Title: Two Into One (or The Plucky Boy Detectives in... The Nether Wallop Mystery)
Rating: Mature (or maybe just smutty)
Word count: 2500
Summary: two men, one mission, twin beds – and an opportunity
A/N: For the good__evil art-a-thon, and specifically a dastardly tempting banner by sevendeadlyfun - who first invoked the plucky boy detectives. Also, apologies to anyone who knows the Wallops. I don’t think they’re that bad, just a handy name and location...
Image by sevendeadlyfun
Two Into One
Xander listened to the voice in his ear, as it outlined his doom. The voice was extremely cheerful. He wanted to smack it. “Funny how life keeps throwing you two together, isn’t it? Almost as though fated by some higher power.”
“You can shut up right now, Giles. Just because you’re the big boss doesn’t mean you get to gloat. It’s not kind.”
Doom picked up another earpiece and joined the conversation. “Yeah, ‘snot like either of us asked for this crappy assignment. Just handy in London so you don’t have to shell out extra travel cash. If I never play plucky boy detectives with Harris again it’ll be a month too soon.”
“Oh, you’ve arrived too, Spike? Good, it’ll save time on the details. We need you to get over to Hampshire, specifically to Nether Wallop (the first one of you to snicker at the name gets our next slime demon case, by the way).” Giles was reaching mid-level exasperation with speed – as if he sensed the semi-rebellious vibe emitting from both men.
Still, the Head of the Council had to sound positive about new operations. “It should be an interesting one, this. And probably not dangerous. Well, not very. We need you to have a look at a new Slayer. She’s been on the radar for a while, but the Coven haven’t been able to get a clear read on her. She’s... flickering.”
“Uh, say what now?”
“Sometimes she’s there, glowing freely when they seek her. Sometimes she’s just not. We don’t understand why. Slayer power is binary – either one is or one isn’t. There’s no such thing as a partial Slayer. And to our knowledge, nor is there an occasional Slayer option. I must ask you to proceed with maximum secrecy.”
“I smell Watcher paranoia. How ‘bout you Spike?” Xander took his bonding where he could, these days. If nothing else, it was mildly fun to annoy Giles.
“Look, we know nothing about what’s happening. It might be nothing. Could be a spell. Could be a fatal weakness in the line. We’re not going to bring her into the fold until we’re certain and we are damned well not going to shout about this until we have some idea of what the problem is. Understood?”
A grudging silence of acceptance. Spike broke it, “But there’s definitely a girl, right?
“Yes, Stacey Saunders. Youngest daughter of- ”
“Just send us the dossier, Watcher.”
Yes, Giles was definitely into peevish. “Ahem... I believe you’re a Watcher too, now Spike. Isn’t it time you stopped using it as an insult?”
Xander was interested to observe Spike’s angry flush. Still so much to learn about vampiric blood movement.
Oh god. He was thinking like a Watcher too now.
The Watcher’s Council was strapped for money. Most of the paperwork on its exclusive Swiss accounts had gone up in smoke, along with the Watchers. So the Council wasn’t exactly springing for five star luxury. Not that there was such a thing in Nether Wallop anyway. There was a pub with rooms, but that was at the wrong end of the village. And there was Mrs Arbuthnot’s house, right by the Saunders home. She let rooms.
Twin room. One of those magnificently European twin rooms, in fact, with two entirely separate mattresses sharing one entirely single bedframe.
Mrs Arbuthnot left them in the room, with a huge wink and a, “Well, I’ll just be leaving you two to get ... settled.” Oh, if only she’d been a rabid homophobe and thrown them into the street. It would have been a) an excuse to get the Council to cough up for something better and b) much less uncomfortable.
Xander looked at the two tiny weeny mattresses sharing the bed frame. “This is the start of a very bad porn film.” And wished he hadn’t said that.
“Don’t get your hopes up, Harris. If I’d wanted you, I’d have had you ages ago.” Spike winked. “Dibs on not by the window so I don’t wake up a pile of dust. Don’t trust those manky curtains one bit.”
Xander briefly considered whether Dust!Spike would be an improvement on current conditions. But no, then he’d have to take double surveillance shifts, and that’d be no fun.
In fact, single surveillance shifts proved to be absolutely no fun at all. After a week of Nether Wallop in the off season without cable TV, both men were ready to snap. There was damn all to do apart from hang around watching a teenage girl and trying not to look like child molesters. Salisbury Plain, bleak and depopulated at the best of times, doesn’t show its good side in November. Xander didn’t warm to it. Spike claimed this kind of weather was exactly what had driven him to California in the first place.
The gloom did at least make it easier to share observation duties. Apart from full noon there was virtually no period bright enough to keep Spike stuck indoors. Mrs Arbuthnot thought he took siestas, and ribbed him over his ‘fancy continental ways’. Spike didn’t kill her. So that was fair.
Frustratingly though, they were no further towards understanding Stacey Saunders. They fuzzily and gloomily watched the Saunders household morning and night, through fog, mizzle, drizzle, mist, smog and many exciting combinations thereof. They trailed after her to the school two miles away (she sometimes cycled, sometimes walked), waited around, returned to her home (passing the heady delights of the Middle Wallop newsagent-slash-sweetshop – about every other day she’d stop in for a quarter of something sticky), swapped duties regularly (and then gave up and merely kept a vague ear out overnight at Mrs Arbuthnot’s in case anyone seemed to be leaving the Saunders house. They never did).
It was dull, it was unremarkable, it was excruciatingly the same. But Stacey wasn’t. Sometimes sparky, speedy and full of fun – then she looked like a Slayer in training. But pretty often instead she was a wallflower, lank-haired and silent, shuffling as she stepped and suffering taunts from passing schoolfellows.
Was it an enchantment? But why so on/off? Maybe some warlock was struggling for control of Stacey’s mind. Maybe she was bipolar or with some other mental health issue. There were no definite signs either could detect. The Council’s magic-monitors turned up diddly, Spike and Xander seemed to be the only dodgy characters following Stacey. Whatever the explanation they didn’t dare break the glad Slayer tidings. Too many variables. Occasionally already, Slayers told of their calling had reacted badly, even fatally. No one wanted another occurrence like that. No more Marias. No more Dennies.
So Spike and Xander lurked and slunk and spent far too much time in the Wallops. There was no prospect of release.
Late on Sunday night, after dully watching Stacey to and from the Salisbury shops (four hour round trip, yet somehow no chance of a pint while they waited) and a study session at a friend’s, Spike lay back on his half of the beds, and spoke to the ceiling.
“Don’t mind me, but I’m gonna go nuts if I don’t have a wank.”
“Jesus!” Xander leapt off his mattress. “And you waited till I was in the room for this?”
“Yeah, thought you’d be intrigued. ‘Sides, it’s freezing in the shower.” Spike unbuckled his belt, unzipped himself and ignored Xander entirely.
Xander looked around frantically for sanctuary, but there was none. Mrs Arbuthnot was a light sleeper, prone to pouncing on night-wandering guests and he didn’t want to have to explain his reasons for going out right now. Anyway, Nether Wallop at 1.30am in freezing fog was no welcoming place. Xander briefly considered the bus shelter. But no. Arthur the tramp slept there. And he was probably even more disgusting a bedfellow than Spike.
So he lay back down, buried his head in his pillow, and tried desperately not to hear or to feel the vibrations through the shared bed frame. Furiously aroused by the thought of what Spike was doing. Damn that vampire and his knowledge of human nature. Surprisingly slow strokes, an internal notetaker recorded. Xander had moved in that direction since his frantic teen thrashing days, learning the pleasures of leisurely pacing. But not to this lazy, sure-handed stage, slow movements - almost rocking. They were moves of a man at ease with his own responses, and working surely to climax, fuss-free and efficient. Which shouldn’t be erotic terms but very definitely were when you thought about how that sure stroking would work on your own... Oh no.
He’d been making silent allowance for a certain arousal factor arising (bad word) from any Real Live Sex Thing happening right by his elbow, but the aching, twitching, driving need he’d now reached was far beyond curious reaction and very much into Turned On and Wanting. And not-possible-to-ignore either.
Xander shuffled out of bed and towards the shower (which was indeed freezingly anti-erotic but didn’t stop him coming frantically within thirty seconds of closing the door). He pretended not to hear the low “Spoilsport,” from Spike, which greeted his return to bed.
Next day it sleeted. The hire car had a poorly fitted door on the offside. This became increasingly apparent as the icy droplets oozed in during the long afternoon watch.
The Slayer walked home from school, slow and dragging. A larger girl gave her a shove, and she cringed away. Are we sure this is the right girl to join us? Xander returned from his work, unilluminated, ill-slept and furiously depressed, to the scene of the previous night’s unwelcome revelation. Spike would be out for hours, so at least peaceful boredom loomed.
But no. Reprieve was brief. Ten minutes after Xander came back, Spike was in the bedroom. Spike was sitting on the bed, actually, looking proudly at a small monitor against the opposite wall.
“Hey, you’re supposed to be on shift.” Xander cared much less about Stacey duty than about not-freedom from Spike, at this point, but sounding virtuous was worth a shot.
Spike didn’t bother to turn towards him to shoot that one down. “Nah, ‘snot worth it, is it? She never goes out once she’s in. Anyway, had a bright thought in Salisbury yesterday – popped back and got us a coupla surveillance cameras – we’ll soon see if she goes anywhere.” Xander’s obvious scepticism made him add a defensive, “Well, we can see at least as much here as from a blacked out car in pitch dark and sleet. More, even. Dunno why we didn’t do this ages ago, really.”
To which there was no answer. Clearly, this would have been better than all that frozen skulking – given that Mrs Arbuthnot’s house was virtually next to the Saunders’ and Stacey seemed to be in no danger requiring their constant proximity anyway. Not to mention that this way they could keep monitoring 24/7 instead of their half-assed and part-time lurking schedule in the murk. Crap. Bad detective, Xander.
“So, I’ll keep my eyes on the screen, and you do whatever comes natural, right?” Spike looked round, a brief flash of blue eyes taunting before he went back to the thrills of CCTV.
“Well, thought you seemed interested last night. Not often you get a chance like this, two blokes stuck in bed together with nothing better to do. Seriously, you never been curious? I’m not about to give up on women, gorgeous creatures that they are. Doesn’t mean I won’t cross the fence now and again.”
“Uhwhhum.” Xander’s point was profoundly unclear.
Spike understood it perfectly. “Thought so. Don’t fret, won’t tell when we leave. What happens in Nether Wallop stays in Nether Wallop, right?
A lot happened in Nether Wallop. It started when Xander reached out a tentative hand and rested it on Spike’s back. High up, between the shoulder blades, nothing untoward. But still something he’d never knowingly done to another man. The hand moved, slowly, down the spine, to pause consideringly on a tight, available arse. Which he’d never even thought of doing before. Xander said nothing, but after a moment Spike pulled off his shirt, so the hand could make the same journey, slower and hotter, on bare skin. And then Spike wriggled pretty smoothly out of his remaining clothing. Still facing away, letting Xander look and touch and take the initiative – sometimes a little encouraging movement urged him on to explore new naked male areas, but otherwise, nothing to remind Xander where he was, or how many lines he was crossing. He kept moving onwards.
Comparative hand movements were the very least of what Xander learnt that night. Or no. Not the least. It was a high point, one of many, when Spike demonstrated just how a slow, rhythmic stroke could make you focus in so deep and tight that orgasm seemed to start from your spine and pulse outwards till your whole body got a share.
Eventually, Spike peeled himself away from (...out of, oh God...) Xander and rolled onto his own mattress. “So. Bad porn movie?”
“Nuhuhuhuuuh,” explained Xander. “Good. Veryveryvery good.” He tried not to pass out rapturously, and failed.
Much, much later that night. So late it wasn’t even early. Spike half woke and stared vaguely at the still-glowing monitor for a few minutes. Then suddenly bolt upright, he swore a vicious stream of suppurating oaths which woke Xander from a previously contented slumber.
Spike eventually calmed enough to speak. “Dossier says youngest daughter, right? How much younger?”
“I have no clue,” said Xander, caring less.
“I’d say about half an hour younger. Look. They’re fucking identical twins.”
He took a screencap and rewound about ten minutes. The screen had caught what their devotedly incompetent following of the girl each time she emerged from home had signally missed. Girl A (Miss Perky), skipped out of the house at 7.35 to grab her bicycle. A very similar looking Girl B (Miss Sulky) slunk out a few minutes later, trudging off. Evidently no sisterly co-walking to school here.
“Oh right. That’s what’s thrown the spell, isn’t it?” Xander was two steps behind but catching up fast. “Identical DNA, but only one Slayer. I think that’s the first time that’s happened.”
“God, we’re a crap organisation,” Spike muttered, shoulders twitching irritably. “Can’t even spot multiple people when we’re not expecting them. Can’t even recognise twins, mystically or with our own eyeballs. Bloody hell.”
Xander patted him just once, lingeringly, on the smooth naked shoulder he’d spent some minutes biting just hours before (yes, he was trying for comfort, now. Of course he was). But it was no good. Nether Wallop time was over.
Stacey turned out to be Girl B. She was thrilled and relieved to be informed of the source of her sudden, terrifying strength, which she’d been desperately hiding for fear of hurting someone. She was also (comparatively) happy to leave with the Watchers too, looking forward to a new world out of her twin’s shadow. Couldn’t have been simpler, in fact, if only someone had done some basic research a week ago.
But then, Xander would have missed out on a life-changing revelation.
Spike kept his promise – not a word about that night entered the Watchers’ Council gossip mill.
Xander was sorry about that.
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