|Season 4 Riff
Author: Addisonia PM
OC development of Spander relationship through Pangs, Something Blue, Hush, and Doomed. Possibly also Restless. Eventual slash. Probably.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Spike & Xander H. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 8,286 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 01-21-13 - Published: 01-10-13 - id: 8895627
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Xander started walking down the stairs at Giles' apartment and collapsed on his butt on the fourth one from the top, feeling heartsick. Thanksgiving had been a wash after his attack of Chumash's Revenge, and then blurting out that Angel had been in town. As usual, no one had told him the visit was supposed to be a secret from Buffy, yet the big reveal was still somehow his fault. He was tired of being the useless human, too stupid to go to college, the victim of every curse blowing through town, who wasn't important enough to be kept in the loop.
He leaned back against the stairs, his spine stretching and popping. Buffy and Willow had left Giles' place, their ex-demon friend, Anya, going with them after failing to persuade him to go home with her. Her demon knowledge helped Giles and the Scoobies out a lot, and he liked her, but her attempts to learn about humans always left Xander feeling like a rat in a research lab.
So he was left to put Giles to bed. Which was probably of the good since Xander had plenty of experience with that sort of thing. The ex-Watcher's air of respectability could be impressive, but since he'd been fired by the Watchers Council, it had been rapidly disintegrating, and he looked a lot like Xander's folks in one key way – he had passed out from too much alcohol. Maybe that was Xander's super-power, driving every adult he cared about to drink. He'd agreed to stay and watch over Giles since he was stuck with the unexpected vampire houseguest.
Xander rubbed his face hard, then grabbed the banister to pull himself up. He hadn't eaten much dinner, still feeling the aftereffects of the Chumash diseases. Now that everyone was dispatched and his stress levels had gone down, he was hungry. Looking through the bars, he saw Spike, still sitting at the dinner table, tied to his chair. The blond head was bent low.
Xander suddenly realized the vampire's shoulders were shaking. Somehow, he doubted Spike was laughing. Well, everyone had troubles. Welcome to the club. If it didn't make him feel too much like his parents, Xander would probably join him in crying into a beer. So, unusually, he really wasn't up for gloating, or even acknowledging that he'd witnessed Spike's misery.
He got to his feet, thumped down the remainder of the stairs, and clattered around in the kitchen warming up a big ol' turkey drumstick, some cornbread, and extra gravy. He sat opposite Spike and tore into juicy thigh meat. The big advantage of no "company" was dispensing with silverware. Eating any kind of bird with a knife and fork was the dumbest idea, and some things were just finger-lickin' good. He became aware of hostile eyes on him.
"You look awful," he said critically, taking in Spike's sunken eyes and pale dry lips.
"Haven't eaten in awhile, have I." Spike's words felt like a whiplash, but Xander refused to feel guilty.
"You were an unexpected and uninvited guest, Fangless," he said. "Excuse us for not stocking up on your dietary needs." He popped some more hot moist turkey in his mouth, pulled another piece off and dipped it into the gravy. "When was the last time you ate anyway?" he asked, chewing.
Spike took a deep breath and rolled his eyes, his expression taking on a stubborn set. But then he changed his mind. "Properly? Before the Initiative got me."
Xander froze, wide-eyed, his heart starting to pound. The strip of turkey and gravy drooped, forgotten, halfway to his mouth. "The Initiative? But that was weeks ago!"
"That's not the half of it," Spike muttered.
"What do you mean?" Xander's roiling stomach was putting him off his food, and he started resenting Spike for it. But then he imagined how he'd feel if he hadn't eaten for weeks instead of hours. And he suddenly let himself see that the vampire was disturbingly thin.
"Put a chip in my head, didn't they," he spat, "drugged the blood they fed me, cut into my—" Spike gave him a caustic look and a dismissive shake of his head. He stared at the turkey in Xander's hand for a minute, then looked away.
Xander glanced at it too. "You can eat this though, right? Human food?"
Spike swallowed, misery and desperation chasing across his face. "Like eating onion rings," he grudged. "Tastes good, comforting weight in the stomach, but no nutritional value whatsoever."
Xander stared at Spike, realizing how bad the vampire really did look. Venting his frustrations on Spike had become habit, given their history and his festering grief and guilt over staking his best friend. But something ticked over inside him, and suddenly he felt like a bully picking on the helpless, and the thought nauseated him. A regular victim of bullying himself, the dawning realization that he was just paying the same ugliness forward yanked at his conscience. Abruptly, he stood and walked around the table and held the piece of turkey an inch or so above Spike's mouth.
Spike stared it and licked his lips. "It would be easier if you untie me and let me feed myself," he rasped before turning his head upward and opening his mouth.
Xander dropped in the strip of meat that was now cold, and experienced Spike chew and swallow. Desperate noises of pleasure and sheer relief coming from the vampire both reassured and horrified Xander. It was pathetic. Spike was right about one thing, it would be easier to untie him, but the thought of Giles' reaction if he should wake up and find that Xander had freed Spike firmed his resolve. He was already in a world of trouble with the Scoobies and wasn't about to dig a deeper hole. "Not my house, not my rules."
"So you're going to feed me like a zoo animal." Spike's tone was flat.
You should be grateful I'm going to feed you at all, Xander wanted to snap back. Reflexes. That's just how it was between them. Because Spike never ever acted weak, so Xander never felt like he was bullying.
Instead, Xander looked away for a moment. This was so not right. He realized Spike was looking at him again, hunger warring with pride in his expression. Xander felt the urge to wait out Spike's silence, then he sighed. Turns out he wasn't willing to make the vampire beg for food. He retrieved his plate, and leaned against the edge of the dinner table at Spike's side.
Xander pulled more turkey, dipped it in the gravy, and held it to Spike's mouth. He was aware of cobalt eyes slanting a wary gaze up at him while the vampire leaned forward and used his tongue and lips to maneuver the meat into his mouth. They repeated this operation until Xander started to relax and Spike stopped watching him. It was a few more mouthfuls before Xander realized with a start and a soft bubbling deep inside that gravy drips and grease on his fingers were being lapped up with cool, moist efficiency. He didn't let himself think too much about it.
"Do you want some juice or milk to wash it down?" asked Xander when all that was left on the plate was bones.
"Some of Watcher's . . . ex-Watcher's whisky stash will do me," said Spike with a grin.
Xander couldn't stop a faint smile. "Are you a mean drunk?" he asked, pushing the turkey's fat thigh bone around the plate.
"You've known me practically forever," growled Spike. "You should know."
"Oh right," said Xander. "You're just mean."
"I aim to please."
Xander fidgeted with the dinner plate. "Spike, I kind of remember from biology class that bone marrow makes red blood cells," he began hesitantly. "Do you think the marrow in this bone would help you?"
Spike raised an eyebrow. "I think once the bird's cooked," he replied, "the health benefits of bone marrow to vampires evaporate." Spike settled back and stared at him speculatively. "But that was very inventive, Harris. You can be quite resourceful sometimes, can't you."
Xander flushed and wished desperately that his enemy's words didn't make him want to spread his tail feathers like a peacock. "Well, that earned you a shot of Giles' finest," he said, avoiding Spike's eyes as he cleared the table.
He realized, as he washed the plate, that his fingers were completely clean of food. He wondered whether all vampires had the ability to disengage human self-preservation instincts, or whether the skill was a Spike Special. Because even now, he couldn't summon an ounce of panic. All he could think about was the chocolate fountain that had surged inside him when Spike chased a gravy drip and sucked a finger into the cool darkness of his mouth. And chocolate bubbles had gushed deep into Xander's belly, spilling even lower. Propped up next to Spike, Xander's state of semi-arousal couldn't be missed, but he fought the instinct to drop the food and walk away. The vampire was starving and didn't react. When it came to pride, both of them were getting a trouncing that day, and both of them were trying respect as a strategy to get past it. It seemed to be working.
Xander filled one of Giles' whisky tumblers half-full and brought it over to the table. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he muttered and held the glass to Spike's lips. Before he could tip it, the vampire pulled away, clearly startled.
"Bring the bottle, Harris."
"Not going that far, Spike, sorry."
Spike rolled his eyes. "Just want to look at the label. Pretty sure this is Laphroiag, but . . ."
With a sigh, Xander went and looked at the bottle, his eyes crossing at the unfamiliar jumble of letters. He thumped the bottle down in front of Spike.
"Bloody hell, can't believe Watcher was using this to make himself pass out." He grinned and resettled himself in the chair. "Be a love and put an ice cube in that. Just one."
Impatience shot through Xander. "Jeez, you want a drink or not?"
The vampire speared him with a look. "Open up your eyes and mind, boy, and get an education," he growled.
Xander jumped, and then mentally kicked himself. A tied up, chipped vampire putting the fear of all that was evil in him—get a grip, Xan-man. But this wasn't any vampire, this was William the Bloody. Xander obediently dropped an ice cube in the tumbler, drawing in a deep, shaky breath, and brought it back. He settled by Spike again.
"Now learn something," husked the vampire. "Keep turning that tumbler slowly until the ice cube just melts." As Xander awkwardly moved the glass, a frown creased Spike's brow. "Not meant to be shaken or stirred, boy," he said. "More like . . . swirled. But don't swirl because it'll only slosh and that'd be a waste. Just turn the glass around and around."
He watched the glass revolving in Xander's hands.
And Xander watched him.
It was obvious from Spike's half-lidded gaze that he would rather do this ritual for himself, but even second hand, his sensual enjoyment was transparent. Suddenly, all impatience fled and Xander wanted to do this right. He began rotating the tumbler more smoothly while the ice eroded away.
"What's the deal with the ice cube?" he asked.
"This is a distinctive, exceptional whisky," Spike murmured. "The just-melted ice opens up its flavour and fragrance."
Xander wondered, from the way Spike talked with quiet reverence, whether shouting would bruise the liquor or something. He was stunned by the joy from this simple pleasure that had begun radiating through the wreckage of Spike's life. Unlife. Wouldn't want to bruise the liquor if it could do that.
"Now." Spike leaned forward slightly, and Xander tipped the glass against his lips. He took a small sip, and some splashed down his chin.
"Bloody hell, Harris, not meant to be slugged back!" spluttered the vampire as he tried to chase the trickle of golden liquid with his front teeth.
Heart thumping, Xander reached out and caught the drips. Ran his finger up to Spike's lower lip. And when Spike tried to lick it up, popped his finger into his own warm mouth. Sharp alcohol and intense flavour exploded on his tongue.
Spike's eyebrows shot up and, staring at Xander, he sat back. His lips twitched, like the joke was on him and he had the grace to enjoy it.
"What do you taste?" he asked.
Xander grimaced. "The burn. Strong taste. Salt?" He shrugged. "Not sure I like it."
"Take a little sip into the front of your mouth," Spike said softly, "and let it roll back all over your tongue."
Xander felt a current go through him and he almost shook his head in an effort to get reality back into focus, because this was just . . . weird. A whole side to Spike that no one in Sunnydale suspected. Hidden depths that implied an exotic world out there that Xander knew through movies existed, but couldn't imagine as real. He pictured Spike and Dru completely at home in a James-Bond-Monte-Carlo setting, Spike slim and elegant in a tuxedo, Dru in a spangly, slinky long dress—a striking couple that turned heads everywhere they went. And something . . . complicated unfurled inside Xander at being allowed a glimpse of this side of Spike.
"OK, who are you, and what have you done to the steel-toed, street-brawling monster we know as Spike?" he joked shakily.
He couldn't bring himself to break the gaze with those sparkling sapphire eyes as he followed whisky-tasting instructions. Cool liquid turned to Greek fire as it coated his tongue and slipped down his throat. He coughed and his eyes watered.
"Holy crap!" he rasped, his stomach blooming with heat. Spike grinned as Xander blinked rapidly. He opened his mouth to snark.
"Wait just a minute," Spike interrupted, his eyes still dancing, still staring at Xander. "Now. Tell me what you taste."
Xander thought for a minute. The burning had burnt off, leaving . . .
"Bonfires," he said at last. "And the ocean. And . . ." Xander struggled for words.
"A tingle like the dying reverberations of the Rank Organization gong."
"Exactly!" Xander came off the edge of the table with excitement.
"You have the makings of a true connoisseur, young Harris," Spike laughed.
Xander pinked. Dammit, another zing of gratification.
He settled back down and fed Spike the Laphroiag in small sips. Occasionally, he dipped his finger in the glass and sucked on it. Somehow, it cut the sharpness that way. And Spike watched him with dark, hooded eyes that made his toes curl in a happy way.
"Like it, do you?" asked Spike.
"It grows on you." Xander pulled out a chair, and turned it around so he sat with his back to the table. He stretched and nestled in the buzz that was starting to infiltrate his mind.
"It's an acquired taste that most people don't acquire." Spike savoured another sip. "It takes a sophisticated palate."
Xander's insides started doing the very sophisticated Snoopy dance. "Stop with the compliments, would you?" he said. "Otherwise I'm going to have to . . ."
They stared at each other.
"Have to what?" Spike husked.
Xander didn't know what possessed him. But something Hellmouthy had to have. It was the only explanation. He lowered the glass to the table, startled when it thumped down. Without taking his eyes off Spike, he unbuttoned his cuff, pushed up his sleeve, and stretched out his inner forearm.
"Think you can drink some without setting off the chip if I volunteer?" he asked.
Spike made a sound very like a sob, flashed to game-face and back, and gazed at the expanse of flesh that presented the boy's radial artery to him.
"Xander," he whispered, and swallowed. "Please don't be toying with me, Xander."
Xander took in his look of desperation, watched him blink rapidly while moisture beaded into diamond dust on his lashes, and wondered why it had taken him so long to think of this.
"Not toying with you, Spike." Given Spike's level of starvation, it was surprisingly painful talking around the ache filling Xander's throat.
"Will you untie me?" Spike asked.
Xander's stomach sank and he shook his head. "Can't."
"Then . . . then get a couple of cushions to rest on," he said. "If this works, you won't be able to hold up your arm once I start and I won't be able to help you."
Something wiggled in Xander's gut that wasn't fear, and he resolved not to ask stupid questions like whether Spike knew when to stop. Either he trusted this starving but experienced Master vampire or he didn't, and he had to decide now.
The fatalism that had infected his life reared its head, as Xander realized he didn't care if fate said his number was up tonight. He wanted to live, but if the vampire drained him, it had been made perfectly clear that Xander wasn't doing anything earth-shattering with his life that would make any kind of difference to his friends and family. And Spike'd get dusted in the morning.
And if Xander wasn't drained, for once he would connect with one other . . . creature. However imperfectly. For a little while anyway. And dammit, at a time when no one else noticed him and on a day he'd been put through the grinder, Spike had made him feel happy and useful and . . . happy. He nodded and stood up.
"Please . . ." Spike looked at him, his trail of tears giving Xander pangs. "Please don't change your mind."
Xander hooked his hand awkwardly around Spike's head and pulled him against his thigh. "I won't." Spike pushed into him for a second.
Xander went to the couch and found three longish, flattish cushions in a deep red that stacked well. He laid them out on the table, and he adjusted Spike's binding so he could lean forward some. It was decided Spike would bite him upright, so if anything went wrong, he would have the leverage to pull away quickly. If all went well, he could push Xander's arm down to the stack of cushions and drink.
Xander adjusted his chair to position his arm at the right distance for Spike.
Stomach reeling, he breathed in and out.
He looked at Spike who changed into game-face. And he reached for the bottle of Laphroiag, and tossed the last two fingers of whisky down his throat, sputtering and blinking until the shock died away.
"Guess I'm not so much the connoisseur after all," he said, slamming the empty bottle down, feeling the burn all the way to his hands and feet.
Spike took a breath to speak.
"Not—" Xander said, hand covering Spike's mouth, "not changing my mind."
And he stretched out his arm.
The prickling of extremely sharp fang tips played against his skin, but as Spike pushed down, he only succeeded in pushing Xander's arm away. Xander braced it with his free hand underneath. This time Spike's fangs slid home delicately and perfectly.
Xander's head was spinning too much to feel any pain, and blood started flowing. Spike didn't go off into paroxysms of pain. Relieved, Xander moved his free hand behind Spike's head to make sure there was no inadvertent "separation of the saucer-section" as he lowered his arm to the cushions.
Xander watched him suck, listened to his moans of eagerness, and started to feel curls of lightheadedness, euphoria, deep-in-his-belly pleasure that made him groan and squirm in his chair. While Spike was distracted, Xander gave into the temptation to play with Spike's hair and lightly scratch the vampire's skull with his free hand.
Xander lowered his head to rest on his upper arm so he could watch Spike's jaw and throat muscles working as he sucked and drank, demon eyes closed, the alien face a picture of concentration. God, this felt so fucking good.
Eventually, Xander could sense the sucking slow down, and Spike unhurriedly retracted his fangs. He licked at blood still welling, and cleaned up some excess that had gotten away from him, and his game-face faded away. While he worked the puncture wounds on Xander's arm, waves of pleasure continued to zing through Xander's body. Xander swallowed, and unclenched the fingers which had tangled in Spike's hair.
"Christ, Xander, your blood! It's like caviar popping on my tongue," Spike said at last in a breathy voice, laying down his head on Xander's outstretched wrist and palm on the pillow. The fingers of Xander's other hand slipped from his hair and caught in the neckline of his black tee-shirt. "Tastes of antique brass and dappled sunshine with a low note of hazelnuts soaked in expensive liquor. You're like a bloody gourmet appetizer." He gusted a laugh and glanced slyly at Xander. "The French would call you an amuse-bouche. A mouth-teaser."
Xander stared into Spike's pretty, pretty face, so intimately close on a shared pillow, and shivered at the thought of teasing that mouth some more. And being called gourmet – for someone who had never been anything special that was quite probably the nicest thing anyone had said about him.
And it came from Spike. Jeez.
Xander breathed out a laugh too, and then stopped when he realized he was lightly scraping his nails along Spike's neck and collarbone. Echoes of pleasure still rippled through him, and he had no idea whether it was from the alcohol or Spike. The irony wasn't lost on him that the source of all his good feelings today hadn't been Willow or Buffy or Giles, but his deadliest enemy.
There was a dribble of blood on Spike's chin and, mimicking the Laphroiag action, Xander caught it on a finger. This time he pushed it into Spike's mouth. Spike sucked in his finger up to the knuckle and Xander sucked in a short, sharp breath. His eyes drifted shut while Spike mouthed the length of his finger, worked a second one in with it, worried the sensitive skin between the two, making Xander hum.
Xander cracked his eyes open. "You have a clever mouth," he murmured.
Working from the root of the fingers to the tip, Spike pulled away. "Really do," he said and kissed Xander's fingertips.
Fallen angel seemed like such an obvious metaphor for the glowing creature in front of Xander, so perfect, and his stomach swooped as he realized he wanted to touch that beautiful face . . . with his lips. But it didn't seem right to get that personal with someone who didn't have the freedom to get up and walk away if they weren't interested. Even someone he wasn't completely sure was a 'someone.'
Xander pulled out his hand from under Spike's head and tucked it under his own. "Your other face . . . show me."
Spike stared at him with an unreadable expression, then his face rippled and a demon rested its head not a foot away from Xander.
He didn't ask permission to touch, reached over and stroked fingertips across that scar that stood out even where the human-face eyebrow had faded away, caressed the ridges of Spike's forehead and nose bridge, sketched the triangle of his eye sockets framing golden rings around wide black pupils. Skin felt like brushed leather. He followed the length of Spike's nose and outlined his mouth, just now aware of the perfect fullness of his lower lip.
And Xander knew. He just knew he needed to go out and get laid. Right away.
Spike growled softly deep in his chest, and Xander grinned. Or, he thought he probably did. "Kitty," he said, scratching under Spike's ear.
"'M not a kitty," said Spike, baring his fangs. He didn't stop the growling, but it was more of a soft chuffing than a purr.
I'm petting a lion, thought Xander with a roller-coaster rush. He always picked the most dangerous rides. "Not just any kitty," he murmured, "Mr Kitty Fantastico."
Spike's chuff evolved into something between a growl and a roar, and his game face faded away. "I don't think any human has ever played with me before," he said sounding bemused, "and the last human I played with was . . . huh . . . you."
Xander's stomach twisted and his groin twitched. "The old factory near Breaker's Wood."
Spike nodded his agreement.
Xander's mind flashed back to a year earlier, playing possum while Spike laid him out on a bed in the basement where Willow worked on a spell. Vampire hands all over his body straightening him out. Fingers twining in his hair. Pillow pushed tenderly under his head. Oddly arousing smell of leather and liquor and smoke. Spike startled, pacing, ranting about Drusilla. Suddenly gone. And Xander left with feelings that broke his resolve to keep his hands off Willow.
So, Spike knew he'd come out of unconsciousness, hadn't been taken in by his fake blackout. Surprise.
"You should sleep now."
"Don't wanna," whispered Xander, feeling like a dead weight and a floating balloon at the same time. "Wanna look at you. And wanna touch you. All night."
"What you did for me tonight . . ." Spike murmured. "Want to touch you all night too."
Xander closed his eyes and thought about that. He opened his eyes. "Don't wanna look at me?"
"Not going to take my eyes off you, love," said Spike softly. Affectionately. "Not for a second."
Xander smiled and slept.