The meeting was well underway by the time Xander arrived from work. He spotted Giles and the girls at the table and Dawn doing homework on the stairs. The first time he realized Spike had taken the tunnels over was when the vampire plastered himself across Xander’s back and started sniffing gently at his neck.
Amazingly, it took five full minutes for anyone to notice.
“What the hell, Xander?” Buffy bellowed, jumping up, stake in hand.
“Hmm?” Xander stayed nonchalant, skimming Willow’s notes on whatever they were looking for. Spike had been whispering details into his ear between contented sniffs.
“Spike? What the hell is Spike doing that close to your neck?”
“Umm, really, that is kinda….” Willow trailed off in confusion.
“Is this new behavior?” Giles said, probably the only practical question yet. “Should we be worried about the chip failing?”
Xander shrugged. “No. Not that new. Smelling it. And yes, that is Spike,” he answered in reverse order, just to be perverse.
“Smelling?” Giles asked, pulling off his glasses and wiping the lenses, very carefully not looking at Xander and Spike.
“Smells like sunshine and sweat,” Spike said, a hint of a purr in his voice. “Not as strong as his cousin, but still nice.”
Oh yeah, someone didn’t get enough sleep today. “Have you eaten?” Xander asked. He sniffed himself, looking for a whiff of pig’s blood and finding it lacking. No wonder Spike was still dreamy boy. “You still got a stash in the back, G-man?”
“I… yes, a few pints,” the older man said.
“Sorry, he’s been like this a lot right after he wakes up.” Xander walked past his staring friends. Spike just hooked his legs around Xander’s hips and let the human do all the work. “Helps if you feed him.”
Buffy finally followed them into the back. “I accepted your arguments when he moved in with you, and the ones about the training sessions. But this is too much. He’s Spike. He’s dangerous.”
Spike smirked and drawled, “And don’t you forget it, missy.”
“Don’t tease the slayer,” Xander said, shoving an elbow into Spike’s ribs, though the angle ensured it would barely hurt. One of the arms around his chest loosened it’s grip when the microwave beeped, hand outstretched and making grabby motions.
“You could let go and do this for yourself, you know,” Xander teased, but handed over the mug. He walked back into the main room, pushing past Buffy, to the soft sound of Spike slurping blood.
“Xander, are you alright?” Willow asked.
Xander considered, and took in everyone’s reactions. Dawn was smirking. Tara was smiling softly. Those were good. Willow looked worried. Less good, but manageable. Giles looked… like he’d just walked in on Spike and Buffy macking-out and planning the wedding again. Okay, that would take work. As would Buffy’s growing rage.
“Yep. Been a few oddities the last few months—” Spike snorted into his blood at that. Xander pinched his wrist until he yelped. “—but on the whole I’m feeling good. Got a steady job, a nice apartment—”
“How long have you two been having sex?”
Everyone froze as Dawn’s question rang out through the room.
Xander relaxed first, despite the slight difficulty in breathing. “Hmmm.”
“Dawn!” Buffy snapped next. “That was completely—”
“Metropolis last June,” Spike said calmly.
“Xander?” Willow squeaked while Buffy struggled to breath.
“Yes, Willow?” Xander smiled at her, hoping his oldest friend could see how happy he was of late.
“Since when are you gay?”
Xander laughed. “Bi actually. Since when are you a lesbian, Willow?”
“What? I was born this way. I just didn’t know until Tara….” She trailed off and frowned. “Oh.”
“Exactly,” Xander said. “As for when I figured out I was bi? Summer after high school.”
“You never said,” Willow accused softly.
“Anya jumped me when I got back, so it never came up.”
“No, not possible,” Buffy intruded. “This has to be a spell. Spike put the whammy on you somehow.”
Spike snorted. “I don’t like messing with the mojo, slayer. You know that.”
“You were ready enough when Dru sent you packing,” Buffy snapped back.
“Wasn’t thinking.” Spike sighed. “Really wasn’t thinking.”
“Think you’re about ready to stand on your own two feet?” Xander asked. The mug was empty and Spike was sounding like himself. The vampire responded by shoving the mug into Xander’s hands. Snorting, Xander handed it back. “Get your own this time. I am not your minion.”
Spike whined. “What will the other vampires think of me? Hanging out with the slayer. Can’t control my pet.” But he got down and let go, and took the mug to the back room.
When Buffy looked ready to follow, Xander blocked her path.
“It’s not magic. Except whatever innate problem I have that attracts the most wildly inappropriate lovers imaginable,” Xander said. “Yes, we’re roommates. Yes, we’re lovers. ANd yes, we’re fairly happy with the status quo. Deal with it.”
“You can understand, Xander,” Giles said, finally glaring Buffy down a notch or two of aggression, “why we might be concerned about this sudden reveal. It has been shown that when we keep secrets from each other things go badly.”
Xander frowned, but nodded. “Point. I may have been holding a few cards back of late.”
“Do you… I mean… are there any…,” Willow stuttered.
“You did pull a grandfather out of nowhere, last June,” Buffy finally cut in.
“Wasn’t nowhere. Was Metropolis,” Spike drawled from the doorway.
“Okay, I suppose I have a couple other secrets. Then again, how about the rest of you? Giles? How’s the music going? Willow? Any new college secrets? Buffy? You know what, I don’t even want to go there.” He looked at each of them as he mentioned their names, watched each of them flinch at his question. “Fine, I’m bi. I’m sleeping with Spike on a fairly regular basis. Turns out my mother has some family that didn’t come off the bottom of a shoe. Specifically, I have a grandfather in Metropolis. He’s well off—”
Spike snorted. “Wealthy as hell.”
“There’s a lot richer in that town. And I’ve met a few of them. I went clubbing when I visited summer after high school.”
“I thought you never made it past Oxnard,” Willow said. No, Willow whimpered.
Gods, like she’d paid attention when he got back. Okay, no freaking out. “My car never made it past Oxnard. And Giles knew I went further. Because I also have an aunt and uncle and cousin in Smallville.”
“Smallville?” Dawn said with a snort.
“Yeah.” Xander chuckled. “Actually, it’s bigger than Sunnydale, but it started as a farm community, not a college town. Anyway, they’ve got some interesting things going on in Smallville. Those aren’t my secrets to share, but I’ll get permission if needs must someday. That summer I got Giles to help one of the kids who lost her mother to a vampire, and has some abilities beyond the norm. She’s not the only one in town, but some of the kids and my cousin are keeping an eye on things and know our numbers if they need help.”
Xander turned to Buffy. “Oh, and Lyle Gulch is dead.”
To be continued...?