Disclaimer: None of it is mine. Non-profit... Joss Whedon... blah, blah... Don't sue.
Pairing: S/X
Rating: PG-13
Feedback: ...is always desired.

Summary: Spike wants something.
[info]kitty_poker1 beta'd this and is the bestest beta ever. She was nom'd for best beta at the SunnyD awards

Tonight's Different


Spike glanced at the digital clock by his bed. The bright red numbers read "1:32". Xander had come home a little more than an hour ago and, judging by how tired he looked, he'd probably be sound asleep by now. Just to be sure, Spike closed his eyes and listened intently for the steady, slow breathing from the other room. A soft smile played across his face when he heard what he wanted to hear. With a small hesitation, he pulled himself off his uncomfortable wooden chair.

This wasn't the first time he'd done this, though. No, he'd done this a million times before. As a creature of the night, he often found himself exceptionally bored when Xander was off in his room, snoozing away. It was inevitable that he'd find himself brooding night after night, especially since he wasn't allowed to leave the house. But, it wasn't like he could object or anything because there was still a chance that he might be manipulated into killing more innocent people.

God, Spike couldn't believe himself. If he could see how he'd turn out forty years ago, he'd probably have staked himself on the spot. Here he was, worrying about 'maybe killing innocent people'. And worse, no more than a year ago he didn't even have the soul to blame it on. He was a fool for love, always was and always would be. Even if he had lost the chip before his soul, he still wouldn't have killed. Just because he was afraid. Afraid to see that look of disappointment that he'd get from the man he loved.

But would Xander really be so disappointed? Xander had never loved Spike back. He never even thought him decent. So why would Xander be disappointed if Spike started killing again? Hell, the way the boy ran off, he probably expected Spike to kill people. Expected it like you'd expect a phone bill to burn a hole in your wallet, or a dog to vomit in your new shoes. In Xander's eyes, Spike was an inevitable disaster just waiting to happen.

Or maybe even one that already had.

So, here Spike was, in the same spot he found himself night after night. Standing in front of his "room's" door, hand hovering over the door knob, just about to give up and go back to his chair and brood the night away.

When the hell did he allow himself to get so whipped? To fall head-over-heels in love with some carpenter side-kick who had nothing to offer? Well, nothing but his bravery, devotion, heart, wit, humor... the list was endless. Okay, so maybe he did have some stuff to offer. Spike's eyelids dropped as he allowed himself to day-dream -- night-dream -- about his precious treasure.

No. Not his. He wasn't worthy of...

"That's it," Spike declared, "I'm pathetic." He grabbed his doorknob and pushed the door open as quickly as he could, still being careful not to wake Xander up.

He moved soundlessly to Xander's bedroom's door and hesitated again. That was a mistake; he should never hesitate. Once you hesitate, you get nervous and have doubts. After one hundred plus years of existence, that was the one thing he was completely sure of. Well, that and never piss off a Chaos demon who's had a few too many drinks, of course. But that was just common sense.

Spike stared at the doorknob to Xander's room. After a while, he closed his eyes and listened to Xander's rhythmic breathing again. His insides tightened and his skin tightened along with it. He'd give anything to just... take Xander and be with him. Have Xander hold him tight and never let go. Hold him back just as enthusiastically for ever and ever. Kiss Xander, suck Xander, lay him out and fuck him. But it wasn't just about contact, it was about contact with Xander. Anything, as long as it was with Xander.

If this wasn't passion, Spike didn't know what was.

He grew angry as that door handle kept silently mocking him. Calling him a coward and all sorts of naughty things that shouldn't be repeated in the presence of children. Damnit, I'm not a coward! I will not be turned into some whiny, delusional, love-sick puppy creature. I'm going to go in there and do what I want to do, no matter how dishonest it is, he swore to the handle. That's right. I'm going right... now

Spike turned around and walked away. Or maybe tomorrow night...

He went to the kitchen to pour himself some blood. He was a coward, that dumbass door knob was right. He was a coward and a whiny, delusional, love-sick puppy creature. He was all of those things and worse.

When Spike pushed the buttons on the microwave, he winced at the noisy beeps. After pushing 'start', he listened intently once more to see if Xander's heartbeat was any faster. To his relief, Xander's heart and breathing were still at their peaceful resting rate.

Slow breath in, slow breath out. Thump-thump, thump-thump.

Spike was too caught up in listening to Xander sleeping to notice the timer ding from the microwave. He didn't realize it when he started walking dazedly towards the once patronizing door handle. Before he knew it, he had reached out, opened the door, and stepped inside Xander's room. The quiet, resting pulse rate that he was once listening to from across the apartment was now as loud as a set of drums in Spike's ears. He turned his vampiric hearing down a notch, so he could still listen to Xander's life and not go deaf at the same time.

"Right," Spike whispered to himself. "Guess tonight's the night, then."

He slowly moved closer and closer to Xander, convincing himself that he wasn't nervous and was not going to chicken out. Apparently, the butterflies in his stomach were disagreeing strongly with him.

Spike now stood by the edge of Xander's bed. Xander was curled up on the other side, sleeping soundly. His covers were moving up and down with his chest's regular breathing.

Spike smiled. Yeah, there was no way he wasn't going to go through with this.

It wasn't like he was doing anything wrong, anyway. He just wanted to know what it'd be like. What it'd be like to lie in the same bed as Xander at night.

He wouldn't stay long, of course. This was sincerely just for information. Once he could take a full mental snapshot of what it was like, he'd get out of the bed, go to his room, and act like it had never happened. And then, before he fell asleep every night, he could close his eyes and imagine that moment when he was next to Xander in a warm bed and not in his own cold one. Xander'd never have to know.

Spike lifted the covers lightly, careful not to disturb Xander. With one more nervous breath, he slid into the bed just as carefully.

Looking at Xander, Spike smiled. Xander was so sweet when he was sleeping. And being in the same bed as the man he'd obsessed over for these past few years was way better than he'd expected. Which was impressive, considering he expected the heavens to open up or for him to burst with light or something.

Though he wasn't bursting with light, Spike was still the happiest vampire ever.

He froze with fear when Xander rolled onto his back. Hoping Xander wasn't waking up, Spike also rolled over so that he was now lying on his side with his back to Xander.

Spike didn't get any less nervous when he felt Xander's arm wrap around him.

"Hey there," Xander muttered.

Okay, that was strange. Spike could hear and feel Xander's breathing still in the sleeping pattern. So Xander's a sleep talker, then, huh? Who'd have thunk it? He must've been dreaming about the demon bird.

Spike tried to lift Xander's arm off him, but Xander just tightened his grip. "Where are you going?"

Oh, this is just great. "Xander," Spike whispered. "You've got to let go of Spike now. He's got to get back to his own room..."

"Nuh-huh. Don't wanna let go." Xander's voice was getting louder now and his heart was beating just a little faster.

Spike's eyes widened in terror as Xander pulled him closer and kissed his shoulder. *Please*, don't be waking up. You'll kill me if you wake up now. Go back to sleep! If Spike breathed, he'd have held his breath at this point.

"D'you know how hard it is for me to control my breathing for that long?"

"I... you..." Spike tried to wrap his head around what Xander had said. "What?"

Xander chuckled and by now it was obvious how awake he was.

"You knew?" Spike wasn't angry. Shocked, yes. But not angry. "You knew that I was listening and that I-"

"Spike?" Xander interrupted. "Be quiet, I'm sleepy."

Xander pulled Spike even closer so that Spike's back was against his chest and held him like a big blonde teddy bear.

Spike's grin spread from ear to ear as he relaxed against Xander's warm body. He'd come in here to just get a feel of what it'd be like to have something he could never have, and now he had it. Spike felt like he really was about to burst with light. Here he was in Xander's bed and Xander knew and didn't kick him out. In fact, he had kept Spike from leaving. Which meant that he wanted him there, which meant...

If Xander really had any objections to Spike making any noise, he kept them to himself as Spike purred them both to sleep.

The End

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