This is my entry for the day for [info]fall_for_sx. Pretty angsty, which seems to be my specialty lately.

Pairing: Spike/Xander
Rating: Mature/Adult
Spoilers: Set post "Chosen" BtVS and "Never Fade Away" AtS
Warnings: Angsty.
Authors Note: I love this song and had to use it for something. When this idea hit me, I knew it was perfect.

Special thanks to [info]velvetwhip for the quick and wonderful beta.

The song is "Letting the Cables Sleep" by Bush.

Letting the Cables Sleep


You in the dark
You in the pain
You on the run
Living a hell
Living your ghost
Living your end
Never seem to get in the place that I belong
Don't wanna lose the time
Lose the time to come

Whatever you say it's alright
Whatever you do it's all good
Whatever you say it's alright
Silence is not the way
We need to talk about it
If heaven is on the way
If heaven is on the way

You in the sea
On a decline
Breaking the waves
Watching the lights go down
Letting the cables sleep

Whatever you say it's alright
Whatever you do it's all good
Whatever you say it's alright
Silence is not the way
We need to talk about it
If heaven is on the way
We'll wrap the world around it
If heaven is on the way
If heaven is on the way

I'm a stranger in this town
I'm a stranger in this town

If heaven is on the way
If heaven is on the way
I'm a stranger in this town
I'm a stranger in this town

Spike sighed and reached over, quickly turning off the radio beside the bed they shared.
He couldn't listen to that song. It was too close, almost too real for him now. He really did feel like a stranger, not just in this town, but sometimes even in the bed he shared with the young man sleeping next to him.

Slowly, he rolled over to gaze at Xander as he slept. It was the only time Spike could really take his time to observe the former Scooby. When he was awake, Xander would snap at Spike if he tried to really look at him. Whether the one-eyed man felt self-conscious about his appearance or not, Spike didn't know, but he wasn't going to miss out on this chance to study his lover.

Xander had changed so much since Sunnydale. Sure, Spike had too, but now Xander seemed like a completely different person. The dark locks had grown out and lay in tempting waves around the boy's face, making him look like some sort of debauched angel. The eye patch Xander wore nearly continuously was lying on the bedside table. Spike's fingers nearly itched to reach out and trace the white line left from the tan the boy had acquired during all his adventures in Africa. The skin around the empty socket was pale and wrinkled but soft to the touch. Spike knew that from experience. He treasured times like this, when could touch and look without his companion shying away in fear or self- pity.

Xander stirred slightly in his sleep, as he often did. Nightmares. They disturbed them both. More times than he could count, Spike had held the young man through his night terrors, and he had felt the warm arms comforting him when he woke up crying on more than one occasion. But Xander sighed and stilled, so Spike continued his exploration.

The boy still held onto the tan that colored his skin and it called to Spike like a beacon. The scent of sunlight and earth clung to Xander and it pulled the vampire in instantly.

Spike still couldn't believe that they had ended up here, in this little place in the middle of nowhere. They were both running, running from the fight and from themselves, when they found each other.

At first, they didn't talk about what had happened to cause them both to end up here, in a tiny apartment above a pub in the middle of New Zealand. Xander had been working as the bartender when Spike wandered in one night, needing something to dull the pain. Both men were shocked into silence at first, but then quickly fell into the familiar pattern of insults and jests until the dark-haired human had finished his shift and invited the vampire up to his room.

As soon as they were alone in quiet room, they fell on each other, need and desperation palpable between them. Teeth and tongue warred in a dance for dominance as they clung to each other. Fingers stroked and scratched and tore until both men were naked and writhing against each other as the vampire continued to push the boy against the smooth wall.
Slowly, they had made their way to the bed, stumbling blindly as they continued to kiss and lick and bite. They fell on the bed in a tumble of limbs, both men trying to gain the upper hand, until Spike finally found himself on top, with a compliant Xander beneath him, looking up at him with pain and lust in his chocolate eyes.

Spike had so expected the encounter to be so much like the violent couplings he'd had when Buffy had used him, that the look of naked need and trust in the boy's eye nearly frightened him. He had slowed his attack and stilled the boy's, taking his time to explore and taste, give and take before he carefully prepared Xander and gave him what they both needed. Pain and pleasure; something real, something tangible, something new and yet familiar.

They had fallen asleep in each other's arms that night, feeling safe and sated for the first time in what felt like a lifetime.

Spike woke the next evening alone. Xander had already left for work and the vampire wondered if he had made a huge mistake. But when he saw the boy later, Xander acted as if nothing had changed. Spike didn't know whether to be pleased or not.

Things went on as normal until about a week later when a story on the news triggered bad memories for both men. A gang of drug-crazed gang members were wreaking havoc in a nearby town. Both men recognized the selective blindness that had gripped Sunnydale for so long.

Spike had asked Xander if he wanted to take a little trip, do some patrolling just like the old days. He was shocked when the warm eye that once held so much pride and bravado looked at him with nothing but apathy.

"Not my problem anymore, Spike."

That morning, when they retired to their room, Xander had attacked the vampire, wrestling him to the bed and entering him harshly. Spike loved it, arching and writhing and begging for more. This was rough, animalistic rutting, completely different from their previous coupling. They arched and bit and scratched, needing the release from the memories of the past.

It wasn't until he came hard, straining and writhing against the human inside him, that Spike felt the wetness on his face. Whether they were his tears, Xander's, or both, he didn't know.

And so it went for several months, neither man really talking about their shared past, only trying to run from it, using sex and denial to hide from themselves and each other.

A few times, Spike had tried to ask Xander what had happened for him to end up in this little dive in the middle of nowhere. Last he had heard from Andrew, Xander was doing the Watcher thing in Africa, so finding the boy in New Zealand without the obvious support of his friends and the Council was a bit of a shock. But every time he inquired, Xander either yelled at him, changed the subject, or fucked his brains out. Not that Spike minded. He really didn't want to talk about what happened to him, so he'd take a good pounding from the boy now and then.

Then one night, it happened. Xander had two days off in a row, the first time in a long time he'd had more than a single day off. Spike had decided they would celebrate by getting seriously pissed. The blond vampire had gone all out. He'd bought a stockpile of comfort food for himself and the human, plus several bottles of whiskey, beer and vodka.

The two men had spent the better part of the night just drinking, bullshitting and watching the crappy TV they had finally been able to afford. With nothing worth watching on the tube, Xander finally laid his head back against the ratty couch and sighed, his head seemingly too heavy as it rolled back and forth while the vampire watched with a smirk.

"So whelp," Spike had drawled. "Tell ol' Spike how you ended up in this little shitberg, eh?"

Xander had chuckled before revealing the story Spike wasn't sure he was ready to hear.

"I was in Africa, but you knew that, right? 'Course. Andrew told you. Little rat boy just can't seem to keep his mouth shut 'bout nothin'. Oh well. I went around, town to town, trying to find the Slayers. Sometimes it was easy, most times it wasn't. I didn't speak, well, any of the languages there and very few people outside the large cities spoke any English. Giles gave me a shitload of books to try and communicate but they weren't much help. Most of the time it was hit and miss, sometimes literally.

"Most of the time, I'd find them, freaked out and dangerous. Several people thought the girls were possessed and needed to be punished or exorcized. It took a lot to convince people that they should let these girls leave with me. One night, the people in one village decided not to let me take their 'daughter' away."

Xander had sighed heavily, refusing to look the vampire in the eye.

"I woke up in a hospital. They had beaten me and then dumped me in front of a church. The nuns made sure to get me medical care. I could barely remember what happened, but I called Giles in England to tell him the story and that I wouldn't be bringing that Slayer back with me.

"He urged me to go back, to try and convince the village to let her go and train. He said it was important, that she was important and I needed to get her.

"Once I was healed, I went back. When I woke up in the hospital again after the second beating, I called Giles again. He told me to go back. He wanted me to go back and get the shit beat out of me again because she was important.

"When they released me from the hospital, I went to the nearest bank and withdrew all the money from my Council account. Then I left, with all my stuff still lying in that hospital room. I didn't want to be it any more. I didn't want to be Xander Harris, piss-poor Watcher, anymore."

Once Xander ended his story, he had turned and looked at the vampire, waiting for the scorn and hatred he expected.

It never came.

Spike simply looked at the boy, sighing as he began to speak.

"We were standing in that fucking alley, seems fitting you know, both Angel and I died in alleys, might as well go out in one as well. It was so odd. The battle was raging and then suddenly, it was like everything was over.

"I looked over, and there was the Poof, just whacking away at that damn dragon like it was some huge demented piņata or something. I walked over and grabbed his arm. I needed to stop him, he needed to know it was over. He just turned to me and smiled. All covered in dragon gore and the bastard turns and smiles.

"All of a sudden, he lights up like some crazy neon sign before he just falls forward into my arms and he's breathing. Fucking breathing and has a damned heartbeat. He got his Shanshu right there in my arms. He looked up at me and we started laughing. It was perfect. Fucking perfect.

"Right until the bullet pierced his heart. It seemed so unfair. He finally got what he wanted, his humanity, and it was taken away by a single bullet from a Wolfram and Hart security guard.

"After I ripped that little fucker's head off, I held him as he died. I thought I was losing it when Angel's eyes snapped open. But then I saw that Lindsey guy and some bint standing next to us. Turns out the lawyers weren't the only ones with perpetuity clauses in their contracts. So the poof gets up and walks away with the two of them just like that. Heads right into the burned-out building like he's heading back to work, even though he just fucking died.

"Coulda swore I saw Wes and Chuck in there too, but I don't wanna think about that too much."

That night, they simply held each other in the small bed, sleeping off the alcohol and misery that threatened to swallow them whole.

But now, in the quiet peacefulness just before dusk, Spike could stop and look at the young man who had somehow slipped into his heart despite his head's protests. The vampire knew it was foolish to get involved with the former Scooby. This man wasn't Xander, not the Xander that Spike had reluctantly become friends with and held a grudging respect for. That Xander was brave and full of life. This Xander was sad and haunted. Spike decided he needed to do something about that.

Leaning down slowly, Spike moved in until his face was so close to the human's face that he could feel the heat emanating from Xander's skin. Breaching the small distance, the vampire pressed his lips against the soft warmth of Xander's mouth.

A shocked brown eye shot open as Xander woke at the tender touch. Spike could see the question waiting there for him, one that he never gave the boy a chance to ask. Softly, insistently, Spike's tongue begged for entrance until Xander reluctantly opened his mouth and welcomed the vampire into himself. They kissed languidly, just enjoying each other until the need became too much and Spike had to touch.

Cool fingers reached beneath the blankets to sneak under the t-shirt Xander insisted on wearing to bed to explore the sleep-warmed skin. Spike sighed as the heat of the boy seemed to seep into him, tendrils of heat trailing up his hands and up into his body. The vampire made quick work of first the shirt and then the shorts that covered all that delicious, warm skin.

Slipping under the fragrant sheets , Spike spread himself over Xander, blanketing the sleepy boy's body with his own. Connected, toe to collarbone, Spike writhed, loving the feel of warm boy-flesh against him. The question returned to the lone eye and Spike leaned up, kissing it away.

When Spike moved to prepare the boy's tight body like he'd done so many times before, Xander arched up and grabbed at Spike, wanting more. More violence, more pain, more of what he was used to.

Spike patiently took Xander's hands and pulled them away, moving them to curl around the wooden headboard.

"No, Xan," he whispered, his voice hoarse, even to his own ears. "Let me do this. Let me love you."

Xander shook his head, trying to protest despite his body's compliance. He held on obediently as Spike slipped a single slick finger deep inside, quickly followed by another. Once the vampire was satisfied that the boy was ready for him, he shifted enough to press against the waiting entrance. The push home was intense for both men. After all, sex to them had been about need and pain and the desire to not be alone anymore.

This? This was different.

This was Spike giving Xander all that he had, all that he was. This was Xander finally accepting Spike's help, Spike's desire, Spike's love. With every thrust, Spike poured a little bit of himself into the broken boy, filling the emptiness left by his shattered past. With every retreat, Xander helped rebuild Spike, giving as much as he was taking, trusting, simply out of faith, that the vampire wouldn't hurt him.

They rocked against each other, softly, slowly, in no rush to complete. They remained connected nearly head to toe, Spike's hands buried in the chestnut mane and Xander's fingers curled around the headboard. Two azure eyes locked onto a single chocolate one, until they came, gasping softly as the wave of pleasure crashed over them, washing them and bringing them home.

They dozed for a time, still intimately joined, with the vampire draped over the young man's larger frame. Spike practically yelped when a heavy hand came crashing down on his right butt cheek.

"Oi!!" he shouted indignantly. "What the hell was that for?"

"Needed to get you up and off of me quick," Xander replied with a wicked smirk gracing his features. "I gotta pee."

"Fine," Spike grumbled as he pulled his softened cock from its warm home. "Was sleeping good too, I'll have you know," he yelled as the boy slipped into the bathroom.

After Xander had done his business and washed his hands, he strolled out into the bedroom, stark naked and looking quite proud of himself.

"Well," he announced loudly as he clapped his hands together. "We better hurry and get dressed, I guess."

"Why?" Spike asked. He knew that Xander didn't have to be at the pub tonight, so why the hurry to leave?

"Well, we slept for a while," Xander explained as he made his way to his closet. "It's already after sunset, if we're going to make it to Napier before sunrise, we'd better get going."

Spike froze, staring at Xander in shock as the boy pulled on the cargo pants the vampire recognized as 'patrol gear'. He smirked and practically purred, "I thought you didn't do that anymore?"

Xander looked back at his vampire and smiled widely. "Let's just call it 'hunting' and leave it that, ok?"

Spike slowly climbed off the bed, pulling on his clothes as he went. If Xander wanted to call it hunting, that was fine by him.
As he pulled on his duster, Spike realized that it really wasn't him anymore, and yet it was. He might not be the Big Bad, but he was still Spike, just a different Spike from before. And as he stared at Xander, decked out in a Zeppo outfit, thankfully without the screaming Hawaiian shirt, he realized that the boy was still Xander Harris, just a different Xander.

They wouldn't have to be strangers anymore.

The End

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