"What do you mean, 'roomies'?"

Xander propped his feet up on the edge of the bed and smirked at the vampire, "Well, Spike, since you somehow managed to kill two people, even with the chip in your head, the Army, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that you are too dangerous to be allowed to run loose.  So I said I would take full responsibility for you.  Please, don't make me regret it."

"The Army thinks I'm dangerous?"  Spike crossed his arms behind his head and tried not to look too pleased with that information.  "Too bloody right I am.  'Bout time someone realized that."

Xander laughed and shook his head, "You never change, Spike.  The 'Big Bad' to the end.  But, tell me, Spike, how did you kill those people?"

Spike mumbled something, but Xander couldn't make out what he'd said.  "Say that again, Spike?  I couldn't hear you."

Spike grumbled but finally confessed.  "When I saw those wankers comin' after me I ran out into the street.  They chased me and got hit by a bus."

Xander didn't even smile, he knew better.  "That's good to know, Spike.  Thank you for telling me."

"Why, mate?  You worried I might hurt you?"

Xander shrugged, "Not really.  If you wanted me dead bad enough I'm sure you would have found a way before now."

"Bloody right I would have.  Don't think I like you though.  I spared you because Dru liked you.  And you treated me half decent when I was staying with you."

"What ever happened to her anyway?  You ever find her again?"

Spike looked incredibly sad for a moment, "Heard from a Narlosh demon that she went dancing in the sun one day.  Silly bint needed someone to take care of her, don't know how many times I had to chain her to the wall to make sure she stayed put."

"I'm sorry, Spike.  I know she meant a lot to you." Xander said.

Spike tried to look unconcerned and failed.  "Yeah, well, she's better off."

Xander's face turned stone cold.  "You're more right than you know, Spike.  The President and Congress have declared war on demons.  Its already begun.  Are you going to have a problem with that?"

"I'm a vampire, pet.  Never did get along too well with those other blokes.  Look out for number one, I say.  Fuck the rest."

"Good.  I'll let you get some sleep now.  I need you at 100% as soon as possible.  I'll be back tomorrow and we'll talk some more.  If you need anything, just hit the buzzer.  Rom will be here to take care of you."


Spike woke up to the sound of angry voices. 

"Why the Hell isn't that 'thing' strapped down?  And why is he on this floor?  He should be down in the isolation ward!"

Rom stood between the man yelling at the top of his lungs and Spike's bed, blocking the vampire's view.  He wiggled up in the bed and smirked at the irate officer standing in his room.

The Captain's face turned beet red in anger.  "Stand aside, Sergeant, before I have you removed and placed under arrest for disobeying a direct order."

Rom stiffened.  "Captain, I get my orders directly from the Administrator.  He is the one that placed Mr. Bloody in this room and there are no standing orders for him to be restrained."

The Captain stepped out of the room but immediately returned with two MPs.  "Remove this man from the room."

"Yes, Sir.  Do you want him arrested?"

"Not yet.  I need some answers from him first.  Just escort him back to his station."  The Captain watched as Rom was marched out of the room before turning his attention back to the monster in the bed.  "I'm Captain McIntyre, Military Intelligence.  I have some questions for you, Hostile 17.  You will answer those questions and do exactly as you're told or you won't like the results."

Spike growled, he was sick of humans threatening him.  "What you going to do, mate?  Stake me?  Be a little hard to explain wouldn't it?"

The Captain's smile was pure evil.  "I don't have to stake you to hurt you.  And you will be restrained from now on."

"I don't bloody think so."

"There is no one here who gives a damn what happens to a monster like you.  I could roll you out into the sun and no one would even try to stop me."

Spike felt a cold wave of fear running down his spine, but kept his face impassive.  "I'm not going to answer any of your bloody questions, you fuckin' wanker."

McIntyre drew back his fist and swung at Spike's head.  The vampire caught the heavy fist and held it still.  The chip sent warning twinges of pain shooting through his skull, but he didn't let go.


Xander and General Marshall were talking quietly as they existed the elevator.  As they neared the door to Spike's room, Xander saw two MPs guarding Rom.  He hurried over to them.  "Rom, what is going on?"

One of the MPs stepped into Xander's path.  "I'm sorry, Sir, but you shouldn't be talking to the prisoner."

Xander grabbed the insignia on his collar and held it up in front of the MP's face.  "I'm a Major, Sergeant.  I'll talk to my man if I damn well please."

The MP shook his head.  "I'm sorry, Sir.  M.I. has placed this man under guard.  Those orders take precedence over yours."

Marshall's deep voice was a welcome relief.  "Son, no one's orders take precedence over mine.  Stand down."

Rom looked up and Xander, fear in his eyes, "spike." He whispered.

Xander ran to Spike's room, leaving the General to take care of the MPs.  He burst through the door and saw an officer swing at Spike and saw Spike defend himself.  He also saw the pain on the vampire's face.  That damn chip was working a little too well.  Xander pulled the man away from Spike and spun him around.  "Who the Hell are you and what the fuck do you think you're doing?"

The Captain sneered, "Well, well.  Major Harris.  I should have known you had something to do with this, this, abomination.  I don't know why they let queers like you in the Army.  Oh, yes.  We know all about your affair with Major Baines.  Wasn't your relationship the reason he got killed?"

Xander heard a roar in his ears and his vision focused down until all he saw was the smirk on the Captain's face.  He grabbed him by the throat and shoved him into the wall.  "You keep your damned mouth shut, asshole."

McIntyre used his weight to force Xander to back up.  He straightened his uniform.  "Now you've done it, Harris.  Assaulting a fellow officer.  You are going down.  And your pet vampire here will be transferred to M.I., where he belongs.  After we get the information we need, we'll be sure to send you the ashes."

Xander had looked angry before, but now he looked positively vicious.  He slammed the Captain into the wall. Spike was impressed.  The vampire settled back to watch the show.  With a little luck, there would be bloodshed.

A deep, gravelly voice broke into the standoff.  "Captain.  You have just screwed yourself.  BOHICA." 

Spike whipped his head around and his jaw dropped in shock.  "Bloody hell.  It's John Fuckin' Wayne."

General Marshall laughed, "Not hardly, but thank you for the compliment."  He then turned to the hapless Captain. "Captain, you have some explaining to do.  I heard every word you said.  If you're still in my Army by sundown it will be a miracle.  The Army doesn't need or want people like you.  You're the abomination.  Remove yourself from my sight before I give you to Harris for target practice."

McIntyre stuttered, "But, General!  Harris is a known homosexual and he's harboring a vampire in this hospital!"

Marshall got right in the Captain's face.  "Known homosexual?  How do you know that?  Have you slept with him?"

A look of total disgust camped out on McIntyre's face.  "No!  My God!  That's disgusting!"

The General shook his head sadly, "I don't know when M.I. started recruiting idiots, but I will do everything in my power to make sure you never get the opportunity to spread more slander about one of my officers."

"General, there is still the matter of the hostile."  McIntyre said in a reasonable voice, trying to salvage something from this situation.

"Ah, yes."  Marshall turned to Spike and held out his hand.  "I apologize, Mr...how should I address you, sir?"

Spike was stunned.  First 'Nummy Treat' had protected him from a human, and now his boss was treating him like he was someone important.  "Call me Spike."

Marshall settled into the chair next to the bed,  "Very well, Spike.  I'm General John Marshall, I've been waiting to meet you.  How are you feeling?"

A strangled gasp came from behind him and Marshall turned to look at the Captain.  "Are you still here? ; Harris?"

"Yes, General?"

"Please fetch those MPs from the corridor and have them escort the Captain to my office.  I think the Captain and I should have a little talk after I finish here."

"Yes, Sir."

McIntyre stuttered and gave orders all the way down the hall, but the MPs didn't listen to him.  They were smart enough to stay on the General's good side.

Marshall settled back in his chair and smiled at his newest 'advisor'.  "Now then, Spike.  Let's get acquainted, shall we?"


The conversation between the two men had degenerated into a heated argument.  Marshall maintaining that the Packers could wipe the floor with Manchester United, while Spike insisted that the 'lard asses would bloody well have to catch them first!'  Xander practically had his entire fist in his mouth, trying to stifle the laughter that was building up in his chest. 

Marshall turned to Xander and asked, "So, Harris.  Who's the best?  Packers or those sissy boys in England?"

Xander was almost happy when alarm klaxons started blaring, saving him from having to answer.  He bolted out the door and down the hall.  Rom looked up from his station, "Major, one of the creatures we took from the compound has escaped."

"Do we have a location, Rom?"

"Yes, sir.  Fourth floor, section A.  It's moving fast, sir.  Very fast."

"Call security, have them seal the floor.  But tell them to stay back until we know what we're dealing with."

"Yes, sir."

Xander briefed the General on the situation and headed for the fourth floor, Spike hot on his heels. 

What they found made Spike crack up laughing.  The demon looked like a crocodile on steroids, one that could walk upright.  Xander punched Spike in the shoulder.  "Not funny, Spike.  That damn thing almost killed three of my men when we were trying to transport it."

Spike was still snickering when General Marshall came down the hall with several members of Xander's team.  "Well, Mr. Bloody, what the hell kind of demon is it?"

Spike managed to get himself under control long enough to answer.  "It's not a demon, mate.  It's a pet.  Hell's own version of a soddin' poodle, if you like."

Xander tapped his foot impatiently, "Well, Spike.  How do we tell it to heel?"

The vampire shrugged, somehow managing to look nonchalant even wearing medical scrubs.  "Where's its master?  Little bloke, about three feet tall.  Warmal demon.  Looks a bleedin' fairy?  Sound familiar?"

Xander turned back to the squad, "Jenkins, we pull something like that out of the compound?"

"Yes, sir.  It's housed at the other end of this ward, sir."

Xander bowed to Spike, waving his hand for the vampire to proceed.  "Come on, Spike, time to earn your keep."

The vampire snorted and sauntered down the hall, Xander right beside him.


General Marshall's eyes bugged out of his head when the vampire came back down the hall carrying what appeared to be a small child, one with translucent wings fluttering on its back.  Spike set the 'fairy' down and spoke to it for a moment.  The little creature grinned madly and scampered down the hall, heading straight for its 'pet'.

Their reunion was touching, even if it was extremely odd.  Spike nudged Xander's shoulder, "They're harmless, as long as no one tries to separate them.  And they're bloody good ones to have on our side.  The little buggers can get into any thing.  Doesn't matter how well it's guarded.  Work cheap too.  Give them some candy now and then and they'll follow you around for life.  Hell, they'd bloody well marry you for chocolate."

Xander grinned, "Chocolate as a bribe makes sense to me.  Think you can get them to help us out?"

"Yeah, I can talk a good game.  Besides, they owe you one now, don't they?"

Xander frowned, "I'll not going to blackmail someone into working with us, Spike.  They help me, I help them.  Everything on the up and up.  The Initiative is dead and buried, and it's my job to make sure it stays that way."

Spike shrugged, "Your party, mate.  Play it how you want it.  But a little blackmail could get you a lot farther along."

General Marshall chose that moment to make his feelings known, "I agree with Harris.  The Initiative was a fool's dream, one that rapidly became a nightmare.  Only a moron would want to resurrect it.  We play this straight, gentlemen.  Now, Mr. Bloody, we have several 'others' that we liberated from the people who were holding you.  Would you be willing to help us sort them out?"

Spike immediately became suspicious, "Depends on what you mean by 'sort'.  What do you plan to do with the ones that won't play?"

"As long as they are willing to return to their own homes, we'll leave them alone.  We're only interested in the ones that are causing problems.  If they don't want to remain neutral, they'll have to be eliminated.  I'm sorry, but that's the way things are.  I won't allow something dangerous loose on the population just because I don't like the idea of killing something out of hand.  We have a responsibility to make sure the public stays safe."

"All right, mate.  I'll take a look see, and take care of the ones that won't play nicey nice. ; But can I get some bloody clothes first?  And maybe a fag?  I'd kill for a cigarette about now."

Xander headed back towards Spike's room,  "Come on, 'Mr. Bloody', I have a surprise for you."


Spike settled his duster around his shoulders.  He patted down the worn leather.  Rom told him that Major Harris had retrieved it from the doctors that had been holding him.  He also told Spike that Major Harris had put a serious hurt on the man in charge.  Seems the Major took offense at the way Spike had been treated.  He reached into a pocket and pulled out a fresh pack of his favorite brand of smokes and lit it with the new lighter Xander had given him.  He rubbed his thumb across the spike engraved on the metal case and smiled.  After every thing that had happened to him in his long life, the fact that a human, one he'd insulted time and time again, had saved him, and was now taking care of him, just blew Spikes' mind.  "Stranger things, ya got that bloody right mate."  Spike said softly to himself.  He smoothed back his newly bleached hair, another gift from Harris, and left his room to meet the Major.  It had been decided to get Spike settled into his new home before he tackled the demons locked in the confinement cells, he could only hope Harris' taste had improved since Sunnydale. 

Xander looked up and saw Spike, his Spike, walking towards him.  He couldn't help but grin, it was strangely comforting to know that some things never changed.


Xander opened the door and stepped inside his house, throwing an invitation over his shoulder,  "Come in, Spike.  This is your home now too."

Spike entered the house, prepared for the worst.  He was more than pleasantly surprised.  "Bloody hell, mate.  Nice digs.  I'm impressed."

Xander actually blushed, he was very proud of his house.  "Thanks, Spike.  This place was a real mess when I bought it.  It took months to get it fixed up."

Spike took in the paneled walls, heavy furniture and huge fireplace, "Did it yourself, did you?"

Xander turned away, heading for the kitchen, "Yeah, I had some time on my hands and needed something to do. Want something to drink?"

"Whiskey, if you have it."  Spike replied.  The vampire poked around the room, looking at the various things the whelp had scattered about.  It was a picture on the mantle that really caught his attention.  Harris and a green eyed bloke sitting on the back of a jeep, laughing about something.  Nummy actually looked happy, if such a thing were really possible.  Spike looked around the room and found several other pictures, the green eyed man was featured in all of them.  He picked one up and studied it.  It was obvious to anyone with eyes that Harris and this man were lovers.

Xander came back into the living room and found Spike staring at a picture of him and Chris.  He handed Spike his drink and gently took the picture, placing it back on the table. 

"That the bloke that arsehole was talking about earlier?"

Xander settled into his chair, "Yeah.  Chris Baines."

Spike sprawled on the couch, throwing one leg up onto the coffee table, "You two were lovers?"

Xander tensed, "Yes, we were.  Is that going to be a problem for you?"

Spike laughed, "I'm a vampire, mate.  I'll shag anything that doesn't shag me first.  Vampires don't have the same hangups as you humans.  Bloody stupid, if you ask me.  Staying alive is enough to worry about, who cares who you shag?"

Xander lolled his head against the back of his chair, "A lot of other humans, that's who.  General Marshall is the only reason I haven't been booted out on my ass.  Don't ask, don't tell, doesn't work very well."

"Demon get him?"  Spike asked.

Xander laughed, but the sound was harsh and bitter.  "No.  That's what's so sick about the whole thing.  We made it through Sierra Leone, Central America and went on over 100 missions against demons, neither one of us really got hurt.  Then we go on vacation and a couple of rednecks decide that the 'faggots' need to be taught a lesson.  Chris died trying to protect me."

"How long ago, mate?"

"Almost eight years ago.  John Marshall and Maggie were the ones who kept me alive and sane.  Them and this house.  I couldn't stay in Chris' anymore, too many memories.  I bought this place and worked my ass off for three months straight, just trying to keep too busy to think.  That's when Maggie showed up.  John sent her to me, and for that, I can never thank him enough.  She's my, our, housekeeper.  But she's a lot more than that.  She's more like a mom than anything."  Xander chuckled, "She's not afraid of anything, or anyone.  I keep telling the General that if we'd put her in charge the demons would run for the hills.  You'll like her, I think.  She helped me set up your room.  Want to go see it?"

Spike realized that the other man was trying to change the subject, but decided to let him get by with it.  "Why not?  Might as well see how bad you've mucked it up."

Xander heaved himself out of his chair and headed down the hall, "You will be eating those words, Spike.  I guarantee it."

Spike followed Harris up the stairs, and finally walked into his new room.  Spike was, frankly, struck dumb. His room took up on whole side of the house and even had its own bathroom.  A king-sized bed covered with a black comforter took up most of one wall.  There was a large dresser, two night stands and a standing wardrobe that matched the dark cherry of the bed.  A large recliner graced one corner.  The bathroom was done in dark blue tile and had a jacuzzi tub.  It was, undoubtedly, the nicest place Spike had been in for a very long time.

Xander crossed the room and opened the wardrobe.  Instead of the storage space Spike was expecting, a large television and stereo system were inside.  Xander clicked on the tv with a remote stored in the cabinet door, "We've got a satellite, so there are more channels than anyone could possibly want.  The stereo is wired throughout the room, there are even cordless headphones stored in the headboard.  Please, use them.  I, personally, don't like the Sex Pistols."  Xander opened the bottom of the cabinet and showed Spike the disks stored there.  "You will be getting paid, so you can buy more when ever you want.  Just let me know and we'll go shopping."  Xander pulled the curtains away from the windows and showed Spike the metal shutters that covered the glass.  "There is no way sunlight can get through these shutters.  And your door locks from the inside.  The door jam is solid steel, and so is the lock.  It'd take a tank to get through.  When we go back downstairs I'll show you the security system and give you the access codes."

"Why are you doing all of this?"  Spike asked.  "I insulted you, fuck, I tried to kill you, more than once.  Why are you doing all of this?  What do you want from me?"

Xander looked Spike in the eye.  "Yeah, you did all of that.  But, you never ignored me.  Hell, you saved my ass a couple of times.  And I need your help, Spike.  Once everything here is settled, we're going back to Sunnydale.  I'm going to need someone who understands me, and understands the way things work on the Hellmouth, to back me up.  Can I trust you to do that?"

Spike looked around his new digs and nodded.  "Yeah, mate.  I'll help you out."  The vampire went into his game face and grinned, "I can't wait to see the look on the Slayer's face when she sees us working together."

Xander laughed, "She's gonna shit."

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