For Estepheia's sixty-minute challenge. No spoilers for later season seven eps--it's all speculation and extrapolation. All characters belong to Joss and his mutants. Characterizations, twisted and bent as they are, sort of belong to me, and these probably are a bit off, I admit, as I just found myself sleepless and inclined to screw around.



Closure


by
Anna S


Spike had decided he didn't like looking at Xander Harris. The cheeky boy had turned into a man, and the man disappointed him. Man aged, man grew girth, man grew tired. He couldn't see himself in a mirror, but he could see Harris, and the poor sod carried exhaustion in his face the way Spike carried it in his bones. The human had earned it more than any vampire had, but to look that thrashed at score and three made you wonder what damage awaited him when that span was doubled.

He wasn't much for self-reflection, ha ha ha, but he reflected now and then on other people. Turned out broodiness came with the soul. Useless software.

A century spent outrunning history. If he'd spared any of that time for humans, he might have watched them wither in fast-motion all around him, trees stripped of leaves, left bare for winter. He never had spared time, though. He'd cultivated the company of his own kind, and all of Dru's mortal pets had been short-lived. It was disheartening to watch the kiddies age before his eyes.

"Just open the top of my head and pour that in," Xander said, shuffling up to the counter in his robe with a yawn as Spike prepared a mug of coffee for him. Eyes nearly closed, he claimed it from Spike's hand on auto-pilot and inhaled for a moment before drinking.

Steam curled around his stubbled face and Spike took the liberty of staring at him further, dispassionate and critical. Flesh and gravity conspired to soften the other man's features, padding his jaw and the route down his neck to where the buried jugular pulsed in a sleepy rhythm. His body, more swag than swagger these days, made choice vamp bait. Bite and you'd get a juicy mouthful. Still, the wanker who'd tried it on last night had gotten nothing for his trouble but a bite of dust--his own.

A smile curled the corner of Spike's mouth as Xander took a healthy sip, and when the human choked a bit before swallowing, he wordlessly pushed the sugar jar across the counter, timed for the moment when Xander snapped open his eyes fully and glared at him with early-morning temper. "Sugar. Two teaspoons. How long have you been staying here? Again?" He jabbed the spoon viciously into the sugar and banged the stuff in twice with unnecessary force, nearly hard enough to shatter the ceramic.

"Sugar's not good for you," Spike said matter of factly. He didn't care so much one way or the other what Harris poured down his gob, but petty games helped pass the time, and he needed some justification for his pranks, however thin. It amused him to pretend concern, to get a few digs in while chiding his host about his dietary habits in a way that others--Willow, for instance--couldn't find fault with.

"Shut up."

More than bickering, short of war.

"Had a bit of a spill," Spike said apologetically. "Hope the taste of blood's not too strong."

"Fuck off." That was almost conversational. Not even a jot of credulous hesitation. Shame, that. Wasting a minor amusement on the wrong moment.
 
Spike ambled around the counter with his own breakfast in hand, exiting the kitchen just as Xander entered, the two of them passing close enough for their sleeves to brush, neither saying a word. He sat down in front of the telly and watched dog-sled racing with blank eyes and mind while the human puttered in the kitchen, frying up eggs and making toast.

It was Saturday and the blinds were drawn tight against the sun.

When Xander came and dropped his ass on the couch, Spike didn't move over. They sat and waged a silent, territorial battle over what should have been an adequate length of furniture, and when Xander reached for the remote, Spike moved it off his thigh and placed it out of reach on the far side of the couch.

"Give me the remote," Xander said. And his voice was so strained and full of hatred it was as if they'd been fighting some endless, married battle. Spike found it perversely satisfying. He could get a rise out of so few people these days. Harris was dependable.

"If you don't give me the remote I will take this plate, break it on your head, and rip out your throat with a jagged shard."

Spike glanced at the egg-smeared plate in the other man's hand, measuring the threat with idle curiosity. "I'm watching the dogs," he said finally, turning his gaze back on the television. A silence followed during which, true to his word, he watched dogs gambol across the snow. And then a white blur entered his vision.

Vampire reflexes are remarkable, but simple amazement made Spike turn to confirm what was happening, to meet a smashing pain in the middle of his forehead. "Bloody fuck!" he yelped, chunks of glass falling down his body, a few small pieces sticking to his face. He had enough presence of mind to fling out his arm for the follow-up, so the slicing wound landed there instead of his throat. For far too long he suffered an undignified scuffle--eggy glass, a storm of flesh pounding at him--and then he tossed Xander off with a growl.

The other man fell back across the coffee table, which flipped under his weight and deposited him on the floor, where he lay with his legs hooked over its edge, showing no inclination to move.

"Sod this," Spike muttered raggedly, riding a truly startling jolt of adrenaline, given that he had no real circulatory or hormonal system at work. He slumped back into the couch, waiting for round two of the geek's revenge, but Xander just sprawled there on the carpet as if he were about to make a snow angel and stared at the ceiling. After about thirty seconds, Spike scented the faintest ocean tang of salt and realized with horror that Xander was crying.

Christ, he needed a smoke. A smoke and a fifth of whiskey and a ride out of this insane hell of a town.

Massaging the corner of one eye with his thumb, Spike sighed and listened to the manly wet sniffles rising from the floor. He knew he was supposed to say something, but the buggering soul didn't come with scripts, sad to say, so he gazed off into a corner of the apartment, frowning and uncomfortable and restless. When he couldn't stand it any longer, he snuck a peek to see if there'd been any movement. Xander's sweatpanted legs hung over the table edge, and he had one arm flung across his reddened face to hide it. He seemed comfortable enough. Dug in for a good wallow, a truly pathetic wankfest of weeping. Spike had to respect that.

You couldn't fuck yourself up proper without booze, though, so Spike went to the kitchen, opened the cupboard, and grabbed a bottle of the appalling rotgut Harris kept there for the kind of emergencies that weak American piss-water couldn't cure. It was eight in the morning, the best time to drink. Aside from the other twenty-three hours, but who was counting? He brought back two glasses and grabbed his cigs on the way.

Settling next to Xander provoked no movement. The arm stayed across his face, a no-trespass bar. It'd be a cold bastard who took that for discouragement, though. Spike poured a shot and took great care finding a level spot on Xander's chest and resting the glass there, as if laying the foundation for a house of cards. The chest heaved more gently, as if afraid to dislodge its gift.

Spike lit a cigarette, projecting the loud rasp and clicks of his lighter toward his host, and then blew the smoke downward, knowing it would draw the other man out sooner or later. House rules were being broken, after all.

He'd tossed back two drinks of his own before Xander spoke. "I thought it would be the end of the world," he said. The weight of his arm flattened his nose, muffled his words strangely, though it might have just been snot. Humans were simply full of mucous, Spike had observed.

"What's that?"

"This time round. First Evil. Slayer babes getting offed left and right. Andrew." He paused for a moment of silence and Spike drank to that, letting liquor blur the remembrance of hard death. "I mean sure, impending apocalypse is an annual event," Xander went on. "Like trout season. But every time it comes, it tricks you."

"Yeah." Spike wasn't entirely sure he agreed, but the more whiskey he drank, the more useless it seemed to argue.

With abrupt movement, Xander lifted the drink off his chest and pushed himself up. He didn't even pause before taking the shot, didn't shudder after knocking it back. Spike admired a man who took his drinking serious. And in fact, the shared act of drinking made him far more affable than he was naturally inclined to be. Even if you had to kill someone at the end of a round, you felt pretty good about it, and you knew the other fellow did too.

Xander held out his glass afterwards and Spike filled it. A few more toasts later, and they had shoved the coffee table aside and were both half-watching the sled dogs from their position on the floor, leaning back against the couch, Xander in his robe and sweats, Spike in his jeans.

"I can't believe it's over," Xander said, when a commercial for life insurance came on.

"Not over yet." Spike took a drag off his cigarette and mashed it out on a shard of plate. "They haven't reached Fairbanks." After a moment he looked sidelong to find Xander looking back at him. That's not what you meant, Spike thought, but he didn't have to say it aloud and apparently Xander didn't either. The sad, slack expression on the human's face worked a nerve he didn't realize he'd had, worked it like a bow across violin strings, kind of screechy and low. He lit another smoke and ignored it.

"What are you going to do?" Xander asked.

It wasn't a casual question. Spike heard the loaded gun behind it, and finally it seemed too much effort to hold up his end of the fight. He sighed. "Look. You want me gone, say the word. Not going to wear out my welcome."

"Your welcome?"

"Whatever." How sad was it when a rousing bite of hostility left Spike bored? He needed more than this. He needed Buffy, he told himself. But she'd moved on with an unexpected suddenness that had left him floundering. He might have chased her, if he could have convinced himself that her final words had held even a breath of promise. But they hadn't. She'd left with no backward glance for him, and he'd stayed to look after Dawn like she'd asked, and the weeks had gone by and he'd begun to feel useless and stupid for making that promise, tying himself here like a dog to a tree, at least until the Bit graduated or her dad collected her.

And the truly tiresome, unwelcome, god-honest truth was...he probably didn't need her. He'd changed and moved on, and all that rubbish, only to find himself facing an eternity of dull soul-having and world-saving, probably in the company of that flaming poof in L.A. Was there even any point sticking around? Dawn had other watchdogs, and destiny awaited with its big shiny carriage and prancing horses. Any day now he'd find his feet carrying him into that mausoleum of a hotel to pick up his Sheriff's badge and start flinging himself at windmills....

"Pass it here," he said to Xander with disgust, gesturing impatiently for the whiskey.

He took a triple-shot directly from the source and set the bottle between his legs, keeping one hand around its neck, feeling morose and proprietary.

"There's no such thing as closure, is there," Xander mused.

"What d'you mean? 'Course there is. I've had plenty of closure. Killed a right many blokes who were keepin' me open."

"Me, not so much. If revenge is a dish best served cold, mine is buried in the Arctic."

"Not many left who need killing. Not on hand, anyway."

Xander tipped his head at Spike as if he were the stupidest thing in the world, sitting right in front of his marveling eyes.

"Me?" Spike said in disbelief, more than a little flattered. "I'm your great unfinished business?"

"Guess you missed that whole attempted homicide thing just now."

"Sorry. Thought you were having a leg-pull." Frowning and serious, Spike offered, "If you want another go...."

"Nah. Moment's passed." Xander paused. "Thanks, though." He leaned his head back against the couch and stared off into space. The space in his head, more like.

They were easing into the second bottle when the thought began to take shape. Boredom made some kind of entertainment imperative, but Spike still had to chew on it a bit. "What's your idea of revenge, then?" he asked, feeling Xander out, part of him honestly curious. Bloke had a nasty streak and he'd dated a vengeance demon. He must have ideas. Might even come in useful later.

"What?" Xander replied, blinking.

"If you were going to stick it to someone good, someone who'd done you wrong." Spike tilted his head and smiled lazily. "Say, me, what poked your bird and gave you a few good runs round the course. What's your great plan to even the score? Hacksaws and thumbscrews to start?"

Xander shook his head; he seemed half caught up in the dog race again. "You'd probably get off on that."

"You've got the wrong idea about vamps. Sure, we like our fair share of torture. 'S good clean fun, done right. But we'll scream as loud as the next bugger when someone's got our bollocks in a vise."

"Yeah, but...pain. That's so..." Xander gestured as if to capture some ineffable thought, and for one moment Spike felt a keen sense of affinity, as if they were communicating on another level.

"Exactly," he said with emphasis, pointing his cigarette at the other man. "You've got it. Greatest torture isn't always what kills us. You got to find what really hurts, down deep where it lives." Memory keyed its tune and Spike felt something close to arousal at the thought of tortures past, those he'd inflicted, those he'd suffered. Nostalgia called for another drink.

"Where what lives?" Xander had shifted to study Spike as if he might have wisdom to impart. It made Spike come over all mentor-like.

"The worm in the apple, mate. The fear." He leaned closer, smelling booze and sweat, and blood under the skin, the ripe good scents of humanity. "Everyone's got it, sapping the core. Bite in the right place, and every man'll cave."

Xander's eyes were dark and strange, like those of a fledge getting the faith. "What's your fear, Spike?"

As if he'd tell. Yeah, right. Truth was though, Spike wasn't even sure he knew what his fear was any more. "Now that'd be too easy. What say we play a game?"

Drawing back a little, eyes narrowing, Xander shook his head. "It's always games with you."

Spike could taste the dislike in the other man, as if it had been something passed between them, transferred on the mouth of the whiskey bottle. It was no game, no charade, but a very physical thing. Xander Harris didn't like vampires, didn't like William the Bloody House Guest. He'd put up with Spike for Buffy's sake, and for the sake of some grudging moral code that valued a soul above an easy kill. It was a dislike that Spike mirrored. Having a soul hadn't changed that, it had only made the human's hatred respectable. Because Spike got it now. He felt it for himself.

"It's a good game," he said. "Better than rummy."

"Yeah? How does it go?"

"I give you one hour to get under my skin. You dish it out, I lap it up like a good dog."

"I don't get it."

Spike let himself ripple back in a mockingly seductive pose, the kind that'd find you a good fight in any bar room. "Make me afraid. Get your revenge."

"Uh huh." Xander didn't seem particularly impressed by the opportunity. "And I'll know you're afraid how--because you'll beg and cry like a little girl? Spike, I may hate you, but I've seen you stand up to a hellgod and the chances that one ex-carpenter can break you are just about nil. No matter what I do, I'll lose, and I'm guessing that your idea of turnabout isn't fair play."

"You don't think you can take an hour at my hands?" Spike challenged with a glint of eye and tooth.

Xander's face was impassive, calm. "I know I can't."

Disappointed by this show of honesty and sanity, and a bit annoyed, Spike hid his feelings in an energetic flourish, sitting up straight and rubbing his hands together with a sharp clap. "Right. No bet, then. Just work your worst on me, and I'll tell you if you get warm."

The other man looked blandly at him, brows raised. Spike couldn't have said whether he was at all interested in the challenge, if his heart hadn't sped up. So telling, human bodies. "So, what...I can do anything I want to you?"

"Barring death and dismemberment," Spike said, feeling a roll of anticipatory pleasure in the pit of his stomach. His pleasures were so bloodless nowadays. He hoped Xander might get a bit stroppy.

"And you're just going to take it like a bitch?" Xander's voice had a mild, mellow edge that said he was sober enough to be suspicious but drunk enough not to care too much.

"Mmm." Spike batted his lashes.

"Ahhh, you have played right into my hands, Mister Bond." Xander laughed with the deep, rich tones of menace, and Spike raised a brow. "Sorry," he went on in a normal voice. "Got caught up in the moment. Hmm." He looked Spike over the way a man looked over a suit he wasn't yet sure of, and mused aloud. "So many possibilities. We could go the cross-and-holy-water route, but that's so nineties. Then there's the transvestite hooker scenario, where I send you down to Manny's Pool Hall and let you proposition the local color, but since you'd just beat the shit out of them, there's no real joy there."

"Think outside the box," Spike suggested helpfully.

Xander shushed him and rubbed his jaw. "I could have you call Angel," he thought aloud, watching Spike's face for signs of worry. "Confess your undying love for him in those faux sincere tones you do so well."

Wincing, Spike said, "Don't think you'd get very far with that plan. Ponce'd hang up on me before I got a dozen words out."

"Crap. You're right. And L.A.'s a two-hour drive." He pondered visibly, chewing his lip into odd shapes. Meanwhile, Spike poured himself another drink and thought about the past, when his sire'd been wont to whip him bloody and shag him senseless before stuffing him in a steamer trunk to shut him up for a night.

Good times, good times.

"You got any manacles?" he wondered aloud.

"Since you've poked your cold, dead nose into every corner of my apartment, not to mention my life, I think you can answer that yourself...why?"

"Just trying to give you ideas."

"I can come up with my own, thanks." Xander glared at him.

Spike glanced at the VCR clock. "Fifty-seven minutes."

Another minute passed, during which Spike stared steadily at Xander, and Xander successfully showed no reaction, even while his heartbeat did erratic sambas.

"Get undressed," he finally said, after clearing his throat a few times. He pinned a couch pillow with his steady gaze as he uttered the command.

Only a little surprised, Spike said in a low, sexed-up voice, "You sure about that?"

"Psychological advantage." Xander waved a hand.

Spike stood up, removed his jeans, kicked them aside, and loomed cross-armed over Xander until he looked up, scowling. "Very majestic, mighty white British Man--you can sit back down now."

So it turned out that Harris was a poor toss at torture. It was a hell of a disappointment. Spike had expected much more from the man, given his inventive and colorful threats over the years, and the sheer venom he could summon when roused. Lounging naked on the carpet and taking an occasional shot, Spike moodily wondered what was on cable later, and if he could swing a trip to the off-license between sundown and closing. Summer was the single worst time to be a vampire in Sunnydale. Long days and co-eds thin on the ground--not that he drank from the populace any more, but the sentiment lingered.

"Hey," he said, startled, when Xander heaved himself over to straddle Spike's legs. He hadn't bared his arse expecting a lap dance. Yeah, all right, he snipered Harris's masculinity whenever he got the chance--sporty fun, why not--but he'd honestly thought hostility was behind all that yelling and gorilla-like posturing. "What are you--?"

"I'm not very good at this torture thing," Xander confessed in an odd, strained voice. "Also, I think I'm a little drunk." He kissed Spike full on the mouth, with more than a hint of tongue.

Oh, I don't bloody think so, Spike projected to Xander in outrage, but he couldn't say anything with his mouth full, and besides, he'd served himself up for this. Naked on Boy Loser's carpet, with a lapful of horny human--it was pathetic. If Harris thought this was the ultimate torture, he was flattering himself.

Patiently he let Xander kiss him, keeping one eye open to watch the dog-sleds bounce along the snow on the TV behind him. After a bit more tongue-tussling Xander laughed into his mouth and pulled away. Warily, Spike eyed him. "What?"

"I still like my other idea." He stretched past Spike and grabbed something off the end table, not getting off his lap. It was his cell phone, which he struggled with for a minute, pushing buttons in what appeared to be misdials before he got the number he wanted and held the phone up to his ear. He slung an arm around Spike, either in companionable sottedness or in an attempt to keep himself from tipping, and when the rings were broken by the faint lilt of "Angel Investigations," he shoved the phone at Spike, who took it in alarm.

"Er, hello?"

"Angel Investigations, can I help you?"

"Yeah. Put Angel on."

"Who may I say is--"

"Tell him it's his son."

Silence stretched a moment, then the voice said more frostily, "You're not Connor. Who is this?"

Spike rolled his eyes. "His other son. Well, grandson, really."

"Uh huh. Now I know you're lying."

Patience tried, he slowed his voice to enunciate with care. "Look--" You stupid bint. "--put Angel on now, or I'm going to kill this fellow who's sitting on me, and his blood'll be on your," soft, pointed little, "head." Xander leaned closer, forehead almost touching Spike's, to hear her reply, and Spike obligingly angled the phone for him.

There was a click, and Spike thought the ditzy operator had hung up, but after a moment the poof's cool voice came across the line. "Who are you and what do you want?"

Immediately, Spike changed tack and tone. "Angel...that you?"

"Spike?"

"Yeahhhh," Spike said in a shaky breath. "Sorry about the rigmarole. Thought you'd hang up if you knew it was me."

"I would have. And unless you really are killing someone, I'm hanging up now."

In a dark, hollow voice, Spike said, "No one but myself."

There was a pause, during which he could almost picture Angel in his office, hunched forward in his chair like a big broody black sheep, and then: "I heard about the soul."

"Figured you would."

"How's that working out for you?" Angel asked quietly, and in the background Spike heard a door shut.

He glanced at Xander, who gave him an odd, opaque look and then licked Spike's jaw in one long swipe, up toward the phone. Nearly strangled by disbelief, Spike managed to take a breath and say distractedly, "Oh...yeah, it's...damp."

An uncertain pause. "Damp?"
 
"Not damp." He couldn't think of a word. "Heavy."

"Souls are like that. They weigh on you."

"This one weighs about thirteen stone," Spike said with a glare at Xander, whose eyes slitted in a catlike way that might be interpreted as amusement. An almost fetching look, if you were mad and drunk enough to be forgiving.

"Spike, are you drinking?"

"What do you think?"

"Why did you call me?" A note of impatience had entered Angel's voice that would have only been audible to someone who'd been trained to listen for it. Meanwhile, Xander was playing with Spike's chest, stroking around scars that should have healed long ago but hadn't quite, and thumbing his left nipple with annoying obsessiveness. Too long flying solo left a man vulnerable, and Spike tried to think cold thoughts.

"Called to say...oh, sod it." He gave a theatrical sigh. "You'll never believe me."

"Probably not. Try me."

Spike found inner reserves to tap the one talent he liked to think he had, and let his voice lower to a husky murmur. "Just been thinkin' of you." He slid a hand behind Xander as he spoke, and kept his eyes on the other man's while working his fingers up and down the padded curve of spine, playing light piano scales. He finally got what Red meant by multitasking. Xander, half hard, was now fondling himself through his sweats as if this were all a perfectly normal pastime they'd indulged in before, and Spike was beginning to appreciate the bent, secretive madness of his flat-mate for the first time in ages.

On the other end of the line, Angel cleared his throat. "Okay," he said hesitantly.

"Been thinkin' about how you used to get," Spike said, knocking Xander's hand away from his dick and taking up the work himself. Xander went glassy-eyed as Spike stroked him through the thin material. He was rising to the occasion obediently. "The things you used to do, to keep me in line."

"Spike--"

"Oh, how I hated you." Spike jerked his hand hard and Xander muffled a cry low in his throat and pushed up onto his knees, resting his hands on Spike's shoulders. "Trying to break me just 'cause you could." He worked the human's dick out past the edge of his sweats; it striped a wet line along the cloth and then climbed head-first into the nest of his hand, silky and hot.

"I'm sorry," Angel said, somewhere between perfunctory and penitent.

Holding himself indifferent to this monstrous display of gall, Spike went on, "Yeah, but it's all the same now, innit, love. You, me. Soul to soul."

"Is it?"

"Oh fuck," Xander said, as Spike flicked his thumb under the head of his dick and felt it bounce within his grip. Fluid pearled out to coat the head glossily, and Spike inhaled and began working it around, letting his movements draw Xander toward his mouth, feeling him shudder.

From down the line Angel's voice sharpened. "Is that Xander?"

"TV," Spike replied shortly, sliding his hand down and up again, a generous squeeze that left Xander red and swollen. As he began to pump forward erratically, a thundering wave of lust hit Spike and dashed him under, carrying him into a smooth, airless underworld where Angel's voice and Xander's quivering body seemed to merge.

"Oh."

"I miss you, Angel." Spike half purred the false words, half groaned them. He nearly strained something to achieve that husky need. Nastily, filled with a casual abiding hatred, he whispered, "God, I miss you."

"Spike, this isn't the best time." Stiffening, eyes snapping open, Spike listened to his victory slip away on a cool current of words. "Don't kill yourself. Hang on--and come see me. We'll talk." Then, that unbelievable detachment: "I'm sorry. I have to go."

The phone clicked and Spike lowered it from his ear, held it a moment without looking at it, then hurled it with force across the room with tight-lipped rage. Savagely, he took Xander's ass in both free hands and dragged him home, sucking him in as the other man writhed forward to meet him. He'd thought to set the pace, but after a few moments Xander grabbed the back of Spike's head and took charge, fucking his mouth with a burst of force, twisting and sawing his way deeper, using Spike long enough to make his jaw ache before stopping on a dime. He rested for a moment, thick and heavy along Spike's tongue, then drew out in one long, slick pull to the tip and screwed back in with teasing, circular motions, slow as you please. After several minutes of similar fun, he showed no signs of coming.

Clearly, this was why the demon bint'd stayed with him for so long. Anya used to yap in sickening detail about her fiance's Viking-like prowess in the sack, but Spike had taken these for the claims of a prattling pea-hen and thought nothing of it. But god, the lad had a massive schlong--and willpower too. Plenty of men had launched lucrative careers on those strengths alone.

Spike groaned and tilted his head and felt Xander slide in another few inches. His throat worked with reflexive attempts to dislodge the intruder, but he couldn't and he didn't give a toss. He was pissed and this was better than thinking about the bastard who'd just hung up on him, so he sank into a zone of greedy submission and let Xander pump inside him. He was cooperative, and learned to do exactly what Xander liked; it was easy to follow when your partner knew how to lead. Suck and relax, suck and relax, let all that hot flesh slide out, leaving only the fat, silky head resting on your tongue. Give it a lick or two, swirl it around, then down the side, then a hint of teeth--yeah, he liked that--and then let him shove in hard enough to gag you, hard enough to make your eyes tear up, too fucking brilliant, before stroking the ribbed roof of your mouth again and again and again.

Oh fuck, Spike thought, feeling his balls tighten. How embarrassing would that be, shooting his load without even touching himself, but oh fuck, this was good. He made a ragged, grating sound that begged for more and Xander swayed back, one hand latched to the curve of Spike's skull, his other hand dangling loose. He thrust lazily across Spike's lower lip. "Hey," he said in a conversational tone, "this is pretty great, but I'm going to fuck you now."

He drew out and Spike's head fell back on the couch. "Go for it," he croaked with relief and bravado. "Still got thirty-four minutes."

Two of those minutes later he was bent over the couch with his thighs spread wide, upper body mashed into the upholstery while Xander shoved slowly up his ass. He wasn't being gentle, just steady. It hurt like fuck. It hurt good. Spike groaned for more, and Xander let himself slip halfway out and then pushed back in. Spike saw stars. When he was filled up, his throat closed itself off too, and he forgot how to make words for a while.

And then Xander fucked him for thirty-two straight minutes, give or take--after a certain point, stopping him would have been more torture than letting him finish, and Spike had never been a stickler for game rules, anyway. While riding him, Xander said filthy things in a calm, sure voice, things nasty enough to make Spike feel the sharp astonishment of love taking shape somewhere in his chest. The steady movement of Xander's hips sawed Spike's prick back and forth against the rough material of the couch until he came with harsh, embarrassed noises. Three times. Then Xander shot heavily in his ass and collapsed on his back and passed out with a sigh.

Spike slithered out from under his blanket, scooped up his smokes, and staggered over toward the window, where a line of toxic sunlight edged the shade and barred him from going further. He slid down the wall to rest his ass gently on the carpet, winced anyway, and drew up one leg as he lit a smoke.

Sex that good should come with some kind of epiphany, he thought, looking over to where Xander snored comfortably, draped over the couch edge.

It didn't, though.

But for a few minutes he brooded, smoking, wondering if Dawn would move to L.A., and what his promise meant if she did, and whether Angel was heading off somewhere right now to kill something interesting, and what Xander would say later today when he sobered up. And Spike wondered what he would say, in a moment of rare self-reflection.




The End





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