“No, you can’t do it Xan, it’s too crazy.” Buffy stood in his way. “It’s dangerous.”
Xander gave her a small smile. “I know Buff, but I gotta.”
“What do you mean you ‘gotta’? You don’t even know him! He’s just some vamp who crossed the wrong witch. It doesn’t mean you gotta get yourself killed over it.”
“The book... it said Spike saved humanity. Don’t you think he deserves to be saved by humanity?” he countered.
“It’s a legend. No one knows for sure he’s there,” she said, looking at the tower sitting on the hill above the city. It was surrounded by a thorny bush that was said to be alive and murderous. No man or woman who’d forced their way through it had come back out. “It’s been hundreds of years. Hundreds of people have died trying to get to him... for what?”
“Cut the crap, Xan. You know we have to be ready for the next apocalypse and can’t waste time on this. It’s been there for years... why now?”
“In the book... I saw his picture. His eyes...”
“His eyes,” she nudged him with her elbow – hard. “You’re not getting killed over a pair of vampire eyes,” she said, then grabbed his arm and started dragging him home. “Even if you got through the thorns... even if you could wake him... he would be hungry and make a nice little Xan-shake out of you. Can’t have that.”
Over his shoulder, he took a last look at the tower. That was where his destiny lay. One look at the picture had been enough to convince him. He’d bet Spike had blue eyes...
Long after dinner, after the patrolling and after the goodnights, Xander made his way up Lost Man’s Hill. There were warnings posted, almost every mile along the way ... skull and cross-bones and warnings about the deadly vegetation. The government had never been able to kill it or clear it away.
And then he was there, in front of the thick wall of thorns, visible by the light of the moon. It was all sharp edges and angles, and looked like the teeth of a gigantic Venus Fly Trap.... only with lots and lots of mouths. The silence of the night was pierced by cracking sounds and snapping sounds. He could feel waves of hunger emanating from the hedge.
Fear warred with his other emotions. He didn’t want to die. He was too young to die. He had to live, ‘cause yeah, Mr. Blankton would have no one to make fun of in class, and the teacher hadn’t run out of colorful names to call him. Who would wanna miss that in their life? Not Xander Harris, nope.
But those eyes. They’d spoken to him, deep in his soul.
He’d heard them scream for help.
Slayers had died fighting the thorny bush. Men, women and children had died. Animals who found their way into it never came out.
A smart guy would leave.
Grabbing a thick branch, Xander started pulling it aside so he could make his way in. Mr. Blankton was right... the guy upstairs had sewed his brain in backwards.
One. Two. Three. Four. He counted to fight his imagination. He counted to try to drown out the sounds and groans from the hedge. He counted to try to concentrate on something other than the pain. Looking back, he saw he’d only moved a couple of feet... and yet his hands were torn and bloody, his arms and legs too. Those damned thorns had already cut him up, but good.
Turn back. Run.
He took another step. And another. The hedge started moving. Tendrils started encircling his ankles, climbing up in a corkscrew path, cutting him, gripping him.
He screamed. He ranted. He cursed. He fought. He plodded on.
And when he thought he could take no more, he took a final step and broke out of the hedge and into a small clearing. The door to the tower was open. An invitation.
The minute he stepped inside, torches lit up. Shocked, he slammed into the wall, leaving a bloody smear along it’s surface as he started up the spiral staircase. It was quiet. Deathly quiet.
Heart pounding, he fought the instinct to run. One step at a time, he made his way to the door at the top and pushed it open.
There... in the center of the room ... sat a four poster bed. The vampire, Spike, lay on it. Slowly, Xander approached, swallowing hard. Xander-shake No, that didn’t sound good.
Still... look at him. Alabaster skin stretched tight over fine features, sort of edgy and sharp. Like the dangerous thorns ... but beautiful. Long blond hair, down to his shoulders. Lips that were well defined... made for kissing. A longing stole over Xander. When he bent over to kiss Spike, it wasn’t because of the legend... it was because he wanted it. He wanted so badly to feel that mouth under his, to be the first in centuries to kiss him.
Nothing happened. Xander tried again. This time he forced his tongue past closed lips, and put everything he had behind the kiss.
Strong arms came up behind his back, pulled him down hard. The vampire fixed his hand behind Xander’s head, and kissed him back like there was no tomorrow. The gentle sucking on his tongue grew harder, causing Xander to get dizzy. It was a good thing he was being held in place, ‘cause otherwise ... could be he would have been introducing himself to the floor. Only when he ran out of breath was he allowed to break the kiss and stagger back.
“You’re no Slayer,” Spike sat up.
Xander couldn’t help thinking the vampire looked like a prince. It was the clothes, the poet shirt with frilly sleeves especially. And his eyes... oh yes, they were blue. “No. Friend-of-Slayer count?”
“You count. The year?”
“It’s ah... well it’s two thousand.... ah...guh...” the weight of the vampire’s gaze was making him all nervous. And when the look sharpened, rested on his bloodstained hands, and shirt, a shiver of fear slid down his back.
“You have a strange manner of speech in the year two thousand guh.” Spike got up and started to walk toward his rescuer. “Name?”
“Xan... Xander.” He took a step back. Fuck... like Buffy said, the guy looked hungry. Course the smell of blood had to be getting to him. And the sight. Oh man... he really should have cleaned up or something....
“Xan Xander. A bit odd, but I like it. Why are you moving about like a target ring...”
“Ah...” ‘Cause I’m scared? Xander licked his lips, touched the wall with one hand, and started walking backwards down the stairs. “I don’t know... but.... ah...” Fuck, he was being stalked.
The vampire’s voice washed over him. The minute he stopped, he found Spike inches away, a hand against the wall on either side of his body. Trapped. The pulse point at the base of his neck jumped.
“Why are you scared? You weren’t scared before. Didn’t turn into the big bad wolf all of a sudden, did I?”
“No.. it’s not that.”
“You look hungry.”
“You haven’t eaten in hundreds of years.”
“Ah... I haven’t done something else in hundreds of years. Hungrier for that, yeah?”
“What... oh.” Then that glorious mouth was moving over his lips, and those strong arms were lifting him up, and he didn’t know quite how, but they were back upstairs, and in a tub. It was a spell, it had to be. But he didn’t care. Spike was washing all the grime and blood off him, caressing him, whispering things in his ear.... things he didn’t understand, didn’t need to.
Then they were out of the water, and all over each other. Kissing. Struggling to get closer. Pushing each other up against walls, against the corner-posts of the bed, dragging each other to the floor and laughing. Skin against skin. Mouth against hungry mouth. Groin against groin, they moved together.
The slow burn turned into a fiery inferno of desire and pleasure. Lifting his hips, Xander was more than ready for his new found lover. He didn’t know Spike, and yet he’d known him all his life. Would give him his life if that was what the vampire demanded.
“That’s it, that’s it,” Spike crooned as he entered Xander, kissing him soundly before thrusting deep inside. Between the sudden fullness, the stroking of his sweet spot just so, and the pressure of Spike’s belly rubbing against his erection, Xander came apart. Holding onto Spike, he cried out his name, over and over, lifting his hips, seeking and finally finding his release at almost the same moment as the vampire.