The pile of cigarettes was a bit of a clue really. That, and the haze of smoke that clung to the recently emptied space like a fog bank. Sighing, Xander walked past the tree and into the hallway of his apartment building. Grabbing his post from the tray - bills, nothing interesting - he headed towards the stairs, taking them two at a time.
Letting himself in, he flicked on the lights. Weird to be here alone. It had been so long since he had come back to the apartment and not been greeted at the door. The last time. A slow slink towards him, that little smirk on his face the only warning before he leapt onto Xander and smothered him with kisses. His clothes made a trail towards the bedroom as they were yanked off him, the pair of them staggering towards their room, fumbling with clothes, bumping into walls, both unwilling to let each other go long enough to make things just a little bit more efficient.
The bounce of the mattress as they tumbled onto it, finally naked, running hands over sun-warmed/room temperature flesh, memorising lines and shapes and textures. Strong hands, firm grips, fingers pressing, exploring. Sighs, moans and groans the soundtrack as they re-established contact, re-affirmed their bond to each other. Nothing was ever supposed to come between them. Lying so close together their skin melded, a seamless blending of tanned to pale, oxygen an afterthought as the need to kiss took precedence.
So intense, so right, so much a part of who they were. Stroking, caressing - rough hands on smooth skin, soft but incredibly strong hands - urgent now the need to be inside, to reclaim. Begging, pleading - slickness before pressing in in in. Home. Peace. Love. Need. More urgency now, pace increasing, cries escalating. Hands gripping sheets for purchase, scrabbling to knees to be able to push back harder, feel deeper. Leaning forward, a forearm against the bed, the other's forehead pressed to that arm as they both gasped and rocked, so intense no words spoken. A shift in angle, a hand reaching round, both reaching for an end, the pleasure a sweet agony. Until the head moved, face shifted, a shocked cry as fangs slid in where they never had before. Both coming, oblivion.
"You bit me."
"When did you get it out? Or when did it stop working?"
"A week. Can't tell you how - needs to be kept hush hush so others can get it done. You know it's not right, leashing a creature like that. S'wrong, you've said so many a time." Fumble, flick, inhale, exhale.
"A week? And you never told me. God, how could you - what have you been doing?" Verge of tears.
"Nothing! I swear to you, I've done nothing I wouldn't be happy to do with you there." A hand reaching over to stroke his face, a flinch as he turned away. "Xander, I - "
"You need to go."
"I would never - "
"But you did. And ok, this time you stopped, but what happens when you really lose control? When your instincts take over and you can't stop yourself?"
"Fuckin' Master Vamp here - got more control than that."
"But when it's something you really want? That we both know you want?" Silence. It said so much because both knew it was true. The desire had always been there, the only obstacles a government chip and an undecided mind. A decision pushed away because the likelihood of having to face it was never at the forefront. Until now. "I need time. I can't just - it would be so different if it was a spur of the moment thing, but premeditated? And what if I wasn't me? You know - "
"I do. I do know. And I wouldn't ever force ya. You know that. But you're right. I want you safe. Not so fragile. Want you with me forever." Rustling, movement, the sounds of clothes being donned. Palms pressed to closed eyes, unwilling to watch as his worst nightmare came to be - well, his second worst nightmare. Being left by someone he thought would never, ever leave him paled beneath the fear of becoming what he had hated for so long.
"Please - "
"Coming back, promise. Just - wanna give you some space to make the decision, yeah? Not gonna make you do summat you don't wanna do." Standing in the doorway, small, tense, unhappy. "Bye."
Standing by the window, staring out into the night at the little yellow glow, alone. So alone. It wasn't like it had to happen straight away. Time - there was time. And in the back of his mind, from the time they got together, from the time it stopped being even remotely casual, he had known this decision would need to be taken. Turning swiftly before he could change his mind again - a day spent with this swirling backwards and forwards in his mind so much it made him physically sick. Back down the stairs, three at a time now, speeding up, almost running. Stumbling to a stop in front of the tree. Silence as they stared at each other. Cataloguing the pain in each other's faces at the separation, the fear in each other's eyes. So alike, both so scared and insecure. Neither wanting to lose what they had fought so hard for - friends, Sire's - the right to be together without cries of magical interference, thrall, undue influence.
Head lowered, looking at his scuffed workboots, across to the heavily scarred, old Dr Maarten boots - matching pair despite the differences. Sighed.
"Can I have one of those?"
"Cigarette. Can I have one please?"
"You don't smoke - always complain about second-hand carcinogenics and poor human lungs." Fumbling through numerous pockets before handing over a crumpled packet and a silver lighter, engraved with the words 'Bleached Menace'. Un-coordinated, but finally the click of a lighter, the sound of an inhale and a little cough.
"It's not like they're gonna get a chance to finish me off, are they?" Silence, then comprehension. Gasp for unneeded air, small step forward so the smell of tobacco, smoke, blood, Spike filled his nostrils.
"No, Pet, they won't get a chance to finish you off."