Saturation - Chapter 9
written by Jane Davitt & WesleysGirl

Spike slept better than he had any night since he'd come back human; one second he was closing his eyes, aware of his own breathing, and the next he was waking up, light filtering in through the crack in the window shade. He was too warm, his muscles heavy and stiff with sleep, sweat beaded up on the back of his neck where he could feel Xander's hot exhalations. His own arm was wrapped around Giles' waist, the man's arse cradled in the curve of Spike's pelvis, the three of them neatly spooned together with Spike in the middle.

He wasn't sure whether he should be comforted or disturbed.

Then Xander stirred behind him, the big hand resting on Spike's thigh moving slightly, and Spike felt a wet tongue lick the spot just behind his ear.

The shiver he gave meant that the lick was followed by a soft chuckle and then a kiss that was more of a nuzzle than anything else, with Xander's mouth fitting perfectly into a hollow on Spike's shoulder. Spike was still too drowsy to respond meaningfully -- and too tightly sandwiched to even think about moving -- but he made an encouraging, approving murmur and felt Xander's lips curve in a smile.

They weren't the only things waking up, either. Spike's cock was stirring to life just from the memories of the night before and the promise of more implicit in that warm kiss, and there was something pressed against his backside that told him Xander was in a similar state.

Unthinkingly, his arm tightened around Giles, and then he relaxed and let his hand drift down, fingers crooked so that he was dragging the tips of his fingers, no more, across Giles' stomach.

Giles gave a small, protesting grumble that died away as Spike's light, questing touch brushed over his cock, rousing it within moments.

With his eyes closed, Spike slid his fingers lower, running them over Giles' balls, feeling the skin there tighten as Giles' erection grew. Giles made another sound, softer this time, and pushed his arse back, rubbing it against Spike's cock. Spike groaned and nipped gently at the thin skin over Giles' shoulder blade.

Xander shifted behind him, pressing closer, hard cock sliding damply between Spike's thighs, the head of it bumping Spike's balls and driving a sudden, unexpectedly breathless sob from him. Xander's hand settled on the bonier part of Spike's hip, steadying him, hot mouth exploring Spike's neck.

The warmth of the bodies surrounding him and the soft exhalations that greeted each slow, languid shift of skin on skin were almost enough to lull Spike back to sleep, or allow him to pretend that this was a dream. Almost. Even with his eyes closed, the arousal he felt was too insistent not to be real, even muted as it was by his drowsiness.

Relaxing and refusing to think beyond the moment, or give any thought at all to what had been decided the night before, Spike stroked his fingers along Giles' shaft, barely touching it, teasingly light touches that had Giles' hips pushing forward, mutely begging for more. With a small space between them now, Spike was able to rub his cock gently against the cleft of Giles' arse, the friction enough to have him groaning softly against Giles' back.

He was discovering that one consequence of being in the middle was that anything he did to Giles affected Xander as well; as Spike thrust up slowly along Giles' warm skin, his thighs rubbed against Xander's cock, trapped between them, drawing a moan from Xander.

Spike could feel the imprint of each of Xander's fingers on his hip, Xander's rocking motions growing somehow more intense and needy even though he wasn't moving any faster. Giles' cock was hard beneath Spike's teasing fingertips, and suddenly Giles squirmed in Spike's arms, turning around until their cocks fit side by side and kissing him slowly.

Reaching a hand over Spike's waist, Giles did something -- grabbed onto Xander's ass, maybe -- that made Xander gasp in Spike's ear. "God," Xander whispered, his voice hoarse. "Spike..."

The slide of Xander's cock, slick between Spike's thighs and rubbing his balls with each slow forward push, would have been enough to make Spike beg if he'd been fully awake. Instead, he made a sound suspiciously like a whimper and clung to Giles, accepting the lingering kisses and occasional delve of Giles' tongue into his mouth. He couldn't stay still, had to keep wriggling against Giles and back against Xander.

Giles' kisses were becoming more urgent, although, like Spike and Xander, he seemed content to remain in the half-drowsy state Spike was in, with an arousal unaccompanied by impatience. Spike's cock was hard and there was a pleasant ache of need sending tingles through his body, but he didn't want to rush. This was perfect. He felt safe. Not a feeling he was used to, not something he'd known he wanted, even, but now that he had it -

With a reluctant sigh, Giles broke the kiss and Spike finally opened his eyes, staring at Giles' face, so close that all he really saw were Giles' eyes, half-closed, sleepy and gleaming at him.

Giles rolled Spike gently to his back and leaned over him to kiss Xander, their lips meeting and their eyes sliding closed again. Spike lay beneath them, enjoying the view as the pair of them were definitely playing to their audience, pulling back so that Spike could see their tongues licking and teasing each other, watch the open-mouthed, increasingly fervent kisses...

Reaching out, Spike slid his hands down and wrapped his fingers around Giles and Xander's cocks, smiling as they turned their heads to look at him, their expressions an identical mixture of surprise and pleasure. Xander bit down on his lip as Spike tightened the circle of his left hand and slid it slowly along Xander's cock, repeating the action with his right hand until he saw Giles' eyes close and his jaw tighten.

"Don't stop," Spike said, the words emerging in a murmur as if he'd forgotten how to talk. "And I won't."

Xander's thigh settled over Spike's, then the two of them were kissing again, open-mouthed, putting on a real show for Spike. The sound of their slow, slick kisses made Spike harder as he stroked their cocks with a firm grip, paying attention to each little gasp and twitch.

He felt Giles' hand on his inner thigh, sliding up, and couldn't be bothered to stop him. He considered it for a minute, though. But he wanted to be touched, wanted to feel Giles' fingers wrap around him -- oh fuck yes, like that.

He managed to keep jerking them off for about three seconds, and then Xander's hand came to cup at Spike's balls and Spike lost all semblance of rhythm, pausing, his hands locked tight around their cocks as they worked together to bring him close to spilling.

"Don't stop," Giles said, his lips a bare inch away from Xander's, giving Spike a sidelong, wickedly-amused glance.

"Making it hard to concentrate," Spike said hoarsely as Giles rubbed his thumb across the top of Spike's cock, slippery and exposed. "Oh, fuck, do that again!"

"Perhaps you need a helping hand," Giles said, so solemnly that it took Spike a moment to get that he was joking. Which made him wonder how often Giles hadn't been serious and he'd thought he was... but like this it was easy to pick up on the subtleties of expression and voice, really easy.

Giles kicked back the sheets that were still just about covering them, although by now they were half-way down the bed, and stared down at the tangle of hands. "Let go of me, please, Spike," he said. Regretfully, and with one final pump of his hand, Spike released Giles' cock.

With a quirk of his lips, Giles moved Xander's hand away from Spike's balls and brought it to his own cock, shuddering slightly as Xander's hand closed enthusiastically around it. "God, Xander," he said.

"Sorry," Xander murmured.

"Don't be," Giles said, which was all it took to bring a grin to Xander's face. Giles bent his head and kissed Spike again. "Is that better?"

Spike's hand on Xander, Xander taking care of Giles, Giles seeing to Spike... oh, yeah, that was just fine with him. He nodded and turned his head for his first kiss of the morning from Xander, who made the most of it, leaving Spike trying to catch his breath, tingles chasing and racing over him.

Spike chuckled softly against Xander's lips.

"What?" Xander asked, nipping at Spike's ear.

"Nice way to wake up, is all." Spike's breath caught as Giles' talented hand worked him expertly, the muscles in his calves and thighs tightening. They were all slow, languid, the scent of male sweat and arousal heavy in the air as they moved together. Xander's cock fit into Spike's hand perfectly, large and hard and eager, a young man's cock. Spike remembered how it had felt the night before, having that thick shaft inside him, and he groaned, shuddering on the edge of release.

Giles murmured, "No, not yet." It was quiet, but the authority was unquestionable. Giles' hand moved down to the base of Spike's cock and squeezed.

"Not yet," Xander agreed, although his cock was wet-tipped and slippery in Spike's grip. "God, just a... little bit longer."

Spike's head was moving restlessly against the pillow, and he wasn't sure how much longer he could hold out, but he was definitely in favor of making this last. They were exchanging glances now, intimate and searching, watching each other react to what was being done to them, their faces close enough to Spike's that he would only have had to crane his neck a little to be able to kiss them. But he didn't need to do even that. As they drew out the inevitable, slowing down the slide of their hands so that Spike was pretty much fucking Giles' hand rather than the other way around, tilting his hips up with increasing desperation, Giles and Xander both took turns kissing him and each other, distracting Spike -- a little -- from the sensations building up in him as his balls tightened and his cock stiffened. He was lost in the feel of them both; warm, strong bodies pressed close, and the very specific feel of Xander's cock against his palm and fingers as he learned what made Xander moan and shift even closer.

"Need to come," he said finally, staring up at Xander, turning to him instinctively for support, the words tumbling out of him. He closed his eyes, feeling a brief stab of shame that out of all of them he was the one with the least control, but he couldn't help it. He groaned, his hips jerking involuntarily, craving a hard, fast finish to this. "Fuck, please -"

Begging them came way too easy, he thought, opening his eyes and hoping they'd see that he was serious.

"We've got you," Giles said, the deep, authoritative rumble of his voice reassuring and exhilarating in one. "Xander..."

And Xander's mouth came down hard on Spike's, the kiss eager and desperate, their skin flushed and Spike's chest heaving as Giles' hand on his cock squeezed and pumped faster as if Giles had been jerking Spike off all his life. That thought startled a laugh out of Spike, and he came, crying out, shuddering in the arms of two men he'd never have imagined feeling this close to as the pleasure wracked through him.


Alone had never been Spike's favorite state, but he'd had time to get used it, and with the translation to work on it took him a while to notice how quiet the house was without the two of them there. Pushing the papers aside, he stood up and snagged a can of soda from the fridge, sipping it as he stared out at the garden.

Nice day. Should make the most of it, he supposed.

Stepping out into the garden and all that sunshine still took a small effort of will, but every time he did, the urge to stick his hand out first, like a child testing the heat of the bathwater, lessened.

Not sure he'd ever feel the need to tan, though. And it really wouldn't go with the hair.

He finished the soda in the garden, along with two cigarettes, and still didn't feel anywhere near understanding what the hell was going on here. Half of him thought that this was some elaborate joke, with the punch line being some variant on the usual 'get out, Spike, we don't want you' riff, but the buildup went far beyond the payoff.

Giles. Xander. Giles and Xander. Holding him, kissing him, fucking him until he was a gasping, shuddering wreck in their arms.


Grinding out his cigarette on the stone path that led through the postage-stamp sized garden, bright with flowers, but in need of weeding, Spike stalked back in, crumpling the thin metal of the can in his fist.

He didn't know how to deal with this. Hostility and anger -- they were easy. You lashed out, you hurt back. He was <i>good</i> at that. He'd scored point after point with Xander those first few days; drawn blood with a dozen sly jabs. That, he could do.

But accept friendship, trust that he was cared for -- no.

And they'd left him here. Giles had gone to his office, Xander to his shop, promising to come back if he felt at all tired... and they'd left him free to rummage through their stuff, dig out all their secrets, prowl and poke around -

Even knowing that he hadn't opened more than the fridge door didn't make Spike feel less like an intruder. He didn't belong here in this tidy, normal little house with this -- well. You couldn't really call them a normal pair. Not when you knew them the way he did. Not when you knew how Xander had lost his eye -- and what put that dangerous glint in Giles' from time to time. No. They weren't your average people and it showed. Xander might not have realized just how scary he looked when he faced down that Robbie git in the pub, and it seemed to have escaped his notice that Spike wasn't the only one shorter and lighter than the muscle-bound lunk. Spike hadn't missed it, though. Robbie had just taken one whiff of the confidence Xander slapped on like aftershave and caved before the punch.

Still didn't mean he belonged with them, even if they were all freaks -- or heroes -- together.

The key in the lock jarred him out of an introspection that was verging on depression and he went to the hall to see who'd come back early.

"Xander?" Before he knew what he was doing, Spike was checking Xander out for signs of illness. Fuck. Knew they shouldn't have let him go back to that bloody shop this soon, breathing in sawdust and fumes... "You not feeling so good, mate?"

"I'm fine," Xander said, shrugging out of his jacket and hanging it up. "Just figured I should, you know, take it easy. First day back and all. I kind of learned my lesson on that one the last time around."

"Yeah?" Spike said.

Kicking off his shoes, Xander said, "Yeah. Did a whole day and ended up needing to stay home the next one because I could barely get out of bed." Spike could picture that, Xander too weak to get up. Seen it himself, hadn't he.

"Maybe you should get off your feet," Spike said.

"I could if you'd move out of the hallway and let me by," Xander said mildly, and Spike felt himself flush.

"Right," he muttered, stepping up onto the stairs to make room. "Sorry."

"It's okay," Xander said. "I was thinking about heating up that leftover pizza from the other night. You want some?"

"What? Oh, sure. I'll do it," Spike offered. "You go and sit down." He thought about the mess he'd left on the kitchen table. "Think Giles would mind if we ate it in the front room? I'm kind of in the middle of something right now and the table's covered in paperwork."

"He's been known to eat in there himself from time to time," Xander said. "That weird yellow splodge on the carpet? Giles, a chicken curry and me -- ah...well, let's just say he wasn't expecting me to walk in wearing nothing but a towel, and then lose the towel when I bent over to pick something up."

Spike couldn't help grinning as he pictured that. "I take it this was before you two were an item?"

"God, yes." Xander gave Spike a stern look. "And no, I didn't do it on purpose."

Spike stared at him, still grinning, and waited.

"Maybe just a little bit," Xander said. "But I'll deny it to my dying day."

"Giles isn't daft," Spike said. "Probably figured it out, you know."

Xander shook his head. "Even so. Towel slipped. End of story." He walked into the front room and sat down a little heavily. "Feed me?" he said plaintively.

"Re-warmed pizza coming up," Spike answered. "Extra gooey."

"Amateur," Xander said. "It's impossible to make leftover pizza extra gooey."

Spike thought Xander's voice sounded just a little bit strained, though, and he quickly got the pizza on a pan and into the oven, then grabbed a glass and filled it with water. Returning to the front room, he found Xander slumped on the couch with his feet up on the table, holding the remote control. "Here," he said, handing Xander the water.

"Thanks." Xander set the remote down unused and sipped at the water. "I'm fine," he said.

"Sure," Spike said.

"No, really. I am."

"Don't look it," Spike retorted, although this close the only visible sign of illness was that Xander looked a little pale. "And the only way you get to move off that sofa is if you decide you need to go to bed and get some sleep." Xander opened his mouth and Spike glared at him, anticipating a protest. "Don't even think about arguing with me." He folded his arms across his chest. "Or I'll call Giles."

That shut Xander up pretty effectively. He drank half his glass of water before setting it down and saying, "I'm just a little bit tired, okay? I came home. What more do you want?"

Taken aback by the question, Spike sat down on the edge of the couch. "Came on a bit strong, didn't I?" he asked ruefully. "Sorry. Just worried about you."

Because he always worried about people he cared about, even if they numbered less than the cigarettes left in his packet of smokes. He'd been looking out for the assorted Scoobies for years now, it seemed, but this was different. With a small amount of resignation mixed in with a surprising warmth, he accepted that Xander and Giles had just joined the list of people he'd consider worth dying for.

Even if this time around he didn't think he'd be coming back.

Xander was looking at him.

"What?" Spike said.

"Nothing," Xander said. "I guess I'm just trying to figure out what's going on in your head."

Spike shrugged. "Not much."

"Looks like there's plenty," Xander said. "But worrying about me doesn't have to be included in it. I'm here, I'm resting and really, I'm -"

"Fine. Yeah. Got that," Spike said. "I'll go and see if I've managed to burn the pizza, shall I?"

Xander rolled his eyes. "Tell me you didn't set the oven to high?"

"Well -" Spike sniffed the slightly smoky air and decided not to waste time defending his cooking ability in the face of the evidence to the contrary.

The pizza turned out to be on the crispy side, but still edible, and Spike carried it on two plates into the front room, setting them down on the coffee table and producing two pieces of paper towel with a flourish. "Napkins."

"Five star service," Xander said admiringly. He leaned over and gave Spike's cheek a quick kiss before stuffing most of a slice of pizza into his mouth. "Thanks," he mumbled through his mouthful of food, settling back and looking about as content as it was possible to be.

Spike watched Xander eat while chewing thoughtfully at his own pizza. He still wasn't convinced that Xander was fine, but it was simple enough to bully him into taking it easy for the rest of the day if it came down to it.

"Stop it," Xander said wearily, leaning his head back against the couch.

"No," Spike said, swallowing. "M'not gonna pretend I don't care when you're sick. If you don't like it, too bad."

Xander blinked at him. "Do you?"

"Do I what?" Spike asked.

"Care about me?"

"Yes," Spike said without thinking about it. "Both of you." He gave his words a moment's consideration as they hung in the air, and then nodded. "Yeah. I care. Nothing new about that, is there?" Xander looked uncertain enough to make Spike feel hurt. "Been saving your arse on patrol for years, Xander, and we weren't even fucking then."

"I thought that was because you felt guilty about Buffy," Xander said, not cruelly, but to Spike it felt like a punch in the gut.

"Lots of misconceptions there, weren't there," Spike said, getting up. He remembered finding out that Red and Xander had been planning to bring Buffy back, but hadn't told him, and he didn't like remembering.

Xander stood up, too. "I didn't mean it like that and you know it. What, we're not allowed to mention her name all of a sudden?"

"Sit down," Spike said. "And no. Mention her all you like. Just don't make out that everything's simple. Wasn't then and it isn't now." He ran his hand over his hair and shook his head. "Especially now." The unreality of it all came crashing down on him, and he stared at Xander helplessly. "What the hell are we doing?" he asked. "You -- him -- Christ, this is insane. You can't want me. You never did before; you just made that really plain."

"I... what? Wait." Xander looked confused. And pale. Important not to leave that part out; important not to forget it. Spike gestured at the couch sternly and Xander sat. "What do you mean, I can't want you?"

"Why do you?" Spike countered. "You've got Giles." And he couldn't let himself think about how lucky Xander was -- how lucky both of them were, until he'd come along and wrecked everything. "And you nearly lost him and it was all my fault," he said, sitting down again because he didn't want Xander to have to crane his neck. "And you expect me to believe that's the time you pick to start fancying me? Doesn't make sense."

"I'm not going to deny that I was a little bit worried for a day or so there, but... me and Giles, that's not something that's going to just end. Not even over you." Xander was watching him earnestly. "And we both wanted you. Want you. We don't..." Suddenly, Xander looked concerned. "You know last night wasn't just a one time thing, right?"

Spike stared down at his knees, rubbing his thumb slowly over denim still too new to be comfortable. "Could be," he said finally. "Wouldn't blame you both." He sighed and lifted his head, meeting Xander's anxious eyes, all dark and wide and vulnerable -- oh fuck that wasn't playing fair -- "Okay, that's a total sodding lie. I'd scream and swear and kick things. Not you," he added hastily. "But -- yeah, I'd mind. But I wouldn't -- I wouldn't be surprised, you know? So if Giles and you have spent the morning talking behind my -- about me, and you've got something to say, then spit it out, will you?"

Xander reached over and put his hand over Spike's on his knee, big and warm. "Pretty much the only conclusions we've come to at this point are that we both want this -- with you -- and that we're not ready for it to be anything but the three of us together. Everything else is still..." He squeezed Spike's hand. "It's not like we were looking for this, you know? But all of a sudden, there you were."

"Yeah," Spike said. "Turning up out of the blue." He risked a small smile through stiff lips. "Didn't plan this, you know. It just happened, and I -" He opted for honesty, because it was no more than Xander deserved. "I didn't want it to stop. You both being nice to me, you both -" He shook his head, holding onto Xander's hand and trying not to grip it too hard. "Going to take a while to get used to it. Being wanted."

And could I sound any more pathetic? he thought savagely, waiting, cringing, for Xander to come out with one of his trademark flip comments by way of reply.

Instead, all Xander did was say, "C'mere," and pull on his hand. Spike went along a bit more willingly than he might have wanted to admit, letting Xander tow him into a comfortable embrace, settled with his back to Xander's chest. "It's okay that this is kind of weird," Xander said. "We'll figure it out. It makes sense that it wouldn't be easy right from the beginning, you know?"

Spike found himself chuckling. "I'd be worried if it was. For you two, anyway. Me, I'm used to sharing -" He broke off, not wanting to think about Drusilla and Angel. Not now. Different life, different Spike. Before Xander could answer, Spike turned just enough to be able to kiss Xander, an awkward, clumsy kiss because of the angle and because he still couldn't get over that tiny thrill of shock at what he was doing.

Kissing Xander. Broad daylight. No magic, no spells, no guilt, no secrets. Just Xander, warm and strong and kissing him back, until the rough edges smoothed out and the kiss gentled into a final brush of Xander's lips against Spike's forehead as they settled back again.

Spike looked down at their linked hands, resting on his chest and relaxed, a smile spreading across his face. "Tell me if your arm goes numb or something," he said lightly, knowing that it'd take more discomfort than that to get him to move, but not wanting Xander to be at all uncomfortable.

"You don't weigh that much," Xander said, sounding amused. Spike could feel each rise and fall of Xander's chest along with his own, and he stroked the edge of his thumb along Xander's slowly until, to his surprise, Xander's hand went gradually limp in his as Xander fell asleep.

Spike didn't want to wake him, but after a little while he eased away a bit and turned, studying Xander's peaceful, sleeping face. Any small lines of tension were gone, dark eyelashes resting against his cheeks, his hair slightly mussed. Looked good like that, Spike thought. Everything about Xander looked good to him, and he was happy to sit there and watch him as long as he could.

After a while, when Xander had stirred just long enough to snuggle down even deeper into the cushions without opening his eyes, Spike stood up reluctantly and went back to the kitchen to carry on working at the translation.

He didn't get a lot done, because he kept coming to the door to check on Xander, but he'd made some progress when he heard the slide of Giles' key in the front door. In the silence of the house it was loud enough to make Spike jump, and he hurried into the hall to stop Giles from calling out a greeting and waking Xander.

Giles came through the door, saw Spike, and smiled, and then blinked in astonishment as Spike rushed towards him to stop the front door from being shut with a slam.

"What's the matter?" Giles said, lowering his voice in response to Spike's frantic shushing.

"Xander's asleep on the couch," Spike told him in a whisper. "Came home at lunchtime, had some food and dozed off."

"Is he feeling ill?" Giles asked, a frown beginning to crease his forehead. "You should have called -"

"No," Spike said hastily, wanting to reassure him. "Don't think so. Just tired, I'd say. He didn't feel hot or anything." Something he thought he saw in Giles' expression made him add, "When I say he didn't feel hot -- I don't mean I touched -- we didn't -"

Giles' hand came up to pat his shoulder, and Spike stopped talking. "If he's been sleeping this long, he'll wake soon, I'd imagine, and be all the better for it." Giles moved in closer and gave Spike a kiss that was probably supposed to be casual, but ended up lasting a second too long for that, and then said, with a smile, "Hello, Spike. How was your day?"

As if Giles had thrown a switch, Spike relaxed. He even leaned in against Giles and kissed him again, letting Giles' body partially support his own. Maybe the hours of being alone in the house while Xander slept had got to him more than he'd realized, because he didn't feel embarrassed about his need for the physical comfort. "It was okay," he said. "How was yours?"

"Fine." Giles shrugged out of his jacket without really moving away and dropped it onto the floor, which was okay with Spike since it meant they could stay where they were. "You're sure he's all right?"

"I think so."

"You've been worrying about him." It wasn't a question. Giles gave Spike a slightly mischievous look. "Has he been snapping at you to leave him alone?"

Spike nodded, realizing that Giles was just as concerned as he was and that Xander didn't stand a chance of overdoing it with both of them there to look out for him. That made him relax even more.

"He does that with me," Giles confided, slipping both his arms around Spike. "I tend to ignore him for the most part, but I suppose if he's going to have both of us fussing over him, he might have cause for complaint." Giles grinned, running his hand over Spike's back and stopping just short of his ass. Even through his T-shirt the teasingly light touch was enough to make Spike press a little closer to him. "Perhaps we can take alternate days?"

"Or even hours," Spike agreed.

There was a muffled sound from the living room, and Spike pulled away from Giles and backtracked to the doorway with Giles following. Xander had turned onto his side on the couch and was resettling himself into a more comfortable position, blinking sleepily at them. "What time is it?" he asked.

"Just after five," Giles replied, crossing the room slowly, Spike noticed, and studying Xander the whole way. He must've been happy with what he saw, because he sat down on the couch and leaned over to kiss Xander by way of hello, without asking how he was.

Xander struggled up to sitting and gave Giles a hug, resting his head against Giles' shoulder much as Spike had. He lifted his head after a moment, gave Giles a smile and another kiss, and then settled back against the couch, his hand linked with Giles', and looked over at Spike.

"You going to come here so I can say sorry for falling asleep on you? Or under you?"

Spike walked over to them, feeling slightly awkward, partly because they were both watching him, partly because of Xander's words, although Giles didn't look at all bothered. He sat down next to Xander, perching on the edge of the couch, and gave him a quick smile. "Nothing to be sorry for. Glad you got some rest."

"Well, yeah, but there could have been, you know, conversation or something," Xander said. He did look better, and he leaned forward and patted Spike's thigh. "So, someone's going to cook dinner for me, right?" he asked hopefully.

Spike looked at Giles.

"You can't keep burning things to get out of cooking forever, you know," Giles warned him.

Spike gasped with pretended hurt. "Not doing it on purpose," he said, which was mostly true. Tilting his head, he gave Giles a speculative look. "But as excuses go, it's good for a few more months, right?"

Xander and Giles shook their head in unison.

"Weeks?" Spike hazarded.

"I'll cook tonight," Giles said sounding firm, "and after that we're taking turns."

"Fine," Spike grumbled. Better to drop the subject, he thought, than get into too much detail about why he was so reluctant to participate in the kitchen, because he really didn't want to talk about it. Giles hadn't said anything to Xander about the incident in Spike's presence, but he didn't have any reason to think the two of them hadn't talked about it in private. He didn't want to think about how that conversation had gone.

He didn't like to think about them talking about him when he wasn't there at all, really.

Giles reached over and took Spike's hand, turning it so that the faint, red line of the cut from the knife was visible and then covering it with his own hand. "I'll help you," he said reassuringly. "And if you both promise to do the dishes afterwards, I might even have a go at Sunday lunch this weekend and introduce you to the wonder that is a Yorkshire Pudding, Xander," he added, giving Spike's hand a gentle squeeze before releasing it.

Undone by the fact that Giles had not only understood exactly what was going through Spike's head, but had reassured him about it without actually saying anything, Spike stood up, brushing his hands against his jeans. "Gonna go straighten up my stuff," he said gruffly, turning and heading for the kitchen where he'd left his papers strewn across the table.

He could hear Xander and Giles talking as he neatened everything into a pile, the sound of their voices familiar enough that this place was beginning to feel like home.

Spike wasn't sure how he felt about that.


Giles glanced over at the clock on the mantelpiece and wondered lazily how much longer he had before the peace of the house was disturbed by the return of a -- probably -- slightly drunken pair, eager to tell him in detail about everything he'd missed by not joining them at the White Horse for a Battle of the Bands evening.

It wasn't that he hadn't wanted to be with them, of course, but there were limits to what he'd endure in the name of entertainment, and overly-cold lager and conversations that consisted of 'What? Can't hear you!' went beyond them. Well beyond.

Besides, having the house to himself was rather nice, if only because it brought home just how much he missed them.

Sipping happily at his whiskey, he turned a page of his book and let his thoughts wander ahead to what the pair of them would do to console him for what they'd consider a lonely, dull evening of solitude. The insistent, sudden ring of the telephone came far enough into his fantasies to have him stammering as he answered it, feeling as flustered as if the caller had walked in to find him lying there on the couch, his hand absently stroking his hardening cock through his pants.

"Yes? H-Hello? This is Rupert Giles." Work, he thought, feeling a mixture of irritation and alarm. It was almost eleven, and it would have to be a real emergency for them to call him this late.

The voice on the other end of the line was instantly and disturbingly familiar, although it took several seconds for Giles' brain to catch up to his body's immediate reaction. "Hey, Giles. It's Angel."

Read: Chapter 10