Notes: This is for herself_nyc, who asked for friendly porny Spander. I'm not sure how friendly this one starts out, but I'm committed to keeping the tone light(ish)--we'll see how it goes. I started it on February 14, and it's a quirky little number, so I'm calling it My funny valentine





My Funny Valentine


by
Witling



Part One

There were lots of Slayers now. So many, in fact, that even with vamps all over the place, crawling out of the sewer tunnels like ants from a bombed nest, it was hard to feel too threatened. Things weren't what they used to be, Spike reflected, kicking the nearest fledgling in the balls. It was a tough time to be a vampire. Time was, Slayers came one at a time and you knew where you were with them. Now they were everywhere, they worked in teams, they lived past age of consent. Vamps, on the other hand, were starting to seem like the underdogs. Underground, in near-darkness, they should have had the advantage, but they were crumbling to dust all around him, like Dick bloody Clark, and none of them smelled more than a few weeks old. The girls' squeals of excitement bounced off the dank concrete walls.

"Come on!" That was Buffy's particular strident commander-in-chief squall, the one he heard in his dreams sometimes, the one he'd know if his head was cut off at the neck and his ears lopped off at the skull. Which was also something that happened in his dreams, now and then. "Ladies, we are leaving!"

There was some disappointed moaning, and Spike had to sidestep an overly enthusiastic last-gasp stakeage by Cinnamon, who stared at him wide-eyed when she realized what she'd done.

"Careful," said Harris, from just behind her. "The last thing we need is to friendly-fire the mascot vamp."

"I'm so sorry!" She reached out and actually patted him lightly on the shoulder. "I didn't know it was you, Spike."

"Maybe you should start bleaching again," Harris suggested. "You're so blendy now. It's hard to tell you from the common herd."

"Maybe you should polish your eye."

"Oh hey, zing."

"And I'm not your bloody mascot--" Spike broke off, because Harris was looking over his left shoulder, one finger raised to interrupt. The fledge he'd nut-sacked was on its pins again, fangs bared. He staked it and turned back. "So you can take all that heart-of-gold crap and stuff it--"

"Ladies!" Buffy shouted again, and this time he heard in her tone that she was pointing the word directly at him and Harris. "Come on!" The girls were straggling obediently back up the tunnel toward the ladder.

"Jawohl," Harris muttered. Spike gave him a look, and he returned a quirked quarter-smile. "Arbeit macht frei, I guess."

"That's not funny."

"I know."

They looked at each other for a second, then Harris shrugged and held out his hands palms-up, like a maitre d'. "After you."

Spike stooped to pick up Cinnamon's dropped jacket, then headed up the tunnel after the rest. Harris followed.

They bunched briefly at the el, where there was anxiety about which way to go. The newest girl, Shanelle, had a mouth on her and didn't like taking orders. She was going to be a handful. While she and Buffy hashed it out he found Cinnamon and gave her the jacket back. She looked a little disconcerted.

"That'll brush right off," he told her. "Or...you could get it cleaned."

Then they were moving again, up and out, and when they finally got back to street level he realized it was later than he'd thought, it was getting close to dawn, and that was probably why Buffy had called it a night, so he could make it back to the house above ground with the rest of them. Or maybe she was just tired. He was finding it harder and harder to remember a time when he'd had a handle on her, when he'd thought of her as a dirty little piece, a chit, a girl to love. Now she was always moving on ahead, seeing things before he did, laying plans for eventualities he hadn't even considered. Not that planning had ever been his strong suit, but still. She was beginning to intimidate him. He sort of hated it, and sort of expected it.

Back on the street, he knocked sewer off his boots and fished for a cigarette. For the last few months he'd been toying with the idea of moving on. Not L.A., he was done with that city. Maybe New York again. There was a branch of the Council there, he could get a job bashing heads. Maybe try his hand at writing. A memoir. They'd sell it as fiction, it'd make a bundle.

"Spike," Buffy said, pushing through the girls. "Where's Xander?"

He looked around. The pavement beside him was empty. His mouth swung open, the cigarette tacked to his lower lip, ash drifting down the front of his shirt.


~*~*~*~*~


The tunnels were endless, and they stank so badly he couldn't tell up from down. There was a trace in the spot where they'd been fighting, buried under a lot of dust and ash, and the girls' perfume. Harris didn't smell like much. The only reason Spike could pick anything out of the general slurry was that his smells were so familiar, those particular neural pathways so well-worn. When he'd had been seventeen Harris had smelled of donut grease and sex. That dire basement flat of his, the one with the bloody Barcalounger, had smelled of pizza crusts and beer and old socks and sex. He'd smelled of Anyanka and she'd smelled of him. On the table in the Magic Box, she'd smelled of him. After all that, after he came back from Africa, he smelled faintly of sweat and aftershave. Not sex anymore, but still. Familiar.

"Anything?" Buffy was watching him intently, a stake in each hand. He shrugged.

"It's a sewer. Smells like shit."

Her lips tightened. "So we go back and start checking tunnels."

"I guess so." He wiped his sleeve across his mouth and nose, and squinted up the pipe into darkness. "Could be anywhere by now."

"We're finding him tonight, Spike." She handed him a stake, butt end first. "You were supposed to be the last one out."

He was, that was the deal. She was the head, he was the ass. Between them, they kept the children safe. But Harris wasn't a child, he was a man who'd grown up with demons, and if the last thing ever to come out of his stupid mouth was a rotten Holocaust joke, Spike was going to go straight to the nearest bar and drink himself into a stupor, possibly into blindness. If he lasted that long. Buffy'd probably stake him before he got the first glass to his lips.

"We'll find him," he agreed, not because he felt any deep sense of certainty but because she was watching him with that look on her face, the one that made him feel like she was miles ahead. He stood and tucked the stake neatly into his back pocket, conscious that he had appearances to keep up.


~*~*~*~*~


They didn't find Harris that night. Not the following day, either, not even when Buffy relented and let the junior Slayers into the hunt, parceled out into groups of four so they could square up and watch out for each other. They took blueprints in cardboard tubes and scoured every inch of the tunnels for miles. Nothing. The night before, baby vamps had been spilling out of every pipe. Now, it was a boneyard beneath the streets. Worrisome.

He did more than his share, pounding down tunnels at a dead sprint for hours on end, eyes and ears open wide. It was a bit of a shocker when he turned a corner and almost ran into Buffy. He overbalanced, staggered, and she grabbed his shirt to keep him from stepping into the pool of filth in the base of the tunnel.

"What the--"

In her other hand, she held up a glowing blue stone. "Willow did a locator spell. He's close."

Red was in London, unlearning some things and learning others, last he'd heard. He'd had no idea she could locate something all the way from there. He'd had no idea Buffy had even been in touch.

"Right," he said, pulling his shirt free and finding his balance, trying to look unsurprised. "Lead the way."

She pulled a stake from her coat and started down a small side tunnel, holding the stone in front of her like a compass. Cool blue light caught the slime on the walls.

"Bit obvious," he observed, following at a distance. Buffy ignored him.

The tunnel carried on straight for a bit, then took a jog and got even narrower. The air was noticeably warmer, but somehow less foul. After another few minutes Spike realized the walls were dry.

"This isn't on the maps," he said. Buffy shook her head.

"We're not in the system anymore."

An old tunnel, he realized, from an older network, one that they'd replaced when the city had outgrown it. That was where they were now. The walls were old brick, crumbling at the corners.

"This must be where they're coming from," Buffy whispered. The stone in her palm pulsed brighter, then flashed almost white and went dim. She put it in her pocket. "I guess we're here."

"Oh, yeah?" He squinted ahead. An iron grate blocked the tunnel about a hundred yards ahead. "Any chance Red's stone needs a new battery?"

Something moved in the darkness past the grate, and they both had stakes out and up in a second. Buffy glanced at him, inquiring without speaking. He frowned. He could smell earth and roots, the coppery tang of metal, the dull blunt scent of brick. And also, maybe, very faintly...

He lowered his stake, and took a few steps forward. If it was Harris, it was odd Harris. It smelled flat and spicy at the same time, and also a bit like leather. And sex.

"I think..." A few steps away from Buffy, he could make out a slow, constant heartbeat. "Something, yeah. I think it's him."

She pushed past him, flicking on a little torch and running up to the grate. He followed one step behind. Not eager to see this, whatever it was.

Buffy's indrawn breath was enough, really. He was a vampire himself, he knew what to expect in situations like this. But still.

Harris lay on the bricks on the other side of the grate, in a little holding pen of rusted iron. He wasn't dead, didn't look injured. Maybe a couple of pinpricks in the side of his throat, but you'd get that shaving. Still had the patch on, still had his trousers on. Or someone's trousers, at least. They were black leather, they matched the collar. Someone had a sense of the gothic.

"What's wrong with him?" Buffy asked, flicking the light across his face. His eyes were half-open, his mouth half-ajar, the weird spicy-flat smell all over him. "Spike--what did they do to him?"

Not much, he thought, crouching down and testing the grate in his fist. It's just been a few hours, just a night and a day, they haven't had time to do much, at least he's alive. Out loud, he said, "He's drugged, that's all. Come on, grab hold of this."

Together they pried the bars apart, far enough to haul Harris out. He was limp and warm, faintly responsive then blotto again. He smelled like lots of different kinds of sex.

"It's okay," Buffy whispered, over and over, as they hot-footed it back down the tunnel the way they'd come. "It's okay, Xander, we've got you, you're going to be okay."

Later on, Spike realized that from the moment the stone went out until they met up with the others, she'd been that girl again. The girl he'd loved, the one who'd needed him.





Part Two

"I'm fine," Harris said, easing off the table with a slight wince. "Really, seriously. No lasting damage."

"You don't look fine." Buffy was in the chair by the door, her arms crossed tightly over her chest, looking like a woman waiting to hear she had to put the dog down. "You look...drained."

"There was some draining," Harris admitted, touching the little gauze squares on his neck. "Not as much as you'd think, though."

"You should rest," Parvati put in. She took her stethoscope off her neck and dropped it back into the drawer where she kept the basics. "Even modest bites, we don't know how they could affect the heart."

"The heart?" Buffy stared at Parvati, then at Harris. "What's wrong with his heart?"

"Nothing," Harris said. Parvati shrugged.

"Nothing," she confirmed. "As far as we can tell at the moment, Xander is perfectly healthy. I'm only suggesting we err on the side of caution."

"I like the sound of that," Buffy said.

"I don't." Off Buffy's look, Harris held up his hands in self-defense. "I'm not voting reckless, I'm just saying I'm okay. Really."

"You were wearing a collar, Xander."

"And let's all pause to cherish that image."

"You had leather pants on."

"Buffy."

"You didn't go down there wearing leather pants. Someone--some freak--put them on you."

"Parvati." He turned to her, hands steepled under his chin, the picture of fraying patience. "Please tell Buffy I'm okay."

Again, Parvati shrugged. "As far as I can tell, he's okay."

"I don't remember it," he said, for the fiftieth time. "Whatever they did, Buffy, I was out cold. I have a lingering sense of ick, but that's it. I'm good."

She frowned at him, then compressed the frown into something resembling a weary smile. "We got lucky," she murmured. "I guess."

"I'm just glad you guys showed up before the fun started." He smiled, rubbed his forehead, patted Buffy's elbow like a kindly vicar, and walked out.

Buffy and Parvati looked at Spike.

"Well?" Buffy asked, when the silence got long. Spike shifted.

"He's all right," he said, conscious of two flat, skeptical gazes on his face. "You heard him."

Parvati snorted. "He doesn't look at you," she said. "You're sitting right there, and he doesn't look at you at all."

"I noticed that too," Buffy said. "What's that all about?"

"Why would he look at me?" Spike stared at his thumbnail. "You two worry too much. He's fine. Nothing wrong with him."


~*~*~*~*~


Nobody believed that, of course--the juniors treated Harris with overbearing solicitousness, Buffy watched him every minute, Parvati had him back twice in the next week for vague, mysterious "follow-ups." It had to be tedious, but he put up with it good-naturedly enough. And really, even though exactly nobody was fooled into thinking everything was okay, he really did seem...fine. Maybe a little quiet, a little slower to take a jab when the opportunity presented itself. A little distracted, sort of like the way he'd been when he first came back from Africa.

There was also the fact that for about a week he steered completely clear of Spike. Spike walked into a room, Harris found a reason to leave it in the next minute or two. Spike was in the telly room with the girls, Harris went right on past and read the papers in the kitchen. If they had to be in the same place for some reason--training, or budget talk, or what have you--Harris took up a post at the farthest possible remove, and acted like Spike wasn't there at all. Spike considered feeling affronted, but couldn't work it up. It wasn't personal, it just had to do with being the only vampire Harris dealt with on a regular basis. Besides, collars could do things to a man. Best just to leave it alone, let him work it out in his own time.

He left it alone, and slowly Harris eased back into himself. They still didn't talk much, no heart-to-hearts over lager on the back steps after everyone was asleep, but at least he'd stopped fleeing on sight. Within a few weeks, Spike found he'd more or less forgotten about the...thing. The girls were forever needing to be trained, and Buffy was busy with the Council, the bills, the relentless forward movement of rebuilding the world on the shoulders of several million superwomen. It all took time, and Spike was back to filling in gaps, running errands, correcting stake grips, and wondering whether he should toss it all up and head east for a bit, when he realized Harris was looking at him.

It was dinner, the usual crowded, noisy, slightly hellish business of feeding eight grabby teenaged girls in a kitchen built for four at most. Usually Spike stayed out of it--he didn't eat, he claimed that hour for smoking and catching up on the tabloids--but that night he happened to be perched on a bar stool at the end of the long counter, listening with half an ear to Shanelle and Meadow discuss some bloke's toe fetish, and thinking idly about getting up for a beer, when he realized Harris was looking at him. Watching him, more like. They were on opposite sides of the kitchen, Harris slumped down at the far end of the table between Cinnamon and Lisa, his plate untouched, his arms crossed tightly over his chest. His eye was dark and steady on Spike's face. It took Spike by surprise--for a second he thought it was a warning, a silent message he was supposed to know how to interpret: Don't look now, but there's an ogre in the pantry. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up, and he straightened, frowning. Harris didn't move.

It took a few more seconds for Spike to recalculate. The look wasn't dire, it was just...intense. Deliberate. And completely unselfconscious. Harris was looking, Spike had noticed, and Harris wasn't looking away. If anything, his eye darkened, and his chin dropped to his chest, like a boxer inviting a fight. But it wasn't a fight he wanted. Spike had always counted himself a quick study on that front. Harris was thinking sex.

It was all a little out of the blue, especially after weeks of being ignored and years of being insulted. The look on Harris's face was practically predatory. It was a look that said: I am seeing you naked right now. In fact, I am tasting you naked. It was a look Spike was familiar with, on the faces of people like Angelus, Faith, and a few of the more definitively fallen clergymen he'd encountered over the years. It was not a familiar look on the face of Xander Harris.

After a few seconds of mental dithering, Spike settled on his course of action: do nothing. Feign ignorance. Put a collar around some blokes' necks and it sparked a chain reaction, split every Freudian fissure in their psyches. No telling where that could lead. Anyway, it wasn't Spike's business. Whatever Harris had done in that brick cell, it was between him and his god.

"He kept trying to suck her toes during," Shanelle said. "It's like, how flexible do you have to be?"

"Shut it, why don't you," he said, getting up and going to the fridge for that beer. Shanelle blew a puff of disdainful air after him. He was a member of the establishment now, he realized, twisting the cap off and flicking it onto the counter. Once upon a time he'd have been telling those stories himself; now he got stroppy over toe-sucking. When had that happened? And when had his life got so weird?

It got weirder still. He took the beer out to the porch and drank it leaning against the post, dragging on a cigarette. The sky was black and limitless, the stars like scattered salt. Just enough chill in the air to feel like they might get winter someday.

Behind him, the door opened and he heard the girls inside, laughing and fighting over the washing-up. It closed and he heard Harris sit down in the glider. He threw a cursory glance back over his shoulder, because that was the normal thing to do.

"Hey." Harris had his own beer balanced on his knee. He was just sitting there, calm as you please, but for some reason it made Spike's neck itch. He nodded and went back to smoking.

"Nice night." There was a faint creak from the glider chains; Harris was swinging. Spike made a so-so gesture with his head. "You going out later?"

Spike shook his head, drained the bottle, and considered chucking it onto the lawn for old time's sake. It didn't seem worth the effort.

"Want to come over to my place?"

There was a brief silence. Spike stared at the lawn, at the rough-cropped edges of the flower beds, the bushes the girls had planted on a weekend work day, months ago. Trying to keep up appearances, make the place look respectable. Never mind it hadn't had paint in twenty years and half the porch was sagging off.

"Why," he said slowly, thumbing the label around his bottle neck, "would I do that?"

Harris said nothing. The chains creaked.

"You got something on a shelf you can't reach?" In the nearly-three years they'd been here, in this little Sunnydale-alike town with its palm trees and picket fences, he'd never once been to Harris's flat. Never been asked, never wanted to go.

"Something like that." Harris's tone was mild, at ease. Spike thought, I must be going barmy.

"Get a ladder, then." He pinched the cigarette out, licked his thumb, and pressed it against the hot end. "I'm not your errand boy."

The chains stopped creaking. Harris stood up, stretched, and let out a long sigh.

"I'm going back in to clean up," he said. "Then I'm going back to my place. If you want to come."

"Maybe you didn't hear me," Spike said, letting irritation into his voice, but Harris was already opening the door and walking back into the house, and Spike was alone on the porch with his butt and his moral indignation. Neither one was particularly satisfying.





Part Three

Harris was as good as his word. He spent twenty minutes in the kitchen, overseeing the washing-up and putting-away, then shrugged into his jacket and left. Parvati was on the couch laughing at E.R., Buffy was somewhere upstairs doing paperwork. No need for menfolk to keep the homestead safe. Especially since the womenfolk were all bloody superheroes.

For an hour or so, Spike fidgeted around the place, avoiding his own thoughts. He watched telly with Parvati until she told him to stop biting his nails, then looked over the girls' shoulders at the mess they were making of their homework. "Piss off," Shanelle muttered, pressing her pencil eraser into her forehead with a frown. "I'm trying to freaking concentrate here."

His own bed, down in the basement, held no particular appeal. Buffy's door was always closed. He smoked another cigarette on the porch, mindlessly tapping out the rhythm to "God Save the Queen" on the post beside him. The Pistols version.

Finally, he flicked the cigarette end into the grass, stomped down the steps, and started walking fast in the direction of Harris's stupid flat.




~*~*~*~*~


"Hey." Harris was whispering. Harris was wet-haired, in a hideous orange T-shirt and khaki trousers. Harris, bizarrely, was on the phone. Spike wasn't sure why that seemed bizarre--he hadn't actually been expecting to open the door and find Harris al fresco on the duvet with a rose between his teeth--but for some reason it caught him off guard. It was hard to drive the situation when the other bloke had a bloody mobile pressed to his ear, and was giving you the abstracted, slightly bovine look people got when they were processing two situations at once. "Hang on just a second."

He turned to the side, and Spike heard Parvati's voice on the other end of the line. Sounded like she was recapping E.R.. Harris rubbed at the strap of his patch, nodding.

"Wow," he said. "The bottom of the S.S. Realism's just dropped right out, huh?" That started another tirade, and he cut it off hastily. "Hey, listen, I have to run. I've got something on the stove. Just wanted to let you know what's going on." He paused, listened, and nodded again. "Sure. I'll come deal with it tomorrow. Sleep tight." He flipped the phone closed, turned to Spike, and shrugged with a smile.

"Something on the stove?" Spike asked, in disbelief.

"Or whatever. Come on in." Harris stood aside, the door held open, and Spike realized that the invitation wasn't just pro forma--he'd never been in the flat before. Weird, that. Or maybe just normal. Why would he have been here? Warily, he stepped inside.

It was small and messy, a television in the far corner showing baseball in silence, newspapers all over the couch and coffee table. Shoes in a pile by the door, tools beside them. A small stack of cut plywood odds and ends, a couple of stakes in the mix. It smelled like Harris. Like beer and breakfast cereal, clean laundry and aftershave. It felt like it dragged him back years, back to a time when he hadn't had a soul, when he'd hated all of them, when he'd been despicable and gleeful and free and damned. It made his throat ache. For just a minute, before he shouldered a carapace of snark in self-defense.

"Pretty sad," he observed, looking around with his thumbs in his belt loops. Harris closed the door behind him.

"You want a beer?"

Spike said nothing. Harris went off to the kitchen. Looked small in there too, from what Spike could see.

"That Parvati on the phone?" he called, craning his neck to get the floorplan down. Bedroom off the kitchen, then. All right.

"Yeah." Harris was rummaging for a bottle opener, it sounded like.

"She just called?"

"No. I called her."

Spike paused. After a minute he said, "Why's that?"

"I didn't want those guys to worry."

"Worry about what?"

"You not coming back tonight." Harris walked back in with the bottle in his hand, offering it. His expression was completely calm. Spike stared at him.

"Who says I'm not going back?"

"Nobody." Harris waggled the beer, and without thinking, Spike took it. "Well, I guess I did. But there was no writing in stone. I just told them I asked you to come over to talk some stuff out. I didn't want them to freak out if they noticed you were missing."

Spike continued to stare. He could think of too many things to say--I'm a vampire, not a fucking housecat. Nobody worries if I'm out late. What are you playing at, anyway? Who the hell do you think you are? I stay out anytime I please. Most of it was lies, the rest of it was stupid. None of it was worth saying. He scowled and swigged the beer.

"You're a piece of work," he said at last, and turned away to despise the room some more.

"I guess I am," Harris said, in a musing tone. "And I have to say, I'm kind of surprised, myself."

"Yeah?" Spike walked to the coffee table and picked up an action figure, some miniature ponce in a black cape. "So, you want to talk some stuff out?"

"No."

Spike drank some beer, positioned the little ponce's hands in jerk-off mode, and tossed it down again. "What do you want, then?"

Harris said nothing. Spike could feel the weight of Harris's gaze on the back of his neck. It felt heavy and warm and persistent. He tightened his jaw and counted to five. Then he turned around, his best derisive Aren't we a saucy minx look on. Harris was just standing there, beer in one hand, a bead of water running down the side of his neck. Looking.

"Need something reached down from that shelf," Spike observed. "That it?"

Harris said nothing. He dropped his gaze, studied the label on his bottle for a second, then swigged from it and set it carefully down on the windowsill. Then he walked over to Spike and held out his hand. Spike looked at it.

"What?"

Harris sighed, took Spike's bottle out of his hand, and set it down on the coffee table. When he straightened up it was just the two of them, standing face to face, no make-believe stuff anymore. Harris's eye was dark, the pupil blown. Up close, he smelled like lust.

"Well, I guess it'd be a change," Spike said, and then Harris leaned forward and kissed him. Not on the mouth, or not squarely on, as if he were observing some rule of homophobic etiquette--on the side of his lips, then on his jaw, then a sort of biting-hard mouthing under the jaw, while Harris's hands found his shoulders and latched on tight. His mouth was hot, his breath was hot. It had been ages, Spike realized, since he'd felt warm breath on his skin.

"You are so fucking annoying," he muttered, then got his fingers into the back of Harris's hair and pulled his head back sharply, leaned over and licked a stripe up his throat. Clean-shaven, smelling like skin and soap and just faintly rough against his tongue. Harris was a five o'clock shadow kind of man. Time was, Spike used to like that kind pretty well.

Harris made a soft, startled urk sound, but he didn't fight the hold--he just staggered to keep his balance and then kept still while Spike chewed on the skin of his throat and ran a hand up the inside of his thigh to cup his dick. Why not--it was what he'd been asking for all night. Might as well see what was on offer. And it wasn't bad, either. Hot and hard, tight against the crotch of his trousers, eager against Spike's palm. Been a while since he'd felt that, too.

"Somebody got kinky," he murmured, with an assessing squeeze. "I always did take you for a pervert, under the surface."

"On," Harris gasped. "On the surface."

"Naughty boy." Standing there with Harris's dick in one hand, his skull in the other, Spike had an instant of unlooked-for introspection. What he was doing was insane. Insane with anyone, doubly insane with Harris. But not just insane--it was provoking. Harris wanted a kinky, painful vampire fuck, so who did he call? Who did he assume was willing to dish out whatever rare and special pleasures he'd acquired a taste for in his basement grotto?

Spike leaned down until his lips were to Harris's ear. Harris's breath was fast and shallow, his heart was leaping. He smelled like all the best things in the world, right there for the taking.

"I'm not your bloody mascot," Spike whispered.

"I know."

"Can't just snap your fingers and see me come running, Harris."

"I know that."

"I bloody resent--"

"Could you please," Harris said, struggling slightly to get his feet better placed, to take strain off his neck, "just fuck me already?"

Spike blinked. Before he could do anything about it, his own dick responded with a resounding Yes! He glared at it, then glared at Harris.

"Please," Harris said again. Not particularly craven, not too desperate. Certain, though. Insistent and heated and certain.

"Well," Spike said, pausing a moment longer with his fingers dug into Harris's flesh, "since you asked nicely."

He let go of Harris's dick and grabbed his ass instead, walked him back faster than he could keep travel and bashed him into the wall, then ground him into it full-body, teeth around his throat. It felt great. Harris let out a surprised cough, then caught up and started grappling at Spike's coat. It was off in a second, and Harris's hands were on his belt. Spike paused for a second to savor the moment. Weird that it was Harris, probably a bad idea, they'd never look each other in the eye again, but fuck, it'd been too long. He hadn't thrown caution to the wind in ages. And anyway, it was Harris who'd asked for it.

With a merry clink his belt was open, and Harris was fumbling at his fly. Hot hands, fast breath. Spike grabbed him by the neck again and flipped him around to face the wall. His head connected with a crack, and for a moment everything paused.

"Okay," Harris said, to the wall. "Just to be clear here, I'm not actually asking you to beat the shit out of me."

"Sorry."

"Frankly, just doing this with a guy is pushing my kink levels through the roof."

"Right."

"So, you know, I don't feel the need to be brutalized tonight."

Spike eased forward onto his toes, pressing his belly to Harris's back, rubbing at the hips so Harris could feel his dick. "Got it. No excessive force. Just...enough." He shoved his hips forward a little harder, and Harris leaned back with a groan.

"Just...yeah. Oh, God. Fuck. Yeah--" Harris trailed off into heavy breathing, his face lowered, the crown of his head pressed against the wall, his hips cantilevered back so his ass was pressed to Spike's fly. Spike had a brief moment of surreality--that Barcalounger, those drunken cretins, Anyanka, the priest with his thumb sunk deep in the bloody socket--this was Harris--and then he threw it all to the wind. He rubbed a hand down the seam of Harris's ass, through his trousers, spreading his legs. Harris moaned, fighting with his own fly.

"Lube," Spike snapped, backing off with his own fly half-undone, trying to remember what the hell was in his coat pockets.

"Here," Xander replied, fishing some foil out of his pocket. Spike raised an eyebrow and came back in a hurry to grab it.

"Handy."

"I try."

Spike ripped the packet with his teeth while Harris got his trousers down as far as it mattered. Then it was do or die, and despite himself, Spike paused with one hand covered in slick.

"You...sure?" he asked. "I mean, you really want--"

Harris banged his forehead against the wall: two distinct, measured bangs.

"I'm sure," he said. "I'm really fucking sure. I really fucking know that what I want is for you to--"

Spike slipped a lubed finger down and up, inside him, and he broke off with a grunt. He felt hot and tight, foreign and familiar at the same time. Spike pushed in, pulled out, and gauged the shudder that went through Harris in response.

"You all right?"

"Stop...being so fucking...nice. Please."

"Okay." Spike added a finger, slicking his dick with his free hand. Harris's hips were riding back now, familiar fuck-me rhythm, and Spike let his eyelids fall. It was so good. A hot body pressed to his, the embarrassing, wonderful sounds of need and lust. The smell of it, the electric teeth it sank into the backs of his thighs and calves. All so good he eased forward a little farther and pressed the head of his dick to Harris's ass, worked a little magic with his lube-slick fingers, and in a few seconds, probably before it was wise or fair or right, they were fucking for real.

It was just shallow at first, while Harris went rigid and stopped breathing and grabbed at the wall. Spike kept his eyes closed and tried not to move. Tried to think about washing-up and boot laces and anything but the sweet tight grip of Harris's ass around his dick. For God's sake, Harris. Tomorrow was going to be a disaster.

Then Harris let out a long, shuddering breath and eased back a few centimeters, then a few more. It was good lube. Spike held still and let Harris drive, let him work out how this part was going to go, because he knew from experience there was a difference between wanting to get fucked hard against a wall and those first few moments of being fucked hard against a wall. The muscles at the base of Harris's spine were rigid and trembling. Spike laid his palm there, and watched through half-closed eyes as Harris negotiated, moved back and adjusted, moved back again, then finally settled with a sigh. There was a pause.

When Spike started to move, it was cautiously. Harris tensed but took it, falling into the rhythm and gradually picking it up. He was making little gasping sounds, exhortations to the wall, just the kind of thing Spike liked.

"That good?" Spike asked, feeling his tendency to sex-talk kick in. "You like that?"

"Fuck, yeah." Harris sounded half-strangled, his forearms braced against the wall beside his head, his legs half-buckling. "Oh fuck, yes, please--"

"You like me fucking you, like my dick inside you--"

"God, yeah--"

"Take it like a slut, you--"

"Not...into...humiliation."

"Sorry."

"No...problem. Oh, fucking--God, yeah, like that--"

They were insane, some part of Spike's mind observed. Him and Harris, fucking against a wall like drunken footie thugs after a match. His dick, inside Harris. The pair of them, doing this thing. Unbelievable.

Also, unbelievably good. He only lasted a couple more minutes, then found himself hanging over a sudden precipice, stuttering, "God, fuck, I'm--fuck--"

"Come in me," Harris gasped, and that was it, magic words, game over. Spike's spine melted and his brain imploded with a quiet plop, like a frog leaping into a pond. He half-drove Harris into the wall, coming.

Then there was the immediate aftermath, leaden-limbed and half-deaf, trying to disengage the important bits with a minimum of mess, and failing. Harris stayed facing the wall, breathing hard, shuddering. When his own wits returned a little more, Spike realized he was jerking off.

Harris finished with a bang and a whimper, and Spike staggered backward and sank onto the arm of the couch. The sound of Harris's heavy breathing filled the room. It was completely insane, what they'd done. Totally lunatic. He still couldn't feel his feet.

"Okay," Harris said, turning and leaning back against the wall, hoisting his trousers back up with a slightly disgusted look and a wince. "That was...that was good. That did not suck."

"No," Spike agreed, messing blearily with his fly.

"Maybe some work on the name-calling thing."

"Right."

"And a little less neck-wringing next time."

"Right."

"But overall?"

"Not bad."

"Agreed." Harris wiped his hand down his trouser leg, glanced at it, and grimaced. "Sorry about calling Parvati. You don't have to stay. I mean, I'm not stalking you or anything."

Spike turned his head and considered the mess of newspapers on the couch behind him. "Anything sharp in there?"

"No. How come?"

Without saying anything, Spike let himself fall backward into soft squalor.




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