"Would I lie to you?"
"Yeah, okay. But would I lie to you about something like this? I'm still evil, but... I'd never be that cruel to you, Xan."
Xander blinked again and looked from the glossy brochure in his hand to the vampire almost imperceptibly bouncing in the middle of their kitchen.
"So... this is for real? Hershey's have really opened a spa in LA? With..." He flipped through the pages and stopped at a picture that just plain boggled his mind. "Chocolate mud baths?" Flip. "Chocolate body wraps?" Flip. "Full body massages with cocoa butter?"
Spike watched his love's eyes glaze with lust and ignored the twinge of jealousy he felt towards the confectionary that was responsible. He knew that, ultimately, he would be the one to reap the benefits.
"All that and more, Xan. And we're booked in for a full day of pampering and luxury. We drive up tonight, spend the night in the hotel next door and then, first thing in the morning, we walk through the doors of Hershey's first ever choco-spa and they treat us like royalty."
"Like royalty?" A frown pinched the skin between Xander's brows, and Spike's fingers itched to smooth it away. It was a decidedly un-evil impulse, and he smothered it.
"That sounds expensive, Spike. How...?"
"I did a favour for old Milt a few months ago. We got to talking and he mentioned his newest venture. I told him a bit about you and he said we'd be welcome any time, just give him a call first so he could set it all up."
The truth of it seemed to hit Xander all at once, and he dragged a chair out from under the kitchen table and collapsed into it, pulling Spike down onto his lap.
"Chocolate mud baths, " he whispered, awed beyond belief. "I get to bathe in chocolate. I've been dreaming of this for years, and now, finally, I... Wait a minute. 'Old Milt'? You're not... You... you can't mean... Not Milton Hershey? You must mean a descendant, right? A great grandson or something, not..."
Spike grinned wickedly. " Sorry, Xan. Milt's a K'Tzaal demon. He's about 400 years old, give or take a decade. His father introduced the Mayans to chocolate, and they worshipped him for it. History calls him a god, but then you humans have always had a habit of getting things back to front. The Aztecs called him Quetzalcoatl." Xander's mouth formed a perfect 'O' of recognition, and Spike leaned in for a quick kiss before continuing.
"The family kept a low profile after the Spaniards arrived in South America and buggered everything up, and when they realised there was no way they could go back to their usual haunts, they eventually moved to Europe. 'T's why the Swiss and the Belgians are so bloody clever with chocolate."
That night Xander dreamed of bathing in chocolate and woke up smiling.
Six feet from the reception desk Spike was suddenly jerked to a halt when Xander grabbed his shoulder.
"Spike!" he hissed, keeping one eye trained on the redhead behind the desk. "I know you said Milton was a demon, but she looks human. What about everyone else here? The attendants, the massage people, everyone! What if they notice your suspicious lack of a pulse, your tendency not to breathe on a regular basis? We can't do this, Spike. It's too dangerous!"
Xander tugged ineffectually at Spike's arm, failing to move him even an inch.
"Xan..." Spike reached out and grabbed hold of his panicking partner, blunt teeth biting into his cheek to prevent the silly grin he knew was trying to spread across his face at this show of how much Xander loved him. More than bathing in chocolate, apparently, which was a wonderful thing to know. Who ever would have thought he'd fall arse over teakettle for someone as goofy and over-excitable as this amazing human?
"Xander, calm down. Everyone working here is either a demon or a demon-friendly human. There are wards and glamours in place so no visitors freak out, but they probably won't bother with them for a Master Vampire and his Consort."
"Oh." Unable to resist, Spike leaned forward and kissed the sheepish grin adorning his Consort's tanned face.
"Now, are you done panicking?" Nod. "Good." Spike tangled their fingers together and marched them both over to the reception, where the slender redhead stood, pointedly not eavesdropping as she typed busily at the computer.
"Aurelius, luv. Party of two. Old Milt made the booking himself so I'm betting we're the most important clients you've got today."
A blinding smile, packed full of suspiciously perfect teeth, flashed for just a moment, and then the receptionist was all business, printing off a copy of their scheduled appointments.
"Welcome to Hershey's Heaven On Earth Spa, Master Spike. If you'll just follow Marta she'll take you to the changing area and you can start enjoying your day here." Two heads turned to follow the pointing finger she had aimed to their left, and they belatedly noticed a tiny, waiflike blonde, no more than four feet tall, hovering nervously in a doorway framed by ferns and potted palms.
Wordlessly, Marta took the printed schedule, skimmed it, and then led them along a wide, airy corridor, stopping at the first door on the right. With a flourish, she pulled it open and ushered them into a small, dimly lit room decorated in soothing greens and blues. There was a click as she pulled the door closed, and then they were alone.
A sea foam green chaise stood against the wall to the left, and an empty shelving unit stood across from it. A selection of robes in varying sizes and colours hung on a rail along the wall opposite the door, and Spike quickly and accurately selected two, a deep royal blue for himself and a rich chocolate brown for his Consort. Next he bent and selected two of the multiple pairs of soft cotton slippers that were lined up on the floor beneath the robes. When he turned back, Xander was still standing where he'd been left, eyes slightly unfocussed and a look of absolute bliss on his face.
Xander turned wearing a beatific smile. "I'm gonna bathe in chocolate, Spike."
The vampire let out a sharp bark of laughter and then started shrugging out of his clothes, stacking them neatly on one of the shelves.
"We both are, pet. Now, strip and put these on so we can get to it."
Spike watched as Xander peeled his shirt off and skinned quickly out of his jeans, tempted to tumble him onto the chaise. Under normal circumstances he would have done it without thinking twice, but he suspected that this time Xander might actually rebuff him in favour of getting to bathe in chocolate. With a smirk, Spike decided to postpone the tumble until Xander was feeling more amenable. He wondered how big those chocolate baths actually were. Room enough for two, maybe?
A knock on the door had Xander scrambling for the belt on his robe, double-checking to see that he was properly covered. Spike considered pointing out that he'd be naked soon enough, but decided he'd rather enjoy seeing Xander figure it out for himself. With a sigh he scooped up his Consort's discarded clothing and piled it on the shelf next to his before opening the door to see Marta waiting patiently outside.
Silently she led them through a maze of identical corridors, past pastel-coloured anonymous doors until they finally reached their destination. The pale apricot door swung open at a touch, and again Marta stood back and ushered them inside.
Neither heard the click as the door closed. Spike was too busy watching Xander, and Xander was too busy trying to take in the contents of the room. A pair of what look suspiciously like luxuriously appointed dentists chairs stood next to one another, each surrounded by small basins on stands set at various heights. And at each basin stood a pair of tiny, winged blue creatures that, if pushed, Xander would have been forced to admit looked remarkably like the pixies in the Harry Potter movie he kept hidden behind the porn on the video shelves in the bedroom.
A movement to the left caught his attention and he turned to watch an identical pair of 'pixies' float elegantly towards them.
"Master Spike, if you and your honoured Consort would each take a seat we can begin your treatment. We trust that you will have no dispute with our touching the Consort?" They spoke in tandem, and it took Xander a moment to figure out what they meant.
"Spike? Are they asking for your permission to touch me? Why not ask me?"
Spike put a hand on his arm and turned to the twins.
"There will be no dispute. My Consort and I are both here to be indulged. While we are here today my Consort is to be treated as you would treat me."
Xander waited until they were both seated before asking again.
"They need your permission to touch me, Spike? When did that happen?"
"It happened when you agreed to become my Consort, Xan. I told you that some demons see human Consorts as property not as partners. Most vampires feel that way, and a lot other demons know it, so they act accordingly. These are Peschkaya; their race has been around almost as long as vampires, and they remember the old ways. Back then a Consort, human or demon, was seen as the most precious thing a vampire owned, and, as such, no one else was allowed to touch. It's an honour, pet. Don't fuss about it."
Any response Xander might have given was lost as tiny hands encouraged him to lift his feet and lower them into basins filled with warm oil that smelled faintly of almonds and the ever-present chocolate. Then more tiny hands were on his arms, guiding his own into matching basins. As he let his appendages be tugged and patted into place, another pair of Peschkaya fluttered up and settled, one sitting on each shoulder. They reached up and touched his brow, obviously wanting him to shut his eyes, but Xander didn't comply until he saw Spike acquiesce to the unspoken plea of his own attendants. Only then did he relax into the chair and allow his eyes to close.
The hot moist flannel that was draped across his face was a surprise, but the tiny hands that stroked his neck and shoulders eased his panicked reaction almost before it got started, and Xander quickly got used to the heat and weight and the dampness of the air as it filtered through the cloth. When it was removed, as unexpectedly as it had appeared, he automatically lifted his head, trying to follow the heat. There was a series of rapid clicks, and then a gentle tug on the hair at the nape of his neck, accompanied by soft apologetic sounds, which encouraged him to return his head to the padded rest.
As his head tilted further and further back, Xander recalled hearing the clicks, and understood that the Peschkaya had tilted the rest back as far as it would go. When he was finally settled, the creatures on his shoulders began to apply a cocoa butter lotion to his skin, tiny fingers rubbing circles at his temples, moving across his cheeks and down his jaw line with strong sure strokes.
It was the most amazing thing he'd ever felt, and then it was happening to his hands, and to his feet, and... Had anyone ever paid this much attention to his feet? Had he? It tickled a little, but he could feel every miniature fingertip as they pressed and manipulated the muscles and joints of his feet. Sensation ricocheted around his body, and he made a mental note to listen the next time Willow tried to tell him about reflexology. If such tiny hands could cause such a reaction, who knew what human-sized ones could do?
All too soon, insistent tugs on his fingers and toes told him it was time to remove them from their comfortable homes, and he submitted to the will of the Peschkaya, lifting them so that they could be guided onto clean dry towels, then wrapped and patted to remove excess oil.
When Xander finally opened his eyes, he turned to see Spike curled on his side, watching him from under lowered lashes.
"So, Xan. What did you think of your first ever facial, manicure and pedicure?"
Xander grinned. "What makes you think that was my first, Spike? I grew up in a cloud of oestrogen, remember? Buffy and Willow used to experiment on me all the time." He spoke quickly, forestalling the imminent pout. "But that was nothing like this, Spike. This was..." He sighed, and wiggled his fingers and toes, trying to find the words that would do the experience justice. "This was like heaven on earth, Spike. Milt knew what he was on about when he named this place."
Spike clapped once, then jumped up, wriggling his toes back into the waiting cotton slippers. "C'mon, pet. Up and at 'em. There's plenty more of heaven to be experienced yet."
Marta was again outside the door, ready to lead them through another, or maybe the same, maze of off-white corridors, not reacting until she found the door she was looking for. It was lilac, and again, it opened at a touch. Spike and Xander allowed themselves to be ushered inside, curious about what they were going to experience this time.
A statuesque Nordic blonde, with ice blue eyes and a too-strong jaw, turned to greet them, and in minutes they were seated side by side on a low creamy leather sofa, hands wrapped around large steaming mugs, watching as their hostess stirred a large vat of dark brown viscous liquid that smelled, over and above the ever-present chocolate, rather herby and slightly mentholated.
Xander lifted his mug and took a huge gulp, and for a second Spike considered warning him, then settled back to watch his Consort's reaction to the beverage.
The first difference he noticed was the texture. The hot chocolate was thicker than he'd expected, gloopy, even. And then the taste hit him, tingling across his tongue and along his gums before burning a path down his throat to his stomach. Chilli. And... He took another mouthful. Yes, under the slightly bitter taste of dark chocolate and the zing of chilli, he could taste honey, and something else. A third mouthful, and he was making a mental note to ask for the recipe before they left. If he served this at the next Scoobies get-together, the girls would worship him forever. Or something. They'd certainly beg to know the secret ingredients.
Spike was impressed. He'd half expected a grimace and a hurried search for somewhere to spit when Xander first tasted the chocolate, prepared along the lines of the original Maya recipe, but he'd been pleasantly surprised to see Xander savour the unusual taste. By his anticipatory expression, Spike could tell that he was planning to serve the concoction to 'his girls' once they got back. The vampire grinned. Willow would no doubt enjoy the new taste, but Buffy... Well, Buffy hated change. Watching her try to wrap her head around the concept of chilli-flavoured chocolate would be fun.
A discreet cough brought both of their heads whipping round.
"Master Spike, whom do you wish to be wrapped first, yourself or your honoured Consort?" As she spoke, the attendant pulled back a thick cream curtain along one wall and revealed two hospital trolley-type beds that looked much too comfortable to be in any hospital Xander had, or would, ever set foot inside.
Spike did the eyebrow thing, silently telling Xander that the choice was up to him. Xander shrugged, not entirely sure what he was being asked.
"If I might suggest...?" Both men turned back to her. "It may be best if your Consort is wrapped first, Master Spike. I can talk you through the more intimate parts of the procedure so that you may take care of them yourself." A lightning quick glance over Xander's groin completed her explanation, and both men blinked.
"Uh, yeah, Spike. I'll go first. You can... um... wrap the necessary bits and pieces."
Xander found himself doing an embarrassed shuffle when it finally occurred to him that he had to remove the robe and get naked in front of this unknown woman. Spike watched, silently understanding, as he had a quick mental argument with himself that was ended by the emphatic thought 'the quicker I get naked and coated in chocolate, the quicker I get to see Spike get naked and coated in chocolate'. The robe went flying and Xander stood, naked and proud, waiting to be told what was going to happen him now.
Five minutes later he was flat on his back on one of the beds that had been draped in linen strips and painted in chocolate as gloopy as the stuff in the mug. He tried not to squirm as more chocolate paste was painted onto his feet and legs before linen was wrapped tightly around his limbs and secured. Everywhere the chocolate paste was applied seemed to tingle slightly, and he suddenly seemed to have more nerve endings than he'd ever imagined.
His eyes sought out Spike, who was at his head, the better to oversee every move. A quick squeeze of his shoulder reassured Xander that he needn't panic, and then Spike was moving down his side to stand level with his groin.
Xander watched and listened and tried not to get hard as their assistant talked Spike through the procedure of coating his cock and balls thoroughly in brown goo and then wrapping them in smaller linen strips before binding the whole package to his left thigh.
With a hard squeeze to the now secure family jewels, Spike stepped back to his place near Xander's head and resumed his hawk-eyed examination of the wrapping procedure. The sensation of having his legs strapped together was slightly off-putting, and Xander needed further reassurance when it came time to bind his arms to his body, but Spike was there with soothing words and gentle touches before he even said a word. He made sure that Xander's head was angled so that he could see the other bed, knowing that his Consort would be feeling vulnerable now he couldn't move.
Watching Spike get painted and wrapped gave new meaning to the word frustration. All Xander wanted to do was jump up and begin licking the chocolate off his vampire. Only tightly bound linen stopped him from following his instincts. It also kept him from embarrassing himself too much, though he could feel the binding around his left thigh pull tighter as his cock stirred.
Eventually they were both mummified in chocolate, and told to relax for the next twenty minutes. The discreet presence of their attendant prevented the conversation they most likely would have had, and, considering the competency of the wrappings, that was probably a good thing. Instead, Xander asked a question that had been bugging him since they'd left the Peschkaya in their little room.
"Spike, I know you said there were glamours and stuff in place here, but how could they make anyone believe those little blue critters were human?"
"Those first ones came in at eye level, remember? They do that so the voice comes from the right place. All it takes is a bit of mojo and you're looking at a mock-up of a human that only has to get you across the room to the chair, and then you're draped in a hot flannel and you can't see anything. A touch more magic and presto, you sleep through the best manicure-pedicure-facial of your life. Simple."
Xander frowned. "That's so simple it's scary. Now I'm wondering how many times that trick has been pulled on me and I never knew. I always used to zone out in my dentist's office. You don't think...?"
After what seemed to be only a few minutes, a discreet cough again caught their attention.
"It is time to unwrap now. Master Spike?"
"You see to the honoured Consort, luv, and I'll take care of myself." With one phenomenal flex of muscle and sinew, Spike forced himself upright and freed his arms. Trailing stiffened linen, he began to peel off his outer layers, watching as Xander was unwrapped with less speed but more finesse.
Again, the attendant avoided touching any part of Xander's groin, deftly untying the linen that bound that particular package to his thigh before stripping off the remaining wrappings. Spike was there to take over, moving stiffly due to his almost solidified chocolate shell and Xander had to restrain the urge to take a huge bite of his confectionary coated lover.
"There is a large shower behind this curtain," they were informed politely. "The paste is completely edible but moderation would certainly be wise. Some of the herbs have a diuretic effect if ingested in quantity." A click let them know they were alone in the room, and Xander blinked away the pictures in his head before...
"Makes you pee like a racehorse, luv, so let's not get carried away, eh?"
Slowly, the chocolate-impeded pair shuffled over to the corner containing the shower, and while Xander adjusted the temperature to not-quite-skin-peeling, Spike examined the available products.
"Cocoa butter soaps, cocoa butter shower milk, cocoa butter body scrub with, oh look, granulated cocoa pod husk. I'm sensing a bit of a theme here, Xan."
Spike turned, bottles in hand, and simply watched as Xander stepped beneath the powerful three-headed shower and tilted his face up to catch the full force of falling water. The boy, man really, was beautiful, especially wet. Otter sleek hair. Slick skin pulled tight over hard muscle and strong bone. Long-lashed eyes so deep and full of love Spike sometimes got lost in them, gazing until Xander got all shy and fidgety and made him stop.
From the look on his Consort's face, Spike assumed that it wasn't the first time his name had been called.
"You just gonna stand there and watch or are you joining me?" Xander was slowly peeling blobs of half-solid paste from his chest as he spoke, and as first one nipple and then the other was uncovered, Spike licked his lips and stepped forward under the torrent.
"Oh, I think there's room in here for two." With a feral grin he leaned forward and licked the remaining smears of chocolate off Xander's left nipple.
"Gah!" Spike looked like a cat with a hairball. Mouth as wide as it would go and tongue extended, he turned his face up to the water and quickly filled his mouth, gargled, spit, and repeated the action several times as Xander watched in mute amazement.
"Uh, Spike? You okay?"
"That." Spit. "Tastes." Grimace. "Foul." Spike scrubbed his tongue with the back of one hand, then realised what he'd done and began the fill, gargle, spit cycle all over again.
"Yeah?" Xander gave his arm a tentative lick but couldn't taste much beyond chocolate. Still watching his lover's manic rinse repeat action, he pulled a small chunk of paste from his forearm, rolled it into a ball, and began to nibble on it. It tasted faintly minty, and a little like how grass smelled when it had just been mowed, but he couldn't understand what had got Spike so upset. Or he couldn't until he actually bit down on a tiny shred of the green stuff mixed in with the chocolate, and then he completely understood.
It tasted like the smell you got when someone forgot to take the garbage out and it liquefied in the bin. It tasted like the smell that wafted up from the stagnant water he used to find collected in the old tin buckets out behind Granny Harris' place, full of dead insects and the occasional drowned, rotting rat.
There wasn't a strong enough word to describe the taste, and he quickly copied Spike's actions, resolutely ignoring the muffled snickers coming from the blond by his side.
Without too much touching and teasing, they managed to strip most of the gloop from their skin, and then Spike held up the body scrub and they lathered up, rinsed and lathered up again. After the third application, Spike leaned in and licked again, this time Xander's right nipple. He straightened up, rolling his tongue around inside his mouth as though savouring the taste.
"Hmm, I think you'll do."
Grinning delightedly, Xander pulled him in close, both arms wrapped tightly around him, and bumped their groins together.
"Think we've got time?"
Spike reached down and dragged one fingertip slowly from the root of Xander's cock to the damp spongy crown. "I think we can make time, luv." Grabbing the bottle of shower milk he poured a generous amount into his hands, forming a tight tunnel around both eager erections. The position was slightly awkward, but Spike didn't want Xander to loosen his hold for even a moment. With a slight twist of his hips he got them properly aligned and he began to work both shafts together, ignoring the copious amounts of foam that spilled out from between their bodies and instead focussing on the erotic slipslide of skin on skin, cock against cock.
As he worked them harder and faster, Spike tilted his head slightly and was able to press one ear to his lover's chest. He could hear, could feel, the heart beating inside, faster and faster as their mutual pleasure rose and peaked, and then they were both shuddering and gasping and trying not to collapse onto the wet tiles.
"Wow. Spike, that was..."
"Over too damn fast?"
"No!" The gleam in Spike's eye registered, and Xander shrugged. "Well, yeah, we're not usually finished that quickly, but... It was good, Spike. It's all good with you. And, the quicker we get our robes back on the quicker we get to the chocolate bath. I know you have nefarious plans for that."
Spike tried out his 'Who, me?' expression, but wasn't surprised when Xander just laughed. He knew it needed more work.
After drying off, which called for much snapping of towels and inappropriate touching, they slipped their robes and slippers back on and opened the door, supremely unsurprised to find Marta waiting patiently outside.
Once again they were led along corridor after corridor, past innumerable pastel-tinted doors until they reached their next appointment. The door opened to a touch, and they entered, curious to see what was going to happen next.
The walls were disguised with greenery; huge palms, lush green ferns, and what looked like a dozen different types of orchid. The air was humid and hot, and full of the sound of tumbling water, though none was visible. Spike nudged Xander and directed his gaze to a speaker tucked discreetly behind the trunk of one of the trees and they grinned and shrugged to one another. The sound was relaxing, whether or not it was real.
Then they turned their attention to the tableau in the centre of the room. Twin massage beds and beside them, two masseurs. Xander froze for a moment and then turned to Spike seeking confirmation of what his eyes were telling him.
"Ah, Spike? Those guys look kind of big and red. And they have horns. And tails. And they have four arms. Each. Is it time to die now?"
Resolutely ignoring the amused looks on the faces of the Drovnit demons, Spike set about reassuring Xander that it was not time to die.
Facedown on the massage bed, Xander was again assailed by doubts.
"You're absolutely sure about this?"
"Xander, I know they look big and dangerous, but..." "They're seven feet tall with horns and pointy tails, Spike, of course they look big and dangerous!"
"They look big and dangerous," reiterated Spike, "but they're not. It's like protective colouration. They look big and bad so no one will try anything on with them. They're really cream puffs on the inside." He glared at the one nearest him, who looked like he was about to object. A swift flick of Spike's chin in Xander's already prone direction had the demon nodding and miming the zipping of his mouth. Spike rolled his eyes.
"Anyway, pet, if they give you any trouble, just give their tail a good pull. That'll shut 'em up."
Xander perked up at that bit of information. "Really? Does it, like, kill them or something?"
Both demons turned to stare open-mouthed at Spike, who bit his lip before replying.
"No, Xan, but they'll be too turned on to do much in the way of violence for a while."
"They're not tails, are they Spike?"
Xander was glad he had his face hidden in the hole in the massage table, because he could feel his cheeks burning with mortification. When was he ever going to learn not to make assumptions about non-human life forms? And when was Spike going to stop taking advantage of his assumptions? He re-ran that last question though his mind and then relaxed, grinning. Spike was never going to change, but he would also never put his consort in danger, and that meant that, however dangerous these guys looked, Xander was safe. He trusted Spike to look out for him, to look after him, and that meant he could lie back, or rather, forward, and enjoy the massage. Even if it did feel a bit odd to have four hands roaming all over his naked body, especially knowing they all belonged to the same person.
Half an hour later, the Drovnit demons helped them back into their robes, courteously fastening their belts and stooping to ease their slippers onto feet that felt limp and boneless. Just like the rest of their respective bodies.
Xander and Spike both moved to the door in slow motion, trying to get muscles as limp as spaghetti to respond to commands. Two sets of glassy eyes focussed on Marta as she stood outside the doorway and then there were matching groans. Neither man felt up to another long walk through a myriad of identical corridors but neither had the strength to actually say it, and they both gazed mournfully at the tiny woman who was about to inflict yet another forced march on them.
A tiny smile flickered across her face, and then she turned and opened the door directly behind her and led them inside, for the first time actually entering a room.
Once they were all inside she closed the door and waved her charges to the large comfortable sofa before crossing to an urn that stood on a low wooden table against the opposite wall.
A scant minute later she was back, carrying two large mugs of chocolate and a plate of chocolate chip cookies, which she handed over with a small bow before slipping back out of the room.
Spike and Xander sipped and nibbled in silence for a while as they slowly shook off the lethargy caused by the unbelievably intense full body massages. The aroma of cocoa butter was like a separate entity in the room. It even overpowered the chilli-spiced drinks clasped between hands that were still a little shaky.
Spike grinned. "Yeah."
"Have you ever...?"
"D'you think maybe..."
"Birthdays? Christmas? Weekends?"
"Not too often, Xan, or we'll never be able to actually do anything. But I think we should be able to arrange something on a regular basis."
"I wonder if they do house calls?"
By the time they finished the drinks, and the suspiciously re-energizing cookies, they were both ready for whatever came next. They shared a deep, chilli-flavoured kiss, and then crossed to the door, confident that Marta would be waiting for them.
Sure enough, she was there to lead them on to their next destination. This time it was to a set of tan double doors at the far end of the same stretch of corridor, and again she joined them in the room. A matching set of doors graced the opposite wall, against the third wall stood a set of shelving units, filled with towels and two stacks of familiar clothing, and the remaining wall was taken up by another huge cream leather sofa.
Marta handed them both immense towels and shooed them across the room to the second set of doors.
"Bath. Is edible. Not like wrap." She stuck out a slender pink tongue that Xander belatedly noticed was split, and then she clapped her hands. "Enjoy!" And before either man could thank her, she was gone.
"So, not human then?"
The look Spike threw at Xander made him halt, one hand on the door. "What?"
"Xan, she was barely four feet tall, built like a five year old, and her feet never actually touched the ground. You didn't notice any of that?"
Xander closed his eyes and tried to recall each time he had seen the diminutive blonde. He sighed, and opened his eyes, grinning weakly.
"I'm getting jaded, Spike. It was only when I saw the forked tongue... What?"
"That's cosmetic, love. Lots of kids are getting it done. Apparently, with practice, you can move each half independently." He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. "Imagine what fun we could..."
"No! I'm not. You're not. We're not. It's just too freaky." Spike pouted and Xander ignored. "Stop distracting me! Heaven awaits, my love, just behind these doors. We," he announced loudly, "are going to bathe. In. Chocolate." And with that, he thrust open the doors and stepped through.
At one end of the room stood another huge triple-headed shower, with a selection of what were, no doubt, cocoa butter-based products. The bath at the other end of the room, however, took all of Xander's attention and he hardly even registered Spike coming up behind him to pull off his robe.
It was a hot tub, sunk into the floor with just a six-inch lip to prevent spills and runoffs. And it was full of chocolate. Rich, dark, bubbling chocolate. The bubbles worried him for maybe half a second, but after the day he had had so far, he had faith that the ultimate plan here wasn't to boil him alive in chocolate soup.
Xander kicked off his slippers and edged closer, awed by the sight of it; by the thought that he was about to fulfil a life-long fantasy. He turned suddenly, searching the room for Spike, and found him standing off to one side, a tiny smile curling up the corners of his mouth. Silently he extended a hand, and Spike stepped forward and lifted it for a gentle, genteel, kiss.
"'S your fantasy, love. I'm just along for the ride."
Xander tugged him closer and brushed his lips across that tiny smile.
And together they stepped down into heaven in a hot tub.