The Beast in Me

Pirate Purple

Part Three

Spike woke a few hours later to find Xander sleeping on the floor next to his bed. Still half-asleep Spike lifted Xander and put him under the blankets, curling around his tightly coiled form and immediately going back to sleep.

Spike woke an hour before sunset to Xander watching him sleep. Blinking owlishly, he sat up.

“You okay now? You had me bloody terrified last night.” Xander nodded, still staring at him. “What?!” The scrutiny was making him testy.

“Why am I in your bed?” Xander asked quietly.

“Well, erm… you were sleeping on the floor, and it looked like you were cold.”

“Oh,” was the only response to that.

“So you gonna tell me what happened to you last night?” Spike crossed his arms over his chest.

“We didn’t save her.” Xander’s eyes dimmed.

“No, but at least we got her a decent burial. They’ll have found her this morning.”

“They found her, I heard it on the scanner. But we were supposed to save her. We always save them, that’s what we do.”

“We’ll find him before he gets the next one, pet. I promise, okay? We’ve got clues now, a trail we can follow, soon as the sun goes down.” Spike put his hand over Xander’s, on Xander’s knee.

“You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep, Spike.” Xander sighed deeply.

“I intend to keep this one, Xander. We’ll find him tonight.” Spike looked calculatingly at Xander. “So what’s with the green glowy eye thing? Sodding hell, I'm starting to sound like you!”

Xander looked like a deer caught in the headlights. He had obviously not expected the question. Good, maybe I can startle the truth out of him. He watched Xander’s panicked thought processes ripple across his face. The boy was going to try to lie.

“Um, I don’t know?” Xander winced at his own lameness.

Spike didn’t even dignify that with a response, merely raising his eyebrow and crossing his arms over his chest again. He waited.

Xander swallowed a few times before beginning. He opened his mouth and snapped it shut three or four times, before finally settling on, “It’s part of the Africa stuff that I'm not ready to talk about.”

Not best pleased with this answer, Spike took a deep, if unnecessary, breath. Yelling at the boy would accomplish nothing. Spike sighed. “I'm not a patient vampire, Xander. Something bloody serious is going on with you, and I sodding well want to know what it is. I’ll try and wait until you’re ready to talk about it, but be ready soon, yeah?

Xander nodded, staring intently at the thread he was picking off the comforter. Spike swung his legs over the side of the bed. “C’mon, we’ll get some pizza before we head back into the sewer.”


It was full dark by the time they got to their entrance. “Need a torch, pet?” Spike pulled a flashlight out of his pocket.

Xander just looked up at him with a glowing green eye and climbed down without taking it. Spike took a deep breath, did a short quadratic equation in Fyarl, and followed. Patience is bloody overrated.

They went back to where they had found the body and explored the area. They tried to climb the pipe the little girl had come out of, but it was too small for a grown man, even with Spike on short rations ever since the chip. The carrion demons seemed to have vacated the area. There were no nests. Whatever was here was too dangerous to bed near, even with the fresh food. Spike said as much to Xander, quietly. They knew it was near, and didn’t want to tip it off. Xander nodded and restlessly paced up and down the small section of sewer they were exploring.

After a couple of hours of fruitless search, Xander suddenly stopped pacing. He walked close to Spike and hissed against his ear, “Willow. Willow will be able to get the plans for the sewers!” They picked up the pace, and left at the nearest ladder up.

“I guess it was your turn to have the bloody bright idea!” Spike practically crowed, as they piled into Xander’s car. Xander grinned and floored the gas.


Willow was, it turned out, more than capable of ‘acquiring’ Cleveland’s sewer schematics, but was adamant about explanations.

“Faith told me Spike was alive – err… undead, and that you ran away from Watcher House to go live with him.”

Xander took a deep breath. He was never going to be able to keep his attraction for Spike from Willow if he didn’t distract her. “Actually the bleached wonder took me in after Robin tried to strangle me for hanging out with him. I didn’t exactly feel welcome there after that.”

Willow sounded teary. “Why didn’t you tell us he was back?”

That was not the reaction he had been expecting. “Well, after Robin’s reaction - and Faith kinda assumed he was still evil, too – I guess I was trying to protect him.” Crap, he hadn’t really said that out loud, had he? He peeked at Spike from under his hair. The vampire was looking right at him, with an expression that was both surprised and pleased. Crap. Willow was gonna guess, Spike was gonna know, and Xander was going to die of embarrassment. Crapity crap crap.

“… know that Buffy’s married?”

Xander mentally flailed as he tried to pick up the thread of the conversation. “Ummm… I dunno?” He looked at Spike again. The vampire look wistful, but smiled gently at him, looking like his smile might break of and shatter to pieces on the floor. “I guess he does now, what with vampire hearing and all.”

“He’s there?!? Xander! I wanna talk to him! You are so rude, mister!” Willow’s voice went up an octave.

Xander winced, holding the phone away from his ear, and turned to Spike with a questioning look. Spike looked terrified, but held out his hand for the phone anyway.


“Hello?” Spike stifled the urge to take a huge, panicked breath. He had no idea what to expect from Red.

“You are in so much trouble, mister! Dawn is going to beat you to life, and I may just join her with my favorite shovel! How could you not tell us?”

Xander saw the stricken look on Spike’s face, and made an ‘I’ll go now’ gesture. Spike nodded, and Xander wandered into the kitchen.

“Spike, are you there?”

“Yeah, Red. Right here. M’sorry. I figured Andrew would tell all of you.”

“Andrew knows? He needs a shovel-talk, too. Spike, I know the Scoobies haven’t always treated you the way you probably deserved while you were fighting for us. But we would have wanted to know you were… not gone. Buffy would have wanted to know you were back. Wants to know.” Willow sounded tearful again.

“Well, it would have been hard to follow the act that was the last time she saw me. And she’s better off without me. She always was.” Spike’s voice was tight, each sound clipped as he tried to control the emotions coming through in his voice.

“There was a time when you were what she needed. But Xander will be glad to hear that you’ve let that go.” Willow’s voice was gentle.

Spike could hear Willow’s tearful smile in her voice, but he still didn’t understand. “What’s that, Red?”

Willow chuckled. “I guess you haven’t figured it out yet. Well, it’s not my place to tell you. You’ll just have to figure it out on your own, mister.” Spike could hear movement on the other end of the phone and an electronic hum as Willow booted up her computer. “Now, do you have Dawn’s number, or should I give it to you? And you better call her soon, if she finds out I know and didn’t tell her right away, she’ll come after me too.”

Spike dutifully took down several numbers for Dawn, Giles, and Buffy. Willow bemoaned the fact that they didn’t have a computer, so she couldn’t just email them the sewer schematics. She would have them overnighted to Xander’s P.O. Box. Xander came out with a mug of tea just as he was hanging up the phone.


Xander handed Spike the tea. He had very carefully made a pot the way Spike liked, and then liberally ‘spiked’ it with the brandy that had been sitting on top of the cabinets. Spike took a huge gulp, looked surprised, coughed several times, and drained the rest of the cup.

“S’good tea,” Spike sighed, leaning back into the couch.

“Want more?” Xander picked up the mug.

“Maybe I should call Dawn while I'm still sober…” Spike waffled.

“Two cups won’t make you drunk, and you might need the muscle relaxant when she comes flying through the phone to hit you.” Xander considered. “It might help with the shrieking, too. In fact, I’ll join you.” Xander went back into the kitchen and came out with two mugs.

They sipped, and stared at the phone.

“Bit’s gonna stake me.”

“I don’t think so, but she might make you wish she had.” Xander made a wry face. “You want me to call? I don’t think you can get away with not talking to her, but I can take the initial screaming.”

“Could put her on speakerphone. Tell her together, like.”

Xander smiled at Spike’s worried look. “Yeah, that’s a good idea.”

“You talk first,” Spike said, as he dialed the phone.

The ringing sounded loud in the small living room. Spike pushed back a cuticle with his thumbnail while they waited for Dawn to pick up.

“Hello?” Dawn’s voice was accompanied by the crackle of static.

“Hey, Dawnie! How’s Paris treating you?” Xander said cheerily. It was good to hear Dawn’s voice, even if she was going to lay into him in a minute.

Spike put the end of his thumb in his mouth and bit it, worrying the nail. He touched the speaker on the phone tenderly, as if Dawn were actually inside.

“Your voice sounds funny, is the connection weird?”

“No, honey, I have you on speakerphone.” Xander tried to give Spike a reassuring look, but the vampire was too focused on the phone to see.

“Speakerphone? Why? Is someone else there?” Dawn sounded worried.

“Yes, Dawnie, someone’s here, and he’d like to speak to you.” Xander reached across the couch and put his hand on Spike’s, wanting to comfort him in some way.

“Hey Bit.” Spike’s voice husked out, choked thick with emotion.

“Xander? That’s really not fucking funny. You don’t even sound like Spike. Who is dust. Buffy saw him burn up in Sunnydale, remember?”

“No, Bit, it’s really me. I’ve been back awhile, just kinda laying low, yeah?”

“Spike? Oh my gods, Spike?” Dawn burst into tears. “Xander, tell me this isn’t a trick!”

“It’s not a trick, Dawnie. I ran into him in a cemetery here in Cleveland a few months ago.”

MONTHS?!!? He’s been back months and nobody told me? You fucking prick!”

“Language, Bit!” Spike looked chagrined, but didn’t correct her on the amount of time he’d been back.

“Please, you taught me most of what you’re chiding me for, don’t you remember?” Dawn took a shuddering breath. “When can I see you? I need to see you.”

Dawn wanted to skip school and fly down that day, but they managed to talk her into waiting until school had a break, as it was only two weeks away. She agreed on the condition that Spike call her at least four times in those two weeks. Then it was time for her to leave for her 10 AM class. Xander looked at the clock; it was 2:30. He yawned. Then they said their goodbyes and hung up.


Spike hadn’t stopped staring at the phone since the moment Dawn’s voice had come through it. Xander gently pressed another cup of tea into his hands. “We don’t have to make any more phone calls tonight, Spike.”

“Think if we called the watcher, we could get him to tell Buffy?” Spike was sitting on the couch, but his body was tight. Xander’s heart was breaking a little at the evidence that Buffy could still create such a stir of emotion in the vampire. Xander locked it in the ‘no’ box, with all the other feelings he wasn’t supposed to be having about Spike.

“You don’t want to talk to Buffy?” Xander was confused.

“Some things are best left dust.” Spike sounded devastated, and Xander moved the phone to sit near him on the couch.

“Is there anything I can do to make this easier?” Xander kicked himself even as he said it. Firstly, could he be any more of a girl? Secondly, wasn’t he supposed to be keeping his feelings for Spike a secret? Not so much of a secret if he was laying his heart out for Spike to step on.

Spike leaned back on the couch and closed his eyes. He looked as pale as Xander had ever seen him. “Don’t think there’s an easy way to do this, pet.”

Xander dialed the phone, his eyes still on Spike. “Yeah Giles, it’s Xander. Spike’s undusty and living in Cleveland. You should find a way to break the news to Buffy that won’t have her coming over here to stake him. Don’t have time to discuss that now, Giles. Just tell her. Yeah, Dawn and Willow already know. Yeah, he’s helping me with that. Yeah, I’ll call you if anything happens.” He hung up.

Spike just stared at him. “Wow, Harris, that was… good of you.”

Xander just grinned. “Wanna kick my ass at Xbox before we crash?”

Part Four

Spike woke with a start. Blinking at the clock, he saw that it was 6:45 am. He had only been asleep about an hour. He heard a choked sob coming from the other room. That must have been what woke him up. He silently padded into the dark room, letting the demon out so he could see better. Xander was stirring restlessly. Spike stood over him, uncertain whether to wake him or not. He bent to shake the boy's shoulder, just as Xander shot straight up, yelling, "No, Betine! No!" There was a crack as their heads smacked together.

"Ouch!" They both said, rubbing their heads.

"What the hell, Spike?" Xander groused. "Trying to sleep over here."

"Doing a bang up job of it, too!" Spike snarked in return. "Who's Betine?" He asked more gently, returning to his human face.

Xander went very pale. "Oh."

Spike sat next to Xander's knees on the couch. "Xan?"

Xander looked up. Spike had turned his name into an endearment. The tears spilled over. "Betine was a slayer I knew in Africa. Her name -" a sob interrupted him, and Xander visibly struggled to continue. "Her name means `no more deaths'. She was a beautiful girl, full of promise. The Urhobo, her people, put a great stock in names. They changed her name when she was orphaned, to protect her. She supported herself, and her little brother being a midwife to nearby tribes. She was seventeen, and had brought at least fifty babies into the world. She believed it was bad luck to count them. When I came for her, she said she would go, but only if she could bring her brother." He took a deep, shuddering breath. Tears flowed freely down his face.

Spike took one of Xander's hands in his, and stroked the back of it. "What did she do that you tried to stop?"

Xander continued, almost as if he hadn't heard the question. "Ofuako, her brother, had the biggest smile in all of Africa, I swear. He was seven. He taught me jokes in his language, and would climb trees like a monkey and come back down with honeycomb for me. Somehow he never got stung. I called Giles and told him that Ofuako was coming back with us to England, and that it was non-negotiable. He could take it out of my paycheck, if need be." Xander combed the fingers of both hands back through his hair. "Did you know I was possessed by a hyena, back in high school?"

Spike was nonplussed by the seeming non sequitur. His hands itched to smooth the hair from Xander's forehead. Not a Big Bad thing to do, but his mother had done it for him, when he was alive. "No, pet, I hadn't heard that story." He stroked Xander's hair away from his face.

Xander nodded. "Yeah. So when I felt it happen the second time, I knew what it was, and could control it. Betine, on the other hand, went nuts. I had to stand over Ofuako with a knife to keep her from killing him. We were two days from civilization. Seems some of the magically-inclined women of the area had taken it badly when Betine decided to leave. I think they meant for her to kill both of us. I tried to keep moving, get Ofuako back to civilization, and get help. I was falling asleep at the wheel after 30 hours of driving, though, and we had to pull over. Betine got Ofuako while I was sleeping. I really tried not to sleep. But I did, and I failed him. I woke up to Betine standing over me, covered in her brother's blood. I only had a knife, but I slashed her across the arm, and she ran. I couldn't let her go around savaging people, so I chased her. She fought me, nearly killed me. In the end, though, I killed her." Xander looked at Spike with pleading eyes. "I had to. I didn't know what else to do." Spike merely nodded. "The hyena roared for me to keep killing, but I controlled it for long enough to find a shaman. He tried to remove the hyena, but said he couldn't do it without removing my humanity as well. He said it would leave me a shell. He sent me to another, more powerful shaman. I think I saw six or seven shamans in all, and they all told me it couldn't be done." Xander shuddered. "I'm a demon, now, on the inside."

"You're still a good man," Spike said simply.

Xander shook his head. "I'm not. Not on the inside."

Spike pulled Xander into his arms. "Not taking any arguments from you. Been a demon for longer, and certainly know goodness when I see it."

Xander sobbed again. "I can't ever go back to being who I was. I can't tell the girls, they wouldn't understand. I'm afraid Willow will try to take the hyena out, even if it's not safe. I love her, but I'm not sure what her idea of an acceptable loss is anymore."

"What matters is who you are today, Xan. Take it from someone who has some experience being a demon with a soul." Spike patted Xander's back awkwardly. "And if Red wants to get to you, she'll have to come through me."

Xander hiccupped and pressed his hot forehead to Spike's neck. "You can go back to bed now, if you want. I'm sorry to keep you up."

Spike snorted. "Yeah, I'm gonna leave you alone after all that. You can either bunk out with me on the bed, or I'm going to try to kip in that chair." Spike inclined his head to a chair near the couch.

Xander blushed from his toes to the roots of his hair. Spike had - however innocently - invited him to bed. "Uh-uh-um..."

"Right then, I'll just take the chair." Spike reluctantly began to disentangle himself from Xander.

Xander stopped him with a hand on his arm. "We can share the bed, Spike." Xander looked Spike in the eye.

Spike cradled Xander's face in his hand, and wiped away the remnants of tears with his thumb. Xander leaned into the touch, his eyelashes brushing his cheek when the intensity of Spike's gaze became too much for him. Spike tilted Xander's face up, and kissed him gently on the lips.

"Been wanting to do that for awhile." Spike pulled back. "Now is probably not the time, yeah?"

Xander bit his lip, trying to capture the taste of Spike on his lips. "Could we..." Xander looked at his hands. "Could we sleep on it?"

"Still want the bed?" was all Spike said.

Xander just nodded.

When Xander woke in the afternoon, he and Spike were back to back. Spike's cool skin lay along his spine like a damp cloth on a fevered head. Xander pressed back slightly, enjoying the coolness. He smiled when Spike rolled over, remembering the flavor of Spike on his lips.

"If I'd known you were better than a sodding electric blanket, I'd have tried getting into bed with you a lot sooner." Spike complained mildly, wrapping himself around Xander.

"You'd have gotten staked for trying. I wasn't so... accepting, before Africa." Xander rubbed the vampire's arms, where they had snaked around his stomach.

"Is it terrible if I'm happy about you being more accepting?" Spike buried his nose in the hair at the nape of Xander's neck, breathing in.

"No. No it's not." Xander hummed as Spike held him a little tighter. "Spike? If I tell you something, will you promise not to laugh?"

He wondered if he should turn around to face Spike while he was talking, but rationalized that he was more likely to actually say it, if he didn't have to contend with blue eyes. "Spike, I'm not... I've never done... I've never been attracted to a guy before." He inwardly cringed, waiting for the vampire's snort of derision.

It never came. Spike pulled Xander around to face him. "Truly, pet?" Xander's faced flamed as he nodded, trying not to meet his gaze. Spike rested his chin on the boy's bent head. "I've never been anyone's first, myself." Spike smiled sadly as Xander's head pulled up, he looked into disbelieving brown eyes. "S'true." He stroked the hair back from Xander's forehead. "Was a virgin when I was turned, and at first there was Dru and Angelus, then just Dru, for over a hundred years. Dru would have staked me had I come home smelling of sex, for all that she had her paramours. Then there was Harm - bloody huge mistake that was, but she'd had half the Sunnydale High football team before I showed up. Then there was Buffy. Mostly since then it's been just me. Angel and I, a few times, towards the end. I think we were both disappointed, though." He sighed, and closed his eyes, remembering.

Xander laid the lightest of possible kisses on Spike's forehead, then his closed eyelids, and finally his lips. He pulled back. "I need to go slowly, but I'd like to kiss you. Really kiss you, and have you kiss me back. Is that okay?"

Spike chuckled. "I honestly can't think of anything that would be more `okay.'"

Xander kissed him again, tentatively, at first. Nearly chaste, closed mouth kisses, that nevertheless made them both have to pull back after a few seconds to breathe. Their lips met again, Xander's hand moving up to Spike's arm to clutch at his shoulder, as Spike's hands stayed at Xander's waist, fisted in his shirt. He was desperately afraid to break whatever spell they had woven between the two of them, by doing something to startle the boy. When Xander's tongue finally came out to lick at his bottom lip, he moaned.

The sound went right through Xander. His hand moved to fist in Spike's hair, and he took advantage of the vampire's open mouth, plundering it with his tongue. His free hand moved to the small of the vampire's back, exerting pressure until they were pressed together from lips to toes. They were both hard and aching. Xander's hips began to thrust, rubbing his erection alongside Spike's.

Spike pulled back, his eyes golden in the half-dark of the bedroom. He was panting. "Slow, slow. Remember?"

Xander moaned. "I remember saying it, but not why I thought it was a good idea." He kissed his way down Spike's neck. "Want you."

Spike exerted all of his limited self-control to pull away again. "Gods know, Xander I want you, too. But I want you to be sure. Want you to want me, not just someone."

Xander rolled onto his back, but kept his hand in Spike's hair. "I get that. Not going to be easy, though." He laughed.

Spike gave him the eyebrow. "What's funny?"

Xander giggled, "Me. I am so gay." Spike shot him another look. "Well, I ran away from home to live with my vampire boyfriend, came close to getting groiny, and am about to go jerk off in the shower thinking about kissing him." Xander got up and kissed Spike on the head. "I'll be back."

Spike groaned, thought about wet, soapy Xander, and wished for a second bathroom.

Xander went to the post office alone, since it was still light outside. Spike to the opportunity to spend some private time in the bathroom.

When Xander came back he had just stepped out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist. "Uh, hi Spike." Xander stepped into his personal space and sniffed, nostrils flaring. "Thinking of me, I hope," he said, laying a hand on the vampire's chest, and kissing some water droplets from the corner of his eyes.

"You're pretty much the sum total of my thoughts, these days, luv. Not that I'm complaining." Spike was not going to make it if Xander's presence was going o make him hard every time. "Now go out to the counter, turn on some lights, and spread those out on the counter, while I get dressed, so we can look at them."

"Don't wanna," Xander pouted, tracing a droplet of water with his pinky.

"Yes, you do. And if you don't go now, I'll lay you over my knee, and make it so you can't sit for a week!" Spike prayed to whatever gods gave vampires gorgeous virgin boys as housemates that he would listen, because Spike's ability to say no was not getting any better.

He was totally unprepared for the wave of lust that hit him at that statement. Xander's eyes had gone dark, and a tiny, needy sound escaped him. Xander made several attempts to speak, but ended up turning and fleeing back to the kitchen area without saying anything intelligible.

Spike shut the door and leaned his forehead against it, before turning to get dressed. That man was going to be the final death of him.


They looked over the blueprints, Xander pointing out to Spike places in the sewers where they'd killed things. They figured that the body they had found had come from a drainage pipe for the golf course. They just had to find the right one. It was Spike that pointed out a pipe that seemed to come from nowhere, and end right where they had found the little girl.

"That means it's coming from somewhere above ground." Xander noted. "Maybe one of the sprinkler sheds on the golf course? There's one right near where we found the blanket."

"You haven't checked those already?"

"Well I did, externally, but they were all locked. I figured that meant no-one had broken in."

"Just means that our killer has a key. Let's go get him."

They left, grabbing coats and keys on the way out. Xander did double the speed limit the whole way there. They stood outside the shed while Spike picked the lock. "You ready?" he asked, waiting for Xander's nod before throwing open the doors. There was a blinding flash of light, and when Xander recovered his eyesight, Spike was on the ground, bleeding from a gash on the side of his head.

Xander felt the hyena rising up in him. He threw himself at the man who was standing over Spike, knocking him on the ground. Growling, he twisted the man's head with a sharp jerk, breaking his neck. Standing up, and dropping the body, he turned and fell to his knees beside Spike.

"Spike, I need you to wake up now. You need to come back to me. I just killed someone. Oh, gods, I just killed someone, Spike." Xander put his head on Spike's chest and sobbed with relief when the vampire stirred.

"Can't be dead unless I'm dust, git. Where is he?" Xander pointed with a shaking hand. "C'mon. If we put him through the chute the carrion eaters will take care of him."

Xander helped get him into the chute. He smelled like he had been living in the shed, grease and mold and unwashed male. There were drawings of mystical symbols on the wall and Spike took them all down.

"We'll send these to the Watcher, see what he was trying to do." Spike turned to look at Xander, but he was outside of the shed. He finished retching, took one look at Spike, and ran off across the golf course. Half an hour later, Spike was still searching. He had thought the boy just needed a minute, but was increasingly more worried as the minutes ticked by. He crossed the golf course, and scaled the cemetery fence. Xander would be looking for somewhere to be alone, and the old crypt was a likely place.

Spike opened the door without stopping, and was instantly rocked back by the fist in his face. He laughed, "Gonna deal with your problems the Scooby way, then? Beating me is a tried and true cure for what ails ya." He wiped the blood from his lips and licked it off his fingers. He took two more punches to the face before he reached out and caught Xander's hand. "Stop, pet. You'll regret this in the morning."

"You wanted the fucking monster, you got him." Xander growled, kicking out at Spike's feet. Spike went down, Xander on top of him. Spike flipped them, holding Xander's hands above his head.

"What, exactly, does punching me in the face solve, monkeyboy?" Spike asked calmly, moving to absorb Xander's struggles. Damned if the boy wasn't nearly demon-strong. Spike straddled Xander's hips. "Does it make you less of a demon to pummel me? Does it somehow prove your humanity if you make me bleed?" Spike spat blood at the wall. "That enough blood for you? You're almost as strong as the slayer was when she used to beat me then fuck me, is that what you're looking for?"

Xander went limp. "Gods, no, Spike - oh fuck." He sobbed. "I'm so fucked up. I'm sorry. So sorry. I never wanted to make you feel like that."

Spike let go of Xander's hands, and carded them through his hair. "I know, pet. I know. You're a little out of your head at the mo', but I'm not going anywhere. We're gonna get through this. You Scoobies are pretty much indestructible."

"I deserve to go to jail, Spike. I killed two people. I'm more of a killer than some of the fledges I've staked." Xander's breath was coming quick and hard between sobs.

Spike kissed his forehead. "Both times you killed someone who was about to kill you, or someone close to you. No fault in fighting to survive, pet."

"It hurts so much, Spike. Can you make it stop hurting?" Xander's hands were fisted in the front of Spike's shirt.

"Don't know about making it stop, but I can do my best to make you forget for a little while." Spike smoothed his hands down Xander's chest.

"Please," Xander whispered, pulling Spike towards him. They kissed cautiously at first, slowly. Xander licked the blood from Spike's split lip, and peppered it with tiny kisses. The taste of his blood in Xander's mouth made Spike painfully hard in just seconds, and the kiss became progressively more hungry and desperate.

Spike rucked Xander's shirt up under his arms, and began kissing his chest. Coming to a nipple, Spike teased it to a peak with his lips and tongue before biting it hard enough to make Xander hiss and arch his back. Spike slid a hand under Xander's hips and held him up. He licked, kissed and nibbled his way down Xander's twitching midriff, following the sparse trail of hair. Pulling open the buttons of Xander's jeans, Spike traced the length of his erection with the tip of an index finger. Xander groaned, and arched up into the touch, trying to increase the contact. Spike pulled his finger away, and drew Xander's pants and boxers down to his knees. Xander kicked his sneakers off and his pants soon followed.

Spike dragged his nails up the inside of Xander's thighs, causing his legs to part. Spike moved to kneel between Xander's legs, his cool breath on Xander's cock making him whimper and tilt his hips up towards Spike. The vampire kissed the sensitive spot on Xander's inner thigh, and bit down again, making Xander cry out, but not breaking the skin. Kissing the mark he had left, Spike slowly worked his way all the way around Xander's shaft without ever touching it, only to bite the other thigh.

"Please!" Xander begged, as Spike pressed the bite with his tongue, making it burn. Spike licked a drop of precum gently from the tip, and then slowly sucked the broad head into his mouth.

The salty taste was all Xander, and Spike pressed his thumbs into the marks on Xander's thighs, sucking hard, so that he came with a shout.

Spike sat back on his heels, as Xander melted bonelessly to the dirt floor. Xander reached for Spike, but the vampire pulled back, standing and picking up Xander's pants. "C'mon Xander. Let's go home."

When they got home, Spike led Xander to the couch. Once Xander was seated, Spike went to the bathroom and shut the door. After a few minutes, Xander heard the water running in the shower.

Not really knowing what to do, Xander made up the couch. He really hoped Spike would tell him that he didn't have to sleep out here alone, but was wary of encroaching on the vampire's space. He was ashamed of hitting Spike, taking all his anger and fear out on the smaller man. He tried to find the words to apologize, but none would come.

In the shower, Spike wavered between brushing his teeth and keeping the taste of Xander. There was a cold, heavy feeling in his gut, as he brushed his teeth, deciding to try and wash away the memory. He didn't want to remember his first taste of Xander mixed with the scent of death that he imagined hung all over him just now.

He didn't want to feel his affection for Xander tainted with the pain of being used, yet again, but it seemed he didn't have a choice about that. Soon Xander would toss him aside for someone more human, someone who brought out Xander's humanity instead of teasing out the demon. The cold, heavy feeling roiled up, and Spike had to lean against the wall until the wave of nausea passed.

He should leave Xander be. Pack up his stuff and leave, go to ground somewhere. Somewhere where he wouldn't taint people. Spike turned the water to cold and stood under the punishing spray as a single silent sob wracked his body.

He left the shower, shivering. Leaving the bathroom, he saw Xander sleeping on the couch. Yes. He was good enough for fighting and fucking, pleasing the demon inside, but when it came to something cleaner, more innocent, he was cast aside. Touching the rapidly fading bruise under his eye, he went to the bedroom and shut the door.

Xander awoke at noon to find an empty house and an envelope taped to the TV.


The apartment is paid up through June. I left enough cash in the safe in the closet for you to be comfortable until then. The key is in the bowl by the bed.

I'm so, so sorry.


Xander's mouth worked, but no sound came out. The paper fluttered to the floor.

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