Outed

by
BmblBee



Part Thirty-One

It was a long, unremarkable street of brownstone houses intermixed with small, single-shop businesses. In the old days they had been storefront bakeries that specialized in wedding cakes for the predominantly Italian families that lived nearby. There was a fish market that offered a fresh catch of the day and on the corner was a shoe repairman that, by the end, saw very little traffic through his front door but hung on by sheer tenacity.

With the emergence of the vampire population, small neighborhoods like this were swallowed up, taken by eminent domain and used as housing for demons with the intent of keeping large pools of the undead clustered in controlled environments for IVRC observation.

As always occurs in any demographic, the vampire population formed their own groups within the group. A pecking order of sorts. Divided by wealth, success, power and length of time dead, the vampires, like running water, sought their own level.

This neighborhood was basically middle-class. It was low-key and the authorities seldom found a reason to come here. It was not suspiciously affluent nor was it the type of place Elmer Toots would call home. It was invisible. It had clean, regulated flow-shops, secondhand stores and businesses that were vampire-specific. It exuded an air of compliance and satisfaction with the status quo.

When Spike pulled around the corner onto Market street, he was beginning to have his doubts. As he sat in his car, an older vampire couple strolled by walking their dog. The man nodded and Spike lifted his hand in a half wave. When they were out of sight, Spike climbed out of his car and he stared at the building whose address he had memorized. It was nothing like he had imagined but he couldn't leave without finding out.

With that in mind, Spike walked over and up the steps to the glass-front doors. Next to the mail slots was a nameplate that listed the occupants, and as he scrolled down, Spike was surprised to find that this building was almost exclusively professional.

The first floor contained a podiatrist, a dentist and an accountant. The second floor was a law firm and the top floor was import/export although Spike couldn't imagine what their product could be. For now, though, that was not his concern. What was his concern was the fact that he didn't see any book club listed, and for a moment he wondered if he had been fooled.

Then he saw it. Down at the bottom of the faceplate. A small, recently added placket that read:

'Sovereign Book Club. Members only.'

Spike ran his fingertips over the carved letters and the number -1 that indicated the book club was in the sub-level apartment. Quickly, he darted back down the steps and into the outside stairwell that dropped one more floor. There he came to an unmarked door. There was no name or distinguishing traits that would reveal the flat's occupation but Spike took the chance and knocked.

A voice from within called out. "Who is it?"

"Name's Spike. I'm here to see A. Lincoln."

After a short pause, the deadbolt slammed back and the door swung open. The sight that confronted Spike was nothing that he expected. He had imagined a dark, clandestine group wearing hoods and robes, possibly chanting and waving snakes in the air as they danced wildly around a small, candle-lit room. What he found was much different.

"Spike? Hi. Come on in. I'm Lincoln but you can call me Thomas. Lincoln is just my internet name. We can't be too careful. You understand."

Spike smiled and stepped inside while Thomas closed the door behind him. Despite the warm, congenial welcome, Spike was nowhere near ready to drop his guard. Inside, the flat was bright, open, clean and filled with happy, well-dressed, chatting vampires moving about as they visited and sipped on goblets of thick red fluid.

Spike scowled and muttered in disbelief. "It's a fucking cocktail party. It's actually a bloody book club."

With a hearty laugh, Thomas slapped Spike on the back. "Please, Spike, don't be too discouraged. Go. Have a drink. We're about to get started. I think you will find our speaker very entertaining."

Hesitantly, Spike eased into the milling crowd. He picked a wine glass from the table and he was pleasantly surprised to find it was a high quality O- from a human virgin. Incredible, considering the rarity of human virgins. As he mingled, Spike exchanged banal pleasantries with the others who were discussing sports scores, the weather and the state of late night television. It was all so surreal. Spike was confused and befuddled. At one point he found himself wondering if he had read the book they would be discussing tonight. He hated to appear unprepared.

By his second drink, he was mellow and relaxed. When Thomas stood at the front of the room and clapped his hands to gain the group's attention, Spike smiled and set his glass on the serving table. As the chatter and din of the room quieted in anticipation, Thomas proceeded.

"Good evening. I'm thrilled to see so many faces here tonight. Besides the familiar ones, we have several new members to our club and I encourage you to make them feel welcome. Our strength is in our numbers and the commitment to our cause. As you know, this is a very special evening and we have an extraordinary guest. He is a vampire who has traveled all over the world finding and organizing small pockets of vampires who believe as we do that all men, dead or alive, are entitled to the same quality of existence and that no one should be judged solely on their ability to breathe and pump blood. Because of him, these vast numbers of collective demons presently lie as sleeper cells and await his call to stand as one. He is our inspiration. He is our leader. Ladies and gentlemen, he is LIAM!"

The room exploded in wild applause and a standing ovation as the crowd went crazy. They shouted and stomped their feet in unrestrained enthusiasm. Every vampire in the room was exuberant. All but one. "Liam?" Spike mouthed the single word as his brain scrambled for correction and coherence. 'It couldn't be the same one. Certainly there must be hundreds of Liams in the vamp community. Maybe....'

But his denials all fell flat when the side door was flung open and a big, hulking man with familiar spiked hair strode across the small, elevated stage area. He arrogantly outstretched his arms as if to physically soak up all of the adoration from the worshipping crowd, and he turned from side to side generously giving every set of eyes the chance to get a really good look at the closest thing to a vampire god to ever walk the earth.

When the appropriate amount of time had passed, he held his hands up and appeared modest and nearly embarrassed by all of the attention. Knowing he was in full control of the crowd, Liam bid their silence so he could speak. The applause stopped and the mob pressed in closer as they awaited whatever words would fall from his golden lips.

"Ladies and gentlemen. Vampires and demons. I am honored to be here. I have spoken at book clubs, garden clubs, Elks and Masonic Temples all over the world. No matter what the cover story you use to gather together, the purpose is always the same. VAMPIRE RIGHTS."

The room again exploded in shouts of agreement and approval. Modestly, Liam ducked his head and smiled shyly. Spike just rolled his eyes. He had known this doofus too long and too intimately to be sucked in by him again. Not that Liam had ever sucked him before. The selfish bastard.

Spike wondered how much these people knew about their great leader's background. Alive, as a young man, Liam had been a very active Nazi. He had been part of Hitler's inner circle and only survived the last days of the war by being bitten and turned by one of Hitler's own bodyguards.

Even in the days after the war, Liam had done well for himself. Although, like Spike, Liam had enough hidden gold to live comfortably for centuries, Liam preferred to survive by his wits. He schemed and scammed his way around the world while he bit who he wanted and he killed randomly, sometimes even when he didn't need the blood.

Liam was a chameleon. He could blend in and disappear. He was a charlatan and a snake oil salesman. The only constant about Liam O'Connor was that he was not to be trusted.

"Thank you. Thank you. Please. You are all too kind. I am just here to tell you that you are not alone. WE are not alone. We have lived under the forced oppression of the breathers for five long years and it's time we stood up and claimed our rights in a society that we, during our living years, helped to create. We have cringed and cowered long enough! We are proud! We are here and we will no longer be denied!! We are the Resurrectionists! The world will soon know our name!!"

Spike drifted to the rear of the room as the crowd again erupted in applause and shouts of:  "Resurrectionists! Resurrectionists!"

"What do you think?"

Spike jumped at the sound of the voice so near his ear. His head snapped to the side and he was face-to-face with a grinning A. Lincoln, AKA, Thomas. Spike smiled and carefully measured his words. "He's an amazing speaker and he certainly has the crowd fired up. I just wonder...I mean others have tried to overthrow governments before and...."

"No." Thomas's eyes shown with admiration for the godlike leader that stood before them. "That isn't what he advocates. Listen to him. He tells of standing up like men. Real men. He says he has people in place to run for government positions. People who can change the laws. We have the power. We can be the vampires who will change the world. Not like the fuckups of five years ago but this time we will do it right."

To Spike it all sounded like heaven. It was everything he had ever wanted and all he had hoped for in the past years since the great outing. The only problem was that it was all a pipe dream being constructed by an asshole who was no doubt out for a personal profit of some sort.

As Spike glanced around, he became infuriated by the hope and trust he read in the yellow demon eyes that watched the man on the stage. They all believed in this jerk and they were all in for a massive letdown. They would be kicked in the ass one more time and this time by one of their own.

That was when Spike made a decision. He might not be able to give these vampires the equality they wanted in society but at least he could stop this false hope. With that end in mind, Spike worked his way through the tightly packed group. He wedged and he elbowed until he finally reached the front of the cheering mob, and from there he stepped up where Liam could not possibly miss him.

And he didn't.

Without even a pause or hesitation in his well-practiced speech, Liam looked right at Spike, winked and continued with the promises and assurances he was offering. Spike was rattled.

After an hour-long seemingly redundant speech that had worn the audience from excitement to frenzy to exhaustion and finally near-boredom, Liam finally shut up. When he did, he bowed out a side door and cloistered himself in a guarded private room. Within ten minutes of his exit, Spike was summoned. He was informed with great reverence that he had been granted a private audience with the Great One. Spike was then led to the back where the guide rapped on the door, then stood guard outside after Spike slipped in.

"Spike."

"Liam."

"Long time no see. You look well."

"I am. You didn't seem surprised to see me in the audience."

"I have eyes and ears everywhere, Spike. It was by my instruction that Thomas contacted you."

Spike walked around to where Liam sat behind a huge desk. His plump arse was settled into a large leather office chair that oddly resembled a throne and Spike wondered if Liam had had it especially made for just this occasion. But a chair really didn't matter, and instead of asking about the distracting dog-and-pony-show things, Spike dropped down on a side seat. He then propped his feet up on the desk and he got down to the meat of the matter.

"What the fuck are you doing here, Liam? I know you too well to think that you are suddenly interested in the political workings of the social structure of the world's vampire population. Unlessyou have found a way to make a buck off of it."

Liam slapped his hand to his chest and he sighed. "You wound me, Spike. There was a time when you would have believed me if I said the sky was green and a woman's pussy didn't smell like tuna fish. Now you mistrust me while you adopt an air of superiority. An odd position considering you're the one snuck back to the Alps and stole most of my gold after we parted ways. So is this a case of a thief calling the kettle black?"

Spike was caught off guard. What could he say? It was true. Only, not quite. "Your gold? It seems to me that it was Nazi gold, and if you go further back, it wasn't even theirs. So they stole it, you stole it and finally, yeah, I helped myself to some too."

Liam chuckled and waved his hand dismissively as though the gold was a petty issue. "No problem, Spike. I'm glad you could use it to help through the lean years. Of course, I'm sure that in your own way, you'll want to repay me for my generosity, and it just so happens that I have the perfect solution to settle this little debt. And that solution is a human by the name of Xander Harris."





Part Thirty-Two

Spike sat still. He tried to keep a calm, blank expression on his face as an icy cold rush zipped through his body and landed like a rock in the pit of his stomach.

"Xander Harris? He's a man who helped me with some computer lessons. What has he got to do with any of this?"

Liam roared with laughter. "You never could play poker, Spike. You should see the shocked look on your mug. Did you honestly think I just drifted into town to give a little speech and then skip on to the next city and the next group of witless vampires? Really, Spike, I thought you knew me better than that. I know everything. I have eyes everywhere. I know all about your sick little sex games with your computer geek. Is it still as good as it used to be, Spike? Is plunging your cold, hard cock deep into a warm, living ass still as wonderful as I remember it? Did he let you bite him when you fucked him, Spike? Does he beg you to...."

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Spike leapt to his feet. His fists were balled up at his sides and his chest heaved with the unnecessary breaths that strained in his lungs. Lunging forward, Spike slapped his palms on the surface of Liam's desk and he leaned in so that their faces were just inches apart.

"You stay away from Xander Harris. He has nothing to do with this plan of yours and if anything happens to him I'll...."

"What, Spike? What could you possibly do to me?"

Spike glared. By now he had regained some semblance of control and he stood up while never taking his steel blue eyes off Liam's shifty brown ones. "I will tell all of your little followers exactly who and what you are. I'll tell them how the fucked-up Fuhrer called you his Angel while he bent you over and rammed you up the arse. How do you think they would feel about following some Nazi butt-monkey?"

Angel tipped back in his chair and sighed happily as he reminisced about the good old days. "I think they would be thrilled to be disciples of a member of the human race's biggest demon. Who knows? Maybe they'll make a bronze statue of my sphincter in honor of the contribution I made to society. Don't be a fool, Spike. My activities before being turned are of no interest to anyone out there. All they care about is what I can do for them now, and what I intend to do is locate and organize all of the pockets of dissidents that I can find."

Something about the wording of that statement troubled Spike, but right now he couldn't focus or analyze what it was. Not when he had other concerns that demanded answers. "So what does thisnoble little endeavor of yours have to do with Xander?"

The smug look on Angel's face told him he again had the upper hand and he smirked. "I'm glad you asked. The way I see it, it would advance our cause considerably to parade a mixed couple of human and vampire and show the public that love comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and levels of life and death. You are in love aren't you? Of course that really doesn't matter as long as we can prove that you're fucking him. Oh, hey, how about if you let him fuck you a couple times too? You know, play the equality ticket. Oh, yeah, that would be perfect! It would be the greatest revelation since the big outing in San Francisco five years ago."

Spike stepped back from the desk. He straightened his backbone and tipped his chin up. He would not give Angel the satisfaction of seeing him scream or beg for Xander's life. He still wasn't sure what Angel's game was, but Spike intended to find out. For now, there was nothing more to discuss so Spike turned and strode towards the door. He then stopped and spoke in a quiet voice that left no doubt as to his mood. "Stay away from Xander and me. We will not be any part of your dangerous games and I promise you that the next time you and I meet, I will dust you."

An answer was not required and none was forthcoming as Spike walked out of the room and closed the door softly behind him. After a few moments, a side door in the back of the room opened and a man slipped in. He walked over to the window and stared out at the dark city below. "Is he goingto be a problem?"

Angel glanced over at the man and paused. He wanted to offer reassurances but he knew from past experience that Spike could be a bit of a wild card. "I don't know, but we're too close to risk interference now. Is there anyone watching the boy?"

The man at the window nodded. "Yes. Which isn't too difficult, considering he's parked about a block away. I think he's here to try and rescue his vampire."

Angel barked out a laugh. The very absurdity of it eased his mind considerably. "Priceless. Simply priceless. Then, for now, I think we will leave them be. When I give the order, I want the boy picked up and brought to me. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir. Of course. Is there anything else you need?"

Angel swiveled his chair around and he slowly lowered his zipper as he licked his lips. "Yeah, I do believe there is. Why don't you bring that hot little ass over here and sit down on my big hungry cock?'

Without question or hesitation, the man dropped his pants, straddled his vampire's lap and impaled himself painfully as the huge cock filled his body to near bursting. Angel moaned in ecstasy. He threw his head back and gripped the man firmly by the hips as his lover rode him hard and fast while Angel shouted his name.

"Riley. Oh, fuck, Riley. You hot fucking bitch."



~*~*~*~*~



Spike made his way quickly back through the crowd that had now broken up into small klatches of chatting, plotting vampires who were scheming a world coup while sipping blood and appletinis. No one paid any attention to him as he rushed for the exit and out into the cool, clean fresh air. There, he stopped and bent over at the waist. He rested his hands on his knees and allowed allthe sickening terror to pour through and over him. The thought of harm coming to Xander because of their recklessness made Spike want to vomit.

His brain spun. How could Angel have known? No one knew. No one but.... "Willow." Spike stood straight up and whispered the name again. "Willow." It had to be. Who else could have told? Was she in cahoots with Liam? That part was doubtful but one thing was certain, Xander's best friend had betrayed him. It was a disturbing idea and one that played on his mind as he started up the street to where he had parked his car.

It was all he could think about until something caught his eye that slapped all thoughts of Willow out of his brain. The dark, overcast sky was no hindrance to Spike's night vision. "What the hell?" Spike's pace picked up and he marched at a near run down the street. He strode by the closed shops and darted past the alley to the corner where the cartoonish little red bug was snuggled into a 'no parking' zone.

Xander knew the instant he had been spotted. He had been enormously relieved when Spike came out of the building unscathed and he considered driving off then, but he couldn't. Not yet. He needed to assure himself that the vampire was safely on the road and not being followed. By anyone else. When Spike glared right at him, Xander knew the cat was out of the bag and he slumped as far down in the seat as he could, considering the cramped interior space.

When the fist pounded on his side window, Xander scooted back up and sheepishly rolled down the glass as he chuckled nervously. "Oh, hey Spike. He he. Wow, imagine running into you here. What a co-inky-dink, huh?"

Spike was furious. "What the hell are you doing here? No! Don't answer that." Spike looked in all directions to see if they were drawing any unwanted attention. His urge to scold Xander and possibly even spank his bottom till it was red and shiny would have to be postponed. Right now, they needed to get out of this area. They could not risk being seen together, especially since they were no longer a secret.

"You listen to me and do exactly as I say without questions. Drive all the way down to the River Road. Stay there for five minutes then go to the gas station off Jarvis Street. Go inside and buy something. Make sure that other people see you then drive quickly to my place. Park in the rear and come straight up to my flat. We need to talk."

Xander studied Spike's face intently as he mentally followed the directions Spike was giving him. He nodded at each twist and turn and when Spike stopped talking, Xander had only one question. "What should I buy?"

"What?"

"When I get to the Speedway. What should I buy?"

Spike blinked and shook his head in flustered frustration. "I don't care what you buy. You're establishing an alibi and a time line, not doing the week's marketing."

Xander tapped his finger on his chin and he frowned. "Yeah, of course. It's just that if I get a soda, the caffeine will keep me awake half the night but fruit juice will make me need to pee. I could always grab a Twinkie or a cupcake but I hate how they give you that hacking feeling in your throat unless you get something to wash it down with, and then we're back to the soda or juice quandary."

"GEESH! AAHHH!! URGGG!"

Xander was startled by the wild antics of his vampire as the man grabbed fistfuls of his own hair and hopped around on the sidewalk like a nonbeliever dancing on hot coals.

Xander poked his head out of the car and he whispered harshly, "Gosh, Spike, didn't you say we should try and not be noticed?"

Spike's face was fire engine red and little flecks of spittle spotted the corners of his mouth as he tried to get a hold of his temper. Dropping to a crouch, he gripped the window frame and he stuck his face inside the little Volkswagen.

"Buy a bottle of water, you moron. Then do exactly as I told you and I will see you at my place later."

Xander shrugged and couldn't figure out what had his vampire so upset. "Yeah, sure. Water it is. I'll be there in...."

Before he could finish, Spike had hurried quickly away. Xander sighed and pulled slowly out onto the street and turned in the direction of River Road to follow the instructions. None of it made a lot of sense, but Spike seemed adamant so Xander complied.

The entire trip took nearly twenty minutes simply because when he got to the Speedway, they had several brands of bottled water and Xander was perplexed as to why the price varied to such an extreme. Why would one brand be so superior over another? Weren't they just water? After a brief confab with the clerk, he settled on ice tea.

Xander stood in the hallway outside Spike's door and smiled as he remembered the first time he had come here. So much had happened since then. So many feelings and emotions swirled around inside him now when he thought of the vampire. New and exciting sensations that caused him toshiver happily from his heart to his crotch.

Spike had only stayed at the book club meeting for an hour or so, which to Xander indicated that it wasn't what the vampire had been seeking and now they could go back to focusing on themselves and forget all about this silly anarchy business. With that reassurance, Xander raised his fist to knock but before knuckles could meet wood, the door was flung open and Xander was snatched inside.

"Hey! Damn, Spike, I'm glad to see you too but...."

"Shut up and listen. They know about us. Someone has been watching and they know."

All of the calm, joy and happiness Xander had been feeling disappeared as a cold snap washed through him, and Xander's heart pounded in terror. Discovery was a concept he preferred to keep well tucked to the back of his mind, as though denial was enough to make it so. For most men, such a revelation would turn them on their heels and cause them to run and save themselves. For Xander, he only needed the particulars as to who the enemy was. "The IVRC?"

Spike snorted and shook his head. "No. Worse. Angel O'Connor."





Part Thirty-Three


"Who the hell is Angel O'Connor?"

For a minute, it seemed as if Spike wasn't going to answer Xander's question. Instead, the vampire hurried around his flat, pulling down blackout shades and jerking curtains into place to cover all of the windows. When he was sure that they could not be seen from the street below, he hurried back to where his human waited in the center of the room.

Spike latched onto Xander's hand and led the boy to the sofa where they sat side by side. "We need to talk, Xander. About everything. You need to understand the danger we're in. I wanted you to meet me here because this is the safest place. There are no electronic bugs in here and none of the residents of this building will talk to the IVRC."

Xander looked into the clear blue eyes of his lover and he could read the fear and resolve in them. Reaching over, Xander locked his fingers with his vampire's and he held on for strength and reassurance. He was torn. He knew they were in terrible trouble and he needed all the facts, but Xander also knew those facts were the fine points that would spell the end to the best thing in his life. He scooted closer so that the full length of their legs pressed together and he asked again, "So, who IS Angel O'Connor and what does he know?"

Spike shook his head as he tried to assemble the jumble of thoughts and memories about the man. The complex answers to that simple question were difficult. For years, Liam had been Spike's everything. His friend, his mentor and of course his lover. But was all that information, and the fine points of it, necessary to their current situation? Did Xander really need to hear the grisly sexual details? Spike thought not, and he didn't want to make this worse for Xander by cluttering their current mess with additional mud pies thrown in the young human's face. There was no way a human could understand a vampire's relationship. Even Spike was befuddled by some of the things Liam had talked him into doing.

"Angel is Liam. The man who traveled with me for the years right after I was turned. We spent a lot of time in Eastern Europe and he showed me how to survive as a vampire. Because of him, I was able to buy this building and set myself up. He knew of a stash of gold that no one else was aware of and after we parted, I went back and took some. Although there is still a mountain of gold left, he believes the small amount I took was gold that I stole from him."

"Is that why he's mad at you?"

Spike frowned as he considered Xander's wording. "Funny thing is that I don't think he is mad. I think there's something else going on here but I just don't know what. He has set himself up as the leader of the worldwide vampire uprising. Maybe all he wants is to run the world. He always was a bit of a moron. Still, there was something he said about...."

"But us, Spike. How did he know about us and what is he going to do about it? Would he call the IVRC and turn us in? Would it serve his purpose to see us prosecuted?"

This was the part that Spike really dreaded. He hated to hurt his boy at this level but it was critical that Xander clearly see all parts of this in order to understand what they needed to do. In comfort, Spike squeezed Xander's hand and he leaned in and kissed the boy softly on the lips in hope that a show of affection would soften the blow.

"Someone told him, love. Someone told him about us and he has put people on the streets to watch you. Think, Xander. Who have you told about us? Who would know...?"

"No one! I didn't tell anyone. The only person that...." Xander's eyes grew huge and round as the knowledge and memory of the earlier fiasco came back to him. The possibility boiled in his stomach and Xander physically pulled away from his vampire. "Willow?" The word came on a quiet, disbelieving puff of air.

"I don't know, love. Someone told him and she is the only one who knew, but we can't jump to conclusions. Liam is dangerous. He has henchmen everywhere and radicals ready and willing to do his bidding. Maybe he had vamps watching my building and when he saw you come here forthe lessons, he just guessed. I don't know. The thing is, love, in order for us to protect ourselves, we need to know. I hate that this is hurting your feelings and maybe damaging your friendship, but we have to know. If she told Liam, she might have told other people."

Xander swallowed hard and fought back the tears that stung his eyes. He and Willow had been friends forever. She was like his sister. His family. The idea that she would intentionally betray him and do something that would cause his arrest and imprisonment was like a knife in his heart. She had always been self-centered and narcissistic but she loved him, didn't she?

The pain in Xander's brown eyes tugged at Spike but he had to remain strong, and time was short. With a small nod of his head, Xander released his hold on Spike's hands and he leaned back. "All right. What do you want me to do?"

Spike picked up the cell phone that laid on the coffee table and he handed it to his boy. "Call her. Tell her you're sorry about what happened this afternoon. Get her to talk and make her tell you who she saw and everyone she spoke to after she left us."

Xander looked for a moment like he was about to beg Spike not to make him do that. The truth was the last thing he wanted from Willow yet there was still a tiny hope that she hadn't done it. Possibly she had been true and hadn't betrayed him. Either way, Spike was right. They needed to know. With a huff of resolve, Xander took the phone and he dialed. It rang twice.

"Hello?"

"Willow?"

"XANDER! Oh God. I was afraid you would be mad at me. I'm sorry about everything that happened today. I should have knocked. I shouldn't have told Paul to go there. I hate the thought of you letting that disgusting creature touch you but I could forgive you for that because you're still my friend. I'm so glad you called me to apologize. I'm glad you understood that...."

Xander held his tongue. He wanted to shout at her that Spike was NOT a disgusting creature but a kind and wonderful man, but the fact was, Xander knew that all the protests in the world would never change her mind or cure her of the fatal disease of chronic prejudice.

Xander's grip on the phone tightened and his jaw flexed in fury but Spike, who could clearly hear Willow's voice, placed a loving hand on his boy's arm. Xander stopped listening to the ugly words of hate and he focused instead on the loving eyes and the sweet face of encouragement. It brought Xander back to reality. It reminded him of what was real and what was not and it refocused him on the reason for this call. He took a deep breath and cut her off.

"Willow. Stop babbling. Look, we both screwed up today but we've been friends too long to let that come between us. Let's just pretend that it never happened. Okay?"

"YES! Yes, that's exactly what we should do. You aren't going to ever see him again are you? No, stop. You don't need to answer that. I know you won't and you're right. We should never speak of him again."

Xander held the phone at arms length and he flipped his middle finger at it before answering in a calm, cheerful voice. "Tick a lock. My lips are sealed and I will never mention it again. So, tell me what you did today. Did you go shopping? Did you buy that designer purse that you were looking at in Dillard's window?"

Spike grinned as he mouthed 'A purse?' Xander just shrugged. There was always a purse or a pair of shoes that she wanted to buy.

Willow squealed with delight. Everything was back to normal. They were back on track and the proof of it was that they were settled on Willow's favorite subject. Willow. She was even pleasantly surprised that Xander knew about the Gucci bag. She didn't think she had mentioned it to him but obviously she had.

"Oh, Xander, it is magnificent!! I told Daddy but you know how unreasonable he can be. The credit cards he gave me are all maxed out until he pays them off so I told him I needed a few thousand to buy it. He's still grumbling but I think he'll give it up tomorrow. I know you're dying to see it. It's brown and...."

"Yeah, Willow, I can't wait. So what else did you do? Did you...?" Spike could see that Xander was about to overplay his hand and the vampire shook his head. Xander nodded his understanding and he tried another tact. "So what did you have for lunch? Did you go to that vegan place down on Tenth?"

The question of lunch brought back the thrilling memory of the young man she had met and she was delighted to share with her pseudo-girlfriend. "Oh, Xan, no, I went down to the cafe on Third. I was still a bit upset over...'the subject'...and I couldn't even think of eating. Besides, I got on the scale this morning and I was up a half a pound so I figure I shouldn't eat for a day or two. So there I was, crying into my coffee, and this gorgeous-as-fuck guy comes over and asks me what's wrong. He was tall and dark and...."

"What did you talk about, Willow?"

"What? Oh, to tell you the truth, I don't remember but that isn't important. What matters is that I think he really likes me. He asked me for my number and I'm sure he's going to call."

Xander just shook his head and he knew with unquestioned certainty that Willow had told the stranger everything. "What was his name Willow? What do you know about him?"

Assuming that her friend was only looking out for her safety and well-being, Willow reassured Xander that she was in no danger. "He's not some threatening pervert. He's respectable. He's decent. I know because he was wearing Bruno shoes. He said his name was Riley Finn and...."

Xander looked to Spike to see if the vampire recognized the name, but Spike just shrugged and shook his head while Willow continued, "...he said he has a good government job and you know that's code for fat paycheck."

Xander squeezed his eyes shut against the slam of revelation. When he was able to speak without his voice giving him away, he asked her for clarification. "Was it the IVRC? Is that who he works for?"

Willow tried to remember, but at the time his job seemed so much less important than the fact that he shared her interest in rock music and he admired her nail polish color. Besides, once he said he had a real thing for redheads with green eyes, her mind blanked out. "I really don't know, Xander. What does it matter?"

Xander blinked in disbelief. "What does it matter? Willow, if you told him about my involvement with a vampire and especially if he works for the IVRC, he could...."

"Oh for pete's sake, Xander, why is it always about you? Riley only cares about ME. He isn't interested in the sick, disgusting things you do with that vile, nasty creature. Yeah, yeah, I know. Ticka fucking lock but he only cared about me being upset. That was the only reason he asked. He just...."

Xander's hand fell from his ear and the phone tumbled to the floor as he covered his face. It was true. Either by mistake or the unconscious need to have her own way, Willow had been the one to betray him. It broke his heart and, in turn, hurt Spike too. Reaching down, Spike quietly closed the phone, cutting off the repeated shouts of "Xander? Xan, you there?" and he wrapped the boy in his arms.

"I'm sorry, love. If it helps, I don't think she did it maliciously."

Xander pulled back and Spike was surprised to see that instead of tears, Xander had only steely resolve in his dark, flashing eyes. "It doesn't matter why she did it. The fact is, she did. She turned us in to a member of the IVRC and now we're in danger from both sides of the fence. We have to figure out what happens next, Spike. We can't take this lying down."

Spike stood up and held his hand out for his lover, who took it without hesitation. "Good on you, love. Come on. First we'll have a drink and then we'll decide how best to protect ourselves." With that, Spike guided Xander to the small round table in the kitchen where the boy sat as Spike took out two glasses and a bottle of whiskey from the cupboard. He poured them each a shot, which they downed and slammed their empty glasses on the table. Spike refilled them and they were ready to talk.





Part Thirty-Four

The conversation, like the bottle, passed back and forth between them with the same results. It was a Pete and repeat loop that saw them arriving back at their point of departure time and time again. They tried to find a solution but their dilemmas differed.

Xander's main concerns were that this Angel person would cause problems for Spike and that Willow had, in effect, turned them in to the IVRC. Spike's only fear was for Xander. The revelation that a human had been cavorting sexually with a vampire could mean, at the worst, imprisonment, and at the least, the ruination of Xander's business and relationships with his friends and family.

All the while they talked, they drank. For Spike, who had a vampire's constitution, the whiskey gave him a false warmth and a pleasant buzz. For Xander, it was a sledgehammer. He had attempted to keep up with his lover, shot for shot, and by now his brain was sloshed and his thinking fuzzy, which explained the absurdity of his next suggestion.

"I've got it! We should go to Neverland. You know, that old ranch that Michael Jackson used to own. We could hide out there. I read somewhere that it's abandoned and we could live under the Ferris wheel." Xander grinned at the brilliance of his revelation and he waited for the praise to rain down upon him.

Spike blinked and looked at his boy. The human's cheeks were flushed and his eyes were bloodshot and Spike was ashamed that even in the face of all this danger, all he could see was how adorable his boy was. With a chuckle, Spike rose from the table and he held out his hand.

"Come on, Xander. You're drunk. I'd forgotten how little a human could drink. We're safe here for now, so why don't you lie down and sleep it off. I need to make some phone calls and want to organize my thoughts on paper. You can use my bed."

Xander scooted his chair back, scraping it over the hardwood floor, which caused Spike to flinch. He then helped his boy stagger to his feet and all but dragged him towards the bedroom while Xander threw his head back and sang loudly, "Show me the way to go home. I'm tired and I want to go to bed. I had a little drink about an hour ago and it went straight to my head."

Spike winced at his boy's loud, off-key caterwauling. As soon as they made it to the bedroom, he all but picked the boy up and tossed him onto the large king-sized bed. Once prone, Xander grabbed his vampire by the wrist and he tugged. "Please, Spike, don't leave me alone in here. Just lay down with me for a few moments. Talk to me. I need to hear your voice. Pleeeease."

Spike sighed at the pitiful boy. The room was dim and quiet and the truth was, Spike too was exhausted from the stressful long day. He was well aware that after tonight their lives would change drastically and this might be the last time they could lie together in silence and privacy. With a melancholy smile, Spike scooted the boy over and he slid in beside him.

Xander sighed happily as Spike carded his fingers through his human's thick, dark hair.

"Fine. What do you want me to talk about?"

Xander scooted over so that he lay prone beside where Spike sat up in the bed. "Tell me about your travels."

Spike gave that a lot of thought. He didn't want to make Xander jealous but it really was a wonderful time. "It was amazing, love. It was in the years right after the Second World War and most of Europe was still in upheaval. London and several cities in Germany were bombed out and just starting the cleanup. Rebuilding was still a long time off. Liam and I spent time there but it was far too depressing, even for a vampire, so we headed for the Swiss Alps where.... What are you doing, love?"

Xander paused in his task of unzipping Spike's tight black jeans. "I'm just making you more comfortable. Keep talking. I'm really enjoying the story."

"Oh, thank you, love. That is less confining. So, where was I?"

Xander's fingers gave a quick flick and the waistband button popped open on the vampire's trousers. "I think you were in the Alps."

Spike squiggled around a bit and rested against the bed's headboard. His legs were stretched out and his feet were crossed at the ankles. He smiled in the darkness as his mind recalled the memories of the good years. "Yes, the Alps. Well, because of their neutrality, for the most part the chalets and lodges of the Alps were untouched by the war. We soon found out that...um, Xan, pet, what...?"

Xander had reached into Spike's open jeans and pulled out the fat, fleshy, flaccid dick, allowing it to rest in the open air. "Shhh. Don't pay any attention to me, Spike. I just wanted to look at it. It's so beautiful. All pink and thick. Go ahead and keep talking."

Spike was beginning to get an inkling of what was going on and apparently his boy was not as drunk or sleepy as he had appeared. So with a smile on his lips and a song in his heart, Spike picked up his story where he had left off as his Xander continued with his mission.

"Poverty, misery and destruction were left in the wake of the war, but the rich will always be rich. They will go anywhere that they can pretend the rest of the world does not exist. So we.... Oh God, love, yes."

The moment the hot, wet, human tongue lapped at his soft flesh, a tingle shot through Spike and the stolen blood in his body began to flow through his atrophied veins toward his cock and balls. He uncrossed his feet and spread his legs. His right hand reached down and gripped his growing cock while his left hand cupped the back of his boy's head.

To Xander, it smelled like warm buns in the oven which struck him as odd since the skin was cool and firm to the touch. It was masculine and musky and tasted like sweat tinged with a coppery, sour tang. His tongue was tickled by the fine, curly hairs on Spike's ball-sac and he licked at them till they were wet and stuck to the vampire's nuts.

It was erotic and made Xander's alcohol-soaked brain swim and his own dick harden in his pants where, inconveniently, he couldn't get to it without releasing the meat from his mouth. And that was simply not doable.

Still following the script, Spike again continued with his story while Xander snuffled at the vampire's crotch. "Um, oh yeah. So we had hidden on a freight train carrying supplies to the lodges in the Alps and we jumped off...oh, damn, yes. Um, freight train. Yes. So we disembarked and we snuck to the train station platform where the elite were waiting for coaches and taxis to take them to the Mountain...oh! Um, Mountain View Lodge."

Spike's concentration was wavering and faltering as Xander did his best. The vampire's cock was fully erect and almost impossible to fit in Xander's open mouth, but he certainly did his best. He wrapped his hot, puffy lips around the head and slid as much of the shaft in as possible while his tongued toyed with the slit at the head.

"Oh, fuck. That's lovely, pet, just lovely." Spike uncrossed his ankles and he spread his legs. His jeans were open and tugged low around his hips. Xander still lay alongside and his face was buried deep in the vampire's crotch. "Where was I?"

Xander released the fleshy tube from his mouth and allowed it to slap wetly against Spike's belly. "You were on the train platform waiting for a taxi."

"Taxi? Oh, yes." Spike interlocked his fingers behind his head and he closed his eyes as his boy's tongue scooped up the hard erection and slurped it back for a resumption of its sucking. As he did, Xander seemed to find his rhythm. His head bobbed up and down as the suction of his mouth held and pulled on the cock that was sliding in and out. In and out. Every once in a while, Xander's tongue would suck or lick at the slit that was now oozing a clear, pearly, promise of things to cum.

The fluid was sticky and Xander rolled it around in his mouth, allowing all of his taste buds the chance to enjoy it to the fullest before it was swallowed and the dick again sucked back in.

As for Spike, his story was all but forgotten despite his repeated attempts at resumption with random words and phrases that made no sense and fell on deaf ears. Xander's own cock was rock hard, although it understood that if it was to have any relief, it would be by hand at a later time. All focus right now was on mouth and cock. It was a human tending to his vampire. It was natural selection and the dominant male getting his rocks off on the tongue of his submissive. It suited both men well.

But then, the sucking stopped and Xander frowned. He needed the voice. Spike's words had melted into grunts and groans that could have been as American as apple pie, and that was not the cock that Xander was blowing. He wanted to hear the accent that said his vampire was a man of the world with mysterious travels and a dark past.

"More. Please Spike. Tell me more. What did you do to those people? To the rich people in the secluded mountains?"

Spike glanced down. His demon eyes could see as clearly as if the lights were brightly lit in the bedroom of his flat, and he could see the saliva dripping from his hard shaft and running in connective strings to the boy's mouth. He could see the brown eyes that were nearly black and filled with lust and hunger as they looked up at him. It was everything he had craved for the past five years, and even better. It was his. His boy. His very own human.

Spike growled low in his chest and Xander could feel the vibration of it. It was exciting. It was frightening and, combined with the glint from the yellow eyes that now stared back at him, it was the most erotic thing he had ever known. Suddenly the words started again and Spike knew what he wanted to say.

"You want to know what I did to them?"

The ominous tone in the demon's voice sent a shudder of delight through Xander's body. "Uh huh." He then scooted even closer and he slid his hand inside the opening of the pants so that he could play with Spike's balls as he resumed his sucking. He rested his cheek on Spike's flat belly and he again filled his mouth with the rigid erection as Spike's voice echoed in the silent room. This time his story was no travelogue or history lesson. This was a tale of dark terror and pleasurable pain. It may not have been factual but it was what both men wanted to hear.

"When we arrived, the humans were clustered against the cold wind as they waited for transportation to the lodges. We mingled among them and picked the weak from the strong. We made note of the ones who were traveling alone. We spoke to the young couples who eyed us as potential partners in sexual games of perversion. The very day we arrived at the lodge, a massive storm snowed us in. It was too deep to ski. It was too cold to hike. The humans were trapped like tiny rabbits in our lair. It was a rampage of blood and sex."

Xander moaned and the vibration of it skittered through Spike's cock and tickled in his balls. He paused for a moment as his hips arched upwards, causing his boy to gag and choke. It was a sound Spike loved, so he did it again.

"We fed. We fucked them. The men and women alike till they begged us to stop yet crawled to us for more. We plunged our fangs in their throats as we rammed our cocks into every opening of their bodies and we sucked the hot, thick blood from them one by one."

Xander groaned and rocked as he sucked. He humped Spike's leg as the mental picture of the rampage splashed his brain in reds and blacks. His own cock was pressed painfully against the fly of his jeans and he new that any moment now he would cream himself without the need of a hand.

"Some we killed right away. Some we kept alive as entertainment. For our use. For our pleasure. We bathed in their heat and we reveled in their flesh. We forced them to do things so perverse and unspeakable that they begged us for the sweet release of death from their shame."

Xander choked as he tried to picture what those things could possibly be. In reality, he knew the details and precise facts were nothing he wanted to hear and he threw himself back into his task with renewed vigor that disregarded his aching jaw.

Suddenly, the familiar tingle began in Spike's crotch and he almost regretfully recognized that this wonderful blow job was about to cum to an explosive end. With that understanding, Spike sighed and gave himself over to the sensations of his body along with the vivid memories of his brain. Within minutes, his hips began arching and the cock in Xander's mouth grew longer and fatter. "I'm cumming. Oh, Christ, Xander, can you feel it? I'm cumming."

Before the human had the chance to pull his face back, the huge cock gave one violent jerk and spurted. The thick fluid that filled Xander's mouth was swallowed and quickly replenished as the dick between his lips pulsed and pumped more and more cool, sour semen onto his tongue.

Xander relaxed his throat. He curled his body up as his own orgasm spilled into his jeans and the warm flush of euphoria soaked through him. Together, both men rode out their release and floated on the pleasure that accompanied it.

They were spent. They were sticky, stinky and exhausted, but neither had the strength or interest in cleaning up. Together they curled up on the big bed in Spike's bedroom and they drifted off towards sleep.

Suddenly, just as slumber was about to overtake him, Spike shot up in bed. His eyes were wide open and his mind clear as a bell. "HOLY SHIT!"





Part Thirty-Five


"Oh, my God!!"

Spike's exclamation jolted Xander wide awake and caused him to scrunch to the far side of the bed. Having never slept with a vampire, he wasn't sure if they suddenly woke up hungry or possibly psychotic. "What? Jesus, Spike, what is it?"

Spike leapt out of the bed and he immediately began pacing back and forth at the foot. His hands were locked behind his back while his naked, flaccid cock hung out of his open trousers, swaying and slapping him on the legs as he moved. Xander licked his lips and watched as the lovely man-meat flipped and flopped.

Immediately, Spike stopped and snapped his fingers in Xander's face. "Hey, sex-fiend, pay attention. I'm having a revelation here."

Xander blinked and blushed. "Oh, sorry. Of course. So what's the what, my fangy friend?"

Quickly, Spike sat down on the edge of the bed and he faced Xander, hoping his human would get the importance of what he was about to explain. "Listen, Xander, when I talked to Angel this afternoon, something about his wording didn't sound just right. He spoke of searching for dissidents as if he were not one of them. He said that 'HE' was organizing the hunt for rebels but then he said that 'WE are too close.' If Angel is in charge of this mess, who is the 'we' he was referencing?"

Xander yawned and scrunched his face up in confusion. He was still sleepy and to be honest, he simply did not see how the casual use of a pronoun could cause such a ruckus. "I don't know. Maybe he has a mouse in his pants. Is it really important, Spike? He was probably just talking about the minions that he has traveling with him to shine his shoes and wipe his butt."

Spike violently shook his head as his need to make the boy understand continued. "No! I mean, yeah, his dick is the size of a mouse but that isn't the point. Angel never would have included his minions as part of his mission. He always considered minions as nobodies. The only ones Angel ever referred to like that were humans. I think Angel is saying he has been in cahoots with humans but that isn't the real red flag."

Xander was finally picking up on the importance of what Spike was saying and the need for sleep was retreating. "What else did he say?"

Spike sat back as the shock and awe of what he knew washed over him. It was almost too outrageous. It was so incredible that he feared actually putting it into words. But there it was. There was no other way to interpret it. "Just before I left his office, he said that this revolution would be the greatest thing since the outing in San Francisco five years ago."

Spike waited, but clearly the light bulb over Xander's head was not snapping on, so with a sigh of disgust, Spike rolled his eyes and he spelled it out for him. "Xander. I know for a fact that Angel was living in California at that time and the point is, NO ONE knew exactly who or where the first of the great outing began. It just was. Come to think of it, the initial rumblings began in Washington by the government who announced that there really were vampires in the world and that humans must protect themselves. So the point is, if Liam knew where and when the outing occurred, and if he was there at the time...."

*ding* The long-awaited overhead light at last snapped on and Xander's face lit up with cognitive illumination. "...Angel started it! Angel O'Connor started the great outing! Holy shit!" Gradually, the light dimmed and confusion again darkened his features. "But why? Why would he do that? You talk about him as if he is no idiot, and you said yourself that revealing yourselves was the biggest blunder in vampire history. So why did he do it?"

Spike nodded and took both of Xander's hands in his. "I've been thinking about that too. When Angel showed me all the gold that was hidden in that cave in the Alps, he had taken very little of it. I don't think he needs it. I think he's getting funding from another source. Besides that, money was always secondary to Angel. His real joy and pleasure came from power. I know this sounds crazy but I think that Angel is working for the humans. I think he caused the great outing in order to give the humans an economic boost, a population of cheap slave labor and to control the vampires who were already walking the earth. Besides that, a common enemy brought kings and presidents from all over the world together. They set aside their differences and wars and joined in the common denominator. It was a win-win for both sides. Angel and the humans."

Xander jerked his hands away from his vampire. Two and two were finally equaling four and Xander's mouth gaped open. "Are you suggesting that Liam O'Connor is working for the IVRC?"

Spike jumped to his feet and he wrapped his arms around the heavy round post of his four poster bed. "I am more than suggesting it. I am certain of it. In fact, I would bet that he is in the center of it."

Xander pulled himself up onto his knees on the bed and he shuffled down to where Spike stood. "But why? What is he up to now?"

Spike turned away from the bed and his lover and he slowly walked the length of the room and back while he organized his thoughts and tried them out to see if they fit. When he was certain they did, he answered. "I think he's still doing their bidding. He said himself that there are pockets of dissidents organizing all over the world and I think Angel and the IVRC are planning some sort of mass extinction. They are going to squelch this stand for vampire rights by identifying and eliminating the troublemakers. We have to do something, Xander. I have to do something or there is going to be a vampire slaughter that will rival the genocide of the Third World countries in the twentieth century."

Xander hopped down. He wanted to run to his vampire but he held back. When he spoke, his voice was no more than a whisper. "No, Spike. You can't put yourself out there like that. You'll be a moving target. Both sides, the IVRC and the vampires, will have a bull's-eye painted on you. Please. Isn't there somewhere we can go together and just live in peace?"

Spike smiled sadly and cupped his boy's face in his hands. He gently kissed the warm, soft lips and he drew the hot, living body into his cold arms. "There is nowhere in this world that is safe, Xander, unless civilization changes its mind and prejudices about vampires. A movement has started. A wave of protest and revelation is about to cover the earth like the great flood of Noah and each one of us will have to pick a side. It is inevitable. It isn't for us to hide from and it isn't for Liam and the IVRC to stop. Time and tide must take their course. Do you understand what I'm saying, Xan?"

Xander held on tightly, hoping to keep the vampire safe in his arms forever. "You're going after Liam, aren't you?"

Spike eased back so that they would be face-to-face and there would be no misunderstanding. "Yes. I have to, Xan. I love you but I have to do this. I have to...."

"NO. No you don't, Spike. You said you loved me and that you would always be there for me. You made me promises and now you're going to get yourself dusted and leave me all alone. You're an ass and a liar. Hell, for all I know you're just trying to get rid of me so that you can go back to your beloved Angel! Is that why you wouldn't bite me? Were you too embarrassed to have your mark on me? Well, fuck you. If Angel is what you want, then go to him!"

Immediately Xander began jerking on his shoes and had to stop when he realized they were on the wrong feet. He switched them while Spike spouted his protests, and in a short time, Xander was stomping towards the front door with Spike hot on his heels.

"Don't do this, Xander. Don't walk out on me. It isn't Angel that I want. It's you. You want bit? Cool. No problem. Give me some neck and I'll bite the hell out of you."

Xander stuck his chin in the air and huffed as he covered the side of his neck with his hand."No. I no longer wish to be chomped on, thank you very much."

Spike's face scrunched up in an expression of annoyance. "You're acting like a child, Xander. Now get over here and let me bite you."

Xander grabbed the doorknob and he jerked the door open. "Check your fangs at the door, mister. You said we all had to pick a side and you have clearly picked yours. Call me when you have come to your senses."

"Xander! Don't you walk out that...."

But he was already gone and Spike was alone. Part of him wanted to run after the spoiled brat of a human and drag him back. He wanted to bite and mark the boy as his property and he knew Xander wanted that too, but it was better that Xander was out of this. This was a vampire crisis and too dangerous for a human to be involved in. If all went well, maybe later.... Possibly together.... Spike wouldn't even allow himself to finish the thought. He had other concerns and time was critical.

Immediately, he spun on his heels and rushed to his computer. As he passed the coffee table, he snatched up his cell phone and flipped it open. With one hand he dialed and with the other he logged on.

"Hullo?"

"Toots? Hey, it's Spike. Get your arse over here NOW!"

"Now? Damn, buddy. Tonight is stewardess night and Pinky is about to serve me in first class. How about if I...."

"Use lube, Toots! Oil that fucking thing up and jerk it off as fast as you can. I need you over here."

"Yeah, sure Spike, if it's that important I can.....oh, damn, fuck! Whew. Okay, pal, I'm on my way."



~*~*~*~*~



Xander was fuming. He was furious and disappointed, but not at Spike. Xander was mad at himself. He had bailed. He had walked out at the very time that his lover needed him the most. He should have been supportive and strong as he stood next to the man who he felt such a connection to, but instead he had whined and stomped like a child throwing a temper tantrum.

He had gone down the front steps and out onto the street before hesitation slowed his pace. The night was dark, as a cover of clouds concealed the moon and stars. There were no functioning street lamps in this area due to government budget cuts and the belief that vampire neighborhoods did not need artificial light for the residents to see. It was gloomy. It was eerie. Yet when he reached his car, he did not get in.

"Damn it, Spike." Xander grumbled and cursed as he kicked the front tire on his little red bug. He just couldn't leave things like this. He didn't want their last time together ending in an ugly argument. Maybe there was another way Xander could talk some sense into the vampire. Maybe not. But either way, Xander just wanted to stay and he didn't mind eating a little crow.

"Well, well, what have we here?"

Stepping out of the darkness, a stranger imposed himself between Xander and his vampire's building, and instinctively Xander took a step backwards, stopping only when his butt bumped his car. He stared at the man who had approached him. The lack of visability made it hard to discern complexions, movement of chest and any other indicators that would answer the big question of whether this was a human or vampire.

When no response was forthcoming, the stranger reiterated. "I'm asking you who you are and why you are here."

Automatically responding to the authority in the man's voice, Xander straightened up and he took on a false tone of self-confidence. "My name is Alexander Harris and I'm here on business, so if you don't want any trouble, you'll get out of my way."

The stranger barked out a laugh that sent cold chills down Xander's spine. "I'm a human, Mr. Harris, so your snotty, arrogant attitude is wasted on me. Here on business, huh? Well the fact is, Mr. Harris, I know exactly what sort of business you and the vampire, Spike, are up to, and frankly I think you are one sick fuck. Of course that's just my opinion and all that really matters is the law. I'm sure you know that sex with a vampire is forbidden. Don't you, Xander?"

Xander had had enough and as his eyes darted around for an escape route, he began to ease around toward the driver's side of his car. "Who the fuck are you and what do you want?"

It was so dark that Xander barely saw the stranger reach into his jacket breast pocket, but there was no mistaking the light of a passing car's headlight as it glinted off the metal badge he held up.

"My name is Riley Finn of the IVRC and you, Mr. Harris, are under arrest."