Who Wants to Live Forever
One of the men came into the kitchen and flipped a note onto the table in front of Riley. Riley looked away from Maurice and studied the note, he looked up at the soldier. “How long was it on?”
“Forty-eight seconds, sir.”
“No trace then.”
“But still in range.”
Riley looked down at the tabletop and drummed his fingers slowly. “Start the sweep,” he said crisply. The man saluted and stepped out.
Maurice piped up curiously, “Sweep?”
Riley spared a glance at him. “We’ll have your demon soon, sir,” he said in a bored voice.
Maurice nervously regarded the scarred and scowling man before him. “I heard,” he said carefully, “I heard that you were stationed here once. That you knew Buffy Summers.” The man was silent. He picked up a pen and began reading through the report in front of him. Maurice frowned. “I have always been very impressed by what I heard of Miss Summers,” he offered.
“Buffy was a stupid woman,” declared Riley flatly. He looked at Maurice. His eyes were hard. “She befriended demons, defied authority, had no respect for the rules.” He looked back down at his paperwork, began ticking off sentences. “Her loyalties were misplaced,” he said.
“Befriended demons?” Maurice was surprised. “But of course, some demons are harmless. And can be useful,” he argued.
“Use them, yes,” agreed Riley, not looking up. “Make friends with them?” His face screwed up with distaste. “Disgusting.”
“I hadn’t heard,” said Maurice, troubled.
“This vampire of yours,” Riley explained, “he was one of her projects.” He shook his head in apparent amazement. “I told her about him. She was very stubborn.”
“Yes, I had heard they worked together. I understood he had been of some use,” Maurice commented thoughtfully. “Of course, I never found him to be so,” he added quickly, “merely an irritant and a nuisance.”
“Fucking demon bastard,” agreed Riley.
“I suppose the soul would have changed him since you saw him last?”
“Soul has nothing to do with it. Demons are worse than animals. What Buffy did… was worse than bestiality,” spat Riley furiously.
Maurice stared at him in sheer amazement. “Are you implying…?”
Riley glared and grimaced distastefully. “She was a stupid woman,” he declared. “And now we all have to pay for her stupidity.”
Maurice was opening and closing his mouth like a drowning fish, trying to formulate a question, when a general hubbub in the hallway distracted them both. Brown was escorted into the kitchen by two men. He was shrugging away from their hands, his eyes rolling, his expression uncomfortable, when he saw Maurice. The nod he and the Watcher exchanged was civil, but chill.
“Brown.” Maurice’s mouth drew into a thin line of distaste. “What a nice surprise.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet,” said Brown acidly. He nodded at Riley. “Your boys said you’re lookin’ for that Spike,” he stated.
Riley studied him. “Do you know where he is?”
Brown tisked, “Yeah, right, I don’t hang out with the bastard. But I know who does.”
Riley arched a brow. Brown looked him up and down. “Think the guy’s in some kinda trouble,” he said pensively. He seemed to be trying to make a judgement about Riley. His face reflected a growing concern with the advisability of any trust, however, and he stopped speaking.
“Who,” Riley demanded after a pause.
Brown measured him for a second. “Fella at a demon bar, otherside of town,” he said blandly. “Name’s Willie.”
Riley’s interest immediately shut down, and he looked away dismissively. “We know about Willie,” he said, “thank you anyway.”
“No problem, man.” Brown began casually to back out of the room. His glance wandered once more to Maurice, he nodded at him again; Maurice stared back.
“It was nice seeing you, Brown.”
Brown dipped a bow. “Yeah, likewise, Morreees,” he said acidly, and he tripped from the room.
Riley flicked a glance at the Watcher. “Boy doesn’t like you,” he commented.
Maurice shrugged. “Teenagers,” he said, but he gazed at the doorway through which Brown had vanished, thoughtfully. “Are we through here?” he inquired suddenly. He stood.
Riley waved him off. “Sure. Sure. Would you ask Mr. Giles to come in here again?”
“Of course,” said Maurice and left the room.
“Wow, Clem.” Xander stood back and admired the laden Vespa in amazement. “This is incredible.”
“Yeah, well, I was a Junior Weeble scout,” said Clem, happily unloading objects from the back of the car. “Always be prepared,” he quoted. Xander grinned.
“For the electric blanket.”
“Man! I love you!”
“Whoa!” Clem jumped and waved his arms wildly. “Don’t let Spike hear you say that! Vampires are really weird about their claimants!”
Clem attributed Xander’s expression to shy embarrassment. So cute. He smiled kindly. “It’s okay, Alexander,” he said gently, “Willow told me. Congratulations, by the way!”
“Congratulations?” Xander repeated, confused.
“Isn’t that the correct expression?” asked Clem, puzzled. “I thought that’s what mortals said at a wedding.” He frowned. “Did I get it wrong? I’m sorry.”
Xander sat down heavily on an icechest. “Wedding?” he said dazedly. The book he had read back in high school, the bits he had found interest in at any rate, had more or less only said that the claiming was a sexual ritual. A kind of kinky blood play. Xander had kind of thought of it as a ‘going steady’ type of thing at the most.
Admittedly, the bond he felt with Spike seemed to be tightening by the second. He actually felt that the rhythm of his body was changing, as if compensating for and being aware of the vampire’s existence at all times. And if he thought of being separated from Spike, he felt a kind of panic. But the word wedding, with all the dizzying associations it had for any young American male, hit him like a load of wet mud. It knocked the wind out of him. He stared haplessly at Clem. “Spike and I are…?” he gulped. “We’re married?”
“Clem, this is bloody terrific, mate. But we can’t hang about. Gotta get back to…” He stopped when he saw Xander. “What’s up?”
Xander turned to stare at his husband? “No, no no no,” Xander started helplessly laughing, “Oh geez, no.” He gasped and held his chest dramatically. “Oh fuck, Clem, tell me you’re pulling my leg.”
“Why would I pull on your leg, Xander?” asked Clem, puzzled. He studied Xander, frowning with thought. “Willow was surprised when I explained it,” he said slowly. He looked up at Spike. “Spike! Didn’t you tell him.”
“Tell him what, mate?”
“About the ritual.”
“Ritual?” Spike looked from his hysterical mate to Clem in bewilderment. “What ritual?”
“The Claiming Ritual. You haven’t told him what it means?” Clem became quite serious. He shook his fleshy face in agitation. “Spike, you should have told him.”
“I have no bloody idea what yer talkin’ about,” said Spike, getting seriously concerned. “Tell me what the fuck yer talkin’ about, Clem.”
“OH DEAR??” exploded Spike. “Tell me. Tell us, Clem. In twelve words or less. Now.”
Clem looked confusedly from one male to the other. “Okay,” he said in a wobbly voice. He took a deep breath.
“Twelve words or less, mate.”
Clem glared, held up a fleshy hand. “You. And. Xander. Are. Bound. By. Blood.” He studied his hand. “Like. Human. Marriage.” He had run out of fingers. “Until. Death,” he finished haplessly.
Spike stared. If he had needed to breath, he would not have been able to. “Bound?”
“Until death?” squeaked Xander, who started taking in quick, shallow breaths. “Spike,” he gasped, “what the fuck?”
Spike hurried to him; Xander stood and they grabbed hold of each other. “I dunno, Xan,” said Spike, “but I think we’ve buggered up somethin’ again.”
Clem was dismayed beyond belief. “Why are you so upset?” He shook his head. “This is a good thing. A happy thing,” he said as if to a silly child. “Hence the ‘Congratulations’”
Xander squeaked again. He was starting to hyperventilate. Spike rubbed his back, his mind driving a million miles an hour around the curves of a backstory from hell. “Fucking Angelus Bastard!” he declared suddenly, making Clem jump. “Why the fuck did that arsehole never tell us anythin’?”
Clem tisked and worried the flesh on his arms. He hated family troubles aired in public. “I’m sure he meant to…” he declared soothingly.
“Clem, mate, I’m sorry,” said Spike in desperation. “We gotta get the fuck outta here, and I really don’t know what to make of what you just said, and I really appreciate all this and all but BLOODY BUGGERIN’ FUCK! Why does my unlife always go to such shit?”
Clem sighed the sigh of the long-suffering friend. “I understand, Spike,” he said patiently. “Here, I’ll help you pack it for carrying.” He cast a look at Xander who was gasping for oxygen and growing paler by the minute. “Should I pack Mr. Giles’ letter?”
“Yeah,” said Spike wearily. “Don’t think Xan is up to it.” He bundled the man up and within minutes had himself and Xander strapped into backpacks. Spike easily grabbed the icechest and generator and strode off. “Radio silence,” he yelled back. “Ya know where I’ll reach you.”
Clem nodded and waved. “Right,” he called after them. “Mazeltoff,” he added softly.
Brown checked his equipment and his pockets with the assurance and practice of a professional. The crossbow was strapped securely across his back, but he would be able to release it quickly. His baggy multiple pocketed cargos held crosses, stakes, holy water in metal flasks, and a variety of ingredients for various other common demons. He remembered for a minute that Xander had been the one, way back when, who had turned him on to the value of loose, multipocketed clothing.
He sighed and placed his hand on the low wall surrounding the cemetery. Glanced around quickly, then hopped over and took off into the dark. After a few seconds, Maurice emerged from the other side of the road and followed him in.
The only two men who had ever had any hope of telling Buffy Summers what to do sat across the wooden kitchen table and studied each other. Giles’ incomplete assessment of Riley Finn, from the post-Initiative days, had always remained open-ended. His relationship with Buffy notwithstanding, Giles had been always unsure about where to place Riley in the scheme of things. The past two hours had filled in a lot of boxes for him, however. He didn’t like him, Rupert Giles decided. He was surprised to realize it. He liked most people to a certain extent. But Riley had gone bad. Giles could feel it. The illness of anger unexamined oozed from him like an odor. Giles could smell the hate. It was rancid and sour and dangerous, thought Giles, his instincts alerting and unconsciously preparing for battle.
“So, I suppose it is a little late to express my amazement that you have an association with the Council,” said Giles slowly.
Riley shrugged and gave him a cool look. “You always knew it, didn’t you?”
“No. Actually no,” said Giles unhappily. “I had hoped the things I heard were only gossip.”
“You don’t approve.”
“My approval is unnecessary and unwanted.”
Giles narrowed his eyes for a minute. Then he nodded and looked away. “So. I had heard you were married?”
“She’s dead.” Riley’s voice was bored.
“Sure,” said Riley. He drummed his thumb on the table slowly. “You married?”
“No,” sighed Giles, he gestured around him. “I never seem to be in one place long enough. And then I’m working.”
“Bad business for family men anyway.”
Riley barked. A strange sound that Giles took a minute to realize was a laugh. “Thought you were queer when I first met you,” he grinned. “All you English guys.” He barked again.
Giles’ eyebrows went up and stayed there.
“Don’t be offended,” said Riley good-naturedly.
“I wasn’t,” Giles said pointedly. He looked down and ran a crease down a piece of paper, attempting to mask the grimace of extreme distaste he felt on his face. “What did you want to talk to me about, Agent Finn?” he asked coolly.
“Christ, I’ve pissed you off.” Riley didn’t sound at all repentant.
“On the contrary,” said Giles smoothly, “you’ve enlightened me.” He looked coldly at the man across the table from him. “Now, what can I help you with.”
“Oh, I wasn’t looking for your help, sir,” said Riley, smirking.
“No. Just wanted to let you know something. In case it wasn’t clear.”
“And that would be?”
“Stay the fuck out of my way,” said Riley. His face showed no emotion, but a vein on his temple throbbed noticeably.
Giles tilted his head and protested mildly, “But I have no intention of interfering with you, Riley,” he lied easily, “I understand the job you have come here to do.”
“Listen, Mr. Giles,” Riley interrupted in a louder voice, “I don’t like the way you people do things. I didn’t like what you did to Buffy and I don’t like what is happening here now.”
“To what are you referring?” Giles inquired.
“This is a war,” stated Riley fiercely. “People like you don’t see it. It’s us against them.”
“Us being whom exactly?”
“That’s just what I mean,” Riley said angrily, “splitting moral hairs. Good demons. Bad demons,” he sneered. “The only good demon,” he declared, “is a dead demon.”
Giles allowed himself a mild snort of amusement. “I beg your pardon,” he said at Riley’s look, “but you sound like an American Western.”
“Nothing wrong with that,” said Riley, offended.
“Of course not.” Giles tried to quell his smile.
“I’ve been all over this planet, Mr. Giles, and I have seen what happens when you begin treating demons like they have ‘rights’.” He said the word with distaste. “The next thing you know, they’ll be going to public schools and wanting the vote.”
“Indeed,” Giles said in an interested voice. He thought of the Tzerflig demons with whom he had attended his Junior Watcher’s training academy, but didn’t mention them. “That would be a bad thing?” He couldn’t help the query at the end of the sentence.
“They are poisoning our planet,” Riley exclaimed in agitation. “The race is threatened!” He pushed back in his chair. “The ONLY solution is control. And extermination.”
Giles found he could not respond to this declaration. He had suspected this element was being supported by the Council for some time, but he hadn’t realized the level of sophistication their involvement had reached, or the extremism of their beliefs. He felt an uneasy culpability in his lack of attention to this development. How many times had he heard the rumors and chosen not to believe them because they made him uncomfortable? How many of his peers were doing the same? Quentin’s involvement and possible approval made the entire issue so much more dangerous than one could have imagined; Giles doubted he would be believed if he told anyone else. And he doubted not for a second that he would be immediately and mysteriously silenced if he chose to do so. Giles was not a cowardly man, but he felt very afraid. He silently prayed that Willow would be successful in her journey.
Xander sat cross legged on the mausoleum floor, squinting over a candlelit letter.
I can only assume that your absence is due to your having joined Spike in whatever action he has chosen to take. I would hope that you have thought this through thoroughly, but knowing you I imagine that you have not.
Please do not take this as condemnation. On the contrary, I seem to recall that the same impulsive spirit is what compelled you to join Buffy all those years ago, in her fight against evil. I commend you for it.
Some of us do not follow our hearts with such utter conviction, I am sorry to say. However, there is an advantage to circumspection. I hope that you will keep that in mind in the coming days and not react too hastily to events as they unfold.
You of all people should understand that no one is wholly good or evil and all things may be redeemed.
You should expect a communication from Willow as well in the very near future. For a number of reasons, she has chosen to approach these matters in a different way than have I. We both wish you all the best.
Give our love to Spike.
Spike emerged noisily from the trapdoor and slapped an empty canvas bag down on the floor.
“Bloody marvelous dumping spot off that cliff, Xan,” he said in a satisfied voice. “Nobody’ll see it and start to wonder.” He looked up at Xander. “That the Watcher’s letter?”
Xander nodded and lay the paper carefully down on his leg.
“What’s he say, then?”
Xander folded the letter along its creases and slid it back into the envelope. “Oh, you know Giles. All fatherly advice.”
“Too bad, was hoping he had a Swiss account number for you.”
Xander laughed, “What is it about Giles that makes us all think he has a secret stash somewhere?”
“Dunno. Lack of noticeable employment? Suddenly producing bankchecks for thousands of quid outta thin air? That public school attitude?”
Xander shook his head, grinning. “He said we should expect to hear from Willow.”
“Yeah, great, I’ll be watchin’ now for visitations in the night.”
“He said she’s doing something about all this.”
Spike cocked his head sideways. “About me? Or about this?” He gestured between himself and Xander.
Xander shook his head and shrugged. “Guess both, they’re both the same thing now, aren’t they?”
“Not necessarily,” Spike said thoughtfully. Xander watched the vampire pensively draw a circle on his knee. “Anything else?”
“Yeah,” said Xander. “He said to send you their love.”
The look on Spike’s face was priceless.
Willow was subject to vertigo. She often thought it ironic that someone whose balance was easily disrupted by changes in atmospheric pressure, sinus allergies and rapidly moving vehicles, would find herself in an occupation which often involved displacement and general non-uprightness.
The environment she was in right now had that particularly spherical liquidity to it that she found especially nauseating. She struggled to keep her head from lolling sideways and made a mental note to check on some recipe for ultra-dimensional dramomine.
“Phtoooxw. Lredgh. Ulxt,” said something in front of her.
Willow didn’t know if what oozed before her was the creature that spoke, or the surface on which it sat. She sighed and focused.
“Phtoooxwy Leeeza,” she explained patiently.
There was a long silence. Something large and gloppy hit the floor(?) nearby.
“Leeza Ulxtoper,” said the creature.
Willow sighed with relief. “Dap,” she said gratefully. She closed her eyes and felt the awful elastic snap as her conciousness threw her back to the room in which she sat. She lay back wearily on the floor, her head spinning. There was a loud thunk as a heavy bound volume appeared mid-air and fell near her head. “Oh, Goddess,” sighed Willow, covering her eyes against the incipient migraine. “I wish I could order online.”
“Can you really see in the dark, Spike?”
Xander and Spike were rolled together in joined sleeping bags, with Clem’s electrical blanket spread over them. The candles were extinguished and they had made their ‘bed’ behind the tomb to hide themselves from view. So no light at all illuminated the vampire for Xander. He pushed himself against Spike’s face and found his lips by feel. The kiss was soft and comforting. Xander snuggled closer.
“Sure. Can see pretty well.”
“I’d heard that.” Xander yawned and brushed his hand gently back and forth across Spike’s bare back. They had stripped to their shorts. It was too uncomfortable to sleep in their clothes, and with the extra blanket it was tolerably warm. Xander could feel the small muscles flex in Spike’s back as the vampire hugged him closer. His fingers counted ribs. He looked up into the dark and imagined he saw a vague outline of Spike’s head above him. “Say it again?”
Spike looked down into the black liquid eyes and swore a thousand oaths to himself to protect this man. “I love you,” he whispered intently. “You belong to me. You’re mine.”
Xander smiled into the darkness. “Yeah,” he said happily. He wriggled against Spike and nestled his head against him again. “Like how that sounds,” he whispered. He stilled a little and looked back up at the dark shape above him. “What do you think it means, Spike?”
Spike sighed. His hand drifted to the back of Xander’s hair and he began to plait it rhythmically with his fingers. “Dunno, Xan.” He stroked the man’s hair. “We’ll talk to Red. Maybe we can undo it.” He paused in his ministrations and looked down at Xander’s dark head nestled against his chest. He ached at the thought that it would not always be there. “If you wanna undo it. Maybe we can.”
“Is that what you want?” Spike heard the small child in Xander’s voice. It pulled the dead heart out of Spike’s chest and twisted it hard.
“Just wanna be with you,” whispered Spike. “No matter what it takes.”
Xander pushed against him with his nose. “’S what I want, too,” he said very softly.
“We’ll talk to Red then. Make sure everything’s proper.”
“Anything buggered up, we’ll fix it.”
Spike was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. He clutched Xander to him and buried his face in the soft hair. “You sure, Xan?” he asked desperately. “You sure this is what you want?”
In answer, Xander opened his mouth and trailed his tongue up Spike’s chest to his chin, rolling him onto his back. He pulled himself free of the vampire and crawled up his body, feeling his way by touch. Spike lay still while Xander’s hands found his face, his nose, his mouth. Holding his mouth carefully under his fingers, Xander shuffled up and hovered over Spike’s face, his dripping cock swaying above Spike’s lips. “Can you see me, Spike?” whispered Xander hoarsely.
Spike licked one of the fingers that rested on his lips, then he lifted himself up and took a long swipe at the swollen shaft. Xander gasped and pushed himself towards Spike’s lips. Spike lifted up and helped Xander press his cock into Spike’s mouth. The taste of chocolate and salt and human sweat flowed over Spike’s tongue and he lay his head back in ecstasy as Xander carefully thrust down into his throat. Spike lathed his tongue around and around the delicious warm flesh and hummed with happiness.
“I can feel you, Spike,” Xander whispered above him, his voice strangling with the effort not to thrust uncontrollably. “I can feel you around me, surrounding me, ahh.” He shuddered as Spike sucked hard and fluttered his tongue over Xander’s slit. “I can feel you loving me, Spike. I can feel you.” Xander lost himself for a minute in the sensations. He planted both hands firmly on either side of Spike’s head and began gently sliding back and forth in Spike’s mouth. “I can feel myself inside of you, feel you around me. Oh god.” Xander slid out and fell on Spike. The blanket fell away from them completely and his hands shoved at the waist of Spike’s boxers. Spike mouth was still looking for Xander’s penis, when Xander’s mouth pressed down on it and Xander’s tongue dove inside and began finding his own flavor. The strong warm body gyrated urgently above him and Spike responded enthusiastically, his hands running over the arching back, his hips and thighs pressing against Xander’s. Xander pulled back gasping. “Spike?”
“Yeah,” Spike responded, dazedly.
“Wanna fuck you, Spike. Gotta be inside of you.” Xander was already lifting Spike’s legs urgently. Spike reached around and found the overused tube of lubricant. He slapped it into Xander’s hand and the other man grabbed it and immediately began rubbing a large glob across Spike’s entrance; he pushed two fingers in hard and the vampire arched and yelped.
“Yeah,” said Xander lustfully. “Make you yell, Spike.” He squirted out more glop and slathered it liberally over his cock. “Wanna hear you scream while I’m inside you.”
“Yeah,” Xander agreed enthusiastically. He pushed the head of his overly engorged penis against Spike’s crack and rubbed it slowly up and down till he found the entrance by feel.
He rubbed himself there a bit. “Can you feel me, Spike?” he whispered to the darkness. “Can you feel how much I want you?”
“Xander,” Spike moaned, thrusting himself towards the pressure.
Xander pressed against Spike’s entrance. The vampire’s hole was tight and virginal. Xander suddenly became wild with the knowledge that no man had been here since he had, five years ago. The thought made him half insane. “You’re mine, Spike,” he hissed. “Gotta be inside you, gotta make you feel me.” Xander slid his fingers around the clenched muscle, working it as he pressed the head of his penis harder and felt Spike’s abdominal muscles tighten as he arched towards Xander’s touch.
Spike cried out wordlessly and grabbed at Xander.
“Tell me you want me,” whispered Xander heatedly, working the lube around the head of his cock, thrusting back and forth, working himself in centimeter by centimeter.
He could hear Spike panting, he could feel him writhing. Cool hands were grasping his hips, pulling him forward. “Fuck me, Xander,” whined Spike.
Xander felt the head of his cock breaching Spike’s entrance. Spike was tight and cool. “God,” he exclaimed with a little cry, and shoved himself in to the hilt.
Spike cried out and arched up. Xander grabbed at his calves with his hands and push his legs back towards his shoulders, folding him in two. He drew out almost all the way and shoved himself in fast and hard again. Spike cried out again. “Yeah,” growled Xander, and did it again.
“Xander!” cried Spike as he felt the man slam into him again and again. He grunted to the rhythm of Xander’s thrusts. His hand found his own cock and he began stroking wildly.
Xander rose up a bit, found a deeper angle, and slammed in again hard. “This is what I want, Spike,” he panted as he drew slowly back. Slammed into Spike again. “This is where I want to be,” he growled, drawing back. He thrust himself in hard several times. Spike grunted with the impact and Xander cursed. He upped his rhythm and began slamming in harder, forcing sounds out of Spike’s mouth with every thrust. “Here. Right. Here,” announced Xander breathlessly as he pounded into Spike for all he was worth. He grabbed the vampire’s shaft and began pumping it hard in counterpoint to his thrusts. Spike began crying out again. Inarticulate, animalistic noises, moans and whimpers. He thrust against Xander and writhed. Xander howled and felt himself drawing the tingling sensations from the air around him. Eveything settling in his back and flowing into his balls. “This is what I want,” Xander said loudly. “This is what I want to be. This is where I want to be. God. Spike. Spike,” he cried out wildly and thrust hard again and again. Spike howled and Xander felt the warm cum coating his hand, Spike’s channel clench around him and the pulse of hot, thick streams of cum shooting from his balls and into Spike.
Xander collapsed on top of Spike with a great joyful shout. His mouth found Spike’s and kissed it hard and thoroughly. He snagged the blanket and drew it back around them. Xander was still breathing hard. He lay his head on Spike’s chest, panting. “This is what I want, Spike,” he said firmly. “Whatever this is. This is what I want.”
Spike found himself inarticulate with emotion. He pulled the blanket more firmly around Xander’s bare shoulders and held the other man as close as he dared. Together they drifted off to sleep.
Much later Spike woke to find Xander spread naked across the outside of the sleeping bag, covering three quarters of it with his body and practically pinning Spike inside. Spike squeezed out of the blankets and only then noticed the feverish sheen of sweat on Xander’s skin. And the high color on his face. By the time he had surrounded the young man once again with warmth, and brought him to semi-consciousness, Xander was moaning and delirious with fever.
Spike helplessly sat beside him. He could smell the dawn coming in just minutes. He calculated that he wouldn’t even be able to make it out of the cemetery with his bundle of Xander, before he was toasted. Xander drifted in and out of consciousness but Spike was fairly certain the mortal wouldn’t be able to walk. He stroked Xander’s arm through the blanket. He was trembling all over.
“Spike.” Xander turned to him, his eyes wandered wildly around Spike’s head. “What is that, Spike, your head is on fire.”
“Xan. Hush now. Look at me, luv. C’mon, Xan.” Spike petted Xander’s hand, attempting to capture his focus long enough to communicate. “Xander,” he whined. “ Xan, I don’t know how to take care of you.”
Xanders hot eyes rested on Spike again. He got a weirdly sexy look on his face. “Yeah. You’ll do,” he said roughly, “Just pretend you’re gonna bite me.” He moaned and tossed his head around. “Spike. Where are you?”
Spike jumped and touched his hand to Xander’s face. He was blazing. He thought hard and remembered things from mortality. Fevers and cool water. He jumped up and came back with the canteen and an old t-shirt. He lay the dampened material carefully across Xander’s forehead and was gratified when the young man pressed against it and sighed. “Feels good. Feels good.” Spike crouched next to Xander with the cloth held on his head and tried to think.
He knew about the military and cell phones. He had a pretty good idea that any calls he made would be intercepted. He had an even stronger intuition that the one he had made earlier would have been noticed. He was afraid to use the phone again. He was trapped here in the mausoleum. But he was sure he couldn’t wait for sunset to get Xander to a hospital. He knew enough about the HIV virus to know that a serious illness was life-threatening. He couldn’t sit and wait for Xander to fight this thing off. The stuff in Xander’s body that fought off disease wasn’t working. He’d have to risk a call.
Spike walked over to retrieve his duster from the back corner where they had stashed their packs. He was to the right and rear of the entrance, therefore, when Brown walked in.
The young slayerette was fairly well skilled in self defense. Unlike Buffy’s tribe, Brown and Crystal had both mastered their way up to black belt in the martial arts. If anything, one should always know how to get away. Brown also had pretty good natural instincts. But he never even heard Spike or felt him coming. One minute he was peering into the dusty mausoleum, probably the hundredth he’d stuck his head in tonight, and the next he was shoved against a cement tomb, both of his hands pinned painfully behind him, his legs immobilized by a hard knee, and his head pressed firmly to the cement slab. He lay there for a heartbeat. Gasped in startlement. Jerked in a quick and obviously useless attempt at escape. Then closed his eyes and waited to die.
“Go ahead, fucker,” he said coolly. “Hope you choke on it.” The thing that held him didn’t answer. It adjusted its weight a bit. Brown grasped the opportunity and attempted once more to escape. Once more it was utterly useless. He sighed. “Gettin’ really fucking bored here, man,” he said as best he could with his cheek pressed into a cement slab. The demon tisked and Brown was yanked up and hurled to the ground. He wriggled, but the full weight of his captor was on his legs and his arms were still firmly held. Something cool and sharp was being wrapped around his wrists. He pulled at it and it bit into the flesh on his arms, and became tighter. The thing twisted around and grabbed Brown’s feet. He tensed and resisted, but his feet were apparently held with ease while the same material was wrapped around and around his ankles
Spike leapt up from his prisoner and studied him, trying to think how to gag him and let him still breathe.
“Spike.” Xander was moaning again and Spike spun around and ran to him. The cloth had slipped off Xander’s face and Spike carefully doused it with more water and wrung it a bit before re-applying it to Xander’s head. “Spike?” Xander’s eyes looked up at him with something like comprehension. “I feel kinda awful, Spike.”
“I know, Xan. I’m gonna get you to a hospital.”
“No. No. Spike, I don’t wanna leave you.” Xander feverishly struggled against his blankets. Spike tried to still him gently and replaced the fallen cloth. He leant down and kissed the damp hair.
“Sshh, pet. I’ll take care of you. It’s gonna be alright.”
“Spike. No. Stay with me please, Spike.” Xander clutched weakly at Spike’s shirt. “Promise, Spike,” he whispered deliriously, “promise me.”
“Xander.” Spike felt tears in his throat.
“What the fuck have you done to him?”
Spike turned and saw Brown rolled onto his back and half leaning against the wall. He appeared to have been wriggling his way to the door. Spike grinned at the tenacity of the kid, strode over, lifted him easily and tossed him back into the corner near their ‘bed’ where he could keep an eye on him.
“He’s sick. You’re gonna help me.”
“What’s he sick from,” sneered Brown, “blood loss?”
Spike flashed him an angry look. But the possibility that their little blood play had actually precipitated this illness had already occurred to him and he looked away, found Xander’s clothes. Began turning them right side out.
“Close your eyes,” he commanded. “I’m gonna get him dressed.”
Brown silently regarded the vampire in boxer shorts before him. Spike looked up angrily. “Ya wanna blindfold?” he asked.
Brown obediently closed his eyes. “So you guys fucking?” He couldn’t see Spike’s expression and there was no answer. “No?” He smiled to himself. “Too bad,” he said tauntingly, “nice lookin’ guy.”
“You shut the fuck up.”
“Spike?” Brown heard thrashing and peeked carefully through his lids. The vampire had his back to him, struggling to put pants on a resistant and obviously delirious patient. Xander was covered with sweat and flushed across his chest. His breathing was phlegmy and labored and he was alternately pushing at Spike and grabbing hold of him. “Spike, don’t. I don’t wanna go anywhere. No. No,” he was crying and Brown closed his eyes against the sight of it. “Spike,” he heard Xander whimper. “I love you, Spike, don’t make me leave.”
The pathos of the statement touched something in Brown. He opened his eyes again to see the vampire sitting next to Xander, softly stroking his cheek. He could see his face in profile gazing into Xander’s, completely oblivious to Brown’s presence. “I love you too, Xan.” The tears in the voice were obvious. “But I can’t let you stay here. You gotta get well for me, luv.”
Brown groaned and banged his head against the wall behind him. Spike turned and glared at him. “I can’t believe I’m gonna say this,” said Brown regretfully. “Sure, I’ll help you, Spike. What do you want me to do?”
Brown rubbed the cuts on his wrist where the fishing line had dug in and wiggled his feet to get the feeling back into them. Spike sat back on his heels and gave him a speculative look. “What d’ya know about fevers?”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with him, Spike, but for a fever you take aspirin, right?”
“Aspirin,” Spike said flatly. “Don’t think I have any. Got the other medicine.”
Brown sighed. Started digging in a deep pocket. “I have some.” He stopped with the bottle in his hand and looked at Spike. “What other medicine?”
“Xan’s sick. Gotta take medicine.”
“What’s he sick with?” Spike was silent. He held out his hand for the aspirin, but Brown drew it back. “Hold on, hold on, Spike. You can’t just give people loads of medication. What if the stuff interacts badly?”
“Interacts?” Xander moaned again behind him, and Spike spun around. He patted the damp cloth helplessly and looked back at Brown desperately. “I dunno anything about this. Please. You gotta help me here,” he pleaded. He dug in a bag nearby and brought out the new packet of pills. “This is the stuff he takes. Every four hours he said.”
Brown took the package slowly. The brand name was a recognized HIV antiretroviral drug. He looked at it. Looked at Spike. Made himself look at the delirious Xander. “Fuck,” he said sadly, “this so blows.”
“Why? What do you mean?” Spike said desperately.
Brown was reading the interaction warnings on the label. He shoved the aspirin bottle at Spike. “Yeah, here, give him two of these. We gotta get him on his feet. We gotta get him to a hospital.”
“Yeah, yeah, ‘s obvious. But I can’t.” Spike glanced at the door and shook himself with frustration. “Daylight outside.”
“Oh. Right.” Brown looked over at Xander. He was at least thirty pounds heavier and a good four inches taller. He watched as Spike carefully held the man’s head up and coerced the pills into his mouth. Xander fought him, mumbling about blood and teeth and some other shit Brown just didn’t wanna understand. “Damn, I dunno if I can carry him, Spike. What are we gonna do?”
“I’ll make a thing you can drag him on.” Spike carefully laid Xander down. He leapt up and started pulling apart the backpacks. “Got some metal supports in these.” The material separated under his hands like gauze. “Then I’ll call an ambulance. Have you picked up.”
“No way they’ll come near a cemetery in Sunnydale, man.”
“These guys will,” said Spike simply.
Brown glanced at him nervously. He turned back to Xander who was rolling himself out from under the blankets again. He gently rolled him back. Xander focused on him and grabbed weakly at his hand. “Spike?” he asked fearfully, “Spike?” His voice began to rise in panic. “No! No! Where’d he go. NO.”
Spike ran back to Xander’s side. “Right here, Xan,” he soothed, gently petting the man’s tossing head. Xander focused on Spike again, and relaxed a bit. “Thought you’d left me.” he said, tears flowing freely from the corners of his eyes. “Thought you were gone.”
“Geez, man. We’ve gotta get him rational or he won’t go anywhere,” said Brown worriedly.
Spike lifted the dry cloth from Xander and turned back to the thermos to dampen it. “Won’t that aspirin help?”
“I hope so.” They sat and watched Xander. Spike chewed on his nails. He jumped up and began to tear apart the backpack again. Brown watched him.
“So what is going on here?” he said finally. “I mean you’ve got the guy sleeping in a tomb. He’s got pnemonia or something. Everybody’s all Harlequin romance. What the fuck is happening here?”
“None a yer business,” growled Spike without looking up.
“I think it’s my business if I’m about to load him into a demon driven ambulance, man!”
Spike stopped and looked at Brown. “Xander and I are together.”
“Yeah, got that from the mutual declarations of affection. Thanks.” Brown folded his arms and sat back. “Don’t really give a fuck who a guy fucks, man. Life’s too short.” He shook his head slowly. “Got plenty a friends with worse problems. What I wanna know is why Xander’s got a big vampire bite on his neck. And why you got something on your neck that looks like a dinosaur chomped you.”
Spike looked at the ground. He felt weird saying this out loud. “We’re claimants,” he said. Yep, out loud it sounded weird. He shrugged and went back to his task, avoiding seeing Brown’s reaction. “We had a blood ritual. We’re mates. We’re mated.”
“You shitting me?”
Spike shot him a dirty look.
“You guys are like, married?”
Spike glanced quickly at Xander. “He kinda doesn’t like that word, mate.”
“Geez. Don’t blame him. Fuck.” Brown was shaking his head in disbelief. “Married to a vampire. Shit. That would be on the top ten of crappy things that could happen to a guy. Along with having AIDs,” he added thoughtfully.
Spike gave him an unhappy look and tore a metal support loose. He weighed it in his hand. “Well, maybe we can get him outta it,” he said sadly.
“The fatal disease or the fatal relationship?”
Spike slammed the metal bar to the floor and furiously began twisting the aluminium straight. “Don’t fucking wanna hurt him.”
“He looks pretty hurt, anyway, Spike.”
“Yeah. Well.” Brown walked over and crouched by Xander. He had stopped tossing about and was starting to dazedly focus on things. “How ya doin’?”
Xander groaned. “Brown?”
“It’s a miracle,” said Brown dryly.
“Crap. I feel like crap. God.” Xander turned his head. “My head is killing me. I’m so hot. Fuck.” He started pushing back the covers. Brown grabbed his hands and stopped him.
“You are really sick, Xander. I’m taking you to the hospital.”
Xander’s eyes widened and he tried to sit up. He reeled sideways instead. “God. Gonna hurl.”
Brown jumped back as Xander leaned forward wretching. Nothing came up but yellowish spit. Spike was by his side immediately. Petting and holding his shoulders. Brown grimaced and gagged a little. He hated vomit.
“Guy’s dehydrated,” he observed, gulping. “Needs more liquid.”
“Yeah. Okay,” said Spike, grabbing the canteen.
Brown noted his shaking hands. “You’re really not good at the sick-bed thing, huh, Spike.”
“’Course not,” said Spike angrily. “Don’t know what ta do.”
Brown sighed and took the canteen from his hands. “C’mon, Xander,” he said, helping the man to struggle upright a bit. He slid his hand around his shoulder, and his hand brushed Xander’s mark. Xander shuddered. Spike grabbed Brown’s wrist and yanked his hand away. Brown flinched back, glaring.
“Fuck, man. I’m just trying to help.”
“It’s blood transmitted, Xan says,” Spike muttered. “Don’t touch his blood.” Brown blinked in surprise.
Xander leant against Brown’s arm and made a croaking noise. Brown carefully tipped the canteen to his lips and let him drink. After a minute Xander weakly shoved the water away. He gasped, “Spike.”
“Yeah, Xan.” Spike leaned around Xander, enclosing Brown in the hug. Brown twisted uncomfortably. Spike didn’t notice. “Whatchya need, pet?”
Brown wriggled and began extracting himself from his sandwiched position.
“I’m here, Xan,” said Spike, pressing closer. Brown groaned.
“So not liking this,” he stated. Spike looked at him, eyes widened, and jumped back. Brown gratefully scooted sideways and out of the way. Spike wrapped himself back around Xander and began rocking him, rubbing his neck with his chin.
Xander leaned into him, eyes closed and breathed noisily. “Gotta go to the hospital, Spike.”
“”S what I been saying, luv.”
“Really, really tired, Spike.”
Spike buried his face in Xander’s neck for a minute. “You gotta be strong, Xander,” he whispered. “Gotta get well.”
“When I take your blood I don’t feel tired.”
Spike stopped rocking. Brown gaped. The proverbial pin dropped but no one was paying attention. “What?” said Spike hoarsely.
“I want to take your blood, Spike.”
“Crap, Xander.” Spike drew back and looked at him.
Brown groaned and jumped up. “Fucking gross,” he said pacing. “So fucking gross. He’s delirious,” he pointed out to Spike, “he’s babbling.”
Spike looked into Xander’s clear but feverish eyes. “Why do you want this, Xander?”
Xander stared at him seriously for a bit, “I don’t know,” he said slowly. “I just do.”
Spike nuzzled Xander’s neck and rocked him some more. He heard Brown punch something and curse. Spike hugged Xander and addressed Brown. “Better wait outside, mate.”
“Fuck!” Brown punched something else.
Spike morphed quickly into his demon visage and raised his own wrist to his fanged mouth. “Really think you’d prefer it,” he said warningly. He bit down hard.
Brown whirled and slammed out of the crypt.
Spike tore a good sized gash in his own wrist and raised the oozing chalice to Xander’s lips. As the man’s mouth closed over the wound, Spike pressed against his back, closed his eyes and moaned.
Xander sucked hard, lapping the blood like he was gnawing on a juicy watermelon, dribbles of pink running down his chin. He shuddered and groaned and suckled harder. Behind him, Spike was vibrating and whimpering, his hips pressing rhythmically against Xander’s backside.
Xander rolled his face against Spike’s wrist and drew his tongue hard across the bloody area. Spike cried out and came. Xander mewled and kept suckling. Spike leaned against him, his head resting on Xander’s and gently withdrew his wrist.
“Enough, Xan,” he whispered. “That’s enough, pet.”
Xander raised his head and turned, glassy eyed, to Spike. Blood smeared his mouth and dripped from his chin. His tongue snaked out to clean himself. Spike leaned forward and lathed Xander’s face fiercely, cleaning off the blood, picking up his scent. He looked deep into the dark brown depths and stated, “Mine.”
“Yeah,” said Xander. “Me too.” He giggled. “Whoa,” he said. “Big rush.”
Spike stroked Xander’s cheek and prayed to any god that would have him that he hadn’t just made a big mistake. “Let’s get you to the doc’s,” he said. He jumped up and dragged his jeans on over his damp shorts. He just didn’t fucking care right now if Brown noticed the spunky smell or not.
“All clear!” he yelled at the entrance.
He jumped instinctively in front of Xander as the business end of a crossbow slid around the doorframe, followed by the small, dark head of Maurice, grinning happily. “Not really,” he said. “But perhaps you will explain it to me.”
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