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A Little B&E

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Xander kept his hands in his pockets as he studiously avoided watching Spike get dressed. He glanced to the mirror, hoping to see enough of Spike that he could tell if he had his jeans on yet, but then he realized that vampires had no reflections, so that was a stupid thing to do. Not that his being stupid was something new – he’d known he was stupid the moment he realized he was going to try and seduce Spike three weeks ago, and things hadn’t gotten any better since then.

He finally stopped searching for any sign of Spike in the hotel’s double-dresser mirror, and saw that Spike had at least pulled his jeans up, even if they weren’t buttoned, yet, damn him. His white-blond hair stuck up in tufts from the toweling Spike had apparently given it while Xander’s back had been turned. His pale chest still had droplets of water that glistened as they slipped over his finely-formed abs, and dripped into the waistband of his black jeans. If he looked closely enough, Xander could almost see honey-brown, curly hair in the open fly.

Not that he was looking! No sirree, not Xander. He had to be on his toes tonight, and he couldn’t afford any more spontaneous erections. He rubbed the gem in his left hand and the Celtic knot in his right with his thumbs, reminding himself of their mission, and forcing his mind in a more positive direction.

The gem was from Tara, a good luck charm that had helped him break the cycle of bad luck that had followed him for weeks now. The Celtic knot in his right hand was new – a gift from Willow to both Spike and Xander that was supposed to protect them, with a bit of extra mojo that was somehow supposed to make them harder to see. Xander had laughed at that.

“What? You bottled the chemical reaction that makes women take one look at me in a bar, and find somewhere else they urgently need to be?”

Willow had smacked him on the arm. “Doofus. It won’t make you invisible or anything,” she said, handing both Spike and Xander small metal knots on braided leather cords long enough to slip over their heads. “It’s sort of like Teflon for the eyes. Unless you do something major to attract people’s attention, their eyes will just slide right on past, and never notice that you’re there.”

“Sweet! Thanks, Wills.” Xander had examined the silver charm closely. It was composed of three ovals woven together into a triangle, with a circle inside them.

Willow had told them it was a Celtic knot, and that the circle in the middle represented protection. Then she and Tara had built the ‘see me not’ spell right into the metal.

“Just don’t wear them if you want to order food,” Tara told them. “Wuh-we had to put them in our backpacks before the waitress finally noticed us.”

“So you tested them?” Spike held his up, watching the charm swing, catching the overhead light and scattering flashes around the four of them.

“We did. Tara and I made out in front of the library for fifteen minutes, and no one even looked twice!” Willow blushed bright red, but held her head high, as though proud of her accomplishment.

“Did you, Red?” Spike seemed impressed at her admittance of a bit of exhibitionism. He smirked at Tara. “Well, I’m not at all surprised at you, missy. It’s always the shy ones.”

Tara smirked back at him, much to Xander’s surprise.

“Tara!” Xander cried.

She winked at him, and walked away. “Good luck, boys.”

Xander smiled at the memory, tracing the knot with his fingers. He watched Spike slip the cord of his charm over his head, tucking it into the front of his shirt and smoothing his hand down the fabric. Damn. He’d been lost in his memory, and he’d missed Spike buttoning up his jeans, and putting his shirt on. Oh, no, wait. That was good. Very good. Less distraction for the Xan-Man. Because the Xan-Man needed no more distraction tonight. Tonight they were going to case out the museum.

Spike swirled his coat around, settling it on his shoulders as if it were a cape. Striding to the door, he stopped, and cocked one sexy eyebrow at Xander.

“Ready to go, mate?”

“After you, Robin.”


Xander grinned, suddenly excited to get this whole plot moving. “Robin Hood, of course.” He followed Spike out of the door, locking it behind them.

Spike snorted. “Right. Who’d that make you, then?”

“Little John. Who else could I be?”

“More like Friar Tuck.” Spike turned and strode down the hall. “Besides, I’m fonder of Simon Templar, myself.”

It was Xander’s turn to snort. “Sorry, Spike. There is no way I’m calling you The Saint.”


Xander walked from display to display, casually keeping an eye on the guards stationed at the entranceway to the staff area. He was pretty damn nervous, because Spike was behind those doors, with no backup, in case he had a problem with any humans. Xander should never have agreed to this whole thing. He was no good at staying behind, he worried more than if he was in the midst of the fighting – of which he expected there would be none, he told himself firmly. Dammit. He was too freaked out to deal with this.

He and Spike had spent half an hour wandering around being ignored by everyone, and they’d come to the conclusion that the charms were doing their jobs. Xander had been quietly freaking out because he and Spike were flirting with each other - joking about whether Spike was more like Robin Hood, who was in love with Maid Marian, or like Simon Templar, with a different girl in every port.

Xander hadn’t been happy with either alternative, since they were talking about Robin Hood and Maid Marian, and not Robin Hood and Little John. But at least that was better than Simon Templar, who had a dozen girls a week, ‘cause he had more chance of stealing Spike away from one girl than he did of attracting his attention when he had twenty or thirty girls to fight through.

“You don’t like Maid Marian?” Spike asked, leaning up against the glass front of a display of ancient Latin American art. He ducked his head and looked up though his eyelashes at Xander, whose stomach clenched when Spike tilted his head, and asked with a glint of humor, “What’s wrong with Maid Marian, then?”

Well, as Giles would say, in for a penny, in for a pound. He was fairly sure that the saying meant more if you were British than it did for an American, but he got the idea. If he was going to flirt, he might as well go all the way.

Xander braced himself, walking up to the same display, leaning on the glass, and leaving only a foot of space between himself and Spike. His stomach was full of butterflies, but dammit, he was going to do this. If Spike totally freaked out and ran away, at least he’d know how he felt.

“Marian? Nah, she didn’t do much for me,” he said dismissively. He stared straight into Spike’s blue eyes, and smirked at Spike’s curious glance. “I was far more interested in what Robin and Little John got up to on those cold, rainy English nights.”

Both of Spike’s eyebrows arched in surprise. “Were you, now?” Spike leaned closer, until they were only separated by a few inches.

Xander’s excitable butterflies turned suddenly into a ravening horde of killer butterflies bent on beating their way out of Xander’s stomach with their steel-tipped wings. He held his breath, waiting for Spike’s move.

“I really hate to do this,” Spike murmured, “but I’m going to have to take a rain-check on this conversation.”

Xander pulled back, confused. “What?”

“I expect I won’t be long, but I need to take advantage of the opportunity, and see if I can get behind those doors.”

Xander looked behind him, where the guards were talking animatedly, and ignoring the door they were supposed to be guarding. Spike flipped the edge of his duster back, showing a stolen employee pass key. When the hell had he gotten that?

“If I’m not back by the time the museum closes, meet me at the car.” He shoved the rental car keys at Xander, and walked away. Then he turned back, and pointed at Xander. “We will be finishing this conversation, so don’t forget where we were.” Then he winked, and turned away, walking up to the guard station.

He slipped behind the two guards as they talked about something obviously engrossing, and casually swiped his stolen card. As soon as the doors slid open, Spike ducked inside and was gone.

Xander sighed. “Damn. I’m never going to have the balls to do that again.”

Now it was closing time, the last announcement had been made, and although no one had come up to him and asked him to leave, he had a feeling that he should go. If Spike was expecting him to be by the car, he might take a back exit, and be waiting for Xander by the car. Or he might need a fast getaway, and Xander would be inside with the car keys.

He walked as quietly as he could behind the last couple leaving by the front door, and headed down the front steps. He turned around at the bottom of the stairs, watching as the security guards locked up, and punched the buttons that Willow had told them were the front end alarm system. Damn Spike. Tonight was supposed to be surveillance night: get in, get a feel for the place, check out the exits Willow had marked on the map. No one was supposed to get stranded inside or outside.

Xander supposed he’d better wait by the car. He could open the doors and start the engine, so he could be ready in case Spike came out a back entrance in a hurry. He turned to the parking lot. And the evening had started out with such potential.

A hand clamped down over his mouth, and before he could even try to bite it, an arm wrapped around his waist. He was picked up and twirled around two or three times, the museum and the street swirling by him at a rapid pace, the car lights blurring as they sped by. Set down suddenly, the hand disappeared from his mouth, and there was Spike in front of him, laughing manically.

“Where the hell have you been, you asshole!” It probably wasn’t the best thing he could have yelled, but he was a bit rattled, and that was all he could think of.

Spike just laughed louder, and wrapped his arm around Xander’s shoulders. That was a good thing, since Xander was still a little dizzy from his trip on the whirling dervish by the name of Spike.

“C’mon, mate. I’m a bit peckish. Fancy some pizza, or maybe some burgers and fries? My treat!” Spike’s eyes glinted in the streetlights, and his smile was contagious.

“Your treat? Right. How many people did you pick the pockets of tonight?”

“All right. You got me.” He pulled a fat wallet out of his pocket. “Charles Rangle’s treat.” Before Xander had done more than open his mouth, Spike was talking again. “He’s the bloke was yelling at his kid. The one that was crying in the dinosaur display, remember him? What an arswipe. Not his kid’s fault he was scared of the mean looking dino.”

“Oh.” That guy had really pissed Xander off. He had a feeling that if they’d been home, the kid would have been hit for his behavior, and in Xander’s book, that was never okay. “All right, we can eat on his dime. Just this once.”

“That’s more like it, mate.” Spike wrapped his arm around Xander’s shoulders again as they walked to the car. “I have a feeling we’re going to have a fine meal tonight. What do you say about steak?”

Xander rolled his eyes. Well, if he was going to be one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, he supposed he needed to get used to this kind of thing. The guy definitely deserved it, and besides, as long as Spike kept putting his arm around Xander, he’d agree to most anything. Jeeze. He was so easy.