my story "It's Just A Jump to the Left," and it won't make a lot of sense if you haven't read that story first. So go read it if you haven't already!


Part 1: The One Nobody Wanted

Spike was kissing him. They were on Xander's bed and Spike was on top of him, face-to-face, Xander's legs spread high and wide, calves resting on Spike's shoulders as he fucked him, slow and hard, kissing him all the while with that rough, insistent hunger, their tongues sliding against each other just as Spike's cock slid inside of him.

"Oh god, yeah," Xander moaned against Spike's mouth, panting. "Like that. Right there. Oh god."

He was getting close, and Spike seemed to know, seemed to just know what he wanted without him having to say anything. Xander's cock was throbbing between them, rubbing against Spike's stomach with every slowly speeding thrust as Spike began to change his pace, making Xander writhe in desperation.

"Oh god," he groaned. "Oh god, yeah, faster, oh god, oh god, yeah..." Xander's head pressed back into the bed, his back arching, he was so close ... so close...

Spike began pounding into him, kissing him just as hard, kissing him and fucking him as if he couldn't get enough, as if Xander was his whole world and he wanted to climb inside and never come out. Then Xander felt Spike's body stiffen against him and he knew Spike was coming inside him, and he heard himself cry out, "Yes!" as he came so hard that a few drops hit his chin.

He lay on the bed panting, his heart still racing.

When he'd recovered, Xander rolled over and sat on the edge of the bed for several minutes, not really thinking about anything, just feeling vaguely depressed.

After a while, he stood up and went into the bathroom to wash up, avoiding his own gaze in the mirror. He didn't want to look at that guy, that sad guy who spent pretty much every night fucking himself with a piece of plastic and imagining it was his best friend's cock.

Sometimes he felt like a liar, not telling Spike about everything that happened in the time loops. Sort of like he'd molested Spike in his sleep or something. But how was he supposed to tell him now, months later? Remember all those time loops I told you about a while ago? Well, I left out this one tiny detail where you kind of fucked me in the ass repeatedly and I liked it and would like to have it happen again, now, for real. So how 'bout it? And, anyway, they really were friends now, and Xander didn't want to fuck that up. Literally. Or metaphorically. Or whatever.

He dried his hands and walked naked to the kitchen, where he opened the refrigerator door and took out a carton of orange juice. He sat down at the kitchen table and tilted his head back, drinking straight out of the carton, and then looked down at the postcard sitting on the table. He'd left the refrigerator door open, and it lit the room in a strange, elongated rectangle. Xander took another drink of juice and looked again at the postcard.

Well, it wasn't really a postcard, not exactly. The front showed a black-and-white photograph of a man wearing only a leather collar, kneeling at the feet of another man who was shown only from the very muscular - and very naked - thigh down. On the other side was printed info about a party at a club. A sort of sex club type place. From what Xander gathered from the blurb, the place seemed to specialize in domination games.

Okay, so, yeah, he'd had a few - okay, a lot - of those kinds of fantasies about Spike since the whole time loop thing. Sometimes he imagined them being romantic ... and sometimes he imagined them being just really raunchy and intense ... and sometimes he imagined Spike telling him what to do, sort of like in the time loop, all commanding and ... well ... dominant.

He wasn't actually planning to go to the club. Because what if somebody recognized him? And, anyway, he wasn't interested in that sort of stuff - or any kind of stuff - with anybody except Spike.

But he was awfully curious. He wished he could go and just watch, just see what other people did. Then he could imagine what it would be like if Spike...

Xander swiped his hand across the table and sent the postcard flying. It fluttered crazily, reflecting the light from the refrigerator in a strange mini-strobe effect, before landing somewhere in the shadows on the linoleum. Xander shoved the juice carton away, too, and let his head fall into his hands.

He suddenly felt a little guilty for all those years with Willow, back when they were in school. 'Cause this "pining for your best friend" thing sucked, big time.


"Think the girls'd toss me out if I threw this bottle at the screen?"

"Spike, I'd toss you out. You dare not diss the classics!"


"Yeah, 'diss'."

"What're you, now? Scoobies in the 'Hood?"

"Shut up, Spike."

In the flickering shadows of the living room, Willow and Dawn turned around simultaneously and shushed them. Tara just continued placidly watching the screen.

Spike was only quiet for a few seconds before he was griping again. "And, anyway, this is not a classic. The Iliad is a classic. Anarchy in the U.K. is a classic. This? This is rubbish."

"This is a very moving parable: the tree nobody wanted, finally finding a loving home. It's touching."

"It's tripe. Stupid tree can't even hold up one bloody ornament."

"Hey! Don't be all prejudiced based on ornament supportage! It's a good tree! I've always identified with that tree!"

"Yeah, well, you would, Harris. This shite is written for every pathetic tosser who ever wished somebody would finally see their 'inner beauty' and suddenly want 'em around. World doesn't work like that, whelp. Nobody loves a loser. Not even another loser."


Xander crossed his arms and didn't reply, determinedly watching his beloved cartoon, the rare happy piece of his childhood, the best thing about Christmas ... which Spike had just pissed all over.

The show was almost finished when Spike leaned over and whispered in Xander's ear in a vaguely apologetic tone, "Just can't stand this maudlin holiday shite. Makes me want to stake myself."

Xander didn't turn his head, but whispered, "Well, you don't have to ruin it for everybody else."

Spike didn't apologize, but he did slump in a sort of defeated way that Xander knew meant he'd won the argument. So he nudged Spike and smirked at him in the flickering light. Spike elbowed him in return, and suddenly everything was okay again.

When the show was over and the lights were on, Willow said with a mischievous grin, "Now Xander's supposed to do the Snoopy Dance."

Xander gaped in horror and looked around at all the expectant faces now staring at him. Spike and Dawn looked particularly excited at this opportunity for mockery. Xander glared at Willow, who merely shrugged impishly and said, "It's tradition!"


"Oh, pleeeeeeeease, Xander?" Dawn had that whining thing down pat, yessirreebob.


"Oh, pleeeeeeeease, Xander?" Spike mimicked, smirking.


"Okay," Willow interrupted, now looking a bit apologetic at having put Xander on the spot. "That was kind of mean and I'm sorry, and anyway it's really late. Sleepy time."

Dawn groaned and began to complain, but Spike said firmly, "Bed. Or no presents," which had her leaping to her feet and bidding everyone a hasty goodnight before racing up the stairs.

Willow looked at Xander and Spike, still sprawled on the couch. "You guys are both staying tonight, right? Presents in the morning?"

Spike sighed heavily and hefted himself off the couch. "I'll do all this Christmas tripe for the Bit, but I don't want to hear any complaints about running patrols tomorrow. Those Bregni demons are still out there and they won't be stopping for eggnog and carolling."

Willow and Tara both nodded, and Willow said, "Got it. Presents in the morning, demons in the evening. It's a wonderful Scooby Christmas."

Xander got to his feet shrugging, "You don't celebrate Christmas anyway. Jewish, remember? Not everyone worships Santa? I seem to remember a certain young lady saying these things pretty much every year?"

Willow smiled slightly, and she and Tara held hands. "It's for Dawn," Tara said gently. "It's her first Christmas without Buffy. We want her to be happy." Yeah, they were saying her name now without wincing, though it still wasn't very often. Sometimes they even talked about the good times, remembering the Buffster for more than just a leap off a tower and an unexpected goodbye.

Xander felt a bit embarrassed and chastened at the reminder, but he nodded understandingly. "Right. Duh."

Both girls just smiled at him, then said goodnight and went upstairs.

Xander turned around to see Spike grinning evilly. "Just us blokes now, Harris. Let's see that Snoopy Dance."

"Shut up, Spike."


The next day was the usual Christmas morning scene. Torn wrapping paper all over the floor. Sleepy vampire on the couch. Lesbian witches rubbing noses and kissing. A blob of mystical energy in the shape of a girl squealing over every new present. And Xander Harris: Construction Worker to the Hellmouth. Yep. Just your average Christmas in Sunnydale.

Most of them got great presents, of course. They'd all been spending so much time together that they couldn't help but know what to get each other. Well, Xander was a bit shopping-impaired, but Dawn had helped him out some and he'd sort of blundered through the rest as best he could.

When Spike started opening up his gift, he first commented that the package looked as if it had been wrapped by chaos demons. Xander rolled his eyes and tried not to squirm on the couch. He was actually a little - okay, a lot - nervous about this one. Spike tore off the paper and tossed it aside, then just stopped and stared at the object in his hands as if he'd never seen one before.

After enough time had passed to make him worried, Xander explained hesitantly, "It's a journal. See? Black leather cover. Unlined pages." He watched Spike's face, which looked confused and maybe even a little affronted.

"And what do I want with a journal?" Spike asked tersely.

Xander flinched, just a little. He couldn't help it. He'd thought for so long about what to get Spike, and he'd thought he'd finally come up with something he'd like but that was more personal than weapons or something like that. "Sorry. I thought ... you just ... you tell good stories, you know? And I thought you might want to write them down. Like, write your memoirs" - or poetry - "or whatever."

Spike flipped through the pages and grunted noncomittally.

What an idiot, buying him a journal, just because he was a poet when he was human. It's not like he wants other people to know about all that. He sure didn't seem proud of it. So why would he want a journal? Why would he want to write anything now? God, I'm such an idiot. He probably thinks I'm making fun of him, getting in some little jab about the secret he told me. Oh god, of course that's what he thinks. I'm such an idiot!

Spike put the journal aside and returned to admiring the engraved dagger Dawn had given him. Xander's stomach tightened into a miserable little knot and he decided that was a good time to wander away in search of some eggnog and a cookie. Because right now, I need a cookie.


Xander wasn't feeling very chipper as they gathered for the Christmas Night patrol. Spike was right: there were Bregni demons out there causing trouble and they needed to find them. But Xander just wanted to go home and have a nice long sulk where nobody could see him. Spike hadn't liked his gift ... Spike had given him a set of knives (nothing says "impersonal" like a gift of weaponry) ... and Spike was (as always) utterly oblivious to Xander's attempts at subtle flirtation.

Yeah. In the time loop it must have just been some macho challenge thing, just trying to prove something. Not like he would ever want to have sex with me normally. Obviously.

Sometimes too much time around Spike, doing the buddy thing, just got to him. Because he didn't want to be Spike's buddy. He wanted to make Spike's eyes do that glazed, hot, needy thing they'd done during the time loop. He wanted Spike to look at him like that. And a whole Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of Spike buddy time was a little hard to take. Xander felt like his Goofy Xander Friend Guy act was wearing pretty thin.

"If we run into the Bregni, you girls find a place to hide. Make with the mojo from a nice safe spot out of the fighting range. Xander and I'll take 'em on closer up."

Xander thought sullenly, Who died and made you boss? and then winced. Right. Buffy did. He watched Spike pace around the kitchen barking orders, looking so much like the old Spike, all full of arrogant swagger, no trace of that invisible thing he used to do. Xander wondered if this was how Spike used to treat his minions, back when he had them. Anyway, his little voyage into megalomania is my fault. I'm the one who kept insisting on pulling him into the gang. And he does have the most knowledge and experience.

"Can I come?" Dawn was all wide eyes and hopeful grin, bouncing a bit on the balls of her feet.

"No." Spike's voice was firm.

"But I've been learning how to fight."

"And you'll keep learning. Don't want you getting hurt, so you're staying home this time."

Dawn made whiny complaining noises, but Spike wasn't impressed. "At least you don't make me have a babysitter," she groused.

Spike raised an eyebrow. "Keep it up and I will."

Dawn stormed off in a huff, leaving the rest of them to roll their eyes and gather their patrol gear.


The patrol itself was pretty uneventful. The five of them just meandered through one cemetery after another, looking for signs of the Bregni demon gang. Spike had decided to bring the Bot for extra muscle, as he did sometimes now, but he mostly kept her at a distance, telling her to walk with Willow and Tara.

"You bring those new knives with you?" Spike asked him as they walked.

Xander shrugged. Stupid knives. What did I expect? Flowers? Jewelry? Poems? Lingerie? Stupid knives. Stupid Spike. Stupid Xander.

"Special throwing knives," Spike continued. "Specifically weighted and balanced for throwing."

Xander nodded. "Neat." He knew he could sound more pouty if he tried. Maybe he could get some lessons from Dawn.

"Figured it was time you had something better than those old things of mine."

Xander nodded again, looking anywhere but at Spike. "Yeah. I'm sure they'll be real useful. Thanks." Next year, could you get me a vacuum cleaner? Mine's getting kind of old. Or maybe a washing machine. Because that would be almost as romantic, but not quite.

Spike stopped walking, making Xander stop and turn to look at him questioningly.

"What's your fucking problem, Harris?"

Oooh. Back to the last name. Somebody's getting a bit testy. Xander sighed. "I don't have a problem, Spike. What's your problem?"

"You." Spike was scowling. "You've been a pain in the ass all day."

Xander clenched his teeth. Great. A fight. That would be just the best way to end a stellar Christmas. "So sorry I haven't been behaving according to your specifications."

Spike growled, "I'm just getting tired of dealing with your moody shit."


"Fine," Xander spat. "I'll just go home." And he stormed off, striding through the cemetery as fast as he could walk. He knew he was being childish, but he just couldn't deal anymore. He knew Spike wouldn't leave the girls unprotected - not now that he seemed to think they were all his little family to protect - so Xander didn't have to worry about being followed. He could just go home and have a beer and watch some tv and do something that didn't involve Spike. Because he just couldn't do this anymore right now. He couldn't pretend everything was okay. Because it wasn't. Not by a long shot.


Xander was sitting on his couch in the dark, watching a "Stargate: SG-1" re-run, when he heard a knock at the door. He wasn't expecting anybody, so he just pretended not to hear.

Knock knock knock knock.

Xander hunkered down on the couch. Go away.

Knock knock knock knock.

Xander was tempted to turn the television up, but he figured that would only make it more obvious that someone was home, and might make the person outside more persistent. So he just kept his eyes on the tv, the remote cradled comfortingly in his hand.

Knock knock knock knock. "Harris, I know you're in there. Open the fucking door."

Just what I need. "Go away, Spike."

"No." Spike sounded pissed at him. Even better. "Open the fucking door or I will break the lock."

Spike would do it, too, just to be annoying. Just to prove he could. Just to win a stupid argument.

Xander hauled himself off the couch and opened the front door a crack. "What do you want?" he asked, and he knew he sounded tired, drained, but he just didn't have the strength to pretend right now. He just wanted to be left alone.

Spike pushed the door open and stepped around Xander to come inside, glancing around at the lack of lights. "Sittin' in the dark?"

Xander rubbed a hand over his face and sighed. "Why is it any of your business, Spike?"

"Anything you lot do is my business."

Xander sighed again. "And why's that, Spike? Why do you even care?"

Spike frowned at him and walked over to the kitchen, opening up the fridge and taking out a beer. He took off the cap and drank a swig, leaning back against the counter, watching Xander in the dark. "You've been acting off," he said bluntly. "Pissy like. What's your problem?"

Xander sort of lied, "I don't have a problem, Spike. Except a vampire barging into my house, stealing my beer, and interrupting my television-watching."

Spike narrowed his eyes suspiciously and took another drink of his beer. He set the bottle down on the counter and moved as if he were going to walk toward Xander, except something distracted him. He tilted his head down, looking at the floor, and murmured, "What's this now?" and then bent to pick something up.

Oh fuck! Is that what I think it is? Please tell me Spike did not find what I think he found. Because I have done nothing to deserve this and this day has sucked enough already and I don't know what I'll do if he found what I think he found.

But Spike was holding up a postcard. Xander couldn't see it very well in the dark, but he knew one side of it was a photo of a man kneeling, wearing nothing but a leather collar.

Spike's voice seemed suddenly very loud in the dark apartment when he said slowly, "Where'd you find this?"

Xander blushed and didn't reply. Why couldn't Spike have just left when he didn't answer the door? Why did Spike have to barge in and make this night suck even worse?

Spike turned the card over to read the back, then raised an eyebrow. "A free pass. Somebody gave this to you. Didn't just find it on the street."

Xander crossed his arms and bit his lip, knowing that his blush was only getting worse. What was he supposed to say? Oh, well, you see, the cashier put that in the bag when I bought my new butt plug, which I like to use while I fantasize about you fucking me. "Spike, I'm tired. Can we please not talk about this?" he asked in what he hoped was not a pathetic voice.

Spike shook his head, frowning. "I don't think so. Do you even know what this place is? Way out of your depth, Harris."

That sent Xander's eyes up from where they'd been staring at his feet. Now he glared at Spike defensively. "Oh, I'm just some dumb kid?"

Spike cocked his head to the side. "Not a kid, no." And then Spike held up the card with the naked-guys photo facing Xander. He could barely see it in the light flickering from the tv. It's not porny. All their bits are ... hidden. It's like art photography. Spike's voice was a challenge: "But you do realize what sort of club this is?"

Xander squirmed and didn't reply. God. Spike was the last person he wanted to be having this conversation with, making him think of all his fantasies, all the things he remembered from the looping. Hell, it was Spike's fault he was even thinking about any of this stuff! Not that Spike knew anything about that, of course. It was all so complicated and embarrassing and he just wanted to sink into the floor and disappear.

But Spike was talking again, sort of patient and concerned, like he was Xander's dad or something. If Xander's dad had ever been patient and concerned. "This is a domination club, Harris. A predominantly gay one."

Xander's chin went up slightly. Spike's know-it-all parental thing was grating on his nerves. "How do you know so much about it?"

Spike scowled. "Still evil, here. I know the seedy side of this little burg."

"Hey!" Xander frowned, offended, not even thinking before he spoke. "It's not necessarily ... Just because it's ... that ... doesn't mean it's 'seedy'."

Spike's eyebrows went up. "Well, this place is. What ... you looking to get offed by some leather queen, get found starkers in some alley with a ball gag in your mouth?"

Xander gritted his teeth. "We're not talking about this anymore."

Spike nodded. "Because you aren't going."

Xander glared at him, frustrated and embarrassed and sort of angry all at the same time. "It's none of your business, Spike. Just drop it."

"Fuck that," Spike spat. "You're not going."

"Spike, what gave you the impression that you have the right to tell me what to do? Because you don't. So get the fuck out of my house."

Spike's chin lifted. "Fine. Then I'm going with you. Make sure you don't do anything stupid."

Xander yelped, "What? No! No way!"

Spike walked toward him, only stopping when he was right in Xander's face. "These kinds of games can be dangerous if you get involved with strangers."

"Oh, what, you offering?" Xander spat bitterly, feeling hurt and resentful and like he might burst into tears and embarrass himself even worse than he already had. Why hadn't he thrown away that stupid postcard?

Spike, you prick, you complete and utter asshole, can't you just leave me alone to nurse my rejection in private? Do you have to come over and rub the whole thing in my face?

Xander said quietly, defeated, "Spike, look, please, just go. I'm really tired. I can't do this right now."

Spike was still standing close to him, close enough that his face was clear in the flickering light. He was watching Xander with a strange expression.

And suddenly Xander was sure he couldn't have heard right, couldn't possibly have heard right, because it sounded remarkably as if Spike had just said, "Yeah, I'm offering."

To be continued ...