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Xander slammed the door shut.  Then he opened it and slammed it again for good measure.  “Is there a reason I keep trying?” he asked the empty apartment.

Which wasn’t exactly empty, since a sleep-mussed recently-bleached curled head stumbled into view.  “Oi, did you remember I drank too much?” Spike moaned.  “Whatever Rupes put in that bloody eggnog. . .”

“That would be the rum.  That you put in, after making sure that everyone knew you were doing it.  Also, you drank most of it by yourself, after the rest of us decided that drinking rum practically straight wasn’t high on the Scooby List of Christmas Fun.”

“That’s cause you’re all vanilla losers,” Spike tossed back, but the insult was mostly automatic.  He’d caught the tone of Xander’s voice and was trying to force his eyes open to actually see Xander.  Poor boy could never keep things off that expressive face, something Spike was never going to tell Xander about.  He needed something to help keep up with his lover’s fifteen-track mind.  “Where’d you go, anyway?”

“Home.”  Rolling, booming thunderclouds and jagged shocks of lightning.

Spike glanced around the apartment, affecting confusion.  “Uh, you’re home now,” he pointed out.  “’Less I’m in the wrong apartment.  I do that, sometimes, when I’m drunk.”  It was a nudge-nudge, wink-wink comment to make Xander either glare at him for reminding him of the time Spike actually had tried to wander into a different apartment, waking the entire building with blood-drenched threats towards his lover when he couldn’t cross the threshold.

No frown.  No smile, either, which was the second option, and for pretty much the same reasons as the frown.  Xander just stood in the center of the room, breathing off kilter and heart beating too fast, eyes focused so inward Spike couldn’t even hope to guess what he was thinking.

Right then.  Teasing was definitely out.

Sighing, Spike made his way into the kitchen.  It was only eleven in the morning, but he was definitely in the mood for some creamy hot chocolate: worked on his hangover’s better than coffee, and it was a drink Xander preferred when he was upset.  Didn’t get him as wound as some of the caffeinated stuff did, plus the added benefit of having happy memories attached to it.

At least, Spike thought they were happy.

It was a few minutes before Xander joined him, sitting at the kitchen table and playing with Anya’s Christmas gift, opened early on her express command.  Because she wanted actual napkin holders around clean napkins, when next she visited.  And because they were a couple of ponces, him and Xander, they’d done as she said.

“Gonna brood the rest of the day, then?”  It was a serious question, no comments about father figures from either side of the family.  Wasn’t really much point, when Spike knew Xander was close to obsessing about it, at the moment.  “Or you gonna talk to me about it?”

“What’s to say?  I went home.  Had the Annual Harris Screaming-Fest, including the ever so delightful game of hurling half-empty bottles at my head.”  Xander’d lost the anger, but the weary resignation wasn’t a lot better, as far as Spike was concerned.  “When they started in on each other,” Xander finished with a shrug, “I left.”

The milk was heated separately, and had to be stirred when the chocolate was poured in.  A lot like adding tomato soup to milk, something Spike refused to let Xander ever do again.  “Fun time had by all, then.”

He didn’t ask the obvious question.  No need, when he knew the answer better than Xander did himself.

Setting two mugs on the table, Spike sipped his own to test it and then watched the steam rise.  “You okay?”

“Why do I do it?  I know what they’re going to say, it hasn’t changed since I moved out.  Since before.  Probably since before I was born, really.”

Flippant answers were easy, but that was for a different time.  When Xander was willing to accept the joke.  Not now, though.  So instead, Spike went with the truth.  “Cause you love them, Xan.”

Bitter laughter was captured in the rim of the mug, and Xander’s throat worked noisily as he swallowed.  Spike could almost wish for the scathing insults they usually indulged in when one of them was angry, but this wasn’t about who left the radio on so loud in the car, or why the refrigerator was still empty.  It meant that Xander was still in there, whole and healthy, if a bit annoyed at his lover and terrible roommate.

“Come on, then,” he said when both mugs were cold.  “Up with you.”

Xander grimace, but rose obediently.  “Don’t tell me, we have more Christmas decorations to shop for.  You know, you’re a vampire.  You aren’t supposed to care about. . .”

Switch ‘a vampire’ for ‘not a child’, and Spike was certain he’d have one of the most common responses to a younger Xan’s request for a tree and stockings hung above the nonfunctional fireplace.  Spike had always known that, and it was why he’d whined and cajoled until he got a tree, stockings, and decorations all over the apartment.  Even got to hang snowflakes from the ceiling, after Willow had mentioned a few Christmas’ of Scooby Past.

He led an unprotesting and sullen Xander into the bedroom, stripping off the cheesy Santa sweater and the too-big jeans before pushing him onto the bed.  “Spike, what are you doing?  I’m not tired.  And why am I naked?”

“Shut up.”  Too much anger in those words, but so what.  Spike was angry.  He’d lasted a month of distracting Xander every time the topic came up, and then the boy goes off and sneaks a visit behind his back?  When Spike wasn’t there to protect him?  Yeah.  He was angry.

Xander’s eyes flew open wide when Spike stripped himself, pounced, and then kissed him.  “Mmmph!”  Twisting free, Xander tried to roll out from under Spike, brows lowering when his body was firmly pinned to the bed.  “What the—Spike, what the hell are you doing?”

“You know what annoys me?” he asked conversationally.  “Not that you went, even though I’m pretty damned certain I told you not to go without me.”

“Right, like bringing home my punk boyfriend was going to go over swimmingly.  Have you met my father the homophobe?”

Spike could’ve grinned at the anger.  Finally.  None of this poncy bullshit about letting them think it out, leave ’em alone till they deign to allow you back in.  Just dive right in and drag whatever it was out, the light usually shriveling it on contact.  “Told you I wasn’t mad about that, didn’t I?” he said calmly.  “And yeah, I have met the bastard.  S’why I’m not letting you near him without backup.  You don’t want me, take Buffy or Willow.  Hell, take Dawn if you want.”  He knew what’d happen if Dawn went.  She’d tear the fat wanker apart with that brilliant teenaged angst of hers, and the minute Harris Senior took a swing in her direction, Xander’d be out the door, never to return.

Huh.  Maybe he should talk Dawn into trying that?

He kissed Xander to hide his grin, grinding down in a way that always made Xander go dazed with lust.  “Now then,” he said when he finally let the boy breathe.  Glassy eyes met his and Spike shimmied again, pleased.  “You gonna sit and listen to me tell you why I am mad?”

Took a few minutes for the question to process, and Xander regained a touch of his annoyance—but not the brooding black anger from before—when he answered.  “Yes, fine.  Enlighten me.  Why are you angry?”

Spike’s grin wasn’t friendly.  “Cause you called that place ‘home’.”  Another fierce kiss, Spike nipping so hard Xander’s lip bled.  “That,” he snarled, “isn’t home.  Wasn’t then, and it sure as hell isn’t now.”  Liquid eyes turned black as he watched, the last of the anger draining, storm clouds lifting to expose a sticky residue of pain, rainbowed like an oil slick.  Better, yeah, but Spike was an overachiever.  He shifted, bracing himself on his hands and glared at Xander.  “That is never home,” he repeated.

Then he started moving.

Harsh, rough thrusts that scraped their skin red and raw, the pain almost overwhelming the friction.  Not for long, though, as they both got hard and slick, and the pain faded into the deep, hungry heat that Spike always felt.  Over and over he moved, never taking his eyes off of Xander’s until the tension behind them finally faded, and the laughter Spike loved more than anything came back.

“Yes,” Xander whispered, mouth reaching up for Spike’s while his hands grabbed onto Spike’s ass.  He grunted as Spike bore down with increased viciousness, managing a breathy chuckle.  “God, Spike, do that again.”

So Spike did it again, and again, chests rubbing, mouths fused.  He kept his eyes open, growling whenever Xander tried to close his.  This was here, and now, and together, and he wasn’t going to let either of them forget that.  “Xan. . .”

“Fuck me, Spike, please.”  Precome was everywhere, slippery like the slip’n’slide Xander had rolled up in the closet, making them move even faster, muscles straining to keep up.  They rolled, legs splayed wide as they rubbed and rocked and ground together.  “God, Spike, don’t stop—”

He came with a cry, neck arched and body shuddering.  So fucking beautiful like that, and Spike was allowed to think that in his head.  He could feel each staccato beat of Xander’s heart, the rush of his blood, and Spike was coming, too, babbling something he’d probably regret, if his brain was currently be splattered out on Xander’s chest, by way of his cock.

When they could breathe without wheezing, Xander’s arms were warm and snug around his body, Spike’s head pillowed on Xander’s shoulder.  “I’m sorry,” Xander said faintly.  “It was stupid.”

“It bloody well was.”  Emphatic agreement given, Spike let himself leer.  “But it did get us a nice bit of frottage in, before everybody showed up.”

Five, four, three, two. . .

“Spike!  You made me have sex an hour before people are going to be in our apartment!  Our windowless apartment that now smells like sex!” 

Xander got his pants halfway on before he realized that a quick wash would be a good idea first.  Step-hopping his way over, Spike listened contentedly to the sound of Xander cursing as he splashed water over himself.  “Actually, s’more like a half-hour,” he drawled happily.

“Shut up and get dressed, Spike.  God.  You have the worst timing!”  Spike could hear the laughter underneath the annoyance so he knew he wasn’t in real trouble.  Further confirmed when an upside-down Xander face appeared in his vision, leaning down for a long, slow, upside-down kiss.  “You’re home,” Xander whispered.  “This is home.  Now go get washed!  I am not letting Dawny see you covered in come.”

Spike snorted.  “Wouldn’t be the first time.”

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