"Um ... you do know what you're doing with that thing, right?"
Jeremy glanced up. "Believe it or not, at my day job I'm a doctor at Sunnydale Memorial."
"Sorry. I didn't mean to imply ... anything. I'm just really not into pain, so I'm a little nervous."
Jeremy smiled. It was probably supposed to be reassuring. "It won't be bad at all. I'll make only really small, shallow nicks. Just enough to get some blood going. You'll barely feel it."
Xander eyed him disbelievingly, but Jeremy just dropped the shiny silver scalpel into some kind of tray of mediciney-smelling stuff. Probably disinfecting it. Or something.
Yeah, 'cause I wouldn't want to explain this at the emergency room. "Well, doc, you see, you was letting this guy cut me so my chipped vampire boyfriend could drink my blood." One trip to the loony bin, coming right up.
Jeremy didn't look up from his preparations when he said, "Don't tell him I said so, but it's good of you to do this for him."
Xander frowned in confusion. Then Jeremy shot him a look and he got it. Holy vamp-knowing doctors, Batman! "You know. About Spike."
Jeremy nodded, then said, "Show time."
Jeremy had a bunch of stuff prepared, and when they walked out into the circle, he got to work, but Xander barely saw him anymore. Instead, he stood frozen by the stares of what seemed like hundreds of guys, leaning against the circular wall from the outside, peering in at half-naked him, waiting for the show. It brought back somewhat disturbing memories of The Fabulous Ladies Nightclub ... and the ignominy of shaking his groove thang in front of a drunken bridal shower and a couple of blue-haired grandmas.
But these guys were buff. All gym-toned and nipple-pierced and ... um ... whatever-pierced ... and leather-wearing and ... and what the hell was Xander "Donut Boy" Harris doing getting up in front of them to flaunt his manly boob muscles and bleed all over the floor?
Another disturbing memory. Larry and the other football players, snapping wet towels at him in the shower after gym, laughing. Pointing and laughing.
Heavens to murgatroid! What've I gotten myself into? Exit, stage left!
But then ... the look in Spike's eyes when Xander had stripped for him, that first night in the living room. Yeah, Spike was into it. At the time, Xander had been feeling pretty confident, thinking about all the hours he'd put into working out, stroking his fingers over his stomach to feel the tightness of the muscles.
Xander pressed a hand flat to the bare skin of his belly and tried to stop breathing like a runaway horse being chased by Fyarl demons.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Breath in. Breathe out.
All right. Let's do this.
* * *
He'd chosen to go barefoot, knowing this would give Spike a slight height advantage. He wasn't sure exactly how this whole "scene" thing was going to go, but he trusted Jeremy and Spike to guide him through it.
I trust Spike. That just gets weirder every time I think it.
They stood on a raised platform which Jeremy had covered with a tarp. Everyone could see. Barefoot and shirtless, wearing nothing but faded blue jeans, Xander felt the nervousness start to flutter in his stomach again. Spike hadn't even come out into the circle yet, and he was already feeling the urge to flee again.
Jeremy whispered to him to kneel, and so he did. Hands clasped behind his back. Head lowered.
A heavy lock of hair fell into his eyes.
But then there was movement, and a moment later he saw the scuffed toes of Spike's boots, and just like that he remembered why he was doing this. He wanted to look up, to see Spike's eyes, but he knew he was supposed to keep his head down. Part of the whole "being dominated" package, apparently.
And it comes with this lovely set of Ginsu knives, as well! They slice! They dice! They make you bleed for your kinky vampire hijinx! Now how much would you pay?
"Shall I bind him for you, sir?" Out of the corner of his eye, Xander could see that Jeremy held in his hands a set of what looked like leather wrist and ankle straps. Xander wasn't sure how he felt about doing the bondage thing in front of a crowd, but he didn't say anything. He knew that much: Xander isn't supposed to say anything.
Right. Silent obedience. I can manage that, right? I mean, how tough could it be? Silence, obedience, and blood. Why do I not get the urge to start singing "These Are A Few of My Favorite Things"? Oh, god, this is going to be a disaster. There's going to be blood, and pain, and I'll run screaming like a little girl, and Spike will kill me.
But Xander's attention was drawn back to Spike when the vampire did not reply immediately to Jeremy's question about making with the bondage. Xander tilted his head back slightly and rolled his eyes up so that he could look up through his hair to see Spike gazing down at him thoughtfully. And then Spike shook his head. "Not this time." This time? "I want to watch him give himself willingly."
Something in the timbre of those words made Xander wonder what exactly this game meant to Spike. Because it sounded like ... but ...
Has he even drunk from a human since he got chipped? Is he just lusting after tasty fresh human blood warm from the source? Xander glanced at the crowd uncertainly. Or is he just putting on some kind of he-vamp power display to show everybody he's still a blood-sucking fiend?
Is this even about me at all?
But as he peered up through the hair that had fallen across his forehead, Xander could see that the look in Spike's eyes said yes, yes to that last one, yes it was something to do with Xander ... which somehow made the whole thing only that much scarier.
Because that meant this wasn't just fun and games. This was ... things were going to change.
Xander shivered lightly at the thought, and Jeremy seemed to take that as his cue to get things started. He probably thought Xander was cold, but even shirtless he was fine. The club was warm, all those bodies in such an enclosed space. He felt warm, but he couldn't help shivering again.
"This boy," Jeremy called aloud, loud enough for the crowd around the circle to hear him, "wishes to make an offering to his Master. An offering most precious. He wishes to offer to his Master a taste of his very self, his own life's essence, his heart's blood." He turned to look at Xander, kneeling on the floor. "Is this what you wish, boy?"
Xander began to speak, but had to clear his throat. Then he said clearly, "Yes, sir."
Knives. Going to cut me. Blood. If I faint, will Spike keep drinking anyway? Will they just prop me up like a half-naked bleeding Raggedy Andy and go on with the scene? Oh god, I'm going to faint. We could pretend it was part of the "scene" ... I'm just playing the role of a girlie man afraid of his own blood. Heck, I've cut myself at work dozens of times, so why is this freaking me out so bad?
But then all thought stopped when he felt Spike's hands stroking through his hair, smoothing it back off his forehead. And then Spike's voice, surprisingly soft, said, "Xander?"
Xander looked up, up along Spike's black-clad body, up into the blue eyes that were gazing so intensely down at him, asking some sort of wordless question. Spike's fingers were still in his hair, motionless now, holding it back from his face.
"Say it," Spike said, still softly, so softly that surely the audience could not hear. Perhaps even Jeremy, standing only a few feet away, could not hear.
Uncertain what exactly Spike wanted him to say, Xander took a deep breath and then looked Spike straight in the eye as he said quietly, "I'm offering you my blood." Not as flowery and descriptive as what Jeremy had said before, but nobody'd ever said Xander was a showman.
More of a no-show man. A hide man, really. A stealth man. Yeah, that sounds better.
Spike's fingers slid away from his head, and Xander wanted to lean to follow the touch, but didn't.
Xander did, though his knees felt a little wobbly. Jeremy stood a bit aside, apparently waiting for some signal from Spike. Xander tried not to shift from foot to foot. He tried not to look nervous. Tried not to look like he was about to bolt.
And then Spike stepped closer, leaned closer until there was no distance between their bodies. He rested one hand on Xander's bare shoulder and then pressed his face into the angle of Xander's neck, nudging Xander's head out of the way so that he could breathe onto the smooth skin there. Xander shivered again.
Then there was tongue. Spike was licking the side of his neck and Xander was horrified to discover that it was really really sexy. Spike hadn't really done much touching before this -- their thing had mostly been Xander touching him, instead -- and the movement of Spike's tongue against his skin made him feel weak. He wished this wasn't happening in front of an audience.
His eyes shifted back and forth, noticing how many people were watching them, until he felt the first press of teeth. His eyes closed, his back arched, and he tried to press himself harder against Spike's teeth. He had a hazy moment to wonder Is this what a vamp's bite does? Does it make you want more more more MORE? Or is it just because it's Spike? Oh god, I want more!
Spike's teeth were biting down hard now, slow and hard, almost hard enough to really hurt, but just hard enough to feel really really good. "Please," Xander panted, forgetting that he wasn't supposed to talk, forgetting that anyone was watching, his eyes closed tight, his hands balled into fists. "Please."
But then Spike was pulling away.
No not away! Come closer! Bite harder! Just ... more!
Despite the bright lights, Spike's eyes were dark, the pupils dilated. He nodded past Xander, and then Jeremy stepped near again, behind Xander and a bit to the side. He heard him, but Xander couldn't look at him. He kept his eyes on Spike.
A tickling trickle along the skin of his upper chest was the first sign of blood. Xander hadn't even felt the cut ... the blade must have been very sharp. He kept his eyes on Spike, watched Spike's eyes follow the trail of blood. Down. Down. Down.
And then suddenly it was Spike who was kneeling, pulling Xander down slightly bent so that he could lick blood from Xander's nipple. Xander watched him, fascinated by the sight of Spike's tongue as it flickered in and out of his mouth, red with blood, Xander's blood. Spike licked and sucked and finally began pulling Xander down so that he clumsily returned to kneeling. Spike licked along the blood trail, up up up toward Xander's shoulder. And then he was licking, sucking, lightly biting Xander's neck, and now Xander felt like he was going to faint for completely different reasons.
There was more. Xander knew that. There was more. They didn't stop there. But, afterward, all he could remember was Spike's tongue and lips and teeth against his skin. Fingertips. Palms. Wrists. Nipples. Neck. Throat. He was pretty sure he ended up lying flat on the ground, with Spike bent over him like an animal feeding on captured prey, but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered.
Lips. Tongue. Teeth.
And eyes. Spike's eyes, shining and wide and dark, as if he were stoned out of his mind.
He's drunk on my blood. Or my offering. Maybe both. But I did that. I put that look on his face, that look in his eyes. That's because of me. That's for me. Nobody's ever looked like that because of me.
He looks ... like he's worshipping. Worshipping me.
Spike was kneeling over him, rubbing absently against his lower body as he licked blood from Xander's throat, and then suddenly his lips were there. Right there. And they were kissing. Spike's lips were on his, and their mouths were hungry, tongues thrusting, and the taste of his own blood was familiar, not gross at all, and Xander couldn't help it. Not with Spike kissing him, kissing him for the first time since the time loop. For the first time ever, really, because this Spike had never kissed him before.
Xander couldn't help it.
He pushed up to rub harder against Spike's body, just for a second, just for the tiniest second, just a bit more friction. He barely needed it with Spike kissing him like that, but with that slight pressure against the body above him, Xander came, groaning into Spike's mouth, trying not to bite down, though Spike probably wouldn't have minded if he did. He came, his body arching off the floor, his hands clenching by his sides, finding no purchase on the slick plastic tarp.
And when his brain stopped buzzing, he realized he was lying in the center of a brightly-lit circle, with dozens of complete strangers watching him. He could feel the blush roll up into his face, his cheeks feeling as if they were burning.
But then Spike's face filled his vision, and he forgot about all that. Because Spike smiled at him. Not a smirk, not a sneer, not mocking or ironic or superior. Just a smile. A real smile. And Xander wasn't sure he'd ever seen that on Spike's face before, not for him. Maybe for Dawn, but not for him, not for Xander.
Xander was horrified to feel tears in his eyes. But Spike just offered him a hand up, and then they were both standing, and Jeremy was there, and the three of them were leaving the circle like everything was normal.
"Let Jeremy get you cleaned up," Spike said, sprawling bonelessly on a fake-leather couch in the hallway.
For a horrified moment, Xander thought Spike was referring to the fact that he'd come in his pants, but then he realized he must be talking about the cuts. Of course. The cuts. How could I have forgotten about the cuts? Xander nodded dazedly and followed Jeremy into the same clean white room where they'd gotten ready.
When he came out, sporting several small bandages, some of which would probably earn him some ribbing at work, he found Spike still sprawled on the couch. Their eyes met again, and it was like an electric shock.
Xander stood there for a moment, not sure what to do, waiting for Spike to say something, do something. They watched each other. And finally Xander said, simply, "Let's go home."
And Spike nodded as if he were the obedient one.