Midnight at LAX
They did wake up together then, by degrees, stretching and yawning. Xander had to pee and by the time he got back out Spike had sat up in bed blinking and rubbing his eyes in an astoundingly child-like gesture.
They wandered into the kitchen where he nuked the leftover Chinese food. Spike warmed up some blood and they sat in companionable silence sharing the Sunday Times. Spike propped his feet on Xander's lap, absorbed in the paper, and he was really going to have to give him those sweatpants. He looked around himself.
The afternoon had that lazy feeling he'd grown to love because he'd never had it before. No warm, fuzzy Sunday afternoons in the Harris household, and Anya simply was not a sleep late person, always up at first light, buzzing and frenetic, rushing around talking a mile a minute. It hit him then, fully, how different Spike had become in that respect, because pre-souled Spike had some serious ADHD going on: tapping fingers, jiggling foot, prowling around when he had to sit still more than thirty minutes. In a moment of epiphany he'd realized how hard it must have been for the vampire to be tied up in the bathtub, or on his lawn chair in the basement. Spike had always been about pent up, coiled energy, sleek and dangerous, like a panther.
But not this Spike. No nervous thrumming, no foot tapping, just calm, paper in one fine boned hand, mug of blood in the other, honey blond hair tousled into his eyes. Spike glanced up and was Xander ever going to get used to the clear, guiless blue of them? An inquisitive smile curved the corners of the perfect mouth up and Xander put down the paper to start rubbing the feet on his lap, just to touch him again.
"Anything you want to do today?" Spike's gaze traveled down his body and Xander felt his stomach clench at that indecent, speculative look. "Besides that. You of the one track mind." Spike's foot, the one not in his hand, gave a toe at his crotch and Xander jumped as the thin fabric of his nylon shorts rubbed against...well, hell.
"You were saying?"
"I was saying that's fighting dirty."
"Nancy boy." But the teasing foot moved away and Xander shifted in relief. Spike put the paper on the table and stretched, cat-like still despite being cured of the twitchies along the way. "Thought I'd watch some telly, see if I can find some football on your bazillion cable channels. Not up for much else, it bein' daylight and all."
"Just didn't want you bored, Fangless. I've got some work to finish up."
"No fear." Spike shrugged and emptied the mug. "Could use some down time."
"Yeah?" He stood up and began to gather dishes. "Recovering from-- where is it you were?" He hadn't realized it sounded like fishing until the words hung in the silent air and he bit his lip where he stood at the sink scraping moo goo gai pan scraps down the disposal and flipping the switch. That bought him a few seconds of time before the silence descended again, and he inwardly sighed. Come on, Spike, give me something so I don't feel like I have to pry it out of you with a crowbar.
"Budapest." The answer came, finally, actually sounded casual. And hide the relief, too, Harris.
"Is that where Drusilla is?" he asked turning back to the table, and felt his stomach sink at the pinched discomfort on those features that didn't match the collected voice.
Spike nodded, getting up to wash his mug, but Xander plucked it from his fingers with an encouraging smile. "That's where she moved on, yeah."
He's lying, the thought materialized in his head, and he ignored it as he washed out the cup to put on the drainage rack. He didn't know that. Didn't know any such thing. He hadn't seen Spike for fifteen years, what made him think he could read the vampire that well? Arrogant much?
Pale blue veined arms around his waist and silken chest at his back and Xander stroked the forearms. He felt Spike lay his head at the nape of his neck and had to turn around to hold him properly. Such a serious look in those blue eyes. "Getting that heavy feeling again. Want to share?"
"No. Not really." Spike answered neutrally and Xander nodded, letting it go with some effort. Something had happened, something to do with the bruised sorrow in those eyes. Sometimes he felt he could physically touch the thing between them.
Spike watched him for a few moments before reaching up and brushing his morning shadow with the back of a hand. "I'm here. I want you. That enough?"
"Yeah." Xander said softly, turning to kiss a smooth-rough palm. "It's enough." For now. He swallowed the slim vampire in his arms, cupping Spike's skull with one hand, felt the man give a sigh and relax. He watched infinitesimal dust particles dust in the light of a small patch of sunlight, and held his vampire for a while.
The afternoon passed, lazy and peaceful. Xander laid out his work for the next week focusing on two presentation bids he'd compiled regarding the insulation for new commercial buildings. Every once in a while he'd glance over his shoulder to where Spike lay on the couch idly flicking channels. Once he heard cheering and saw Spike put the remote down, settling in for some soccer. Settling calmly in, which was all kinds of wrong, but he couldn't really say that, could he? He'd only ever watched one soccer game on TV with Spike while the vampire lived in the basement with him, and he didn't know how Spike even heard anything, so preoccupied was he with yelling and cheering, and insulting the official's ancestry. The still figure watching the game was only another thing that was different, apart, not right to the Spike he'd known.
Of course he'd never have taken that Spike to bed, right? Sure, Harris, kid yourself, he thought, snorting. Who took the initiative that morning? They'd be ice-skating in hell before he would have put move one on Spike of his own accord. Not that he exactly fought too hard when said move was done to him....
Cool palms on the nape of his neck made him jump and he smiled as they moved down his chest to rub slowly on the stiff peaks of his nipples. "I'm gonna get you a bell...." And no more talking, his mouth too full of tongue and teeth and moist, copper velvet. Desire unraveled like string, looping off faster and faster and oh, yes, petal soft muscle, naked Spike in his hands, springy honey curls tangled in his fingers as he clenched in them, ground the thrusting cavern in so hard teeth clicked, stronger tang of copper.
Spike pulled away panting, blue eyes dark as twilight and stain of alizarin on his lips. Bloody lipstick.
"Sorry." Xander whispered, concerned, then watched, riveted, as a pink tongue peeked out, lapped at the moisture, and he pulled Spike to him again, too rough, sorry, but oh, swirling explosion of taste and mewling, whimpery sounds, which one, and suddenly the cool muscle climbed onto him, fitted in his lap like it was made for it. His hands grabbed slim hips, curve of bone he loved, too hard, man, but he couldn't seem to pull back, rein in, every intention evaporating like so much smoke.
Fuck him, he wanted to fuck him so bad as he watched that face take it, oh God. One hand groped feverishly between them as the other held onto that fragile neck, holding Spike close, only parting to steal gasps of air around the nipping, biting lips. Fingers found his, tube slipped in and he'd laugh but the burning relief wasn't funny right now. Flick, coat, tossed the tube aside without closing it and weight on his legs was suddenly lighter, lifted. Even while kissing he knew, could picture it: Spike using the table as leverage, every bicep and deltoid bulging as he allowed Xander room to reach into the damp confines of his shorts, pull himself free. The touch of his own fingers nearly sent him over, pushed a moan through his teeth because the skin was so sensitive, felt like he'd been hard forever, and maybe he had. Waiting for this, he hadn't even realized, so fucking beautiful....
Tight, tight sheath on his cock and he gasped, mauled the skin of Spike's hips helplessly because oh, Jesus, oh....gravity and physics and weight and the slightly lifted knees, and the vampire worked himself on Xander's hardness, bouncing, rocking, taking him inch by inch and watching emotions run across that face had him holding onto control by the barest sliver.
Little winces, wide, wide blue eyes and panting, parted lips. Xander pushed down with his hands, felt quivering globes through the bunched up nylon of his shorts and the blue was very, very wide, knuckles almost white, whiter, on the table.
"Okay? Spike?" He had to pant around the heart in his throat. "Talk...to me..."
"Can't..." Ragged voice sounded lost and it stripped the last vestige of reserve he had. Pumping on him, hands gripping bruises on the pale flesh, had to be, but so good, Jesus, and slouched lower in the chair to go deeper, angled hips, there, and Spike jerked on top of him, again, rode faster in the heat and motion nothing existed but this, in, in, uh.... Spike scrambled for the erection leaking all over Xander's stomach and he pushed the hand away, dark, thrill at the sobbing moan of desperation that keened into pleasure when he fisted the turgid cock, snug channel. Down on him, up into him and he surrounded Spike, was surrounded by him, felt a vibration, a clenching begin.
"Tell me," he gritted out, willed the sooty lashes to open so he could see, and must have heard him, yes. "Talk to me." But Spike couldn't, no words, just torn, airless breathing, and hard moans, and the trembling intensified, good, because Xander was on borrowed seconds here, not much longer...
Spike turned away. Strained away, cords of his neck outlined and quivering and Xander's blinked in confusion, hand leaving a pistoning hip to move the fine jaw back. Jerk of the head, fall of curls hiding Spike's face and Xander mumbled. "No." Tried again, more twisting away. "No!" Gripped the cut glass cheekbone hard and forced, and Spike went this time. Feral golden eyes collided with his, ridged brow and razor sharp fangs. Holding the yellow eyes his hand outlined the territory, lashes fluttered over molten eyes and when his fingers moved over Spike's mouth they were sucked in deep.
The orgasm ripped through him viciously, shocking and fast, every nerve exploding and he yelled, shot powerfully into the binding flesh. Spike growled, thready and desperate then startled Xander by laying back on the table, taut outline of rib cage like some alabaster sculpture, arms outstretched over all his papers and notebooks, the rigid, unsheathed cock an offering against his midriff. He fisted it, pumped twice, hard, and Spike howled, back arching and quivering as cool seed splashed them both. Slower, slower, still.
They panted, breath still not caught. Xander carefully lifted the prone body upright, then against him, wrapping his arms around the slim shoulders and Spike curled onto his chest, face tucked into his neck. Molding the skull with one hand, loved how he could do that, he pressed his lips to the damp curls and whispered into them. "Why did you look away?"
Body instantly tense on top of him and he sat Spike back up he could look in the apprehensive blue, but Spike wouldn't meet his eyes until he pushed the curls away. Such hurt in there and he touched one perfect cheekbone. "Embarrassin' innit?" Rough, low voice. The annoyance fell flat, more anxiety in there than anything. "I could control it, before....before the soul thing..."
"I like it." Xander said, and suddenly his own voice dipped down, flush staining his face and Spike stared at him with such open wonder his insides turned over. Too much, too bald that, and it made him want to devour the pink mouth all over again, crawl inside the satin skin and never leave. "It's you."
God his eyes, the look in them. All of a sudden, the blue was too bright and he hugged him then, too tight, but vampire's don't need air, so what of it. They sat there, damp and sticky and warm, cocooned in each other as the shadows grew, and night stole over the horizon.
He fought sleep, even though he didn't really know why. Spike lay tucked under his arm; leg thrown over his thigh, slim white hand resting possessively on his chest and the sense of contentment cloaked him like a cloud. He hadn't felt this comfortable with anyone in a long time. Comfortable enough to lay over the tangled comforter naked to the world, because embers still seemed to flicker just below his skin even hours after the kitchen table episode, and several more episodes after they came upstairs to 'rest'; as if his heated skin couldn't cool down. His hands seemed unable to stop touching Spike, long, slow, repetitive, strokes: down over shoulder blades and smooth line of spine, up over muscle and skin, stroke through silken honey curls, down again. A steady purr vibrated against his chest and Xander hadn't teased the vampire about it because he didn't want it to stop. He didn't want any of it to stop, which should have been scary, but wasn't.
A yawn worked its way up and he stretched through it, cuddling Spike closer, eliciting a throaty murmur, a shift deeper against Xander's body, like a puppy seeking warmth. He smiled and rolled the lighter man on top of him, grinning at the sleepy blue eyes blinking beneath floppy curls. Spike felt like a smooth, cool blanket and his hands dipped to the curved swell of hip beneath the muscular back, fit his fists into the indentations there and felt an answering hardness that made him groan, head turning into the pillow.
"Oh, man, I can't. I've got work tomorrow. One more time and I won't be able to walk."
"Whadja expect, hm?" Spike asked, the picture of innocence from where his chin propped up on his folded hands, a lock of hair hiding one heavy lidded sky blue eye, whisky and velvet voice husky "Takin' liberties with a blokes privates like that."
"Okay, my bad. Hand action limited to strictly above the waist. Better?"
" 'Spose." Spike murmured, lids drooping dark lashes on a pale cheek. Xander ran both palms up the muscled back, molded the shoulder blades, buried his hands in the tousled hair. The low purring began again and he laughed lightly, pulling the waves away from the peaceful features. The hair was almost long enough to pull into a ponytail, and the direction that took him was not helping him not have a hard on. Spike looked so young with his eyes closed, face all sharp angles, a tarnished angel, and Xander wondered, not the first time, what the hell this creature was doing in his bed.
"You are so fucking beautiful," he whispered, unable to help himself; watched a small smile lift one side of the pink lips.
"Bet you say that to all the boys."
"Nah. Just the ones I wanna have sex with."
"Pillock." Spike intoned without opening his eyes and Xander laughed softly, continuing to card his hands through the silky strands. "Bet you 'ad a regular harem going. Xander's house of luu-uurve."
"Right," he scoffed. "Just call me big poppa. Or bi-poppa. Or whatever," he finished finally as Spike began to snuffle on top of him, and the sight of that smile, that open, delighted smile still made him reel, made his heart do a little flutter. "Not so much," he continued absently. "Dated a few guys, but I've been pretty anti-date the last year."
"Someone break your 'eart then?" Spike asked his eyes still calmly shut.
"Nope." Xander twirled a lock of hair around his finger. "I think the official Oprah phrase is 'emotionally unavailable.'"
"You or them?"
Spike grunted in acknowledgement and it was good, the eyes-closed thing, because he hadn't meant to stroll down the memory lane of all his failed relationships, but ambling down the rocky path they were. Then again, in the quid-pro-quo spirit he could ask Spike some private dirt, but found himself reluctant to do so. The state he'd found the vampire in didn't exactly speak of naked freaky hijinks.
While he stroked through the bouncy silk the pads of his fingers grazed over a bump in the skull, hidden beneath all the strands. No, not a bump, a scar, puckered line of skin that began just above the last vertebra and continued up, fading as the rounded cranium began. Curious, he traced the imperfection.
"What's this?" The rest of the words cut off like the rumble of purring on his chest, abrupt and total, and Spike's eyes blinked open. They stared at each other in silence as awareness passed between them, gained purchase.
Spike flew off the bed so fast Xander's hands actually held empty air. His body had barely registered the loss of the cool weight, and Spike was suddenly across the room, pressed to the wall, the most awful look on his face. Xander could see him fighting for any other expression besides terror and failing horribly. The urge to run over and cover the blue eyes came upon him so strong he actually sat up, but froze when Spike took a step towards the door.
For long seconds they stared at each other without moving, the only sound in the room Spike's rapid breathing. Finally he whispered "Spike?" and saw the vampire jump at the sound of his own name. "Spike? Talk to me. I'm right here."
"'Course you're right there. 'M not blind." Spike retorted almost inaudibly, robbing the words of any toughness at all. The summer blue eyes kept darting away around the room, skipping away each time he got close to meeting them.
He slowly swung his legs off the bed and stood, never taking his eyes off Spike because if the vampire decided to bolt he might not be fast enough to stop him. Not after marathon sex and the state of total relaxation he'd been in. THEY'D been in, but every shred of that had disappeared, leaving the room electric with tension.
"What was that?" Xander asked quietly and Spike shrugged, a jerking, graceless move.
"Not nothing." Spike swallowed, he saw the delicate Adam's apple bob, and he stared unblinking into the wide, scared eyes. "How did you get the scar?" Spike tried to look away, he could see the chin turning, but he wouldn't let Spike's gaze go, not for a second. Part of him hated that he caused the panicked, deer-in-the-headlights look in those beautiful eyes, but most of him bore mercilessly into the frantic stare, through it. He tried again, kept his voice calm, low "How did..."
"No." Spike said as if he'd contradicted something. Fine tremors began to shake the slim body. "No."
"Just talk to me," he whispered, reaching out, heart breaking a little at the flinch on Spike's face. "Spike, come on..."
"No!" The word snarled from his lover's throat, ragged and inhuman, and Xander froze, watching aquiline features melt into ridges and fangs, ocean blue bled yellow gold glittered with murder. He stopped breathing, moving, anything, staring as the demon growled at him; the chip didn't matter one little bit, not a sliver, because he wasn't inside Spike now, this wasn't erotic or sexy, and Xander suddenly knew the gleaming incisors could tear out his throat in seconds. Any bets on American ingenuity overtaking two centuries of bloodlust, boys and girls? Going once, going twice.
Spike ran past in a blur. Xander moved fast, but not fast enough. The door closed and clicked shut as his fingers closed on the knob.
The sound of the first violent, messy retch reached him and he hit his head against the wood with a bang.
"Spike? Open the door," he said inanely. Spike couldn't open the door; of course, he was busy upchucking his lungs. Heave after heave sounded and Xander twisted the knob in his hand futilely, racking his brain to remember if he had a key. No, this kind of lock didn't have key. Screwdriver? What if Spike passed out in there? Fuck this, he bench-pressed his own weight, he'd kick the fucker down.
He'd just drawn back to do that when the tinny sound of the lock clicking reached him, and he flung the door open, stalking in
How utterly thin the vampire had become slapped him in the face like cold water. Yeah, muscles and triceps, but each rib could be counted, both clavicles pronounced and stark framing the deep hollow below Spike's throat. Jesus Christ how could he not notice that? How far up his dick had his head been, anyhow?
" 'F you're gonna stare get out."
Blush sprouted on his cheeks at the hoarse, tired voice, and he walked over to kneel next to the motionless figure on the floor. Spike's mussed, tousled hair fell around his cheekbones in slept-in waves from where the haunted blue eyes peered out. The brilliant color looked bruised in the harsh light. A husky twelve-year old could take him right now. Xander laid a hand on one bent knee but the vampire pulled away, resting both elbows on his legs and covering his eyes with his palms. He searched desperately for something to say that wouldn't be really wrong, or sound crappy, but he could feel himself crashing off the adrenaline rush and his mind was just not being quick with the supportive words there.
"Fresh out of the bullying are we?" Spike's voice sounded from the depths of his hands, still rough and exhausted. Ugly shame crawled up into Xander's belly and fought it because he knew a guilt trip when he heard one. He'd lived in the hellhole that was his parent's home for nineteen years and he'd learned from the masters.
"I didn't bully you, Spike. I just need to know what's going on."
"What for?" Spike said it so tiredly all he wanted to do was scoop the vampire up and take him to bed, tuck him in, and hold him. If he did they could not do this, this painful awkwardness, but he didn't have that kind of denial in him anymore. It stayed behind in Sunnydale along with his sofa bed, his Uncle Rory's car and the berating, belittling laughter of his father.
Instead Xander reached through Spike's arms to grip a cool chin, lifted it up out of the clutching hands despite Spike's attempts to move away, and looked earnestly at the red-rimmed eyes. "So I can help you," he said quietly.
"Don't need any soddin' help." Spike rubbed the heel of a hand over his temple and Xander had to struggle with the urge to draw the thin, hunched body to him, warm it and hold it. He couldn't let this go right now. He knew all about letting stuff go, and once you started it got easier to just not deal.
"No?" he asked skeptically. "I think you do unless vamp bulimia is all the rage. The junkie look is out, Spike"
A cool, detached look slipped into the blue eyes, and fuck, he could slap himself for the entire last sentence. "Just say 'no' next time, Harris. I'll respect you in the morning."
"That's not what I meant, and you know it." Calm, focused and calm. "How can you fix this?"
"Nice methadone place over Ventura Boulevard..."
He shook the slender shoulders in frustration, saw the slits of blue widen and his hands rub against bone. "I'm serious. What can you do to get better?"
"Think my HMO's expired."
"Damnit!" Xander gritted through clenched teeth and took several deep breaths while Spike watched him with apprehensive, silent eyes. "You weigh nothing, I can lift you with one hand and you can't keep anything down for longer than a few hours."
" 'Snot true." Spike insisted, and Xander recognized that mulish look, oh yeah. He and that look went way back. That look said 'can't make can't make can't make me.' "Don't happen all the time."
"Why is it happening at all? Something is wrong...."
"BACK OFF!" Spike snarled in a voice gone guttural, but Xander caught him before he moved away.
"NO." He looked right in the blue eyes trying to bleed gold and lay both hands on Spike's thighs. "No," he repeated, calmer. "I cannot just sit by and watch whatever this is tear you up. You're not here just because you give great head, do you get that?"
"No." The word gave him pause and he raised both eyebrows in question." I don't 'get that'. Maybe I'm just not like you, Harris." Spike's voice simmered with anger and the use of his last name couldn't have been more telling. "Maybe I don't piss my feelings all over the floor at the drop of a hat. Spend a bit too much time with the womenfolk, did we?"
"Go to hell. That's not gonna work." Xander's hands had fisted on Spike's knees as he tried to reconcile the grousing man on the floor with the one he held not twenty minutes ago. The brilliant blue no longer looked warm and tender, but as cold and impenetrable as a glacier. Shut down, lights off, closed "You will not play me to change the subject. I need to know."
"Sorry, luv." Spike's voice was soft, gentle, and hard as steel, and his eyes, his eyes had no more depth than a blank wall. "Just 'cause I got a soul don't mean I bare it on command."
Their eyes met, held, and Xander thought he sensed emotion behind the stonewalling, thought he could feel Spike holding on to this cold, detached countenance by the skin of his teeth. "So what are you telling me?" he said carefully. After long seconds of silence from Spike's closed face he answered his own question. "That my only option is watching you puke your guts out in my toilet every night and not do shit about it?"
Spike blinked, and tiny motes of panic seeped through the mulish stare on that beautiful face, he knew he saw them, because it sounded like an ultimatum as it hung in the air between them. It sounded like the next thing was a line to cross or not cross, and he hadn't meant that, hadn't meant to do that.
But he didn't retract it.
Then the sparks of feeling were gone and Spike tilted back his chin, resolve making the blue of his eyes as cold as winter. "Yeah."
"No." Xander shook his head, even as a part of him, the part that recalled vividly how Spike tasted, how it felt to be inside all that muscle and satin, the tenderness in his eyes after they kissed, howled in protest. "I can't do that."
"You said it was enough." Resentment and anger, and there, pain? Making shadowed appearances in the vampire's wooden countenance. He had, Xander realized, just today, uttered those words. Looking at the thin, stoic face, traces of sickness still lingering in the air, he knew he couldn't hold to them.
"I guess I lied." His voice was a whisper because he didn't trust anything stronger. Spike didn't move, his gaze never faltered, but something seemed to slump within him.
Giving two small, resigned nods Spike replied. "I guess you did." And he rose on his feet in one liquid move, and walked away from Xander out of the bathroom.
He didn't know how long he sat there, numb and still, listening to Spike get dressed in the bedroom, pick up the phone and call a cab. He needed fifteen minutes, no longer, and relayed Xander's address. It felt like shock after shock of frantic denial kept landing hard punches in his stomach but outwardly he could just sit cross-legged on the tile and stare unseeing at the bathtub Spike had been leaning against.
The shower curtain looked grungy. He needed a new one.
Finally the sound of a zipper reached him and he realized Spike had just zipped up his duffel bag and walked downstairs. Forcing himself to stand up he walked slowly to the bedroom, where he tried not to look at the rumpled bed and slipped on some jeans and a t-shirt.
A burning had begun in his throat and he breathed through his nose, ignoring it. Kept moving until he saw Spike, duster on, bag at his feet, looking out the window at the street. Crossing his arms when he really wanted to hug himself, Xander looked mutely at the man who had shared his home and his bed for two days and part of one night.
A thousand comments, reasons, words floated in his brain but he allowed none to find voice. Just stared at the vampire who wouldn't look at him, couldn't believe it could unravel this quickly, tried not to feel as if watching Spike leave felt like his chest was being ripped out with dull, cruel claws.
Headlights played across the window and two sharp beeps of a horn twisted Xander's heart so he thought he might, at the last minute, tackle Spike to the ground, inhale musk and ash and silk skin and never let go. Almost saw himself do it.
A fine boned pale hand gripped the duffel bag and Spike straightened, looking at him for the first time since the bathroom. He tried to read the brilliant blue eyes to see anything, but they were opaque and hidden. "Thanks for everything." And that voice, god, that voice would until the end of time be his undoing, and his own voice finally escaped his lips.
"Spike." Low, unsteady word.
The sapphire eyes glanced at him from the open door, sharp cheekbones throwing shadows from the porch light, caramel hair like sable, and so much sadness, unspeakable sorrow on those ethereal features. "Bye Xan." The door closed quietly.
Xander embraced himself as he walked on shaking legs to the couch, and stared vacantly in the direction of the TV.
He stared a long time.
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