The Missing Piece
Spike stalked through the shadows, the sounds of the city fading into a thumping pulse. The hunt consumed him, especially when it was going so well. His prey was completely unaware of him and Spike, poised for the kill, smiled mirthlessly. So easy, so simple; hunt, kill, melt away until the next night. Felt good, felt right, not like before.
He never got used to “patrolling”. Sounded like a Mick beat cop, starched up and whistling. He wasn’t anyone’s hero, not Chosen. He was a ruthless killer with so much blood staining his hands he couldn’t ever be clean. Didn’t matter now though.
Gliding forward out of the shadows, Spike wrapped his hands around the thick neck, snapping it cleanly and quietly. No more flashy moves for him, just the satisfaction of rich ripe death. He dropped the body, knowing that someone else would eventually deal with it. Hunters didn’t clean up their kills, after all.
Turning on his heel, he slid back into the shadows. His work done for the night, Spike headed for his favorite bar. No proper pubs in this Yank hellhole, but the music wasn’t half-bad and the bartender was a generous pourer. All in all, he’d spent time in worse places.
Wolfram and Hart, for one. Damn Angelus for his stupid nobility. Willing to die for strangers and evil strangers at that, but couldn’t be bothered with his own blood. Spike had railed at him for that, before the alley. Sure, save the world. That wasn’t what ate at Spike. It was the fact that Angelus could condemn his own family to a lingering death, but jump on the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) stake for a bunch of rotten minions of evil.
“And what would you have me do, Spike?” The sigh, so much a part of his souled Sire, still reverberated in his very bones. “Drusilla was evil.”
“Yeah,” Spike had nodded fondly. “She was that. But so are all these tosser yer trying to reform. And Dru’s yer blood.”
“You’re telling me you’d…what, Spike? Send Drusilla off with a pat on the head and a toddler?”
“Well, wouldn’t give her the tyke,” Spike protested. “But, unlike some poncy gits I know, I don’t kill my family.”
Got to put that one to the test a few months ago. Caught Dru mid-snack and he smiled wistfully at the memory. He’d stopped her, yanked her off the dishy little blonde she had her fangs in and sent her on her merry way with a warning to stay out of his turf. Didn’t stake her, even though the soul screamed at him for days afterwards.
He missed his family, even now. Drusilla, cavorting around who knows where now, mad and wicked and delicious. Darla, dust twice over, green eyes as cold and calculating as her whore’s heart. Angelus, tall and beautiful, souled or evil, trying to put his stamp on the world.
Spike shook his head, trying to shake off the memories of better times. He’d gotten maudlin since it had ended. He’d gotten too used to warm arms surrounding him, helping him bear the weight of his soul. Carrying it alone, he felt that he failed more often than not. Made him nostalgic for earlier days, made him long for a long gone past. Before sweet brown eyes tempted him into believing he could be a better man.
He turned into the bar on automatic, not really paying attention anymore. This was the drunken oblivion portion of the evening. Enough Jack and he could forget all he’d lost. Enough Jack and he wouldn’t lie awake, longing for someone he couldn’t have.
He collided with a large body. Irritation had him growling and wishing he could still flash the fang; send this bastard fleeing in terror. He settled for the growl, intent on moving past the obstacle and getting to the booze. Hands scrabbled over his face, and Spike brought his arms up, ready to knock the over-friendly obstacle into unconsciousness. But, he heard the voice, whispering his name.
The voice. THAT voice, the one that sent him to the bottom of every available bottle. The voice he heard in his dreams, strained to hear when he was awake. That lovely voice soothed him from his terror-stricken nightmares, and inflamed him to the peak of desire.
“Xander” the name fell from his lips, hushed and reverent.
Spike had imagined this moment a million times. He’d done this cool and polite, raging and demonic, had shattered the beautiful boy with his fists and sent him weeping away. But, never, not once, in all of Spike’s fantasies, had Xander pushed him against a wall and latched his blunt human teeth to Spike’s neck. Unfortunate, really, he thought dazedly, as a bit of practice might’ve come in handy.
“Xander” this time the word was a strange mixture of moan and sob,
“Mine,” Xander muttered into his neck. “Mine and I’m sorry. I screwed up, Spike. I knew it almost as soon as I’d done it. But you were gone and I couldn’t find you. Been looking for you since that night. Love you, baby. Forever mine.”
Spike struggled. He wanted to submit, to be Xander’s. The constant ache that had defined his life since that night throbbed now, demanding to be soothed. But, it had hurt so bad. The disgust, the dismissal, wounded him to his core. Even now, as Xander claimed him, Spike could still hear other, harsher words.
“Spike,” Xander pleaded with him. “Spike, please. Talk to me, hit me, something. Baby, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t call me that,” Spike rasped, sagging in Xander’s arms. “Not yours.”
Xander pulled back, shock written on his face. His eyes were flat; his arms limp by his side. Spike stayed still, his own emotions swerving madly.
“ ‘S not so easy, is it? Trusted you, Xan. Trusted you and you beat me down harder than th’Slayer ever did. I’m slow but I’m not stupid,” Spike said hollowly. “Learned the first time not to come back for round two of kick the Spike.”
“Oh baby,” Xander lifted a hand, as if to caress the stubborn planes on Spike’s face. He didn’t though, and for that, Spike was grateful. One more touch and he’d forget everything he’d learned. One more touch and he’d give in, fall into those arms that promised peace, the scents that meant home.
“Could have handled punches, a bit of bleeding,” Spike continued, the words forcing themselves out. “Can take a lot. But, the things you said and you didn’t let me explain. Wasn’t my fault and you wouldn’t listen. Just kept…and I was…I needed you and you just…”
“Ssh,” Xander crooned, still keeping his distance. “I know. Now, I know and I was wrong. Let me make it up to you. Please, b-Spike, please. I love you.”
“Love you too,” Spike admitted quietly. “Can’t do anything else but love you.”
“Than let me try,” Xander urged him. “I can’t undo it, can’t make it disappear. But, let me try to make it up to you.”
“Not sure I can,” Spike told him. “You hurt me, Xander. You knew, I bloody told you how it was with me and her an’ you promised me. Swore you’d never do me like that.”
A tear slipped down Spike’s cheek, his fragile control finally done in. He leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes, allowing his pain to leak out. It was just too much, to be so close to the man he loved and to feel this bad.
Xander made his frustrated noise, half-sigh and half-groan and all Xander. Spike let it wash over like a salve, the familiar sound soothing and sweet. Poor Xander, trying to respect him and keep his distance when he clearly wanted to do so much more. Boy was a born comforter, always wanting to ease the hurt.
“I don’t know,” Xander murmured. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to make this better.”
“Can’t,” Spike said heavily. “Why bother?”
“Because I love you,” Xander shouted. “Because there isn’t a single damn second that you aren’t on my mind. Because you make my fucking life worth living.”
“Then why’d you make me go,” Spike asked forlornly. “Why wouldn’t you listen to me?”
“ ‘Cause I’m an idiot,” Xander whispered, finally giving in to his urges and dragging Spike to him. “I let my idiot self ruin the best thing that ever happened to me, and now I don’t know how to make it right.”
With his head in its rightful spot on Xander’s shoulder, and his body’s empty hollows filled with the muscular firmness of Xander’s body, it was hard to remember why he was saying no. Spike steeled himself, trying to stay strong. No more being love’s bitch, no more coming to heel like a whipped puppy.
Still, he reasoned, wouldn’t hurt to just enjoy this.
Xander clearly must have heard his resolve shattering, because those warm full lips were sprinkling kisses on his head and neck. Spike nuzzled into the caresses, remembering the beauty of the easy affection that lay between them. The days they’d spent in bed, memorizing the dips and curves of each other bodies, kissing for hours.
“Will you let me,” Xander asked him. “Just give me another chance to prove myself to you. No more Slayers, no more Watchers. Just us.”
Spike reluctantly pulled back from the sweet haven of Xander’s arms. He nodded, a quick jerk of his head. Xander whooped joyfully, reaching out to bring Spike close to him.
“No,” Spike told him, evading Xander’s hands. “You want a chance and I’ll give it to you. You gave me a chance when I didn’t deserve it, an’ I’ll do the same for you. But it ain’t goin’ to be like it was, Xan. Not going to fall into your arms or your bed just ‘cause you apologized.”
Xander nodded eagerly, the sheer delight on his face making it hard for Spike to keep from grinning. Spike managed to stay stern. Didn’t want to give Xander the wrong impression. All was not forgiven or forgotten.
“Anything you say,” Xander agreed, still smiling. “I’ll go apartment hunting tomorrow. Think you could give me some tips? Maybe come along, help me pick out a nice place?”
Spike nodded again, not trusting himself to speak. He remembered the last time they’d gone looking for a flat together. How proud his lover had been, planning all the fixing and fussing he’d do. How they christened every single room the first night, finally collapsing sweaty and sated in each other’s arms.
“Well, now that we’ve had this huge scene, maybe we should find somewhere else to get a drink,” Xander suggested tentatively. “Unless you don’t want to get a drink with me?”
“Could go for a drink,” Spike said softly. “But yeah, might be a good idea to find a different bar.”
“Lead on.” Xander gestured towards the outer door.
Walking down the street, Spike let Xander’s babble sweep over him without really paying attention. He still wasn’t sure about this. He didn’t know how they’d get past all the ugliness to something sweeter. He was tired of fighting; fighting himself and the world, just to get smacked down. Just as he was about to tell Xander that it wasn’t worth the fight, he felt an arm snake around his waist, holding him up.
All right, he conceded silently. So maybe it was worth the fight.