Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

By Ahestele
For Juliatheyounger

The labored whine of the car engine danced on his nerves like ten million pins but Spike just rolled his eyes and stared out the window of the huge American monstrosity of a car and hunched deeper into his jacket.

So, this was what having a soul came to, ey? Stuck in the snow with Xander Harris, of all people, the day before the day before Christmas because some large arse of a deal in the California mountains needed a whatzit relic that couldn't be sent by post and if they didn't run it up to the old biddy life would not go on as they knew it. Again. Yadda yadda blah bloody blah. At the rate his unlife was going a good apocalypse might be an upturn.

Christ he needed a smoke.

"GodDAMNIT!" Xander yelled, finally easing off the fruitless twisting of the ignition and Spike cocked and eyebrow at the dashboard to the gas guzzling behemoth they sat in.

"Almost caught that last time, dinnit?"

"Shut UP." Furious, angry dark eyes rounded on him, but Spike merely met them with a smirk. "I don't want to be here with you. I don't want to hear you. I do NOT want to spend Christmas Eve stuck in a Buick with a souled, insane vampire! This is god's way of fucking with me! My whole LIFE is god fucking me. Well you can stop now! Do you hear me?" Xander grimly fought with the manual window handle and stuck out his head into the newly falling flakes, railing at the black sky. "Uncle! You win! You fucking WIN!"

Lad's finally gone barmy, Spike observed with some interest. And he should know.

"Shut the window, Harris. It's snowin'..."

"This is not snow!" Xander snapped with total contradiction. "This is god crapping on my head!"

"Bit self-centered, that." Spike begged to differ but Xander gave a mighty growl and began pounding and whaling on the hapless automobile interior, barely coherent phrases punctuating the heavy punches that were making the car shake.

"Fucking" Pound. "Ridiculous" Punch. "Life!" Hit. Hit. Hit. "Work for WHAT." Strangling of the steering wheel. "Christmas EVE." Spike felt the bubble of laughter gain substance in his mid-section, right below the gnawing hunger that never seemed to abate since The Incident. Each sip of human blood gave him the raging horrors, and pig's blood just never quite assuaged the need. "Fuck. Fuck. FUCK."

"Eloquent." Spike opined in a fairly even voice but Xander's fury would not be thwarted and more car shattering abuse ensued while he watched, curious and a bit bored. Lad had never seen Dru in a tizzy; rank amateur. The relentless pounding was giving him a helluva headache though.

"Harris. Harris, give us a break, right?"

"No." Xander pulled at the wheel through gritted teeth. "No." Pull. "Fucking." Pull. "Break..." The wheel came off in Xander's hands and whacked him smartly on the forehead. Spike raised both eyebrows at the large sphere of plastic and metal in the boy' hands and Xander stared at it, mouth open and, momentarily, silent. The steering column jutted out into space, steering wheel-less and a small crescent shaped bump had begun to rise on Xander's forehead.

For long moments they regarded the steering wheel held in Xander's large hands like a Man Ray art piece then the boy looked at him. "I'm not getting my deposit back, am I?"

The wave of laughter bubbled up inside like high tide Spike pressed his lips together to stanch the onslaught, felt his eyes water at the strain. The dark lashes narrowed at him in suspicion. "Oh, don't even." Which, of course, bought the farm right there.

Peals of mirth exploded from him so strongly he held his stomach, and the laughter felt clean and so GOOD because it was just laughing, not mad giggles when he saw The Other hovering at his shoulder. No sense of his sanity slipping away like water through a sieve, just honest delirium at the sight of Harris holding the ridiculous piece of Chevrolet hardware and getting more and more pissed off.

"Shut UP." Spike tried, he did. Xander attempted to replace the wheel with no results other than causing Spike to laugh harder at the spectacle of the man trying to manhandle the bulky piece of automobile into the steering column. "Shut UP or, so help me god, I will fucking STAKE you!"

"All right, then!" Spike gasped, holding his stomach, and not even the realization that he wasn't kidding with those two words made him stop laughing. In fact, he seemed to find it totally hysterical. Xander glared at him murderously and Spike thought if he could piss he'd have wet himself by now, which brought on a fresh bout of laughter, and the corners of Harris' lips began to twitch.

"You're insane." Xander said. Their eyes caught. Loud guffaws projected from both of them and Spike wiped his face, sagging against the door as Xander leaned against his disengaged steering wheel. Just when Spike thought they might find them here in the spring still laughing, or at least one thin carpenter and a pile of dust, Xander gasped out. "What happened to you?"

"What?" Spike stuttered through the giggles.

"Why did you go crazy?"

The delirium dried up like the Sahara and he looked out the window and shivered, in spite of himself. He'd stopped wearing the duster because the very sight gave him the friggin' bends, but it was miles warmer than this thing. Most people thought vampires didn't get cold, what with the no body temperature, but they got colder because they had no circulation.

"Think I'll bloody entertain you with Spike's tale of woe? Sod off."

"Look, I'm just making conversation here. With the undead piece of slime that screwed my fiancee, no less, so I'm thinking the cutting of some slack might be in order." Still letting out little laughs was Xander's voice, but Spike felt his mouth go on like it sometimes did in his head, continuing on like it had a recording of his old self.

"Yeah, cause my being tortured? Great ice breaker. 'Sides, she wasn't your 'fiancee' when we shagged. We were both alone and piss drunk, ergo, sex. Didn't mean nothin', she told you that."

"It meant something to me." The quiet voice sounded a million times worse than anger or betrayal, and Spike quashed down the tide of guilt that rose in him for the hundredth, or hundred thousandth time. Bugger, he didn't remember guilt being this exhausting.

"Should have thought of that before you ditched her at the alter and became expendable boy again."

"What? What the hell does that mean?" Xander demanded, and just couldn't stop 'till he wrenched all the affability right out of the lad, could he? Couldn't even stop then, apparently. Spike snorted in derision, his mouth doing the talking without his consent thing again.

"Look round, here. Think it's flaming coincidence we're the ones stuck with this arse of a task? Not Red, not the Slayer?"

"Buffy has Dawn, you know that. And Willow went to see her parents. We were just..."

"Convenient, right."

"Shut up." But the doubt had crept back into Xander's voice, and why didn't that make him feel good again? Oh, right. Soul. "Our schedules were the most flexible."

"Whatever." He sulked out the window into the pitch black dark.

"As if you had ANY other place to be!" Xander blurted as if the brilliant retort just occurred to the gormless git, but Spike was bored. And cold. He crossed his arms in an effort to generate more warmth and lay his head on the window. "Oh, I'm sorry, did you have an appointment to talk to your imaginary friends, or were you planning more aimless conversations with yourself? 'Cause I know how hard those are to reschedule."

Don't know how right you are, pet, he thought wryly. Spike said nothing and watched the feathering snow dust the drift that had accumulated around the car when they skid on the ice into the side of the mountain.

"Are you shaking?" Xander asked bluntly and Spike glanced at him in puzzlement before taking stock of himself, something he'd gotten really good at not doing since his trip to Africa.

"No." He lied dismissively, tucking his trembling blue fingers under his armpits.

"Look, I have a blanket in the back."

"I'm fine." He gritted, refusing to turn around, to face this pity. Wondered exactly how much more humiliating his life could get.

"I keep it in here just in case. I'd offer you my coat but I only do that to demons who DON'T fuck my wife-to-be on webcam."

"Ta ever so." Spike muttered, scrunching into the door while Xander twisted around to the back seat and rooted around until he retrieved a pilly blue blanket, face flushed with effort. Lad had gotten thick around the middle, some, and it filled out his prettiness into maturity. Did he just admit he'd thought Harris had been pretty?

"Here." Spike grimaced as Xander threw the cover at his face then threw it back.

"I'm fine I said. Don't need your charity."

"Jesus, you are a bastard, you know that? You think I WANT to be stuck in here with a vampsicle? There aren't enough way to describe the complete ew-ness of that situation, so take the blanket, already." Vampires didn't freeze, but he couldn't be bothered to belabor the point. Spike grudgingly accepted the plebian article of bedding and set it on his lap, where it did begin to thaw his fingers out a bit. Which felt nice until the feeling came back into them and Spike inhaled threw his nose at the tiny razor blades sparking along his hands, rubbed them to allay the sensation.


"N-nothin'" He hadn't meant to stammer, and maybe he was colder than he thought. Fuck him, when had he last fed? He had taken to forgetting that, too, sometimes. Xander's sharp dark eyes surveyed him and pinpointed the problem by the way Spike rubbed his hands beneath the folded blanket.

"Gimme that." Xander said crossly and plucked his chilled fingers from the blanket, covering Spike's white hands completely with his larger ones. Spike gasped at the radiating heat that enveloped his skin, rubbed onto it and slid along it. It seeped into him, warm and intimate.

"Stop it. I'm f-fine." He tried to sound angry, or annoyed, but it fell completely flat. Xander cocked an eyebrow and continued to rub his hands briskly, waves of heat from the friction making him almost light headed. "Why are you doing this, anyhow?" He jerked his hands away, ramming them in the thin pockets of the jacket, which felt like sheets of ice after all that warmth.

"You're welcome." Xander replied sarcastically, shoulders slumped in the wool lined suede jacket. Boy didn't even look cold, and the temperature in the car had fallen. Was like he had a little furnace in him.

He was shaking again. Bollocks.

"We should probably move to the back." Spike gave him a look, and those stick out ears of his got red. "For warmth, okay? I read it somewhere. Precautions." He jerked his shoulders and Xander gave a long-suffering sigh. "Fine. I'M moving to the back. You can stay here and shake your groove thing all you want."

With another eye roll Spike turned and finagled himself between the seats to the back, slipping through the space with ease. Xander blinked at him from the front then did a clumsy imitation of a Chinese fire drill and scurried out the door and in beside him in seconds. Not quick enough to retain all that warmth, though.

"Oh-kay!" The boy hugged himself as soon as the door closed, nose red and eyes shining. "Cold now! No more winter wonderland for me, thank you." With a shudder he reached to the front seat for the blanket. Spike smiled wryly, and Xander returned it. They stopped as soon as they realized and both looked away. Oh, yeah, this wasn't awkward.

Not his problem. Voices to hear, freezing to do.

"You're making me colder just looking at you."

"So don't look." He managed to get out without chattering. Stupid idea, this. At least his seat in the front had been warmed up. A pair of bulky arms suddenly circled his shoulders and he jumped, shocked.

"Bloody 'ell ya doing?" His voice cracked with surprise, struggling in the embrace as his back was pulled flush against a broad, warm chest.

"What's it look like I'm doing?"

"Coppin' a feel, from the looks of it!"

"For Christ's...." The body behind him stiffened with tension and Xander's hands suddenly pulled back. "I'm trying to keep you from shaking with cold, moron. Your lips are turning blue. It's not your color. Everyone does NOT want to jump your undead ass. I know it's hard to believe that, but try."

He thanked god he didn't have the blood to spare for blushing as Xander carefully wrapped his arms around his shoulders, the simmering heat present at his back. In all the confusion and embarrassment his bluff defenses kicked in.

"Lots o' people do want to shag me, I'll have you know. Never had any problem in that department."

"Yeah, I noticed." The bitterness could have scalded him and he closed his eyes.

"It was just a thing right? Not her fault, I started it. Couldn't help herself is all."

The chest behind him began to shake. Shake with laughter and Spike glared behind his shoulder. "Boy, you really are in love with yourself. Here I thought it was just a summer thing."

"I am NOT...!"

"The hell you say!" Xander overrode him, still chortling. " 'She couldn't help herself?' You just said you were both drunk."

"Yeah, and then she couldn't help herself." He replied doggedly. "It's happened before, mate. I could fill volumes with people I shagged in a century, hundreds. Didn't even strain meself."

"Ooooh." Xander crooned in exaggeration, and the vibration thrummed against his back. "Aren't we just the gigolo?"

"And how many conquests you had, ey? Even need both hands to count 'em?"

"I'm of the quality not quantity school of thought." Xander replied loftily and Spike snorted.

"The 'can't get shagged for the life of me' school of thought, more like."

"It's amazing the amount of desperate women in the world. Sad." Xander tsked in regret and Spike grinned with just his mouth.

"Never said all of 'em were women."

That shut him up proper. Before he got too smug a hesitant voice said. "That's different."

"Six of one, far as I'm concerned." He sniffed. "Never had problems tumbling either of 'em."

"Let me understand this." Xander said sounding highly amused. "You can get anyone you want of either sex."

"Well, yeah." Spike allowed, the picture of confidence, enjoying himself. Because if he could get one ex-donut-boy to buy this doppelganger of the Big Bad, maybe he wasn't all gone, the old him. Not totally. Not much to go on, but these were tough times.

"And everyone thinks your jigginess is the BOMB." Xander made rabbit ears with his fingers.

"Ye-es." Spike said slowly, as if to a child.

"You are so full of shit."

"Think what you like." He leaned back in resolution, forgot the position he was in, and sat up again.

"Let's say I know crap when I hear it."

"Suit yourself." He shrugged again, arms crossed, able to speak without clattering now due to the boy's astounding internal heat. "Pity you're not secure in your manhood to see for yourself."

Heavy, total silence from behind him, he could hear Xander breathing. A knowing smirk stretched his lips. Yeah, top that ya wanker. The quiet grew so he could hear the wind outside, and he gave an inward sigh. Ah, peace. Then: "I'm secure."

Spike stilled. Replayed the words. Replayed them again. Decided one of them had gone off their nut somewhere in this conversation. Turning around slowly he looked at Xander's face. Took in the steady stare, lifted chin, and the infinitesimal spark of apprehension in the chocolate eyes.

"Y' don't say." Spike tilted his head, silencing the pain in the arse voice that passed for his conscious as it began to protest how much he was takin' the piss with the boy. "How secure?"


"Sounds like a wager to me."

"What? What do you mean?" The agitation was making Xander's body hotter, if that was possible, so this couldn't be that bad. Fact that he hadn't looked too closely at where he was going with this particular bit of tripe didn't bother him. The befuddled cast to Xander's features, as if he suspected Spike was making fun of him but couldn't figure out how, was worth it.

"What do you think I mean?"

The boy began to speak. Stopped. Started again, then just stared at him as Spike met his eyes coolly, sorting what he'd done. What he was doing.

"This is stupid."

"Granted." Spike allowed, shifting in the seat, between the long legs that he noticed had begun to inch back. Didn't bother him. He'd scented, see, yes he had: Faint, faint trickle of desire in the air, the most delicate bouquet of pheromones laced with uncertainty and the slightest fear, and the aroma was delicious. "But let's put that aside for a mo', right? You think I'm talkin' the piss."

"Er...yeah?" Xander said blankly and Spike sighed, put upon.

"You think I'm bluffing, pullin' your leg, jerkin' you round."

"Oh, yeah." Xander agreed with a cynical twist of his lips, obviously glad to be back on familiar ground.

"So prove I am. Fuck me."

"What?" The boy's large body started like he'd been pinched. He had.

"Fuck. Me." Spike repeated, slow and distinct. "If you don't come your brains out your ears in grand fashion, I lose. If you do, I win."

Xander's bow mouth hung open in total disbelief and Spike quirked an eyebrow, thoroughly enjoying himself. " lost ALL grasp of sanity."

"Yeah. Established that. Movin' on." Spike sighed, affecting boredom.

Their stares held some more until Spike let his gaze travel in a slow, long, bald look down Harris' body to the crotch of his pants, and the lust level in the air took another leap.

'How stupid do you think I am?" Xander hissed and Spike gave a short laugh.

"Really want me to answer that?"

"Like you wouldn't tell..."

"Who, me?" Spike splayed a palm on his chest in wide-eyed question. "I'm insane, pet. Really think your lot'd buy that tale on any give day? Whose word would they take?"

A dawning realization began to grow in Xander's eyes, and Spike recognized the same within himself. Recognized he was serious. Recognized he had fuck-all to lose by being so. Buffy's regard? Her love? Can't lose what you never had, mate, he reminded himself.

And Harris felt so bloody warm....

"You're serious." Xander said in a hollow voice.

"Dead." Spike quipped with a smile.

The boys long, fringed lashes blinked at him a few times then squinted. "So what would I win?"

"Rather confident little bugger, aren't you?" Spike surveyed him once more. "What do you want?"

"I want you out of my apartment." There wasn't even a pause and Spike gave a bitter snort.

"That all? High stakes there."

"They are. I don't care what you tell Buffy. I don't care what you have to do, but I want you gone if I win."

"Done." Spike agreed. " 'Course in the quid pro quo tradition, what would I get?"

"Besides me not staking you?"

"Yeah, besides that." He glared and Xander met his eyes for a moment. He could tell the lad was scared to give him an open field. Smart lad.

"I'll get you human blood from Will.."

"No." Spike interrupted, voice already too harsh, too strident. "Pigs. Week's worth. And a bottle o' Jack."

"Sure." Xander leaned back, something mixing with the lust now, something lighter. Confidence. "Except, oh darn, no lube."

Spike pretended to think a bit. He used to carry a tube in the duster, before. "Guess I'll have to improvise then."

"How do....." Not dropping Xander's gaze he unbuttoned the clasp on the chinos one handed and slid the zipper slowly down, enjoying the widening of those dark, dark eyes. "Oh. Oh...." Spike shifted to the cold floor of the Buick, still holding the avid gaze while his fist closed around a pulsing length, firming and getting harder. Before Harris could wig out on him he popped the erection out and took it whole, deep, until crisp curls and cotton hit his lips.

Then- stilled. Held the rising hips with both hands and closed his eyes at the explosion of taste and fire in his mouth, so, so hot on his tongue. Above him Xander gasped and tried to move, but Spike pinned him firm without even working at it, and suckled at the flesh. Bobbed and licked, nibbled until the boy's hands buried themselves in his hair, fucking his mouth, and he smiled around the cock there. Easy peasy this would be.

The lust in the confines of the automobile hung heavy now, as pungent and thick as the scent of sex and skin that tainted the air with its mark. Spike pulled off with a wet sound and Xander moaned through his teeth, eyes tightly closed, arms up and back to grip the top of the car seat, and Spike gave him credit for trying. Not a bad effort.

He climbed on Xander's lap while undoing the buttons of his jeans, pulled off his boots and wiggled a leg out in a complicated dance; winced as the cold air hit his skin. No matter. He should be toast warm in a bit here. Lacing both hands behind the boy's neck and meeting the surprised gaze when those eyes opened he whispered. "Hold yourself." Xander didn't even hesitate as a hand dove between them to grip the leaking erection upright, eyes dilating at his own touch.

Spike took an airless breath, because the kid was actually pretty big and he'd have to relax some to accommodate everything, then impaled himself quickly, making a sound as the ring of muscle breached, filled, overflowed, and it was done. They sat there locked, stares caught and Spike tried to keep a pleasant mask on while the incredible heat he'd taken in throbbed and burned him, unfroze his blood from the inside out. Xander's eyes were very wide, mouth open giving tiny, shallow breaths. Refusing to drop his stare Spike slowly, slowly freed each button on the cotton shirt to splay both hands on the broad, warm chest.

He was all warm, everything was warm, lush, and heated, and Spike caressed broad strokes on Xander's chest, plucking at stiff nipples. Flicking them with his thumbs until Xander shuddered, arms unhinged form the back of the seat to search frantically under Spike's jacket for skin, then, finding it, clutching and pushing down. He swallowed a groan by the skin of his teeth as the pulsing length in him burned deeper, harder, so good he wanted to plaster himself to the endless chest, lock his legs around Xander's waist and press to him 'till he melted.

"Tight." Xander whispered, an odd tone of wonder in his voice that toed something loose in Spike's chest so he had to shut his eyes against it. "God you're..."

"Turned. A virgin." He bit out. Short phrases, right. He could do short phrases while the molten shaft drove up to his throat, split him in two. His own erection leaked pre-come that damped the top of his shirt. "Always be. Tight." Squeezed on the last word and Xander moaned brokenly and began to piston. Hard, quick thrusts of the hips in a liquid rhythm he thought the boy had lost when he lost the teen lankiness, and Spike began to meet them, again, again, ah.

The quivers began anew and he could do nothing about them, too busy overcome by all the fire and sex, head thrown back, hands clenched in behind a secret, cozy neck, barely feeling the rash of goosebumps that sprouted along his skin. Suddenly Xander's hands were gone and he snapped his head up, vison swimming a bit from the move, then felt the fuzz of the blanket being pulled around them. He stopped riding to stare at Harris, who offered him a tremulous grin. "Looked cold."

"Right." Didn't tell him he hadn't been shaking from the cold, that being pinned, fixed on him had every blood cell smoldering, really warm for the first time in so long he couldn't remember. He started to move again, fast and ruthless and Xander gasped, helped him until the car shook with the force of their coupling. The large hands on his hips rolled him down, shifted position and ohhellHELL..."There." The word gritted out without his permission, intense and ragged, and Harris did it again.

"Yeah." Xander whispered, eyes glittering, feral, pleading, frantic. "I...I want...please..." Huge, hot hands cupped Spike's face, calloused palms on his jaw, pulling him down, and he drew back, terrified. No kissing, kissing was for love, for truth, not here, not-but the strong hold would not be denied and Xander leaned forward, tilting their mouths together and...oh, and....

heat heat heat tongue and teeth alive with warmth and sweetness and as the boy's lips nicked themselves in the bruising union and a trickle of tangy copper filled his senses, blew his mind into the stratosphere. Somewhere in there a rough palm encased his cock, unbelievably delicious, and it was too much, all of it. Fire in him, around him, permeating the air thick as molasses and the blood the goodness in it, how could that be, the goodness and purity, like uncut cocaine he came with a soundless shudder, wave upon wave of orgasm rending him useless and boneless, filled his palms with hot skin, splashing them both.

"Oh, god. God." Xander gasped into his mouth, those amazing hands roaming under Spike's thin shirt leaving brands in their wake. "I'm..." He felt Xander let go inside, scald him so he howled into the crook of neck, clawing the damp chest as they strained into each other, once, again, riding the aftershocks until they slowed, stopped.


Spike opened his eyes with a start, panicked at the unfamiliar warmth. Didn't fall asleep. No. Didn't do that.

How bloody embarrassin'.

They still sat welded to each other surrounded by fuzzy blue blanket, but Xander's heavy arms had stolen around his shoulders over the covering so he practically cuddled into the man's lap, still bare, sticky and close. Felt Xander's lips near his ear and stilled.

"You win." He had to search for what that meant for a bit because their agreement had categorically slipped his mind. Had to get himself together. Of course, would help if he weren't sitting here bare bummed with drying come between them.

"Yeah, well, knew that." He sat up, instantly felt the waft of cold air invade their blanket cocoon. "Told ya I would...." Finally met Xander's eyes and forgot his thought. Could see himself in the chocolate orbs that met his with intent. "Not settlin' for any o' that cheap liquor, either...."


"'Course would be my luck that it won't soddin' matter in another few hours."

"What? Why?" He could see Xander try to keep up, brows knitting as he adjusted his clothes.

"Sun'll be up soon. Windows aren't painted over, so." He shrugged casually and a worried look overcame Xander's features.

"Don't be a drama queen. We have the blanket, or I could put you in the trunk."

"'Spose. Not worth the trouble, when you think about it." While Xander processed he grabbed the chance to struggle back into his jeans, wishing he had a new shirt. They were both pretty damp in the front.

"You will commit suicide on your own time, Fangless." Xander said, then shook his head as if to clear the thoughts away. "Okay, not going there. Someone is probably on their way right now."

Spike tried not to shiver at the cold once more seeping into his bones, tried to pull away when Xander reached for him.

"Come on, don't be an ass. It's not about sex it's about not freezing." With a grudging sound he allowed the strong arms to encircle him, drawing him once more into a warm chest. Couldn't help his bodies cleaving to the heat, the soporific lull of it like a sedative. He always dozed off after sex, and he still felt kind of jittery; careful. He could still feel Xander in him.


"Don't." He muttered, giving in to the heaviness on his lids.

"I just...."

"Said DON'T." He repeated. "Nothin' to say, nothin' I want to hear, I guarantee that, so shut it."

"Okay." Xander whispered then, warm, calloused hand lifted his jaw up and, oh, cool lips and hot velvet within and he trembled at the combination while their tongues slid and fenced. He wrenched away breathing hard despite having no air to breathe with.

"Fancy a snog, that it?"

"No talking." Xander returned, long lashed eyes at half-mast, and waded into Spike's mouth again. He floated in the sensations, hands seeking the hot space under the boy's arms, nearly purring with the good of it. Ended up with one leg over a strong thigh, biting his lip as warm suction and scratchy chin kissed a trail down his neck. Spike let out a sigh, realizing he was hard again. So was the boy. Kiss, lick, burning brush of lips on the sensitive skin of his Adam's Apple and he fisted both hands in the soft, dark hair, curling into the touch.

Then he opened his eyes. "Xander."

"Mm. Thought no talking." Moist puff of breath on his neck.

"No one hears 'bout this."

Pause at his throat. "Right. No one."

"Good. Remember that."

The great dark head came up from below his chin to meet his eyes but he ducked them both down just as high powered headlights bathed the car's interior in light, reflecting blindingly off the rearview mirror. He looked in the boy's eyes at the emotions fighting for dominance then a faint voice could be heard over the increasing sound of engines.

"Xander? Spike?"

"Willlow." He moved back as Xander scrambled up and reached for the door then slouched on the seat, searching for his cigs while the icy wind poured in. His hands didn't tremble and he congratulated himself on that. They just felt so bloody cold. With a sigh he climbed out of the car in time to see Red hop off a huge tractor and run towards Xander, boots rising high over the drifts, hair flying, a dancing silhouette made dark by the tractor's backlight.

"You're okay! Are you okay? You look okay! I did a locator spell when Naja said you never showed up and we didn't know about the blizzard or we never would have asked..."

"Will, breathe. Breathe." Xander laughed, enveloping the small body with his own so you could barely see the girl and Spike leaned against the car, smoking. Felt cold. Two people came around the side, having driven in the path the huge vehicle cleared. "I'm okay. See? Not even frostbitten."

"Thank god, we were so worried..."

He tuned out the comforting murmurs and squinted at slender figures making their way to him, one shorter and purposeful, the other lanky and already taller than her sister. Bit and Buffy drivin' Harris' car.

"Hi." Dawn said, hands in the pockets of her jacket as she stood in that hip canted teen-age stance that dripped attitude. Last year she would have hugged him, affectionate as a puppy. Before the bathroom thing with Buffy. Before she got a healthy dose of cynicism. "I told them you'd be fine. No one ever listens to me."

"Their mistake, ey?" He smiled at her through the smoke as they all stood there in the light yellow tractor light, like an artificial sun.

"She did tell us. I expect a long and merciless string of I-told-you-so's any minute." Buffy nodded, then stepped closer, studying him. "Everything really okay? You look a little thrown."

"I dunno." Spike sighed out smoke, and looked at the sky. "Couple of hours to sunrise and I been stuck in a car with himself the righteous over there. Bound to be a bit twitchy."

Her reply became lost in the harsh bleat of a horn and Buffy waved a hand to the tractor driver.

"He's getting kinda twitchy himself. We should go." Spike allowed them to begin walking before flicking his cigarette into the snow, then turned away as he saw Xander walk over.

"Forgot my backpack." Spike nodded, avoided the intent stare and began to walk to the car before anything was said.

It wasn't until they were all jammed in the car like a tin of sardines, the boy insisted on driving, that he realized he hadn't heard the voices in his head or seen any Bad People the whole time they'd been trapped. He let their animated conversation float around him as they drove slowly behind the tractor and discussed where they'd stay, the best way to cover him so he wouldn't burst into flames, and the exact way the rent car had spun into the side of the hill.

The entire episode had already begun to take on a surreal cast and only the look in Xander's eyes when he glanced at Spike in the rear view told him different. He didn't look in it anymore.

Just hugged himself. Wished for a smoke. Wondered when he'd ever be warm again.