If Spike thought that he had Xander cowed, he was much mistaken. Xander had a healthy respect for vampires, everyone born on the hell mouth had the same disposition. Any fool knew that it was stupid to eyeball a vampire without a stake in hand, more so when he was a chipless, master vampire who had borne one too many of your hurtful jibes. But if Spike wanted to keep this strictly business, if he wanted to pretend that they had not averted apocalypses shoulder to shoulder for four years, then Xander was game. He would build the house, take the money and walk away. Alright, run away.
So they talked house. Xander was impressed by the amount of thought Spike had put into his design. Spike was impressed by Xander’s obvious knowledge about his trade and deferred to the man’s guidance. Bits of Xander’s heart grew dim at Spike’s polite, distant demeanour and by the time room service arrived, he felt like he was mourning the demise of a friend. Spike had changed, he was still witty – Xander closely observed him with the waiter – just not with him.
Strange things were
happening to Spike. Strangest of all was that he had found himself vaguely
craving for the whelp. Yes, he knew, he was the shame of his sire’s fangs and
the eternal scooby bitch, but what was a vampire to do, expect erect…good word,
wrong time…put up barriers? So it was up with
Xander cracked a smile when Spike lifted the silver dish cover, “pizza?”
“And beer,” Spike replied. “You don’t want poncy wine with this.”
“Nah, beer’s great,” Xander helped himself to a slice.
“Good. Man after my own heart,” Spike approved, going over to the mini-bar.
The pizza stopped halfway to Xander’s mouth. You mean that? Do you? Cause I’m a man after your own ass too. He shook his head, strike that.
“What?” Spike placed a beer in front of him.
“Hot,” Xander lied. “The pizza! The pizza’s hot,” and lied again.
Spike cocked his scarred brow, but nodded anyway. “So, you gonna arrange the site thing?”
“Yeah,” Xander munched, “sure. Just tell me when.” He swigged.
“Tomorrow night,” Spike drank more slowly.
He placed the bottle on the table, circled the neck with thumb and forefinger and drew his digits upwards, gathering condensation as he went. Xander gurgled, gasped, choked and coughed, spewing pizza all over Spike. The vampire was up in a flash, shaking the greasy mess off his sweater.
“Easy mate! This stuff’s fucking expensive!”
Xander swallowed. It struck him how absurd it was that Spike had a choking man at his table and all he could think about was his expensive shit. Absurd or maybe just fitting, for Spike. He smiled, then giggled, then howled. It was contagious, Spike chuckled right along with him.
“You wanna shoot some pool? Maybe go dancing? I mean, to hook up with a couple of girls, of course…not dance with me…”
Shut up, shut the fuck up! What’s gotten into you, Alexander L Harris? Can I just say, subconscious, that it’s what’s not getting into me that’s got me all screwy? Well ew! His inner voice replied, what would Buffy say? She'd say pack a stake and don’t close your eyes. I figure it’s how she survived Spike, that and the chip…
“Yeah, alright then,” Spike agreed, finally, finally smiling, “dancing, I think. I’ll even dance with you, Harris, if you buy me a beer.”
“Hey! No hitting on the Xan-man!” Take me now, here, on this table, Xander eyed Spike as he sauntered to his room to change his shirt.
“As if, Harris, you’re way past nummy treat – try mummy treat and the embalming's unravelling; yeah right there on your love handles,” Spike shot back, closing his bedroom door.
Xander examined his taut waist, reassuringly patted his lean abs and scowled at the closed door, “I do not have love handles!” He whispered to himself.
A bark of laughter sounded through the door.
* * * *
Xander’s chosen nightclub was heaving to the rafters. He and Spike appropriated a couple of bar stools and knocked back shots of Whiskey like they was a prohibitive law coming into force at midnight. Spike watched the dance floor, Xander surreptitiously watched Spike and both were avidly watched by various groups. They looked hot, Spike in his trademark black and Xander, dressed in cream and brown, looked like vanilla ice-cream on chocolate.
“You got a stick, mate?” Spike asked, after sending what seemed like the hundredth would-be suitor scurrying.
Xander chuckled, “sorry, didn’t even pack a stake,” he said, avoiding the wistful gaze of a dark-haired girl. Xander wasn’t interested in soft, doe shaped, brown eyes, Xander was getting set to fall into startling blue ones.
Spike hissed as a determined red-head stomped her way towards him. He hopped off the stool and leaned into Xander, whispering in his ear, “dance with me, Harris?”
“Huh?” Xander gulped, looking at the amber liquid in his shot glass.
“Dance,” Spike snatched Xander’s glass away, placing it on the bar, “with me. I’ve already told that bint to shove off three times. I’m out of bloody excuses.”
Oh, right. Now he was an excuse? Xander set his mouth mutinously. An excuse like, 'hang on there, honey, I just gotta take my super-antibiotic for my ubber-clap.'
“Please?” Spike’s eyes were drawn to his pouting lower lip.
Well, put like that… “Just as long as you’ll still respect me in the morning,” Xander slid off the stool.
“When did I ever respect you, whelp?” Spike smirked.
Xander dug his heels in, “you want me to excuse your undead ass or not, Spike?” He glanced at the red-head pushing her way through people.
“Want,” Spike pulled on his hand, walking backwards towards the dance floor.
Xander allowed himself to be drawn. He smiled into the dancing blue eyes and entwined their fingers together, “you want her to not come back?”
“Yeah…want,” Spike pulled him close.
Xander passed the hand clasping Spike’s round the vampire’s waist and rested it on the small of his back, jerking him against his broad chest, “you want me to make it convincing?” He leaned down to whisper in Spike’s ear.
A shiver skittered down Spike’s spine. Xander like this, dominating, teasing and so damn hot was a sight to behold. He turned his face into the side of Xander’s, “want,” he whispered, his lips grazing against the shell of Xander’s ear.
A shudder ran through Xander. He pulled away and stared into the half-mast, now dark blue eyes. This was Spike in his arms – male vampire, sometimes mortal enemy and used-to be attempted assassin. This was Spike pressed against him – sex in jeans, totally hot, looking at him like he was the only person in the room. Xander decided to blame the next ten minutes on the copious amounts of JD he had consumed.
The music throbbed around them, lively and not at all appropriate for a slow dance. Xander didn’t care and Spike cared even less. Xander shook off Spike’s hand and slowly ran both hands down the curve of his back and brought them to rest on Spike’s tight, much dreamed about butt. In for a cent, Xander thought, in for a dollar. He sought the side of Spike’s face and drew an earlobe into his mouth, gently sucking as he rubbed then rhythmically squeezed Spike’s ass.
“Oh?” Spike moaned. This was the despicable Zeppo, turning him into a handful of chuffing goo, right here on the danc…“Oh!”
Xander let go of his earlobe and stabbed his tongue into the shell of Spike’s ear in tempo with his squeezing. Their erections rubbed heads in greeting through restrictive denim as Xander pressed Spike’s pelvis impossibly closer and slowly, luxuriously swivelled his hips. The music was forgotten, the rhythm and pace was their own, set by Xander.
“Spike?” Xander blew into the ear.
“Hmm?” He wrapped his arms around Xander’s waist.
“You want this?” Xander nibbled at, then bit down on Spike’s earlobe.
“Oh! Oh, Oh!” Spike choked out, oblivious to the stares and nudges he was eliciting.
“Sorry?” Xander stood stock still.
“Want, yeah, want,” Spike moaned, squirming into him.
You couldn’t describe the feeling, of warm, lush flesh and scent surrounding you, of strong hands lighting a fire in you, of steady arms stopping you from falling…or getting you on your mark and set for a fall. But you could enjoy it and damned if he was going to get all pride having at this point. Spike pulled the shirt out of Xander’s pants and slid his hands and arms under, sighing at the feel of smooth, hot skin and smiling at Xander’s soft groan.
Xander anchored his hands in the soft, golden curls and levered Spike’s face out of the crook of his neck. He searched the blue eyes, hardly daring to breath and convinced that he had been possessed by an alien life-form at his next words.
“Spike?” He croaked, grazing his open lips across Spike’s, “Spike. You wanna come home with me?”
Spike hesitated, dropped his eyes to Xander’s panting, parted lips and was lost. “Want,” he nodded, zooming in and sucking on that full lower lip.
* * * *
Xander knew it was a mistake as soon as they stepped out of the club and a refreshing, sobering breeze slapped their faces. All the way home, Spike had sat squashed in one corner of the cab, staring out the dark window. Now he paced up and down Xander’s living room, like a caged panther that had suddenly discovered it had an audience.
“I’m not a poufter, you know,” Spike jumped back as Xander approached him with a mug of coffee. “Put it over there,” he pointed at the coffee table.
Drama much? Xander felt like a rapist and last time he’d checked, he hadn’t been the one getting all worked up in a bathroom. The thought stoked his anger, “I’m not gay either, as it fucking happens,” he grated, setting the drink on the table.
“No?” Spike laughed, “my bad. Only, I thought it was you mauling me on the bleeding dance floor!”
“You wanted and I gave,” Xander returned Spike’s self-satisfied smirk. Never mind that Xander himself had wanted just as ferociously. He sat on the coffee table, elbows propped on his knees and chin propped in a palm.
“’t’s’not the point,” Spike mumbled, unable to meet Xander’s eye.
“Then what is, Spike?” Xander asked. “You all bent out of shape because the donut boy had you groaning for more in a room full of people?” Xander knew he was right by the way Spike’s back stiffened. It rankled, to think that so many years on, Spike still thought of him as a mere fetcher and carrier of confectioneries and feeder of the slayer’s teenage army. “I see. Well, I’m not desperate, Spike. Get your narrow fanny outta here, no harm no foul. And I’ll speak to you Monday - about your fucking house.”
Spike stared speechlessly at the door Xander held open for him. He snagged his duster of old and pranced out of the apartment. The constriction he felt around his unbeating heart? Relief, is all. Xander slammed the door on Spike’s back and the vampire was momentarily overcome with the urge to bang his fists against the door, hollering, ‘let me in, let me in, pet. I’ll be good!’. He suppressed the urge as any good master vampire ought to be able to, and shouted at the door.
“And you can forget the site viewing tomorrow an' all, mate. I just don’t feel comfortable around you any more,” kick to the door, "wanker!"
“Hear that?” Silence. "That's my uncontrollable sobbing. Now just fuck off!" Xander yelled. Spike flipped a couple of fingers and swished his way to the ex-service elevator.
"Aw crap!" Xander buried his head in his pillow. On a scale of one to ten, one being pretty damn bad and ten being ideal? This was a disaster entering the minus zero territory – with many, many zeroes. This was a blunder of cosmic proportions. All he’d had to do was entice Spike – and buy him a year’s therapy for even thinking that sick, twisted thought – but could he do even that? Nope. No, Alexander Harris had to push it; had to ask ‘you wanna come home with me?’! I mean, neurotic, image-conscious, apparently hetero vampire and Xander had to ask THAT? Well, he didn’t see how he could face Spike now. He’d have to hand the account over to someone else.
* * * *
“Sorry, Alex,” Pete said kindly. “It’s you or no deal.”
“Forget it, Pete. That Lawson-Smith is a psychotic vam…man and I refuse to work with him,” Xander was ready to tear the stress ball apart with his teeth.
“We've had a whole heap of
complaints, Alex. Carter, yeah, the whole of the East Side
Carter, pulling out. Vincento, uh-huh, the very same
Vincento monopolising the
Xander bounced the yellow
ball on his desk. No way was he giving in to Spike’s threats. The vampire could
set his Champion of a fucking sire on him, for all he cared, Xander would
sooner resign. He had a round the world trip waiting on
“Tell his highness I don’t work here anymore,” Xander said.
“Alex, what’s this about?” Steve asked, peering at him. “Back tracking when the foundation is almost down, threatening to resign…it’s just not like you.”
Xander felt the stirrings of white hat guilt and ruthlessly squelched them down, “I just don’t like a pissy, pretend VIP manipulating me. Thought we were big enough to tell such guys to keep their money?”
“There’s big, and there’s huge…work it out, Alex. You might be able to shrug this off, but I’ve got kids in college and a wife to keep in the manner she’s become accustomed to,” Pete pleaded, “I just can’t afford to downscale.”
Xander squelched harder on the guilt, but it oozed out the sides, infecting his brain. He knew Pete’s kids, liked Pete’s offspring, “fine, but you take all the other assignments off of me, so I can finish Lawson-Smith’s commission,” Xander agreed, “all of them.”
“Done,” his partners grinned.
Xander decided that he hated Spike more than he had done in the good old bad days.
Spike laughed down the phone, said ‘bye to Dawn and ended the call. He idly skimmed a hand over his lower stomach and re-dialled. Spike did this about once a month, talked with l’il bit, chatted with Red and grunted with Buffy. She asked him to come help fight the demons filtering back into Sunnydale and he said he was too old for that gig. Within his first year away, the girls had noticed Spike’s disinterest about what Xander was doing and had stopped volunteering information.
Spike was also in touch with his pouf of a sire - bloody sire-childe obligations – and engaged in a yes, no, fuck off, conversation with Angel. Occasionally, Angel asked him to come help him help the helpless in LA, occasionally, Spike agreed.
Angel picked up on the fifth ring.
“Spike,” he said, before Spike had said anything.
“Peaches,” Spike drawled.
“How’s the house thing going?”
“Good,” Spike sighed.
“Who’s building it?” Angel sounded distracted.
“The whelp,” Spike said curtly.
“Xander?” More interest.
“Can you believe?”
“Oh…how’s that working out?” Angel asked, definitely interested.
“Don’t bloody ask!”
Angel chuckled, “how d’you get into these things?”
“Fuck knows,” Spike said morosely.
“Well, gotta go…and Spike?”
“Yeah and you can bloody well piss off an’ all,” Spike ended the call on Angel’s dark threats. Some things never changed.
He wandered around his suite, hating the plush confinement. Spike glanced at his lap-top, vaguely thought about doing some work and decided he couldn’t be arsed. He had learned a lot from his proximity with humans. They were vain gits who feared the ravages of time. When an opportunity arose to get his hands on an ancient elixir formula, Spike seized it and set up an Internet retail company selling the stuff.
'Ravages' grew and expanded, ensuring that Spike no longer had to filch blood money…or attack people in dark alley ways. Not that he had gone soft, mind, Spike got what he wanted, every time. And if physical force didn’t do the trick, he was now in a position to use other coercive tactics.
Which brought him nicely round to the topic of Harris. Who he didn’t want to think about because that reminded him of how he’d panted like a…like a…well, he'd panted. That was bad enough. Xander could have done anything to him on that dance floor and Spike would have spread his legs and begged PLEASE.
Well, it was time William the Bloody took the matter in hand. If they were going to shag - let’s face it, shag was pretty much a given - it would be on his terms. Spike would say when and how; he would dictate the first time, the last time and all the times in between. The matter in hand, Spike glided towards the bathroom, stripping off his sweat pants as he went. He had another matter to take in hand.