Hard-Bitten


by
Whichclothes



Part Eleven



He woke up.

That was a surprise. It wasn’t the first time he’d been amazed to wake up and discover he wasn’t dead, but it was still a pretty major shocker. And as surprises went, it was a pretty pleasant one, too, pleasant enough that he didn’t even mind the ache in his belly and shoulder and hand. And, now that he thought about it, the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as he might have expected.

Cautiously, he peeled his eyelid open.

He was in Spike’s room in the Hyperion. Spike was propped next to him in the bed, running his fingers through Xander’s hair. It felt nice.

Angel was sitting in a chair next to the bed, frowning at him. He looked awful, thin and bruised, but he had clothes on, at least, and he was clutching a glass of red liquid in his hand.

“You back with us, love?” came the familiar, deep voice.

“Yeah.” His throat was dry and scratchy. Maybe Spike knew that, because a moment later he was propping Xander’s shoulders up a little and holding a glass of water to Xander’s lips. Xander drank it gratefully. He looked down at his hands. One of them was wrapped in bandages, but he was no longer the invisible man.

“Where…how….?”

“Sshh. We’re all safe now. Rest and I’ll explain later.”

“McDonald?”

Spike kissed the top of Xander’s head. “Won’t be giving us any trouble, I promise.”

Xander wanted to ask more, he really did. But he was suddenly too tired to speak, too tired to keep his eye open. So he slipped off to sleep. The last thing he was conscious of was Spike’s touch.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander wasn’t sure how good a nurse Spike would have made under ordinary circumstances. Maybe he’d have been okay. He took care of Drusilla, anyway. But now, under the continuing influence of the csípés spell, he took nurturing to new levels. He fluffed pillows and tucked blankets, he changed bandages, he engaged in sponge baths that Xander found more interesting than was good for a man in his condition. He produced endless cups of juice, complete with bendy straws, and he spooned soup and cereal and ice cream into Xander’s mouth, even though Xander had one fully operational hand. Spike wielded a bedpan without even grimacing. He shooed Angel away when he came in to stare at Xander, and he deflected all of Xander’s questions until later. He answered Xander’s phone, too, barking irritably at whomever was at the other end, telling them that Xander would call back when he was able.

In all the many times he had been sick or injured, nobody had ever fussed over Xander like this. It was wonderful.

Still, he healed amazingly quickly, and he was soon anxious to get on his feet again. He had so many questions that needed answering, too. And then there was that declaration of love he’d made, which neither he nor Spike had mentioned, but which hung in the room like a giant, frilly balloon. Sooner or later it would have to be acknowledged.

“Spike, I’m fine.”

“You’re still mending. Don’t want you hurting yourself.”

“You can’t keep me tied up in this bed forever, you know.” He saw a glint in Spike’s eyes and smiled. “Or, you know, you could admit that I’m better, and then you really can tie me up, if you want.”

“You’re bent.”

“Says the vampire.” Xander made his very best puppy dog face, and hoped it worked with one eye. “C’mon, Spike. Let me up. Please. I’ll be careful, I promise.”

Spike rolled his eyes, but he also stood and held an arm out. “All right. Up with you, then.”

Xander used Spike to pull himself up. He felt a little wobbly, but more from all the time lying down than from his injuries, which were mostly just pink scars now. Spike clucked over Xander like a mother hen and Xander made his way to the bathroom, and, for the first time in days, managed to piss standing up. Glory hallelujah. Then Xander washed his hands and face and looked at himself in the mirror. Not too bad. A little pale, maybe, but nothing like the vampire he could hear hovering over his shoulder, even if he couldn’t see him.

Xander spun around and rested his hands on Spike’s shoulders. “I feel good. Better than. Now, would you please tell me what the hell happened?”

Spike sighed. “All right. But you have to get back in bed first.”

“Not getting in bed now. How about if I sit?”

Spike frowned and then nodded. He followed Xander very closely as Xander made his way to the loveseat, and then Spike folded himself onto the cushion beside him. “What do you want to know, pet?”

“Last I remembered, you were throttling McDonald and I was dying, I thought. How’d you get loose? I thought he said those chains were vamp-proof.”

“They weren’t enough to hold a truly angry vampire, it seems.”

“So you were Supervamp?” Xander used his right hand to play with the curls at Spike’s neck. It worked just fine. “Huh. I guess we ought to be thanking Vega, for once.”

Spike rolled his head back more firmly against Xander’s fingers.

“How did we get back here?”

“Cowboy had a set of keys in his trousers pocket. I unchained Angel and brought him up to Lindsey’s truck. Had to half-carry him up those stairs. When he was sorted, I came back for you, carried you up and put you in Peaches’ lap.” Xander pictured himself and Angel, both unclothed, and him in Angel’s lap. He shuddered, and was glad he’d been unconscious. And invisible. “Then I grabbed Lindsey and threw him in the back of the truck. Hauled you all back here. Got the pouf a load of blood and then had to doctor you sight unseen, which was bloody difficult. Did all right, though. You didn’t die on me.”

“Why didn’t I? I think that hole in my stomach was pretty bad, and I know I lost a lot of blood. And now I’m healing way faster than usual. Did you do something to me?”

Spike looked extremely uncomfortable and shook his head. “No,” he said. “Though I nearly turned you.”

Xander stared at him. “You—“

“Couldn’t bear to lose you. I expect that witch of yours could find some way to stick your soul on.”

Xander blinked slowly at him, processing these words.

“Anyhow, I didn’t have to, did I? You kept right on breathing, all on your own, and then you mended very fast.”

“Why?”

Spike looked away. “’T’s bloody hard to kill a were, innit?”

Oh.

But Xander was still firmly in denial about that.

“What happened to McDonald?”

“He’s in the cellar.” He snorted. “Pouf has a sodding cage down there, strong enough to hold a demon. Quite handy.”

“What if he does that spell or whatever that conks out vampires?”

“Wouldn’t do him any good, all locked up. Besides, Peaches is keeping him gagged most of the time.”

“What are you going to do with him?”

“I expect that’s up Angel. Can’t really kill him, can we? That doesn’t seem to do any good.”

Xander rested his head on Spike’s shoulder. “I’d better call London,” he said.

“It’s three in the morning there, love.”

“Fine. I’ll call later.” He shut his eye and listened to Spike breathe. He noticed for the first time that the odors around him were stronger. He could smell Spike, of course—leather and hair gel and copper and whiskey—but also Angel, who had the scents of charcoal and more hair gel and copper and coffee, and the antiseptic Spike had used on him, and the detergent from the sheets he’d been lying in, and the soap in Spike’s bathroom, and the wood and plaster and dust smells of the old hotel itself, and the ghosts of the scents of a thousand people who’d passed through the Hyperion’s doors. It was…interesting. It made him want to wander around and sniff at things, see what kind of tale they would tell. He hoped he wouldn’t start lifting his leg and pissing in the corner next.

“When…when do you expect they’ll come for you?” Spike said quietly.

Xander opened his eye and sat up straight. “Is that what you want?”

Spike shook his head and looked miserable.

“Spike, you know how I feel. I told you. If it were up to me, I’d stay with you.”

Spike looked at him incredulously. “What you said, then…you meant it?”

“Spike, I thought I was dying. I wasn’t gonna lie.”

“Thought you might have been delirious.”

“I wasn’t.” Xander breathed in and out, deeply, three times. “I love you, I think. I’m not very good at this. I’ve never really loved anyone before, not like that. Not even Anya.”

“Oh, Xan—“

Xander stood. “Look, I know this is stupid. You’ve been under that spell, and soon you’ll be all better, and the last thing you’ll want is a goddamn puppy slobbering after you.”

Spike stood too, and grasped Xander’s shoulders. “The spell doesn’t…. I told you before. These feelings, they’re real. They’re mine. The spell only makes them…more intense. I want you. Not because you make me feel safe, although you do, and I couldn’t explain that if I tried. Because you…you give me meaning. I’m dead, Xander. Been dead a long time. You make me feel alive.” He mouth twisted into a small smile. “And you make me sound like a bloody big girl’s blouse.”

They folded into an embrace, and Xander sighed. “Will you still want me when I’m Rover?”

“I’ll get you a nice collar.”

“My fangs will be bigger than yours.”

“Fang envy, pet?”

“Pet is right.” Spike nuzzled against his old spot on Xander’s neck, which sent a small thrill down Xander’s spine. “How will you keep me from eating the neighbors when the moon is full?”

Spike chuckled into Xander’s skin. “I’ll ask Peaches for some tips. He dated a dog-girl for a while, you know.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.” Spike sucked softly on Xander’s neck.

“When the spell wears off, if you don’t want me, you have to promise you’ll tell me, okay?”

“I promise, but it won’t happen.”


~*~*~*~*~


In the morning, Xander picked up the phone and stared at it gloomily. He wasn’t looking forward to this.

“Xander! Oh my goddess! What happened to you? Why haven’t you called? If my magic was back at full strength I would have teleported myself there days ago, mister. Buffy was practically ready to strap Emily in an airplane and come after you, and Giles just keeps mumbling things. What were you thinking?”

“Hi, Will.”

She sighed. “Hi, Xan. Sorry. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I’m doing fine, and Angel’s okay, and everything’s good.”

“Angel! Oh, that’s wonderful! But why wouldn’t you talk to us? And when are you coming home?”

Spike was sitting on the bed. With vamp hearing, Xander was sure he could hear both sides of the conversation. When Willow asked this last question, Spike tensed and looked away.

“Will, I’m…. I have a few things to tell you. And they’re kind of hard to say, so will you please just let me spit them out before you go ballistic?”

She was quiet for several moments, and then, in a calm, measured tone, she said, “Okay, Xander. Go ahead.”

Xander closed his eye and allowed himself to collapse back against the loveseat cushions. “Okay. Here’s the thing. I, um, got bit by that werewolf in Lincoln.” He heard her gasp. “The bite was no big deal or anything, but, um, I’m fairly certain that when it’s my time of the month I’m gonna get furry. But that’s not such a big deal, is it? Oz managed. And it actually kinda saved my life, because I got staked and I should’ve died, but I didn’t. I healed really well.”

“Xander—”

“Wait. There’s more.” He wondered if her eyes had gone black. “I’m in love with Spike.” Willow gasped again, but Spike blew out a puff of air and looked relieved. “That has nothing to do with the whole wolf thing. I loved him before that. And…and he kinda likes me, too.” Spike nodded. “So I’m gonna stay with him. Here, at least for now.”

Spike closed his eyes and slumped, as if a weight had been taken from him.

“Okay, Will. You can talk now.”

He winced and waited for an outburst, but all he heard was a little static. Finally, still calmly, she said, “I’ll call you later, Xander.” And she hung up.

Xander closed his phone and groaned. Spike stood and came over, and he sat next to Xander and smoothed at his hair and kissed his forehead and sucked his neck, which Xander now found as comforting as Spike did.

About ten minutes later, the phone rang.

“Hi, Giles.”

“Xander. I just had a rather interesting conversation with Willow.”

“I bet.”

“She seems to be under the impression—”

“That I’m a gay, vampire-loving werewolf?”

“Erm, yes.”

“I am.”

“Xander—”

“Look, Giles. I’m almost thirty years old. I’ve seen a lot. I’m not stupid and I don’t need an intervention. I know what I want. Honestly, I’ve never wanted anything so much. I want Spike. And…as for the wolf, I’ll deal. I’ve got a couple vamps here to babysit me when I go all Call of the Wild.”

Giles sighed loudly. “Very well, Xander. We will discuss this more later. But if you should need help…we’re here.”

“Thanks, G-Man.”

Spike had resumed nursing on Xander’s neck, and Xander was just recovering from that phone call, when the phone rang again. He looked at the number and moaned.

“Hi, Buff.”

“Xander—”

“How’s the baby? Willow says she looks just like you.”

“She’s great, Xander. But you know that’s not why I called.”

“No.”

“Xan, how does Spike feel about you?”

Xander looked at Spike, who was gazing back intently. “He says he wants me, Buff.”

“I used to think he couldn’t love anyone. But he did. He does. More intensely than anyone I’ve ever met.” Spike’s mouth was hanging open in surprise. This wasn’t the response from her either of them had expected. “Oh, Xander. If this is really what you want…you deserve someone who can love you that hard.”

“Are you giving us your blessing, Buff?”

She laughed. “Something like that. Be happy, Xander.”

Fuck. He was going to cry. “Th-Thanks.”

“I’ll get Willow and Giles to chill, don’t worry. They’re both kind of freaked right now.”

He just sniffled at her.

“And, um, Xan? Does Spike still do that thing? With his tongue? When you’re, um—”

Xander let out a completely undignified snort of laughter. “I don’t think I’m quite ready to discuss my sex life with you, Buff.”

She sighed. “Sorry. With Em and everything—never mind.”

They chatted for a few more minutes about diapers and shapeshifters and car seats. When Xander put down the phone, he felt relaxed. Happy.

“Slayer came through for you, yeah?” Spike said.

“Yeah. She did.”


~*~*~*~*~


They were on the bed, shirts off, and Xander was trying to convince Spike that he was well enough to do more than just make out. The convincing was going pretty well, actually, but then there was a loud knock at the door.

“Shit!” Xander said.

At the exact same time, Spike exclaimed, “Bugger!”

They exchanged glances and shrugged. “Come in then,” Spike grumbled.

Angel scowled at the sight of them, and made his way across the room. He sat in the hard wooden chair and looked uncomfortable. Xander hadn’t exchanged more than a few words with him since the rescue. He was looking much better now; his wounds had disappeared and he was once more muscular and substantial-looking.

Angel had told Spike the basics of what had happened to him, and Spike had passed the tale on to Xander. Angel had stopped another apocalypse. Shortly afterward, though, McDonald had showed up at his door. And just like that, he’d said the magic word, and Angel was out. He dragged him away to his lair across town and spent most of his time torturing him, just for the hell of it.

“What do you want, Peaches? You could join us, but I don’t think my boy’s up to it.”

Xander pressed his hand against his mouth to stifle a snicker, and Angel rolled his eyes. “I just wanted to know how much longer you’re planning to stay. That’s all.” He looked down at his big hands.

Xander suddenly remembered the desperation in Angel’s voice when he’d begged Xander to keep searching for Spike, just a little longer. Spike opened his mouth to say something, probably something snarky, and Xander jabbed him with an elbow. “Actually, we were thinking of sticking around for a while. If that’s all right with you.”

Angel’s head snapped up. “You’re—“ He swallowed. “That’s fine. There’s enough room for the three of us here,” he said gruffly.

Xander smiled at him, actually not detesting the vampire for the first time ever. “Good.”

“And Xander, um…thank you. For….” His voiced trailed away and he couldn’t meet Xander’s eyes.

“Sure. I got something out of the deal, too.” He slapped Spike’s flank. “But McDonald. What’re you doing with him?”

Angel looked at him, his eyes flat and a little scary. “Want to see?”

Spike and Xander followed Angel down the stairs, across the lobby, and through a door that led to another stairway. This one descended into the basement. The basement was full of boxes and stacks of things, and old, dusty furniture. But in one corner was a cell. Did everyone in LA have a cage in their basement? The stone walls of the basement itself made up two sides of the cell, and the other two were heavy iron bars. The floor was bare cement.

McDonald was hunched in the corner of the cell. He was naked. His hands, ankles, and neck were shackled together, so that if he could walk at all, it would only be in a shuffling crouch. A large ring gag was stuffed in his mouth. He was filthy and battered-looking, but nowhere near as damaged as Angel had been in his basement. The only other thing in the cell was a bucket, and Xander didn’t need his enhanced sense of smell to tell him that it was being used as a toilet. McDonald was glaring angrily at them.

“The gag keeps him from talking, but he can still eat and drink that way. But it’s kind of messy. I’m considering just ripping out his tongue.” Xander watched Angel as he spoke, and he shivered a little. Angel was looking awfully Angelus-like at the moment.

“You just gonna keep him here, then?” Xander asked.

“Yeah. Eventually his employers are gonna notice he’s gone, and maybe they’ll be able to find him here. Maybe they’ll even try to get him back. But I’m betting he’s gonna be my guest for a good, long time.” Angel had been staring at McDonald as he said this, but now he turned to Xander. “Is that gonna be a problem for you?”

Xander could feel Spike stiffen beside him. He waited for a pang of sympathy for the man to hit him, or anger at his treatment at the hands of a demon. But neither of them did. Instead, he felt kind of relieved McDonald was locked up safely out of his own reach. Xander smiled easily at the dark vampire. “No problem at all.”

“You won’t feel sorry for him? Want to rescue him? He’s human, more or less.”

“Yeah? Well, I’m not anymore. Thanks to him, actually. And he tried to have Spike rubbed out, just to get him out of the way. Not feeling a whole lot of pity, here. Let him rot.” He was gratified to see that McDonald looked terrified.

Spike came up close behind Xander and pressed his body into the back of him. “Lovely, pet,” he growled into Xander’s ear.

Xander wondered how much of himself had been changed—by his various demonic possessions, by his transformation to a were-creature, by taking a vampire, albeit a souled one, as a lover. And then he decided he just didn’t give a fuck. He clapped Angel on the shoulder and led his vampire out of the basement and back into their bed.


~*~*~*~*~


“Ouch!”

“Sorry, pet. We’re nearly there.”

Xander tripped over another…something…in the hall and once again questioned the wisdom of allowing a vampire to lead him, blindfolded, through the old hotel. But then they stopped, and Xander heard a door open, and Spike tugged him through.

As soon as the warmth hit his skin he panicked and tore the cloth off his eye. “Fuck! Spike it’s day—“

The words died on his lips.

They were on the roof. Several large towels were spread on the flat surface. A big metal chest was full of ice and bottles of beer. An assortment of small containers was scattered to one side—lube and massage oils, it looked like.

And Spike.

Spike was completely naked, and his head was thrown back, his radiant smile glittering in the sunshine. His cock was fully erect. He was ethereal, otherworldly, like an angel without wings, like a statue come alive, like a deity walking the earth.

“Spike….” Xander managed.

“It’s going to be eighty degrees today, with just a bit of a breeze. Good day to work on a tan. Did you know you can see the Pacific up here?”

“Spike, why—“

Spike turned his smile toward Xander. “Full moon tonight, love. We’ll have to keep you locked up for a few days, I expect. So what better way to spend today than here, together?” He stepped closer and cupped Xander’s jaw in his hand.

“But…but didn’t you want to save the salve for…for something important?”

“This is important. You’re important. And the sodding hex is finally gone and we need to celebrate. Now, stop wasting the day with your gob hanging open. Let’s have us a pint or two.”

Before he knew it, Xander was as bare as Spike and stretched out on his back on one of those towels. The cold glass of his beer bottle was sweating pleasantly in his hand, while Spike was rubbing some kind of lotion into his chest. He thought it was heaven. But then Spike gently took the bottle away and layered himself over Xander, and he knew he was one of very few people in the world—maybe the only one—who knew the pleasure of having a sun-warmed vampire writhing deliciously on top of him.

They kissed deeply. Spike tasted of beer and blood, and the flavor of blood got Xander even more excited, until he was trying to lick every trace of it out of the inside of Spike’s mouth. Absently, he noted that he’d be wanting some very rare steak for dinner tonight. Then Spike was nibbling and licking at his neck as Xander clutched at the slightly slippery silky skin of his ass. “Maybe I can tame my wolf,” Spike purred into his ear. “Teach him to bite nicely, yeah?” Deep inside of Xander, something growled an affirmative. It felt familiar, like the hyena, only stronger. He liked it.

Spike sat up and smiled broadly. He grasped Xander’s cock firmly in one hand and then lowered himself down on it. Xander moaned and watched Spike ride him, his face turned up to the sky and the sun shining like a halo over him.

When he couldn’t stand it a second longer, Xander grabbed Spike’s hips. With strength and speed he hadn’t possessed a few weeks ago, he flipped them over without disengaging from his lover. Spike wrapped his legs tightly around Xander’s waist and grinned. His face morphed, and now the eyes looking up at Xander were yellow and the teeth in the smile were long and sharp.

Xander howled.

And then he bent down, and Spike bit him, and a climax rumbled through both of them like a freight train. Minutes later, they were still thrusting against each other, still shuddering with the strength of their release.

Spike withdrew his fangs and ran a sharp tongue up Xander’s jaw.

Xander bent his head a little and gnawed lightly on Spike’s neck until Spike gasped and mewled beneath him. “Hey,” Xander said. “Didn’t you say something about a collar?” Spike laughed and squeezed his ass, and Xander laughed back at him.

“You know, I was thinking,” Xander said, flopping beside Spike, and reaching over to play with one of his vampire’s hardened nipples.

“Dangerous, that.”

Xander tweaked a little harder. “If I’m gonna stay here a while—“

“We’re going to stay here a while.”

“If we’re gonna stay here a while, I can knock the wall between your room—“

“Our room, pet.”

“Between our room and the next. Maybe even the one after that. Make us a nice suite.”

“Bigger than the pouf’s?”

“Bigger than the pouf’s.”

“You can do that, love?”

“Sure. I was a carpenter once, remember? And I’ve kept my hand in, every now and then, fixing stuff up for the Council.”

Spike caught at Xander’s hand and sucked for a moment on Xander’s index finger, which felt incredibly nicer than it should have. “That’d be nice, Xan. Could you install a big bath for us? Big enough for two?”

“Can do. And I was thinking, maybe a nice, comfy, secure cage.”

“Kinky.”

“For when I’m more of the canine persuasion. ‘Cause…if I’m gonna be incarcerated, I’d rather it be near you. ” Xander pulled his hand out of Spike’s grip and moved it to Spike’s belly, which was sticky. He rubbed his fingers in the fine hairs that led south of Spike’s navel. Then he grasped Spike’s cock, which was hard—still or again, he wasn’t sure—and softy stroked the damp, silky skin.

Spike rolled onto his side and nuzzled against Xander’s neck. “Sounds lovely,” he purred. Then he pushed Xander onto his back and his mouth began working its way down Xander’s body.

They spent the whole day on the roof, making love, dozing, sipping beer, talking. By late afternoon, Spike’s skin had turned slightly pink from the sun, and both of them were feeling perfectly sated. They sat against the wall of the stairwell, arms around each other, watching the waves far away. Spike’s head rested on Xander’s shoulder.

Xander wondered how we was going to gather the energy to go back downstairs before sunset, so Spike could chain him up for the night. Spike would eventually tame the wolf in him, he could feel it. Hell, he could be a big help to the vampires, taking a bite out of crime and everything. But for a while some security was called for. Would the vampires be able to get him something tasty to chew on tonight, maybe a big hunk of meat with the bone still on, or, hmmm, even something still alive? He remembered the feel of Herbert the pig in his jaws, and instead of being grossed out, he felt his stomach rumble hungrily. So yeah, he was going to have to build a really strong cage, but maybe he ought to make sure it was easily cleaned. But not too uncomfortable. Did they have dog beds in his size? Speaking of comfortable, if Angel was going to keep Lindsey for a while, Xander could probably find a way to get some plumbing going in that cell, because the bucket was pretty offensive to everyone’s noses. Hmm. Maybe Willow could give them a spell to keep Lindsey quiet without removal of body parts. Not that the bastard didn’t deserve to have several removed. And in his and Spike’s room, with those walls torn down, he could build a big bathroom, and put in a giant tub like Spike asked for, maybe with Jacuzzi jets, yeah, that’d be good, and he could expand one of the windows, install some shutters so there’d be better sun protection. He could build a little kitchen, too, like Angel had, because the big one downstairs was too big and kind of creepy, really, and besides the fridge and microwave Spike already had, all he needed was a sink and a small stove, and—

Spike tilted his head up and gave him a slow, sweet, sexy smile, filled with true affection and the promise of what was to come. Xander grinned back. And he realized that, while his head was full as ever, now so was his heart.




The End



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