Spike lay back on the cot, and thought it wasn’t much better than the lid of the crypt he’d been laid on after Glory had beat the hell out of him. That seemed a lifetime ago. One of *their* lifetimes ago. He felt so tired. Tired of trying to hold himself up, trying to hold Buffy up. He was tired of her being plucky and brave and he was just…just fucking *tired*.He shifted on the cot and tried to get a bit more comfortable. He sighed and closed his eyes, began to play the little game he sometimes did to wile away the time till he was needed again, like a hound…and in the dark, like a hound, his world became defined by its odors. He began by categorizing the scents that wove their way around him, picking out the individual strands. First he concentrated on ignoring the overpowering smell of the basement, a sort of … wet sidewalk in a cold rain smell… the sickly sweet smell of cheap laundry detergent, the bite of bleach, filtering out the odor of moldering papers and the musty smell of old books. He began to tease out the smell of the people: Slayer scent; power, sunshine, blood and an odd almost demon-like tang, the Potentials; a funk of powder, fruity shampoos, that same slightly demon-like tang but fainter, and blood, blood-smell so pervasive that it set his teeth on edge and caused a constant ache in his gut, like being on the verge of hunger all the time, always, always damn hungry.
He caught the scent of Dawn, strong, and then fading, *must be going out*, and the now tiresomely familiar wave of longing swept over him. Dawn, who smelled of cotton, bubblegum, nail polish, mingled with the uniquely sweet perfume of her skin. He missed her easy friendship, her sisterly attachment to him. He missed someone caring about him with no expectation of anything but affection in return. The loss of Dawn cut him like a razor; he’d destroyed so much that night, so very much.
The game wasn’t amusing anymore.
Spike rose, and roamed about the small space, trailing his hand over boxes, punching the bag listlessly. He didn’t realize how dark it had gotten until the lights flared on, blinding him for a moment until his eyes quickly adjusted to the glare of the bulb.
Xander: popcorn, chocolate, sweat, medicine, leather.
Spike went back to the cot and sat, waiting for instruction or invective. Hard to say what would come out of the man’s mouth. He leaned back and stared at the rafters, fished a wrinkled pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. Xander scowled slightly, and moved back a bit from the cot. “You aren’t going to smoke in here, are you?”
Spike stared at him in exasperated surprise. “We’re probably not going to make it past the next couple of weeks and you’re worried about second hand smoke?” His tone and look clearly said ‘wanker’ but Xander looked stubborn.
“Well, some of us are trying to maintain standards. Unlike certain people of the dead and recently insane persuasions.” He glowered at Spike, the effect disturbing with only one eye. Spike noted Xander’ s heart rate sped up, but his smell didn’t indicate fear or anger, rather …anticipation?
He wanted to fight! Spike grinned and Xander’s scent changed again, became a little …sweeter. He was definitely intrigued now.
Spike lit up and blew a long satisfied plume of smoke towards the beams above him. The cot creaked as he shifted to face Xander. “So. How goes the blossoming of enhanced abilities then, Captain Kidd?”
“First, that’s clichéd, and rude, and fuck you… Second, I see myself as the dashing Nick Fury, agent of Shield. You asshole.” Xander actually sounded more companionable than annoyed, and Spike smirked a little.
“I’m assuming a …fifty percent increase in enhancement, because, ” He gestured at his eye, “Fifty percent impairment. And as far as my sense of smell goes, well, I wish it were fifty percent less of what it is. Do you know what a god-awful stench so many different perfumes and hairsprays and shampoos can make…” He shifted in the chair, trying to keep Spike in view whenever he moved. Spike noticed that, joking aside, it was taking a lot of effort for Xander to hold his head up - a sign the pain must be increasing. The smell of sweat and pain meds got stronger. He ground out the cigarette and ignored Xander’s grimace.
“Here. Let’s switch, so I can have a proper smoke and a beer, hmm?” Spike got up and indicated the cot. “Go on lie down, it won’t kill you. And neither will I,” he leered. The play of emotions across Xander’s face almost made Spike laugh out loud. Xander sensed something, started to snarl at Spike. Spike paused, bounced on his toes, considered ripping into him, using him as the dumping ground for all his frustration. No doubt the boy would try to give as good as he got. It was what they did.
Damn. He really couldn’t. He grounded himself, shoved his hands into his pockets, as he looked Xander over hard. ‘Look at the poor bastard’. Xander looked more like a beaten dog than the snarky teen he fought with so often. Besides, he was *supposed* to be a better person now. Souled up and more William and less The Bloody…
Xander’s shoulders dropped and he seemed to fold in on himself. “God, I hate that I came down here looking for, for what? I don’t even know myself. Hah.” He choked out a laugh. “ I’m the asshole here. I mean, why would *you* give a shit about this- this *everything*that’s killing me? Hell, I know you’d dance on my grave and probably vote on burying me tied to the Barcalounger of Doom.” Xander abruptly stopped talking. There was a heavy silence in the room and then after a moment, quietly, Spike snickered. “Barcalounger of Doom?”
Xander frowned, his lips twitched and finally he laughed. “ Shut up, Spike!” He stood, and actually let Spike move him to the cot. He wedged himself against the shelves at the head of the cot and leaned his head back. He rubbed gently along and over the patch, and let out a deep sigh.
“Hurts, eh?” Spike got a couple of beers out of the fridge, handed one to Xander.
“Thanks. Yeah, sometimes it hurts like a motherfuck. But worse, when I close my eyes, eye. I can… see that fucker, see his thumb…” Xander’s eye got glassy, his face pinked and his breath got short. “ Coming…coming straight at me, y’know?” He tilted his head forward till his face was in shadows. He paused a moment, breathing unevenly. “Do you know how fucked I feel?” His voice was low and rough when he continued. Spike had to strain to hear him. “ Damn. I thought I was getting somewhere, finding out who I am, being on my own, y’know? Finding out that I was more than Willow ’s friend or Buffy’s walking, talking conscience.” He rubbed his fingers over his mouth quickly and stole a glance at Spike, who looked at him closely, gave him a slight smile. Xander nodded as though Spike had spoken and continued. “ It felt…damn good. After all those years of Tony telling me I sucked, that I was useless and stupid. Man! You can’t imagine how good I felt.”
He folded forward and rested his head on fisted hands and a tremor ran through him.
‘Shit’ Spike thought as he caught a whiff of salt, and then heard the tiny breathy gasps Xander couldn’t help making. ‘ Damn. He’s crying. What do I do?’ He rose and made a movement towards Xander but drew back. ‘He’s not going to want me to acknowledge this; I’ll do that manly thing an’ scarper so he can get this out. On his own.’
He crossed in front of the cot and Xander put out a hand, just a tiny movement that could have easily been ignored. Spike wanted to ignore it, he really did. Out of all of them, Xander was the one he owed the least. And the one he owed the most. Damn. They’d saved each other, bled on each other. Okay, maybe most of the time, they were at each other’s throat…but Xander was..Xander . As all this went through his mind, he realized he’d been moving toward the cot anyway, and had taken Xander’s hand. He slid down next to the man, tentatively put his arm around Xander’s shoulder, and patted him as if he was made of glass.
“Erm, there, there. You have a right to feel like shit, mate.” He nearly recoiled when Xander made a sound like something being killed and grasped at Spike, pulled himself across the vampire and cried like a child. He gripped Spike like a lifeline and let it all loose. It was ugly and wet and nasty, and Spike held him like he’d always held on to Dru. He stroked Xander’s hair, and murmured familiar endearments as he unconsciously fell back on his role of protector and comforter.
Xander choked and gasped, snot running from his nose and tears drowning his eye, the physical pain barely registering against the psychic pain. He cried like his heart was breaking. He cried for the loss of so many: Jesse, the first person to believe in him and the first person he’d loved, Joyce, who taught him what a mother was supposed to be, even Larry, who in his own way had trusted in Xander. He cried for the loss of opportunity, for hurting Anya and he cried for himself .He cried for Spike and he cried for the end of all his dreams.
Spike had begun to rock Xander, and the young man practically crawled into his lap as he clutched and grabbed at Spike like a frightened kitten .He couldn’t turn away from this torrent of pain. Suddenly it was important to him that he help the kid in some way.
Spike arranged himself on the cot, wrapped Xander around him and sighed to himself. The grown man had regressed into the child, best let him ride it out and take the consequences as they came.
When Xander was finally able to breath again, Spike took a corner of the sheet and wiped his face, and replaced his head on his chest. He patted Xander’s hair and closed his eyes. The kid hiccupped a bit, and trembled in the aftermath of his emotional storm. He was warm, feverishly warm, and the heat was soaking into Spikes bones. He felt bad that it felt so good, but he shifted anyway, to capture more of that heat. Xander’s breath fluttered against Spike’s neck, and his hand scrapped across a nipple that went instantly hard.
‘Damn.’ Spike felt embarrassment at his involuntary arousal. ‘Trying to do something nice for a change, an’ he’s gonna think I’m playing for him.’ He tried to surreptitiously move away, but Xander clutched at him and made a little noise of disapproval. Spike’s shift in position ended up with Xander almost cradling Spike’s now obvious erection, the heat from his arm curling through Spike’s groin. When Xander moved and dragged his arm across Spike’s crotch, he nearly went into gameface fighting down the groan that worked its way up his throat. And then he heard a small noise, a tiny groan and Xander’s face turned into his hip and Xander’s hand cupped his dick. Spike’s hand shot down and stopped the other man from moving further.
“Don’t mate. That’s not what this is about.” Spike felt resistance as Xander pushed against his grip. “ S’not just for you.” he murmured. Spike’s grip relaxed and Xander unzipped him and reached inside his jeans. The first touch of his hand was so hot that Spike gasped, and it seemed to encourage Xander. He pulled the jeans down far enough to get at Spike, and didn’t hesitate to lick over the slick tip of Spike’s dick.
“Shit! What has this kid been doing!” Spike was shocked at Xander, and shocked that this didn’t seem to be a first time event for the boy. ‘ So, not a maiden voyage here’ and he felt a quick sizzle of irrational jealousy that dissolved in the feel of Xander’s tongue scrubbing the head of his dick. No finesse, no seductive art, just Xander giving him a wet and sloppy blowjob, full of need and desire. Spike heard the sound of a snap and Xander’s scent escalated, alerting Spike just as the sound of skin sliding against skin registered with him. Just the thought that Xander was jerking off at the same time he was blowing him made him groan, lust hit him in a wave so hard it hurt. Xander froze. “ Did I….”
God no! That was good! Good noise!”
Xander grinned up at Spike and for a moment looked like he did long ago, before Sunnydale managed to grind almost every bit of spirit from him. Spike had to close his eyes “ Please Xander,” he begged. “ Do that again.”
Xander sank down on Spike and sucked him back into his mouth. His hand dropped down again to his dick and Spike listened with mounting excitement to Xander jerking himself. ‘God!’ He started to shiver and he bit his lip to keep from making all the noise he wanted to, didn’t want to call attention after all. Xander lost a little rhythm as he speeded up, but Spike was panting and trembling in waves now. So close to coming that the basement could have blown up, the Master been reborn or Angel materialized in front of him in a tutu singing and he wouldn’t have given a –
*Fuck*! Xander was groaning and quivering and trying to swallow him whole, Spike could smell the salt-earth smell of his cum. The combination of sensations pushed him over the edge, made him come so hard he felt like he was flying. Xander was swallowing frantically, making greedy little noises that made Spike jerk and gasp till he had to grab Xander’s head and push him away.
“Umm. Sensitive,” he answered to Xander’s inquiring look. Xander mouthed a silent ‘oh’ of understanding, and lay his head back down on Spike’s belly, snuffling in contentment. Spike nearly purred himself, he felt so warm and relaxed. He couldn’t imagine that Anya wouldn’t have taken him back immediately, or that Angels secretary, whatever, - the cheerleader- could have let him go…. and here he is thinking like this was more than a blowjob. Fuck. His contentment began to evaporate but then Xander’s hand crawled up to pinch a nipple. Hard.
“Stop it. You’re freaking, just stop it. And please shut up” he said amiably as Spike tried to say something. “I’m right here. And I’m staying right here. Well, moving for food and potty breaks, but other than that, right here, unless…ouch!” Xander snorted when Spike yanked his head gently back and forth by his hair.
“Got it. You’re here. There’s something I need to know before I make you shut up” He held up a hand to forestall Xander’s protest. “When did, why did you- Are you …gay?”
Xander stared at him open-mouthed. “Whaa…” He burst into laughter, “Oh, no Spike, it’s just you! ’Cause other-wise, I’m so totally straight.”
He snickered and was still chuckling when he eased into sleep minutes later. Spike smiled as he stroked Xander’s hair, feeling very satisfied. Having a soul. He wasn’t sure if the soul made him feel like he was feeling now, but he welcomed it. He was still smiling when he dropped into sleep along with Xander.