Who Wants to Live Forever


by
Metaforgirl



Part Twenty

Brown frowned with annoyance at the address on the envelope as he stood in line at the Post Office. Why would Giles be sending something to England snail mail, when he could email whomever in a few minutes?

He stepped up to the window and hesitated. “Hang on a sec,” he said and jogged away from the counter and over to the coin operated Xerox machine. Drawing a thin knife from a leather case in his pocket, an item he frequently also found helpful when opening locked doors, Brown slid the flap on the envelope carefully open and slipped out the letter inside.

Dear Bartholomew,
I am writing to tell you that I now know for a fact that your suspicions about a certain organization and our mutual friend Q are true. Indeed, they are much more serious than even you, my dear, dear paranoid man, had thought.
Please contact the parties who have an interest. Their presence here immediately could not be soon enough. I advise strongly against any computer or telephone communications. I think we can safely assume that even the innermost circle has been breached.
I imagine this missive will be read by certain individuals as yet unknown to you. I hope they will anticipate your arrival and help you in any way possible.
Rupert Giles.

Brown snorted. “Proud of yourself aren’t ya, ya old fart.” He carefully replaced the letter in the envelope and left the post office. There were faster ways to deliver mail than Federal Express. And he knew just the guys who could do it.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander wasn’t having much trouble pretending to be an addict in withdrawal. As the vampire blood induced euphoria wore off, the symptoms he had had before began to manifest again. His fever rose, and he began to sweat and ache as the phlegm in his lungs made breathing more and more difficult. Dr. Thompson seemed to be extremely aggravated with him, as if he were manifesting this peculiar array of symptoms merely to confound and distress her.

She gave him the standard shot of antibiotics and glared at the recent blood work and then back at Xander. “I would love an explanation, Mr. Harris.” Xander’s pathetic glazed eyes rested on her miserably. He wheezed.

“Love to tell you, doc,” he took a deep, moist breath, “don’t have a clue though.”

“Your blood count is fluctuating so wildly, I have had our instruments checked. Twice.” She frowned at him and drew forth another syringe. This one was pure vitamins. “I have sent off to another lab this time. Meanwhile,” Xander felt she jabbed the needle into his butt with more ferocity than professionalism allowed, “you also seem to have become severely undernourished.”

“It’s the Hollywood Diet,” joked Xander weakly, “gotta keep my looks.”

She glared at him. The door opened and Willow entered. Xander rolled his eyes in disgust when he saw Dr. Thompson’s whole face relax into a friendly smile. Right. All of a sudden we’re all peaches and cream. Watch out Willow, he thought good humouredly.

“Hello, Diana,” said Willow brightly. She looked at Xander worriedly. “How is he?”

“Mr. Harris is no longer the picture of health he appeared to be an hour ago,” announced Diana with disgust. “Although the pneumonia does seem to be regressing, we will have to keep him here until the antibiotics take effect. If they take effect.” She glared at Xander. “I’ve spoken to your physician. This isn’t the first time.”

Willow looked at Xander darkly as well. He squirmed under the two women’s scrutiny. “Yeah, well, tough life,” he wheezed unhappily. There was a rattle at the door and a military person poked his head in.

“Colonel Riley needs to speak to Mr. Harris,” he announced.

As Willow and Diana left, Xander considered that he had never been more happy to see Riley Finn. “Hey, Riley,” he took a deep squeaking breath. “How you been, man?” He tried to sit a bit more upright, but gave up when the IV tugged too much.

Riley glared down at him. “Well, Xander,” he said coldly, “you are one person I never thought I’d see again.”

Xander wondered vaguely why that was, but shrugged. “So what’s up. Whatchya need to talk to me about?” He tried to make himself look as dopey and goofy as he hoped Riley remembered him.

“Tell me about Spike.”

“Oh, Spike.” Xander found that it was quite easy to let tears fill his eyes. He looked away from Riley a bit and said mournfully, “Bastard dumped me an’ ran off.” He took another breath and was overtaken by coughing.

Riley waited for the fit to subside, then sat companionably on the edge of Xander’s mattress. His hand rested on Xander’s arm. Xander quite suddenly could not bear that contact. It felt completely malevolent. He forced himself not to twitch away.

“What was your relationship with Spike?”

Xander tried to look ashamed. He didn’t meet Riley’s eye. “Sorta started liking the biting,” he mumbled. “Spike made it easy, promised he wouldn’t hurt me.”

Riley appraised him for a long moment. “I see. And you believed him.”

“Yeah, well the soul. Figured that kinda made him safe.”

“No demon is safe, Xander.”

Xander glowered and still avoided Riley’s eye. Boy did he hope he looked ashamed, because the close contact with the other man was making him feel ill. He was afraid Riley would see his revulsion and become angry. Xander did not need that. He needed to get out of this hospital. “Got that now,” he said and wheezed.

Riley was clutching Xander’s arm with his hand. His eyes lay on Xander’s mark. “He bit you on the neck,” he said in a strange voice.

Xander hoped the rush of blood to his face looked like shame and not the bizarre rage he felt at Riley commenting on his claim mark. “Yeah,” he managed to grind out, “like the neck better than other parts. More of a rush.”

Riley was silent, staring. His claw like grip on Xander’s arm becoming uncomfortable. Xander wriggled his arm. “Startin’ to hurt, man.”

Riley let go and stood up suddenly. He cleared his throat. “So where did you last see Spike?”

Xander had thought about this. He had planned to give Riley the name of some other cemetery, or an airport or shipping dock. But he could not underestimate this man. He looked straight at him and told him the truth. “The old Sunnydale cemetery,” he said honestly. “Holed up in a crypt.”

Riley sneered down at him. “Very nice, Xander,” he said snidely, “and you expect me to believe you.” Xander blinked at him with aggrieved innocence. “Protecting a demon, Harris. You are completely pathetic.” He turned to go. Paused at the door. “I always thought it must be an embarrassment for you, hiding behind Buffy’s skirts, depending on her to rescue you.” He shook his head. “I’d hoped you would have pulled yourself together after her death.” He gave Xander a dismissive look and began to let himself out.

Xander grit his teeth and played his last card. He had to be sure Riley went off in the wrong direction. “Hey, Riley, pal,” he whined pathetically, “I’m really hurtin’ here, guy. Can’t ya do something?” Riley paused and looked at him questioningly. Xander imagined Willie the snitch and tried to make his face do that sniveling thing. “Can’t ya, like, send something up here?”

Riley smiled with pleasure. “I’m afraid you are just going to have to get over this, Xander,” he said. “Be a man.” He walked out and shut the door.

“Yeah,” muttered Xander to himself, “I wanna be just like Riley Finn when I grow up.” He lay his head back on the pillow and willed his body to heal. He needed to get out of here soon, and get back to Spike. Get the vampire out of town before Riley smelled the trick.

Outside, Agent Finn gave orders to two men. “Stop the sweep of the old cemetery,” he commanded, “and begin at the airport.” He looked back to the room. “Completely useless,” he said in disgust.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike was more relieved than Maurice when the young Watcher cracked and began babbling. He had just about run out of fear techniques, and felt he was going to have to actually follow through with his threats. The thought made him nauseous.

Maurice, however, hadn’t made it past the sight of that railroad spike. “The new Slayer,” he offered in a high pitched voice. “She has been taken under the wing of Quentin Travers.”

Spike sat back on his heels and quickly dropped the railroad spike to the ground. He could barely stand to touch the thing. He kept it primarily to beat himself up on occasion. “Travers the head of Watcher Council?” he asked in surprise, “he’s here?”

Maurice giggled nervously, “He came to take care of you.”

“I’m assumin’ you don’t mean that in a nurturin’ manner.” Spike thought for a moment. “Why would he be trainin’ the Slayer?” he said out loud.

Maurice noted with relief so intense it made him giddy that he was apparently not going to be buggered to death with a railroad spike. At least not at the moment. The relief made him garrulous. “He apparently feels the Slayer’s have had too little control exerted on them of late.” Maurice sighed. “He’s right. I had no control over Brandy.” He paused on the name, and closed his eyes tiredly. “God,” he whispered to himself.

Spike looked down at the man and felt a stir of pity. “It’s a fucked up thing, love,” he said gruffly. Maurice’s mouth tensed with pain and Spike sighed. “Guess you’re not much older than a kid yerself.”

“I’ll be thirty in March.”

“Same age as Xander.”

Maurice was silent. Spike sat down cross-legged on the floor. No longer doubting that he would have the information he needed. “So what’s the Initiative doin’ anyway? Just huntin’ for one vampire?” He preened. “I’m complimented.”

Maurice rested his cheek on the ground and thought. “It does seem a bit overdone,” he said slowly, “and Rupert Giles assured me that there was no immediate concern.” He glanced at Spike. “He was apparently slightly mistaken, but if Mr. Harris is actually here of his own free will?”

“That he is.”

“And you haven’t been turning people?”

“Kinda sickenin’ thought actually.”

Maurice painfully lifted his head and turned it to the other side. He stared at the empty doorway to the mausoleum and contemplated things. “Why would the entire Initiative force need to set up a station over the Hellmouth and enlist the aid of the Slayer?” He lay for a long moment thinking. “The young, inexperienced, Watcherless Slayer?” Quite suddenly Maurice began struggling at his bonds again. “Spike,” he said urgently. “Spike, you have to let me go.”

“No and no, Watcher,” said Spike firmly. “You aimed a cross-bow at my nearest and dearest. You are laying on that floor for a long time.”

“I would not have shot him, Spike.”

“You knocked one a yer crew over the head.”

“I thought Brown had been turned.”

Spike mulled that over. “You are a crazy bastard, Maurice,” he said finally. “And you have been even crazier since the Slayer …” he looked at the Watcher and stopped.

Maurice lay very still on the floor. He closed his eyes again and Spike watched the man try not to display his pain. “I remember when Buffy died,” Spike said quietly. “Kinda went nutso meself.” He sat and regarded the Watcher for a long moment. Rose and fetched his cigarettes, came back. Maurice saw the cigarette and involuntarily began twitching again. Spike squinted at him through the smoke. “Stings?”

“Yes, of course,” said Maurice testily. Spike sighed. He turned to the sarcophagus, heaved the heavy lid aside and hopped inside. Maurice heard a great deal of rummaging around. The vampire hopped out again and sat by his face. Fiddled a bit, and suddenly his thumb was smoothing something cool and antiseptic smelling on his cheek. Maurice winced and looked at Spike. “What?”

“Something Red made once,” explained Spike simply. “Helped Xan when he got poked up a bit. Thought it’d be good to have.” He sat back again and resumed smoking. “So whatchya think is going on?”

Maurice wished he could get out of his pants. He wished the vampire were not being suddenly so companionable and understanding. He wished he knew what he was supposed to do. “I wish I knew,” he sighed.

“Well,” said Spike, all business like, “let’s sort it out.”

“I hardly think its appropriate, Spike, for me to be discussing Council business with a … a denizen of the dark side.”

“Ever occur to you,” said Spike archly, “that maybe I’m a good guy.”

“No,” said Maurice. “It never has.”

“Why is that?”

“You’re a demon.”

“Got a soul.”

“Plenty of evil creatures have souls.”

“How do ya know they’re evil then?”

“Well, by their actions of course.”

“Ain’t I been actin’ on the side of good?”

“Well,” Maurice paused and thought, “well yes, for the most part,” he admitted reluctantly.

“So maybe I’m not evil.”

“But you’re a demon!”

Spike sighed. “Watcher, you went to those fancy schools, yeah? Ya ever heard of ‘circular reasoning’?”

“Clever arguments don’t change the facts.”

“Which are?”

“Demons are evil. Always,” said Maurice positively. “It’s canon.”

“Says who?”

“Whom.”

“Bugger it all Watcher, whom says all demons are evil?”

“Well,” Maurice thought. “Well, the Council.” There was a very long silence during which Spike fumed at the idiocy of short lived and therefore of limited intelligence mortals, and Maurice reflected on the many flaws and inexactitudes he had already observed from the Council. Spike stood and fetched another cigarette.

“Wonder why those wankers hate demons so much.”

“Vampires torture, murder and turn innocent people!”

“Well, yeah, hating vampires. That makes sense. Even vampires get that,” admitted Spike. “But the other demons? Man, some of them are like those little bugs that just curl up in your hand. Wouldn’t hurt anythin’. Just wanna be safe.”

Maurice sighed. “I have noticed that sort of thing,” he said uneasily. “And other things as well.” He struggled with a thought for a moment, then decided. “Spike,” he said, “you do know that Slayers are part demon?”

Spike blinked at him. A lifetime ago. A small blonde girl. His heart ached. “Yeah,” he said softly, “kinda thought so.”

“There are rituals,” explained Maurice unhappily, “ceremonies that enhance the girls strength if need be. They are very taxing on the child. The demon can be quite hard to control.” He thought again for a minute. “It worries me to think such a weapon could be in the hands of an institution like the Initiative.”

Spike was thinking of the poor little chit forced to become a monster. He looked at Maurice. “So what? More demon killing. What’s your problem?”

Maurice sighed and looked at Spike meaningfully. “The Slayer can kill anything, Spike. Not just demons. And her power can be enhanced. It’s actually a very disturbing thought.” He was quiet again for a minute. “I complained that Brandy was uncontrollable,” he said quietly. “But actually she was quite devoted to me. It’s a bit hard to resist such affection,” he admitted unhappily, struggling with himself. “A Watcher has an enormous influence on a Slayer. A man like Quentin Travers, could probably convince a young untried girl to do just about anything.”

Spike and Maurice sat and contemplated the various permutations of this for several minutes. Suddenly Spike looked up and jumped to his feet. He stalked towards the door very quietly, holding up a hand for silence.

And Maurice Forster made the most important decision of his life. Like so many of those decisions, this one did not announce itself, and so Maurice did not even recognize it until some time later when he realized he had made it. At the time he merely was quiet. He did not shout for help. On the contrary, he drew in his breath and tried to become very still. He watched Spike sliding next to the door and when the man’s head poked in, he didn’t shout a warning.

“Whoa, Maurice, why ain’t you dead?” Brown said unhappily. He spun and regarded Spike, grinning. “You left him for me ta finish, huh?” He strode in the room, and flung a backpack to the floor. “Brought more crap,” he said standing over the Watcher and recoiling. “Phew, Maurice, you smell like the men’s room at the Y!” He motioned at the backpack. “Maybe these guys’ll let ya borrow somethin’.” He waved his hand in an exaggerated motion in front of his face. “Boy, wish I’d brought pampers.”

Spike chewed at a nail. “Watcher’s got an interestin’ theory,” he told Brown.

Brown nodded and started tearing open the backpack. “Yeah, everybody’s got a theory,” he said. “But I got fresh blood and submarine sandwiches. And messages from boyfriends,” he said to Spike who perked up immediately. “So I get ta go first.”


~*~*~*~*~


They decided that Brown could handle a bound Maurice enough to drag him down the escape hatch to the lake. It was either that or kill him and stuff him in the sarcophagus, Brown explained, since no human being could remain in the same room with that smell. Neither he nor Spike even paused to discuss Maurice’s repeated assurances that, if they would just let him go, he would return quietly to his own house and not alert the authorities.

“Been around Watchers for years,” said Spike calmly. “Wouldn’t trust one as far as I can spit.”

“Even Giles?” asked Brown with a worried look.

Spike cast an upraised glance at Brown. “Rupert Giles is a friend. But he’s got his own agenda. Ain’t nobody he wouldn’t give up if it meant savin’ the world.”

Brown thought about that. “Not me,” he said finally.

“Yeah, me neither,” said Spike easily. “What’s the point of the world being saved if all the wankers livin’ in it are heartless bastards? I never got all that big picture point of view. Only picture I got is the one right in front of me.”

So in the end Brown dragged a gagged and cranky Maurice down to the lake and Spike sat in the cool dark and read his letter from Xander. Contrasted with the elegant penmanship that had been forced upon Spike in his mortality, and which he still retained, Xander’s handwriting was the sad product of the American public school system. The letters were inconsistently formed and sprawled over and under the lines. Great looping ‘t’s and dragging ‘p’s fell into other words and made them even more difficult to read. There were quite a few crossed out and smudged words. The spelling was abominable.

Dear Spike,
Well, I’m home from hospital. They said I recovered miraculusly! We need to have a little talk about that. And about some other things related to that. Willow said she’ll help.
The house is full of army guys. Not sure what county there army for, tho. Kinda creepy actually. And Riley gives me that ooky feeling we used to get from Old Mr Crandall before they found his wife choped up in the celler. Nothing demonic, just good old fashioned Norman Bates crazy. I really don’t like being in the same house with him.
But I’m here. I went into your room and found your book. The one with all the poetry I haven’t opened it and read anything but I can’t swear I won’t break down before I see you again.
Spike when am I going to see you again? At this point there was a huge blacked out smudge that covered half the page. Spike held it up to the light and tried to read the imprint underneath, but couldn’t make it out.
I miss you so much. There was another blacked out smudge here, and Spike tisked in frustration. “Just spit it out, Xan,” he whispered.
I think I can get out of here before nightfall. If I do, I’ll be at that wet place we both know about. I have to see you Spike. I’m going crazy. I have to see you.
I love you.

Xander

Spike sat on the cold stone floor, moved to tears by the sight of those three words written down on the paper. It took him some time to get past the wonder of it and focus on the other items in the letter. Xander’s incredibly frustrating obscure reference to healing and other things that Willow could help with. Spike assumed this was about the claiming. He wondered and worried over what the witch might have found.

His protective instinct went so wild on realizing that Xander was essentially trapped in the house with Riley Finn that he had to jump up and pace around the mausoleum for some time before he could calm down and think. The lake. Xander was going to try to get to the lake. The same lake that Brown and Maurice were at now.

Spike rushed back and forth worrying a bit more, then opened the trap door and jumped into the passage.


~*~*~*~*~


Willow sat in the living room with Giles and Quentin Travers. She had that calm, alert expression on her face that made the hair stand up on the back of Giles’ neck and made him instinctively jump at every odd sound. He couldn’t help it. He had been conditioned over the years to expect some portal to open or some fire to fall from the sky within moments of seeing that look appear on Willow Rosenberg’s face.

Quentin, who had not been so conditioned, was wary as well. Willow’s Coven was enormous, and very powerful. Their uneasy alliance with the Council had always hinged on a few basic precepts. The ‘and harm none’ commandment of the Wiccan religion prohibited many activities that the Council undertook as necessary in the war against evil. The witches simply didn’t agree that the destruction of life was acceptable. Other solutions would have to be found, they would argue. They would not only refuse to participate, but would actively hinder, any activities that the Council undertook that would result in the destruction of that which they believed the Goddess protected.

Normally, this basic difference in philosophy would have kept the two parties from working together at all. But the Covens were becoming very powerful. And the Council appreciated power. So compromises had been established. A shaky truce existed. A very shaky truce. Quentin feared the reaction of the Coven to the latest news and feared even more the reaction of betrayed and angered witches. He used extreme caution when dealing with Willow.

“I’m so pleased to see you still living, Mistress,” he said pleasantly.

“Thank you, Quentin,” said Willow politely, “I am pleased not to be a vampire as well.” She made a little moue of dismay. “Poor Maurice, though. He was scared to death!”

“Yes,” said Quentin. “I would actually like you to go see him. Calm him down a bit.”

“I’ve already been to his house, Quentin,” Willow lied easily. “He seemed overexcited, but is resting now.” She gazed at the Watcher with a peaceful smile.

“Well, good. And your friend, Mr. Harris, is recovering as well.”

“Yes, as well as he can. Poor Xander,” said Willow sadly, “he has the AIDS virus you know.”

Giles’ eyebrows went up as well as Quentin’s. “Xander has HIV?” he asked, stunned. “Oh hell, Willow.”

She nodded at him calmly and took his hands. “He’s doing okay, Giles,” she said. “Really well, actually.”

“Perhaps the boy had some idea the vampire could turn him,” suggested Quentin.

The looks Giles and Willow gave him were identical. Disgust and dismissal. “Perhaps not,” he said.

“Xander would hate that,” said Giles with absolute conviction. “He despised Angel with a passion.”

“But not the Spike creature apparently.”

Giles was silent. The fiction that Brown and Xander had told Riley was so ludicrous to him that he felt he best served their stupid little plan by remaining quiet.

“Xander has been ill and in therapy for a year now,” Willow informed the two men. “This week was to be a rest for him.” She glanced sideways at Giles. He felt the look and became very alert. “I think he may have had a breakdown. I have called his therapist. She is sending someone.” She looked straight at Giles. “I expect someone by this evening.” She blinked twice at Giles and looked away.

Giles sat back and thought of who he could get Clem to send.

Quentin was surprised. “To have him committed?”

“No, no,” laughed Willow. “We don’t do that. He’ll go to a clinic for a couple of weeks. There is one just outside of Sunnydale. A spa, it’s called. It’s a kind of rest home. They’re very popular in Sunnydale.”

“I see,” said Quentin. He thought for a minute. “I’d actually prefer that he stay here,” he said finally. “I still have some questions.”

“About what?” Willow asked brightly, sitting up very straight. Giles unconsciously gripped the cushion on which he sat. “What questions are left to be answered, Quentin?” She calmly enumerated the situation; “There is no marauding vampire. Spike will undoubtedly return when the military leaves town. I’m sure you only frightened him. He was peaceful and in this house of his own accord until you arrived. Maurice is settling down.” She smile up at Quentin and tilted her head in a perky question. “What else is there?”

Quentin didn’t answer. He looked down at the floor. “Well, of course. If the rest home solution is the best for the young man.”

“I’m sure it is.” Willow smiled. “And with the threat of a rampaging Slayer slayer gone, the new Slayer can resume her normal routine.” There was a silence.

“Of course,” said Quentin smoothly, “as soon as we have found a suitable Watcher.”

“Giles is a qualified Watcher,” Willow said quickly.

Giles almost leapt from the sofa. Only fear of perky Willow kept him in place. Quentin was completely taken aback. “Of course,” he managed to say finally. “Of course we will consider it.” He looked at Giles. Giles looked back and tried not to appear slack-jawed.

“Well, fine then.” Willow stood up and offered her hand gently. Quentin took it and automatically bent to kiss it before he caught himself. Then he was bound to complete the motion. He stood slowly, frightened and angered by the control the witch had just exerted over him. Just to show that she could, he felt.

“Giles?” Willow extended her hand. He took it and bent quite of his own free will to kiss it. “Will you walk me home?”

Quentin protested this immediately. “I would prefer one of Riley’s men walk with you, Mistress Willow,” he insisted, casting a suspicious eye at Giles. “In case you are stopped by anyone.” It was mildly threatening, but the threat was so ineffectual Willow chose to ignore it.

“Thank you, Quentin,” she said easily, not even glancing at Giles, “I appreciate your thoughtfulness.”

She left on the arm of a tall young man who appeared to know enough about her identity to look supremely uncomfortable when she slipped her hand around his arm.

Giles waited until Willow had reached the main sidewalk before he turned to Quentin with an apologetic look. “I had no idea she was going to suggest that,” he explained honestly.

Quentin smiled grimly. “I gathered that from your expression,” he admitted. He pondered Giles for a moment. “I suspect the witch expects your support in something.” He boldly put forth his suspicions and waited to see Giles’ reaction.

“Well, of course she does,” said Giles calmly. “Willow has known me since she was a child. She expects loyalty from me as she would from any parental figure. It’s only natural.”

“Of course. Natural,” said Quentin thoughtfully. “Witches are childlike in that way,” he observed, watching Giles. “They don’t see the long view.”

“No,” Giles paused, “but of course we do.”

“Yes,” said Quentin thoughtfully, “yes, of course we do.”


~*~*~*~*~


Two hours later, an unmarked van showed up at the door to the Summers/Rosenberg residence. A white coated man, who looked remarkably like Willie the Snitch, escorted a docile Xander out the door, carrying a packed suitcase.

After fifteen of the longest minutes he had ever endured, Xander Harris popped into a stand of trees next to the road. The unmarked van roared off. Xander looked around quickly then took off at a dead run for the lake on the other side of the trees.

Standing in the shaded entrance at the top of the ledge overlooking the lake, Spike saw Xander when he emerged from the copse. He felt the ache in his wrist and his neck and his groin. By the time Xander reached the bottom of the cliff and looked up at Spike, the vampire had started to breathe. Xander pounded up the embankment, round the corner of the ledge and flew through the entrance and into Spike’s arms. The force of his flight threw Spike against the wall. They impacted with the rough dirt surface solidly, then in a tangle of grabbing arms and legs and desperately pressing mouths, they slid in a heap to the floor.

For about five minutes the only sound that came out of them were gasps as Xander occasionally came up for air. Finally he paused long enough to look at Spike. The vampire was grinning madly, his hair already a mass of Xander induced tangles, his shirt torn open, his mouth swollen and red. Xander admired the effect. “God, you look so fuckable,” he said roughly.

Spike laughed happily and ran his hands over and over Xander’s face and through his hair. He wriggled against him with a leer and then suddenly stopped, his eyes wide. “Shit,” he said.

Xander laughed. “What?”

“Humans upstairs, “ Spike groaned. “Luv, we’ve got company.”

Xander shrugged and nuzzled Spike skin. “So,” he said, his hands wandering teasingly.

There was a scrape from just above. Xander looked up into Brown’s shocked face. “Hey!” Xander said conversationally, “you mind shutting that thing. Wanna fuck my mate here.”

The door slammed immediately shut. Xander looked down and smirked a smirk that would make a vampire proud. “Mine,” he growled and bit.


~*~*~*~*~


Maurice looked worriedly at Brown when he came back and sat down again with the steno pad.

“What was it?”

“Xander’s back,” said Brown briefly.

“Oh,” said Maurice, feeling a non sequitur but not able to identify it. He twitched his stiff shoulders and tugged at his bound hands a bit. Sighed.

“So.” Brown read what was written on the pad. “You think anybody’s gonna believe any of this?”

Maurice looked at the closed escape hatch door again. “Why doesn’t he come up?” he asked Brown after a minute.

“Him and Spike are havin’ a reunion,” Brown said dryly.

“Oh,” said Maurice again, feeling very stupid. “Oh!” as he got it. He blushed and looked very uncomfortable.

Brown shook his head and laughed. “You old guys,” he said.

Maurice looked at him carefully. “You don’t mind,” he observed.

“The guy thing?” Brown made a derisive sound. “Nah. The vampire thing? Yeah. Maybe sorta,” shrugged Brown. “But Xander’s got shit going on, Maurice. And so does Spike. The whole bitey thing? I dunno, what do you think?”

Maurice was so amazed to be asked his opinion by this belligerent young man, he couldn’t speak for a moment. “Well.” And he thought. Hard. “Well, it’s probably not advisable,” he said slowly. “Spike may not wish to harm Mr. Harris, but he could do so nevertheless.”

Brown nodded, studying the ground. “Yeah,” he said. “’S what I been thinkin’.”

“Even if it lasted more than a few weeks, what sort of life would he be leading?” Maurice looked pointedly around the mausoleum. “Living in crypts?”

“Well, Spike lives in houses, Maurice. You know that. They’s just hidin’ out here.”

“Spike lives in houses through charity, Brown. He has no means.”

Brown, a man of few means himself, was silent. He looked at the pad on which he had been transcribing Maurice’s letter. “Okay, then, what else you gonna tell them?”

The door to the escape hatch pushed aside and the dark head of Xander Harris popped up. “Hey Brown!” he said in a chipper voice. “See that tube over there by the sleeping stuff?” he pointed with a muscled, very naked arm. “Toss it over?”

Brown obediently rose and fetched the object. He looked at it and smirked at Xander. “Bet you’d pay a lotta money for this right now,” he teased.

Xander laughed up at him and Brown was struck. By the joy. The easy laughing joy in Xander’s eyes. Brown hadn’t seen anyone look like that in so long. He grinned and tossed the tube, Xander caught it easily. He disappeared again and the door slammed shut.

Brown sat down again. He looked thoughtful.


~*~*~*~*~


“Xan,” Spike breathed. He arched his back a bit and pushed hard against the pelvis pressing firmly into his backside. The hand encircling the base of his cock squeezed lightly and drifted down to cup his tightening balls. Xander rocked gently with him, moaning unintelligible phrases, his head leaning over Spike’s shoulder to lap his mark.

“Mmtzrp,” said Xander feelingly. Spike whined. He began to rock with more urgency, shoving back against Xander harder.

“Fuck me, Xan,” whined Spike desperately. “Now. Need you now.”

“Ohhh,” moaned Xander, resisting the thrusting by floating with it, his cock barely moving inside the cool channel. “Wanna stay here forever, Spike. Don’t wanna come. Wanna stay inside you forever, Spike.”

Spike groaned and shuddered. “Gotta come now, Xan,” he whispered pleadingly. He bore down and felt Xander’s cock slide in a millimeter further. A deep animalistic growl issued from his mouth. “God. Now, Xan. Now. Please.”

“Forever,” whispered Xander, his hips starting a rhythm despite himself.

“Forever,” agreed Spike desperately, writhing and forcing his ass against Xander. “Always inside me. Forever, Xander. Forever love.” He gasped involuntarily as Xander’s hips began pumping against him. “Forever, love. Love you forever, Xander,” he promised wildly.

Xander felt himself losing control, losing his moment. Desperately trying to plant the memory somewhere deep in his mind. In a place where nothing could dislodge it. Not time, not death, not the slow erosion of faith. This moment, this ecstatic eternal moment. A sob rose from him as his body took over, and he began uncontrollably slamming himself into Spike. “God. Spike. Love you. Spike,” he grunted, and then began an inarticulate series of nonsensical noises as all rhythm and sense flew away and he merely fucked his vampire.

Spike arched and keened and felt the warm hand speed up and down his cock. He rocked violently back and screamed Xander’s name and came. The man above him continued to babble and slam against him. He was so far inside Spike, the vampire swore he could feel him in his throat. His entire body glued to his back, he cried desperately and kept thrusting hard. His hand convulsively grasped Spike’s softening member and the vampire cried out. Xander screamed and bit down on the back of Spike’s neck. Spike felt the hot sperm deep inside him as Xander clenched against and around him, crying almost as if he were in pain. When he finally relaxed and pulled back, Spike slid off Xander’s cock and spun around immediately.

“Xander.” He pulled the shaken man into his arms and hugged him fiercely. Xander collapsed against him and returned the hug.

“Spike, I love you.”

“Love you too, Xan.”

“Don’t ever wanna hurt you.”

In his post-orgasmic delirium, Spike still felt the warning light go on. “Never wanna hurt you neither, Xan.” He sought out and found the soft mouth. Kissed it tenderly. “What’s the matter, luv.” He pressed his forehead to Xander’s and smiled gently. “Little post coitum triste?”

Xander cracked a weak trembly smile. “God. You speak French. That is so fucking unfair.”

Spike smirked evilly."Tu es l’amour de mon âme. Je te veux plus que je ne veux le sang. Je t’aimerai à jamais," he purred into Xander’s ear.

“Oh God,” moaned Xander.

"Je te dèsire," Spike continued, his tongue circled Xander’s earlobe as he spoke. "Je veux t’embrasser partout et te faire l’amour pur toujours. Mon amour. Mon Coeur. Mon sandwich de la confiture at du veurre de cacahuètes.."

“No idea what you’re saying, but gotta fuck you now,” Xander growled urgently, and pushed Spike back to the floor.

Spike laughed and pushed Xander back up. “Think we’ve been rutting in the stairwell long enough, Xander.” He returned Xander’s look with a chagrined smile. “Gotta go up top and entertain the guests.”

Xander gave him a long look. “Too much happening right now, Spike.” He leant down and kissed Spike hard. Drew back reluctantly. “Wish we could put it all off.”

“Yeah, me too, mate. But ‘s the way it always happens. Can’t make the world go away.” Spike skooched back and began hunting for clothing. “Gotta deal.”

“Yeah.” Xander sat for a minute lost in his head, then rose and began dressing also. “Yeah. Gotta deal. Gotta make it alright.”

“That’s right, luv.” Spike swung easily up the stairs and pushed at the trapdoor. “’Cuz we’re the good guys. That’s our job.”

“Yeah,” said Xander, following him. “The good guys,” he muttered to himself, “Eeney, Meeney, Miney and Moe.”




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