Who Wants to Live Forever
Giles hadn’t made it to bed yet, so Xander was alone in the room he was to share with the Watcher. He hung up his dress clothes, unpacked his suitcase, and pulled on a pair of jeans and a shirt. He felt weirdly energetic. The light buzz from the alcohol, the mind-blowing sex and then the self-induced adrenalin rush of fear and anger had him jumpy and unsettled. He didn’t think he could sleep, and he really didn’t want to. He was afraid that if he lay down now he would start to think again and above all else he did not want to do that. He wondered if Giles was downstairs, maybe tipping back a last brandy for the night. He wondered if he could sneak down there without encountering any other guests. Xander stepped out into the hall, walked to the head of the stairs, and listened. The music downstairs had stopped. He could see people from the caterers walking back and forth carrying warming tins out of the house. Willow's voice, still bubbling with energy, floated up the stairs. He could recognize it but not hear what she was saying. Then he heard Dawn clearly say, “but he does connect with people.” Willow’s reply was unintelligible. Xander slipped down one step, unaccountably wanting to eavesdrop. Dawn sounded angry now, “I can’t believe they would say that. I can’t believe after all this time no-one would see him for what he is.” Xander felt a bizarre icy fear grip him. What he is? Who was she talking about? Xander wandered dazedly back down the hallway. He suddenly felt funky and covered with spunk. He walked into the bathroom and locked the door. Wrenched the clothes off that he had just put on and stepped into the shower. Turning it on full blast, he heard the pipes groan and swore to himself. What time is it? Am I waking up the whole house? he wondered worriedly. Am I waking up Spike? he suddenly thought, remembering how lightly the vampire slept at night. And that led his mind to thoughts of Spike again. The image he had shut away as he closed the bedroom door, rose up before him again as he stood under the hot spray. Spike helpless and vulnerable. Lying naked in the moonlight, tears on his boyish cheeks and cum streaking his muscled chest. His flaccid penis lying glistening against a bed of dark curls. One hand curled over a sloping hipbone, the other pointed just slightly towards the empty half of the bed as if, in his sleep, Spike’s body were trying to reach towards Xander’s. Xander groaned as he felt his cock twitch again. God, what was wrong with him these days? He was thirty years old, and those damn meds were supposed to be cutting into his libido, not stimulating it. But he saw once again Spike’s dark eyes looking up at him, his mouth red and wet clenched around his cock as Xander … Xander stood in the shower and grabbed his once again erect penis and pulled on it desperately. He replayed the events of the night in his mind again and again, and came so hard and fast that he had to grab a shower handle to keep from falling through the glass door. He climbed shakily from the shower, wrapped a towel around himself and sat down on the toilet. It occurred to him that he had left his beeper in his tux, and he hadn’t taken his meds in several hours. He feebly stood and walked back to the room. Pulled the little pillbox from his hanging pants pocket. He shook the pills out into his hand and stared at them. He was responding reasonably well, they had told him. He was lucky, they had said, his virus had been caught early, it was a variety and at a phase that responded well to the medication. The medication that was expensive, and so not available to everyone. Lucky again, you rotten bastard, he thought sadly. Sometimes he just didn’t want to take the pills anymore. Sometimes he just wanted to say, oh fuck it, and flush ‘em. But he couldn’t, silly as that seemed, because they were valuable and hard to come by and it seemed such a waste. And then he fucked around and drank too much and made himself crazy and didn’t sleep. All strongly discouraged behaviors. But, hey, what did he have left, if he gave up his bad habits?
When Giles let himself into the room, he noted that Xander was already asleep. Early to bed and early to rise, he thought wryly. Xander the wholesome American boy. He sat down and slid open a laptop that he’d attached to the house phone jack. Willow had asked him to speak to the Council again. He felt it was useless. Regarding some things the Council was like adamite. Dark and dense. He gazed into the screen for some time, trying to think of the right way to phrase a blasphemy. Easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle, his memory supplied nicely. But with God all things are possible, he finished for himself. Well then, the former warlock thought grimly, may this go with God. And he began to type.
GILES’ LETTER TO THE COUNCIL REGARDING SPIKE – VAMPIRE – I.E. WILLIAM THE BLOODY – I.E. CHILDE OF ANGELUS – SUBJECT:
THE REDEMPTION OF DEMONS AND VAMPIRES WITH SOULS
Giles stared at what he had written and shook his head. “Goddess,” he laughed, “I am so bloody buggered!”
Xander heard Giles entering the room and turned onto his belly so that he could feign sleep. He could feel this night like the endless thing it would become. A long tapeworm of memories and self-recriminations. All totally useless, as there was nothing to do about his past. And useless as well, since he didn’t have any frigging idea how to avoid further screwing up his future. He heard Giles opening a computer connection and begin to type. He heard a long pause and then a rueful laugh. He actually thought for a minute that Giles might be laughing at him. Somehow looking unknowingly ridiculous as he lay here. Then he realized that his self-involved paranoia was working again. Giles was on the internet, probably accessing some Watcher Porn Site. Xander smiled into his pillow imagining Giles drooling over suggestive photos of naked female chaos demons. Oooh slimy antlers. He almost giggled out loud. It made him feel all warm and fuzzy that he could be over thirty and still grossed out by the idea of Giles and sex. Someday I hope to be a dirty old man, he thought muzzily. And scare all the kiddies with tales of my nefarious youth. He firmly pushed all thoughts of the statistics and probabilities of that notion firmly out of his mind, and played purposely with the idea of an aged Xander chasing a still nubile looking blonde vampire around a large wooden desk. The thought was amusing and oddly comforting and by the third lap Xander had fallen asleep.
Xander, also, was blessed with his recurring dreams. You can’t be a young warrior for the light on the Hellmouth and not come away with mental scars. And you can’t be an only child in the house of Harris and emerge unscathed either. He dreamed about the ones he hadn’t saved, the ones he couldn’t, wouldn’t or arrived too late to save. He dreamt about the ones he had killed, or destroyed. Xander Harris’ subconscious had a veritable encyclopedia of regrets and painful horrors upon which to draw. But there were favorites. Tonight, in celebration of the evening’s activities, his subconscious decided to treat him to a replay of one of the classics.
In the dream the digging always went on at night. Xander hated the way his subconscious was always trying to give him metaphors. He had always been really confused by that in school and figured his subconscious, which supposedly lived somewhere in his mind, should know the limitations of that untrustworthy tool. So he assumed that tunneling through the cemetery at night was supposed to mean something, but in the dream it was just damned inconvenient. He couldn’t see where he was going and the dirt, grave dirt, kept falling in his mouth and choking him. He was afraid it would suffocate him and he consciously pushed his head repeatedly against the ceiling of the tunnel, as if he could push through to fresh air. The closer he got to his goal, the more restricted the tunnel became, and he wiggled and squirmed desperately towards the end, in a panic that he would be trapped. When he finally pushed through to a larger space, he was still in absolute darkness and he took a huge breath, which immediately made him gag. The air was filled with the stench of rotting flesh. He was familiar with the smell, having followed a Slayer in and out of crypts for several years, but this was more intense, probably because there was little if any ventilation in the area. He knew instinctively that the only air he was getting was through the narrow shaft he had just used to enter, and that made him feel terribly urgent. He began searching for the thing he had come for. He knew the thing was in here somewhere and kept calling it. Whistling for it like a dog. “Here thing, here thing.” It was hard to whistle with grave dirt in your mouth, and Xander was becoming increasingly annoyed that the thing was not answering. He started to think, illogically, that the thing had already left. Though he knew the only way out was through the tunnel he had just created. He began wildly feeling around the floor and other surfaces of the dark rank space, suddenly terrified that the thing was already gone. His hands were digging in dirt. The smell of putrefying flesh filled his nostrils and soil clogged his throat and great panicking sobs tore through him as he crawled desperately over the hard cold floor trying to find it with his hands. When his hand brushed over something very cold and wet and soft, he flinched back and screeched, but then suddenly lunged forward. Shakily pulling at rotting cloth, rubbing the clammy surface. In the dream, the moon came suddenly out of nowhere and illuminated his find. Xander stared down into a skeleton’s face. Flesh barely hanging on it, eyes open and glittering blindly in the light. Mouth slightly parted from the loosening of the muscle of the jaw. “No,” he whispered, his hands gently stroking the remains of the face. “No.” Then the head suddenly turned, the horrible mouth sneered. “What’s wrong pet, ya like a little more meat on your bones?” Xander jumped awake with a loud cry and found himself lying in the dark again, with his hands knotted in the sheets, and the loss and the horror overwhelmed him and he buried his face in the pillow and wished that he deserved to cry.
Dawn and Bill sat at the kitchen table with Willow. It was after moonset and almost dawn. They had kissed the last of the guests goodbye, locked and warded all the doors, and finally gotten down to business around two in the morning. Dawn still wore her gown, though she had long ago looped the train into a figure eight and hooked it to her bodice with a large ornate pin. Bill was wearing her huge tulle veil. Dawn thought he looked very distinguished for a man with a lace cream puff on his head. Their hands lay on the table, fingers interlocked. Now and then Dawn let her eyes travel happily over his face, his jaw, that little patch of beard that stubbornly clung inside the dimple beneath his lip. She felt his eyes straying to her frequently too. Dawn could feel the charge building between them. Willow kept giving them the most amused looks, and she was beginning to wonder if the Wiccan had dropped something into the soup. But no, it was just her naturally romantic, sexy husband, “husband” her mind said in a happy whisper, having romantic and hopefully erotic fantasies about his wedding night. Bill was such a romantic, Dawn felt like a total pragmatist compared to him. Bill had probably dreamed of his wedding day more than a teenage girl. She wondered if he had ever ever imagined this. Marrying into a pack of pagans and demons, she thought, my upstanding stockbroker from Maryland.
She remembered when she had told him everything. It had taken several days, even the truncated version. And when she was done, he had not responded right away. He had gone out on the porch and looked into the night. Dawn came out to him, a little afraid, a little unsure. She knew Bill loved her. She felt it as an absolute, like knowing that her tongue was in her mouth. Without thinking she knew Bill loved her. But she didn’t know if he could do this. Would he walk away, or worse, would he go into that weird Sunnydale denial place where she would be continually trying to make him see what was around him. She saw him looking at the tree in the front yard.
“Spike’s tree,” he said.
Dawn looked at him, surprised. “Summers’ tree,” she explained, “Spike just stood under it for something like three years, pining after Buffy and scaring off all my boyfriends.” Bill turned and looked at her. His eyes were dancing. “And now he sleeps in the main bedroom,” he explained. Dawn thought that perhaps her beloved was having an attack of delirium. “Yes, Bill. But he’s safe, now. He has a soul. He loves me. He’s safe.” Bill was nodding and smiling, “Yeah. Yeah.” He laughed and walked up to her and, surprisingly, caught her up in a ferocious hug. He looked into her eyes for a long moment. “You are the most beautiful, romantic, incredible woman I have ever met, Dawn Summers,” he said fervently. “I have felt that from the moment I met you. But I hadn’t understood it until now.”
Bill tightened his grip on Dawn’s hand. “We can take him with us, Willow,” he said. “I don’t want to leave here thinking he won’t be taken care of.” Willow nodded and smiled, but Dawn thought she looked a little cagey. She didn’t like that look. That was the ‘Willow knows what’s best and you aren’t ready for it’ look that the Wiccan sometimes wore. Intellectual arrogance, Dawn thought to herself with a snort. That’s what comes of high school over-achievement. “He’s actually needed here, Bill,” Willow explained. “His strength and his knowledge are invaluable, his battle skills and strategies have saved …” “I know, I know,” said Bill impatiently, “but these people don’t know him, they don’t value him. He means nothing to them and..” He stopped. He saw in Willow’s face that she knew what he had been going to say. And they mean nothing to him. Yes, thought Willow sadly, and that’s the problem.
Spike woke knowing that this was the day he lost Dawn. He lay on the bed absolutely still and knew, more than he ever had in all his unlife, that he was a corpse. He lay still and knew that while he did not move, while he remained un-motivated and therefore unmoved, nothing in him was moving. No heart, no organs, possibly even the brain tissue itself had no action, though he used to wonder how that bloody chip had worked in a dead brain All he had to do today was get out of bed and say goodbye to Dawn. That was it, and Spike felt he could wait to do that, thank you very much.
He rolled over anyway, and looked at the rumpled side that Xander had vacated some time in the night. The routine was that Xander had been so drunk that he couldn’t remember what he had done. And Spike would not remind him. Evil. Disgusting. Never let you touch me. And that is how he would keep his friend. Except in the end it hadn’t kept him Xander. His silence hadn’t kept him Xander, and it had driven him mad. Because he had been so sure that there was more than just lust to whatever kept bringing Xander to his bed again and again. He saw the rage and the fear, hell he felt it himself. He knew that some of what Xander did to him wasn’t about him, but about all the hopeless loss and horror that Xander had endured without any explanation or meaning. But he couldn’t forget that inside all that anger and self-hatred was the man who had rescued him when he had purposely buried himself alive. Somewhere in there was the dark eyed desperate boy who had clung to his hand in the dark and begged him not to disappear.
“Spike. C’mon Spike, you gotta help me here, buddy.”
“Yeah, well, love to. But the girls don’t wanna do it in a crypt for some reason. C’mon guy, gimme a break. Just a widdle drop of the O neg here and I can go off and find what’s left at the Bronze this late on a Saturday night.”
“Spike? Spike, please Spike. God you’re such a pain in the ass. What the fuck am I gonna do without you Spike? Who else is a bigger loser than me?”
“Yeah, right, Mr. I-think-I-left-my-brain-at-the-bus-depot. How can I be a bigger loser than myself?”
“If anyone. Could.”
“Fuck you, you formerly fangless freak! Now c’mon Spike. Just one bag. What, are you afraid you’re gonna get fat?”
“Right. One now and one in an hour. That’s the plan. One bag every hour. And you’re gonna drink it damnit, ‘cuz I’m sure not explaining it to my girlfriend if I have to take it back to my fridge.”
And Xander had sat there and watched him drink. Cradling Spike’s free hand in both of his, petting it over and over, his voice reeling him back to the surface.
“That a boy. Geez, Spike. It’s dark down here. It’s like a tomb.”
“Like I don’t know that.”
In that reeking darkness, void of moon or sun where Spike lay insensate, there had been only Xander. For those weeks, his entrances and exits marked time in Spike’s world. Spike woke to the thud of feet coming down the earthen tunnel, Xander’s voice complaining about the dark, the smell, his own undoubted insanity. They sat in the dark until Xander convinced Spike that he himself needed candles;
“’Cuz it wigs me out to think of you laying there all fangy and me not knowing.”
A chair and table for Xander became necessary. As did cards to while away the time. Xander whined and complained until Spike began to bother about his appearance.
“Maybe you don’t have to look at yourself, but Geez eyeballs rolling back in the head here.”
Spike had allowed himself to be moved to another crypt when Xander complained that the tunnel was flooding with the rain. Furniture appeared. A boom box;
“’Cuz I so love sitting here listening to you not breathe.”
They never spoke of Buffy. She was a gaping maw of darkness that threatened from the corner. Xander babbled instead about inanities. Spike’s minutes ticked by measured by Xander’s voice. Gradually the vampire strengthened, and was physically almost himself. Still he couldn’t roll back the proverbial stone from his tomb and walk out into the world. It was as if at that moment he would be abandoning Buffy. Leaving her amongst the dead.
But Xander was around even more now. He told Spike one day that he and his girlfriend had split up;
“Two months! It’s a new record. It took her two months to come to her senses.”
Spike observed that Xander seemed relatively cheery about the incident. “Whatchya do this time, whelp?” he asked with a smirk.
Xander shrugged, “Should never have let her see me sober, I guess. Least not when she was sober. So, he-who-walks-with-worms, you up for some five card stud?”
And the relationship became one of mutual dependency. It pleased Spike to think that Xander came to see him for company, as well as to assure himself that the vampire didn’t sink below the surface again.
Then one day Xander failed to arrive. Spike didn’t immediately realize that Xander was missing. It slowly occurred to him. Like when you get up late, because the day is cloudy, and only late in the afternoon, still sleepy and bumping through your routine half awake, do you begin to miss the sun.
He was laying out the cards when he began to really think about it. The sun had set hours ago. Xander, if he were coming this late, would be walking through the cemetery alone. Spike thought about that only for a second before he began to panic. Five minutes later, the old duster hanging on his still emaciated frame, Spike emerged from his grave for the first time since Buffy’s death.
He scoured the natural path Xander would have taken, his nerves pricking and starting with fear every time he saw a discarded object, an odd lump in the shadows. The horrific image of a devoured or injured Xander, bleeding out somewhere alone in the night, was driving him half mad by the time he spied the white jacket and dark head coming up the path towards him. He leapt at the unsuspecting man and was greeted by the business end of a stake.
“Gah!” they both cried simultaneously and jumped apart.
“Spike!” Xander threw the stake to the ground. “You fucking scared the shit out of me!”
Spike whirled, the fearful energy that had driven him through the cemetery still pumping in his muscles. “Where the hell you been?”
“What?” Xander yelled, “Spike, you idiot, I could have staked you!”
“Oh, right,” sneered Spike. “Like that was gonna happen.” He paced in a circle around Xander. So relieved to see him safe, he had a stupid urge to hug him. Instead he strode off towards town. “Walk ya home now. Stupid mortal, walkin’ around in cemeteries.”
“I can take care of myself, Spike,” said Xander, manly pride affronted. He fell behind the vampire and struggled to catch up. He wanted to ask Spike why he was above ground, but was afraid of jinxing it. Spike was pointedly walking towards Xander’s apartment. But Xander didn’t want to go home yet. Now that he had Spike out here, he was determined to keep him. He thought hard. As they approached the bar district, he slowed and dawdled at a corner.
“Hey, let’s stop by the Bronze.”
Spike hesitated. “No. I don’t think so.”
Xander shrugged. “Oh hell, haven’t been in so long I wouldn’t know anybody anyway,” he said casually.
Spike stopped, turned, and pondered him for a moment. “Why? Haven’t you been going out?”
Xander feigned a great lack of interest in this subject. “Oh fuck it, Spike,” he pronounced. “I’m old. I’ve got no friends.” He walked up and threw his arm around Spike’s shoulder. Sighed. “Amongst the living, that is. What am I gonna do at the Bronze?”
Spike was thoughtful. “You’ve been around me too much,” he said.
“You need to get out. C’mon,” Spike veered off course and headed back from where they had come, “lets have a game of pool.”
“Yeah, well sure if you want to,” said Xander happily.
And so it was established. To be sure that Xander didn’t spend the rest of his life with only the dead, Spike allowed himself to enter once more the land of the living.
Spike had been so sure, he had known absolutely. That Xander cared about him, that Xander needed him, that Spike was important in Xander’s life. And so one night when they had staggered home from the Bronze, a little drunker than usual, but not nearly as drunk as they could have become, and Xander had leaned against him. One arm slung over his shoulder as buddies do. Especially when the sidewalk keeps skating sideways. His head down and pressed into Spike’s shoulder as they laughed together over yet another mutually humiliating moment at the Bronze. He had moved his head suddenly and brushed his mouth across Spike’s chin. An accident. A stumbling drunken accident. Spike thought nothing of it. But Xander stopped and hauled Spike to a stop with him. He studied Spike’s face with a look of growing mystery and confusion. “Hold on a minute there,” he said thickly. “There’s something.”
“Something?” Spike smiled, expecting a joke.
“Yeah. Something on your mouth.”
“What? Blood?” And Spike wiggled his eyebrows “Grrr.”
“No.” And Xander bent down and pressed his lips against Spike’s. It was definitely a kiss. A firm, ‘I intended to do that and it was not an accident’, kiss. He pulled back and looked Spike in the eye. “It’s me.”
Spike stared at him. This was so completely unexpected he didn’t know what to say. Didn’t know what to do. All he knew was, Xander was his friend. A friend. A special commodity to any being, but even more precious to a vampire. Spike didn’t want to do anything that would lose him Xander’s friendship. Xander shook him a little, he kept looking him in the eye.
“Yeah,” said Spike hoarsely
“So…” Xander wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
“Yeah,” Spike said pathetically. He couldn’t move. He had suddenly become aware of Xander’s body. Its size, the muscles pressing against his legs, the warm arm firmly holding him close. He could feel his own body responding and was terrified that any moment now Xander would notice, would notice and come to his senses and shove him away in horror.
“So,” said Xander grinning. “You ever done it with a guy?”
It had been, in Spike’s opinion, the single most romantic event of his life. He had never experienced romance as a human, and when he was turned he was also raped, Drusilla’s version of romance involving quite a bit of blood and begging for mercy. Then came Harmony, with whom there had been no emotional bond whatsoever. And then finally Buffy, whose idea of seduction had quite often involved fists and a kick in the head.
He and Xander had gone back to Xander’s apartment, with a quick stop at the liquor store to acquire more booze, and once there Spike had stood in wonderment as Xander put on music, lit candles, and poured him a drink. Spike noticed that Xander was a little more drunk than he may have originally thought. He bumped things a bit and seemed to have some trouble lining the lip of the bottle up with the glass, but he didn’t think anything of it. He and Xander got way too drunk together all the time. Life and unlife on a Hellmouth sucked. It’s what you did.
Xander sat down on the sofa and waved Spike over. The vampire sat down. On the edge of the sofa, with his hands in his lap and his knees together, like a proper Victorian gentleman. Xander looked this apparition up and down with one raised eyebrow for a minute, then hooked one leg over Spike’s, grabbed hold of an arm, and heaved the vampire towards him. They came together in a great elbowy heap, but somehow Xander managed to find Spike’s mouth again. This kiss had nothing chaste about it. Xander pressed his tongue against Spike’s lips, and when they parted, plunged into the vampire’s mouth without preamble. He pressed Spike back onto the sofa with his whole body weight and enthusiastically mapped out the entire inside of Spike’s mouth with his tongue. Happily his hands ran over the arms of the man beneath him, running up into his hair and down again.
Spike was overwhelmed. He could not believe what was happening. Xander who cared about him, Xander his friend, had his tongue down his throat and was pressing his very obvious hard on into his hip. Making happy, appreciative noises Xander, the man who had saved his life, was licking and nipping his lips and sending chills all over his body with his hands. Spike responded with everything in his heart, every ounce of his soul, he opened himself up completely and let Xander in because he knew that this was love. Xander loved him and Spike loved Xander back. So when Xander leapt up from the sofa, slugged back the rest of his drink, grabbed the waistband of Spike’s jeans and hauled him to his feet, laughing, Spike jumped up from the sofa, smiling. And when Xander dragged him into the bedroom and began pulling off those jeans, Spike helped. And then when Xander rolled him over onto his stomach, unzipped his jeans, released his cock and just thrust it against Spike's unprepared hole, Spike grit his teeth against the pain. He bit down on his own wrist to avoid crying out with the pain as Xander pushed in, exclaiming that Spike had the sweetest ass, the tightest ass, “oh my god yes oh my god yes I love this ass”. And Spike knew that Xander loved him. And after a while there was blood and Xander’s movements became easier, and he pushed faster and harder and the pain bloomed in Spike’s mind. He felt his whole body blooming with blood and pain and love and he was shoving against the sheets, trying to push down harder against the mattress while Xander pulled his hips up towards him, trying to push more and more of his cock into Spike’s ass.
“Oh God. It’s so tight. Oh God. Oh yeah. Oh Spike, I gotta come Spike. I’m gonna come in your ass Spike. Oh God Yeah. Oh God Spike. Spike. Spike.” And Xander jerked Spike’s hole against him and froze and grunted and Spike felt for the first time Xander’s hot sperm soaking him deep inside where he had never known he could be warm. He felt his own orgasm washing over him as if not just his cock but every square inch of his dead body was coming, and he cried out, “Xander!”
And for just a moment as they both froze there. Xander pressed deep inside Spike, his hands holding him so tightly that even a vampire was going to bruise. His legs trembling. Spike awash with joy and post-orgasmic bliss and love. And for just that moment, before Xander hurled himself away, curled himself up into a ball and passed out. For just that moment, Spike was happier than he had ever known he could be.
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