By Fit of Pique
Summary: Xander decides to follow Spike during "Sleeper"
Story notes: Spoilers through "Sleeper"
Rating: R (swearing, slash)
Disclaimer: All hail the mighty Joss, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, and revered affiliates.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Saussy, my most excellent beta reader.
I used to fantasize about some kind of turnabout is fair play scenario, and I know he deserves the torment, but I canít help feeling something for him when I hear him like that. I wouldnít call it compassion. And it certainly isnít forgiveness. But itís something. Something twisty and slippery, sliding and shimmering around the edges of my consciousness and fucking me up. Making me think about things that I would really rather not. Like how is it possible that Spike, an unrepentant, murdering, soulless demon, could one day up and decide to get a soul? He wanted it, he fought and suffered for it. And he had to know having a soul would be a punishment to him after what heís done. How can I keep rationalizing Anyaís willingness to give up her soul and become a demon and a murderer? Twice? And what about Willow? Sheís all soul-having, and look at what happened there. And letís not even think about me, about what Iíve done and what I failed to do and just everything. Everything that went wrong. All the things I fucked up.
These thoughts, theyíre like a basket of poisonous snakes sliding over and under and around one another and occasionally striking out and biting each other or themselves and is it a question then of which one is the most deadly? And how can I ever sort the writhing mess out? Why couldnít Spike have stayed gone? When he was gone, I was able to wrestle my hatred and resentment and self-doubt and jealousy and confusion into the lockbox in the back of my brain and voila, emotional well being for Xander. Ah, the three Rs. Repress, repress, repress. But now my lockbox is springing open like a freakiní jack in the box with a clown inside and can you say hello terror? I know I can.
I pretend to read the paper while I try to decide what to do. Iíve lived with the debatably evil undead long enough to be familiar with his getting ready to go out noises, and he is sure as hell making them right now. All the drawers opening and closing never ceases to confuse me. Is one black tee-shirt really any different than another? Spike must think so. Anyway. I know that if I tell him that he canít go out, heíll tell me to sod off and do it anyway. And if thereís any doubt about whether the chip is working, Iím not about to try to physically restrain him. And Iím pretty sure he wonít agree to me tagging along if heís going out on a jolly old killing spree. So my options here are extremely limited. I should call Buffy and tell her that heís leaving. But, for some reason, I know thatís not what Iím going to do.
Iíve already pocketed my cell phone and keys when Spike appears in the living room. He nods at me before grabbing his coat from the hook on the wall. He shrugs it on and starts carelessly shoving stuff in the pockets Ė cigarettes, keys, crumpled up bills and change.
ďSee you,Ē he mumbles and ducks out the door, leaving it to swing shut behind him.
The door closes with a whisper click and I make myself wait a full minute before I grab my jacket and follow him out. If Spikeís trolling the bars for victims, thereís really only one way he can go. When I reach the street, I catch a white-black glimpse of him a few blocks away as he turns the corner. Crap. Heís really boogying, but at least heís heading in the direction that I expected. I follow at a respectable clip, gaining a little, and soon Iím less than a block behind. Itís raining lightly and the streets are steaming, and I think Iím doing an excellent job of being stealthy when Spike suddenly stops in his tracks. He turns and Iím sure Iím screwed, but then he starts to talk. Actually, he starts to mumble and he hunches in on in himself in a way that has become disturbingly familiar to me since we became roomies again. Like a child being scolded. I crouch in the shadow of a trusty hedge and watch. Heís gesticulating now and talking a bit more loudly, but his voice is still an indistinct blur. After several minutes of this he finally stops talking, reaches into his pocket to pull out his cigarettes and matches, and lights up. In the brief flaring light, even from this distance, I can see that heís smiling. And itís not a good smile. Itís a slightly twisted, chilling, and very familiar smile Ė one I recognize from his pre-chip days. Oh shit. And just like old times, I feel that icy fist of fear clenching in my gut, ice water sluicing through my veins, and my heart thundering in my head like a herd of goddamn buffalo. Oh yeah. This is bad. This is very, very bad.
Spike takes a deep drag on his cigarette and pulls himself up to his full height. Not a big guy, Spike, but he really is larger than life sometimes. Thrusting his shoulders back, he starts to move again, faster now, and heís walking with that tight-assed, narrow-hipped swagger that has always gotten to me, in the sense that it really bugs the hell out of me. He seems to speed up and I lose him again a few blocks away from the centre of town. I reach the main drag without catching sight of him again. I ask the bartender at The Bronze if heís been in. They know who Iím talking about, but he hasnít been in tonight. I check Willyís Place. No dice. I check the other, even seedier demon bar, a couple of divey pubs, and then Iím at the end of the strip, standing stock still outside The Blue Anchor. I have a little internal debate about whether I should bother checking it out. I mean, Iím sure Spike wouldnít. Would he? Well, I guess blood is blood, right? So, before I can think about it too much, I push through the front door and wait for my eyes to adjust to the dimness of the room.
The bar is hazy with smoke and the dim light gives everything an eerie bluish cast. Even Spikeís hair is a silvery blue, like the underside of a cloud lit up during a lighting storm. Heís at the bar with his back to me, so I duck into the shadows of the nearest empty booth and just stare. Oh yeah, I am stealth man. I can see Spikeís razor-sharp profile as he turns to speak to the man standing next to him. The guy is taller than Spike, less compact, but still well muscled, with kind of dark wavy hair and an enormous, toothy smile. He reminds me of someone, but I canít for the life of me think who right now. He maybe looks a little like Holden Webster and that gives me a wiggins, because the reason Iím here is that Vamp!Holden told Buffy that Spike sired him, in spite of the chip and the soul. For the first time, Iím really afraid that the bloodsucker might have been telling the truth, because even from here I can see that the Spike at the bar isnít the crazy, beaten-down vamp who slunk out my apartment a half an hour ago. This Spike is on the prowl. He has his head tilted to the side and heís looking at his drinking buddy with heavy-lidded eyes and a lascivious half smile. He looks hungry, and maybe not just for blood.
It flits through my mind that I should call Buffy, but I canít tear my eyes away from the scenario playing itself out at the bar. Tall, dark, and soon-to-be-drained is staring at Spike with undisguised lust. He just touched Spikeís arm and laughed at whatever Spike said and Spike is inching closer and their legs are touching now. The guy is leaning into Spike and even though Iím sure nothing will happen here, in the bar, I wince when he twists his head to the side and exposes his neck. Spike leans in close and nuzzles his throat, inhaling deeply, and okay, I know a hook up when I see one and these two arenít going to be in the bar for long. And I strongly suspect that the poor guy will be in for an altogether different kind of sucking than heís anticipating if I let him leave with Spike. Maybe Mr. Lustdumb will get lucky and there will be both kinds of sucking Ė a sucking extravaganza, if you will Ė but I canít let Spike hurt anyone, not now. Iím out of my seat before I really have time to think about what Iím doing and in a blink Iím standing beside the two men at the bar. After what seems like an eternity, they notice me. Spike jumps.
ďBloody hell, Harris. What the fuck are you doiní here?Ē
Okay, Iím just going to have to wing this. ďWhat am I doing here? What am I doing here?Ē My voice is too loud and kind of shrill and people are staring. Good. Pay attention to us people. Crowding around us would be good too. Any takers? No? Damn. Okay, here goes. ďI wish I could ask you the same question Spike, but itís all too clear to me what youíre doing here. I canít believe you would do this again, you bastard.Ē
Spike is staring at me incredulously and his chew toy looks like he just found a hair in his drink. Spike shakes his head and starts to speak. ďWhat the hell are you on about, Xander?Ē He turns to the other man and makes that universal gesture. You know, the one that says, ďI have no idea what this guy is talking about, so letís just get out of here and away from him before he ruins my chance at getting lucky.Ē
Sorry Spike. Youíre not getting any kind of lucky on my watch. ďDo you have any idea how it makes me feel to find you gallivanting around behind my back like what we have doesnít mean anything to you?Ē
Spike turns and grabs the other manís arm. ďLetís get out of here, mate,Ē he says, as he attempts to hustle him away from the bar and me.
Amazingly, the guy still looks like he might go for it, so Iím going to have to get creative. I step in front of Spike and make a gesture toward myself that I hope looks seductive but suspect looks like a campy drag queen wiggle.
ďAre you going to try and tell me that you donít want this?Ē
Spike gives me his patented, What the hell? look, scarred eyebrow raised, disbelief plain on his face. My mind races as I watch Spike look from me to the door and back to me. Then inspiration strikes Ė the ultimate distraction for hungry and horny vampires on the make. I bite the inside of my cheek hard, hard enough to draw blood and then, when the metallic-tasting liquid fills my mouth, I grab Spikeís upper arms and crush him to me. He stiffens instantly, but I manage to press my mouth to his. His body seems to melt into me and I feel his tongue sweep between my lips, probing and tasting, and then heís sucking on my tongue and wrapping one arm around my waist and his other hand is sneaking under my shirt, running up down my side, and sliding up to tangle in my hair. How the hell is he doing all that? And weíre really kissing. Hard and hot and wet. And weíre pressed together and holy shit. I can feel his erection like steel against me and Iím oh so very hard and my knees feel weak and watery and everything else Ė the noise, my escalating fear, my heterosexuality Ė it all just falls away.
Iím suddenly very glad that Spikeís holding me so tightly because I feel kinda dizzy. And this is no longer just a distraction, if it ever really was. One of my hands moves of its own accord to grip the back of Spikeís neck which is smooth and cool and his hair is softer than I thought it would be and Iím grinding my now painfully erect cock into his hipbone and heís pressing his erection into my thigh and my head is swimming and what the hell is going on here? Iíve never been kissed like this before. So unfuckingbelievably good. Itís desperate and needy and tender and searing and I could kiss like this forever, but I need to breathe. And now Spikeís hand is sliding down my back and now itís on my ass and heís pulling me even more tightly to him and Ė oh sweet friction! Ė that sends a lightening bolt of pleasure to my already throbbing cock. Every inch of me is buzzing like a live wire. But I really need to breathe. I pull away reluctantly, dazed and panting.
Oh shit. All around us, heads are turned and the other bar patrons, mostly men, of course, are cheering and clapping. I donít see Spikeís friend anywhere. I try to will some of my blood away from my groin and up into my head so I can figure out what to do now. Because I was just doing what I had to do to defuse a difficult situation. And my response, and Spikeís response, to the thing, that happened, well, thatís neither here nor there. File that under ďdo not go thereĒ and get back to the situation at hand. I look at Spike and heís staring at me with a look of glazed confusion on his face.
ďWhatís going on, Harris? Why are you here?Ē He sounds genuinely and utterly bewildered. And heís kind of licking his lips absently like heís tasting something. My blood, I guess. And suddenly he looks like the Spike that left my apartment. Smaller. Broken. I experience a surge of emotion that I have never before felt toward Spike. I think itís compassion. He looks around the bar. ďWhat am I doing here? Did I do something? What did I do?Ē
His voice catches as he finishes speaking and another feeling kicks in. It might be protectiveness. I want to protect Spike. Somethingís wrong with him all right, and I never thought Iíd say this, but I donít think itís his fault. And suddenly Iím exhausted. My mind is in turmoil and my body is, well, letís just say itís also very confused. Iím still holding Spikeís arm and so I tug at it gently.
ďLetís go home, Spike. I think we need to call Buffy.Ē
He follows me passively, hands in pockets, shoulders hunched defensively, as we head out the door to the fading sound of catcalling and whistling. And then we trudge, feet slishing on the rain-damp Sunnydale streets, back toward our place.