Three Quid Whore

Nasty Shrew

Part Seven

White lines of moonlight reflected on a strip of mirror, more white lines across it’s smoother surface – though those lines were tangible. Rough and real, scratching up his nose and grinding down his throat, raw with screams and laughter.

This was his distraction, his habit between habits. His longest addiction had been glorious. Dru, with her dark swirls of eyes and sickly sweet giggles, leather and lace, little girl in lust. Wrong, glittered with imperfections. In those flaws, Spike found his salvation. But like all things easily amused, his darling was easily displeased. She was as fickle as Spike was devoted and there was an irresistible draw to the woman who was destined to destroy him. Some called it masochism but he preferred to think of it as a sort of optimism. However, optimism didn’t fare well against reality.

Snap of her whimsy, one barked and of course he obeyed like her - her little sniveling bitch, William, rescued from his tears to find a new fixation. She killed herself on a Tuesday; wandered off the edge of a 13 story building, calling for an angel. His wicked plum came to a … well, to say ‘sticky end’ would be tacky, wouldn’t it? He’d blamed himself for a while, taken an impromptu holiday to Prague, one that he fondly referred to as his ‘guilt trip’.

And now he was searching - crawling through bars and clubs, face to the sky or the dirt, no middle ground with Spike, always the extreme. And it wasn’t long. Not long at all before he saw the face, clean and fresh in a room of grime.

Clothes a whirlpool of gaudy colours he looked like he was drowning beneath. Awkward movements, stiff arms and a sort of disconnected discomfort that stood out amongst the bodies of elegance and rhythm. With their skintight scraps of cloth and jaded smiles, inviting gazes and tongues darting to lips, they spoke in silent communication without a need for pesky things like words.

The boy notices Spike’s intent stare and his shoulders stiffen, a defense preceding the attack. Spike grins, understanding. They were comrades in paranoia. He slides to his feet, ignores the calls of the girls around him as he crashes through the crowd – a mockery of Moses parting the oceans. They meet at the center of the dance floor and he easily slips his tongue into the boy’s mouth, crushes their lips together and drags his hand through dark curls. He felt the boy start, surprised, because this boy doesn’t speak the primal language of the dancers. He is isolated, dismissed. Spike smiles into the hiss and pulls away to whisper in his ear, serpent of temptation, bible references of his youth spinning in his head as he sported a hard on. William knew he was fucked up, Spike reveled in it.

“You’re new. But I can translate for you.” He licks down the boy’s neck and laughs softly at the shudder. “That means I like you.” And now his hands drifted across the boy’s nipples, hard through the shirt. “That means I want you.” The hands moved lower, fingers pressing against the rough scratch of jeans. “That means I want you … now.”

The boy pulls away, plump lip caught in his teeth, flash of indecision. “You don’t even know my name,” unjustified anger, perhaps embarrassment. He looked ready for the punch line, for Spike to be cruel and hateful.

“Your name is …” Spike trails off, pulls the boy off the floor and into a dark corner that smells of sweat and spilled drinks. He takes the boy’s hand and licks up his palm, eyes promising. His reaction came in the form of a hiss, a sharp twist of hips, brown eyes shivering black. The boy grinned. His own revolution found in an instant, solace in anonymity.

“I think I’m learning the language,” he said, bold move forward so their faces with inches apart.

Spike led him outside and he knew he’d chosen this new habit well.

“Do you remember how we met?” Spike asked left Schönefeld Airport. Xander stared at him incredulously.

“Do you?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” And Spike could pull off innocent if he widened his eyes just so and tilted his head at a 48 degree angle. He was well practiced. Xander was unimpressed and he snorted with laughter.

“It means that I recall somebody had been getting crazy with crack that night,” he said with his voice lowered, eyes flitting across the face of those around them – caution and responsibility, his Xan. Well, if there was one thing Spike had learnt, it was that all good things needed balance. So if Xander was going to be responsible then it was his cosmic duty to …

“What the … Spike!”

“I love you more than marmite,” Spike announced as he walked into the hotel room. Xander stuffed something into a drawer.

“I love syphilis more than marmite,” he replied, busying himself with the bed sheets.

“Heathen,” Spike said good naturedly. He dove without warning. Xander didn’t have a chance in hell at grabbing whatever he’d been hiding before Spike did. “What …”

How disappointing. It was a book. And the cover didn’t imply any kinky sexual instructions. Spike’s eyes flicked over the title and he paused. Read it again. Once more before he raised an eyebrow and looked up at a squirming Xander.

“Trainspotting. ‘The dislocated tales that lay bare the hearts of darkness of the junkies, wide-boys and psychos’,” he read from the blurb. Xander had flushed and was an interesting shade of burgundy. If Spike was feeling facetious he might have said ‘cherry’.

“I just … I want to understand, but you won’t …” he gave up and shut his eyes for a moment. A fuck or a fight, that was the question, because this was going to end one way or the other. Spike dropped the book and crawled over the covers.

“Wrong sort of book, love. This is about the Scots, innit? I’m from England. Whole different kettle of fish,” he said seriously. Xander sighed with something like relief but didn’t get the chance to pull air back in because Spike was already on top of him. That was good. He’d just have to breathe in Spike.

“Spike is … listen, if you want to get out? You need to get out soon,” Angel had said as they sat in the van, waiting for the others. Xander had nodded wordlessly. He didn’t like the guy, he’d always seemed to be one of those holier than thou types – Spike had told him Angel used to be into some of the heavy stuff, had hurt a lot of people under the influence and had spent every waking moment since then feeling guilty about it. However – he did have a point. Time seemed to be slipping past at an ever increasing rate, music and promises, cigarettes and drama.

Try as he might there was no denying it - Spike was getting erratic, more than usual, and Xander knew it was one of those ‘now or never’ things. He could stay, he should go. He didn’t know if he wanted to do either. He stared out the window, watched as Spike burst out of the shop in noiseless chaos – the window muting the world outside. He spun with his arms flung out, mouth moving around words that were flung into the night. Xander recognized the muffled tune, could recall the words.

“We shared that sentiment,
Though we didn’t share many.
I thought we shared that,
But we didn’t share any.”

He watched as the sidewalk cleared, people pulling away from the crazy man singing words nobody understood. Poor Berlin. They had no idea what had been released onto their shores.

Part Eight

“Give it back,” Spike laughed; slight irritation as he swiped his hands in the air and tried to grab the bottle.

“You’ve had enough of this,” Xander shook the bottle, sloshing warm liquid over his palms as he walked towards the yellowed tile of the bathroom.

“Fuck it, you only live once,” words crisp with desperation as he stumbled to his feet, grabbed the back of Xander’s shirt. They fucked on the floor and there was whiskey in Xander’s hair.

He always packs his bag on a Monday because Monday seems to be the most sensible day in the week. On the first day of every week, traces of the night before smeared across his skin, Xander decides to leave Spike. Every. Fucking. Monday.

He packs his bag when Spike is asleep; his ash white curls an unruly crown, black mascara clashing with deep red smudges across his lips, lipstick. Xander doesn’t wear lipstick, and neither does Spike.

He folds his pants and boxers first, puts them in the very bottom of the case with meticulous care. Then he gets bored and throws in his shirts, squashes in a pair of shoes and the trinkets he’s picked up along the way. A black plastic guitar pick, the word ‘Spike’s’ scratched into the surface.

Spike sat behind Xander, weight on his knees and his arms wrapped around Xander’s waist, eyes trained on long fingers tugging clumsily at the strings.

“Told you I couldn’t play guitar. I suck at all things musical,” Xander muttered, wincing at the strangled chords. Spike grinned, pressed his face into Xander’s hair - a blonde leathered limpet.

“Practice makes perfect,” he said, scrape of a laugh over a polished BBC accent, traces of William, brandy and books. “You can keep the pick and when you learn the song,” he nipped Xander’s ear and dragged his tongue down his neck, “I’ll give you the guitar and reward you for being such a good student.”

“Huh, says you. Mrs. Campbell in sixth grade made me solve math problems in detention every day for a month, and I still have to carry a calculator to the supermarket.”

“Stick with me, pet, we don’t have maths in my world.”

“This will take me forever to learn,” Xander groaned, messing up on the third chord again. Spike tightened his hold.

“Suits me.”

Xander always snorts as he wraps the gift in a sock and thinks about how pathetic it is that he can’t throw it away. A plastic rose, the petals painted black with nail polish.

“Super romantic. And not creepy at all,” Xander deadpanned, staring at the atrocity, still damp and tacky. Tacky on many levels. The flower could probably compete with Aunt Margie’s collection of porcelain bulldogs.

“Regular Shakespeare, me,” Spike crowed, holding out the plastic flower proudly, “Bloody well took me hours and I used up three bottles of ‘midnight velvet 26’.”

Xander, who had been doing a very good job of looking unimpressed until now, laughed. “Three? Woah – I’m honored.”

“As you should be, ungrateful sod,” Spike snapped indignantly, pulling Xander into a kiss. The rose fell to the floor forgotten, and was crushed beneath heavy boots and groans.

The pocket knife, small and scratched, was slipped into the back of his shoe. He liked the feeling of it, dulled metal his reassurance. Because when he had the knife, Spike didn’t.

“Found it when I was ten, in Blackpool,” Spike murmured, flicking the blade.

“Don’t do that here!” Xander hissed, pushing the knife between them, eyes moving frantically to see if anyone had spotted it.

“Why the fuck shouldn’t I?” his voice had risen, his slur more pronounced. The blood at the corner of his lip bubbled.

“Because you’ll get arrested, that’s why,” Xander couldn’t contain his own venom, resentment. Because he didn’t have to be here. Sitting at what, three in the morning? Sitting on an uncomfortable plastic chair in the hospital’s emergency section, blood that isn’t his spilling over his shirt, Spike sitting to his left, cocky and uncaring of the slice in his forehead. He’d been here twice before, both times because Spike had one too many and decided that a fun and productive way to spend the evening was to kick the shit out of anyone in his way. He was a good fighter, seemed to revel in the violence and draw energy from it.

He recalled Spike’s words, that fighting was the closest he’d ever been to dancing. Xander didn’t understand, supposed he never would. On some level, he hated that. He should have been relieved really – because who would want to understand that primal urge, skirting as close to ‘inhuman’ as anyone can. But he does want it. He wants all of it. He wants to look in Spike’s eyes and get it. Understand it. “Sometimes I think you want to get arrested,” he muttered. Spike bristled.

“You’d like to be arrested too, yeah? Be my official bitch,” vicious precision, he smiled as Xander flinched. “Here, take it if you’re so worried,” he shoved the knife into Xander’s arm. Xander choked and threw a punch before he knew what was happening.

The next morning Spike kisses the cut, laughs that they’ll have matching stitches and tells Xander about Angel, Darla and Drusilla. The gang of four drawn together by an inherent need for something none of them could name. To create their own world of freedom, maybe. Xander suspected it may have just been their excuse to have sex and drink without being told not to.

Spike begs Xander not to leave him, he knows he was a wanker, couldn’t help it. In three minutes he had told Xander he loved him more times than Xander had been told that in the past 19 years.

Xander shouldn’t have accepted the apology, he knew that – but he did. He always did.

He walks to the door and contemplates leaving a note, tells himself that Spike would worry if he didn’t. Tells himself that if he left like this, sudden and no goodbyes, Spike would blame himself. And fall.

facedown in the bathtub, blood wisps through clear water dissolves into undignified orange – pale skin wrinkled and hair dull in flickering florescent light, a stillness in death he never had in life

Then it comes. The moment when Xander stands in the open doorway, a battered suitcase and a twist in his gut. He sets his bag down, kicks off his shoes and lies beside Spike.

He’ll resolve to give it some time. Maybe after the next gig. He could always leave next Monday.

Part Nine

There had to be something coming. Something big and scary and real, some grand plot point to jerk him out of this perpetual whirl, tastes of a life that wasn’t his. Xander sometimes wondered what it would be – the Sign.

Maybe someone would have an OD; nose to the floor, chest heaving, Dawn’s pretty eyes flutter and flatten with her sister screaming her name all the while. Maybe he would walk in on Spike with someone else, tangible proof of what he’d always known; “Never stop,” he gasps, fingers clutching bedsheets Xander had washed that morning, hips thrusting up into her – lips slick red and a designer smile. Or maybe Spike would find him backstage, laughing as he bled out onto the couch cushions, a final fuck you; “Xan, what did you do!?”
“Made sure you’d remember me,” he laughs through spiced wine blood and a flash of spite

It had been weeks since he’d first been pulled into Spike’s head, a scary place where you hurtled and crashed through everything, no time for silly things like breathing. No sign had come, no Passions moment where Spike would cock his head, dark rings around his eyes, and ask for one of those AA pamphlets Xander had surreptitiously left on the top of the suitcase. Nothing like that. There were just minutes, hours, days that bled into one another until time became this abstract idea that didn’t apply to them anymore.

“You’ve torn your dress, your face is a mess,
You can’t get enough, but enough ain’t the test,
You’ve got your transmission and your live wire ...”

They’d probably been holed up in their room of hours, but the curtains were drawn so he couldn’t really tell. Records and weed, cross dressing and laughter, echoes of an era neither of them had lived. “I can’t believe you went out dressed like that. I mean a dare’s a dare but …” Xander winced, fingers brushing across lace. Spike threw his head back, arched his neck as though the material was an extension of his body, a new erogenous zone he hadn’t been aware of. Xander gulped.

“I love it when you stroke my frock,” Spike told him with absolute sincerity. He managed to keep it up a whole three seconds before he burst out laughing and pulled Xander’s mouth to his, teeth clicking, lips tongue fuck.

“That had to be the lamest play on words ever,” Xander managed, pulling his hands down the black corset, leather and friction, what more could a man want?

“Your cruelty only serves to turn me on,” Spike said against his jaw, pushing his shirt from his shoulders.

“Compost would turn you on,” Xander replied wryly, slight hitch in his breath as Spike’s tongue dragged down his chest, fingers clenched almost painfully in his hair. He pulled back for a second, wicked blue eyes staring up, swollen lips twisted into a tolerant smile.

“Only you would mention compost preceding a blow job.”

And Xander laughed harder than he had in years.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Spike said, cigarette in his mouth, clutching a cup of coffee. He hadn’t drunk any – just warming his hands on the flimsy cardboard till it cooled or fell apart, whichever happened first.

“I think I’m your coffee,” he said suddenly. Spike snorted.

“Gunn’s my coffee. You’re my …” he ran his fingers over Xander’s skin, pleased with the resulting shudder, “Cream.”

“Sorry man, I’m not your coffee,” Gunn threw in as he walked past, sharing a grin with the tiny woman tucked under his arm, Fred, all sweetness and laughter that defied her stark blue hair and PVC skirt. If there was one thing Xander had learnt in the past few weeks, it was that appearances were deceiving.

“Wish mum could’ve met you,” Spike mumbled into the toilet bowl, Xander’s arms slung loosely about his hips.

“Why, so we could compare notes on how to deal with you after you’ve thrown up your guts?” Xander asked, appearance of calm though his heart was pounding. Spike never spoke of his mother so he’d assumed she was the cause for some of his less attractive personality quirks. That she must have been one of those mom’s who forget their kids at supermarkets and never tried to hold back their husband when he lunged for their son. Like his mom.

“She would’ve loved you. Tell you off for letting me get so skinny, then tell me off for letting you get so skinny. Make us eat biscuits and pound cake ‘till we couldn’t shift from the sofa,” he continued, wistful and so very young.

“What happened to her?” he asked quietly, so afraid that if he spoke too much or too long, the moment would dissolve.

“Died. Forgot who she was in the end. Who I was. Scared shitless, she couldn’t even recognise my face. Said some awful things in the end, she did,” he said eventually, shivering as his breath hitched. Xander shut his eyes and held on.

“You ready?” Spike asked, tossing the coffee into the snow and nodding to the swinging doorway. The others were already inside.

“I think I might just go back to the hotel,” Xander shrugged, something he couldn’t put his finger on itching beneath his skin.

“No, come with me! I heard they have karaoke,” Spike said, grabbing his arm, petulant glare and a masterful pout.

“And karaoke is supposed to tempt me to come with you?” mock disgust and just a hint of distain, Xander was good at making like he was jaded. A new skill he’d acquired, one he found himself using more and more these days. Sometimes he wondered if he’d stopped having to pretend he was jaded a while ago.

“Karaoke with tequila,” Spike said in a sing song voice, tugging harder, “makes the worst Whitney song sound like classic AC/DC. Promise. Scout’s honour,” he said, holding up two fingers in what was most certainly not the boy scout’s salute. “I could sing something for you … I wanna fuck you like an animal,” rasping voice and a slide of his hips, Spike became Spike, the singer, the seducer, Xander his chosen prey.

“I guess,” he said reluctantly, smiling when Spike cheered and hauled him into the smoky little bar.

Later, when the world was tinged green with lights and Spike was leaning heavily on his side, unnaturally loud laugh and movements sluggish, the man serving drinks had turned to Xander with a look that could only be described as sympathetic. He’d bent so his lips were by Xander’s ear, yellow suit and startling red tie pulling Xander’s gaze to his face.

“Listen sweetcheeks, I’ll tell you this for nothing. That guy’ll only get you in trouble. You’d better be sure you’re prepared to deal with the fact that this ain’t going to be pretty when it ends,” he said. Xander frowned, opened his mouth to say something (though he didn’t know what), but the man had already disappeared into the shifting crowd of business suits and denim jackets.

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