Xander had a good internal clock. He knew it was that time between the dark of night and the light of morning when the world was grey and demons were slinking back to their lairs. A time of promise. A time he’d be sad to lose.
Spike’s arm was around his waist and he carelessly pushed it away, not concerned with the wakefulness or otherwise of this particular demon. Out of the bed and to the bathroom, relieving himself and back to counting tiles instead of wondering why the Guardian of the Hellmouth’s needs included him. Despite last night’s shower he felt dirty and needed to wash. He washed a lot. He ran some hot water into the basin and braced himself to look in the mirror. The image nearly brought a smile to his face: his hair was full of untidy kinks from where Spike had been fiddling with it, and it stuck out this way and that. He wet his hands and ran them over it a few times, smoothing it flatter but never managing flat.
The door magically opened behind him and he cursed himself for jumping at everything. Wrapping a towel around his waist, he turned so he could see what was invisible to the mirror.
“Morning. Bit early to be wandering around.”
Xander’s gaze travelled down and back up the body in front of him.
“I can see.”
“The difference. Where you’ve been feeding properly. Not much bigger but…fuller. Does that make sense?”
“It’ll do,” Spike laughed.
“You must be very strong,” Xander murmured, more to himself than Spike, reaching out and touching a plump bicep with one finger, feeling it turn to steel as Spike flexed the arm for him. The finger ran up, across, down, pecs, abs, stopping and yanking away when the owner saw the vampire was rapidly getting hard.
“Don’t stop,” Spike appealed, taking a step closer.
Xander attempted to turn away but Spike brought him back.
“Can I kiss you?”
“Why do you…! What is it you want, Spike?” Xander demanded, desperation creeping into his voice. “You just looking to get off? What’ll it be? Hands, mouth, ass? You can have what you want, just tell me.”
“Don’t, Xander. Makes you sound like a whore.”
Xander gave a brisk, humourless laugh and it was startling to Spike.
“But I am a whore. Always was. You know, despite what people thought about me I was never a good person, even back then. Sure I can save the world but I’ve never been able to stay faithful to anyone in my life. Funny when you think of it: the way I was over you and Anya fucking after – after – I’d walked out on her. Couple of days before the wedding I was taking it up the ass from three guys I met in a bar. Then I’m fucking this incredible man and thinking about wedding arrangements to calm me down and make it last longer. And safe sex? Forget it.” Xander felt Spike’s reaction, knew how wasted he looked. “No,” he sighed. “I never caught anything. I’m not AIDS-thin, not hepatitis-thin, I’m just…” Xander stopped, the pain having caught up once again. “I’m just a whore and I’m paying for it.”
“Guilt-thin,” Spike supplied.
“Guilt-thin,” Xander repeated before switching off and leaving Spike in silence and solitude.
The vampire followed him back to bed, snuggling close despite Xander’s discomfort, engaging in some tender touches that did very little to settle Xander, but gave him something to count. An hour passed.
“Mmm?” Spike asked drowsily from his own personal comfort zone.
“Did you want? Hands, mouth…”
“I want…to understand you.”
“You want to understand Xander Harris? Just picture a guy whose head was so far up his own ass he only saw daylight when he yawned. That’s all you need to know.”
“There are levels of understanding. I’d like to get beyond the basic.”
“And you can do that by kissing me?”
“That’s making contact, infiltrating your
That’s weakening your resolve to cut me
That’s…” Spike grinned. “That’s me doing what I’ve wanted to do for years.”
“You’re full of shit, you know that?”
“Don’t take it personally. In my heart I wanted to corrupt you all.”
“You’re so full of shit,” Xander muttered under his breath. “Don’t ask me again, all right? You don’t ask me that again.”
“I won’t ask again. If you’ll talk to me.”
“I am talking. Fucking hell, I haven’t spoken this much for a year.”
“Ranting isn’t conversation.”
“You’ve got a little fire in your belly today. I like that.”
“It won’t last,” Xander informed Spike tersely, rearranging his pillow and shoving his face into it, flicking his tongue around his mouth and counting his teeth.
Surrounded by blood, gallons of blood, drowning in blood, and Xander leapt awake, choking and sweating, grabbing onto the nearest thing that could divert his attention and today that happened to be the undead.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck…” Xander droned continuously, twisting and pressing into Spike’s sleepy embrace, holding onto the unlikeliest source of comfort he’d ever known as if his life depended on it, because maybe it did. Gratitude swelled in him as he felt Spike’s arms protectively surround him. “Fuck, Spike, oh fuck, help me…”
“You’re okay now. I won’t let anything have you.”
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry…”
Spike pulled Xander’s head onto his shoulder, listening to the babble and knowing it was statement not apology. He placated with touches and whispers and eventually the distraught human calmed.
“Ready to talk to me?”
“You have to. It’s a part of the choice you don’t have.”
“You’ve decided then?”
“You’re not rational enough to be given a choice. You’ll only say no.” Xander started to pull away and Spike held firm. “Stay with me. Talk to me.”
“Don’t you know? Haven’t your voices told you?”
“I need to hear it from you.”
Another hour slipped by; Xander fought to remain awake, knowing he was safe within this unrelenting grip. His fingers traced the shapes of Spike’s torso constantly, counting the ribs over and over and over again. When Spike’s hand closed over his, stilling his movements, he finally made the effort to get up, unhappy about having to wear the previous day’s clothes, but dressing and going downstairs. Ten minutes staring into the fridge, thinking about the taste combination of chocolate and Spike, before drinking a glass of water, finding his coat and heading out, crossing the road to the memorial park and spending the remainder of the morning sitting with the unliving dead. He talked to Buffy and found a surprising amount of peace, something he relished as his focus remained fixed on Spike’s house, on the window of the room where he slept. One house, one window, one room, one vampire. One future? One decision?
One decision he wasn’t to be permitted to make. He was too irrational. Xander dipped into his breast pocket and brought out his wallet, checking to see if there was anything of value left inside. But it was all there, including the price of bus tickets home. Home. His eyes flitted back to the window, catching a slight movement of the drapes and knowing that Spike was keeping tabs on him. If he was honest, Xander was surprised he’d been allowed to leave the house at all.
A young couple wandered through the park, faces he vaguely knew from the past. They glanced in his direction and away, no sign of recognition, but he didn’t expect it. He knew how wrong he looked here, how out of place. Stick-thin, prematurely grey-streaked hair sitting on his shoulders, unshaven, body hunched as if freezing despite a thick winter coat in the warmth of late spring. Dead eyes. Scary dead eyes that only Spike had the balls to look into. Lost and it showed. Dying and it showed.
He nearly yelped in surprise as a phone rang within a deep pocket, scrabbling to find it, wondering whether to answer it because the call was obviously for Spike because it was Spike’s phone that had got there God knows how. But answer it he did, charily offering a hello.
“Come in, Xander.”
“Don’t be mean.”
“You’re frightening the children.”
Xander started to look around for the traumatised youngsters before catching on.
“Bastard,” he murmured into the phone, but he liked the joke and that made the ache that lived in his chest erupt with a vengeance.
“Come in, love.”
The voice was warm and irresistible. Successfully manipulative. Xander looked over at the house and nodded. Switched the phone off and made his way slowly back.
Spike was still on the phone when Xander walked into the kitchen, now pretending to be Mr Harris and arranging to pick up his luggage from the bus depot.
“How did you know what company?” Xander asked as Spike put the phone down; Spike waved yesterday’s bus tickets at him. Well, obviously he’d been through the coat’s pockets or the phone wouldn’t have been there and, okay, that still didn’t make much sense.
“We’ll pick it up later.”
“I can collect it on the way home.”
Spike stared at Xander long, hard and heavy until the human buckled under the weight, dropped his head and counted floor tiles.
“I didn’t get you here so you could leave.”
“I’m trying to have a choice.”
“If I give you a choice you’ll be dead,” Spike yelled out of pure frustration. Xander did his best not to flinch. In the ensuing silence Spike relented and crossed to Xander, backing him into the door and running his hands up Xander’s arms and onto his shoulders, into his hair. Spike coaxed Xander into a hug, feeling the shaking intensify and Xander lean into him as if he wanted the contact and affection. “Don’t die, Xander. Please.”
“I don’t deserve this,” Xander protested weakly, not making any attempt to get away, if anything, leaning in harder. “Any of this.”
“I think that’s true. But not in the sense you mean.”
One final squeeze and Spike took Xander’s coat off, sitting him down at the table. Back from hanging the coat up and Spike put a plate in front of Xander: tiny amount of scrambled egg, one slice of toast. Xander looked horrified and it was only a vicelike grip on his shoulder that kept him in place.
“For me, Xander. Eat it fast and it’ll all be back soon anyway, no way you’ll keep it down after starving yourself for so long.”
“No! Take it away, I don’t want it, I don’t want anything. I don’t want this, I don’t want here, I don’t want you and I don’t want your phoney concern…”
Xander caught himself before he could tip into a full-blown panic attack, taking deep breaths and trying his best to shut down.
“You don’t want to feel,” Spike offered a last observation before taking the food away and replacing it with a glass of cordial which Xander lunged at and gulped down.
Spike left the jug on the table and sat down opposite Xander, lighting a cigarette and keeping the pack away from the human. He picked up a paper and filled in some of the crossword.
“What do you do all day?” Xander eventually asked.
“Depends what’s brewing. Sometimes, like the last few weeks, I’m just sitting around being bored. That’s one of the reasons I want you here.”
“Nothing to keep you occupied right now? Like, say, the end of the world?”
“Bugger all to be done about that yet. So company would be nice.”
“We used to drive each other nuts.”
“But we rarely got bored.”
“If you’re looking for light entertainment you picked the wrong guy.”
“It’s not just for… You weren’t part of some lucky dip, Xander. I didn’t put all the names of potential Consorts in a hat and pull you out. I thought about it, about who I wanted.”
“Consort? Consort? You never said.”
“Of course I never said, I thought I could trap you before you knew. Didn’t want to put the mockers on it by telling you the truth, did I?”
“Why a Consort?”
“That means something special, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah. What’s limacine?”
Xander shrugged, too preoccupied to give a damn about crossword puzzles, watching as Spike found and flicked through a dictionary. If he’d had the strength he would have been mad as hell: what Spike was suggesting didn’t make any sense: the level of commitment he wanted was impossible. But he didn’t have the strength. Sympathy, maybe, now he thought about it.
“Is it because you’re lonely?”
“I am lonely. Very lonely. But it’s more than that.”
“And you chose me.” Xander wasn’t going to take that in for quite a while now the C word had been aired. “I think I may just…”
“Don’t go out.” It was a request not an order. Spike finally looked up from his paper. “Don’t go away, Xander.”
“No. I was… I need a shave.” He ran his fingers into his hair. “You have any scissors? I thought I might get rid of some of this.”
“Shame. You look positively biblical. Bit of a novelty having Moses around the place.”
“I like it.”
“And that’s enough of a reason?”
“Up to you.”
Their eyes locked and held. Xander envied Spike’s calm, wanted to ask him how he’d found peace after all the terrible things he’d done over the years. Why he’d allowed himself to live. If he knew, if he could understand…
“Spike…?” Spike silently waited. “Limacine?”
“Slug-like. Not a stretch then?”
Spike chuckled as he turned back to the paper.
“Scissors are in the sink drawer. Gimme a shout if you need a hand.”
Xander touched his hair again.
“Maybe I’ll leave it. For now.”
He saw Spike’s smile widen before he turned to go.
Shaved, washed, sitting on Spike’s bed, waiting. Giving the vampire thirty minutes max before he showed. Xander thought about choices while he waited, and about how little time he had to make this one. The one he wasn’t permitted to make. Consort. Handing himself, body and soul, over to Spike. But it wasn’t as if he was making such a great job of his life, maybe he should hand it over and be done with it: the lack of responsibility would be a relief until the first time Spike tried something twice as dumb as Xander would ever have considered. So what if the vampire had changed over the years, so what if the soul had made him stop and think occasionally? He was still fundamentally that maniac from years past and when he was roused it showed. Showed? Understatement. Kind of like the way an earthquake showed.
“That’s a serious face,” came from the doorway. “But it seems to be the only one you packed.”
“Why so fast? The decision? Why does it have to be made by tomorrow?”
“You said Sunday.”
“By Sunday. Midnight Saturday.”
“Why so fast?”
“Thought if you said no I wouldn’t lose the whole weekend,” Spike grinned infuriatingly.
“You’re an earthquake,” Xander told him matter-of-factly.
That made Spike think, but not for long. He came and pushed Xander flat on the bed, straddling him, taking his wrists and pinning them above his head. His eyes gleamed with mischief and, curiously, Xander felt safer with this Spike than he did with contained Spike.
“Can I kiss you?”
“How about I bite you then?” he grinned. “Just…” He dipped, snarling as he pinched the skin of Xander’s neck between blunt teeth for a few seconds. “…here.” Devoid of a suitable reply, Xander found it safer to switch off his mind and tilt his head back, tentatively enjoying the vampire’s subdued growls as he began to nuzzle and suckle from shoulder to ear. “Wish you’d stop washing every five minutes. You barely taste of you.”
“I want to be clean.”
“Didn’t work for Pilate either, mate.”
An unexpected spark of anger and Xander twisted under Spike, almost throwing him off, earning himself some serious lust in eyes that now met his in a challenge.
“Want to get fucked, Xander?”
“You’re going about it the right way.”
“Get off of me.” The nothing voice was back and Spike sighed in disappointment. “Please, Spike.”
Another sigh and Spike climbed off, falling onto his back beside Xander and reaching out to take a reluctant hand.
“How long ago did it happen?”
“Did what happen?”
“That’s clever, I’m completely fooled by that.”
“You wish.” Spike kissed the back of Xander’s hand and smiled at the shiver of distaste or appreciation that distinguished itself from the usual tremor. “Doesn’t matter when. Not really. It’s the ‘what’ I need to hear.”
“I don’t want to…”
“Tough. Spit it out.” Xander attempted to roll away but was drawn back by the hand Spike was hanging onto. “Just the bare minimum.” No response. “Shall I then?”
“Okay. You met her…” Spike considered. “…at work? In a bar?”
Spike waited patiently for the answer he knew Xander would eventually give.
“Restaurant,” was quietly supplied, and Spike lowered his voice to meet the level.
“Waitress, manager, owner, customer?”
“She waited on your table and took a shine to you. She thinks, ‘Nice guy, pretty, built, wouldn’t mind him climbing aboard’.”
“Spike,” Xander snapped.
“No point in getting delicate now, is there?”
Xander took a long breath and a longer pause.
“You couldn’t just tell her to fuck off when she hit on you in the first place…”
“…even though you didn’t want her…”
“…for reasons we’ll come to later.”
“She proved to be a surprisingly naive little thing who didn’t understand that a boy who’d grown up in the suburbs of Hell needed more than she could possibly give him to fight off the demons in his head and the damnation in his heart.”
“An innocent,” Xander murmured, hand wriggling in Spike’s as he counted fingers.
“She fell in love with him, which is understandable…”
“…because he’s a fundamentally good man.”
“What she couldn’t get to grips with was the fact that he couldn’t love her back, that he was too damaged and too afraid to take that kind of a chance.”
“Spike…” The voice was shaking as hard as the body; Spike felt a frisson of excitement as he tipped the scales.
“And that naivety also meant she never got her head around the fact that he wasn’t, as she thought, respectful of her virtue, but didn’t actually want her on her back – or in any other position for that matter – and would rather disappear for days and nights at a time to…”
“She knew what I was like,” burst out of Xander like it had been waiting to escape for a long time. “I’d warned her often enough that I couldn’t be trusted and I wouldn’t change. I tried to be honest. I didn’t change. I wasn’t happy enough to change. I was never happy, always searching for something… Just, something. And one night when I was out searching for the something and fucking around with some couple I picked up at a club she was…she…”
Xander tugged his hand away, turned and curled into a ball and tried to shut the pain and guilt away again, but it pounded and pounded at him until he wanted to scream. He felt Spike’s hand playing with his hair.
“She ran herself a bath, climbed in, and slashed her wrists,” Spike finished for him conversationally.
“Why? Why are you doing this? If you already know.”
“You found her.”
Nothing to count. Nothing to count.
“I found her.
All her blood was in the water, gallons of
been there so long it was
“You were late?”
“Yes. Too late.”
“You were late, Xander, not too late. No doubt, according to her scheme, you were meant to find her, save her, and be guilted into signing away the rest of your life to her.”
“No. I let her down. She loved me.”
“That wasn’t love, that was coercion. That’s not a nice girl.”
“She was a nice girl.”
“You couldn’t touch her. Sometimes you couldn’t bear to look at her. Nor could you tell her to just fuck off out of your life.” Spike moved closer, rubbed Xander’s shoulder, rubbed his arm. “Who did she remind you of, Xander? Who did she look like?”
“Who did she remind you of?”
Pause. Brittle, breathless pause.
Spike allowed Xander a little time to recover, constantly petting and stroking, hearing the dull mutter as Xander counted the touches.
“Buffy didn’t die because of you.”
“I wasn’t there when she needed me,” Xander ground out through clenched teeth.
“Not your fault.”
“I should have been there.”
“And she should have waited until you were.”
“She might have lived.”
“No. She wasn’t meant to live.”
“She saved us.”
“You saved us. You saved the world. Again. Occupational hazard for carpenters.”
“I loved her.”
“I know. Me too.” Bare minimum and Spike wouldn’t push for more because it was possible to feel Xander switching off; Spike forced himself to perk up. “Come on, we’re not finished yet.”
“I’ve had enough. I want to die.”
“Later maybe, see how I’m feeling. Xander…”
“We have to do the acceptance thing. I know it’s tedious, but the Powers need your acceptance.”
“Firstly, you have to accept the past so we can move on. I want you, Xander.”
“This is… This has been about you?”
“This isn’t about me. This is about your acceptance.”
“What am I supposed to
Xander tried to scramble away but Spike had him pinned to
“That I’m such a – a… I don’t have a word,” Xander groaned, “There isn’t anything I can call myself that’s enough.”
“How about…human? Fallible? And how about repentant?”
“I am. I am so sorry. So sorry,” Xander assured him. “But I didn’t know she was that fragile and… No excuses. I have no excuses, Spike.”
“That I fucked up? I know I fucked up.”
“You’re missing the point.”
Xander stared into Spike’s eyes but couldn’t find the answer.
“Think about it.”
Anger gave Xander strength and he finally pushed himself out of Spike’s grasp and off of the bed. The tiny amount of energy expended on top of the emotional trauma drained him completely and he fell against the wall, slid to the floor.
“I can’t do any more thinking.” He looked to where Spike was lounging on the bed, watching with apparently casual interest. “I can’t think.”
“Starvation can do that to you. Better feed you up, give you a better chance of figuring it out.” But he made no move to leave.
“It’s not the food. It’s me being too stupid. I was always too stupid. Fuck knows, you reminded me enough. Special Ed.”
“Yeah. Sorry,” Spike said regretfully.
“Don’t be sorry about being right.”
There was a long pause as Spike watched the distraught human gulp in air and try to calm himself. The man’s despair was beautiful to see; Spike admired the flushed skin, the sheen of sweat, the glossy eyes. The tremor was becoming quite mesmeric. He had to move this along before he forgot his place.
“What am I supposed to be accepting? I can’t do this. I have to leave, I can’t be here.”
“But here is what you need to accept.”
Xander stared at the vampire, blinked to keep him in focus.
Spike crawled elegantly from the bed and toward Xander, scenting him, understanding better and wanting to consume his misery.
“No,” came the standard and oh-so-weak response.
At Xander’s feet, Spike grabbed the ankles and pulled Xander away from the wall, laying him flat on the floor and witnessing the boneless slump of a man no longer afraid of falling. Spike reclined at his side, one hand resting on his stomach and stroking, stroking, giving him something to count.
“You can’t run away from the inevitable.”
Xander thought, consciousness slipping, numbers, remembering, forgetting, numbers, wondering who was touching him, wondering why he deserved to be touched. A whispered clue and his eyes sprang open.
“The Hellmouth? Here? The Hellmouth?”
“Clever boy,” Spike murmured, shifting a little closer and drawing patterns around the buttons on Xander’s shirt.
“No,” and a mistimed swat. No second swat and Spike kept on drawing.
“Tell me about the Hellmouth.”
“We used to joke about being children of the Hellmouth,” Xander ventured, watching for Spike’s response and receiving the languid smile he admired and hated. “You’re bound to this place. Were we, are we? Am I?”
“That’s the something,” Spike stated baldly.
“That’s it?” Xander demanded, aghast. “That’s the something I can’t settle without? This fucking awful place?”
“Home.” Xander rolled his head away, wanted to pound it against the floor, would have if he’d had the energy to lift it in the first place. “You’ve been pining away, haven’t you? Trying to fill the void. You miss the slayer but you don’t really care that some bit-part player in your life topped herself…”
“That isn’t true!”
“What’s breaking you apart is needing this place. You belong here and it owns you. Stop fighting it. Accept.”
“It doesn’t make sense.”
“I might have cocked it up in the telling, but you get the drift: you leave, you’re punished; you come back, you’re saved.”
“The others left. Willow and Dawn left.”
“Oh, they’ve got sweet little itches they can’t bear to
They’ll fuck up so badly there’ll be no choice but to come back.”
“Like me. Was it me? Did I make it happen or did you? The Powers?”
“I can’t answer that.”
“If it was real why can’t I remember her name?” Spike went back to stroking and Xander counted. “It was real. But I can’t remember her name. What was her name?”
“Don’t know, love. Don’t care. I only care about you.”
“You’re special. That’s why I chose you.”
“Yes. Chose you to save the world. How’ll that look on the CV? Once could be considered heroic, twice might look like arrogance, thrice and you get your own ‘straight to video’.”
Spike moved closer still, breathed deeply, let the tantalising scent of Xander’s fear get him hard. He pressed his erection into Xander’s hip, ignoring the sudden tensing of the warm body beside him.
“You’re going to save the world for me. I’ll make you strong again. And I’ll make you mine. Between me and the Powers you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
Xander struggled to get away; Spike sighed and sat up.
“Don’t fight it, Xander. Home, Hellmouth, me, all part of the same package.”
“I don’t want this.”
“You do. You’re just scared. Trust me.”
“You’ve got be fucking joking!” Xander yelled; another mad scramble and he was staggering to his feet and heading for the way out.
Spike rose too, springing easily up and calmly grabbing Xander, tossing him onto the bed, following with a formidable air of determination.
“No choice, love. Sorry.”
Spike was poised over Xander, hands twisting in his clothes ready to tear apart any obstacles between him and his chosen one, when their eyes met. The emptiness in Xander’s was horrific; Xander was surprised again by the compassion in Spike’s expression and looked away, counting heartbeats. Spike lowered himself carefully, draped over Xander’s right side, mindful of how delicate the human seemed.
“I have to have you, Xander,” he explained tenderly, “and it has to be soon. I’ll make you mine. Make you live.”
“I’ll make you feel good.”
“I don’t want to feel good.”
Spike stroked the tangled hair, murmuring reassurances until Xander’s face turned to him.
“It would be wrong.” Spike peppered kisses over the brow and cheeks and jaw line. “No,” even though Xander didn’t attempt to move away.
“Can I kiss you?” Spike asked with a knowing grin.
“No,” Xander told him, voice trembling, as he gazed longingly at Spike’s mouth, offering his own as Spike leant in. “No,” muffled as their lips met, and Xander’s hands couldn’t decide whether to pull or push, yearning for and loathing contact.
Spike felt like he’d been hard since the moment he set eyes on Xander the previous day; he rubbed himself against a bony hip and acknowledged how much he wanted to touch Xander, caress his cock and feel it grow hard in his hand. But he was afraid. Even as their mouths learnt and tongues played he didn’t feel passion from Xander so much as desperation. What if that was all he’d ever inspire in the damaged human? Maybe he had no choice either and he’d just have to fuck Xander and see him stay soft and not wanting but tolerating. Spike knew that he needed more from his Consort, he wanted desire and love and trust and more desire and there couldn’t be enough desire: if Xander wasn’t aroused when Spike entered him and claimed him it would be unbearable. What if he never became aroused, what if…
He didn’t have time to be sentimental about this, and unless Xander was planning on one concerted late defence he’d be Spike’s and fucked and bitten and it’d all be over by midnight and was it too fucking much to find someone who wanted him? Someone that he wanted who could return the… Yes, get angry, angry, better than all the moody, broody stuff. He broke the kiss and got on with it.
“Want me? Xander?”
“No.” Spike’s hand rested on Xander’s fly, unmoving, aware of the distinct lack of heat and hardness beneath his palm. “No.” Button flicked open, zip slowly lowered. “No.”
“Bloody. Fucking. Fine.”
Spike gave up being measured and careful and hopefully, but of course sodding-well not, arousing, sitting up and tugging Xander’s clothes from him, seeing the shock and despair and finally understanding what people meant when they said their heart bled for.
“I’m sorry, all right?” he told Xander irritably. “I am sorry. But we’ve just got to…do it. Not think about it, just do it.”
“Don’t you have any choice either?”
“Fucking hell, Xander, don’t!” Spike stood beside the bed and removed his own clothes and he was as hard as Xander wasn’t. He looked at the human, not surprised to see the blank expression and the slight movement of the lips, and for a full minute tried to guess what Xander was counting now. “Xander. Xander, look at me.”
“I’ve seen it all before.”
“Look at me.” Xander sighed wretchedly and turned his head, trying not to let his gaze fall upon the obvious. But that’s exactly where Spike’s actions drew his attention. The vampire’s hand slid over his erection, slow and measured strokes. He spoke softly. “One. Two. Three. Four. Five…” Xander was immediately transfixed, whispering the count along with Spike, appearing to want to reach out and join in as Spike moved closer. Touching distance and Xander’s hand rapidly withdrew. Is it too much… “Xander, I have to have you.”
Xander’s gaze made the journey from Spike’s hand to his face, met his eyes and nodded resignedly. A couple of minutes looking totally lost and then Xander was shuffling over, giving Spike room to join him.
“Do you hate me for this?” Spike asked as he knelt beside him.
“Why not?” Because I think I might before we’re finished.
“I don’t know. Maybe because you think you’re doing the right thing.”
“The right thing for me.”
“Yeah, but who else would you be thinking of?”
Excellent shot. Severely wounded. Shall we get back to business?
Another crestfallen nod and Xander started to turn onto his hands and knees. A hand shot out to stop him.
“No. On your back. I want you to see it’s me.”
“But I don’t want to see it’s you.”
“I will not be one more anonymous fuck in your life.”
“Get over it.”
Xander made a second attempt to turn.
“You’re not strong enough for that.”
“You are. You can hold me up. Or let me go. You can still fuck me whatever.”
“Don’t ‘Xander’ me. Just do it. If it’s what you want, if I have no choice, then do it. I don’t care. It’s not like it matters.”
Spike threw Xander onto his back, trying to talk face-to-face but losing close contact as Xander brought up his arms and crossed them over his eyes.
“I’ll tell you what matters: you being Xander. The Xander I chose, the one I admire, my Xander. I don’t want you to be subservient. I want you to be the awkward bugger you always were. It was one of the reasons I chose you. I wanted someone strong enough to fight me, challenge me.”
Nothing from Xander and Spike was determined to get a response one way or another. His hand dropped to Xander’s groin, persistent fingers rolling and squeezing and pulling Xander’s cock to hardness, all to the expected litany of no’s. They stopped on a gasp as Spike shifted and his mouth brushed over chest and stomach, hands gripped shaking hips; cool lips ghosted over ultra-sensitive flesh and Xander stopped breathing altogether when he felt the trail of light kisses from balls to glans. His body remembered it had to breathe and forced a sharp inhalation, enough to allow Xander another…
…as Spike nuzzled the rigid flesh and spoke against it.
“Very nice. I always knew you’d be nice. Always knew there’d be plenty.”
“Please, Spike,” Xander whispered from beneath the shield of his arms. “If you have to fuck me get it over with. Don’t…”
“But you’re so tempting, Xander. Like this. Hard like this. You smell delicious. Beautiful cock.” Spike’s hand returned to the shaft and he began to vigorously pump. “Want to see you come for me, Xander. I’ve wanted to see that for a long time. See you seriously lose control.”
“No, no, no…” Xander rattled off in the midst of ragged breaths, but even as he begged Spike to stop his legs parted and bent, allowing him leverage to push up into Spike’s hand. Then the pumping stopped and Spike’s fist loosened; he could sense the frustration in Xander’s body and waited hopefully for the pleading to turn tack. Nothing.
“If you want this, Xander, you have to be prepared to do some taking or make some demands. I want your strength, remember? I want a battle for dominance, and there will be times when you’ll win, when you’ll be able to fuck me blind. Strength. I want to be able to take you and know you’re tough enough not to be hurt. I want…”
The sudden weakness in the vampire’s voice piqued Xander’s curiosity; his arms slowly fell away and he found Spike looking at him with open longing.
“To be wanted.”
Sincere regret clouded Xander’s face and Spike waited for another inadequate platitude.
“But you’ll let me fuck you?” the voice hardened again in disappointment.
“If there’s no choice.”
Spike gave a sharp laugh. Xander looked at him enquiringly.
“I had this ego trip planned stop by stop. Xander Harris in my bed and begging me. Wanting me so much and begging me.” Spike fell alongside Xander, mouth at his ear, and he spoke in an intense whisper as his hand forced Xander’s thighs far apart and fingertips sought out and rubbed over the tight ring of muscle at the entrance to his body. “Fuck me, Spike. Want you, Spike. Deeper, harder, fuck me, Spike. Come, Spike, make me yours, Spike, come in me, Spike…”
“Talking or touching?”
“I’ll shut up but I’m going to fuck you.” Xander took a shuddering breath and pushed himself at the teasing fingers. Spike smiled. “And when I ask if you want me you’ll say…”
“Which is a joke. Because you want something of me in you, don’t you, love? Fingers, tongue, cock. As long as there’s something opening you up and making you feel.”
“I thought you were shutting up.”
“I’ll fuck away that numbness for you. Fill you with my come and you’ll be claimed and have no say in whether you continue to kill yourself. And maybe you’ll be so grateful I’ll get a smile.”
Xander twisted his head away and Spike knew the smile was a forlorn hope. So, let the mind go without, still two cocks and an ass going to have some fun. Spike reached into the cabinet for the lubricant he’d bought the previous night, twisted it open and covered his fingers before returning them to Xander, breaching the muscle with one slick fingertip. Xander’s head snapped back, and the moment Spike saw the panic on his face he slowed down.
“It’s okay, I’ll be careful.”
“You don’t have to be careful,” Xander told him, and the panic became shame. “I’m used to this.” He visibly quailed at the flash of anger in Spike’s eyes, gasping at the pain when three fingers forced themselves into his body.
“Not recently,” Spike said tightly as he withdrew his hand, using more lubricant and returning to his task more gently.
Xander’s eyelids fluttered and closed as Spike sought his prostate and massaged. The effect was there – the customary trembling multiplied ten-fold. But the silence was not what Spike had expected, nor was the grim determination of this man to sustain that silence; Spike didn’t much like it. His hand withdrew for a second time and rested it on Xander’s thigh; Xander could feel the heat from his own body on his skin.
It took Xander a few seconds to get his focus back. This was Spike. Oh, sweet Jesus, this was Spike. Spike wanting to fuck him, to save his life, to fuck him, to give him a reason but not to give him a choice, to fuck him, to fuck him, to fuck him. And he’d asked him how many men. Like he’d carved notches into his headboard. Notches into his heart.
“I have no idea. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. Up until now it’s been your life, it’s been a slut’s life. But from this moment on it’s mine. These are the only hands that will touch you like this for the remainder of your existence.” Spike witnessed the astonishment and saw Xander trying to assimilate what he’d been told. “Say it then.”
“It’s all you keep saying.”
“What do you want me to say?”
“‘Yes,’ obviously. ‘Please,’ would be nice. ‘The others meant nothing,’ I’d probably pay for.” Xander stared at him blankly. “Say, ‘Fuck me, Spike’.”
Spike accepted it wasn’t going to happen, no invitation here. He knelt between Xander’s thighs, smothered his cock in the slick gel, and looked up to unexpectedly meet Xander’s eyes.
“Yes,” came the miserable whisper. “Please. The others meant nothing. Fuck me, Spike.”
And that prompted speech was far worse than the nothing Spike’d been expecting.
Spike reached down, fingered his cock into Xander, a little rough, maybe pushing harder than he should have because he was mad at himself for putting those words into Xander’s mouth, mad at Xander for allowing him to, and still fucking furious about all the men who’d been here before him. But Xander took him without a whimper before releasing a whole series of no’s, hips jerking up to get more of what he so fervently denied wanting.
It was glorious: burning heat and crushingly tight and Xander. His choice, his Consort, his…his love? Still silent but for the convulsive breaths that matched his (counted) thrusts so erotically, and the tortured expression was almost enough to make Spike come with a glance. Changing position, changing, changing, indelicately poking around inside Xander until contact was made with his prostate and the shakes became more about a fucked body than a fucked-up one. Xander squirmed beneath him, hands grasping at him, at the bed and the headboard, and Spike made it delightfully worse, leaning down and biting one nipple, pulling at the other, until mouth and hand were struck away.
Even that irritating word breaking the silence sent a charge to Spike’s groin.
“That’s it. Talk. Talk to me, Xander.”
“Tell me how you like me fucking you.”
“Talk to me.”
Something to think about and Xander forced himself to do that thinking. Forced himself to speak, however unsteadily due to Spike’s attentions.
“Talk to you? Okay. Shall I remind you that I’m not what you wanted, that I’m not… What was it? Strong. Stubborn.”
“Want you, Xander. Chose you.”
“I’ve been used, over and over I’ve been used, I can’t be as tight as you wanted.”
“Oh, you’re tight, you’re bloody wonderful.”
“You wanted to be the first, right? Thought you’d be the first, didn’t realise you’d get a whore instead of a virgin.”
“This is good, you feel good. Feel good. Shut up now and feel good.”
“You come and I go, right? You figure out that I’m wrong for what you want and you let me go.”
Spike slumped to a halt.
“You’re fucking useless at this, aren’t you?” Spike didn’t realise there had been any emotional input from Xander until he felt it withdraw. He’d managed to hurt him. Really hurt him. “I meant the banter. Just the banter.”
Spike saw Xander’s expression turn insular, and he waited. Still hard, still buried in the intoxicating heat of Xander’s body, he waited as Xander’s insubstantial wish for survival made war with his conscience. Shifting, Spike’s mouth found Xander’s neck and he licked and nibbled harmlessly, and his hips were moving with a will of their own because, physically, fucking Xander was as excellent as he’d always known it would be.
“No,” came routinely as Xander tilted his head back to give Spike better access, lifted his hips in encouragement.
“Come back to me, Xander. Your body’s not enough, I need your mind now. Need you to understand that you’re being claimed, ‘cause I’m relying on that loyalty kicking in when you know you belong to me. It’d be disloyal to kill yourself for some thoughtless bint when your Master needs you.”
“Don’t like that?”
Xander’s body contradicted his words, curling into Spike’s to make more contact.
“Consort,” Spike growled, relishing the concept, delighted when no denial of it came from the man beneath him. “But you don’t like Master,” Spike laughed to himself. “Bloody typical. Belligerent, disrespectful… Hell of a Consort you’ll make. Every soddin’ demon in the state’s going to be poking fun at me.”
This no had some depth and meaning, true meaning. Spike flattened Xander to the bed and kept him there and still while he thoughtfully studied him.
“What then? You can take the piss out of me all you like but no-one else is allowed to?” Xander studied him back through slitted eyes, giving nothing away. “I’ll settle for that. Considering this is you and me it ain’t bad at all.” Spike began to move again, leisurely now, making the most of every slippery inch of contact. “My Consort. Xander, mine.”
“I still have a choice,” Xander protested breathlessly as he willingly offered himself.
“No choice, Xander. I’m fucking that choice out of you.”
“I’m not your Consort, you haven’t bitten me, maybe I won’t let you bite me.”
“Don’t have to yet. Under these circumstances as soon as I come in you it’s over, you’re mine.”
Fucking hell, a reaction: after a brief moment of shocked immobility Xander’s hands grasped at Spike’s shoulders and pushed.
“Get off of me.”
“No,” Spike objected with a scowl. Mine. “No, no and sodding no.”
Xander’s sudden thrashing took the scowl from Spike’s face, replacing it with intense lust. The human lashed out, trying to knock Spike away, twisting his body in an attempt to free it from it’s impalement. Pointless against a vampire at the height of his powers. Barely retaining control, Spike frantically worked his cock in the fiery body beneath him, finding this battling Xander too erotic to resist. It wasn’t long before he fell still and whispered a warning.
“Gonna make me come, love. This is too good.”
Xander was exhausted, glad to have an excuse to stop the inane struggle. He rested for a while, poker-faced despite adoring the soft kisses and licks that Spike lazily applied to his body. It was wrong. Wrong to feel pleasure, wrong to want to live, wrong to be here and whole. Wrong to want Spike and what he was offering. Wrong to crave love and absolution.
Spike’s fingers explored his face, so lightly they almost tickled. A delicate way of attracting Xander’s attention, and he looked to see what Spike wanted. Him. The vampire’s eyes were shining with it. Spike wanted him. It made no sense whatsoever and exacerbated the guilt that was eating him alive. He jerked his head away from the touch.
“Get off of me, Spike. Please. Please?”
“You know, that isn’t precisely what I meant when I said I wanted you to beg.”
“Please get off me. Get out of me.”
Spike knelt up, keeping a firm grip on Xander’s hips and pulling him into his lap, keeping them joined. For a moment Xander’s hands couldn’t decide what to do at the loss of contact, and it was only then that Xander realised he’d been clinging to the vampire.
“Look at you, Xander,” Spike instructed in a low, sultry tone. “Look at you.” Xander gasped as a hand left his hip and the back of Spike’s fingers brushed against his erection. “Look, Xander.” Xander did look, momentarily, before falling back in embarrassment at being so exposed. No, he didn’t want this, it was obvious. “You’re dripping with pleasure. Dripping. And you taste…” Spike took wet fingers to his lips and sucked off the pre-come. “…like you want to come for me.”
“That’s what you’re scared of, isn’t it? Not that I’ll come for you but that you’ll come for me.”
“You’re scared that you’ll enjoy this and love me for making you feel so good, scared that you won’t want to leave me. All the pain and sacrifice will be for nothing if some filthy, disgusting demon makes you feel good. Gives you a reason to live simply by sticking his cock up your arse and filling you with his filthy, disgusting seed. Makes you want to live by taking your cock in his hand and milking you dry.”
“We’ll see, shall we?”
“Yes, Xander. Yes.”
Spike’s hand curled around Xander’s erection, gliding up and down, fast, slow, intense, teasing, exploring and tracing shapes and veins, circling the head and letting his fingertips paddle in the constant flow of clear fluid. Xander’s hands covered his face, muffling the pleas for Spike to stop, free him, leave him with his guilt and his penance. How sincere were those pleas when, behind the words, Xander was preoccupied with the sensation of Spike’s cock stretching him open, impatiently twitching inside him? He could feel those twitches through the shaking, which was now ferocious, and it made everything so much worse and how could Spike even want… So close, so close, oh please… The hand on him fell still.
“Spike?” Xander peered out, saw one inexplicably unhappy vampire. “Spike?”
“I need to fuck you.”
“I’m sorry to do this to you but I have to have
was no-one else I wanted and if I fuck this
up… I don’t understand why but it’ll mean being alone for a very long time. I’m not good alone. If you don’t want your life, Xander, let me have it.”
Once again holding Xander to him, Spike resumed their earlier position: the one least stressful – at least physically - for Xander. As Spike became accessible he was reached for, clawed at.
“Please. Please.” So ambiguous, the balance of distress and demand on Xander’s face. “Please, Spike.”
Spike needed to move and he moved, drawing out, thrusting in; whatever its present condition he adored this body, how could he ever part with it? How could Xander? Apparently he’d said that aloud and Xander murmured questions about the sanity of his statement, but the hands stopped clawing, started kneading. Urging.
“You don’t want me?” Spike demanded.
“Don’t want this?”
“Don’t want to be my Consort?”
Xander’s head turned, trying to hide the truth.
“No,” so much less convincingly and Spike was fired by hope; he picked up speed, groaning with the joy of fucking this temperamental sod. Xander fucked him back, pushing up onto his cock, rising to tiptoe in his enthusiasm. Spike’s hand fell onto Xander’s drooling erection and gripped hard, receiving a charged, “No,” and desperate tugs at his arm in a pointless attempt by Xander to stop the vampire bringing him to orgasm.
“Fight me all you like,” Spike panted. “I’m taking you now. Filling you now. Consort.”
“You’ve been waiting for someone to give you permission to live. You have it, Xander. You have permission to live. You’ll live for me. The Powers dictate. No choice.”
“Tell me to stop. Tell me.” And Spike slowed, shaking too as he teetered on the edge of coming, frantically wanting those last few thrusts that would fill this human with his seed, fill his life with this human. Much longer and Xander’s delectably hot body vibrating around his cock would solve the problem for them. “Tell me, Xander. Love.” Needing Xander to want him was torture. “Tell me to stop.”
Xander released Spike’s arm, and the moment seemed interminable before he awkwardly pushed himself up on to his elbows, hesitating before touching his lips to Spike’s in the gentlest, most highly charged kiss the vampire had ever experienced. He murmured his answer against Spike’s mouth.
Spike’s demon broke free and he roared into his climax; Xander collapsed onto the bed, fucked so hard and fast that he became a statue, breathlessly frozen in sensory overload as his semen shot in thick streams over their bellies and chests.
From a great distance Xander felt salvation pouring into his body as an unfamiliar cool filled him. Claimed him. Made him Consort.
Saved his life.