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Alphabet Soup


by
Sorrel



4
D is for Distance, Discovery, and Desire



Normally, Spike could track someone easily. With someone he knew as well as he knew Xander, whose scent was as familiar to him as his own, it should have been a snap.

Unfortunately for him, Xander had had the presence of mind to flag down a cab, and by the time Spike had tracked him five blocks over, the scent ended at the curb. Frustrated beyond measure, Spike vented his feelings by kicking the wall, over and over, until a spider web of cracks began to show in the brick.

Sighing, Spike sat down on the curb and stared disconsolately at the oil-slick pavement. How the hell was he supposed to find Xander now? And he had to find him. No way Spike was gonna let him get away with running away after spilling a secret like that.

He was still half-hard from the boy’s confession, not to mention that dance. Jesus, if just a dance could get the two of them that hot, what would fucking be like? Spike briefly envisioned Xander naked, gleaming with sweat, leaning over him with that intent expression that he got sometimes and thrusting slowly into him.

Oh yeah. He really had to find Xander.

But where to look? The sun was gonna be up in an hour or so, and he had no clue where Xander would seek shelter. Angel, maybe- but Xander hated the souled vampire, and it wasn’t likely that Xander would go to him. That left literally thousands of hotels lodging houses of various types, not to mention any friends that Xander might have here that he could crash with. It could take Spike weeks to track him down like this, and he only had an hour.

Leaning back onto his elbows, he glanced up and read the neon sign on the building he’d just been kicking. Caritas. Angel had told him about this place: a karaoke bar run by a demon who could read you when you sang. Hmm.

Spike could use a drink.






Angel had been having a fairly peaceful night, as far as his nights went. He’d found a few demons in the tunnels on his sweeps, but they’d been dispatched easily enough, and he was returning home wonderfully slime-free.

When he came into the lobby, however, he caught Spike’s all-too-familiar smell, and he resigned himself to having his peaceful night shot all to hell.

“Spike?” he called, taking a step through the door. “You there?”

“Not quite, Deadboy,” said another voice, also far too familiar for Angel’s peace of mind. “Sorry to disappoint.”

Xander. Smelling like Spike. And sounding miserable. Angel reached for the light switch and flipped one of them on, bathing the lobby of the hotel in a soft half-light.

Xander was sitting on the couch in the corner, curled up and dressed in something tight and black. He looked up when Angel turned on the light, and Angel saw something very like tears shining in his brown eyes.

Oh yeah. No more peace for Angel. Also? He was going to kill Spike.

“What did he do?” Angel asked, resigned. Xander looked startled, and Angel explained, “Spike, I mean. He must have done something. What was it this time?”

Xander looked back down at his knees. “He didn’t do anything,” he muttered. “It was all my fault.”

“Somehow,” Angel said, “I doubt that.”

Brown eyes again, definitely tear-drenched, staring at him, and damn did Angel feel that somewhere low in his stomach. “How do you know?”

“Because I know Spike,” Angel said. “And he’s a moron.”

“Yeah, well.” Knees again. “I’m more of a moron.”

Thinking of what he knew of Spike, Angel said, very definitely, “I seriously doubt that.”

“Why do you care, anyway?” Xander didn’t look up for that one, but it was spoken in an angry voice. Or possibly sullen. For Angel, who wasn’t the best at deciphering human emotion in the first place, it was even more difficult to tell the difference when the words were muffled against Xander’s forearms, and probably mumbled in the first place as well. Angel considered what he knew of Xander and the situation, and made a wild guess that the tone was sullen rather than actively angry.

Angel shrugged, even though he knew Xander couldn’t see it. “I don’t know why. Does it matter?”

“It’s not like you like me,” Xander said. “So why bother?”

Definitely sullen. “Just because,” Angel said, knowing that it was inadequate. A long pause, and then he added, “And I don’t dislike you, you know.”

Xander actually looked up at that, and those huge brown eyes, once again, were like a punch in Angel’s gut. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Angel said. “I mean, sure, we didn’t exactly get along in Sunnydale, but then you didn’t exactly go out of your way to make friends back then either.”

“Didn’t trust you,” Xander said. “Also, you got Buffy, and I was chasing after her like... Well, I’m sure you know.”

“I might have heard, yeah,” Angel said. “But you trust me now?”

“What?”

“Well, you did come here, instead of somewhere else,” Angel said, feeling slightly foolish for asking at all. “Does that mean you trust me now?”

Xander didn’t even pause in answering. “Sure,” he said. “You’re different now, and I sure as hell am. Spike got over whatever the hell he had against you, and he trusts you now, so I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t.”

As endorsements go, it wasn’t exactly a rousing one, but Angel still felt a little warm glow nonetheless. “Speaking of Spike,” he said, rather pointedly bringing the conversation back around to where it had been going, “can you at least tell me what happened so I can judge for myself who’s the bigger moron?”

“Sure,” Xander said dispiritedly. “Don’t see how it could make my night any worse.” Long pause. “Today was my birthday, and so he decided to take me out to a club...”






It was surprisingly quiet inside of the club. Of course, the quiet was pierced every few seconds by the deeply painful nasal honk of the demon trying to sing onstage, but Spike took what he could get.

The bar looked well-stocked and definitely inviting, but after one longing glance Spike veered away and took a seat at a table in the back. He was here for the demon, not to get drunk, more’s the pity. Everyone knew that he was better at drinking than he was at taking advice, but what the hell, this was too important to screw up.

It wasn’t long- ten minutes, maybe- before there was a tall green demon with red eyes and horns standing in front of him with a bottle of vodka in one hand. Spike didn’t say anything, just tilted his chair back on two legs, pressing his shoulders against the wall behind him, and held out his right hand.

“Spike. You’re the Host, I take it?”

“You got that right, sweetie pie,” the demon said. Spike ignored the moniker. “You’ve got problems, I can tell. I might even have answers.”

“I just need to know where he is.”

“Give me a tune, then, sugar plum.”

Spike ignored the pet name again, in favor of glancing incredulously towards the stage. “I’m not sodding well getting up there to sing.”

“You don’t have to,” the Host answered hurriedly. “Just hum a little something right here. I need you to give me a tune if you want me to read you.”

Spike paused, trying to think of something to sing. Briefly he considered the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, possibly even something a little more modern- Marilyn Manson, perhaps? But instead, the thing that his roving mind latched onto was a night, six months before, when he’d stolen Donnie Darko on DVD and had forced Xander to watch it. The two of them had started out on opposite ends of the couch, but by the end Spike had stretched out to get comfortable and had ended up with his head in Xander’s lap. The movie had rolled to a close, and all Spike had been able to think about was the song coming from the speakers and Xander’s fingers twining through his hair.

Spike opened his mouth and sang.

“All around me are familiar faces, worn out places, worn out faces. Bright and early for the daily races, going nowhere, going nowhere.”

He didn’t sing loudly. No, he sang softly, almost sadly, and even as he saw comprehension dawning on the face of the Host he kept going, because he was lost in memory now, and the memory was so much easier than the reality of now.

The tears are filling up their glasses, no expression, no expression. Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow, no tomorrow, no tomorrow.”

Why was he here, really? Could this Host really help him, or was he just fooling himself?

“And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad, that the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I ever had. I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take, that when people run in circles it’s a very very mad world... mad world...”

Christ, he didn’t know what to do. What to think, even. All he knew was that he wanted to find Xander and tell him... something. He wasn’t sure what. That he loved him? He didn’t even know if he did. All he knew is that Xander meant something to him. Wasn’t that enough?

Children waiting for the day they feel good, happy birthday, happy birthday. Can you feel the way that every child should, sit and listen, sit and listen. Went to school and I was very nervous, no one knew me, no one knew me. Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson, look right through me, look right through me.”

Christ, it had to be enough. Xander was the one constant he had left in life. Damned if he was going to lose him just because he was surprised.

Mad world... mad world... enlarge your world...”

His voice trailed off, the song over, and for a moment silence hung heavy between him and the demon sitting across from him. Finally the Host said softly, “I can tell you where he is. But first I have to know: what are you going to do when you find him?”

Spike looked at him with eyes that suddenly seemed darker than their usual stormy grey-blue. “I don’t know,” he whispered. “Why do you need to know?”

“I feel for you, honey,” the Host said. “But I also feel for the kid you just told me about.” At Spike’s startled look, he smiled, a little like a parent smiles at a kid who asks how Daddy knows that Santa Clause will come, and said, “He’s right there in your head, kiddo. And he loves you. Just because you were too foolish to see it doesn’t mean that I can’t. And though I want to help you, I’m not going to send you in his direction just to have you stomp all over his heart. He’s worth more than that.”

“I wouldn’t do that,” Spike said. “I wouldn’t.” When the Host said nothing, Spike said, almost feverishly, “Look, I don’t know if I love him or not. But I want to find out. And more than anything, I have to close this distance between us. I have to find him. I have to make things right.”

The Host watched him, clearly judging him to as to the honesty of his words, and then appeared to come to some sort of decision. “Alright,” he said finally. “I’ll tell you.”

“So?” Spike said, when the Host didn’t actually say anything. “Where is he?”

“He’s with Angel.”






Angel listened patiently to the whole story, which was rather jumbled and chaotic due to Xander’s upset. Finally, when he thought he’d heard the whole of it, he sat back and considered the situation.

“It seems to me,” he said, as cautiously as a judge pronouncing a life-or-death sentence, “that Spike is very definitely a moron.

“However,” he continued, when Xander didn’t say anything, “we knew that already. He’s Spike. So, you shouldn’t have run off.”

Xander looked up at him, startled. “That’s right,” Angel said. “You should have stayed. Because I’ve heard the way that Spike talks about you. He cares. And there’s no way that he would have laughed at you when you told him that you were in love with him. In fact, I bet he’s out there, right now, trying to find you and cursing because he let you get away.”

Xander started to shake his head, then paused. “You’re right,” he said. “I bet he is too. It’d be just like him.” Another pause, and then Xander uncoiled from the couch, sending Angel a dazzling smile. “I’m gonna find him.”

Angel, a little stunned from the force of the smile, could only watch as Xander strode across the lobby and pushed open the door.

Only to stop dead in his tracks when he saw Spike standing at the top of the steps.






“I shouldn’t have run off like-“

“-was just coming to find-“

“-should’ve trusted you to-“

“Did you really mean-“

“-don’t know if we can-“

“-wanted to at least try to-“

Their voices tumbled over and over each other, as the two of them held onto each other like they were afraid that they’d never see each other again. Spike had hold of Xander’s upper arms with a grip that was probably going to leave bruises, but it was okay because Xander was gripping him just as tightly.

There were definitely tears in Xander’s eyes, and yeah, there were probably a few in Spike’s as well, not that he’d ever admit it, even under torture.

Finally Spike managed to break in long enough to say, “Did you really mean it? I need to know.”

Xander froze, then relaxed and nodded. “Yeah. I meant it.”

Spike closed his eyes briefly, then opened them again. His expression was fierce. “Say it,” he demanded, and Xander swallowed hard, but complied.

“I love you.”

Then Spike was kissing him, and he knew, in that moment, that he’d never wanted anything more.

Angel, still standing in the background but now quite forgotten, thought that in all his centuries on Earth, he had never seen two people who loved each other more.





5
E is for Entropy, Endearments, and Endings



Notes: Song is "Beautiful" by Flickerstick.

A week later, Xander sat on the balcony of his apartment and watched the sun come up.

He sat in the wooden deck chair, wearing only a hastily-pulled on pair of jeans that he'd zipped but not bothered to button, and sipped from a cup of very black coffee. He hadn't yet showered or shaved, and he really had no idea why he was awake and out here before dawn.

And that was a lie. He'd been doing it for weeks now; he damn well knew when it had become a habit.

It had started the morning when Xander had woken up to find out that Spike wasn't in the apartment. Usually Spike would come in just before the sun came up, and they'd exchange some sort of vague greeting as Xander stumbled towards either the bathroom or the kitchen and Spike made his way back to the bedroom to crash for the day. But that day Spike hadn't made it in time, and had spent the day holed up in his old crypt while Xander had been left to go almost out of his head with worry over what had happened.

Spike had strolled in just after sunset, saying nothing but a short, "Sun caught me. Stayed in the crypt," before going to change in his room. And Xander had collapsed on the couch like a puppet whose strings had been cut, feeling all of his awful fears wash out of him and relief come in to take their place. He'd said nothing to Spike. Instead, he'd started waking up just before the sun came up- his body waking him up before his alarm went off- so he'd never have to wake up and feel that gut-wrenching kick of fear. Something might still happen and Spike might not show up, but at least Xander would at least know it as it happened, rather than coming from perpetually uneasy dreams to an echoingly empty apartment.

When the fuck had he fallen in love with Spike? Honestly, he didn't know. He knew he hadn't felt this way before Spike had moved in with him- reluctant attraction, yes, but definitely not love. And then Anya had decided that her life wasn't going anywhere in Sunnydale with him, and she'd left him without a single backwards glance. And Spike had been there to get him drunk afterwards, and then somewhere after that Spike moved in and Xander fell in love with him- bam, boom, flat on his face.

He heard a click from his room, and then the soft strains of music as his clock radio turned on for his wake-up call. Nevermind that he was always already awake.

"You could be the devil in my bed/ You could be the angel in my head/ You could be the voices that I hear/ I'm singing along because it sounds just like you're near."

Whenever it had happened, he'd fallen in love with Spike. And had stayed that way, despite his very best efforts. So he'd finally shrugged and accepted it, and had spent the next several months surprisingly comfortable with his longing. Comfortable because he knew that there was no chance that Spike could even be attracted to him, much less anything else, and so he could learn to live with the state of affairs. Comfortable because his misery had become almost routine.

"I could be the drug you can't resist/ I could be the antidote you missed/ I could be the love you hate to fear/ You're filling the hole inside your heart with feeling near to me."

And then there was that night at the club, and he'd admitted everything to Spike, and in the face of all odds, it had worked out. Spike had tracked him down when he'd run to Angel's hotel, the only place his foggy mind had been able to think of, and then Spike had kissed him and told him that he wanted to be with him.

And then they'd waved goodbye to Angel, Xander smiling at him and thanking him for putting up with all the drama, and they'd gone back to Xander's house filled with a rosy little glow.

"Cause you're so beautiful/ You're beautiful today/ You're so beautiful/ Beautiful in every little way/ Cause when you're coming around/ I'm off the ground/ I've got to say/ You're so beautiful/ You're beautiful today."

Only things didn't stay quite so rosy. They'd both gone to bed- but in separate beds. They'd both slept for several hours, and then when they'd woken up it was like nothing had changed. Like Xander had never confessed his love, like Spike had never kissed him, like the night had never happened.

The only difference was that now Xander could feel Spike watching him when he hadn't before, and every now and then there were a few casual endearments thrown in amongst Spike's usual words. Xander didn't know what it meant, and it was making his head hurt.

"And I know/ And I feel/ That I could learn to hate just like you/ And I know/ And I feel/ That you could learn to love just like me."

Did Spike care about him? Or was he just playing with him? Xander didn't think it was the latter, but it was hard to believe the former, and so he was left not knowing which end was up.

"Can we make it through together/ I've got to fly..."

Suddenly he could feel someone standing behind him, and when he heard Spike say, "Mornin', Xan," there was one short moment when all his worries were forgotten.

He twisted around in his chair, mindful of the hot coffee in his hand, and smiled up at the vampire. "Morning yourself. Didn't hear you come in."

Spike smirked. "I was quiet."

Translation: I was sneaking because I was hoping to startle you. Didn't work, so I'm gonna pretend that I wasn't trying.

"Yeah, okay," Xander said, and his own smirk said that he knew what Spike was up to. "You gonna crash?"

"Yeah," Spike said. "What about you? Gonna head out to work?"

Xander held up his cup of coffee. "Finish this first, then I'll get ready." Pause. "Hell, I forgot. Today's Saturday. Guess I'll work on the broken coffee table, if the noise won't bother you any."

"Nah, 's no problem." Spike made a small movement, like he was about to leave, but was hesitating, as if waiting for something. Waiting for what, though?

"Spike." Xander's voice was serious now.

"Yeah?" Spike sounded almost... hopeful.

"Are you playing some sort of game here?"

Spike's expression of shock would have been priceless in almost any other situation. "Playing a... Fuck, no, Xan! You really thought that I might be..."

Xander shrugged, hunched his shoulders a little. "Well, a week ago we had the big dramatic scene and there was kissing and stuff, and then the next day it's like nothing ever happened. What was I supposed to think?"

"Not that, you lack-witted little..." He trailed off when he saw Xander's expression, then sighed, a loud, explosive sound, and turned his back as he ran both hands through his hair in an exquisitely frustrated gesture. "Was trying to take it slow, was all," he muttered, almost too low for Xander to hear. Almost. "Saw your face when I got up the next day, and you looked at me all wide-eyed, and I thought maybe you were havin' second thoughts, or somesuch. So I figured I'd start out slow, feel you out, see how you felt about it all. Didn't mean to... well, you know."

Xander stood up, very carefully set his coffee on the arm of the deck chair, and moved into the doorway to put a hand on Spike's shoulder. "Spike." The vampire didn't turn around. "Spike, would you look at me already?"

Spike turned, and Xander brought both hands up to very carefully frame Spike's smaller face. "I want you," he said, very seriously, and then brought his mouth down to kiss Spike, softly at first, as he tried to make his point, and then harder as Spike responded and Xander forgot what his point was, and indeed that he was trying to make one.

A minute later they pulled apart, both of them breathing a little heavily. "So," Spike said after a long moment of staring at each other. "I'm guessing that I was moving a bit too slow."

"That would be safe to say," Xander said, and ran one hand over Spike's already-mussed hair. Spike leaned into his touch like a cat asking to be petted, so Xander did it again. "Also, for the record? The look you saw last week- that was me wondering if you were having second thoughts."

Spike gave him a disbelieving look before uttering a disgusted noise. "Fucking figures." Pause. "So what you're saying is, I wasted this whole week because I misunderstood a look and didn't have the brains to ask what you were thinking?"

"Pretty much," Xander said cheerfully. Spike gave him a baleful look. "Oh, relax. We can probably make up for that wasted week if we try hard enough, you know."

Spike smirked at him, but when Xander made as if to pull him closer, Spike hesitated. Xander dropped his hand like a stone and said, very carefully, "Or do you not want..."

"No!" Spike denied hastily, seeing the look on his face. "It's just that maybe I wasn't wrong with the whole 'moving slow' thing. Just, maybe not that slow." When Xander didn't say anything, Spike hunched his shoulders and said, "Sayin' it all wrong, I s'pose. It's just... it's different with you. Been friends for a while and now it's like-"

"It's like we've been dating for months, and at the same time we've never had a first date," Xander finished for him. "Yeah, I get it."

"Yeah," Spike said with relief. "And as much as I want to-" Pause for a smoldering look that had Xander's cock jumping in his jeans. "-And I really want to, I sorta want to, well, take it slow. Make it count. Not gonna get the first time back, you know? You can only have it once."

"Why Spike," Xander teased. "You're a closet romantic, aren't you?"

"Not," Spike denied. "Sod off."

Xander just laughed and pulled him into a loose embrace. "Nah. Got you where I want you."

"That right?" Spike challenged lazily, not making any move to get away.

"That's right," Xander confirmed, and Spike, held comfortably against all that human warmth, couldn't help but smile to himself at the way Xander was unconsciously stroking his back, like he didn't even know what he was doing.

They stood like that for a minute, until Xander finally stirred and said, "So, if we're going to do the 'going slow' dating thing, there's no time like the present to start. Movie sound good to you?"

Spike took a brief moment to consider the last time he went to a movie theatre- screaming kids, sticky floors, cell phones ringing...

Something of what he was thinking must have shown on his face, because Xander laughed and added, "I meant here. There's gotta be at least one we haven't watched yet." He turned to regard the huge, haphazard pile of DVD cases sitting next to the tv. "Well, I think so, anyway."

"Sounds good," Spike said, and Xander grinned down at him. The expression softened into a smile after a second, though, and Xander tilted his head down for one fast, devastating kiss before turning Spike loose and wandering into the living room, cup of coffee in hand. Spike took a moment to wonder when, exactly, Xander had grabbed it, then just shrugged and went into the kitchen to get his own breakfast.

"Hey, Spike! Grab me a Pop-Tart or something while you're in there, will you?"

"Sure, love," he called back, and in the other room Xander smiled to himself. Knowing that Spike meant the endearments that he used was all the comfort that Xander could need.

Fishing one out of the stack, he called, "Blade sound good to you?"

"Shit, no. We've seen it a million times. And it's total crap. Pick something different for a change."

Xander smiled again. Yeah, things were back on track all right. And that's all that he could want.

For now.




It should have been a routine patrol. It would have been a routine patrol, and Buffy would have lived happily in her own little denial-land, except the vampire she'd been fighting had suddenly seemed to wake up and smell the perfume and realize that he was fighting the Slayer, and had promptly run like hell.

She'd chased him, of course- and almost turned her ankle in her stylish new boots!- but he'd been faster than she'd expected, and so he'd made all the way into the bad district before she'd been able to catch up with him. And then after she'd taken care of him, she'd noticed someone staggering out of a nearby building with bite marks covering his arms, and a blissed-out expression on his face.

Great. Most towns had to worry about people with needle tracks. But noooo, Buffy was doomed to live on the Hellmouth, where people had vampire bites instead. It wasn't the first time Buffy'd heard about it, but it still creeped her out.

So she'd gone in, ready to kill vamps and rescue Sunnydale's junkies from themselves, and then she'd seen...

Riley.

He saw her, of course. She did look a bit out of place in the seedy warehouse, with her bright clothes and the stake in her hand and everything, and when she walked in he glanced up and saw her. Their eyes met for a moment, and all she could think was Riley?

And then the sight of the vampiress feeding from the crook of his elbow registered, and she saw the panic in his eyes and somehow that confirmed that this wasn't some horrible hallucination, and she felt her stomach do a slow roll. And then she was running, down the stairs and out of the building and she was halfway down the street before the pain hit.

She just kept running, because if she stopped it would really sink in, and then she thought that she'd just... curl up and die. And she couldn't do that, because she was the fucking Slayer and she had to be strong and happy and all that shit.

But since she didn't want to be strong and happy, she wanted to run to a friend and have someone hold her and comfort her and tell her that it was going to all be okay, she kept going. Thought briefly about going to Willow's, but realized that Tara would be there and it would just be awkward. So she changed directions and head for Xander's apartment building, knowing that Spike always stayed out all night so he wouldn't be there to laugh at her and make her feel worse. And Xander would comfort her and make her feel better like he always did, and it would all be okay.

But when she got to his apartment and opened door with the key he'd given her the day he'd moved in, she didn't see the dark, empty rooms she'd expected. She didn't even see Xander sitting on the couch, surfing through late-night TV as she knew he did sometimes when he couldn't sleep.

Instead she saw Spike, pushing Xander back against the couch, and.... kissing him? Buffy's first instinct was to stride forward, push him off her friend, and what did he think he was doing anyway, but then she saw that Xander was kissing him back, and quite happily too. They were both shirtless, and Spike's hands were twisted in Xander's too-long hair while Xander had one hand on the small of Spike's back and the other in his back pocket, kneading at Spike's ass while Spike made happy moaning noises and shifted so that he could better straddle Xander's body.

"Oh, god."

And when both of them looked up at her, their expressions glazed with lust and a sort of drunken giddy happiness that was rapidly edging towards panic, she realized that nothing would ever be okay again.





6
F is for Flight, Fellatio, and Friendship



Notes the Second: The songs quoted in this chapter are “Spin Spin Sugar” and “Roll On” by the Sneaker Pimps. If you possibly can go track down their music, because it really does make you think of sex. I was not making that up.

Spike didn’t like the phrase “running away.” It smacked of cowardice, and he never did anything cowardly. He would, however, execute a strategic retreat every now and then, and that was what he and Xander were doing currently.

Driving down the highway on their way back to LA and getting the hell away from Sunnydale, and the pissed-off Slayer the town contained. Spike didn’t know what bug had crawled up her ass, and he didn’t care as long as he wasn’t in close enough range for her to stick any pointy wooden things into his chest.

“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had to run away from Buffy before,” Xander mused from the passenger seat. Spike turned his head to glare at him.

“We’re not running away.”

“I’ve definitely never run away from Buffy while halfway to sex,” Xander continued, completely ignoring Spike’s comment. “What was she upset about, anyway?”

“Hell if I know,” Spike said. “And we’re not running away.”

“Oh, so you mean we’re driving to LA because we aren’t afraid of the tiny blonde with a stake?”

“No. I mean- Sod it, Xander, we’re not running away, and that’s that!”

Xander, the bastard, had the audacity to laugh at him. “Okay, so we’re not running away,” he said, in a conciliatory voice that he had to know was irritating. “We’re… backing up. Moving away from the battlefield. Removing ourselves from the scene of the crime. Fleeing like little girls-“

“I’ll show you who’s a girl when we get to the damn club,” Spike snarled, and Xander grinned at him lazily. Spike’s cock twitched in his jeans, and he got the idea that Xander was taunting him like this for a reason.

“I can’t wait,” Xander said, and yeah, that was definitely a full-blown cockstand.

Bastard.






The inside of the club was a confusion of people and strobing lights and music. Spike hit the dance floor as soon as they walked in, and he dragged Xander after him.

Xander, he noticed, seemed remarkably willing to be dragged.

He recognized the song that was playing, and smiled to himself. Some music would always start him thinking of sex, and the Sneaker Pimps made just that kind of music.

Sodding perfect.

He wrapped his lean body around Xander’s larger one, rubbing himself sinuously against his lover. Well, almost his lover. Would be his lover, if Her Majesty hadn’t interrupted them and then flipped the fuck out over who the hell knew.

But that was okay. Spike planned to change that situation tonight.
“I'm everyone - I feel used. I'm everyone - I need you. I'm everyone - hang your label on me. I'm everyone - Paint it black and white and easy. I'm everyone - Sticks in me. I'm everyone - Sticks with me. I want perfection - I'm real need. I've seen attention - See through me.”

Spike did sincerely love to dance. And dancing with Xander- well, he’d only had the pleasure once before, but a pleasure it had been.

Xander had such exact control of his body- no flailing to be seen, not like Spike vaguely remembered from long-ago nights spent stalking the Bronze. Now that he was thinking about it, he couldn’t remember having seen Xander dance since high school, and he’d sure as hell grown up and filled out since then. Stood to reason that he’d be a better dancer, since he was sure as hell better at everything else.

“Call on me - Spin spin sugar. Crawl on me - Spin spin sugar. Stinks on me - Spin spin sugar. Twists for me - Spin spin sugar.”

Spike thought that he might always be surprised by the feel of Xander’s hands on him. He’d been familiar with them before, from months of Xander stitching and patching him up after brawls or patrol, from months of living together and casually wrestling or Xander smacking him on the back of his head when he was being a prat. But Xander touching him with intent, with sexual need conveyed through the brush of his fingertips and the casually possessive grip on his hips… That was something else entirely.

Xander had big hands. Matched the rest of him, since Xander was big all over. But his hands were always so hot on Spike’s cooler body, like all the heat of his lust and affection were focused through his long fingers and wide palms and radiating directly into Spike’s skin.

It was overwhelming.

“I've seen attention - See through me. I want perfection - I'm real need. I'm everyone - Sticks in me. I'm everyone - Sticks with me.”

Xander’s hands gripped his hips, not guiding his movements, but holding him close and following his lead. Xander’s lips were brushing against his throat, exhaling hot breath across the sensitive shell of his ear, and Xander’s thigh was thrust between his, rubbing against him in a way that felt very good.

Spike had been hard since the snogging session on the couch, hours earlier. Xander’s teasing in the car hadn’t helped his situation anyway, and now, with Xander’s much larger body wrapped around him and rubbing against him in all the right ways… Well, he wanted more than just dancing. And he wanted it now.

“Call on me - Spin spin sugar. Crawl on me - Spin spin sugar. Stinks on me - Spin spin sugar. Twists for me - Spin spin sugar.”

The song ended, and as the next one started Spike cast a quick glance around. There, the back doors- the ones that lead to the back alley. A traditional spot for a blowjob, without a doubt, and Spike was of a mind to finish what they’d started before Buffy’s interruption.

Xander followed him without a qualm.

“Roll on, these doors are open. Roll off, you can come next time. I'm in love with your confusion, on your knees. When you're breathing through your elbows- Down on me, down on me.”

Spike grinned, hearing the start of the new song faintly through the door as it swung shut behind them and he slammed Xander up against the brick wall of the alley. Same band, same do-me-now thoughts that he always got from the music, not that he needed the encouragement. And could the song be any more appropriate for the moment? Spike thought not.

“Hey,” Xander said, almost laughing into Spike’s mouth, which was conveniently close to his, and Spike just kissed him with all the hunger that had been building over the past few hours, and the entire week before that.

When he pulled away, Xander was panting and looking a little dazed. Spike found this an opportune time to hit him with his best leer. Xander’s eyes narrowed with sudden intent, and the breath that Spike didn’t need caught in the back of his throat.

“Get your pants open,” he growled, his voice almost subvocal in his urgency. “I’m gonna suck you off.”

Xander had no protests whatsoever.

“Roll up, these doors are open. Load up, come next time. Don't try to hurry me along. Just walk ahead a little gone.”

Spike liked sucking cock. He didn’t know if that said anything about him and he didn’t care, because hell, he was a vampire, and what the fuck did he care about what someone thought? And there was nothing quite like going down to your knees and controlling a big, strong man with someone as small as a flick of his tongue.

And it was all so much more intense because it was Xander above him, with his neck arched and sweat sheening his skin and a moan rumbling through his chest. Xander, who he’d wanted maybe weeks, maybe months before he’d realized it, and so there was so much pent-up lust swirling inside of him, and he finally, finally had Xander right where he wanted him- with his cock down Spike’s throat.

His lovely, thick, long cock. Spike had felt it before, against his arse on the dance floor, pressed against his stomach when they were snogging on the couch. But he hadn’t been all up-close-and-personal, so to speak, and it was even better like this. Even Spike, who didn’t have to breathe, had to work to get it past the spasming muscles in his throat, and it made him smile around the thickness that filled his mouth.

Spike hurriedly ripped his own trousers open and got a hand on his cock, because he knew he wasn’t going to last long. Not like this.

“Roll on, roll off. Roll on, roll off. Don't take that wrong- Don't take that wrong.”

Xander didn’t seem like he was going to last long either. Spike was moving faster now, sucking hard on every upstroke, one hand busy on the base of Xander’s cock and the other furiously jerking himself off. Xander’s moans moved higher up in pitch and volume, and Spike went down and swallowed hard, letting his throat work on the head of Xander’s cock. Xander rewarded him by freezing and then shooting down his throat, and his shout of “Spike!” sent Spike over the edge.

“Roll on, going down on me. Roll off, make it easy on me. You can't think you're someone special- On your knees. We're throwing punches underwater- Sink with me, sink with me.”

They couldn’t move for a long time afterwards. Xander was slumped against the brick wall, panting hard, and Spike was still kneeling at his feet, resting his cheek against Xander’s hipbone, temporarily too wiped out to move.

“Wow,” Xander said finally. His tone was reverent. “I think my heart stopped for a minute there.”

Spike started laughing weakly, ignoring the soreness of his throat. It ached, but in a good way. He couldn’t wait to have that cock in his arse, and vice versa.

“I’d say the same, but mine doesn’t beat to start with,” Spike said. He quickly did up his trousers and used his grip on Xander’s hip to pull himself to his feet. Xander staggered, his knees obviously not yet back up to full strength, then zipped himself back up and managed to straighten the rest of the way to his feet.

Xander wrapped one arm around Spike’s shoulders and pulled him tight against his side. “I don’t think I’m up to dancing again after that,” he said, already walking towards the mouth of the alley. “You wanna head back home and face the music?”

“We should,” Spike said, though there was no enthusiasm in his voice. Xander grinned down at him.

“Come on, it’s just Buffy. If we’re really lucky, she’ll have gotten over whatever sent her into a snit and she won’t be waiting with a stake out.”

“That’s really reassuring, Xan,” Spike said, but sighed and gave in. “Alright. Might as well get it over with, eh?”

“That’s the good old kamikaze spirit,” Xander said. “Essential for living on the Hellmouth.”

“And being friends with the Slayer,” Spike muttered, but Xander pretended not to hear him.

Spike stopped him from getting in the driver’s side. “I’m driving,” he said, and there was no room in his voice for debate.

“Why do you get to drive?” Xander said. “You drove on the way up. And it’s my car.”

“If I have to deal with the Slayer, I should at least get to drive home,” Spike said, with what he considered inarguable logic.

Xander obviously couldn’t argue with it either, because he went over to the passenger side and got in without a word. Spike fisted the keys triumphantly and slid behind the wheel with a grin.

“Don’t get us killed,” Xander warned, sounding serious, but when Spike looked over, his eyes were sparkling. Spike grinned at him.

“Do my best, mate,” he said, and then pulled out with a squeal of tires.

Xander closed his eyes and prayed.






Buffy was waiting for them in front of their door. Both Spike and Xander stopped, eyeing her warily, and Spike noticed that Buffy didn’t miss the way that Xander automatically pulled Spike closer to his side, like he was protecting him from one of his best friends. Buffy flushed painfully and gave them a little wave.

“Uh, hi, guys.”

“Buffy,” Xander said, not sounding any happier. “Didn’t think you’d be waiting up.”

“Well, I, um, hoped you’d be back before dawn and didn’t crash with Angel or get a hotel or anything, and I thought maybe I’d get a chance to talk to you.”

“And say what?” Xander said, reaching into his pocket to get his keys, not letting go of Spike to do so. Buffy blushed again and stepped away from the door so he could unlock it.

“And say I’m sorry for the way I wigged out on you earlier,” she said. She even sent a small smile Spike’s way. “Sorry to you, too, Spike. For the death threats, and all.”

“Forgiven,” Spike said easily. It wasn’t like he wasn’t used to her threatening to stake him, after all.

Xander, on the other hand, said nothing. He just walked into his apartment, Spike on his heels, and didn’t shut the door behind him in a sort of invitation for Buffy to come in. She did so, shutting the door after her with a quick click and locking it.

Xander tossed his keys into their usual dish on the little table near the door and then turned back to face Buffy. “Could you at least tell me why it happened?” he asked. Very, very quietly. “I mean, I know it was something of a shock, but that still doesn’t explain why you reacted that badly.”

Buffy twisted her hands together in such a blatant gesture of nervousness that Spike’s eyebrows rose. What happened that got the bint that upset, then?

“You know how sometimes we get blood houses in the warehouse district?” she said abruptly. Xander lowered his eyebrows in a frown.

“Vamp whores, and people who pay to get bitten? Yeah, I know them. What does that have to do with anything? You’ve cleaned them out before.”

“I followed a vamp there tonight- well, last night now, I guess- and I found Riley.”

Spike wanted to laugh. Really, he did. Because he sodding hated the Soldier Boy. Buffy, on the other hand, looked to be on the verge of tears, and as much as Spike hated her boyfriend, he didn’t actually hate Buffy, and he knew that Xander cared about her. So he stayed mute and just watched as Xander abruptly closed the distance between them and wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug.

“Hey, easy,” he said. She pressed her face into his chest and started to cry. “Easy, Buff. He’s obviously a dick and not worth your time. Don’t cry over him, Buff. You know I hate it when you cry.”

Buffy pulled back a little so that she could see his face, looking anxious, her eyes red-rimmed and shining with tears. “That’s why I flipped last night, y’know? Found Riley like that and I was coming here, hoping to get some Xander-hugs, and I found you and Spike and I just… flipped.” She peered up at him. “You don’t hate me, do you?”

Every now and then, Spike was reminded that the lot of them were only twenty or twenty-one years old. Buffy looked almost painfully young right then, younger than she’d ever been back in high school when she’d been kicking his arse and throwing out quips right and left.

Xander, on the other hand, looked older than his years when he smiled back at her and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “Of course I don’t hate you. Consider it forgotten, okay?”

Spike briefly considered getting jealous. Xander had been pretty in love with her, after all, back in the day. Everyone knew that. And Xander’s expression was tender, and any fool could tell that he still loved her.

But then she hugged him again, pressing her cheek against his chest, and Xander looked out over the top of her head, staring straight at Spike. And the look on his face… Well, if Spike was the type to get jealous, that look would have stopped it in its tracks. Because yeah, any fool could tell that Xander loved Buffy- but she was his best friend. Spike was… well, Spike knew that he was something more.

She pulled away, completely this time, and gave Xander and even Spike a wan smile. “I should really get going,” she said. Xander protested immediately, like Spike had known he would, big-hearted boy that he was.

“Buff, you don’t have to go.”

She smiled at him. “Yeah, I do,” she said. “Mom and Dawn will be expecting me for breakfast.”

“Okay,” Xander conceded, “but come by sometime tomorrow- well, this afternoon, okay? I’ll cook for a change and we can watch really bad TV.”

“I have to go and talk to Riley this afternoon,” she said, but when he reached out like he was going to hug her again she just touched the back of his hand and said, “But I’ll come by afterwards, I promise. And you can make me feel better.”

“And Spike can make popcorn,” Xander said, then sent a cheeky look in Spike’s direction. “Since it’s the only thing he can cook.”

“’s the truth,” he said, mostly to keep Buffy smiling. It was hard not to want her to smile, despite the years of enmity between them, when she was looking as fragile as she did right now. He could see a little of how she drew people so tightly into her orbit- a warrior-woman with a heart of gold, who could resist? Not Xander, and apparently not Spike. “I’ve done terrible things to his kitchen.”

“But I made him clean it up,” Xander said. “So it works out.”

Buffy shook her head at the two of them, but she was smiling as she did so. “You two are going to drive all of us insane within a week,” she said. “But it’ll be fun, anyway.”

Which was, Spike knew, Buffy giving her blessing. Xander reached out again, just to touch her shoulder, and she smiled at him and said a quiet goodbye before backing away and leaving the apartment.

Xander stood absolutely still for a few seconds after the door closed behind her, and Spike found himself oddly unwilling to break the moment. But then Xander turned to him, eyes intent and serious, and held out his hand, and that was an invitation that someone with much stronger willpower than Spike wouldn’t have been able to resist.

Spike went to him immediately, and Xander folded him into his arms with a sigh, much the same way he had with the smaller Buffy but closer, more intimate. Spike just stood there, his arms looped around Xander’s waist, and smiled at the feel of Xander’s chin resting on the top of his head.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Xander told him, and Spike tilted his head back until he could see Xander’s face. Xander looked serious, and expectant, like he was waiting for Spike’s answer.

“Me too, Xan.” And when that didn’t seem to be enough, he added, “Let’s go to bed.”

That turned out to be the right thing to say.

A couple of minutes later they were both naked and in bed, and Spike was once again wrapped up in Xander’s arms. Xander was already asleep behind him, and as Spike followed suit, he decided that he was exactly where he wanted to be.





The End



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