Three Quid Whore

Nasty Shrew

Part Four

"Tell me," Spike commanded, pale sultan with a crown of white smoke, sitting cross legged on his throne of thick black wire.

Xander glanced up from the tangle of cables he was trying to pull loose so he could tie them in neat orderly lines, silver tape skin to bind them and make it less bother to pack them. Setting up would be quicker and easier at every gig if he succeeded and when he was finished, Xander planned to gloat having proved he could actually help when they were on the road. Only, judging by the thick cord swallowing his arms, spiders of cable bursting from his palms, he reasoned that he may have been better to choose an easier task.

"Tell you what?" he grunted, heaving a box to the side and attempting to untangle himself from the forest of thin, black, snake-like, evil plastic creatures of hell. He supposed he was being a little melodramatic, but when a cable tripped him up (tangled itself around his leg and fucking pulled, little bastard), he decided nothing was melodramatic about fighting the forces of evil ... otherwise known as microphone, guitar, stereo system and other various wires of no real purpose other than to thwart his attempts to tame them. Electricians didn't get paid enough.

"Dunno," Spike replied amiably, no move to get up and help. The thought had probably never even crossed his mind. Spike wasn't big with the 'helping'. Or 'teamwork'. Or, at present, with the concept of 'moving' at all. "Don't care. Just tell me something," he insisted, spoiled child with thick eyeliner and a t shirt three sizes too small.

"My best friend's name was Willow," Xander said quietly, almost inaudible over the rustle of wires that took up so much air in back of the mini-van.

"Was?" Spike asked, head cocked, eyes a sharp blue that should be dull or brown in the dim light - though they aren't. Xander sometimes wondered if any of the world's rules applied to him.

"Was. People don't have names after the die," Xander replied, white table, pale pale little girl with fragile bones and dull orange hair flashing through his mind - no. Willow wasn't that girl's name.

"Oh," Spike said into the silence, slight nod, no apology. Xander was infinitely grateful. With an elegance Xander couldn't quite grasp, he slid to his knees and kicked the van door open. Light flooded in, cold air that tastes like rain. "Come on," he said, hand held out, impatient frown as he glanced at the sky as though it had personally insulted him. Xander dropped the cables, nearly fell over as they pulled at his legs when he stepped outside. Spike caught him, rolled his eyes and passed him a cigarette. Ah. Xander's new and cancerous habit that he'd picked up between LA and Carson City.

"Where are we going?" he asked, wary glance at Spike's fingers that twitched in the heavy air. This indicated Spike was going to do something Insane. Or, that he really needed to pee. Xander hadn't known him long enough to manage to discern which on the 'twitching fingers' merit alone.

"I haven't a fucking clue," Spike said, grabbing his arm, running, running across the car park, away from the mini van and the tour bus, away from Faith screaming that they had to practice before the gig ... just running, with Xander's hand clamped around his, the two of them moving so fast it felt as though their feet may lift off the tarmac and send them speeding into the sky. Xander didn't even realise he was laughing until he was standing in a coffee shop, trying to catch his breath as Spike started making a loud commentary on the people around them, 'National Geographic' style, roguish cockney drawl dropped for something startlingly posh.

"... and as you can see, the 'Redneckius Flanneliuss' over there in the corner have engaged in a pissing contest of sorts, battling for the ultimate prize of a half eaten muffin," he said, ducking behind a potted plant when the staff started walking towards them. When he realised his hiding place wouldn't quite work out, the plant being a mere three feet tall. "I think they've been alerted to our presence, dear chap. Best to bugger off," he said with a conspiratorial wink, backing towards the exit when a larger member of the Redneckius clan stood up and glared menacingly.

"Why do you do stuff like that?" Xander asked, laughter still tinged his voice, cheeks flushed.

"'Cause I can. And because it's fun to throw yourself into something. Fun to drown, ... when there's no water involved," he said, thoughtful look as he pushed his hand through his hair, ash white spikes that stood up in pure defiance of gravity. Everything about Spike defied something. "Here," he said when they were a safe distance away, handing Xander a cup of icy, blue slush.

"When did you get these?" he asked, nodding towards Spike's red slush, staining his lips deep crimson. He looked like a vampire or something.

"Pinched them off the counter before we scarpered," Spike shrugged, another deep pull of the straw that left his tongue as red as his mouth. Xander sighed - nagging little voice of Good Samaritan pushing into his fun. Spike gave him a sidelong glance, seemed to sense this, and promptly pulled him into an ally to rectify the situation.

"Where were you last night?" he asked, a stupid question when it left his lips that took on a certain significance when Spike's gaze flicked across the room, settled on his face.

"Nowhere," he replied, easy lie that both of them would like to believe.

"Do you even remember?" he asked, not looking up, trained stare at a coke can on the floor that he doesn't really see. Spike sighed, creak of leather, wisp of cologne that wasn't his or Xander's tracing guilt in the air.

"Not really - Doyle gave me something after the gig to calm my nerves. You know how I get," he said, slow deliberate pause because Xander did know.

Spike tasted like red liquorish and coffee, pale hands normally so cool tipped with redbloodgrazes due to too many hours on the guitar, a laugh that echoed beneath Xander's skin. "Wanna fuck you raw," Spike croaked into his ear, aggressive shove so Xander's back was suddenly cold on white bathroom tiles.

"I was worried," Xander said, rolling his shoulders, trying to ease the ache in the back of his neck from sitting out in the hotel corridor most of the night, visions of late night trips to the morgue whirling around in his head. Two and a half weeks and he already felt responsible for the man he, admittedly, barely knew.

"I know," Spike snapped. Xander flinched, kicked the coke can and swallowed the anger in this throat. "I know," Spike repeated, soft now, deliberately so. He reached out, brushed his fingers across Xander's brow, leant forwards and kissed him gently, no intent other than comfort. Xander took a deep breath, let his worries and suspicions drop to the floor along with his clothes.

"Teach me how to drown," he whispered.

Part Five

"Let's throw a parade. Or blow something up. Or throw a parade wherein we blow something up," Spike said, eyes bright, hair still wet from his shower, curling about his head.

"How are we going to throw a parade?" Xander asked, raised eyebrow, swallowing down some aspirin with a swig of icy water. He was exhausted - they'd just got back from a gig and though Spike was still riding his adrenaline rush, a certain tax-paying, responsible ex-courier required more than an hour of sleep.

"You can drive the bus, I'll dance around on top of it. We'll drive through the city. Play your cards right and I'll dance naked while I chuck petrol bombs at the walls," he said, shoving Xander so he flopped off the couch and landed on the wooden floor with a thunk.

"Sounds like a hoot, but we'll do that in the morning," Xander yawned, settling for a nap on the floor. It wouldn't be the first time. He could hear Spike's impatient sigh, hear the creak of the floorboards as he bounced on his heels.

"Wanna fuck instead?" he asked, mouth suddenly hot and by Xander's ear. Desperate for a release, for excitement, for something to do. Everything for Spike had to happen now, bolder, brighter, more.

Sometimes, he'd flash Xander this smile, this unbelievably wide fucking grin as he laughed or danced to the sound of traffic. He'd exude more energy in a moment than Xander had had in a lifetime. Those days were amazing. When Spike could give him a sidelong glance and grab him into a kiss, pull him out of his thoughts, worries, logic and make him just be. Tonight was not going to be one of those nights.

"Sleep. Need. Me," he muttered into his arm, another yawn so deep it felt as though air was being dragged from him. Spike sighed again and shifted, sounds of rustling and papers. Xander opened his eyes blearily for a moment when he felt fingers turning him so that he lay on his back, heavy solid warmth clambering onto him, straddling his waist. "Okay, if you're really that horny, go ahead. Just try to keep quiet alright?" he asked wearily, shutting his eyes again, smile pulling at his lips when he heard the soft snort.

"Sorry love, necrophilia has never been one of my kinks," Spike muttered, calloused fingers picking at Xander's shirt, losing patience, ripping it open. Xander was too sleepy to be annoyed. Next went the sweatpants, pulled off him with one sharp tug.

"What are you doing?" Xander laughed, forcing himself to look up just in time to see Spike click the cap of a bottle of black liquid with his teeth.

"I'm going to write. On you," he said, brow furrowed as he concentrated on dipping his fingers in the black body ink and moving them across Xander's chest, careful precision, tip of his tongue poking from his mouth.

"Alright," Xander sighed, shutting his eyes again, feeling Spike's warm lips sweep across his brow just before he sank completely into sleep.

Xander had learned a lot about Spike's moods in the three weeks they had been together. He'd learnt that certain twitches in his fingers meant he was deciding something, that a tilt of his head meant intense curiosity or deep thought, that bared teeth meant he was horny, angry or both. The others, the band members and girlfriends, when they saw Spike in one of his Manic Moods, one of the days when he was so energetic it hurt, destructive and laughing - they thought it was funny. They tolerated him with a fond roll ot their eyes and ignored him when he ranted about everything from German impressionist paintings to the poetry of Poe. They never noticed the dark spectre in Xander's face - the uneasy anticipation. Because there was a serious downside to these hours of soaring pleasure, of fucking like live wires crossing in a darkened room. The downside was the subsequent low.

"Once told me you'd like to be up there forever,
Spend eternity in unnatural light.
Platform of divinity, immortal,
‘till the Devil swallowed the sun,"

words sung under his breath off key, hands busy with a slice of metal.

"What are you doing?" Xander asked standing frozen in the open doorway, eyes fixed on the man sitting on the edge of the bath. He was naked, feet and ankles blue grey dipped in a few inches of cooling water, intense concentration on his hands. "Spike?" Xander's voice was flat, so calm and unaffected though his whole body was so stuck, too much blood racing through him, attacking him from the inside out.

Spike's shoulders jumped, his hand jerking so the blade formed a thin red strip on his arm. He looked up, dark circles beneath his eyes, hurt child unable to hide behind smudged mascara and battered leather.

"She left me, Xan. She left me in my dream all over again," he said, words just slurred enough to tell Xander he had been drinking.

This wasn't right. It wasn't like those movies where you walk in and the person about to do it, to do it, was crying and shaking and spilling all their problems. Spike wasn't crying or screaming, wasn't poised elegantly so the camera could get a tasteful shot of his beautiful pale skin with crimson splashing over it. People in movies never jumped off buildings - they could always be talked down. Only in real life, Xander didn't know what to say.

"Who left you?" he asked, locking his knees because he was worried he might fall over.

"Cecily," Spike said, followed by a short bark of laughter that made Xander's ears hurt. "No, just messin'," and the slur was more pronounced now, Xander could practically hear the thick sludge of booze weighing on Spike's tongue. "Dru. My Drusilla. Sucked the words right out of me when she left, the bitch. Fucking crazy cu ..." he paused, looked around him, found what he was looking for and laughed that hacking, mirthless laugh again. It was an empty bottle of Jack, lying on the tiles behind him. One that had been full when Xander had left.

There were yellow and purple bruises creeping up the back of Spike's thighs, Xander could see them, wondered how on earth he'd managed it ... but Spike could do pretty much anything if he was determined enough. "Why did you leave, Xan?" he asked, attention back and focused on Xander's face with an unnerving intensity.

"Because you asked me to," Xander reminded him, flash of Spike's locked door and the shouted 'go the fuck away' Xander had been confronted with that morning. He'd walked away, no argument - he tried not to argue if he could help it. He was too afraid of Fucking Things Up, of losing what had been the best three weeks of his life. He had friends now, not the 's', friends plural, something he'd never had before. Xander was, in more ways than he'd care to admit, was still that kid from high school who tried to make jokes and was summarily ignored and dismissed by all who looked at him. So, arguing with the gorgeous man who had asked you to join him on tour and who regularly demanded unbelievably good sex? Not on Xander's top ten list of 'stuff I want to do'.

He still wasn't sure where the line was, where the songs and the lyrical whimsy ended and where reality began. Some nights Spike would whisper his undying love and devotion, others he'd bury himself in whoever was standing nearest and act as though Xander were more like his favourite hobby or obsession than an actual person. However, Xander was pretty sure that letting his lover slice his own wrists (and oh God why was he still standing in the doorway when this was happening) would constitute as Fucking Things Up.

"Oh. So I did. Sorry 'bout that, love," Spike said, head tilted back now, staring at the stains on the ceiling. Xander stepped forward, took his hands, forced the blade from his fingers. "Need that," Spike mumbled, nodding towards the razor blade. Xander wrapped his arms around the smaller man, uncomfortably aware of just how much smaller Spike was for the very first time, and pulled him to his feet. "You smell nice," Spike said into his hair, hands coming up to twist, lips pushing sloppily against the hollow of his neck. Xander lead him through to the bedroom, dark in comparison the the white light of the bathroom, sat him on the bed of yellowed sheets and a blanket with holes burnt in them by forgotten cigarettes. Spike lay back, threw an arm across his eyes, not shifting when Xander moved beside him and pulled the blanket over both of them.

"I'm sorry she left you," Xander said quietly. And he was, in a way. Sorry that someone left Spike like this, made him the small man with too much bleach who sat at the edge of the bath and looked so pathetic it made Xander ache. This shadow.

"S'alright. You won't leave me. Love you," Spike said. turning over, resting his head on Xander's shoulder and pulling him closer. His hold was too tight - it was hurting, pinching his skin and pulling at muscle. Xander knew he'd have bruises later, dark reminders of this completely different man who was clinging to him as though they may both disappear. Xander didn't say a word.

The lyrics were written by me, the song is called 'Swallow it down'. The section about Spike sitting on the edge of the bathtub was inspired by this

Part Six

“Knife, strife, life.
All fucking rhymes,
Grab my crotch,
Laugh it off,
Stains like vintage wine.

Perfect pattern of words,
Economy of prose,
See I’m quite clever,
Only nobody knows,”
Spike sang, strumming a few chords that didn’t fit, stopping to get angry at the guitar and to pretend to be angry with Xander when he laughed.

“It’s funny. I can believe your name is William,” Xander said after a while, thoughtful look as he narrowed his eyes and peeled away the layers, gave Spike darker, softer curls and a pair of glasses.

“Well I can’t believe your middle name is Lavelle,” Spike replied, grinning when Xander threw a pillow at his head.

“Call me that again and I’ll call you Willy,” Xander threatened.

“Could make a lewd comment there, but it’s too easy,” Spike laughed, setting down the guitar.

“You’re too easy,” Xander shot back, laughter of his own, not noticing when Spike’s expression moved and shifted into something else.

“Love you. Keeping you,” he muttered, moving up the bed and running his finger’s through Xander’s hair.


“If you start singing Come fly with me, I’ll kill you and say the voices told me to,” Xander said, jokes and misdirection because he really didn’t want to hear this again.

“Why aren’t you saying yes? We could be fucking now if you had,” Spike replied, tight smile that was just this side of snapping. Xander looked out the window, watched the traffic, wondered if when Spike watched the traffic he contemplated playing in it.

“I’m not saying yes because I don’t have a passport …”

“We’ll smuggle you in,”

“Because I have to get back before someone files a missing person’s report …”

“You’d be famous – your face on every poster and milk carton. Better publicity than we’ve ever had,”

“And because you’re only asking me now because you’re high and bored,” Xander finished, list of convincing points that were logical and well thought out. He knew this, because he’d practiced them at least four times in the cracked mirror in the bus’s tiny bathroom, lipstick smeared across the walls and a cockroach named Pete.

“I’m not high, I’m wired. Big difference, that. And anyway, I planned on asking you the very moment I lay eyes on you in that club back in LA,” Spike said, grin a little easier now, hot wet heat against Xander’s mouth as he traced patterns of languages he couldn’t speak with his tongue, twisted his hips sharply so that it almost hurt. Xander pulled back, swallowed, too a breath.

“You were high in that club in LA, too,” he said. Spike’s grip tightened, his gaze intense.

“Not the point, Xan,” impatient now, petulant child gone, replaced with someone Else with chilled eyes and bruising touches.

“Ask me tomorrow,” Xander said eventually, words quiet and pleading, though he wasn’t entirely sure what he was pleading for. The bus made a sharp turn and Spike was thrown against his chest, Doyle’s ‘fuck you, too’ and groans of fellow band members grabbing them out of the odd quiet. Spike didn’t move from his place in Xander’s arms, chin tilted up, odd streak of innocence framed in bleach and sheathed in leather.

“Will you say yes tomorrow?” he asked. Xander didn’t answer. Spike pulled back, face changing as he turned away, ice cold betrayal. Xander realised then that earnest, almost childlike anger scared him far more than that of a man’s.


“Argument with blondie?” Gunn asked when Xander heaved an amp out of the bus and pushed it onto the van with a little more force than necessary.

“Yeah,” Xander replied, no attempt to elaborate. Gunn didn’t ask, either.

“He’s an ass most of the time,” he said eventually, plucking on his bass, dark brown fingers moving like heavy liquid over the strings.

“Yeah. I kind of picked up on that,”

”What do you want from me? All or nothing, remember? All or fucking nothing,” his voice was too loud and his hands making sluggish circles in the air, ash from his cigarette trailing across the bed. “You act more like a woman that Dru ever did,” he added, nasty smile when Xander swallowed and slammed the door behind him. Didn’t tell Spike to put his cigarette in case he fell asleep and set the bed on fire. Put his fist through a bathroom stall because he knew he’d feel bad about that later.

“He asked me to come with you guys to Germany,” Xander muttered, tasting the words, seeing how they sounded in air heavy with rain. Gunn glanced up, eyebrows raised. Clearly, he hadn’t expected that. Well, fair enough, neither had Xander.

“Man, seriously?” he asked. Xander shrugged, kicked a bottle cap across the gravel. “You should. It’d be cool to have a guy to have drinks who can’t kick my ass at pool,” he said finally. Xander snorted, shifted his weight, didn’t look up. “And …” Gunn looked slightly uncomfortable and he started fiddling with cables, “You’re good for him. He’s better since you’ve been here,” he said. Xander laughed. It was ugly and fit in perfectly with the tarmac slick with grease, and the yellowish smog that hung in the air.

“You mean he drank, got high and messed around with groupies more before I arrived?” and wow, he sounded more bitter there than even his mother could have aspired to.

“Hey,” he whispered, wet words soaked in booze, lipstick on his collar, “You’ll always love me, eh?” hot huffs of breath on Xander’s face. Xander pretended to be asleep.

“No,” Gunn admitted haltingly. “But he comes home to you. He used to drift around in his head, look for a fight or and throw himself into danger like he had to impress himself – like he had to prove who he was over and over to convince himself he was real or something. But he comes home, now. To you.”

Xander didn’t reply and they played pool. He coughed up the ten bucks he owed Gunn and asked him what he had to do to get a passport.

The lyrics are written by me, and the song is called 'Cunning'.

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