Rating: R/Slash (for language)
Pairing: Spike/Xander
Length: 1585 words
Spoilers: Post-Chosen and post-NFA.
Summary: Spike and Xander return to London.
Notes: Written for [info]bloodclaim’s 2-year birthday.
Feedback: It’s ALL about the feedback (and naked Spike)! Don’t make me beg, it’s not pretty.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Thanks: To [info]truly_tazi for the beta and to [info]msgordo for reading it over for ‘Britishisms’ and English pubs. You are both gems among, uh, other shiny stuff. *g*
Written: November 16, 2005



A Lot Changes in Two Years


by
Spikedluv


Xander walked into the pub with Spike at his back. It had been a while since he’d been back to London, but The Cock and Bull looked exactly the same as the last time he’d dropped in for a pint. In the corner, where a table had been moved out of the way, a young man sat on a stool and played guitar while an even younger woman stood behind a microphone and sang a rollicking tune that had many of the patrons clapping and stamping their feet. The dartboard looked to have been replaced since his last visit, but the tables, dark from years of spilled ale, were familiar and welcoming.

Spike’s hand on his hip directed him over to the horseshoe bar where Spike slid into the only open spot to order their drinks. Xander watched him get the bartender’s attention and then his gaze moved around the room. It had become second nature to scout their surroundings for any hint of danger. The surprise wasn’t that he found it, but the unexpected source.

He watched with narrowed eye as the man approached him.

“Alex,” Billy said. His voice was just as deep and sultry as Xander remembered, and his eyes ran up and down Xander like a starving man at a buffet. Except Xander had learned the hard way that Billy was never starving, though he was always looking for the next meal.

From the corner of his eye, Xander saw Spike take in Billy’s presence. Spike had finally stopped threatening to tear off the arm of anyone—man, woman or demon—who looked Xander’s way, but right now Xander was regretting that.

Xander had met Billy when he’d come to London after spending a year in Africa, and been swept off his feet. He’d never had anyone pursue him the way Billy had, and it had made his breath short and his heart sing. It hadn’t lasted long, and when they’d parted ways Xander’s heart had been hard pressed to continue beating, much less sing.

“Billy,” he said, his tone hard and holding no welcome.

“I’m surprised to see you here. It’s been a long time.”

“Two years,” Xander said, and watched Billy’s expression turn smug.

“You remember, how sweet.”

Xander remembered, all right. Remembered going to Billy’s apartment and finding him in bed with another man. At the time, Xander’s chest had ached so badly he’d thought that maybe you really could die of a broken heart. They hadn’t been together long, just long enough for Billy to get bored and move on. He’d felt like a fool when he’d discovered that that was Billy’s M.O, and he ‘d merely been the latest notch on his belt.

When Xander didn’t reply, Billy said, “So, let me buy you a drink?”

“Aren’t you here with someone?” Xander nodded to the lone man sitting at the table Billy had been sitting at when they’d first noticed each other.

Billy didn’t even bother looking. He shrugged. “He was getting boring, anyway.”

“You mean just like I did.”

“Well, yeah....” And Billy didn’t even look fazed by that admission as he gave Xander a very appreciative once-over. “...but you’re looking...like that might have changed.” Billy smirked, but it didn’t have the same affect as it had back then. In fact, now that Xander knew how sexy Spike looked when he smirked, Billy’s attempt seemed a poor imitation.

Xander knew that Billy wasn’t just blowing smoke, because he had changed. After he’d had his heart handed to him on a silver platter, he’d hardened inside so that no one could hurt him again. Then he’d run into Spike on a trip to Cleveland for the Watcher’s Council not long after the end of his disastrous relationship with Billy. Spike had come back to England with him and taken care of hardening him up on the outside while he’d worked on softening him up on the inside.

It had happened so gradually that it had taken him three months to figure out what Spike had been up to, and nearly another six months before he’d given into the inevitable, but Spike had stuck around, both before and after, and they’d been together for over a year now.

As if thinking about him had conjured him up, Spike slid up behind Xander and draped his arm over Xander’s left shoulder. “Here’s your beer, pet.”

Xander looked back at Spike, who always made sure he was on Xander’s good side, and smiled as he reached up blindly and took the mug. “Thanks.”

“Welcome.”

Spike leaned in for a kiss and Xander tilted his head further back to comply. The peck he’d expected—though really, he knew better—quickly turned deep and hot, and Spike used his now-free hand, placed gently along his jaw, to hold Xander’s face still so he could thoroughly stake his claim.

When the kiss ended Xander was breathless, and a little bit hard. Spike’s kisses, not to mention the feel of him nice and firm against Xander’s back, had a way of doing that to him.

“This guy giving you a problem?”

It took Xander a few seconds to figure out what Spike was talking about, but then the blood started flowing back to his brain and he remembered Billy.

“Uh, no. No,” he said again, and this time without the crack in his voice. “Just renewing an old acquaintance.”

“Is that right?”

Xander had heard that tone before. It usually came just before Spike killed something. A small burst of pleasure snaked through his body, warming him, just knowing that Spike had his back, especially in this.

Billy held out his hand. “Billy Jameson.”

Spike looked at the proffered hand, then took a drink from his own mug without extending the hand that was still cupping Xander’s face. He brushed his thumb along Xander’s jaw, almost absently, except Xander knew Spike didn’t do anything without a purpose.

Xander wanted to laugh at the expression on Billy’s face when Spike snubbed him, so he buried his face in his mug and took a sip.

“I’m Spike,” Spike said, making it sound like royalty, “and this....” He indicated Xander. “...is mine.”

Xander nearly choked on the beer in his mouth. He swallowed and turned an angry eye on Spike, who just smirked at him.

“Am I wrong?”

Xander’s heart started pounding. Damn him! Spike knew what that did to him. “No.”

The smirk softened, and Spike kissed him again.

“Well, I guess that explains the new look.”

Xander had almost forgotten that Billy was there. They slowly separated, reluctant to part. Spike nuzzled his neck, then looked over at Billy.

“What new look?” Spike asked, then looked Xander over. “Happy? Or well-fucked?”

Xander’s smile at the ‘happy’ died on his lips. He glared at Spike.

“Am I wrong?”

“I am going to kill you,” he said, grinding the words out between clenched teeth.

“Am I wrong?” And there was no smirk this time.

Xander turned around in Spike’s arms, careful to not tip his mug and spill the contents onto Spike. “No,” he said, “you’re not wrong.”

“What brings you back to The C&B, Alex?” Billy said, obviously not very good at taking a hint.

Xander pinched Spike when he mouthed, “Alex?” at him.

“We’re, uh, celebrating, actually,” Xander said. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but now he was feeling a little uncomfortable.

“What are you celebrating? Anniversary?”

“Of sorts,” Spike said, his hand moving up and down Xander’s back as if he could read his mind.

Instead of backing off, Billy actually looked like he was considering expanding his invitation to include Spike, which made any discomfort Xander felt fly out the window. He didn’t share.

Billy slid into what Xander mentally recalled as ‘seductive pose number three’, and said, “So, how long have you two been together?”

“Oh, we’ve been together for a year now, but that’s not what we’re celebrating.”

Xander relaxed into Spike and let him handle Billy. He could tell from the glint in his eyes that he was having fun, and that translated into more fun for Xander later on.

“Promotion?” Billy guessed.

“Nah, nothin’ so bloody boring,” Spike said. “We’re celebrating...fate. Destiny.”

“Destiny?”

“Yeah, see, two years ago this wanker broke up with Xan. It seemed like a bad thing at the time, but in retrospect, it was the best thing that ever happened to him. Almost.”

Xander snorted softly into Spike’s neck and Spike growled softly in his ear.

“How do you figure?” Billy asked, his tone wary.

“‘Cause now he’s got me,” Spike said, as if it was obvious. “And that is the best thing that ever happened to him.”

Xander couldn’t hold it in any longer; he laughed out loud. Pulling back from Spike’s neck, he kissed him, even as Spike continued talking.

“How was it you put it, love, good riddance to bad rubbish?”

“I love you.”

“Love you, too.”

Spike smiled. A real smile. The kind that transformed his face and told Xander just exactly how much he loved him. The smirk made Xander hot, but the smile made him melt inside, because he was the only one who ever got to see it.

“I believe you promised me a round of darts, pet. Still up for it?”

“Very up for it,” Xander said, smiling at Spike’s raised eyebrow over his double entendre.

Arms still around each other, Xander led Spike over to the dartboard, leaving Billy behind them, forgotten.




The End





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