Pairing: Spike/Xander
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I'm not Joss
Summary: Xander begins to have some disturbing dreams about a less successful life.
A/N: This fic takes place in the Biteverse, but can be read on its own right even if you haven't read the rest of the 'verse. For [info]spring_with_xan .
Credits: I'm grateful to [info]sentine  for the wonderful banner and to [info]silk_labyrinth  for the fantastic beta work!





Alternate Reality Bites


by
Whichclothes



Part One

It was a total rip-off. At times like this, you were supposed to see your life flashing before your eyes, but all Xander saw was the past day. And it hadn’t even been an interesting one.

He got to work hungover and eight minutes late, and his dick of a boss—who liked to hover around the time clock—warned him that if he was late once more he was fired. Then Xander had spent the next bunch of hours trying to skulk as inconspicuously as possible in the most obscure corners of the store. When he heard a customer coming his way, he’d scurry into the next aisle. Inevitably, however, he’d be caught, and then some middle-aged guy with a mullet and three whiny kids would need help finding a toggle switch, WD-40, an air compressor, and something to kill the snails that were munching on his vegetables. By the time Xander was finished with him, he’d have a whole line of people waiting, looking for strange items, wanting advice on recaulking sinks or repairing fences, needing him to cut lengths of wood.

When it was finally time to hang up his orange vest, his feet ached and his temper was lost. He trudged across the parking lot to El Pollo Loco and ate an Ultimate Burrito. Then he trudged back again—narrowly avoiding getting flattened by a lady in a minivan who was talking on her cell and eating a Big Mac as she flew across the lot—and found his Cavalier. Someone had ripped off the radio months ago, which wasn’t a mean feat in auto burglary because the passenger side window was actually duct-taped plastic sheeting. So Xander sang instead, old country tunes of the girlfriend-cheated-on-me-and-stole-my-pickup-truck variety.

He’d intended to drive to his shitty apartment and maybe put his feet up in front of an SG-1 marathon. But he got stopped at a red light in front of JT’s and realized it was dollar beer night.

He spent a fair number of dollars.

He got back in his car and drove toward home. It was only a couple miles. He was being careful. And then the road zigged and he zagged, or maybe it was the other way around. He pulled hard on the steering wheel and overcorrected, and then he was skidding sideways and an impressive-looking light pole was heading his way, and all he could do was think about how shitty his life was.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander woke up with a corpse half-draped over him. He shifted a little under the weight and the corpse clutched at him and mumbled a sleepy complaint. Xander patted the corpse’s firm and very shapely ass. “Lemme up. Gotta piss.” Grumbling, the corpse shifted over enough that Xander could get up.

After Xander emptied his bladder, he washed his hands and headed back into the bedroom of his suite at the Hyperion. But now Spike was reclining on his side, looking up at Xander expectantly. “’S early, pet. Come back to bed.”

Xander glanced at the bedside clock. One p.m. Well, that was early for this household, which kept vampire hours. But that dream had unsettled him, and he didn’t feel sleepy. “I’m gonna get up. I’m hungry.”

Spike looked at him incredulously. “You ate half a bloody cow less than eight hours ago. You can’t possibly be hungry again.”

“One, it was just a steak. A really big steak, but still just a steak.” He remembered the taste of the raw meat, the feel of the flesh ripping under his teeth, and he licked his lips. “And two, it’s a full moon. I get…peckish.”

Spike smiled lewdly at him. “Come over here and I’ll give you some lovely meat to put in your mouth, boy.”

“I thought you were tired.”

“I have my priorities.”

Xander spent a moment thinking about his options. He really was kind of hungry, and he was pretty sure there was some leftover pizza in the fridge. But eventually the gorgeous vampire with the already-hardening cock won out, and Xander leapt back onto the mattress.

Xander wasn’t sure what was responsible for his libido, which had exceeded the previous records set during his teenaged years. Maybe it was part of the werewolf package. He did always feel extra frisky when it was his time of the month. Or maybe it was because he got to spend his days and nights with the world’s sexiest vampire, a vampire who could make an erotic show out of washing dishes. Maybe it was the dangerous life they led. Whenever they returned mostly in one piece from the latest almost-getting-chomped-by-a-demon episode, their continuing existence on the planet was cause for celebration. Maybe there was something in the air—Angel and Kyna seemed to spend a lot of time getting groiny, too, although in Angel’s case he was probably making up for a century of celibacy. Xander guessed the cause of his increased sex drive wasn’t really important, because really, what on earth was there to complain about in having mind-blowing sex once or twice or three times every day?

There was certainly no complaining now, as Xander and Spike lay face to thigh on the bed, each of them stroking the other’s cock. Xander buried his nose in his alpha’s soft pubic hair, drawing the unique scent of him deeply into his lungs as if that might make Spike more a part of Xander than he was already. Xander licked along the crease where Spike’s upper leg joined his torso, and when Spike responded by bending that knee, further exposing himself, Xander licked again and then nibbled slightly on the skin of Spike’s inner thigh. Spike responded by taking one of Xander’s balls into his mouth and sucking gently on it.

Xander moistened his index finger with the shining liquid that was beading on Spike’s cock. He placed the finger atop the soft, wrinkled flesh of Spike’s sphincter and traced around the edge of it, wondering slightly at how something so small could give them both so much pleasure. But Xander didn’t really have the cognitive ability to ponder things too deeply at the moment, not when Spike was wiggling his ass in an appreciative manner and, almost simultaneously, swallowing Xander’s cock to the root.

“Oh god,” Xander groaned into the hollow of Spike’s hip. Spike wiggled again. So Xander once more used Spike’s precome to dampen his fingertip and then he inserted that finger into Spike’s tight, clenching hole. At the same time—because, hey! he could multitask—he took the head of Spike’s cock in his mouth and allowed his teeth to press very gently against the sensitive bit just between the retracted foreskin and the crown. Spike sucked on Xander and moved his hands around so each palm was cupping one of Xander’s ass-cheeks, kneading the muscles, drawing him impossibly deeper down Spike’s throat.

Xander wasn’t going to last long like this, not when he was at the mercy of Spike’s talented throat. So he pushed his finger a bit further inside and found the little nub of tissue. Spike’s hips jerked, the muscles of his thighs quivered, and he made a choked howling sound as he spilled himself into Xander’s mouth. A moment later, bright lights sparkled behind Xander’s closed eyelid and he, too, was climaxing.

The two of them spent several minutes floating on their happy post-orgasmic clouds, trying to catch their breaths and, in Xander’s case, get his heart rate down into its more normal range. Eventually, Xander kissed the shaft of Spike’s flaccid cock. He liked Spike’s cock when it was soft and sweet like that, but of course if he started playing with it, it never stayed that way for long. He rolled off the bed and stretched. “I’m gonna go slap some paint in 219,” he announced.

Spike groaned. “Come back to bed, love. The painting can wait.”

“Yeah, but I want to finish it while there’s still daylight. Get your beauty sleep. I’ll come get you when I’m finished and maybe we can head up to the park tonight.”

“Fancy a hunt, pet?”

“Maybe. We haven’t sunk our teeth into anything good for a while. Except each other.”

Spike yawned. “Fine. Wake me when you’re ready.”

“Will do, Mr. Unlife of Leisure.”

Spike pulled the blankets over himself and rolled onto his belly. Xander couldn’t resist the urge to kiss him, just once, right at the crook of his neck. Then Xander threw on his most paint-friendly clothing—including his orange Spongebob shirt, which Spike had “accidentally” used to wipe up some wayward caulk—and he left the suite, shutting the door gently behind him.

He walked down the steps quietly. The elevators hadn’t worked right since Wolfram & Hart had tried to blow up the hotel, and repairing them properly was a little beyond Xander’s skill-set. They’d been talking about hiring someone, but there was really no hurry. Two vampires, a Slayer, and a werewolf could manage just fine with stairs.

Xander had been converting several of the smallish rooms on the second floor into larger suites. It kept him busy, he enjoyed it, and it made sense, because they seemed to have a fairly constant stream of visitors. Willow and Gemma had stayed for over a week the previous month. They’d been in the States to pick up some spell ingredients that were hard to find in England, but also because Gemma had never been to the U.S. and Willow wanted to play tour guide. Xander had liked Gem very much, and Spike had warmed up to her quickly as well. She had a clever, slightly naughty sense of humor and she knew the lyrics to everything The Clash had ever sung. She and Will looked really happy together. Not long after the witches left, Kyna’s parents arrived. They knew she was a Slayer and didn’t seem to mind that, but they were more than ready to disapprove of her vampire boyfriend. Spike had been endlessly amused by the major case of nerves Angel was suffering when they arrived. But Angel somehow managed to pull out his rusty brogue and his antique Old Country manners, and they’d been won over, especially when he started telling them tales of life in Galway, circa 1750. They’d figured out that Angel was some sort of distant cousin on Kyna’s mother’s side, and that sealed the deal.

Room 219 was just as he’d left it: walls freshly drywalled and taped and sanded, all ready for the pale green paint. It wasn’t his color choice, but rather Kyna’s. They each got to decorate a suite. Kyna’s was going to be sort of Laura Ashley-esque. Ugh, but that’s what the lady wanted. Angel was going for a spare, 1950s modern vibe. Spike’s choices were slightly goth, with a lot of black and red, but not too overdone. Xander was thinking he’d decorate his suite in Mission style, which would give him the chance to try his hand at furniture making.

As Xander rolled the paint onto the walls, he thought about the dream he’d had that morning. It had been unsettlingly vivid. He could taste that Ultimate Burrito and the beer chasers, feel the wheels of the car sliding underneath him. What the hell was his subconscious trying to tell him? Not to drink and drive? He’d figured that one out when he was about six, holding on to the upholstery in their Pontiac for dear life as Tony careened around corners and swerved all over the road. Maybe that was it—the dream was some sort of Oedipal thing. But Xander didn’t think he had unresolved conflicts concerning his parents. He hardly ever thought of them at all, and when he did, he was emotionally blank. He’d long since figured out who his real family was.

He had the room almost three-quarters done when he heard Spike approach. The vampire stood silently in the doorway, just watching. “Thought you were going to sleep in,” Xander said without turning around.

“Did for a time. Decided I didn’t want to miss the chance to watch you work.”

“You could pick up a brush and help out. The sun’s not shining into the room much now.”

Spike snorted. “’M a vampire, love, not a handyman.”

“Demons can’t do home improvement work?”

“No. It’s in our contract.”

Xander scratched at his cheek, probably leaving a stripe of green. “Man, us werewolves have gotta get us a better union.”





Part Two

He woke up in the hospital. The waking up part was a nice surprise, even if the hospital part, not so much.

“You’re a very fortunate man, Mr. Harris.”

He struggled to focus on the woman standing at his bedside. He didn’t feel very fortunate. Someone was playing Seventy-Six Trombones inside his skull, his body felt like it belonged to a cartoon character who’d been flattened by a steamroller, and his vision wasn’t right. He reached up to brush away whatever was blocking his eye, but the woman caught at his hand.

“Don’t disturb the bandages.”

That sharpened his thoughts a little. “Bandages? What…?”

“You were in a car accident. A bad one. Do you remember?”

He concentrated for a moment. The screech of skidding tires, the sick crunch of metal. Yeah. He nodded slightly, but stopped when that made nausea roil in his stomach.

“You were pretty badly hurt. You’re at Memorial Hospital now, and I’m Dr. Abrams.”

He swallowed. His throat felt thick and his mouth tasted bitter, like medicine. “Badly hurt?”

“You fractured your skull, Mr. Harris. We’ve had you in a medically-induced coma for several days while the swelling in your brain subsided. Luckily, it doesn’t appear that your brain was permanently damaged.”

“So…I’ll be fine?”

Dr. Abrams shrugged. “Probably. Except for your eye, of course.”

His hand flew to his face again. Thick bandages covered his left eye. “My eye?”

“It was irreparably hurt. We had to remove it.”

He stared at her, waiting for her to smile and tell him this was all some sort of enormous joke. Ha ha—you’ve been punk’d. But she looked perfectly serious, her dark eyebrows drawn together in a slight frown. Her hair was escaping from a ponytail, as if she’d had an especially long and trying day.

“Mr. Harris, considering how hard you hit that light pole and the amount of alcohol you had in your blood, you’re very lucky not to be at the morgue right now. And you’re also lucky you didn’t hurt anyone else. The police have decided not to charge you, since you have a clean record and you’re injured. Like I said, you’re a fortunate man.”

Xander just closed his eyes—his eye—and felt ill.

The doctor’s voice softened just a little. “Is there someone we can contact for you? Family members, friends? The police haven’t been able to track anyone down, and—”

“No. There’s nobody.” He had some…buddies, he guessed. Guys from work who would sometimes have a drink with him after their shifts ended. But none of them were visiting-in-the-hospital kind of close. He thought of his apartment, where the rent would be due soon and the other bills must be piling up. His car, which was probably totaled. The hospital charges. His boss, who wouldn’t know why Xander hadn’t shown up for work. Fuck. “How soon until I can go home?”

“Two or three days, probably. It depends how you do, but you seem to heal quickly. For now, get some rest. I’ll check back on you later for a fuller assessment.”

“Yeah, okay.” Sleep sounded good. At least it meant he could put off dealing with this mess a little longer.


~*~*~*~*~


“Xander, stop it!”

Someone was on top of him, struggling with him, holding his wrists down beside his head. Xander fought a moment more before he awoke fully. When he stilled, he realized Spike was perched above him, his concerned face inches from Xander’s own. Xander’s face hurt.

“Wha?” Xander said groggily.

“You were scratching at your missing eye, love. You’ll stop now?”

“Yeah, I uh….” He blinked his remaining eye a few times. “I was having a dream.”

Spike’s iron grip on his wrists loosened and Spike placed a soft kiss to the lid over the empty socket. “Back with that tosser Caleb again, were you? I’m sorry, pet. If I’d only been a bit faster—”

“Stop it, Spike. You know it’s not your fault. Anyway, I wasn’t dreaming about that.”

“Oh.” Spike stuck his tongue out and licked delicately at the scratches on Xander’s forehead and cheek, like a cat. Xander could feel Spike’s cock harden slightly against his own soft one as the vampire tasted his blood, and the tickly little licks made Xander’s skin shiver in a pleasant way. But he was too wigged out by the nightmare to get aroused, and a moment later Spike kissed him again and then rolled off him.

“Fancy sharing?” Spike said, poking his elbow into the mattress beside Xander’s shoulder and propping his head on his fist.

“Yeah. It was…it was sort of a sequel to a dream I had the other night.” Spike listened intently while Xander told him about both dreams.

“Sounds very unpleasant,” Spike said when Xander was done.

“Well, yeah. But I’ve had worse nightmares. About Sunnydale, Africa, about losing you.” He shuddered. “But these were just so real. While I was dreaming, I was that guy, that really loser version of me.”

“You’re not a loser, Xan.”

“I know.” Xander reached over and patted Spike’s butt. “A loser wouldn’t have you as a boyfriend.”

“No, he wouldn’t,” Spike said smugly. “Or have helped to avert…how many apocalypses? And he wouldn’t have done such a lovely job fixing up this heap of a hotel, or collected the loyalty of good friends like the Scoobies.”

“You’re making my head swell.”

“I’d rather make something else swell,” Spike said and, when Xander winced at the way-too-obvious double entendre, Spike chuckled and slithered under the blankets.


~*~*~*~*~


Kyna cooked dinner—unfortunately. Xander ate politely and wondered whether the inability to cook was something common to all Slayers. Maybe demon slayage took up the parts of the brain that might otherwise know how to make spaghetti without scorching the sauce and undercooking the noodles. He envied Spike and Angel, who had good excuses to take only a few bites of the stuff and then wash the taste away with plenty of blood.

Xander was just choking down the last of the vile stuff when Angel said, “Giles called. When you two were…cleaning up.” The hotel had a huge supply of hot water, and Xander had built a shower enclosure in their suite plenty big enough for two. Consequently, shower time tended to be a pretty long process for them. Long and hard. He snickered and Angel glared.

Xander took a long swig of milk and leaned back in his chair. “Yeah? What’s G-Man want?”

“They’re coming here next Tuesday. Giles said he has some research to do. Something weird is up with the Council and he thinks maybe some of the books I took from Wolfram & Hart might be useful. I was just going to ship him the books, but I guess Lindsey’s going to see a specialist here anyway.”

Xander nodded. The last he’d heard, Lindsey was getting around with braces and a walker, which was better than the doctors had expected. “Well, that’s cool. I’ll have Kyna’s suite done by then, if they want to stay there. Although maybe it’s a little girly for their tastes, I don’t know.”

“It is not girly,” Kyna said. “It’s classic. Elegant.”

Spike butted in. “More flowers than a bloody botanical garden, love. It’s girly.”

Xander did the washing up while Spike and Kyna argued over décor and Angel, wisely, kept his mouth shut. When the dishes were dried and put away, Xander rejoined the rest of the small group. They had these little meals together once or twice a week, alternating between Angel and Kyna’s kitchen and Xander and Spike’s. Spike often did the cooking when it was their turn; he was easily the best chef among them. It was strange, but when they sat together—bickering good-naturedly, talking about their days and their plans—it felt to Xander like a genuine family meal, the type he’d longed for but never really had when he was growing up.

Tonight, they spoke a little about Buffy’s second baby who, according to Willow, was due any day now. Xander thought he detected a little wistfulness from both Angel and Kyna. Then Angel said he’d heard of a new nest of vamps down the coast a little, over near San Clemente, and he thought maybe he and Kyna would check them out the following evening. “You two just want an excuse to snog on the beach,” Spike said.

Angel smiled. “A little mayhem, a little making out under the stars. Sounds like a good evening to me.”

It sounded like a good evening to Xander, too. And then he had a completely unrelated thought. “Hey, if Lindsey’s gonna visit, maybe we better get the elevators fixed. Unless one of you wants to carry him up and down the stairs, ‘cause I think he’s too heavy for Giles and me.”

“Yeah, okay,” Angel said, not looking very pleased. Despite Lindsey’s heroism, he was still not Angel’s favorite guy. Xander had pretty much forgiven the former lawyer for hexing Spike, though. And Giles seemed happy with him, which was unexpected but nice.

“What are you two planning for tonight?” Kyna asked. “We’re off to the Bergman festival at the Majestic. The Virgin Spring. Fancy joining us?”

Spike and Xander looked at one another and both tried to avoid making horrible faces. “Uh, no thanks,” Xander said. “But you kids have a good time.”

“We’re going to Billy’s,” Spike added.

That was news to Xander, but he didn’t complain. He liked Billy’s.

They decided to dress up a bit that night. Spike squeezed into a pair of black leather pants that made him look so goddamn edible Xander nearly peeled him right back out of them. He wore a blue silk sweater, tight enough to show off his muscles, and he put just a little kohl under his eyes. His nails were freshly painted black. Xander’s outfit was more subtle, just tight blue denims and a brick-red tee, but Spike seemed to like the look of him, judging by the sparkle in the vampire’s eyes.

Billy’s was crowded but the bouncer knew them and let them in. A few months ago Spike and Xander had taken on a small band of Htergo demons that had been harassing the customers and trying to shake down the management. The owner of the place—who wasn’t named Billy, but was a big woman with henna-dyed hair and an extensive collection of green and purple dresses—had been very grateful. So now Spike and Xander were waved right in whenever they visited, and drinks were on the house.

Xander and Spike squeezed their way through the busy floor and found a pair of open stools at the bar. They each ordered a drink—Jack for Spike, Full Sail for Xander—and then swiveled around to take in the scene. The clientele at Billy’s was mixed. Men, women, gay, straight, human, demon. The music was eclectic. It might be techno one night, heavy metal the next. Tonight the band was headed by a small man with a deep, rich voice, and they were playing a little honky-tonk, a little blues. The crowd never seemed to care what the music was. They drank and danced no matter what.

Xander drained his bottle and stood. “Wanna dance?” He knew what the answer would be, but he had to ask anyway.

“Go ahead, pet.”

Spike didn’t like the faster songs. But he did like to watch. So Xander made his way to the dance floor. As inevitably happened, demons approached and asked him to dance. Xander said yes to the ones who were least likely to provoke jealousy on Spike’s part—a creature with purply, iridescent skin and indeterminate gender; a lovely girl with dark skin who could have passed for human if not for the third eye on her forehead; a scaly guy with four horns on his head. They danced together, but really, the show was for Spike’s benefit, and Xander would glance periodically towards the bar to see his vampire sipping at his glass and watching, one thumb tucked into the waistband of his pants.

When the music shifted, becoming slow and languid, Spike stood, put down his drink, and prowled over to Xander in that predatory way he had. Xander was hard as a rock by the time Spike draped himself across Xander’s back and wrapped his arms tightly around Xander’s hips. “Fancy a go with me now, pet?” he purred into Xander’s ear.

“I fancy that very much,” Xander said and leaned back into his lover’s embrace. Xander relished the feel of Spike's strength behind him. Since that werewolf had bitten him, Xander had become a lot more confident in his own ability to protect himself. But still, he never felt safer than when Spike was holding him.

What Spike did with Xander was more like sex than dancing, but that was okay with Xander. He’d been a little embarrassed the first time, but it was easy to forget about inhibitions when Spike was grinding into him, or licking and nibbling at his neck, pressing their bodies so close together their molecules were practically bonded. People watched them, but with envy playing across their faces. Spike would whisper that that was because everyone wished they had a treat as lovely as Xander, but Xander was pretty sure at least some of them were dreaming of getting into Spike’s form-fitting pants.

Spike and Xander clung and swayed together until the band took a break, then they both headed for the bar. Xander was parched, and he quickly downed another beer, then began a third. “Hey, sweetheart,” he said, tapping Spike’s knee. “Gotta go see a man about a horse.”

Spike made a face that showed his opinion of messy biological necessities and waved Xander away.

In Xander’s experience, bathrooms in bars with demon clientele could be awfully…interesting. This one was packed, and Xander tried very hard not to notice the varied ways the other customers emptied their bodies of beverage byproducts. For the most part, he really didn’t want to know. He also ignored the overly curious stares some of them gave him when he finally shouldered his way to a urinal.

Xander pissed and then washed his hands and left the bathroom. As he started to make his way to the bar he caught Spike’s eye, but was suddenly overcome with such a wave of dizziness that he had to lean against the wall for support. The whole room seemed to shift under his feet, and the air shimmered like a heat mirage. And then he wasn’t in Billy’s anymore. Instead he was standing in his shitty apartment, emptying the fridge of food that had gone bad while he was in the hospital. Luckily, there hadn’t been much there to begin with—he lived mostly on takeout and stuff he could microwave—but the milk was gross and the leftover Chinese looked about ready to walk out of the fridge on its own. He gagged a little and dumped it all in a trashbag, then held the bag at arm’s length as he walked out of his apartment and threw the mess into the big dumpster at the edge of the parking lot.

Parking lot. A parking lot half-filled with cars, none of which was his because his Cavalier had gone to the dealership in the sky. Although his boss had told him his job was still there, and Xander planned to return to work in a few days, buying a new car right now was out of the question. That meant the bus. Great.

When Xander came back inside he headed to the bathroom to wash his hands, and he caught a good look at himself in the mirror. His face looked like a cadaver’s, the area around the empty eye socket still bruised and misshapen. Dr. Abrams had told him he was going to need reconstructive surgery to fix the bone structure, but that was a little out of his price range for the foreseeable future. The rest of his face was pale, his remaining eye had a huge dark circle underneath it, and his scalp was only just now beginning to grow a little stubble. He’d been carrying an extra twenty pounds or so when the accident happened. He’d lost quite a bit of that in the hospital, but didn’t look any better for it. His skin seemed to hang on him like too-large clothes.

Xander glared at himself and marched out of the bathroom. Maybe he’d walk to the 7-11 and pick up some beer. It wasn’t like he was going to be able to drink and drive again anytime soon. He looked around. Where had he left his shoes?

He was bending over to pick up a sneaker when he was hit by an attack of vertigo and he toppled backwards, landing solidly on his ass. God, was his brain injured after all, he wondered, and Spike said, “Xan? Xander? What’s wrong?” with panic threaded through every syllable.

Xander blinked up at his lover, at the crowd of humans and demons who were looking down at him, at the blinking colored lights that hung from the ceiling at Billy’s. With Spike’s help, he struggled to his feet. He clutched Spike’s arm hard, so hard he was sure Spike would have bruises. But Spike didn’t seem to notice. “Pet? Did someone hurt you?”

Xander slowly shook his head. “No. But I think we have a problem.”




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