Xander sat, thinking. Spike finished his second beer and sat the empty bottle on the table. Xander's eyes were downcast, and the vampire could almost see the wheels turning in that dark head. What would Harris choose? Spike knew that the kid had a mean streak, and was actually slightly afraid of what that creative, devious mind might come up with. He'd known that Xander would be the most difficult. Well, after Buffy. But she felt so awful about using him that she'd been happy to forgive him. Her asking for his forgiveness had been a shock, but he'd agreed readily. Willow and Giles had been easier, but still awkward. Dawn had acted as if she wanted to refuse, but had suddenly broken down crying in his arms, sobbing her absolution on his shoulder. Spike knew that he could expect no such reaction from Harris.
Spike knew that Xander was still choking on his rage over the vampire's involvement with both Buffy and Anya. Those slights would not be remedied with a simple apology. They demanded a sacrifice, and Spike was willing to offer whatever was necessary. He didn't know how things had gotten so bad, but he really did want another chance with Xander. Perhaps, in the future, they could be...friends. It was really the most he could hope for.
Spike was so lost in his own thoughts that he didn't even notice Xander leave the room until the human returned. He was holding a rolled magazine in his hand and shifting his weight from foot to foot. Spike could smell the burst of pheromones rolling off him. Fear, shame, nervousness, longing and arousal were swirling around, intoxicating the vampire's delicate sense of smell. What in the hell was going on, he wondered.
Xander cleared his throat and looked down at Spike. "There's something that I want, and I think you're the only one who can give it to me." His voice was low and strained, and his brown eyes met Spike's, and then skittered away, only to come back again. His hands clenched and released on the rolled magazine until finally, with a nod, he tossed it to land at Spike's feet. Spike picked it up and unrolled it. It was a bondage magazine. The cover showed a blond man holding a leash attached to a darker man, who crouched at his feet, eyes downcast.
Sucking in an unnecessary breath, Spike looked up at Xander. "What exactly do you want, Harris?" he asked, with an edge to his voice. Xander shuffled his feet and didn't answer. With lightning speed, Spike was on his feet, one cool hand reaching out to wrap around Xander's upper arm. His lips were less than an inch from the human's warm ear. "How far do you want to go, mate? You want to stay with bondage and domination, or do you want to get into the heavy S&M? You want me to bleed for you, is that it?" he demanded through clenched teeth. Xander's wide eyes met Spike's narrowed ones, and he had to try twice before he could make words come out of his open lips. "I want...I want you to..." his voice trailed off, and Spike suddenly got it; like the pivotal puzzle piece slipping into place, the big picture was spread out before him.
He had to be sure. He shook Xander slightly by the arm he held. "What do you want, Xander? In the nasty little picture in your head, which one are you? Dom or Sub?" Xander's eyes remained downcast, and Spike shuddered when the single word dropped from his pink lips to hang suspended between them: "Sub."