Now that the Bregni scare was over, everything was back to normal. And that meant Xander had Saturday night off. Spike and Xander patrolled on Friday night, Willow and Tara patrolled -- with the Bot, of course -- on Saturday night. Everybody had a weekend night free.
Not that Xander was doing much with his free weekend night. He wasn't really in the mood to go out. He spent the day re-reading his entire X-Men comic collection, just kicking back on the couch with a dwindling "unread" pile to his right and a growing "read" pile to his left. It was his traditional way to deal with feeling overwhelmed. Escapism.
Friday night had left him more than a little confused. It sounded like Spike was definitely interested in the sex -- that meant he must be attracted to Xander, at least a little bit -- but he didn't want anything romantic.
Maybe he just thinks I was being polite or something, that I don't actually want more. Like during the time loop. He said nobody's ever loved him, not even Dru ... so maybe he doesn't think anybody can. Or that anybody will.
Or maybe he's just being all Control Freak guy, trying to stop me from going to that stupid domination club, even though I mostly wasn't planning on going anyway.
Or maybe he's not into guys, and he's only doing this because I'm convenient, throwing myself at him like some kind of desperate horn-dog. So he gets to have sex without all the complications. Except I kind of want the complications. But he doesn't. Want them, that is. He was pretty clear on that score.
The question is Why? Why doesn't he want complications? And why do I sound like such a girl all of a sudden? Maybe I should spend my evening watching football and guzzling beer and belching, instead of sitting around contemplating why my vampire lover doesn't want snuggles.
The simple truth is that Spike apparently wants to have sex with me. And I have to decide if that's enough. I mean, even if it doesn't go anywhere, because I don't know if it could or would or might or definitely won't. So if it really is just sex ... can I do that? Do I want to do that?
Okay. Duh. Sex with Spike? And I'm thinking about this so long why? Even if it's just sex. Dude ... it's sex with Spike. So maybe he just wants my bod. Spike wants my bod. What could possibly be wrong with that?
Heh. A year ago, I would have thought there was a world of wrong with that. But now ... now's different. Now, the phrase "sex with Spike" makes me say, "Yes? Please? Now?"
I just wish I knew what was going on in his head. I wish I knew why.
In comparison, the X-Men were blissfully uncomplicated. Xander read until he was so tired and it was so late that he staggered off to go to bed leaving piles of comic books in his wake.
He woke up the next morning to a ringing phone and Willow's voice telling him to come over for a research party that night. Apparently, there'd been another run-in with a bone-cruncher. Goody.
He had the rest of the day to angst about what to say to Spike when he saw him again.
He didn't come up with any answers.
* * *
It all ended up being moot, anyway, because he didn't get any time alone with Spike. Everybody was ranged around the living room, searching through Giles' old books, trying to find out about these bone-crunching demons, and Spike never walked away from the group. Xander wandered into the kitchen a couple of times, trying to give Spike an opportunity to follow him, but he ended up just standing around the kitchen by himself like a moron.
Unfortunately, the third time he went to the kitchen, Willow followed him. Not really what he'd been hoping for.
"Did you tell him?" she whispered, glancing back toward the living room.
Xander fiddled with the orange soda he'd just taken out of the fridge. "Not really. But I tried. He said he didn't want to know." Okay, so that isn't exactly what Spike said, but close enough.
Willow frowned. "How could he say he didn't want to know, when he didn't know what it was he didn't know?"
"Trust me. It's all cool." That's right. Say it with a tone of authority and it must be true.
Willow looked like she was about to say something more, but Xander gripped his orange soda and made a speedy escape, smiling apologetically.
When it started getting late and they still hadn't learned anything useful about these particular bone-crunching demons -- though they had learned that demons in general just seemed pretty much down with the bone-crunching thing, like it was a common hobby or something -- eventually Xander started making noises of the "I should probably be getting home" variety.
Any hopes he'd had that Spike might see him home were dashed when Spike pretty much ignored him when he got up to leave.
Idiot me, I was so happy the first time he decided I was man enough to go home without a bodyguard. Like he'd finally stopped seeing me as some pathetic kid. Like throwing a couple knives around made me an equal with him or something. I never really thought about how nice it was, always having him make sure I got home safe. Yeah, I'm still pathetic.
He left to a chorus of "See you tomorrow"s. The next day was New Year's Eve, and they'd all made plans far in advance to spend the evening together, just as they had with Christmas.
Maybe tomorrow night he'd have better luck with getting Spike alone.
* * *
He arrived at the girls' house around 8. He'd been tempted to show up just before dark -- so that he could have maximum potential Spike timeage -- but he didn't want to look too desperate. And he still wasn't sure exactly what he wanted to say. Plus, if he showed up early and Spike didn't, then he'd be submitted to more Willow grilling. It was safer to show up when he knew everyone would already be there.
He knocked on the door and stepped inside, calling out, "I come bearing booze with which to ply unsuspecting womenfolk and vampires!" as he waved two bottles of cheap champagne.
Willow and Tara were in the kitchen, putting various munchies into bowls and onto plates. They both smiled and said hello when they saw him come in to put the bubbly in the fridge. Hearing voices coming from the open back door, he walked over and rested one hand on the doorframe.
Spike and Dawn were sitting on the back stairs, and Dawn was saying, "So now he's going out with Summer Thompson, who is a total slut-o-rama. She is to 'slutty' what Michael Jackson is to 'freaky', you know? And he's all totally lying about it. He's like, 'We're just friends.' Shyeah right."
Xander interjected, "Wait, have I been missing out on the crucial 'girl talk' portion of the evening's festivities?" Both Spike and Dawn turned to look up at him. Dawn grinned. Spike just watched him with an annoyingly calm expression.
We've got this whole sex thing out there, totally unresolved, and he can't even manage to look a little uncomfortable? He's got that unflappable thing going, and I want to see some flap. I'm flapping all over the place, and I don't like to flap alone.
Dawn explained, "We were just taking a break. Spike was showing me some self-defense stuff so I can go patrolling."
"Not ready yet, though. Don't want you getting hurt."
Dawn rolled her eyes and said, "Can you spell 'overprotective', boys and girls? I knew you could."
Xander shook his head. "Come on, now, Dawn. How many fifteen-year-olds are lucky enough to have their own personal guard-vamp? Ya gotta see the up side, here."
"Oh, right, like I want somebody telling me what to do all the time. Most kids at school only have one parent. Lucky me, I've got like four."
"Yeah, but we're cooler than all the other parents."
"If you guys were really cool, you'd let me come on patrol."
"Ooooh! Good try!" Xander grinned.
Dawn huffed and crossed her arms.
Spike stood up and leaned against the railing. "Want to help with the training?" He was looking at Xander.
"Me? Sure. What do you want me to do?"
Spike gestured at the grass of the back yard. "Go out and rush at her. I'd do it, but if I make a mistake and hurt her, I'd get a hell of a migraine."
"Rush at her?" Xander glanced uncertainly at Dawn, who was rising to her feet and walking toward the middle of the lawn.
"I can take it. Spike's teaching me how to use somebody's weight to throw them."
Xander raised his eyebrows. "You think you can throw me?"
Dawn bounced slightly on the balls of her feet, smiling. "I'll give it a try."
Xander shrugged and sort of half-heartedly rushed her, not wanting to accidentally knock her down. But the next thing he knew, he was the one on the ground with the wind knocked out of him, staring up at the night sky.
"I rock!" Dawn crowed, leaping up and down with her arms raised triumphantly in the air. "I rule!"
But Spike sounded firm, insisting, "Just because you can toss a slow-moving human who doesn't want to hurt you doesn't mean you're ready to face demons."
"But ... almost?"
Dawn grinned and did a happy little dance. Xander could see it out of the corner of his eye as he lay there savoring the bitter taste of humiliation. Dawn had smacked him down. "What've you been teaching her?" he asked ruefully, still not moving.
"Just some aikido." Spike's face appeared above him and a hand was extended to help him up. Xander reached up to take Spike's hand, and the touch sent a jolt of excitement through him. He saw Spike's eyes narrow slightly, and then he was pulled to his feet.
As they walked into the house, Xander found himself watching the back of Spike's head, the set of his shoulders, the pale skin of his neck. Spike and Dawn were talking about something, chuckling and nudging each other, but Xander didn't really hear anything they were saying. All he could think was, Spike wants to have sex with me. And I'm hesitating why?
The evening passed in a sort of Dick-Clark-narrated blur. When the ball dropped in Times Square and firecrackers went off somewhere outside, Willow and Tara kissed. Xander glanced nervously at Spike, who wasn't looking at him. Instead, he was watching Dawn, who rushed toward him and kissed him on the cheek, smiling. Then she kissed Xander on the cheek, as well. "Everybody should get kissed at midnight," she insisted seriously.
Xander sneaked another peek in Spike's direction, but Spike still wasn't looking at him.
It's not like he's going to bend me over and give me major tongue action in front of everybody, but still ... everybody should get kissed at midnight.
When the kissing -- real and imagined -- was done, Willow insisted that they all raise their glasses and make a toast. "To a new year, and to good friends," she said, smiling, and everyone touched their glasses together. Even Spike made no objection to the sentimentality of the proceedings. He just clinked his glasses with everyone else's and took a sip of champagne.
And then, after his sip, Spike looked up and met Xander's eyes.
He wants this. I want this. I don't care why. I don't care if I might get hurt. I want this. Yes.
Spike held his gaze for a long moment, but looked away when Tara said something to him. He smiled slightly, and Xander watched how his lips curved.
After a few minutes of feeling almost paralyzed with nerves, Xander cleared his throat and said, "I should get going."
The girls looked disappointed, but hugged him goodbye with many more "Happy new year"s.
Spike stood and said, "I'll be heading off, as well." Willow glanced back and forth between the two men, then gave Xander a questioning glance. He gave a tiny shrug of non-knowingness.
They walked out the door together and toward Xander's car, getting a respectable distance from the house and the girls, before Spike asked, "You planning on going to the club?"
Club? Oh ... right. The postcard. And the New Year's Eve party. And the club. The postcard that started this whole thing.
Xander focused on getting his key into the driver's side door lock, not looking up, and said in what he hoped was a casual voice, "Not really."
Spike leaned one hip against the fender, his arms crossed across his chest. "Got it out of your system, did you?"
As Xander opened the car door, he looked over at Spike. Xander swallowed. Time to end the poultry impression he'd been doing. "Not exactly. I just ... you said ... I thought..." Xander licked his lips nervously, and Spike's eyes followed the movement. It gave him the last bit of courage to say, "I thought maybe we could just go to my place, instead."
He didn't look away. Spike tilted his head slightly, as if he were studying Xander, and then he nodded. "All right, then."
Best New Years ever.
On New Year's Day, Xander didn't wake up until early afternoon.
Spike was gone.
It wasn't all that surprising, really, that Spike hadn't wanted to stick around. This thing they were doing ... it wasn't about curling up in bed together and waking up to morning-breath kisses. It was about sex, and that was all.
Not that Xander was complaining, exactly. It was just going to take some getting used to.
Spike, on the other hand, seemed completely relaxed about the whole thing. When they'd gotten to the apartment last night, Spike had just strolled to the kitchen to get a beer out of the fridge, as he always did when he came over.
The bright fluorescent light in the kitchen gave Spike's skin a slight blue tinge, but somehow it didn't make him any less gorgeous. He saw something held on the fridge by a magnet, and he took it down and looked at it. It was the infamous postcard. Xander had kept it because it reminded him of Spike, but now he wondered what Spike was thinking as he looked at it.
Still holding the postcard, Spike walked over to lean against the counter, tilting the beer bottle up to take a swig. His throat moved as he swallowed, and Xander couldn't help but watch, hypnotized. Spike lowered the bottle and set it on the counter, eyeing Xander speculatively.
He held up the postcard, not looking at it, holding Xander's gaze. His voice was pure sex when he drawled, "So ... what did you think about, looking at this?" He paused, glancing at the photo on the card, then back at Xander. "You like the dog collar? Want to be somebody's good little puppy?" He smirked, not giving Xander a chance to reply before he continued, "Or did you want more ... maybe think about getting yourself tied up, spread open, gagged and helpless? Or maybe you were looking for a daddy to spank your naughty bottom all pretty pink, make you beg daddy's forgiveness?" Xander was shaking his head now, but Spike didn't stop. "Or was it more than just spanking you were after? Like a bit of pain, do you? Get all hot and bothered by whips and chains?"
"No! None of that stuff!" Spike just arched an eyebrow. And, after a moment of feeling his face heat, Xander amended reluctantly, "Okay, I've tried some of that stuff, because -- hello ... Anya -- but not the ... the freaky daddy stuff, and serious pain doesn't do it for me, and ... look, I'm not looking for a wonderland of kink. That wasn't what I wanted. I just..." He broke off, suddenly afraid, wondering how honest Spike wanted him to be. How honest he wanted himself to be. He took a breath and looked at Spike, willing him to understand through some kind of osmosis or mind meld or something.
Spike tilted his head slightly and pushed off from the counter with a graceful roll of muscles. He stepped forward, smiling. "Just looking to get bossed around a bit, eh?"
Xander felt somehow disappointed, as if an opportunity had just passed him by. He looked away and said quietly, "Yeah. Pretty much." Coward. But he doesn't want to know. It's only sex.
Spike stepped a bit closer. "Nothing to be ashamed of."
Damn it. I'm going to be honest about this, at least. Because even if it's just sex, it's okay for him to know. And I want him to know. Because I want this to be real.
It took a huge effort, but he looked Spike straight in the eye as he said, "When I looked at that card ... I didn't just think about ... you know, the domination stuff ... I mean ... I thought about that stuff ... but ... I thought about that stuff ... with" -- Xander gulped and closed his eyes -- "I thought about that stuff with you." He kept his eyes closed, not wanting to see Spike's reaction. What if this ruined everything? What if Spike thought he was some kind of weirdo stalker guy, all obsessed with him? He licked his lips nervously and opened his eyes.
Spike was watching him with an unfamiliar expression, something flickering between what looked like surprise, confusion, suspicion, arrogance, and plain old lust. The lust was clear enough to make Xander shiver. He wondered what he would have seen if he'd opened his eyes sooner.
At least Spike didn't look angry, or even uncomfortable, really. Instead his expression was moving rapidly into smug. Like he was having fun with this. And that was a hell of a lot better than a lot of the other reactions he might have had.
Spike's voice was low and smooth when he said, "So ... you were wanking to thoughts of yours truly? Interesting. What did we do in these 'thoughts' of yours?"
Crap. Why did I think this was a good idea? Spike's the king of the put-down. Anything I say is just giving him ammunition. So Xander went for vagueness, one of his favorite avoidance tactics. "Um ... lots of stuff."
"'Lots of stuff', eh? Well, we'll definitely be doing 'lots of stuff'. I've got plans for you."
Xander gulped. "Plans?"
Spike nodded slowly, with just the barest hint of a curve to his lips. "Mm hmm. Plans."
What kind of plans would William the Bloody come up with? The mind boggled. And not in a good way. "W-what sort of plans?"
"Oh, nothing you won't like." Spike lifted up the postcard and looked at it again. "So you were looking at this little piccy of a bloke in a dog collar, and wanting me to be your master? Get you on your knees? Tell you what to do? Teach you how to get me off?" Spike looked up, meeting Xander's gaze expectantly.
Xander just watched him, trying to read Spike's expression. He couldn't even seem to make himself nod. Even though they were both still fully dressed, he felt suddenly naked and exposed.
Apparently not bothered by the lack of reply, Spike just smirked. "I can do that." He seemed so relaxed about the whole thing ... like he did this every day.
"So ... the guy-guy thing doesn't bother you? I mean, I wasn't sure if you..."
Spike just shrugged. "Would've thought it'd be you running from that one." He put the postcard on the table and stepped forward again, hemming Xander in until his back was pressed against the refrigerator, alphabet magnets pressing into his spine. Then Spike reached one hand down and cupped Xander's ... special equipment. Xander's breath caught, not out of fear, but because it was Spike's hand on him ... finally. Spike smiled, gently squeezing. "But you're just full of surprises, now aren't you?"
Xander tried to remember to breathe, but his voice still sounded a bit hoarse when he said, "That's me. Surprise Guy."
Spike stepped back slightly, his hand pulling away to fall by his side. "Shirt off."
No. I liked the hand. The hand was good. More hand, please. "Um. What?"
"Shirt off. Need to inspect the merchandise."
Xander blushed. "But ... you already ... the other night ... when I ... I took off my clothes..."
Spike shook his head impatiently. "Up close and personal like." He tilted his head to the side and waited.
Feeling self-conscious, Xander untucked his t-shirt and pulled it over his head. He was so close to the fridge, the sweep of fabric sent magnets skittering onto the floor. Unsure what to do with the shirt, he dropped it on the white linoleum. He sort of hoped he'd be needing his hands for whatever Spike had in mind.
Spike pulled back a bit further and looked Xander up and down, his eyes roaming over bare skin.
"Hey ... want to go into the living room? Or ... uh ... the bedroom? 'Cause fluorescent lights don't really do good things for skin tone. I keep telling the landlord that I could pull this out and put in something that uses incandescents, but he says his insurance doesn't..."
"Xander, do I look like I care about the sodding lamp?"
"Right. No. So shut up."
Okay, now, that was just rude. "Shut up?"
"Yeah. Shut up. You wanted me to tell you what to do ... well, I'm telling you to shut up. Want to enjoy my new toy without the soundtrack."
Spike stepped close again and put his hands on Xander's shoulders. Not holding ... just brushing lightly against the skin. He slowly moved his palms down, stroking Xander's upper arms, then squeezed each bicep as if testing the resilience of the muscles. His lips curved just a tiny bit upward, barely enough to be called a smile. Xander felt like he'd just passed some kind of test.
"On second thought, if you want to talk so much, then talk. But not about that rubbish." Spike's hands had somehow found their way to Xander's chest. He lightly pinched Xander's nipples, making Xander gasp. "You like that?" Xander jerked his head in something approximating a nod. "Then say so."
Xander repeated nervously, "Um ... I like that."
Spike rolled his eyes and stepped away. "Is that supposed to get me hot?"
Okay, so much for passing the test. It made him defensive. "Well, I'm sorry. I'm just not really good at the whole talking dirty thing."
Spike crossed his arms across his chest. "Gonna have to learn, then. Convince me. Or I can leave. That what you want?" He started to turn away.
Spike turned back and faced him squarely. "Then get talking."
Xander stood, bare-chested and clueless, while Spike watched him expectantly. What does he expect me to say, when we aren't even touching anymore? "Are you ... are you going to touch me?"
"Depends. You going to make me want to?"
Xander started to reach out his hands, but Spike took another step away. "Words. I want to hear you say you want me, want my hands on you, want my cock in you. Say it."
I was okay with the stripping. And the ... the one hand clapping ... and the blow job. But this makes me feel like an idiot. I'm going to sound like a complete moron, and in front of Spike. But ... it's what he wants ... and it's not like I'd be lying. So I guess he's sort of saying that if I want to do this, then I have to tell the truth. And maybe I haven't been so good on that score lately.
Xander took a deep breath and then looked at Spike. "I ... I do." He cleared his throat. "I liked it when you were touching me. It felt -- god! -- it felt amazing!"
Spike smiled slightly. "Good boy!" He came closer, crowding Xander against the now-magnetless refrigerator again, and ran a finger along Xander's throat. "Keep going."
"When you ... uh ... touched my nipples" -- Spike moved his hands to Xander's chest again, pinching lightly, making Xander struggle to hold still -- "Oh fuck!"
"Not quite yet," Spike replied as his hands traced along Xander's stomach, moving slowly downward.
Trying not to hyperventilate, Xander panted, "Oh god ... please..."
Spike leaned forward to whisper in Xander's ear, "I'm the one giving the orders." He pulled back and let his eyes fall to roam Xander's bared chest and stomach. "But since you said 'please'..." He skimmed one hand past Xander's waistband, down to cup his balls again through the denim. Xander closed his eyes and blindly reached back, holding onto the sides of the refrigerator for balance.
"Please please please please please," he breathed, trying to hold still, not wanting to give Spike any reason to stop what he was doing. And apparently he was succeeding, because Spike was unbuttoning and then unzipping his pants, slipping one hand inside to gently squeeze the hardness there. Xander froze, swallowing convulsively.
"Open your eyes," Spike said. "Look at me."
Xander opened his eyes. Spike's pupils were dilated, making his eyes far darker than usual, and his chest was moving with breaths he probably didn't even realize he was taking.
Spike looked seriously turned on. That alone was enough to make Xander's cock throb.
"Oh god ... I think I'm going to come..."
Spike's hand pulled away, making Xander almost want to cry. But then Spike was pushing Xander's jeans and boxers down, then taking a firm hold on Xander's dick again and stroking slowly.
Xander squeezed his eyes shut so tight that he saw sparks.
"Hey. Eyes open," Spike said impatiently.
Xander opened his eyes again. Spike looked controlled, but something about the eyes seemed to say that it was a struggle. Like Xander was getting to him somehow. Probably the power trip.
"You want to come?" Spike asked tightly, still stroking Xander's dick. It was a bit painful without any lube -- he'd be sore tomorrow -- but there was no way he was going to stop to go in search of petroleum products right now.
So Xander just nodded, hips bucking slightly forward. "Yes ... please..." He knew he sounded desperate, but he couldn't bring himself to care.
"You don't come until I come. So what're you going to do for me?"
Xander stilled for a moment, unsure what Spike wanted, but emboldened by that barely restrained wild look in Spike's eyes, he grabbed Spike and reversed their positions. He nearly fell on his ass, stumbling over the jeans around his feet, but he managed the move without completely humiliating himself. Kneeling on the cold linoleum, he unfastened Spike's jeans quickly -- no leisurely teasing this time -- and swallowed Spike's cock with his own soft moan of pleasure.
Spike's hips jerked, and his hands came down to twine into Xander's hair, his eyes intense as he stared at Xander's mouth working on him. Xander kept his eyes trained upward, watching Spike's face, and it was a surprisingly short period of time before Spike was arching and cursing and Xander was swallowing come.
Afterward, Spike leaned heavily against the refrigerator with his eyes still closed, chest rising and falling, hands still tangled in Xander's hair. Xander knelt at his feet with a cock so hard it pressed against his belly, pre-come leaking steadily.
He waited, not sure whether Spike wanted him to stand up or not.
"Good boy," Spike panted, eyes still closed. When he finally looked down at Xander, his face was smooth and relaxed, his smile genuine. "Get up here."
Xander stood so quickly that he almost tripped over the jeans bunched up around his feet. Spike caught him, though, holding him steady until he got his balance again. And then Spike's hand was reaching down, taking hold of him again, squeezing and stroking with a bit of slick help from pre-come, and Xander raised his hands to brace himself against the refrigerator on either side of Spike's body.
"Do you still ... want me to ... talk?" he gasped, watching Spike's face, trying not to close his eyes despite the pleasure rocketing through him.
"Mmmm," Spike replied not very informatively, still smiling slightly. He squeezed a bit tighter and Xander gripped the sides of the refrigerator door, leaning close, suddenly aware of his height advantage and size. Spike seemed so small, trapped between Xander and the fridge, his eyes looking up to meet Xander's gaze as he began to speed up his hand.
"I don't know if I can," Xander admitted breathlessly, feeling his orgasm growing. "It's so ... it's so ... oh god!" He cried out, coming all over them both, Spike's hand pumping until it was done. Xander sagged weakly, hands still braced against the fridge, Spike trapped beneath him.
He'd barely caught his breath when Spike pushed at his shoulders, easily moving him away, and yet giving him time to shuffle his feet along, trapped in denim. Spike stepped aside, refastening his own jeans quickly and easily. Xander contemplated which was worse: looking ridiculous with pants around his feet or looking ridiculous trying to pull his pants up. He decided to just stand there, letting it all hang out. Spike had seen it all before, anyway.
"All right then," Spike said cheerfully. "I'll be on my way." And a moment later, Xander was standing alone in his apartment, pantsless, heart still pounding from an incredible orgasm.
It wasn't until he was in bed, almost asleep, that he realized Spike still hadn't kissed him. All that time, pressed up against the fridge, their faces so close together, and no kissing.
So it wasn't any surprise when he woke up alone. This wasn't romance.
He tried to keep reminding himself of that fact.