There was something wrong with his friend. Xander watched as Spike fidgeted for the seventh time in as many minutes. The blond couldn’t seem to sit still and it was starting to get to Xander.
“What’s wrong?” he asked finally, snapping Spike out of whatever thoughts he was locked in.
“Wrong?” Spike echoed. “Why would anything be wrong?”
“Unless you’re sitting on an ant hill, something’s bothering you,” Xander pointed out. “Now talk.”
“It’s coming up on Christmas,” Spike said quietly, peering over at Xander.
“Oh,” the brunet whispered. “Missing your family?”
“Yeah,” Spike nodded. “I spent last Christmas with Walter and his family and he had Mum flown in for it. This is the first year I’ve been without her.”
Xander shifted over and wrapped an arm around Spike’s slim shoulders. “Miss her?”
“Every day,” Spike whispered, leaning against his friend.
“Does your uncle have anything planned?”
Spike shrugged. “I haven’t asked. Didn’t want to impose.”
Xander thought for a minute. “If he doesn’t you could probably join us this year.”
“Really?” Spike looked up.
“Yep,” Xander smiled down at him. “We have breakfast and presents, and then we go to the local shelter at lunch and help out there. Joyce and Dawn meet us there. Then we hit LA for dinner with Faith and her boyfriend up there. It’s a long day, but fun.”
“Wouldn’t I be in the way?”
“For breakfast and lunch definitely not,” Xander assured him. “Dinner might be different. I’d have to call Faith and see if she minded another person.”
Spike shook his head. “That sounds like it’s just for family.”
“Hey, you’re my best friend, that makes you family,” argued Xander. “Don’t worry, Faith’ll probably say yes.”
“Wait on that until I know what Uncle Rupert is doing,” cautioned Spike. “No use making plans if he’s got his own.”
“True. Once you know, let me know, okay?”
“Uncle?” Spike asked hesitantly.
Uncle Rupert looked up from his book. “Something the matter, William?”
“Um, are we doing anything for the holidays?” he blurted.
A startled look came over the older man’s face followed by a look of chagrin. “I totally forgot,” he murmured. “Oh dear.”
“It’s okay,” Spike hurried to assure him. “If you don’t have plans Xander told me I could join them.”
“Yes,” Spike said, squirming a bit under his uncle’s stare. “They do breakfast and presents, then help at the shelter for lunch.”
Uncle Rupert nodded. “Normally I help at the shelter as well,” he told his nephew. “And dinner?”
“They’re going to LA to visit with Ang-Liam’s sister.”
“And they don’t mind you coming along?” Uncle Rupert raised an eyebrow.
“Xander was going to call and make sure,” Spike told him.
“Hmm,” the older man hummed, still staring at Spike. “I would like to spend some of the holiday with you. Perhaps we can have our own breakfast and presents then meet them at the shelter.”
Spike grinned. “Okay! And dinner?”
“If Alexander finds out it is permissible, I don’t foresee any problems with you going to LA with them,” Uncle Rupert smiled at him.
Spike threw his arms around the older man. “Thank you, Uncle.”
“No, thank you,” he murmured. “I would have forgotten the holiday completely.”
“Completely?” Spike asked, pulling back.
“Well, no,” Uncle Rupert admitted. “I did get you a few presents.”
“Pressies!” Spike crowed.
The older man laughed. “You still have to wait for Christmas morning.”
“Yes sir!” Spike saluted before running up to his room to call Xander. He hoped Angel’s sister wouldn’t mind a tagalong.
“Did you give him the standard warnings?” Angel asked as they neared LA.
“Not yet,” Xander replied with a wicked smile.
“Warning?” Spike asked from his spot in the backseat.
Xander turned to look at him. “Faith doesn’t have a lot of boundaries. And she’ll say the most outrageous stuff to make you blush. She’ll comment on her sex life, ask about yours and then give tips.”
Spike gaped. “What?”
“Andrew is a geek. He’s the King of all geeks. Expect that somewhere in tonight’s meal will be a Star Trek themed dish. Most likely there will be Star Trek themed wrapping paper on the presents,” Angel added.
“Okay,” Spike said slowly. “I’m sure it won’t be bad.”
Xander shrugged and grinned. “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”
Spike worried as they reached the city. It didn’t take long for them to reach their destination and he stared in shock when they pulled up to a large house decorated with Star Trek Christmas decals.
“Wow,” he muttered, following the other two out of the car and up the stairs.
“Like I said, King of the Geeks,” Angel laughed, knocking on the door.
The door opened and a dark blur hit the older man, nearly sending him to the ground. Angel wrapped his arms around the figure in a tight hug, nearly lifting it off the ground.
“Put me down!” Laughing, Angel let go and the person stepped back glaring at him. Angel locked eyes with his sister and Spike could only goggle as they stared at each other. With them standing here so still, he could see the resemblance between them, though Angel dressed a bit more conservatively than his sister did. Black leather pants and a barely there tank top generally weren’t considered normal holiday wear.
“Merry Christmas, Faith,” Xander said, breaking up the staring contest.
Faith turned and looked at Xander, smiling softly and pulling him into a hug. “Hey there, Boy Toy,” she greeted. “And this is William?”
“Hello,” Spike said quietly.
“Oo, shy,” she cooed. “That’ll be fun.”
“Be nice,” Angel chided, ushering them into the house.
Once inside Spike could only blink at the decorations. The Star Trek theme carried inside, and most of it wasn’t up just for Christmas. From the ceiling in the living room hung a model of the Enterprise and over the television was another ship that Spike didn’t recognize.
“That’s Voyager,” Xander whispered into his ear. “I warned you.”
“I didn’t think it would be this bad,” Spike whispered back.
“This is mellow,” Xander grinned. “Faith makes him take down most of the models and stuff for the holidays.”
“There’s normally more?” Spike squeaked.
“Lots more,” giggled Xander. “Come on.”
Xander pulled him into the kitchen where a slender man was standing in front of the stove. When the man turned to look at them Spike realized he wasn’t much older than the two teens.
“Hey, Andrew,” Xander said, pulling the man into a hug. He stepped back. “William, meet Andrew.”
“William?” Andrew asked. “Why don’t I believe you go by that?”
Spike grinned. “My friends call me Spike.”
“Spike? Cool,” Andrew smiled widely. Then he pouted. “I never get cool nicknames.”
“Well, you didn’t like Andy or Drew,” Xander pointed out. “There’s not much more to use.”
“And you got Spike from William how?” Andrew argued. “Or Angel from Liam?”
“Point,” agreed Xander. “Think of something then get Faith to start calling you by it. The others will catch on.”
“Like Boy Toy?” Spike asked archly, watching as the wave of red raced up Xander’s face.
“I’d gladly give him that name if he wanted it,” Xander groaned.
“And take all of Faith’s fun?” teased Andrew. “Head back into the living room and keep the two pig headed siblings from killing each other please.”
“Sure,” nodded Xander.
They spent the next hour keeping Angel and Faith from tearing the house apart as the brother and sister teased each other. Occasionally from the kitchen Andrew would yell at them. Finally he called them in to eat and the siblings once again became adults.
“Are they always like that?” Spike asked as they followed them into the dining room.
“Yeah,” Xander nodded. “Sometimes worse too.”
Dinner was better than Spike expected, especially given the names of some of the dishes. And after the clean up they piled into the living room to watch movies. Xander and Angel took one of the couches while Faith and Andrew curled up in one of the chairs. Spike sat on the far side of the couch his friends were on, suddenly feeling like the fifth wheel. Before he could descend into self-pity, Xander reached over and pulled him closer. Leaning against his friend’s warm side, Spike watched the Christmas movies and drifted, happier than he had been in a long time.
“Are you going to the Bronze for New Year’s?” Xander asked a few days later. “You’d finally get to hear Dingoes Ate My Baby.”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Spike grinned.
“Great,” Xander said with a bounce. “The party starts at seven but the doors open at six. I’ll pick you up at quarter to, okay?”
“Sure. Is Angel going?” asked Spike.
“Yeah, right,” Xander laughed. “He calls it an excuse to behave like fools.”
“It is,” Spike agreed. “Fun though.”
Spike dressed in his usual attire. He wasn’t much for dressing up anyway. He was downstairs and saying goodbye to his uncle when the horn honked outside. Hurrying out, he slipped into the car and they headed off to the club.
“Everyone will be there,” Xander cautioned as he parked. “But tonight’s pretty much a neutral night.”
“That’s good,” Spike agreed.
The joined the short line already in front of the club. Within a few minutes the line behind them grew extremely long.
“That’s why I wanted to get here now,” Xander said, nodding to the people behind them.
“Good idea,” Spike said as they moved forward a bit.
It only took them ten minutes to get inside and Spike was surprised to see the Bronze looking as it did. The normally dingy club was cleaned so it sparkled. Balloons and streamers hung from the ceiling and party hats were being handed out by the bouncers. The dance floor was already half-packed and a band was setting up on stage.
Music blared through the speakers and Xander pulled him out onto the dance floor. Moving to the beat they soon lost track of time, only leaving the dance floor to get quick bits of air and drinks. At ten to midnight the music stopped and everyone readied for the turn of the year. When the clock clicked to twelve the crowd went wild, people cheered and Spike found himself on the end of a very enthusiastic kiss. He gave himself over to the kiss, losing himself in the taste of Xander. Breaking the kiss, Xander went back to calling Happy New Year to those around him, leaving a very confused Spike standing with one hand pressed to his mouth.
Xander stared at his reflection wondering if he could see any changes. It was only a day until his birthday and he would finally be eighteen. He had been waiting for this day for over a year. But first they had to deal with one last major interview with the social worker.
He didn’t mind Ms. Frek. She had often stated she didn’t want to just shuffle children around from place to place; she wanted to find them homes and love. It was through the hard work of her and Joyce that he was even allowed to live with Angel and Ms. Frek had never commented on the fact that he shared Angel’s bed.
“It’s just a routine visit,” Angel said from behind him.
Xander met his love’s eyes in the mirror as Angel reached around to straighten his collar. “Still scary.”
“Hallie likes you,” Angel reminded him, wrapping him in a hug. “And as of tomorrow she can’t separate us.”
“No, but she could cause problems,” Xander pointed out.
Angel kissed the side of his neck. “Nothing will make me let you go, Xan. Not unless you truly wanted to leave. I love you.”
“Love you too,” Xander sighed, leaning back into Angel’s solid form. “Don’t mean to be a scaredy-cat.”
“It’s been a long year,” Angel said. “With a lot of issues. It’s not wrong to be scared.”
The ringing of the doorbell cut off anything Xander was going to say.
“Come on,” Angel sighed, pulling away. “Sooner we get down there, the sooner this is over with.”
Xander lagged behind his lover, listening as the older man opened the door and let the social worker in. He could hear them exchange pleasantries and Ms. Frek asking for him.
“I’m here,” he said softly, coming down the stairs.
Ms. Frek smiled at him. “Don’t worry, Xander, it’s just a meeting to wrap up the paperwork.”
“Okay,” he said, coming to sit across from her.
“As of tomorrow you’re officially an adult,” she started. “I’ve got some papers I need you to sign. Date them all for tomorrow too,” she added with a wink. “That way I don’t have to come back.”
Giving her a shy smile, Xander signed his name after Angel did a quick read through of the legal documents. Seven pages and a hand cramp later she sat back and smiled at them.
“Now, that’s all done,” she said happily. “As of midnight we are officially off your case, but-”
“But?” Angel asked, staring at her sharply.
“But with everything that Xander has been through we’ll be keeping an eye on you both unofficially,” she admitted with a tiny shrug. “Nothing major, just to make sure Xander’s adjusting well and things don’t go wrong between you.”
“I’d never hurt him,” Angel said tersely.
She nodded. “I know that. My main boss knows that but the idiots in charge are, well, idiots.”
“It’s okay,” Xander said, trying to diffuse the situation. “I’m not really surprised.”
“I didn’t think you would be,” Ms. Frek commented. “Truthfully, I think they’re just trying to cover their asses since they didn’t act when you were younger.”
“Doesn’t matter now,” Xander said with a smile. “I have Angel. That makes up for everything else.”
Ms. Frek sighed happily. “I feel that way about my Anyanka. Love has a way of doing that to you.” She scooped up the papers. “Well, that’s all set. Remember boys, you can call me if you need anything.”
Xander sat in slight shock as Angel let the social worker out. When his love sat down Xander automatically snuggled into his arms. “We’re legal now.”
“Not quite yet,” Angel laughed. “But close enough.”
Xander stopped just inside the door to the bedroom. The lights were off, the only illumination a few candles scattered across the top of the dresser. A slight hint of sandalwood filled the air and he felt all the tension ease from his body. He knew what this was. Finally, the time to reconnect physically had come.
“Strip,” Angel whispered into his ear. Xander shivered as the warm breath brushed over the sensitive flesh. “Then lay down on the bed.”
“Yes, sir,” Xander answered, hands already obeying the command.
He undressed slowly, teasing both himself and Angel. First his shirt went, the buttons sliding slowly through the holes until all were undone. He shrugged the garment off, catching it before it hit the floor and carefully folding it. From the side he heard the approving murmur. After setting the shirt on the desk, he slipped off his shoes, toeing his socks off at the same time and pushed them to the side. With shaking hands, he unbuttoned his jeans and pushed them down, making sure to leave his boxers up. Once again, he carefully folded the pants and laid them on top of the shirt. Turning to look at Angel, he hooked his thumbs in the waistband of the boxers and eased them down, baring the last of his body to Angel’s gaze. He placed them with the rest of the clothing and stood there for a moment, wearing only the collar around his neck and the mesh chains around his wrists. Angel’s lust filled eyes met his and the older man nodded towards the bed. Letting out a shaky breath, Xander walked backwards until he came to the edge of the bed, then let himself fall back, offering everything up to his lover. He wasn’t sure why he was suddenly so nervous. It wasn’t like Angel hadn’t seen him naked plenty of times before. Still, this was different, this was more.
“So beautiful,” Angel commented, stalking over to stand beside the bed. “All mine.”
“Yours,” Xander echoed back softly, doing his best to stay still.
“Move up, towards the top,” commanded the older man. Xander scooted up until his head rested on the pillows and waited. “Perfect.”
Angel climbed up the bed, moving like some great jungle cat as he prowled toward the top and over Xander’s body. When they were face to face, he smiled down at Xander, shifting his weight to one hand and brushing the unruly curls back with the other. At that simple touch all of Xander’s nervousness fled and he relaxed into bed, content beneath his lover.
“You can say no,” Angel whispered, leaning down to brush an almost chaste kiss over the prone man’s lips.
“Don’t wanna say no,” Xander replied, rearing up just enough to kiss Angel back. “It’s been so long. I miss your touch.”
There was no verbal reply; instead Angel swooped down, taking Xander’s mouth in a hard and hot kiss. The larger man lowered himself until he was lying on top of Xander, cradled between the younger man’s thighs.
Xander moaned into the kiss, daring to raise his hands and stroke the material covered expanse of his lover’s back. He groaned in loss as Angel broke the kiss, both of them panting lightly. Angel smirked down at him before lowering his head to Xander’s neck and nibbling. The sound that emerged from Xander’s throat was a cross between a moan and whimper and he arched into Angel’s mouth.
“Tonight,” Angel whispered, lips pressed to the very sensitive spot below Xander’s ear. “Tonight is just for you.”
Before Xander could reply Angel began a sensual attack, hands and lips randomly hitting all the spots that reduced the young man to a quivering wreck. All he could do was moan, writhe, beg and twitch as Angel brought him to the brink over and over again. Warm lips and a wet tongue surrounded his cock as clever fingers found and rolled his balls gently. Then there was a hint of teeth and he tumbled over the edge, his vision darkening as the pleasure overloaded his senses.
There was a calm air to Xander when he slipped into the car. Spike stared at him openly for a moment, trying to place what had changed for his best friend. It was something big, that much he could tell.
“What happened?” he asked finally, slipping the car into drive and pulling away from the house.
“Why does something have to happen?” Xander asked, glancing at him coyly. Yep, something was up.
“You’re different,” Spike pointed out. “Not as nervous as you usually are. You’re a lot less tense too.”
“Thursday was my birthday,” Xander said with a grin.
“What?” yelled Spike, nearly slamming on the brakes. He pulled the car into a parking lot and glared at his friend. “Why didn’t you tell me? We could have done something this weekend.”
A light blush filled Xander’s face. “I didn’t tell you ’cause I had plans,” he replied. “I’ve been waiting for this for a while.”
“Waiting for what?”
Xander just looked at him. Realization hit the blond and he felt his face heat up. It had been Xander’s eighteenth birthday and he was legal. Swallowing down the immediate surge of jealousy, he swung the car around to the exit.
“Was it good?” he questioned archly, pulling back into traffic.
“Oh yeah,” Xander sighed, his face still pink. “More than I thought it would be.”
“Did you guys ever. . .? Before, I mean?” Spike asked, watching his friend out the corner of his eye.
Xander shifted in his seat. “Remember how I said I did a lot of things I wasn’t proud of?”
“Yeah,” Spike nodded.
“I ran out of money at one point,” the brunet said quietly, his gaze focussed out the window. “Not a lot of options. Wasn’t old enough to get a real job. Only one way to make anything.”
Spike paled. Despite all the allusions Xander had made to his time on the streets, somehow that never factored into any of Spike’s thoughts. “Was he a client?”
“A john, you mean?” Xander countered. “No, actually. I was in one of the worst areas of the city. Hell, I was the only white boy in one of the worst areas. A lot of the johns liked the idea of fucking a white boy in a black neighbourhood.” He stopped, hugging himself tightly. “Some liked to be rough. One night one got out of hand.”
“You don’t have to continue,” offered Spike. As much as he wanted to know, he didn’t want to see his friend like this: uncomfortable and scared, lost in his memories. He headed away from the school and to his uncle’s place. This was definitely something that called for skipping school.
“S’okay,” Xander replied. “I haven’t really told anyone. Angel knows, and I told some to the social worker, other than that. . .”
“I’m honoured then,” Spike said solemnly. “What happened?”
“I don’t remember much of it. We were in an alley just off one of the clubs. He had pushed me into the wall and ripped my pants. I remember fighting back and then he banged my head off the wall a few times. I blacked out. When I came to he was almost finished. God, it hurt so bad,” he whispered.
“Xan?” Spike’s voice was soft.
“He took me dry,” the other boy murmured. “Thank God he used a condom. When he was done he straightened his clothes and then began to beat me up.”
Spike parked the car in front of the building and shut if off before reaching over and pulling Xander across the seat and into his arms. “I’m here.”
“He would have killed me,” Xander continued, huddled into Spike’s embrace. “All I can remember is him hitting and kicking me. Next thing I know I’m waking up in a hospital.”
“All the noise attracted attention. There’s, well, technically they’re a gang that live near there. Charles Gunn is the leader. He saw what was happening and stopped it. His sister called the cops while the others bundled me up and took me to get help.”
“Sounds like they’re nice people,” Spike remarked.
“They are,” Xander said, a small smile on his face. “It was Gunn who contacted Angel. They’re friends. I told you Angel’s an artist right?” Spike nodded. “Well at that time, Angel had an investigation company in LA. After talking to me, he offered me a job with him.” Xander laughed a little.
“He thought I was older at the time,” Xander answered. “Which is why when I came on to him, he was only worried about me having flashbacks to the rape.”
“How did he find out?” Spike was curious now.
“I had made some stupid remark about school, I don’t even remember what now and he asked how old I was. Stupidly, I answered and he flipped,” Xander pulled away a bit, wiping tears off his cheek. “Normally, Angel’s really calm and almost nothing sets him off. But when he gets mad, damn does he get mad. I think he swore for a whole hour.”
“So I take it he wouldn’t do anything after that?”
“You’d be right,” Xander smiled. “And he decided I was going back to school. We were going to stay in LA but the school board was making a racket, saying things about kidnapping and the such. So he handed the PI company over to his sister and we came back here to settle all the bullshit. That was just over a year ago.”
“How long were you in LA?” wondered Spike.
“Six months or so before I met Gunn and Angel. Another three after that,” Xander replied.
“You were fifteen, right?”
“Yeah, almost sixteen.”
“Damn,” Spike whispered, pulling Xander back for a hug. “I wish there was something I could do.”
“Just having you listen was enough,” Xander said, hugging him back. “That’s more than anyone other than Angel and Gunn has done. Thank you.”
“You’re my best friend,” Spike replied, brushing a chaste kiss across Xander’s cheek. “I’d do anything for you.”
Xander shifted back into his own seat. “Why are we at your place?”
“I thought it might be better than dealing with school,” Spike said giving Xander a small smile. “You were a bit emotional.”
“Yeah, it was a heavy subject,” sighed the other boy. “We can’t skip.”
“Why not?” countered Spike.
“Because we’ll both get into trouble with the social worker,” Xander said quietly. “I may be eighteen, but they still have some control and they can make our lives a living hell.”
“Bloody hell,” sighed Spike. He turned the car back on. “You’re right.”
“Of course I am,” Xander smiled. “I’m a Xander after all.”
Spike looked up from his lab work. “Yeah, Xan?”
“How come you haven’t dated anyone since you’ve been here?” Xander asked, carefully executing the next step of his work.
“Haven’t found anyone I want to date,” Spike answered, looking away.
“No one?” Xander asked, staring at him.
“No,” Spike said softly. “No one.”
“That sucks,” Xander said honestly.
“I’m fine,” Spike shrugged.
“Did you have anyone back in England?”
Spike thought about Fred. They hadn’t really been dating and anything they could have been was destroyed by his move to the States. “No, no one.”
“Did you maybe want to look for someone to date here?” Xander offered.
“Where did this new interest in my love life come from?” Spike snapped.
Xander stopped and looked at him. “You’ve been upset for the past two weeks and you’ve shot down every thing I’ve done to try and get you to smile again. This was a last ditch effort.”
Spike sighed, feeling bad. “Sorry. I’ve just been out of sorts.”
“What’s wrong?” Xander pressed.
“Nothing,” Spike shook his head.
Xander watched him for a moment then nodded. “You like someone.”
“What?” Spike yelped, then ducked his head as the teacher glared at him. “Where did you get that idea from?”
“The only reason a person acts like you are and then says nothing is wrong is when they like someone.”
Groaning to himself, Spike admitted there was logic to Xander’s statement. “Fine,” he ground out. “I do like someone.”
“Then ask them out,” Xander told him.
“I can’t,” Spike replied. “H-she’s seeing someone.”
“Oh,” Xander slumped. “That sucks. Maybe they’ll break up soon.”
Spike smiled sadly. “I doubt that.”
Hot hands landed on his skin, leaving trails of fire and need wherever they went. He arched into the touches, wanting more. A soft chuckle sounded in his ear and he shuddered as lips and teeth caught his lobe, nibbling lightly. Then there was another mouth, teasing the edge of his collarbone. He moaned, surrendering to whatever they decided to do to him.
Mouths and hands traced along his torso, ruthlessly assaulting his nipples, dipping into the indentation of his navel, scratching down his sides. Pleasure rolled over him, wave after wave.
“Please,” he whimpered, pressing against the large hand on his stomach.
“More,” he begged, arching his back when they rolled him onto his stomach.
Teeth and tongues drew random designs down his back and talented hands kneaded his buttocks. He felt his cheeks being spread and opened his legs to help, gasping at the first tentative touch to the hidden sensitive flesh.
“Shh,” a rough voice whispered as something firm pressed inside.
He pushed back, panting from the feeling. Just a little more and he’d-
“William!” Uncle Rupert shouted up the stairs. “Get up before you’re late.”
Spike sat up, heart hammering as his dream fell away. “I’m so fucked,” he whispered as the identities of both of his dream lovers hit him.
Bad enough falling for one of his friends, but to fall for the guy’s lover too?
Spike looked around trying to find who had called his name. Finally he spotted Angel leaning against his car and headed over.
“Xander’s not here,” he told the older man.
“I know,” Angel replied. “He has a doctor’s appointment. I’m here to talk to you. Get in.”
Wondering if he should run, Spike slipped into the passenger seat. “What did you need to talk to me about?”
“Is something wrong?” Spike asked, looking over at Angel.
The older man smiled a strange little smile. “Xan’s fine. But I figure you already know that.”
“I’ve seen how you watch him,” Angel said quietly, glancing over.
Spike paled. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Don’t play stupid,” Angel growled. “You want him.”
Swallowing heavily, Spike didn’t say anything. Angel laughed.
“Does it bother you that every night he’s under me, calling out my name as he comes?” Angel asked silkily.
“Do you image what he looks like? If he’s a screamer or a scratcher? If he begs or whimpers?”
Spike shifted in his seat at the result the images promoted. “Doesn’t matter.”
“You’re right,” Angel said softly. “Because he’s mine. Still…”
Spike looked over at him, wondering about the expression on his face.
“Do you love him?” Angel asked, looking over briefly.
Blue and brown eyes met and Spike knew Angel could read everything in his gaze. “Enough to not pursue him,” Spike replied.
“Enough to share him?”
His mouth opened then closed. He didn’t know what to say to that. “Share?” he finally managed to squeak.
“It’s not one sided,” Angel said quietly. “And it’s tearing him apart.”
“I don’t understand,” Spike shook his head.
“He cares for you,” Angel told him seriously. “A lot.”
“But he loves you!” Spike protested.
“People can love more than one person at a time,” the older man chided him. “And Xander loves you. But he doesn’t know what to do about it.”
“I-” Spike could only blink. Hell, he didn’t know what to do about it. He looked up as the car came to a stop.
“It all comes down to you,” Angel said, shutting off the car and turning to look at him. “You know the true nature of my relationship with Xander.”
“Does it bother you?” Angel asked.
“No,” he answered truthfully.
“Have you every thought about it? Wondered?”
A hot blush filled Spike’s face. “Y-yes.”
Angel leaned over and kissed him hard, stealing the breath from him. When the older man pulled away Spike could only stare.
“Like I said, it all comes down to you,” Angel repeated. “Talk to Xander when he comes by.”
Nodding, Spike climbed out of the car in a daze. He watched as Angel pulled away then walked blindly up the path to the apartment, only realizing he was home when he reached the door. Pressing a hand to his lips he turned to look down the street in the direction Angel had driven off in. He would talk to Xander later, if only to understand just what was going on.
When Xander knocked on the door Spike was ready. He wasn’t sure what he was going to say to his best friend, but he was more than ready for them to talk. Angel’s revelation had opened Spike’s mind to the possibilities.
“Hey,” he said softly, letting the taller youth in.
“Hi,” Xander replied just as quietly, standing uncertainly just inside the door. “Can we talk?”
“Yeah,” Spike nodded, leading the way up to his room. He closed and locked the door once they were both inside.
Xander paced around the room and Spike watched from the seat he had taken on the bed. All of his friend’s movements were jerky and his whole body was tense.
“Relax, Xan,” Spike urged, reaching out to stop the nervous movement.
“Did Angel talk to you?” Spike nodded. “Then you know?” He nodded again. “How the hell can I relax then?”
“Easy,” Spike said, pushing the older youth down onto the desk chair. “You can start by telling me what’s wrong.”
“I-” Xander started then broke off. “Angel told you everything?”
“I don’t know if he told me everything but he did tell me how you felt about me.”
Xander flushed. “Are you upset?”
“Why would I be?” Spike asked, puzzled.
“Not everyday you find out your best friend is in love with you,” Xander replied.
Spike realized that Angel had told him about Xander’s feelings but he had never said anything to Xander about Spike’s feelings. Spike wanted to be upset by that, but realized that as Xander’s Master Angel had the right to divulge information like that to Spike but since he didn’t own Spike he couldn’t say anything in kind to Xander.
Leaning forward, Spike made his friend look at him. “I have no problem with you loving me,” he said intently. “Especially since I love you too.”
Xander froze, eyes wide as he stared at Spike. “Don’t joke.”
“I’m not,” Spike said leaning back. “The only reason Angel said anything to me was because he knew how I felt about you. I do love you, Xander.”
“This isn’t right!” Xander exclaimed, shooting to his feet. He paced again. “You’re only supposed to love one person at a time. How can I love both of you?”
“I don’t know,” Spike answered, standing up and moving into Xander’s path. “But if you do then we need to decide what to do.”
Spike licked suddenly dry lips. “Angel said it came down to me.”
“What does that mean?” Xander whispered, stepping closer.
“I think it means, I can join the two of you, I can sit back and watch you together, alone, or I can wait and see if you stay together,” he said thoughtfully.
“What are you going to do?” Xander asked, his eyes pleading.
“I want you and I know the two of you are going to stay together,” Spike replied, stepping forward so they were touching. “So if I can have you I’ll take you anyway I can get you.”
“Even if that means submitting to Angel?” Xander asked, not moving.
“Can’t say I haven’t thought about it before,” Spike admitted with a blush. “Did a lot of thinking after you told me about you and Angel.”
“It’s not like playing a game,” Xander warned. “You’d be collared. You’d be owned. If he wanted he could dictate every move you made.”
Shifting just a bit, Spike kissed Xander gently. “I know. I’ve thought about it. I want it.”
Pulling Spike closer, Xander kissed his back. “If you’re sure then we need to sit down with Angel. If you still want it after we’ll work out your contract.”
“Hmm, sounds good,” Spike murmured. Then he pulled back with a grimace. “Bugger!”
“What?” Xander asked in worry.
“I’m not eighteen yet.”
Xander stared at him for a moment then giggled. “I forgot.”
Sighing, Spike leaned back in, resting his head on Xander’s shoulder. “That sucks.”
“It’s less than a month away,” Xander pointed out. “We can work on the contract now but not sign it until your birthday.”
“Yeah,” Spike agreed softly. “Get all the details figured out now.”
“Let’s head to my place. Angel will be waiting to talk to me anyway. Hell, he’s probably expecting you too.”
Angel was sitting in the dark when they walked in, a blank expression on his face. Xander led the way over to him, sinking to his knees and pulling Spike over.
“And?” Angel asked quietly.
Spike met Angel’s dark eyes knowing his own put his feelings on display and slowly sank to his knees in front of the older man.
“Yes,” Spike answered softly.
“Why?” Angel questioned, leaning forward to stare at him seriously.
“Because I love him and could easily love you as well,” Spike answered honestly. “Because something in me is screaming that this is the right thing to do.”
“You’d be willing to submit totally to me on every level?” Angel asked. “Let me dress you? Decide what you eat and when you eat?” When Spike nodded Angel smirked. “Would you let me push you down and fuck you over the couch, the counter, the front step? Would you let me chain you to the wall and flog you?”
A wave of red rushed over Spike’s face and he whimpered a little as his pants became a bit too tight. “Yes,” he managed to say.
“You’d be willing to sign a contract?”
“Yes,” Spike whispered.
Angel sat back, staring at the blond thoughtfully. “What would your family think?”
Spike licked dry lips. “My cousin and his family probably wouldn’t care. Uncle Rupert is another matter.”
“Would he be upset?”
“I don’t know,” Spike admitted.
“Perhaps you should talk with him first,” Angel said.
Spike knew the older man was offering him a way to bow out gracefully. “I don’t need to. I know what I want.”
“And what is that?” Angel asked silkily.
“Xander and you,” Spike answered, his voice steady. “For as long as you’ll have me.”
There was silence as Angel thought everything over, then he leaned forward and wrapped a hand in Spike’s shirt, pulling the younger man up and closer to him. Spike managed a small gasp before hot lips covered his own as Angel kissed him hard. He lost track of up and down as the kiss went on and it took a bit for Xander calling their names to break them apart.
“As hot as that looks there is one problem,” the other youth said.
“What now?” Angel groaned, letting the blond go. Spike sank back down.
“It’s still a month to Spike’s eighteenth birthday,” Xander told him.
“Fuck!” Angel exclaimed. “That puts a kink in things.”
“Not really,” Xander disagreed. Angel glared at him. “We can draft the contract now and sign it in a month.”
The older man blinked. “True. We can also use the time to make sure this will work.” He looked at Spike. “You will, however, be talking to your uncle.”
Spike winced. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”
“In a month there won’t be anything he can do,” Angel stated. “But, if he’s agreeable, you can move in now. It will help us figure everything out.”
“He might think the worst,” Spike pointed out.
Angel nodded. “We’ll all go and talk to him then. He might feel better if he knew all the facts.”
“If you think it’s best,” Spike submitted.
Rupert looked up from his book to see his nephew standing at the front door nervously. “Did you need something, William?”
“Can we talk to you?” Spike stepped forward to show the two people standing behind him. Rupert knew Alexander and recognized Liam O’Rouke from around town.
“Of course,” he said, putting his book down. He watched as the three men moved together to sit on one of the couches. When Spike sat between the two men all the alarms in Rupert’s mind went off. “Is there a problem?”
“No sir,” Spike said quickly. “It’s just…”
Liam smiled gently at the blond then looked over at Rupert. “I know you are aware that I am in a relationship with Xander.” Rupert nodded slightly. “Are you aware of the nature of our relationship?”
Rupert glanced at Alexander and noticed the leather collar that had replaced the chain the young man normally worn. “I believe I am. What does this have to do with William?”
“William is very much in love with Xander,” Liam said with a smile. “And that is not something I can fault. Since Xander returns his feelings I can’t find it in me to keep them apart. However, I am very possessive of what is mine and Xander is mine. Therefore there is only one solution that the three of us can see.”
“William joining you,” Rupert said flatly. He removed his glasses and wiped the lenses. Glancing up he looked at Spike, noting the look of hope and fear on the young man’s face. “Do you want this, William?”
“Yes, sir,” he answered steadily.
“Do you know exactly what it means?”
“We’ll be drawing up a contract,” Alexander told him. “Everything will be laid out in it. That way there’s no surprises.”
Rupert nodded at that wisdom. “He’s not eighteen yet.”
“Which is why we won’t be signing the contract until he is,” Liam assured him.
“Then why are you here now? Once he’s eighteen it won’t matter what I think,” Rupert pointed out irately.
“What you think will always matter,” Spike protested. Rupert watched as Alexander hugged him. “That’s why I was worried about telling you. I don’t want you disappointed in me.”
“Oh, William,” Rupert sighed. “I’m not disappointed in you. If this is what you truly want then I would not stand in your way. I want you to be happy.”
“Thank you,” William said with a wobbly smile.
“I would still like to know why you are here now.”
“Signing the contract and joining us is a huge step,” Liam said. “We want to be sure about this. So I am here to ask you if William could live with us.”
“Live with you?” echoed Rupert.
Liam nodded. “It would be as if he had signed the contract minus the sexual aspects. It would give all of us a good idea of the dynamics of the relationship and if we could not deal with it, then at the end of the month we could tear up the contract.”
The librarian blinked. That was actually brilliant. “There would be no sex?”
“Not between me and William,” Liam replied. “Since they are basically the same age, I would not keep them apart.”
Rupert looked at his nephew. “This is what you want?”
“Yes, sir,” William nodded.
“Then I agree,” Rupert smiled.
William threw himself up off the couch and into his uncle’s arms. “Thank you.”
“I want you happy,” Rupert said simply, returning the embrace. “Go sit back down.” He looked at the other two. “Have you started the contract yet?”
“No,” Liam replied. “We were going to wait for your decision first.”
Nodding Rupert stood and walked to his desk. He pulled out a few sheets of paper and a pen, bringing them back to the others. He went to back and opened the bottom drawer, pulling out a folder. Sitting back down, he placed the folder in front of Liam. The other man quirked an eyebrow then picked it up. The look on Liam’s face when he read the first page made Rupert chuckle.
“That is why I am not against this,” he told Liam. “We can also use it and the one between you and Alexander for the base if you like.”
Smiling, Liam put the contract on the table after reading it through again. “It’s almost the same as the one we already have.”
“A bit outdated,” Rupert admitted.
“Not by much,” Liam grinned.
“Uncle?” William asked in confusion.
“When I was not much older than you I was in a relationship with another young man named Ethan. That is the contract we had together,” Rupert said, pointing to the paper on the table.
“Really?” William said, picking up the contract to read through. “Wow.”
Liam pulled the blank paper over and began to write out the contract with Rupert giving him pointers. It didn’t take them long to work out all the details. Once it was finished, Rupert took it and locked it in his desk.
Liam pulled a length of chain out of his pocket, a small padlock dangling from one end. “Would you like to witness?” he asked Rupert.
“Of course,” the older man smiled.
Turning to William, Liam draped the chain around the young man’s neck. “This is a promise,” Liam said solemnly. “I promise to care for you, to protect you and to cherish you. This is a promise that in a month I will remove this chain and you will decide to stay or go. Do you agree to wear my chain?”
Swallowing audibly, William nodded. With a soft smile, Liam snapped the ends of the lock together.
Pushing to his feet, Rupert smiled. “This calls for a celebration. Dinner is on me.”
Liam laughed. “I’ve seen these two eat, you might want to rethink that.”
“As long as we don’t go to Chez Martin I can afford it,” the older man assured him. “Besides, to see William happy and smiling is worth more than money.”
From his position between the two men, William smiled happily at his uncle. “I love you too, Uncle Rupert.”
The shrill beeping of his alarm rocketed Spike wake and he reached out to slap it off. Lying on the bed he stared up at the ceiling. Today was his birthday and it was decision day. Today Angel would take the chain off and Spike would have to decide if he would accept Angel’s collar. Not that it was really a choice. When Angel had locked the chain around his throat a month ago Spike had already made up his mind. The time between had just confirmed that he had made the right choice.
Of course the past month had not been perfect. Arguments between him and Angel popped up often with Xander playing sarcastic referee. Occasionally he felt as if Angel was just being cruel but deep down he knew the older man was just showing him every scenario to give him the best possible choice.
“You’re thinking too hard,” Xander said softly, rolling over to cuddle against Spike’s side.
“Can’t turn my brain off,” Spike sighed.
“Are you afraid?”
“No,” Spike answered. “I made my decision long ago.”
“Then what’s wrong?” Xander asked, pushing up on one arm to look down at the other boy.
“Truth?” Xander nodded. “I’m worried that Angel’s going to change his mind.”
“It won’t happen,” Xander said firmly. “Angel cares for you. It’s too soon to be love, but he does care and he does want you here.”
“I know it’s stupid,” Spike sighed again. “That doesn’t mean it’s not rattling around in my brain.”
“I have a way to make you think of something else,” Xander said with a wicked grin.
Spike gasped as Xander slid a hand beneath the sheet covering them and brushed against his hip.
“None of that,” Angel commanded from the door, making both young men jump. “Get up, we have to talk.”
They looked at each other and sighed before sliding off the bed. Getting dressed quickly they headed to the living room where Angel waited. On the table in front of the older man were a simple collar and a small lock like the ones Xander wore. Beside them was the contract and a pen. Xander took a seat when Angel beckoned Spike over. The young man knelt gracefully at his feet. Steady hands unlocked the chain Spike wore and set it aside.
“You don’t have to make the decision right now,” Angel told the young man. “You can take a couple of days if you like.”
Spike smiled up at him then reached out and picked up the collar, offering it to Angel. “I don’t need time.”
Angel took the circle of leather from him and slid it around Spike neck. Warm hands rested against his flesh, a sharp contrast to the cool leather.
“Are you sure?”
“There’s no going back once this is on.”
“I know. I’ve never be more certain of anything in my life.”
There was a moment of silence, then the lock slid together, the faint click ringing loudly.
“Welcome to the family, William,” Angel said formally, kissing him softly.
When Angel pulled back, Xander stepped forward. “Ours now.”