Saturation - Chapter 10
written by Jane Davitt & WesleysGirl

Giles felt his fingers ache as they gripped the phone. Fingers Angel had broken once. "Angel. Yes, of course." He did a quick calculation, staving off the moment when he'd have to ask Angel what he wanted. "It's seven in the morning there; are you up late or rising early?"

Angel's voice when he replied was, Giles thought, just a little bit off, although he wasn't certain he knew why. "Um... up late, I guess. I've been up all night. Listen... is Spike there?"

Leaning back against the wall in the hall and wishing that this particular phone was cordless as his glass was out of reach, Giles said simply, "No," and waited for more.

Spike's account of what had happened might well have been colored by his history with Angel, but even so it had left Giles with his dislike of Angel strengthened still further. Not that he didn't appreciate the good that he'd done, not that he blamed him for Angelus' deeds -- on one level at least -- but the fact remained that they'd never been close and never would be.

"Figures," Angel muttered, and Giles thought he heard the sound of something being swallowed. "So, when'd you kick him out? Assuming he ever actually showed up there in the first place, but I'm thinking he didn't have anywhere else to go."

"You thought that and still sent him away?" Giles asked, keeping his voice even with an effort.

"I bought him a plane ticket," Angel said, with what might have been a hint of defensiveness. "I couldn't take it anymore; not the whining, and not the deliberate attempts to piss me off. You'd think he'd have toned it down once he realized that I could rip him in two now that he wasn't a vampire anymore, but no. Same old Spike." Another swallow, and what sounded like the click of ice against glass. "But why am I telling you? You already know, if you kicked him out, too."

"You misunderstood me," Giles said coldly, feeling anger stir to life. Fucking bully. "Spike isn't here in the house at the moment, although I expect him back shortly, but we certainly haven't kicked him out into a world he's still adapting to, with remarkable success I might add." Feeling vindictive, he added, "Humanity suits him, don't you think?"

There was a brief pause, then Angel said, "Having him out of my hair suits me."

Giles heard a key in the front door lock, then the sound of the door opening; Spike and Xander coming back from the pub, talking about something in the good-natured, half-argument sort of way they had.

"What do you want?" Giles said, dropping the games as he'd just run out of time. Xander and Spike came through the door, still squabbling, saw he was on the phone and went quiet, smiling at him and mouthing a greeting. They were both too used to Giles getting calls in and out of season to look surprised at finding him on the phone this late.

"I want to talk to him," Angel said just as directly, and Giles cursed the vampire's superior hearing when he added, "Is that him? Put him on the phone."

"About what exactly?" Giles said, trying to keep his face expressionless as Spike and Xander moved around the hall, kicking off their shoes and hanging up their coats, making very little noise and giving him no reason at all to ask that they leave him alone.

He knew that he was overstepping his bounds in trying to block Angel from speaking to Spike, but he felt no guilt at all. His feelings for Spike wouldn't allow him to do anything but protect him, and somehow he felt sure Angel wasn't calling out of any concern for Spike's well-being.

"What, are you screening his calls?" Angel sounded annoyed. "Just put him on."

"I'll ask him if he wants to talk to you," Giles said as neutrally as possible, making it quite clear, he hoped, that if Spike didn't, Angel would be listening to the click of the phone being hung up.

He turned to Spike, who was looking at him warily as if he'd picked up on the tension. "It's Angel," he said, not bothering to lower his voice. "He won't say why, but he wants to talk to you. It's up to you. You don't have to, of course."

Xander moved over to stand by Spike, his face losing the happiness it had held a few moments earlier. Spike gave him a quick glance and reached out to touch Xander's arm briefly. "It's okay, love," he said quietly. He held out his hand for the phone, taking it from Giles' reluctant hand with a nod of thanks, their fingers brushing.

"It's me. What do you want?"

The line of Spike's shoulders spoke more clearly than the tone of his voice of his suspicion, but his words, like Giles' had been, were neutral. "Yeah. Yeah." He kept his gaze lowered and moved down the hall a little, away from both Giles and Xander. It didn't seem that he wanted complete privacy -- he could have asked them to leave him alone easily enough. "Yeah, well, they like having me here." A pause. "Xander."

Giles and Xander exchanged a worried look. Giles noted that Spike's shoulders were hunched. One hand came up to rub the back of his neck. "Uh-huh. Look, did you want something in particular?"

The hall wasn't large enough that Giles and Xander could avoid hearing Angel laugh. Faint though it was, the harsh edge to it carried clearly, and they watched Spike flinch as Angel began to speak, his words an inaudible murmur, amplified and translated only by Spike's reactions as he turned his head to look at them both, his eyes filled with a questioning, searching expression as if he was reassuring himself about something.

"It's not like that," Spike said to Angel, his gaze fixed on Giles and Spike. "I earn my keep. Pay my way."

There was a pause as Angel said something and Giles watched Spike's lips tighten and twist before he lost whatever grip he'd had on his temper. "You what? Don't you fucking dare say that! Don't you -- I'm better than that. Better than you. Stay the fuck out of my life, Angel. You hear me?" Spike's voice rose. "Do you fucking hear me, you pathetic shit?"

The phone was slammed down on the hall table and Spike turned to face them again, his eyes wild and his shoulders heaving as he took deep, shuddering breaths.

"He -- God, he -"

He brought his hands up to scrub hard at his face and kept them there for a long moment before turning away and heading for the study where his bed had long since been turned back into a sofa.

Xander followed immediately, his instincts quick as always. It was one of the things Giles loved about him. By the time he himself arrived in the doorway to the study, Xander was close to Spike, who was pacing back and forth. Xander's arms were spread to his sides a bit, everything about his posture radiating the fact that he was there for Spike, that he'd help Spike restrain himself if it became necessary.

"I know," Xander was saying, his voice low, soothing. "He makes lots of people crazy. It's not just you."

Spike laughed, but his hands were balled into fists, and he didn't stop moving in the small space. Giles kept back, staying in the doorway because there wasn't room for all three of them if Spike needed to pace. "This isn't... Xander, please, just leave me be for a bit."

But Xander must have heard the same desperation in Spike's voice that Giles did, because he shook his head. "No. The last thing you need right now's to be alone. What did he say?"

"Said -- he said -" Spike shook his head, his face flushing with heat. He looked as dangerous as he'd ever seemed as a vampire in that moment, the rage and shame crackling off him. "Fucking bastard."

With that final word, Spike lashed out with his foot, kicking at the wheeled chair in front of the computer, sending it flying across the room to crash into the wall.

"Spike," Giles said, pitching his voice to break through the anger that was isolating Spike. "Please -"

"No!" Spike turned to the door, his face contorted. "You want to know what he said? He called me a fucking whore." He turned and took a step over to the wall, his fist slamming into it with a dull thud and a crack of bone, his back turned to them. His voice was cold, almost indifferent now. "Told him I was working, and he said he knew just where my talents lay. Said anyone'd be glad to pay to fuck a pretty boy like me. Said he knew why you were keeping me around now."

Spike punched the wall again, before leaning his head against it and starting to cry silently, his body shaking.

Xander was right there, putting an arm around Spike, not backing off when Spike struggled to push him away, remaining stubborn. "He's an asshole," Xander said, trying to convince Spike with gentle hands to turn toward him. "He's just pushing your buttons -- you know that."

Slowly, Spike allowed himself to be turned, ending with his face hidden against Xander's neck as his shoulders shook. The sound of his angry weeping was barely audible to Giles as he crossed the room and laid a hand on Spike's back.

"Come sit down," Giles said, guiding both of them toward the sofa. He wanted to get a good look at Spike's hand, suspicious that Spike had done more damage than he'd intended to, but wanted to give it a minute.

They managed to get Spike sitting on the sofa between them, although Spike curled toward Xander as if seeking protection, half-prone across Xander's lap as he continued to hide his face.

Giles caught Xander's eye, hating the distant Angel as much for the pain he saw on Xander's face as for Spike's distress, but forcing the negative emotion away. Spike didn't need company in hating Angel -- he needed to know he was cared for. Loved, although that was still something Giles had never told him, because it wasn't something he said lightly, or easily. Not the first time anyway.

Moving as close as he could, Giles stroked Spike's hair, which had grown longer so that the ends were beginning to curl slightly on his neck, keeping his touch gentle. He put his other arm around Xander, who was staring down at the blood seeping from Spike's knuckles and looking increasingly upset as Spike showed no signs of calming down.

Giles gave Spike a little longer, until the hurt, angry sobs that sounded as if they were being wrenched out of Spike had died away, then said quietly, "Spike, look at us. Please? You're worrying Xander."

Spike's reaction to that comment, unfair though it might have been, answered any questions lingering in the back of Giles' mind. He struggled to a sitting position, wiping his face with his good hand, and glanced at Giles before looking at Xander. "It's all right," Spike said roughly. "Like you said, he's just good at pushing my buttons, yeah?"

"But you're not... that's not true. What he said." Xander's distress was almost palpable. "You know that, right?"

"He's had a couple hundred years to perfect being a bastard," Spike said, as if it were that easy to dismiss everything Angel had told him. Giles noted that this was not the same as actually reassuring Xander. "He's always been able to do this. Guess things haven't changed as much as I thought." Regretfully, Spike looked down at his battered hand.

"Everything's changed," Giles said absently, slipping his hand under Spike's hurt one and bending his head to examine it as he held it cradled in his palm. The skin over the knuckles was swollen and split, but he could flex the fingers without getting more than a hiss of pain from Spike. "We need to get this seen to, but Xander's right; you should know what he said isn't true, or else we've been doing a damn poor job of showing you how we feel about you."

Spike's head came up and he stared at Giles through wet lashes. Before he could speak, Giles asked, "Have we? Not made it clear how much we care about you? Will you believe me when I tell you that we do? Or would you rather accept Angel's judgment, which is utter bollocks, not to put too fine a point on it."

Spike shook his head, apparently not ready or incapable of answering, and Xander slid his hand down Spike's back to the base of his spine, rubbing in gentle circles. "We do," Xander said softly. "Angel has no idea what he's talking about. He doesn't know."

"He always knows," Spike said, his voice shaking, but he didn't try to pull away. He was staring down at his hand in Giles'.

"I can assure you he doesn't," Giles said firmly. "He was being insulting, but it wasn't based on fact; how could it be? He doesn't know about Xander and me, let alone what's happened over the last month." He frowned. "Well, I don't think he does... "

"He might," Spike said, sounding discouraged. "Might have been keeping tabs on me."

"No," Giles said, shaking his head as he remembered Angel's first reaction. "He didn't even know for sure that you were here, so he can't have been. He was just being a prat." Letting go of Spike's hand, Giles stood up. "I'm going to get some ice for your hand," he said, touching the back of his hand briefly to Spike's face, feeling the dampness of tears against his skin.

As he went to the kitchen, he could hear Xander talking softly, earnestly, although Giles couldn't quite make out the words. He wasn't convinced they were as important as the tone just then, anyway, as Spike didn't seem capable of absorbing the meaning.

Returning to the study with a few handfuls of ice in a plastic bag and a thin kitchen towel, Giles sat down again and wrapped the bag in the towel before taking Spike's hand and cradling the wounded back of it against the makeshift icepack. Spike hissed and tensed, then deliberately relaxed. "Thanks," he said, after a minute.

Giles lifted the bag, inspected Spike's hand, and then replaced it. "I think it's helping," he said. "But it's going to be a little stiff tomorrow, I'm afraid." He leaned back against the arm of the couch, feeling tired, and a little overwhelmed by it all, but relieved to see that Xander looked less unhappy now that Spike was calmer.

"Didn't mean to go all drama queen on you," Spike said. His voice was sounding stronger, but an edge of distance had crept into it as well, as though he were trying to deny that any of this had the ability to affect him.

"Yeah, well, like I said, Angel pisses a lot of people off," Xander said, curling his hand around the back of Spike's neck and stroking the hair there. "Plus with the way he kicked you out, I figure you're more than entitled."

Spike's head turned, his eyes meeting Giles'. "He say anything to you?" There was no hiding the worry on his face.

"He didn't say anything," Giles said, not lying, not really, but seeing no need to share Angel's exact words with either of them. "Just asked for you, and then you both came in. The rest you know." He shrugged. "He was drunk by the sounds of it, and obviously still resentful. I imagine when he sobers up he'll regret what he said, but it makes no difference. It wasn't true." He cupped Spike's face in his hand, the curve of it as familiar now as Xander's. "You know that, if you let yourself think about it. He thinks you're helpless, useless -"

Xander made a small sound of protest, but Spike just sat quietly, his eyes on Giles.

"You're not. Within days of getting here you got a job, and you're doing it well. Sarah's pleased with you and so am I."

"You got me the job," Spike said.

"So?" Giles demanded, letting his hand fall away. "You're the one doing it. And don't you even think about giving any credence to the rest of what he said. Common sense should tell you how ridiculous that is."

It was very clear from Spike's expression that he didn't think it ridiculous, but Giles was out of words with which to try to convince him. He stroked his fingertips lightly over Spike's wrist as Spike began several times to say something, and then each time stopped himself before speaking.

On Spike's other side, Xander moved in closer, turning Spike's face toward him, leaning in for a kiss. Watching the two of them together made Giles ache, as it always did, even when the embrace seemed to be pure affection and nothing more. "Forget about him," Xander murmured. "He's not worth it."

"He knows me," Spike said miserably, his good hand on Xander's knee.

Xander shook his head. "No, he just thinks he does. Things are different now, and you know it." The next kiss was met by an eager, almost desperate Spike who made a small sound against Xander's lips.

Giles almost wished he could leave them alone together for a while; Xander seemed to be reaching Spike far better than he could, but he knew if he stood up to go they'd protest, so he settled for staying as quiet as possible and letting Xander comfort Spike. He could see the tension leaving Spike with each kiss, each pass of Xander's hand over Spike's back, each murmured word of reassurance. He could have felt excluded, but he didn't. The simple conviction and directness of Xander's approach was something Giles couldn't manage, and it was what Spike needed right now.

He was just glad one of them could provide it.

"There's a perfectly good bed right here," Xander said, sliding his hand over to squeeze Giles' thigh.

"No, there isn't," Spike muttered darkly. "Nothing good about it. I'm the one who slept here, remember?"

"I remember," Xander said, starting another long kiss that ended with a nip of his teeth and a whimper from Spike. "We could move upstairs?"

"You two go up," Giles said, grasping at the opportunity to give them some time alone. "I'll just make sure everything's sorted out down here and I'll be up in a moment."

Spike pulled back and turned to look at Giles. "No," he said, shaking his head and making an aborted movement with his bad hand that must have hurt before he remembered. "You come, too."

"I will in a moment," Giles said, "but -" He looked at them both, feeling helpless and unable to explain why he thought they'd be better off without him, just this once. "Wouldn't you rather -- I don't mind if -" They stared at him, identical frowns appearing on their faces, and Giles gave up. "Let's go to bed," he said.

They made their way upstairs, Spike first in line with his hand still wrapped in the ice pack and Xander behind him, hovering as though worried that Spike might not be capable of making it up the stairs. Giles followed, sorting through his feelings about the fact that neither of them had wanted to go without him, even temporarily.

Spike sat on the edge of the bed and Xander knelt on the floor in front of him, carefully unwrapping his hand and looking at the torn skin and bruising. "You don't think it's broken?" Xander asked.

"Nah." Spike curled his hand into a fist and winced. "Hurts, though."

"Next time punch something softer," Giles said dryly. "Although I grant you that's not as satisfying."

The curtains were already drawn, but he took a moment to turn on a lamp and switch off the main light, making the room feel more restful.

"When Joyce died I put my fist right through the wall in Willow's dorm room," Xander said. "Guess they build better over here; you didn't even dent the study wall."

"Or you don't know your own strength," Giles said to Xander, meaning it on more than one level. He sat down on the bed beside Spike and hugged him impulsively, feeling Spike lean into the embrace, before taking hold of the hem of Spike's T-shirt and pulling it up. Making sure that Spike's injured hand didn't get knocked, he helped him out of it, running his hand over Spike's bare chest and feeling the thud of Spike's heart against his palm.

Warm. Alive. Human. How Angel could assume Spike was unchanged was beyond Giles. Still lost for the right words, he settled for following Xander's example and bent his head to kiss Spike's shoulder where it curved up to his neck, keeping his hand flat over Spike's heart, his fingers spread wide.

Spike still had something of a throat fetish, and he tilted his head to the side, making the skin there more easily accessible to Giles' mouth. It tasted slightly salty, and the scent of cigarette smoke from the pub lingered on Spike's skin and hair. Giles inhaled and licked the pulse point on Spike's throat, sliding his hand on Spike's chest an inch or two until his fingertip rubbed over a suddenly taut nipple and Spike whimpered. "Fuck, Giles," he breathed. "Need it. You. Please."

Giles lifted his head, startled, looking not at Spike, but at Xander, sitting back on his heels and smiling up at them. Without speaking, Xander stood up and began to strip off his clothes, moving with a casual lack of haste. When Giles just looked at him, Xander sighed and raised his eyebrows meaningfully. "More getting naked, less staring," he said.

"Oh! Yes," Giles murmured sheepishly, and then rallied. "I can stare at you if I want to," he said. "I like staring at you."

"Can see why," Spike said, a hum of approval in his voice before his breath caught on a gasp as Giles dragged the edge of his thumbnail across Spike's nipple. Spike reached eagerly down to the belt on his jeans and fumbled with it, swearing as the stiff strip of leather refused to cooperate.

"Let me," Giles said, pushing Spike's hand away and dealing deftly with the fastenings on Spike's jeans. Spike lay back on the bed and lifted his hips, giving them both a look from under half-lowered lids that was so blatant an invitation that Giles found himself biting hard on his lip. He and Xander both reached out a hand and tugged down Spike's jeans together, helped by a wriggle from Spike that brought a groan of desire out of Giles that he couldn't have held back if he'd wanted to.

"Exhibitionist," he growled fondly, getting undressed as quickly as he could. "The pair of you," he added, as Xander joined Spike on the bed, lying on his stomach beside him and arching his back so that his arse seemed to be begging to be touched, kissed, fucked.

Xander grinned back over his shoulder at him, looking unrepentant.

Giles couldn't resist the urge to swat Xander on the arse with the flat of his hand as he moved around to the other side of the bed.

"Ow!" Xander protested, although his grin didn't waver.

"Poor baby," Spike said. He lifted his bad hand to soothe Xander's pinkened skin, and Giles noted that Xander stayed still, not wanting to bump Spike's hand and hurt it further.

Giles got into bed, rolling Spike a bit more toward Xander so that Spike's back was to him and rubbing his erection firmly between Spike's arse cheeks, groaning when Spike pushed back against him just as firmly.

"Gonna fuck me, Giles?" Spike asked, voice suddenly gone husky.

"What do you think?" Giles said. Without waiting for Spike's reply he slipped his hand over Spike's shoulder, caressing his throat and then dragging his hand swiftly, with deliberate roughness, down Spike's body, letting his nails dig in just enough to mark the skin faintly and finishing by wrapping his hand around Spike's cock, feeling Spike buck up into the tight circle of his fingers, moaning softly.

"Yes, I'm going to fuck you, Spike," Giles whispered into his ear, licking along Spike's earlobe before sucking hard on the soft flesh, moving his hand in slow, deliberate strokes, his fingers tight around Spike's cock. "We both are," he said as Xander wriggled close enough to kiss Spike, so that as Giles worked Spike's erection his knuckles were brushing against Xander's flat stomach and the head of Spike's cock was sliding along it, leaving a trail of pre-come, sticky and warm. "Going to do anything you want tonight," Giles promised him, between the kisses he was pressing against the back of Spike's neck, still moving his hips in slow thrusts and enjoying the friction along the underside of his cock. "Going to kiss it all better," he said, fastening his mouth onto the side of Spike's neck, far too high to be covered by a shirt, and starting to suck on it hard, lapping at the trapped skin with his tongue.

Spike made a startled, desperately turned on sound and squirmed between them. Xander leaned in and kissed him, catching the next whimper that escaped him as Giles finished marking Spike and backed off enough to survey the darkening bruise with satisfaction.

"What can we do to show you?" Xander asked Spike, his cock riding along beside Giles' fist still wrapped around Spike's.

"Please," Spike begged, turning his head to look over his shoulder at Giles, rubbing against him wantonly. "Fuck me, Giles. Need it." He sounded as desperate as Giles had ever heard him.

Giles shuddered, his body responding to Spike's need with a primal surge of arousal. "God, I need you," he said. "So very much." He turned his head to glance at Xander. "Both of you -"

"We know," Xander said. He turned around, snagged the bottle of lube off the night table, and put it into Giles' hand. "Now fuck Spike. Show him."

"I will," Giles said, moving back enough to slick his cock with the lube. Spike started to shift position, but Giles stopped him. "Stay like this," he said, not wanting Spike to have to put any weight on his injured hand. "Xander -"

"Way ahead of you," Xander said, sliding down the bed and starting to lick at the head of Spike's cock, drawing a heartfelt groan from him.

Giles reached down and caressed Xander's shoulder, and then poured some lube into his hand and stroked his dripping fingers across Spike's entrance. Without bothering to do more than that, knowing Spike was more than ready for him, he pushed the head of his cock against the yielding flesh and slowly eased inside him.

Spike was hot inside, as well as unbelievably tight, and Giles locked down on his control, determined that this would be more about giving Spike pleasure than anything else. He could feel Spike trembling, could feel Spike's body tighten further around him as Xander sucked at Spike's cock.

God, this wasn't going to last long.

"Fuck," Spike muttered, shifting and making a small pained sound.

"Don't touch anything with that hand," Giles ordered, pulling out and pushing forward again, sliding deep into Spike and making him shudder. "Just be still."

"Can't," Spike said. He gasped, his breathing harsh. "Giles..."

"Come, if you need to," Giles said. "As many times as you need to. Xander and I are here to give you what you need."

Spike trembled in Giles' arms, groaning with the next thrust.

Giles's hand was gripping Spike's hip, holding him in place and giving Giles something to brace himself against as he fucked Spike. He felt Xander's hand come up to cover it, their fingers lacing together, and then Xander's fingers tightened as Spike started to come, his muscles locking, so that Giles, deep inside him, felt his cock squeezed along its length. He'd felt that before, of course, but the sensation seemed so much more profound when he knew Spike was coming into Xander's mouth, the three of them connected in that instant. He hadn't thought himself that close to climaxing, but as he'd found out a long time ago, arousal was as much mental as physical, and the sounds Spike was making, as well as the insistent, pulsing pressure on Giles' cock, brought him to the edge, but it was that single image of Xander's mouth on Spike that pushed him over, crying out hoarsely as he came, his free hand clenching around Spike's shoulder.

Spike was gasping and shuddering in Giles' arms, and Xander moved up to kiss him gently, acting for all the world as if he weren't still hard and eager himself. "Careful with your hand," Xander warned, shifting to kiss Giles over Spike's shoulder. Giles could taste Spike on Xander's tongue.

"Fuck, Giles, that was..." Spike didn't seem capable of finishing the sentence. "God."

"Been there," Xander said, pressing his mouth to the bruise on Spike's throat, then licking it.

Feeling as if even that was too much effort given the languor stripping the strength from his limbs, Giles smiled at Xander and shifted back a little, brushing his hand gently over Spike's hip as he pulled out of him. "You two bring out the -- well, I won't say the worst. Let's just say you tempt me to indulge myself, and I always seem to give in and never regret it."

Making an effort, he rolled over and grabbed the box of tissues. They'd probably all end up showering later, but Giles didn't want to leave the bed just yet. After taking care of the clean-up, he leaned over and kissed Spike, who was lying on his back, his chest still rising and falling rapidly. "We're not finished yet," Giles said, reaching across Spike and running his hand down Xander's side and around to his arse. Xander wriggled even closer, his cock hard and swollen, his face showing a slight tension. Giles couldn't blame him, and he did feel sympathetic, but God, Xander looked so good like that, his face flushed and his eyes heavy with arousal. "We're going to send you to sleep believing us when we tell you what you mean to us."

Xander nodded and leaned down, lips and teeth worrying at one of Spike's nipples, and Giles watched as Spike responded. Watched the breathing that had been evening out hitch and catch, watched the faint pink flush in Spike's cheeks turn darker.

"I'm gonna fuck you," Xander murmured against Spike's chest. "But it won't just be fucking."

"No?" Spike asked.

"No," Xander said. He slid a hand down to cup Spike's balls, then slid his fingers down below them, two sliding into Spike easily, making Spike gasp and tense suddenly as though he hadn't been expecting that. Giles knew what that felt like, to be over-stimulated and a bit sore only to be fucked a second time, and just thinking about it made his body attempt to react, his cock stirring slightly even as Spike's did. Xander shifted, moved, getting between Spike's thighs and lining up his erection. "It's going to be me loving you. Okay?"

Spike's eyes were wide, his lips parted as Xander pushed inside. His hand reached out and grabbed onto Giles' arm. "Is it?"

Giles answered for Xander, who was staring down at Spike, his expression intent and unguarded as he began to move in slow, deep strokes, his attention so focused on Spike that Giles didn't know why Spike even had to ask. "Yes, it is," he said, and then gave Spike all he could in the way of reassurance, finding it easier to say than he'd imagined in the shadows, in their bed, with the three of them so close in every way. "It's both of us loving you."

Spike's hand gripped Giles' arm tighter as he looked up at Xander, although from the way his eyes were unfocused, Giles wasn't convinced Spike was really seeing anything. His breath came in harsh gasps that sounded almost pained, and it wasn't until that moment that Giles realized the hand holding onto his arm was the one Spike had damaged. He didn't say anything, though. He knew what it was like to be that lost, and the last thing he wanted was to spoil it for Spike.

"You feel that?" Xander asked, not losing his slow rhythm. "You feel how much we love you?"

There was a whimper from Spike that Giles thought answered the question nicely. "Don't stop," Spike gasped, the words having layered meanings.

"Not... planning on it," Xander managed to say, sounding a little breathless.

Giles was aroused watching them -- impossible not to be -- but his climax was too recent for him to be hard again, although Spike's cock was full and jerking slightly with every thrust from Xander. Still, it didn't mean he had to be an observer... The bottle of lube was within reach and using his free hand he managed, at the cost of a few drops spilled, to coat his fingers. Shifting closer, with Spike's hand still wrapped around his other arm, Giles ran his slippery fingers across the back of Xander's balls, smiling at the result, as Xander, surprised, drove forward hard into Spike, making them both moan.

Xander turned his head for a second to look at Giles, and Giles, still smiling, although he doubted he looked amused exactly, let his fingers slide up and graze across Xander's opening before pushing a finger inside him.

Xander felt hot and smooth inside, tightening around Giles' finger with each thrust. "Fuck," he muttered. "Yeah. You're both... oh God." He hesitated for a moment, drawing in a desperate-sounding breath, then thrust forward again, creating a new, quicker rhythm that had Spike moaning in seconds.

"Xan..." Spike said Xander's name like that occasionally, most often when they were in bed, and every time it seemed to affect Xander the same way it did Giles. It was so intimate, so open, that it made the old, shuttered Spike seem like a thing of the distant past. "God, love, please..."

"Giles -" Xander said, riding Giles' fingers as he rocked back and forwards, each stroke accompanied by an open-mouthed sound from Spike, raw and needy. "Touch him -"

Spike's hand on Giles' arm tightened and then moved away, allowing Giles to reach between Spike and Xander and surround Spike's cock with his hand. He wasn't sure he could coordinate well enough to do any more than that, but it seemed to be enough, judging by the increased intensity of the sounds Spike was making.

"Oh God," Spike gasped, writhing beneath Xander. "God. Yeah. Like that. Oh fuck, I'm gonna come." The sound he made as his body arched and shuddered was strangled, his head tipped back and the cords in his neck standing out, his jaw thrust forward.

Xander froze when Spike started to come, eyes squeezed shut, arms trembling. If Giles hadn't had a finger inside him and felt it, he wouldn't have known that Xander was coming, too, silently, gloriously, looking like a young god. Giles felt powerful, eternal, as the two men in bed with him both relaxed suddenly, groaning and gasping for air and, in Xander's case, laughing.

"What's so funny?" Spike asked, although he didn't sound upset as Xander pushed himself up again.

Xander shook his head, still laughing. "Nothing. I mean, that was just so... wow. You know?" He leaned down and kissed Spike very tenderly.

Giles rolled onto his back, feeling exhausted, but in a good way. "'Wow'?" he said with some incredulity, shaping the word carefully. It wasn't the word he'd have gone with at all. "Wow," he said experimentally. "No, it's not growing on me." He shrugged, turning his head and giving them both a grin. "But as long as it means you're happy," he said tolerantly. His gaze drifted to Spike's face. "Are you?" he asked. "Because now that I think about it, maybe this wasn't the best way to convince you that we want you for more than just your body. And we do, you know."

Spike did looked blissfully relaxed as Xander lay down on his other side, but as soon as Giles spoke, a hint of what might have been regret flashed across his face. It was there and gone again so quickly that Giles didn't think Xander could have possibly seen it, and he was grateful for that, because he knew it would have hurt him.

Although it could easily be argued that Giles might be a bit overprotective of Xander at times.

"Don't get much happier than this," Spike said, his voice sounding close to normal.

"I'm voting for the kind of happier that comes along with a nice hot shower," Xander said, kissing Spike's shoulder. "Not that I'd mind sleep, either, but I don't want to wake up glued to the sheets." It was a horrid thought that made Giles shudder.

"I think a shower's an excellent idea," Giles said. "I just wish it didn't involve moving." He turned and put his arm across them both, feeling the heat radiating from Spike's body and sighing with unfeigned contentment. "Love you," he murmured without thinking, closing his eyes just for a moment.

Spike tensed underneath his arm, then sighed and relaxed. Giles wasn't sure if it was because what he'd said was accepted, or because Spike didn't want to talk about it, and either way he wasn't convinced that this was the right time. If Spike wasn't convinced, it was because he wasn't ready to be.

Giles mustered up enough energy to open his eyes again. "You'd better let someone else scrub you down, Spike and use that hand as little as possible," he murmured. "Much though the idea of you, me, and some shower gel appeals, I might let Xander handle that. I'm about to fall asleep here. Why don't you two use the shower up here and I'll go downstairs?"

Yawning, he sat up, scratching at his chest.

"Did we wear you out, Giles?" Xander asked, with his tongue very much in his cheek. "Maybe we could keep a bottle of one of those energy drinks by the -- ow!"

Giles shook his hand, which was stinging slightly from meeting Xander's backside for the second time, and left while Xander was still spluttering and Spike was still chuckling.


"Come on, you," Xander said affectionately as Giles started downstairs and Spike continued to lay sprawled on the bed, flushed and sleepy. "There's no way we're going to sleep like this. Up."

"Was already up twice," Spike grumbled, but he sat and rolled to the edge of the bed, favoring his sore hand.

"I'll take care of everything but the walking," Xander said. "That's the rule. You have to get there on your own two legs."

"Think I can just about manage that," Spike said, standing up and proving it by heading toward the door. He glanced back at Xander. "I can manage to wash myself, too, you know." He spread his fingers, wincing slightly. Xander saw the scabbed-over skin split, although it didn't start to bleed. It looked painful. "Still, wouldn't want Giles to wallop your arse again for not listening to him, so I might as well let you take care of me, as he seems keen on the idea."

Xander followed Spike into the bathroom and brushed by him. "I've got it," he said, starting up the hot water, and then looking at Spike's hand again. "That's going to sting like hell."

"Yeah." Spike shrugged. It was hard to figure out what was going on inside his head, and that bothered Xander. He wanted to know. He didn't like not knowing. "Don't worry about it."

"Seems like a pretty casual attitude for a non-vampire," Xander said, even though he tried to be the same way. And it wasn't like it was some serious injury, even though he was sure it hurt. "Okay. Into the shower."

Spike gave him a faint smile. "Giles bosses you, you boss me; is that it?" Without waiting for an answer, he stepped under the water, hesitating for a split second and then holding his hand out so that the spray streamed over it, the noise of the shower drowning out any sound of pain he might have made. Judging from the way his lips tightened, none would've been audible.

"Don't be stupid," Xander said, stepping in to join Spike and pulling his hand out from under the spray. "It'll be clean enough by the time we're out of here anyway. Come here." He slipped an arm around Spike's waist and nuzzled the back of his neck, kissing the warm, wet skin there. "Let me take care of you, okay? Please?"

"Don't know why you want to," Spike said, dropping his head so the words were almost washed away and Xander had to listen really hard to catch them all. "Get why you want to fuck me, yeah, because that's good for both of us -- all of us," he amended. "Taking care of me though -- isn't that just a pain in the arse? Especially the way I've been since I got here?"

He sounded curious, genuinely so, and Xander wondered if Spike had ever really heard anything they'd said to him over the last month. For someone who'd spent a century looking after Drusilla, he didn't seem ready to accept that for once he was on the receiving end.

"You took care of me when I was sick," Xander pointed out, reaching for the soap and working up a lather. He ran one hand over Spike's chest, closing his own eyes and concentrating on the feel of Spike's body. "I mean, I won't deny that you have your moments, but we all do. Of, you know, being a pain in the ass. That doesn't mean I don't want to help when stuff gets screwed up. I love you." The words weren't hard to say, and Xander kissed Spike's shoulder again after he said them.

"You're both saying that a lot tonight," Spike said, but he didn't sound as if he was objecting.

"Yeah, but is it sinking in?" Xander asked, getting lost in the way Spike's skin felt under a thin layer of soap. Giles was tired, Spike had come twice, but Xander was starting to feel as if he was going to end up jerking off in the shower or something, the way his cock was reacting, which verged on just plain greedy. He didn't think Spike would appreciate him turning the shower to cold to take care of it -- if that even worked. Somehow, the thought of Spike's body, his nipples hard under the icy water, his mouth open on an exhilarated yell, eyes sparkling -- no, wasn't helping at all. Xander stepped back a little and started to wash himself, mindful of the fact that with Giles showering as well, the hot water might run out and make the cold shower inevitable.

"I hear you," Spike answered, turning around, his gaze dropping and a smile crossing his face as he saw that Xander was hard again. "Just think you're both going to regret it. I screw things up. Always have. Don't mean to, especially not with you two, but can't seem to help it."

Distracted as he was by his physical problem, Xander couldn't help but hear how strongly Spike believed that. "You're not going to screw this up. Not any more than I will. I don't have the greatest track record for this kind of thing, either, which, I'll point out, you're perfectly aware of." He quickly soaped his cock and balls, trying to pretend his erection would go away on its own in a second or two, trying to pretend like Spike didn't see.

Spike shook his head, looking rueful. "You've got a point there," he said. "But you're still willing to try again? With Giles, yeah, can't fault you there. He's ..." Spike caught his lower lip between his teeth, and then grinned. "You know what he's like."

"Oh, yeah," Xander said. "Trust me; I know how lucky I am."

Spike nodded. "He makes sense. I don't." He ran a finger down Xander's stomach, stopping a crucial inch away from the tip of Xander's cock and holding Xander's gaze with his own. "Maybe you're just thinking with this," Spike said, not unkindly. His hand dropped and Xander gasped as Spike's warm hand teased at his balls. "Tell me you love me when you're not hard, pet," Spike said, sounding different, sounding like the Spike Xander had spent years wanting and hating and fighting with back in Sunnydale. "Might listen then."

Xander tensed. "You're not playing fair," he complained, watching Spike's face, wanting to believe that Spike really was playing and not serious.

Spike reached out and switched off the water before running his hands back over his wet hair, sending rivulets of water over his shoulders and chest. "I'm not playing," he said in the sudden quiet. "And I'm not trying to piss you off." He looked at Xander and rolled his eyes. "Not the best place for a talk, is it?" He stepped out of the shower and picked up two towels, passing one over to Xander. "See, I think you mean it -- now -" Spike said, starting to towel himself dry with the towel held a little awkwardly in his uninjured hand. "Just think once the novelty wears off, you'll be wishing it was the two of you again. And I can't say that I'd blame you. I've been thinking this was a new start, but I'm still the same." He shook his head a little bit. "Bloody annoying that it was Angel who made me realize it, though."

"Spike-" Xander began.

"No," Spike said. "I don't mean all that crap he gave me tonight. I just mean -- I don't get this. Love. Last time I was human -- first time around -- I was the most pathetic -" He sighed. "I've never loved anyone who loved me back. Not properly. Not the way I felt for them. I don't do it by halves, you see. All or nothing. I'd do anything for them -" His eyes flickered as if he was remembering nightmares and he swallowed hard. "So this -- you two -- yeah, I want to think it's real, want to think I can count on it, trust you, but give me time, yeah? It's only been a month, right? Used to be able to hold my breath that long."

Xander was still holding his own towel, still just standing there looking at Spike. And yeah, it hurt to know that it didn't seem like there was a way to get through to Spike, to convince him, but that didn't mean Xander was going to give up. Nope. Spike was scared, but Xander was stubborn, and he could be stubborn a hell of a lot longer than Spike would stay scared.

He hoped.

"Come here," Xander said. He didn't wait to see if Spike would, just pulled the smaller man in flush against him and held him. At first, Spike was resistant, but after a minute he sighed and relaxed, pressing closer to Xander, warm and pliant in his arms. "You can have all the time you need," he said softly. "We're not going anywhere. And we're not going to change our minds, either. You'll see."

Spike tilted his head back suddenly and kissed Xander hard, his mouth desperate and avid at first until he seemed to get that Xander wasn't moving away, and then the kiss gentled, with Spike's good hand slowly caressing the back of Xander's neck and making him shiver. It ended with Spike blinking up at Xander, something that looked like hope in his eyes. When he spoke, though, it was clear that the subject had been changed.

"You're supposed to be looking after me," Spike said, "but that doesn't mean you have to catch your death of cold, you know." Using his own damp towel, he gave Xander's back a brisk rub. "Come on. Dry off and let's get back to bed before Giles thinks we've disappeared down the plughole or something."

"Right," Xander said, still trying to absorb everything that had been said in the last hour or so and failing miserably. Bed, though; he could do that. He quickly finished drying himself off and followed Spike back to the bedroom, where Giles had already changed the sheets, climbed between them, and was now looking about ninety percent asleep.

He gestured at the bed for Spike to get in the middle -- they hadn't settled the issue of whose side of the bed was whose yet, but as far as Xander was concerned, he wanted Spike between him and Giles where, hopefully, Spike would feel loved. Getting in beside Spike, Xander pulled the covers up over them and smiled as Giles mumbled and snuggled closer to Spike, slipping an arm around his waist.

"You okay?" Xander whispered to Spike.

There was a moment's silence, and then Spike's hand reached out, brushing across Xander's cock, which at some point had finally gotten the message that he was tired and pushing his luck and subsided.

"Yeah, I still love you," Xander said softly. "Idiot."

Spike chuckled just as quietly. "Yeah. I am. Only just discovered that? 'Night, Xan." There was a slight pause, and then he added, "Love you, too," before closing his eyes, leaving Xander nothing to do but listen to the sounds of two men sleeping in the ninety seconds before he joined them.

Read: Chapter 11