The next Friday, Xander stumbled through
the door, arms full of grocery bags. "Hey, Spike!
A little help here?"
Xander groaned in relief as a grocery
bag was lifted out of his arms. He smiled at the blonde standing in front of
"No problem. What's all this, then?"
Xander led the way into the kitchen,
"Snacks and stuff for the party tonight. Mostly drinks, actually."
Spike was digging through the bag in
his arms and emerged triumphant with a bottle of J.D. "I thought Red said they'd
bring over some food?"
Xander answered without removing his
head from the refrigerator. "Everyone's bringing stuff, we just needed to contribute
too." He cracked open a soda and turned to head into the living room. And stopped dead in his tracks. "Um, Spike?"
The smirking Vampire leaned against a
wall and took in Xanders reaction. "Yeah?"
"Wh...what's all this?"
"What's all what, boy?"
Xander motioned weakly to the living
room, now stylishly furnished with a large black leather sofa with matching love seat and recliner; and a new entertainment
center and larger TV. "Are we in the wrong apartment?"
Spike took a swig from the bottle he
was holding and shrugged, "Nope. I told you I'd help set the place up. I went shopping last night, had the stuff delivered today."
Sudden Xanders legs wouldn't hold him
anymore. He leaned against the nearest wall and slid down to sit on the floor
with a thump. "I'm sorry to ask this, but how many people did you have to mug
to be able to afford this?"
Spike snorted and looked embarrassed,
"Didn't mug anyone, at least not this week. Told you I was a man, well, Vampire
anyway, of means. I had some accounts.
Called Angel, got access to them."
Xander turned a shocked look on his roommate,
"You called Angel?"
A nonchalant shrug was his answer.
Xander took the answer for the hint it
was and changed the subject. He levered himself up off the floor and walked into
the living room to carefully examine their new furniture. He flopped down on
the couch, put his feet up on the new coffee table and flipped on the new TV. "Ahh,
An amused chuckle met his actions.
Xander stood up and turned to his roommate. "Did you get yourself bedroom stuff too?"
The Vampire nodded and motioned for Xander
to follow him down the hallway. Spike opened his door with a flourish and Xander
felt his mouth drop open in shock for the second time that afternoon. Spike had
furnished his bedroom with a queen size bed and a large, wrought iron bed frame.
The bed frame was all curves with lots
of intricate scrollwork. Idly, Xander noticed that it would be really easy to
handcuff someone to that bed, and then quickly changed his thoughts before they could get him in trouble. Xander gestured to the iron bed, matching side tables, and heavy black dresser and bookcases. "Wow Blondie, I didn't know you had taste. I'm not so surprised
by the color scheme, however."
What did surprise Xander was the wine
red, silky looking sheets and duvet that matched the curtains Xander had bought for the Vampire, but he wasn't about to mention
how sexy the whole package looked, or how sexy the pale, blonde Vampire would look spread out on the bed.
Taking a desperate swig of his drink,
Xander quickly headed back out into the living room and away from the dangerous my roommate is sexy as hell and I'm horny
"So, what did you do with the old couch
Spike shrugged, "I paid the delivery
guys to take them away. I thought of taking it to Goodwill, but figured they
wouldn't want that stuff back."
Xander turned to his roommate and pulled Spike into a hug. "Thanks for
being my friend and roommate, and thanks for all this."
Spike grumbled but didn't protest the
Before Xander could start to enjoy the
hug too much, he pulled back and looked Spike in the eye. "If we break up, we're
going to have a heck of a time dividing this stuff up."
The Vampire rolled his eyes and shook
the hug off. "Please. As if I'd
date a gormy little git like yourself."
Xander smirked, "I'll have you know that
I have it on good authority that I'm a very nummy treat."
Another eye roll greeted that remark. Spike walked into the kitchen and gestured at the bags of food and alcohol. "So, what do we do with all this?"
Xander followed his roommate into the
kitchen. "What do you think we do? We
cook and set up someplace for a bar. You can't tell me that in a hundred and
twenty-six years you've never thrown a party before."
Exasperated sigh, "Of course I've thrown
a party before, whelp. Demon parties tend to go a little different though. Usually instead of cooking anything you just conk a few of you walking happy meals
over the head and leave 'em tied up in a corner for when the guests get peckish."
Xander shuddered at that. "Right. I'll cook, why don't you play bartender?"
Smirking, Spike grabbed the bags of alcohol. "I suppose I can be in charge of the liquor.
What are we charging fer a drink?"
This is a housewarming party. For us.
Where people bring us presents. We do not charge our friends for drinks!"
The phone rang, distracting Xander from
his 'about to be smacked' roommate. "Hello?
Oh hey Buff. What's up? Mmhmm. Yeah, sure, that's fine with me. See
you later! Bye!"
Spike looked up from his task, "What'd
the Slayer want?"
Shrugging, Xander returned to his attempt
at party snacks. "Oh, one of Riley's friends just went through a bad breakup
and he's stuck playing support-o boy. She wanted to know if he could bring the
friend to the party. I said sure."
"Whoever they are, they can come if they
bring us a pressie too."
Xander lobbed a cracker at Spikes head
and did a little victory dance when it hit. "Rileys friends do not have to bring
us presents. Only our friends bring us presents."
Xander opened the door on the first knock
and let Willow, Tara and Giles in. They were the first to arrive, and he really
hadn't been waiting by the door for people to show up, really. Spike had just
treated him to another eye roll and had gone to set up the music. It had taken
a ten-minute argument and best two-out-of-three arm wrestling before Xander had relinquished music duty to Spike.
The girls handed over the trays of food
and then went to admire the new living room furniture. Giles set down a stack
of presents he had been carrying and raised an eyebrow at Xander.
Xander just shook his head. "He didn't steal it or mug anyone. Apparently
Angel set up accounts for his Childer, once upon a time. Spike just called Angel
and asked for access to his accounts."
Giles looked surprised, "Spike asked
Angel for something? That is surprising."
"Yeah, well. We cant say that Spikes predictable, that's for sure."
Then there was another knock at the door,
and Xander went to answer, while Giles went to join the others in the living room. Xander
opened the door and Dawn jumped into his arms for a hug before bouncing over to the food table. Buffy and Riley followed with bemused smiles. "Sorry
Xan, shes had a bit of sugar already."
Xander smiled, "Well, we'll be sure to
keep her away from the deserts then."
Buffy glanced over to where the food
was set up. "Speaking of which..." Buffy hurried to distract Dawn. Riley slapped Xander on the back in greeting and pulled someone in after him. "Xander, this is my friend Forrest, you've met him before."
Xander smiled and shook hands. "Hey, nice to meet you, again."
Forrest smiled and handed Xander a bottle
of rum. "Thanks for letting me tag along, Happy Housewarming."
"Oh, you didn't have too, I mean, thanks." Xander curbed his babble and waved the two men into the apartment.
Casually, Xander made his way over to
where Spike was being glommed onto by a hyper Dawn. "Hey Dawnie, wanna go put
this on the bar for me?" Xander handed Dawn the bottle Forrest had brought. The teen happily accepted the alcohol and raced off.
Spike arched a brow at his roommate. "Pet, d'ya think giving the nibblet alcohol was a good idea?"
"Please, like Buffy will let her even
try to get it opened. I just wanted to point out to you that Riley's grieving
friend is another Initiative boy. You might want to avoid any grrr moments tonight."
I'll be fine. Thanks though."
Xander nodded and wandered off to mingle
with their guests.
Several hours, way too much food, an
embarrassing present opening session and several drinks later, Xander found himself slumped onto the loveseat with Forrest,
telling battle stories and comparing demon fighting notes. Giles and Spike had
teemed up on Riley in a heated English sports versus American Sports discussion. Willow,
Tara and Buffy were huddled together on the couch, doing each others hair and talking about 'shudder' shopping. Dawn was passed out in a recliner, though Xander was pretty sure it was a 'too much sugar' crash and not
an, 'I'm underage and I snuck alcohol' crash.
Forrest had just finished a story about
why you should never use a grenade on a mucus demon that had them both doubled over in laughter. "So," Forrest waved his hand to encompass the rooms other occupants, "You all seem pretty close."
Xander nodded. "Yeah, fighting the forces of evil nightly tends to pull people together."
Forrest looked wistful, "That's great. The group of guys I work with are okay, but we don't tend to be friends after the
workdays done, with the exception of Riley. Hes a great guy."
"That sucks. What about that other guy I've seen you two with? Graham."
A shadow passed over Forrests face. "Yeah. Graham and I aren't talking right
Xander quickly apologized, "I'm sorry. You guys have a falling out?"
Forrest smiled, "You could call it that. He and I were dating, but it turns out I was just a convenient body to experiment
on, not an actual relationship. He got tired of the guy thing and went running
back to his girlfriend."
Xanders mouth fell open. "Oh. Um..."
Forrest noticed that Xander's comfort
level had dropped. "Hey, I'm sorry, I thought Riley had told you I was gay. I didn't think it was a problem, especially after..." Forrest motioned to the pile
of opened gifts.
Most had been useful house stuff, but
the girls couldn't let Xander get away without one embarrassing gift. The gift
in question was a gift basket full of condoms, different flavors of lube, and a book 'The
Joy of Gay Sex'. Buffy had said quite frankly that they were getting tired of
waiting for the theory to be tested and figured he needed some encouragement. Xander
put opening that gift right up there as most humiliating moment of his life. At
least the gift had been addressed to him and not 'Xander and Spike'.
Xander shook his head, "No, it's not
a problem, not for me anyway. Sorry, it's just that Buffy only said you'd just
had a bad breakup, not who you broke up with."
Forrest nodded his understanding. "So, is that basket of fun for you and
Xander blushed." No, that is most definitely
not for Spike. We're just friends, that's all.
I...I don't have a boyfriend right now."
Forrest smiled. "Well, I'm sure that could easily be changed."
Suddenly there was a soft beeping and
Forrest swore and dug into his pocket. He pulled out a pager and glanced at it. Ruefully he smiled at Xander, "Duty calls, I've got to go. Thanks for the party."
Xander nodded, trying to hide his disappointment.
Forrest reached over and brushed his
fingers along the back of Xanders hand, "So, can I call you sometime?"
Swallowing hard, Xander nodded. "Um, s...sure, th...that would be great."
Forrest smiled and waved over his shoulder
as he left with Riley in tow.
Slightly dazed, Xander wandered over
to collapse on the sofa next to Willow.
"Hey Xander! How's the party going?"
Oh, fine, everything's fine."
Willow looked at Xander and frowned. "Okay mister, spill. What's wrong?"
"What makes you think something's wrong?"
"Your face. You can't hide from me Xander Harris, so you had better tell me, or else!"
Xander blushed a deep red. "Riley's friend Forrest may have hit on me."
This had all the girls immediately focusing
their attention on him and squealing happily. Buffy was grinning ear to ear. "I knew youd like him!"
Willow gasped at her friend. "Buffy! Did you set them up?"
Buffy looked unapologetic, "Nope. Just when I heard that Forrest had been dumped I figured it wouldn't hurt to bring
him along, see if he and Xander hit it off."
Xander tried to look upset but couldn't
quite hide his grin. "Why Miss Summers, are you trying to play matchmaker?"
Buffy laughed, "Well someone has to,
at this rate youll never get a date!"
"Gee, thanks for your vote of confidence
Willow dismissed Buffys matchmaking efforts
with a wave of her hand, "So, Xander. You two were talking for a long time, tell
us all about him."
After everyone had finally gone home,
Xander and Spike collapsed bonelessly onto the couch.
Let's never do that again."
"Oh, I don't know pet, wasn't all that
bad. We got some good pressies."
Xander raised his head enough to glare
at the Vampire. "You got good pressies."
Xander pointed to the Sex Pistols box set Dawn had gotten Spike, and the book of English poetry Giles had found for
him. "I got 'how to cause Xander to spontaneously combust through embarrassment'
pressies." He waved at his sextacular gift basket.
Spike laughed. "Yeah, that was pretty funny when you opened that."
"Laugh it up Blondie. If I hadn't made them stop teasing you, that gift tag could have read 'To Spike and Xander.'"
Spike shuddered at that, then paused
and looked thoughtful. "Hey, speaking of poufs, what was with you and that soldier
boy? You two looked pretty chummy."
Xander blushed. "N...Nothing. We were just trading battle stories and stuff."
Spike looked like he would say more,
but Xander quickly claimed drunken exhaustion and headed to bed. He didn't want
to talk about it anymore, when he wasnt even sure how he felt about it himself.
But as he lay there in bed that night,
Xander thought more about Forrest. Thought about how easy he was to talk to,
about how they had laughed, thought, with a blush, about his chocolate skin and laughing brown eyes, and the tingle of Forrests
fingers as they brushed over his hand. And most importantly, thought about how
different Forrest was from Spike. Xander could admit to himself that he had a
crush on his Vampire roommate; fortunately his enjoyment of their peculiar friendship was stronger. Perhaps it was time for Xander to start dating. The longer
he stayed single, the harder it would be to hide his feelings from Spike. If
he had someone else to focus on, maybe his inappropriate feelings for his friend would fall by the wayside. Hopefully.