FEEDBACK: Love some.
ARCHIVE/DISTRIBUTION: You want this?
SUMMARY: You meet the damndest people at the airport.
SPOILERS: Through Season 6. Set fifteen years after Season 6 finale.
CONTENT/WARNINGS: Some four letter words
RATING: PG now. NC-17 soon.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, Never were. All rights to Joss, Mutant Enemy and assorted capitalist entities.
NOTES: Unbeta-ed. All mistakes are mine alone.





Midnight at LAX


by
Ahestele



Part One

Fifteen years. Fifteen years and a lifetime ago he threw a punch at that face, blinded by betrayal, humiliation and rage. The first and only time he struck someone who couldn't fight back, the first time he felt the specter of his father so close beneath his skin that he woke up from a nightmare that night and vomited. Fifteen years, and he could still place the voice, that voice, in one second: whisky and velvet, smoke and sin. "Whiskey, neat. Bring the bottle."

Turning slowly, Xander followed the English accent to its owner, and time stood still.

He looked the same, but not. Same long black leather duster, same cut glass cheekbones and slightly pouted pink mouth, lashes a dark fringe on the alabaster skin. Lit cigarette held between two fingers, tendrils of smoke rising from the tip to dissolve in the pre-digested, beery smell that most bars, and airport bars in particular, seemed to have. But the hair, god, the hair.

No longer blinding white bleached blond it fell in tousled honey colored curls, framing the sculpted planes of his face, falling over the smooth forehead. It must be his natural color and it made him seem even younger, if that was possible. The white peroxide severity of the cut before had added a brittle, hard edge to the vampire, made him a study of dizzying contrasts: blond hair, dark lashes, perfect features, scar at his brow, luminescent Dresden skin, black leather. Always black leather, with a dash of red. Death and blood.

Hasn't smelled me yet, he thought, amazed at how easily his mind slipped into Suundydale thought, thought his thirty-five year old mind chafed against after all these years. Must be rusty. But something else was awry with the vampire. Xander couldn't quite pin it down, but Spike felt off. He had spent enough time disliking the demon to know. Sometimes his dislike had bordered on rage with an ugly undercurrent of jealousy coming up the backstretch. Rage at the pale, cat graceful creature that embodied everything Xander Harris never would be. It took him some long years and lots of thinking to figure that out. Amazing what hindsight and the first sign of gray at your temples will do for a man's clarity.

But Spike wasn't that rusty, no, because he could see the instinct kick in, finally. The relaxed shoulders became still, the features a mask of calm, and slowly, slowly Spike turned to look at him, attitude oozing from every pore. They locked eyes, and Xander felt his mouth unhinge, flap in the wind to catch flies, met equal shock in eyes blue as a summer morning.

Sweet Jesus, he had a soul.

It practically shone from those eyes, more open and naked than a vampire's should ever be. It marked each orb with such a haunted, bruised look Xander caught himself wanting to reach out and shut them, as if Spike lay in a coffin, just to turn off that look. His fingers twitched with the want of it. Tara would say Spike's aura had completely changed.

The memory of the sweet, shy girl he knew once, and how she died, twisted his gut in an instant. He hadn't thought of her in years; he didn't think of that time if he could help it because those memories had teeth that ripped and shredded the careful, safe life he'd cultivated in L.A. Too much of a walk down memory lane and he needed more than a shot of whiskey to sleep at night. His eyes slipped shut against the onslaught of images, fighting it, fleeing in his head until he could breathe again. When he opened his eyes once more Spike was gone.

He'd slapped a bill on the bar and sped out the door before he even registered his actions. In the milling chaos of midnight travelers he walked quickly, scanning for the vampire, not thinking of why, just acting. Goddamnit, he couldn't have gone far! Just as keen disappointment began to sprout in his chest he spied the sign for the men's bathroom.

When all else fails, hide in the John. He'd practically lived by that credo in high school.

The place didn't even have a door so he rushed in scanning the urinals and corners, ignoring the mirror. It's why he hadn't noticed Spike sitting at the bar. Nothing, but one of the doors was shut. Bending over Xander checked under the stall and saw scuffed Doc Martens, black jeans and the hem of a weathered duster that had seen better days. Straightening up he approached the closed door slowly, wondering what he planned to say. He hadn't thought that far ahead.

For long moments nothing happened. The tension got to him and he opened his mouth to say God knew what, because he certainly didn't, when a wary sigh sounded from the other side of the blue resin door. A low voice muttered, "Bugger."

"Back at you, Fangless." The quip fell out of his mouth from another time and place, and Xander shook his head. Excellent. Not ten minutes since he'd seen the vampire and already channeling his high school self.

Sounds of the latch coming undone, and Xander stepped back as the door opened allowing William the Bloody to step through. For a time they just stared at each other, and Xander wondered what the vampire saw. He saw himself every morning, but had ceased to study himself a long time ago.

He knew he had gray, but not too much. Odd strand here and there, and he'd solidified across the chest and lost the early twenties spread that had begun when the vampire last saw him. Minute lines bracketed his mouth and crinkled at his eyes, and he'd had the goatee about a year, grown on a whim. He guessed it looked okay, and he had gotten more notice from younger women, for all the good it did them, or him. He was dressed in his travel suit of jeans, a Henley tee and flannel over shirt with glasses in his breast pocket. All that research of heavy books with teeny tiny writing as a teen-ager had gotten him in the end. All in all a regular Joe. Nothing to write home about, just your average foam insulation salesman, and he hadn't attracted a demon since Sunnydale. All it took to disable his demon magnet was distance and time.

"Harris." Resigned, low voice, and he noticed for the first time the tension stretched across each muscle of the vampire's body. He was fairly thrumming with it.

"Spike." He returned. "How's the soul working out for you?"

The blond man stepped back as if Xander had struck him, shock and pain warring for dominance on those fine, fine features. He took a step forward, hand outstretched, because he didn't follow Spike for this, to one-up each other. Spike held him back with one arm, tips of elegant, pale fingers touching his chest like tiny points of ice.

"How..." And Spike had never sounded that watery, not even when Buffy took the swan dive off the tower that signaled the beginning of the end of all their innocence. "How..."

"Shouldn't that be my question?" Not one twitch at the bait. "I don't know." He admitted, not moving away from the touch that ghostly hand. "I could sense it, kind of. Your eyes..." The comment evaporated because the eyes he spoke of suddenly looked like brilliant sapphires, and holy god, Spike was going to cry....

"Spike..." His voice sounded scared to his ears and the vampire turned away, lightening quick, almost dodged past him with inhuman speed, but he moved pretty fast for a foam insulation salesman. The cool body in his arms went rigid and, hell, the chip must still be working. Spike didn't move away but his muscles quivered like a tuning fork encased in leather. Xander stared at him, arms full of vampire, wondering how he got himself in this position, and déjà vu much?

"Don't." Ragged, single word said at the wall because the vampire wouldn't face him, had his face turned so much away the tendons in the milky neck stretched and strained.

"Don't what?"

"Just don't." He thinks the body in his arm might totally shake itself to pieces at the rate it's going. "Bloody let go of me pillock..."

"There's the Spike we know and love." At which point Spike began to weep abruptly, silent quaking sobs racking through him with his head bowed down, careless, croissant colored waves and curls falling into his face. Xander couldn't be more surprised if Spike had grown wings and flown.

A group of college kids entered the bathroom and froze at the sight of them, but Xander gave them a measured, even look that dared anyone to make a smartass comment. The group dissipated, eyes averted, throats cleared and Xander eased up his hold on the man in his arms. Spike's sobs had tapered off to infrequent hitches, like after tremors, and he wouldn't look up from under his hair.

"Let's get out of here." Xander whispered, not wanting to give the frat boys more of a show than they'd already had.

Spike let himself be led out of the men's room without so much as a move to run and they had walked ten feet before Xander realized he'd had his arm protectively around the lighter man's shoulders. He held him close, guiding him around rushing people, which was probably good since Spike still wouldn't come out from behind the soft wall of curls. Xander felt huge next to the blond man, so much more there. The narrow shoulders beneath his arms felt fragile, like they would break under the weight.

Without asking he led them to the most expensive airport restaurant, deserted at this time of night. The maitre'd began to wrinkle his nose in disapproval until Xander slipped him a fifty and they were instantly led to a secluded booth. The drinks he ordered appeared in record time, and he place one in front of Spike. Alabaster fingers closed around the shot of tequila and lifted, head thrown back with the practiced air of a true expert. Xander sipped at his ginger ale and watched a hand, graceful and pale as a dove, pull the unruly curls away from Spike's tear streaked face and they were locked in each other's gaze again, and again he broke the silence.

"How 'bout those Lakers?"

Spike gave him a completely vexed stare then a wry smirk began to lift the corners of his lips. It was so close to a Spike sneer Xander felt inexplicable relief. Were it not for the tragic sheen in that sky blue he'd believe Spike hadn't changed. But he had.

"Same old Harris. Still using humor as a defense mechanism."

"Worked, didn't it?"

"Yeah."

An awkward silence tried to insinuate itself between them and he quashed it. "So." He stroked condensation from his glass, averting his eyes in hopes it made the vampire more apt to answer. "Want to tell me what happened?"

"Doesn't matter." Spike said almost without inflection, glancing around for the waiter. Xander just could not get used to that hair. It moved with every gesture, softly bouncing, and he caught himself wondering how it would feel.

"Where are you going?"

"Just got back." The vampire reached in the duster for a pack of cigarettes and lit one with a silver lighter, blowing the smoke away from him. Spike didn't know it but each gesture like that freaked him out. Pre-soul Spike would have exhaled smoke in his face and laughed while doing it. "You?"

"Burbank. Business seminar, but I think I missed my flight."

"Sir." The maitred materialized at their table his nose wrinkled up like a prune. "This is a non-smoking establishment."

"Not anymore." Xander said.

"Sorry." They stared at each other across the table then Spike dropped the stare as he looked for an ashtray. Xander didn't take his eyes off him as he reached in his wallet and peeled of a hundred dollar bill, holding it out to the wide-eyed restaurant worker.

"He needs an ashtray."

"Of course." The man disappeared and returned and Spike didn't speak again until Mr. Funny face came and went with the request.

"When did you get so solvent?"

"I do OK. When did you get polite?"

"Came with the soul."

"Bullshit." The word came out angry and he realized, belatedly, that he was. He didn't want this, man, did not want it like poison. He was too damn old and had worked too damn hard to dig up bones right now. "I gotta go."

"Don't." Snake fast grip on his wrist stopping him from getting up and Xander marveled at the cool silk and slightly rough fingertips against his skin. Fifteen years of labored forgetting and one touch could send him back to the Hellmouth in the blink of an eye. Vampires were real, boogey men did exist and the thing under your bed wanted your soul. "Why?"

Because! he wanted to yell. Because I can't watch you sit there with your pretty eyes and white skin and that look on your face, and, shit, Spike, I thought you got out. I thought that fucking place hadn't gotten you, not you, godDAMNIT....

"Where are you staying?" he asked before he could stop himself. Spike loosened the hold on his wrist and ran a hand through the dark blond waves and curls again in a gesture he hadn't had before. Of course not. The platinum blond coiffure of fifteen years ago had swept away from the sculpted cheekbones and square jaw, an uncompromising trademark held in place by tons of hair products. This loose, tousled look was almost Victorian.

"Hotel room."

"Where?"

"I don't know yet." Spike began reaching in his pocket once more and Xander moved to stand.

"Come on." The sky blue eyes looked at him rise with puzzlement and he sighed, motioning with his hand. He wouldn't let himself call the look on Spike's face gratitude. He just didn't think he would be able to take that.





Part Two

Spike rested his bag on the floor and stood in the middle of the living room while Xander walked around turning on lights and checking his messages.

He lived in a town house he'd found for a good price after seeing the description in the paper under 'Repos~ Property.' Not fancy, but all right. He'd have liked a yard, and a dog, but otherwise it suited him pretty well, and the neighborhood was middle class and quiet. He'd decorated the place all by his lonesome and felt pretty good about it. Over the years he'd accumulated better furniture and a decent stereo system, and actually purchased some framed comic art that he'd had his eye on since his high school days. Maybe other people developed mature interests into adulthood, and he had a few, but give him a good comic book any day. The living room set had a warm plaid pattern, the rug was simple burgundy and dark wood made up the tables. A collection of photos spread over the fireplace mantle and a large print of the Superfreinds cartoon series from the late seventies took up the space above.

It was to the pictures Spike walked, studying them in silence, and he joined him, taking in the eclectic array of frames. Here was his favorite picture from high school with Willow, Buffy and him laughing their ass off at something. A small pewter square held Giles in all his stuffy splendor and another had an older, shorter haired Slayer with her arms around a teen-age Dawn, both of them beaming at the camera. Almost hidden was a very small picture of Jesse he'd had to cut out of the yearbook because exchanging pictures was all girly and 'eww' during freshmen year, and then Jesse had been gone. The only Scooby not on the mantle was Oz, but Xander had framed an old Dingoes poster and it had it's own place of honor in the hall.

The pictures were his good memories, the ones he chose to have. The ones without snake demons and mind sucking goddesses. The ones he wished he dreamt about but didn't.

"Where are they all?" Spike asked, alabaster hand waving at the collection of photos and Xander shrugged.

"Around. The group fractured after Tara died. Willow went to England with Giles and didn't come back. I haven't heard from Oz in years, but I guess he's all right. Anya still owns the shop and does the vengeance thing. Buffy and Dawn are still in Sunnydale, fighting the good fight. Can you believe it?"

"And you came here." Spike surmised quietly. Xander nodded, turning away.

"And I came here."

"Was it hard to leave?" Spike asked in a normal tone and Xander got another hot flush of anger, illogical and fierce.

"Was it hard for you?" He rounded on the vampire and his anger fell in pieces to the ground at the bald pain in those eyes. Never mind that they had all treated Spike like a rabid dog. Never mind that he had wished for the bleached vampire to get gone with a manic fervency. Spike had wormed his way into Buffy's heart, and Spike hadn't had to watch her always looking up the road for a flash of leather and a whiff of cigarettes. He hadn't had to watch her hang on to hope with white knuckled faith, only to pry the fingers loose one excruciating year at a time. Xander had. It had taken him years to accept Buffy would never turn to him for anything more than platonic solace, and realizing he'd been hanging around waiting for just that had been hard and sobering.

"I never meant to stay gone." Spike whispered. "Went to get the chip removed then come back, but...."

"But?" Xander said, and yeah, he was pushing. The vampire had stirred up silt at the bottom of his carefully calm pond and he could just quid pro quo, and now.

"Wasn't listening too well, was I?" Spike laughed and it sounded like broken glass. "Bloody demon put me through the wringer promising me what I came for so I could give Buffy what she deserved. Teach me to overlook semantics. Before I could stop it he'd given me my bloody soul back. Then after...after it.... was bad." The voice finished almost inaudibly.

"Did you go to Angel? Him being all souled up and all." Xander pointed out and Spike gave that awful grating laugh again.

"No. I think he might have known something happened, felt it, but Dru found me first."

"Oh...shit." Xander said, then amended. "Or...shit? I thought she was the love of your life."

"So did I." Spike said in an empty voice. "She went insane with rage, tried to get me to remember, see what it had been like to do...what we did and I... couldn't...." The trembling had begun again and Xander lay a hand on one slim shoulder but Spike moved away, hugging himself in a brush of leather.

"I couldn't come back to Buffy after that. I couldn't. The things...."

"Where is she now? Drusilla?" Xander asked and Spike swallowed with obvious effort.

"She finally left. I was no fun, and she got tired of my asking her to stake me since I was too cowardly to stake myself. Made herself another pet."

"Spike..."

"I'm so tired." The vampire whispered, his shoulders actually slumping as if the narrative had exhausted him.

"Yeah. I'm beat, too. I have a guest room, or the couch, your choice."

"Thanks."

Xander left to use the bathroom because he had to get away from the vulnerability on that beautiful face. Behind the door he sighed, wondered what had possessed him to ask the vampire here. When he came out Spike lay stretched out on the couch, duster and all, and looked asleep, lashes shuttered against creamy white cheeks.

Walking quietly Xander fetched a quilt from the linen closet and lay it over the unconscious vampire. Or he guessed he was unconscious. Hard to tell without the rise and fall of breath, and he had forgotten that. Tucking the quilt around the slender man he debated whether to pull off the boots then did it. Placing the Docs next to the sofa he moved to go then paused again at the sight of the sleeping form.

He guessed even vampires looked younger in repose. That weird hair he couldn't seem to wrap his mind around floated around the curved cheekbones, framing them. His fingers tingled with the urge to touch the curls and he gave in, running his hand over soft, soft silk. When the sky blue eyes didn't open Xander continued, carding the sensous strands, feeling them slip into the sensitive dip between his fingers.

Xander searched for the animosity he'd felt with such intensity as a teen, then a young man, and found that well hollow. Besides, what better karma could there be? Take away a man's nature and spit him back out in the world. If that wasn't poetic justice what was?

With a last pet to Spike's head he climbed the stairs to his bedroom.


~*~*~*~*~


He woke with a pressure at his back, cool, still pressure. Blinking in the dark he turned, or tried to. Whoever crawled in bed had done so over sheets and comforter and he had to wiggle, loosening them enough to move.

Spike lay curled up, sans duster, and his head had been pillowed on Xander's back. Arms crossed, legs drawn up in a fetal position the vampire lay fast asleep, skin glowing in the night. A quick glance to the bed table showed it was four in the morning. As his eyes adjusted, despite the fuzziness, Xander looked over the sleeping body and tried to figure out what to make of this. He didn't really want to wake Spike up. Sleep hadn't relinquished its hold and, even now, warm waves of slumber beckoned him back. He'd almost drifted off again when Spike awakened. He just knew. A change in the air, a stiffness to the figure on the bed. Good to know his instincts hadn't dulled.

The sky blue eyes looked black in the dark and Xander stared at the vampire, putting the ball in his court.

"Sorry." Spike whispered and Xander waited. A myriad of emotions tripped across the aquiline features then, "I was cold."

He started to mention the extra blankets in the linen closet, and prudently ignore the redundancy of a vampire getting chilly, but the words died in his throat. Spike didn't mean that kind of cold. Pained embarrassment had begun to seep onto Spike's face and he began to get up, but Xander sighed and grasped a cool, soft hand.

"Go to sleep," he mumbled. "Get under the damn covers. I'm getting all tangled up this way."

"Are you hallucinating?" Spike asked after a moment.

"Don't be an ass." He closed his eyes, not so much pretending to sleep because Spike could probably hear the heart beat and sense his wakefulness, but to signal his removal from the decision. After long minutes there was a shuffle, lifting of covers and a fully clothed slender body slipped next to his. Xander could feel the tension like a scream, but it ebbed away slowly. He drifted into slumber again as Spike relaxed, and his last thought before sleep took him was how strange it felt to share a bed again after all these years. Strange, but nice.


MORNING

His body clock woke him up at six on the dot rain or shine, weekend or workday. Xander stretched, savoring the knowledge that he could go right back to sleep because he'd blown off the seminar and this was Saturday. The room lay shrouded in darkness from the heavy drapes he'd invested in. The key to sleeping late on weekends and holidays when your internal clock clamored for action was darkness. He closed his eyes and snuggled closer to the soft body in his arms, then froze, eyes popping open.

The night before came back to him, but he distinctly remembered clothes being present. Uh-huh, he'd been in boxers but Spike had climbed in jeans and all, he remembered that. Somewhere along the way the vampire had disrobed and acres of satiny, warm skin lay flush against him, tucked into his lap, legs intertwined. Xander blinked frantically trying to figure out how to disentangle from the intoxicating presence because other parts of his body were doing what they did in the morning, and his wake-up erection had enthusiastically woken up. Stirred by the scent of musk and ash his cock got that heaviness he knew so well. Xander shut his eyes willing it to go away, because this was so not acceptable......

The sleek hips wedged against his stomach pushed gently back causing him to gasp from the contact. A deep sound came from the vampire, throaty and languorous. Trembling, Xander tried to find a safe place to lay the hand not pinned under Spike but there was nowhere. Marble white impossibly soft body all over him and he finally lay his palm on Spike's shoulders, shuddering at the yielding coolness.

The vampire sighed, arched up into his touch with a faint moan and Xander hissed at the silky contact rubbing against his chest on the sparse hair, lushly molding to his body. He felt so hard every drop of blood must be between his legs, the erection jutting and pulsing into Spike's ass, cool globes through the thin cotton of his boxers, and it had been way, way too long since he'd gotten laid.

"Spike," he said hoarsely, shaking with the effort of reining in the desire to embrace the flesh in his arms and sink into the heavenly satin. He would not take advantage of a dream, or a borrowed memory, or whatever had the man in his arms sliding all over him like a feline. Spike stopped then a hand closed around his and moved it between firm, muscled thighs to curl around the hardness there. Xander's breath left his lungs in a surprised pant.

"Spike," he tried again, strained and trembly and the vampire half turned in his arms and finally spoke.

"Yes." The lone, whispered word undid the tenuous thread holding him together and with a groan Xander enveloped the body in his arms. His fevered face caressed the smooth shoulders unmindful of his morning shadow, his hand pumped Spike's cock light and quick, moving the foreskin up and down. The vampire began to quiver from the attention, moans and sighs finding Xander's hard on and making it leak. He gripped the slender hips in his hands and pulled them down, grinding himself desperately into the firm, rounded ass, a strangled cry escaping him. Spike's hand reached back and drew him ever nearer, god so strong, and Xander ran his lips over the perfect back, kissing shoulder blades and the line of spine, the long, pale neck.

"Please Xander, please, god, please..." The mantra filtered through his desire-clouded mind and he slipped his arms under Spike's to touch his chest in expansive strokes, his fingers rising and falling on the delineated muscle. One flicked at the stiff nipples while the other dipped to travel over hard, tight stomach dusted with hair and that cock weeping moisture all over his fingers.

"God, so beautiful..." He didn't even realize he'd been mumbling the same three words until his hand reached under Spike's hardness to the tight scrotum, rolling, and the vampire's growl cut off his voice flat.

Getting the message Xander fumbled his boxers off and reached behind him for the small tube of lubricant he kept in the drawer because only he and Mrs. Palmer's five daughters had been sharing his bed for, oh, ever. Flicking open the top with his thumb he coated his fingers and tossed the tube aside. Panting, because breathing was getting difficult, he slipped a steadying hand across Spike's chest while the other inched into the velvet fissure between the soft, cool curves.

"In me." Spikes' voice was ragged. The sound hardened him even more and he slipped a finger slowly into the tight ring of muscle, breaching then entering, and the sensation almost made him come right then. Jesus, so tight, the channel clung to the intrusion, slippery and deep and he pushed further, searching, reaching, until....Spike made a guttural sound as Xander brushed the tiny nodule of nerves, then another, and then the vampire drew up his knees, opening himself more, and Xander couldn't wait longer if he wanted to. Pulling out the invading digit Spike's whimper of protest choked off as Xander slid home in one quick thrust, the soft, gentled flesh welcoming him, clasping him so tight, oh god....

Spike trembled non-stop in his arms, breathing harsh and loud and why, he didn't need air, and Jesus GOD. Every nerve in him screamed he move, drive ruthlessly deep but he tried to control himself, not wanting to hurt the slender creature he held because, blood sucker, whatever, he could wrap his arms almost twice around the slim shoulders.

"Spike...." he whispered, the effort of holding back beading sweat on his brow. "Okay? You okay?"

"Fuck me." Very little humanity lived in that snarl and instead of scaring him it exploded all his senses into razor sharp awareness. Satin and musk and fine bones beneath his hands and hot pulsing erection in his hand and he rolled his hips, thrusting, using muscles almost atrophied, it had been that long. The smooth globes met every stroke until the sound of slapping flesh accompanied their moans in rhythm. Xander lost any thread of control. The rumbling low in his groin grew with each thrust until he had a handful of honey colored curls tangled in his left fist and he bent Spike down at the waist, yes, oh fuck, even deeper. His right hand manipulated a long, sleek limb so one leg lay over Xander's thigh and he was pumping into Spike ruthlessly, almost mindless with sensation. He saw Spike scramble to touch himself, felt the frantically jerking elbow and he groaned, the sight rushing him along faster, stronger.

"Yeah, come for me..." he moaned, not knowing if the words found voice or if they only sounded in the mass of lust that was his brain. "Spike, come, ah..."

The rapidly working elbow became erratic, disoriented, and Spike cried out, a strangled, visceral sound and cool seed splashed Xander's hand where it gripped a sharp hipbone, still pumping. Vibrations from the vampire's orgasm rippled within him and Xander wrapped his arms around the panting man, trapping him, and pushed hard, once, twice, again, then his blood exploded quicksilver and he screamed and it seemed he'd never stop shooting.




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