Let's Talk About Sex
Pandora's Box of Brownies
Around four in the afternoon, Xander parked his car outside the cemetery. Curiosity won so he paid Spike's phone booth 'diary' a visit.
The booth was covered in graffiti, obviously not all written by Spike, but some just had that certain ring to them. 'Bored beyond bloody belief' for instance. And who else would scratch 'Harris is a hottie' into a derelict phone booth?
The message advertising gay phone sex and listing a familiar phone number finally explained why Giles had recently gotten a new telephone number. Spike, you dastardly fiend! Grinning, Xander headed for Spike's crypt.
No sound came out of the crumbling edifice. Xander knocked, but no one answered. He opened the door just a little and squinted into the dimly lit mausoleum. No Spike in sight. Probably downstairs. Good. This was Xander's chance to grab his stuff and get the hell out of Dodge without having to talk to the vampire about... well, anything.
The cooler stood right where he'd left it. Xander placed the Tupperware container with the brownies on the armrest of Spike's chair and bent down to pick up the bag with his rentals. A crumpled T-shirt lay on the floor, with a few whitish blotches on the black fabric.
He stared at it for a full minute, speculation rampant in his brain. Thanks to years of sharing his living space with a washing machine and a dryer, Xander knew more about stains and laundry than he'd ever wanted to know, and the white stains looked suspiciously like—no! Madness lay there, ho ho, hee hee, ha haa.
Milk! Maybe Spike had developed a yen for milk, he just didn't want anyone to know, and last night he'd spilled some, and that explanation was kinda thin, see-through thin, but hey, the idea of Spike with a milk moustache held a certain appeal – until the peroxided image in Xander's head grinned wickedly and started to lick his lips. Gah.
With effort, Xander shook the image off and locked it away in a remote part of his brain. The hole in the ground provided a welcome distraction. Xander crept towards it, listening for signs of occupation. Anybody home? Spike moved about even in daylight hours, so maybe he was out. Xander peered into the dark cavity below, but the only thing he could make out were the rungs of the ladder. Before he knew it, Xander had taken the first tentative step down. And another, until he stood in the dimly lit privacy of Spike's basement, grimacing at the smell of stale cigarette smoke. Just a quick look... he told himself.
A single slow-burning candle provided the only illumination. Xander paused, heart hammering in his chest, barely daring to breathe, while he waited for his eyes to adapt to the dingy half-light.
The first thing he made out was an antediluvian turntable and a stack of old vinyl records that sat on a large wooden trunk, flanked by an old-fashioned, tasseled lamp. Xander wasn't sure what he'd expected, a stack of coffins maybe, complete with their moldy deceased tenants. Certainly not a small bar, floral rugs and battered but antique-looking pieces of furniture. And definitely not a giant four-poster bed. The carpenter in Xander wondered quietly, how Spike had managed to get that monster bed down here.
Spike lay motionless on the bed, not like a stiff in a coffin but sprawled out, one arm above his head. And he was shirtless. Which shouldn't bother Xander, not really, because he had had perfectly good sex with Anya last night and today, proving once and for all that he was anything but gay.
Xander crept closer, half expecting Spike to rise and greet him. But the supine body on the bed remained just that, supine.
Some creature of the night. Xander suppressed a derisive snort. Didn't even wake up when someone slunk into his lair. Spike's eyes were closed. There was no flutter of lashes, no rapid-eye-movement. And no breathing. Spike's chest was absolutely still. All in all, Spike looked like a well preserved corpse. And what a pretty corpse he made. *Half-naked like that... Oops, wrong thought. Bad brain!* Xander gave himself a mental slap on the metaphorical wrist.
And yet, Xander couldn't stop staring. He stared with the eyes of a craftsman at Spike's washboard abs, his lean, strong arms and shoulders, and his muscular chest, looking for a flaw. Unaware that his fingers were twitching with the urge to study the smooth contours through touch. Stared at a torso that looked like a finely chiseled piece of alabaster, milk-white, and slightly translucent. Blue veins and arteries shone underneath that smooth, deathly pale skin. Two perfect, dusky nipples completed the picture. A body without flaws, except where faint silvery scars marred the perfection of Spike's skin. Scars left by that hellbitch, Glory, when she tried to torture the identity of the Key out of him, and scars left by Spike's fall off Glory's tower.
Xander had seen these injuries when they'd been fresh. He vividly remembered how sick he'd felt when he'd realized that the hell goddess had started to flay the vampire. For the first time Xander had felt something for Spike, something other than disgust or hatred. A pang of pity, and yeah, even respect.
Xander hadn't expected to find scars, after all vampires were your regular non-stick guys. Whatever you did to them left no mark. They always bounced right back, fully healed, not a scratch, right? Only not. Would these imperfections eventually fade to nothing or would they remain imprinted on Spike's ageless flesh when Xander and Buffy and all their friends were long dead?
"See anything you like?" the vampire asked, opening his eyes. His voice was half wary, half sultry.
"Huh!" Xander exclaimed with a start. "You're awake!" he laughed nervously.
"You didn't think I'd sleep through you tinkletoeing around, did you?"
"I was wondering about that, I mean, if I had been a vampire hunter out to add another notch to my trusted stake—"
"Knew it was you," the vampire interrupted. He sat up, swung his legs over with a flourish and jumped off of the bed, landing with feline grace directly in front of Xander, close enough to touch. Tense like a coiled spring. Every inch a predator – a pissed-off predator.
Xander took a cautionary step backwards. Look who's wearing his grumpy pants, he thought, taking 2 plus 2 and coming up with five: A vampire with a hangover. I bet not many who see one live to tell the tale.
"I'd know your scent out of a million," Spike snarled. "Yours and your little ex-demon's."
"Stop calling her that!" Xander raised his voice. "She's not my 'little ex-demon', I mean she is, mine, and an ex-demon too, but her name's Anya. Not demon girl, not Miss Moneymoney. Anya. Got it? Now, Anya thought you might like some of the brownies Willow and Tara made." He gestured towards the upper level of the crypt. "Although I'm thinking I should've brought a bottle of Motrin instead."
"Bearing gifts again, are we? Go on, feed me some crumbs," Spike growled, stalking towards him. "Toss me a bone."
"Whoa," Xander exclaimed, resisting the urge to back-pedal out of reach. "Foul-tempered much?"
On a nastiness scale of one to ten, Spike's smirk scored a solid eleven. "And how was today's wake-up sex? Bet you were quite the stallion when you put it to your honey."
"How—?" the word wriggled out before Xander could stomp on it.
Spike's mien darkened even more, if that was even possible. "Her scent. All over you." He looked as though something about the mingling of Xander and Anya's scents rubbed him entirely the wrong way.
Xander almost sniffed his own arm.
"I'm fed up with your sodding games, Harris! What're you playing at?"
"Hey? My games? Gee, Spike, I've got news for you. The world does not revolve around you. Get real, Fangface."
The vampire laughed without mirth. "Yeah? Then tell me: what're you doing here? Tryin' to catch the evil dead thing in his jammies? Or pick up where we left off?"
"What? No! I came to pick up my stuff," Xander blurted out.
Spike's angry mien hardened. A muscle in his jaw jumped erratically, and the vampire was breathing heavily, around him an air of barely restrained violence..
Oops, wrong answer Xander realized.
"Oh yeah? Only, your stuff's not here, now is it? It's up there," Spike reminded him, gesturing towards the hole in the ceiling." An' I don't recall handing out invites for my digs or my bed, least of all to you, so sod off!"
"I wasn't snooping, if that's what you mean. Like I care how you live or sleep or... or anything," Xander snapped.
"Then take your fucking brownies an' get lost!"
Fuming inwardly, Xander stalked off, but then he whirled around, one hand on the ladder.
"You know what? You really suck, Spike. As a host, I mean, and as a... as a drinking buddy. No 'Hey, Xander', no coffee, no 'how's your head' or 'last night was fun,' or anything. All you do is get in my face," Xander yelled. "I mean, what's with you, anyway?"
"Think you can lecture me on proper hospitality? I'm a vampire in a bleedin' crypt, for Christ's sake. Not looking to 'entertain' live visitors, am I?"
"And whose fault is that?" Xander shot back.
They glared at each other, shoulders squared, too indignant and stubborn to admit that the other had a point. Another face-off, the latest in a long line of similar quarrels. Only this time, the memory of singing Monty Python tunes together was still fresh, blunting their enmity.
"Are they good?" Spike finally asked, when Xander made no move to climb the ladder.
"The brownies. Any good?"
"Willow made them. What do you think?" Xander snapped, but most of his anger was already spent. Besides, Xander loved chocolate in all shapes and sizes. Just thinking about it was enough to improve his temper. "Of course they're good," he added, slightly more affable.
"Right." Scratching the scar on his eyebrow with his thumb, Spike stuck out his chin. "Let's have'm, then. You want one?"
"I thought you'd never ask."
They climbed up the ladder, sat down on Spike's stone sarcophagus, and dug into the container.
"You're right. Not bad," Spike mumbled, his mouth full. "Even better than her cookies."
"Yup," Xander agreed amiably.
Spike squinted at him, only half appeased. Still wary. Still bristling with indignation. If Harris was here to cash in on his investment, why didn't he fucking say so? Spike had already told him that he was willing to have his brain picked for last night's booze and treats. Why the brownies and the sneaking around in his crypt? It's not like they'd ever be chums anyway.
No, the sooner Spike got a chance to pay up and end this charade, the better. This 'one step forward two steps back' routine was driving him nuts. "Now, I like to get bribed like the next bloke" he drawled, "but how 'bout we stop pussyfootin' around. Come on, Harris, where's the catch?"
"Catch?" Xander echoed.
"'Anya. Likes. Weird. Sex.'" Spike prompted.
"Oh that." Xander laughed nervously. This wasn't exactly a very harmonious moment to pop the big question, granted, but the longer Xander waited, the more difficult it became.I It was time to stick out his neck - figuratively, of course. It's now or never a tiny voice in the back of his head urged him on.
"Um, the catch is, it's Anya's birthday in two weeks."
The vampire arched his eyebrows. "And?"
"And I want to give her something really special," Xander continued, trying very hard not to stare at Spike's bare chest.
"You're not asking me to pick out a nice rubber prick for her, are you?" Spike grinned.
"No, uh, nothing like that. There's something she wants to try, something she's talked about, well, way too often." Now or never,the inner voice said, sounding pushy and just a little breathless.
"Bondage? Spanking?" Spike prompted. "Need someone to teach you to tie proper Boy Scout knots? Thought that's what we've got the Internet for."
"Actually, I was thinking... um..." Xander broke off, his heart beating madly. His face felt like it was on fire. This was insane. Bad idea, bad idea. Now or never "Well, the thing she wants is..."
Spike peered into the container. Only one brownie remained. He quickly popped it into his mouth.
"... a threesome."
That was when Spike choked on his cake.
Trust I Seek
It was the ultimate indignity, coughing like a sodding human, just because a few crumbs had found their way into his windpipe. And then, as though to add insult to injury, Harris began to awkwardly pat his back. Or maybe Harris was just trying to cop a feel. Spike shrugged him off, silently vowing to rip out Droopy Boy's spine, should he ever breathe a word about this to his chums.
Finally, the coughing fit subsided, leaving behind a silence charged with the two words that had triggered it in the first place: A threesome?Gobsmacked, Spike gaped at the human. Xander sat beside him, sweating nervously, a sheepish expression on his face. Spike blinked, then his eyebrows shot up.
For a wild, insane moment it all made perfect sense - in a remote, Sunnydale-y kind of way: Anya. Of course. Always hankering for sex, love, and attention. The pretty ex-demon had engineered this, had browbeaten Harris into this. Had an itch she wanted scratching, ever since that night at the Bronze... Spike understood hunger, understood need. Hell, he'd practically written the manual. It all made sense...
A threesome, with Harris and his demon girl, God, yes! Lust surged through Spike like a nuclear blast. Scorching hot. Dizzying. Breathtaking. Making him hard faster than the hottest of fantasies.
Until suspicion slammed on the brakes, bringing Spike face to face with the ugly truth: Hell would freeze over first, before luck, fate, or the soddin' Powers Who Fucked Things Up allowed him to get away with another good day.
The real Harris would never go along with something like that, not in a million years.
Oh balls! Now I know. It's another bleedin' dream! That's what this is. Any second now I'm gonna wake up with a raging boner, feeling utterly stupid. And I'll have to stake myself to put myself out of my misery. Those were the thoughts that raced through his brain. Actually they didn't really race; they stumbled around and bumped into each other. And underneath that confusion, demonic anger was rising, because the demon didn't like it when things got complicated.
Frowning, Spike willed himself to wake up. Nothing happened. He could still see and smell Harris, and he could still taste Willow's brownies in his mouth. Right then. If it wasn't a dream, then Harris was messing with him, setting him up.
April Fools Day? Not yet. Candid Camera? Rubbish. A bet or a dare? More like. He tried to picture Xander playing Truth or Dare. Would the chance to royally screw with Spike's mind outweigh Harris's inner prude? If Spike were in Xander's sneakers, he'd do it in a heartbeat, if only for payback. After all, Spike had never passed up an opportunity to mess with the boy's compass needle. Bristling with suspicion, Spike glared at him, looking for that tell-tale smirk that would tell him that deep down Xander was gloating.
"Ground control to Major Spike. You in there?" Xander waved a hand in front of Spike's eyes. "Hello?" He wasn't sure what to make of the vampire's uncanny silence. He'd expected Mr. Foulmouth to either spew scathing insults, or eagerly jump at the opportunity for a good 'shag'. Introspective Spike just felt all wrong. And some very strange expressions had flitted over Spike's face, not all of them pleasant.
"Spike? You okay?"
"Is this some kind of joke?" Spike's voice held more than a hint of menace.
"Um, no. No joke," Xander said, taken aback by the sudden hostility in Spike's demeanor. His determination wobbled, wavered, and finally crumbled. In its place, a nervous babble took over: "Although—You know what? Yup, a joke, that's all. Bad joke. I see that now. My bad. Forget I ever suggested—uh--said anything. Let's all laugh heartily, here, in private, where no one ever finds out about this, right? And then let's quickly forget this... uh, conversation ever took place, and when I say 'quickly' I mean 'right away.' What do you say?"
Spike slowly tilted his head, appraising him like a lion appraises a tasty zebra. A back-pedaling zebra. Xander swallowed.
"Look here, Spike, like I said, let's forget—"
"Like hell," Spike brushed Xander's babble aside. "What you just said—" he broke off and took a deep breath, trying – without great success – to look nonchalant. He took the plunge: "It wasn't a joke, was it? And it wasn't a theoretical question either..."
"Er... no, not exactly." Xander smiled weakly, visibly struggling for composure, like a man determined to meet a cruel fate with his dignity intact.
"An invite? A pass? "
Xander swallowed. His heart was beating madly in his chest, so hard, it hurt. "An, uh, open door?"
Thoroughly floored, Spike had to close his eyes for a moment, to keep at least some of his feelings locked inside. It wouldn't do to let Harris get too close a look. Spike shook his head. Wouldn't do at all.
A thought crossed his mind and he squinted at his opposite. "You're not under a spell, are you? Willow's quaint little my-will-be-done mojo comes to mind. " Spike affected a leer. "Not that I mind..."
Xander thought it over, then shook his head. "Nuh, no spell. This is something Anya's been trying to talk me into for almost a year," he explained, losing some of his nervousness, now that the big whopper was out in the open. He was even beginning to enjoy the situation. He had never seen the vampire so out of his depth. "Told ya, Anya likes to try... weird... things. You should see some of her toys... um, or maybe not." He cleared his throat. "So, what's your answer? Five words or less."
"I'll give you two." Spike jumped off the sarcophagus and began to pace: "Won't work."
"It won't work," the vampire repeated, even though his inner voice screamed: Just say yes, you idiot!
"You can't stand me. An' that's just for starters. Besides, you don't trust me. What did you do, pick my name out of a hat?"
"Um, no. No hat."
The vampire stopped pacing and tilted his head. "I'm listening."
Xander swallowed. "Well, Anya goes for Freddy Prince Junior and Ben Affleck, but I just can't seem to get hold of their agents. And hey, since I'm fresh out of time machines, I think vintage Paul Newman is probably out of the question. Anya hasn't been human long enough to make many friends and, I... well, I told you, it's not like I'm Mr. Popular." Xander shifted uneasily under the vampire's gaze, aware that he was blushing. "... so I, um, sort of decided to, well, ask you."
"Why me?" Spike asked. His eyes never left Xander's.
"Well, um, better the devil you know..."
" ...than the devil you don't know, yeah, I get it," Spike said. "Still, it won't work. I like a nice, kinky shag like the next bloke, but believe me when I tell you that you wanna do this sort of thing with someone you actually like. Someone you trust."
"I trust you," Xander said.
"No you don't."
"You were drunk. We both were," Spike said harshly. "But not now. Here, let me show you something."
Spike grabbed Xander's shirt and yanked him roughly off the stone slab. Too surprised to offer any real resistance, Xander let himself be manhandled backwards until the sharp edge of the bier dug painfully into his hip. Suddenly, Xander found himself trapped between a rock and a hard place, between the unyielding stone bier in his back, and Spike's lean muscular body. A body that was hard in more ways than one.
Moving faster than humanly possible, Spike snaked his arms around him, effectively pinning Xander's arms to his side. A moment later Spike's hand was buried in Xander's hair, pulling his head back by his scalp to expose the jugular. Xander froze, paralyzed by a sudden surge of deep-seated fear. He began to struggle, but the vampire's grip was unbreakable.
And then Spike's features changed. Blue eyes burst into feral yellow. Bony ridges formed, and razor-sharp fangs replaced human teeth – lethal vampire fangs. Xander's heartbeat broke into a panicked gallop. Every instinct screamed for him to run. For a gut-churning second, he even forgot that Spike couldn't harm him, that the chip was keeping Spike in check. Xander had seen his share of vampire faces before, but never this close. And never before had his neck been this exposed. The chill of Spike's breath on his throat sent a shiver of fear down his spine.
"See?" Spike said, grinning wickedly. "Now tell me you're not afraid."
"Spike? Let me go!" Xander stammered, suddenly uncertain. He wrestled down the urge to flee. Spike couldn't hurt him. Spike was harmless. Chipped. Neutered.
"You know it, don't you? That you're food. Deep down, you know. I can smell it. Can hear it in your pulse." Spike licked the exposed throat, tracing Xander's jugular with his tongue, before he pulled back to squarely meet Xander's wide-eyed stare. "Can taste it on your skin."
Xander shuddered, and not just from fear or revulsion.
"Now, maybe you like living dangerously," the vampire whispered softly into his ear. "Get a kick out of it. Maybe it's true and you want to get in my pants," Spike smirked, "which could lead to all sorts of fun. But I can't see you letting a vampire - any vampire - touch your honey."
Xander stubbornly shook his head. Yes, he was afraid. It was one thing to rationalize that Spike couldn't hurt him because of the chip in his skull, and quite another one to have his fangs within biting distance. Of course his body was reacting with primeval fear. . Yet even as his instincts shrieked at him to get out of Spike's reach, part of him knew he was in no real danger. And for some unfathomable reason, he didn't think Spike would ever be a threat to Anya, either.
"I. Trust. You," Xander forced himself to say. Even to his own ears the words sounded flimsy, far from convincing.
"No you don't," Spike said with resignation. "At best, you trust technology. That little tic-toc machine inside my noggin'. But you don't trust me. The very second the chip comes out or malfunctions you'll be the first to ask Buffy to stake me good an' proper."
Spike shook his head. His true face melted away only to be replaced by his human features: blue eyes, prominent cheekbones and very sensuous lips. At the same time, he let go of Xander's hair. However, Spike did not relinquish his hold on Xander's body, thus keeping them both locked in this parody of an embrace.
Xander still couldn't move his arms, but he was pretty sure that if he decided to break away now, Spike wouldn't stop him. He was surprised to discover that he had no real desire to break free. He couldn't stop staring into those dark blue eyes. There was something in Spike's eyes that didn't fit, something that had nothing to do with bloodlust or mind games...
For several thundering heartbeats, Spike returned his gaze, but then his gaze strayed to Xander's lips, as if taking aim, only to flit back up to meet dark brown eyes. Xander could see Spike's chest heaving, could see Spike's nostrils flare.
Finally, with an exasperated snarl, Spike dropped both his hands to his sides, jerking away from Xander as though the human were red hot.
"Like I said ," he said, brimming with frustration. "Won't work."
"Shut up, Spike," Xander murmured, and before he had a chance to change his mind, he grabbed the surprised vampire by the shoulders and yanked him forward.
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