Donut Boy 6




As soon as Xander entered The Bronze, he knew, though he couldn't have said how he knew, that Spike wasn't there.

In the back of his mind, Xander was aware that on a normal day, he'd have felt immediate and crushing rejection and the terror that it'd all been a game to Spike, and that he'd now lost interest. The pendant, the wish, and the spell had to be making the difference, because rather than of all of that, Xander felt immediate worry.

For Spike.

Because there was no way, after the look Spike gave him last
night, that Spike was going to just blow him off.

So instead, Xander headed to the bar. "Excuse me.
Have you seen Spike tonight?"


"Pale English guy with bleached hair?
Billy Idol look?"

"Oh yeah, him. He was here earlier playing pool.
Left about fifteen minutes ago when a little blonde girl hooked up with him."

Xander felt a creeping cold tingle begin in his fingertips and toes, sliding upwards.
*Buffy.* "Did you hear anything they said?"

"Just the usual. She got all up against him, said something about taking him any time."

*And there's the bad.*

"Sorry if you were looking for him, man. But I don't think he's coming ba- well, okay, if that's the only reason you came in," the bartender finished to Xander's retreating back.

Xander hit the back door at a run,
then froze just outside of the doorway when he heard the sound of a body bouncing off the wall and sliding down the dumpster. With a sick feeling, he had no illusions whose body it was.

"Never - pegged you for the jealous type, Slayer." Spike's voice was breathless, but even still, he laughed, and Xander could swear he heard a crunch in the blow that followed.

"I am
not jealous, Spike. I am just looking out for some poor girl who doesn't deserve to have you stalking her."

Shoulda taken me up on the offer when I still wanted you." Spike's voice was wet. That was the only word Xander had for it.

"I wouldn't take you up on an offer if you were the last being on earth, Spike. You're beneath me."

Spike's laughter was cut off abruptly with a thump against the wall, and his answer was little more than a snicker. "And yet, you can't seem to keep your hands off

"Oh, well, if you're tired of hands..."

"Hey! Whoa! Whoa, put that down!" Xander heard Spike scramble to get away in a clatter of trash cans and realized with sudden terrible clarity that that was the sound of a Slayer pulling a stake on one defenseless William the Bloody.

"Give me one good reason why I should."

"Because it's not in the Slayer handbook to pick on the defenseless," Xander said, stepping out into the alley lights only to find a stake pointed right at his heart. "I'm not a vampire."

"He is.
So this? Is between him and me and is none of your business." Xander noticed that Buffy didn't lower the stake though.

Xander looked past Buffy to Spike, lying crumpled and bloody like a broken doll, left leg bent at a sickening angle, and watched his eyes widen in recognition. "Yes it is."

"Uh huh."
Buffy looked him up and down. "Why?"

Xander brushed past Buffy, shouldering the stake aside to crouch over Spike, gathering him up, though the knowledge that Buffy was back there with a stake and a mad-on made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and tingle. "If you can't see it, I'm not gonna waste time explaining

"What I'm
seeing is some demony guy getting in my way. Do you know what he is?"

Xander froze.
Demony? Spike's voice echoed in his mind again. 'What are you?' He shook his head to clear it, and glanced from Spike to Buffy. "Vampire," he said, standing with Spike in his arms for the second time in three nights. "Chipped. Wanna stand aside or do I put him down while we find out what a demony guy like me can do?"

"And what is a demony guy like you?"

"Dunno. Why don't you have a research party and look it up?" He pushed past Buffy, keeping his body between her and Spike, feeling his knees go weak by the end of the alley way despite the spell, and nearly jumped when Spike's hand came to rest on his chest.

"Heart's going like mad, pet. First time you've met a Slayer in person, then?"

Xander shivered, realizing what that prickling, tingling feeling around Buffy
was. "Yeah." *As a - demony guy, at least.*

Spike's fingers patted listlessly at his chest.
"S' okay, pet. Gets - gets easier. Just don't get in the way of her bloody boots." He let his hand fall down against his own chest, listless while being carried. "Can walk, y'know," he grumbled. "Don't need no - sodding white knight."

"I don't think the white knight is supposed to rescue the demon," Xander said, feeling a warm glow in his chest though, because he
did rescue the demon. *And stood up to the Slayer.* The warmth was promptly doused with ice water. *Shit. Shit shit shit. I faced down Buffy?*

"All right, mate?"

"I faced down the Slayer."

"Yeah," Spike said.
"Shoulda seen the look on her face. Good job of it, by the way. I would've used a bit more colorful language, maybe a good kick...Well, would've if she hadn't snapped my bloody leg, but you mark my words, mate..."

Xander carried Spike the rest of the way to his crypt in a daze.







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