Going For the Throat
Summery: A new and improved Xander sets his sights on someone slightly familiar.
Date: November 15, 2000
**Notes: Charles, you're off the hook. This is Criss' fault. Sorry it took so long, Oh Evil One. ;)

**********

Xander had finally gotten with the program. It had taken twenty years, and numerous beatings, both physical and emotional, from various friends, family members, and nefarious evil things, but Xander got it now. And, it only took seeing what everyone else had been looking at for years.

If Toth wasn't just a big ass stain on his new carpet, the young man might have actually thanked the demon. It's not everyday that a guy gets to see his worst qualities come to life in sniveling Technicolor. It was pathetic. *He* was pathetic. And for what? To be a part of the gang?

Be a funny guy. They?ll keep you around if you make 'em laugh. Be unassuming. They might not always know you're there, but at least you?ll *be* there. Be the idiot. They won't care when you mess up if that's all that they think you do.

He had played it so well. Always overlooking the contributions he made to the group, just because everyone else did. Always kowtowing to Buffy or Willow when in all probability they were just as confused as he was. He hated it, but the times when he did try to break from the norm he was chastised, harshly. The fear of losing what little attention, and at times, affection, they gave was more then enough to keep him in line.

But, high school was long over, and thanks to one unsung, yet valiant act, Xander was able to take a new perspective on the whole situation and use his consequent anger and disgust to become someone else. . . himself.

He knew who he really was, even if no one else had a clue. They'd find out though. . .

However, this night certainly wasn't about his 'friends'. It had taken some doing, for Xander to finally get rid of Anya. He snorted at the memory of her face, scrunched up in confusion, after he had ended the relationship. At least there was no threat of vengeance as the ex-demon had actually believed the 'it's not you, it's me' spiel.

Now, Xander was free. . . and currently trying his damnedest to enjoy that fact. Not that the Bronze was a particularly conducive environment for enjoyment. A band that would consider Radiohead too upbeat was currently onstage and the mood in the club was beyond somber. Xander actually caught himself missing whatever it was that used to come out of the Dingoes' instruments.

He was about to take his leave before people started trying to slice their wrists with shards from coffee cups, when he suddenly thought of Faith.

Psychosis notwithstanding, the rogue Slayer had been on the right track with one thing. Want. Take. Have.

And Xander saw something he wanted.

He was sitting by himself on the other side of the bar, seemingly transfixed by the bottle in front of him. Vaguely Angel-like hair topped off a beautifully handsome face and a body just made to be licked. Xander wet his own lips at that thought. . . and the many others that suddenly came pouring into his head.

But along with the deliciously lascivious ideas forming regarding the broad shouldered man, there was also a flash of memory. Snippets of pure chaos flitted across his mental view screen. Demons, soldiers, and spells. . . death, death, and more death. But, at the end, that guy was there, helping to evacuate the survivors. His face a mask that surpassed even Angel's attempts at staidness. He hadn't been in control of the situation, but he was in control of himself, and Xander had envied that. He had wanted that so badly. And, now that Xander had said control, he simply wanted the man.

No, what he really wanted was to make that stoic, unemotional, impassive military man lose control. Yeah, that could be fun.

Want. . . check. Take. . . getting there. Have. . . before the night was over.

With a less then chaste goal firmly set in his mind, Xander ambled around the bar, easily sliding into the unoccupied seat next to his prey. His prey. Now, that was a combination of words he hadn't thought to put together for a while. He wasn't exactly sure why. They certainly had a nice ring to them.

"Hey."  Xander racked his brain for the name to go with that handsome face.

"Not interested."  Was the surly reply.

Xander's eyes sparkled in the face of such an obvious challenge. Time to change tactics.  "So, is Riley okay and in one piece, or dissected and stuck in a secret government installation somewhere in Nevada?"

That got his attention. Lovely blue eyes narrowed at Xander.  "What do you know about it?"  Distrust and suspicion clear in his voice.

Xander shrugged.  "I know what happened the last time you government types tried to play God."

Realization washed over the soldier's face.  "You were there. The night-"

"All hell broke loose in your little fortress of horrors? Yeah, I was there."  Xander nodded.  "One of the more interesting times I broke into an Army base."

"Marine."  The soldier corrected. He stared hard at the younger man.  "Did Buffy send you?"

"I'm not her errand boy"  Xander said, a bit harsher then he had intended. Those wounds were still fresh.

"Then what are you doing here?"

Xander shrugged.  "Recapturing my youth?"

"No."  Graham shook his head, then stopped when the room kept on moving without his help. He slowly pushed his latest beer away from him.  "I mean, why are you here, sitting beside me, talking to me?"

"Are you particularly averse to it?"  Xander asked, cocking his head to the side.

"No. . . but-"

The younger man sighed, and opted to tell the truth.  "I recognized you, figured you might be civil enough to let me know what happened with Riley."  Well, part of the truth.

"Oh. Okay."  The soldier blinked, and turned back to the bar.  "He's fine."  Suddenly feeling much too sober he reached out to reclaim his beer.

"Are you?"

The beer was forgotten.  "Excuse me?"

"You're drinking alone. . . and in this place."  At that moment a particularly morbid verse from the stage echoed through the nearly empty club.  "Now, I'm not sure about the exact details of military life, but I thought all you guys went looking for drunken orgies in your time off."

"Nah,"  A ghost of a smile appeared on his lips.  "That's just the Navy."

"Ah."  The barrier was definitely developing cracks.  "I'm Xander."

"Graham."

"So, Graham, are you gonna tell me what's wrong, or do I have to guess?"

"Not to be rude, but it?s none of your business."  Graham gave Xander a sideways glance.  "Besides, what do you care?"

"We're not friends, but, I don't know, we're something.  I know about you, you can pretty much guess about me.  I'm offering an ear." Among other appendages he added silently.

Graham thought about this for a moment. The wheels almost audibly clicking through his somewhat intoxicated mind.  "How well do you know this town?"

Xander started slightly.  "I've lived here all my life. Why, what do you want to do?"

Graham's blue eyes were fierce.  "Kill something."

Xander smiled.  "Cool."

*****

Poetry in motion was such an overused phrase, but it fit so well. Graham's movements were fluid, yet controlled. Strength and grace melded together in that amazing muscular body to form a beautifully effective weapon. A fact the demon they had come across was learning the hard way.

Not even watching Angel fight had come close to imbuing Xander with the same sense of wanton depravity this little floor show was inspiring. Armed with only a spare dagger Xander had found in his car, Graham had put his years of combat training to the test. He hadn't had a good knockdown drag out fight in ages, and he had needed one. There was nothing quite like beating the piss out of a six foot tall scale covered harbinger of evil.

Xander shifted slightly, eyes bright, mouth slightly parted. He absently let one hand drift down and readjust himself. He could probably have jerked off right then and there and neither combatant would have been the wiser. The action was that intense, the fighters that evenly matched. But, regardless of Graham's many attributes, he was still human, and he was tiring.

Xander felt a surge of anger and possessiveness as one of the creatures claws finally made contact with the soldier's upper arm. There was no way in hell he was going to miss the chance to be wrapped in that amazing body because some overgrown newt got in a lucky shot. The one on one crap had gone on long enough.

Xander lifted his own knife, which he had 'borrowed' from Giles' collection. Within seconds he saw an opening. Graham had gone down, and the demon was standing over him, crowing his triumph. It was unaware, or indifferent, of the other human in the situation, and Xander instinctively used that to his advantage. Four years of helping the Slayer and one magical night of ingrained military know how didn't automatically make him the best fighter in the world, but he certainly wasn't playing the hapless sidekick tied to the train tracks either.

The demon howled in pain and outrage as the six inch blade plunged into the back of it's neck. Xander held on and sharply twisted the knife, secure in the knowledge that he must have hit *something* vital. He was right. The creature sank to the ground, it's clawed arms trying ineffectively to dislodge the dogged human from its back.

With a hard tug Xander pulled the blade free of the dying demon. He watched indifferently as something yellow bubbled up out of the wound and began to run down the creature's neck. A low, steady moan was emanating from the fanged mouth. A seemingly unending death cry that greatly annoyed the human. Xander sighed deeply, rolled his eyes, and gave it a good swift kick in the head. The moaning stopped, and the mortal chose to ignore the part of his mind that was chortling with glee at the violence and pain he had just been a part of.

"Not. . . bad."  Graham panted.

"Gee, thanks."  Xander turned around, ready to meet whatever sarcasm he might find hidden behind that statement. However, the young man was not prepared for the sight he was confronted with. Graham was on his hands and knees, breathing harshly, as droplets of blood slowly gathered on the ground beneath him. Fingernails bit into his palm as Xander quickly regained control of his higher brain functions. He knew he could let that moment pass. After all, Xander had complete confidence that the soldier was going to be taking that position again sometime soon.

With that lovely thought dancing in his head Xander reached out a hand and helped Graham to his feet.  "Feel any better?"

"Well, except for the whole bleeding thing."  Graham gingerly examined his wounded arm.

Xander peered at the growing red stain on the older man's shirt.  "My apartment is only a couple blocks from here. And, believe me when I say I've got plenty of experience taking care of wounds like that."  Xander carefully studied the solder, wondering what was going through that impassive looking head. Wondering if Graham had any idea what was going to happen to him that night.

"Your apartment?"  Graham slowly thought that over. Then, with a nod, he said,  "Sounds good. Let's go."

*****

"Nice place."  Graham remarked as his eyes wandered around the spacious apartment. He greeted the sight of the ceiling fan with a nod of approval.

"I like it."  Xander put a guiding hand on the small of Graham's back.  "Come on, there're some bandages in the bathroom."  His hand stayed in place until they got to the smaller room, and even then his touch lingered before retrieving the medical supplies from under the sink.

Graham grimaced as he tried to pull off his shirt. The already injured skin stretched causing fresh blood to ooze from the scratches.

"Here,"  Xander quickly offered his assistance.  "Let me help."  He carefully finished removing the material from the soldier's body, trying not to hurt him any more then necessary.

With the shirt off Xander had to resist the urge to just stare as he got his first look at that well-muscled torso. It was hard, incredibly defined, basically hairless, and the younger man wanted nothing more then to taste every inch of it. . . Until Graham turned to assess the damage in the mirror, and Xander got a good look at the soldier's backside.

Drab brown pants hung off the soldier's narrow hips and clung to his ass. For a mindless second Xander envied those pants. But even after his brain started firing all cylinders again, his fingers still itched to find out if those cheeks felt as firm as they looked. The time for pretense was definitely over.

Xander raised his gaze to the mirror. Brown eyes met the reflection of blue, and he let one finger slowly trail down the ridge of the older man's spine.  "You do know what's gonna happen here tonight, right?"

Graham felt a small shudder go through his body at the sound of that voice. Oh, he knew. He had known since Xander had sat down beside him what that night would eventually culminate in. But there was still a voice inside his head which berated him for even considering this liaison. There were too many compromising factors at play. This wasn't just a stranger off the street. It was a good bet that he would have future interactions with this man.  "What if I say no?"  Graham internally winced at the breathlessness quality his voice had already taken on.

Xander suppressed the knowing smirk that threatened to blossom over his face. Now wasn't the time to be cocky. . . that would come later. He lowered his eyes, letting the long fringe of his lashes rest against his cheeks.  "Then, I patch you up and you walk out the door."
Graham closed his eyes, his entire being focused on that soft stroking sensation on his back. The touch. And, suddenly he knew. This was what he wanted, what he needed. The steady throb in his arm reminded him that he wasn't at full strength, but the soldier was more then confident that he could still control the brown eyed beauty behind him.

With his decision made Graham turned around.  "And, if I say yes?"  Blue eyes danced as lips twisted into a smirk.

Xander answered him with a leer. "I'm sure we can figure out something."

*****

Xander grimaced as a rough finger invaded his ass. The fact that the digit was almost excessively slick with lube did little to ease his mind. This was not the way the night was supposed to go. And everything had been progressing so well. The scratches were cleaned and bandaged. Remaining clothes were removed. Various kisses, and touches and "Oh, God, you're hot"s were exchanged. Things were moving at a wonderfully rapid rate, when Xander stopped to retrieve the needed supplies from the nightstand. No sooner had he placed the condoms and lube on the waiting bed, then he was thrown to the ground. Xander had expected a bit of roughness, hoped for it in fact, but not this way.

Graham wasn't wasting any more time being considerate with the young man wriggling beneath him. One large hand was pinning Xander's arms above his head and to the floor. The other was working its way into the surprisingly tight ass. Anticipation growing steadily as those dark eyes glared up at him. Graham was not offput by the almost palpable outrage in the room. Xander may not have liked the change in authority, but he certainly wasn't saying no to anything. That was a good thing. Graham hated sore losers.

Xander grunted and desperately tried to leverage himself out of the situation, but the solid weight on top of him wasn't having any of it. This wasn't happening. It wasn't fair. Graham was supposed to be *his* prey. *His* victim. So many years to make up for, and all he could do was just lay back and take it. Unless. . . there was one thing he could do. . . one possibility. . . but, that wouldn't be very nice at all. . . Fuck it. There was nothing wrong with playing a little dirty.

Xander stopped struggling, and lowered his eyes. He then arched his neck upwards and parted his lips. Asking, begging to be kissed.

Graham blinked a few times at the rapid change. However, never one to ask questions, the soldier accepted the unspoken surrender. He leaned in to meet Xander's mouth, duplicity the last thing on his mind. . . when it really should have been the first.

In the instant before their lips met, Xander reared back and slammed his head into Graham's. Black stars danced in front of blue eyes. Xander took the opportunity to free his arms, a malicious sneer having taken the place of the sweetly serene look of submission. He wasn't done yet.

Graham let out a sharp cry that was as much surprise as pain when Xander's fingers pushed hard into his bandaged shoulder. The unexpected assault left the soldier slightly reeling, but, before Graham could regroup and react Xander gave him a hard shove forward that had the soldier kissing carpet. With a growl a hell beast would have been proud of, Graham started to get up, more pissed now then anything else. But, Xander's instincts saw a golden opportunity, and who was he to pass up such a thing?

Graham froze as blunt teeth clamped down on the back of his neck, not tearing the delicate skin, just. . . holding him there. The soldier's own teeth ground together in irritation at the position he found himself in. The wet heat covering the top of his spinal cord. The heavy, warm weight of Xander's body pressed onto his back. The younger man's cock hard against his hip. There was nothing left to do except try and enjoy what he knew was coming. So, when a questing finger began to stroke between his cheeks, Graham simply relaxed into the feeling. He let his head hang down, hoping Xander would quit with the bad puppy routine.

Pleased with the obvious subjugation, Xander released his hold on the older man. He gently licked the abused skin while his one free hand fruitlessly searched for the needed supplies. With a grumble of annoyance, Xander tore his mouth completely away from Graham's neck and raised his head, eyes searching fervently. The condoms and lube had ended up only a few feet away, but far enough that Xander would have to completely loose his tenuous hold on the soldier. Hoping Graham wouldn't try and take advantage of the situation, Xander leaned over and nipped at a sensitive earlobe.  "Don't move."

Graham obeyed, albeit not without mentally weighing his prospects if he chose to fight for dominance again. However, his arm told him quite succinctly that any further actions would just be prolonging the inevitable. Oh, he was certain he could get out of the situation, but not without seriously ruining the mood, and possibly injuring Xander, which Graham absolutely did not want to do. The guy was friends with the Slayer, not to mention the various witches, vigilante vampires, and werewolves that hung around their group. No, Graham decided he was content to submit. . . this time.

Xander returned with the paraphernalia, inordinately pleased that Graham was keeping his pose. He lightly slapped the soilder's bottom. "Good boy."  He ignored the answering grumble and tugged on the older man's hips.

With a greatly put upon sigh, Graham rose to his knees. He spread his legs, giving Xander easy access. The younger man smiled at the motion, happy that there would be no more challenges to him.  Happy that they could both finally get around to the fornication part of the evening. Of course, since Graham had insisted on wasting such valuable time trying to assert himself Xander decided to take it out of the allotted foreplay section of the act. 'Want. Take. Have' had been usurped by 'Fuck. Now.'

Long fingers hastily prepared the soldier. Xander was as considerate as his current state of mind allowed, but from Graham's occasional grunts of approval it seemed to be enough. It was more then enough for the younger man, who suddenly couldn't seem to take his eyes off the place where their flesh joined. The thought of his cock in there, in *him*, made Xander virtually tingle with desire.

Graham was already breathing harshly, almost ashamed that this civilian, this *kid*, had gotten to him so quickly. The questing touches at his ass disappeared and was almost immediately replaced with something bigger, something much better. Graham's fingers dug into the carpet as Xander pressed deep inside of him. He couldn't help but moan when the younger man pulled out, and then moan again when he pushed back in. Okay, maybe losing did have it's perks.

For his part, Xander wished that Graham would stop moaning. It was hard enough trying to retain control, what with that gloriously tight heat surrounding him. *Graham* surrounding him. His mind kept going back to that. He wasn't fucking a stranger. Xander was going to make this last. Xander was going to make the soldier-boy scream. He did have time, after all. If there was one thing Xander had learned from the year with Anya, it was staying power.

Graham dearly loved the rhythm that was slowly built. Not gentle. Not vicious. Xander had found a happy medium involving just enough fierceness to make it that much better. Tiny mewls of pleasure were added to the cacophony of sex sounds and it took Graham a good four or five thrusts to realize they were coming out of his mouth.

Xander smiled inanely at those sounds and wondered how he could garner more of them. His fingers pressed into the firm flesh of Graham's hips as his own hips began to move faster. Xander had been wrong about taking his time. Lasting with Anya was one thing. Lasting with the beautifully sculpted specimen who was currently beneath him was a different matter entirely.

Xander reached around and under Graham?s torso, pulling up and back so the soldier was flush against his chest. Still buried balls deep, the younger man firmly stroked the hard column of flesh jutting out from Graham's body.

Graham didn't need much encouragement. He felt that familiar wave of nirvana roll over him, and he threw his head back as he came, his inner muscles squeezing out Xander's own orgasm. Two cries of pure pleasure echoed through the apartment. Not quite the scream Xander was hoping for, but specifics didn't really matter at that point. They stayed that way, one panting, shuddering mass until finally it was too much. Completely spent, they both collapsed onto the floor, Xander using only enough energy to roll himself off of his new lover.

When he was secure in the knowledge that there would be no goofy grins on his face, Graham slowly raised his head. Blue eyes bored relentlessly into the side of Xander's skull.  "You know if it wasn't for my arm I would've nailed you through the floor."

Xander smirked.  "Yeah, sure, whatever."  Baiting was so much fun.

"Next time things will be different."  The soldier punctuated that statement with a determined nod.

Xander turned his head, eyebrows raised questioningly.  "Who says there's gonna be a next time?"

Graham narrowed his eyes as his mouth twisted into a lecherous grin.  "I do."

Xander matched the grin with one of his own, though slightly more feral, just as much a promise that whatever this was, it was far from over.  "Cool."

**********

Like Old Times
Summary: Riley gets drunk, and Graham gets some unexpected information about Xander
Date: November 30, 2000

**********

Graham slowly sipped his beer as his eyes wandered around the less then reputable establishment.  "Interesting place. You come here often?"

Riley snorted.  "I swear, if the next words out of your mouth are 'What's your sign?' I'm gonna belt you."

"Sorry, Ri, but you're not exactly my type."  Graham smiled wryly at the thought. No, Riley wasn't his type at all. He was too tall, his hair and eyes too light. And, the stick shoved up his ass probably wouldn't allow for anything else to work its way in there. Riley wouldn't be any fun. . . but he would serve a purpose.  'D in covert ops' guy had a plan.

"No, really,"  Graham turned a questioning gaze on his companion. "I've heard stories about this place. Don't you think it's kinda like walking into the lion's den?"  In Graham's peripheral vision he noticed another patron enter the room. Its iridescent scales reflected the light in a really very lovely way.

"They re not gonna hurt me."  Riley said, eyes fixed on the refilled glass in front of him.  "I'm the Slayer's boyfriend."

Graham's eyebrows rose at the amount of contempt he heard in the other man's voice. He frowned, and hoped that the whole exemption thing also covered the guy sitting next to the Slayer's boyfriend.  "Things not going so well on the Buffy front?"

Riley's eyes narrowed.  "You?d like that, wouldn't you?"

"Of course not."  Graham said, lying through his teeth.  "But you don't exactly sound like. . ."

"Like what?"

"Like you used to."

Riley smirked.  "I changed. We all did. There's nothing wrong with that."

"Your liver might disagree with you."   Graham said as he watched his companion down another shot.

"Gee, Graham, If I had known there would be a ragging on me portion of the evening, I think I would have bowed out of this little get together."

"Not ragging, just observing."  Graham said calmly.

"Oh."  Riley rolled the empty glass in his fingers.  "And what exactly have you observed?"

Graham studied him for a moment.  "You look like shit, Ri."

"Thanks."  Riley motioned to the bartender.

"Look, I know we aren't exactly best buds right now, but. . ."  Graham shrugged.  "I'm trying here, man."

"And I'm not?"  Riley stared at his former friend, then bowed his head.  "Yeah, I'm not."  He ran his finger around the edge of his glass, his eyes lost in the amber liquid.  "I guess, being around you, it's easy to remember how things were. Sure, we were lab rats in a giant government experiment, and we were indirectly involved in a plot that would destroy life as we know it, but we were happy. Ignorance is bliss and all that."

Graham nodded.  "But, you're not happy now?"

"I don't know what I am."   Riley said quietly.  "It's just. . . one of the reasons I felt so okay about leaving the Corps is because I thought I was gonna have a place here. I thought I was gonna belong."

"And now you don't?"  Graham cocked his head.  "What, her friends don't accept you?"

"No, no, her friends are great. Really."  Riley smiled.  "They've actually made me feel welcome."

"Even that other guy?"  Graham asked carefully, hoping he conveyed nothing more then friendly curiosity.  "I would think that there would be at least a little tension, you know, with you honing in on his territory."

Riley frowned, confusion marring his features.  "Um. . .Giles isn't really like that. He's British, you know?"

Somehow Graham resisted the urge to roll his eyes.  "No, I mean the younger guy. What's his name?"

"Oh. Xander. Interesting guess, but, no way. Xander's really nice to me. And besides, the guy's a total goofball. He's harmless."  Luckily Riley was too caught up in his upcoming diatribe to notice Graham gaping at him.  "No, this is all about Buffy. And, I know that she's having trouble dealing with that thing with her mom, but still. . ."  Riley woefully shook his head.  "It's like, I'm this prop or something. Someone for her to drag out when she needs to be coddled, or reassured, or when she's horny. I get a lot of attention then. But, other times it's like-"

Graham continued to occasionally nod as Riley droned on. . . and on, but the brunt of his mind quickly became occupied with something else.

Goofball?

Helpless?

Was there more then one Xander in the Slayer's little circle, 'cause there was no way in hell Graham could associate the words goofball and helpless with the man who had forced him to his knees and fucked him senseless. The man who had made him moan, and whimper, and more sexually satisfied then Graham had been in a very long time.

There was something there, something inside Xander that had the soldier obsessing over the encounter long after the time most of his sexual escapades fell by the mental wayside. It wasn't just the fighting, or the fucking. It was the silent determination inside the younger man. The resilience mixed with a healthy dose of lust that finally had him mastering the soldier. Xander knew what he wanted, he didn't give up until he got it, and he never once opted to take the easy way out. One word, and Graham would have backed off, but he knew Xander never even considered saying no to anything. Oh, he didn't like being pinned to the floor with a finger up his ass, but he wasn't *that* opposed to it either.

And that was the real reason Graham was still thinking about the encounter two weeks later, the reason he was back in Sunnydale again. He had latched on to the very delicious possibility that, in Xander, he had finally found a man with a sexual appetite to match his own.

So he was sitting in Willy's bar with an increasingly intoxicated Riley Finn, trying to pump him for information about the brown eyed young man. . . not that that plan had really worked. Except, maybe, to tell him that Xander was certainly more than anyone expected him to be. Then again, Riley was never that observant anyway. But, he was probably going to realize that Graham wasn't fully into the conversation.

With that thought, the soldier snapped back to the present just in time to hear Riley say-

"What do you think?"

Years of practiced staidness helped Graham avoid the 'deer caught in headlights' look. He took a swallow of beer, then smoothly said,  "I think I'm gonna have to agree with you there."

Riley nodded triumphantly.  "I knew it was a good idea."

Slightly apprehensive over what he may have just encouraged, Graham simply gave him a wary smile.

Riley smiled back.  "You know, this has been nice."  Riley fiddled with his empty glass.  "I've missed stuff like this, Graham. I've missed you. . . and Forrest. I don't want to have to keep choosing."  His voice faltered for a moment, then came back, sure and strong.  "So, I'm not. There's this meeting thing at the magic shop tomorrow night. Why don't you come?"

Graham stared into Riley's eyes, pinned by the earnestness he saw there. He ached to say yes if for nothing else then to ease some of the hurt in this man he once considered to be like a brother. However, honesty won out over altruism.  "I don't know if that would be such a great idea."  Graham said carefully.  "I doubt Buffy would be too pleased to see me."

"Even better."  Riley looked a bit startled at his choice of words. He blinked a few times.  "You know, it might be the large quantity of alcohol I consumed, but I'm feeling kinda vindictive."  A slightly malicious grin stretched across his face.  "Come on. It could be fun."

Graham decided that there might be hope for his former commander yet. He thought about the considerations involved in visiting the Slayer's headquarters. While he really didn't want to want to see Buffy again. . . ever. . . it would be a nice, not too contrived way to get close to Xander.

And, with that last thought spreading a warm tingle through his belly, Graham smiled.  "Okay. I'm there."  After all, he had a promise to keep.

**********


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