Thanks to [info]theladymerlin for the great beta!

Lovable Losers


Rude Charming Vampire

So, the sodding twit got himself a rebound. Cute. Not.

Spike set the empty glass of beer on the bar and peered over his shoulder. He caught a glimpse of Xander and his giant sitting in a booth not far away, but far enough so that Xander couldn't catch Spike looking at them. The table littered with remnants of club food and drinks. Xander smiled chewing the dozen of French fries he'd just shoved into his mouth and slid a hand over the table to hold Giant's freakishly large fist.

Stupid git wanted to show Spike who was the big shot. Got himself a bloke to get back at him. Poor sod. He didn't know who he was playing with. Because going on a date in this teenybopper club and faking that dense loud laugh did nothing but add to Spike's pity. Nothing he did worked. Spike thought of telling him that. Put an end to his pathetic show.

He'd be doing the lad a favor. Clearly, Lou Ferrigno there wanted an easy lay, someone insecure enough to put out. And who was more pathetic and vulnerable than Muttonhead?

Spike's ear twitched as he eavesdropped on their conversation. Nothing better than hearing the boy being put down by someone else.

"I think I'm getting a lot better at this whole waiter thing," Xander gleefully squealed in a loud, annoying, high-pitched voice.

"Lowie seems to have warmed up to you," Rebound Boyfriend barked like a bulldog.

"Get out."

"No, seriously, last shift he's only complained about you twice."

"That's an improvement all right."

Spike reached for the cigarette pack in his pocket, flicked his lighter, lit a cigarette and took a drag. So, Xander was playing waiter boy in some restaurant. Well, wouldn't that be fun.


The unicorn posters of doom stared him down, but that didn't scare Spike as much as Harmony getting it on with a poster of a curly haired singer from some boy band. Spike leaned against the wall and watched with interest as Harmony glided her body against the biggest poster he'd ever seen, kissing the lips on paper so hard she was going to tear a hole in it.

When it came down to disturbing moans of pleasure, Spike thought he'd seen and heard enough, so he cleared his throat. He did it again and this time loudly.

Harmony froze in place and then took a step back away from the poster; Spike could see a red lipstick stain on the spot where Teen Heartthrob's mouth was. With a slow dreadful motion, Harmony turned her appalled gaze to him. Spike smirked and waved.

Anger took over mortified shock, and Harmony strode toward him with a glare on her pretty face. "What the hell are you doing here?"

Spike said nothing, just smiled down at her.

"Get out!" Harmony ordered, pointing at the door.

"Aw, love, how I've missed…"

"Cut it, Spike, you're not fooling me this time. Now get out."

Spike took Harmony's hand and held it snugly in his, drawing her closer to him. "Would you like to have dinner with me, pet?" He cast her one of his most charming smiles, and spoke softly, "Guess where, mon petite crème brûlée."

An adorable little wrinkle crinkled her brow. "French restaurant?"

Spike lifted an eyebrow. "Last time you thought that was Italian."

Harmony's face lit up with happiness. "We're going to an Italian restaurant?"

She certainly grew a brain since the last time he'd seen her. "Course, love," Spike said in exaggerated affection. Now came the hard part, how to convince her to go out with him. "Now what shall I do to make…"

"I'll go!"

That was so easy.


"Avanti Ristorante? Spike, you're such a romantic," Harmony chirped, tugging on his arm excitedly.

"I am?" Spike said absentmindedly, searching for Xander.

A smiling bloke in a tuxedo greeted them, but Spike could barely hear what he said, too busy skimming the restaurant looking for a certain shaggy-haired flop. Harmony kept bumping him with her elbow, but Spike dismissed her all together.

Numerous black heads in matching outfits moved everywhere but none of them belonged to Xander. Those poofters all looked extremely alike with their commercial hair and blinding white-toothed smiles. Obviously, the only reason Xander landed the job was because he was sleeping with hulk chef. Big boyfriend probably threatened to sit on the boss or smother him to death.

Slender fingers pulled his ear, and Spike ended up meeting angry blue eyes. "Who are you ogling?" Harmony demanded.

Her sharp fingernails dug into his ear, making him wince. He swatted her hand away and scowled down at her.

Harmony folded her arms over her chest and pouted. "You haven't looked at me twice since we left the crypt."

He had to admit, he hadn't paid attention to her at all, and he should, if he wanted the night to go well. She was a vision; her hair pulled up in a twist with loose bangs swept across the front of her face, showing off her exposed shoulders and tight blue evening gown. She was the perfect bait to get Xander properly jealous.

With a smug smirk, Spike offered his arm to Harmony. She looked taken aback, staring at his arm with hesitation before taking it. They followed the bloke in the tuxedo to a table for two where a waiter was waiting for them. Shiny black hair, shiny white teeth, definitely not Xander.

Spike started searching the restaurant again, wondering if Xander took the night off. Probably spending it with his new rebound boyfriend, having the shag of his life in that malodorous basement of stink.

Out of the blue, among the mass of perfect hair, came the blackish unruly mess that was Xander's nest, uh, hair. He moved around tables with less grace than his colleagues did and the tray he held was uncontrollably trembling in his hand.

"Spike," Harmony snapped in annoyance, already seated on her chair. She nodded her head to the other chair the waiter pulled out for him.

Spike looked at the bloke in the tux. "Is it possible to have another waiter?"

The man frowned, looking unpleased with the suggestion. "Who do you have in mind?

Spike gestured toward Xander, who almost dropped the glass of fresh orange juice on an elegant lady's dress.

"Really?" the man sounded appalled.

Spike smirked. "Really."

The man looked suspicious so Spike tried to appear more sincere and innocent. Eventually, the man sighed. "All right. As you wish, sir." He snapped his fingers to the waiter indicating he should leave their table and walked toward Xander.

"Spike, sit down," Harmony hissed behind him.

Spike shook his head. "Not yet, love." He pushed the chair back to its place.

From the corner of his eye, Spike could see Xander dashing toward them with a couple of large menus tucked under his armpits. "Hello, I'll be…" Xander's eyes bugged out and his mouth hung in shock, one of the menus slipped from under his arm, but he caught it before it fell. "Spike!"

A smug smile curled the edges of Spike's lips. Operation Torment Xander stage one had just begun.

Xander's brows drew together skeptically. "What are you doing here?"

"Xander Harris?" Harmony's eyes were as wide as Xander's. "This is the fanciest restaurant in Sunnydale, how could you be a waiter here?"

Xander quickly dismissed Harmony with a look, turning to Spike. "Again, what are you doing here?"

Spike's brows shot up and he tutted disapprovingly. "A waiter with an attitude. I'm rethinking your tip."

Xander threw his head back and whined, "What have I done to deserve this?"

Spike smirked crossing his arms over his chest. "Now. You gonna let me stand here all night?"

Xander sighed, moving his feet reluctantly toward Spike's chair. He placed the menus on the table and pulled out the chair, standing next to it and waiting for Spike to sit down.

Spike didn't move. "Say sorry."

Xander blinked up at him at first and then dropped his gaze with a grimace. "Sorry."

"Sorry who?"

Xander rolled his eyes. "Sir."

"Better." Spike sat gracefully on his chair, bringing out a pack of cigarettes.

"You can't smoke here, sir," Xander said with a smirk.

Spike arched an eyebrow, returning the pack into his pocket. "We'll have to work on your manners."

Xander rolled his eyes again and then handed them both the menus. He poured some water in their glasses and added a thin slice of lime before Spike could decline. Not that he was going to drink that water. He was going to order some blood when Xander moved away, giving them space to decide what they wanted to eat.

Harmony peered at him from her large menu, looking fiercely at him. "Why the hell did you ask for the dweeb?"

Spike lowered his menu and smiled at her. "I promised you fun, pet. Didn't I?"

Her eyebrow wrinkled slightly for a second and then a look of happy realization replaced the doubtful expression. "Oh, it’s gonna be so much fun," she squealed in a low voice.

Spike smirked snapping his fingers together. Xander arrived with a small notebook and a pencil, his eyes not meeting Spike. "You're ready to order, sir?"

Spike leaned back against his chair and regarded Xander with a refined stare and a raised chin. "Je veux une tomate et basilic pour les débutants." He tried hard not to laugh when Xander shot him a horrified look. "Et la pièce de résistance, je veux Filet Linguini Conseils."

Spike turned to Harmony, and spoke affectionately, "Qu'est-ce que vous voulez manger, bébé?"

Harmony's face was a mirror of confusion. "I don't speak Italian."

Spike nodded. She was still as dense as the first day he met her. He turned a charming smile to Xander's direction. "La Miss veut spaghetti et sauce à la viande." He handed him the menus, and added, "et je voudrais voir votre carte des vins."

Xander's face screamed pure hatred. "Spike, you know I didn't understand any of that."

Spike let out an exaggerated gasp. "You work in an Italian restaurant and you don't speak the language."

Xander narrowed his eyes. "Actually, that sounded more like French."

Note to self: just because he looks thick doesn't mean he's brain-dead like little Harm there.

"What do you know?" Little Harm said. "Loser who didn't get into college."

"News flash, neither did you," Xander retorted.

"I would've if I could still walk in daylight without getting a sunburn. What's your excuse?"

Having no answer to that, Xander turned to Spike, looking desperate. "Spike, just tell me what you want in English."

Spike handed him the menus again. "Here, I circled all our orders."

Xander's eyes looked about to crumble out of their sockets. "You're not supposed to do that."


Xander accepted the menus and muttered, "Asshole."

Spike frowned. "What did you say?"

"Yes, sir! I'll go get your orders." Xander turned around to flee and smacked against an older man. The man's eyes boiled with anger, and Xander bowed a few times apologetically. He started making his way to the kitchen instantly.

"Ne pas oublier la carte des vins," Spike called after him.

Xander turned around abruptly. "What?" He hit a table with his back due to his sudden move. The glasses on the table wobbled, and Xander steadied them too quickly, and some water slopped over the edges.

"Wine menu," Spike explained in a matter-of-fact tone, pretending to be unaware of Xander's little dilemma.

Xander glared at him over his shoulder. "Okay," he gritted out, wiping the large wet patch that spread out on the tablecloth, apologizing to the furious elderly couple.

Spike knocked his fork to the floor, and called, "Oh, waiter."

Xander spun around, his eyes shooting daggers.

"I dropped my fork."

Cursing under his breath, Xander strode toward Spike's table, clutching the menus angrily to his chest. He bent over to get the fork, his bum sticking up directly in Spike's face. Spike remembered when he'd spanked it to redness and wondered if anyone would notice him smacking it with his spoon. He glanced at Harmony, whose plucked eyebrow rose so high it reached her hairline.

Xander smacked the fork roughly on Spike's side of the table, startling Spike. He gave Xander a look. "You don't expect me to eat from that. Get me a clean one."

Xander had to restrain himself from exploding in Spike's face and said in a controlled pitch of voice, "Yes, sir."

He practically ran away before Spike could say anything to humiliate him again. Spike was impressed with the way he maneuvered around people and tables without smacking against anything on the way.

He leaned back in his chair, not liking the look Harmony was giving him. Her eyebrows were creased in a puzzled frown. "Were you just ogling Xander's ass?"


"Your eyes on Xander's floppy ass." Harmony shuddered, hugging herself. "So disturbing."

"Why would I look at his stupid bum?" Spike said defensively, letting out a low growl.

She glared at him. "Beats me."

Spike fidgeted in his seat and scowled. "Stop the nonsense talk and focus on getting him fired. Do some of the thinking for a change."

Harmony pursed her lips. "What did you order for me?"


Harmony cocked her head and contracted her eyebrows, wearing a thoughtful expression. Her face lit up with an idea. "We could eat it like Lady and the Tramp."

Spike tightened his lips incredulously. "Those animated mutts?"

She flashed him a wide grin. "You know the movie?"

"No. I don't. No," he stammered, shaking his head several times.

Harmony was still grinning. "So?"

"Not bloody likely."

She pouted. "You're no fun." She started playing with her fork and looked at him from under thick lashes, going for innocent and cute in an attempt to appeal to him. "We could really mess up the table."

"A table filled with stain won't get him sacked."

Harmony tossed the fork on the table and blew on a lock of hair that fell on her forehead in frustration. An invisible lamp turned on above her head and she stuffed a hand into her purse, bringing out a small object. "Maybe this will."

Spike narrowed his eyes at the joint in her hand. He cocked an eyebrow, impressed. "Harmony… eh," he trailed off, trying to remember her last name.

"Kendall," Harmony finished for him, looking slightly hurt.

Spike shrugged. "Didn't know you had it in you, pet."

Harmony perked up, smiling smugly. "I'm a vampire now, Spike. Smoking weed is like nothing."

"So, did you…"

"Not yet," Harmony answered a bit too quickly. "But I will. First thing tomorrow." She nodded in determination.

Before Spike could reply, a small menu appeared out of nowhere right in front of his face.

"Here's the wine list," Xander said urgently. "Do you, uh, want anything else?"

"Show us your behind," Harmon said, shooing him with her hand.

When Xander turned away, Harmony threw the joint on th;e floor. "Oh, Dweeby, you dropped something."

Xander looked at her confused and then stared at the floor. Harmony didn't give him time to comprehend what was going on when she yelped, "Oh my God, is that marijuana?"

Xander's eyes went wide with fear. "What?"

Bloke in the tux pushed against waiters, rushing to the scene of crime. He looked at Harmony with a troubled expression on his face. "Is something wrong?" She pointed to the floor, and the man's eyeballs almost bugged out of his head. "What's this?"

Harmony turned her pointed finger to Xander. "He dropped it."

Tuxedo Bloke looked so angry he could spit nails. Xander shook his head fiercely. "What? No!"

"He did," Harmony said and then turned to Spike with a sweet smile curling up her lips. "Right, honey?"

Spike looked at Xander's shell-shocked face and the way his jaw tensed visibly. "Uh, no, it's mine," Spike blurted out, hearing Xander's raging heartbeat beginning to slow. "I, uh, dropped it." He leaned to pick the joint up.

The man shook his head disapprovingly. "Sir, this restaurant has a reputation. We don't condone such activities." He shot Harmony a heated stare. "Kindly leave our premises."

Spike nodded, glancing at Xander who still looked shaken up. He took Harmony's hand and dragged her resisting body behind him, his ears catching the man's furious speech to Xander about his incompetence and mess-ups. A detestable voice sounded from behind him, and Spike looked over his shoulder as Xander's boyfriend came to his rescue. Spike grimaced and hurried out of the restaurant.

Boyfriend would be seen as the hero, and Xander would obviously bend over to show his thanks, forgetting completely who the real hero here was.

Harmony jerked her hand away from his grip angrily. "What the hell, Spike?"

Spike turned around and threw his hands in the air. "Wanted a joint. Got a problem with that?"

She stared at him closely, her expression unreadable. "I died in high school, Spike. I know when somebody steals my guy's attention." She turned on her heels and left him standing in the middle of the street, holding the joint.

He looked at her retreating body, baffled.


The silly bint shouldn't be implying what he thought she was implying. Where did she get off thinking Spike fancied… no, he couldn't even finish that repulsive thought. She was just upset he didn't go through with her plan. Spike really didn't want to get Xander fired. If Xander didn't have an income, who would Spike steal from? Besides, getting the sod booted meant no more taking the piss out of him in that bloody restaurant. Though Spike doubted they'd ever let him in after what happened last night.

"I think you're being a little oversensitive, Buff."

Spike stopped dead in his tracks and looked warily around the still trees. That sounded like Xander. And it was very close. Now, Harmony would think Spike was stalking the wanker. Well, Harmony wasn't around.

"I'm oversensitive?" That was the Slayer. Spike moved slowly and quietly toward the direction of the voice. He knelt behind a bush and peered at Xander and his chums standing quite close to Spike's crypt and chatting. Xander was wearing his restaurant uniform, which meant he just got off work or he was going there later. It didn't look wise to go patrolling in it, though. Man in tuxedo would probably have a fit.

Spike turned his gaze to the others. Willow appeared distressed, her lips twitched as if she wanted to say something but thought against it. And Buffy looked really pissed off. Like she wanted to punch something at full throttle; well, she should forget about using Spike as her punching-vamp for the night. Last week's pummel was a one night thing, and Spike learned to never "boo" a Slayer on a hunt, especially during the time she just failed a poetry exam. Also, never add salt to the injury by bragging about poetry knowledge to a pissed off Slayer after being beaten to a pulp.

Buffy took two angry steps toward Xander, crossing her arms with her stake sticking out from under her armpit. "When someone tells me I have man-arms I tend to get violent, but since he's your boyfriend…"

"Well, getting violent would actually prove his point," Xander interrupted unwisely.

Spike winced when Buffy punched him in the arm. "Ouch!" Xander yelped, rubbing his arm and scowling at Buffy. That wasn't bad, wuss. Try taking one of the punches Spike had received from her over the past three years.

"And he's turning you into a jerk, too," Buffy said irately.

"He's not."

"Yeah, Xander," Willow said in a soft timid voice, deciding to talk after all. "I love you and I'm glad you found someone, but could you… I don't know, tell him to shove it." Spike arched his brows impressively at her choice of words. "It's like you're dating a meaner version of Cordelia."

"And Anya," Buffy added.

"Yeah, it looks like a pattern. Can't you date someone who's not rude for a change?"

Xander threw his hands in the air, exasperated. "Okay, I've heard enough. I gotta run to the restaurant anyway. My shift is about to start."

He stormed off, leaving the girls calling after him and apologizing. So, best friends weren't very fond of giant boyfriend. That was a plus.

Spike started to crawl after Xander, but the end of his duster got stuck in the bush. He cursed under his breath and pulled on it urgently, causing a loud rustling sound that got the girls' attention.

"Who's there?" Buffy demanded, assuming a fighting stance. Willow inched closer to her, her brows furrowing in worry.

Spike rolled his eyes in frustration. These chits were going to stall him. He shot up to his feet and walked out of the bushes with poise. "What do we have here? The Slayer and her lackey."

"I prefer friend," Willow said, relaxing a little when she saw him. Wasn't that degrading?

"You're in my territory, Slayer. Uninvited." He reached for his lighter and pack of cigarettes.

"You've no territory, Spike, and that crypt of yours? I can just walk in and tear it down until there's nothing left to use. Can you do the same with my house?"

Spike flicked the lighter, but the reddish orange flame was nowhere near the cigarette. He narrowed his eyes at her. "Could put it on fire."

"Can't," Buffy said, putting her hands on her hips with a satisfied smirk on her lips. "My mom is inside, and that will give you a headache."

Spike bit on the cigarette in his mouth so hard it was about to break in half. He spit it out and brought out another one, busying himself with lighting it so he would not look into the Slayer's pleased expression. "Say, why did the other one leave in a huff?"

"Don't change the subject. In fact, there's no subject to change because there was no subject to begin with." She paused for a second reflecting on the nonsense she just said. Spike and Willow shared confused stares.

Buffy stomped her foot on the ground. "Yeah, what I said." She nodded for her friend to follow her. "C'mon, Will."

Spike blew out the smoke in rings. "Just saying, you could barely keep the couple of friends you have. Maybe it's better not to piss them all off."

Buffy turned around and glared at him. "At least I have friends."

"Hey, I do have friends," Spike said defensively.

Buffy stopped walking and crossed her arms. "Who? Your fag?"

Willow looked at Buffy, troubled. "Buffy, that's inappropriate."

"What? I meant his cigarette."

"Well, he is a fag. The other meaning." Spike took a drag of his cigarette as he watched their eyes widening in disbelief.

Buffy scoffed. "In what planet?"

"We were basement mates, right?" Spike said, tossing his cigarette to the ground before jamming it with his boot. "And he did introduce me to his new flame."

"You met Dana?" Willow asked, surprised.

"Size-large chef with a mouth you'd wish to put a sock in?"

Buffy and Willow nodded.

Spike tried a friendly smile, but couldn't really manage it, so he decided to smoke another cigarette. "I share your feelings. He's certainly not good for Xander."

Buffy frowned. "We didn't…"

Spike shook his head sorrowfully as he lit the cigarette. "Just think of the bollocks Xander has to put up with. That git winding him up. Putting him down."

Willow's eyebrows scrunched thoughtfully. "Well, Xander never complained…"

"Why would he?" Spike cut her off with a head tilt. "He's too desperate to be with someone that he doesn't care if he's being slagged off."

Buffy and Willow shared a worried look before Buffy said, "I don't know, he seems… happy with him, regardless of his manners."

Willow nodded. "Yeah, if Xander is happy, then we're happy."

Spike looked between them incredulously. "Are you two bloody thick? Are you seriously considering letting your friend settle for that abusive bully?"

Buffy cocked an eyebrow at him. "Why are you pressing so hard on the subject?"

Spike blinked. "What?"

Willow frowned. "Yeah, it's like you want to break them up."

Buffy folded her arms over her chest again. "What's in it for you?"

Spike felt the cigarette in his mouth slipping and caught it with his fingers. He returned it back to his mouth and pretended not to be caught off guard. "Nothing, I just… I just think Xander deserves someone better."

Willow narrowed her eyes, studying him intently. "Someone like… you?"

Buffy smacked her arm. "Willow!"

This time Spike's cigarette met the ground as his mouth hung in shock. "Yes, Willow!" he exclaimed.

Buffy's nose crinkled in abhorrence. "That's a disgusting assumption. There's no way Xander is looking twice at Spike."

Spike gave a wounded look. "Why not?"

Both girls gasped.

Buffy pointed a shaking finger. "You love Drusilla. You're not gay."

Spike scowled. "I didn't…"

Willow turned to Buffy. "Well, technically, Xander dated Cordelia and Anya, so…"

He turned his scowl to Willow. "I resent…"

Buffy nodded. "And Drusilla obviously falls into the category of girls who are hard to get."

Spike's eyes flared yellow. "I got her. I got Dru."

Buffy turned to him with a know-it-all gaze. "Yeah, but she's always been more interested in Angel, and she left you for some disgusting slimy demon, which means you've never had a shot with her."

Spike's mouth hung in disbelief, and Buffy smiled smugly, happy that she'd gotten her point across.

Willow had an amused smile on her lips. "Spike, you really like Xander?"

Spike scoffed, waving Willow off. "Don't be silly."

Buffy's lips twisted into a grimace. "I gotta say, that's too... icky."

Spike clenched his hands, turning them into fists as tension built up throughout his body.

Buffy and Willow looked at him expectantly.

He shook in anger, feeling his insides boiling and his face heating, and eventually, the volcano exploded. "I don't give a piss about bloody Xander! Never did. Never will. Now excuse me, I'm going home." He turned around; his lips pursed in anger, and marched out of the cemetery.

"Uh, Spike…" Willow's unsure voice came from behind him. "Your crypt is… uh…"


Everybody stared at the black limo that stopped in front of the restaurant. Their eyes reflected different emotions that varied between admiration and jealousy; everybody wanted a limo. They wanted the fancy, the glittering glory and glossy fame, thinking all that would make them feel good about themselves. The less talented whored themselves to the rich and famous, believing it would make them rank higher on the list. No one with their right mind wanted the outcasts or the less fortunate or the disabled. Something Spike had known forever, but never been drilled into his head until now.

He watched through the dancing smoke of his cigarette as the chubby driver opened the door to a fine looking lady and a stuck up looking man. The posh gits puffed up their feathers at the eyes that gawped at them from every corner and swaggered to the restaurant where they were greeted with enthusiasm and exaggerated respect.

Spike used to be them. He'd had it all, and then he'd lost everything. Now he was nothing. The only people he could shag now were the likes of Xander Harris and Harmony… eh, whatever. He'd really sunk low. What would Drusilla say about him? Sneaking into a restaurant to see the whiny little poof; would he even be allowed in? Perhaps he could wear something different. Maybe lose the duster. They wouldn't recognize him.

Loud shrieks drifted from the back of the restaurant capturing Spike's attention. He stared at the direction of the noise with a frown before he threw the cigarette to the ground, not bothering to put it out, and made his way to the back of the building.

The shrieks sounded like a man yelling furiously. Peeking, Spike saw a man in a tuxedo, not the same git from yesterday. He was shouting at Xander's hulk of a boyfriend, and did he just threaten to fire him?

Xander stepped out of nowhere and stood between the man and the hulk, trying to calm the man down. "Mr. Howard, I know you're upset."

"Upset?" the man roared. "I'm furious!"

Spike bit his lower lip, wondering what the hell was going on. His gaze shifted to the boyfriend, and Spike froze when he noticed him looking right at him. Spike withdrew abruptly and hid behind the wall, his eyes wide with panic. Did the wanker see him? Would he tell Xander that Spike was stalking him? Spike glanced warily to his right, picturing the wanker popping from behind the wall and giving him the beating of his life.

He tried to listen to the conversation when he heard a door slam shut. Silence took over, and Spike thought that everybody had gone into the building until he heard Xander's sigh of relief.

"Well, that went well," Xander said, reassured.

There was a movement, and then Spike heard something that sounded like a person being pushed away. "Don't ever do that again," the boyfriend said, his voice dripping with irritation.

"What?" Xander's confused voice echoed in Spike's ears.

"Saving me. I don't need anyone's help. I can take care of myself."

"But… but you always rush in to save me when I'm in trouble. Why can't I do the same?"

There was a pause. "Because." Then sounds of bulky feet stomping angrily.

"Because what?" Xander snapped, making the bulky feet stop. "I thought we were in a relationship. Equal relationship."

Spike heard nothing after that except for Xander's breath rising up and down, and then a door closed. The boyfriend must have gone inside.

Spike carefully peeked again to find Xander standing alone, his shoulders slumped and his head bowed sadly. Something inside Spike tugged, mutual feelings of inferiority and degradation ran through him. Big boy looked down on Xander, just like the world looked down on Spike. His knuckles turned white from the tight grasp on the wall. He wanted to make his presence known, say something to Xander and tell him that he understood. That Xander wasn't alone.

"Xander, get back to work immediately!" the bloke from yesterday yelled from inside the restaurant.

"Sorry, Lowie!" Xander replied, hurrying inside.

Spike heaved a disappointed sigh. Missed opportunity.


Spike pushed the door to his crypt open, dragging his feet inside. He couldn't get the picture of Xander standing alone in the dark out of his head. Something inside was still squeezing at that image. He hated it. It cut him up inside. He also hated that it was affecting him so much. He didn't care. He shouldn't. There was nothing about Xander that made him worthy of Spike. He wasn't Cecily or Drusilla, high status women with power and beauty that added more to their charm. Xander was some bland teenage mess that lived in a dank basement and ineptly served high status people. He wasn't even much of an assist in Buffy's group of heroes, unless getting in the way counted. And yet, he made Spike's undead heart wrench obnoxiously.

Spike looked up with a sigh. And then froze.

Harmony was sitting in the middle of the crypt, stroking a white cat in her lap. He should have guessed something was off when he smelt that sharp scent of perfume.

He opened his mouth to ask an obvious question but smacked it shut when Harmony held up her hand with a determined expression on her doll-like face.

"I just wanted to make sure it was just a nightmare." She put the cat down and stood up, looking at Spike. Her ruby lips twitched slightly, and she appeared more fragile now. "You don't really have the hots for…" She crinkled her nose as if she caught a whiff of something. "Urgh, I can't even finish the sentence." She looked at him, her blue eyes brimming with desperation. "Do you?"

Spike stared at her silently, not sure what to say.

Harmony started approaching him. "I mean, you can't be that cruel, Spike." She looked up into his eyes and he could see glitters of tears in hers. "I can put up with you degrading me and putting me down. I can put up with your disrespect and…"

"Disrespect?" Spike found himself whispering, his thoughts going somewhere else.

"Yeah, but I can't take you preferring that loser over me. That's just… too cruel."

Spike's heart swelled as he remembered some days ago. He and Xander were lying in Xander's bed after stopping yet another apocalypse. Spike's arms were folded behind his head, and Xander was looking at him with a variety of emotions clouding his face, hurt and anger dominated.

"What? I'm not good enough or something?"

"Would have sex with you if I top, other than that, forget it."

"Bollocks," Spike whispered, remembering how Xander tried to push him out of the bed, upset and humiliated.

"Yes, that's how I feel. I feel like bollocks," Harmony said. "That sounds funny in your language."

Spike looked at everything in the room, but Harmony. His ears stung with cruel words he told Xander and he just needed to get out of here. Get away. Do something to make it right.

"You think I'll let a lousy human shove their cock in my arse? Not bloody likely."


A soft smirk played on Spike's lips when he heard the basement door crack open. He'd waited here for hours, and the silence almost made him drift to sleep, but the thought of Xander coming back any minute now chased sleep away. He could see Xander's legs walking down the stairs through the railings, and his toes started to curl with anticipation. He swallowed, thinking that if his heart could beat it would be pounding out of his chest.

Xander placed a duck shaped foil shell on his desk and started taking off his uniform, still unaware of his presence. The advantages of not having to breathe. Spike licked his lips when Xander's muscled upper arms came to sight, wondering when they became so buff. He noticed how Xander's fingers stopped working on his jeans all of a sudden.

He looked up at Spike and made a startled jump backward, his eyes as wide as saucers. "What the…?" he exclaimed, unable to finish that question.

Spike's hands tugged on the handcuffs that were binding him to the bed. He wiggled his naked body on the cold sheets to get more comfortable. "Hey, wanna tap this?" he said seductively.

Xander raised his eyebrows.

Spike bit his lip bashfully. "Or something like that?"

Xander glared at him, looking more pissed off than Spike ever saw him. "Are you trying to be funny? Or did that chip fry your brain?"

Spike blinked.

"I have a boyfriend. You've met him."

Spike rolled his eyes. "Yeah, the arsehole that has no respect for others. Goes by the phrase treat them mean, keep them keen."

Xander's expression stiffened for a moment, and a muscle in his jaw worked. "Yeah, 'cause you're a real prince."

Spike held up his chin confidently. "I am. I saved you last night."

A low incredulous chuckle rumbled out of Xander's lips. "You saved me?"

"From getting fired. I claimed that joint was mine."

"Yeah, I owe you thanks after coming to the restaurant for the sole purpose of humiliating and harassing me," Xander said sarcastically. "Thank you, Spike. Thank you for almost costing me my job."

Something inside Spike hurt unexpectedly. He pushed those feelings aside and focused on being rightfully defensive. "What's your problem? I got thrown out of there for you."

Xander crossed his muscled arms over his chest and his face gave the impression that he was humoring Spike. "And I'm supposed to what? Applaud you?"

"Fuck me," Spike said, though feeling less confident now. A weak smile cracked his lips, and the pitch of his voice was low with anxiety, "It's what you wanted. To be on top."

Xander shook his head with sickened shock. "You're completely out of your brain. No, you don't have a brain. You're a brainless, psycho pig."

Spike clenched his teeth. "If you say that again, I'll…"

"What makes you think I'm gonna throw away a great relationship with a great human guy to sleep with you? Been there. Done that. Still mending the scars."

Sodding hell, his words shouldn't hurt this bad. Spike's lips were a thin line, ignoring Xander's harsh insults. "It's not so great, is it?" he said calmly.


"You and him," Spike said. "He thinks he's better than you."

Lines of anger crept along Xander's face. "No, he doesn't."

"Does he let you top?" Spike wiggled on bed again, crackling the handcuffs against each other and looked from under his lashes seductively. "'Cause I will."

He could see rage smoldering in Xander's eyes, boiling just beneath the surface. Xander's hands closed into shaking fists and Spike thought he'd end up with a purple eye. Instead, Xander flipped him the bird and barked, "Screw you, Spike."

Spike watched with a half-opened mouth as Xander put on his shirt in haste, snatched the foil and stormed up the stairs. Spike pulled on the handcuffs frantically. "Hey, you're not gonna leave me here like this."

Xander's answer was slamming the door shut behind him, causing one of the pipes to burst open and water shooting down to the floor.

Spike groaned. "Bugger."

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