Fork in the Road


The Bronze hadn’t changed much in the few months that Xander had been gone. He wasn’t sure why he'd thought it would have, but guessed that because he’d changed so much on his road trip, he'd expected the world to have kept pace.

He slipped in through the main door while the doorman was arguing with two sophomores about the cover charge and paused just inside, scanning the crowd, looking for familiar faces. But the dance floor was full of high school kids, grinding, and shaking, and flailing, to a three piece garage band. He chuckled quietly at the feelings of nostalgia that the scene evoked, but the summer vacation had given him a new perspective and a new sense of self. The new confidence cemented the feelings that had grown while he’d been away. He was glad he would never feel that unsure and desperate again.

A movement caught by the corner of his eye captured his attention and he turned, curling his lip as a tall, dark haired man eased his way between a gaggle of girls. Angel, he thought. An unexpected rush of emotions - fear, anger and a hint of want - flowed through him and made him gasp and brace himself against the wall. The dark man turned his head. Not Angel. The feelings crashed and burned as if they had never existed.

Not-Angel headed towards the bar. Xander watched him smile and nod, and slide past one girl, then another, like grease between parts of a machine. Xander’s stomach clenched and he forced his attention back across the dance floor, to the small tables and worn couches clustered against the far wall, beyond the pool tables. His gaze paused on a group of teenage boys posturing with their pool cues, holding them like the dicks they wished they had, while a couple of junior cheerleaders giggled and sucked hard on the straw of their cokes, like they were practicing for the real thing. Grinning, Xander considered moving in, showing them what a grown up, man of the world could do. He reckoned he could show all of them a thing or two about sucking, and wood, and how to get a ball to do just what you wanted.

He was contemplating his next move when a familiar blonde eased around a clump of Jocks. Xander smiled. Buffy. He hadn’t seen her since he’d got back into town, although he’d thought about her over the last few months, especially in the meandering journey back towards the Hellmouth. She paused by a standard lamp, next to a threadbare velvet sofa, and he realised that he’d never really had the chance to observe her before. Crashing into her in the school corridor had brought an immediate attraction. Giving mouth to mouth had been a close up and personal experience, and fighting for your life had its own intimate rush of adrenaline. But in three years, he realised, there had been little chance just to admire, to observe, to study. He eased himself off the wall and started to walk slowly through the crowd. He felt drawn to her. Compelled to follow her. To work out why she was what she was? Why she did what she did? Why he felt how he felt? All of a sudden, it seemed like the most important thing in the world.


The club wasn’t any different from the previous times he’d been there and Spike wondered why the hell he’d bothered coming. It hadn’t been his first port of call that evening, or even his second or third. Willie’s had been good for a fight and a game of poker. The Kit Kat had had a whole retro Weimar theme going that should have been entertaining, but wasn’t when you’d actually experienced the original, and the sooner he could forget about Big John’s bar and grill, the better he’d feel. What had possessed him to go into a country and western bar in the first place, he couldn’t quite explain. Boredom, possibly, and the chance to yank the chain of a few beefy guys, who looked like third rate extras from Bonanza. It had given him a momentary buzz, but once he’d taken the piss out of one Stetson, the joke had kind of lost its appeal.

He leaned against the pillar under the stairs to the balcony and observed the crowd. Teenagers. Hot and hotter running teenagers. Oh yeah, that’s why he’d finished up at the Bronze. Lust, confusion and hormones perfumed the air. He breathed deeply and contemplated a sweet, quick fuck and a long, slow drink of spicy blood. Hellmouth kids. There was nothing quite like them anywhere in the world. Except, maybe, Cleveland. He grinned and slouched a little lower.

His eyes flicked from side to side, considering who was going to be tonight’s lucky contender. Red head… blonde, or… he paused as an almost familiar figure sidestepped the bouncer, paused just inside the door and looked around. Brunette… now there was a thought. The boy turned his head, his face in profile in the strobing lights of the club. Spike flicked through his mental card index and stopped at the correct entry. Slayer’s boy. Xander. Out on his own. And all grown up, if the new look was anything to go by. He contemplated the faded jeans, that clung to the boy’s thighs and the curve of his hip, and the coffee coloured button down that was a big step up from the monstrosities he used to wear. It blended nicely with his eyes and hair, and the fading summer tan on his skin. Oh yeah, Spike thought. Definitely brunette.

He saw the boy suddenly lean back against the wall, as if he needed support to stay standing. Spike followed his gaze to see a tall, dark haired man working his way through a crowd of girls. At first glance the guy looked a little like Angel, but a second look told Spike that the not-Angel was a little too loose, a little too louche to be his Sire. He turned back, his focus fixed on Xander, and he smiled. Now that was interesting. If he’d been channeling William, he would have said that the emotions were rolling off the boy in waves. They felt like anger, confusion and a healthy dose of want. But Spike wasn’t a poet any more, he was a killer. Experience had just enhanced his ability to read all the signals that a body could possibly display. He just didn’t bother to put it into words. The body didn’t lie and Spike grinned at the realization that the boy had been broadening his horizons since they’d last met - going through changes that he wasn’t so sure his little pals would approve of. Now wasn’t that just neat?

Spike shifted slightly, until his shoulder rested against the upright and watched as the Xander’s eyes widened again and the scent of curiosity and a different kind of lust wafted in his direction. Taking another deep breath, Spike nodded to himself. Oh yeah, that was a scent he recognised. He turned his head to confirm his instincts were correct. Blonde, small, powerful, he saw her across the room, and memories of previous encounters made him withdraw a little deeper into the shadows. A glance back at Xander saw the boy walking slowly through the crowd, seemingly drawn like a magnet towards the Slayer. Spike decided that it was time to take a hand in the game.


Xander was almost parallel with the bottom of the steps, his eyes fixed on Buffy, when an arm shot out of shadows and dragged him into the darkness under the stairs. He struggled, opening his mouth to curse, when a strong hand settled across his jaw and the arm tightened around his torso. He stilled as a familiar voice murmured in his ear. “Now is that any way to behave when an old friend comes calling? Tell you what. You stand still and behave like a good boy. I’ll take my hand away and we’ll have a nice little chat. Okay?”

Xander growled into the hand and got a dirty chuckle in return. “You’ve always been a feisty one, haven’t you? Anyone would think you weren’t pleased to see me. I know I’m tickled pink,” Spike paused. “Is pink the right word?” he mused. “Yeah, I think I’m tickled pink to see you.”

Xander stiffened for a second then relaxed, shaking his head as much as he could with Spike’s hand over his mouth. The movement seemed to appease his captor, because the hand was suddenly gone, but the arm around his chest just loosened and moved up to his shoulders, pushing him around until they were face to face.

Reminding himself that he’d changed, Xander straightened his back and looked Spike squarely in the eye. “Spike,” he said. “Long time, no see. I’d love to stay and chat, but - things to do, Slayer to see. You know how it is, right?”

“Oh, I know just how it is,” Spike drawled. “That’s my problem, right there. See, I’ve got an appointment with the Slayer, just as soon as I’ve finished a little bit of archeology I’ve got going on. Then we’re going to meet and have ourselves a little dance. And you’re not going to stop me having my day in the sun.”

“Is that right?” Xander tried to match Spike drawl for drawl, but knew he hadn’t quite pulled it off. “What makes you think you can stop me?”

Chuckling, Spike moved forward and Xander matched him step for step, walking backwards until his back hit the pillar with a thump. Spike’s hands came up to rest against the hard metal, bracketing his face. “I’m thinking about 100 years of difference is one reason why I can stop you. Why I’ll stop the Slayer too, for that matter.” He moved closer, until he was flush up against Xander and inhaled deeply. “I’m thinking that I could keep you occupied, so the last thing on your mind would be the Slayer. What with you being a big boy now.” He glanced down at the obvious bulge in Xander’s jeans. He pressed forward and pushed one knee between Xander’s legs, moving it gradually until they were locked together at thigh and groin.

Xander swallowed hard. He knew he was easy, given the right incentive, but the stubborn, awkward high school kid that he’d been, snarked in the back of his mind and he decided on a counter attack. “Not too impressed with the strategic thinking here, Spike. A smart man would have been up on the balcony, checking out the scene. Seeing where all the players are. I’m sure there’s a rulebook or something.”

“Is that right?” Spike replied with a tilt of his head.


“See, that’s the other difference 100 years makes. I can consider what that rulebook might say. Then I can decide to throw it on the fire and do my own thing. Up there,” he flicked his eyes to the metal walkway above their heads. “You can see everything right enough, but you’re one step removed from the action. Like a wolf watching the cattle from the edge of the forest. Me, I like to get in amongst the herd. Feel them and smell them. Reach out and touch,” he shifted one hand to run down the side of Xander’s face. “And stroke.” His thumb lingered at the juncture of Xander’s neck and shoulder. “And taste.” He leaned forward and his tongue flicking out, running across Xander’s lips - tracing and mapping the moist flesh until it gave way. Xander pressed forward in his own right, suddenly demanding that the teasing stop and the action begin.

Spike indulged him for a long minute. Tongues licked and stroked, dueling and dancing until Xander was whimpering, making needy sounds that had nothing to do with distress or coercion and everything to do with lust, and heat, and the overpowering need for contact.

Spike pulled back. “So, you can follow the rules, or make up your own. Who do you think the smart man is now?”

Xander pressed forward again, as if he was trying to climb inside Spike’s skin, but Spike pushed him back and chuckled again. “Glad we’ve got that clear, then. So now I’m going to tell you what to do and you’re going to do exactly as I say.”

Xander scowled and Spike bared his teeth. “Exactly as I say,” he repeated. “Right?”

“Fuck,” Xander muttered. “Looks like I’ve swapped one bossy blonde for another.”

Spike laughed out loud and hooked one arm over Xander’s shoulder, pulling him close. He leaned over and kissed him again. Slowly. Spike’s eyes bled to gold and he grinned when Xander’s followed.

“Right then,” Spike said. “In a couple of days I’m going to bag my third Slayer and you, my pet, get to learn at the feet of a master. Now, say yes Spike.”

Xander tilted his head and then stole a fleeting kiss. “Yes Spike,” he replied and they both turned to watch the disconsolate blonde sitting on her own, on the faded velvet sofa. “Are we just going to let her sit there?”

“There are different types of torture. Misery is just one of them. We’ll let her cook for a couple of days and then we’ll pay a call. In the meantime,” he looked Xander up and down and ran his tongue across his teeth. “Let’s go take this somewhere more private and see what kind of moves you learned while you were gone.”

Xander’s chuckled. “Yes Spike,” he said.

The End